Thursday, November 25, 2010

The First Annual Gonnagetsued Winter Mix-Off

So a few weeks ago our good pal and frequent poster Aaron suggested that we have a Winter Mix-Off. The rules were simple. Create a 8-15 song mix tape that represented winter to you, whether it was through lyrical content, song vibe, or title. Each mix would be voted on by the readers of this blog and the person who received the least votes would have to write and record an original song about winter. (Yikes!!) So here we go.

Kevin: Mix For a Winter's Night
To choose a song for a winter mix, one would need to have either "winter" in song title, lyrical content and/or over-all wintery sound & feel. For the most part, I tried to hit all three criteria for every song - this is a competition after all. Yes, it might be cheap to throw on the Christmasiest Christmas song ever (Vince Guaraldi), but there's so little Christmas themed music that doesn't fully cause one to cringe in pain but rather evoke joy and legitimately the feeling of winter. With regards to the Canadianess of the mix, I suppose that truly few countries have any real understanding of winter and therefore would be unable to evoke that sentiment in song, and thus this mix is made up nearly entirely of Canucks - two of which are recorded by close Albertan friends (Brady Funchner and Jason Warden aka First Punic War) - again, only an Albertan could truly set down winter (a real Albertan winter) in song. Some of these evoke certain memories of winter's past for me. I have a very distinct memory of driving to Fernie on a whim and ended up in total white-out conditions, rolling around mountain passes unable to see 5 feet ahead and blaring both the Rick White and the Unintended albums - those could very well be the coldest records ever put to tape, and hearing them conjures those memories above and send chills down my neck. Ideally this is a driving mix, to listen to while staring through little a little square hole scraped from the windshield, mitts grasping the wheel, and the heaters on defrost full-blast.

Let's all be glad the winter is here.
ps. As if writing a winter song could ever be punishment, I recorded my winter song regardless and included it. I didn't want to be the victor and yet still lose, to not have the chance to set one down.

pps. - the songs also organized in what I felt was the narrative flow of the songs, beginning now in November and ending towards Christmas. ;)

Aaron: J'aime l'hiver
Unsilent Storms in the North Abyss - Immortal
No true winter mix is complete without kicking it off with some evil black metal. Immortal is one of those bands that I’m borderline obsessed with because I find them so funny, but also so incredibly appropriate for winter jams. Go for a drive on some prairie grid roads in -50 weather blasting this shit and fantasize about building snowmen with human heads.

First Day of Winter - Screechin Weasel
An unwritten rule for mixes: The first track has to be a banger. The second track has to be equally as pumping. And nothing gets me more stoked on life than Ramones rip-off music. Fun fact: Ben Weasel has written a “First Day of...” song for every season.

Jesus Christ - Big Star
Take lyrics from any church hymnal and they won’t be nearly as glorious as this 1974 ode to the Son of God. R.I.P. Alex Chilton.

Long Cold Lonely Night - The Yolks
Uppity garage rock which will put a skip in your step as you’re walking home from the bus stop, only to make you realize you’re trudging to an empty house to sit in the dark and drink hot chocolate by yourself.

Snowsuit Sound - Sloan
Memories are precious and I sure hope everyone has at least a few of being bundled up by their mother and sent out to into a winter’s afternoon full of hope and adventure. How does one even begin to describe that “snowsuit sound”?

Homo Christmas - Pansy Division
My favourite Christmas track. Bask in the FABULOUS irreverence of this gem.

The Snow Road - The Fjords
Slowing it down a bit with this incredible stoner-blues jam from Saskatoon’s The Fjords. This band is extremely underrated and should have toured more.

November - Christie Front Drive
Picking it up a bit with a song that takes me back to cute memories like holding hands on winter walks with a girlfriend. Also takes me back to other less cute weird winter break ups.

The Winter Wheel - Art Bears
70’s avant-garde always seems to rudely interrupt any flow a mix might have, which is hilarious to me. The lyrics to this song make me think of my grandparents’ farm and how excited I was at the prospect of so much snow in such a wide open space!

Snowed In - Joel Plaskett Emergency
Out of Plaskett’s massive collection of songs, this is the closest to what Thrush Hermit would have sounded like had they stayed together. Some of the best mornings I’ve had are finding out that the university is closed because of snow. PARTY TIME!

Andrew: Winter Sucks...Sort Of
I wanted my mix to represent my love/hate relationship with winter. Growing up in Alberta puts you against some pretty extreme times it's beautiful, at other times it makes you want to curl up and die. This is a musical timeline of winter for me.

It's Going To Be A Cold Winter - Ceremony
This song is like hearing the weatherperson say the forecast calls for snow. It's how I feel when I have to clean up the dog shit in the yard, put away my bike, and hang up my beat up hole riddled vans in preparation for the long cold winter that is coming.

Snow Falls In November - Julie Doiron (OH NO! We were bound to have at least one repeat)
Despite the initial rage I feel towards the season, the first snowfall is beautiful and you can't help but feel a bit in love with everything that morning you wake up and see the world covered up.

Make This A Holiday - Small Brown Bike
The great thing about winter in Edmonton is everyone goes into slight hibernation and makes beautiful music. You see your friends at basement shows and hall shows and everything is awesome. This is a song about winter friends. (Thanks Mark!)

Winter Wonderland - Cap'n Jazz
Christmas is coming! The most terrifying/weird/hilarious Christmas song ever recorded. Had to be included.

Tyco Racing Set And A Christmas Story Fifteen Times - Kind of Like Spitting
A great song about how INSANSE Christmas can make me feel. Too many people, too many family dinners, just pure craziness for a solid week. (My family really isn't nearly as bad as the one in this song is made out to be)

Merry Boxing Day - The Rocky Fortune
Boxing Day deserves it's own carol too.

New Year's Day - Waxwing
Good cover by Waxwing. Maybe not that lyrically appropriate, but still a great wintery jam and season specific.

She Has A Cold, Cold Heart - Orchid
This song makes me feel like I'm being buried alive. The weird muffled piano, the strange noise at the's just awesome.

Nuclear Winter Wonderland - In/Humanity this point I'm pretty tired of winter. Getting a little pissed.

Out for Blood - YDI
Fuck this season. When is summer coming?

The Longest Winter - Pedro The Lion
At peace with it. Winter's long, but I'll survive. Also, is it really a mix without a Pedro The Lion track?

So there you have the 3 mixes. Let us know your favorite by commenting. We'll announce a winner in a few weeks.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Kevin Rips: Ancestors - Nightfall 7"

AB: Tiny sidenote to this post. The artwork on this 7" is an amazing piece of work done by Michael Majewski, a seriously talented Canadian poster artist who sadly passed away last year. If you can get your hands on this 7" do it, the screen printed cover alone is worth it.

Toronto's Ancestors are a whirlwind. I had the distinct privilege to play with them this last summer on the Stalwart Sons tour. We played together in the kitchen of the Bro Haus, home of the dudes from Creeper. The Bro Haus is a pretty gnarly place to begin with, but to put Ancestors in that kitchen - that's just mayhem! The floors were slick from beer and sweat, 30 people were crammed into the kitchen, dirty dishes piled high in the sink, garbage bags piled high right outside the back window, guitar strings were snapping like threads. It's a wonder the cupboards were still intact at the end of the night.

Ancestors play a sort of ripping rock-styled hardcore, much like Panthers or something like that - except Ancestors make band like Panthers seem tame by comparison. All the members of Ancestors were older dudes in their thirties, but I can only say that their age has made them wise. They know what they're doing, no tired rock cliches, no plodding softies or sing-songy vocals. Just blazing jams. And this 7" piles them high! Just one listen to the title track "Nightfall" - the vocals hoarse as they should be, the guitars that cut like saws! Riffs to cut you in half.

Limited to 300, and I believe now sadly OOP, so I really hope people will support this band and really catch on to Ancestors. If you live in the GTA, I implore you to bear witness to this band. I only wish they lived in my city so they could make my kitchen sweat and their guitars cut me in twain.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Admiral - S/T 7"

Admiral was an emo band from Pennsylvania featuring members that would go on to form notable bands such as Navio Forge and Hoover. Honestly, this 7" was a bit of a slow burner for me...I'd listen but nothing would stick out too much for me, until one day Horns Lay Silent (the second track) came on shuffle. For whatever reason it just clicked for me. It's not a groundbreaking or life changing record, but the songs are played with a lot of heart and sincerity and it just makes you feel good.

Musically think 80's hardcore/emo with super gruff vocals and a bit of a punk rock sing along vibe. Enjoyable listen through and through and definitely worth checking out if you like the DC/Dischord style.

Monday, November 15, 2010

High Jinks - S/T 7"

All the Edmonton kids will already have this, but I figured it was worth posting regardless. In my opinion High Jinks was one of the best hardcore bands to come out of Edmonton in a long time, and I feel like kids will talk about this band for years to come.

To me, this 7" represents a time in Edmonton when the scene was shifting away from the jock mentality towards (dare I say) a more thoughtful and intelligent hardcore scene. High Jinks' lyrics definitely reflected this. Songs like Violins showed disdain for a scene that was more about fighting than it was about unity. However, don't let the idea of 'thoughtfulness' lull you into thinking this record is soft. It's fast, loud and pissed off, taking cues from all facets of hardcore. Listen hard enough and you'll hear elements of 80's hardcore greats like Black Flag and Cro-Mags mixed with contemporary counterparts like Carry On or Ceremony.

Some of my favorite shows I've played or attended have been with High Jinks. The band always played harder than the kids could thrash about, and at the end it always seemed like the audience was more tired than the band, who was always up for playing a couple covers on top of their already exhausting set.

This has been out of print for over a year or so now, and will likely never seen a repress. If you own it, hang onto it. Amazing record with fantastic artwork. Marbled green vinyl and a great poster fold out insert. Rad! Members of High Jinks went on to play in Maus, Tempest and No Problems. Check it!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

All Through A Life - Cities Become Ideals 7"

There's something so beautiful about purchasing a record with no idea of how it will sound. I've sort of waxed poetic about this in the past, but it still makes me so happy every time it happens. I picked this up off Damages' merch table as they shared members. The pastel soft colors and intricate design of the artwork is starkly contrasted next to Damages bold, black and white aesthetic, and you can't help picking up the 7" and inspecting it. It's on insanely heavy vinyl, and the color is this amazing translucent minty green. So basically, I'm trying to say that I was sold on the packaging before I even heard the tunes. Bought it, listened to it, loved it.

Not unlike Damages, All Through A Life is heavily influenced by DC/Dischord Hardcore and mid 90's emo records on Ebullition. The vocals are intense, a mix of desperate shouting and rambled spoken word. The instruments incredibly tight and complex, pummeling you for just under 10 minutes. This is definitely one of the better emo records to come out of Canada and definitely worth adding to your collection. Physical copies are a must of this record, I cannot stress enough how beautiful it is. Buy it!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Bloody Gears - S/T 7"

AB: Another punk rock selection from Mr. Scholz! Thanks!

I like a lot of unoriginal punk. I like it even more when un-original punk comes along with a slightly different and, dare I say, "fresh" twist. Combining HOT SNAKES and WIPERS influences into one hot 7”, Bloody Gears are a band to get excited about. In fact, I think they would do well to accompany SLATES on a tour. They are from Boston and have a crappy name, but a dynamite three-song release! Deranged Records put this out back in May, so you should buy it, along with everything else Deranged has put out.

Troy Snaterse - S/T

At just under 20 years of age Troy Snaterse has already been involved with more bands than most people do in their lifetime. Whether it's playing hardcore in Breakaway, emo in This Machine Is..., or pop punk in Oh Messy Life, it's super apparent that Troy is talented beyond his years. This is his latest offering, a 6 song self titled solo EP and it's fantastic.

I've had the chance to see Troy's solo act a few times and it's always such an awesome sight to see 50 hardcore kids stop and fully immerse themselves in the music. As far as the tunes goes, this is pretty no frills stuff, just a guy, his guitar and his voice. Lyrics about growing up, getting into trouble and falling in and out of love. It's beautiful in it's simplicity and honesty. I know this album won't be everyone's cup of tea, but to me it represents the amazing pool of talent that's constantly growing in this beautiful city I call my home.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Mineral - February/M.D. 7"

No other band causes such a mixed bag of reactions in the emo genre than Mineral does, and rightly so. Mineral was and continues to be a pretty divisive band in the scene. Some will argue that they represent the pinnacle of midwest sappy emo rock, while others will say that bands like Mineral are what corrupted the genre and pushed it towards a more radio friendly sound. Personally I love the band. I know they're super cheesy and insanely melodramatic, but that's what I adore about it. Listening to Mineral is like being catapulted back into your 16 year old body, a time where everything is so urgent and important, despite it's obvious triviality. It's silly and you know it, but you can't help but let it wash over you.

I like all of Mineral's stuff, but I find this 7" to be the most concise and solid offering they ever put out. While the 2 full lengths may have had a bit of filler in the middle, the February/M.D. 7" is 2 really solid jams. Like most songs in their discography, both of these are slow builders filled with twinkly guitars and manic depressive whined vocals. These guys obviously had a formula and they stuck with it. I think my favorite part of this entire 7" is at 3:50 in M.D. Huge soaring melodies and harmonies. Emo gold Jerry, emo gold!

Those who hate this, really hate it, and those who love it, probably already have this, but I figured it was worth posting regardless.

Kevin Rips: Old Growth/Science of Yabra Split

This is a record that's been getting consistent play for months. You can probably figure that much out judging by the static heard on this rip (and thus, yes!, Kevin Rips are doing just that once again!). Two of the best bands from Portland throwing together two solid jams. The don't exactly share an aesthetic sound, but more a common attitude towards punk rock and hardcore. They aren't exactly playing the most timely of music, and thankfully they don't need to be. Sometimes things don't have to soar with leaps and bounds of obvious innovation and greatness, sometimes things just need to be solid and true.

Old Growth came out of the aftermath of perpetual favorites Twelve Hour Turn, one half went and formed Tubers, the other half Old Growth. While there are still some slight post-hardcore leanings going on, Old Growth are more akin with rootsy/Springsteen-like punk bands like Fake Problems or Bent Outta Shape. "Taste the Rain" has ended up on many a road-mix-tape, with the rolling harmonica and picked guitars, somehow this song just kept getting looked at again and again. Science of Yabra offer up something far more aggressive, with heavy riffage (reminiscent of Ancestors maybe, or vice-versa?). Solid split 7" from two solid bands. Through and through.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Draft Dogers - Sounds of New Kanada

AB: Kevin's gonna hate me for this one. :)

If there is one thing I know in life it's that the best music you will ever hear in your lifetime will be played by your best friends in dark, cold basements. Even if it's only been heard by a handful of kids and the only record of their existence is a xeroxed manifest and a roughly recorded tape, you will likely remember this music for the rest of your life.

Draft Dodgers were never meant to go beyond the basement. They were never meant to have a fancy recording and big tours with signed bands. They represent a brief moment in time where your entire life revolved around 17 minutes of music....and isn't that what a great album is supposed to do? I listen to this tape all the time and it still gets me the same way it did the first time I heard it. Best band. (PS. Listen to Stalwart Sons if you're not doing so already)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Colossus of Roads - s/t 7"

"Why do we try so hard?" This line rings really true and sad on this 4 song 7". Colossus of Roads, in my opinion, was one of the best bands playing modern screamo/skram in the states and seemed to be largely ignored. It's really too bad, because Colossus takes elements of Kidcrash's mathy rocking emo and mixes it with Capsules intensity and heaviness...and then proceeds to blow every band out of the water with their sound. Every song on this 7" is amazing and can stand on it's own, but together this is one intense 10 minute listen. Not sure if they are still active, and details on this release are sketchy at best. Bummer. This band should have been huge.

Thanks so much to Chris for finding this for me. I don't know why I was having such a hard time finding a rip of it. Unfortunately the rip isn't the greatest, and the level drops a few times throughout. Still an amazing album worth downloading. should be noted that this band is in no way related to the terrible Montreal band, Colossus of Rhodes. Don't bother with that band.