Archive for January 2009

You’ve Changed Records

January 29th, 2009

One hot summer in 2004, I took the 30-minute stroll from my house in Oshawa to Star Records downtown. I had to return ‘White Light, White Heat’ because the record was warped. Mike, the owner, said he could give me store credit. I looked behind the counter and spotted the Constantines‘ second album ‘Shine a Light’ amongst the bootlegged concerts and dusty DVDs. I’d seen them play a few weeks before in Toronto, and had been listening to the same few songs (Blind Luck, Seven AM, Long Distance Four, Arizona… maybe one or two others) on New Music Canada for months, so it was time I bought one of their albums. From the opening blast of National Hum to the closing stomps of Sub-Domestic, my teenage brain was blown.

A few years later now, late 2006, I head to the Velvet Elvis to see Julie Doiron play. At this point I’m not really a fan, I’ve only heard a few songs, but I knew she was one of the bigger acts to play our town so I went. Also playing was some band called Shotgun and Jaybird. No clue who they are really. I’d played one or two songs on my radio show to promote the concert, but didn’t know their story. Opening up the show was Will from the Constantines solo, so that gave me another reason to go. Anyway, Shotgun and Jaybird went on and I fell in love with them. It’s true. It was one of the sweetest sets of music I’d ever seen. Their whole approach to playing was so charming. The way the different band members interacted, how they spoke to the audience, the way they played their songs, all so fantastic. They had two CDs for sale that night – an EP and their new full-length album. I bought them both and still listen to them regularly, they never get tired. The band split up a few months after I saw them, and it was sad at first, but they’ve all gone on to make great music in other capacities. Plus, they left me with one great show and a perfect little discography.

I’m not sure when I first met Steve Lambke. I think I met him with my friend Mitch at Lee’s Palace seeing the Cons when Mitch got him to sign his show poster. However, the first time I really spoke to Steve was when he played solo in Oshawa at this old bar, Catch 22. Not many people were there, so I took it as an opportunity to go speak to him. Steve plays in the Constantines, so naturally I wanted to have a few words with him. He was very friendly to me, and when he played he even dedicated one of his songs (Windy Road) to me! It was a great feeling to know that guitar player in my favourite band is a nice person.

That night Shotgun and Jaybird played the Elvis, I was able to chat with all of them for a while. One of the band members, Jimmie (aka. Shotgun Jimmie) told me about how he was originally from the Durham Region but now lived out east in a town called Sackville in New Brunswick. I may have mentioned how I’d been to Sackville once before, when I was a young kid. Anyway, Jimmie and I kept in touch on the internet, and I learned more about his town of Sackville and about the music festival him and the other folks in Shotgun and Jaybird had just started the previous August called SappyFest. A year or so later when Jimmie was releasing his solo album, he went so far as to hand deliver me a copy in Oshawa! What a great guy!

Last Spring I was in my last semester of College. It had taken me three years but I’d finally made a good friend in my program named Dale. I think the only reason we started talking was because I noticed he was listening to the Weakerthans one day. Nevertheless, we quickly became friends and started sharing music. One of the first bands Dale got me into was a band I’d heard of but had never listened to called Attack in Black. He let me have their album ‘Marriage’ and I enjoyed it enough on my first listen, but I couldn’t fully connect with it at that point. It wasn’t until a few weeks later when I went to go see the Constantines that their music really made a connection. You see, Attack in Black opened up that show and I was front and center (I had to have a good spot for the Cons). I was still on the fence about them at that point, but seeing them play made me a fan. I thought their songs sounded way better live than on the record, and they were really great performers too. Since then I’ve gotten their second album ‘The Curve of the Earth’ which has become one of my favourite albums.

Everything came together this past August. I finally made it out to Sackville for SappyFest. I camped out in a tent on Jimmie’s farm. The night I arrived there, there was a big campfire. That’s when I realized Steve was also staying there, as were the guys in Attack in Black, so I got to meet them. That whole week was amazing, and it made me appreciate all these individuals so much more. I feel lucky to know all of them, as they all make music that really means a lot to me.

I started writing this post simply to tell everyone about the new record label they’re starting called You’ve Changed Records. They’re releasing Jimmie’s new album ‘Still Jimmie’ on March 10th, and an Attack in Black/Baby Eagle (Steve’s solo project) 12″ on April 14th. I’m so goddamn excited. Go to their website and listen to Mind Crumb.

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The D’Urbervilles at the Tranzac

January 22nd, 2009

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Chad VanGaalen at SappyFest

January 21st, 2009

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OOTS 2nd Anniversary at the Tranzac

January 15th, 2009

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Hometown Hoedown

January 14th, 2009

Back in December ‘07, I helped some friends organize a festival in our hometown of Oshawa. It was called the Hometown Hoedown, an appropriate name if I do say so myself. We got bands from around town and pals from other places, and it was all really great. Most of the shows took place at the Velvet Elvis, the best spot in town, and really the only place that would let us takeover for three days. Sadly and unexpectedly, the Elvis would close its doors forever just one month later.

Fast forward to this afternoon. I go on Facebook and see that my homeboy Brian has finally gotten around to uploading the photos he took at the shows. They’re wonderful photos, just full of colour and energy, and I hope he doesn’t mind me sharing them with you here. Makes me really miss the Elvis… I think it’s an office building now.





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Slow Hand Motëm at Tiger Bar

January 9th, 2009

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The Magic at the Tranzac

January 5th, 2009

My pal Sylvie asked me to videotape her band playing at the Tranzac. I wish I’d done a better job though. I stood way at the back and had to do a lot of zooming in, and I moved the camera around way too much. However, the song is really great, so I think it deserves to be shared! This band, “The Magic,” are a lot of fun. The song in the video is actually a quasi-cover, since it was originally performed by Sylvie’s old band, Habitat! I also posted a video of Jim Guthrie’s new band Human Highway covering a Jim Guthrie song! Joy!

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