Friday, July 30, 2010

Birthday Boy

Okay, the day before yesterday my son came kicking and screaming into this world. I don't know what kind of guy Max is going to be, but I sure hope he likes rock 'n' roll. This one's for Max.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Posies: New Album, New Chance to Create Another Scruffy Favourite

The Posies will release their new album Blood/Candy September 28th on Rykodisc. I'm probably a little too excited about it, but The Huffington Post has reported that "Blood/Candy is the first Posies album for which Auer and Stringfellow actually wrote material in advance of the recording sessions since Amazing Disgrace in 1996". Writer Tony Sachs adds: "When they started planning Blood/Candy, Jon and Ken talked about making a "classic" Posies-sounding record, and sure enough, plenty of the songs that have that vibe -- uptempo guitar-based rockers with infectious hooks, hummable melodies and dark, melancholy undertones. It's the kind of stuff that makes power-pop fans' eyes roll into the back of their heads while they softly gurgle with ecstasy."

Well, Amazing Disgrace is a really good record. But the previous album, Frosting on the Beater, is one of my favourite albums of all time. Somehow it never got the love it deserves, maybe because it came out during the heyday of grunge. Those into Soundgarden or Nirvana or Mudhoney might not have found it heavy enough, perhaps it didn't display enough Stooges, Sabbath, Pixies and Zeppelin influences. At the same time, a record store employee friend of mine referred to Frosting on the Beater as their "grunge album", perhaps because they called Seattle home and the disc included more noisy songs than the record that came before it (Dear 23). To me, the beautiful Hollies-like harmonies were still there, but it was more Cheap Trick than Pearl Jam, and certainly more Big Star than Tad. When Auer and Stringfellow sing together, for me, there's a magnetic pull that can't be denied. Frosting on the Beater just happens to contain some kind of magic that most artists can never quite conjure; 12 perfectly-baked tunes, spot on production by Don Fleming, and no half-arsed hyper-pretentious experiments. Even if more than one of the songs seems to contain lyrics about suicide, for me it's a joyous experience all the way through.

You don't have to take my word for it though. Magnet magazine included the album in their list of top 15 American power pop albums. Since The Posies toured playing Frosting on the Beater in recent years, I'm hoping to hear that they've influenced themselves - clearly Stringfellow and Auer know people's passion for the album if they're willing to play it in its entirety 15 years after the fact. Here are three songs from Frosting preceded by a live version of the same album's Solar Sister:

Since the band made 2005's Every Kind of Light, it's been clear that Auer and Stringfellow can still make great music that doesn't sound like most of the music we hear today. I mean, their solo records showed that they could both spool out melodic beauty, and being half of the reconstituted Big Star as well as working with R.E.M. and the Minus 5, hanging out with John Wesley Harding and Fountains of Wayne...the guys haven't had enough time away from good music to forget how it's done. Here's one from Every Kind of Light.

Stringfellow in particular has done some stretching out with his other current concern, The Disciplines. Hivesy garage rock ain't what I expected, anyway.

On this one, Jon Auer's voice reminds me of Squeeze during the verses, then a little of Billy Squier in the chorus. You think I'm kidding, but I'm not.

Here's Stringfellow's with a live version of Find Yourself Alone, definitely one of my favourite of his solo tunes.

Download free mp3s from The Posies, Stringfellow and Auer at the band's site here. A Depeche Mode cover? Quite enjoyable. A Hollies remake? Royal. The Kinks? Even better.

Buy Posies from Amazon in the U.S. here, in Canada here.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Friendly Foes Break Up, The Cars Get Back Together - Maybe?

The Cloudy News:

Friendly Foes have announced the band's split. Cue the violins, they've been rehearsing in my head since I heard the news. Guess Friendly Fires outlasted to win the Name Game.

Last show ever:
21 Aug 2010 19:30 Fucking Awesome Fest @ The Magic Stick Detroit, MI

The Silvery Lining:

The members of Friendly Foes might continue to make music, just not together. I thought guitarist/singer Ryan Allen was still fronting Thunderbirds Are Now!, but I've been corrected - I "suck at blogging", according to somebody named hawksorama. Bassist/vocalist Lizzie Wittman has made music with Kiddo, though I'm not entirely sure if that's a going concern or not. Wittman also has a project called Lettercamp, which I also learned from hawksorama. I stand corrected, mostly because hawks spanked me hard. Anyway, Allen and drummer Sean Sommer both play in The Cold Wave, too.

Thunderbirds - From: Skulls

View More Free Videos Online at

The Cold Wave - Clouded by scruffy the yak

In other potential silver lining-type news, rumours are flying that the 4 surviving members of The Cars are reuniting. This gossip was passed along to me by Slicing Up Eyeballs, now we're both rumour-mongerers, right?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Chris Page and A Date With a Smoke Machine

It's always fun when an artist steps outside of his/her box and dives into a musical endeavour that may seem surprising. Those making punk-inflected tunes especially - DOA going acoustic, Social Distortion's Mike Ness showing his love for old school country, and so on.

Chris Page might be most well known for fronting The Stand GT, but he's been putting out solo records (under the name The Glen Nevous Retraction and then using his own name) as well as working with his newer band Camp Radio for a while now. While The Stand GT made punk rock you could sing along to and Camp Radio bend towards indie rock pop, Page's solo stuff seems to lean into Joel Plaskett or Billy Bragg territory. If you've ever seen Plaskett on a solo tour, he can take a song from folky singer-songwriter terrain into new land just by trading an acoustic guitar for an electric. Bragg's most popular tunes, I would argue, are those in which he wielded an electric that he sometimes played like an acoustic (quietly, gently, sweetly) and sometimes like he didn't need a back-up band (loud, brash, abrasive). Robyn Hitchcock's another guy that in a live setting, can make his solo electric sound like he's got two or three guys behind him fattening his sound.

Page's solo music is like that; one foot in folk, one in punk, another dipping into pop...of course, it helps that he's got three feet. A Date With a Smoke Machine, his newest solo offering, sometimes gives listeners a Skydiggersish roots tune, sometimes a quick pop fix, and sometimes a Canadian take on Braggsian folk/punk/rock. An intimate affair, without a million overdubs and a chorus in the wings. Check it out here.

Chris Page - Two Twenty Twos

<a href="">Two Twenty Twos by Chris Page</a>


Coax the Ending Day

<a href="">Summertime Out by Chris Page</a>

According to Page's blog, a video will be up online in the coming weeks, and a digital only EP of Smoke Machine demos and other covers will be coming along soon as well.

Buy Chris Page, Camp Radio and The Stand GT here.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Drive-by Truckers Tour With Petty, Give Free MP3s

It's no secret that Drive-by Truckers is one of the best rock 'n' roll bands in the world. The band is now getting some more exposure by opening for Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, so soon many more classic rock guys will be joining the bandwagon, as faint strains of Neil Young, Jason and the Scorchers, Drivin' 'N' Cryin', and The Stones all help give Drive-by Truckers the sound of classic rock that hasn't been played to death. Foregt The Eagles and Lynyrd Skynyrd, DBT are cookin'
up southern-fried goodness right now. If you haven't pledged allegiance to DBT yet, now's a good time, before the wagon's totally overflowing.

Drive-By Truckers - Daddy Learned To Fly by JesusCristo

You can download the album version of Birthday Boy below.

Download Girls who smoke (LP bonus track) here.

Drive-By Truckers -- Girls Who Smoke (Bonus Track) by Sir_Quickly

Buy DBT music and merch here.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Young Rival Go Gimmick-Free

While we were sleeping, Young Rival has been steadily building its following from its evil mastermind lair in Hamilton. Hooking up with Hamilton neighbour Sonic Unyon was a good move in my book, I've always had a soft spot for that little label - Tricky Woo, Thrush Hermit, Treble Charger, Kittens, Smoother, and Crooked Fingers in the past, now Young Rival will maybe signal a renaissance for S.U.

Young Rival seems to be a band without a gimmick. No ridiculously stupid name, no outrageous outfits, and above all, no songs that make you dig a hundred kilometres before you find a melody or a hook. There's a bit of range there too, from short, jangly bobble-head tunes, scrappy garage rock, and wistful, shimmering dream-pop. The video below shows people's reactions to live performances of Authentic from the band's album released a few months ago. I especially like the last guy's response.

A little quartet called R.E.M. covered this song just before the band hit the big time. Coincidence? We'll see.

YOUNG RIVAL (Part 2) - All I Have To Do Is Dream by the Everly Brothers from Mitch Fillion ( on Vimeo.

I'm pretty sure I posted this song previously, but not this video from the band's previous EP.

Before Beach House was bloggged about incessantly, Young Rival covered 'em.

The band even has an old school guitar fishing(?) game you can play. Try it out (try the wildcat head), but don't snag the boots.

Buy Young Rival from Sonic Unyon. If you want to exchange a free mp3 of Got What You Need for your e-mail address, go the band's web site home page.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Parson Red Heads are All Right, Despite Music Snobbery

The Parson Red Heads make me think of late 60's and 70's folk rock, with sunshine and happiness and good vibes flowing freely. One of their influences is Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. They often look like time-travelled hippies. Also, it sometimes it seems like the band is one of those "musical collectives" where members float freely in and out and jamming is smiled upon (Broken Social Scene, anyone?). According to all of the points above, I should detest this band. Instead, I love them.

Although there may be some factual errors in the video above, it was my introduction to the band, so I'm passing it on (the band members aren't Mormons, for one thing) from I Am Fuel, You Are Friends. I don't even like the same things about the song as the person above, I enjoy the simple guitar right from the beginning of the song, the clattery-but-efficient percussion, and especially the vocals and harmonies. On this song more than others, The Parson Red Heads have cooked up an interesting blend of pop and roots.

Other songs seem more rooted in the 60's pop, 70's rock, and timeless roots veins, but I like it when the harmonies lean more towards Teenage Fanclub, Big Star or the Byrds than CSNY, more Gram Parsons than Fairport Convention (other influences listed on the band's MySpace page include Dream Syndicate, Long Ryders, The Records, and The Nerves, so it should be no surprise that I like 'em, I guess). Maybe members of The Parson Red Heads don't mind dsplaying a wry sense of humour, too, as they list Left Eye Parson, Darth Parson, Stumpy Parson, Missing Parson, and Jumping Jack Parson as Honorary Parsons. I wanna be Scruffy the Yak Parson today.

The Parson Red Heads - Punctual As Usual by scruffy the yak

The Parson Red Heads - You Can Leave It by wereofftherails

A song that should be on the next album:

The band's new full length album should be out soon: a gig on August 17 is listed as a cd release show. Lots of tour dates:

21 Jul 2010 20:00 Plush Inc Tucson, AZ
23 Jul 2010 21:00 Emo's Austin Austin, TX
25 Jul 2010 20:30 Cactus Club Milwaukee, Wisconsin
26 Jul 2010 19:00 Kavarna Green Bay, WI
31 Jul 2010 20:00 Schuba's, w/ Cotton Jones Chicago, IL
1 Aug 2010 20:00 7th Street Entry, w/ Cotton Jones and Morning Teleportation Minneapolis, MN
2 Aug 2010 20:00 The Aquarium, w/ Cotton Jones and Morning Teleportation Fargo, ND
4 Aug 2010 18:30 Dornan's, w/ Cotton Jones and Roadside Graves Moose, WY
5 Aug 2010 20:00 Neurolux, w/ Cotton Jones and Roadside Graves Boise, Idaho
6 Aug 2010 20:00 Old St Francis School Bend, Oregon
7 Aug 2010 19:30 Crystal Ballroom Portland, Oregon
7 Aug 2010 20:00 The Crystal Ballroom Portland, OR
8 Aug 2010 20:00 Sunset Tavern, w/ Cotton Jones Seattle, WA
9 Aug 2010 20:00 The Wild Buffalo w/ Cotton Jones Bellingham, Washington
10 Aug 2010 20:00 Media Club w/ Cotton Jones Vancouver, BC
11 Aug 2010 20:00 Northern, w/ Cotton Jones Olympia, WA
12 Aug 2010 20:00 Sam Bond's Garage, w/ Cotton Jones Eugene, OR
13 Aug 2010 20:00 Bottom of the Hill, w/ Cotton Jones and Roadside Graves San Francisco, CA
14 Aug 2010 20:00 The Crepe Place, w/ Cotton Jones Santa Cruz, CA
16 Aug 2010 20:00 Muddy Waters, w/ Cotton Jones Santa Barbara, CA
17 Aug 2010 20:00 CD RELEASE SHOW @ The Echo w/ Cotton Jones and Roadside Graves Los Angeles, California
19 Aug 2010 20:00 Kilby Court, w/ Cotton Jones Salt Lake City, UT
20 Aug 2010 20:00 Hi Dive, w/ Fruit Bats and Cotton Jones Denver, Colorado
21 Aug 2010 20:00 Jackpot Saloon, w/ Cotton Jones Lawrence, KS
22 Aug 2010 20:00 Schlafly Bottleworks, w/ Cotton Jones Maplewood, MO
23 Aug 2010 20:00 The Basement Nashville, TN
25 Aug 2010 21:00 Hailey's Denton, TX
26 Aug 2010 20:30 Low Spirits Albuquerque, New Mexico
27 Aug 2010 20:30 Plush Inc Tucson, AZ

You can buy The Parson Red Heads here.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Blue Rodeo & The Unintended: Don't Take 'Em for Granted

photo by Dustin Rabin

Rediscovery of an artist that seems to have left your conciousness is sometimes as good as finding a new gem. Blue Rodeo is one of those for me. I've never been a huge fan, but I've always enjoyed the band's music. I own a number of their albums, even one of Jim Cuddy's solo records and one of Greg Keelor's. But I never became an uberfan for some reason.

However, on Record Store Day, I picked up The Unintended, the album Keelor did with The Sadies and Rick White. The Unintended took its name from my favourite Gordon Lightfoot song, Go Go Round, so although it took me years, I finally scored it from the Winnipeg Folk Festival Music Store. While that album sounds nothing like Blue Rodeo, it still reminded me of BR's longevity and how many great songs the band's given us. Maybe I'll do a full post soon on The Unintended, but for now I just want to remind you, like I needed reminding, that Blue Rodeo is still out there making great music.

Blue Rodeo - Gossip

Blue Rodeo - Gossip by PAIMUSIC

The Unintended live 2006

Blue Rodeo Official Online Community

Buy Blue Rodeo here.

Buy The Unintended here.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Art vs. Commerce: Squeeze - Spot the Difference

Ever since I was a kid I have wondered about the term "pop music". Although I figured out at some point that it came from "popular", Ozzy was pretty popular, and no one called his music pop. Somewhere along the line, pop music to some people became music that was not rock. Disposable, lightweight, appealing to the masses, music for kids, made for money not art...these are the kinds of terms used to describe pop. But these are elitist arguments.

Don't get me wrong, I've been called a rock snob or a music snob more than once, and I probably will be again. But my personal definition of pop always starts with The Beatles. Sharply-crafted songwriting, well-produced tracks, strong melodies, fine harmonies - that's the template for me. But can it really be argued that The Beatles were disposable, commercially-driven capitalists devoid of artistic merit, simply pop culture signposts? Doubt it.

At any rate, I almost always want some pop in my rock. I'm a sucker for catchy hooks, indelible melodies, sweet harmonies - these are the elements that often destroy my resistance, the songs that make you want to sing along. Yeah, I like Minor Threat and Motorhead as well as Guided By Voices and Eric's Trip, but I always return to well-produced songs with powerful choruses at some point. If you can remove the art vs. commerce argument, you might find that a lot of the rock music we love contain those pop elements I listed above. For me, it comes down to a simple formula - is there any Beatles in there? An oceanful of the artists I love have some Beatles blood in there somewhere. Robyn Hitchcock? Yup. Cheap Trick? Oh yeah. Kiss? Absolutely. Wilco? Sure. Spoon? I think so. R.E.M.? Stipe would never admit it, but the influence is probably in there somewhere, even if it's been twisted through countless other bands.

After The Silver Beatles, my pop family tree probably stops off at Squeeze. Intelligent lyrics, great hooks, quality musicianship that never veered off into wanking territory...what's not to like? Squeeze have re-recorded 14 of their best-loved tunes and will release them August 3 on an album entitled Spot the Difference. I saw this video on Slicing Up Eyeballs, where the writer pointed out that we should watch for the iPad keyboard solo.

Spot the Difference Track listing:

1. Another Nail In My Heart

2. Black Coffee In Bed

3. Cool For Cats

4. Goodbye Girl

5. Hourglass

6. Is That Love

7. Labelled With Love

8. Loving You Tonight

9. Pulling Mussels (From The Shell)

10. Slap And Tickle

11. Some Fantastic Place

12. Take Me I'm Yours

13. Tempted

14. Up The Junction

You can buy Squeeze here.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Spoon's Greatest Video?

Okay, Spoon's been my favourite band for years now, so any excuse to get 'em on here is okay. Stumbled across this video, thought I'd share it.

Here's another song you should have heard by now...

Crocodiles and The Rentals want you to Sleep Forever in this Honey Life

Just a couple of quickies from RCRD LBL today.

We've been loving Crocodiles for a while now, with songs like Neon Jesus I Wanna Kill and Summer of Hate giving us an energetic Jesus and Mary Chain vibe. This new one maybe slides more into the shoegaze era, My Bloody Valentine territory, but it's still quite good. The Sleep Forever single will be out on Fat Possum Records August 17 with b-sides California Girls and Groove Is in the Heart - I'm very curious about that Dee-Lite cover. The new album will be out September 14 and will also be called Sleep Forever.

Buy Crocodiles here.

Unlike The Rentals best-known tune, Friends of P, this tune does not offer a quick new wave revival. Honey Life is lush pop, with violin and hushed vocals propelling a pretty little ditty. The song is taken from the album Songs About Time: Chapter Three - The Future. It's a taster of an insanely ambitious project featuring "42 tracks on 4 LPs and CDs, a 72-page hardcover photobook, 52 short films on DVD, 2 Art booklets, a One of a kind roll of undeveloped film(?!), and much more" according to the band's website.

The Rentals - Honey Life

SAT RELEASE from The Rentals Dot Com on Vimeo.

Buy The Rentals here.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Eugenius & The Vaselines Hate the 80's, How About You?

The Vaselines are getting some ink these days with a new album after a 20 year hiatus(get a free download of the first single, I Hate the 80's, at the bottom of the post). I like The Vaselines OK, but I really loved Eugene Kelly's band Eugenius, his in-between band. With slightly-distorted guitar and oft-laid back vocals, the band reminded me of a more pop Dinosaur Jr with less guitar heroics. The songs were still simple like The Vaselines', but to me sounded more fleshed out and full of bliss.

Eugenius - Buttermilk

Buttermilk by Eugenius by scruffy the yak

Eugenius - Oomalama

Oomalama by Eugenius by scruffy the yak

I don't hate the 80's, but these lyrics are kind of funny, and the nostalgia for that era is not necessarily well-founded. That decade is much more funny in retrospect than it was the first time around.

You won't find Eugenius in record stores unless they carry used items. But you can get it on Amazon. The Vaselines? Try your local store or Amazon.

Social Distortion Signs With Epitaph, Readies New Record

photo by Julia Zave

Social Distortion recently signed to Epitaph Records, the label that has released musical time bombs by Bad Religion, Rancid, NOFX, Pennywise, The Refused, The Hives, All, The Donnas, SNFU, The Offspring, L7, Descendents, The International Noise Conspiracy, Joe Strummer - in other words, many of the punk rock-flavoured frisbees that have coloured the world we know today. So Social Distortion seems to have come full circle from early punk roots, to major label rock heroes, and back to a label that's had big successes bringing punk to the masses. No word on a release date yet, but SD main man Mike Ness has been talking up the recording process and his influences, telling that the album sounds like a cross between The Dead Boys and The Black Crowes.

View this video at

Scoial Distortion's web site has some interesting video links, with Ness perfeorming with members of Pearl Jam and some rocking live stuff. There's also this one of Ness doing Bad Luck with Springsteen. It's not really the best version of the song, but I think it's amazing that his Bruceness is aware of SD's greatness, saying he's been a big fan for a "long, long time". Springsteen has previously called Social Distortion "one of the not-heralded-enough great American rock bands", even going so far as to appear on Ness's solo album Cheating at Solitaire.

Some people think the new album will include a song called Bakersfield, a tune that has been played live a fair amount. I can hear Springsteen doing this one, I'd like him to record it too so Ness can afford to keep doing what he does.

Ness has said that the new album reminds him of 1992'2 Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell, which I'm pretty sure is a lot of people's fave SD record - I know it's mine. Here's the opening track from that one.

Buy Social Distortion here.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Superchunk Reissues, Reforms, Refreshes!

Not enough noisy rock on here lately, sorry. I'll try to make up for it. When I was young, Superchunk always struck me as being one of the "indie" bands critics were just starting to write about. The record store I worked in sold their stuff on a regular basis even though the albums were imports and more expensive than they should have been. When a friend finally let me listen to his cassette of No Pocky For Kitty, I was impressed by the punky energy that always managed to contain a keen sense of melody. Mac McCaughan's voice in particular was consistently tuneful, even when he was simultaneously singing and shouting. To this day, I am intrigued by the album title No Pocky for Kitty: what does it mean? No pockets for the cat? Merge Records will reissue Superchunk's No Pocky for Kitty (1991) and On the Mouth (1993) on CD, LP and digital download on August 17.

Superchunk - Skip Steps 1 & 3 (From No Pocky for Kitty)

Superchunk - Skip Steps 1 & 3 by scruffy the yak

Superchunk also have a new album, Majesty Shredding, due out September 14.

Superchunk - Majesty Shredding from Merge Records on Vimeo.

Someone's Youtubed the audio from the band's new 7-inch (thanks to Dan Gordon's song of the Day on facebook). Here's the first single Digging for Something from Majesty Shredding.

Buy Superchunk from merge records.

Friday, July 9, 2010

John K. Samson, Cruise Night & the Weakerthans

Free download until June 15 of Samson's Cruise Night at The song's from the first of a series of 7"s exploring roads in Manitoba. Of course, you can catch The Weakerthans playing with Jim Bryson tonight at the Winnipeg Folk Fest, they will debut songs from their upcoming collaboration, The Falcon Lake Incident.

Cruise Night by John K Samson by scruffy the yak

The Weakerthans tour doc inventively titled "We're the Weakerthans, We're from Winnipeg" is now available on MTS's Winnipeg on Demand.

Weakerthans bassist Greg Smith has a solo album called The Northern Elation which yuo can purchase from

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Free Television & Tom Verlaine

Photo used under Creative Commons by

One of my favourite artists of all time is Tom Verlaine, including his work with Television. For quite a while, Verlaine was off my radar, doing production and generally not releasing any Verlaine-like works of solo genius since 1990 (The Wonder). Television regrouped to put out a third record in 1992 and played sporadically between then and now, but have never put out any more recorded material. Verlaine has said that there will be a Television album out someday, but I'm still waiting.

Luckily, there are others out there in blog-land who love Verlaine and Television as much as me.

Captains Dead has made available some fine demos for Television's second album, Adventure. Although the first, Marquee Moon, is considered the classic, Adventure seems to be finally getting its due. Aquarium Drunkard recently released a charity album of L.A. bands covering songs from Adventure.

This is the video that sparked my interest in solo Verlaine; I was a little late in realizing how amazing he is. The sinuous guitar, the unique way he spits out his sing-speak vocals, the decidedly un-rock star-like look (pale-face beatnik in the big-hair 80's? Cool.) all intrigued me, and still do.

Verlaine finally released a couple of new albums in 2006, you can download a tune from Songs and Other Things at the ultra-fine Largehearted Boy blog.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Royal Canoe and Magnificent Cities are Soulful, not Slackers

Sometimes musicians seem like slackers or perfectionists, because for one reason or another it takes years (or decades) to release music for the masses while we wait impatiently. You can probably think of an example. My Bloody Valentine springs to mind, Kate Bush, Peter Gabriel. Winnipeg artists are no different. Especially if their first name starts with J (Hello, Jay Churko (Chords of Canada, Transistor Sound & Lighting Co.. Yeah, you too, Jason Allen (Rowdymen)!). But in reality, juggling personal finances and life with artistic pursuits is a long hard road for many, which means that your desire for aural nourishment or ear candy goes unfulfilled.

But today we celebrate a couple of fellows who might look like slackers at times, but still manage to give listeners something to chew on. In Pets and Waking Eyes, Matt Peters and Rusty Matyas have shown a couple of different sides of their musical profiles. Although Waking Eyes haven't put out anything lately, they've both got new things to tide you over.

Peters's band is called Royal Canoe, which reminds me of another great Winnipeg band we haven't heard from forever, Grand Theft Canoe (come back, Evan Kroeker!) R.C.'s album, Co-op Mode was created years ago, but is just getting an official release now. The album features co-writes and performances with Peters, Nathan Blanchard, Rusty Matyas, Jo Snyder, Dave Wiebe, Steve Senkiw, Tom Keenan, Joey Penner, and Andy Freund. Last year Peters recruited Bucky Driedger and Matt Schellenberg (The Liptonians), Jeff Bruce (Jicah) and fellow Waking Eye, Joey Penner to fill up Canoe seats. Although songs such as Kasparov display the power pop sensibilities sometimes heard in Pets, the album also features some smooth, funky soul; listen to and/or download (click the downward arrow on the player) Me Loving Your Money.

Royal Canoe-Me Loving Your Money by scruffy the yak

Royal Canoe Tour Dates

8 Jul - Regina, SK @ O'Hanlons
9 Jul - Saskatoon, SK @ Amigo's Cantina
10 Jul - Edmonton, AB @ Brixx Bar & Grill
12 Jul - Penticton, BC @ VooDoos
13 Jul - Vancouver, BC @ TBA
16 Jul - Calgary, AB @ Broken City
22 Jul - Ottawa, ON @ Zaphod Beeblebrox
23 Jul - Montreal, QC @ Trois Minots
24 Jul - Toronto, ON @ Sneaky Dees
27 Aug - Morden, MB @ Morden Corn and Apple Festival

Rusty's band with Marti Sarbit is equally difficult to pigeon-hole. Imaginary Cities has not jumped on any particular bandwagon. Sarbit's soulful voice soars and dives and generally operates for the good of mankind, while the instrumentation tastefully pushes her sweet sounds further. What would you call it?

Imaginary Cities are giving away 5 songs from their yet-to-be-released album, you can download 'em here.

Upcoming shows:

21 Jul 2010 22:00 Lo Pub Winnipeg
31 Jul 2010 21:00 Peir Stage Gimli, MB (Islendingadagurinn! Icelandic Fest, don't you know)
14 Aug 2010 20:00 Kelwood - Festival Site Kelwood, MB

Imaginary Cities @ Lo Pub from Ben Myers on Vimeo.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Kathryn Calder Shooting an Arrow at You

photo by Caleb Beyers

Kathryn Calder (The New Pornographers, Immaculate Machine) is now offering a second stab at a cut from her new album, Are You My Mother?, which will be released August 3rd (though it's available on iTunes now). Arrow is the second track we've given you, Slip Away was featured in the probably-too-long-for-any-of-you-to-read-entirely Alphabet post. Calder seems like a bright light in a gloomy tunnel, with Arrow giving listeners a spare piano, theremin and harmony sundae.

Kathryn Calder-Arrow by scruffy the yak

"Kathryn Calder, who replaced (Neko) Case on vocals and keys, is incredibly charming and charismatic. Tonight, a photographer friend of mine blew a couple of rolls of film on her for this very reason." - Craig Finn (singer/guitarist, The Hold Steady) for The Guardian, UK

Here's Calder on the right hand side of your screen with her current day job.

Here's a New Pornos video I somehow missed.

Friday, July 2, 2010

The Morning Benders' Stitches and a Free Album

Illustration by Johnnie Cluney

A while back I posted the live in-studio production video for the Morning Benders' Excuses, the band has now made available another track with the cast of thousands, Stitches. I think the idea of creating new Phil Spectorish walls of sound is pretty cool in our ProTool world. If you've got enough soulful friends who will work for free and a nice big studio to work in, you can do it too. Go ahead, I dare you. Presents: The Morning Benders "Stitches" from Yours Truly on Vimeo.

On the other side of the recording spectrum, The Morning Benders are giving away an album of covers recorded in an apartment, get it here. So far, I've only had time to check out the Talking Heads and Fleetwood Mac covers, but I like them both. I also appreciate the wide range of artists they've covered. Johnny Mercer, The Crystals, The Cardigans, The Ronettes, and Randy Newman are intriguing choices for an indie band to put their fingerprints on - it seems like the guys have done their homework.

the bedroom covers:
1. crying - roy orbison
2. mother and child reunion - paul simon
3. why dont they let us fall in love? - the ronettes
4. lovefool - the cardigans
5. i won't share you - the smiths
6. he's a rebel - the crystals
7. marie - randy newman
8. fools rush in - johnny mercer/rube bloom
9. temptation inside your heart - velvet underground
10. dreams - fleetwood mac
11. pull up the roots - talking heads
12. caroline, no- beach boys remix (bonus track)
12.5 why don't they let us fall in love? (live daytrotter version!)

The Morning Benders - "Dreams" (Fleetwood Mac Cover) by modernmysteryblog