Friday, May 15, 2009

The Sweaters: The Pop Thing

Pete Campbell is no rock n' roll loser.

Campell's began by leading a spiky new wave band named Pink Steel, who played in the late seventies Vancouver punk scene, alongside, the Pointed Sticks, the Young Canadians and the Modernettes. Pink Steel put out two singles, one of which is available thanks to the earth-shatteringly wonderful site known as Killed By Death Records.

Next, during the retro-lovin' Og era (see here) of Canadian music he lead the Wardells, a jangly power-pop band with an eternally sunny disposition. The Wardells released two slabs of vinyl and made a series of ultra-low budget videos that belonged to that follow-the-song's-narrative school of video-making that so dominated the eighties.
The Wardells album is now available at Wilfully Obscure!

Then as the nineties got guitar-heavy, Campbell formed pop-punk band the Sweaters. The Sweaters rubbed shoulders with the pre-Dookie pop-punk underground even if, as so-called "older guys" they employed a kinda rock n' roll bar band style. Campells' lengthy history, only served to make their 1991 album, The Pop Thing, stronger, catchier and wittier. Campbell's lyrics, whether celebrating Young Fresh Fellows/Fastbacks' guitarist Kurt Bloch in "Kurt Got Hurt", offering a pep talk in "Don't Let Things Get Ugly" or decrying identity-politics group think in "The Pop Thing" are always a highlight of his work. Like all his best songs , the title track, "The Pop Thing" is a rip-snorting power-pop-punk tune, with kicking backing vocals and a good chunky rhythm.

Download The Pop Thing

Years ago, NoMeansNo's record label, Wrong Records, put out a series of hockey-themed records called Puck Rock (See here). Gracing the first volume from 1992, was The Sweaters, playing the contrarians with a grumpy yet rollicking tune called, "Hockey Sucks."

A fitting song to listen to as the interminable NHL playoffs slowly grind down.

Next: Sweat It Out.


  1. Nice! I've got vinyl copies of both Pink Steel's "A Taste of Pink Steel" ep and the "Won't Come in Your Hand" single. They were my fave local band back in those days - truly an awesome spectacle to behold. I suspect even Pete didn't realize how good and original they were.

    Keep up the awesome work!

  2. Thanks, Roy.

    Yeah, Pete's another of those unrecognized talents I'm always on about here.

    Is there any way you could rip that "A Taste of Pink Steel" ep? I'd love to post it here or have you do it at Un-herd Music, which I added to my blog roll.)

  3. You wouldn't happen to have these albums by The Sweaters?

    Let Me Out
    The Kick Me Generation

  4. Mr Fifths

    Please hold your applause until the the end.

    (We shall post them both one at a time...)

  5. We played with the Sweaters in Vancouver around about ten years ago. Pete was very, very nice and completely free of any punk star pretensions. Sadly, I was to musically narrow minded to really give his band the hearing they deserved. My loss for being such a idiot.

    That Wardells song is amazing by the way!

  6. Jeffen,

    Yeah, I'll up both Pink Steel vinyl eventually, along with a fair number of other Van/Victoria obscurities from the late '70s/ early '80s. Unfortunately, my current turntable originates from that same era. ;)

    Thanks for the add to your blog roll! I'll do the same.

  7. CPB

    With regards to the Wardells your comments that turning up the guitars (and the anger) may have done a disservice to Pete's song-writing may be true. I do refer the 1st Sweaters to the Wardells but I may have been too narrow-minded back then to fully appreciate their record.


    Let me know when you post any Pink Steel or any other obscure stuff from Lotus Land.

    (Sounds like we both have to buy one of those damn USB turntables.)


Thanks for clicking the COMMENTS link.
Now that you're here,I should mentions that
without reader feedback blogs slowly wither and die