Saturday, April 23, 2011


Not, as the title might lead you to believe, a post about failed romances (although in some ways it is), but rather a reminder, out of the blue, of two CDs I lost and that I doubt I will ever be able to find again. As I've said before to numerous people, my only major regret in life involves a deep sea fishing trip in Prince Edward Island c.1998 that I didn't go on, but the loss of these two CDs is definitely high up on my minor regrets list. I will at some point do a post explaining the difference between the two (and believe me, there is a difference).

My first girlfriend (all the way back at the start of high school) gave me a CD that she liked but didn't love. She figured I would like it because I like "weird" music (I think that was her exact phrase), and she was correct. It was a CD called 13Avril by a relatively obscure Canadian band called Zoebliss (I'm not sure they ever played a show outside of the GTA and I doubt they ever had a song on the radio). In the interest of full disclosure: yes, Zoebliss played Lilith Fair at least once.

Now, during the course of our torrid (ha!) relationship, Zoebliss released a second CD, For the Beauty of Ruins, and my then-girlfriend got it for me as a Valentine's Day present. Their second album is a better album as a whole (13Avril kind of loses some steam in the middle), and it features another take on the best song from 13Avril, a pretty harrowing ballad called "I Remember." The second version of "I Remember" was not quite as good as the original (there is a beautiful violin solo in the original that didn't make it into the second version, and where the first is largely a pretty intimate folk song, the second is a bit more rocking), but there are some great songs on For the Beauty of Ruins: "Sleeping in Hollow Trees," "Jar of Nickels," and "Nazca" are the ones that come back to me now. Needless to say it was a pretty awesome present to get from your first girlfriend (especially one that you managed to get despite being in the top three in terms of dorkiness in your grade).

In true high school romance fashion we split up pretty soon after that, and though we remained on mostly friendly terms, we didn't really talk that much for the rest of high school. I spent hours trying to figure out the chorus to "Nazca" and, in the end, I emailed the band to ask. One half of the songwriting team (the male not the female, unfortunately. I, as befit my dorkiness, had a hopeless crush on the female singer based on the music and the two pictures of her in the CD booklets) answered and told me, in addition to the lyrics in the chorus, that the band had split up, too.* I continued to play the two Zoebliss albums a lot and to talk them up to anyone who would listen. Eventually, I lent 13Avril to a friend. He never returned the CD, despite my (increasingly frantic) attempts to get it back from him. The last time I heard the original version of "I Remember" was in 2002.

I still had For the Beauty of Ruins and continued to love that CD up until the end of high school. What happened at the end of high school, you ask? Well, gentle reader, former-first-girlfriend-now-just-kind-of-girl-I-know and I took the same math class. We sat next to each other and ended up working on our final project together. At some point during the semester, she asked me to borrow For the Beauty of Ruins because she'd never ended up hearing it while we were dating. I said yes and, of course, I never saw the CD again. We've spoken once since the end of high school; she went to the same university as my best friend and we ran into her in the mall while Christmas shopping. Our encounter was brief and awkward. I didn't ask for the CD back.

So where does this story leave me? Down a girlfriend and two CDs. There is (not surprisingly) a dearth of information about Zoebliss on the internet. Their CDs are, as far as I can tell as this point, non-existent. None of the band members became famous or anything like that, so there's no call to reissue their CDs. CBC Radio 3 will let you stream For the Beauty of Ruins here, though, so that's something I guess.

*In case you were wondering, it's "Erich von Daniken firmly states / You can only see the markings from outer space." I don't recall what I thought it was at this point, but let's just say I was about a million miles away from "Erich von Daniken."


  1. A few things. First, a band that played at Lilith Fair - really?! Maybe next you'll bust out some Sarah McLachlan (although then I wouldn't totally hate your music, so I don't actually think that's going to work).

    Second, you can't find this cd anywhere? How is that possible? Surely someone on the internet has got it used, no?

    Third, nice title - and you know how very much I like a good title.

  2. Great post - I lost a few obscure CDs in much the same way.

    The two girls from zoebliss are still performing as Madison Violet. Saw them play a few nights ago and they're incredibly talented.