Review: HOUSE OF BURNERS (Pre-Rock Records)

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 30, 2014 by dirtrockzine

20140628-211554-76554697.jpg
Saskatoon’s Shooting Guns hit it out of the park here with the maiden release by their own Pre-Rock Records. The curiously titled House of Burners (reportedly a nod to the imagined final resting place of all the bands on this comp, or something) is a self-described “cross-section of the Canadian heavy/garage/psyche scene”, but it is really so much more than that. Its a gateway for discovery within the Canadian underground, yes, but it stands on its own as a really good compilation ALBUM rather than feeling like a hit-and-miss sampler peeled off the cover of a magazine. And to illustrate how “listenable” this is, I played the disc on repeat for six hours straight on a recent trip from Calgary to Winnipeg, alone on the prairies in the dark, I drove with these tunes while while the wife and kids slept. Absolutely delightful.
Start with choice cuts from Public Animal, Shooting Guns, Hawkeyes, and Cop Shades, or just let ‘er rip from start to finish. Either way, you can thank me later. House of Burners is #1 this week on Calgary’s CJSW campus/community radio, and I’ve personally caught them spinning Powder Blue, Public Animal, Bison, Lavagoat, and of course, Shooting Guns.
20140628-210721-76041951.jpg
Go HERE to listen and purchase this killer comp online, or contact your favorite band to get it directly!

Future Revealed: My chat with IAN BLURTON of PUBLIC ANIMAL!

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 20, 2014 by dirtrockzine

20140620-143759-52679888.jpg
For over 30 years, Ian Blurton has been crushing Canada and beyond and in the midst of another Canada-wide bulldozing, he made time for a chat!

How’s this tour going so far?
It’s going great. We, as a band, believe in bringing the rock to the people so in that respect we are achieving our goal.

After a couple 7″s, your debut full-length Habitat Animal is ready to go. The title sounds like it might be an inside joke, care to let us in on it?
It’s not an inside joke. The record is a concept record about the character Public Animal and the “Habitat” he lives in. It is the story of breaking down the walls of prisons both self made/government made or invisible.

You’ve got members from Toronto, Ottawa, and Thunder Bay. How does Public Animal function day-to-day with members scattered like that? How does it affect the writing and recording process?
We are around each other enough that we get things done albeit in our own way.

I heard you recorded analog at a new studio in Toronto, as well as at the National Music Centre in Calgary the day after playing two shows New Year’s Eve. What was your favorite piece of gear at NMC and what did it add to the record?
We personally fell in love with all of the NMC and their staff. No favs although we used a Mellotron that ruled.

Speaking of Calgary, you’re playing two dates as part of the Sled Island Festival as curated by Kathleen Hanna of Bikini Kill etc. You know she coined the phrase “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, right?
We know she did.

I’ve been wondering how these “artist-curated” festivals actually come together. Did she literally contact you and ask you to play? Did you apply to the festival and she says yay or nay? What’s the deal?
As far as we know she had nothing to do with us being selected although we wish we were penpals with her.

Change of topic. C’mon released a slew of 7″, 10″, flexi, LP, etc, is that still the plan moving forward, or are you looking at Public Animal as more of a traditional full-length type of band?
We will be releasing music on a multitude of different platforms. Digital/analog/etc. The reason Habitat Animal is on vinyl is that their are 2 distinct sides or movements.

What’s different about your role in Public Animal compared to previous bands? You’re still sorta fronting the band but it seems more collaborative…
It’s the same as any band I’ve ever been in. I’m a member and we all make this band run and we think of Eric as the front person, he’s in middle.

Public Animal is pretty much a perfect mix of old and new. Does Habitat Animal fulfill your vision of what you imagined the band to be when you first came together?
My vision for Public Animal was simply getting the four of us together, after that we have each owned the 25% we have been assigned.

What do you have planned for the rest of 2014? Anything good you can reveal here?
We are gonna attempt to finish this tour in one piece and then start on record #2.

Hear the debut full-length “Habitat Animal”HERE before the vinyl release on Yeah Right! Records, follow Ian and Public Animal @ianblurton and @thepublicanimal, and look ’em up on facebook to keep up to date. Sled Island tonight! Yep!!

Interview: SHOOTING GUNS discuss WolfCop + more!

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , , on June 6, 2014 by dirtrockzine

Tonight is the night, it’s the premiere of WolfCop! Opening in select Cineplex Odeon theatres across Canada, this Saskatchewan-made horror-comedy features a score written and performed by heavy psych heathens (and personal favorites), Saskatoon’s SHOOTING GUNS! I’m proud and very lucky to present my conversation with SG drummer Jon Ginther on the day of the wolf’s release!! (interview took place at the end of April, and the “late May” vinyl release date has since been pushed back, I think, not sure…)

So… How’s it going? Working on anything music-related today?

Things are great! We’re working on the track order for the WolfCop
soundtrack right now as it’s going to be released in late May. We recorded
material pretty far outside our comfort zones so now the hard part is
getting it all to flow together.

You recently revealed that Shooting Guns has scored the upcoming film WolfCop, and that it includes your first foray into working with a vocalist. What can you tell us about the song, and what was the creative process as far as working with an outsider on the tune?

The song “One More Day” was one of the first things we wrote for the movie.
Zach Low laid down this sweet country guitar line and our very own Chris
Laramee made up the lyrics on the spot. He totally nailed it and we kept the first take. I think that entire song took under 20 minutes to write and
record. The rest of the movie wouldn’t be so easy.
20140605-231115.jpg There is a lot of variation in the songs from Born To Deal In Magic and Brotherhood Of The Ram, can we expect the same unexpected left turns (like No Fans, for example) on the soundtrack album? Did you step out of your comfort zone as required for the sake of the film or did you completely own the score and put a distinctive Shooting Guns stamp on it?

I think this soundtrack is comprised almost entirely of unexpected left
turns, at least in terms of how we approached writing it. We generally spend the entire winter fleshing out an album, taking a riff and jamming on it for hours on end, experimenting with dynamics, and then paring it down into an actual song over the course of months. We had to approach this in the exact opposite way, writing pieces for short segments of action, bringing fully
fleshed out ideas every 1-3 minutes. We brought long-time friend Toby Bond
on board to help us score and cannot overemphasize how crucial his
contributions were to this, not just with synth and viola parts, but with setting the tone of the entire soundtrack.

Speaking of your two full-lengths, Born to Deal in Magic was short-listed for the Polaris prize and is now sold out, and Brotherhood has sold out of multiple pressings and versions. What can you say about the response to your music and how it has grown over two albums and a few singles, and are you aware of the the buzz and anticipation for a new Shooting Guns record now? Do your fans’ expectations come into consideration when you’re writing at
all, consciously or subconsciously?

We started this band as a bunch of buds to crush a few beers and have fun to get through the winter. We never anticipated anyone to dig what we’re doing as it’s pretty much as unmarketable a genre of music as you can get, on paper at least. The Polaris nomination helped get our name out there, especially with the Canadian press, but we’ve still had to slog it out every step of the way. We’re appreciative of anyone who likes what we’re doing but are also coming from a place where we understand that this type of music is hardly for everybody. I always assume people are going to hate it out of the gate so any positive response that may come is a bonus. I remember thinking right before releasing Brotherhood of the Ram, “Is this the end of the ride? How many instrumental albums can we get away with releasing that people actually like?”, but I think that’s natural when you’re putting yourself out there. In terms of writing itself, I think the biggest thing that’s influencing us is Pilsner.

You also operate Pre-Rock Records which recently released the excellent all-Canadian House of Burners compilation. It is literally so good it didn’t leave the deck at all during the drive from Calgary to Winnipeg last week. One of the most beautiful moments is the sequencing from Lavagoat to Hawkeyes to Mahogany Frog. As a group, how do you make those creative decisions when working with the music of other artists, and how do you resolve creative differences as label operators? What is the main goal of the label and can you talk about any planned releases coming up, for SG or other artists?

Just like with the band, we run the label as friends first and foremost so those creative differences are pretty minimal, if not non-existent with Pre-Rock. It was pretty easy to decide who was on this compilation as we just reached out to every band that we’ve played with over the years and all the bands that are on the CD were enthusiastically on board. It took many hours of listening over and over and over to get House of Burners sequenced with a decent flow. I wanted it to start with Powder Blue’s “Go On Forever” and end with The Pack AD’s cover of “Night Crawler” but it was pretty challenging to fill everything in so that each song complements the others. There are so many different styles, levels of recording fidelity, etc., I’ve got to give John McBain (Cartlon Melton, ex-Monster Magnet) credit for doing an absolutely stellar job mastering this beast.

I’ve seen the demand for a repress of Born to Deal in Magic increase significantly as a result of the successful Brotherhood release last year, can you make us all happy and confirm (or estimate) a re-release for that record?

That’s a tough one! The problem as we see it is that we’ve got all this new
material that we want to release so it feels like a step backwards to focus
our resources on older material. That said, if a label or heavy psych philanthropist wanted to fund a repressing of Born to Deal in Magic, I’d
love to have that conversation.

That’s all I’ve got for you. I really appreciate you taking the time to
speak with me tonight, is there anything you’d like to add?

WolfCop is screening across Canada on June 6th at Cineplex Odeon cinemas and we will be releasing the official soundtrack (including vinyl) later in May.

Get all your Shooting Guns stuff HERE and “like” them on Facebook!

20140605-231544.jpg

ALL HAIL BLACK SABBATH

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , on June 11, 2013 by dirtrockzine

It’s been five months since I’ve posted on DirtRockZine (personal reasons), and if something is gonna drag me out of hibernation it’s gonna be something important, damn it.
20130610-203326.jpg
And what the fuck is more important to a metalhead than A NEW BLACK SABBATH ALBUM?! Especially since the last Sabbath album involving Ozzy came out five years before my birth. This is a momentous occasion, not to be ruined by high-horse-riding metal nerds who do more to tear down this music by claiming to be fans of exclusionary “important” bands whom only they are advanced enough to understand, rather than to build it up and humbly worship THE INFLUENCE OF ALL INFLUENCES. You name-drop cool, obscure, “this-guy-from-that-band-and-that-guy-from-this-band-made-a-band-and-their-one-7″-from-back-in-’96-is-the-greatest-thing-ever” as influences? Black Sabbath influenced your influences. Bow your head, get on your knees and pray for forgiveness you fucking hipster asshole. The metal community is laughing at you, and so is the old man sitting on a bench with his dog in front of the bank watching you order a vegan burrito from a food truck in an offensively poor Spanish accent. “What kind of revolting development is this, for the luvva Christ?!”
Now, where was I? Oh yes, I was about to review the new Black Sabbath… Iommi’s got the RIFFS, plain and simple (Damaged Soul is particularly tasty, a classic). Ozzy’s the purveyor of vibe, transmitting psychosis, anguish and mental captivity like no one else ever could. Geezer’s bass cuts and throbs perfectly imperfect on the album, creating a “live” feel that no one else is capturing these days. And for the broken records out there who are fixated on the “NO BILL WARD NO SABBATH” thing, it really, honestly doesn’t matter. Bands lose members, it happens. 13 sounds like classic Sabbath far more than anything they released in the 80’s or 90’s, and Brad Wilk does an admirable job of honoring the true Sabbath sound while being solid as fuck at the same time. You might even say he emulated Bill Ward’s Master of Reality/Vol. 4 style of drumming, and for that I salute him. 3/4 of the original lineup plus a tasteful, pocket drummer who is not a flashy Mike Portnoy style jag-off…god could you imagine?
20130610-203603.jpg
Share something cool with your dad on Father’s Day. Buy him this album, prod him for stories about the 70’s, take part in the ritual together. How many of you have ever had a chance to anticipate a Sabbath album? I’m telling you it kicks ass, so go get it!
HAIL SABBATH!!!

The Mother Of All Fuckers: My Chat With Legendary Calgary Punk DAN IZZO

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , , on January 24, 2013 by dirtrockzine

20130115-080751.jpg

Hey Dan, doing any music today?

Nah, man… Sunday is my day of rest. I’m listening to Geto Boys records and playing with my cats.

You’ve got Sheglank’d Shoulders, Spastic Panthers, and Mother Fuckers that I know of. They seem to come and go through periods of inactivity but neither project ever seems to really end. What’s your main priority right now?

Spastic Panthers is the only “full-time” band I’m doing at this point, but I think Sheglank’d and the Motherfuckers are both immortal. I’ve discovered that you can prolong the lifespan of a band indefinitely if you only play a show every year or two.

Motherfuckers have always had kind of a revolving lineup. It’s always me on vocals and Tim on drums, Hunter moves back and forth between guitar and bass, and we fill the remaining spot with anyone who can stand playing with us for a while! We haven’t really been active since our last guitarist, Jay Misery, moved to Hawaii a few years ago. We did a couple shows last year with John Hiebert (Field Day) and Todd (Spastic Panthers) both playing guitar, and we’re already planning our 15-year anniversary shows for next December. We’ve booked Dickens for New Year’s 2013, and I’m hoping to set up an all-ager around the same time. Lineup for those shows is still up in the air, but I’m hoping to get Jay Misery in from Hawaii and Andrew McColl in from Prince George, BC for the best 5-piece Motherfuckers lineup that never was. The last Motherfuckers release was the “I wanna Be a Cop… “ 7”back in 2008, with Rowdy Roger on bass. We’ve got a handful of unreleased tracks that may or may not see ever see the light of day, some from that session and some that we recorded after our last tour with Hunter on bass and Jay Misery on guitar. If you know anyone who runs a label and has more money than sense, tell ‘em to get in touch and we can do a “Motherfuckers Rarities” LP!

Tiemen, the guitarist of Sheglank’d Shoulders, moved to Victoria several years ago, but I think we’ve put out three records since then! We generally do at least one Calgary show and one Victoria show each year. Tentatively planning a Calgary show for April or May of 2013, and we should have some new limited edition goodies for sale then as well.
I think Sheglank’d Shoulders is probably still my favorite band to play with. I love all those songs, and since we play so rarely every show is an event. The last Calgary show we did was at the Ship and Anchor – There’s some great video footage of a guy climbing up on one of the speakers with his skateboard. Sadly, Darren Ollinger pulled him off before he could bust a sick boneless into the pit. I think at least 5 people got kicked out of that show during our set, including half of the opening band (let’s hear it for Paint the Damage!).
We also did a show in Victoria last August, opening for the Night Birds from New Jersey. Great crowd, and we’re all big Night Birds fans, so it was a hell of a show. Our old buddies the Hoosegow were also on the bill. Our drummer couldn’t make it out for that one, so Todd (bass) ended up playing drums, and Niall (bass player from Spastic Panthers) filled in on bass. I guess at this point you could argue that Sheglank’d and Spastic Panthers are more or less the same band, but you really need Tiemen there to get the full Sheglank’d experience.

I saw somewhere recently you’re doing an all-Screwdriver covers record, is that right? What band is doing it and why? Or was it bullshit?

Hahaha, where did you read that!? Sheglank’d Shoulders actually started as a joke band called Lorrie Matheson’s Cock. Our “set” was two Skrewdriver covers… I don’t really remember how that came about, but it seemed like a funny idea at the time. We did a show with a local Oi! band years ago, and I went on stage wearing this weird suede flight jacket I got from Hunter (Motherfuckers guitarist/bassist), and a bald wig (this was before I lost all my hair). It didn’t go over that well. When Sheglank’d started we kept playing the two Skrewdriver covers. I have sort of a strange sense of humor, and I like to confuse people, so that kind of thing is amusing for me. We recorded “I Don’t Like You” and released it on the “Final Grind” 7”. Although one review did comment on the irony of a “spastic Jewish punk rocker” singing a Skrewdriver song, I think there were some mixed feelings about that record. To this date it’s probably the worst selling Handsome Dan release.

I think anyone who knows us knows that we’re not racist, but I can understand how some people might not “get the joke”. It definitely created some awkward situations at shows. I think my favorite was a SHARP skinhead girl in Edmonton, who was convinced I was gay and didn’t understand how I could be a nazi at the same time. Nothing I said could make her believe that I was neither. Her boyfriend came over at a certain point, and I said “Dude, she thinks I’m a gay Jewish nazi!” He just looked at me for a minute, then said “Well, I guess the Jewish part is okay… ” I still like those songs, and won’t make any excuses or apologies, but those particular tunes haven’t been on the set list for quite a while.

I like that record, weird black and yellow vinyl. Switching gears, can you tell us about your younger years and the first records that really changed you?

I first got into punk in the early 90s. I was always a little “outside” of the norm, and never had a lot of friends in school, so discovering the punk scene at that time was definitely a huge thing. I don’t want to get all corny talking about the “community” and how “punk saved my life”, but it was definitely a major turning point in my life. I think I knew right away that I wanted to be a part of this, and that it wasn’t just a passing trend or phase.

I think the first punk bands I heard were probably the Ramones and the Sex Pistols, but the first records that really had a big influence on me were Black Flag’s “Nervous Breakdown” , Circle Jerks “Group Sex” and Dead Kennedys “Plastic Surgery Disasters”. Keith Morris is still my favorite punk singer to this day, and definitely an influence on what I do as a “musician”. I like a lot of the old British punk bands, but I’d definitely say my main passion and biggest influences are the American hardcore bands of the ‘80s. If you asked me who had the biggest influence on me as a punk singer it would probably be Keith Morris, Jello Biafra and Clif Hanger from the Freeze.

Is it hard to be a punk in Calgary? I mean, most people only move here to take advantage of financial opportunities or whatever. With song titles like “Bomb The Stampede”, “Kill My Boss”, and “I Don’t Believe In Moderation”, I think its safe to say you must have a different reason for being here, so what is it? Why the fuck Calgary?

Hahaha, I ask myself that every day, man. The only real excuse I have is that I grew up here and just never bothered to move. All joking aside, though, other than the brutal fucking winters, I like Calgary. I’ve got a lot of good friends here, and as much as I might bitch about certain aspects of it, I think we have a really strong scene here for the most part. Calgary still has a real redneck element, and I still find the bullshit circus of the Stampede disgusting, but it’s definitely not quite the cultural wasteland it used to be.
I don’t know that it’s really hard to be a punk anywhere anymore, at least not in North America. So much of the punk “style” has made its way into pop culture now. I think every generation thinks the next generation has it easy… I mean, when I got into punk walking around with a Mohawk still guaranteed that you’d have at least two people yell “faggot” at you a day, but I certainly never got any serious beatings like the first generation of Calgary punks probably did.
Society’s attitude towards things like funny haircuts, piercings and tattoos has definitely changed over the past 10 years. I remember not being able to get jobs because I had my ears pierced, and now I walk into the 7-11 and every kid working has stretched earlobes and a fucking nose ring. I’m not saying this is a bad thing, but I do sometimes miss the social stigma attached to those things. I think I was more comfortable getting dirty looks and sneers than having people stop me everywhere I go to tell me how cool my tattoos are.

What are you listening to lately? Anybody specific that fans of your stuff should go check out?

I mostly listen to Merle Haggard, Ke$ha and ‘90s gangsta rap these days. Shit, there goes my street cred!

Uh, top three punk bands of the moment for me would be Marching Orders (Australian Oi), Tower Blocks (German punky-punk-punk, although I think they broke up) and the Night Birds (New Jersey surfy-punk). New local bands I’m stoked on are PMMA, Paint the Damage, and the Pagans of Northumberland, even though they’ve got a stupid fucking name.

Do you have any other releases planned for 2013, either by your bands or something else you’re putting out on Handsome Dan Recs?

This isn’t looking like a particularly active year for the label, but the Spastic Panthers are trying to pull ourselves together to actually do a full-length record this year (by “full-length” I mean a 15 to 20 minute 12”). We’ve already got a few new songs ready to record, and hope to be getting into the studio in March.

I’m also planning a new Motherfuckers record in conjunction with the 15-year anniversary show. It’s actually going to be a split 7” with the Borderguards. Vic (Borderguards guitarist) and I have spent years arguing and shit-talking each other, but we’ve always had kind of a grudging respect for each other. We played quite a few shows together in the late’90s, early 2000s, and there was sometimes a bit of tension there… They’ve started playing again, and Vic came up with the idea of doing a split 7”. I think it started off as a joke, but turned into a really good idea.

Sheglank’d Shoulders recorded the whole Black Flag “Nervous Breakdown” EP, and Tiemen released it as a super-limited (75 copies or something) pressing. I think 60% of the records didn’t even play properly, and the ones that did sounded like shit, so I’ve always wanted to re-press that one on a slightly more listenable format. The “Skate Assassin” flexi sold really well, so I’m toying with the idea of re-releasing “Nervous Breakdown” as a flexi. Maybe?

The Hunter and the Heart Attacks “Bacon Overdose” EP is still in the works, and should definitely be available within the next five years.

Thanks for your time Dan, and good luck this year! Anything you’d like to add before we go?

Look for a Spastic Panthers west-coast tour of some sort this year. Thanks to everyone who’s come to our shows and bought our records – keep on rockin’!

You didn’t ask for it, but for your readers’ education, and my own amusement, here’s a full Dan Izzo discography, in more or less chronological order:

Motherfuckers “If It Ain’t Puke, It Ain’t Punk” CD ep – 2001
Two Idiots with a Dumb Idea Records
– 150 – 250 pressed on low-quality CDR, out of print, all tracks appear on “Mother of all fuckers” CD

Rum Runner / Blotto Boys “Tribute to the Pogues” 7” – 2003
Pedestrian Records PED-001
– 500 pressed, out of print

Motherfuckers “Classless Society” CD – 2004
Handsome Dan Records HANDSOME-001
– 500 pressed, out of print

Sheglank’d Shoulders “Endless Grind” CD – 2006
Handsome Dan Records HANDSOME-002
– 500 pressed, limited quantities still available

Motherfuckers “Mother of All Fuckers” CD – 2007
Handsome Dan Records HANDSOME-003
500 pressed, and I’ve still got at least 200 in my closet

Sheglank’d Shoulders “The Final Grind” 7” – 2008
Handsome Dan Records HANDSOME-004
– 500 pressed, still available

Motherfuckers “I Wanna Be a Cop… So I Can Fuck You Up” 7” – 2008
Handsome Dan Records HANDSOME-005
– 500 pressed, still available

Spastic Panthers “Rock n’Roll Beasts” 7” – 2009
Handsome Dan Records HANDSOME-006
– 500 pressed, still available in limited quantities

Sheglank’d Shoulders “Nervous Breakdown” 7” – 2009
FanKlub Records
– 75 pressed, out of print. Look for re-press soon!

Spastic Panthers / Throwaways split 7” – 2010
Handsome Dan Records HANDSOME-007
– 500 pressed, out of print

Sheglank’d Shoulders – Skate Assassin flexi – 2011
Handsome Dan Records HANDSOME-009.5
– 250 pressed, out of print

Spastic Panthers / Teenage Rampage split 7” – 2011
Handsome Dan Records HANDSOME-011
– 500 pressed, still available

20130115-080826.jpg

Given To The Grave: PALLBEARER, The Interview.

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , on January 21, 2013 by dirtrockzine

I am pleased to present my chat with Joseph D. Rowland, bassist for Little Rock AR’s PALLBEARER, easily, by far, with all things considered, the best modern doom band going today…DOOM!
20130116-072351.jpg

A 3-song demo in 2010, your debut full-length Sorrow and Extinction in 2012, and you’re already making year-end best-of lists and even grabbing the top spot in some cases. What do you think of these accolades, and do you feel any differently about the album now compared to when it was first recorded?

Ah, well the accolades are certainly appreciated; I’m glad that so many people have been affected by the album and hopefully as its profile rises a few more people will find something to take from it. It’s definitely not something we envisioned, apart from wanting to make something with lasting value.

What did you take from the S&E recording process, and what missteps will you try to avoid in future recording sessions?

Definitely would help a bit to be at least more sober the next time around. Lack of sobriety caused some delays for sure.
20130116-072437.jpg
The album artwork, especially the gatefold vinyl, has a classic, timeless mysticism about it, which is sort of a lost trait for bands these days. I know the art is done by Animetalphysical, but are they the band’s ideas or did he just surprise you with these amazing pieces of work?

It was a bit of both, we discussed ideas we had and he expanded on them as only he can. I’m definitely proud of how the artwork turned out.

In just under a month you will be taking part in presumably your highest profile trek to date, as direct support to the mighty Enslaved on their North American Tour. You have both done Scion-sponsored releases, tours, etc. and I’d like to know some of the different viewpoints the guys in the band had when the opportunity first came up. Obviously there has been some resistance against an auto company getting involved with heavy music.

Art has always had patronage throughout history, and they are doing a good thing in our collective opinion. People can say what they will but SCION are genuinely interested in the promoting underground arts and I was very happy to have a completely free Pallbearer vinyl to give to fans on our previous tour.

So far I haven’t seen anything out of line from Scion. They’ve offered free festivals with great line-ups, and free EPs from credible artists like Pallbearer, Melvins, Enslaved, Revocation, Magrudergrind and others. Correct me if I’m wrong, but as far I can tell they haven’t meddled with the artists at all either…

Yeah, they are very eager to let artists be, within reason I’m sure.

Are Pallbearer interested in doing minor releases like singles, EPs, 7″s in between full-lengths, and can we expect any new music this year?

Of course, we definitely have some smaller releases planned which should surface later this year if all goes as planned. As for the second full length, we’re still slowly crafting that, not sure when that will come to fruition quite yet, although we’re hoping to enter the studio in the second half of the year. Very unlikely to surface in 2013 unless we have a massive surge of inspiration within the next couple of months!

That’s all I’ve got for you Joseph, thanks a lot for your time and good luck out there.

Thanks for the interview!

“Like” PALLBEARER on Facebook, and have a look at their awesome merch over at Holy Mountain Printing.

Niche No More: My Chat With Eddie Dalrymple Of Melodiya Records

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , , , on January 17, 2013 by dirtrockzine

Upon moving from Toronto to Calgary in August 2009, one of my first missions was to find a comfortable record store that catered to my tastes with knowledgeable, kind-hearted staff and no condescending-jazzhead-involuntary-virgin behind the counter rolling his eyes at my “lame” purchases. Thank Odin I found Melodiya: Good selection, good prices, good help, good atmosphere, good times! Here is my chat with Eddie Dalrymple, the dude behind the counter of the only store I get my records from…
20130113-101637.jpg
Hey Eddie, what’s good this week?

Not exactly things from this week, but the best stuff I’ve heard lately is Swans “The Seer” (also listening to the one before that), Thee Oh Sees “Putrifiers II”, Apollo Brown/Guilty Simpsons “Dice Game”, Winterfylleth “The Threnody of Triumph”. I’ve also been listening to a lot of Captain Beefhearts “Shiny Beast” and “Doc at the radar station”, This Heat “Deceipt”, and just got introduced to U.S. Maple by a friend. Serious jamz there!

I’ve been in Calgary since 2009 and I’ve popped into the other shops around town at least once. I’ve been referring to Melodiya as “the only store ever” for awhile now, just ask my fiancée. Can you start by giving us some history on the shop?

Why thank you sir, flattery is always welcome! The history is a bit mysterious, mostly constructed through second hand information and hearsay, but what we know for sure is that it was opened in the mid-90’s and manned in the beginning by Wes Hegg who sold the good folks of Calgary a slew of punk rock and alternative releases for many years. Melodiya also doubled as a label, putting out releases from the Primrods, Beyond Possession, Wagbeard, Knucklehead, Forbidden Dimension, SIDS, and most recently though not that recently Chad Vangaalen.

What changes or trends have you witnessed in the culture of record collecting during your time here?

I started working here right when vinyl was blowing up, so the biggest thing I’ve witnessed has been the relinquishment of all things compact and disc to the bottom of the garbage. People just weren’t interested anymore, and not that I object but it was such a sudden shift in mentality it was astounding!
There’s also been a huge influx of more casual collectors starting vinyl collections, which has changed what we stock in the store quite a bit. You know just leaning more towards popular music. It certainly hasn’t changed the amount of indie and more underground releases we stock though, as those fans seems to be as passionate as ever!

I picked up the Final Grind 7″ by local punks Sheglank’d Shoulders recently. It was displayed front and centre by the counter for $5, awesome. How important is it for you personally to promote local stuff, and does it go quickly?

Nice grab. It’s extremely important to us to promote local and independent works because that’s where our roots lie. It’s a really important step for artists to be able to say “my work is for sale at a record store!”, plus it gives them a really concrete idea of the response to their work. Even the accessibility of sites like bandcamp hasn’t changed what seeing something intriguing on the wall of a record store can do.
As for going quickly, that completely depends. Most local stuff only moves well the first two months after it’s released, and that’s just due to the fairly limited audience of most local bands. This year we had some local stuff do really well though. “Tenterhooks” by Jung People sold a hell of a lot, and I think we’re on our third box of Stalwart Sons “Stay Cold”. Plus both those LP’s sold for $15, which in the world of new vinyl is hella cheap, thus making collectors a lot more interested in taking a chance on them. Oh and the Mammoth Cave reissue of Shadowy Men’s “Savvy Show Stoppers” did wonderful earlier this year, as pretty much every Mammoth Cave release does. Recently you may have noticed some USSR cassettes under the front counter too, they’re a great Calgary/Vancouver label devoted to improv/drone/noise and general weirdness. Check ’em out!

What about the black metal cassettes? I’m curious about Calgary’s interest in that.

You must be referring to the Northern Cold Productions tapes that used to be on the counter? They were from a guy named Paul something who ran a tape distro out of Calgary dealing in black, death, and thrash metal. He put out a few tapes himself but also traded other tape labels for a lot of good Canadian, American, and Scandinavian metal. We had a really great response at the store, as a pretty big chunk of our customers are into metal. Unfortunately Paul has a really demanding job and had to call it quits after about a year.

You must get a lot of mundane questions (like this one). Can you think of anything that you wish all record collectors knew? How about sellers? I’m sure some good stuff comes in, but are people surprised when you tell them how little their old terrible collections are worth, or are most sellers aware of its value beforehand?

Of course there’s a lot of those questions! I could probably give you a sizable list of those questions. But as long as the person is honestly asking about something and not just trying to get a rise out of you, then I really don’t mind answering the same questions over and over. Especially when it comes to new collectors. With vinyl sales picking up so much steam in the last couple years, answering those types of questions has become a huge part of the job! I spend a lot of time explaining the basics like “yes records can be mastered at two different speeds”and what out of print means.
I suppose that only really applies to people who are new to the hobby though, as I have far less patience for the old-balls collectors. You know, the folks who are often heard uttering the phrase “what’s the best you can do on this?” or acting confused about what GST is. They’re the ones that turn so many enthusiastic individuals into crusty, condescending record store overlords.
Selling! We could probably do an entire interview just on selling and sellers! I shatter a lot of people’s dreams of wealth when they get me to appraise their collections. Seriously, a lot. Basically, 1% of what people bring through that door is really special stuff. You know, things you don’t see that often, collections that someone put a lot of time and love into, that sort of thing. We pay accordingly for them, and are happy to do so, and the records get passed on down the line.
The other 99% of the time you get the “little bit of everything” collection. This means Perry Como, Boston, K-Tel comps, Prism, Streetheart, half a box of kids music and Time Life/Readers Digest box sets, and two very beaten up Beatles records. We’re not exactly sure when “a little bit of everything” came to mean this, but if someone uses that phrase I send them straight to the bin. Naturally, this type of collection always belongs to someone who thinks it’s going to fund their retirement, and they’re very shocked when I tell them otherwise. Oh! And a lot of the time those collections have these hilarious little post it notes stuck on each record with insane eBay prices on them that the seller has dutifully researched! We love those.
Bottom line is that if there’s no market for your stuff, I’m going to tell you, but if it’s something we can sell I’m more than happy to explain the oddities of the collecting world (condition, rarity, demand, water-damage, reekingofweedandTNT damage) to you and figure out a suitable price.

We all know the industry of selling artists for mass appeal based on the quality of their music alone is gone. Record collectors are a niche bunch whom shops like Melodiya rely on. What’s happening out there, how are good record stores surviving today?

Hey come on now! I definitely think good things can be found in the mainstream of music. Plus it’s so interesting to know what appeals to regular people, not just music nerds! If someone likes something, then it’s good music to them and I want to have a dialogue about it.
But more to the point of your question. One of the major things that has changed in this niche is the demand for major label artists. Rihanna, Taylor Swift, Lana Del Ray, Jay-Z and Kanye, Lady Gaga, and even bands that are so big they might as well be major label fodder like the Black Keys and Mumford & Sons. For everyone who’s been hiding out in a bomb shelter with their Shellac b-sides and garage comps: these artists sell a fuck of a lot of records, and help us keep the lights on as much as you do.
In sort of the same vein I’ve really noticed that record collectors these days could care less about the imaginary wall between indie and major label. Especially kids. They’ll buy Pig Destroyer and Ke$ha at the same time, or Justin Timberlake and Black Sabbath. They couldn’t really be bothered to care. And why should they have to? Taylor Swift is pop gold and Thee Oh Sees are weird garage gold. Why can’t one person have all the gold? WHY?!!!??!

I appreciate that kind of open-minded viewpoint Eddie, you are a rare bird! Before we go, what releases are you looking forward to this year?

Altar of Plagues are recording a new one right now, along with Kvelertak, both should rule hard! I loves me some Yo La Tengo, and they have a new one coming soon. I’m excited to (hopefully) see some more Aphex Twin reissues, to continue my quest through the This Heat discography, to get to see Pallbearer and Inquisition in our wonderful city, to hear a bazillion new things and to find some wonderful stuff for everyone who stops by the store!

Sounds good, see you soon!

Melodiya Records is located at 2523A 17 Ave SW, like the Facebook page to get updates on new stock and other info from Eddie himself!
20130113-104517.jpg

%d bloggers like this: