Friday, August 31, 2012

Greg MacPherson - Frequencies

The mighty Greg MacPherson has released a video for Frequencies, which was shot almost a year ago, produced, filmed and edited by Rod Bailey aka Mcenroe. It's an amazing song and an excellent video. However, I couldn't help think that MacPherson's dancing style is eerily similar to Merl Bryck's in the Northern Pikes' Teenland video from back in the day. It doesn't hurt that they both chose to wear simple white shirts and jeans, either. But maybe the movements are just the regular for vocalists who are used to having a guitar strapped on - I seem to remember Springsteen shakin' a rug the same way. Hey, he had on the white t-shirt and jeans too. Maybe the clothes make the dancin' man.

Get Frequencies from the fine album Disintegration Blues right here.

Feel free to leave a comment below.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Departures - Pillars MP3

Start with a somehow frantic yet spare drumbeat, add simple ringing/grinding guitar chords, then double those guitars, toss in some low-mixed sung-spoken vocals, layer more guitar and bass, let the voice naturally grow more tense and agitated. End up with a track that could have been/will be produced in 1980 or 2020, a version of The Church that turned post-punk instead of psychedelic college rock, maybe bowed down to Sonic Youth and Sylvie instead of Robyn Hitchcock. Anyhow, it's well done, isn't it?

It's quite embarassing when Pitchfork is telling the world about a band from your town that you don't know at all. Dan Gordon's Song of the Day page on facebook hipped me to this one, then Stereogum shared it too. Don't know much about Departures except that they are from Winnipeg and I can't wait to hear the rest. The album Still and Moving Lines is out October 2, and it is was produced by Howard Bilerman (the man who was in Arcade Fire and produced Handsome Furs, The Dears, Grant Hart, and Wolf Parade, among countless others).

Leave a comment. It will bring joy to the world of Scruffy.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Tragically Hip - Now for Plan A and Streets Ahead

The Tragically Hip have unveiled the cover art for Now For Plan A, their new album dropping October 2. The band has also told fans that a "deluxe digital version of Now For Plan A will also be available at iTunes, which will include 3 live tracks from our recent Calgary show". I thought their last album signalled a sea change for the band, as it contained some quite different songs (for example, The Depression Suite) and really unexpected sounds such as strings, out-of-the norm backing vocals, and some unhinged guitar squeal and skronk. These first two tracks seem very in tune with what the guys have been creating for years, not like the Hip is continuing to veer off on a new path. However, the new album does contain a track called Man Machine Poem, so maybe there are some surprises ahead. The version of Opiated below shows that the kings of Canuck rock don't mind
changing up old songs, so they're still moving ahead.

Now For Plan A Track List:

1. At Transformation
2. Man Machine Poem
3. The Lookahead
4. We Want To Be It
5. Streets Ahead
6. Now For Plan A
7. The Modern Spirit
8. About This Map
9. Take Forever
10. Done And Done
11. Goodnight Attawapiskat

The Hip have also released some unusual video of the band in studio. Like this one

Post Number 300

PLEASE read to the bottom of this post! My computer tells me that this is Scruffy the Yak's 300th post. More than 128,000 page views. So, more than 300 songs shared (actually probably more than 500 - in some posts, I have shared more than 30 tunes). Some of the most popular songs I have posted to Soundcloud are, interestingly enough, Royal Canoe, The Liptonians, Kori Pop (almost 6000 listens!), Urge Overkill, Kathryn Calder, Scott Hinkson, and The Watchmen. You can hear all of those and more here.

There are two songs I posted in particular that I believe are astoundingly good, but it doesn't seem that many people heard them, so here they are again, The Rowdymen. If I can get them some more
listens or even some comments, I might be able to get some more new songs from the band.

In celebration of 300 posts, I would like to attempt to get a combination of 300 comments below, Twitter re-tweets, Twitter followers, Facebook likes, and Facebook comments. Ya wanna help a Yak out?

Monday, August 20, 2012

Aimee Mann - Charmer

Aimee Mann has had an interesting career. A brief view of pop star life with 'Til Tuesday, a solo career with another blinding spotlight around the Magnolia soundtrack, even a guest shot with Rush! Now she has come out with a poppy new wave-ish tune that reminds me of The Cars, Weezer or Fountains of Wayne - catchy, well-produced pop/rock, no more, no less. The new track, Charmer, is a preview of the album of the same name coming out September 18.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Keri Latimer - Crowsfeet and Greyskull, Free Mud and Slobber Mp3

Keri Latimer's Crowfeet and Greyskull album is out now, and right now Mud and Slobber is the free download of the week at Manitoba Music's website. I posted the demo version of the song a while back, but the one on the album is a duet with NQ Arbuckle. Other guests on the album include Barry Mirochnick (drums, Neko Case), Christine Fellows (piano), Shaun Brodie (trumpets, Hidden Cameras, Dan Mangan), LucasGoetz (pedal steel, Deep Dark Woods), Damon Mitchell (guitar, Nathan, New Meanies), Devin Latimer(bass, Nathan), and Michael P. Falk (guitar, Les Jupes).

As you might expect, it's a folk-pop tour-de-force, nuanced, atmospheric, and sonically beautiful. Latimer's voice is arresting on its own,  especially when she has proven to be such a strong songwriter, but with the amazing instrumentation on here the record's in a league of its own. The album is available at Music Trader and various online places such as CDBaby and Amazon. Here's that demo again, go to the Manitoba Music site to hear and download the new version.

Here's some more tunes.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Olympic Closing Ceremonies Done Properly by Scruffy

The British Olympic Organizers contacted me about a do-over for the closing ceremonies, something about the music not being "Great British-y" enough. I said I would do it only if I could get artists from all over the UK. Of course, the budget has been blown, and they have only given me 20 minutes to come up with new stuff, so here it is. John Lydon/Johnny Rotten is going to pop out of a cake. Not a fake cake, either, but real one, made by the British version of the Cake Boss. But that's only if the remaining members of the Sex Pistols will join him. If not, he will come out of some kind of pudding and just do a Public Image Ltd. tune.

Next Manic Street Preachers will putt-putt in on beat-up old scooters.

Ian Hunter will parachute in. 'Cause he's cool like that.

Echo and the Bunnymen will magically appear to ener the stage rowing a smallish boat.

Buzzcocks are going to be catapulted through a giant heart.

Robyn Hitchcock is going to be spewed out of the mouth of giant frog or giant spider, he hasn't decided yet.

The Darkness will flicker out of the Olympic Flame itself. The Olympic Organizers wanted Queen, but Mercury is dead - we can't just play video or have a bloody hologram, right?

Happy Mondays will find their way one by one out from a giant Kangol hat.

The Kinks' Ray and Dave Davies are going to walk in arm-in-arm on a cloud.

Judas Priest will roll in on skateboards. They may perfomr with the London Symphony Orchestra.

The Waterboys will ride in on garishly-festooned elephants.

Nick Lowe gets to play whatever he wants and enter the stage however he wants. He's frickin' Nick Lowe.

Billy Bragg will be carried by men in expensive suits.

There are a few more artists we are working on, they will have to wait for another post one we finalize them. Who do you think is a must-have?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Soul Asylum - Gravity and Delayed Reaction

After hitting The Mats and Bob Mould, I figured it was time to check in on another of Minneapolis's finest, Soul Asylum. Out of all the Minne greats, this band got me early. You know why? Because they played my town, even if they had to play in crappy little bars. They were always exciting live, and when screaming girls threatened to drown Dave Pirner out years later, I was at the back of the Playhouse with a big smile on my face. I still love Made to be Broken and Hang Time.

But hey, did you know the band's been around for more than 30 years now? Were you aware they have a new album called Delayed Reaction? I wasn't. Here's the first single, Gravity. Sounds like Soul Asylum to me, a hooky rocker by a band that thankfully hasn't succumbed to incorporating elements of electronica, overused auto-tune, or tried to sound anything like Maroon 5 or whoever the big "rock" sales kings are these days.

Here's a live version of a Suicide Commandos song, Attacking the Beat; there's a studio version that you can download by signing up for the band's mailing list. More mp3s are available from the Soul Asylum Audio page, use the Password "Twin Tone" (no quotes) - I know, you would have known the answer anyhow, right? There are outtakes from way back when, not all the links work, but try a few out.

A Soul Asylum cover for ya:

What Minnneapolis artist/band will I post about next?

Bob Mould - The Descent

Bob Mould has released The Descent from his upcoming album Silver age (out September 4 on Merge Records). You can buy The Descent here. It is without a doubt one of my favourite tunes he has put out in a long, long while. I do not know if playing all of those Sugar songs on tour has
brought him back to the straightforward hooky rock he excels at, but I will take it anyway it comes.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Replacements - Pleased To Meet Me

Hoo boy. A while back (almost a month!) The Replacements' Pleased To Meet Me turned 25, and I meant to post about it, but Timothy Bracy And Elizabeth Bracy did such a good job of it here it seemed unnecessary. However, I wanted to post all of the songs without making you open new links, and I really wanted to do something because the album still seems to be in the shadow of Let it Be. I think this one is just as good or even the band's best, but maybe that's just because Let It Be is so revered it almost over-hyped for me. Is Let it Be so much better? No, it's possible people love the cover, the title, the fact it didn't come out on a major label, the time it came out, and so on. For me, Pleased to Meet Me is the bee's knees. Alex Chilton? Skyway? Can't Hardly Wait? Vslentine? I defy
anyone to proclaim any 'Mats album has 4 greater songs.

Note - the tune below is not the exact one on the album - I couldn't find it online for you, this is a
demo version, but it still shows how good the song is.

Wanna disagree with Scruffy?! Leave a darn comment!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Warsaw, Still Lights, and Pop Crimes at Lo Pub - Plus free mp3

Scruffy doesn't get to a lot of shows. I know, I'm bad. However, I really would like to finagle a free evening to catch this show Saturday, August 25, at the Lo Pub. 3 intriguing Winnipeg bands, and I'm not too sure how much longer the Lo Pub will be situated in its current location. What kind of bang
do you get for your buck? Read on. Listen on. Keep on keepin' on.

Still Lights create atmospheric post-punk, replete with menacing basslines, eerie high in the mix keyboards, propulsive percussion, and Edge-y guitars. Heck, the ghost of Joy Division should not be the sole property of Interpol or Editors or Peter Hook or whomever, should it? You can listen to their wicked awesome excellent ep Dead of Night here, and here are some live tracks, the sound is a bit rough, but what the hey.

Warsaw is comprised of gentlemen who crushed heads in bands with monikers like Electro Quarterstaff, Projektor, Meatrack, Burnthe8track and Hide Your Daughters. You know, Darren Achorn, Josh Bedry, Curran Faris, and Ethan Osland (I think that is them above, but the group is somewhat mysterious, maybe due to a bizarre eye ailment). The fellas proclaim to play music that is "some combination of melodic, hooky and heavy". That sounds about right, and maybe we could add hard, loud, dark, and maybe complex...I'm just guessin' here. I haven't been able to hear or see anything from the band except these raw YouTube clips (this will be Warsaw's first show), and it would appear that the guys may have become shadowy figures. Call me Curious George when it comes to Warsaw. If you go to the show, maybe ask what's up with the eye issues and unfortunate finger ailments (see below).

Pop Crimes is a cool name, but everytime I read it, I hear Prince's Pop Life except the purple one sings Crimes instead of Life. Pop Crimes veers from dynamic jangle-twang into not-so-methodical math-rock, some Sonic-ally Youth-ful sneer and world-weary snarl. Sounds grindingly good. Be quick (like today) and you should be able to grab a free mp3 from Pop Crimes at the Manitoba Music website. And if you're quick like that, the band is celebrating the release of it's ep City/Head tonight at Lo Pub with The Gunness and The Mystics. You can get the cd or cassette tonight before the other cool kids.

A comment below from you would be welcome.