Jennifer Doll – With Everything: The Interview

Today is the release date of Jennifer Doll’s With Everything, folks! Get yours RIGHT HERE ON THE JENNIFER DOLL BANDCAMP!

Back when Jennifer first contacted me about a the possibility of me doing A REVIEW OF WITH EVERYTHING, I’d also suggested to her that we do a brief interview around the release, just to let everyone know a bit more of what brought this release to our ears. In typical fashion, she stepped up with a brilliant collection of answers, which are posted here on the release date!

Check it out:

Aaron – Can you describe for us your working process? Do songs come to you fully-formed, or are they more of a building appearance over time?

Jennifer – The best way I can describe a wave of inspiration is as an itch that you just can’t ignore, with all the pleasure that a scratch grants. It all starts with this internal feeling that I have seemingly been able to trace back to moments when I have a few songs bouncing around in my head at one time; this creates an overall feeling that I then want to achieve in my own sound, if that makes sense. From there, I’ll intentionally borrow aspects that I love from a given song, but only from memory. During the time, I totally think I’m straight out stealing, but then the song starts to take shape and becomes its own sculptor. So, the feeling comes fully-formed, but the song dictates what it wants.

A – Your work, to me, comes across as two beautiful parts welded together in fascinating ways. There’s the dance aspect to it, but then there are such strikingly beautiful, more ethereal parts attached. Will you discuss how you create such beauty from two seemingly disparate approaches?

J – I love, love, love songs that can give you whiplash through pure energy and emotion and movement. I love songs that make you want to scream and cry and go into a manic episode; I think we all need to perform for ourselves sometimes.

I’ve always acknowledged that I have this let’s-lose-our-minds part of me and then this other side that just yearns for good company in the landscape or conversation. And I think that can be reflected in the music I listen to–in its grandeur–as well as in the place I’m at in my life: uncomfortably between graduating college and establishing a career.

This was originally supposed to be a LP, but my sound was evolving with every song and I finally said, “okay, I need to move past these tracks because I’m not in that place anymore”. And while writing them, I didn’t see any storyline to the songs. After though, I realized that with everything that was going on, those were the songs being written with everything that I had at the time and so I put them out.

A – One thing I noticed when listening to With Everything was a real sense of the dance floor and its shiny facade losing its lustre. Can you talk about how that questioning came about, and when it started affecting your thoughts on the culture of it?

J – I am in love with dance and pop music. Dance is such a visceral action that transcends language and you just gotta get up and dance a little bit sometimes! It’s being physical and emotional in a way unlike any other.

I am also fascinated by live music and how performers perform; how dance is an extension of the song and how they get the crowd to move. But you can’t dance forever and eventually the song ends and the party is over. I think that can be equated to my college days—where I was gigging nightly with ample alcohol at hand—ending and settling into a more tamed and confined lifestyle, but with the temptation of a good party still there.

I think everyone loves the idea of a party. But I think that if you can’t party by yourself, then that lustre will always fade away.

A – Do you see your work, in future, becoming one big long conversational extended collection, or do you imagine future work might branch out experimentally into different sounds?

J – My music is so dependent on what I am listening to and what is going on in my life. I try to not fall into the trap of repetition with natural tendencies (count how many of my songs start on D minor) and allowing myself to get comfortable. I always want to see what I can do differently.

The new songs I’m working on have a solid sound to them, I think. Though compiling a LP, I am terrified that because they all have a ‘sound’, they will all sound too similar. So with each new one, I’m trying to always be conscious of that and seeing what I can do differently. And of course, all would change if I were ever to find a band that wants to play my music haha!

A – You had excellent collaborations on this release. Do you find it more simply add bits to the creativity, or does it change the dynamic and the song in ways you’d possibly never imagine doing the song alone?

J – I didn’t plan on having collaborations on this release honestly. As I said, it was supposed to be a LP, so I am just as surprised and excited as everyone else! I don’t exactly remember how it came to be between me and OneManStanding—I think he listened to ‘glitter tits’ and had this real attachment to it—so, he offered to remix it and of course I was like “holy cow ya!” And I think he did a really great job; he made it go from inside the party to the moment when a party turns sour and you’re stumbling home and the regret is settling in.. And I believe Jigsaw Sequence had posted wanting to do a remix with someone, so I sent him Cosmo because I thought that best fit his style.

I think both artists did a fantastic job with taking the song and putting it in their own world. I can never see the song outside of the context I’ve made for it.

A – Is there anyone with whom you would very much like to do a collaboration, in future? Even famous/established creators? Sky’s the limit!

J – I don’t know why, but Flume came into my head right away. He uses space in such incredible ways and does the exact opposite of what you think he’s going to do; which is something I look for in all my favorite songs. I’ve never really given the question any thought, though, so I think my first thought of Flume can stand for itself.

A – Who are your influences? Musicians/bands, artists, authors, anyone else…

J – I try to listen to as much as I can. Like I said, I am especially captured by live performances, and I think the energy they release inspires me alone. But I grew up with Fleetwood Mac and Britney Spears. Right now I’ve just been listening to a lot of Lorde, Florence + the Machine, The Maccabees, Queens of the Stone Age, Kate Bush, Blood Orange, First Aid Kit, The xx, AURORA, MGMT & Arctic Monkeys (from the late 2000s only). I’m definitely missing a ton, but those were my recently added on iTunes.

A – Thanks so much for taking the time to answer these questions, Jennifer! Feel free to go ahead and promote anything you’d like or add anything else you’d like us to know about you right here (below), for all our KMA Readers to see!

J – Thank you so much for having me… everyone be on the look out for a LP next year and some structure to my life (hopefully)!  

***

Folks, get your copy of Jennifer Doll’s With Everything RIGHT HERE ON BANDCAMP. Also, follow her TWITTER!

Also, you can read my review of the excellent With Everything release RIGHT HERE ON THE KMA.

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Bruce Dickinson – Scream For Me Sarajevo: Music From The Motion Picture

Our Sunrise Records had only one copy of this CD left (they didn’t have the DVD), so of course I snapped it up. It’s Bruce!

It’s a sweet set, 14 tracks from the soundtrack for the documentary of the same name. Basically, in 1994 Bruce and his band at the time made massive arrangements to play Sarajevo for a one-off show. Sarajevo was under violent siege during civil wars, at the time, as you’ll recall. The idea of putting on a rock/metal show in the middle of it was, frankly, crazy…

Personally, I’m torn by the idea – one part of me knows their heart was in the right place, wanting to bring some much needed sanity and metal to a place tearing itself apart at the seams. The other part of me (probably the parental, practical side of me) knows they put a lot of people at unnecessary risk for this gig, and spent a lot of military and monetary resources that could have seen better use elsewhere, in order to make this all happen. The whole story is in the included (excellent) 23-page booklet in the CD case and, of course, in the documentary (which I will be buying shortly, as by all reports online, it’s a brilliant doc).

Sitting here in my peaceful Man Cave in peaceful Canada, I can just enjoy the well-chosen music on this CD, and it’s friggin’ brilliant. Of course! I’ve broken out the tracks found here (below), which include (mostly) album tracks from Bruce’s solo career, as well as a couple of rarities for those of us who haven’t collected up everything (yet).

Tracks:

Change Of Heart^
Tears Of The Dragon^
Gods Of War^
Darkside Of Aquarius~
Navigate The Seas Of The Sun@
Road To Hell~
Arc Of Space~
Omega~
River Of No Return@
Power Of The Sun@
Strange Death In Paradise*
Inertia (live)**
Acoustic Song#
Eternal@@

 

^ Balls To Picasso
~ Accident Of Birth
@ Tyranny Of Souls
@@ Tyranny Of Souls Japanese bonus track
* Skunkworks
** Skunkworks 2005 expanded edition
# Best Of Bruce Dickinson 2cd bonus track (from Chemical Wedding session)

Sloan – Don’t You Believe A Word

Toasty Taranna #27: Sonic Boom #11: Sloan Don’t You Believe A Word

Well here’s a no-brainer purchase for Aaron! SLOOOO-OOOOAAAAAN!! This 3-track UK single has some fun stuff on it. First up is the title track, off the mighty 2000 album Between The Bridges. It’s breezy, full of that sweet 70s rockin’ harmonizing, and just damn glorious. I love how restless all the instruments are – throw on the good headphones and try it.

The other two tracks were both b-sides for Between The Bridges, appearing on the Japanese release of BTB and this UK single. Much later, they also appeared on the B-Sides Win compilation. Anyway, Summer’s My Season is a slow, organ-lead ballad, and At The Edge Of The Scene is a jangly full-on Sloan rocker with definite 60s fun leanings.

Hit It Or Quit It? SLOOOO-OOOOOAANNNN!

Trews – Civilianaires

Unaware that this had already dropped on September 14, I snapped it up in a hurry! Y’all know I am a huge Trews fan, and have already covered all of their other albums (in series). And guess what… this album rocks! It’s true Trews, rockin’ with class and big volume, soulfully covering ballads, mid-tempo glory, and full-on rockers too. This is 13 tracks of cool, blending and shifting and beautifully hitting hard. GET YOU SOME!

PS: Also, I thank them for The New US: “Earlier this spring the band released, “The New US”, the first track from Civilianaires. Viewed through the lens of our current political climate, the band describes “The New US” as “a call-to-arms for us all to try and cut through the static, noise, clutter and b.s. of the insane times that we find ourselves living in and hopefully seek out a little truth for ourselves in the process…or at least give you something to head bang along to in frustration in the meantime.”” (spillmagazine)

The timing’s perfect.

Ryan Adams & The Cardinals – Follow The Lights

Toasty Taranna #26: Sonic Boom #10: Ryan Adams & The Cardinals – Follow The Lights

Sometimes Sonic Boom puts out used Ryan Adams CDs for $2.99, always a sure bet I’ll rescue them – this was one of those times! This EP is definitely laidback, country-tinged, and full of that Adams sound that I just love. I especially appreciated the piano work on this release. The Alice In Chains cover is one I loved a lot! My bias is probably showing at this point, so I’ll just leave you with this:

The EP contains three new songs and four live studio recordings, including a cover of the Alice in Chains’ song, Down in a Hole. It was produced by then-Cardinals member James Candiloro. The EP includes a re-recorded version of the song Blue Hotel, which originally appeared on Willie Nelson’s Songbird album. This Is It was previously recorded for Rock n Roll, If I Am a Stranger for Cold Roses and Dear John – which was co-written by Ryan Adams and Norah Jones – for Jacksonville City Nights.” (Wiki)

Hit It Or Quit It? Hit!

 

Volbeat – Rock The Rebel/Metal The Devil

Toasty Taranna #25: Sonic Boom #9: Volbeat – Rock The Rebel/Metal The Devil

Here comes Volbeat’s second effort, and I got it for $2.99 too (I KNOW)! Definitely this one and The Strength/… were some of the major scores on this trip! Back are the propulsive heavy metal grooves, the soaring vocals that have edge when needed, and that huge full sound that is just so goddamn satisfying. Yeah it chugs and crashes but there are melodic sections that grab you completely, too. There’s more a punk edge to some of these tracks too. Sometimes they add tastes of blues, country or pop-punk to songs, but of course they eventually blast off into full-on metal and off they go! Listening to this stuff, you just know these songs would kick serious ass in a live setting.

Hit It Or Quit It? Hit! \m/  \m/

Volbeat – The Strength, The Sounds, The Songs

Toasty Taranna #24: Sonic Boom #8: Volbeat – The Strength, The Sounds, The Songs

If you can believe it, I got this stellar debut from Volbeat for $2.99. I know! I first heard about these guys through Brother Wilf, who got hooked when he saw them open for Metallica. This first release is mostly full-on metal with soaring vocals, huge riffs, and a damn good time to be had by all. Fuck yeah!

Hit It Or Quit It? Absolute Hit! \m/  \m/

Wintersleep – Wintersleep

Toasty Taranna #23: Sonic Boom #7: Wintersleep – Wintersleep

This Halifax band is all about atmosphere, here. There’s a feel, a thread throughout this record, it just draws you in and holds you there. Tinges of grunge abound, but there’s something restrained to it all, a thoughtful tender heart in the center. I really enjoyed this!

Hit It Or Quit It? Hit.

G. Love – Fixin’ To Die

Toasty Taranna #22: Sonic Boom #6: G. Love – Fixin’ To Die

G. Love’s 3rd solo record, 9th album overall if you count the Special Sauce records too (I do). Out on Brushfire Records (Jack Johnson’s label) in 2011, with cooperation from the Avett Brothers, this is a sweet, sweet set. Covers of Bukka White, Blind Willie McTell, Lou Reed and Paul Simon, as well as superb original tracks, make this a fantastic listen. It’s blues, it’s country, it’s all friggin’ gorgeous. It’s clean and clear and I could listen to it all day.

Hit It Or Quit It? Hit!

Buncha Pictures

I was clearing through my hard drive and found a folder called KMA Funny Pics. I probably started that way back when I was doing those Sunday Service posts. Apologies if I’ve posted any of these before. Here’s what was in there:

Leonard Cohen – Closing Time

Toasty Taranna #21: Sonic Boom #5: Leonard Cohen – Closing Time (single)

Mike found this one, handed it to me saying something like ‘meh, it’s only one song so it’s probably not interesting…’ as I put it straight into my shopping basket. Do I need it? Of course not. This is an album track I already own, and this single is just a label promo of the one song. But it’s Leonard! Of course I’m buying it!

I love this song. I’ve heard folks say Leonard’s is depressing music for slitting your wrists, but I think this song is brilliantly hilarious, and the video is too.

Hit It Or Quit It? Hit!

Dillinger Escape Plan – The Dillinger Escape Plan EP

Toasty Taranna #20: Sonic Boom #4: Dillinger Escape Plan – The Dillinger Escape Plan

Since seeing DEP in concert, I became a convert. I grab up their stuff whenever I see it in my travels. Like this 1997 EP, which was recorded in their early days, when they were still (technically, I suppose) under their original band name, Arcane. These 6 tracks, with Dmitri on vocals (of course), are crazy good. I loved them all, that hardcore punk with mathcore creeping in beautifully. It’s fun to hear their nascent sound. Recommended.

Hit It Or Quit It? Hit!

Update

S’up KMA Readers,

I hope y’all enjoyed the coverage of Jennifer Doll’s upcoming release. Head to her bandcamp on the 21st of this month!

News: I was in Taranna yesterday! And yup, I was in BMV and Sonic Boom. Of course. I know, I know, I am not even done covering all the goodies I found during the Toasty Taranna trip with Mike, so I will finish those first. Then I’ll dig into these new goodies! 

Apologies: Life has been so busy lately, just slapping up brief posts is about all I can do. Worst, I haven’t read any of your blogs in so long, but I want you to know it’s not because I don’t love you, and it’s not because I’ve given up. Surely, one of these days things will calm down enough that I’ll have time to sit and read at leisure, and even comment…

Rock on, you beautiful Reader, you.

Jennifer Doll – With Everything

As sharp-eyed KMA Readers will recall, a while back I received and covered Manipulant’s What Good Are The Stars? On that fine release, one of the versions of the title track features the excellent vocal work of Jennifer Doll.

More recently, I received an email from Jennifer, who’d been referred to me via Manipulant, wondering if I’d be interested in reviewing her new release, entitled With Everything (which drops September 21). Oh dear Readers, you know my answer! Of course I absolutely would! Especially since I truly appreciated her work on the Manipulant track, and I’ve always loved it when artists send us their work, so bring it on!

I’ve played through this release several times now, and (spoiler alert!) it’s awesome. Check it out:

Bookended by waves washing ashore, Siren Song atmospherically highlights Doll’s vocals, which float beautifully while simultaneously remaining firm and guiding, as the song’s protagonist tries to keep the darkness at bay. By the time the horns march into the mix, I am fully invested in this brilliant opener. Secrets Of The Dance Floor creeps up on a deep bass rumble and simple slinky beat. Through the good headphones, the backing vocals meld wonderfully with the instrumental movements. I love the mood here, and how it takes a good hard look at the party life. 

Cosmo (f. Almark) swirls in and suddenly it’s a dance party with (at least two, that I could hear) restless synth lines writhing beneath a solid melody line. Once again the vocals soar here, and the gentler breakdown section that leads to the outro is so dreamy and lovely. Brilliant dynamics abound on this track. Heavy begins with a wonderfully church-like vocal presence (with tons of room for it) mixed with piano. It builds from there into this ethereal sway of instruments and voice, sheer beauty that’s in no rush, the kind of track you want to go on for hours.

Here ends the release proper. However, there are also three bonus tracks!

Glitter Tits carries on the look at party life and its aftermath, as well as that overall feel of afterparty comedown on the deck of some beachside chateau, perhaps as the sun comes up. I love the choir-like backing vocals, and especially the bite in her almost-whispered vocals as she reaches the punchline. That’s damn fine work. Glitter Tits (OneManStanding R3M1X) is simultaneously the same song and yet another creation entirely. The music is the same, yet there are so many things done to it to add effects and shades to it all. The pace is also slowed down considerably, adding even more to my impression of its purpose, as mentioned above. The backing vocals remain, but are moved back in the mix a bit, paradoxically increasing their poignant presence. The bottom end here is huge and spacious, straight out of the Massive Attack playbook. 

Cosmo The Little Girl Found (Jigsaw Sequence Remix) is possibly the brightest track here, tonally, very gloriously 80s with huge vocal belts (truly, she has power, folks!) and synths insistently punching at us and swirling around us. When it mellows in sections, reminiscent of earlier tracks on this release, it only bolsters the strength of this track’s resolve. Get on the dancefloor and lose yourself in this ambitious retro sound mixed with current dance energy. 

Not sure why these three are bonus tracks – this is as solid a 7-track EP, with a consistent sound, feel, and thread throughout, as I’ve ever heard! 🙂

In Sum: 

There’s no other way to say it except I thought this EP was bloody brilliant. This is a fully-realized work of art, offering sounds that mix dance aesthetic and sheer beauty with aplomb. The production is perfect, and the sound is fantastic. In a sea of (largely) forgettable dance music, here is true, clear-eyed creativity, talent and strength for all to see and hear. I wish Jennifer every success, she is definitely not only already doing all the right things, but she’s miles ahead of the rest of us and we’re all lucky to get to hear her!

I thank Jennifer Doll very, very much for contacting me and sharing this brilliant release. She was wonderful to work with throughout our exchanges, and we even waxed philosophical about life for a while, via email. It’s these very human interactions that make projects like this real, and so much fun. 

 

 

Folks, get your pre-order copy of this stellar release RIGHT HERE ON JENNIFER DOLL’S BANDCAMP. And on September 21, “you’ll get unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus a high quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.” It will also be on CD after the 21st via that Bandcamp link, and comes with “high quality printing and packaging in a jewel case… shipping out on or around September 21, 2018.” GET YOURS!

Phil Collins – Take A Look At Me Now (Boxed Set)

Y’all maybe don’t know this, as I haven’t written much about him yet, but I have been a huge Phil Collins fan for years. His music has been a soundtrack to many things, for me. He’s one of those artists. You know the kind.

Because of this, I own all but the new one from this set already. Moreover, this doesn’t have any info with it, and only the cover artwork is new. I didn’t notice any bonus tracks, at quick glance (I’ll investigate deeper). There are no extra discs with the albums. And generally, I don’t care about remastering jobs. Usually, unless it’s an old blues recording from the 30s or something, I don’t notice much difference anyway.

I did not need to buy this, really.

I bought it anyway.

***

No reviews on this one – this post is simply to share this find.

There are a couple of versions (I opted for CD):

One is in a boxed set with gatefold digipak CD cases (for about $40-$50 CAD), and this one that I got, which is all the same albums in slim cardboard wallet sleeves in a clamshell case ($20-$25 CAD). With that price difference between the two, let’s be honest, who cares about digipaks? Some people probably would. I didn’t!

What you get is the first (main) discs of the 2017 remastered editions of these huge albums:

Face Value
Hello I Must Be Going
No Jacket Required
…But Seriously
Both Sides
Dance Into The Light
Testify
PLUS: Going Back – The Essential

Probably I ought to have bought the individual RM sets, for the extra stuff. I likely still will. But I am very happy with this set, nonetheless. It gives me an excuse to go play all these records again. As if I wouldn’t play my old copies anyway. But shhh. I don’t tell myself these things…

***

Here’s another cool treat:

A lot of these albums had close-ups of Phil’s face as cover art. For the remasters, Phil re-did them with his current face. I love that he did this. Of them all, the only one that isn’t all that interesting is Dance Into The Light (as you’ll see, below), but the rest are cool.

I’ve put them all side by side for you. Check it out (original on the left, remaster on the right):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And the last record, of course, doesn’t have an old version, per se, but it has two covers. The one in this set is on the right.

 

 

 

 

 

Roots – The Legendary

Toasty Taranna #19: Sonic Boom #3: Roots – Legendary EP

Y’all know I do love me some Roots. This 5-track EP was an essential grab. Some of the tracks were recorded live* at the Palais X-Tra in Zurich, Switzerland on May 6, 1999, and it’s a Roots party! There are also 3 videos in the enhanced content. What’s not to (?uest)love?

 

Hit It Or Quit It? It’s the Roots! HIIIIIT!

 

Track List:

72A Intro
72B Jusfuckwithis*
73 Table Of Contents – (Part 3)
74 The Ultimate*
75 The Battlestar ?uestacula (Part 3 – The Search For Scratch)
76 The Next Movement*

MPEG1 The Next Movement
MPEG2 You Got Me
MPEG3 What They Do

Rick White – Memoreaper

Toasty Taranna #18: Sonic Boom #2: Rick White – Memoreaper

I’ve never heard a Rick White effort that I didn’t love, so this one was a no-brainer. That jangly shambling sound, like it might fall apart at any minute but it never does because they’re actually in perfect control is here, as always. The musicianship is stellar, and there’s not one slower/introspective track on it, which is odd for him as he usually offers a balance, but this one’s built for rocking and it kicks all sorts of ass! So much creativity, beauty, originality and straight-up greatness here.

 

Hit It Or Quit It? HIT!

Birthday Party – Hits

Alright, let’s get into my Sonic Boom finds from the Toasty Taranna excursion with Mike!

First up: Well, here’s where I lose a bunch of cred… this is a band I haven’t really explored, until this disc. I know, I know, it’s Nick Cave and I love his work. And I know, I know, Rollins (ROLLINS!) raved all the time about this band, but somehow I never got to them. Better late than never!

Toasty Taranna #17: Sonic Boom #1: Birthday Party – Hits

This 20-track disc is one helluva introduction to this amazing group. And it was good timing for me to hear it, having (not long ago) read the Reinhold Kleist graphic novel about Cave.

Honestly, the music is freaky AWESOME. It’s art rock poetry slam funky rock jazzbo punk brilliance, with occasional Tom Waits-ish howls and an overriding inimitable style all its own. It’s easy to focus on Cave, of course, but for me what stood out too was the work of bass player Tracy Pew throughout this set. Hot damn!

Every track was awesome. Reccomended fully to you all!

 

Hit It Or Quit It? Massive HIT!

Sin-Tones – Surf-O-Ghetti

Whew, that title has a lot of hyphens.

Here’s the final 3-for-$10 score, as well as the final BMV score. After this, Sonic Boom!

Toasty Taranna #16: BMV #16: 3-For-$10 Bin #12: Sin-Tones – Surf-O-Ghetti

Here’s another Taranna band with just the one album, and it’s chock full of garage surf (with occasional country pickin’) brilliance. I wonder if they were the same scene as the Stinkies? That would be a helluva double-bill!

Opener is the instrumental The Resurrection Of Joe Clark, which is fun and has a crow cawing at the end. I know. Knot Of Wood has our singer seeing Jesus, Mary, and Satan over a sweet surf rock beat. Holy Pulp Fiction soundtrack, Batman! Mail Order Bride is jazzy country swing, like if Big Rude Jake did surf music.

With other track titles like It Could Be… A Beaker Full Of Death, Monster-Truck-O-Rama, and They Went Thattaway, it’s a shoe-in that I loved this album.

 

Hit It Or Quit It? HIT!

Stinkies – It’s Fun And Easy To Put Together

Toasty Taranna #15: BMV #15: 3-For-$10 Bin #11: Stinkies – It’s Fun And Easy To Put Together

Bought this because the name made Mike laugh (and I think he liked Frisky Nikki). The Stinkies had this one, from 1996, as well as a pair of 7” (Boogie ’72, and a split 7” EP with the Knuckle Dusters conveniently named The Stinkies/Knuckle Dusters!!), and that was it. 

If you took the Sex Pistols, the Hives, and Dick Dale, and threw it all in a blender, you’d be having a fucking blast listening to the Stinkies. And with track titles like Booty Manipulator, Grandma Dynamite, and Stinkie Stomp, how can you not love them?

Mike will want to know about the song called El Pollo Loco. It’s super-fun garage rawk with a swing. Andit’s about chicken. It even rhymes the words ‘cluck’ and ‘fuck.’ Haha yes! 

This CD was a hoot, I loved it. This band is long gone, but they just gained a fan in 2018!

Hit It Or Quit It? HIT!

Philip Norman – The Stones: The Acclaimed Biography

The cover photo of this book tells it all. This Jagger-centric book glosses over giant swaths of time, cultural movements, personal interactions and entire albums (!) with horrifying rapidity, yet waxes poetic and covers minute detail for huge sections about the various drug arrests, Brian Jones’ death, and Altamont. It’s very obvious that this author prefers the prurient subjects.

Other band members get far less mention, except Keith but only then for his drug-related problems, and even then mostly only as it relates to Mick. It’s like Bill wasn’t even there (though we get an update about his post-Stones life in the epilogue – wow, thanks). And if Charlie gets mentioned, it’s that he lived quietly and collected antique silver. Thanks for fleshing him out for us! This author has also written a separate book about Mick, but no other Stones, so it’s obvious who gets the most coverage.

The book also hangs huge on the early years, up to the end of the 1960s. For a 501-page book (excluding author’s note and index), it’s only just finished barfing adjectives about Altamont by page 403. The next two decades get covered in less than 100 pages.

Worst (to me), the music is secondary, throughout this telling. The entire raison d’etre of the group, the creation of most of their albums, plays second fiddle to the goings-on and the minute details, for example, of all of Mick’s dalliances and marriages. So much space is wasted banging on about backstage garden parties and which house they bought, and yet, for example, Goats Head Soup gets more mention of its cover art than its music (and even then only about a paragraph), and the entire album of Emotional Rescue gets one sentence.

I’ve read enough about the Rolling Stones in the 3+ decades I’ve been a fan to know most of this stuff already, so I could fill in the incredible number of blanks myself. And yes, it is unrealistic to cover their entire career, and all of the goings-on both musical and extracurricular, in a mere 500 pages, but I wouldn’t blame a neophyte for reading this book and not knowing anything about the music at all when they were finished reading. It should have been titled The Stones: The Acclaimed Tabloid Biography (But Only The Most Salacious Bits About Which I Know The Most).

It all became clear when I read the Thank Yous at the end. This author spent time with the band on the 1981-1982 tour, and was a writer for the Sunday Times from 1965 up, so of course the main bit of knowledge would be the early years. But you can’t print a book about the Stones and just brush off sooooo much. I understand that a comprehensive biography would require multiple volumes, but picking and choosing like this book does is a disservice.

Much as I love the band, I wouldn’t recommend this book.

House Of Lords – House Of Lords

Bought this on Mike’s suggestion, as there is a KISS connection (it was on Gene Simmons’ label), and because he said it was kinda tough to find. From the 3-for$10 bin, good enough for me.

Toasty Taranna #14: BMV #14: 3-For-$10 Bin #10: House Of Lords – House Of Lords

The intro to Pleasure Palace threw me, but it soon got down to rockin’. Throughout these songs, I thought the KISS influence was huge. The riffs and song structures are solid. Lookin’ For Strange was a Hot For Teacher blast, and there are a few 80s soundtrack efforts too (try Love Don’t Lie). Slip Of The Tongue was another fun full-tilt boogie, and I loved the intro to Jealous Heart before the typical tune takes over. In all, I liked it. Would play it again, when I want some 80s rawk.

Hit It Or Quit It? Hit.

Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros – Rock Art And The X-Ray Style

Toasty Taranna #13: BMV #13: 3-For-$10 Bin #9: Joe Strummer And The Mescaleros – Rock Art And The X-Ray Style

This debut album with the Mescaleros sounds influenced by caribbean music, ska and reggae, as well as electronic music and African beats… Strummer liked to mix styles! And still, everytime I hear his voice I hear the Clash… call it conditioning. But it’s refreshing to hear him making such fun-sounding, beautiful music with a top band. Sunshine in your soul! A lot of this music is for dancing, even when the news is dire. Slower tracks (like Nitcomb) make this a perfectly-balanced listening experience.

Yessir this is the good stuff!

Hit It Or Quit It? Hit!

Curley Bridges – Keys To The Blues

Toasty Taranna #12: BMV #12: 3-For-$10 Bin #8: Curley Bridges – Keys The The Blues

Ohhhh man. This autographed copy of Bridges’ 1999 album is one of my big scores from the Toasty Taranna trip. It’s chock full of great roadhouse blues, sung with a B.B. King shout, and the interplay between Bridges’ gorgeous piano with those guitar interjections is golden. I also loved the trumpet on Thank You, Pretty Baby.

Sadly, Bridges left this world in 2014, at the age of 80. He had quite a story – and he moved to Canada (all the more reason to like him)!

This record has that great old classic 50s sound, and I love love love it! RIP, Curley.

Green Day – 21st Century Breakdown

Toasty Taranna #11: BMV #11: 3-For-$10 Bin #7: Green Day – 21st Century Breakdown

Nowadays, Green Day has matured into a rock opera band, all political lyrics and mature themes of the zeitgeist.

“Armstrong has described the album as a “snapshot of the era in which we live as we question and try to make sense of the selfish manipulation going on around us, whether it be the government, religion, media or frankly any form of authority”. The singles “Know Your Enemy” and “21 Guns” exemplify the themes of alienation and politically motivated anger present in the record.” (wiki)

I liked it. It’s a Green Day album and it has something to say. Cool.

Hit It Or Quit It? Hit.

Lamb Of God – The Duke EP

Not part of the Toasty Taranna scores, I bought this for $5 to get free shipping on an Amazon order. Interesting as it’s now back up to $12.79 CAD…

The title track is a bit disorienting, with Randy actually singing melodically with only occasional growls over a somewhat gentler (for them) track. Not what I think of when I think of this band, but it was “released in honor of Wayne Ford, a fan and a friend of the band who was diagnosed with leukemia and died in February 2015,” so good on ’em.

The next new track, Culling is right in the Lamb Of God pocket. There are also three live tracks from their VII: Sturm Und Drang album: Still Echoes (from Rock Am Ring in Germany), as well as 512 and Engage The Fear Machine (both from Bonaroo). If you know live Lamb Of God, you know what you’re getting here – set to destroy and go!

Billy Bragg – Back To Basics

Hello, y’all. We are back from our annual cottage week (it was good, overall, thanks!). Historically speaking, we don’t get wifi at the cottage, so we just don’t worry about it. This year we had it and I still didn’t use it much. Go figure. 

Now that we’ve returned, I will be trying to get caught up on our Community’s excellent blogs. I may not comment a lot, but I will leave a Like to let you know I was there.

Also, I am taking my own content on the KMA back to the challenge of brevity. Also, I’ll be posting whenever I can, no strict schedule. So much to do, so little time. First up, finishing the Toasty Taranna series. Let’s give ‘er.

 

Toasty Taranna #10: BMV #10: 3-For-$10 Bin #6: Billy Bragg – Back To Basics

Imagine a young Billy Bragg with just a guitar, a mic, and a headful of brilliant songs about politics and love… that’s this disc. Glorious.

Collecting Bragg’s first three releases 1983-1985 – Life’s A Riot With Spy Vs. Spy, Brewing Up With Billy Bragg, and the Between The Wars EP – this 1987 effort is a must-have.

Hit It Or Quit It? Absolute HIT.

SLCR #317: Regina Folk Festival (August 11, 2018)

Festivals can be tricky to write about since you get a bunch of different artists, some you might not know anything about, and often not enough time for them to leave a lasting impression. And you – this time I mean you, specifically, whoever is reading this – probably don’t want to read a list of names with me going “it was fine” over and over.

Luckily for you, God intervened. An afternoon temperature of 42C before the humidex put a hold on our plans. We’d already foregone the weekend passes in favour of just the Saturday night, but the heat was such that we held off even further, opting to show up after 9:00pm. As we got exchanged our passes for wristbands, Pierre Kwenders was just wrapping up. We took a walk around the vendor area, and I don’t know if I’ve ever seen the food trucks so dead. I know it was later in the evening, but still. Only the places that specialized in cool drinks had significant lines. I think it was just too hot to eat.

Since we showed up so late, we left our chairs in the car and stood down at the front. Gotta be the first time I’ve done that at the folk festival in a decade. Between sets, Zoey Roy was doing a spoken word performance – very impassioned and got a great reaction from the crowd. I’m not sure that poetry readings will ever be 100% my thing, but when done well and in front of an appreciative, supportive audience, I have a better understanding of the appeal.

Of all the artists at this year’s festival, I was most excited for Tanya Tagaq. We’d seen her with the symphony recently, but this was our first opportunity to see a full performance. Her music is a modern take on traditional Inuit throat singing and she was accompanied by, among other musicians, a Theremin player. This is not music I would listen to every day but it fits certain moods very well. Specifically, the moods of “I want to completely discombobulate my brain” or “I want to get ready for war.” In a literal sense, I mean – if I had to grab a gun and charge into battle, I’d want this playing. Her music is powerful and vulnerable and otherworldly and scared at least one nearby small child. It sounds unlike anything else I’ve heard and makes me feel different than any other music too. When I was younger, I probably would have hated this. She sang for an hour and it flew by. Amazing.

Between sets, we found a bench, and, somehow, Rheanne. We run into her every year, apparently even when it’s dark out and we’re only there for a few hours.

On our way back to the stage, we passed a very drunk lady being walked out of the park by security. Or at least that was the goal; when we saw her, she’d stopped to give out high-fives, take selfies, and sing Sweet Child O’ Mine with other festival-goers. It’s not often you get to say “there’s a very patient security guard.” Anyway, I had no idea alcohol could make you so happy. I should investigate further.

The night’s headliner was Neko Case. I’d seen her a few times before, including once at the festival, and I always came away a little underwhelmed. In what I always felt was an unfair way, you understand. She’s so incredible that I went into her shows with sky-high expectations that were never quite met. This time, though, was easily the best of her shows that I’ve seen. It would be easy to chalk that up to my expectations but I don’t think that’s quite it. She seemed to really be inspired and emotional to be at the festival, having worked earlier in the day with Girls Rock Regina, a girls’ music camp (and wearing their shirt during her performance). She also talked about how excited she was to finally see Tanya Tagaq (they always play the same festivals but on different days) and dedicated a song to Zoey Roy. It seemed like she was really feeling the festival and that came through in her performance. Even if she was eating and being eaten by bugs because of the spotlights.

Case is touring her new album, Hell-On, which I’ve listened to, but not a ton. We got lots of songs off it, of course. Fewer of the old classics but “Hold On, Hold On” is my favourite of hers and she played that one, so no complaints here. But the best moment for my money was during the song Man, a song about masculinity and gender roles and also one of the rockier songs of the night. These two ballcap bro-dudes heard the opening notes and they were SO into it. They yelled WOOOO and threw up devil horns and hugged and rocked out like nobody’s business. And then they were joined by a third guy, and they all stood in a circle, holding hands, jumping up and down and pumping their arms to the music. The song is great. Their reaction was fantastic. The two combined? Perfect.

And then we went home. Makes for an abbreviated festival recap this year – I trust everyone had fun at Walk off the Earth and Shakey Graves and Bruce Cockburn and Michael Franti. Next year is the 50th annual folk festival, so we’ll see who they bring in. Better believe my expectations are already completely unreasonable and we’ve got seven months until the initial lineup announcement.

UPCOMING CONCERTS:
• Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls with Bad Cop/Bad Cop and Sam Coffey & The Iron Lungs (September 12)
• The Fred Eaglesmith Show starring Tif Ginn (September 23)
• Cadence Weapon with Fat Tony and Hua Li (October 2)
• Jonathan Richman (October 6)
• Crash Test Dummies (October 11)
• Colter Wall (October 16)
• They Might Be Giants (October 20)
• Hawksley Workman & the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra (April 13)

SLCR #316: Arkells (August 2, 2018)

This is relatively short and mostly about food but it’s also three weeks late, so whatever. This was our third year seeing a concert at the Queen City Ex and honestly, I thought it was kind of slim pickings this year. Two country acts, Burton Cummings, the Regina Symphony doing Michael Jackson and Prince songs, and the Arkells. I feel like we chose wisely despite my eventual realization that while I’d heard other musicians (Hawksley Workman, Frank Turner) say good things about them, I didn’t actually know any Arkells songs. Though I do confess some curiosity about how well the Symphony would pair with stifling heat, a giant plush Pikachu, and a corndog.

Mika and I went early this year, arriving at the fair shortly after 11:00am so that we could spend the first part of the day with her friend Christine and her kids. The kids rode rides and displayed passionate interest in every kind of carnival game. I sweated a lot and lost to Mika at both Whack-a-Mole and squirting water in the clown’s mouth. Also, I followed up some deep fried cheese curds with the stupidest thing I’ve ever eaten, deep fried bacon-wrapped Reese’s peanut butter cups. Eventually, we watched a scintillating performance from Doodoo the Clown, who was apparently in the movie Billy Madison. I don’t remember there being a clown in Billy Madison, but that might only be because I’ve never seen it. The kids had fun. Eventually, full of delicious sugars and fats, we were all overheated and so they headed home. With hours to go before the concert, we also headed home for air conditioning and a nap.

Dear future James, for your reference, if you leave the fair and come back, your handstamp will let YOU back in for free, but there are no in/out privileges as it pertains to parking.

Back inside, we went straight to the concert grounds for our openers, Sc Mira. You may remember that we saw them open for Buck 65 a few years ago. That felt like an odd pairing at the time, and even more so now when I did the “who did they open for again?” check through the old reviews. They felt like a much better fit with the Arkells, which makes it too bad that basically nobody saw this set. There were seriously maybe 20-30 people there when they started and it filled up a bit as they played, but really not that much. You wouldn’t have known it from their performance – it has to be challenging playing in front of a small, apathetic crowd (especially in such a big space) but they still brought it. Lots of new material and a marked increase in stage presence too.

With a lengthy break between bands, we went in search of dinner. Mika went one way to get some corn on the cob, which isn’t really fair-level crazy but non-glutenous options are scarce and limited. I went the other way in search of something I’d seen earlier, but I don’t know my directions got turned around. Luckily, this led to running into and chatting with Chad and his family for a bit. I eventually did find the “grilled cheese dog” that I was after, but whatever you’re picturing in your mind as a grilled cheese dog is more exciting and appetizing than what I got. Poor choice, me.

Dear future James, for your reference, just get the corndog with a pickle in it. You like corndogs. You like pickles.

We met back at the concert grounds, and dang. The Arkells fans are late arrivers, but when they get there, they show up en masse. The place was packed. We stood near the back.

It’s not entirely true to say that I didn’t know any Arkells songs. Mika’d played one of them in the car. Two others, I recognized a little bit from… somewhere? I don’t know. Being alive and often in the presence of background music? I didn’t know enough to sing along with anything, let’s put it that way. And yet, I didn’t really care. These guys had huge energy and were a blast to watch. Singalongs, clapalongs, running through the crowd, they were never not engaging with the audience. Fantastic live performers. And I did know one song after all, since the first song of their encore was Whitney Houston’s I Wanna Dance With Somebody. Which seemed like a weird fit for about 5 seconds but then totally wasn’t. Would definitely go see these guys again. Worth the admission. Worth paying for parking twice. Worth that sub-par hot dog. Maybe I should listen to any of their stuff someday.

On the way out, determined to make one last bad decision, I got white chocolate cheesecake mini-donuts. The girl cautioned me that instead of your standard bag of mini-donuts, there were three of them. For $10. I was already committed to this idea so I went along with it. And I have to say, what they lacked in quantity they more than made up for in quality. These were sensational. Hot and crispy with cheesecake goo inside and white chocolate drizzle. I don’t even like white chocolate.

RIP Aretha

We mark the passing, yesterday, of one of the giants among us. This one hurts.

Baby, baby, baby I love you. RIP.

 

***

Please note:

We will be at the cottage for our annual family excursion. Wifi there always sucks, so I won’t even try to be online. However, I’ll have my iPod with me, loaded to the teeth with all the rest of my Toasty Taranna scores and a zillion other albums besides, and I’ll use the interwubs silence to fill my ears with tunes. I’ll write notes for posts, and deluge you with it all when we drag our sun-soaked, waterlogged, beach-addled carcasses back to civilization. Laters. A.

David Gray – White Ladder

Toasty Taranna #9: BMV #9: 3-For-$10 Bin #5: David Gray – White Ladder

I first heard David Gray on CMJ 015, from November 1994, an angry song called What Are You?, which I loved. That was from a record called Flesh, for which I paid a lot because at that time it was still on import here in North America. 

Anyway, I recently reviewed a compilation of his called Lost Songs, and ’twas the venerable J. who said this album was the one he’d go for, given druthers. Myself, I’d owned it at some point but didn’t have it anymore, so I found a copy to fill out a 3-for-$10 at BMV. 

Not gonna lie, I frickin’ burned out on Babylon. And hearing it here didn’t make me want to hear it any more either. Just tired of that damn song, it was (and still is) overplayed everywhere. And yeah, it’s the tune that brought him to everyone’s attention, not just those of us who remember Sell, Sell, Sell (and Flesh). Fair play to those who dig it, of course.

But this album had a total of 5 tracks become singles. With Babylon, there was also This Year’s Love, Please Forgive Me, Sail Away, and Say Hello Wave Goodbye (originally by Soft Cell, and Gray’s version also contains lines from Van Morrison’s Madame George and Into The Mystic). That’s essentially half the album. I get it, it was huge. And listening through, I liked most of it. He’s as tuneful as ever, his lyrics are still poetry, and I was interested to learn that it was self-financed and recorded in his apartment. Cool.

The original IHT Records version has a hidden track found by rewinding from the start of Please Forgive Me. My copy, re-released in the US on Dave Matthews’ label ATO has a bonus track called Babylon II, (which wasn’t different enough to make me like it more than the original) and it’s enhanced with a mini-documentary, biography and web links. The Japanese release got still other different stuff (hey Mike! I’ll bet it’s expensive!). 

In Sum: 

It’s David Gray. You like him or you don’t. The songs here are strong, there’s very, very good reason it sold so much everywhere. I found it listenable, overall, and will probably spin it again, and I could put some of these songs into the mix with the other stuff of his I have. But I’ll still likely skip Babylon. 

 

Hit It Or Quit It? Hit.

SLCR #315: Gateway Festival (July 28, 2018)

This show could have waited a few days and I’d have been fine with it. As far as festivals go, it had one of the most James-specific lineups I’d ever seen, so I should have been more excited, but it had been a really long week. I got home on time on Monday evening. Worked late and got home after 9:00 on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Only left an hour late on Friday to begin my two-week vacation (woo) but spent Friday night mowing the lawn, cleaning house, and doing all the other stuff I’d been putting off before my in-laws’ flight got in at midnight. Mika had worked late all week too. We needed groceries and I wound up buying bananas and milk at Shoppers Drug Mart at 11:30pm, which I think is a nice summary of how that week went.

All of which was great preparation for driving two hours to Bengough, watching a bunch of bands, and driving two hours back after midnight. I was actually feeling better on Saturday than I was expecting; sleeping in until 12:30 helped.

Soon enough, tickets in hand and lawnchairs in trunk, we were on the road. The drive was uneventful, which doesn’t give me anything to talk about but that’s still probably for the best. I mean, it’s fun to tell the story of how I hit a duck in the ass with the car on the way home from Bengough a few years ago, but I’d still have preferred to not hit the duck.

I had promised Mika we’d make it there in time for Library Voices’ set at 5:15 but that was before I was slow and lazy in the morning. And afternoon. And pretty much always. But I was still pretty sure that we’d make it, and they started their first song as we were walking into the grounds. Close enough. We found a place to park our lawn chairs and sat back for the show. Library Voices are one of the bigger bands to come out of Regina in the past decade, and yet, I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a proper concert by them, just short festival sets where they never play the few songs I know. Needless to say, that didn’t change here, but this was a quick fun hit of power-pop that started our festival experience off on a good note.

Onto the parade of mostly-local people I don’t really know much about and don’t have much to say about! Country singer Ellen Froese was up next with a mix of covers and originals. I enjoyed her set and she’s local, so I imagine I’ll see her again soon. She was followed by Seth Anderson. No band – just him and a guitar. He had a good sense of humour, playing off the sounds of soundcheck happening on the other stage during his set. (He may also have dropped a few f-bombs during one of his songs and it looked like maybe someone suggested that he please stop doing so, since we hadn’t hit the drunkening hour yet – but I digress.) I liked this too. Would see again.

Next was Zachary Lucky. Country singer. Deep voice. Probably something I’d really dig but I didn’t get to see much of him. I decided that I should get something to eat before the Karpinka Brothers, which seemed like a solid enough plan but it went awry. First I went to the merch stand to take a peek. Didn’t get anything this year. Next, I made the arduous trek back to the car – like, almost three or four whole minutes each way, some sort of death march – so I could get my glasses. I have regular glasses and sunglasses and whichever pair is not currently on my head is inevitably forgotten in the car. Finally, I had to survey the food options, settling on a food truck that made a waffle hashbrown sandwich. Basically, you get bacon and cheese inside two waffles made out of hashbrowns. It needed an egg for breakfast sandwich perfection but this was still pretty great and I’m going to try making hashbrowns like that here sometime. This, however, was not the speediest process – or possibly this truck had some efficiency issues – anyway, by the time I was back at my chair, the Karpinka Brothers were nearly done.

I went to high school with one of the Karpinkas (probably both, really, but Shawn was in my grade). I’ve run into Shawn a few times since high school. He’s always been nice and I’m always happy to see him and that’s not something I’d say about 95% of my graduating class. Before this, though, I’d never actually seen them play (apart from maybe a few songs in a Regina Folk Festival teaser set, but I’m not even 100% certain about that and it’s way too late for me to be fact-checking now). I still can’t say I really saw them, but I could hear them from the food truck of eternal wait and they sounded really fun. I’ll have to make it a priority to get to one of their shows soon.

I saw Megan Nash earlier this year and was looking forward to her set. She’s one of my favourite local musicians. She had a strict 30-minute set so she wasn’t as talkative as last time (or maybe it’s that she wasn’t all hopped up on cold medication), but this was still really good.

Onto the folks you may have heard of! First up was former Weakerthans lead singer John K. Samson, a self-described “lefty talk-singer from Winnipeg.” It sounded like there were some Winnipegers near us who were very happy to learn where he was from. Then he opened with Weakerthans classic One Great City!, which says “The Guess Who sucked, the Jets were lousy anyway” and has a singalong chorus of “I hate Winnipeg.” I’d say it’s still kind of a love letter to the city but said Winnipegers seemed to disagree. Anyway, I’ve seen John K. as a solo act before and he was all about playing his own songs and very few Weakerthans songs, but we got the opposite here. There were a handful of his solo songs, including Post-Doc Blues and Vampire Alberta Blues (neither of which are particularly bluesy), but most were Weakerthans favourites. A personal highlight was hearing Samson play all three songs about Virtute the cat in a row. Looking up the lyrics of Virtute at Rest, I saw on Samson’s website that the human from those songs is the same person in the song 17th Street Treatment Centre, which makes perfect sense but still blew my mind a little. As an aside, he played that one too. And he also played Aside.

Samson’s set started at 8:15 and in retrospect, when it was done, we should have moved our chairs from the beer garden side of the park to the all-ages side. 8:00pm is the magic hour where the hipsters and families disappear and the people who’ve been drinking at their campsites all day show up. Plus then we’d be nice and close to the main stage but still comfortably on our respective butts. Though I suppose we’d have missed out on some… colourful characters.

When the Gateway Festival released the initial teaser poster for the event, all of the musicians’ names were blacked out but some were done in such a way that you could kinda make a guess at who they were. I was 99% sure one was Kathleen Edwards. This got me hyped and I may have spent several days meticulously poring over the poster like it was the Zapruder film. Mika and I saw Kathleen Edwards at the Exchange many years ago and it was a great great show. Moreover, a few years ago, she essentially retired from music to open up a coffee shop called Quitter’s in Stittsville, Ontario.

If you think I’m going to make a joke about Stittsville, think again. I’m far too mature for that. Plus I live in Regina, so, you know. Plus Kathleen Edwards made all those jokes already.

ANYWAY my point is that while Edwards has done a handful of concerts since her self-imposed retirement, I really didn’t think she’d ever come out this way again. And here she was! This was exciting enough that we actually left our chairs and went down to the main stage. Edwards was in fine form and seemed to be relaxed and really enjoying herself. There was a nice mix of songs spanning her whole career (Sidecars was a personal favourite) and one new one she wrote about turning 40. After Empty Threat, she asked if there were any Americans there since we were less than an hour from the border, which led to a story about opening for Bob Dylan in Montana. She also dedicated the song Hockey Skates to everyone affected by the Humboldt Broncos tragedy earlier this year. Kathleen Edwards is a treasure.

Then we were back to the side stages for Elliott BROOD and as ever, I’ll play along with the spelling once. I should listen to these guys more but I always seem to forget how much I like them. Their energy was especially welcome coming after a series of folkier artists. They’re coming back to Regina in the fall and I was thinking about skipping out since I’ve seen them a few times in the past few years but this was fun enough that I might just reconsider.

Somewhere in here I went to use the bathroom and found that apart from the portapotties, there were also two urinals, of sorts. Big covered tanks with funnels sticking out of them. As they say, when in Rome, pee in a funnel and then go find some hand sanitizer.

Finally, we had the last addition to the festival lineup, recent inductee to the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, and former Barenaked Lady, Steven Page. I’d seen one of his solo shows with Mary a few years ago and really enjoyed it, so when they added him to an already stacked festival, I was stoked. Much like with Samson, there were more Barenaked Ladies songs than Page solo songs, including Jane, Enid, The Old Apartment, Break Your Heart, It’s All Been Done, Alcohol, and I Live With It Every Day. He closed with Brian Wilson, which you had to expect. For solo stuff, he played Surprise Surprise, Manchild, Linda Ronstadt in the 70s, and A New Shore, among others.

There was also a bit where he did some happy strumming on his guitar and Page and the rest of his band took turns singing bits of different popular songs that fit the music. And while I’m sure this is a bit he does often, I suspect the snippet of Virtute the Cat Explains Her Departure that Page sang was specifically because Samson was there. I mean, it’s not a happy song and it didn’t fit the music, but I know Page likes it and had previously recorded it with the Art of Time Ensemble.

Page didn’t play If I Had $1,000,000, much to the frustration of some of the folks around us who were expecting a Barenaked Ladies greatest hits show. I don’t know who wrote what in Barenaked Ladies, but I suspect Page only played stuff that he wrote (or at least co-wrote). Tough break for anyone who was expecting the chimpanzee song. But hey, he still played a lot of hits. Possibly too many for some folks’ tastes – Page was about 20 minutes over his allotted time when it looked like someone notified him it was time to wrap it up. Even then, after Brian Wilson, as we were starting to leave, just as I overheard a festival volunteer say “there hasn’t been an encore all weekend, there won’t be one now,” Page and his band came back out and played Call and Answer. The Badland Country Band was set to go on at midnight and it was nearing 12:30 and a handful of folks were growing impatient. One of the aforementioned colourful characters tried to start a “BADLAND BADLAND” chant but it was as successful as you might expect. “Sorry guys, we’ll be quick,” said Page to the Badlands when he came back out. I’m sure he meant it, but Call and Answer is a six-minute song and I cackled. I dug this whole thing, though to be fair, going over time? Not cool. But I’ll chalk it up to miscommunication somewhere along the way, mostly because we weren’t staying around for the Badland Country Band anyway. As we walked back to the car, we heard them start into a cover of You May Be Right and I’m pretty sure they messed up the words. Timing must have thrown them off.

The drive home was duckless and uneventful, which is exactly how I wanted to wrap up the day.

I should mention that the entire two-day festival was packed with musicians I like and basically consisted of one big SLCR all-star reunion show. I’m not a camping person and Bengough is a long drive from Regina – it would be pretty taxing to take in both nights if you’re going to drive home each night. So we skipped the Friday, since the organizers were kind enough to put all my nice-to-sees on Friday and my must-sees on Saturday. But seriously – Friday night had Big Sugar, Terra Lightfoot, William Prince, Belle Plaine, and Yukon Blonde (along with The Kentucky Headhunters and Chixdiggit, who I’ve never seen before). In Bengough! Population: 337! This whole festival is kind of ridiculous!

Eric Johnson – Ah Via Musicom

Toasty Taranna #8: BMV #8: 3-For-$10 Bin #4: Eric Johnson – Ah Via Musicom

I knew of Johnson’s guitar prowess, of course we all do. The dude freakin’ SHREDS. I bought this for Cliffs Of Dover, of course, that brilliant shiny piece of gorgeousness that it is. Of course, High Landrons, Trademark, and Righteous were singles (and awesome). Honestly, the whole record rules, but you knew that already.

In looking this one up, I learned that Cliffs Of Dover was ranked #17 in the 100 Greatest Guitar Solos by Guitar World magazine, and #34 in Guitarist magazine’s list of 50 Greatest Guitar Tones Of All Time. It also won the 1992 Grammy for Best Rock Instrumental Performance. Yeah, exactly.

Some songs here were dedicated for other guitar players: Steve’s Boogie is for Steve Henning, Song For George is for 80-year-old George Washington, and East Wes is for (of course) Wes Montgomery. 

But the main thing here is the tone. Johnson is all about the tone, and oh baby, he nails it.

 

Hit It Or Quit It? Hit! Hit! Hit!

BONUS! This live version of Cliffs Of Dover kicked ass. Also, check out the comments underneath – some are hilarious:

David Knopfler – Ship Of Dreams

Toasty Taranna #7: BMV #7: 3-For-$10 Bin #3: David Knopfler – Ship Of Dreams

This is the first David Knopfler solo record I’ve ever owned, which is a mighty damn shame – this was fantastic and I wish I had them all! Of course I love Dire Straits and have all of that but for some weird reason I’ve never looked beyond them. I’ve wasted so much time!

This is acoustic/electric blues/rock/pop done with all of the best sensibilities. Knopfler’s vocals are spot-on, just gravely enough to have an edge but not done as an affect… The songs are whip-smart, and beautifully constructed. This is the kind of album that leaves you feeling like you just had an experience, the kind of experience that elevates and enlightens. Oh yeah…

Loved it. I need more!

 

Hit It Or Quit It? HIT!

 

PS: I was digging around on Amazon and found a comment from DK himself! Check it:

David K

5.0 out of 5 stars

Correction to Payman’s generous review

January 1, 2005 – Published on Amazon.com

Just wanted to point out that the sax player on Ship of Dreams is Tim Whitehead – not Chris White (who plays on my other records)

– both excellent players as it happens. Also that the record is available at amazon.de for a lot less or at CD Baby or at my website

knopfler.com for £8-50 pounds – – nobody should be paying $39 – or anything like it!

Cheers

David Knopfler

Lou Barlow And Friends – Another Collection Of Home Recordings

Toasty Taranna #6: BMV #6: 3-For-$10 Bin #2: Lou Barlow & Friends – Another Collection Of Home Recordings

Lou Barlow, of course, is best known for Dinosaur Jr., Sebadoh and the Folk Implosion. This collection (on the mighty Mint Records!) is brilliant mid-90s lo-fi solo effort awesomeness. 

We start off with his inimitable version of Bryan Adams’ Run To You (with his sister, Abby Barlow), which I loved (video below). It’s very different from the original, but that’s okay! I like his enunciation… Bob Fay joins in on Puffin’, and Barlow’s wife Kathleen Billus sings Queen Of The Scene. Joni Mitchell’s Blonde In The Bleachers sounds like a Pavement outtake, and Abby Barlow returns on the garage fuzz-rocker of What Would It Be Like. The album continues on through brilliant acoustic tunes, weird goof-like tracks like Alone To Decide, rockers, slightly out-of-tune art project oddities and more, collecting work recorded from 1991-94. 

Overall, I enjoyed this quite a lot. There’s a part of me that loved Matador Records’ stuff in the 90s, as well (of course) as the brilliant home recording style that Guided By Voices used in the early years, and this definitely pushes that nostalgia button for me. 

 

Hit It Or Quit It? Hit!

Steven Segal And Thunderbox – Mojo Priest

Toasty Taranna #5: BMV #5: 3-For-$10 Bin #1: Steven Segal & Thunderbox – Mojo Priest

I bought this on sight with the inimitable and amazing J. in mind, as he is a fan of Segal’s work, and he wants it! Rock on, J.!

All deference to Segal’s fans, you know, but I went into this quite prepared for it to be hilarious and bad. I mean, what is a martial arts action film actor doing making a blues record? Sure, there’s precedent in, like, Johnny Depp or something but, generally, actor albums are terrible. And with song titles like Alligator Ass (which was the first single, believe it or not), Talk To My Ass, and She Dat Pretty, I sure wondered what was up… Besides, Segal has become quite the interesting dude of late, with his new special envoy to the U.S. with Russia…

Anyway, this 2006 record isn’t all that terrible. The tunes are executed with enough appreciation of the form to be listenable, and there’s enough New Orleans flavour to a lot of the tracks here that it wouldn’t sound out of place in a roadside bar somewhere on a highway headed deep south. Segal’s vocals are slightly raspy and delivered with enough conviction to be somewhat believable, and the guitar solos aren’t so bad, all things considered. There are a few covers of old standards, like Dust My Broom, Hoochie Koochie Man and Red Rooster here, too.

So, in sum? A bit of a surprise that it was as okay as it was. Not sure I’d play it in rotation with the old tried and trues of the blues, but it’s a helluva lot better than I could do. 

 

Hit It Or Quit It? Quit – I’m sending it to J.!

\m/ Helpful \m/

Enjoy!

Cowboy Junkies – One Soul Now

Toasty Taranna #4: BMV #4: Cowboy Junkies – One Soul Now

I do love me some Cowboy Junkies, and have honestly never heard a bad record by them. Never once!

This album is no different (it’s brilliant). The sound they generate is purely them, something inimitably bluesy and cool and grooving and relaxed yet still rocking. The songs are effortlessly tight and controlled yet still sound like a damn jam session.

Yeah, this one was a no-brainer.

 

Hit It Or Quit It? HIT!

 

And here’s some cool stuff to know, if you wanna:

The album title emerged from a quote from John Steinbeck’s novel, The Grapes of Wrath: “Maybe it’s all men and all women we love; maybe that’s the Holy Sperit – the human sperit – the whole shebang. Maybe all men got one big soul ever’body’s a part of.” The idea behind One Soul Now is that everyone is interconnected.

While the Cowboy Junkies was touring to support Open, the band members started collecting second-hand recording equipment without a plan or purpose, just a need. When the band was back home, they looked at all the recording studios, and decided to set up the recording equipment in their rehearsal area, eventually turning their space into a recording studio, The Clubhouse. One Soul Now is the first album the band made in their new studio. Having their rehearsal space become their recording studio changed the process of creating their tracks. Previously, they would start in the rehearsal space, determine how the songs would work, then go to a studio when ready. Now, the band recorded everything as they worked through the rehearsal process. Later, when they listened to the recordings, the Junkies could pick out the recording where the songs were most vibrant. Per the band, “For example “He Will Call You Baby” was recorded as the band was learning the arrangement and still unsure; “No Long Journey Home” was a trial run through with embellishments added later; “The Stars of Our Stars” was broken down into individual instruments and recorded piece by piece over the course of many weeks…” The bands ninth studio album is their first album recorded without an outside producer or engineer. One song, “Simon Keeper”, was recorded much earlier, during the Open sessions at Daryl Smith’s recording studio, Chemical Sound.

The Cowboy Junkies also recorded a 5 song bonus EP of cover songs that they labeled ‘neath your covers, part 1. They gave away the bonus CD free with every purchase of the One Soul Now CD while supplies lasted.

Sadly, I did not get the bonus EP. 

GZA/Genius – Beneath The Surface

Toasty Taranna #3: BMV #3: GZA/Genius – Beneath The Surface

I loved Liquid Swords. And yup, Mike was right, I own the chessboxin’ boxed set… SEE IT HERE (2015 KMA post). Anyway, the GZA is always worth a listen, so after a moment’s thought as we were headed to the register to pay, I grabbed this one too.

The GZA’s third solo album (1999) brings that Wu sound and keeps the beats and rhymes damn tight. This one rolls through the hood smoothly, and with style.

Guests on the record are a whole lot of names you might know, especially Wu-Tang Clan members Ol’ Dirty Bastard (RIP) and Method Man, and affiliates like Killah Priest, Masta Killa, Hell Razah, Timbo King, Dreddy Kruger, Njeri Earth, Angela Yee, Prodigal Sunn, and La The Darkman. Other guests include Santigold, Res, Joan Davis, and Trigga.

Some say this isn’t as good as Liquid Swords (why compare, it’s a new project, four years later), that no RZA means it’s not as good (sigh), that it had ambitions too high for its abilities to achieve them (haha whut). I didn’t hear anything here to make me think this was anything other than a solid GZA session, obviously the product of great minds working together to create special things. 

 

Hit It Or Quit It? Hit.

Jayhawks – Hollywood Town Hall

Toasty Taranna #2: BMV #2: Jayhawks – Hollywood Town Hall

Y’all might not know this, but I’m a fan of the Jayhawks. They’re great! And this album is one I’ve owned in the past but was surprised wasn’t currently in my collection. Thus, replacement copy from Taranna!

The interwubs calls this ‘alternative country’ and ‘country rock.’ Country, yes, rock, yes, but alternative to what? Haha sure, interwubs. I call this simply great music that pulls from quite a few influences and sounds… the interwubs says Gram Parsons, Rolling Stones, Neil Young, the Everly Brothers… yup, I hear all of that. Also, at times, the Gin Blossoms (New Miserable Experience was the same year), R.E.M., Wilco, any other alt-country or no depression band… hell, even Canuck rock pop masters Sloan. Yes! I know! It’s in the vocal harmonies, especially… Anyway. 

But to simply compare them to others and think that defines them is doing a disservice to a band that made one of the best records of 1992 that probably most people didn’t hear in 1992. Jayhawks have their own sound, something easy and perfect even when the song is a bit more complex. There are so many beautiful pieces that all fit together flawlessly, instruments coming in and out and adding just the right melody or fill… it all rolls along like a well-oiled machine.

This album is a beautiful work of art from top to bottom.

Hit It Or Quit It? A Hit every damn time!

Witch – Witch

I know that I just got done covering all the stuff from my last trip to the city, but look at this, I got to go again! 

Mike, my Dad and I were in Taranna on Sunday! When we got to Bloor and Avenue Road, my Dad hopped out of the car with a wave and off he went, and we didn’t see him for hours. It’s just what he does – he walks everywhere and takes it all in, stopping wherever he wants to stop. Right on.

This was the first time in a couple of years Mike and I have managed to do this trip, and it was awesome. Thanks, Mike, for a great day!

YOU CAN WATCH THE VIDEO MIKE MADE HERE. GO ON. WATCH IT!

I am calling this series, which covers my scores from the trip, Toasty Taranna, because holy hell it was hot that day. I do not do well in the heat generally (I am happiest when it snows), but being right downtown and surrounded by all that concrete made it seem even hotter than it probably was, though there was a humidex warning… at least we got the occasional breeze…

Toasty Taranna #1: BMV #1: Witch – Witch

I bought this without knowing how it would sound, but solely because it has J. Mascis on drums. How cool is that, right? Right.

Witch’s music sounds like Sabbath, straight up. And there ain’t nothing wrong with that, baby, not when it kicks as much ass as this does! There’s nothing mopey or downer about this slab of metal – this is a pure fuzzed-out rawk fest and I loved every second. It’s stoner psychedelic, it’s metal, it’s often played at high speed, and it’s huge and monstrous and glorious and heavy and some of the best damn rock you can put in your ears on any given day. 

Goddamn, this was GREAT!

 

Hit It Or Quit It? \m/  HIT!  \m/

More Queen Adventures

Mike and I were in Taranna yesterday. Wahoo!

Now, I already had yesterday’s Stones post done and ready to post for yesterday, but I wouldn’t have had anything ready for today… so I’ll update a story instead…

This one’s for fans of Good Omens, the epic Neil Gaiman / Terry Pratchett masterpiece of hilarity. As you’ll all know from that text, once any album is left in the car long enough, it will turn itself into a Greatest Hits Of Queen. True story.

Anyway, a year ago this month, I posted this:

We were jamming a hits of Queen in the car and the kids loved the lines “She’s a Killer Queen / Gunpowder, gelatine / Dynamite with a laser beam / Guaranteed to blow your mind / Anytime.”

They made up all kinds of ideas about what it could possibly mean to be dynamite with a laser beam. The laughter in the backseat was beautiful.

Well, we had occasion to be in the car today, and the Hits of Queen was back on, and this time they had a blast llistening to Fat Bottom Girls. It was fun watching them memorize the chorus…

And then, the next song is Bicycle Race. And in that song, my son’s sharp ears picked out “Bicycle races are coming your way / So forget all your duties oh yeah! / Fat bottomed girls they’ll be riding today / So look out for those beauties oh yeah…” He commented immediately the carry-over from the previous song.

Well-played, makers of Queen’s Greatest Hits! And well-heard, my boy!

Rolling Stones – From The Vault: No Security San Jose ’99

Yup, this is what I got with my (replaced) $25 Father’s Day Sunrise gift card. STONES!

Deke’s suggestion made me do it. Thanks Deke!

This set is 2CD of the full show. It’s also got the DVD of the full show! VALUE!

The setlist is classic, of course (same order and track totals on CDs and DVD). Seriously, it’s embarassing how many songs they have from which they can choose, all of them fan faves. Check it:

CD1: Jumpin’ Jack Flash / Bitch / You Got Me Rockin’ / Respectable / Honky Tonk Women / I Got The Blues / Saint Of Me / Some Girls / Paint It, Black / You Got The Silver / Before They Make Me Run

CD2: Out Of Control / Route 66 / Get Off Of My Cloud / Midnight Rambler / Tumbling Dice / It’s Only Rock ’N Roll (But I Like It) / Start Me Up / Brown Sugar / Sympathy For The Devil

You can also go through and see all the ones they didn’t play that night… missing are Satisfaction, 19th Nervous Breakdown, Under My Thumb, Ruby Tuesday, Gimme Shelter, Street Fighting Man, Wild Horses, Angie, Miss You, Beast Of Burden, Mixed Emotions, Love Is Strong… and oh I could go on, and these are not complaints. Just pointing out they could have played for five friggin’ hours and STILL not played half the hits.

Some thoughts (of many):

Take your Gravol before watching the DVD. Ye gods, it’s like watching those horrible Bourne movies with the shaky cam and quick cuts. By the time you get focussed on what’s on screen, it’s gone and you have to re-focus and then that’s gone too… 

I think Mick used ALL Of his stage move arsenal in the opening track, Jumpin’ Jack Flash. That was an aerobic workout right there, all the moves in under five minutes. Haha shake that moneymaker, Mick baby!

I’m not sure what Mick was mumbling in You Got Me Rockin’, but it sure wasn’t “rockin,” more like “you got me rawghbrghlgb.” Haha whut.

Keith, of course, pull out all his moves and played pirate all night. Ronnie (the new guy) smiles like he’s got the greatest job in the world (he does). Charlie is implaccable as ever, and as metronomic now as he was 50 years ago. Friggin’ hero of mine, man. Darryl Jones unobtrusively lays down bass perfection. Chuck Leavell owns the keys (check Respectable, Honky Tonk Women, I Got The Blues, and, well, every tune, dammit), and Bernard Fowler and the ever-gorgeous Lisa Fischer own the backing vocals. Lisa slinky dances in a tight black dress and flirts with Mick. Ah, that’s livin’. 

Keith’s piano additions in Honky Tonk Women were a pleasant surprise, and his bluesy You Got The Silver slays. I loved that they did the soul-dancin’ walk down a gangway to a small stage mid-crowd for a rip through the old Route 66, Get Off My Cloud and Midnight Rambler. It turned it into a club gig. And the soul revue run-through of I Got The Blues was lovely…

Ach, there are many highlights. The DVD is fun (if nauseating to watch, motion-wise), and the CDs are fuckin’ great in the car. 

In Sum:

Frickin’ fantastic. There’s a sense of occasion when these guys play, not something a lot of bands manage to generate in quite the same way. It’s special, and you know it. There’s also something timeless about these guys. I’m sitting here watching and forgetting that this set was recorded 19 years ago. It could’ve been yesterday. Whatever the case, this set is definitely worth the wait for that damn gift card, I gotta say. Greatness captured!

Diana Ross – Lady Sings The Blues OMPS

I remember in the 80s and 90s when we used to make mixed tapes and we’d figured out how to add in dialogue from movies before or after songs, and thought we were the greatest engineers. This album takes me back to those days, as it’s snippets of dialogue from the film interspersed with her great renditions of the songs. Anybody ever hear the Tune In Tomorrow soundtrack? Same idea here.

So, while it’s a bit like listening to the movie, at times, the music itself is brilliantly done. Ross really and truly did nail it. Billie Holiday was inimitable, and her legacy we all know well, and this turn is as close as anybody could get to paying tribute.

The Saga Of The Sunrise Gift Card

I was given a Sunrise gift card for Father’s Day, back in June. $25! Yay! 

Except, being the awesome superhero that I am, I lost the card. 

It was in my pocket one day we went to the mall, then it wasn’t in my pocket anymore. I did not spend it. I’ve looked everywhere, to no avail. I went back to all the places we went that day, no luck. I asked at the store if anyone had turned one in – and was told (with fair certainty) that if anyone found a gift card, the staffer figured that person would just spent it. Gotta love faith in humanity, eh? At home, I went through the couch cushions, my wallet, looked under the seat in the car, in my desk, and in the bottom of the clothes dryer, thinking maybe it went through the wash… nope. Nothing. Gah.

I went back to the store, and asked (wondering) if we could maybe find the receipt at home, could they just cancel that card and issue a new one? Maybe, came the answer, provided they could verify the lost card still had a balance on it. Logical. Challenge accepted.

My lovely wife dug around and found her receipts. Relief!

I went back to the store. Apparently they cannot check a balance at store level, they have to call somewhere. The staffer could not get through. She took my info (by snapping a picture of the receipt with her personal cell phone, I might add, which seemed all kinds of wrong to me) and said she’d get back to me ASAP. I never heard anything. Days passed.

I went back to the store. She said she hadn’t ever been able to get through, as the number she calls has a hold system and even with it on speaker phone it was hard to do it, apparently, if helping other customers too? I dunno, listening to hold music doesn’t seem taxing. Anyway, no luck.

I went back a couple more times, and she still hadn’t been able to make one phone call. One time I got another staffer, who tried to cancel the transaction using the receipt, to see if that would show us a balance, but it did not. She, too, promised to look into it. Nothing.

A couple of weeks had passed, by this point. Here’s where, as is my wont, my suspicious, conspiracy theory brain kicked in… The staffer had found the card and spent it, and was hoping I would go away… or had given it to a friend and they’d spent it… Or they truly just didn’t care to help me because they didn’t like my face… or I was making extra work for them and that wouldn’t do… Or maybe they’re just truly that apathetic and this is just a minimum wage job so why should she give a shit? Or…

I went back to the store one more time. The staffer was leaning on the desk, texting on her goddamn cell phone, not making any attempt to make my simple phone call. There were no other customers in the store. She did not see me walk in. When I got in front of her and asked if she’d had any luck on my behalf, she stood up and started straightening the desk and blubbering some excuse about a busy day. I interrupted to tell her I would be trying to solve this one my own from now on. I left the store.

I went home, slept on it, then sent a fairly detailed message of all of this through to the Sunrise Customer Service page the following morning, sent at 07:53am. And isn’t it amazing that I had a reply back from them that they’d spoken to staff at the store, and there was a new gift card waiting for me to pick it up at the desk and it was all solved, and I’d gotten that reply at 12:38pm the very same day! That’s 4 hours and 45 minutes elapsed for them to receive my message, call the store, sort it out and have a new card good to go. That’s quite a bit faster than the weeks that had elapsed dealing in person at the counter. Also interesting to note, they did not indicate (in the message) whether the lost card still had a balance on it or not, just that a new one was waiting for me. My conspiracy brain will never know if it was found and spent or if it is still just lost.

I went back to the store to get the card. The staffer greeted me friendly enough, but proceeded to melt away to the back room, leaving the other staffer to be with me. Nice. I browsed a while, to see if she’d come back – she did not. I eventually chose something to buy, as I did not want to have another card I might (probably) lose before I spent it. At the counter, the other staffer knew of the card (of course, they’ve been dreading my coming back in, I’d imagine, as I’m fairly certain a wee bit of trouble was caused by my email to Sunrise). The transaction did not go entirely smoothly with the gift card on the register, but it eventually did go through. I paid the small difference to finalize, and walked out. I was friendly throughout. 

And if you’ve read this far, I thank you for your indilgence and patience. I understand that it was on me, having lost the card, and they were not really obligated to help too much, although finding out whether the card had a balance or not WITH THE TRANSACTION RECEIPT ought to have been an easier process than all of this actually was, I figure. Guess not. 

In Sum:

In future, I will just email Sunrise if I have issue. And if I ever get another gift card, I’ll spend it straight away so I cannot lose the damn thing.

It is also worth noting that when this whole thing started, I was clean-shaven. I now have a full beard. Yes, this took long enough for me to grow a beard. Amazing.

PS: I will be covering what I bought with the replacement card very soon. It’s a doozy!

Slugdge – The Cosmic Cornucopia

Right, so there’s this dude at work, he’s into some seriously heavy music. So one day recently he says to me “hey Aaron, you ever hear of a band called Slugdge?” He spelled it for me. I had not heard of them. “I think you’d like it, the music is very Mastodon with death metal elements, with good clean vocals and the screams/growls aren’t too over the top either. Oh, and the songs are all about slugs and snails.”

Of course I was interested.

He loaned me The Cosmic Cornucopia, which contains all three of their albums to that point:  Born Of Slime, Gastronomicon, and Dim And Slimeridden Kingdoms.

I played them all in a row and I have to say, they’re brilliant. A lot of time, gimmick-y bands get annoying, the schtick gets old. Not these guys. This is solid death-like metal, the way it should be done. This is two guys from England making one helluva great noise. It’s maybe not for everyone, but I had a blast listening to it.

Also, I love their song titles, many of them plays on famous songs: Spore Ensemble, Pellet In The Head, Unchained Malady, Dark Side Of The Shroom, The Sound Of Mucus, Eyehatesalt, Pod Hates Us All… you get the idea. So awesome.

Slugdge. GET YOU SOME!

And hold the salt.

Wilco – The Whole Love

Pride Of Taranna Series Pt. 23: She Said Boom #2: Wilco – The Whole Love 

I found this in the bins and discovered it only had 1 CD when it should have 2. I took it to the counter (helpfully) to point it out. The nice lady there thanked me and pulled another copy from behind the counter – one with both CDs, in a beautiful slipcase hardshell cover, and with a 53 page book too! Instant purchase. Hooray!

Wilco’s 8th album is the first on their own label. It is 12 songs of beauty and awesome, as you’ll imagine. Album opener, Art Of Almost, sounds like Wilco channeling radiohead (I know!), and then the single was I Might, a bouncy rocker. From there, it vacillates between all of Wilco’s wheelhouse sounds. A definite highlight was the album closer, One Sunday Morning (A Song For Jane Smiley’s Boyfriend), loved it.

The second CD contains all four of the iTunes bonus tracks. A song called Sometimes It Happens is listed as a deluxe edition bonus track, but does not appear here or on iTunes. Some other edition got that one, I guess. There’s also a cover of Nick Lowe’s I Love My Label as a bonus track, as if all the Wilco awesome wasn’t enough. 

In Sum:

It’s Wilco. You know the sound, you love the sound, you need this disc. As you were (listening to Wilco)!

 

Hit It Or Quit It? It’s Wilco. HIT!

***

And here ends my Pride Of Taranna series (just in time for our next upcoming trip to Taranna! What a great pile of music I brought home from this last trip, though, eh?… All of them were Hits, in the Hit It Or Quit It series, although the Groove Armada and Kenny Wayne Shepherd are Hits for now, we’ll see if I go back to them at a later date.

Thanks so much, as ever, for Reading my blurbs on these records. Without you, I’d just be firing these blatherings pointlessly into the ether.

Spirit Of The West – Old Material 1984-1986

Pride Of Taranna Series Pt. 22: She Said Boom #1: Spirit Of The West – Old Material 1984-1986

When I brought this home, my lovely wife said “that’ll be a throwback to university party days, right on.” In some ways she was correct and, in others, this disc points out a nascent, slightly different SOTW… 

I thought this from Amazon summed it up:

This aptly titled compilation captures the earliest and most traditional work of Vancouver folk-rockers Spirit of the West–complete with a hammed-up Scots accents and mist-swept tales of highland laddies and seafaring adventurers. It’s the sound of a group–at this point a trio featuring principal singer-guitarists Geoffrey Kelly and John Mann with multi-instrumentalist J. Knutson–finding its feet while betraying an obvious creative debt to old-world folk explorers such as Planxty and Fairport Convention. But then, the latter influence is hardly a hidden one considering SOTW take a crack at Richard Thompson’s “Time to Ring Some Changes.” Thin and unnecessarily glossy production mixes uneasily with the band’s supply of acoustic guitars on the disc’s first half, though “Down on the Dole” and “John Goodman” are a good indicator of both the strident politics and bright-eyed pop of later albums like Save This House. The album’s back half features a so-so live recording, with Kelly laying some fluid tin whistle over increasingly rocking arrangements. It would prove to be the cusp of success for a band with more to offer in future years. –Kieran Grant

More to offer? Hahaha SO MUCH MORE, Kieran!

I love that this CD is listed as Side One and Two, like the CD thinks it’s an LP… Side One, the studio stuff, was produced by Barney Bentall. Side Two was produced, engineered and mixed by Ron Obvious, recorded live at the Vancouver East Cultural Center in 1986.

All tracks here are brilliant. Interesting to hear SOTW as a trio.

LOVED IT!

 

Hit It Or Quit It? HIT!

Tinariwen – Aman Iman: Water Is Life +10:1

Pride Of Taranna Series Pt. 21: Sonic Boom #10: Tinariwen – Aman Iman: Water Is Life +10:1

‘Twas our venerable and trustworthy 1537 who introduced me to the beguiling and persuasive powers of this great act, a gesture for which I will forever be grateful.

This 2007 release is 12 tracks of sheer bliss. Take the swirling chants, rhythms and vital life energy of Touareg music and mix in bluesy riffs, wah pedals and distortion, and you end up with a brilliant mélange of sounds that pulls you in, holds you close, and refuses to let you go.

There is pure magic in these songs, born of the rebel spirit and that same grit and power of the earliest blues masters. You could be anywhere in the world, listening to this, but once the notes hit your ears you are in the desert, listening to desert blues, under a night sky with the rest of the world a million miles away, and there’s no place you’d rather be.

Tinariwen are the real deal. Get you some.

 

Hit It Or Quit It? HIT!

Library Steps – Rap Dad, Real Dad

Interim Series: THE AWESOMENESS OF JAMES, PT.3

Also included with the awesome G N’ R LP set (for my birthday) was this newest Library Steps CD, which James says he received as a duplicate copy when he only ordered one. So I get the extra! Sweet!

I came to know of Jesse Dangerously through James (he sent me a couple of his albums and I loved them both). Here, Dangerously pairs with Ambition (and a bunch of guests, none of whom I know by name but that’s ok) to create a record I instantly loved. 

Now, y’all know I don’t know much about rap music, but I know what I like when I hear it. And based on my own preferences which I truly cannot put into definitive words, this disc is (already) the Rap Album Of The Year, for me. Seriously, it’s that good!

Musically, it’s an overall slower vibe, a chill, jazzy, groovy thing that’s not in any rush. Sure, when the song is angry, the music is too, but it’s never quick. The tracks feel old school, the scratch of an old LP is there, and it just feels damn good. It’s all friggin’ glorious.

Lyrically, they have a ton to say, and it’s all done with conscience, intelligence, self-awareness, humour, and care. There’s way to much to try to tell you about it all, but it’s a lot and it’s brilliant. One stand-out is a darker track, GJHS (Genocide Junior High School), which tells the tale of the creation of Canada, and the horrors committed in order to achieve it. Not every rap is a history lesson/reminder… And this is only one of the tracks on a truly strong, widely-varied, often incredible record.

In Sum: 

Brilliance. Loved it all. THANK YOU JAMES!

 

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