Thursday, 31 December 2015

Ex-Boyfriends - Deli Oriental Meat Style & Food (2015)

We're going to close out 2015 with an album we've been looking forward to for a while. We know the Ex-Boyfriends are a bit of a polarizing band - you either can handle the combo of Michael Paton's crushing guitar volumes and Djewel's stage antics or you can't. We can't get enough of this, ever. So when we found out they had an album in the can but no firm plans to release it, we were left to wait in anticipation.

Well, the wait's over, and we're pretty happy with the Ex-Boyfriends' product. Sure, we miss Jean Choe's bubblegum backups, but the songs are as catchy and garage-y as always. Paton continues to deliver the hooks and Djewel delivers the snotty/bewildered vocals. Oh, and the rock-solid Dean Martin is back in the drummer's throne. Good times!

There's a vinyl version of this floating around as well (which we have yet to grip), but we know for sure that you can order this on tape from the Shake! webstore.

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Dri Hiev - Contravirtual (2015)

Here's a second tape from Dri Hiev. We should have mentioned their industrial influences when we posted that first tape. But we didn't, so here's a taste:

This one's still available from Shake! or Dri Hiev's bandcamp.

Monday, 28 December 2015

Browns - The Return of. The Browns (2015)

Well, here's a thing. Jeff Caissie - er, sorry, we mean Charlie Brown - has reanimated the Browns in Medicine Hat, and put out a new LP. On tape. As many bands over the past year have, we suppose.

This is pretty much what you'd expect from the band - catchy pop-punk tunes that draw heavily on themes from horror films and b-movies. We went to their tape release, and we can also confirm that their live show is also the same as before: lots of energy, and lots of berating the audience. Hey, where else do you get that sort of experience?

We've seen copies of this tape a in a couple of Calgary record stores, or you can download it for free from the Browns bandcamp.

Dri Hiev - Dri Hiev (2015)

We saw Dri Hiev earlier this year, and still aren't quite sure how to describe them. They're messy, aggressive and post-punk, but in an arty/gothy sort of way that recalls early Killing Joke.

Looks like this is sold out at Shake! but you can grab the download from the Dri Hiev bandcamp.

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Blu Shorts - Blu Shorts (2015)

Blu Shorts features one of the members of Hag Face, so it's not surprising that they mine the same sludgy, dark garage rock. Actually, it is kind of surprising to us - we saw them as a quartet during Sled Island (with an additional member playing electronics), and they had a more dark wave tinge to their sound. And then we saw them as a quartet during Femme Wave (with a completely different fourth member playing second guitar), and they were more Hag Face-esque. Anyways, this tape is more like the latter, featuring just the three core members.

That's probably way more trivia than anyone needs. So we'll just point you over to Shake!, where you can order the tape.

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Fist City - Greatest Splits (2015)

We can't get enough of Fist City - their Everything is a Mess LP is one of the best things we've heard all year. So we're really happy to have this weird compilation from Shake! Records as well - even if it means we're running out of cassette shelving again.

The songs on this tape are culled from a bunch of places (their split 7" with Time Copz, a few unreleased tracks, different versions of LP tracks), and actually serves as a good intro to the band, with Ryan Grieves' relentless precision drumming and Kier Griffiths' yelping vocals couched in a bed of staccato guitars. Well, maybe not so much a bed. More of a nest, maybe?

Anyways, get it from Shake.

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Telstar Drugs - Sonatine (2015)

We just did some math (which is scary for some of us at the CCPS), and realized that we have almost as many tapes from this year left to post as we do days left in the year. So, back to things!

This tape comes to us via the former proprietor of Golden Rock, the site that was doing what the CCPS does before we usurped their schtick. To make up for that usurption, though, this tape was packed alongside another LP by the Cry. Just desserts, or something.

Anyways, the lads from Telstar Drugs moved out to Montreal a while ago, and put this tape out earlier in the fall. This is a bit of a sideways jump from the deconstructed guitar pop from their Calgary-based tape, with more atmospherics and drone-y elements at play.

Get the tape from the Telstar Drugs bandcamp.

Monday, 14 December 2015

Prepared - Young & Poor (2015)

We like pretty much anything that Kevin Stebner is a part of, and Prepared is no exception. The band picks up where Stalward Sons left off, taking hardcore into dark, reflective places. When Stebner sings, "I still hate the sound of guitars" on "Young Millionaires," you know he doesn't but also that he does. We like the regret, self-questioning and sheer volume that Prepared has delivered with this tape.

Get it from the Bart Records store or listen on the Prepared bandcamp.

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Dada Centauri - III (2013)

We hate to make a big deal about the design of tape packaging, but ohmygod this tape is gorgeous. We're not sure when we last saw a tape this nicely packaged. We almost didn't get this to the CCPS tape deck because we were so entranced by the design.

But we're glad we did get it to the tape deck, because this third volume of space jams between Whitney Ota and Andrew Hume (on a Montreal tape label, we think) is super good. They've come down from the space station on this, and are exploring the planet surface with their synths and electronics struggling under the strange new gravity.

Looks like there's ONE copy left on the La Cohu bandcamp at the time of writing this....

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Dada Centauri - II (2013)

We didn't plan this very well, did we? We're back to 2013 as we work our way through the Unit Structure Sound Recordings tapes that Whitney Ota gave us. This one is a nice companion to the tape from yesterday, with Ota and Andrew Hume going head-to-head and making a pulsating, blooping soundscape that's warmer than the Pedro Monkeyfinger-Protagonist/Antagonist tape, but no less a rewarding listen. Wyrd Canada nailed it when they said it sounds like the inside of a space station.

Get it via the USSR bandcamp.

Friday, 11 December 2015

Pedro Monkeyfinger + Protagonist/Antagonist (2015)

And now Whitney Ota has dragged us back into 2015. This tape is a collaboration between Larry McDowell and Brad Hawkins, with each musician creating a cold, glitchy landscape of noise in their own speaker. It's a pretty stark contrast to the Valiska tape we just posted, but in a good way.

Get it from the USSR bandcamp.

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Valiska - Shifts (2013)

We'd like to thank United Structure Sound Recordings' Whitney Ota for (a) passing us a big pile of his tapes, (b) contributing to our tape storage issues, and (c) stretching our writing ability as we struggle to describe ambient/noise recordings.

So, here's another tape by Krzysztof Sujata's Valiska, complemented by Ota's excellent design. As we're basically no good when it comes to describing ambient musics, we'll just say that this one feels more organic and fluid than the collaboration tape we just posted.

Listen for yourself over at Valiska's bandcamp.

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Valiska & MHVA - Music on Hold (2012)

We're really happy to be able to post a tape that wasn't released in 2015. Thanks to Eddie from Melodiya for sliding this our way... and breaking the perpetual onslaught of new tapes that we've been posting.

This tape is a collaboration of ambient, atmospheric sounds between Calgary's Valiska (Krzysztof Sujata) and Norwegian MHVA, on UK label Black Hymn Records. This is the type of tape that we feel pretty unsure about describing - we just don't have the vocabulary beyond describing the ambient drones and echoing piano chords that make this an enjoyable, immersive listen.

The tape is sold out (duh, it's three years old), but you can get it from the Black Hymn bandcamp.

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Unspooled Episode 1: Jackson Phibes and Forbidden Dimension's "Martian Death Saucer"

There's no shortage of stuff to do around the CCPS offices, what with the tape shelves that need to be dusted and the bourbon that needs drinking. But when the good folks at CJSW invited us to contribute a new monthly podcast all about Calgary cassettes, we couldn't say no!

So, we're very pleased to share with you the first episode of Unspooled. This spot will air on the first Wednesday of each month during Dawn Loucks and Mike Bell's great new show, Saved by the Bell (that's from 4 to 6 pm, in case you're wondering). The spot will focus on a Calgary band, a tape they put out and a song from said tape. A shorter version will run on air, and we'll be posting an extended listen on this here blog via Soundcloud.

Our first episode is an interview with the one and only Jackson Phibes. Jackson took us back 25 years to the 1990 and Forbidden Dimension's Mars is Heaven tape. Want to know the story behind "Martian Death Saucer"? Listen below! This podcast makes up for our less-than-comprehensive original post of the tape!

And tune in next month for more great stories from Calgary's cassettes!

Monday, 7 December 2015

Calgary Songs Project: One Month Until the Reveal!

Well, time flies when you're listening to records. And CDs. And tapes. And streamy things on the interweb. So it's probably high time we gave you a quick update on the Calgary Songs Project thing that we're prepping with Kenna Burima, in celebration of the High Performance Rodeo's 30th anniversary.

So, uh, we think we have the final list of 30 songs. There was heartbreak, gnashing of teeth, and, well, a lot of listening. But we're pretty sure we're there... some of the inclusions aren't going to be too surprising, but we do have a couple of things in the mix that are sure to perplex. But we think we have a playlist that represents the city, our scene and the High Performance Rodeo pretty well. We think.

Heck, we're not sure. There's bound to be a bit of regret tied up with this. Check back on Jan 7 for the list!

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Melted Mirror - Melted Mirror (2015)

So, today's tape is wrapping together a whole bunch of our favourite things: dark synth pop, Chris Zajko, and Evan Van Reekum. See, Chris Zajko has a new band, and they're playing a really great, dark synth pop. And Evan Van Reekum has a new label, and he's put out their tape as its first release. What a time to be alive!

We saw Melted Mirror for the first time earlier this year, and were super impressed. But this tape helps show how great they are - they play the same sort of the dark synth pop that Edmonton bands like the Faunts and the Floor were doing so well about ten years ago (wait, does that mean we're copying Edmonton's bands, but very, very slowly?). This is catchy, danceable, textured and really great to listen to. Zajko's yelping, staccato vocals are wrapped in Cian Haley's synth leads and arpeggios, along with Jeebs Nabil's chorus-y new wave geetars. The recording on this is surprisingly good - crisp, clean and the right balance between warm and cold. The new wave kid in us is really, really happy right now.

Word on the street is that the tape is sold out, but you can grab the download from the Melted Mirror bandcamp.

Friday, 20 November 2015

Spastic Panthers - Spastic Panthers (2015)

It's as we were adding the tags to this post that we realized something weird - this is the first time Dan Izzo has formally appeared on the CCPS in terms of being on a recording. Sure, he was an early supporter of this site with sharing a box of tapes with us, but, uh, it's weird that he hasn't put out any tapes yet. So weird. In fact, Dan may have asked us in his usual excited manner (ie his usual VERY excited manner) if we were going to put this tape on this site when we bought it from him last weekend. Well, duh. This is what we do. We buy the tapes, we listen to them, we put them on this site.

Anyways, if you're familiar with the Spastic Panthers, you won't be surprised by this tape. It's a nice contrast to the Weir tape we just posted: the songs are short and fast, probably because (as we noted at Tubby Dog last weekend) most kids who are in the mosh pit at Spastic Panthers shows don't have the stamina to last more than a minute and a half.

The high points on this tape is "Party Like a Ninja Turtle," a track even we at the CCPS can enjoy, even though we're a bit too old to ever have fully got into this TMNT thing, and "Amphetamine Vampire," which is classic, frantic Dan Izzo. And "Coaldale Saturday Night" is a sad, desperate view of punk rock in a small town that - we hope - Stompin' Tom would be proud of. Heck, we're just happy that we finally have Dan Izzo on tape.

The band claims that last weekend's show at Tubby Dog was their last ever Calgary show. We assume this means the band is kaput - either that or they're moving to Japan. Either way, do the right thing and get this tape via the Spastic Panthers bandcamp.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Weir - Calmness of Resolve (2015)

Here's another new tape... because that's all we've got right now. But this is a good one. See, we at the CCPS aren't very conversant in metal, even though we recognize how important it is to the Calgary music scene, and how heavily it has influenced a lot of our favourite bands. So, the new Weir tape is something we've been enjoying a lot.

We finally saw these guys live during Sled Island, and (partially because it was the last day of Sled and we may have been a bit durnk) had the weird sensation that time had been slowed down around us, or that we were watching the band through a thick stream of molasses. The Weir's brand of metal is slow, sludgy, riff-heavy and something we can totally get into. But, despite the sludginess of the songs, this tape is super crisp and really well done.

Get it from Melodiya or the Weir bandcamp.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Shiverettes - Just Three Songs (2015)

The Shiverettes are one of those bands that tickle just the right part of our reptilian brains. Their swaggering garage rock is one of our favourite things going right now, because, uh, we're addicted to garage rock.

Just Three Songs delivers the goods with a blast of three suitably snotty tunes. Sure, listening to this on tape lacks some of the great presence of the band - Hayley Muir is an excellent frontperson in the tradition of great Calgary fronts like DJewel and Kamil - but the attitude still carries through enough to make this memorable.

You can download the tracks from this at the Shiverettes' bandcamp, along with the excellent track from their Saved By Vinyl flexi, "Stephen Harper Suck My Dick."

Monday, 9 November 2015

Soft Cure - SAD (2015)

Picking up on yesterday's Basement Demons tape, we'd be cuckoo if we didn't post this tape from their drummer, Seth Cardinal, next. So, we're posting this tape from their drummer, Seth Cardinal!

This is a pretty remarkable collection of bedroom pop that Cardinal has put together. It's quiet, introverted and shows a tremendous sense of, well, pop craftsmanship. We've always had a soft spot from the one man bedroom band, so this is a thing we at the CCPS have really been enjoying.

This tape sits really nicely next to Lab Coast's output. And like Lab Coast, Soft Cure live is a very different beast - taking the songs in a much louder and more garage rock direction. Which is equally as good.

Download this from the Soft Cure bandcamp.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Basement Demons/Lunatique - Split (2015)

Back on to the new tapes! Except not new, we suppose. In the couple of months that we've been sitting on this, one of the bands on this split have, uh, split.

Lunatique called it quits over the summer, but this tape is a great document of their catchy and political songs. We're really looking forward to see where the folks involved pop up next.

The Basement Demons side is bookended by two typically noisy/shouty tracks. But the middle piece is a surprising little sound experiment that provides a nice counterpoint to their usual sound.

Oh, the cassette is this really cool clear, sparkly thing. We're not sure where you can get this physical tape, but there are downloads on the Lunatique and Basement Demons bandcamps.

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Calgary Songs Project: Reflecting on Community

We're holding off on tape posts for today, so we can let our pal Kenna Burima give a quick update on the High Performance Rodeo Calgary Songs Project.... 

How do you summarize the musical history of a city is just 30 songs? How do you define and catalogue the contributions of hundreds of Calgarians in just one playlist?

The answer is you can’t.

When the CCPS and I first embarked upon this project to celebrate 30 years of One Yellow Rabbit through 30 songs, we knew that it wasn’t going to be an easy task. With the public submission process now closed, we are sitting on a 250+ playlist of songs; but not just any songs. Songs that have a history, that spark memory, that mean something. They aren’t really just songs, they’re windows into the lives of Calgarians. The responsibility of curating such a list is equally crushing and exhilarating.

These 250+ songs represent a time and a place in Calgary that I can only think are reflective of community. But not just one community - rather a network of communities - punk, pop, rock, folk, country, metal, hip hop, jazz. The patterns that we are seeing emerge from the list and through the people we talk to have highlighted that every musical genre present in our city in the past and in the present has had a surrounding community that supports and nurtures those that are a part of it. How do we even begin to make sense of all those intricate relationships?

We can try.

To me, rather than attempting to create a definitive playlist, we instead have an opportunity to present a snapshot; through 30 songs, of all the communities found Calgary and the people that were (and are) a part of them.

Whatever and however or final 30-song list shakes out, it’s imperative to me that it is an inclusive list. I don’t expect to be a part of every community in Calgary and there is actually a certain amount of pride and happiness that there are musical corners and pockets in Calgary that I don’t know even exist. This means that just because I’m not a part of a certain community, doesn’t mean I can’t acknowledge and support and celebrate it as much as my own. We all want, nay we all need, places to feel we belong, that we are understand and supported. That to me is what community is.

So the CCPS and I will be working hard over the next month and when the list is unveiled on January 7, 2016 you will of course see the usual suspects, the popular no-brainers, but you will also see the lesser-known inclusions. We’ll be celebrating songs by indigenous artists, by our LGBT community, by women, by the very people that make our city a diverse, multicultural, metropolitan city.

Kenna Burima

Monday, 2 November 2015

Postman - Demo (2015)

So, what's next on the pile of new tapes we've been amassing? Well, it's Postman, featuring a former member of the Nancees, one of our favourite bands in recent years.

Postman mine a nice little area of garagey punk, stuff that whips along like a slightly-out-of-control train crashing down a hill. This tape doesn't quite hit the same heights as the posthumous Nancees album, but that's a pretty high bar.

Grab this tape from your local record store (we think Melodiya has copies), or download it at the Postman bandcamp.

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Janitor Scum - Janitor Scum (2015)

Okay, now that we've wrapped up all that collection and reflection for the first part of the Calgary Songs Project, it's time to focus on big pile of new tapes that's been, uh, piling up beside the stereo in the CCPS offices.

We bought this tape, and we're still not sure what it is. It's somehow related to the folks from Glitter, and while it claims to be from 1989, we're pretty sure it's not. And with the whole tape clocking in at just over seven minutes, this is the type of thing that blows by so quick that it's hard to fully understand. It reminds us a bit of the Topless Mongos, but that's only because we're too lazy to try to find something to compare it to that's not from Calgary.

Maybe you can come up with a better comparison after you listen to Janitor Scum on their bandcamp.

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Calgary Songs Project: THANK YOU!

Well, that was a fun few weeks. Thanks to all the people we reached out to directly for giving us their top five lists for the High Performance Rodeo Calgary Songs Project. Thanks to all of you who read these wacky posts and left your ideas and suggestions. And thanks especially to Kenna Burima and One Yellow Rabbit for partnering with us on this fine thing we're doing.

We kind of thought that when we started this, we were just working on creating a list of 30 songs for the upcoming festivities in next year's 30th anniversary High Performance Rodeo. Along the way, though, we got to be reminded of a whole bunch of great music that we had forgotten about - or didn't know about in the first place. We also assembled a long list of just under 200 bands and musicians for consideration, and probably close to 250 songs. And there were some wonderful offshoot discussions that we had, one of which resulted in the creation of an extensive list of women who have contributed to our music scene.

Sure, there's stuff we're kind of surprised wasn't mentioned, but there's also a lot of stuff that was brought forward which, well, is going to make it tricky to thin down to 30 songs.

So what's next? From here, we're going to sift through the recommendations and look at areas where there's consensus about which bands and songs should be included. Part of what we'll be looking it is the relevance of the bands/songs, their diversity and, uh, how good they'll sound on the Calgary Tower carillon. As much as we love the Primrods' Barbet Lad, we're not sure that one would translate that well.

Keep watching the blog here for updates on the project over the next few months. The final list of 30 songs to celebrate 30 years will be unveiled at the launch of the High Performance Rodeo on January 7, 2016.

Thanks again!

Friday, 23 October 2015

Calgary Songs Project: CJSW Picks

Today marks the start of one of our favourite times of year, along with Sled Island and Poutine Week. It's the kick off for CJSW's annual funding drive! Which means we'll be pledging our hearts and wallets out (especially so we can get this year's awesome live sessions CD set - and also because they've helped to make the entire VOX archive available online in a way we never could quite achieve).

In celebration of funding drive, we're going to focus on what a bunch of CJSW peeps think we should include in the High Performance Rodeo Calgary Songs Project...

Geneviève Dale - Program Director, CJSW
Walking on Ayr by Lab Coast: This song is perfect. What? Did you say something in opposition? I couldn't hear the details of it over the sound of you being WRONG. This song rules.
Silhouettes by Viet Cong: The band name bugs me so much, but I love this song. Soaring wolf-cry vocals, driving guitars, and unrelenting drums that crash and rise up and then become melodic again.
Dial Tone by Teledrome: This hits my eighties buttons completely. It just sounds so cool, you know?!
Dance Community by Shaani Cage: This song is about having fun and connecting with people who you love. It's soulful, sexy, and waaaay fun.
Guided by Volume by Napalmpom: It's just such a rocking, joyous, anthem of powerful, powerful love. You can't feel bad when you hear it.

Whitney Ota- Music Director CJSW 90.9 FM, Co-Owner Unit Structure Sound Recordings, Musician Yankee Yankee + Burro
Valiska - Clearing  
Bog Bodies - Blood Suds and Bone Shavings
Fuck Off Dad - A1 
Christine Leonard-Cripps - Journalist, Freelance writer (FFWD, Beatroute), Broadcaster (CJSW), Archivist.... Mother, Wife, Lover, Fighter....
Cowpuncher- Raised on Rock and Roll
A Team - IV proud albertans
Highkicks - Good Life
Primrods- Atom Smacker OR Take It Outside
 The Summerlad - City of Noise
Honorable mentions:
Double Fuzz- mountain
Double Fuzz - alone in my city
Skin Barn- Another Day
Adam Kamis - Musician, CJSW & club DJ, goes to lots of good shows.
The Primrods – Alright Tokyo!
Women – Black Rice
Forbidden Dimension – Mars Is Heaven
SIDS – Davidian Branch
OK Jazz – Pioneer Valour
Sarah Kitteringham - Writer and Editor, BeatRoute Magazine, Iron Fist and Noisey. Musician - Smoulder. Dark Agnes on CJSW 90.9's Doom What Thou Wilt.
1. Beija Flor - "Miss May" from the Quiet One and the Lonely One (2005)
2. Beyond Possession - "Final Daze" from ....Is Beyond Possession (1986)
3. Clinton St. John - "No Grand Scheme" from The Minor Arkhama (2014)
4. The Neighbourhood Council - "M is for Matroshika" from Live at CJSW (2008)
5. HROM - "Citadel of Heroes" from The Legend of Powerheart (2015)
6. Thorazine - "Fifth Victim" from Geneticide
7. Chad VanGaalen - "Clinically Dead" from Infiniheart (2002)

8. Viathyn - "The Coachmen" from Cynosure (2014)
9. Women -"Lawncare" from Women (2008)
10. Mares of Thrace - "Act II: Bathsheba's Reply to David" from the Pilgrimage (2012)

Those are some excellent choices all the way through. We're happy to see Summerlad's City of Noise show up, if only because of its connections to the High Performance Rodeo.

Today is the last day to get your picks in for the Calgary Songs Project - leave a comment below and let us know what we should include!

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Calgary Songs Project: The Final Stretch

We've been listening to a LOT of music from Calgarians recently, even more than usual. We've been thrilled at the response from people who have given us their ideas for the High Performance Rodeo Calgary Songs Project, and it's reminded us of stuff we had forgotten - as well as pointing us to stuff we had never heard of before. So thanks for all of your input over the past two and half weeks.

We have two more days for you to give us your ideas, and then on Saturday we'll be posting a wrap up and making sure the complete list is up for your perusal. Until then... let's look at some more picks!

Les Seminuk - Former Calgary Folk Festival General Manager and 19 years as CBC Calgary music dude
1. Gun metal grey..Lorrie Matheson.he has been an integral part of the scene since he arrived from sask. As a performer, band member with a host of others, and as a producer and engineer.
2. Insensitive..Jann Arden. No song changed more lives in calgary...
3. Extreme to me..Kris demeanor. Just a fine example of his work, he has crossed all the artistic boundaries in this town with integrity and style.
4. Rolling stone...Reuben and the dark. maybe the best of a great crop of the last few years

5. It's enough to be remembered. Tim Williams. One of the best songs I've ever heard about bring a musician from the hardest working and inspirational performer to ever call this town his home.
Joelle May - Publicist, Mod May Productions
Heather Blush & the Uppercuts - My Favorite Addiction

Jenny Allen - Beautiful Mess
The Bownesians - "He’s from Bowness, she’s from Montgomery”
Scott McLeod - Drank the Ocean Dry
Kaley Kinjo - Afraid
Lorrie Matheson - Fan

1. Levitation - the Quitters
2. Greg Ginn's Sweater - Napalmpom
3. TNT - Wagbeard
4. Down With Safe - Hot Little Rocket
5. Wake Up Honolulu - Jay Crocker and the Electric Apes
Lee Shedden - Musician
5: Hard Part of Town by Tom Phillips
4: Not Enough People by High Kicks
3: Darwin Bonoparte by Wagbeard
2: Sadie Hawkins by National Dust

1: Loss Leaders by Night Committee
Honourable Mention: Insensitive, Jann Arden/Anne Loree

Mike Fury - Musician
Canadian Man - Steve Pineo

When the Lights Go Out - Eve Hell and the Razors
Rumblin' Down - Agriculture Club
Jesus Started Drinking - Plaid Tongued Devils
I Need a Woman - Johnny V and the Houserockers

We find it fascinating that as much as we see some artists and songs popping up over and over (we have a pile of mentions for Anne Loree/Jann Arden's Insensitive - rightly so, we think), that we're also seeing a lot of new picks. So much fun - and you've got two days left to leave us another idea below!

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Calgary Songs Project: Three Days Left For Submissions!

Well, we're heading into the final stretch of the public input phase of the High Performance Rodeo Calgary Songs Project. After this, we'll consult the runes to come up with our final list of 30 songs, and Kenna will head into her magic castle and prepare the composition for the carillon. Exciting times!

Of course, we still have a bunch of top 5's (and, top 10's. And, uh, top 12's) to share with you. So, onwards!

Lori Hahnel - Writer
“What a Way to Run a Railroad” -- Huevos Rancheros
“Hillcrest Mine” – James Keelaghan
“Everybody Wants to Be a Cat” -- Karl Roth

“Armando’s Fire” -- Oscar Lopez
“The Fool is the Last One to Know” – Billy Cowsill and the Blue Shadows
Chris Vail - Musician, No Baby
The Primrods "Alright Tokyo"
Straight "The Obvious Things"
The New 1-2 "Pressures On The Eye"
Ryan Bourne "Many Creatures"

Aaron Booth "Sleep In Cinescope"
Dave Muir - Sloth Records
The Sturgeons - Punk Rock Virgins
The Quitters - Feel Alright
Forbidden Dimension - 13 Bloody Graves
Color Me Psycho - Sacred Valley Penetration
The Daggers - Nowhere to Go
The Neckers - Have Love Will Travel
Wagbeard - Alpha
Von Zippers - Bad Generation
Knucklehead - North of the 54

Squat - I Hope You Die
Fake Cops - Snake Eyes
Pussy Monster - Pussy Machine
Eddie Dalrymple - Melodiya Records

Lucid 44 - Yellow Dress
Stalwart Sons - Shared Cup
SIDS - Who ya gonna take to the prom
Chad Vangaalen - Graveyard
Mount Analogue - Mother Fluxus
Jeff Burns - Recordist
The Quitters - Levitation
The Parkades - Attack Me
Primrods - Santa Lucia
The Von Zippers - Cracked Judy

Beagle Ranch - Mr. Ordinary World

Well, that's a pretty long list - and a bunch of stuff that hadn't been mentioned yet. What else are we missing? Let us know in the comments below!

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Calgary Songs Project: Displaced Calgarians

It's kind of fun to be waking up this morning to a country that's not being led by a degenerate, but also kind of crappy to be waking up in a city that's still a stronghold of Conservative support. It kind of makes us wish we lived somewhere else. Which is why today's post for the High Performance Rodeo Calgary Songs Project is all about folks who have left our fair city for other destinations. What songs would they include in our final playlist of 30? Well, let's find out!

Mark Macarthur - Executive Producer, CBC Music (and former Hot Little Rocket bassist)
Chad VanGaalen "Willow Tree" from Soft Airplane (2006)
The Dudes "Dropkick Queen Of The Weekend" from Beepuncher EP (2003)
Colour Me Psycho "Black Corvair" from Kiss Me Then (1986)

Jane Vain & The Dark Matter "C'mon Baby Say Bang Bang" (2007)
Tegan And Sara "Walking With A Ghost" (2004)

Greg Kushner - Musician, DJ, Junior High Drama Teacher. Footnote (if he's lucky..).
Delusions of Reality - "Moondog" Amazing. Complex. Epic. Perfect.
Dixie's Death Pool - "Kool Whip" (if available. If not, then...) "The Golden Pain of Desire" Beautiful outsider music.Exquisite.
Funeral Factory - "Abduction" Easily the most intense performance I have experienced, both on CD and live. Heartbreaking.
Mants - "Mants in Your Pants" An acknowledgement of Calgary's long history of novelty tunes.Brilliant comedy concept.
Same Difference - "Soft in her Silence" The perfect storm of talent, humility and genius. Every show changed lives.

James Martin - Bowness High School class of '88
Kara Keith: "Kick this City"
Huevos Rancheros: "Endsville"
Forbidden Dimension: "Anabelle"
Tegan and Sara: "Walking with a Ghost"
Cripple Creek Fairies: "We Are the Bomb"

Tariq Hussain - Musician
Rae Spoon - Come on Forest Fire, Burn The Disco Down
Women - Black Rice
Reverie Sound Revue - Walking Around, Waiting Downtown

Zuckerbaby - Andromeda
Dragon Fli Empire - Mount Pleasant
It's kind of amazing that it's taken about two weeks before anyone has mentioned Zuckerbaby. What do you think? Are they worthy of the final Calgary Songs Project list?

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Calgary Songs Project: Into the Forbidden Dimension!

Today for our ongoing search for 30 songs to include in the High Performance Rodeo Calgary Songs Project, we reached out to our pals in the Forbidden Dimension. Why? Well, we're not entirely sure. We thought they'd have some interesting stuff to share. And, by gum, they did! Well, they took things in a bit of an interesting direction, but, hey, when your band is almost 30 years old, you're allowed to have a certain range of freedom.
We call this one Five Characters In Search of an Epitaph...once you could find them in Calgary, but now you could only find the Twilight Zone. (The Louisiana was kind of a character in a way...and sort of its own Twilight Zone as well!)
Virginia Dentata:

Cal Levitt: My favourite memories of Cal was last call at the Ship where he'd be dancing on the table tops. I saw a picture of him in a suit when he was a young engineer and he reminded me of a very handsome, young Jack Palance. Era: 90s
P.T. Bonham (the Most Nostalgic One):
The 5 Star Bag Lady: She was a somewhat scary woman who perpetually wore sunglasses and a hat adorned with 5 plastic stars. She was the first shopping cart person that I ever encountered. People said she was actually a millionaire. Probably not. Era: early 80's.
The Whooper: The Whooper was a conservatively dressed older man who tirelessly walked the streets of down-town, usually with a shopping bag in each hand. Every block or two he would give forth with a lusty Stampede-style "WHOOOP!" I'm guessing the bus drivers knew him pretty well. Era: early 80's.
The Louisiana: Located in the Motel Village this was a somewhat impossible combination of great Cajun food and low prices. Run a bit haphazardly by a small family the only downside to eating there was being interrogated by the precocious daughter. Re-surfaced briefly on 10th Street in Kensington but it just wasn't the same. I still dream of the Louisiana rice 'n' beans to this day. Era: mid 90's?
Jackson Phibes:
Disco Grandma: Often seen shakin' it on down in a strawberry-coloured wig, hot pants and go-go boots, dancing with her reflection in the big mirrors to the music wafting out from the nearby Sam the Record Man in TD Square. Era: 80s.
P. T. Bonham's Top 5 Calgary Songs:
Bubble Gum - Ex Boyfriends: Mike Paton's most awful guitar sound in the world turns into the most beautiful Johnnie Marr impression ever in the chorus. Plus Jean's backups - this was my fave version of the TXBFS.
Boner - El Caminos: they took the best punk idea ever (1/2 the song is full time the other 1/2 is ... 1/2 time) from the Bad Brains and made a whole band out of it. Plus Kamil is Calgary's Mark E. Smith.
Mom, Dad and the Kids: Eye on You: Kids is pronounced kayyyy-ids. That's why.
The Submersibles: the New 1-2: A perfect song made even more perfect by Toby's 4 second stick on rim solo. If there was a Canadian equivalent of the English expression "The Dog's Bollocks" I'd use it to describe this masterpiece. 
Eyeballs - Thee Cryptics: Ian Manhire is a really great songwriter. This is the only one I can remember the name of.
Virginia Dendata's Top 5 Calgary Songs:
Ramblin’ Ambassadors - The Hairless Cat 
Von Zippers - Insect Idol
Color Me Psycho - My Favorite Nightmare
The Brenda Vaqueros - The very last song in the set at the Palomino before Adam moved to Vancouver left an indelible impression on me and I’m sorry that I don’t recall the title. (Kenna's Note: Virginia, thank so much for including this song. It was "All Over Now" by X from Australia, so sadly NOT a Calgary song)
 The Shiverettes – Stephen Harper Suck My Dick

Both Color Me Psycho and Forbidden Dimension have kept showing up on other peoples' top 5 lists, and they're among the bands where it's going to be tricky to settle on one song if they make the cut. Color Me Psycho's Black Corvair and Sacred Valley Penetration both have been suggested, and Forbidden Dimension songs that have been mentioned so far ar Dial "M" For MonsterTonight I Paint In Flesh ColourMartian Death Saucer and 13 Bloody Graves. Which would you choose? Let us know below!

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Calgary Songs Project: Record Collectors' Top 5s

Here's another quick way out of a sticky situation (for example, trying to figure out which 30 songs best represent our city over the past 30 years) - ask a record collector! Record collectors are tremendous sources of information and ridiculously inane trivia. So, we asked a few of our vinylphile pals what they thought we should include in the High Performance Rodeo Calgary Songs Project. Here's what we got:

Dan Northfield - Bookings, Concorde Group
Von Zippers - Megavolt
The Dudes - Drop Kick Queen of the Weekend
Reverie Sound Revue - Walking Around Waiting Downtown
Wagbeard - Too Easy
Field Day - Enough for Two
The Neckers - Repeat Last Summer
Baron Mark Von Frankenstine XIII - Dictator, Cannibal, Philanthropist
1) Huevos Rancheros – “Go West Young Bee” (1994) Get a load o’ this sideways take on the national anthem by a much missed local institution. This song should be as famous across Canada as Hendrix’s “Star Spangled Banner” is south of the border.
2) The Von Zippers – “Nothing Can Bring Me Down” (2011) Compiling a list of noteworthy Calgary tunes released post-1986 would be pointless without a tip of the hat to The Von Zippers. They’ve managed to remain consistently relevant throughout a career spanning across three decades, and they released some of their most vital material (this 7” especially) in the past few years.
3) Chixdiggit – “Shadowy Bangers from a Shadowy Duplex” (1996) Nothing quite speaks to the Calgary experience quite like this ode to shady neighbours hailing from some dingy (probably illegal) basement secondary suite.
4) The Parkades – “The Man Insane” (1994) I picked this one because I’m shamelessly kissing your ass. I feel no shame because it’s an amazing song, and I doubt anyone else will pick it because it’s too stoopid. Stoopid is way underrated in this modern era where overwrought pretention is the new mediocrity.
5) The Mandates – “Messing Around” (2015) It might seem a little premature to throw on a song this recent. Although it hasn’t got a decade of critical acclaim standing behind it YET, it stands at the forefront of a global movement to bring back fun, un-ironic rock’n’roll music with big hooks and bigger guitars. Forget Cheap Trick and Thin Lizzy; the future belongs to The Mandates. This one puts Calgary back on the international rock’n’roll map in the 21st century.
 DJ Leasa Podloski - Turn It Up Records & Hi-Fi! (formerly The Inner Sleeve)
Forbidden Dimension - 13 Bloody Graves (1988): Horror garage of legendary cult proportions! This came from Calgary? I still can’t believe it! I read somewhere that FD are The Beatles of horrorpunk. Yes! One of our cities most unique offerings from the prolific horrific, guitarist, illustrator extraordinaire, Tom Bagley! My favorite 7” pic sleeve and song to see live.
Same Difference - Cigarette (You Say) (1989): This track exemplifies powerhouse vocals interlaced with honest fragility, like only a woman can, and oh, the percussion! A real inspiration for a teen on the scene back then, and what a treat to see them live for the first time at the CJSW 25th Anniversary gig!
Field Day - Pet (1992): I split my chin open skateboarding at the Nutty Club loft downtown while Field Day played, and required three stitches. Surely gig goers have a similar tale! They played pure pop-rocket punk, every weekend, every venue, it seemed, and we were always there. The cassette was the same three tracks on both sides, so you could flip it and play it twice, like I did just now, 23 years later. Timeless memories for many!
Dragon Fli Empire - Mount Pleasant (2002): Hip Hop homage to our city, as observed riding up and down the #2 bus route. Feel good beats and a shout out to the landmark Rosedale Cleaners! This track received a lot of radio play and catapulted DFE into Canadian hip hop, where they remain a driving force. There is a Mount Pleasant in every city, isn’t there? Nice people dwell there. When asked where I reside, I reply Mount Pleasant, ya’ll!
The Ex-Boyfriends - Longer Than Your Memory (2003): What are your songs about? Vocalist DJewel replied, oh, about 2 ½ minutes. I’ll always remember that quote! TXBF hits with relentless guitar and inimitable vocal delivery in a torn leotard with beer soaked lyric sheet. Pure, unadulterated Rock and Roll mania!
There's some seriously good choices in there. Anything you would add to the list? Let us know in the comments below!

Friday, 16 October 2015

Calgary Songs Project: A Whole Bunch of Musicians Weigh In

This is one of those embarrassing situations where suddenly you realize that you have a week left for people to give their ideas for the High Performance Rodeo Calgary Songs Project, and you ALSO realize that you're sitting on a crapload of suggestions from folks that you personally reached out to that you haven't shared yet. Oops. Sorry. To make up for that, here's a heckuvapost, with a whole lotta lists for you to mull over, all from Calgary musicians (hey, who better to ask?). Which of these songs deserve to be on our final list of 30 songs to celebrate Calgary and 30 years of the High Performance Rodeo?

Brendan Tincher - The Neckers, The Pygmies
1. Bar-B-Cutie - Huevos Rancheros
2. I Feel Like Gerry Cheevers (I've Got Stitch Marks On My Heart)- Chixdiggit
3. Misbehave - Dojo Workhorse
4. Six Flags - The Primrods
5. Foot and Mouth - The Summerlad

Bob Keelaghan - The Puritans, Agnostic Mountain Gospel Choir, Muerte Pan Alley
"Can't Remember Names" by Wagbeard
"Vacant" by Straight
"Burn 2 Ash" by Chad VanGaalen
"Mother's Worry" by Color Me Psycho 
"Hillcrest Mine" by James Keelaghan (Yeah, he's my brother, but he deserves an ass-load of credit for what he did as a Calgary indie musician.)
"Mendoza Line" by the Dudes (Honorable mention)

Mary-Lynn Wardle - The Funeral Factory
Cigarette by Same Difference
Sybil for Free by Big Bang Theory
So Elvis by The Funeral Factory (it was not my song, though we credited things equally. It's Religion Darc's.)
Finders Keepers by Lorrie Matheson
Gravity of Ruin by Tom Phillips
Mr. Invisible on it by Colour Me Psycho
Match Made in Hell by The Walking Dead

Dan Vacon - The Dudes, Dojo Workhorse, HighKicks
Sikome Beach - Chixdiggit
the 403? - Great Evil
Blood Machine - Chad VanGaalen

I'm A Truck - A-Team
Let's Play in Traffic - Hot Little Rocket
(Damn it! Also, the Fall by Forest Tate is maybe the best song I've ever heard.)

Chantal Vitalis - Same Difference, Maud, The Lovebullies and Kris Demeanor & his Crack Band

ONE SHOE by Kris Demeanor. The true story of Neil Stonechild, Lloyd Dustyhorn, and a number of other First Nations men in the Saskatoon area found frozen to death after last seen in the company of Saskatoon police officers. A haunting tale sung/told in a manner fittingly detached, remote…

INSENSITIVE by Anne Loree (made famous by Jann Arden). Fabulous melody, great lyrics and something everyone can relate to: Unrecoited love. “I really should have know by the time you drove me home, by the chill in your embrace the expression on your face that told me, maybe you might have some advice on how to be insensitive…” I was there, with a handful of others, the first time Anne played that song live at a jam that Jann Arden was hosting at the now-defunct club Cover to Cover. Jann was blown away by the song, as were we all, and I’m so glad that it received the attention it deserved.

THE FOOL IS THE LAST ONE TO KNOW by Billy Cowsill/Ralph Boyd Johnson. Billy was ADORED by the Calgary music community and this tune, co-written with another favourite Calgary songwriter, Ralph Boyd Johnson, is why. Here’s some info on Billy...
RIBBONS AND BOWS by Tom Phillips. Love this song and love the way he sings it. “If it has to change well, that’s the way it goes. Ribbons and bows can turn into chains…”

MOUNT PLEASANT by Dragon Fli Empire. One of the most ‘Calgary’ songs I know! “Up and down the #2, Killarney 17th Avenue…” That’s MY BUS, dudes!

Daren Powell - Brenda Vaqueros, Beaver Squadron
Color Me Psycho - Sacred Valley Penetration

Sacred Heart of Elvis - Black Snake Moan
Curse of Horseflesh - Liberty's Cannonball
Cripple Creek Fairies - She Sells Stems Cells

Brent Crosson - Brenda Vaqueros, Beaver Squadron
She Sells Stem Cells - Cripple Creek Fairies
Creepsville - Forbidden Dimension
Sin - Sacred Heart of Elvis
Atom Smasher - Primrods
Mr. Invisible - Colour Me Psycho

Phew. That's a lot of stuff for us to go listen to now. We're really happy to see the Sacred Heart of Elvis and Cripple Creek Fairies show up on someone's lists... We also like how no one can seem to agree on which Chixdiggit or Huevos songs should be included!

Anything else we should be considering? Let us know in the comments below!

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Calgary Songs Project: Calgary Music and the Women Who Were There/Are Here

A note from Kenna Burima:
It should come as no surprise that Calgary has been and continues to be home to a bevy of badass women. We reached out to a few of them for their top five favourite Calgary songs and to get some of their thoughts, ponderings and memories on music in Calgary. We’re continuing to collect them, so if you’d like to contribute, make sure to connect with Arif and I. Reading these stories I am struck by what an amazing sense of community we have here in Calgary. I am honoured to be a part of this continuing history.

We start with one of the most important women in my life. One Yellow Rabbit’s fearless leader Ann Connors. I cannot emphasize enough how much respect I have for her and all the women included in this blog. There are many. Thank you for doing what you do.

Much love and respect,

Ann Connors - Managing Director, One Yellow Rabbit and the High Performance Rodeo
I am from and of Newfoundland. Am actually in St. John’s right now for the Festival of New Dance and am writing this post from my hotel room on Signal Hill Rd with a view that looks out over the harbour. If this was July during the St. John’s Sound Symposium the tugboats would right about this time be playing a harbour symphony composed by a Newfoundland musician.
So you see, music is deeply engrained in my culture; it is in my bones. It has been a part of my life that goes back as far as I can remember – when as a toddler the only way I could tell my mother’s identical twin brothers apart was I knew that Uncle Cyril played the fiddle and Uncle Bill played the spoons. And still to this day, every family gathering ends with a guitar, piano and many songs. And as always, you would be hard pressed to find a pub in downtown St. John’s (or anywhere on the island) on any night of the week where there isn’t some form of music begging you inside– be a gal on a guitar or a dance-up with a fiddler player. It’s everywhere really.
There are a lot of incredible musicians in Newfoundland. So many so that people often say “There must be something in the water”. As I discover more and more Alberta musicians I say “What is up with those mountains?”
I moved to Calgary three years ago. Ship and Anchor, Mickey’s Juke Joint, Ironwood (to name a few) – bursting with live music and cold beer. Wow Calgary – do you ever know how to make a girl feel at home. Since then I have been blessed with countless music events from the Folk Festival to Festival Hall series to the World Music Series and to all great pubs in between and am slowly but surely discovering this incredible music scene. And no surprise to see so many female artists front and centre. After all Calgary – you did give the world Fiest, Jann Arden, Tegan and Sara and so many fabulous female artists – pretty incredible role models for young musicians to follow. It’s a great scene and I fell blessed that it exists.

Nicola Lefevre - Musician (Sequicons, Chick Magnets, TUGS) Founder, Girls Rock Camp Calgary
I started playing in my first band in 1993, a few months after I had started grade 10 at Bishop Carroll High School. My new friends Dan Gaucher (drums) and Mike Hesketh (guitar) had been playing music together for a few years, and wanted to start a new band with another friend PJ Letourneau, and me. Bass and vocals were available, and since PJ wanted to sing, my parents bought me a Vantage short scale bass for my birthday and I tried to figure it out. My bass lessons consisted of a lot of Mike telling me "the third fret on the A string" in those days. We called ourselves "Drew" after Dan's best friend.
I knew there were other women in bands; one of the more prominent bands in the city at the time was Placebo with Leslie Feist, Elescia Eisler and Toby Connoly (and Kieran McCauley as the sole dude.) Just starting out as a contributing musician though, I didn't feel much of a connection yet with anyone in the scene that wasn't already a friend of mine. And my friends were dudes; consequently so was my musical circle.
Mike, Dan and I all had friends in other bands that played pretty regularly, and eventually the day came that we were invited to join a bill with Dayworld and Chixdiggit at the Black Lounge. June 18th, 1994; I know this because I still have the tape that was recorded off the sound board. I was 15, and this would be my first time playing bass guitar on stage. I was nervous, I needed to borrow an amp, I was the only girl, and a big fan of all the other bands on the bill. No matter how many shows I had been to, how many people I knew, how stoked I was on our songs, I did not feel like I belonged there. And that feeling lasted about 5 minutes. Before I even had to ask, one of the other bass players told me he had heard I needed an amp and was welcome to use his. Our friends AND people I didn't know cheered for us. A guy told me he didn't believe I had only been playing for a few months. In the 22 years since that show, I have been told I was "pretty good for a girl" more times than I can count, even now at 37. I have been asked which band my boyfriend was in while carrying my gear into a venue; I've been grabbed and leered at and aggressively propositioned and told I should smile more; but that first show really set the tone for the community I've been a part of for most of my life. And truly, it's an experience I always bring to mind when things seem unrelentingly awful and I wonder about why I should care to even try and help fix it.

Nicola’s Top Five!

1. 20 Something (by Rusty Nails. Technically this band was from Vancouver, but they had a VERY strong connection to this city and were here a lot. This is one of my favourite songs of all time by any band.)
2. You'll Need a Telescope (by Schecky Forme)

And more recently...
3. Sick Daze (by Zackariah and the Prophets)
4. Across the Country (by Miesha and the Spanks)
5. Loss Leaders (by Night Committee)
Special mention, cuz I gotta... "Feint of Heart" by Napalmpom.

Christine Berger - former Night Gallery bartender and all around badass
These women...
With what I thought, coming from a vacuous small town to the bright lights and big city of Calgary, being a young and impressionable teenager, starting at the Night Gallery, I was pretty nervous and intimidated by the incredible talent I was surrounded by.

I remember watching these prodigious women walk into our club with such presence and stature, with gear in hand they would climb onto the stage and stand with what I thought was sheer grandeur and grace. They would either belt out their lyrics or play their instruments with such undulated purpose. I longed to have their courage. They had something to say to the world through their music and I intently wanted to listen and learn. These women with such raw aptitude helped me shape my way through my teens and give me my voice. I'm not sure if they all knew at the the time that they were breaking down barriers and creating new forks in the road for those to travel who might not be so bold, but their actions and presence made it okay for others to follow or break the mold.

I don't want to name names because there were and are so many intoxicating, creative visionaries out there that it's hard to do so, but if you do want a name, I can honestly remember looking up at Kara Keith on stage I thought she was at least 20 feet tall if she were a foot.

I would love to thank all those powerhouse women in the Calgary scene and beyond, those women who gave and still give it their all. I Thank you. X

Onalea Gilbertson – One Yellow Rabbit Ensemble Member, ACTOR, musician singer, Creator, Currently resides in NYCand is performing in the off Broadway show Sleep No More
God. Impossible to say only one musical memory. So I share a kaleidoscope - OYR - meeting and working with all of the freaks lovers brothers - on avant guarde music theatre. Life changing- genre shifting. Singing penultima arcane (in in klezskavania) with giant prosthetic breasts belting a high g! Working/touring in dream machine - all those tender tours - Michael greens America as we walk slowly towards him - no music but yet MUSIC!!! ZAPPA!! What?? Being only girl singing all of the high stuff - really dreaming out w the freaks. Working w all these freaks inspired me to write my own work. BANFF CENTRE 2007 my life changes forever as Morag Northey and Jonathan Lewis play my music with me - first time I play piano in public. RODEO 2010 world premiere REQUIEM FOR A LOST GIRL - written w composer marcel Bergmann and people experiencing homelessness - no words. Unbelievable And life changing. Bring supported in all of this - bringing my shows REQUIEM AND BLANCHE to NYC. Bringing MATA HARI IN 8 bullets ( solo version new creation) to NYC. all life changing. WHY? artists hearts - poetry expression audience discussion - laughter tears FREAKS

What can I say - emotional - abundant and unbelievable

Onalea’s Top Five!

Plaid tongue Devils - in klezskavania " spend a penny"
David Rhymer/Blake Brooker - surrounded by chrome from dream machine
Kris demeanor/ david Rhymer - Vesuvius from " crime does not pay"
Rhymer/Brooker " loneliness" from Mata Hari

Onalea Gilbertson/ Morag Northey -isn't it scandalous" from Blanche the bittersweet life of a wild prairie dame

Honourable Mentions: Illinois enemy bandit from zappa's little creatures/ Michael Green and the shiney beast ensemble

Bonus top 5's!

Vicki Stroich - surfer, dramaturg and Executive Director at Alberta Theatre Projects

They’re a Comin’ - The Dudes - I guess most folks might choose Dropkick Queen of the Weekend, which I also have a strong affection for, but if I were to choose one song by The Dudes that does it for me it’s this one. When I get ornery and rebellious I still sing to myself “It’s alright now, you won’t win and I don’t owe you anything” over and over.

Sunshine Snare Hits - Chad Van Gaalen - I have a CD I bought from Chad when he was playing out on 17th Avenue with a drawing he did of a little body with an analog telephone for a head. He did a panel discussion that I curated once and I remember exchanging an e-mail with him before we met at the University where he said he would be “the really tall, quiet guy.” I picked him out of the crowd immediately. This will always be my favourite of his songs.

Insensitive - performed by Jann Arden - A lovely song, to be sure, performed by one of Calgary’s own great voices but it makes the list for me because the video started an obsession with the Anderson Apartment building that has lasted through my teenage years and my entire adulthood.

Crowchild Trail - Huevos Rancheros - Every all ages gig I ever went to these guys were playing.

Tough Cookie - Samantha Savage Smith - A song for cold nights in February when the snow is falling outside and one is looking for something or someone warm to hold.

Mariel Buckley - Musician 

(and of course Mariel NEVER follows the rules, she's given us her favourite Calgary songwriters. "I'll allow it," says Kenna)

Really, I can't pick five songs specifically, because each of the people I've chosen has an insane catalogue and all of their songs should be put in high praises.

- Billy Cowsill: If you're not listening to Billy, or haven't listened, you're dead inside and not a local country artist. Or maybe you are and just haven't heard. My bad. (*When Will This Heartache End, *The Fool Is The Last One To Know, *Think On It)

- Tom Phillips: Same applies. Genius lyrical abilities, and a golden voice. (Like A Rodeo*)

- The Dudes: Holy fuck, pay attention, these guys are staples of the local scene and have a Christmas Party every year that blows your hair back. Not to forget the side project Dojo Workhorse - love their stuff. (Misbehave* - Dojo)

- Feist: Vocals and composition speak for themselves, she's a real gem and we should be proud as fuck that she came out of our city. (The Bad In Each Other*, When I Was A Young Girl*, Honey Honey*...)

- Tim Leacock: Not sure if I could locate a solo record to boast, but this guy has remained a faithful sideman to almost every notable roots artist in the city and has an incredible catalogue of original material. Flying under the radar may be his way, but I'm hoping to hear a solo record of material in the near future. (Nowhere Radio* - co-write with Tom Phillips)

Colleen Langford - Former Night Gallery Queen

Pussy Monster - Dracula's Teabag: At this time, the Riot Grrrl movement was fervent and totally happening. But not in Calgary. Women had a really difficult time getting any stage time, and despite what we know now about some internal sexism in the band, Pussy Monster was an electrifying Woman's Band! Val's vocals were raw, dirty and messy and she embodied a lot of classic rock machismo mixed with the tongue-in-cheek schoolgirl uniform that really signified the Riot Grrrl movement. Pussy Monster couldn't exactly be categorized as Riot Grrrl though. Their influences were as much English Punk as they were MC5 as they were garage. At any rate, this song still hits me right in the chest. How can you not love a song about used tampons?

At this time, the Riot Grrrl movement was fervent and totally happening. But not in Calgary. Women had a really difficult time getting any stage time, and despite what we know now about some internal sexism in the band, Pussy Monster was an electrifying Woman's Band! Val's vocals were raw, dirty and messy and she embodied a lot of classic rock machismo mixed with the tongue-in-cheek schoolgirl uniform that really signified the Riot Grrrl movement. Pussy Monster couldn't exactly be categorized as Riot Grrrl though. Their influences were as much English Punk as they were MC5 as they were garage. At any rate, this song still hits me right in the chest. How can you not love a song about used tampons?

The Puritans - Dennis Wilson: It was a tough choice between this and Wolloping Dollop. To me, The Puritans really epitomized Calgary rock and roll in the 90s. I'm sure I'd get a fair bit of argument from Von Zippers fans, but The Puritans had this incredible urgency about them, and Dennis Wilson was their signature. All tension and build, this song still makes the hair on my neck stand up.

Earthquake Pills - The Pink Bomb: I'm sure picking this makes me seem like a Chris Temple super fan - and maybe I am - but his voice could easily travel from whimper to bellow with so little effort, and I think of him as a bit of a hometown hero for that reason alone. Earthquake Pills were bit of an anomaly at the time and they're not remembered the same way that garage or novelty, costume-heavy bands from Calgary are. This song is all twee and feelie and still kind of breaks my heart.

The Ex-Boyfriends - Longer Than Your Memory: Calgary's Only Rock and Roll Band! TXBF easily put on the best rock and roll performance in Calgary and I miss seeing them! Djewel is a god and a legend because he knows everything about music and it all pours out when he's live. This one is snotty and sexy and arrogant. Like rock and roll should be.

The Von Zippers - Kill That Guy: I dunno. It's just their best song and they're amazing. But I kind of also wanted to pick The Mants - The Mants.

Dawn Loucks - Cheerleader. Believer in the Karma Economy.

1) Tom Phillips - Ribbons and Bows (or Life is a Rodeo). I truly believe that Tom is one of the best songwriters this city has ever produced. Ribbons and Bows, I think, is one of the best descriptions of the ending of a relationship that I've heard in song ("ribbons and bows have turned into chains..."

2) Lorrie Matheson - Mission to Inglewood. I honestly don't know that Lorrie ever recorded this beyond the 'demo stage'. This was from the 'Brass Tacks' period. We all know what amazing contributions Lorrie has made to the city and scene. This song describes his moving from Mission to Inglewood. So Calgary.

3) Rae Spoon - My heart is a piece of garbage, fight seagulls fight. I can't say enough about what a contribution Rae has made to present the issue of gender identity in a new and different light. And, through that work, Rae has shown the world that Calgary is not quite the place that it has often been 'labelled' as. This song mentions the Calgary Tower.

4) Primrods - I can't remember the song name, but it is the one about the swimming pool that is on the split 10" with Wagbeard (Santa Lucia). These guys were signed to Geffen. Amazing, totally crazy, brilliant.

5) Parkades - Attack Me. Highlighted so many elements of the DIY ethic. I still remember when The Parkades were on Nightlines (David Wisdom) on CBC.

Honorable Mentions - Chris Vail in any of his projects; Kara Keith/Falconhawk; FD.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Calgary Songs Project: Steve Elaschuk

Now, we at the CCPS are, as you know by now, the type of people that like to hone in on one joke and tell it over and over again until it's really not funny anymore (in fact, it likely wasn't funny in the first place). SO, without further ado, for today's post in preparation for the High Performance Rodeo Calgary Songs Project, we're turning to one of our favourite people AND one of our favourite people to make fun of, Steve Elaschuk.

See, Steve is a central figure in the Calgary scene, having played the bass guitar on a whole pile of our favourite recordings, and filled in with pretty much every Calgary rock band in the 90's and 00's. He's had a ringside seat for almost the entire 30 years we're covering with this project, and thanks to that he's got endless advice for bands (usually, when to stop playing and hurry off stage), bandmates (just ask Kenna Burima!) and bloggers (usually, when we're wrong about stuff).

So, we had to ask Steve for his top five Calgary songs.

Of course, being who he is, he couldn't stick to the rules, and gave us ten:

Beyond Possession - Skater's Life
Forbidden Dimension - 13 Bloody Graves
Ninth Configuration - Happy

Skin Barn - Another Day
Arm & Hammer - Children's Day

Ded Souls - Green Sweep
Fire Engine Red - Theresa Says
Fire Engine Red - Shank Pony
Primrods - Six Flags
National Dust - Before you Wear The Grindstone Down

A few things about this list strike us: first, several of these bands (Arm & Hammer, Ded Souls, Fire Engine Red) are guys that he went on to play with. Second, he's picked two Fire Engine Red songs (we can count!). Third, he gave us ten songs instead of five. 

So, in return, we're going to give YOU five songs featuring Steve Elaschuk that we think are worthy of the Calgary Songs Project. Or at least a mix tape for your girl/boyfriend.

Wagbeard - Worth: Say what you want, this is hands-down our favourite Wagbeard song. It has helped to ensure that our Wagbeard/Primrods split has received almost equal play on both sides.

Falconhawk - Try a Little Longer: Kara Keith helped remind us that keyboards deserved to be front and centre in rock bands, and while her first CD was bouncy and fun, Steve didn't play on it. As soon as Steve joined the band, she started writing more serious, sober songs. Coincidence?

The Neckers - Share Secrets: Ignoring that painfully awkward music video, this is a great, great slice of exuberant power pop.

Thousandsticks - Begin Again: Thousandsticks was, on paper, a weird band. Fronted by the drummer from Joker and Fire Engine Red, with guitars by a guy from Brass, keyboards by the guitarist from Red Autumn Fall and drums by the guy from Skin Barn, and little Steve Elaschuck thrown into the mix for good measure. BUT - a seriously underrated band. 

The Brenda Vaqueros - Zen Bud: Here's great one. The Brenda Vaqueros were a tremendous force of psych/garage rock. Oh, and that's our Calgary Songs Project co-conspirator, Kenna Burima, on the killer lead vocals.

Oh, plus the Daggers, Earthquake Pills, the Roaming Storms, Elaschuka... the list goes on and on. And if you get a couple of drinks into Steve, he goes on and on as well.

But we really do love him and all he's done for our scene.

So, what's your favourite band that included Steve Elaschuk?

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Calgary Songs Project: Songs About Calgary

One of the questions we heard almost right away when we announced the High Performance Rodeo Calgary Songs Project last week was, "are you looking for songs BY Calgarians or ABOUT Calgary?" To which we reply, "YES!"

Well, that is - we really want songs by Calgarians. But there's a nice subset of songs ABOUT Calgary that we think we should highlight here.

Earlier in the week, Ian Chiclo, past editor of FFWD and VOX magazines recommended Cat Ranch's Song for Calgary, We already posted Chad Saunders' pick for Chicken on the Way by the Golden Calgarians (which is probably disqualified since it was released pre-1986). Tona W. Ohama had suggested Tim Hus' Goin' Back to Calgary:

Both musicians Tariq Hussain and Chantal Vitalis have suggested that we include Dragon Fli Empire's Mount Pleasant in our top 30:

Interestingly, no one has suggested OUR favourite ode to Calgary Transit, The Ted Clarke Five's Number Ten Nirvana.

Anyways, Dan Vacon (of the Dudes and HighKicks) suggested Chixdiggit's Sikome Beach:

We also had someone nominate How Allen Saved the Radio Station by the Bownesians, the telling of an infamous piece of CJSW history. And this ode to anyone who's ever been suck in traffic, Huevos Rancheros' Crowchild Trail:

We also had a commenter on the blog tell us we should include Woodpigeon's ode to our city's favourite phallic symbol, Our Love is as Tall as the Calgary Tower:

But here are a couple that no one has mentioned yet. First, the Browns' American Werewolf in Calgary:

Or the Bittermen's My Last Calgary Winter:

What do you think? Are there any great songs about Calgary by Calgarians that we should include in the Calgary Songs Project?

Edit: we should have included this! How could we have forgotten Danny Vacon's ode to the Calgary rock scene, My Scene's Better Than Your Scene?!