Alright, It’s October First

Somebody go wake up Billie Joe…

SLCR #259: Prozzäk (September 22, 2016)

“What kind of people go to a Prozzäk show?” asked Mika. “Apart from you, I mean.”

Well, there goes my joke answer.

Judging from this show, I’d have to say 30-year-olds. And me. Which I guess makes sense. I can’t say it’s what I expected, but I didn’t really know what to expect, going to see a band that sort of doesn’t actually exist.

For the uninitiated, Prozzäk is made up of two guys, Simon and Milo, who I will surely call “Milo and Otis” at least twice in this thing. Simon is lovelorn and has no neck, while Milo is less expressive and kinda beefy. They’re also cartoon characters, so I wasn’t sure how this whole thing was going to work. Would this just be me watching cartoons for 90 minutes?

Answer: not JUST that.

Prozzäk was formed by two members of the Philosopher Kings in the late 90s. I remember being very surprised when I found this out. The two bands don’t sound anything alike, though I suppose the reason why you’d start a second band when you already had a reasonably successful first one would be to do something different.

The Americans among us may not have heard of Prozzäk but some of their songs that were released in the States as being by “Simon and Milo,” presumably to ward off any litigious pharmaceutical companies. They (the band, not Eli Lilly & Company) also had some sort of deal with the Disney Channel at one point, which seems like a questionable fit – they were cartoons, but not a kids’ band.

Prozzäk’s music is catchy electronic dancey pop that is not normally my thing, and yet here we are. I never bought any of their CDs – I could see that being too much of a good thing – but always found them to be kind of a guilty pleasure. So off I went to the casino, expecting a nostalgia trip and not sure what else.

I got there just before the show was scheduled to start. A DJ was on stage, playing music while standing between inflatable Simon and Milo heads. A local radio host came out to start the show, but we got 20 more minutes of who I learned was named “DJ Ageless” before abruptly shutting things down to make way for Prozzäk. He did not look particularly ageless to me, but to be fair, I was standing in the back.

There was a cartoon intro to the show that told the Prozzäk origin story, about how they were enemy warriors who were chosen by God (presumably) to travel through time to present day and search for true love. In looking things up for this review, there’s an element of truth to this – apparently, in the Philosopher Kings, “Milo” and “Simon” (they have real names but who cares) didn’t get along to the point where Milo hauled off and decked Simon. This led to them working out their issues, eventually forming Prozzäk (and a production company called Lefthook, named after the fateful blow).

After the cartoon intro, there were… more cartoons. Videos ran the full length of the show as a backdrop for the three actual humans on stage – Simon, Milo, and a girl who didn’t seem to be part of the Prozzäk mythology but added a much-appreciated energy to the proceedings all the same. When she wasn’t singing backing vocals, she was jumping up and down and running around, trying to get the crowd into things.

Prozzäk

It is Prozzäk

Like I said, I only know the singles, and on this show, they were bunched together, so it was Strange Disease and Ombolasire, then a looooooooooooong stretch of songs I’d never heard, followed by Saturday People, Be As, their cover of Wild Thing, and http://www.nevergetoveryou, with Sucks to Be You as the encore. Looking at album tracklists, I know they also played Tsunami, Pretty Girls, Hot Show, and at least two new songs from their album coming out next year – Love Fools Anonymous and Baby I Need Your Love (Pussy Cat Pussy Cat).

They sounded exactly like you remember, though they’re playing live over backing tracks and have to keep things timed to the cartoons, so that doesn’t lend itself to experimentation. Not that this is a bad thing, it’s just one of those shows where it will be pretty much exactly the same from night to night. But if it works, why not? It was a fun show with a lot of energy. They played everything you’d want to hear in a tight 90 minutes and everyone seemed to have a good time.

They still sound very much of their time, back from when internet was still pretty new and pretty neat. Not only did they name a song after a URL, but they somehow ignored the .com part, choosing to focus instead on the www. – and it made liberal use of the ICQ “uh-oh!” chime (which I would like for my text message notification noise).

I just checked, and http://www.nevergetoveryou(.com) is available… as long as you want to spend $5,850 on it. Maybe leaving the .com part out of the song was genius. You can get http://www.nevergetoveryou.mom for only $44.99. Still too much? http://www.nevergetoveryou.republican is only $32.99. http://www.nevergetoveryou.click is a steal at $9.99. Right now, I am learning a lot about the vast selection of top-level domains, and I would like someone to edit the song so that it’s now http://www.nevergetoveryou.pizza

UPCOMING CONCERTS
• Fred Eaglesmith w/Tif Ginn (October 1)
• Basia Bulat w/Oh Pep! (October 5)
• I Mother Earth featuring Edwin w/The Standstills (October 8)
• BreakOutWest (October 14-16)
• Sarah Slean with the Regina Symphony (October 22)
• Bush w/The Dead Deads (October 27)
• Steve Earle & The Dukes (November 3)
• Bif Naked w/Jordan Alexander (November 8)
• Duotang (December 2)

Tuns – Tuns

The New Hotness Series, Part 7: Tuns – Tuns

Tuns is Chris Murphy (Sloan), Matt Murphy (Superfriendz), and Mike O’Neil (Inbreds). I know! So great.

But this isn’t just another supergroup. This is a vital group in its own right.

And what a record! Pure pop rock bliss that perfectly captures the brilliance of all three players. It hearkens back to their underground days while still sounding totally modern, and it’s (mostly) so damn upbeat and cheery that you can’t help but wish it’d play forever.

YOU NEED THIS.

Wire – Pink Flag

The Beam Me Up Scotty’s Series, Part 19/25 (LP)

Here’s the one I consider among my main scores from Scotty’s. Holy crap, I got an original Pink Flag, in pristine shape, for under $15!

Guys! This rules!

Considered a true classic (now), this debut LP is like listening to an old friend, and so many records after it – because it clearly influenced so many. Wire nailed the ultimate late-70s punk record, and it was their debut!

To be able to drop my needle onto an original copy… glory.

Giraffe Tongue Orchestra – Broken Lines

The New Hotness Series, Part 6: Giraffe Tongue Orchestra – Broken Lines

I’d have lost money on a bet over whether my local shite HMV would get the new Giraffe Tongue Orchestra CD. I woulda said no way, yet when I went past on my way to the grocery store last night, there it was right by the front door! Even happier, it was only $12.99. Immediate purchase.

Take note, Ghost… GTO put out a whole album of 10 songs for only $3 more than you did your 5-song EP. Just sayin’.

***

Alright, here are my real-time notes, taken as I listened first time through…

Adapt Or Die is straight-on rockin’, a great groove with a killer guitar solo section and that throbbing bass line… Crucifixion’s intro and chorus bits are blasting punk riffs but the rest turns all slinky and muscular… and then there’s the pretty breakdown part that turns into a brutal bashing… Two tracks in, mind is blown.

No-One Is Innocent is gigantic metal riff rawkin’ at its best. The drums pound, and the wole thing is just menacing. It builds and builds and wow! I love it. Blood Moon swings while it stabs its riff. It’s an odd little tune, not quite fitting with the rest of what’s here so far, but it’s not a bad thing. Just different!

Fragments And Ashes brings back the full-on crazy rocking. This one would kill, live. I can definitely hear the DEP influences here, yet everything works together into a fantastic track! Melodic but with crazy bits. Yes! Back To The Light does more of the same, and it’s brilliant! Oh man, this one has so much going on, that rapid fire beat, the guitars pummelling, the vocals soaring over top… and that awesome funk outro with the female vocals (courtesy of Juliette Lewis)…

All We Have Is Now takes us into into psychedelic balladry, a pretty tune to be sure. The drummer didn’t seem to get the memo that it’s a softer song, though haha. There’s even some awesome science fiction-y space noises at the end. Everyone Gets Everything They Really Want could be… a Stones song? Circa 1978? It’s a funky swingin’ disco rocker that has a few elements that remind us who’s playing, but honestly, this is quite left field, for this record. I like it! Haha fun.

Thieves And Whores builds, rotating between crazy wonky but awesome into heavy riff heaven awesome. What a track! Hot damn that’s a weird one, I love it! And finally, the title track, Broken Lines is an all-out assault on a sweet time signature, an hypnotic riff and beat… until it all goes bonkers and then gets its punk metal on. Then it shifts again into a gentle arpeggio interlude… then it takes on a bluesy chug until it ends.

In Sum:

Whew! What a superb record. I can hear all of the influences in here, all of the bands from which the members have come, but it’s also uniquely its own. I had great hopes for this record, and they have been exceeded!

Even better, I just know that it’ll get better on subsequent listens!

Giraffe Tongue Orchestra! Get you some!

 

Sunday Nights: The Songs Of Junior Kimbrough

The Beam Me Up Scotty’s Series, Part 18/25 (CD)

I love Fat Possum Records. I love Junior Kimbrough. I love the bands for being on this Kimbrough tribute disc. A whole lotta love.

There’s an energy to this project, which perfectly captures and celebrates the unique and powerful blues that Kimbrough made during his life. He wrote about tough times with an understanding and clarity that many pretenders can never manage.

All these bands get in there and do it up right. Junior would be proud. This kicks ass.

 

The Tracks and Players:

Stooges – You Better Run (Version 1)
Spiritualized – Sad Days Lonely Nights
Blues Explosion – Meet Me In The City
Heartless Bastards – Done Got Old
Black Keys – My Mind Is Ramblin’
Pete Yorn – I Feel Good Again
Entrance and Cat Power – Do The Romp
Fiery Furnaces – I’m Leaving
Mark Lanegan – All Night Long
Thee Shams – Release Me
Jim White – Done Got Old
Outrageus Cherry – Lord Have Mercy On Me
Whitey Kirst – Pull Your Clothes Off
Jack Oblivian – I’m In Love With You
Ponys – Burn In Hell
Stooges – You Better Run (Version 2)

Gojira – Magma

If you can believe it, totally not communicating at all, Deke and I have planned reviews of this album to post one day apart! We totally should have done a dual review. Ah well. GO READ DEKE’S AWESOME TAKE RIGHT HERE!!!

The New Hotness Series, Part 5: Gojira – Magma

I’m a big Gojira fan, late to the game after seeing them live on the L’Enfant Sauvage tour and being blown away by their presence and their awesome metal. I’m on the hunt for all their stuff now! Found this CD while we were at the cottage a few weeks ago, which pleased me because nowhere in my town seemed to be stocking it…

The Shooting Star starts us off with a satisfying chug, complete with that ethereal Gojira-ness that’s so pleasing. Silvera^ ramps us up into the Gojira we’re more used to, that heavy crush and crunch, with wicked-slick drumming and those melodic assassin guitars, often times almost classical in approach! This one would slay crowds, live, especially with their light show! The Cell blasts us even faster, machine gun-style before dropping into an absolutely menacing riff built to crush your head.  And then back again! Yeahhhhh!!!

Stranded^ is the single, and it’s a punishing track, that guitar line and that huge anthemic riff, and again those drums and time signatures… Oh man, this one owns! Yes! Following on its heels is Yellow Stone, a slithering stomping instrumental interlude. I liked it! The title track, Magma, keeps the pace slower, but there’s those guitars again, writhing over top of the heavy bottom end. Then the chug roars in and away we go, a chant-like quality to it… like Ghost, honestly. It’s a good thing!

We intro into Pray, atmospheric while the guitars pound away machine-like, and the the drums haha whoa what an intro! This rules! There’s a spooky sound underneath, possibly a carry-over from the title track. Again with the chant-like bit, these two must be companion tracks. Come chorus time, however, it’s full on Gojira assault hahaha yes! Oh man, nobody crushes quite like these guys! And the outro rules! Only Pain brings back that guitar from Stranded, and the track growl stomps your brain into a fresh pulp. Fuck yes! It ends damned abruptly, though!

Low Lands does more of that inimitable Gojira menacing skittering through the intro, the vocals droning over top. Then it’s lift-off again, barely controlled chaos straining to get out and dominate everything. And finally, Liberation, which starts off with an almost guqin-like sound, before taking off into acoustic guitar noodling over bongo drums. Every once in a while there’s a bit of a rumble in the background, but it could just be mic noise I picked up through the good headphones – it never amounts to anything else. After the crush of the album, this feels like a track recorded for shits and giggles during studio downtime, and probably wasn’t a necessary inclusion. An odd way to end the album!

In Sum:

It’s simple – Gojira rules! I like this record tons. It’s very different from L’Enfant Sauvage,  all over the map as only they can do it, and still sounds like only they can sound. But it kicks all sorts of ass, and has a real feel to it. GOJIRA!

 

^ This song was a single.

Kick Axe – Welcome To The Club

The Beam Me Up Scotty’s Series, Part 17/25 (LP)

This one takes me back. I grew up on Vices, and I’m pretty sure I had it on cassette as a kid, not sure where that is now. Scotty had this LP at $15, so I texted James to see if that was fair, he said it seemed to be. I ended up getting it for $10, so right frickin’ on.

Welcome To The Club has some Honeymoon Suite in its veins, but it rocks heavier and the vocals have more edge to them. I love this sort of stuff, takes me right back to the 80s! Feels Good, Don’t Stop bangs its way through an odd intro lots of banging and breaking glass, then unfolds into a bluesy rocker complete with backing vocals and girls laughing. Oddly, it’s like they figured out how to add things to tracks and added a few too many. I mean, the baby at the end? And the sound quality on that track sounds a bit like a wet paper bag, but hey, it’s pure metal rock fun otherwise.

It’s ballad time! Comin’ After You is all soft and lovey… haha not! Rock surprise! Nice. Kind of reminds me of Rock You Like A Hurricane, and that’s a good thing. Make Your Move is pure single material. The sound is great here, and it’s all Mötley, sweaty and bluesy and full of bombast. Loved it. Alright, now it’s bluesy ballad time. Never Let Go is proof positive that this dude can SING. Love the guitar solo too, wowzers. Really pretty song with all the right elements in all the right places. Hellraisers lets arpeggios bring us back up into full-on metal rockin’ hells yes! He’s really going for it on the vocals here. It’s got the breakdown section, everything rules. Great track.

Can’t Take It With You is slinky rock with big sound all over. Another one built for radio! Then we blast right frickin’ off into Too Loud… Too Old which, by its title, you can guess is another big rocker swingin’ for the fences. The bottom end is huge, the guitar solo slays, and it’s just a damn great rockin’ time. Feel The Power has some crowd noise pasted into the intro, but the track itself sounds studio. You can hear they added the Big Room effect to it, and then it goes away at points, but it’s all good. Yet another rocker – this band is full of them and, like the rest, I can totally dig this one.

And finally, it’s a cover of With A Little Help From My Friends, which is pretty damn good. It’s basically note-perfect to the Joe Cocker version (🙂 ) but the singer sounds like he has a bit of a cold – there’s a nasal stop to it. Ah well. Never mind, there was a little vocal help on this one: Rik Emmett, Alfie Zappacosta, Lee Aaron, John Albani, Andy Curran, Sharon Alton, Cindy Valentine, Brian Allen, Ava Cherry, Paris, Bob Segarini, and Cameron Hawkins. Right on, it’s a big swishy version that does the Beatles proud.

In Sum:

Zapping me right back to 1985, Kick Axe nailed it, with this record. There were a few sound issues, and maybe a few little forgiveable missteps along the way, but at its heart this record is great fuckin’ metal and make no mistake. One of my favourite scores from this trip!

Yes! \m/   \m/

R.I.P. Buckwheat Zydeco

Thanks to 2loud2oldmusic for posting this news for us all. Incredible cajun zydeco (and rock and blues) musician Stanley “Buckwheat” Dural, Jr. passed away September 24, 2016 from lung cancer. He was 68.

Thanks so much for all the music, Buckwheat. You will be missed.

Here’s his Wiki.

Gone Is Gone – S/T EP

The New Hotness Series, Part 4: Gone Is Gone – S/T EP

A brilliant gift from my lovely wife, this 8-song LP EP is all kinds of awesome.

Supergroup* pulls off one weighty, varied, completely compelling disc. Troy Saunders is all over this disc – you know those slower, sludgier Mastodon tracks? That, but with all the other guys adding their own brilliant touches to it all, the whole affair is melodic, powerful, and heavy. At 1/2 hour, it’s short, but an album approaches this year. Prepare – these guys kick ass!

* The Players:
Troy Saunders (Mastodon)
Troy Van Leeuwen (Queens Of The Stones Age)
Tony Hajjar (At The Drive-In)
Mike Zarin (Sencit Music, Sweethead)

Jean Michel Jarre – Oxygene

The Beam Me Up Scotty’s Series, Part 16 (LP)

I’ll try to write about this incredible record, but 1537 did it best already.

I found this LP for $2, still sealed! This is an absolute score. What a trip! This record has an imaginative otherworldly, vintage sf feel to it… it’s timeless, and that makes me love its beauty and expanded consciousness quite unreservedly.

Through the good headphones, I’m transported through world after brilliant world, all energy levels, all emotions. I even forgot it was electronic music. Wow.

Guided By Voices – Please Be Honest

gbv-please-be-honstThe New Hotness Series, Part 3: Guided By Voices – Please Be Honest

Typical Pollard output – in fact, it’s more like a solo record for him than a full-band GBV effort. You know the kind, the ones he farts out in his basement over a weekend and two cases of beer. Makes sense, as he played all the instruments and wrote all the songs.

So how is this a GBV album?

An interesting question that only our hero, Mr. Pollard, can answer. We all know that he won’t.

Better question: who cares?

Doesn’t matter. It’s awesome.

25 Years

This album was released when I was in high school…

B.B. King – Indianola Mississippi Seeds

The Beam Me Up Scotty’s Series, Part 15/25 (LP)

 

I rescued this 1970 LP for $2, knowing full-well it might not play. It was (sadly) a bit scratched, but I had hopes… If nothing else, I could use the cover as wall art.

Happily, it plays! With few blips!

And what a record. Holy crap. True blues: hit songs, hot instrumentals, that inexorable B.B. shout, Lucille in full force, and an all-star cast of players.* Even King regarded it as some of his best work.** Pure B.B. glory!! YES!!

 

** King himself, also, views the album as one of his greatest achievements. When asked about his best work, King has said, “I know the critics always mention Live & Well or Live at the Regal, but I think that Indianola Mississippi Seeds was the best album that I’ve done artistically.”

* The Players and Track Listing:

“Nobody Loves Me But My Mother” — 1:26
B. B. King — piano & vocal

“You’re Still My Woman” (B. B. King, Dave Clark) — 6:04
B. B. King — guitar & vocal
Carole King — piano
Bryan Garofalo — bass
Russ Kunkel — drums

“Ask Me No Questions” — 3:08
B. B. King — guitar & vocal
Leon Russell – piano
Joe Walsh – rhythm guitar
Bryan Garofalo — bass
Russ Kunkel — drums

“Until I’m Dead and Cold” — 4:45
B. B. King — guitar & vocal
Carole King — piano
Bryan Garofalo — bass
Russ Kunkel — drums

“King’s Special” — 5:13
B. B. King — lead guitar
Leon Russell – piano
Joe Walsh – rhythm guitar
Bryan Garofalo — bass
Russ Kunkel — drums

“Ain’t Gonna Worry My Life Anymore” — 5:18
B. B. King — guitar & vocal
Carole King — piano & electric piano
Bryan Garofalo — bass
Russ Kunkel — drums

“Chains and Things” (B. B. King, Dave Clark) — 4:53
B.B. King — guitar & vocal
Carole King — electric piano
Bryan Garofalo — bass
Russ Kunkel — drums

“Go Underground” (B. B. King, Dave Clark) — 4:00
B. B. King — lead guitar & vocal
Paul Harris — piano
Hugh McCracken — rhythm guitar
Gerald Jemmott — bass
Herb Lovelle — drums

“Hummingbird” (Leon Russell) — 4:36
B. B. King — guitar & vocal
Leon Russell — piano & conductor
Joe Walsh — rhythm guitar
Bryan Garofalo — bass
Russ Kunkel — drums
Sherlie Matthews, Merry Clayton, Clydie King, Venetta Fields — “Angelic chorus”

Prophets Of Rage – The Party’s Over (EP)

Here’s another disc I picked up recently…

The New Hotness Series, Part 2: Prophets Of Rage – The Party’s Over (EP)

Prophets of Rage combines members of Rage Against The Machine, Public Enemy and Cypress Hill (Tom Morello, Tim Commerford, Brad Wilk, Chuck D, B-Real, and DJ Lord).

Why are they here, now? Take a wild guess: “Morello declared to Rolling Stone: “We’re an elite task force of revolutionary musicians determined to confront this mountain of election year bullshit, and confront it head-on with Marshall stacks blazing.”” Well then, right on!

The first track (and single) Prophets Of Rage is a decent mix of all the elements you’d expect, given the players. It’s a remake of the Public Enemy song off It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back.

The real meat comes on the slinky metal blues of the next track, The Party’s Over. Now that’s what I’m talking about! I love everything about this track, hot damn. It’s also the only track of wholly new material here.

Next is a live cover of Rage Against The Machine’s Killing In The Name. Of course it owns, and of course it fits with the ethos here. It’s live, so people are going to want to hear this stuff, with these players involved. It’s fun when the words get changed to “Some of those that hold office, are the same that burn crosses,” and “Some of them up in Congress are the same that burn crosses.” Hooboy.

Shut ‘Em Down is another live track, also a cover of Public Enemy. It kicks off with some really cool Morello guitar pyrotechnics, then a driving beat that lifts like crazy. More huge Morello soloing, and the whole thing pile drives you in a very pleasing way.

No Sleep ’Til Cleveland, is a fun live Beasties cover of No Sleep Til Brooklyn, but with Fight The Power lyrics thrown in. Recorded during the Republican National Convention in Cleveland this year, it’s also perfectly timely. It’s heavy, it’s powerful, right on. They say “No sleep til Brooklyn” for most of the song, then throw in Cleveland at the end, presumably to remind everyone at that show of where they were…

And that’s it. Except that, of course, to make it even better, the album artwork is by Shepard Fairey.

In Sum: 

A decent EP. I like the thinking behind it, I like the energy, and it’s necessary that this gets done now. It’s also reasonable-priced at $6.99, better than the Ghost EP at $9.99 for the same number of songs, and not nearly the same intent – here we have political awakening, Ghost gives us metal-ish covers of 80s tunes! Ha.

So I Gotta Ask You A Question

I’ve been futzing with this 80 word post thing in the mornings, and I really like it. It forces me to be concise and yet still give you some sense of what the album even is AND my thoughts on said album. It’s a tough gig.

But I’ve also been doing posts in the afternoons, like on my recent Trews series (amazing band!), where I go track by track and ramble on about whatever crosses my mind as I listen, much as I’ve always done, over the years. These rambling posts are way more than 80 words.

So, I gotta ask, and I need you to be totally honest:

After a while of reading these shorter posts now, do you find that you’re skim-reading the longer posts? If I go back and re-read the longer posts, I find that even I do that! So it’s OK if you do, I just wanna know, because initially some expressed concerns about the 80 word posts not being long enough, but if (like me) you don’t even really read every damn word I chuck at the wall in the longer posts, one wonders why even do it, you know? If you do read every word (in fact, if you’ve read all of this post and are still reading every word now), then I wanna know that too.

The way it’s shaking out right now, some albums are cool at 80 words, where others need a lot more space. There’s no agenda or ryhme or reason to this, it just is. But if a clear preference surfaces amongst our Dear Readers, I still want to take that into consideration.

Drop a comment and let me know. Thanks!

Buddy Rich – Rich Riot

The Beam Me Up Scotty’s Series, Part 14/25 (LP)

If you can believe it, I also got this gem of an LP for $2. Seriously, who sells a Buddy Rich LP for $2? Well, Scotty’s, apparently. But I kind of felt bad giving him so little for so much…

Alright, surely you know that Buddy Rich is one of the greatest jazz drummers. Full stop. And this LP is just a whole lotta greatness. I could listen to this all day. In fact, I think I might… Right. On.

A Note To Be Noted (I think it was a Bb):

In further researching this LP I have here, I learned that it is an original UK release from 1979, and there were only 3000 copies made. Interestingly, this copy does not have a number like 348/3000 on it. Across the bottom, it just says “This album is number ____ in a limited edition of 3000 copies and is already a collector’s item.” And the ____ is a clean white rectangle. So maybe it never got printed with a number? I dunno. It sure doesn’t look worn off with age, this copy is damn near immaculate. Well, whatever the case, I feel like I got something cool, and that’s what really matters, right? Right!

Ghost – Popestar

Alright folks, with the Trews series wrapped up today, it’s time for a new series! Woot! This one will be focussing on some new (or fairly recently new) releases that I have had the good fortune to add to my collection!

I don’t (usually) buy a lot of new music. The bulk of what I bring home comes from used music shops. And that’s cool, because I am a bargain hunter and I prefer to pay $1 for an LP used instead of $40 for its fancy-pants reissue at the HMV. But I’ve managed to come up with a weeks’-worth of new stuff that I can cover in these pages, so let’s get down to it!

The New Hotness Series, Part 1: Ghost – Popestar (EP)

I actually came across this in the new release racks at our local shite HMV just last night. Hot off the presses, folks!

Square Hammer is the only new song, here. If you’ve heard them before, it’s fairly typical Ghost. It’s heavy, but there’s a lighter, 80s edge to it. There’s even piano stabs! The chorus pay-off makes the rest of it worth it, but it wouldn’t be a track I’d play all the time.

The original Nocturnal Me (Echo and the Bunnymen) was not a song I knew. I played it on the tubes of you (apparently it was also on a TV show called Stranger Things, but I don’t know anything about that show). Anyway, it’s a cool tune, and Ghost does a bang-up job on it. It’s not all that different from the original, actually.

I Believe (Simian Mobile Disco) is another song I didn’t know, or the band either. I mean, Simian Mobile Disco? Um, sure. And there’s the reason why – the original is an electronic dance track, not usually in my radar. It’s a laidback beat, the vocals are good, but it wouldn’t be my choice usually. Ghost’s version turns it into a church choir-feel verson, without the drum machines. I prefer this version by far.

Missionary Man (Eurythmics) is one we all know, and we all know that the Eurythmics’ version kicks ass. Ghost’s version pulls a Marilyn Manson Sweet Dreams on it, bigger guitars and metal leanings. This tune is perfect for them, though. Highlight track on the EP.

Bible (Imperiet) was another I’d never heard before, but the original builds into quite a powerful, thoughtful tune. I liked it. Ghost’s version plays it close to the original, just with bigger sound. It’s epic. Cool.

In Sum:

The covers were more interesting than the original tune. Good on them for choosing lesser known tracks, by and large. If you’re a fan of the band, you’re going to want this EP.

One Note To Be Made:

I found the $9.99 sticker price too high, for a 5-song EP. The recent Prophets Of Rage EP was $6.99, and the difference of those $3 stands out, to me. At $6.99, you feel like you are buying an EP. At $9.99, it feels like you oughta be getting a full album, ya know?

Trews – Time Capsule

Since this is all that I have in my collection, it is with regret that here we end my Trews series (for now). Until the band releases more, that is!

This disc is, also, the whole reason why I started this Trews series in the first place. Well, I mean, obviously, I love this band and doing a series was a natural thing to do. But the recent (September 9, 2016) release of their Hits set, and my snapping it up as soon as I saw it on the shelf in the shop, made me think, ‘hey, it’s time to cover all the rest and bring it all up to now and this release, and won’t that be fun!’ It absolutely was. Thanks for reading along!

Notes: At the bottom of this post, I have included the full (amazing) track listing from this release. I have also included all of the tour dates for their current tour. If you are anywhere near these towns, get out the there and see these guys in action!

The Trews Story Series, Part 10: Time Capsule

Being a hits set, I’m not gonna go through all the tracks we know and love again here, as I’ve already covered them in the series. But there are four new tracks on this set!

Lotta Work / Little Love is pure bluesy guitar Trews and oh man take notice! Mixed in with the established hits, you’d think this swaggering rawk blaster was released ages ago.

Sing Your Heart Out we know from the Acoustic: Friends And Total Strangers set. This studio version’s a gorgeous acoustic track that builds into a full band keeper. I just love this track. “Sing your heart out, drive them blues away” indeed!

Beautiful And Tragic takes a different tack, an almost 80s melody line while band jams away behind. It’s a quick rocker, and while it’s a bit different from the usual Trews, it also totally sounds like them and it’s fantastic. I love this song!

Chinese Kites builds off a cool intro and becomes another Trews rocker. How do these people continue to do this? It’s so crazy good. This energy, this savvy and ability. It’s glorious.

In Sum:

You need to buy this in multiple copies. Put one in your car, one in the house. Leave one at work and maybe one at the in-laws’ house. Whatever you do, make sure that wherever you go, you are not without this CD. Wow! What a testimony to the brilliance and glory of the Trews legacy (thus far). DIG IT!

Track Listing:
Lotta Work / Little Love*
Not Ready To Go
Tired Of Waiting
So She’s Leaving
Yearning
Poor Ol’ Broken Hearted Me
Ishmael & Maggie
Hold Me In Your Arms
Paranoid Freak
Man Of Two Minds
I Can’t Stop Laughing
Sing Your Heart Out*
Beautiful And Tragic*
Highway Of Heroes
Hope & Ruin
The Power Of Positive Drinking
In The Morning (f. Serena Ryder)
What’s Fair Is Fair
Rise In The Wake
Chinese Kites*

Trews Current Tour Dates

OCT 5 WED  The Saint  Asbury Park, NJ
OCT 6 THU  Knitting Factory  Brooklyn, NY
OCT 7 FRI  Milkboy  Philadelphia, PA
OCT 8 SAT  Jammin Java  Vienna, VA
OCT 21 FRI  Casino Rama Resort  Rama, Canada
NOV 10 THU  Distrikt  Victoria, Canada
NOV 11 FRI  The Mule  Penticton, Canada
NOV 12 SAT  Commodore Ballroom  Vancouver, Canada
NOV 14 MON  Better Than Fred’s  Grande Prairie, Canada
NOV 15 TUE  Better Than Fred’s  Grande Prairie, Canada
NOV 17 THU  Canalta Centre  Medicine Hat, Canada
NOV 18 FRI  The Marquee  Calgary, Canada
NOV 19 SAT  Average Joe’s  Lethbridge, Canada
NOV 21 MON  The Bert Church Theatre  Airdrie, Canada
NOV 22 TUE  Bo’s  Red Deer, Canada
NOV 24 THU  Casino Regina Show Lounge  Regina, Canada
NOV 25 FRI  O’Brian’s Event Centre  Saskatoon, Canada
NOV 26 SAT  Burton Cummings Theatre  Winnipeg, Canada
DEC 2 FRI  The Station Music Hall  Sarnia, Canada
DEC 3 SAT  The Station Music Hall  Sarnia, Canada
DEC 8 THU  Maxwell’s Concert & Events  Waterloo, Canada
DEC 9 FRI  London Music Hall  London, Canada
DEC 10 SAT  Phoenix Concert Theatre  Toronto, Canada
DEC 14 WED  Imperial Theatre  Saint John, Canada
DEC 16 FRI  The Marquee Ballroom  Halifax, Canada

The Wagner Album

The Beam Me Up Scotty’s Series, Part 13/25 (2LP)

After finding that Wagner CD recently, I got the bug and wanted to hear more. This gatefold 2LP set covers a nice swath of Wagner’s work, and I got it for $2!

On this 1970 release, Eugene Ormandy conducts the Philadelphia Orchestra through some of Wagner’s biggest moments. It’s stunningly beautiful. Stirring and powerful, gentle and tender, always fascinating, the music of Wagner deserves full accolades. Real music like this earns our attention, so full of emotion and passion. Glory.

 

Tracklist

A1 Fest March From “Tannhäuser” (Entrance Of The Guests) 6:50
A2 Prelude To “Lohengrin”, Act III 3:23
A3 Magic Fire Music From “Die Walküre” 7:00
A4 The Ride Of The Valkyries From “Die Walküre” 4:59
B1 Overture To “Tannhäuser” 14:48
B2 Prelude And Love-Death From “Tristan Und Isolde” 16:30
C1 Prelude To Act III; Dance Of The Apprentices: Entrance Of The Meistersingers From “Die Meistersinger” 12:45
C2 Prelude To “Die Meistersinger” 10:00
D Siegfried Idyll 15:28

Trews – Acoustic: Friends And Total Strangers (Deluxe Edition)

As promised, here’s my second Trews post for today…

The Trews Story Series, Part 9: Acoustic: Friends And Total Strangers (Deluxe Edition) (2015)

Because the KMA loves you and, let’s face it, this is just how it all worked out, I’ll be telling this story in three parts.

Are you ready? Of course you are. Time to get our Trews on…

 

1) It’s (Almost) All Been Done

I’ve already covered this album’s original 2009 release in this series, HERE. Follow that link for a track by track analysis!

2) (Some Of) The Extra Hotness Is Here

This release has four tracks that were newly-added for this 2015 release.

Every Inambition actually really rocks as an acoustic tune, played with energy and verve. Love that guitar solo! Wow! Could it be I love this one more than the album version? Possible… Makin’ Sunshine was built to be here. The vocals own this track, along with that repeating guitar line that draws your ear… Yes yes yes. No Time For Later also just feels great. Dance and pump your fists in the air and have a great frickin’ time! Not Ready To Go rumbles into being and it’s pure glory. This rocker track loses nothing from the album version.

3) I Just Want To Know What’s Going On

There are three releases of this album: the original CD, the DVD, and this deluxe re-issue. None of them have all of the tracks. What? I KNOW!

I have made a helpful chart of the confusion and, thanks to Geoff at 1001albumsin10years, have managed to get it here in these pages for you to see. The yellow and blue highlighting represent tracks exclusive to that release…

We can only hope that, some day, another “deluxe” edition will be released that sees all of the tracks on one release together. C’mon Trews, how come this 2015 “deluxe” didn’t do that already?

In Sum:

We already know that this acoustic session kicks total ass. Adding 4 more tracks to the re-issue makes it even more awesome. I just wish they’d get it all together in one 2CD set.

Imagine, the 15 tracks from the original, the 8 tracks extra on the DVD, and the 4 extra from the re-issue. By my count, that’s one huge 27 track set! I’d buy that!

Please, Trews, Please! Do it!

Trews – The Trews

Sorry I missed posting a Trews record yesterday, folks. I’ll make up for it today with two! Here’s the first one… Ready? Of course you are…

The Trews Story Series, Part 8: The Trews (2014)

Rise In The Wake^ starts off epic, teasing with the lift-off and then there it is! Pure awesome Trews rock, fist-pumping and full of happy energy. I could totally hear Sloan covering this one. Imagine! Up next it’s Age Of Miracles, with those guitars in the intro pulling me into its sweet groove, where the bass holds you like a hug. Love the lyrics of this one, what an ode to existential angst. Permanent Love grows into a sweet mid-tempo pop rocker that just makes you feel damn good. That chorus lifts you, man! Yes!

The Sentimentalist keeps that pace going, beautifully jamming along, until the midpoint, where it picks up and bangs away in full rocker mode. Yes! What a track! 65 Roses brings things in with an acoustic east coast feel, matching the feeling of the song perfectly. When it reaches its apex, you’re so uplifted and feeling great, it’s crazy. I love songs like this. What’s Fair Is Fair^ is the big riff guitar track, and would be awesome in concert. Mixed down into the album here, I can’t help but the think the live version would have more teeth. Anyway, still a great track.

Where’s The Love builds into a rapid-beat rock tune that, to me, feels like an homage to the Hip. Listen to it, can’t you here the Hip? I can! And that’s a great thing, sure, but the Trews still make it their own – usually in the Hip’s music, the guitars act as counterpoint to the vocal line, whereas here they blast along together. Up next it’s In The Morning, slowing things way down and pulling us into its acoustic guitar gorgeousness. I could listen to this all day! Once again, I love the lyrics – very uplifting, full of hope. It also doesn’t hurt that Serena Ryder is here, adding her unique and beautiful vocals to this brilliant song. Why wasn’t this a single?????

New King^ is full-on, balls out rawk with a superb guitar line, crisp and biting. This one is built to shake the place. Fuckin’ crank it! Yeah!!! Living The Dream cranks things back, ambling along a bit… I can hear Sloan doing this one, too! It’s got that 70s rock semi-ballad feel to it that the Trews nail completely. And finally, it’s Under The Sun, with it’s thundering tom drums while the vocals float above them. The guitars step up and give it some edge, but it’s yet another totally great album closer track froma band that has been ruling since they started.

In Sum:

By now, as you’ve read this series, you have to know that I love the Trews, and it’s my considered opinion that they honestly have not released even a mediocre track, let alone a bad record. This eponymously-titled record is so huge, so full and beautiful that, at this point, we’re all lucky that these fine gentlemen (and their friends) continue to make records for us. Another perfect addition to their stellar discography. A must-own? Absolutely.

^ This song was a single.

 

Aretha Franklin – Let Me In Your Life

The Beam Me Up Scotty’s Series, Part 12/25 (LP)

Let’s go back to Aretha circa 1974 (the year I was born!) and discover a completely soulful, groovy, freaking fantastic record.

Honestly, I could listen to Aretha sing all day. In fact, I have done just that. She’s so talented it’s not even fair to other singers. Pure soul, this is fun, sexy, danceable greatness. When she belts out a ballad like Aint Nothin’ Like The Real Thing, you believe her.

Glorious late night soul bliss jams. Love you, Aretha!

Emmylou Harris – Elite Hotel

The Beam Me Up Scotty’s Series, Part 11/25 (LP)

I love Emmylou Harris’ work, full stop. Can’t believe I got this LP for $2.

It’s a wee bit scattered, as she covers Buck Owens, Patsy Cline, Wayne Kemp, Gram Parsons, Earl Montgomery, Rodney Crowell, the Beatles, Don Gibson, Hank Williams and more. Utterly sublime.

This was her first #1 country album, and it’s no surprise. Her voice soars with passion, the songs are tastefully chosen, and it all comes together in a perfect package.

Get your copy. What beauty!

Trews – Thank You, And I’m Sorry

The Trews Story Series, Part 7: …Thank You, And I’m Sorry (2012)

This EP includes the presence of Rich Robinson (and his playing on three tracks here). Gordie Johnson also returns to help with production. I know! Wahoo!

The Power Of Positive Drinking^ is a big bluesy rock track (a la By Your Side) that would just kill it live. Also, I just love that song title haha. I should take notes from it – whenever I drink, I tend to write harsh Drunk Reviews instead!

Next up is a cover of Paul Kelly’s Leaps And Bounds has a pounding, driving beat while the guitars chug and the vocals soar over top. When it hits the chorus, I swear, we’re achieving lift-off!

Lord, Keep Me In Mind~ brings out the acoustics, tambourine, and bongos while it beautifully ambles along. That bluesy guitar is awesome, too (gotta be Rich?). When it breaks down to just his vocals and he’s repeating “Lately, I don’t even know myself!” the spiritual feel is right there and it feels like truer words were never spoken.

Oblivion~ kicks it up several notches and it’s an in-your-face rocker (which also contains this EP’s title in its lyrics). I love this driving beat, especially when it goes to just the drums and vocals with those chunky guitars. If they played this live, the place would go nuts.

Not Yours To Love~ starts off with super-flowery piano, then comes in a la Bad Luck Blues Eyes tempo with the best song the Crowes never wrote. What a great tune! That big bluesy solo is gorgeous. This track is another highlight of this EP full of them!

Herm-Aphrodite (She Was A Guy) is a fun, tambourine bangin’ rock tune with cool backing vocals and a real 50s feel to it. It’s a tune full of humour. “She had a count-ry voice…” haha nicely done. About halfway through, it cuts to half time and goes all slinky bluesy before picking up again. This would never get played on the radio, but it’s great fun. “God is in the details,” indeed!

…And We Are The Trews is a big guitar rocker that pleases from every angle. The harmony vocals are back, and it’s like a template Trews rock track. You know that sound. Perfect, really, considering the title of the tune… By the time they start name-checking all the great Canadian acts I am right in the pocket with them. Glory!

Check out that section:

…Here’s to you and here’s to me
and here’s to Tim Chaisson and Daniel Wesley
Here’s to Big Sugar and 54-40
Here’s to Trooper and the Hip and Geddy Lee

I Mother Earth, Our Lady Peace
Here’s to the Watchmen and the Headstones; Tea Party.
Here’s to BTO and Honeymoon Suite, 
Bare Naked Ladies and the Broken Social Scene

Here’s to Stompin’ Tom and gay ol’ K.D.,
Ronnie Hawkins and Red Rider, Jim Cuddy.
Here’s to Wide Mouth Mason and that wrecked Thornley
Sam Roberts Band, Matty Mays, Ryan’s Fancy.

Eric Lapointe et Rock Voisine; Jean Leloup; 
Les Respectables; n’est pas Celine

Here’s to Sloan and the Emergency
Ryan Hinds, April Wine and Great Big Sea
Doug from the Slugs and Jeff Healey, 
Frank is dead from Teenage Head RIP

From the Commodore to the old Marquee
And every guy, from every band who’s named Gordie

And we are the…

Yup, I definitely consider the Trews worthy of inclusion in the long list of great acts this country has produced!

In Sum:

A must-own. Yes yes yes! Totally fun, bluesy and rockin’ and smart as hell. Just like every Trews record!

 

^ This song was a single.
~ Featuring Rich Robinson!

SLCR #258: Dolly Parton (September 13, 2016)

Two down, one to go. Until Thursday. And I’m not feeling well. I threatened to get drunk and write the Billy Bob Thornton review late Saturday night, but neither of those things happened. I’m trying now, but with some very expired cherry NeoCitran instead of weird mango beer. Probably not as effective. And really, late Saturday night would have been the perfect time because I had been at a wedding and the DJ played Islands in the Stream and my cousin had the audacity to disparage the song. I threatened to fight him. That didn’t happen either but it should have put me in the right mindset.

So yes, Dolly Parton. I bought tickets the instant they went on sale. I was going to tell you that I delayed a trip out of town in order to do it, but thinking back on it now, I realize that I just delayed a trip to drop the car off for service. That is less of a story, perhaps. Still shows commitment if you ask me.

But not too much commitment. We wound up with tickets in the second row, which is pretty fantastic, but we didn’t get the super expensive front row tickets that came with a meet-and-greet. This was not due to any Weird Al-inspired life lesson (except insomuch as my every action is rooted in Al’s teachings); rather, those tickets were bonkers expensive. As in, I’m pretty sure they were over $1,000 apiece. There were lesser VIP experiences as well (SIP experiences?), but we just got normal seats. Expensive normal seats, to be sure, but they felt downright sensible by comparison. Which is probably why they’re there.

After work, we drove out to Moose Jaw for the show, listening to Brad Trost embarrass himself on an episode of Canadaland Commons. Two points for being upfront and honest about who he is; minus a million points for who he is. The other Conservative Party leadership candidate they interviewed, Michael Chong, came out looking like a million bucks by comparison. Chong should send Trost flowers. Or maybe some sort of Edible Arrangement; Trost would probably think flowers are too gay.

I gotta say, between this NeoCitran, my fuzzy robe, and 20-year-old Animaniacs fuzzy slippers, I’m feeling pretty good right now. Just opened up my new Jack White record. Got a Yahtzee dice duel going as I write this. Might evolve some Pokémon later. I’m earning more and more pity with each life-describing sentence. Things are okay. I mean, I used “fuzzy” twice in short order, so things could be better from a writing standpoint, but I’ll blame this cold I’m fighting. And I think the use was justified in both cases. But I digress. I’m supposed to be talking about Dolly Parton or something.

We found Mosaic Place with no problem, thanks to my ill-fated trip to see Meat Loaf a few months back. We got there close to the start time, so we wound up parking pretty far away. By which I mean “a few blocks” – nothing is that far from anything else in downtown Moose Jaw. Despite a bit of a convoluted path upon entering the arena, we got to our seats with time to spare.

So about these seats. Very close. Great. But. This was like sitting in the middle seat in an airplane, except without the generous legroom. I have no pictures from the first half of the concert because moving my arms in any way was too disruptive to those around me. The arena just announced that Parton set an attendance record and I believe it. And I’m pretty sure they were all in my row.

Look, I get it. You need to sell tickets to make money. And pulling one chair from a long row won’t make any difference in anyone’s comfort level; you’d have to remove enough seats to result in a noticeable hit to the bottom line. And I am bigger than your average dude (though even the skinniest folks we saw were sitting shoulder to shoulder and sidebutt to sidebutt). So there probably isn’t a good answer here. But after a great show (uh, spoiler, I guess), “man, those seats were uncomfortable” shouldn’t be my #1 takeaway.

There was no opener. Dolly and her band took the stage and we were off. It turns out I know more Parton songs than I had thought. It also turns out that she has ridiculous stamina. Seriously, I thought they were wrapping up the show but it was only the end of the first half. She went about three hours, including the intermission. I find it hard to sit for that long. Amazing.

The show itself felt like what I imagine a Vegas show to be (the only Vegas show I’ve ever seen was hosted by a drag queen and involved topless underwater acrobats) (it was a pretty good show). You know what I mean – very professional but very rehearsed. Same set every night, same jokes every night. I lost count of the number of times Dolly said “But seriously…” Some of the lines were old enough that I knew them despite having never seen her perform live before – they’ve just been around forever. “It costs a lot to look this cheap,” indeed.

None of this took away from the show. She knew what she was doing and the crowd ate it up. The woman sitting directly in front of us was a particular delight. I was pretty afraid she was going to rush the stage. At one point, security came over and had a little chat with her in what I assume was a preemptive measure.

I didn’t save a setlist, but I found one from Toronto that looks to be identical. It’s ridiculous how many great songs were on here. Hot take: Dolly Parton is real good, you guys. I mean, Jolene is a stone-cold classic that I assumed would close the show and it came five songs in. It was shortly after Why’d You Come In Here Lookin’ Like That which it turns out I know super well? I can only assume my dad had this tape at some point. That song was stuck in my head for several days after the show and now it’s back – good job, me – and I might have to go watch some Filet O’Fish ads on YouTube to dislodge it.

The first half also featured My Tennessee Mountain Home, Coat of Many Colours, I’ll Fly Away, a curious medley of old hits like American Pie that had nothing to do with Dolly Parton, and Parton playing Yakety Sax on a wee tiny saxophone. The awe-inspiring nature of this visual encourages me to set aside my suspicion that maybe your fingers need to move sometimes when you’re playing the saxophone.

Current Mood: feelin’ saxy! ??#pureandsimpletour

A photo posted by Dolly Parton (@dollyparton) on Jul 23, 2016 at 12:42pm PDT

 

Between sets, everyone around me complained about the tight seats. Then they all left to pee. Then the show started up again. For a few brief, glorious seconds, I enjoyed Parton’s singing AND some shoulder room. I even got to snap a few pictures while she was singing what I believe to be Alicia Keys’ Girl on Fire.

Dolly Parton in Moose Jaw

A photo posted by J. Underscore Kalyn (@j_kalyn) on Sep 13, 2016 at 10:42pm PDT

 

The second half was a little shorter than the first, which is to say it would still have been a reasonable length concert all by itself. She saved a number of hits to close out the show, playing Here You Come Again, Islands in the Stream, 9 to 5, and I Will Always Love You back to back (to back to back). People went ape for all these.

I often leave shows by… “more experienced” artists thinking “I wish I’d seen them back in the day.” Not this time. Despite a not-very-noticeable case of the sniffles, at no point did I think the show would have been better 10 or 20 years ago. Her voice is solid as ever and she went for hours, alternating between belting out hits and telling stories and cracking corny one-liners. It’s also worth noting that she plays a ton of instruments (I am not including the saxophone) and her band was great too.

If I could compare this to past shows I’ve seen, it would be like some ungodly hybrid of Loretta Lynn, Leonard Cohen, and Wayne Newton. And that analogy doesn’t work at all and yet I think it does? Lady country singer, ridiculously ageless, kinda schmaltzy in a good way. You know what I mean. If not, blame the cold medicine.

Immediately after the show, the booming voice of some unseen announcer thanked us for coming – or at least, that’s what I was expecting. Instead, he let us know that there’d been a big car accident and a bunch of people (presumably attending this show) had their cars towed away. I do not know how so many parked cars got quite so damaged in one accident. I would kind of like to know but I am also appreciative that I didn’t have to find out the hard way so I shall just leave well enough alone.

And then I wanted to get a drink and some Doritos for the drive back but we didn’t pass a gas station on the way out of town THE END

Here’s that Toronto setlist I mentioned:

Hello, Dolly
Train, Train
Why’d You Come In Here Lookin’ Like That
Pure & Simple
Jolene
Precious Memories
My Tennessee Mountain Home
Coat Of Many Colors
Smokey Mountain Memories
Applejack
Rocky Top/Yakety Sax
Banks Of The Ohio
Medley: American Pie/If I Had A Hammer/Blowin’ In The Wind/Dust In The Wind/The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down
The Seeker
I’ll Fly Away

(Intermission)

Baby I’m Burning/Girl On Fire
Better Get To Livin’
Outside Your Door
The Grass Is Blue
Those Memories Of You
Do I Ever Cross Your Mind
Little Sparrow
Two Doors Down
Here You Come Again
Islands In The Stream
9 To 5
I Will Always Love You
Light Of A Clear Blue Morning

UPCOMING CONCERTS
• Prozzäk (September 22)
• Hayden (September 29)
• Fred Eaglesmith w/Tif Ginn (October 1)
• Basia Bulat w/Oh Pep! (October 5)
• I Mother Earth featuring Edwin w/The Standstills (October 8)
• BreakOutWest (October 14-16)
• Sarah Slean with the Regina Symphony (October 22)
• Bush w/The Dead Deads (October 27)
• Steve Earle & The Dukes (November 3)
• Bif Naked w/Jordan Alexander (November 8)
• Duotang (December 2)

The Firm – Mean Business

The Beam Me Up Scotty’s Series, Part 10/25 (LP)

Can you believe I found this for $2? We get: Jimmy Page, Paul Rodgers, Tony Franklin, and Chris Slade. Whoa. It’s bluesy, it rocks, and it’s beautiful too. It’s thought-provoking (Live In Peace), and very lifting (Spirit Of Love). Some online complain about listless playing (Page, drugs), but I didn’t notice an issue.

Supergroups can be dodgy things, but this one nails it. Many say the first is better, I’ll find out soon. But I quite liked this one.

 

Things I’ve Noticed

Hey! Here’s a couple of things I’ve noticed…

I noticed that at some point recently, we tripped past 40,000 unique hits, here on the KMA!

That is an incredible number.

Thanks to you all, so very much, for checking us out over all this time!

 

 

I also noticed, after a quick look-up following a comment or two with Deke, that it has been 15 years since iTunes was introduced (January 9, 2001). Let us all take a moment and contemplate what this beast has become, over these 15 years. We all have our opinions on it, and it is what it is, but imagine. And think about where you were 15 years ago from now…

Well, in August of 2001 we were just moving from Montreal to Saskatoon, my lovely wife was finalizing her Masters thesis, and we were both beginning new jobs. And then in September, the attacks on New York and Washington happened…

Trews – Hope & Ruin

The Trews Story Series, Part 6: Hope & Ruin (2011)

Buckle up, campers, we’re off on another Trews rawk expedition…

Misery Loves Company^ kicks us off with big riff rock straight from the 90s, but in their hands it’s pure single greatness. Get out your air guitar! I played this one twice before moving on… One By One goes acoustic and is incredibly melodic. The lyrics fly quick, and it’s a total ear worm. People Of The Deer is massive riffin’ rock glory, holy awesome! Love that guitar sound, what do they call that, a squawkbox or something? The bass rumbles us into Stay With Me, and the tracks builds into an epic concert sing-along. Restraint and release. Love it.

Then we roll into the title track, Hope & Ruin^, with vocals over those jangly guitars. It builds and builds and gains energy until the big chorus payoff. Pure Trews. If You Wanna Start Again begins with piano, and by the time comes in it’s a sweet ballad rock tune that holds you close and doesn’t let go, even when it hits its crescendo. The World I Know^ is a big rock tune I’ve heard on the radio (I’d swear it). It sounds like another tune I can’t name, but maybe that other tune sounds like this one. Betcha that’s the case! Rock on. Dreaming Man is a sweet shuffle swing for drifting through late night prairie highways. Great feel, solid tune!

I’ll Find Someone Who Will could be from any Trews record, a straight up Trews rocker that’s their bread and butter. Yes! Love Is The Real Thing keeps that rockin’ ball rolling with a cool descending chord pattern and all the right elements to have been a single in its own right! Haha did he crack open a beer at the start of Burned? The tune’s perfect for kickin’ back and chillin’ with friends. Perfect mid-tempo track. And finally, You Gotta Let Me In brings acoustics and harmony vocals, our jam for sitting around the campfire after our great afternoon in the sun.

In Sum:

The Trews nail it again. This one says ‘summer’ to me, great tunes perfect for listening in the backyard while bbq grills up supper and the kids run around. Lots of Hope, not one iota of Ruin!

^ This song was a single.

Aretha Franklin – Aretha

The Beam Me Up Scotty’s Series, Part 9 (LP)

Aretha jams a soulful intro to Jimmy Lee before it devolves into a template 80s pop tune. George Michael duets on the hit I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me), Keith and Ronnie are on Jumpin’ Jack Flash (from the movie), and Rock-A-Lott does anything but.

The rest of the album carries on, and it was popular back then, but it’s (naturally) pretty dated. The only real saving grace here is Aretha’s voice. No matter the music, she can sing!

* The cover art for this record was Andy Warhol’s final work before his death in 1987.

 

SLCR #257: Billy Bob Thornton & The Boxmasters (September 6, 2016)

I don’t really understand how this happened.

I mean, logically, I get the rationale behind it. I was at the casino anyway, buying a ticket to Prozzäk – in itself, probably a questionable choice – and I got carried away. I’d probably just gotten paid or something. Or not. I mean, I don’t think that hard about my finances, which is something I should probably work on if I don’t want to alternate my time between concert venues and a refrigerator box in the alley.

Really, what I was thinking about was wanting to hit 40 concerts in my 40th year. That, and the whole Jian Ghomeshi thing.

Not THAT thing. The other thing.

Remember that other thing? Billy Bob Thornton and the Boxmasters were guests on Q, Ghomeshi had the temerity to mention in passing that Thornton was famous for acting, and Thornton immediately turned defensive and basically shut the interview down like a petulant child. THAT thing. Who’d have guessed that Thornton would ultimately gain the PR upper hand in this battle?

Anyway, I wound up at this show for a combination of stupid reasons, is what I’m getting at. Mika opted out. Not due to school, or homework, or fatigue, or a prior commitment. No reason was given and none was needed. I got it. But I was curious. What if these dudes are really good? Low expectations can sometimes lead to great experiences. And what else was I going to do on a Tuesday night?

The first thing I noticed upon arriving at the casino was that I have never seen their parkade so empty. I had written up a big long description of the parking garage but who could care about that? It was largely empty. This is all you need to know.

I had a seat by myself in the upper level. I mean this nearly literally. The balcony is split into two halves; there were three people in my half, including myself. It didn’t look like the other half was any more crowded. The floor looked reasonably full but wasn’t sold out.

As with most casino shows, there was no opening act. The emcee was a local DJ who made a bunch of jokes about the miserable performance of our football team, particularly the kicker who missed a crucial conversion that would have tied the most recent game. Given that our team HAS been pretty terrible this year, you wouldn’t think these jokes would have died quite the death they did, but I don’t think anyone really felt like piling on.

Now that we were all warmed up (?), Billy Bob Thornton and the Boxmasters took the stage. Thornton’s stage presence as a lead singer could be generously described as “aloof.” He kept his sunglasses on for the entire set, standing there, barely moving, looking down at the ground. He came across as either being disinterested or trying to look cool. I’m going to go with the latter, since between songs, he’d talk with the audience and he was actually pretty engaging and funny. He walked out on the floor and chatted with audience members at one point, and gently handled one die-hard fan who tried to rush onto the stage at another.

(He also talked a lot about having never played Regina before, which I’m pretty sure isn’t true? I feel certain that they had a previous casino date at one point. Maybe it got postponed? Or maybe I’m imagining things – if they were scheduled to be here, I never even mentioned it in a previous review.)

The Boxmasters were quite good, despite having a late substitution when their normal drummer found himself unable to cross into Canada for… reasons. However, I really don’t know how to rate Thornton’s performance as a singer, except to say it seemed like his mic was kept quite low and I found myself wondering if maybe that wasn’t intentional. I mean, I never thought he was terrible, but nothing stood out as being particularly good, either.

They played all original numbers, I think; if there were any covers, I didn’t pick up on them. The songs were like the vocals, in that nothing stood out as being particularly awful or particularly interesting. Is it super insulting to say that if they had a frontman who brought some energy to the performance, they could be a really great bar band? Because I don’t mean that in a dick way but it probably sounds like it. Oh well.

I don’t feel like I was alone in my lack of enthusiasm for this show. After they finished their set, there was the most tepid applause for an encore that I’ve ever heard, like “we all know what happens now and we are playing our roles” but there was no enthusiasm behind it. And then something really telling happened. The band (minus Thornton) came back out on stage to some cheers, and they began to play. Thornton followed, and when he walked out, there was no spike in cheers at all. I’ve never seen that happen before. Some bands try to paint everyone as equals, and others are the Front Man and the Other Guys. This was clearly meant to be Front Man and the Other Guys. And yet, when the Front Man came back, there was no reaction from the crowd to indicate that he was a bigger star than anyone else on stage. And really, if you’re bringing one person out separately, you’re presenting that one person as the star and trying to get that big reaction. And I’ve never seen it not work.

So yeah. This was an interesting experiment but not so hot and not really my thing. Which is about what I was expecting.

Trews – Highway Of Heroes (Series Post)

The Trews Story Series, Part 5: Highway Of Heroes (2010)

I’ve already covered this in a post here on the KMA back in 2014, but it’s so great, we’re gonna look at it again!

Wiki gives us the details:

Following Acoustic – Friends & Total Strangers the band released the single “Highway Of Heroes”. It was inspired by the 2006 death of Capt. Nichola Goddard, the first Canadian female soldier killed in Afghanistan and a schoolmate of members of the Trews. It refers to the stretch of Highway 401 in Ontario, between CFB Trenton and downtown Toronto, where hundreds gather on bridges and overpasses to mourn soldiers killed in Afghanistan while the bodies of the fallen soldiers are transported from Trenton to the coroner’s office in downtown Toronto.

The song was made available on iTunes in Canada only, with all proceeds from the sales of the song going to the Canadian Hero Fund, a charity that provides academic scholarships to the spouses and children of soldiers killed in combat. In October 2014 “Highway of Heroes” was certified Gold in Canada for sales of over 40,000 digital downloads.

Given that, Highway Of Heroes^ is, of course, a powerful song. It has a real east coast feel to it, with fiddle and accordion rolled, but there’s a martial beat to the drums and then the bagpipes and band take a moment… Not to mention the important message in the lyrics. It resonates and just feels like all of Canada in one song. Truly (Trewly) some of the band’s best work.

It’s just fantastic all over, uplifting, thought provoking and done with care. I’ve put a link for it below, so you can hear for yourself!

The second track on this release, Highway Of Heroes “Live & Acoustic” was recorded live for XM Radio Canada on March 20, 2010 in Austin, TX.

In Sum:

Awesome. Watch it!

 

Some Of The Best Of MTV Unplugged

After posting my Tony Bennett MTV Unplugged blurb, Mike said KISS was better, and J. wondered about Alice In Chains and Nirvana.

So for this post I’m going to just list fifteen MTV Unplugged discs I’ve heard and loved, over the years. These ones I know are great!

If you have others to add, personal favourites, drop a comment and we can create an archive of great MTV Unplugged performances right here on the KMA!

Ratt – Invasion Of Your Privacy

The Beam Me Up Scotty Series, Part 8/25 (LP)

Mike mentions Ratt a lot, so here’s my chance to hear them! It’s a pure 80s metal rock album that actually impressed me because it isn’t cheesy, loaded with keyboard, or weighed down with ballads.

I don’t know much about Ratt, but I know I liked this record one helluva lot. It’s full of huge riffs and tight playing that cannot be denied. The production is crystal clear, and I totally appreciate it as its own beast.

A $2 score!

Trews – Acoustic: Friends And Total Strangers (Original CD Release)

The Trews Story Series, Part 4: Acoustic – Friends And Total Strangers (2009)

I’ve mentioned this amazing recording in these pages before. This is the first issue (it was later re-released in 2015, we’ll get into that later). Recorded January 30-31, 2009 in the Glenn Gould Theater in Toronto, this is a greatest hits done acoustic and it’s amazing! Let’s go!

Poor Ol’ Broken Hearted Me stands up well to the acoustic treatment. What an iconic song. The acoustics sound great, the bongo drums are going for it, and MTV is salivating. Den Of Thieves is your first rarity reason to buy this record – it was never released on any other album. It’s fantastic. Of course it is! It sounds like it’s been a hit all along.

The Traveling Kind from Den Of Thieves is brilliant here, When You Leave is pure party track even here, hot damn. What a strong song, pulling you into its swirl and you just let go… Love the guitar solo, and what a rapid-fire pace! I Can’t Stop Laughing brings up the accordion, and it’s gorgeous. Stripping this one down adds power. Imagine!

Locked Doors is your second rarity reason to buy this – once again, a tune never on any other record before this. How was this left off albums? It’s fantastic! Listening to this, you just feel connection, a great message. Incredible. Fleeting Trust is next, and you would think it would work, but it does! Mainly because they make their acoustics rock just as hard as the original version. Stellar version. Gun Control was built to be here, the acoustic intro reminds me of something Days Of The New would’ve done. Anyway, the more I hear it, the stronger it gets. Pay attention, folks. Rock and politics don’t always mix well, but this one nails it.

The crowd is invited to sing along for Tired Of Waiting, and they sure as hell do! Bluesy slow jam acoustic bliss, I love how the song deconstructs itself down to just vocals at the teaser ending. Oh to have been there! The Love You Save follows up, and it’s a bit of R.E.M.’s Everybody Hurts arpeggios but a beautiful tune. It’s actually a cover of Joe Tex’ 1966 tune The Love You Save (May Be Your Own). Glory. And, I suppose, your third rarity reason to buy this disc!

Sing Your Heart Out^ is your fourth rarity reason to buy this, also not released on any album before this. And why? Why why why? It’s friggin’ brilliant! “On a night like this” indeed! Man Of Two Minds is next, a natural for inclusion here. The accordion is back, and it all floats along gorgeously. Ishmael & Maggie, as he says from the stage, is their east coast fishin’ and drinkin’ song. I loved it the first time around on the album, and this version here is just as rousing.

So She’s Leaving is our penultimate effort for this release, and it’s a classic Trews tune. The acoustics are slinky, the bongos are going for it, and it’s just beauty in a tune. Hells yes. And this one blends perfectly, via acoustic breakdown, into Hold Me In Your Arms, another bluesy Trews classic off the last record. Yes yes yes!

In Sum:

Holy crap, these guys left nothing to decide. You walk away from this acoustic effort knowing that the songs you know so well as big electric guitar songs are built on chassis strong enough to be acoustic versions that are equally strong. The answer to your question is: yes, the Trews are incredible.

If you don’t own a version of this release, you must do so now. Yesterday, actually!

Rancid – Indestructible

Not gonna lie, I do love me some Rancid. I’m pure s/t and …And Out Come The Wolves from way back. I found this one cheap, and it’s pretty damn OK.

Some songs are pure Rancid, and some… oddly, Tim’s voice has gotten cleaner over the years instead of worse, like it used to be. Backwards! It still sounds like Rancid, but a few times I felt like the edge had been rounded off. Not complaining, it’s still great fun.

Ella Fitzgerald – Jazz Spectrum Vol. 1

The Beam Me Up Scotty’s Series, Part 7/25 (LP)

I grew up on Ella, so this find pleased me greatly. Lots of hits here, like Mack The Knife, Hello Dolly, Love For Sale, and many others too, like Something’s Gotta Give, Hallelujah I Love Him So, and Let’s Do It. All are given that sweet Ella treatment that makes me always desire more.

The current crop of jazz singers definitely has talent, yet nobody can remotely touch an icon like Ella. This set proves it over and over again.

 

SLCR #256: Greg MacPherson (September 1, 2016)

Ah hell crap dammit I have three of these things to do. I want to do other things but I also don’t want to have FOUR of these particular things, so here we go.

I just looked up my last Greg MacPherson review and it was from four years ago and I can’t even fathom that. I’m fine with being 40, I can handle any of the “Want to feel old? _____ came out _____ years ago” posts (though the idea that Snakes on a Plane has been around for a decade is a bit disconcerting), but four years since that concert? Really? I do not understand how this is possible.

I remember that show well. It was an intimate setting (the first show I saw at the Artful Dodger) and a fantastic performance, one that made me into much more of a fan than I’d been going in. I know he’s come back through town a few times since then, but he has a knack for showing up on nights when I’m already booked. Also, he really seems to like to play here around tax time, much to Jeff’s frustration.

I actually had a ticket to see him earlier this year, but I would have had to go by myself, it was him sharing the stage with a few other folks to talk about songs (the format actually sounded really neat, but it wasn’t really what I was after), and it was up against a UFC PPV so I sat it out. Sometimes I am fine with going to shows by myself and sometimes I am very not. Regardless, I was glad that he came back through town so I’d get the chance to see him.

Like the last show, this was my first time at a new venue – this time, Creative City Centre. I feel like Stefon describing where it is: “Located above a jazz club situated in a former shoe store in Regina’s downtown, this place has everything.” But then it trails off because it has two flights of narrow stairs, a dozen tables, bowls of pretzels, and Jeff and his friend, who beat me there. No human Roombas.

But seriously, this is a really tiny space. I said that the Artful Dodger show was intimate, but that place holds twice as many people. I’d have to think 50 people would sell out Creative City Centre unless they pulled the tables out.

Possibly the highlight of the night came when the lady who (I think) runs the place opened the show by listing off all the upcoming events. She got to the guitar jam, where guitarists of all skill levels come together to play and learn and talk guitar… stuff. Anyway, they’re going to hold Regina’s largest ever guitar jam in the park downtown, and they’re all going to play the Experience Regina song – making this four straight public events I’ve attended with Jeff where that song has come up. I don’t know if I should take him with me everywhere? Or would that just jinx things?

Our opening act was a collabo of two local artists, Dan Holbrow and Leo Keiser, about whom I knew pretty much nothing at all. I still know very little. They played six or eight songs with the two switching off on vocals. Keiser had a song called “I’m Bored and You’re an Asshole,” which is, I guess, really what a lot of songs are about, but I’ve never heard of one that outright said it before.

The venue filled up as the show went on, and it looked pretty close to capacity by the time Greg MacPherson started. Good for him, but that did prevent us from stealing a bowl of pretzels from a nearby unoccupied table. The only open spot was, oddly, front and centre, but MacPherson started off the show by insisting that someone move up from the back and sit at that table.

It was a very different show, possibly because it was a very different tour – not a tour at all, really. He and his partner were off to Edmonton for a wedding and he just picked up a few gigs along the way. He said he was out of practice and hadn’t even remembered to bring any records or CDs to sell us (to think, I raided Mika’s purse for nothing). His voice was a little hoarse and it did seem like he didn’t have a set list and was just going to play for as long as his voice would hold out.

Last time, he played all of his songs that I know and love. This was decidedly not that. The bartender had requested the song Heatwave; someone requested it at the last show too, and I didn’t know the song at that time. Here, it was the only song I’d heard before. Even Jeff, who knows much more of MacPherson’s music than I do, only recognized a few songs. It seemed like he was trying out a lot of new material, and he was talking a lot too – lots about the political climate and general state of things, both globally and on a local level.

So it was quite an interesting show, and whenever I see him play, I think “this dude is super good and I really need to listen to his music more often.” Just not quite the show I was expecting, which isn’t a bad thing.

Trews – No Time For Later

The Trews Story Series, Part 3: No Time For Later (2007)

No Time For Later starts us off with a sweet pop rocker. Is it just my ears or do the harmony vocals near the chorus sound like Def Leppard? Dark Highway is a bluesy rocker straight from the barroom down the road. I could hear Sloan covering this one! Be Love keeps dishing the rock, this time a la the Hives in the intro, then up into the big hand-clapping payoff. I dig it.

I Feel The Rain brings us back a bit, a cool straight-to-radio mid-tempo track with acoustics and an organ in the background. Paranoid Freak^ rules. That fun intro with piano, then it shuffle dances into life and that song ‘gets stuck in your head,’ indeed! Sing along!

I Can’t Stop Laughing^’s intro is pure Clash I Fought The Law. The rest is solid pop rock as only these can do it – with bagpipes! Rousing tune! Man Of Two Minds^ is the obligatory slower tune, the acoustic intro building to full band crashing ballad. Sweet! Hold Me In Your Arms^ brings back the full on blues rawk attack. Damn these guys are incredible with riffs. This song is huge! Love it.

Gun Control is their response to the shootings at Virginia Tech. John-Angus MacDonald said “We were sitting around the apartment and watching all the coverage from CNN and Fox, it just seemed so blatantly obvious they were beating around the bush. The problem was how did this kid have a gun in the first place? It’s a personal and political view from us.” The tune starts off with cool blues guitar, then it blasts into a big rock song with an important message. Hell yes.

Will You Wash Away double-times through its acoustic-driven pop rock course with superb control. I love this tune, it should’ve been a single. End Of The Line slow walks towards its swingin’ pay-off. Get out your lighters and wave ‘em, this one’s a keeper! Burning Wheels is exactly that, holy shit they’re on fire at full speed here! Why wasn’t this one higher up in the album track listing? What a bluesy rock smoker! And finally, Ocean’s End brings us to a close with a great feel but no real rush to get us there. It rocks, it’s huge and epic. Songs like this oughta last forever.

In Sum:

I really dig this record. The singles are rock (natch) solid, and there are a few that should also have seen release as singles. There are fewer songs with the pure rock edge, here, but what’s here is at a new level of maturity that serves them damn well. From top to bottom, this is a great record with a strong vision. Yes!

^ This song was a single.

Kiss Kill – Keychain Pistols

Fair play to ‘em, but it’s chainsaw time… bought cheap on spec, this Portland band’s CD didn’t float my boat. Warmed over mid-speed Green Day riffs front-load the album, then it devolves into art-school rock.

The band can play, especially the guitar solos, and Michelle Leigh can definitely sing, but the songs were, frankly, boring. I know, so go do better myself, right? Playing this in the car, my son said ‘Dad I don’t like this CD.’ I agree, son.

Jaco Pastorius – Jaco Pastorius

The Beam Me Up Scotty’s Series, Part 6/25 (LP)

Incredible 1976 solo debut from bass guitar virtuoso. Pure ambition and technical ability, the songs here, including a cover of Miles Davis’ Donna Lee, span jazz, latin, R&B and more. Players include Herbie Hancock, Sam & Dave, David Sanborn and many others.

This album will change how you think about the bass guitar, how it can be mastered and then played with love. This has to be groundbreaking for its time, pure innovation and vision, serving damn notice!

Mind blown.

KISS In Meaford

My lovely wife drives through Meaford every day, and was mentioning that their annual Scarecrow Festival is on. The whole town is decorated with scarecrows.

She thought we’d all get a kick out of this particular display:

 

Trews – Den Of Thieves

The Trews Story Series, Part 2: Den Of Thieves (2005)

The sophomore effort that kicks so much ass!

Fire Up Ahead’s intro tells us to stand by. No way! Lift-off from the get-go! Pure rockin’ with another one of those stellar Trews riffs. Yes! Makin’ Sunshine is another favourite of mine. It builds and builds into a totally damn uplifting mid-tempo tune. It still rocks hard though. Crazy good.

Cry brings in the heavy-hitting bluesy Trews rawk. Have you noticed that every record of theirs plays like a Hits album? It’s true (Trew)! Superb Crowes-ish southern rawk. Sweetness leans on its guitars and they manage just fine, thank you very much. Another solid rocker that crashes to a close oh man!

I Can’t Say^ is such a beautiful song, a slower ballad that builds, of course, because this band is built to go. I swear Colin MacDonald’s vocals sound like Chris Cornell for most of this song, it’s so damn good. So She’s Leaving^ is one we all know well, surely. Big bluesy guitars, straight-on rawk built for radio and greatness. Hells yes.

Yearning^ reels things back in mid-tempo with another beautiful structure and just further proof that other bands have gotta envy these guys. Pure classic. The Pearl (More Than Everything) is sweet pop punk concert crowd lift, until the chorus riff, which grounds us back in the Trews sound. I like this track, but it’s definitely a bit of a departure for them. Good on ‘em!

Poor Ol’ Broken Hearted Me^ is another one we surely all know well, an iconic tune for the band for sure. Great vocals, hot rawk guitar and shuffle beat. And cowbell! Ana & Mia ventures awesomely into White Stripes territory, that stomping beat and the slinky bluesy guitars… oh my yes… Naked is a gorgeous slow tune, and again those Cornell-like vocals come back. It’s his own voice too, of course, it’s just the first thing that pops into mind.

Montebello Park is definitely a place I wanna go, that fun swingin’ summery opening section which then, of course, takes off into big guitar rock once again. There’s a Beatles-y quality to this one, as well as a 90s rock chord progression in parts… it’s a busy tune! Got Myself To Blame is built for givin’ ‘er, just straight-on rockin’ and no doubt. Go go go! Yes!

The Travelling Kind also has a Beatles-y quality. Cool! It’s a pop rocker that is held together by that rambling bass line that hearkens back to rock’s early days. Layer the Trews over top and it’s a super cool tune. And finally, Ishmael & Maggie ambles along gorgeously while it tells of a broken-hearted sailor. It even has a great crowd sing-along section. A perfect ending to this gigantic record.

In Sum:

Hells yes, this is a classic. Paired with House Of Ill Fame, it’s a one-two punch of early years amazingness. An absolute must own!

^ This song was a single.

You Spin Me Right Round, Baby

A quick post to draw your attention to a couple of changes here at the KMA:

1… Have a look up there at the top of the page at our new spinning LP banner! It was no small thing getting WP to accept the .gif file for it, but once I figured it out it was easy. It was one of those Google for a long while expeditions until finding the right answer. Anyway. I really like the new spinning record. We hope you like it too, and that it works in your browser.

 

2… While I was changing the banner, I also changed the site’s tagline. As you already remember, it used to say “Use it up, use it all up. Don’t save a thing for later.” Which is a line from a Tragically Hip song called Use It Up. I’d thought it was a quote from Raymond Carver, but it turns out to be from his teacher, John Gardner. Anyway, it summed up a philosophy of mine, do things now because if you wait you’ll be dead and never do it.

Anyway, with the new banner, it was time to switch it up. Staying with the Tragically Hip, this time quoting the amazing tune Ahead By A Century, this is a rather poignant line for these times. Given Gord Downie’s cancer news, of course, this adds resonance to the line. But I think it holds true for all of us, same as Use It Up does. If you’re waiting for someday, or conditions to be different or perfect, they never will be and chances are you will miss your chance. Live now. Enjoy!

 

Dillinger Escape Plan – Under The Running Board

The Mullet Burden lures you in with a quiet intro, then BAM! it knocks your fucking head off. Crazy shit is go! Let’s break stuff!

Sandbox Magician balances the sandblasting with some actually pretty bits, like the ending breakdown. Mind-bending fretwork on those guitars! And finally, Abe The Cop is pure sludge that swallows too much amphetamine. Killer work here, it rests but not for long! The laughing lady’s creepy.

It’s been re-released with live tracks, mine’s the old one.

Robert Cray – Strong Persuader

The Beam Me Up Scotty’s Series, Part 5/25 (LP)

Classic blues soul record. Smokin’ guitar parts, and tons of horns! What’s not to like?

This major label debut may not be as down and dirty as some other players’ albums, it may sound a bit suburbs versus others’ ghettos, but it’s still classy southern soul with a tight, clean sound that melodically pulls you in and holds you close.

Did I mention the horns? I always cheer for the horns. It’s a classy record, and they make it classier!

Trews – House Of Ill Fame

Who loves you enough to run two series simultaneously? The KMA does! So, while I also go through my treasures in the Beam Me Up Scotty’s Series (posting in the mornings), I am also beginning a run-through of what I have here of the Trews’ amazing discography, in chronological order (posting in the afternoons). Because the Trews rule. And now, as you’ll see, is a good time to give ’em a series treatment…

I am missing some of the early EPs, and maybe some live stuff, but I have all the main albums and most of the other stuff, so it’ll be good fun, eh? Yah!

Truth to tell, I could probably just list all the album titles and use one word: AMAZING to describe them all. But one word is even less than 80, and I’ve already been monkeying with the word count in these pages, so I thought better against it for this series.

Alright, here we go. Brace yourself for some seriously awesome rockin’ with the lads from Antigonish…

The Trews Story Series, Part 1: House Of Ill Fame (2003)

Produced by Gordie Johnson, this is a must-have record. Right off the bat, Every Inambition^ kicks our asses. I just love this song. It riff-rocks hard and is a perfect specimen of the Trews’ sound. Welcome, indeed! Not Ready To Go^ is another huge track, the kind of uplifting concert fist-pumper that will have the crowd singing along with every word. Confessions is a sweet, twisty riff built over tight drums… until the chorus bit, where it goes all sloppy and rockin’! Woo!

When You Leave is another big tune for them, a quick-steppin’ jangle-rocker that is actually one of my favourite of their tunes. Barroom mayhem with great chord changes and a real heart. Hot damn. Tired Of Waiting^ has Gordie Johnson all over it, that swagger beat with the bluesy guitars, and it ain’t a bad thing at all. Love it. Next up it’s Hopeless, which brings out the acoustic guitars and lays down a sweet beat. It’s laid back, and even has bongo-sounding drums. I like the big booming bass drum every four beats. There’s flute over the strings, too! What a track.

Fleeting Trust^ rocks things back up, building and building into the great crashing chorus. Fantastic guitar solo here, oh man. Oh man! Why Bother, propelled by the tom drums and guitar stabs over a rolling bassline becomes a full-tilt rock boogie in no time (and back again). Love it! Black Halo is full-on from the get-go, a solid Trews rocker in the best of their style. I like the Sabbath-y guitar bit there, so cool.

You’re So Sober brings back the acoustic guitars, gently walking along without plodding one bit. It’s a beautiful track, well-placed on the album. Hollis And Morris funks us up, guitar riff then vocals, then the rest of the band. It’s Trews doing Chilis-style funk mayhem and I love it. Bet you can’t listen to this without moving to it! And finally, Strays follows Holis And Morris perfectly, that same funky guitar line rapid-fire leading into the big crash chorus. Can you think of a better way to end this record than more straight up Trews rock? Me neither!

In Sum:

Fuck yes. Get this. Now.

 

^ This track was a single.

Dillinger Escape Plan & Nora – Split EP

Quick split EP, Nora gets two tracks: The Power Of is pure screaming metal punk fun, still melodic. Murder One chugs until it explodes. When it’s in full flight, it’s a great driving aggression track.

Sandwiched between those two, DEP’s 4th Grade Dropout is typical DEP – rapid-fire, complicated time signatures and sounds, wonky absolute power and energy.

These two bands compliment each other, in these tracks they’re very much alike. At under ten minutes, this will still exhaust you!

Eric Clapton – E.C. Was Here

The Beam Me Up Scotty’s Series: Part 4/25 (LP)

I was born three days after the first tracks of this live record were recorded! Only six tracks, but ranging 5:20 – 11:43 in length, which tells you about the instrumental greatness herein. You know well that when Clapton lets rip on a blues solo, it’s your only focus.

Great live sound, and cool covers including Steve Winwood and Robert Johnson, among others. 2nd guitarist George Terry is incredible here, too. This is a slow groove smoker live record. Yes!

Tony Bennett – MTV Unplugged

What an album! Tony’s voice still has it, that smile and rasp to it all… Maybe he can’t belt it like he used to, but listen to him hold that note in opener Old Devil Moon, he’s going for it fully. And he never lets up.

This disc is full of swing cool, and that irrepresible energy, and the band is just nailing it over and over again. Hands-down, one of the best MTV Unplugged sets I’ve ever heard. Glorious.

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Guitar for Weddings, Events, Lessons ...Sharing the Love of Music!

LP on 45

Celebrating how rock music sends us, saves us, and shows us our true selves—one single at a time

Free City Sounds

Album Reviews by Marshall Gu

80smetalman's Blog

Just another WordPress.com site

mikeladano.com

LeBrain's Record Store Tales & Reviews

Every record tells a story

A Blog About Music, Vinyl, More Music and (Sometimes) Music...

KamerTunesBlog

Revisiting my extensive music collection, one artist at a time

CD & Festival reviews

by Jon Wilmenius

the EARL of SWIRL

"to be average scares the hell out of me"

1001albumsin10years

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Stick It In Your Ear

Rock Album, Concert Reviews And The Odd Book Review

The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

Caught Me Gaming

Confessions of a Casual Core Gamer

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