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Sea Ate, He Sicks

I have a unique perspective, being from a small town. In the 1980’s, some bands only received radio play after appearing in the sound track to a John Hughes film. Psychedelic Furs, OMD, and Simple Minds were not previously in rotation (I had Christopher Ward at MuchMusic to thank for that introduction). That kind of music caught the attention of those in charge of the music selection for a John Hughes film – I mean, we say John Hughes film, but really we mean Howard Deutch film because Pretty In Pink had the best representation of that avant/off guard sound and although John Hughes wrote, he wasn’t the director. It was the mid-to late 80’s when REM’s Orange Crush hit it on the radio—their debut to most folks—but mostly it was Def Leopard’s Animal —every song a number one hit in Saskatchewan—that stole the scene. It was 1989 to 1990 when the B-52’s and The Cure first hit the airwaves in my hometown. The Smiths though, the Smiths were never played (I have Brent Bambury’s Brave New Waves to thank for that education).

Hands - Cities
The Pains of Being Pure At Heart
The Pains of Being Pure At Heart
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Although The Pains of Being Pure At Heart is not really in the John Hughes vein (see also:  M86), I have to admit there is something vaguely Smiths-sonian (Everything With You) about the sound.  This is a keen homage to the rising electro-angst era, so let’s get our high-school cliques in order… teen angst-ridden songs about lesbianism are in one category only – new wave… This Love Is Fucking Right is either send-up, homage, or testament to The Field Mice’s This Love Is Not Wrong.  A Teenager In Love broadcasts the feeling of kicking up your heels in skirt and boots ala Molly Ringwald’s performance in the Breakfast Club, but also has that David Bowie Modern Dance kick to it…

Evolutionary Standpoint

Earlier, in the mid-80’s in that same small town, I had been listening to a radio feed from Saskatoon. Members of the Northern Pikes were hosting an evening of lesser known artists, one of which was a powerful-voiced Icelandic band. The next day, I went out searching, found, and bought my first copy of Life’s Too Good. I’d be walking down the school hallway, resigned to being different and a loser, with Bjork bouncing around the inside of my skull making it all better. My schoolmates would laugh at me when I confessed that I was listening to a band from Iceland called The Sugarcubes, but, as always, the joke was on them.

The Wedding PResent Sin Fang Bous
Clangour
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Sin Fang Bous is also from Iceland, and I have to say, if this album is at all indicative of the level of accomplishment this year, we listeners are in for a bang up year! There is a clarity amidst this chaos...think Jim Guthrie or Sparklehorse…this album plays well both as background and as strict introspective...if you get a chance to check it out, make sure to also check out Sindri’s folksy band Seabear!

Outcast

Around the mid-90’s, my life was redefined by a broken limb…a very important limb for my pedestrian lifestyle, I fought for four years to get my life back on track. One of the bands that was with me through that time was Stereolab (and a guy named Peter, who I called Simon because we already had a Peter – just like Jesus!). Poppy, groovy sounds make everything better again…

Bon Iver Bunnygrunt
Action Pants!

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Besides being the best friggin’ band name I’ve heard in a long time, Bunnygrunt is fun!  “You wanna be just like Keith!  I wanna shag haircut!” opens the riff on I Am Curious Partridge.  The 27-ish word count in the first 37 seconds of Open Up and Say Oblina is delicious as a continuous 12 minute experiment.  It’s like that waking moment while walking down the street, when you notice the creatures and the foliage – the intermingling of repetitious footsteps parlayed by the co-mingling of nature and the chocolaty cravings of a bitter mood…

“What’s that eMusic link?  Why’d you sell out wndrswy?”

Download 25 FREE songs at eMusic.com!I’ll tell you something…I’ve never been more exposed to so many talented bands than in the last year of joining eMusic.  For a mere $24 a month, I get to have 75 downloads from anything on their site.  There’s a good feature that allows you to list an album you haven’t downloaded so you can grab it later when credits are renewed (on a 30 day basis).  Also, if you can find me on eMusic, you will have access to my list of everything I’ve ever downloaded.  As an added bonus, in December there was a sale on booster packs – a booster pack of 50 songs for $15.  If you think in terms of cd prices, this deal can’t be beat…

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