Vinyl love: Stars “There is no love in fluorescent light”

(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: Stars
Album Title: There is no love in fluorescent light
Year released: 2017
Details: Gatefold sleeve, double LP, limited edition, bone coloured

The skinny: For those of you tired of me posting pretty pictures of the lovely vinyl this Canadian indie pop group keeps putting out, rest assured this will be the last of these posts for a while. “There is no love in fluorescent light” is Stars’ eighth and final album thus far and the last of their representation in my vinyl collection. And to be honest, this is the album by the group with which I am least familiar, this morning’s spin still only brings the amount of times I have listened to it to a handful. Nevertheless, there are some great tracks here, including the one below. And well, doesn’t that bone colour look pretty?

Standout track: “Fluorescent light”

Best tunes of 2001: #1 Elbow “Any day now”

<< #2

As great as 2001 was for indie rock as a whole, especially considering the garage rock explosion and all the bands I discovered as a result, whenever I think of the year, there is one band and one album that always comes to mind. Interesting, then, that I didn’t really come upon Elbow’s debut album, “Asleep in the back”, until the spring of 2002.

As I mentioned a few times over the course of this series, I made the move to Ottawa with Victoria in the summer of 2001. However, we were pretty regular in our trips back to Toronto that first year in the city to visit family and friends. The following spring we managed to coordinate a trip to Toronto with my friends’ annual spring camping trip to Haliburton. I had arranged beforehand to hitch a ride back to Ottawa with James, a friend of ours from high school, who was actually living in the area. It was a great trip as usual but a bit cold still and my ride back to Ottawa decided to ditch the trip early. And so it was that we made the three plus hour trip back in the wee hours of the Sunday morning and I got back to my apartment just before 6am.

Victoria wasn’t due back until much later that day so I had plenty of time to sleep. While getting ready for bed, I slipped into my CD carousel this album I had just gotten by chance and pressed play. In my sleep deprived state, the opening track just enveloped me in warmth and I smiled in spite of myself. I slipped under the covers and replayed the track, set the sleep mode, pressed the repeat button and fell asleep to it. Later, when I awoke, I gave the rest of the album a listen and fell in love with it too. It has since become one of my favourites, not just of the year, but of the whole decade. You might remember that another song off “Asleep in the back”, the first single off it, “Red” appeared at #12 on this list.

Of course, that opening track that serenaded me to sleep in that early morning in the spring of 2002 was “Any day now”, my pick for the best tune of 2001. At just over six minutes in length, it feels epic and immense, a song about yearning, impatience, and the need to break free. There’s something sinister about the organs, lots of sustain and reverb, menacing and teasing. And then, the bass drops in with the drums, heavy and violent but the violence never appears, it’s always a threat, which makes it worse, almost like a Tarantino film in this way. The tension is only raised by the hints of children playing at the playground. The vocals are repetitive and mechanical and mesmerizing, looping over and over again, practice makes perfect makes reality. Guy Garvey finally shows his stride and breaks out at the end, adding a flourish of vocals that foreshadow a whole successful career that this song is hoping for, twisting fate into a pretzel.

Not convinced? Listen to it again, maybe next time it’ll take. It certainly has done me in.

For the rest of the Best tunes of 2001 list, click here.

Live music galleries: James [2008]

(I got the idea for this series while sifting through the ‘piles’ of digital photos on my laptop. It occurred to me to share some of these great pics from some of my favourite concert sets from time to time. Like my ‘Vinyl love’ series, these posts will be more photos than words but that doesn’t mean I won’t welcome your thoughts and comments. And of course, until I get around to the next one, I invite you to peruse my ever-growing list of concerts of page.)

James live in Montreal, 2008

Artist: James
When: September 22nd, 2008
Where: Club Soda, Montreal
Context: I recently finished wrapping up the series on my favourite albums of 2008 and in talking about how James’s 10th album “Hey ma” was my number one, I also referenced their show that I caught in Montreal that year and how it was my favourite (as well as my wife’s favourite) ever live show. Much like the gallery I posted recently from the Virgin festival that took place earlier that same month, the pictures here are not quality because they were taken with my old camera but I do have pictures and this is mainly due to Victoria’s forethought. It was the first and last time we ever drove to Montreal and back the same night for a concert and never plan to do it again because it was exhausting. However, neither of us regret seeing the show. We saw one of our favourite bands that normally plays gigantic shows at an intimate venue and were able to sing along with all of our favourite tunes. In fact, the whole club loudly sang along, blowing the band away, especially during “Sometimes” when the crowd lengthened the song to well over seven minutes by repeating the chorus refrain over and over again. Such an exhilarating and magical night.
Point of reference song: Sometimes“*

Tim Booth, Mark Hunter, and Andy Diagram of James
Jim Glennie, Saul Davies, David Baynton-Power, and Andy Diagram of James
David Baynton-Power, Tim Booth, and Mark Hunter of James
Saul Davies and Andy Diagram of James
James performing ‘Sometimes’
James’s final bow

*The link I’ve shared is to the music video but someone who was also there has shared video footage from James’s performance of this song on YouTube from the show. You can find that here.