Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Music for the Very Desperate

The Church - Xmas
Nick Lowe - I Was Born in Bethlehem
The Primitives - You Trashed My Christmas
Oldfolks Home - Christmas at the Oldfolks Home
Cocteau Twins - Frosty the Snowman
Sky Ferreira - Omanko

Kate Bush - December Will Be Magic Again
Rusty and Savanna - Stocking Stuffers
XTC - Thanks for Christmas
Payola$ - Christmas is Coming
Frank Turner and Butch Walker - Merry Christmas You XXXX

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Blitzen Trapper - Live In Portland Free Album!

This year, Blitzen Trapper gave perhaps the best early Christmas Gift Ever. It might be a tie with 1978, when my brother gave me Ace Frehley's solo album when I was really down. Anyway, Blitzen Trapper will give it to you if you want it too, a free 16-track live album. Get it here.

Some studio versions of a few popular tunes:


Black River Killer

American Goldwing

Maybe Baby

Ever Loved Once

Dragon's Song

Love the Way You Walk Away

Heaven and Earth

Shine On

Here's that recent cover of Ryan Adams'To Be Young (Is To Be Sad, Is To Be High) from the great Bloodshot Records collection.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Dine Alone's Free 25 song Winter Sampler

Dine Alone Records want to give you 25 free songs, and no one's slipping the collection surreptitiously into your mobile device. In fact, the label automatically enters you into a draw to win good things, including a guitar, an amp, and a turntable. Happy holidays.

What about the songs? Here's some first impressions of what you'll get from some of the tracks:

The finely-tuned fuzz-pop of Broncho's Deena, sweet warped pop of Lucius's Genevieve, the radio-ready funk-pop/rock of K-os's Turn Me Loose (not a Loverboy cover, unfortunately), You and Me's Capsized featuring the plaintive warble of Dallas Green and the dramatic wail of Alecia Moore/Pink, Fly Golden Eagle's end-of-the-night barnburner version of Stepping Stone, Streets of Laredo's fantastic spur-jingle and jangle and wordless engine-whistle backing vox for Slow Train, Delta Spirit's urgent garage anthem From Now On, Lieutenant's Belle Epoque is a favourite cousin of Nada Surf's prime power-pop, Spencer Burton's unaffected up-tempo western Death Of Gold, Violent Soho's wiry, leap-off-a-bridge Covered In Chrome, The Wytches' desperate lurch out of a subterranean cavern in Burn Out The Bruise, Zeahorse's yelpy drone for Career, snotty well-timed snarl from Single Mothers' Half-Lit, Spain's mellow, melodic ballad The Fighter, Field Report's bubbling, comforting Home (Leave The Lights On), Noah Gundersen's spare, melancholy Bag Of Glass, Shovels & Rope's soulful good-time joyous harmonies in Coping Mechanism, High Ends'clap-along spacey Intoxicated, Sylvan Esso's folktronica skipping competition soundtrack Hey Mami, The Dodos' push-you pull-me Competition, Arkells offer some la-las in Never Thought That This Would Happen, Tokyo Police Club's taut, tightly-wound Gonna Be Ready, Say Yes's gang vocals and thick riffs for M.M.M.

There's even a never-released mystery track by a mystery artist to finish off the collection, I'll say naught about it, listen for yourself.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Decemberists - Make You Better

The Decemberists have a new record coming out Jan 20 entitled What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World. Their first video features that funny guy from Parks and Rec. More importantly, Make You Better is a really good song.

Make You Better

Lake Song

Some older ones for ya:

Down By The Water (Live 6 Music Session)

O Valencia!

This is Why We Fight

If I Could Only Win Your Love (The Louvin Brothers cover)

The Sporting Life

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Elephant Stone - Knock You From Your Mountain

I am wigging out over Elephant Stone. I dig their pop/psychedelia/rock/Madchester swirl. I am glad their Soundcloud page says "Discover the soundz of Elephant Stone (the good, the bad, and the chutney)".

Knock You From Your Mountain

Knock You From Yr Mountain - P.I.A. Remix (Peter from The Dandy Warhols)

Child Of Nature (Om Namah Shivaya)

Echo & The Machine - The Al Lover Remix

A Silent Moment (The Tom Furse Remix)

A dreamy version of a Tom Petty's Into the Great Wide Open? Ok.

An echo chamber of psychedelic funhouse tripping over The Doors' LA Woman:

The first Christmas song Scruffy shares this year:

And some older Elephant Stone for ya:


The Glass Box EP

The Seven Seas

Mobina Galore - Bad Love Song

Winnipeg's Mobina Galore has a new album coming out Dec 9 called Cities Away, and I think it's gonna be a juggernaut. Although the band's name always reminds me of late Wpg band Monuments Galore, their sound is the kind that makes me excited about new music again. Raw rock 'n' roll, fiery punk with sweet backing vox, simply hard-hitting garage stomp, the new one is produced by John Paul Peters, who has worked with Propagandhi, Royal Canoe, and Comeback Kid. Courtney Love wishes she made music like this, heck, Dave Grohl wishes he did. Mobina Galore could play with Rancid or Comeback Kid or Joan Jett. Release show at the Park Theatre on Dec 27 with Clipwing and Union Stockyards. You can download Bad Love Song below.

Bad Love Song

Years Of Lies


Pieces of You (live)

Photo at top of page by Jenna Priestner.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Hey Operators! Big Fun!

Remember that Coney Hatch song Hey Operator? No? It was brilliant. "Make the telephone talk to me," belted Carl Dixon. Anyway, I hope someone does a synthy version of it of it called Hey Operators in honour of synth-pop purveyors Operators, who are coming to town as part of the Big Fun Festival Thursday January 29th 2015 @ The West End Cultural Centre with Hana Lu Lu and Will to Power. Operators is the new band from Dan Boeckner, who has also created heavenly sounds in Divine Fits, Handsome Furs, and Wolf Parade. Four great bands already? Boeckner must be some kind of genius. With Devojka and Sam Brown, Boeckner is whipping up more aural joy.  

You can purchase Operators stuff here.

Start Again



Cold Light

Live at KEXP
1/6 - Boston, MA @ Royale w/ Future Islands
1/7 - Boston, MA @ Royale w/ Future Islands
1/8 - New York, NY @ Terminal 5 w/ Future Islands
1/9 - New York, NY @ Terminal 5 w/ Future Islands
1/10 - Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer w/ Future Islands
1/11 - Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer w/ Future Islands
1/14 - Chicago, IL @ Schuba's - Tomorrow Never Knows Festival
1/29 - Winnipeg, MB @ West End Cultural Centre
1/30 - Vancouver, BC @ The Fox
1/31 - Vancouver, BC @ The Fox
2/4 - Montreal, QC @ Corona Theatre w/ The New Pornographers
2/5 - Toronto, ON @ The Danforth Music Hall w/ The New Pornographers
2/6 - London, ON @ London Music Hall w/ The New Pornographers
2/7 - Guelph, ON @ Hillside Inside w/ The New Pornographers
2/8 - Hamilton, ON @ Molson Canadian Studio w/ The New Pornographers

Crooked Brothers - Thank You I'm Sorry

The Crooked Brothers will be celebrating the release of their newest album, Thank You I'm Sorry, at the West End Dec. 12. Is that the most Canadian album title ever? When the Winnipeggers put out the deluxe version with demos, remixes and live versions maybe they will just tack on "Eh". In the meantime, it's a tasty roots album, even without back bacon and stubbies of Canadian. What do you get on Thank You I'm Sorry Excuse Me? Beautiful, mournful guitar (Blackbird in the Snow), up-tempo footstompers (Pass You By), dark Tom Waitsian storytime (Organs on Demand) and roaring Waitsian growls (Lightning in my Chest), forceful blues (Mean Mean Baby), and pretty restrained harmonies (Sittin True, North of the Border). You're welcome, no apology necessary.

Thank You I'm Sorry

Postcard EP

Lawrence, Where's your Knife?

Deathbed Pillowtalk

Dec 2 - Kelowna, Minstrel Cafe
Dec 3 - Sicamous, House Concert
Dec 5 - Edmonton, Artery w/ The Whiskey Sheiks
Dec 6 - Lloydminster, The Root
Dec 7 - Saskatoon, The Bassment
Dec 12 - Winnipeg, West End Cultural Centre

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Free MP3: Blitzen Trapper Does Ryan Adams

Bloodshot Records is celebrating their 20-year anniversary by releasing WHILE NO ONE WAS LOOKING: TOASTING 20 YEARS OF BLOODSHOT RECORDS. Artists such as Blitzen Trapper, Superchunk, Ted Leo, Ben Kweller, Chuck Prophet, Split Single, Daniel Romano, The Minus 5, Frank Turner, Andrew Bird, and The Handsome Family cover tracks by current and former Bloodshot artists like Neko Case, Graham Parker, Alejandro Escovedo, Lydia Loveless, Old 97's, Robbie Fulks, Justin Townes Earle, Waco Brothers, and Cory Branan. Below you can hear Blitzen Trapper do Ryan Adams's To Be Young (Is To Be Sad, Is To Be High), which you can download today from KUTX.

Blitzen Trapper - To Be Young (Is To Be Sad, Is To Be High
Original Ryan Adams version


Look The Other Way by Chris Shiflett & The Dead Peasants (Justin Townes Earle cover)

Deep Red Bells" by Into It. Over It. (Neko Case cover)

Some other cool stuff Bloodshot has put out? Here ya go.

JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound - "I Am Trying To Break Your Heart" (Wilco cover)

The Silos - Behind Me Now

Cory Branan

Evening Gown by Alejandro Escovedo feat. Jon Langford (Mick Jagger cover)

Old 97's - Victoria

There's Nothing on the Radio" by Graham Parker

Jon Langford

Lydia Loveless - Mile High / Blind 7" Single

The Bottle Rockets - Mendocino

Wayne Hancock - Ride

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Steve Earle - Terraplane and You're the Best Lover That I Ever Had

Steve Earle has put out country records, rock, folk, bluegrass, flirted with hip-hop styled beats, and pretty much gone where he's wanted. Lately, he's wanted to mine a blues vein, so that's where his new one, Terraplane, is going. Not that he hasn't been there before (try Meet Me in the Alleyway below), but the whole of the new album (due Feb. 17) takes that route according to Rolling Stone Country. I am more than a little intrigued. And the album artwork is amazing as always, Tony Fitzpatrick is bloody brilliant.

You’re the Best Lover That I Ever Had

Terraplane Track Listing:

1. Baby Baby Baby (Baby)
2. You’re the Best Lover That I Ever Had
3. The Tennessee Kid
4. Ain't Nobody's Daddy Now
5. Better Off Alone
6. The Usual Time
7. Go Go Boots Are Back
8. Acquainted With the Wind
9. Baby's Just as Mean as Me
10. Gamblin' Blues
11. King of the Blues

Some older ones for ya:

City of Immigrants

Way Down in the Hole

Every Part Of Me

Meet Me in the Alleyway

The Low Highway


I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive (Hank Williams cover)


State Trooper

Waitin' On the Sky

I try not to pass up an opportunity to share the song Steve Earle by Lydia Loveless. So here ya go.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Simple Minds - Big Music VS Old School Simple Minds

Interesting take on Early Simple Minds versus the latter-day band posted on the band's facebook page, not very flattering of the work done since 1982. But how many artists who made good records in the 80s have been able to do so continuously? We can't expect artists to be like they were 30 years ago. Anyway, fans like guys in Manic Street Preachers (read here or here) feel the band was exceptional in the late 70s and first years of the 80s, and some have said tracks from Simple Minds' new album Big Music contains hints of that greatness.

Honest Town

Blood Diamonds (Live)

Broken Glass Park


Kill or Cure


Compare to much older sounds:

New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84) (7" Remix)


I Travel

I Travel (John Leckie 2012 Mix)

Boys From Brazil

Chelsea Girl
The American

Theme For Great Cities (Moby Remix)

Homosapien (Vince Clarke Remix)

Sons And Fascination - Live 2009 -

Pleasantly Disturbed

Friday, November 14, 2014

Matt Epp - Promised Land

Winnipegger Matt Epp's Luma ep came out in October, but that's no reason you can't get into it today. Promised Land bristles with crackling energy, barely restrained.

Some older Matt Epp songs for ya.


When You Know (Featuring Serena Ryder)

They Won't Find the Bodies

Photo at top of post by Jen Squires

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

David Bowie - 'Tis A Pity She's A Whore

According to David Bowie's website, his new track 'Tis A Pity She's A Whore "acknowledges the shocking rawness of the First World War". I just like the song.

'Tis A Pity She's A Whore

Sue (Or In The Season Of Crime)

Day-In Day-Out

Tin Machine - Under the God

I think Bowie and Daryl Hall shared the same hair at this point in time, no?

Time Will Crawl

Do you think Bowie was riding his own coattails at this period in time?


Loving the Alien

Please Mr. Gravedigger

The Laughing Gnome

Bowie followed that gem up many moons later with the vastly superior Requiem for the Laughing Gnome.

God Knows I'm Good

Queen Bitch

Five Years

See Emily Play

Aladdin Sane



Breaking Glass


Red Sails

Up the Hill Backwards


Sunday, November 9, 2014

The Besnard Lakes Are No Barenaked Ladies

Listening to the radio recently, and the on-air personality told me that Sam Roberts Band is playing at the Burton Cummings Theatre Nov. 21. Also, Barenaked Ladies are opening. I thought I misheard, but the guy said it again. That' a weird bill, I thought. So I checked as soon as I could, and sure enough, no Ladies, it is The Besnard Lakes.

The Besnard Lakes do not deserve this kind of treatment. Maybe the band hasn't put out the radio/video hits that BNL did, and perhaps the goofy wisecracking thing isn't part of The Besnard Lakes image. But The Besnard Lakes make an intoxicating blend, with My Bloody Valentine, Beach Boys, Spiritualized and Neil Young all serving as touchstones for an epic sound.

People of the Sticks

Colour Yr Lights In

And Her Eyes Were Painted Gold

At Midnight

The Specter

46 Satires




For Spy Turned Musician


For Agent !3

I've Got A feeling

You Mke Loving Fun (Fleetwood Mac cover)

We're Here For A Good Time (Not A Long Time)

Some Sam R0berts Band for good measure.

We're All In This Together (Free download)

Them Kids

The Canadian Dream

Hard Road

Don't Walk Away Eileen

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Mark Kozelek - His Music Will Outlast

Mark Kozelek is hitting the West End Cultural Centre Nov. 11. He's been in the news for reasons that have nothing do with music, but I hope you all know he has made some great art. It wasn't hard to find a couple of dozen reasons why you should go see him, silly disagreement with War on Drugs notwithstanding.

Mistress (Live with The Roots)

I Know

Like Rats

It's Easier Now

Celebrated Summer

War on Drugs Suck My Cock

Sun Kil Moon - Lily and Parrots

Sun Kil Moon - Sunshine in Chicago

Sun Kil Moon - Carry Me Ohio

Sun Kil Moon - That Bird Has a Broken Wing

Sun Kil Moon - Ben's My Friend

Sun Kil Moon - Among the Leaves

Sun Kil Moon - Richard Ramirez Died Today Of Natural Causes

Sun Kil Moon - Micheline

Sun Kil Moon - Heron Blue

Sun Kil Moon - Lost Verses

Sun Kil Moon - Dogs

Red House Painters - New Jersey

Red House Painters - Grace Cathedral Park

Red House Painters - Have You Forgotten

Red House Painters - Cruiser

Red House Painters - Song For a Blue Guitar

Red House Painters - I'm Sorry

Red House Painters - Trailways

Red House Painters - Katy Song

Red House Painters - Shock Me

Red House Painters - All Mixed Up

Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween 2014 - Phantom of the Paradise Covers by Sc Mira and More

Sweet Apple (with Robert Pollard) - Reunion

The Afghan Whigs - Lost in the Woods

Sc Mira - Somebody Super Like You (Phantom of the Paradise cover

Sc Mira - Life At Last (Phantom of the Paradise cover)

Sc Mira - Halloween (The Misfits cover)

M83 - Graveyard Girl

Dream Syndicate- Halloween Live 2012

King Tuff - Black Moon Spell

The Rosebuds - Where the Freaks Hang Out

The Casket Girls - Same Side

Hunters and Collectors - Ghost Nation Rough Mix

Sleater-Kinney - Bury Our Friends

Split Enz - Ghost Girl

Dead Man's Bones - My Body's A Zombie For You

The Replacements - Rock 'N' Roll Ghost

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Cracker - Waited My Whole Life, Almond Grove and 12 or so More

Cracker's David Lowery is at the forefront of the movement to ensure that artists can get paid fairly in today's digital world. And no wonder. Lowery works his butt off. Cracker is releasing their new album Berkeley to Bakersfield December 9. His other band, Camper Van Beethoven, unleashed La Costa Perdida in 2013 and El Camino Real earlier this year. He even dropped a solo record, The Palace Guards, in 2011.

The most amazing thing to me is that the music is all good. Don't take my word for it, listen below, 2 new ones and a bunch of older ones. Check out this pretty good little story in Rolling Stone Country.

Waited My Whole Life

Here's another new one:

Almond Grove

Yalla Yalla

Sunrise in the Land OF Milk and Honey

Euro-trash Girl

I dig this live version of Euro-Trash Girl.

Turn On Tune In Drop Out With Me

Get Off This

Here's some Camper Van Beethoven:

Someday Our Love will Sell Us Out

Northern California Girls

It was Like That When We Got Here

Good Guys and Bad Guys

Pictures of Matchstick Men

The Day That Lassie Went to the Moon

And some David Lowery solo.

Baby, All Those Girls Meant Nothing To Me

Deep Oblivion

Photo at top by Jason Thrasher. Is that a rock n roll name or what?

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Blood Orange - You're Not Good Enough

I am pretty slow to catch on sometimes, but Blood Orange's You're Not Good Enough is in my head everyday these days. Reminds me of Prince's poppy days.

You're Not Good Enough

It is What It Is

Uncle ACE


Monday, October 13, 2014

The Waterboys - Destinies Entwined and Modern Blues

The Waterboys have released the first track, Destinies Entwined, from the new album Modern Blues (out January 19th). If you thought the band was all folk heaven as exemplified by Fisherman's Blues or big music as suggested by This is the Sea, you should listen to this, it's more of a nod to other influences in the rock world (Mike Scott seems to have listened to his share of Bowie, Prince, Stones and Hendrix).

 Destinies Entwined The Whole of the Moon Savage Earth Heart Why should I Love You (2010 Version) September 1913 The Pan Within (Piano & Vocal Demo) Thgis is the Sea (Amsterdam 1997) Seek the Light (Full length) The Man Who Sold the World Straight With the Medicine Don't Bang the Drum In the Beginning Was Love She Tried To Hole Me (Souped up and Extended) The Crash of Angel Wings (cassette demo) If You See Jimmy Hickey

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Low - Coming Soon to a Venue Near You

Low is making a special trip to Winnipeg to hit the WECC Saturday, October 18. You might think I'm just saying that, but I'm not. They have to be in Columbus, Ohio three days later, and then the band's going on a big trek with Slowdive.

 So go check out the show. C'mon, even Robert Plant is a fan! As an added incentive, you can download Just Make It Stop here,  and you can download So Blue below.

I'm On Fire


Especially Me

Plastic Cup

Silver Rider

Clarence White


Try to Sleep


Sunday, October 5, 2014

11 Picks From Breakout West

A million musical artists in Western Canada, almost all of them played in Winnipeg this weekend for BreakOut West. Here's a few that have caught Scruffy's ears.

 Yes We Mystic - Flashlight Crooked Brothers - Kennedy Astral Swans - You Carry a Sickness Boreal Sons - Sparks Federal Lights - I See Love Indicator Indicator - Swarm Dan Mangan - Road Regrets Powder Blue - Hot Fire The Provincial Archive - Son of Sam Scenic Route to Alaska - Paris shredkelly - New Black

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Future Islands - Seasons (Waiting On You) and 29 or so more

Remember when Future Islands did Seasons (Waiting on You) on Letterman and everyone freaked out about how compelling it was? Well, the band's done it again, this time on Later with Jools Holland. Unfortunately, the BBC disallowed the video posted to YouTube, before I finished this post. Sad face.

At any rate, I have been listening to the band's newest album Singles obsessively lately. I don't hear hipster irony, I hear a band that proudly uses 80s synth sounds. "Hey, this sounds like pan pipes!" "Cool!" No guitar, but a bass player that sometimes makes Peter Hook-type sounds. A raspy singer that oftens croons and sometimes lets out a death-metal cookie monster growl.

And if you watch the videos below, they cannot be unwatched. Singer Samuel T. Herring is an intense front man who manages to seem sincere and dramatic. He doesn't have a beard or wear cool clothes, he's not thin but his hair is thinning - he's like an anti-pop star. Something about his often-lower, gruff voice and his great cleft chin reminds me of Huey Lewis and his unlikely transformation into momentary celebrity.

Here's that Letterman clip:

A little intro to the band:

More from that show, "Back in the Tall Grass" / "Seasons (Waiting On You)" / "A Dream of You and Me".



Back in the Tall Grass

A Song for our Grandfathers

A Dream of You and Me

Doves (Vince Clarke Remix)

Tin Man

Before the Bridge

Walking Through That Door

Inch of Dust

Little Dreamer

Cotton Flower

Vireo's Eye

Where I Found You

Heart Grows Old

Find Love

The Great Fire

On The Water

Long Flight

Give Us the Wind

In the Fall (Future Islands w/ Katrina Ford)

The Happiness of Being Twice

Like the Moon

Old Friend


Seize a Shark