Tag Archives: Ruth Minnikin

Recollection Volume 14 – Wanna Be Your Friend: A Tribute to the Inbreds

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: Wanna Be Your Friend: A Tribute to the Inbreds
Artist: Various Artists
Released: 2007
Format(s) I own it on: CD

wannabeyourfriend_inbredstribute_1000_1024x1024The Inbreds. I’m a big fan of The Inbreds, they didn’t always stick to their schtick of bass and drum, but even when they did, they succeeded in making interesting melodic pop that almost defies their instrumental limitations. That skill at crafting amazing melodies is what makes The Inbreds so spectacular.

Mike O’Neill and Dave Ulrich deserve every accolade they’ve received and more. If you don’t know their music, check out their records, they’re all inexpensive at zunior.com. While you’re at it, you might also want to check out Mike O’Neill’s three solo records. All those records will be reviewed in good time. Until then we have… Wanna Be Your Friend: A Tribute To The Inbreds. Yes, an Inbreds tribute album.

The artist selection is pretty impressive, a lot of bands I had never heard of, but there’s also The Just Barelys, The Superfantastics, Ruth Minnikin, members of Plumtree, Sloan, Super Friendz, and Eric’s Trip. It’s quite the lineup.

It’s not only the artist selection, but the song selection. It seems almost as if I had chosen the tracklist myself.

Highlights

I don’t know who Jonathan Inc. is or are, but I adore his/their cover of “Drag Us Down.”

The Forum, consisting of members of Sloan and The Super Friendz, perform a great version of “You Will Know” while Catriona Sturton does a great performance of “North Window.”

Interview

I asked Dave Ulrich, drummer from The Inbreds, and owner of Zunior.com on his thoughts on the album.

AA: What was your reaction when you first heard about the record? Did you have any input?

DU: I was pretty surprised because, although Gooseberry has gone on to do a whole series of tribute albums of that mid-90’s indie Canadian era, the Inbreds one was the first installment.  I didn’t have any input, but I believe Scott did tell me about it before it was finished.

AA: Is it cheating because Mike appears on the record (performing as part of Ruth Minnikin & Her Bandwagon)?

DU: At least we didn’t create a mock back to cover one of our songs.  I know Def Leppard used to have an opening act for their own shows that did cover songs, but the act was actually the band in disguise.  That kinda thing.

AA: Did any songs really stand out to you?

DU: Ruby Jean and the Thoughful Bees doing Amelia Earhart.  I think that one really got the spirit of where that song was coming from.

AA: Any song you wish was included, but wasn’t?

DU: I would have loved to hear a metal band doing Russ. It’s not too late everyone!!!

AA: There’s a band on the record calling themselves Alicia Penney & The Excellent Navigators, obviously a references to “Amelia Earhart.” Once upon a time was a band called Laura Peek And The Winning Hearts, a reference to The Inbreds album Winning Hearts. How do you feel these tributes play into the legacy of your work?

DU: Mike has spoken before about the way we, and all indie bands that we respected, were ‘humble’ in the 90’s.  You really had to be there to appreciate it.  I’m not sure there is an equivalent vibe today, although their are still many artists that sincerely come from a humble place, obviously.  It’s just that there was a unique version of it, I think, we were out there doing our thing. Anyways, I think that a big part of what Inbreds should/could be known for is how hard we worked recording/touring/releasing, consistently over time.  Combine that with an equal heavy effort from Mike on the songwriting side, and I that is why it worked as much as it did.  The effort was sincere.

AA: Are the covers that stay true to the original more entertaining to you, or the ones that take the songs in a new direction?

DU: I always like covers that go in a new direction.

Giant thanks to Dave Ulrich!

I’m filing this album as male, Canadian, and Ontarians, as that describes the band being paid tribute.

Men 11.25 (80%) | Women 2.75 (20%)
Canada 5.8 (41%) | USA 6.53 (47%) | UK 1.66 (12%)
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 2 – Depend On This

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: Depend On This
Artist: Ruth Minnikin and Her Bandwagon
Released: 2009
Format(s) I own it on: Vinyl

cover-752010No, seriously, this is random. Yes, Ruth Minnikin sang on the last album, and now here we are talking about one of hers, but honestly, it’s random.

Depend On This is two variations of one EP. Side one (and yes, I own on this on vinyl) has six songs in a straight up folk-pop arrangement with elements of ragtime and jazz, while side two could be described as dance arrangements… if dance used so many orchestral instruments.

The vast array of instruments is definitely a highlight of this record. Minnikin’s records generally are a bit more sparse, and this record provides a much more varied soundscape. The bass clarinet seems to the instrument holding the sound down throughout the record. I’m not always a clarinet fan, but it seems to work well.

Highlights

The “cha-cha-cha” at the end of “Four Churches.” Yes, definitely this. It’s a great song regardless of that fact, but it adds so much.

I might suspect I enjoy “Sleeping and Dreaming” as it describes a condition I have, but I don’t think so, I think it’s just generally a pretty good song. I’ve never dreamed of The Beatles that I recall, as I don’t recall if I ever dream, but if I did, THAT WOULD BE AWESOME!

“Depend On This” is amongst Minnikin’s best songs. Definitely the highlight to this album, and her career.

Lowlights

The biggest problem to this record is that it’s the same thing twice. Yes the remixes are quite different from the first side, but it’s not a big enough difference to hold your attention for it twice in a row. Those pieces work better in shuffle mode amongst a larger collection.

Ruth Minnikin

Interview

I’ve had the privilege of meeting Ruth Minnikin a few times, and sent her a quick email asking if she’d be willing to participate. Luckily she was, so I present to you an email interview done from Canada to Korea.

AA: How do you see Depend On This now that you’ve had a few years to process the album?

RM: I just finished listening to Depend on This, start to finish, for the first time in a long time! Early on in the album’s development, I was aware that it would be an epic sound journey. I envisioned it as a piece of sound art, conceptually based around the music-making ritual itself! Re-visiting it now, i am still very proud of the project!

AA: What song(s) stand out to you and why?

RM: “Sleeping and Dreaming” pulled on my ol’ heartstrings. I wrote it about my Dad, his sleep apnea diagnoses, surgery, and then his recovery. When he had finally gotten to dream, after decades of no REM sleep, he dreamt that The Beatles were coming (for the first time) to North America! He woke up in a state of excitement and confusion, he thought that he must buy his tickets at once! My Dad passed away in 2010 and now he frequents my dreams!!

AA: Which did you enjoy making more, side A or side B?

RM: This record felt like a pulsing mountain that I needed to conquer! It took years to write and record. There were around 30 musicians (from around the world), 3 producers (myself, Andrew Watt and Charles Blazevic) and visual artists (myself, Craig Buckley and Jesse Jacobs) involved. Some of the songs had over 100 tracks! I couldn’t possibly imagine picking a favourite side! It was just as much about the endless climb to the summit, as it was the admiration of the vista from it’s peak!! I just can’t compare the two!

AA: As a listener, which do you enjoy more, side A or side B?1

RM: This is a snapshot taken from a period in my life! It is all relevant and necessary! It can not be separated from me, as it is me! It’s one single art piece with several ways of perceiving it!!

 AA: How do you feel you’ve changed as a musician since the release of Depend On This?

RM: Nothing has changed. I am still performing, making music and using it as a tool for therapy and creatively. Performing and writing will be with me forever. I am very excited for the ideas i haven’t yet thought of, the concerts i haven’t performed (or seen) and the albums i haven’t written (or heard)!!

I am extremely thankful for my family (full of musicians and creative minds), my musical family of old and dear friends (including my brother Gabriel Minnikin, who i have traveled the world with performing) for being so incredibly supportive and never once telling me to give up on my zany ideas!!

My life has been formed and guided by my family and art and music making. These are powerful forces that I will continue to let push me in the right direction!!

Thank you again, Ruth. Photo by Randal Tomada.

Men 1 (50%) | Women 1 (50%)
Canada 2 (100%)
Ontario0 (0%) | Quebec0 (0%) | Nova Scotia2 (100%) | New Brunswick0 (0%) | Manitoba0 (0%) | British Columbia0 (0%) | Prince Edward Island0 (0%) | Saskatchewan0 (0%) | Alberta0 (0%) | Newfoundland and Labrador0 (0%)
Northwest Territories0 (0%) | Yukon0 (0%) | Nunavut0 (0%)
  1. Here’s where an email interview doesn’t work so well. Based on the previous answer, I wouldn’t have asked this question. It’s obvious that Minnikin sees the two sides as one whole, whereas from my perspective, I see them separately. Oh well. []

Tes yeux sont comme un chat étrange pilotage d’un avion de chasse.

The Wilderness of Manitoba perform at December’s Bloggers’ Brunch. Recorded by Joe.

Listening to Ruth Minnikin’s Depend On This lately… there’ll be a review soon enough.

And an oldie, but a goodie.

Music Monday

This is Valery Gore’s only video. It’s from her first album. The second is even better, but she never made a video, so enjoy this one.

Ruth Minnikin’s going to be in Toronto for Canadian Music Week/Fest, and is promoting her new record Depend On This, which I’ve yet to hear, but I assume it’ll be awesome, her records always are.

With two women, might as well continue the theme… here’s Sleater-Kinney.

Top 50 Albums of the Aughts

1) Sleater-Kinney – The Woods (2005)
2) The Magnetic Fields – i (2004)
3) Belle & Sebastian – Dear Catastrophe Waitress (2003)
4) The Flashing Lights – Sweet Release (2001)
5) Neko Case & Her Boyfriends – Furnace Room Lullaby (2000)
6) The Joel Plaskett Emergency – Down At The Khyber (2001)
7) Julie Doiron – Woke Myself Up (2007)
8) Neil Young – Live At Massey Hall 1971 (2007)
9) Valery Gore – Avalanche To Wandering Bear (2008)
10) God Help The Girl – God Help The Girl (2009)

11) Wilco – A Ghost Is Born (2004)
12) Joel Plaskett – Three (2009)
13) Neko Case – Fox Confessor Brings The Flood (2005)
14) The Rural Alberta Advantage – Hometowns (2008)
15) Valery Gore – Valery Gore (2005)
16) Andrew Bird’s Bowl of Fire – The Swimming Hour (2001)
17) Elevator – A Taste of Complete Perspective (2000)
18) The Guthries – Off Windmill (2000)
19) The Magnetic Fields – Distorion (2008)
20) Cuff The Duke – Cuff The Duke (2005)

21) Matt Mays – Matt Mays (2002)
22) The Apples In Stereo – New Magnetic Wonder (2007)
23) Neko Case – Canadian Amp (2001)
24) Local Rabbits – This Is It, Here We Go (2001)
25) One Hundred Dollars – Forest of Tears (2007)
26) The Guthries – The Guthries (2002)
27) The Joel Plaskett Emergency – Ashtray Rock (2007)
28) Amy Millan – Honey From The Tombs (2006)
29) Elliott Brood – Ambassador (2005)
30) The New Pornographers – Mass Romantic (2000)

31) Rufus Wainwright – Poses (2001)
32) The Superfantastics – Pop-up Book (2007)
33) Dan Mangan – Nice, Nice, Very Nice (2009)
34) George Harrison – Brainwashed (2001)
35) Belle & Sebastian – The Life Pursuit (2006)
36) Sleater-Kinney – One Beat (2002)
37) Final Fantasy – Has A Good Home (2005)
38) K’naan – The Dusty Foot Philosopher (2005)
39) The Bicycles – The Good, The Bad & The Cuddly (2006)
40) Elliott Smith – From a Basement on the Hill (2004)

41) Peter Elkas – Wall of Fire (2007)
42) Gentleman Reg – Darby & Joan (2004)
43) Neko Case – Middle Cyclone (2008)
44) Wilco – Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (2002)
45) k-os – Joyful Rebellion (2004)
46) Matt Murphy – Bring It Back Home: The Life And Hard Times of Guy Terrifico (2004)
47) Cuff The Duke – Life Stories For Minimum Wage (2002)
48) Tom Petty – Highway Companion (2006)
49) Travis – The Boy With No Name (2007)
50) Ruth Minnikin – Marooned And Blue (2004)