Monday, 28 February 2022

Mark Burgess - Moments/Do You Dance (1985)

Now, before you get too excited, this single isn't by the Mark Burgess you might be thinking of; and sadly, we haven't been able to find out anything about who it really is. But it's a single you might want to check out - especially if you like new wave-tinged pop the likes of latter era Spoons. 

Get it here

Sunday, 27 February 2022

Oscar Charles Foundation - Until You Came Along/Go 'Til You're Gone (1984)

We ended up digging deep to find out the story on this one... and despite our work, we can't figure out how it ended up be manufactured through Doug Wong Music. From what we can tell in the files Doug passed along to us, Oscar Charles was based in Ontario when this record was produced (hence the recording in Grimsby), though he did make appearances at Pappagalo's Lounge at the Marlkborough Inn around that time. This slab of soul was one of three singles (maybe? at least?) he recorded in the later 80's - along with a tribute to the Platters that was recorded at Winnipeg's Ramada Inn. We stole the art for the back cover off of Discogs, just because we could:

We ended up in a weird rabbit hole that involves Platters-related groups; The Platters Information Site has done an incredible job of itemizing all of the active bands, including The Legendary Platters, of which Charles is a member. We tried to pinpoint why Charles ended up as part of the convoluted history of the Platters, but we gave up.

Seriously, it's complicated.

Saturday, 26 February 2022

EBO 2 - Running For Your Love/Slow Down the Merry Go-Round (1983)

We almost let Black History Month slip by without posting anything marking the contributions of Black artists to our city. The stages in our city have tended to be dominated by white males, with people of colour often pushed to the sides. So, we're pleased to have this Doug Wong-manufactured single today, featuring the soca stylings of EBO 2.

Finding details on the band was a bit tricky, but it looks like the lineup included Jimmy Carver on keyboards, Kirby Small on guitar, and Jimmy Page on drums. We're not sure if Dale Hensel (credited as songwriter on this single's B side) was in the band or the person behind the Nikki Records label. Small and Page both came to Calgary with riches of musical experience - Small with the likes of Harry Belafonte and Martha and the Vandellas, Page with Albert Collins and Otis Rush. The guitarist and drummer both passed away in the late 2000's, but it appears Carver is still playing strong.

Get your soca fix here!

Friday, 25 February 2022

Wayne Farro - Night Line/Ass In The Wind (1983)

We grabbed this single from the pile of Doug Wong Music-manufactured singles partly because we were intrigued by the clipping from RPM magazine that was tucked in the file for the record:

That's a pretty great story - and the single doesn't disappoint. The A side, "Night Life," is a laid back, fun number - but "Ass In The Wind" is in fact a pretty rockin' R&B number, as advertised. It looks like there isn't a real tie in to Calgary in terms of artist or label (neither of which seem to have released anything else beyond this single), other than the DWM imprint.

Still, we'll take it!

Thursday, 24 February 2022

Ivan Daines - Take Me By The Hand (1984), Deborah Dee - I Never Stopped Loving You (1984)

Today's post gives us a chance to continue our fascination with bronc rider turned country musician Ivan Daines, but also helps us pad things out with another artist. We don't really know who Deborah Dee was - or what was the story behind RCR Records. But we're kind of impressed that both sides of the Ivan Daines single were recorded in Nashville - we have great images in our heads of him landing in Nashville, guitar in hand, and winning over crowds in the city's honky tonks. 

We can dream, can't we?

Wednesday, 23 February 2022

Ted Miller - Those Rodeo Cowboys/Cowboy's Funeral (1982), Blue Jean Blues (1987)


Here's a pair of singles from country singer Ted Miller who, according to the bio on the back of his Doug Wong Music-manufactured single, was born in Calgary but grew up in BC, playing in a band with his family members. The bio also invokes a lot of big names in Alberta music - Ron Mahonin, Ian Tyson, and Dick Damron are all implicated in Miller's work. He clearly saw himself steeped in the same tradition as them.

It's Miller time!

Tuesday, 22 February 2022

Wichita - Draw The Line (1988), Going Down The Road/Divided We Stand, Together We Fall

We don't have any additional info on this pair of singles from honkytonkers Wichita. Single one has the same song on both sides and was manufactured through Doug Wong Music, while the second has different A and B sides, and was manufactured through Ontario's World Records. Maybe the band hailed from Redcliff, based on the address on that second single? We really don't know

Monday, 21 February 2022

Kim Kinrade - Get Your Man Down/Changing (1982), Sharing Christmas Alone By The Fire (1985)

This pair of singles is from BC-born singer, guitarist, pianist, and songwriter Kim Kinrade, another performer who has remained active. The bio on Kinrade's website says that he came to Alberta in the early 1980s before moving to the East Coast. We think he must have spent time in both Calgary and Edmonton during that time - his 1982 single has a Calgary address (which, to be fair, is Doug Wong Music) while his 1985 single has an Edmonton address (but was recorded at Sundae Sound). 

Both singles are AOR pop rock, with "Get Your Man Down" being a bit of a rocker and "Sharing Christmas Alone By The Fire" being, perhaps unsurprisingly, a slower number. We note that once again we've missed posting the Christmas season at the appropriate time of year - but I guess we're all used to that now.

Sunday, 20 February 2022

Al Owchar - Waco, Why Don't You Write Me? (1976), Your Picture (1982); Dalmane Owchar - Country Living

We've got four singles for you today, three of which were manufactured by Doug Wong Music (though only one has a DWM catalogue number) and the other of which is on Horizon Records, a local label that put out a bunch of records in the late 1970's. We couldn't find out a lot about Al Owchar (or Dalmane Owchar, who we assume is a relative of his) - although there is a bio on the Alberta Cowboy Poetry Association website that suggests his involvement in country goes way back (to the 60's?) and continued to be active into the 2010's. These singles are straight up country, probably a sign of his roots.

Get 'em here!

Saturday, 19 February 2022

Robert Heath - Rider/I Don't Wanna Shine No More (1982), Johnny Flamingo - Road Lady/Destination Nowhere (1982)

This pair of singles was produced by Doug Wong Music, but was released on the Edmonton icu communications imprint. We're not sure who Johnny Flamingo were, but Robert Heath is an interesting artist - and Edmonton-born songwriter whose career spans 40 years. Yep, he's still active - and this single looks like it may have been his first release. Both records blend pop, rock, and country/folk - and are pretty good affairs.

Get them here.

Friday, 18 February 2022

Randy Andrus - New York City Blues/Christmas (1982)

We featured another Randy Andrus single last year, and we remarked on the amazing packaging and fold out that encased it. Well, it's deja vu all over again with this single, which folds out kind of like Issac Hayes' Black Moses LP. And on the records things are just as glossy - this is radio-friendly pop with a high production value. Just listen to those string arrangements! 

Now, we just need to figure out how to re-fold the sleeve...

Thursday, 17 February 2022

Richard Harrow - You Can't Rob A Bank (1981)


We're pretty happy to have found a copy of this record in the Doug Wong Music archives. Sure, we've already posted the full LP these two tracks are from - but the great thing about singles is how they make you re-focus on specific tracks. And the title track on this Richard Harrow single is a pretty great number that is surprisingly still topical. Or maybe not surprisingly, depending on who you talk to. "You Can't Rob A Bank" is a great skewering of the world of financial services - like the title track from yesterday's single, this one also has a great power pop nugget hiding underneath the ricky-ticky drum machine that propels it along. And the b side ballad is also pretty decent.

Get robbed here!

Wednesday, 16 February 2022

Andrew Methven - Baby Are You Sure (1980)


We're going to take a break from the tapes and go back to our fascination with 7" singles from last year. When we connected with Doug Wong last fall, he was extremely generous and also helped us fill in a bunch of gaps in our Doug Wong Music singles archive. So, back at it!

This four-song EP comes from Andrew Methven, a guy about whom we couldn't find any more details. BUT the file for this record includes the file for this record includes not just the rough art but also the lyrics and chords! The four track on here cover a lot of ground in terms of styles - it's a folksy pop for most of it, but "Baby Are You Sure" has a pretty cool power pop undercurrent that we quite enjoy.

Get it here!

Thursday, 10 February 2022

Eine Kleine China - Prince Tsushinkogyo (2022)

This year is shaping up to be a huge one for local releases; and this is one that we're REALLY REALLY excited to share with you. We featured Eine Kleine China's first tape a few years ago - somehow we had discovered them via bandcamp, and boy oh boy are we ever glad we did. 

Prince Tsushinkogyo is another dip into electronica on the experimental end of the spectrum - beats, synths, and loops fall into shape and then dissolve into each other in ways that are alternatingly hypnotic and disquieting. We really enjoy the shifts from harmony to tension that Eine Kleine China has mastered - it's the new quiet-loud-quiet. We hear echoes of everything from DJ Shadow to Jay Crocker's Joyfultalk in this. And in case you can't tell, we like it a lot.

If you want a physical copy of this, hope over to Eine Kleine China's bandcamp - this is out on limited edition CD and cassette.

Saturday, 5 February 2022

Guilt Tripp - Demo

Huge thanks for Cam Dawes for sending us this tape from somewhere around 1990. Guilt Tripp (not to be confused with Guilt Trip) was basically the Rusty Nails before the guys moved out to Vancouver. So this is a TRUE Calgary inclusion! Guilt Tripp was also a five-piece, rather than the pared-down (hence more tour-ready) three-piece line up of the Rusty Nails. But it's still the same grunge explosion-era hard rock that the latter band was so loved for. Cam's also included a CJSW interview the Trippers did - and you can get it all here.

Friday, 4 February 2022

Fulfilment - 10 Colours (2022)

Well, here's a sign that 2022 is going to be okay. A new tape from Bart Records, featuring Kevin Stebner's latest rock-oriented project, Fulfilment! While Stebner's last rock outfit, the very good Prepared, was a four-piece, Fulfilment pares the lineup down to a three-piece - which helps to accentuate the delivery of his lyrics and make this tape seem somehow more immediate. We hear a lot of Constantines in this - maybe not quite as anthemic, but we think it has much of the same feeling.

We'd be remiss if we didn't note the excellent guerilla show the band played last summer at Millennium Park, commandeering the full pipe from a somewhat aggro skater dad. It was one of those moments that reminded us that good, weird stuff can happen in this city:

 Get your Fulfilment over at their bandcamp.

Thursday, 3 February 2022

Cartel Madras – Age Of The Goonda And Trapistan (2020)

We probably should have jumped on this when it came out; we honestly have no idea why we didn't. We've been huge fans of Cartel Madras since catching a set of theirs in the summer of 2018 - their unapologetically femme-forward, South Asian take on gangster rap is intoxicating and infectious. This tape (released on SubPop, the one-time home of Chixdiggit!) brings together the first two parts of their Project Goonda trilogy - a series which kept getting better (last year's The Serpent and the Tiger is one of our top releases from 2021). 

We have a hard time pinning down which part of Cartel Madras make them so compelling - is it seeing South Asian artists on stage? Their absolute bangers of songs ("Pork and Leek" is one of the best tracks to come out of this city in recent years)? The killer party vibe of their shows? Their work with the Sans Fuccs artists collective? How completely unapologetic they are for what they do? We're not sure which it is, but they've got us hook, line, and sinker.

We think this tape might be out of print already - the downloads are over at Cartel Madras' bandcamp, though.

Wednesday, 2 February 2022

Nandos - S/S 17 (2017), F/W 17/18 Collection (2018)

We learned a VERY important lesson with these two tapes from Alexander Steinitz's Nandos: when juggling unlabeled tapes, be very careful not to mix them up. We learned this exactly two minutes too late, but we think we've figured out which tape is which... maybe? We featured a tape from Nandos a couple of years ago, and these two fall in the same vein of experimental electronica. Where other local projects like, say, Evangelos Lambrinoudis II's Corinthian are more structured, Nandos embraces the chaos and gets downright muddy at time. It's a weird rave, but it's still a rave.

We don't really have a source to point you to for these - we'd recommend checking Melodiya or Hot Wax to see if they have copies still kicking around.

Tuesday, 1 February 2022

Matt Purdue, Cain Davis, Chris Dadge - Sell Heal Holler (2019)

We're going to switch to a few more recent tapes for a bit here. Well, comparatively recent - this one is from 2019, but that's futuristic compared to most of our posts from the past few months. There was a glorious moment before Christmas where it seemed like everything was getting back to the way it was - and the biggest moment for us was a real, live Bug Incision show at High Line Brewing. 

Well, until we're able to do that again, we're going to turn to this tape of improvisational work by the trio of Matt Purdue, Cain Davis, and Bug Incision kingpin Chris Dadge. The liner notes on this don't have any notes about instrumentation, but we can for sure say there are drums, other clanky bits, and what sounds like double bass - and maybe some violin? 

Pour yourself a Talking Hops and hit the Vocational Sound Company bandcamp for a sample (and maybe a hookup for a real tape?).