Monday, 26 December 2011

Ship and Anchor Cocktail Series (1996-1998)

Here's a Boxing Day treat for you. 15 years ago, the Ship and Anchor Pub along with the record label side of Sloth Records (not to be confused with the record store side, which we'll be hitting later this afternoon that take advantage of their krazy dealz) and the shortly-lived Crybaby imprint made a nice little investment in the Calgary scene by putting out a series of 7" records that do a remarkable job of capturing a snapshot of the city's music in the mid- to late-90's. Plus, they're vinyl records, which we know the kids are crazy for these days.

The Cocktail Series was released in pairs, with each pair on the same coloured vinyl and named for a, well, cocktail. We're trying to make sense of the numbering system on these in the hopes that they'll help sort out some of the chronology in terms of which was released first, but we're flabbergasted by the lack of consistency in their numbering scheme (we suspect Mike Bell is to blame). So we're going to go with the ad above, and suggest that the Puritans and Placebo was released first (on green vinyl - although the Placebo (or Placebo4 as they were forced to start calling themselves) is the one of these that we actually don't have in the CCPS collection, as the popularity of Feist seems to have made them a hot commodity - but thanks to said hot commodity's fans, it's pretty easy to find a rip of this on the interweb, which we've done), followed by Straight and Knucklehead (on white vinyl), Loudmouth and Huevos Rancheros (on red), and finally rounded out with Curse of Horseflesh and Forbidden Dimension (on blue). We're not clear on the year of the final release - if the last pair came out in 1997 or 1998. We could probably ask someone, but that's not how we like to operate.

Also included in these records was a series of trading cards, featuring notable folks from the Ship community. We've picked up some of our records in the years since they were originally released, so we don't have a card for each record. We believe there was even a card for Cal... if anyone has one, we'd appreciate a scan!

Also, in the interests of transparency, our main reason for posting this is so that we can share with all of you the joy that is Straight's "Vacant," penned by former Quitter Joe McCaffery. One of our absolute favourites at the CCPS and an amazing slice of anthemic rock.

Here's an article from 1996, in which James Muretich uncovers some of the never-quite-realized plans of the series (they never did put out a final CD, did they?):

Get the whole series right here.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Sandwiches - Sandwiches (1980)

This is amazing. Not as if finding the complete Sturgeons demo was good enough, we've now been passed a copy of the Sandwiches demo (huge thanks to Allen Baekeland for this!). This is the best Christmas present ever! Well, except for the time Gene's dad bought him a copy of J.G. Ballard's Crash, thinking it was a cautionary tale about the dangers of speeding. Boy, did that ever backfire on him (both Gene and his dad, as it turned out).

The Sandwiches were a very shortly-lived band, featuring Doug Smith on guitar and vocals, Tim Campbell on lead guitar, Kim Solar on bass and Bill Betzler on drums. What we're posting today is a selection of their songs, hand-picked by Campbell. And they're amazing. This is great, lean punk rock that sits very nicely alongside the Sturgeons as forming an important part of our city's musical history.

Considering that members of this band went on play with Animal Kingdom, the Golden Calgarians, and Sacred Heart of Elvis, we're thinking that last summer's ffwd article about the early days of the Calgary scene missed something really important. Seriously, what did Kinsella go on to do? Share the stage with a mechanical bull, apparently (and, no, we're not talking about Chrétien).

Also: in your face, Golden Rock! We know this was on GR's most-wanted list for years, but since they haven't posted in a while... IN YOUR FACE!!! Actually, we're heading to Golden Rock's HQ next week to make them an offer they can't refuse. We think they'll be impressed by the offer. Okay, not impressed, what's the word we're looking for... maybe scared poopless is closer? Anyways, there is an offer to be made. And likely not refused, given the way it will be proposed.

But back to the Sandwiches (we had a bit too much eggnog last night (okay, not too much eggnog - too much rum) and are having trouble focusing). Turning Allen's CD into mp3s turned out to be more difficult than we ever expected, and we ended up getting to know the waveforms of these songs better than those of any band previously featured on the CCPS. But again, it's been totally worth it. So put an extra glug of rum in your eggnog, grab this amazing collection of songs and toast the season. Cheers!

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Smash L.A. - Smash L.A. (1990)

We're embracing our inner Jett Thunders with today's tape, which comes to us via - of all people - Airship One's Chris Zimmel. 

Smash LA (i.e. Smash Law N Authority - not Smash Lawn Authority, as we initially thought, although we're now considering getting Steve Elaschuk drunk and changing his landscaping company name to the latter) was Calgary's answer to early 90's glam metal icons like Poison and, well, Guns N Roses. This a highly-underrepresented genre here at the CCPS, most because the Live Wire was in the deep south of the city and we still have a rule that prohibits us from attending rock shows south of 17th Ave SW. What interests us about this band is not the power ballads, but the involvement of future-Zuckerbabby guitarist Reed Shimozawa. We also note that three of the folks from Lanigan, SK's Age of Electric contribute backing vocals, including future-New Pornographer drummer Kurt Dahle. We also also note that several of members of both bands continue to be involved in modern versions of hair metal, proving once again that hairspray does have long-lasting effects.It looks like these guys did quite well in their time, though. This one independent tape spawned three music videos, which have been lovingly posted to the youtubes. Here's our favourite, featuring Shimozawa in a Slash-style top hat:  This is the most time that all of at the CCPS have spent seriously (well, okay, not really seriously) looking at hair metal, collectively, in our lives (like, totally, no way! Dude!). So we'll just direct you and your big hair to the download.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Grift - The Grift (1993)

We at the CCPS are creatures of habit. That habit being, if we spot a pile of tapes in a retail environment, we can't help but scan through for anything local. This habit usually doesn't yield much (other than copies of Billy Joel's The Nylon Curtain), so we usually don't set our hopes to high.
So when we started picking through a small pile of used tapes at Hot Wax (where we're used to going to pick up new cassette releases), we almost abandoned the search when we found a copy of ABC's The Lexicon of Love. But the tell-tale low-budget spine of this independent release jumped out at us. And so, here it is.
The Grift feels like, in many ways, an extension of the Burners, although a bit more glossy. The band features the Burners' Mike Stack as well as Sean Maher from Joe 90/the Nex'd. Someone on Ye Olde Youtube has been so goode as to post a video of the band, from shortly before this tape was released:
So there you have it: our compulsive behaviours related to digging through strange piles of tapes have once again been rewarded.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Various - Cam's Lost Compilation

After posting a lost compilation from Ian Doig a few weeks back, Cam Hayden got in touch with us and offered a half-finished, half-assed compilation of his own.

To be fair, Cam can't take the blame for this. Or so he claims. His story - which we're inclined to believe, for no reason other than we're a bit soft-headed sometimes - is that at some point in the late 1990s, some un-named party hit him up to help with releasing this compilation, and basically dumped the tracks they assembled in his lap and expected the compilation to magically appear without any form of cash being applied.

Well, thanks to the marvels of the interweb and the ability for any idiot (or, in this case, collection of idiots) with a blog to upload a file and make it available for download (with no cash being applied), we're now able to bring this compilation into your eagerly-awaiting eardrums. Except that most of the best tracks on here have already been heard.

What is kind of cool and new (to us) on here is a band called Hung Solo, which Cam tells us is a young Adam Kamis. Then there are the two tracks from the original Hot Little Rocket demo, some Rayovaq (we don't think we've every really confessed how much we loved that band - so here it is: we really loved that band), a pair of tracks from Nine Miles to Morgan's tape, a pair of Massive Ferguson tracks that we mistook for Cripple Creek Fairies tracks at first, a version of National Dust's excellent "California" (not the version from their exceptional second CD) and, well, Upshot.

What, you don't remember Upshot? Don't tell us you didn't love their amazing combination of rap, metal and... Dammit, we can't even bring ourselves to mock them.

Which makes this post just about as half-assed as today's featured compilation.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Various - CJSW Presents Calgary Cardboard Limousine '93 (1993)

You're not going to believe this story. We're warning you right now, even before we begin. This is - without a word of a lie (which we know is not our usual modus operandi - and neither is putting latin in italics) - a tape we'd been trying to find for some time. And where did we find it?In Jett Thunders' living room. We're not making this up. Seriously. We were at Jett's house, and he was in the bathroom fixing his hair or something, so we were being nosey, as we are wont to do. And when we saw a small pile of tapes, we figured the best we were going to find was a copy of Appetite for Destruction, or maybe Pornograffiti. So imagine our surprise to see this tape!We know that we've lost you here. You can't fathom why this tape is so important. For us, this is one of the better Calgary compilations from the 90's, bringing together Huevos Rancheros, Agony Pipe, the Choads, Rabbit Has Brain... Sure, there are a few bands we can't seem to remember (Thomas at the Wheel? Mekong Riverboat Show?), but there's at least one song we're really excited to hear again - the Steve Wynn-esque "Carolynn" from Monster Zero, featuring Walter Porochnuk, Don McSwiney and Pat McGannon (the latter two of whom would form the Manhattan Jump Blues Revue/Dino Martinis). Oh, and more Ramada Gods. This is a well put-together compilation, despite its lack of liner notes or extra documentation. A great snapshot of a moment in time. Little touches like this are why we pledge to CJSW every year. So make sure you've paid your pledge and then grab this.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Banood - Mind That Parcel... (1986)

We've learned serval important things in our many years of digging through the tapes at Recordland. First, we've already found all the good stuff. Second, you should always bring a package of wet wipes and hand sanitizer. And, third, sometimes digging and perseverance does yield something you're not expecting to find.Like this, the second tape from Banood. We don't have much to add from when we posted their first tape, having already cited the fact that their drummer was at one point married to Sarah McLachlan. So, seeing as we're obviously trying to pad out a post here, we'll also include this lovely video from the youtubes: Unlike digging through Recordland, sometimes youtube just yields plain garbage.So grab the tape here.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Kathryn Rushent - Bodycheck (1987)

This is the second Kathryn Rushent tape we got from Grant Hutchinson. Grant tells us he assisted with the video that is referenced in the liner notes of our last post.It appears that Rushent is still active as an artist in the Airdrie area, while producer David Strattford is actively putting out CDs to combat migraines without drugs, among other things. Get Bodychecked.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Kathryn Rushent - The Mist

This is bit of a surprise - a tape featuring Aleister Hex that isn't garage rock. In fact, this skews far closer towards Jane Siberry than Blue Oyster Cult. Actually, that Jane Siberry comparison may not be completely accurate. But certainly the distance from BOC seems correct.As usual, we're kind of grasping at straws here.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Lockwood-Clark - Coincident Dissolution

In among the tapes from Grant Hutchinson was this one, which stands as a unique recording in our collection to date. We're familiar with Frank Lockwood as the engineer and producer behind recordings from CosmaNat and Tau Ceti. But rather than the new wave stylings of those bands, this tape (which is made up of two tracks, each of which clocks in at over 25 minutes apiece) is more Eno-esque in its soundscapes and themes.Lockwood is in Toronto now, and still recording - although his focus is on acoustic and classical music.Get Lockwood-Clark here.

Friday, 2 December 2011

CosmaNat - CosmaNatomy (1988)

We were - at one point, anyways - very good at cross-posting/stealing tapes from our friends at Golden Rock. But we have no idea how we missed this one, which Grant Hutchinson has now also slid our way.Golden Rock originally got a copy via recording engineer and CosmaNat co-conspirator Frank Lockwood. Frank says:

"The cassette-only EP CosmaNatomy was probably our most ambitious project. 'Level this Ground' featured a lot of guitar power chords from Brenda with a complex, multi-part vocal from Pat. 'Pillow Talk' was done by first recording the original Doris Day song onto our multi-track tape, and using it as a guide. None of the original recording appears in the finished song, except for a slowed down 'There must!' from Doris Day that begins the song. The piano part proved to be too complex for either Pat or Brenda's capabilities, so we simply slowed the tape down to the point where it could be played more easily; this accounts for the somewhat "honky-tonk" quality of the result. For the final choruses there is a group of male backup singers which featured my own questionable ability, plus a rare vocal appearance from Brenda. 'What's it Like' is essentially two songs mashed together, a driving 4/4 rock song for the verses, with a very slow, spacey chorus with a lot of reverb. These two contrasting styles are at odds with each other throughout the song until it all crashes to a thundering finale of guitar feedback and noise. 'Total Recall' is the song where I probably had the most input, treating Brenda's violin with a long tape echo, burying Pat's vocal in deep reverberation, and playing some bell-like sounds from an Akai sampler. A middle section follows with a simple keyboard melody underlying Pat's whispered reading, with a lot of violin skitters. The finish recalls the opening section with a return to the heavily processed ambiance gradually overtaken by ever more complex roars of undifferentiated sound and the underwater tolling of some synthetic bell."

Thanks once again to Frank for sending in the tracks, and for Pat and Brenda for giving Golden Rock the green light to post it.