Monday, April 25, 2011

Sloan Gears Up for New Album With Video Previews, Hits Winnipeg - Maybe?

Sloan's new album The Double Cross is out May 10, and the band's been dropping video previews. The Pyramid is advertising a 20th anniversary Sloan show for Saturday, May 28, with the band playing tunes from all 10 of their albums, though Sloan's official site is still mum on the subject of a new tour. At any rate, the new songs sound fine, nothing earth-shattering, just more of the consistently melodic rock we expect from the guys. The first three Soundcloud tracks after the videos are from the new album, but make sure out check out the last, a choir covering Everything You've Done Wrong.

SLOAN - UNKIND by ASpencer

Sloan -"Shadow Of Love" | from "The Double Cross" by YiN Magazine

Sloan - Follow The Leader by mjvisme

Sloan "Take It Upon Yourself" by Frontside

She Says What She Means by Sloanmusic

choir!choir!choir! sing Sloan - Everything You've Done Wrong (4th practice) by choir! choir! choir!

Buy Sloan in Canada from Outside. Buy Sloan from Yep Roc.

Please leave a comment below, it makes the sun shine when you do that.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Gimli-Spawned Mise en Scene: Headed for Top Charts in Winnipeg...Is Iceland Next?

Mise en Scene's Red Lips & Ray Bans is the No. 2 song on Kick FM's top 40. I'm pretty sure this is the first band from Gimli to hit the top 10 on any chart in the world. How many recording artists have come outta Gimli? I don't know. A*B*O*N? Does Stronger Than Pain count? The Paps will get there sometime. Anyway, Red Lips & Ray Bans is a catchy song, well-produced without being overblown, and it's got some subtle flourishes that make it work - like the "ooh-whoo" back-up vox and the shiny horns. The video seems to highlight these little details for ya, check it out.

This video was clearly shot in Gimli, which is cool in many ways.

Stan Ridgway's Camoflauge is 25?!

Scruffy recently received a missive from Stan Ridgway informing me that Camoflauge, the single from his first solo album that somehow became a hit in Europe, is now 25 years old. Guess that means that the album, The Big Heat, is a quarter-century young too. Still one of Scruffy's favourites ever. A new item in Ridgway's shop is Live in Byron Bay Australia 1987, recorded on The Big Heat Tour, and boy, does it sound amazing. Below are vids of a few of the original tracks from Scruff's desert album disc.

If you forgot, Stan's the man who fronted Wall of Voodoo, who unleashed this serious song upon the world.

Wall of voodoo - Room With A View by chrisosurfs

Leave a comment, it will bring you good luck. Scruffy will even endeavour to reply.

Kaptein Robyn Hitchcock Strikes Again

Scrufy's personal King of Cool, Robyn Hitchcock, is back at it, releasing another new collection that you should buy post-haste. Why? Because it's more Hitchcock at his best, finely-crafted melodies, unusual lyrical turns, joyful harmonies, sonic drama, whimsy and deep you need more? Pre-order now at his website and you'll get the digital version immediately. Here's the info from the horse's mouth:

"Norwegian label Hype City release a new collection of songs by Robyn Hitchcock on April 8th, TROMSØ, KAPTEIN (pronounced ‘Tromser, Cap-tine’), on LP and CD. Produced by Paul Noble, the record features 8 new RH compositions and well as a re-recording of ‘Raining Twilight Coast’ from EYE and a new Norwegian language version of GOODNIGHT OSLO. The record will be available outside Norway in surviving record shops, and also available by mail order from this site."

Flowering Toilet has some more details if you desire. Here's two new tracks and some older Hitchcock videos that are essential viewing.

Robyn Hitchcock - Dismal City by Hype City Recordings

Robyn Hitchcock - Light Blue Afternoon by Hype City Recordings

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Bryan Ferry Wants to Give You Some mp3s

Didn't I just post about this guy? Oh well. If he wants to embrace technology and send me music, I'm going to pass it on. A live Dylan tune, a ska mix of an old Roxy tune, some other rare versions...sounds good to me. The Jools Holland video just makes me wish I could see him live again.

Rare + Unreleased by BryanFerry

Saturday, April 16, 2011

John Bottomley Gave Me a Record

Record Store Day today. But in 1990, cds and cassettes were it. Records, real records, generally black and made of vinyl, had been pretty much phased out in Canada. Records became items for collectors, DJs, undergound except for promo stuff. I was interviewing artists for a local rag, and somehow I got assigned John Bottomley, who I didn't know anything about. I dived into his album at the time, Library of the Sun, which I had been given on a promo cassette - no cover, no liner matter, I was hooked. My willingness to accept less-hyped artists to interview paid off again, because in Bottomley I found an artist that was fairly unique at the time. For example, at that time so many bands seemed to be inspired by U2 that even U2 lost their way. But Bottomley had a voice that was tuneful and gravelly at the same time, recorded tunes that seemed acoustic-based yet always seemed to have the electric spark I wanted, either literal or figurative. What the heck was he? Folk? Folk-rock? Pop? He didn't go for the easy way out, huge choruses and enormous riffs, he seemed to just do what came naturally, and it seemed to be different for different songs. My interview with him was a joy.

I remember dragging my friends to see him play at The Spectrum (my buddies had no idea who he was), and at the end of the night thinking if you can't see how amazing this guy is, fine, I'll keep him as my own little secret. Well, I didn't, I wrote the article about him, doing my best to explain how this guy was a Canadian treasure. But right now, I'm remembering that night at the Spectrum. Not a very big audience, but after the show Bottomley chatted with me for a bit. We got along, as strangers sometime do. As he turned to go up to the band room, he stopped and asked me if I had a turntable. Yeah, I replied. Wait here, he said. A minute later he came back with a vinyl copy of his album. Here. Now you got one better than that crappy cassette. He grinned.

John Bottomley passed on April 6th. I'm missing a Canadian treasure.

Buy John Bottomley cds here.

Friday, April 15, 2011

It's Record Store Day Tomorrow!

Record Store Day, the day we give thanks that there are still places to buy music, learn about music, talk about music - all with real live people. This year, there is an amazing amount of special releases you can try to find tomorrow - I say try because different stores will have different items, and some will go lickety-split. You can check out the full list here, something for just about everyone. 9 stores in Winnipeg are participating. Yes, I am nostalgic about record stores, not so nostalgic about working in one. The Winnipeg Folk Fest Music Store will have bands like The Wind-Ups, Telepathic Butterflies, and Rambling Dan Frechette, while Into the Music will have Scott Nolan. Four stupendous local acts, you can catch 'em all if you're smart.

Ozzy banner

Crowded House, Green Day/Husker Du, Television, R.E.M., Ryan Adams, Steve Earle, The Cars, The dBs (brand new!), The Decemberists, Urge Overkill, a Guided by Voices tribute, Nada Surf - there's a lot of tunes I'd like to snag. Below are some pics of the items on sale, the tunes may not be the exact ones you'll find as part of the special sale, but I gotta give ya something to listen to, don't I?

01 The Decemberists - Down By The Water (Live 6 Music Session) by drakeygirl

Television - Marquee Moon [live] by PYITE

Effigy by Urge Overkill by scruffy the yak

Crowded House_Live in Manchester_26th May by the_hbomb

Cars - Sad Song by MMMusic

The Cars - Blue Tip by KWSS On Demand

Leave a comment below. Is there anything you'd like to get tomorrow?

Friday, April 8, 2011

Steve Earle Giving Away a Free MP3 AND a Chapter of New Book!

Steve Earle is in a giving mood, for now he's giving fans a free MP3 of Waitin' on the Sky from his new album I'll Never Get Out Of This World Alive as well as a chapter from his forthcoming book of the same name. I do believe this is the coolest way to snag listeners and readers I've ever encountered. Go to his FaceBook page to get the goods. It's prime Earle, country done the way I think it should be done, a little twangy guitar, a lotta twangy voice, a nice little shuffle, some sweet organ, and lyrically above everything else out there. Here's another one from his new album.

Every Part Of Me by Steve Earle

Earle is also releasing a limited edition single for Record Store Day. Here's the info straight from the man's website.

"Steve Earle will release a limited edition 7 inch single in celebration of Record Store Day on Saturday, April 16th. The A-Side is Earle’s version of the Hank Williams song that is the title of both Earle’s new studio album and debut novel, I’ll Never Get Out Of This World Alive. The song was the last single released during Hank Williams’ lifetime in December of 1952. The B-Side is Earle’s celebrated original “This City” which has garnered both Emmy and Grammy Award nominations as it was written for HBO’s Original Series Treme (in which Earle appears as a cast member). “This City” also closes Earle’s T Bone Burnett-produced new album released by New West Records on April 26th. The 7 inch single is a hand-numbered edition of 2,600 copies on translucent red vinyl with black swirl. The cover of “I’ll Never Get Out Of This World Alive” will be available digitally as a bonus track, and is exclusive in physical form to this 7 inch release."

An older tune for ya, I love so much of this guy's stuff it was hard to pick just one. Here's a video where he doesn't look pretty or even especially cool, and the audio isn't awesome, but you can tell the guy means it.

Here's a song with Mr. Earle you may not have heard.

A Perfect Hand (feat. Steve Earle) - David Byrne & Fatboy Slim by rdmuniz

How about a hushed Steve Earle cover by the Counting Crows front man?

Valentines Day - Adam Duritz (Written by Steve Earle) by AMBV

A goofy tune to end the post with.

Steve Earle's bringing me crabs to eat by Hudson P. Hudson Hudson

Bryan Ferry Hitting Many Towns, But Not Mine (and probably not yours)

Bryan Ferry really seems to be embracing dance music these days, releasing remixes of not only his new stuff with Groove Armada (Shameless) and DJ Hell (You Can Dance)but remixes of older tracks like Roxy's Music's To Turn You On (from Avalon). Those of you who are not so enamoured of the dance vibe can rest assured that live, Ferry still does Ferry; check out the Letterman appearance below. Ferry is heading out a substantial tour, check out the places and dates here. Poland, Serbia, Israel, Romania - d'ya think the guy could make a trip to my town, for gosh sake?

To Turn You On Edits by BryanFerry


ALPHAVILLE by BryanFerry

BF BASS (Ode To Olympia) by BryanFerry

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Nick Lowe and his Labour of Lust: the Coolest Guy Alive?

As mentioned last post, Nick Lowe is one of those rare breed of rock 'n' roll guys who are growing old with some dignity. Although he wrote some of the best songs of the last 35 years or so, he doesn't write quite as much as he used to, sometimes preferring to interpret other's work. Maybe if you can afford to not worry too much about the extra bit of income from your own songwriting, if you can tame your ego, you can escape looking desperate in search of a hit. Lowe's not hitting the iTunes best-sellers on a regular basis, but he's carved out his own niche, and he's already made his pop/rock hits. From his last album, At My Age, here's I trained Her to Love Me.

One more from the last album, both of these tracks exemplify the mellow turn Lowe's recent work has taken. Lowe's label Yep Roc uses descriptive turns of phrase such as "croon", "soul-soaked country pop", and "refined", and I'd say they're spot on.

Nick Lowe"people changes" by musicarea

One of my favourite albums of all time, Lowe's Labour of Lust, was finally reissued recently. Give a listen to these tracks from the album, feel free to ignore the videos, some of them make no sense at all (don't ask me what's up with Endless Grey Ribbon, I haven't a clue).

I also stumbled upon a 12-part series called Born Fighters from 1979 chronicling Rockpile, Nick Lowe, Dave Edmunds at al, as they document their work after they weren't allowed to use the Name Rockpile. It's all on YouTube, with links listed under info (click "show more")to the next section.

Buy Nick Lowe from Yep Roc.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Robert Plant - Getting Better All the Time

Just found out that Robert Plant is going to be gracing Scruffy's town. Should we go? I think he may be making the best music of his career. The last one with Krauss was superb, but the new one is even better, though I can't stand the cover art. And he's doing it by doing his versions of others' songs - he only has one co-write (with Buddy Miller) on the newest album, and the one before he redid himself (and Jimmy Page) with Please Read the Letter. Plant has said words to the effect of when he goes to write, it's unsatisfying. That kind of admission reminds me of another of rock's elder statesmen, Nick Lowe, who says why work your butt off to write new songs when there are great ones out there that need singing? Both Lowe and Plant are aging kinda gracefully, which is tough to do in the entertainment industry and almost impossible in pop. Plant seems to be doing fine not covering Lowe, but Low, who allowed the Former Zep frontman to cover two songs (Monkey and Silver Rider) that stand amongst the best things he's ever committed to tape. Or ones and zeros. Next post? Why, Nick Lowe, I think.

Low-Monkey by sonsmusica

The Low songs covered by Robert Plant on Band of Joy by subpop

Low - Silver Rider (live) by gbabuts

Silver rider (low/robert plant cover) by alper anik

Low - Monkey (Dirty Knobs Remix) by ZacBentz

The Ballad of Robert Plant by The Donkey & The Tulip

Hey. If you read this far, take a minute and leave a comment, Scruffy loves that stuff for some reason.

Little City is Going, Going...

Little City is a Toronto-based band that has just recently released a five song EP entitled The Going and the Gone. Guitarist and mandolin player Jordan Axani describes the sextet as a folk rock band and reveals that he's heard comparisons to Fleetwood Mac meets Arcade Fire, but to me it sounds like Joni Mitchell hangs out with Old 97's, enjoys a beverage with Cowboy Junkies, then turns into a butterfly. Produced by Lawrence Currie (Sloan, Hey Rosetta, Wintersleep), Little City ain't afraid to use banjo, accordion, or french horn to bolster their sweet sound. And their cover art (above) is as beautiful, lush and detailed as the music.

Rise Up by littlecity

Lincoln Learning French (Live Performance) from Little City on Vimeo.

Little City - Bright Glow by vocal nerd rodeo

Buy the EP at itunes.