Thursday, July 30, 2009

All Over But the Shouting

I just started reading The Replacements: All Over But the Shouting, An Oral History(2007). Written by Jim Walsh who was in the front row as The Replacements plowed through the basements and bars of Minneapolis to semi-national fame in the 1980s-indie underground. Walsh estimates that he saw The 'Mats 150 times over twelve years. I never saw them live, but when I first heard them on college radio 1988, my 15-year-old self was immediately in love.

I'm only through the preface, but I can already tell that this book is going to rule. This part made me laugh out loud:
Because Steve Perry's cover story for the October 1989 issue of Musician magazine called them "The Last, Best Band of the 80s," and next month, Jon Bon Jovi wrote a letter to the editor that asked, "How can the Replacements be the best band of the '80s when I've never heard of them?"

Here's one for you JBJ:

Buy: Let It Be (1984, reissued 2008)

Walsh says that he inspired this song during the Hootenanny days when he told Paul Westerberg that they were "playing like they were satisfied." This statement pissed off Westerberg, so he wrote this song in revenge.

For comparison, here is Bon Jovi's hit single from 1984. "Runaway" peaked at #39 on the Billboard Top 100.

Buy: Bon Jovi (1984, reissued 1999)

Monday, July 27, 2009

Chris Knight: The Trailer Tapes II

Oh my god! Oh my god! Oh my god! I'm as giddy as a little girl about this upcoming release. Chris Knight is the most underrated songwriter in North America. In 2007 Knight released an album of songs which he recoded by himself in his single-wide trailer near Slaughter, Kentucky, circa 1996, and called it The Trailer Tapes. It was one of my favorite releases of 2007. I just found out that there is a Trailer Tapes II scheduled for release in September. Awesome!

You can pre-order Trailer Tapes II, and get an immediate download of all 12 tracks. I just got this in my hot little hands. A review will follow, but in the meantime here is one from the first album.

Here Comes the Rain.mp3
Buy: The Trailer Tapes (2007)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Zip City

My buddy at A Truer Sound Twittered me the #DBTfan #Fail the other night for not listing the below song in my Drive-By Truckers Top 5. Frown. My top 5 DBT tracks (subject to change):

1. Women Without Whiskey
2. Lookout Mountain
3. Carl Perkins Cadillac
4. Danko/Manuel
5. Sink Hole

The Truckers have a new CD/DVD combo Live from Austin Texas which was just released on July 7. The DVD was filmed at Austin City Limits during the Brighter Than Creations Dark tour in 2008. Also look for a release of the Truckers "oddities and rarities" on September 1 called The Fine Print. You can hear a few of the songs on the Truckers web site.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. Is there anyone cooler or more bad-ass than Mike Cooley?

"I got 350 heads on a 305 engine
I get ten miles to the gallon
I ain't got no good intentions"

Zip City.mp3
Buy: Southern Rock Opera (2002)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Einstein, Picasso, Woods, Adams

Albert Einstein published his theory of special relatively, that E = mc2 shit, in 1905 when he was 26 years old. At age 25, Pablo Picasso painted a portrait of art collector Gertrude Stein (left), which now hangs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Tiger Woods was 21 years old when he won The Masters golf tournament in 1997, his first of 14 major tournament wins (and counting). And in 1997, Ryan Adams, age 22, wrote and recorded, along with his band Whiskeytown, Strangers Almanac.

In the grand scene of life and world history, its doubtful that Mr. Adams' work will hold the importance or cultural significance as the three aforementioned people, but in my life this album is as essential and life changing as the creation of the internet (which was invented by Al Gore, at age 23, right?).

Houses on the Hill.mp3
16 Days [Acoustic Demo].mp3
Buy: Strangers Almanac (1997, deluxe reissue 2008)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Kasey Anderson: Way Out West

2009 is turning out to be a really great year for new music. It is also turning out to be the year of the covers/tribute albums. Already we have heard covers/tribute releases from Phosphorescent (To Willie), The Sadies and John Doe (Country Club), Steve Earle (Townes), and the upcoming Yim Yames (Jim James of My Morning Jacket) Tribute To George Harrison (Aug. 4). For me, all three of former releases don't do much that the original songs can't do on their own. Don't get me wrong, they are good, solid albums. Its just that, for the most part, I would rather listen to the originals.

When I first received Kasey Anderson's latest album Way Out West, I didn't look at the track list and just popped it into my MP3 player to listen to while I ran my Saturday afternoon errands. It took me until the sixth track to realize that it was a covers album. Now you are probably thinking that the reason I flaked on the first five tracks is that I am not the music geek that I claim to be, which may be true. Its no secret that I don't really dig the Arcade Fire, and I have never listened to Keith Urban. But damn, I've listened to the shit out of Tom Waits Mule Variations, and I totally missed that one too! My point is that, unlike other covers albums released this year, Anderson truly makes these songs his own. Most of these songs are reworkings rather than genuine covers. Anderson adds his own style to each track, without tarnishing the beauty of the original song.

Anderson's musical approach is clearly influenced by the alt country styles of early Steve Earle albums. Nowhere is this more evident than in the Bob Dylan tune "High Water (for Charlie Patton)." Anderson turns Dylan's banjo-infused folk song into a country-rock anthem that sounds like it could be easily out of Earle's back catalog.

But Way Out West is not all country-rock. "I Still Miss Someone" is so ethereal that I can easily see it being used as background music in a heart-wrenching movie scene. Anderson's version of "Open All Night" is electric blues-based rock that sounds like it should be blasting from the stereo speakers at your favorite dive bar. I might actually like the Arcade Fire if they pulled out all of the foo-foo instrumentation and stuck to rock and roll, like Anderson's take on "Keep the Car Running"

Anderson performed all of the vocals and played every instrument on the album, with the exception of female backing vocals on "Walls" (performed by Anna Foster). The Pacific Northwest native self-recorded Way Out West earlier this year while living, traveling, and gigging around Europe. This digital-only release is one of the first releases on his own label, Red River Records. Anderson said that he recorded these particular tracks because they are tunes that he loves as well as songs that he has been playing for years.

His passion for these very different tracks is highly evident. The ten reworked songs span 52 years of music ("I Still Miss Somone," 1955, to "Keep the Car Running," 2007), highlight indie (Marah) and mainstream (Keith Urban) musicians, and cover folk, rock, alternative, and country genres. For me, Way Out West is what I expected and hoped the other covers/tribute albums released in 2009 would be like. Anderson adds something novel to these songs and make them his own.

Track List
1. Open All Night (orig. Bruce Springsteen)
2. Keep the Car Running (orig. Arcade Fire)
3. Hold On (orig. Tom Waits)
4. Days Go By (orig. Keith Urban)
5. Drifting (orig. Pearl Jam)
6. Walls (orig. Tom Petty)
7. High Water (for Charley Patton) (orig. Bob Dylan)
8. Round Eye Blues (orig. Marah)
9. I Still Miss Someone (orig. Johnny Cash)
10. To Live is to Fly (orig. Townes Van Zandt)

Walls (Tom Petter cover).mp3
Buy (iTunes or CD Baby): Way Out West (2009)


Its Kasey Anderson week in the blogosphere! Anderson recently wrote a wonderful guest post for He also included a brilliant original song to go along with his article. If you can't get enough of Mr. Anderson, he also has a four song bonus EP entitled The Seeker that will be available on Aug. 25. Some of the tracks are currently streaming on the Red River Records site. Anderson is planning to release his third original album Nowhere Nights in early 2010. You can listen to the forthcoming song "All Lit Up" on the Red River site.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

July Feel Bad For You Comp

This is one bad-ass comp from my colleagues in music fanaticism at If you love the country and/or western gernre, you will love this mix. Yeeee-haw!

1. Holly Williams - "He's Making a Fool out of You"
Here With Me (2009)

2. Al Green - "Love and Happiness"
Greatest Hits (1975)

3. The Kings - "Beat Goes On/Switchin' To Glide"
The Kings are Here (1982)

4. Dave Alvin - "Artesia"
Chris Gaffney Tribute (2009)

5. Brownsville Station - "Lightnin' Bar Blues"
Yeah! (1973)

6. James Carr - "You've Got My Mind Messed Up"
The Essential James Carr (1996)

7. Taj Mahal - Down Home Girl.mp3
From: Dancing the Blues (1993, out of print)

8. The Silos - "Satisfied"
Laser Beam Next Door (2001)

9. Merle Haggard - "Worried, Unhappy, Lonesome and Sorry"
Vintage Collections (1995)

10. Bobby Bare Jr.'s Young Criminals' Starvation League - "Strange Bird"
From The End Of Your Leash (2004)

11. Commander Cody - Semi Truck.mp3
Buy: Dopers, Drunks and Everyday Losers (2009)

12. Grayson Capps - "Back to the Country"
Rott N' Roll (2008)

13. William Elliott Whitmore - "Who Stole the Soul"
Animals in the Dark (2009)

14. Steve Young - "Lonesome On'ry and Mean"
Seven Bridges Road (1972)

15. Kris Kristofferson - To Beat the Devil.mp3
From: Me & Bobby McGee (1970, out of print)

16. Marshall Tucker Band - "Fire on the Mountain"
Searchin' for a Rainbow (1975)

17. Johnny Darrell - Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town.mp3
From: Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town (1967, out of print)

18. Shady Bard - Bobby.mp3
Buy (Amazon.UK): From the Ground Up (2007)

19. Shady Bard - "These Quiet Times"
From the Ground Up (2007)

20. Owen Temple - "Dollars and Dimes"
Dollars and Dimes (2009)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Songs About Songs

I'm pissing my Sunday away by playing the #songsaboutsongs game on Twitter. User TheOtherLaura just posted the lyrics "There's a place for us, you know the movie song." Gawd that is one of my top five all-time favorite songs. Although, I want to rip my ears off when I hear the painful Indigo Girls version of it.

Dire Straits - Romeo and Juliet.mp3
Buy: Making Movies (1980, reissued 2000)

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Strike Strike Strike

Toronto is in day 27 of its civic workers strike. From the City of Toronto web site:
At 12:20 a.m. on Monday, June 22, 2009, the City of Toronto's unionized employees represented by the Toronto Civic Employees' Union Local 416 (CUPE) and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 79 began a legal strike.
I moved here in 2002, and this is the second time these unions have gone on strike. The strike has been termed the "Garbage Strike" since there is no garbage pickup and trash is the most visible sign of the work stoppage. The 2002 strike lasted 16 days, and was miserable as the average temperature was 30C/86F. This summer has been unseasonably cool, so the garbage isn't festering too badly. Fortunately I live in a high rise condo and my garbage pickup is privately contracted. The only thing that has effected me is that my Sunday night soccer game has been moved from a city-owned park, which is now a temporary garbage dump, to a high school field. No big deal. But some of my friends are getting seriously screwed over by the lack of city-run day care for their tots.

This is an excerpt from Now Magazine about what to expect during the strike.
Unfortunately, it fair to say garbage will sit at the top of the pile of people’s concerns and the city will continue to threaten troglodytes with $380 illegal dumping tickets. But in case you can manage to lighten your junk tossing for a few days, here’s a partial list of stuff you might not even know is affected by the strike (find the full list here):
  • The Toronto Archives are closed.
  • All park permits (tennis, soccer, etc.) including wedding photos are cancelled.
  • City camps, clubs, tours, anything planned for community schools, pools, arenas, fitness centres, golf courses, greenhouses, conservatories, and public washrooms – all closed.
  • The Toronto Island ferry is out of service.
  • Routine repairs to expressways, roads, sidewalks and bridges are suspended, and many Transportation services issues that are functioning will see delays.
  • Here’s one that is huge: all child care centres operated by Toronto Children’s Services are closed. The list, as linked above, available here under the Children’s Services header.
  • Streets to Homes walk-in is closed as is the Adelaide Women’s Resource Centre.
  • Grade 7 and 8 students who missed their Hep B, Meningitis C and HPV immunizations are out of luck for now.
  • Routine restaurant inspections are out, which should give you even more reason to cook at home.
  • The city’s sexual health clinics, needle exchange on Victoria, and dental clinics are shut down.
  • Water quality won’t be monitored on beaches, so it’s probably a bad idea to swim.
  • Taxi, limo and CPR training at Municipal Licensing and Standards is off. More importantly, taxis get training?
  • It’s unclear whether parking tickets are still being issued, but you won’t be able to go to Metro Hall to dispute one.
As a non-Canadian I can't vote in city elections, so I really haven't been paying too much attention to the city verses the union in term of negotiations, but from what little I have read I tend to side with the city on this one. The union demands seem ridiculous to me. Read more about the strike in today's Toronto Star.

This photo makes me sad as kids usually play roller hockey in these empty ice rinks during the summer. Children always get completely screwed during these conflicts. No public swimming pools in the summer? No summer T-ball? This photo is from Christie Pits Park near Bloor St. W. and Christie St.

Here is some pro-worker music for the striking masses:

Billy Bragg - There is Power in a Union.mp3
Buy: Talking with the Taxman About Poetry (1986, reissues 2006)

If there is music that is pro-THE MAN, I don't know of it. Heck, half of rock and roll is about sticking it to THE MAN (the other half is about picking up chicks). So here is more Billy Bragg doing Woody Guthrie.

Billy Bragg & Wilco - All You Fascists.mp3
Buy: Mermaid Avenue Vol. II (2000)

Me trying to be ironic:

Garbage - When I Grow Up.mp3
Buy: Version 2.0 (1998)

The Replacements - I Hate Music.mp3
Buy: Sorry Ma, Forgot to Take Out the Trash (1981, reissued 2008)

Monday, July 13, 2009

I Was Dressed For Success, But Success It Never Comes

Happy Birthday to Me!
My Aimz is True turns one year old today. I have so much fun putting this blog together. I should have started it years ago. I don't even care if anyone reads it, but I am very thankful to those of you who do!

Let's review the last year:
  • ~ 65,000 page loads, with an average of ~179 page loads a day.
  • ~ 46,000 unique visitors, with an average of ~128 unique visitors a day.
  • Largest number of hits in one day: 1458 on Dec. 4, 2008, when I posted a holiday music comp.
  • Eighteen shows attended (head bang!).
  • Four of those were by The Sadies.
  • Two posts pulled by Google due to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. These posts were most likely not copyright infringement, but Google sucking up to The Man.
  • One brouhaha caused by pissing off some Muse fans. I still wouldn't recognize Muse in a musical lineup.
  • One movie review: Harvard Beats Yale 29-29.
  • My favorite posts: the series on old-school U2 starting March 24.
My very first post on July 13, 2008, before I knew anything about HTML, file hosting, or blog aggregators, was on Pavement. I was getting ready to see Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks in a few days, and had Pavement on the brain. Since then I have not posted anything about my indie rock heroes from the early 1990s, who apparently played at my college campus in 1993 while I was in school, but I was way too much of a dipshit to go and see them back then.

Today I am celebrating the one year anniversary of my blog by listening to Slanted & Enchanted on continuous repeat. In the expanded liner notes from the 2002 reissue, Malkmus writes, "Christmas in Stockton: not exactly christmas in Vermont but at least it was quiet. I think it took a couple of weeks. I remixed 'Here' the morning of the flight back to NYC, added a DX-7 bassoon and took away a thin 'wannabe Jesus and Mary Chain' distorted guitar. It is the only song with reverb on the drums. Albini said reverb sucked, remember??"

Malkmus was referring to the first incarnation of Slanted & Enchanted, which they handed out to various people in the summer of 1991 via audio cassette. Pavement was eventually signed by Matador Records, and S & E was released in April 1992.

Here (Alternate Mix - Slanted Sessions).mp3
Here (John Peel Session #1).mp3
Buy: Slanted & Enchanted: Luxe & Reduxe (1992, reissued with bonus tracks 2002)

Friday, July 10, 2009

Jay Farrar Friday

Son Volt's latest album American Central Dust came out on Tuesday, July 7. I haven't fully digested this one yet, but it sounds like Jay and the boys are playing some great country-folk. Lots of pedal steel and classic country guitar on this one. Me likey. They are on tour right now, specifically in Snowbird, Utah, today. But the only Canadian date is in Vancouver (July 21)! I've never seen Son Volt live, and it doesn't look like I will get this this year either. You can follow them on their tour blog.

Son Volt - Roll On.mp3
Buy: American Central Dust (2009)

Here's killer instrumental from Uncle Tupelo. This track is from their third album, which was recorded live and produced by R.E.M.'s Peter Buck. The liners notes list the song as being co-written by J. Farrar and J. Tweedy.

Uncle Tupelo - Sandusky.mp3
Buy: March 16-20, 1992 (1992, reissued 2003)

This track is from a Jay Farrar live album which I found on eMusic. It was recorded in September and October of 2003 while Farrar was on tour with the backing band Canyon. The album comes with an 11-track live DVD, which was recored at Slim's in San Francisco.

Jay Farrar - Like a Hurricane.mp3
Buy (eMusic): Stone, Steel & Bright Lights (2004)
The CD/DVD combo can be found new at, but only has used copies or expensive imports.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Dave Carroll Takes on United Airlines

Note: I posted this story yesterday on the Canadian music blog, but I can't get enough of it so I am reposting it here. If you love Canadian music, NxEW is a great web site. I highly recommend you check it out.
How many times have you been screwed over by a commercial airline, only to feel totally helpless when they say, "there is nothing we can do?" If you are like me, this has happened to you one too many times. And other than complaining to your friends and family, and maybe trashing the airline on the internet, there literally is no way you can get the airline to compensate you, financially or otherwise, for mangled luggage, missed connections, or ruined vacations.

Last year Halifax musician Dave Carroll and his East Coast Music Association award-winning band Sons of Maxwell had the unfortunate experience of getting their gear trashed by United Airlines. Specifically, Carroll's $3500 Taylor guitar was rendered unplayable by United's ground crew. After getting the runaround from Untied and spending nine months trying to get compensated for the damage, Carroll gave up and decided to extract revenge using his musical talents. He promised United customer service agent Ms. Irlweg that he would write, produce, and release three songs and accompanying videos about his experiences with United, and post them for all of the world to see. You can read about the entire saga on Carroll's web site.

The first video was posted on YouTube on July 6 and it is hysterical! And the tune is quite catchy. Before you point out that Carroll could have purchased another guitar with this amount of money put into making this video, all of the video production was donated. Carroll's goal is to have one million hits on this video in the next year. I cannot wait for songs two and three! Thanks for sticking it to "The Man," Dave!

(Sorry for the weird sizing of the YouTube video. My HTML skillz are lacking and I don't know how to resize it for my page.)

When I posted this yesterday morning the video had 150,000 hits. Right now (9:30am Eastern Time) its approaching 500,000 hits. By yesterday afternoon the Los Angeles Times had picked up this video and reported that United spokeswoman Robin Urbanski said that “this has struck a chord with us.” Pun intended? She added that “his video is excellent, and we plan to use it internally as a unique learning and training opportunity to ensure that all our customers receive better service…. This should have been fixed much sooner.”

The video was subsequently picked up by CNN, CBS, and CBC. The Toronto Star had a nice article yesterday too. I sent this video to a family member who is a former United employee, and he said, "I think it is great. I see there is no change at UAL. They could go out of business as far as I am concerned."

Looking at Carroll's Twitter feed, he has interviews lined up today with Toronto's Breakfast Television, Fox Radio, Canada AM (Canada's largest morning show), EZ Rock in his hometown of Timmins, ON, a Chicago radio station, and Global National (another Canadian TV station).

This video would not have taken off had the song not been so catchy and well-written, nor the video so funny and well-done. I crack up every time I see the chalk outline of the broken guitar. I was humming "United Breaks Guitars" all day yesterday, and probably will today too. I hope Mr. Carroll will post the song for purchase, and I hope he gets on Letterman or some other show. Plus, I hope his musical career takes off! I'm ordering his album Perfect Blue pronto ($20 CND from his website, $15 USD from CD Baby, and on iTunes).

Saturday, July 4, 2009

I miss the USA

On Wednesday, July 1, (Canada Day up here), the New York Times ran a fun Op-Ed piece written by various Canadians who now live in the US on what they miss most about home. Actor/comedian Rick Moranis leads the essay with a little history, followed by musings on loonies, toques, and "demure" Canadians. Others talk about cold, snowy winters, Franophones, Second Cup, hockey, "colour," free health care, Coffee Crisp, and other northern specialties. I actually can't believe that no one mentioned Tim Hortons, although that franchise has migrated to border states.

That article got me thinking about what I miss most about the good old US of A. Here is a quick list of things that I miss about my homeland.
  • Target - no Target in the Great White North. I shop there every time I am back in the states. Canadian Tire just does not cut it.
  • Getting a big Sunday paper. For some reason, the large edition "Sunday" paper is delivered on Saturdays. It drives me crazy.
  • Imperial Units- Fahrenheit, Miles per Hour, Dollars per Gallon. I weigh 130 pounds, not 59 kilograms.
  • Gallon jugs of milk. Its either bags of milk, or litre cartons.
  • Good Pizza. In the New York Times article, musician A.C. Newman complains that there is no good pizza in Canada. He is correct.
  • ESPN - Yeah, they have sports networks here like TSN (same parent company as ESPN), but every edition of Sportscentre (French spelling), regardless of the time of year, leads off with a hockey story. I miss having more than one sport to be fanatical about.
  • College Sports - University athletics in Canada is an afterthought. All of the really good athletes either play hockey, or get sports scholarships to US schools. I miss watching US college football and basketball. Sure, my cable system gets the US networks, but there is only so much of the Nortre Dame Broadcasting Company that one can watch.
  • Timely Cable - Due to some broadcast agreements that I don't understand, Canada gets many cable shows months after they air in the US. For example, I get episodes of South Park two months after their US broadcast.
  • Buying booze at grocery stores or gas stations. In Ontario you can only buy liquor, wine, and beer at government run stores such as the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) or The Beer Store ("Where the Beers Are"). Its a total pain in the ass. I know some states in the US have this policy too. I hope I never live in one.
Believe me, there are plenty of things that I love about Canada, and I will get to those things some other time. Today I just want to wish everyone a happy, safe, Independence Day. Most of my family is either vacationing in Tennessee, or bar-b-queing in Wisconsin, and I miss them very much. Please have a Miller Lite and a Johnsonville Brat for me!

Here are some tunes that describe the hope, fear, love, pride, frustration, and joy about the country that is America.

Ray Charles
- America the Beautiful.mp3
Buy: A Message from the People (1972, reissued 2009)
The definitive version. If you listen to the Celine Dion version today, you lose your citizenship.

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers - American Girl.mp3
Buy: Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers (1976, reissued 2002)
My anthem.

Vigilantes of Love
- America.mp3
From: V.O.L. (1996, out of print)
Questioning the country is a very important part of being a citizen of it.

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band - This Land is Your Land.mp3
Buy: Live: 1975-85 (1986, reissued 1997)
The Boss's version of the Woody Guthrie classic speaks for itself.

Jimi Hendrix - Star Spangled Banner.mp3
Buy: Experience Hendrix: The Best of Jimi Hendrix (1998, reissued 2007)
I know everyone is posting this track today, but too bad. It rules!

NPR is streaming a Mix for America that includes a mix of genres like rock, jazz, punk and symphonic music, nearly as diverse as America itself. No Depression has a nice list of songs about America.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Canada Day Fireworks

Canada Day (French: Fête du Canada), formerly Dominion Day (French: Le Jour de la Confédération), is Canada's national day, a federal statutory holiday celebrating the anniversary of the 1 July 1867 enactment of the British North America Act, which united Canada as a single country of four provinces. Canada Day observances take place throughout Canada as well as internationally.

The below song is quintessentially Canadian. Its by a band that is wildly successful in Canada, but never really made much of a dent in the US music scene (asides from border cities and ex-pats attending their shows). Its an upbeat, poppy, love song, but it name drops Bobby Orr. And, surprise, they often play it at the end of outdoors shows so that fireworks can blast in the background! I saw them perform at Edgefest in 2003 at Molson Park in Barrie, Ontario. Great rock band.

The Tragically Hip - Fireworks.mp3
Buy: Phantom Power (1998)