Vinyl love: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club “Howl”

(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: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
Album Title: Howl
Year released: 2005
Year reissued: 2012
Details: standard black, 2 x LP, Record Store Day 2012 reissue

The skinny: There’s been a few Black Rebel Motorcycle Club related posts in recent months here on M(LI)ML: my first exposure to the band and the first time seeing them live. Well, here’s my first purchase on vinyl of any release by the band. “Howl”, BRMC’s third, has been my favourite album by the group since its release in 2005. It’s a bit different than their usual stuff, more stripped down and bluesy but still very cool and edgy. I’ve had my eye out for this one since I started collecting but it’s not one that’s easily found. So when I came across it on my recent trip to Toronto, the decision to pick it up wasn’t a hard one.

Standout track: “Ain’t now easy way”

Live music galleries

Live music galleries: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club [2015]

(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.)

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club live in 2015

Artist: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
When: September 20th, 2015
Where: East Main Stage, Toronto Urban Roots Festival, Toronto
Context: Just less than a month ago, I posted some words on how my younger brother Michael got me into Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. I followed them through all their albums, really falling head over heels with them with their third album, 2005’s “Howl”, but never got the chance to see them live, until three years ago (almost to the day) and almost 14 years after I heard the first notes of their self-titled debut. I had already procured an early bird pass to the penultimate edition (though none of us knew it then) of the Toronto Urban Roots Festival with my two concert buddies, Tim and Mark, when BRMC was added late to the last day of the festival. It was definitely a case of better late than never. I would recommend seeing them live to anyone who will listen.
Point of reference song:
Lose yourself

Peter Hayes and Leah Shapiro of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
Leah Shapiro of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
Robert Levon Been of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
Robert Levon Been and Leah Shapiro of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
Peter Hayes of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

Best tunes of 2001: #10 Black Rebel Motorcycle Club “Love burns”

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At some point during my second or third year in Ottawa, my youngest brother Michael came up to visit for a weekend. I’m pretty sure it was at the suggestion and financing of my mother, who had already been moved up to the NWT for a few years. Him and I were ten years apart in age, which meant by the time he was just reaching his teen years, I had already moved away from home to go to university. I didn’t really know him, though it never occurred to me at the time.

Michael came up by Greyhound bus. If I remember correctly, he caught the bus in Oshawa, a milk run route that wends its way through Peterborough and a host of other towns on the 7, a longer, more arduous trip than the express run between Ottawa and Toronto, one that Victoria and I were already sick of taking. He slept on the couch during his stay with us in that one bedroom basement apartment in Vanier but on the plus side was able to sample some of Victoria’s already fine cooking. I took him to see all the pertinent sights of our fair capital (at least, as I knew them at the time): parliament hill, the Byward market, the Rideau canal, Sparks street, the original D’arcy McGee’s pub, and of course, the Elgin Street Diner for poutine.

One of things I always remember about that visit is that his backpack was packed with more CDs than clothing and I remember thinking on that if we lived closer, we’d probably get along just fine. During the final night of his stay, we played each other selections from our CD collections, taking turns swapping them in and out of my five disc carousel. I don’t remember everything he played for me that night but a few have stuck with me: Oasis’s “Stop crying your eyes out” single, OK Go’s self-titled debut and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s debut “B.R.M.C.” (You knew I’d get here eventually, right?)

Not exactly the minute he put on the opening track, “Love burns”, but the moment the miasmic intro faded and the raunchy strumming started, the drum flourish, and ultra cool vocals, I said to my brother: “This sounds like The Jesus and Mary Chain.” Yes, indeed. Give it a listen and I’m sure you won’t disagree. It’s noisy and aggressive, it’s leather jackets and sunglasses, it’s edgy and raw. And it’s this last that fit it right in with the garage rock movement that was taking off at the time. I loved it and went out shortly afterwards to get myself a copy of the album. Check it out.

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