Mark Robinson, vocals, guitar
Juliet Swango, vocals
D. Trevor Kampmann, additional sounds
PRODUCED AND RECORDED BY
D. Trevor Kampmann, (Trevor/hollAnd)
at pulCec, Washington, D.C., USA
COVER DESIGN (CD)
Mark Robinson, Teen-Beat Graphica
JACKET DESIGN (LP)
D. Trevor Kampmann, pulCec
Ryan Nelson (handwritten),
Donning Deutsche Chapeau
Feverishly Enjoying Grapes
"Dedicated to Bridget Cross, The Cold Cold Hearts, and Lois Robinson."
Tim Moran was going to show up for the recording session and perform additional guitar parts, but didn't make it because of the 12 inches of snow in Arlington, Virginia that morning.
"Mark Robinson certainly had his work cut out for him after coming off of one of 2000's best indie pop records. He set a standard in that vein of music with the numerous releases that he put out under many guises on his own Teen-Beat label. Canada's Green Highways is no different in that Robinson maintains a very high level of sophistication for a style of music that is viewed by many as disposable. This record is more complex than the previous year's Tiger Banana as Trevor Kampmann oversees production duties here. Known for his brilliant low-tech electro as hollAnd, Kampmann lends a conservative yet experienced hand in the crisp final product. One can sense his presence on tracks like '100% Guaranteed' where a cheap drum box provides the backing beat to Robinson's cool and passionate vocals. Though these lyrics are not quite as personal as usual, Robinson seems a bit more at ease on this record and takes more chances instrumentally. While the odd track may resemble Tiger Banana's four-chord, stark, skeletal song structures, Robinson has found a perfect pop formula not unlike Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys' and he truly makes it sound easier than it really is."
- Ken Taylor, All-Music Guide
"I got nothing to say really...except I just listened to my LP of this and thought, man, it's too bad this is such an unknown gem, so I should go write a review of appreciation on Amazon. If you like Unrest, this is probably the best offshoot, and I'm including Grenadine and Air Miami, which are better known, but not as simple and perfect. This was a great live show, too. Wish I had an Olympic Death Squad t-shirt."
- Andy Davis, Amazon
"Here's a fun trick to play on your friends. Put Mark Robinson's new solo album, Canada's Green Highways, in the CD player and then queue up track 9, "Sylvain Cote," and try to convince everyone that it is a song from David Pajo's upcoming album.
While Robinson's latest solo album, Tiger Banana , seemed like a long weekend of funning around that turned into a limited edition CD, his new release shows more care and effort, as heard in the many layers and careful construction of the over nine minute "Sylvain Cote." The song (named after a Washington Capitals hockey player) is a delicate, instrumental drone that uses several guitar overdubs to create a crystalline structure of lightly bouncing progressions. Little more than subliminal use of drums is added as the song seems remarkably compact for its epic length.
Like this song and the Tiger Banana album, little more than guitar and voice are used on the rest of Canada's Green Highways. If you've heard Robinson's other albums, the music here will seem familiar, as Robinson takes few chances outside of "Cote" and, as he's often done before, revisits several guitar themes on his solo songs that he made full pop songs out of with his previous bands.
"Peanuts & Cracker Jacks" uses a downward guitar progression you've definitely heard before as Robinson uses his old vocal trick of focusing on familiar, interesting sounding phrases. Like Flin Flon's role call of Indian cuisine or Olympic Death Squad's "Ski Jump," here Robinson invites you to "take me out to the ballgame," sung with the same melody as the ballpark standard. Even more like "Ski Jump," though, is "Angels in Waiting," the entire lyrics to which are provided in the liner notes as "Angels in waiting/Angels y'know."
Other songs are a bit more lively though and will help to remind you why you fell in love with Unrest and Air Miami oh so many years ago. "100% Guaranteed" is a short, fast, perky song that uses producer Trevor hollAnd's expert use of synthesizers to great effect. HollAnd also gives "Wonderful" an interesting sound as its drum machines and mild industrial grunts fill out the space well behind the rhythm of the guitar and the light keyboard melodies. "I'm Still Breathing" is a light, pillowy song with Juliet Swango of The Rondelles providing backing ewwws and ohhhs while Robinson provides two intricate guitar parts and sparse vocals to create a very soothing, pretty song.
As Teen-Beat is now over 15 years old and Mark Robinson is still sans band, his recent solo albums find him in an odd place. He both seems to want to experiment in radical new directions (his series of electronica EPs made from sine waves or the instrumental drone of "Sylvain Cote") while he also seems still to be wrapped up with recreating the past, writing the same type of songs he has since Imperial f.f.r.r., even though they will never be as successful without the requisite drummer and female bassist. While Canada's Green Highways is quite fun to listen to, you have to hope the next major style change or femme fatale partnership comes soon."
- Jim Steed, Fake Jazz
May 21, 2001
36 minutes, 47 seconds
36 minutes, 47 seconds
500 pressed on black vinyl.
full-colour on coated stock.
blank silver metallic ink labels.
Manufacturing managed by
Darla Records, Sacramento, California.
Record Technology, California?
Released with both the pulCec and Teen-Beat imprints.
6-page folder and tray card. All printed in one colour: Pantone Warm Grey 2.
with clear transparent tray.
Pantone Warm Grey 2 and white inks.
Printed and pressed by
Specialty, Olyphant, Pennsylvania.
One side colour and one side black and white.
Modern Postcard, California.