The Return of eLf ideas

ideas of an eLven being in Canada

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Canadian Alternative Rock Music

(Back to the Middle of Where I Am)
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On nights my literary hand is too tired to write, I just stay in the bedroom and flicker with the TV remote control. I usually watch out for quiz shows like Jeopardy and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?; or if I'm really too bored even to pretend I am a contestant, I simply switch on to the music channels.
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Several weeks ago, while watching MuchMoreMusic, I saw for the first time a video of the relatively new band Hot Hot Heat. My earflaps suddenly erected! Only a few notes into the song and I already fell in love with it.

The song was "Middle of Nowhere," which has now replaced New Order’s “Krafty” as my blog site’s soundtrack.
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The current members of Hot Hot Heat are Steve Bays (vocals/keyboards), Paul Hawley (drums), Dustin Hawthorne (bass), and Luke Paquin (guitars).
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Hot Hot Heat is an Alternative Rock band originating from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. (Yes, the Canadian province where I lived before transferring to Manitoba.) The band's music is obviously influenced by the New Wave sound of the '80s, reminding me of such bands as XTC, Dexy's Midnight Runners, and The Clash. The introductory part of "Middle of Nowhere," in particular, has a ringing resemblance with that of XTC's "The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead."

"Middle of Nowhere"

by Hot Hot Heat
(Elevator, 2005)

Don't get mad if I'm laughing
Blame the caffeine for all the 5 a.m. phone calls
I haven't slept a single night in over a month
And not even once did you start to make sense to me
Well, maybe I'm a little bit slow, or just consistently inconsistent
She said, "Unpredictability's my responsibility, baby."

But you're waiting at the door where everybody's hanging out
Just like they hung out before
You didn't have to do it but you did it to say
That you didn't have to do it but you would anyway

To give you something to go on
When I go off back to the middle of nowhere
To give you something to go on
When I go off back to the middle of nowhere

They chewed me up and then they spit me out
And I'm not supposed to let it bother me
But maybe I'm a little bit weak—I let my frailty take the wheel
She said, "Maybe there's a bit of me waiting for a bit of you, baby."

But you're waiting at the door where everybody's hanging out
Just like they hung out before
You didn't have to do it but you did it to say
That you didn't have to do it but you would anyway

To give you something to go on
When I go off back to the middle of nowhere
To give you something to go on
When I go off back to the middle of nowhere

But you're waiting at the door where everybody's hanging out
Just like they hung out before
You didn't have to do it but you did it to say
That you didn't have to do it but you would anyway

To give you something to go on
When I go off back to the middle of nowhere
To give you something to go on
When I go off back to the middle of nowhere
To give you something to go on—to go on back to the middle of nowhere

%%%

Other Canadian Alternative-Rock Acts

Canada continues to produce noteworthy bands. Here are essential Canadian Alternative Rock artists—old and new—that I like:

The Arcade Fire (formed in 2003 in Montreal, Quebec)
("Rebellion [Lies]," "Tunnels," "Laika")
* The follow-up to their debut album, Funeral (2004), is set for release before 2005 ends.
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Barenaked Ladies (formed in 1988 in Scarborough, Ontario)
("Jane," "Alternative Girlfriend," "Everything Old Is New Again")
* The band's latest studio album is Barenaked for the Holidays (2004).
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Beneath Augusta (formed in 2003 in Toronto, Ontario)
("Carry On," "Security Wires," "Get Yours")
* The band's debut album is You Gotta Come Down Sometime (2004).
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Broken Social Scene (formed in 1999 in Toronto, Ontario)
("Cause = Time," "Stars and Sons," "Shampoo Suicide")
* The band's follow-up to their second album, You Forgot It on People (2002), is due for release late this year.
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Cookie Duster (formed in the late 90s in Toronto, Ontario; one of the earlier bands of Broken Social Scene's bassist/songwriter, Brendan Canning)
( "Never Knew," "Paloma")
* The band's eponymous debut album was released in 2001.
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Listening to this band reminds me of The Cardigans.
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Crash Test Dummies (formed in 1989 Winnipeg, Manitoba)
("Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm," "Afternoons and Coffeespoons")
* The band's latest studio album is Songs of the Unforgiven (2004).
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The Dears (formed in 1995 in Montreal, Quebec)
("Corduroy Boy," "The Death of All the Romance," "This Is a Broadcast")
* The band's latest, second full-length album is No Cities Left (2003).
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Geoff Berner (hails from Vancouver, British Columbia)
("Clown and Bard," "Maginot Line," "We All Gotta Be a Prostitute Sometimes," "Lucky Goddamn Jew")
* Berner's latest, second full-length album is Whiskey Rabbi (2005).
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Glass Tiger (formed in 1980 in Newmarket, Ontario)
("Don't Forget Me [When I'm Gone]," "Someday")
* Currently active again, the band recently released a new album, No Turning Back (2005). However, I am yet to listen to their new songs.
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The Hidden Cameras (formed in the early 2000s in Montreal, Quebec)
("Ban Marriage," "Doot Doot Ploot")
* The band's latest album is The arms of his 'ill' (2004).
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Kon Kan (formed in the late 1980s in Toronto, Ontario)
("I Beg Your Pardon," "Harry Houdini")
* The band's final, third album is Vida! (1993).
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The Lovely Feathers (formed in 2004 in Montreal, Quebec)
("Photocorners," "Fudgicle")
* The band's debut album is My Best Friend Daniel (2004)
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Listening to this band reminds me of the cute peskiness of Dead Milkmen and the crunchy antics of Violent Femmes – two Snot Rock acts my erstwhile band Half Life Half Death used to cover in our gigs in the early '90s.
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Memory Bank (formed in the early 2000s in Toronto, Ontario)
("All the Things," "Bleed like a New Hero," "The Four of Us Dying," "Two Lanes")
* The band is currently finishing its follow-up to their second album, Litany and Lethargy (2004).
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Men Without Hats (formed in the late 1970s in Montreal, Quebec)
("Pop Goes the World," "I Got the Message," "Safety Dance")
* The band reformed in 2003 and released a new album, No Hats beyond This Point.
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Metric (originally formed in 1998 in New York, USA, but is based now in Toronto, Ontario)
("Combat Baby," "Dead Disco," "Parkdale")
* The band's last, second album is Old World Underground, Where Are You Now? (2003).
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The chorus of "Combat Baby" reminds me of The B-52's "Love Shack"; while the intro of "Dead Disco" sounds uncannily like that of The Cure's "A Forest."
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My cousin Oliver and I will watch Metric's gig here in Winnipeg on this coming October 23, Sunday, at the Ramada Marlborough Entertainment Centre. Opening for Metric are The Most Serene Republic and The Lovely Feathers.
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The Most Serene Republic (formed recently in Milton, Ontario)
("Where Cedar Nouns and Adverb Walks," "Content Always Was My Favourite Colour")
* The band's debut album is Underwater Cinematographer (2005); planning to record the follow-up before the year ends.
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I'm lucky to have been invited by my cousin Oliver to watch this band on August 15, 2005, at West End Cultural Centre here in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The band performed, along with Shawn Hewitt & the National Strike, in support of the American, Seattle (Washington)-based, band Pretty Girls Make Graves.
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The New Pornographers (formed in 1997 in Vancouver, British Columbia)
("Letter from an Occupant," "Stacked Crooked," "The Bleeding Heart Show," "The Laws Have Changed")
* The band recently released its third album, Twin Cinema (2005).
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Pilate (formed in 1999 in Toronto, Ontario)
("Into Your Hideout," "Melt into the Walls")
* The band's debut album is Caught by the Window (2003).
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The Pursuit of Happiness (formed in 1985 in Toronto, Ontario)
("She's So Young," "Walking in the Woods," "I'm an Adult Now")
* The band's last studio album is The Wonderful World of The Pursuit of Happiness (1996).
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TPOH is one of my most favorite band from the '80s even if only for "She's So Young," a song my band heavily covered during our heydays. This song also reminds me of my best-friend/bandmate Rain, who would sing it so passionately every time we'd play it; the song is one of his favorite songs as well, and TPOH among his favorite bands.
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Rational Youth (formed in 1981 in Montreal, Quebec)
("Saturdays in Silesia," "Dancing on the Berlin Wall," "Holiday in Bangkok")
* The band, reduced into the duo of Tracy Howe and Jean-Claude Cutz, released in 1999 its comeback (and final) album, To the Goddess Electricity.
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The Sam Roberts Band (launched his solo career in early 2000s in Montreal, Quebec)
("Brother Down," "Don't Walk Away, Eileen," "Where Have All the Good People Gone?," "Hard Road")
* Roberts's first full-length album is We Were Born in a Flame (2003).
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Simple Plan (formed in 1999 in Montreal, Quebec)
("Shut Up," "Perfect," "How Could This Happen to Me?")
* * The band's latest, third album is Still Not Getting Any... (2004).
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Sloan (formed in 1991 in Halifax, Nova Scotia)
("I Am the Cancer," "500 Up," "Worried Now," "Coax Me")
* The band's last proper album is Action Pact (2003). Last May, it released the singles compilation A Sides Win: Singles 1992-2005, which includes two new songs, "All Used Up" and "Try to Make It."
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My favorite Sloan album is Smeared (1993).
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Stars (originally formed in early 2000s in Toronto, Ontario; based now in Montreal, Quebec)
("Ageless Beauty," "Your Ex-Lover Is Dead")
* The band's latest album is Set Yourself on Fire (2004).
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The Stills (formed in 2000 in Montreal, Quebec)
("Lola Stars and Stripes," "Changes Are No Good," "Still in Love Song")
* The band's debut album is Logic Will Break Your Heart (2003).
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Stirling (originally formed in 2000 in Edmonton, Alberta; based now in Toronto, Ontario)
("I Came Late to the Party," "Turn Up the Dark")
* The band's first full-length album is Northern Light (2004). They are currently working on the follow-up.
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Sum 41 (formed in 1996 in Ajax, Ontario)
("Makes No Difference," "Still Waiting," "Pieces")
* The band's latest album is Chuck (2004)..
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The Weakerthans (formed in 1997 in Winnipeg, Manitoba)
("Aside," "A Plea from a Cat named Virtue")
* The band's last, third proper album is Reconstruction Site (2003).
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Wolf Parade (formed recently in Montreal, Quebec)
("Dinner Bells," "This Heart's on Fire," "Modern World," "Dear Sons and Daughters of Hungry Ghosts")
* The band is yet to release its first full-length album; all currently released songs come from two EPs, the later of which is Cheap Thrills (2004).
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Archive

5 Comments:

  • At Friday, August 26, 2005 6:00:00 AM, Anonymous guile said…

    sum 41.. cool :)..

     
  • At Sunday, August 28, 2005 10:25:00 PM, Blogger eLf ideas said…

    Guile,
    Thanls for fluttering by.

     
  • At Tuesday, November 22, 2005 12:23:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Teka muna andaming band na galing Canada! pero Alfie parang mas okay kung mag-form ka ng band dyan! Cguro pangarap mo din yan! Cge na pre! Wag mo ng pigilan yang sarili mo sa pagbabanda ulit!

    Hihintayin nmin yan dito sa PINAS!


    Nangungulet,

    RIZ

     
  • At Tuesday, November 22, 2005 8:24:00 PM, Blogger eLf ideas said…

    Riz,
    To tell you openly, one of my greatest frustrations with being away from home is the fact that I'm away from my best-friend/bandmate Rain, who was the only person who could easily execute all my musical ideas.

    I know how to make music in my mind, but my inability to play the guitar frustrates me much.

    Fortunately, I just recently met someone--a multi-instrumentalist--who owns his own home recording studio. He's also a Filipino and likes Philippine Alternative Rock music.

    Guess what? I and he have just planned to collaborate to arrange and record some previously unreleased HLHD songs. This Friday, we'll begin working on a song I composed (para sana sa 2nd album ng HLHD na hindi na nga natuloy) entitled "Parang karnabal--ganyan ang buhay."

    We'll follow it up with the rest of the songs I'd like to see get released:

    "Here I come, my brilliant friend"
    "Why, the never ending why"
    "Those were my youthful days" and
    "Be reborn with a silver spoon on my mouth"

    And just a few days ago, I was able to compose two new songs with the piano here at my uncle's house where I live:
    "Paruparong ligaw, saan ba ang punta mo?"
    and
    "Para ka namang nilasing na hipon."

    Wish me the best of luck, that I/we may be able to finish an album of new songs.

    Of course, I'd be releasing my new music under Half Life Half Death. I have the blessings of my former bandmates.

    I'm no longer interested with gigs. Di na kaya, I need to establish my life soon for my future family with my fiancee waiting for me in the Philippines.

    What I'm dying to do is just to make some more music and produce new albums, without the need to play gigs. I'm not doing this for money or fame; I'm doing this for the love of New Wave music.

     
  • At Monday, November 10, 2008 9:37:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    hi m8, just wanna share...
    my fave canadian acts list wont be complete with the mighty-awesome...THE TRAGICALLY HIP! cheers n lotsa luck indeed:-)
    boing
    www.fsandc.multiply.com

     

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