It began all pretty innocently. I stumbled across them on the All Music website from a link for "Similar Artists," probably from Devin Davis. So I checked them out at my local record store. The store had a couple of their CDs, but they also had a copy of "4 Nights at the Palais Royale," a two-disc live set that cost about the same as a single disc. I went with that (mainly because I'm a bit cheap).
Now Sloan is similar to the Beatles in that each of the four members write songs and take lead vocals. Similar to the Talking Heads in that they got their start at art school (theirs in Halifax, Nova Scotia). And similar to many British and Canadian acts in that they almost get no exposure in the States.
Anyway, I listened to qute a bit of the live album and thought "I like this." I listened to it a bit more and thought, "I like this alot." Then I came across the video for their then-current song "If It Feels Good, Do It," and damn ... when Chris Murphy licked the microphone about 25 seconds into the clip, I just fell in love with the whole lot of 'em.
Patrick Pentland took the lead vocal, and he looked like the cool loner that everyone wanted to befriend in high school. Jay Ferguson was jumping around the stage like Pete Townsend's little brother (without the family psychosis). Andrew Scott, in his white jeans and black shirt, looked like an Armani model banging the skins. And the aforementioned Chris Ferguson, who had led off the song with a shouted dedication to the fans, looked like the slightly nerdy but hilarious kid that used to station himself in the back of chem lab in sixth period. When the song broke a little mid-way through, with just the bass drum and the bass guitar carrying it, a sample of a crowd singing "Sloan ... Sloan" broke in. They had sampled the crowd from the live album. Cool.
It was just a fun straight-ahead rock and roll song. But so cool....
I immediately ran out and bought "Pretty Together."
O.K. ... so enough fantarding.
Needless to say, I went and purchased all their back catalog. And then I started purchasing forward. I stumbled across "Underwhelmed" from their first album (which was apparently a respectable alternative hit back in the day ... and I was ... well, underwhelmed). But I came across my favorite Sloan song "G Turns to D" (a pretty bitter break-up song, that shreds). I came across song after awesome song. I guess I said I'd stop fantarding...
My poor partner. On a trip to see his family in Florida, I probably put him through hell. "Never Hear the End of It" had just come out. As mentioned before, each of the members write songs and sing the ones they've written. The Queer's game was "Guess which one is singing this one!" Poor guy. And this was a "double" CD with 30 song.
He must have thought that he'd never hear the end of it...
BUT... he played along with the game! (I keep telling y'all he's perfect...)
A couple of years ago, we went to Toronto with our best friends for one of their birthdays. "Parallel Play" (a reference to the democracy in the band) had just come out. Plus I put a Sloan-mix on my iPod including the poppy goodness of "The Lines You Amend"
As a tribute to my temporary fellow native sons, I played nothing through my earphones but them. The entire time we were in Canada.
It was so cool...