Monday, March 31, 2014

D.O.A.'s Dave Gregg Passes Away

I only got to catch D.O.A. with Dave Gregg once. But I have always loved those early D.O.A. records. To me, Something Better Change and Hardcore '81 meant punk rock. I knew next-to-nothing about the Sex Pistols or Ramones or whatever you call punk rock. But I knew D.O.A. When I first heard The Dickies, I thought, "That's not punk rock! They sound NOTHING like D.O.A.!"

Gregg played guitar with D.O.A. from '80 to '88, opening my ears and mind and heart to a whole new strain of music I didn't know existed.

Sadly, Gregg died yesterday.

 The Enemy

General Strike

The Prisoner

Waiting for You

Watcha Gonna Do?




Photo at top by Alex Waterhouse-Hayward.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Juno Awards - Best New Band Over the years

The Juno Awards are happening in Winnipeg this year, and Robin Thicke was supposed to come but dropped out at the last minute. A fellow I know tweeted, "Thicke's absence opens the door for 13 Engines". I wish.

I went swimming through some history on the Juno Awards, mostly on the category which began as Most Promising Group and morphed into Best New Group/New Group of the Year/Breakthrough Group of the Year. It's easy to find fault in hindsight, but I still think there have been a few odd choices. Some nuggets for ya:

 In 1977, Burton Cummings won for most promising male vocalist. One of the his competitors? Winestoned Plowboy Nestor Pistor.

In 1980 and 1981, Bryan Adams lost out for most promising male vocalist, to Walter Rossi in '80 and Graham Shaw in '81.

Graham Shaw is pretty good though.

In 1998, Age of Electric received a nomination for Best New Group. The band had been releasing albums since 1990. Strangely enough, AOE members Ryan and Kurt Dahle formed a side project called Limblifter, put out a self-titled album in 1996, and managed to get nominated for the Best New Group award - the year BEFORE their old band did.

Age of Electric


1983 saw Rational Youth, The Box, and Images in Vogue lose out to Idle Eyes for Most Promising New Group.

Rational Youth

The Box

Images in Vogue

In 1979, Max Webster lost out for Most Promising Group of the Year to some group called Hometown Band.

Max Webster

Martha & the Muffins and Red Rider lost out in '81 AND '82. One year they lost to Powder Blues Band.

Martha & the Muffins

Red Rider

In 1991, Spirit of the West, Crash Vegas and National Velvet lost out to Leslie Spit Treeo.

Spirit of the West

Crash Vegas

National Velvet

Have the Junos ever gotten this award right? Maybe. Like The Stills and Wintersleep, for example. Rush, Skydiggers, The Hip and The Payolas won, so I am sure some people feel that there have been a few worthy wins.

The Stills



However, in 1986 Chalk Circle went up against Cats Can Fly, Eye Eye, One to One, and Glass Tiger. Chalk Circle was robbed, robbed I tell ya.

Chalk Circle

Monday, March 24, 2014

Deer Tick - Negativity and The Curtain

Deer Tick have the power to make a person believe in rock and roll again. At least they do for me, much like The Hold Steady did a few years back. If you appreciate that band, or Drive-by Truckers, or The Replacements, then you owe it to yourself to give Deer Tick a listen or two or three. The band's newest album Negativity is at turns precious, abrasive, delicate, fiery, pretty, and ragged.

Actually, those adjectives might all be relevant even if you just listened to the first song, The Rock. These Deer Tick boys have got it all covered.

But second track The Curtain is the song that calls me back to it every day. I don't even want to talk about it, it's so good. Do yourself a favour and go get it. All I can offer you is some live versions below, but make sure you track down the album version. It is sublime.

The Curtain

The Curtain

The Curtain

The Dream's in the Ditch/ The Rock

Mirror Walls

Big House

Mr. Sticks (Live at KDHX)

Some older stuff for ya. Born at Zero

20 Miles

The Bump

Main Street

Deer Tick - Beautiful Girls (Sean Kingston cover)

Blood Moon

Baltimore Blues No. 1

In Our Time (Live at KDHX 8/9/13)

Piece by Piece and Frame by Frame


Saturday, March 22, 2014

Tyson Meade (Chainsaw Kittens) - Buddy Dash, Tomorrow in Progress

Just recently caught wind that Tyson Meade, former Chainsaw Kittens frontman, is coming out of hiding to release a new album entitled Tomorrow in Progress May 20. The album features songs called Nihilists Need Love Too, Jump Punks, Flying Through Our Skins, Mao Into Madame Mao Into Marvin Gaye, Chinese Space Station Worker [Ramona's Song]. I love it already, and I have only heard the song below, Buddy Dash.

Chainsaw Kittens were great.

John Wayne Dream

Pop Heiress Dies

Loneliest China Place

Silver Millionaire

Dorothy's Last Fling

Dream Police

Grandaddy' Candy

The Treasure is Love

Connie, I've Found the Door

High in High School

All American Wiggle Wiggle


Walking With a Jaguar

Sunday, March 16, 2014

They Might Be Giants - I Am Awake Free MP3, Video Contest

I've been reading the 33 1/3 book about the They Might Be Giants album Flood, and then I get a missive telling me that the band is releasing a new compilation album called Idlewild. The album will include a track entitled "Am I Awake" that the band would like more people to enjoy, so a video contest has been created that is open to all.

There will be 3 winners and $1000 cash prize for each winner. The deadline to enter is April 7th. All rules and judging info is HERE. "Am I Awake" is on Soundcloud, HERE.

 Anyhow, TMBG seem to have made a career out of doing whatever the heck they want. Nobody's crashed through as many genres as the two Johns. I have never been love with every one of their songs, but I have loved many of them. Here are a few from the topsy-turvy world of TMBG - remember, you live in it too.

 I Am Awake Free MP3

You're On Fire

Call You Mom

The Darlings of Lumberland


Lost My Mind


Lost My Mind (Live)


Istanbul (Not Constantinople)

Boss of Me

Courage the Cowardly Dog

Birdhouse in your Soul

Don't Let's Start

Ana Ng

The Mesopotamians

Purple Toupee

Careful What You Pack

We're the Replacements


Can't Keep Johnny Down

(She Was a) Hotel Detective

Hot Dog!
) Robot Parade (Live)

Dirt Bike

Mr. Xcitement



The Statue Got Me High (Live on Jonathan Ross)

Covers, anyone?

OK go - Letterbox

Don't Let's Start (8-Bit)

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Beef Donut - Famous for Quality

Beef Donut is officially releasing a new album, Famous for Quality, March 7 at the Windsor Hotel with The Manic Shakes and Kato Destroy. Beef Donut is the creation of Joel Klaverkamp, the primary mover for Drums and Wires, the Hummers, and Skingerbreadman. You also may have seen him play drums with groups such as Boats or plonk the bass for Grand Analog, Greg Macpherson, and numerous others.

Klaverkamp says in a recent press release that Famous for Quality is his grunge record, with the ultimate goal being "zero novelty and zero pretense". That doesn't mean it sounds like Mudhoney or Nirvana or whatever you think is the epitome of grunge. Sure, you get fuzzy guitars and crashing drums, but there's a pervading sense of playfulness here that your favourite grunge song forgot.

Famous for Quality Track Listing
1 Found Like This
2 You Lie Awake
3 Something On Your Mind
4 Just Colours
5 My Love Is For Real
6 Cover Me
7 Wave Decay
8 Signs Of The Season
9 Let Me Go Take Me Back

You can contact Beef Donut at to find out where/how to buy the album if you don't make it the release party at the Windsor.