Thursday, December 30, 2010


Having gone to school for science was both a blessing and a curse. In a way, the scientific method and the quest for an absolute truth can be as comforting as a strong religious belief. It's a way in which to view the world. It's believing in something. Science, God. Isn't it the same? The scientific method is to an extent as unreliable as what they call 'blind faith.' Even when all variables and factors have been manipulated or controlled it is still extremely difficult to conclude with utmost certainty that something is so. We've gone for years believing one thing, and then a new method reveals that we were wrong all along. How we look at things and measure things and even how we think about the results we want to achieve can affect what we claim something to be. Although we strive to be impartial, we are not. And neither are our methods.

Now, this is not to say that I don't think science is useful. Of course science can tell us things, and a lot of the time, they are probably 'true.' But what I'm trying to get across is that our world is divided (and maybe has always been divided) into two camps: the believers and the seekers. Those that believe in religion, and those that seek 'truth' in science.

In a world where so many of our problems are said to stem from the apparent disconnect between modernity and religiosity, and blood is poured for the sake of 'rationalism' against 'radicalism' I have come to realize that I identify with neither one of these camps. Although my own scientific upbringing makes it challenging for me to believe certain aspects of faith, the other half of my university education in the arts and my own imagination has made me come to a point where I truly believe there is not necessarily an absolute truth, but rather truth is a combination of perception and 'reality'.

Time is one of these amazing things where the idealist and the realist can duke it out endlessly. One way of viewing time is viewing it as a fundamental universal structure based on the sun and the stars and all those physical things (what's up Newton!), and the other view, suggested by Kant (among others) is that time is a form of our experience. For the idealist, there is no experience independent of the mind. I was raised as a realist. Raised to believe that I can't beat time. Time is money. Time flies. Basically, time will keep going, I will keep aging, things will keep changing and I can't do much about it. And to an extent, I agree. I've experienced how time has mended a broken heart, how time has taken a life, I've gotten marks docked off papers for not handing them in 'in time'. As much as I want it not to be, time is a reality and time makes me get up at the same time every morning to go to work, because I can't be late. Our whole world is structured around time. Time pretty much kicks ass around here. But then again...maybe I can manipulate time. When I'm doing something enjoyable, time does not control me. I don't think about it, I don't care about it and I don't worry about it. But when I'm bored or in pain or stressed, time is the only thing on my mind. When will this day end? When will I feel better? And time has control over me. 60 minutes can feel like a lifetime, or can simply feel like a space where a feeling is experienced, where quantity is irrelevant. It is a where, not a when. It's like being with someone who you connect with. If you're really connecting you can talk or be together for hours on end, and it might not be until the sun rises that you realize how much time has gone by. Or listening to a great vinyl. Sometimes it's unbelievable that it's already time to change the side.

We can manipulate time by doing things that make it irrelevant. And my understanding of time explains how I see the world, and how I see this great divide between the believers and the seekers. I can see both sides. Time reminds me of this. Whenever my habit to use reason makes me question how some people live their lives , I try to remind myself how easily our minds can create realities, and these realities affect every decision we make. Wars are fought based on opposing truths. And if people are willing to die for things they believe in, can we tell them that their beliefs aren't true? This kind of talk can lead me towards the discussion of morality, which is a subject I talk about a little but even though I don't really know where I stand in terms of what is moral or not. My instinct tells me there is right and wrong, but I'm not sure if this is implicit in humanity or something that society has instilled in me. Are we inherently evil? Nonetheless, I believe that religions and belief systems all have one thing in common: belief that they are 'right', and this belief becomes reality.

There are no battles of ultimate right and wrong, but rather battles between worlds with different sets of rights and wrongs. This is why we will always have war, intellectual or physical. If there was an ultimate truth, humanity should have unanimously arrived at it already and we would all believe the same things. But we haven't, and we never will.

*Check out how one person is trying to manipulate time: *

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


For any of those close to me, you know my tendency to be completely enthralled with an album without having any desire to listen to anything else for a while.

There have been many albums that have stayed with me in such a way, and for those of you who have experienced a similar thing will maybe understand how the albums become soundtracks to a certain chapter in your life. I can listen to an album and be taken back to that time in my life. And somehow that album, the lyrics, the sound, it all perfectly complements my life at that time. The world's best music supervisor couldn't have placed it better.

Is this because music effects the way that I behave, or do I subconsciously choose what music I need in my life?

When Is This It? by The Strokes was released I, like the album, was rambunctious, gritty, but at the same time still fresh. I was bouncing through high school parties to the beat of "The Modern Age" and groggily reflecting growing up, boys, and the general malaise that accompanies being an awkward teenager to "Is This It" after a night of keg-stands and beer bongs. I was your regular teenager, doing all the things teenagers have been doing for years, but yet I, and we, the Generation Y, or whatever the new age term is for us kids, were also different than our parents, just like how The Strokes were beginning a different chapter of rock music. They call us the Peter Pan generation, hopelessly trying to delay adulthood. And indie rock, although it had started twenty years before, took a turn when Is This It? was released. The rock and roll lifestyle became our anthem. Next, bands like Tokyo Police Club (who cite The Strokes as an influence) began playing shows here in Toronto and their shows created a kind of scene, the kind of scene that makes you always think about the night before.."last nite".

This is not to say that I only listened to this genre of music. Or that I only ever partied. Of course I listened to many other albums with a completely different vibe in this same period of my life. But other albums make me think about moving away from home, missing my family, breakups, loneliness, academia. My point is how albums can highlight aspects of your past. Almost like a snapshot of every moment that matches the feel of an album.

I've been reflecting a lot about 2010 as of late. It's the last month of the year so I suppose that's normal. Also because I am in the midst of preparing my Best of 2010 list. There have been some amazing albums this year but one album that will make me remember this year will most certainly be the Mimicking Birds LP.

If you haven't listened, you must. It's painstakingly beautiful. Simple, reflective, calm, and intimate. It's been a year of change for me. I've graduated university, thinking about where I'm going, who I am, all that sappy stuff. And this album has been there for me because it can be anything you want it to be. You can listen to it and feel content and calm and it can be wonderful background music, but if you focus on it and listen closely it's also incredibly complicated. And I think that's what this year has been for me. Feeling content at times, and completely absorbed in thought at other times, in such a way that I feel like my brain is an endless ball of thread entangled in knots and coils. This year has gone by so incredibly fast at times, like I'm standing on a subway platform watching the train woosh by me, yet I feel like it's been quite the journey to get here.

But, like this album, I can't deny that 2010 has been beautiful. Sometimes dark, sometimes light, but always real.

"I'm one in six billion no way I'm at fault
I swear it's not me I'm too small
And growing all the time
Can't reach yea such a sweet lie
Hard knowing whatcha gonna be like" - Mimicking Birds

Thursday, November 11, 2010

people are strang(ers)


"the search for an ideal mate is in reality a quest for alienated facets of the self. we shape an image of our unrealized self and then project it onto another person"

Why is it that we often find ourselves surprised by other peoples' behaviours? After 'knowing' someone for years, whether knowing them in a romantic or a platonic way, they do something that sparks one of the following common phrases: "that is so unlike him/her", "how out of character".

It appears as though we are constantly trying to reach consistency in our lives. Consistent money flow, consistent creativity, consistent spontaneity, consistent relationships, etc. And I think we also seek consistency in others.

Instead of loving a person for everything they are, good and bad, people tend to love only for the good. And worse, you tend to love yourself only for the good and despise yourself when you're not exactly who you want to be.

These particular lyrics in a song by Fleet Foxes always speak to me, " I'm turning myself to a demon / I don't know what I have done / I'm turning myself to a demon." It's true that at times I find that I am very capable of turning into a monster, demonizing others, or demonizing myself. I tend to write a lot about morality, and I find that perhaps it's possible for us to try too hard to be perfect human beings. We should perhaps not be so hard on ourselves when we haven't become exactly who we want to become. And we will probably never become our ideal selves.

Abraham Maslow came up with this theory called the "hierarchy of needs." Essentially, we as humans have certain needs that need to be fulfilled. And the very highest need that we strive for is what he calls self-actualization, or what I like to call the Hollywood Ending. If there was a movie playing of your life, and the assumption is that it will end happily ever after, at the end, you've reached self-actualization - all your dreams have come true, you have found 'the one', your career is where you want it, you are at the peak of your creativity, you hold no prejudices, don't hold back, and are completely content with yourself and the world. And there's an epic soundtrack to boot.

I think Maslow's definitely onto something...I think people do strive for this. But does it exist? And does striving for self-actualization only cause disappointment? What about resentment?

We start to resent others for what they have and we don't. They have a better career. They have a steady relationship. They are more creative. We hold people in such high regard, and then when they disappoint us, when lovers and friends disappoint us, we believe it's their fault. Because we believe in perfection, we set ourselves up for disappointment?

When someone you respect does something bad, it's considered "out of character" But is it? Or is it part of their character? Perhaps it's more realistic to assume that "it", this demon-like behaviour, is part of all of us. That there are probably very few people who claim to feel self-actualized. We are all trying to get there, and that we should begin to see people and ourselves for who they and we are. Flawed. After all, Eve ate the apple, and Adam was dumb enough (or just human enough) to follow suit. Our entire existence in terms of mythology is based upon imperfection and attempting to overcome imperfection. And about one third of us looks up to a guy who was able to walk on water. Talk about high standards.

I'm not saying that we shouldn't strive to be better people, because if we didn't have a vision for something better we wouldn't have hope, and we wouldn't have hope, well, to be frank, we'd be fucked.

I guess the bottom line is, let's believe in ourselves and our friends, but let's also keep our cool if either of us or both of us screw us over.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Album

The universe will expand forever (if you don't believe me read here).

One of my professors once said that humans have always struggled with the notion that we are finite creates in an infinite universe. Not only is the universe infinite now, but it is infinitely expanding. Mind. Blowing.

In an earlier blog post, "When current pulls you under" I explored the overwhelming feelings that accompany growing up in this information overloaded day and age. As someone who likes to drink life in as passionately and anxiously as a child opening up presents on Christmas, and as someone who should never be taken to all you can eat buffets (because I will feel the need to try absolutely everything), I am especially prone to this anxiety of not getting to all the music in the world before I eventually bite the dust. What great musical treat am I missing out on right now?

Music in relation to my lifetime is essentially as infinite as the universe is in relationship to humankind. If I live for another 60 years I have approximately another 525 948 hours to live. Now - I'm really only awake for 350 000 of those years, and with a 40 hour per week job I only have 115 000 hours of my life left. Assuming an album is about an hour long, I basically can only listen to about 115 000 albums, but that means that I can't repeat a single album, which is next to impossible if I happen to love it. Which already means that I couldn't even listen to all of the albums in the world's largest record collection. Devastating!

When confronted with this reality, I can do one of 2 things: 1. Go absolutely nuts trying to get to as much as I possibly can or 2. Cherish what life brings my way.

With that said, although my lust for life makes me anxiety prone, I do know how to stay faithful to those records (or Nutella) that I love and re-love over and over. I'll go with option 2.

So, for those of you who desperately sit on twitter to hear the latest, newest, hottest track, you can calm down: you will never get to everything anyway.

Enter, THE ALBUM. The beautiful coming together of songs, in harmony or in juxtaposition. The building, climaxing, and falling. The appetizer, main and dessert of a perfect meal in comparison to the mishmash of an all you can eat buffet. The glutton inside me loves the all you can eat buffet, but the connoisseur in me loves a good meal.

Without listing my favourite albums of all time, I will share with you three albums that I have devoted hours of my life to this year.

The Antlers - Hospice
  • Beautiful and sad at the same time, a portrait of love post mortem that pulls deep at your heartstrings, even if you've never experienced pain like the narrator describes.
Dennis Wilson - Pacific Ocean Blue
  • This album changed the way I listen to music. Listening to it is like discovering the fossils of a dinosaur that we didn't know existed. The creation of a lost soul, and musical hero.
Arcade Fire - The Suburbs
* Even though this has just been recently released, I have listened to it over and over, and anticipate that many more hours will be pleasantly wasted to this.
  • Almost a subversion of nostalgia; looking back on our childhood reminds us we've become part of the grind, all of our dreams aren't reality.

Friday, June 25, 2010

on killing

I recently visited the Srebenica genocide memorial in Bosnia-Herzegovina. I have no desire to rehash what I felt when I was there, nor do I want to describe the details of massacre. Both are gruesome.

Now that I'm back in Toronto, where G20 protests are considered violent, and a small earthquake that leaves no damage is considered excitement, most of the horror that I felt while I was in Bosnia has been buried underneath the guise of the common twenty-something emotional facade. The negative emotions that I've been taught to feel in this society are stress, sadness, and dissatisfaction. I suppose you could say that everything is relative. We can justify our emotions by comparing our experiences with what is considered normal in our society. We can justify using the words 'starving' or 'exhausted' after a long (?) and tiring 9 hour shift at work, because well - to us lucky ones, we really do feel starving or exhausted. But are emotions actually relative? Or is this logic another way of us Westerners to help us carry on with our existence as happily as possible, because attempting to understand the horror that other people on this planet face every day is simply too disrupting for our lives?

MIA released a video for her new song "Born Free", which can be watched on her website. The video was banned and discussed ad nauseam. Once you watch the video, if you haven't seen it yet, you may decide that it is unnecessarily violent, or that its metaphorical nature makes it too vague, and therefore not relevant to us. Because after all, why would any society, especially a society that looks so much like ours round up people with red hair and murder them? That makes no sense. But perhaps it's this insistence on sense that gets us in trouble sometimes. We try to use logic to understand killing. We use race and culture or religion to understand evil.

Yes, undeniably these things play significant roles in atrocities. But looking past these man-made definitions is much more frightening. Because then we see that underneath all of these apparent divides we are all human. And we are all capable of killing one another.

And this is why I think the "Born Free" video is indeed worth discussing. To me, the video illuminates the irrationality behind killing. The pointlessness of killing someone else just because their hair colour is different. The monsters that we can become. And to me, attempting to understand wars or murders or genocides based on race or religion seems to me an attempt to avoid facing what is essentially human or, human perverted by society - whichever explanation you prefer.

At Srebenica I kept asking myself, "how?" How is it possible for humans to do these things to one another? I cannot, and will not ever comprehend this, but I think sometimes it's important for us to at least try to understand it on a level that makes us uncomfortable.

Perhaps if we keep looking at wars and genocides in other countries as wars between others, rather than wars with one another we will continue to overlook a component of humanity that we all possess, whether it is natural or not. I am not sure whether I would agree that killing is an innate human flaw, with society playing no role in this act, yet I do question our continual attempt to understand killing in societal terms.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Expo 86

Get excited for June 29.

Sample songs here.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

meet megan

Photograph by Matthew Tammaro.

Grandparents, poetry, Bob Dylan and country air are some of the influences that Megan Bonnell cites as we sit cross-legged under a four poster bed in an Annex century home talking about her music. It's not the first time that Megan and I have sat together talking, especially not under that four poster bed that happens to be my sister's. This is because we're best friends and roommates. I was going to write this post leaving my relationship with her out. Write a more professional piece about her. But then I realized it would be doing Megan and the reader an injustice. And that's because I know that along with Bob Dylan, her friendships with her sisters (not necessarily biological) influence her too. Megan is part of a solid group of five girl friends, who grew up together in the country, and I'm one of them. So embrace my biased perspective, because I'm lucky enough to know more about Megan than most. (And I also wanted to make sure everrrrryone knows that I know her because that will make me seem really cool).

As we sit here talking about what makes Megan want to make music she says, "music has to do with the soul, and if you can touch people's souls that's what makes it worth it." I think what's really magical about Megan's music is its ability to kindle feelings. Her songs will make you sing along, and feel along. She truly pours her heart into her music. Her lyrics are both personal and universal. And this expression of feelings is a major characteristic of poetry, which Megan also cites as influencing her writing. She says her grandfather used to recite poetry on a whim, and she would read poetry before bed. She says when she writes she's not thinking of something specific "but rather a feeling I have that just comes out while I'm playing the piano."

Megan has never had piano lessons. She taught herself by imitating songs her sister would play, which is how she learned to play the guitar as well. Later this spring, she is recording her EP and currently is writing the instrumentation to accompany her piano and vocals. And by writing I mean teaching herself instruments in order to write the accompaniment. This ad hoc approach to songwriting will ensure that for this EP the piano will remain as the "backbone that holds her songs together" while the instruments serve to "develop the sound more." Currently, her 'drum set' consists of an old suitcase and anything else she can bang in her room. Look forward to the sound of household objects, banjos, guitars and organs on her forthcoming EP, and of course the beautiful vocals.

Megan's super special, but if you don't believe me, see and hear for yourself. Check out all the goodies below.

MEGAN BONNELL - Apple Trees from Mitch Fillion on Vimeo.

Via Southern Souls.

MEGAN BONNELL - Moonshiner from Mitch Fillion on Vimeo.

MEGAN BONNELL - Anaheim from Mitch Fillion on Vimeo.

Filmed at The Musebox house party that our house hosted. It was a magical night of music, for more footage, including footage of Language Arts and Hellsongs, check out this video.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

and I just love these music videos

There are moments when music and cinematography come together outside of the movie domain. Behold, the music video. When music and art are paired together just for the sake of music and art, not for the sake of advancing or embellishing a plot. Here's a few that amaze me.

To really get a full appreciation of the second video, you should read the making of the video here. All you artists and designers and filmmakers, check this out.


I want to start an online collection of all the greatest music moments in movie history. So keep your eyes and ears ready for clips like these to pop up on my blog more often in the future. I want to kick-start this collection now with just a few fairly epic clips (in my humble opinion). And for those of you wondering what the hell my vague 'epic clips' description even means, I've created my own definition, " 'epic clips' " adjective: a scene from a movie that contains the perfect song for the moment, at the perfect time." So here's the small little bundle of clips that I came up with just now. But consider this more of a housewarming gift. There will be many more to come.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

when current pulls you under

(photo by matthew tammaro)

While I was procrastinating from doing school work via the internet, I said to my roommate (half-jokingly), "Facebook isn't fast enough!", referring to the lack of new things to 'creep', even though I had probably just checked it during my last procrastination break (which for someone with incessant, self-diagnosed ADD does quite often). My roommate and I had a chuckle, because I was clearly kidding. But was I?

On another evening, I was trying to show my friend a video of something on the internet. I kept searching and searching, and couldn't find it. Eventually we came to the (again half-joking) conclusion, that if you can't find something on the internet, it probably doesn't exist. But were we joking?

The internet is so damn fast with so much damn stuff on it it's pretty much its own universe or something. It's cool. But kind of creepy. You know how astronomers are always messed up because their brain is trying to comprehend the concept of infinity? (I don't actually know if that's true, but even if I think of space for a second I go nuts, so I think it's a fair assumption) Well, I feel like the internet is almost like star-gazing, you can be looking at websites that have technically been taken down but their 'traces' remain. Like looking at stars in the sky that actually don't exist anymore. The internet is like a massive reference library, that gets new stock, in every section, every second.

Here's a visualization of a portion of the internet. Looks like space to me.

People use the internet to connect with other people. But it seems really inefficient, and in a way it seems more isolating. You're now not just one in over 2.5 million people (if you live in Toronto), but you're one in however many billion people use the internet. It's like trying to communicate with a Martian rather than the person next door.

And yet just like a black hole the internet sucks you in and is ever so intriguing, especially to me. And I wish it wasn't. I envy those people who are more disconnected from it.

I'm not trying to harp on the internet. I clearly am fascinated by it. But I guess sometimes I scare myself when I think about my interaction with it. I've been really busy lately and haven't been able to be "current" with my blog postings and haven't had as much time to go through my daily reads online. And as I checked all of my favourite music blogs, I realized how behind I was, and what grosses me out, is that I was anxious about that.

In order to get people to stay intrigued in what you have to say on the internet, is being "current" the only way? I love how in a day I can 'discover' (the internet can also make you feel like an archaeologist) band after band that I had never heard of but I almost never have the time to listen to all of these bands' albums from start to end in that same day. The internet is too fast for music.

So dear readers, for those of you who haven't gone to another website by now (which has probably been updated 20 times already) I hereby vow that I will fall behind. But what I do post will be music that I've absolutely fallen for.

So in the spirit of posting things that aren't current, I'm posting a video from an Australian band called The Middle East, and this song "Blood" was released way back in 2009.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Morning Benders, "Excuses"

I realize I haven't posted in what feels like ages. And I also realize that most, if not all of you have probably already seen this video.

But for those of you who might have lives outside of the internet (good on you!) and haven't seen this, you're in for a treat.

So here is the infamous Yours Truly video. It's an amazing Phil Spector-inspired recording of "Excuses" by The Morning Benders from their upcoming EP Big Echo.

Make sure to catch them at The Drake on April 14.

Yours Truly Presents: The Morning Benders "Excuses" from Yours Truly on Vimeo.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

isn't it pretty to think so?

I refuse to be cynical about Valentine's Day. And frankly, I don't get why people are. I mean sure, ya there's the whole overdone bullshit consumerism argument. But I want to know what hasn't been somehow tainted by consumerism? The greeting card industry thrives off of every human experience possible. Even death is profitable.

Don't get me wrong, I think it's complete crap that restaurants charge more for a meal on Valentine's Day, and that girls have probably broken up with their boyfriends if they didn't do something cute enough. And that the whole day is (likely) really focused on heterosexual love. I've got my qualms with it. But, when you shave it down, what's wrong with a day devoted to love?

I believe in love. I love my parents. I love my friends. And ya, I've been "in love" before...I think. At least what I've been taught what love is based on various resources (my parents, chick flicks, The Cure). I'm sure my idea of love is totally skewed. But I think that's why people want to believe in it. When people believe in stuff, like when you believe in God or the tooth fairy or Santa, you're believing in something a little bit magical, something with superpowers. More powerful than you.

People don't kill one another for tangible things (except oil and other icky things). They kill for ideas. For freedom, nationalism, liberty...You can't touch any of these things. They aren't matter. (scientifically speaking) But does it matter? (figuratively speaking) People believe in these things whether they are "real" or not. And their reality, and what they live for is based entirely on these ideas.

So maybe the kind of love that I and all you other suckers believe in may be kinda like believing in unicorns. Everyone else thinks it's unrealistic, and maybe in a narrow way of thinking it is. But dreams are real. When I'm having a dream, it's so real to me at that moment. And I'd rather see unicorns and love in my dreams than any of the shit happening in the world right now.

So believing in "the one" is kind of like believing in God or Freedom. It's kind of a way of life. Maybe it's not tangible, maybe it's too idealistic, but it's something worth living for. The thought of not dying alone. Knowing that someone loves you for everything you are.

So, maybe I'm a sucker that bought into Valentine's Day, and maybe I'm silly for hoping that there is such thing as "the one", but heck, I can't help it, blame it on The Notebook.

Here's an excerpt from one of my favourite books, Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises:

“Oh, Jake,” Brett said, “we could have had such a damned good time together.”
Ahead was a mounted policeman in khaki directing traffic. He raised his baton. The car slowed suddenly pressing Brett against me.
“Yes,” I said. “Isn’t it pretty to think so?”

Jake realizes that him and Brett's relationship was nothing more than a dream. But it sure was pretty.

So for those of you who've read all of this. Here's a reward. A lovely little playlist.

I made these CDs for my roommates, note the shoddy artwork.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Laura Marling at Lee's Palace

A bunch of my friends and I battled through the falling snow last night and made our way to Lee's Palace to see Laura Marling.

Her first album, Alas I Cannot Swim was a collection of beautiful, frail and harmonic songs with strong folk underpinnings. Despite its playfulness, it did have some dark, and at times eerie undertones. Which made it all the more intriguing.

Last night, Laura Marling played songs from her upcoming album I Speak Because I Can, which will be released on April 6 in North America. Her performance was deliberate and mature. Her voice was strong, yet never sounded forced. Her new songs are darker, deeper and even more satisfying. One of her new songs "Devil's Spoke" (check out the video below) is less acoustic with more expansive arrangements, including some by Mumford & Sons. It also has a distinct Celtic feel to it.

Needless to say, I'm really looking forward to her new album.

This video was filmed in India while Marling and Mumford & Sons were on tour.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Two Door Cinema Club

If Ronald Weasley were in a band...this would be it! Right, right?!?

In all seriousness though...actually forget seriousness, this song, "Undercover Martyn" by Two Door Cinema Club is just fun and catchy and kind of makes me feel like a kid again. It's a no-shame upbeat, foot tapping kinda song, and would go great if taken with Pop Rocks candy.

From their Wikipedia: "Two Door Cinema Club started to ensemble when Trimble and Baird met at scouts, but they didn't get to know each other. Later Trimble and Halliday got to know each other early in high school, they met Baird when he was trying to get with girls they knew." Two things stand out in this blurb: "SCOUTS" and "GET WITH GIRLS". Now this is a real boy band!

I really just want them to come play a show in Toronto so me and my girlfriends can go scream and dance and hold out our arms to the band at the front of the stage. With pigtails.

Just watch the video, kids. Their debut album Tourist History will be released on March 1.


TWO DOOR CINEMA CLUB | MySpace Music Videos

NOTE: I realize that this blog entry may lie in direct opposition to my last entry. But, just like anything, music can't always be inspiring and important. So if it's neither, it should at least be fun. And I think it's important to have fun, don't you?

You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one

"Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don't stand in the doorway
Don't block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There's a battle outside
And it is ragin'.
It'll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin'." - Bob Dylan.

The "Times They Are A-Changin'" is just one example of the many protest songs out there. In North America since the 1800s music has often been the voice for social movements and social change.

My roommates and I sometimes have conversations about today's youth (cliche, I know). I think I mentioned something about the 60s, and how it seemed like people gave more of a shit than they do now. One my roommates responded that it's so typical for people to look back nostalgically on the 60s. And this is definitely true. But we also can't disregard the social change that did go on in the Sixties. There was the sexual revolution, anti-war movement, counterculture movement, and the feminist movement, to name a few.

The heartbeat behind some of these movements was music. Woodstock exemplifies the hippie movement in a lot of ways. And although I'm not suggesting that us young folk should experiment with LSD and try to get in touch with other states of consciousness, I'm just suggesting that we are at least a little bit more conscious.

I feel like the internet becomes the ultimate tool to hide behind our fears. So much time is spent trying to find funny stuff on the internet (and I'm totally a part of this) and create internet personalities that are oozing with irony and nihilistic attitudes. And I know I shouldn't generalize, there are a lot of people out there who care. But in 40 years from now, no historian is going to look back on our generation and call us something rad like the Beat Generation, we're more like the Dead Beat Generation. What's ironic though, is how aware people my age are of the counterculture icons of the past. For a generation that supposedly seems to not care, it's amazing how many of us have read Jack Kerouac and idolize artists like Bob Dylan. It's like we can see the importance of those movements but we're just too afraid to get On The Road ourselves. And I am my own worst enemy. I passively give money to causes I care about and read about unfair foreign policies that Canada and our neighbour to the south are partaking in, yet I find myself doing nothing active about it. Maybe it's because doing stuff on the internet gives us the illusion that we are active. (like writing this post...)

Maybe music can help inspire us once again.

So check out this stuff and see how you feel:

Listen to this.

and watch this:

La Blogotheque / Invisible Children from INVISIBLE CHILDREN on Vimeo.

And buy this . It's called, Amchitka. It's an amazing recording of Joni Mitchell, Phil Ochs and James Taylor performing live in 1970 in Vancouver for a concert in support of Greenpeace. Light up some incense (or something) and get in touch with your activist side. Facebook will still be around when you're back.

Friday, February 5, 2010


Princeton released their album Calypso Gold on January 18. Remember when I talked about siblings doing good things? Here's another example. Twin brothers Jesse and Matt Kivel along with Ben Usen and David Kitz make up this band from California.

Sounds like: dreamy, whimsical, stringy, percussiony and a little bit like the Kinks from the Something Else era (which the band cites as one of their musical influences).

Check out the music video for the single "Calypso Gold".

Princeton 'Calypso Gold' from kay kanine on Vimeo.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Frightened Rabbit

From Scotland, with love and angst comes Frightened Rabbit's latest music videos from their upcoming album Winter of Mixed Drinks. Although one music video is more recent than the other, I've decided to post both so you'll be twice as excited for their new album.

Frightened Rabbit on MUZU

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Winter in Toronto can be rough. There is always excitement leading up the holiday season, and your salt stained jeans and bad hair days don't seem to matter so much because if you sludge through the ice and slush for a couple more weeks you'll have fun holiday parties, presents, and the anticipation of a new year.

Come the new year though, it seems like there isn't much to look forward to except spring, which seems so very far away when the cold wind keeps smacking you in the face. I feel like wind is like the hand of winter, it comes down just when you think that the sun might feel warm on your face, just when you dare to expose your skin from underneath your hood and thick wool scarf. Just then, the hand of winter (wind!) comes out, slaps you on the face and painfully reminds you that winter is still very much here.

Sometimes I wonder why I can't just be a bear and hibernate for the season. Either way, winter is my excuse for my general lack of motivation, productivity, and malaise. I've got the brrr brrr blues.

It just totally blows my mind then, when any life can spring from this permafrosted city.

Somehow, in Canada's apocalyptic-like winter (ok, I know it hasn't been that bad this year) Novels managed to form. This band, comprised of Graham Wright of Tokyo Police Club, Luke Lalonde of Born Ruffians , Will Currie of Will Currie & The Country French, Dean Marino, and Jason Sadlowski is a little taste of spring.

The EP, which you can get for free (!) on their website, is a nice little sampling of five tracks to lead up to the apparent full-length album coming out later this year. It was fully written, arranged and recorded in one studio session (probably to reduce frost bite), and sounds a lot more like summer than winter. In fact the track "Big Run" reminds me a lot of Mungo Jerry's "In The Summertime." And a hint of the 70s is never a bad thing.

From their website, "NOVELS won't be sold in CD stores, on the internet, or anywhere else. Instead, we'll give them away, or put them places. Maybe you'll find a copy sitting on a park bench. Maybe a masked man will hand you one as he passes you on the street. Maybe none of these things will happen. But we'll make sure that everyone gets a chance to listen if they want to."

So brave the cold and get outside, you might find yourself a little pocket of sunshine. (Forgive the cliches, I've got brainfreeze.)

Check out this video and see how the music was written.

NOVELS - Big Run (Chapter 3 of 5) from Wade Vroom on Vimeo.

Sharing is Caring

My darling friend Kendra co-hosts a show called "In Kindergarten We Share Everything" on St. Francis Xavier University's college radio station, CFXU 93.3 FM. Besides sharing her and her co-host Doug's favourite new music, she also shares the link to this blog to their listeners. I started this blog up in January and promised myself to post often, but I've found myself not doing it as much as I would like. So now that Kendra has shared my link, I will promise to keep sharing more of the music I like on here.

With that said, next Tuesday at 8pm (Atlantic Time), tune in here. You won't be disappointed.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Local Natives

Here's the new Local Natives video. This song "Airplanes" will be released on their album Gorilla Manor on February 16, 2010. I had the pleasure of seeing them and Fool's Gold open for Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros this November in Toronto. What a show.

I'm looking forward to the release of the album, but for now I'm content watching this incredible music video. Enjoy.


Local Natives | MySpace Music Videos

First Aid Kit

For those of you with siblings out there, I'm sure you know how intense the relationship can be. At first, siblings might subconsciously fight it out to see which one gets the attention of the parents more. With time, you learn that sticking up for each other is the best thing you can do. You quickly learn that not tattling on your sister will save your own ass next time you do something bad. Before you know it, you've got the ultimate partner in crime. And if you're lucky, your sibling will become your best friend.

I am one of the lucky ones. My sister is my best friend. But unlike other best friends that I could technically un-befriend if I felt like it, we're stuck being sisters, and thus friends for life. There's no moral code that allows me to un-sister my sister. This creates a magical and intense relationship. You love the person unconditionally but because you know you are tied to them forever you can really be yourself, and worse than that, you can be your ugly self.

When my sister and I disagree on something, and we're both feeling volatile (either early in the morning, or late at night after some drinks), we will really disagree on something. And somehow our little disagreement will turn into some some intense cathartic release, and after we'll feel much better and have some enlightened understanding of ourselves and the people around us. Now, Nietzsche believed in a little thing called sublimation. Basically turning all kinds of negative energies and intense emotions into something that serves a higher cultural purpose, like art.

My sister is a brilliant academic, and if I was a brilliant academic, and we got into a crazy fight we would probably figure out a way to make peace in the Middle East or something. Or at least write a lot of books.

The point is, good things happen when siblings collaborate. There's a true and deep connection there. So bringing Nietzsche back into things, if siblings achieve sublimation together, it's like double trouble (or double awesome!!!).

Oasis, The Jackson Five, Carpenters, Bee Gees, and Radiohead are some examples of amazing things that have happened in music thanks to the sibling connection. (Honourable mentions to the Jonas Brothers and Hanson, of course).

First Aid Kit, the band comprised of two sisters from Sweden, Johanna & Klara Söderberg are making music that matches their name. It's the kind of music that puts a band aid on your wounds, and makes you feel better in the way that only sisters can.

Here's a beautiful video for their song "Hard Believer", which was released on their first full length record The Big Black & The Blue on January 25, 2010.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Leif Vollebekk

Leif Vollebekk doesn't know what the Hype Machine is.

For those of you living under an icy rock untouched by the clutches of global warming (or you're Leif Vollebekk), I will briefly explain what Hype Machine is. Basically, it's a blog that takes what popular music blogs are writing about and makes it accessible in one click. The "popular" section of Hype Machine is what any artist searching for fame would likely dream to be on. Here's the definition of popular from the blog itself, "Popular: The most popular artists, searches and blogs on the internet right now."

Recently, artists like the XX and Vampire Weekend (big names!) have graced this elusive "popular" list. But guess who else made that list recently? Our very own, (Canadian!) Leif Vollebekk.

After his captivating show at the Cameron House last Friday for his CD release party (Inland - Nevado Records), I mentioned this fun fact to him. He said something along the lines of, "Ya, people keep telling me, but I don't even know what that means."

At first, I was puzzled. It's kind of like playing the lottery and not checking the numbers. But then, this transformed into bedazzlement. If you're an artist, and you're constantly checking what is being listened to and what people are responding to, your sound will unconsciously be shaped by this in some way, right? This might not be a bad thing, but it might make you sound more like a product of the times than you inevitably will anyway. My hypothesis: the more old school the artist ("when was the hype machine invented?"), the more old school (but really it's new school) the sound.

I just heard this great story I had never heard about Brian Wilson (The Beach Boys). Just as The Beach Boys were rising to the top and being hailed as music geniuses, The Beatles decided to come along. Apparently, John Lennon showed Brian Wilson "A Day In The Life" and pretty much had a major breakdown and lost most of his song-writing confidence. And ya, The Beatles pretty much blew the entire world away (more than the nuclear bomb has yet), but maybe had Brian Wilson not heard this, he would have not lost his mind.

Now imagine having the power to constantly watch and listen to what other artists are doing and how totally stoked the whole internet community seems to be about them? Shit, talk about buzz kill.

So all you lowly mortals out there trying to create meaningful music. I say, revolt and devote. Revolt against the music internet machine, and devote your time to creating music instead. Capture the spirit of the times, but stay timeless. It worked for Leif.

Without even worshipping them, Leif Vollebekk is being blessed by the blog gods. And that makes him a hero. I think that (and his insane talent) will make his journey a long one.

You really need to catch him live, so keep your eyes peeled, he's going on tour soon.

Monday, January 11, 2010

music: religion?

I was raised as a Catholic. I even got "confirmed" (whatever that means). Luckily for me, as soon as my sister and I started asking our parents why we have to wake up early on Sundays to go to church and started showing very minor signs of annoyance for this strange habit, our parents seemed to be relieved. It's like they were only doing this whole Catholic act for us and as soon as we didn't want to do it anymore, neither did they.

It's a strange feeling when a belief system of your own is challenged. Nevermind puberty, growing up is not about awkward voice changes or hair where you never had hair before, growing up is finding out Santa Claus isn't real. Now that shakes you at the core. For me, Santa Claus went down with the tooth fairy, unicorns, and other such mythical creatures, and although that was a sad time, I still had Jesus to believe in. And sure, he doesn't come down my chimney delivering presents, but his birthday makes me get presents anyway. Oh, and he walks on water...I guess that's cool.

Now although I can't pinpoint the exact day when I got to this non-believing place, I remember some general things that made me start feeling a little bit less jolly about Jesus: realizing how many wars were/are fought in the name of religion, reading The Republic, watching Zeitgeist, having a nun butt in line at the Vatican (true story), and reading The Davinci Code (kidding). Before I get ahead of myself, it's not that I don't believe in something out there, but I certainly don't believe in organized religion.

Now that was a really long introduction, and you're probably wondering what the shit Santa Claus and Jesus have to do with music (besides carols). But for me, music has replaced religion. But don't worry, I won't kill for it just yet. I think that people can have really amazing experiences with music, and other art in general that are comparable to experiences that religion can offer. Music gets me through the hard times, and defines the good times.

But just like the idea behind Catholicism probably had the best intentions in mind (?), it's come to represent some not-so-good stuff...Will this happen to music?!

Any art can be subverted. Political propaganda: cool drawings, shitty messages. And now, I guess we could get into a whole discussion about "messages" behind music (violence, sex, drugs), etc...but that's not what I mean. What about the grander scheme of things?

The ipod ads are a perfect example of turning really cool music (art?) into jingles for consumerism. Although I worship my ipod for its ability to feed me my scripture whenever I want it, I am a little bit critical of pop culture, and how ipod ads and other commercials will use music to further the western ideology of individualism, capitalism, and being 'cool'. I'm not going to get into a grand discussion of what the media's take-home message is. But is it acceptable for music (art) to be used to promote overarching ideas? Sort of like how renaissance painters were commissioned by churches to create amazing works of art symbolizing the church's power and influence? Was the church subverting the art?

Ironically, I totally feed into this...this whole entry has been about how music is my new religion...Which is exactly what those white shadows seem to be doing when they are listening to their ipods! Having euphoric moments where they dance in the subway. Just like praying in public. Just when I stood in the Sistine Chapel looking at the art around me in awe, I wondered "maybe there is a heaven?". Are ipod advertisements successfully convincing vulnerable people (like me!) that music is the light and the doctrine is to buy more products? Ah!

But then, I am reassured...I listened to music before the ipod came out. And ads like this convince me that art is still being subverted to a certain degree:

dirty projectors download!