Sunday, December 28, 2008

Merry Croutons...

...Mr. Gulp Gulp!
I've been thinking about posting this since last Christmas, but how quickly time passes. This is the title of the rare 1984 X-Mas giveaway by the Young Fresh Fellows. I would have killed for this tape 20 years ago when I was seeking this gem, as it was very hard to find. I acquired a burned disc of this through a trade years later and I truly treasure this unique tape and it's still one of my favourite recordings. I would still kill for an original copy of this cassette-only fan-club release that was released right after their first album, Fabulous Sounds Of The Pacific Northwest ...came out.

This was the Fellows' version of those Beatles' Christmas Fan-Club records from the 60's as they perform loose and fun (drunken!) versions of their songs live-in studio complete with dedications and holiday thank yous to friends and colleagues. They play a version of Down By the Pharmacy with goofy altered Christmasy lyrics, some awesome covers and new Fellows songs. All these versions are unavailable anywhere else. They close out with a spirited rendition of the title track and like the rest of the tape it has a nice party-vibe to the whole recording, that's what make this unique and special.

Merry Croutons Mr. Gulp Gulp
1. Down By The Pharmacy
2. Im Not Trying To Hurt You
3. Filet Of Soul
4. Someone I Care About
5. This Little Mystery
6. The Sharing Patrol
7. If I Had A Hammer
8. Topsy Turvy Theme
9. I Wish I Was Your Mother
10. Good Guys Dont Wear White
11. YFF Theme
12. You Call That Lonely?
13. Teenage Dogs In Trouble
14. intro
15. Merry Croutons Mr. Gulp-Gulp

Download (whole file or individual tracks)

Merry Belated Christmas!!

I was searching for a good Christmas song to post and I was going to upload one of my favourite Christmas songs, Father Christmas by the Kinks, but then I remembered I posted that song last year (or was it the year before?). Behold, I was surfing around different music blogs and stumbled upon a great cover of that song by the Figgs. They serve up a admirable cover of this Kink's classic on the A-side of the 1995 Christmas single, Christmas Shake. The B-side features, the slower, Christmas Sake and Merry Christmas, Girl, a faster, catchy as hell song that is classic Figgs. Enjoy!

Christmas Shake 7" (1995)
Father Christmas
Christmas Sake
Merry Christmas, Girl

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Song Of The Day- "Hanging On The Telephone"

Hanging On The Telephone is a great song written by Jack Lee (for his mid-70's power pop trio The Nerves- Lee, Peter Case and Paul Collins), popularized by Blondie and covered by others such as Golden Smog during their 1996 tour. I bring you three versions of the same song.

THE NERVES- Hanging On The Telephone: The original, from the Nerve's only release an EP from 1976. Case went onto later fame with the Plimsouls and a still creative solo career. Collins later formed the Paul Collins' Beat.
BLONDIE- Hanging On The Telephone: Second single from 1978's Parallel Lines LP. If Blondie recorded more songs this good instead of the Heart Of Glass shit she churned out later, I might actually buy one of her records.
GOLDEN SMOG- Hanging On The Telephone (live 1996-6-26 SF) The Smog unearthed (especially early in their career) under appreciated punk/power pop/classic rock covers. While staying true to the original, The Smog version added that additional kick that originally drew my interest in the song.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Support Your Local Band!

I love when bands are honest. Usually when you hear a band is playing a fundraiser you think they're raising money for a disease, a political cause or their cat is sick, but Winnipeg band Paper Moon is playing a fundraiser for themselves. You see, the member's of this local band probably all have day jobs and playing in a band isn't their major flow of cash. The money raised for this show will go toward costs of an upcoming album (April 2009) and this is a good enough reason to go out and see this fine band. Paper Moon has two previous releases to their credit and if the new one is anything like their previous, it should be worth the listen, maybe they'll even perform some songs from this upcoming record. To tide fans over, PM has just put out a new CD-EP called, What Are You Going To Do With Me? It features a preview (title track) for the new full length, as well as some covers, a remix and some live video.

Go support this fundraiser, help the band out!

I recorded an early show (before their first album) from Paper Moon way back in 2001 (day before 9-11!) outdoors at the University of Winnipeg. I'm posting 2 sample songs and maybe I'll post the whole show if it's okay with the band.
Mercury Is Clearly Opposing Neptune
History Of Punctuation

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Can't Be Twenty On Sugar Mountain

For the over-40 crowd like myself, this week saw the release of the highly anticipated release of Neil Young's, Sugar Mountain- Live At Canterbury House 1968. This recording is Young's first solo performance after the break-up of Buffalo Springfield and he performs a set of music that includes stripped down versions of Buffalo tunes and solo songs that he released on his first solo album days after this show. The sound quality is excellent especially for a recording in 1968, with little crowd noise and just Neil's voice and guitar. His easy-going youthful banter is interesting as he talks about music and his songs and offers a real connection with the audience. This intimate venue (campus coffeehouse ministry in Ann Arbor, MI) really has that "performing in your living room" feeling when you listen and many would consider this the ultimate Neil Young show. I can't believe this hasn't been available as a bootleg and we are surely privileged to finally hear this incredible concert. This is essential Neil Young!

The only disappointment with this CD/DVD package is that it includes the standard CD (playable on the computer and any CD player) plus a DVD which actually is the same audio show in a Hi-res format (playable in a DVD player?) with the only video an ad for the Archive series. I think many people we're expecting some old archival video footage, but I guess we'll have to wait for Neil Young Archives Vol. 1 Boxset.

The RIAA suggested I remove the links to the Neil Young sound samples I posted the other day....sorry for any inconvenience, buy the CD or PM me.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Stars- Sad Robots

I've never been a big fan of EP's, usually when an established band issues an EP it is for these reasons: a) It's a time filler, to give their fans something to buy to tide them over between their last and the next full-length release. b) Perhaps a tour outside of North America (Australia, Japan, Singapore...) and again some new product is always good to offer overseas. c) Not enough good ideas for a full length, maybe even throw in an updated old song performed live.

This may sound harsh, but I think it's true on all accounts as semi-fresh product is better than no product. Montreal's Stars released the excellent, In Our Bedroom After The War only a year and a half ago, but the band has toured the country back and forth already on that album and they have even been to Winnipeg twice in a six month period. EP's are good for young unestablished bands because they may not have enough material (or money) yet for a full length and it gives them something to sell at their shows in bars and clubs, but with a band like Stars that have released 2 other EP's earlier in their career (A Lot Of Little Lies..., The Comeback), it seems like a stop-gap of same old same old. The most interesting song is a live version of the song, Going, Going, Gone that last appeared on their 2001 EP, A Lot Of Little Lies For The Sake Of One Big Truth. When EP's were in the vinyl format, I always thought it was kind of a waste of money, you get the same packaging, but with way less songs, and for not much less money. It seemed almost like a bloated 12" single or nowadays, CD single, with a couple of b-sides thrown in. Regardless, the EP has 5 all-new songs (plus the live Going...) and it's worth a listen. If you want to buy the EP, it is available as a digital download at or a physical disc at one of their upcoming shows or have a listen here first @ TDIT.

STARS- Sad Robots
1. Maintenance Hall, 4am
2. A Thread Cut With A Carving Knife
3. Undertow
4. Going, Going, Gone (live)
5. 14 Forever
6. Sad Robot

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Wedding Mixtape Epilogue- "Together Forever..."

This is the finale for Sumi's Wedding Mixtape, it's been a fun way to listen to songs sort of about weddings, marriage and love. Sumi and Hums' wedding was awesome! No church for the service (which was good!) and the reception was at the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre which felt more comfortable than some tricked-out hotel ballroom. They were able to add their own personal touch to the wedding with handmade decorations and both the desserts and wedding cake (see photo) were baked by the bride. This has to be the coolest wedding cake ever!

GO SAILOR- Together Forever In Love (The bonus song): A fitting end to the compilation, I first heard this song as the closing song from the film, But I'm A Cheerleader and I thought this was such a great song to end a happy ending love story (you have to see this movie to know what I'm talking about). I recommend if you download all these songs and burn them to a disc, put this one as the closer.

As promised here's the link for the complete file for all the songs from the Wedding Mixtape. Just as a note, there is about 99 minutes of music in the file, so if you want all the songs it'll take 2 discs or feel free to pick and choose to keep it to one disc. Let me know what you think and what song is your favourite?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Wedding Mixtape Part 8- "Wedding Day"

Todays' the big day, the Wedding Day! Congrats Sumi and Hum, hope everything turns out great!
THE REPLACEMENTS- You're Getting Married (solo home demo)
BUM- Wedding Day (live in Spain)

Tomorrow I'll post the link for the complete Wedding Mixtape... Stay tuned!

(P.S.- The wedding was on the 22nd and I started to write this before the wedding, but with helping with setup and getting ready, I had to finish this post today (Sunday).

Friday, November 21, 2008

Wedding Mixtape Part 7- "This Time Tomorrow..."

The reason I posted this photo is I was thinking about the ultimate band I would have play at my wedding (too late!). This is a photo of the members of the Young Fresh Fellows and the Replacements who toured together circa 1987, indulging in some drunken fun. The Replacement's Paul Westerberg was such a fan of the band, he had the Fellows play at his wedding! I can't think of a better choice. The wedding I'm attending will probably be devoid of both the drunkenness and a band. I would love to have my band play a wedding or a wedding social, because it's always a good excuse to play cheesy covers, I think it would be a lot of fun...maybe next time.

Today's post includes my top three bands (YFF, Mats, Kinks), not necessarily their best songs, but great memories.

KINKS- This Time Tomorrow: I realized how great a song this was when I heard it in the film, The Darjeeling Limited. This underrated classic was the Kink's in their prime.
YOUNG FRESH FELLOWS- Still There's Hope: At my wedding this was the 3rd song played during the dance (I chose the first group of songs). The first song was Closer by Jonathan Richman, followed by My Baby, She's Alright by Scruffy The Cat. Sorry, no Joey Gregorish.
REPLACEMENTS- Nobody: Notice how much Westerberg I've included, even I'm surprised. Still one more tomorrow.
MODEL ROCKETS- Honeymoon Home: More powerpop from this song!
B'EHL- So Much More: Local favs add some sweet sounds. This band later morphed into Paper Moon.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Wedding Mixtape Part 6- "I Knew the Bride..."

Today's songs are mainly about the bride. With a good range of music from the powerpop of Rockpile, the new wave punk stylings of Joe Jackson, the edgy postpunk noise of Husker Du to the girly sounds of cuddle-core pioneers, Vancouver's Cub...Discuss!

ROCKPILE- I Knew the Bride (When She Used To Rock'n'Roll) (live 10-24-78 NYC): The record cover pictured is from Nick Lowe's proper release of the song. This is a live version with his band Rockpile many years before the NL version. This song was a popular wedding reception tune in the 80's enticing young brides to crazily jump around frantically. Nick wrote the song originally for Dave Edmond's, Get It album.
CUB- Green Eyes The colour of the bride's eyes and beautiful ones I might add. This song is probably some guy's eyes, but use your imagination.
HUSKER DU- Green Eyes (live 11-17-87 NYC) The sonic power of the Twin Cities Husker Du! I aways thought Grant Hart's songs were more melodic and less harsh than Bob Mould's. How that would change years later.
JOE JACKSON- Happy Loving Couples (live 1979 Hollywood) On JJ's, Look Sharp album he had a sarcastic streak against love, "Is She Really Going Out With Him?", "Fools In Love", as well as H.L.Cs.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Pleased To Meet Me...Again!

If I ranked my favourite Replacements records, I'd have to place PTMM very closely behind Tim And Let It Be. This was the so-called transition record for the Mats, jumping to the majors with they're most polished and produced record to date as their record company hoped for a "hit". This was also their only album recording as a trio after dumping Bob Stinson and replacing him later with Slim Dunlop (from 87 and on). Many of the original studio demos still had Bob, but the finished product was Paul, Tommy, Chris and the legendary Jim Dickinson as producer.

With this deluxe release, PTMM features lots of bonus material that almost equals the original album tracks. I have a double disc of studio demos, outtakes, rough mixes and alternative tracks that include most of the bonus songs, but I've never heard Kick It In and included is yet another version of Can't Hardly Wait. The Replacement's could have easily have put out a decent double album, but commercially it might not have been a good move as double albums tend to include a lot of filler (there are exceptions, of course) and don't traditionally sell well. If you're a fan you'll have this album on vinyl, cassette, CD and mp3 already, so add these bonus tracks to your existing collection and judge for yourself...

PLEASE TO MEET ME Bonus Material
12. Birthday Gal (Demo)*
13. Valentine (Demo) *
14. Bundle Up (Demo) *
15. Photo (Demo)*
16. Election Day
17. Alex Chilton (Alternate Version) *
18. Kick It In (Demo) *
19. Route 66
20. Tossin' 'N' Turnin'
21. Can't Hardly Wait (Alternate Version) *
22. Cool Water

* previously unreleased

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Wedding Mixtape Part 5

These songs aren't necessarily about weddings or marriage, but more in the "proclaiming your love" song category. The three bands featured today when they first formed were categorized in the "No depression" alt-country Americana genre, the Jayhawks from Minneapolis, the Old 97's from Texas and Wilco originally from Chicago. All three bands have survived with their innovation and creativity that has influenced many a young band.

Note: The photo is of the original Hollywood Townhall, the title of the Jayhawks' album of the same name. The Township of Hollywood is located 25 miles west of Minneapolis. The "Townhall" building was a one room school built in 1906. Thought you should kind of looks like a church.

JAYHAWKS- I'd Run Away (live 5-26-95 Switzerland)
OLD 97's- Designs On You (live 7-4-04 Chicago)
WILCO- I'm The Man Who Loves You (YHF demo)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Wedding Mixtape Part 4- "Closer To Fine"

Less than a week to go, so I guess I'm halfway finished or is that halfway started? Canadian content with some contributions by Montreal's Stars and Angela Desveaux and Seattle's Sicko covering the Indigo Girls!

STARS- My Favourite Book: Probably my favourite Stars' song and I know S loves this song and Amy Millan. A beautiful song!
ANGELA DESVEAUX- Sure Enough: I featured this song in a past post, but it's so good I had to share it again. If this was my wedding this would be one of the first songs I'd play for the dance.
SICKO- Closer To Fine: This was the Indigo Girls' biggest radio hit, Sicko never had any hits, but this version kicks ass! If you love short, fast power punk songs, check out Sicko.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Wedding Mixtape Part 3 "Whatever Makes You Happy"

For part three, all three song titles are pretty much self explanatory...Happy! I know what you're thinking, weddings and marriage don't always equate happiness, but whatever makes you happy is good enough for most people. Today, we go from the late 70's punk sounds of the Buzzcocks to the moody Paul Westerberg, to the sweet sounds of Liz Phair circa, Whitechocolatespaceegg. I guarantee these songs will leave a smile on your face.

BUZZCOCKS- Everybodys Happy Nowadays
PAUL WESTERBERG- Whatever Makes You Happy
LIZ PHAIR- Whatever Makes You Happy

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Wedding Mixtape Part 2

Since I missed posting yesterday, I'm offering four songs today for the Wedding mixtape. Any song suggestions would be appreciated, even though I have a fairly long preliminary list of songs I'm considering. Tomorrow's theme: Happy!

JULIANA'S PONY (Juliana Hatfield)- Let's Get Married: From Juliana's alter-ego side project, a gritty, loud uncharacteristically Juliana song.
LEMONHEADS- It's About Time (live): Evan Dando wrote this song about and in "the style of.." Juliana Hatfield. Nevertheless, they never married.
SMITHEREENS- A Girl Like You (live): This song was commissioned by director Cameron Crowe for that classic scene in the movie, Say Anything when Lloyd (John Cusack) holds up the boombox (see photo). It was rejected in favour of Peter Gabriel's, "In Your Eyes".

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Sumi's Wedding Mixtape (part 1)

In less than two weeks my friend Sumi is tying the knot, so to speak, and in tribute I've assembled ( a work in progress...) a collection of my favourite wedding or at least wedding related songs for your listening enjoyment. I'm hoping to squeeze in as many songs as possible before the end of next week, so I hope to average about 2 songs or so a day. Some will be happy, others will be cynical, many will be obviously about marriage, lots about the bride, but none will be about divorce or break-ups, they will all be in good spirit and a lot of fun!

If you miss any of the downloads and don't want to scroll back, I'll post a link at the end of two weeks for the file with all the songs. It'll be a nice collection to burn and throw into the CD player on an anniversary or when you want reminisce about your happy married life...Enjoy!

PAUL WESTERBERG- Who You Gonna Marry? From Westerberg's 49:00 album which was one long continuous track. Though many of the songs are partial or fragments of ideas, Who You Gonna Marry? is the lead-off track and a complete song.
RHETT MILLER- Question (live, 10-11-00, NYC) Rhett (lead singer/guitarist from the Old 97's) had many requests (and has obliged many) to sing this song at weddings. You have to ask the question before you can get your answer...hopefully yes!

(I know Sumi will have a much cooler cake than what is pictured above. The cake from my wedding is not unlike the picture, except the music notes were hockey sticks and on top of the cake was a chocolate goalie stick and guitar.)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


I'm looking forward to having a listen to the new Postmark's album that was released today. I don't recall ever buying a LP or CD on it's actual release date, but now you don't have to even leave your home when you can buy and download it from sites such as iTunes. Their latest disc is an all-covers collection, By-The-Numbers, that is unique in many ways such as the titles consecutively climb from one to eleven and the group's they cover are over the map in genre and style. This collection of songs were originally released every month of 2008 as a free download exclusive to Emusic. This will make a very interesting listen...stay tuned for a more in the upcoming days.

To tide you over until then, I'm posting a video for the song 11:59, a Blondie cover from the new album. Postmark Christopher Moll said this about the video: "Influenced by the flicker of a late night TV announcing the end of the world, "11:59" is the visual depiction of the frantic energy of information overload. We wanted it to have the feeling of a visual crescendo ... the sight of being bombarded by a thousand messages all at once (and all harping on the same thing which seems to be a common occurrence nowadays.) And when it's all over...the light goes out. FIN"

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Song Of The Day- Super Tuesday!

THE SHAZAM- Super Tuesday (live at the Casbah, Oct. 19, 2003)- I dedicate this song to John McCain on his "Road to Nowhere". A great timely song as Obama will make history me!

THE REPLACEMENTS- Election Day (outtake from Pleased To Meet Me) According to Tommy Stinson, "That was the first song we did when we got to Memphis to make that record. It was election day, which meant there was no booze being sold anywhere. And we were thirsty." Well said Tommy!...Go vote (you Americans!)

Monday, November 03, 2008

Heard About Your Band...

When bands reissue albums that were already available on CD, it always makes be skeptical. Sometimes the sound is remastered, sometimes it's a bonus track or two, nevertheless it always seems like the record label has already exhausted the other avenues of cash grabs such as greatest hits, unplugged and live albums. One exception is the series of Rhino deluxe reissues of the Replacement's final 4 albums (last year it was their first 4) that featured rare previously unreleased tracks along with the original song list. Even a hardcore Replacements fan like myself who thought he had every demo and unreleased song is surprised to find some unheard gems. The excellent sound quality sure beats the multiple generation tape hiss on a lot of my rare tracks that I have collected from bootlegs and traded shows.

The first time I listened to the Mats (The Replacements) was back in the mid 80's, probably 1986, after the release of Tim. A friend gave me a mix tape and the only bands I remember were Green On Red, The Beasts Of Bourbon and The Replacements. I think the Replacements tracks were I'll Buy, Kiss Me On The Bus and Waitress In The Sky. To me this music was groundbreaking, the album, Tim was amazing and the Replacements changed my life. When I visited Minneapolis later that year, I bought the back catalog, Let It Be, Hootanany, Stink and Sorry I Forgot To Take Out The Trash. This interest in Replacement's style of music led to the discovery (for myself) of bands such as Husker Du, Soul Asylum, Scruffy the Cat, Camper Van, Young Fresh Fellows etc...basically anything U.S. college radio.

If you're like me, you already have Tim on vinyl, cassette, CD and mp3 formats, so you don't really need another version of the same thing, but these these reissues are almost worth it alone if only for the bonus tracks. For your downloading pleasure, just add these tracks to your existing Tim music files and you'll have your very own deluxe version.

TIM Bonus Material
12. Can't Hardly Wait (Acoustic - Alex Chilton Sessions Outtake) *
13. Nowhere Is My Home
(Alex Chilton Sessions Outtake) - One of my favourite all-time Replacements tracks. I can't understand how this song wasn't on the original album.
14. Can't Hardly Wait
(Electric - Alex Chilton Sessions Outtake) *- This version is so much better than the version that appeared on Pleased To Meet Me. Much closer to how they played this live pre-87.
15. Kiss Me On The Bus
(Tom Erdelyi Demo) *- Great rockin' version, I prefer it, but the album version had an unique groove to it that sets it apart from the regular Mats sound.
16. Waitress In The Sky
(Outtake - Alternate Version) *
Here Comes A Regular (Outtake - Alternate Version) *

(*previously unreleased.)

Friday, October 31, 2008

Song(s) Of The Day- Halloween!!

Here are some interesting interpretations of the theme of Halloween by a few of my favourite artists. This is music that is definitely not scary, enjoy!

Steve Wynn and The Miracle 3- Halloween (live @ Maxwell's, Hobokon, NJ, 7-25-08. Classic song from the first Dream Syndicate album, Days Of Wine And Roses.)
Young Fresh Fellows- Halloween (7" b-side of "Divorce Song" and from the Break-Up album box-set)
Mudhoney- Halloween (from Superfuzz Big Muff)
The Postmarks- Everyday Is Halloween (unreleased Ministry cover) You can also download this and other unreleased/rare tracks on the Postmarks web-site. Buy their upcoming album, By-The-Numbers, due out November 11, 2008!

note: The photo above is our interpretation of a carved pumpkin...guess who?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Ben Kweller- How Ya Looking Southbound?...Come In

Something brand new from Ben Kweller... (from BK's first studio recordings since the 2006 critically-acclaimed self titled release. This limited edition 7-track EP provides an exclusive teaser / warm-up for Kweller's upcoming and highly-anticipated January 2009 full-length release entitled Changing Horses. Three of the songs on this EP, 'Fight', 'Things I Like To Do', and 'Sawdust Man' will appear on the January 09 release. Kweller is back in terrific form on this catchy and melodic offering: he stays true to his quirky folk-pop sensibilities. BK also stretches out and injects dusty, and charming twang and Americana into each composition. The EP was produced by Kweller in Austin, TX and recorded to all analog tape. It features his band 'The Great Lakes'...who turn in amazing harmonies, smoldering pedal steel and dobro performances, and lend Leon Russell-esque piano bounce. Also, BK managed to weave in some spooky and compelling field recordings that segue's a handful of songs. Sounds good, but I must warn you, if you hate country and western this might not be for you. The full length release in January will be a country album, but if you're a Kweller fan, this may change your mind about the genre. This is a tour-only EP, so I'm posting the whole EP for your listening pleasure, unless you can make it to one of his upcoming shows. BEN KWELLER How Ya Looking Southbound?...Come In 1) Fight 2) Things I Like To Do 3) Sawdust Baby 4) Sawdust Man 5) The Biggest Flower 6) F Train Blues / Gypsy Rosita 7) Somehow (Singlemalt Version) download: How Ya Looking Southbound?...Come In (complete EP)

Something New Mondays- October 27

Something new and something from 2007 for this week's post. Both albums are on the mellow side, but in no way are they less powerful and creative.

All Their Beauty- The Weepies are an indie pop-folk band fronted by Deb Talan and Steve Tannen, their music has been described as "subtly intoxicating folk-pop". Hideaway is their third full length release, but it was their previous work, Say I Am You that captured mainstream attention with many of their songs appearing on popular TV shows such as Grey's Anatomy, Scrubs, Gossip Girl, One Tree Hill etc. Normally I would avoid bands like this, but after a (cautious) listen I was fairly impressed. The songs are intelligent and their sound is unique, I only wish is that their songs were a little more upbeat and less subdued.

THE POSTMARKS- Summers Never Seem To Last
Goodbye- This album was actually released in 2007, but I just came upon this excellent debut album, the self-titled The Postmarks, while blog surfing last week. The Postmarks' Tim Yehezkely's wispy breathy vocal style is sweet and engaging that reminds me of french singers from the 60's or bossa nova girls of the same era. I love this disc, for the past few nights I've fallen asleep listening to this record (I usually listen to music in bed with headphones, it's a great way to relax and to listen intently), not because it's boring or sleep inducing, but because her voice is so soothing and it's shimmering strings and exquisitely beautiful melodies wisk me to sleep with a smile on my face.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Who Were The Electrocutes?

Back in high school, the future members of the band, the Donnas were known as the Electrocutes. Actually both bands co-existed for a short time, the Donnas become their alter- ego, the Electrocutes were their "real" band, while the Donnas were the outlet "joke" band playing songs that didn't fit the band's repertoire. The band strived to keep the two identities separate as they took on new identities as the Donnas. Each of their first names became Donna (kind of like the Ramones), along with the initial of their last name...Donna A, Donna C, Donna F, Donna R and they each wore a t-shirt with their fictional name on it. The Donnas sound was influenced heavily by the Ramones and progressed to a more mainstream rock-pop sound. The Electrocutes sound was a raw unrefined sloppy punk, fast, mean and loud. Very different! The Electrocutes actually recorded an album back in 1996, when the members were 14 or 15 years old, called, Steal Yer Lunch Money that wasn't released during the Electrocutes existance , but when the Donnas gained some indie success, in 1999, Sympathy for the Record Company cashed in by finally releasing SYLM. I'm posting the whole album (it's not that long..18 minutes) because it's kind of a funny listen and personally I love hearing early gestations of bands that make it big...or at least gain a cult following. THE ELECTROCUTES- Steal Yer Lunch Money 1. Daquiri Jacquerie 2. Solamente Tu 3. Assmar 4. Sno-Cap 5. Kitchen Floor 6. Eggnog 7. Futbol 8. Miller 9. Pink Piggies 10. Doombuggy 11. Eaga Beava 12. Hello No 13. Jasmean 14. En La Boca download: Steal Yer Lunch Money (whole album)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Just Another Power Pop Monday

According to my last few posts, my recent tastes have been mainly female vocalists and all-girl bands, but my true love for powerpop can't be denied, so today's "bonus" post will share this love. I have lots of great powerpop in my collection, but I'm always on the look-out for under appreciated and hard to find albums.
I've found many helpful blogs and web pages dedicated to this genre, check out:,,, for full album downloads and/or useful information.

THE SHAZAM- Everything- From 1997's debut album, The Shazam, this album is as close to a post-modern powerpop masterpiece as they come. The album buzzes and chimes with it's sweet harmonies and jangly guitars and proceeds to put a big smile on my face! This band went on to record a couple more, under-the-radar classics, but this one is where it began. The Shazam should have been bigger than they were, maybe if this was released in the mid-70's they might have been big...Cheap Trick big, perhaps.
download: The Shazam pt1, pt2

SPINNING JENNIES- So Far So Good- From 2002's, Stratosphere, energetic hard driving powerpop with catchy hooks and soaring harmonies. Sounds similar to the Posies and I could have swore this was The Best Kissers In The World, a band that was produced by Jon Auer (of the Posies)...sweet!
download: Stratosphere (password:password)

THE EXCESSORIES- Darla-From 2001, Pure Pop For Punk People is a fun poppy girl-fronted punk band. Their sound is super catchy, though the lyrics sound like they were written by a teenager, but don't be fooled this is a sassy punk-pop influenced record with buzz-saw guitars, fuzzed out surf-punk that is consistantly good, not some Avril Lavigne phony punk rock.
download: Pure Pop for Punk People

THE TRIPWIRES- I Hear This Music- This Seattle semi-super group consists of singer/guitarist John Ramberg (Model Rockets, Minus 5, Stumpy Joe), bassist Jim Sangster (Young Fresh Fellows, Sgt Major, Picketts), drummer Mark Pickerel (Screaming Trees) and guitarist Johnny Sangster (producer, engineer and session player). Makes You Look Around is a smart no nonsense rock'n'roll record that doesn't venture far from the Model Rockets. Their sound also recalls Rockpile with that great guitar interplay between Dave Edmonds and Billy Bremner and interestingly enough, Ramberg and Jim Sangster join Scott McCaughey in a Rockpile/Nick Lowe tribute band, The Lowe Beats. The Model Rocket's were very underrated and deserved a larger audience, so hopefully this project for Ramberg will give him an opportunity to showcase his talents to a larger audience. Unfortunately, this disc probably won't be heard by many, nor will this album be a big seller.
download: Makes You Look Around

Something New Mondays- October 20

Last week was Thanksgiving Monday here in Canada, so I'm sorry for no post last week as I was indulging in turkey. I'll make it up as I promise to post something everyday this week.

Other Side
Hide From You- I talked about this CD briefly a few weeks ago, but I finally bought the rest of songs (from iTunes) and it's a fine album. In my mind, the first three songs are the best tracks (the two here and Sure Enough), as they really set the bar high for the rest of the disc. It drags a bit in the middle, but album closes with two more great songs, For Design and You Remind Me. In many ways she reminds me of Kathleen Edwards (without the sharp tongue and hockey references) when I listen to this or her first release, a little bit alt-country, a little bit alt-rock. Angela's voice is stronger and more confident on Mighty Ship and the band is tighter and the songs are more complex. Well worth buying or downloading!

DEERHOOF- Offend Maggie
The Tears And Music Of Love
Offend Maggie- I must admit I didn't know much about Deerhoof a few weeks ago, but they looked and sounded interesting enough to seek out their newest album, Offend Maggie. Deerhoof have been around over 10 years forming in San Francisco and have released ten full length albums and a couple of EP's. The band's vocalist Satomi Matsuzaki, had no prior musical experience when she joined the band and within a week of joining they toured. Their unconventional sound is hard to classify, their earlier work was much more frantic and heavier than Offend Maggie, which almost sounds melodic. Here's what Wikipedia has to say about the band:
Although typically classified as indie rock due to their having been on an indie rock label (Kill Rock Stars) for the entirety of their career, the unconventional nature of Deerhoof's music makes genre identification difficult. But several recurring features can be said to constitute Deerhoof's distinctive sound: unassuming vocal delivery set against hyper-expressive instrumental playing; an elastic approach to group dynamics and rhythm more akin to the rubato of classical music performance practice than rock; odd melodies; harmonic sophistication and dissonance; disjointed, condensed, asymmetrical and otherwise unconventional song structures; raw and at times strident sound surfaces; and improvisation. Sounds crazy, if you like this, do yourself a favour and seek out their earlier albums.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Something New Mondays- October 6

I finally bought some songs from iTunes and joined the millions that purchase their music as a digital file online instead as a physical CD. I have two gift cards totalling $100 in credit from our friends at Apple (iTunes) and I intend to use it on hard-to-find items. To be honest I get a lot of music already through the internet, scouring and surfing looking for free downloads or torrent sites that provide peer to peer sharing, but I have to admit I still love buying (new or used) CD's, cassettes and LP's that you can hold, read liner notes and display for all to see. Looking through someones record collection doesn't quite have the same effect if you're scrolling through virtual folders in their hard drive than it does with the real thing. I know young people that only own digital music mp3's!...what the hell's with that?

SHANNON McARDLE- This Longing- What happens when you marry and then divorce your bandmate? The first solo disc from the ex-Mendoza Line vocalist, Summer Of the Whore is dark, sparse, unhappy affair, a response perhaps from her marriage and band breakup and will ceremoniously be considered the "not feel-good" album of the year. For added misery, check out the Mendoza Line's last record, Thirty Year Low, which was written and recorded before her breakup, with hints of things to come...? Both highly recommended!

FRIGGS- Bad Word for A Good Thing
FRIGGS- Friggs Theme- From 2007's, Today Is Tomorrow's Yesterday, a collection of early vinyl 7's, ep's and unreleased. From their myspace page, "The Troggs + the Fugs + the Shaggs = THE FRIGGS - One of the 90’s fave rockin’ girl bands! The Friggs play supercharged, harmony saturated, trashy pop with a dash of surf on the side the way Russ Meyer intended it to be... Nuff said!!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Something New Mondays

Here's a new feature I'm going to try to do every week, "Something New Mondays". A kind of roundup of new releases, soon to be released and previously available albums from past months that may be new to me, that I might have overlooked. Some of these albums might be so new that i haven't really given them a good solid listen yet, so my reviews and opinions may be incomplete or still pending.

ALL GIRL SUMMER FUN BAND- Not the One For Me: The name of the band describes them perfectly; all girl, their music is sunny pop gems and the music is fresh and a lot of fun to listen to. On the new album, Looking Into It, the band has pared down from a 4-piece to a trio, their sound is more full, gritty and rawer than their previous two releases. With crunch-fuzz guitars combined with their sweet honest vocals, AGSFB deliver the must-have album for the end of summer.

JENNY LEWIS- See Fernando
JENNY LEWIS- Carpetbaggers: On her second solo record, Acid Tongue, Rilo Kiley's Jenny Lewis continues to explore different genres and styles with much success. I Haven't had time to fully listen to the disc yet, but from what I've heard it seems more accessible and powerful than her first. These two songs are my far.

HOTEL LIGHTS- Dream State Flying
HOTEL LIGHTS- Norina: From the album, Firecracker People, a beautiful eclectic mix of heartfelt quiet engaging songs that are easy to listen to. Hotel Lights is Darren Jessee the former drummer for Ben Folds Five who has produced two fine underrated classics that are worth seeking out.

STEPHEN MALKMUS AND THE JICKS- Real Emotional Trash: Haven't listened to much Malkmus since Pavement, but after hearing this new release, Real Emotional Trash, it's convinced me to seek out his other solo material. The title track is a sprawling epic length (over 10 minutes) song...but wait! Mr. Malkmus and the Jicks are coming to Winnipeg next month, should be a good show, I might check it out.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Song Of The Day- "Hang Fire"

Here's another 7" gem from Top Drawer records in Seattle featuring two great bands from B.C. The Smugglers from Vancouver and Victoria's Bum who combine forces for a live one-off performance of the Rolling Stones song, Hang Fire, while on the A-side of the record both bands perform covers from DMZ (Lift up your Hood- Bum) and Boys (Kiss Like A Nun- Smugglers).

While on tour together in the summer of '93, Bum joined the Smugglers on stage for the last song of the night where the nine members of both bands engaged in their best unrehearsed version of Hang Fire. This love of the Stones lead to David Carswell (guitarist from the Smugglers) and Bum forming a Stones cover band entitled Steel Wheels: "Suckin' In The Eighties"; a tribute to the Stones hits from the 1980's.

BUMGLERS- Hang Fire (Dave Carswell sang Mick, everyone else sang back-up: 4 guitars, 2 basses and 1 drum set)- Recorded June 19, 1993 at the Crocodile Cafe, Seattle, WA.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Song Of The Day- "Welcome Back!"

I'm back from my mini-vacation in Vancouver, BC and I'm trying to get into the swing of things, but I just hadn't the time (or effort) to post anything new since I got back. Last week I mentioned I would dedicate some songs to a friend that's getting married, but I think I'm going to postpone that until next week. In the meantime, here's a tribute to my return, an awesome 7" recording from 1993 from Seattle's late great, Stumpy Joe. Though they recorded only one full length CD, One Way Rocket Ride To Kicksville (1992), Stumpy Joe had a small, but loyal following in the Pacific Northwest. The band provided the spring-board for the career of singer/guitarist John Ramberg who went on to front the Model Rockets and the Tripwires, as becoming a solid permanent member of the Minus 5.

STUMPY JOE- (A-side) Sugar And Glue- A tribute to my two favourite food groups, since I have a reputation for drinking (not sniffing) white glue. Somehow I don't think this is what they had in mind. A great rockin' song!

STUMPY JOE- (B-side) Welcome Back- Yes, this is the John Sebastian penned theme song from TV's, Welcome Back Kotter, a cool unplugged acoustic version that will have you singing along in no time. This rare exclusive 7" release from Top Drawer Records was the perfect swan-song for Stumpy's career.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Song(s) Of The Day- "Vancouver, BC"

When I think of Vancouver, BC, I think of the mountains, the Pacific Ocean, Stanley Park, salmon, the Canucks and the Smugglers. If you're not familiar with the Smugglers (the band), check out the Mint site or their website. To me they are best remembered as a band that wore matching dark suits along with rubber boots on stage and their first "hit", Vancouver, BC. This song is like a traveloge for the Smuggler's hometown with references to the skytrain, Robson Square, Grouse mountain, the ferry line and Terry David Mulligan. A super fun song and for added fun check out the video on YouTube.

As an added bonus, I've also posted a song from the present indie-kings from the west coast, the New Pornographers. Unfortunately, Carl Newman and Neko Case no longer have an address in Vancouver, but the band still considers it their home, as evidenced by the show on August 31-September 1, the New Pornographers present...The Stanley Park singing Exhibition.

THE SMUGGLERS- Vancouver, BC (from "At Marineland" 10" LP)
NEW PORNOGRAPHERS- Letter from An Occupant (West End Cultural Centre, Winnipeg, MB, August 18, 2002)

Note: I'm jetting off to exotic Vancouver today until next Monday, so unless I acquire a laptop computer over night, I'll be off-line. Next week I'll be posting some tribute songs for a friend that's getting married soon, so stay tuned!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Song Of the Day- "Sure Enough"

Speaking of strong debut albums, Montreal's Angela Desveaux produced a wonderful album, Wandering Eyes (2006) that showcased her marvellous country-tinged voice that came out of nowhere. It was so good I wanted to tell everyone to give her a listen, as evidenced by my past posts (Nov. 6, 2006 and Nov. 23, 2006) about Angela.

Her new album (just released on September 9), Angela Desveaux And The Mighty Ship suppose to rock more, but similar to her debut as she explores different genres and sounds, country-blues, traditional folk, but for the most part she flaunts with an indie-rock sound that I'm looking forward to hearing. I haven't had a chance to hear the whole album yet, but from what I've heard this will be the next album on my pod (or I'll buy when I go record-store hopping in Vancouver in a couple of days). I'll give my full review of the album next week.

The first song I heard is Sure Enough, it's a great upbeat rocker and it sure has enough bounce and jangly guitars to make me recall early Broken West.

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