Category Archives: posts by aaron

a-ha: All The Everything Pt.11

a-ha – Hunting High And Low (LP)

This one’s a total nostalgia blast for me. I got it on cassette (from Columbia House) when I was a kid and held onto it for years. Over the years, I lost that cassette, never had the CD, or the LP… until recently, I found the LP and brought it home.

For being a debut album, this Norwegian band’s work is wonderful. There were five (5!) singles from it: of course, you all know the huge hit Take On Me (and it’s fantastic video)… and then there’s Breakfast Club dancer Love Is Reason… the big synth popper The Sun Always Shines On T.V… the club-thumper Train Of Thought… and sweet ballad Hunting High And Low. All of them worthy singles. The album was nominated for a Grammy (the first Norwegian band to achieve a nomination). Hell, even the cover photo was nominated for a Grammy.

And hey Geoff, it’s even on the 1001 list!

Yup, this thing was huge in 1985.

The other tracks here are just as exciting, with Depeche Mode-ish Blue Sky… slinky mid-tempo Living A Boy’s Adventure Tale… gentle pure 80s ballad And You Tell Me… the 80s dance track that uses all the keyboard effect in I Dream Myself Alive… and, finally, the mid-tempo love tune Here I Stand And Face The Rain… They’re all equally excellent. Honestly, this was such a throwback for me, I hadn’t heard it in years, but I still knew every song and every twist and turn… heck, I still knew a lot of the lyrics (crazy!). Talk about blowing the dust off my memory of a tape I played endlessly as a kid…

In Sum:

Hunting High And Low has that pure 80s sound, but of the pile of shite that went down back then, this one is among those that actually still sound frickin’ great. This album is a Hit for two reasons: 1) for nostalgia’s sake, just like when I re-heard Tears For Fears’ amazing Songs From The Big Chair a while back – I was transported pleasingly to my childhood boombox in my room… and 2) for still being a mid-80s blast of synth-pop full album excellence that stands up remarkably well all these years later.

NB1: The album was remastered and re-released as a Deluxe 2CD, 37-track edition in 2010, with a whole wealth of remixes, demo and extended versions, and it all looks delicious. I’ve never seen on in the wild, but if I did, I’d surely be tempted if it was a good price.

NB2: There also looks to be a 4CD / 1DVD 30th anniversary set with a whole pile of even more extra tracks and videos and what have you. It’s about $70 though, and I’m not sure I am THAT much of a fan haha.

PS: Here’s a neat bit of trivia for you: A-HA singer “Morten Harket holds the European record for the longest note held in a Top 40 pop song. During the song “Summer Moved On” Harket sustains a chest voice note for 20.2 seconds (8 measures). [Wiki]

Series Stats:

12 posts
44 albums

36 hit
8 quit

38 CD
5 LP
8 CS
2 DVD

First Sunrise Purchase

As I noted recently, a Sunrise Records opened up in the carcass of our old shite little HMV. I went through it to check it out and, ultimately, didn’t buy anything that day.

Well, I had occasion yesterday afternoon to be out for a walk (gotta keep this fighting trim, don’tcha know) and happened past our shite little mall. Why not, I thought, as I wandered into Sunrise to see if round 2 would yield differences from my first visit, as the store gets its feet under it.

They definitely had more LPs than last time, and the rest seemed about the same. They STILL didn’t have any copies of the new Kendrick Lamar album (DAMN.), and that is just DAMN. silly. It’s one of the biggest albums right now, they’re fools for not having mutliple copies. Ah well.

On my first foray to this shoppe, I’d asked about the new Solstafir album, Berdreyminn, which I would have bought on the spot. Not only did they not have it, they didn’t even have a place marker for the band in the racks. A staffer looked it up, said they could get it, but it’d be an order. I left that idea there, as I can order from Amazon myself (and probably cheaper, I thought).

On this trip yesterday, not only did they have a place marker for Solstafir in the racks, but they had the new album on CD AND the boxed set deluxe edition. Of course, this is all because I asked them about it and definitely not because it was always gonna come in and it just wasn’t there yet on my first attempt, nope. It was all me. Anyway, there it was. And boom, I bought the deluxe on the spot. I paid $24.99 CAD. Today on Discogs they start at $26.40, so that’s ballpark, but on our Cdn Amazon today they’re $32.30 which is noticeably higher. Secondary sellers have them starting (new) at $21.18 plus $3.49 shipping (total $24.67), so it’s all in a range right now but I’m happy with what I paid as this copy was right there in my hand, no waiting for it to come to my house!

I haven’t even played it uninterrupted all the way through yet, (and now it’ll probably have to wait ten years for me to get to “S” in my All The Everything Series before I review it) but I can confirm that it sounds frickin’ great. If you like their sound, this one will please you for sure.

And the deluxe box was really nice, just like the last one for Ótta. This one comes with three bonus tracks on the CD, an extended 24-page booklet, a pin, and a patch. But probably my favourite addition to the box was a set of ear plugs with their own little storage pouch. That’s a thoughtful touch, I think, in case you ever go to see the band live you’ll be all set to protect your ears!

It’s limited to 10,000 worldwide, where the Ótta deluxe box was 4000 copies worldwide (did you get yours?), so make sure you get your copy quickly!

Sweet score. I’m totally happy.

10,000 Maniacs: All The Everything Pt.1.1

First up: Happy Father’s Day to all you Dads out there. You rock.

Back when I did the three 10,000 Maniacs albums I have here for this All The Everything series, I actually voted Miss on all three. That seems harsh, eh? I mean, they’re good albums. But two are on cassette, which isn’t my primary playback source, and the one CD is just one I couldn’t see myself going back to to play again very often. I said then that I’d be happier with a Hits set of the band and, as I was going to Taranna, I’d keep my eyes peeled.

Well, guess what… I found it (thanks, Sonic Boom!). It’s a 2CD set called Campfire Songs: The Popular, Obscure & Unknown Recordings Of 10,000 Maniacs. Covering tracks from the five years between 1988-1993 (the Natalie Merchant Era), this set really shows how good and prolific this group was during that time. CD1 is the hits. CD is the extra stuff: b-sides, covers, demos, etc.

Delicious. Let’s see what’s here! I’m going to listen to each disc and make comments…

CD1

Planned Obsolescence / My Mother The War / Tension / Scorpio Rising / Like The Weather / Don’t Talk / What’s The Matter Here? / Hey Jack Kerouac / Verdi Cries / Trouble Me / Poison In The Well / You Happy Puppet / Eat For Two / Stockton Gala Days / Candy Everybody Wants / These Are Days / Because Of The Night*

* MTV Unplugged (originally written by Bruce Springsteen, Patti Smith)

In Sum: Well, this CD1 was exactly what I was after. I was gonna go through track by track, but you know what? All the songs you know are here, plus a few you maybe don’t know but are still damn happy you’ve heard them. Kudos to whomever put this disc together. It’s stellar from top to bottom. Also, I usually rant about inclusion of live tracks on Hits discs, but in this case I’ll let it pass as it’s a great version and not a song of theirs.

But CD2 is where things really get interesting. I mean, as if it’s not enough that somany great songs are up there on CD1, but now we get a lot of stuff I would never have otherwise heard…

CD2

Poppy Selling Man has a skittery beat and a Casio keyboard quality to it, Leonard Cohen would love it. Fascinatingly, I know she’s singing in English, but somehow it sounds like German in enough spots to make me sharpen my ears. Neat.

Can’t Ignore The Train (demo version) is a sweet pop song with jangly guitar and that beat that Molly Ringwald could dance to in Breakfast Club. I’m sure deep fans would know the differences between this demo and the one that ended up on Wishing Chair.

Up next it’s Cat Stevens’ Peace Train, appears here, which I think is fair and balanced. As you may recall, it was removed from In My Tribe because “comments made by Stevens (by then a Muslim convert and known as Yusuf Islam) that were perceived to be supportive of the fatwa on Salman Rushdie. The song remains on vinyl copies and CDs released outside the United States.” It’s actually a well-written song with that sway done so well by the Maniacs.

Wildwood Flower switches us to a barnyard hoedown, written as it was by the Carter Family’s A.P. Carter. Yee-haw! Haha this was fun. Good on them for jamming this one out. I told my lovely wife this one was on here and she said “oh, I love that song!” So there you go.

I was thrilled to see Hello In There included. I do love me some John Prine, and their version of this heartwrenching song is quite excellent, though a bit disorienting… Prine’s original is a gorgeous, picked acoustic version, while the Maniacs turn it into a bit of a pop song which still works… but being so used to the original, it threw me a wee bit.

To Sir, With Love is a live outtake from MTV’s Rock n’ Roll Inaugural Ball, as well as the Few and Far Between EP. It features Micheal Stipe on vocals and they do a credible run-through of this film tune. Actually, those voices work well together, as they’ve proven at other times. You knew this already. Onward.

I had to read the credits to know that Everyday Is Like Sunday is a Morrissey song, but now that I know that, I totally hear it. I was just saying elsewhere about how I just can’t ever get to caring about Morrissey at all, but power to those who do. So… this is a good version? I guess? I’m not about to be hearing the original to compare, so I’ll say it’s fine.

Next up is Jackson Browne’s These Days, which is beautiful and awesome. This band was built to cover this song.

We already own a copy of their cover of Tom Waits’ I Hope That I Don’t Fall in Love With You, on the Step Right UP: The Songs Of Tom Waits tribute disc. They do a great job.

We’re not done with the covers here, ‘cos next it’s David Bowie’s Starman. I wouldn’t have been able to imagine it, but the Maniacs handle the reggae beat well too! Yes, you read that correctly, they turned it into a light reggae tune. Which isn’t a total stretch, but interesting nonetheless!

Let The Mystery Be is an Iris Dement tune, and comes from the MTV Unplugged and features David Byrne. This track was not on the CD, but it was on the laserdisc and VHS releases. It’s actually quite brilliant, both the song and the execution here. Shoulda been on the CD!

Then we end off with three demos from Our Time In Eden: Noah’s Dove (demo), Circle Dream (alternate lyrics demo), and Eden (alternate lyrics demo) are all lovely versions of the final album tracks.

In Sum:

Holy shit, CD2 is really fantastic! I mean, you buy this set for CD1, to get the hits, but then you hear CD2 with all of its treasures… mind-blowing, really. Incredible.

Whole Set In Sum:

A definite Hit in the Hit It Or Quit It Series. If you want 10,000 Maniacs, this set will keep you happy for a good long while. It’s put together with thought and care, and the work here speaks for itself. Gorgeous.

 

NB: As Wiki pointed out, “In spite of what might be expected from the album’s title, the collection does not include “A Campfire Song” from In My Tribe.” Missed opportunity there!

 

Series Stats:

11 posts
43 albums

35 hit
8 quit

38 CD
4 LP
8 CS
2 DVD

R.I.P. Anita Pallenberg

Anita Pallenberg has died, aged 75, on June 13 after a long illness (cause of death has not, thus far, been given).

Keith Richards said “A most remarkable woman. Always in my heart,” in response to the news.

After leaving Brian Jones for Richards, the couple were together 1967-1980, having three children together: Marlon, Angela, and Tara (who died of pneumonia at 10 weeks). Both Richards and Pallenberg struggled with heroin addiction in the 70s, nearly going to jail in Toronto.

She had quite a life as a model, actress, designer, and artist. Check her out here.

She is survived by Marlon, Angela, and five grandchildren (Ella, Orson, Ida, Ava, and Otto).

RIP, Anita.

AC/DC: All The Everything Pt.10

Go get a coffee and something tasty to munch on. This one’s a big one (that’s what she said)! Seriously, you may have to read this in chunks, over the course of the coming week…

***

My last All The Everything post was waaaay back on May 24. That’s 19 days ago! Sure, I’ve been putting up posts here and there, like my awesome experience with Manipulant (thanks again!), and Mike’s #0word challenge, among others, in the interim. You’ve been here, reading, so you know already. And thanks for that!

But I’ve also been sick with this cold that’s been going around. I’m into week two now, and showing no signs of abating. Alas, this means I haven’t always felt like listening to music. But I’ve soldiered on, because the KMA always brings you the truth from the front lines.

This next band has required a heap of listening, over the past couple of weeks. It’s been fucking glorious…

AC/DC: A LOVE LETTER

Ultimately, this was an easy post to put together (though it’s taken ages, in bits and pieces). I mean, it’s fucking AC/DC! Just go with the primal, lizard brain response that that name evokes for you, and you’re there!

Over the years, I have already written up most of what I own, so I’ve provided handy links to those reviews. I’m not gonna change a damn thing about them. I hope you’ll take a moment to read back on the records that interest you.

I also had a blast going back through all my old reviews because it’s brilliant how many of these CDs have been gifted to me by Brother HMO (*), and by Brother Lebrain(^)! COMMUNITY! Thanks so much, you guys, you’ve really built up my collection!

There are a couple albums that I hadn’t yet covered in these pages, so I’ll get to them too (below). Already-posted reviews are in blue (with links). New writing for this post are marked in red, with accompanying review! I’ve placed it all in chronological order of the discography, because the KMA loves you.

Oh, and spoiler alert: These are all Hits, in the Hit It Or Quit It portion. I put this off the top so I don’t have to write it every damn record. I’m keeping them all. Of course.

ARE YOU READY? Damn right you are. Let’s get it.

***

1976 – High Voltage (cd*)

1976 – Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap (cd, lpx2)

1977 – Let There Be Rock (cd*)

1978 – If You Want Blood You’ve Got It (cd*)

1979 – Highway To Hell (cd*)

1980 – Back In Black (cd) and here too

1981 – For Those About To Rock We Salute You (cd*) and here too

1985 – Fly On The Wall (cs)

Maybe it’s just my cassette copy, or did this record have some sound issues? It’s not a worry, there’s something charming about hearing it rough and a wee bit sketchy like this, as though it were some sort of bootleg or something.

Side A kicks off with Fly On The Wall, pure AC/DC mission control, rev and go, baby! Shake Your Foundations brings the blues rock straight to your brain and it’s beautiful. First Blood has another one of those idelible AC/DC riffs that is so quintessentially them, you can’t help but be lifted. Danger is one of those slow, slinky swanky swaggering tracks they do so well. Oh man. Yes! Sink The Pink is one I knew already, great build, great pay off. Classic!

Side B starts with Playing With Girls rocks a great long intro, straight up barroom blues fightin’ music! That guitar bit in the chorus kinda reminds of G’n’R… Stand Up brings the ZZ blues to AC/DC land and it’s awesome. Great track for punching the sky with your fist! Hell Or High Water has the vocals buried way in the back (moreso than some others here), but that’s cool. Just another instrument in the melee. The tracks another template AC/DC rocker and I dig it… Back In Business is more ZZ blues, and I love it. Maybe one of my favourite tracks on this record! This is not a deep cut, but it’s buried like it is. Weird. And finally, Send For The Man takes out on a blissful rockin’ riff and oh man.

In Sum: Freaking great, this album’s a goddamn barroom brawl. I want a CD copy to replace this cassette I have here.

1986 – Who Made Who (cd)

This was a soundtrack for Stephen King’s Maximum Overdrive. Cool. New track (at the time) Who Made Who starts us off with that (now) iconic riff and away we go! I love it when the bass keeps dropping. Visceral. You Shook Me All Night Long is one we all know well, and it’s still hotness. D.T. is another new track, an instrumental. Cool to hear them go for something without vocals – and of course it’s strong blues rock. My ear kept waiting for Brian Johnson to start screeching at any moment… There’s a neat little, quieter, throbbing outro too.  Sink The Pink is from Fly On The Wall, while Ride On is the only Bon Scott track here, a slow blues pulsing masterpiece from (the excellent) Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap album.

Hells Bells, of course, is from Back In Black, and it’s killer. Shake Your Foundations is also from Fly On The Wall. Chase The Ace is another new instrumental, and it’s another full-on AC/DC rocker. Hells yes! For Those About To Rock (We Salute You) is the titular track from that album, of course, and it’s friggin’ glory.

In Sum: A semi-weird little compilation of new stuff, old stuff, and one track from the even older stuff. I haven’t seen Maximum Overdrive in years, but I assume this collection of songs fits the show and that’s why they’re here. Rawk!

1990 – The Razor’s Edge (cd*)

1992 – AC/DC Live (2cd)

I owned this 2CD set ages ago, but I don’t know what happened to that copy. It’s possible I sold it off, but that would have been silly of me. Anyway, I looked to replace it and only ever saw the 1CD edition. This 2CD copy  I have now came to me at work before I even started working there, and of course it followed me home.

I have a soft spot for this album, as it covers so many of the songs we all know and love. More than that, it fucking rocks. What a great live sound! Recorded at Glasgow, Edmonton, Birmingham, Donington and Moscow shows on the Razor’s Edge tour, this master blaster has a companion DVD, Live At Donington (see below DVD section). Some overdubs were done afterwards, but who cares? Check this out:

CD1: Thunderstruck / Shoot To Thrill / Back In Black / Sin City / Who Made Who / Heatseeker / Fire Your Guns / Jailbreak / The Jack / The Razor’s Edge / Dirty Deeds Done Cheap / Moneytalks

CD2:  Hells Bells /  Are You Ready / That’s The Way I Wanna Rock ’n’ Roll / High Voltage / You Shook Me All Night Long / Whole Lotta Rosie / Let There Be Rock / Bonny / Highway To Hell / T.N.T. / For Those About To Rock (We Salute You)

In Sum: I mean, holy shit. At this point, it’s like they’re showing off. WOOOOO!!!

1995 – Ballbreaker (cd)

Learned that this album saw the return of Phil Rudd (to Chris Slade’s chagrin), and it’s the only full album album (to date) recorded with Rick Rubin. He had previously worked on Big Gun, from the Last Action Hero soundtrack. Well then! Hard As A Rock is the single, and it’s pure AC/DC beauty. All the elements are here, and I always thought that noodly guitar riff line could’ve been done on bagpipes. They’re no strangers to those, right? Right! Cover You In Oil, the album’s third single, is a fun jaunty blues rocker at mid-pace. The Furor keeps that pace alive and is a decent track with some cool chord changes. Actually it represents a bit of a change in their sound (though not completely), and I dig it!

Boogie Man is pure blues growler, so much fun. Honey Roll is playful and built on another of those damn fine AC/DC riffs. Burnin’ Alive builds into another slinky rocker, hot damn they’re owning it again, with this record. Hail Caesar was the second single, and I swear it’s another killer. How do these guys do this? Cool. Love Bomb brings the stomp and is another one you could swear you’d heard before from these guys, but you haven’t! Magic! Caught With Your Pants Down has this great stop/start thing in the intro, then builds into this freakin’ fantastic guitar-run riff that chugs along, absolutely smokin’. Seriously, this is one of the best tracks on the record. How the hell was it not a single?!?! Whiskey On The Rocks teases a bunch of cool ideas before settling into a satisfying slow thumper that totally gets the job done. And finally, the title track, Ball Breaker takes out on another huge rocker that would absolutely own live.

In Sum: I’m no expert, but after all those years passed these guys hadn’t lost a step. This was a great record. Huge in sound, primal in execution. Turn it the hell up!!!

2000 – Stiff Upper Lip (cd^)

2008 – Black Ice (cd)

2012 – Live At River Plate (2cd^)

2014 – Rock Or Bust

* awesome gift from HMO Scott!
^ awesome gift from Mike Lebrain!

***

Also, DVD!

Live At Donington

Recorded live at Castle Donington 1991-08-17, this is the companion DVD to the AC/DC Live set (see above review), as I mentioned earlier. Huge crowd, huge energy, steallar performances… a band at the top of their game. Truly a pleasure to watch! It felt like I was there!

This disc has a different track list than my 2CD set:

Thunderstruck / Shoot To Thrill / Back In Black / Hell Ain’t A Bad Place To Be / Heatseeker / Fire Your Guns / Jailbreak / The Jack / Dirt Deeds Done Dirt Cheap / Moneytalks / Hells Bells / High Voltage / Whole Lotta Rosie / You Shook Me All Night Long / T.N.T. / Let There Be Rock / Highway To Hell / For Those About To Rock (We Salute You)

I had a quick look online, and the 1CD version of the CD is even different from this DVD setlist. Good luck keeping it all straight!

Still, this DVD has a helluva setlist, even if a ton of songs got left off from the 2CD set. The DVD also has lots of sound options, a new transfer, video band member selections for some songs, commentary from Angus and Malcolm, and a discography.

In Sum:

Fine evening viewing for the whole family!

Stiff Upper Lip (dvd)

***

The Ones I Still Need:

I still need a few more main ones on CD (shown above)…

1978 – Powerage
1983 – Flick Of The Switch
1984 – ’74 Jailbreak EP
1985 – Fly On The Wall (replace cs with cd)
1988 – Blow Up Your Video
2014 – Rock Or Bust

And then of course, still to get, there are the boxed sets, like Backtracks and Bonfire… and more DVDs… and so many singles… and so many books about them…

Still, I think have a pretty good start to the collection here, eh? Yessir!

***

A LOVE LETTER TO AC/DC – IN SUM:

First off, thanks so much to all of you, Dear KMA Readers, for reading any or all of this. It’s a lot, I know. It’s why it took me so long to get this posted, though, as there was just so much to get through, and I insist on listening back to everything I have here even if I’ve already reviewed it before. That’s the level of my commitment to this project – I will hear every record in the house, either for the first time or the millionth!

As for AC/DC… Fuckin’ A. Man, this is a band we all love, and for damn good reasons. This immersion into their work, for the past couple of weeks, has been so much fun. Right on. LET’S GO!

 

Series Stats:

10 posts
42 albums

34 hit
8 quit

36 CD
4 LP
8 CS
2 DVD

Re-Review: Slayer – Reign In Blood #0wordchallenge

I hereby accept Mike‘s #0wordchallenge.

George

I’ve known my lovely wife for what seems like forever (37 of our 43 years). Together 19 years, married 14… she’s put up with a lot from me, by now! I always joke it’s Stockholm Syndrome, at this point…

Most of what she endures is my rattling on about this band or that, this version of a song versus another, or where I was when I first heard something. Mostly, she listens in good humour, but when her eyes start to glass over, I know I’m maybe offering too many minute details… Oh, and she absolutely, categorically and completely refuses to play name that tune with me.

During our road trip to African Lion Safari and the butterfly conservatory last weekend, we had lots of time in the car. We discussed many things and a good time was had. Our daughter got to hear both her favourite Jake Bugg albums, and our son discovered that he really likes Crowded House. Right on.

Somehow, the Beatles came up in the course of our rambling, far-flung conversation. Probably because I’ve been seeing Sgt. Pepper reviews and Beatles talk in the blogs. It’s fairly well-known by now that I’m not the world’s biggest Beatles fan. I grew up on them, and burned out on them at a fairly young age. While I respect them and appreciate some (not all) of what they did, I don’t get all twitterpated about them being the world’s best whatever.

My lovely wife braced herself for my usual rant about them, but I wasn’t in the mood for that and, in fact, even mentioned a few of their songs that I like. As I listed a few off, she stopped me and said, “you know, we talk about the Beatles now and again, and whenever you mention songs that you like, they add up and I realize: you don’t like the Beatles, you like George Harrison!” It was true. I hadn’t even realized, but every song I was listing off was written by George.

Fair enough. And thanks to my lovely wife for this brilliant insight…

Hello There, Sunrise

Ages ago, we had a Music World in our shite little mall. They closed and I panicked. Then HMV took over and I felt better. As you all know, HMV closed out, and I panicked. But then Sunrise Records took over some of HMV’s spots and, when I found out we were getting one, I felt better. Apparently, these comings and goings are a bit of a rollercoaster for me. In my defense, if we didn’t have a corporate store like this, we’d be stuck with Wal-Mart and that one used shoppe downtown that, well, anyway.

Yesterday I spent about twenty minutes perusing our new Sunrise records. Apparently the shoppe’s already been open for about a week, but I just haven’t had time to get there before this. I wanted to see what was up.

It’s music store ver.3 in my town!

Some First Impressions:

– it really hasn’t changed all that much in appearance (yet, they may change more with time). Pretty sure they just re-used all the old HMV CD bins and everything.

– both staff members I saw working were from the old HMV, so at least a couple of the HMV staffers applied and got the new (old) job with Sunrise.

– I was approached by one staffer to see if I needed help, and I did – I’d looked and did not see the new Solstafir set. I’d have bought it if they had it. Not only had she never heard of them, they didn’t have a section for them in the shelves, and the deluxe wasn’t on their tiny end cap of boxed sets either. It didn’t seem likely they would be getting it either, so I guess it’s the Amazons for me, on that one.

– there are WAY more CDs than HMV ever had. This is awesome. The entire row that used to be DVD and Blu-ray in the HMV are now all CDs as well. This makes me incredibly happy. They do still have movies, at the back of the store, but music is clearly the focal point. Yay!

– CD prices seemed to be OK, maybe a wee bit higher (by $1-$2) than HMV would have done, but I’ve no way of proving that.

– they had a $5.99 CD wall, but it was all those ICON hits set CDs. Meh. Will see if they change things up, but if not I’ll miss HMV’s 2-for-$10 and 2-for-$20 sales racks.

– the LP section is much expanded, and moved front and center by the entrance, so the hipsters can’t miss it. I found most priced too high (like all places), but it’s nice to see them offering the hipsters of my town a new copy of OK Computer for $45.99 (it can be had for $30 online, shipping included). Some of the vinyls were better-priced, around $20-25, but I’d need more time to really dig.

– Punk and metal, in both CD and LP sections, are mixed into one category. Which means it’s possible that Gojira and Green Day might sit side by side in the bin. That’s OK, I guess, but a bit weird.

– There was no Guided By Voices section. While I am not surprised, this is still an oversiiiiight.

– Just testing things out, I looked for myself, then asked and… it turns out they did not have the new Kendrick Lamar album, called DAMN. (on CD or LP). This is quite weird, as it’s a huge record right now. The staffer said they may get it in soon, as their stock is still coming. They’d better!

– I found the 16’ of shelving for board games, and the entire wall of t-shirts (not to mention the other section full of crap tchotchkes, just like HMV had), to be a bit much, but after texting this to James he said (and he’s right) that no store can make it on music alone, anymore. Still, are board games that popular? Is this the new thing that hipsters will want so they can leave our LPs the hell alone? Do we need that many Ramones t-shirts? Hm. Maybe on that last point, we do…

– I didn’t see video games, but I wasn’t looking for them as I don’t play them. I assume they were at the back of the store, with the movies. Not a huge footprint for them, anyway.

In Sum:

It’s nice to have another record shoppe in town. Panic averted! I didn’t buy anything today, but I’m sure I will at some point. With only 20 minutes in the shoppe, I don’t feel I really had time to get to know it, but my first impressions are, by my gut feel, that it’s gonna do alright. I’m super-thrilled with how many more CDs they offer over the (in comparison) pathetic wee patch that HMV offered. Yes indeed, that’s great.

Alright Sunrise, time to make a go of it. Drop your LP prices and increase your sales, and you’ll have reason to stay!

KMA Search Terms

A long while back Mike, among others, started featuring funny search terms that led people to his site. I was wondering about the KMA’s input, so while I was jamming some tunes recently, I dug around in the site info for the KMA, for all of 2017 thus far.

Honestly, we don’t get that many funny or weird searches. Nothing too sexual or crazy, though I did find a few that are interesting:

 

 

burm me alive wordpress

“burm?” I don’t know what that means. Burn me alive? Haha no thank you!

akai dialer silip

Gesundheit.

kalyln pear no go haste.com mp3

I see James’ last name (misspelled), but what that has to do with pears or ‘no go haste’ I have no idea.

he make accidental physical contact

I assume this resulted after my old post about accidentally ( I swear!) bodychecking Moe Berg and Liona Boyd (on seperate occasions, mind you). But that’s a random thing to be searching (who elese has bodychecked Ms. Boyd?). However they ended up on this site, I am sorry to whomever had to Google this in their life.

“jon spencer” “masturbation”

Um, moving on…

“it suits the movie”

Does it? Does it really? And how did this lead you to our music blog?

saxytime tables name s

I may not know everything, but I know for sure that the times tables are saxy. Or maybe they meant saxytimes on tables?

bedlam, early 1990s rock band from nashville, released on mca records, fronted by jay joyce

I didn’t believe we’d ever covered a band called Bedlam or a person named Jay Joyce, but I was wrong. During the Film Soundtrack Festival of November 2016, I covered the Reservoir Dogs OMPS, and these both get mentioned in a footnote. I’d plain forgotten.

slaeyn sex

Um… Slayer sex? Is that what you were going for? Because nothing says sexy ties like South Of Heaven, if you know what I mean…

sexy fb album title

I did do a post about sexy album titles (I think?), but I have no idea what Facebook has to do with it. I don’t have a Facebook and I never will.

is natalie merchant with 10,000 at city winery on 5/25

I don’t know. Was she?

*

Well, there’s a few odd little searches that (apparently) led folks to our site. Nothing rude or sexual or genuinely crazy like those other guys sometimes get. Still, we thank the folks who wound up on our site for visiting us, even if it was inadvertent. And we hope they found what they were looking for, eventually.

RIP Freddy Pompeii

Whenever I’m in Taranna, I always grab a copy of Now and Exclaim! for my lovely wife. She likes to read about what’s going on/coming up in the city.

I was flipping through the copy of Now I’d picked up for her on our trip last weekend, and I learned that Freddy Pompeii of the Viletones had died on May 13, at the age of 70, of lung cancer.

RIP, Freddy.

There’s an excellent article/tribute right here and you should read it.

Manipulant – Eclectro: Review And Interview

Since starting this blog over ten years ago (oh god we’re old), we’ve always said that if anyone has their own music they want heard to please send it to us and we’ll gladly review it. Over these years, a few people have indeed taken us up on our offer. We love when this happens!

Manipulant found the KMA through Stoneygate, and wondered if I’d like to hear his new record. Of course I would! He also graciously agreed to answer a few of my questions, interview-style, which was very brave as I’m not the world’s best interviewer. Anyway.

This post will be made up of three parts: I: my review, II: an interview with Manipulant, and III: Manipulant’s EPK info and site links.

Disclaimer: This sort of music is not my usual wheelhouse, so listening here takes this old dog outside my already fairly broad comfort zone and that’s fantastic. Challenge me! Others, more knowledgeable than me, would write more eloquent things about this than I can. I’m just going to go from my gut and give impressions of what I hear.

 

PART I: AARON’S REVIEW

 

Run (f. Stoneygate) is such a restless track, with a cool 60s spy music feel but then this atmospheric, electronic stuff going on in the background, and with those occasional drum crashes too. Stoneygate’s vocals soar throughout, a perfect fit to this fascinating track. I loved it. Methodical thumps like Nine Inch Nails met Pet Shop Boys in the club, while the vocals come from the side, almost an afterthought, an echo as addition to the music, not overbearing at all.

Dr. Terenzi, I Need Your Expertise (f. Fiorella Terenzi) is a wee bit menacing, with distorted music and occasional vocals over a buzzsaw sound. We’ve entered the land of disorientation, a perfect soundtrack to that dream you can’t quite remember in the morning, though the edges of it nag at you all day. Marshmallow Fabrik’s bass throb with skittering overtop is utterly hypnotizing, perfect for the next club mix.

Faulty Tap is a brief half-minute intermission, some miltary-style drumming with almost a dripping sound added in, but we quickly move into jusq’à la mort nous sépare* (The Organist), which lifts us back up with that same skittering beat and some lovely organ notes held and soul-reviving. There’s real beauty here, even though he says, at one point, “I’m worried, I have a bad feeling about this” and other things besides in echoing vocals to offset it all.   [* translates roughly as ‘until death separates us’ or until death us do part.]

Requiem for 11th Earl Of Sandwich is another brief intermission, only a minute long, with a repeated musical line. Add in clicks and thumps and the atmosphere is definitely a wee bit creepy. But it’s a segue into N/A/B/C/F, an instrumental which brings synths and piano to the fore in one of my favourite tracks on the record. It’s almost as though it’s set to a ticking watch, and while one restlessly hammers out notes, the other holds long and sweet. When the piano goes solo, I’m held completely. This one has lift and hope. Beauty.

And finally, Doctor Terenzi Meets 808 (f. Fiorella Terenzi) brings back the atmosphere and throbbing bottom end, as well as the buzzing sounds and the play with volume up and down to match the beats. “… you are listening to real sounds, scientific sound space…” seems apt to me! He’s calling for Dr. Terenzi, he needs her expertise, but this track has been compiled by an expert already! When the track (and thus, the album) stops abruptly, your ear wants more, so much more.

In Sum:

I said in my disclaimer off the top that this is not my usual type of music. However, I know brilliance when I hear it, and the dark corners and hypnotic lulling of this effort are perfectly done. There’s an energy throughout, a real, thoughtful control, and fearless execution at every turn. Despite things being bleak sometimes, there’s hope, and in this way it is perfect for our times. A truly impressive, packed 27 minutes of music, and an album to which I will return because it will reveal more and more with each subsequent listen.

I thoroughly enjoyed Eclectro. Thank you so much, Manipulant, for this opportunity to hear your work!

 

PART II: THE INTERVIEW

 

[NB: For this reading, Manipulant is “M” and Aaron is “A.”]

A: You found this site through (the awesome) Stoneygate. How did your collaboration with her on this record come about?

M: You are correct, Stoneygate is awesome.  She actually found me.  I had a song featured on Radiocoolio out of Toronto. They do a fantastic job of giving exposure to some really excellent artists.  Stoneygate heard me on the show and dropped me a message. I did a little stalking and found her stuff on the web and although our styles are completely different I felt her vocal would be a good fit on “Run”  I think it creates a nice contrast.

A: How did you reconcile the (rather bleak) social commentary lyrics with such fun musical work on Run?

M: I think Stoneygate described the music as menacing when she first heard it.  That really was what I was trying to accomplish with it.  Something dark and driving.  It needed to try to capture the mood I was seeing around me in the aftermath of the U.S. elections and some of the chaos that was happening elsewhere in the world.

A: Your EPK info indicates that Dr. Fiorella Terenzi is an Italian astrophysicist, which makes this a unique collaboration indeed. Tell us how you came to work with her?

M: Pure luck. I was familiar with her “Music From the Galaxies” album released on Island Records some years ago and a song I was working on reminded me of her Acoustic Astronomy recordings that came from her research.  Really fascinating stuff, look her up.  Anyway, I sent her a copy of what I was working on and she loved it. She asked if she could get involved with the project and I of course agreed immediately.  Now I’m the only person I know with an astrophysicist in their rolodex.

A: From this album I hear worry and fear about society at large, but also hope and beauty. Can you tell us a little bit about the album’s concept?

M: It all evolved from Run. It can be difficult to maintain a theme throughout an album but I had several bits of things I had been working on at different times that all seemed to fit together. I don’t typically delve into social issues in my songwriting but I guess at the time it was something I felt appropriate.

A: Are the interludes (Faulty Tap and Requiem For 11th Earl Of Sandwich) mere segues, or do their brief moments carry heavier burdens, telling stories and shifting moods in little time?

M: Ah, now we are getting deep.  Tap was an extension of the frustration of Run put into something as simple and maddening as a leaky faucet.  Earl is kind of a death a civility thing.  So yes, they do contribute to the feel of the album in the form of a brief moment.

A: I looked up the 11th Earl Of Sandwich, John Montagu. Can you explain why he was chosen to be titular to your track?

M: It wasn’t the man in particular, it was more of an example of civility.  It could be a bit of a reach but when I think of civility I imagine Nobility. I hope he doesn’t become angry with me.

A: What does N/A/B/C/F mean? It’s one of my favourite tracks on the record, so I’m curious.

M: N/A/B/C/F is Not All Birds Can Fly. Originally released on (Manipulant’s 2016′ album) Méthode de Narration. This version took a different approach with different instrumentation so I gave it a different name – sort of.

A: Your EPK mentions Kraftwerk as an inspiration in Marshmallow Fabrik. Who are a few of the other artists you admire as being able to drive you towards your own creations?

M: I feel like I should explain Fabrik first.  I think many of us carry on as if we are living in a marshmallow factory. Everything is in order and it’s all fluffy and delicious. We don’t focus on things outside of our own space. We continue on with blinders as long as our personal factories keep producing things that make us happy.

Kraftwerk are a big influence for anyone that ever touched a $25 Casio.  Until Fabrik I never really noticed a defined influence on my work but it has always been there. New Order, the Fall, Legendary Pink Dots, Tom Waits, many others.

A: I read that this is your second record, 2016’s Méthode de Narration being your first. Not having heard Méthode myself, can you describe for us how Eclectro works beside Méthode, in what ways they’re similar or different? Does this second effort continue the first, or move in its own direction?

M: MdN was more of a feeling out process. Like what can I do by myself with a keyboard. It actually had a good amount of guitars and live percussion but it was certainly a step in cutting the cord which I did completely with Eclectro.

As for the songs themselves, they are mostly just stories of things. No real depth or theme.

So it is less of a continuation and more of an evolution.

A: Who is The Organist? Another player, an alter-ego, a character you made up?

M: The Organist is based entirely on a real person. In fact, most of the lyrics are actual quotes as the police led him away.

A: Anything else at all you’d like to add for our Dear Readers?

M: Don’t work in a marshmallow factory.

 

My huge thanks to Manipulant for agreeing to this interview, and for these excellent answers!

 

PART III: EPK INFO, ALBUM CREDITS AND INFO, AND SITE LINKS

 

“The second Manipulant release mostly adheres to the blueprint of 2016’s Méthode de Narration. The hypnotic rhythms, dark tones and vivid imagery are all present in “Eclectro” due 6.20.17. This time though, he brings along some help. Italian Astrophysicist Dr. Fiorella Terenzi and England’s chilled trip-hop siren Stoneygate both join in with sterling contributions. The latter in the driving social commentary of “Run” and Dr. Terenzi, the Goddess of Acoustic Astronomy, vocal bombs her own tribute song in “Dr. Terenzi, I Need Your Expertise”. Additionally, “Methodical” comes dance floor ready, “Marshmallow Fabrik” harkens Kraftwerk and The Organist makes a twisted reappearance. Once again, Manipulant manages to draw the listener inside his head, drag them through his thoughts and drop them into an empty room to contemplate what the hell just happened.”

Track listing; 1. Run (feat. Stoneygate) 2. Methodical 3. Dr. Terenzi, I Need Your Expertise (feat. Fiorella Terenzi) 4. Marshmallow Fabrik 5. Faulty Tap 6. jusqu’à la mort nous sépare (The Organist) 7. Requiem for the 11th Earl of Sandwich 8. N/A/B/C/F 9. Dr. Terenzi Meets the 808 (Feat. Fiorella Terenzi)

Recorded at Le Petit Manoir & Rotten Alex’s Basement. Mastered by Logan Kennedy. Ryan Durborow – Additional Keyboard on Methodical

http://manipulantmusic.com/

https://manipulant.bandcamp.com/

twitter @ManipulantMusic

Wanna Go To Taranna Pt.2: The Ones That Got Away

As I mentioned a couple of times in yesterday’s posts, I could easily have spent a whole lot more in BMV and Sonic Boom than I did. Actually, I feel I showed excellent restraint, even though I still got a pile of great tunes! Man, given unlimited funds, I’d have told them to back up a truck and we could start loading it up…

Anyway, there were too many great records I left behind to list them all, but three come to mind as worthy of mention…

1 – Refused – The Shape Of Punk To Come (2CD/1DVD set), at BMV. It was only $9.99. The second CD was a live set, and the DVD had the videos and a documentary.

But I reasoned that I already own the CD itself, and would I use the other discs that much when it’s the album I really love? I left it, in favour of spending that $10 on other things.

 

 

2 – Pavement – Wowee Zowee (original LP), at BMV. It was a new arrival. The guy said it was $25 because it was VG or VG+. Woulda been more if it was in better shape (he said). But there was some wear on the jacket and the LPs were OK but not VG+ in my mind. Still, how often do you see an original Pavement LP? Because I never see them! It was reeeeaaaallllly tempting because I love Pavement so much, but I left it because that was a lot for one LP and not the nicest copy (yet still the only copy I’ve ever seen). You see my dilemma. I texted Mike and he said it’s about that price online but the shipping kills. Gah!

 

 

3 – Dillinger Escape Plan – Instrumentalist 7″ (RSD 2017), at Sonic Boom. I didn’t get any RSD stuff this year, and I am a fan of DEP. But apparently not the biggest fan as I had this $12.99 7″ in my hand a while before finally putting it back. It was only two songs, and $6.50 per song is steep when I already had a basket full of other goodies. I dunno, it was real tempting, but how much would I play it? But it’s awesome and collectible… Gah!

 

 

In Sum:

A few times today, I feel like I probably shoulda just bought them anyway. I’d have been happy with all of them. And I know that they’ll be looong gone by the time I get back there, likely in the fall, with Mike. Ah well. I’m super-happy with what I did bring home, so these will be the ones that got away!

Wanna Go To Taranna

A successful day in the big (sh)city for me and my Dad! Lots to tell, but it’s late, I did a lot of driving and walking (I’m tired) and there’s work and getting the kids to school in the morning… Still, the least I can do is report back on today’s adventures real quick…

Traffic was non-existant (Mike, our next trip should be on a Sunday!), the weather said rain but we got sunny and warm, and the city was alive with people and festivals and awesome.

Parked up at Bloor, saw that Honest Ed’s is gone. The signs are still there but the store is empty. End of an era. I hit up BMV and Dad went off and did his thing. I could have spent SO much in BMV, it’s crazy. Really quality stock, as always. I was thrilled to see they have turned all their CDs with spines up so you can scan the titles without flipping – an excellent development. I didn’t get a whole of time with the LPs, but they have a ton…

Here are my BMV Scores (all CD):

Soooo much greatness here, eh? Wowzers!

NB: The Iron & Wine, Chuck Brown/Eva Cassidy and Jeff “Tain” Watts came from the 3-for-$10 bin.

NB: I wish Watts had a song called “Bartók” on his Bar Talk album. Alas, he does not. Missed opportunity, that.

***

Dad and I then met at Paupers for lunch (awesome as always), and walked down through the Annex to Chinatown. Kensington Market was jammed with people, as some sort of Art Festival was going on. The whole area was blocked off to cars, and people were dancing and singing and doing things (one lady was a Poet For Hire. Give her money and a topic, and she would type you out a new poem on the spot on her old Underwood). I hit up Sonic Boom while Dad went off and did his thing.

My Sonic Boom Scores (all CD):

Holy mackerel, what a pile of awesome! And again, as is always the case with Sonic Boom, several of these were either $0.99 or $2.99. And I could have spent soooo much more in there, too. I had a basket full and made myself go through and put stuff back. It was painful.

NB: The Buddy Guy is a high school nostalgia grab for me. I loved that set then, and I bet I will now.

NB: The 10,000 Maniacs was one I said I’d watch for when I put Quit on the three records of theirs I have (during their All The Everything series post, a while back). And here it is! It’s a hits disc and a rarities disc together. Right on.

NB: Granelli is a jazz drummer. DJ Stinkin’ Rich is a Buck 65 alias. Oh baby.

NB: The Evens includes Ian MacKaye (Minor Threat, Fugazi). With my three (3!) Fugazi scores at BMV as well, it was an Ian MacKaye kind of day.

NB: Though it was new CD full price, the Cowboy Junkies had to come home. Check out who guests on it: Skydiggers, Sarah Harmer, Hawksley Workman, Jason Collett, Doug Paisley, Lee Harevy Osmond, The Good Family, Martin Tielli & Dave Clark, The Screwed, Reid Jamieson, Harlan Pepper, Jessy Bell Smith, The Potion Kings, Ivy Mairi… Wow!

NB: The Greg MacPherson… I texted James did he need it, it was only $0.99. Nope, he had it already and likes it alot, said I should get it for myself and if I didn’t like it, he would give me $0.99. Challenge accepted!

NB: The Jam tribute is cool. Yes, it has Oasis twats on it, but it has Beastie Boys too so that makes it all better.

***

So then we walked back up to the car, blasted out of town. Quick bite to eat in Orangeville (watching some of the Memorial Cup hockey game on TV – Windsor beat Erie 4-3), then home.

***

And there you have it. A busy day encapsulated in one short-ish post. You’ll see all of these albums in the All The Everything series, eventually. At least now you know from whence they came. Also, sad to report I did not find one single Grail List item for anyone. Sorry, folks. I tried! I really did (the list was in my phone)! Ah well, next time.

Thanks, Taranna!

Grail List Reminder

Hey Dear Readers, it’s Aaron aka Mr. Books of the KMA…

A quick reminder that it’s early this Sunday morning (two days from today) that I head to Taranna on my (most recent) record shopping excursion. I can’t wait!!

So, knowing this, if you have any changes or additions to make to your Grail List, let us know today or tomorow.

If you don’t have a list and you want one, by all means drop us an email at keepsmealive at gmail dot com. Remember, the Master Grail List exists to share the titles of those special albums you’ve never been able to find, in shoppes or online, at all or at reasonable prices. It allows us all to aid each other by keeping our eyes peeled when we’re in our own neighbourhood shoppes. Never know when someone might walk right past the album you’ve wanted for years! And in case you’re wondering, the list really does work. Since the list’s inception, we’ve had several successes already! GO, KMA READERS, GO!

COMMUNITY!!

Accept: All The Everything Pt.9

I’ll just put it out there off the top – I wasn’t an Accept fan back in the day (I was the jazz kid), and I really don’t know much about them now except that they’re a metal band (in my mind from the 80s, though clearly they’re still going). Robert, a buddy of mine in high school likely played them for me at several points but, hanging out with Robert, everything was 80s metal so I maybe didn’t register it properly.

Worse, I bought both cassettes (listed below) at work for $0.50 each and until I got here for this series, I’d not yet played them! Good thing I’m getting to ‘em now, eh?

Also, as is obvious from the dates on these albums I have here (below), there are huge gaps in my Accept collection. In studio albums alone (to date), I am missing 11 records. Not to mention 5 live albums and 7 compilations. I am by no means an expert. 

Alright, enough padding this damn post, let’s get into the records:

1983 – Balls To The Wall (cs)

OK, I know the title track here. What a riff!  I really like the crunch of this track. Hearing it today reminds me of a weird hybrid of classic Judas Priest, Bon Scott-era AC/DC, and wee bit of Motörhead (when he’s not screaming, he sounds a bit like Lemmy). Not that I’m complaining at all. The album carries on in this vein in its entirety. The riffs are crushing whether the songs are fast or slow, and the songs have just enough without being too much. Better, it transcends its era to achieve a sort of timelessness that is really, really satisfying. Fucking epic, top to bottom. This one was certified Gold for a reason. Definite Hit, though I’ll replace cassette with CD when I can.

1986 – Russian Roulette (cs)

TV War starts us off with a 100 mph blast, whoa! Listening, as I am, on the heels of Balls To The Wall, I hear all the same things all over again and I frickin’ love it. Three years on (this is their 7th record) and Accept is business as usual, and the business of rocking the hell out is damn good. Wiki tells me this was their last album with their singer Udo Dirkschneider for another 7 years…

There’s a swagger to what they do, a bluesy metal stomp that could easily be parody in the hands of lesser bands, but these guys nail it track after track after track. Another Hit, though again I’ll replace cassette with CD when I can. I’d play this one anytime. It’s really quite awesome.

2010 – Blood Of The Nations (cd)

I already wrote this one up (link in album title, above), but of course for this series I had to play it through again. There’s a gap in my Accept collection so huge as to make my perspective all off when it comes to what happened in between. Thank goodness for the internet! As I learned, “It is the band’s first studio recording since 1996’s Predator and the first album to feature vocalist Mark Tornillo and drummer Stefan Schwarzmann. It is the first Accept album without Udo Dirkschneider on vocals since Eat the Heat (1989), and the band’s first album to feature guitarist Herman Frank since Balls to the Wall (1983).”

All that to discover that this is another full-on metal record with not a stinker track to be found. Even though it was recorded in 2010, it could easily fit into the 80s with the other albums I heard before it.

You know, three records into listening to these guys and I’m starting to think they were unable to make a bad track. Statistically, of course, over a career as long as theirs this is nigh on an impossible claim, but all I hear here is beautiful, crisp, clean metal that makes you smile. Definite Hit. Accept is 3/3!

In Sum: 

Going into this series, I thought maybe this would be another band for which a compilation would be enough to make me happy. Now, having heard three of their albums (despite being decades apart), I wonder if the albums proper are the way to go, because all three of these are Hits for sure. What say you, Dear Readers? What’s more Acceptable for you, compilation or albums?

 

Series Stats:

9 posts
27 albums

19 hit
8 quit

20 CD
1 LP
7 CS

Manchester Bombing

News is still coming in as I type this (around midnight last night), but it appears that 19 people are dead and 59 others are injured in Manchester tonight. Police suspect a terrorist attack, which happened at an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena.

Two explosions were reported, coming just after Grande’s show had ended.

This news site here seems to be live updating, so by morning there should be more information about this horrible event. My first thought was of the Eagles Of Death Metal concert in France, another event where a bombing took place.

Keep your eyes on your news feeds (or the link above, probably) as more information becomes available.

Our thoughts go out to all Mancunians in this troubling and terrible time.

ABBA: All The Everything Pt.8

Growing up, my aunt had a turntable. It played a lot of ABBA, and not just the hits, she played whole albums. Though arguably, they had so many hit songs that some of their records were probably like hits albums anyway… But my sister liked them (and played them often), my Mom, my Grandfather… This is all to say I heard them a lot, whether I wanted to or not.

I often associate ABBA with Elvis and the Beatles. Yes, you could look at it from a sales perspective, or from the angle of fame, but for me it was about burnout. I heard those three so much in my childhood that these days I tend to avoid them simply because I can. I don’t dislike any of them, but I don’t go out of my way to hear them.

Years ago, when my Grandfather died, my Mom gave me his cassette case (which looks like a full-sized faux leather briefcase, you know the kind… and I still have it). It was full of all the music he loved, all of which will appear in this series as I come to them. And, of course, inside this case was his black-covered copy of ABBA Gold.

Being an intrepid KMA reporter, I knew I had to play it in order to write it up for this series. I admit trepidation, because (through no fault of their own) I am still, all these years later, pretty tired of ABBA. But also, playing through it, I had many sweet memories of my Grandfather, as though he were there listening to it with me. I liked that part a lot. I suppose, now, the two are inextricably linked in my mind, though of course he loved many more types of music than just this, too. It’ll probably happen every time I get to a tape that used to be his…

And the contents of this tape? Holy mackerel, what a sea of memories. And all 19 of these tunes are so popular and ubiquitous, I don’t even need to tell you about any of them. Here:

SIDE A: Dancing Queen / Knowing Me, Knowing You / Take A Chance On Me / Mamma Mia / Lay Your Love On Me / Super Trouper / I Have A Dream / The Winner Takes It All / Money, Money, Money

SIDE B: SOS / Chiquita / Fernando / Voulez-Vous / Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight) / Does Your Mother Know / One Of Us / The Name Of The Game / Thank You For The Music / Waterloo

See? Every track an ear worm, a generally accepted bona fide huge hit. I’m not arguing that at all. For me, though, I doubt I’ll ever play it again. Generally, that would make it a Quit. But the memories of my Grandfather (because I’m a sentimental old fool) make me want to keep it here just to hold on to that part of him, and since there can be no middle ground, it’s a Hit. I dunno, maybe my Mom would want it back… I wonder if she even has a cassette player anymore…

Series Stats:

8 posts
24 albums

16 hit
8 quit

19 CD
1 LP
5 CS

Sunday Morning Coming Down

Hey Dear Readers,

So it’s been busy around here, and I have posts in the works but nothing completed.

To tide you over, here’s some goofy pics a la the old Sunday Service posts of yore.

Enjoy, and stay tuned (pun intended). More All The Everything posts will appear eventually…

R.I.P. Chris Cornell

Woke this morning to this news. Still processing it…

Chris Cornell, singer from Soundgarden, Temple Of The Dog, Audioslave and solo career has passed away at the age of 52.

At the time of this posting, no cause of death has been given.

R.I.P. Chris. Thank you for the music.

54-40 Dear Dear Contest Winner!

First off, a huge thanks to everyone who entered!

The question was: What is the full running time of Dear Dear?

The answer is: 54:40!

Oh those clever Canucks.

 

As promised, I placed all correct entrants’ names into a toque (my Rage Against The Machine toque, natch). My lovely wife, a neutral third party, drew the winning name.

The Winner Is: SARCA!

Congratulations, Sarca! Your brand new copy of Dear Dear will be winging its way to you ASAP.

Thanks again, everyone! Keep your eyes peeled for more contests in future…

 

Special mention goes to Deke, who included the times of all individual tracks on the album with his answer, and then proceeded to jokingly comment the tracks of the debut L.A. Guns album. I’d had to have come up with a consolation prize for him if he had included its Japanese-only bonus track, Winter’s Fool. I’m sure Mike would agree! 😉

Contest Deadline Today

Hey Dear Readers!

Today is your last chance to enter to win your very own (brand new, still in shrink-wrap) copy of 54-40’s amazing Dear Dear album (1992)!

Entries have been coming in, so don’t miss your chance!

GO HERE TO ENTER! Or HERE! Or maybe HERE!

Or how about HERE?

Winning entrant will be announced in these pages tomorrow (Wednesday, May 17). Stay tuned!*

 

*See what I did there? 😉

Filing Snag: It Could Go Both Ways*

I ran into an interesting filing conundrum when it came to the next two bands in the All The Everything series, Accept and AC/DC.

Simply put, does one count the / in AC/DC’s name when filing alphabetically?

 

1) If not counting it, meaning removal of the / from the name, it would look like this:

Accept
AC/DC

because the order would be ACCept then ACDc.

2) If yes, it counts as something preceeding alphabetization between the C and the D, it would look like this (and iTunes does it this way):

AC/DC
Accept

because the order would be AC/dc then ACCept.

I know, right? These are the things which keep me up at night.

After chewing on this for a while, I asked my lovely wife what she thought. Basically, after looking at me to be sure I was seriously asking this of her (I WAS!), she asked how I will remember it best when I go to my collection to get an album, and go with that. Ultimately, she couldn’t care less. And fair play to her, she has suffered these minutiae questions of mine for many years, now, the dear lady.

So, to avoid spinning wheels any longer, I have chosen to flout iTunes’ tyranny, and to not count the / in AC/DC’s name. Which means I will follow option 1, covering Accept first, and then AC/DC.

After deliberation, I have found this choice to be Acceptable.

And it really doesn’t matter. I’ve got a whole lotta rockin’ in my future in whichever order I choose to cover them!

* In other words, it could be AC or DC… 🙂

Taranna, Grail List Stuff, Contest Reminder

Hiya KMA Readers, it’s your friendly neighbourhood Aaron, here!

Just some admin stuff to clear up…

Let’s get in there and give ‘er!

 

Taranna

I will be in Taranna on May 28. Looking for records. Oh baby. Which means…

Grail List Updates

If you have anything to add/remove from your Grail Lists, let me know by May 27! If you don’t have a list yet, but you want one, send it to us! Remember, these are items you really want but cannot get at reasonable prices. Let’s all help each other find our Grail Items!

Grail List Addition

While I’m at it, I have added the Five Hole Band – Tales Of Hockey Erotica to my list. I can’t find one online for under $50. Can you find me one for good price?

And lastly,

Contest Reminder

Don’t forget a new (still sealed!) copy of 54-40’s amazing Dear Dear album is up for grabs. GO ENTER HERE! Contest runs until Tuesday May 16. Winning entries will be drawn from a toque, and the winner will be posted in these pages on Wednesday May 17!

Thanks for reading. Carry on!

 

Lee Aaron: All The Everything Pt.7

Alrighty, for this post I’m rockin’ some 80s rawk CanCon. It’s Lee Aaron, and I own the albums from 1985-1991. Let’s dig in and see what we get…

1985 – Call Of The Wild (cs)

Lee’s third album is heavy in that sweet 80s way, and the lyrics are sometimes (let’s be honest) cheesy. This album spawned three singles (Rock Me All Over, Runnin’ From The Fire, and Barely Holdin’ On). Aaron can really sing, and there’s a pure quality to her voice. This is still a quit, ‘cos it’s on cassette.

1987 – Lee Aaron (cs)

This fourth record had four singles (Powerline, Only Human, Goin’ Off The Deep End, and Dream With Me). I wasn’t as into this one, it’s a lot lighter fare. There are still a couple of satisfying rockers, but I found myself waiting for some of the songs to be over, though even those I could tell she was trying her damndest. Quit.

1989 – Bodyrock (cs)

Shift gears again on her fifth… No getting around it, Whatcha Do To My Body is full-on, big fun times rawk. Buzzsaw guitars, Lee’s powerful vocals, it’s all here. Add Hands On as another single, and this record was her best-selling to date, with nominations at the Junos and certifying Platinum the year of its release. Yup, this was the big time. Commercial? Hell yes. But I liked this record. It’s slick, well-crafted, and I assume it’s one of the ones to have in any essential Lee Aaron collection. Quit because cassette.

1991 – Some Girls Do (cd)

Follow-up, and her 6th record, Some Girls Do, is more big bluesy rock and fun times, with only one ballad tacked onto the end. Seriously, it’s all rawk. Heck, the first couple of songs reminded me of Motley Crue… At this point, though, I am suffering a wee bit of Lee Aaron fatigue. I like what she does, but four straight albums was a lot for me. I might need to come back later and play this one again. But today: Quit.

In Sum:

After four straight Lee Aaron records, I don’t know how much I would listen to her on a regular basis, but for this project I had a pretty good time. No matter whether the music has aged well or not, it’s unquestionable that Aaron can really, really belt it out.

Given that three of these I have here are on cassette, I’ll be ditching those and looking for CDs. Heck, I might even be happier with a Hits CD…

 

Series Stats:

7 posts
23 albums

15 hit
8 quit

19 CD
1 LP
4 CS

A KMA Milestone, And Another Contest!

Over there in the right-hand sidebar is our Visitor Counter. As always, thanks for visiting, you’re damn sexy! And as you can see, we’ve recently passed 50,000 unique visits to the site since we moved to WP, waaaay back in 2006.

That’s a lot of visitors.

Of course, we only have ALL OF YOU to thank, our lovely Constant Readers who tune in whenever James drops his awesomeness, or (more likely) whenever Aaron starts gibbering like a rhesus monkey on a three-day cocaine bender…

SERIOUSLY. THANK YOU ALL.

In honour of this milestone, we offer up another contest!

As mentioned in a recent query post (and the subsequent comments), this time we will not be offering the prize to the first person to correctly answer the skill-testing question in the Comments. To try to be fair to our friends in other time zones, and to those who may not blog every day, this time there’s a form (below) wherein you can place your answers before the contest closing date, and your response will be emailed to us. All correct players will have their names thrown into a toque, and my lovely wife (a neutral third party) will select the winner.

Also, for folks in other time zones (even half way around the world, wherever you are), please do feel free to enter. I’ll happily ship prizes anywhere.

Please do not put your answers in the Comments section, only use the form provided below. Thanks!

Cool? Cool.

So. This time, up for grabs is a brand new (still in the shrink-wrap!) copy of 54-40’s amazing 1992 album, Dear Dear.

Holy mackerel, I do love this album.

In fact, it would be far to say of it that it’s Nice To Luv You, Dear Dear…

Ahem.

Are you ready to get your mitts on this gem of an album? Of course you are…

 

SKILL TESTING QUESTION:

What is the full running time of Dear Dear? 

 

Contest closes one week from today, on Tuesday, May 16, with the winner being posted in these pages the following day, Wednesday, May 17th.

Alright kids, you’re off to the races. Submit your answers in the form (below), and above all, have fun!

 

 

5 Knuckle Chuckle: All The Everything Pt.6

1995 – Charliee Horse (CD)

Already covered this one, in January 2014, right here.

It’s CanCon punker time! I love this disc. A definite Hit.

Here are a couple of salient bits of the review at that link if you don’t wanna read the whole thing:

“Yeah, they sound quite a bit like NOFX. In fact, they used to called themselves Noah Fence before deciding to move away from simlarities of band name and settling on 5 Knuckle Chuckle. But they’re probably really tired of hearing that comparison made. Besides, this isn’t as slick-sounding as NOFX, and thinking they’re carbon copies isn’t much fair to 5KC. 

Still, it’s catchy, juvenile skate-punk with lots of melodic thrashy punk riffs and super-fast drumming.”

 

Series Stats:

6 posts
19 albums

15 hit
4 quit

18 CD
1 LP
1 CS

5,6,7,8s: All The Everything Pt.5

2003 – Bomb The Rocks: Early Days Singles 1989-1998 (CD)

I have indeed covered this one (succinctly) before, right here.

Of course I still feel the same way about this album now, 15 months later. This is the coolest, rocking-est, craziest bunchof Japanese ladies you’re likely to hear this week. They’ve got energy, chutzpah, and sass too, and rock and roll is deep in their blood and bones.

Yeah, Tarantino used a track of theirs track in Kill Bill, and you could list a pile of influences, like Link Wray, Dick Dale, Ramones, a ton of others… It’s punk rockabilly mayhem and it’s all friggin’ glorious. I throw this disc on when I want a lift, it makes me very happy indeed. Definitely a Hit.

Series Stats:

5 posts
18 albums

14 hit
4 quit

17 CD*
1 LP
1 CS

*NB: This number of CDs will not match the Albums totals, because I am using it to count physical discs. So, multiple disc sets will add more to the CD total count versus the Albums total.

2Pac: All The Everything Pt.4

I was digging around and found a box of CDs I’d set aside as possible Hit/Quit albums ages ago. They’ve been seperate from the main collection long enough that they’re not even in my alphabetical list. Oy. 

So, had I remembered that I had all of these discs set aside, this 2Pac album would actually have been All The Everything Pt.3, and 54-40 would have been Pt.4. Ah well, as long as I’m covering stuff, it’s all good. Also, this seems to be the only 2Pac album currently in my collection, which is odd. I know I’ve had more in the past…

***

1997 – R U Still Down? (Remember Me) (2CD)

I have already reviewed this album right here, almost exactly two years ago. Funny thing is, I wrote up a whole review yesterday before discovering this, and I realized I’d said exactly the same damn thing now! Apparently I am consistent on this set and, if you’re interested, all you need to do is click that link and go see what I wrote.

Short version for this post, though: This was way too long, too full of stuff that should never have seen release (either too angry* or too juvenile). There are decent tracks, they’re just buried under the more plentiful dubious stuff. I dug the music, though. Maybe it could have been a single disc, with the worst stuff left off. I shouldn’t be too hard on it, there were tracks that I liked, but overall, I really won’t be needing to keep this. A hits set would be all I’d need. Quit.

 

Series Stats:

4 posts
17 albums

13 hit
4 quit

16 CD
1 LP
1 CS

 

* A lot of the angry tracks come across as all talk and posturing, just words that sound tough and cool.

54-40 Contest Winner! And Future Contests Query

Congratulations to Brian of Boppin’s Blog! He is the winner of the 54-40 Sweeter Things: A Compilation CD!

Bop correctly identified the origins/meaning of the term/name 54-40. From Wiki: “54-40 is a Canadian alternative rock group from Vancouver, British Columbia, who take their name from the slogan Fifty-Four Forty or Fight!, coined to express the unsuccessful expansionist agenda of James K. Polk’s presidency, intent upon controlling a contested U.S.-Canada border area in the Oregon boundary dispute.” You can get a ton more info on the dispute here.

Once again, congrats Bop! Your CD will be in the mail shortly!

***

Also folks, I’ve got a question for you, r.e. future contests…

As you’ll have noticed, in the past little while I’ve held two contests, with CDs as prizes. And as you may recall, Mike won the David Bowie CD, while (as noted above), Bop has won the 54-40. Congrats, you two!

So I got to thinking about the contest itself. For both of those contests mentioned, I just said whomever gets to the correct answer first wins. That was cool! I found that enjoyable, I hope you did too. Mike hit the Bowie win in 17 minutes!  But given that our AWESOME COMMUNITY is so far-flung in every corner of the globe, how can I make it so that everyone (given time zones and blogging habits) gets a chance to see the question and have a crack at it? Not to take away from the brilliant speed and accuracy of the previous winners, but as further comments trickled in I wondered if there was a way to make it not so time-sensitive…

How would you like to see future contests held? Is this way fine, or do you have a better method in mind? Drop a comment and let us know!

Contest: Win a 54-40 CD!

In honour of the recent 54-40: All the Everything Pt.3 post, I am offering up a copy of the band’s Sweeter Things: A Compilation CD!

The first person to drop a comment that correctly explains what 54-40 actually means wins the CD!

Put on yer thinking caps, folks. It’s time to give ‘er!

 

Sweeter Things: A Compilation is a 1991 compilation album by 54-40. It was their final release for Warner-Reprise, and compiled tracks from their albums 54-40, Show Me and Fight for Love.

The title track from 1984’s Set the Fire as well as two unreleased tracks, “Sweeter Things” and “Don Quixote”, are also included.

54-40: All The Everything Pt.3

As you can see, I own 8 albums by 54-40. But even in this, I do not own nearly enough 54-40. There’s no excuse, really, as I’ve had years (decades) to collect it. Really, I need to get on this, as I truly do enjoy their music. There’s something hypnotic to their rockin’, something that just pulls me in and holds me there and it’s all one big happy.

The band’s discography sprawls a bit (as you might expect, starting as they did in 1981), with 13 studio albums, a whole whack (that’s an official measurement) of singles and EPs, about 7 compilations, and a live album.

I’ve written about a few of their records in the KMA pages already – having gone back and re-read them for this project, my reviews stand. But as I was saying to Deke in the comments elsewhere, even if I’m linking to old work in these posts, I am actually going back and listening to all of this stuff again. It’s only fair. And it’s a further sign that KMA goes to every length to do things right! Besides, if I disgreed with my old posts, I would correct things in this series. Deal? Deal.

Anyway, if you see 54-40 in the shoppes, buy them all with confidence! Oh, and of course, these are all Hit. Not a single Quit in these 8 efforts. Natch.

***

1987 – Show Me (LP)

Their third record, this one has big hits One Day In Your Life and One Gun and a whole pile of other great tunes that shoulda been hits. I’m very happy to own this one on LP!

1991 – Sweeter Things: A Compilation (CD)

1992 – Dear Dear (CD)

1994 – Smilin’ Buddha Cabaret (CD) here and here too!

1994 – Steal This Cd (Promo, Ltd. Ed.) (CD)

1996 – Trusted By Millions (CD)

Their seventh album, here we have more 54-40 awesomeness, including Lies To Me and Love You All. I wanna say Cheer Up Peru was on the radio too? Shoulda been. Anyway, this is yet another record of 54-40 awesome, this time for the mid-90s. Yessir!

1998 – Since When (CD)

2016 – La Difference: A History Unplugged (CD)

Holy mackerel, this is brilliant. An acoustic effort, this is the band 35 years after they started, revisiting and re-recording some of their biggest hits. Lots of cool new touches to the songs, like horns and piano and new arrangements. It’s groovy, it’s super-fun, and every song is obviously deserving of inclusion. Wish it had been a 3CD!

Check it out: Ocean Pearl / She La / Since When / One Day In Your Life / Baby Ran / I Go Blind / One Gun / Crossing A Canyon / Casual Viewin’ / Lies To Me.

See? Frickin’ awesome.

Series Stats:

3 posts
16 albums

13 hit
3 quit

14 CD
1 LP
1 CS

20 Miles: All The Everything Pt.2

Mr. Judah Bauer! Damn! The blues is #1!

Yup, I sure do love me some Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. And for as exciting and explosive as Mr. Spencer is, to me there’s equal importance placed on his guitar master, Mr. Judah Bauer (and JSBX drummer Russell Simmons too, natch). Bauer is blues to the bone, raunchy and tight and greasebucket gorgeous.

So when he and his brother Donovan launched 20 Miles as a solo project 20 Years ago (see what I did there), I was in ASAP. I’ve bought everything as it came out, though I never did get the EP* that’s on my grail list…

Anyway, I don’t even have to write up each individual record here – I’ve already done it. Each title is a link (below) to my previous KMA reviews. They still stand.

Which simply left me with the joy of re-listening to all of these glorious records. It’s blues, funk, punk, Velvets, and garage rock all wrapped up into disc after disc of glory.

Oh yeah, and if it wasn’t obvious already, these are all Hits, no Quits in the bunch.

Yowza!

1997 – Twenty Miles: R.L. Boyce Othar Turner Fife & Drum Spam (CD)

1998 – Sinful Tunes & Spirituals: split EP with Doo Rag (CD)

1998 – I’m A Lucky Guy (CD)

2002 – Keep It Coming (CD)

2003 – Life Doesn’t Rhyme (CD)

 

Series Stats:

2 posts
8 albums

5 hit
3 quit

7 CD
0 LP
1 CS

 

* Their 2000 split EP with Bob Log III, entitled Let Every Town Furnish Its Own Women, is on my Grail List!

I wants one!

 

10,000 Maniacs: All The Everything Pt.1

Alright, here we go with the first post of my new, massive All The Everything series!

1985 – The Wishing Chair (CD)

Decent pop music, I can hear influence on a lot of Mint bands from about ten years ago. A lot of the music is either straight-up pop, or east coast-sounding celtic-y, or both. Of course, Natalie Merchant’s vocals are amazing, and there are a few stand-out songs, but it all starts to blend and sound the same after a while.

1988 – In My Tribe (CS)

More of the same perfect jangle pop, it’s sweet, infectious, listenable. Same as with The Wishing Chair, I can hear their influence on others throughout this one. Many strong messages in the lyrics, and good on ‘em. Singles Like The Weather and What’s The Matter Here are decent. Merchant puts some thought into the Beats with Hey Jack Kerouac, Michael Stipe joins on A Campfire Song, and there’s a cover of Cat Stevens’ Peace Train, which I’ve learned got removed from later releases as comments from Stevens (now Yusuf Islam) about the song made it seem to be in support of the fatwa on Salman Rushdie (for The Satanic Verses).

1992 – Our Time In Eden (CD)

The last album they recorded before Natalie Merchant left for her solo career, this one feels way more mature, somehow more soulful (richer and smoother), less bouncy. Having huge tunes like These Are Days, Few And Far Between, and Candy Everybody Wants helps a bit, and adding Alfred “Pee Wee” Ellis, Maceo Parker and Fred Wesley to your musicians list is awesome. Of the three, I liked this one best.

***

Hit It Or Quit It: 

About a year ago, I liked 2/3 of these a lot more. But I haven’t listened to them much since they followed me home, and I doubt I’ll play them much more now. Today, all three are Quit. There are many pretty songs, and I know they’re generally well-regarded, but of the three Our Time in Eden came closest to staying, and I still doubt I’ll return to it anytime soon. I’d probably be fine with a hits set (like Campfire Songs).

***

Series Stats:

1 posts
3 albums

0 hit
3 quit

2 CD
0 LP
1 CS

The All The Everything Series

Hey Dear Readers, Aaron of the KMA here.

As stated before, I’ve been finding other ways to spend some of my time, lately. Other projects have been building, mostly offline.

This lead to some reflection. What are my goals for this site, at this point? We’ve now been doing this for over 10 years… seems like maybe I oughta finally accept it as a permanent thing that sticks, eh?

You’re getting a condensed version here, but believe me when I say I’ve put a lot of thought into how to go forward. I realized that, over these years, I’ve made stabs at doing this or that, but it was bits and pieces. So instead, it’s time for the big kahuna. I’m wrapping up all my blogging goals into one all-encompassing series!

 

Some Goals I Thought Of (and thoughts to go with):

1 – Review every album I own: Long a goal of mine, and daunting as hell (given everything here). But imagine reaching a point where you’re only covering new things coming in… This would also (eventually, hopefully) cover any albums I still IOU to anyone.

2 – Create/maintain on-going What Owns Me (WOM) list as I go: cool, and also helpful to have an off-site list in case of damage, loss or fire.

3 – One band at a time, multiple albums per post: they say immersion is the best way to learn new things. Any reviews I’ve already done, I’ll link to them. No need to re-do 10 years’ worth of work. But I will still listen to everything again.

4 – Resume Hit It Or Quit it Series: will they stay or will they go? I’m doing a collection cull, so heads-up: I may get ruthless, here.

5 – Resume lower word count posts: honestly, I prefer this. Just say it and get out.

6 – Finish my behind-the-scenes site admin work: yawwwwwn… but it’s necessary.

7 – Make blogging fit into busy life: no schedule, I’ll post when I can.

8 – Have fun: Of course. Give ‘er!

 

Ready? Me too. It’ll take a long time, but who cares? Now that I’ve given myself a structure, it’s simply one step followed by another.

And what am I calling this ambitiousness?

The All The Everything Series

It’s the series to end all series.

Because the KMA loves you.

Hell yes.

 

Bonus Round Fun Facts: Some of the series I’ve undertaken here at KMA:

KMA Sunday Service, Album series (full artist catalogues or store purchases series), Hit It Or Quit It, IOU series, Drunk Reviews, Ontario Bands, Racy Lacy Anniversary, Beam Me Up Scotty’s, Taranna Was Hot, Greatest Hits Albums, Edenfest, and The Radio. Surely there were others, but you get the idea.

Guided By Voices – August By Cake

I am thrilled to announce the arrival of this momentous album at the KMA’s eastern offices.

Disclaimer: It’s hard for me to write about a Guided By Voices album. I tend to love them all unconditionally, even the weird ones. In this way, it’s akin to having children. But my bias is obvious and unswerving. Fair warning. 🙂

***

Not only is it the band’s first double album, but it also marks (remarkably) Robert Pollard’s 100th album.

Yes, you read that correctly.

There’s no question that the man is prolific, and no matter who is in the line-up, or what project is currently afoot, the music just keeps on coming. Currently, this band under the GBV banner involves Pollard (vox, guitars), Kevin March (drums), Bobby Bare, Jr. (guitar), Doug Gillard (guitar), and Mark Shue (bass). Can I just say (as loudly as possible) how happy I am that Gillard opted to return? He’s long been a guitar hero of mine.

And the record itself? At 32 tracks in 72 minutes, it’s a sprawling opus. With songs ranging in length from 1:01 to 3:44, there is a ton of stuff to digest, here.

Does it flow well as an album? Haha not really, given how much the sounds shift and grow and change. There’s epic rocking, pop sweetness, acoustic jamming, psychedelic weirdness, instrumental noise, wonky drunken leaners… But don’t be daunted. These are all GBV tricks of the trade! There is so much to love.

For this one, you could probably take out a bunch of the tracks and make a top-rated record that everyone would love. But that’s not how Pollard rolls. He branches out, he tries new things, and he includes what he frickin’ well wants to include. And it’s very often that songs that seem weird or awful the first time around are the ones that grow on you later, and become favourites over the immediate hits. THAT is how you know the band has vision. They know you’re gonna come around. We always do.

Me, I love this effort. Love love love.

Long live Robert Pollard. Long live Guided By Voices (and all the various side bands and projects, ad infinitum). Long live Rockathon!

Here’s to the next 100!

Good Friday Jamming

Back when I was a stay-at-home Dad, a job I proudly undertook for three years, I would often leave the iTunes on random play for my whole collection and let it play away in the background all day long. This was a great way to introduce the kids to awesome tunes, and a way for some small part of the day to about something for Daddy…

As time has gone on, I’ve gotten out of this practice, focussing more on individual albums. This is also fun, but not nearly as, er, random.

But this past Good Friday, the whole family was home and I thought I’d try out the ol’ random play manouver again. The kids, who are older now, were busy playing and quickly tuned it out. My lovely wife was probably listening, but she never says much unless it’s a song she likes. As for me, I loved it!

Right now, my collection in iTunes looks like this:

47,508 items, 131.3 days, 179.57GB

That’s right, I’m approaching 50,000 tracks! Heh heh, that’s a wee bit!

Anyway, iTunes also keeps track of everything played previously, so I went back and collected up what we heard during my first trip back to random land!

Radiohead – How Do You?
Donovan Frankenreiter – Bend In The Road
Leonard Cohen – Le Manic (live)
Pavement – Harness Your Hopes
Rush – Red Sector A
Good Pinsent & Keelor – Shadows In The Sun
Haywire – Wild Wild
Bonnie Raitt – About To Make Me Leave Home
Nick Buzz – If You Go Away
Duke Ellington – Sound Track Music: Anatomy Of A Murder
Guided By Voices – He Rises! Our Union
Robert Pollard – Run Son Run
Dropkick Murphys – Far Away Coast
Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell – Old Yellow Moon
Mastodon – Bedazzled Fingernails
Ani DiFranco – Subdivision
Hank Williams – My Son Calls Another Man Daddy
Glenn Miller – Everybody Loves My Baby
Dream Theater – A Change Of Seasons II: Innocence
Ozzy Osbourne – Mississippi Queen
Marillion – Assassing (single version)
Candlebox – Arrow
Meat Loaf – The Future Ain’t What It Used To Be
Mozart – Serenade No.10 in Bb minor, K361 “Gran Partita IV: Adagio
Mother Love Bone – Holy Roller
Black Sabbath – Paranoid
Pearl Jam – Low Light
Fats Domino – I Want To Walk You Home
Songhoy Blues – Should I Stay Or Should I Go
Slayer – Filler / I Don’t Want Hear It
Headstones – Swinging
54-40 – Cheer Up Peru
Watertown – I’m Looking For A Love To Call My Own
Slash (f. Myles Kennedy) – Not For Me
New Morty Show – Terri (With The Delicate Hands)
Sarah McLachlan – Elsewhere
Frank Sinatra – Glad To Be Unhappy
Slipknot – Eyeless
Michael Franti & Spearhead – Radio Segment
Pussy Galore – Don’t Jones Me
Jeff Healey & The Jazz Wizards – Someday Sweetheart
Beatles – Nothin’ Shakin’ (BBC)
Pixies – River Euphrates
Modest Mouse – The Stars Are Projectors
Water – Thoughts
Dire Straits – Why Worry
John Lee Hooker – Crawlin’ Kingsnake
Pack A.D. – Hardtack Saloon #2
Kinks – Sunny Afternoon
Van Morrison – Little Village
Robert Pollard – Something Strawberry
Fleetwood Mac – I Don’t Want To Know
Wolfstone – The Howl
David Hillyard & The Rocksteady Seven – Father & Son
Gits – Social Love
Weezer – Peace
Mötley Crüe – Planet Boom
Gipsy Kings – Baila Me
Rheostatics – Power Ballad For Ozzy Osbourne
Pavement – Father To A Sister Of Thought
Live – Selling The Drama
Headpins – Just One More Time
Circus Devils – The Other Heart
Massive Attack – Spying Glass
Foreskin 500 – Superfamily
Buzzcocks – Paradise
Jeen O’Brien – Side By Side
Gordon Lightfoot – I Used To Be A Country Singer
Meta-Stasis – Space Occupying Lesion
James Keelaghan – Canadian Railroad Trilogy
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – Free Girl Now
Coverdale/Page – Shake My Tree
Beastie Boys – Mullet Head
Hawksley Workman – A House Or Maybe A Boat
Rolling Stones – Rip This Joint
Duran Duran – Is There Something I Should Know
Black Flag – You Gotta Be Joking
Roots – BOOM! (f. Dice Raw)
Green Day – Reject
John Coltrane – Mr. P.C.
Psycho And The Birds – Oh My Chosen One
Louis Armstrong – Body And Soul
Spirit Of The West – Tell Me What I Think
Clarence Carter – Dr. C.C.
Serena Ryder – Is It O.K.
Robert Pollard – Motion Sickness Ghosts
Iron Maiden – The Aftermath

If I counted correctly, that’s 87 tunes. Assuming a 3.5 minute average, that’s 304.5 minutes, or just over 5 hours.

And that’s where I shut it down. It played for a good long while, and it was quite a good, eclectic mix! Some of the transitions were jarring, but it wasn’t on at a high volume as we were doing things around the house this whole time, so it was all to the good!

I daresay I’ll be jamming the random play feature again soon.

Per Nilsen – Prince: The First Decade (DanceMusicSexRomance)

This book wasn’t exactly engrossing, despite being exhaustively written. Seriously, the minutiae is here. Prince fans would rejoice in having so much so easily to hand.

But for me? It was a bit of a war of attrition, turning pages felt like wearing the damn thing down bit by bit.

Don’t get me wrong. I like Prince, and I can appreciate what he did. But this was waaaaay more than I needed to know about interpersonal relationships and drama in the bands he created, and all the little bits about what songs got played live where, and blah blah blah.

Let me try to sum it up for you:

Prince was a genius.
He worked crazy long hours.
He worked to the exclusion of many other things.
Prince was a genius.
He was sometimes misunderstood in his time.
He often took credit for other peoples’ contributions.
Prince was a genius.
He was restlessly creative.
He shunned media and social contact.
Prince was a genius.
He had trouble with relationship commitment.
He alienated and overworked many people.
Prince was a genius.
The more he created, the further he went inward.
He was (mostly) a control freak.
Prince was a genius.
He responded to mounting pressure by recording more music than ever.
He disbanded his best line-up for the wrong reasons.
Prince was a genius.

There. Now you don’t have to read it.

Grail List Updatery!

Happy news! I have managed to get my hands on copies of Black Sabbath’s Eternal Idol (the deluxe 2CD!), and one of my guitar heroes Doug Gillard’s Parade On. Removing two items from the list feels really damn good!

Also, let’s all keep our eyes peeled for Michael Penn’s March on LP, a new addition to the list for the mighty jhubner!

Also, I’m planning a trip to Taranna in May, so head on up to that Master Grail List tab at the top of our home page and make sure that your list is up to date! If you don’t have a Grail List yet, and there are items you just cannot find (in your town or online for reasonable prices), and you want the rest of us to watch for it in our own travels, send us your list and I’ll add it in! COMMUNITY!

What’s The Saddest Song You Know?

There are a ton of songs out there that are sad, or about difficult things, but what’s the song that’s just the saddest damn thing you ever heard?

Giving it a few moment’s thought, the first few that came into my head were:

Nine Inch Nails – Hurt  (and Johnny Cash’s version, too)
Mike & The Mechanics – The Living Years
Eric Clapton’s Tears In Heaven
Hank Williams – I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry
Billie Holiday – Gloomy Sunday
Harry Chapin – Cat’s In The Cradle
and so on…

But for me, the winner has to be George Jones’ He Stopped Loving Her Today.

It doesn’t matter whether you like country music or not. This one is a relationship tune, but it’s not about a break-up. No, this one’s about a man who loved a woman for a long time, but he wasn’t even with her. Unrequited love. Still he loved her until the day he died. THAT was the day he stopped loving her.

Just… damn. Right in the feels!

The Lyrics:

He said “I’ll love you till I die”, she told him “You’ll forget in time”
As the years went slowly by, she still preyed upon his mind

He kept her picture on his wall, went half-crazy now and then
He still loved her through it all, hoping she’d come back again

Kept some letters by his bed dated nineteen sixty-two
He had underlined in red every single “I love you”

I went to see him just today, oh but I didn’t see no tears
All dressed up to go away, first time I’d seen him smile in years

He stopped loving her today
They placed a wreath upon his door
And soon they’ll carry him away
He stopped loving her today

You know, she came to see him one last time. 
Aww, ‘n’ we all wondered if she would 
And it kept runnin’ through my mind-“this time he’s over her for good.”

He stopped loving her today
They placed a wreath upon his door
And soon they’ll carry him away
He stopped loving her today.

Oh, The Places I’ll Go!

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Sunday morning. Get a coffee, put up your feet, and follow my travels!

Yesterday I had the day to myself. And what did I do? Hahaha silly you if you said anything other than “go record shopping.”

I’d thought about going to Toronto, but I’d be on my own and that’s no fun. Mike was just there recently himself, and my Dad wasn’t available. Plus, it’s a lot of driving from my door to downtown, and traffic on a Saturday can suck, so… no. Maybe next time!

Instead, I did a tour of local spots recommended by the illustrious and industrious Boppin. Go read his blog. I’ll wait!

There follows a wee description of my travels yesterday, and the treasures I discovered along the way:

Walkerton – Scotty’s

I was back to Scotty’s, my second trip. You’ll recall my first visit. The man always has so much music I want to get, and I must be very selective. It’s always fun talking to the man himself, too. Today, I think I did very, very well:

LP

Various – Castle Donnington Monsters Of Rock
Aretha Franklin – 30 Greatest Hits (2LP)~
Max Webster – Universal Juveniles^
Kim Mitchell – Shaking Like A Human Being ^
U2 – Rattle And Hum (2LP)^
U2 – War^
Roxy Music – Avalon^

~ a gift for my Mom. She doesn’t read this blog, but don’t tell her!
^ These were $2 each, but Scotty included them gratis because I was buying other things. What a guy!

CD

Black Mountain – Black Mountain
Manic Street Preachers – Everything Must Go
Corb Lund Band – Five Dollar Bill
Townes Van Zandt – Live At The Old Quarter (2CD)
Diana Krall – From This Moment On

Report: The Monsters Of Rock LP looks unplayed. Score! The U2 were a nice find, Mike loved that I found Max and Kim, and I think it was 1537 who recommended Roxy Music…. Black Mountain was recommended by Bop, the Manics recommended by 1537 and J., and the Diana Krall completes (I think) my collection of her stuff except her very newest one. Corb Lund and Townes Van Zandt always rule. Woot!

***

Hanover – Flea Market

Bop then recommended the flea market in Hanover, though Scotty didn’t think I should go. I backtracked and grabbed lunch (hello again, amazing meat lover’s panzerotti!), and hit up the market anyway. Who knows, right?

LP

Nothing.

CD

Nothing.

Report: I spent an hour and a half going through all of his stuff, CDs and LPs. It was dark in there, and dirty. All his stuff is alphabetized by first letter of artist’s first name, so Frank Zappa is under ‘F’, etc. It took a long time to dig through. Gahhhh…

A huge percentage of it was nothing I’d want. He had a bunch of Dillinger Escape Plan CDs I needed, but they were all nicked or scratched. I did find three other CDs I’d like, and held onto them a long while. I went through his rock music vinyl room, and found a few I considered getting, though most were priced too high. He wanted $190 for a Beatles LP called Beatles Story. I think I got that one for free…

Most were in sleeves and priced, which is fine, at least you know quickly where you stand. When he told me that unsleeved unpriced LPs were $10 each because he has high rent to pay, I picked up a basic copy of Duran Duran’s Rio LP at random and said “You mean to tell me you’d charge me $10 for this?” Yup. Haha you silly man. I put back everything I had been considering, including the CDs. I just left. Wasted an hour and a half of my day. Scotty was right.

Will skip in future.

***

Harriston – Raven’s Nest

Bop had also recommended a shop in Harriston, so it was down the highway through my old stomping grounds to check out the Raven’s Nest. CDs were all $3 each (nice!), and several boxes of LPs to dig through, sorted helpfully into genre (mostly).

LP

Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers – Drum Suite
Queensryche – Rage For Order (a Grail List item for Brother Craig!)
*undisclosed* – a gift for someone I’m not saying who, nope, no way

CD

Duff McKagan – Believe In Me
KISS – Alive! (2CD)
Dragonforce – Inhuman Rampage
Barstool Prophets – Last Of The Big Game Hunters

Report: Art Blakey on LP for cheap? Hells yes. And a couple of LPs for other folks. Cool! I’d wanted that Duff since Mike mentioned it, KISS Alive! is one I’ve meant to get for years because Mike keeps telling me how awesome it is. Dragonforce was an impulse grab but I’ll give it a go, and Barstool Prophets was one I still needed to get.

***

Williamsford – Williamsford Mill

Rolling back north towards home, I noticed our other car in the parking lot of the Williamsford Mill. I found my lovely wife, our beautiful and rambunctious kids, and my Dad inside the shoppe. They’d stopped to check out the books! Before that, they’d spent their day together in Holstein at the maple syrup festival, and it had been a great time.

There are a few LPs here occasionally, but it’s not steady stock and usually there are none. You might get one milk crate of LPs to dig in if you’re lucky. But today I scored big:

LP

 

 

 

 

 

Deep Purple – Made In Japan (2LP)

Report: Hells yes. The records are in mint shape too, though the glue has come loose from the sleeve. I can fix that!

***

In Sum:

And that was my day. It maybe doesn’t seem like much, but I think I got a ton of great tunes, and all for under $80. And I spent my day doing some of what I love doing: driving through beautiful countryside on a gorgeous sunny day, eating awesome meat-stuffed folded pizza and, most importantly, digging through records looking for treasure. 

My thanks to everyone for their recommendations, especially Boppin. The man certainly knows where to find records. 

Give ‘er!  \m/  \m/

Winner Of The David Bowie CD!

Congratulations to the inimitable Mike Lebrain for his super-fast turnaround of a mere 17 minutes after the contest post went live. He correctly answered the skill-testing question with the name of David Bowie’s character of the Goblin King in Labyrinth, which was “Jareth.”

Mike, your CD will be in the mail shortly!

And thanks to everyone else who entered their guesses… creative as some of them were!

Give ‘er!

Win A David Bowie CD!

Yup, that’s right folks. I’ve come into possession of another CD copy of Blackstar, David Bowie’s last album. I want to send it to YOU!

Who gets it? The first person who correctly comments their answer to this skill-testing question:

WHAT WAS DAVID BOWIE’S CHARACTER NAME, AS THE GOBLIN KING, IN LABYRINTH?

NB: I will be away from my computer for most of today (Saturday), but your answers will be in chronological order in the Comments section (below), so when I return I’ll announce the winner as soon as I can tonight!

Good luck, everyone!

 

Mastodon – Emperor Of Sand

Bias Disclaimer: I believe that Mastodon has never released a bad album. In fact, possibly never a bad track. You’re free to disagree (you probably will), but for me, they just can’t miss.

MASTODON!  \m/  \m/

Knowledge Disclaimer: Yes, I own all of their albums. I’ve even seen them in concert… twice! This by no means makes me an expert, but given how often they get played around here, I’d say it all makes me a bit of a fan.

MASTODON!  \m/  \m/

 

Emperor Of Sand Review:

Sprawling in scope, massive in its vision, and with absolutely crushing riffage and intricately technical playing throughout, Emperor Of Sand nails it.

Brendan O’Brien has produced this disc with great sound, giving the songs space to breathe and pulse and growl menacingly. And what songs! The energy, the lurking melodic hugeness of it all is here in glorious spades.

Reading up on it, this record is a concept album about time, and our own mortality (Wiki):

“The concept and story in Emperor of Sand follows a desert wanderer who has been handed a death sentence. Themes of death and survival are woven into the song’s lyrics, which were inspired by experiences members of the band had when family and friends were recently diagnosed with cancer.

“At the end of the story, the person simultaneously dies and is saved,” (drummer Brann) Dailor said. “It’s about going through cancer, going through chemotherapy and all the things associated with that. I didn’t want to be literal about it. But it’s all in there. You can read between the lines.”

“We’re reflecting on mortality,” bassist and vocalist Troy Sanders said in a statement. “To that end, the album ties into our entire discography. It’s 17 years in the making, but it’s also a direct reaction to the last two years. We tend to draw inspiration from very real things in our lives.”

If you’re at all conversant with the Mastodon discography, you’ll hear little bits of everything from the sounds of their previous albums in here. Parallels to their hugely successful (and stunningly awesome) Crack The Skye album are not unwarranted. That said, they are still moving forward too, relentlessly searching and trying and becoming.

It’s not gonna win over people who previously disliked them. In fact, detractors are saying this one is boring, like the band was doing a paint-by-numbers Mastodon sound thing, while also using warmed-over 90s alt-rock clichés. I read some saying the best Mastodon was ten years ago (or more) and this is crap their old selves would never have allowed on a record. But remember, these are the same gits who want bands to remake the same record (which they personally love) over and over again. Change, growth, exploration? BAD. Comfortable and predictable? GOOD. Silliness.

In Sum:

Fuck yes, this owns. Mastodon remains one of metal’s most interesting, talented and original bands. No one else sounds like them, nor should anyone even try.

This record was released last Friday, and I’ve been all the way through it all three times, now. I love it. GET YOU SOME!

MASTODON!  \m/  \m/

The Spy Next Door

I’ve been introducing our kids to their first Jackie Chan movie. I love (love love love) Chan’s work, and I was right in thinking the kids would too.

We watched The Spy Next Door which, in the long list of his films, is a pretty bad/dumb film, but it’s about as kid-friendly as a Chan movie can get.

Wait. What has this got to do with music? The KMA is all about the tunes! What gives?

First up, Johnny Rivers’ 1966 tune Secret Agent Man is used as the main song for the film. Which, hilariously, is often misheard as Secret Asian Man. Interesting choice, Jackie!

And, well, this flick also contains Billy Ray Cyrus. I know, I know, you can’t really call what he did music, but this last tenuous connection is all I have to link it to our site.

Anyway, it’s Cyrus who gets the movie’s best one-liner. Watch from the start to about 0:35 of this clip and see if you can figure out why I laughed:

 

 

Inukshuk – We Cairn A Lot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brace yourselves for the icy musical blast of Inukshuk, the best thing to come out of the Canadian north since the road south. The band says they’re “pretty excited, eh” to release their first album, We Cairn A Lot. Their blend of rock and roll stylings can best be described as a desperate attempt to, as guitarist Gord Brown put it, “be warmer where there are more people.”

Don’t get them wrong, they love the north. It’s in their blood, and the traditions and way of life above the tree line will always be a part of their lives. When asked why they would tour the south, given how popular the band is at home, bassist Gordon Murphy said “It’s fuckin’ cold up there, eh.” Hard to argue, Gordon!

Described as part Crazy Horse, part Ramones, and part Bachman Turner Overdrive, Inukshuk’s music is sure to please many fans of that good ol’, dirty rock and roll. When asked about their influences, lead singer Gord Smith said “We only had three tapes, ya know. There was Crazy Horse, Ramones, and BTO. So… they got played a lot.” Thanks for clearing up the mystery of your sound, Gord!

Here is the line-up of these northern brothers, and wee bios for each member:

GORD TREMBLAY – drums. Best know for lighting his farts on fire while wearing only a fur-lined aviator hat, Gord knows one beat and he’s sticking to it.

GORDON MURPHY – bass. Gordon is an avid painter, stemming from his time painting houses. “I got real good at straight lines, ya know.” Just like his bass playing!

GORD BROWN – guitar,vocals. Gord loves popping bubble wrap bubbles when he’s not playing guitar. And don’t offer to share your beers, he’ll drink them all. “Every time, too,” says Gordie Gagnon.

GORDIE GAGNON – lead guitar, vocals. Father of 14 children, Gordie is also a lean, mean, axe-wielding machine. When asked where he got his guitar prowess, he said “I had lots of time to practice, ya know, ‘cos I was always hiding from the damn kids.”

GORD SMITH – lead vocals. Gord is the reticent, level-headed band member. That is, until he gets on stage. “When I feel those spotlights, ya know, the ones from the community shed? Those come on and, man, something just comes over me and I remember I gotta sing.”

What a team, eh?

Inukshuk will be touring Ontario for their exciting debut album, We Cairn A Lot, through June/July 2017 on their B-Line For The Border Tour. Gigs have been booked in Ontario only. They’ve even been lucky enough to add a special opening act gig for one date with legendary Canadian rockers Snowshoe on their “Eternal Winter” tour*, so be sure to mark your calendars for the following dates!

Inukshuk: B-Line For The Border Tour

June 15 – Fort Severn – Roadside ditch, a mile or so south of town

June 19 – Pikangikum – Gary’s house

June 23 – Sioux Lookout – Sue’s Lookout

*June 29 – Thunder Bay, Ontario – Deke’s Palace (opening for Horseshoe)*

July 2 – Wawa – Wah Wah’s

July 3 – Sault Ste. Marie – Soo-ee Pig’s

July 6 – Parry Sound – the hockey rink (not the big one, the other one)

July 8 – Owen Sound – Camp KOA, site 14 (bring lawnchairs and firewood)

July 10 – Goderich – Ye Olde Gaol

July 12 – Sarnia – The Cupboard To Sarnia

July 13 – Windsor –  NB: gig pending. Band may have already done a runner over the border…

So be sure and catch Inukshuk on their first (and probably last) tour, the B-Line For The Border! They’re real good guys, ya know, and as Gord Tremblay put it best, “All proceeds from the gigs and album sales will pay for beer and for us to get outta here, man. Oh, and, uh, thanks, eh.”

Inukshuk we hardly knew ye!

Pieces Falling Into Place

I mentioned a couple of months ago that I was making space for other things, projects long overdue, new ideas. Some of the pieces allowing those things to move forward are falling into place. When they do, I will act.

These things are happening outside of this blog. I will not stop listening to music, and I am not stopping writing here, but I may not be posting daily, as I have been for so long. I’m working on how to make this blog fit into the other things, because I still want to tell you about what I’m hearing, and I still have my background work to do in these pages. I’ll think of something.

I’ll still be reading your blogs, but with WP commenting on the fritz (taking more time to go to each individual page to comment rather than using the Reader), you may only receive a Like. This is my signal I’ve read your work, and I will try to comment when I’m between things.

You must be wondering what I’m up to… I don’t blame you. Sometimes, honestly, I wonder too. But it’s all to the good. I’m still here. And I will keep posting, even if it’s altered slightly, and not as often.

Let’s go forward and see what happens!

 

PS: And who knows, we can all hope for more quality James content, too!

J.J. Cale And Eric Clapton – The Road To Escondido

Sometimes, you throw on a record and it just works, ya know? Whatever the mood, whatever your day has been like, you go to your collection in need of that one record that’s gonna make it right… and you just nail it.

This one is that record. Every damn time.

I can’t even begin to tell you how great this is. I may have raved before about J.J. Cale in these pages before, especially his record Troubadour. He has a sound, a thing that he does, and no matter where you are or what’s happening, it brings you back. It grounds you, lets you know everything can be OK.

Oh yeah, and that guy Clapton. You might have heard of him. He’s OK with a guitar now and then, I reckon.

Honestly, this is sunny California and sweet rhythms and blues all rolled into 14 tracks of glorious.

And look at just a short list of folks involved, in one way or another… Derek Trucks, John Mayer, Albert Lee, Doyle Bramhall II, Nathan East, Pino Palladino, Steve Jordan, Billy Preston, Taj Mahal, and many others…

I know. The damn thing won a Grammy for Best Contemporary Blues Album in 2008, too.

In Sum:

If you have this, you’ll know what I mean. If you don’t have this, you’re probably wondering how the hell you missed it. Or perhaps you’re regretting passing it over as some Clapton side project not worth your time. Or if, after all that, you still don’t care, well, it’ll be here for you when you come around, when you’re ready for it.

Get this in your life. Trust me.

New Sensation

Ever since listening to that live INXS record, I’ve had New Sensation in my head. It’s a classic tune, of course, and was a big hit for the band.

There’s one sections of lyrics, though, that stuck out for me, and I wonder if anyone said the same to Michael Hutchence. I hope so:

Cry baby cry
When you got to get it out
I’ll be your shoulder
You can tell me all
Don’t keep it in ya
Well that’s the reason why I’m here

Yoav – A Foolproof Escape Plan

I bought this on spec at work. I dunno, something about the cover drew me to it, even though I didn’t know anything about this artist or the music. Let’s dig in!

First, some details (hi, Wiki!):

Yoav (born Yoav Sadan on October 15, 1979 in Tel Aviv, Israel) is a singer-songwriter of Israeli-Romanian descent, raised in South Africa.

His debut album Charmed and Strange was released in early 2008. Yoav’s music features his own vocals and accompaniment by an acoustic guitar, which he uses to create electronica-style beats with his hands. He has also released two singles, “Club Thing” and “Beautiful Lie”, the former having some success and charting in countries around Europe. His song “Adore Adore” was also featured in “Redwood”, an episode of The Mentalist. He also had a version of his cover song of “Where Is My Mind?” featured in the 2011 film Sucker Punch, which starred actress and singer Emily Browning. The song was subsequently included on the soundtrack.

His father, a Jewish architect who lived through World War II in his native Romania, before moving to Israel (where Yoav was born) and then relocating to South Africa with Yoav’s opera singer mother.

Well then, what about the music? It’s really something! As it’s noted above, he sings and plays guitar. There are definitely some interesting noises throughout, but not in any obnoxious way, and I couldn’t tell if they were even electronic. I’d have to see him playing to know what was what, but there’s definitely looping pedals involved.

The songs are hypnotic, with a world music flavour (does that even make sense? It just feels global). It’s singer-songwriter-y, but not in that obnoxious coffeehouse way. Each song feels huge, expansive, even though most of them also feel up close and personal. It defies labels, judiciously using elements as they best serve each song’s heart.

Going into this, I had no expectations, just curiosity. Coming out the other side of having heard it, I am drawn back to track one because it all needs more attention (though I’m becoming a quick fan of this album). Clearly, I am struggling a bit trying to describe this. I think it’s just something you have to hear for yourself, more than once if you can. I recommend it!

In Sum:

Sometimes I buy discs just to try them out, and often they are OK but nothing special, or will receive few replays. This one, though… this one definitely has that extra-ordinary, strong something that will demand further listens. Score!

 

The Tracks: Greed / Moonbike / Safety In Numbers / Yellowbrite Smile / Spidersong / Little Black Box / Easy Chair / Anonymous / 6/8 Dream / We Are All Dancing

RIP Sib Hashian

Former Boston drummer passed away March 22, 2017, after collapsing mid-set while drumming on a cruise ship. He was 67.

 

 

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