Thursday, January 27, 2011

Bum- Wanna Smash Sensation!

They may not be a household name or you might not even know who Bum is, and that's really too bad. This record seemed to come out of nowhere when it was released in 1993 on the Popllama label and I might not have ever discovered this record if it wasn't for the catalog update newsletter from Popllama Records I received with an order. Without ever hearing the band (since there was no Internet "song samples" or myspace), I took a chance on this CD because I got a good deal pairing it with The Smugglers, In The Hall Of Fame (the only other Canadian band on the label) and the fact it was produced by Kurt Bloch from the Young Fresh Fellows and the Fastbacks. Note to power punk/pop fans: any album that is produced by Kurt Bloch will be great!...I'm just saying.

It might be an overstatement, but in some way this record changed my life. At around this time I was pretty much into a lot of pop/punk rock, particularly the Bay-area, Lookout Records or bands that played at Gilman St. Bands such as the Mr. T Experience, J Church, Wynona Riders, Jawbreaker and early Green Day all performed more of a melodic pop-punk style that I thought was too good not to heard by the mass, and really only Green Day cashed in when it did catch on and became mainstream. I also listened to a lot of Seattle bands, mainly the ones that weren't really grunge, but the ones that were more catchy and power-poppy (YFF, Fastbacks, Flop, Hazel, Posies, Stumpy Joe, Dharma Bums (Portland), Pure Joy, Sicko etc.). My point is, I'm so amazed Wanna Smash Sensation didn't receive the attention or half the success all these other bands enjoyed. I think this album came out before Green Day's, Dookie and that record definitely broke things open. Bum was so under appreciated and obscure, when I saw the band when they came through town back in 1993/94 (?), I was maybe one of a half a dozen people in the bar and when they came through again a month or so later (coming back across the country on tour) there was more people, but it was cheap draft night. A great live band and I was lucky enough to have the privilege to see them in a small empty bar...a wonderful memory! The best part was chatting with the band after and getting them to sign some 7" ers, very down to earth guys and it's a shame they never gained the success they deserved. I heard they were bigger in Spain and a good document of their live show is their "live in Spain" CD,
Shake Time! (which I posted a while back and the download link is still active!)

Wanna Smash Sensation (1993)

1. Debbiespeak
2. Your Disciple
3. When She Walked
4. Eternal Ideal
5. Wedding Day
6. Bent on Being Bent
7. I Hardly Breathe
8. Mallory
9. Instant Kool Ayd
10. At the Well
11. Promise Is a Promise
12. I'm Not One
13. No Idea

BUM- Wanna Smash Sensation. rar

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Nils- The Nils

When I think of overlooked classic Canadian indie albums, one record I always think of is the debut album by Montreal's, The Nils. Though they really only released one full-length record, also available are a handful of singles, EPs and a great retrospective compilation, Green Field In Daylight, which includes many of those tracks along with demos and live recordings. I recall talking about the Nils previously, so I searched back through the Teenage Dogs archive (November 2006) and I did post about the Brave New Waves tracks from the Green Field disc. I haven't tested the downloads on that post in a while, so I'm not sure they still download (my old online storage), so If they don't and if you're still interested, please let me know and I'd be happy to update the link.

In my 2006 post, I proclaimed this one of my favourite albums of the 80's and I still stand by that statement. A fine example of power pop-punk, The Nils delivered a near-perfect record, every song stands on it's own, it's catchy, powerful and I can't understand why it hasn't made any all-time Canadian best-of lists. Highly recommended!!

The Nils (1987)

1. River of Sadness
2. Truce
3. If Heaven Lies
4. When Love Puts On a Sad Face
5. Wicked Politician
6. Bandito Callin
7. In Betweens
8. But For Now
9. Young Man In Transit
10. Daylight

THE NILS- S/T. rar

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Young Canadians- No Escape

I'm feeling patriotic this week, so I thought I would post some cool Canadian content that may have been overlooked and everyone should be aware of.

Young Canadians were originally the K-Tels, but for some reason the K-Tel corporation objected to a bunch of Vancouver punks using the name and the band was forced to change their name to avoid legal action. In their all too short career of only 2 years, Young Canadians released 2 EPs and a single. The single, Hawaii is a Canadian punk classic and became the fastest selling punk/new wave record to date in BC. The band emerged from the Vancouver punk scene with other such notable bands as, D.O.A, The Pointed Sticks and Subhumans. Art Bergmann later went onto a respectable solo career. Before I ever listened to the Young Canadians I bought the cassettes of Crawl With Me and Sexual Roulette back in the day and I heard that he was a bit of a Canadian punk legend, but you almost couldn't tell with these two mainstream records (though they were very fine records). They had a bit more edge than the usual radio tunes, but I think it's best to dig further back in Bergmann's catalog to hear the music that gave him the reputation.

No Escape is an excellent collection that includes the 2 EPs and single, as well as compilation tracks and unreleased live recordings. Pretty much their whole career on one disc, a must hear!

YOUNG CANADIANS- Hawaii (Here's a sample!)

No Escape (1996)

01. Son Of Spam
02. Can't Be Denied
03. I Hate Music
04. Automan
05. Don't Tell Me
06. Where Are You
07. Question Of Temperature
08. Wait For Your Approval
09. Fuck Your Society
10. Hawaii
11. Well, Well, Well
12. Hullabaloo Girls
13. No Escape
14. Beg, Borrow Or Steal
15. Last Tango (Femme Fatale)
16. Data Redux
17. Just A Loser
18. This Is Your Life
19. Don't Bother Me
20. Picture Of Health
21. Poison Of The Thought


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Baseball Project- Broadside Ballads

Good news for Baseball fans and appreciators of good music, The Baseball Project's next album is due for release very soon, as Yep Roc Records is now taking pre-orders for Volume 2: High And Inside. If you pre-order before March 1, you will receive two exclusive bonus tracks and the first 300 orders will also receive a very cool poster of Peter, Steve, Linda and Scott as bobble heads (as illustrated in the photo above), I think I better get on this!

While between Volume 1 and 2, the band released a series of songs to coincide with this past baseball season. These singles made up the Broadside Ballads collection and were up for free download through a partnership between the band and's, "The Life". This was the band's way of offering their musical insight on the 2010 baseball season and to give back to their fan's for supporting the band's first album, Volume 1: Frozen Ropes And Dying Quails. All the songs are great and if you're a die-hard ball fan or even a casual fan you will appreciate their commentary about all the happenings from the season. I've downloaded the whole series and I have them all together if you want to download the whole file (it'll save you time), kind of like a real album. I've also included the song, Don't Call Them Twinkies with lead vocals from Craig Finn from The Hold Steady (I previously posted that song).
Remember on March 1 (or before), buy Vol. 2!

Broadside Ballads (2010)
  1. All Future And No Past
  2. Cubs 2010
  3. 30 Doc
  4. Lima Time!
  5. Phenom
  6. (Do The) Triple Crown
  7. DL Blues
  8. That's The Way It's Gonna Be
  9. The Giants Win The Pennant
  10. (Bonus) Don't Call Them Twinkies
BASEBALL PROJECT- Broadside Ballads. rar

Young Fresh Fellows- Hits From The Break Up Album

Just to clarify, the Young Fresh Fellows didn't break up after recording this and this isn't really an album, but more of a box set of 5- 7" vinyl records. These 5- 45's were originally released independently from each other on 5 different record labels, but were later compiled together to form, The Break Up Album.

The concept of a farewell album initially grew from the fact the band considered breaking up after the departure of Chuck Carroll. When the remaining members began recording for a possible farewell album, it became apparent they really didn't want to break up because it was still fun. Scott McCaughey notes on the liner notes, "I won't begin to count the number of songs born out of the grueling ups and downs inherent in long term love relationships. I realized being in a band was very much like being married and that quite naturally played havoc in the other, more "normal marriages. So the Break Up Album took shape as a record about the confinements of relationships, and the incredible difficulty of making them survive or even, dare I say it, prosper".
When the Fellows began recording the follow-up to Totally Lost, the break up concept was very much on their minds. They recorded 35 songs and they realized many of the non-conceptual songs were too good to leave off an album. This One's For The Ladies became a collection of their best and favourite songs from those sessions (regardless of the "break up" status). Eleven of those songs made it onto vinyl for the Break Up Album, but many more remain unreleased or unfinished.
An interesting collection and some fine, fine songs. If you see this in a record store or on eBay or something, for a reasonable price, don't hesitate to buy this! The beautiful hand-screened box-set with artwork from Tad ( small pizza box!) is very hard to find and limited to only 400 copies, so it's a true collectors item. In some ways this is one of my most valued items in my record collection. I bought my copy through the mail directly from the band back in, I think 1991 or so? I used to love buying things in those days from the Fellows and Popllama Records. I pretty much bought all my YFF vinyl (7" and LP) and band shirts directly from times, the good ol' days!!

Hits From The Break Up Album (1991)

Divorce #9 (7")

A. Divorce #9
B. Halloween 247

Two Guitars Bass And Drums (7")
A. Two Guitars Bass And Drums
B. Someone I Care About

Motorbroke (7")
A. Motorbroke
B. Equator Blues

Don't Blame It On Yoko (7")
A. Don't Blame It On Yoko
B. With A Big Book

Sick & Tired Of Me (7")
A. Sick And Tired Of Me
B. They Raided The Joint
B. Booze Party

The rar file of songs are in the order as listed above. Sorry, some of the volume fluctuates from disc to disc.

YOUNG FRESH FELLOWS- Break Up Album. rar

Monday, January 03, 2011

The Weakerthans- Series Finale

The amazing feat of the Weakerthans performing all 4 of their albums in one concert will probably not be repeated in the near future. Over 3 hours of music is equivalent to at least whole two concerts and though the setlist was predictable, it was still a surprise to hear many songs that are seldom performed live. The task of playing all their songs made the members of the band revisit their entire catalog and it was a special holiday treat for the hometown crowd to delight in hearing all the songs from their favourite band. Guitarist Stephen Carroll mentioned in an interview with the Uptown that, "We approached it as an exercise to learn all the old songs. I had heard Wilco was doing something like that as an exercise and thought it was a great idea." I have those fore-mentioned show's recordings and what Wilco accomplished was they played every song they had ever recorded (including b-sides) during a 5-night "residency" at the Riviera Theatre, in Chicago from February 15-20, 2008 (Get the recording's here!). This was an exercise not only in self-indulgence, but also the challenge to proudly show you can still play it like the old days and maybe put a different spin to the songs. It was quite the amazing accomplishment and it was sounded incredible! I would have loved to have travelled to Chicago to see those shows.

Speaking of travelling to another city to see a band, there was much press coverage of a fan from Atlanta, GA that came up to Winnipeg specifically to see this Weakerthans series. Andy Gish wrote about her preparations and her journey to our fair town on her blog, Winnipeg Wanderings and it has been interesting hearing her point of view about our city. Thanks Andy for the kind words about Winnipeg and the Weakerthans and I've continued to follow her blog even after returning home to the States.

Personally, this was a special show because I love this band and despite seeing them twice earlier in the week, my only regret was not seeing the 3rd show at the Pyramid. That show featured their 3rd album, Reconstruction Site which I still got to experience at the Burton Cummings Theatre show, but I must admit, seeing the band in a smaller venue is a much nicer experience than the larger confines of the Burt. At the clubs you have to stand for the entire show, but at the Burt, despite the seats, if you are on the floor you have to stand anyways because of the standing crush in front of the stage.

I recorded the concert and would have had a complete recording except for my run-in with the BCT's security staff. During Leash (from Fallow), a security guard (#1) grabbed at my recorder and tore my mics off my jacket. We scuffled and he took off with my equipment towards the lobby. I followed and he told me recording wasn't allowed and he would confiscate my equipment. I told him the band was okay with taping, so he said "we'll see about that, we'll talk to their road manager". Minutes later, he returned my recorder to my seat and said, "don't do this again" and I proceeded to stupidly reattach my mics and continued to record. A second security guy (#2) came and grabbed it again and ran off to the lobby. I was about to be thrown out, but the head security person ran over and said "wait, give it back!". He explained to me and the security thug that the band's management said this was a "anything goes" show and that the band is fine with all audio and video recording, as well as professional photography. Security #2 sheepishly said no one told him and that he forced many fans not to take video with their cameras and phones. I realize it isn't the fault of the BCT staff because the venue probably doesn't allow the use of camera's and recording, but they should have consulted with the band's wishes to make sure people aren't unnecessarily hassled. I'm still pissed off my recording was incomplete, as I missed 3 entire songs and 3 other songs were interrupted by the over-zealous security. This is the first time this has ever happened and I must admit I don't hide it as much as used to, but with the increased use of camera phones, flip video cameras and other technology, I can't believe they still try to enforce it. When I record a band, I'm not out to sell it and make money, I record to share the music with other fans and it's a nice souvenir of the show. Most band's nowadays embrace the technology and encourage fans to share the music as long as no one is making money off the recording. This allows fans to enjoy the band's music beyond their studio recordings.

Here's a real review of the show (and more photos) from the Uptown.

The Weakerthans
Burton Cummings Theatre

Winnipeg, MB

December 18, 2010

Perform all 4 albums!! (in reverse order).


Reunion Tour
01. Intro.
02. Civil Twilight
03. Hymn Of The Medical Oddity
04. Relative Surplus Value
05. Tournament Of Hearts
06. Virtute The Cat Explains Her Departure
07. Elegy Of Gump Worsley
08. Sun In An Empty Room
09. Night Windows
10. Bigfoot!
11. Reunion Tour
12. Utilities

Reconstruction Tour
13. (Manifest)
14. The Reasons
15. Reconstruction Site
16. Psalm For The Elks Lodge Last Call
17. Plea From A Cat Named Virtute
18. Our Retired Explorer
19. Time's Arrow
20. (Hospital Vespers)
21. Uncorrected Proofs
22. A New Name For Everything
23. One Great City!
24. Benediction
25. The Prescience Of Dawn
26. (Past Due)


Left And Leaving
01. Everything Must Go!
02. Aside
03. Watermark
04. Pamphleteer
05. This Is A Fire Door Never Leave Open
06. Without Mythologies
07. Left And Leaving
08. Elegy For Elsabet
09. History To The Defeated
10. Exiles Among You
11. My Favourite Chords
12. Slips And Tangles

13. Illustrated Bible Stories For Children
14. Diagnosis
15. Confessions Of A Futon-Revolutionist
16. None Of The Above
17. Letter Of Resignation
18. Leash (cuts off)*
19. Sounds Familiar (cuts in)
20. Anchorless (mic problems, then gets cut off again, partial song)
21. Fallow

* Not recorded-
Wellington Wednesdays
The Last Last One
Greatest Hits Collection

WEAKERTHANS- 2010-12-18 part 1. rar (mp3)
WEAKERTHANS- 2010-12-18 part 2. rar (mp3)

Dimeadozen- lossless FLAC

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Teenage Dogs In Trouble's Top Recommended Albums From 2010

I shy away from using the term, "best of the year" because quite frankly I haven't heard enough music in 2010 to really give a qualified opinion and everyone has his or her idea of what they think the best should be. What I will offer is my list of recommended CD's that I felt deserve a mention and your attention. My criteria for this list is simple:
  • It must be released during 2010 (not previously released and then reissued or remastered etc.).
  • A CD I either have in my possession (physical) or I have on my computer/pod. In other words something I have listened to in it's entirety.
  • Something I would recommend to others because I like the music. Some of these are popular and on other "best of" lists, but they are personal favourites that I will listen to again and often.
  • There will not be anything that became popular because it became viral on Youtube or any "artists" with the names, Justin, Taylor or Gaga.
This year's list features many names familiar to TDIT regulars as I seem to write about what I like. I would love to hear what you think, so please leave your lists of recommendations for the past year. I'm trying something new and including a streaming of a song from each album, let me know if you have any problems with the player. If it works, I'll stream more music. I've also linked each artist to their Myspace page so you can listen to even more of their music before you buy their album...right?

1. SUPERCHUNK- Majesty Shredding: A terrific return to form for their first studio record since 2001. This is the classic sound I remember when I saw Superchunk back in 1997 and I think it's their best album since, Here's Where The Strings Come In or even, No Pocky To Kitty (that got the remastered re-release treatment this year), but that might be pushing it. Without a doubt my favourite record of the year.

2. ARCADE FIRE- The Suburbs: While the band's first two albums were achievements in themselves, The Suburbs pushes it even further. As big sounding as the band is live, The Suburbs is filled with grandiose splendor and many epic moments. The album has 16 songs and it loses a bit of it's stream towards the end, but it's still the masterpiece it's hyped up to be.

3. TEENAGE FANCLUB- Shadows: When I'm feeling down and need some cheering up, I like to put on headphones and crank up some Teenage Fanclub. Their music shimmers with a pop sound that is undeniably catchy and on Shadows, Teenage Fanclub delivers this infectious sound consistently throughout the album. Let's hope it doesn't take another 5 years for their next record.

4. SHE & HIM- Volume 2: Speaking of bright and shiny, She & Him (aka: Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward) offer up such a likable and fun record, I can't help but love it...the perfect summer album. Zooey's deadpan, often flat vocal style is nicely set in front of the lush orchestration and the retro-pop sound She & Him create is an excellent tribute to the music it's influenced by. An improvement over Volume 1, but will they follow up Volume 2 with something different or more of the same? Please Zooey come to Winnipeg (to sing, not act)!

5. STARS- The Five Ghosts: A saw the band two times in 2010 on tour for The Five Ghosts and after repeated listening of the album, it really grew on me or at least haunted a good way! I thought nothing could top their previous 2 albums, Set Yourself On Fire and In Our Bedroom, and I don't think this one does, but it comes close. A solid record that has a several songs that will be permanent fixtures in their setlists, but not as consistent as the last two.

6. CANDY HEARTS- Ripped Jeans & Silly Dreams: When I first heard the stand-out track, Blocking The Sunshine, on the blog, Music Ruined My Life, I was pleasantly surprised and had to hear more from this band. I downloaded their debut album on the website (for free!) and I was glad I did. This band and their album, Ripped Jeans & Silly Dreams is my best discovery of the year, a band I previously had never heard of and thanks to the worldwide web (it's much easier to spread your music around the world) I've become a big fan of this band from Purchase, NY. This is an enjoyable record that brings a smile to my face every time I listen to it and it's songs have a genuine honesty that the listener can relate to, set against a catchy, sometimes poppy wall of fuzzy guitars. Very promising, they're working on a new album, so hopefully we'll hear more from them in 2011.

7. SARAH HARMER- Oh Little Fire: I didn't actually own any Sarah Harmer albums (I do have her earlier band, Weeping Tile's albums) until after I heard her on CBC's Q back in June when she released her first album in 4 years, Oh Little Fire. She performed songs from the new record and though I had heard some music from Sarah Harmer, I really hadn't "listened" to her previous albums. What I heard on Q intrigued me, so I sought out this record and her other solo albums and planned to see her perform at the Winnipeg Folk Festival, thus beginning my love affair with Sarah Harmer. There's a much more pop sound to Oh Little Fire and much more accessible than her last record, I'm A Mountain.

8. THE FIGGS- The Man Who Fights Himself: Though The Figgs might be best known as the sometimes backing band for Graham Parker (and Tommy Stinson), they are a prolific band in their own right. Formed in 1987, The Figgs are sometimes overlooked and are very underrated and have never received the recognition they deserve. This is music that is rock' n 'roll at it's best, melodic and smart. This is the Figgs 10th studio full-length and though their first record, Low-Fi At Society High remains my favourite, I think they're getting better with age.

9. THE POSIES- Blood/Candy: This veteran Seattle power-pop band has a classic sound that recalls Big Star (both Ken Stringfellow and Jon Auer played in a revived version of Big Star) and their distinct vocal harmonies are what set The Posies apart. This is a consistently good Posies record that proves their last album wasn't just a reunion record, since their supposed break-up in 1999 and there are many sweet moments to enjoy on Blood/Candy. I bought this directly from the band's website and it's the only album I bought on vinyl this year.

10. BEN FOLDS & NICK HORNBY- Lonely Avenue: I've never been much of a fan of Ben Folds, though I like him, but Nick Hornby is the author of my favourite book (and movie!), High Fidelity. I know Hornby is a huge music fan and his taste in music as evidenced in his book, Songbook is on track with my own. So what do you get when you combine these two creative forces together? Actually, it's not a bad record, it might not be everyone's tastes, but it definitely has it's moments and it's concept makes for an interesting and mainly enjoyable listen.

11. SUGAR STEMS- Sweet Sounds Of The Sugar Stems: Their name says it all, the music is built on sweet harmonies and infectous power-pop that will have you bopping along in no time. There's something about girl vocals and crunchy guitars that grab my attention and pull me in. What's not to like about this album? Highly recommended!

12. NEW PORNOGRAPHERS- Together: The title of this album is suitable because for the first time (in a long time), the New Pornographers toured this record together with the complete band complete with Neko Case and Dan Bejar and the record, more than their last album is more of a group effort. A satisfying effort, but with less stand-out tracks than their best records, though I think Crash Years is one of their best songs.

13. THE LIKE- Release Me: I stumbled on this album by accident, but once I heard the near authentic retro-pop sound with it's mid-60's vibe I was hooked. This record is a fun listen and the album cover is awesome! I like The Like!

14. BROKEN BELLS- Broken Bells
15. BROKEN SOCIAL SCENE- Forgiveness Rock Album
Honourable mentions, both these records are critically acclaimed in both Canada and the U.S. and much has been written about them in the press already, so I think I'm done...happy listening!
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