A1 Great! Part lies, part heart, part truth, part garbage.

your beat is nice

You know what’s not supposed to be all that difficult? Recommending music to friends. Particularly if you have an interest in music, as astute observers of this netwebblogpage have no doubt, uh, observed.

But when my old pal Kirsi, who has recently established a new weblog after years of just lying around the house all day or whatever, told me that I needed to suggest some music for her to check out as part of her 101 Things, well. It’s like a gauntlet was thrown, and that fucking Gauntlet was heavy like the arcade machine that used to be at the shitty convenience store on the corner, next to the magazine shelves where you couldn’t help but glance the porno mags lining the top rack, because you’re a teenager and that’s what teenagers did back in the days of carrying quarters to play video games that weren’t in your living room and sneaking peeks at naked people on paper because they weren’t readily available like they are now, on basically any electronic device invented since the 1990s.

(That convenience store isn’t there any more, nor are the two houses that were right near it, or even the tiny street those houses shared addresses on. Whole thing was bulldozed for some reason, even though the shiny new Pioneer gas station was built and opened before the houses and street were removed, so it’s not like they were an obstacle to construction or something. See these houses? Gone. Thanks for coming out! Farewell!)

The main issue with this request is that Kirsi and I are of roughly the same age, have grown up in the same time and similar geographical area, and even lived together for a while. So there’s a lot of overlap when it comes to awareness of and taste for popular culture, and I can’t just throw out a few of my favorite albums and be done with it. Kirsi already knows Achtung Baby and Automatic For The People, and anything I might suggest by the Tragically Hip would have to be old news. She lives in Kingston, for christ sake!

So, it’s taken me like two weeks to figure out what to suggest.

Alice in Chains is a band I’ve written about before, and their catalog overall would probably be considered too dark and heavy for most. But the Jar of Flies EP, from which “No Excuses” was the lead (only?) single, was a signal that something else was going on here, and the musical talents of the group extended beyond the grunge/metal fusion recorded on previous albums Facelift and Dirt.

The Constantines are probably a dude band, and their recorded stuff is inconsistent at best, but having seen them live while opening for the Hip in Ottawa, I couldn’t help but get hooked on their 2005 record, Tournament of Hearts. It accompanies us whenever we put the family into the family van for a long drive, and might best be enjoyed while staring down dividing lines on a highway somewhere.

There’s no way Kirsi doesn’t know about Sam Roberts, but Collider, which is the new disc that was released a couple months ago, is particularly great. I have said before that the Sam Roberts Band has never put out a bad album, and I feel pretty confident in recommending any of his earlier work, but Collider is on high rotation around these parts at the moment, and perhaps best enjoyed while enjoying an altered state.

Kirsi is a responsible parent and probably isn’t in an altered state very often, but it’s nice to have something to look forward to when the time comes, isn’t it?

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