Posts Tagged ‘canadian music’

The Ghosts That Haunt Me

December 4, 2012

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In 1991, I spent a lot of time listening to the Crash Test Dummies album ‘The Ghosts That Haunt Me.’  I know this because it’s probably been at least 18 years since I last listened to the album, but I know all the lyrics to the title track (despite forgetting it existed until it started playing).

I also know I spent a lot of time listening to it because I have a nearly perfect Brad Roberts impression down when I sing along.  Perhaps because I honed it during those years in the early 90s, trying to impress my friends while imitating the unique voice of CTD’s lead vocalist.

Something that came to mind upon rediscovering this album: they were pretty ahead of their time.  At a point in my life when I was just passing my NKOTB and Tiffany phase (…don’t mock me…) and was listening to Public Enemy and the emerging hip hop scene, I became obsessed with what would today be called an alt-folk or alt-country.  There were banjos, mandolins, catchy tunes…essentially, what you hear sneaking onto rock radio today.

In fact, some of these tracks would sound quite at home sandwiched between Mumford and Sons and Of Monsters and Men.

Most people remember Superman’s Song, but the title track and Comin’ Back Soon really grabbed me more.  And who can forget that they released a single called Androgynous about…well, Androgyny…originally by The Replacements, an American punk band, on what is essentially a country album…and it got played on pop radio…

While discussing ‘Canadiana’ yesterday with recent BCCMA winning group The Matinee we went through a list of bands and artists we consider to be Canadiana – from Neil Young to Elliot Brood.  The Dummies passed through my mind for a second, but I didn’t bring them up.  Listening to ‘The Ghosts That Haunt Me’…I don’t know why I did that.  This album is the epitome of Canadiana.  And was widely successful.

Why is it that a band so huge in the early 90s doesn’t even get mentioned today in a conversation about the genre they really helped to develop for the modern times?

Maybe this blog will help change that!

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The Junos: The Morning After…

March 28, 2011

Sunday's big winner...did you know he was first nominated in 1974 but didn't win till 1994??! BIG UPS!

It’s Juno monday…when artists shuffle along Yonge Street doing the walk of shame for what they did last night, whether it was drink too much or drink too little.  Some celebrated (Arcade Fire, Neil Young, Shad)…some where lucky enough to get some spotlight without needing to worry about awards (Dallas Green and Sarah Slean)…some got the spotlight but…little else (…Drake…shut out!)

Here are my highlights:

  • Drake was legitimately entertaining as a host…his pre-recorded bits (Lloyd Robertson the gamer, Bieber the McLachlan fan and Old Money) were pretty damned funny, and aside from his half-assed intro to Tokyo Police Club he was tight…big ups!
  • The BIG highlight of the night was the tribute to the classic Canadian songs (I’ll touch on below), but Sarah Harmer (performing Joni Mitchell’s ‘Carey’) and Dallas Green (with Neil Young’s ‘Old Man’) totally stole the stage…the entire performance was genius, but they stood out to me with Sarah’s Joni and Dallas’s Neil.
  • Sarah McLachlan’s performance…the song was kinda bland, but she looks BEAUTIFUL and I was actually kinda unexpectedly excited to see her!
  • Arcade Fire’s first acceptance speech, giving shout-outs to Montreal bands like one of my faves, The Unicorns, who have pretty much been forgotten in the last five or six years.
  • Neil Young’s speech for the Humanitarian Award…fricken tight.  I was smiling all the way and kinda…naah, SUPER proud to be there to hear it.  What a humble man!

There were a couple of lowlights:

  • Shania Twain TOTALLY deserved the Canadian Hall of Fame nod…but her speech was abysmal! I was confused what she was trying to say, and at the apex of confusion she pulled out “I should be wearing a Canadian flag!” to get cheers…she then said something else equally patriotic, and ended her speech with how much she loves Canada’s lakes… “…and bush.”  The crowd laughed pretty loud for that one. Not to take away from the deserved award…but her speech was bad!
  • Music playing off the New Artist winner…what are we, the Oscars?? I wanted Hannah Georgas to win, but Meaghan was doing a good job with her speech…if you take the amount of time saved up from the other quick acceptance speeches she had plenty of time to finish her last couple of sentences.

Also, we got some VERY cool ‘past performance’ footage at the ACC during commercial breaks …I wish viewers at home got to see them too, including Platinum Blonde and kd lang.  I was almost more entertained by them than by the show!

A few things I realized:

  • The show is REALLY amazing live, but on the screens (and from past  viewing experience) it was just so-so.  You do miss a lot by not being there
  • The sound is damned good live…I always remember award shows sounding like crap on TV, with people singing all pitchy and craptastic.  I need to check some footage after the fact, but live it was on the money
  • …if you let teenaged girls in…they will scream at the predictable times (Bieber, Down with Webster, Faber Drive, etc.)
  • …live tweeting in an arena is balls.

Finally…Canadian music is REALLY cool!  I mean, we only really stepped up and became a songwriting nation in the 60s, and those songwriters were a part of the american folk movement.  Our ‘classics’ are songs by Gordon Lightfoot, or The Band, or Neil Young!  When we talk about golden-oldies from Canada…we talk about awesome tracks!

And when our younger artists sing those tracks…it’s pretty mind-blowing.  Overall, we may be a new nation musically…but there’s very little to complain about.  Dudes…our Hall of Fame includes a guy who rocked red leather pants!

Canadian Hall of Fame Ass!

Next year, I’m gonna try to mooch a press pass and maybe get me a location with wireless or ethernet.  Until then, take the time to listen to some of the winners…AND to some of the nominees as well!  Congrats to everyone who took home hardware, and more importantly to everyone who was nominated…you’re all winners, and I mean that!

JUNO WEEK! Part 1 – The Reckoning

March 21, 2011

This week is Juno week, which for you ‘mericans is like Grammy week only with craploads more maple syrup, far more unknown and talented bands up for awards, and our eh’s are at the end of the sentence…

…like…we say “How’s it goin, eh?” but an American of certain persuasion would be more likely to say “Eh! How’s it goin?”  Hah hah?  …hah?

Sure…the Biebs, Drake and Arcade Fire are up for Album of the Year…but so is Johnny Reid (who?) and Hedley (them??)

One of my new favourite artists, Hannah Georgas, is up for best new artist, and a band that recently grew on me, Hollerado, is up for best new group (alongside local darlings (?!) Die Mannequin)

…did I just double bracket?  Is that allowed??

Polaris artists are up for Alternative Album of the year!  Could you imagine if…like…an obscure alternative band from the US was nominated for a Grammy!?  That’d be…cra…zy…

…I can’t think of any non-mainstream bands from the US!  Everything that comes to mind is Canadian…and Australian and British…but mostly Canadian.

Could it be?  Could it actually be that living in Canada it’s becoming more common that the populace not only recognizes but celebrates our own artists?  Even those with no radio play?

Or am I just an active listener and pay more attention?

I guess it’s like any business…you think yours is most important and wonder why people don’t know about the ‘major shifts’ effecting you.  I’m just fooled by the fact that music is everywhere – in my car on the radio, at the grocery store, in every movie and tv show, even in the book stores – and assume everyone else notices.

I will try to keep my eye open this week and ‘notice’ what I can about music…I mean…it’s Juno week, right??  And maybe I’m just noticing more, so I should…pass that on?  Right?  It ‘is’ Juno week…

…or am I the only one who noticed that too?? *blink*