Friday 27 April 2012

Various - Thrash Concert Tonight (1996)


We're sometimes a bit sad that Melodiya is just a record store now, rather than also the record label they once were. But then, we also wish the Night Gallery wasn't a high-end fashion store now. 

So, we'll content ourselves with this compilation from their heady label days. Sure, there's some non-Calgary bands on here, but there's a tip to the old Black Lounge on the back cover. And some of our favourite bands on the inside. Not only do we get more Primrods (more! more! more - wait, do we need another version of "Barbet Lad" in our library? Hell, yes!), but we also get first-phase New 1-2, Knucklhead, Jigsaw... and Straight.

Have we ever told you how much we loved Straight? Especially when Joe McCafferty provides a new take on the Quitters' "Beautiful People."

Grab this compilation here.

Thursday 26 April 2012

Various - The Trans-Canada Beaver Cookoff (2002)

This is the last Catch and Release compilation in our pile (we think we're missing one, though... maybe more?). While there are only two Calgary bands on here, they're two of our faves - not only does Tom Bagley offer up cover art for this, but Forbidden Dimension offers up three drum machine-driven tracks (including the otherwise-unreleased "Wing Bat Wu"). And the Rambling Ambassadors kick things off in style.

Weird, we just told the story of this CD is reverse.

Which means we should probably, now that we're winding down the Catch and Release posts, tell a bit more of that story. We remembered that Cam Hayden was a key part of the recording collective, but somehow forgot that Ian Russell was as well, before he started Flemish Eye. There's a great interview with both Cam and Ian at Exclaim, which gives some insight into why they did what they did.

Unlike us at the CCPS, who have no idea why we do what we do.

Tuesday 24 April 2012

Various - The Southern Invasion (2001)

Quite honestly, the best thing about digging through our compilation CDs is that it's giving us a chance to post stuff by bands that - up to now - we haven't really had a chance to make fun of celebrate.

This one is no different. We've got some early track from the Dudes (back when the Dude Bomb was a going concern), Cripple Creek Fairies (including the amazing "Rock Your Panties Off"), the Neckers, Agriculture Club, the Jalopies and Red Hot Lovers.

It's a pretty great rock affair, this CD.

Monday 23 April 2012

Various - The Isle of Spight (2001)

Digging through our pile of compilation CDs, we're reminded what a great service Catch and Release did for this city. Even though this compilation includes a bunch of non-locals. But we'll over look that, as the concept behind this disc more than makes up for the geographic flaws.

Not only do we get the final recording of the Puritans on here, but the Earthquake Pills and New 1-2. And a lengthly lecture (via Bob Keelaghan) on the potential uses of hemp.

If we'd been on the ball here, we would have posted this on 4/20.

Saturday 21 April 2012

Various - I Chase the Butterflies and the Butterflies Chase Me (1999)

We're enjoying the 90's compilation CDs for some odd reason right now, and we see no reason to stop throwing them at you, whether you appreciate them or not.

We think this is the first compilation that Catch and Release put out. It features our old favourites Massive Ferguson, Bionic VI (featuring former Placebo guitarist Kieran McAuley - Bionic VI basically morphed into Breathe Knives) and Court Recorder (an early Clinton St. John venture). We're not sure who was in Pris. And, to be honest, we're in a hurry to get out to the local record shops to celebrate Record Store/Spend Your Paycheck Day.

So catch some butterflies here.

Thursday 19 April 2012

Various - Oh Canaduh! 2 (1998)

The next in our line of compilations is one which is pretty special for a whole bunch of reasons. Lance Rock Records put out a bunch of swell records and CDs (including singles from the Mants and Chixdiggit - what a combination!), and this is perhaps the swellest.

The concept is pretty straight-forward: get a bunch of bands to cover Canadian punk rock classics. Where it gets good is the combinations on this second volume and the execution. The Von Zippers are on here with a track we didn't really realize was a cover (you have to admit, it's a common problem), Da Slyme's "Truck Stop Nun." The Puritans take on Nomeansno's "Try Not to Stutter." Those are both good tracks.

But what's gooder is the Mants doing the Sturgeons' "Punk Rock Virgins" and Forbidden Dimension doing Personality Crisis' "Vampire's Dream." We really, really like the historical tie-in implied by both of those tracks (and, can we say, the thematic synchronicity in the case of Forbidden Dimension's choice).

But what's gooderer still is how Huevos Rancheros tackles the Young Canadians' "Hawaii." Not only do the instrumentalists bring in a guest vocalist (we're pretty sure that's Chixdiggits' KJ Jansen), but they also manage to turn down the language a notch, providing junior high school students every where with a more suitable version for their school dances. Until the final chorus, that is. But they make up for it by segueing into a bit of the Hawaii 5-0 theme.

That alone is worth the price of admission.

Tuesday 17 April 2012

Various - On Guard for Thee (1996)

We enjoyed yesterday's compilation CD so much, we going to keep on that theme for a bit. Today, we're bringing you a CD on Australia's Au-Go-Go Records. 

As with yesterday's compilation, this isn't limited to purely Calgarian bands, but there are a significant number on here. The Von Zippers kick it off with "Mega Volt," and Huevos Rancheros, Forbidden Dimension, Chixdiggit, Pussy Monster and the Parkades all make contributions as well. 

Probably the most notable contribution is former Brave New Waves DJ David Wisdom, who chips in with liner notes for this compilation. We're not sure why the Australian label felt compelled to do a compilation of Canadian bands, or how so many Calgarians ended up on it.

But we have no complaints that they did.

Monday 16 April 2012

Various - Nothing Beats a Royal Flush (1997)

 Now, while we are sometimes on the ball here at the CCPS, other times we aren't. We actually forgot that Al Charlton also put out CDs on his Roto-Flex Records imprint until David Anderson reminded us of this. So, without further ado, here it is!

This CD feels like an Estrus compilation, which is a good thing. Kicking off with one of our favourites, the Shinolas, this also features tracks from Calgary bands the Infernos, Huevos Rancheros, Jackson Phibes, Curse of Horseflesh, the Mants, the Von Zippers and... Chixdiggit. Plus a bunch of non-Calgary bands (presumably as filler). Al, as we've always said, does good work.

And this is no exception.

Sunday 15 April 2012

Infernos - Working Out With the Infernos (1997)

Sunday mornings here at the CCPS tend to be filled with at least a twinge of regret. Sometimes for partying to hard the night before, other times for not partying hard enough. Well, today's tape makes we realize we pretty much never party hard enough compared to some people.

We posted the first Infernos tape almost three years ago to this day, and bassist Dave Anderson recently got in touch with us about the second tape, which he had just been reunited with. Now, you'll notice right away that this tape has a Montreal contact address - at some point, Dave and future Fubar actor Paul Spence moved to Montreal, taking their garage rock antics with them. They picked up a different drummer in Montreal, and carried on, putting out this tape.

So if you, like us (see what we did there? all those business school classes are paying off!), are feeling a bit of regret at not having partied hard enough last night, grab this tape and crank it up.

Friday 13 April 2012

Mud Commandos - CJSW Interview (1989)

We've got another treasure from Mark Igglesden's basement, so brace yourselves. This is a radio interview (which Igglesden wasn't present for, sadly (?)) with Wes Hegg. As we'd expect, there's a significant amount of misinformation in the interview (which you'd think we'd like, since that's our usual schtick - we're kind of sensitive to others treading on our turf, though, so we're not impressed by the hijinx on here). Wes tries to reign things in, trying to get the band members to admit to having played with Steaming Mad at Dirt and A Passion Of. They don't bite, but offer the nugget, "We're friends to mud, we don't sling it".

They also sling some mean garage rock. In between the interview-y bits, Wes plays two tracks as recorded by Brent Cooper and the band offers one acoustic number. It's a great showcase for Michael Paton's guitar work, which we at the CCPS are mighty big fans of.

Get muddy here.

Thursday 12 April 2012

Sturgeons - Yellow Sea Eel Hunt (Complete, 1979)

Well, since we posted a more complete Suburban Slag recoding yesterday, it seems only right (again, we have very poor judgement, so this is up for debate) that we post a more complete Sturgeons recording. We found this tape in Mark Igglesden's basement, tucked neatly in behind a massive pile of boxes of model Panzerkampfwagens.

Based on the j-card that we rounded up for our original Sturgeons post, we're thinking this is more original as it includes the two covers that were omitted from the original (are you confused yet? we are), the non-originals Nancy Sinatra's"These Boots are Made for Walking" and Petula Clark's "Downtown" (and before you write in, we know those songs weren't written by Sinatra and/or Clark - we're being lazy and not hitting wikipedia, except that we did, because we had one of those moments of panic where we suddenly weren't sure if the Petula Clark version was the canonical version, we began to worry that we had slipped into some bizzaro world where everything was topsy turvy, like for example, maybe Lou Reed was a woman, which actually would make more sense, wouldn't it? maybe we're in the bizzaro world, and... oh, we need to go lie down for a bit).

As with yesterday's post, we're going to leave our original Sturgeons demo posting up for posterity, and add this to the mix, since we're pretty shameless about posting the same thing twice (or more).

Wednesday 11 April 2012

Suburban Slag - Late 79-80 (1980)

Late last year, we posted a strange demo of the fabled band Suburban Slag that came to us via another blog. The always smiling and soft-spoken Doug Boland (whose name we've been misspelling on this blog for the past four years) passed us this CD of basement demos from, uh, late 1979 and 1980. Hence the title, we suppose.

We're still not sure what the original demo was - maybe a random selection of the tracks from this, as chosen by a tape trader somewhere along the way? That sounds plausible, so we'll go with it. What we do know if that this full batch of demos is a great improvement over the sound quality of our original posting. Plus, covers of punk rock standards "Holiday in the Sun" and "Blitzkrieg Bop" - although our favourite thing on here it the original "New Improved."

Also since our original Suburban Slag post we picked up and read (all Oprah's Book Club-like and everything!) Chris Walters' Personality Crisis bio. We've been meaning to read us some Walters, and this book seemed like the perfect excuse - although Personality Crisis were from Winnipeg, they spent enough time in Calgary (...and Vancouver, and California) to be sometimes mistaken as a Calgary band. Plus, Suburban Slag is the band that drummer Jon Card ditched to join PC. The book is filled with gems related to the Calgary scene (if we can get our stuff together, we'll put a book review up on our Facebook page), such as "a youth named Al Charlton turn[ing] Jon on to punk rock" after Card played in a metal band called Stonehenge (which sounds too good to be true).

According to Walters' book, Jon and Al "jammed regularly", but by the time Card got around to wanting to form a band, Al was in the Sturgeons. So, Jon hooked up instead with Doug Boland (you think it's bad we misspelled Doug's name? Walters calls him "Bolen"!), Jeff Burns ("who went on to a career producing music") and Jim Hanlon. Walters drops a comment about suggests that Suburban Slag had a lead singer before Hanlon, but then says something about Hanlon (maybe? Walters' wording is vague here) having fronted Silicone Injection, which doesn't line up with what we know.

What Walters isn't vague about is that Card arrived late at Personality Crisis' Calgarian Hotel show, where they announced their drummer was quitting. "After the show, [Card] gave [Personlity Crisis'] Mitch [Funk} a Suburban Slag demo tape" - likely the very recordings we're posting today.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Friday 6 April 2012

CCPS Miscellany - Far, Far Out: Calgary Magazine (1986)

We've included a few of the pages of this feature with various posts about the bands, but we figure we'd put this piece up in its entirety to meet our minimum monthly post count for posterity. 

The January 1986 issue of Calgary magazine devoted six pages to a feature on the Calgary underground music scene. Text by John Portwood, photos by Ellen Brodylo and Mike Morrow.

Far, Far Out
Calgary’s elusive underground rock scene is easy to miss and harder to find. Like, dig it if you can

There is no money and even less attention to be had by an underground rock’n’roll band in a Top-40 town. These uncompromising groups have few venues to play. Ten Foot Henry’s was alternative music’s focal point, but poor attendance and LRT construction put an end to that. At this point, it’s not clear what nightclub might emerge to fill the void. Local musicians are wondering how the underground scene will survive. This sampling of dedicated and unusual bands, however, makes it clear that it will take more than a C-Train to stop the music.Tau Cetileft to right: Barry Calnan, Dan Klauss, Alice Gauthier
Tau Ceti knows you can’t force anyone to think, and approaches its music with that in mind. The group’s front man, guitarist Dan Klauss, writes the lyrics he sings. Alice Gauthier sits on keyboard, alongside drummer Barry Calnan. Together 18 months, Tau Ceti recently released its first single, a love song entitled Radiation. The group’s members agree that there is no way to make a living in Calgary. For the most part, Tau Ceti is a dance band. They’ve made the natural progression from punk-rock cover band (covering material) to composing their own tunes. Upbeat and “pop” one moment, the trio can be dark and bizarre the next. The group takes its name from a Robert Heinlein novel. Tau Ceti is a distant solar system that desperate earthlings mistakenly travel to in search of refuge. By the time they get there, however, earth technology catches up to them in a very literal sense. An album should be ready for release this month. In a symbolic gesture, it will be entitled The Miracle Will Pass: disappearing ink on the record jacket will render the band’s name invisible right before your stereophonic eyes.

Beyond Possession
Beyond Possession is a band of conviction, and its members refuse to have their names published. Their leader fears it would detract from the group’s identity. The group’s name is taken by man to imply an association with Satan and the demonic hype with which heavy-metal bands often flirt. Not so, say the members of Beyond Possession: rather, they claim they are beyond being possessed by ego and material goods. An American and a Soviet flag hang in the band’s house. “We don’t lick anyone’s boots,” says one. A skateboarding tune they wrote and recorded has been distributed on a Skaterock album, a K-Tel-type record for skateboarders. Band members say they oppose both the neo-Nazi sentiments of punk and the blatant commercialism of heavy metal; their music is a hard-core-punk-and-heavy-metal fusion, a compromise that can be appreciated by both the thrashers and the headbangers. Their nameless and energetic leader works hard to keep alternative music alive in community halls around town. They’ve got day jobs and sink all their money back into the band. They travel. They just got back from an 18-state tour on which they peddled a few home-spun records and made a few waves. Insulted by a condescending announcer on a San Francisco radio show—the DJ had had the audacity to ask inane questions about Canadian weather—the band was forced to fill the mike with rude noises. Beyond Possession confide that “he didn’t ask us about our music.”

The Will...left to right: Ducky King, D. Jewel Davidson, Joe McCaffery, Ted Clark Latimer
The Will… are vocalist D. Jewel Davidson, part-time astronaut and bassist Ducky King, guitarist Joe McCaffery, and drummer and U of C student Ted Clark Latimer. The band’s nucleus has been together for years. The band refused to put a label on its music. Their various influences range from Jimi Hendrix to James Brown’s shoe builder. In a moment of weakness, they admit that their music is “everything rock ‘n’ roll was meant to be but isn’t.” The Will… say Calgary doesn’t treat them badly: They just ignore use, so we ignore them.” A CBC-produced EP was released in 1983. One of the tunes, Funky Babylon, made it to No. 1 on the CJSW charts. While they are skeptical about the band’s future, they’d have no objection to making money if a record label came looking for them. Lyricist, poet and short story writer D. Jewel Davidson has another career in mind: he fancies himself a new recruit in the bag lady corps. And one last thing: they’re not happy about the above photo. Firstly, the photographer wouldn’t allow their fifth member, Happy the Clown, to pose. Secondly, they feel the whole concept reeks of “pouring the band into a glass bottle with formaldehyde.” They’re afraid of the “dissecting middle-class gaze,” so have a good look.

Sacred Heart of Elvisleft to right: Ali, Bartok Guitarsplat, Tim Campbell
Vocalist Ali came up with the band's name when she saw a black-velvet painting of Elvis Presley on a jean-jacket. She saw it as the "mixing of trash culture with trashier culture." Any connection with the King ends there. Tim Campbell's guitar and Bartok Guitarsplat's lap steel have been on the Calgary music scene for some time. Both musicians' roots are in folk: Tim in Irish folk and Bartok in bluegrass. They like the guts inherent in traditional lyrics and call the sound of Sacred Heart of Elvis, "urban folk." Themes of "turning over rocks of one sort or another" recur throughout their material. Tim discovered that when he dropped all the clichés from his guitar playing, he no longer knew how to play. Tim and Ali are students at the U of C, and Bartok sweats it out with a day job. Tim and Bartok point to the Golden Calgarians as a group that best exemplifies the Calgary underground scene. Currently touring out east, the Golden Calgarians are experiencing success without compromising ideas. Sacred Heart of Elvis has a country drinking song called Walking the Floor that's getting some play on CJSW. A cassette tape produced by the band (complete with lyrics and photos) is available in some record stores. All of their lyrics centre on the "trinity of urban life: sex, violence, and drugs." In reality, they say, they're "happy people" who only think horrible thoughts in their songs. They hope to tour once school is out in the spring.
The Mulesleft to right: Bradley Frank, Clive Mansfield, Duane Douglas
The Mules have been together less than a year, but guitarist Bradley Frank, vocalist and drummer Clive Mansfield, and bass player Duane Douglas have known each other for years. They’ve played everything from pop to punk rock. The Mules often play the university and get considerable airplay on CJSW-FM 91. Other venues include the National Hotel and Slack Jack’s. Their roughed-up country sound has opened for the Good Brothers at the Glenmore Banquet Centre. The band is happy to play anywhere. Old-time country stars influence The Mules’ music. They describe their style as “traditional pepped-up country.” Keeping alive the idea of simple country music is their main goal. As a result, classic country covers make up 50 per cent of their song list. The Mules have recorded a cassette, but have had trouble finding airplay on commercial radio. Some country stations have expressed interest, but they won’t touch anything that’s not on vinyl. Cash flow is their biggest obstacle at the moment, and their musical style makes it difficult to find financial backing. They hope to record an independent album in the spring and, in the meantime, are keeping their collective eyes open for a distributor.

Age of Reasonleft to right: Darren “Meat” Robertson, Michel Dukic, Bernd Kessler, Derek Forman
Vocalist Michel Dukic and drummer Darren Robertson are students at the Alberta College of Art. Guitarist Bernd Kessler and bass player Derek Forman round out the group. They take pride in the fact that they seldom play a piece the same way twice. It’s their assertion that most bands overrehearse. The members of Age of Reason consider themselves individuals and use the group as a vehicle for self-expression. Still, there is melodic interplay between Yugoslavian-born singer Dukic and German-born guitarist Kessler. The band’s members describe their music as total nervous breakdown: “If you didn’t face reality after hearing us, you wasted reality.” They have no money and no recording prospects. However, a number of their tunes, Hollow Smiles and Lady of the Rainbow in particular, are full of potential and emotion. The group’s style can be both chaotically hard-core and poetically stinging. Dukic began his musical career in Germany in 1979 with a church basement group called Rabies. He calls his material “Gothic Christian dance music.” He compares his voice to that of Elvis Presley with a cold, and he avoids writing “stupid love ballads.” Musically, the group hangs on Kessler’s guitar playing. A hairdresser by trade, he detests being a slave to the system: “I don’t smile unless I have to.”

Thanks to Rodney Brent (a.k.a. Bartok Guitarsplat of Sacred Heart of Elvis fame) for sending in these clippings!

Thursday 5 April 2012

Crying Hope - Crying Hope (1986)

We didn't know this record existed until this past weekend, and we were lucky enough to score a copy more easily than we expected. And, hot damn! What a record!

Of course, we're talking about the band's membership, which provides a link to the Primrods via Ninth Configuration. While there are no last names given, we're pretty sure that's Tom Horvath on guitar and Ben Falconer on bass and vocals.

And the music! The music is pretty, well... eclectic. "Labotomy Rock" is kind of white boy funk, "I Will Survive" has stronger ties to NiCon, and "Small Town Girl" borrows liberally from "Hotel California" and features more whistling than we would have liked.

And... aw, who are we kidding. The cover is pretty excellent. So good, in fact, that we've framed this and put it up on the wall here at the CCPS office, right beside that wicked poster of a Ferrari Testarossa that Gene's been holding on to since junior high.

Tuesday 3 April 2012

Rip Chords - Word of Mouth (1981)

So, you know how yesterday we were certain that Big Dog morphed into Rip Chords? After finding this LP, we're really not sure. This looks like it's the mythical third Rip Chords LP, but it's actually more like the first, with a date of 1981. Which puts it before the Big Dog cassette. This is why sometimes we wish we would actually do some research instead of fabricating these stories.

Anyways, the highlight of this record, beyond the music, is the hyperbolic intro to the band on the back of the cover:
Mistakenly labelled a cover band by Calgary's polemic music critics, it's The Rip Chords... on the jukebox, at the nightspot, the record changer in the living room, the big turntable at the radio station, the portable phonograph at the beach, where-ever popular recordings are played you'll find The Rip Chords. Some of the tunes you'll hear most frequently, the biggest of their hits, are on this E.P... Their songs, barely practiced and slapped on vinyl. This special treatment spells success. Success that's proved by several hundred spinning discs. The Rip Chords are undeniably 'word of mouth' and listeners everywhere flock to buy their records. These are performances the whole world has ACCLAIMED!
The only way we can read that is with tongue firmly in cheek.

Monday 2 April 2012

Big Dog / Rip Chords - Second Coming / The Need to Laugh in Uncertain Times (1984)

Remember how we were scratching our heads last week about how the Rip Chords bio on Peter Moller's website referenced three pieces of vinyl from the band? Well, we cleared things up a bit when we remembered this split LP in the Golden Rock archives/clutter.

It looks like this was put out in 1984, shortly before View From Above. Like all the best split LPs, it has two sets of art- the Big Dog side repurposes the art from their 1982 tape, while the Rip Chords side channels... the Clash? We don't know.

What we do know (or suspect at least) is that Big Dog at some point became Rip Chords, with guitarist Rodney (Max) Brisson, bassist Richard McDowell and drummer Peter Moller forming the constant centre between the two bands.

Or, at least, that's our educated guess.