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Posts Tagged ‘Mac DeMarco’

Ignored 134: Salad Days by Mac DeMarco

In Podcast on March 12, 2017 at 2:38 am

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Cam and Sammy move into the 2010s for their latest Canadian album chat, shining a spotlight squarely at folk weirdo Mac DeMarco and his stellar 2014 full-length Salad Days. This episode goes deep on why even accessible music can be sometimes be hard to categorize plus other important topics such as easy listening music of the 1970s, Beck and incongruency between stage personas and recorded outputs. Bonus: We somehow end this episode with 8-10 minutes of chatter about Aphex Twin.

Right click here to download the episode or visit The Completely Ignored Podcast on iTunes to stream this episode.

Ignored 122: Canadians at Coachella

In Graphic on December 10, 2016 at 3:44 am

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Ignored 37: Gaming the Polaris short list

In Uncategorized on July 8, 2014 at 3:17 pm

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#Ignored37 Grooveshark playlist

It’s rare that I write anything topical on this blog but I kinda sorta love how the annual (raging) Polaris Prize long list/short list debates have become “a thing” for Canadian music dorks.

The 2014 rage is underway.

Subconsciously, I think Polaris debates remind me of hours spent listening to podcasts and Prime Time Sports episodes about the merits or lack thereof of Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game. Namely, how there is serious outrage about omissions year-after-year… and yet NOBODY gives a (darn) about the game, the rosters, the broadcast, the skills competition (really) or anything surrounding the spectacle. For whatever reason, I LOVE watching the intros but everything else can go IMHO/IHOP.

However, there is a distinction to be made: people actually DO care about the Polaris Prize (I think) and rightfully so. It has its critics but at its core, it’s basically a prompt for us to look at Canadian music in aggregate each year and ultimately, that’s never going to be a bad thing.

The 2014 short list drops July 15 and should give us a bite-sized pulse on “what’s up” in Canadian music from a half-“bird’s eye”/half-“worm’s eye” perspective. In some ways, the short list is the most objective component of this whole exercise, serving as a more concise drill-down of the Canadian music that critics, media and some actual listeners enjoy. Again, it’s not perfect but each year, the short list delivers as a decent snapshot and a far more legit gauge than the Junos and/or other industry force feeds.

There always does seem to be a degree of gaming in how the short list comes together. Yeah, it often skews indie but there does tend to be a degree of inclusion along gender, race, geography and language lines. That’s good although if we start getting into “inclusion for the sake of inclusion” debates, it can get messy fast in a “uh, are you sure we should be talking about this?!?” sense.

So I’ll tread lightly and present my prediction for who I think WILL (not necessarily SHOULD) end up on the 2014 short list and why.

Arcade Fire – Reflektor
Reactions were pretty split on this beast of an album and many seemed to find the lead-ins and promotion kinda gimmicky (although it did tap into America’s strange new obsession with oversized paper mache heads). That said, if there is a Canadian stadium rock band who can overcome this kind of critical and commercial shruggage, it’s the Arcade Fire. This might be the last time they can play that card (people are fickle) but for now, I think they have enough residual cache that they’ll reach the “Round of 10”.

Austra – Olympia
This album actually came out in June 2013 so it’s one of the “oldest” efforts on the long list. Flipside: it’s also had one of the longest marination periods in listeners’ ears. That’s (maybe) a good thing. Buzz built for Katie Stelmanis’ outfit as 2013 churned and I dunno: there always seems to be an appetite for this kind of fuzzy, electronic, synth-y type of music. It seems poised.

Mac DeMarco – Salad Days
Mac DeMarco has more than 91K+ Likes on Facebook!!! It’s weird to think of weirdo like Mac as a superstar but at this point, he pretty much is. Countless world tours, a Top 30 album on the Billboard charts (seriously), upper echelon festival seeding, etc He’s not quite in the Arcade Fire/Drake echelon of “hey, he’s TOO POPULAR to be here” but he’s certainly dipping his toe in that pool. His album 2 was my early pick for 2013 and yet he didn’t even get shortlisted. I think he’s due, especially since Salad Days is completely great and my favourite album on the list. So there.

Shad – Flying Colours
Shad’s last two albums have made the short list so why not this one too?!? He’s clearly got their attention and given the 2014 long list is decidedly short on anything resembling hip-hop (Drake is the only other “sorta”), Shad might be the beneficiary.

Timber Timbre – Hot Dreams
Hot Dreams is the fifth Timber Timbre full-length but they’re clearly on the uptick in terms of popularity, having headlined Massey Hall and toured extensively across the globe in recent years. A totally strategic pic as they just SEEM like a band that’d make the short list again (last time: 2011 for Creep On Creepin’ On). And if somebody held a gun to my head and asked me to pick a grand prize winner (a totally plausible scenario BTW), I may very well go with them to take home “the big prize“.

Chad VanGaalen – Shrink Dust
CVG has made the Polaris short list twice before (in 2007 for Skelliconnection and in 2009 for Soft Airplane) and has (kinda) quietly put together a really impressive past decade, both critically and relatively-speaking, commercially. The fact he’s from Calgary could be both a help and hindrance but given voter willingness to vote ‘im up in the past, there’s no reason to think he won’t be a contender again this time around.

Owen Pallett – In Conflict
Is it just me or did this album come and go fairly quietly? Sure, Pallett now headlines large rooms like the Danforth Music Hall but anecdotally, his Academy Award nomination and continued Arcade Fire collabs continue to overshadow his solo output in part. As a former winner (2006’s He Poos Clouds under his Final Fantasy monicker) and former short lister (2010’s Heartland), maybe his name is too tapped in Polaris land but I somehow think he may have a certain “grandfathered”-ish thing going on with voters.

Philippe B – Ornithologie, la nuit
Full disclosure: I know nothing about this artist or this album. However, there hasn’t been a decidedly Francophone outfit on the short list since Galaxie made it on 2011. I’m going to assume voters will be aware of this and voters might react to this.

Pink Mountaintops – Get Back
“Heavy music” has typically been very underrepresented in past short lists. Fucked Up, Galaxie and (I guess) Japandroids are outliers but in terms of hard rock/stoner rock, Black Mountain is really the only outfit to turn the trick (in 2008 for In the Future). People like(d) Black Mountain and miss Black Mountain so it’s quite feasible that Stephen McBean and his Pink Mountaintops collective might sneak on to the short list. Plus the “Vancouver band pulling in some Montreal folks” concept could help the cause in terms of regionalism.

Rae Spoon – My Prairie Home
Rae Spoon has some good songs and is very likable as an artist and as a person. They (as requested) also have the benefit of having played a TON of shows across Canada in recent years and having an angle in terms of gender and geography. Again, not saying voters will be swayed by factors that aren’t purely about the music. But if they are…

Ignored 29: An education

In Uncategorized on March 10, 2014 at 2:39 pm

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As a lifelong music fan, there will be times when you remember things wrong, assume an artist is something they’re not and have various WTF memories and misappropriations seep into your consciousness. The Internet and various reference manuals can help clear up these mistakes while others will follow you to the grave. It’s fun!

Here is a small sampling of musical misunderstandings I’ve had over the years. Obviously since I’m now writing about them on a WordPress blog, I’ve cleared up the details.

The video was Men without Hats “The Safety Dance” wasn’t an actual song but rather, a TV show for kids or maybe a TV commercial. This was 1984.

The video for M+M’s “Black Stations White Stations” wasn’t an actual song. Rather, it was a bumper for Citytv. In the spirit of Mark Daily’s “Citytv: Everywhere” contributions. Again, this was 1984.

The Fat Boys was a TV show and not a band.

Lou Gramm and Lou Reed were the same guy.

Strange Advance and the Escape Club were the same band. Confusion rooted in the former’s “Love Becomes Electric” and the latter’s “Wild Wild West”. Note: these songs sound nothing alike.

The Who and the Guess Who were the same band.

The Band were fictitious. No one where this came from. I think maybe I was vaguely aware of The Last Waltz and thought these were actors playing a band. Potential crossed wires when I became aware of other real fake bands like Spinal Tap and The Commitments.

Jeff Lynne from the Traveling Wilburys was not a real musician but actually somebody famous (not sure who… maybe an actor?) wearing a disguise.

Jane’s Addiction were Canadian and later, I’d confuse them with the Leslie Spit Treeo. The former’s “Been Caught Stealing” and the latter’s cover of John Prine’s “Angel from Montgomery” were both in rotation on 680 CFTR at the time. I think the opening of “Been…” with the dogs barking threw me somehow.

Spandau Ballet and Roxy Music were the same band.

Ice-T changed his name slightly and became Ice Cube.

Rumble was British. Aside: was there a more random one-hit wonder from this era? Some Jamaican guy from Toronto rapping over a Massive Attack song and hitting the Top 40.

James was a guy and then upon learning James was a band, assuming they were a heavy metal band. Later, I thought the song “Laid” was a Spirit of the West song. I was so confused.

Primus was a heavy metal band. Fair assumption since most people who liked Primus in 1993 were also into Metallica et all.

Pavement were a heavy metal band. The name just sounds heavy. There’s a scene in Pavement’s Slow Century DVD where Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore cops to making the same assumption. Also, I thought their drummer Steve West was the singer for the longest time.

Dinosaur Jr were from the UK. Reason: their 1994 release Without a Sound came out on the UK-based imprint Blanco y Negro which I naively assumed meant they must be British too.

Sloan were from Boston.

The Cranberries were from Canada.

Catherine Wheel was a lady. I’m assuming more than half of 102.1 listeners of the 1990s also made this assumption?

Molly Hatchet was a lady.

Bettie Serveert was a lady.

PJ Harvey was a dude.

Pop Will Eat Itself were German. This was based purely on their 1994 single “Ich Bin Ein Auslander”. Once I learned they were British, I tried to share this knowledge with anyone who cared (estimate: 3-4 people, tops) and always got massive push back from people who insisted they were German, namely because of this song and also, their hair. Pre-Internet, these debates raged for months.

Tha Dogg Pound were a band that contained Snoop Dogg Dogg, Nate Dogg and friends. 95 per cent certain that Suge Knight hoped that the record buying public would make the same assumption. They did briefly.

 

Sugar’s Beaster EP was actually an EP by the Beastie Boys. Beaster was one of those CDs you’d always see in vast quantities at used CD shops and whenever I’d catch a glance at this disc, I kinda just assumed it was a Beastie Boys’ release with some alternate spelling. In part, I think there was some confusion with the Beasties’ Some Old Bullshit EP that came out around the same time. Aside: has their even been a band with worse cover art than Sugar?

Buffalo Tom and Grant Lee Buffalo were the same band.

Tristan Psionic and SIANspheric were the same band.

Paul Weller and Paul Westerberg was the same dude.

 

The dude L.V. who sang the chorus of Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise” was Luther Vandross. Not sure if I really believed this or just WANTED to believe it. It would’ve been a really unlikely transformation and pretty funny that Vandross could up his cred by reducing his stage to sinister…. initials!!! Also kinda funny: the real L.V. stood for “large variety”.

Big Star influenced the Beatles. My roommate in first-year university told me this and I just went with this. Obviously, this timing makes no sense since the Beatles were toast by the time Big Star even formed.

Peter Schilling’s “Major Tom” was actually sung by David Bowie. Obviously some confusion RE: Bowie’s “Space Oddity” and no doubt, Schilling was hoping to profit from the confusion. Note: the voice on “Major Tom” sounded nothing like David Bowie.

Yo La Tengo and Pizzicato Five were the same band.

The Birthday Party and the Wedding Present were the same band. This was fueled by the same gaff made in Alan Cross’ first book The Alternative Music Almanac where they mislabeled a shot of the Wedding Present playing at Lee’s Palace as the Birthday. The horror!

Death Cab for Cutie were heavy.

Crystal Castles were from either Europe or Chicago.

Wolf Eyes and Japanther were the same band and both from Toronto. Neither/nor.

Deerhunter and Deerhoof were the same band. Also, Deerhunter were heavy.

Big K.R.I.T. was British. He laid down some rhymes over an Adele track, after-all.

Mac Miller and Mac DeMarco were the same dude.