The Catch and Release

[Music] The Catch and Release #3

The Catch and Release showcases a choice sample of recently acquired music to my collection; some of these albums that I’ve “caught” will happily be part of my collection forever. But, there are albums that I acquired on a lark, that upon a listen or two have not resounded with me, which I have chosen to release back in the wild.
~~~~

The Catch

54-40 – Smilin’ Buddha Cabaret (1994) & Since When (1998)

Winner Winner! I loved Canadian band 54-40 back in the day, and had Fight For Love on cassette; even saw them in concert in 1989! But, that was a long time ago. Since then, I had their compilation, Sweeter Things, which has all their top ten hits from the 80s. I didn’t get much more than that which was a complete oversiiiiight! Thanks to a contest I won on KeepsMeAlive, I acquired Dear Dear (a fantastic album). Since then, I found two more 54-40 albums out in the wild, and both are great. Each has a hit played on the radio, and the rest is pretty darned awesome. I am back on the 54-40 bandwagon!

Duran Duran – Astronaut (2004)

Back in 2004, DD were planning a comeback with all five members of the band back at the helm; something fans had been waiting for since 1985. I had heard their new song, “Reach Up For the Sunrise” from Astronaut, and thought it sounded pretty catchy, but never got the gumption to purchase a copy.

I found Astronaut used at my local Care and Share, and I have to say – impressive! It’s a Duran record, for sure: cleanly produced, thoughtful and professional. But, most of all, listenable! A keeper!

Letters to Cleo  – Aurora Gory Alice (1993)

I picked this one up for a song at VV…Being a frequent listener of Radio Western’s College Radio CHRW 94.9 FM back in ’93, I remember Letters to Cleo getting some love on there quite a bit with their hit “Here and Now”. I am very impressed with this album – every song is awesome! And, a female lead, for the win!

Chalk Circle – Mending Wall (1987)

In case this band breezes past you, Chalk Circle is a Canadian band best known for such hits from the 80s as “April Fool,” “Me, Myself and I,” and “This Mourning.” Mending Wall was one of those albums that my 12-year-old self could never afford to buy, but wanted to; at least my sis and I could afford the 45s of some of their hits. This album has “This Mourning” and the lesser known adult contemporary hit, “N.I.M.B.Y. (Not In My Back Yard)”; the rest in between totally brings me back to 1987. Just good rough bass, some haunting guitar and a lead singer whose voice cuts through it all. I am very happy I found this one.

Melissa Etheridge – Melissa Etheridge (1988)

I took a chance on Melissa Etheridge, and I’m glad I did! Every single song on this debut album sits well. Good rockin’ tunes, and that voice! Hits from this album include “Similar Features,” “Like the Way I Do,” and the very popular “Somebody Bring Me Some Water.” Not much else to say here – no wonder she got some attention when this was released.

The Release

Toronto – Lookin’ For Trouble (1980)

I am only familiar with this Toronto band from their one hit in Canada, “Your Daddy Don’t Know” from 1982, which earned them a Juno award for best song and best songwriting. That song is catchy, and unfortunately not on this album. “Lookin’ For Trouble” was Toronto’s first release, and I can see how they were trying to get their feet wet, but it really didn’t do anything for my ears. This album has two recognizable cover songs: “You Better Run”, a Young Rascals tune done better by Pat Benatar and “Let’s Spend the Night Together,” which was better done by its creator the Rolling Stones.

Erasure – Pop! Their First 20 Hits (1992)

Erasure were well-known back in the 80s for their synth pop tunes. I don’t mean to be mean, but no way does Erasure have 20 Hits. I could have sworn they had more likeable tunes in their catalogue than just “Chains of Love,” “A Little Respect”, and “Stop!” It’s ok, I got this for $1…

Metric – Fantasies (2009)

Metric has gotten a lot of love out there – including a Juno for this album, Fantasies. This one does tick some of the new wave synth pop boxes…However, I couldn’t help but turn to the hubs whilst listening to the first track and say, “Y’know, I’ve heard this before on TV…” As I continued to listen, I recognized a lot of this album, but couldn’t quite place where.

Sure enough, the media loves Metric, using their songs in everything from commercials, to video games, to the Toronto Blue Jays, to TV shows; most namely Grey’s Anatomy, a show that has used the first song from Fantasies, “Help I’m Alive,” multiple times! I’ve spun this CD several times in an effort to get into it, and I think I’m good to let this one go. I’ll just listen to Metric’s next album on this up-coming season of Grey’s!

The Gandharvas – A Soap Bubble and Inertia (1994)

More uni stories for ya: The year was 1994. My sister got a cassette sampler from a freebie table on campus during the first week of classes. The sampler was promoting the newest affordable car for students, the Dodge Neon (remember those?) and on it was a bunch of Canadian artists. I recall I Mother Earth was on it…and so was “The First Day of Spring” by the Gandharvas, a London, Ontario band who are really only known for this one song. Pretty much, they tried their best to be Canada’s answer to Blind Melon. They are not even close to Blind Melon.

I got their album, Soap Bubble and Inertia, for free on cassette a long time ago at a summer festival in London. I remember that day vividly – it was August, it was 38 C, and probably the worst bathroom experience I have ever had with an upset stomach standing in a 30 deep lineup for an already over-full porta-potty. Man alive! Probably due to trauma, I never did listen to that Gandharvas cassette.

Recently, when I picked up Soap Bubble and Inertia for $1 at my local thrift shop, I wondered if it was worth the time. This album is terrible. Really really terrible. There really isn’t much more to say about it.

Jack Johnson – In Between Dreams (2005)

I have had this CD since June 2014, when my colleague and friend, Mary Jo Morris, was about to embark on her retirement. She was cleaning out her office and handed off two CDs to me – Dr. John’s Gumbo by Dr. John (1972) and Jack Johnson’s In Between Dreams. Random, right? Where the heck had she gotten them? She said from students. She didn’t want them. They were stuffed in a drawer in my office, and I finally got around to bringing them home.

I don’t know too much about Jack Johnson, but if I were a betting woman, I’d think he had the curb on the commercial jingles market. Seriously. Music in commercials these days grate on me. Take an out of tune piano, an acoustic guitar, a ukelele, a xylophone and soft singing voices, and you have captured 95% of the music in commercials these days, and what Jack Johnson’s album In Between Dreams is about. Sorry, Mary Jo, I did not like this either. Hard pass. Dr. John is a keeper though!

More to come…Thanks for reading!

[Music] The Catch and Release #2

The Catch and Release showcases a choice sample of recently acquired music to my collection; some of these albums that I’ve “caught” will happily be part of my collection forever. But, there are albums that I acquired on a lark, that upon a listen or two have not resounded with me, which I have chosen to release back in the wild.
~~~~

What can I say…I started the Catch and Release series in September 2017… planned to make it an ongoing series…and then Big Shit happened. Our lives got into a dander. But! I am committed to this series and sharing new-to-me music with all of you! So, let’s ignore the fact it’s been months since I did one of these, m’kay?

The Catch

Forever committed to adding women artists into the music collection…

Jann Arden – A bunch!

As I shared with y’all a couple of weeks ago, I am a Jann fann! I had Canadian songstress, Jann Arden’s Living Under June back in the day (still do!). I have always found solace in her music. Just a couple of weeks ago I shockingly discovered I have most of her studio albums, several of them acquired while thrifting! I have had a chance to listen to them all and all are keepers. Jann, for the most part, has had a streak of great albums under her belt. She has just released her latest album last month called These Are the Days, which I reviewed recently (spoiler: it’s a goodie!).

Tara MacLean – Silence (1996)

I first heard Canadian songstress, Tara MacLean – where else? MuchMusic. She had a song that got a lot of airplay back in 1996 called Evidence. Its soft heartbeat drums and Tara’s soulful voice caught me at a time when Alanis was crooning about having one hand in her pocket…all respect to Alanis, but Tara’s music was a calm in a storm. I found her album, Silence, for a song at a Taleze, and it’s a calming change of pace.

Tracy Bonham – The Burdens of Being Upright (1996)

Knowing only one song of Bonham’s – Mother Mother – I found this one at my local thrift shop. I had always wanted to take a further look at her music. Her strong voice and her mix of hard rock was a welcoming surprise. Wow, this is a great album full of adrenaline. Each song is strong. This album’s sound takes me back to my uni days of smelly bars and moody grunge. Tracy sings her heart out. Now, I am interested in finding more from this artist.

The Release

The Cure – The Cure (2004)

I picked this one up at my local Mission thrift store on a lark. Now, I consider myself a fan of the Cure’s early stuff (1979 – 1993). Standing on a Beach lived in my Walkman for most of grade 9. I later enjoyed their Wish album, although this is where they turned more commercial (for example, Friday, I’m in Love was a constant on the radio…).  So when I found their 2004 album, The Cure, I was curious about where they were at musically, and I was willing to give the newer albums a shot…And honestly, I think it’s time Robert Smith hang up the rat’s nest. What I heard with this album was a band attempting to recapture the dark magic they had from the 80s, and it just didn’t work. It was painful, in fact. Smith was off-tune on most tracks (intentional, I’m sure) and tried to use his high-pitch woos and screams he’s known for from previous hits (see Love Cats). It just didn’t work for my ears. I’m passing…Now to find a copy of Disintegration

Cracker – Kerosene Hat (1993)

The very first song on this CD is Low – a song that I instantly recognized as the Canadian band Moist…except it wasn’t Moist; it’s Cracker! (Oops!) I can see how this album sold records based on that song alone. As the album continues down the tracks, I liked the bluesy bar rock (complete with tons of cowbell and tambourine)…but I couldn’t stand the lead singer’s crooning…If Cracker were to release this as an instrumental album, it would be on the keep pile!

Evanescence – Fallen (2003) and The Open Door (2006)

I was interested in Evanescence back with their hit Bring Me Back to Life was playing everywhere. Amy Lee’s beautiful voice juxtaposed with orchestral hard rock was different than the norm in ’03, and it was an attractive and curious sound, but I didn’t  pursue it…that is until I found Fallen and the Open Door for cheap. I picked them up to listen, and gave them thrice a listen…and… I don’t think I am a fan of Evanscence’s brand of orchestral Gothic rock. As lovely as Lee’s voice is, it seems she only has one type of singing: the start high and remain high. I don’t know, am I off base here?

Violent Femmes – S/T (1982)

I am probably gonna get flack for this one…Guys, I want to like Violent Femmes so much! I mean, in some way I feel a pressure to like them because of their 80s cred. I mean, this album cover is iconic! Alas, I just…don’t. Blister in the Sun is on the radio constantly. When I found their album for sale at the VV, I grabbed it, thinking, Hey, maybe they have other songs I like? Blister in the Sun was the first track, and an easy pass. Kiss Off is also recognizable…then so is Add It Up (Ethan Hawke from Reality Bites, anyone?) But, no, it honestly comes down to this: it’s Gordon Gano’s voice – it grates! I like the rawness of the guitar and fast drum rolls, but Gano’s nasally voice takes me right out of it. I just don’t see myself pull this off the shelf to listen. Anyone else feel this way about the Femmes?

More to come! Thanks for reading!

[Music] The Catch and Release for September 2017

As many of you know from last week’s post, I have started to reconnect with my music collection, as well as acquire choice CDs to add to my collection. I have listened to / owned some of these albums in the past, but I have also chosen to explore some new-to-me artists.

This series –  The Catch and Release – showcases a choice sample of these finds from the past month; some of these albums I’ve “caught” will happily be part of my collection forever. But, there are albums that I acquired on a lark, that upon a listen or two have not resounded with me, which I have chosen to release back in the wild.

Here we go!

This past month, I made the decision to add some female musicians to my pretty male-dominated CD collection…I had some success and some failure…

The Catch

Sarah McLachlan – Touch (1989)

This charming album by Canadian songstress, Sarah McLachlan, has always been on my want list…even back in 1989 when her hit, Vox, was rising on the charts. I first watched McLachlan’s music video on Much Music and was instantly taken in by her angelic voice and awesome dangly earrings. Aside from the two of us sharing a first name (including the “h”, thankyouverymuch), I couldn’t help but get drawn in by her stylings at the time there were so few female Canadian artists doing what she was doing. It might have been the same day when my friend, Jenny B, and I went downtown to the local record shops in Sudbury to search for Sarah McLachlan. Alas, Sudbury, Ontario was an underserved music hub in 1989, and her album was very difficult to find…and it was expensive to buy elsewhere. I had to settle for Jenny B’s cassette recording off of Much Music via cable radio so I could listen to the song in any capacity.

Fastforward to this past month when I found this album on my travels for $2.99. And – thank goodness – my instincts were right…I was not the least bit disappointed, by any of it! This debut showcases her opera stylings, which might be a little too classical for some, but I think it’s a great listen. Hits: Vox, Steaming, Ben’s Song.

.

Bonnie Raitt – Nick of Time (1989)

It was a trip to my local grocery store about 10 years ago when I first heard the song, Nick of Time, play over the PA. It hooked me in right away, especially the lyrics that concern the big questions of life – getting married, having children, growing old, and running out of time to do all of it. Bonnie has her slide guitar on the pulse of life. Each song is rich with warm pure sound. And Bonnie’s voice – wow! This is my first Raitt CD, and it definitely won’t be my last. By the way, this also has her other mega hits: Thing Called Love, Have a Heart.

.

Sass Jordan – Racine (1988)

I must have been asleep when Sass Jordan’s music was making a dent on the radio. I was not paying any attention to her albums at all. I knew she had a string of hits, and I know her from her work with the Montreal band the Box. When I found her album, Racine, on my travels, I decided to give Sass a try – hey, she’s female, she’s Canadian. Well, Holee Sheeeitt! Jordan has some set of smokin pipes, yo! People have compared her stylings to the Black Crowes, and that must be why I loved this album so much. It’s rockin! \m/
Familiar hits: Make You a Believer, I Want to Believe, Go’in Back Again.

The Release

TLC – Fanmail (1999)

I never owned anything by TLC back in the day, but I do love that Waterfalls song. This Hip Hop album happens to have three “hits” I recognize – Silly Ho, No Scrubs and Unpretty. I am not the biggest Hip Hop fan that ever there was, but when done well, I can certainly get behind it. Fanmail is very Hip Hop, utilizing loops, samples and scratches throughout – and not well in a lot of cases. Try listening to a song with a half-time buzzer on a constant loop? I was about ready to stab my ears out! I do like that No scrubs song though, but not worth keeping an album for one song.

.

Garbage – S/T (1995)

When Garbage broke out on the scene, I enjoyed Stupid Girl. I didn’t really follow the band’s career back in ’95 (too busy following the Watchmen’s career!). It was the first time listening to this self-titled album, and I was surprised – and not in a positive way. Some might like this album for the liquid adrenaline dripping from the speakers on every track…points for consistency, but I needed a breather.

.

Exposé – Exposure (1990)

This trio had a string of hits in the 80s, including Point of No Return, Seasons Change and Come Go With Me. So, when I found this at the Mission thrift store for $0.50, why the heck not? Exposure, a greatest hits album has included these hits; the other 7 songs on the album are not familiar, no that great and oh so 80s….I never thought I’d say this out loud but some albums can be too 80s, even for Sarca (the hubs almost had a heart attack when I muttered that sentence…)! Yeah, it’s a pass…

.

In conclusion, not too shabby this month. I am trying to be selective, and not just keeping something for the sake of it. I am still enjoying this experience. We shall see what next month will bring…