Best of 2014: Carlyn Bezic (Ice Cream)

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Carlyn Bezic comprises one half of one of our favourite new (relatively) and current bands, Ice Cream.  On stage and on record she’s all ace of bass taking Suicide dives alongside the gangsta beat she and partner Amanda pro-vide swaying hypnotized crowds.  Here she’s further in her element discussing favourite records made and/or discovered in the year that was…  

It takes being asked to make a list to realize how many new records you didn’t listen to, and how many records you thought were from this year but were actually from 2013 (or 2011, even!), and that maybe you should consider listening to something other than Prince (and not even deep cut Prince. 2014 was my Year of Parade). On top of that, you don’t need me to also tell you to listen to the Ariel Pink record, or Jennifer Castle, or D’Angelo, etc. etc., so with that preamble, here’s some records and tracks that I got into over the course of 2014 that you may also find interesting.

Three Records That Are From This Year:

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Popcaan
Where We Come From
(Mixpak)

Listen

This record is the musical equivalent to those lamps that are used to combat Seasonal Affective Disorder. Full credit goes to my bandmate Amanda Crist for pushing this record on me– whenever I was feeling low her advice would be “listen to Where We Come From at least once a day,” and it took me way too long to finally do that. It has very smart and tasteful production, and I think today marks the point at which I have officially listened to “Waiting So Long” over a million times.

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Actual Water

Call 4 Fun
(Bad Actors)

Listen

Actual Water always feels like a trip through the history of music in some sense or another. The influences are obvious and obscured at the same time, and each song feels like a new pop discovery but also very familiar, because that’s what good pop songwriting does. And whenever I listen to this record I feel like I understand Rock Music better, and I understand songwriting better, but I can also not think about it too much and dance around my room like a teenager who just discovered the Ramones. “Latoya” should be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (if the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was at all relevent and included Big Star and Guided by Voices).

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Marie Davidson

Perte D’Identité
(Weyrd Son Records)

Listen

Ice Cream opened for Marie at the Tone Deaf Festival this year, and it was the best set I’ve seen in a long time. Everything she did was satisfying. This record feels like walking alone down an alleyway at night; you feel defiantly free, but unshakably paranoid, against a backdrop of concrete and trash.


Two Records That Have Nothing To Do With This Year:

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Haruomi Hosono
Philharmony
(Yen Records)

Listen

I found out about this record when a friend posted “Sportsmen”, an addictive, dancey, electro-pop song with a nice underlying melancholic vibe, that’s probably the most radio-friendly point of the record. Hosono was in Yellow Magic Orchestra and there’s definitely a similar Kraftwerk-but-Japanese-and-with-a-goofier-sense-of-humour vibe to Philharmony, but while Kraftwerk is often essentially pop songwriting through synths, this record has more of an operatic, orchestral vibe (hence the name, I guess). There’s a Sparks-esque theatricality to it, with fun, danceable songs mixing with tracks like “Luminescent-Hotaru”, a composition of xylophones and bells with swelling, forboding synths coming in at the end. The record as a whole paints a really interesting picture. A wild ride you should take!

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Modulo 1000
Nao Fale Come Parades
(Label)

Listen

This is really amazing Brazilian prog-rock with great organ and guitar tones. All I was going to say about this record was “turn off your mind, relax, and float down stream”, but there’s too much of a proto-metal vibe for you to just “float downstream”… Maybe it’s like, turn off your mind, relax, and keep your hands inside the vehicle at all times?* Credit, again, goes to Amanda for turning me on to this. Maybe you liked the Goat record from this year? Then you will like this.



Two Tracks I Discovered This Year Because Kind Music Store Employees Suggested Them To Me:

Imagination
Imagination
So Good, So Right
(Label)

Listen

This song is worth the $5 you will pay for this record. A crowd-pleaser while DJing. Perfect the entire 7 minutes through. It’s too good, too right! Fuck you Imagination! Fuck you for making this amazing song!

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The Alessi Brothers
Seabird
(Label)

Listen

I realize a lot of people have heard this song but I had never heard it until this year and it’s so beautiful and perfect and it’s absurd it’s not a radio classic. The first few listens had me on the verge of tears.

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Best of 2014: Chuck Blazevic (You’ll Never Get To Heaven/Dreamsploitation)

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With two outstanding releases in 2014, this was another banner year for electronic composer Chuck Blazevic.  First there was ‘Adorn’, from duo You’ll Never Get To Heaven with equally brilliant partner Alice Hansen, (issued first as a cassette on Mystic Roses, then by perennial Canadian independent favourites Psychic Handshake).  Second was his solo offering as Dreamsploitation with ‘The In​-​Between Years: 1959​-​1963′.  Alongside these outstanding productions, Chuck (once referred to as the Polisher) spent time assisting the development of a potential pop outbreak in London – mixing singles and teaching the ins and outs of the studio.  Chuck is a favourite to span time discussing music, so here we share his discussion of top picks from the year that was.    

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Gigi Masin
Talk to the Sea
(Music From Memory)

Talk to the Sea is a compilation of Gigi Masin recordings from the mid-1980s to present. Nearly every track on this double LP is perfectly realized and hauntingly gorgeous. This set’s winning combination of top shelf musicality and affective depth exemplifies Music From Memory’s aesthetic vision, which label personnel Jamie Tiller, Tako Reyenga, and Abel Nagengast have been formulating and quietly disseminating through a slew of consistently mind-blowing mixtapes over the past few years.

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Ennio Morricone
Veruschka
(Light in the Attic)

This 1971 soundtrack features some of my favourite music ever recorded. There is no other record past or present that I’ve heard, by Morricone or anyone else, that sounds like this. The orchestrations strike an ideal balance between ominousness and ethereal beauty, and the tracks are brilliantly mixed like a dub record, with harps, strings, and voices decked out in tape echo and reverb. Absolutely essential.

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Cleaners From Venus
Living with Victoria Grey
(Captured Tracks)

Listen

The stellar DIY production values on Living with Victoria Grey enhance the emotional pull of these deftly composed songs, which explore a variety of pop styles including northern soul (“What’s Goin’ On (In Your Heart)”), 60s harmony pop (“Pearl”), new wave (“Ilya Kuryakin Looked At Me”), and melancholic balladry (“The Mercury Girl”).

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Weekend
The ‘81 Demos
(Blackest Ever Black

Listen

The ‘81 Demos downplays the (amazing) breezy inflections of Weekend’s La Varieté, exposing its (equally amazing) elegiac and minimalist core. Totally engaging music and a delight to have available on wax.

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YlangYlang
am i being overdramatic?
(Ailanthus/Inyrdisk

Listen

One of my favourite Canadian albums of 2014. You’ll love am i being overdramatic? if you’re into artists like Paavoharju, ES, and Lau Nau. Like these imaginative producers, YlangYlang presents a beautifully fractured synthesis of ambient, pop, and leftfield idioms in a fearlessly individualistic manner.

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Best of 2014 (film): The Chaseman

10346457_10201523009230957_4401295751757585271_nChaseman is our resident film buff.  You can find him at good film fitness everyday.  There you’ll see the strength he exudes in lifting heavy weight subjects from Europa and the (North) American underground; such as the catalogs of Ingmar and Lars of Von Trier fame.  He’s also not afraid to kick it into high gear with his ongoing study of the martial arts (films of the far east).  But he’s no yuppie drunk on pretension, he claims Wayne World 2 to be better than the first, and is willing to discuss further.  He also loves to discuss what he’s seen recently, and here he is with an essentials wrap up of the year that was.

The Grand Budapest HotelGrand Budapest Hotel
(dir. Wes Anderson)

Trailer

Wes Anderson creates another new world that embraces the beauty of Europe. A head nod to Jean Renoir’s 1937 film “La Grande Illusion” sharp dialogue and acting comradery, Wes has written this masterpiece that swoops you up and romantically sparks emotions and memories that you thought you’d never feel again after leaving your most loving European journey behind.

Film Review Under the Skin

Under The Skin
(dir. Jonathan Glazer)

Trailer

Mica Levi’s soundtrack is my favourite album release of 2014. The soundtrack allows you to feel and envision the flicking glimpse of light that is trying to escape darkness throughout the film.

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Enemy
(dir. Denis Villeneuve)

Trailer

Filmed and set in Toronto and Mississauga, Denis Villeneuve’s Enemy is about a common fear of finding your own doppelgänger. Gyllenhaal continues to impress me again and again since Prisoners. A very eerie soundtrack as well by Danny Bensi & Saunder Jurriaans.

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Blue Ruin
(dir. Jeremy Saulnier)

Trailer

A breakthrough film by Jeremy Saulnier. Remember this guys name. The best revenge film of the year and maybe the most subtle anti-gun film to date. It’s just so angry!

 

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20,000 Days on Earth
(dir. Iain Forsyth, Jane Pollard)

Trailer

What can I say? Nick Cave has it figured out. It’s a look into Nick Cave’s mind, his opinion on survival, life, death, and his past and present career. An exceptional film!

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Boyhood
(dir. Richard Linklater)

Trailer

Richard Linklater deserves a lifelong applause. It took 12 years to film this near perfect movie. We go through many stages in life. Some move faster than others, some are heartbreaking, loving, or even non-existent. Linklater shows a series of photographs of how we age and change. As everyone ages in life whether you are a mother, son, brother, sister, daughter, or father you can relate. The movie rehashes your most emotional and loving memories in life. Just when you want to hold onto a memory or moment, life moves forward and you have to let go. Linklater captures it all whether you want to see it or not. And geez Patricia Arquette gives one of the best performances I’ve ever seen.

 

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Best of 2014: Jon Maki

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If you ever wondered how Sonic Boom has a certain title no one has ever heard of (but you), or has copies of a release that’s seemingly out of print/sold out, the man riding the lawn tractor above is more than likely your answer – Jon Maki.  His ears are open wide for the recordings we need, his eyes wide for where to find them.  His catalog of knowledge outweighs that of every two groups of music fiend friends you may have.  He’s a staff onto himself, a One Man Gang!  To Jon Maki all sounds must be considered, and whether he likes/dislikes a certain album, if he sees that you or your friends like it, we’ll have it.  And if something is worth having, even if awareness is invisible, we’ll have it.  He’s our go to, our philosophy on what to stock.  He’s a man of wide interest and great taste.  And here he is counting down his favourites of Two Thousand Fourteen.     

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Not So Deep As A Well
(Feeding Tube)

Listen

Channeling the poetry of Dorothy Parker, Montreal based Myriam Gendron effortlessly rolls out this sparse folk album that’s equal parts melancholy and bliss. Debut of the year.

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Tche Belew
(Awesome Tapes From Africa)

Listen

70s Ehtio-jazz at the peak of its powers. No more needs to be said.

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Ruins
(Kranky)

Listen

All of the layers have been stripped away to reveal her most honest, captivating and achingly beautiful album to date.


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Ned Doheny
Separate Oceans
(Numero Group)

Listen

Polished without being too polished. Soft without being too soft. Ned Doheny assembled an all-star cast for this infectious Laurel Canyon collection that definitely deserved more ears in its time. (Editor’s Link: Read Jackson Browne’s tribute to Unsung Cult Singer Ned Doheny)

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Jennifer Castle
Pink City
(Idee Fixe)

Listen

My favourite songwriter in this city (and this country) right now. There is wholehearted wisdom beneath the surface of these words and music. Album of the year.

Other Noted Releases: Dorval & Devereaux ‘Dorval & Devereaux’, Steve Gunn ‘Way Out Weather’,  Carl Didur Nothing Is The Secret To Anything’ , Tony Molina ‘Dissed And Dismissed’, David Kilgour & The Heavy 8′s ‘End Times Undone’, Chad Vangaalen ‘Shrink Dust’, Angel Olsen ‘Burn Your Fire For No Winess’, Dean Blunt ‘Black Metal’, Amen Dunes ‘Love’, Absolutely Free ‘Absolutely Free’, Mica Levi ‘Under the Skin’

Reissues: Woo ‘Into The Heart Of Love’, The Sensational Saints ‘You Won’t Believe It’, Laraaji ‘Essence/Universe’, Various Artists ‘Native North America’, The Plastic Cloud ‘The Plastic Cloud’, Cleaners From Venus ‘In The Golden Autumn’, Brigitte Fontaine ‘Comme A La Radio/Est… Folle’, Yo La Tengo ‘Extra Painful’, Damu The Fudgemunk ‘How It Should Sound Vol.1&2’, and K. Leimer ‘A Period Of Review’

 

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Best of 2014: Kevin Brasier

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Kevin Brasier comes to us highly recommended from Weird Canada (whom we highly recommend).  He’s crowd surfed his way from the East in a Killer Haze, laughing all the way – ha-ha!  We’re all stoked to have his contributions and many areas of expertise at the Boom.  This list won’t reflect his passion and knowledge of classical music, per say, but if you want inexpensive masterpieces on Compact Disc or Vinyl come by and ask him.  If you wanna know how to tour the country on a limited budget, ask him.  And if you wanna know what’s happening in the communities of Sackville New Brunswick or Downtown Toronto, again, ask him!  Now listen in as he shares his favourites from his many adventures this past year, here, in Sackville, and with Aaron and Marie at Wyrd Distro.

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New Fries
Fresh Face Forward
(Pleasence Records)

Listen

When I moved to Toronto in May, the very first show I went to was a Feast in the East production featuring New Fries. I didn’t really know anyone and felt pretty awkward, but I walked away feeling like “Hot damn! New Fries ruuuuule!!” Punk rock no-wave for fans of the best bands.

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Bruce Haack
Electric Lucifer Book II
(Telephone Explosion)

Listen

Early electronic biblical opera. What? Yes. Required listening if you are: in Sunday school; destroying the dance floor.

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V/A
I am the Centre: Private New Age Music in America 1950-1990 (2013)
(Light in the Attic)

Listen

So one day I was working at the Wyrd Distro HQ, and this baby shows up addressed to head honchos. Me: New Age? Marie: Yes. It’s amazing.

Marie drops the needle, and my jaw dropped the floor. Me: Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh. Wow. This is incredible.

So I guess I love New Age. But its nice to still be accepted by the punks.

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Lewis
L’Amour
(Light in the Attic)

Listen

Soft soft synth, guitar, and mumbling from this mysterious Edmontonian. Actually the softest crooning I have ever heard (I don’t even know what he is saying in the song “I thought the world of you”). It is an incredible record. Beautiful, minimal, Lynchian stuff.

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FET.NAT
Poule Mange Poule
(E-Tron Records)

Listen

Fellow Wyrdian Rachel Weldon turned me onto this insanely good band from Hull, QC. Strange, pop-post-punk, which makes me want to a) shake my money maker, or; b) bash up some derby cars.

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PYPY
Pagan Day
(Slovenly Records)

Listen

It’s like Jimi Hendrix and Lydia Lunch had a baby and that baby was only fed speed and booze and cocaine and acid and The Stooges for 18 years and then turned loose on the world– wah-wah freaking out ‘the man’ and fuzzing your brain inside out and backwards.

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Tough Age
Tough Age
(Mint Records)

Listen

Extra Extra! Read all about it! East Van all stars make perfect power-pop album! Tough Age to World: “See you at Splash Mountain!”

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Best of 2014: Bella Lugosi-Gino-Vanelli

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Our gal Bella Lugosi-Gino-Vanelli likes a challenge.  Not one to find her jollies in the mainstreams, Beller digs her heels in deep to international excavations of psychedelic sounds.  Her tastes are tried and true and a reflection of her globe trotting ways.  Music must tickle her ears, but also meet her somewhere in the central point of the soul.  She is one who searches not for the instant satisfaction of pop, but for the healing force of (shall we say) truth music.  Her ears are open to the cause and her spirit welcomes with a gigantic smile (or thanks, but no thanks disdain).  Bella’s favourites of this year are as follows: 

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Soundcarriers

Entropicalia
(Rediscover)

Listen

These UK musicians carry you through a lush, psychedelic landscape, with the vivid female vocals acting as both siren and lighthouse. Highly recommended for fans of Broadcast, Stereolab, and The United States Of America. Bonus: the last track is a bizarre, prog-y tutorial on crushing primitive expectations of yourself and reaching a higher state of presence, narrated, of course, by Elijah Wood.

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Spike

Orange Cloud Nine
(Golf Channel Recordings)

Listen

This is a previously unreleased collection of one enigmatic dutchman’s musical forays in the 80′s. The lore goes that this political dissenter somehow managed to sue his government for lifetime rights to unemployment insurance, at which point he holed up and self-recorded these diverse tracks. There are classic dark 80′s after-hours club sounds, next to breezy romantic ballads, and ska-tinged boogies.

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Roy Montgomery
324 E 13th St.
(Yellow Electric)

Listen

Another lost treasure from decades past, seeing the light again due to Liz Harris (Grouper)’s always diligent and piercing sense of taste on her Yellow Electric label. Montgomery recorded these songs between the late 80′s to late 90′s, in the flourishing Christchurch, New Zealand scene. Closely related to the Flying Nun family, but not sharing the poppier side of The Clean and The Chills’ sound, you can still hear that classic jangle, just mixed a little lower and put through a couple tape loops. His baritone voice sings of loss and calamity and is entirely absorbing.

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Jennifer Castle
Pink City
(Idee Fixe)

Listen

This Toronto artist continues her death grip hold on our hearts with a new release every bit as skilled and emotional as you would expect. At times orchestral, at others sparse piano and vocal only, with moments of soaring country-folk, this album deserves repeated, close listening. All the better, of course, to appreciate her clever lyricism.

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Steve Gunn
Way Out Weather
(Paradise of Bachelors)

Listen

Gunn’s guitar work can most easily be labelled as virtuosic, with all of the skill and none of the haughtiness that that term implies. This New York-based musician has been playing for over fifteen years, and has an impressive roster of collaborations, but his solo and band-backed work here, and on his previous album are the real gold, as far as I can tell. Last year’s “Time Off” feels like a lead-up to “Way Out Weather”, which is even more expansive and gratifying.

Other noted releases: Life Without Buildings ‘Any Other City’, Cleaners From Venus ‘Living With Victoria Grey’ and ‘In Golden Autumn’, Angel Olsen ‘Burn Your Fire For No Witness’, White Fence ‘For the Recently Found Innocent’, Viet Kong ‘Cassette EP’.

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Black Friday RSD

Black Friday

For info on ‘Black Friday Record Store Day’ releases check the list here.  Quantities are limited so arrive early.

While you peruse the list, have a listen to this wonderful Lee Hazlewood song entitled ‘No Train to Stockholm’ (from ‘The LHI Years: Singles, Nudes and Backsides 1968-1971′ and the RSD exclusive box set (Vinyl Version) ‘There’s A Dream I’ve Been Saving (1966-1971)’).

 

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Top 5: Creedence Clearwater Revival

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To celebrate the release of the Complete Albums box set, we’d like to share five reasons to fall in love, one more time, with Tommy Fogerty / John Fogerty / Stu Cook / Doug Clifford collectively known as Creedence Clearwater Revival aka one of our all time favourite bands.

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1. Ramble Tamble (Cosmos Factory)

This list can’t escape some of the hits featured on ‘Chronicle’, but also no point focusing further attention when songs, as crucial as anything ever played-out on classic rock radio, exist like ‘Ramble Tamble’.  Listen to your heart sink into your chest as the piano plinks in the latter stages.  This song suggests that for the time it plays along ‘life makes a little more sense.  And is a little or a lot better’.

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2. Graveyard Train (Bayou Country)

This is like a Sabbath (noir) in the swamp.  Swap the devils for the gators.  But let it be known, these boys’ fixation with Catfish and the Mississippi River is just that, a fixation.  They’re Bay Area boys.  San Fran if you will.  And Ty Segall surely thanks them for it.

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3. Keep on Chooglin’

Just keep on chooglin’, man!

Did you know: the classic Creedence catalog was all recorded in a span of two years, July 1968 to July 1970.  Yes, that includes their classic self titled debut, Bayou Country, Green River, Willy and the Poor Boys, and Cosmos Factory.

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4. I Heard It Through the Grapevine (Cosmo’s Factory)

Is there a song with three versions as timeless and desert island worthy as the versions of this song?  I can’t choose between the versions by the Slits, the legendary Marvin Gaye, and, of course, this extended mindblower by Creedence.  Take this one to your car stereo, neither your car nor your car stereo has to be great.  Just play it loud and don’t fight that feeling to tap the wheel, thwap the dash, or bang out whatever ya gotta bang out.  The Dude abides.  Call this promotion to own CCRCDs, cause they’re needed in the car as much as the turntable at home.

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5. Have You Ever Been Lonely (Tommy Fogerty and the Blue Velvets)

This past year at Sonic Boom we discovered a yesteryear box set of CCR featuring a compact disc with the entire (tho very small) catalog of both the Golliwogs and the criminally under heard Tommy Fogerty and the Blue Velvets (both Creedence in pre-Creedence form).  Tommy makes a case as to why he should have had a turn at the mic with the main event band (apparently why 4 became 3).  Each song in the Velvets catalog sways between takes on many of the best vocalists of the era (Roy Orbison to Richie Valens, etc.).  This song above is a blessed song, a heavenly gift, for all who listen.

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Recommended: 5 $taff Favourites

Grouper80Grouper ‘Ruins’
(Kranky)

Listen
Read

ABT040 TOPS LP-Jacket 11183 v2Tops ‘Picture You Staring’
(Arbutus)

Watch
Read

LHIobi-675x675Lee Hazlewood ‘The LHI Years: Singles, Nudes and Backsides (1968-71)’
(Light in the Attic)

Listen
Read

Jom8_10Jom Comyn ‘In the Dark on 99 (All the Time, All the Time)’
(Value Records)

Listen
Read

wronghole2012Wrong Hole ’2012′
(Pleasence)

Watch
Read

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Sonic Boom Wednesdays: Softest Boom!

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Wednesday night, as part of our weekly Sonic Boom DJ excursions at Handlebar, we ‘soft serve’ you all the EZ hits you (didn’t think you) desire! Our crack staff of AM lovers (Mic Bot, Even Lewis, Blair Whatmore, Jon Maki, Andy J Lloyd Webber, and more) plan to wreak soft rock heavenly havoc all over the Handlebar (159 Augusta Ave in Kensington Market).  Starts at 9:30, no cover.

Info here/Make requests here

A taste of the honey:
Berlin ‘Take My Breath Away’
Maxinne Nightingale ‘Right Back Where We Started From’
America ‘Sister Golden Hair’
OMD ‘Souvenir’
Ace ‘How Long’
Jackson Browne ‘Doctor My Eyes’
Prince ‘Beautiful Ones’
America ‘Sister Golden Hair’
Sean Nicholas Savage ‘Naturally’
The Spoons ‘Nova Heart’
Electric Light Orchestra ‘Telephone Line’
Todd Rundgren ‘I Saw the Light’
Carly Simon ‘Why’
INXS ‘Never Tear Us Apart’
Jennifer Rush ‘The Power of Love’
Madonna ‘Crazy For You’
Aretha Franklin ‘I Say A Little Prayer’
OMD ‘If You Leave’
Seals and Crofts ‘Summer Breeze’
Jef Barbara ‘Florida is the Future’
Rod Stewart ‘Young Turks’
Wham! ‘Careless Whisper’

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New ‘Digs’ Press’d

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BlogTO is once again on top of the Booming action down at 215 Spadina.  Take a look at this terrific little article right about here.

p.s. Here’s what might very well be playing over the soundsystem right now. 

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Le Weekend Recommendations

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Tonight! Chandra takes to the Double Double Land stage replacing her 1980 backing band the Dance with top flight/top of their game/weirdo pop crew Bile Sister.  This show will mark the reissue of Chandra’s special expanded ‘under-the-radar-post-punk-mutant-disco-Aaron-Levin-Championed-1980-NYC-classic’ ‘Transportation’.  Also on the bill an unstoppable magnificent bastard named Sexy Merlin and the Healing Powers of (the Bile Sister recommended) New Chance.  Check all the details here.

p.s. the team of (one of the best bands in this city) Mimico‘s guitar god Jeremiah Knight, Grounders Evan Lewis and Sonic Boom’s own Dufton(e) Gold present psychedelic rock findings called Fuzz Nugs down the street at Handlebar. Details here.

 
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On Saturday Night, dynamo organ ruler Carl Didur splits from his Zacht Automaat and her U.S. Girls for an intimate solo performance/release.  If the show meets the level of the release, this will be classic Didur!  Classic Didur!!!  All the details here. 

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