Monday, September 29, 2008

Something New Mondays

Here's a new feature I'm going to try to do every week, "Something New Mondays". A kind of roundup of new releases, soon to be released and previously available albums from past months that may be new to me, that I might have overlooked. Some of these albums might be so new that i haven't really given them a good solid listen yet, so my reviews and opinions may be incomplete or still pending.

ALL GIRL SUMMER FUN BAND- Not the One For Me: The name of the band describes them perfectly; all girl, their music is sunny pop gems and the music is fresh and a lot of fun to listen to. On the new album, Looking Into It, the band has pared down from a 4-piece to a trio, their sound is more full, gritty and rawer than their previous two releases. With crunch-fuzz guitars combined with their sweet honest vocals, AGSFB deliver the must-have album for the end of summer.

JENNY LEWIS- See Fernando
JENNY LEWIS- Carpetbaggers: On her second solo record, Acid Tongue, Rilo Kiley's Jenny Lewis continues to explore different genres and styles with much success. I Haven't had time to fully listen to the disc yet, but from what I've heard it seems more accessible and powerful than her first. These two songs are my far.

HOTEL LIGHTS- Dream State Flying
HOTEL LIGHTS- Norina: From the album, Firecracker People, a beautiful eclectic mix of heartfelt quiet engaging songs that are easy to listen to. Hotel Lights is Darren Jessee the former drummer for Ben Folds Five who has produced two fine underrated classics that are worth seeking out.

STEPHEN MALKMUS AND THE JICKS- Real Emotional Trash: Haven't listened to much Malkmus since Pavement, but after hearing this new release, Real Emotional Trash, it's convinced me to seek out his other solo material. The title track is a sprawling epic length (over 10 minutes) song...but wait! Mr. Malkmus and the Jicks are coming to Winnipeg next month, should be a good show, I might check it out.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Song Of The Day- "Hang Fire"

Here's another 7" gem from Top Drawer records in Seattle featuring two great bands from B.C. The Smugglers from Vancouver and Victoria's Bum who combine forces for a live one-off performance of the Rolling Stones song, Hang Fire, while on the A-side of the record both bands perform covers from DMZ (Lift up your Hood- Bum) and Boys (Kiss Like A Nun- Smugglers).

While on tour together in the summer of '93, Bum joined the Smugglers on stage for the last song of the night where the nine members of both bands engaged in their best unrehearsed version of Hang Fire. This love of the Stones lead to David Carswell (guitarist from the Smugglers) and Bum forming a Stones cover band entitled Steel Wheels: "Suckin' In The Eighties"; a tribute to the Stones hits from the 1980's.

BUMGLERS- Hang Fire (Dave Carswell sang Mick, everyone else sang back-up: 4 guitars, 2 basses and 1 drum set)- Recorded June 19, 1993 at the Crocodile Cafe, Seattle, WA.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Song Of The Day- "Welcome Back!"

I'm back from my mini-vacation in Vancouver, BC and I'm trying to get into the swing of things, but I just hadn't the time (or effort) to post anything new since I got back. Last week I mentioned I would dedicate some songs to a friend that's getting married, but I think I'm going to postpone that until next week. In the meantime, here's a tribute to my return, an awesome 7" recording from 1993 from Seattle's late great, Stumpy Joe. Though they recorded only one full length CD, One Way Rocket Ride To Kicksville (1992), Stumpy Joe had a small, but loyal following in the Pacific Northwest. The band provided the spring-board for the career of singer/guitarist John Ramberg who went on to front the Model Rockets and the Tripwires, as becoming a solid permanent member of the Minus 5.

STUMPY JOE- (A-side) Sugar And Glue- A tribute to my two favourite food groups, since I have a reputation for drinking (not sniffing) white glue. Somehow I don't think this is what they had in mind. A great rockin' song!

STUMPY JOE- (B-side) Welcome Back- Yes, this is the John Sebastian penned theme song from TV's, Welcome Back Kotter, a cool unplugged acoustic version that will have you singing along in no time. This rare exclusive 7" release from Top Drawer Records was the perfect swan-song for Stumpy's career.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Song(s) Of The Day- "Vancouver, BC"

When I think of Vancouver, BC, I think of the mountains, the Pacific Ocean, Stanley Park, salmon, the Canucks and the Smugglers. If you're not familiar with the Smugglers (the band), check out the Mint site or their website. To me they are best remembered as a band that wore matching dark suits along with rubber boots on stage and their first "hit", Vancouver, BC. This song is like a traveloge for the Smuggler's hometown with references to the skytrain, Robson Square, Grouse mountain, the ferry line and Terry David Mulligan. A super fun song and for added fun check out the video on YouTube.

As an added bonus, I've also posted a song from the present indie-kings from the west coast, the New Pornographers. Unfortunately, Carl Newman and Neko Case no longer have an address in Vancouver, but the band still considers it their home, as evidenced by the show on August 31-September 1, the New Pornographers present...The Stanley Park singing Exhibition.

THE SMUGGLERS- Vancouver, BC (from "At Marineland" 10" LP)
NEW PORNOGRAPHERS- Letter from An Occupant (West End Cultural Centre, Winnipeg, MB, August 18, 2002)

Note: I'm jetting off to exotic Vancouver today until next Monday, so unless I acquire a laptop computer over night, I'll be off-line. Next week I'll be posting some tribute songs for a friend that's getting married soon, so stay tuned!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Song Of the Day- "Sure Enough"

Speaking of strong debut albums, Montreal's Angela Desveaux produced a wonderful album, Wandering Eyes (2006) that showcased her marvellous country-tinged voice that came out of nowhere. It was so good I wanted to tell everyone to give her a listen, as evidenced by my past posts (Nov. 6, 2006 and Nov. 23, 2006) about Angela.

Her new album (just released on September 9), Angela Desveaux And The Mighty Ship suppose to rock more, but similar to her debut as she explores different genres and sounds, country-blues, traditional folk, but for the most part she flaunts with an indie-rock sound that I'm looking forward to hearing. I haven't had a chance to hear the whole album yet, but from what I've heard this will be the next album on my pod (or I'll buy when I go record-store hopping in Vancouver in a couple of days). I'll give my full review of the album next week.

The first song I heard is Sure Enough, it's a great upbeat rocker and it sure has enough bounce and jangly guitars to make me recall early Broken West.


Monday, September 15, 2008

Song(s) Of The Day- Broken West

Last year the Broken West released their debut CD, I Can't Go On, I'll Go On and it was met with positive reviews and much anticipation for their follow-up. The sound on the debut was refreshing and a bouncy toe tapping pop/rock album. Their jangly guitar sound reminds me of Teenage Fanclub, the Posies and a bit of Big Star. I had the pleasure of seeing the band tour this album when they opened for Fountains Of Wayne last summer in Minneapolis and I thought these two bands were a good match. They played one cover and it was, Mr. Soul from Buffalo Springfield (Neil Young), so you know how great the guitar sound is on that tune.

Unfortunately, the new album, Now Or Heaven has lost that bounce and chime and has produced a slicker, tighter and smoother lush alternative rock album that treads into Brit-pop territory and less California. That's not to say this is a bad album, it's a little disappointing, but I'm just saying the sound that drew me to them in the first place is lost amongst the drum machine beats and synths that have crept into their sound. It's still a good album and I need to give this more listens and I may appreciate their new sound more as time goes on, but it just doesn't immediately grab me like the song, Down In the Valley from the first album.

These songs grab me the most and it's no coincidence it's the most uptemple rockers. Judge for yourself.

BROKEN WEST- Gwen, Now And Then
BROKEN WEST- Auctioneer
BROKEN WEST- Perfect Games

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Song(s) Of The Day #3- James, Mandy and the Cars

Soul Asylum, before their Runaway Train success was a great band! During the late 90's they were known as one of the best live bands around and some of their albums, Made to be Broken, Hang Time and the Horse They Rode On are a good representation of their early days before mainstream success sucked the creativity and intensity from the band. Along with the Replacements and Husker Du, Soul Asylum helped create and bring much attention to the Minneapolis sound, during the late 80's I seeked out bands from Minneapolis that we're riding the coat-tails of these trailblazing bands. The Magnolias, Run Westy Run, ZuZu's Petals, Babes In Toyland and the Jayhawks were just some of the fine bands to emerge from the Twin Cities scene during this period.

During their late 80's live shows, Soul Asylum liked to pull out some interesting covers that were both brilliant and tongue-in-cheek, but always a highlight.

SOUL ASYLUM- James At 16 (Heavy Medley): I've heard this medley attempted on another concert recording before where the band seemlessly meshes together a medley of goofy covers. This is a classic SA moment that is a prime example of how fun and fabulous a Soul Asylum show must have been.

SOUL ASYLUM- Mandy/Drive: Another mini-medley performing the sappy Barry Manilow hit merging into the Cars song, Drive. It's amazing how two songs that I cringe at when I hear performed by the original artists, can put a smile on my face when I hear Soul Asylum cover it...another classic moment.

Song(s) Of the Day #2- Vivian Girls

If you're a fan of noisy sweet all-girl rawk, you'll love the Vivian Girls! This art/punk trio from Brooklyn serves up a tasty disc of infectious no-nonsense pop that grabs and shakes you. Their sound isn't unique or innovative, but their short, fast tunes are refreshing and fun. The Vivian Girls are Cassie Ramone on vocals and guitar, bass player Kickball Katy and drummer Ali. The band has released three 7" singles as well as a very limited (500 copies) full length self titled album last Spring (which sold out quickly), that will be re-released in October on In the Red records.

VIVIAN GIRLS- All The Time (s/t LP)
VIVIAN GIRLS- Tell The World (s/t LP)
VIVIAN GIRLS- Wild Eyes (7" single)
VIVIAN GIRLS- Telepathic Love (unreleased demo)

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Song(s) Of The Day #1- "High"

Make that the word of the day..."High". This isn't a reflection of my state of mind or my IQ, but today at work I noticed that during the course of the day I played these three songs and I thought duh, what a coincidence they all have "high" in the title...pretty stupid eh?

Anyways, the Song Of the Day will hopefully be a regular spot on this blog, it will feature one or more songs, depending on how I feel that day. There might be a theme, dedication or maybe just a random rare song I thought should be heard. Requests and ideas are always welcome and as usual I'm not reliable for posting consistently, so please be patient.

WILCO- I Must Be High ("The Riviera", Chicago, IL, 02-19-08)
BLAKE BABIES- Baby Gets High ("Knitting Factory", Hollywood, CA, 6-16-01)
YOUNG FRESH FELLOWS- High Time ("Here Ain't The Sonics" Tribute to the Sonics, 1989)

Friday, September 05, 2008

Blake Babies on the Saturday Early Show 2001

A reunited Blake Babies rare TV performance from 2001. Juliana Hatfield fronted this band from the late 80's until 1991 when she briefly joined the Lemonheads and then went solo. The 2001 B.B.'s reunion tour also resulted in the album, God Bless the Blake Babies which was a very respectable recording...highly recommended! Actually, if you're a J.H. fan, check out the original Blake Babies backlist.

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