Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year's Eve Birthday, Paul Westerberg and Color Me Obsessed with The Replacements

Today is Paul Westerberg's birthday, so Happy Birthday to him, Happy New Year to the rest of you. His recently released tune My Road Now popped into my head while watching Color Me Obsessed, the doc on The Replacements that includes no members of the band and no music by the band (which you can stream in its entirety here).

My Road Now

Westerberg and Tommy Stinson are putting out some music to benefit The Replacements' Slim Dunlap who suffered a stroke last February, you can get more info at or soon at the Songs for Slim facebook page and website. Chris Mars has done a track (adding to the one he's already released for Slim), and it looks like 17 more artists will be recording songs for the cause including Steve Earle, Lucinda Williams, and Jakob Dylan.

Color Me Obsessed

Love Untold

Nowhere Man

Westerberg and Joan Jett

Tommy Stinson - It's a Drag

Tommy Stinson - Meant To Be

Tommy Stinson - Zero to Stupid

Chris Mars - Popular Creeps

Chris Mars - Monkey Sees

Slim Dunlap - the Ballad of the Opening Band

Slim Dunlap - Hate This Town

Sunday, December 30, 2012

New Mendicants - This Time

If you were in a newly-formed band touring Australia, would you put out as your first release an INXS cover? The New Mendicants would. The New Mendicants are comprised of Joe Pernice (Pernice Brothers, Scud Mountain Boys, Chappaquiddick Skyline), Norman Blake (Teenage Fanclub, BMX Bandits ), and Mike Belitsky (The Sadies, Jale - not pictured).Here's the scoop from The Pernice Brothers website where you can purchase the new EP:

"This 6-song CD EP was put together so Norman and Joe would have something to sell on their January/February 2013 tour of Australia. (Mike wasn't actually in the band on its first day, when the touring plan was hatched and flights were purchased. He joined on the 7th day.) It contains 3 brand new songs, plus 2 instances of Joe and Norman covering themselves (tres postmodern) and one INXS cover (The Australian government requires musicians wishing to tour Australia release an INXS cover before they will issue the necessary work visas. But luckily, they had some good songs.) This is a limited-edition piece, and is probably only available via mail order. This will ship in late January/early February, and will be available then in all the usual digital places."

I put Joe Pernice up there with Mark Kozelek as a genius singer-songwriter who hasn't yet received the deserved accolades. Norman Blake, I think, has been recognized as a great guy with a melody already. Here's a few examples of each to jog your memory.

Overcome by Happiness Something For You (the first minute of this tune reminds me of Teenage Fanclub) Zero Refills Dumb it Down The Great Depression Teenage Fanclub - The Concept Teenage Fanclub - Everything Flows Teenage Fanclub - Baby Lee Teenage Fanclub - Dumb Dumb Dumb Teenage Fanclub - What You Do To Me Teenage Fanclub - Neil Jung

Friday, December 28, 2012

The Shins - The Rifle's Spiral

You know why The Shins' The Rifle's Spiral is so special? MAGIC!!!!

I don't think I had heard of Nintendo 3DS before, or maybe I threw it out of my mind as unnecessary info. But this video was pretty eduactional for me as to how much work goes into a visually rich stop-motion video such as this one.

Adam Ant - Cool Zombie, New Song, Old Pirate Attire

Adam Ant is back with a new tune after umpteen years away (about 17 years, actually). Somehow it sounds like Bob Dylan's vocal style from years back has had a great influence on Mr. Ant, although according to Wikipedia this song was co-written with Andy Bell. I'm guessing this is the Andy Bell from Ride and Oasis, not Erasure. Here's an interesting quote from an Adam Ant blog about how he sees himself these days:

"I'm alright! I'm back to normal. I'm excited by my work. The definitions of bipolar disorder are – look it up – sexually promiscuous, dressing up funny, behaving in an unusual manner, spending lots of money erratically, and just generally being a nutcase. Well, I don't know a fucking good rock 'n' roller who doesn't fit all the criteria, so lock everybody up! Lock Keith Moon, Pete Townshend, Jimi Hendrix... who would you not lock up? Cliff, maybe? I'm serious. People don't know anything about mental illness. It's bipolar disorder." (quote from this blog)

Mr. Ant is supposed to be releasing a new album with the Fiona Apple-like unwieldy title of Adam Ant Is the Blueblack Hussar in Marrying the Gunner's Daughter. January 21 seems to be the release date at this point, with the album allegedly being released on compact disc, double vinyl, and cassette. Cassette? Who has a cassette player these days?

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

JP Hoe - Nothing's Gonna Harm You

Winnipeg's JP Hoe has a released an amazing Wwinnipeg/prairie-themed video for Nothing's Gonna Harm You. Keep your fine holiday glow with this one, or start one if you didn't have one already. Hoe is rapidly becoming some kind of cultural ambassador for our parts - have you seen any of his Canada Day shorts? Check out a few below. He also successfully completed not one, not two, but three nights of his Hoe Hoe Hoe holiday shows at The Park Theatre, with special guests like the folks from Imaginary Cities (pic below).

Karma Police

Distances - May Be Closer Than They Appear: Free EP or Pay-What-You-Want EP

I don't know what passes for punk rock these days. But I know that for some reason, Winnipeg produces some amazing bands that have somehow amalgamated punk, post-punk, metal and pop into a new breed of melodic, aggressive, well-crafted animal. Comeback Kid and Sights & Sounds are a couple of reference points for Distances, a new Winnipeg 4-piece, and the guys are out to conquer the world. Well, maybe not conquer so much as want everyone to have their new EP. That's why it is avalable on Bandcamp on a pay-what-you-want basis, and maybe that's why it was engineered, recorded & mixed by Michael Petkau Falk, so it was a supersonically superior

Distances are playing January 12 with Title Fight & Living With Lions at West End Cultural Centre, for $20 tix you can email

Monday, December 24, 2012

Holiday Music You Don't Hate? Try These

Looking for some Christmas music that you haven't heard a million times? Me too. In the meantime, you can try these.

The Line of Best Fit's holiday collection! Canadian holiday tunes!

Kathryn Calder's Little Ones - read her note about this vid and a charity here.

Bad Brains Christmas Dance Party

Bad Brains and Charlie Brown Christmas dance party? Sure, why not. Now if somebody gets me some Bad Brains Hot Sauce this year, the holidays will be complete.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Church - Still Woozy After All These Years

After more than 30 years of psychedelic pop, The Church are still creating woozy, dark and kaleidoscopic gems. Although the band's been reissuing many early albums in deluxe editions, the Australian art-pop gents are still putting out records and playing live. Recently three concerts with the band playing full albums Starfish, Priest = Aura, and Untitled #23 were made available for streaming on The video is well-shot, if not particularly inventive, and the audio quality is decent. Not the most dynamic visually, these guys aren't leaping in the air or being amusing entertainers, it's about the music, but if you are entranced by their songs, it's worth your time.

Under the Milky Way
Watch The Church and other great gigs on Moshcam.

Watch The Church and other great gigs on Moshcam.

Watch The Church and other great gigs on Moshcam.

Watch The Church and other great gigs on Moshcam.

Sunken Sun
Watch The Church and other great gigs on Moshcam.

Here's a hit from the beginning of The Church's career you should remember.

The Unguarded Moment

Here are a few newer tunes from the Deadman's Hand E.P.:

Photo at top of post by Drew Reynolds.

Crocodiles and Dum Dum Girls - Merry Christmas Baby (Please Don't Die) CASSINGLE!?!

In the years this blog has existed I don't think there have been any Christmas posts. So why start now? Well, I happen to love Crocodiles, and they teamed up with Dee Dee from Dum Dum Girls for this Christmas song, actually a couple of years ago. But it is now being released on cassingle by Dream. Yes, a cassette single, which makes me chuckle. In that short-lived era in North America when the music industry didn't know how to move on from vinyl, major labels tried to make cassingles the answer. Oops. Anyhow, being a guy who had access to getting music at cost or sometimes free, I picked up some cassette singles, especially if they had unreleased b-sides. National Velvet, Grapes of Wrath, Metallica, Midnight Oil, and Jesus Jones are the only ones I can remember. They always seemed cheap and ultra-disposable, with thin cardboard sleeves the only protective layer, and if you had them kicking around in your car...well, you get the picture. Anyhow, I think only 100 of these Croc/Dum cassingles have been made, and the first ten were signed by the musicians. You also get a download card when you purchase.

Crocodiles' Brandon Welchez and Dum Dum Girls' Dee Dee are also going to be releasing a single on Febuary 5 under the band name Haunted Hearts.

Haunted Hearts - Something That Feels Bad is Something That Feels Good

Don't be all Scrooge-y, leave a comment below.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Cannon Bros. - New Unreleased Tune!

A year after their album was released, I am finally getting around to becoming hooked on Winnipeg's Cannon Bros. First I heard the spacey DJ Co-op Remix of Soft View, then I see Exclaim! hooked the duo for a video of the unreleased song below. That video sparked fond echoes of Pavement, especially Stephen Malkmus, as well as faint reverberations of Superchunk, Hardship Post, and The Inbreds. Well, I may be slow, but I'm on the bandwagon now. Catchy stuff, nice and simple, no need to reinvent the wheel, but there is an indefinable quality to Cannon Bros. which is compelling and inspiring.

Cannon Bros. - Untitled (LIVE on Exclaim! TV) by ExclaimTV

Soft View

Left in a Hurry

Soft View - DJ Co-op Remix

Leave a comment below.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Mother Mother - The Sticks

Mother Mother have unleashed a new video for The Sticks, from the album of the same name, and it seems to be animated by Chad VanGaalen. Not your run-of-the-mill video, what with happy toxic mutations taking over a decrepit fitness joint. The song's good too, ominous and heavy, with sweet but edgy vocals and the kind of thumping beat that says, hey, industrial music has made its mark.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Indicator Indicator - EP

Indicator Indicator. Is that the sound your indicator makes when you signal you are about to make a turn or change lanes? Maybe Sandy Taronno, who is Indicator Indicator, is making changes and changing lanes from his work with Quinzy, the pop/rockmeisters he has toiled with for quite a while. I say toiled becuse Quinzy has always seemed to be a hard-working band, whether playing countless shows or finding ways to promote the music.

Where Quinzy crafted anthemic pop, Indicator Indicator's debut ep (entitled Indicator Indicator - I would have called it Indicator Indicator Indicator Indicator!) melds electronic sounds with accessible smooth rock stylings. Taronno employs loops and a funky beat to back his scathing lyrics on Your Cocoon, and he piles on multiple instrumental tracks and harmonies like an elaborate layer cake baking into a pretty pop anthem on January First.

My Love Don't Belong

I REALLY dig this live version of My Love Don't Belong.

January First

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Blue Rodeo - 1987-1993. Boxed. Beautiful. Befitting.

Blue Rodeo are celebrating the 25th anniversary of their debut Outskirts with the simply-titled box set 1987-1993. Not content to just reissue the first album, the band instead has remastered the first five, remixed Outskirts, and thrown in the demos for Casino as well as a disc called Odds and Ends (clearly there was no desire to be clever with these titles). Maybe an 8-disc set is a little ostentatious, but if any Canadian band deserves it, it would this one. Let's see, length of career, international acclaim, a unique sound even though the band has influenced many others, never made a bunch of embarassing moves or tried to get trendy, quite likely winding down the group's life but not-quite-done - yeah, it's about time. And somehow Blue Rodeo seems to have been able to do things right, mostly their own way, even though they have been on the same major label since Outskirts. Hmm. Is it possible that all major labels are not always pure evil-doers? Maybe the Canadian branches of labels are more polite, like the general Great White North populace?

At any rate, you can get a review of the previously unreleased material and an excellent, illuminating interview with Greg Keelor from Michael Barclay at Radio Free Canuckistan, as well an accompanying article from Maclean's.

Also too many tour dates coming up to mention, go here if you don't believe me.

Blue Rodeo: 1987 – 1993
Disc 1 - Outskirts
Disc 2 – Outskirts Remixed
Disc 3 - Diamond Mine
Disc 4 - Casino
Disc 5 – Casino Demos
Disc 6 – Lost Together
Disc 7 – Five Days In July
Disc 8 – Odds Ends

Lost Together with Friends
Rose-Coloured Glasses
Diamond Mine
Til I Am Myself Again
Trust Yourself
Lost Together
5 Days in May
Hasn't Hit Me Yet

These versions are not included in the box, but worth a listen anyhow:
Already Gone (Live)

Rain Down on Me (Live)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Camper Van Beethoven - Northern California Girls

Camper Van Beethoven are putting out a new album January 22, the 10-song La Costa Perdida, and have graced us with a video for a new song called Northern California Girls. It's a gentle, sweet little tune, with fine harmonies, and it sounds nothing like the Beach Boys, never mnd David Lee Roth covering the Beach Boys. It also doesn't contain a lot of psychedelic flourishes or slightly off-kilter sense of humour which sometimes marked earlier work (which is also quite good). I am very curious to hear the rest of the record.

Northern California Girls

Here are a few older tunes to jog your memory.

The Long Plastic Hallway
Take the Skinheads Bowling
Pictures of Matchstick Men
The Day that Lassie Went to the Moon
Good Guys and Bad Guys
Seven Languages

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Mark Hollis - New Track, Old Song, Some Classics

I have been meaning to follow up the recent post I did on the Talk Talk/Mark Hollis tribute album Spirit of Talk Talk. After not releasing any new music since 1998, Hollis recently made available a short instrumental piece entitled ARB Section 1 which was used in the Kelsey Grammer tv show Boss. Anyone expecting s sing-along ditty would be sorely disappointed to hear 55 seconds sans vocals, but if you've enjoyed his solo record or the last two talk Talk albums, no surprise here.

I also stumbled across this song which is supposedly an old song dating from before Talk Talk. I don't know for sure when it was created, but good to hear it nonetheless.

Hollis's sole solo album (1998, self-titled) was made available last year on vinyl, you may still be able to pick it up from Ba D Bing Records. 8 tracks, songs below, the last real tunes from Hollis before his self-imposed retirement.

The Colour of Spring Watershed Inside Looking Out The Gift A Life (1895 - 1915) Westward Bound The Daily Planet A New Jerusalem

When you listen to Hollis's first version of Talk Talk by The Reaction, it's a pretty amazing progression, don't you think? Here's a couple more by The Reaction: Here are some more cover/tributes:

Friday, November 2, 2012

Have Not Been The Same - The Book (Best Canadian Rock Book of All Time?)! The Album! The Covers Album!

I read a lot of books about music. Probably too many. But for every one I have read that is devoid of soul, badly written (Rudy Sarzo), short on interesting details (Gene Simmons), egotistical and self-serving (Sammy Hagar, Dee Snider, Corey Taylor), there are those that are incredibly well-written (Joe Jackson), funny as heck and full of life (Keith Richards), or highly personal idiosyncratic ramblings (Ian Hunter). When you look at books that take on entire genres or a whole whack of bands such as Jon Savage's England's Dreaming: Sex Pistols and Punk Rock, Clinton Heylin's Babylon’s Burning: From Punk to Grunge or Simon Reynolds's Rip It Up and Start Again, you can find some incredibly well-researched tomes. On of my favourites is Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground, 1981-1991by Michael Azerrad. It focuses on bands that never sold tons of records, never really crossed over into the mainstream, or at least didn't do so before widespread Internet access or before Nirvana made raw noisy rock cool. Azerrad's book has received major accolades, and it's quite possible legions of music fans have started digging into Dinosaur Jr., Mudhoney, or Minor Threat, for example, in part because of that weighty piece of writing.

That brings us to Have Not Been the Same: The Can-Rock Renaissance 1985-1995, by Michael Barclay, Ian A.D. Jack, and Jason Schneider. Although the focus of the book is not the exact same as Our Band Could Be Your Life, one of the reasons I love it is because here too readers get to learn about artists that never became wildly popular, rich and famous. Have Not Been the Same also informs about artists that did become household names such as Sarah McLachlan, Barenaked Ladies, The Tragically Hip and Blue Rodeo, and those are good stories. But I think people that love music or care about Canadian music history should know about Jr. Gone Wild, The Inbreds, Hardship Post, The Rheostatics, Change of Heart, Stompin' Tom, The Doughboys, Eric's Trip, Voivod, Spirit of the West, the Pursuit of Happiness, 13 Engines, Art Bergmann, Thrush Hermit, and so on and so forth. Yeah, they are all covered there, and a lot more - the book is almost 800 pages long! Did you know that John K. Samson has praised the Northern Pikes? That little gem, along with almost everything else in the book, makes me want to shake jaded Canadians who put our own music down. It's time to celebrate the Pikes, Sons of Freedom, The Waltons and others who didn't get their due, as well as recognizing those who are doing it today, like Dearly Beloved, Royal Canoe, Brian Dunn, Ox, Imaginary Cities, Two Hours Traffic, and Metric, to name a few.

Last year was the 10-year anniversary of its first printing, so it was reissued with some new stuff. Pick it up now before it's unavailable again. You can purchase from ECW Press here, and you can even score the e-pub with recommended playlists for each chapter. Try an excerpt here.

The reason you are being told about this now is that a companion compilation of rare and unreleased music from 20 bands and artists was recently announced. Pheremone Recordings will put it out as a digital download, double LP, and CD on November 13.

The Have Not Been the Same album tracklisting may not be final, I have seen two different ones, but it will look pretty much like this (***** Starred titles are ones that may or may not be on the album, hopefully these will be clarified soon):

1. Slow - "Have Not Been the Same" 

2. Poisoned (Art Bergmann) - "Final Cliché"
3. NoMeansNo - "Dad" 

4. The Nils - "In Betweens"
5. Doughboys - "Long Hall" (previously unreleased) 

6. Rational Youth - "To The Goddess Electricity" (2011 mix)
7. Jane Siberry - "Symmetry (previously unreleased version) 

8. Hunger Project (pre-Cowboy Junkies) - "The Same Inside"
9. The Pursuit of Happiness - "Wake Up and Smell Cathy" (previously unreleased)" 

10. A Neon Rome - "Shatter the Illusions" (previously unreleased)********* 

11. Change of Heart - "Smile" 

12. Jr. Gone Wild - "God Is Not My Father" 

13. Skydiggers - "When You're Down" (previously unreleased) 

14. Crash Vegas - "Moving Too Fast" (previously unreleased version) 

15. 13 Engines - "Beached" 

16. Weeping Tile - "Pushover"

17. The Grapes Of Wrath - "Misunderstanding" (2000 acoustic version) 

18. Sloan - "Lucky For Me" (previously unreleased version)
19. Jale - "Jesus Loves Me" 

20. Bob Wiseman - "Gabriel Dumont Blues" 

21. Three O'Clock Train - "A Fire I Can't Put Out" ****** 

22. Local Rabbits - "Play On"*******

Slow - Have Not Been the Same

Art Bergmann - Final Cliche NoMeansNo - Dad 
The Nils - In Betweens 
Rational Youth - To The Goddess Electricity Jane Siberry - Symmetry 
Change of Heart - Smile 
13 Engines - Beached 
Weeping Tile - Pushover The Grapes Of Wrath - Misunderstanding Sloan - Lucky For Me 
Jale - Jesus Loves Me

Zunior Records put out a fantastic collection of covers years back featuring artists of today performing songs of those in the book. Buy or listen here.

Have Not Been the Same - Vol. 1: Too Cool to Live, Too Smart to Die

01. The Burning Hell - Pop Goes the World (Men Without Hats) (3:43) 
02. Corb Lund - In Contempt of Me (Jr. Gone Wild) (2:25)
03. Great Lake Swimmers - What Was Going Through My Head (Grapes of Wrath) (3:14)
04. Owl Mountain Radar - Daylight (The Nils) (3:11)
05. Bry Webb - I Will Give You Everything (The Skydiggers) (3:48)
06. Forest City Lovers - The Lines You Amend (Sloan) (2:27)
07. Light Fires - Happens All the Time (Eric's Trip) (3:08)
08. Selina Martin with the Faceless Forces of Bigness - Grace, Too (The Tragically Hip) (3:40) 
09. Mark Davis and Lorrie Matheson - Too Cool to Live, Too Smart to Die (Deja Voodoo) (4:21)
10. Jill and Matthew Barber - Your Sunshine (Hardship Post) (3:37)
11. Cuff the Duke - North Window (The Inbreds) (2:59)
12. Hidden Cameras - Throw Silver (Mecca Normal) (2:35)
13. Snailhouse - Buddah (Al Tuck) (4:03)
14. Veda Hille - Odette (Circle C) (3:20)
15. Andrew Vincent - Teenland (Northern Pikes) (4:28)
16. Geoff Berner - Bound for Vegas (Art Bergmann) (3:45) 
17. Neil Haverty - Shaved Head (Rheostatics) (3:42) 
18. Richard Reed Parry and Little Scream - When You Know Why You’re Happy (Mary Margaret O'Hara) (4:58)
19. Kevin Drew - We Got Time (Bob Wiseman) (4:46)

The Burning Hell - Pop goes the World

Great Lake Swimmers - What was Going Through My Head

A bonus for ya, Cuff the Duke doing the Rheostatics' Claire:

Comments welcome below.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Tragically Hip - New Video The Lookaround, Get At Transformation MP3 for Free

The Tragically Hip have released their new video The Lookaround, which is actually being touted as a short film. The song doesn't actually start until about 2 minutes and 26 seconds in, so it's more than just a tune with visuals, but it is kinds funny too, so it's not so much artsy-fartsy as artsy-fun (Robby Baker just looks hilarious, admit it). Releasing a mariachi dress-up promo clip just before Halloween just confirms that the band member still have a sense of humour. And having Sarah Harmer along for the ride is always a good idea.

2013 Canadian Tour

January 19 - Cranbrook, BC - Western Financial Place
January 20 - Kamloops, BC - Interior Savings Centre
January 22- Red Deer, AB - Enmax Centrium
January 23 - Edmonton, AB - Rexall Place
January 25 - Regina, SK - Brandt Centre
January 26 - Winnipeg, MB - MTS Centre
January 28 - Brandon, MB - Keystone Centre
January 29 - Thunder Bay, ON - Fort William Gardens
February 1 - Moncton, NB - Casino New Brunswick
February 2 - Halifax, NS - Metro Centre
February 4 - Kingston, ON - K-Rock Centre
February 5 - Kitchener, ON - Kitchener Memorial Auditorium Complex
February 8 - Guelph, ON - The Sleeman Centre
February 9 - Oshawa, ON - General Motors Centre
February 11 - Sudbury, ON - Sudbury Arena February
12 - Sault Ste Marie, ON - Essar Centre February
14 - Toronto, ON - Air Canada Centre

Comments welcome below.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Halloween Quickie

I waa not going to do a Halloween post this year. But I saw these amazing jack o'lanterns from Dan Gordon's Song of the Day and decided to do a quickie. So here ya go.

Misfits - Vampira

The Clash - London Calling
The Clash - Straight to Hell

diiv - Doused

Sonic Youth - Halloween

Sonic Youth - Disappearer
Kool Thing (remixed)

Civil Civic

Tapes 'n Tapes - Badaboom

The Pack A.D.

Radiohead - Paranoid Android
Radiohead - Give up the Ghost
The Cult - Honey From a Knife

Ken Stringfellow - Superwise

Calexico - Splitter

Violent Femmes - Country Death Song Violent Femmes - I Hear the Rain The National - Afraid of Everyone The White Stripes - Walking With a Ghost

Monday, October 22, 2012

Nova - Midnight Midnight and Blue Star

Nova's debut album Midnight Midnight is now out, so you can once again revel in the intense delivery of Greg MacPherson as well as bandmates Jackie Hogue and Molly McCracken. Tension seems to play a strong role in the songs I've heard so far, with restraint and simplicity seemingly more important than brute power or overwhelming the listener. You can purchase the disc here or at your finer Winnipeg record shops. If you are quick, you can download Blue Star from the Manitoba Music website (only until Thursday).

Blue Star courtesy Dan Gordon's Song of the Day.

Falling from Danishka Esterhazy on Vimeo.

Comments are welcome below.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Young Rival - Stay Young and Two Reasons

Hamilton's Young Rival have a new platter, Stay Young, which they are peddling on Bandcamp for a name-your-price fee. It's a fine garage power pop record - the members of Young Rival are not afraid to make their songs short and sweet, and we're a sucker for choppy guitars, punchy drums, and bittersweet melodies. You can buy the physical version from Sonic Unyon starting October 23. The band is also garnering some attention for a pretty cool video for Two Reasons. If you've been here many times before, you know I am not big on video, but this one is pretty darn creative, don't you think?

Dig in and stream the whole album below.

Tour Dates:
2012-11-01 Hamilton, ON - The Casbah
2012-11-08 Windsor, ON - FM Lounge
2012-11-09 London, ON - London Music Hall
2012-11-10 Sarnia, ON - Paddy Flaherty's
2012-11-16 Montreal, PQ - Cafe Campus (12:30 PM, M is For Montreal)
2012-11-16 Kingston, ON - The Grad Club
2012-11-17 Montreal, QC - Le Divan Orange (Club show, M Is For Montreal)
2012-11-20 St. Catharines, ON - The Mansion House
2012-11-21 Guelph, ON - E-bar
2012-11-22 Toronto , ON - Horseshoe Tavern
2012-11-23 Peterborough, ON - The Red Dog
2012-11-24 Sudbury, ON - The Townehouse
2013-02-07 Chicoutimi, PQ - Le Sous Bois 2013-02-08 Joliette, PQ - L'Universe Rock

Feel free to comment all you want below.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Prince - New Song RNR Affair

If you have been paying attention, you may recall that we have been looking at Minneapolis area artists that have impacted Scruffy's musical world. You didn't think we'd skip Prince, did you?

Prince recently allowed us mortals to hear a fine new song, RNR Affair, which seems to hearken back to the pop sound of the 80's. Who knows if there's a new album coming soon or if it will even be commercially released. Prince has increasingly veered way from the mainstream, doing everything in his own idiosyncratic way. The guy has shut down his website, and he appears to sic lawyers and WebSheriff on Youtube or individuals who use his image or likeness or music in any way. In this age of pieces of us all drifting across the Interwebz, the man is trying to take them all back. Guess he won't be hooking up on FaceBook or Twitter soon.

His last album was given away with copies of newspapers in the UK and Europe. In 2010, Prince said told the Daily Mirror that the "Internet's completely over. I don't see why I should give my new music to iTunes or anyone else. They won't pay me an advance for it and then they get angry when they can't get it... Anyway, all these computers and digital gadgets are no good. They just fill your head with numbers and that can't be good for you." Listen quick, the songs below might not be available for long (if RNR Affair is not available below you can try here).

Does anyone out there not know that Prince is one of the best guitarists ever hatched? Listen and watch, he steps up at about 3:26 of this video and blows every other fish out of the water. He even makes his axe disappear at the end. A true magician with a six-string.

An interesting cover of Prince's Sign o the Times by Muse.

Photo at top of blog by Getty Images

Comments are welcome below.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Happy Birthday, Bob Mould! As a Gift to You, Free Mould Live Sugar Songs

Since today is Bob Mould's birthday and Scruffy's back to reminding you about artists with Minneapolis connections, here's another reminder about his amazing new album, Silver Age, which you can listen to in its entirety here. Now that I have heard the whole thing, it's in my top albums of this year. It seems even sweeter because I seem to remember Mould saying that when Last Dog And Pony Show tour came around, it would be the last electric band tour. Now with this recent Sugar-y record, a loud electric show might still come your way.

Warning. The following video features Mould in a sensible suit. For some reason, it really messed with my image of the guy.

Here's a nice vid with Mould and Dave Grohl.

You can download Mould's live versions of three Sugar copper Blue tunes by giving up your email address. Go here.

Photo at top of post by Peter Ellenby.

Comments welcome below.

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Jayhawks - A Quick Appreciation

A while back I started noting a few Minneapolis-area artists that have turned Scruffy's crank, and It's finally time to get back to it (the oft-valuable Fuel for Friends blog reminded me with an awesome Minneapolis Mixtape). So we come to The Jayhawks. Suffice it to say, these guys were probably my introduction to what soon became known as alt country. In fact, I'd say they also sparked a re-introduction to country period, as I had forgotten how great folks like Johnny Cash were. But more importantly, I'm not sure I would have been as open to the greatness of The Long Ryders, Uncle Tupelo, Son Volt, Wilco, Steve Earle, Dwight Yoakam, or more traditional artists such as Allison Krauss, Marty Stuart or Patty Loveless.

My oldest son decries what he calls "Hipster Country", but I haven't even played him The Jayhawks yet. The thing is, there ain't too much hipster in this band, unless you think influences like the Byrds or Bob Dylan or Neil Young are hipster-oriented. Not that the 'Hawks really ape those artists, but there's nothing wrong with stellar harmonies, the right feel as opposed to auto-tuned fakery, an emphasis on well-wrought lyrics, finely crafted melodies, and some sweet guitar that might be reverb-drenched, could be honeyed acoustic, or possibly launch into wailing Neil Y teritory.

The band's been around so long now the members have splintered and come back together and they sound as good as ever. She Walks in So Many Ways comes from 2011's Mockingbird Time, the get-back-together record, and it's really grown on me.

The Jayhawks' website has a lot of tunes from over the years for you to stream if you want to hear more, and 2009's Music From the North Country is also a good introduction.

Clifton Bridge from The Jayhawks on Vimeo.

Comments welcome below.

Grapes of Wrath - Two New Tunes, New Album Coming

The Grapes of Wrath haven't put out a new album with original members Kevin Kane, Tom Hooper and Chris Hooper for 21 years or so. The last time I saw them, their opening act was Sarah McLachlan. Yeah, that was a long time ago. So the line, "It's been a long time, but it sure is good to see you" from the new song Good to See You is apropos. Apt, even. It's a good-time song, handclaps and trademark harmonies intact. The other one, Take on the Day, is one of those quiet Grapes ballads that is wistful, melancholic maybe, but never thretens to become bombastic or sappy. The ability to craft a ballad that isn't one or the other is something that has eluded many great songwriters - you know, that song you skip? You don't need to hit that button with The Grapes. Those two new songs can be found on the recently-released Singles album (on Aporia Records) which also includes all 15 singles from back in the day. A new album is scheduled to be released in the spring, maybe as early as February.

Track listing:

Good To See You - new track
Backward Town
Do You Want To Tell Me?
I Am Here
A Dream (About You)
All The Things I Wasn’t (single version)
What Was Going Through My Head (single version)
Peace Of Mind
The Most
You May Be Right (Single Edit)
Take On The Day - new track
O Lucky Man
A Fishing Tale (Radio Edit)
Love Comes Around

Tour Dates
October 12th at The Vogue Theatre in Vancouver (with 54.40)
October 13th at The Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver (with 54.40)
October 19th at the Royal Theatre in Victoria (with 54.40)
October 26 at the Black Sheep Inn in Wakefield (with Lily Frost)
October 27 at the Red Dog Tavern in Peterborough (with Lily Frost)
October 29 at the Casbah in Hamilton (with Lily Frost)
October 30 at the Mod Club in Toronto (with special guests, TBA)

Comments are welcome below.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Thanksgiving Grab Bag - Big Dipper, King Tuff, Peter Buck, Les Sexy, The Disciplines and more

A friend of mine recently suggested that rock was dead. Well, maybe some rock. But on this day, I want to give thanks for those who still rock that I haven't got to sharing.

Crocodiles - Sunday (Psychic Conversation #9). These guys' fuzzy brilliance knocks me down every time.

Redd Kross's triumphant return Researching the Blues, pounding, slap-happy, scowling, excellent distortion control. Nice Gil Morgan, too. Stay Away From Downtown is here as well so you don't think the album is a one-trick pony when it is actually a whole race-track full of trick ponies.

Social Distortion 's Gimme the Sweet & Lowdown. SD have been epitomising rock and roll since you were digging Olivia Newton John or Corey Hart or whatever, diving into your Lik-m-Aid, Twizzlers and Mr. Big bars, and the band hasn't swerved much from their thing. Why should they?

The Disciplines, Emily. Just one of Ken Stringfellow's fine projects, one for which he lets out his inner rocka rolla man.

Big Dipper is back! With a tune named after the prolific Guided by Voices mainman! Yowza!

King Tuff - Screaming Skull: The singer's voice reminds me of Mitch Easter (Let's Active), and the simple guitar and garbage-can drums are a perfect backdrop.

An old classic by Lloyd Cole gets the rock treatment by...Lloyd Cole and special friends.

Midnight Spin can get the blood up with Neuroin.

Chappo - Come Home: Nice wordless chorus!

Gloryhound's TKO Tokyo. Because we all need big dumb rock sometimes.

I know people have picked up on Japandroids, but some of you may have missed this older nugget, Art Czars. Perfect snotty noise.

Les Sexy - a double-shot of francophone punk from Winnipeg, St. Boniface to be more specific. "Fables" and "Chasseur" are simple, raw and have no need for backing tapes or auto-tuning. They remind me of my youth, before punk became pop, over-produced and weighted down with style and fashion. The album versions sound even better, seek them out.

Ruby by Cheap Girls, fine power pop + garage rock = perfect rock and roll.

Deer Tick's Born at Zero reminds me of the Replacements, not so much the sound as the attitude.

Cloud Nothings - Stay Useless. A primal chorus, a great bridge.

No Age - Fever Dreaming and You're a Target. Like Japandroids, I like to go backwards with No Age. Scuzzy gut-bucket ferocity with one, sped-up shoegaze with the other?.

Peter Buck's 10 Million BC might not be what one would expect from the former R.E.M. guitarman, but that's good, innit?

Photo at top of page by Slideshow Bruce.

Feel free to leave a comment below.