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.


Aren’t new vinyl records always better than used?

While unlike audio gear and cars, the depreciation value of records is slow if at all, but like cars, does it always pay to buy new? With the huge amount of records out there in the used market that have not been re-issued and may never be, it is like trying to go to your local Ford dealer car lot and insisting on finding a 1966 Mustang to purchase, not going to happen.

If you have not noticed by now that vinyl records are back to stay for a long time to come, than you must be in a coma someplace. I grew up with vinyl records and it was the only music medium there was for a while before my time and into the first 4 years or so when 8-track and cassette tapes appeared. However, I never had a huge collection nor did my parents. I think at one point I had collected about 60 records by the mid-eighties. (I have more records now, than ever before).
Around the end of the eighties I had switched to CD. It took about 5 years of fighting about the price of CDs for me to switch and I did so because the prices came down. When CDs first hit the market, it was common to see prices from about $20 to $30 per disc. When they hit $10 I started buying in. Continue reading

Analog provides more affordable high quality audio than digital these days

I want to show you what I am talking about in the title of this post with this video from Michael Fremer at the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest this past October covering systems ranging from $500 to $2500. These are just one way of doing it, there are many variations if you want an analog based or analog front end system that keep things affordable.