Thursday 8 October 2015

Calgary Songs Project - Music Writers' Top 5's

As you probably know by now, we at the CCPS have a very fond place in our heart for VOX magazine, and all the good folks who helped make that magazine what it was. And since so many of those folks went on to make the Calgary Straight and ffwd what they were, we figured, heck, let's ask a bunch of music writers for their top 5 Calgary songs for the High Performance Rodeo Calgary Songs Project. Here's what they told us:

Ian Chiclo - Past Editor, VOX and ffwd
Cat Ranch - "C-A-L-G-A-R-Y" This song still pops into my head a dozen times per year. It was Cat Ranch's bratty response to a contest to come up with a song for Calgary prior to the 88 winter olympics. This was, of course, also the era of Channel 2&7's infamous "Hello Calgary" song, so it many ways it's a perfect punk rock response to the times from one of the city's hardest working bands of the time.
Gravity Thugs - "Take You Down" Simply a great song from an under-recornized, and often forgotten band that included the Brent Cooper, the Wolfe brothers and Tom Kennedy, who had come together after playing with the likes of the Cryin Helicopter and Jr Gone Wild. I think the Gravity Thugs were the first local band I ever saw who owned the stage of MacEwan Hall.
Same Difference - "Kiss of Ice" I'm torn between this song and "Adrian," but Same Difference should be recognized. They had great energy live and Janine Bracewell's voice was a wonder in itself. There is also the girl power factor with Same Difference.
Wagbeard - "Too Easy" The quentessential 90s Calgary rock song. It doesn't get more perfect than this in terms of guitar-driven power pop.
Jay Crocker - "Below The Ocean Over" Choosing a song from his album Below The Ocean Over is tough, but I have a spot in my heart for "Below The Ocean Over." Produced by Craig Schumacher at his Wavelab studio in Tucson, the CD is, arguably, the best ever recorded by a Calgary musicia but somehow never got any traction.
Honourable mentions (ie. if they're not mentioned I'd be sad): Primrod's "Barbet Lad," Forbidden Dimension's "Tonight I Paint In Flesh Colour," The Dudes' "Do The Right Thing," Chixdiggit "I Wanna Hump You," and the Parkades' "Attack Me"
Well, we can't argue with any of those. As much of a seemingly throw-away song that Cat Ranch tune is, it embodies a certain spirit of the city. 

Elizabeth Chorney-Booth - freelance writer, former CJSW DJ
1. Fire Engine Red — Black Day: This is not only one of the greatest songs to ever come out of Calgary, but it's one of the greatest songs ever about being a true fan of music. Lorrie Matheson wrote this after he found out his favourite local band, The Quitters, broke up and it's a song about tragedy and disappointment and feeling like you care about something more than anyone else in the world. I cry whenever I hear it, thinking about poor Lorrie sitting in his bedroom staring at the wall.
2. The Parkades — Attack Me: The Parkades are criminally underrated (I don't think everyone "got" Ian Doig's frantic vocal style) and this 7" (on Roto-Flex!) is one of the best slices of garage rock our city has ever heard.
3. Straight — Vacant: Joe McCafferty is such an excellent songwriter and has been a part of so many Calgary bands that never quite got their due fanfare (see Fire Engine Red's song about Joe's band The Quitters breaking up and no one caring). All of Joe's bands are great, but this song was his "hit" during my personal glory days and hearing it transports me back to a different (more angsty) time.
4. Huevos Rancheros — Crowchild Trail: Not only does this song embody all of the guitar magic of the great Huevos Rancheros, but it's named after the very road that I would drive to the University (and my show at CJSW) every day during the band's peak. Is there anything more Calgary than Crowchild Trail?
5. Aaron Booth — Ramblin' Train: Okay, I'm married to this guy, so I'm biased, but this is an expertly written song that still stands up over 15 years after Aaron recorded it. I'm not saying I fell in love with him just because he can write melodies like this, but it didn't hurt.
Fire Engine Red's "Black Day" is such a great meta-song, capturing the angst we've all felt at some point when we've found out our favourite band broke up. But is it a better song than FER's "Shank Pony"?
Mike Bell - Music Writer
Colour Me Psycho - Black Corvair
Wagbeard - Too Easy
Jann Arden (Anne Loree) - Insensitive
Tegan and Sara - Walking With A Ghost

Samantha Savage Smith - You Always Come to Mind
Another nod for Wagbeard - must have been something in the water in the VOX offices. But we're really happy to see a mention for Samantha Savage Smith. We're still a bit stunned that her second LP, released earlier this year, didn't get her the attention she deserves as a songwriter and musician.
Peter Hemminger - Former FFWD music & film editor and current host of The AM on CJSW 90.9FM
The Reverie Sound Revue - This City Belongs to Us - The Reverie Sound Revue (Boompa)
Azeda Booth - Big Fist - In Flesh Tones (Absolutely Kosher)
Beach Season - Midnights <3 br="">Hot Little Rocket - Down With Safe - Our Work & Why We Do It (Flemish Eye/Catch & Release)

Clinton St. John - Sunlight, Good-Light - The Minor Arkhana (Self-Released)
We've been a big fan of Clinton St. John since his time with the Cape May, and last year's Minor Arkhana is a stellar record - and "Sunlight, Good-Light" is one of his best songs. 

Phew. The list of contenders is growing - what would you add? Let us know in the comments below!


Anonymous said...

My vote goes to Cat Ranch!

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