The Definitive Records of Local Barman and Podcaster Mickey McLeod

Definitive Records asks interesting Vancouverites to scour their sonic-led memories to pull out the three albums anchoring their musical tastes.

For this edition of Definitive Records, we sat down with Mickey McLeod, bartender at the Fairmont Airport and co-host of the Beats on Repeat and Track & Food podcasts, to learn about (and play) the most important records in his life.

Propagandhi | ‘Less Talk More Rock’ – 1996

Believe it or not I actually tried skateboarding in grade 11. I never really mastered the sport, however, I did fall in love with the videos, the fashion and the music. I suppose I was trying to get as far away as possible from the hip hop I listened to in previous years, and what better way than with brash guitars and double kick drums?

It was due to my cousin Robert that I got into Propagandhi as he was super into them at the time. He also showed me heavier bands like Black Flag and The Sex Pistols, but we eventually gravitated towards more lighter ‘pop punk’ as we liked to call it.

This album ‘Less Talk, More Rock’ was the first time I ever heard a band talk about systemic social issues like sexism, class war and factory farming. Not only that, but the lead singer Chris Hanna openly talked about being a gay man, and in 1996 when this came out, for the punk scene, that was pretty mind blowing. They also sampled Noam Chomsky so that was pretty amazing too.

Musically it was a bit of a departure from their first album ‘How to Clean Everything’ (also great) with some slower tracks and more melodic structure. There’s some punk bangers on here too and it has what I think is the best ‘pop punk’ track of all time, ‘And We Thought Nation States Were A Bad Idea’ (NOXF’s ‘Linoleum would be a close second) The song is super fast and a fun listen with a real ethical backbone. Best enjoyed with the lyrics sheet out and maybe before a show!

Bjork | ‘Post’ – 1995

When I was young, I remember my older brother being a cassette tape and CD collector. He had this super broad taste in music as he liked electronic groups like Massive Attack, Future Sound Of London and Aphex Twin. I can remember the first time I snuck into his room and started listening to his collection, not only was it a new sonic experience for me, as it was a throwback to those old music styles from the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s, with all of the samples those groups were implementing.

But man, hearing Bjork’s voice for the first time was a trip, still one of the most unique voices in music history in my opinion. ‘Post’ was more accessible, or ‘mainstream’ if you will, compared to her first album ‘Debut’. It had less of the UK garage style electronic drums which I appreciated. The album also has a straight up cover of Better Hutton’s 1954 jazz classic ‘It’s oh so quiet’, which is amazing – like really amazing!

Just listen to that vocal performance. It also has my favourite Bjork track of all time ‘Possibly Maybe’…ahh…I mean ‘Hyper Balld’…no no, the first one. It changes all the time. If you’re in to swing jazz, world fusion, afro beat and industrial, you’ll probably dig Bjork ‘Post’. Best enjoyed on vinyl just when the sun sets by yourself in a safe, secure place.

Ray Lynch | ‘Deep Breakfast’ – 1984

Now this is some serious Blade Runner style electronica. But unfortunately, it’s been tagged ’New Age’, which I guess is what people were calling the synth based music these dudes were making at the time. My mom used to play this tape around the house on the weekends and I have vivid memories of me and my two cats Luke and Leah (yes, I named them after Star Wars, and yes, they were brother and sister) relaxing in the living room, soaking up the sun through the windows.

It was a real nice break from all the Kenny G she used to play- thanks mom. This album is so crazy, a synth forrest, ever evolving and growing. I don’t hear many people talking about Ray Lynch but he was a super important composer and a multi-instrumentalist in the 80’s and 90’s. He also has 3 Billboard awards.

This record obviously showcases what synthesizers were at that time. Roland Jupiter 8 anyone? If you enjoy science fiction film scores, think: Kraftwerk, Vangelis and Brian Eno, you should give this a go. You’ll be transported to another world. I promise.

‘Deep Breakfast’ definitely shaped my love for synthesizer based music. It has some very beautiful string arrangements, which you can find later on in the record with ‘Kathleen’s Song’. Just really beautiful moving stuff.

Fun Fact: The second song ‘The Oh Of Pleasure’ was on the soundtrack of Jared and Jerusha Hess’s 2009 film ‘Gentleman Broncos’. Overall, this album is best enjoyed in the afternoon sun, preferably in a meadow of some sort.

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