Categories
Tunes

Best tunes of 2003: #22 The Dears “Lost in the plot”

<< #23    |    #21 >>

…And we’re back.*

“Our love, don’t mess with our love
Our love is so much stronger”

The Dears are a Montreal-based indie rock outfit that formed way back in 1995. Their membership has been in constant shuffle and flux over the years, the only real constants being frontman, Murray Lightburn, and his partner in everything, Natalia Yanchak, though even she came to the party a little late. The group released their debut album, “End of a Hollywood bedtime story” in 2000 but it wasn’t until their sophomore release, 2003’s “No cities left”, that the indie rock world really started to take notice. In fact, this album is now considered one of the great albums of the early 2000s Canadian indie rock renaissance, right up there with “Funeral”, “Set yourself on fire”, “You forgot it in people”, and “Old world underground, where are you?”.

I remember first listening to the album, perhaps a year after its release, picking up on all the Britpop references and glorifications, thinking that it might require a deeper dive, and then, promptly putting it down again for lower hanging fruit. And then, near the end of 2005, I caught wind that Ottawa was getting a new alternative rock radio station** and that their soft launch involved playing great alternative rock without commercials or DJ interruptions. I listened to it as much as I could for the month or so that it lasted. And one day in the car, I remember hearing a familiar song one day, remember thinking that the vocalist sounded a lot like Morrissey but that the music sounded awfully like Radiohead, circa “OK Computer”. Upon later research, I realized that said track was “Lost in the plot” from the aforementioned Dears sophomore record, which then begged immediate and repeat listens. I finally became a fan of The Dears and my attentions have yet to wane through the six albums that followed over the next fifteen years.

“And I promise not to cry anymore
All the reasons beat the crap out of me
Everyday when I wake up they are waiting”

“Lost in the plot” was the second single to be released from “No cities lost”. It is a sonically sinister and intergalactic five minutes of beauty. The guitars jangle like Marr and Lightburn warbles like Morrissey but there’s a ton more layers here and at the bridge, things change tack to a hip-shaking swagger that might make Brett Anderson blush. Yeah, there’s more than a bit of Britpop pastiche going on but it’s also forward, rather than retro thinking. Indeed, it’s an explosion of passion and love and hope and that’s a plot I don’t mind losing myself in on the regular.

*I took an unscheduled blogging holiday over the past couple weeks, in part to rest these old bones from attending five nights of concerts in the span of two weeks and in part to just recharge.

**To fill the void created when XFM went adult contemporary and was rebranded as CISS FM in 2004

For the rest of the Best tunes of 2003 list, click here.

Categories
Playlists

Playlist: New tunes from 2022, part two

Happy Sunday!

And welcome back to this little thing I do every three months, adding twenty five new tracks to a multiple part playlist that soundtracks each year as it passes. If you missed part one for the first three months of 2022, you can find it here.

This year’s first quarter was very much same-same, continuing the pandemic trend that I’ve been living for what seems like an eternity, but in contrast, the last three months have been anything but status quo. The Ontario government continued with its plans of reopening, the lifting of restrictions and mandates, and the people have been slowly dipping their toes back into society, yours truly, a little more slowly than most.

In May, we discovered a new meteorological term called ‘derecho’ firsthand. The fast moving cluster of storms tore a swathe through Ontario and Quebec, travelling more than 1000 km from Windsor to Quebec City in an afternoon and wreaking havoc* along the way. Personally, I didn’t see any damage to our own property and our power was only out for a mere fifty-two hours. I consider myself very lucky, given the other stories I’ve heard and the photos of damage that I’ve seen.

Then, at the end of June, I saw my  first piece of live music in more than two and a half years and as serendipity would have it, the first headlining band that I got to see was the same as the last that I saw before the start of the pandemic. Of course, I instantly remembered why I loved going to shows and got over my initial anxiety of hanging in the crowds again. Over the last week or so, I’ve made a handful of returns to the biggest local music festival, Ottawa Bluesfest, and I am intending on returning to the final night tonight. (The National! Yes!)

Of course, through all this, I’ve been doing my darnedest to keep up with all the new releases and finding my favourites amongst those. So without further ado, I’ll present twenty five new tunes that have helped keep me going over the second three months of 2022. Highlights include:

      • I’ve heard many say that the new album by Spiritualized is the best thing Jason Pierce has done since his 1997 album, “Ladies & gentlemen we are floating in space”… well… “Always together with you” sounds like a sequel to the title track off that iconic album
      • At one minute and twenty-four seconds, “Who’s in the dark” by Jeanines is a pop gem that feels way too short, but fortunately/unfortunately, that’s this band’s M.O.
      • “Tap” is an apt name for this mellow, toe-tapping indie folk ear worm by Tomberlin
      • I couldn’t help myself but include both parts of “The lightning” by Arcade Fire because they fit so nicely and juxtaposed against each, they feel like a perfect revisit to their early days
      • “Toast” is just pure fun bedroom pop by Fanclubwallet, a young artist who is apparently local, living right here in Ottawa
      • Just Mustard is haunting and harrowing on “23”, sounding not a little like the gothic dream pop of 90s rockers, Cranes
      • With its ominous bassline and frittering synth washes, “Shotgun, the advance single off Soccer Mommy‘s third album makes for a great outro

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

1. “Rubberneckers” Christian Lee Hutson (from the album Quitters)

2. “Be by your side” Pillow Queens (from the album Leave the light on)

3. “Ur mom” Wet Leg (from the album Wet Leg)

4. “Always together with you” Spiritualized (from the album Everything was beautiful)

5. “Louis” Charlotte Rose Benjamin (from the album Dreamtina)

6. “Who’s in the dark” Jeanines (from the album Don’t wait for a sign)

7. “Looking backward” Melody’s Echo Chamber (from the album Emotional eternal)

8. “Messy roomz” Frontperson (from the album Parade)

9. “Hall of mirrors” Let’s Eat Grandma (from the album Two ribbons)

10. “Tap” Tomberlin (from the album I don’t know who needs to hear this)

11. “Nervous breakdown” Pink Mountaintops (from the album Peacock Pools)

12. “The lightning I & II” Arcade Fire (from the album WE)

13. “Mistakes” Sharon Van Etten (from the album We’ve been going about this all wrong)

14. “Young and stupid” Belle and Sebastian (from the album A bit of previous)

15. “You will never work in television again” The Smile (from the album A light for attracting attention)

16. “The amarillo kid” Craig Finn (from the album A legacy of rentals)

17. “U can be happy if U want to” Porridge Radio (from the album Waterslide, diving board, ladder to the sky)

18. “Toast” Fanclubwallet (from the album You have got to be kidding me)

19. “Wow” Tess Parks (from the album And those who were seen dancing)

20. “Bad love” Dehd (from the album Blue skies)

21. “Pretenders” Stars (from the album From Capelton Hill)

22. “23” Just Mustard (from the album Heart under)

23. “All the flowers” Angel Olsen (from the album Big time)

24. “Anti-glory” Horsegirl (from the album Versions of modern performance)

25. “Shotgun” Soccer Mommy (from the album Sometimes, forever)

Those of you who are on the Apple Music train can click here 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.


*The photo for this playlist’s cover is one that I took of a couple of gigantic trees that were torn up by their roots at the end of my street.

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.

Categories
Vinyl

Vinyl love: Various Artists “Caught beneath the landslide”

(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: Various Artists
Album Title: Caught beneath the landslide
Year released: 2021
Details: Limited edition, ‘Indies only’, double LP, clear

The skinny: Not counting film soundtracks, I only have three compilations on my record shelves* and that’s already three more than I ever thought I’d ever have when I first starting collecting vinyl. This particular compilation didn’t jump out at me when I first started seeing it pop up in my mailing lists from the various record vendors I’ve frequented over the years… that is, until I happened upon the track listing. And then, the salivation started in earnest. You see, I’ve always had a soft spot for Britpop and those years in the mid-90s when everything coming out of England was golden (or fool’s golden). “Caught beneath the landslide” was put together as companion piece to a photobook by former NME photographer Kevin Cummins that shared some of his iconic snaps from the era. The tracklist features a who’s who of those artists associated with the Britpop term but instead of the obvious picks by each, it collects together alternate versions, remixes, b-sides, covers, and rarites. I opted for the ‘Indie only’ version in clear vinyl because… clear vinyl. And this particular sucker for Britpop, loves everything about it.

Standout track: “Ciao!” by Lush with Jarvis Cocker

*The other two are the Frightened Rabbit tribute compilation “Tiny changes” and the very excellent, “Warchild – Help album”, another Britpop heavy record.