This is a collaboration between Craig Northey from The Odds, and Rob Baker from The Tragically Hip. Really, it comes across as a showcase for Craig Northey because, and I mean no disrespect, I’m not sure that Rob Baker has a very distinctive guitar style. Or, put it this way, I couldn’t pick Baker’s guitar our of an audio line up. And I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. I think it really highlights his wide range of skills. This is evidenced also by how different The Hip sounds on different albums. Their last 3 are vastly different.
And so, this collection allows Baker to showcase his varying styles, and probably some things he doesn’t do in the hip, and it allows Northey to sing in some styles that he doesn’t always use. Basically, it’s a good chance for both guys to stretch out.
My first thought when listening was that the album was just a collection of good rock songs. But as I’ve listened more, I find quite a lot of fun and interesting things going on. The two opening tracks are pretty rocking, with “Full Flow Angry Boy” being a good shout-along. The album changes as it moves along: “Bullet Proof White Limo” is a smooth, almost creepy song. “Give up and Go Away,” co-written by Kid in the Hall, Dave Foley, has some great shouted “Hey’s” which always make a song fun to sing along with. “The Radio (foggy hill)” is one of those songs that seems simple and is easy to ignore, but once it gets inside of you it sticks (Imagine a droning singalong of “Na-na-na-na-na-na-na goes the radio”).
In general, Northey is a witty lyricist, and this album is no exception. The lyrics aren’t always easy to hear, but some of my favorites include:
Gang vocal with the fist up, into German porn; Peter Band caught fire, warming up for Korn.
We did 22 bucks a head; That’s better than the Grateful Dead; They picked our stock of swag so clean; As they raged against the old machine.
When I was born your time was through, now it’s my generation too; I care so I rehearse, cause everybody knows the words.
You don’t get a sense for the catchy melodies with these snippets but you do get a sense for the tone and themes. There’s a lot of songs about being in a band, but they aren’t really navel gazing. I mean, I’ve never been in a band, but I enjoyed the lyrics.
Any fan of The Odds or The Hip should track this down, but really, anyone looking for a diverse collection of well-crafted songs should really give this one a try. You can check out the disc from Maplemusic. There’s even a band website (which hasn’t been updated in over two years!)
[READ: August 19, 2008] “Steppin’ Out, Summer ’68”
My coworker recommended this story to me, as one of the only stories that ever made him laugh out loud (he claims he has no sense of humor).
And it was pretty funny, and then it got really funny. The story starts with Wilson and Jake meeting their “ringleader” Buddy who tries “to look like a man who knew things.” Buddy is hilariously chastised by his mother for wearing snakeskin boots and as Buddy tries to impress his friends, his mom shouts, “And don’t walk like you got a corncob up you.”
I should point out that this story is vulgar with a capital V, as befits a couple of guys hangin’ out together. So, ahem, the three guys decide to go searchin’ for some sex (but that’s not the word they use–nudge nudge). Buddy says he knows a girl who will do the three of them for $5 a piece. (Wilson and Jake know that they haven’t had sex yet, but they assume that Buddy has, so they take his word for it). He gathers the cash and they head downtown. There is some concern that hey are heading into the black neighborhood (but that’s not the word they use–nudge nudge), but he assures them that the girl lives on the white side of the street. When they arrive the girl’s pimp is sitting on the front porch. When Buddy approaches and asks about the girl, the pimp, who is in fact the girl’s father or grandfather, punches the ringleader down the stairs and threatens to sic their dog on him.
It’s here that the story gets really twisted, and really funny.
The friends are bummed. So, they bust out some moonshine that they bought from an old man and swig from it. It tastes so bad they decide it could be used as hair oil. Buddy puts some in his pompadour, pulls out a smoke, lights the match and is immediately set aflame. His friend, acting before thinking, tries to put it out by throwing liquid on the fire. But the only liquid at hand is the moonshine.
Seriously aflame now, Buddy runs down the street where he is… well, since it is the funniest part, and the culmination of the story, I won’t give away what happens to him next, but an alligator definitely comes into play. It is all so over the top and yet written in such deadpan style that it’s impossible not to laugh, no matter how squeamish you may be.
The entire story is done in this style: mater-of-factness about sex, violence, everything. It was certainly an enjoyable read, and I’m making a note to read more of his short stories (he evidently has hundreds). He also wrote the story (and the screenplay I think) for Bubba Ho-Tep, the movie starring Bruce Campbell, so that’s pretty cool in my book.
Thanks [coworker] for the recommendation!