Monday, July 30, 2007


1989 (K Records)

"Everyone is a Beat Happening fan... and if they're not, they should be. They're truly one of the most influential bands of the late 80's/90's. Without them we'd be doomed. "other side" has to be one of the best album openers ever. It's such a great song." - adrian - bakersfield, CA, USA

"There's at least one moment in everyone's life when the whole world is balanced on the edge of a brand-new song, and it never spins for them quite the same way again. The day I went off to college, filling closets and tacking up posters, my new roommate put Beat Happening's "Black Candy" on the stereo. Hearing Calvin Johnson's impossibly deep, sternly sexy off-key howls and croons about candy, sex, playhouses and beehives knocked me off the axis of everything I'd ever thought about how music was supposed to sound. Beat Happening's childlike, feral songs embodied the life force of youth in rebellion, and that moment set the tone for the rest of my college years." -

"the whole time i just kept screaming “GOD, BEAT HAPPENING IS THE GREATEST BAND EVER ” and “GOD, THIS IS THE BEST PIZZA EVER ”. we began discussing beat happening and something became really clear: Beat Happening is one of the most aggressive bands ever. i know this is most likely the most ridiculous thing i could say about band that is often labeled twee pop or indie pop, but i really see them as DIY punk rock. everytime they play a melody over and over for a long time it is an act of aggression against all of the stereotypical distorted guitars that were clanging in the sea of hardcore and post-hardcore that surrounded them. they were the band that taught me that it doesnt have to be fast, there doesnt have to be a change for a chorus, there doesnt even have to be a chorus, you can drum on an empty bucket of frozen yogurt, you can do whatever it is that you want to do. beat happening makes me extremely happy." - etcvisitor

"Beat Happening was formed in 82' in Olympia WA. First it was Calvin, Heather and anyone else they could get going out and playing all ages shows. Bret joined in 83' and the band released a 5 song debut. On a trip to Japan the band recorded their first EP, "Three Tea Breakfast". Their first full length album, "Beat Happening", was released in 85' and was produced by Greg Sage of The Wipers.

They took a break for awhile, and then recorded "Jamboree" in 88'. The album was produced by Mark Lanagen and Gary Lee Conner of Screaming Trees. In the summer of '89 Calvin and a few other guys organized the Sound Out Northwest tour, the idea was to play shows in smaller towns. Beat Happening played two shows w/ Mudhoney. Also doing shows that summer was Some Velvet Sidewalk. After that album a joint release between Beat Happening and Screaming Trees. Soon after Beat Happening's next album, "Black Candy" was released.

In 91' the band released "Dreamy". In summer Calvin and friend Candance put on The International Pop Underground Convention in Olympia with over 50 bands like L7, The Melvins, Fugazi, Thee Headcoats, Bikini Kill, The Fastbacks and Seaweed. Part of the festival was released on a double album on K records. It was followed by "You Turn me On" in 92'." - The Sara Monster

"Knowingly innocent, sexually frustrated, perpetually teenaged, and oppressively minimal, Beat Happening put its last song to tape in 2000, after the eight year absence that followed their final LP, You Turn Me On. Survived by five full lengths, a rarities compilation, a box set, a mountain of cassettes, and 18 years of public service, Olympia's chosen sons (and daughter) deserve every accolade thats ever had lavished upon them--including this title, that of The Greatest Band of All Time." - ZAC

"Beat Happening should never have learned how to play their instruments. That's not to say that post-Black Candy releases aren't sublime and off-kilter pop confections in their own right. It's just that on this particular collection of songs, the awkward, knock-kneed instrumentation is the perfect accompaniment to lyrics about youth on the verge of coltish rebellion. The record lurches and howls, like a gawky, hormone-crazed teenager. Vocals jolt back and forth between Heather Lewis' charmingly askew romantic kid warbles and front man Calvin Johnson's trademark ocean deep baritone, and pounce within mere notes between handholding innocence to hard-core nookie in the backyard tree house. It's feral, sweet, raw music, and pretty damned scary upon first listen.

Johnson has never been one to worry about comforting the masses, founding his seminal indie label K-Records in the early 1980s specifically to prevent bands from having to pander to record company restrictions. Working in collaboration with artists like Beck, The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion and Built to Spill, he's revealed a knack for assisting artists to screw the conventions and unleash their inner rock animal. He's at his own untamed best, however, with the pared down Beat Happening. The trio (now nearly on their 20th year together, albeit many of those years spent in a non-recording "hiatus") made Black Candy an album stripped to its most primal components. With drummer Bret Lunsford providing the raggedy backbeat and Lewis and Johnson swapping offkey lead singer and sloppy guitar duties, it's an aural exercise in barely-contained mania and the pure bliss of youth. While subsequent Beat Happening records provide their own more musically tutored joys, Black Candy is the one that stands as a snapshot of that spirit that sparked a DIY revolution." - FHM

Bret Lunsford, Guitar and Drums
Calvin Johnson, Guitar, and Vocals
Heather Lewis, Drums, Guitar and Vocals

1. Other Side
2. Black Candy
3. Knick Knack
4. Pajama Party In A Haunted Hive
5. Grave Digger Blues
6. Cast A Shadow
7. Bonfire
8. T.V. Girl
9. Playhouse
10. Ponytail

Download (192 Kbs, 55 Mb)

The CINCH (Canada)

2002 (Stutter)

"After honing their craft in the darkest recesses of Vancouver's rock clubs for a couple of years now, The Cinch have finally given us their debut release on Stutter Records. A short, sharp, 5 song (one unlisted bonus track for all you modern lovers out there) dynamo that reminds one of early Dream Syndicate and Wire. Glorious, driving rock 'n roll, delivered by nervous, buzzsaw guitars, a tough-as-nails rhythm section, and fronted by a coupla' edgy female Richard Hell's. A summer must-have!" - Zulu

"Ever since the popularity of garage-pop bands such as The Strokes and The Hives made buzzing, twisting guitar riffs and primitive, Meg White-approved drum chops en vogue, cutesy bands that wrap grunge rock around vintage pop chords and feature some self-important sap behind the microphone have inundated hipster record stores and coffee shops across North America and beyond. Armed with little more than some vintage threads and their Velvet Underground boxed set, most of these groups should never have existed in the first place, probably, except maybe in order to fill that all-important first slot on the $5, five-band bill at the local Cavalry Chapel.

Fortunately, when The Cinch crawled out of the primordial ooze of some rehearsal space in Vancouver, it didn’t give a hot damn about being cute or taking itself too seriously." - Casey Lombardo

"The Cinch were able to win people over so easily that you might almost call their whole career a string a splendid flukes. Shortly after the band started writing songs and performing, they played a couple of gigs at a battle of the bands contest hosted by the UBC radio station. Despite taking on a new member just before playing their first contest gig, the Cinch won—and scored some studio time as a result. The result was their first EP, released in 2002, and represents the first time the Cinch had ever set foot in a studio." - Angels Twenty

"As the Strokes were taking New York by storm with their blend of lifts from late-era Velvet Underground, early Modern Lovers, and the first Television album, Vancouver's the Cinch were perfecting their own distaff blend of the same influences. The difference is that the Cinch's debut lacks the whiff of arrogance that colors the glammy New Yorkers' efforts; the far more diffident vocals of Jennifer Smyth are Doug Yule or Richard Lloyd to Julian Casablancas' Iggy Pop/David Johansen cross-breed. More importantly, the five-piece band (also including singer/guitarist Kathy Dube, guitarist Mark Epp, bassist Geoff Thompson, and drummer C.C. Rose) burns through these three-minute pop songs with punky intensity instead of snotty attitude, giving lesser songs like "French Maid" and "Got To" an extra energy boost even as it lifts top-drawer stuff like the kinetic opener "Once a Week" and the howling "Talk and Talk" to a higher plane. In these surroundings, the closing cover of the Modern Lovers' classic "She Cracked" not only stands up to the original, it almost sounds like an original. The Cinch was originally released on the tiny Canadian indie Stutter Records in the summer of 2002. Seattle's slightly larger Dirtnap label gave it a belated United States release in early 2003." - Stewart Mason

Kathy Dubé
(guitar, vocals)
Mark Epp (guitar, vocals)
CC Rose (drums)
Jennifer Smyth (vocals, percussion, guitar)
Geoff Thompson (bass)

1. Once A Week
2. Got To
3. Talk & Talk
4. French Maid
5. She Cracked

Download (192 Kbs, 19 Mb)

Sunday, July 29, 2007


1990 (Rockville)

"...the exhuberant all-girl punk pop that opened many ears to the fab world of japanese music. wonderfully wonky and utterly melodic these songs show of the girls obsessions with the Ramones, Buzzcocks, sweets, animals and space rockets. - Rough Trade

"The colorful Knife's early records are magical treats of whimsical absurdity, ingenuous attacks of product endorsement and artless reports of mundane Japanese reality." - Ira Robbins

"Theoretically, any band that writes songs with lyrics such as "Banana chips for you!/Banana chips for me!/ In the afternoon, banana chips and tea" should have a life span no longer than that of a grasshopper. But something oddly spellbinding occurs when deceivingly silly lyrics are sandwiched between a buoyant guitar and a rapid-fire, pop-punk drum kit. Which perhaps explains why the Japanese female rock band Shonen Knife is still singing songs about cookies, sushi, jelly beans, and, of course, banana chips, nearly 25 years after its inception." - Christopher Muther

"Of all the bands to accept punk's do-it-yourself dictum, none is more unlikely than Shonen Knife. The trio was founded in early 1981 by three maverick women from Japan, where individualism is not encouraged and carefully airbrushed teen idoru ("idols") dominate the charts. Although initially amateurish, Shonen Knife ("boy knife") always controlled its own music and image, with cover art hand-drawn by bassist Michie Nakatani or drummer Atsuko Yamano. Nakatani, who eventually left the group, and guitarist Naoko Yamano, the principal songwriters, sang not about romance but everyday life (notably food and animals), and stressed that they were from earthy Osaka, not trendy Tokyo." - Mark Jenkins

"Way before the whole Riot Grrrl thing happened, here were three women making a joyful noise as a rock band. Even though some people may have gotten over on them just because they were Japanese, they're definitely not a novelty." - Jason Gross

"Word first began to get out abroad in the mid-'80s, when a cassette tape the trio had released on a Kyoto indie imprint made its way to K Records out of Olympia, Washington. K decided to issue the album in the states, and soon Shonen Knife were getting offers from a range of labels, as well as getting spun by the late, great British radio DJ John Peel.

Improbably for a trio of Japanese office girls, they became a hip name to drop by the rock glitterati of the time, with a range of alt-rock bands recording takes of Shonen Knife's poppy, punky songs on 1989's Every Band Has a Shonen Knife Who Loves Them." - Dan Grunebaum

'"For the first half of the '90s, Shonen Knife was the only band from Japan being seen on network TV, the only one that was able to headline international concert tours," says Eric Bresler, host of the J-rock show "Tokyo No Radio" on Drexel University's WKDU.

"But ultimately, they still ended up coming off as a novelty act, and that's unfortunate. People were tuning into them for a dose of wackiness, rather than the music itself. Sure, maybe their lyrics might come off as odd to U.S. audiences, but not any more so than, say, ABBA or Björk. You can't say that that was the reason why people weren't able to take them seriously as musicians. ...You have to wonder if maybe there's something else going on. I think there's a taint there: It's the Pink Lady effect."' - Jeff Yang

"Anyone doubting the authenticity of Shonen Knife as legit alternative rockers should direct their attentions to this title, which couples their Pretty Little Baka Guy (1986) LP with another eight tracks documented "Live In Osaka Japan" from a pair of respective sets in 1990 and 1982, the latter recorded when Michie Nakatani (vocals/bass), Naoko Yamano (vocals/guitar), and Atsuko Yamano (drums) were still in their teens. The ten studio sides perfectly demonstrate the band's quirky, if not terminally catchy approach to crafting pop melodies. Their grunge-inspired instrumentation and D.I.Y. execution give the material a rough and edgy quality. Lyrically, the Knife are all over the place, ranging from the ecological concerns of "Bear Up Bison" (aka "Making Plans for Bison"), to the confessions of a sweet-tooth on "I Wanna Eat Choco Bars," and the fun little romp on "Ice Cream City." The angular and trippy "Public Bath" extols the virtues of the decidedly Eastern tradition of public bathing facilities in a manner that only they can pull off. "Antonio Baka Guy," "Kappa Ex," and the previously mentioned "Ice Cream City" are repeated in the five-song performance dated January 21st, 1990. By contrast, the three tunes from April 1982 are rougher and arguably more stinging than their counterparts -- especially the lead guitar crunch of "I'm a Realist." Audible tape noise indicated that these probably originated on cassette, however what they lack in fidelity is more than compensated for in sheer inspiration. Again, this is a recommended find for any and all perspective parties.." - Lindsay Planer

Naoko Yamano (Vocals, Guitar)
Michie Nakatani (Vocals, Bass, Keyboard)
Atsuko Yamano (Vocals, Drums , Percussion)

1. Making Plans for Bison (aka Bear Up Bison)
2. Summertime Boogie
3. I Wanna Eat Chocobars
4. Public Bath
5. Devil House
6. Antonio Baka Guy
7. Ice Cream City
8. Ah Singapore
9. Riding on the Rocket
10. Kappa Ex.
11. Lazybone [Live]
12. Ice Cream City [Live]
13. Baggs [Live]
14. Kappa Ex. [Live]
15. Antonio Baka Guy [Live]
16. Spider [Live]
17. Secret Dance [Live]
18. I'm a Realist [Live]

Download (192 kbs, 76 Mb)

Friday, July 27, 2007


1996 (Indica)

"Remember when Grim Skunk were just five rambunctious punks singing "Mange la marde"? Remember back when you couldn't decide if their progcore fusion was some kind of acid hangover from the '80s (or '70s) or whether it might be the most exciting concoction of the rock styles that have touched Quebec most deeply over the past 25 years? Remember when their first album was released and they were already coming off as elder statesmen of the scene? No? Well, you must've had some better cheeba than them." - Chris Yurkiw

"The drama and epic quality of prog with the ''take no prisoners'' attitude of punk--must be heard to believe." - The Rock

"Borrowing its name of a particularly strong hybrid of a certain grass, it was very natural that Grim Skunk likes to mix the styles, the cultures and the kinds. Formed in 1988, the group, inspired of the hardcore, punk and progressive, gives a first spectacle in 1989. Animated of a not very common energy, Grim Skunk likes more than all to find itself on scene and communier with his audience...

Recognized for their engagement and their political vision, the members of Grim Skunk do not hide their opinions. They openly give an opinion against wild capitalism, the abuses our leaders and the devastations caused with the environment, against the war and for the legalization of the marijuana. All that is reflected in what is most important: music." - Bande A Part

Joe Evil - Lead Vocals, organ
Franz - Lead Vocals, guitar
Alain "Ulf" Vadeboncoeur - Drums, vocals, healing djembe
Peter - lead guitar, vocals
Marc "Borris" Saint-Maurice - Slacker Bass, vocals

1.overture in e minor
3.east coast sympathy
5.self inflicted stress
6.le gouvernement songe vache
8.lord ogre
9.dead end violence
10.dope moon vibe
11.feeling severe 109
15.inner piece
16.fat al's illness

Download (192 kbs, 61 Mb)

Sunday, July 1, 2007

PLUTO (Canada)

1995 (Mint)

"There just aren't enough good three to three and a half minute pop songs out there that you can drive your car off a cliff to and still be smiling, you know." - Ian Jones

"Straight ahead punk-pop with a thick guitar sound and really good songwriting. Does life get any better than this? Well, maybe, but you'd have to work real hard at it.

Let me reiterate: this ain't particularly complicated, fast, mean, ugly or politically motivated. If Pluto gets around to a fourth chord on a song, you might fall over in shock. But the finest pleasures are simple ones, and Pluto is as tasty as this stuff comes.

You just have to listen for a few seconds, and you'll be hooked, too. Vancouver seems to have taken the cue from all the great pop/punk bands in Seattle and then done them one better. First Cub and now Pluto. Trust me. You need your Mint." - Jon Worley

"Once upon a time there were four musicians living in Rainsville, B.C. A togetherness formed through their common love of music, and from this bond sprouted a band named Pluto.

The band's catchy, guitar-pop style seemed to be liked by the people, so they released records on the small indie labels Shake and Popgun Records. Little did they know that one of those people who liked the band was a Baker named Bill. Bill liked them so much that he led them to a land that was Minty fresh.

This fabled land had its own record label, and said label released Cool Way to Feel. After Pluto toured the country back and forth, forth and back, the people of Canada agreed that the record suited its name. The record also received some noteworthy music industry acclaim and rustling could be heard outside the main gates of Mint Records. Major Label Reps were hiding in the shrubbery!

The Minty fresh land, still so nice, just wasn't big enough anymore, and after a tearful (speculation, okay? get over it) departure, the boys of Pluto wandered to the main gates, where they happened upon an eccentric gent and a hot-air balloon. Accounts are blurry from there; some say they went voluntarily, some say they were abducted and some are too scared to talk about it, but Pluto now have their signatures on a contract with the dreaded "Major Label." Pluto are now Virgins...

...So the next level of success would be the dreaded backlash?

"I think that Pluto has been going through a constant state of backlash since we played our first show, there's always been someone putting us down, mainly the Communists though, the Reds... I think we've avoided it because we've never really been part of any scene, the main thing about us is that we've never claimed to be who we're not."

Ian: "I think the more popular you get these days anyway, the more you suck."

John: "Yah, we'll have to stop now or we'll start sucking. We used to want it all, now we just want a chance to do what we want to do."

Well, whatever they're doing, by the amount of attention Pluto is getting, they do seem to be cutting the mustard, as it were. But how do they describe Pluto?

"It's white soul with loud guitars... It's dislocated pop... it's what you need."

Well, whatever it is, for a growing number of people, it's out of this world.

And they lived happily ever after (speculation, again, get over it)." - Paul 'Grimm' Watkin

Ian Jones (guitar, vocals)
John Ounpuu (bass, vocals)
Rolf Hetherington (guitar)
Justin Leigh (drums)

3.It's Over
10.Cool Way to Feel
11.Locked and Loaded
12.Pretty Little Jacket

Download (192 kbs, 50 Mb)


1972 (Boot)

“Ladies and Gentlemen, It is my distinct pleasure to introduce to you a man who is not only more Canadian than the maple leaf, and more devastating to a piece of plywood than a hungry beaver, but he’s even stomped down more streets in this country than a Peterborough Postman. Ladies and gentlemen, make way for the one and only STOMPIN’ TOM CONNORS.” - Bacon

"Back in his ’60s-’70s heyday, Stompin’ Tom Connors would, indeed, stomp a hole clean through a piece of three-quarter-inch plywood in just one show." - JENNY FENIAK

"Tom is the coolest of the cool, more Canadian than a six-pack of Molson..." - MIKE ROSS

"There roams to this day across the Great White Northlands a man, a myth – dare I say, a LEGEND who has cast a long, black, yet somehow barely perceptible shadow over every guitar lasher who means a half hoot on either side of the dreaded U.S. /Canada border. A man who possesses a wicked tongue, beaver-sharp mind, commanding right leg and, above all, a wit and wisdom before which few others dare even stand, let alone deserve to approach.

That man, that myth, and/or that legend is named…
Stompin’ Tom Connors...

Prepare to have each and every one of your preconceived notions about All Things Twang simply dissolve forever before your very ears: NOBODY who falls under the spell of Tom ever comes out the other end quite the same way again." - Gary Pig Gold

"...with his guitar, he could conquer this space called Canada and speak to the average Canadian about the places he had seen and the people he had met...

This man is a true Canadian through and through. He chose a life that he wanted to live no matter what other people thought and did not compromise his principles. In fact, if you live outside of Canada you may not have heard of this Canadian legend." - Tanya Howie

"This generous, uncompromising artist is the composer of more than 300 songs. He has released in the neighborhood of four dozen albums, which have sold nearly four million copies. He has done it all without ever leaving Canada and thus is the total opposite of every other Canadian country artist of renown, all of whom went to great lengths to become established in the United States. An example would be the extensive string-pulling from Ernest Tubb to get the Canadian Hank Snow on the Grand Ole Opry. Connors has not only never toured outside of Canada, he also has never embraced the typical subject matter of popular American country songs and instead has stuck to singing about -- you guessed it -- all things Canadian, from a Saturday night in Sudbury to the joys of hockey. He did not begin his singing career until the mid-'60s, when he found himself on the road penniless...

Whereas in the '70s he was considered corny and square, he became a cultural icon among the new wave and punk crowd a decade or so later...

He has attained such notoriety without any of the expected career accomplishments such as a hit record. Not only has he never had a single record released in the United States, he has also yet to have his first hit country record even in Canada." - Eugene Chadbourne

"...he inexplicably has yet to place a solitary song on a Canadian country music chart ("They told me in 1964 that I didn't fit the format, they told me that in 1974, in 1984, they told me that again." Tom says. "I guess the format hasn't changed that much!" - Mike Dunlop

His grassroots popularity kept this legend alive when times were tough and no one seemed to care if he exited the Canadian music industry. After many years in the business, Stompin’ Tom is finally getting some of the recognition that he deserves.

His boots were made for walking; years of travel all over Canada have given this man a unique perspective on Canada and what it means to be a Canadian. He sings about his homeland with pride. In fact, he has never performed outside of Canada." - Tanya Howie

"Various stories have circulated about the origin of the foot stomping, but it's generally accepted that he did this to keep a strong tempo for his guitar playing - especially in the noisy bars and beer joints where he frequently performed. After numerous complaints about damaged stage floors, Tom began to carry a piece of plywood that he stomped even more vigorously than before. The "stompin' " board has since become one of his trademarks. After stomping a hole in the wood, he would pick it up and show it to the audience (accompanied by a joke about the quality of the local lumber) before calling for a new one.

It was reported that when asked about his "stompin' board", Tom replied, "it's just a stage I'm going through". Stompin' Tom periodically auctions off his stompin' boards for charity." - Wikipedia

"...after winning an unprecedented six consecutive "Canadian Grammys" as Male Country Singer of the year, Stompin' Tom defiantly returned all these Juno Awards in 1978 as a protest against "Border Jumpers": Canadian artists who no longer live and rarely perform in their home and native land." - Mike Dunlop

"I leave you with these words from Stompin’ Tom: “I have traveled my country from coast to coast and I have considered it from top to bottom. And not through rose-coloured glasses. I’ve seen our good points and I’ve seen some bad. We have our strengths and we have our weaknesses. But when all is said and done, we have been blessed with one great big and beautiful country of which we can all be proud.” - Tanya Howie

01 My Stompin' Grounds
02 Song Of The Peddler
03 Name The Capital
04 Song Of The Cohoe
05 Snowmobile Song
06 'Wop' May
07 Tillsonburg
08 Cross Canada
09 Song Of The Irish Moss
10 Bonnie Belinda
11 The Bridge Came Tumblin' Down
12 Tribute To Wilf Carter

Download (256 kbs, 63 Mb)