Post by Blacksmile on Jul 27, 2011 14:10:17 GMT -5
I was more of a fan of 90's Canadian pop rock as opposed to the roots rock sound, but that list is definitely a good start ,and most of those bands are pretty stellar. I would also recommend: The Watchmen's McLaren Furnace Room (pointed out in my thoughts) Hayden's Everything I Long For Ginger (an offshoot of Grapes of Wrath) hHead (Brendan Canning's first band) Odds' Neopolitan and Bedbugs Sons of Freedom Gump 13 Engines Perpetual Motion Machine (a bit more rock than the others but a kick ass album)
I wouldn't be surprised if you are picturing me peeling a carrot with a staple gun.
I've been thinking a lot about Barenaked Ladies this week as I listened to first the Lowest of the Low album and then as I listened to Rheostatic's Whale Music -- which by the way, B-rad, I fucking love. I listened to it two times in a row yesterday; I really do love that record.
Going back to my comments regarding Shakespeare, My Butt, and how it made me nostalgic for what are now seen as 'typical' indicators 90's music: Whale Music this week was a VERY interesting companion to Shakespeare My Butt. This isn't just 'typical' 90's music, it is typical CANADIAN 90's music. Listening to Whale Music felt almost exactly like listening to Gordon, right down to the silly-ish spoken word outro. They jump from soul-scouring, uber earnest ballads to little goofs and back; I can't tell if I'm picking up on similar vocal nuances or Canadian accents, but the effect is the same.
It's like how in U.S. America at the time everyone was trying reeeal hard to sound like R.E.M. and then a couple years later how everyone in England was trying reeeeal hard to sound like Blur. The thing is, I find it hard to believe that Gordon was that influential that quickly (Gordon and Whale Music were released in the same year) so now I'm looking for Gordon's antecedent. There was a very distinct, very particular thing going on with CanCon rock in the early 90's; I don't understand it yet because it only made its way down to U.S. America in small, infrequent doses. And I imagine you Canadians can't put your finger on it because it was just the music of the time. Many of the watermarks are the same, but Canadian music and U.S. American music evolved in very different ways, almost certainly because of CanCon laws.
I've got some research to do. Some of you Canoodlians might be able to help me by suggesting names of Canadian bands that might be a branch or two lower on the tree, geneologically speaking.
I really think the popularity most CanCon bands, was not because of a groundswell of underground canadian alternative acts, but more of a response to the Seattle grunge era. Thats why many of the Cancon bands of that time (Moist, I Mother Earth, Killjoys, Rhymes with Orange, etc ad ifinitum) are mostly forgettable. From what I gather, there was very little notable in Canadian college rock of the late 80's to 91, pre grunge. Shax brings up a pretty decent list, and doesn't go much beyond that. 54-40 went rather unnoticed in the late 80's in Canada until their album in '92 - mid-grunge. I hesitate a bit, because I am primarily making assumptions based on a lack of knowledge, but I cannot find any comparisons in Canada to the Husker Du's, Sonic Youths and Dinosaur Jr's of the States (i.e. pioneers of 90's rock). Once the Mid-90's came along, there were a plethora of them, with Blacksmile's list above being some great examples of the better ones.
I bring up Lowest of the Low and Rheostatics because I believe they set themselves apart from the typical CanCon band - these bands stick out and don't really represent what you would have heard on a typical radio station in Canada in 1994 - mainly because they were better. I unfortunately didn't find out about either band until much later, because I only listened to FM radio and MuchMusic back then (and I was 11 years old and had limited resources).
BNL was a melodic response to the uber-emotional and seriousness of Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains. I guess many Canadians gravitated to something more happy-go-lucky like BNL, as they had in the past with bands like The Northern Pikes. Gordon is a fantastic album, and I think Whale Music has a completely different flavour musically. However, they do share the breezy and cheerful attitude not really present in early 90's grunge and alternative.
This sort of plucked alot of ideas from my mind for theis post, sorry if it lacks focus.
Post by Friendly Destroyer on Jul 28, 2011 12:43:12 GMT -5
Damn B-rad! I was thinking about doing Whale Music. I'm glad people are digging 'em though. Pretty much their entire out put from 1991-2001 ranges from great to amazing. I absolutely love "Introducing Happiness" and "Blue Hysteria".
My album of the week is an album that made an interesting contribution to the musical landscape, especially for popular music. Although it wasn't the first album to make use of sampling, it was among the early explorations of the technique. In fact, the majority of the vocals on the album were sampled, and it's the earliest example of an album where this was true (to my knowledge, anyway).
Before you yawn, realize that this album was recorded in 1980, before the advent of digital recording. Sampling didn't become widespread until much later, and for this album, a lot of it was trial and error and analogue all the way.
The album in question is none other than My Life in the Bush of Ghosts by Brian Eno and David Byrne.
Before I go any further, it's worth noting a few things:
the linked track list is from the 2006 re-release which has 7 additional tracks from the same recording sessions as the original release in 1980/1981, but which were previously unreleased. Some of my personal favourites are among these 7, which is why I chose this version of the album to present here.
the 2006 re-release is missing one track from the original release, titled Qu'ran. There was a controversy over the track as an Islamic organization felt it was blasphemous, so it was replaced with a different track on many of the subsequent issues of the album. It's a shame because I find the track to be quite musically interesting. Here's a link for that particular track for those who might be interested: grooveshark.com/#/s/Qu+ran/2ugqvL?src=5
For those following along sans Grooveshark, I suspect the 2006 re-release would be easy to track down through your usual sources, but Qu'ran will likely be troublesome, as might the original versions of some of the other tracks (minor edits were made on the 2006 re-release).
While this is not necessarily the same sort of music as what others have been posting, I feel the album stands well on its own, and for me it has a sort of timeless sound. When I heard the 2006 re-release I was actually very surprised that it was recorded so long ago. With minds like Brian Eno and David Byrne behind it, I suppose I should have expected no less. I enjoy this particular album more than most of the Talking Heads music of the same era; for my money, this is quite possibly the best work Eno and Byrne have ever done together. And if nothing else, it ought to provoke some interesting discussion on the board.
I'm also one of those people for whom I draw very definite associations between music and events from my life. This album, like many of the ones I enjoy, conjures up a very specific event from my past:
About 8 months after I bought a copy of the 2006 re-release, I was attending a play written by Canadian playwright Eugene Stickland, titled Sitting on Paradise. This particular performance of the play featured one of the most distinctive sofas you will ever see in your life (its normal residence was / is the Auburn Saloon for you Calgarians out there), and the musical interludes during the play were all taken exclusively from this album. So for better or worse, I now think of that damned sofa every time I hear the album, and somehow, it all seems to fit perfectly.
Post by Blacksmile on Jul 31, 2011 13:46:19 GMT -5
A few brief thoughts regarding Self's Breakfast with Girls. I listened to the album three times, and it was only after the second listen that I found myself enjoying it. Prior to this week I knew nothing about their sound and it's fairly unique, but at the same time it is an album of its time.
After a couple of listens I decided that the vocals were pretty cool and not anywhere near as whiny as I expecting, given the past comments. There were a lot of strong harmonies through out the album and I found myself tapping my foot and humming along, particularly to "Meg Ryan". It was a kitschy song, but catchy as hell!
Musically, this album has EVERYTHING!!! Opening chune, "The End of it All" was complete with beautiful piano and strange belches of spacey synths, while "What Are You Thinking?" has basic instrumentation accompanied by strings and horns. Very interesting production overall. In the end, it took some time but this album really grew on me, and has made me want to seek out their other material.
Standout Tracks: "What Are You Thinking?", "Kill the Barflies", "Suzie Q Sailaway" and "It All Comes Out in the Wash".
I wouldn't be surprised if you are picturing me peeling a carrot with a staple gun.
I am probably jumping in at the wrong moment here as I don't want to steal J-Dawg's spotlight but I finished listening to the Self album a few times and I just want to thank Stormy for mentioning it. I absolutely love it. I wanted to dislike it at first, I started to tell myself that I was bored, but I eventually just let go and really listened. I'm glad that I didn't give up on it. I do like the vocals a lot on a few songs like "Meg Ryan" for example. The singer reminds me of Marc Bianchi in this song and a few others. The music is what really fascinates me though, there is so much going on. Thanks for posting this album Stormy!
I've now managed to get in 3 full listens to Breakfast With Girls, and at the risk of being "me too", "What are you Thinking" jumped out on the very first listen as a fantastic song, and further listens confirmed it was my favorite on the album.
I had never heard of Self before this. It sort of feels like it belongs in the late 90s, but not in a bad way. It's certainly a lot more interesting than most of the other music of the era. There are at least a few points in the album where I was pleasantly surprised by a shift in the sound, which is atypical to say the least.
All in all, thumbs up from me Stormy. It's always great to find something new, and this thread so far has been solid gold in that sense, both in terms of the albums being presented and others that are coming up in discussion.
Alright, I am way behind here so I am going to try and catch up in the next couple days. Apologies to all.
So I finally listened to Circulatory System a couple times. I've never gotten into the whole Elephant Six scene and have never heard of this album before.
All in all, it was a rather pleasant listen. I wasn't blown away or anything, but it was good. I definitely caught the Beach Boys/Beatles influences and I enjoyed the "floatiness" (pretty sure that's not a word) of it all. I loved the layered vocals. However there were times when I got bored and basically forgot I was listening to it. Ah well, good album. Glad I gave it a shot.
and as for Shakespere My Butt, I went back and dusted off my old tape and gave it another listen. I LOVED this album way back in the days, and really enjoyed giving it another listen. Good beer drinkin music.
Post by The Horned Grandmother on Aug 4, 2011 12:55:33 GMT -5
Concerning My Life in the Bush of Ghosts --
I've actually been listening to this record a lot lately so I was stoked to see J-Dawg put it up for his Album of the Week. I've been listening to My Life in the Bush of Ghosts since I was probably about eight years old. It was my first exposure to Brian Eno, and except for hearing 'Once in a Lifetime' or 'Psycho Killer' on the radio, it was also my first exposure to David Byrne. I have memories of being pretty creeped out by a few of the cuts on this record -- particularly 'Qu'ran'. I didn't realize that the 25th Anniversary re-release omitted that track, what a shame. I'll never forget the first time I heard 'America is Waiting'.
Me and Stormy saw David Byrne on the "Music of Byrne & Eno" tour a couple years ago. Eno was too busy to go on the tour, of course, but the setlist consisted entirely of material that the two had collaborated on. It was mostly chunes from Fear of Music, Speaking in Tongues, Remain in Light and Everything That Happens Will Happen Today, but they did work up one cut from My Life in the Bush of Ghosts -- they did a roaring version of 'Help Me, Somebody' with Byrne stepping into the role of that manic, sweaty-sounding preacher. It was really thrilling. But then Byrne all but claimed to have invented the art of sampling. For sure, with My Life in the Bush of Ghosts he can claim to have produced one of the earliest examples, but there he was onstage in his fancy cream-colored suit declaring himself the creator. It was a great show, but that moment was pretty embarrassing.
There are some albums that I ONLY listen to on vinyl (Supertramp's Breakfast in America, Steely Dan's Gaucho, most Zappa albums) and this is one of them. Not because I don't have the mp3s, but because that's the only way they sound right to me. The thumps and squiggles of the intro to 'America is Waiting' feel like there's something missing without just a little bit of surface noise.
This album was released right in the midst of Talking Heads' hey-day, and if you strip away a few layers it sounds very much like Speaking in Tongues with the vocals removed. In that regard it feels more like Eno's record than Byrne's -- even with all the world music rhythms that Byrne leaned on so heavily through the 80's, the real focus is on Eno's "sonic landscapes", with the Muslim prayer chants and Christian radio sermons dialed up for attitude (personally I wish they had varied their sources when choosing samples a little bit more).
Anyway. This is an INCREDIBLE record. I don't know of another one like it. Nothing in either Byrne or Eno's discography sounds even close to it, and nobody but the two of them could have put this one together. Massive props to J-Dawg for putting the spotlight on it this week.