Best tunes of 2011: #3 Sloan “Unkind”

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Last summer after seeing Canadian alt-rock icons, Sloan, in concert for the first time ever, I shared some pics and a few words, for which if you missed the post, you can find here. I had mused, then, about how the group played pretty much every song, save one, that I would’ve wanted to hear. This is a quite a feat when you consider that I’d been listening to them for almost twenty-five years, a period during which they had released eleven full-length albums. In the comments section afterwards, I had a bit of jive with Geoff from 1001albumsin10years, comparing notes on our favourite songs written by each band member, and I admitted that the one song they didn’t play was perhaps my favourite of theirs of all time. And yeah, that song was “Unkind”.

In 2011, Sloan were celebrating twenty years together as a band so when they released their tenth album that year, they called it “The double cross” as a play on the Roman numeral representation for the number twenty. It was their shortest album to date at just under 35 minutes but it was typical in that each band member contributed their own songs to the finished product and that the album rocked in totality.

“Unkind”, a Patrick Pentland penned tune, was the only single to be released from the album but it was enough to get me to pick it up. It is the second longest track on an album of short quick hits but I personally wouldn’t mind it being even longer. It’s got this raunchy but ripping, guitar riff that was built for ‘raising the goblet of rock’. The drums are all over the place and yet definitely organized enough for you to nod you head and tap all your hands and feet, as if you’re frantically playing the air drums. The patented Sloan harmonies are here too, of course, all members jumping in to perfect the chorus.

This song brings me so much joy. It is an almost flawless rock song. And so close to hitting the number one spot in this list. Stay tuned to see what beat it.

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

Vinyl love: Sloan “Twice removed”

(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: Sloan
Album Title: Twice removed
Year released: 1994
Year reissued: 2016
Details: black vinyl

The skinny: Just over a month ago, I saw Canadian alternative rock stalwarts Sloan (!!!) live for the first time ever (!!!) and I posted pictures and some thoughts about it here. At that very same show, I picked up a copy of their second album, “Twice removed”, on vinyl, sort of knowing (but not knowing for sure the actual date) that it was celebrating its 25th anniversary around that same time. This is the album that started turning the hate that I had originally cultivated for them because of the single “Underwhelmed” into something akin to being a fan. The haunting song below in particular was one for which I turned up the volume every time it came on the radio. This is great Can Con right here.

Standout track: “Coax me”

Live music galleries: Sloan [2019]

(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. Like my ‘Vinyl love’ series, these posts will be more photos than words but that doesn’t mean I won’t welcome your thoughts and comments. And of course, until I get around to the next one, I invite you to peruse my ever-growing list of concerts of page.)

Sloan!!!!

Artist: Sloan
When: August 24th, 2019
Where: Hopped and Confused Festival, Mill Street Brewery, Ottawa
Context: While writing up yesterday’s words and putting together the photos summing up my experiences at this past weekend’s Hopped and Confused festival, I made the decision to give these guys their own post and gallery because… well… as our fellow blogger Aaron over at KMA would say, SLOAN!!! It’s actually unbelievable, even to me that, after over twenty five years of listening to this Canadian alternative rock band, I had yet to see them live. I had many chances*, of course, and the reasons are varied as to why I never took one of them. One such reason was that I wasn’t always a big fan. In fact, I hated them (strong word, I know, but I was young) with their first album and single, “Underwhelmed”, but they ended up winning me over with their next two records, still my favourites. Over the years since, I’ve alternated between loving their tunes and just enjoying them when heard on the radio. However, in the weeks leading up to this festival, I’ve been revisiting and getting more and more excited, the more I realized how many of their tunes I loved. And yes, they were very excellent live. They played a mix representing all the albums of their catalogue, hitting pretty much all the songs I would’ve wanted to hear, save one (a personal fave called, “Unkind”). Also, after so many years of listening to them, it’s been easy to take for granted how talented they are, but watching them live, as each of the four main members took their turns (Chris Murphy took care of the drums when Andrew Scott came to the front to lead his songs) singing the songs they contributed to the band’s body of work, was something else entirely. And man, doesn’t Chris Murphy look like he’s still having the time of his life up there!
Point of reference song: The good in everyone

Chris Murphy of Sloan
Jay Ferguson of Sloan
Andrew Scott of Sloan
Patrick Pentland of Sloan
Jay Ferguson of Sloan
Chris Murphy of Sloan
Patrick Pentland and Jay Ferguson of Sloan
Sloan

* One of these was to attend the filming of the video for “The lines you amend”, which happened at one of the large lecture halls at York university, the school I was attending at the time. However, it meant getting up super early, as I recall, and on the morning after a pub night. I wasn’t a morning person in those days so…