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.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Tragically Hip - Now for Plan A and a Rant

"I once was tragically hip, and beautifully fine. Now my beautiful hips, are tragically wide." Menomena's recently released track Plumage, from their fine album, "Moms" (listen here).

The Tragically Hip are neither Tragic nor Hip. Discuss.

Tragic? Naw, the five guys have been successful since their first full-length. Unless you think the guys have been sad about not achieving huge sales in the U.S. or internationally. Doubt it. I mean, the Hip has pockets of fans in New York, California, and points in between, so things are good. Hip? Well, I'm not sure if the band has ever been the "cool" option like Arcade Fire, Broken Social Scene, or Chilliwack have been at one point or another. I just read a few people cutting down the group online the other day, but they weren't actually criticising anything specific about the band, which is pointless.

I read an online editorial recently that questioned the "Canadian" music critic stance. It basically said that people like me are complacent, the unfortunate product of force-fed Canadian content regulations. The writer questioned why we should write about, say, Metric, but I'm not entirely sure why - is it because the band is popular, or successful, or their sound is accessible to many? I write about an artist because i think they're got something to offer that is good, or unusual, or fun, or fantastic, or weird. I certainly don't feel we all have to look for the next cool thing, or next big thing, but I don't normally write about something that no one will read. That doesn't mean I don't post about some lesser-known artists, but I like to mix it up. Why not?

The reason I bring this idea up now? Those people dissing The Hip, as far as I could tell, have no clue about the music they make. They probably know popular songs from seventeen years ago, or maybe the ones from 25 years ago. My point is, Hip songs today sound NOTHING like those earlier songs. So to diss them outright? Makes no sense at all.

Anyhoo, The Hip`s brand-spankin` new album Now For Plan A has arrived, so you are now free to decide whether my hopes and musings upon hearing the first two released songs were on the ball or off the wall. Just based on unheard song titles, I wondered if songs like Man Machine Music would be a little more adventurous than Streets Ahead or At Transformation. And it is, at least a little bit. Find below quick musings on most of the new tunes. If you haven't picked it up yet, hear here, or go here for set instead of individual clicks.

While the instrumentation on Man Machine Music sounds vaguely like a classic 70's rock tune I can't put my finger on, the vocals contain some Downie desperation and the whole thing ends with a punishing finish.

The Lookahead more or less follows the pattern started with the last album, a mid-tempo roller that walks a tightrope between mellow comfort and falling onto rockier ground.

We Want To Be It lays into the same groove, with warm guitar sounds and round bass tones laying a backdrop for Gord to growl "Drip Drip Drip! We Want to Be It" in a manner that does not invite a sing-along or even a hum-along.

Now For Plan A shimmers along in that same not-a-ballad, but not-a-rockin' tune mode, with some nice background vocals (I don't know by who yet - Sarah Harmer? Julie Doiron?). It's a hazy, dreamy, hypnotic track, and the boys take their time with this one. A favourite so far.

The Modern Spirit runs along at a gentle trot, and it hits me that the guitars on this album often chime or ring, but rarely roar off into big riffs or powerchords.

On the last record, at least Love is a First had some squirrelly guitar squawks, but Robby Baker seems content to lean back on this one - I'm tempted to say that it's Johnny Fay's record, because he and Downie seem in the forefront as much as anyone.

About This Map contains some nice Edge-y guitar in the verses, some fine Downie wordplay, but the chorus lost me.

Take Forever romps out of the mid-tempo morass the band seems to enjoy, with Fay leading the way again - -this might be the most old school Hip song on the record.

Done and Done starts down, and Gord's weary protagonist sounds like Morrissey in the gutter.

Goodnight Attawapiskat has some gritty six-string, and though I can't tell what Gord is on about, this tune is probably the closest to rock and roll we get after at Transformation or Streets Ahead. Another good one.

Overall, The Hip`s last album took a number of listens for me to get it, and I ended up thinking that one was the best thing from the Kingstonians in a long time. I have to give this a few more replays, because although there are lots of bright spots, it isn't hitting me yet. I have to appreciate that the boys are doing some new things - I just don't know if they are for me.

The Lookahead We Want to Be It Now for Plan A The Modern Spirit About This Map Take Forever Done and Done Goodnight Attawapiskat Streets Ahead At Transformation

Photo at top of post by David Bastedo.

Leave a comment below.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Bad Brains - Into the Future

Bad Brains are busting out out bughouse beats and metallic punk treats with their new song, Into the Future, and new album with the same title on Nov. 20 (Mega Force Records). With Eastern Alien guitar whoops added to the quickness, I am reminded that the band has no comparision,
especially if you delve into their history. Hah!


Feel free to leave a comment, I'm okay with that.