Bang the Drum!: Cowboy Junk, Atari & Soft Provinces

Greetings, Earthlings. Welcome to first installment of a new weekly music column here at the Dog Blog, Bang The Drum! Every Monday, I’ll be posting new or newish or mildly relevant music for your streaming or downloading pleasure.
I’ve been writing about music for prairie dog (and other mags) for so long, I must say by way of introduction, that the first record review I ever wrote for them was written on a typewriter (actually, this only proves how precious I thought I was and how pretentious I actually was at 20). It was so long ago, prairie dog didn’t even have its own web site yet!
My mission statement for Bang The Drum! is to service the appetite more than the palate. The focus will tend toward songs, rather than artists or albums. I’m not going to worry too much about what’s good or authentic, and instead try to bring interesting and fun (not that these are mutually exclusive ideas). Today’s column will hopefully prove to be representative of what’s to come: a mix of known & unknown, local & international, serious & silly. We’re going to have some fun, but we might end up listening to some awful music while we’re at it.

Marcellus Hall is a fitting choice for our first ever pick here for a few reasons. First, we’ve named the column after Hall’s first band Railroad Jerk’s 1995 single, “Bang the Drum”, from the band’s third album, One Track Mind. Second, the first interview I ever did was with Hall. It ran in an early 1998 edition of prairie dog and it concerned the first album from Hall’s second band, White Hassle.
And now, here we are in 2011. I’m launching a new column, and Marcellus Hall is launching his solo debut, The First Line, on Glacial Pace Recordings, which is run by Isaac Brock of Modest Mouse.
mp3: “Laughing With You” by Marcellus Hall

Ira Atari is the latest entry in the post-Kylie smart, soulful club music genre that has been more or less exclusively made up of Robyn the last four years. This German chanteuse (is there a German word for chanteuse?) isn’t quite in Robyn’s league yet, but it’s a hot track you won’t hate yourself for dancing along to.
Ira Atari – Don’t Wanna Miss You (Radio Edit) by Audiolith

The Soft Province is a two-man supergroup featuring Jace Lasek of The Besnard Lakes and Mike Gardiner of the Regina visual arts scene (I’m sure prairie dog‘s Gregory Beatty has written about or at least mentioned him in this capacity in the not-too-distant past). “One Was a Lie” doesn’t digress from the roaming, psyche-pop stylings of Lasek’s group, but still stands on its own merits.
mp3: “One Was a Lie” by The Soft Province

Cowboy Junkies
will hit the halfway mark in their Nomad Series of records when Demons is released tomorrow. Demons is a tribute album to Vic Chesnutt, the great American songwriter who died just over a year ago. Chesnutt’s potent, pointed and poignant songs are perfect for the Cowboy Junkies, who made their name with a moody cover of the Velvet Underground’s “Sweet Jane”.
mp3: “Wrong Piano” by Cowboy Junkies

Emmet Matheson is a freelance hobo detective who blogs at A Bulldozer With a Wrecking Ball Attached. You can e-mail him at bulldozerDOTwreckingballATgmailDOTcom

Author: Emmet Matheson

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