Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The real payolas

I have some lost Calgary classics coming up for you (including a snapshot of Leslie Feist's origins in cargo pants and dreadlocks — a far cry from her current incarnation as a spangle-bedecked shimmy-dancer. Have you seen this video? It's nuts!) but not just yet. It's been the kind of couple of weeks where music just hasn't seemed that important or exciting, y'know? Still, kids, hang on for the treats.

In the meantime, do you want to know why you hear that shitty Finger Eleven song every ten minutes on rock radio? Here's why. Exact same thing that's been going on since "Rock Around the Clock." Need more? Read Hit Men by Frederic Dannen. Or maybe don't... Those are some nice fingahs there, I would hate ta see dem get all mashed up, if you know what I mean.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

"He thought the Indians were some lost 13 dudes, but he didn't treat 'em any better, and they were never on his side."

One of the great forgotten corpuses (corpi?) of the post-punk era is that of Camper Van Beethoven, of Santa Cruz, California. They incorporated elements of country, punk, ska, Eastern European folk music, psychedelia, and novelty songs into a sound that got more and more accessible (and less tongue in cheek) with each album, culminating in the twin late-'80s masterpieces Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart and Key Lime Pie. (They reformed and began recording new albums a few years ago. Due for a new one, what?)

What got me thinking about them again was an author interview that I'm procrastinating on writing. The book in question centers around the Mountain Meadows Massacre, a horrifying and little-known episode in US frontier history. Doing a bit of research on that event led me, in a few clicks, to the surprising fact that until 1976, it was legal in Missouri to kill anyone belonging to the Church of Latter-Day Saints.
•Camper Van Beethoven: The History of Utah (via RapidShare)

Camper Van Beethoven home myspace

CVB's output 1985–1987 (including rarities and previously unavailable tracks) available through eMusic's 25 free MP3s offer.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Nothin' to do?

If you're at loose ends after Easter dinner tonight (or better yet, if you don't have one to go to), then by all means head down to the HiFi Club to see one of the best lineups I can imagine in Canadian indie rock.

The Constantines are playing with Jon-Rae and the River and Ladyhawk. A cornucopia, to be sure. The Constantines are well known for their furious live performances, Ladyhawk gave a great, noisy CBC Session, and though I've been ambivalent about Jon-Rae and the River's fauxy-classic-southern-rock leanings I'm sure they put on a hell of a live show. Sad to miss it.

Check Radio 3's concert calendar for stops further west. (They'll be in Canmore tomorrow night...)

•The Constantines: Insectivora (via RapidShare)
•Ladyhawk: The Dugout (via RapidShare)
•Jon-Rae and the River: Nothing to Do (via RapidShare)

all three artists are available through eMusic's no-strings 25 free MP3s offer.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Take me out.

A while ago I posted about how the last half of 2006 was The Hold Steady's "moment," and that the inevitable result of their trajectory would be a simultaneous ascendancy to the throne of Kings of Rock, USA, and a descent into wince-making self-parody.

Here's proof.

The Hold Steady home myspace

Get 25 free MP3s and buy exclusive tracks and an otherwise unavailable killer live album by The Hold Steady at

edit: Bradley aptly noted that this is where they jumped the shark.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Forest Lawn, 17th Avenue: it's Mount Pleasant, y'all

For those of you who haven't had the pleasure, check in on Calgary's own Dragon Fli Empire. Positive hip-hop that name-checks everyone's favourite bus route. The link below leads to their CBC Radio 3 session (stream only).

•Dragon Fli Empire: Mount Pleasant and others (CBC Radio 3 session)

Dragon Fli Empire home myspace

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Glue-sniffin', scab-pickin', butt-scratchin', egg-hatchin' freaks

Just for Bradley, because he asked so nicely:

•Freddie Blassie: Pencil Neck Geek (via RapidShare)

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

The Quarterly Report: v.1.0

Lays an gemmin, a compilation CD collecting some of my favourite tracks from the first three months of 2007. I'll try to make this a regular feature. Some thoughts:
•This is very much a "singles" collection — my listening habits having been very snippety and iPod-oriented these past months, in short bursts of driving between stations.
•At 78:38, you should be able to fit this on a regular CD. For optimum rock-isfaction, burn with no gaps between songs.
•To avoid lengthy lineups and frusty-ration, all songs are direct linked (right-click and "Save As").
•None of the wonderful songs previously posted on this blog were eligible for inclusion.
•I have no idea when most of these songs were released. I'm pretty sure they were all within this decade, and a good many are very recent. But what the wind blows my way, I keep.
•No single artist has more than one song represented. Except for The Broken West, who changed their name from The Brokedown between albums. This affords them, in my mind, and for no good reason, a legitimate exemption.
•The Faintest Ideas are from Gothenburg, Sweden, which must be the coolest place in the world to be from.
•Neko Case's little-known live album, The Tigers Have Spoken (available through eMusic's 25 free MP3s offer), recorded with The Sadies, is a must-have.
•Tiny Spark sounds best when played loud through crappy, trebly, blown-out car speakers.

Please check out the artists' websites and buy stuff from them. They deserve it.

The Quarterly Report: First Quarter, 2007
1. The Thermals: A Pillar of
2. The Faintest Ideas: Nosebleeders on the Trackmyspace/thefaintestideas
3. The Inbreds: Is it the Right Time?
4. Malajube: Montreal, -40˚
5. Ted Leo and the Pharmacists: The Sons of
6. Born Ruffians: Kurt
7. Spoon: The Way We Get
8. The Broken West: You Can Build an Islandmyspace/thebrokenwest
9. Great Lake Swimmers: Hands in Dirty
10. Vetiver: I Know No
11. Brendon Benson: Tiny Sparkmyspace/brendanbenson
12. Ladyhawk: My Old
13. Mike O'Neill: See Clearly@zunior
14. Howlin' Rain: Death Prayer in Heaven's
15. Super Furry Animals: Rings Around the
16. Shearwater: Hail
17. Neko Case: The Train From Kansas
18. The A Sides: Sidewalk
19. Num:
20. King Tuff: Staircase of
21. Ruth Minnikin: Angel at the fixed
22. The Brokedown: Down in the Valleymyspace/thebrokenwest

Bon appetit!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

"Have you worked with maniacs before?"

Guess what! There's a new Coyle and Sharpe boxed set out, with 3 CDs and a DVD. I can only imagine that it will, in time, be supplanted by the long-dreamed-of definitive megalithic slab of technological derring-do and archival quarrywork that presents all their incredible man-on-the-street pranks, but in the meantime this is a friggin' goldmine.

(BTW, you know what strikes me about the difference between then and now? The general grace, well-spoken-ness, and eager-to-please-iosity of their interview subjects compared with folks in a similar position today. Not one of Coyle and Sharpe's marks grabs his crotch and screams "I'm on the radio, bitch! WOOOOOT!")

•Coyle and Sharpe: Microphone in Brain (via RapidShare)
•Coyle and Sharpe: Maniacs in Living Hell (via RapidShare)
•Coyle and Sharpe: Lathe and Sponge (for Simon Mailer) (via RapidShare)

The above cuts are from Audio Visionaries (Street Pranks And Put-Ons), an album not contained in the boxed set but which is available through eMusic's no-strings 25 free MP3s offer.

Coyle and Sharpe home myspace cdbaby

Best. Cover. Ever.

OK, not really, but this might be Best. Cover. Of. Worst. Song. EVER.

(Thanks to Bradley for the heads-up.)

Monday, April 02, 2007

What light

Has it really been so long since I updated this thing? To my faithful readers: sorry, mom.

New Wilco track. I might have heard the whole album (Sky Blue Sky, available May 15) somewhere... (*cough*). It's either extremely subtle or totally boring, i.e. either it will reveal its layers over time or you'll only want to listen to it when you're on Xanax. But this new track (available free through Wilco's official site, yes) is a real winner, one of my favourites in their whole catalogue.

•Wilco: What light (MP3)

Wilco home myspace