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.