Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Winnipeg Folk Festival And Live At Hollywood High

Sorry for the lack of posts for the past two weeks, but I've been busy attending shows during the Winnipeg Fringe Festival this week and I actually made it to one day of the Winnipeg Folk Festival. For the past three years I have attended only one day of the WFF, but I'm starting to think I really should go more days and I'm even considering a full weekend pass next year. It's been almost two decades since I bought a weekend pass because of kids, lack of cash and generally not been too excited about the acts, but I've come to realize it's the "event" and the people you are with that make it worth it. This year, two friends from Philly and Calgary (both ex-Peggers), made the trip home specifically for the festival, I sort of regret going only for one day. There was so much more music I would have liked to have explored and it would have given me a more of a chance to hang out with these guys, since we all have a similar unique taste in music. The day I attended was Sunday, the last day of the Fest and it featured many of bigger-name acts such as Sarah Harmer, Gord Downie, Andrew Bird, as well as some lesser-known discoveries I enjoyed; The United Steel Workers Of Montreal, Ukrainia, Jim Bryson (w/Weakerthans), The Moondoggies, Works Progress Administration and Rock Plaza Central. All those bands are worth seeking out and I'm curious to hear more. Good music and perfect weather!

I did get in a bit of recording, capturing the "Too Close For Comfort" day show with Downie, Harmer, Bryson and the Weakerthans. I huge crowd, with two of the main stage acts that night and the recording turned out pretty good with the usual wind noise and crowd chatter. An even better sounding recording was the "Bound For Glory" workshop with the Moondogs, WPA and RPC. As far as the main stage, I only recorded Sarah Harmer's set and that too turned out better than I expected. I have come to expect the recordings from the main stage to be full of chatter and other distractions and that can't be avoided because it is a large outdoor show where the audience members sit on plastic tarps, kind of like a picnic with friends and family, visiting and talking. I have not listened to the recordings in their entirety or had time to separate the tracks and make set lists, but I will post some or all of the recordings as soon as I can, but I am really busy right now and going on vacation next week. Realistically it won't be until the first week of August...stay tuned.

Last year I only went to the special Wednesday evening show at the Winnipeg Folk Festival mainly to see Elvis Costello. In case you missed it, I posted my recording of Elvis' set and it can be still downloaded here. As a reminder of how great a performer he was and still is, I'm posting a recording from E.C. and the Attractions from a 1978 concert at Hollywood High that was released in it's entirety in 2010. Three songs from the concert were released on a bonus 7" vinyl included with initial pressings of Armed Forces. A 2002 re-release of Armed Forces added 6 more tracks to the three ( 9 in total), but it wasn't until this year that Live At Hollywood High got it's own release with the full 20 tracks from the concert. This release is part of an ongoing series in the Costello Show live performance series. This is an essential set of music and offers a sample of a great period of music Costello produced in the late 70's. Much like the classic, Live At El Mocambo concert, this is a must-listen to any Elvis fan!

Live At Hollywood High (2010)

Date of show: June 4, 1978
  1. Accidents Will Happen 3:29
  2. Mystery Dance 2:02
  3. Lip Service 2:44
  4. Living In Paradise 3:31
  5. Goon Squad 3:49
  6. (The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes 2:33
  7. Party Girl 2:57
  8. (I Don't Want To Go To) Chelsea 4:40
  9. This Year's Girl 3:46
  10. No Action 2:08
  11. Stranger In The House 4:02
  12. The Beat 3:37
  13. Alison 3:05
  14. Lipstick Vogue 4:18
  15. Watching The Detectives 5:59
  16. You Belong To Me 2:39
  17. Radio, Radio 2:29
  18. Pump It Up 4:02
  19. Waiting For The End Of The World 4:32
  20. Miracle Man 5:05
ELVIS COSTELLO- Live At Hollywood High. rar

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Guadalcanal Diary- Live At Your Birthday Party

I was having problems publishing this post, so I'll skip right to the download...should work now!

GUADALCANAL DIARY- At Your Birthday Party. rar

Monday, July 05, 2010

Sarah Harmer and The Weakerthans

With the 2010 edition of the Winnipeg Folk Festival opening this week, here's a recording from two of the performers at this year's festival. Sarah Harmer is one of the "big name" performers playing mainstage on the Sunday finale concert, while the Weakerthans will be there in many different forms. Members of the band recorded an album with Ottawa native Jim Bryson as his back-up band and they will be playing together on a few small stage performances, while Weakerthans front man, John K. Samson will do a solo show as well as hosting/performing in a couple of workshops. This will be a fine opportunity to see these musicians perform outside of their usual element.

I'm not sure if Sarah Harmer and the Weakerthans will have a chance to cross paths and play together at the folk fest, but today's post brought these two Canadian forces together for a performance that was broadcast on good ol' CBC back in 2005. Both groups played together at Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto, first the Weakerthans, then Sarah Harmer's band. Highlights included each group covering a song from the other group. The Weakerthans do Harmer's, Judy G, while Sarah does a great version of Left and Leaving. The Weakerthans also cover the Replacements, Swinging Party, with Harmer on guest vocals. It should also be noted Danny Michel plays guitar in Sarah Harmer's band, nice! This show is a typical radio quality broadcast except this recording is plagued with lots of low pops that are annoying, but doesn't deter too much from an otherwise excellent sounding concert.

The Weakerthans
with Sarah Harmer
Glenn Gould Studio, Toronto
18 November 2005

John K Samson, guitar/vocals
Stephen Carroll, lead guitar, pedal steel guitar

Greg Smith, bass

John Tait, drums / vibraphone

1 My Favourite Chords (The Weakerthans) 4:10
2 Reconstruction Site (The Weakerthans) 2:45
3 Psalm for the Elks Lodge Last Call (The Weakerthans) 2:42
4 Utilities (The Weakerthans) 4:05
5 Night Windows (The Weakerthans) 4:25
6 Judy G (Sarah Harmer) 3:44
7 Swinging Party (The Replacements) 3:54
guest vocalist Sarah Harmer
8 Reasons (The Weakerthans) 3:46
9 Past-Due (The Weakerthans) 2:29

Sarah Harmer
with The Weakerthans

Sarah Harmer, guitar/vocals
Danny Michel, lead guitar

Julie MacDonald, keyboards and vocals

John Dinsmore,
Dean Stone, drums

1 I am Aglow (Sarah Harmer) 2:45
2 In a Town this Size (Dolores Keane) 2:51
guest vocalist John K. Sampson
3 Escarpment Blues (Sarah Harmer) 4:06
4 Left and Leaving (The Weakerthans) 4:42
5 Weakened State (Sarah Harmer) 3:26
6 Took it All (Sarah Harmer) / Claire (Rheostatics) 5:52
7 Islands in the Stream (Bee Gees) * 4:34
guest vocalist John K Samson
8 Gone for Good (The Shins) * 3:52
9 I’m a Mountain (Sarah Harmer) * 3:11
10 Lodestar (Sarah Harmer) 5:29


Weakerthans- 4, 4, 4, 4

In December, Winnipeg band, the Weakerthans are performing a "retrospective" of their 4 studio albums for 4 shows in 4 nights at 4 different venues. This will give fans a rare opportunity to hear their select album played in it's entirety in a unique venue of their choice, from the intimate barroom of the Royal Albert Arms to the larger concert hall of the Burton Cummings Theatre. For their last few visits to their hometown, the Weakerthans have had no problem filling the Burt, so act quickly especially if you want to see them in one of the smaller venues.
The last time the band did something similar was in February 2002 to celebrate their 5th anniversary where they performed 4 shows in 4 different venues. If I recall correctly, they played at the Albert, Wellingtons, Pyramid and the WECC. I attended (and recorded) night #2 at the Albert. The difference was it that they only had released 2 albums up to that point and they previewed some tracks from Reconstruction Site. This may have been one of the first times they had performed One Great City. For this set of shows I bought tickets for the Left And Leaving show (WECC), because it's my favourite Weakerthans album and a ticket to the Fallow show at the Albert, because it's the smallest venue and probably the one that will sell-out quickest. Also they don't perform as many songs from that album anymore as they used to, so it will be cool to hear the entire first album. I highly recommend getting a ticket for those two shows first, as they will definitely be the hottest tickets of the bunch.

Buy your tickets here.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Chixdiggit- Live At The Horseshoe

Here's a fun one!
On Canada Day I listed some of my favourite Canadian releases and one of my picks was the debut album by Chixdiggit. I know they may not be everyone's taste, but if you want to see a band that you truly must experience live, go see Chixdiggit! I had the pleasure of seeing them 3 times in the 90's (1996, 1998, 1999) at the Pyramid Cabaret and each time they were very entertaining. Singer-guitarist KJ Jansen gets into his low split-leg goalie stance and the band drives through track after track Ramones-style, stopping only to let mouthpiece KJ say his bit. For a band that started out selling t-shirts before even learning to play instruments, Chixdiggit plays power pop-punk, who's enthusiasm more than makes up for their limited technical talent.

I remember hearing this live recording aired on CBC radio as part of their Just Concerts series on Saturday nights years ago. This show was recorded at the legendary Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto, I believe during Canadian Music Week (it used to precede the Juno awards in Toronto) or NXNE. I'm not even sure of the year, but judging by the setlist it was probably around 2000. A great sounding set and a good example of Chixdiggit's live show, fast, furious and fun...but I wish they played Gerry Cheevers!

Live At the Horseshoe Tavern

CBC FM radio broadcast

01 Where's Your Mom
02 Sikome Beach
03 Stacked Like That
05 Gettin' Air
06 Shadowy Bangers From A Shadowy Duplex
07 Great Legs
08 Melissa Louise
09 Quit Your Job
10 Spanish Fever
11 Ohio
12 My Dad vs. P.M.
13 Folks Are Gone
14 I Wanna Hump You

CHIXDIGGIT- Live At The Horseshoe. rar

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Weeping Tile- Eepee

Continuing on with all-Canadian weekend, here's an early album from Canadian singer-songwriter, Sarah Harmer. Before Harmer embarked on a very successful solo career, she formed the band Weeping Tile who went on to release two full length albums and two ep's. Though I'm not a huge Sarah Harmer fan, I do enjoy Weeping Tile. They rock out a bit more and they have a looser sound than her solo work and her songwriting has a sincerity that isn't felt as much in her more recent albums. I have to admit though, I've been listening to her latest album, Oh Little Fire quite a bit lately and I'm enjoying it quite a bit. Sarah Harmer is one of the big name headliners at this years Winnipeg Folk Festival, so I thought this early recording of her's might be of interest.

Weeping Tile's debut was a independent seven-song cassette released in 1994 and then they signed to a major label deal. They re-released the cassette in 1995 and titled it Eepee. Highlights include the original versions of Westray (later re-recorded for Cold Snap) and Basement Apt. (re-recorded on Harmer's, You Were Here), but the cover of Neil Young's, Don't Let It Bring You Down is worth the price (or download) of the album alone!

Eepee (1994)

  1. Anyone
  2. Basement Apt.
  3. Dogs and Thunder
  4. Don't Let it Bring You Down
  5. The Room with the Sir John A. View
  6. Westray
  7. King Lion
WEEPING TILE- Eepee. rar

Thursday, July 01, 2010

The Super Friendz- Sticktoitiveness

Happy Canada Day!!
When you think of great albums recorded by Canadian artists, of course names like the Guess Who, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, or Blue Rodeo always seem to come out. Though all those artists are good in their own right, I personally have listed some of my favourites (in no particular order):
  • Sloan- Twice Removed
  • New Pornographers- Mass Romantic
  • Bum- Wanna Smash Sensations
  • Stand GT- They're Magically Delicious
  • Chixdiggit- Chixdiggit
  • Plumtree- Predicts the Future
  • Weakerthans- Left and Leaving
  • The Nils- The Nils
...and I'm sure there are many more I can't think of right this minute, but if you have any fav Canadian albums, please list them in the comments.

Definitely one of my favourite bands from the 90's was Halifax's, Super Friendz who recorded only 3 full-length albums. Their first two albums, Mock Up, Scale Down and Slide Show in my mind are over-looked Can-Con classics. The band was active from 1994-1997, but reformed in 2003 for a tour and recorded a third record, Love Energy. The band released their early albums (and 7" and 10"ers) on Murderecords, Chris Murphy of Sloan's label and were part of the renowned East Coast scene of the early 90's. This scene discovered other great bands that gained attention and exposure such as; Jale, Thrush Hermit, The Inbreds, Eric's Trip, Plumtree and Sloan.

Super Friendz's only release in the U.S. was a CD compilation of Mock Up, Scale Down and their rare 10", Play The Game, Not Games repackaged as Stickoitiveness. This release was the band's attempt to gain some exposure in the States. For some weird reason this was also the title of an independent cassette made by the band in 1994 and if anyone has more information or a copy of this recording, please let me know, I would love to post it here.

Sticktoitiveness (1997)
1. 10 Lbs.
2. Karate Man
3. Undertow
4. Rescue Us From Boredom
5. One Day
6. Fireflies
7. Machine Green
8. Kiss The Land
9. Landing Light
10. Green Hand
11. Half-Mast
12. Restricted
13. Better Call
14. Down In Flames
15. Boots
16. Come Clean
17. When They Paid Me

THE SUPER FRIENDZ- Sticktoitiveness. rar
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