November 27th, 2013
Sasha Fierce, Bey, Queen B…
Whatever you call her, there’s one thing you can’t deny: Beyoncé’s got staying power and star power. Her two remaining Canadian shows on the Mrs. Carter World Tour, November 30 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver and December 13 at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, are the most sought-after tickets in town.
How do we love her? Let us count the ways.
5. A new batch of photos on her personal (but not too revealing) Tumblr is enough to shut down the office for a few hours.
And don’t even get us started on how cool she was when her hair got caught in a fan.
4. In 2011, she fired her dad as her longtime manager so she could be her own boss - like the song says, she’s an independent woman.
3. She shares our love of Rosebud Salve. (Mrs. Carter uses it to prime lashes before curling them.)
2. Her family is cool. Her mom’s a fashion designer, her daughter’s name is Blue Ivy and we’re downloading tracks from her fashion plate sister Solange’s new album, Saint Heron. Oh, and she married Jay Z.
1. Bootylicious, Single Ladies, Irreplaceable, Run the World (Girls), Crazy In Love, Bonnie & Clyde, Halo… and she’s only 32.
All hail Queen B.
September 12th, 2013
Dolly Parton and dive bars: Music City can convert any city girl into a bona fide honky tonk woman.
If you’ve been watching ABC’s Nashville then you might recognize the Hutton Hotel. Frequently featured on the show, this boutique hotel is a luxurious place to rest your head after a busy day breaking in your new cowboy boots. Both eco and dog friendly, the Hutton Hotel is packed with country glam; practice your best Carrie Underwood impression under the rain shower and then dash the 10 minutes down to Broadway for some good time honky-tonk. 1808 West End Ave., Nashville, www.huttonhotel.com
Live life like a country song with a trip out to The Loveless Cafe. It has the down home, Southern cooking you’ve been looking for, complete with a plate full of biscuits and homemade jams to start. Breakfast is served all day in case you were out all night boot stompin’, or gather your friends for a family style meal anytime. While you wait for your table, pop into the Hams & Jams Country Market for a delicious cup of coffee on the house. Now, that’s Southern hospitality. 8400 Tennesse Hwy, Nashville, www.lovelesscafe.com
No trip to Nashville is complete without a visit to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Go beyond the exhibits and buy a museum membership to gain access to the Poets and Prophets and Nashville Cats series, honouring the songwriters and session musicians who have helped create today’s country superstars. These behind-the-scenes looks will give you the inside scoop (and gossip!) on country royalty. But don’t forget to add on a side trip to the RCA Studio B where Dolly Parton first recorded “I Will Always Love You.” Because when it comes to country music, Dolly knows best. 222 Fifth Ave. S, Nashville, http://countrymusichalloffame.org
While major acts roll through Nashville on a daily basis, it’s the up and comers that truly make Nashville a music city. Cause A Scene Music is the place to catch a glimpse of stars on the rise. Check their schedule for house concerts featuring hot new bands and singers. Mingle with them afterward and find out what their song really meant. As a bonus, you’ll get to see some stellar music venues a little off the tourist radar. www.causeascenemusic.com
April 26th, 2013
We’re no Beyoncé, but we do enjoy belting a ballad or two.
For a little vocal direction we signed up for one-on-one coaching with Firefly Music Lessons. The first class is free and instructors come to you, so there’s no reason not to sip Chardonnay between vocal warm ups. Our teacher Larra Skye (an accomplished indie songstress in her own right) used her guitar to guide us through breathing basics and lip trills before mezzo-soprano renditions of “Ho Hey” and “Hallelujah.”
After eight sessions we won’t be taking to the Grammy stage, but our daughter no longer cries when we launch into “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.”
Take that Mrs. Carter. —Marianne Wisenthal
From $38/30 minutes, 416-850-2205, www.fireflymusiclessons.com
April 4th, 2013
Jurassic 5 will be bring the nostalgia, Phoenix will bring their new album, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers will bring, one can only hope, socks. What will you bring to Coachella? A playlist made up of these five favourites.
Theirs is the kind of 1980’s-influenced music Sofia Coppola would put on a soundtrack. And speaking of stars, their video for Paradise features Michelle Williams. www.myspace.com/wildnothing
For something even more laid-back, this British singer-songwriter’s guitar-heavy sound is perfect for backyard BBQs. www.benhowardmusic.co.uk
This Canadian duo is beloved by critics. And for good reason. They’re like a more relaxed, more listenable Crystal Castles. http://purityringsongs.com
The Vancouver native’s album topped many “best of” lists last year. If you haven’t yet been playing pop-y synth-y Visions on repeat, now’s the perfect time to start.
PS: Our Vancouver editor Anya Georgijevic will be blogging, tweeting and instagramming her way through the first weekend of the festival. Watch this space for all the denim cut-offs you can handle.
October 1st, 2012
Our approach to gym-going is simple: Get in, get it done, get out.
Now that Our Lady Peace has transformed their formerly dingy rehearsal space into an oasis of fit, we might go the extra mile. If the walnut floors, white marble counter tops and toxin-free Rahua shampoos at Union Studio don’t make you linger, the small classes will. Fat-burning barre workouts are choreographed by prima ballerina Heather Ogden, the cycle studio offers patio-views, and 30-minute TRX suspension training classes (Raine Maida’s go-to) are perfect for fat-burning between meetings.
Lockers are by the door for quick ins and outs, but this place is so lovely you’ll find us propping up the juice bar. —Marianne Wisenthal
Classes from $20, 571 Wellington St. W., Toronto, 416-850-0843, www.unionstudio.ca
August 27th, 2011
It’s time to play the music! It’s time to light the lights!
As we anxiously await the first Muppet Movie in over ten years to be released on November 22, we
can get our Animal on with the inspirational, celebrational, muppetational Green Album, featuring covers of popular Muppet music by contemporary artists. Sing along to old favourites like "The Muppet Show Theme Song", performed with a rock edge by OK Go, a quirkily wistful rendering of "Rainbow Connection" by Weezer (featuring Hayley Williams), and a stunning "Halfway Down the Stairs" by soprano Amy Lee of Evanescence.
Even Statler and Waldorf couldn’t give a negative review. —Jennifer Nachshen
Available on iTunes.
July 30th, 2011
The ukulele is a great kids’ instrument: it is small, easy to play and it never gets too loud (reason why recorders aren’t allowed in this home!).
That’s why we loved this make your own ukulele kit (US $40) from Uncommon Goods. It comes equipped with a wood body, neck, and strings which are easily assembled, and then you can customize it with different paints, stains or decorations.
And, when you've heard Old MacDonald Has A Farm for the one thousandth time, you know how they put it together, so you can take it apart.
—Alexandra Suhner Isenberg
May 26th, 2011
Vancouver-based band Chains of Love is Toronto-bound, and just in time for summer.
Nathalia Pizzaro and Rebecca Marie Law Gray are the gorgeous garage-soul duo who front the ensemble. The sound cops The Cramps and Smith Westerns, with bits of Best Coast and Brilliant Colours tied in to give it a healthy dose of strogen.
Standout songs include Breaking My Heart, a psychedelic philippic about sour grapes, and You Got It, a summer-campy song that takes us back to days spent doubling on our besties' handle bars, blue Freezies dangling from our sun-chapped lips, racing down a dirt road on an afternoon that never ends. —Carli Stephens-Rothman
Catch Chains Of Love, with Crocodiles and Dirty Beaches, at The Silver Dollar on June 16, 2011, http://chainsoflove.bandcamp.com
April 6th, 2011
Everybody's working for The Weeknd, that mysterious R&B outfit with the free-for-download, totally radical new mixtape.
Drake's tweeting lyrics, Pitchfork's giving it an 8.5, and even Refinery29 is declaring it “their jam.” Step off, Refinery! The Weeknd is, in fact, our jam.
Yes, the guys behind this magic are making it right here in Toronto. All the more reason to check it out, no? Start with the hot, hazy vibrations of “Loft Music,” which makes a Beach House sample sound more like Sex in the Beach House, and then just try to stop. —SNP
Download now at The-Weeknd.com.
September 10th, 2010
When a kids group plays Coachella and is the inspiration behind Brad Pitt's Halloween costume, you know it's captured the zeitgeist.
DJ Lance Rock and the Gabba Gang are taking their hip show on the road to select Canadian cities. High-energy and interactive, the magical boom box will be pumping, and the Dancey Dance section will include a top secret guest at every show (past participants include Sarah Silverman and Snoop Dog).
Just try not to push the kids out of the way when you rush the stage.
Tour dates and tickets at www.yogabbagabbalive.com/tickets