Wednesday, January 31, 2007
After a few hours of hardcore audio editing over the weekend, I sat down Monday morning all ready to write the intro to this new live set from Toronto's Sloan. But a quick visit over to Chromewaves revealed that Frank had already done most of the work for me, nice guy that he is. Like him, it's been over a decade since I'd first seen Sloan, way back when they played the Sub Pop Vermonstress fest in October '92. I'd only heard their recorded debut, the excellent "Peppermint EP", at that point, as the full-length "Smeared" had only been out a couple weeks when the festival hit. But between those two releases and their too-short live set that day, they'd found another fan.
In the nearly 15 years (!) since, I've been occasionally guilty of taking Sloan for granted. I've picked up most of their releases over time, and while they all have their highs and lows, those peaks and valleys have never been drastic enough to either get me overly-excited or totally turned-off. They are the aging, yet ever-dependable, utility player of the power-pop lineup. But with the recent release of the 30-song "Never Hear The End Of It" on Yep Roc, they've kicked off what could be their record season. In terms of overall hooks-per-minute, it's leaps above anything they've put out in years. If forced to give one criticism, I'd only say what many other reviewers already have: "too much of a good thing". As admirable an accomplishment such a solid collection is, sustaining interest for 30 songs is almost too much for any band to pull off (although in these days of shuffled playlists, that issue is easily avoided).
Their live appearance at Cambridge's Middle East Downstairs a couple weeks back almost suffered from the same pure-pop overload, but I found myself sticking around and bobbing my head through the entire 30-song ('natch) set. Like the album, the songs came fast and furiously, many of them blending together, with the only real breaks coming when the band members switched instruments. They're able to balance the four songwriters and their multi-instrumental talents with ease, and the fact that they've lasted so long without a single lineup change is a testament to that.
Here's the entire set, with many of the songs left conjoined for your listening pleasure. Be sure to check out the links below for a bunch of Sloan info, including details of Yep Roc's new "30 Days of Sloan" promotion...
Live at The Middle East Downstairs
in Cambridge, Massachusetts
on Tuesday, January 16th, 2007
01. Flying High Again / Who Taught You To Live Like That?
02. Someone I Can Be True With / Ill Placed Trust
03. The Other Man
04. The Lines You Amend
05. Fading Into Obscurity
06. Golden Eyes / Love is All Around
07. Living with the Masses / HFXNSHC
09. All Used Up
10. C'mon, C'mon
11. Everybody Wants You
12. I Understand / You Know What It's About
13. Set in Motion
14. Money City Maniacs
15. I Can't Sleep / I Know You
16. Something's Wrong / I've Gotta Try
17. Can't You Figure It Out
18. The Good in Everyone / Penpals
19. Everything You've Done Wrong
20. Another Way I Can Do It
21. Anyone Who's Anyone / If It Feels Good Do It
Some Sloan-centric links...
A postscript: Speaking of the Hype Machine, I had the pleasure of hanging with both H.M. creator Anthony Volodkin and fellow Boston music blogger Paul Irish of Aurgasm at this very show. Anthony was in town for Mashup Camp 3, where H.M. ended up winning "Best Mashup" for the way it brings together music, live concerts, and video content. It's well deserved, and having met its creator, I'm even happier to send more traffic his way... he's an open-minded music fan who seems to be in it for the right reasons. I'm looking forward to seeing how the Hype Machine grows, evolves, and hopefully sticks around for awhile.
the ever-loving fine print... If anyone has an issue with this live set being made available, just say the word (contact info in the 'nac faq). Recorded with a Sony ECM-719 mic and a Sony MZ-RH10 minidisc, converted to .wav and then edited to 192kbps mp3s. Tracks are made available for a limited time, and are not reposted once removed.
live in cambridge, ma
on november 14th, 2008
previously: joy formidable - boston 2011
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