Thursday, March 29, 2012

Juno What Time It Is?


The JUNOs are being held in my old stomping grounds this weekend, and as sad as I am to leave my new very favourite place that I now call home, it is undoubtedly a wonderful opportunity to see friends and celebrate Canadian music. I'll be covering the awards ceremony and everything leading up to it for the magazine I write for, and will of course return home with juicy stories and highlights from the big weekend. Who can't I wait to see? These people in particular. Oh, Canada.




A new favourite from the past year. This album is worth a purchase.


A classic slow-dance anthem.



This song gives me roadtrip jitters. It doesn't get much better than this song and a summer roadie.


Chantal was one of my first live shows!


The Arkells are just so wonderful.



I know I showed off the Whitehorse version of this song yesterday, but it's one of my all-time favourites....



I am nearly obsessed with this band. And this song. And this video! Ah.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Travel Time

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What do you do when you're on the train, bus, plane? I always feel like the first hour and a bit - whether it's  the sunny morning or the fading afternoon - is so lovely. Rolling out of a city, new songs uploaded to your music player, fresh thoughts, lovely view...but, it can get old fast. How do you  keep yourself intrigued? I'm not overly fond of reading during a trip (although I will) and I don't think I've ever fallen asleep during any form of public transportation, so the initial novelty of being "on the road again" can wear off. Yet, I still always look forward to it.

What I generally do is use the first hour to really soak in the great new music, think nice thoughts, enjoy the passing stretches of highway and zone out. When I start to feel my left leg twitch, find myself flipping from tune to tune or get a little restless - I've learned to pull out a notepad and do some writing. The music becomes less of a encompassing thought process and more of a soundtrack to whatever is else is going on in your brain and filing out onto the page. I generally don't think about what I'm going to write, because I feel like the best things really do come out then. And when that gets tired or my brain feels pooped, I revert back to the first phase of the trip - zoning out, thinking nice thoughts, listening - and it always feels fresh again after that nice little creative break. Because really, how often are you completely alone and forced to do nearly nothing - while you're on your way to doing so many somethings?

But that's just me. What do you do to pass the time? I'm on the road this weekend, for nearly ten hours total - and here are the songs I look forward to listening to most:

(Melt.)


(Haven't heard this one in years - love rediscovering)


(In case I need a lil' groove)


(Oh Lana...this is adorable)


(I think this is a great new JM song...very honest and pleasant/George Harrison-esque, no?)

(More groove to top it off...)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Grace, Yowzas.

Grace Potter & The Nocturnals Announce New Album Release Date
Grace Potter

The title of this article was my second choice, behind just putting "bad ass." I know I just wrote it anyway, and therefore defeated the point, but regardless - I feel like it's little less aggressive. Now I'm rambling. But the internal debate over what to name this blurb came from the fact that I have been shaking in my seat for two days to this bluesy new Grace Potter and the Nocturnals track; so much so that I felt it needed an equally smokin' hot stamp of approval. Similar to another artist who I featured this week, Dan Auerbach put his production touch on this album and song, and again - you really, truly can tell.

This tune is pure groove. Potter has that kind of timeless rasp that only the best have had - Chrissie Hynde, Nancy Wilson, Nina Persson, Patti Smith, Janis Joplin and so many more - yet somehow, she's yet to experience the same kind of coveted stardom that's historically showered these iconic lady rockers. And if we put Grace under the microscope for a closer look - we'll find there isn't only a set of steamy pipes; she boasts stomping beats, searing guitar loops, up-tempo hooks and a runway-ready appearance. She's the real deal, yet a few years after her inception, I have no doubt she's yet to peak or even entirely reach her full potential as one of the more talented contemporary blues-rock female artists. If you want to bang your head, know every word during open road alt-country sing-a-longs and feel as if you've been introduced to the coolest chick in school - pick up a Grace Potter album immediately.

Here's her new track and a few of her older goodies to get you thinking nocturnally.


New Single: "Never Go Back" - Grace Potter and the Nocturnals

 

"Paris" - Grace Potter and the Nocturnals

"Falling or Flying"- Grace Potter and the Nocturnals



Look for Grace Potter & the Nocturnals' The Lion the Beast the Beat on June 12th, 2012.

Monday, March 26, 2012

I Am....

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A favourite quote of mine!


This one goes out to two of my very best friends, who I spent a lot of my day with yesterday - laughing, eating, sipping and enjoying the unseasonal sunshine. They are both very well-versed in the world of Beyonce and all that she does - and although I certainly have a whack of respect for the Queen Bee as an artist and have a few tunes on my iPod, I wouldn't say I know very much about her discography. Can the woman dance and sing like an icon? Yes, that's a given. But what I didn't know, was that her second last two-disc album, I Am...Sasha Fierce, possesses one side (I Am...) of introspective and emotional slow-tempo songs, and another side (Sasha Fierce) of more boisterous mainstream dance tracks that her alter ego and stage persona would put forward. Like the rest of the population who are merely acquainted with Knowles, I had heard the typical Top 40 dance tracks, seen the videos, tapped my toes and more - but until yesterday, I had never heard the raw and revealing tracks from her more sincere disc. Take a listen - perhaps you'll be as floored as I was at the beautiful intimacy and reflectiveness heard in these gorgeous tracks.

Thanks for the education, ladies - you've turned me on to a new side of her outstanding music.



Friday, March 23, 2012

New Soul




I don't say this very often, but when I do - man, do I mean it. They just don't make them like this anymore. And so upon hearing this breathtaking bluesy rock arrangement from London-based, Ugandan born artist Michael Kiwunaka, my week has been made. I have little to no doubt his soulfulness is going to go very, very far in a seemingly dusty genre.

Put together by Kiwunaka and his new pal, Black Keys frontman Dan Auerbach, this new B-side track has so much rich originality and uniqueness while still managing to toss back to the familiar balladry of Van Morrison and The Band. If I could, I would peel down the car windows and set out down a sun-stained highway with this one blaring; those soul-searching piano keys, wailing piano and gospel croons are just the perfect background to any coming-of-age experience. Named BBC's new sound of 2012, Kiwunaka's Bill Withers-style homecooked music is exactly what the new age of music needs. Because they really, really do not make them like this any more.

"Just you live your everyday like you're running out of time/ Say the things you say, don't leave everything behind/ Try to find new somethings that won't fade away in time/ These are things I'll always see on your side."

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Sweet Like Cinnamon

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For some reason, I hadn't purchased the Lana Del Rey album in hard copy (just iTunes) until this past weekend. I must say, it really is amazing how songs become better when the crisp sound is spun out from the real album, through your big speakers and into your home. With all of this hot March weather, I've already been spending time out on my balcony overlooking Toronto - listening to this song as it floats through the skyscrapers that feel like a stone's throw away. Aren't the sugary summer sounds, provocative lyrics and epic verses amazing? Something about this song makes me excited for summer nights.

Enjoy!


Radio - Lana Del Rey

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Foggy Commute

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Today I was  in the midst of my subway commute, and each time the train rolled out from underground along one of those stretches of track that usually sees the morning light - the city was instead enveloped in a chilly fog that made seeing anything past the tracks nearly impossible.

Normally my mornings are decorated with upbeat, sunny songs to help get the day rolling but in light of the misty sky I decided that some mellow Lindi Ortega - not usually the type of tune the uppity rockabilly princess jams to - would do the trick.



Saturday, March 17, 2012

Cheers

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Happy St. Patrick's Day! Here's a beautiful song from one of that country's most legendary bands. So, cheers - and as they say in the homeland: "May you have warm words on a cold evening/ A full moon on a dark night/ And the road downhill all the way to your door."

           

Friday, March 16, 2012

New Nas

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As the wise Rihanna once said, cheers to the freakin' weekend. And what a way to kick it off with a mean new single from rap veteran Nas and his reputable scroll of production teammates. Let's just say, it's definition off the hook; a few stylish minutes of hardy rhymes and a nasty beat, as well as creative input from the late Heavy D. Switching in and out of a looped reggae chant and a moment of swirling metropolitan keyboard, Nas throws down weighty heat on this tough comeback track and proves he's ready to roll with a fly new album. As the first taste, I'm intrigued to hear if the other tracks will thump out of speakers similar to this one. TGIF - this song should do the trick!



Thursday, March 15, 2012

Walk, Walk, Fashion Baby

Ah, life in the big city. Tonight I'm making my way down to Toronto Mastercard Fashion Week, where a sea of cutting-edge trends - in the form of boots, clutches, skirts, strands and jackets - will inevitably sweep me off my feet as I perch alongside the runway with my best and most fashion-forward friend. The atmosphere, although to some pretentious and judgmental, to me is just the opposite; it's an event that holds an art form - something that was constructed based on imagination, instinct, heart and a surge of creativity. Looking to that for personal, professional or any other kind of inspiration is a perfectly harmless thing, right? It's always a joyous occasion when you're given the chance to admire something beautiful, so whatever the case may be or wherever the venue, it seems worthwhile to take it.

I wonder what the music selection will hold during these meticulously planned minutes on the catwalk? At the New York 2012 Rebecca Minkoff show, her chic yet edgy street-ready pieces were paired with a live performance of this uppity Theophilus London jam:




Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Sounds Like Hallelujah


Last night I saw Seattle band The Head and the Heart at the Opera House in Toronto, and I have to say, it was one of the most beautifully flawless concerts I've ever seen. Not only were the two opening bands, Black Girls and Drew Grow and the Pastor's Wives, perfectly fabulous warm-ups for the rising alt-country collective, but when the headliners took the stage, every single on-stage jam was modestly effortless and astounding. Performing a rich set list of cozy folk songs from their debut album, as well as a few new heartwarming numbers, the  five-piece Americana crew cast a spell over Toronto with their milky harmonies, array of pleasant instruments, jangly anthems and building ballads. Singing a tune of rambling, traveling, bonding and missing home - their breathtaking presence was one I will never forget.

I cannot wait to hear what their next album holds, and I will without a doubt be attending any feasible stop on future tours. In all seriousness, if you've yet to hear this band - change that immediately.


The Amazing Openers: Drew Grow and The Pastor's Wives



                          

THE MAIN EVENT : THE HEAD AND THE HEART


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Instrumental Unwind

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One of my favourite parts about living in the city is that despite all of the honking, yelling, shuffling of feet and street noise - living alone in a little apartment in the sky, it can get just as quiet as you want it to be at any point. If I want to stand on the balcony and take in the sounds, I can. If I want to shut it all out and be silent, I can. And for anyone else living in the city and hoping for a little quiet - here are some lovely lullaby instrumentals that float nicely against the city lights and are musically the equivolent of a life snooze button. Happy relaxing!

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Monday, March 12, 2012

Hot On The Market

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How fly is this? Tiny voice, big dance moves, bigger beat? Sounds like a recipe for a little Monday night dance party if you ask me. Here's to another week and another great jam!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Happy Friday

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Remember this song? This song, a warm and soulful take on a cozy old classic, was a favourite (along with the entire Miseducation of Lauryn Hill album) from the first late 90s listen. Before Lauryn became cray an artist with no interest in the limelight  or anything about the industry, she was without a doubt my favourite female vocalist and rapper. She had everything going for her, and maybe she still does, but unfortunately we wouldn't know these days.

Either way, that album was a revolution in female-driven hip-hop and R&B; the concept of the triple threat from The Fugees, blending thoughtful rhymes and effortless croons into sounds that anyone could enjoy. And this song is just pure heaven in the form of loving slow jam cover. Which one do you like best? They both make you feel lovely - just in a different way.






Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Off To The Races

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Have you ever had weeks that are definition cuckoo/bananas? Your planner is busting at the seams with appointments, reminders and places where you've pencilled in your own dashing out to race across town? That's sort of how I feel this week. But it's all good. I've accepted that everything takes longer in a place where half hour commutes are standard - so things are just going to have to wait! And the best part about hectic days, weeks or months, is that things really do always get done. I mean, can you think of a time when they didn't? When you just sat on all of your tasks and didn't budge? Well, those are usually few and far between I'm sure, because as hard-working human beings, we generally just trudge through and adapt. It's a pretty neat thing. Anyway, in the mean time, while I nearly tug all of my hair out - acoustic Flo knows what's up.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Closet Country



One thing that not many people would be able to nail down about me is my strange love for the sound of country. Not all country; I'm a picky cowgirl and have a certain style that moves me more than the mainstream pop-country that rules the airwaves these days. I agree with the catchiness of a little T-Swift as much as the next person - but the Americana, folky goodness that is tango-ing with slightly underground rock 'n roll these days is just what the doctor ordered.

Ryan Adams, The Civil Wars, Cat Power, Mumford, Bon Iver, Bruce Springsteen, Dylan, Fleet Foxes, The Head and the Heart; you name it, so many of my favourites find ways to integrate that heartwarming open-road twang into their repertoire, making me feel like the ramblin' soul we're all secretly itching to be at some point. Give me a cranked down window, howling radio and fading sun and contrary to my obsession with the bright city lights - somehow, because of this music, I'd still be right at home.

One of the most exemplary groups heating up this genre are Canadian alt-rockers The Wooden Sky, who I've marveled at before upon soaking up their breathtaking melodies, country storytelling and pure, timeless vocals. This band is well on their way to marking up the North American indie-country scene with their newest release Every Child a Daughter, Every Moon a Sun - an instant classic consisting of a mixed bag of rustic, forlorn, sentimental and reflective tavern slow dance anthems meant for highway stops and treks through the bush. The Toronto-based collective's newest whacks at modernizing this genre are bang-on in both their maturity and variety; like some strange yet beautiful melange of longing love songs fit for a classy prom held in the deep woods. I'd swoon to these tunes anyday - whether in front of the headlights of an old Chevy, under the flickering vacancy sign of the motel or under the moonlight in the Muskokas; they make you feel young again. Major highlights include: "Child in the Valley", "Bald, Naked and Red", "Angelina (Reprise)and "City of Light."






The Next Chapter

Decent view..


I've made it to the big city in one piece; one very complete, happy, blissful piece. The thing about big cities is they can frustrate you or fascinate you. I choose to be fascinated. When I'm standing in line at a packed grocery store, wanting nothing more than to toss my items on the ground and walk out if it means getting home sooner; instead, it's more interesting to take a look around, observe the different people and sponge the energy. When making eye contact on the subway usually means you're invading someone's privacy, put on your favourite calming tune and zone out. When you have no idea where you're going - can't that be one of the sweetest adventures?

That's how I've been treating this fabulous experience of changing cities, tripping over boxes, being nothing less than lost and having only peanut butter in my cupboards; if anything else, what an amazing experience! There is already no doubt I feel more alive here than anywhere else.

One thing that I've also found about this big, big city, is how everything is better with a beat. The sparkling skyline from my balcony, racing to catch the swooshing subway train and pouring a glass of wine after a tireless day are only a few of the scenarios that are total perfection when paired with a feel-good rhythm, soulful vocals and a little city sass. So, for the inaugural post as a big city girl - let's throw on some big city jams.

PS Even if you don't like the city, there's no WAY you don't appreciate the city lights! Those things are magic.