Thursday, September 10, 2009

Shuffle play Friday-forget the past

[I’m getting this week’s musical post up a tad early (yes, Shuffle Play Friday is back for another week).

On Sept. 10, 2001, which is now eight years ago, I started work at UnumProvident Insurance (now just plain UNUM). The next day, during training class, the Twin Towers came down and they sent all us trainees home, as well as the rest of the training department. People were freaking out, crying hysterically; I was glad to be home, processing all of the news coverage by myself, and later, with Mary, when she came home from work.

In many ways, I had hit a wall at that point in my life, knowing that I had to make some different choices. Since then, I've in embarked on a new path, in essence, reinventing myself. It's been a long arduous journey and I've done things in parts/sections. My physical transformation/metamorphosis has been the last to arrive, lagging far behind the other changes. My weight ballooned, even while other aspects (my soul/spirit/intellect) had gone through some serious growth and development. It feels good to experience some sense of completion nearing, and have equilibrium restored.—JB]

This week, I discovered that Canadian rock is more than The Tragically Hip and Bachman Turner Overdrive. Actually, I already knew that, but I’ve been listening to CBC Radio 3, and a host of new music that’s from our civilized neighbors to the north after being linked there through an interesting web search journey one night, a journey that reconnected me with Julie Doiron, former singer for Eric’s Trip, a band I was a fan of during my WBOR days.

Back when I was doing my radio gig, I often stopped by the station mid-week after working my day shift job for the local power company. I’d want to preview new stuff that always seemed to arrive around Wednesday. Seeing that my shows were usually Saturday nights and wanting to be the freshest DJ on the air, I’d spend a couple of hours going through the “new” CD bin. It was usually a night when student DJs like Colin Decker and Alec Thibodeau (from Car and later, Lincolnville) had their shows. I’d gotten to know them and we’d talk music and I’d get a sense about what they were digging. Pete Hodgin, who is now a teacher and not long ago was still DJ’ing on WMPG (Portland’s stellar community station), with a Friday rock show supreme. Hodgin was another student that I enjoyed trading music preferences with. He’s the DJ that got me into some great Midwestern rock on the Faye Records label, like Ditchwitch. He also turned me onto the lo-fi geniuses, Guided by Voices, circa Vampire on Titus, and before Spin and other indie rock mags picked up on the Bob Pollard story.

Those were good times!

Doiron, btw, is now performing solo and has been putting out stuff for a decade after Eric Trip’s demise.

Grand Analog-I Play My Kazoo/Metropolis is Burning

In an age where there seems to be so little that’s new and wondrous, I’m really enjoying a whole new batch of artists that I’m not familiar with, via the world of new Canadian music. As a big fan of all things Canadian, having someone like Grand Analog pounding in my headphones, while writing late at night has been one of this week’s guilty pleasures.

The Junction-My Love Was There For Me/Another Link in the Chain

Another Canadian artist that I’ve been grooving to this week; when The Junction sing the refrain, “In a time of doubt, it’s easy to feel sorry for yourself,” I say “fuckin’ yeah,” as I nod my head to the frenetic beat of the tune and the chorus of “sing along, sing along.”

Tune in, tune out the sorry world, and push the problems of the world outside the cocoon of sound emanating from my computer.

Sometimes all we can hope for in this world of disappointment is that one person who “is there” for us. Check out the YouTube video and have a get happy moment.

Superchunk-100,000 Fireflies/Incidental Music 1991-95

It was the summer of 1994. WBOR usually was off the air during the summer months when most students returned home. For whatever reason, the 50 watt college blowtorch stayed on the air most of the June, July, and August. I happened to have the Brunswick/Bath area for my service area as CMP’s meter installer extraordinaire, which meant that my improvise sound system in my truck (a cheap Sanyo AM/FM cassette deck stayed tuned to indie rock all summer, as I completed my orders, which included disconnecting the power for many of the area’s low-income residents that had failed to pay their utility bills. What can I say—it was a host of shitty jobs I held for much of my 20s and 30s as I struggle to locate a truer path.

Almost every DJ on ‘BOR played this killer Superchunk (originally penned by Stephen Merritt and recorded by his band, the Magnetic Fields) track that still packs a wallop and sounds great a decade and half later.

It’s debatable if there was a band more emblematic of American indie rock during the early to mid-90s than Chapel Hill’s Superchunk.

Julie Doiron-Heavy Snow/I Can Wonder What You Did With Your Day

A member of the aforementioned Eric’s Trip, a Moncton, New Brunswick four-piece named after a Sonic Youth song.

Eric’s Trip were one of a slew of lo-fi, four-track wonders that populated the indie scene during the early 90s. Doiron played bass, guitar, and sang.

Doiron, who veered away from electric music for a period after Eric’s Trip broke up, choosing quieter melancholy arrangements, has again embraced elements of electric guitar, the pace changes, and the more stripped down sound that her first band was known for—oh, and that voice!

Keep on rockin’ in the free world!

1 comment:

WinnipegJet said...

For Canadian rock, how about the Weakerthans?