Friday, 9 October 2015

Calgary Songs Project: Week One Wrap-Up

Okay, so it hasn't been a full week, but it's Friday and it feels like time for (a) a beer (or more) and (b) some sort of re-cap of stuff that has been suggested on this blog (and elsewhere) as recommendations for inclusion for the High Performance Rodeo Calgary Songs Project. There's been a great response - so thank you! And here are some extra picks that have come in:

An anonymous poster suggested "I Have Seen the Future" by Kris Demeanor, saying "It expresses something primal about the city. It's ugly, and that's a good thing." This is great pick, and timely with spectres of racism rearing their ugly heads in the federal election. 

Another anonymous poster wants us to include Forbidden Dimension's "Dial "M" For Monster", and says: "Ask yourself, does it get any more creepy cool than FD? and damn! that drum machine is so great." Yes. Yes it is. That's one of our favourite FD tracks, but is it THE best?

Booking guru Greg Curtis decided to go all out - which makes sense, considering how long he's been putting on shows in this city. He left a list lengthy list, noting, "I could do this for days...":
Primrods - Bully-Proof Vest
Gravity Thugs - Take You Down
Tinderbox - Bucket of Frogs
Samantha Savage Smith - The Score
Jane Hawley - Going Out of Style
Dragon Fli Empire - Mt. Pleasant
Tariq - Chevrolet Way
Same Difference - Kiss of Ice
Dudes - Dropkick Queen of the Weekend
Chad VanGaalen - Clinically Dead
Tegan and Sara - Walking With the Ghost
Reuben and the Dark - Like a Rolling Stone
Michael Bernard Fitzgerald - Brand New Spaces
Chad VanGaalen has such a huge and impressive body of work (already!) that it's going to tricky to pick just one song of his, as well. Why not "Gubbish"? Anyways, clearly we should have reached out to Greg earlier on in this project.

And, finally, Johanna Schwartz said we should include "Anything by Straight - but I love Brains." We like Brains as well, but we really, really, really like Vacant, their ultimate self-loathing anthem. So we're going to use that for now. Ha!

Anyways, thanks for all of your participation so far. We'll keep on keeping on for another two weeks, so there's lots of time to dust off your old CDs and let us know what you think we should include in the Calgary Songs Project!

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Calgary Songs Project - Music Writers' Top 5's

As you probably know by now, we at the CCPS have a very fond place in our heart for VOX magazine, and all the good folks who helped make that magazine what it was. And since so many of those folks went on to make the Calgary Straight and ffwd what they were, we figured, heck, let's ask a bunch of music writers for their top 5 Calgary songs for the High Performance Rodeo Calgary Songs Project. Here's what they told us:

Ian Chiclo - Past Editor, VOX and ffwd
Cat Ranch - "C-A-L-G-A-R-Y" This song still pops into my head a dozen times per year. It was Cat Ranch's bratty response to a contest to come up with a song for Calgary prior to the 88 winter olympics. This was, of course, also the era of Channel 2&7's infamous "Hello Calgary" song, so it many ways it's a perfect punk rock response to the times from one of the city's hardest working bands of the time.
Gravity Thugs - "Take You Down" Simply a great song from an under-recornized, and often forgotten band that included the Brent Cooper, the Wolfe brothers and Tom Kennedy, who had come together after playing with the likes of the Cryin Helicopter and Jr Gone Wild. I think the Gravity Thugs were the first local band I ever saw who owned the stage of MacEwan Hall.
Same Difference - "Kiss of Ice" I'm torn between this song and "Adrian," but Same Difference should be recognized. They had great energy live and Janine Bracewell's voice was a wonder in itself. There is also the girl power factor with Same Difference.
Wagbeard - "Too Easy" The quentessential 90s Calgary rock song. It doesn't get more perfect than this in terms of guitar-driven power pop.
Jay Crocker - "Below The Ocean Over" Choosing a song from his album Below The Ocean Over is tough, but I have a spot in my heart for "Below The Ocean Over." Produced by Craig Schumacher at his Wavelab studio in Tucson, the CD is, arguably, the best ever recorded by a Calgary musicia but somehow never got any traction.
Honourable mentions (ie. if they're not mentioned I'd be sad): Primrod's "Barbet Lad," Forbidden Dimension's "Tonight I Paint In Flesh Colour," The Dudes' "Do The Right Thing," Chixdiggit "I Wanna Hump You," and the Parkades' "Attack Me"
Well, we can't argue with any of those. As much of a seemingly throw-away song that Cat Ranch tune is, it embodies a certain spirit of the city. 

Elizabeth Chorney-Booth - freelance writer, former CJSW DJ
1. Fire Engine Red — Black Day: This is not only one of the greatest songs to ever come out of Calgary, but it's one of the greatest songs ever about being a true fan of music. Lorrie Matheson wrote this after he found out his favourite local band, The Quitters, broke up and it's a song about tragedy and disappointment and feeling like you care about something more than anyone else in the world. I cry whenever I hear it, thinking about poor Lorrie sitting in his bedroom staring at the wall.
2. The Parkades — Attack Me: The Parkades are criminally underrated (I don't think everyone "got" Ian Doig's frantic vocal style) and this 7" (on Roto-Flex!) is one of the best slices of garage rock our city has ever heard.
3. Straight — Vacant: Joe McCafferty is such an excellent songwriter and has been a part of so many Calgary bands that never quite got their due fanfare (see Fire Engine Red's song about Joe's band The Quitters breaking up and no one caring). All of Joe's bands are great, but this song was his "hit" during my personal glory days and hearing it transports me back to a different (more angsty) time.
4. Huevos Rancheros — Crowchild Trail: Not only does this song embody all of the guitar magic of the great Huevos Rancheros, but it's named after the very road that I would drive to the University (and my show at CJSW) every day during the band's peak. Is there anything more Calgary than Crowchild Trail?
5. Aaron Booth — Ramblin' Train: Okay, I'm married to this guy, so I'm biased, but this is an expertly written song that still stands up over 15 years after Aaron recorded it. I'm not saying I fell in love with him just because he can write melodies like this, but it didn't hurt.
Fire Engine Red's "Black Day" is such a great meta-song, capturing the angst we've all felt at some point when we've found out our favourite band broke up. But is it a better song than FER's "Shank Pony"?
Mike Bell - Music Writer
Colour Me Psycho - Black Corvair
Wagbeard - Too Easy
Jann Arden (Anne Loree) - Insensitive
Tegan and Sara - Walking With A Ghost

Samantha Savage Smith - You Always Come to Mind
Another nod for Wagbeard - must have been something in the water in the VOX offices. But we're really happy to see a mention for Samantha Savage Smith. We're still a bit stunned that her second LP, released earlier this year, didn't get her the attention she deserves as a songwriter and musician.
Peter Hemminger - Former FFWD music & film editor and current host of The AM on CJSW 90.9FM
The Reverie Sound Revue - This City Belongs to Us - The Reverie Sound Revue (Boompa)
Azeda Booth - Big Fist - In Flesh Tones (Absolutely Kosher)
Beach Season - Midnights <3 br="">Hot Little Rocket - Down With Safe - Our Work & Why We Do It (Flemish Eye/Catch & Release)

Clinton St. John - Sunlight, Good-Light - The Minor Arkhana (Self-Released)
We've been a big fan of Clinton St. John since his time with the Cape May, and last year's Minor Arkhana is a stellar record - and "Sunlight, Good-Light" is one of his best songs. 

Phew. The list of contenders is growing - what would you add? Let us know in the comments below!

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Calgary Songs Project: Community Top 5s

When we were prepping for the launch of the Calgary Songs Project, we asked a bunch of friends what their top five picks would be. We figured that the first songs that come to mind are probably the strongest contenders for our final list of 30 songs to celebrate 30 years of the High Performance Rodeo. And we got some great, diverse responses:

Jim Button - Village Brewery, Community Builder
Transit - Calgary
The Dudes - Do the Right Thing
MBF - Care For You
Feist - I Feel it All
Paul Brandt - Alberta Bound
But my fav is Ian Tyson - Four strong winds…not sure that it counts though.

We suppose it was only a matter of time until Alberta Bound showed up on someone's list. We also are impressed by how many times Feist is being mentioned - for different songs!

Kimberly Cooper - Artistic Director, DJD
The Will - Funky Babylon
Huevos Rancheros- Huevosaurus
The Ramblin’ Ambassadors - Meat Sweats
(all Brent Cooper bands- disqualify me if you have to for nepotism!!!)
Honourable Mentions
Agnostic Mountain Gospel Choir - Oh Sorry
Rubim de Toledo - The River
As biased as Kimberly may be, we have to say - Huevosaurus is probably the CCPS' favourite Huevos track. 

Chad Saunders - NMC Manager, CJSW programmer
Huevos Rancheros - "Blonde Girl In A Blue Volare (At 100 mph)” but “Rockin’ in the Henhouse” is probably the go-to one
Hot Little Rocket - “Down With Safe"
The Golden Calgarians - “Chicken on the Way”
The Quitters - “Do You Know”
A-Team – "Always Call me By Name" vs "I’m A Truck"
The Best include: Maud - “I-95”; Wagbeard - “Too Easy”; The Primrods - “Santa Lucia”; The Dudes - "Dropkick Queen of the Weekend”; Lemonjade - "Fragile Little People”; Matt Masters - “Highways”, Ninth Configuration - “Then and Now”; Chixdiggit - “Sikome Beach"
Long shot pick: Mike Newans - “Fan the Flames”
Honourable mention: The 2&7 "Hello Calgary” theme. Magic but not a Calgary song.
Oh, how much do we want Chicken on the Way to be in the final 30... but our records indicate it was released around 1980, so at least five years before our cut-off date. BUT we'll take the rest of Chad's excellent recommendations... 

Phew. There's a lot of stuff in there to mull over. As always, we want to know what YOUR top picks for 30 songs to celebrate 30 years would be. Leave a comment below!

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Calgary Songs Project: 30 Songs to Celebrate 30 Years

The CCPS is very (VERY!) excited to announce a new project that we’re honoured to be a part of, entirely because of the partners we get to work with. Working closely with the amazingly talented and somewhat kooky Kenna Burima (which is super fun, we have to tell you), we will be celebrating the 30th anniversary of what we think is Calgary’s longest-standing cultural festival - One Yellow Rabbit’s High Performance Rodeo (have we ever told you how much we love One Yellow Rabbit? Sooooo much!).

To mark this milestone and celebrate the festival’s deep connections with the Calgary music scene, Kenna and our wee little group are launching the Calgary Songs Project, a 30-song tribute to this city’s musical highpoints. From now until October 23, we’re reaching out to Calgarians for their input into which 30 songs released since 1986 (the year of the first High Performance Rodeo) by Calgary musicians, should be included in that tribute.

We’ll be taking all of the feedback from the month and curating a final list of 30 songs that will be unveiled in January during the High Performance Rodeo. The Calgary Songs Project will feature a performance of the 30 songs on the Calgary Tower’s carillon as performed and programmed by Kenna, a playlist of the actual songs on the “Galleria Trees” sculpture on Stephen Avenue, and a final wrap-up concert at the #1 Legion with Calgary bands covering the songs chosen in the project.

Getting down to 30 songs is a daunting task. Sooooo… we went and asked a bunch of friends. It turns out that we know a bunch of opinionated folks, and they were quick to share their Top Fives. Or more, in some cases. Turns out that some of our friends can’t/won’t count. To be fair, it’s kind of like picking your favourite child. So, what do our friends think? Here’s a start.

Allen Baekeland, Musician
Ribbons and Bows - Tom Phillips
In Rehearsal For The Blues - Tim Williams
Cold Missouri Waters - James Keelaghan
Insensitive - Anne Loree
Melina's Bath Pt 1 - Nick Diochnos (for the Rembetika Hipsters) I know it's my own band but it's a supercool instrumental in 9/8.
Wow. We forgot about Ribbons and Bows, and what an amazing song that is. Killer melody, and the recording gives it such a great treatment. Okay, who else?

Shawn Petsche, Festival Manager - Sled Island, Guitarist - Napalmpom
My Calgary love is heavily weighted towards my time actually living in Calgary, from 2007-present.
Night Committee - Loss Leaders - This is not just my favourite Calgary song of the last 30 years, it might just be my favourite song. Period. Over 7 minutes, it smartly and maybe even economically (hah!) pummels the listener with the joy and depression of being a contemporary rock & roll musician. It is a perfect song. Those are rare things that should be cherished.
Teledrome - Boyfriend - Forget talks of cruddy streaming royalties and the death of the mid-level rock club, this song not being a massive hit is all the proof I need of a dysfunctional music industry.
Fist City - Let's Rip- I rarely think of Fist City in terms of a song, or experience them outside of a relentless and dizzying 30 minute helping, but if I have to pick one, it might be "Let's Rip." To me, they are one of the most unique and important punk rock voices in the country and it is baffling to me that more people (read: everyone) don't sing their praises. Maybe this song's chorus will snap some sense into people.
Tie Girl's Rock Camp Calgary 2015 - Girls Rock Camp Calgary 2015 Camp Song / Various Interests - Lime Flavored Disappointment / Suburban Moms - Suburban Mom / PIE! - Sweet Summer Treat, I know it's cheating putting these all in one and I *did* consider dominating my top five with all four of these, but I'm going to try to slide this one past the judges. I'm not sure there has ever been/will ever be more encouraging/great music news than when the Girls Rock Camp Calgary compilation hit #1 on the CJSW charts.
Viet Cong - Death - If I'm being completely honest, there is a fair amount of conflict in celebrating and loving a song by a band whose name I dislike so much. To me, this 11+ minute epic is the sound of a band hitting its stride, meeting and surpassing some admittedly lofty expectations. Heavy feelings captured perfectly. Equally importantly, I've had great conversations over and about this band and hope those conversations continue. They're important to have.
Wait - are Fist City a Calgary band or a Lethbridge band?This list also highlights something we struggle with - we always find it difficult to be objective about newer releases. How will these hold up in another 30 years?

Tona W. Ohama, Electronic/Synthesizer Recording Artist
Okay, this has been tough. It's impossible to pick these songs!

So I'm cheating and giving you two lists. First list - very popular songs but I believe these have been very important songs for Calgary from Calgarians…

#5 - Tegan and Sara "Closer" (2012)

#4 - Ian Tyson "Springtime in Alberta" (1996) 
#3 - Ann Loree "Insensitive" (1994)

#2 - Tariq "Chevrolet Way" (1997)

#1 - Feist "1234" (2007)

Now, my other list is more obscure songs, the first 2 are very Calgarian…

#5 - TIm Hus - "Goin' Back To Calgary" (2002)

#4 - Jenny Allen - "Seventh Avenue" (2000)

And then 2 songs that I personally like a lot, synth pop of course…

#3 - Mannequin Depressives - "Victim Of Circumstance" (2008)

#2 - Mozart's Rage - "Things I'll Never Know" (1997)

and my final song that is not even our song, but a jingle that was used in many cities, but in Calgary it really took off…the "hello Calgary!" jingle... Found this article below which might shed some light on it…although I can't figure out the exact date…but it was in the 80s….

#1 - Hello Calgary Jingle
Oh, that Hello Calgary jingle. Technically, we don’t think it counts. Also, Tona managed to find a band that we aren’t that familiar with… who else remembers Mozart’s Rage?

Kerry Clarke, Artistic Director, Calgary Folk Music Festival
Lorrie Matheson – Wear the Grindstone Down
Big Sugar – All Hell for a Basement
Kris Demeanor – Extreme to Me
The Cape May – Hunting Grounds
Ralph Boyd Johnson/Billy Cowsill – the Fool is the Last One to Know
We're trying to sort out that Big Sugar inclusion. They're from Toronto, aren't they? But Kerry knows her stuff, so we'll get to the bottom of that one...

Grant Burns, Co-host - The Road Pops, CJSW, Producer - High Performance Rodeo, 1989-99
The Dudes - Dropkick Queen of the Weekend (I always get this song stuck in my head, check the young lads out featuring a beardless Dan V)
Freak Motif - Killin’ Me (Vocal) featuring Lady C (Afrobeat with killer vocals - also a killer dance video)
Feist - My Moon My Man (hard to pick The Feist song, I love her beautiful pop sensibilities, the simple piano riff on this one allows her voice to rise up)
Plaid Tongued Devils - In Klezskavania (from the One Yellow Rabbit play of the same name, check out the You Tube video - great performances by Michael Green and Andy Curtis, the OYR ensemble, Jonathan Lewis and the Plaids)
Huevos Rancheros - Please Pass the Ketchup (there were so many amazing gigs - with everyone in the room rocking out to this amazing power trio)
and a close sixth: Highkicks - Goodlife
Oh, Huevos. We could fill a whole top 30 with just Huevos Rancheros songs...

What do you think? Which songs would you put on the list of 30? Leave a comment and let us know!

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Bog Bodies - Razor Invasion Births The Trickle Of Vermilion Hosiery (2015)

We tried to keep from posting new (2015) tapes, but we've got a stack of tapes on our desk that we can't quite ignore anymore. So, let's jump in with another tape from the amazingly weird Bog Bodies.

This tape is a frantic, eight-minute ride through the most bizarre house of horrors you've ever seen. We still don't know how to adequately describe these guys, even after having seen them live.

Looks like the physical tape is sold out, but you can at least listen to this on the Bog Bodies bandcamp.

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Holgans - The Night Garden (2013)

We were pretty happy to finally find a copy of this tape in an unlikely basement (actually, it was Dawn Louck's basement, so that actually is a fairly likely place to find musical delights), after sleeping on picking this up when it came out a couple of years ago.

Holgans was a collaboration between Ryan Bourne and Visual Artist Kiarra Albina, and we're embarrassed for having missed them. This is tape is full of amazing, cinematic psych rock - and their live show looks like it was just as good:

Thankfully, Ryan Bourne still has this available on his bandcamp.

Monday, 7 September 2015

Six String Rebels - Coming Back (2001)

Here's another bit of vinyl that we've been sitting on for a bit - we can't remember how exactly this came into the CCPS collection, but we're glad we finally picked it up again, because it's led us to the band's surprisingly still-active Angelfire page, where we're been looking at pictures of a very young Jimmy James.

Listening to this 7", we're pretty sure that these guys had a lot of fun nights at the Castle Pub (RIP), playing shows with their pals Knucklehead. Despite the amazingly bitmappy cover art on this and the paper-thin recording quality, this is pretty fun collection of 2-minute songs.

Get it here.

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Cry - The Cry (1980)

We've been sitting on this for a while, because it hits too close to posting the S********s, a band who we have a moratorium on posting (see: CCPS Bylaws, article 75.4.3(f)). The Cry were formed after Kimball Meyer (aka Kim Berly) split from the S********s either (a) because that band was not very good or (b) he saw the marketing potential of new wave rock. Actually, those two aren't mutually exclusive, are they?

This is the first of two records that the Cry put out on major label RCA (discogs has a third LP listed, but is weak on details - much like this blog), and, well, it's kind of what you'd expect if the popular kids in your school decided to play new wave. It's pretty formulaic - it's almost as if the band did a casual study of the first couple of Elvis Costello records and decided to write to that style.

Plus, we'll never be able to unsee those trousers that Kimball is wearing on the back cover.

Make me cry!

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Ummm - Not For Distribution to the Public

Here's a 7" that we picked up a few months ago from the dollar bin at Melodiya. We had probably flipped past this countless times (we spend a lot of time browsing through the used records at Melodiya - and Sloth. And Hot Wax. And Recordland. And pretty much any place else.), but something clicked on one trip and we realized that, despite a complete lack of info on the liner notes, this was something we should grab for the collection.

We posted an Ummm tape earlier this year, and this 7" is more of the same - short, staccato hardcore. The songs are so short, we gave up and have posted this with each side as one track. Because why? Because we're lazy.

Anyways, get the record here.

Sunday, 16 August 2015

21 Hundredz - Life Is Eternal/Today (1989)

We've been hanging out at CJSW a bit, working on an EXCITING NEW PROJECT, and we happened across this 7" in the station's record library.

We actually didn't know that the 21 Hundredz had a second single. The full cover art is missing, but we'll take this anyways. We missed the fact that their first single, as with this one, was manufactured through Doug Wong Music (and carries a DWM catalog number, despite being on Accent Records. How's that for ridiculous trivia?).

Get eternal life here.