September 1st, 2010
In the realm of music videos, we thought we’d seen it all, from Bjork’s gorilla dentist in “Army of Me” to anime eyes on Lady Gaga in "Bad Romance."
That was until Arcade Fire’s “The Wilderness Downtown.”
Set to the tune of their nostalgia-fueled single “We Used to Wait,” the new interactive online film takes you back to your childhood home through tech geekery and Google maps.
Multiple browser windows choreographed to the music appear like magic too, but like all videos its better watched than read about.
Tip: For optimal viewing, download Google Chrome and close other desktop applications.
June 23rd, 2010
Unsure about what to do this weekend, leave it up to rhyming couplets.
Saturday night approaches
And someone broaches
“What’s the plan?”
Party at Stan’s? Or maybe Joanne’s?
Yet a backyard rave
You can always save,
But The Cheaper Show,
Or Martha Wainwright & Co.
Singing Piaf’s “Adieu Mon Cœur”
“Mon Dieu!” we do declare
It just wouldn’t be fair
To miss two events so rare.
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
June 2nd, 2010
Don Henley’s “The Boys of Summer” is fine for Friday night karaoke, but for outdoor barbeques and road trips we’re relying on these five great new albums from fellow females:
Vancouver-based Hannah Georgas is the It-girl on the Canadian music scene right now and rightly so. There’s a touch of Emily Haines in her, and her debut This is Good is exactly that.
Janelle Monáe magically mashes nearly every musical genre, from funk to classical, on her epic 18-song album The ArchAndroid. With each track effortlessly flowing into the next, you can leave it to play start to finish.
The piano pop of Diane Birch’s Bible Belt calls to mind Carole King, long hair and large floppy hats, and we like that.
An Illinois native with a gorgeous, gutsy voice, Lissie is perfect for porch swings and lakeside cabins. She doesn’t release her full-length album till the end of this month, but tie yourself over until then with her EP "Why You Runnin’."
I Will Be from all-girl group Dum Dum Girls has that '60s pop-rock sound that makes you wish you dated a bad boy on a motorcycle. No surprise then that the album involved the co-writer of “My Boyfriend’s Back.”
May 5th, 2010
Combing music blogs for cover songs and cool remixes could be your full-time job, except you already have one.
Skip to the good stuff with The Downplayer. Updated daily Monday to Friday with free MP3s from 10 different indie darlings and mix masters, like MGMT’s “Electric Feel” covered by Katy Perry, the site makes scoring a new summer sound oh so simple.
That leaves more time for play time.
April 26th, 2010
When it comes to gizmos we take a Renaissance approach, which means we’ll have our typewriter and iPad too.
Artfully merging both the past and present is the Phonofone II. Created by an award-winning design outfit from Toronto, Science & Sons, it imitates an old phonograph in form and function by amplifying music played through your iPod headphones without the aid of any external power.
We like to think of it as a stareo, not stereo.
$600 at Charles & Marie, www.charlesandmarie.com
March 10th, 2010
For those of us who will never own a beach house, there is the music of Beach House.
Boasting beautiful melodies over boat moorage, the Baltimore band with a vixen voiced, French-born female lead recently released its third album, Teen Dream, and since then we haven’t stopped playing it. We suggest snatching up tickets now to see the duo at the Rickshaw Theatre next month before they graduate to bigger venues.
You’ll find us front and centre singing along to “Zebra” with a summery Corona in hand.
March 5th, 2010
You don’t need a DeLorean to return to 1969 and rub shoulders with Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix. Just travel the pages of Patti Smith’s Just Kids.
In the autobiographical book, the poet and “Godmother of Punk” speaks of her life as lover, muse and friend to photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. As a struggling artist in New York City during the Chelsea Hotel’s heyday, Smith recounts her meetings with the rising stars of rock, writing and film now rooted in our cultural lexicon.
From Allen Ginsberg mistaking her for a boy to her affair with a young Sam Shepard, it’s like vintage Page Six made into beautiful prose.
$25.60 at Book Warehouse, www.bookwarehouse.ca
February 26th, 2010
When little Saxon unearths his Dad’s old turntables (and Metallica collection) and Vivienne becomes a backstage baby, make sure they don’t become the next It’s All Gone Pete Tong by protecting their hearing with these cool muffs.
Called Peltor Hearing Protectors (let’s keep that between us), the adjustable hot pink and bright blue earphones shield little ears from harmful noises while letting in ambient sound at hockey games, concerts, and parades.
Rock on, mom.
Age 1 and up. $39.95 at www.dandelionkids.ca
January 27th, 2010
If your idea of making a playlist is selecting “shuffle,” we can do you one better.
Providing maximum music with minimal effort is Slacker Personal Radio. Now available in Canada, the subscription-based site offers a slew of stations for whatever genre tickles your eardrum. Choose from the likes of indie hits, hip-hop, '60s rock, or create a custom station based on your favourite bands. And unlike average radio, you can skip to the next song, hear songs you’d like played more often, or ban songs you never want to hear again. With Blackberry and iPhone apps available too, you can take your tunes to go.
If only that slacker boyfriend catered to your every whim this way.
From $3.99 per month at www.slacker.com