Sloan – Twice Removed

Artist: Sloan
Genre: Power Pop
Title: Twice Removed
Label: Geffen
Format: CD
Musicians: Chris Murphy, Patrick Pentland, Jay Ferguson
Andrew Scott

Sloan is a Toronto-based rock/power pop quartet from Halifax, Nova Scotia. Throughout their over twenty-five-year career, Sloan has released 11 LPs, two EPs, a live album, a Greatest hits album and more than thirty singles. The band is known for their sharing of songwriting from each member of the group and their unaltered line-up throughout their career. All four members of Sloan write their own songs, and when they play live they switch instruments accordingly. Usually the band performs as follows: Murphy is on lead vocals and plays bass, Pentland is also on lead vocals and plays lead guitar, Ferguson plays rhythm guitar, and Scott plays drums. The most notable exception is when Scott picks up the guitar to play his songs; Ferguson and Murphy switch to bass and drums, respectively. Prior to 2006’s Never Hear the End of It, Ferguson and Scott would also play electric piano on songs that called for it; since joining in 2006 multi-instrumentalist Gregory Macdonald has handled all keyboard duties live and in the studio. While Murphy has written more of the band’s songs than any of the other members, Pentland is nonetheless responsible for having written many of Sloan’s most recognizable hits. Perhaps more noteworthy, however, is the fact that every member of the group has contributed at least two songs per album, with only the following exceptions:

The band was formed in 1991 when Chris Murphy and Andrew Scott met at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD) in Halifax; Patrick Pentland and Jay Ferguson joined soon after. The band is named after the nickname of their friend, Jason Larsen. Larsen was originally called Slow One by his French-speaking boss which, with the French accent, sounded more like “Sloan”. The original agreement was that they could name the band after Larsen as long as he was on the cover of their first album. As a result, it is Larsen who appears on the cover of the Peppermint EP, which was released on the band’s own label, Murderecords.
Official website:

Twice Removed is the second album by Canadian rock band Sloan, released on Geffen Records in 1994. The album took seven weeks and cost $120,000 to record. It is considered to be one of the band’s best albums, as well as one of the greatest Canadian albums of all time. More melodic than their previous album, Smeared, Geffen gave the record little promotion because it defied the label’s commercially dominant grunge rock style of the time. Furthermore, the band was dropped from Geffen after Twice Removed’s release. After the band’s trouble with the label, they took time off from touring and writing, and were rumoured to have broken up. Inside are hand-drawn pictures of a drum kit and two men. Other images include a lady talking on the phone, a motorbike, and two dogs. On the back of the liner notes are drawings of cars and a binder with the title “Sloan” on it. On the back of the case, a snare drum with all the tracks’ names on Twice Removed engraved into its side is displayed.

Overall the album has good lyrics in all the songs and is well done power pop. There is a vinyl version, but I don’t know if it is good or not as the provenance is not known. It is also difficult to find.

1. “Penpals”– This is a great song and I can relate to it since I too have had and do have a few friends from around the world. The idea and lyrics came from when the band signed to Geffen and were looking through broken english fan letters to Kurt Cobain.
2. “I Hate My Generation”- This is a quintessential power pop song
3. “People of the Sky”- This song starts by sounding like it was recorded on a little portable tape recorder from the 70s on purpose, then it goes into sounding like the style of bands such as The Association. A really good job done on this one.
4. “Coax Me”– Solid power pop
5. “Bells On”– This is just an ok song.
6. “Loosens“- One of my least favorite tracks as the vocals are not that good, but the music is not bad.
7. “Worried Now”– This is a solid power pop song with a similar feel of bands like The Posies
8. “Shame Shame”– This is one of my favorite tracks on the album. It is strong power pop and reminds me of what it might sound like if The Doors and Red Kross had a power pop kid, this is what it would sound like.
9. “Deeper Than Beauty”- This song is not one of my favorites either as it is similar to track six
10. “Snowsuit Sound”- Well, this song is interesting, if nothing else with the fuzz bass, hand clap and straight beat snare drum.
11. “Before I Do” – This song clocks in at around 7 minutes. It starts as a poorly done ballad in my opinion with a microphone effect on the vocals. About one and half minutes in it starts to show signs of slight improvement, but never quite reaches that. This pattern continues through the song which also has terrible vocals in my opinion.
12. “I Can Feel It”– This last song has a regular pop feel and is a good song with some female backing vocals.


Spiritualized – Lazer Guided Melodies

Artist: Spiritualized
Genre: Space-rock/Shoegaze/Psychedelic
Title: Lazer Guided Melodies
Label: Dedicated/BMG
Format: CD
Musicians:Jason Pierce – guitar (Fender Telecaster, Eko Rocket, acoustic guitar), dulcimer, autoharp, piano, vocals, Kate Radley – keyboards (Vox Continental, Farfisa, piano), vocals, Mark Refoy – guitar (Gretsch Country Gent, Epiphone Casino, Fender Telecaster), acoustic guitar, dulcimer, Will Carruthers – bass (Gibson Thunderbird)
Jonny Mattock – drums, percussion, dulcimer, Simon Clarke – flute, Roddy Lorimer – trumpet, Will Gregory – saxophone, Colin Humphries – cello, Martin Robinson – cello, Owen John – violin
Production, mixing – Jason Pierce
Mixing – Barry Clempson
Engineering – Angus Wallace, Barry, Clempson, Declan O’Regan, Mike Long, Paul Adkins
Mastering Engineer = Chris Blair

Spiritualized are an English space rock band. They formed in 1990 in Rugby, Warwickshire by Jason Pierce (often known as J. Spaceman), formerly of Spacemen 3. The membership of Spiritualized has changed from album to album, with Pierce—who writes, composes and sings all of the band’s material—being the only constant member. Continue reading

Bob Dylan – Oh Mercy

Artist: Bob Dylan
Genere: Folk,Rock,Gospel
Title: Oh Mercy
Released: 1989
Label: Columbia
Format: CD
Musicians: Bob Dylan – vocals, guitar, piano, harmonica, 12-string guitar, organ, Malcolm Burn – tambourine, keyboards, bass guitar, Rockin’ Dopsie – accordion, Willie Green – drums, Tony Hall – bass guitar, John Hart – saxophone, Daryl Johnson – percussion, Larry Jolivet – bass guitar, Daniel Lanois – dobro, lap steel, guitar, omnichord, Cyril Neville – percussion, Alton Rubin, Jr. – scrub board, Mason Ruffner – guitar, Brian Stoltz – guitar, Paul Synegal – guitar
Producer: Daniel Lanois
Engineers: Malcolm Burn, Mark Howard
Mastering Engineer: Greg Calbi

The sound of this CD is thin, but not too bad. This is one of those records that may well sound better on vinyl depending on source.

1. “Political World” – Bob Dylan was struggling to come up with the right arrangement for this tirade against the modern world when producer Daniel Lanois came up with a setting that he thought could make the song work. Guitarist Brian Stolz recalled to Uncut magazine: “Dan had an idea for a little groove, kind of a funkier groove. I remember we ran through it a few times before Bob got there. Bob came walking in the room when we were playing. He said, ”What’s that?’ Dan said, ‘It’s a little something we’re working up for ‘Political World.’ And Bob said, ‘Political World’? It doesn’t go like that! It goes like this.'”
“He picked up a guitar and started playing it and we all jumped in – and my memory is that’s the track you hear on the record,” Stolz added. “If you listen to ‘Political World’ you can hear how Willie (Green, drums) doesn’t even come in with the beat because he was jumping in after Bob.”
This song covers some political and social ground and ironically, while written in the late eighties, it pertains that much more to 2016/2017. This up-tempo song despite it’s one chord and extreme simplicity musically, is one of my favorites.
2. “Where Teardrops Fall”- This ballad is almost country sounding, but not quite.
3. “Everything Is Broken” – This is another favorite of mine, the song’s lyrics describe Dylan’s detachment from his world at the time of its writing.
4. “Ring Them Bells” – In this gospel flavored song as in “Where Teardrops Fall” Dylan holds onto a faith that is millenarian but more generous than the one he has articulated on his more overtly Christian records.
5. “Man in the Long Black Coat” – This is another of my favorites on this album. No, it is not about Johnny Cash. It’s a chilling narrative ballad. Sung by Dylan in a husky, tormented whisper, the song tells of a woman who leaves her man for a demonic stranger, prompting a series of reflections on the nature of conscience, religious faith and emotional commitment. One of my favorite lines, Dylan sings, “There are no mistakes in life, some people say/And it’s true sometimes, you could see it that way/People don’t live or die, people just float/She went with the man in a long black coat.”
Side two:
1. “Most of the Time” – This a love song of taunting regret is much like U2’s “Your Blue Room” from the Passengers soundtrack.
2. “What Good Am I?” – This slightly gospel flavored song is one of self-examination in the vain of the previous song.
3. “Disease of Conceit” – This song, once again with a slight gospel bent is about just what the title says.
4. “What Was It You Wanted” – This song is seemingly about a former lover, it sets forth a series of chiding questions about expectations — expectations that the singer has failed to meet, implicitly because of their unreasonable nature. This is also another favorite of mine off this LP.
5. “Shooting Star” – This ballad is my least favorite on the album. It’s a kind of restless farewell.