Best tunes of 2010: #5 Bedouin Soundclash (feat. Cœur de pirate) “Brutal hearts”

At number five on my Best tunes of 2010 list, we have the other band from Kingston, Ontario: Bedouin Soundclash. Now based out of Toronto, the reggae and ska group was formed in 2001 by Jay Malinowski, Eon Sinclair, and Pat Pengelly. They had a relatively big radio hit with “When the night feels my song” off their second album, 2004’s “Sounding a mosaic”, and have since released two more albums but have been inactive since 2010. However, a new single was released just last year with the promise of a new album, possibly this year.

“Brutal hearts” appears on their 2010 album “Light the horizon”, never released as a proper single but there were two videos made available on YouTube (one of which you can enjoy below). The track doesn’t sound much like the band’s usual reggae self and this is not just because it features Québec singer/songwriter Béatrice Martin (aka Cœur de Pirate) in a duet with Malinowski. It’s a mostly drum driven track. The drummer at the time, Sekou Lumumba, is the other star of this show, getting under our skin with his rim shot, ticky tacky rhythms. Bassist Sinclair sidles up beside him, giving this not so laidback beat some muscle. And all the while, the male/female, rough-hewn versus smooth like wine, trading vocals yearn for love, any kind, whether or not it’s true or good.

“I don’t mind at all
I don’t mind that you only call me when you want
And I’m just glad you want me at all”

The song is like a tango. A sweaty and needy dance, late at night, in a dark basement club. The drummer starts the aforementioned rhythm, tired from a night of playing but somehow finding his second wind. The bassist, and I’m imagining an upright bass here, leans heavily against a ledge and so does his instrument, his shirt undone a number of buttons, whiskey on the rocks close to hand. And from somewhere deep in the night, a cello joins in, a sad and plaintive call. They are all only playing for the couple on the dance floor. They’ve never seen each other before and will likely never see each other again. They are the song. And for this brief moment, they are love.

For the rest of the Best tunes of 2010 list, click here.

Vinyl love: Phoebe Bridgers “Stranger in the alps”

(Vinyl Love is a series of posts that quite simply lists, describes, and displays the pieces in my growing vinyl collection. You can bet that each record was given a spin during the drafting of each corresponding post.)

Artist: Phoebe Bridgers
Album Title: Stranger in the alps
Year released: 2017
Details: Limited edition, lavender

The skinny: Some of you might recall this album as #10 on my Best albums of 2017 list. Phoebe Bridgers’ debut album is mostly quiet, deeply personal, literate, and almost too cool for its own good. And I love it to pieces.

Standout track: “Motion sickness”

Best albums of 2007: #3 The Clientele “God save The Clientele”

Some might remember The Clientele as the purveyors of the surprise #1 album in my Best albums of 2017 back in December. Well, I’ve been loving on this London-based indie pop band for quite some time.

My first encounter with them was their second album, 2003’s “The violet hour”, a reverb-drenched, 60s psych influenced album. They expanded their sound some with string arrangements on “Strange geometry“ in 2005 and following a tour in 2006, added violinist/keyboard player, Mel Draisey to the fold, ensuring more lovely strings for future recordings. “God save The Clientele” does not disappoint in this regard, also including the use of pedal steel and slide guitar to really take their already beautifully full sound even further.

Recorded in the States, where they oddly seem to be more popular than they are in their home country, “God Save The Clientele” is notable among all their albums up to this point for having some honest to goodness and obviously upbeat pop numbers. It initially took me aback, hearing something breathily sung by frontman Alasdair MacLean that I might be able to dance to. Incidentally, it was while The Clientele were on support for this album in the spring of 2007 that I got to see them live for the first time with my good friend Jez, another big fan of the group. And though we didn’t dance, there was plenty to enjoy about the set.

For those that enjoy delicate and lilting psychedelic pop, “God Save The Clientele” might just be your thing. I highly recommend giving them a shot and you could do worse than to start with one of my three picks for you below.


“Winter on Victoria Street”: As I mentioned above, there were some obvious pop numbers on this album and though they were a bit of a surprise, I would count them among my favourites on the album, and this one is included. The bopping piano meander provides the song its structure and both a rhythm and a melody for MacLean to “da da da” along to. Then, he loops his own vocals back so that he is singing in round with himself, a fun effect that reflects the “haunting” theme in the lyrics, a malevolence outside the house where he is trying to “get off” with a girl. Whoops.

“Here comes the phantom”:  Speaking of boppy numbers, the opening tune on the album almost has a “Sweet Caroline” feel, guitars and peppy drums marching in line. And in between such synchronized rhythms are string flourishes that flit and flutter like singing birds. It all feels idyllic and full of sunshine, not at all resembling the crime fighting superhero stories hinted at in the title. Indeed, the lyrics are all wind in the leaves and summer sun and picking flowers. Lovely stuff.

“Bookshop casanova”: Ah yes. Here’s the song. One of the best song titles ever and very likely my favourite out of all The Clientele’s tunes. It’s that ticky-tack tapping on the cymbal and the driving guitar that really does it, and yes, I just said driving guitar in relation to Alasdair MacLean and company. Then, there’s the lovely touch by Mel Draisey’s violin and a wonderful song becomes perfection. And really at its core, the song is about one bookshop clerk attempting seduce another, love in the quietest and most unassuming of places. “Now see that dying summer moon, it’s shining just for me and you.” What a nice thought.


For the rest of the albums in this list, check out my Best Albums page here.