Friday, November 26, 2010

Wey Wey Hep Uh Hole, Robyn Hitchcock: Soft Boys Reissued. Again. With Less Songs.

Yip-a dang. The Soft Boys recently had underground (underwater?) classics Underwater Moonlight and Can of Bees reissued by Yep Roc. The Soft Boys getting back together for the Nextdoorland album and tour was absolutely the best reunion of my life, including Kiss coming back with the make-up and costumes. I never thought it would happen, because Soft Boy Robyn Hitchcock said it wouldn't, but I made the trek to Minneapolis, and it was one of the best shows ever. It was electrifying, quite different from Hitchcock's solo shows, which so far have been the only Hitchcock sightings in my town.

Robyn Hitchcock's personal revisitation of The Soft Boys' short musical life is uniquely humourous and imaginative, just like everything he does, and you can read that at The Quietus. You can listen to Underwater Moonlight and many of the bonus tracks that have accompanied reissues over the years here, or you can stream it The Line of Best Fit. The shiny bits of plastic or glossy vinyl only contain the tracks found on the original albums, but buyers receive bonus tracks digitally - purchasing Underwater Moonlight will net you a whopping 30 bonus tracks. So the "less tracks" part of the headline above only concerns the physical album.

This is the best song of all time. I Wanna Destroy You from Underwater Moonlight:

The Soft Boys - I Wanna Destroy You by charmfactory

Underwater Moonlight from, yes, Underwater Moonlight:

The Soft Boys - Underwater Moonlight by alexnycman

Human Music, from Can of Bees:

The Soft Boys - Human Music by theEndofRadio

The Pigworker, from Can of Bees:

Soft Boys - The Pigworker by thehopelessone

If you want more info on the reissues, The Flowering Toilet has some news for audiophiles and otherwise. Of course, the 2 albums do not include The Soft Boys splendiferous single I Want To Be An) Anglepoise Lamp, but you can find it online somewhere - maybe here? Other rare Soft Boys tracks can be found at Know Your Conjurer.

Buy The Soft Boys and Robyn Hitchcock from Yep Roc. You can buy both cds for $19.99, which is a pretty fine deal.

The Hip's Paul Langlois Can't Wait Anymore

Tragically Hip rhythm guitarist Paul Langlois just released the first song, Can't Wait Anymore (available from iTunes), from his forthcoming solo album, Fix This Head. I've always liked his backing vocals, because they were always rough and ready, full of character and life, the opposite of smooth auto-tuned fakery. Langlois's back-ups have been compared in the past to Bernadette Peters' high-pitched warble, but I never heard his voice like that - to me it was a rootsy rock and roll voice full of yearning, never perfect, but perfect for the Hip. Certainly his voice has been one of those things that has helped make the Hip unique.

The video above is taken from the premiere on Hockey Night in Canada, which is fitting for a guy from an iconic Canadian act that has referenced hockey in songs and videos over the years. But the song is not a Hip-like anthem, and it certainly doesn't resemble Nickelback butchering Elton John, so it's an intriguing choice to play over a montage of Habs and Leafs historical bits and highlights. Lyrically, it's clearly much less artsy or obtuse than a lot of Gord Downie's unique wordplay, and musically, it sounds like mellow gold. There have been a few Hip tracks that showcased Langlois's voice more than others, here's one that's almost a co-lead vocal.

Ahead By A Century - The Tragically Hip by kershy

Pre-orders for Fix This Head began November 22, and there are (were?) a limited number of autographed copies available from Maplemusic if you order before the release date of December 7.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Details - The Original Mark EP and mp3

The Details have released a new ep entitled The Original Mark. It's a teaser for their upcoming album, which will feature production by Stephen Carroll (of The Weakerthans) and Brandon Reid (The National). A Weakerthans connection makes sense, because The Details loosely fit in with other Winnipeg bands that like to have "The" before their name, write mature, oft-literate tunes, and contain musicians who have some punk in their pedigree - like The Weakerthans and The Paperbacks, for example.

The Details-The Original Mark by scruffy the yak

The Original Mark tracklist:
1. The Original Mark
2. Surface Breaks
3. Uniform
4. Strings and Ribbons
5. Floor Plans (Remix)

Tour Dates:

18 Nov 2010 20:00 Norma Jeans London, Ontario
21 Nov 2010 20:00 The Mansion Kingston, Ontario
22 Nov 2010 20:00 The Drake Hotel Underground Toronto, Ontario
27 Nov 2010 21:30 Lo Pub Winnipeg, Manitoba

Buy The Details here.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Pixies Coming Back to Canada?

photo Simon Fernandez

Pixies have released all of the live shows from their Canadian stops of the 2004 reunion tour. Actually, all 15 shows from the initial reunion are available, from the first in Minneapolis, the 2nd in Winnipeg (which I remember as being damn fine for a band that hadn't played in 11 years), all the way up to the Coachella show. If you were at those shows, you probably recall that each one was recorded and available for purchase - you could pick it up after the show or have it mailed to you. I thought that was a cool and gutsy move, and I still do. No studio fixing, just a cool momento of the gig. If you failed to get the show you were at back then, you can get it now for only $3.99. The following track was recorded at Prairieland in Saskatoon.

In unsubstantiated rumours news, the message I got from reads,
"Maybe we ought to come back to Canada in the New Year?" A tease? Foreshadowing? We'll see.

I'm Amazed - Pixies by FOE

Pixies - Hey by melmtree

Brick Is Red - Pixies by sarahmarshall

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Crystal Castles, Robert Smith and Platinum Blonde: Not in Love

Crystal Castles recently unleashed a new version of their Platinum Blonde cover, Not in Love, this time prominently featuring Robert Smith of The Cure. The Not In Love EP will come out on December 6th 2010 on Fiction Records. I guess it makes sense, Platinum Blonde and The Cure both used massive amounts of hair products and makeup, and I can see the line between Toronto-based Crystal Castles and the 80s Canuck rock/pop PB epitomise for some. Platinum Blonde's first record was pretty hooky stuff, thought the band devolved into wishy-washy warblers soon afterwards. What's weird is that I remember the peroxide boys playing the old Winnipeg Arena, whereas the only place The Cure played in town was a dingy basement bar.

Crsytal Castles & Robert Smith - Not in Love

Crystal Castles - Not in Love

Platinum Blonde - Not in Love

I had no idea others had covered this tune.

Not In Love ft. Robert Smith, by Crystal Castles by GRÉGOIRE HØVIKSTAD

Platinum Blonde-Not In Love by Check The Availability

Crystal Castles (ft. Robert Smith) - Not In Love (Amazing Love Bootleg) by amazinglove

I also didn't realize Platinum Blonde frontman Mark Holmes put out an album called Are You Sitting Comfortably? in 2007. Oasis and maybe The Beatles seem to be some reference points for the following track.

Supposedly last March, Mark Holmes announced on MuchMore's Daily Fix that a Platinum Blonde reunion is in the works with a new recording and tour. I haven't been able to find any more info on that tidbit, so we'll see if it happens. The CC/Robert Smith song is getting some good hype, and I think it's going to be more popular than Platinum Blonde ever were. Next up? Coney Hatch covers? Men Without Hats? Chalk Circle maybe?

Crystal Castles is available anywhere and everywhere.

Kathryn Calder and Some Old-School Style Animation

Kathyrn Calder has unveiled a new video for Arrow. I dig it because it references that old animation for which I have a twinge of nostalgia. Do you remember the old Tales of the Wizard of Oz? It doesn't really look like that old series, but gave me a faint reminder nonetheless. In light of recent events in my town, as well the States, the Oz video below seems to be timely. At any rate, Arrow is certainly one of Calder's catchiest tunes, ain't it?

Kathryn Calder "Arrow" Official Video from Kathryn Calder on Vimeo.

Kathryn Calder-Arrow by scruffy the yak

Kathryn Calder- Slip Away by scruffy the yak

Kathryn Calder - All It Is by user6316706

Kathryn Calder - If You Only Knew by sweetgeorgiabreezes

Buy Kathyrn Calder music here.

The Rest - John Huston and other Cool Projects

Hamilton's The Rest create arty indie pop for which it is hard to find reference points. Precious, wavering vocals swoop and flutter around, and sometimes I'm not sure if the words are as important as the sounds. The following song, John Huston, is named after a pretty famous director (The Maltese Falcon, The African Queen, Prizzi's Honour, Key Largo, and so on), I just don't know what the lyrics are on about. It wouldn't be the first band I've liked that I could never decipher and didn't feel the need to try to do so. The song will appear on the band's 2011 album SEESAW.

The Rest - John Huston by therestmusic

The Rest have been working on some quirky, fun projects in the past year. Here's a blurb straight from the band (from a few months ago):
"Hello, we’re running (hopping) around like excited rabbits because we’ve just released our first EP/Book for online viewing/listening. The Cried Wolf Book/EP revolves around the boy who cried wolf as an adult. The book's written in a whimsically dark style, with illustrations by the wonderfully surreal MLXNDRSC. The record contains three new songs, and our own rendition of the Robyn’s signature hit With Every Heartbeat. The Book/EP can be had FREE for the price of an email." You can do that here.

The band members must love their film. Here's a video utilizing Hitchcock footage.

Buy The Rest at Auteur Recordings.