Out of all of my opinions on things that sway back and forth and take hits to the gut after long conversations, the one thing that will not waver is my love for very specifically crafted Canadian music. If anything, this is a nation of lyricists with much too time and too few listeners. And I’m not talking about Shania Twain (although that WAS the first album I ever bought in Canada at the tender age of 7…), I’m talking about real people, prairie people, van city people, halifax people that come from small families and large families and fucked up families and make life so much more worth living. I’m going to profile 3 specific bands here, because I’ve seen 2 in real living colour and the last I just discovered and am now possibly frustrated at my inability to have discovered him before. (Of course I could go on about Broken Social Scene and the Stars [whose new song Fixed is totally amazing – get it here], but they are more known than these guys, and I’m all about the break-through bands. Plus, what they have is a lot more music than the storytelling that I fell in love with in these bands.)
The first, and the one band I’m going to see tonight (at the Garrison! In Toronto! Come! Your life will take on new meaning, I swear. It’s way better than writing papers or doing assignments. Really.) is, of course, The Fugitives. If you live in Canada and are not opposed to Canadian-like things (some people are, I don’t know…) well, they are it. They are not maple syrup, they are not beavers or Iqaluit, but they are certainly an explosion of fucking AWESOME. That’s it. Barbara Adler, Brendan Mcleod (I have his CD and he has a recording on it of a story in which he tells of an awkward first date that SHARTED in his car on his leather seats. Clearly this is a token to his legitimacy,) Adrian Glynn and Steve Charles. I haven’t met the last two, but hopefully will see them tonight at least. Anyway, I’m not going to give you their bio – you can read, can’t ya?, and if you’re curious feel free to go to their website that I linked on their name. They also have a myspace, a twitter and various facebook accounts that you can damn well go find on your own.
Anyway, these guys are so …… stunna stunna.
They’re kind of spoken word poet songwriter storytellers. They are incredulously funny live and incredibly emotional in song. Sometimes you wonder why nobody has thought of the word combinations that they use before, because they seem to fit to things so well. Listening to them is like being in a whole other universe where life is strung together in one fantastically orgasmic and dance-enducing song. Plus look how cute they are. They’ve dropped several people from their lineup over the years, one of whom I will go on to profile next: Mark Berube. (I should say that having had CR Avery in the band isn’t a bad accolade to their name, either.)
Anyway, so – Mark Berube. I totally just discovered this guy today, and well… it was obvious to me that he was in The Fugitives. Obvious. Compare the two, I dare you. But really, when I listened to his song Flowers on the Stones (you can download it here) I just fell in love. How could you not? It makes you want to dance. And write. And write and dance at the same time. It’s folk and it’s country and his VOICE rawrrrrrrr oh my. It’s just something so… uplifting. “Stand up! Now put your hands up”… the simplest lines of the freaking universe, but with that harmony? And those voices just kill you in the best way. I get really hyperventilate-y when I start talking about music I love and stop making sense, did you guys notice that yet? I’m not using any fancy words at all – just “awesome”. What else needs to be said though, really? I like the downloaded version because it’s more clear than the live version here, except, you know, if I heard it live I think I would faint. Or dance. Probably dance. A LOT.
Now, maybe this sort of music isn’t your cuppa tea, but give it a chance. No, their voices are most certainly not that of Beyonce and/or Lady Gaga or Lil’ Wayne and Ludacris, but COME ON the lyrics? The lyrics, the melodies, the stories. They’re worth it. And even their voices give it a certain something – it’s real voices, not digitally remastered for your auditory pleasure, but reallfully mastered for your enjoyment. That’s totally a sentence I’m going to use in an essay one of these days…..
Anyway, Berube’s cronies – Patrick Dugas, Amelie Mandeville and Kristina Koropecki – are called The Patriotic Few for a reason, are they not? Canada rocks. It rocks because of these guys! How can you not be patriotic when such wonderful people live here. Such wonderful stories are written here.
Listen, I know I’m not making too much sense here, but once you do a little youtube skip-a-song-play-a-song with these guys you will fall AS madly and AS quickly in love with them as I have. My suggestion? Start here. This is what my English/Creative Writing teacher showed me in grade 12, and from then it began. It’s also just AWESOME.
How many times have I said AWESOME in this post? Probably not enough.
Also, this post is tip-toeing the line of 1000 words, wheres I need to write an essay 1.5 times as long by next Wednesday and I haven’t even read the book. I wonder where my priorities lie….
Now, the last artists that I wanted to spread the word about is Mad Violet [ Madison Violet ]. And clearly, as I’m now trying to find all the right sites to link you guys to, I find out that they’re playing in Toronto TONIGHT, the SAME night as the Fugitives. But it would be wrong to not see the Fugitives, right guys? I haven’t seen them yet! I’ve seen MadViolet already, once last year by accident at I forget what number poetry event…. Okay anyway. These wonderful femmes are from East Coast Canada, and they’re all cocky and female and taunting and sweet and saucy and guitar-like wonderful. They’re a little bit more strictly music than the other two but equally wonderful. Listening to these wonderful souls is like taking a drive in the countryside for some fresh air. I was going to suggest a song for you guys to listen to but I simply can’t pick just ONE. So, fine, listen here.
Okay. That’s it. that’s all I’m going to say.
Except, well, just give these guys a listen, readers. I promise you won’t regret it. Even if you don’t listen to them every day (I can’t, otherwise I would just become depressed about the fact that I don’t write nearly enough to get as good as they are, yet), when you pick these songs up from their dusty cases on the right day, it’s like…. it’s right. Your day becomes brighter.
Your day just… your day improves and you’re like, man! There’s people doing wonderful things out here in the world.
And you just get happy about that, like I am right now. And you stop thinking (for a second, or a song) about things like the leaked video of the pilots in the shooting of the 2 Reuters reporters (and other Iraqi casualties) in Iraq by US planes… makes your blood run cold. And it’s not as though you’re forgetting about that by listening to music like this, it’s that it just takes music like this to convince you that not everyone’s playing video games with peoples’ lives. That some people care and they make love for a living. That war is not necessary. That we would all be better to just forget about guns and war and conquering and status.
But those are those opinions that do the swaying in the wind. The music stays the same.