Wednesday Wadio: Sloan’s ‘I Can Feel It’.

by Dave on October 26, 2005

in Wednesday Wadio

“Sure, these songs might sound like a lot of shit you’ve heard before… but as you listen, Sloan’s affectations and flourishes materialize and you hear the band for what they really are– not a cloying, uninspired rip-off, but an intelligent band with a sense of humor and a great ear for pop hooks.”Pitchfork

Listening to Sloan‘s first album, Smeared, reminds me of peeling potatoes. When I first arrived at Guelph University in 1992, I got a job in the kitchen of the biggest on-campus pub. While I would eventually go on to run that joint and several others by the end of my 6 year professional scholastic stint – I spent a good 3 semesters covered in grease, throwing poutine across the slick counter to drunken frigtards. Or, my peers, if you want to split hairs.

There was a Crisco-encrusted boom box in the back with several gummy mixtapes that we used to listen to during those long nights in the galley as I grew to call it. One of which had Sloan’s remarkable first single, Underwhelmed as the first song on side 2. The mix belonged to a coworker who’d jammed it with all kinds of mediocre Canadian bands of the era – Watchmen, Tea Party, Grapes of Wrath, 54-40, Wide Mouth Mason – and the anticipation of the Sloan tune, which stood out from the rest of the flotsam like a ray of light, kept me going. But it was ultimately another song from their soon to be released second effort, recently voted the #1 Canadian album of all time, Twice Removed that would endure until today as my favorite by these special sons of Halifax.

“Sloan’s Twice Removed album was nearly rejected by its label and caused the band to lose their record deal. It also caused certain members of the band under serious duress and nearly broke them up. So how does that become the most beloved Canadian album of all time?”Chart Attack

I Can Feel It is jammed in at the very end of the record, and I admittedly overlooked it for a few years as a result. But it’s stood the test of time and I wanted to ‘big it up’ right here on Radio Pye. It starts with a cheery guitar riff that sways along so, so very catchily. The bass doesn’t conform to standards and plays its own little melody at points. The lyrics are simple, but I’ve surmised after many listens that the protagonist is a jilted lover who can take a little solace in the fact that “at least I’m still cool to one girl” – his little sister.

Whether the duet is supposed to be between him and the girl he “can feel” actually really digs him (but just doesn’t know it yet) – or his sister – remains a bit of a creepy mystery to me. Jennifer Pierce from Halifax band “Jade” sings along starting at the first chorus and then comes and goes intermittently for the rest of the tune. It’s an unusual structure for a song which also ends quite abruptly. But I will always love it and I hope y’all get a little something out of my own personal obsession.

And I was happy to see Sloan only recently played Peter Clark Hall at Guelph. Because I used to run that too.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

art October 26, 2005 at 12:33 pm

Glad to see your following CanCon rules, Dave.

Dave Pye October 26, 2005 at 12:48 pm

Is the CanCon percentage still at 60%? Have 60% of the Wadios to date been Cancon?

If you count Bobcaygeon, Sloan and the “you can fire the fuck me” guy, I think we’re hovering at only about 30%.

dervaitis October 26, 2005 at 12:57 pm

well done pye. twice removed is easily sloan’s best album, and ‘i can feel it’ has been a personal favourite of mine for a long time as well. and i would probably agree that twice removed is the best canadian album of all time (unless someone can suggest otherwise) which makes it even sadder to witness what’s happened to their music in the last few years. “pretty together” had some good moments that salvaged it, but “action pact” was a complete disaster. i read once that every sloan album since “twice removed” made you miss the one before it. action pact made me miss silence.

not related to sloan (except for a loose east-coast connection i guess) but did i tell you about my run-in with randy and leahy at pearson airport?

graeme October 26, 2005 at 1:37 pm

CanCon has always been 30 per cent (and still is), so we in Canada are able to view your blog without having to face a CRTC hearing.

Sloan is a good band. However, I don’t think any of their albums are “wall to wall”. Part of the problem is that they release albums too quickly without spending the time to develop all the material. Definitely a candidate for owning a best of anthology – but as far as buying their albums, save your money.

Dave Pye October 26, 2005 at 9:14 pm

Dervaitis – Tell me more! Did they stir up a shit-typhoon at the airport?

Dervaitis October 28, 2005 at 11:21 am

a few of us were at the airport heading to a wedding in halifax. we were sitting at one of the bars killing time and mikey hills (you remember him i’m sure) says “hey man – that’s randy and leahy”. i’m not an avid TBP watcher so i wouldn’t have really noticed them, but i’ve seen the show a few times and recognized them once he pointed them out (randy had his shirt on though). they were heading into one of the disgusting airport-smoking lounges (where mike and i were heading shortly) and they each had 2 rum (or rye) and cokes in their hand. it was about 1:00 at this point. as we ate our lunch we could see the two of them just sitting in the room, smoking, drinking and looking a little haggard (leahy was holding his forehead in his hand the whole time – classic). mike and i finished eating and went into the room for a smoke, and ended up sitting at the table across from them. the room had a bunch of TVs in it so everyone was kind of quietly smoking and drinking and watching TV. a story came on about a school in the states that had the highest teen pregnancy rate and not surprisingly also the lowest academic rating. “too busy fucking” i said, loud enough for them to hear me. it got a laugh out of them, and also seemed to give leahy the green light to start working the room. for the next five minutes, he commented on everything on the TV, going off on george bush, oil, taxes etc etc etc, making lots of funny voices and generally just being a joker. very amusing. i wish i had gotten a picture of/with them. i wonder if randy would have taken his shirt off for a photo op?

re: SLOAN not making solid albums from start to finish, i disagree. twice removed and one chord to another are often put in my player and allowed to play from start to finish.

graeme October 28, 2005 at 3:34 pm

dervaitis, I’m going to dust off my Sloan CDs (and let me tell you, that is going to make me sneeze and cough) this weekend and give them another chance…but like I said, I think Sloan is a great band it’s just that their albums aren’t totally “solid”.

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