Ships and Dip V – Christine Fellows

Back to the music from Ships and Dip V — lest you think it was all distorted electic guitar-based rock, here’s some quirky music from Christine Fellows. I found I really liked her music because, in an odd fit of synaesthesia, I find it very visual. Like listening to it makes me see a movie in my head. (See my post on Oliver Sacks book, Musicophilia, to find out more about this kind of thing.)

Christine is actually behind the piano in this clip, so you don’t get to see her. She’s briefly joined on the stage in clip 2 by her husband, John Samson of the distorted electric guitar-based band, “The Weakerthans”, of whom we will hear and see more later.

Ships and Dip V – Butterfly Boucher Part 2

Here’s another video from the Pool Deck show Butterfly Boucher did on Ships and Dip V. Totally rocking song called “Gun For A Tongue” from her new album scaryfragile. (At least I think the title is all run together like that. It kind of looks that way on the album cover.)

Right at the end of this song you’ll see this flurry of activity as the techs try and get her off the stage because there was some fairly scary looking lightning in the area. Butterfly did a great job of scooting everyone off to safer places. She later said she felt kind of bad about mentioning people could go buy her album, but really, if you’re a musician, you got to sell your record. (And I’d already bought it the first moment I set eyes on it on the ship.)

Enjoy the rocking…

Ships and Dip V – Butterfly Boucher

Every year after the cruise, Sixthman, the cruise organizer, asks who we want to see on the cruise. Natasha and I kept asking for Butterfly Boucher. We saw Butterfly open for BnL once, totally acoustic, and just thought she was amazing! We were so happy to get to hear her again live on the cruise, and also to be able to pick up her new CD, Scary Fragile (look for it on Amazon soon — it was the CD release party on the ship).

Here’s some video of Butterfly I dropped on YouTube. If anybody videod her performances with Sarah McLachlan on the cruise (they weren’t supposed to, but I saw a lot of it going on), do check it out. The audience SHOT out of their seats on the last note of the final song they did and gave a huge standing ovation! It was really, really beautiful.

This song isn’t on either of Butterfly’s albums, btw, but still a good one. I have more video of her coming in the future.

Ships and Dip V – Ed Robertson of Barenaked Ladies Sings A New Song

One of the great treats Natasha and I got on Ships and Dip V as “Triple Dippers” (meaning we’ve been on all three BnL cruises) is tickets to the two Songwriters Panels held on the ship. During the panel, a group of artists talk about their music and get to perform it acoustic-like. Sometimes you get to hear an interesting story, other times you get to hear a different take on a song, or something new.

Ed Robertson of BnL performed a new song for us on the cruise, and here’s the YouTubeage.

Ships and Dip V Totally RAWKED!!!

Ships and Dip V was really, really awesome!!!

From Ships and Dip V

For those of you uninitiated, Ships and Dip V is the, rather inaccurately named, third cruise in the Ships and Dip series, created by the Barenaked Ladies band and the tour operator extraordinaire, Sixthman. It’s a floating musical festival, featuring BnL and their favorite musical groups as well as comedians and other entertainment. And, um, a naked photo.

(It’s okay, you can go google naked photo. Neither Natasha or I were in it this year or any other year, owing mostly to not being able to get our naked butts out of bed in time on the second day of the cruise. Oh yeah, and also because of creepy people like you who would go out and google it! But really, you probably don’t want to see it. At least not hi-rez. It’s not Playboy or anything. It’s at least partially people who unabashedly enjoy cruise buffets.)

But enough of that. Onto the music. BnL rocked as usual. Before the cruise, I worried, I’ll admit. It has not been the best year for BnL, with Steven arrested for drug possession. Ed crashed his plane. And, to my mind, the band just sounded kind of negative when they were on stage together during S&D III. Not exactly mad at each other, but not on the same frequency.

My fears were allayed from the moment I stepped up to the line where they take your boarding photo. Just past the photo area, was that Steven Page waiting to greet us? Looking snappy? In a suit? Clean-shaven (unlike the shaggy beard he sported last year). And looking amazingly trim? So much so I didn’t even recognize him at first. We walked up and shook his hand and said we were happy to see him. We kept running into him throughout the cruise and he just seemed really, really happy. And his performance onstage was amazing! So full of vitality! It made me very happy to see him so happy, considering all he had been through.

From Ships and Dip V

The talent on the ship was amazing, and I’m going to talk more about that in later posts devoted to the artists we got to see. Natasha and I were really excited because Butterfly Boucher was on the ship; we saw her open for BnL a while ago and had been suggesting her for Ships and Dip for the last two cruises. She was awesome, and I was really excited on the very first night at the merch shop that her new CD was available. (Her CD was delayed for a long time due to legal hassles with the label she left.) She’s also very photogenic.

From Ships and Dip V

You can check out the pics at my Picasaweb site, and I’ll have some YouTube video up shortly. I don’t have a tremendous amount of video, because I felt like I watched too much of the cruise through a viewfinder. But I still got some great performances from the event.

I can’t say enough about how much fun I had, so you’ll be hearing about it for a while. Thanks to BnL, Sixthman, and all the performers on the cruise for rocking us on the ocean!

Listening: Harvey Danger, “Little By Little”

C’mon, you all know it…Flagpole Sitta

I wanna publish scenes
And rage against machines
I wanna pierce my tongue
It doesn’t hurt it feels fine

It’s funny, when we were on Ships and Dip 3, we went to the Harvey Danger show, and they were sort of reluctant to play the song. Well, maybe not reluctant, but you could tell they’d played it a billion times and they really wanted to play other stuff.

And well they should! They’re an amazing band. When we went to see them in the main theater of the ship, there was a moment where Sean, the lead singer (who is sick of being called Harvey) stepped out from behind the mic and BELTED! He was amazing. His voice filled the hall and it was like sitting there watching a chubby, male Andrea McCardle singing the hell out of the songs from Annie!.

They’re an awesome group with a really wide repotoire and it really shows in their latest release, Little By Little. Ranging from grungy pop to some things that sound like broadway show tunes.

And you can get it for free from their web site.

If you like it, support them with a donation or by buying the physical CD. In these tough economic times, you can’t beat that kind of deal.

Here’s a sample from Ships and Dip 3:

iTunes Epic Fail / Amazon For the Win

iTunes sucks. No other way for me to say it. Which is sad, because I was a big fan when it was first released. Yea! Digital music. I can buy tracks online and save the plastic and the paper that go into making a CD.

Of course, the first time I tried to share tracks with my wife, who had created her own iTunes account, I learned the first crappy lesson about iTunes and DRM. Yeah, not so easy to share tracks with someone living in your own household. From what I hear we could have authorized each others computers to play the other person’s tracks, but, bah…that’s too much trouble. And anyway, I have never owned an iPod. I used a Rio Karma for a while, which was a great little music player, and now I have an Archos 605, which was the iPod Touch before there was one. So actually taking that music with me was a pain because it was in a proprietary format that I had to hack to get onto anything else.

Today, Apple announced that they are going to make all the music on iTunes DRM-free. Hallelujah. The lords of Apple have decreed that you shalt be able to take your music anywhere. Long after I figured out that DRM sucked and started buying CDs again. And long after Amazon started selling DRM-free MP3s in a completely simple to use and awesomely cheap way.

The thing is, their PR says, “And if you own stuff from iTunes, you don’t have to repurchase it to get the DRM-free tracks.”

“Yea!” I thought, “I’m going to reinstall iTunes and get the DRM-free tracks so I can now move them wherever I want.

Then I read the next sentence of their happy little press release. “For just 30 cents a track…” WHAT! Wait, you said I don’t have to rebuy the tracks. Excuse me for being lame in this crappy economy, but 30 cents a track appears to be me rebuying the tracks. Let me just be clear. Free = not buying. Any amount greater than free = buying.

It seems like lately, everytime I talk to people about music, I hear that they’re buying off iTunes. And I mention Amazon, and that person goes off and checks it out and is absolutely flabbergasted by how kewl their music store is. And how cheap. I bought the latest All-American Rejects album there for $2.99.

Let me repeat that. Day of release. $2.99. I had to actually check twice to make sure that’s what I was buying, it was so friggin cheap.

Even if you use iTunes to organize your music, Amazon provides a tiny little downloader app that automagically adds the tracks to your iTunes library.

Now don’t get me wrong. I understand what’s going on here. The music industry was pissed at Apple for actually showing them they had a business model in the digital age that went beyond people trading things for free. And so Apple was stuck with the whole DRM thing because the music industry wanted to screw them over by creating some competition in other online stores like Amazon.

But hell if I am going to give the iTunes store any more of my cash. Amazon gave me 25 Christmas tracks this year FREE. As in, no cash left my pockets to get them. Not like stupid iTunes asking me for more money to remove DRM from tracks that are already sitting on my hard drive.

Amazon rocks. So rock out with them. Here’s a link to free songs to get you started.

Listening: Vagiant “Seven”

If you’ve played Rock Band or Guitar Hero, you’ve probably heard a band called Vagiant. They’re a bunch of tatooed chicks from Boston, rocking a pretty incredible punk style.

I bought their CD a few months ago, after falling in love with the “Seven” when I played it on Rock Band. I love the lyrics especially, because it’s basically about a person having a good breakup with someone.

This is a warning
To everyone who thinks that I’m in mourning
You know they’re wrong in fact
I’m reassuring you that I’ll be true
Won’t let no one mess with you tonight

Included in the package was a really nice note from the band. Made me feel good to be buying a CD from someone, instead of some crappy DRMed files from iTunes. (Although, I think you can get their music from iTunes if you prefer crappy DRMed music.)

You can catch a listen to their music or buy their album from their MySpace site.

(Be aware, there’s another group named Vagiant out there that’s a lot different than these ladies.)