Last month, Fred’s Records deservedly won the Honourary Industry Builder Award during the 2015 ECMAs.
In addition to bringing local music to the world since 1972, acting as a live music venue and cultural hub, and plain being a classic, just-like-the-movies record store populated by great people with great recommendations, Fred’s has done many community-minded things people might not even know about, like when they provided $5,000 in seed money to help start MusicNL: an impressive organization that does so, so much for the local music scene.
During the East Coast Music Week, photographer Graham Kennedy held a photo exhibit at Eastern Edge to showcase local artists nominated for an ECMA. Graham is well-known for his work with Exclaim Magazine during their humble beginnings and for many years thereafter. One of the photos in his exhibit was the one on this page, of Fred’s staff holding one of their favourite records up to their faces. Naturally, we wanted to know why they chose the albums they chose.
RELATIONSHIP OF COMMAND by AT THE DRIVE-IN
Fourteen-year-old me found At the Drive-In’s Relationship of Command at the perfect time. It’s frantic and heavy, but maintains an innate catchiness. The textural instrumentation combined with a prog-rock infused lyrical approach STILL holds up to this day. Such disparate elements work to form something so strangely consistent. Something timeless. I (and a lot of the musicians of my generation who play heavier music) owe this album a thank you.
MASSIVE CAULDRON OF CHAOS by 1349
1349’s Massive Cauldron of Chaos is the most recent album released by the classic Norwegian black metal group. Black metal ultimately concerns the powerful, primal energies that shape our world – the massive cauldron of chaos. The album is ferocious and an instant classic in the genre, as well as one of my favourite 2014 releases.
A HARD DAY’S NIGHT by THE BEATLES
I chose A Hard Day’s Night because it was the first Beatles album that I really latched onto. In November/December 1995, I was doing a Christmas art project for school and the CBC was playing portions of the Anthology series on the radio. They played the title track and the making of the last song on the record “I’ll Be Back.” I had to hear the finished version, and had found a bunch of Beatles CDs in my father’s collection. Sure enough, I listened to the whole thing and became quite enchanted. From all the silly photos on the front cover, to the opening “A Hard Day’s Night” chord, the Dylan-esque harmonica of “I Should Have Known Better,” the classical guitar of “If I Fell,” to the solemn and tranquility of “I’ll Be Back.” One of my all time favourites.
SELF-TITLED by ALEXISONFIRE
I chose Alexisonfire’s debut self-titled album because it was my first excursion into the world of musical discovery. I spent the entire summer of 2003 writing all the guitar parts out and learning how to play them. Their sound resonated with me like nothing had before.
BLONDE ON BLONDE by BOB DYLAN
In the mid 60s, Dylan released three
albums that would eventually result in
Bruce Springsteen, The Band, and Tasha Power.Blonde on Blonde, the last of the LP trio, has shaped my 20s. He wrote stories about the misunderstood vulnerability of women, the masked insecurities of a man, one’s internal struggles with perfectionism, and the lifelong journey |toward satisfaction. The magic of B.O.B.
I was looking for Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Goin’ On” with the baddest mother bass player James Jamerson. Settled for the Isley’s dance moves.
Picking a Nina Simone album was a no brainer for me. Her mixture of soul and raw musicianship inspires me both as a pianist and as a person. There is nothing superficial about Nina. She is simply an amazingly talented artist with both integrity and conviction.
SELF-TITLED by HOWLIN’ WOLF (CHESS LP 1469)
Wolf is the most explosive and unique of all post-war electric blues artists. He is the musical descendant of 1st generation blues originators like Charley Patton, Tommy Johnson, and Tommy McLennan. Chicago blues born in Mississippi, and recorded in Memphis. This is where all the madness of rock ‘n’ roll comes from.
ROGUE DOUBT by JERRY STAMP
As an Independent record store I wanted a strong local title and a significant indie artist to reflect our role in the music community. I regard Jerry’s album a perfect representation and his best work. Readers can see my mini-review on our website, www.fredsrecords.com.