Tag Archives: Sloan

Talking Sloan And Music Mags For The Sloancast Podcast

Finally, my unique expertise has value to someone! I was recently asked to be on the Sloancast, a podcast dedicated to the band Sloan, to talk about said band and their inextricable link to the music magazine I used to manage, Chart Magazine.

Some of the topics we covered: how we’d pick the Chart Magazine cover stars, the three separate times we did the Top 50 Canadian Albums Of All Time poll, and what members of Sloan are like as hockey players.

It’s quite a romp if you care about 1990s Canadian rock music and or Sloan, specifically.

Listen to it by going here.

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Meligrove Band, ‘Bones Of Things’: Not Like Sloan

Meligrove Band

Meligrove Band

It’s time to separate the “Sloan” from The Meligrove Band.

Meligrove Band bassist Mike Small says comparisons between the two veteran Can-indie bands are no longer relevant.

“I don’t think we really sound much like them,” Small explains during an interview about the Meligroves’ fifth and newest album, Bones Of Things. “There was a point where we kinda did [sound alike] because we were copying the same ’60s bands that they had previously copied, but, like, when it comes up I want to say, ‘Which Sloan album?'”

Brian O’Reilly, the Meligrove Band guitarist who replaced the band’s former guitarist Andrew Scott in 2009 — an Andrew Scott who’s different from the Andrew Scott in Sloan — attempts to answer Small’s rhetorical question.

“The Sloan album that sounds like KISS or the Sloan album that sounds like The Beatles?” says O’Reilly. “Grunge Sloan?”

“The hardcore seven-inch Sloan?” Small continues. “As a lifelong Sloan fan I can say that Sloan changed so much.”

“Sloan don’t even sound like Sloan anymore,” O’Reilly adds. “And I don’t know if you’ve sounded like Sloan since, like, 2001.”

There certainly are similarities between The Meligrove Band and Sloan. Both are four-pieces and both have multiple songwriters. Both have mastered the art of high-spirited jangle rock and both are survivors (17 and 23 years, respectively) of a Canadian music scene that’s ruthlessly unforgiving to those whose names aren’t The Tragically Hip, Nickelback or Blue Rodeo.

That said, Small has a point.

The Meligrove Band aren’t like Sloan. They’re their own band. And Bones Of Things ably continues the distinct sonic path Small, O’Reilly as well as band members Jason Nunes and Darcy Rego have created for themselves over the years.

The 10 songs on Bones Of Things sound far more like logical progressions — lineal descendants — of a sound and vibe established with the band’s now-classic 2006 adventure-rock album, Planets Conspire.

A large part of that probably has something to do with having By Divine Right’s Jose Contreras involved in the mixing, recording and production of Bones Of Things, Planets Conspire and 2010’s Shimmering Lights album.

Indeed, buzzy new song “Don’t Wanna Say Goodbye” could easily be the flipside to By Divine Right’s “The Slap.”

“It’s possible,” concedes Small. “We’ve worked with him [Jose] so much and we started working with him because he was a big influence on us.

“It’s super-comfortable him and us having worked together for awhile now,” O’Reilly adds.

A big part of Bones Of Things sound can be attributed to an instrument neither Sloan or By Divine Right have really ever utilized — the mandolin. The small member of the lute family features prominently on multiple Bones Of Things songs. The genesis of the mandolin rock was simple, says O’Reilly.

“Darcy got a mandolin,” he says. “Darcy’s full of songs…”

“He was saying, ‘I did the demos on the mandolin, but obviously when we do this I’ll do them on guitar,'” says Small. “And we were all like, ‘No way man, these sound cool.'”

If anything, it’s given an Out Of Time-era R.E.M. feel to the new Meligrove record.

“‘Disappointed Mothers’ sounds a lot like ‘Losing My Religion,'” says Small. “I hadn’t thought of this before. It sounds like a guitar player picking up a mandolin and singing.”

Another song, “Woof,” is a peculiar bit of fiction-become-reality inspired by the band’s “Really Want It” music video from 2011.

“We made this music video with a lot of fake merch and there was this guy doing an unboxing video,” starts Small. “It was this stalker-y ultra-fan who had all of our merch. And the guys who made the video made all this fake stuff, too.

“Shampoo… all of these fake products … all-surface cleaner, all the weirdest merch you could think of. Anyway, there was one point where he’s like, ‘I have their entire discography’ and it showed all our real albums, but then the pile of CDs kept going with all these things, one of them was Spritz Something with a hand holding spray paint. One of them was called Woof, the word ‘woof’ in dripping bloody letters and a German shepherd’s mouth wide open. And I think Jay got this idea, ‘What if we write a song called “Woof”?’ If a seven-inch ended up happening we could do this thing where fiction becomes truth.”

So they made the song… a uniquely Meligrove Band song. Because they’re their own band.

The Meligrove Band will perform as part of the What’s In The Box? holiday concert series on Saturday, Dec. 27 at the The Drake Hotel. Also on the bill are Lay These Knight, Seas and International Zombies of Love.

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25 Signs You Went To Edgefest In The ’90s



The annual Edgefest concert series ended this weekend with a retro-themed show featuring Our Lady Peace, Sloan and I Mother Earth.

As a person who was there back in the day, Huffington Post Music Canada tasked me with coming up with a list of 25 memorable triggers from Edgefests which took place in the ’90s.

This ended up being an excuse to bring up the likes of Sandbox, Vertical Horizon and Holly McNarland.

To read the list go here.

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NXNE 2013 Best Bets: Blowfly, Mickey Avalon And More



Today the NXNE music festival properly begins and with it a million bands will descend on Toronto to perform.

I haven’t quite figured out how to fold time and space yet, so there are many conflicts, but here are the Best Bets — including the particularly exciting raunch double-shot of Blowfly and Mickey Avalon — I’m going to try to check out over the next five days.

For the first time in a long time I’ll be relatively untethered, so I’m also willing to deviate from this course if there’s bribery (hint).

Wednesday, June 12

10 p.m. Calexico @ Mod Club
10 p.m. Jane’s Party @ 1093 Queen St. W Unit 2
11 p.m. Devon Sproule + Mike O’Neill @ The Piston
12 a.m. Sunfields @ Monarch Tavern

Thursday, June 13

9 p.m. Wordburglar  @ Sneaky Dee’s
10 p.m. Diana @ Horseshoe Tavern
10 p.m. D-Sisive @ Sneaky Dee’s
12 a.m. No Joy @ BLK Box
12 a.m. Jane’s Party @ Supermarket
12 a.m. White Cowbell @ Lee’s Palace
1 a.m. Supersuckers @ Lee’s Palace

Friday, June 14

7 p.m. By Divine Right @ St. James Gazebo
9 p.m. Blinker The Star @ Horseshoe Tavern
9 p.m. Psyche Tongues @ BLK Box
9:10 p.m. The National @ Yonge-Dundas Square
10 p.m. July Talk @ Mod Club
10 p.m. Mike O’Neill @ Great Hall
10 p.m. Shooting Guns @ The Hideout
10 p.m. UN @ Sneaky Dee’s
11 p.m. The Magic @ BLK Box
11 p.m. Red Mass @ Lee’s Palace
12 a.m. The Danks @ The Hideout
12 a.m. Nu Sensae @ The Shop/Parts & Labour
12 a.m. Sloan @ Great Hall
1 a.m. Blowfly @ Horseshoe Tavern
1 a.m. Gold & Youth @ BLK Box

Saturday, June 14

4 p.m. Blinker The Star @ Yonge-Dundas Square
8 p.m. Chains Of Love @ Danforth Music Hall
9 p.m. The Lytics @ Nocture
10 p.m. Antiheroes @ Wrongbar
10 p.m. Catl @ Horseshoe Tavern
11 p.m. White Lung @ Horseshoe Tavern
12 a.m. Tangiers @ The Garrison
1 a.m. Mickey Avalon @ Lee’s Palace
2 a.m. Silvergun & Spleen @ Painted Lady
2 a.m. Monster Voodoo Machine @ Bovine Sex Club

Sunday, June 15

3 p.m. Mickey Avalon @ Yonge-Dundas Square

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Aaron’s Top 10 Albums Of 1999

The Boo Radleys

The Boo Radleys

This is my official Top 10 album list for 1999:

1. The Boo Radleys Kingsize
2. Guided By Voices Do The Collapse
3. Tricky Woo Sometimes I Cry
4. Hefner The Fidelity Wars
5. Death In Vegas The Contino Sessions
6. Brian Jonestown Massacre Bring It All Back Home Again
7. Kula Shaker Peasants, Pigs & Astronauts
8. Nine Inch Nails The Fragile
9. The Flashing Lights Where The Change Is
10. Sloan Between The Bridges

I don’t know what I was thinking on a bunch of these records.

Kingsize at #1? I mean, I really like this album — it’s grand, has a number of interesting songs, and shows more sophistication than the Boos’ earlier noise-filled Creation Records-defining albums. It all probably had something to do with the pre-millennium tension at the time. That song “Monuments For A Dead Century” had a particular melancholy hold on me. Also ruling were “Comb Your Hair,” “Adieu Clo-Clo,” “Eurostar”… actually, it’s coming back to me now… yeah, I guess I still dig it.

“Monuments For A Dead Century”:

Guided By Voices Do The Collapse? This is a peculiar aberration. It’s the only GBV record I own. I don’t really care for ’em, I haven’t even bothered to rip this record into iTunes over the years, or had the inclination to listen to it. Frankly, the fact that I put it at #2 at the time is kind of embarrassing.

My #3 album, though, remains an all-timer for me. Right around the time Tricky Woo put out Sometimes I Cry I was convinced they were going to be the biggest rock band in the entire world. The rest of the world ended up not caring but I steadfastly maintain that in ’99 the Woo WERE the best rock band in the world.

I never really paid attention at the time so I don’t know if this Hilarious House Of Frightenstein riff is a fan video or an official video for “Fly The Orient,” but it pretty much perfectly sums up my feelings on the matter:

At #4 is another album I rarely go back to, Hefner’s The Fidelity Wars. Hefner were a great and underrated band, and their particular brand of intimate observations on relationships were cuttingly spot-on. I was pretty swept up in Toronto’s whole Blow Up scene around this time, so that probably accounted for the high placement. Realistically this isn’t a Top 10 album anymore.

The Contino Sessions by Death In Vegas would have hit all my buttons back in 1999. Dark electronica that was too smart to be big beat and too rock to be electronica, plus Jim Reid, Bobby Gillespie and Iggy Pop as guests? Yes please. But I’ve kind of forgotten about this album since then, which means it’s probably this year’s place-and-time record.

Film students appear to have gotten their hands on the particularly wicked song “Soul Auctioneer”:

The Brian Jonestown Massacre’s Bring It All Back Home Again is the musical high-water mark for Anton Newcombe’s band as far as I’m concerned. The six songs on this back porch psychedelic outlaw masterpiece capture a particularly dangerous and unique strain of rock ‘n’ roll. It probably helps that the epic 13-minute song “Arkansas Revisited” was adapted from a Charles Manson song, but sometimes that’s what it takes.

BJM’s “The Gospel According To A. A. Newcombe,” from Dig:

I know lots of people hate Kula Shaker for the same reasons they hate the band The Tea Party, but Peasants, Pigs & Astronauts speaks to me. I appreciate its lack of shame in being a spiritual quasi hippie quest of an album.

Kula Shaker’s “Mystical Machine Gun.” Watch this video ’til the end for the payoff:

Nine Inch Nails The Fragile was a big deal at the time, sort of like Chinese Democracy for the Alternative Nation. I think NIN rule but I’ve never really warmed to this album. Heck, I can’t even name any of the songs on it anymore. It’s too long and there’s too much to digest. But these are relative complaints. The Fragile remains a better album than whatever got put out that wasn’t by any band named Nine Inch Nails, so that’s probably why this snuck onto the list.

The Flashing Lights were an amazing band. Definitely better than The Super Friendz. And Where The Change Is was their lightning bolt moment. It bothers me to think that this album will be lost to all but the most dedicated Can-Rock hunters because it fairly matches anything in the Sloan catalogue.

Check out this clip from Jonovision(!), featuring both the poppy song “High School” and their super-amazing Elevator To Hell tribute “Elevature”:

Ah Between The Bridges. This is Sloan’s very much slept-on we’re-going-back-to-Halifax album. I loved it and it reminded me of those hyper-provincial British records by the likes of The Kinks, The Smiths and Blur. It was romancing their hometown and songs like “The Marquee And The Moon” did a whole lot to mystify Halifax to impressionable music listeners.

Other album lists…

2015 Top Ten — SUUNS + Jerusalem In My Heart SUUNS + Jerusalem In My Heart is #1
2014 Top Ten — Sharon Van Etten’s Are We There is #1
2013 Top Ten — M.I.A.’s Matangi is #1
2012 Top Ten — Dirty Ghosts’ Metal Moon is #1
2011 Top Ten — Timber Timbre’s Creep On Creepin’ On is #1
2010 Top Ten — The Black Angels’ Phosphene Dream is #1
2009 Top Ten — Gallows’ Grey Britain is #1
2008 Top Ten — Portishead’s Third is #1
2007 Top Ten — Joel Plaskett Emergency’s Ashtray Rock is #1
2006 Top Ten — My Brightest Diamond’s Bring Me The Workhorse is #1
2005 Top Ten — Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s Howl is #1
2004 Top Ten — Morrissey’s You Are The Quarry is #1
2003 Top Ten — The Dears’ No Cities Left is #1
2002 Top Ten — Archive’s You All Look The Same To Me is #1
2001 Top Ten — Gord Downie’s Coke Machine Glow is #1
2000 Top Ten — Songs: Ohia’s The Lioness is #1
1999 Top Ten — The Boo Radleys’ Kingsize is #1
1998 Top Ten — Baxter’s Baxter is #1
1996 Top Ten — Tricky’s Maxinquaye is #1


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