Thursday, April 23, 2009

Gooseberry Records:: Tributes to Eric's Trip & The Superfriendz


The good people at Gooseberry Records certainly know how to make a band feel good about their catalog. With successful tribute records for Thrush Hermit (review) and The Inbreds (review) already under their belt, they’ve proven that the new generation of East Coast rockers still holds the bands that shaped the scene in the 90s in very high record.

Before I start, I have to admit the amount of music on these two discs is somewhat staggering - 50 songs - and when you look at the revisited output of two great bands, you can’t help but get a bit nostalgic and a little fanboy about the whole affair.

Rescued from Boredom is a whooping sixteen track tribute to The Superfriendz, but the energy and respect the bands show in their covers helps the songs fly by. Back in the day, Karate Man was a MuchMusic staple and was rocked in car and home stereos all over Halifax, and The Friendz kind of became a treasured commodity in Halifax. I guess that's why trying to pick apart the originals for comparison is hard. It’s much easier to appreciate the changes the bands offered up in tribute and remember the good ole days. In-Flight Safety’s straight ahead take on Karate Man is terrific, as is the noise filled spin The Memories Attack give Two Songs. Dan Ledwell beefs up his sound with terrific summery harmonies on One Day and Travis Kokas knocks Stop-Stop out of the park.

In the grand scheme of things, The Superfriendz really never got the credit they deserved and are usually left out of the "great Halifax bands" discussion, but as this compilation proves, their catalog stands firmly on its own.

Songs for Eric is a two-disc collection of Eric's Trip covers and shows a bit more extended reach. Eric’s Trip is one of the most influential bands to ever come out of the East Coast, and with contributions from Baby Eagle, Shotgun Jimmie, VKNGS, Dog Day, Ruth Minnikin , Sleepless Nights, Share and some herohill favs like Construction & Destruction and John Jermone and the Great 88, you really see start to see how many bands truly loved the NB outfit. One listen to C&D attacking Beach and you can just tell they spent hours listening to the song on shitty tape decks in their youth.

The diverse collection of bands also led to some inventive covers – Ruth’s version of Sun Coming Up, Dreamsploitation’s chaotic electronic psychedelics really spice up My Chest is Empty - which is also tackled by songwriter Thomas/Richard - and the way Share makes Frame fit their sound all really stand out, but even when bands stay loyal to the original, you start to realize that Eric’s Trip was a huge influence on a lot of these people because, well, they were fucking good.

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