Tuesday, November 30, 2010

for my brother ichiro

BM night #1

here's a tune from pre-black mountain country-rockers, jerk with a bomb. "those hard wrecks" was originally issued on pyrokinesis (2003), the group's last album. see you at the commodore tonight...

Saturday, November 27, 2010



wanted: dead or alive #3

wanted: dead or alive #2

wanted: dead or alive #1

Friday, November 26, 2010

towards the sunlight

without a doubt, the best music resonates deep within one's soul. it's supremely powerful and can affect the listener in many different ways. the songs of shin joong-hyun and his golden-voiced protege kim jung mi take me to a bittersweet land, filled with joy and sorrow. over the last few months i've been writing like a mad monk for three forthcoming 2011 reissues that focus on the korean psychedelic rock era of the 1960's-1970's. more details to follow... until then, please enjoy kim jung mi's "towards the sunlight."

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

happy birthday

may every birthday be this plentiful! a toast to you kae!
all the best,

my god #2

where were you??? #2

live PA @ blim, january 22, 2005:
MPC 2000, 2 technics 1200 turntables, 1 CD player
w/ new super league of opiate mystics
photo by jonathan orr

*2005 seems like a lifetime ago. heavily influenced by nature sounds, canadian folk records, and rap acapellas, i put together a set – that later evolved into 2006's voluntary in nature mix for sandinista – performed live at the original upstairs blim art space. jonathan orr (new super league of opiate mystics) hosted the event (w/ blim's yuriko iga) and projected russian films behind the large cube that we performed in. hekseskudd played immaculate guitar w/ effects. NSLOOM freaked an electronic inspired program. support was warm yet moderate in numbers. there was room for more.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

january 25, 2011

damn, already marking up the 2011 VAG canadian art calendar that the good hommie decaf (he, the son of "march", aka gary lee-nova) passed my way. happy to help spread news that a new destroyer long player (kaputt) is likely sitting on the desks of music editors the world-over just waiting for review. think i'll start saving me pennies for the vinyl (featuring yet another killer ted bois snap)... in regards to album art, you simply can't beat a 12" canvas (bow down CD and digital download PDF).

pink mountaintops

Packing Richard's on Richards at 7:30 p.m. is no easy feat for any new band, local or otherwise. To get the crowd moving and grooving at this time is fucking unheard of, but this is exactly what happened when the Pink Mountaintops opened for Victoria's Frog Eyes and singer-songwriter Dan Bejar's Destroyer in June. Rugged and raw, they kicked out songs from their debut self-titled CD/LP. You could tell the band was having fun. The audience fell in love.
"It was perfect," recalls Stephen McBean, the Pink Mountaintops' bearded maestro, singer, songwriter, and guitarist. "We played the night before in Victoria and maybe practised five times. It was one of the things that reminded me of why I love playing music and why I keep doing it as opposed to quitting, because I've been saying I'm going to quit since I was 20. I'm 35 now. I can't stop."
In the press thus far, the word on the Pink Mountaintops' debut has been sex. Down and dirty, with a little "wham bam, thank you, ma'am" thrown in for good measure. And while song titles such as "I [Fuck] Mountains" and "Bad Boogie Ballin' " have graphic connotations, McBean sees it a little differently.
"It's not a sex-rock album," says the amiable musician over a beer at Pat's Pub. "The thing that's important to me about it is the inspiration that someone gave to me to make it. I was on tour, away from my wife, my partner, my lover, and was just missing her so much. I wanted to walk on a beach somewhere and hold her hand, stare into her eyes. It's about being human, and love, and tenderness, and intimacy. It's not about cheap sex or one-night stands. It's for Nahanni. She's the Pink Mountaintops."
After that spark, the rest came naturally. Taking a breather from helming the mind-bending Black Mountain, initial ideas were captured on his home-studio setup. "I came back [from touring] and I was so glad to be with Nahanni again," explains McBean. "I went upstairs into my little room in our house, and I'd write the songs and record them. I didn't worry about anything; it just came out."
Helping out on The Pink Mountaintops were some regular collaborators: Black Mountain drummer Joshua Wells and singer Amber Webber along with wayward Jerk With a Bomb soldier Christoph Hofmeister. "We did the vocals, drank wine, and smoked tons of weed," he adds. "I made sure everyone got to do a guitar solo on 'Sweet '69'. It was like, 'You fucking get in there. You're doing one. Doesn't matter if you can't play guitar, everyone's getting a solo on this one.' "
Once completed, the eight-song album was picked up by American indie-label Jagjaguwar as well as Scratch Records in Canada for a domestic release. A subsequent cross-Canada tour with the aforementioned Destroyer and Frog Eyes saw McBean performing the tunes without the aid of a backing band. "It was just me playing with a sequencer," he recalls. "I do enjoy working with human beings, though. When technology tends to fail it just stops. You're looking around on-stage and you're up there by yourself with something that has flashing lights and all of a sudden the flashing light stops. You feel like a bit of an idiot. If you're up there with friends it keeps going."
On his return, McBean continued to rehearse with an ever-expanding team of merry pranksters to bring songs like the autobiographical "Tourist in Your Town" to life. "It's about this woman that was one of my best friends when I was 15, 17. I was also madly in love with her. We both lived in Victoria, made a stupid mistake one time and we lost that friendship. She went off, became a model, and married a rock star." Sung as a duet with Black Mountain's Webber, the pristine tune crystallizes the experience of a young love lost, and, though touching, it's never bitter, just an extension of the Pink Mountaintops' landscape.
"Since I was a kid, I've always viewed the world as a big ugly place that's terrible and scary," admits McBean. "I lived that way for all my teen years. I was a punk rocker, hating this, fighting that, and ended up just bottling it up, full of hate. But I've come to realize that the world is not a terrible place. It's actually an amazing, beautiful place, and that's the only reason people can survive. Terrible things happen all the time, and will continue to happen, but horrible things can bring out great things in your life."
Music can be one of those great things, and those who attend the Pink Mountaintops' album-release party this Saturday (August 7) at the ANZA Club are bound to feel McBean's enthusiasm. "I want people to come and have fun," he stresses. "Couples that are there, lovers that are there--I want them to hold hands a little longer, go home and kiss. Express themselves. Come out and let the love fly free. Well, not too free."

Monday, November 22, 2010

summer sound in canada

the following three posts comprise the 30-minute video, summer sound in canada. released as part of light in the attic records' summer records anthology 1974-1988 in 2007, the 2 LP, dual disc, and digital compilation documents producer, singer, bodyman, and studio head jerry brown's sonic, socio-political, and spiritual quest to establish a home for reggae in canada. SSIC was pieced together from an attic-dwelling cache of unedited early 1980's footage in 2006-7. it was such an honour to help shed light on this neglected corner stone of canadian history...

"from ever since i was a kid, i always wanted to have a studio in my home. where we can do what we wanna do. express our feelings in our song..." - jerry brown (summer records)

"turn on the rhythm box..." - jackie mittoo (the maestro)

"not even CHUM can stop reggae..." - stranger cole ("rough and tough")

Sunday, November 21, 2010

cool it

from yard to yonge - wayne mcghie

i first met jamaican-canadian singer/songwriter/musician wayne mghie w/ light in the attic records co-owner matt sullivan in the winter of 2004. mghie had been "missing" for years and even feared dead by close friends. while plagued with health problems, we broke bread and were brought to tears by his then undocumented story. it's a day i will never forget...

last month, i traveled to toronto once again to shoot footage of wayne w/ from yard to yonge (jamaica to toronto) co-director darby wheeler (CBC). while we've been working on this documentary project for over four years, this is a time sensitive story that needs to be told now. we can't loose this crucial canadian history...

*here's an excerpt from my liner notes to LITA's 2004 reissue of wayne mcghie and the sounds of joy:

"After three months of extensive searching, we had run out of clues. Promising lead after lead had been exhausted, leaving us with little hope that unsung Canadian music pioneer and beat-digger icon Wayne McGhie would be found. Local collectors drew blanks, phone listings came up nil, and tax and hospital records were inconclusive. Friends from Jamaica to Toronto had all lost touch years ago. Wayne was truly missing in action.

Still, just as we had given up all hope, a chance meeting with singer Jay Douglas at a wedding changed everything. Not only was Jay an old friend of Wayne’s, but he was as interested as we were in finding his old spar. His persistent and cunning detective work soon proved successful. Within weeks, the phone rang with the call we’d been anxiously waiting for…

Toronto, Ontario. January 26, 2004

We arrived in Toronto trailed by the worst blizzard the city had seen in recent memory. It was a relief to be welcomed into the warm apartment of Wayne’s sister Merline. Accompanied by Jay, we were greeted by the smell of some fine home cooking. Any nervous energy soon dispersed as Wayne stood by the door and shook our hands. He was quiet, yet alert, perhaps a little puzzled by the sudden burst of attention after all these years. Small talk ensued and long forgotten records were played. The sounds of Jo-Jo & the Fugitives, The Hitchikers, Sounds of Joy, and RAM filled the air. We were shocked to hear that Wayne hadn’t played a guitar since 1979. Emotion weighed deep.

The next evening, Jay Douglas organized a gathering at the Aura Club on Yonge Street for us to meet folks like the one and only Joseph (Jo-Jo) Bennett, drummer Everton Paul, and singer Noel Ellis. Henry from Henry’s Records played sweet soul, ballads, ska, and even a 45 by a convincing Elvis impersonator in the background. It was pure class across the board. Nuff conversation, food, drinks, and dancing made it an unforgettable night. Gaining so much insight into a virtually undocumented scene was like finding the missing pieces needed of a complicated puzzle. We said our goodbyes and trotted through the snow to catch the last subway downtown."

my god #1

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Monday, November 15, 2010

riverson re:discovery

Artist: Riverson
Record: Self-titled
Label: Columbia Records of Canada
Release: 1973

How do you follow up an unexpected hit single? In the case of Montreal-based Mashmakhan, the answer lay in a less polished approach combining the group's jazz, R&B, and rock and roll roots with an uncontrived hippie aesthetic. Despite label and management pressures for the gang to replicate their international breakthrough ("As The Years Go By", taken from their 1970 self-titled Columbia LP), the quartette's raw sophomore album, The Family (1971), quickly fell off the radar, even with Neil Young co-producer David Briggs at the helm. Industry powerhouse CKLW from Windsor, Ontario, wouldn't play follow-up singles stating that they didn't sound like their sole pop smash.
Not surprisingly, external and internal forces caused the band to splinter shortly thereafter. Organ player, flautist, and principal songwriter Pierre Senecal soldiered on under the Mashmakhan banner while drummer Jerry Mercer joined Canadian rock mainstays April Wine. In contrast, guitarist Rayburn Blake decided to form a new unit with female vocalist/musician Frankie Hart (Freedom North) and Mashmakhan's talented singing bass man Brian Edwards.
Blake, who had retreated to Quebec's Lake of Two Mountains region with Edwards to escape the mad city scene of Montreal, named the band Riverson, a nod to their nature-infused surroundings. Reconnecting with Columbia Records of Canada, they entered Toronto's Manta Studios with Hart, engineer/producer Lee De Carlo, and timekeeper Graham Lear to capture 11 tightly rehearsed songs inspired in parts by the aforementioned Young, CSNY's Déjà Vu, and musical lessons gleamed from high school dance band beginnings right up to Mashmakhan's slot on the notorious Festival Express tour of 1970 with The Band, Janis Joplin, and The Grateful Dead.
Released in 1973 and resplendent in an artfully designed gatefold jacket, Riverson offers a slow burning sensibility that shows itself on well-crafted originals like "Empty Sky", "Stoney Day", and a progressive take on "Eleanor Rigby". Elsewhere, engaging guitar leads spring from the grooves along with perfect male/female vocal harmonies, hypnotic bass lines, banjo picking, subtle piano, haunting recorder, and precise drums. Lead off single "Clear Night" was the closest thing the group had to a hit, but regardless of the song's anthemic quality, it barely dented Canadian charts.
With sales trickling in, Riverson focused their attention on performance, gigging in-and-around Ontario and Quebec, as well as opening up for John McLaughlin's Mahavishnu Orchestra. It was here that Lear decided to pursue a fusion-based direction, working with Gino Vannelli and later Santana. While Riverson cut one more non-LP single, Blake, Edwards, and Hart eventually pulled the plug themselves after growing weary of unreceptive bar audiences who only wanted to hear the latest chart toppers.
Ah, those pesky hits. Can't live with them, hard to survive without them. Still, music fans lucky enough to have been exposed to Riverson's many charms are sure to keep its message flowing as the years go by.

*VIN note: over the years, i've written a couple of pieces for US music journal wax poetics. the above is one i'm very proud of (issue #30, the rock issue). gotta shout out the legendary ty scammell (RIP) for turning me onto this album many moons ago in his east van crib. hope to do more work w/ the fine riverson folks in the not too distant future. keep your eyes peeled...

the deverons

Sunday, November 14, 2010


i once met burton cummings outside of the main street/14th starbucks while packing musical gear out of a friend's car. he kept looking our way and when i recognized who it was, i sauntered over to say hello. "are you burton cummings?" i asked. he denied. i was like, "too bad, i'm a real BIG fan and i even like his solo stuff." he laughed and i returned to the car to unload the instruments...

music mixer


Saturday, November 13, 2010

things could be beautiful

share the land

hello folks, 
my name is salmongang, a writer/producer/musician/DJ/artist currently based out of vancouver, B.C., canada. it's my honour to be here. the aim of this space is to organically share my passion for people, music, food, history, writing, geography, photography, architecture, and culture. though my view and outlook is global (and beyond!@#$%?!), the focus of VIN is primarily canada, the place i've called home for 36 years. if all goes according to plan, there will be regular posts featuring unique content – both contemporary and choice vintage material – music to hear, pictures to see, and words to read. fingers crossed, i'd like the posts to create a dialogue and inspire the viewers/audience to share their own unique interests. i feel that by doing this, we will come closer as brothers and sisters – always learning, constantly growing. feel free to contact me with any inquiries pertaining to my work... VOLUNTARY IN NATURE
the power, summer 2009 (photo by the stunt man)