Quiverleg – Lick My Tractor*

*not to be confused with the Walton’s Lik My Traktor.

Mike sent me this CD, and there’s a story of how I got it. Ready? It’s like this: We love Paul MacLeod, we used to go see him at the Walper. I own all his CDs. He made one CD with a band called Hibakusha (it’s also awesome). The rest of Hibakusha (sans MacLeod) made this CD under the name Quiverleg. Mike’s friend Meat knows Paul, gave Mike a copy of the CD, it made it’s way to me. Got all that? Good, ‘cos I’m pretty sure that’s how it all went down. I was thrilled to receive this!

Oh, and before we begin: just to save myself typing it over and over again, I hear influences of Faith No More, Frank Zappa, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and others, in this record. Also, I will not type THIS IS AWESOME! for every track. It is implied.

Alright, we go.

Excellent album opener Good Good is jazzy, wonky greatness. It’s a little all over the place but that is its absolute charm. Know Thy Crack picks up the pace and keeps the jazzy feel with rock injections. A softer bit goes into heavy riffage (with cowbell!). 

Captain Suxen starts out with a funny phone message, then goes totally funky. Very Zappa, this one. I liked the heavier bit at the solo section. Little Bo Peep is a jittery, heavy, odd-time-signature tune. What a cool freak-out rocker, and there’s a fun drum outro…

Nobody Up Here But Us Pigeons’ odd, almost church-like intro becomes a short, innocent little tune (about childhood, I guess)? Also very short is Chin Music; Music, which is a sweet horn instrumental that acts as segue into Pink Lemonade Tanker, which is jazzy but also has a reggae beat. Bongos! Trumpets! Rock riffs! Think Reel Big Fish, actually. 

Pissed And Bald starts out with a saxy intro, then goes into (what sounds like) another short phone message. Odd. Big Malnourished Doublin’ Mama’s lovely guitar runs are punctuated with beat-style spoken poetry. Mode D-Auto immediately made me hopeful for a full-on punk track, but it morphs into another FNM-style rocker. Still cool.

My Cheese Stick is a funny recorded conversation about a stachel and a stolen cheese stick. So weird. Meatloaf starts out with a motorcycle engine revving and then, incongruously, it becomes a beautiful jazz piano track. I’m telling you, this CD should come with a warning label to hold onto your hat! Anyway, this is a funny tune and, of course, the band comes in eventually, sax and all.

Impromptu Big Tattoo is another funky rocker, by now typical fare for ths record – but by no means is this typical for anything else you’ve heard this week. It all just has such a great sensibility! The Nut Song is a short, hilarious country-style acapella, while the (also short) Woodenleg Hip is a funky, bassy instrumental. 

Bushfire is a crazy-all-over-the-place funk rock jazz ska track with instrumental freakouts. Beautiful. It fits the record perfectly. Chin Music, Part II is another pretty horn section, which segues into Come To Daddy, another jazzy track that is a sax showcase. Great!

Corprolite King keeps the funky beat and bop rocks along happily. Holy crap this CD is fun. And, finally, Finale opens to the sound of applause, then a jaunty organ with drums, then the sounds of a symphony warming up, at the end. What a tease! If any track could properly end this record, this would be it.

In sum? One of the coolest CDs I’ve heard in ages. I absolutely loved it. Very FNM with Zappa soup on the side. But also still uniquely their own. It’s so funky jazzy and it rocks out and it’s right over the top. Totally creative effort here, and the band is completely unabashed by it. Two total thumbs up.

My huge thanks to Mike for sending this on, and Meat, and Paul MacLeod, and to the members of Quiverleg for even making this blast of awesome.

PS Yes, for those of you playing the home game, this all adds up to 20 tracks of mayhem. Sure, some of them are short, but this album is a workout and a half on content alone.

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Posted on February 27, 2014, in posts by aaron and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 21 Comments.

  1. Great review of one of Canada’s (or the planet Earth’s) truly great creations. According to what I have been told, singer Tyler F Shaw not only wrote the songs on this album, but her charted every instrument you hear. Considering the content of this album this is a truly incredible feat. Some of the best musicians this town has ever produced back Mr. Shaw up on this great album. Hard to find but worth the effort to procure.

    I like the enthusiasm and detail of this review. Did you know that the song Meatloaf is written about a true story of Meatloaf playing a bar in Cambridge called the Highlands… and actually taking a dump on the dressing room floor? Easily one of my favorite tracks on this album. I myself have been watching Paul MacLeod play live for as long as Aaron has and I have actually watched Paul do his take on the track Mode D’Auto. Wee ooo wee ooo, Ooh wee ooh. Wee ooh wee, Ooh wee wee ooh.

    That about says it all. Great review man..

    Like

    • My humble thanks! I actually thought, as I posted it, that I maybe hadn’t done enough for it, you know? Like maybe I should have listened to it five more times and searched for more superlatives… but I try to hold true to my gut and there we go. 🙂 Holy crap, he charted all of that too? That’s a great skill, wonderful to know. That Meatloaf story is hilarious – I did not know that. Oh man. Thanks again!

      Like

  2. This review was forwarded by Uncle Meat to Paul and a couple of the guys in Quiverleg!

    Like

  3. Well .. to be accurate .. one of them. I only have Tyler on my facebook list. However that does bring to mind that I never mentioned the other players on this great record, and every one of them I highly respect as incredible musicians. First off the guitarist on this record, Cory Barnes, not only played guitar on this record but produced the album as well. Drummer Gord Stevenson and bassist Mark McIntyre are one of the greatest rhythm sections not only in Southern Ontario but in the world. I will try and see if i can get the review forwarded to them as well. Considering this album is well over twenty years old, I find it special that it is still being enjoyed today and I hope this continues.

    Like

  4. Andreas Hemming

    I googled Quiverleg for some reason (yes… I remember: trying to jog my memory about another band that sounded similar) and ended up here. Quiverleg – saw them in 1994 or 1995 in Waterloo in Phil’s Grandsons… definitely a freaky ride. Now I’m going to have to dig through my old CDs…

    Like

    • Welcome, Andreas Hemming, and thanks for stopping by! You were fortunate, indeed, to see this act in a live setting. I hope you find the CD. I thought it was fantastic!

      Like

      • Andreas Hemming

        Found it and sunk into a deep pit of nostalgia! The 1990s were marked by a whole lot of great Canadian music. I also found what I was looking for: Glueleg!

        Like

        • Indeed, the 90s were a great time for music in this country! I’d wager better than now, but that’s just my bias for the period I was listening more closely coming through.

          Glueleg! Man, I remember them. I had both their CDs, back in the day. Saw them live at a 3-day festival out near Peterborough called Edenfest back in… oh jeez, ’96… I remember my buddy Brian being particularly excited that they were playing. They were early in the lists of bands and they rocked it. Am I properly recalling a trumpet in their mix?

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  5. Wow, thanks for the great review of that album. It was a true labour of love. It came out of the time when I was first dipping my toe into recording engineering. Tyler had been constructing that crazy project on Atari notator in an industrial space across from GCI in Cambridge. There was a guy who did hot safety’s next door and painted cars, he was faking an injury so he always had a neck brace on. We called him the neck man.
    In Cambridge Ontario in 1992 there wasn’t even a decent first run movie theatre. We were so incredibly bored. I think the wild imagination on that record was inspired by our collective desire for something, anything to be interesting.
    Captain Suxen, Impromptu Bug Tattoo, Good Good and Big Malnourished Dublin Momma were the very first tracks I ever recorded in a studio. At that time, a friend of mine named Steve Chatterton was supposed to play second guitar but he ended up deciding the project wasn’t something he felt like doing, so I was recruited after the first recording sessions.
    It took me easily 5 hours to figure out how to properly route the tracks to the two inch tape machine. Gord was ready to throw a drumstick at my head. The 4 song demo turned out ok though and it led to me working with the Groove Daddies and numerous other KW indie bands of the time.
    The rest of the album was engineered by me but completed with the selfless help of Rick Hutt, who used it as an opportunity to further mentor me with my engineering skills. Fraser Hill, Ricks production partner helped us out too and remixed “Good Good” I remember him pointing out that I’d printed the hi hat track too hot.
    Lots of other friends on that album. Jody Cram does the drum solo thing, he ended up playing in Marigold and Plasticine as well as Shanon Lyon Pop Explosion. Lives in Ireland now.
    Lot’s of crazy moments in the making of that record. We were all naive and idealistic. You only get to be that way for a little while. Glad I still know all of those guys, they still all play, and very well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow! Thanks for your reply, Cory! I love all of this. Thanks so much for all of this information! And holy crap, I’d forgotten about the Groove Daddies until you mentioned it here. I had their CD, bought when they payed at Conestoga College while I was a student there…

      I love the Quiverleg CD. Thanks so much for being a part of making it happen!

      Liked by 1 person

    • If there is any more insight into former Quiverleg band members. As in bands they have played in or are currently members of, I would be curious to add them to the list to look into and review. Maybe start with yourself Cory.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Love to see the comments from Mr. Barnes on this review. This album owns a chunk of my heart. I had known Paul MacLeod for years, but only really an acquaintance when i was invited out to a poker game at his place. Sometime during that poker game, Paul put on Lick my Tractor. Very early on Paul noted that I was singing along and his eyes lit up, and we subsequently went on a rant together during the next few hands about how amazing the album was. A moment I will definitely never forget that began an irreplaceable friendship. I miss that fucking guy so much.

        As for your question Boppins .. i am hoping Cory will elaborate. But on all of their behalf… Mark McIntyre (bass) Cory Barnes (guitar) Gord Stevenson (drums) and Tyler Shaw (vocals and crazy-brain)… are all phenomenal musicians. They are all great guys too. Check out the Hibakusha review LeBrain did for some more insight since Cory, Mark and Gord are the musicians backing Paul MacLeod on the epic HIbakusha album.

        If you are reading this Cory … maybe I will see you on Sunday at the Paul MacLeod benefit show. Which is this Sunday.. September 25 at the Starlight Club in Waterloo. Two shows. The 2:00 pm show is sold out, but i believe there are tickets still on sale for the 7:00 pm show. Some big surprises in store from what I hear, Some I know of and cant say .. and some are still unknown to me. All proceeds go to charity.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi guys, I’m glad this interests you because it was such a fun project.
    Gord, Mark and Paul have more to report on than me when it comes to playing with other people. I did do some, but mostly worked as an engineer/ co producer with other people.
    Mark played with the widest variety of all of us; Mark is quite an accomplished upright bass player and thus did lots of jazz sessions etc. Some of the notables that he has been involved with include Kyprios, Remy Shand, and the one I think you guys should check out, Ariana Gilles. I mixed her album “Forget Me Not”. Mark played Tuba on that one. I did some mixes on her follow up to that called “Freedom” and Mark played bass on some of those cuts.
    Gord and I used to have a band that was kind of a punk/funk thing like the Chilli Peppers when I first got out of high school called the Grope Toads. When our bass player, Kevin Hall, left to pursue a career as a bio physicist (no lie) we recruited Mark to take his place. Our singer Joe Tohill decided to pack it in not long after that, and that’s when Paul joined in and everything changed; no more pseudo funk.
    We’ve all participated in a lot of projects, but between Quiverleg and Hibakusha you have the stuff that we’re most defined by.
    I’ve done work for acts so varied it’s insane: Pat Travers, LMFAO, Jason Mraz, Marc Jordan, Amy Sky, Olivia Newton John, Honeymoon Suite and on it goes.
    That’s all my professional life though, Quiverleg, Hibakusha, Paul Macleod, Danny Michel, Groove Daddies, Shannon Lyon Pop Explosion, Gwen Swick, Ariana Gilles, Cheryl Lescom, Mia Sheard, are projects I was involved with that I remember resonating with.
    There are many more, but as for a real musical identity, Quiverleg and Hibakusha are me at my least professional and thus most interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

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