Friday, 19 December 2014

CCPS Miscellany: Various - The Compilation of Hope!

There was a bit of debate as to whether to post this last tape from Alex Kurth. See, there are NO Calgary bands on here (although one of our favourite Edmonton bands, Slates do make an appearance). BUT it's on Bart Records, and you know we LOVE Bart Records, so we gotta post this.

It looks like this is a circa 2010 compilation of bands from across Canada that somehow overlooked the city in which the label is based. We know this is getting tedious, but no link to downloads again due to the age of the release - although you can hear a bunch of the tracks over at Weird Canada.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Memory Screen - EP (2010)

Here's another tape that comes to us via Alex Kurth. This one's pretty much from the complete other end of the spectrum as Brain Fever - Memory Screen is cinematic and lush, making music for comforting, not confrontation.

This tape is credited to Mark Webber, although there's a great video of a full band performance that includes some impressive double drummer action in the vein of Tortoise.

As with out last tape, we're not posting due to its recent-ish release, although it looks like Memory Screen's only web presence is on, uh, myspace.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Brain Fever - Brain Fever

Alex Kurth passed us a few tapes, including this one of Brain Fever (who morphed into La Luna at some point). This band - fronted by Vanessa Gloux - mix hardcore, math rock and ye olde punk rock in unequal parts. This is an early live recording of the band, and it sounds like there are two guitars on this (La Luna is a four piece, so we're not sure at when they lost guitarist #2). Clearly, though, that didn't dilute the intensity of this tape:

Since this tape appears to have been released in the past five years, we're not going to post a link to the mp3s. We're not sure where else you can get this, but it looks like a bunch of the tracks also appear on their self-titled record.

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Richard Harrow - Richard Harrow (1981)

Sometimes the record bins at the local record stores yield unexpected treasures. Or, in this case, unknown treasures.

Gene was flipping through the bins at Hot Wax last month, and stopped partway through the H's when he saw today's featured LP (still in shrink wrap, even!). Clearly, we hadn't done all of our homework on Living Room Records guru Richard Harrow and didn't realize he had put out a bunch of records himself. 

This looks to be his third LP, despite being self-titled. It's a very pop affair - no KBD PUNK here - but still entertaining. There's a sly sort of humour behind the songs, like when he sings "it's a wonderful world/But sometimes it stinks." The humour is kind of candy-coated - but then it's hard to imagine that someone with a home studio who has made a career of recording would do anything lo-fi. And a quick look at his youtube channel shows that he's still working in the same vein.

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Vault of Evil - Live at the Long Bar (1st gig) and first live gig with Pete (1983)

Gene's been in a bit of a funk since realizing we don't have physical copies of those two Bittermen CDs, but we think we've finally found something to lift his spirits. David Lewis got in touch with us (after much cajoling by Mike Tessier), and offered up a live tape of his first band, the ominously-named Vault of Evil.

This is actually two shows from 1983, both from the infamous Long Bar. This band is basically a precursor to the Bowness Back Yard Blues Band, with Lewis on drums, Tessier on bass, Todd Devini on lead vocals, Greg Dinwoodie on guitar and Pete Linckens on second guitar (for the second show on this tape - which we're not sure where it begins...). The performance is understandably raw, but kind of fun. The band has the some cheeky originals, but pads their set liberally with covers ranging from the Stooges' "Real Cool Time" to the Saints' "Demolition Girl."

Lewis also gave us a few photos of the band, providing a great document of what a punk band in Calgary looked like in 1983.

We think Lewis is wearing a combination of rugby pants and a sleeveless Dead Kennedys t-shirt, which is perhaps one of the most daring fashion combinations we've ever seen - perhaps punk at its most extreme. 

Or maybe not. But at least you can give Vault of Evil's live show a listen here

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Bittermen - Frequency (1997)

So here's the second Bittermen CD that we don't have in the CCPS collection. And, of course, the one that for us is a lost classic of the city and quite possibly a desert island disc. Or a dessert island disc, whichever the correct spelling is (of all the days for our proofreader to take a holiday, why today?).

We're not sure what it is about this CD, but something on it really tickles that reptilian part of our brain in just the right way. This is guttural but somehow melodic and catchy. It focuses the anger from their first CD just enough, and is a great balance of, uh, bitterness and men.

This CD is solid, start to finish. So good, in fact, that Massive Ferguson recorded a bunch of covers off of it (oh, and one off the Bittermen's first CD). But then, Massive Ferguson recorded pretty much anything that farted, so perhaps that shouldn't be the yardstick we use.

But still, do yourself a favour and download this CD.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Bittermen - Faster than the Speed of Spite (1996)

Oh, snap. Gene has kicked over ALL of the CDs in the CCPS archive. He's discovered something we've been trying to hide from him - we don't have any Bittermen CDs in our collection, This is more than kind of embarrassing - it's a massive hole that creates and empty, sucking, hole-like thing in our heart. We've never felt good about this, and now that Gene has realized this, we feel even worse.

For us, the Bittermen occupy a very special place in our hearts (despite the sucking, hole-like thing we just mentioned). We've had a lot of good two-piece bands (the HighKicks, Hip City Blues Combo, Miesha and the Spanks, the Fags, the Pygmies... wait, a bunch of those have tended to expand beyond two-pieces...), but the Bittermen were our city's GREAT two-piece band. With guitarist Chris McBurney and future iStockphoto empresario Bruce Livingstone on drums, these guys carved a high water mark for two-piece combos.

This CD (which Col. Cam Hayden was good enough to rip for us at one point) is a fairly reasonable intro to the band - although this ancient-but-well-preserved VOX review notes that it "only manages to capture the energy of the Bittermen on several tracks". For us the high point is "My Last Calgary Winter", a suitably apt song title, especially if you're Steve Elaschuk, Sadly for us, that song's not the one that the band made a video for.

Anyways, not to belabour the point, but we don't have an actual physical copy of this, hence the crappy image quality above, stolen from the Bittermen's inexplicably still-active website. From what we remember, the Bittermen were one of the first bands to burn their own CDs, which is why there was no real sleeve. But at least we have the download.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Justin Curtis - Rock-a-Billy in 3-D (1994)

We're still in the CCPS CD collection, stuck in the year 1994. Which, someone just pointed out, was 20 years ago. It's almost like we planned that! Almost...

Anyways, here's a CD that we just realized we had been looking for about four years ago. Apparently we found it, but forgot we had been looking for. This is what happens when you're obsessively collecting/hoarding stuff. We think this CD was recorded in Nashville, based on the producer and label. But we're pretty sure Curtis was still based in Calgary when this came out. So grab this and get your rockabilly fix.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Edward and Life - Fading Like Manilow (1994)

We're going completely in another direction from our last few posts with this one. We've already made a big deal of Rob McAlister's pop sensibilities, but we'd kind of forgotten about this CD until Gene pulled it out.

This is basically a one-person show, with a few touches of assistance from Lyle Crilly and Aaron Booth. This sees McAlister in full BritPop mode - from the first few seconds of the opening track, "Heroes are Hard to Come by These Days," we had an instant pining for the Warehouse. Plus, his Smith-esque take one Bacharach and David's "Anyone Who Had a Heart" is kind of amazing. For something that was recorded in a basement in the early 90's, this is a remarkably well-produced CD.

Grab it here.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Bent on Barbi - Bent on Barbi (1994)

Gene's trip through the CCPS CD collection continues with Bent on Barbi's only offering (other than a few tracks on the Play and Hellride to a Bloodbath compilations).

We remember these guys being really loud and really brash, and this memory is backed up by this article from Ye Olde Vox:

We also remember the typography on this CD being damn near impossible to read, thanks no doubt to the influence of Ray Gun magazine at the time. 

Anyways, forget trying to read the cover notes. Tape up your knee and grab the download.