With Tyler Rittinger

Tyler teaches an experiential grade eight class in Saskatoon called Ecoquest Outdoor Program. Music has always been an important soundtrack to his adventures throughout Saskatchewan, he says. Here are six favourite songs. /Gregory Beatty

“Get Me Away From Here, I’m Dying”
Belle and Sebastian If You’re Feeling Sinister (1996)

Taking a cue from the dreary lyrics/cheery beats of The Smiths (see “Girlfriend in a Coma”), this album and Belle and Sebastian’s third album The Boy With the Arab Strap were college staples walking up and down Wiggins Ave. The screeching string noise on the chord changes is icing on the cake!

“Hesitating Beauty”
Billy Bragg & Wilco Mermaid Avenue (1998)

From the first volume of Woody Guthrie’s unfinished notebooks curated by his daughter, Nora. She trusted the songwriting/vocals of Bragg and Jeff Tweedy to bring to life her dad’s words of protest, strife and childhood innocence. My wife and I found the perfect name for our first daughter as a result.

“Fatal Shore”
Andrew Bird Break It Yourself (2012)

I used to have a playlist of songs with whistling (“Me and Julio”, etc.) until I decided it was just Andrew Bird’s songs that did it for me. The lazy drumbeat, tight whistling and empty space create a fine piece of art.

“North Star”
Joel Plaskett Scrappy Happiness (2012)

I remember this album’s strange release, and how J.P. and the Emergency recorded one song per week for 10 weeks and released them each Thursday on CBC Radio. I also remember it filling a sweat-drenched tent at the Long Day’s Night Festival in Swift Current. The audacity to rhyme “half a million, Neil Young and shoot to kill ’em”!

“For You Too”
Yo La Tengo There’s a Riot Going On (2018)

You know your favourite band has staying power when you’ve seen them twice, 30 years apart! I  bookended an April concert in Williamsburg by this New Jersey trio with this song through earbuds aboard the L Train.

“Famous Tracheotomies”
Okkervil River In the Rainbow Rain (2018)

A song referencing Will Sheff’s own traumatic childhood tracheotomy, Diff’rent Strokes, Aretha Franklin and Dylan Thomas, all before riding off on a synthesizer cover of The Kinks’ “Waterloo Sunset”. I dare you to not love this song!