Thursday 23 November 2023

Gatekrashör - Revenge At Midnight (2016)

It was a bit of a surprise and a treat to snag a copy of this Gatekrashör tape at the last record collectors' show. This was produced just for 2016's Metal Fest, and since we weren't there, we didn't think we'd ever stumble across a copy. The tape gods bless'd us tho!

This tape is a treat - it's a leap forward from their first tape, and definitely hints at the stuff that Matt Ries has gone on to do with Traveler. Their original ethos of keeping it unpolished is, well, not tarnished but... shined up a bit? 

Grab the download from the Gatekrashör bandcamp.

Wednesday 22 November 2023

Gatekrashör - Fear Of Attack (2012)

We're not sure why we've sat on this tape for as long as we have... local speed metal dudes Gatekrashör haven't been seen in many years, with guitarist Matt Ries now playing in Traveler. Gatekrashör didn't have an interest in being super-polished, as Beatroute noted in 2013:

Describing the Gatekrashör sound is a straightforward task. Keeping the old guard alive and well with Venom-esque style, Judas Priest’s heft and the speed of Exciter, Gatekrashör is absolutely drenched in the NWOBHM style they so flagrantly wear on their collective sleeves. This is Banzai worship at its purist... 
“It just sounds like rough, dirty, raw speed metal. It’s what Canada needs right now. We have all these polished bands, bands [that] are singing like Riot’s Thundersteel – not that it’s a problem. We wanted to play stuff like Iron Angel and Jaguar instead,” says Neild.

Of note: the CCPS offices are in what was the riding of former NDP MLA Deborah Drever, who appears on this cover. We didn't know that when we voted for her, but had we known... we would have voted twice for her.

This tape is still streaming/downloadable over on the Gatekrashör bandcamp.

Tuesday 21 November 2023

Black Pestilence - Chaotic Wisdom (2023)

Black Pestilence have been working their doom metal mania for about 15 years, and their new tape shows them in fine, forbidding form. This is excellent and pummeling release - we found a press piece that claims that this tape "expands on lyrical themes including LaVeyan Satanism, current events, social issues, and the glorification of the epicurean lifestyle."

You can get this from the Black Pestilence bandcamp.

Monday 20 November 2023

Riot City - Live In Newcastle 04.05.23 (2023)

There's this weird thing going on with Calgary metal bands (specifically, those in the more traditional end of the metal spectrum) having their albums released on European labels. Riot City have a couple of LPs under their belts, both on Greece's No Remorse Records... but we opted for this live tape, recorded on the first night of their European tour at  Little Buildings in Newcastle, UK. It's a pretty great recording and the set is a lot of fun (including some very Canadian stage banter, eh?).

We gotta go track down Riot City's LPs... but you can get this limited edition tape from the Little Buildings bandcamp.

Sunday 19 November 2023

Harsh- ...I Wish I Did Better... (2023)

There are several reasons why Harsh are one of our favourite punk bands in town; they're unapologetically political, they don't take themselves too seriously, and they're a whole lot of fun. This new tape of theirs captures that best with the photo of the Real Dan Izzo on the folded paper insert. At least, we think that's Dan?? 

This one's recommended - you can get it via Harsh's bandcamp, but it's best to catch them live.

Friday 17 November 2023

Telstar Drugs - Unknown Tape

This is a tape we picked up at one of the record collectors shows last year... it had been sitting on our desk waiting for more info - but we couldn't find anything, so we'll make something up (as usual). We were told this is a Telstar Drugs tape, which checks out - two of the tracks on the A side also show up on a 2014 cassette of theirs (the B side is random bits of noise that sound disturbingly like a failing cassette player), but there's no indication that this is an official release. We're also not sure if this came out before or after their move to Montreal... so we're just going to send you towards the download.

Thursday 16 November 2023

Shrinking Violet - Shrinking Violet (1998)

Thanks to John Hadley for passing us a copy of this tape from Shrinking Violet, a band he played in at one point (though not on this tape, from what we understand). We're not familiar with this band, but some helpful person has posted a bio to (of all places):

Lisa German (vox, gtr) and Brad Pharis (bs) began playing music together in high school, inspired by the sound of grunge and punk rock. They founded the original incarnation of Shrinking Violet and before long had graduated from playing high school talent shows to opening for bigger acts from the nearby city of Calgary...  Shrinking Violet captured the grand prize in the first-ever Java Sharks Independent Band Challenge, beating 26 other bands and winning among other things, a VW van, and recording time. These sessions led to the release of the "What Matters Most" EP, featuring Jared Schimnosky on guitar and Rob Shawcross on drums... the departure of Schimnosky and Shawcross led Shrinking Violet to take a bit of hiatus, but the band returned, re-vitalized with new additions John Hadley (gtr) and Chris Potter (drms). 

We're assuming this is an early tape of theirs... and we're trying not to make too much of that bitmappy cover art. 

Wednesday 15 November 2023

X-Ray Cat - Chemical Imbalance (2017)

Here's a punk tape from a few years back - we somehow missed seeing them live, though X-Ray Cat's lead singer/guitarist went on to front the very excellent Mandible Klaw and their bassist now holds down the low end with No Brainer. Those two bands should give you enough to triangulate the sound - if you guessed that it's the type of thing you'd expect to come out on Wasted Wax or Handsome Dan Records, you'd be bang on the money.

Get the download from the X-Ray Cat bandcamp.

Tuesday 14 November 2023

Antisocial Club - Antisocial Club (2010/2021)

We somehow missed picking up this cassette reissue when it first came out a couple of years ago - so with former Antisocial Club drummer Bart Dutchak winding down his quite fantastic Wasted Wax Records, we figured we better nab a copy before it disappears into the ether. 

This was originally put on vinyl by Handsome Dan's records, so as you can probably expect - it's very much in the genre we call "Dan Izzo punk." If we had the skill and ability, we'd definitely be out skateboarding to this. So it's also probably not surprising that two thirds of this band would go on to form the rhythm section of Izzo's Spastic Panthers.

As mentioned, it looks like Dutchak is going to be shutting down Wasted Wax after 10 years of putting out some great Southern Alberta punk records - for now, you can grab this Antisocial Club tape and other goodies over at the Wasted Wax website.

Monday 13 November 2023

Child Actress - Ancestor Worship (2023)

We're counting this tape as a Calgary thing even though Rena Kozak is based in Montreal these days - at least in part since it's a release on local label Red Spade Records (who also put out a Child Actress 7" lathe in 2019). 

This self-produced tape definite benefits from Kozak's extensive experience in mixing and sound engineering - and the song writing is pretty great as well, landing somewhere between dream pop and power pop (her live show definitely pulls towards the latter).  The very excellent "Always Moving" is a standout here.

Get it the download via the Child Actress bandcamp - there are tapes and LPs out there somewhere as well, but we can't seem to find 'em online.

Sunday 12 November 2023

Leather Jacuzzi - Rumours 2 (2023)

While this year's Sled Island didn't bring the SIDS reunion we've been dreaming of, it did bring back Leather Jacuzzi - who had a new tape in tow. This is another spastic blast of semi-ironic garage punk, anchored by a bunch of folks who know there way around this stuff - and featuring the hi-larious lyrics and delivery of Sarah Ford.

This was a limited edition tape, but you can grab the download over on the Leather Jacuzzi bandcamp.

Saturday 11 November 2023

Various - We Are Time Mixtape Vol 1. (2023)

Back into the pile of tapes in the CCPS office, starting with this excellent compilation from Jesse Locke and Chandra Oppenheim's We Are Time label. This tape is bookended by two of the great weirdos of our city - Chad VanGaalen kicks things off with a mix of free jazz and Glassworks-ish repetitive rhythms, while AuntBibby closes out the affair with a super fun electonic number that would fit along nicely with, say, Eine Kleine China's last album. Oh, and the second track on here is a great power pop ditty from expats Motorists.

We bought this just for those three tracks - but it's also got Tough Age and a bunch of other swell bands that are worth checking out. This is a well-curated tape - you might be able to snag a copy via the We Are Time bandcamp

Tuesday 10 October 2023

Cal Cavendish - This is Cavendish Country (1973)

Calgary lost a legend last month - and sadly with very little fanfare. Calvert Henry Ashley Emile Cavendish left us on September 22, 2023, passing away at the Rockyview Hospital from medical complications.

Cal Cavendish has a folk hero status with us here at the CCPS, thanks largely to his manure-and-record aerial stunt that was immortalized in Kris Demeanor's Buzz Job. His story was bigger than just that one flyby, of course:

Cal was 83 years young on passing and was born on August 17, 1940 in Plymouth, Michigan. His parents were Redvers Henry Ashley Emile Cavendish and Mary Beulah Cavendish. He is survived by his brother, Winston Cavendish and his two previous wives, Catherine Cavendish and Shirley Cavendish. He is also survived by his 6 children, Chad Hande, Sherry Hande, Tanya Hande, Alix Hillman, Scott Cavendish and Victoria Wilkinson.
Cal was a man of many talents and careers. He was employed as a security guard, pilot, photographer, musician and truck driver. In fact, he was distinguished as “Employee of the Year” with Dick Irvin Trucking. He was also recognized on three separate occasions for a Million Mile Safe Driving Award. As a pilot, he won the Transcanada Belvedere Air Dash in 1974.

Cal was quite proud of his service in the Canadian Reserves, Banff Artillery Militia and loved telling stories of his service. Cal lived in many places during his time with us including; Louisiana, Texas, Nashville, Crossfield, Calgary and numerous other places where his adventures took him. Cal had a wide variety of hobbies and interests that he pursued with great passion, including; songwriting, performing, playing various musical instruments, and flying ultralights and aircraft. He was also an avid fisherman, hunter, range shooter, archer, storyteller, inventor, traveler, mechanic, motorcycle enthusiast, classic car enthusiast, adventurer, photographer and Sunday school teacher. Cal was a member of numerous music associations including SOCAN. He also created his own publishing companies; COP Publications, and Tac Card Records.

Cal had deep faith and loved dropping into churches of any denomination to share the message of God and connect with different people. All who knew Cal understood that music was his passion. Cal’s countless adventures from Louisiana to the Northwest Territories inspired his songs. He was a pioneer and prolific musician that was internationally recognized. He is credited with hundreds of songs, singles, records, tapes, and CD’s. and even a few plays and movies. His whole life was an inspiration for his music and stories that were clearly authored for the “common man”.

(from Cal Cavendish's obituary)  

 That hints at some of the many stories that pop up in Cavendish's story, like earning the nickname "Cornfield Cal" by other pilots after getting lost in a 2,600 mile plane race in Ontario... or this one, where he booked the Jubilee Auditorium for his 1994 comeback show at the age of 53:

But Cavendish wasn't just shenanigans - he was a prolific and lauded songwriter, with early reviews comparing him to Gordon Lightfoot and Woody Guthrie. This is Cavendish Country - his third full-length LP - is a great snapshot of that songwriting, with lighter moments "Foreign Cows" tempering the more melancholic, like the excellent album closer, "1:00 A.M. Calgary."

Our condolences go out to Cal's family and friends. We hope he's flying out there somewhere.

Sunday 27 August 2023

Fandango II - Fandango II (1987)

Fandango II were - at one point - simply known as Fandango. We're not sure what prompted the name change, though the back of this LP suggests that there was a change of direction of the bar band, perhaps an attempt to be more accessible. Their self-titled album reflects that: while their name suggests that they might be a ZZ Top tribute, the songs on here sound much like radio hits of the time - the opening track is very Loverboy-ish, and "Hit Me So Hard" sounds suspiciously like something off Bruce Springsteen's Born In the USA.

Get it here.

Saturday 26 August 2023

Amin Bhatia - The Interstellar Suite (1987)

Here's another Dan Lowe production - but one in a very different genre than most of what we've featured previously. Raised in Calgary, composer and synth guru Amin Bhatia has been receiving accolades since 1981, when the then-20 year old won a worldwide synthesizer competition sponsored by Roland and judged by notables including Robert Moog, Oscar Peterson and Tomita. That led to working with Toto and David Foster, and ultimately this, his first album.

Thanks to the soundtrack-like sound of The Interstellar Suite, Bhatia has since gone on to score countless films and TV shows (our favourite credit of his: The Pingu Dance!), picking up scores (ha!) of awards along the way.

In 2021, Bhatia released a 25th anniversary edition of the Interstellar Suite - you can pick it up on his bandcamp or stream the original on Spotify.

Friday 25 August 2023

Mystery Romance - Mystery Romance (1989)

Thanks to the good folks a Shed Rekkids for hepping us to this one... we would have missed this otherwise. Mystery Romance were a studio-first project that managed to land a deal and put out this tape of synth pop in the late 80s:

The band is still active, but has gone through a few changes in the core lineup and put out a new CD in 2022. 

Grab their tape here.

Thursday 24 August 2023

Out Of The Fog - Out Of The Fog (1982)


Here's a private press gem for you - Out of the Fog's self-titled LP from 1982. These feels like more of a collective than a band (we can't find any indication of them having gigged around town), and their AOR sound has a healthy amount of funk and soul - we should probably say, a surprising amount of funk and soul, considering this was recorded in the Triglen area of the city. This one comes highly recommended from the CCPS.

Get it here!

Wednesday 23 August 2023

Tom Leibel - Living Dreams (1984)

This LP from Tom Leibel certainly gives Lewis' L'Amour a run for its money with its atmospheric, new age feelings. We weren't able to find out much about Leibel other than an eight year old thread started by Weird Canada's Aaron Levin. The sleeve tells us this LP was "spontaneously composed and performed by Tom Leibel" - and that's really all we have to pass on to you.

Get it here.

Tuesday 22 August 2023

Lewis Baloue - L'Amour (1983), Romantic Times (1985)


Since we recently mentioned him, we really should include his work... Here are the two highly sought-after LPs from Lewis Baloue, aka Randall A. Wulff. It was fun to see Calgary (and the dear, departed Weird Canada) at the heart of the story of the discovery of these LPs almost a decade ago. And, no, the CCPS doesn't have originals - just the excellent reissues by Light in the Attic Records

It feels weird to run down the story so long after it all broke - in 2014, Light in the Attic reissued his first LP on an unsuspecting public, torching off a massive curiosity about the man behind the records. The stories about Lewis that emerged - especially his larger-than-his-bank-account lifestyle - were delightful and just added to the mystique. Lewis was tracked down that summer thanks to sleuthy internet folks, but had no interest in stepping back into the spotlight. And this is where our memory of the timing of things breaks down - we can't remember if it was before or after Lewis was found... but in rapid succession, a friend found a copy of Lewis' previously-unheard second LP in the back of Recordland and ran around the store whooping with joy, with Recordland putting that copy on eBay just as Light in the Attic announced the release of that second LP. 

Weird times, and there's a question that's always been at the back of our heads - is the story of these records better than the actual recordings? We find L'Amour quite listenable with its soft piano, synths, and Lewis' cooing vocals.. but Romantic Times maybe feels a bit too samey. And we certainly can't blame the engineer - the legendary Danny Lowe was at the control board for that one.

We dream of one day finding a copy of either of these in a random box of records - until that happy day, though, you can stream these over on Sportify.

Monday 21 August 2023

Boulevard - Rainy Day in London 7" (1984), Blvd. (1988), Into the Street (1990)

Here's a trio of recordings from 80's AOR rockers Boulevard, a band that has some reasonable ties to Calgary - despite their first 7", "Rainy Day in London," being only released in Germany. We're going to turn to the good work of Josiah Hughes from an older Vice article for the scoop from a story that starts with digging into the history of the place that recorded Lewis' infamous L'Amour LP:

Thunder Road Studios operated from 1981 to 1985, located right off of Barlow Trail (the building is now home to Higher iQ, an Islamic preschool). Saxophonist and audio engineer Mark Holden co-founded the studio with Ron and Neil McCallum. “I started my career in Calgary as an engineer and musician,” Holden tells me. “I worked in a studio called Sound West that use to be an old church in the area, and then in the late 70s, I moved to Frankfurt, Germany for a year and worked at a studio called Hotline.” When he was ready to return to Calgary, Holden says, “I came back and built Thunder Road. I literally built it.” Before they crammed it full of state-of-the-art recording gear, the facility was designed by Tom Hidley, a truly legendary acoustic architect who is arguably the most influential recording studio designer of all time. “He was the guy,” Holden recalls. “At the time, Thunder Road Studios was the third largest acoustically designed studio of Hidley’s in the world.” Since it was built from scratch, the building could be perfectly customized for optimum sound quality. “We came together with a developer and built the building. And the benefit of this was we actually had the ability to create the layout,” Holden explains. “The floor of the studio was actually one foot thick concrete slabs that are independently floating, sitting on an inch and a half thick insulation. So there's no physical contact between those two layers of floors and the actual walls. And the reason for this is so the sound doesn't transfer up the walls.”

In addition to running Thunder Road, Holden formed the studio band Modern Minds, which eventually became Boulevard. The group would sign with the German subsidiary of CBS Records and achieve some minor fame with their dreamy soft-rock hit “Rainy Day in London.”
Thunder Road was an impressive studio, but its grandeur may also have led to its downfall. After the studio shut down in 1952, Holden and Boulevard relocated to Vancouver - eventually getting picked up by MCA, putting out two albums (as well as a third album in 2017 after they reunited).

It looks like you can stream Boulevard's LPs over on Spotify, but we'll give you some rainy day action.

Sunday 20 August 2023

Paul Dean - Hard Core (1989)

Now, we know what you're thinking - why would we include this tape, the first solo album from Loverboy guitarist Paul Dean, if we've already debunked the whole "Loverboy is a Calgary band" thing? Well, we're not sure - but Paul Dean was also in Scrubbaloe Caine, so we're thinking that kind of tips the scales.

As you might suspect, this tape isn't really hardcore, but you can stream it on Spongify.

Saturday 19 August 2023

Jim Foster - Power Lines (1986)

By the time this cassette was released in 1986, we're not sure how strong of a connection former Fosterchild frontman Jim Foster had with Calgary. The album was recorded in Vancouver, so... maybe not such a tight connection?

Wednesday 16 August 2023

Jerry Proppe - Two Feet Deep (1985), Point of Tension (1991)

We really can't mention well-produced gospel music in this city without mentioning Jerry Proppe. For over three decades, he's been melding faith and entertainment as a recording engineer, producer, music director and performer (and piano tuner!). So here are his first two albums, 1985's Two Feet Deep and 1991's Point of Tension. These aren't as up front with their religious content as that Banks, Brown and Company LP we recently featured - some tracks like Tension's "We've Got Love" fly pretty far under the radar.

Here's a 2007 article about the state of gospel recording in the city featuring Proppe and also the ever-present Robyn Braley.


Get deep and/or tension.