Categories
Vinyl

Vinyl love: The Clash “London calling”

(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: The Clash
Album Title: London calling
Year released: 1979
Year reissued: 2013
Details: 2 x180 gram

The skinny: As part of my efforts to increase my presence on my own Instagram page, I’ve created a few series that I’ve been trying to maintain on a regular basis. One of these is my Wednesday album cover collages, where, every week, I choose a theme upon which to gather a handful of album covers all in one shot. This past Wednesday, the theme was “Iconic” and of course, this very album cover was included in the photo. You can’t get much more iconic than what is arguably the best album by “the only band that matters”. Released in England in 1979, and in 1980 across the pond in the US, “London calling” was The Clash’s third studio LP. The double album includes many of the band’s most popular tunes – from the famous hidden track, “Train in vain”, to the Paul Simonon sung, “Guns of Brixton”, from the fun “Lost in the supermarket” to the anthemic title track. The reissue I purchased at one of my favourite locals, early on in my collecting days, just happens to be remastered and pressed to two 180 grams discs. But you can’t really go wrong here because it’s punk. The sound is secondary to Strummer’s messages and the band’s thunderous energy.

Standout track: “London calling”

Categories
Live music galleries

Live music galleries: Gogol Bordello [2014]

(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.)

Gogol Bordello live at Ottawa Bluesfest 2014

Artist: Gogol Bordello
When: July 10th, 2014
Where: Claridge Homes stage, Ottawa Bluesfest, Lansdowne Park, Ottawa
Context: It’s been quite a while since I’ve done one of these Live music gallery posts. I was sharing pictures of past concerts on the regular back in the spring, back when this pandemic was so new and the sting of cancelled tours and music festivals was still fresh. It’s been close to fourteen months now since I stood in a heaving crowd and experienced music the way it was meant to be and I’ve resigned myself to the fact it will likely be a bunch more months before we all get back there. But when we do, I’m definitely finding passes to a music festival and going large. And it’s not necessarily going to matter who’s playing because we know the musicians are missing this as much as we are and the first bunch of shows they all do are going to be epic. Kind of like when I saw gypsy punk collective, Gogol Bordello at Bluesfest back in 2014. The energy was palpable, aggressive but not violent, and it was all ignited simply by frontman Eugene Hütz arriving on stage. He was a lightning rod for sure, but the other seven members of the band weren’t exactly inert either. In fact, I think the crowd on stage were just as rowdy as the crowd watching, each playing the hell out of their instruments, be it fiddle, guitar, bongo drum, or accordion, and each contributing to the mass vocal message. The music was equally good for dancing as it was for slamming into other people, as witnessed by the different ways the varied crowd appreciated the performance. By the time Hütz finally dispensed with the shirt that was only getting in the way of his running about the stage about halfway through the set, I knew Gogol Bordello’s was a performance I would remember for years to come.
Point of reference song: Amen

Eugene Hütz of Gogol Bordello
Elizabeth Sun of Gogol Bordello
Oliver Charles of Gogol Bordello
Michael Ward of Gogol Bordello
Pasha Newmer of Gogol Bordello
Pedro Erazo of Gogol Bordello
Thomas Gobena and Pasha Newmer
Pedro Erazo and Eugene Hütz
Thomas Gobena and Pasha Newmer
Eliazabeth Sun, Pedro Erazo, Eugene Hütz, and Pasha Newmer
Sergey Ryabtsev and Michael Ward of Gogol Bordello
Eugene Hütz: The man, the legend.
Categories
Tunes

Best tunes of 2011: #1 Frank Turner “I still believe”

<< #2

“Hear ye, hear ye, friends and Romans, countrymen.
Hear ye, hear ye, punks and skins and journeymen
Hear ye, hear ye, my sisters and my brethren.
The time is coming near.”

Well, I did it. As I mentioned in my last post in this series, just over a week ago, I had been quietly planning over the last couple months to wrap this list up before the end of this year so that I could start with a 2012 list early in the new year. This one has been an awesome list and it’s great to finish it up with such a great song, with a message so near to my heart, so close to the start of a new year and a new decade.

I fully realize my number one tune, “I still believe” by Frank Turner, was released as a single in 2010 but it appeared on the British singer/songwriter’s fourth album, “England keep my bones”, the following year, the year of our focus. Again, my list, my rules. I also didn’t even hear this song until 2013, around the time that Turner released his next long player, so I definitely wouldn’t have had “I still believe” at the top of the list for either year at the time. For me now though, this tune is timeless. A classic.

It was my younger brother Michael that turned me on to Frank Turner. He throws me names every once in a while of artists he thinks I might appreciate and more often than not, he’s right. It just so happened that I decided to give Turner a listen on my road trip to my old hometown of Bowmanville in June 2013, a quick trip down to attend my grandfather’s funeral. I arrived the day before his burial, just in time to go the viewing, and spent the night at my Aunt Joan’s place, the house I grew up in. I was pretty exhausted so I retired pretty early. I lay down on a single bed in a room I slept in as a teenager, put on my ear phones, and queued up Frank Turner on my iPhone.

“And I still believe (I still believe) in the saints.
Yeah, in Jerry Lee and in Johnny and all the greats.
And I still believe (I still believe) in the sound,
That has the power to raise a temple and tear it down.”

Frank Turner got his start in a post-hardcore band called Million Dead but went solo as folk and punk type bard in the mid-2000s. That night, listening to the first couple tracks of “England keep my bones”, I immediately likened him to Billy Bragg, but perhaps leaning more towards the punk than the folk. Nonetheless, I could hear in every note, the sincerity and optimism and passion. And of course, like Billy, Turner doesn’t hide his rough-hewn working class accent, nor does he shy from letting us know what he really thinks. And when I got to track three, I just fell in love.

Here’s a song that knows that as bad as things get, whether you’re tired, sick, lonely, or just trying to sort out how you feel about losing your grandfather, there’s always music. Rock and roll and rockabilly and punk. A guitar, drums, perhaps some piano, and a rollicking chorus. Music from way back and off into the future. Frank Turner set fire to the tune that I replayed over and over and over that night, and took away the numbness, and I‘ve been singing along with it ever since.

“Now who’d have thought that after all,
Something as simple as rock ‘n’ roll would save us all.
And who’d have thought that after all, it was rock ‘n’ roll.”

Amen.

 

For the rest of the Best tunes of 2011 list, click here.