Crying Day Care Choir

I have started my end-of-year blog, and I think Crying Day Care Choir might sneak in as a late addition.

The time arc of me doing a blog goes something like this. I listen to the album to decide whether I like the sounds. If I don’t get a groove on, the blog never gets off the ground; it stops there. Occasionally all I need to hear is one song or a quick sample by skipping across all the songs. If I don’t get it, the email hits the trash bin.

However, I listen to the entire album if I like what I hear. After that first listen, I will see if the band or artist has previous material or a back story in music. I like to hear where they are coming from, and as I listen, I will start reading whatever I can find about the artist/s. And then, I go to the new material and listen to it again with a lyric sheet, if there is one, and follow the story arc or the ebb and flow of the album. Then I start copying and pasting bits and pieces from the source material, including lyrics when available. And then, I start writing my blog.

There is an exception to this method. Sometimes the music will grab my ears and pull me in without mercy. I can’t stop listening to the album, and after a half dozen or so trips through the entire album, I will start the “if I like what I hear” pattern as above. I frequently get highjacked by repeated listens to a previous album if one, or more, impacts me as much as the new one does.

The exception happened this week with the Swedish band Crying Day Care Choir’s album Give Me Something Vol. 1.

I listened to this album repeatedly and then skipped back to their previous album Wilting Rooting Blooming, which is a horse of a different colour. And then back to Give Me Something Vol. 1. I am listening to Give Me Something Vol. 1 again. It hasn’t grown old yet, and I’m unsure if it ever will. We will check in on December 31st to see if the shine has lost its lustre.

This album explodes in your face when it starts playing the opening powerhouse track, Make A New Fucking World. With a title like that, you know that something will happen. And it does happen. I listened to this song easily a half dozen times and then listened to their previous album, Wilting Rooting Blooming, with its opening track, Fuck It I’m A Flower. That album and that song have an indie folk-flavoured pop feel that is super easy listening. And then I go back to Make A New Fucking World, and it is a new f*****g album with a fresh f*****g sound. The mandolin and acoustic guitars are gone, replaced by synths opening the song and exploding with distorted guitars and a thumping bass drum/guitar. And then they have the audacity of segueing that into a classic piano interlude. Which then transitions back to heavy riffs and the driving beat. And it works. All these pieces sound like a bad idea when I try to explain them with words. You can trust me on this one. Crying Day Care Choir makes it happen. It all works together seamlessly.

I feel this four-track EP is shorter than it could have been. All the tracks give me the feeling that they are good songs to jam on. I’m Looking At You and Don’t Waste Your Time are strong pieces in the middle, and then we get to my second favourite song on this EP, The Dreams Of Alice. A great closing track.

CDCC is Jack, Sara and Bill Elz. Hailing from Malmö in southern Sweden. Sweden is a hot spot for great new music, and this album and band add to that. Crying Day Care Choir is a family trio of the married couple, Jack and Sara, with Jack’s brother, Bill. They are all talented multi-instrumentalists that they use to great advantage, moving effortlessly from indie folk to grunge.

I encourage you to listen to Wilting Rooting Blooming first. And then turn the volume up a notch and play Give Me Something Vol. 1. From my point of view, these albums complement each other and Give Me Something Vol. 1 builds on the foundation of Wilting Rooting Blooming. A good example that I hope most people would be familiar with is Pink Floyd. I recommend listening to Meddle and Obscured by Clouds to better appreciate The Dark Side of the Moon. It gives the listener an expanded understanding and appreciation of the new music if we know where the band is coming from.

Enough of me ranting on about this music. Go now and listen to Crying Day Care Choir. In any order that you like, it is all good music.

The cover art is a story in itself.

After a successful summer performing at festivals such Sziget Festival, Malmöfestivalen, Be Alternative and many more, Swedish alt-follk trio Crying Day Care Choir recently formed their own label ELZ Productions, with their first release an internationally groundbreaking EP with cover art by Damien Hirst and the art itself as source of inspiration.  

CDCC’s new EP ‘Give Me Something Vol.1’, the first of three new collections released in the coming months, explores the relationship between art and music and challenges the idea of how music is created. The full album acts as a continuation of Damien Hirst‘s project ‘The Currency’, where he explores the concept of value through art and money. The Currency contains 10.000 unique pieces, with different titles produced by an AI generator that’s been fed with some of the artist’s favourite music. The buyers of these different art pieces were left with the decision during the summer of 2022, to either keep their physical piece or to keep the NFT version of it and let the physical painting burn.  

This project led to new artistic ideas for the musicians in CDCC, and the concept for the record ‘Give Me Something’ took shape. The idea is to take the titles from the burnt artworks and put them together as lyrics, thus giving them new life in a new art form -“Reborn, as songs”.

With Damien Hirst’s permission the work began in September. Damien Hirst’s artwork ‘Give Me Something’ will act as album cover for the release. The world famous artist however is no stranger to the concept of making album art with his latest involvement being in Drake’s ‘Certified Loverboy’ from 2021.








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Twenty-Two Tracks from 2022

Big Stir Records have released a collection of twenty-two songs from twenty-two artists who had a new release this year on their label. Twenty-Two, the album, harkens me back to the good old days of K-Tel. I still like compilations, and this is the fourteenth compilation that I have listened to this year. Some dodgy ones would make good frisbees. But not this one; it is a keeper.

One of the critical factors to consider when listening to compilations is the flow. Does one song bleed into the next one, or does it jar and clash? I will not run through this compilation song by song, but I will give a few highlights.

Highlight number one is the opening track conveniently. We’re Going Downtown by Chris Church blasted out of my speakers, and I immediately focused on the playlist. Chris Church rocks us into a transition that smoothly moves to Summer Blue by Lannie Flowers. I have previously listened to and blogged about some of these artists. I wrote about Lannie Flowers and his album Flavor of the Month in September of this year.

However, some have flown in under my radar. One of those new songs is track four, Stop the World, by The Incururables. It is very reminiscent of the New Wave of the late 70s and early 80s. This song brings to mind Brinsley Schwarz, Elvis Costello and that British New Wave scene.

Another song I like and is new to me is the song Choker by Walker Brigade. I am positive I have heard them before but not this song. It’s a bit different in the sea of rock and roll that it is floating in. Not quite hard rock and not quite folk, I think I’ll default and call it good music.

Maple Mars is another tight band. I remember them because they gave me an earworm with their song Useless Information

Sometimes Good Guys Don’t Wear White is a great topical song that talks about colour coding people and putting them into boxes based on the shade of colour of their skin.

Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes) is a song that I have on a compilation album, 60’s Summer of Love (Collector’s Edition). I think The Test Pressings, a good band name, have made a good cover of this song and moved it from pure pop to light rock.

The next track is another cover; Mama Told Me Not To Come. I am familiar with the Three Dog Night version, probably the rendition that most people associate with this track. However, there is some fascinating history behind the song. It was written in 1966 by Randy Newman for Eric Burdon‘s first solo recording, Eric Is Here, released in 1967. Although credited to Eric Burdon and the Animals, there are no Animals on the album.

Randy Newman‘s turn at recording Mama Told Me Not To Come was released on his 1970 album 12 Songs. Newman’s piano and Ry Cooder‘s slide guitar gave a more bluesy feel to the song.

From Wikipedia:

Also in 1970, Three Dog Night released a longer, rock ‘n roll and funk-inspired version (titled “Mama Told Me (Not to Come)”) on their album, It Ain’t Easy. The album had Cory Wells singing lead in an almost humorous vocal style, Jimmy Greenspoon played a Wurlitzer, Michael Allsup played guitar, and Donna Summer sang backing vocals, though uncredited.

Billboard ranked the record as the No. 11 song of 1970. The single was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America on July 14, 1970, the same day that It Ain’t Easy was certified gold. It was also the number-one song on the premiere broadcast of American Top 40 with Casey Kasem on July 4, 1970. Pardon my rabbit trail; we will now return to the 22.

Lanny Flowers shows up again on track 19 with a Beatlesque tune called Lost in a Daydream. It is very Sgt. Pepper and an enjoyable listen.

The other songs on this album are consistently good, and they all avoid jarring transitions from song to song. Overall this is a good sample of the quality music that comes out of Big Stir Records. I look forward to what they bring us in 2023.

Available on Apple Music


Temple of Sleep

I’ve had a few artistic doldrums, aka writer’s block. I won’t bore you with why and wherefore; I have had trouble writing anything this year. There are only ten blogs to my credit this year; that’s less than one per month. So I got a PR request from the always-pleasant Shauna McLarnon at Shameless Promotion PR, to give a listen to the song Temple of Sleep from the Zen Ghost album by Frenchy and the Punk, which I praised on October 30. Despite my struggles to write anything, this album rose above others and prodded me to write. That’s how much I appreciated the album. Out of the dozens of press requests that I have received, Zen Ghost was able to push through and rise above the pack.

Anyhoo, I got the request today to give a little boost to the song Temple of Sleep. I don’t usually blog about singles, what with me being an album guy. I have very few 45s and lots of 12-inch slabs of vinyl. That’s just me. I don’t judge; I like the 33 1/3 better.

Well, that gets thrown out the window today, and I will wax eloquently about a single. I listened to the song Temple of Sleep and then pulled the virtual needle back to the start, back to the album’s lead track. It seems that I am not good at sticking to singles. I listened to the entire album again, there is an ebb and flow to an album, and single tracks sometimes lose their context when they try to stand alone. Temple of Sleep is only the second track on the Zen Ghost album, but I feel it is a bridge song. Track one, Mon Souvenir, is all about feelings. It is affirming that the singer can feel. That’s a good thing, being able to feel.

Track two, our focus song, is a bit darker. “Life is feeling very doubtful,” and the singer tells us, “I wanna turn off my feelings.” The song ends more optimistically, with the singer telling us they want to “Make peace with my feelings, Just so I can breathe.” When I first heard this track, I couldn’t help but think of George Floyd.

The song Temple of Sleep then flows into track three, If The World Doesn’t End First, which is full of love that goes on forever and ever.

“I’ve loved you, I’ve loved you, since the dawn of time

The vines of our love galactically entwined

Up to the sky through the cosmos so high

The world may end, but we’ll never die

Our love feels so secure

We don’t care anymore

The words spill over like waterfalls

Like Somewhere in Time

I’m yours, and you are mine…Never-ending… just beginning.”

There we go, “our love feels so secure.” and “The words spill over like waterfalls.” That’s the words of Frenchy and the Punk, vocalist, percussionist and lyricist Samantha Stephenson and guitarist-composer Scott Helland. My words are not that pretty and eloquent, but words did come together and broke through the creative doldrums. A big thank you to Shauna for sliding this song in my direction, and an equally effervescent thank you to Frenchy and the Punk for creating this music. A bonus sidebar, I was pleased to see Scott Helland playing a Godin. They are not seen that often. I have an SDxt.


‘Temple of Sleep’

‘If The World Doesn’t End First’

‘Zen Ghost’ CD pre-order


‘Come in and Play’

Mon Souvenir’


If you have any questions, contact Shauna McLarnon from Shameless Promotion.

PR at

Tinyhawk & Bizzarro

I rarely blog about singles, preferring to listen to whole albums. However, there is no rule that says I can’t write about a single song. So, today for your listening pleasure, I present Tinyhawk & Bizzarro with their single Yorokobi. Yeah, I had to look it up in Google Translate. Yorokobi means joy in Japanese, which seems to be a popular word for Japanese restaurants. The Joy of Cooking, I suppose.

Yorokobi will also be the first instrumental that I have blogged, so today is a day of firsts. I don’t know what exactly draws me to this piece of music. It has a sound vaguely similar to the music in old cowboy movies. I’m an old cowboy, so maybe that is why I like it. If Ennio Morricone were to write the music for a modern western film, I would imagine it to sound something like Yorokobi. The music is bright and glittering with lively sounds. Guitar and synth are front and centre but I was impressed with the bass lines just as much. This song could be on endless loop and it would take a tonne of listens before I got tired of it. Good stuff. Hyvää musiikkia.

Experimental instrumental rock group Tinyhawk & Bizzarro consists of Markus Väisänen (guitar), Teemu Aho (bass) and Jaakko Pöyhönen(drums). The band’s material is written by Jenni Kinnunen, who is also behind the alias Tinyhawk. Kinnunen is known as the guitarist of the Finnish band Rosita Luu. I took the time to listen to the debut album from Bizzarro, Luxardo, self-released in 2019. It is a decent album, and I can hear how the band has matured and come into their own musically.

Bizzarro has been signed to Humu Records, and their debut album will be released in the spring of 2023. The first single, Yorokobi, will be released to download and streaming services on Friday, December 16th. Humu Records will release the full album on vinyl and digital in the spring of 2023. Right on, I love my vinyl platters.

Dark Tracks

Today is New Release Day. Every Friday is New Release Day. For our musical pleasure, this particular Friday is the debut album of Swedish artist Manuela IwanssonDark Tracks. I didn’t find the overall scope of the album dark other than its lamentations of lost love. And those lost loves are not always dark; some feel more like being set free, having a weight lifted from our shoulders.

The first track from Dark Tracks is titled Strangers on a Train, giving the first glimpse of the dark side of the tracks.

“A steady pace along dark tracks

I’m letting go while looking back.”

Dark Tracks may be an ode to lost loves, be it platonic or intimate, but the music propels those words forward with a frantic energy that feels like we can’t get away fast enough. Or, we may have to blast away from The Boys of Summer so we don’t remain maudlin and rooted in our emotional pain.

The song Dead Weight has a great line in it,

“Dead Weight

That’s getting lighter

It’s too heavy carrying you around

When you’re already gone.”

That, my friends, is one of the best examples of clinging to things in our past that weigh us down. Dead Weight that adds nothing to our lives. Dead Weight that holds us down and keeps us from being set free.

Dark Tracks has brilliant music that delivers those lyrics to us without detracting from their meaning. Manuela Iwansson is fond of the 70s & 80s female artists like Pat BenatarLaura Branigan, and Suzi Quatro. She cites early new wave and punk like The Go-Go’sX, Gun Club and Grace Jones as influences on her and her music.

When asked, “What genre does your music fall into?” Manuela answered “Rock/post-punk/new wave/punk.” I can irrevocably endorse Dark Tracks because Manuela’s musical influencers also heavily influenced my listening patterns. I easily picture myself in 1978 at the roller skating rink with Leather, the last cut on Dark Tracks, blasting out of the speakers as I did laps around the rink. I would also add a few more of my favourite roller derby songs to the playlist at the rink, Psycho Killer and Rock Lobster.

Dark Tracks is good music from start to finish. Not Finnish, Manuela Iwansson is Swedish, and this album will rock the winter away. The album features duets with Bria Salmena (Orville Peck, FRIGS, Bria) and Jack Ladder (Jack Ladder & The Dreamlanders), as well as a stellar lineup of some of Sweden’s finest musicians: Henrik Palm (Henrik Palm, In Solitude, etc.), Elias Jungqvist (Viagra Boys, etc.), and Erik Klinga (Simian Ghost, etc.), among others.

The album ‘Dark Tracks’ is available on all streaming platforms through Lack of Sleep Records.

Discover more about Manuela Iwansson at:


Elysian Fields

Writing a music blog is the equivalent of cavorting amongst the Elysian Fields. I look forward to hearing from the fresh artists just starting to dip their toes in the water on the edge of the fields each week. And then, there are the old friends I enjoy visiting every so often who permanently reside in the rolling hills of the Elysian Fields. I wish I could say that I love listening to them all, but, the truth is this, I don’t. Some instantly connect with my soul, become a part of my music life, and never leave. There are some that I listen to once and never listen to again. Today I listened to one of the former, an artist names Vails.

I am listening to an EP named Elysian Fields from the band/artist Vails. There is a dearth of information on the internet about Vails, so I will give a shout-out about the music.

I like it.

I like it, and if you listen to it, I feel you will also like it.

It is pleasant electronic atmospheric music on an EP named Elysian Fields. The artist is Vails on the label Elephant Music.


I have to keep plugging artists from the land that my heart comes from, Sweden. The latest in a long line of great musicians is Princess Tapioca.

Princess Tapioca has released their debut single payphone, a song that reflects one of many phone calls between two people struggling to keep the flame alive. Dreams and words about how good it could be are just dreams and words. At its core, ‘payphone’ is a lofi song, elevated with acoustic elements and light-hearted playfulness. Payphone kept reminding me of the holiday classic, Baby It’s Cold Outside, which is also a playful song featuring banter between two singers.

Princess Tapioca features childhood neighbours Alexandra Andersson and Josef Ask. The duo grew up on a peninsula outside of Norrköping before heading in different directions, only to once again find that old unshaken friendship. For a while, their lives were on two wildly different trajectories. Alexandra played SXSW with her band Ember Island, doing a remix of Where Are Ü Now with and for Justin BieberDiploJack Ü, and Skrillex, and is still getting millions of streams across different platforms. In contrast, Josef shelved the idea of being successful in music and reportedly became an employee of the month at a local grocery delivery company.

Fortunately for us who love their music, Josef reconnected with Alexandra and became half of Princess Tapioca. The first single from Princess Tapiocas’ upcoming debut EP, payphone, is a song crafted in the best tradition of lo-fi sensibility. It sounds like payphone was recorded on an iPhone in the kitchen, and I say that in a good way. The song features a gentle guitar with soft percussion on a loop and the occasional ringing telephone. Their voices work well together, making it worth taking the time to listen.

I look forward to the EP.

Music and Magic

From the movie Little Big Man

Old Lodge Skins: Am I still in this world?

Jack Crabb: Yes, Grandfather.

Old Lodge Skins[groans] I was afraid of that. Well, sometimes the magic works. Sometimes, it doesn’t.

Little Big Man

Sometimes the magic works, and sometimes it doesn’t. That applies equally well to writing blogs about music. Sometimes the magic happens, and the blog almost writes itself. Sometimes the magic doesn’t happen, and I sit staring at a blank page. It matters not as to whether I like the music or not. I quite imagine that applies to making music as well. Sometimes the magic happens, and sometimes, it doesn’t. I am happy to tell you that the magic happens on a new Frenchy and the Punk release, Zen Ghost.

Old Lodge Skins asked, “Am I still in this world?” 

Frenchy and The Punk counter with, “I promise to tell you if the world doesn’t end,” a line from the song ‘If The World Doesn’t End First‘ by Frenchy and The Punk from their new album Zen Ghost

Frenchy and the Punk is vocalist, percussionist and lyricist Samantha Stephenson and guitarist-composer Scott Helland, co-founder and bassist of Outpatients and Deep Wound (along with Dinosaur Jr. founders J Mascis and Lou Barlow). Samantha Stephenson has a strong husk voice reminiscent of Grace Slick, who is interestingly not listed as an influencer. They do list the B52s, and I can certainly hear that.

“We started writing Zen Ghost at the end of 2020 and have a few tracks that were written as recently as Spring 2022. It highlights the darker tones of what we do and is influenced by the environment in which we all live in at the moment,” says Samantha Stephens.

“The core theme to the album is ‘mind phantoms,’ the ghosts of our past that reside in our minds and can influence our present. The theme of breaking the chains of life choices that don’t align with one’s true authentic self has been rampant in the lyrics throughout the years. This record delves into the remnants of the voices and experiences that can still haunt us. This is the album we’ve always wanted to make.”

The character that Dustin Hoffman portrays in the movie Little Big ManJack Crabb, struggles throughout the story arc with his authentic self. I’m not sure if he had mind phantoms, but I can emphatically state that I have and do; the ghosts are real.

Zen Ghost is a solid album that explores the darkness of the age that we live in without falling into the morass. Old Lodge Skins asked, “Am I still in this world?” Frenchy and The Punk counter with the line, “I love you, I love you to the ends of the earth, I promise to tell you if the world doesn’t end.”

Frenchy and The Punk have put together an album full of good music. A stand out for me has been the track Church of Sound, with the lyrics, “I’m going to the church of sound, put on my headphones and drown drown, drown in the sound.” I love that line, “I’m going to the church of sound.” I didn’t go to a brick-and-mortar church today, it is Sunday as I write this, but I have been in the church of sound.

The track Blood offers some good political commentary. “I don’t want to see the world through your little microscope tunnel vision.” A jab at the people living in their echo chambers and only hearing or seeing what they already believe.

Zen Ghost is musically enchanting, with intelligent lyrics that can be gleaned more than once for the gems hidden in the songs.” Sometimes the magic works. Sometimes, it doesn’t.” The magic works for Frenchy and the Punk. They have created an album encouraging me to put on my headphones and drown in the sound.

NYC-based postpunk duo Frenchy and the Punk present their new Zen Ghost album. Their seventh long-player record, released via the EA Recordings label following the high-energy lead single ‘Mon Souvenir’ and Siouxsie-esque single ‘Come In and Play.’

‘Zen Ghost’ CD


‘Come in and Play’

Mon Souvenir’


Keep up with Frenchy and the Punk
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Cover Story

I spent a couple of enjoyable hours today engaged in one of my favourite activities, bin diving for records. I did this in my hands-down favourite record store, Record Collectors Paradise. One other person in the store was down on their hands and knees like I was, reaching to the back row of the lowest bin, which was not good for the back but fun. I wonder if our being on our hands and knees is an almost reverential quality? Could it be considered being in a prayerful pose for our little gods who live on records and their ephemera?

When I got home and catalogued my finds, it occurred to me that the only reason I bought one of the albums was because of its cover art. It was a stylized prism which makes sense because the name of the family band is The Family Spectrum. I listened to the album, although I did not care what I heard because it was only the cover I had paid for. The music wasn’t terrible; it fits the stereotype of a family band playing faith-based music.

The cover is what caught my eye out of the hundreds of albums that flipped through my fingers today. That one had something that stood out from the rest of them. It had a prism. Nothing fancy, just a prism with a beam of white light coming from the left, always from the left for white light; that’s the rule. In the middle of the album stood a prism that could easily be mistaken for a door. I’m not sure if that was intentional or not. The white light starts in a broken beam of white that becomes solid in the prism, does a funky bend and comes out the bottom of the prism in a spectrum of six colours.

Maybe I’m reading more into this than I should, but I see Bob and Heather taking tentative steps toward the prism, represented as in the stuttering light beam. They get married and become whole, Mom and Dad Bunkowsky; this is full all-out Christianese we’re talking about here. Exiting the prism, they are split into six colours representing their six children. There is no consensus on what colours should come from a prism; The Family Spectrum used the same six as Pink Floyd on Dark Side of the Moon.

Album covers are important. They are our first contact with that particular record. It doesn’t matter if we are searching for a record that we are familiar with or stumbling through the bins hoping something jumps out at us. It is the cover art that we see, and it triggers a synapse in our neural network, and we need to stop flipping at that album and make a decision. Do we pull this record out or not? Sometimes the price tag speaks louder than the cover art, and we keep flipping. Other times, we are compelled to pull the record out and explore it further. Today was one of those times. There was no price tag, but I’ve priced enough albums to know that this was bargain bin material, so I tucked it in my stack of purchases for today. Two albums. Headlines by Flash & the Pan and The Family Spectrum. The Flash and the Pan album cover is eye candy as well, which is perhaps good marketing. I bought it, didn’t I?

Album covers are important, and using a prism on The Family Spectrum album cover is what made me stop flipping when I saw this one. It is not the first time or only time that has happened. Album covers can make or break a sale, and iconic album covers and their copies are the ones that catch our eye in the record bin. When bin diving, I usually don’t stop to read the album’s titles. I typically see the artwork, but if that doesn’t tell me what I need to know, I will look for a title. If I don’t see one on the front cover, I will have to pull the album and explore it further, and it is at that point the marketing has paid off. Out of the thousands in the store, that particular album had made it out of the bin and into my hands. In my hands is one step closer to the till than the rest of the records in the store. Today two albums accompanied me to the till. Both of them had eye-catching covers.

Back to the prism yet again. The obvious connection is to Dark Side of the Moon (DSotM) by Pink Floyd. This iconic album cover is discussed in reverential terms, although it was released over 49 years ago. I have to start saving money for the 50th-anniversary special reprint. The record cover, which depicts a prism spectrum, was designed by Storm Thorgerson of the design firm Hipgnosis in response to requests from the Pink Floyd keyboardist Richard Wright.

The Family Spectrum is not the only example of using a prism for cover art. The Canadian rock band Prism naturally used prisms in their cover art, most noticeably on their debut album, Prism. I won’t discuss the numerous other albums that play with the prism concept; I think we get the idea. An interesting side note is that the folks at Hipgnosis knew a bit about science when they designed the cover. It is a pretty accurate portrayal, according to Chalkdust.

I could not find a release date on the Sing From The Heart album but based on the date of DSoftM, it seems safe to suggest that it would be after 1973. Fortunately, The Family Spectrum covered a few other songs that may help us date this album.

Some Days Are Diamonds (Some Days Are Stone)” is a song by Deena Kaye Rose. Rose recorded the song in 1976, but the original version failed to chart. Multiple artists covered the song, including Bobby Bare and John Denver. Denver’s version, released on the 1981 album Some Days Are Diamonds, was the album’s first single. Based on this, “Sing From The Heart” would be at least after 1976, but the most common cover is based on the John Denver cover, pushing the release date to after 1981.

Chiquitita” (a Spanish term of endearment for a woman meaning “little one”) is a song recorded by Swedish pop group ABBA. It was released in January 1979, pushing the date closer to the 1981 John Denver cover.

One more song can offer us a dating clue: Happy Man by The Pat Terry Group on their 1976 album Songs Of The South. Again this is consistent with our other song clues. B.J. Thomas did a cover of Happy Man that received more airplay on non-faith-based radio stations. That track was released for airplay in 1978.

In conclusion, The Family Spectrum released this album sometime between 1973 and 1981 and used the prism concept from the Pink Floyd album Dark Side of the Moon, which came out in 1973. While it is not a blatant ripoff, it certainly borrows generously. I have to hit pause here, the family in The Family Spectrum. That is not their name. I thought it was at first, but it is just a stage name for the Bunkowsky family.

In conclusion, again, Sing From The Heart was engineered and co-produced by Clive Perry. From humble beginnings working in the studios of western Canada with everything from family bands to polka bands, Clive established a name as a recording engineer (Finucan ProductionsFred PennerCrash Test Dummies) and in movie soundtracks with titles to his credit that includes Red Team (2000), Tales from the Gimli Hospital (1988) and Twilight of the Ice Nymphs (1997). 

In conclusion, album covers are important.

In conclusion, I like the album Songs Of The Heart by Daniel Amos. And I would like to do more blogging on album covers, thanks to The Family Spectrum for starting me on this rabbit trail, it’s been fun so far.

Little Destroyer

How are you doing?
Not so good?
That sucks. Can I help you in any way?
Yeah. You can.
Play the new album, 1134, by Little Destroyer.
That’s all?
Yeah, that and time to heal are all I need right now.

Cue 1134, hit play and listen carefully. The lead song, godcomplex, starts deceptively chill, but it explodes 40 seconds into the song. That explosion rang in my ears through godcomplex and the rest of the album. This song, godcomplex, is not your typical love song. 1134 is not a trite album. Little Destroyer have hit the reset button and are announcing that they are a force to be reckoned with. They are not your typical band. They are not trite. They are Little Destroyer.

Little Destroyer is a tight-knit trio of creative powerhouses Allie Sheldan, Chris Weiss and Michael Weiss. 1134 signals a fresh start for the female-led Tiny Kingdom with Allie Sheldan providing lead vocals, bass guitar and songwriting. Supporting her are Chris Weiss playing many different instruments, and Michael Weiss on percussion instruments.

The three are industry veterans with the scars to prove it. Little Destroyer is not a stranger to the harrowing experience of being a band in a very competitive market. They have a litany of almost chances & near misses behind them. Little Destroyer needed a break the Covid pandemic provided that break and gave them two years to reassess and regroup.

The creative process looked a lot different due to the accompanying restrictions of the pandemic. “We didn’t see each other for eight months,” Chris says, “Having to be apart really defined our creative process.” Tracks were built by passing files back and forth, each band member creating at home, allowing ideas to percolate differently – adding, layering, building. “We’ve always either been in a jam space or writing room together and often with a producer in the wings.” Chris continues, “In a jam space setting, you’re very much feeding off each other, and there’s an ebb and flow and things are happening so fluidly. When you’re apart, and you’re in your own head, you’re not able to bounce it off their expression. “Howard was such a good sport,” Allie shares, “We were able to get as weird as we wanted to, and after being locked inside for months, things definitely got weird. Not only did he get it, he supported and matched it, and started coming to the table with really crazy ideas. It felt like an exciting process for not only us, but also for Howard; the synergy was palpable.”

That synergy gave rise to authenticity within this album, the closest yet to capturing the rawness and seething energy of a live Little Destroyer performance (the stuff of legend) within the studio environment. “What producer is down with you not practising your parts before you record,” Michael laughs. “It needed to be so raw, so real, so unrehearsed.” And it’s this confidence in the vision, this ability to pull off a shoot-from-the-hip kind of idea flawlessly, that makes Michael the undisputed creative wellspring of the band.

Little Destroyer has created an album that rattled my speakers and charged at me like a banshee that had patiently waited for this moment to attack. After the full 39 minutes had played out twice, I sat back and asked myself what I had heard and how it felt. I listened to the honesty of emotions. Love hurts sometimes, and we must go through the pain to find the next level of love.

Final thoughts? I need to hear this album several more times to let the nuances play out. This album has more going on than a casual listen can absorb. The lyrics are honest and insightful, often brutal and often beautiful. The music, apart from the lyrics, is a delight. This trio knows how to rock, get down and dirty and make music that demands that we pay attention. The percussion is masterful to the point of being so good I almost didn’t hear it. Michael not only held down the rhythm of the music, but he also made it a stealth bomber that you didn’t hear coming until the cymbals crash jarred us from our complacent listening.

Meanwhile, we have Chris playing blistering guitar, making my fingertips bleed just listening to it. Allie not only sings but also makes her bass lines walk up and down the fretboard till my head is spinning. 1134 is one heck of a good record. I’ll put it into the best of 2022 countdown list. Good music, thanks, Michael, Chris and Allie. I look forward to seeing you live and grabbing some vinyl from your merch table.