Saturday, April 18, 2009

like monkey to your ears

The lure of the green monkey music project pulled me into the undertow yet again recently, this time asking for six songs (as representative of six albums) from within the past five years that one simply must have in their collection.

I guess I sort of missed the criteria about them needing to be songs/albums that people would be unfamiliar with, as I surely could have picked more obscure must-haves, had I put my mind to it. But I did decide to go with
exclusively Canadian music, so that should help ratchet up the obscurity factor a wee bit. And I stand by my assertion that you must have these albums in your collection or you will lead a sad meaningless existence.

There are some pretty great songs on the master list that Splotchy and his talented guest host, Allen Lulu, have compiled with a little help from their bloggy friends. I urge you to go here to to download all the unheard goodness. And while you are scooping up some great new songs, allow me to tell you exactly why you need to shop Canadian. It is International Record Store Day today, after all:

Chad VanGaalen - Cries of the Dead [album: Soft Airplane, 2008]
This homeboy just keeps getting better and better. He makes his own instruments, from which he wrestles a wonderfully unique sound. His last album was shortlisted for a Polaris Prize and it wasn't half as good as this one (although still damn fine). I'm going out on a limb here and saying if Soft Airplane does not at least get short-listed this year, I will have lost all faith in the taste of music pundits in this country.

the Constantines - Hotline Operator [album: Tournament of Hearts, 2005]

With this album, the hardest working band in Canada has softened their hard-driving sound just a little, and allowed a little more complexity into the music, which works oh so nicely with that driving beat. Fantastic band to see play live, you will get rock god sweat on you.

Brian Borcherdt - Means of Escape [album: Coyotes, 2008]
You think you know Brian Borcherdt? Sure he's a member of the insanely good electronica band Holy Fuck, but he also has an incredible new solo EP which is the polar opposite - very moody, filled with fractured fragile beauty. In this clip, he's going to play you a little music as well as take you record shopping.

Final Fantasy - This is the Dream of Win and Regine [album: Has a Good Home, 2005]
Owen Pallett (aka Final Fantasy) is one of the most consistently creative musicians in this country. His album, He Poos Clouds, won the inaugural Polaris Prize, and it's grand too, but this earlier album has my heart. He is simply an incredible talent, very sassy, and so pretty.

Jon-Rae & the River - Just One More [album: Knows What You Need, 2006]
Sadly, this band is no longer together. They won my Best New Discovery of the Fest award at the 2007 Calgary Folk Festival, and were renowned for their rollicking shows, filled with rock, soul, country, motown, gospel. Former frontman, Jon-Rae Fletcher now has a solo album, Oh Maria, which I am going to try to find for IRS day, and I actually wrote a profile on him for BC Musician Magazine a couple of months ago. You can read it here, if you are interested. This clip is actually for the song Roll, but it's a helluva good 'un, too.

Elliott Brood - Fingers & Tongues [album: Mountain Meadows, 2008]

These purveyors of death country are my all-time favourite festival band. They'll frequently go out and dance among the audience or invite people onstage to sing and dance. And they are totally nice dudes who graciously answer their own emails. Had it not been for the religious experience of seeing Radiohead last year, the Elliott Brood concert at the Warehouse would easily have won my Concert of the Year nod.

Enjoy some fine new tunes, and support your local independent record store today.


BeckEye said...

How is there still an International Record Store Day when there are no record stores?

Remi said...

Bite yer tongue, BeckEye. There are still some good ones out there. I know I'm spoiled living in Toronto, what with Sonic Boom, the incredible Soundscapes, Rotate This and some others. I also know, though, that there are some good stores out there in the smaller cities. Sarnia, for instance, has Cheeky Monkey, a store so good I keep wishing it would have been there when I was in high school.

The only must-have disc I'll offer up is Purr Quality by Sarnia's The Chocolate Robots. Scrappy and fun worth many a repeated listen.

bloody awful poetry said...

Awww Owen Pallett! He is pretty isn't he? And makes such terribly gorgeous music. I didn't know the Win and Regine song referred specifically to THE Win and Regine until I saw him playing violin for Arcade Fire and nearly peed myself in the excitement of it all. Gosh I so love you Canadians. And your pretty pretty music.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I have to side with Remi on this, Beckeye, there are a few record stores left and they sell actual records too.

Good obscure pick, Remi! Never heard of them! And I always love to support a hometown band, even if it's someone else's hometown, so I will check them out. Did you do anything for Record Store Day?

We Canadians love you too, BAP, even us non-musicians.
Owen is so terribly pretty.

Remi said...

Alas, I worked all day. I did make a quick trip to Soundscapes after work and picked up Joel Plaskett's newest (the surprisingly good 3 disc set Three) but I was too late for any events.

Splotchy said...

Barbara, awesome selections, and an awesome post.

You are constantly giving me new music to listen to, and for this I am eternally grateful!

Gifted Typist said...

I'm going to see Ron Sexsmith tonight. Does he rate on the Zombie meter?

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Well done, Remi, I've heard mixed reviews about Three, but what I have heard of it sure sounded good.

And I am eternally grateful that I get to play along with your green monkey challenges, Splotchy. After all, the unexamined musical life is not worth living.

Lucky, Gifted! Ron Sexsmith is awesome! He is such a hugely underrated talent. I expect a full review, missy.

justacoolcat said...

I can't wait to give these a listen.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

You won't regret it, JustA, and if you do, I will personally escort you to the complaint department.

Allen Lulu said...

I am going to go so broke. Your selections are fantastic.
Now, I have to subscribe to this blog. Like I don't have enough time-suck during my day......

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I wish I could take more credit for the selections, Allen, but I just do the listening to them.

I really don't know how we managed to waste our time so pleasantly before the internet.

Allen Lulu said...

Well, Barbara, it's going to take a while for me to get all your suggestions let alone everything that was recommended.
Of your choices, say I only could affor one or two. Which would you have me buy?

Allen Lulu said...

I thank you for making me join eMusic again and getting my hands on all this great stuff!

Barbara Bruederlin said...

It was a great idea for a music mix, Allen, thanks for letting me play.
Ranking the albums is tough, it really does depend on what type of music you are looking for, but if I had to recommend, I would say: 1. Chad VanGaalen, 2. Constantines, 3. Final Fantasy, 4. Elliott Brood, 5. Jon-Rae and the River, and 5. Brian Borcherdt. But I'll send you an email with some explanations.