Posted in Listed

Favourite Distant (Re)Discoveries 2021

5. Ela Minus – they told us it was hard, but they were wrong (Song): Originally I had this all teed up to be in my top 10 songs of the year then discovered it came out in 2020. This has all the good things we appreciate in a dance track – dark, moody, mysterious, atmospheric, incessant beat, buried vocals, etc. The Brooklyn based Colombian, knocked us out with one of our favourite tracks that we heard in 2021.

4. The Tragically Hip – Saskadelphia (EP):  Growing up as a teenager in Canada in the early 90s it was practically a prerequisite to like The Tragically Hip. They are not a band I normally put on the stereo as their music is ubiquitous around these parts but when they released this EP of music recorded around the time of the Road Apples album, I was all in. I didn’t realize how much I wanted to hear them until I did. Another great entry into their legacy and hopefully not the last.

3. Limp Bizkit – Break Stuff (Live at Lollapalooza 2021) (Song) :  I was never a Limp Bizkit fan, not even as a guilty pleasure. This video appeared soon after the heavy handed Woodstock 99 documentary that cast the band as having ruined the hippie esthetic. Looking like your dad (if he was one of the Beastie Boys), singer Fred Durst was in fine form by making fun of the documentary before tearing up the crowd. The music seems better with humour and nostalgia than it did in the late 90s as a lifestyle.

2. Oasis – Knebworth 1996 (2CD + Documentary):  25 years on from the legendary Knebworth weekend; the band released a documentary, concert films of both nights, and an album. Mainly featuring tracks from the first two albums + B-sides, the performance catches the band at their peak. The documentary starts off a bit slow but continues to build with each song with one highlight being John Squire joining the lads for a guitar solo on “Champagne Supernova”. Acting in stark contrast to the Woodstock 99 doc, this was all peace and love with plenty of cigarettes and alcohol.

1. The Beatles – Let It Be/Get Back (2CD edition + Documentary) – One of the most anticipated releases of the year was Peter Jackson’s extraordinary Get Back documentary on The Beatles making of the Let It Be album and sessions leading up to the famous rooftop concert. Remarkable to see classic songs written in just a few weeks with the highlight being Paul McCartney creating “Get Back” on the spot. While the Let It Be album is the lesser of the last few releases by the band, the second disc of alternative takes were helluva lot of fun to listen to and explore. Much more to be heard for those willing to spend the extra cash on the super deluxe edition.

Posted in Album Reviews

The Tragically Hip – Saskadelphia EP (2021)

Saskadelphia

On May 20th, Tragically Hip fans across Canada were surprised to find out the band was releasing a new EP titled Saskadelphia.  The title being the original working name of 1991’s Road Apples album of which these songs were recorded for and eventually rejected.  The original tapes of the EP’s six songs that were thought lost but found in 2019 lean towards the more rocking end of the band’s oeuvre. “Ouch” starts off the EP, with singer Gord Downie’s voice straining to get the words out as the rest of the band chugs behind him. The swaggering “Just as Well” recalls boogie rock of 80’s hit from The Georgia Satellites “Keep Your Hands to Yourself”.

“Not Necessary” is an early highlight. The melodic rocker sees Downie sing “You’re so calico, you’re all the colours in the world” over the chiming guitars of Paul Baker and Paul Langlois. The live version of “Montreal” about a victim of that city’s tragic Ecole Polytechique shooting is another poignant highlight. The bass of Gord Sinclair holds down “Crack My Spine Like A Whip” which also adds the crisp drumming of Johnny Fay.  The EP closes with Downie announcing the introduction of the sped-up blues track “Reformed Baptist Blues”.

The sound here is early Hip, straight forward rock with a bit of the blues added, it lacks some of the subtleties they would later work into their music and lift them from clubs/theatres to selling out arenas across Canada. For fans that grew up the band, this is definitely a nostalgic trip that is hard to separate from the art, especially with the passing of Gord Downie in 2017. There are a couple great songs here along with some good ones.  Mostly though, it’s just a hell of a lot of fun hearing “new” music from The Tragically Hip again.

8.5/10