Sunday, November 15, 2020

Hanson Brothers- Live At the Underground 2002

While watching NHL playoffs this past September, I was simultaneously reading the book, Lonely End Of The Rink by Grant Lawrence (his second book, I've read his most recent book, Dirty Windshields). It's a very interesting read because the subject matter of the book mirrored many of my interests and shared many of my passions. I grew up watching and playing hockey, I was a goalie, I played lots of ball hockey in my youth, I continued to play hockey as an adult, I was a singer in a band (my songwriting is heavily influenced by hockey in a self-described "hockey-rock" band) and I'm a writer (haha hardly, not really). Well, some of those things are similar, but in a different order. Grant had a love/hate relationship with hockey, when he was young, he often associated hockey with getting bullied by the jocks (hockey guys) at school, but it didn't stop him from organizing ball hockey games with friends. He grew up with a NHL team in his own backyard that was either really crappy, or oh so close to winning the cup, twice! He eventually played organized ice hockey as an adult (spoiler alert), as a goalie. His band, the Smugglers did a very cool hockey song, Our Stanley Cup that was included on the Johnny Hanson Presents...Puck Rock Volume One compilation. I highly recommend Grant's book, though it was hard to read at times (he was bullied hard!), it was inspiring and I will definitely seek out his first book (I'm reading them in reverse order) because I like his personal easy to read writing style.
Speaking of hockey rock, more specifically puck/punk-rock, Johnny Hanson's band, The Hanson Brothers (NO relation to the group, Hanson) has given us three marvelous full length studio albums all hockey themed. They have been entertaining audiences with their hard hitting, Ramones influenced punk rock since the members of Victoria, BC's, No Means No performed under the Hanson Brothers name in 1984. You can call it an alter ego, side project or spin off band, their music is much appreciated, world wide. 

I'm posting a live concert from the Hanson Brothers recorded in Germany in 2002. Special thanks to Mitch who sent me this show recorded at the club he worked at, with a high quality soundboard recording of this amazing show. I haven't seen the Hanson Bros live, but I imagine this is the next best thing to being there. Drop the puck and drop the gloves! Game on!
Essential Listen of the Week:  Johnny Hanson Presents...Puck Rock Vol. 1- A 21 track compilation of hockey songs from various artists (mainly Canadian) including, Hanson Bros, The Smugglers, S.N.F.U., D.O.A., Huevos Rancheros, The Sweaters and more! If you happen to find a used copy somewhere (which I did), buy it not only for the liner notes (lyrics and bios of the bands), but for the cool band "hockey team"-style logos on the back cover.

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The Underground
Cologne, Germany
May 13, 2002
01 - Intro - Total Goombah! 
02 - Hockey - My Girlfriend's A Robot 
03 - My Game 
04 - A Night Without You 
05 - Third Man In 
06 - Stick Boy 
07 - Tranquil
08 - I've Been There
09 - Hockey Night in Cologne - Sabrina
10 - Comatose
11 - 100 + 10 % 
12 - Rink Rat
13 - Unsung Heroes
14 - Joey Had To Go
15 - Rockaway Beach
16 - Duke It Out - Road Pizza - Jack Off
17 - You Can't Hide The Heino
18 - Bad
19 - They Made Her Mine
20 - We're Brewin'
21 - No Emotion
22 - Let's Go Out Tonight
23 - Danielle (She Don't Care About Hockey)
24 - Blitzkrieg Hops
25 - Sudden Death 

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Neil Young- Happy 75th! Elektra Demos 1965 & More


Today, November 12th is Neil Young's 75th birthday! Despite the worldwide pandemic that has shut down concert tours and most live performances, Young has had a busy 2020 so far, releasing new and "new" old music. He was also preoccupied with his displeasure with his president (he has dual Canadian and American citizenship), Donald Trump. In February, he wrote an open letter to Mr. President Donald Trump: "You Are A Disgrace To My Country". In August, he filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against the Trump campaign for using his music at Trump rallies and in September he released, The Times (EP) that included a new song, Lookin' For A Leader that expressed more of his feelings towards the Trump presidency. In June, Young finally released the long unreleased album, Homegrown that was originally suppose to be come out in 1975. And just last week, a live album, Return To Greendale, recorded in 2003 in Toronto while on tour to promote the album, Greendale with his band, Crazy Horse was released. Upcoming on November 20th, the Neil Young Archives Volume II: 1972-1976 is set to release, a 10-CD box set that will consist of 131 tracks, 63 previously unreleased. These include live and alternative versions of previously released songs, plus 12 never released songs. Wow, quite the busy year indeed!
I thought this would be an appropriate time to post some early demos from Young from 1965, the Elektra demos which is an unofficial release, but has been widely available. Some of these songs appear on the Archives Vol. 1, but a couple don't and as a bonus there are some rare live tracks. These early demos are Neil solo acoustic and the sound quality is very good. The interesting thing is that his voice actually sounds slightly smoother and more coherent than we're used to, but it's still unmistakably Neil Young. A true gem for any Neil fan and an important recording in his early career. Happy 75th!
Essential listen of the week: As far as Neil Young cover tributes go, this one's great! NEIL (Vol 1) from Scott The Hoople (aka: Scott McCaughey -YFF, Minus 5, Baseball Project...etc) is a 13 track digital album of Neil covers that just came out November 6th. 
Scott: "For 50+ years, his music has been a huge part of my life - a source of immense pleasure, comfort, and pleasurable discomfort...". I highly recommend giving this a listen, it's definitely worth the measly $7.00 he's asking. Get it!
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Elektra Demos 1965 & More

Transfer: Original silvers -> EAC -> Flac

01 Sugar Mountain
02 Nowadays Clancy Can't Even Sing
03 Run Around Babe
04 Don't Pity My Baby
05 I Ain't Got The Blues - False Start 1
06 I Ain't Got The Blues - False Start 2
07 I Ain't Got The Blues - False Start 3
08 I Ain't Got The Blues - Final Take
09 The Rent Is Always Due
10 When It Falls, It Falls All Over You

The Elektra Demos Recorded at the Elektra Studios in New York City, September 1965. Engineered by Peter Siegel. All Tracks are just Neil and his acoustic guitar. First time available in stunning sound quality!

11 Everybody's Alone
Recorded during rehearsals at KQED TV, December 1970.

12 Traces (With CSNY)
13 Love Art Blues (With CSNY)
Recorded at the Coliseum, Seattle, July 9, 1974.

14 Stringman
Recorded at the Hammersmith Odeon, London, March 31, 1976.

15 Southern Man (With Stills/Young Band)
Recorded at the Civic Center, Providence, July 7, 1976.

16 Give Me Strength
Recorded in the USA, November 1976.

17 Lady Wingshot
Recorded at the Bicentennial Park, Miami Beach, November 12, 1977.

18 Amber Jean
19 Let Your Fingers Do The Walking (a.k.a. Good Phone)
20 Helpless
21 Down By The River
Recorded at the Austin City Limits TV Show, Austin, September 25, 1984.

Sunday, November 01, 2020

Halloween Special- Local H As Nirvana 1997

Actually this is a post-Halloween special as I was too busy yesterday preparing for the onslaught of costumed kids by carving pumpkins and bagging up treats. Despite our efforts, by spreading bags on a table outside and social distancing sitting outside in costume for over 2 hours, we had a whopping 11 people at the house. Half of those took candy after we retreated inside after 8pm, because it is cold and windy enough to still have snow on the ground. Damn you Covid! Oh well, the night wasn't a total loss...more candy for me! We live in a region that is in a "code red alert" lock-down so Halloween parties and concerts are definitely not happening, so the next best thing is listening to or watching some Halloween themed concerts.

One band that always delivers on Halloween is Local H, who have performed almost every year at the Double Door in Chicago for their annual Halloween bashes, which began in 1996. Local H would perform as other bands and play a complete set with that band's music. They have performed as Nirvana several times, in 1997, 2016 and last night for an outside drive-in concert (because of epidemic) in the parking lot of Booomers Stadium in Schaumburg, Illinois. They have also performed Halloween shows at the DD as Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Hall and Oates, AC/DC, The Doors, Sex Pistols, Tom Petty and more, all with their amazing likenesses that would make most tribute bands jealous. Not only are the songs worthy covers, but the mannerisms and movements of the performers are uncanny. A couple nights ago, I fell through the rabbit hole and watched many of these complete shows on YouTube. Thanks to all that uploaded these great videos!
The first time Local H played as Nirvana was the Halloween show at the Double Door in 1997. I plucked the live audio recording off (where they have well over 500 Local H shows!) and they remarkably sound pretty convincing, and if you watch the video, Scott Lucas does a pretty good Kurt Cobain impression. If you're a fan of Nirvana, Local H or good clean fun, this is well worth a listen. 

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Local H
Playing as Nirvana for Halloween
The Double Door
Chicago, IL
October 31, 1997

01. Intro/School
02. Aneurysm
03. Breed
04. About a Girl
05. Serve the Servants
06. Sliver
07. Been a Son
08. Negative Creep
09. Love Song?
10. Rape Me
11. Tourette's
12. Lithium
13. Smells Like Teen Spirit
14. Territorial Pissings

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