Band – The Best Of The Band

I don’t envy anyone who had the nigh-on impossible task of choosing such a short track list for an LP like this. Still, every song on here shines like a light.

I couldn’t find a YouTube video with this cover art (left), but you know this one. You probably already own it. As you were!

 

 

Band – Jericho

I don’t own Islands before this, or High On The Hog or Jubilation after it. So Jericho, their 8th studio album, is the last studio album of the Band I own, at the moment, and it’s on cassette! I intend to correct these oversiiiiights.

Released 17 years after their ‘farewell concert,’ Jericho is the first record featuring a new line-up (Jim Weider, Randy Ciarlante and Richard Bell joined Levon Helm, Garth Hudson and Rick Danko). There were also 14 other guest musicians on the album, including Champion Jack Dupree, Colin Linden and Steve Jordan (among many others).  

Much was made of Robbie Robertson not being on the record, but I like it. I think it proves they did just fine without him, too. 

They even covered Springsteen:

We Can Work It Out

All apologies now for a long post. If you stick it out til the end, you’re a true champ.

***

I quit coffee a week ago, and did suffer some low grade headaches and energy lulls, but now I’m fine. My daily energy has evened out all day, and my stomach isn’t feeling acidic either. All good.

Full disclosure: I can’t remember the last time I had a pop/soda either, I don’t drink juice (especially not bottled and processed stuff), and I’ve given up green tea (caffeine there too). Just water for me, and it’s fine.

So. This post stems from a conversation that was part of Mike’s recent live stream about new releases. I went on a wee tangent about exercise.

I’m a pretty active guy, always have been (I like to think). As a kid, I played a ton of hockey, and did a lot of outdoor stuff as my hometown was so small. We rode our bikes everywhere. In high school, I switched to basketball, but played pretty much every day, even just in the driveway. At university and college, I still went to the gym somewhat, and rode a bike everywhere, and walked a ton. I had a weight bench for a while.

I was the skinny kid, but eventually grew to be 6’2” (188cm) while remaining rail thin. We walked everywhere. In our 30s, we got a car and started driving everywhere. Then we had babies and, with full-time jobs, and while we still walked most days, other priorities took over. Of course, around this time your body starts to slow down too (metabolism, etc). Now that the kids are older and I’m in my mid-40s, we do more active things again, but after a lifetime of bad eating haits (since there were no repercussions in my youth), naturally I put on weight.

I’ve made stabs, over these years, to regain some of my old form (though I wouldn’t want to be quite so skinny as I was at, say, 18). But I figure I could lose some pounds, especially off the middle (and there’s a relatable sentence for most, I’m sure).

For those interested, here’s my daily (morning) workout. For equipment, all I have here is walking poles, an exercise bike, dumbbells, a bar with plate weights, and a flat bench. Nothing fancy. So, starting at 04:00:

3km fasted brisk walk (with nordic walking poles) every day, no matter the weather

30 min exercise bike (with 10lb dumbbell shoulder raises, bicep curls, tricep work while I pedal)

Weights (bar 12lbs, wts 2×10 = 32lbs) in 3 sets of 10 (or 25 for bench press) each:  deadlift (30), bent row (30), shoulder press (30), squat (30), calf raises (30), bicep curls (30), bench press (75)

200 incline (staircase) pushups (4 sets of 50) with pushup handles to appease my pre-arthritic wrists

200 crunch situps

I just stay at it, with rest breaks between, and it’s done no problem. You’ll notice none of this is heavy weight. Not even close. I don’t want to be bulky muscle guy. This is just maintenance work, and an effort to shed some weight. 

***

I started out with just the walk. I love the wee hours of early morning, there’s nothing moving out there at 04:00 except me and the skunks and raccoons, maybe the occasional cat or rabbit here and there. A few times I’ve heard coyotes howling in the distance, but I’ve never seen one. I suppose there’s a small risk of bears, if one got confused and wandered into town (it happens often enough). I maybe see one car go by during the whole 3km walk. I don’t mind being up early, so long as I’m not too late to bed. I get about 6 hours sleep each night and I’m good.

You might think I’m crazy, up so early, and outside moving. But I choose it, because it’s the only time I can get time to myself all day. My lovely wife is up early (she leaves for work before 07:00), so I need to be back before she goes, and the kids aren’t long in waking after she leaves. They take over the whole day and don’t pass out until about 21:00 these days. I’m in bed by 22:00 or so, so the early morning is about the only space I get to quietly think my own thoughts. Of course I don’t say this begrudgingly. I love my family and want to be with them, I just also respect my need for my own mental space, so 04:00 affords me that.

I tried running for a while. After a month or so, I realized it’s not really me. All deference to those who love it. I’ll stick to the walks.

Anyway, the pushup handles came first, the weights were added later, and then the bike came last. Overall, I think it’s a decent way to spend time in the morning, and I feel great.

***

The other side of the coin is diet, hand in hand with the workouts. I generally avoid fast food for the nasty that it is, even avoiding the ubiquitous Tim’s donut shop, a quintessential Canadian place to go – except during a roadtrip (for the washroom break too), but of course this year we haven’t gone anywhere.

You already know I just drink water, these days, nothing else. I walk fasted, then I have an apple afterwards. Then a banana after the bike, but otherwise nothing until lunch, which is usually not much either. Maybe some carrots, low-salt swiss cheese, a few unsalted wee rice crackers. My one main meal is dinner, and even then I try to be mindful, keep the carbs quite low and the meat unprocessed. Some nights, I have two Oreos for dessert, because my son loves them and so we share them. Otherwise, it’s all just normal healthy stuff. I try not to eat after dinner either, so my caloric intake isn’t likely all that high. 

I read somewhere that 1lb of body fat is equal to about 3500 calories. So by this metric, to shed one pound of weight, you’d reduce daily caloric intake by 500 daily (500×7=3500) for the week. I feel like I’m below whatever caloric number would recommended for me at my age, anyway. So, add in the exercise, and it’s a good bet pounds will drop off eventually. Let’s go!

I’ve read about intermittent fasting, but I need to do a lot more research about it before trying anything, and right now I kind of feel like I’m on a fairly decent path anyway. We’ll see.

***

The big things I’ve learned (from experience):

Daily maintenance (for a lifetime) is key. Drop the weight and then keep it off. You don’t drop the weight and then stop exercising, and you can’t really go back to “just this once” allowing yourself extra treats – that’s a quick, slippery slope. Sustainable weight loss and maintenance is a long, permanent game. Anyone who says they know rapid methods is probably selling something. 

We think we need to eat more than we do.

Never let more than two days pass without exercise. One day off between is fine, but never two. The longer you go between workouts, the harder it is to go back.

Try not to call it “losing weight.” Saying you “lost weight” sounds to me like it’s simply lost and therefore can be found again. No, the idea here is get rid of it and keep it gone. I try to say eliminate, shed, drop, etc.

***

In Sum:

That’s just me. You mileage may vary, and I’m not saying you have to do anything. But for anyone who’s ever thought about feeling better, sleeping better, having consistent energy and just generally conquering your day instead of letting it conquer you, maybe some of what I wrote (above) can help inspire. Keep it simple, start small, and let the gains you see inspire you to keep going, maybe even do a bit more. Remember, it’s a long game, and all you’ve got is time. It’s up to you how you spend it.

Give ‘er!

 

Band – Northern Lights – Southern Cross

The Band’s sixth album has lots of great songs and memorable melodies. Once again, I am glad to have a solid LP copy here, it feels like the only way to play this stuff…

 

Band – Moondog Matinee

By this, their fifth album, The Band wasn’t getting along so well, and they could only muster up a bunch of covers of old R&B tunes they used to play. Sad, but still some great tunes on this LP copy I have here!

 

Band – Cahoots

Carrying on with the Band on LP in the collection, this being their fourth album. Van Morrison’s on this record too! Anyway, it’s the Band. Great stuff.

 

Band – Stage Fright

The LP copy I have here of this, their third studio album, is a mainstay in my collection.

Get you some.

Band – Music From Big Pink

I already posted this album yesterday, in that budget 2-fer set I have.

We all know it’s a friggin’ classic.

However, I also have these other copies of it, which are fun:

First up is a 24-bit remastered DVD-audio copy, housed in one of those outsized plastic cases. This plays in a DVD-logo player in four ways: Advanced Resolution Surround, Advanced Resolution Stereo, DTS 5.1 Surround Sound, and DVD-Video Compatible Dolby Digital 5.1. It does not work in a regular CD player.

And, of course, I have an old original LP copy. Because CLASSIC.

Hot damn.

Band – Music From Big Pink / The Band

Alright, now we’re getting into a fave Band (see what I did there) of mine…

You can click these two images to make them bigger!

This is a budget ($10!) 2CD set that contains both albums.

And, each has a heap of bonus tracks, as if the albums proper weren’t already genius overload.

Consider all the beauty and genius herein… My goodness.

 

 

Baker Gurvitz Army – The Baker Gurvitz Army

When Cream split up, Ginger Baker briefly joined up with Paul and Adrian Gurvitz (The Gun, Three Man Army). The result was bluesy classic-rockin’ mayhem, and the drumming is brilliant (natch), all of which I love. This debut album is awesome, and my LP copy sounds brilliant.

 

Long John Baldry – Good To Be Alive

My copy of this LP’s cover isn’t in the greatest shape either, but the LP is mint and it sounds great. Love this stuff.

 

Metallica – S&M 2

Happy Canuck Thanksgiving, everyone! Here’s some Metallica to help you stave off the sleepy effects of the tryptofan in the turkey…

The first S&M, in 1999, is followed up now, 20 years later, by S&M 2. It has huge audio mastered from the September, 2019 performance. 

22 songs. 2.5 hours of Metallica and the San Francisco Orchestra (Edwin Outwater & Michael Tilson Thomas, cond.), with DVD or Blu-Ray of the same show. Wiki tells me this was also the grand opening show of the Chase Center.

Same as with S&M 1, we know that Metallic is loud and heavy, and the orchestra just adds to it. Now, some feel that the symphony does not add anything beneficial to the music, that it’s symphonic enough already. Some find it pretentious, or a result of too much fame bloat. Me, I dig it.

On CD1, The Day That Never Comes, Confusion, Moth Into Flame, No Leaf Clover, and Halo On Fire stand out, though they’re all cool. On CD2, Prokofiev’s The Cynthian Suite is beautiful, and interesting because it’s just the symphony, no Metallica, though instrumentally they join on the Dance Of The Dark Spirits and the Iron Foundry. Some might complain it’s not enough Metallica, I say it balances things and offers a nice break in the pummelling. Also, on Anesthesia (Pulling Teeth), the bass solo is played in tribute to Cliff Burton by cellist Scott Pingle from the symphony, the sound of which made the hairs on my arms stand up – holy moly! All Within My Hands was brilliant (I still love St. Anger, say what you will). Overall, I love how they mixed it up, giving different looks and still sounding epic and like themselves at every turn. 

If you’re a fan, you bought this already. If not, this could be a fun introduction and, also, where have you been?

 

Long John Baldry – It Ain’t Easy

This LP I have here’s cover is in very rough shape, but the record is in good nick. This is happy, because it’s awesome. You knew this, already.

 

Chuck Baker – A Little Piece Of Quiet

One of the awesome artists we met thanks to the Knox Acoustic Cafe series here in our town, several years ago. He put on a truly excellent show. This is a great album from a local (to me) artist.

The video (below) is one I found when trying, unsuccessfully, to find a YouTube track from this album. Here we see Chuck and his daughter singing together. Awesome stuff.

 

 

Bad Religion – True North

Lucky me, this was the tour when I got to see them in concert (finally!). Fantastic stuff. I love this album, top to bottom. Is it my favourite? Well, maybe. Seeing the songs live definitely helped cement the album for me, but honestly I love them all. This one does get a lot of play, though…

Sadly, my CD copy is a bit scratched up somehow (probably because I play it so much), so if I ever find another one in the wild, I will be replacing my current copy.

Also, this wraps up all the Bad Religion I have here. Yes, there are several holes in my collection, which I intend to fill. But good news to those looking for something different, tomorrow I start with the next band in the alphabetization!

 

Oh man this is so good.

Bad Religion – The Dissent Of Man

If these past few days of rocking these albums has shown me anything, it’s that Bad Religion is always awake, always turned on, always ready to go. We’d all do ourselves a favour by paying attention!

 

SLCR #356: Michael Bernard Fitzgerald (September 24, 2020)

Mika and I had dinner in an actual restaurant at the end of June. There were no active COVID cases in the city and we went to a place that already had a good track record for safety. That was nice. And I think that was the first time we’d left the house together since returning from vacation early in March.

Two months later, we went to Nuit Blanche, which reinvented itself this year as a drive-thru event. We waited in a long line of cars to look at art installations, a handful of which didn’t look like screensavers or Winamp visualizers. As far as outings go, this certainly was one. Technically.

We also renewed our mortgage. Even though we were really pleased with the rate, I still don’t think this counts as a fun date night. Besides, it was in the afternoon, we drove to the bank separately, and Mika had to go back to the office once we were done.

But this, this was a concert! The first one since seeing Whitehorse in January! A real one, in person, without having to enter a Zoom password and kick all my other devices off the Wi-Fi! And one entirely unlike anything I’d been to before, because of… all the… you know. Everything. Literally everything.

I bought our tickets back in the middle of June. By then, we’d had several concerts cancelled and others delayed. Some were delayed and THEN cancelled, which is thorough. But this tour was designed for These Uncertain And Unprecedented Times, and I held out hope that it would actually happen.

Let us review the protocols. The concert was to be held at a farm near Regina, but we wouldn’t be told where until the day of the show. It would be in a big tent, semi open air. Tickets were only purchasable in blocks of 4, to be shared amongst the people in your bubble. Capacity was capped at 24 fans – 6 blocks – though 2 of the groups (including ours) only had 2 people. You had to sanitize your hands before entering, and masks were required when not in your seat. Drinks and snacks were available if you ordered beforehand and they’d be waiting at your row (every block got their own row) in sanitized buckets. There was washroom access “for emergency use only,” I’m guessing in the farmhouse. I don’t think anyone needed it. I assume it was sanitized too, but I also assume that in an emergency, you may not care.

Just before lunch, I was emailed directions to Fenek Farms, which is about 15 minutes north of town. I’d never heard of them, but they do hayrides and petting zoo type stuff. As to whether they regularly host touring concerts in the middle of a pandemic, the internet isn’t clear.

As we approached the farm, it was already dark out. I saw some kind of creature skulk across the road and into a ditch – some kind of small mammal. I’ll never know for sure, but I’m just gonna assume it was a cat. Partly because the only other animals we saw were geese in a barn. And partly because there were cats everywhere.

We hung out in the car until around 8:00, while torches were lit to line the pathway to the Greenbriar, which is what you name your big tent when you have to name a big tent. We masked up, sanitized, and found our row with our beverage bucket. I’d treated myself and Mika to two of the finest bottled waters available from, I dunno, probably Superstore or Costco.

Fitzgerald was already sitting at the front of the tent when we arrived. Also in the tent was Jellybean, a black kitten who had zero fear of humans and an intense curiosity about what was transpiring. Fitzgerald, decidedly not a cat person, was nonplussed about this intrusion, though most of the fans were delighted. You know I was delighted. And Jellybean made sure to visit everyone, including spending some time hopping back and forth between my lap and Mika’s.

It was determined, however, that “Jellybean” was not a good name for this kitten, who received a series of new names throughout the evening, including Blackie, Shadow, Nightfall, and Nightshade, the latter seemingly due to Fitzgerald’s inability to remember Nightfall.

There was also a grey cat who patrolled the tent. He (?) was less interested in the humans, but I did get to give him a little scritch as he went past. Fitzgerald had to name that cat too, pausing for a second before settling on… Grey. “I really messed up that cat’s name.” But Grey stuck.

There was one other person there with Fitzgerald – I think her name was Kay, or at least that’s who I ordered our waters from – and she spent a good part of the evening wrangling cats and removing them from the tent. The cats spent a good part of the evening returning in nonchalant defiance.

Songs! There were songs. Not just cats. This tour was to promote Fitzgerald’s new record, Love Valley, which is out this Friday, October 9, 2020. And now I have to finish this thing on time. I’d heard a few of the songs before the show, and was pleased that they were stripped down, a little folkier and more in line with some of his older records. Most of the songs seem to be about buying a farmhouse and moving into it with a lady who will occasionally take her clothes off, but I’d have to hear the whole thing before declaring it a concept album. I did buy a copy of the record when I ordered our waters, but since we were a few weeks out from the release date, I have to wait for it to arrive in the mail.

The farmhouse needs a string of lights along the back porch, this is important.

Everything was acoustic, just MBF and his guitar. Most of what he played was from the new album, though there were a handful of older songs; notably, Care For You and Follow. And there was a cover of Robyn’s Dancing on My Own that was so reworked into Fitzgerald’s style that I didn’t even recognize it at first. Very cool.

Fitzgerald said he wanted to make it more like a house concert, with lots of interaction between songs. It took a bit for everyone to figure out how the night would go – after the first song, he joked “I love the sound of muted applause.” But soon everyone settled in. People were making requests, opening their drinks at appropriate times (mostly while MBF was tuning), talking about their 4Runners, playing with the farm cats.

As ever, his stories were delightful, about the challenges of livestreaming performances from your backyard (ill-timed garbage trucks), or a secret Regina artisan pizza house – literally, a house – that was so exclusive, none of us had heard of it. (I did some googling, and it definitely exists, or at least did as of 2015.) And he talked about playing the folk festival here, and as a fan, I appreciated his unsolicited opinion that Hawksley Workman is a nice guy.

He also told us about performing songs for some sort of project that wouldn’t let him use brand names in songs, so he had to alter the lyrics on the fly. Despite lacking some syllables, “2000 Toyota” became “2000 truck.” “It’s not like Toyota rhymed with anything, it’s just fun to say.” But “2000 truck” is also fun to say and soon became the name of an orange cat who joined the tent. Then there was a second orange cat – a decoy. During the last song, a third orange cat showed up (2000 Truck and two decoys! And Nightshade! And Grey!), Fitzgerald was exasperated, and I was utterly joyous. The songs were great, the stories were funny, the cats were great AND funny. I even got to cuddle 2000 Truck (or a decoy) after unhooking him from Mika’s side after he tried jumping into her lap and didn’t quite make it.

I feel the need to stress that this would have been a great night out even without the cats. They’re just fun to talk about! And to pick up and snuggle and scritch them behind their little ears, who’s a good 2000 Truck, you are, yes you are. But cats aside, this was such a unique and intimate show, perfectly suited to the new tunes.

And I’d better savor it – I don’t see much live music on the horizon. I’m not sure I’d feel comfortable going to normal concerts right now, and the opportunities for creative shows like this one are fading as the weather turns. This was a special, cat-laden night, but I don’t know how many people could make something like this possible. MBF said that he decided to undertake the tour after realizing it was something he’d want to do even without the pandemic. You can see his passion for the idea in the ridiculous amount of effort it requires. The tent takes 3 hours to set up and 3 hours to tear down. Fitzgerald was towing it from town to town himself, on a 48-date cross-Canada tour. Even just the logistics of booking venues – how does one make arrangements with 48 farms? And while ticket prices were up a little from his usual shows, they weren’t extravagant, so he could only be making so much money playing to 24 people a night. That’s a ton of work for little immediate reward. I mean, I’m sure playing shows is rewarding in itself, but food and shelter are good too.

UPCOMING CONCERTS THAT SURE, WE CAN PRETEND WILL HAPPEN AS SCHEDULED
• Saints & Sinners Tour: Headstones, Moist, The Tea Party, & Big Wreck (January 25)
• Joel Plaskett w/Mo Kenney (September 18)

Coffee

All my life, I never drank coffee. I felt fine. But eventually, in my late-20s, Saskatchewan winters made it an easy hot drink for people to offer to help you warm up. Of course, I started out more milk and sugar than coffee, but eventually I was drinking it black. I grew to need it in my day. I started feeling bad, and needing more coffee to even get to normal. But it was easy to explain away as other thing, it couldn’t be the coffee, right?

So, as some of you long-time Readers may recall, more recently, I cut out coffee. I felt worse, but then I felt better, more like how I used to feel. So I cruised along like that, for a while.

Yet somehow, coffee crept back in. It’s a daily thing again. And guess what, it happened all over again. I never learn.

***

I looked into caffeine, and found some things. I’m not a doctor or an expert, so if you see anything here that is medically incorrect, tell me and I’ll correct it. I can also find just as many things that purport the benefits of coffee for health, so take this as you will. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it’s some of the big stuff:

1. During primal fight or flight response, the brain releases cortisol, so your liver makes sugar, and muscles break down (catabolic) to make more sugar, for energy. Also, unrelated, your adrenaline increases. This all increases your likelihood of survival. Now, caffeine unnaturally raises cortisol, so when you’re sitting in your cubicle or wherever in your (relatively) comfortable life, your coffee is making cortisol create sugar but, with no survival threat imminent, it just stores as fat. 

2. Caffeine alters your mood and energy levels, giving highs and lows with little middle ground. So you take in more to keep the high, which causes your body to create more sugar (see 1).

3. Caffeine (and cortisol) wrecks your sleep. Your chances of restorative R.E.M. sleep decrease substantially, so you feel crappy, so you need more caffeine, and the cycle spirals.

4. Caffeine (and cortisol) increase stress, so you’re more likely to be anxious, irritable. It also increases likelihood of: insomnia, digestive issues, high blood pressure/rapid heart rate (and heart attack), incontinence, headaches and fatigue (in the lows). For women specifically, it can increase chances of fibrocystic breast disease, reduced fertility and miscarriage risk, and menopausal vasomotor symptoms. It can also inhibit collagen production in the skin, increase risk of bone fracture by interfering with ossification, impair hearing loss recovery, and it increases intraocular pressure when paired with exercise. The list goes on, but you get the point. 

Worst, it’s a chemical addiction. Like cigarettes, alcohol, anything else. Dress it up with whatever justification you like, but a hat and a bow on it if you want, if you honestly need it to get through your day, you’re already operating at a deficit, pure and simple. You’ve drastically lowered your chances of having even, natural energy throughout the day. That was me, and I only have 2 cups every morning. I switch to decaf after noon. But the increased cortisol can last 18 hours…

Have you ever tried cutting coffee? Headaches, all sorts of nasty symptoms. Just like kicking any other addiction, because that’s what it is. 

Coffee lovers will be screaming, saying it’s not that bad, I don’t drink enough to have a problem, I’m fine leave me alone, I only drink it for the taste of it, etc. That’s fine, do as you want. I drink two coffees every morning, and I noticed a difference when I stopped. Many folks drink a lot more than 2 cups.

But I cut and pasted even just these few things onto my own experiences with re-introducing coffee, and it matches up. 

In Sum:

From today, I’m returning to giving all caffeine a rest. I am on decaf green tea and water. I don’t eat chocolate often, and I never drink pop/soda, so those are easy to avoid. 

I expect withdrawal somewhat, but I’ll power through, because it’s worth it. Pair this with my daily exercise routines* and I ought to see progress in a month or so.

See you on the other side. 

 

* Currently Daily Exercise: a brisk 3 km early morning walk, 30 min. exercise bike w. simultaneous dumbbells for upper body, 200 push-ups, 200 sit-ups, and a series of weightlifting (squats, presses, etc) with barbell and bench. 

 

ROLLINS.

Bad Religion – The Process Of Belief

NB: I noticed that yesterday was my 200th day at home since this pandemic began. My last day of work was March 20. I’ve been here ever since. Through the layoff from work (which was only supposed to be two weeks), through a medical leave for reasons of childcare, and now providing remote school learning help for the kids as they’ve stayed home from school, at least for this term, as we watch numbers and the general state of things. 

200 days (well, today is 201). How am I coping with it? Pretty well, I should think, given the circumstances. Our kids are awesome, we’re really lucky. I went through a period of (kind of) giving up, in the early days. But now I’m back online in life, in full, working out every day (James thinks I’m nuts for taking my walk at 4 am), and getting things done as best I can. I will say that I might have thought being home this long would seem like a vacation, it is not. I work hard, stay busy, and that is helping me stay at it. I don’t even have booze to help me, haven’t taken a drink in 5 years, and even then it wasn’t much, but still.  That’s the kind of thing that might seem like it would help, but it’s usually only a crutch and a temporary evasion.

We’re getting through. I haven’t scratched 200 marks in the family room wall, I’m not wearing a bandana made from an old t-shirt and hiding behind the couch with an improvised spear made from the broom handle. Staying busy is holding it together. I’ve got family, music, and you guys. Thank you. 

We’ll see what happens from here, as ever. Stay safe, everyone.

***

Anyway, more Bad Religion! Because more Bad Religion is better! Are you enjoying this trip through the Bad Religion albums, those that I have here anyway, as much as I am? So much awesome.

 

RIP Eddie Van Halen

There will be a ton of posts in the community, and all over the internet, following this news. There will be tributes, montages, interviews and more.

This is momentous.

All of it will be far better and more eloquent than I could hope to express.

 

So, I’ll just say a few things:

FUCK CANCER. 65 is way too young.

RIP, Eddie, your legend is assured.

Lisa Hannigan (f. Loah) – Undertow

For maximum awesome, put the good headphones on.

STUNNING.

 

2020-05-07 at National Gallery Of Ireland

Bad Religion – No Substance

Doesn’t matter what album you throw on the player, you get a needed wake up call.

 

Bad Religion – The Gray Race

As you can see in the counter in the upper-right corner of the page, as of early this morning, Monday October 5, 2020, our site sits at 90,000 unique (sexy) visits. Massive thanks to all of you for visiting, however often you do so. You know we love you, and you’re awesome. Community!

***

More Bad Religion! The greatness just keeps on rolling!

 

Sloan – Silence Trumps Lies

The mighty Slooooo-ooooaaaaan! have released a new single!

Of course, it’s awesome.

My huge thanks to everyone, especially James, who made me aware that it had dropped and made sure I heard it!

Dripping, at times, in tremolo, and backed with a swinging backbeat, this gently firm pure rock pop track does what Sloan has always done best: talk about one thing but totally also mean something else. It’s all done with clarity and heart, which only this band can do in this particular way.

Lacking an apostrophe in the title, as it does, this song is about relationships. But, given the politically-charged times in which we live, this is also totally a political song.

Pure genius. Sloan are Masters of their craft, and we are lucky to have them.

STREAM AND BUY SILENCE TRUMPS LIES HERE.

 

PS: Here’s the blurb Chris Murphy posted about the song:

“Chris Murphy said “I wanted to write a song about the importance of listening – whether to experts or the disenfranchised”.

It’s a song about people who won’t listen and won’t shut up, who are vain and can’t handle criticism, who talk about things for which they aren’t qualified and make promises they can’t keep.

As we are facing such profound global challenges including drastic climate change and racial injustice, it is imperative to remember that sometimes it is important to leave space for those with lived experience and studied expertise to take the floor.”

released October 1, 2020 
©2020 murderecords/Two Minutes For Music

all rights reserved

Bad Religion – All Ages

Oh, WP, what have you done? I thought I found a work-around of your absolutely crappy new editor, and now even that doesn’t work. Apparently I must now look at this horrible UI and navigate around your insipid pop-up control panels. Do I want to try to customize it to my liking? No, I don’t have time or inclination. Can I, even? Probably not. Do I think you should offer us the option of using your site the way it has always been? Yes. Change for the sake of change is unnecessary. Change to something as unappealing, cumbersome, and user-unfriendly as this is, is enough to make me think maybe you’re done. Let me put it back the way it was, WP. I will lose patience with this editor very quickly.

***

Anyway, Bad Religion.

Awesome set, you need this one.

 

Some folks might be a bit tired of this one but, personally, I love it to bits. My favourite BR song? A tough choice, but just maybe!

Bad Religion – Recipe For Hate

Pure brilliance.

Bad Religion – Suffer

News first:

  1. Today was the first day I logged in to put up today’s post and was confronted with the new WP editor as default choice. It sucks. However, I discovered that if I start the post in the new editor, and then ‘x’ out and choose to leave the page, I can go to WP Admin/Posts and see the draft at the top of the posts list. There, I can choose Classic Editor and finish the post with the old editor I’ve used for years. Your mileage may vary, but this worked for me today. I don’t mind the extra steps, because that new editor is absolutely horrible.
  2. I’ve been posting Youtube links to songs for all these albums I’m posting. Now, I do have an ad-blocker on this computer but, since my good old one was discontinued, I have never been able to find a current ad blocker that blocks those ads at the beginning of a video, the ones that can be skipped after 5 seconds. All this is to say fuck you, Grammarly, I’ve heard the first five seconds of your damn ad so many times that I will never, ever use your product and I will tell everyone I know to avoid you, too. Avoid Grammarly, people.  

***

Anyways, Bad Religion. Always relevant, always awesome.

 

Bad Religion – Against The Grain

I love these guys, for everything they do. I wish I owned it all!

 

 Bad Brains – Rise

If my post about hockey yesterday caused you to miss my post about this band’s debut, you should go check it out. I love that album.

I can listen to these guys anytime. This one’s another great album.

This track seems relevant for today.

 

Stanley

Here follows my opinion. It may not match yours. Fair play.

***

I’m a Toronto Maple Leafs fan. This means, like everyone else like me, that we are long-suffering as we watch one of the most talented teams in one of the most expensive markets lose every year. We keep faith and hope that THIS YEAR will be the year that they toughen up and make it happen. Every year since 1967. Still waiting. I know, I know.

But I still love hockey, and I have watched highlights of every game of every series in this weird, bubbled, piped-in crowd noise no-crowd playoffs. I just want to see the best team win.

Last night, the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Dallas Stars in game 6 of the finals to win the 2020 Stanley Cup. Congratulations to them on their victory (I had them picked as winners at the beginning of the season, I should have bet money. Anyway).

It was a hard-fought series, with plenty of injured players and dramas, big hits and rivalries, amazing plays and many examples of solid hockey.

However, many times the Dallas Stars played with what my son calls sour grapes – when the other team is better, you find ways to hurt them and bring them down instead of digging in, playing it right, and finding victory in virtue and that nth factor.

I know it is play-off hockey, and the referees put their whistles away and just let them play (though they did call many penalties this series, many others were let go). Despite their talent, I just cannot respect Radulov, Benn, several others, I’ve never been a fan. I know that Tampa was rough too, and gave as good as they got but, ultimately, I feel the right team won the Cup this year. Dallas, despite playing well enough to get that far in the finals, did not (in my eyes) deserve it.

Looking forward to the 2020-2021 season!

 

Bad Brains – Bad Brains

Essential.

I can’t imagine my life without this album in it. Just… yes. My goodness.

 

Here’s the whole album. Because.

Bachman Turner Overdrive – Best Of B.T.O. (So Far)

Do I need this LP if I already own the Anthology 2CD set (see yesterday)?

No.

But YES.

 

 

Bachman Turner Overdrive – Anthology

For those keeping score, this post today marks a 150-day streak of posts since I started the Skip 5 series back in May.

***

What do I need to say about these guys? This 2CD slipcased set is proof of the power and glory of this band.

 

Bach – Brandenburgische Konzerte Nr. 4, 5 & 6

The Berliner Philharmoniker.

Herbert Von Karajan.

Deutsche Grammophon LP. 

YES.

 

 

Bach – Brandenburgische Konzerte Nr. 1, 2 & 3

Herbert Von Karajan.

The Berliner Philharmoniker.

Deutsche Grammophon LP. 

YES.

 

 

NB: I could not find the correct Deutsche Grammophon 139 005 cover art on Youtube, so it’s included (above).

Bach – The Best Of Bach

For such a cheapo dump-bin CD (as we found it), this collection is amazing, and it sounds great too.

 

SLCR Social Distancing Special #2

Hello. I got that haircut I was wanting. And then another haircut. And then another haircut. It’s been a while, is my point.

The Regina Folk Festival, the SaskTel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival, the Gateway Festival, and most other enjoyable things didn’t happen this year. There were lots of streaming concerts, but it’s not the same. Still, in a bid for normalcy, I had good intentions of writing up reviews for them anyway – or at least one per artist, which is one of those mandatory-chicken type rules that I can ignore as I see fit. And I wrote some. Made notes for others. Definitely wrote down some dates in a text file with good intentions. Felt kinda bad about not finishing these for, oh, five months or so. Not bad enough, apparently.

I liked the idea of sending out mini-reviews with the idea that if something sounded interesting to you, you could watch it yourself. With the move to paid concerts you can only watch live, that’s not as easy. Maybe that’s why I lost my motivation months ago, or maybe it’s just that I can’t fathom you caring about what I’ve been watching on my computer. Nonetheless, here we are. Or here we were months ago.


Danny Michel (May 3, 2020)
buy tickets: https://www.dannymichel.com/shows2
buy music: https://dannymichel.bandcamp.com/

For the first few weeks of the shutdown, Danny Michel seemed pretty adamant that we didn’t need to use this time to put on concerts or write great novels – just getting by was enough. And he’s still not into writing new stuff at the moment, but he did a one-off Zoom show and found it so invigorating to see his fans that he made it a weekly thing. So if you have $7 US, you can join in every Sunday. Well, you’d need several $7s to join in every Sunday. Also, this took me so long to send out, he’s done with his weekly shows. So there’s that too. Luckily for you, there’s one more show coming on October 11, so get on it.

Michel performs live from his studio, surrounded by a variety of instruments and, on occasion, by a variety of wacky Zoom backgrounds. For the most part, Danny’s on guitar, but this time he broke out a banjo for the song Rye Whiskey & Wine (by special request of Olympic cyclist Curt Harnett, who also joined Danny for an impromptu chat). Another new addition this week was an applause track that he would play via sampler pedal to mark the end of songs, or jokes, or just to amuse himself.

Danny Michel is one of those musicians who always seems to play 15 songs from a possible pool of 20, despite having written hundreds. But as with Steven Page, Michel is taking this opportunity to take fan requests and dig into the back catalogue. Mika was surprised when she tried to guess the set list and couldn’t do it. I wish I had recorded her list of guesses because the series of “the one about” was pretty entertaining. Not as good as when she tried to tell me what happens in Star Wars without having seen Star Wars, but still. The new songs were welcome and I’d like to hear more of the old favourites in weeks to come. And if Danny’s cat Larry David wants to make another mid-song appearance, so much the better.

Here’s that setlist:

Sweet Things
A Cold Road
The Right Thing
Feather, Fur, & Fin
Rye Whiskey & Wine
Born in the Wild
Luckiest Man in the World
Click Click
Nobody Rules You
What a Wonderful World

For what one could call an encore, Danny opened up ProTools and went track by track through the song What Colour Are You. It was pretty neat to see how it was all put together and you could hear all sorts of little touches I’d never noticed before. Then he took some questions and chatted with the audience before wrapping up. He suggested that one of these weeks, he might stay online talking for hours just to see who the last person in the audience is. It’s not like I’ve got any place to go.


Hawksley Workman (May 21, 2020)
buy tickets: https://hawksleyworkman.com/live/
buy music: https://hawksleyworkman.bandcamp.com/

Having recently moved from Montréal, Hawksley and his wife were staying at her father’s house in Peterborough as they searched the city for a place of their own. When the pandemic hit, house-hunting was put on hold. Months later, Don’s basement was the setting for the first Hawksley Night in Canada show.

Despite not being in their own place, this turned out to be one of the slicker setups I’ve seen in these shows. I don’t know if Hawksley brought his own light-up applause sign or if his father-in-law just had one laying about, but either way, it came in handy for the ambience. There were a handful of simple lighting effects (literally, turning lamps on and off) that helped make the show feel like more than just a webcam feed. And there were hand-made stop-motion title cards for the Hawk Talk and Pet Songs segments, as well as the show itself.

Both of those segments were pretty self-explanatory. In the days leading up to the show, Hawksley had shared an email address where people could send stories and pictures of their pets so he could write songs about them. And no, I didn’t send in anything about Carl. Yet. Maybe next time. For this show, Hawksley wrote and recorded a song about a rescue dog named Thurman and made a music video with the pictures and video clips. Here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jWZJCXo1vJI

When the show began, I joked that I hoped nobody phoned the landline in the background while the show was on. And then my phone immediately rang because I cursed myself. As it turned out, Hawksley’s phone (well, Don’s phone) wound up in play later on for Hawk Talk, the audience participation segment. He gave the phone number out and had chats with fans from Vancouver, Kingston, Regina (again, this was not me), and Guelph. Hawksley also kicked off the segment by phoning Mr. Lonely. For added fun, one of Hawksley’s cats (The Donger) (not its actual name) wandered into the set for a visit. I don’t know if anyone has tried calling that number in the days since to see if they can just have a nice chat with Hawksley and family, but one of you should try it.

I suppose there were also songs! Here’s the setlist:

No Sissies
Piano Blink
Your Beauty Must Be Rubbing Off
Warhol’s Portrait of Gretzky
PET SONGS: Thurman
Safe and Sound
You and the Candles
Chemical
Ukelady Boy
Battlefords
HAWK TALK
We Will Still Need A Song
Birds in Train Stations
Don’t Be Crushed

Except for the pet song, it was all Hawksley on acoustic guitar. For some of these, it was how I’m used to hearing them; others sounded entirely different stripped down. Chemical, in particular, was a whole new song. There was also a nice mix of concert usuals and surprises, from personal favourite Piano Blink to the unnervingly prescient You and the Candles to Ukelady Boy from Hawksley’s musical, The God That Comes. And both the sound and video were among the best of these quarantine concerts, making this a home run all around. Since this one, he’s been doing them monthly and they’ve all been a delight. Highly and unsurprisingly recommended.


Dan Mangan (May 23, 2020)
buy tickets: https://sidedooraccess.com/home
buy music: https://danmangan.bandcamp.com/

This spring, Dan Mangan was to be going on tour to mark the 10th anniversary of his debut album, Nice, Nice, Very Nice. He was skipping Regina, which – as ever – was as disappointing as it was understandable. Then the world ended and here we are.

This show was live from Mangan’s basement, but still managed to feature a few special guests. First was Dan’s son, who wandered in looking for help with his Nintendo Switch. He got sent to find his mother. Didn’t even sing anything. Neither did Dan’s moms or sister, though their appearances were at least planned. Veda Hille, Dan’s neighbour, joined in on The Indie Queens are Waiting, just as she did on the album. Well… not “just,” probably. I bet she didn’t have to sit outside the house and sing through a window when the album was recorded. And partway through, Noble Son was brought on to play a pair of songs. Not quite an opening act. Halftime show, maybe?

I’d give you the setlist but you could just look up the tracklist for the album. Robots, always a fan favourite. Basket, one of my very favourite songs, always a heartbreaker. He did forget the song Some People, playing it after Pine for Cedars once he realized his mistake. Noble Son’s songs, Sleepin’ and Sad Dumb Lovesick Young Kid, came in after Fair Verona. After the show, Mangan took fan questions and eventually played a new song, In Your Corner, in memory of Scott Hutchinson of Frightened Rabbit who died in 2018.

I really enjoyed this set, and it was a nice make-up for skipping us on the tour that didn’t happen. And he’s since rescheduled his tour dates, and now he’s fitting us in. The show is scheduled for mid-January. We’ll see if it happens. We’ll see if I’m brave and/or foolish enough to go.


Son of Dave (June 5, 2020)
concert: https://www.facebook.com/ospreyartscentre/videos/2451242958508166/
buy music: https://sonofdave.bandcamp.com/

These concerts are either free on YouTube or Facebook or something, or they’re ticketed. If you pay, you get a link and a unique code. Easy enough. I paid for this show, got the email, and didn’t look at it until the day of, only to find that my link had expired. Uh-oh. Frantic emails ensued, only to find out that the show was just on the Osprey Arts Centre’s Facebook page and a human was manually checking to see if the folks watching the show were entitled to be doing so. Based on the attendance, let’s just say this was not as demanding a job as one might hope. Eventually, they asked us to share the link around in hopes that more people would show up and contribute to the virtual tip jar.

Son of Dave (nee Benjamin Darvill) is a harmonica-playing, beatboxing bluesman and showman. This was a fun show that made for a good introduction to his music, though to get the full experience, you need the interaction that comes with seeing him in person. Nothing’s stopping you from having a conga line through your house while watching this, but it’s not the same if he’s not insisting you do it. And he can’t invite you up on stage and feed you chocolate remotely.

In a weird twist, the show wasn’t actually live. It was recorded especially for the venue, but fear of a bad overseas internet connection (justifiable, based on some of these shows) led to it being sent in ahead of time. This led to the unique situation of Son of Dave joining fans in the live chat to watch himself in concert. He said it sounded better in his head. I can’t say he’s wrong, but I liked how it sounded to the rest of us.


Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls (August 9, 2020)
concerts, but not this one: https://www.youtube.com/c/FrankTurner/videos
buy music: https://frank-turner.bandcamp.com

I’m guessing that this is not how Frank Turner expected to celebrate his 2,500th concert. In an alternate dimension, it’s a big extravaganza. In this one, it’s him and his regular band, separated by plexiglass dividers, tearing it up in an empty hall.

That said, they weren’t about to let a little thing like everything stop them from putting on one of the best live concerts you’ll see. Even without a live crowd to feed off of, there was no lack of energy. There were more pauses for conversation and banter between bandmates than at a usual show, but I just attributed that to their enjoyment of actually being in the same place as each other.

I’d give you a setlist but Turner has surpassed the Weakerthans as my #1 artist where I know very few song titles and have to describe them all with snippets of lyrics that I may have misheard. Every song title starts with “The One That Goes Like” as far as I’m concerned. The key things are we got the song that made me a fan (Try This at Home), my favourite of his (Get Better), and the thematically-appropriate Recovery. And a bunch more. This was a delight and I’d recommend his live shows to anyone.


July Talk (August 13, 2020)
website: https://www.julytalk.com/
buy music: https://julytalk.bandcamp.com/
donate: https://my.charitableimpact.com/charities/street-worker-s-advocacy-project-regina-inc

This show escaped the confines of basements and studios and empty bars, taking place with a full audience at a drive-in theatre. It looked like people were allowed to stand beside their cars, though most remained inside. It’s been weird to hear concerts with no applause after each song, but honking in appreciation is new too.

I had rushed to get dinner made in time for the show, but needn’t have bothered. The show opened with a collection of music videos, concert footage, and animation that served as a leadup to the concert proper. This was actually pretty entertaining, though unusual to hear versions of songs that they were just going to play live later anyway. Doesn’t really register on the unusual charts for this year, I guess.

I am an old man who doesn’t like new bands so it’s weird that I like this new band so much. Though at three albums in, new is relative. Compared to me, they’re new. So are most things. Anyway, July Talk puts on a killer show. This show was, I guess, their tour to promote their new album, Pray For It, so we heard lots from it, but got all the older favourites as well. You know. How concerts work. They did that.

Shot in black and white on eight cameras, we have a runaway winner in terms of quarantine concert production values. In the most memorable moment, singer Leah Fay walked out among the cars, had people turn their hazard lights on, climbed on top of one car (she asked first and is also wee), and sang a song. At the end, she laid down on the roof of the car. This was filmed from above by a drone rising into the sky, giving us a shot of a tiny figure in all white in the darkness, getting smaller and smaller, surrounded by rows of blinking lights. It was stunning. You could easily have passed this off as a fully-edited concert video.


Kathleen Edwards (August 14, 2020)
concert: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3KmHuzQxjFg
buy music: https://kathleenedwards.bandcamp.com/

Kathleen Edwards famously quit music to open up a coffee shop. Years later, she has a new album (Total Freedom) and the coffee shop doubles as her own personal performance venue because she can’t tour.

This was shown on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitch. Allegedly. I opted for YouTube, which erupted into chaos when the concert began and there was no sound. You have never seen a chat so panicked. Word was sent that Facebook had audio, so I went there, but Facebook streaming video is sometimes fine and sometimes super choppy and this was the latter. Off to Twitch I went, which meant figuring out where I’d hidden the Twitch app on my iPad, and then figuring out what my username and password were, and then figuring out where the stream was, and then 30 seconds later, it ended, seemingly accidentally. So I went back to YouTube which was now fine.

The show was Edwards and her full band playing the new album front to back, with a few extra songs at the end. Once the initial issues were sorted out, everything sounded great. It’s Kathleen Edwards, she’s not going to sound not great. It seemed like she was enjoying herself, and had great chemistry with the band.

The chatroom was completely enamoured with her and the show. I am skeptical about the number of claims of being brought to tears by the concert, but maybe some folks just get moved by music more than I do. Some folks also have very strong opinions about what Kathleen Edwards should do with her personal life. It’s best to always mute the chat. Though I agreed with their assertions that she should swear more because it’s fun.


Rae Spoon (September 17, 2020)
buy music: https://raespoon.bandcamp.com/

This was brought to us by the Regina Public Library. Finally, something of value! No more dumb books. What did books ever do for us?

The show was held over Zoom, with Rae having selected an image of the downtown library for their backdrop. It’s like they were really there! Outside. And years ago. It wasn’t the newest picture. Rae played guitar and sang, ad-libbing through audience participation spots where necessary, and telling stories to give context to everything. The show seemed to breeze by.

I’ve seen Spoon a few times now and despite the general weirdness of playing a show to no audible reaction from a remote location, this was still my favourite performance of theirs. Due to some serious health issues, they hadn’t been playing live for a while. Maybe they were happy to be back and feeling better, or more comfortable to be playing from home, or maybe I was just imagining things. Who knows. There was a spark that wasn’t there in their previous shows and it was delightful to see it.


And we’re caught up. Briefly. For something that’s been in the works since May, I wrote an embarrassing amount of this last night. I suspect I won’t review other streaming shows, but who knows. Normal could be a ways off and I might feel the need to alert you, once again, to the existence of YouTube. Just in case you forget about it.

Zee Avi – Zee Avi

I first heard about this piece of art through Jack Johnson’s Brushfire Records, and I immediately loved her work. She has at least one other record, and I want it too!

 

Austrian Death Machine – Total Brutal

Setting the Tim Lambesis personal life stuff aside, this album is hilarious good fun. They’ve done other records too, but I kinda feel it’s a one and done for me, but who doesn’t want a metal album themed after Ahnie? Get to tha choppaaaa!

 

Dan Auerbach – Waiting On A Song

Absolutely gorgeous album from ‘that Black Keys guy’. Soulful, classic feel. This sounds stellar on LP!

 

A Tribe Called Quest – We Got It From Here… Thank You 4 Your Service

The joy when this album dropped, all these years later. My goodness.

 

A Tribe Called Quest – The Best Of A Tribe Called Quest

For those times when you just wanna cruise the hits.

Inexplicably, I couldn’t find this 2008 Sony/BMG compilation on YouTube, so I’ve just dropped another great track. I mean, take your pick, right?

Right! 

 

A Tribe Called Quest – The Love Movement

Divine!

 

A Tribe Called Quest – Beats, Rhymes And Life

The greatness just keeps coming.

 

A Tribe Called Quest – Midnight Marauders

Another great collection of tunes from one of the best acts! Get yours!

 

A Tribe Called Quest – The Low End Theory

Pure classic. I mean, come on… Well, OK, the track about his pager is a bit dated, but as a time capsule it’s still awesome. There’s groove and a smooth feel here that is undeniable. Let’s go!

 

 

A Tribe Called Quest – People’s Instinctive Travels And The Paths Of Rhythm

I love these guys. They’ve made so much classic music, and this 1990 album is very cool.

 

Atoms For Peace – Default

Another super-cool limited edition, embossed 12” LP single from Amok.

Default b/w What The Eyeballs Did, and Default (Instrumental Edit)

And at risk of repeating myself here, the non-album tracks here should’ve been included on Amok. I’d totally have been OK with an extended track list. I get that there was a vision for the playlist, but the b-sides were as strong as the album tracks. Amok was only 44 minutes long, they had plenty of space to include this other stuff.

Also, for those collectors out there who are really into this stuff, there were also a bunch of single-sided, single-song, limited edition 12” LP singles released for Amok: Unless, Amok, Reverse Running, Dropped, Ingenue, and Stuck Together Pieces. Cool.

 

Atoms For Peace – Before Your Very Eyes

Another brilliant limited edition, embossed 12” LP single from Amok.

Before Your Very Eyes b/w Magic Beanz (non-album track)

And again, Magic Beanz should be on Amok. Not replacing anything already there, just added. 

 

 

Atoms For Peace – Judge Jury And Executioner

I collected as many of these limited edition, embossed 12″ LP singles from the (amazing) Amok album as I could.

Because awesome.

Judge Jury And Executioner b/w S.A.D. (non-album track).

Honestly, I don’t know how S.A.D. didn’t get on the album. Ah well.

 

 

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