Wednesday, March 31, 2010
One of my favourite albums so far in 2010 is the new release, Volume Two, from She & Him. Rolling Stone describes it as, "It's the sunniest sad record you'll hear all year- pretty love songs set in a "nation" where the summer never ends".
In case you missed out the first time, for their debut, Volume One, She & Him is actress Zooey Deschanel and M. (Matt) Ward. Volume One surprised many listeners with it's charming old-timey sensitivity that proved that Zooey was more than a pretty face that liked to dabble in singing and their songs became instantly catchy and enjoyable. They up the ante for Volume Two as the songs are even richer, fuller and so wonderfully bittersweet. Any shyness and hesitation that Zooey's vocals displayed on the first record has been lost, as her confidence is not only in her voice, but also in her songs that are strongly displayed here. M. Ward's arrangements and instrumentation add to the retro-feel in both it's production and it's overall sound. His contributions can't not be understated and the chemistry between the two is much more noticeable on Volume Two.
The session that I have posted is from KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic aired last week, a day after the release date of Volume Two. This is an excellent performance that features their whole band live in the studio and the program includes two sets of new music squeezed between an interview with Matt and Zooey.
SHE & HIM
KCRW FM- Morning Becomes Eclectic
Santa Monica, CA
Aired- March 23, 2010
3. Me And You
4. Ridin' In My Car (NRBQ Cover)
5. Gonna Get Along Without You Now (Skeeter Davis Cover)
7. [-dead air-]
9. Over And Over / Sing
11. Take It Back
12. In The Sun
Zooey Deschanel - Piano, Wurly, Vox,
M. Ward - Guitar, Vox,
Scott McPherson - Drums,
Matt Brown - Bass, Guitar,
Mike Coykendall - Acoustic Guitar,
Abigail Chapin - Vox, Keys,
Lily Chapin - Vox, Keys
SHE & HIM- Live In Session. rar
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
I didn't know what to expect when I attended the Kate Maki show last Friday night at the Folk Exchange. I heard this was a good intimate concert venue that had good sound and nice sight lines. For me as a concert taper I like small spaces that have good acoustics that fill the room without too much crowd noise and distractions. Well, I guess I should have anticipated a small crowd because exactly a week before the show when I bought my tickets at the Folk Fest office, my ticket numbers were 001 and 002. Yes, I think I bought the first two tickets! Sure enough when we showed up 10 minutes before the concert was to begin (8:00pm, doors were 7:15), there were only 3 other people there already. Things picked up though, as in total there were 11 audience members (+ 5 volunteer staff) that paid $12 to see Kate Maki.
Kate Maki is a singer-songwriter from Sudbury, Ontario who had a career as a teacher, but quit to pursue music full-time. She says she still substitutes ("to pay off her tour expenses"), but her true love is music and you have to respect someone that goes after that dream and can make a living doing what you love. She has four albums to her credit and has toured back and forth, up and down extensively across the country (U.S. as well) touring on her own and as a supporting act. Her last stop in Winnipeg was last year with the Great Lake Swimmers.
The show opened with Kate's tour mate, Brent Randall from the band, the Pinecones. Brent played a respectable set of organ-infused pop songs that brought to mind late 60's Brit-pop. Maybe it's his sleepy-Paul McCartney eyes that kept me thinking he was British, but he obviously has a lot of talent and as sparse as they were performed, the songs sounded good. I would definitely like to see him with the whole band if they tour through here anytime soon.
By the time Kate took the stage, we had already become familiar with her. During Brent's set she called out some requests from the chair beside us and later joined him on stage to sing backing for a song. Her set got off to a little slow start, after her first song, Bloodshot & Blistered, she searched on the floor in front of her to try and find a screw that fell off her pickguard on her vintage Gibson hollowbody. She ended up using a piece of electrical tape the sound guy offered, to tape on the guard and the show carried on. The show was everything a good concert should be, Kate actually talked to the audience, not just, "Hey Winnipeg I love your hockey team or whatever", but actual conversation, asking us questions and telling us about her last few years. She said she was being much more candid than she should be, but that just added to personal and genuine performer (and real person) that she seems to be. She was funny, she was charming and she was sincere. At one point she pleaded, "Whatever is said in this room does not leave this room" and "Please don't say anything, I hope no one's recording this"... Oops, I guess I won't be sharing this recording. Her songs kept me captivated despite playing without a band, though Brent added some keyboards and bass on some songs, and she was a very capable guitar player that was able to fill out the sound. All in all, the small audience, the cozy venue and Kate's easy-going honest persona made for an enjoyable evening out. It was almost like having her play in your living room. (except with a better sound and light system)
At the end of the show I bought her latest CD, Two Song Wedding (I have her other 3, buy them! If you can find them.) and asked Kate to sign it. She also signed the back of her setlist for me with, "What was said in the exchange, stays at the exchange", how appropriate!
(I think I'll send Kate a copy of the recording and see what she thinks. I'll try to post a sample or two from the show.)
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Since we're on the topic of Winnipeg and Burton Cummings, I thought it would be appropriate to post an early show from one of the most well-known bands to ever come out of Winnipeg.
Back in the early and mid-sixties, bands in Winnipeg played anywhere they could just for a chance to play in front of an audience of anxious teenage kids. Bowling alleys, drive-in theatres, coffee shops, restaurants and community clubs were a popular meeting place to hear the newest sounds from the many young bands in our city. I haven't seen a lot of early Guess Who live recordings especially with their original front-man, Chad Allan, so this is worth a listen even if you're not from the band's hometown.
Other reasons why this recording is special:
- River Heights Community Club is where I played hockey from the age of 6-19. This is the neighborhood where I grew up and the community centre, or at least the hockey arena part of the building is where I spent a huge part of my childhood. The gymnasium was upstairs with an old stage and curtains (the last time I saw it was maybe 20 years ago?), this would have been similar to a school gym, but probably smaller.
- Chad Allan was still the leader of the band, while Burton Cummings was a supporting player (piano), but takes lead vocals on a couple of songs. This may have been one of Allan's last shows with the Guess Who, so this is a pretty historic show.
- The sound quality is great, especially given the time period. A soundboard recording both for the River Heights show and the bonus songs from the Winnipeg Arena. They could easily officially release this recording and I know there would be a demand with fans worldwide.
- During this time period the band was known as the Guess Who?, the question mark would be dropped in 1968. They were formerly known as, Chad Allan And The Expressions.
River Heights Community Club
01 - Wham!
02 - Tribute To Buddy Holly
03 - Back & Forth
04 - Shy Guy
05 - Made In England
06 - Baby's Got A Brand New Beau
07 - Inside Out
08 - A Shot Of Rhythm & Blues
09 - Stop Teasing Me
10 - Shakin' All Over
11 - Where Have You Been All My Life
12 - Tossin' & Turnin'
13 - Instrumental (Title Unknown)
14 - Hey-Ho (What You Do To Me)
15 - Monday Monday (partial)
16 - California Girls
17 - I Should Have Realized
18 - It's The Loveliest Time Of The Year
19 - I'd Rather Be Alone
20 - I Saw Her Standing There
21 - Tuff E'nuff
22 - We Gotta Get Out Of This Place (partial) (Vocal: Burton)
23 - Wait
24 - Blue Is The Night (Vocal: Burton)
25 - Little Latin Lupe Lu - Money (That's What I Want) (Vocals: Burton/Jim)
26 - Baby's Birthday
27 - Shakin' All Over (Winnipeg Arena)
28 - It's Too Late (Winnipeg Arena)
29 - I'm Down (Winnipeg Arena) (Vocal: Burton)
30 - Wham! (Original rip w/ tape glitch)
Chad Allan - Vocals, Rhythm Guitar
Burton Cummings - Keyboards, Vocals
Randy Bachman - Lead Guitar, Vocals
Jim Kale - Bass, Vocals (Lead vocal on "Money")
Garry Peterson - Drums
THE GUESS WHO- Winnipeg, MB- Feb. 1966. rar
Monday, March 22, 2010
It's not often a concert I attended becomes a official CD release, but even more intriguing is the fact I also recorded this same concert last April. On Tuesday March 23, hometown heroes, The Weakerthans are releasing a CD/DVD package entitled, Live At the Burton Cummings Theatre, which documents their concert here last April 17, 2009. Up until today (actually, now yesterday), Exclaim.ca streamed the album in it's entirety to give fans a preview of the goods (you can now listen at epitaph.com). I had a listen so I can compare their recording to the one I captured on my mini-disc recorder. As expected, the official release is a well produced soundboard recording that is crisp, balanced and basically flawless sound quality. My recording is actually pretty respectable even though it was recorded from the back half of the floor with a little bit more crowd noise and chatter. In my review of the show, I complained about all the talking and shouting from the crowd that became a bit of a distraction to John K, which led to him stopping mid-song to compose himself. Interesting enough the song in question, My Favourite Chords is not included on this release along with 4 other songs that were performed at the show. If you want the complete recording of the concert, I suggest you download my version (see link below), what you don't get in perfect sound quality, you do get the full concert as it was performed (especially to all you completests, personally I would sacrifice sound quality for all the songs). Incidently, my recording (along with a Ray Davies and Wilco show) of this concert showed up and was being sold at a local record store. Just to set the record straight, I never sell my shows for money, I only trade and share my recordings and if you see anything you like and can't or don't want to download, send me a message and I'll make you a copy.
I'm confused, as I look over the set list from the show then compare it to the Live At Burton Cummings Theatre track list I notice something strange. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but if you subtract the songs that aren't on the official release (Elegy For Elsabet, Relative Surplus Value, My Favourite Chords, Confessions Of A Futon Revolutionist, Pampheteer), and the fact they played 21 songs at the show, you get 16 songs, but wait, there's 18 songs on the CD. On the track listing they have substituted Sun In An Empty Room and Wellington's Wednesdays for EFE and RSV...I don't think they played those songs, again correct me if I'm wrong, but it's very bizarre.
Editor's note: Oops, I'm an idiot! Thanks John for correcting me (in the comments section), the Weakerthans played two consecutive nights last April, April 17 & 18, 2009. This is ideal if you're recording a live album because you can play a similar set, with a few different songs substituted in, and be able to pick and choose the best versions from both shows. Back in December, Danny Michel recorded two nights at the West End Cultural Centre with the intention to release a live album. My apologies to the Weakerthans for jumping to any conclusions about the origins of the songs without completely thinking.
So, buy this CD/DVD, it sounds amazing and it's a great representation of their live show! The bonus is the accompanying DVD that allows you to see the band up close and in action.
"Weakerthans Roll Into Town"- April 23, 2009 (my original post/download link)
Download re-post: Weakerthans 2009-04-17. rar (mp3's)
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Nobody Can Dance is a collection of unreleased tracks, the first half of the disc is a band rehearsal and the second half, a live set. The rehearsal is a real treat, the band is loose, raw and Alex Chilton is spirited and the band is tight and crisp. Personally, in some ways I prefer these versions compared to the studio albums (#1 Record and Radio City). The live set is okay, but the sound quality isn't quite as good as the rehearsal half, as it suffers from a bad mix and a rough performance. The live segment was recorded a couple of months later and even features a version of The Letter, a classic tune made famous by Chilton's previous band, The Box Tops.
This is a must for Big Star fans! Please seek out some of their other releases and see for yourself why they are considered the quintessential American band.
Nobody Can Dance (1999)
|1||Don't Lie To Me||3:25|
|2||Back Of A Car||2:56|
|3||O My Soul||5:33|
|5||She's A Mover||4:02|
|7||In The Street||3:16|
|8||You Get What You Deserve||4:00|
|11||You Get What You Deserve||3:07|
|14||Way Out West||2:32|
|15||O My Soul||6:01|
Tracks 1-8 studio rehearsals, Ultra-Sonic Studios, Hampstead, NY, March 1974
Tracks 9-15 live at The Overton Park, Memphis Tennessee, May 1974
BIG STAR- Nobody Can Dance. rar
Thursday, March 18, 2010
When I think about some of my favourite bands and their influences, one name that seems to often pop up is Big Star. Though they only really recorded three proper albums, their musical influence and underdog attitude can't be denied in the history of alternative-rock. Bands such as the Replacements, R.E.M, Teenage Fanclub and the Posies carried on the spirit and melodic gift Big Star brought to the world and you can imagine my shock when I heard Big Star front man, Alex Chilton died at the age of 59 today.
Paul Westerberg immortalized Chilton on the song, Alex Chilton with, Children by the million sing for Alex Chilton when he comes 'round. They sing "I'm in love. What's that song? I'm in love with that song." . In fact, Westerberg was considered or possibly turned down an opportunity to join a revamped version of Big Star in the early 90's, instead Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow (of the Posies) filled in alongside Chilton and drummer Jody Stephens for the reunion. The Replacements often included Big Star covers into their set, as Westerberg was instrumental in educating the masses (modern music fans) about what a great unsung band Big Star was.
If you want to seek out some Big Star music, essential listening should start with #1 Record and Radio City and if you have the cash, buy the recent 4-disc box set, Keep An Eye On the Sky, which pretty much includes everything, plus demos, rehearsals, alternate and unissued tracks.
I was originally going to post a Big Star show or some outs, but I need to search on my other hard-drive or "the room with the boxes" to find something good first. As a consolation, I'm posting a live concert compilation from the Replacements' (ill-fated?) 1989 tour with Tom Petty. Shit, Shower And Shave isn't the Replacements at their best live (I personally love their loud and sloppy), but offers up some fine songs and the sound is excellent soundboard quality, probably the best sounding Replacements bootleg out there. This is still a reminder of what a great band the Replacements were live and why they should have released a 4 disc live anthology instead of Tom Petty. SS and S also features an outstanding version of Big Star's, September Gurls and Westerberg's tribute song, Alex Chilton.
Shower, Shit And Shave (1989)
|1|| ||Talent Show|
|2|| ||'Round And 'Round|
|3|| ||The Ledge|
|4|| ||Can't Hardly Wait|
|5|| ||September Gurls|
|6|| ||Another Girl, Another Planet|
|7|| ||Within Your Reach|
|8|| ||Left Of The Dial|
|9|| ||Alex Chilton|
|10|| ||Nightclub Jitters|
|11|| ||I'll Be You|
|12|| ||Bastards Of Young|
|13|| ||Talent Show|
|14|| ||Answering Machine|
|15|| ||Anywhere's Better Than Here|
|16|| ||Another Girl, Another Planet|
|17|| ||Here Comes A Regular|
|18|| ||Achin' To Be|
|19|| ||Waitress In The Sky|
|20|| ||Don't Ask Why|
|22|| ||I'll Be You|
|23|| ||I Will Dare|
THE REPLACEMENTS- Shower, Shit And Shave. rar
Monday, March 15, 2010
Long before she fronted Metric or even before she was part of the Broken Social Scene, Emily Haines self-released a solo album called, Cut In Half And Also Double. Released in 1996, this album is rare and very hard to find and sells for big bucks on eBay, as there were only about 1,000 copies made. She wrote and recorded the songs while in university, UBC in Vancouver 1992-93, Toronto 1995 and Concordia University in Montreal 1995-96. This is actually a really strong sounding record, it has the foreshadowing of what's to come, as the influences and the pop rock sounds are evident even before she recorded Grow Up And Blow Away with Metric. Compared to her second solo project, Knives Don't Have Your Back, the acoustic guitar is foundation for the songs instead of piano, but that might be attributed to the fact it's easier (and more portable) to write songs on guitar than piano when changing locales every few years.
A fine record worth a listen especially if you're a big Metric fan. Emily might be embarrassed to see this recording being traded and shared amongst her fans (she shouldn't be!), but this is a chance to hear Emily Haines before she was famous, or at least life before Metric.
Cut In Half And Also Double (1996)
EMILY HAINES- Cut In Half And Also Double. rar
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Baseball and music, is there a better combination? And if you're a fan of the Baseball Project (Scott McCaughey, Steve Wynn, Linda Pitman and Peter Buck) you are in for a big treat this season as the Baseball Project present, Broadside Ballads. Since the band members are such hardcore ball fans, they have offered up their musical commentary throughout the season by writing and recording one song per month. Technology has allowed McCaughey and Wynn to pass portions of a song back and forth to complete the songs while at their homes on the opposite sides of the country (New York City/Portland, Oregon). They will be draw their inspiration on what actually transpires during the season. As Scott McCaughey says, "We figured out a way to give ourselves even more work and make less money," while Steve Wynn offers up, "I think doing one a month, that'll be a breeze -- I think I could do one a day, but I don't know if my bandmates would agree with my enthusiasm on that". This promises to be a fun and interesting season and of course will be soundtracked by a great band.
Read more: ESPN- Baseball Project Steps Up To the Plate.
ESPN- Chat: Steve Wynn
Download: BASEBALL PROJECT- "All Future And No Past" mp3
Saturday, March 06, 2010
If you are a true Jonathan Richman fan (like I am!), this recording is truly an amazing find! I stumbled upon this recording when I was searching for information about the "Living Room demos" and I can't believe I hadn't heard about this before. This is another home recording from Jonathan, circa 1974, that is essentially an audio love letter to a girl named, Laura Palmer. Jonathan sings and talks directly to Laura about the difficulty he's having balancing the mic and how he has to stop the recording to change a string. This was recorded after the original Modern Lovers broke up so Jonathan was in a transitional period in his career. He experiments and "wings it" while he casually performs these demos of demos in his bedroom or living room. All I can say it that this is one of the most unique and special performances I've heard in a while and you MUST hear this!
The supposed back story about this tape is that many years after Laura received the tape she packed it away. She was visiting a friend who was playing some Jonathan Richman and she recognized the voice as someone she once dated. She still had the tape he had made for her and passed it onto the Jonathan Richman fan trading circles.
The volume is a little low, so crank it up!...Enjoy!!
The Laura Palmer Tape (1974)
The New Teller
Thunderbolts Of Joy
My Honest Dear
Singing In The Rain
So Much Respect For You
I'm Not Alone (The Heaven's Love Me)
Hi Fred, We Still Love You
Flying Saucers Rock n' Roll
JONATHAN RICHMAN- The Laura Palmer Tape. rar
Monday, March 01, 2010
Not quite IN your living room, but pretty darn close. If you close your eyes while listening to this, you'd swear it was Jojo performing at your house, a strange, but unique concept. This recording surfaced as an acetate which are generally produced in very low quantity and often had hand written labels. It may have been made possibly for a promo or Jonathan was using this format much like recording to a cassette tape recorder. The intimacy of this recording makes it very charming and his loose performance is reminiscent to a practice in a bedroom or living room, hence these recordings became known as the Living Room Demos (aka: 74 Acetates). The music fills the gap between Richman's break-up from the Modern Lovers and post-76, the new version of the Modern Lovers. While some of the songs are fragments and some are repeated, this recording has some great songs still on it and offers an early look at Jonathan's unaffected child-like approach to performing that he started to embrace at this time and continued with throughout his career.
The Living Room Demos (1974)
I Feel Alright
Veil Of Cold
Crazy Little Mama
I See Your Light
Falling In Love Must Be Two Way
Song Of Remembrance For Old Girlfriends
Hey There Little Insect
Guitar Doodle No.1
Touch Me If You Want
Do You Believe In Magic
It Will Stand
Chat And Guitar Doodle No. 2
Let's Take The Long Way Home
Young And In Love
Just Wanna' Be Young
Do de do do
Little Latin Lupe Lu
Winters Get Hard In New England
Song Of Remembrance For Old Girlfriends (LA Version)
Twist And Shout
Willie And The Hand Jive
Trip To The Sea
JONATHAN RICHMAN- Living Room Demos. rar