For those of you looking to get their needle in the groove here’s five killer new releases to ease you into autumn.
Li’l Andy – All The Love Songs Lied To Us
(Sainte Cecile Records)
This pistol packin’ Montreal crooner has been shaking the pines with his baritone drawl for three records now and like most songwriters worth their salt he is only getting better. As Andy greys around the temple his pen only gets sharper with tales of unrequited love and other country staple toe tapping tales that is guaranteed to put the tear in your beer. The title track and record opener sets the bar high before The Lives of Others recalls Lee Hazelwood and Nancy Sinatra’s better days. Following that a Laurel Canyon via Bakersfield strum of Out on the Old Highway takes you down dark, desolate side roads where the pavement stops and something thumps and kicks in the trunk. There is a wealth of killer material here and If This is Heartbreak doesn’t reduce the most callous to a puddle then we are surely living in the wrong world. If you are wondering where all of the good country that isn’t peering from under tinsel tinged 10-gallon lid is or turned into caricatures of a hayseed sucking redneck in overalls, this is the real new country you need.
(Li’l Andy launches All The Love Songs Lied To Us at La Sala Rosa on Wednesday September 25. 4848 Saint Laurent 8pm, $15)
The Scientists – For Sale: Live 1978/79
(Grown Up Wrong!)
My God these Aussies were just too rad for their own damn good at the height of punk. They were equally as good post ’81 when the rest of the world moved on to hardcore and The Scientists just hunkered down with their Gun Club and Cramps record and got swampy – but uh, that’s another story. These three live sets cover their gleaming power pop era just as they are on the cusp of taking their dive into the murky swamp. This original line up has the whole world ahead of them and are on fire during this 27 song live document and grabs a vivid snapshot of the band between’78 and ‘79. This is pure unadulterated high-energy pop but don’t get too excited, as it isn’t all just cherry cola and bubblegum here. While the high octane live versions of stone cold power pop classics like Last Night, Frantic Romantic, It’ll Never Happen Again breath with a new found sense of vigor there is an out of tune guitar that kind of mars the first 1979 set, which takes up over half the time on this set. If you can get past the guitar clams though there is a ton of rewards including covers of Flamin’ Groovies’ Slow Death and The Undertones’ Teenage Kicks while the kicked up tempo does give a certain urgency that lacks in their previous studio versions. If you are still wondering if you should buy the ticket and take the ride know that this is worth it alone just for the ten minute rave up album closer of the title track. Bug out!!
Kandodo 3 – K3
This formaldehyde dipped UK psych juggernaut is another joint rolled up from a couple of members of The Heads’ (if you like fuzzed out psych check them out). While The Heads delivered the riffs like a jackhammer as they hitch hiked on the expressway to your skull Kandodo 3 definitely eases up on the bathtub crank and Blue Cheer records of yesteryear and just lets their vintage modular synths and heavily treated guitars take the wheel. Essentially this is tailor made music for headphones and microdosing. K3 lures you in slowly with a deep slow groove on opener King Vulture that crawls at a pace that boldly states it’s all about the scenery and could give a toss about destinations. A strangled guitar tells the story mid way through while occasionally coming up for air from under the dense groove. With a glut of modern “psych” bands currently taking over the world, or at least holding the college radio dial/playlists hostage it’s nice to hear a band that dares to trod past the beaten path of Flamin’ Lips/Pink Floyd grooves with a fuzz pedal under their cloven hoof. If you like Neu! Can and other Germanic baked psych work outs, more modern cinematic psych like Grails as well as rare psych genius like Gunter Schickert then this instrumental mind massage will be just what you need to give your world just a little bit more zing. Guaranteed you will be feeling this one in your gums.
Brian Eno (with Daniel Lanois and Roger Eno) – Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks (extended edition)
I’m no chump and don’t usually fall for this “remastered” marketing hyperbole but if you are hawking any Eno jams then I am helpless. Having already owned this stone cold instrumental classic on God’s favorite format, vinyl I started loving this record all over again. I was truly shocked to feel myself existentially leaving my living room surroundings for forty minutes with eyes closed shit and headphones clamped to my noggin. A lot of Eno’s production work has left me dry but when he is solo or musically collaborating in a more forceful role with others I think the man can’t be beat. This soundtrack was originally commissioned in 1983 to accompany a film of gathered footage of the Apollo space mission but the images are hardly mandatory for total lift off. These 12 pieces can easily conjure up the sense of weightlessness, deepness and wonder that surely the astronauts felt while staring into the sheer vastness of deep, dark space.
Even when Eno is at his most ambient he has a sense of connection that plugs directly into the listener. His classic piece Deep Blue Day that shines with new found clarity displays this in spades and remains a highlight in his prolific and overflowing discography. While Apollo is not as song oriented as his first couple of records or as abstract as his Ambient series this soundtrack strikes the perfect middle ground with his swelling drones saddling up to Lanois and Eno’s brother’s soaring melodies. Fun fact: While doing research in preparation for the soundtrack Eno discovered the astronauts on the Apollo mission had brought cassettes of their preferred music of country music with them. Eno’s genius here is giving the nod to the original space travellers and including a lot of traditional country and western instrumentation. With Lanois’ lap steel guitar accompanying the deep, dense sound scape he is able to create a new frontier of a different kind.
Listening to this1983 classic all over again without all the pops and scratches of my original vinyl is a thrill and the bell like clarity is definitely an improvement but the real reason you will want to be buying this all over again is to get the recently unearthed accompanying second disc entitled For All Mankind. Truthfully it is a bit spotty in sections and does pale somewhat when compared to disc one but this is hardly cutting room floor material either. Just stuff Clear Desert Night in your listening device and get ready to soar for the stars.
Metalian – Vortex
(High Roller Records)
In the aptly titled opener Prologue a gentle arpeggio strummed guitar quickly gives way to some serious crushing shred under a bed of riffs that would make a Peace Sells era Dave Mustaine proud. This is just a serious metal shred fest right out of the gate and doesn’t let up off the gas pedal throughout all eight thrash/nwobhm stompers here. Metalian’s true strength and why they remain of the best dyed in the wool metal bands in Montreal is they aren’t trying to reinvent the wheel. Yep, singer Ian Wilson does have a passing fancy for Priest’s Metal God Halford and the riffs you’ve probably heard before – BUT like a Trojan horse they get in your cranium with familiarity and then let their infectious melodies linger far after the record is over. Production is crisp and Wilson’s stratospheric falsetto caterwaul remains the band’s calling card but on this third effort the rest of the riffs are now pulling up their sox, digging in the dirt, flexing some muscle and threatening to actually upset Wilson’s dazzling vocal prowess. This isn’t all just riffs as well, although the riffs are indeed blazing, Metalian writes choruses that are sure to appeal to any Maiden and Priest fan while also adding in their own signature sound. I have always wondered why the global metal community has never embraced our hometown metal heroes but with their third effort Vortex being such a break out musical success it would seem that this might be finally time for Metalian to take their rightful place at the throne.
(Metalian launch Vortex at Katacombes with Painbow on Friday, September 20. 1635 Saint Laurent. 9pm, $10)