Saturday, September 19, 2015
Toronto’s The Sadies have been captivating audiences with their wildly entertaining live shows since they first began in 1994. Since then, The Sadies have taken their sound which mixes elements of country, bluegrass, garage rock, punk, blues and instrumental surf music for a sound that is all their own. Fronted by brothers Dallas and Travis Good, this four-piece band has received critical acclaim for many of their albums including 2002’s The Story’s Often Told, 2004’s Favourite Colours and 2007’s New Seasons, which was also nominated for a Juno award. In addition to their own merits, The Sadies have collaborated with many other artists both live, backing up several artists and on record. They have collaborated with Andre Williams, Gord Downie, Garth Hudson, Neko Case and John Doe to name a few. In 2013, The Sadies released Internal Sounds. The Sadies ramped up their punk and psych-rock influences, while also balancing it with the more subtle nuances in their already established sound. Internal Sounds also marks the first album in which Sadies member Dallas Good took on the producer role.
The Sadies were part of the line-up for this year's Phog Phest in Windsor, Ontario.
Saturday Night Playlist:
1. Pony - Somethin’ About You
2. Ponyshow - Folks
3. Itzjunk - Lip Service
4. Sonic Youth - Death Valley 69
5. Japandroids - To Hell With Good Intentions
6. Built To Spill - The Plan
7. The Clean - Thumbs Off
8. The Fresh & Onlys - Summer Wheels
9. Ariel Pink - Jell-O
10. The Users - Kicks In Style
11. The Twistin' Tarantulas - The Flight Of The Super Bee
12. La Luz - With Davey
13. The Bell Peppers - The Hoofstomp
14. Daniel Romano - I”m Gonna Teach You
15. Destroyer - Midnight Meets The Rain
16. Middle Sister - Tongue of Silver
17. Ray Condo & The Hard Knock Goners - This Is The Night
18. The Sadies - Cheat (Live)
19. The Sadies - The Story's Often Told (Live)
20. Wintersleep - Martyr
21. Ought - The Weather Song
22. Paul Simon - I Know What I Know
23. REM - Radio Free Europe (Live)
24. The Skids - Sweet Suburbia
25. The Black Lips - Drugs
26. The Velvet Underground - Coney Island Steeplechase
27. Television - Fire Engine (Demo)
28. The Castaways - Liar, Liar
29. The Flaming Lips - Strychnine/Peace Love And Understanding
30. Iggy & The Stooges - Wild Love (Detroit Rehearsals 1973)
To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for September 19. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.
Saturday, September 12, 2015
Thee Tsunamis first stormed out of Bloomington, Indiana in 2013 with their now sold out demo tape, A Goodbad Man Is Hard To Find. Released on Magnetic South, a record label and analog recording studio, the demo tape showcased this three-piece girl garage group’s sound. The band blended elements of surf, 60s bubblegum pop, doo-wop, and garage with a punk edge. An EP entitled Delirium And Dark Waters followed in 2014, which featured four monster B-Movie, retro sci-fi inspired songs. 2015 saw the release of Thee Tsunamis first full-length release Saturday Night Sweetheart. The album cover brings to mind B-movie horror posters, art in the spirit of The Cramps, Ramones and 60s female R&B soul groups. The album’s cover also features a simple colour scheme and each member of the band members having what appears to be their eyes cut out. It is minimalist, campy, yet menacing. This twelve-track album mixes elements of 70s punk, 50s rock, doo-wop, 60s garage and bubblegum pop in an infectious fashion. With song titles such as “Female Trouble”, “Kill Kill Kill”, “Teenage Dreams” and “Un Psycho”, It wouldn’t be hard to imagine this band wreaking havoc at a drive-in movie theatre in a long lost low budget B-movie from the late 50s or early 60s. Saturday Night Sweetheart is out on Magnetic South as an LP/CD and Burger Records as a cassette.
Saturday Night Playlist:
1. Young Rival - Interior Light
2. Thee Tsunamis - Drag
3. Fidlar - Why Generation
4. Courtney Barnett - Elevator Operator
5. Tobias Jesso Jr. - Crocodile Tears
6. Magic Christian - Tomorrow Never Comes
7. It’s All Meat - You Don’t Notice The Time You Waste
8. Frog Eyes - Joe With The Jam
9. The Rolling Stones - Ride On, Baby
10. Wolf Parade - You Are A Runner I Am My Fathers Son
11. Shuhari - Takamanohara
12. What Seas What Shores - Gugelhupf
13. Joy Division - Walked In Line
14. The Rage - I’ve Got Your Number
15. The Wayouts - No Time
16. The Nipple Erectors - King Of The Bop
17. Guided By Voices - The Queen Of Cans And Jars
18. Babysitter - Candy
19. Dead Ghosts - Drink It Dry
20. Thee Oh Sees - Wait, Let’s Go
21. David Bowie - I've Been Waiting For You
22. Morrissey - I Don't Mind If You Forget Me
23. The Locusts Have No King - Still Fed
24. Squeeze - Pulling Muscles (From The Shell)
25. Ian Dury - I'm Partial To Your Abracadabra
To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for September 12. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.
Saturday, September 05, 2015
“There’s something to be said about the energy that can be captured when you’ve got five musicians playing together in the same room. There was still a considerable amount of time devoted to overdubs, but they were used mostly to add some depth to the record rather than for core instrumentation. We did a lot more preproduction for Cries of the Wild too, with Nate planning out all of the auxiliary percussion that appears on almost every track, Stu working out layered string arrangements and Kaitlyn planning the vocal harmonies for the record.” Says Wysman.
The album opens with “Devil In The Song”, a dramatic opening thick with strong vocal harmonies that builds with intensity preparing listeners for the music that is to come. “I Want To Be The Man” is a mid-tempo number with electric guitars, underlying organ and lyrics that seem to convey a message of determination and accomplishment on your own terms. The album’s title track floats with layered vocals, percussion, guitar, chillingly haunting vocal harmonies and violin in contrast to the warm analog sounds found on this album. It is also an example of the band’s innate chemistry.
“… during my time as a grad student in the History MA program at the University of Windsor. My research steered me towards early Canadian folk tales and the romanticization of nature in early 20th century hunting culture. I guess that this kind of fixation and emphasis on Canadiana found its way into the lyrics with a lot of the tunes referencing Canadian history’s folk heroes and figures.” Adds Wysman.
“Rosasharn” another song with organ and mandolin accompaniments was inspired by a live performance of the play The Grapes Of Wrath and the Steinbeck novel of the same name. This song and “One For The Road” sung by Kaitlyn Kelly, fits into a theme of travel and solitude that presents itself at different moments throughout this album. “Tongue Of Silver”, another album highlight, features folk elements combined with prominent violin parts and instrumental breakdowns that convey a Celtic atmosphere. Drums crash in between the violin and the song’s melodies like a wooden ship making its way through a heavy storm, while the lyrics tell the tale of a man weathered by his own actions, but one who is also oblivious to this fact. As Cries Of The Wild ends with an instrumental reprise, it’s the little details that make it unique. Between the louder and subtler moments, Middle Sister delivers ten songs that at times feels like a journey. One told through music and song.
The following interview was done between myself (Dave Konstantino of Revolution Rock) and Colin Wysman of Middle Sister. We talk of recording, the band's influences and formation.
RR: How would you compare Middle Sister’s progression musically from your first EP to your new album Cries Of The Wild?
CW: The first EP was very much a solitary songwriting process. I had this reserve of completed ideas and songs that I had been sitting on for months, some of them years. I tracked them with Nate and Kyle playing drums and bass, and then overdubbed guitars, piano, mandolin and multiple layers of vocals myself. After most of the album was complete, Kaitlyn and Stu joined the process, tracking vocals and violin and eventually joining the band. By contrast, most of the songs on Cries of the Wild were written after the full scope of the group was established and so they have a much stronger collaborative feel. For this album, I would generally bring more loosely arranged songs to the table and we would work collectively on developing the instrumentation and arrangements. As a result, I find the songs on the new album to revolve much more closely around vocals, strings, and percussion, instead of the acoustic guitar, and to be more the product of the diversity of our musical influences.
RR: How did the recording process differ this time around? Do you feel that working in a different environment than when your EP was recorded affected the overall sound of the album?
CW: The main difference with the recording of Cries of the Wild was that the band had a complete lineup and that allowed us to record the bed tracks live. I think the result is that the album has a bit of a tighter feel to it since we were all in the same room recording together. There’s something to be said about the energy that can be captured when you’ve got 5 musicians playing together in the same room. There was still a considerable amount of time devoted to overdubs, but they were used mostly to add some depth to the record rather than for core instrumentation. We did a lot more preproduction for Cries of the Wild too, with Nate planning out all of the auxiliary percussion that appears on almost every track, Stu working out layered string arrangements and Kaitlyn planning the vocal harmonies for the record. Mark has an intense collection of vintage gear and amps and so it was nice to be able to experiment a bit more in the studio. One of the highlights for me was getting to record with his 1954 Hammond organ. It has such a unique sound, and I think brought a lot to the tracks on which we used it. The whole thing was also recorded to analog tape, which gives an amazing warmth to the overall sound. I think these little differences contributed in large ways to the final product.
RR: Lyrically the album is rich with folk-like imagery at times. Where did you draw inspiration from for the songs lyrically and musically?
CW: Most of the songs for the EP and Cries of the Wild were written during my time as a grad student in the History MA program at the University of Windsor. My research at the time had steered me towards early Canadian folk tales and the romanticization of nature in early 20th century hunting culture. I guess that this kind of fixation and emphasis on Canadiana found its way into the lyrics with a lot of the tunes referencing Canadian history’s folk heroes and figures. It was never a conscious effort to keep returning to these themes though; just kind of the things that were on my mind while these songs were taking shape. There are a few songs on the record that don’t reflect this at all. “Rosasharn” for example was written after Kaitlyn and I saw a performance of the play The Grapes of Wrath and inspired me to go back and revisit the Steinbeck novel. That story is almost the complete antithesis of Canadiana, but in a way the themes fit with the other songs that we were writing. “One for the Road” is one of Kaitlyn’s songs that fits the overall themes of travel and solitude that are present on the album, but comes from a very different place.
RR: How and when did Middle Sister form as a band? Middle Sister is different from other musical projects/bands that you have been involved with in the past. Is this band and sound always something you were interested in exploring and if so why?
CW: Middle Sister came about at a time when I was really trying to develop my fingerpicking technique. I had written a bunch of progressions and parts that didn’t really fit with what What Seas What Shores (another band Colin plays with) was doing at the time. I grew up listening to a lot Neil Young, Simon and Garfunkel and CS&N, mainly because that’s what my parents played around the house, so I’ve always had an affinity for folk-rock type music. I spent a bit of time writing lyrics and trying to flesh the ideas out as folk songs and started jamming with Nate and Kyle in the basement of the Mansion. Shortly thereafter Kaitlyn and I started working together on vocal arrangements and I think that’s where the Fleetwood Mac influence on her singing becomes really apparent. After most of the first EP was tracked, Stu joined the group and overdubbed violin on the songs, bringing his own influences and style to the material. He’s a big fan of prog and krautrock, bands like King Crimson and Stereolab, but also grew up on classical music. I should note that in spite of all the artists of the 60s and 70s that I’m citing as influences, I really tried to retain some of the elements of noisiness that I had been using in other projects for so long. To be honest, I don’t see my playing in Middle Sister as a huge departure from my playing in What Seas What Shores. I use a lot of fingerpicking and delay/reverb effects in both bands. I guess it’s a matter of the other people in each group that influences the direction that the songs go. I’ve obviously made an effort to write more folky stuff for Middle Sister, but to me, the style of my playing is similar for both groups.
RR: What’s next for Middle Sister?
CW: We’ve already had a pretty busy spring with a few trips up to Toronto to play CMW and NXNE. We’re hoping to get out of town a little more often once the album is released. Kaitlyn recently moved back home to Windsor after spending the better part of the last year living in New York and Dave started playing bass in the band shortly after Cries of the Wild was completed so it will be nice to continue to work on new material with this current lineup. We’re about two-thirds of the way through writing a new album and it’s already moving in a little bit of a new direction. I expect that it will be a busy and exciting fall and winter trying to solidify the arrangements of the new tunes.
Another version of this article first appeared in The Windsor Independent.
Saturday Night Playlist:
1. X-Ray Cat Trio - Surfin’ Sasquatch
2. B-Girls - Fun At The Beach
3. The Pixies - Cecelia Ann
4. The Twistin' Tarantulas - Ridin' In The Mighty Dodge
5. The Bellfuries - Baltimore
6. Yo La Tengo - I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry
7. Hank Williams - Honky Tonkin’
8. Elvis Costello - I'm Not Angry
9. Mac DeMarco - No Other Heart
10. The Pretenders - The Phone Call
11. Martha & The Muffins - Paint By Number Heart
12. Pulp - Babies
13. Destroyer - Dream Lover
14. Middle Sister - Devil In The Song
15. Middle Sister - I Want To Be The Man
16. Leonard Coen - Story Of Isaac
17. Slim Twig - Textiles On Mainstreet
18. The Blasters - I'm Shakin' (Live)
19. The Verbal Teabags - We Could Be Stars
20. Cellos - White Swans
21. The Famines - Hail To The Taxman
22. The Existers - Telex Love
23. Alice Cooper - Long Way To Go
24. Modest Mouse - Sugar Boats
25. Fake Palms - YTMATLDPH
26. Captain Beefheart - Dropout Boogie
27. Captain Beefheart - I'm Glad
To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for September 5. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.
As a side note and for those keeping count, episode 575 of Revolution Rock was a repeat episode that originally aired back in June 2015. You can download that episode here and find the playlist in this post.