Saturday, November 20, 2010

Summer Tour Wrap Up (See You In Febuary!)

Bless your heart.

Thank you so very much to everyone that got stoked on our tour with us.
We had so so so so so much fun nearly everywhere that we went. We did shots until we couldn't move, and then we did shots until we were sober, and then we did more shots just because it gives you a reason to shout things incoherently. We managed to talk our way out of 3 arrestings, 6 parking tickets, 1 slow speed chase, and multiple other po-po run-ins. We fell down stair cases, and fell off of stages, and fell for girls that we knew we'd never see again, and we still managed to make it home in (mostly) one piece.

Thank you so much if you partook in any of our shennanigans. They were way too much fun, and we can't wait to come back in 4 months and do it all over again.

If you didn't get a chance to listen to our music live or fling your bra/panties at us (I'm looking at you, gentlemen), make sure to head out to your local record store TODAY and pick up our latest LP "Understanding More About Nothing Than Anybody Ever Thought Impossible" on vinyl. The vinyl edition is only a couple bucks more than the CD edition, and comes with an amazing 12"x12" Taka Sudo wall piece, a 12 page Animal Nation comic-book-style album insert by Sponge-Bob -Square-Pants write Kent Osborne, and a free mp3 download of the album, so that you can LEARN ALL THE WORDS, and come join us on our next tour in Febuary/March!

We made sure to get records in the following shops.. If your favourite record shop isn't on the list, let them know that they NEED TO STOCK ANIMAL NATION, and then let us know, and we'll send them a couple albums! Rock!

Toronto: Sonic Boom on Bathhurst & Bloor

Montreal: Encore Records on Sherbrook & Oxford

Saskatoon: Vinyl Exchange on 2nd Ave & 22nd
Vinyl Diner on Broadway & 12th
Momentum Skate Shop on 8th & McCool

Edmonton: Sound Connection on 124th St. & 109 Ave.
FreeCloud on 101 St. & 108th Ave.

Calgary: The Heritage Record & Comic Shop on 11th Ave. SW & 14th St. SW

Nelson: Urban Legends on Baker & Ward St.

Vancouver: Red Cat Records on Main St. & 27th Ave.
Zulu Records on 4th Ave. & Maple
Beat Street on Hastings & Richards

Whistler: Foto Source in Whistler Village Square

And, of course, there's always iTunes -

We're planning a small scale tour in Febuary / March for Western Canada. If you live in or around BC / Alberta / Washington, get yourself stoked, get your friends stoked, get your dog stoked, and get to partying right now!
You're gonna need to build up that tolerance if you're wanting to party in Animal Nation.

-Tall Man
Animal Nation.


Basti iTunes:
Animal Nation Doesn’t Know Anything Blog:

Friday, September 24, 2010

Summer Update #3 / Animal Nation on Wax

My bandmate's back, and you're gonna be in trouble.

Mike, along with our longtime friend and new-found road manager Jeff Waters, landed in Montreal last night.

It's time to party.

Our first show is set for next Thursday in Ottawa on September 30, and we've already put all sorts of fun new things together for you and yours.
These shows are going to be amazing, and full of way too much awesome, and assuredly absolutely horrible for our health, so make sure to check out the dates to see when we're playing in your city, and then COME ON DOWN as if we were Rod Roddy, and Drew Carey never existed.

Along with new music, new instruments, and new friends we've also got a couple new items to display proudly on the merch table.

For the first time Animal Nation will have their critically acclaimed album "Understanding More About Nothing Than Anybody Ever Thought Impossible or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the Music" available on vinyl.

-The 12" vinyl albums come with a full colour 12-page Animal Nation comic-book-insert drawn by Sponge-Bob Square-Pants writer Kent Osborne.
-The vinyl album also comes with free mp3 download of the album so you can easily rock it on your iPod or cassette player and send it to all your friends internetically.
-And, of course, the album features the 12"x12" cover art drawn by Whistler/Japan artist Taka Sudo. The album is worth buying for the album art alone. They make for great wall art, 12"x12" stain coverer-upper, huge-ass rolling tray, fly-swatter, Slap-Chop replacement, etc, so there's really no reason to not have 3 or 4 or 5 of these in your collection.

We'll be selling these almost exclusively at our shows, so make sure to come by and get yours soon! We're ridiculously excited about having our music on wax, and absolutely can't wait to find one in the $0.50 bin at Value Village one day.

Basti Made Me Do It! has also finally been pressed into CD format, which will be available at shows as well.

We're really excited about this, and about this entire album, and I didn't mean to overshadow it with the news about our other album, but shit, we've got our music on wax!

Make sure to download both of these albums on iTunes before the shows, so you can help us out when we stumble on a lyric, or stream either of these albums at CBC Radio3 today! Now!

See you soon.

-Tall Man!!
Animal Nation

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Summer Update pt.2 / Tour Dates!!


How's your summer going? I hope it's good! Mine's going really well.. I think Mike's summer is stressed the eff out, but hey, mine's going really well!

We've confirmed most of the dates for our upcoming tour, and will should have the rest confirmed in a few weeks!

They're all posted on our myspace page, our facebook group thing, as well as our CBC page (where you can stream our entire new album!).

The shows are posted at the bottom of this post as well! Hope to see you out at some or, perhaps (!!>??!?!), all of the shows!

Here's a few pics of the barn I've been recording in... It's absolutely amazing here, and also incredibly lonely, but besides facebook and cheap celebrity slam websites I don't have too much to distract me, and am getting lots done..

And I promise ONE more amazing ultra-rad summer update by the end of the month! It's going to be the best update yet, and it's totally awesome, and it makes me all sorts of happy thinking about it!

See ya soon, bud!

30 Sep 2010 22:00
The Mercury Lounge, downstairs Ottawa, ON, CANADA
1 Oct 2010 22:00
The Therapy Lounge Brantford, Ontario, CANADA
5 Oct 2010 22:00
The Bread & Circus Theatre Toronto, Ontario, CANADA
15 Oct 2010 22:00
The Fez Saskatoon, SK, CANADA
19 Oct 2010 22:00
20 Oct 2010 22:00
New City Compound Edmonton, Alberta, CANADA
22 Oct 2010 22:00
Fernie Hotel Fernie, BC, CANADA
23 Oct 2010 22:00
Spirit Bar Nelson, BC, CANADA
26 Oct 2010 22:00
The Flying Steamshovel Rossland, BC, CANADA
29 Oct 2010 22:00
The Rockwater Bar & Grill Golden, BC, CANADA
30 Oct 2010 22:00
4 Nov 2010 22:00
Upstairs Cabaret Victoria, Alberta, CANADA
9 Nov 2010 22:00
The Media Club Vancouver, BC, CANADA
11 Nov 2010 22:00
Garfinkles Whistler, BC, CANADA

-Tall Man!!!
Animal Nation.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Very exciting summer update pt. 1

Oh my! It's a super exciting Animal Nation "I wonder what the heck those guys are up to" update!!

Mike recently moved down the street to Vancouver and has been DJing the city red, MCing random parties and clubs, and writing all sorts of new material.

I've been living in Halifax for the last 3 months, looking for the Wizard, meeting all sorts of amazing people, having tons of awesome adventures and huge jam sessions, and working on new music for a concept album tentatively titled "Every Day In The Life".
At the end of the month I'll be driving out to Ontario to set up a studio in a refinished barn to start recording vocals for said album.

Near the end of September Mike and I will be meeting up in Montreal to record more vocals, and prepare for our upcoming tour.

Tour you say?!? Tour indeed!!

Starting October 1st Animal Nation will be touring from Montreal back out West to Whistler over the course of the month.
We'll post dates soon! But if you're living in or near or around any sort of Canadian city get stoked now, because we're gonna be partying and drinking and musicing our faces off all over your town real soon.

Hey America!! Don't feel left out! We're planning on heading down your lovely little West coast soon too!
We've also got a couple other super secret updates that we'll be revealing in the next little bit. Stay tuned! We've got fun things a'comin'!

-Tall Man!
Animal Nation

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Albums of Influence - Animal Nation's "Basti Made Me Do It"

Our latest recording "Basti Made Me Do It!" is probably my favourite Animal Nation album to listen to. It doesn't necessarily contain our best material, (although the songs did turn out very nice,) but it was more so the process of creating the songs that makes them seem so special to me.

Last summer our good German friend, Sebastian Hochstein, traveled out to Canada and spent nearly three weeks with us in our home, just a couple hours North of Vancouver.

Sebastian brought with him a CD that had over 30 completed beats that he wanted us to turn in to an EP by the time he left. We ended up making 3 brand new songs, and re-working 3 songs that Mike and I had previously tried to record during our 'Understanding...' sessions.

It was so much fun working with Basti. We clicked. We'd hung out before (Mike and I traveled to Germany a few years ago to do a couple shows out there, and to meet up with people we'd worked on our TimeZone album with), but this was the first time Basti and I got to work together behind the boards.

Back in Canada Sebastian was more than willing to spend countless hours behind mixing boards, tweaking tracks, playing with fx, recording and re-recording vocals in really unorthodox ways, and trying out all sorts of new things that occasionally worked in our favour.
We must have spent a solid 9 hours over 2 days just working on the bridge for 'Reason'. It didn't work out the first 8 times we tried recording it, but what I loved about working with Sebastian was that we would try it over and over until it did work. Not until it was 'good enough', because for the most part 'good enough' is the same thing as giving up. We'd try it again and again until our house had mics in the bathroom and the kitchen, wires covering all our windows and exits, and I was screaming through a cardboard tube. All in an effort to get something that we loved, rather than something we deemed 'good enough'.

I learned more about production in those 3 weeks than I had in the previous 3 years.

Thank you Sebastian.
I can't wait to head over to Germany to start work on our next project with you.

Check out one of the tracks "Pillow Talk" below.
It's a song about what it's like to be a pillow.
Or, steam the whole album at CBC Radio 3 here.

Then head over to iTunes, or CamoBear Records to purchase this little ditty. It's the only album we haven't given away for free. It's just that good.

Oh! ps - The incredibly talented and beautiful Paige Harley did the art work for the album. Read her interview with us here, then email her at floating.down [at] to hire her for your next project.
She's amazing.

<a href="">Pillow Talk by ANIMAL NATION</a>

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Albums of Influence - Feist's "The Reminder"

With such lush, dense, yet incredible simple production, it's impossible hear this album and not think it's an instant classic.

Leslie Feist was quoted as saying that on her 2nd album "Let It Die" her and her producer tried to use different instruments on each song, "just because."

On "The Reminder" Feist takes a similar approach, but this time doesn't let her music wander off mid-song as occasionally happened on "Let It Die". The result is that "The Reminder" comes off a much tighter, more 'album-like' album, rather than a collection of individual songs.

Even if you're not a fan of Leslie Feist's dressed up down-tempo folk music, you'd be hard pressed to deny the greatness in the production alone. That and her voice. By golly, can that girl ever sing.

Download the entire album for free here, then go out and buy Let It Die to show your support.

Other great Feist albums include: Let It Die, as well as any of the work she's done with the Broken Social Scene guys, as well as probably a billion other songs she's lent her talents to.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Albums of Influence - Gorillaz' "Gorillaz"

The first album the Gorillaz put out is still my favourite release of theirs.

I love the down-tempo vibe that was created in part by Deltron 3030's very own Dan The Automator.
Alongside Dan The Automator is 'Blur' frontman Damon Albarn, who's voice sounds infinitely better here than it did screaming "Waaahoooo!" on 'Song2'.
Two of the tracks also feature Deltron himself, including the hit single "Clint Eastwood".

For the most part the Gorillaz' band members change from album to album, so it's easy to accept that each record is essentially a one-off, and won't resemble any of their other output. The same idea makes each record seem more special in the sense that the band doesn't just try to recreate their hit songs with any sort of formula like a lot of mainstream bands tend to do.

Download this album for free here, then head down to your favourite local record shop, and buy Demon Days. It's pretty groovy too.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Albums of Influence - Beck's "Odelay"

This album sounds like the thought process of a maniacle-genius-university-professor-turn-hobo-folk-singer.

There is so much going on in these songs, all at once, with so many random and insane "what the shit is that???" noises that it's hard to imagine it could actually sound good. That being said, it does. It very very does.

One of the funniest things about this record is that nearly all of my friends were turned on to it either by their own, or someone else's, wacky-tobacky smokin' parents.

From the second you press play the honky tonkin' Devil's Haircut has you questioning everything you've ever known about pop music (how are they combining an acoustic guitar with multiple samples, and rapping, while not coming off cheesy or contrived?), philosophy (whoa dude, it's a Devil's Haircut in his mind, but I think it looks totally awesome!!), whether or not you've got a devil's haircut (you do), and why does your friend's single Dad have this crazy album with a hay-bale jumping over an oxer on the cover? WTF? (The weed.)
Side note - This album is still blowing my mind 14 years later, as Wiki tells me that the mop/hay-bale jumping over the hurdle is actually a real photograph of a Komondor, a Hungarian breed of dog with thick matted fur.

Make sure to download this album for free here, then go out and buy more Beck. Almost everything he's ever put out is great in some way or another.

Other great Beck albums include: Midnight Vultures, Sea Change, The Information, and Modern Guilt.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Albums of Influence - Classified's "Trial and Error"

Classified has always been a huge influence on our music.

In fact, I think earlier this year when Classified released his new music video for 'Oh Canada' it was probably the first time in my life I'd ever felt patriotic. And I don't dislike where I'm from- I really like it here... I'd just never given it much thought until Class went and glamourized the H-E-double-hockey-sticks right out of it!

The first time I heard Classified was when I was going to school out in Halifax. He wasn't a huge name, but he was developing a following, and he put on one of the best hip-hop shows I'd ever seen.
Fast forward 8 years later, and he's Canada's biggest rap star, pulling more Canadian tour stops than nearly every other Canadian hip-hopper combined. He's got international distribution deals inked with Sony, and his live act has progressed from great hip-hop to one of the best shows I've ever seen.

All of Classified's albums are good. In fact, he's one of few artists I've heard who's albums keep getting better with every release. He's put out more than 12 albums, and he still hasn't peaked. It's amazing.

This one, Trial and Error, just happened to be the Classified CD that I stumbled upon first. Classified influenced my style so much when I was first starting out that on my first rap recordings you can clearly hear me trying to say 'krr' instead of 'car', and 'doot' instead of 'doubt', and I was definitely guitly of throwing my 'aboots' all over the place.

Download this album for free here, then go buy a couple more, and bask in the awesome that is Classified.

This one was my personal headphone anthem for a solid year and a half.

Other great Classified albums are... all over the place. They literally get better every year, and they've been consistently awesome for the last ten years. Classified.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Albums of Influence - David Bowie's "The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars"

I'm such a huge fan of the concept album it's silly.
I'm such a huge fan of listening to albums that have a flow and a common feeling throughout that I can't actually remember the last time I used the 'shuffle' feature on my WalkmanPod.
I love hearing albums that when listened to front-to-back sound as if the artists spent a bit of time arranging the track listing; albums that, when listened to on random, don't quite seem to make as much sense as when listened to from front to back.

I hate it when modern artists say that "the album is dead", because while their singles are flying off the digital shelves, the other 7, non-hit tracks, aren't doing very well. (Here is where I spent way too much time looking for the Rolling Stone article claiming that the Black Eyed Peas are the hot new pop act to catch, because frontman Will.I.Am is the best businessman in today's 'music' industry.)

David Bowie's "The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars" not only has an amazing title, but also "tells the incredible story of 'Ziggy Stardust,' the human manifestation of an alien being who is attempting to present humanity with a message of hope in the last five years of its existence. Ziggy Stardust is the definitive rock star: sexually promiscuous, wild in drug intake and with a message, ultimately, of peace and love; but he is destroyed both by his own excesses of drugs and sex, and by the fans he inspired."

And how.

Download this album for free here, then go buy some Bowie so the RIAA doesn't sue me so hard.

Other great David Bowie albums include: Space Oddity, Aladdin Sane, and tons of others.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Albums of Influence - Cunninlynguists' "Will Rap For Food"

You'd be hard pressed to find better wordsmiths in the music industry than the Cunninlynguists. Their name says it all. They make puns out of puns, then use double entendres to make you both laugh and think at the same time.

The Southern-State duo (turn trio, turn duo, turn trio) not only write and record everything themselves, but also make nearly all of the music for their albums as well.
Although, while producer/emcee Kno has been labeled as "one of the top loop miners east of the Mississippi", his style has progressed significantly in later albums, which include hired studio musicians, and more complex arrangements.
This new, less loop-based style comes to fruition on the Cunninlynguist's third album "A Piece of Strange."

So, while I do enjoy their later albums more than I do their first two, the fact that I heard "Will Rap For Food" first, the fact that their wordplay on this album is unmatchable, and the fact that it contains possibly the best hip-hop sample in all of the world (video below), makes this album one of their most influential.

Make sure to download this album for free here, then go out and buy 'A Piece of Strange' today. It's amazing.

Other great Cunninlynguist albums include "SouthernUnderground", "A Piece of Strange", and "Dirty Acres".

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Albums of Influence - Joni Mitchell's "Court and Spark"

Help me. I think I've fallen... in love with a 23 year old gypsy from the 60's.

Up until recently, I'd always thought of Joni Mitchell as the female version of Bob Dylan. Not only is she an amazing singer/song-writer and genre crossing folk-rock trailblazer, but she's also one of the best lyricists I've ever heard.

Later on, after discovering Canadian indie band Metric, I'd always picture Joni as a 60's version of Emily Haines. They both write incredible songs and lyrics, they're both amazing singers with huge vocal ranges, and they're both ridiculously good looking.

Ridiculously good looking.

Make sure to download this album for free here, then go buy a couple of her other albums. Joni's one of the few artists that deserve a new pool.

Other great Joni albums include: Blue, For the Roses, The Hissing of Summer Lawns, Hejira, Night Ride Home, and Turbulent Indigo.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Albums of Influence - Prince Paul's "A Prince Among Thieves"

I've gotta admit, I've only ever listened to this album, the entire way through, front to back, about 5 times.

That being said, this concept album about up-and-coming rapper Tariq is probably the best audio-story ever told.

The 35 song album details Tariq's struggle to collect money owed, in order to record a demo tape that he can deliver to RZA of the Wu-Tang Clan. Tariq quickly finds himself selling drugs to make a quick buck, and narrates his way through the drug scene, a police ambush, jail, and, finally, a deadly showdown.

This album features everyone from Kool Keith, Big Daddy Kane, Biz Markie, De La Soul, Everlast, Sadat X, Xzibit, Chris Rock, and RZA.

This is one of the only "concept albums" I've ever heard that actually has a solid story to it. Most concept albums will follow a theme, or subject, (some bands just wear funny outfits, and call themselves a concept band while the songs themselves have little to nothing to do with each other...) but hardly do they follow an actual story line. Unfortunately for Prince Paul's "A Prince Among Thieves", what that means is that most people won't listen to the album more times than it takes to learn the story... which, at the end of the day, makes this record the "album that I'll remember the most, for having listened to it the least."
And I'm still trying to figure out if that's a good or bad thing.

Download this album for free here, then go out, buy a Prince Paul tee, and shout "De La Soul is Dead!" at the top of your lungs.

If you like this album check out just about anything else produced by Prince Paul, including De La Soul's "3 Feet High and Rising". Prince Paul has also produced for Method Man, Slick Rick, Del Tha Funky Homosapien, Big Daddy Kane, Chris Rock, MC Paul Barman, Souls of Mischief, and many many more.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Albums of Influence - The Beach Boys' single - "Good Vibrations"

Good Vibrations was the first song to ever be recorded in what is now referred to as "modular" recording, meaning that it was the first song to ever be recorded in separate parts, then later spliced back together as to create the entire song. This was also the first song to use the studio as an instrument.

Brian Wilson, then-leader of the the Beach Boys, spent nearly $50,000 on this song alone, over the course of 6 months, spent throughout 17 recording sessions in 4 separate studios.

This song inspired countless recordings, including the Beatles' own "Strawberry Fields", and "A Day in the Life". It also inspired Brian Wilson to create an entire album of songs that were to be made in the "modular" recording fashion. Unfortunately, after hearing the Beatles' new work "Sgt. Peppers", which was supposed to include both "Strawberry Fields", and "A Day in the Life" (both of which were inspired by Wilson's "Good Vibrations") Brian Wilson had a mental breakdown, claiming that the Beatles' beat him to the sound he was trying to achieve. Although, his severe paranoia (he once thought that his song "Fire" was causing fires to spring up all around his Californian residence), and heavy cocaine use probably weren't helping anything either.

Forty years later the mythical album, SMiLE, that was to accompany "Good Vibrations" finally came out. It was still amazing to hear, and nice to know that Wilson had finally been able to put it out and get it off his chest, but one can only imagine what it would have sounded like if a twenty-something year-old Brian Wilson had created what he originally intended to create in the first place. An album full of "Good Vibrations".

Other great Beach Boys albums include the incredibly amazing "Pet Sounds", and, if you're into surfing, girls, and classic cars, then just about everything else by the Beach Boys is really good too.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Albums of Influence - DJ Shadow's "Endtroducing....."

This was the first record to be made entirely of samples of other albums, TV shows, interviews, radio snippets, and various other things pre-recorded.

This record is such a huge influence in that there's 0% "new" music on the album, and yet it's so different from the original songs that were sampled, and it still sounds so SO good. So so good in fact, that Time Magazine named the album one of the best 100 albums OF ALL TIME.

In 1996, back when most hip-hop beats were little more than 3 minute loops (a lot has changed) this album blew everything else out of the water. Shadow's beats had dynamic and spectrum. They evolved. Basically, this album, in which 10 of 12 tracks are lyric free, is still way better than 99% of albums that were instrumentals WITH lyrics.

Take that you lazy one-loop producers.

Download the entire alum for free on google. It's easy. In fact, you can download any album for free. Just google "download __________ free", and it's yours.
I had to take down the free link I had because the RIAA sent me another complaint, but google has links to every album ever.

Other great Shadow releases include "The Private Press".

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Albums of Influence - Elliott Smith's From a Basement on the Hill

This posthumous album was released exactly 1 year after Elliott Smith stabbed himself in the chest, and bled to death.

The lyrics on this album are so haunting. Suddenly something like "Give me one good reason not to do it..." doesn't seem like an empty threat, given that the guy actually went and 'did it'.

With song titles like "A Distorted Reality is Now a Necessity to Be Free", "Strung Out Again", and "A Fond Farewell" the majority of the lyrics on the album sound like they're coming from a guy that plans on killing himself, and "...can't prepare for death any more than I already have."

Download the entire album for free here, then go out and buy a t-shirt or something.

Other great Elliott Smith albums include "XO", and "Figure 8".

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Albums of Influence - Eyedea's "The Many Faces of Oliver Hart"

'The Many Faces of Oliver Hart' is a side project from the vocal half of Minneapolis-based hip-hop duo 'Eyedea & Abilities'.

For the majority of the Eyedea & Abilities tracks Eyedea works the vocals, while producer/DJ Abilities takes care of the musical side of things. This time around Eyedea chose to write both the lyrics as well as the music, and it came out wonderfully.

You can hear the lack of perfection, and the 'first time around' aspect of the production. That being said, this isn't a half-assed attempt at making beautiful music. This is the real deal. This sounds like a twenty-something year old Eyedea spent hours and weeks and months living in a dingy basement pouring over exactly how to fit all these amazing samples (samples?) together. However it came together, it works.

I love that Eyedea did everything on this album, from the drum programming, to the guitars, to the old school samples, to the really really quite good lyrics.

Make sure to download this album for free now! (Needs WinRAR to unzip). Then go out and buy Eyedea and Abilities' "E&A"... it's really good as well.

Other great Eyedea albums include "By The Throat", "E & A", and "First Born".

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Albums of Influence - Smashing Pumpkins' "Siamese Dream"

As of late, Smashing Pumpkins front-man Billy Corgan has kinda lost the plot... but at one time, some 18 years ago, the Smashing Pumpkins created something amazing.
Siamese Dream's production is so tight. I've never heard bass sit so well in a mix. I've never heard 40 layers of guitar turn out so dreamy and lush sounding. Songs start from a whisper, transmorph into hate-raged screaming, then gently descend back into soft, surrealistic dream pop.

Make sure to download this album for FREE now, then go out and buy "Gish". If you've got $22, go cop their double album "Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness". At that point you'll have all the best Smashing Pumpkins music, before half the band quit, and the "The Billy Corgan Experience" went crazy.

Other good Smashing Pumpkin albums include "Gish", and "Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness"

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Albums of Influence - Cannibal Ox's The Cold Vein

In 2001 Cannibal Ox released The Cold Vein to amazing critical reception. The album was put on numerous 'best of 2001' lists, and even managed to make it on a few 'best of the decade' lists. Pitchfork Media placed The Cold Vein at number 152 on their list of top 200 albums of the 2000s. Rhapsody ranked the album #5 on its "Hip-Hop’s Best Albums of the Decade" list.
El-P was named to be producer of the year, and everyone was hoping Cannibal Ox was going to be the next Wu-Tang. Cannibal Ox was a gritty, yet beautiful sounding, take on the New York life style, easily taking listeners to the core of the Big Apple regardless of whether you've actually been there or not.

And then there were financial differences, and Vodul's alcoholism and clinical depression, and all of a sudden it's 2007, and all three members of Cannibal Ox are saying that The Cold Vein is going to be their first, last, and only release.

To me, this album sounds like the future. Not necessarily the future of music, but more so a sound-scape of what the future of New York will look and sound like one day. It's like a less-jokey version of Deltron's 3030, if 3030 had been called "Deltron 2020", and Del lived in New York.

Download the entire album for free now, then go cry about the fact that a new one isn't coming any time soon...

Other great El-P albums (the producer for CanOx) include Fantastic Damage, and I'll Sleep When You're Dead.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Albums of Influence - Bob Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited

Of all of my favourite artists, Bob Dylan was the hardest to showcase a single album.

'Highway 61 Revistited' isn't my favourite Dylan album (probably either Blood on the Tracks, or Desire), nor is it even the most influential Dylan album I've ever heard. That being said, all of his albums have been incredibly important, and I ended up going with this one just because it features one of my favourite Dylan tracks.

Bob Dylan's lyrics are so much better than 99% of what's out there that his music literally changed the definition of pop-music in the 60's, and is still affecting musical output 50 years later. He's even been cited as the main reason that the Beatles stopped writing about holding your hand, and started writing about Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, and Walruses, and the like.

I got heck from the DMCA so I had to take down the link for a free download of the album, but it's not hard to find free downloads on Google.
..Then go buy his other records. They rule.

Other awesome Dylan albums include: Bringing It All Back Home, Blonde on Blonde, Nashville Skyline, Blood on the Tracks, Desire, and so many others....

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Albums of Influence - Josh Martinez's "Buck Up Princess Vol. II"

Ever since I found out that pretending to be a gangster really isn't very cool, Josh Martinez has always been a hero of mine.

His lackadaisical attitude towards life, and the fact that he's "Just a Dood" makes him incredibly easy to relate to on a personal level. He's also got some of the best lyrics I've ever heard, easily competing with lyrical greats such as Bob Dylan, or Atmosphere.

Unlike Atmosphere, however, Josh Martinez sprawls his subject matter much further than the after-hours bar, or his girlfriend's broke down bedroom. On "Buck up Princess" Josh spits about girls, the hard times of trying to make it in underground rap, tour troubles, BC's "real big trees", and even what it's like to be a hobo, trying to survive off of day-old-doughnuts, cans of beans, dumpster chicken, and river greens.

Originally from Nova Scotia, Buck Up Princess was the first record Josh made that allowed him the opportunity to take his show on the road. After travelling across the globe he eventually settled in Vancouver, BC, and Portland, OR, where he continues to throw super hyphy shows, and run his record label, CamoBear Records.

Josh has always been a huge influence on our music, and well as us personally, so it's a HUGE honour to be releasing our latest EP with him and his crew.

Download the "Buck up Princess" album for free, now! Then go out and buy his latest album - The World Famous Sex Buffet - available wherever CD's and records are bought and sold!

Other awesome Josh Martinez albums include: Midriff Music, and The World Famous Sex Buffet.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Albums of Influence - Broken Social Scene's "You Forgot it in People"

I love that this album has so much more to offer when listened to with headphones. I love the slight panning adjustments halfway through lyrics. I love the hidden background voices that 99% of people that listen to it will never hear.
It feels like I have a secret with this album, and only people that REALLY want to know it get to find it out.
It's like the kid that built walls not to keep everybody out, but to see who was really interested in knocking them down.

It's hard to say if this is the best Broken Social Scene album.. mostly because preference is kind of objective, and it's not really up to me to state whether one album is better than another... it's also hard to determine if this is my favourite BSS album. I might like Kevin Drew's 'solo' album, Spirit If..., more, but this was the first BSS record I got into, probably making it the most influential.

Make sure to download the entire Broken Social Scene - You Forgot it in People album for free - here. Then wait patiently for the new album to come out in May of this year.

Other awesome BSS albums include their self titled "Broke Social Scene" album, Kevin Drew's "Sprit If...", as well as all sorts of other contributing members' albums - Metric, Feist, Stars, Amy Millan... all amazing.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

New EP on CamoBear Records! OUT TODAY!

Basti Made Me Do It! is the follow-up [EP] to the recently-released, full length LP, "Understanding More About Nothing Than Anybody Ever Thought Impossible". While half the songs for "Basti..." were written during the making of "Understanding...", the other half were conceived during Sebastian "Basti" Hochstein's three week trip to Canada.

Head over to CamoBear records NOW to check it out!

Thinking Basti would want to check out the offerings of Beautiful British Columbia, the two members of Animal Nation prepared for a week of hikes, bikes, and sights, and wound up spending the majority of the trip writing tracks to satisfy Basti's never-ending lust for new and exciting music, as suggested by the opening track, "Hey Mr. Basti!" - "...and we thought that when he got here he'd want to see the sights, but the only thing he wanted to see was us write.” Although the intro track is more of a set-up track to detail the rest of the album, it's far from filler, and contains some of the best back-and-forth rhyme-schemes that Animal Nation has produced to date.

The third track, "Reason", was the first track recorded for the "Understanding..." album, but never managed to get the attention it deserved. With Basti helming the wheel Animal Nation not only managed to complete this track, but also managed to make this ethereal sounding song one of the best on the album.

On “I Think I've Been Here Before (In Another Pair of Shoes)”, Animal Nation asks “What's in a path, but a past way to live?” This theme presents itself throughout the album as Animal Nation tries out more new production techniques in these 6 songs than they have in their last 3 albums combined.

Basti acts as the motivation behind this EP as stated in the intro track, “Basti made me do it, and we’re really glad he did.”

The amazing art work was also done by the wonderful, and talented, and wonderfully talented Paige Harley.

Head over to CamoBear Records now to check it out!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Albums of Influence - De La Soul's "3 Feet High and Rising"

After hearing Eminem for the first time in 1999 I listened to nothing but hip-hop for the next 4 years. All hip-hop. Pretty much anything hip-hop related that I could get my hands on...
I listened to maintstream, (including, I'm sad to admit, the first 50 Cent album way too many times).
I listened to every underground artist I could find, from Apathy, to Atmosphere, to Louis Logic, to Josh Martinez, to Zion I, and beyond.
I listened to weird nerd-core hip-hop like Anticon's Dose-One.
I was so mesmorized by hip-hop that my buddies and I would talk about it for hours on end, discussing who our favourite MC was, or what we thought the 5th element of hip-hop should be.. ("No! Beatmaking is the 5th element!" "No way! Groupies are definitely the 5th element!")
That being said, around 2004 Crunk Music came into fashion, and I felt fucked. I felt like I'd been thrown on my back, chained up, and gang raped by what is easily the worst kind of music I've ever heard in my life, ever.
I didn't get it... I thought all hip-hop was amazing? Why was this horrible music tarnishing something I held so dear?
I felt fucked, and I felt alienated, and I stopped listening to 90% of the hip-hop I'd been so in love with only months before.
I spent the next 2 years listening to the Beatles, and the Stones, and Bob Dylan, and Radiohead, and Broken Social Scene, and all the other non-hip-hop stuff I've mentioned on this page, and every time I heard that familiarly beautiful hip-hop sound, it would be accompanied by some douche shouting "Yeahhhhhaaa!! OKAYYY!!" and I would wonder what the heck is wrong with the people that buy these records.

So how does any of this have to do with De La Soul? After holding a serious contempt for hip-hop for nearly 2 years I heard something amazing. Throughout all those years of seeking and listening to every bit of hip-hop I could find, I managed to somehow never come across anything like De La, or a Tribe Called Quest, or Arrested Development, or even the majority of the freakin' Beastie Boys, and as soon as I heard De La's "3 Feet High and Rising" I realized that there was, and is, still so much amazing hip-hop music hiding out there. It's just not what's being played on MTV (for the most part).
De La showed me that hip-hop doesn't have to take itself so seriously.
De La showed me that hip-hop doesn't have to involve guns or wearing chunks of metal in your mouth.
Basically, De La Soul is FUN.

Download the entire 3 Feet High and Rising album here for free, then buy another De La record.. maybe some Arrested Development, and definitely hit up a Tribe album or two.

Also - Check out our song Sky Fish (video below), as it was directly influenced by De La's "3 Feet High and Rising".

Other AMAZING De La albums include De La Soul is Dead, and Buhloon Mindstate.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Albums of Influence - Chad Vangaalen's "Soft Airplane"

Chad VanGaalen's DIY (Do It Yourself) production ethics and amazing use of non-standard arrangments has his 2009 album, Soft Airplane, finding more than a few spins on the ol' Oracle turn-table.

The fact that he plays nearly everything on this disc himself (including the amazing BANJOing on track 1), and is described as a "notorious home-body" on his bio is what made Soft Airplane one of the more influential albums I've heard in a while.

Chad also animates his own music videos. Check out the first video to hear my favorite track of his, and check out the second to see his animation skills at work.

Feel free to download his latest album "Soft Airplane" here for free, then head out and buy his other 2 albums, his side project album "Black Mold", and a couple t-shirts or something.

Other awesome Chad Vangaalen albums include "Skelliconnection".

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Albums of Influence - Wu-Tang's 36 Chambers

This one is obvious.
Who hasn't been influenced even just a little bit by the Wu? This album is so simple and easy to digest, yet packs such a huge punch with its gritty streets-of-New-York story-telling, and raw 'creaky-old-piano' sampling that 15 years after its debut it's still better than 90% of the hip-hop coming out today.
At least 6 of the 9 Wu members are incredibly solid story tellers, making the fact that you've never been to the Bronx, or never seen a shorty's blood "all over the hot concrete" fine. You don't need to be a gangster to have the Wu make you feel what it's like to be a gangster.
The Wu brings you into the Big Apple, and into their lives in The 36 Chambers.

This is one of the most essential hip-hop albums ever made. Download it for free here, then go out and buy the other 300 albums the Wu and their associates have put out.

Wu-Tang Clan ain't nothin' to fuck wit'.

Other great Wu-Tang albums include Raekwon's Only Built 4 Cuban Linx, Ghostface's Fishscale, GZA's Liquid Swords, The Wu's The W, and a whole load more. There are so many by now it's silly.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

An Interview with Abdominal

Abdominal is your favorite MC's favorite MC. He's so good technically, lyrically, and word-playically that it's amazing hes not a thousand times more known than he already is.

Check out what he has to say about pizza, Satan, and trying to impress his lady-friend.

But first, head on over to his CBC radio 3 page and tune into one of his jams.

Animal Nation: Do you have any cats?

Abdominal: No...1 dog.

AN: How many cats does someone have to have before they're considered "a crazy cat person"?

Abs: 1

AN: Listen: It's December, 2012. The conspiracy theorists were right. There's a huge meteor the size of Canada headed straight for Canada. The Four Horsemen have arrived and they're hungover as heck and totally not looking to party. Satan shows up in your backyard, ready to destroy our planet and everything we've ever known, but he's willing to turn it all around if you can impress him with one of your songs. He's only interested in your music, and he's only got 3 minutes and 34 seconds of free time. Which Abdominal track are you going to use to blow Satan's mind?

Abs: "Heaven's Demon", which is a track off my last album ("Escape From the Pigeon Hole") that's, coincidentally enough, about me being a mercenary sent by God to destroy Satan. He probably wouldn't be too impressed but he might be scared enough to reconsider his dastardly plan.

AN: What is your favorite non-pizza pizza topping? I mean, what might we find on your favorite fantasy pizza that we might not normally discover on a Dominoes Deep Dish? (ie-perogies, Kraft Dinner, a skyfish...)

Abs: A second, slightly smaller pizza.

AN: That's amazing. What's been the strangest / most stand out recording or performing session you've experienced?

Abs: Playing in front of 10, 000 people at the Glastonbury festival in the UK was pretty stand-out.

AN: This question comes straight from our guest host and international superstar rapper extraordinaire, Ma$e...

Abs: Wuttup Ma$e.

Ma$e: If you had twenty-four hours to live just think
Where would you go?

Abs: My girlfriend's place (she might be reading this).

M: What would you do?

Abs: Make sweet, sweet love to my girlfriend.

M: Who would you screw?

Abs: See above (again, there's a 0.5% chance she might be reading this).

M: And who would you wanna notify?

Abs: Nobody really...sure they'd figure it out eventually.

M: Or would yo [sic] ass deny that yo [sic] ass about to die?

Abs: You ask some weird questions Ma$e.

AN: Seriously, Ma$e... I thought you were a preacher or some shit.... Anyway, anything else you want to mention?

Abs: Buy my new album, "Sitting Music", as soon as it drops...which will be some time before 2050. Thanks for reading... peace, Abs.

AN: No, sir. I thank you for the lack of grammatical errors in your reply!

If you enjoyed this make sure to check out our Interview with fellow Canadian hip-hopper Josh Martinez, as well as our Interview with Mike "Armadillo Slim" Armitage.