Tyrone Warner, Microblog: no links, just updates -- join me on Twitter!

www.flickr.com

12.30.2005

Daily top seven for seven days: Day seven: Things to watch for in 2006


Well, this is the final day of 2005, and my final list of the year can only be posted on the final day. I'm also celebrating my birthday, so if you see me, buy me a beer. In the new year I'm planning on trying to update everyday instead of my 2 or 3 times a week regularity, so be sure to check up on me. Looking ahead to 2006, I can see quite a few music-related things happening that I'm sure I will be all over... but the amazing thing, like every year, is that the things I'll probably like the most, I've never even heard of before. Here's to another year!

Things to watch for in 2006.

7. The Arcade Fire releases a new album.

Technically, the Arcade Fire haven't put out a new album since 2004, so somewhere in the middle of 2006 they're due. We know they are doing the whole "build their own studio thing," as reported by MTV who got the scoop on the band's new "church" purchase. It's really just a waiting game to see if they produce something that will catch on to the mainstream, or if the backlash against them will be too strong and the album flops, the band breaks up. Also, did you know that Win used to introduce himself at parties as "My name is Win, you know, like the verb."

6. Trapped in the Clost, part 13 to infinity.

Who didn't love the Trapped in the Clost series this year? Personally, I loved it! I went out and bought the DVD on the day it came out! The best part about it all is that R. Kelly has specifically said that he still has another 20, 30, 40 episodes out there and it might just keep perpetuating. That would be amazing.

5. KFed's wicked album drops.


Kevin Federline, AKA Mr. Britney Spears has been holed up in a recording studio for the last year, spending all his wife's money producing what will be the funniest rap album of the year. A 30 second clip of one song already hit the internet called "Y'All Ain't Ready," which you might be able to find if you google it. And recently, he also just launched a myspace account, and put up a FOUR SECOND clip on it. The first single? It's called "PopoZao." Apparently he say the Jay-Z documentary "Fade to Black" and decided he was no longer going to write anything down. Yep, this one's going to be bad.

4. Morrissey's new album


I have to say I love Morrissey, as you can tell from a post I did up last week, or even my Canadian political take on Morrissey for CTV. I'm suprised he's putting out another album so soon, considering it was 5 years between his last ones, but the sooner Morrissey can put decent albums under his belt, the better. And here's hoping it doesn't have a horrible album cover.

3. Prince dominates the charts, and I meet him.

"Purple Rain" is probably the greatest music-film ever made. And Prince is just an absolute genius. He may have fallen off his rocker with the whole Mormon thing, but he can still produce good songs. I have a feeling he will return to the spotlight in a big way next year. Also, I plan on meeting him. It's fate. He lives in Toronto, I live in Toronto, how can it not happen?

2. Dave Bazan's new album.


Dave Bazan is the mastermind behind two of my favorite bands ever, Pedro the Lion and the Headphones. He has been touring the last year or so under the Headphones moniker, and it's time for the pendulum to swing back into Pedro territory. Mind you, word on the street is that he is dropping the Pedro name, and is just going to be using his real name. Either way I don't care, he's got some good stuff coming.

1. Chinese Democracy.

Yes. This may be the year Axl Rose finally releases his masterpiece. It may not be the classic Guns n' Roses, but do you remember how awesome the GnR he put together that included BUCKETHEAD?!? Hopefully the shameful display of rock by Velvet Revolver will push this one to the shelves.

...

Day one was Toronto's best record stores.
Day two was Toronto's best blogs.
Day three was Toronto's best movie theatres.
Day four was Best concerts of 2005.
Day five was Best Toronto bands.
Day six was Best Songs of 2005.

Daily top seven for seven days: Day six: Best songs of 2005


While I have already posted my dual lists a few weeks ago about the best Canadian albums of 2005, I have still neglected "international" acts in an overall sort of list. So here it is, my overall list of the best songs of 2005 that you get off the internet (just right-click and save-as, you know the drill). I don't know how long these links are going to last for, so grab them all while you can... maybe you'll discover your new favorite band!

Best songs of 2005.


7. "Mr. November" by The National.

As the closing track on their amazing album "Alligator," this song is a frustrated cry against failure, but turned into an optimistic u2 style rock song. Of course, in a perfect world, u2 would write songs like this instead of songs like "Vertigo." Click here to check out my album review.

6. “Pink and Brown” by the Headphones.

Dave Bazan is one of the finest songwriters alive today. Either solo, or with his band "Pedro the Lion," he never fails to write a song that hits you like no other can. In a new "band" persona, an all analog keyboard and live drum experiment called "The Headphones," Bazan returns to familiar territory: dark tales of deception and heartbreak.

5. "This Heart's on Fire" by Wolf Parade

I don't know what it is about the last song on an album... it can either be really good or really bad. I mean, it's cool when a band does a long quiet slow song to fade out, but when a band like Wolf Parade who decide to finish off their classic album "Apologies to the Queen Mary" with a Springsteen like rocker, you know that they know what they're doing. One of my first "music blog" posts was about Wolf Parade back in the summer.

4. "Sing Me Spanish Techno" by New Pornographers

While I didn't dig their second album "Electric Version" as much as their first, "Mass Romantic," I feel like the band has returned to form with "Twin Cinema." I waver between this song and the official single "Use It" as my favorite from the album, but on account of the one part where they sing "Traveling at God-speed over the hills and trails" and the part where they sing "listening too long to one song" its all just so amazing. Also, the title alone is awesome.

3. "Shake it Off" by Ninja High School

I feel like I've written about Ninja High School so much in the last little while, but I never run out of things to say about them. This particular song off "Young Adults Against Suicide" is probably the most accessible, with a more old-school style rap. Talking Head fans, or Arcade Fire fans will recognize the sample of "This Must Be the Place." But really, the best part is the funky scream. You'll know what I mean. Also, I wrote about my 10 favorite lines from "Young Adults Against Suicide" here.

2. "Paul Simon" by Russian Futurists

I've heard people talk about this song, saying they have no idea why it's called "Paul Simon," because he's not mentioned anywhere in the song, and it's not explicitly about the man. But here's the secret, this song sounds like what people think Paul Simon sounds like these days, all bombast and big horns. About three seconds in you will know what I mean.

1. "Nobody Calls Me Unless They Want Something" by Shout Out Out Out Out.

I think I've spelled out this equasion before, but let me repeat it here. Two drummers. Four bass players. Vocoder vocals. Melting keyboards. Here's the lyrics in full just to entice you more... "I'm working on your project, you might be done on time. I think I got his number, won't you stay on the line? Can I drive you somewhere? No I really don't mind. But please don't call me anymore." Really, this song is just so cool. I think it's only been released on a 12 inch so far, but from what I've heard we can expect an album from these guys in 2006. Sweet. Also a live review of Shout Out Out Out Out I wrote earlier.

...

Day one was Toronto's best record stores.
Day two was Toronto's best blogs.
Day three was Toronto's best movie theatres.
Day four was Best concerts of 2005.
Day five was Best Toronto bands.

12.29.2005

Daily top seven for seven days: Day five: Best Toronto bands


Montreal may won the last few rounds in the battle against Toronto to produce the country's best musicians, but Toronto has a healthy roster of creative and innovative musicians that will be making a big mark on 2006. Toronto has some really great independent labels that due to the size of Canada, can compete with the majors on a national level, including Last Gang, Maple Music and Arts and Crafts. By producing some of the year's best music, they have achieved enough mainstream popularity that they will be invading this year's Juno awards in a big way. My list of Toronto's best bands are artists that are currently "in the zone" and are on a hot streak which will leak for them to really break out of Hogtown.

Best Toronto Bands


7. Gastric Female Reflex



What kind of audience exists for musicians who peddle in screeching noise and rumbling hums? Those who tire of instrument based sounds and are searching for something unique. And for these kinds of music fans, GFR will satisfy. Their live show is gripping, a challenging and mesmerizing experience that converts anyone with a curious ear. I predict that these genuine, cool guys will help expand Toronto's already fledgling noise scene.



6. The Fembots


These reformed noise makers are real songwriters at heart. Better yet, their songs don't confine to the dealings of the heart, they are grounded with a history all listeners can identify with. Live, the band is deep into their music, one parts enchanting and another part uplifting.



5. Broken Social Scene


The masters of the "Arts of Crafts" scene, this band is greater together than any of their side projects combined. I would have placed them higher on the list except for the fact that I can't get around the feeling of their album "Broken Social Scene" just too... lacking. I can understand not wanting to be the Arcade Fire, but there's times I can't get behind this "shooting themselves in the foot on purpose" mentality.



4. The Airfields


I haven't yet seen The Airfields live, but on the strength of their "City-State" EP I've put this band pretty high up on the list. Their sound is perfectly crafted and their style is fully defined. Once the band finishes up their debut full length and hits the road, I think alot of people are going to dig their sound. Hit up their website for some free mp3s if you're curious.



3. The Guest Bedroom

Like the Airfields, I've put Guest Bedroom up here on the strength of their "We Like Accidents" EP. I have had to chance to see the Guest Bedroom play about one song at the end of a set during one of Dan Burke's shows at the Silver Dollar, and it was enough to get me interested. They are sassy, strong and have enough edge to stand out in the current "dance-rock" trend. Go to their website to find out more, or go here to check out their video for "No Thief."



2. Russian Futurists


These guys really do the power-pop like no-one I've ever seen before. With the Russian Futurists, all the emphasis is on the melodies, the sound of those melodies and giant beats... it's the perfect combination. If they just sped things up a big more, they would have been a lock for the number one spot. Otherwise, this is a band that demands alot more respect and needs to be touted as one of the city's best.



1. Ninja High School


I guess I waver between really loving this band, and really hating this band. Which, I think, is a sign that they are doing something right. In the next year, they will probably tour and get themselves a real solid fanbase on their live show alone. If you haven't checked out their "Young Adults Against Suicide" yet, you owe it to yourself to at least give it a chance. The beats, the lyrics, and the all-around zaniness of the band has so much potential to do some really big things.

...

Day one was Toronto's best record stores.
Day two was Toronto's best blogs.
Day three was Toronto's best movie theatres.
Day four was Best concerts of 2005.

12.28.2005

Daily top seven for seven days: Day four: Best Concerts


Despite moving into the afternoon shift earlier this year at work, I still managed to catch a few really great shows. Mind you, if I worked the day shift, I would have to be in bed by 10 at night, so I'd still be out of a few good concerts anyways... such is the working life. Anyways, I can't imagine being a music lover in this city and still not making it to as many shows you can. Otherwise, what's the point of living in the city? I would say that because of my recent move to Toronto I have seen more really great shows in a year that I have for the last few years combined. It was hard choosing the best for this list.

Best Concerts of 2005.



7. Dinosaur Jr. @ Phoenix, July 17, 2005.


I've been a huge Dinosaur Jr. fan for years. It first started when I saw the video for "Feel the Pain," which I think is the one where they are driving around the city playing golf. Anyways, I ended up working my way back, and thanks to, "This Band is Your Life," I found out about the real Dinosaur Jr. Imagine my suprise when I heard that the original trio was getting back together to tour their first three albums! Generally, I'm pretty skeptical of bands reuniting for the almighty dollar, as in the case of The Pixies. But maybe it's just because I've never really liked the Pixies to begin with, because I had no qualms about shelling out 38 bucks for this band. Also, it was the loudest show I'd ever been to in my life. Lou Barlow handed out some earplugs to the front row, and a couple dudes around me were stuffing toilet paper in their ears.



6. Xiu Xiu @ Poor Alex, June 25, 2005.


The most amazing thing about seeing Xiu Xiu live is that their singer sounds exactly the same as he does on record. Jaime Stewart is just so intense that it just has to be seen to be believed. Their were noisy, melodic and rocked out all the same. I'll be sure to catch this band in any carnation when it hits the city again.



5. Wolf Eyes/Gastric Female Reflex @ Horseshoe, May 22, 2005.


While I came to see Wolf Eyes perform their death-racket (and loved it, especially "Stabbed in the face"), I discovered the noise band "Gastric Female Reflex," who were so good and interesting that I picked up a bunch of merch after their set. It was three guys who sat on the stage admist a tangle of wires and microphones. They made crunching noises, scraping noises, anything twisted you can imagine. Their band "leader" even had a converted gas mask with a microphone in the mouth piece that he screamed into. It was surreal, but really special at the same time.


4. Wolf Parade/Tangiers @ Comfort Zone, June 11, 2005.




Maybe it's because I can't make it downtown on a weeknight till 1 in the morning, but maybe that's why this show at the Comfort Zone was an amazing experience. It was during NXNE when Wolf Parade was booked to play Dan Burke's infamous anti-NXNE show, and were due on stage at 1 in the morning. This was my second time seeing the band and I was right up front at the foot of the stage in the cramped, sweaty rave bar. The band was short handed, but they were intense and powerful, fueling my interest to see this band anywhere, at any time.



3. Arcade Fire/Wolf Parade/Final Fantasy @ Danforth, April 27, 2005.



Seven months earlier I had interviewed the Arcade Fire in Kingston, Ontario before a show at Clark Hall Pub. I knew the band was going to be huge, but this was insane. I can't believe the band sold out so many shows in a row: they could have sold out the Kool Haus at least twice. This show was also the first time I saw Final Fantasy live, and he was pretty good too, if somewhat gimmicky. Our posse was up on the balcony, and they elected to sit. I stood at the side with my future wife and a couple other strangers and we all danced like crazy.



2. Wolf Parade @ Horseshoe, October 17, 2005.


After the Comfort Zone show, I was eager to see the band in a more "professional" context. And all I can say, is that they didn't disapoint. These guys are true rock stars, and they just exhibit pure rock and roll. It's not often that I can go to a show and wonder if I could be doing it better: these guys were all over it. Intensity, sincerity, it was all there.



1. Broken Social Scene/Modest Mouse @ Toronto Island, June 26, 2005.


All in all, this year's "Toronto Island Concert" was one of my highlights of 2005. It was just a perfect day. The weather was amazing, the friends I went with were great. The bands were all awesome. I was never a Broken Social Scene fan until I saw them perform live, and now I'm completely won over. Modest Mouse were also great and really proved why they were the headlining band. Do May Say Think was a great treat, as I remember just laying on the grass with my eyes closed and listening to their songs. Seeing so many people there, checking out all these great bands really restored my faith in Toronto's music community, as one that stretches far and wide.

..

Day one was Toronto's best record stores.
Day two was Toronto's best blogs.
Day three was Toronto's best movie theatres.

12.27.2005

Daily top seven for seven days: Day three: Best Toronto Theatres


Like many young urban couples, my wife and I have definately seen a countless number of films. In a city the size of Toronto, there's a wide array of theatres, and despite many of them being "corporate," they still have a certain individual flair. And in ranking theatres, I found that like my diverse taste in film, from mainstream blockbusters to foreign language documentaries, is also reflected in this list. I know that this a music blog, and this is a list about theatres, but in some ways movies and films are just interwined, and their experiences can be somewhat similar. And it's my blog, so I'll write what I want, alright?

Best Toronto Theatres

7. Varsity


Located in the shopping mall right above the Bay Street subway station, Varsity is a great "indoor" theatre to go to on a cold and rainy night. They are good for having alot of good Canadian films and premieres, and usually have high-profile films that wouldn't be shown at the mega-theatres. The lobby usually has memrobilia from movies coming out soon; one great display I remember seeing was one for "Hellboy," which piqued by interest for the film. The most distinctive thing about this theatre, besides having an extra-expensive "VIP screening area" is their massive tropical fish aquarium. While your date is off in the bathroom, you won't mind while you watch those little fishes watch you.



6. Camera Bar


I've never been to the Camera Bar ever, but because it's run by Atom Egoyan, and because he is one of the best Canadian film makers ever, he get's a free pass on this list. This West Queen West boutique theatre is half restaurant/bar and half theatre, so the idea is when you go for a night, you have your dinner, and then a screening follows. I definately plan on checking this one out in the near future. Check their website for more details.


5. Beaches


If you are taking a special someone to the movies, and are looking to do a date that's a little different, I recommend the Beaches theatre. Not only is it just outside the touristy strip of restaurants and stores, but you can always head out for a late night walk along the water if you wanted to. Also, keeping with the Beaches tradition of having the jazz festival every year, the Beaches theatre has jazz musicians performing regularily on the weekends. There's a wide open lobby with lots of plush chairs and a patio, and if you're up to it, some chess sets. Unfortunately, the selection of films at the Beaches isn't the best, so you better be up for mainstream fare.



4. Bloor



When not being used for quiet sit-down concerts, or various film festivals, the old Bloor Theatre at Bloor and Bathurst is just that -- old. It is one of the oldest remaining theaters downtown and going there gives you a good idea of what it was like "to go to a show" fifty years ago. It's really cheap and most of the time, even if it's busy, you'll feel like you have the theatre to yourself, including the massive balcony.



3. Cumberland



Generally if a high-profile film is only being shown in "selected theatres" (ie only Toronto, N.Y. and L.A.) then odds are it's going to be at the Cumberland. While a bit on the expensive side, it's what you expect for a theatre in the heart of Yorkville. This theatre is a hot spot for big time Hollywood celebs on account to it's proximity to the Four Seasons hotel. Before films they project paintings and photos of sculptures onto the screen instead of ads, and generally before the movie starts the previews consist of rarely seen trailers. The only downside to the Cumberland is that you can regularily hear the hum of the subway below.



2. Carlton



Located just past Maple Leaf Gardens, the Carlton theatre is ripe with history. It's a place for film lovers, with classic movies shown on TVs in the lobby. Ticket prices are great and yes, there is a bar. It's a good mix of Canadian films, indie films, docs, foreign films and a few second run larger films. The screening rooms themselves are on the smaller side, which creates a cozier atmosphere when its a packed house. And for some reason, this is the best theatre to find Toronto-based celebs. Personally, I've seen Ron Sexsmith here a few times.



1. Paramount



It's big, ugly, flashy, and I love it. There's an ample amount of automated ticket machines, so it's easy to actually get a ticket quickly, and the ticket prices are around 10 bucks. Then, there's the massive escalator which takes you up a few stories for a nice view of the lower core. Feel like a drink before the movie? Paramount has a bar. Like any massive theatre, there's a wide assortment of food/junk that you don't really need to eat in the first place. And the one thing that really puts it on top; IMAX. Between showing 35 mm prints of some films, or just massive, non-3d versions of movies, the IMAX experience is the best. I worked for a few years at a Famous Players in Belleville, Ontario, so I have a soft spot for the massive movie theatre experience. Paramount is right in the middle of the club district, so any night of the week its always busy. Before or after the film you can always head into the Indigo/Chapters for a coffee or a quick magazine browse. It's a big place, so it's great if you and some friends want to go catch a flick. I suggest you go there for late shows if you want to avoid noisy teenagers.

...

Day one was Toronto's best record stores.
Day two was Toronto's best blogs.

12.26.2005

Daily top seven for seven days: Day two: Best Toronto Blogs


Best Toronto Blogs

Everyday, I can't even number the amount of websites/blogs/whatever I obsessively check. And when you consider the amount of amazing writers doing some amazing work on blogs around the world, I'm just stunned by the quality of Canadian bloggers. To keep my list consistent and specific, I've chosen only Toronto blogs, and they are ranked by "if I could only visit one site today, which one would it be." If you have any blogs that you think are worth checking out, leave your two cents in the comments section!


7. Zoilus


By day an A & E writer for the Globe and Mail, and by night, Zoilus, Carl Wilson is probably one of the most plugged-in people of the whole Toronto scene. If something good is going down, you know he's there. If something cool is to be heard, you know he's heard it. It makes me wonder if being so good all the time might be a bad thing.


6. BlogTO


This blog about Toronto covers absolutely everything; fashion, restaurants, music and film. With a massive cast of contributors, all the content is fresh and exciting, and is an easy way to find out about events that fall just below the radar. And unless Eye and Now get their online act together, sites like BlogTO will have them beat on the interweb.


5. Torontoist

For young Hogtown urbanites who need to know whats happening and whats cool, you need to go no further than Torontoist. Editors Joshua Errett and Alison Broverman keeps things light with "Streeters" while giving great reviews of films, concerts and most importantly, Toronto bars and restaurants. With a recent infusion of new writers in the last few months, Torontoist is hitting a high point, and it can't be missed.


4. Antonia Zerbisias

Anyone who works in the media industry needs to read this Toronto Star media minder. She keeps tabs on who is doing what and what kinds of trends are emerging online and in the greater media. She does so with a generous helping of wit and intelligence, and when she dishes out the dirt, she's the best.


3. pop (all love)
Aaron Wherry has such a way with writing about music that I'm really jealous of how he does it. He combines being profound, funny and insightful with seemingly no effort at all. If something is happening in the greater world of pop music, this blog is all over it.


2. Warren Kinsella


I've had the opportunity to hear Mr. Kinsella speak about how blogs are the punk-rock of the internet, and I think he's half-right. Known best for being Canada's Prince of Darkness and Jean Chretien's secret weapon, Kinsella has returned to his punk roots by publishing "Fury's Hour," which covers the history of punk music. His posts are short and sweet, and always lights a fire. He mostly writes about Canadian politics (he is what you'd call a major ex-backroom Liberal mastermind after all), but Kinsella's music interest in broad and deep, and between his devotion to Joe Strummer and his own band Shit From Hell, his deep love of music is obvious.


1. Chromewaves


Not only is this blog interesting, funny, diverse and compelling, but Frank, a self-described "Megalomaniac" is consistent in publishing every single damn day. This music blog gives out liberal praise to both unsung and overhyped talents, and inspires readers to check out new music. Chromewaves also offers free weekly downloads of hard to find covers. Through this blog I have discovered many albums that might have otherwised passed me by if Chromewaves didn't cover it.

....

So far, this is list number two in my seven lists in seven days series.

Day one was Toronto's best record stores.

12.25.2005

Daily top seven for seven days: Day one: Best Toronto Record Stores

Everyone’s got their lists, and I’ve got mine so here goes: for the last seven days of 2005 I’m going to run down a few of the things that I consider the best of 2005. You are also welcome to leave your take on the different subjects I tackle in the comment sections. This year has been a blast and thanks for reading! Be sure to come back in the new year for more music writing!


Best Toronto record stores

In the first “Best Of” I’m going to look at the best record stores in Toronto. For music fans, getting music (from you know, other places than blogs, bittorrent and P2P) from a record shop is all part of the experience. Any music fan in the city should be familiar with these great places. However, because of my affinity for indie-rock and “alternative” music, these places are best. If you are into jazz, techno or rap, there are still a lot more great shops in the city besides these seven.


7. Sam the Record Man


I really only put this store on the list because it’s one of Toro
nto’s landmarks, and any music fan should be familiar with it. The Sam experience is fun because the environment is really busy and interesting, with lots of different things to look at, including many signed autographs and memorabilia. It’s also one of the better places in town to find music magazines and classical music. Despite the rest of the Sam chain going under, this Yonge street flagship store is still going strong, and shouldn’t be missed. Turns out this is the late night record shop mentioned in BNL's "Brian Wilson," as Steven Page says in an interview here.


6.
HMV @ Young and Dundas


Yeah, HMV is a generic chain that you can find anywhere in the city, let alone the country. But this two story record shop is huge and probably has one of the city’s widest selection of artists. It also hosts regular artist performances and appearances, boasts many listening stations, and surprisingly for a chain store has a decent selection of import vinyl records.



5.
Play De Record


For any DJ, Play De Record is the best place to go for all your 12 inch needs. They have all the chart hits, and include a wide variety of other styles of music, while mainly dealing with rap and hip hop. But for a change of pace, Play De Record should not be missed.



4.
Sonic Boom


Sonic Boom is just a huge warehouse of record store in the heart of the annex, and there’s only one sound to best describe the experience: tac tac tac… tac tac tac tac tac… tac tac tac… The deal in a pile of CDs, new and used vinyl, posters, limited edition autograph posters and DVDs. Supposedly, these guys will take any CD you bring in to sell. A good way to spend a rainy day is coming in to check out this store.


3. Soundscapes


Soundscapes
is the College West record store counterpart to Queen West’s Rotate This. If you are looking for independent or local Toronto artists on CD and sometimes vinyl, this place is your best bet to find it, as it seems they will sell a CD by almost anybody. Unfortunately this store is almost exclusively CD based, so for vinyl fans it may be a pass. Soundscapes is also great at recommending new music with a few listening areas along with an area for good new releases and another s
ection for recommended listening. There’s also a pile of great music and movie DVDs and a extremely wide selection of rock and roll and hip hop books. Biggest downside: they have no website, so good luck figuring out store hours or whatever.


2. Acid Records


At first glance Acid Records may look like just another hole-in-the-wall secondhand record shop, but inside the store you will find only the best selection of quality used records to save you from flipping through a pile of garbage. Acid also has a great window display which usually shows off new arrivals and best of the best records, dvds, books, cds and occasionally banged up guitar pedals. I’ve found some really great rock collectables here as well, including a mirror made to look like a Police album cover. At this store I also met a cop who digs Morrissey, so can I say more? Check it out at Queen and Denison.


1. Rotate This


Not quite Queen West, not quite West Queen West, Rotate This is an integral part to Toronto’s vibrant music scene. With a pile of amazing vinyl from hip-hop to indie-rock, a great selection of 7 inch records, listening stations, cool window displays, amazing used CDs and occasionally free posters, there are many reasons to love this store. And as an added bonus,
their website is a great resource for finding out what shows are coming up in the city, and whether of not they are sold out already. The only downside is that I find the store so cool that it’s actually intimidating, and my record purchases are not cool enough for the staff, who I can’t tell are sneering at me when I walk in the door.

Stay tuned all this week, as each day I will post another list to finish off 2005!

12.22.2005

Get your sad faces on, Morrissey is back!

I have to admit, I came late to the Smiths/Morrissey game in my life, only being about 22 years old a few years ago and discovering “Southpaw Grammar.” And while most Moz fans say it’s his worst, I still love the album’s over-reaching glam rock excess.

In case you missed it, Morrissey returned from exile last year with “You Are the Quarry,” a fantastic collection of pop tunes that spawned some great singles (“Irish Blood, English Heart,” “First of the Gang to Die,” and “I Have Forgiven Jesus”) and
a fantastic live DVD, “Who Put the M in Manchester?”

Many have feared that “You Are the Quarry” would be Morrissey’s last album ever, and he was planning on retiring from the music business. But instead Morrissey has flown to
Italy to record a brand new album, “Ringleader of the Tormentors,” which he is working on with producer Tony Visconti.

Part of the buzz that has been building for this new album is the “question and answer” period that Moz has participated in over at True-to-you.net. If you’re unfamiliar with the fansite, it’s run by the infamous “Julia,” a supposed trust-fund baby with money to burn and an undying love for the Pope of Mope. She travels to every show on his tour, and in concert photos/live videos she can usually be spotted as the show girl wea
ring a classic black dress and pearls.

Well her devotion has drawn Morrissey’s attention and she even received a thankyou in the liner notes of “You Are the Quarry.” She still operates True to You as the web site for her offline (print) version of her fan magazine.


So if you’re interested in what Moz has had on his mind lately, here’s a few quotes that aren’t worth missing, and if you’re looking for the complete Q and A’s just book it over to True-to-You.net.

20 November 2005

Q: What qualities do you admire in a person?

Louise Stephens, 18
Clare,
Suffolk, England

A: hello Louise
It would be easy to say such things as honesty or loyalty, and so on – but the fact is that if you like someone you'll forgive them of almost any kind of indiscretion. In truth, I'm drawn to people who aren't afraid and who question authority. It takes great courage, I think, to defend animals – and it takes great courage to speak your mind. Most people are petrified by public embarrassment – especially in America, which is why the police constantly shout at the public – this doesn't happen in any other country. Except Fiji.

Q: Hi Morrissey, John Lydon once said something along the lines of, "The Irish mean it, man." Those words come to mind when I listen to your music. To what extent do you think your Irishness colours how you express yourself as an artist? Thank you so much for writing and singing!

Mickey Ferry
Strabane,
County Tyrone, Ireland

A: hello Mickey
Ireland has always been a very credible and very poetic place, with no one under any illusions about themselves – we all end up in the same bucket, etc. This manifests itself within me by the fact that I'd obviously like some success with what I do, but I'm also slightly embarrassed to be singled-out. Silly, isn't it.

Q: Has being a vegetarian defined your life significantly? Many thanks for taking the time to read the questions – I wait with bated breath! Yours wholeheartedly,

Anita Delaney
Dublin, Ireland

A: hello Anita
Being vegetarian is a political gesture, so it can't fail to affect your life. By becoming vegetarian you are rejecting a dominant, macho, wife-beating, throat-slitting lifestyle. Vegetarians are also often disliked because they cause so many people to do what they'd rather not do: think. Also, vegetarians, by the nature of their existence, are telling flesh-eaters that what they, the carnivores, are doing, is wrong – and nobody likes to be told this. In a basic sense, I can't bring myself to sit at any table where flesh is served or eaten – unless, of course, it's human flesh.

Q: What is the most important advice that you would give people to be happy? Thanks for this opportunity. Best wishes,

Carl Hurley
Dublin, Ireland

A: hello Carl
I'm no expert when it comes to happiness – I don't honestly think it's possible.
Unfortunately, comfort and contentment become the maximum goal, and these are attainable. It's important, I think, not to allow others to pressurize you, and it's important not to be intimidated. Most humans are just silly, and 95% of our daily activities are a complete waste of time anyway – so there's a strong likelihood that human existence itself is somewhat silly. Look, for example, at British television – ghastly.

Q: I think that Ennio Morricone is one of the great composers of our time. I regard the music to Once Upon A Time In America as a heartbreaking masterpiece. Is it true that Morricone has worked with you on your new album, and if so, how was it to meet Il Maestro and work with him? With gratitude and tenderness,

Peter Birro
Sweden

A: hello Peter
Yes, the Maestro came into the studio with his orchestra and worked on a song called "Dear God Please Help Me" – which was very flattering because he'd turned so many multi-million selling pop acts down (I won't mention their names – U2, David Bowie, etc.), so I was delighted that he said yes to scruffy old me. In the event, he was very shy, and he was heavily surrounded and shielded, and there was no way that he and I would end up at the local pub playing darts. But – that's OK. Life's rich tapestry, and so on.

Q: Dear Morrissey, I am looking forward to hearing your work with Tony Visconti. At this time, is there more that you would like to share with your fans as to the overall sound of your new album? Thanks for staying true to your fans and true to yourself.

Michael D. Fellows
New York, New York, U.S.A.

A: hello Michael
Firstly, the musicianship is outstanding. Secondly, the songs are very strong, which is a great thing to be able to say this far down the line. We were all very unified – everyone gets on very well, we are all very close friends, and everyone works for the common good, and there is never anyone pulling away – as there has been in the past. So, this all helped to make the album as good as it is – and we all know it is the best. It is not a continuation of You Are The Quarry, and it has no links to the past. Tony has been a very uplifting influence – has done a great job as producer and I'm honoured to have worked with him. Marco Martin, who engineered, also played such a big part in the overall sound, and we're all eternally thankful to him.

Q: Hi Morrissey, I'm a big admirer of yours, and I have been for many years. I find it very encouraging that you and many other folks I admire in the entertainment field are for animal rights. How did you first get involved with PETA? I am looking forward to your next album, and I hope to see you back in New York on tour soon! With love and respect,

Melissa Yowhan
New York, New York, U.S.A.

A: hello Melissa
It began in 1985. The Smiths had played in Washington, D.C. and the concert was finished and I was...where else...in bed...and the phone rang...which was very unusual because there is always a block on my telephone. A voice introduced himself as Dan Mathews and he explained his mission was to build PETA to earth-shattering proportions...and he has! Twenty years on I am still in awe of Dan. Every single day of his life he is in a different corner of the world saving animals – none too big, none too small, none too far away – Dan is there, getting arrested, causing a flurry with the press, and his success stories are phenomenal. He has literally saved millions and millions of lives, and with PETA, his achievements are astonishing. He is the ideal American hero.

14 December 2005

Q: How did you get the idea to mention Estonia in your song "America Is Not The World"?

Rivo Järvsoo
Tallinn
, Estonia

A: hello Rivo
I imagined the sexy and sharp people of Estonia - which is not considered to be a world leader in anything, as far as I know - looking at the Burger King fast-food hell of the modern American food industry, and actually feeling sorry for Americans.
America is frightening when it comes to food. Top priority advertising is given to anything at all that basically endangers people - from flesh "food" to heavy sugar to heavy salt. Gelatin is thrown into everything in America - and for what? Whereas, any foodstuffs that would help people - organic or vegetarian - are deliberately hard to find. The American Meat Industry constantly fights against food safety laws, and the Bush Administration routinely repeals food safety legislation. Half a million Americans have been contaminated by E. Coli, hundreds of children have died because contaminated meat is given to schools, and the country leads the way in obesity, kidney failure, and disabilities caused by bad diet. However, turn on American television any moment of the day, and you are sandblasted with commercials for ground beef and Yum-Yums. It's astonishing that the entire population of America hasn't been killed off by its own food industry - the food industry is certainly trying, and it is more of a threat to the American people than so-called "terrorism" is.
Am I bleating on? ...

Q: I have always wondered if you play any musical instruments, and if so, which?

Valentina Alavarado
Santiago
, Chile

A: hello Valentina
I honestly don't have the interest. I always wanted to sing, with nothing at all blocking my path to the audience. An instrument is the perfect thing to hide behind - always busy adjusting pedals, fiddling with amp-settings, looking down, and never directly facing the very audience that you are presumably addressing.
Yes, when I was 14, I had a reasonably impressive drum kit, and when I heard Jerry Nolan and saw him on the cover of the New York Dolls' first album, I thought, That's me! Off I go! ... But it wasn't me, and I didn't go anywhere. This year, Deano [ex-drummer] gave me a kit to bash around on, but I think it's probably a bit late for me to suddenly turn up as the new drummer with New Found Glory. And yet ... ?

Q: What potential do you think art has as a vehicle for social change?

Alysha Layla Shaw
Santa Fe, New Mexico, U.S.A.

A: hello Alysha
Feminism - yes, Greenpeace - yes, PETA - yes, Art - no. Most people have no interest in Art, and only accept it under extreme protest. All media heroes are Artless, all politicians are devoid of Art, and anyone in music attempting to convey Art is usually ridiculed. I think it's safe to say that the human race is probably scum, on the whole. There's no evidence to the contrary.

Q: Are there any musicians or bands emerging now that excite you?

Keith Wittel
Dunellen
, New Jersey, U.S.A.

A: hello Keith
NoooooOOOOOOOOoooooOOOOOOooooooOOO.

Q: What are some of your favorite classic films or recent ones you've seen?

Mary Pluenneke
Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.

A: hello Mary
My favourite in the last few years has been Late Marriage starring Lior Ashkenazi. It's one of those rare films wherein the entire cast is excellent, and the film is powerful without one single special effect or any sound trickery. Lior Ashkenazi more recently starred in Walk On Water, which is also worth seeing.

Q: Which songs do you always enjoy singing live?

Tom Sidgwick
Oldham,
Manchester, England

A: hello Tom
Most of the songs are very wordy, and there aren't ever any flashy guitar solos, so the time onstage is usually a vocal rat-a-tat-tat without any pause, which is why I can't manage to stay onstage for longer than one hour and twenty minutes - I literally get lock-jaw. I think it's easy to stay onstage for hours if you just fiddle about with a guitar and keep your head down, but if it's a vocal assault, then it's harder to maintain energy levels. The song that has lasted longest in the live set is "November Spawned A Monster," so I think this must answer your question .... The ones in a higher register are better.

Download a video of my favorite Morrissey song,

“Do your best and don’t worry” from Southpaw Grammar.

http://members.aol.com/tkpradlik/goth97_01_doyrbest.avi

About “True to You”

http://true-to-you.net/website

Best Morrissey news site

http://www.morrissey-solo.com/

Mr. Shankley’s site

http://mrsshankly.homestead.com/files/mp3week.html

Frequently asked questions about Morrissey/Smiths

http://www.oz.net/%7Emoz/faq/faq.htm

12.21.2005

Is Belle and Sebastian's "Life Pursuit" worth following?



“The Life Pursuit” sounds like Belle and Sebastian died and went to Heaven. And they smuggled in all of their earthen instruments, found a nice sunny hillside and knocked out this album in one take, with no rehearsals or anything.


It’s not particularly edgy, but then again, it’s twee-pop at it’s finest and it doesn’t need any edge. The album is excellently crafted, without flaw or misstep. For fans, it has everything they could possibly want; hooks, harmony and flighty vocals.


But in heaven, there’s no time for being broken hearted, so while the band pulls out some bluesy rock jams, it comes across like the best Huey Lewis and the News songs never recorded.


The “fun” level that the band cultivated in “Dear Catastrophe Waitress” is still accounted for, and on tracks like “White Collar Boy” turns average-sounding tracks into something really special.


And unlike other Belle and Sebastian releases, this one is uncharacteristically loud. Spry speeds have always been one of this band’s hallmarks, but I just couldn’t believe that they finally made an album that should, and sounds great, played really loud. They shouldn’t have released this album in February, it’s a summer-fun record.


I really can’t give this album a bad review, but the truth is I was really expecting something more. It was like I expected to connect to this album in a special way, like I have with other Belle and Sebastian albums, but it didn’t happen. Truth is, I actually get a bit bored halfway through the album and start skipping around the iPod finding something else to listen to.

With a title like “The Life Pursuit,” it leads me to question where this band is going. Are these guys leading up to a career-making epic statement? Have they made it already?

...

If you look hard enough, you can already find it

Belle and Sebastian visit Palestine

Matador's Belle and Sebastian page

Be sure to check out the Belle and Sebastian book

...

Do you have music you want me to check out and review here on A Soundtrack for Everyone? Send me an email and I’ll give you all the information you need. I’m always looking for great new music, especially Canadian music.

12.18.2005

Inside a winter's evening with the Stars

photo by mligon

I can imagine one of the biggest downsides to having a rather robust band these days, with seven or eight members like The Stars or Broken Social Scene, is that there probably isn’t an easy way to make sure everybody gets paid. And I have to admit that when the Stars ended up announcing a six-show run, I figured it would be a ragged “make sure everyone gets paid” end-of-tour marathon. But instead I was surprised; the “A Winter’s evening with the Stars” concert series was a celebration of music, and a thank-you to their fans that have come out to support them.

The Stars took the stage at Lee’s Palace close to
midnight on Saturday; a late starting time I took advantage of. Friends of mine in the Bedouin Soundclash were having a triumphant gig of their own, returning to Toronto for a massive homecoming gig after a successful tour overseas. I had free tickets and a backstage VIP pass, but the only celebs I saw in the early evening were members of Alexisonfire. Unfortunately the Kool Haus show was one of those way-more-bands-than-announced kind of deals, so I only had a chance to see the band walk out on stage to a deafening roar and play a couple songs before I had to book it up to the Annex.

After checking my coat at the top of Lee’s, walking into the bar was surprising; it was decorated like a Christmas party and everyone was there to celebrate. On the east and west walls of the venue a large old landscape painting of a couple trees, a river and a mountain was projected, with the river made to look like it was rushing and a few stray leaves falling. On stage, a white sheet with a painting of silhouette pine trees and a single little cottage was lit from behind with long white strings of light. And from the ceiling were hung a dozen little Christmas trees, so that with enough imagination, it felt like a concert amongst a forest. With booze.

Lee’s Palace was packed with an eager audience and the Stars wasted no time in playing all of the same songs they’ve played at the other shows. The first song was “Going, Going, Gone,” off of Nightsongs, and from there on the band played with a fire that I couldn’t believe hadn’t gone out from such a long string of shows.

I think the highlight of the Saturday night show was the one-two punch of “One More Night” followed by “Your Ex-Lover is Dead.” At that moment the band really locked into a wonderful moment, with the emotional performances by Torque and Amy really adding to the heft of these songs.

For “Ageless Beauty,” Amy Milan showed off her rock-cred by leading the band through a new-wave romp, which was just pure sex and sweat. At one point, I can’t tell you which song, but the band went into an adventurous noise and progish interlude between two songs, which I thought kind of felt like a Mars Volta concert for a little while. Also, the young sax player upgraded his interesting t-shirt collection to now include a classic Gang of Four tee.

But the entire night was definitely all about fun. Lead singer Torque Campbell kept rambling on about whatever he could whenever he could, and in between playing trumpet and playing keys, looked like he must have cut up his hand pretty bad and bandaged himself up with blue duct tape. For the concluding Pogues cover, the Brad Pitt looking bass player donned a massive white fur coat, and Amy carried around a giant glass of white wine. Supposedly she was hammered and kept banging her mouth on the microphone. If she was, you couldn’t tell from the audience because he singing was absolutely flawless.

Overall, the night was just plain fun; they could have easily have packed out a larger venue like the Phoenix or maybe even the Kool Haus for one big show, but instead fans were treated to an intimate celebration from a really talented, passionate band that is really starting to hit their stride.

Consider my show review officially over before I go into this quick rant… what is up with people talking loudly during the quiet songs at a show like this? And I’m not talking about “wow this song is really great” kind of talking, but just random “how’s your day” or “I’m so cool” kind of things. At some points I really felt like I was back at the Kool Haus, where a sizeable part of the crowd was only there to hear “When the Night Feels My Song” and could care less about the finer points of Bedouin Soundclash. It’s like, the Stars are featured on an O.C. episode and suddenly half their audience turns into idiots. Sometimes I hate going to concerts because of people like that, and that’s a real shame.

For another great Stars show review, check out this one by “For the Records” and this review by “Just Keep Blogging.” BlogTO also has a write up of one of the shows.

For a limited time, download the video for Your Ex-Lover is Dead

The Montreal Mirror talks about the band’s Christian following

Check out this Arts and Crafts message board for The Stars

12.16.2005

Baby Jesus, born to rock


Christmas carries many important symbols with it; brightly decorated trees, carefully wrapped presents, and the ringing of Christmas chimes. To me, the beauty of Christmas lies in many things. I think about the birth of Christ, brought into this world in a barn, yet left riding on the wings of glory, carrying with him salvation.

I also think about family, and what it means to be together over the holidays. I'm sure it's no mistake that typical nativity scenes look like weird dysfunctional extended families; complete with exotic wise men, filthy shepards, a mom and dad, baby, and one kid who won't stop beating on his drums.

Christmas music is also one of the things that mean the season is here. One of my earliest memories I can remember is wearing out an old Alvin and the Chipmunks record. Update that to the last few years when a diligent aunt keeps turning off my carefully assembled Christmas mix CDs.

So with a new feature I'm unveiling here at A Soundtrack for Everyone, here is a soundtrack for you to enjoy this holiday season. It's a few of my favorite Christmas songs, and I hope you has as much fun with them as I do.

Get your mix right here!

A Soundtrack for Christmas 2005

1. Don't Let the Bells End - The Darkness
2. Everything's Gonna Be Cool This Christmas - The Eels
3. Sometimes You Have to Work on Christmas - Harvey Danger
4. I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day - Pedro the Lion
5. Just Like Christmas - Low
6. Merry Christmas (I don't want to fight) - Ramones
7. Candy Cane Children - White Stripes
8. Alien for Christmas - Fountains of Wayne
9. Little Drum Machine Boy - Beck
10. Christmastime has come - Smashing Pumpkins
11. O Holy Night - Seven Day Jesus

12.13.2005

A Soundtrack for 2005: Top 4 Canadian albums

Five years in to the first decade of 2005, the future if you will, we have seen an amazing outburst of quality Canadian music not seen since the alternative grunge days of the mid nineties. For music fans it has been a rewarding time; despite an absence of new material from some of Canada’s best and most popular, ie Arcade Fire, Feist, The Dears, K-Os, Hayden, By Divine Right, Limblifter, Sam Roberts, many more interesting and unique bands and artists have stepped up to show just why Canada is so special in the music world.

I decided to put together two different “top 4” lists this year in order to challenge myself as a music critic. First of all, I created the Obvious Top 4, obviously, for the absolute wickedest albums of the year that no red-blooded Canadian can deny.

Of course, if the names in the Obvious Top 4 seem foreign to you, get yourself to the internet pronto, because they represent Canada’s elite, and you have been living under a rock all year long.

The second list I made is the Strategic Top 4, which reflects the best Canadian albums that I felt like I really connected with, and were really well made, and tried to do something new and interesting. Also, for the (pop) all love year end poll I was invited to participate in, I wanted to submit something different that would help showcase some artists I felt that deserved more attention. Because the voting is weighted, I figured the Obvious Top 4 would get their fare share of votes anyways.

The following is my comprehensive list of all the best Canadian albums put out in 2005, including hyper-links on each bands name if you are interested in finding out more. The bands who are listed in bold are bands that may not have been in the final lists, but I wanted to ensure that they got their props as well.

I mean, look at this list, it’s amazing!

Nominees

The Airfields – City-State EP
Bedouin Soundclash – Sounding a Mosaic
Bella – Pretty Mess
Below the Sea – Blame it on the past
Black Mountain – Self Titled
Broken Social Scene – Broken Social Scene
Boys Night Out – Train Wreck
Bell Orchestre – Hangable Auto Bulb Recording a Tape of color of the light
Jully Black – This is Me
Buck 65 – Secret House Against the World
C’Mon – In the Heat of the Moment
Jason Collett – Idols of Exile
City and Color – Sometimes
Constantines – Tournament of Hearts
Controller.Controller – X-Amounts
The Creeping Nobodies – Stop Movement Stop Loss
Cuff the Duke – Cuff the Duke
The Deadly Snakes – The Deadly Snakes
Debaser – Blackouts
Despistado – The People and Their Verses
Destroyer – Notorious Lightening and Other Works
Divine Brown – Self Titled
Kathleen Edwards – Back to Me
Fembots – The City
Final Fantasy – Has a Good Home
Gastric Female Reflex – wing night
The Guest Bedroom – We Like Accidents EP
Great Lake Swimmers – Bodies and Minds
Sarah Harmer – I’m a Mountain
Holy Fuck – Holy Fuck
Kardinal – Fire and Glory
Metric – Live it Out
The New Pornographers – Twin Cinema
Ninja High School – Young Adults Against Suicide
A Northern Chorus – Bitter Hands Resign
Novillero – Aim Right for the Holes in their Lives
Joel Plaskett – La De Da
Jon-Rae and the River – Old Songs For The New Town
The Radical Dudez – The Radical Dudez
Republic of Safety – Passport EP
Rick White – The Rick White Album
Russian Futurists – Our Thickness
Sailboats are White – Turbo
Les Sequelles – Tes Chansons Cruelles
Sunset Rubdown – Snake’s Got a Leg
Tangiers – The Family Myth
Martha Wainwright – Martha Wainwright
Tricky Woo – First Blush
Wolf Parade – Apologies to the Queen Mary
Neil Young – Prairie Wind

The Obvious Four:

  1. Wolf Parade – Apologies to the Queen Mary

I made this album number one because it’s just so impressive. If there’s any album I listened to so much that I can’t stand it, but then come crawling back days later, it’s this one. I also had the chance to see Wolf Parade three times this year, climaxing in their triumphant performance at the Horseshoe. Despite having technical difficulties, they still put together one of the most all out rocking shows I haven’t been too for a while. Check out my post about Wolf Parade that I wrote in July.

Listen to "You are a Runner and I am my Father's son"

  1. Broken Social Scene – Broken Social Scene

2006 will be a big year for Broken Social Scene as their self-titled album slowly reveals itself to the masses. It’s a dense, beautiful masterpiece, as deeply flawed as it is great.

Check out my review; “Broken Social Scene’s busted masterpiece.”

  1. Black MountainBlack Mountain

It was only in the last few weeks that I’ve really gotten into this album, and I’m sure I’ll come to appreciate it more next summer. These druggy, ragged guitar riffs and swinging drums just do it for me.

  1. Russian Futurists – Our Thickness

This is the new folk music, composed of drum machines, keyboards and guitars, recorded on bedroom computers. Intensely wordy, dense and worthy of the word “lush.”

My Strategic Four:

  1. Neil Young – Prairie Wind

You know, the old Neil Young wouldn’t have shown up to do Live 8 in Barrie. He would have seen through that cliché industry back-slapping in a second, embarrassed along with every other self respecting Canadian across the country. Yeah, Neil has his Bridge School benefit concerts, and he started Farm Aid, but you know they are both a whole different kind of beast.

2005 has been on hell of a year for Neil Young. Not only did he lose his father, a legendary Canadian journalist that any writer would be proud to look up to, but he also suffered a life-threatening brain aneurism, preventing him from returning to his hometown to play a triumphant Juno gig, notwithstanding losing his potential to write or perform another song again.

When the news surfaced that Neil was back in the studio working on another album amidst the news of this entire trauma, some wondered what he was thinking exactly? Why doesn’t he take a break?

“Prairie Wind” is an album made by the new Neil Young, who has christened the last leg of his career with a return to the urgency, poignancy and relevancy which made him one of the best singer-songwriters in history.

He still isn’t taking any shit from nobody, and doing things his own way, but after staring down the end of his own life, this man is making records like each one could be his last.

So the new Neil Young got onstage at Barrie’s Live 8 concert, content to sing a classic song with his wife Peggy, perform the best song on Prairie Wind with a youth gospel choir (When God Made Me), and lead the all-star finale “Keep on Rockin in the Free World.” He did look like an old man up there, but he sure did look like he was having a good time.

You know how some parents decide to give their kids their inheritance before they pass away, just to see them enjoy it. That’s what Neil Young does with “Prairie Wind.” We’ll remember Neil Young whenever he leaves this barren rock, but with albums like this, we’ll be treasuring him when he’s still here.

  1. The Fembots – The City

I’ll admit to not knowing much about the history of Hogtown, nor do know much about the back stories to this collection of songs by the Fembots, wrapped up in “The City,” a tribute to Toronto. But you know what? It doesn’t matter. The Fembots are such excellent songwriters and tunesmiths that these songs are many things at the same time; biographical, illustrative and historical. Songs run from sparse meditations to dense soundscapes, all the time never standing in the way of a decent song.

  1. Holy Fuck – Holy Fuck

This album was almost my number one pick. The thunderous drums and ass-gripping bass riffs alone are enough to rock my world; it’s the distorted loops and samples that make it unlike anything I’ve heard for a while. It satisfies my rock appetite, but also sounds new and fresh. Overall they are just an energetic combo with a lot of amazing ideas. If going out to clubs meant hearing music this good, I would be all over that scene. The only reason why it’s not my number one pick is that it’s an instrumental album, and I have a hard time getting all the way through instrumental albums before my low attention span kicks in.

  1. Boy’s Night Out – Train Wreck

I admire artists who follow their muse and do something interesting, regardless of current trends or critical pressures. These guys don’t get enough love, perhaps hailing from Burlington, Ontario, and being based on a label from New Jersey doesn’t help either. Like many other music critics my “emo” and “post-hardcore” phase passed a while ago, so I was wary of “Train Wreck” after hearing the first couple minutes. “Train Wreck” is a concept album about a man who kills his wife and battles the demons in his head, but each song stands easily on it’s own. The band walks the same territory explored by bands like Further Seems Forever and the Juliana Theory, but the band’s talent for tight, complex arraignments and an ear for good hooks, easily rises above cliché to create an interesting album, a perfect soundtrack for cold winter days.


Do you have music you want me to check out and review here on A Soundtrack for Everyone? Send me an email and I’ll give you all the information you need. I’m always looking for great new music, especially Canadian music.