Posts Tagged ‘Halifax’

The Birth of Canadian Indie: Halifax

April 15th, 2011

I’m excited to announce that the first episode of my new series The Birth of Canadian Indie airs this week on CBC Radio 3! The series will explore the early years of so-called indie rock — back before “indie rock” was even a term — and its roots in punk and the underground.

Halifax was the obvious starting point for the series. The Halifax Pop Explosion of the early 90s saw American major labels flocking to that city to sign bands from Sloan, to Jale, to Hardship Post. It was a thrill to have an excuse to interview some of my favourite musicians of the early 90s — a formative period of my life and a time when my taste in music was evolving. It was great to have a chance to talk to Dave Ullrich, one of the two musicians responsible for Kombinator, my favourite album of the 90s. And interviewing Sloan’s Chris Murphy was great fun. I’d always heard he was outspoken and the man did not disappoint. He was both frank and very funny and he threw down the gauntlet when I asked him about the music put out by Sloan’s label murderecords.

“I feel when you look back on all of the records that came out in the early 90s and you compare what was going on on Mint and Sonic Unyon, I feel that ours was ten times better.”

He stopped short of claiming credit for the birth of indie music in Canada, though.

“I think for me to say Halifax was the beginning is going to get me a punch in the face when I go through Montreal or somewhere like that.”

Putting the episode together led me to some new music discoveries as well, the most notable of which was the enigmatic Al Tuck, a musician who missed the major label boat but remains a favourite among his fellow musicians and songwriters.

You can hear the episode on CBC Radio 3’s podcast #276, or you can stream it right here.


April 15th, 2011

The early 90s Halifax pop explosion took everyone by surprise. Music fans countrywide were amazed to hear brilliant alt pop coming from a city we’d thought was all about the jigs and reels. Haligonian musicians were taken aback, too. Of course, they already knew their music scene was hot. For them, it was the media hysteria that came as a shock. Many who were around during the commotion agree that Al Tuck said it best in his song “One Day The Warner”:

“We was just little itty bitty little people in our little tiny corner ‘til one day the Warner Brothers came through town.”

And although there were major label deals aplenty, some of those itty bitty little people were lost in the backwash of all that hype. Have a listen to the first episode of a new series called The Birth of Canadian Indie, where we hear from some of the stars of the Halifax pop explosion and dig up a few gems that never managed to catch the major label wave.

Click the link below to listen.

CBC Radio 3