Ghosts of Invention – Galactic Shadows

Originally posted on Alternative Airwaves



Ghosts of Invention - Galactic Shadows Release date: October 5, 2017

"Synthwave" is not exactly the most-listened-to category of music in my playback history, nor am I big fan of electronic music in general.  But friend of the blog/podcast Alex Hindriks (you might remember him from Alternative Airwaves #94) sent along a link to a new 7-track concept album featuring some cool, spacey electronic music.  I found myself liking it a lot!

Hindriks, creating the music as Ghosts of Invention, describes the album on his BandCamp page:

This record is a collection of sounds and tunes that remind me of what it would be like to travel through space. In a way, this is a concept album; with most songs having a constant, non-melodic soundscape filling in the space behind them. I started writing this record shortly after David Bowie passed away; which was also around the time I was watching a lot of films based in space.

I happened to read the description first before listening, and I'm glad I did, because I found that it informed my listening experience quite a bit.  I think GoI does a great job re-creating that "travelling through space" feel and you can easily lose yourself in the music.  I was actually recently listening to a few other 80's-inspired synth music (the Stranger Things soundtrack chiefly among others) and this lines up quite well with them. 

I first listened through the album while at work, and I thought it did a great job at moving me through the work I was doing. 

I highly recommend checking out "Galactic Shadows", especially if spacey synth music is your thing.

Note: there is a link to the Stranger Things soundtrack on Amazon; at the moment, there are no affiliate links on this blog.

Return of the Blog

Originally posted on Alternative Airwaves

Hey everyone!  Hope you are all well.  As mentioned earlier this week, I've been making some background changes that affect mostly the podcast feed, but also some minor tweaks to previous posts.

The background changes were that I switched podcast hosts; this past Wednesday I fixed ALL of the links (except for Episode 7 - that one is missing!  If you have a downloaded version, get in touch with me!), so everything should be working.  This also means that finally, ALL regular episodes are back on the feed.  I didn't re-upload any Weekly Airwaves, if those links are broken, they're staying broken.

I also have some exciting changes in the FOREGROUND for you!  I used to blog regularly about creative commons music (and other CC topics, too) but faded away in favour of just doing the podcast.  Well, I'm starting to find I have less time to produce a show all the time, but I'm re-gaining my interest in blogging.

Starting next week, you'll start to see a return of regular blog posts on www.alternativeairwaves.com.  I no longer send my podcast feed through the blog - I use Pinecast for that now.  You can find that feed at https://pinecast.com/feed/alternative-airwaves (I'll make a more friendly link for that soon).  But since my feed isn't exactly complete - you can only find episodes 79 through 107 right now, plus a handful of earlier shows from 6+ years ago - I'm not going to leave you without podcasts entirely!

I still plan on recording new shows - hopefully that will become easier with various changes on my end that I plan on doing for curating.  But I will likely be recording less often.  My original plan was to pick out some of the shows not available on the feed anymore, but since I fixed that, I've pooched my own plans already.  I'll come up with something good, I'm sure.

I might start things a little slow - at least once a week - but you never know what kind of groove I might fall into.  Thanks for listening & reading!

Background Changes

Originally posted on Alternative Airwaves

Hi everyone,

I'm going to be making some background changes to the website & podcast in the next little while.  You shouldn't see any changes on the RSS feed - though that likely will be changing - but for a short while the streaming links on the individual blog posts might be broken. 

There are also other changes on the horizon - more on that soon!

#108 – New Tracks & No More Hiatus

Originally posted on Alternative Airwaves

A new episode filled with fantastic new tracks! From email-submitted tracks to some curated from Jamendo, there is a lot to be happy about in this episode. Download and enjoy!



Track Listing:

  1. Deer Stone - Bright Lights
  2. Rubber Clown Car - Assault & Flattery
  3. Kinematic - Peyote
  4. The Shidiots - Black Shirts & Records
  5. Kellee Maize - Crown
  6. Luck & Doc - Let's Go Brooklyn (Radio Edit)
  7. Johny Dar - Game On
  8. Louis Lingg & The Bombs - Twitter Riot
  9. Roller Genoa - Build My Gallows High
  10. Dofhei Project - Kind of Light
  11. Forget the Whale - Another Trick Up My Sleeve
  12. Fathom The Sea - Positive Space
  13. Sam Pace - It All Comes Back To Get You

#107 – Aaron Lewis & The Spin Wires

Originally posted on Alternative Airwaves

Another "different" set this month - country music!  Plus a deep dive of The Spin Wires' self-titled EP album.  All that and plenty more.

Track List

  1. Surfer Blood - Six Flags in F or G
  2. Lorenzo's Music - Chocolate & Cocaine
  3. Allie Farris - Love Won't Let You Down
  4. Mega Gem - Advice From the Rain
  5. The Spin Wires - Used Me
  6. The Spin Wires - No One's Keeping Score
  7. The Spin Wires - Should I Dance or Should I Die
  8. Aaron Lewis - That Ain't Country
  9. BETP5 - Please Wait Awhile (Before You Break My Heart)
  10. InitiuM - Stay Wild
  11. Pachyderm - Never Knew Me At All
  12. Joshua James Hunt - Tell Me Girl
  13. Waterpistol - Talking In Your Sleep
  14. Mickey Blue - We Just Be
  15. Florens - Awake
  16. Before Humans - Faith is Broken

Meaning in Songs

I’ve heard the song “Home” by Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros twice in the last 2 weeks, both times showing up in one of my Spotify Daily Mixes.  It got me thinking about meaning in songs, because “Home” holds a special meaning to me.

Intended vs Derived Meaning 

I’ve written before about how I sometimes have trouble identifying with music; specifically because I don’t focus on the lyrics.  So a lot of the time, I miss out on the intended meaning of a song.  Even then, sometimes I’m a little obtuse when it comes to metaphors in songs and I get surprised at the “real” meanings.

So most of the time, I put more importance into the derived meaning of songs.  What I mean by that is the feelings and thoughts I associate with that particular music.  For some things – like The Barenaked Ladies’ “Maroon” or Our Lady Peace’s “Spiritual Machines” – I associate them with a particular time in my life (high school).  They bring back some memories of when I first listened to the albums and songs, but I don’t really find a deeper “meaning” to them.

But then there’s a seemingly simple song like “Home”, by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros (released in 2010 I beileve).

Home 

I call it simple but it works just fine for me.  I can’t remember when I first heard this song, but I do know that it hasn’t always held a significant meaning for me.  The main lyric of the chorus says it all about the song:

Home is wherever I’m with you.

I always liked it because the beat is great and the vocals are fun and light.  But two years ago, my wife took a job in another city; for a year and a half we lived apart.  For the first year or so, we kept our house we were renting.  It made sense – the job was at the time just on contract.  Then when her job turned permanent, it didn’t make sense anymore to keep the house, and we moved out, marking the time until I could figure out how to move my job to be with her.

In the end, it all worked out – but in that period of time that we were apart, I listened to this song a lot.  Even when I was still in our house, I didn’t feel like I was at home.  It was that point that the song started to mean a lot more to me than being a catchy pop tune that I really liked.

So now whenever it comes on at random, I try to take some time to just listen to the song.

For me I think the derived meaning of songs is much more important than the intended meaning.  I’m sure that artists are always thinking about the meaning in their music, and that’s good, but just like writing, being able to put your own spin on a song when you hear is what makes it a more personal experience.

Yeah, sure, I always have time for songs you just crank up the volume for when you drive.  But when I can infer a deeper meaning in songs, it makes the experience that much more enjoyable.

#106 – Classical Bend

Originally posted on Alternative Airwaves

I decided to throw in some classical music in this episode - including a piece by Gershwin!  Everything comes from Jamendo and is a good range of genres.  Enjoy!



  1. The Artisans Beats - Wonderland Hype
  2. Michael Ellis - Beth Takes a Picture
  3. Bobby, White and Brownz - Any Plans Tonight
  4. Mattia Vlad Morleo - Passando
  5. OnClassical - Debussey - Deux Arabesques
  6. OnClassical - Gershwin - Three Preludes
  7. Prooner - Price of Pleasure
  8. Neon Niteclub - Unforgettable
  9. Candids - Modern Life
  10. Black Holy Whiskey - War
  11. The June Tom Influence - No Country Song
  12. Avi Rosenfeld - Strange Love
Also check out this collection of Gershwin pieces played by Gershwin himself!  I highly recommend Rhapsody in Blue - all 13 minutes of it!  Gershwin Plays Gershwin

#105 – Spring Mix

Originally posted on Alternative Airwaves

A short episode today, and the first in a couple of months Due To Life.  But there are some great tracks here - including some new songs featured on blocSonic!  Check out the playlist below and enjoy!




  1. VITNE - Make Believe
  2. Nicolas Falcon - Reliable Source
  3. Michael Ellis - Summer
  4. RogerThat - Beautiful Wonderful Life
  5. Timezone LaFontaine - Foolsgold
  6. Lorenzo's Music - Bags of Color
  7. BIT - Indian Head Test Pattern
  8. Dofhei Project - Kind of Light
  9. The Moose - With You
  10. Brain Purist - Curse the Day (Radio Edit)
  11. Square A Saw - Games (2nd Edit)
  12. Plastic Light Factory - Jakiteko

Gord Downie’s Secret Path

Originally posted on Alternative Airwaves

This review originally appeared on my personal blog.  You can read it there: http://noformatblog.ca/2017/04/13/gord-downies-secret-path/ 


Gord Downie's Secret Path
Secret Path is an adult alternative album from Gord Downie (lead singer of The Tragically Hip), released in October 2016.  It was released with an accompanying graphic novel, as well as an animated made-for-TV film that aired on CBC in the same month.  You can read more about the production background of the album on Wikipedia.
Secret Path tells the story of an Anishnaabe boy named Chanie Wenjack, from Marten Falls First Nation, who died in 1966 while trying to return home.  He was escaping from an Indian Residential School.  All of the proceeds from this album and book are being donated to the University of Manitoba's National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation project.
* - Note - the above paragraph was paraphrased slightly and partially copied verbatim from the Wikipedia article I linked to.
As a preface to this review, I want to say that I'm not a "strong" music reviewer.  When it comes to music, I don't dive deep.  I know what sounds I like, and occasionally lyrics stand out to me.  Usually when I listen to an album, I don't really look into the details about it beforehand.
However going into Secret Path, I was at least peripherally aware of the subject matter.  I knew that it dealt with an aboriginal boy who died in the 1960s, but didn't really explore it much further than that.  It was always one of those "Oh I'd like to listen / read that, but maybe later" kind of things.
That really influenced my listening to this album.  I tried to focus on the lyrics when I listened to the album, but personally I have a hard time doing that.  For me, music is more about the overall sound and like I said, I don't normally pinpoint on what's being said (with a few exceptions here and there).
Knowing the subject matter, the album gave me a distinct atmospheric feeling.  Overall, the album gave me a feeling of being alone.  The first couple of tracks start out on a bit of a positive note - Chanie sets out to escape the residential school, and looking forward to going home.  But the rest of the album gradually descends into a gloomy tone, as Chanie faces increasing hardships.
Most of the instruments on the album are guitar and piano.  I think what really helps create this mental image is Downie's voice, which is best described on this album as strained at times and haunting.  Everything fits together so well to tell this story.
In a way though, I think I should have listened to this album while reading the accompanying graphic novel.  I definitely will still pick it up and read it, but I think it would have helped me even more in understanding what was going on in the music.
Still, the album is technically very well done.  And I think that it does exactly what it sets out to do: tell the story of Chanie Wenjack and his ill-fated journey home.  You're not going to hear these songs on the radio, and that's OK.  That's not what this is meant to be.  In one sense, it's a bit of a disappointment that it might not get widespread mainstream attention (though I contend that since its release, it's received a LOT of mainstream reviews, so it has received attention); but on the other hand, I appreciate that this project wasn't undertaken with commercial success as the first thought.
I read a Pitchfork review of the album that Downie was approached by Broken Social Scene member Kevin Drew to record an album, and that Downie didn't have any material - but he was writing about Chanie.  I don't know why, but I get the idea of this tragedy nagging away at Gord Downie until he could get it out to the world.
I definitely recommend listening to the album, and I hope you follow my example by picking up the graphic novel and read that, too.

Gord Downie’s Secret Path

Secret Path is an adult alternative album from Gord Downie (lead singer of The Tragically Hip), released in October 2016.  It was released with an accompanying graphic novel, as well as an animated made-for-TV film that aired on CBC in the same month.  You can read more about the production background of the album on Wikipedia.

Secret Path tells the story of an Anishnaabe boy named Chanie Wenjack, from Marten Falls First Nation, who died in 1966 while trying to return home.  He was escaping from an Indian Residential School.  All of the proceeds from this album and book are being donated to the University of Manitoba’s National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation project.

* – Note – the above paragraph was paraphrased slightly and partially copied verbatim from the Wikipedia article I linked to.

As a preface to this review, I want to say that I’m not a “strong” music reviewer.  When it comes to music, I don’t dive deep.  I know what sounds I like, and occasionally lyrics stand out to me.  Usually when I listen to an album, I don’t really look into the details about it beforehand.

However going into Secret Path, I was at least peripherally aware of the subject matter.  I knew that it dealt with an aboriginal boy who died in the 1960s, but didn’t really explore it much further than that.  It was always one of those “Oh I’d like to listen / read that, but maybe later” kind of things.

That really influenced my listening to this album.  I tried to focus on the lyrics when I listened to the album, but personally I have a hard time doing that.  For me, music is more about the overall sound and like I said, I don’t normally pinpoint on what’s being said (with a few exceptions here and there).

Knowing the subject matter, the album gave me a distinct atmospheric feeling.  Overall, the album gave me a feeling of being alone.  The first couple of tracks start out on a bit of a positive note – Chanie sets out to escape the residential school, and looking forward to going home.  But the rest of the album gradually descends into a gloomy tone, as Chanie faces increasing hardships.

Most of the instruments on the album are guitar and piano.  I think what really helps create this mental image is Downie’s voice, which is best described on this album as strained at times and haunting.  Everything fits together so well to tell this story.

In a way though, I think I should have listened to this album while reading the accompanying graphic novel.  I definitely will still pick it up and read it, but I think it would have helped me even more in understanding what was going on in the music.

Still, the album is technically very well done.  And I think that it does exactly what it sets out to do: tell the story of Chanie Wenjack and his ill-fated journey home.  You’re not going to hear these songs on the radio, and that’s OK.  That’s not what this is meant to be.  In one sense, it’s a bit of a disappointment that it might not get widespread mainstream attention (though I contend that since its release, it’s received a LOT of mainstream reviews, so it has received attention); but on the other hand, I appreciate that this project wasn’t undertaken with commercial success as the first thought.

I read a Pitchfork review of the album that Downie was approached by Broken Social Scene member Kevin Drew to record an album, and that Downie didn’t have any material – but he was writing about Chanie.  I don’t know why, but I get the idea of this tragedy nagging away at Gord Downie until he could get it out to the world.

I definitely recommend listening to the album, and I hope you follow my example by picking up the graphic novel and read that, too.