Part 3: 2015 RPM Highlights: 5 A Friday, All Month Long

Part 3 shares some songs from Clay Burton, Alex Collins, Evan J.M.Smith, Smiles Blood, and Scrambled Meggz

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Clay Burton – Elephant Gumm

As with most 1st RPMs, this album comes with a disclaimer: “Here lies my first ever attempts at writing music.” If this is Burton’s first crack at writing music, he should be feeling very good about it, considering the album opener immediately conjures up lo-fi indie-pop legend Calvin Johnson (Beat Happening, D+, The Halo Benders) with a little Mac Demarco on its sleeve — and a first stab at writing music should not be coming out as innovative and interesting as that. More impressively, by track 2, a stand out called “Scorpions,” Burton takes us into his own entirely original territory.

Stream or download the album on Bandcamp.

Sample Song, “Scorpions”

Alex Collins & the Accounting Dept. 

This album’s got more soul than your grandma’s favourite church … and a whole pile of special guests for its scattered vocal tracks (Katie Baggs, Megan Marshall, and Danika Drover). Despite the novelty of great vocal guests, jams this hot don’t need no words for your body to feel it — those not usually into instrumentals should consult with “More Meta” (below) or the largely instrumental, saxy standout “Let Me.” That said, track four, “Figured it Out,” is a serious standout too, if only because it’s cool to hear Katie Baggs in this kind of musical context. It’s very Young Galaxy. It’s very good. And it’s now in rotation on Overcast Radio.

Stream the album on Soundcloud.

Sample song, “More Meta”

Evan J.M. Smith – Fragments

Evan’s 2014 offering was one of 2014’s greats, and this second solo RPM was in his own words, “tricky but extremely fun,” on account of him being away from home. This forced him to go very bare and basic, with just a guitar and a mic. “I’ve called this album Fragments,” he says. “That’s how I see it, it’s pieces of songs. While some songs are complete, many of them are ideas still floating around my head, waiting to be completed. That’s what I love most about RPM, it forces you to get creative and you end up writing songs you never would have otherwise.”

Stream or download the album on Bandcamp.

Sample Song, “Floatin'”

Smiles Blood – The Outcome. The Static. The Snow.

A collaboration from both coasts and Labrador. Smiles Blood are Mark Hoyles & Craig Caines (Corner Brook), Mark Green (St. John’s), and Paul Buckland (Labrador). They pieced the album together by recording their respective tracks, and sending the song file along to the other end of the province or up to Labrador for their bandmates to contribute to. That’s a lot of work, and it was worth it.

stream or download the album on Bandcamp

Sample Song, “I Don’t Really Want it to Go”

Scrambled Meggz – Half an Album of Half Written Songs from Halfway Around the World

Meg Harnum, aka Scrambled Meggz, is an RPM fixture. She’s released several consecutive, highly original albums, marked by the clever things she does with vocals during recording and mixing. While many musicians use doubled vocals to hide blemishes in their voice, many of Harnum’s songs take this technique to a whole new level by using stacked vocals for stylistic effect, in self-harmonizing, or else she doesn’t stack vocals in a song, but finds some other playful way to use her arresting voice to make her songs distinctly Meggz. It’s only a natural progression then, that her 2015 RPM is her most vocally driven — but it wasn’t by choice. She’s been travelling extensively and didn’t have a roomful of instruments at her disposal this February. She made the song below entirely on her iPad with GarageBand. At the time she emailed it along, she was taking a break from cycling around the temples of Angkor in Cambodia. “I did this album without any instruments this year, and also in the span of maybe 7 hours, because it’s hard to justify sitting in a cheap hotel room bathroom humming into an ipad when the sun is shining and there are so many new exciting things to see.”

(Her album is not available (yet?) so, no link.)

Sample song, “This Time Around”

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2 Comments

  • Hey dood you forgot to do one for this past friday (Mar27)! Lovin the albums from this year.. there’s so much good.

    • things got off the rails last week! Try and do another 5 this Friday. Glad you noticed.

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