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
June 24th, 2010
Your favourite band, one last night in the city and your crush—could one amazing gig convince you to stay?
Opening tomorrow, This Movie is Broken shows off all the things we love about Toronto in the summer. (Spot The Drake Hotel, Trinity-Bellwoods, the Harbourfront and more in the rock show romance.) Greg Calderone stars as Bruno, the smitten boy, and Georgina Reilly is Caroline, the longtime object of his affection. With music by Broken Social Scene and set against the backdrop of one of their most memorable outdoor concerts, the flick is our summer fix.
This Movie is Broken opens tomorrow in select Toronto cinemas, www.thismovieisbroken.com
June 4th, 2010
Remember when you could convince them that Coldplay was "kids music?"
Now that you're stuck with Bingo and Itsy Bitsy Spider, might as well jazz it up.
Toronto-based Songs Just for Me inserts your children's names into traditional kids songs to surprising effect.
You may need earplugs after the tenth playing, but we can guarantee your 4-year-old will be an instant groupie.
Order your custom CD ($19.99) at www.justforme.com