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The Consumer Goods are a Canadianmarker indie rock/pop band hailing from Winnipegmarker, Manitobamarker. Members of the Consumer Goods take part in other local bands including Lonely Hunters, Cone Five, The Honeybuckets, and Paper Moon. The group has gained attention on local and national college radio charts. Their debut LP Pop Goes the Pigdog!, released April 20, 2006, reached #1 on the UMFM charts in June 2006 and subsequent records have made them a fixture in the Canadian indie scene. They are often compared to other politically-minded acts from Winnipeg, most notably The Weakerthans and Propagandhi. The Consumer Goods appear on the Winnipeg-based Grumpy Cloud Records.


The Consumer Goods released their first record, Pop Goes the Pigdog in 2006. By the summer of that year they were heralded by CBC Radio 3 as an "undeniably infectious activist pop unit". and had had garnered four- and five-star ratings in a number of press reviews. The exposure from the CBC appearance led to a second buzz in the fall of 2006 and another crop of reviews, including one which suggested that 'Pop Goes the Pigdog' be considered one of the top ten records of the year. By the end of 2006, the record was ranked number four for the year on the UMFM charts, based on radio airplay.

While originally based in Winnipeg, songwriter Tyler Shipley relocated to Torontomarker, Ontariomarker but was able to keep the band together with some lineup shuffling. The band released their second effort on May 18 2007. The new record was called Happy Bidet, and featured an even more absurd array of political and social critiques centered around a rejection of capitalism and imperialism. What sets the record apart from many of its contemporaries is its playful and ironic tone - the band explicitly seeks to avoid heavy-handed polemics, instead offering satirical silliness to the tune of beautiful melodies and catchy hooks. As part of a new push from the Grumpy Cloud label, the band toured from Calgary in the west to Halifax in the east, closing out the year with a big show at the Gas Station Theatre at home in Winnipeg.

The press around Happy Bidet was overwhelmingly positive. The record received glowing reviews across the country, with the exceptions of Edmonton (where it was panned) and Toronto (where it was ignored.) It was popular on campus radio stations in Canada, the US and in Europe, where it became a mainstay on radio in cities as diverse as Den Haag, Marseilles, and Koln. It was also featured on Cuba's famous Radio Habana. In December 2007, the band was featured for a cover story in Uptown Magazine, and had a song nominated for one of CBC Radio Three's Bucky Awards.

Their third record, The Anti-Imperial Cabaret, was released in 2008 and featured a cross-Canada tour that was very successful until Shipley suffered a major injury in Ottawamarker, Ontario forcing the band to cancel three shows. Despite the setback, the record received good reviews and the band grew significantly as a result of the more up-tempo pop effort. Central to the success of the record was the single "Hockey Night in Afghanada," a sunny beach-pop song skewering Don Cherry and the increasingly problematic link between CBC's Hockey Night in Canada and the Canadian invasion and occupation of Afghanistan - it was released along with a rough hand-drawn animated video on youtube. The band gained new exposure and notoriety from the record and the video. But the press buzz cooled off slightly, perhaps as a result of the relentlessly political nature of the lyrics, which moved significantly (though consciously, according to Shipley) into the realm of the absurd with songs that featured Royal Canadian Mounted Policemarker officers fetishizing their tasers and undocumented workers celebrating their poverty in Arnold Schwartzenegger's California. The record also featured a cover of Sam Cooke's "A Change is Gonna Come."

No word on whether there are plans for a new record anytime soon. It is assumed that plans for any new material were delayed by Shipley's prominent involvement in a strike by CUPE 3903 at York Universitymarker and the band's websites have been quiet since that strike began. However, an unofficial strike song called "We'll Go All The Way," featuring Shipley on banjo, found its way to YouTube. The song appears to be an adaptation of a traditional arrangement and borrows its structure from Old Man Luedecke's "Little Bird."

In 2009, Shipley said he would be going into the studio this year to record a banjo-based record called "Sentinel Road" drawing on the personal and collective experiences of the York Strike.

Political and cultural references

Many of the Consumer Goods' songs refer to contemporary and historical politics and culture. For example:

  • the famous U.S. supreme court case of Roe V. Wade is used as a backdrop to the amusing pro-choice anthem "Rovie Wade"
  • Canadian Conservative hockey pundit Don Cherry is the central character in satirical pop anthem "Hockey Night in Afghanada"
  • Malcolm X's speech about violent and non-violent revolution is featured on "Christmas in Camden"
  • Winnipeg mayor Sam Katz is mocked for his repressive civic record in "And The Final Word is Yours, Sam Katz"
  • the 1898 invasion of Cubamarker by the United States in the Spanish-American War, and subsequent imperialist domination of the island until 1959, is referenced in "Gunboat Diplomacy"
  • "Lord's Not On My Side" appears to flow directly from Bob Dylan's "With God On Their Side" and makes reference to Condoleezza Rice's comment in 2006, "may god forgive the terrorists"
  • "The Terminator Rules" is a reference to Arnold Schwartzenegger, the Hollywood actor who played the role of The Terminator in the 1990s and who now holds the office of California Governor - the song references his aggressive policies towards undocumented foreign workers in that state. The song refers to the trailer park Duroville.
  • Mao Zedong's aphorism "Revolution is no tea party" is featured on the track of the same name
  • a speech by Dick Cheney is appropriated and edited in a mocking tribute to Cheney, George W. Bush, Colin Powell, and Donald Rumsfeld in "Eat a Dick, Cheney"
  • the phrase "camels coming home to roost" on "London Bombs" refers either to Ward Churchill's controversial essay On the Justice of Roosting Chickens or Malcolm X's commentary on the assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy
  • commentary on the Devil's Lake outlet controversy and criticism of Premier of Manitoba Gary Doer on "Good Thing (for Bourgeois Nationalism)"
  • the 2006 Israeli invasion of Lebanon is the subject of "Lebanong Song"
  • Winston Churchill's unfortunate description of Iraq as an "ungrateful volcano" when Iraqis refused to comply with British subjugation after the First World War is the subject of the song of the same name
  • the gradual demise of the MontrĂ©al Expos on "C'est la Vie Westerne"
  • the story of the ill-fated Taiping Rebellion is articulated on the track "Taiping Riverboat"
  • author of the U.S. Patriot Act, John Ashcroft, is skewered in "Happy Bidet (Let The Balled Eagle Soar)"

Band members

The current members of The Consumer Goods are:

Former/part-time members include:

Guest musicians have included:


  • "The Anti-Imperial Cabaret", Grumpy Cloud Records, 2008
  • "Happy Bidet", Grumpy Cloud Records, 2007
  • "Pop Goes the Pigdog!", Grumpy Cloud Records, 2006

See also

External links



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