Over the years, I’ve seen so many of my musical friends challenge themselves by learning cover songs and presenting them in their own way as a marathon of daily videos for an entire month, so I figured February this year was a good month for it to finally be my turn.
I’ve always wanted to do this, and as I started to realize that I still had so many songs kicking around the back of my brain; some old from when I was a child, some new from last month, from every genre, from local artists, from friends of mine; it got me more than excited for the challenge. Like most people who are inclined to music in any way, who let it guide their feelings and convey their ideas, who have respect for diligence in musicianship and for what an artist stands for, however remarkable, I still feel even at this point in my career, that every one of my favourite songs carries a certain nostalgic weight and specific memory for me. Whether you’re still in the industry full-time, occasionally dabble, document it through various media, teach, just listen or have given up on it altogether, it’s always going to be a part of you, wherever you go. In no particular order, here are a handful of songs that are often on my mind for reasons personal to me, in which I will attempt explain throughout my February Mixtape. Please enjoy to the fullest, despite whether or not you think my taste in music is deplorable or dated or the quality is the bane of your existence… This is rhetorical and the only message I wish to share is that you can do this any time you want in your busy life. I feel it’s important to make time for the things you love to do, even if it’s singing off key in your bedroom to songs you got drunk to in high school between writing your own songs… Enjoy!
Day 29 of 29: The Dugout/Ladyhawk
I’ll keep this one brief and just say that this one goes out to all the people out there that have made me feel welcome in their lives, made me feel joy and experience belonging in any capacity. It’s a blessing to know and get to know so many magical people over the years that have helped me to get my head right, steer clear of shitty situations unbeknownst to me because of my issues and understand that I’m alive and not to waste it.
This is a song from an album me and mine use to get fucked up to back in the day, and it probably holds a weight that can’t be measured. I save this album for special occasions, kind of like a good whiskey, or when I need to make it clear that good music is a thing we should all enjoy on many levels.
I want to thank you all so much for listening and watching this month, to my attempts to relive and understand my musical taste. It’s been a great month, challenging, nostalgic, and very satisfying. I 100% appreciate all of the comments, praise and critique I have received during the process. I hope everyone has enjoyed it as much as I have and have taken something from it. I believe my point to this had been rather loose, mostly just to see if I could do it, but also, to reconnect with some of you out there as I haven’t been active in music for awhile now. Thanks again, and I love you May this song play in your heart, forever and always.
Day 29 of 29: The Dugout/Ladyhawk
Day 28 of 29: Trusty Chords/Hot Water Music
I finally did a cover of this song! I never did one in the past because A) I never thought I could do the song justice or match it’s intensity or reason for existing, B) There are SO many great and bad covers of it that exist, and C) I always thought it was slightly taboo to play a song where the words are carved on your body. I also think way too much about everything, and thought, fuck it, it’s 2016, I’m only getting older and dying and whatnot, so I might as well enjoy playing one of my favourite songs of all time, a song that says so much about the state of my being and inner-workings of my crazy brain, that says so much about a lot of people. In high school I discovered this band, and needless to say, where I was, there were not a lot of friends I had who supported my musical tastes, until I met Dan and more punk musicians who validated my attraction. I can’t actually remember how old I was when I got my tattoos, but I remember being way too young and it happened anyway… I managed to convince my Dad that it was just sharpie/a phase I was going through, until years later when I was moving out and he says “So I guess that’s not sharpie then, hey?” Almost a decade later, after I saw them in their hey-day, shortly after “Caution” came out, Hot Water Music came to Victoria with The Gaslight Anthem and I was given an all-access pass somehow… I remember smoking in the bus area and Chuck walking off his bus and coming over to talk to us. He is a great man, and before he left, hesitant, I was like “My man, I have to show you something…” To him I thought I would be that guy who was cosmically lame, but he gave me a bear hug and said “That is the fucking coolest thing I’ve ever seen” and pulled up his shirt to show me his own band’s tattoo on his chest. It was a great day, and re-affirmed what drew me to this band in the first place. It was a moment in my life where I felt inspired beyond belief and realized what matters and doesn’t. Positives versus negatives. Being content with yourself and doing things for your own reasons. I learned how to play guitar to this band’s albums, and will most likely never stop playing them.
Trusty Chords/Hot Water Music
Day 27 of 29: You Get What Everyone Else Gets/Billy and The Lost Boys
We always talk about bands and their songs that started you on the path to your musicianship and longing to be savvy as an artist in all capacities, to be a better songwriter and to one day experience some kind of longevity in your craft… This band and song was the whole package deal for me. I think I met Billy in 2003 at an L&M in Vancouver after we saw her play with her band at Warped Tour… On the Ernie Ball Stage… Not too sure if that’s still a thing, but you can bet we entered that contest a number of times! I forget what the actual discussion was that took place, but it was inspiring, and it led my band and I at the time to start doing everything ourselves; booking tours, playing as many shows as possible, learning how to do it right. Instead of continuing to “work at the mill until I died” or go to school for something I didn’t actually want to do, it eventually led us to do our first real western tour with her band and eventual album at her house with her good friends in Calgary… The original Echo Base with Casey Lewis… During which we played an all-ages hardcore/screamo matinee in Strathmore with our buddy Phil’s band, The Silent Auction, a band who we would later worship. We even released the album shortly after on “Lost Records,” her label. Those were some great times, and I’ll never look back on them as anything but amazing. Since all that, so much has happened. My career moved to Victoria and started Acres Of Lions, and I've seen her around at almost every music festival and even played a couple solo gigs with her back in the day. She's probably shed light on the most of what I know now about being self-sufficient in the music industry, and has encouraged my solo adventures, trying to make me elite… I took her words of wisdom seriously as she’s done so well for herself over the years, with a many great albums under her belt, collaborations and pretty epic tours around the world. Anyways, I could reminisce for hours on this amazing person and all her talents and how this old song helped me make decisions I might not have had the courage to make myself at 18/19… So let’s just leave it at me saying, she continues to be an inspiration, to me, and I’m positive, many others, wherever she goes.
You Get What Everyone Else Gets/Billy and The Lost Boys
Day 26 of 29: Jude Law and a Semester Abroad/Brand New
A bit of an old haunt here… By that I mean, some angry, jumbled words written by a young and sad Jesse Lacey, crammed together in an emo jam to rival emo jams. This album was a great one for the genre and die hard Brand New fans… Today, I find it a bit immature, which is obvious, but it still hits that sweet spot inside… The one that secretly harbors feelings of ill will to the person that's scorned you and run off with a better looking and smarter version of yourself, the one that screams whatever comes to mind, however disdainful. I've always looked at this album and thought “dark and brooding pit of despair,” but I think, for me anyways, when “Deja Entendu” came out, it kind of solidified the bond. I got to cross this band off the list last year at Bumbershoot, and I'm even seeing them again this summer now that they are finally active again, however slowly. It's all good… I was amazed to see that their integrity was intact, and Jesse was as dreamy and screamy as ever, AND that they gave in and played these old jams. It's rare a band can play all their songs from their first real attempt at it all, before they grew up, and still pull it off with that same spark that made it special in the first place. Jesse was always my first pick for the hero in “The Emo Game” when the Internet was still a novelty I'm sure. Look it up! It existed…
Jude Law and a Semester Abroad/Brand New
Day 25 of 29: A Favor House Atlantic/Coheed and Cambria
I was into this band since the beginning... “Second Stage Turbine Blade” was a memento and they only got better as they went on, and this album in particular was immensely pleasurable to the ears as they originally did it all analogue… You can't beat that, especially considering how complex every part of every song is capable of being. This was a great single, as simple for them as it comes. I think the most interesting part is that each album is a sci-fi concept that relates to one another and coincides with a series of graphic novels entitled “The Armory Wars.” If you've never read, I highly recommend if you're into the genre. Very solid and well-told. My first memory of this band was probably Warped Tour 2006 or 2007… I had been listening intently for a few years and was the most excited to see them in their glory… Unfortunately, the singer was so drunk he couldn't remain coherent, despite the band fucking nailing it. They were booed and hissed and he cursed and slurred a bunch at us, but what I truly took away from that was the fact that, even while that fucked up, he was still a pretty great musician. I guess you're entitled to be a mess at some point in your musical career?
A Favor House Atlantic/Coheed and Cambria
Day 24 of 29: Sex/The 1975
I absolutely love this band. The summer of 2014 marks a time when I actually considered this band a guilty pleasure… Something I don't often do because I've always believed that you listen to what you listen to and who cares about the reason or its popularity status… I think it was because so many of my younger friends were going crazy over it and all my old friends were like “Why are you listening to a boy-band?” After awhile of listening to this album full on, I came to terms with my childish deliberation and embraced it fully. I even consider The 1975 to be one of the most brilliant groups to come about in the last decade… Very original pop sensibility and relevant lyrics that their target demographic can really relate to… That being said, for me, it's really to do with a lot of what Matt Healy can do with his sexy voice and how tight and clever the band can be around his personality… It’s genius and most interesting and the songs speak for themselves. The second time I saw them at an all-ages show in Vancouver, I went into the trip thinking how excited I was to see this band again after a massive world-your, until I got to the venue and realized I was probably 1 of 50 males at 30 out of a sea of 1000 young girls ages 13-23 their with paraphernalia for the band to sign somehow. I shrugged it off… Sure, they may be a boy-band, but it was still an incredible set. They, however, they did not play this song, and probably for good reason… There is a rather creepy overtone but I'd like to think that it's very well-meaning… Regardless, it's a fun one to sing.
Day 24 of 29: Sex/The 1975
Day 23 of 29: The Taste Of Ink/The Used
Words cannot describe how much I used to love this band and their sound. This album came out the year before I graduated and changed a lot of things about me. It made me more creative, more adventurous when it came to seeking out new music and definitely more emotional and hyper-sensitive… Not that I blame this band for that last part, but with Bert McCracken’s incredibly dark and heartfelt words, he had a pitch-perfect, high-range yell that he paired with an incredible, guttural scream that truly made this band what it was. I lost touch with them over the years, but the first 3 albums they put out, I was hooked. This song, however, was the anthem. I can remember screaming this loudly and often with my friends in my small town a couple of years before I got out, and it just felt good… It felt right. There have been many bands that have affected me over the years, but none like this… I still put this album on from time to time to hilariously relive some of those old feelings and memories of graduation parties and lamenting over the “pain of it all” pathetically in a love interest’s bedroom late at night when I was 17… It hits a good spot, and really launched the production career of John Feldman of Goldfinger… Original sounds and clever songwriting… Keys to my haunted heart.
The Taste Of Ink/The Used
Day 22 of 29: Marriage/Attack In Black
For a few years, even after we had the privilege of opening for them so long ago, I had to argue with people that this band was incredible. They always said the name threw them off. I always thought that was a rubbish reason to judge anything by. Unfortunately, Attack In Black are no longer, but old west singer/songwriter Daniel Romano is still going strong, and amazingly at that. I love the young man, and his timeless songs about potential futures and lives past, and his heavenly voice. He's a true gem in this world, but before his true solo career, he had a band that ruled to the high heavens. I've been covering this song for awhile now, like 5 years, and still, every time I play it or it comes on randomly, or any song from the album really, I am still reminded of the wholesome quality and standard that I had hoped for my own band and musical adventures. “Marriage” was a great first go at what seemed like a long career in indie-rock, breaching punk at times… A perfect blend of intelligent rock with just the right amount of aggressiveness and sleepy indie tunes with haunting melodies and poetic lyrics… Not to mention the EP beforehand and the demos… I'm sure Dan and I salivated over this many a drunken night with nothing better to do. They blew our minds with “Years” a couple years after, a more sly and precise delivery of what the band was capable of. I'm sure it's a staple for all of us who are fans of the band and the genre… But I feel it was this record, and song, that I found truly poetic and unique in Canadian music and always said what I meant to, in a way I could never describe… And as it should be. Truly inspired poets are rare breeds these days, but they do what they do best… Keep buggering on.
Day 22 of 29: Marriage/Attack
Day 21 of 29: Stare At The Sun/Thrice
I could have a thousand different conversations about this band and why they're incredible. In fact, I have! If it's not talking about their amazing evolution from a relatively unknown amateur punk band to a relevant hardcore staple to a benchmark in genre-diverse musicianship and songwriting, it's the lasting effect all of these things have on fans of the band. Sure, they don't really tour or perform anymore, but the impact they left behind is heavy and longing. I've seen bands cover Thrice songs more times than I can count, and for good reason. I recently got “The Artist in The Ambulance” on vinyl, and not having listened through it in its entirety for years, the most recent run-through was brand new, like the first time. It spawned a mass listen to the following album “The Alchemy Index,” for awhile on my iPod… An even more thoughtful, if not, genius work. I have to say, as far as relevance goes, Thrice chose the perfect era to become successful in… I fear to think of they were earlier or later in our current musical time stream, they may not have been so fruitful.
Stare At The Sun/Thrice
Day 20 of 29: Settle Down/The Dangerous Summer
I remember being on tour with Theset shortly after this album dropped and my old friend Harrison singing along to every word on this album like it was magic... And it was. It was like a reincarnation of everything him and I held dear about this genre back in the early 2000s. It was catchy with incredible vocals and lyrics that were slightly whiny but passionate and damaged... The only difference was, the songs were written with a particular integrity and wild musicianship. I remember when I got back from the tour and "told all my friends" to check this one out... It was like we found that summer spirit again and had this album blasting every time we're getting into it, whatever that connotes, festival parties, after show rituals, drunk around a record player at 3 am, blasting in a parking lot… It was all good, and I'm pretty sure people looked at us like we were dated and lame, but who cares. That's kind of what it was all about. This song especially, reminds me of my friends and all the good times we had in summers past… “Reach For The Sun” was a popular saying among us for a couple years. Marvellous.
Day 20 of 29: Settle Down/The Dangerous Summer
Day 19 of 29: She/Green Day
Remember that mix tape I mentioned in earlier posts that my sister’s high school boyfriend gave me? Well, it had a couple songs from “Dookie” on it and it was definitely a sound that made me feel good. It was at the time Much Music was a great channel and it was littered with videos of Billie Joe Armstrong being a bad-ass and invoking the spirit of Iggy Pop and Sex Pistols and sneering at everything he thought was ridiculous or unjust. Things for Green Day have since then, we’re talking 20 years, have changed significantly, but I still like to remember them as that… even up until Nimrod they still had that spark of in-your-face punk rock, and I remember even then thinking how they brought that edge to mainstream media. It was smart. But typically, as they got older, it changed and became about something else entirely. There was a time when I worked in kitchens in this city, when I was 21-22, and every time Green Day was brought up or played, or anything punk for that matter, I was told stories of how they played in Victoria ages ago in small clubs and dirty venues to like 50 people, shortly after 1039/Smoothed Out Slappy Hours, and was obviously an amazing spectacle… If I only I wasn’t 6 or 7 or however old I would have been and not living in the Kootenays. Still, growing up in that small town, in Middle/High School I saw bands cover these guys over and over again, bands of every age, from kids to middle aged … there’s really something to be said about s band that can appeal to all generations.
Day 19 of 29: She/Green Day
Day 18 of 29: Pathetic/Blink 182
A big album for me. I’m sure every pop-punk turned emo kid, or vice versa, in my generation and just after, has a story of how they tried to cover every Blink song under the sun when they were first learning to play guitar, bass or drums.. I’m no different. In my honest opinion, Blink changed the way we looked at this genre; they brought a warped humour and overly-sexual tone to punk rock, not what the genre desperately needed, but they did it and it was gold. Be honest with yourself… how many Blink 182 songs do you actually know over the years? More than you thought? Yes, they definitely got away with their dick jokes and sexist remarks for years, until they got old and weird… and by that I mean, their self-titled album which came out nearly a decade after Dude Ranch, and was honestly, amazing. It was fresh, had integrity and reeked of “Boxcar Racer,” which is a whole separate worship-rant. Don’t even get me started. Seriously, this song was the first song on one of the first albums I ever purchased with my own money. I fondly remember having green hair, on a reluctant road trip with my Dad to visit my sister in university in Edmonton. I went to A&B Sound the first chance I got, bought the cd, popped it in and annoyed everyone. I believe my “too cool for school” sister at the time told me to grow up. To me, this album still stands up, and again, to me, the only Blink album with actual, honest, integrity until their self-titled. So fucking good. I know the introduction of Travis Barker was a game-changer and probably hastened their already fast-paced career. Anyways…
Day 17 of 29: Everything Is Alright/Motion City Soundtrack
When this band first came out on Epitaph ages ago, I fell in love with their multi-faceted brand of punk, emo, indie, whatever you want to call it, rock. Justin Pierre’s voice is dramatic, aggressive, soulful, dignified and not without scorn and sorrow. “I Am The Movie” blew me away as a first debut -- more clever indie rock than anything. I’m sure we all remember “The Future Freaks Me Out” and it’s untold quirkiness… But when Mark Hoppus of Blink 182 got onboard to produce their sophomore, forget about it… Not only were the lyrics incredible and crushingly heartfelt, the musicianship and songwriting was leaps and bounds better… I still cry a little during “Hold Me Down,” the chorus lyrics were almost a tattoo when I was 21. I remember this album being a major reference when I was first learning how to record my own music, and more importantly, learning to record vocals in a studio. How to breathe properly during singing was not something I thought about regularly until I went in for the first time and struggled for breath between words. I was so fucking naive and thought to myself “Why is this so hard? Why is this not coming out right? Why am I so fucking awkward?” I feel this album, and this song in particular, wordy and quick, was a good example of well-executed pop-punk vocals, if not how to write a fucking chorus that lasts forever. Those were the days. I definitely grew out of this genre in recent years, but I like to think this is where my heart still, truly, lies.
Everything Is Alright/Motion City Soundtrack
Day 16 of 29: Constantines/Soon Enough
I’ve been covering this song for years and it occurred to me that I’ve never done a video, so here it is, in all my bedroom’s glory. This album used to be a staple in my diet and a constant listen with me and my friends back in 2006 when I first moved to the island; a feel good jam when the mood called for something to hit the spot. Before The Constantines had their hiatus, they came to Victoria twice; once with The Weakerthans and once on their own, bringing a very Canadian life back to that scene of live rock music, and I was grateful. Not that Victoria needed it, but it was a welcome addition, and I definitely remember salivating over their live set, at how tight it was, the energy, the “I don't give a fuck” attitude, a perfect set-list and tones, tones, tones. Remarkable. Their shows and this album mark a time in my life when I was severely poor and entirely built of alcohol and poor decisions, but a time of discovery and realism when I was first starting up my own musical ideas. “Tournament of Hearts” helped me to look at the importance of what a vibe could do for a band; sleepy jams, pocket grooves that last forever, the use of empty space and well-timed vocals and brilliant dynamics. Honestly, one of my favourite Canadian bands of all time, and this song holds a memorable weight every time I play it.
Day 15 of 29: The Academy Is/Summer Hair = Forever Young
Recently, I power-listened to The Academy Is’ collection on a summer road trip, which at the time was great, but now I feel it was mostly ironic, but still enjoyable, and I’ve got to say, amazing stuff. Not only were they a big part of the emo-scene at the height of their popularity, they were also tremendous songwriters. They knew what to do. They knew how to tap in. They had all the moves, not to mention William Beckett had this voice and undying swagger that could not be taught, only developed over careful consideration spliced with time and pressure, much like the natural erosion of the Earth.
This one time, I was drunk on a tour bus at Warped Tour. The bus’ contents were made up of myself and my band, Billy The Kid, Matt from Northcote, a great artist by the name of Austin Lucas, and none other than William Beckett himself. I didn’t know this at the time, but I eventually figured it out after a few minutes of conversation where I tried to make it super weird but he wouldn't let me. I believe I asked him if he knew he was like the Robert Plant of Scene music, in which he then replied ,“I didn't realize… But I see where you're coming from.”
The Academy Is/Summer Hair = Forever Young
Day 14 of 29: Valentine/The Get Up Kids
An obvious choice for the pre-Tinder romantic. Knowing who I am and why I do things, you’d probably expect nothing less from a musician of my questionable caliber and emotional skill-set of a 12 year old, right? I feel this song sums up all of my current feelings, and probably has for over 10 years on this glorious day of cliches, attempting to reveal your true feelings and nervously sweating through a dreadful brunch or awkward dinner dates when you'd rather be single, salivating to a computer screen, listening to records, watching High Fidelity and being drunk by noon. Too dramatic? Good! Aren't we all! That’s what I’m going for… all you single dudes and duderus’ out there, don’t despair and know that you are loved, for one reason or another… My advice to you, is to find that reason and work on it for more than 20 minutes a day instead of working out, while listening to this classic album.
In my honest opinion, you will not find a better masterpiece, or, summation, of how to feel during various instances of love lost, hopeless longing, bitter engagements, irrational jealousy, over-dramatic realization or reckless, misguided, brokenhearted epiphanies, however forlorn… If not for the clever lyrics and passionate emo anthems regarding being poor and suffering for your artistry, then listen for the carefully crafted songwriting and Kansas-born hooks. Top 5. For real. This album changed me.
Valentine/The Get Up Kids
Day 13 of 29: Restorations/Let's Blow Up The Sun
I have to thank my good man Tyler Ennis for getting me into this band. They are my current obsession and I literally cannot get enough. Heavy stuff, both lyrically and musically… Truly touching words of loss, death, fearing change, getting old and being forgotten with brilliant modern songwriting, a smattering of 90s groove, riffs and and jams, with very punk-influenced vocals. The moment I saw these guys live on Audiotree, I just knew that they were in previous bands… You see it once every so often, older punk musicians get together to form a super-band that is just everything you want to hear out of that genre. They blow you away live because you just know they have been doing this grind for over a decade. They stop caring so much about mainstream appeal and a lot more about substance and value of moments, something everyone should understand.
When I first dove into LP3, I was instantly reminded of this moment I had with someone a few years back. I had caught this person doing something bad and immoral, and it affected me a lot despite how much this person would tell me I was over-reacting and it had nothing to do with me. It did. It was a moment I had to be strong like I hadn’t before, and fuck, was I angry and without a compass, but I really did learn how to sever things and walk away on those days, even though it hurt the worst, I felt it was important to know how to do that and live with it. An excerpt, a poem, in example:
“Condemned to be forever unable to give this stupid thing the time that it deserves. I heard a proud few when the windows were gone, all singing the same time to separate songs. Bathed in blue fabric, ablaze in the western sky. Nine arms-length airport arrival snapshots. You said you worry about me leaving. I fear I’m already gone. Imagine that focus in real life. Imagine going outside. Imagine not waiting for something to come along. Imaging going outside to hear the sweet sound of separate songs.”
Restorations/Let's Blow Up The Sun
Day 12 of 29: Saves The Day/See You
I absolutely love Saves The Day and Chris Conley’s career. With all my heart. Even the B-sides, collaborations with Max Bemis and the current stuff he cranks out with the band is spot on and very tight. This song is from the early stuff, and if you talk to any true emo boy or girl, they will tell you ‘Stay What You Are’ is their best work to date… and I wholeheartedly concur. Sure, it's predecessor, “Through Being Cool” is angsty and whiny and punk rock, with classics like “Shoulder To The Wheel” and “Rocks. Tonic. Juice. Magic,” and the follow-up “In Reverie” was sleepy but awesome and a good attempt at mainstream credibility… but with great inspiration comes adequate change, and I've always felt Saves The Day was a good example of bands and their natural evolution in their environment. Lyrically morbid, the pop influence was carried a long way with this band, especially this album, and reverted back to roots with “Sound The Alarm.” The guitar work is signature and each song written with great care and an integrity recognized instantly by those who gave this genre the old “College-Try” after the fact. Personally, I always identified with this one perfectly as a second track to a great album; short, sweet and catchy, with weird lyrics that really make you think… And also, my first thought of a song of theirs to cover. A short second to Nightingale.
Saves The Day/See You
Day 11 of 29: Northcote/Your Rock and Roll
A great song by a great man. Enough said… But of course I'll go on a bit. Matt moved to Victoria a few years back at a time when I was sorting some serious things out, and he was a most welcome addition to my life. I think the first time we hung out we drank and talked about punk rock and chain-smoked in my bedroom, but I'd like to think we’re both healthier now. I got him a job at the restaurant I was working at (The Superior RIP) and eventually he became sort of the house music. It was fantastic, and since then, this Saskatchewan dude has done so well for himself, with timeless songs and a voice that’s so warm it's like he’s in the room. I'm proud to know him and always love his company. His old band used to contact my old band in Nelson for shows ages ago, and not long after we ended up opening a show on tour, for his band in their hometown. It was a 20 minute set we begged for and he was kind enough to give us the go-ahead. Anyways, that's my short story about a guy I know.
Northcote/Your Rock and Roll
Day 10 of 29: Ryan Adams and The Cardinals/Two
My first introduction to this beautiful man and his band was Easy Tiger in 2007. I saw a video of this song live on some late-night talk show and was like “What is THIS?” A whole world of songwriting yet undiscovered by me at the time; a mature sound that made me feel whole, and ignited my obsession. It was a gateway that made me stray a little from only listening to punk, hardcore and obscure indie and helped me understand true meaning behind the lyrics and “feel” of a song. Growing up saturated with only the heavy and raw side of things made it a little hard to let go of old habits, but I've since made room for everything that exists the way it should…
And as for this cover, well, to be honest, I was a little hesitant… Mostly because I've heard everyone and their mums cover one of his songs, including this one, and have done it major justice… Great tune.
Ryan Adams and The Cardinals/Two
Day 9 of 29: Radio/Alkaline Trio
This song to me, was always the ultimate, if not extreme, break-up song for the emotionally destroyed. I remember I got this album not long after I finally got my license, and I had all-access to my mother’s truck. I used to scream this song loudly, as well as other Vagrant gems like Saves The Day, Reggie and The Full Effect, Automatic 7, Dashboard, etc. It was a favourite past-time moment, and when I grew up, I started to develop a bigger appreciation for these bands and their psychological thrillers, studying the structure and examining lyrics closely. I grew a little concerned after awhile at the harshness to some of the lyrics and the points they were making, and wondered if I had been wrong to believe so strongly in something so irrational and vindictive, but then I realized, everyone, no matter how fucked up, has a story to tell. I recently purchased on vinyl the legendary Alkaline Trio/Hot Water Music split EP where they cover each other’s songs and when I heard this one again, I was like “Fuck, this guy must have been tormented over and over again.” That, or just obsessed with the darker and traumatic side of faulty relationships. Combining pop punk and, I wanna say Goth, but more depressing realism will suffice, is a very specific sound, and I like it.
Day 8 of 29: 12:34/Theset
I've covered this song before many times, at shows, on the radio, there was even a time a few years back when I played this song among others, live for real with these guys across the country, a time when Canada, or at least the west coast was obsessed with this tune. I'm sure the pals who wrote it will roll their eyes at me for bringing this up again, and for good reason, but this is one of the songs written in Victoria at a great time for the local scene. They made a definite impact that is still talked about in this town. These guys are a different project now in a different city, still great at what they do, and I remember playing my first gig in my band with these guys, and doing one of my first tours with them, travelling, learning, pushing mental and physical limits, abusing ourselves and drinking in places I never thought I'd drink. I had a certain respect for their creative drive and work ethic as artists back then as I still do now, and it was inspiring to see. I honestly feel, without these dudes in my life at the time, I wouldn't be where I'd be today nor half as decent of a musician. I owe them a lot. If there was one thing I learned from them to apply to my future career as a touring musician, it was “You're not on a real tour unless you can smell your balls through your pants.” A crude message, but a useful one, nonetheless.
Day 7 of 29: Disconnected/Face To Face
When I was about 13, my sister had this awesome skater high school boyfriend who my parents did not like whatsoever. He was into punk music and noticing my musical curiosity he made me a few a mixtape cassettes. I think I still have those takes kicking around somewhere, containing The Offspring, Green Day, Black Flag, NOFX, Goldfinger, Pennywise, Suicide Machines, Bad Religion, the works. This Face To Face song was the first song on the first tape and it brought much joy into my otherwise undiscovered existence. It was one of the first songs I learned to play on guitar and drums and I like to believe has since then inspired many of my musical endeavours. I still regularly listen to most of their collection, and Trever Keith later went on to produce one of my top 5 albums of all time, Moneen’s “Are we really happy with who we are right now?” A bucket-list band, in which I still keep my fingers crossed.
Disconnected/Face To Face
Day 6 of 29: Watermark/The Weakerthans
I started getting into The Weakerthans around 2003, right when the brilliance of Reconstruction Site was born into this world. It was right up my alley, a heavily punk-influenced Canadiana Indie-Rock band, with a vastly tender and clever poetic side. I obsessed for years to come and started to believe Canadians to be some of the most thoughtful musicians on the planet because of John K and lines like “a sound we didn't notice until it stopped and left us there,” and “The sidewalks are watching me think about you, sparkled with broken glass.”
There were many great songs I could have played from any of their albums, but I thought I'd play one of their older numbers that reminds me of my first bachelor suite with Dan, washing dishes, no money, with the paper thin walls and shitty neighbours and drinking gin with strangers until dawn, and how, despite my obvious favouritism for RS, Left and Leaving was the album I discovered after the fact, fell in love with its classics and became a true believer in this band and their abilities. There was show in Victoria in 2006 at the University featuring The Weakerthans and Wide Mouth Mason that I went to, promptly, about 3 months in the summer after I moved there. It was exciting, since I only knew Reconstruction Site, and was blown away by all the older material they played, and their musicianship. I was happy and proud that night to actually meet the band and buy Left and Leaving from them directly. It was a moment.
Day 5 of 29: Linoleum - NOFX
I think it was in 1999, when I still lived in my quaint hometown of Castlegar British Columbia, I went to one of my first all-ages show at this tiny building in a semi-residential area called The Station. It was a youth centre, and there was probably this 5 bands for 5 bucks type of thing going on, and one of them covered this song perfectly, and by perfectly I mean what the fuck did I know about anything at this point. All I knew is that It pretty much kicked me in the face and started me on the path of Fat Wreck Chords “Hey-Day Era” punk. I refer to it now as “the good stuff,” like referring to a scotch that’s only made in a shack on a cliff in the highlands once every 40 years or something ridiculous. Punk In Drublic remains holy to me, as did my high school binder with all the punk lyrics I scribbled onto it before it was lost and thrown into the void. It's truly funny how you try so hard to be somebody you already are and just don't know it yet when you're that young, and you try so hard to impress people with silly advertisements… And then I discovered tattoos!
Linoleum - NOFX
Day 4 of 29: 11:11/Arkells
The Arkells are an insanely talented band of rogues that will last forever. I've never heard them play a song they wrote that wasn't a potential hit, an immortal classic or lightly drizzled in Motown. I wanted to do something from Michigan Left, but I thought I would leave that piece of perfection alone and just say that there are records that sound good on vinyl and then there are records that sound amazing on vinyl. Since I am a believer in prevailing sadness and romance hand in hand, I chose this magic from High Noon. It's a good jam, it’s sexy, it’s immeasurably catchy, and the first time I ever heard it was when it was brand new on CBC 3, in a cab, thinking about a girl I was in love with, in which I told the driver to turn that shit up because feelings. He didn't like it but I told him there's a certain amount of respect a song this good deserves, even if you hate it. He shrugged and said it was alright. Since then I've been slowly collecting gems from their career and have seen them live countless times. Easily one of the best live performances you'll ever see.
Day 3 of 29: Party Police/Alvvays
This song and its lyrics are hauntingly beautiful, and they contain a depthful sorrow I didn’t think I was capable of feeling, all the while making a great metaphor and tragic break-up experience come to life. Exclaim! brought this band to my attention with “Adult Diversion,” which is also great, and on the strength of clips, I had already special ordered the LP. Whenever I sing or listen to this song and all of Molly Rankin’s dreamy ghost/duvet-like voice, I am reminded of a potentially terrible relationship I almost had when I was a silly boy. I wanted it for all the wrong reasons, I fell in love and I obsessed over it until the idea became utterly exhausted and meaningless, and the very thought of it became weird and frightening, kind of like a newly haunted house. I abandoned all hope on it, and things got better, but to this day I still think about it from time to time, and I think this song brings out those feelings the best. I hope I did it justice.
Day 2 of 29: If You Don’t. Don’t/Jimmy Eat World
I saw Jimmy for the first time on their Bleed American tour in 2001 at The Gorge in Washington, opening up for New Found Glory and Blink 182. I was 16, I had blue hair, and my Dad drove me and my friends 6 hours to this concert. Unbeknownst to me, Jimmy Eat World was opening, and it basically changed my life and mind about what I was putting in my ears, how I would eventually look at song structure while writing my own, and more importantly, how I shouldn’t just follow the vacuous teenage pop-punk wheel that was so hot at the time just because it was there. Not only did they play tracks 1 through 8 of this later iconic album, but the crowd of about 10,000+ absolutely hated them. I couldn’t believe it. I felt so bad for them, these great men, and I honestly didn’t even give a shit about the bands I went there to see, who I would later grow to loathe and find incredibly sexist. This was the last song of their set that day. An upbeat rock ballad about saying what you really feel… and before all the Jimmy fans that see this Nay-Say my choice of cover out of all the great ones to choose from… I chose this one because it is, truly, a perfect Jimmy Eat World song and everything they are, when you think about it. Upbeat. Catchy. Whiny. Clever. Great lyrics and vocals. Has the word “Baby” in it. Guitar Solo. Love song. Classic.
If You Don’t. Don’t/Jimmy Eat World
Day 1 of 29: Library Voices/If Raymond Carver was Born in the 90s
I think of the time I played side-stage Edgefest 2012 in the sweltering heat with these guys and witnessing how, despite their light “Beach-Boys-Esque” pop sound, they probably have more rock and roll energy than I’ve ever seen in a Canadian band at their level or higher… even with a touring saxophonist. I had been touring for about 6 months straight at this point and it felt so good to see a band, among others that day, and what they had achieved through the exact means we also sought.
I bought this album from the merch tent after their set, swayed by this opening track alone, before actually meeting them and they gave me my money back when they saw me backstage with it. Lyrically, this song is brilliant, and if you read anything by Raymond Carver, you’ll realize how accurate they are in relation to a younger generation and to a wayward musician’s life when seeing everyone you know and love put down roots while you’re still, as it would appear to everyone not doing what you’re doing, fucking around with your little band thing. Catchy and infectious as hell.
Library Voices/If Raymond Carver was Born in the 90s