Cameron Carpenter: The ABC’s Of Rock’n’Roll – Same As It Ever Was


The more things change the more things stay the same. I have been in this business for a very long time (not as long as Bob Segarini and Frank Gutch but I think I might get the DBAWIS bronze medal). In the seventies I spun records at Toronto’s “Nuts’n Bolts”, worked at Quality Records and wrote for The New Music Magazine, Shades, Bomp! and a few other magazines. Flash forward to 2014 and I am spinning records at The Kensington Lodge, working for Blue Sapphire Records and 45 Records and writing for DBAWIS and FYI Music News.

TIFF 2014Last week I was out on the streets catching a gaggle of great Canadian bands as they were all striving to get the attention of the many music supervisors who descended on our city for the annual Toronto International Film Festival.

There were at least three events I attended that specifically were set-up to expose our Canadian talent to the movers, shakers and decision makers from Hollywood and beyond.

Over the course of two afternoons ten acts showcased at the Jazz Bistro as CIMA, SOCAN, The Unison Fund and the OMDC presented the Music Café. Five bands per day each performing a 25 minute set (the perfect amount of time to catch a new band) and lots of tasty food and Steamwhistle to get you through the days. I did a full report in FYI Music News which you can read here.

All of the acts did a great job of showcasing their new music but a few really hit the mark. Kandle is the daughter of Neil Osborne from 54.40. She has just released her second record “In The BeachesFlames” which was produced by her father and Broken Social Scene’s Sam Goldberg Jr.. There is a great guitar sound from the band and record and I am sure their use of vintage instruments has a lot to do with it. Someone to keep an eye one. The Beaches are a four-piece all female band from the Beach in Toronto. I didn’t realize when I was watching them that I had seen them a few years earlier when they had just hit their teenage years and were known as Done With Dolls. They now have high powered management and an international record deal and will be well known very shortly. Poppy, punky and writing very complex songs, think Elastica meets The Runaways. The third band to really impress me was Dear Rouge and one listen to “I Heard I Had” should be enough to convince the most jaded pop fan.

SloanAt the TIFF Music House another ten acts were showcased over the course of two night at The Adelaide Hall. The New Pornographers were set to play but had to cancel at the last minute and were replaced by Sloan who would be releasing their new double album “Commonwealth” the next day. Great set of new and old material. Everyone was buzzing for the latest act from Dan Boeckner (Wolf Parade, Handsome Furs, Divine Fits) and he didn’t disappoint with the very rocking Operators. The guy is a total rock star. Lowell released her new Arts & Crafts album last week “We Loved Her Dearly”. I adore her first two singles “Cloud 69” and “The Bells” and she absolutely killed it on stage.

Some other new records well worth checking out are the latest from Jay Sparrow “Bluebird” which harkens back to his alt-country roots and the new album from Halifax’s In-Flight Safety “Conversationalist” which continues in the great keyboard driven sound of the under-appreciated band.

Now onto this week’s theme of “same”.

“Same Old Song And Dance” – Aerosmith

One of their best songs ever and from the first Aerosmith album I ever bought “Get Your Wings”. Were they America’s answer to the Rolling Stones or Boston’s answer to the New York Dolls? Hard to say at the time but you have to love the swagger (and the sax) in this classic.

“Same Old Place” – Blue Peter

The Toronto new wave band put out some great records back in the early eighties on Ready Records. Paul Humphries had a total Bowie thing going on at the time (Thin White Duke-era) but he totally pulled it off and the band became local heroes on Much Music. One of their best.

“Same Kooks” – The Hold Steady

One of the most literate bands on the scene Brooklyn’s The Hold Steady will be at The Horseshoe Tavern for four nights, December 10-14th, to celebrate the club’s 67thbirthday party. This track appeared on both “A Positive Rage” as well as “Boys And Girls In America”. The boys just released their great sixth album “Teeth Dreams”.

“Same Old Scene” – Roxy Music

Has there ever been a cooler or more romantic band than Roxy Music? It seems there is always something in their repertoire that can fill any musical need. This one is from “Flesh & Blood”.

Have Not Been The Same” – Slow

One of Vancouver’s best punk bands and one that would morph into Circle C and then Copyright and sign a deal with Geffen Records and then later to BMG Music Canada. Toronto had its Teenage Heads riot and Vancouver answered with their Slow riot at Expo 86. The song title doubles as a book title as Michael Barclay, Ian A.D. Jack and Jason Schneider penned “Have Not Been The Same – The CanRock Renaissance” which is a must read for any Canadian alternative music fan. I know it’s good as I am quoted in it!

Same Old Song” – Boy

What ever happened to Boy? How do you come from Whitehorse, get a record deal and release a song this great and the disappear? This is from the second boy album “Every Page You Turn” back in 2004 and since then there has been ten years of silence. What gives? More like this please.

“The Song Remains The Same” – Led Zeppelin

The lead off track to their album “Houses Of The Holy” but better remembered as the title to their film which, along with hideous fantasy scenes, captured the band over the course of three nights at Madison Square Gardens in New York in 1973, at the height of their power. Painfully dated now the film does feature the classic line “does anybody remember laughter”?

“The Same Mistakes” – The Records

Not one of the powerpop bands hits but still a decent enough representation of their sound. As mentioned in an earlier column the compilation “Smashes, Crashes and Near Misses” is a worthy investment for any pop music fan.

“Always Crashing In The Same Car” – David Bowie

From the wonderful “Low” album and there is also a cool live version from the “Bowie At The Beeb” disc. Canadian songwriter Danny Michel covered the tune on his tribute to Bowie “Loving The Alien”.

“Same” – Snow Patrol

From the third Snow Patrol album “The Final Straw” and the first of their records that saw the Northern Ireland/Scotland band make inroads in North America.


Cam’s column appears every Thursday.

Follow Cam on Twitter @CC59.

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Cam likes to plant his butt on the roof of the Bovine and soak up a few rays.

The ABC’s Of Rock’n’Roll are proud to be presented by The Bovine Tiki Bar and The Bovine. The Tiki Bar welcomes the mild to hot weather and The Bovine presents great bands downstairs at the legendary rock bar. Fill up next store at The Rock Lobster and then get your rocks off at The Bovine. 

DBAWIS ButtonCameron Carpenter has written for The New Music Magazine, Music Express, The Asylum, The Varsity, The Eye Opener, The New Edition, Shades, Bomp!, Driven Magazine, FYI Music News, The Daily XY, New Canadian Music, NXNE Magazine and Don’t Believe A Word I Say.


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