Cameron Carpenter: The ABC’s Of Rock’n’Roll – The Current List

Shanghai Aug 2012

I don’t listen to much radio. When it is on in the house it is usually on 680 News for news and weather updates. Occasionally CBC Radio 1 or 2 will be heard in the kitchen or perhaps NewsTalk 1010. I never listen to radio on-line. I don’t listen to radio for new music. I will listen to rock radio if one of my artists doing a live interview. When I am out of the house I always have my iPod on. This is where I listen to new music but, obviously, I have to program the iPod with playlists and the one I listen to most often is simply called “Current”.

It usually has about 50 songs on it and it is updated on an almost daily basis. New songs are placed at the top of the list and songs, depending on whether they made the cut or not, are either taken off the playlist or added to a different one. The life cycle of a song on the current list is a couple of weeks in the top ten and a month or so overall. A tell-tale sign of a good new song is whether I dig the iPod out of my pocket and check out who the song I am listening to is by.

iHeartNewMusic_512So, where to I find my new music? There are a myriad of sites I check every day and I am also on a lot of publicists email lists. If they offer a link for new music I will usually check it and add it to the current list. I will always check out both the iTunes free single of the week as well as the weekly free download from Puretracks, and when they are not new aps, will usually try out the Starbucks free download. I have been on Twitter for the last four years (@CC59) and see links to a lot of great new music there, as well as on Facebook. Of course I read all of my Don’t Believe A Word I Say brothers and sisters and always find lots of great musical tips. I check out the new playlist ads to SiriusXM’s “The Verge”, CBC Radio 2, 3 and streams, the various stations on Galaxie as well as reading my U.S. pal Jack Springer’s “Tek Report” which is an industry tip sheet sent out to every major radio programmer in North America. I respect the ears of Mark Cameron at FM 96 in London, Ontario and check to see what he has added or is playing on the station’s Indie show.  Alan Cross and his team are great for hearing about new music (, Bob Lefsetz ( is always an interesting read although our musical tastes seldom mix, I also love to check out AOL/Spinner (, Stereogum ( and Noisetrade ( for legal and free downloads.

As of yesterday here is my current playlist.

1. One Way Trigger – The Strokes 

This one was a little bit of a surprise when various friends on Twitter and Facebook started sharing the link for the new Strokes song which RCA Records was dishing out for free. It was an immediate click. “Trigger” is a little confusing off the top when it ventures in to Aha land but at around the 50 second mark Julian Casablancas kicks it in Strokes style and makes its musical point. This is not classic “Is This It” era Strokes but still strong enough to make we want to hear more. Late breaking news the new album is called “Comedown Machine” (release is March 25) and the first single is “All The Time”.  If you pre-order the new album on iTunes as of February 19th you will get a free download of the single.

2.Timeless – The Airborne Toxic Event

Just added this song on Tuesday so the jury is still out. I have been reading lots of hype about it and wanted to give it a few spins. I was a big fan of their singles “Something Around Midnight” and “Does This Mean You’re Moving On” and I’ve always found this California band knew their way around a pop hook.

3. Where Are We Now? – David Bowie

This one caught everyone off guard when Bowie released it on his birthday earlier this month and also announced his new Tony Visconti produced album “The Next Day” will be released in March. Although the lyrics harken back to his Berlin era the sound is more reminiscent of the criminally under-rated “Heathen” album. Visconti has said the rest of the album is a lot more up tempo but I still find this track haunting and a very pleasant surprise.

4.   Handyman Blues – Billy Bragg (Handyman Blues starts at the 4:05 mark)

Joel Carriere’s Dine Alone makes a nice score with the signing of Billy Bragg. It’s a nice lazy song with Billy’s distinct Essex accent and his usual way with words. I love the line “I’m not any good at pottery so let’s lose a T and just shoot back the E and I’ll find a way to make my poetry build a roof over our heads”.

5.  Cut Me Some Slack – Paul McCartney, Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic & Pat Smear

One of the two songs released from the soundtrack for Dave Grohl’s documentary “Sound City: Real To Reel” (full soundtrack available on March 13). A flat out rocker with a Queen-like intro featuring Grohl and fellow Foo Fighter Pat Smear alongside Nirvana’s Krist Novoselic and Sir Paul McCartney at his “Helter Skelter” best. Great tune. I have not seen the film yet. I am however currently reading “This Is A Call – The Life And Times Of Dave Grohl” by Paul Brannigan which I am enjoying. Don’t know where Dave finds the time to do everything he commits to. It should be fun to see him introduce Rush in to the Rock’n’Roll Hall Of Fame. I once almost drove off the road in Montreal with Dave and Taylor Hawkins in the car as a Rush song came on CHOM-FM and their duelling air drumming forced me to duck for cover.

6. Inhaler – Foals

The hipsters love this band. I first heard of them in 2008 with the release of their debut album “Antidotes”. I checked out a couple of songs but can’t say it ever really grabbed me. The buzz for the new album “Holy Fire” is massive (it is out February 11) and if “Inhaler” is any indication the record could be massive. Some call it “math rock” and others “new rave” but to me it is more proggy in its approach. This song is really growing on me.

7.   Long Emotional Ride – Graham Parker & The Rumour

Always been a fan and “Squeezing Out Sparks” is one of my all- time faves. It was nice to hear that Graham had reunited and this is from the recently released “Three Chords Good” album. It is a laid back number and it reminds me of what Graham’s contemporary Nick Lowe has been doing of late. A welcome comeback. I need to spend more time with the album.

8.   Leaving New York – Sylvain Sylvain

Speaking of oldies Sylvain, along with David Johansen, is a founding member of the New York Dolls. Here he steps away from The Dolls for his ode to New York City. Lyrically the song is pretty weak (although I think that may be intentional) but the feel takes me back to a cross between The Stones “Waiting On A Friend” and Cabretta-era Mink DeVille. It features Dead Boy Cheetah Chrome on guitar and the stunning background vocals of Angie Primm and Gayle Mayes. Rumour has it Syl is working on a new solo album with the working title “The Monkey Never Tires”.

9.  Red Action – Indian Handcrafts

I first heard of Indian Handcrafts a couple of CMW’s ago when my son Kyle was filing CMW Report Cards for “Chart Attack”. Kyle said of the band “Ever wonder what would happen if Josh Homme (Queens Of The Stone Age) paired up with Sebastian Grainger (Death From Above 1979)?”. That pretty well sums up this guitar and drum two piece from Ontario. Riff rock with monster volume. Good things could happen for the band this spring when they tour Canada with Billy Talent, Sum 41 and Hollerado.

10. Tiny Treasures – The Whigs

I first saw the band on the David Letterman show in 2008 when they played “Right Hand On My Heart”. The three piece from Athens, Georgia blew me away on TV that night and later in the year when I saw them live at The Horseshoe in Toronto. “Tiny Treasures” is from their album “Enjoy The Company” that was released late in 2012. If radio played stuff like this maybe I would listen more.


Cam’s column appears every Thursday.

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DBAWIS ButtonCameron Carpenter has written for The New Music Magazine, Music Express, The Asylum, The Varsity, The Eye Opener,  The New Edition, Shades, Bomp!, Driven Magazine, FYI Music News, The Daily XY, New Canadian Music and Don’t Believe A Word I Say.

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2 Responses to “Cameron Carpenter: The ABC’s Of Rock’n’Roll – The Current List”

  1. Don Della Nina Says:

    Get me off this website please!!!!!!!

  2. your son has a knack for descriptions! great list, i will definitely be checking these out Cam!

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