The Bee Side

"If the world is so wrong, then you can take it on with one song."

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Yes, Wilco is giving their new album away*

*for a limited time

kittyIf you don’t mind submitting your email address to subscribe to Wilco World, and a creepy blinking white cat, you can enjoy a free download of Wilco’s new studio album Star Wars. 

I’ve only sampled the first few tracks so far, but they seem delightfully messed-up in true Wilco style. “Random Name Generator” feels like it’s going to be an early favourite.

Free music by good bands doesn’t bounce into your lap every day, demanding attention and leaving hair all over your black slacks. So head on over to Wilco World as soon as you can.

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Thank you, Weakerthans.

A moment of silence for Winnipeg’s The Weakerthans, who are officially no more.

I admit I am a minor fan and showed up a bit late to their party. I would hear them now and again on Radio 2 but my proper introduction to the band came from their collaboration with Ottawa singer-songwriter and my Instagram pal Jim Bryson. That’s The Falcon Lake Incident, which I don’t think gets enough attention for being such a well-written slice of Canadiana.


Funny thing: the last time I saw Jim Bryson was when he was playing with Kathleen Edwards at the Wilmot United Church for Shivering Songs. Who opened for Kathleen? Well, that was John K. Samson and his wife Christine Fellows.

(photo credit: Lady Bee)

It was the perfect performance for the venue: intimate, friendly, introspective at times. Samson sang a few songs from a solo project about trees (no, really) and brought out my favourite Weakerthans song, “Tournament of Hearts”. It really doesn’t get more Canadian than a song about a relationship in trouble woven around the game of curling.

I was there with Daughter that night, who is a big fan of Kathleen like her mom. The next morning we had to be on the road for her weekend curling funspiel. I felt a tinge of pride when we thanked John K. at the merch table and he told my girl to “hurry hard”.

The Weakerthans haven’t done much since Reunion Tour and had been quiet as an entity for some time, it seemed. I’m guessing the news of their demise came to little surprise to their fans. They may not have achieved mass commercial success, but they have left a mark of Canadian music that will last far longer than bands that have sold ten times as many records as the Weakerthans.

And I ease us back into traffic

Dusk comes on and I wonder why

I’m always remembering you

In civil twilight

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Four live Foo songs: Better Than Nothing?

Recently I started feeling like I was the only person I knew who wasn’t going to see the Foo Fighters on their “Sonic Highways/Dave’s Broken Leg” tour. Quebec City would have been the most accessible for me, and I did consider planning my vacation around it. But other activities cut into the entertainment budget. So hopefully…hopefully…I will catch them the next time they tour Canada. You can’t see everything, right?

The Festival d’été stop in Quebec, as it turned out, was cut disappointingly short by severe weather: heavy rain, strong winds, reports of thunder and lightning. Bless the boys for their determination to play through, but after four songs it was evident they couldn’t continue safely. And even after they called it, Grohl had to be pulled offstage.

I felt bad for my friends who attended and drove for the better part of a day to be there. But after seeing their social media posts, I’m certain they wouldn’t tell you they felt ripped off. They’d tell you it was the greatest 20 minutes of live music they’ve ever witnessed. Here’s two minutes of what it looked like:

Yep, still envious.

Even if you’re not a fan, you have to admire the tenacity of a band that won’t let a show be halted by broken legs or severe weather conditions…at least, not without a fight.

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Searching for my next summer soundtrack

We all have them: songs and albums that invoke warm breezes, patio drinks under white lights, flip flops and drives with the moonroof open.

Summer music.

No other season moves me to curate my very own playlist of fun, sing-able, carefree tunes for patio beers and drives to the beach (and let’s be honest. When was the last time anyone talked about autumn music?) 

What qualifies as summer music is purely subjective. The Beach Boys, while beachy, is a band I can dig any time of the year. But Bob Marley is strictly summer for me. Years before I became a mom, I could not escape Marley on my Friday and Saturday patio beer adventures. I can’t separate him from summer.

There are albums in my life that remind me of summer because they consistently found their way into my boom box or car during July and August. Metric’s Fantasies immediately comes to mind as one – I had picked it up one spring and it didn’t leave my ears for months. The first Foo Fighters album brings me back to summer mornings in a basement apartment in Saint John, when I’d blare it while I was still living alone. So every year around this time, these records make their way back to my rotation.

But this isn’t a post about the past. Vacation time and lazier, schedule-free days are fast approaching and only here for a limited time. I have a stack of books I plan to read, as many of us do this time of year. Likewise, I’m looking for something light and breezy for those roadies to the beach and that long drive to Montreal in July. Here’s a few albums i plan to pick up:

Joel Plaskett The Park Avenue Sobriety Test

This one has been out for a few months, but I haven’t managed to pick it up yet. I have heard a number of tracks already, partly due to Radio 2. Plaskett and his beloved Emergency performed the title track at their magnificent Harvest gig last September and I knew then this album would be a treat.

I like that I know what I am getting into with Plaskett. The songs can either rock like this is his last stand, or they cut deep like your heart is being ripped in two at the realization that your crush just isn’t into you. He’s fun, he’s clever, he cares. And he’s walking down that same path of nostalgia that many of us at our age do.

Jenn Grant Compostela

This one has been out even longer, so I don’t know what the hell I have been waiting for. Jenn performed on The Strombo Show a few weeks ago, and I was lucky enough to catch her acoustic performance on a drive home from Halifax. Jesus, that voice. Description doesn’t do it justice, so i won’t even bother. It really is incomparable. And she is just a lovely person. Please watch this performance of “Bring Me a Rose” and if you don’t like it, ask yourself if you have a soul.

Dawes All Your Favorite Bands

I know very little about Dawes, except that the few songs I have heard I have liked immensely. So I am willing to give this one a try. They remind me a bit of the Wallflowers, if “Bringing Down The Horse” was sung in its entirety by Jackson Browne.

Metric “The Shade”

Yes, here’s Metric sneaking its way back into my summer soundtrack again! And yes, that’s a single. I was bummed to hear their new album isn’t out until September. But in the meantime “we got the sunshine, we got the shade, we got temptation, we got it made.” Emily Haines and Co. doesn’t disappoint.

So what about you? What will be making your summer playlist?

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Insanely Great Album Review: In the Aeroplane Over The Sea

Confession: I really don’t know much about Neutral Milk Hotel. I do, however, know a lot about April Ludgate of my favourite Thursday night story Parks and Recreation. A friend posted this on FB tonight from Vulture and I just had to share. Favourite line:

Once you hear Jeff Mangum howling about Anne Frank and ghosts and semen and bombs and medical specimens in jars and teeth and dead dogs and Holland in 1945 and synthetic flying machines and your mom sticking a fork in your dad’s shoulder, you will never be able to listen to, like, Third Eye Blind again without ripping your ears off.

April Ludgate, Pawnee’s finest music critic.

(props to my beloved Spiritual Twin for the clip – and trying to help me remember NMH’s music!)

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Stuck Between My Ears*: Mo Kenney

*in which I briefly tell you what random song is stuck in my head. It’s that simple.

My girl had a funspiel in Moncton this past weekend, so I completely missed out on Fredericton’s Shivering Songs Festival which featured, among others, Mo Kenney (you’ll find a review on last Saturday’s lineup here at Ride The Tempo) Kids come first and there’s always next year. But back to the matter at hand: “Sucker” has been getting mad spins over at the Mothercorp and this single has been growing on me (really, the best kind of music love). I like this version posted by CBC Music featuring her pal and producer Joel Plaskett. Stripped down to the core, you really sense the vulnerability in her lyrics.


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