I'm coming to you today from Terra del Fuego, land of... malaria, land... of hellish heat. I'm here to interview "No Means No" -- my captors, Mr. Right and Mr. Wrong are here beside me now. They haven't said anything, anything but the clicking on and off of the safety catch, on... and off...
I, I've done what they wanted, the - the bastards! They've got their press! Now it's time for me to get paid! Get back here, you son of a -- AAAAAAAARRGGHH!
Let me go! You've got to let me go!
And that's when the music started.
I don't even know the name of the song anymore (the band, of course, is Vancouver's semi-legendary No Means No), but that mixtape I had in 1996 opened with the above monologue, before launching into a shattering detonation of punk music. I loved that song. And given that the second-hardest rock album I owned at the time was by Huey Lewis, it's safe to say that song really opened up my musical horizons.
I think everyone has a "first discovery" experience in music. There's the music on TV, on the radio, the music your friends all seem to pick up on simultaneously... but there's also the first time you feel like you're discovering something all by yourself, that makes you look up a band you'd never heard of to find out more about them. The band which you tell tell your friends about, and their ignorance of the artist actually pleases you, because then it becomes your story to tell.
For me - the first time - that was No Means No. But after a few more years, my musical tastes had calcified a bit. Only three bands were in frequent rotation in my CD player, in addition to an assortment of show tunes. Not that I'll disparage that fine genre, but the cutting edge it's not.
Finally, I had my moment of rediscovery - the self-titled debut album by Young Galaxy.
It wasn't as explosive as No Means No, but it was infused with energy nonetheless, a sound almost levitating on its own richness, able to take a song into the clouds with the music, and parachute back on the softness of the vocals. It was a beautiful album, and one that reminded me that I shouldn't be hesitant to love an artist with fewer than six albums.
And now, their third album, "Shapeshifting", has been released this month. I was planning to write a review about it, but perhaps I'll hold off on that to ask: what was the first artist that you discovered before your friends did?