Thursday, November 30, 2006

Sitting On My Hard Drive

Two CD's that have been taking up space on my hard drive and the Nano for the past month; the sophomore release by the Magic Numbers and the highly anticipated disc by the Shins.

Magic Numbers - Those the Brokes (2006)
This disc was officially released at the beginning of November, but I had the pleasure of finding an advance copy at least a month before. I must admit, the first listen didn't immediate impress me compared to the first time I heard their debut. The first album was so different from what I was listening to at the time, a fresh, crisp poppy saccharine delight, almost a guilty pleasure of boy/girl vocals that kind of recalled the Mamas and Papas (the M.N.'s are made up of 2 sets of brothers and sisters). After multiple listens (presently my most played), something finally clicked, this is a great disc! A slightly more lush, full sound, it still has my toes a tapping 'n' bobbin' my head. I know this album won't make these folks indie gods yet, like the Shins, but this is will definitely grab some attention on this side of the Atlantic (they are from the UK).

Magic Numbers

This Is A Song mp3
Take A Chance mp3

The Shins - Wincing The Night Away (2007)
Like the Magic Numbers CD, I had an advance listen to the new Shin's disc which is actually due out January 23, 2007. You won't find this in stores for Christmas, but I can offer up a couple of downloads. I've been listening to this one quite a lot as well, but I still haven't been completely satisfied. Their sound has a much more "grown up" feel to it, perhaps because they veer off to try different styles, and experiment more with strings and synth. I'm not sure how I would rank this release to their two previous discs, which I would consider Indie classics, Wincing..will be an attempt to grab some mainstream attention and I'm sure many of their songs will make it onto soundtracks in the very near future. Everytime I listen to this I find a little bit more to like, they have an infectious sound that you can't avoid, it's pretty safe to say, the future is very bright for the Shins.

The Shins
Australia mp3
Phantom Limb mp3
Girl Sailor mp3

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Angela Desveaux - Wandering Eyes Part 2

Here's a good companion video to the piece I wrote a couple of weeks ago about the lovely Angela Desveaux. I think this is my new favourite song, and watching her perform it makes it that much better! I think I'm in love..not just with her, but also that beautiful guitar she's playing.
All Eyes On The Shins

Found this interesting piece about the band the Shins. It documents the band asking their fans to video them using their cell phones or digital cameras and to upload the footage. Nearly two hundred clips were pieced together to make a live audience compiled music video for their then unreleased single, Phantom Limb. This is my first time posting a Youtube video on this blog, so hopefully it works, let me know if you have problems viewing the clip.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Remember The Nils?

As previously mentioned, CBC's Brave New Waves late night radio program opened my eyes to a lot of new alternative and underground music, such as a memorable live in-studio session featured the Nils, from Montreal. If you don't remember the Nils, they were one of the most influential and important punk/post-punk Canadian bands in the 80's, they were largely over-looked and under-rated. Though they only released one full-length album, the Nils put out several Ep's and appeared on many Montreal and Canadian compilations.

I'm not sure of the date of the Brave New Waves session, I suspect it was from around 1987 or 1988 and I vaguely remember hearing this when it was aired. The Mp3's are taken from their CD, Green Fields In Daylight (released in '97), which is an excellent collection of early compilation tracks, live tracks, demos, and the Ep's. If you have any interest in the Nils at all, this is a great introduction to their punk legend. Their sound is a lot more polished and produced on their self-titled full-length album from 1987 (yes, that's my LP pictured), but this is one of my favourite albums of the 80's, (right up there with the Replacements Let It Be and Husker Du's New Day Rising), Canadian or not. Enjoy!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Wandering Eyes

Finding something interesting on the radio has always been a challenge. The city I live in didn't even have a campus radio station until after I graduated in the late 80's and the local classic rock stations spewed out the same stuff I heard in high school. Over 10 years later we have three university stations, U of M, U of W and Red River College. All these stations actually give some exposure to local bands and less known performers. The national broadcaster, CBC believe it or not, has exposed me to many new and interesting musicians.

Back in the mid eighties, a late night CBC radio show called Brave New Waves profiled indie and alternative music and culture. This show helped influence and shape my taste in music, providing music that was outside the mainstream, especially without college radio. I spend my University nights in bed with headphones discovering "new" music, at least to my ears. When I heard a cool song, I would grab a pen and jot down the name of the band and song title. Bands like Husker Du, Volcano Suns, The Nils, DOA, Half Man Half Biscuit, Minutemen, Sonic Youth... what would my life have been like without CBC-FM?...probably would be waiting for a "new" Boston album to come out.

Through the nineties, CBC had some other good music shows such as Nightlines, DNTO and on Saturday nights, a show that played concerts and in-session performances, much like on CBC radio 3.

More recently I was tuned in to CBC 2 (FM) at work, to a national afternoon show called Freestyle, with co-hosts Kelly Ryan and Cameron Phillips. These two are barely tolerable, but some of the music they play isn't too bad. There's lots of good Canadian content, such as the Arcade Fire, Sadies, Paper Moon, Plumtree, Jale and some newer acts like the Bicycles and Angela Desveaux.

Angela Desveaux - Wandering Eyes
Everyone that I've played this to has asked, who is this? Up until a month ago I would have thought the same. When I first heard Heartbeat on the radio, I thought this was something new from Kathleen Edwards. I have a soft spot for laid back, almost country-ish melody and harmonies and that song raised my curiosity and convinced me to seek out more about Angela. The album has some other moments as well, Wandering Eyes has a poppy feel to it, Sick Of Fools is more country-rock, kind of reminds me a bit like Allison Moorer and All the Talk is the rock song (does the guitar intro remind you of the Weakerthans song This Is A Fire Door Never Leave It Open?..check it out). The rest of the songs are slower or more folkier, which is okay, she has a great voice, but she needs to exhibit maybe more of an edge or urgency in the performance as it starts to sound too similar. She has been compared to Lucinda Williams and Gillian Welch with an alt-country twist, so her influences are first-rate, and with experience she will add even more of her own personality and character on the next release. First, have a listen to her new CD or better yet, see her live if she comes to your town!

Angela Desveaux
Heartbeat mp3 ( from Wandering Eyes)
Wandering Eyes mp3 (from Wandering Eyes)
All the Talk mp3 (from Wandering Eyes)
Bury Me Deeper mp3 ( ep 2004 version)

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Hey! What's Spinnin'?

Finally lifted all the crap off the top of the dust cover on the ol' turntable. Had the urge on the weekend to listen to some vintage (and not-so vintage) vinyl, stuff I haven't listened to in a while. I thought I would first work my way through all the LP's I didn't transfer to cassette back in the 70's, 80's and early 90's. The albums I did record onto tape or CD I've probably played to death, instead I'm going to concentrate on those gems still exclusively on vinyl (in my collection, anyways).

The Beatles - Yesterday And Today (non-butcher cover)
My favourite Beatle's period was around 1965 and 1966, Beatles VI, Help, Rubber Soul, Revolver and Yesterday And Today, which contained tracks from the UK versions of Rubber Soul and Revolver and the singles/b-sides of Yesterday/Act Naturally and We Can Work It Out/Day Tripper. My only's so short, I had to flip the disc after only 15 minutes and I think side two is even shorter.

Elvis Costello & The Attractions - Armed Forces
I'm fairly burned out hearing his first two albums on the old car tape deck, but I never got around to transferring this to tape. It still sounds refreshing, those cool new wave-ish keyboards, great snare drum sound...opens with Accidents will Happen and closes with (What's So Funny Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding..killer!
Elvis Costello & the Attractions - Oliver's Army mp3

Creedence Clearwater Revival - Bayou Country
CCR's second album from 1969, not my favourite CCR (Green River, Willy and the Poor Boys) but the only CCR I have on vinyl. This one is well worn, crackling, scratchy, trebley! There are only 7 songs, but two of them are long jams, but it does contain a couple of classics, Born On A Bayou and Proud Mary.
Creedence Clearwater Revival - Penthouse Pauper mp3

Velvet Underground - VU
Released in the 80's as the lost album that should have been released (circa 1969) between the self-titled third album and their fourth, Loaded and some of these songs appeared later on Lou Reed solo albums. It sheds the screechy sound of White Light.. (2nd) and picks up the pace from the sleepy, mellow (but beautiful) Velvet Underground (3rd). It's melodic, guitar based sound, makes it the perfect transition to commercially accessable Loaded, which ironically was released shortly after Lou Reed's departure. Special treat is another Mo Tucker sung tune, I'm Sticking To You.
Velvet Underground - Foggy Notion mp3

Faces - Long Player
This is how I like Rod Stewart, bluesy, soulful, not the watered down mush he's been spewing since the late 70's. Back when he was in the Faces, Ron Wood's guitar work surpassed anything he did with the Stones. On this album, the band was just finding their legs before they spouted in full force on A Nod Is As Good As Wink To A Blind Horse, the next LP I'll be spinning.
Faces - Bad 'N' Ruin mp3

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

EZ? Archive!

If you are having any trouble accessing any of my mp3 files, don't panic! My storage file archive (where I keep the song files I post), EZArchive is in the process of switching to the new and improved(?) 3.0 system. I'm not totally sure what this will mean, but it suppose to mean it will be easier and quicker from my stand point. I've read on other blogs they are experiencing some trouble, but hopefully it is only temporary because they are in transition. I have just completed my file transfers to the new system, so I tried to upload some songs to post, but it was taking forever to connect with their server, so I'll wait a day or two. I clicked on one of my mp3's from the NP show and it seemed to play fine, so please have patience and I'll post as much as I can in these busy upcoming months. On that subject, has anyone listened to any of the music I've posted? Just curious, I'd like to post complete concerts, but again it takes a lifetime to upload and I, for some weird reason, prefer the early morning (after midnight) to write these blogs.
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