This is the second entry into my “Listen To” posts, it focuses on Jason Collett.The only free music to get people to listen Collett that I know of is a very strong Daytrotter session featuring songs from 2010’s Rat A Tat Tat.
Jason Collett is a singer/songwriter from Canada. He is a one-time member of Canadian supergroup Broken Social Scene. His solo material is much different than his work with Broken Social Scene however. Collett is on the same record company as Broken Social Scene as well, Arts & Crafts. He is not “famous” and I doubt his record sales are all that impressive. He doesn’t tour much, I’m sure this has a lot to do with both his family and financial demands in touring. He rarely comes south of the border to the United States and has never played a venue close enough for me to attend.
His Career started with the 2003 release of Motor Motel Love Songs and has spanned a total of four proper albums of new material, one “stripped down” album of mostly old material and two eps. In 2010 he released two albums and one ep.
I must discuss how I came across Jason Collett’s music before I go into his albums. I was at a Cracker/Jason Isbell concert in Lawrence, Kansas back in 2007 when I first heard him. Of all places to hear new music it was the choice that night of the sound man to play Collett’s Idols of Exile for the bar while waiting for the bands to go on. I obviously didn’t know who it was but was impressed enough to ask the sound man and amazingly I retained the information. At first listen I actually thought it was Jeff Tweedy of Wilco/UncleTupelo/Golden Smog fame. Collett’s music is similar to Tweedy’s but looking back the connection is now hard to point out.
At the time I had not heard Tweedy’s work with Golden Smog and thought that it may be that album that I was listening to. I then heard the lyric “I love it when my girlfriend calls me a cocksucking faggot…” at this point I ruled out Tweedy and asked the sound man. I picked up that Collett album a few weeks later.
Now I will briefly run through Collett’s discography:
Motor Motel Love Songs:
Collett’s first release is a smooth listen and a good album but is overshadowed by every other record in his catalog. One song on the record, Blue Sky, was featured on “The L Word” soundtrack, gaining Collett some exposure. The albums better tracks are It Won’t Be Long, Blue Sky and Tiny Ocean of Tears.
Idols of Exile:
Collett’s first in a trio of fantastic albums. Features some of the strongest material in his catalog. The fantastic “Hangover Days” features vocals from fellow Broken Social Scene members Leslie Feist and Emily Haines who are each successful on their own with Feist’s solo career and Haines’ band Metric. In a perfect world this album would have had a ton of great singles on it. It features songs that will stick in your head all day and don’t get stale on repeated listens. The strongest songs on this record of strong songs are; Fire, Hangover Days, We All Lose One Another, I’ll Bring The Sun and These are the Days.
This digital ep is a good listen but it nowhere near the quality of Collett’s other releases. It features older songs that should see the light of day but are not high quality enough for albums in most cases. The best song is the outright dirty Diggin’ In The Carpet.
Here’s To Being Here:
Sometimes I am amazed how much an artist can say without actually saying a lot. This is what strikes me about Here’s To Being Here. Certain albums work really well as a whole and this is definitely an example. While Idols of Exile seemed to have the big choruses and radio friendly sounding songs, this record is a collection of songs that seem to fit together and form a fantastic album in the end. The songs don’t seem rushed, they play out as they should. The songs are not particularly slow or fast, it is a smooth mixture the begs for the repeat button to be pushed. The best songs are the Stones sounding Out of Time, the rocking Papercut Hearts and the fantastic duo at the end of the album, Nothing To Lose and Not Over You.
Rat A Tat Tat:
I recently listed this as my top album of 2010. While not as strong as Here’s To Being Here in my opinion, it is still another great listen and was obviously good enough to be my favorite album of 2010. It features another great radio quality song in Love Is A Dirty Word that should have been one of the best songs of the year. Love Is A Chain may be the best ’70s song not recorded in the ’70s. Other great songs on the record are Rave On Sad Songs and Cold Blue Halo. The album is best listened to with its companion ep, To Wit To Woo.
To Wit To Woo:
The songs on this ep are every bit as good as the songs on Rat A Tat Tat. They were presumably recorded in the same sessions and fit together very well with the album. It is a 6 song set that features two brilliant songs in my opinion Rainy Day Rain and Love Song To Canada.
This one is tricky, no pun intended. It features 11 tracks, two of them new and 9 re-recorded, stripped down versions of their originals. A couple re-recorded songs are drastically different and very interesting listens although I don’t know if any top their original versions. The most interesting songs are Hangover Days and Papercut Hearts. The best track from the record is the newly recorded My Daddy Was A Rock N’ Roller.
There you go, now LISTEN TO JASON COLLETT.