Every week, CKUA’s hosts submit their songs for our weekly House Blend playlist: an exciting new release, a beloved classic or just an old personal favourite. We mix it all together to create a sonic concoction that’ll help kick off your week. Check out what’s on this week’s playlist.
Orest Soltykevych: Ola Gjeilo, “Tundra”
“Tundra” was inspired by a barren, treeless mountain plateau in Norway
Lark Clark: Danay Suarez, “Preguntas (Le Spam Dub)”
Danay Suarez is one of the new school of Havana musicians — the world after Buena Vista.
Bob Chelmick: Linda Ronstadt with Ann Savoy, “Walk Away Renee”
I like to think that this lovely lament suggests maybe each of us has at least one magical song in us. This is the 1965, one-hit wonder from The Left Banke. It’s melodic power stood apart even in those ‘heady’ times for rock and pop music. But for my money, this is by far the more compelling version. This 2006 Ronstadt with Savoy release is from Adieu False Heart. A New York Times reviewer said, “Their spare reading of the Left Banke’s hit brings the lyric’s ache into full relief.”. As usual, less is more.
Monica Miller: Gabriel Garzon-Montano, “The Game”
It can be hard to draw attention beyond that seven-second-of-fame moment, when you first become famous because Drake samples your voice (“Jungle”). Check out this track from Garzon-Montano’s debut, full-length album, Jardin, and I think you’ll agree he’s got plenty o’ attention coming his way for his own thing.
Amy van Keeken: Here Lies Man, “I Stand Alone”
Here Lies Man is an LA-based quintet founded and conceptualized by Marcos Garcia of Antibalas. Riding Easy Records, which released their self-titled debut this April, have this to say about their sound: “What if Black Sabbath played Afrobeat?” Good question. I think it might sound a little something like Here Lies Man! Geoff Mann, son of jazz musician Herbie Mann, and the rest of the band really do keep things heavy and psychedelic all while incorporating the repetitive guitar lines and rhythms that happen in Afrobeat music. I caught them at this year’s Up + Downtown Music Festival in Edmonton. They were magnetic, mesmerizing and very,very loud. So good. They are releasing a new EP on November 24th called Animal Noises, which includes a song written by Fela Kuti.
Kathryn Calder: Cate Le Bon, “Are You With Me Now?”
Cate Le Bon is a Welsh singer-songwriter now living in LA who sings in both English and Welsh. My favourite story about Cate Le Bon is a description of her childhood in a small hamlet in south Wales. She had young parents who were excited about having children. They would go on long excursions as a family on the weekends and the kids would bring along their pet goats! The dogs and cats would come along, too. They’d spend hours making dams in the woods. I’m picking “Are You With Me Now” from Cate Le Bon’s 2013 album, Mug Museum. She wrote the album after the death of her maternal grandmother. She sees the album as less about death and more about where you see yourself in terms of your role in the family after such a loss. There is much in this song to love, including but not limited to, her Nico-esque vocals, all the melodies, the way the guitars play around each other, how the background vocals perfectly punctuate the spots where they land, and the live feel of the song as though she and the band are playing it for us in the next room. Enjoy!
Cathy Ennis: The Tragically Hip, “Throwing Off Glass”
From The Tragically Hip’s eighth studio album, In Violet Light, “Throwing Off Glass” is not only lyrically beautiful, but a father teaching and comforting his daughter. It also resonates with the way I like to approach our world. Yes, it can be “creepy” and “barbarous”, but it is also “exquisite” and we can help each other to view it more wholly.
Grant Stovel: Buffy Sainte-Marie, “Carry It On”
These are exciting times for fans of this icon of Canadian music. Buffy performs an ultra-rare solo show this week in Sherwood Park, and she’s got a brand-new album in hand, to boot! Medicine Songs is a career-spanning collection of Buffy’s favourite songs of healing. “Carry It On” is an anthem of hope for humanity and the planet. As uplifting as it is a call to action, it’s Buffy at her irresistible best. Powerful medicine, to be sure.
Terry David Mulligan: Tower of Power, “What is Hip?”
No matter how many times you’ve heard this song, you can always find something new. That’s because there’s so much going on. Scoops by Doc Kupka; wicked propulsion from the back end; the famous horn section lead by Emilio Castillo and Mic Gillette; up front: organist and writer, The Master of The Foot Pedals, Chester Thompson; and the one and only Lenny Pickett on tenor sax. Have fun. Play it and just listen to the drummer. Then try it again with just Chester. Every time there’s something new. I’ve seen seasoned musicians stand right in front of the stage and try to figure out how they do it. It’s a puzzle wrapped in 40 years of funk.
Baba: Regina Spektor, “The Ghost Of Corporate Future”
Regina Spektor, New York, is one of the more quirky singer-songwriters that I know. She’s also great at creating perfect little pop songs. She is also a wonderful visual artist through video!