Tuesday, 11 March 2014
The last few tapes from the James Muretich collection slingshot us from the early 80's into the mid 90's, but they're no less remarkable. Like this one an double-cassette (!!!) effort from former Sandwiches(Sandwichian?)/Golden Calgarian Doug Smith and his Church of Doug.
This is a great collection, which sounds like it was recorded to four-track with drum machines for, er, drums. While the first Church of Doug tape is heavily country-flavoured, this one spans from country rock to psychedelic pop to sludgy rock with Smith's amazing guitar work and wit at the centre. It's not just the double-cassette action that has left us impressed (although, that is as far as we know an only for a Calgary release), but also the title track, a sprawling, 20-minute track that almost feels like three songs (at least) in one. Plus, he nails it when he sings: "I've seen everything appear to change/I've seen everything stay exactly the same/I hate this city/I hate this city."
Needless to say, we're completely sucked in by the excess of this tape.
Saturday, 8 March 2014
One of the things that never ceases to amaze us is the quantity of recordings from the Rip Chords. Just when you think you've heard it all, another one pops up. This six-song demo was in that batch of tapes from the late, great James Muretich. A couple of songs show up on the Gone Forever Gone compilations that Peter Moller put together, but a bunch are - in the CCPS collection at least - new to us.
Friday, 7 March 2014
There's a snide comment in an issue of Iconoclast about these guys being perhaps overly-similar to Blondie, which is kind of hard to argue against. But it's listenable and fun, and has been getting a lot of play in the CCPS offices. It also reminds us a bit of the Cutz, which turns out to be not surprising, as the signature on the tape pictured above is Sandy Switzer's. Our pal Allen Baekeland tells us that the band was made up of Virginia McKendry on vocals, Rick Valleau on drums, Sandy Switzer on guitar and Hutch on bass. Allen helped us connect some dots, and pointed out that Hutch (Patrick Hutchinson) is now the legendary soundman for QOTSA.
So, this isn't the similarly-named band from the 90's. This is the real deal!
Wednesday, 5 March 2014
So, here's the thing. We were all set to keep on keeping' on, and post all of the stuff that was in James Muretich's collection (well, all the stuff that Mary-Lynn Wardle had, anyways)... and then the former proprietor of Golden Rock drops us an email with something he's just discovered he's been sitting on for several years. Something that, well, is something special.
If you read Perfect Youth (we tried, and kind of gave up... to be fair, we haven't made it through Ulysses yet, either), you might get a conflicted sense of this town's history. Sutherland wants to peg December 1977 as when "Calgary had its first punk show", featuring Allen Baekeland and Alan McDonald's Social Blemishes. But, just before that, in a brief four paragraphs, Sutherland recounts the history of Buick McKane, our city's "stumbling first step into punk." Talking to folks from that era of the scene, Sutherland perhaps doesn't give this band their due - sure, they went on to form the seminal Crash Kills Five, and subsequently the unforgettable Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet... but they also opened a lot of kids' eyes (and ears) and maybe got this whole thing rolling (along with some high school kid who had just come back from the UK with a pile of punk records to share with his friends).
What we didn't know is that there were recorded artifacts from this band - which is truly ground zero of our underground music scene. Here's the note from Golden Rock:
Here's the Buick McKane stuff, six songs from two different sources:
1978 demo:Janie Jones
Downtown...When It's Dark
Scott Reed: vocals
Brian Connelly: guitar
Reid Diamond: bass
Alex Koch: drums
Studio recording, June 16th, year unknown:Vambo
Scott Reed: vocals
Brian Connelly: guitar
Reid Diamond: bass
Rob Wynne: drums
Recorded by James Braden (sp?)
Other than "Vambo," which is definitely a Sensational Alex Harvey Band cover, I *think* these are all original BM compositions, but am not positive. It's all got that Alex Harvey pub-glam-rock feel... "Oddy Knocky" and "She's Only" showed up in Crash Kills Five sets a few years later....
I can't believe I didn't know I had these! They were on a couple of CDs of Crash Kills Five stuff that I've had for years but forgot to listen to because they came in a huge package of Shadowy Men bootlegs and such (15 discs or so!) that I got from the guy who runs the definitive, unofficial Shadowy site (I traded him a digital copy of SMOASP's Peel Session, which Don Pyle dubbed for me overtop an E.J. Brulé cassette in 1993 or so). So that's that.Yes, indeed. That is that. We don't have much to offer beyond Golden Rock's description. So why are we still writing? We should be pointing you to the download!
Monday, 3 March 2014
One of the things that we're often asked by helpful folks around town is, "what tapes are you missing? What are you looking for?" Our standard response has become: we don't know. More and more, it's tapes that we didn't know existed that we're finding. Like this one, from the James Muretich collection...
Lining up the sequence number on this with the other Social Blemishes entries on Discogs (our new crack) suggests that this tape came after the band's 7" single. A bunch of these tracks show up on the Nasty Bob Presents... compilation that came out in the mid-2000s (and features the same band photo that appears on this tape). This tape features "Barney Rubble" (which, we're going to go on record as saying, is a song that was made for Nardwuar and the Evaporators) and some other great tracks - in fact, some of this stuff is perhaps better than what showed up on their Invasion of the Tribbles EP.
Saturday, 1 March 2014
We're getting back to a pile of tapes that came to us from Mary-Lynn Wardle - tapes which once belonged to James Muretich. This one seems like a good place for us to pick up...
One the surface, this seems like a pretty choice collection. Even Gene Poole was thinking this was pretty much the best cross-section of the Calgary scene... until someone went and pulled out a copy of the Calgary Compelation, and realized that most of this tape is just that record. And then a couple of choice singles thrown in at the end.
Still, we can't pass up a tape that was touched by the hand of James Muretich. So, even though you've already got the original LP (and maybe the singles, if you're lucky), you should grab this lazy mixtape and let it warm you up on this super cold afternoon.
Friday, 28 February 2014
The full collection is on the CCPS Facebook.
Sunday, 23 February 2014
Here's another DJewel tape, courtesy of Joe McCaffery. This one's a bit weird - in a good way. This is a collection of spoken word pieces that DJewel did in the early 90s. DJewel has thrown together a sort of audio collage - some tracks are just his voice, others have what sounds like live recordings of a DJewel-fronted band in one channel.
What this highlights for us is DJewel's skill with words. We understand that Kris Demeanor's stint as Calgary's poet laureate is coming to an end soon - we would like to take this opportunity to nominate DJewel as the next person for that post. Although, dammit, we literally just missed the nomination deadline.
Ah, well. You can enjoy these trials instead.
Saturday, 22 February 2014
We're going to go on record with this: Don (DJewel) Davidson is probably on the best front men this city has ever seen. Plus, he's an amazing DJ. So, we're super excited to have this great compilation of DJewel-related tracks from the mid1980s, which comes to us via Quitters Joe McCaffery and Christopher Truch.
Joe tells us that The Will went through a pile of changes after they released their 12" record, which essentially involved something mighty close to an early line up of the Quitters, bringing McCaffery and Truch playing together for the first time.
A couple of the tracks on here are without vocals ("Love Cut With Hate" is just the bed track, bass and drums only). BUT there are a pile of other tracks that we hadn't heard before AND that we really like. "The Science Of Magic" is like the Ex-Boyfriends on quaaludes - which is a pretty amazing thing.
While we sit here in a stupor imagining Djewel fronting the Quitters, you can grab the compilation here.
Friday, 21 February 2014
Even though we're sitting on a pile of really cool, old tapes, we keep getting distracted by shiny, new tapes. Like this one, which isn't all that new - it looks like it was released some time last year. But as we're still early in 2014, we're going to consider this acceptably late. This one man band, led by Noah Michael, lives somewhere in a fringe that we're going to call (for lack of anything better - and for the purposes of being purposefully obscure) bedroom math rock.
We picked the tape up at Sloth; you can also download it from the If I Look Strong; You Look Strong bandcamp.