Monday, March 28, 2011

Rheostatics: Time for Some Kudos

Allegedly the Junos yesterday featured a bunch of Toronto-based artists (such as Garth Hudson, Jim Cuddy, City and Colour, Sarah Harmer, Sarah Slean, Kevin Hearn, Greg Keelor, Justin Rutledge, Serena Ryder and The Sadies) paying tribute to a bunch of artists that were based in Canada ages ago. Some people on a popular social network have been commenting on the fact that members of Rheostatics were not represented. One wag posited that it was Toronto doing Toronto, but that's another story.

Anyway, the lack of kudos for Rheostatics got me thinking. Only The Tragically Hip have even come close to being as recognizably "Canadian" as Rheos. Did that Canuck-ness somehow keep 'em from greater recognition? Or was it the oft-evident sense of humour? The associations with capital A "Art", including visual art and film? The willingness to change time signatures at the drop of a hat, to simetimes eschew the easy verse-chorus-verse format, the fact that band members have already paid tribute to Joni Mitchell (Martin Tielli's stunning version of River), Gordon Lightfoot (the band's cover of The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald), or occasional nods to Neil Young (the main guitar part in Bad Time to be Poor, maybe), as well as giving rock 'n' roll love to other Canadian artists like Jane Siberry or Stompin' Tom (Dave Bidini's written work)?

I don't know. But I do know that Rheos were an influential group, and there are homages on YouTube to prove it. In my town, I know of three different recording artists off the top of my head that found the band to be significant, and not always so for the same reasons. Also, haven't artists from the 60's and 70's like Mitchell, Young (both of whom have lived in the States for about 100 years), The Guess Who, and so on already had enough accolades? I don't know who watches the Junos, but I'd rather see today's artists honour Rheos, Blue Rodeo, Sloan or The Hip.

Actully, some fine musicians have paid tribute to Rheos with The Secret Sessions, including the Weakerthans, Cuff the Duke, By Divine Right, The Inbreds, Local Rabbits, Barenaked Ladies, et cetera. Anyhow, maybe not enough of us have had a chance to immerse themselves in Rheostatics' unique little world. What do you think? Is it time to give the bandmembers their due? Check out some videos below, but don't hassle me about the video or audio quality, it's out of my hands. Check out Rheostatics Live to dive further into Green Sprouts land. Leave a comment below, it makes life more fun.

Buy Rheostatics at Maplemusic, Zunior, or Six Shooter (Whale Music vinyl or mp3s).

Here's a couple of Rheo covers. The last one seems to have received little respect from YouTube viewers, much like the band did...

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Scruffy's Grab Bag Pt. 2: Big Audio Dynamite, Radiohead, The Cars, Robotanists, Foster the People, The Darkness, and Bad Brains

No time for weighty, introspective posts these days, but we can spew out some gems that snagged our eye, with no theme, rhyme or reason.

Big Audio Dynamite and Mick Jones were never revered like Joe Strummer, but I see no reason he shouldn't get his due. I loved Strummer's records since he made his "comeback", but B.A.D. has probably got more play over the decades, especially while Strummer was moving through his wilderness years. In retrospect, Big Audio Dynamite's first album was ahead of its time, don't you think? Big Audio Dynamite are the latest to get back together, playing shows and recording a new album, according to slicing up eyeballs.

Big Audio Dynamite - Rush - Electric Picnic 2011 by ElectricPicnic

Big Audio Dynamite - Applecart by pcagx

Of course, Jones had been making music not too dissimilar from B.A.D. with Tony James in Carbon/Silicon, as well as giving lots of it away online.

The Best Man by Carbon/Silicon

Another reunion/reformation? The Darkness! Insert your own catsuit/falsetto joke here. I loved A thing Called Love, especially the way it sounds like Justin Hawkins sounds like he says "Fing Called Love".

Sat on this one for awhile, 'cause I'm pretty sure everyone was Radioheaded out. But Robotanists covered all of King of Limbs within 24 hours of its release (thanks to At Constant Speed). It's a free download, but you may want to check it out and grab it quick - I notice someone has removed all but one of the King of Limb tracks I posted from Soundcloud, so this might disappear soon as well.

Never heard of Foster the People, and I certainly don't like the name, but SXSW always brings out something interesting. Somebody wrote that they were a synth band and name-dropped Duran duran, but I think they sometimes sound like a cross between MGMT and World Party.

Foster The People - Pumped Up Kicks by ESS Blog

Foster The People - Houdini by thediscoverialist

Foster The People - Helena Beat by The Clink

The best hardcore band of all time, Bad Brains, are now working on a new album for a late summer 2011 release. "Stand by for the 'realist' we have ever written," says Darryl Jenifer. Duff McKagan (!) has written a brief article on the band's greatness for ESPN, I'm not sure why, but check it out here.

Bad Brains - 02 I Against I by christophermehl

19 We Will Not - Bad Brains by Moneybrother

The Cars have released an official video for Sad Song from their forthcoming album Move Like This (available May 10).

Cars - Sad Song by MMMusic

Friday, March 11, 2011

Scruffy's Grab Bag: The Strokes, Matt Epp, Sloan, Stripper's Union, Metric

Okay, I've been out of commission, here are some things that caught my eyes and ears over the last little while. It's an unconnected grab bag, deal with it.

New Sloan! O Happy day! Sloan will be releasing their 10th studio album, The Double Cross, on May 10th from Yep Roc Records, distributed by the Outside Music Label in Canada. The new single, Follow the Leader, does not sound much like other Sloan-tunes, which is cool, I like when artists keep their own blood flowing. I accidentally caught the band on a kid's show the other day and wondered when something new would appear, and magically, it did! Andrew Scott also has a new website for his artwork, check it out here.

Sloan - Follow The Leader by Outside-Music

MP3hugger reports that the reformed Ned's Atomic Dustbin may have some new recorded music coming. I'm intrigued.

Kill your 2010 by ModernIdiot76

Ned's Atomic Dustbin-PreminitionREMIX by Nacho Sargentillo by Nacho Sargentillo

New Strokes? Why not? There were no rock bands in the top 25 Billboard-charting artists of last year, so here's hoping more rock albums get some hype.

You're So Right by The Strokes by swipesound

12:51 - The Strokes by realGOODmusik

The Strokes Games (The Cloud I'm Under Remix) by thecloudimunder

The Strokes - Under cover of darkness (Bear Twists Remix) by Bear Twists

THE STROKES- undercover of darkness by aaron axelsen

Stripper's Union, the unholy alliance of The Tragically Hip's Rob Baker and the Odd's Craig Northey, have recorded a nw album entitled The Deuce, which was released March 8th.

Matt Epp is a Winipegger to watch, as well as listen to, of course. Epp and his Amorian Assembly wil release new album At Dawn on April 23.

If You Were Here (duet with Matt Epp) by AnnVriend

Tour Dates:

Apr 7 McNallys Regina, Saskatchewan
Apr 8 Haven Social Club Edmonton, Alberta, CA
Apr 9 The Ironwood Calgary, Alberta , CA
Apr 12 St. James Hall Vancouver, British Co, CA
Apr 13 Joe's Garage Courtney, British Co, CANADA
Apr 15 The Maquinna Tofino, British Co, CA
Apr 17 The Royal on Baker Nelson, British Co, CA
Apr 20 The Slice Lethbridge, Alberta, CA
Apr 22 Lydia's Saskatoon, SK, CANADA
Apr 23 West End Cultural Centre Winnipeg, Manitoba, CA
Apr 24 Fire'n'Water Concert Series Lac Du Bonnet, Manitoba, CANADA
Apr 29 The Cameron House (back room) Toronto, Ontario, CANADA
May 1 Black Sheep Inn Wakefield, Quebec, CA
May 3 Governor's Sydney, Cape Breton, Nova Scoti, CANADA
May 5 Ship Inn St. John’s, Newfoundla, CA
May 6 Ship Inn St. John’s, Newfoundla, CA
May 7 Whelans Gate Corner Brook, Newfoundla, CANADA
May 11 The Seahorse Halifax, Nova Scoti, CANADA
May 12 The Paramount Lounge Moncton, New Brunsw, CANADA
May 13 Baba's Lounge Charlottetown

Metric at the Heritage Classic playing Stadium Love in a Stadium? Better than Clay Aiken and 3 Days Grace at the NHL All-star Game.

Metric Stadium Love (Poyan Remix) by Poyan

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Robyn Hitchcock's Birthday Today. We Celebrate.

Robyn Hitchcock is the greatest ever. Approaching sixty (slicing up eyeballs reminded me, see the nice vids posted there), he's stil putting out lots of music, more than most if you include the extensive remasters coming out over the last few years.

Robyn is touring the U.S. this month with Joe Boyd, here's the dates.

March 9: Alexandria, VA: The Birchmere -

March 11: NYC, NY: Le Poisson Rouge -

March 12: North Adams, MA: MASSMoCA -

March 14: Philadelphia, PA: World Cafe Live -

March 18: Detroit, MI: Detroit Institute of The Arts -

March 19: Chicago, IL: 7:00pm Old Town School of Music -

March 19: Chicago, IL: 10:00pm Old Town School of Music -

And one date without Mr. Boyd:

March 26, 2011 - Tucson, AZ at Barrio Festival (solo with Peter, Scott, Linda & Steve who are also performing as The Baseball Project)

Robyn Hitchcock & The Egyptians - Alright yeah by SKIEL

Robyn hitchcock & the egyptians - Ride by SKIEL

Robyn Hitchcock - The Man Who Invented Himself [Original Version] by floweringtoilet

Robyn Hitchcock - Star Of Venus by lighthouseflashing

Robyn Hitchcock - Light Blue Afternoon by Hype City Recordings

Robyn Hitchcock by terjely


Buy Sir Robyn Hitchcock's stuff here and here.