Rhett: Where do I even start with this post? So many things to say about my next guest. In preparation for this I started looking through old pictures to find some good ones of Jordo and I to put up here. They are almost exclusively from 2012-2014, which means it is certainly time to get some new ones together. Nevertheless, here is one of the oldies:
If you don’t know her, you need to meet her. One of the most fun, hilarious, genuine people that I know. From a few summers in Cypress together, to Sasquatch Music Festival in Washington (see below: a picture Jord took of me watching Rodriguez at The Gorge), to an infamous road trip to Great Falls, MT (shout out to Julie as well on this one). These memories are deeply ingrained in me. I feel like it has been a lifetime since we last hung out, but it has been so nice to text back and forth a bit about this blog over the last little while.
I hope this post brings you as much joy as it brought me today! You are the best, Jord!
Jordynn: Hi folks, just wanted to say thanks for taking the time to have a peek into some tracks I’ve been wild about this summer season. Although not many of them are hot new stuff, I’m hoping something resonates or you maybe check out a genre you might not have considered up your alley before! I feel very lucky to live in the current ‘great wide open’ era of musical tastes, where we can all be into anything and share it so easily with our friends – and thanks to Rhett for making that even easier with this lil’ blog.
I feel that I come from a much deeper pop & country background than our other lovely friends that have contributed their picks (for example, I’ve been Shakira’s biggest fan for the last 20 years – like to the point that it’s not healthy). I also feel like I’m a bit of a loose cannon when handed the aux cord; Rhett and our other friends have been on a more than a few road trips where I’ve taken the car on an experimental pop journey that nobody asked for, but that they always politely nodded along to. I’ve spent a good chunk of our slowed lifestyle this past year or so building psychotic playlists, with titles such as “music for a sleepover at Joanna Newsom’s house”; “dirtbag canadiana”; and “Guy Fieri’s discman on shuffle, probably” (this last one is heavily Steely Dan). Again, I’d like to reiterate that nothing good will come from being kind and passing me the aux if you’re ever in a car with me.
I really had no intention for this little list to skew as Canadian as it did – can’t say I’m a great patriot or anything but tend to just leech onto the current music scene of wherever I’m living for a few years, and have been especially lucky to always be near wicked college radio stations. I’ve also noticed how female-dominated my top tracks seem to be, in complete contrast to our pal and previous contributer Tegan’s tastes! Jesus… maybe Shakira has an even deeper grip on my psyche than I previously thought.
This Summer of Jord has been insane so far – I wasn’t 100% sure how I felt in the spring about summer events with tons of faces going ahead, but I buckled up and took the vaccine doses that had been marinating in my arm for a few months out for a spin. I’ve been drinking doubles and yelling at the top of my lungs like the good old days, and feel like I’ve packed months of good times into the past few weeks. It’s been GREAT to get out and see all the friends I’ve been missing since summer 2019, now with a whole new layer of appreciation for our time wasted together. I hope these songs I’ve settled on give you some semblance of a summer feeling, even if some of them are pretty low key!
Starpainter – “WILD AZaLEAS”
This southern Alberta band has been strategically placed at the top of this list along with Vanessa from Swift Current – if there’s any groups I hope you take away from this and gas up to your friends for the remainder of the summer, it’s these Western Canadian artists. I bought multiple copies of Starpainter’s 2020 album “Bury Me by My Family” as housewarming gifts for friends with varied music tastes as a little experiment this last year, and have had my heart swell hearing back from each of them about how much they liked every single track. This country/rock ballad for me stirs a lot up, like nostalgia of backroad drives in an ancient single cab Silverado that absolutely everybody’s Dad seemed to have when we were kids. Other standout tracks on the album included “Mark of Cain” and “Slammin’ on the Brakes”, which are a bit less dainty than this one but still hit hard in the emotion department; all up, we’re talking about a truly unskippable album listing.
Vanessa Gauvin – “HOME”
I was lucky enough this month to spend a week at my childhood summer camp with Vanessa, who spent her summer out there leading introductory music classes for the kids and working on her own music. She held a room full of teenagers rapt when she played them this song from her EP Devil Man, which I can guarantee you is not easy (or do kids just hate me?). Another track I’ve been enjoying from the EP is “Sunshine with a Storm Brewing”, which I’m shocked wasn’t written about our weather in the woods that week. Although I wasn’t able to push kids out of the way to have her help me learn chords for myself, I did bang out a kazoo riff for Heart of Gold I’m pretty proud of. We’re all very glad she was able to make it out for the summer and share her passion for music with so many kids – you never know who the next young Vanessa in the crowd is going to be (spoiler: not me).
SG Lewis – “WARM”
Gotta say that when summer started I was having more of a smoky contemplative summer than the hot vax summer that was promised by our various premiers, and I found myself reaching back to this fairly introspective 2015 track from the UK producer SG Lewis heavily. It isn’t a hot new summer track by a long shot, but I would call this an easing into summer track – the wooziness of our long winter hangover is real, and reminds me of this faraway sounding, potentially-underwater production style.
Ratboys – “ELVIS IS IN THE FrEEZER”
Ratboys’s lead vocalist Julia Steiner has a real diminutive vocal style that often gets completely overpowered by their energetic rickety-ass country instrumentation, and I’ve thought more than once while listening to them that it’s like waves are crashing into what she’s trying to say – which I love. The group had a wicked album out in 2017 called “GN” which was where they piqued my interest; other standout tracks from this album included “The Record” and “GM”. They also put out an album recently that was very well-received; definitely worth checking out if you liked these few tracks that have gripped me.
Benee f. Grimes – “SHEESH”
Although Grimes’s wrinkly space cowboy boyfriend seems to get most of the press these days, the Vancouver/Montreal mystic is a powerhouse whose first album from a decade ago rocked my world and was the playlist to my morning snowboard laps while living broke out in Whistler for a fun, weird winter fresh out of uni. Here, the Galadriel wannabe adds a dreamy, bratty touch to this track from Auckland, NZ’s other (better?) popstar, Benee. If my frantic pop tastes aren’t speaking to you here, Benee has also put out some great/less hyper stuff such as her track “Winter” that features a fellow antipodal musician on the rise, Mallrat.
Toro y Moi – “OMAHA”
Although the guy behind Toro y Moi, Chaz Bear, has put out some really strong albums in 2019 & 2020, this older track was one I revisited quite a bit early into the summer that helped inch the sad cobwebs of a global respiratory outbreak off of my mind, even for 3 minutes at a time. I’ve been making countless smoky trips on the Crowsnest highway this summer getting moved west for a new job, and whenever this track has come up on rotation in my aforementioned playlists, I throw rational caution to the wind and roll that window down and sing while sucking in that gritty ash – but frig it, ya know? And if that isn’t summer energy, not sure I know what is. I continue to attempt the high vocals that loom in the background after the two minute mark, and then quickly abort when I remember I have no musical talent and my lungs get pissy and I wonder if my childhood asthma is gonna resurface from smoke irritation. Worth it, baby.
Eamon McGrath – “SIGNALS”
Do you have a driving while mad song? Do you want one? If so, most things by this guy originally from Edmonton could probably fit the bill. My favourite band of the 80s was The Replacements from equally-landlocked Minneapolis, and Eamon McGrath has always reminded me of their best stuff; kinda snarly, wounded, and real loud. Again with an older pick from his album “Young Canadians” from like a decade ago here, but bite me. If you’re into this song, some other tracks I’ve also always enjoyed from him include “Chlorine” and “Dark End of the Street”.
WAYLON NAPADOGAN – “On a Scale of Rob Ford to Jim Lahey, How Drunk are You Lady?“
Our friend Dave texted me and our other pal Randy a spontaneous link to this song a couple months ago, and it hit me like a ton of bricks and became a cornerstone of my summer listening. While reading up on him further, I found an iconic intro that read “You probably know Waylon Napadogan from being voted the 12th-best country music singer from southeastern New Brunswick two years running now” – I laughed til I cried and it cemented my appreciation for his brand. Mr. Napadogan is a deeply Canadian artist, with other sizzlers such as “Frig Off Bud” and “Gettin’ Stoned Behind the Tim Hortons” that are equally great and droll. This track makes me giggle every damn time and think of all the times you’ve gone out for drinks with the homegirls, go full ‘Alberta Premium princess’, and then end up shutting down one shady establishment or another while being complete terrorists and making multiple enemies as the night unfolds. What a glory.
- STARPAINTER – WILD AZALEAS
- VANESSA GAUVIN – HOME
- SG LEWIS – WARM
- RATBOYS – ELVIS IS IN THE FREEZER
- BENEE FT. GRIMES – SHEESH
- TORO Y MOI – OMAHA
- EAMON MCGRATH – SIGNALS
- WAYLON NAPADOGAN – ON A SCALE OF ROB FORD TO JIM LAHEY, HOW DRUNK ARE YOU LADY?