OK, so I said I went to Montreal last weekend for RRRÖÖÖAAARRR 2014, but that was really just a front for the true purpose of my trip: to get my hands on a (preferably French-language) copy of Lafleur!, the 1979 instructional hockey disco album (mostly) performed by Le Démon Blond himself.
I’d already heard some song clips on YouTube (in fact, you can download the whole thing here), and I had to say, twas a pretty strange trip. But it was readily apparent that the French version contained much catchier choruses than the English equivalent, so I knew that in order to lift this hockey disco holy grail, I had to head to Montreal, where Lafleur avait “Marquer (au moins) un but”–or rather, several.
Unfortunately, I didn’t reach–or score–my goal, but I did have a few decent discoveries from a fistful of local record shops.
La fin du vinyle/Death of Vinyl is located on a slightly sketchy stretch of St-Laurent, stuck in no man’s land between Mile End and Little Italy. Most of the buildings around it appeared to be abandoned, but this place occupies a large second-floor space in a mixed-use industrial edifice. They seem to specialize in dance music, and while there was no sign of Lafleur! in their sizable disco section, I scored a couple South Pacific gems from their much-smaller metal section–namely Loudness – Thunder in the East and the slightly misclassified Angel City – Darkroom (still a great record, though).
But the real finds came when I scoured their three-dollar racks, in which clashing pieces of my childhood came to light. Let’s just say they had multiple copies of Trooper’s Hot Shots, the B.C. band’s de facto greatest-hits album. When I first heard “Raise a Little Hell” on the radio, I asked my dad who sang that song…and he told me it was Nazareth. So I immediately became a Nazareth fan, until I found out a few years later who the actual artist was. That said, when I first heard “Hair of the Dog” on the radio, I realized that Nazareth was probably better than Trooper anyways. Paying six bucks for both records really brought me back. All in all, this haul cost me 20 and change:
Beatnick Records on St-Denis is my kinda place, even if I’m pretty sure they’re spelling it wrong. These guys have five full racks of Beatles records, as well as an entire rack of Stones records sorted alphabetically. But it was the guy behind the counter in the Iron Maiden t-shirt who put on Rainbow – Rising during my visit, which made me stick around for a couple hours on a Sunday afternoon. (I dunno guy, but I’m pretty sure leaving the hall during a Dio album is a crime against metal!) Did not buy any Beatles or Stones, but I did come across a copy of Hendrix’s Are You Experienced? for 10 bucks, which was pretty much a must-purchase, especially at that price. A little dusty, but it still sounds great…
Their metal vinyl section is a bit more secluded, hidden beneath stacks of CDs. But they did provide a stool that was just the right height to sit on while sorting. And I’m glad I was sitting down when I stumbled across recent remasters of Motorhead – Bomber and Saint Vitus – Thirsty and Miserable EP (about the only Vitus record I don’t already own) for 12-13 bucks apiece.
These guys also have all sorts of back rooms with hidden gems ranging from 50’s country to 60’s pop. No Lafleur! in either the disco or francophone aisles, but while flipping through the punk records, I came across another Canadian classic, of sorts. The Monks (not to be confused with those American GIs stationed in Germany in the 60s) were a British outfit that fell through the gap between punk and new wave at the dawn of the 80’s. Their 1979 debut, Bad Habits, only had one minor hit in their homeland, but it was freakin’ huge in Canada, going double platnium with no fewer than four radio singles (“Johnny B. Rotten,” “Drugs in My Pocket,” “Love in Stereo” and the all-time classic “Nice Legs Shame About Her Face”). EMI even flew these dudes over for a few sold-out gigs at Massey Hall in 1980, but after their less-than-successful ’81 follow-up, Suspended Animation–which was only even released in Canada and Germany–they called it a day.
Anyways, this is all to say that I was pretty stoked to see Bad Habits at the back of the rack for eight bucks. I already knew so many of these songs, but I didn’t expect to actually own a copy of this record, which was a bit before my time. Y’know, as much as I love “Scoring” in French, I think I’d rather listen to The Monks, anyways.
I hadn’t intended to visit Paul’s Boutique, but when I walked past the racks of records on Mont-Royal, I kinda had to take a look inside. It probably helped that their hardcore/punk section was displayed pretty prominently, an entire row’s worth, facing the street. But I don’t think they were too pleased to see me bring a Beatnick bag into the store, as they had me set it down in the corner before I could begin browsing. I didn’t look for any disco records in here, but I did find it a little odd that their metal section contained such heavy vegetables as Loverboy and April Wine. There were a couple pieces that caught my eye, but I wasn’t prepared to pay 20-25 bucks for used 80’s vinyl from the likes of Trust and Anti-Nowhere League–especially not after I just scored Are You Experienced? for a tenner!
Alas, those prices were bargains compared to the stickers I saw on a few mid-90s Neurosis albums. I wasn’t gonna ask, but I coulda sworn the tag on Through Silver in Blood said 140(!), while I think I mighta paid 14 bucks back when I bought it on CD. But when someone else complained about the prices, the sales clerk said (roughly translated) “You haven’t been to Montreal lately, have you?” So yeah, it was one of those stores. Suffice to say, I came away empty handed.
Sound Central is just a bit off the beaten path, with some signs on Mont-Royal pointing you up Coloniale Ave. The first thing I noticed when I walked in was that they had a dedicated stoner/sludge/doom section…although I hadn’t even heard of half the bands stocked within it! I briefly considered buying a live Obsessed album from ’91 for 21 bucks, but ultimately decided against what was probably a bootleg. On the punk side, I actually came across The Monks’ second album, Suspended Animation–y’know, the one without all the hits–as well as Teenage Head’s CBS U.S. debut, both for about 10-12 bucks, but I passed on those two, too. They also had a lot of 70’s stuff from my dad’s record collection going for 1-3 bucks a pop–including several used copies of Frampton Comes Alive!–but when it came to disco, there was no Lafleur! to be found. I guess I’d just hafta put “Marquer un but” on my iPod…if I actually listened to that digital shit. ;)