KMA2918 SLCR #335: Belle Plaine (February 16, 2019)

I ran into Other James during the afternoon on the day of this show. We briefly exchanged pleasantries, and we were both excited for that evening’s show. We didn’t talk long, though; he was in a hurry to return to his fancy art-making and I was in a rush to resume making a nuisance of myself in public catching imaginary creatures in a stupid phone game (reminder: I am 42) (in years). But no matter, we’d catch up later in the evening.

We would not. Belle Plaine really wanted to sell this show out in advance and she did so with hours to spare. “Shite,” Other James said on social media, as he will do. Last time he didn’t buy advance tickets, I was able to get him in for free. This time, I left him in the cold. By which I mean at his home or, more likely, with out with some of his zillions of other friends. I’d say we need to stage an intervention and convince him that buying tickets ahead of time is a worthwhile activity, but he’s probably doing better than me in all aspects of life apart from seeing this show.

So yes, this was a sold-out hometown (or close enough to it) album release party at the Artesian for Belle Plaine and her new record, Malice, Mercy, Grief & Wrath. The place was packed – lots of family and friends from what we could overhear – but there was room for us in our usual spots. The entire back wall of the stage was covered with big pink and white balloons for the occasion and it all looked suitably festive. Apparently blowing them all up was quite the chore that barely got done before the doors opened.

There was no opener. The evening’s host was another local country singer, Blake Berglund, who surely earned the role on merit alone and not because he and Plaine are newly married; something he alluded to when introducing himself as Blake Plaine at the start of the show.

As befitting an album launch, Belle and her band played everything off the new record. I’d heard plenty of them before when I saw her open for Colter Wall some months ago, and even a few when she was at Winterruption last year. You know they’re good because I actually remember them from one show to the next, which I don’t always do with artists I’m not super familiar with. Is it Cheating was again a standout and should be a hit. Maybe it is. Are there hit songs anymore?

She also told lots of stories, talking about her mom, her grandma, her neighbour, Blake, and her guitarist who broke his whammy bar so his dad made him a new one by cutting off a piece of the truck. I realize that the “and” in that sentence kind of makes it sound like they all broke the guitarist’s whammy bar, and I’m not saying that didn’t not happen.

The show was split in two by an intermission, and each half was noteworthy for Plaine having a different custom jumpsuit (one denim, one black and shiny). As the new record only has nine tracks, it would have been a short evening, but she threw in a few extra songs, including some covers. She sang Sunday Morning Coming Down and Raised on Robbery and I’m 99% sure Long Black Veil but this was a month ago now so really don’t trust any of this. My favourite was one that Belle and Blake sang both here and at their own wedding, Islands in the Stream. (I guess when you’re a musician marrying another musician and a bunch of your friends are musicians, you don’t hire a wedding band so much as you all just take turns.)

The night was great fun and I recommend the new album. Plaine is currently on tour opening for Colter Wall (who also appears on this record) in Europe, and it sounds like there are some great crowds. She’s probably already too big for the Artesian, and things are just looking up. It’s always a delight to see local musicians doing well, even if it means they outgrow us.

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KMA2917 Emerson, Lake & Powell – Emerson, Lake & Powell

I bought this for two reasons: 1) because it has Cozy Powell on it. And 2), because the track listing told me they would attempt Holst’s Mars, The Bringer Of War. 

Apparently this was the only album Powell recorded with Emerson and Lake, after Palmer left to join Asia. The result is prog rock Floyd-spacey grandeur meets 80s synth-filled fun times. Love Blind is closest to a radio single (to me), their synth blast cover of The Locomotion is throw-away hilarious, and Step Aside is jazzy left field wtf. 

As for Mars? As a fan of Holst, this was an interesting, powerful take that somehow made me imagine the original Bladerunner. Worth the risk. 

It’s dated, but the playing here is superlative, and with an understanding that this album was made in 1986, I think it holds up remarkably well in 2019. Use the good headphones.

KMA2916 GASCD

GASCD is an acronym for Governments Accountable to Society & Citizens = Democracy. So, wouldn’t that be GATS&C=D? Anyway.

Bourbon Tabernacle Choir’s Chris Brown put this together, inspired by the protests as the Quebec City Summit of the Americas in 2002. Profits went to progressive media and social justice groups.  

I bought this not for its political protest rally origins, but because of all the awesome artists playing their political songs. I’m all about the music. It’s a long listen, but it’s chock-full of goodness. Here’s the tracks list, from which you ought to be able to gather its awesomeness:

CD1:

1 Sylvain Lamoureux – The Geese
2 Ani DiFranco – Your Next Bold Move
3 Rheostatics – Bad Time to Be Poor
4 Olu Dara – Red Ant (Nature)
5 Gordon Downie – Trick Rider
6 Jello Biafra – Spoken word excerpt from Mohawk College April 25, 2001
7 Sex Mob – Black and Tan Fantasy
8 Bruce Cockburn – Call it Democracy
9 Scotty Hard – Diurnal – 5:24
10 Propagandhi – Today’s Empire, Tomorrow’s Ashes
11 Maude Barlow – Spoken word excerpt from People’s Summit – Quebec City, 2001
12 Chris Brown and Kate Fenner – How You Gonna Bring Your Children to God
13 Tony Scherr – Food for News
14 Michael Franti – Oh My God
15 Interférence Sardines – Un Nescalier

CD2:

1 Gil Scott-Heron – Work For Peace
2 Nikki Giovanni – Nothing Makes Sense
3 Clark Gayton – Glad I Found My Religion
4 David Suzuki – Phone interview excerpt, May 2001
5 The Tragically Hip – Putting Down
6 Sarah Harmer – 1st Lady
7 Christian Doscher – Straight Lines
8 DJ Serious – Trap Doors
9 Barenaked Ladies – Sell, Sell, Sell
10 Andrew Whiteman – Thot Provoker
11 Bionic – A Political Song for Danko Jones to Sing
12 The Dinner Is Ruined – Funk Asylum
13 Free Radicals – Bombs Burst Brightly on the Lawn
14 Jason Collett – Bitter Beauty
15 Chris Brown – The Shot Across the Bow
16 David Suzuki – Phone interview excerpt    May 2001
17 Bill Frisell – What’s Going On

KMA2915 Electro Quarterstaff – Gretzky

Now this is something of which I’ve always thought there isn’t enough: instrumental metal music. I know there’s lots out there, I’m just greedy.

Anyway, Electro Quarterstaff are from Winterpeg, and they offer up awesome Slayer-like heavy metal with no vocals. And you know something? It’s not needed – these kick serious ass, as is. I mean, they have three lead guitarists. I know.

There was an EP called Swayze in 2004, and this full-length from 2006 does have some re-worked versions of earlier tracks. 

This kicks serious ass. It’s melodic, moody, and metal as fuck. CRANK IT. 

\m/   \m/

Tracks: Neckwrecker / Twisted Squid / Charmony / The Right To Arm Bears / Get Sick / Titanium Overlords / Eyepatch Romance / Something’s Awry In The Hetfield Of Dreams

KMA2914 Gompie – Alice, Who The X Is Alice? (Living Next Door To Alice)

I’d forgotten all about this track, but then I found the CD and laughed aloud. Of course I bought it. 

There’s a whole story about it (found below)*, but just know this single version contains the Radio Bleep Version, the Radio Laugh version, and the Original XXXX version. By their titles, all are fairly self-explanatory.

Hahaha oh man, this was awesome all over again.

 

*Here’s all the Wiki stuff, for those who wanna know more…

Gompie is a Dutch band from Nijmegen, which in 1995 edited the Smokie hit “Living Next Door to Alice”, adding the words “Alice, who the fuck is Alice!?”. The song reached number 1 in the Netherlands and number 17 in the UK. Who the X Is Gompie! is the name of the album they released in 1995.

The song “Living Next Door to Alice” was listened to on a regular basis in café Gompie in Nijmegen. When the name “Alice” had passed, it was common for disk jockey Onno Pelser to turn the volume down, and the entire café would scream “Alice, who the fuck is Alice?”. Rob Peters, director of a record company, happened to visit café Gompie one evening and witnessed this show. He approached his friend, singer Peter Koelewijn, and one day later the song was recorded. “Gompie” was chosen as the artist name.

The single became a hit in the Benelux and 80 other countries. In the United Kingdom and the United States, a censored version was released with the name “Alice, who the bleep is Alice?”. This charted in Britain (though was less popular than Smokie’s own re-recording of the track with Roy ‘Chubby’ Brown) but made no impact in the US.

KMA2913 Sheryl Crow – The Very Best Of Sheryl Crow

Tuesday Night Music Club holds a weird nostalgic place for me as it was everywhere during my first year at university. It grew on me, like a fungus and, though I probably haven’t played it in years, I still own it. I remember I bought the eponymous second album too (it got less play), but I drifted off after that. It happens.

Listening to this, though, tells me I recognize a helluva lot more Sheryl Crow songs than I thought I did. All I Wanna Do’s jiving Stuck In The Middle With You vibe retains its fun. Then it’s hit after hit after hit, some good, some not so much. My Favorite Mistake cribs Keef so hard it hurts. Picture (w. Kid Rock) was always hilariously bad, and her drag through First Cut isn’t anywhere near my favourite take on the old Cat Stevens tune, though it improves a bit on the included country version. A run through this tells me I prefer her sunnier tracks, like Steve McQueen, A Change Would Do You Good, or Soak Up The Sun. 

Overall, a hit-filled mix that points out just how many huge songs this lady has shoved into in-store retail playlists, over the years.

 

Tracks: All I Wanna Do / Soak Up The Sun / My Favorite Mistake / The First Cut Is The Deepest / Every Day Is A Winding Road / Leaving Las Vegas / Strong Enough / Light In Your Eyes / If It Makes You Happy / The Difficult Kind / Picture (w. Kid Rock) / Steve McQueen / A Change Would Do You Good / Home / There Goes The Neighborhood / I Shall Believe / First Cut is The Deepest (Country Version)

KMA2912 Slik Toxik – Dive

2-song promo single, Dive b/w I Wanna Gun, both from the 1994 album, Irrevelant.

Dive is a bluesy slow jam heavy banger with a definite Soundgarden feel. I Wanna Gun drops a bunch of f-bombs and crashes through a truly punishing riff/sound. They attempted anger and nailed it.

Great stuff.

 

 

KMA2911 Christopher Ward – Is This Live?: Inside The Wild Early Years Of Much Music: The Nation’s Music Station

NB: I would say this post ties nicely with brother Lebrain’s current, ongoing VHS Archives upload series.

“Greetings, Limitoids.”*

This is a fascinating tale about a bunch of folks fearlessly figuring out how to do things on the fly, operating on gut instinct and little money, trusting in themselves and each other and, ultimately, piecing together a national treasure. The early days of Much Music were fun times, indeed. 

Found in these pages is an oral history, as told by many of the players in the tale, and containing so many bands and stars too, and it’s a damn good read. There’s even a forward by Mike Myers. Ah, nostalgia for the good old days.

I learned a helluva lot, reading this, and you will too. In fact, this is essential reading. Thank you, Mr. Ward!

 

*  “These were my first words out of the opening that Michael had cut to Eddy Grant’s ‘Electric Avenue…’ My first interview was with Kim Mitchell, legendary lead singer from Max Webster, who was embarking on a solo career. As the countdown reached five… four… three… Kim shoved his finger about two inches up my nose…” (C. Ward, pg. 6)

KMA2910 SLCR #334: Danny Michel (February 10, 2019)

I’ve been slacking on this one and letting the reviews pile up again. I always enjoy Danny Michel shows, but there never seems to be that much to say about them, unless we have some awkward interaction after the show. It happens more often than you’d think. I mean, I’m socially inept in general, but I can usually fake it long enough to get a CD signed or something. Not so much where Danny is involved. And as much as I’d love to pass the buck, it’s not his fault; he’s a good guy who legitimately saved me from catching fire once. After I stole his setlist.

His shows, though, I pretty much know what I’m in for. He doesn’t usually play with a band when on tour, so it’s him with a guitar and looping pedals (and maybe a piano, depending on where he’s playing). And he has a Hawksleyesque quality about him where he’s written hundreds of songs but always seems to draw from the same 20 or so when deciding what to play. None of this is a complaint, I should add. I know what I’m getting but I like what I’m getting.

We showed up at the Artesian and took what is becoming our usual spot at the end of the lowest pew on the left side. Same place we sat the last time we saw Danny there. There were fewer chairs on the floor than usual, with some small round tables available. Even with less seating available, the show still wasn’t sold out, which is a shame. Not that the attendance was terrible, but lower than it should have been. I don’t know what you can do to get more people out to shows here. The brutal cold deserves some of the blame, but every time attendance is soft, there are more Calgary-Edmonton-Saskatoon-day-off-Winnipeg tours. Musicians have to go where they’ll get paid.

Along those lines, Danny had a Facebook post go viral a few months back where he broke down some of the economic realities of being an independent musician. It’s one thing to know that streaming services have an effect on what artists make, but he was open about the scope of it, mentioning a 95% drop in album sales over the course of a year. That loss is counteracted, as such, by streaming royalties, though he also mentioned that a recent single (Purgatory Cove) spent 10 weeks in the CBC Radio 2 and Radio 3 charts but earned less than $50 in royalties. His post made it pretty clear that indie musicians are struggling and reconsidering their careers and futures. It was a sobering read.

Now that I’ve been nice and depressing, let’s get into the show! We started right at 8:00 with no openers. Like I said, I thought I knew what we were getting, so I was pretty surprised when he busted out Toledo for his second song. Apparently, a fan requested it the previous night in Swift Current, but Michel had to admit he didn’t remember how to play it, so he spent the afternoon before our show re-learning it. I don’t think this was hyperbole; when I entered the night’s setlist into setlist.fm, there wasn’t even an option to add Toledo. This is one of my favourite Danny Michel songs and as far as I can tell, it’s been over a decade since I’ve seen him play it live.

Similarly, he played Perfect later in the second set. That was another old one that doesn’t get much play. I say “old one” as though I didn’t just realize that Feather, Fur & Fin has now been out for over a decade, though I still consider it among his “new stuff.” I’m bad for that. Every Tragically Hip album after Phantom Power is “new stuff” and it came out in 1998 and only got added to “old stuff” last year.

As for the rest of the show, it was a really fun time. Few surprises, but he cracked jokes, told stories, and played a lot of old favourites with some new stuff from his latest album, White & Gold:

Born in the Wild
Toledo
Wish Willy
Khlebnikov
Whale of a Tale
Samantha in the Sky with Diamonds
Feather, Fur & Fin
Tennessee Tobacco
(intermission)
A Cold Road
Purgatory Cove
24,000 Horses
Perfect
What Colour are You?
Click Click
Who’s Gonna Miss You?
encore: Nobody Rules You

But we weren’t quite done. Michel explained that he was going to play one last song and consider the show over, but that he had something extra planned just for us, if we wanted. His birthday had been the week before, and his friend Rob Carli, who was recording with the Toronto Symphony, got them to play Happy Birthday for him. So Danny wanted to return the favour, but with a different song, a Regina-centric song, one that Carli had introduced to him. So he had the sound tech hit the music and led us all in a singalong of Experience Regina, which by now has to be the most mentioned song in any of these reviews. It was a fun time. He walked through the crowd recording everyone and later posted the video. You can see Mika and me singing in the background (by which I mean, I can point out which blurred smudges are us, but you’d never know without help). A fan sent in additional video, so it’s a two-camera shoot; in that footage, you can get a real nice look at the back of our heads.

I stopped by the stuff table to pick up White & Gold. Not only do I dig his music, but it was also a super value pack (LP, CD, and download code, all for one low price). A deal! We stuck around long enough so I could get it signed and… nothing awkward happened. No theft, no fire, no immediately regrettable topics, nothing to add to the list. Just a brief chat and a nice souvenir that I’ll add to the record shelf once we buy more shelves. Or thin out the cookbooks.

KMA2909 The Lord Of The Rings Epic Weekend Blowout Extravaganza

Yep. Over the past couple of days, I watched all three Lord Of The Rings movies. Extended versions. And I still got teary-eyed at the end of Return Of The King, when King Aragorn tells the hobbits that they bow to no one, and then he (and everyone else) kneels to them. So good.

Anyway, this is a music site, so I wanted to give a huge nod to the epic soundtrack work of Howard Shore. That haunting main melody, the rousing battle music, the gentle tunes for quieter moments, the themes for each character and place…

You know, those films are already masterpieces to many degrees: of acting, of cinematography, of adaptation from books to screen, of costuming and sets. Amazing. And the music score portions on all three is impeccable, making them masterpieces to some even higher nth degree.

Let’s face it, sometimes music in a film is just fine, whatever, and then sometimes it’s spot on, fitting each scene to a tee. These soundtracks, folks, are perfect. I’ve got all three on CD and they rule.

KMA2908 Four Album Run

Stemming from my post (and the subsequent comments) yesterday, it occured to me that this might be a fun mental exercise for us all…

The subject was runs of four albums in a row. I’d said that the Rolling Stones’ run from 1968 to 1972 was the best ever. Check it:

 

1968 Beggars Banquet
1969 Let It Bleed
1971 Sticky Fingers
1972 Exile On Main St.

I mean, holy moly. That’s an untouchable string of classic albums that belong in everybody’s collection!

But then I got to thinking that my saying it was the best ever was only my pure bias towards the Stones showing itself. I mentioned this to Scott, our benevolent and malevolent Heavymetaloverlord, and he said he thought Manowar would have been the one:

1982 Battle Hymns
1983 Into Glory Ride
1984 Hail To England
1984 Sign Of The Hammer

You may agree with either! Others I had mentioned were Black Sabbath’s first four:

1970 Black Sabbath
1970 Paranoid
1971 Master Of Reality
1972 Vol. 4

And then there’s Metallica’s amazing run…

1983 Kill ‘Em All
1984 Ride The Lightning
1986 Master Of Puppets
1988 …And Justice For All

Or what about Iron Maiden? Although arguably, this is a five album run… but maybe that’s just me not wanting to exclude Seventh Son…

1982 The Number Of The Beast
1983 Piece Of Mind
1984 Powerslave
1986 Somewhere In Time
1988 Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son

Anyway, according to these options, the Stones are the one thing here not like the others. But Surely you can think of others in other genres, maybe your favourite bands fromwherever and whenever.

Like the Tragically Hip:

1989 Up To Here
1991 Road Apples
1992 Fully Completely
1994 Day For Night

Or the mighty Sloan!

1992 Smeared
1994 Twice Removed
1996 One Chord To Another
1998 Navy Blues

There again, it’s my bias showing with those last two, and if it really came down to it with having to choose Greatest All Time, well, I’d really struggle but probably default to the Stones.

What about you? Drop a comment if you have a Greatest Four Album Run to add!

KMA2907 Rolling Stones – Can’t You Hear Me Knocking

I don’t often talk about single songs these days (that’s Steve For The Deaf’s territory!), but I wanna talk about a Stones song I’ve loved for years. It came up in a mix the other day, and I got to thinking about it a bit more, so I’ll ramble a bit. To me, it really is three parts in one song. It also influenced others, and is (possibly, though it’s been denied) influenced by others. I’ll be brief. Check it:

Found on Sticky Fingers (1971). You knew that.

Part I: The opening is pure rough and dirty, bluesy, fuzzy, chunky Stones riff rawk. I mean, goddamn. That open G monster has a swing, a shake, and a groove to it. There’s no overplaying, it’s sparse and gorgeous, like so many Stones riffs. Some bands spend their whole careers trying to write a riff as good, and for these guys it wasn’t even a single. Crazy.

Part II: The chorus bit is rousing, in a spaced-out sort of way. It all sounds like it could fall apart at any minute yet it never quite does. I’d wager it was this bit that the Black Crowes lifted for their track, My Morning Song. Of course, the Crowes owe such a massive debt to the Stones (and others, it’s true) for even sounding like they often do, so this should come as no surprise. 

Part III: And then, at 2:43, the song takes its final form as an instrumental jam, complete with conga drums (RIP Rocky Dijon), saxophone (RIP Bobby Keys), and organ (RIP Billy Preston). Jeez, all three gone… Anyway, it’s a jazzy blues jam to the outro in extended guitar solos, starting at 4:40, by Keith Richards and Mick Taylor, and by the time it ambles past the seven minute mark (!) we’re so far from the opening riff that it’s like we left the planet. 

Now, I’d swear that inspiration for some of this part came from Carlos Santana’s recognizable sound, but Keef says otherwise: “The jam at the end wasn’t inspired by Carlos Santana. We didn’t even know they were still taping. We thought we’d finished. We were just rambling and they kept the tape rolling. I figured we’d just fade it off. It was only when we heard the playback that we realised, Oh, they kept it going. Basically we realised we had two bits of music. There’s the song and there’s the jam.” 

And it seems Mick Taylor has his story in line with Keef’s: “”Can’t You Hear Me Knocking” … is one of my favourites … [The jam at the end] just happened by accident; that was never planned. Towards the end of the song I just felt like carrying on playing. Everybody was putting their instruments down, but the tape was still rolling and it sounded good, so everybody quickly picked up their instruments again and carried on playing. It just happened, and it was a one-take thing. A lot of people seem to really like that part.

I guess that’s that, then!

In looking it up, I, too, learned something new: In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine listed it at number 25 on its list of “The 100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time.” Damn.

Alright, enough. Here’s the tune. Crank it!

KMA2906 Cream – The Very Best Of Cream

Of course, I don’t really need to say much here except awesome and holy mackerel these guys were great, and they had so many big songs! This 20-track UK import mix walks through their wonkier early stuff and rolls right on through the tunes you know best. For a band that only had four albums, there’s a ton of great stuff! You’ll also find covers, like Spoonful and a smokin’ live* version of Crossroads. It’s a mighty fine 1CD introduction/refresher of this psychedelic blues rock combo. Hot damn.

 

Tracks: Wrapping Paper / I Feel Free / N.S.U. / Sweet Wine / I’m So Glad / Spoonful / Strange Brew / Sunshine Of Your Love / Tale Of Brave Ulysses / SWLABR / We’re Going Wrong / White Room / Sitting On Top Of The World / Politician / Those Were The Days / Born Under A Bad Sign / Deserted Cities Of The Heart / Crossroads / Anyone For Tennis / Badge

 

* Taken from Wheels Of Fire, recorded half live, half studio.

KMA2905 Pat Metheny Group – The Way Up

This album won a Grammy for Best Contemporary Album in 2005. It’s all one track, though on my CD copy it’s split into four tracks (titled Opening, then Track One, Track Two and Track Three) for navigation purposes. Do you like Pat Metheny Group, with Lyle Mays on keys? Do you like jazzy improvisation and solos? Do you like brilliant musicianship on an untouchable level? Do you like to just drift away on an album and let it carry you for 67:27? You need this beauty!

KMA2904 Pat Metheny – Rarum IX: Selected Recordings

Containing tunes Metheny selected himself, this compilation marked his departure from ECM for Geffen. It may seem short, at 9 tracks, but even that is still 72 minutes total. And it’s still more than enough to whet the appetite. Call it a hits set, hell, call it what you want, but this is a beautiful collection of early Metheny. Oh baby. 

 

 

Tracks: Bright Size Life / Phase Dance^ / New Chautauqua / Airstream^ / Everyday (I Thank You) / It’s For You* / Are You Going With Me?^ / The First Circle^ / Lonely Woman~

^ w. Pat Metheney Group
* w. Lyle Mays
~ w. Charlie Haden & Billy Higgins).

KMA2903 Willie Nelson – You Don’t Know Me: The Songs Of Cindy Walker

Willie’s 54th album. Released nine days before Walker’s death, this is Willie covering her stellar tunes. If you like brilliant songwriting, and you like Willie… and let’s be honest, who doesn’t!… you need this.

Tracks: Bubbles In My Beer / Not That I Care / Take Me In Your Arms & Hold Me / Don’t Be Ashamed Of Your Age / You Don’t Know Me / Sugar Moon / I Don’t Care / Cherokee Maiden / The Warm Red Wine / Miss Molly / Dusty Skies / It’s All Your Fault / I Was Just Walkin’ Out The Door

KMA2902 New Pornographers – Together

Their 5th record was recorded in seven different studios, with guest appearances from members of Beirut, St. Vincent, Okkervil River and Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings. Dedicated to the memory of Lynne Calder (Kathryn Calder’s mom, and half-sister of Carl Newman). That’s all on Wiki. What you wanna know is that this is a rock-solid NP record. This band is so cool. Start with Sweet Talk, Sweet Talk, Your Hands (Together), Moves, and Crash Years. Go from there to the rest of the tracks. Hot damn.

KMA2901 The Spanish Guitar

I got this Naxos 2CD set at work because I sure do love me some Spanish guitar, and it sure delivers! Beautiful work, full of passion and dynamics. I love how an orchestra gets woven in sometimes, too. I was gonna mention more, but this dude on Amazon already nailed it:

You probably need to be a real guitar enthusiast to want the two-CD collection The Spanish Guitar, but anyone who fears that at more than 140 minutes this Naxos set may be a few plucky numbers too many should swiftly be won over. Where the set scores is in some clever programming that never allows the ear to tire of a particular sound-world or even a particular style. After the longest piece of the set, Mompou’s beautiful Suite Compostelana, an orchestra broadens the aural world with Peter Breiner’s concerto based on Bizet’s Carmen. Three pieces fulfil (sic) a similar function on the second disc. Some of the best known Spanish “guitar” music was written for piano–Granados’ 12 Spanish Dances; here we get the first, in an arrangement for guitar and orchestra, and the famous fifth, which tops and tails the set with a guitar transcription as an opener and a guitar and piano version as a finale. In between you can find everything from foot-stomping flamenco to moody languorous pieces, played with great atmosphere by a fine line-up of soloists. Listeners in need of persuasion need look no further than Norbert Kraft’s playing of Tárrega’s celebrated Recuerdos de la Alhambra, a cracking piece, beautifully played. –Keith Clarke

KMA2900 2Pac – Greatest Hits

This is two CDs of musically solid tunes, with incredible flow and skill with words. I like his songs about respect, and being strong, and trying to do good in the world. I can handle the language (can’t hurt these ears). But I just don’t dig tunes with regressive posturing, boasting and violent ideas, by anybody. I understand it’s his experience, and I know there’s a time and a place, I really do. I just prefer the message of Keep Ya Head Up to something like Hit Em Up.

KMA2899 How To Make Dire Straits Sound Like The Police

Especially the intro and the outro… Live Aid 1985.

KMA2898 Rush – The Spirit Of Radio: Greatest Hits 1974-1987

Did I need to buy this? No.

Is it possible to capture all of the best of Rush from that 13-year (Mercury Records) period on one CD? No.

Did I buy this anyway, because Rush? Yes.

Does it still kick ass, no matter how millions of times I’ve heard these songs? Absolutely.

 

Tracks: Working Man / Fly By Night / 2112 Overture/The Temples Of Syrinx / Closer To The Heart / The Trees / The Spirit Of Radio / Freewill / Limelight / Tom Sawyer / Red Barchetta / New World Man / Subdivisions / Distant Early Warning / The Big Money / Force Ten / Time Stand Still

KMA2897 The One That Got Away

As you’ll recall, I recently had The Biggest Grail List Success ever, finding a copy of the Van Morrison 2LP set for Too Long In Exile at a reasonable price. I am still happy dancing about that one.

One other item on the Grail List that has been there since the list was created is a copy of Greg Graffin’s OOP solo CD, American Lesion. Sometimes it is listed under American Lesion as the artist name AND the album title. Odd. Anyway, it’s another of those items that is always $50 and up for a copy. It needs a reissue!

About two months ago, I found a reputable secondary Amazon seller with a copy in good shape for $11.99! I ordered it, post-haste! I was already writing my Grail List Score post for you guys in my head as soon as I hit send. And then I waited. And I waited. And I waited some more. It never arrived.

Amazon, not knowing what goes on with their secondary sellers, just said “it has probably been delivered.” Haha thanks for coming out! So I contacted the seller, said the item was now three weeks past expected delivery date. What was up?

I got a brief message to say that that order had been a technical error in their system, sorry for the inconvenience. The order was cancelled. They charged my VISA, they said it was shipped. How the hell was it an error in their system? What system? Isn’t it still a human being that gets that CD, puts it in an envelope, and puts it in the mail? Wouldn’t they say something if they couldn’t find the CD when they went looking for it? Why would it show Shipped if it wasn’t? I was told I would have been informed at the time but it probably went to my junk mail. Bullshit. All Amazon mail uses my main email address and never hits junk mail. I searched my junk mail – nothing. They have apparently refunded my card and are washing their hands of it.

I have some conspiracy theories about this. The main one being that someone in their location wanted the CD (knowing it is OOP and how much they sell for) and just said it wasn’t in stock, keeping it for themselves. Or perhaps they realized they’d vastly under-priced it compared to other sellers, told me they’d “lost” my copy to get out of their obligation to me, and will re-post it at a higher price in a little bit. It is possible that there was an error and they posted a CD they did not actually have in stock, but something about the whole interaction feels sideways.

I’ve sent a fairly sternly-worded email about inefficiency and vagueness to cover up to the seller, but at this point there’s not much else I can do about it. Amazon won’t care. If the seller says they don’t have it, that’s all I can know. And so, American Lesion is, as of this moment, the one that got away.

NB: I’m watching you, Round3CA on Amazon.

 

UPDATE: I called Amazon’s toll-free and, lacking a tracking number for the shipping, they can’t say what happened at the seller’s end, just that it seems to have never left their location. Amazon did confirm the VISA refund, and they are going to submit feedback to the seller on this issue because they also don’t see any email attempt from the seller to contact me that there was a change in the order. The lady on the phone was apologetic, and said she hoped I found this CD sooner rather than later. Me too!

KMA2896 Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble – Blues At Sunrise

Sure it’s mostly previously-released stuff, but it’s cool as hell anyway. What do you need me to say? It’s SRV & DT, riding low and slow and bluesy as hell. Johnny Copeland and Albert King are here. I mean, honestly. I will play this anytime, anywhere, and always at high volume. Hot damn!

Check out the tracks and their sources:

01 Ain’t Gone ‘N’ Give Up On Love (Soul To Soul)

02 Leave My Girl Alone (In Step)

03 Tin Pan Alley (Aka Roughest Place in Town) (f. Johnny Copeland) (previously unreleased live at Montreux 1985/07/15)

04 Chitlins Con Carne (The Sky Is Crying)

05 The Things (That) I Used To Do (Couldn’t Stand The Weather)

06 The Sky Is Crying (previously unreleased uttake from Couldn’t Stand The Weather sessions)

07 Texas Flood (Video Version) (live) (Live At The El Macambo video)

08 May I Have A Talk With You (The Sky Is Crying)

09 Dirty Pool (Texas Flood)

10 Blues At Sunrise (w. Albert King) (live) (Albert King With Stevie Ray Vaughan In Session)

KMA2895 CBGB OMPS

I’ve never seen this 2013 film, but after hearing this CD I wanna. I mean, this mix is incredible – all the kudos to whomever put it together. What a blast listening to all of these tunes (most of them for the zillionth time, for me).

Hot damn!

 

Check out the tracks included here:

01 Talking Heads – Life During Wartime
02 MC5 – Kick Out The Jams
03 New York Dolls – Chatterbox
04 Television – Careful
05 Richard Hell & The Voidoids – Blank Generation
06 Flamin’ Groovies – Slow Death
07 Velvet Underground – I Can’t Stand It
08 Wayne County & The Electric Chairs – Out Of Control
09 The Count Five – Psychotic Reaction
10 Tuff Darts – All For The Love Of Rock ‘N’ Roll (live)
11 Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers – All By Myself
12 Dictators – California Sun
13 Dead Boys – Caught With The Meat In Your Mouth
14 Joey Ramone – I Got Knocked Down (But I’ll Get Up)
15 Laughing Dogs – Get Outa My Way
16 Blondie – Sunday Girl (2013 Version)
17 Stooges – I Wanna Be Your Dog
18 Dead Boys – Sonic Reducer
19 The Police – Roxanne
20 Hilly Krystal – Birds And The Bees

KMA2894 Ember Swift – InsectInside

I found this CD at work and texted James…

Me: Why do I know the name Ember Swift?

James: I saw her live at Crawdaddy’s* in 2003.

Me: Wow. OK… Did she have something to do with Hawksley? He produced or something? Or is that my faulty memory? 

James: Entirely possible. The thought crossed my mind too. 

Me: Was she any good tho? There’s a CD here, is all. I was curious.

James: I liked it well enough but she was super political in that way where I pretty much agree with all of it but Jesus Christ dial it back a little. Apparently. I don’t really remember it, but that’s what I wrote down.

Me: Haha. I’m going to buy the CD just because of that.

Anyway, this 1997 effort is alternately full-on strident young lady with an acoustic guitar Ani DiFranco-ish goodness, and beautiful ballad strummery. All is offered with a voice perfectly suited for both. I liked how she even quoted Alanis in the first track, Own It, a tune on which she absolutely goes for broke. The piano playing on Awkward Lover perfectly emulate her voice, and the violin on Fly is a great touch. The album ends with a track of her eating sour cream and onion chips. I know.

If I had heard this in 1997, I’d have been all over it as it’s the sort of university dorm room album I’d have embraced, and a show at the pub/coffeeshop would have rocked us. In 2019, in my mid-40s, to hear this now, I still enjoyed it.

Also: I still don’t know if there was ever a Hawksley connection. Are you out there reading this, Ember? Was there one, at any point?   

 

*Crawdaddy’s was a restaurant we went to in Saskatoon, cajun-style menu. A magician had stuck a bunch of playing cards to the ceiling with some trick they did during the evening shows. Anyway, they had a bbq chicken/ham/cheese/mustard/coleslaw sandwich called The Big Messy and, as the name implies, it certainly was messy and it was goddamn glorious. And then James remembered the cajun poutine…

KMA2893 Verve’s Grammy Winners

This set is hot. Collecting (obviously) Grammy winners from the Verve label’s roster, it’s just great track after great track… You get Ella Fitzgerald, Stan Getz and Joao Gilberto, Charlie Byrd, Shirley Horn, Bill Evans, Wes Montgomery, Charlie Parker, Count Basie, Betty Carter, Jimmy Smith, Joe Williams, and Joe Henderson. I mean, C’MON.

Found here: I will forever love Ella Fitzgerald for the time she did Mack The Knife live in Berlin but didn’t know the words… of course, she totally saves it in that inimitable Ella way…

Check it:

KMA2892 Rationalizations

Found this on the interwubs…

KMA2891 Holly Cole – The Holly Cole Collection Vol. 1

Not gonna lie, there are times when only Holly Cole’s music can give me what I need. I just love her sweet, smooth vocal approach, I love the arrangements, the trio work is stellar, her album of Tom Waits covers rules… anyway, this hits set has the neophyte covered. So many essential tunes here, including her duet with Jesse Cook on a Sting song, several standards, and other covers of (to name a few) Prince, the Beach Boys, Tom Waits, and Johnny Nash. Essential listening.

KMA2890 Run To The Hiiiiills…

…Run for your liiiiiiives…

Our young kitty Oscar is awesome.

KMA2889 Mariah Carey – Greatest Hits

I know, I know. WHUT.

Well, herein lies a wee tale. I really like her first record. I had hopes she’d be a true r&b superstar in the old vein. Check out Vision Of Love. I mean, damn! But it is what it is, and still, that voice is amazing and there’s a lot of tuneful stuff here, tons of true hits. This 2cd set has way more than filthy casuals like me could ever need. It also means I now have Lil Bow Wow in my iTunes. What a world.

 

Tracks:

CD1: Vision Of Love / Love Takes Time / Someday / I Don’t Wanna Cry / Emotions / Can’t Let Go / Make It Happen / I’ll Be There (f. Trey Lorenz) / Dreamlover / Hero / Without You / Anytime You Need A Friend / Endless Love (w. Luther Vandross) / Fantasy

CD2: One Sweet Day (w. Boyz II Men) / Always Be My Baby / Forever / Underneath The Stars / Honey / Butterfly / My All / Sweetheart (f. JD) / When You Believe  (w. Whitney Houston)(from Prince Of Egypt) / I Still Believe / Heartbreaker (f. Jay-Z) / Thank God I Found You (f. Joe & 98 Degrees) / Can’t Take That Away (Mariah’s Theme) / Bonus Track: All I Want For Christmas Is You (So So Def Remix) (f. Jermaine Dupri and Lil Bow Wow)

KMA2888 Oh Lorde

The internet amuses me…

KMA2887 Dark Was The Night

Part of the Red Hot series of HIV/AIDS fundraising albums, this is two CDs of big names and cool songs. Full disclosure: it was a lot of (mostly) indie-sounding pop/rock all at once, and I had to do this set in more than one sitting. But that’s OK, it gave the tunes time to breathe.

Artists appearing:

CD1: Dirty Projectors & David Byrne, The Books (f. Jose Gonzalez), Feist & Ben Gibbard, Bon Iver, Grizzly Bear, The National, Yeasayer, My Brightest Diamond, Kronos Quartet, Antony w. Bryce Dessner, Justin Vernon & Aaron Dessner, The Decemberists, Iron & Wine, Grizzly Bear & Feist, Sufjan Stevens.

CD2: Spoon, Arcade Fire, Beirut, My Morning Jacket, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, Dave Sitek, Buck 65, The New Pornographers, Yo La Tengo, Stuart Murdoch, Jónsi & Alex, Cat Power & Dirty Delta Blues, Andrew Bird, Conor Oberst & Gillian Welch, Blonde Redhead & Devastations, Kevin Drew.

KMA2886 Don’t Pour Some Sugar On Me

Hey Dear KMA Readers, welcome back to this short (two-day) series I’ve called The Weekend Of Reading (for lack of a wittier or more creative title). It’s Sunday, and, just like yesterday when I went against my current brevity attempts, today’s missive is also a fairly long excursion. For all I know, this post may be worthwhile, so grab a coffee and get comfortable. Enjoy!

***

ASIDE:

I believe I’ve told this story before, but I love it and it’s somewhat relevant, so here it is (in short) again: 

Still one of my favourite Dad-Son moments was one time in the car, when he was quite young, our son was listening to the music with me and Def Leppard’s Pour Some Sugar On Me was playing. He listened closely, then asked “Dad, why would you want someone to pour sugar on you?” 

Excellent question, my son.

***

So this is one of those life posts, not an album brief barf (and, sadly, not a Def Leppard review) and (sadly) it’s not another super-duper amazing Grail List score like yesterday’s post. This is just part of my recent experience. I’m definitely not saying it’s for everyone, I’m not selling anything, and I’m super-definitely not fishing for compliments or whatever. I’m just sharing this notion I had and the results of a couple of changes I’ve made, health-wise. Maybe you’ll find it interesting.

Last autumn, I was probably at my heaviest. I’ve always been the tall(ish) skinny guy. As a youth, I ate whatever whenever and never gained a pound. By my mid-30s, that lifetime of bad eating habits caught up with me and the pounds started slipping on. Add in raising two kids, not getting to the gym, eating easy fast meals, and taking a car everywhere and… well, by my (almost) mid-40s now, it had compounded (pun intended). Add to this that x-rays confirm I’ve now got arthritis in my feet, hands and wrists, as well as I had a sore back all the time (I always blamed my job, which involves a lot of heavy lifting and constant movement on a concrete floor), and sleep was tough to come by…

I fell down the rabbit hole that is the interwubs, looking for ideas, answers, whatever. I discovered that there’s a boatload of crap out there, a lot of clearly bad ideas and impractical advice, and a lot of people selling things. It took some time to sift and refine my keyword searches… Through it all, though, diet/food intake became a focus (of course). I read up on sugar, particularly added sugars in foods. And so one day last October, armed with only enough knowledge to probably make me dangerous to myself in some way, I thought I’d try cutting out added sugar. This is in no way a new idea. The internet is full of dieticians and doctors talking about it, and a whole whack of vloggers and people desperate for attention who’ve made pretty videos about going 30 days without it, etc. Me, I just stopped it one day.

In the beginning, I didn’t have a time limit, and you know, I still don’t. Pretty quickly, though, I got used to it. It just became how I ate. More vegetables and fruit, lean meat, healthy carbs. I mean, I’m a 6’2” man in his 40s with a physical job, I still have to eat and I really truly like to eat! I just watched for sugar, in all forms. I don’t usually eat between meals anyway, and I don’t usually eat before bed. I don’t eat fast food, and we only eat out at restaurants once every month or month-and-a-half (and even then I order wisely, now). For beverages, I drink only water and plain green tea (no lemon, no ginseng, no added anything). In fact, I’m doing a survey of green tea from some of the brands I could find in my town. I’ve found a couple I like, and am always trying new ones.

Sugar. Read the labels of your foods. Heck, try grocery shopping for no added sugar. Read every label, on yogurt, salad dressings, sauces, boxes of this and bags of that, and cans of these others and… it’s quite a tough gig to be sugar-free. It’s in just about everything, and often in frightening amounts. For my wee mission, sugar from natural sources (like fruit) is fine. Just no added sugar. And no sweetners like Splenda or stevia, or aspartame (that stuff is f*cking evil) to replace it. I also watch for sneaky sugar under other names they use to show its variations, like glucose, fructose, sucrose, and on and on. No corn syrup, no cane sugar, and so on. There’s so much out there!

It makes my life easier that I don’t usually do the reflexive things like snacking and reaching for the comfort candy or snacks. Peckish? Have an apple or a banana and a few plain almonds and/or walnuts instead. Very quickly, a lot of the energy fluctuations I had throughout the day evened right out. Sugar cravings disappeared. I didn’t get any headaches or withdrawal symptoms (and for this I count myself very lucky).

After a while, I lost a pound or two, so I started setting minimal weight loss goals. To avoid stressing about it, I just set small, 5 pound increments. And even at that, I’m not worried about how long it takes, merely curious. Hell, I only weigh myself once per week, first thing after waking on Monday morning, before eating anything. No stress, no worry, no micromanaging, no spreadsheets, and no obsessing. I like simple.

Over the last few months, there have been ups and downs. Christmas Day and Boxing Day were a bit of a tough go, as there were tempting things afoot. I have to say I feel I did very well, allowed myself just a bit of a piece of something because, let’s be honest, when my Mom and my Mother-In-Law cook and bake for Christmas, it’s impossible to have nothing because they are amazing cooks/bakers. But next day, even after only having a wee bit, I was right back to it. No worries. Over those months in total, my weight fluctuated a bit, but the general curve has trended towards loss, and that’s a win, in my books. The bigger win was just generally feeling better day after day.

Fast-forward through five months of just simply avoiding added sugar, to now. I’m still going strong, and I feel great. In fact, I feel a bit like a new man. I have more energy, I’m sleeping better, I don’t ache much anymore. And I’ve lost 25 lbs. I’m down two pants-sizes. Did I think I’d get here? Not really, not just in this way. But here I am. I mean, I didn’t exercise any more (or less). I still don’t go to the gym (I’ve grown to hate gyms but that’s another rant for another day), and by the end of a typical day, I’m tired out anyway and exercise is the last thing on my mind. I simply changed how I ate. Just good, simple food, lots of water and green tea. No added sugar. Easy.

Add to that, my joints don’t ache much anymore, and best of all, I no longer have to ice my feet, hands and wrists after work. I don’t have a sore back much anymore. I’d swear I’m sleeping better, feeling more rested in the mornings anyway. My mind isn’t really any clearer, but it was never very clear to begin with so that’s status quo.

***

So what now?

You know what, I’m gonna keep going with this. I’m used to it now. I may add in a cheat item or meal now and again but to be honest, I don’t even miss it anymore. I don’t feel like I need to cheat. Cheat on what? Half the crap I used to eat without thinking about it would be way too much for me now and probably make me feel ill, so it’s not even a big deal anymore. I don’t even think about it.

And to be clear, I’m not telling any of you that you should try it too, this is just me relating my experience. If you want to try it, I say read up on it (I’m not an expert) and decided for yourself if you want to try something like this, or some modified version, or something completely different, or nothing at all I’m fine the way I am thank you very much! It’s all you, Dear KMA Readers!

Overall, for me, I’m far happier with how I feel, moreso than the weight loss. Though, I’m not gonna lie, losing those pounds has been a great bonus. Man, if I added in some actual exercise, like cardio and some weights, I might get into actual shape…

And I learned a few things:

– Sugar (in all its forms) is everywhere, in just about everything. It’s amazing how prevalent it is.

– Pro tip: Shop mostly around the walls of the grocery store. Sugar lives mostly in the center aisles.

– Any weight loss achieved in this way is a long game. No quick tricks or massive losses here (averaged out, I’ve lost 5 lbs per month).

– It’s not about the weight loss, for me, though it is nice to lose some heft. Alleviating pain and feeling even energy all day is my favourite part of this experiment.

– I do not really want Def Leppard to pour sugar on me. But they could pour hundred dollar bills over me, if they wanted.

And like I’ve said a bunch of times in this post already, I am a regular Dude, not a diet guru. I am not selling anything. Hell, for all I know, what I’m doing is somehow or in some way dangerous over such an extended period of time. I’m no expert and I’m not telling anybody to do anything. But this has been my experience. Thanks for Reading.

 

KMA2885 ULTIMATE GRAIL ITEM FIND!!!

Hey Dear KMA Readers, welcome to a short (two-day) series I’ll call The Weekend Of Reading (for lack of a wittier or more creative title). It’s Saturday, and, against my current brevity attempts, today’s missive is a fairly long excursion. I know for sure it’s worthwhile, though, so grab a coffee and get comfortable. Enjoy!

***

Like many of us, I have several items on my Grail List (see link at top of page for the Master Grail List). That’s the whole point of the list. We put the things we dearly want and have never found in the wild onto that list, and then we can all access this list and help each other out wherever we are in the world! This system has already yielded great results, with people finding things for others in their own local shoppes that have never appeared in other places. Community!

One item on my list has always been the main attraction. It has always been the only item on anybody’s Grail List in red text, to highlight its glory, priority, and importance to me.

Copies of this item exist, sure, and given unlimited funds I would already have had a M/M copy ages ago. But typically, lesser-rated copies list at $100-$200 (CAD), and some appear for more yet. Quality and ratings vary widely within that range, too. I’d have a hard time paying that for an LP set, no matter what it was. And that’s prices without shipping added on yet!

Part of the problem is that this album was only ever released on LP in the UK and Europe, so here in Canada it’s an import. The price goes up. It’s also a 2LP gatefold set. The price goes up again. It’s also from 1993, a time when LPs were being shoved aside in favour of 1537’s least favourite format, the shiny silver discs, so that means there were (comparitively) fewer copies out there. The price goes up again.

I’ve had this LP set on my Discogs Want List for a looong time. It may have even been my first-ever item added to my list. And not a week goes by that I don’t get a new notification from them saying ‘hey! we have a newly-added copy! It’s only £95!’ Well, that’s a lot more to me, with currency conversion considered, so how about no.

And then. AND THEN.  Finally, after all these years, I recently clicked on one of these notification emails (as I always do) expecting it to be another wildly expensive copy, and it wasn’t. It was reasonable. And rated VG+/VG+. I didn’t even think about it and, recognizing my chance, I hit Order.

The seller was super-fast, receiving the order and processing the payment that same day. They shipped the next day. That kind of turnaround is crazy. It came from the UK, so it took a while for the boys in the canoes to get it here, but arrive it did.

Can I tell you how happy I was? I even messaged the seller to thank them, and they were happy it made me happy. Wa-hooo!

Now, you wonder why this album. What’s the big deal?

Waaaaay back in the autumn of 1998, my lovely wife and I started dating. On our second date, she visited me in my town, and we made dinner together in my little apartment. We shared a bottle of chianti my Nana had brought back from Italy. And this was the album that I threw into the player that evening. That was the CD copy I still have today! On reflection, I don’t recall any real calculation to choosing that particular album, I must’ve just reflexively figured it would go well. It did. And it became ‘our’ album. We’re sentimental fools.

So, finding this on LP has always been a goal of mine, just for the beauty of hearing it on the Rega, and for having the 2LP gatefold gloriousness in our house.

Even better, this year was our 20th Valentines Day together, now married 15 years, with two beautiful children, and loving life. We’ve come a long way and covered a lot of kilometers (in three provinces) from that date at my place, but then again, we’ve been friends for 40 years, so we just call it a lifetime of awesome, all is as it should be. And this set made an excellent gift for both of us on this 20th Valentines!

And now, if you’ve gotten this far, you must be wondering what the hell album it was, that I was so careful not to tell you about all through this big long text, eh? Well here ya go:

Yessir, it was Van Morrison’s ‘Too Long In Exile.’

BEHOLD THE MAJESTY:

If you’ve read this far, you’re a true KMA Reader, and for that I thank you. Happy weekend, everyone, and as it is also Family Day weekend here in Canada, Happy Family Day as well!

KMA2884 Machine Head – Machine F**king Head Live

Bought on a whim (it’s Roadrunner, mofo!), this is 2 CDs of straight up metal. Recorded at Central, Manchester 2011-12-06 (note: two songs* were captured at SECC, Glasgow on 2011-12-05), the band was already 18 years old and showing no damn signs of relenting at all. To lose all cred: I don’t know much about Machine Head. To begin to rebuild some cred: I found this superbly-recorded set really satisfying!

\m/  Crank it!  \m/

Tracks:

CD1: I Am Hell (Sonata In C#) / Be Still And Know / Imperium / Beautiful Mourning / The Blood, The Sweet, The Tears / Locust* / This Is The End / Aesthetics Of Hate / Old

CD2: Darkness Within / Bulldozer / Ten Ton Hammer / Who We Are / Halo* / Davidian

KMA2883 Manipulant – Sundries And Souvenir

Folks! Manipulant is back! Today, February 14, 2019, sees the release of a retrospective of the past couple of years of Manipulant’s work, along with one new song, too!

I’ve been privileged to have a copy of this release here in the KMA Eastern offices for a wee while in advance of the release, and I must say it is amazing to have so much great music in one place. I wondered how the tracks would sound, taken out of context of the original releases, but I needed haven’t worried as it all flows beautifully. Top to bottom this collection showcases the energy and strong, highly creative work of Manipulant in full stride. 

As an added bonus, there’s one new track here,  Melted Roses, Invisible, which happily pops along on a buzzy bassline over busy drums and occasional guitar stabs and a Tom Waits-ish vocal bit. When he says “…anything for you” over and over again, it has weight!

Here’s the track list:

01 SandS
02 Run (f. Stoneygate)
03 Shiveresque
04 Doctor, I Need Your Expertise (f. Dr. Terenzi)
05 Electric Cigarette (Secondhand Mix)
06 Melted Roses, Invisible
07 Methodical
08 The Organist
09 What Good Are The Stars (Alternate Vocal Mix) (f. Jennifer Doll)
10 N/A/B/C/F
11 A Fresh Perspective

And dont forget the Three Mile Island remixed version Of Melted Roses, Invisible released seperately on February 1!

Currently, my favourite way to jam through these tracks is through the good headphones, so I don’t miss any of the subtleties in the music. But I can attest that it also plays GREAT in the car!

For those of you looking to dip your toes into the worlds of Manipulant, this collection is a great taster for you, though I do know you’re going to want to get the rest of his releases after you hear all this!

HERE IS THE FULL PRESS RELEASE (AND LINKS):

Newbury, UK:

Lancaster, Pennsylvania artist Manipulant is set to issue the retrospective Sundries & Souvenir, featuring songs from 2016-18 plus one newly recorded track on UK label Submarine Broadcasting Company. The Valentine’s Day release (14/02/2019) will be available in 8-track tape, vinyl record, cassette tape, compact disc and digital formats. 

Hypnotic rhythms drive the hybrid electro/industrial post-punk sound influenced by Brian Eno, Tom Waits and The Fall. Featured guest artists include renowned astrophysicist, Dr. Fiorella Terenzi, on “Doctor, I Need Your Expertise”, Jenn Doll on “What Good Are the Stars?”, and Stoneygate on “Run”.

Look for Sundries & Souvenir on https://submarinebroadcastingco.bandcamp.com/  

To find out more about Manipulant visit http://www.manipulantmusic.com/ or email eclectro@ManipulantMusic.com

Catalog:

Sundries & Souvenir: 02/14/19 Submarine Broadcasting Company
The Stars are Good… What?: 08/03/18 Submarine Broadcasting Company
What Good are the Stars? Maxi-Single: 07/06/18 Submarine Broadcasting Company
Perspective ep: 04/26/18 Submarine Broadcasting Company
2xthru Single: 10/13/17 (self- released)
Eclectro: 6/20/17 (self- released)
Méthode de Narration: 09/13/16 (self- released)

Get yourself to Manipulant:

Manipulant Home
Submarine Broadcasting Company
@ManipulantMusic
facebook

KMA2882 Slipknot – 9.0 Live

I’ve already covered this incendiary 2CD live set waaaay back in 2006, which means very early days for the KMA (we started the blog in October, 2006). Anyway, I raved about it then, and I’ll rave about it now. If you want to strip paint, destroy free-standing buildings, and scare ALL your neighbours, blast this fucking masterpiece at full volume every chance you get. YES.

Fun Story: One year for Christmas, my mom said all she wanted as a gift was a CD of the greatest hits of Shania Twain. My sister said that was my department. I refused, I mean, spend money for Shania? Haha no. My sister said “Have you seen the size of your head? Buy mom the damn CD.” Fair point. So, I bought the CD, but I also bought this Slipknot live set for myself at the same time. My reasoning was that, by buying Slipknot at the same time as Shania, I would not only maintain balance in the Universe, but I could cleanse my own misgivings about buying Shania at the same time. Haha merry Christmas, Mom. 

KMA2881 Dropkick Murphys – Live On Lansdowne, Boston MA March 12-17, 2009

Me and the Dropkicks go way back. I got their first album (Do Or Die) as a Valentine’s Day gift from my lovely wife in 1999, when we lived in Montreal. When the neighbours upstairs acted like morons, I used to point my speakers at the ceiling and blast Cadence To Arms and Do Or Die at them at top volume. They got the hint.

Anyway, this 2010 live album, recorded over 7 shows in 6 nights) captures the band’s sound awesomely in a live setting. I was sad they only included one track (Caught In A Jar) from that first album here, but so many other great tunes are here, even Kiss Me I’m Shitfaced, and I’m Shipping Up To Boston (featuring Mighty Mighty Bosstones) back to back to end the night.

You know the Dropkicks. Crank this and go go GO!

KMA2880 SLCR #333: Hawksley Workman (January 27-28, 2019)

Last summer, I bought a notebook of fancy Clairefontaine paper, the kind Hawksley Workman sings about. I did this solely because of that song, not really thinking that I don’t ever write anything by hand anymore and already have ample paper supplies. With no pressing use for this impulse purchase, I decided to save it for the next Hawksley concert, breaking it in by writing the review. It seemed fitting, and it’s been a while since I’ve done one of these by hand. I come up with entirely different reviews when writing by hand, for sure. I even bought Baby’s First Fountain Pen to class it up. But then one show turned into two, and the paper and pen sat and sat as I contemplated hand cramps. So here I am, two weeks later, back in Notepad.

The first Hawksley show, announced late last year, was part of the Regina Folk Festival’s annual Winterruption series of concerts. A delightful surprise, as I wasn’t thinking we’d see him until after his new album, Median Age Wasteland, comes out in March. The second show, added a fair bit later, promised to be pretty unique. Titled “A Night on Drums,” it was a fundraiser for a local women’s shelter where Hawksley would… well, I didn’t really know. Play the drums. Talk about the drums. They’re his first instrument – and still clearly his favourite – but you don’t usually get to see him play them in concert for more than one song. I didn’t know what we were getting, but I figured it would be interesting.

For the Winterruption show, Mika and I got to the Exchange shortly before the first band was to start. I had promised there would be seats and I was turned into a liar. Oh well, we dumped our parkas at the coat check, got iced teas, and stood around looking at cute animal pictures until the show was underway.

About those parkas. The past few years, Winterruption has coincided with spurts of unseasonable warmth, which is a delight, though is it really Winterruption if there’s nothing to Winterrupt? This year, we’re in the middle of a stretch of -30C or worse with no end in sight. Winterminable cold. Attendance at this show was decent but it certainly wasn’t sold out, and the weather couldn’t have helped. It’s anecdotal, but I know of Hawksley fans – even some who already bought tickets – who skipped out rather than brave the elements.

The openers were local folk band Suncliffs and calypso band Kobo Town. Heard of both, never seen either, not much to say about either, both were good. Suncliffs had a short, laid-back, enjoyable set, while Kobo Town brought a lot more energy. Very summery music that clashed with both the bitter weather and some occasionally dark lyrics. Riots in Karachi might be a perfectly valid topic for a song, but an unusual choice for a fun fan singalong part.

Finally, Hawksley took the stage, joined for the first time in quite a while by Mr. Lonely, his long-time keyboard player. They opened with fan favourite Safe and Sound, which always gives Lonely a nice showcase. He also gave us the opportunity to whistle along which was not what I would describe as a nice showcase. Next up was Jealous of Your Cigarette, which included Hawksley sheepishly apologizing for some of the more risqué lyrics. “People really like this song and I can’t take that back now. But that’s what I was thinking about when I was 23.”

Next up was The City is a Drag, which segued in and out of Karma Chameleon, which I’ve seen him do a few times before. He starts with “Desert loving in your eyes all the way” and you can hear it dawn on individual audience members as they figure out what song it is.

As ever, Hawksley talked a lot throughout the show, going into detail about the writing of The City is a Drag (it involved poop everywhere, but I’ll let you guess whose) and repeatedly mentioning his resolution to talk less. He also introduced each new song by acknowledging that nobody ever goes to a concert to hear new songs. A lot of the time, sure, but I’m biased; Hawksley could have played all new stuff and I’d have been thrilled. I’m still a little disappointed that he wasn’t selling the new album six weeks before its street date, just for us.

Two of the new songs, Battlefords and Lazy, have already been released as singles. Battlefords in particular was beloved, with people in the crowd asking him to play it a second time. I went for coffee with one of my former bosses a month or two ago, and he brought the song up to me, not knowing that I like Hawksley, just that it was a song he really enjoyed (particularly the use of the word “akela,” which I admit I had to look up and am not doing so again to see if it should be capitalized).

Two other songs, 1983 and (he called it Oh Yellow Snowmobile but the tracklist just says Snowmobile so whatever) were new to me. Both were a delight. Everything from the new album is very nostalgic, but the part in 1983 about owning a VIC-20 but begging for a Commodore 64 spoke to me in an alarmingly specific way. I mentioned this to him on Twitter and he replied that at that time, they actually had a TRS-80, so I can only assume that he wrote this part just for me. Thanks, dude!

All told, the show was on the short side but delightful as ever. Here’s the full setlist, with a few notable deviations from the norm:

Safe and Sound
Jealous of Your Cigarette
The City is a Drag
Clever Not Beautiful
A Moth is Not a Butterfly
Battlefords
1983
Warhol’s Portrait of Gretzky
Snowmobile
Ice Age
encore: Your Beauty Must be Rubbing Off

The night before, Hawksley had played another unique show, this time in Saskatoon in the restaurant at the top of the Sheraton Hotel. Seemed like an odd venue. The premise was that half the show would be whatever he wanted, and half would be fan requests. This was suitably different and tempting enough to make me consider the drive. It’s also a real bad time of year to be out on the highway, and I’ve been to back-to-back Hawksley shows before; they’re never that different. For those reasons, I leaned against going, though the final call was made for me when the Saskatoon show sold out in short order.

He didn’t take requests at our show. At one point, someone yelled out for the song Teenage Cats, to which Hawksley replied “I love that you love that song! I was singing it to myself a lot lately because I just met a new teenage cat. Anyway I’m not playing that song.”

Ultimately, of the two “real” concerts, the Saskatoon show sounded like the better one. With no openers, Hawksley was able to go a little longer and they wound up getting everything we did and five or so songs that we didn’t. Nothing new, thankfully – I’d have really felt like I missed out if that had been the case. And our openers were fun and good and worthwhile and all that. But still.

That said, Regina got the shorter concert, but also a whole other show. Teacher and drummer Brian Warren organized a drum-centric second night. Tickets were cheap, the show raised money for a good cause, and it promised to be unique, so I was totally down with this, even if I had no idea what I was getting into.

What it was wasn’t really a concert. Hawksley played drums twice – once for about 10 minutes near the start, which he described as “practicing, but with an audience,” and once where he put on a Jay-Z song and drummed along with it. Turns out he’s good at the drums, guys. Most of the show was talking, first Hawksley by himself, then a conversation with Warren who acted as host, and finally a Q&A. Hawksley’s stories are often quite polished, but he really seemed to let his guard down and was even a little nervous. I’m not going to tell his stories for him, but he spoke a lot about his childhood and how he got into drumming, how he and his music changed over the years, aspects of his personal life, his writing process, and more. I’m not a drummer or a anything, but that was never an issue – there were only a few points that got technical, and I might not know the names of different ways to grip drumsticks, but I get the idea, you know?

This also marked the only time I was at an event with a Q&A where I didn’t sink my head into my hands in embarrassment for someone asking a question. All the questions were good and relevant. And they were all questions! Anyone who starts with “This is actually more of a comment” should be immediately slapped and ejected and slapped again. We got none of that. Good work, local Hawksley fans.

KMA2879 Uncle Tupelo – 89/93: An Anthology

What a band, what a collection of albums. This compilation does a pretty damn good job of showing off some of their best work, as well as an acoustic version and a live track. It also includes their previously unreleased cover of the Stooges’ I Wanna Be Your Dog, and their cover of CCR’s Effigy from the No Alternative comp, too.

You probably own this, so you already know how excellent it is.

KMA2878 Ryan Adams – Ryan Adams

Yup, I’m a fan, so this will be a biased blurb. This one rocks, it’s full of smart songs, and holds your attention throughout. It sounds vintage 80s at times, yet still fully up to date. Great!

Fun to see Benmont Tench, Jeremy Stacey, Mike Viola, and Tal Wilkenfeld playing here. Additional guest musicians were Johnny Depp and Mandy Moore.

Get you some!

KMA2877 Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds – Live At Luther College

Hands-down, one of my favourite Dave Matthews releases ever. Maybe even THE favourite. It’s just soooo good. What these two guys do (in a live setting and perfectly recorded) with two acoustic guitars and their imaginations on all these classic tunes over two full CDs is just mind-blowing.

I got my first copy of this waaaay back when my lovely wife and I were still dating, and we hadn’t moved to Montreal yet, so that would have been somewhere in the first half of 1999. For some dumb reason I didn’t have that copy anymore, so I replaced it. And now the greatness lives in my house again so all is right in the world.

KMA2876 B.B. King – Deuces Wild

It’s B.B. King, and tons of duets with so many greats. What else do you need to know? Get this and fall in love.

Duets with: Van Morrison, Tracy Chapman, Eric Clapton, Mick Hucknall, Bonnie Raitt, D’Angelo, Dr. John, Marty Stuart, Rolling Stones, Joe Cocker, Heavy D, David Gilmour & Paul Carrack, Willie Nelson.

KMA2875 George Clinton & The P-Funk All Stars – T.A.P.O.A.F.O.M.

For anyone wondering, the title of the album stands for The Awesome Power Of A Fully Operational Mothership. 

Honestly, this tells you everything you need to know.

This 1996 effort is a ton of fun. Get yo funk machine fired up, baby, we’re headed to outer space!

 

 

– Wiki adds: The album was presented as a reunion album because it featured collaborations with former Parliament-Funkadelic members including Bernie Worrell, Bootsy Collins, Junie Morrison, Maceo Parker, and Fred Wesley — some of whom hadn’t worked with Clinton in many years. The album also included contributions by current members of the P-Funk All-Stars.

KMA 2874 Manipulant – Melted Roses, Invisible (Three Mile Island Mix)

Hey folks, I lost track of days and meant to get this posted for February 1st (apologies, good sir!), because that was the day this exclusive new Manipulant single (remixed) was released into the wild!

And the track? It’s all jagged edges and guitar stabs with electronic accoutrements while the drums pound away and the vocals growl and rasp like Tom Waits beside it all. Hypnotic goodness!

The lyrics, slightly tricky to decipher, are thus:

Spent a month on this bouquet – Paper roses for today 
I borrowed a suit, stole my pops new shoes. 
I’d do anything for you. 
Invisible 
Late to the train, I set off on foot through the rain. 
And the rain melted my roses. 
Tattered suit, muddy shoes, melted roses 
And still invisible to you

This single is released now, prior to the (upcoming) February 14 release of Sundries and Souvenirs, a retrospective of the past couple of years of Manipulant’s work. Mark your calendars!

Get yourself to Manipulant:

KMA2873 Lionel Richie – Encore

This is live Lionel Richie, so if you can imagine the songs (solo career and Commodores stuff tgether) with cheering crowds throughout, you have this CD. I like Lionel, so this was cool with me. I enjoyed the arrangements and the clarity of the recording.

Tracks: Hello, Running With The Night, Penny Lover, Easy, Dancing On The Ceiling, Stuck On You, Brick House, Three Times A Lady, All Night Long, Say You, Say Me, Angel, Still.

KMA2872 Look People – Crazy Eggs

Holy craziness, Batman! This CD, Look People’s last (1993) is so much fun. There’s so much going on in this stew of sound experiments, it’s all over the place. But it’s all in good enjoyment of the creative effort. Weirdo pop, metal guitars, keyboard blurts, electronic blips and bleeps, and gentle acoustic guitars blend with strings, synths, jazzy segments and Primus-like rumbling bass… oh, and so much more, besides. This is a true excursion! As for who’s here, you might know Jaymz Bee (also of the Royal Jelly Orchestra) and Kevin Hearn (of Barenaked Ladies). There’s more info right here. FUN!

2871 Random Internets For Sunday Reading

Here’s some fun stuff I found online (all credit to others) that I thought fit here:

KMA2870 My Morning Jacket – The Tennessee Fire

Wiki: The Tennessee Fire is the debut album by the rock band My Morning Jacket. It introduced the reverb-heavy sound that is characteristic of the band’s earlier material. This is most apparent in Jim James’ vocals, many of which were recorded in an empty grain silo in Kentucky.

I’d heard around the blogs that this might be a band I should look into, so when I found this one I snapped it up. Loved it immediately. It has an open, raw feel that just pulled me in and held me there… It sounded like a demo tape, and for that I love it unreservedly. I can only imagine how beautiful this would sound on LP… Sweet!

 

Also: I found this on the Amazons: My Morning Jacket combines classic Country elements with the melancholy vibes of Harvest and After the Gold Rush era Neil Young, Pet Sounds era Beach Boys, and the immortal vocal stylings of the Righteous Brothers. These boys sing harmony like nobody’s business. My Morning Jacket don’t know much about the “indie” world and of what they do know, they couldn’t care less. When we first queried James about Louisville music history he lit up, “Slint 7/8s timing bullshit. I’m talking about writing a fuckin’ song!”. The Eagles and Simon and Garfunkel were who James claimed were in heavy rotation and absorption at his residence. The closest they come in comparison to the modern guitar sound is with the languid, pre-slow-core aural heroin of on Fire era Galaxie 500. MY MORNING JACKET are not another interesting but pretentious, posturing, or campy alt-country derivation. There ain’t nothin’ trendy about ’em. They’re the real deal.

KMA2869 Rush – Working Men

Collecting a hits set of tracks from Rush In Rio (2003), the R30 DVD (2005) (including one previously unreleased track, One Little Victory), and Snakes And Arrows Live (2008), this set is entirely welcome in my collection, especially since I have never seen them in concert. I know. Anyway, there are too many highlights to mention here. Give ‘er!

Tracks: Limelight, The Spirit Of Radio, 2112, Freewill, Dreamline, Far Cry, Subdivisions, One Little Victory (previously unreleased), Closer To The Heart, Tom Sawyer, Working Man, YYZ.

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