When you’re an influential musician, people tend to ask you what you’ve been listening to lately. Here at 5 for 20, we’re just as keen to find out what records loom large in our favourite artists’ memory banks. So, we’re asking folks for their top five records of the last 20 years.
Toronto’s Afie Jurvanen has been dazzling audiences since emerging under the moniker Bahamas in 2009. His latest album, Barchords, was longlisted for the 2012 Polaris Music Prize, so critics know what’s up, too.
On July 29, Bahamas plays the Hillside Festival in Guelph, Ont., and has more dates across Canada this summer and fall. As it turns out, Jurvanen’s listening habits were almost exclusively curated by his girlfriend, via a sly, iconic quartet from the Maritimes.
"When I was in the ninth grade, all I really cared about was doing sweet kick-flips and listening to ‘punk rock’ music,” he explains. “I played drums but didn't have the speed or endurance to play like Screeching Weasel or Lagwagon. The next year a cool chick in my English class gave me a mixtape with all kinds of music that I'd never heard of before. It was almost exclusively East Coast bands, and all of them were on a label called murderecords.
“She became my girlfriend and the music became very important to me for those few years. I think it was really inspiring to me and my pals to imagine this mythical art/music heaven called Halifax, where it seemed everyone was in a band and helped each other. Big ups to Sloan for introducing a lot of this music to me and many others.”
Mock Up, Scale Down by the Super Friendz (1995)
Matt Murphy was and still is a badass guitar player. He's obviously a very natural musician and there's so much freedom in his playing. I spent a lot of time trying to figure how to play “10 lbs” with no success. Turns out it was just an A chord played funny.
Sweet Homewrecker by Thrush Hermit (1995)
Most people would probably say Clayton Park is their definitive record, but I suppose this one hit home a little harder for me. Joel [Plaskett]'s voice sounds like Minnie Riperton and the guitars are loud and it's basically a great rock record from the '90s. “Skip the Life” has such a cool groove to it right off the top. Nice one, guys!
Basic Concept by Local Rabbits (1998)
These guys were from Montreal and I saw them on tour with the above-mentioned bands. It was total guitar Olympics, Pete [Elkas] and Ben [Gunning] giving the Allman Bros. a run for their money with all the dueling guitar solos. They managed to rein it in – just enough, but not too much – for the recording of this album and it yielded some amazing results. “This Lengthy Glance” and “Play On” are two standout tracks for me.
MTV Unplugged in New York by Nirvana (1994)
Obviously all their albums are amazing and important and all that jazz. For whatever reason, this one stood out more to me. You can hear the lyrics clearly and I think it's cool that they actually came up with new arrangements. When you see Foo Fighters Unplugged it's Dave Grohl mashing an acoustic guitar and screaming at the top of his lungs and you kind of puke up in your mouth a bit to think that he was part of such a rad thing so many years before. Lots of cool covers on this record, too.
Labcabincalifornia by the Pharcyde
When I bought my first car, this cassette did not leave the tape deck for months. It's the perfect soundtrack for driving to Value Village in Newmarket, then picking your buds up at the arena after work and heading out to Big Bay Point for a jamski that was surely all covers of Thrush Hermit, the Super Friendz and Local Rabbits.
Those were formative musical years for me and I'm still hanging with the same dudes I was then. They have a band called Zeus and I have Bahamas, but we still make time now and again to get together and rip a jam on the tunes that were so important to us back then.
Catch Bahamas at the Hillside Festival in Guelph, Ont., this weekend and beyond.
5 for 20: Damian Abraham of F--ked Up
5 for 20: Dave Clark of the Woodshed Orchestra
5 for 20: Jayme Stone
5 for 20: PS I Love You
5 for 20: Michael Timmins of Cowboy Junkies
5 for 20: Bry Webb
5 for 20: Cold Specks
5 for 20: Dan Griffin of Arkells
5 for 20: Parlovr
5 for 20: The Dudes
5 for 20: Eleanor Friedberger of the Fiery Furnaces
5 for 20: Baby Eagle
5 for 20: Tamara Lindeman of the Weather Station
5 for 20: Dave Ullrich of the Inbreds
5 for 20: Patrick Pentland of Sloan
[CMW] 5 for 20: Mike O’Neill
5 for 20: John K. Samson of the Weakerthans
5 for 20: The Barr Brothers
5 for 20: Warren Ellis of the Dirty Three
5 for 20: Edgar Breau of Simply Saucer
5 for 20: Plants and Animals
5 for 20: Lynn Perko Truell of Imperial Teen
on Jul 25, 2012