Sunday, August 31, 2008

Alicia Ross

This song if off of Kathleen Edwards's wonderful 2008 release Asking for Flowers. It describes the last minutes in the life of Alicia Ross from Ross's perspective just before she was tragically murdered by her neighbor in August 2005. Although this terrible event took place just north of my home in Toronto, I did not know about it until I heard Edwards's song. I was traveling in Europe in August of 2005, and I missed the media frenzy behind Ross's disappearance. When I first heard this song I was immediately captivated by Edwards's strong vocal performance and the graveness of the lyrics. It literally brought tears to my eyes the first few times I heard it, and this was before I knew the heartbreaking story behind the song. Go out and buy this album. You won't regret it.

Alicia Ross.mp3
Buy: Asking for Flowers (2008)
Also on iTunes and eMusic.

Friday, August 29, 2008

My Comp Is True - Vol. 1

According to Last.FM and, these are the tracks that I have been listening to the most over the last few months (one track per artist), although I suspect that the Zune counter is not very accurate as it shows the same tracks every month. By the way, I have no “Zune Friends,” so if you have a Zune and use the crappy “Zune Social” and want to be my “friend,” search for Aimz54901.

01 The Sadies - Dying Is Easy.mp3
In Convert Vol. 1 (2006)

02 Drive-By Truckers - That Man I Shot.mp3
Brighter Than Creations Dark (2008)

03 Uncle Tupelo - Still Be Around.mp3
Still Feel Gone (1991, reissued 2003)

04 Bo Diddley - Say Man.mp3
His Best: The Chess 50th Anniversary Collection (1997)

05 Old 97s - Color of a Lonely Heart is Blue.mp3
Blame it on Gravity (2008)

06 The Hold Steady - One for the Cutters.mp3
Stay Positive (2008)

07 The National - Lucky You.mp3
Daytrotter Sessions (2007)

08 Chris Mills - Calling All Comrades.mp3
Living in the Aftermath (2008)

09 Justin Rutledge - Too Sober To Sleep.mp3
No Never Alone (2004)

10 Okkervil River - Black.mp3
Black Sheep Boy (2005)

11 Johnny Cash - I Still Miss Someone.mp3
16 Biggest Hits (1999)

12 The Jayhawks - Blue.mp3
Tomorrow the Green Grass (1995, reissued 2002)

13 The SteelDrivers - If It Hadn't Been For Love.mp3
The SteelDrivers (2008)

14 Matthew Ryan - Drunk And Disappointed.mp3
Matthew Ryan Vs. The Silver State (2008)

15 Slobberbone - Bright Eyes Darkened.mp3
Everything You Thought Was Right Was Wrong Today (2000)

16 Lucero - Slow Dancing.mp3
Tennessee (2002)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Puttin' People On the Moon

This post is in honor of the Democratic National Convention. I saw the Drive-By Truckers do this song live in Toronto in October 2006. After the song, singer Patterson Hood said, "Be careful who you vote for up here. Don't fuck up like we did down there."

Puttin' People on the Moon.mp3
Buy: The Dirty South (2004)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Horseshoe Lake

I can hear a Todd Snider song and it will be stuck in my head for weeks. Here is the song that has been on continuous reply in my brain all weekend.

Horseshoe Lake.mp3
Buy: Step Right Up (1996)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Hillside Review II

See Preview, Part I.

Yeah, I know I am three weeks late with this. Leave me alone, I've been busy.

Saturday, July 26, 7pm-11pm

For my first evening at the Hillside Festival, I caught the second half of Jason Collett's show on the main stage. Collett is yet another former member of Broken Social Scene who has released a solo album, though his music tends to be more Americana than alternative rock. His set was decent and gave off a Matthew Ryan meets Wilco vibe.

The Sadies, my favorite Canadian band, took the main stage at sunset. Brothers Dallas and Travis Good were decked out in their best weed-leaf embroidered suits, and together with upright bassist Sean Dean and drummer Mike Belitsky, blew through 17 songs in 45 minutes. And, per usual, they brought their mom and dad on stage to sing a few songs. Mom Margaret Good, sporting a cute Sadies T-shirt, sang lead to "Eastern Winds," and joined her husband Bruce Good (on autoharp) to sing backup on "Higher Power" and "Stay a Little Longer." Both parents proudly watched as their boys played each other's guitars during "Tiger Tiger."

After that incredible set I really needed a beer, so I wandered over to the Lake Stage and unfortunately only caught the last song by Joseph Arthur, who looked like he really needed a shower.

Justin Rutledge followed on the Lake Stage and blew me away with a killer mellow country set. Check out these lyrics:

God damn my liver when its thirsty
God damn my wallet when its dry
Too sober to sleep
I'm too drunk to cry

If that doesn't make you blubber into your beer, I don't know what will. Rutledge was superbly supported by guitarist David Baxter (who produced Rutledge's 2006 release Devil on a Bench in Stanley Park) and an excellent musician on pedal steel who's name I missed. Rutledge closed out his excellent set by leaving the stage and walking to the middle of the seating area, gathering the crowd around him, and leading the group in a sing-along of a new adorable song called "Jellybean."

Finally, I wrapped up the evening by attending a bluegrass workshop called "Pork on a Bun" which featured The Good Brothers, who I had previously seen on the main stage earlier in the day, and The Foggy Hogtown Boys, a bluegrass quintet from Toronto. While The Good Brothers are the godfathers of Canadian bluegrass, the Foggy Hogtown Boys are defining the next generation of original bluegrass music. More on them later. By mid-set I had hit the wall and had to go home and crash.

Jason Collett's music is available on Arts & Crafts, eMusic, and iTunes. Music by The Sadies can be found everywhere, but check Maple Music, eMusic, and iTunes for downloads. Purchase Justin Rutledge's music on Six Shooter Records or on iTunes. The Foggy Hogtown Boy's latest can be purchased from Deep Down Productions. CBC Radio 2 is slowly but surely posting sets from Hillside for on-demand listening. Check out The Good Brothers main stage show here.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Super Bowl Jesus

Last night I was searching for Wilco MP3s and I came across this little gem. It was put together by The Hood Internet, two Chicago DJs who specialize in mixing hip-hop with indie rock. This track can be found on their mix The Hood Internet vs. Chicago which came out in May 2008.

Kanye West ("Jesus Walks") vs. the 1985 Chicago Bears ("Super Bowl Shuffle") vs. Wilco ("Jesus, Etc.")
Super Bowl Jesus.mp3

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Gonna Fly Now

I am completely addicted to the Olympics to the point where I actually feel like exercising and finding my inner Michael Phelps. I know, its freaking me out too! I can't come up with any Olympian music, so here is a track to motivate you to run up some steps. Preferably at an art museum. In Philadelphia.

Gonna Fly Now.mp3
Theme from Rocky (1976)
Composed by Bill Conti

Friday, August 15, 2008

Carry Me Ohio

A great track from a superb album by Mark Kozelek and his band Sun Kil Moon.

Carry Me Ohio.mp3
Buy: Ghosts of the Great Highway (2003)
This link is to the 2007 deluxe edition which contains a bonus CD of three alternative versions of the original recordings, an instrumental, and two versions of "Somewhere" from West Side Story. No shit.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Solitary Man

I read this great article about Neil Diamond in the New York Times yesterday (The Marathon Man of Pop). To summarize:
  • Is 67 years old.
  • Grossed $168 million on his last three tours.
  • Released his 46th studio album in May, Home Before Dark.
  • Home Before Dark is his first album to reach number one on the Billboard charts.
  • His first top ten hit, "Cherry, Cherry," came out in 1966.
  • Still plays most of his mega hits (e.g. "Sweet Caroline," "Song Sung Blue," etc.) in concert while wearing a sequined and/or silk outfit.
  • Has no plans to retire.
While most of his more famous material is quintessential soft pop, more recently he has teamed up with producer Rick Rubin to release two albums of stripped-down acoustic music, both of which showcase what an amazing songwriter Diamond really is. Both albums (the aforementioned Home Before Dark, and 2005's 12 Songs) have been hailed by critics and music fans alike.

Solitary Man.mp3
Also famously covered by Johnny Cash in the Rick Rubin-produced American III: Solitary Man (2000).
Buy: Greatest Hits (1992)

Delirious Love.mp3
Buy: 12 Songs (2005)
This is the 2-disc deluxe edition that contains an amazing version of "Delirious Love" as a duet with Brian Wilson (thus making the CD "14 Songs").

Pretty Amazing Grace.mp3
Buy: Home Before Dark (2008)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Territorial Pissings

Gawd am I in a bad mood today. And to make matters worse, I have no metal in my music collection at work. Nirvana will have to do.

Territorial Pissings.wma
Buy: Nevermind (1991)

Monday, August 11, 2008

RIP Isaac and Bernie

We lost two giants of entertainment this week. Comedian Bernie Mac passed away on Saturday, August 9, at age 50, due to complications from pneumonia. He first became popular as a stand up comedian in Chicago, and then became nationally known on HBO's Def Comedy Jam. He eventually branched out into movies and television, having memorable roles in Ocean's Eleven and Charlie's Angels, and won an Emmy award in 2002 for outstanding writing for The Bernie Mac Show.

One of his classic stand-up sketches, "My Sister's Kids."

Isaac Hayes is best known for his soul-funk theme to Shaft, and to later generations, as Chef on South Park. He won an Academy Award in 1971 for the theme song to Shaft, and was the first African American to win an Oscar in a non-acting category.

The blogger Any Major Dude With Half a Heart summarizes Hayes' career much better than I ever could. Hayes passed away on Sunday, August 10, at age 65, from an apparent heart attack.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Let's Party

They say you're nothing but a party girl.

Elvis Costello & the Attractions:
Party Girl.mp3
Armed Forces (2007 reissue)

Ooooooh she saw my party, she saw my party.

Kings of Leon:
My Party.mp3
Buy: Because of the Times (2007)

Hey puttin' you down don't square no deal.
Least you know the way I feel.

Merle Haggard: I Think I'll Just Stay Here And Drink.mp3
Buy: Down Every Road Box Set (1996)

Gonna walk around, gonna walk around, gonna walk around and drink some more.

The Hold Steady:
Party Pit.mp3
Buy: Boys and Girls in America (2006)

These so-called vacations will soon be my death.

Spirit of the West: Home for a Rest.wma
Buy: Save This House (2001 reissue)

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Kiss the Bottle

Still in Windsor. One of my favorite bands played "up north" in Detroit last night. Lucero hails from Memphis and puts on one hell of a hard rocking whiskey-soaked country show. Caught them in Toronto a few months ago and they tore the roof off of the place. Instead of ditching my Canadian peeps and heading to Detroit Rock City, I stayed in Windsor and went to a bar called Big Dicks and drank a ton of beer and cursed at the craptacular digital jukebox that wouldn't play any Lucero tracks, or any other alt country track, that I wanted to here .

Here is Lucero live covering a Jawbreaker track. I found this track on the interwebs somewhere. My guess is that they did it last night in Detroit too. You can also find it on the reissue of The Attic Tapes.

Kiss The Bottle.mp3
Buy: The Attic Tapes (2006)

Monday, August 4, 2008


I am in Windsor, Ontario, this week for the 4th Canadian Transplant Games, an Olympic-style athletic competition for people who have had life saving organ transplants. Tomorrow I compete in cycling (5K Time Trial, and 20K road race). The weather is supposed to be hot and humid, so there is a good possibility that I will vomit after the race. Windsor is the only spot in Canada where you can look north and see the United States - across the Detroit River into downtown Detroit. While Detroit has churned out so many musical artists that it would take months to blog about all of them, the only musical act that I can come up with from Windsor is The Tea Party. I am sure that there are others, but I don't know them. The Tea Party was very active in the late 1990s, and most of my friends in Canada are huge fans. This song was number one on Canadian radio in 1999.

Heaven Coming Down.mp3
Buy (out of print in the US but available on Triptych (1999)

Saturday, August 2, 2008

One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer

I have a big hangover due to my good friend Jimbo and a wicked Rock Band jam. I do recall singing this song at one point last night, and lamenting the fact that it is not part of Rock Band (hello Harmonix!). It was originally written by John Lee Hooker 1966, but I will treat you to the George Thorogood version first released in 1977.

One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer.MP3

Buy: The Baddest of George Thorogood and the Destroyers (1992)

More on the Hillside Festival soon. I promise.