Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Word from the West

(click HERE to listen)

Word from the west. I’ve been enjoying the recent Restless Radio pod-cast installments and have missed the good ol’ days at CHMA, being Mike’s trusty sidekick, putting the show together on the home front. It’s my pleasure to present to your ears some of what my ears have been taking in whilst out here in Vancouver.

Artist: Michael Franti and Spearhead Track: Stay Human
Album: Songs From The Porch (2003)
To kick off the set, here’s a dose of the positive / political energy that is: Michael Franti and his band Spearhead. I had the pleasure of experiencing their live performance at the Malkin Bowl; a great outdoor venue nestled amongst the trees in Stanley Park. The sky opened up midway through the show to which Franti and the positive crowd gave much thanks….

Artist: Elliott Brood Track: Second Son
Album: Ambassador (2005)
I was lucky to catch this trio on their Exclaim! tour. They bring a truckload of floor-stompin’ energy. At the show they handed out an assortment of pots & pans for the audience members to giver on…. You can imagine the mad jam that ensued! They are still on the road with the final two dates on their tour scheduled for Moncton (Friday Nov. 23rd) and Saint John (Sat. Nov.24th).

Artist: Andrew Bird Track: Fake Palindromes
Album: The Mysterious Production Of Eggs (2005)
I came to know this Chicago based multi-instrumentalist as the “whistling guy who recorded an album in an abandoned grain silo for the acoustics” through my good friend and talented musician Rob Reid. Upon seeing him perform it becomes rather obvious that Andrew picked up his first violin at the tender age of four years! I had a tough time deciding which track to choose….. he’s got a deep bag of nine solid releases. You best be checking him out.

Artist: Final Fantasy (Owen Pallett) Track: This Is The Dream Of Win And Regine
Album: Has A Good Home (2005)
I had never seen a live performance coupled with manually overhead projected art… Who said that those weren’t useful anymore?
The Win and Regine referred to in the track title are Win Butler and Regine Chassagne of The Arcade Fire, the band with whom Owen plays live (and often opens for) and for whom he arranged the orchestral sections on their albums.

Artist: Great Lake Swimmers Track: Bodies And Minds
Album: Bodies And Minds (2005)
Bodies and Minds, their second album of three, was recorded in a lakeside church in rural southern Ontario, continuing the emphasis on atmosphere from the debut album.

Artist: Chromeo Track: Mommas Boy
Album: Fancy Footwork (2007)
If you have yet to listen to this duo’s newest album “Fancy Footwork” you best be getting to it. Buff the hardwood floor, put on your “dance pants”, apply kneepads and let your inner 80’s spirit shine.
P.S. don’t forget to stretch first J

Artist: Trevor Tchir Track: B-Side Intro
Album: Wooden Castles Fall (2005)
An instrumental selection from this Albertan folk writer’s third album. He’s a great guy (he crashed on my couch in Moncton during his last cross-Canada tour) and his music reflects his melodic knack for storytelling.

Artist: Ideal Lovers Track: ?
Album: ? (2006)
Zachary James DeCamp, David Louis Gaston Payant, Joseph Baron Grass, Joshua Franklin Toal, Mike Evin, and Mike O'Brien make up the revolving songwriter/instrumentalist crew Ideal Lovers. You may have caught them this past summer at Montreal’s outdoor Osheaga Festival Of Music & Arts. As a native Monctonian, Joe Grass is no stranger to past Restless Radio tracklists. His inaugural self-titled solo effort is a definite keeper. I received a bunch of tracks from these guys while they were recording their album so I’m unsure of the track name & album name (or if this particular track even made the cut!)…. Anyhoo… I dig it.

Artist: Imogen Heap Track: Hide And Seek
Album: Speak For Yourself (2005)
I was just recently introduced to this artist from the UK and was instantly captivated with this robotic lullaby. Other than that I know not much of her.

Artist: The Acorn Track: Do You Not Yearn At All?
Album: The Pink Ghosts (2004)
These guys were introduced to me by my brother (thanks Shaver!)… they’ve been keeping busy with one album release per year over the past four years and a fairly busy touring schedule…. Most recently, they’ve appeared alongside Elliott Brood on the western segment of the Exclaim! Wood, Wires, and Whisky tour, and they just released a fresh album entitled “Glory Hope Mountain”.

Artist: Caribou Track: Melody Day
Album: Andorra (2007)
You may have heard of Dan Snaith in the context of the trademark lawsuit that forced him to change his artist name from 'Manitoba'. Sued by ageing punk rocker Handsome Dick Manitoba, despite Dick never having released an album under the name 'Manitoba', and finding himself limited by the high-priced realities of trademark law, Snaith opted to take the high road and change his nom de rock to Caribou. No news yet on whether the province of Manitoba is planning on changing its name...

Artist: The Slip Track: Even Rats
Album: Guitar Hero
This trio has been laying down great stuff since their inception in Boston (1996). I was first exposed to their experimental rhythmic approaches at the Evolve Festival in Nova Scotia. They’ve since relocated to Montreal and recently released “Eisenhower” co-produced by the band and the Matthew Ellard (Elliot Smith, Billy Bragg & Wilco) and with additional engineering by good friend and fellow Montrealien Drew Malamud (Stars, Metric)

Artist: Hawksley Workman Track: No Sissies
Album: For Him And The Girls
Hawksley holds a special place in my musical heart. This Canadian boy has a serious way with words and is so passionate in his dramatic delivery that while watching him perform live I sometimes think that I’m witnessing a Broadway musical. He’s got a new album and tour in the works…. I’m all over it.

Artist: Beck Track: New Round
Album: The Information
Yessir…a melodic closer for the set. No need for an introduction here. Beck has been a staple go to from day one…. He feels like an old friend and I hope he releases records until the world explodes.

Cheers to y’all. Until next time, safe travels and all the best in your life’s passions.
I look forward to catching up with everyone and sharing some cheer over the rapidly approaching holidays. J


1. Stay Human -
2. Second Son -
Elliot Brood
3. Fake Palindromes -
Andrew Bird
4. This is the Dream of Win & Regine -
Final Fantasy
5. Bodies and Minds -
Great Lake Swimmers
6. Momma;s Boy -
7. b-side intro -
Trevor Tchir
8. ??? -
the Ideal Lovers
9. Hide and Seek -
Imogen Heap
10. Do You Not Yearn, At All? -
the Acorn
11. Melody Day -
12. Even Rats -
the Slip
13. No Sissies -
Hawksley Workman
14. New Round -

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Red-Eyed and Blue

(click HERE to listen)

This weeks installment of the podcast is all about the slow burners. The slow jams. Those songs you throw on when you need to clear your head and relax a bit. Rock 'n roll is generally described as wood, wire, and whiskey ... but I'd liken this mix to a campfire and a bottle of wine type of vibe.
As an added bonus, I'll be posting another set of tunes in the very near future. My good friend and former Restless Radio cohort Chris Jackson has put together an incredible set of songs for your listening pleasure. Jackson is living out on the West coast of this fine country of ours and has been sampling a lot of what VanCity has to offer musically. Stay tuned for that set as it's guaranteed to impress.
In the meantime, lose the beans and pop in this lude of a podcast.

- I was recently introduced to the musical styling's of Midlake (thanks M&M) and my ears are all the better for it. If the Blue Oyster Cult and Ron Sexsmith had a bastard child I think he would grow up to sound a lot like these guys. I'm a sucker for subtle drum fills and a groove that doesn't quit ... an all around excellent song. On a side note, the band may have the oddest album art I've ever seen.

- You've all heard the idea of categorizing bands as either being of Beatles influence or of Rolling Stones influence, right? Mike O'Neil is definitely on the Beatles side of things, one listen to his track 'Mr Carvery' and you'll think you've popped in a Revolver era Beatles tune. He's a former member of 'the Inbreds', an excellent rock duo who recorded on Sloan's MurderRecords label back in the mid 90's. He has since release a couple of critically acclaimed solo records which are available over at
Dig it.

- Ramshackle is probably the sleeper tune on Beck's masterpiece 'Odelay'. It's the album closer (if you don't count the seizure inducing hidden track) and really showcases Beck's softer more ambient side. The chorus might be one of my all time favorites of his, and the jammy little interlude before the final verse proves that this guy has always had the goods.

- Two Hours Traffic are great little band out of PEI. Joel Plaskett seems to have taken them under his wing and helped them produced a couple of albums. I only own their debut lp and it's a pretty solid outing, 'Girl Up the Stairs' being one of the more laid back tracks.

- Turner Cody has been part of the New York anti-folk scene since 2000 and has released a boat load of material (mostly self released CD-R's) in that time. In the past few years he has collaborated quite a bit with Herman Dune which is how I was introduced to his work. The Dune is Cody's backing band on this track (as well as on the rest of his 'Great Migration' lp) ... David Herman Dune's bass line is enough to make me want to play this track on repeat all day.

1. The First Song - Band of Horses
2. Roscoe - Midlake
3. New Slang - the Shins
4. Poison Cup - M. Ward
5. These Days - Nico
6. Mr Carvery - Mike O'Neil
7. Ramshakle - Beck
8. California Stars - Billy Bragg & Wilco
9. Girl up the Stairs - Two Hours Traffic
10. Feel You Closer - the Skydiggers
11. Capri - Turner Cody
12. Holland (live) - Paul MacLeod
13. the Wrong Guy -
Julie Doiron
14. Fake Empire - the National
15. Into the Night - Gord Downie

Friday, November 16, 2007


(click HERE to listen)

Another week, another mixed bag of tunes ... and in the true spirit of mixing things up I've enlisted the help of a couple of listeners in choosing this weeks track list. I'm going to make "the Guest List" a weekly feature on the show because let's face it, there's a tonne of great music to be heard and not nearly enough time to listen to it all yourself. I'll feature 5 or so songs chosen by listeners along with a little blurb about why they dig those particular songs.

First up is the Port City duo of Shalala & Reef. Not much is known about these guys, but one thing is for sure... they LOVE the exclamation mark!!

I was asked to setup a list of five tunes that I wanted to showcase in this week's installment of Restless Radio, so I enlisted the help of my friend Reef to get'er done. Together we sat down and came up with six songs... not five like I was asked to but six! I just couldn't drop any tune off the final list. So here we go!

- We start things off with some Electropunk. Reef and I had the benefit of catching this band in Saint John (NB) at Elwoods. You Say Party! We Say Die!'s 'Monster' does not disappoint anyone who's looking to go out and hear something new!
- The follow-up is one off Reef's picks: 'Mama, won't you keep those castles in the air and burning' by Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! I was a little reluctant with this song at first, but after listening to the build up throughout the song I couldn't help but want to put it in this list.
- Next up, an easy sleeper tune titled Not About To by Ruby Jean and the Thoughtful Bees. They hail from Halifax and I must say they do not disappoint whatsoever! Rebeckah Higgs's vocals fit this Folktronic tune perfectly.
- 'Nantes' by Beirut is Reef's next pick. I had this album on my computer but never really gave it a good listen until Reef pushed me to hear this particular song. I listened and was automatically sold right from the get go! Not to mention that Zach Condon (Beirut) recorded this entire album by himself on a Macbook! Reef directed me to watch this video of him playing in Paris on the street and I was in utter shock how it could sound so amazing.
- I wanted to follow it up with something upbeat so I threw the song Yes! Yes! Yes! by Newfoundland's own Hey Rosetta! If a band puts an exclamation mark at the end of their name they've gotta be rockin', right?
- Lastly,
I have been really impressed with the new Wintersleep album 'Welcome to the Night Sky'. I chose the song 'Laser Beam' because its the one tune that really caught my attention from beginning to end without leaving me astray. A real solid tune.

Many thanks to Shalala & Reef. Nice work guys, not a dud in the bunch!

- This past week Radiohead performed via webcast from their rehersal/jam spot. They played songs from their new album 'In Rainbows' along with a few choice covers. A highlight of the show was the bands performance of the opening track to this weeks show, 'Jigsaw Falling Into Place'. Check out the video here. For a behind the scenes write up check out Adam Buxton's website.
- The Kings of Leon have been a Restless Radio favorite for years now and to be quite honest I'm not sure why it's taken me so long to feature a song of theirs on the show. As far as rock bands go these guys are the real deal. I'm partial to their sophomore release 'Aha Shake Heartbreak', but 'Camero' is taken from their most recent lp 'Because of the Times'. They've got a tight rhythm section and wear tight jeans ... rock 'n roll!
- The Black Keys are my 2nd favorite rock duo. They've released a bunch of great records over the past 5 years, but listening to them you'd think they had recorded their stuff in the early 70's in a garage somewhere. White-Bar-Blues.
- I'm a big Skydiggers fan, so I couldn't resist featuring one of their founding members again this week. Peter Cash was the principal songwriter for the Diggers in their early years, but after leaving the band he teamed up with his singer/songwriter brother Andrew in 1999 to form the Cash Brothers. This track appeared on their '01 release 'How Was Tomorrow'.
- Since starting this whole podcast thing I've revisited a lot of old favorites I hadn't listened to for a while, and one of those is Hayden. He has a knack for writing great songs and 'Hollywood Ending' is one of those songs.
- Elf Power's song 'An Old Familiar Scene' was sent to me by a listener who has really helped us out recently here at Restless Radio. Joey over at NicelyDunn fixed by broken XML link which was causing some problems for those trying to subscribe to the podcast via iTunes. The problem is now fixed so feel free to click the 'Subscribe' link in the upper right corner of the page to download all the newest shows directly into iTunes. Thanks again Joey!
- Herman Dune is one of those bands that grabs you and just won't let go. Originally from Sweden, these guys were part of the New York 'Anti-Folk' scene for a while before breaking out to a wider Euro audience thanks to legendary BBC radio host John Peel's love of their sound. Songwriting duties were originally shared by brothers David and Andre for their first 6 albums, sadly Andre left the band last year to pursue a solo career as 'Stanley Brinks' playing mostly in Germany. Nevertheless, the band continues to tour and are a fantastic live act. 'Going to Everglades' is from their Switzerland Heritage lp.
- I've been digging My Morning Jacket for sometime now and was lucky enough to see them live opening for Pearl Jam last year. Jim James has one of those unique rock 'n roll voices that is instantly recognizable and the band as a whole can lay down a groove like non other. Off the Record is from their album 'Z'.
- To cap off this weeks podcast I leave you with a great little number by Magnolia Electric Co. titled 'Hammer Down'. MEC is one of the many projects fronted by Jason Molina. This guy is about as prolific as you can get when it comes to songwriting and is so great at putting together a fantastic song. I often describe his full band sound to that of Neil Young & Crazy Horse... guitars, bass, drums, and a case full of soul.

May your weekend be a good one.

track list
1. Jigsaw Falling Into Place - Radiohead
2. Camero - Kings of Leon
3. Black Door - the Black Keys
4. Nerve - the Cash Brothers
5. Hollywood Ending - Hayden
6. Monster - You Say Party! We Say Die! **
7. Mama, Won't you keep those Castles ... - Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! **
8. Not About To - Ruby Jean and the Thoughtful Bees **
9. Nantes - Beirut **
10. Yes! Yes! Yes! - Hey Rosetta **
11. Laser Beams - Wintersleep **
12. An Old Familiar Scene - Elf Power
13. Going to Everglades - Herman Dune
14. Off the Record - My Morning Jacket
15. Hammer Down - Magnolia Electric Co.

** = Guest List picks

Thursday, November 08, 2007

4th Time Around

(click HERE to listen)

This past week I found an old mix cd I made a few years back. Some of the songs hadn't occupied a spot on my hard drive in sometime so it was nice to listen to them with fresh ears. I love hearing a song again for the first time... you know? If a particular song or artist has been off of your musical radar for an extended period of time it's a treat to go back and revisit. Whether the song is linked to a road trip, or a particularly stellar evening you had, it almost definitely brings a smile.
Rheostatics, Fiery Furnances, Belle & Sebastian, Frank Black & the Catholics, and the Zutons are all fantastic bands that for one reason or another have been on my listening back burner for a while now. Each of the tracks presented below represent what these bands do best. The Rheos were Canada's favorite indie sons up until their break-up last year. Any band that can reference Fantasy Island in their song gets top marks from me... "Boss, the Plane!". Fiery Furnaces are possibly the most eclectic sounding band I've ever listened to. Their album titled 'EP' is the one that has received the most play on my part, it's filled with tonnes of great tracks. Belle & Sebastian and the Zutons add some UK flavor to the mix and of course Frank Black & the Catholics brings it EVERY TIME . Whether he's fronting the Pixies or doing his thing with the Catholics, Frank Black presents a rock song in his own unique way without ever disappointing.
the National, Phoenix, and Glen Hansard, Marketa Irglova & the Frames are all new additions to my playlist that come highly recommended by friends. As always, big thanks! Of note is the Frames track which, along with a full albums worth of material, makes up the soundtrack to an indie film titled 'Once' which comes highly recommended by my brother.
I've been consistently listening to Ben Kweller and Ryan Adams & the Cardinals for the past few years, so their inclusion here won't come as any sort of surprise to you I'm sure. If you need a heartfelt number to listen to they should be your "go-to" guys. Ryan Adams in particular has been on somewhat of a role, recently coming off a very successful North American tour with the Cardinals. His current recording contract with Lost Highways has expired and from what I've read he'll be dropping his name sake from the band and touring only as 'The Cardinals' in the new year. Good on 'em for recognizing a great band. If you need convincing check out this amazing set they played back in July in Santa Cruz.
the Flaming Lips are a band that needs to be seen to truly be believed. Their sound is layered with good time vibes and their live show only adds to the madness. This track from their album 'the Soft Bulletin' highlights what these guys do best.
The Joe Strummer & the Mescaleros track is for all the Clash fans ... RIP Joe. This guy had one of those voices that was instantly recognizable. So good.
I decided to end the show with a couple of real solid tunes ... there's gold at the end of the rainbow, i swear! Danny Michel is yet another great Canadian singer/songwriter with a unique voice to match his talent with a guitar. Four years back he put out an album of all David Bowie covers called 'Loving the Alien' which ended up being my introduction to Bowie oddly enough. Danny makes the songs his own and presents them in a way that even impressed Bowie. High praise for sure.
And finally, the grand daddies of cool, the Velvet Underground wrap things up with 'Pale Blue Eyes'. If you have yet to dedicate some time to this band do yourself a favor and pick up one of the many compilations that have been issued since 1970, you will not be disappointed.

Intro -> Kid Koala vs. the Dude
1. Race for the Prize - the Flaming Lips
2. Four Winds - Bright Eyes 3. Let it Ride - Ryan Adams & the Cardinals
4. Coma Girl - Joe Strummer & the Mescaleros
5. P.I.N. - Rheostatics
6. It's Cool to Love Your Family - Feist
7. Evergreen - Fiery Furnances
8. Another Sunny Day - Belle & Sebastian
9. Trying to Pull Myself Away - Glen Hansard, Marketa Irglova & the Frames
10. The Rules - Ben Kweller
11. Sometimes in the Fall - Phoenix
12. Zuton Fever - the Zutons
13. Brainy - the National
14. Robert Onion - Frank Black & the Catholics
15. Young American - Danny Michel
16. Pale Blue Eyes - the Velvet Underground

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Viva Canuckistan!

(click HERE to listen)

This weeks track list has an all-Canadian flavor to it. There is so much great music being created in this country that I can really only skim the surface with this post, so here's to hoping you hear something new that makes you want to dig a little deeper into some of these great Canadian music catalog's.

- The Arcade Fire is the prototypical 'perfect band'. They make great music, have an amazing live show, and do everything on their own terms. Most bands of their caliber and popularity would have sold out long ago but they've refused to take the easy road. Track 1 is a choice cut from their first full length lp, Funeral.
- The Skydiggers have long been one of my favorite Canadian bands, to this day they rank highly on my 'Top 5 Live Experiences Ever' list. They were a staple of the Canadian live music scene from '88-'98 but have only played a handful of shows each year since then. Truly a shame. Track 2 is taken from their live record 'There and Back'.
- I like to think that Cuff the Duke picked up where the 'Diggers' left off. They've always had a bit of an alt-country flavor to them but have also grown by leeps and bounds over the course of their past three studio albums. This track is from their newly released 3rd record 'Sidelines of the City'. Highly recommended.
- Paul MacLeod is the hardest working Canadian singer songwriter you've never heard of. Between writing material for his solo records and sideband Hibakusha, he has also become a fulltime member of the Skydiggers and has sat in with the Rheostatics on occasion. This track is from his 2nd solo disc 'Close and Play' which he recorded with another great Canadian songwriter, Hawksley Workman.
- Wolf Parade got their first bit of exposure to the masses while opening for Arcade Fire on the Funeral tour. The band is part Montreal, part Vancouver, but ALL business. Their members all have side projects so it may be a while before we get another album... luckily their first lp 'Apologies to the Queen Mary' has enough great music on it to last for a while.
- Apostle of Hustle and Metric both have ties to the now famous Broken Social Scene, so I thought I'd give all three bands a fair shake this time around. They each have their strong points so you can be the judge on which project you prefer ... in case you're wondering, I'm saving Leslie Feist for another show down the road.
- We're three shows into this podcast and already I've showcased Joel Plaskett and Peter Elkas twice, can you tell I'm a fan? Peter is a former member of the Local Rabbits and has toured extensively as an opening act for Joel as well as playing guitar from time to time in The Emergency. I picked Only You from Peter's 1st solo album because it showcases just how good of a guitarist this guy actually is (he's not just a pretty face ladies). Joel's tune on the other hand is from his 'Down at the Khyber' lp and is pure Emergency goodness.
- Islands are yet another Montreal based band that I've only recently been introduced to. I've included this track because song titles don't get any better than 'Don't Call Me Whitney, Bobby'.
- A few months back I was listening to Q ( on CBC radio and Jian Ghomeshi played this track by Martha & the Muffins. It's a solid tune by one of Toronto's best new wave bands (circa 1980).
- I don't listen to the Weakerthans enough, but I'm going to start. This stellar track is from their 2003 lp Reconstruction Site. Winnipeg has a knack for producing some of Canada's most original rock music (remember the Watchmen?) and these guys are continuing that tradition.
- The Sadies have become Canada's alt-country darlings and have earned a reputation as the hardest working live band in the country. High praise to say the least, but these guys deserve every bit of it. They've collaborates with everyone from Rick White(Eric's Trip & Elevator), Greg Kealor (Blue Rodeo), Neko Case, Jon Spencer, and Garth Hudson (the Band) to name just a few, and have also managed to release 6 studio records over the past nine years! It was hard to pick just one track, but I think Translucent Sparrow from their 'Favorite Colours' lp shows the range these guys have as musicians.
- I couldn't put together a list of CanRock without including the Hip. They've been working the music scene for twenty plus years and aren't showing any signs of slowing down. They've got it all as a band; the long haired lead guitarist, the cigarette dangling rhythm guitarist, the solid bass & drum duo, and the wily frontman. How do you pick a favorite song from these guys? I don't have an answer, but I do have this excellent little number off of their 'In Between Evolution album.
- Hayden's 'Dynamite Walls' opus wraps up this edition of the podcast. It's my favorite song of his for many reasons; I'm a sucker for a slowburn intro, his lyrics paint a picture of a winter road trip we've all taken at one point in our lives, and the guitar freakout at the end is face melting.
"Open your eyes, put it in drive, get on the road, and discover."

Intro-> Mitch Hedberg vs. Bullfrog
1. Neighborhood #2 - Arcade Fire
2. Just Over This Mountain - the Skydiggers
3. If I Live or If I Die - Cuff the Duke
4. Broken Wing - Paul MacLeod
5. It's a Curse - Wolf Parade
6. Chances Are - Apostle of Hustle
7. Only You - Peter Elkas
8. 7/4 (Shoreline) - Broken Social Scene
9. Don't Call Me Whitney, Bobby - Islands
10. Too Little Toot Late - Metric
11. Paint By Number Heart - Martha & the Muffins
12. There's Love in the Air - Joel Plaskett Emergency
13. A New Name for Everything - the Weakerthans
14. Translucent Sparow - the Sadies
15. One Night in Copenhagen - the Tragically Hip
16. Dynamite Walls - Hayden

On a more somber note, the Restless Radio team would like to dedicate this weeks episode to the memory of one of the greats... Robert Goulet. Most of you probably know the name from a Will Ferrel skit on SNL, but Goulet was much more than just a punchline. He starred in several classics (G-Men from Hell, BeetleJuice, and Naked Gun 2 1/2 just to name a few) and was known the world over as the man with the golden voice.