Sandwiching the Weakerthans between Rocket From the Crypt and Iggy & the Stooges was an absurd proposition at Toronto's installment of Riotfest! this past Sunday (yes, I saw the Replacements). So much so that I relegated their set to background music while I went in pursuit of sustenance (if you must know, I settled on a very week ice cream sundae, after my friend dissuaded me from purchasing something from the token poutine booth).
Call it a delayed reaction, but today I found myself seriously jonesing for tuneage from John K. Sampson & Co. Never shared anything from them before on these pages, due to the obvious availability of their four albums, but I did have this small assemblage of demos for their third platter, Reconstruction Site. Typically, a nascent version of my fave RS composition, "One Great City!" is MIA, but that's merely a completist's quibble on my part. The capsule version on the Weakerthans: In the late '90s, frontman John Sampson took a respite from his former (and ongoing) band Propagandhi, a fierce and resonantly political hardcore troupe from Winnipeg. A debut album, Fallow, was released in 1999 to widespread acclaim, due greatly in part to Sampson's literate, heart-tugging prose hemmed to a "rootsy-emo" delivery system. Given Falllows' success, he dismantled himself entirely from the Propaghandi roster, and proceeded to make three additional Weakerthans albums, the most recent being 2007's Reunion Tour. The band has played periodically ever since, and Mr. Sampson issued a solo album in 2012. As far as demos go, these are fairly representative of what the final outcome would amount to - the differences are subtle, but there. Enjoy.
01. Psalm For The Elks Lodge Last Call
02. A New Name For Everything
03. Our Retired Explorer (Dines With Michel Foucault)
04. The Prescience Of Dawn
06. Reconstruction Site
07. Surplus Value
08. The Reasons