Wrote the below in response to an article on the class mailing list. I’m so happy to be talking telecoms for work and school these days!
Though doing further research, I see AT&T and Verizon have double the market cap in the US. Wireless probably has more growth left in it but it also has to go over a wire at some point. So maybe in the US telecoms could take over cablecos but wired access will still matter.
I have BCE’s 2011 annual report [PDF] handy because of a school assignment, and Wireline revenue is 10.6B versus Wireless at 5.2B. Rogers, Canada’s largest provider by subscriber, had revenues of 3.8B in Cable while Wireless delivered 7.1B in 2011. I just looked. TELUS already has IPTV, Quebecor is vertically integrated; Shaw’s looking into wireless through hotspots. This could work even perhaps on a wholesale level, though it didn’t really work for Clearwire.
Enough business of telecoms, time for homework on cultural impacts of mobile networks. #comcult
Henry can be a little bit overboard with his hype (see his permanent ban from securities after being charged with fraud in 2003 by the S.E.C. for his “enthusiasm” during the dot-com boom).
LTE (and LTE-Advanced, when it starts being commercially deployed, probably in 2014) will continue to put pressure on cablecos for people who are already cord-cutters or cord-shavers but the economics suggest Henry’s vision is unlikely. Rural areas without an existing cable infrastructure may see some benefits — though I’d argue that it may be more likely to come from municipal/coop-owned TVWS devices — but in urban areas any video service will tend to be additive rather than a replacement. Even Henry’s focus on Warner Brothers Cable — probably the worst of the big, regional US cablecos — is misleading. Google Fiber in Kansas is what’s pushing Warner’s to upgrade their network, not LTE.
Comcast caps start around 300GB of data, AT&T around 5GB for LTE phones; in Canada those numbers tend to be about 160GB and 2GB respectively from major service providers. Also in Canada, any company that provides LTE connectivity also has wireline TV (whether fiber, cable, or upgraded twisted copper). None of the new entrants have it and probably still won’t after the 700MHz auction, except maybe Quebecor.
The amount of infrastructure, spectrum and new business models needed to have wireless widely replace wireline is just not feasible with the current economic and regulatory model. To stream a 2hr HD movie takes about 3.5GB, to stream a 30 minute TV show in SD takes about 400MB. If the average user watches 155h46m of TV per month (Nielsen Cross-Platform-q1-2012), that’s about 122GB of data in standard definition or 170GB if 1/3 of viewing time is in HD.
Even with the declining cost of delivering data (wirelessly *and* wired), what order of magnitude of buildout would be required to move from 2GB wireless caps to 200GB+ (remember that 170GB is viewing, no emailing/websurfing/video chat/skype/social media/etc)?
Sorry, Henry, I’m just not buying what you’re selling.
Tags: Political Economy · Telecommunications
Crazy couple of months since I saw a couple fantastic bands that deserve more praise than I have time.
Parts & Labour is really far west. I don’t care how much I love Metric, Parkdale is a trek some days. That’s where I caught Frankie Rose. The venue was strange but kinda intimate, like a cave in prehistoric days. I really liked her set and she reminded me after a string of just alright shows, I could still have a really great night of live music.
In addition, I also liked the California Wives. A newish band out of Chicago, I liked their dream pop sound. Will see if they stick.
The following day, I caught Future Islands at the Horseshoe. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting but I sure got something. The first act — Ed Schrader’s Music Beat — was really, fascinating? When Future Islands took the stage, I really felt the rock opera of their music. I’ve never seen such a theatrical stage presence, and it was quite enthralling.
It paired nicely with the Frankie Rose show. Two shows in two nights. Exhausting but worth it. It’d have to be, it was about to be my longest stretch of the year between shows.
Tags: Concert · PDP
A few weeks back (over a month?), I was at Lee’s Palace to see The Cribs. Exclaim! has a review, though they seemed to be more appreciative than me.
Right in the middle of term paper time, I attended the show with another ComCult student. I think this really influenced my impression of the first band. The internet seemed to think (when last I checked) that it was a band called Teen Tits, Wild Wives (NSFW Googling!) but watching videos on YouTube (NSFW YouTube!) leads me to believe we did not see that band play. So they may have been the opening band. After some searching I discovered The Hounds Below (much friendlier search query), whose bandleader you may recall from The Von Bondies — I don’t, but every other site seems to mention it — was the band that was on stage.
They’ve been together in various permutations since 2009, though their YouTube videos appear to have a pretty frequent change. Which would make sense, since I thought they were put together as a market research group targeting 4 market distinct segments.
- Williamsburg hipster – Jason Stollsteimer, lead vocals
- 80s post-retro Footloose – Griffin Bastian, drummer
- 90s English guitar player – Skye Thrasher, lead guitar
- Skinny Seth Rogen with devil beard – Jesse Shepherd-Bates, bassist
I had linked to them before, but I felt some remorse over the level of snark I posses towards this band and feel like taking them out is, better? Every song was different, including when I called that they would end with a country song! Don’t get me wrong, I like a wide range of country — classic and alt, skipping over new country — but it has it’s place. Though I guess it also did here? The one redemming quality was that they seemed sincere. And after all, sincerity is the new irony. Or, so say About 12,900,000
results, er, uh, people. [Aside: I always think of Indie Rock Pete when I say that.]
Julie and I spent much of the next half hour evaluating the performance through a number of theoretical lenses, getting pretty convoluted (and funny) in our analysis at the end. Suffice it to say, I think we both enjoyed an evening away from papers and research!
Don’t feel like I have a lot more to add about Cribs. I respect the band’s decision to move away from their old sound after Johnny Marr, ex-The Smiths and Modest Mouse guitarist, left and the core once more focused on the three brothers Jarman. It just wasn’t my cup of tea. Though I did enjoy, of course, when they played their “big single”.
“Scenster” by Cribs, live at Lee’s Palace.
Tags: Concert · PDP
Managed to get out to see Cults this week. It was my first show at the Phoenix and, overall, I liked the venue. It had a bit of a weird vibe, like a converted high school gym. The faux neo-classical wall trappings (like “broken” columns) and high ceiling gave a pretty open space, along with decent sight lines. The floor seemed to have been stripped of any hardwood and was, instead, some covered concrete — which didn’t make standing all night ideal.
I was later than I initially planned, so missed the opener but I managed to catch the Spectrals. Not bad but I didn’t find them anything special and did appeared to be a strange opening for a buzz band. They seemed like middle-aged white dudes from the UK, though looking online that may not be exactly accurate. But I was standing in the back and the lead singer, Louis Oliver Jones, was wearing a dad ballcap with his big hair and their attire seemed more about comfort than any affected image.
Which was quite different from Cults, who really seemed more style than substance. I’ve quite enjoyed listening to their self-titled album, another great share from Mojgan. But watching them live shows just how much post-production is needed to create their distinctive, hollow sounding vocals — although the glockenspiel(!) sounded fine. Additionally, either touring has taken its toll on co-lead vocalist Madeline Follin or, more likely, she’s been assisted immensely through the same production magic. Brian Oblivion’s singing didn’t seem as affected live but I’ve always had a preference for female vocals.
It also felt like an incredibly short set. Mind you, Cults have a pretty limited catalogue, so this was not unexpected. They did play a cover, always aces in my books, Leonard Cohen’s “Everybody Knows“. But that was mid-set and they didn’t even play the fake encore.
This actually earned some street cred with me, especially since they really made it clear that the “last song” was really to be the last song. And I’m such a cynic about the fake encore.
In the end, the show was just underwhelming. The opener (that I saw) didn’t really seem to compliment the headliner. The main attraction had only a marginal stage presence, which wasn’t enough to make up for the gap between their great debut disc and mediocre live sound.
Don’t get the wrong impression, I’m still a fan of Cults and I’m looking forward to a sophomore disc. But I’d have to recommend you enjoy their music at home or on your commute and save your concert event for someone a bit stronger.
Tags: Concert · PDP
I feel like a bit of concert karma has smacked me upside the head. After all my recent critiques about two opening act concerts, the time I want to see both I arrive so late that I only see the headliner. So it was when I went to my most recent show. Lesson learned.
Actually two lessons. I have a better idea of time for multiple trips and that Sound Academy is farther from the subway then I think. So as such, I can’t really give much comment on the openers performance live. They’re also somewhat new to me, in general.
Vactioner was the first up. They are so new to me that I’d only discovered them, in fact, when I reviewed the concert listing on Songkick. I gave their album a listen when I got home from work (perhaps part of the reason I was so late?) and immediately enjoyed it. They’ve kinda got a sound like Tennis, Washed Out, and Vampire Weekend all mashed up, which is totally my sound these days. Except when it’s a low-fi guitar pop with female lead vocals.
Next up, so schedules lead me to believe, was Now, Now. Another newish find from me via Mojgan’s Rdio. In truth, they were the band I was most looking forward to. I think I arrived just as they were finishing up, as there were roadies starting on a tear down. I’d initially thought that I’d just missed Vactioner but, when the Naked and Famous took the stage, I sadly acknowledged the mistake.
I did run into someone from school, the first time that I’d run into anyone at a show in Toronto. A friend of hers said they were good, and I’ll probably try and catch them the next time they’re in town. Here’s a stripped down version of the title track from their Neighbors EP.
Finally, it was time for the Naked and Famous. When they took the stage, I heard Mike’s voice in my declare, “My skinny jeans are in the wash!” Which may just explain all my concert crotchetiness lately, hmmm. Certainly they’re a bit of a buzz band, as it seemed a number of people awaiting them to start asked things like, “They’re from New Zealand, right?!”
Overall, I liked the show. Some of the songs seemed poorly crafted, though too be expected by such a young group that has an art house-indie rock pedigree where style is as important as substance. You could see the Franz Ferdinand influence but some of their hooks a la new wave-electronica New Order were a bit flat. At times there seems to be some challenges integrating the lead vocals from Thom Powers and Alisa Xayalith. But when the elements did come together, they are catchy and manage a decent elctro-pop with hint of ’80s post-punk.
Matt Kirkey put “Young Blood” from their debut studio album, Passive Me, Aggressive You on his PDP11.5 mix, Separation Anxiety and that was certainly the song that stood out for me.
I think this time out also really cemented my feeling that Sound Academy is Toronto’s Commodore Ballroom. (Where the Naked and Famous are playing at the end of the month.) This is based on the types of shows I’ve seen there so far, certainly the Commodore is a nicer looking establishment. I also think it has nicer site lines throughout. But perhaps I’m just a homer…
Tags: Concert · PDP
I’m a going to be straight with you up front, this show was not awesome. Not horrible, either. Just meh. Which probably explains the tardiness in getting this review up.
I also don’t know who the opening act was and a quick Google didn’t yield answers. Reviewing my notes, the only thing I have about the first act was that she reminded me a bit of Bjork and, also, had a hint of Justine Frischmann — former lead vocals for Elastica. The opener was a solo act, just her and her synth. I remember thinking it must be challenging to be an act that might be decent as a song at a dance party in full swing but instead having to warm up a crowd mid-week.
The second act was Nite Jewel. I thought her sound was okay to listen to while working, perhaps could serve on a movie soundtrack but I didn’t feel there was a lot of musicianship to watch on stage. Some of the bridges seemed overly long and self indulgent and normally I’m pretty generous of live performances. What brought on the snark? Probably my second show in a row, proving there’s a difference in concert season from my BA to my MA.
At one point Ramona Gonzalez asked the sound guy really pump the bass, which resulted in some giant feedback mid-track. Probably not the greatest request. There was definitely a Kavinsky-vibe to some of the songs (a plus), so much so, in fact, that instead of showing you a video of Nite Jewel, I’m going to share this awesome Kavinsky-Terminator mashup!
After a short wait, Chairlift hit the stage. But there’d already been two acts (Two! On a weeknight!) that I wasn’t super impressed with and was feeling a bit fidgety. For me, my favourite Chairlift track has always been “Evident Utensil”, as I used it on my PDP9 mix, Goodbye dear Aughts… Alas, it took until the second of three songs they played for the encore to get there. Though, funny aside, near the end of the set there was a drunk voice calling from near the stage for them to play this particular track. Which made me chuckle a bit…
I, myself, had originally discovered Chairlift through a music blog and remember thinking, “This is a cool song from a band not many people will probably know about.” Of course, this was at the height of my, “I don’t watch TV” phase, and I was blissfully unaware that Chairlift had gotten swept up in the Apple halo. There’s a line in High Fidelity, one of my all time top five desert island movies, that really set the stage. Rob Gordon notes, “Some people never got over ‘Nam or the night their band opened for Nirvana.” Rob never got over Charlie. Perhaps Chairlift never got over being in an iPod commercial?
“Bruises” and “Evident Utensil” were the only two tracks I really knew well going into the night. Reading some positive reviews of the show, perhaps it was just my foul mood that spoiled the show. I did enjoy the verse of Modern English’s “I Melt With You” put into “Bruises” and was happy to have stuck it out to see the one track that I wanted to hear. I definitely think to have been in the crowd, instead of lurking at the back like I was, could have made for a more entertaining show. Certainly, Caroline Polachek, provides a unique stage presence due to her modern dance abilities. As showcased in “Amanaemonesia”.
And that’s the thing. I do actually like Chairlift’s music, I just didn’t really care for this show.
I knew when I started streamlining my online presence into only two distinct personas (telecoms & not telecoms), that this site was going to see an increase in posts about topics that used to be show up on the PDP website. But I hadn’t expected it turn into a music blog. That said, there’s only a few posts in a row on concerts and I’m looking to get blogging more in April — both here and on the telecom website.
Caveats and context aside, this post is clearly going to be a concert review. First up in this week of back to back shows was Bowerbirds. This was my second show at the Garrison, after having seen Veronica Falls last month. I haven’t been to a lot of shows or venues yet but this is an early favourite.
Opening up was Dry the River, from London. I thought you could hear some Brit pop in their sound, especially bass lines. Put me in mind of Doves. But they also at times felt like their were channeling Bon Iver, matt pond PA or even Sigur Ros. They’re listed as folk rock on Wikipedia but it sounds like they’re still trying to figure out a direction for the band.
Lead vocals Peter Liddle at times seemed too focused on singing with an affected voice, with the strongest songs — for me — when they were closer to the Doves sound. Although doing post show research and seeing that he’s Norwegian helps temper my assessment, I still stand by it. Scott Miller, the bassist, seemed really excited on stage but strangely “puppy-like”.
This video, “No Rest”, has the most hits on Youtube, it’ll be the one I share.
I’ve previously noted I’m getting to the age where I appreciate one opening act on a weeknight. Or at least I’m that busy these days. So I was glad to see Bowerbirds on next. I knew a little bit about them, having listened to them on Rdio after spying them on an upcoming sign. Philip Moore handles most of the vocals, with Beth Tacular the alternative lead. I thought Mark Paulson did a great job on backing vocals and playing a number of instruments. That seemed a theme, with people constantly shifting positions. Not sure who the back up strings was, but I felt her play was also strong.
While Moore also has a distinct singing style, it didn’t have the same forced quality. They played a number of tracks that I recognized including “Teeth” (which Olivia had on her PDP11 mix, Hawaii Five O), “Northern Lights”, and, the below, “In Our Talons”.
I thought that the sounds were distinct enough depending on whether Moore or Tacular had lead, that long term might see the emergence of two bands. Though when the core of a band is a relationship, it’s gotta be a sticky proposition.
Overall, I enjoyed the set. They won’t blow you away but if you’re in the mood for some American roots/folk, you should check them out. Any band who gets a Take Away Show deserves a listen.
Tags: Concert · PDP
In my ongoing quest to get out more frequently in the new city, on Wednesday I headed out to the Horseshoe Tavern. While I’ve rarely been one to try and buy tickets at the door, my trek was fruitful and I got in in without any troubles. Although, not getting a physical ticket kinda sucked because there was nothing to add to the collection.
Hospitality was the opener. Wikipedia says they are a trio from Brooklyn, can’t remember if they were a foursome live though. They played some a number of tracks from their new self-titled album, calling out “Argonauts”, “Julie” and “Friends of Friends”. The last of which they announced having a video for — checking out YouTube, it stars Maeby from Arrested Development!
I found they got stronger as the set went on. Not sure if it was just me warming up to them or perhaps they slipped into sings they were more familiar with. Overall, they were decent and I’ll definitely make sure to give a listen to their album.
After a short wait, Tennis took the stage. I’d only recently discovered Tennis after seeing them on Ryan’s Rdio page but was looking forward to seeing checking them out. They kinda have an indie lounge sound, a great 60s free-spirit/retro-pop sort of vibe. I thought this was really accentuated when Alaina Moore danced, her movement punctuated by the sway of her shoulders. That said, the sound was pretty bad to start — some ear-splitting feedback in the first few tracks and, later, her mic actually shorting out during a song.
Tennis grew out of husband-and-wife Patrick Riley and Alaina Moore buying a sailboat and taking an eight-month voyage along the Atlantic coastline, deciding to document the trip through song that turned into the album Cape Dory. I really enjoyed Riley’s work on guitar, not necessarily the best technically ever but played with an intensity that reminded me of some of my favourite all-time live guitar performances by a guy backing Veda Hille and at a Controller.Controller show.
If Tennis’ first album is (literally) all about yacht-rock, their latest album, Young & Old, is more about hanging out in woods and is made up of tracks like “Deep in the Woods”. I think my favourite track, both of the night and in general, was “Origins”.
While the focus of the band is clearly Riley and Moore — and how could it not be, in a husband and wife team — I enjoyed their backing bassist (sometime keyboardist). He seemed to me like Where’s Waldo’s hipper but more uncomfortable cousin. Reading through some reviews of the band, Riley and Moore also seem to possess a great blend of not talking themselves or internet buzz too serious while still being pretty sincere about their musicianship.
They played a couple new tracks, “Petition” standing out as the stronger of the two live. I found that Tennis tracks that really emphasized the refrain seemed the strongest, both received and delivered, and certainly “Petition” was that. It was also one of just a couple tracks that Moore only sang on, instead of also playing keyboard. Overall, I didn’t think Tennis had the best stage presence but in a larger venue could see Moore connecting with the crowd better when getting out from behind the keyboard.
All in all, I was pretty happy to have gotten out to see another show. Live music twice a month seems a good goal to aim for and so February was a great success, even if took a Leap Year to make it possible.
Tags: Concert · PDP
Over the past few years, my music listening habits have been really mixed tape focused. Primarily it’s been PDP mixes but more recently I’ve been listening to a lot of streaming music. Last year, I was using 8tracks quite heavily, which continued the whole mix tape vibe. But this year I’ve recently started using Rdio and that’s resulted in a renaissance of listening to whole albums. And one those new albums happened to be Veronica Falls self-titled album. So when I happened to pop into Soundscapes after brunch on Sunday and saw they were coming to town, I decided it had been long enough since I’d seen a show.
After class, I headed downtown to The Garrison. I was a bit hungry and wasn’t sure if they served food — they don’t but I did had a pleasant text conversation with Elisa. I probably could have killed more time before the show by eating before hitting the venue but I just nursed a beer instead in the bar/front area before heading into the back concert area. The place was pretty small compared to my first two concerts, probably a bit smaller space wise then the Media Club though a touch bigger then the Railway Club.
Hands & Teeth, a local Toronto band was first onstage. There seemed to be some solid talent in the group but their sounds was a little all over the map, taking turns on different instruments and with lead vocals. The first time I ever saw a band interchange like that it was kinda neat but I now generally take that to mean the group is still experimenting. Though one of the group must have been at least 6’5 with a moustache and there was an attractive blond, so they complemented their sound with visuals.
Next up was Brilliant Colors from San Francisco. They had a lo-fi, indie pop sound that I enjoyed. For a fairly stripped down sound, they seemed to be having some real challenges with the monitors — my favourite part being when they said if the sound guy couldn’t reduce the bass, then just cut it from all the monitors. Listening to them, I immediately thought Ryan would like them. (And looking at their Rdio profile, he’s listed as a recent listener!)
After they finished up, Veronica Falls took the stage. They also had some sound issues and the vocals seemed a little lost throughout the short show. It got better but not great. It’s also noticeable how small their catalog is. They played a couple of new tracks to go along with most of their album but the set was quite short and the “encore” was a single song and then off the stage. Overall, they either didn’t bring their A game or their stage presence leaves something to be desired.
But enough about the complaints because overall I still quite enjoyed listening to their London-Scots twee. A post-punk, Velvet Underground-ish sound with a dash of art-pop thrown in — including outfits. Guitarist/vocalists Roxanne Clifford and James Hoare, and drummer Patrick Doyle were all sporting matching red-and-white striped shirts in a nod to Valentine’s Day. Marion Herbain, the bassist, looked the odd member out in dark dress and cardigan and was the only one not to contribute vocals. They led off with Beachy Head and I certainly enjoyed Found Love in a Graveyard and Bad Feeling.
Not a perfect show by far. But to quote Ryan, “You saw Veronica Falls on Valentines day? Swoon”
Tags: Concert · PDP
“You probably think of them as users and their output as user generated content but its nothing less than crowdsourced data management.” – Jan Chipchase
The quote is a minor aside in the article on facial recognition but I really like the term “crowdsourced data management”. I’d also love to hear Chipchase and Nicholas Carr together on a panel — contrast with this article on ‘New frontiers in social networking‘.
Tags: But I digress...