Category Archives: Music

Recollection Volume 25 – Closed

Recollection is a project to review my record collection. I will listen to an album I own and review it. The album will be chosen randomly by computron. Today computron chooses…

Album: Closed
Artist: JALE
Released: 1995
Format(s) I own it on: CD

ClosedJALE are a Halifax band who were signed to Sub Pop. It was a pretty big deal. This EP was released on Sloan’s Murderecords.

I thought I would invite Allegra Shepherd to guest on this post. Allegra is a Haliphile, a word I just made up to mean, “a person who admires Halifax, and its people.” Together, we have seen many Halifax bands including Sloan, Joel Plaskett, The Super Friendz, Mike O’Neill, and of course Thrush Hermit. She’s very knowledgable about the Halifax scene in the 1990s. Ladies and gentlemen, Allegra…

A friend of mine and I are participating in a year-long music exchange; every week we recommend an album to each other and explain its personal significance. Every Thursday, I deliver to him an album by a band that really helped me become me, and he returns the favour. It’s amazing what you can learn about someone based only on the music they claim as developmentally vital; he’s given me a plethora of pop-punk and I’ve recommended primarily from my wheelhouse: East-Coast Canadian indie rock from the mid-1990s.

It’s January 1. I’m scrolling frantically through the few physical albums I still own, trying to find the perfect CD to kick off this new weekly tradition. I knew I wanted something Canadian; something melodic; something catchy; jangly guitars and plaintive vocals; an album that had pushed me to start my own ill-fated teen girl band. I wanted JALE, and I knew as soon as I checked the tracklist of their 1996 album So Wound that I’d stumbled across a vital building block in my musical expansion.

Partially, I related to JALE so much as a fledgling bass player because they got started the way I wished I had: with Chris Murphy’s help. Legend has it that four NSCAD students (guitarist Jennifer Pierce, drummer Alyson MacLeod, bassist Laura Stein, and guitarist Eve Hartling [JALE, get it?!]) met at a Velocity Girl show and decided to make music together. Jennifer had recorded with Sloan (you know the sweet voice duetting with Patrick Pentland on “I Can Feel It?” That’s her.) and Chris lent them some equipment and booked JALE some gigs opening for him. Teenaged Allegra wanted that so badly, even though I also knew that the relationship would turn sour enough for Chris to write “G Turns To D” off of One Chord to Another about them.

JALE only released two full albums and an EP. The first, Dreamcake, was blunt and fuzzy as only albums from 1994 can be. Halifax was hailed as the next Seattle and, while Dreamcake wasn’t exactly at that unwashed flannel level of grunge, it was well-reviewed and well-received.

They hit their stride with their second release, an EP called Closed. Sub Pop didn’t promote it as much as anyone hoped and it led to MacLeod leaving the band to join Hardship Post. Closed is just as biting as the debut, but much more polished. Most of the songs speak of strained relationships and the exhaustion of dissatisfaction.

Highlights

Sometimes it sounds like Pierce’s vocals are buried under the instrumentals, but it works with the subject matter, particularly as the pleading of “Nine Years Now” transitions the catharsis of “Wash My Hands.”

Also, the kick drum in “Double Edge.” Damn.

Lowlights

All that unnecessary mid-90s guitar feedback on “Jesus Loves Me.” That whole decade needs to take two steps away from their amps.

Thanks Allegra, I’ll take it from here… This might not mesh with what Allegra wrote above, as we’re writing in isolation.

Adam’s Highlights

It’s a short record at only five songs, but “Nine Years Now” and “Jesus Loves Me” are the highlights in my mind. They’re both well-crafted pop songs that are pretty addictive. The songs are very stylized in the sound of 1990s Halifax. “Jesus Loves Me” has a great jangly rhythm guitar that you can’t help bopping to.

Adam’s Lowlights

If I were to put one song in this category, it would probably be “Wash My Hands.” The song just doesn’t feel like much, it’s not the most interesting of the five songs, and seems like a blip en route to the better songs.

Men 19.25 (77%) | Women 5.75 (23%)
CD: 15.5 (62%) | Vinyl: 7.5 (30%) | Digital: 0 (0%) | 7″: 1 (4%) | Box: 1 (4%)
1960s: 3 (12%) | 1970s: 2 (8%) | 1980s: 0 (0%) | 1990s: 8 (32%) | 2000s: 12 (48%) | 2010s: 0 (0%)
Canada 7.8 (31%) | USA 12.2 (49%) | UK 5 (20%)
Ontario 3 (38%) | Quebec 0 (0%) | Nova Scotia 3 (38%) | New Brunswick 1 (12%) | Manitoba 0 (0%) | British Columbia 0 (0%) | Prince Edward Island 0 (0%)
Saskatchewan 0 (0%) | Alberta 0 (0%) | Newfoundland and Labrador 1 (12%) | Northwest Territories 0 (0%) | Yukon 0 (0%) | Nunavut 0 (0%)

Recollection Volume 24 – Greatest Hits

Recollection is a project to review my record collection. I will listen to an album I own and review it. The album will be chosen randomly by computron. Today computron chooses…

Album: Greatest Hits
Artist: Crosby, Stills & Nash
Released: 2005
Format(s) I own it on: CD

CSN Greatest HitsCrosby, Stills & Nash. Yup, those three who released three great records1 and some mediocrity. Two of those great records are actually not credited to Crosby, Stills & Nash, but instead to Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Albums seem to get much better when you add a Canadian.

Although the album contains tracks from the classic Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young record Déjà Vu, it doesn’t feature a single song with any Neil Young performance on it. However, while Young might be completely missing from this compilation, Art Garfunkel does provide vocals on “Southern Cross” and “Daylight Again.” Is that a consolation?2

I’m not a fan of greatest hits compilations, but this one came to me for free when writing for Being There.

It’s a strange compilation because it only features songs from their first four studio albums, and completely ignores the rest. The other issue is that since CSN(Y) only have two great studio albums, the rest of the compilation is lacking. Ten of the nineteen tracks all come from their self-titled debut and Déjà Vu. I think what I’m essentially saying is go buy those two records. You can buy them on vinyl at nearly any record store for about $5 a piece.

Highlights

The album starts off perfectly with one of CSN(Y)’s best songs “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes.” At seven and a half minutes, it could try you patience, but CSN seem to be able to perfectly craft a song that keeps your attention throughout the whole length of the song. I actually put this record getting into the shower this morning. As the shower came to its conclusion, so did this song.

“Our House” is a classic love song about Nash and his then-girlfriend moving in together. He wants to hear her sing her love songs, and honestly who wouldn’t? When you’re moving in with one of the greatest songwriters of the ’60s and ’70s, it must be a great experience. You would’ve hoped that Nash would have learned a thing or two, but unfortunately his songwriting didn’t seem to improve from hanging out with the brilliant Joni Mitchell.

Stephen Stills can be hit or miss, but “Helplessly Hoping” is perfection. The voices of Crosby, Stills, and Nash meld so perfectly on this song. His melody is sublime, and the alliterative lyrics create a great canvas for their vocals.

CSN(Y) didn’t tend to write together a lot. They would each have their own songs and work on them together. “Wooden Ships” is a rare exception where Crosby and Stills worked together on this song. “Wooden Ships” is a dialogue between shipwreck survivors. I don’t know why it appeals to me, but I’ve always loved this song since I first heard their album Crosby, Stills & Nash.

I equate “Carry On/Questions” to be Déjà Vu‘s answer to “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes.” They’re both the opening tracks on their respective albums, both penned by Stills, and both very dramatic and beautiful. They both set the tone for the record you’re going to get to hear.

Lowlights

I really wish I could skip songs during this project. I would skip “Southern Cross.” As I said, Stills is hit or miss, and this is definitely a miss.

A lot of people love “49 Bye-Byes,” I’m not one of them. There’s always been something about this song that just sits with me in a bad way.

“See The Changes” is another Stills song that is just shit.

Okay, let’s give Graham Nash one of the lowlights. “Wasted On The Way” is kind of a tedious song. It’s pleasant enough, but so generic and cheesy.

Editor’s note: I’m expanding the stats to include decade and format.

Men 19.25 (79%) | Women 4.75 (21%)
CD: 14.5 (61%) | Vinyl: 7.5 (31%) | Digital: 0 (0%) | 7″: 1 (4%) | Box: 1 (4%)
1960s: 3 (13%) | 1970s: 2 (8%) | 1980s: 0 (0%) | 1990s: 7 (29%) | 2000s: 12 (50%) | 2010s: 0 (0%)
Canada 6.8 (28%) | USA 12.2 (51%) | UK 5 (21%)
Ontario 3 (43%) | Quebec 0 (0%) | Nova Scotia2 (29%) | New Brunswick 1 (14%) | Manitoba 0 (0%) | British Columbia 0 (0%) | Prince Edward Island 0 (0%)
Saskatchewan 0 (0%) | Alberta 0 (0%) | Newfoundland and Labrador 1 (14%) | Northwest Territories 0 (0%) | Yukon 0 (0%) | Nunavut 0 (0%)
  1. Crosby, Stills & NashDéjà Vu, and 4 Way Street []
  2. No. It’s not. []

Recollection Volume 23 – Farewells & Fantasies

Recollection is a project to review my record collection. I will listen to an album I own and review it. The album will be chosen randomly by computron. Today computron chooses…

Album: Farewells & Fantasies
Artist: Phil Ochs
Released: 1997
Format(s) I own it on: CD Box Set

0008122735182_500X500I’ve been a fan of Phil Ochs since I bought this box set when I was 17. It was inexpensive, and with three CDs worth of material, a steal. Farewells & Fantasies is strange. I don’t know if I’d recommend anyone buy this record. The problem is that it’s a lot of music to get through and into, so that leaves out the newbs1 For the fan, it’s far from complete. It selects a best of Ochs, and a mediocre of Ochs. It some times leaves off what I would believe to be essential tracks. So I can’t see a fan wanting to own this collection.

The completist is the only one this box is targeted to, as there are about three tracks that are unique to this collection, but those three tracks are far from worth the price of entry.

The we can look at who Ochs is. It seems that he gets a lot of flak. It seems that if you’re a serious Bob Dylan fan, you hate Phil Ochs. I’ve heard from many Dylan fans who deride Ochs’ work. I think this comes from a place of ignorance. It seems that Ochs is often compared to Dylan, when the two of them are a world apart. While they’re both folk artists, Dylan was never a folk artist the truest sense of the word. He always had a taste of jazz and blues that true folk doesn’t keep. Ochs on the other hand, even when going electric, or adding an excess of orchestration is a folky at heart.

People also deride Ochs for being a singing journalist. He was singing about his world, and the passion he had to make the world a better place. He used sarcasm to sneer at those who are apathetic, and I’m okay with him being a singing journalist in that sense, but the difference is I don’t look at old newspapers, but I do listen to Ochs. Obviously his medium is much more effective. Ochs also matured as a songwriter, and proved himself able to adapt away from his protest songs; while he still protested, he did a bit less directly.

My attraction to Ochs and my interest in politics are two worlds that obviously overlap. When I first starting writing about music in 2004, I was writing for Being There. The first feature I wrote was an interview with Joel Plaskett, the second was about Phil Ochs. A decade ago when I wrote about Ochs, I was writing about how the world hasn’t changed in the 30 years since his death. Another decade has passed, and I feel we’re still here. In Canada we have a government that is destroying our electoral laws, and weakening Elections Canada, in Ontario we have a government overwrought with scandal who are still somehow the best option, and in Toronto we have a crack addict mayor who hates women, sexual minorities, and people of colour. Phil Ochs’ voice is still valued.

Highlights

Ochs took Alfred Noyes’ classic poem “The Highway Man” and placed it to a melody that helps the poem shine. The sparse live performance (recorded in Vancouver) makes Ochs’ voice sound far away. The listener feels a distance to the singer allowing the song to chill you.

“Pleasures of the Harbor,” “Changes,” “When I’m Gone,” “Here’s To The State Of Mississippi,” “Canons Of Christianity” are all amongst Ochs’ best.

Lowlights

“White Boots Marching In A Yellow Land,” “Morning,” and “Santo Domingo” are amongst the songs I listen to the least.

Men 18.25 (79%) | Women 4.75 (21%)
Canada 6.8 (30%) | USA 11.53 (50%) | UK 4.66 (20%)
Ontario 3 (43%) | Quebec 0 (0%) | Nova Scotia2 (29%) | New Brunswick 1 (14%) | Manitoba 0 (0%) | British Columbia 0 (0%) | Prince Edward Island 0 (0%)
Saskatchewan 0 (0%) | Alberta 0 (0%) | Newfoundland and Labrador 1 (14%) | Northwest Territories 0 (0%) | Yukon 0 (0%) | Nunavut 0 (0%)
  1. Except me, but I’m strange. []

Recollection Volume 22 – Choose Love

Recollection is a project to review my record collection. I will listen to an album I own and review it. The album will be chosen randomly by computron. Today computron chooses…

Album: Choose Love
Artist: Ringo Starr
Released: 2005
Format(s) I own it on: CD

RingoStarrChooseLoveCDCoverPeace and love. Peace and love. This is the second time Computron has chosen a Ringo Starr record, and neither of them are one of his good records.

I don’t know if I ever listened to this record. It was given to me by Cari and Adam when they received it for Being There. I do know that when I went to find it on my computer, it wasn’t there. Also, I should say that I own a few Ringo records… some of which I actually enjoy, but unlike how the current trend might imply, Ringo does not occupy 9% of my record collection.

Listening to this record, it’s hard to believe that this is an album made by a former-Beatle. This album is almost a parody of the Ringo-sound, and I don’t think anyone would be surprised to hear that it’s not a great record.

Ringo has made good records. His album Ringo and Goodnight Vienna are perfect examples, as those records are filled with some of the best songwriters or his era; Harry Nilsson, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Elton John, George Harrison, Randy Newman, Allen Toussaint and more. Choose Love features the songwriting of Ringo Starr, Mark Hudson, and Gary Burr. Those two must be living a dream, working with a Beatle, but for a Beatle to work with those two, is disappointing to say the least.

Finally, can we talk about the cover? Who shot this? It’s a terrible photo. It looks like Ringo has six fingers. It looks like his thumb and pinky are touching (as they are, and then his remaining four fingers are doing the Vulcan salute.

Highlights

Umm…

Lowlights

“Give Me Back The Beat” is HORRIBLE. Oh my lord, Ringo!

What were you thinking when you wrote “Don’t Hang Up?” Did you not learn anything from hanging out with John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and George Harrison?

Men 17.25 (78%) | Women 4.75 (22%)
Canada 6.8 (31%) | USA 10.53 (48%) | UK 4.66 (21%)
Ontario 3 (43%) | Quebec 0 (0%) | Nova Scotia2 (29%) | New Brunswick 1 (14%) | Manitoba 0 (0%) | British Columbia 0 (0%) | Prince Edward Island 0 (0%)
Saskatchewan 0 (0%) | Alberta 0 (0%) | Newfoundland and Labrador 1 (14%) | Northwest Territories 0 (0%) | Yukon 0 (0%) | Nunavut 0 (0%)

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

Recollection Volume 21 – Boys For Pele

Recollection is a project to review my record collection. I will listen to an album I own and review it. The album will be chosen randomly by computron. Today computron chooses… 

Album: Boys For Pele
Artist: Tori Amos
Released: 1996
Format(s) I own it on: CD

Boys for PeleI haven’t listened to Tori Amos in a while. Once upon a time I lived with a woman obsessed with Ms. Amos. I never disliked her work, and I have been to a few shows, and quite enjoy some of her albums, but she can be very Tori Amos.

Boys For Pele is probably the album I listened to the most of hers. I think it is her strongest, but it’s also the first album of hers I was introduced to. I like to think this is THE classic Amos album, but I that might just be my perception.

Amos is a skilled songwriter, and at times really shows off her skill at melody and song structure on this album. Songs like “Doughnut Song,” “Professional Widow,” and “Hey Jupiter” really showcase her skills.

At the same time, other songs like “Not The Red Baron” show her willingness to experiment, but it doesn’t always work. Amos really excels in a traditional pop song structure, and when she deviates, something is lost.

While Amos has a strong voice, he vocal stylings can often be a tad over the top. I don’t think most people want to listen what sounds like her performing vocal exercises while receiving cunnilingus. “In The Springtime Of His Voodoo” is a perfect example of this, at times she layers her harmonized vocals masterfully, at other times it becomes a mess. I think, though, this is part of the admission into a Tori Amos record.

Another example of her “cunnilingus vocals” is “Professional Widow” which makes me excited for the next review. The artist of which also loves to sing about “peace and love” though he is less vocal about his love of a “hard cock.”1

Highlights

While we’re discussing that, we can look at how she perfectly harmonizes with herself. Listen to “Father Lucifer,” and I think you’ll agree with me.

Amos likes to showcase the harpsichord, and is one of the few musicians who can pull that instrument off. Her song “Blood Roses” is the perfect vessel for the instrument.

“Caught A Lite Sneeze” might have terrible spelling of the word “light,” but it’s a great song. It’s a fantastic example of Amos’s skill to layer harmonized vocals. It’s also a beautiful song.

Finally, “Mr. Zebra,” because, duh!

Lowlights

“Way Down” seems forced, and lucky that that it’s so short.

“Hey Jupiter” is at times a beautifully stunning song. Other times it just rambles and is a bit of a mess.2

Men 16.25 (77%) | Women 4.75 (23%)
Canada 6.8 (32%) | USA 10.53 (50%) | UK 3.66 (18%)
Ontario 3 (43%) | Quebec 0 (0%) | Nova Scotia2 (29%) | New Brunswick 1 (14%) | Manitoba 0 (0%) | British Columbia 0 (0%) | Prince Edward Island 0 (0%)
Saskatchewan 0 (0%) | Alberta 0 (0%) | Newfoundland and Labrador 1 (14%) | Northwest Territories 0 (0%) | Yukon 0 (0%) | Nunavut 0 (0%)
  1. Ringo’s loss. []
  2. Only one person’s opinion, I may piss off a few hundred people, including my ex-wife, with this statement. Hi Lisa. []

Recollection Volume 20 – Avenue Road

Recollection is a project to review my record collection. I will listen to an album I own and review it. The album will be chosen randomly by computron. Today computron chooses… 

Album: Avenue Road
Artist: Kensington Market
Released: 1968
Format(s) I own it on: Vinyl

Avenue RoadThis is a strange album. Kensington Market, named after the famed market in Toronto, decided to name their debut record after a street nowhere near the Market they derive their name from. Avenue Road is also the strangest named street in Toronto. Is it an avenue or a road? Make up your mind, Toronto!

The album is a strange mixture of British Invasion-styled pop, rock and roll, medieval faire-fare, psychedelia, and schmaltz. It’s almost as if Graham Nash took a hit of acid, visited a medieval faire, started dancing around until he found a harpsichord1.

This album seems to be an endeavour to create a Canadian reaction to the British Invasion, but there’s so much missing. There’s no soul, there’s no grit, there’s no sense of style. The album also is a child of its time. While other ’60s bands, like The Beatles, were able to stand the test of time, listening to Kensington Market is almost a chore due to the dated and overly stylized production.

Highlights

“Beatrice” aaaah! This song isn’t great, but it’s worth a mention, because it’s silly and a bit ridiculous. It could almost be a song written by Charlie on It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia.

Lowlights

Sadly “Phoebe” is not a song about the character from Friends. Also sad is that it’s just a plainly boring song.

Men 16.25 (81%) | Women 3.75 (19%)
Canada 6.8 (34%) | USA 9.53 (48%) | UK 3.66 (18%)
Ontario 3 (43%) | Quebec 0 (0%) | Nova Scotia2 (29%) | New Brunswick 1 (14%) | Manitoba 0 (0%) | British Columbia 0 (0%) | Prince Edward Island 0 (0%)
Saskatchewan 0 (0%) | Alberta 0 (0%) | Newfoundland and Labrador 1 (14%) | Northwest Territories 0 (0%) | Yukon 0 (0%) | Nunavut 0 (0%)
  1. There’s no harpsichord that I noticed on the record, but there should be. []

Recollection Volume 19 – Automatic For The People

Recollection is a project to review my record collection. I will listen to an album I own and review it. The album will be chosen randomly by computron. Today computron chooses… 

Album: Automatic For The People
Artist: R.E.M.
Released: 1992
Format(s) I own it on: CD

With the recent passing of Nash The Slash, I’m tempted to write about his album Dreams and Nightmares, but I promised myself this would be random. So for now, R.E.M. …

Automatic For The PeopleI was 10 when this album came out. It was always around throughout my life. The singles on this album were in heavy rotation on Toronto stations and Much Music. The videos for “Everybody Hurts” and “Man On The Moon” were always on television. That image of Michael Stipe wandering that freeway is permanently associated with the song.

It was only a year and a half earlier that Out of Time was released and R.E.M. entered my world. “Shiny Happy People” and “Losing My Religion” were documents of the era. A gentler transition from the prefabricated pop of the ’80s into the grunge and alternative of the ’90s was allowed through R.E.M., rather than the jarring burst of energy from Nirvana.

Though this record was always around me, I never bought it. My building has a book exchange. Someone once left a stack of CDs there, and I grabbed myself a free copy of Automatic For The People. It might have taken me forever to have a copy, but I feel I know it so well.

R.E.M. have an amazing skill at writing well-crafted addictive pop songs. Automatic For The People is amongst their most commercial release. They released six singles from the album, three of which did extremely well on Canadian charts, and the other three did well to great on other charts.

These songs stand the test of time, and are rooted in a tradition of great pop music with an easy line of sight to the mastery of Lennon-McCartney.

Highlights

“Everybody Hurts,” “Drive,” Nightswimming,” and “Man on the Moon.” Duh.

Lowlights

“New Orleans Instrumental No. 1” and “Sweetness Follows” is a bit of a dull spot on the album. They aren’t bad per se, but they don’t stand out like the rest.

Men 15.25 (80%) | Women 3.75 (20%)
Canada 5.8 (31%) | USA 9.53 (50%) | UK 3.66 (19%)
Ontario 2 (33%) | Quebec 0 (0%) | Nova Scotia2 (33%) | New Brunswick 1 (16%) | Manitoba 0 (0%) | British Columbia 0 (0%) | Prince Edward Island 0 (0%)
Saskatchewan 0 (0%) | Alberta 0 (0%) | Newfoundland and Labrador 1 (16%) | Northwest Territories 0 (0%) | Yukon 0 (0%) | Nunavut 0 (0%)

 

 

Recollection Volume 18 – The Salvation Blues

Recollection is a project to review my record collection. I will listen to an album I own and review it. The album will be chosen randomly by computron. Today computron chooses… 

Album: The Salvation Blues
Artist: Mark Olson
Released: 2007
Format(s) I own it on: CD

The Salvation BluesMark Olson’s The Salvation Blues has stumped me. I haven’t written here for a while as life got busy, but also because I don’t know what to write abut this album.

This is the problem with a process that is decided by a random algorithm; I can’t move stuff around to accommodate me.

The Salvation Blues is not a bad record, and it’s not a great record, it’s a middling record. The former-Jayhawk has none of the beautiful harmonies he’s known for. His songs are hesitant and provide no opening for the listener to get into.

The album starts off very jagged. It feels as if the second “My Carol” begins, the first milliseconds of that first note are cut off. It’s jarring, and that feeling continues throughout the record.

Highlights

“National Express” is as catchy as the record gets, and it’s not that catchy. The chorus is repetitive enough to sing along with it, but… yeah.

Lowlights

As I said before it’s not good or bad. The album is just so middling it’s hard to have any opinion on it.

Men 14.25 (79%) | Women 3.75 (21%)
Canada 5.8 (32%) | USA 8.53 (47%) | UK 3.66 (20%)
Ontario 2 (33%) | Quebec 0 (0%) | Nova Scotia2 (33%) | New Brunswick 1 (16%) | Manitoba 0 (0%) | British Columbia 0 (0%) | Prince Edward Island 0 (0%)
Saskatchewan 0 (0%) | Alberta 0 (0%) | Newfoundland and Labrador 1 (16%) | Northwest Territories 0 (0%) | Yukon 0 (0%) | Nunavut 0 (0%)

 

 

Recollection Volume 17 – BBC Sessions

Recollection is a project to review my record collection. I will listen to an album I own and review it. The album will be chosen randomly by computron. Today computron chooses… 

Album: BBC Sessions
Artist: The Who
Released: 2000
Format(s) I own it on: CD

BBC+Sessions+The+WhoThere was a trend in the ’90s and 2000s to release compilations of BBC Radio musical performances on CD. The Beatles had a huge success with Live At The BBC. The Kinks, Bowie, Hendrix, Fleetwood Mac, Led Zepplin, hell, even Loudon Wainwright III. This is The Who’s entry.

Where these compilations excel is hearing bands you know and love performing covers of early rock and roll and sometimes their contemporaries.

“Good Lovin'” and “Leaving Here” are amongst the best examples on this compilation. “Leaving Here” a cover of a Eddie Holland song. I didn’t know before that Holland of Holland-Dozier-Holland fame had a recording career.

We also get to hear live-off-the floor recordings of classic songs by these great bands. Hearing The Who perform a great version of “My Generation” has its appeal. However, I’d more often than not just rather listen to the original recordings. The sound quality of these recordings is very poor, leaving the listener wanting some power to the punch, which The Who should deliver, but fail to in these Sessions.

Highlights

“Boris The Spider” is the classic John Entwistle song delivered in his unique vocals.

“Substitute” is one of the best Who songs. Period.

“The Good’s Gone” is a strange mod song that The Who perform extremely well. They barely sound like themselves, but Keith Moon’s drumming keeps it in line enough with The Who’s style.

Lowlight

“Disguises.” My lord, this is painful.

Men 13.25 (78%) | Women 3.75 (22%)
Canada 5.8 (34%) | USA 7.53 (44%) | UK 3.66 (22%)
Ontario 2 (33%) | Quebec 0 (0%) | Nova Scotia2 (33%) | New Brunswick 1 (16%) | Manitoba 0 (0%) | British Columbia 0 (0%) | Prince Edward Island 0 (0%) | Saskatchewan 0 (0%) | Alberta 0 (0%) | Newfoundland and Labrador 1 (16%)
Northwest Territories 0 (0%) | Yukon 0 (0%) | Nunavut 0 (0%)