Tag Archives: Dan Mangan

O Canada

Not too long ago, a close friend of mine became a Canadian citizen. Today we celebrated that fact. I told her and her husband that I would provide the music for the party…

 

  1. Blue In Yr Eye – Amy Millan
  2. Snowbird – Anne Murray
  3. Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels) – The Arcade Fire
  4. The Power – Army Girls
  5. Sleepy Maggie – Ashley MacIsaac
  6. Tall Tall Shadow – Basia Bulat
  7. Two Girls From Montreal – The Bicycle
  8. Somebody Waits – Blue Rodeo
  9. Hasn’t Hit Me Yet – Blue Rodeo
  10. Anthems For A Seventeen Year Old Girl – Broken Social Scene
  11. Lovers In A Dangerous Time – Bruce Cockburn
  12. Pop Goes the World – The Burning Hell
  13. Golden Baby – Cœur de pirate
  14. Claire – Cuff The Duke
  15. Sold – Dan Mangan
  16. The Valley Town – Elliott Brood
  17. Assoholic – 54-40
  18. Highschool – The Flashing Lights
  19. It’s Not Safe – Gentleman Reg
  20. Outside Of Saskatoon – The Good Family
  21. Song For A Winter’s Night – Gordon Lightfoot
  22. Straight Up the Dial – Hooded Fang
  23. You Will Know – The Inbreds
  24. True Patriot Love – The Joel Plaskett Emergency
  25. A Case Of You – Joni Mitchell
  26. Raised On Robbery – Joni Mitchell
  27. I Woke Myself Up – Julie Doiron
  28. Crabbuckit – k-os
  29. If Rap Gets Jealous – K’naan
  30. Back to Me – Kathleen Edwards
  31. Never Had To Fight – Local Rabbits
  32. Let Your Backbone Slide – Maestro Fresh Wes
  33. Fil de soie – Marie-Pierre Arthur
  34. Echo Beach – Martha And The Muffins
  35. Cocaine Cowgirl – Matt Mays & El Torpedo
  36. Ages & Stages – The Meligrove Band
  37. Rockin’ In The Free World – Neil Young
  38. Pocahontas – Neil Young & Crazy Horse
  39. Mass Romantic – The New Pornographers
  40. Someone Who’s Cool – Odds
  41. Joy of Cooking – Old Man Luedecke
  42. Smells Like Teen Spirit – Paul Anka
  43. Scott Pilgrim – Plumtree
  44. 9 Piece Luggage Set – Radio Radio
  45. April Fools – Rufus Wainwright
  46. Edmonton – The Rural Alberta Advantage
  47. North Humberland West – The Sadies
  48. Possession – Sarah McLachlan
  49. Money City Maniacs – Sloan
  50. Everything You’ve Done Wrong – Sloan
  51. Underwhelmed – Sloan
  52. Home For A Rest – Spirit Of The West
  53. Northwest Passage – Stan Rogers
  54. Up And Running – The Super Friendz
  55. The Day We Hit The Coast – Thrush Hermit
  56. Life Is A Highway – Tom Cochrane
  57. Raise a Little Hell – Trooper
  58. D.D. – The Weeknd Trilogy
  59. Common People – William Shatner
  60. I Wasn’t Made For Fighting – Woodhands

Dan Mangan

 

Dan Mangan
Live at the Danforth Music Hall
Toronto, ON
25 October 2012

Send someone to fetch us, we’re in saskatchewan

On Friday after work, Joseph, Helen, Emily and I all piled into Caroline (my car), and headed east along to 401. From Toronto to Ottawa. Since Ottawa is approximately five hours away (though that’s not counting rush hour traffic), I divided that in four, and we each had 75 minutes to fill with music. Each way… here’s my play list for going east.

  1. Movin’ Right Along – The Muppets
    Had to start with this as soon as I saw it. Nothing says “road trip” better than this song.
  2. Maybellene – Chuck Berry
    Catchy, popular, and a song about driving a car. Thought this to be appropriate.
  3. Doris Daytheearthstoodstill – Future Bible Heroes
    Helen told me that most of her CDs are showtunes and Doris Day, so immediately my mind went to Doris Daytheearthstoodstill.
  4. You Turn Clear in the Sun – Telekinesis
    Overly catchy.
  5. The Ballad Of Poor John Henry – Cuff The Duke
    We need some country.
  6. Mystery Dance – Elvis Costello
    As Allegra would say, “Play the hits!” I mostly wanted catchy pop songs, and this is a great choice for that.
  7. Fast As You Can – Fiona Apple
    This is again, catchy, and was a huge hit when we were all teenagers. Perfect for this group, I hope.
  8. Cybele’s Reverie – Stereolab
    C’est en français, and we’re going to Ottawa, that seems appropriate.
  9. Carolina In My Mind – James Taylor
    Something a bit more mellow, and Taylor’s early material was quite Beatley, and who doesn’t love Beatley?
  10. My Girl June – The Ride Theory
    Speaking of Beatley, this song is SUPER-Beatley, and fuckin’ awesome.
  11. Back In The USSR – The Beatles
    And how about the Beatles? Again, playing the hits.
  12. Someone Who’s Cool – Odds
    And what bigger hit is there than “Someone Who’s Cool?”
  13. Jumpers – Sleater-Kinney
    Perfect example of pop-perfection
  14. Superstition – Stevie Wonder
    Again, hits… and this song is absolutely undeniably brilliant. I imagine everyone will dig it.
  15. Never Had To Fight – Local Rabbits
    Why not play the blog’s namesake? I’m sure Emily likes the Local Rabbits. I know she owns one of their 7″ records.
  16. Doubt – The Corin Tucker Band
    Probably the best song on her solo record, and it’s good enough to be a Sleater-Kinney track
  17. Cry Together – Hortense Ellis
    Bring us a bit down, but beautiful.
  18. Lord Only Knows – Beck
    Get back to the country, and back to 90s. I absolutely love the transition from Cry Together to this. Also, “Going back to Houston, do the hot dog dance, going back to Houston to get me some pants.”
  19. Cathy’s Clown – The Everly Brothers
    Keeping it slow.
  20. Snowsuit Sound – Sloan
    Again, more hits. Though not a single, still a fan almost everyone of my generation is quite familiar with. We’re not getting much faster, but getting heavier after Cathy’s Clown. I know at least Emily will know the song.
  21. Where The Change Is – The Flashing Lights
    Speaking of Emily, when I first met her, we spent some time discussing our love for The Flashing Lights.  Now here’s a song with a quick beat.
  22. Radio Sweetheart – Elvis Costello
    I absolutely love the pedal steel on this song.
  23. Sunndal Song -The Apples In Stereo
    I have a strange love for Hilarie’s Apples in Stereo songs. She’s pretty good at writing good pop songs, and the band has lost something since she left the band.
  24. Tina’s Glorious Comeback – Dan Mangan
    I thought about going for one of Mangan’s more lively songs, but there’s just something about this tune that is unmatched by anything else he’s done.
  25. I Will Follow You Into The Dark – Amy Millan
    I think everyone by now knows the Death Cab For Cutie original. I never heard it until after I had heard Amy Millan’s cover, and absolutely love this version. While I don’t like Millan’s other outings, I absolutely adore her solo records. I thought this was a good way to end the mix.

Stats:
7/25 songs feature lady vocalists, slightly poor showing.
Only one song features non-human vocalists (a frog and a bear).
8/25 songs are CanCon, again poor showing.
11/25 are from ’90s bands, or their future solo efforts… can you tell when I was a teenager?

#Rocktober 30 volume 28: Dan Mangan

This month I turn 30. To mark such a remarkable event, I’m spending every day of October drenched in awesome-sauce.

There are times I feel that concerts are really just an excuse to see a large group of awesome people. That seems to be exactly what happened last night. Marta took my extra ticket, and while I’ve known that cute Polish doctor for probably 5 or 6 years now, we’ve never actually met in person. It was nice to finally meet her, and she brought along her sister Joanna (who I actually hang out with in person frequently), Jon (Jo’s man), and a friend of Jo I had never met before. Seeing as we’re a group of five, we somehow found a chain of seven seats together in the eighth row. We held onto those extra two seats, as I knew many others were going to be there. Eventually we saw Mari and Phil looking for a pair of seats, so I waved them over, and it was an awesome sevensome.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PWNAFe1n_Ws&w=450&h=259]

During the first opening act, I got a text from my friend Julie who was also there, a few rows behind me. Between acts I squeezed out and chatted with her in the lobby. Then we noticed the second opener was playing, and I squeezed back through to my seat. I realized at this point, I probably planned poorly by sitting so far in… should’ve taken the aisle seat.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x9wQV-Pl1Ag&w=450&h=259]

The first opening act was members of Mangan’s band led by his drummer. They played some good songs, but nothing thrilled me. I also noticed at this point that it really hurt to clap my hands and pondered that maybe I should go get an x-ray. It’s been a week.

The second openers were okay. I liked their harmonies, the rest didn’t really thrill me, but it was then I started getting texts from Caity who apparently was also there. Much like Julie, she was able to spot me in the crowd. I know I’m giant, but am I really that easy to spot in a large and somewhat full theatre? I couldn’t find that tiny blonde girl, but between acts she came over and we chatted. She seems to like her new job next door to my current (and her former) place of employment. We made plans for a lunch date or three.

After that I saw Frank of Chromewaves fame. We didn’t have much time left to chat, as the band was just about starting to perform, but I will see him tomorrow at the Blogger Brunch! WOOT!

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PtmvelyIZ9A&w=450&h=259]

Dan Mangan played music. His set was comprised mostly of material from his latest album Oh, Fortune and his previous album Nice Nice, Very Nice. While I’ve been liking the new album, it hasn’t really jumped at me like Nice Nice, Very Nice did. The songs work extremely well live and the band were tight.

I was surprised that he leaned so heavily on songs from Nice Nice, Very Nice, but I’m also happy about that, as the songs were so good. The audience was singing along to songs new and old, and at a few points, someone in the audience got ahead of Dan, bring laughs to everyone. Specifically during “Basket.” Mangan seems to be a born entertainer, his charming ways are a perfect frontman’s persona. There really are very few shows as entertaining as a Dan Mangan shows.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZfP8yIYy1U&w=450&h=259]

#Rocktober30 volume -02

This month (well, officially next month) I turn 30. To mark such a remarkable event, I’m spending every day of October drenched in awesome-sauce.

Though October, and by extension #Rocktober30, don’t begin for another two days, I feel that my negative-second day of #Rocktober30 is worth noting.

First off, it’s erev Rosh Hashanah, and as such, when you work in a Jewish school, classes are dismissed at 11:30, and the school shuts down for the following two and a half days. What a wonderful way to begin #Rocktober30! I had promised my bro-in-law that I’d give him some nerd-help, but I had a couple hours to kill until I met him. I decided to head South to the Annex where  I dined at Japan Sushi. While in the Annex, I visited my new favourite record store, Sonic Boom1. While there, I purchased a few new records…

  1. Wilco – The Whole Love
  2. The Dum Dum Girls – Only In Dreams
  3. Elliott Brood – Days Into Years
Not a bad haul. I haven’t listened to any of them. What I have listened to a lot today are Wild Flag’s debut self-titled record, and 12 Desperate Straight Lines by Telekinesis. Both of those records are damn good, but the Telekinesis record just gets me. It might just be “Gotta Get It Right Now” that really does it, but I really love the whole record. I should’ve listened to Mari when she first told me about Telekinesis.

From my brother-in-law’s/sister’s/brother’s/zaida’s we piled into my car and went to my parents’ place, and ate a hearty meal that would make by bubie proud. After that I hopped back in my car and drove from Thornhill to the west-end of Toronto, and popped into a crowded and small bar called Holy Oak where Valery Gore was performing for the first time in what seems like forever.

She was performing all new songs, and I’d like to say I can comment on the quality of the songs, but the sound quality was so poor, that I cannot give any worthwhile feedback. I can say that a vocal/piano cover of “She’s A Jar” by Wilco is… different.

  1. This only became my favourite because Criminal Records closed down. []

Blog!

Did you know that the word “blog” sounds like the sound one makes when they puke? Well, it does.

I haven’t posted here in quite some time. Why? Well, I’m a slacker. I also have a real life, and those things get in the way. So why blog now1? Well, my sister is blogging somewhat frequently… Hi Shira! In addition, my brother has now started a blog… Hi Moti!2

So this blog post will be a life update…

Rock and Roll Adam

I have tickets to a number of upcoming shows:

  1. The Weather Station w/ Dan Romano (Tomorrow)3
  2. Arizona Lily are playing at Rancho on August 274.
  3. Wild Flag5 are playing at Lee’s on rOctober 11.
  4. Dum Dum Girls at Lee’s on October 16.
  5. I turn 30 on October 26… OH YEAH! 30 IS TOTS ROCK AND ROLL!
  6. Dan Mangan6 at the QE2 on October 28.
In addition to this upcoming rock and roll extravaganza, I’ve been rocking out to those albums I bought at Criminal’s closing sale. My favourite, I think is Little Scream’s record.

So I think that covers my rock and roll lifestyle. Next is…

Professional Adam

Yeah, every once in a while I pretend I’m professional7. It’s the summer, so kids are gone, and teachers are gone8, so now I get to spend my summer GSD9. Replacing the wireless at both campuses, and went to the building which will, in September 2012, replace one of the campuses. It’s a bit much, but fortunately I have my Number One, who’s helping me out. The massive amount of construction is driving me nuts, and making the wireless upgrade kinda difficult, but whatever.

Literary Adam… or Historical Adam

I don’t know which to classify this one under. I’m reading, but it’s all historical non-fiction, and of course it’s all about Canadian political history. Why do I read this shit? Why do I find it interesting. It’s really weird that I read this shit. Whatever.

I was sick, and in bed, I had left work early in Thornhill, and instead of going home, I went to my parents’ place, also in Thornhill. Seeing as my bedroom has become Junk-Central, I was in my sister’s room. I noticed on her shelf a giant book called Egotists and Autocrats: the Prime Ministers of Canada. Who in their right mind would go “OOOH!” when they see a book about Canada’s first 20 prime ministers? Oh yeah, me. What the fuck is wrong with me?

I read it. It was okay. Not great. The author is kind of a dolt. He kept on inserting personal anticdotes about his life that were mildly related to the subject at hand, yet really served no purpose. He briefly chronicles the lives, and professional lives of Canada’s first 20 Prime Ministers10. What I liked most about this book was that it gave me insight into some of the less known prime ministers such as Louis St. Laurent, who had interesting times in office. It also gave me additional respect for Dief the Chief. It was okay.

While I was on vacation11, which I guess will be the next section, I finished the book, and on an excursion to Huntsville12, I found a new book called The 49th Paradox by Richard Gwyn. Gwyn, you might recall, recently wrote the first half of a biography of Sir John A. Macdonald, perhaps soon, the second volume will be released. This one’s interesting, as it was published in the mid-eighties, while the Mulroney government was negotiating Free Trade with the United States of America. It gives a fantastic historical background to reciprocity in North American politics, from pre-Confederation until the ’80s. Gwyn goes into grand detail about Trudeau’s National Energy Policy, Laurier’s reciprocity treaty13, and many other facets of Canadian history. Gwyn’s style is very good, allowing for even the most boring of subjects to become interesting. Good times, my friends.

Leisure Adam

Last week, the beautiful and gorgeous Adam Anklewicz rented a cottage with seven other friends on Walker Lake. There were three couples, Adam & Cari, Matt & Anna, Rick & Carina; two children, Emilia and Violet; and two swingin’ singles, myself and Emily. As one of the singles, I was shacking up with Emily, and she was polite enough not to complain about me being in the same room as her. I canoed. I kayaked, I pedal boated, I swam, I read, I ate, I slept, I didn’t sleep, lounged, I burnt shit, I played with “Things In A Box,” I played board games, I played card games, I tanned, I regattaed14, I picnicked, I visited Huntsville, I used a shit ton of 3G data, I did other things.

It was a lot of fun. It helped reassure me that I don’t want children, even though Violet and Emilia are adorable. They didn’t know my name! Violet never once said a single word to me, which is just plain rude… I don’t care if she’s only six months old… how hard is it to say hi. And Emilia, who did talk to me, said “He’s not Adam, he’s Ankle.” Yeah, thanks.

I learned that I’m a shitty swimmer. I learned that cannon balling into a lake with your friends is a lot of fun. I learned that I’m really bad at refraining from swearing… how do I work in a school?

Where was I going with this?

Oh yeah, I’m getting old…

Old Adam

The reason for this cottage trip was a means to celebrate our 30th birthdays. 5 of the 8 adults on the trip went to high school together, and thus were born in the same year. One other was also born in 1981, so six of us turned, or are turning, 30 this year. Of those six, I’m the youngest, and haven’t hit 30 yet, but I’m almost there.

I’ve for a while said that I look forward to turning 30, as then I’ll be a 30-something divorcé, rather than a 20-something divorcé. As you can see, much less pathetic. In addition, my life has been gradually getting better. Those who say high school is the best years of your life, are morons. High school is the worst time of your life… well, second only to pre-high school. My early 20s were decent, and then I got divorced15 and it kept getting better. Okay, okay, it went in waves, it wasn’t a straight progression. Even in waves, 30 is looking up, as the last half of 29 has been rather excellent, specifically this past month or two.

Financial Adam

I got a voicemail while I was at the cottage, it was from TD’s loss prevention department.

Actually, let’s back up a bit…

I went into my local TD branch. I put my card in the machine. It didn’t take it fully, kinda stalled, and I had to push it in16. Then I took out money, but as I was there, something about the card reader looked off. Fuck, I thought, there might be a skimmer attached. I walked to the desk, and I asked one of the employees. His response was, “No, we check it every morning.” I said that a skimmer could have been installed after the morning. “He kinda huffed, and called his manager, and walked out to the machine, glanced at it, and said, “No.” I was kinda pissed at his lackadaisical attitude towards security.

Then a few days later, up at the cottage, I had that voicemail. I called TD and was informed that my card had been compromised, and that a significant chunk of money was taken from my account. Fortunately the bank refunded my money, and I had to just visit a TD branch and get a new card.

I had a good chunk of money in cash at the cottage, so I wasn’t too worried, but I did want to replace the card before heading to Toronto. The next day I went into Huntsville, and as Matt, Anna, and Emily explored downtown Huntsville, I was in the TD replacing my card. They were wonderful and nice, and all around a great TD branch to deal with.

After arriving back in Toronto, I went to my local branch17 and spoke with the manager, she, and the other employees were shocked at the way I was treated, and I received the customer service I was used to. One of the employees, too, had her card compromised, along with a large batch of their local clients, leading me to believe that it wasn’t some random gas station I visited in Thornhill that week, but instead, it was TD.

Romantic Adam

I should probably tell my family about her soon, but I guess now Shira knows.

  1. I’m not sure I like that blog is both a noun and a verb []
  2. Mine’s better than both of theirs… combined. I am the best sibling. []
  3. The Cheap Speakers, who are awesome, are playing that night, too. Go see one of these shows. []
  4. No ticket, but who needs that? It’s Rancho. []
  5. EEE! []
  6. *Beard swoon* []
  7. *snicker, snicker* []
  8. Baruch Hashem. []
  9. getting s___ done. []
  10. From Sir John A. to Jean Chretien. []
  11. Leisure Adam? []
  12. Financial Adam? []
  13. Which was denied by voters when they elected Borden. []
  14. Yet I’m okay with this being both a noun and verb. []
  15. Sorry, Lisa. []
  16. That’s what she said. []
  17. 807 Broadview Avenue. Let’s shame them. []

Favourite posts of 2010

I thought I’d go through my year, and see my favourite posts from 2010. This is not a list of my favourite concerts, albums, etc, but rather my favourite posts.

Film

Food

  • POUTINE!
  • My first brunch experience at the Old Nick… I now go there weekly… at least.

Literature

  • A personal tale about knowing an author, Stacey Fowles, and then reading her novel. I would then embarrass myself by not recognizing her in a future meeting.
  • Reading about Canada & Mr. Diefenbaker.

Music

  • Questions about where the groove might actually be.
  • Dan Mangan performed at Trinity St. Paul’s.

Photography

  • This photo is my lock-screen photo on my iPhone.
  • Some of my best portrait shots are of Allegra.
  • I had fun taking photos of Natalia.
  • While the subject might not have been too fond of these pictures, I think they’re quite good. Sure, the subject is ugly1, but that doesn’t matter much.

Politics

Autre

Best insights into humanity, as written by me

  • “If you see a penis, it’s a comedy; if you see a vagina, it’s a drama. It explains why women laugh when I remove my pants.”
  • “Either I’m becoming a normal human being, or I have liver failure.”
  • “Her prose are compelling, straight to the point, and beautiful in their nude honesty.”4
  1. I know she’s not really ugly, but our friendship is based on mutual hatred. []
  2. Actually, I also proposed to Aviva. 2011 is sure going to be busy. []
  3. “Alone in a corner, surrounded by candy.” []
  4. Proud of that one, because of how true it is. []

Music Roundup

Postcards and Daydreaming
by Dan Mangan

While Dan Mangan’s latest record, Nice Nice Very Nice blew me away, if I was first exposed to Mangan’s music with his debut Postcards and Daydreaming, I probably wouldn’t care too much about him. That’s not to say that it’s a bad record, but instead to say that it’s average; average average very average.

Postcards and Daydreaming starts with a high point, “It’s Not What You Think It Is” which might get his fans excited that it’s up to the quality of his later release. However, the audience is left continuing on through a record of unremarkable folk music.

I’m going to take this optimistically, and say that Mangan improved significantly between his first and second albums, I look forward to the improvements for album three.

Masters of the Burial
by Amy Millan

Amy Millan puts together a rather pleasant folk record with Masters of the Burial. It’s not as strong as her first record, Honey From The Tombs, but it’s still enjoyable. Millan’s voice is sweet, and works well for folk music. The biggest difference between this record and the first, being that the first was really a country record, this one is folk. While the two genres share a lot in common, it’s a noticeable difference.

The strongest song on the record is a Weeping Tile1 cover that Millan performs with mastery. While the worst is a Jenny Whiteley cover called “Day To Day,” a strange contrast to her first album where Whiteley’s “Baby I” is among the strongest.

Public Strain
by Women

Public Strain is not to be mistaken for Pubic Stain.

This Calgary band was recommended by a good friend in the United States who oddly isn’t the biggest fan of Calgary2. While I see why he’s a fan of the record, I don’t think it’s for me. The band sounds like they’re trying too hard to recreate the Alternative/Grunge sound of the early ’90s. While they do it admirably, I feel like it’s a sound best left to the Sonic Youths/Eric’s Trips/early Sloans of the day.

There’s nothing bad about this record, it just doesn’t strike a chord3 with me. I have a feeling over time I’ll find a place in my heart for this feedback-laden record.

  1. Sarah Harmer []
  2. Much like most Canadians. []
  3. HA! []

Dan Mangan at Trinity St. Paul’s United Church

… and Reverend Mangan came down from the stage and spoketh to the assembled crowd. As he walked through the aisle, the crowd repeated his words back to him, over and over again, and it was good, for “Robots need love, too; they want to be loved by you!”

The night started out poorly, as someone working for what I’d guess to be either the venue, or Collective Concerts would not let me into the Church with my camera. Apparently pro1 camera equipment was not allowed if you didn’t have a photo pass. Something that more than pissed me off, as I was eager to photograph Dan Mangan, at my first show of his2.

For those who are unaware, I’ve been a fan of Mangan’s 2009 record Nice, Nice, Very Nice for quite some time now. For what is now probably about a year3 I haven’t been able to stop listening to the record. I put it at #33 of my best of the aughts, but it might just have moved up since then. I can’t stop listening to his soft/screaming/aching vocals, and his intelligent lyrics, and his beautiful melodies, and his unique pauses.

To say I was excited about this show, is an understatement. I was able to convince Adam and Cari to join me for the show, and was also happy to be joined by Joanna, and above us, in the balcony was the beautiful Mari.

Mangan started the evening with “Sold,” and while it’s already a rockin’ song on the record, he took it up a notch; something which could be said about the entire evening. Mangan wasn’t just recreating the stunning Nice, Nice, Very Nice in person, he added a lot of soul, and injected persona into these songs. He knows how to command a stage4 and he is able to draw the audience in, and with an amazingly tight band, they had the church rocking.

He played many songs from his second record, and if he played any from his first Postcards and Daydreams, I didn’t recognize them5. He also played a handful of new songs, as the latest record is now over a year old. Among the favourites were “Fair Verona,” “Tina’s Glorious Comeback,” and the hilarious “The Indie Queens Are Waiting.” It was only hilarious, because his male backing band were singing the female vocals in a high falsetto. Mangan also paid tribute to one of the greatest songwriters of the past couple decades by performing Elliott Smith’s “Waltz #2 (XO).”

What one might not expect from the records, is that Dan Mangan puts on a really good show, and is extremely entertaining, which makes me wish I had my camera even more, or even better, Joe to record the audio.

  1. Technically a Canon Digital Rebel XT is a prosumer camera. []
  2. I feel the need to specify this, as to why the iPhone photo is so horrible. []
  3. iTunes says I imported it in November of 2009. []
  4. Unlike last week’s Campbell and Langegan. []
  5. While it’s a decent record, it pales in comparison to the first. []

Polaris Prize 2010

Today’s a two for one day, you get two posts in one day.

For those who didn’t notice1, last night was Polaris night, an evening in which 10 bands gather to perform, while judges sit in a room and decide who’s album was the best. The prize seemed to instantly be seen as the greatest measure of good music in Canada. The policy is that genre and sales don’t matter, all that matter is the music. Past winners include (and are limited to) Final Fantasy2, Patrick Watson, Caribou, and Fucked Up.

There’s lots of criticism over who has been picked in the past, but I don’t think anyone in Canada can say that any of those four albums were damn good records. They might not be your cup of tea (Fucked Up, Caribou), but they do what they do well, and made some records that deserve a high amount of praise.

This year the entire shortlist was a list of some amazing musicians. There were only three groups who weren’t my cup of tea in the least (The Besnard Lakes, Tegan & Sara and Broken Social Scene).

  • The Besnard Lakes, The Besnard Lakes Are the Roaring Night
  • Broken Social Scene, Forgiveness Rock Record
  • Caribou, Swim
  • KarkwaLes chemins de verre
  • Dan Mangan, Nice, Nice, Very Nice
  • Owen Pallett, Heartland
  • Radio Radio, Belmundo Regal
  • The Sadies, Darker Circles
  • Shad, TSOL
  • Tegan and Sara, Sainthood

Broken Social Scene started off the evening, and they did exactly what they do very well. If I liked their music I would’ve been in bliss, but I don’t like their music.

Next up were The Sadies, who tore the stage up. Their country rock is unlike any other in the country, and while they make mediocre records, their live show is the best in Canada. I haven’t heard Darker Circles, but if its like their other records, they shouldn’t have been nominated, their records aren’t that good.

Then came Radio Radio, who’s acadian hip hop performance was eye opening to me, and I need to pick up their record. As Kate Harper from Chart tweeted last night, “avec mes pennyloafers ou avec mes deckshoo et j’vas marcher sur la hey ou j’vas marcher sur la hoooooooooooooooooo”

Dan Mangan was my pick for the night. His album Nice, Nice, Very Nice‘s title is an understated review of the album, I’d call it great, great, very great, but in Canada we’re humble. While “Sold” is perhaps the best song on that amazing album, his performance of it last night didn’t sell me. The band seemed uncomfortable performing together, and it was awkward. Fortunately he seemed to get it together for his second song, “Robots” in which he ended with a sing-a-long3 as he stood on a table in the audience telling them that “Robots need love, too. They want to be love by you.”

Then came Besnard Lakes who I think are trying for a Spinal Tap thing, but ending up sounding like a band who spend too much time playing Dungeons and Dragons in their mom’s basement. Not my bag.

Polaris Prize inaugural winner Owen Pallett has finally released an album under his own name, he’s also now expanded his band from one to two people4. He also had joining him Dana Snell5 on drums. His performance was damn good, and makes me want to reevaluate Heartland. It’s not that I dislike the album, but I was never drawn into it. It’s good, but not great, definitely not to the level of He Poos Clouds. I think part of the problem was that it’s on two 12″ discs at 45 RPM. It’s hard to get into a record when you have to stand up to flip the record every 10 minutes.

I’ve seen Shad live once, and while his songs were great, he seemed bored. I was quite enthralled with the music, but the lackluster performance made me never purchase a record of his. He completely changed that for me, with his Polaris performance. He truly put on a great show, and you could tell everyone was into it. He and Radio Radio, the two hip hop artists of the evening were truly the highlights.

Tegan & Sara seemed to get the most buzz, at least in the Twittersphere. They apparently have a very loyal following, which hopefully brought some new attention to the Polaris Prize. While their performance did nothing to impress me, their comedy stylings were top-notch! Perhaps Tegan & Sara are this generation’s Wayne & Shuster.

Caribou, a previous winner, was the final nominee that evening. His performance bored me.

And the winner… Karkwa. Everyone said “what?” but then then said, “okay.”

  1. Are you not in Canada? Are you not on Twitter? []
  2. Owen Pallett []
  3. Gentleman Reg didn’t seem to be singing along. []
  4. Odd that one person is Final Fantasy, and two people are Owen Pallett, but whatever. []
  5. Who plays with Gentleman Reg, and was in the Bicycles. []