Author: Matthew Barlow

Sunns: Felt

Suuns Felt Secretly Canadian The record label Secretly Canadian isn’t actually Canadian.  It doesn’t even have an office in Canada.  I don’t know who they’re trying to fool.  Suuns, on the other hand, are Canadian, from Montréal.  I first saw them live c. 2009 or 2010 back home in the Mecca, in a dusty, concrete room, with a lot of black steel girders, a kind of post-modern music hall on the Lower Main.  I don’t think there was more than 150 people in the room, but it was hard to tell from the dry ice.  Four shadowy figures were on stage,...

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Eric Bolander: The Troubadour of Lexington

I met Eric Bolander last summer at a BBQ joint in McMinnville, TN.  There’s a venue upstairs and he was playing with a couple of other guys.  My friend, Scott, knew one of the other guys, and so introduced me to him, we talked for a bit and he introduced me to Bolander.  He’s a big, hulking man, covered with tattoos, the kind who should be intimidating.  But he’s not, he smiles and laughs a lot.  I never did get to hear him play that night, he was first on, and by the time we got upstairs from the BBQ...

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Superchunk: What a Time to be Alive

Superchunk What a Time to be Alive Merge Records Superchunk are legends, blah blah blah.  They’ve never moved my needle, I have to admit.  Their first bold splash into the world, the song ‘Slack Motherfucker,’ was 10 times better when fIREHOSE covered it.  I’ve long admired their business acumen, mind you.  Frontman Mac McCaughan and bassist Laura Ballance founded Merge Records in 1989 to release the music of Superchunk and their friends.  And this is not a sarcastic, Pitchfork-like dig.  Merge Records is one of the great indie labels, it has integrity and it treats its artists with respect.  As...

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From the Vaults: Manic Street Preachers: Generation Terrorists

From the Vaults: Manic Street Preachers Generation Terrorists Columbia There used to be this great newsstand on Bank Street in the Glebe neighbourhood of Ottawa.  In my early undergrad years, I used to go there to get the British music press, the NME and Melody Maker.  I was always disappointed that the music samplers that came with the magazines in the UK didn’t make it to Canada, but this was how I learned about British and Irish music, the music that didn’t get played on MuchMusic (Canada’s MTV), let alone the commercial alternative radio stations in Canada.  So, I knew all about...

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Franz Ferdinand: Always Ascending

Franz Ferdinand Always Ascending Domino Records I remember the first time I heard Franz Ferdinand.  I was in Vancouver in the spring of 2004, in a café on Denman St. in the West End, and the track ‘Michael’ was playing.  It was catch as all get out.  I investigated further, wandering across town to A&B Sound on Seymour St. (RIP), gave their début eponymous album a spin and bought it.  Since that day, they have been one of my favourite bands, I must admit.  Their last album, Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action, was somewhat of a surprise, coming a full...

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