Category Archives: indie

Tom’s Best of 2011 Music Mix!

It’s back!’s traditional regularly irregular mix of awesome and slightly irregular music. Basically here’s a track from all the bands that kept my earbuds spinning this long year. As usual the list is autobiographical more than canonical. I’m never one to color perfectly amongst the lines. It’s already a few days past 2011 and there may have even been a few songs snuck in from the last days of 2010 but lets not be picky, let’s just rock out. DL the whole set and listen in playlist order, or just mix them up.

Special thanks to CBCRadio3, NPR, KEXP, Rdio, eMusic and various friends for most of these discoveries. Do let me know what I missed. And let’s bring on 2012!

01 M83 – Midnight City
02 The RAA – Barnes’ Yard
03 Salteens – If Love Is Gone Where Do We Go from Here
04 Austra – Lose It
05 Young Galaxy – We Have Everything
06 Emm Gryner – Ciao Monday
07 Lightning Dust – Never Again
08 Teen Daze – Let’s Fall Asleep Together
09 Active Child – Hanging On
10 Washed Out – A Dedication
11 Tycho – A Walk
12 Cut Copy – Need You Now
13 Holy Ghost! – Wait And See
14 Beach Fossils – What a Pleasure
15 Hey Rosetta – Seeds
16 Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues
17 One Hundred Dollars – Ties That Bind
18 J Mascis – Not Enough
19 The Dodos – Black Night
20 Craft Spells – Party Talk
21 Braids – Lemonade
22 Timber Timbre – Black Water
23 Low – Try to Sleep
24 Bon Iver – Calgary
25 The Antlers – No Widows
26 Alexi Murdoch – Slow Revolution
27 CYHSY – Same Mistake
28 Tapes’s ‘n Tapes – Freak Out
29 The Fires Of – Pulse


What I learned from GameOnFinance – these gamers, they’re just like us

Gameon Finance main hallThe good folks at Interactive Ontario invited me to the innaugural GameOn Finance conference on Friday. I was lucky to catch a number of livelier sessions. And this, is what I learned about video games:

  1. Historic distribution models are changing and who the new winners will be is uncertain. Sure console gaming continues to print money for game publishers and platform makers, but everyone knows that the days of little shiney discs are numbered. Digital distribution is coming and it’s changing retail-based business models and creating powerful new players (like Valve’s Steam, xbox live, or any of the online cassual gaming aggregators) and potentially disrupting business as usual for game publishers. Connected games come with a different flavour too. Social and networked products come with great stickyness. Games like WoW for example suck in gamers for months or years at a time which means gamers spend more hours but buy fewer games as they don’t need to rush back to the store after finnishing the latest spiderman game in 10hrs of playtime.
  2. The industry is at a crisis of imagination as the big producers risk falling back continuously on old franchises and trying to manufacture “sure hits”. Eric Zimmerman did a great job of outlining this one in his keynote as one of 5 key trends facing the industry. Though gamers have been talking about this one for years. If gaming is going to avoid the total celine-dionifacation of the industry they are going to have to constrain the ballooning costs of production per single product and/or learn to love independent designers and find new models to outsource design and production risk.
  3. The huge potential of the internet (let alone mobile) is still not even fully established yet. It’s crazy but a lot of this industry still depends on the whims of retail distribution (read walmart), solitary consumer experiences and vertically oriented/siloized game production. Of course there are great examples of many companies now exploding each of these ideas through creative use of the internet and P2P/social media. Community is the new content factory. Social media is the new distribution channel. And just making it social improves the product itself.

  5. Canada could be doing a better job of supporting young/small companies who are the real drivers of innovation in the industry. Current programs, SRED, IRAP the OMDC and other tax credits are well appreciated by the industry (who doesn’t like free money). However, there are valid questions as to whether these programs are effective policy for sustainable advantage in Canada. Most of these programs work best for big developers, while it seems policy wise we could be doing several more easy things to encourage risk taking and innovation for both would-be entrepreneurs and they investors.

So, whew. There you have it. Does any of this sound familiar to you and your industry by any chance?

Summer 07 Podcast is up

It’s been 5 months since the last one, but here it is my latest seasonal indie music mix. All the best bands that have made an impact on me from March to August of this year. Refresh your iTunes subscription, or just download and listen from the links below. Enjoy!

#7 Tom’s Best of Summer 2007
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Track List:

01 The Russian Futurists Let’s Get Ready To Crumble 2:56
02 Caribou Melody Day 4:13
03 Spoon The Underdog 3:42
04 Handsome Furs What We Had 3:56
05 Pela Lost To The Lonesome 3:12
06 Los Campesinos! We Throw Parties, You Throw Knives 2:19
07 Lesbians On Ecstasy Mortified 3:27
08 Immaculate Machine C’mon Sea Legs 4:02
09 Andrew Bird Plasticities 4:27
10 Blonde Redhead Silently 3:57
11 The National Fake Empire 3:27
12 The Good, The Bad & The Queen Herculean 3:59
13 Stars The Night Starts Here 4:53
14 Feist I Feel It All 3:39
15 The Choir Practice Red Fox 2:08

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