Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Waterboys - Arthur's Day EP & Fisherman's Box Set

"Too many protest singers, not enough protest songs, And now you've come along" - Edwyn Collins

I've been thinking about protest singers and protest songs, and lo and behold The Waterboys come out with a protest song EP entitled Arthur's Day EP. It's nice to see someone railing about an important issue. You can read about more here. The digital-only EP is available on iTunes and contains the two tunes below as well as an instrumental by Steve Wickham and Mike Scott And the Angels Cleared Up After Arthur's Day.

A Song for Arthur's Day

'Twas Arthur's Day in Dublin

October 14 will see the release of the 6-cd Fisherman's Box Set, which you can pre-order at The Waterboys website. As far as I can ascertain, only the tracklisting for the first two discs have been released so far.

CD1 Tracklisting:

1. Stranger To Me
2. Girl Of The North Country
3. I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry
4. Fisherman's Blues (piano version)
5. Fisherman's Blues
6. Meet Me At The Station
7. I'll Be Your Baby Tonight
8. Born To Be Together
9. The Wayward Wind
10. World Party (1st version)
11. World Party / A Golden Age
12. Sleek White Schooner
13. Drunken Head Ghost Of Rimbaud Blues
14. Sweet Thing
15. Sweet Thing (conclusion)
16. Saints And Angels

The Waterboys' official description of cd1: "CD1 was recorded in its entirety on Jan 23 1986, the first day of the Fisherman's Blues sessions, and marks the beginning of the band's new fiddle and electric mandolin driven sound. The songs are a mix of old country and gospel numbers plus new originals. Two of the tracks (5 & 14) were included on the original album. Two more (2 & 6) were on the 2006 remaster of Fisherman's Blues. The other twelve are previously unreleased and provide a fascinating insight into the Waterboys at a crossroads moment when everything changed."

Fisherman's Blues 86

I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry

Sweet Thing

The tracklist of CD2 is:

1. We Will Not Be Lovers
2. One Step Closer
3. My Beautiful Baby
4. She Could Have Had Me Step By Step
5. When The Ship Comes In
6. The Ladder
7. Will You Ever Be My Friend?
8. Too Close To Heaven (rolling piano)
9. Higherbound (prototype)
10. Happy Birthday BP Fallon
11. The Prettiest Girl In Church
12. You Don't Have To Be In The Army To Fight In The War
13. Dee Jay Way
14. Lonesome And A Long Way From Home
15. Thistlethwaite's Declaration
16. Strange Boat (first play)
17. Lost Highway
18. Higherbound Blues
19. Let Us Be Drinking And Kissing The Women
20. Will The Circle Be Unbroken
21. Tenderfootin'
22. Too Close To Heaven
23. Space Out There, Trevor

More from the official Waterboys website on the 2nd Fisherman's Box disc: "CD2 catches The Waterboys at a fascinating juncture. Not yet officially recording the follow-up to This Is The Sea, the band spent thirteen days between March and September 1986 in Dublin's Windmill Lane Studio, trying out songs, sounds and recording engineers while deepening their explorations into country, blues and roots music. Track 1 was on the original album, tracks 6, 21 & 22 were on 2001's Too Close To Heaven, track 14 was on the 2006 remaster of Fisherman's Blues, and track 17 was the 'b' side of the 1989 Fisherman's Blues single. The other 17 tracks are previously unreleased."

We Will Not Be Lovers

For those of you who never listened the first time around, The Waterboys made the amazing Fisherman's Blues after doing an abrupt right turn from the big music of This is the Sea. You can check that out below if necessary.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Greg MacPherson Band - 1995 and Fireball

Greg MacPherson. New album = Fireball (lean, mean title there). Tough, raw, rock 'n' roll. Cool cover art from Pip Skid. Official release date is Tuesday, October 29. Get in time for Gate Night.



FIREBALL Track List:
1 – 1995
2 – Goes Like This
3 – Fireball
4 – Motel Hotel
5 – Sandhand
6 – Forcefield
7 – Tourists
8 – New-jazz Trios
9 – Space and Time
10 – Scientist Cowboy

Some older stuff if you haven't been paying attention.


Live in the radio studio

Selkirk - Nova

Selkirk (Matt Copper Remix)

Party at Greg's

Eastern Canada Tour:

Oct 10 – Guelph, ON – The Ebar
Oct 11 – Toronto, ON – Magpie Taproom
Oct 12 – Montreal, QC – Casa Del Popolo
Oct 15 – Trois-Riveres, QC – Gambrinus
Oct 17 – Sydney, NS – Elks Lodge
Oct 18 – Halifax, NS – Gus’s Pub
Oct 19 – St. John, NB – Harvesting the Art
Oct 20 – Chicoutimi, QC – Le Sous-Bois
Oct 21 – Quebec, QC – TBA (Solo)
Oct 23 – Kingston, ON – The Mansion House

Western Canada Tour:

Nov 14 – Saskatoon, SK – Village Guitar & Amp
Nov 15 – Calgary, AB – Palomino
Nov 16 – Edmonton, AB – ARTery
Nov 17 – Lethbridge, AB – Slice
Nov 18 – Kelowna, BC – Habitat
Nov 19 – Vancouver, BC – The Biltmore
Nov 20 – Victoria, BC – TBA
Nov 24 – Revelstoke, BC – Big Eddy’s
Nov 25 – Canmore, AB - TBA

Bonus song!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Tommy Keene - I Get Excitement At His Feet, How About You?

I first discovered Tommy Keene when an older and wiser music fan walked up with one of his records. He was so excited to have picked up what he termed a hard to find classic, and I was the ignoramus who had to ask, Who is Tommy Keene? My friend looked down at me (he was a much taller fellow) and intoned, "If you can ever find Songs From the Film, pick it up". I did, and I've been a fan ever since. Keene seems to have remained a cult hero, despite making cool moves like putting out an album with Robert Pollard as The Keene Brothers (after Touring with Guided By Voices), getting folks like Jeff Tweedy and Jay Bennett on some of his songs, . If you would like to give a few of his songs a spin for free, he will give you some mp3s if you go here.

Keene's new album, Excitement At Your Feet (you Who fans know where the title comes from) consists of 11 covers. It might be the first cover album I have heard where every version is a gem.

1. Have You Seen My Baby? - The Flamin' Groovies
2. The Puppet - Echo & The Bunnymen
3. Much Too Much - The Who
4. I Laugh In Your Face - The Bee Gees
5. Let Me Dream If I Want To - Mink DeVille
6. Catch The Wind - Donovan
7. Guiding Light - Television
8. Ride On Baby - The Rolling Stones
9. Choking Tara - Guided By Voices
10. Nighttime - Big Star
11. Out Of The Blue - Roxy Music

Have You Seen My Baby


Choking Tara

Out of the Blue


Much Too Fun

Laugh In Your Face

Let Me Dream If I Want To

Ride On Baby

Catch the Wind

One of his own tunes from a previous album for ya.

I Can't See You Anymore

Deep Six Saturday

Tommy Keene : Deep Six Saturday from LaundroMatinee on Vimeo.

Places That Are Gone

Buy Excitement At Your Feet and other great records here.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Haunter - Rivers & Rust and Haunter Origins, Coupla Free mp3s

Haunter is a band from Winnipeg. Haunter is not frightened about launching a tune into the stratosphere by marrying a deep emotional wellspring with sublime shoegazer pop a la Swervedriver (Blood and Thunder). Haunter is unafraid of starting a song with unadulterated guitar fuzz (see Transcanada, Bring Us Home). Haunter is never terrified with the idea of allowing a heavyweight like Nathan's Keri Latimer sing on one of their tunes (Where I'm Calling From). Haunter has no fear about letting an intensely distorted guitar wail away through most of a song like Dinosaur Jr. (01 July, 2005). Haunter is not scared to begin a tune with sharp edged bass and a cymbal-riding climax (see Delilah Dreams of...). Haunter is fearless about giving listeners free mp3s of their tunes (demos? Early versions? - see Haunter Origin, Tiny Ghosts and Where Ièm Calling From)).

Blood and Thunder

Transcanada, Bring Us Home

Delilah Dreams of...

01 July, 2005

Where I'm Calling From

Anthen For a Broken City

Assiniboine River Song


All Winter Long

Our War

HAUNTER ORIGINS: Where I'm Calling From feat. Keri Latimer


Buy at iTunes
Buy at Bandcamp

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

54-40 - Best Canadian Songs of All Time No. 6

This series of posts will be offering the definitive list of the best Canuck tunes ever recorded, scientifically tabulated, collated and obfuscated by the Brain of Scruff, in absolutely-not numerical order.

54-40 seem to be one of Canada's longest running bands, since 1981, but the only song that ever had a monumental impact on me was Baby Ran. The rhythm section moves the song, the bassline being exceptionally musical (lots of early 54-40 stuff contained faint references to Joy Division/early New Order to my ears). Neil Osborne's vocals are especially impassioned, but when Phil Comparelli's backing vox kick in for the wordless WOAH-OH-OHHHHHHHHHHH, the tune is elevated. Hints of Neil Young guitar sqwawk near the end adds to the energy level, and points to one of the reasons I remember the song blowing listeners' ears back in small rooms back in the eighties.

Buy 54-40 music here.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Kathleen Edwards - Best Canadian Songs of All Time No. 5

This series of posts will be offering the definitive list of the best Canuck tunes ever recorded, scientifically tabulated, collated and obfuscated by the Brain of Scruff, in absolutely-not numerical order.

Kathleen Edwards is part of the new vanguard of singer/songwriters in Canada. like many great wordsmiths who make music, she doesn't readily fit into just one genre - is she pop, folk,rock, country, alt-country or some other new amalgam I don't know the name of yet? As her Twitter description says, "Don't make me choose between Bryan Adams and Ryan Adams. I won't do it."

Change the Sheets manages to sound both hopeful and haunting at the same time, a little melancholy and a little euphoric. KE's sweet voice soars over insistent keyboards, the band lays back and then pushes for a big climax that I can imagine being epic live, yet is still somewhat subtle on the recorded version. Edwards doesn't get sappy or overwrought, no big histrionics, yet she's still got the power to move listeners without trickery or pandering. There are a lot of artists who could learn a lesson or two from her. Heck, she even had the guts to call her album Voyageur, and I think that's all right.

Change the Sheets

Hockey Skates is another tune that deserves an honourable mention, as this video attests.

Hockey Skates

Photo at top of post by Kevin Lamb. You can buy Kathleen Edwards music here, as well as the usual digital outlets.

The Diodes - Best Canadian Songs of all Time No. 4

This series of posts will be offering the definitive list of the best Canuck tunes ever recorded, scientifically tabulated, collated and obfuscated by the Brain of Scruff, in absolutely-not numerical order.

All three of my kids know and love The Diodes' Tired of Waking Up Tired, and one of them is only three years old. It's the catchiest chorus ever made, released on an unsuspecting public in 1979, and it still sounds fresh to this day. It's the scene in Hardcore Logo where Hugh Dillon and Callum Keith Rennie are in the front of the van, driving to wherever, singing the chorus over and over and over. It's punk rock the first time around, when hooks were sharp, circus keyboards were cool, and nobody could really accuse Canadian punks of selling out 'cause no one was getting rich.

 Available on iTunes, Amazon, maybe even in a cool record store.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Beck- I Won't Be Long

Where are the David Bowies and Neil Youngs of today, old people like to ask, where are the artists that constantly change and rearrange and do whatever they want, which is sometimes brilliant and sometimees missing the mark? There's only one artist off the top of my head who seems to have the ability to jump from one musical style to another and keep growing, and that's Beck.

Even just looking at Beck's output between 1996 and 2002, Odelay, Mutations, Midnite Vultures, and Sea Change, represents a form of gleeful dancing around a kaleidoscope jukebox, and there's still great stuff on all of 'em. Sure, he hasn't approached the success of Young or Bowie, and he probably never will, but maybe he's not trying to do so. He didn't even record his last album (Song Reader), just released sheet music for others to interpret. He also spent time recording entire cover albums, from INXS to Yanni, in his Record Club project.

Anyway, I think Beck's new single, I Won't Be Long, is the bee's knees. The cat's pyjamas. You know what I mean.

Beck’s “I Won’t Be Long” single is now available everywhere digitally. iTunes Amazon

Also available on limited edition 12” vinyl, sold exclusively here.

Nobody's Fault but My Own - Live (originally on Mutations)

Sexx Laws from Midnight Vultures

New Pollution from Odelay

Lost Cause from Sea Change

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Cash Brothers - Best Canadian Songs of All Time No. 3

This series of posts will be offering the definitive list of the best Canuck tunes ever recorded, scientifically tabulated, collated and obfuscated by the Brain of Scruff, in absolutely-not numerical order.

The Cash Brothers put out one album that was so good,the boys looked poised for the big time. How Was Tomorrow (2001) received some critical acclaim, sold a few copies, and seemed to set the boys up for a bright future. But although they did release one more record and then one with The Skydiggers, the big breakthrough never arrived. Night Shift Guru is a fine example of The Cash Brothers' sense of humour, smooth harmonies, and a touch of personal politics/social commentary.

Buy How Was Tomorrow from Amazon.
Buy How Was Tomorrow from iTunes.

Art Bergmann - Best Canadian Songs of All Time No. 2

This series of posts will be offering the definitive list of the best Canuck tunes ever recorded, scientifically tabulated, collated and obfuscated by the Brain of Scruff, in absolutely-not numerical order.

Art Bergmann walked slowly into the record store where I was toiling, his eyes focused on something no one else could see. He trailed behind the record company man as my friend and I, Bergmann fans both, looked at each other with our faces lit up like little kids on Christmas morn.

We followed them to the office in the back, where Art sat down, crossed one leg over the other, and fished in his pocket. He produced the world's most raggedy cigarette, crumpled and torn and exceptionally sad-looking. Our boss offered him a less violated smoke, but he just replied, "No thanks." My record store pal proceeded to tell him how we played the album in the store every day, to which Art scowled, rolled his eyes and grumbled, "Yeah, but did you sell any?"

Notwithstanding Art's cantankerous nature, he was a songwriting force to be reckoned with. I hope one day someone gets together a tribute album with others covering his tunes. It's probably the only way he will ever get recognition for his body of work.

The following song originally appeared on Sexual Roulette (1990), but this version is taken from Design Flaw (1998). Design Flaw is a testament to the man's songcraft, with Bergmann's spare vocals and guitars adorned with nothing but tasteful Chris Spedding six-string accents.

Photo at top of post by photographer Alex Waterhouse-Hayward.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

AA Sound System - Best Canadian Songs of All Time No. 1

This series of posts will be offering the definitive list of the best Canuck tunes ever recorded, scientifically tabulated, collated and obfuscated by the Brain of Scruff, in absolutely-not numerical order.

In 2006, Edmonton's AA Sound System released a quietly brilliant album called Laissez-Faire, produced by Danny Michel. When I received it, I listened to it every day for about 6 months - I think the tracking on this record is perfect, starting out with the mellow tones of I Don't Get You At All and building up to the noisy guitar rush of Raw Joy. But I still keep coming back to I Don't Get You At All. It's a measured song, no rush, replete with a Canadian prairie drawl, an incongruous stars-on-45 beat, and subtly fine lyrical touches. I's a grower, listen, and then listen again. That's what I did.

 AA Sound System - I Don't Get You At All

More New Pixies! 4 Tracks on Wax

Hot on the heels of BagBoy, Pixies have released a 4-song EP. 10-inch vinyl, limited edition t-shirt, lossless audio download, pick your package (purchase here). Does it sound like old-school Pixies? Not so much the first two records, but it sounds like it could have been a progression from the last two. What Goes Boom sounds the most like the roaring Pixies most people want, while the first track, Andro Queen, sounds least Pixiesish. What do you think?

Tracklisting - Andro Queen - Another Toe In The Ocean - Indie Cindy - What Goes Boom

UPDATE: Pixies also released a video today for Indie Cindy, which is mostly backwards like me.

Don't forget the previously-released Bagboy single.

Check out some isolated Pixies vocals:

Debaser Isolated vocals

H>ey Isolated vocals