Mecca Normal

Brave New Waves Session (Artoffact) LP

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Mecca Normal is one of Canada's most influential political institutions, & their Brave New Waves session is incredible!

Mecca Normal -- Jean Smith and David Lester from Vancouver are joined by Peter Jefferies (Nocturnal Projections) on drums and recorded this unparalleled live session at The Cabaret in Montréal, Québec, April 16th, 1996 for broadcast on CBC Brave New Waves!

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Limited edition 12″ vinyl on see-thru green wax with insert of Jean Smith’s $100 USD paintings

Mecca Normal songs on the Brave New Waves album:

1. Water Cuts My Hands
2. Prize Arm
3. Don’t Shoot
4. Tower Island
5. Revival of Cruelty
6. The Dogs
7. Drive At / Peach-a-Vanilla
8. Ribbon
9. Man Thinks Woman / Strong White Male / I Walk Alone
10. Armchairs Fit through Doorways
11. Are You Hungry Joe?


From K News (October 28, 2020):

Brave New Waves:

Mecca Normal! 

They're always trying something different, Mecca Normal. It started as David Lester and Jean Smith, one guitar and one voice (well there was that brief clarinet period but that's another story). Pretty soon they started fudging with the format - - - two guitars, then one guitar being played and one walked on like a bed of nails, then a short flirtation with a British saxophone, then no guitar at all and no microphone. In the end, it's still Mecca Normal making your hair stand on end.

   What of the above photog - - - David, Jean, and who is that handsome fellow on the right? This rare shot of the expanded Mecca Normal line-up documents the year Peter Jefferies joined the combo on drums. K used to work with instrumental combo Pell Mell. Almost every show someone would come up afterwards and say "You're really good - all you need is a singer". Usually by a strange coincidence that person happened to be a singer and was willing to lend a hand. Pell Mell politely declined all such offers. This is a story Mecca Normal knows well - - - they're really good, all they need is a bass player. Or a drummer. Or someone to play penny whistle. Now, it is unclear if this is the method by which Peter Jefferies became the drummer of Mecca Normal. He is from New Zealand you see, where he and brother Graeme illuminated the down under world with their Nocturnal Projections - - - searing and severe punk rock that fit nobody's suit (that was all long ago and far away but fortunately Dais Records has made Nocturnal Projections available once again for the discerning listener - to be heard LOUD))).

   Ya true this all occurred in a decade before the decade before the last decade, Peter joined Jean and David and this Mecca Normal incarnation recorded and toured all over the place. And if you were not there you missed some audio/visual symmetry, beauty, conflict and everything you could want from three accomplished artists giving their all to the moment with no thought for the future.

   The good news is one of those shows  - - - April 16, 1996 - - - was recorded at The Cabaret in Montreal, Quebec, for broadcast on Brave New Waves, a national radio show on CBC programming different, adventurous and provocative music for those who hunger for such things. As you may gather Brave New Waves reached many ears in places remote or urban, educating them to the potential for all sorts of musical possibilities. The Canadian record label Artoffact has been issuing albums of assorted Brave New Waves sessions and the K Mail Order Dept. is making available volumes featuring British Columbia artists cub, The Grapes of Wrath and Mecca Normal.

   Some good punk rock, this. By 1996 Mecca Normal had been playing for over ten years and the material recorded here spans from every era of their existence. You can feel this trio has been at it and ready to give vent to everything they have been through. There is something raw, uncorked, drums pummeling. it all feels so good you wish you were in the pit.

   Of course Mecca Normal is still performing, they recorded a volume in our International Pop Underground series at Dub Narcotic Studio, "Malachi" [IPU132]. Peter Jefferies lives in his hometown of New Plymouth, New Zealand, a member of the music faculty at Spotswood College and active as a mentor to music students at two local high schools. Still recording, still making severe sounds.


Brave New Waves was a Canadian radio program which aired on CBC Stereo, later known as CBC Radio 2, from 1984 to 2007. Airing overnight five nights a week, the show profiled alternative and independent music and culture, including film, comics, literature and art. The show was once described by longtime host Brent Bambury as "explaining fringe culture to a comfortable mainstream audience," and by his successor Patti Schmidt as "invented with an idea of what John Peel's show was, but without ever having heard it."

- Wikipedia