Music Notes December 2012

December 27, 2012 at 4:06 pm (Uncategorized)

A few days early for once…

1. Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside – “They told Me”

I’m told you should listen to Sallie Ford wearing clothes from the 1950s. Maybe so. The sound is garage-like, but with a taste of roots and rockabilly thrown in. They’re touring in the new year. Meanwhile you can listen to the record at their site

2. Muddy Waters with the Rolling Stones – Live at the Checkerboard Lounge

OK, so the Stones have been dreadful longer than they were great (OK, that new song is good, but I digress). For me, the last great Stones record was Some Girls in 1978 (yes, I know, people make the case for Emotional Rescue or even Tattoo You, but again, I digress). This amazing blues set dates to 1981, and is pretty much everything you could want and expect from the band and the real star of the show, Muddy Waters. CD + DVD. Been out for a while, so it’s cheap in most places.

3. The Show I’ll Never Forget -various writers

Remember that time you saw the Police at the Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto in 1978? No, neither do I because I didn’t go (I was 14 and living in England). However, I did see the Violent Femmes in a church basement in Hamilton in 1983 at their first Canadian show. And I did sit across the table form Steve Wynn at Lee’s Palace while he played “Brown Eyed Girl” on a acoustic guitar to about 20 people at the end of a poorly attended show. If you go to see live music you have a couple of stories like this. This 2007 collection is just that. Writers telling about that one great show.

4. Led Zeppelin – Celebration Day

And speaking of that, apparently 20 million people applied for the 18,000 tickets for Zeppelin’s 2007 show (can that be right?) As a proud graduate of the class of 77, I never liked Zeppelin. They along with so many other dinosaur bands represented everything I hated about the star system in music. But like so many things, I mellowed with age. I came to respect Zeppelin (and quite actively enjoy Robert Plant’s solo career), and finally to enjoy them. This is simply an amazing document. Lovingly reproduced on CD/DVD/blu-Ray. You really should own this.

5. Have Not Been the Same – various

Mid 80s. Vancouver. Slow. The Can-rock renaissance. Came the book. A decade later, comes the soundtrack. The disc contains astonishing records by such artists as No Means No, the Nils, Jr. Gone Wild, Sloan, A Neon Rome and many others. What did these bands have in common? No much, except they represented a part of an explosion of Canadian talent. If you were there this is a lovely reminder; if you weren’t, it’s a nice entry.

6. The Velvet Underground and Nico

I think I moaned about this a few months back, but never fear, I didn’t splash out for the box-set. Instead I cam across an earlier version – the stereo and mono versions, plus the singles and Nico cuts. The Velvets are really one of those remarkable bands that seem to spring fully formed into existence, and sometimes, we forget just how amazing they are. Shortly after I bought this I was listening to it when a friend came over. About halfway through “European Son” she exclaimed in disapproving tones, “What are we listening to?”  A couple of days later, I was at a bar for the office Christmas party and the same song was playing. Odd, but essential.

7. Graham Parker and the Rumour

Alas, Graham Parker. Slightly too late for the pub-rock scene, but a little too early for punk. Still he was a major influence (Elvis Costello, Joe Jackson say thank you now), even though he never really achieved the kind of success he deserved (Dr. Feelgood, you know what I mean). And now, he’s in a movie. A Judd Apatow movie, This is 40, and has a new record out Three Chords Good (ignore the curious cover – the songs I’ve heard are solid). But, seriously, pick up Squeezing out Sparks, their best record (and try to get the one with the live tracks)

8. Allah-las – Allah-las

OK, I know it’s a pun on the Shangri-las, but it can’t be long before someone proclaims a fatwa on these guys. Which would really be a sham, not least because of the marvellous garage Nuggets flavour of this record.

9. The Lumineers – Crystal Anis The Lumineers

[Argh! Wrote down the wrong album title from a similarly named, but not sounding band – I’ll mention them next month as they are also very fabulous December 28, 2012]]

Folk rockers from Denver with emphasis on the first part of the designation not the second. The songs have that endless, timeless singalong quality to them (to my ears anyway). My new favourite band, and unfortunately, today their site seems to be down. Google it on another day and be delighted.

10. Palma Violets – ” Best of Friends”

Ooh, ooh. Can I have this one mummy?Is this the latest buzz from the UK? Maybe, but it’s a terrific little indie-pop single out on Rough Trade. Go to site, watch video, buy song. Do it now!

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