Top 10 Canadian Albums (Of All Time!)

I had planned a while ago on posting this on Canada Day, but that was before it turned out to be a day of low key celebration this year. Personally, I think Canada Day should be put on hold until we as a country make substantial amends for our past mistakes and not just symbolic ones. But that is another post for another day.

Anyway, a part of Canada that I’ll always be proud of is my fellow country folk’s contribution to music. I’ve always been a fan of many Canadian artists and I plan on doing better job at highlighting them on this blog. The fact the Canadian artists I don’t care for (Beebs, Celine) keep becoming international superstars must be because BuriedOnMars.com is failing at supporting the good stuff!

I expect this list to change over time as I dive deeper into the catalogues of bands like Saga, Odds, Red Rider and many others. I’m hoping to discover more music that speaks to me and maybe we’ll revisit this in a year or two to see how the list changes. Or maybe I’ll forget all about it. Who knows?

My only two rules for this list is that I can only pick ONE album from each artist and it must be in my collection. So, here are my 10 (AKA Nigel Tufnel 11) favourite Canadian albums of ALL TIME (for now):

11. Sam Roberts Band | We Were Born In A Flame

Nothing says the mid-2000’s better to me than this album. I remember it being the CD of the summer of 2003, then the singles just kept hitting the radio for the next couple of years. It is that good and was that popular. I’m sad to say how I haven’t check out any of Sam Robert’s following albums, a correction that I will need to make, but that doesn’t take away how good this sucker is.

10. Barenaked Ladies | Gordon

Make fun of The Wiggles-ish album cover all you like, but the contents of Gordon are some of the most fun I have listening to a non-Weird Al album. BNL only tried to shed the “novelty act” vibes Gordon does have at times with subsequent releases, but for me, their song writing was never stronger (Brian Wilson) or more relatable (Grade 9) than right here.

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09. FM | Black Noise

FM’s Black Noise is loaded with recent bias as I had only discovered the band a few months ago, but I’ll continue to talk about this underrated prog-rock outfit until everyone goes out and buys their albums. Phasors On Stun is the only song that could be considered a “hit” since a few Canadian radio stations still play it, but this brilliant album is in danger of being lost if more people don’t seek it out. Get on it!

08. David Wilcox | Out Of The Woods

The headliner of every rib and blues festival from Victoria Island to Cape Spear, Wilcox is a phenomenal slide guitar player. The most well known tune on Out of The Woods is Do The Bearcat but that hard drivin’ slide blues on tracks like Hot, Hot Papa and That Hypnotizin’ Boogie are the better reason why this album made my list.

07. The Band | The Band

Nobody has ever looked cooler on any album cover than The Band did on their self titled 2nd album (AKA The Brown Album). A concept of album of sorts as all of the songs pull from stories from the turn of the century. Not the last one, but the one before that. Up on Cripple Creek and The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down became classic rock staples, but the entire record is a joy to listen to from top to bottom proving that Canadians are capable of doing better Americana than Americans.

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06. Max Webster | Max Webster

Max Webster’s debut is part Zappa (Toronto Tontos), part driving hard rock (Hangover), part light AOR friendly fare (Blowin’ The Blues Away). It is a terrific album… actually all of their albums are terrific and I wish they would reunite for some live shows before it gets too late. I’d love to see them, but according to Kim Mitchell as early as last year there is no interest in doing so. *drats*

05. RUSH | Moving Pictures

The Beatles put all those fantastic tunes on Side B of Abby Road because they didn’t wish to compete with RUSH for the greatest Side A of all time. Tom Sawyer, Red Barchetta Bread, YYZ, and Limelight make for the greatest collection of four Canadian tunes put together. Ever!

04. The Tragically Hip | Day For Night

It is tough to choose just one Hip album, so I went with Day for Night because it is a classic, a little different, and solid all the way through. Plus, the opening bass riff for Grace, Too is what attracted me to the band in the first place. I guess your first good impression usually remains to be your favourite.

03. Sloan | Navy Blues

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Nothing says the late ’90s to me better than Sloan’s Navy Blues. The band was always great, but this is where they fully infused their music with late Beatles (Seems So Heavy) and early The Who (Suppose They Close The Door) influence which made them greater than they already where. It is a fantastic record that rocks (Money City Maniacs, She Says What She Means) and has clever lyrics (Chester The Molester).

02. Neil Young and Crazy Horse | Ragged Glory

There are so many directions I can go with Neil. After The Gold Rush, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, Harvest. The list goes on. So I went with my personal favourite. Ragged Glory isn’t the album that Neil and the Horse are best known for, but it was my introduction to the band. I remember hearing it for the first time and was floored that the guy that sings Old Man on the radio could rock this hard.

01. The Sheepdogs | Changing Colours

Changing Colours is probably a controversial pick for #1 in some circles, but I don’t care what circles think. This album is a perfect throw back to ’70s rock and it even out does some of it. Part Santana (Cool Down), part Moody Blues (I’m Just Waiting For My Time) and part Allman Bros Band (Nobody), it speaks to me on so many levels. The Sheepdogs added Jimmy Bowskill to the lineup which made them a top shelf band. Bowskill became my favourite Canadian guitarist because of this record. A bold statement, I know. Listen to him rip on a Les Paul while plugged into a Marshall half stack at the Kee To Bala like I have, then we can talk.

So, what do you have for your favourite Canadian albums? Fire away in the comments as I’m always looking for recommendations!

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Collection Update | June 18, 2021

The Canadian Postal Service has been good to me this week! Just about every day Sarah has texted me that a parcel had arrived at the house causing me to lay down some expletives at every yellow light during the commute home.

The Neil Young albums saw a price drop on amazon, so I grabbed both. Sloan surprised us last week with the stealth release of B-Sides Vol. 2. Billy and The Sheepdogs were pre-ordered a while ago. They just happen to come in this week by chance. I’ll go into details for all of the albums in future posts once The Hip series is completed. Spoiler alert: I’ve listened to the all and they are fantastic!

So, for now, lets take a closer look at this Angus figure.

My buddy, Frank purchased him for me a while ago. It something he doesn’t have to do, but he always does! Plus, I wasn’t expecting to get my hands on Angus until this stupid pandemic calms down and we can meet in person again. But he shipped it instead! Geez, it is too much and appreciated every time! Thanks, Franko!

Of course, they never get the face quite right. Depending on the angle, Angus looks psychotic or he is having a tough time with passing the protein sandwich.

So, what do you think? Should I open him up or keep him sealed? The collector in me says to keep it together, but with 22 points of articulation it might be fun to pose him on the shelf. I’ll let you guys decide in the comments!

January 2021 Music Collection Update

Not too much to report this month. My area of the province went in lock down before Christmas with an end date that seems to keep being moved further down the calendar. Right now it is set for February 9th. We will see if that happens. With cases this high, I don’t feel comfortable going out anyway. So, no visits to the mission thrift but I did get three items from amazon.

First, when I was on LeBrain Train for the “ZZ Top Deep Tracks” episode, I was remind how I had yet to pick up the extended edition of Eliminator.  Something I meant to do last year during my next trip to Sunrise Records in the mall. Pfft.

Amazon had “1 copy left” for 20 moose bucks.  So, I snagged it:

It comes with a DVD of the MTV videos for the album and a three song set they did for British TV in ’83.  You can see it all on YouTube, but now I can watch them when my internet goes out.  Plus, the extended version of the CD has three different versions of Legs and some live tracks.  

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Next, I cleared an item from The Grail List!  The authorities over at Keeps Me Alive have been notified! 

I know, you’re thinking a CD from 2003 from a band on a major label can’t be that hard to find, but The Allman Brothers Band’s Hittin’ The Note eluded me for years. It is one of those albums that someone handed me a burnt CD preservation copy of and it took me five years to get to it. By that time, the fanfare for the album was over and it was hard to find unless I was willing to spend more than I was willing to. Finally, someone put it on eBay for 8 moose bucks, shipped.

Even though it is over long with a runtime of 75 minutes, I love it. I think this is the only Allman studio album with both Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks on it, and those guys are endlessly entertaining to listen to.

Finally, back in December I ordered The Police’s Every Move You Make, a European box set that contains their studio recordings:  

Since it arrived in January, I count it as a January pickup.

It contains pretty much all of their studio recordings. Their five original studio albums are newly remastered here, which the fans on the message boards seemed to be really pleased with over the 2003 remasters. Plus, a 6th CD which has all of their B-side tracks from the album singles. Not bad for 35 moose bucks.

What is missing are two tracks from an early single and three songs they did for a soundtrack for a movie called Brimstone and Treacle. Really, the entire soundtrack is worth tracking down because there is some pretty good stuff from Sting on it too. There are some remixes and live tracks missing as well. There is another box set called Message in a Box which is a little more complete, but not fully and it isn’t remastered… wait a minute… who let Mike Ladano into my head?????

December 2020 Music Collection Update

The final month of 2020 was fairly light for me as I can fit all of the pickup in one post!  A big reason is Ontario’s return to a lock-down which had me visiting my mission thrift for $2 CDs only once.  But before we get to those, I also caught up on a few releases from 2020 that I wanted to review before the year was up.  I already wrote about them at length, so follow the links if you want to know more.  All of these were ordered online:

Armored Saint’s Punching The Sky and The Dirty Knobs’s Wreckless Abandon were both Black Friday grabs on amazon that didn’t arrive to the house until December.

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Most of you got Iron Maiden’s Nights of the Dead, Legacy of the Beast Live in Mexico City in November but my special edition didn’t make it to the house until Dec. 12th, which is my Birthday!  Not a bad present, at all!

I ordered Sloan’s B-Sides Win 1992-1997 from their website and Freeway’s True Bearings from Bandcamp.

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And the last online order goes to ZZ Top who reissued Live in Germany 1980 on vinyl.

Now to the fruits of my one trip to the mission thrift.  Spoiler alert:  It is a little weak sauce.

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I picked up Chet Atkins & Jerry Reed‘s Sneakin’ Around out of respect for both artists.  I’m a little disappointed how most of the album’s tunes are instrumentals.  They feel a little incomplete to me.  Probably not one I’d spin often.

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Big Head Todd And The Monsters is a band that I feel I should enjoy more but they have yet to excite me.  Adding Sister Sweetly to that list.

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Billy Joel‘s The Bridge is already in the collection on vinyl, but adding the CD for $2 is to difficult  to resist.

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There seems to be an album from The Mamas & The Papas waiting for me for every visit to the mission thrift. Usually it is a greatest hits compilation.  This one is their self titled debut.  Its not bad.  Mostly a sign of things to come.

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Bob Seger Bob & The Silver Bullet Band‘s released The Fire Inside in 1991 and I believe most of the fire was gone by then.  This has two Tom Waits covers.  Two!  There are a few good tracks on it though.

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Finally, the mission thrift pulled out all of the Christmas music.  I grew up with Bing Crosby‘s Merry Christmas.  I’m not too much of a fan of the churchy stuff on side 1 but side 2 is the bomb.  I really want A Very Special Christmas 2 with the Tom Petty Song on it, but I’ll take the first for $2.  Bruce Cockburn‘s Christmas was a pleasant surprise.  It is a nice mix of old standards with originals.  This will be spun a few times during the Holidays from now on.

Bonus pickup!  A Star Trek jigsaw puzzle to put together while I listen to the tunes!

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[Album Review] Sloan | B sides win vol.1 1992-1997

B sides win 1992-2008 was originally released in digital format in 2010 as a collection of “extras, bonus tracks, and b-sides.”  Now, the release is getting the vinyl treatment! 

As the original was a 16 track set that covered 16 years, the vinyl will be broken up into separate volumes, with B sides win vol. 1 1992-1997 being the first.

Vol. 1 is limited to only 1200 copies that you can still grab (as of this writing) right here.  Don’t fall for the scum on eBay who are claiming it is sold out while charging over $100 for a copy.

The first tune, Underwhelmed is the best known one on here.  An early hit for Sloan that did make an appearance on their debut EP Peppermint and again on their first album Smeared.  It is unlikely that most fans have this version which is originally from a 1992 cassette compilation of Halifax bands called Hear & Now.  It is the same recording that is on Peppermint but a different mix.  Really fun to listen to where it all began.

The middle part of the album are a bunch of tunes that made it onto 12″ and CD singles at the time.  They all vary in quality, but mostly good by my ears.  You have songs like Amped, Pillow Fight, and D is For Driver, which display the signs of things to come.  Heck, I’d even say with a little polish they could fit on a current album. 

Really, I was expecting experiments like Sleepover, a slow prodding Frogstompian grunge tune.  Not really my thing, but understandable for a band that was finding their footing in the early ’90s.

In 1993, Sloan jumped at a chance to work with My Bloody Valentine’s engineer Anjali Dutt.  The result of their session was two tunes, Rag Doll and Laying Blame that ended up on the CD single for I Am the Cancer.  Rag Doll is OK as it leans heavy into the My Bloody Valentine inspiration.  I really like Laying Blame which features Sloan doing their own thing with My Bloody Valentine type distortion.  Good times.

Stood Up and Same Old Flame are listed as ‘studio versions’ as they are different from the 7″ single recordings.  These originally appeared on the Japanese CD of One Chord To Another.  Now we don’t need to hunt that down!  Both are like having more One Chord To Another!  An excellent treat!

I enjoyed B sides win vol. 1 1992-1997 better than I thought I would.  I thought dividing the original release would create an incomplete feeling.  Instead, it turns out I really enjoyed having only 9 tracks to digest instead of all 16 at once.  It gave me time to focus on and appreciate them.

I was also prepared to grade this on a curve.  I thought it would be unfair to judge work that was originally meant to be a one-off experiment or bonus track almost 30 years ago the same as I would for new music.  This turned out to only be partly true.  This is not where new fans should begin their journey as the main purpose is to fill the gaps in the hardcore fan’s collections, but the Sloan we know turn up often enough to hold their own and make this a solid listen.  

For Casual Fans: 3.5/5
For Sloan Nerds: 5/5

Sload B side vol 1 back

October 2020 Music Collection Update, Part 1

October was an excellent month for adding new tunes to the collection!  I’ve been doing very well selling off video games and squirreling away the profits, but I allowed myself to spend some of the earnings on discs with music on them.  The month was so good, I decided to break them up into TWO parts!

Also, I need some time to listen to this stuff, hence the mid-November post.  It is what it is.

For part one, these are all albums I grabbed from eBay, amazon, and a online order from The Beat Goes On.  Some is new, some is used.  All were in the $10 -$15 range except for the box sets.  So, here we go:

I wanted to full some holes in my Anthrax collection and I did:

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Worship Music is from 2011 and For All Kings is from 2016.  Anthem is an EP collection of cover tunes that does include Rush’s Anthem among others. Chile On Hell is a live CD/DVD box set of a show they did in 2014, which has a crowd that is WAY in Anthrax.  A fun watch, for sure.

Fistful of Metal is their debut with their first vocalist, Neil Turbin.  Neil’s voice is not as melodic Belladonna’s, but he has a great rocks voice and wrote some solid lyrics.  I’m happy with all of these. 

Continuing with the thrash metal, I got Testament’s Titans of Creation which came out earlier this year in March.  

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I want to do a full review before the year is up as I’m sure it will make my best of 2020 list. 

I also grabbed the last Black Sabbath album I’ll need with Ozzy:

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The End is an EP of extra material from the last studio album, 13 that was originally only available to those who attended their final tour.  But it must have been reissued at some point because it wasn’t very expensive on eBay and it seems legit.

For some reason during one of my purge sessions I got rid of my Pantera CDs.  Well, I corrected that error this month: 

20201108_202330 When it comes to Pantera, the first three albums are my jam.  Although, I have turned the corner on Reinventing the Steel and may have a deluxe edition soon heading my way. 

I got three Alice Cooper albums:

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The early Greatest Hits collection has different mixes that what is on the album.  Plus, it is the one I had on cassette during my teens. 

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Deep Purple’s In Rock is staple in influencing heavy metal bands that followed it.  Just listen to it back to back with Iron Maiden’s first album for proof.  People seem to be mixed on The Who’s The Who By Numbers but I like it.  Squeeze Box is the tune causal fans will know but it has quite a few solid album tracks on it. 

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I have both of Led Zeppelin’s In Through The Out Door and Presence on vinyl already, but they’re not in the best shape.  I bought them in the ’90s when they were more for wall art.  These were dirt cheap and in nice shape, so I though why not? 

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For some reason I stopped buying Sloan albums at some point.  Another correction needed to make.  Peppermint is an early EP with some tunes that ended up on their debut album but with different mixes, so you’ll need this if you want the OGs.  I don’t have too much experience yet with Never Hear The End Of It but Parallel Play is a gem of an album.  Doesn’t get the respect it has earned! 

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Jimi Hendrix Blues was an album one of my college roommates had and I always had wanted and People, Hell & Angels is a collection of rare tracks all remastered by Eddie Kramer.  And… oops, Stone Free is a $2 mission thrift pickup that slipped in here.  Well, the tribute album is mostly “meh” but there are some gems. 

And finally, 

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I already wrote about Tom Petty’s Wildflowers & All The Rest right here.   Just thought I’d mention it again to remind people of how good it is. 

So, that is all.  That would have been enough but I had a good day at my local mission thrift last month.  So, Part Deux will feature some Paul Simon, The Beatles, and a rare Beach Boys set!  All $2 grabs  You don’t want to miss it!

[Concert Review] Sloan | Brampton (Oct 10th, 2019)

This was my third time seeing Sloan perform live.  The hook this time is they were performing favourite Sloan album, Navy Blues in its entirety. 

The show was at The Rose, a performance theatre with seating for just under 900 people. Brampton, Ontario is about an hour drive for me and the tickets were $42 each.  I was able to snatch two of them for the 2nd row! One for me, and the other for my wife, Sarah. I couldn’t believe how we were going to sit that close!

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Wow!  Physical tickets! I can’t remember the last time I got one of these.

When the day arrived, Sarah was super prepared.  Having already checked The Rose out on Google Street View, she knew exactly where to go and to park at their underground lot which is free after 7 PM.  We parked, walked up a few stairs, and next thing you know we are in line at the box office.  Freakin’ sweet. We were seated by 7:30ish, waiting for the show to start.  Sarah was really impressed with the seats.

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Having seen Sloan a couple to times already, I knew that her favourite member of the band, Patrick Pentland, sets up towards the left of the stage.  So I got us seats on the left.  It made up for missing out on him last year when he had to miss the show we attended due to a family emergency.

Sarah picked up a couple of shirts and we both took a bathroom break to change into them.

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Mine is the left one. (Editor’s 2nd note: I still often wear it!)

There was no opening act billed but the band allowed one of their road crew members to perform fifteen minutes of his original material.  This two-man group was named Silent Wall and consisted of a guitar/vocal and drums.  And man… did Sloan and Silent Wall ever bust each other’s chops.  Sloan’s Chris Murphy came out and gave them a five-minute roast.  Silent Wall interluded between tunes with some jabs at Sloan.  When Sloan took they stage, they used any chance to complain about how terrible the opening act was.  It was so Canadian.  I loved it.

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Chris Murphy busts Silent Wall’s chops.

Sloan didn’t waste any time getting to the Navy Blues material .  They opened with it and performed the album from start to finish.  I was impressed by the incredible amount of planning that had to go into this.  One of the most unique things I like about Sloan is how they switch lead vocal duties and instruments between all of the band members.  Check out the band member credits on Wikipedia:

4 lead vocalists, 2 rhythm guitarists, 2 on bass, two drummers… and even this list isn’t complete.  Because even though Patrick did most of the lead solos, both Andrew and Jay had some lead licks happening.

Usually, during a show, the shift between instruments is a very smooth one.  They perform a few of Jay’s tunes, then Chris’, then Patricks, etc… which means they only need to switch instruments a few times.  This isn’t the case when performing the tracklist for Navy Blues, which I’m sure was designed to make an optimal listening experience instead of what would make for the fewest changes during a live show.  Between every tune was the clicks and clacks of guitars being switched over and the organized chaos of having one band member moving onto a different set of instruments.  All for the benefit of the crowd who was there to see their favourite album performed.  It was very much appreciated. (Also, shout out to 5th-ish band member Gregory MacDonald who handled all of the the keys and backing vocals during the show.)

During Sloan’s short break after finishing up Navy Blues, Sarah and I talked vinyl.  They had two albums at the merch table that we had our eyes on, Twice Removed and One Chord to Another.  They were $30 each which I felt was a little high, but a quick check online showed that it was reasonable by comparison. We ended up grabbing both for us.

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Sloan came back out and hammered us with the hits and memorable album tracks. Chris Murphy got the crowd on their feet after jumping off the stage and we all stayed that way until he told us we could sit down for a slow tune. Then he strummed the first two chords of “The Rest of My Life” and we all got back up. Good times.

Exiting the building one guy was having trouble opening the door to the parking garage.  After he figured out it was a pull instead of a push I quiped so he could hear, “He must be a Silent Wall fan”.  We had a good laugh.

I’m going to leave you now with a few more photos of the show.  The ones that look good were taken by Sarah, and I’m responsible for the burry ones.  Thanks for reading and thanks to Sloan for the good times!

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This is after Chris jumped in the crowd and we all stood up.  I was moving the camera to get around Mr. Baldy who was about to shift to his left and I was going to get a good shot.  Then this kid ran right in front of me.  Almost had it.

Top 8 Albums from 2018

Top 8?  Yeah, the last few years have been tough on me and 2018 was no exception.  I needed a lot of comfort food this year and that came from writing/listening to my favorite band, AC/DC.  It did get my mind off things but it meant spending less time with albums from 2018.

The fact that you are reading this all, really, is because of my wife, Sarah.  As I talked to her about needing to cut down on time spent creating content in 2019, her one request was a post on my favorite albums from 2018.  She is always looking to highlight the positive when things become overwhelming and negative.  What she describes as “the light in the shadows”.  So this post is dedicated to her.

So, here we go.  8 lights that found a way to shine in 2018:

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#8 Corrosion of Conformity – No Cross, No Crown

This was an immediate buy for me with Pepper Keenan back in the band on lead guitar and vocals.  Well, by immediate I mean the first moment I found a deal.  It was released in January and I believe I grabbed it sometime in March.  The album is a bit uneven but most of the tracks are a stoner-rockin’ good time.  This is where you belong, Pepper!

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#7 Saxon – Thunderbolt

Thunderbolt is my first Saxon album and I was blown away by how much these geezers can rock!  Nah, forget rock.  This is MET-TAALL!  You can read my full review of the album here.

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#6 Jimi Hendrix – Both Sides of the Sky

This is an excellent collection of half done/hidden/vaulted tracks from the greatest guitarist of all time.  A lot of what is here has been released before on compilations and bootlegs, but with mixing board in the hands of Eddie Kramer (The engineer on all of Jimi’s classic albums), you’ll be hard pressed to find a place where these tunes sound better.  You can read my full review here.

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#5 Greta Van Fleet – Anthem of the Peaceful Army

Take away all of the comparisons to Led Zeppelin and you have a great rock ‘n roll record.  Grip tightly onto all of the comparisons to Led Zeppelin and you have a great rock ‘n roll record.  Honestly, I don’t know why GVF’s strong Zeppelin vibe is seen as negative by some.  How many times have we put on a classic rock album and said “They don’t make them like this anymore”? Then, someone does it (and does it WELL) and it gets crapped on.  *shrugs*

jann arden these are the days#4 Jann Arden – These Are The Days

These Are The Days opens with the fantastic ‘Everybody’s Pulling on Me‘, and Christ on a cracker did 2018 feel that way at times.  The tune has a perfect old school Mo-Town/Doo-Wop rhythm that Jann’s voice cuts through as she delivers the melody.  The rest of the album is solid too.  Especially ‘All The Little Things‘.  It’s the kind of album that you listen to and think, I’ve heard this before. Is this a cover tune? Then you realize it is all new, but the tunes are connecting with you.

Sarah and I thought about skipping on seeing her perform live in Oshawa this past October.  Even though we needed a break, we made the effort to move some scheduling around to make it work.  I’m so glad we did!  That show was not only rockin’ but hilarious too.  Would do again.

judas priest firepower#3 Judas Priest – Firepower

The Priest is back, baby!  The best Priest album in decades.  DECADES!  I pre-ordered it when ‘Lightening Strikes‘ hit the YouTubes and I don’t do that often. Besides over-staying its welcome a wee bit, the album is otherwise solid.  I almost wish they would hang it up here and go out on a high note.   Easily my vote for the best MET-TAALL album of 2018.

sloan 12 cover#2 Sloan – 12

It kills me not to put this at number one.  KILLS ME!  It is so good.  That perfect mix of rock and pop, 12 is a pleasure to listen to from start to finish.  Usually, after listening to an album a number of times I get tired of a song or two and find myself skipping to the tracks I love.  That hasn’t happened with 12 yet, and I’m not sure if it ever will.

We did see Sloan in May at The KEE to Bala and these guys put on a show!  Even though Sarah’s boyfriend, Patrick Pentland, wasn’t there due to a family illness we had a fantastic time.  Almost all of 12 was performed, and I was not complaining!  You can read my full review of 12 right here!

Sheepdogs - changing colours LP#1 The Sheepdogs – Changing Colours

As difficult as it was to put Sloan in the #2 spot, Changing Colours was easy to place at #1.  No other album got more play by me in 2018.  The addition of my BFF Jimmy Bowskill to The Sheepdogs finally had me standing up and acknowledging a band that I have ignored for a while.  No matter what my mood, Changing Colours seem appropriate to play.  It is late 60’s/70’s rock done to perfection in 2018.

The Sheepdogs also had us visiting The KEE to Bala again in August.  Man, these guys rocked it!  BFF Jimmy had the half stack of Marshalls singing sweetly all night long.  Glad to hear their drummer is doing well with battling the big C!  You can read my full review of Changing Colours right here.

So, even though I only have eight albums, I guess you could say 2018 still had a quality over quantity vibe for me.  Also like how 3 Canadian artists cracked my top 5!  It will be interesting to see how long that record holds.  Anyway, here’s hoping more time is spent with the Rock ‘n Roll in 2019!

[Album Review] Sloan | 12

Full disclosure:  I write this review after having experienced Sloan at the KEE to Bala just the other night and they put on a fantastic show.  So impartial review, this ain’t.

I had been on the hunt for a vinyl copy for Sloan’s new album, 12 after streaming four of its tunes on YouTube.  The sucker had been sold out everywhere I looked, but last night I was able to score one at the show.  Well… truth be told… my Wife & Super Sexy Blogger Extraordinaire, Sarca Sim scored me one.  They had a booth selling the usual concert items, and Sarca was itching to scope it out for a T-shirt.  I handed “Ol’ Cupface” the $40 in cash I had on me and asked her to check for the album while I held claim to our stage-view table.  What she came back with was a clear, purple vinyl, US imported LP for $25:

Sloan purple vinyl

Wild stuff, no?  Needless to say I was not only thrilled at finally snagging a copy, but also proud of my wife’s eye for seeing an opportunity to get the more collectible version.  If you want to know more about our time at the show check out Sarca’s review of it right here.

As for the tunes on 12, I will fully admit how the cerebral lyrics for your average Sloan song flies firmly over my head.  For instance, the album’s closer ‘44 Teenagers‘ gives a shout out to Gord Downie that goes:

Just the other day I was reminded of
The many ways Gord Downie died
I see a kid in my head who will be seein’ red
Until his anger yields to pride

I’m sure that means something to a lot of people, but I have no clue.  Gord died only one way that I know of.  Who is this kid?  Their lyrics make me feel like the dumb one in the group who doesn’t understand what hyperbole is.  I don’t mean this as a knock against the band or their writing style since I enjoy it regardless.  I’m only pointing out my own inability to process the meaning behind abstract lyrics.  How I still enjoy Sloan can only speak to the strength of their music.

My shortcomings aside, I can speak of the album’s sound overall.  For the most part, 12 might be their most bright and cheery album to date.  Three tunes, ‘Gone For Good‘, ‘Essential Services‘, and the formerly mentioned ‘44 Teenagers‘ have a bit of a darker tone to them, but the rest of it is full with toe tappin’ Canadian rock.

Spin Our Wheels‘, ‘Don’t Stop (If It Feels Good Do It)‘, ‘The Day Will Be Mine‘, ‘Have Faith‘ are the stand outs that ooze with the positive, while the rest of the album’s solid tracks make for an excellent listen without a dog in the mix.  Perhaps it is not good enough to knock Navy Blues or Action Pact off as my top two favs for now, but every listen is bringing it closer to having a chance.

12‘s feel good vibe makes it for a perfect accompaniment to the windows rolled down, arm out the side window summer driving experience.  A lot more spins are headed toward my eardrums as it sits among the other candidates for:

sloan 12 album of the year contender