Categories
Live music galleries

Live music galleries: Peter Bjorn and John [2016]

(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.)

Peter Bjorn and John live at Ottawa Bluesfest 2016

Artist: Peter Bjorn and John
When: July 7, 2016
Where: Black Sheep stage, Ottawa Bluesfest, Lebreton Flats Park, Ottawa
Context: (One of the things I’ve been missing the most over the last two years from my life pre-pandemic has been live music and this is a theme that I’ve harped upon pretty regularly on these pages. However, now that health and safety restrictions have started to loosen and the world in general seems to be dipping its toes back into the murky sea of normalcy (whatever that means), I haven’t been super eager to buy tickets for any of the many great shows for which I’ve had the opportunity. Well, my anxiety thresholds are soon to be tested because the festival pass that I purchased for the 2020 edition of Ottawa Bluesfest has been rolled over twice and I now appear to have a pass for this coming July, the lineup for which is generally the same as it was two years ago. So in an effort to remind myself of the joy this festival always has brought, I’ve been flipping through the hordes of photos I’ve taken there and came across these seven that I thought I’d share.)

I remember being surprised at the lack of congestion at the smallest stage of the festival that night. They had been the darlings of the indie scene ten years before with their breakout album, “Writer’s block”, and hit single, “Young folks”. And though their subsequent albums hadn’t all had the same punch, they’d all been pretty great in their own regard. The Swedish trio, whose first names give the group its name, Peter Bjorn and John, were joined onstage by touring members, one of whom would provide the female vocal parts for “Young folks” later in the set. They started things off lightning quick with “Up against the wall” and a couple of tracks off their brand new album* before taking the opportunity to introduce themselves. Funnily enough, all three could have just pointed at the name patches that were sewn on the overalls they were wearing, betraying a sense of humour that was also reflected in their lyrics and the way they performed. Given this, I couldn’t actually tell how serious they were being in all their rock and roll posturing but it really ignited the crowd, which definitely grew as time wore on. Indeed, I was quite surprised at the band’s energy and Peter Morén’s ability and magnetism as frontman but by the time he jumped into the crowd and took a stroll among us while singing, it felt just right. The set was an almost perfect mix of old and new, performing all the favourites, including the aforementioned “Young folks”, without a hint of boredom.
Point of reference song: Love is what you want

Peter Morén of Peter Bjorn and John
Bjorn Yttling of Peter Bjorn and John
John Eriksson of Peter Bjorn and John
Bjorn and touring member Klaus
Peter and touring member Freya
PB&J rocking out

*At that time, said new albums was 2016’s “Breakin’ point”.

Categories
Playlists

Playlist: New tunes from 2022, part one

Happy Monday!* And while we’re at it, happy fifth anniversary to this very blog!

It’s been hard to believe I’ve been at this thing for five years now but really, time has felt a bit weird and out of sorts of late. I’m pretty sure I swore last year that I would try to get my stuff together and put together a proper celebratory post to acknowledge this landmark milestone, but of course, it snuck up on me again. And the best I’ve got is to share part one of my annual, four part playlist of brand new tunes.

“…Best I’ve got..” What am I saying?

These things really are celebrations unto themselves – each truly an exhibition of some of the best music that has passed my ears each year and soundtracked my daily trials and tribulations. If you’ve happened upon this blog at the right time in the past few years, you’d know that each of the parts of these playlists represent twenty-five tunes released during the previous three months and that I have tickled my fancy to some degree.

The year 2022 started off pretty much as the last two years have ended: very much dictated by the tidal waves of this pandemic and the eternal question of when things might return back to whatever normal ever was. Indeed, things for me have been for the most part status quo. I keep working from home, listening to tunes, reading, writing, and spending as much time as I can with my lovely wife. Truly, I do my best to find joy where I can in these crazy times. One thing that has been somewhat different is the amount I’ve spent on the road, travelling between Ottawa and Toronto and back, which means, of course, plenty of car tunes. Spotify and the number of playlists I’ve created thus far have been my saving grace thus far.

More recently, however, I’ve decided to give Apple Music a try. I know a lot of people decided to cut ties with Spotify over the whole Joe Rogan debacle but I don’t really spend a lot of time on the podcasts and have no idea who the guy is so that wasn’t ever a dealbreaker. For me, I’ve always been curious about Apple Music because I am pretty much knee deep in Apple products every where else and have always been happy with the quality and connectivity the company has provided. So far, Apple Music, too, has been as great as expected. The immediate bonus was having my extensive digital music collection available across all my devices. The only downside so far came when I went to create this part one playlist and found out that for some reason, WordPress, that platform upon which this blog is built, doesn’t play nice in the sandbox with Apple Music. So instead of embedding a playlist sampler as I usually do, I’ll include a link to the playlist below. It should work for all you fellow Apple cult initiates and for the rest of you, try out the link and let me know how it works for you. As always, though, if it doesn’t work, I’ve included links to YouTube videos for each of song in the playlist below.

So without further ado, I’ll present twenty five new tunes that have helped keep me going over the first three months of 2022. Highlights include:

      • “Morbid fascination”, a bombastic, statement making playlist intro by Brighton, England-based duo, Blood Red Shoes
      • I’m not always onboard with everything they do, but “Chaos space marine” off their sophomore record has Black Country, New Road reminding me of a certain Montreal band called Arcade Fire circa mid-2000s
      • Glenn Donaldson released my favourite album last year as The Reds, Pinks and Purples and he’s struck gold again with his third long-player, “Summer at land’s end”, this excellent single, “Let’s pretend we’re not in love”, is a prime example
      • I’ve always been a huge fan of Frank Turner‘s songwriting and perhaps because of my age, am drawn to the stripped down tracks that highlight this talent and so when he includes acoustic versions as bonus tracks, like this acoustic version of “Haven’t been doing so well”, I’m sold
      • Britt Daniel and his band Spoon have returned with a new album after five years and this track off it, “Wild”, is triumph epitomized
      • Montreal psych-rockers Elephant Stone have released a new concept EP, their first release completely in French ‘par excellence’, and “M. Lonely” is track one
      • And finally, 90s glam rock/britpop holdouts Placebo have released their first new album in 9 years and “Beautiful James” sounds like they’ve never left us

Here is the entire playlist as I’ve created it:

1. “Morbid fascination” Blood Red Shoes (from the album Ghosts on tape)

2. “Giving in to the love” Aurora (from the album The gods we can touch)

3. “The Overload” Yard Act (from the album Yard Act)

4. “Karl Kardel building” Kids On A Crime Spree (from the album Fall in love not in line)

5. “Chaos space marine” Black Country, New Road (from the album Ants from up there)

6. “Let’s pretend we’re not in love” The Reds, Pinks And Purples (from the album Summer at land’s end)

7. “Anybody else inside” The Slow Show (from the album Still life)

8. “Spud infinity” Big Thief (from the album Dragon new warm mountain I believe in you)

9. “Haven’t been doing so well (acoustic)” Frank Turner (from the album FTHC)

10. “Something like love” Andy Bell (from the album Flicker)

11. “Wild” Spoon (from the album Lucifer on the sofa)

12. “Circles” Basement Revolver (from the album Embody)

13. “Am I really going to die” White Lies (from the album As I try not to fall apart)

14. “Blame (feat. Miki Berenyi” Blushing (from the album Possessions)

15. “M. Lonely” Elephant Stone (from the EP Le voyage de M. Lonely dans la lune)

16. “Hurts to love” Beach House (from the album Once twice melody)

17. “In the name of (Garden version)” Basia Bulat (from the album The Garden)

18. “You in everything” Gangs Of Youth (from the album Angel in realtime)

19. “The tipping point” Tears For Fears (from the album The tipping point)

20. “All being fine” King Hannah (from the album I’m not sorry I was just being me)

21. “In need of repair” Band Of Horses (from the album Things are great)

22. “Means to bleed” The Mysterines (from the album Reeling)

23. “Only wanna see u tonight” Young Guv (from the album Guv III)

24. “Jeff Goldblum” Mattiel (from the album Georgia gothic)

25. “Beautiful James” Placebo (from the album Never let me go)

Apple initiates or lab rats can click here to let me know if this link works to sample the above tracks as a whole playlist.

And as always, wherever you are in the world, I hope you are safe and continue to be well. Above all, enjoy the tunes.


If you’re interested in checking out any of the other playlists I’ve created and shared on these pages, you can peruse them here.

*Whenever I say those words, I automatically start singing the words: “You’re twistin’ my melon man.”

Categories
Vinyl

Vinyl love: Nation Of Language “A way forward”

(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: Nation Of Language
Album Title: A way forward
Year released: 2021
Details: Limited edition, red/blue split

The skinny: One of the pitfalls of creating a Best album of the year list before the year in question is even over is that you’re bound to miss an album or two, one of which might’ve made it on to said list had it been heard in time. Such is the case with Nation Of Language’s terrific sophomore release “A way forward”. Given that it was released so late in the year, December 2nd, 2021, to be precise, I wouldn’t be surprised if I wasn’t the only music blogger kicking themself for not giving this one its due. I had really liked the New Order and OMD synth pop of the trio’s debut the previous year, the aptly named “Introduction, presence” but with all the craziness that was last December, I only gave “A way forward” a cursory spin upon its release. Then, early on in the new year, I happened upon their live performance at KEXP on YouTube and was completely blown away and drawn to rediscover the album. Not long after that I was procuring on of these exclusive, limited edition blue/red split vinyl pressings from Rough Trade and its been on my turntable off and on ever since.

Standout track: “Across that fine line”