Archive for the ‘Nanaimo Bar’ Category

socSOUNDTRACK: TINDERSTICKS-The Hungry Saw [CST055] (2008).

hungryIt was the releases of this Tindersticks disc (their first in 5 years) on the venerable Constellation Records (in North America) that inspired my trip through their back catalog. I was completely surprised to see them released on Constellation, as the band doesn’t exactly fit with the label’s stereotypical style (although, realistically with the last dozen or so releases, Constellation has really expanded the kind of music they release).

And this is a fantastic Tindersticks release!  There’s not a bad song on the disc. And, even though nothing is as immediately gripping as say “Can We Start Again,” the disc contains some of the band’s strongest songs.  “The Hungry Saw” is simply amazing, both lyrically and in its catchy (yet creepy) chorus.  But the highlight is probably “Boobar, Come Back to Me,” a song that begins slowly and builds gloriously, including a call and response segment that makes this song really swagger.

“Mother Dear” features a strangely comical musical episode.  In an otherwise very mellow piano based track, right in the middle of the song, come slashing, somewhat atonal guitar chords.  It’s as if a more rocking song is trying to overtake the mellow track.  (The coup is rebuffed, though).

The biggest thing to note about the disc is that longtime co-songwriter Dickon has left the band.  And so, some of the co-writing duties have been taken up by David Boulter.  While it is obviously sad that Dickon has left, Staples seems revitalized on this disc, and Boulter’s additions (especially his quirky instrumentals) bring a new point of view to the proceedings.  Also of note is something of a return to the orchestral style (albeit a much more understated version).  However, different songs emphasize different aspects: horns on one, strings on another, but always underscored by the ubiquitous Hammond organ.

It’s not a radical departure or anything like that.  It’s more of a continuation after a well earned vacation.  And it’s certainly their strongest release since their first four.

[READ & WATCHED: October 2009] Souvenir of Canada, Souvenir of Canada 2 & Souvenir of Canada (the movie)

I got the first Souvenir of Canada when it came out.  (I was on a big Coupland kick and may have even bought it in Montreal).  I didn’t get #2 when it came out, probably because I didn’t really invest a lot of effort into the first one.  But after recently reading City of Glass, I wanted to get a little more involved in Coupland’s visual art.  So, I picked up #2 and, while investigating this second book, I discovered that he had made a film of the books, too.

Coupland explains in the introduction that this book is his personal vision of what Canada is like. It is designed for Canadians as something of a nostalgia trip, but it is also something of an introduction to unseen Canada for non-Canadians.  And so, what you don’t get is pictures of mounties and Tim Hortons and other things that fit the stereotypical Canadian bill. Rather, you get things that are significant to Coupland (and maybe the average Canadian born on the West Coast in the 60s). (more…)

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so-youSOUNDTRACK: MIKE FORD-Canada Needs You volume two (2008).

fordThis is the long awaited follow up to Mike Ford’s first Canada Needs You CD.  Volume Two covers Canada’s history in the 20th Century.

The album is more fun than the first because there are several tracks where Ford uses a stylistically appropriate music to go with the songs: “Talkin’ Ten Lost Years” uses a Woody Guthrie-inspired “talking blues” to go along with the Depression-era lyrics.  “Let’s Mobilize” is done in a great swing style for a 1940s/50s era song.  “Joey Smallwood” uses a near-perfect Johnny Cash style (it may not be time-appropriate since Cash is timeless, but it works great for the song).  “Maurice Richard” is a perfect Dylanesque folk song.  And finally, the pièce de résistance is “Expo 67!” It is so wonderfully Burt Bacharach-y, so perfectly late sixties it gets stuck in your head for days! C’est Magnifique!

The rest of the album, especially the first three songs do not try to match a song style to the time it discusses.  Rather, he sings about Canadian history in a folk/rock style ala Moxy Fruvous (Creeping Barrage” and “In Winnipeg”) or in a great R&B/girl group style–with actual female singers, not himself in a falsetto (“Tea Party”) or reggae on “I’m Gonna Roam Again.”

The songs are all great.  And, yes, it’s a great way to learn some history (I’ve already Googled Joey Smallwood, just to see who he was.  I’m trying to get all of the lyrics down, but it’s not always easy, especially if you don’t know the details of what he’s singing about.  Which leads to my only gripe.

My gripe is that the disc packaging doesn’t include much information.  And, since he is essentially teaching people about the history of Canada, I’d think that some details should be included in the packaging.  I realize of course, that he says that the he’ll have the information on his website, but since we’re carrying the disc with us (not the website), it’d be nice to have at least a summary like on Volume One.  Because frankly, I don’t know enough about Canadian history to know what he’s talking about on most of the tracks.

The only problem is that as of this writing he hasn’t put the information on his website yet.  D’oh!

[READ: Christmas 2007] So You Want to Be Canadian

iamcI am Canadian.  Okay, I’m not, but I’ve had the beer, and I’ve seen the commercial (hilarious) and I’ve been there several times. I even have Canadian satellite broadcast into my home (long story).  So, I’ve seen Rick Mercer’s Talking to Americans, and I’ve been a fan of Corner Gas long before it was broadcast down here. (more…)

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