It’s absolutely beautiful outside but I’m nowhere near being over my lingering illness. However, I’m as stubborn as I am stupid it seems, so out I went anyway for my weekend run as I’ve completely had it with sitting indoors feeling like total turd balls. I didn’t plan to do anything major crazy or at pace, but I did want to get the scheduled 10k in so I chose something that would at least motivate me to keep moving and enhance the peaceful autumn tranquility of the day, hence the 2008 full length debut from Canadian jammers Plants & Animals, ‘Parc Avenue’.
This amazing album was shortlisted for the 2008 Polaris Music Prize and later nominated for a 2009 Juno Award for ‘Alternative Album of the Year’, not to mention a nomination for ‘Best New Band’ to boot. And for good reason too I might add. Three years in the making, the album is a sprawling on-the-road opus of awesomeness. Seriously. It was perhaps a little too good in that it was hard to pull back on the tempo in lieu of keeping it easy.
I stumbled across this band five years ago when I randomly saw them open for Elliott BROOD in Toronto and I have been hooked ever since. At the time, they sold me with a crazy rendition of Nina Simone’s ‘Sinnerman’, but I have since learned they are much more than a musical one-trick pony. Originally hailing from Montreal, Quebec, they have a very distinct sound to them. They offer up explosive, Polyphonic Spree-sized choir choruses, 1970’s AM radio guitars, cozy folk balladry, and a rambling stoner boogie unique to Canadian music; often all in the course of one song. Take the album’s centerpiece ‘Mercy’ for example. It immediately jumps into a raucous Phish-like groove and lets that run for a few furlongs, before horns and a shouted chorus replace the driving rhythm and transforms it into a frantic hand-clapping break down where people are just shouting mercy over and over until they dive back into the original feedback heavy guitar buzz it opened with. In short, it’s absolutely infectious and will no doubt become a staple for most of my future tempo playlists.
As for today, it was enough to make me temporarily forget how shitty I’ve been feeling and allowed me to simply get on with it and enjoy the seasonal color and crisp air. Of course, I’ll probably sound like an asthmatic orangutan for the next 24 hours but, hey, at least I got ‘er done and felt good doing it.