Saturday, September 19, 2020

The Suitesixteen- Mine Would Be The Sun

When I first heard the album (CD), Wanna Smash Sensation by Victoria, BC's, BUM, it was love at first listen. The songs were catchy, the guitars were crunchy and the songs were amazing, not just a few, but the whole album! It really was a revelation, I regard this album as one of my favourite records of the 90's, maybe even of all-time. Whenever I listen to the album (which I still do consistently), it never fails to put a smile on my face. During the next year, I saw the band twice, bought their 7" singles and their follow-up CD's, I Am Superwoman and Shake Town- Live! and the band broke up. Actually, co-founder, guitarist vocalist, Rob Nesbitt left the band within a year of Wanna Smash Sensation's release and the band limped along briefly without him and released their final record the little known (and underrated), Make It Or Break It released in Spain (vinyl only) with Nick Thomas from the Smugglers on guitar. 
Purchased Wanna Smash Sensation through Popllama's mail order. That and The Smugglers CD.

Thanks to Scott McCaughey for the advice! Excellent show!
 After Nesbitt left the band, life went on. The band has reunited a few times since reuniting in 2014 for the Rifflandia festival in Victoria, guitarist Andrew Molloy released a great record with his band Budokan and Rob Nesbitt has been writing and recording material for a new project. Nesbitt's "project" is 25 years in the making and 16 years of work that was finally released this January. Mine Would Be The Sun is a concept album of songs he had written about a girl he spent his teen years obsessing about, a one-sided romance, call it self-therapy. This proved to be an epic obsession!

What we have is sixteen tracks from The Suitesixteen, Rob Nesbitt's career defining moment comulating on two discs of vinyl packaged in an incredible presentation. For the full experience, you must get the ultra-deluxe limited edition of this record and apparently, there is only 500 physical copies available. I can't honestly say I've even seen (or owned) such a lavish package with a triple gate-fold housed with two LPs, 45 rpm for the finest possible sound quality and a 52 page full colour book. The book and the gatefold is the highest quality and with it's meticulous detail it's obvious no expense was spared to make this a very special and one of a kind item. The book includes 15 pages of handwritten lyrics and photos taken at the sites where the events occurred on the album beautifully shot by Nesbitt's wife, Wendy. The package reads a lot like a coffee-table sized (autobiographical) memoir with a very cool soundtrack. The album is also available digitally on The Suitesixteen Bandcamp page that includes a high res pdf version of the book and you can sample the tracks before purchasing.

The album speeds fast out of the gate, side one could easily be mistaken for long lost tracks from BUM. It shouldn't come as a surprise the melodic pop-punk sound of BUM is evident throughout, which is a good thing because if you're a fan like me I've long missed the sound of this great band. It's an updated version of BUM with perhaps a more mature sound, depth and wider musical range. A Very Well Known Secret and My Wife, Doom, Singular, Fate are pure power pop, That Sweet Ache is a great pop song and Us In Pure Sound is pure punk and all the songs sound fresh and crisp. This isn't a lo-fi vanity bedroom project, the album sounds great, you can hear the attention to detail in the sound recorded at the JC/DC studio in Vancouver and Nesbitt's house with Rob doing all the vocals and most of the guitar work. He had help in the studio with several musicians including the likes of David Carswell from the Smugglers on guitar (who co-produced) and John Collins and Graham Watson (from BUM/Smugglers) on a couple of tracks. This album is completely an independent release. No record label, no grant money or fundraising, this album is completely funded with Nesbitt putting most of his life savings into the project. It's interesting how you change the way you listen to something once you realize what the subject matter is all about. Normally, I rarely listen closely to the lyrics of songs, but after reading the book and reading more about this project, I can't help listening to this story in a whole different way. Nesbitt claims that 98% of his songs even with BUM were about her.
For more insight about The Suitesixteen (aka: Rob)/Mine Would Be The Sun, I recommend this excellent article, "Why It Took Musician Rob Nesbitt 25 years To complete His New Album", written by (Smuggler/CBC-er) Grant Lawrence for the Vancouver Courier which includes an interview with Nesbitt. This album is clearly a leading candidate (personally) for the "best of the year" for 2020 and hopefully more people actually hear this record. I know there are fans of BUM that read this blog and trust me this is one of the best records I've heard in years and you won't be disappointed! Please spread the word and share this post.

To purchase- The Suitesixteen- Mine Would Be The Sun
*Digital album (FLAC, mp3...) @
*Ultra-deluxe limited vinyl edition (is not available in stores!) - contact Rob directly @ 

Monday, September 14, 2020

The Damned- Live At The First International Punk Festival 1976

Last week I started reading Nick Lowe's biography, Cruel To Be Kind written by Will Birch and it's so interesting it's hard to put down. It follows Lowe from (pre-) infancy up until I'm present day, as in a couple years ago when he recorded and toured with Los Straitjackets. I was looking forward to reading about his career in the 1970's where a lot of the action took place that followed Lowe through his early band's, Kippington Lodge, Brinsley Schwarz and of course, the great, Rockpile. He even crafted a pretty successful solo career as well. He made a lot of great music with those bands and played a ton of live shows while battling, believe or not, addition problems. The book provides a rare look at Lowe's personal life and there's lot's of insight from fellow musicians Lowe worked with, including his ex-Carlene and the author who had connections with Lowe back in the day. Elvis Costello spoke highly of Lowe as a performer and a producer who produced Costello's first five albums as well as Blood and Chocolate from 1986. Lowe got behind the board and started producing when Stiff Records was launched and he became the "in-house" producer for the label for a number of up and coming bands. 
One of those bands was the Damned who were briefly known as Masters of the Backside with (believe it or not) Chrissie Hynde, who later formed the Pretenders. In 1976, the band released their first single, New Rose and followed it up the next year with their debut album, Damned Damned Damned. They became the first punk rock band from the UK to release a single, album and tour the U.S. Up until this weekend, I only owned the band's critically underappreciated second album, Music for Pleasure and had the first album on a cassette I made back in the mid-80's (backed with the Buzzcocks- Singles Going Steady!). This weekend, my sister was downsizing her records and I scooped up a vinyl copy of that first record (beautiful yellow vinyl!) and their third album, Machine Gun Etiquette which I'm enjoying a lot.

The live recording I'm posting is supposedly the Damned's 5th ever live show. It would still be another couple months until the band would release New Rose (October 22) and another six months until their debut album came out. The sound quality is definitely not great, but it was fortunate someone taped the show since they were still a fairly new band and it's a great setlist made up of most of the songs from Damned Damned Damned. I've had this for a while so it was nice to re-discover this recording again and any early Damned is worth sharing and a listen.

Please do NOT sell or profit from this recording!
Do NOT convert to lossy format (except for personal use)
Please share!

1st International Punk Festival
Mont De Marsan, France
August 21, 1976

source: unknown gen. audience recording

01. 1 Of The 2
02. New Rose
03. Help
04. Fan Club
05. I Feel Alright
06. Feel The Pain
07. Fish
08. See Her Tonite
09. I Fall
10. So Messed Up

THE DAMNED- 1976-08-21 Mont de Marsan, France FLAC. rar 

Thursday, September 03, 2020

X- Live At The Whisky A Go-Go 1978

Photo by Frank Gargani
When I think of the definitive band of the L.A. punk scene of the late 70's /early 80's I immediately think of the band X. X formed in L.A. in 1977 and quickly established itself the front-runner of the local scene with it's punk sound rooted in a rockabilly style with the off kilter harmony vocals of Exene Cervenka and bassist-singer, John Doe. The band's first two albums are punk classics, Los Angeles (1980) and Wild Gift (1981). The songs are short and fast, on record they don't come across especially punk, but live the band performs with a punk energy with their furious shows set behind poetry, that set them apart from other bands from that era. Once the band signed to a major label their sound on later albums mixed rockabilly with country, folk rock and Americana influences, but still maintained their signature sound. This is another band I would have love to have seen in their prime and heyday, but even after over 40 years the band is going strong. This year, the band celebrated it's 40th year since their debut record with it's first studio album in 27 years, Alphabetland. A mighty fine comeback with the original lineup, this release caught me by surprise and it doesn't sound out of place in the X catalog, in fact, it's a really good album! The album has garnished a lot of positive reviews, I highly recommend a listen.

Unlike the Go Go's when they played the Whisky A Go Go in 1978, X wasn't in search of a sound, they already had material in their setlist that would appear on their first two albums when they played the Whisky in the same year. This set was two years before their debut album, Los Angeles would be released honing their skills in front of frantic crowds still early in their career. This is an audience recording that has decent sound considering it's age and the taper probably dodging reckless bodies bashing around the dance floor in front of the stage. Yet another 'historic" document from the early punk scene in L.A., this live recording should be shared and heard by fans of X and curious fans of early American punk...! I present: X, live at the Whisky A Go Go! *
* (not to be confused with the live album from 1988)
Please do NOT sell or profit from this recording!
Do NOT convert to lossy formats (except for personal use)
Please share!

Whisky A Go Go
Hollywood, CA
September 14, 1978
AUD recording

01. Soul Kitchen
02. Back 2 The Base
03. Year 1
04. Los Angeles
05. Adult Books
06. ???
07. When Our Love Passed Out On The Couch
08. Johnny Hit And Run Pauline
09. We're Desperate
10. Nausea
11. Soul Kitchen
12. I'm Coming Over


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