Sunday 23 November 2014

Bittermen - Frequency (1997)

So here's the second Bittermen CD that we don't have in the CCPS collection. And, of course, the one that for us is a lost classic of the city and quite possibly a desert island disc. Or a dessert island disc, whichever the correct spelling is (of all the days for our proofreader to take a holiday, why today?).

We're not sure what it is about this CD, but something on it really tickles that reptilian part of our brain in just the right way. This is guttural but somehow melodic and catchy. It focuses the anger from their first CD just enough, and is a great balance of, uh, bitterness and men.

This CD is solid, start to finish. So good, in fact, that Massive Ferguson recorded a bunch of covers off of it (oh, and one off the Bittermen's first CD). But then, Massive Ferguson recorded pretty much anything that farted, so perhaps that shouldn't be the yardstick we use.

But still, do yourself a favour and download this CD.

Saturday 22 November 2014

Bittermen - Faster than the Speed of Spite (1996)

Oh, snap. Gene has kicked over ALL of the CDs in the CCPS archive. He's discovered something we've been trying to hide from him - we don't have any Bittermen CDs in our collection, This is more than kind of embarrassing - it's a massive hole that creates and empty, sucking, hole-like thing in our heart. We've never felt good about this, and now that Gene has realized this, we feel even worse.

For us, the Bittermen occupy a very special place in our hearts (despite the sucking, hole-like thing we just mentioned). We've had a lot of good two-piece bands (the HighKicks, Hip City Blues Combo, Miesha and the Spanks, the Fags, the Pygmies... wait, a bunch of those have tended to expand beyond two-pieces...), but the Bittermen were our city's GREAT two-piece band. With guitarist Chris McBurney and future iStockphoto empresario Bruce Livingstone on drums, these guys carved a high water mark for two-piece combos.

This CD (which Col. Cam Hayden was good enough to rip for us at one point) is a fairly reasonable intro to the band - although this ancient-but-well-preserved VOX review notes that it "only manages to capture the energy of the Bittermen on several tracks". For us the high point is "My Last Calgary Winter", a suitably apt song title, especially if you're Steve Elaschuk, Sadly for us, that song's not the one that the band made a video for.

Here's some more bonus content, via FFWD from October 1996:

Anyways, not to belabour the point, but we don't have an actual physical copy of this, hence the crappy image quality above, stolen from the Bittermen's inexplicably still-active website. From what we remember, the Bittermen were one of the first bands to burn their own CDs, which is why there was no real sleeve. But at least we have the download.

Edit: we got a copy of BOTH Bittermen CDs, thanks to Corey Hamilton! Our lives are now complete-ish!

Thursday 20 November 2014

Justin Curtis - Rock-a-Billy in 3-D (1994)

We're still in the CCPS CD collection, stuck in the year 1994. Which, someone just pointed out, was 20 years ago. It's almost like we planned that! Almost...

Anyways, here's a CD that we just realized we had been looking for about four years ago. Apparently we found it, but forgot we had been looking for. This is what happens when you're obsessively collecting/hoarding stuff. We think this CD was recorded in Nashville, based on the producer and label. But we're pretty sure Curtis was still based in Calgary when this came out. So grab this and get your rockabilly fix.

Tuesday 18 November 2014

Edward and Life - Fading Like Manilow (1994)

We're going completely in another direction from our last few posts with this one. We've already made a big deal of Rob McAlister's pop sensibilities, but we'd kind of forgotten about this CD until Gene pulled it out.

This is basically a one-person show, with a few touches of assistance from Lyle Crilly and Aaron Booth. This sees McAlister in full BritPop mode - from the first few seconds of the opening track, "Heroes are Hard to Come by These Days," we had an instant pining for the Warehouse. Plus, his Smith-esque take one Bacharach and David's "Anyone Who Had a Heart" is kind of amazing. For something that was recorded in a basement in the early 90's, this is a remarkably well-produced CD.

That said, this article by James Muretich uncovers that fact that McAlister was originally into (gasp!) heavy metal:

Grab it here.

Monday 17 November 2014

Bent on Barbi - Bent on Barbi (1994)

Gene's trip through the CCPS CD collection continues with Bent on Barbi's only offering (other than a few tracks on the Play and Hellride to a Bloodbath compilations).

We remember these guys being really loud and really brash, and this memory is backed up by this article from Ye Olde Vox:

We also remember the typography on this CD being damn near impossible to read, thanks no doubt to the influence of Ray Gun magazine at the time. 

Anyways, forget trying to read the cover notes. Tape up your knee and grab the download.

Sunday 16 November 2014

Inquisition - Four Inches of (1994)

Oh, great. So, the Box of Pandora is open. Awesome. Gene Poole has happily been flinging CDs and cases around the office, trying to put them into chronological order (which means our intern is going to have to re-alphabetize them at some point - having a boss like Gene means job security, at least).

1994 seems to be the year that CDs really started to become a thing for indie bands in Calgary, so Gene has suggested we hop sideways-ish from our last Showdown '76 post to this one from punk kids Inquisition. We gotta hand it to these guys - they managed to put out something on every possible format except a 12" record (oh, and 8-track - has any Calgary indie band put out an 8-track?).

A bunch of random notes about this CD: first, the number of bonus/untitled/hidden tracks on here almost outnumber the tracks listed. Also, in true mid-90's fashion, this CD brings together all the usual suspects: recorded by Jeff Burns, mastered by Tona Walt Ohama, and featuring cover/band photos by Zoltan Varadi.

And, of course, a dick joke for a title.

Friday 14 November 2014

Showdown '76 - Words That Sting... (1997)

Well. It looks like we committed a bit of a faux pas in yesterday's post, by referencing something we hadn't actually posted. Yep, somehow a reference to this Showdown '76 CD slipped past out editors, and so... Gene Poole says now we gotta make things right. Unfortunately, this may mean opening up one of the biggest Pandora's Boxes in our office - the bizarre, unfiltered CCPS CD collection.

This is more of the good stuff that Showdown '76 was known for, except now on a shiny plastic disc, and encoded in ones and zeroes. To be honest, we at the CCPS, despite having an affinity for tapes, believe that CDs have a very important place - there's a certain time when bands only put out CDs, and some of our favourites (Hot Little Rocket, for one) have a discography that is almost exclusively on CD. So, maybe it's okay to post CDs like this one.

Thursday 13 November 2014

Showdown '76 - Splinter/Apparatus

Here's some more vinyl from the Golden Age of All Ages. There isn't a year on this, but we want to guess that this was recorded in the same early 1997 session as Showdown '76's CD, just before the band morphed into Porter Hall. The two songs on here are solid pieces that feel more like Porter Hall than much of the other stuff that came out of the all ages scene.

That's Jeff Caissie above, from what looks like a Showdown '76 show at the dearly departed Carpenter's Union Hall. Thanks to Leasa Podloski for the photo. Grab the download here.

Wednesday 12 November 2014

Chapter 16 - Taken for Granted (1996)

We're going to go back to the CCPS 7" collection for a bit, as it appears we've been remiss in posting a few things of interest. The first up is this single from all ages hardcore band Chapter 16, who we posted a few tapes from what seems like years ago. Oh, it really was years ago. Weird.

The photo of Chapter 16 above was taken by Leasa Podloski at one of a million all ages shows she went to as a kid. Remember baggy jeans? Relive the fashion of almost twenty years ago with the download.

Tuesday 11 November 2014

Ashley Soft - Take Heart/Give Heart (2014)

There's been a disagreement in the CCPS office about how to label this, if this should be a Miscellany post or a standard post. We picked this gorgeous orange tape up at Tubby Dog on Friday night, following Ashley Soft's set there. The problem is, this tape was recorded in Montreal when front man Clarke Alan Macleod was living in that city. Also, this tape may as well be a completely different band - since it was recorded, he's picked up a new drummer and guitarnoisemeister Devin Friesen to create a very different sound (grab their CJSW session for a listen). BUT since this tape of angular, noisy pop was put out by Friesen's Shaking Box Music, we'll let it slide as a normal post.

Get it via the Shaking Box Music bandcamp, or your favourite local record store.

Sunday 2 November 2014

Mico - Outside the Unbearable Grows (2003)

We made a big deal a few months about the Martin Fulton Overkill picture disc, and at the time we thought they were the only Calgary band to have undertaken such a foolish venture. Well, not quite: there must have been a vinyl fetishist in Mico, since they managed to squeeze out a picture disc version of their second album, Outside the Unbearable Grows.

Thanks to Leasa at Inner Sleeve for putting this aside for us. If you don't have this record (or CD, more likely), you can get it off iTunes.

Saturday 1 November 2014

CCPS Miscellany: Line Traps - Demo 1 (2014)

We know, we know - Line Traps are from Victoria. But they feature former Calgarian Tiemen Kuipers, and he claims that some of the songs on this great tape (from SHAKE! - who else?) were originally done by his Calgary bands the Suicide Wrists and the Diabetics. Plus, this is pretty excellent, scrappy punk - and it's amazing to watch Tiemen stare down an audience.

It looks like this is sold out in the SHAKE! webstore, but you can download most of it from the Line Traps bandcamp.