Aaron

VIDEO: Mike and Aaron Do Taranna 2018

MUSIC CREDITS: “Shit” parts 1 – 5 written and performed by AARON

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Sunday Surprise: Guess what we’re up to today?

REVIEW: Robert Pollard with Doug Gillard – Speak Kindly of Your Volunteer Fire Department (1999)

ATTENTION ALL PLANETS OF THE SOLAR FEDERATION! ATTENTION ALL PLANETS OF THE SOLAR FEDERATION! ATTENTION ALL PLANETS OF THE SOLAR FEDERATION! We have assumed control. We have assumed control. We have assumed control….

SATCHMO

 Welcome to an April Fools Day switcheroo!! Mike and I have told each other what to listen to for today’s post.  Fun times!! Initially, we were even gonna try to write in each others’ styles, and really try to fool you guys. But, as you’ll see from the album choices, it might have been a nigh on impossible task!

For Mike, I chose Robert Pollard & Doug Gillard’s ‘Speak Kindly Of Your Volunteer Fire Department,’ largely because Mike awesomely found it and bought it for me in Ottawa, but I already had it, so I said he should rock it himself! But it’s awesome that he’ll get to hear a bit of the MAJESTY of Bob Pollard! I can’t wait to read what he says about it…

And for me, Mike has chosen Deep Purple’s In Rock (for which I thank him profusely). And here is where I really worried about trying to write like Mike for a post. That man KNOWS his Deep Purple, and there’s no way I could bring perspective to an album he’s heard for years and probably has coded directly into his DNA by now. It just wouldn’t work. You’d all know it wasn’t Mike!

Anyway, we hope you enjoy this April Fools site switcheroo! Let’s get in there and GIVE ‘ER!!

A

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Scan_20160325 (3)ROBERT POLLARD with DOUG GILLARD – Speak Kindly of Your Volunteer Fire Department (1999 Luna)

Guided By Voices have always eluded me.  Aaron says they’re brilliant but not for everybody.  This Robert Pollard “duo” album with Doug Gillard looks really interesting.  Let’s see if I’m everybody or not!

“Frequent Weaver Who Burns” is instantly likeable.  The lo-fi but genuine recording sounds right out of 1969, and the song recalls some of the best hippie rock bands from that era.  I hear a hint of 54-40’s “I Go Blind” in the guitar, but this is far more ambitious, as it descends into dance music madness.  “Soul Train College Policeman” (how the hell do they come up with these titles?) is different and indescribable, but “Pop Zeus” is brilliant.  Simple guitar melodies weave together with layers of rhythm guitars creating a power-pop rock track without embellishment.

Most of these songs are short bursts of ideas; in and out and no nonsense.  The longest track at 4:20 is “Slick as Snails”, a slow and enticing exercise in mixing sweet notes with sour notes and making a delectable concoction regardless.  Regal guitar chords keep the ship from running aground.  Power pop returns on “Do Something Real”, a simple guitar riff melded with an unorthodox melody.  In fact the album in general is built from these ingredients.  The guitars retain catchy rhythms, often classic sounding in nature.  Meanwhile the vocals are not constrained to sing anything simple or straightforward.  The lo-fi tape hiss and nature of the recordings do not detract; they enhance.  “Life is Beautiful” sounds as if recorded in the can.  Mix in a smidgen of psychedelia.  There is also a contrasting bombast on the album, a power just bursting at the seams.  Drama is often the companion of the arrangements, “Port Authority” being a fine example of this.  The short tunes meld influences varied far and wide.  Aaron hears the Who, and it’s there, and I think I even picked up on some Ace Frehley in the ring of the guitars.

Speak Kindly of Your Volunteer Fire Department comes highly recommended for the musically fearless.

4.5/5 stars

 

 

#469: Stump LeBrain (Getting More Retro!)

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GETTING MORE TALE (Retro) #469: Stump LeBrain Week, by Aaron!

“Getting More Retro” is a sub-series of my music stories Getting More Tale.  I posted this back in March in 2012, when nobody was reading except Aaron and my old boss from the Record Store.  Before that, Aaron posted it on the KeepsMeAlive (Feb. 19).  And now, for the third time, here’s Stump LeBrain Week!

I had become such a dominating force on the 4 O’Clock 4-Play, my favourite music contest on 107.5 Dave Rocks, that listeners were now writing in 4-Play quizzes specifically to stump me!  For a while there it seemed everybody wanted to be the one to put an end to LeBrain’s reign!

Craig had me in the studio for the contest, live on the Craig Fee show, during what he dubbed “Stump LeBrain Week”.  Each day that week, I came in at 4 o’clock in order to play the contest on the air.  Craig selected five 4-Plays, one for each day.  If I answered correctly, I won the prize (I Mother Earth tickets).  If I was stumped, the person who wrote the 4-Play question would win the prize.

At the end of the week, I sent Aaron audio CDs of all my appearances minus commercials.  He was kind enough to document it in the written word for history.  Since very few saw this when I re-posted it at the launch of this site, I’m re-posting it once again for you!  Re-use and recycle, baby!

Big thanks to Aaron for listening to all five shows and writing it down, and of course thanks to Craig for giving me the opportunity!  Here we go.  Ready?

 


Four-Play #1 (submitted by Chris Cottingham)

01 Motley Crue – Shout At The Devil

01 Mike’s Guess: ‘tracks that were not singles’ (no)

02 Rolling Stones – Brown Sugar

02 Mike’s Guess: ‘bands that have toured with guns ‘n roses’ (no)

03 Bruce Springsteen – Cover Me

03 Mike’s Guess: ‘special lp packaging’ (no)

04 Loverboy – Working For The Weekend *

04 Mike’s Guess: ‘album covers featuring pants’ (yes!)

* at this point, before Mike’s last guess, it was exposed that the Motley Crue song was supposed to have been Live Wire, which changed everything, and he got it from there.

Comment: He still got it, even with a wrong song played. Improbable? Never! The man is a machine.

Score: Mike is 1/1.

 

Four-Play #2 (submitted by The Crook in Elmira)

01 Motorhead – Ace Of Spades (live)

01 Mike’s Guess: ‘artists who’ve done duets with Ozzy Osbourne’ (yes!)

02 Alice Cooper – School’s Out

03 Dio – Holy Diver

04 Lita Ford – Kiss Me Deadly

Comment: He nailed this one before the first song was even over. Jeez.

Score: Mike is 2/2.

Four-Play #3 (submitted by Kathryn Ladano, Mike’s sister)

01 Rush – Subdivisions

01 Mike’s Guess: ‘album covers with dogs on them’ (no)

02 Neil Young – Rockin’ In The Free World

02 Mike’s Guess: ‘all Canadian artists’ (no)

03 Guess Who – Runnin’ Back To Saskatoon

03 Mike’s Guess: ‘songs about Canadian cities’ (no)

04 Loverboy – Turn Me Loose

04 Mike’s Guess: ‘all artists who sang on Tears Are Not Enough’ (yes!)

Comment:

Broadcasted live from Chicopee ski resort. This was not the Four Play that Kathryn had wanted played, so her confidence at being able to stump her brother was pretty low, at the outset. It shocked me that Mike had never heard the Guess Who song before. I thought everybody knew that song.

Score: Mike is 3/3.

Four-Play #4 (submitted by Greg Laughtenschlager)

01 Megadeth – Hangar 18

01 Mike’s Guess: ‘science fiction, aliens, conspiracy theme’ (no)

02 Quiet Riot – Mama We’re All Crazy Now

02 Mike’s Guess: ‘books (1984, Roswell)’ (no)

02 Mike’s Extra Guess: ‘stripey pants’ (no)

03 Iron Maiden – The Trooper

03 Mike’s Guess: ‘bands that opened for Sabbath’ (no)

04 Dio – Rainbow In The Dark

04 Mike’s Guess: ‘all four albums covers were paintings with mascots’ (yes!)

Comment: Definitely a HEAVY set, which I thoroughly enjoyed. And Mike nails it. So cool.

Score: Mike is 4/4.

Four-Play #5 (submitted by Nick Byerjean sp?)

01 KISS – Beth

01 Mike’s Guess: ‘songs that originated as b-sides’ (no)

01 Mike’s Extra Guess: ‘no members of the band played on the track’ (no)

01 Mike’s Extra Guess: ‘crappy songs from great albums’ (no)

02 Guns ‘N Roses – Used To Love Her

02 Mike’s Guess: ‘single monikered album titles’ (no)

02 Mike’s Extra Guess: ‘songs with unusual percussion’ (no)

02 Mike’s Extra Guess: ‘songs people think is about one thing, but it’s about something else” (no)

02 Mike’s Extra Guess: ‘acoustic ballads’ (no)

03 Aerosmith – Angel

03 Mike’s Guess: ‘bands led by duos’ (no)

03 Mike’s Extra Guess: ‘bands who shortened their name from something longer (no)

03 Mike’s Extra Guess ‘all are bands from America’ (no)

04 Slash with Andrew Stockdale – By The Sword

04 Mike’s Guess: ‘songs released in even numbered years’ (no)

04 Mike’s Extra Guess: ‘all albums released in leap years’ (no)

04 Mike’s Extra Guess: ‘songs released in Canadian-hosted Olympic years’ (yes!)

Comment: OK, that was RIDICULOUS. Hearing him work through that last one was incredible. Even with all the extra guesses, that answer was from so far out of left field. Wow.

#454: VIDEO – Mike and Aaron Go to Toronto Again…Again!

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“Are you filming right now?”

GETTING MORE TALE #454: Mike and Aaron Go to Toronto Again…Again! The Video!

Thanks to Aaron for the musical soundtrack, and thanks to the stores for the many music discs!

 

Full detailed purchases can be found here, and here.

#452: Mike and Aaron Go to Toronto Again…Again!

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GETTING MORE TALE #452: Mike and Aaron Go to Toronto Again…Again!

WE HAVE RETURNED, SIRE, WITH PLUNDERED TREASURE FROM THE TOWN.

Toronto was, in a word, perfect.

We have done this every year for four years now, Aaron and I, always in the fall.  We go to the heart of Toronto and plunder its best music.  Then, we return to our homes, and listen in glee while making evil laughing sounds and clutching our treasure in our greedy hands.  This was the latest in the year that we had gone (November 28), but miraculously the skies parted that morning and we were not rained upon nor snowed.  It was once again, just perfect.

Aaron’s complete post on this trip can be found by clicking here!

We were accompanied like last year by Aaron’s dad Wayne, who just wanted to walk around and see if there were any curiosities that struck his eye.  After parting ways, Aaron and I made our way to Stop #1:  BMV.

I found three treasures there, all of which I am very happy and excited aboot:

1. STYX – Equinox, $5.99 CD used. I’m still trying to grow a Styx collection so this great album was a find. Review is already written; to be published.
2. QUEEN – Queen – 2 CD remaster, $9.99 used. SCORE! Just reviewed the 1991 issue of this album recently. Can’t wait to dig into the bonus EP!
3. OASIS – Definitely Maybe – 3 CD remaster, $14.99 used. SCORE! Erk, wait! The discs were not inside! BMV will be sending me the discs shortly, but dang! Nice find. This is to be kept alongside my 2 CD edition featuring the live album, Oasis Live.
4. MARTIN POPOFF – The Big Book of Haἳr Metal, $14.99, originally $33. Lotsa text, loadsa pics, let’s go!

Music heard in store: Judas Priest – “Metal Meltdown”, “Ram It Down”, “Victim of Changes”. Pretty amazing shit to hear in a book store.

Total spent: $45.96.

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BMV Books
471 Bloor St W
(416) 967-5757


Stop #2: Pauper’s Pub (39 Bloor Street West). This is a lunch time tradition. Aaron had the veggie burger (with avocado and salsa) and fries, I had the Canadian (cheese and bacon) burger with a garden salad. I would put this lunch in my top five burgers of all time, easily. It was that good.

We hoofed it back to the point at which we started, the parking lot right next to Stop #3:  Kops. The Cult serenaded us with “Fire Woman”. Lots of goodness found here:

1. HENRY ROLLINS – The Boxed Life 2 CD (sealed!), 2 for $5.
2. ROLLINS BAND – Come In And Burn (sealed!), 2 for $5.
3. TRIUMPH – Edge of Excess, 2 for $5.
4. STEVE EARLE – A Special Collection, 1989 promo greatest hits CD with 17 tracks! 2 for $5.
5. RAINBOW – “Can’t Let You Go”, 12″ single, $7.99. Features two live tracks unavailable on album including Joe Lynn Turner singing “All Night Long”. Can’t wait to spin this.

Total spent:  $17.99.

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Kops Records
229 Queen St W
(416) 593-8523


Final Stop:  Sonic Boom.

We always do well here and this was no exception.  I told Aaron that I was hoping to buy some deluxe editions, and considering I’d already scored Queen and Oasis, I thought I had been doing well.  I had forgotten that Faith No More had some deluxes out.  I remembered this when I saw the vinyl reissues at Kops, so I was sure to look for the CDs at Sonic Boom.

Treasures plundered:

1. BEN FOLDS – Ben Folds Live, $2.99 used.
2. BRANT BJORK and the LOW DESERT PUNK BAND – Black Power Flower, 2 bonus tracks, $14.99.
3. FAITH NO MORE – The Real Thing deluxe, $22.99.
4. FAITH NO MORE – Angel Dust deluxe, $22.99.

I have a really extensive collection of Faith No More singles and EPs. I had most of the bonus material already on physical copies, but with a few notable exceptions. Now I got ’em: “As the Worm Turns” with Patton singing, and some of the live tracks such as Sheffield 1990 and Munich 1992.

Total spent: $63.96.

Sonic Boom
215 Spadina Ave
(416) 532-0334


Final Stop 12. Moonbean.  Aaron had to grab some seriously impressive coffee.  It’s the tradition!  Moonbean can be found at 30 Andrew St. (1-866-595-0327), or online at moonbeancoffee.com.

But wait!  That’s not all!

Aaron’s Box of Generosity:

As is his modus operandi, Aaron surprised me with some serious treasures.

1. EXTREME – “Tragic Comic” digipack CD single, featuring “When I’m President” live, which I didn’t have before!
2. KILLER DWARFS – Method to the Madness CD, out of print! I have all their studio albums now.
3. NIACIN – Live in Tokyo DVD, featuring Billy Sheehan on bass. This outta be a mindblow!
3. WILLIAM SHATNER – Shatner Rules, book. I’ve read a few of Bill’s books before and they’re fun.
4. WAYNE JOHNSON – The Colony of Unrequited Dreams. Know nothing about it, but I love Canadian settings in fiction.
5. MICHAEL ONDAATJE – Coming Through Slaughter. “My favourite book” – Steve Earle. ‘Nuff said.
6. HENRY ROLLINS – Fanatic! Vol 1, 2 and 3. An early Christmas has come. Rollins meticulously tracks every song he played on his radio show, with notes. Lots of metal and punk and more.
7. Rock the Cradle Lullabies – Dreamin’ with DEF LEPPARD. Might actually be good since Phil and Viv play on the CD! (Collectible regardless.)
8. Hot Wheels diecast starship USS Enterprise NCC-1701 (reboot version, in package). I love it!
9. A KISS backpack!  To put all my goodies in!

Aaron can be found at keepsmealive.wordpress.com.

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In Conclusion.

Aaron made three trips to Toronto in 2015, I now have made two (for record shopping).  You might think we tapped that city out.  Hell no!  See you next year, Toronto!

Total spent: $127.91 (before tax).

Total items (not including Aaron’s generosity):  14.

Average cost per record:  $10.94.  Consider all those deluxe editions I bought, that is not bad at all!

 

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Coming Soon:   the annual video documentary of the trip!

 

 

#451.5: Guess What We Are Doing Today?

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VIDEO: The Birthday Mug from Caught Me Gaming

Sarca from Caught Me Gaming does much more than just video games (not that those don’t rock)!  She talks coffee, she talks books, movies, and occasionally music too.   I was thrilled to get this birthday gift.  Check the video below.

Aaron got the same gift from Sarca for his birthday!  Check his out over at KeepsMeAlive.

Thank you Sarca for this awesome rock and roll mug!

Click here for Sarca’s original post featuring this mug.

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#416: A Day Off

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GETTING MORE TALE #416: A Day Off

I’m taking today off from blogging.  It’s my birthday!  So I’ll be opening stuff like this, while you are hopefully enjoying a nice day off, too.

I deserve a day off!  I’ve been posting here almost daily for three and a half years!  I’ve accumulated almost 1600 posts in that time, so I’m sure you won’t hold it against me.

In the meantime, you can check out the past birthday related posts.  I’ll be back tomorrow with more rock!

Thank you Aaron for the gift…whatever it may be…well, it could be a bomb but it’s not ticking!  I will be sure to update you all with photos of whatever musical treasures await me today.

Best,

LeBrain

#397: Face the Heat (Mail From Sydenham)

Part 1 of 2 — First the tale, tomorrow the review!  This tale itself is a direct sequel to Aaron’s story “Mail From Jedi Master LeBrain”.

PARCEL FACE THE HEAT

RECORD STORE TALES MkII: Getting More Tale
#397: Face the Heat (Mail From Sydenham)

I collect Japanese imports, especially when there are bonus tracks afoot. A year ago, I found a Japanese copy of Scorpions’ Face the Heat CD with two such bonus tracks. I bought it from one of my favourite vendors, at the Toronto Musical Collectibles Record & CD Sale. It was $15 and complete with obi strip. A steal. (Who says Japanese imports are very expensive anyway?)

TOP OF THE BILLBecause I try to avoid redundant copies in my collection, I donated my original CD of Face the Heat to Aaron. He reviewed it and called it “a collection of strong songs that gets better as it goes along”. I played my Japanese copy, and filed it away without giving the album much thought until recently. Martin Popoff’s excellent Scorpions tome, Top of the Bill, reminded me of an Elvis cover that Scorpions did as a hidden bonus track.

The Scorpions almost recorded “His Latest Flame” back in 1989 for their hits compilation, Best of Rockers ‘n’ Ballads. It was between Elvis and The Who’s “I Can’t Explain”. “I Can’t Explain” won out, but the Scorps gave it another go in 1993 for Face the Heat. (Incidentally both tracks were produced by the late Bruce Fairbairn.)

“His Latest Flame” was one of the first “hidden bonus tracks” in my collection. It’s very unlike anything the Scorpions had done before, but they did a damn fine job of it in my opinion. I love the horn parts. I’m sure that was Fairbairn’s doing, a trumpet player. It was buried unlisted after the end of “Lonely Nights”, the final song on the CD, as part of the same track. When I read Popoff’s book, I realized, “When I gave Aaron my original CD, I didn’t check if the Japanese CD retained that bonus track…”

Indeed, “LeBrain” the Bonehead did fail to check if “His Latest Flame” was on the Japanese CD, and it is not. It’s very rare to find a domestic CD that has a bonus track not included on a Japanese version, but it does happen, and it did happen on Face the Heat!

Gratefully, when “LeBrain” the Bonehead asked if he could have the disc back, Aaron immediately said “no problem”! He knows the kind of collector I am. He sent it back to me as a part of a recent parcel exchange that we enjoy doing from time to time!

I do appreciate that he was willing to send this “gifted” CD back. It just goes to show how two collectors understand one another! As for Face the Heat, look for my review of both CDs right here tomorrow!