Tuesday, August 19, 2014

3am Mixtapes: Episode Fifty: England

Each week on the 3am Mixtapes podcast, I will share with you the Top Six Songs of a certain subject. The topics can be as general like best Irish bands. Some might be a little more... specific. Top Six Songs That Sound Nothing Like Their Band Name Would Imply.

A lot of this podcast focuses on Canadian music, since that's what I listen to most. But there are other countries out there who make music almost as good as Canadians, and since I'm a nerd and this week is the return of Doctor Who, I though I would use that as a tenuous reason for the Top Six English Bands!

Hear some jams from:

"Beacons" by I Like Trains
"Hold Back the Night" by I Am Kloot
"Storm Song" by Phildel
"Blackest Eyes" by Porcupine Tree
"Inhaler" by Foals
"Get Your Way" by Jamie Cullum

Any questions or comments or waffles or criticisms or suggestions for future themes are welcome!



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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

3am Mixtapes: Episode Forty Nine: Campfires

Each week on the 3am Mixtapes podcast, I will share with you the Top Six Songs of a certain subject. The topics can be as general like top six one hit wonders. Some might be a little more... specific. Top Six Sexy Saxaphone Songs.

This week it's not about the Songs of the Summer, but the Songs of the Summer Nights. Yes, those songs where you can sit under the stars, with some friends, around a roaring fire, the Top Six Campfire Songs!

Sing along with:

"Never Thought That This Would Happen" by Arkells
"Lindsay" by Elliott BROOD
"North Star" by Joel Plaskett Emergency
"Ishmael and Maggie (acoustic)" by The Trews
"Queen of Portland Street" by Matt Mays
"Good Morning Sunshine" by Portage & Main


Any questions or comments or waffles or criticisms or suggestions for future themes are welcome!



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Sunday, August 10, 2014

Burnaby Blues and Roots Festival @ Deer Lake Park -- 08/09/14


While lots of other festivals this summer have been riding the hype train so hard it's about to derail, the Burnaby Blues and Roots Festival relatively quietly took over Deer Lake Park this weekend -- Saturday, to be exact -- for its 15th year. Somehow, I had missed the festival every year up until now, but with a headliner like Big Sugar, and some other strong blues and roots acts this year, I decided it couldn't be missed.

I got to Deer Lake Park just in time to make a tough decision: Rich Hope & His Evil Doers or Miss Quincy & The Showdown. Seeing in that I haven't seen Rich Hope in quite some time, I chose his set. Joined by just his drummer, he kicked off the set by proclaiming this was "music for having the sex to" and ripped into some dirty bluesy rock 'n' roll riffs. A little bit of technical difficulties didn't throw him off his game as he ripped around the stage with songs like "I See Trouble" and "Let's Jump Around Some" as well as a few covers of songs by The Sparkles and Jimmy Reid. He had a great stage presence, chatting with the crowd a little between songs, and he even hopped off the stage and onto the grass to urge people to sing and clap along with the last song of his set, "When My Light Comes Shining"

From there it was immediately over to the main stage for The Harpoonist and the Axe Murderer. I have had bad luck with the Vancouver duo's live shows, missing every once since I first saw them two years ago, so I was very much looking forward to their set. They started off just the two of them -- Shawn "The Harpoonist" Hall on vocals and harmonica, as well as percussion with his feet, and Matthew "The Axe Murderer" Rogers on guitar and a drum pedal for each foot -- but they soon brought out some help; an organist, and trio of ladies on backup vocals (including Miss Quincy herself). Hall joked that it took them from HAM 2.0 to HAM 5.1 as it really fleshed out their sound.
Highlights of their set included the rockin' "Don't Make 'em Like They Used To" from the new album, as well as a song about how Vancouver's music scene was (and, frankly, can still be) a little sleepy, "Wake Up". They ended off with the stomping (or, clapping since we were on the grass) number "Get Out", as they likely made more than a few fans that'll be there at the November 8th Commodore show they announced on stage.

Back over on the (thankfully tented and shady) Westwood Stage, the Winnipeg/Montreal Chic Gamine was hitting the stage. I had heard of them for a while, but for some reason had never heard their stuff, which I now feel silly about.
Led by Andrina Turenne, Alexa Dirks, and Annick Brémault, their three voices blended for amazing and soulful harmonies, as they also traded off on keys, snare drum and guitar. Their set started with a more soulful, almost R&B sound, including a song called "Girlfiiend" with the haunting and accusatory chorus of "does your girlfriend know?", but as the set went on they got progressively more upbeat and rockin'. With a mix of blues and soul and rock, they had a great flow to the entire set, and they teased an upcoming album with a few songs (as well as a Christmas album, but no songs from that). It's definitely something I'll have to keep an ear out for.


I took a bit of a break to grab some food while Irish Imelda May played the main stage, who sounded good from the food cart section, before it was back to see the headliner of the Westwood Stage, Wide Mouth Mason. With Gordie Johnson pulling double duty on bass, the trio immediately launched into an older tune "Why", stirring up some nostalgia in the crowd before shuffling between old and newer songs. The highlight, as with most every WMM show, was Shaun Verreault's incredible guitar playing, as he effortlessly shredded through the 45 minute set, from some of their oldest material "This Mourning" to their newer, "Go Tell It To The Waterfall" -- which Shaun also slipped in the chorus from another famous song about Waterfalls.
After a set that seemed way too short, they ended with "Midnight Rain", but the crowd was not having it and demanded one more. I didn't think it would happen as Bettye LaVette had already started on the main stage, but I was pleasantly surprised when they were back out for "Change" before thanking everyone and closing down the stage in style.

For the next couple acts I lounged in the back of the park (hiding in the sweet, cool shade) taking in the festival. First was Bettye LaVette, celebrating 50 years making music. And she definitely had both the voice and the stage presence of someone with that much experience. Her set featured many covers; Neil Young's "Heart of Gold" as well as some Tom Waits, and an absolutely soul-shattering version of "Love Reign O'er Me" originally by The Who. Her own "Close As I'll Get To Heaven" was another highlight, her 70-year-old voice brimming with soul and passion and heartbreak.
Second was Matt Andersen, filling the stage with nearly a dozen performers as he was joined by The Mellotones. He was a great guitarist and good performer, and the giant band filled out for a rich sound, but for whatever reason his style of blues just didn't resonate with me. At one point in the set he was on stage alone for a very low down deep blues song, and he dug into the Canadian Songbook for The Band's "Ophelia", and they wrapped up the set with another cover, "Get By With A Little Help From My Friends". It was certainly a good set, but for whatever reason I just wasn't into it.

And finally, just after the sun went down, the stage was set for Big Sugar. Joined by Shaun and Saf from Wide Mouth Mason on backing vocals, guitar and percussion, as well as Rich Hope for a handful of songs, the Toronto blues rockers started off with "Roads Ahead" from their newer album Revolutions Per Minute
before pulling out some old favourites, "Open Up Baby", "Diggin' A Hole", and one of my favourites, their version of "Dear Mr. Fantasy". Unfortunately, Gordie's vocals were buried during the latter, as there seemed to be some technical issues plaguing the start of the set (if the stage techs running around adjusting things were any indication).
But it soon levelled out and most of the set went off without a hitch. A lot of the songs in the set flowed into each other, either with a reggae-influenced verse from the deadlock'd keyboardist Friendlyness or seamlessly transitioning musically, and Gordie had fans joining along (or "jamming with Big Sugar" as he called it) for songs like "If I Had My Way" and the newer "Eliminate Ya". Other highlights included "Ride Like Hell" where Gordie literally turned his guitar into a revving engine and the more funky, hip shaking groove of "Little Bit A All Right", another one from their comeback album.
As their set drew to a close, they played a few more of my favourites; the second most Canadian song of the entire day, "All Hell For A Basement" and the insanely raucous "The Scene", both of which which had more jamming from the crowd. And the night was brought to an end with the Big Sugar tradition of an instrumental version of "O Canada", the crowd patriotically singing along, as Johnson finishing off by hoisting his double guitar behind his head to show off the maple leaf painted on the back.

Aside from a few technical issues on stage, most of the day went off without a hitch. The three stages staggered in time and were setup so there was almost no sound bleed, and near constant music. I would have maybe put on another act or two on the side stages, or even "tweeners", as the last three acts on the main stage had nothing during the breaks, but aside from that minor quibble, it was a great day of blues and roots.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

3am Mixtapes: Episode Forty Eight: Then & Now

Each week on the 3am Mixtapes podcast, I will share with you the Top Six Songs of a certain subject. The topics can be as general like best Winnipeg bands.  Some might be a little more... specific. Top Six Songs by Fictionals Bands from Movies and TV Shows.

This week I’m gonna throw something a little different out there, the Top Six Then and Now Songs! Let's jump on the time trampoline and we'll hear an older song from a band, and then back to the future to hear one of their newest.

Compare and contrast:

"Kasparov" & "Nightcrawlin'" by Royal Canoe
"Swing Your Heartache" & "In Fire" by Young Galaxy
"Acid Tongue" & "Slippery Slope" by Jenny Lewis


Any questions or comments or waffles or criticisms or suggestions for future themes are welcome!



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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

3am Mixtapes: Episode Forty Seven: Entrance Music

Each week on the 3am Mixtapes podcast, I will share with you the Top Six Songs of a certain subject. The topics can be as general like best Scottish bands. Some might be a little more... specific. Top Six Songs To Chill Out To While Around A Campfire.

I used to be a huge wrestling fan, and one thing that I was always jealous of was their supernatural ability to have a certain piece of music play any time any wrestler entered the ring. Which is why I imagine what I'd want to play when I came in any room with the Top Six Entrance Songs!

Get it going with:

"Stormy High" by Black Mountain
"How Do You Like Me Now?" by The Heavy
"Trainwreck 1979" by Death From Above 1979
"Get Out The Way" by Mother Mother
"The War on East Coast" by The New Pornographers
"Chances" by Athlete


Any questions or comments or waffles or criticisms or suggestions for future themes are welcome!



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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

3am Mixtapes: Episode Forty Six: Summer Jams

Each week on the 3am Mixtapes podcast, I will share with you the Top Six Songs of a certain subject. The topics can be as general like most Canadian songs. Some might be a little more... specific. Top Six Songs Whose Title Also Reviews the Song.

Since Vancouver had/is in the middle of a record-breaking heatwave, I guess that means it is officially summer, which also means why not the Top Six Summer Jam!

Sweat along with:

"Summer Fling" by Pleasure Cruise
"Summer Salute" by Steph Macpherson
"Summer Dress" by July Talk
"Summer Fires" by The Wilderness of Manitoba
"Summersong" by The Decemberists
"Feel Good Hit of the Summer" by Queens of the Stone Age


Any questions or comments or waffles or criticisms or suggestions for future themes are welcome!



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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

3am Mixtapes: Episode Forty Five: 3:33

Each week on the 3am Mixtapes podcast, I will share with you the Top Six Songs of a certain subject. The topics can be as general like best songs from 2004. Some might be a little more... specific. Top Six Songs Featuring a Guest Appearance From Serena Ryder.

And this week is the Top Six Songs Clocking In at Three Minutes and Thirty Three Seconds! Why 3:33? Why that specific time? Allow me to answer that with a resounding: why not?

With these tunes:

"How Darwinian" by Dan Mangan
"She's The Source" by The Ladies & Gentlemen
"In Case We Die (parts 1-4)" by Architecture in Helsinki
"Magic" by Two Hours Traffic
"Place Called Love" by Little Red
"If You Think Your God Is Dead" by Sit Down, Servant!!


Any questions or comments or waffles or criticisms or suggestions for future themes are welcome!



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