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RockNotes: Avril and the Canuck Cohort

Oh, Canadian female rockers (CFRs). How we love thee.

Anyone who reads the Beachwood with any regularity knows that editor Steve Rhodes has a fascination with Avril Lavigne that at times goes so far as to confuse her with Paul Westerberg. While I'm not willing to go quite that far, I will admit that I, too, have a thing for Avril and her skull fetish. She is so rock 'n' roll and hails from the True North Strong 'n' Free. Oh, Avril, I stand on guard for thee.

But she's not the only CFR on the prowl. Thanks to Canwest News Service, we have a list of what some of the other members of this coolest of all clubs are up to in this coldest of all months, as the Alberta Clippers whistle through the broken window glass in the Chicago tenements of our souls, chilling and thrilling us with their loon-like trillings. These ladies make me proud to be someone who wishes they were from Moose Jaw.

1. Up in tuqueville right now it's all Feist all the time. Can't say that I blame them. It's easy to despise her iPod commercial. Yet she takes twee retro-pop and turns it into something arty and sexy. There's something all too rare about that. Plus she appeared at the Calgary Winter Olympics at age 12 in a dance number. You can't be much more Canadian than that.

2. Alanis Morissette. Apparently she's survived a break-up and turned 30. Ouch. The only thing to do when that happens is to segue directly into midlife crisis mode by climbing onto a big-ass motorcycle. Her new album this spring, Flavours of Entanglement, shows its Canadian-ness by spelling "flavors" the British way with a "u." Another reason to swallow the little pill.

3. Wow. Has it been eight years since k.d. lang has come out with a new album of original stuff? Love her or hate her, you have to admit she's got staying power. The "Alberta-raised vegan" has a "quietly powerful album" in Watershed, due for release next month, Canwest says. Could it turn out to be a watershed moment in my career of thinking she's overrated?

avril_thumb2.jpg4. And then there's Avril. Her latest disc is entitled Best Damn Thing. She says it's because it's the best damn thing she's ever done. Although I say it's because she's the best damn thing to ever emerge from the mall-punk world. Its capitol is somewhere in Ontario. The gossips say soon she will be a mother. Yeah, the mother of a rock nation!

5. Celine Dion. OK, well, not every one can be a solid gold loonie. Quebec does Vegas, and Vegas wins. She's not a CFR at all, really. But to show there's no hard feelings back home, she's sold out six concerts at Montreal's Bell Centre between Aug. 15 and 25.

6. On the CFACP (Canadian Female Alt-Country Performer) tip, there's Ottawa's Kathleen Edwards. She's got some real heft. Her songs are frequently about love gone bad and she's got a bit of a hard edge to her music. Her next album is called Asking for Flowers and is due out on March 4.

7. One of the many reasons to question Bif Naked's sanity is that she married a sportswriter last summer. She's also been diagnosed with breast cancer and is undergoing chemotherapy, so obviously she's dealing with a lot. Bif is described as a "muscular, tattooed frontwoman" by Canwest. Gotta love that, as well as the fact that she's working on a collaboration with death-metal guitar player Machine.

8. Sarah Slean is a singer-songwriter-pianist whose brand of alternative rock tends to veer into the haunting and downbeat side of town. Her lyrics are intense and intelligent, something that I'd say is pretty characteristic of Canadian rock in general. Her new album is coming out on March 8 and is called The Baroness.

9. Anne Murray, the grande dame of Canadian crooning, is still very much at it. They continue to love her up north, evidenced by the fact that she was on top of the country's charts again last year with her collaborative project, Duets: Friends and Legends, where she shared the studio with the likes of Shania Twain and Martina McBride. That album is set to be released in the U.S. this month. Baby Boomers, get out your wallets.

Catch up with the RockNotes collection. It tastes great and it's good for you.



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Posted on January 17, 2008


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TV - M*A*S*H Theme Song's Weird History.
POLITICS - SCOTUS Blesses Church + State.
SPORTS - Tip Your Cap To The Negro Leagues.

BOOKS - The Legacy Of Racism For Children.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - The Chagall Windows.


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