Vinyl love: Lowest of the Low “Thrifty thrifty thrifty”

(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: Lowest of the Low
Album Title: Thrifty thrifty thrifty
Year released: 2018
Details: Black vinyl, part of five album box set, autographed and limited to 300 copies, (box set includes booklet, lyrics sheets, poster, and stickers)

The skinny: For the final instalment in this series on Lowest of the Low’s “Shakespeare… my box” vinyl box set, I present the only album in the collection that I had yet to hear before this week. “Thrifty thrifty thrifty” is the bonus disc of b-sides, live tracks, and rarities that was specifically put together for the set and isn’t available anywhere on its own. I didn’t listen to this record back when I first got the set and really, don’t think I’ll listen to it all that often, but still, really enjoyed giving it a spin. There’s some stuff on there I’d never heard before, which is saying a lot for a fan like me. And I really love the cover artwork, which for those not in the know, features some iconic and long-shutdown Toronto music shops.

Standout track: “New westminster taxi squad”

Live music galleries

Live music galleries: New Order [2013]

(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. Until I get around to the next one, I invite you to peruse my ever-growing list of concerts page.)

New Order at Osheaga 2013

Artist: New Order
When: August 4th, 2013
Where: Mountain stage, Osheaga, Parc Jean Drapeau, Montréal
Context: A week ago, the organizers of Montreal’s Osheaga music and arts festival announced that much like last year, this year’s event would not take place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was hardly a surprise and yet, though I hadn’t attended in many years, I felt a bit sad at the news. Every year, I get excited around lineup announcement time and I peruse the acts, weighing whether it is worthwhile to attend and whether I think I might be able to convince friends to go with. The last time I was able to achieve such a feat was in 2013 and though the lineup was favourable, it was mostly because my friends Mark, Tim, and I were all celebrating a certain landmark birthday. The headliner on the final night was Mumford and Sons but we were way more excited to see New Order, who were slated to perform just beforehand. Original keyboardist Gillian Gilbert had recently rejoined the group but Peter Hook had departed and was touring with his own band, performing landmark New Order and Joy Division albums in full. New Order, meanwhile, was touring in support of their latest album, “Lost sirens”, but the set list that night featured none of its songs and instead, read like a greatest hits album, much like that of The Cure’s set, two nights earlier. And then, just when we thought it was over, the band blew our mind’s further by performing three classic Joy Division tracks, going well over their allotted set time and cutting into Mumford’s set. The indie kids were pissed but we were in heaven. Afterwards, the headliners felt pedestrian by comparison and we were tired of drinking macro brewed beer so we ducked out of the final night early and went off to a local pub.
Point of reference song: Crystal

Bernard Sumner of New Order
Stephen Morris of New Order
Gillian Gilbert of New Order
Bernard Sumner, Tom Chapman and the multimedia light show
Phil Cunnngham of New Order
Bernard Sumner (and Stephen Morris obscured by the drum kit)
Forever Joy Division

Best tunes of 1993: #28 Buffalo Tom “Soda jerk”

<< #29    |    #27 >>

“Velvet roof” (number fourteen on my Best tunes of 1992 list) was my introduction to Buffalo Tom. I had recorded the video off CityLimits and pretty much wore that section of the videocassette tape out with repeated rewinds and replays. In the summer of 1993, I found a used CD copy of “Let me come over” at Penguin music in Toronto but misplaced it at the Bathurst street subway station before it even made it home with me. A year or so later, I was scanning lists of available albums in order to come up with my 10 albums for a penny from either BMG or Columbia House*, when I saw “Big red letter day” available for selection. The CD was added without hesitation and so became the first and only Buffalo Tom album to which I would listen in full and actually own in physical format for a number of years.

Hence, “Soda jerk” became the second ever Buffalo Tom song that I would ever hear. And yeah, I loved it. The song leads off the American alt-rock trio’s fourth long player with a bang. It’s perhaps the most upbeat song and obvious single off an album that led the band further from its Dinosaur Jr influenced roots and into crisper sound and a melodic vocal focused direction, a rarity in the grunge heavy music world at the time. The song garnered the band some good coin too when it was used in Nike and Pontiac commercials and received further exposure when it was featured on the cult teen television show, “My so called life”.

A number of people have called “Soda jerk” Buffalo Tom’s masturbation song, referring as proof to the lyric “jerked my fountain”. However, I’ve always looked pointedly at the song title for meaning and figured they were using the term given to old school, soda shoppe employees as a symbol and example of the type of soul sucking job that many members of generation X were forced to take back in those days**. My theory certainly falls more in line with words that frontman Bill Janovitz has used to describe the tune: “a big bouncy song that is borderline despondent and about alienation.”

“Form a line here
I think I’ll die here
These people nauseate me”

And Bill is absolutely right. “Soda jerk” does rock out out in a major key kind of way, showcasing jangly, happily strummed guitars, marching and pounding drums, and call and response vocals that rev you up and knock you down.

*I hit up both of these music subscription services at one point or another in my formative years. Say what you will, it was a great way to bolster your CD collection.

**For more on this subject, go watch the Kevin Smith film “Clerks”.

For the rest of the Best tunes of 1993 list, click here.