So…tonight I’m going to see Sloan. Yay for me! Love this band. And my love extends back to the mid 90’s. Remember the mid 90’s? No? Me either. Or is it neither? But…I do remember being blown away by Sloan’s third album, “One Chord To Another”. Simply, just a brilliant, well-crafted pop record. For those who like melody, Sloan salutes you. And the bonus disc that was included in super early copies of the CD – “Let’s Get This Party Started” – in which the band knocks off a bunch of really great covers at what was initially framed as being recorded at a house party (it wasn’t, party noises were dubbed in after the fact, but…so what), only helped endear me to this band. Full-on lovingly bashed-out takes on Modern Lovers (“Dignified & Old), Roxy Music (“Over You”), The Hollies (“I Can’t Let Go”), The Everly Brothers and/or Turtles (“Glitter & Gold”, with some super sweet harmony vocals from fellow Nova Scotian Jennifer Pierce from Jale) ), April Wine (“I Wouldn’t Want To Lose Your Love”!; hey, Sloan is Canadian, sooo…), a freaking amazingly tweaked version of Canned Heat’s “On The Road Again” that morphs into Stereolab’s “Transfona Five” (genius!), as well a few tracks from earlier Sloan records.
Yes, there were earlier Sloan records. Two of ’em actually – “Smeared” (1993) and “Twice Removed” – both of which were originally released on the then uber-hip DGC label. Neither of which met overwhelming commercial success in the states as DGC dropped the band. Both of which I own, but don’t revisit very often. “Smeared” was a bit messy, but had its moments, and “Twice Removed” was much, much better. But for some reason, I just don’t go back to those records. But seeing as I own them, one day I shall.
But…to get to this live box. Recorded over, uhhhh, a four-night stand in November 1988 at Toronto’s “Palais Royale, the band was winding down its tour in support of yet another excellent effort, “Navy Blues.” Released only in Canada on the band’s own Murder Records imprint, straight outta Halifax. This triple-vinyl set was issued in a scant pressing of 500. Yes, 500. Not many. Even for Canada that’s a small number. (Sorry, Canada) The box remains sealed, tho does sport a decent top right corner dent. Just think of it as, ummm , patina.
Since issuing “4 Nights…”, the band has released another six studio records. For my money, all excellent. Seriously, there are not many bands out there that have remained so consistent for so long, and have yet to fall back to the formulaic. I mean, there is a kinda loose template that they adhere to, but they keep it inventive and fresh enough from release to release, song to song to not even come close to approaching tiresome. And the thing that is most mind-boggling to me – how a band with four songwriters have managed to hold off their respective egos to make it to their 20th birthday.
“4 Night At The Palais Royale” is $75 and you can find it here…