I guess it's pretty obvious, I'm a bit of a Weakerthans fan. I've written about them frequently on this blog posting snippets of live shows and reviewing their albums. If you're a fan, you might want to check a soon to be released full-length documentary about the band called, "We're The Weakerthans, We're From Winnipeg". The exclusive sneak preview screening is taking place on May 8th at the Globe Theatre. Tickets are $5 at the door or at Kustom Kulture and Into The Music. This screening is part of the Nuna (now) celebration of Icelandic and Canadian art and culture.
As a teaser, I found an excellent Weakerthans recording of an in-studio radio performance in Melbourne, Australia from February of this year, when they were in town for the Soundwave Festival. Nice acoustic versions of some songs from their latest album. This show was posted on Dime and on a blog called Fan Made Recordings, in case you're interested in live recordings from Australia. Lot's of cool bands, photos and live recordings of bands from Down Under, as well as touring bands from North America and Europe.
THE WEAKERTHANS Studio 5, PBS Studios Melbourne, Australia February 2?th, 2010
1. Intro 2. Tournament of Hearts 3. Night Windows 4. Sun In An Empty Room 5. The Reasons 6. Bigfoot 7. Pamphleteer 8. Psalm For The Elks Lodge Last Call
The Jayhawks self-titled debut, (aka "Bunkhouse album") will finally be available for the first time on May 18th on CD (and again on vinyl) by Lost Highway Records. When the album was originally released in 1986 on Bunkhouse Records, they only pressed 2000 vinyl copies and has been unavailable for almost 25 years.
As I told you in a previous post, my sister has a vinyl copy of that pressing and I remember when I had my first apartment, I hung up the poster that came with the album. I need to make a serious search for that poster as I know this album demands hundreds of dollars on eBay and should be a premium with the original poster. The reissue will feature a 8 page booklet with photos from that time period. The band at the time was Mark Olson, Gary Louris, Marc Perlman and Norm Rogers (drums).
Though the new album by the New Pornographers, Together isn't officially released until May 4th, fans have an opportunity to listen to the entire album for a free, via streaming on the npr.org and exclaim.ca's website. I've been enjoying a pre-release listen from a downloaded leaked copy for a week already and my first impression of this much anticipated album is it sounds promising. Their last album, The Challengers took some repeated listening to fully appreciate the depth and quality that you come to expect from a New Pornographers album, but I didn't think it ranked as one of their best. This new one will require much more in-depth listening until I can fully review the album, but I'm excited because there is a little more Neko than on The Challengers and to support the album the band is on tour with the full line-up of eight members (7 is Neko Case, 8 is Dan Bejar). So far my favourite song on the album is Crash Years.
One thing you have to say about the New Porns is that their sound is instantly recognizable and you never mistake it for any of their solo work and arguably they save their best work for the band (especially Carl (AC) Newman!). See what you think and post your comments!
With the recent release of The Plimsouls live CD, Live, Beg, Borrow & Steal, an unearthed live recording from this great pop-rock band from nearly 30 years ago, it got me thinking about another good sounding live recording from the band. Much like Live, Beg, Borrow & Steal, One Night In America was recording from their 1981 tour of America, but instead of the legendary Whiskey A Go-Go, One Night is set in Cleveland. Both discs showcase their powerful supercharged power-pop live show that sometimes over shadows their studio input with it's sheer energy and showcases the band at their raw best.
I never had an opportunity to see The Plimsouls in concert, but the closest I got was seeing singer/songwriter Peter Case at the Winnipeg Folk Festival in the late 80's (88 & 89), but it was much more folk and troubadour than power-pop. At the time I didn't know too much about Peter Case, but I knew he was part of Plimsouls years earlier and he was suppose to be something special, so I was eagerly anticipated seeing Case. At the time he was married to Victoria Williams, so they collaborated together for a couple of songs, I wasn't disappointed with Peter Case, but I must confess her voice was a required taste, at least at that period in my music listening life. It wasn't until I heard the cover of A Million Miles Away performed and recorded by the Goo Goo Dolls, that I seeked out the Plimsouls back catalogue. Case has enjoyed a long and cult-successful career in the music industry, but to really appreciate the influence and legacy he has left, please track down a copy of Live, Beg, Borrow & Steal, I know I will and you can get it here.
01. Hush Hush 02. Now 03. How Long Will It Take? 04. I Want What You Got 05. A Million Miles Away 06. Time Won't Let Me 07. In This Town 08. One More Heartache 09. Help Yourself 10. I'll Get Lucky 11. Dizzie Miss Lizzie 12. Come On Now
Actually I was back last Tuesday, but then the NHL playoffs began on Wednesday and I really haven't done much since then besides going to work and watching hockey (2-4 days a night!). I love the first round of playoffs, lots of upsets and lots of fast paced entertaining hockey. Anyways, I've lost a bit of momentum as far as posting goes, so I'll try to be consistent and get something new up every second day or so.
I haven't been to Chicago since the mid-eighties and one the most noticeable things about the downtown (and the surrounding areas) is the lack of record stores. I managed to visit the Reckless Records store downtown location, which is really the only place to buy vinyl or even CD's downtown. It would have been worth the L-train ride to visit one of the other locations in Wicker Park or Broadway Street, because the downtown store was small and lacked much selection or ambiance. I only bought one CD (Old 97's- Satellite Rides) and a Reckless Records t-shirt.
In case you missed it, it was International Record Store day on Saturday and many of your local shops celebrated by hosting in-store performances and selling exclusive releases. Personally I had to work on Saturday, but the day is a reminder to support local independent stores that are being swallowed up by non-music chain stores stores such as Starbucks, Walmart, Chapters/Indigo, as well as online giants like Amazon and iTunes. If I had a band, I would even prefer my fans to file share than to support evil retailers like Walmart!
When I think of Chicago music, I think of the Blues, Wilco and the band, Chicago. I was seriously thinking about transferring my 4-LP vinyl box set copy of Chicago at Carnegie Hall , in tribute to the city of Chicago, but that would be cruel and painful. Instead, I have something from a fav Chicago band, an rare early EP from the Eleventh Dream Day that demonstrates what a great band EDD would become. If you want to check out EDD at their best, I suggest Beet or Lived To Tell. This underrated band has never gotten the attention or received the success they deserve and it's good to see they still play the odd show once in a while. Enjoy!
ELEVENTH DREAM DAY Self Titled EP (1987) 01. Walking Though the Barrel of a Gun 02. Vein of Gold 03. Not the Ballad of a Girl 04. Liz Beth 05. The Arsonist 06. Cascade
I'm going to Chicago today, so I thought it would be appropriate to post some vintage Wilco from 1999, live at the Tower record store in their hometown of Chicago. This show sounds sweeeet!! I'm back next Tuesday and I'll have some new music on Wednesday (Gotta scan out the record stores in Chicago). Enjoy!
Installment two from the Baseball Project's Broadside Ballads project is an optimistic song for Chicago Cubs fans, Cubs 2010. Scott McCaughey's prediction for the upcoming season is that the Cubs could go all the way, a championship season to end the 102 year drought that has plague Cubs players and fans for generations.
This song is of particular interest personally because I'm taking a vacation to Chicago later this week and while I'm there I'll be taking in the Cubs home opener at the historic Wrigley Field. In one of those bucket-like lists, one of things I gotta do is go to a Blackhawk's game and see a ball game at Wrigley Field. Ticket's to the Cubs game were hard to come by, but with the Internet and sites such as Stubhub.com, finding tickets to sold-out events are possible and in this case affordable. I'm sure Cubs 2010 will be the anthem the team will rise up to on their way to the pennant. Go Cubs go!!
While the Figgs earliest releases were only available on cassette, the Figgs 2000 release, Rejects was only released on vinyl. If you get your hands on a copy of this now out of print album of outtakes, please let me know. This a great collection of "rejects" combined with quirky between song interludes and funny answering machine messages and a must for any Figgs fan. This album has shades of the Young Fresh Fellows, Gag Fah (a compilation of live, outtakes and demos) and the New Duncan Imperials, Live, Rare & Bad, both in it's content and format. Come to think of it I should post both those "for fan's only" tapes (If any one's interested?), because they are hard to come by and they're a lot of fun. Rejects collects songs from 1993-1999 and contains some real gems, including a cover of the Young Fresh Fellows, Hillbilly Drummer Girl and some kick-ass songs like, Rollerskate and Fucks Off.
If you ever come across any Figgs CD's, tapes or vinyl records, give them a listen. I would love to catch them at a club or playing backup to Graham Parker and I almost got the chance as I'm off to Chicago later this week. I noticed GP and the Figgs are playing the Windy City on April 17 at the Old Town School Of Folk, unfortunately it's a couple days after I come home...Damn!!
To celebrate the start of Spring and the month of April, I think this blog needs a double shot of The Figgs. When I think of a band that has stuck close to it's roots producing great rock 'n' roll since they formed of 1987 and has never compromised it's sound to draw in larger audiences or sell more records, I think of the Figgs.
The Figgs have produced nine full length albums and numerous EP's, singles and live albums. They have served as a backing band for Graham Parker since 1996 and are currently on tour together. The Figgs have also toured as Tommy Stinson's band. If you want to get a feel of how straight forward rock should be, pick up one of their two live recordings, Continue To Enjoy The Figgs Vol. 1 and Vol. 2. Guitar, bass and drums, no overdubs, raw, tight, unpretentious and amazing.
Ginger was the first release by the Figgs and was a cassette-only release limited to 500 copies. Ginger and their next cassette release, Ready Steady Stoned, were the precursors to their first full length, Lo-Fi At Society High, which coincidentally was my first introduction to the Figgs. I was at the Musicplex music store downtown (now defunct) in 1994, browsing the listening stations (which I rarely try) and this Figgs album caught my eye. I listened to the first two songs and I bought the cassette on the spot, considering I bought the tape at the Musicplex, it must have been a major label release and I think at this time they got tagged in the "most promising band" category. Their follow-up Banda Macho was on Capital Records, but because of poor sales, since 1997 they have been on smaller indie labels or self-released. Their last album from 2006, Follow Jean Through The Sea was well-received and brought some well deserved attention to the band. In my opinion it is my favourite Figgs album since Lo-Fi.
Ginger is a fine debut, maybe a little more demo-ish and less polished than their other albums, but their present sound hasn't strayed too far from their early tapes. An early version of Wasted Pretty is a highlight (it was re-recorded on Lo-Fi), along with Kristy McNichol's Boots which is another strong song that got my attention. To be truthfully revealing, Kristy McNichol was my teen crush and obsession, but more on that later! Next post: More Figgs! Enjoy!!