lowell neil young

NOW HEAR THIS: Canadian artists cover Neil Young for his 70th birthday

PLUS: Le1f says 'come on in, the future's fine' and Calgary's PMMA gets us high on synth-punk.

- Nov 10, 2015
Photo by: Vanessa Heins
Now Hear This is a daily dive into the standout songs of the day. Today, a handful of Canadian musicians break out the Neil Young cover that's definitely already in their repertoire, a double dose of Le1f synthetica, and the debut of Calgary synth-punks PMMA.

Lowell, City and Colour and more do Neil Young covers

I've seen more people cover Neil Young than any other songwriter. For awhile I thought that was just because I live in Toronto — you come to Canada, you cover Neil. But I've heard Neil Young covers from all over the genre spectrum, folk to metal, electronic, noise and hip-hop. Not to mention every white guy in every dorm room I've ever been in. Dude is more universal than our health care.

George Stroumboulopoulos fits a similar split between young, hip and cool (right, Rogers? RIGHT?!) and Hockey Night in Canada patrio-populism. So it makes sense he turned his latest radio show into a 70th birthday party (a couple of days early) with guests ranging from The Weather Station to Jann Arden to the perpetually-rocking-in-the-free-world Nardwuar.

And, since every artist who's every held a guitar apparently has a Neil Young cover in their repertoire, the show has also generated a pretty little YouTube playlist of neo-CanCon covers. - Richard Trapunski

Watch through above and you'll see:

City and Colour, "Cowgirl In The Sand"

Rah Rah, "Barstool Blues"

Lowell, "My My, Hey Hey"

Reuben and the Dark, "Helpless"

Basia Bulat, "Tell Me Why"

Listen to the whole episode of The Strombo Show here.

Le1f, "Umami / Water"

Le1f - Umami / Water

On this Le1f double-header (produced by Lunice, then Evian Christ, Jake Aron, and Broody), the digital-synthetic textures of his evolving aesthetic come into full view: the tracks apparently shaped and sculpted in modelling software, then 3D-printed as silicon or latex extrusions, all wet and rubbery and oozing. Le1f's voice is at the controls — fried and syrupy, snapping into form like ferrofluid — beckoning listeners/users: "Come on in, the future's fine." - Chris Hampton

Le1f's Riot Boi LP is out November 13 on Terrible Records.

PMMA, Serotonin Syndrome

According to the National Library of Medicine, "Serotonin syndrome is a potentially life threatening drug reaction that causes the body to have too much serotonin, a chemical produced by nerve cells." Symptoms include agitation, hallucination, and nausea. Antidepressants (SSRIs) as well as drugs of abuse like ecstasy and LSD have been associated with serotonin syndrome.

Appropriately, Calgary synth-punks PMMA 13-track debut is anxious, flattened, and restless — affected, as if chemically — finding the average between Hüsker Dü, Wipers, and Tubeway Army. - Chris Hampton

PMMA's Serotonin Syndrome is out now on Imminent Destruction Records.

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