Tag Archives: The Boo Radleys

Martin Carr — The Breaks (Album Review)

Martin Carr's The Breaks

Martin Carr’s The Breaks

Perhaps it’s because music writers are starting to realize its far too vainglorious to pick on the music teenage girls like (One Direction, Justin Bieber), or maybe it’s because vindictive Gen Y bloggers are using it as an opportunity to slam old media artists who no longer have the forum to fight back, for whatever reason one of 2014’s big punching bags has been an amorphous catchall called “dad rock.”

Urban Dictionary calls dad rock, “The standard set of albums from the ’60s and ’70s that every boomer likes… Dad rockers have no desire to listen to recent music and are stuck in the past.”

There is, however, more to dad rock than Jason Segel and Paul Rudd’s I Love You, Man Rush jam outs in the man cave. Take, for example, the new album The Breaks by former Boo Radleys/Bravecaptain frontman Martin Carr.

Jason Segel and Paul Rudd in I Love You, Man

Jason Segel and Paul Rudd in I Love You, Man

It’s definingly “dad rock.”

“I wrote the songs when I was spending most of my days dealing with babies and young children,” the 46-year-old father of two said in the album’s bio. “The period that seems to last forever and you start to wonder of things will ever be normal again, or less normal anyway. Stifled, the hours move like mountains, the days speed like bullets.”

Though not quite an existential parenting crisis concept album, there’s clearly been a lot of self-searching on The Breaks. This is perhaps best exemplified by the escapist track “Mountains.” A shimmery pop plea, “Mountains” is Carr looking to get away from something. What that is, he doesn’t explicitly say, but a suspicious mind could easily come up with any number of uncomfortable notions.

“Senseless Apprentice” perhaps most approaches Carr’s Boo Radleys past with its hearty groove and series of sha-la-la-la-las, but its more of an evolution-from than a return to his white noisier past. What this song and insidiously melodious opener “Santa Fe Skyway” most reveal is a Carr whose years of experience have made him a master pop craftsman.

Where Carr’s higher profile former Creation Records colleagues’ mystique has deteriorated over time — Oasis have imploded, Primal Scream’s constant sonic adventuring’s getting desperate, My Bloody Valentine have beaten their paralysis only through repetition, and Jesus And Mary Chain have become a nostalgia act — the nagging listlessness Carr taps into on The Breaks is essential to the vibrancy of his new songs. Paradoxically, getting old and having kids is keeping Carr sharp. And the songs on The Breaks are just as relatable as “Wishing I Was Skinny” or “Wake Up Boo!’ were some 20 years ago.

On The Breaks Martin Carr directly confronts his slow descent into adulthood — something we all have to do — and if that makes this album “dad rock,” then there may be some worth to dad rock after all.

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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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