Soundcheck Sunday: Lesser known Canadian acts from the 1980s

So about a week ago I found myself humming a tune I hadn’t heard in years. It took me a day to place it — Kim Mitchell’s “America”:

You know Kim Mitchell, of course. Between “Go For Soda” and “Patio Laterns,” he’s been a staple of Canadian radio for — holy crap — almost three decades now. You also probably have a very specific image of him in your mind, and it’s likely this one:

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Prepare to have your mind blown. Kim doesn’t look like that anymore.

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Soundcheck Sunday: Rose Cousins

You get two tracks today from one of my very favorite artists — Rose Cousins.

“For The Best”:

“All The Time It Takes To Wait”:

It’s perhaps a bit unseemly, at my age, to be a devoted fanboy of anything. As a certified member of Generation X, hip jaded cynicism is the way to go, and one should never get too excited or overly enthusiastic about anything, lest it all turn to crap later on. But I am a devoted fanboy of Rose’s music, and why the hell not? It’s awesome, in the truest meaning of that word. She’s got this way of making music that just cuts right down to your core — it’s lovely, lovely stuff. Granted, it’s also some of the saddest music you’ll ever hear, but so what?

The really weird part is that, in person, Rose is a damn funny woman. Her shows are hilarious, and of all the artists in the world who I wish would make a live album, she’s at the very top of the list.

I’m not totally out to lunch with this. “We Have Made A Spark,” her latest album, won a Juno last year so there’s even mainstream approval. Part of me hopes for the biggest, most ridiculous kind of success for Rose (I suppose she might say that getting “Go First” on “Grey’s Anatomy” probably makes her career, but then again, maybe not), but part of me hopes she’s able to keep on doing what she’s been doing, so I can keep seeing her shows in tiny venues with 70 or 80 people who really, really, really get music.

PS: You get two videos today because, as this posts, I’m pushing back on BAW086 heading for EGLL. See you on the road!

Spend all your time waiting

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Last fall marked the 20th anniversary of the release of “Fumbling Towards Ecstasy,” Sarah McLachlan’s attempt at the difficult third album. It was the record that catapulted her to international acclaim, and with good reason — it was something so different, so remarkable, so excellent that the world pretty much had to sit up and take notice. Though her subsequent albums, “Surfacing,” “Afterglow,” and “Laws of Illusion” may or may not have been more commercially successful, I’ve always felt that “Fumbling Towards Ecstasy” was the high-water mark. In the past I’ve complained, bitterly, that the three follow-ups to “Fumbling Towards Ecstasy” all felt very much the same, that I have problems distinguishing between the various tracks, and that they aren’t really that good.

I marked 20 years of having “Fumbling Towards Ecstasy” in my life by going to the ballet — Alberta Ballet had put together a meditation on a young woman’s experience with love and loss as told through Sarah McLachlan’s music. I started to write a long post about the performance itself, and how it held up from a music fan’s perspective, but was interrupted by the arrival of my son about a week later, so that post never really got finished. (Note to self: finish that post.) Six months after that, I discovered that Sarah was releasing a new album, and my first thought was, “Oh dear, here we go again. I’m going to buy it and be disappointed.” Because, you know, I’m always thinking I’m going to run into the next version of FTE. It’s what I want. I want to spend a year and a half listening to one album over and over and over again. I’ve had Rose Cousins and Ruth Moody and Hannah Georgas to obsess over recently, but I’m on the hunt for something new, and by new I mean something old.

So along comes “Shine On,” the seventh (eighth, if you count “Wintersong,” which I don’t, so seventh) studio album. Will “Shine On” break the curse of the samey-sameness of the previous three albums? Will I finally find something worthy of my devotion to this artist after twenty years of pining for an old feeling?

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Soundcheck Sunday: Neko Case

“Night Still Comes”:

This was supposed to happen last fall but Ruth Moody got in the way. Sorry, Neko. This is a tremendously great album; it was just bad timing that I discovered “These Wilder Things” in the same week.