Frederick Squire – Blue (2016)

March 19, 2020 – Day 270

Frederick Squire first participated on a recording of “Blue” as the drummer. Julie Doiron recorded Frederick’s song on her album “I Can Wonder What You Did With Your Day”, one of two Squire songs she recorded for the album. Years later, Squire recorded the two songs for his album “Spooky Action At A Distance.” He seems to be a reluctant and reclusive artist; his albums are years apart and he moved way North to Sudbury, Ontario. Desite this, his performance charisma is strong, as is his songwriting. “Spooky Action At A Distance” is a collection of old songs but with “Blue” his former self is probably fairly familiar. “I decided long ago / Never to laugh again / I decided long ago / Never to cry again”

Julie Doiron – Spill Yer Lungs (2009)

March 18, 2020 – Day 269

“Spill Yer Lungs” is singer-songwriter confessional, set to fuzz guitars. Julie Doiron has a prolific career including stints in multiple bands – two former bandmates pitched in on this part, Rick White and Frederick Squire from Eric’s Trip and Calm Down It’s Monday, respectively. Rick acts as Producer on this album and plays bass on the track and Fred is the songwriter and drummer. Fred’s words are about a moment in time, an infectious relationship which he knows won’t last forever. Julie and Fred later went on to play in short lived folk trio “Daniel, Fred & Julie” (with Daniel Romano) and rumours say the split was acrimonious. Maybe the song was about Julie. “Maybe I should have mentioned that I was not / Built for this kind of loving / But we’re gonna chase each other around this town for nothing”

Devon Sproule – Julie (2009)

March 17, 2020 – Day 268

This song resonates with the outcasts – there’s a certain kind of person who needs to disappear and move from crowd to crowd and that’s who “Julie” is. If this is a confessional, Devon Sproule misses Julie so much she leaves a note on a stranger’s car with a license plate from Colorado, Julie’s home state. A touch of country brings some pathos but this is a celebration of a special person. “She said that there was little that she would need / But still I noticed all the times she clenched her teeth / And the nights when she barely touched her drink”

Nick Lowe – The Beast In Me (1994)

March 16, 2020 – Day 267

“The Beast In Me” had a long gestation period. Nick Lowe began writing the song for his step father in law Johnny Cash, aided by multiple bottles of wine. The next morning, hungover, he found that his wife, Carlene Carter, had told The Man in Black about the song and Lowe was to play it for him. By Lowe’s account, the performance did not go well – Johnny told him the song needed more work. However, he continued to ask Lowe if it was finished every time they saw each other. Many years later, well over a decade, in fact, Nick Lowe did complete the song and sent a recording of it to Johnny, who recorded the song for his 81st (!!!) album, American Recordings. Nick Lowe released the demo he sent to Johnny on his album “The Impossible Bird.” “Sometimes / It tries to kid me that it’s just a teddy bear / Or even somehow managed / To vanish in the air”

Ween – Ocean Man (1997)

March 15, 2020 – Day 266

Sometimes you need a laugh and it’s a bonus if the music is good as well. Ween took a left turn in their career and headed to Nashville to hire some studio musicians to recreate the sound of classic country to accompany their blue material. Mission accomplished – and Dean and Gene also had a secondary motive of using the album and the new setting as a way to get control of their band again – they wanted their equipment back from producer and mentor Andrew Weiss to try and get back to their own vision of the band, which they did on “The Mollusk,” a creative fertile time for them. “Ocean Man” is just a great catchy song, the type (and Ween has many of these” which makes you forget you’re listening to a comedy band – they’re actually great songwriters. “Ocean man, take me by the hand, lead me to the land that you understand / Ocean man, the voyage to the corner of the globe is a real trip”

Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet – Having An Average Weekend (1985)

March 14, 2020 – Day 265

“The Shadowy Men were, and are, the coolest,” said Bruce McCulloch of Kids In The Hall in the Paul Myers authored biography “One Dumb Guy.” He also revealed their inclusion in a potential TV series was a unanimous decision before they even had a TV series, “which is weird because nothing’s ever unanimous with us.” The Kids had to insist to Lorne Michaels of Saturday Night Live fame who produced their TV show – according to Don Pyle: Lorne Michaels thought the band “sounded like ‘cheap strip music’ or ‘cheap porn music.’ The Kids convinced Lorne and “Having An Average Weekend” was chosen for the theme song for the show once it materialized, and Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet wrote all of the interstitial music as well. They also did their part to keep the studio audience warmed up during tapings. “Having An Average Weekend” is iconic to comedy fans and in Canada is the third national anthem after “O Canada” and “The Hockey Theme” from CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada. The song was originally released on the B-side of a 7″ single in 1985. Instrumental.

Mudhoney – Touch Me I’m Sick (1988)

March 13, 2020 – Day 264

Seattle loved Iggy and the Stooges, they were an influence for the entire Sub Pop scene but Mark Arm and Mudhoney really wore the influence on their sleeves. They are quoted about the song in the liner notes to their 2000 Compilation “March To Fuzz”: “Mark: I thought this song was a b-side toss off, until it stormed up the independent charts L.A.M.F. That’s when I said to the rest of the guys, “Hang on, the rollercoaster ride is about to begin.” Turns out we were in the kiddie park. Steve: In retrospect, it’s The Yardbirds’ “Happenings Ten Years Time Ago” by way of the Stooges’ “Sick Of You.” At the time I was trying for the stuttering R&B; guitar of The Nights And Days.” “Come on / Touch me, I’m sick”

The Super Friendz – Rescue Us From Boredom (1995)

March 12, 2020 – Day 263

It’s still a little difficult for me to understand how a band who can write a songs as catchy as “10 Lbs” or “Karate Man” didn’t become a household name. Unlike their fellow Haligonians Sloan, The Super Friendz didn’t make the jump to a major label. They rescued a lot of kids from boredom with songs like “Rescue Us From Boredom” and were nominated for a Canadian Juno award but it didn’t translate to fame and fortune. “Rescue Us From Boredom” is a song about disenchanted youth, it’s punky, it’s a little grungy and totally 90s. “Don’t you know my life / Is such a drag to me / All this heavy metal / All this heavy irony / I wanna be back home / Watching my TV”

Joel Plaskett Emergency – Down At The Khyber (2001)

March 11, 2020 – Day 262

Joel Plaskett likes to interpolate similar songs into the simple power chord progression when performing “Down At The Khyber” live and even has a line in the song referring to the familiarity singing “if it feels just like a toss off, perhaps it is… perhaps it ain’t.” But it’s all in the delivery, as demonstrated in the HBO show Vinyl where one of the characters plays a bunch of songs in a row which use the chord progression of E A D. Luckily, delivery is Plaskett’s specialty and this is a special song about a special place to Plaskett, and artist run center in an historical building in Halifax called The Khyber. “I met my love down at the Khyber / And we drifted through the crowd / When I finally lay down beside her / You could hear my heart out loud”

Emm Gryner – The Day We Hit The Coast (2001)

March 10, 2020 – Day 261

Thrush Hermit was one of the bands signed by a major label in the post Nirvana alternative music boom. They didn’t make a splash and Elektra bought them out of their contract, freeing them to release their swan song “Clayton Park” on Hamilton, Ontario’s Sonic Unyon Records. Strong songwriting, especially for the two singles released from the album has cemented the record’s place in Canadian rock history, regularly mentioned on best Canadian album lists. The second single “The Day We Hit The Coast” was recorded by fellow Canadian Emm Gryner as the closing track to her album called “Girl Versions” – an album where rock, punk and metal songs written by men were performed on piano. Joel Plaskett’s melodies and lyrics sound great as a piano pop epic. “I’m going down to the river, I’m going down to the river / Walking on the rocks in the water, I’m going down to the river / I felt the cool commotion, as it poured into the ocean”