Friday on My Mind: Summer Fried Haze 4.7

We’re in it now. It’s July and it’s HOT and I’ve blown my fuses twice already. That’s what I get for making toast with the A/C on. Try not to lose power when cranking this one, though volume should definitely be set to Very Loud. Cover art this week is by Mazing Vids co-conspirator and genius tie-maker Ryan Sovereign did the cover. He’s Summer Fridays’ lucky number, as he did the ace cover for 3.7 last year. Nice job, don’t you think?

Ryan is a post-punk aficionado so I tilted slightly in that direction on this one. Enjoy!


1. Sloan – People of the Sky
2. Robert Pollard – Aspersion
3. Las Kellies – Bling Bling
4. Nightingales – Idiot Strength
5. Grass Widow – Milo Minute
6. Beau & the Arrows –
7. The dB’s – Black and White
8. Peoples Temple – Sons of Stone
9. The Horrors – I Can See Through You
10. Simple Minds – Up on the Catwalk
11. David Bowie – Boys Keep Swinging
12. Hooray for Earth – No Love
13. The Breeders – Saints
14. Super Wild Horses – Black Book
15. Easybeats – Friday on My Mind
16. House of Love – I Don’t Know Why I Love You
17. Helium – Pat’s Trick
18. The Tony Castles – Juice
19. The Legends – There and Back Again
20. Letting Up Despite Great Faults – Teenage Tide

You know the deal: NO SHUFFLING. Please. Or do what you want. Liner notes after the jump.

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XX Marks the Spot

“Sloan is not anyone’s favorite band. It’s doubtful Sloan’s mom even places them in her Top 10.” –, 2003

Anyone who has gone to see Sloan, and heard their fans chant their name before the show starts, knows the above statement is a crock of shit.* They may not be any Pitchfork staffers favorite bands, but they are a lot of people’s. I’m not sure I have an absolute, but Sloan are up there for this guy.

In a lot of ways, they are my band. We’re around the same age, we both loved My Bloody Valentine and the Smiths and then, as the years went on, discovered British Invasion bands, Thin Lizzy, ’70s power pop and glam, Fleetwood Mac and more. Sloan have been there for me for 20 years and ten albums and have never really let me down. Sure there were periods where we didn’t keep in touch — regretful jobs, relationships, albums — but when ever we saw each other face-to-face it was just like old times, without too much remember when.

Sloan are in their 20th year of existence and have just released their tenth album which is maybe the Sloan-iest album they’ve ever made and probably one of their best. I used to say Sloan changed with every album, but ever since probably Action Pact they’ve figured out their own sound which is an amalgam of everything they had done up to that point. Power pop, crunchy riff rock, those signature harmonies, lots of drum fills and even more puns.

Puns like naming a 30-track double album Never Hear the End of It or, in this case, The Double Cross being another way to say XX, the big 2-0. Like I said it’s especially Sloan-y, this one, with the most cross-polination we’ve heard from Chris, Jay, Patrick and Andrew in a dozen years. The band have admitted that pretty much since 1999’s Between the Bridges, the four members (who all write and sing) mostly work and record seperately on their songs. But here everyone’s got their fingers in everything.

Songs flow seamlessly into one another. Chris Murphy colaborates with everyone, singing a verse on Andrew Scott’s “She’s Slowing Down Again”; his “Shadow of Love” shows up in coda form in Jay Ferguson’s groovy “Beverly Terrace”; and even co-wrote a song with Patrick Pentland (the lovely album-closer “Laying So Low”) which is kind of astounding if you know anything about Sloan’s dynamic. And it’s all for the good of the record which gets in and out in 37 minutes.

There are just some real classics here. Jay’s “The Answer Was You,” which sails along some lovely melotron, and “Beverly Terrace” which is a glam-disco stomper of the highest order. “She’s Slowing Down Again” is quintessential Andrew Scott, behind the piano again for the first time since Pretty Together, and it sounds like it coulda been on Navy Blues. He also turns in the Dylan-ish one-chord organ jam “Traces” that once again shows him to be Sloan’s most thoughtful lyricist, on even the most tossed-off number.

Of course the band’s most quotable lyricist is Chris Murphy, the man who gave us “it’s not the band I hate, it’s their fans,” successfully rhymed “onomatopoeia” and much more, actually lets down his guard here. It’s not just all bon mots. “Laying So Low” is pretty bare emotions. (He knows his way around a hook too, of course, and “Shadow of Love” and “Daddy Will Do” are rediculously catchy.) And for the first time in a long time, I like all of Patrick’s songs, especially the rifftastic “Unkind” that sits confidently beside his other arena rockers “Money City Maniacs” and “Losing California.”

And it all works great together, which is kind of Sloan in a nutshell.

It’s such a solid record, even Pitchfork unequivocally liked it, though it’s 8.1 wasn’t quite enough to give it Best New Music. Hey, it’s something I guess.

*That quote is from their review of Action Pact which is generally accepted as Sloan’s worst album.

MP3: Sloan – Beverly Terrace

You can get The Double Cross in a variety of formats as well as some special packs aimed at superfans like myself.

In celebration of the band’s China Anniversary, Sloan HQ has been making a series of very entertaining little web documentaries where various actors (Dave Foley, Jason Schwartzman), and musicians (The Dears, Broken Social Scene, Fucked Up) talk about their love of Sloan. (For the “favorite Sloan lyric” one, it’s all Chris quotes, no surprise.) There’s also an especially fun “Underwhelmed” medley where their first hit gets a dramatic reading, plus some commissioned covers: Choir! Choir! Choir! doing “Everything You’ve Done Wrong,” and Owen Pallet conducting a string quartet version of Andrew’s “People of the Sky.

Sloan are touring too, hitting NYC at the end of June: Bowery Ballroom on 6/29 and The Knitting Factory on 6/30. All the tour dates — and a couple of those little movies — are after the jump!

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Sound Bites Interview: Sloan’s Andrew Scott

Sloan1This is a continuing series of interviews in which musicians talk about food, and chefs talk about music. One of Canada’s national treasures, Sloan are now in their 15th year as a band and have just released their eighth album, the 30-track Never Hear the End of It. Through hits, misses, appearances in various Don McKellar projects, and the kind of record company woes that would kill most groups, Sloan have maintained the same lineup throughout, and all four members share writing and singing duties. Andrew Scott spends most of his time behind the drums, but also knows his way around the guitar and Fender Rhodes. He is also an accomplished painter and, as you’ll soon read, quite the epicurean.

Sound Bites: Did any food in particular fuel the making of Never Hear the End of It?

Andrew Scott: Nothing great – mainly bad coffees and Portuguese “club sandwiches” from this place called Nova Era Bakery down the road from our space. The surliest service in town.

SB: Who is the best cook in the band?

AS: I’m going to have to nominate myself although I’ve never tasted the others cooking.

SB: Who is the most finicky eater?

AS: Jay.

SB: According to Wikipedia, Jay’s favorite food is shrimp. [This has since been removed from Jay’s entry – Ed] Can you confirm? What is yours?

AS: I doubt Jay has ever had a shrimp. As far as I know his favorite food is French Fries or steak – “well done.” Mine would be cassoulet soup, made with my own goose stock and real goose meat and really good cured sausage; not to mention beans that do not come from a can, dry white wine, tons of fresh thyme, shallots and, the most important thing of all, butter. Pretty yummy in the winter.

SB: Is there a city you look forward to playing… for the food?

AS: Any city in Japan because it is all so good – or Spain for the same reasons, but add the coffee. Japan has some work to do in that department. Then again, Spain has no sushi infrastructure as yet…should i go on?

SB: Any good food-related band anecdotes?

AS: Not really – our band has generally treated food and eating as a way to go off on one’s own for a while. Until recently. We’ve started to venture to a good restaurant now and then as a group and it sits better when someone, inevitably me, will look to Mike (Nelson, Sloan’s manager) and suggest we “band it.” We’ve had many a fine bottle of wine on the Sloan tab.

SB: Which city has better bagels: NYC or Montreal?

AS: Montreal.

SB: What is your hangover food of choice?

AS: Bacon and eggs.

SB: You’re a dad now. What do your kids refuse to eat?

AS: Quite a bit but, to their credit, they have both expanded their horizons somewhat. For the longest time anything green – naturally – is shunned, however every new meal is just that. They are pretty easy to feed these days. They just eat whatever we eat. A lot of salmon or pastas with pancetta. Lots of lollipops, cookies and popsicles.

SB: You’ve been living in Toronto for some time now. Are there any advantages, culinarily, to living there as opposed to Halifax?

AS: I never had a relationship with food when I lived there last but the benefits of living in Toronto are so many. Really fresh ingredients are everywhere – organic markets, butchers, dairies, produce and fish…etc. Halifax, one would think, has great seafood but, really, all the best fish is shipped here and to other big cities. They get left with a pretty unfortunate selection. You have to get out to the country to get the best fish I think.

SB: You were in a rap band in college called Oreos in Reverse. What’s your favorite cookie?

AS: My wife Fiona makes this one which is like a folk art chocolate chip cookie with demerara molasses sugar…mmmmmmm…