Sunday, 30 March 2014

Same Difference - 4 Song Demo (1990)

Here's another surprise from CP Walsh's box of treats - another tape from Same Difference! It looks like this was recorded after their first proper tape. We're assuming that the line-up is unchanged - we are, once again, dealing with a tape without a j-card.

So, we'll make up for it with this video from the band's 2007-ish reunion show:

Get the tape here.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Tariq - Graffiti Artist (1993)

We recently received a box full of tapes from local Bikeshevik CP Walsh, which included a few things we hadn't yet seen. Most notable among them is this tape from Tariq, who - although his bio now cites him as Vancouver-based - got his start in our fair city.

It looks like this might be his first release, a few years before he made the CanCon big times with "Chevrolet Way." This is just Tariq and his guitar (and some percussion). But the songwriting is the same observant, pop-folk that he's known for.

Get it here.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Samantha Savage Smith - Wholesomely Made (2014)

We've been waiting somewhat patiently for Samantha Savage Smith's second full-length to drop, so it's nice/frustrating to have this instead, a collection of three demos from said second album, as well as one new track.

To say this is beautiful is an understatement. Smith's voice is as enticing as ever - and the time she's been spending with Lab Coast and Chris Dadge has brought out more of the indie rock in her songwriting. These four songs hang together really well - and are making us a whole lot less patient to hear her second album.

In the meantime, you can grab this from Samantha Savage Smith's bandcamp.

Monday, 17 March 2014

Bitter Fictions - Life Story of the Fish (2014)

Our favourite game to play at Sloth Records is, when walking up the stairs, guessing who is working by what's playing. Guided By Voices = Evan Van Reekum. Reggae = Djewel. And, if it the music is REALLY weird, Devin Friesen is behind the counter.

We also like that Devin has no qualms about putting his own stuff in the staff picks list - mostly we like this because his noise rock is mighty fine. This tape is more of the experimental guitar that he does so well, in an exquisitely done package.

You can get it from the Bitter Fictions bandcamp or, duh, Sloth.

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Glitter - Spinning Ballerina Cassingle (2013)

Okay, so MAYBE we overdid it on the scotch the other day. We have to confess, glasses of scotch at noon on a Friday is a recipe for... well, in Gene's case, 36 hours of missing memories.

So, we're going to pick up the pieces with a few tapes that were recently released. Starting with this little wonder. Three tracks from.... we're stuck on how to describe Glitter, actually. They're hardcore, but that doesn't quite to them justice - frontman Devon channels all the best of Djewel Davidson, and the band have a more melodic tendency than others that are mining that genre.

We found a copy of this tape at Sloth - but we're not sure where else you can get it. These guys seem to have zero web presence. Which means you'll have to go see their spectacular live show and harass them for a copy.

Friday, 14 March 2014

Walking Dead - Demos

Sadly, it's time to wrap up the box of James Muretich's tapes that Mary-Lynn Wardle lent us. If you're going to wrap up, we think you should wrap up with something special.

So this: a country band, fronted by Lucky Holloway, and with the Man Himself on drums. We remember seeing the Walking Dead (side note: why is that not one but TWO Calgary bands have ended up having hit TV series named after them? For these guys and Big Bang Theory, network TV has killed the google-ability of their names) at the Night Gallery. Our memory is that they were a riotous good time, but then most of our memories of the Night Gallery involve riotous good times. And fear of having to use the men's toilet.

Anyways, getting back to James Muretich and Lucky Holloway, this is pretty good stuff. Straight-up, heart-felt country from circa 1995 (one of the tracks on here also appears on the Play compilation, suggesting to us that the other three tracks one here are from the same sessions).

Since he passed away in 2006, there have been a lot of wonderful, heart-felt tributes to James Muretich, and - never having met the man - it would be stupid of us to even try to match them. So we'll just say this: it's quite likely that without James Muretich, Calgary's music scene wouldn't be what it is today.

So grab this demo, and raise a glass of scotch in his memory.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Church of Doug - I Hate This City and Everyone in It (1994)

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

Rip Chords - Demo (1982)

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.

Get ripped!

Friday, 7 March 2014

Breeders - Well Bred Music (1981)

Our run through the early days of Calgary's underground scene continues with this tape from Thee James Muretich Collection. We'd heard whispers about the Breeders before, but had never heard them... until now!

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

Buick McKane - Demos (1978)

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
Anywhere, Anytime
Oddy Knocky
She's Only
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

Hot Nasties - The Hot Nasties Tape (1980)

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.

Download link removed at the request of Warren Kinsella.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Various - Calgary: Giddee-up Widdle Punk Rawkers

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.