Though those without the syrup of the Mighty Maple flowing through their veins might not be familiar with Sloan, there are some who consider the east-coast quartet to be Canada’s greatest rock band. With four writers / singers / instrumentalists, it’s an argument with some merit. Though some say they are too sloppy live, in the studio they have some truly shining diamonds. Some of those gems aren’t even from albums.
1995 was a difficult time for Sloan. After receiving no support from Geffen for their shoulda-been breakthrough album Twice Removed, the band either broke up, or were about to break up, or considered themselves broken up even though they weren’t. The double A-sided “Stood Up” and “Same Old Flame” single comes from this murky period in their timeline, released on their own label murderecords. (In Japan, these two songs were included as bonus tracks on their third full length CD, One Chord to Another.)
“Stood Up” is a Chris Murphy number with a catchy tremolo guitar hook. The lo-fi recording is so tasty. Sloan’s usual vocal harmonies create the melodic blend you expect, but that relentless guitar groove is center stage. Not dark, but shady, with energetic shouts. By contrast, Patrick Pentland’s “Same Old Flame” is light and upbeat. The fun verses set up a more plaintive chorus, all danceable. Though both songs are equally strong, it’s “Same Old Flame” that you will singing and tapping your feet to.
For only $7, I found this single at yet another record show in Guelph with my buddy Peter. Today it sells for twice that. Though I hoped to find more than just one Sloan single that day (“Rhodes Jam” still eludes me), at least I left with what I came for. A great single for any Sloan collection, big or small. An essential one in fact, now that everybody is into vinyl again as their primary format.