The M For Montreal fest has just announced it’s first round of programming for the 11th edition, running November 16-19. Performers include Canadian-American folk-rock royalty Martha Wainwright, Moonface (Spencer Krug of Wolf Parade), a Hot Chip DJ set, Michael Rault, Boogat, and more. M for Montreal welcomes over 120 local and international buzz-worthy acts and 200+ industry heavyweights from around the world each year. More info here
-- Speaking of Martha Wainwright, she releases new album, Goodnight City, (her sixth) November 11th, on Cadence Music. It is described as "sonically daring." Lead single "Around The Bend" has already been featured on NPR's Songs We Love, Voir.ca and The Line Of Best Fit. Material for the album comes from Beth Orton, Michael Ondaatje, and Rufus Wainwright, among others. Her M for Montreal show is at Rialto Theatre on Nov. 16th.
-- Country music superstar Dolly Parton has reason to grin, as new release Pure & Simple is scoring high on the charts, here and beyond. It debuts at #1 on Nielsen Canadian SoundScan’s Top Country Album Chart (#10 on the Top Albums Chart) and also on the national country charts in the U.S., U.K. and Australia. Her 43rd studio recording and the first release of her recently-announced joint venture between Dolly Records and Sony Music Nashville, it achieves #1 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart with first-week sales of 20,000 units, the first time she has topped Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart in the 25-year history of SoundScan. Dolly's seven-city Canadian tour kicks off at Toronto's Molson Amphitheatre on Sept. 9.
-- It’s always interesting to see which artists get the biggest bumps after a big awards show appearance. Benefiting most on Spotify from Sunday’s MTV VMA Awards was Ariana Grande. Her track “Side To Side” (feat. Nicki Minaj) jumped 355% after the show. Kanye West’s “Fade” jumped 324%, while Nick Jonas, Rihanna and Future also got a boost.
--London, Ontario, loves hosting country music awards. Just prior to hosting the 2016 CCMAs, London has been announced as host city for the 2017 CMAO Awards, presented by The Country Music Association of Ontario, on June 11, 2017. This is the first time the show, now in its fifth year, has been held outside Toronto. In a press release, Bruce Good, CMAO President, stated “we look forward to presenting a weekend of education and talent to a city that has embraced music of all genres for many years.”
-- It does seem to us that the Guinness Book of World Records has become rather too inclusive in recent years. Think of the most outlandish stunt or feat imaginable and odds are its already tracked by Guinness. Still, Justin Bieber is a fan of theirs, given that they just awarded him eight world records. That’s too many to outline in full, but they focus on his chart achievements (eg he had the most simultaneous tracks on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 singles chart with 17), and the fact that the 22-year-old is also the most followed male on Twitter with over 85 million devotees, racking up 11 million more since January alone. No, he didn’t win the ‘most times caught being a prat in public’ record.
-- Hip-hop legends De La Soul have just released a feverishly anticipated new album, And The Anonymous Nobody via A.O.I. Records. In one of the most lucrative Kickstarter campaigns in music history, fans helped the group raise over $650k, reaching the group’s goal of $110k within hours of launching the campaign last March. They documented their road to recording and releasing the album in the documentary We're Still Here (Now). The 17-track collection is the group's eighth studio album since their “game changing” debut in 1989 and features cameos from David Byrne, Usher, Jill Scott, David Byrne, 2 Chainz, Snoop Dogg, Estelle and Damon Albarn (Blur/Gorillaz), and Little Dragon.
--Juno-nominated contemporary jazz trio Myriad3 is super-excited about appearing at the Tokyo Jazz Festival this weekend. The fest features such big names as Pat Metheny and Sergio Mendes this year.
-- S'cool House Rocks is a benefit concert to support a Syrian refugee family through the Al Mokdad Family Education Fund. Hosted by Project Toronto Welcomes, it takes place at 42 Gordon Road, North York, ON on Sept. 24, and will feature Scott Helman, Jim Cuddy, and The Heartbroken, plus a celebrity chef. Info here
-- Country music maverick Sturgill Simpson has Music Row in a lather after his recent shots at the Nashville establishment. Commenting on the Academy of Country Music’s recent embrace of fellow rebel Merle Haggard, Simpson, on Facebook, declared "If the ACM wants to actually celebrate the legacy and music of Merle Haggard, they should drop all the formulaic cannon fodder bullshit they've been pumping down rural America's throat for the last 30 years along with all the high school pageantry, meat parade award show bullshit and start dedicating their programs to more actual Country Music." Bravo, we say.