Posts Tagged ‘Sub pop’

Montreal’s Plants and Animals will come to Victoria on March 20th for a show at Lucky Bar. The same place I saw P&A years ago… and the show was so impressive.

I had heard their music from the acclaimed 2008 record Parc Avenue. But I didn’t know what to expect.  I assumed they were a giant jam band for some reason…well they do have lengthy jams, but I guess I expected more.  When they came to Victoria, there was just three of them.  Very rock & roll looking, in that working class sense of the word.  The show expanded my mind, two times (and I bought the t-shirt… and a t-shirt for my Dad).

Since that time, I have followed along on the band’s journey.  Enjoying 2010’s La La Land, and now getting excited for The End of That.

Today, Lyle at EMI sent some vinyl copies of their LP and a stack of 45s for the single “Light Show.”  How old school, I love it. Thank you Lyle!

I immediately retired to the Zone studio where we keep our turntable (yup… we have a turntable.  I wonderful Technics, plus Boitano’s DJ set up with a pair of Stanton’s and Serato Scratch).  I dropped the needle on the b-side of the “Light Show” single.  Right away the lead singer Warren Spicer sets the stage at a live show…  “This is a cover.  By one of the first bands that took us out on tour. And showed us how to rock as it were. One of the best Montreal bands that there is.”

Plants and Animals – “I’ll Believe in Anything” (Wolf Parade cover)

Download MP3 >> Plants and Animals – I’ll Believe in Anything

The original song was an old Sub Pop single originally from 2005’s Apologies to the Queen Mary. Listening to the P&A version… just makes me want to hear the strained yelp of the Wolf Parade original.  The P&A version makes the song a little more humanistic and easier to digest for sure.  But I do like the weirdo jams of Wolf Parade too…

Go with yourself.

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Yesterday would have been Kurt Cobain’s 45th birthday had he lived.

Growing up when I did… I was 11 when Nevermind became the biggest thing ever.  I wasn’t really too into it.  I was still jamming out whatever my parents listened to, mostly CFUN soft rock on AM radio… or when my folks got me a clock radio (which still have to this day) to wake up for junior high (they had junior highs, grades 8-10 during the age of sail) I listened at first to classic rock on Rock 101.  I was more into Boston or Def Leppard.

When I went to junior high (I think in 1992-ish… how old are you in grade 8?) Grunge and hip-hop were the two biggest things.  All the cool guys were either Coquitlam versions of Tupac or Kurt Cobain.  Actually, my homeboy Dave King had glorious reddish Cobain hair if I remember correctly.

Nirvana was pretty much everywhere.  Talent shows had girls doing choreographed dance routines to like Paula Abdul and shaggy haired burnouts covering “Territorial Pissings” to an auditorium of 14-year-olds.  Oh the times.

Kurt Cobain was dead by the time I started buying Nirvana records.  I for sure had Nevermind and then Unplugged, then little later I bought Bleach.  I didn’t actually get my own copy of In Utero until I was an adult and going threw a Nirvana phase and needed the record to complete the collection.

When I was in my late teens and early 20s my favourite record was (still is I guess) Bleach.  Its a good record.  Loud, gnarly.  The guys are young.  Dave Grohl isn’t even in the band yet and Nirvana put the record out on Seattle’s Sub Pop label.  When I performed in a band, we covered “School” during our practices and sometimes in concert.  I still love that song.

Talking about Kurt’s birthday yesterday on the radio, a Zoner called up to talk about seeing Nirvana at a show in 1991 at The Forge.  An AC/DC tribute band was opener. Hilarious.

The concert was March 9th, 1991… a few months before they’d hop into the studio to record Nevermind.  The Zoner said there were about 67 people at the show in the basement of the Strathcona Hotel (where Club 9one9 is now).  The picture at the top of blog post is the only one I could find online form that show.  It features predominately Krist Novoselic… performing barefoot.  You’ll see Kurt off to the side… and some long-haired bro.  Good for that guy!

I found the setlist online and made a mixtape of the songs in the order played back in 1991.  If you’re feeling nostalgic for some Nirvana and want to hear a set heavy on Bleach era music with a few from Incesticide and even Nevermind, then tuck into this.  Set ends with would would be the mega hit “Lithium” and a cover of “Molly’s Lips.”  Rad.

Mixcloud: Mixtape >> Happy Birthday Kurt

Go with yourself.

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I bought my first first Dinosaur Jr LP yesterday.  Weird, I know.  I have always had an MP3 for “Freak Scene” on my computer… and I *might* have one Alex’s old Sebadoh records kicking around in a CD bin somewhere… but it wasn’t till I finished the chapter on Dinosaur Jr in Our Band Could Be Your Life that it all came together.

I was reading this book in the summer… then lost it after the chapter on Big Black! Fuck nuts.

Maybe Nana found it because on Friday my bed was made (thank you!) and the book was just sitting by my bedside table.  And the bookmark was still where I left it.  Magical.

I tucked into the story of Dinosaur Jr on Friday and it was amazing.  The band began as a couple hardcore skids, J Mascis and Lou Barlow, coming together in Amherst, Massachusetts  in the early 80s.  The hardcore band, Deep Wound, didn’t really work for them, but when J came out from behind the kit to sing and play guitar and Lou moved over to bass… they created a new and unique still for the time.  The blue-print for what we’d call grunge or alternative rock in the 90s.

They also hated each other (or it seemed that way in the book) and by the their third album, Bug, J Mascis and drummer Murph kicked Barlow out of the band.   According to wikipedia and twitter, they are friends again and releasing new music as the original Dinosaur Jr!

I love listening to old 80 alternative rock.  Especially on my turntable.  Its more distorted (because my amp sucks) and feels more true to the style of the time.  Maybe if I could track down a cassette player, I could jam out those early Sebadoh songs too.

J Mascis says Bug is his least favourite Dinosaur Jr record.  Which probably means it’ll be my favourite.  I’ve never met the guy… only read the legend in the book… but he sounds like a challenging dude.  I guess the true artists tend to be.  Actually… most the band features in Our Band Could Be Your Life are dysfunctional.

Bug works for me because it is fuzzy, heavy, original lineup but the most accessible of the early records.

Check out a couple selections.

“Freak Scene”

Side one, track one from Bug is one of the more recognizable songs from Dinosaur Jr.  It helped propel the record to number 1 on the UKs Indie chart.  The Brits of the late 80s and early 90s were fascinated with the authentic American sound and Dinosaur had that going on.

The lyrics seem like they are directly about J and Lou’s relationship.  After reading about their turmoil and drama, then hearing this song… it adds so much weight to the story.

The final cut on the LP is a song called “Don’t.” The only song on Bug sung by Lou Barlow.  He wails over and over, “Why don’t you like me?”  The songs is noise and fury and Barlow apparently coughed up blood after laying down the vocals.  Mascis himself said it was a little fucked up to make Barlow sing this song considering at the time, the two hated each other.


So savage.  Sounds better on my stereo than in my headphones.  It needs the “room” to sound just right.

You know how much I love covers… Dinosaur recorded the Cure’s “Just like Heaven” for a compilation record, but dug it some much… they kept it for a single.  I t was released in the UK in ’89 and was their first UK chart song.  You’ll find the song now on the reissue of You’re Living All Over Me (the album before Bug).

“Just like Heaven”

That’s all I got for you right now.  Just finishing the book, Our Band Could Be Your Life and loving the chapter on Mudhoney/SubPop.

Go with yourself.

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Add this album to my list of “looking forwards to…”  The new Wolf Parade album will be out in June (or maybe July from Sub Pop) and is named after one of my earliest memories growing up, Expo ’86.

Anyone in my age bracket or older that lived in British Columbia in 1986 likely has some fond memories of the World’s Fair that dominated Vancouver.  Every time you ride the Expo line of the Skytrain or take in a IMAX film at science world, you’re basking in the legacy.  I thought it was pretty neat when I read an interview with WP’s Dan Boeckner about why they chose Expo ’86 as the title for their new record:

Pitchfork: Do you have a title for the album yet?

DB: The title for the record, as far as we know now, is– unless we get sued for using it– Expo 86.

Expo 86 was a World’s Fair that happened in Vancouver in 1986. It’s been this thing we all talked about as a band. We all grew up in British Columbia, and we were all at Expo, which lasted about three or four days. It’s a weird little thought experiment– basically, we were all young children at the same big event. I remember Expo 86 was as big as the Olympics were this year in Vancouver. They completely reorganized part of the downtown core, and they built this giant geodesic dome called “Science World”. Now it looks completely, totally dated and a product of its time. They built monuments, built rides. It was something I don’t think we’re going to see in Canada ever again because World’s Fairs have fallen out of favor, at least for the Western World.

Pitchfork: Do you have any particular memories of going to Expo 86?

DB: I remember going to the German Pavilion, which was totally terrifying. Each country had a pavilion showing off their prime exports or a little bit of the culture, and the German Pavilion was this super austere, really cold Bauhaus-style minimalist building. It freaked me out as a child.

I remember the UFO HTO water park, Expo Ernie! and MFing Rainbow War.  I still have a an Expo ’86 t-shirt that is wearable… not that I wear it much, it’s been co-opted by Ms. Coral Crawford.

Fun fact: The above cover for the new Wolf Parade album features some greasy looking youngsters about to fuck some ship up… those kids are actual family members of Wolf Parade’s Dante DeCaro.  Wait an minute?  the same Dante that used to be in Victoria favourite sons Hot Hot Heat?  yes, the same one!

And one more degree of Kevin Bacon; Expo ’86 had a chief operating officer named Jim Pattison.  He now owns The Zone @ 91-3!  Believe that.

That’s it…  Go with yourself.

Me, Expo Ernie, and my brothers CJ and Matt: May 1986

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