Ongoing History of New Music

Curiouscast

Ongoing History of New Music looks at things from the alt-rock universe to hip hop, from artist profiles to various thematic explorations. It is Canada’s most well known music documentary hosted by the legendary Alan Cross. Whatever the episode, you’re definitely going to learn something that you might not find anywhere else. Trust us on this.

The History of Alt-Rock: Chapter 11
4d ago
The History of Alt-Rock: Chapter 11
One of the great indirect heroes of modern rock’n’roll was born on March 21, 1865...his name was brigadier general George Owen Squier....he was an Army officer with a PhD in electrical science and a thing for music....he invented a technology to designed to compete with a new thing called “radio”.... Wireless radio, he figured, was useless...it was prone to static and fade-outs and just didn’t sound very good...his idea was to run wires into homes and businesses, just like we have with cable TV today or as they were beginning to do with telephones back then...he called the concept “wired radio”.... Just before he died in 1934, he came up with a new name for his invention.....playing with the words “music” and “Kodak,” he came up with “Muzak”... The whole thing with “wired radio” didn’t take off with consumers, but businesses were into it...closed circuit music, specifically tailored to their environment, 24 hours a day without interruption or static?...that’s brilliant....and shopping malls and elevators haven’t been the same since....Muzak became the world’s biggest supplier of elevator music... So where am I going with this...great question... By the 70s, Muzak corporation was earning more than $400 million a year by distributing this type of music all over the world from its headquarters in Seattle.....it was used for crowd control, a management tool and something to fill the empty silence of a department store or dentist’s office... And for a time, the Muzak executives thought this was a good unofficial slogan: “boring work is made less boring by boring music”....you bored yet?... Fifty-two years after the George Squire died, a new type of music started coming from the back room of Muzak headquarters in Seattle......but it wasn’t exactly elevator music.... The music came from the shipping room where a Muzak employee named Bruce Pavitt spent his coffee breaks running a new independent record label devoted to the local music scene.....in fact, Muzak’s payroll supported at least half a dozen local musicians......and while no one could have possibly known what where this was going to lead, the decidedly non-muzak music these people were into would eventually change the world of rock’n’roll forever..... This is the complete history of alt-rock, chapter 11... Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
The History of Alt-Rock: Chapter 9
Aug 1 2022
The History of Alt-Rock: Chapter 9
It had taken a few years, but by the middle 1980s, the underground music scene in north America had reached some kind of a tipping point...enough people had discovered punk, new wave and all the sub-genres associated with both so that things started to become really interesting... Campus radio stations began to have more clout...the more support they gave to these non-mainstream bands, the more they were appreciated and the more power they wielded... And as these stations began to communicate with each other through publications and charts and conventions, their influence and reach grew even more...turns out that a surprising number of people were really tired of whatever the mainstream rock industry was pumping out...each day, the “alternative” scene–that’s what we were calling it by the mid-80s–attracted more fans who were only too happy to evangelize the epiphanies that led to their conversion... Yes, college radio helped...so did all the bands willing to tour alt-friendly clubs...and so did independent record stores which set themselves apart from the big chains by stocking more of the weird stuff.... But we can’t forget the roll of MTV and any channel or show that played videos from all those weird, new telegenic bands from the UK... If you spent any time at all watching music videos in the middle 80s, it was obvious that as interesting as the growing alt-rock scene was in north America, there was something just as interesting happening on that cold, rainy rock in the north Atlantic...and it was all happening so fast... This is the complete history of alt-rock, chapter nine...     Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
The History of Alt-Rock: Chapter 8
Jul 24 2022
The History of Alt-Rock: Chapter 8
When punk rock first appeared in the middle 1970s, the major record companies in north America really didn’t care...they were happily making millions and millions of dollars from big rock bands like Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Fleetwood Mac and The Eagles..... And there was millions more coming in from disco...which was sweeping the world....it was like a plague–but a profitable one...so why would they bother with this weird stuff bubbling up from tiny, scary clubs on both sides of the Atlantic?...they were too busy going to big stadium shows and getting down at Studio 54... But this new music wouldn’t go away...so when Led Zeppelin broke up and the Stones and The Eagles and Fleetwood Mac disappeared up their own buts and the disco bubble finally burst the record execs tried to tame it......marketing the gentler and less intense bands under the umbrella of something they called “New Wave”. Oh, they tried with punk, but they got it really, really wrong...you gotta wonder what was going through that executive’s head when The Ramones were picked to open shows for toto.... No, seriously...The Ramones were the opening act for Toto on one tour...I swear I didn’t make that up...it happened in Lake Charles, Louisiana...January 26, 1979...they were also paired up with Foreigner and Blue Oyster Cult... But we have to be fair....the general public just didn’t get punk....when The Sex pistols appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine in the fall of 1977, it was one of their poorest-selling issues, ever....mind you, the headline read “rock is sick and living in London”...the story began with a quote from Isaiah 3:24: “instead of perfume, there will be rottenness”.... After that, most Rolling Stone writers were instructed to stop writing about this music...it was bad for business...really bad... But there were people who got it....and frankly, fans of non-mainstream music were quite happy to be left alone...they were into this new music precisely because they hated the mainstream...and over the next dozen years, the musical underground was allowed left to gestate undisturbed......it slowly mutated and evolved into something very unique---very powerful...this is the complete history of alt-rock, chapter 8... Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
The History of Alt-Rock: Chapter 7
Jul 18 2022
The History of Alt-Rock: Chapter 7
Before we go any further with our history of alt-rock, a lesson in cosmology is in order...sometime around 16 billion years ago, there was this infinitely dense and infinitely tiny thing called a “singularity”...don’t ask where it came from or who made it...that’s just asking for trouble... The best anyone can tell is that one day–well, there weren’t “days” back then because time didn’t exist (again, let’s not go there)–this thing just exploded...astronomers call this “the big bang”... This explosion moved outward in all directions, stretching space (well, creating space–but that makes the brain hurt)....then started to cool, got lumpy and clumpy and eventually coalesced into stars, planets, people and goats... Everything we see and perceive is the result of that big bang...sorry, creationists...the world isn’t flat, either...and don’t send me emails... Now it’s time for a wild but very apt analogy...if we look at the punk rock of the middle 1970s, we can think of it as a musical big bang...the ideas and attitudes it generated spread out in all directions and eventually began to coalesce into new ideas and attitudes...they were all made up of the same basic elements, but they combined to form totally new life forms...and there were probably goats involved somewhere, too... This is the story of some of those new life forms...it’s chapter seven of the complete history of alt-rock... Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Driven By Her: History of Female Drummers
Jul 7 2022
Driven By Her: History of Female Drummers
In this episode of "Driven By Her," presented by our friends at Porsche Canada, Alan Cross and Ongoing History of New Music explore a subject that has fascinated Alan since he saw Karen Carpenter play a drum solo in the band's first television special in 1976. Turns out Karen considered herself a drummer who could sing and she had to fight to prove her legitimacy and talent to the rest of the world, especially in the male-dominated music industry. But if there was one woman who could play this well, there had to be others? were there more? During the mid-70s the answer was "not really" but there were a few and in the decades that followed, more and more appeared, and today, female drummers are everywhere comprising a worldwide sisterhood some have called "chicks with sticks". They were drummers, driven by that one thing that they needed more than anything else in the world. The one thing they were truly passionate about... in all cases it was the one thing that made them feel truly free. It's what drove them to singularly focus on crafting their unique talent and chase their dreams down whatever road it led them.  But the road wasn't easy... there were a lot of roadblocks, plenty of skepticism, and loads and loads of sexism... Barriers that needed to be broken, attitudes that needed to change abilities that needed to be proven time and time again... This is the story of women with rhythm who changed the way we look at music.  In partnership with Porsche Canada. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
The History of Nerd Rock
Jun 29 2022
The History of Nerd Rock
Nerd…noun…a foolish or contemptible person who lacks social skills or is boringly studious…definition 2: a single-minded expert in a particular technical field...example: a computer nerd… It’s an old word, too…the, er, nerds at google have a thing called “the ngram viewer” which scans the text of books going back to 1500…in other words, pretty much right back to the inventing of the printing press… According to these nerds, “nerd” (the word) shows up for the first time in an book called “a true discourse of the assault committed upon the most noble Prince, Prince William of Orange, County of Nassau, Marquesse De La Ver & C,” by John Jarequi Spaniarde: with the true copies of the writings, examinations, and letters for sundry offenders in that vile and diuelifh (i have no idea what that word is) attempt”… I can’t tell you what “nerd” referred to in that book because it’s written in old Spanish and i couldn’t be bothered to find a translation…I’d need a real etymological nerd for that… The word fell into disuse after about 1725 returning into the popular lexicon thanks to Dr. Suess in 1950…to him, a “nerd” was some kind of creature found in a zoo… But the following year, Newsweek magazine reported that “nerd” was being used in Detroit to describe an awkward sort of dude who wasn’t very cool…it kind of lingered in the slang world for the rest of the 50s and into the 60s before it really took off in 1974 with the TV series “Happy Days”…Fonzie was always calling Richie and Potsie “nerds” for being uncool dorks…so props to Henry Winkler… By the end of the 70s—and coinciding with the rise of the culture around the personal computer, consumer technology and “Star Wars” and other science fiction pursuits—the use of “nerd” became even more widespread…remember the “Revenge of the Nerds” movies in the 80s?... But now in our technological society, being called a nerd is a compliment…people aspire to be like Bill Gates and Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg…look at shows like “The Big Bang Theory” and “Silicon Valley”…we’re actually celebrating nerddom…people want to be nerds ‘cause—well, it’s kinda cool…the geeks have truly inherited the earth… This brings me to music…nerdishness is now so widespread that nerds even have their own genre of music…and as you might guess, it falls squarely in the world of alternative music… This, then, is a short history of what we unreservedly, unashamedly and unironically call “nerd rock”… Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices