dranking songs of the midwest

Wikipedia has a whole category for songs about alcohol.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Songs_about_alcohol

Google search “albums about alcoholism” and there are pages and pages of songs about drinking, very few albums, however, and not many lists, songs or albums about recovery.

Being a reformed alcoholic myself, as well as being a former addictions counsellor, I have listened to lots of songs and albums that deal with alcoholism and recovery. I won’t bore you with the whole list but I want you to know that there is a plethora of good music, and lyrics, about addiction recovery. Here is a shortlist of a few favourites of mine:

“12 Stories” by Brandy Clark

Brandy_Clark-Cover_Art-12_Stories

“III” by The Lumineers

III Lumineers

Lumineers co-founder Jeremiah Fraites said, “This collection of songs worked out in a beautiful way, and I feel with this album we’ve really hit our stride.” In an interview with NPR, Fraites and Schultz both explained how their lives have been impacted by

addiction, and that this album was intended to chronicle the effects of addiction on family members and loved ones.

I will add that I was deeply moved by this recording and equally touched by the new album from Anothony Mills titled “dranking songs of the midwest”.final-coverart_RustyCadillac_800x800

Anthony Mills does not dodge the pain of addiction in his lyrics and that story is only reinforced by the sparse instrumentation, mostly jangly barrelhouse piano and cajon, that allows us to focus on the lyrics that are delivered in a style reminiscent of traditional plantation song storytelling as well as Anthony Mills hip hop and rap influences, which is where he started his musical journey. A journey that mingles the complex relationship of his deep south heritage as seen in the video “rusty cadillac” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y-J0ojv6tEY with his family’s migration to the industrial north of the USA and their lives in blue-collar towns. “Blue Collar Work Ethic” was Anthony’s most recent release before “drunking songs of the midwest”.blue collar work ethic

In the song “rusty cadillac” Anthony tackles the rawness of using booze to suppress emotions and he also sings of the loneliness that often comes with addiction in the song “drinkin by myself (again)”, self-loathing in “stink”, honesty in “snake oil” and it all comes together as a package deal called “drankin songs of the midwest”.

I have listened to this album over and over today, just like I did when I got the vinyl of “III” by The Lumineers. These albums grabbed me and held me transfixed. Anthony tells us in “dranking songs of the midwest”, ah heck, I’ll just let Anthony tell you:

“I wanted to teleport the listener to the whorehouse, the saloon, with me and a piano man. Every statement is weighted with a shot of life, sweat and sex.
The feeling of wanting to get hammered, and there was always more going on psychologically, but that takes a back seat to getting ‘wet’ walking zig-zag and still
getting home”

And taking us home he does, in “dranking songs of the midwest” a most splendid, luminous and admirable recording, even the parts that hurt. Thank you Anthony.

New single & video ‘rusty cadillac’ came out January 17th 2020 on all platforms.

New album ‘dranking songs of the midwest’ is coming in April 2020.

S T R E A M

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y-J0ojv6tEY

D I S C O V E R

https://www.facebook.com/countrystorytellin/

https://open.spotify.com/artist/0wICpmnI5DciBd1BIuun3X

http://icea.se

 

For all press enquiries, please contact james@mysticsons.com or dan@mysticsons.com

Review by Norman Weatherly

https://weatheredmusic.ca/

 

Cubicolor

Cubicolor is the band name of former Duologue frontman  Tim Digby-Bell and Amsterdam-based producers Ariaan Olieroock and Peter Kriek, and electronic music is what they make. Damn good music is what they make, using both synths and music concrete they are adept at blending it together in a nice album called Hardly A Day, Hardly A Night.

 

[Album cover] CC-HDHN-Tab---Packshot_3000x3000_new_tab

It has been a long wait since their debut album, Brainsugar, was released in 2016, also on the electronica label Anjunadeep. The wait, however, has been worth it.

 

After shelving a complete album that would have been released in 2018 they replaced that albums 12 tracks with 12 tracks on their new album Hardly A Day, Hardly A Night, 12 luscious tracks that weave together the cycles of time and the planets along with feelings of loss, hope, and acceptance.

Blending the signature vocals of British singer-songwriter and former Duologue frontman Tim Digby-Bell with Amsterdam-based producers Ariaan Olieroock and Peter Kriek, Cubicolor is a band to watch for as they bring their one of a kind production and instrumentation to shows around the world in 2020. Cubicolor will kick start it with an album release event in London in February 2020, before taking their live show on the road in the summer. 

 ‘Hardly A Day, Hardly A Night’ is available to pre-order now, digitally, on CD and on limited edition 2×12” gatefold vinyl, due for release 21 February 2020. I can see this album becoming a listen that I can’t go hardly a day or hardly a night without listening to. Check it out: https://music.anjunabeats.com/

Follow Cubicolor:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cubicolor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/cubicolormusic

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/4nMIbZxtt1kWqUZ8VNKvjU

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cubicolor/

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/cubicolor

 

Follow Anjunadeep:

Website: http://www.anjunadeep.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/anjunadeep

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/anjunadeep

Spotify: http://open.spotify.com/user/anjunadeep

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/anjunadeep

Google+: http://bit.ly/deep-google

SoundCloud: http://soundcloud.com/anjunadeep

Review by Norman Weatherly

https://weatheredmusic.ca/

Cold Country Funk

While hiding from the extreme cold we have been experiencing, down to -38c, I locked down and listened to some tunes, first up on the turntable was North Country Funk by Joey Gregorash, I bought this record without hearing a single note from it on the advice of my friend Bruce from Record Collectors Paradise and I have no regrets. I have returned to this album for repeated listens and the one song that stands out for both Bruce and me, is Down By The River, which I think is equal to, if not better than Neil Young’s version. Either way, this is still a good winter album, the cover photo says it all.

R-8895458-1511215067-1816.jpeg

Next up were Explosions In The Sky who told me with their album that, The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place. To step outside at -33C makes the earth feel like a cold dead place, however, we Edmontonians are a hearty lot and life goes on, a bit slower perhaps for those of us with arthritis, but it does go on.

Another song by Explosions In The Sky, Snow And Lights, from their album How Strange, Innocense. This is a favourite band of ours, Joel and I, so I didn’t mind queuing up another listen by them.

A blast from the past came next, The Mamas & The Papas are California Dreamin’ on such a winters day. I am personally Jamaica dreamin’ on such a cold and snowy winters day.

A little levity came next with Frank Zappa, Don’t Eat The Yellow Snow, a 45 this time so it was a short cold shot.

A Hazy Shade of Winter by Simon & Garfunkel, another blast from the past that gives us another shade of winter in case we ever tire of the frozen white one we are stuck in.

Fifteen Feet Of Pure White Snow by Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds, this is from the album No More Shall We Pass, which I think is a masterpiece of music. This line is particularly apt for our recent weather:
“I’m beginning to freeze
I’ve got icicles hanging from my knees”
Listen to the entire album if you have a chance, this warrants a comfortable spot on the recliner and listening on the big speakers.

White Winter Hymnal by Fleet Foxes from their self titled album

Snow Blind by Black Sabbath from Vol4

I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm by Billie Holiday from Holiday Blues

Snowblind from Drowning With Land In Sight by The 77s

Snowblind Friend by Steppenwolf from Sixteen Great Performances

Snowin’ In Brooklyn by Ferron from Shadows On A Dime
I think the remainder of these songs speak for themselves, except for the last one, by Ferron, it’s actually snowin’ in Edmonton, but I’ll give her credit all the same because it probably is snowin’ in Brooklyn as well. I saw Ferron live at the Edmonton Folk Fest and fell in love with her music and the Shadows On A Dime album, which I go back to every now and then, just because it feels so good to reminisce about that performance. It may be cold outside but the turntable is still spinning and up next is Hot Buttered Soul by the great Isaac Hayes, it gets the blood flowing and the feet moving, good stuff.
I hope you manage to stay warm and listen to some good music, it warms the soul.

Twenty Nineteen In My Rearview Mirror

Music Book That I Enjoyed In 2019

 Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life by Steve Almond

Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life

New Release That I Enjoyed In 2019

 Schlagenheim by Black Midi. I realize that this album may not be for everyone but it was good for me and to me. The video is a runner up for my favourite of the year:

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rc3LSW_XTwI

They are fresh, different and incredibly good musicians that I want to see live, perhaps on my next trip to the U.K.

Black Midi

Most Listened to New Release Of 2019

 III by The Lumineers, this album grabbed my ears and I didn’t want to stop listening. I think it may be because of the content of the songs, they are built around the stories of people struggling with addiction, which creates struggles with relationships, and struggles with life in general. I could relate to what I was hearing and that encouraged me to hear it again, and again. In fact, I am going to listen to it again right now.

III Lumineers

Most Listened to Album

 The Witmark Demos: 1962-1964 by Bob Dylan, for some reason 2019 was the year of Bob Dylan. Perhaps I was trying to erase the memory of his live concert at Calgary in 2017 which left a dirty taste in my mouth. Anyhow, I listened to this CD set over and over and over. For a Dylan fan, it is a very well done time capsule of his early years as a recording artist, we find him trying out some folk standards alongside some new material. It may not be the best recording if you are a new fan of Dylan, but for a long time fan such as myself, this was a very rewarding listen.

Witmark Demos

Most Listened To Artist With A New Release In 2019

 Tool. Their album of the year, Inoculum, was a close second to III by the Lumineers, but Tool was the most listened to artist because after multiple listens to Inoculum I would then listen to their back catalogue and then I would return to Inoculum which meant that as, an artist, Tool achieved the most listens by any single artist of 2019.

Tool Inoculum

Best Album Artwork/Packaging

Tool, Fear Inoculum. A double winner and justifiably so, the music and package worked together and were so well crafted that it would be a sin to not mention is.

Most Listened To Artist Of Any Year

 Bob Dylan, it was a runaway this year, I listened to him twice as many times as the second-place artist.

Most Listened To Band Of Any Year

 King Crimson, they edged out Pink Floyd this year even allowing for the viewing of Roger Waters: Us + Them (Film Screening) @ Cineplex South Edmonton October 2, 2019. I only listened to two King Crimson albums twice, the other dozen listens were of a dozen different recordings by the band, yeah, I do like them a bit. I was also influenced by seeing them live again this year.

Most Listened To Format

 I would have bet that I listened to more streaming music including Apple music but to my surprise, I listened to more music on CDs than any other format. Apple Music came in second and LPs were third.

Music Video Of 2019 That I Liked

 I don’t watch a lot of music videos but here is one that I did watch, multiple times, and I enjoyed it every time I watched it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kNKD6TstzUk

Music Video From Any Year That I Still Like

 Sledgehammer by Peter Gabriel, this is still an amazing video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OJWJE0x7T4Q

Pleasant Surprise Of The Year

 Close Talker presents Immersion: (3d-360 Headphone Concert) @ Art Gallery of Alberta on August 6, 2019. This is brand new tech and I was grateful to be one of the first to hear it. I walked in there not knowing what to expect and walked out in awe. This is another one that I can not put into words, you have to hear it live to appreciate it.

Event Of The Year

 Moonshot Phonographs Grand Unveiling Party @ Moonshot Phonographs April 13, 2019, check them out: https://moonshotphonographs.com/

I am so happy that my good friend, Todd, got the vinyl printing press up and running.

Moonshot_Est._2017

Concert Of The Year

 A tie for this category which is no surprise because I walkout at the end of just about every concert saying it was the best. Many of the shows I saw this year were the best, unfortunately, many of them were only the best for a day. There were two however that kept their glow:

King Crimson @ Royal Albert Hall in London England on June 20, 2019, this one was a Christmas present and I loved every minute of the show in a venue that was actually on my bucket list of places to take in a concert. So many wonderful acts have graced the stage and now I can say that I was there. This was my second time to see King Crimson live, the first was in Calgary at the Jack Singer Concert Hall in 2015 and both shows were mind-blowing good. They remain a favourite of mine after many, many years of listening.

Review: King Crimson at the Royal Albert Hall | Times2 ... 

Godspeed You! Black Emperor w/Kevin Doria @ Starlite Room August 27, 2019, was the other show that topped this category. They are an amazing collective of amazing musicians that held me spellbound from the moment they graced the stage till the moment they walked off. This wasn’t just a music concert, it was an event. The lighting was provided by four projectors at the back of the house, we were right beside them, that a very talented gentleman used to such good effect that he should by all rights be listed as a member of the band. I can’t describe it in mere words, you had to be there, if they come back to Edmonton grab some tickets, I will be there for sure.

In Summary

 Twenty Nineteen was a good year for music. It started slowly with only a handful of live shows here and there and not many new releases that hooked their riffs into me, but the pace gradually crept up through the summer and it ended up being another good year for music in my sphere of listening. There were numerous live shows and way too many albums that deserve to be on year-end lists, but I don’t want to bore you to tears by listing them all here. You can check out our live show compendium at WeatheredMusic.ca and if you want to know everything that I have listened to this year send me an email and I can send the list with all the albums, 567 so far but I have 10 more days to go as I write this. Bon voyage, I am off to see 20-20.

 

Bored?

It’s a relatively quiet Wednesday, the sun is shining and Donald Trump is being impeached. So what am I listening to? Stella Explorer and boerd is the answer. Specifically the live video of their song Before We Drown. This is sweet music for a winter Wednesday. The pond and lakes are all frozen in this part of the world so literally drowning would be incredibly difficult but I don’t mind being drowned in good music and this video provides that. Get comfortable, turn the volume off on the television and drown in boerd and Stella Explorer making some very pleasing music.

25 or 19 to 4

25 years on

Twenty-five years ago, 1994, Woodstock 94 celebrated the 25th anniversary of Woodstock, Justin Bieber was born, Nirvana played their final concert, Pink Floyd embark on the Division Bell which would be their last world tour, Johnny Cash released The American recordings and Captain Tractor release Land, their first album.

To commemorate 25 years of recordings Captain Tractor have treated us a gorgeous double album containing a sampling of songs that represent the non-stop party that they are. From Pitcairn Island to someplace East of Eden, Captain Tractor Bought The Farm North of the Yellowhead and managed to score a Hat Trick while negotiating a Celebrity Traffic Jam. 9 albums and countless happy fans later they are 25 Years On.

If you like Captain Tractor you will fall head over heels for this retrospective that covers material from the last 25 years into one impressively packaged two record pressing. Completely re-mastered with four new tracks recorded in February 2018 with Nik Kozub at The Audio Department in Edmonton, two unreleased tracks from the vaults, and seventeen past tracks spanning our first album Land, to 2015’s Live at the Roxy

This limited edition pressing in gray splattered vinyl comes in a spiffy double sleeve and sounds amazing, I score it a home run and we are all winners for listening to good music.

Lucy Pearl.jpeg

19 years ago Lucy Pearl released their self-titled album to rave reviews. Lucy Pearl was a supergroup that released just this one album, so for those of us who have been crate-digging trying to find a nice clean pressing, your wait is over. Freshly pressed in jet black vinyl this repressing will be sure to please fans of R&B, soul, hip-hop (Snoop Dogg collaborated) and neo-soul. It is impossible to refrain from getting into the groove and grooving to the tunes on these records.

So there we have it 4 records between these to recordings that cover 25 years of Captain Tractor and 19 years of Lucy Pearl. That completes the 25 or 19 to 4, happy listening everyone.

The Music Is The Medium

rock and roll will save your life

I am reading “Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life” by Steve Almond and he devoted several pages to the evolution of listening to music that has transpired within our lifetimes. Yes, we both acknowledge this dates us but we are OK with it because it also means we have listened to a truckload of music.

I don’t agree with some of Steve’s chronology so I will just offer a vague summary of his list: The radio era, the phonographic era, the 8 track era, the cassette era, the CD era, and last but not least, the digital era.

This isn’t a bad list but I think it is overly simplistic, however, I am not here to debate the various era’s of music, what I do want to talk about is how we listened to music differently through those eras.

I would offer another era to this list, the era of live music which predates any of these recording methods and is still going strong, just different. When I was a young lad my Dad played the guitar at home and at parties. There were wedding dances, high school dances and impromptu music wherever musicians gathered. And gather they did, we had family reunions, music at campsites, and even at a funeral. My Dad’s remembrance service was close to 3 hours long and half a dozen musical groups played a tribute to my Dad for his contributions to live music over the years.

Live music was the only way to listen to music until technology started giving us a plethora of recording methods that allowed us to experience music where ever and whenever we wanted to listen to it.

There are more than enough history lessons on the various ways that sound, and music, have been recorded so I won’t replicate what others have done. What I will do is talk about how listening has changed for me.

After the live music, there was the radio which people listened to for much more than just music. CFCW was our local country and western station and they catered to the farmers and ranchers as well as those of us who enjoyed the country music. CBC had talk shows and of course, Hockey Night In Canada on Saturday, I cheered for the Leafs because my Dad cheered for the Leafs. As a teenager I listened to 630 CHED which played pop music, I can remember listening to The Archies sing “Sugar Sugar” as we drove home after school. K-97 played music on FM starting in 1979, they introduced me to more than one album over the years and I contributed mixtapes to them that they played on-air and gave me some albums in exchange.

I had purchased my first piece of vinyl in 1968, “Crimson and Clover” by Tommy James and the Shondells. I picked that gem up in Vancouver while there on vacation and visiting my cousin Wayne. I returned the next summer and bought my first full-length LP, Best of the Bee Gees, and that purchase is where I lead off on my topic of how we listen to music.

I played that record over and over, my parents let me use their record player in my bedroom and I took full advantage of that freedom. In November of 1969, I bought my second full album and I listened to it over and over. Summer of 1970 and I bought more records, Montreal had a very nice record shop that introduced me to “Déjà Vu”  by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young” as well as “In the Court of the Crimson King” by a band that is still very high on my favourites list, King Crimson.

Anyhow, listening. How did I listen to music in the decade of the 1970s? I listened intently, I hung on every word. We didn’t have https://genius.com/ to find the lyrics for us so without lyrics printed on the inner sleeve we listened intently, trying to hear every word and string them together for a musical story within each song and sometimes through a whole album. I listened for the sounds that the different instruments played within the songs, how they ebbed and flowed and added texture to the song. I read the liner notes for every tidbit of information such as who produced the album, who played what instrument (s), where it was recorded, etc.

I listened intently over and over until I knew those records start to finish. It was often a long time between record stores so I got my money’s worth out of every album that I bought.

And then cassette tapes came along and that changed the way I listened and interacted with music. I made mixtapes, yes, they were a real thing and not just in The Guardians of the Galaxy. I would listen to albums over and over and then put select songs on tape that I could listen to in the cassette deck in my car. Music became mobile and not just on the radio, I was now able to listen to what I wanted when I wanted it.

I bought my first set of headphones in 1973 and that also altered the way I experienced sound. They were quadraphonic which also changed the way I heard music. The technology was moving forward at an accelerated rate compared to the advances of the previous couple of hundred years.

I had an 8 track someplace within the late 1970s but I never got into that format very deep. The next leap was to CD’s in 1985, they were introduced to the public in 1982 but I waited a few years for the price to come down and my wages to go up, which both accommodated me favourably. I didn’t sell off my records to buy CDs as many people did, I kept my records spinning and added CDs as an alternate for listening. The biggest change that CDs made to my listening was the ability to listen to a whole album start to finish without having to get up and flip it, I could now listen to 80 minutes of music non-stop. The trade-off was the size of the packaging, I could barely read the liner notes because they were so small on a CD, compared to those on a record.

The biggest change in my listening habits had nothing to do with formats. I listened to all the formats, but I didn’t listen to them the same way in the 1990s as I did in the 1970s and that is still true, up until now.

I added albums to my collection at a dizzying rate and by 1989 I had accumulated 999 records and was on my way to similar numbers in CDs and cassettes but that accumulation came at a cost, I now listened to more volume but less content. I was listening to more and more music but paying less and less attention to what I was listening to and with the advent of digital music, I had even more content but less listening. So I made a decision to listen to some music in much the same way as I had in the embryonic days of my music listening. I left the CD in the player for days on end and listened to the same album over and over, just like I did for Best of the Bee Gees. I picked 20 albums and I listened intently to them.

So, in no particular order, here is what I listened to and how I reacted to the music that I loved so much in years gone by.

  1. Déjà Vu by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. This recording has been on my turntable for 49 years, 7 months, 20 days, and I still love to hear it, start to finish, over and over again.
  2. Kiln House by Fleetwood Mac. This is the only album by them that I listen to over and over again.
  3. Surrealistic Pillow by Jefferson Airplane. This is another band that I only listen to one album of theirs, White Rabbit isn’t the only good song on the album.
  4. No Guru, No Method, No Teacher by Van Morrison. This is his sixteenth album and it was released in 1986, I bought it on CD before buying the vinyl.
  5. American Pie by Don Mclean. Yes, I bought it for “the song”, but I do listen to the whole album, just not as intently as “the song”.
  6. Lust For Life by Iggy Pop. I love this album, start to finish. It’s a good listen for driving down the highway in the summer.
  7. Sticky Fingers by The Rolling Stones. I still consider this as the Stones best recording.
  8. Avalon by Roxy Music. Released in 1982, this was their eighth and final studio album but the first and only recording that I have of them.
  9. Harvest by Neil Young. This came out in 1972, I bought it sometime around 1975 and saw him live in 1984. I still consider this the highest point in his musical career.
  10. A Space In Time by Ten Years After. I bought this on vinyl in quadraphonic sound. It sounded amazing with headphones and still sounds good in stereo.
  11. I Ain’t Easy by Long John Baldry. Saw him live in 1979 but he didn’t play a single song off this album which disappointed me because I loved this on vinyl.
  12. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles. I don’t remember when or where I bought this album but I have listened to it a gazillion times.
  13. Buffalo Springfield by Buffalo Springfield. I bought it “For What It’s Worth” but have listened to it until I am “Going Out Of My Mind”.
  14. Wanted! The Outlaws by Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Jessi Colter, and Tompall Glaser earned its place in music history by becoming the first country and western album to be platinum-certified, reaching sales of one million. I added to those sales twice.
  15. Sounds of Silence by Simon and Garfunkel. The sounds of record grooves eliminated the silence and the silence still plays.
  16. Crime of the Century by Supertramp. This album has not lost its lustre even though it isn’t quite the album of the century, that would be number 20 on this list.
  17. Who’s Next by The Who. Come on, I would have bought it just for the cover photo and kept it for the music.
  18. Fear of Music by Talking Heads. I remember hearing this on K-97, an FM station in Edmonton who used to play album rock, I bought it on cassette first and then on record, CD and digital. Yup, over and over and over.
  19. Aqua Lung by Jethro Tull, when this album came out my parents took a stance and they didn’t want me playing this record in their home, which of course meant I played it more, over and over.
  20. Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd. This album was released in March of 1973, I graduated from grade 12 in June of 1973 and bought this album with my first paycheque in July of 1973. I have since purchased about a dozen copies of this album over the years in vinyl, cassette and CD. The format doesn’t matter because the music is the medium.

The music is the medium is a statement by Marshall McLuhan, meaning that the form of a message (print, visual, musical, etc.) determines the ways in which that message will be perceived. McLuhan argued that modern electronic communications (including radio, television, films, and computers) would have far-reaching sociological, aesthetic, and philosophical consequences, to the point of actually altering the ways in which we experience the world.

I agree wholeheartedly with Mr McLuhan, the end.

Norman’s Summer Music

 I finished reading David Bowie’s biography by Marc Spitz. It was a good read with plenty of references to songs that I liked listening to while reading the book, which is tricky because I only read the book in my car and I don’t distract and drive. Anyhoo, that’s another story for another day, let’s just say for now that I listened to Bowie over the last couple of months which brings us to the topic of this posting. Namely, what have I been listening to lately?

summer-songs-gathering-beauty

 Bowie, mostly his early to mid-career tunes. Space Oddity from his eponymous second album is still a great listen. Aladdin Sane is such a nice play on words, and The Jean Genie is as catchy today as it was in 1973, which is saying a lot because 1973 was the year I became a Drooling Fanatic (page 7 of Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life by Steve Almond).

 I think I started into Bowie in July, just back from a jaunt to London where I scored Alladin Sane on vinyl.

 These lads are insane. black midi, with their album Schlagenheim. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rc3LSW_XTwI

   I also scored Sons of Kemet, Your Queen Is A Reptile. Fresh sounds from the London jazz scene, thanks to Rough Trade Records.

 What else have I been listening to? Lots of New Wave (ish) music. Nick Lowe, Soft Cell, The Psychedelic Furs, That Petrol Emotion, etc. The mid to late eighties new wave scene has been on my playlists since, well, the mid to late eighties.

 Another band that never leaves my playlists are The Pink Floyd. I saw David Gilmore Live at Pompei on the big screen and then Roger Waters Us and Them on tour, on the big screen again, and in between those two stellar movies I read Nick Mason’s book, Inside Out. Which was as good as the movies, just a slower format.

 Another perennial favourite of mine is King Crimson, who I was very fortunate to see live at The Royal Albert Hall in London. And of course, I came home with hard copies of their music so I can keep listening to them.

 The Barr Brothers, saw them live and bought their CD’s and would pay to see them again.

 Flash And The Pan, a group from Australia that I keep playing at least once a year. The song Hey St. Peter is a favourite of mine.

 Talking Heads, Tom Waits, Joy Division, Tonio K., Van Morrison, Decemberists, Lifesavers, Michael Knott, The Swirling Eddies, Frank Zappa, … and the list goes on. A good chunk of this music dates me but I am comfortable with that.

 We Are The City, I liked them live. Spiritualized, And Nothing Hurt, a great piece of music. Nuella Charles, some very good homegrown talent on our homegrown vinyl plant, https://moonshotphonographs.com/.

 Low Roar, one of the best live shows I have ever seen and a darn good recording to boot. 

 Syd Arthur, tough to find hard copies of anything they have recorded but I managed to score Apricity on CD this summer.

 Godspeed You! Black Emperor, an amazing show, simply amazing. Their records are good but live… I don’t have enough superlatives.

 Russian Circles, a really good show that satisfied my heavy metal craving for that month. Best crowd award goes to the metalheads that were there that night.

 The Needs, some good Scandinavian power pop. Völuspa, aka Kirsten Knick delivers some Scandinavian synth-driven pop music.

 Rhye. I don’t know where to start. The spelling, yes that is spelled correctly, Rhye. The show, it was mesmerizing. I love it when all the ingredients come together and make the two hours fly by so fast it seems like the show just started, please don’t stop now!

 Cody Jinks. His new album, After The Fire, got me hooked on him and I went on a binge listening to his back catalogue. I am hooked on him now and I hope he tours up here in the great white north much like another country rebel, Sturgill Simpson, who also dropped another great album.

 Last but not least, The Lumineers, III. This album struck a chord with me due to its subject matter of addiction and messy lives.

So, that’s my summer and early fall listening, a new blog will be coming out early next week. Snapshot reviews. Until then, happy listening my friends.

2018 In The Rear View Mirror

The list below is my attempt at emulating the Juno Awards. I usually shy away from best of lists, but I had the privilege of attending the 8th Annual Edmonton Music Awards Gala at The Winspear Centre on June 28, and like them, I wanted to give nods of approval across a broad spectrum of music and to use categories, like the Juno Awards do. So here is my best of 2018 list that isn’t a best of list, it is, however, music that made me smile during twenty-eighteen.

Live performance in a large venue:
David Byrnes – American Utopia * Live at The Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium

Live performance in a medium venue:
Reverend Horton Heat, Unknown Hinson & Igor & The Red Elvises @ The Starlite Room

Live performance in a small venue:
Rosie & The Riveters w/VISSIA @ The Aviary

Classical music performance:
Late Night Soundscapes, Edmonton Symphony Orchestra Conducted by Alexander Prior

Classical Music Recording:
re:member by Ólafur Arnalds

Edmonton Artist and Recording:
starlight by nêhiyawak

Canadian Country and Western Performance (The Atrium) and Album:
Cold Beans & Broken Eggs by Sean Burns

International Country and Western Album:
Mr. Jukebox by Joshua Hedley

Country and Western Live Performance: Nitty Gritty Dirt Band at The Jube

Vintage Country Album:
Wanted by The Outlaws

Vintage Reissue Recording:
Pink Floyd – The Pipers At The Gates Of Dawn (Remastered Reissue)

Roots Music Album:
Vanished Gardens by Charles Lloyd & The Marvels & Lucinda Williams

Jazz Album:
Your Queen Is Dead by Sons Of Kemet

Dance/Electronic Album:
Shape The Future by Nightmares On Wax

Alternative Album:
Rebound by Eleanor Friedberger

R&B/Soul Album:
Chris Dave and the Drumhedz by Chris Dave and the Drumhedz

R&B/Soul Performance: The War and Treaty at the Edmonton Folk Music Festival

Album Still In Rotation From Last Year:
Once In A Long, Long While by Low Roar

Rock Album of 2018:
Offerings by Typhoon

Canadian Rock Album of 2018:
Earthtones by Bahamas

Spiritual Album of 2018:
(untitled) by mewithoutYou

Live Performance of 2018:
David Byrne at The Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium

Live Review: Yukon Blonde / The Zolas

On the evenings of Friday, November 30 and Saturday, December 1 we had the pleasure of listening to Yukon Blonde and The Zolas do back to back shows at The Station on Jasper. This repeat was a first for both of us although we had seen both bands previously, this was the sixth time for Yukon Blonde and the seventh for The Zolas. Listening to two groups do back to back shows presented us with an opportunity to make some observations on band dynamics, set lists, crowd demographics and dynamics, how the music and lights were mixed and the overall vibe from each show.

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The Zolas hail from the Vancouver area but make numerous tours that include Edmonton, where it is evident that they have a lot of fans. Currently, the core of The Zolas consists of Zach Gray on guitar and vocals, Dwight Abell on bass, and Cody Hiles on drums with a touring pianist rounding out their sound.

Over the years I have heard The Zolas grow and spread their playing into new and exciting sounds while they have also developed and matured as a cohesive unit, they sound better with each listening. They are more confident and they are using new sounds and arrangements that make their older songs sound fresh. They have always been a band that had a good on stage presence and that did not change with these two shows. Zach is good at banter and engaging the crowd and the band as a unit kept the energy moving forward with a minimum of dead spots such as guitar tunings.

The Zolas are adding more nuances and textures to their music through the use of synthesisers and trigger pads. This was most notable for Zach as he played both synthesiser and guitar in which he used the headstock of his guitar to tap trigger pads. The band generated good energy with the crowd and were able to sustain that energy through their set, although I think it was a better crowd on Friday than Saturday and the crowd energy was different. The Zolas traditionally close with Zach taking his mic stand, guitar and a small synth into the middle of the crowd on the floor and play Escape Artist. Zach asks the crowd to turn on their phone flashlights and it creates a cool dynamic.

Over the years I have seen this done several times and the audience reaction isn’t always the same. On Friday night it was good, not as good as a previous show at a different venue and a different crowd, but it was darn good. Saturday night, on the other hand, had a very different crowd that didn’t engage as well from my perspective.fullsizeoutput_d6dfAs always, The Zolas meet and greet with the crowd after the show and are good at it. We didn’t get a setlist from the Zolas this time around, but we got a selfie with Zach which is a tradition he does with us. My appreciation for this band goes up every time I see them live or listen to them at home. They are a highlight band for me. My favourite song is Frieda On The Mountain:
“Freida on the mountain
What do you see on the other side?
Freida on the mountain
What do you see on the other side?”
I’m sure that my family and friends will understand why it is a favourite.

Yukon Blonde is a band that started in Kelowna but work out of Vancouver nowadays. The band is made up of Jeff Innes on vocals and guitar, Brandon Scott on guitar and vocals, Graham Jones on drums and vocals, James Younger on bass and vocals, and Rebecca Gray on keyboards, synths, and vocals.fullsizeoutput_d6f5

Wikipedia classify them as an indie rock band although I can hear the influence of psych, disco, 80’s easy listening, and straight ahead power rock. They are a tight band that can are comfortable playing with a variety of sounds. Having the luxury of 3 band mates that can sing lead, all 5 of them singing backing vocals, 3 of them that play synth and two lead/rhythm guitar players, they can spread the sound around and add layers and textures that compliment each other and build a big sound.

The highlight for me of both shows by Yukon Blonde was their long jams on the song Radio. I didn’t time it because I was so mesmerised listening to it, but it went around, up, over and then back for more than the traditional 3 minutes that they would get on a radio edit. It then it segued into Saturday Night which was another high energy stretched out anthem. The closing song both nights was a tribute to George Harrison and the Travelling Wilburys, in which both bands took the stage, and they did a rendition of Handle With Care.

 

fullsizeoutput_d6e6The Station on Jasper is a good venue, the staff are polite and courteous and the sound is usually pretty good. They have a decent menu, we had the nachos and they were tasty. Like I said earlier, the crowds were very different for the two shows. Friday night had a lot of happy people that were there because they wanted to hear the music. Saturday felt like it had a lot more intoxicated people who came to the venue to get drunk and either socialise through the whole show or spend the entire night texting. Very different crowds that I am sure the bands could sense as much as we did.fullsizeoutput_d289

The sound was muddy, very bass heavy and very loud on Friday night, which was a shame because so many people were there to hear good music. Saturday night had a better mix although it was still very, very loud. At least the bass wasn’t as bad as Friday night, it was still too much, but it was better. Heavy bass is a trend that we have noticed at a lot of shows, so it isn’t confined to one venue. The excessive volume is also at epidemic proportions, and it’s everywhere even in stores.

Conclusion: I thoroughly enjoyed both bands both night and would gladly return to The Station on Jasper.

-Norman Weatherly

Photos by Joel Weatherly. More Photos at Joel Weatherly Photography.

Yukon Blonde setlists: Friday, Saturday