The Local Rabbit

Joel Plaskett has a new record out very soon (on Pheromone Recordings, also Bidiniband’s label) and that’s swell. What’s also swell was how me and the Rheos got Joel backstage to a Tragically Hip show in Halifax and how he met Gord Downie for the first time (1996?). But what’s sweller is Joel’s New Scotland record label, and what’s double-swell is that they make 45s every now and then: beautiful black donuts with mostly East Coast stuff, but not exclusively. The first (and only, so far) 45 loaded in my jukebox is ‘High Road” and ‘Destructive’ by Ben Gunning, formerly of the Local Rabbits, whose guitar appears on the Rheos’ “Popopolous’ from ‘The Story of Harmelodia.’ I know haven’t talked a lot about B-sides– and B-sides vs A-sides; always the stuff of debate among vinylians– but I’m going to talk about “Destructive,” because it’s a song I hadn’t noticed at first, but notice a lot now. There’s been a pretty good amount of programmed drums on Ben’s solo records over the years, and there’s some here, and they play a trick, making the guitar– this hugely menacing and distorted thing– surprise with great clouds of noise pushed through the small speakers of the jukebox. The first time the song played, a guest went, “Whoooaaaa,” as if someone had roared into the garage– in the summer, my jukebox lives in the garage– and belched after downing a 40 of lemon gin. The A-side is really good, too, but this 45 is an example of how a small record can parcel out so much in only two songs, provided B matches–or is close to matching– A. I could write a lot about Ben being one of the great guitarists and songwriters of our time and city (Toronto), but if you know me, you probably already know that. Best you just find out for yourself and order a record through the mail (do it, it’s fun). Go to New Scotland Records online––  and go there now.

2 thoughts on “The Local Rabbit

  1. One Friday night in Santa Cruz, California several years ago, I could swear I heard phantom Joel Plaskett songs as I walked through a museum parking lot. I dismissed it as wishful thinking. As I started to walk down Pacific Avenue, the music got louder and louder, and I found myself running towards it excitedly. (Luckily, there wasn’t much traffic.) I found three young buskers bashing out tracks from the Emergency’s TRUTHFULLY, TRUTHFULLY album. I threw cash into the guitar case, and before I knew it I was accompanying them on “Work Out Fine.” I’d never crashed a street performance before, but it was a fantastic time. Fun fact: we all thought the others were Canadian, but none of us were (they were Australian, I’m American). I think I’m going to play some of my New Scotland 45s right now (Joel’s “Three More” and Peter Elkas’ “Poor Young Things” have pride of place on top of my turntable).


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