Friday, August 31, 2012

TGIF: Staycation

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Isn't this fabulous? photo c/o

You know, I keep feeling like I should be doing something on the long weekend. I should be going somewhere, I should be escaping, I shouldn't be spending it in the same place I spend the rest of my days and nights. But then I snap into it, and I think - why not? I love these parts so much, there's no way I would ever find them tired or boring - especially on the last long weekend before we mentally shift into fall mode. I still feel so invigorated by everything this sometimes bizarre city has to offer - I don't see why I would uproot to a place that is only going to make me miss Toronto.

So, here we are, another weekend in the flashy, pushy, pretty, busy big smoke. One staycation that will inevitably be full of sangria, dancing shoes, beach chair naps and snack bowls. Not necessarily in that order.

Here's are some new and old glamorous favourites to start the weekend on a beautiful note. Happy long weekend, chums!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Come September

As you'll see from my sidebar item "I love...", this is the first year I've felt very strongly about summer. Very, very strongly - totally in love, obsessed and depressed at the thought of it ending. It's the city that did it to me; this wild hub full of endless options and liveliness that makes every moment in the sweltering heat feel like an unbothered, air-conditioned and happy one.

That being said, like all things, the end of summer (which comes in two days, in my mind) is bittersweet. Of course, I'll miss the hot breeze and effortless wardrobe selection - but I'm also overexcited at the thought of leaf-piled laneways and rustic folk sounds that belong in the autumn months. It's just the prettiest season, hands down.

And so, as my social summer hip-hop kick winds down (but doesn't disappear, not to worry) - I welcome some acoustic prizes back into my music library to greet the Fall weather with open arms. We've seen a few snaps of morning chill this past week, and for the first time in three months, Dan Mangan, Fleet Foxes and Ryan Adams sound perfectly at home again. Something about a howling harmonica and twinkling guitar melody scream September. So, in preparation for what's realistically just around the corner (we'll be layered in sweaters within the blink of an eye) - here are some of the most heartfelt, strum-filled ditties on the market, and ones that I'll have on full blast when the first leaf fades.

(One of the most wonderful Canadians and lyricists out there)

(Modern day Dylan, no?)

(My favourite new song off JM's gorgeous coming-of-age new album)

(Everyone gets this song! There are no words for how excited I am for this album)

(Incredibly cheesy song, but it mentions gold-painted fields and is also just a wee bit sweet)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Music Videos: Remember?

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Remember when music channels actually played music videos? And good ones, at that? I tend to forget, until I re-stumble upon 4-minute gems like this one. The vintage-looking touring montage, electric live footage and, of course, sight of Dan Auerbach's effortlessly spicy electric riff, secure this Black Keys clip as one of the best I've seen in years. Why? Not only is the soulful rock dynamite, but the video isn't a useless collection of bizarre imagery that forever taints the sounds of the song. Every shot of the rad rockers serving their scorching rock to disorderly, infatuated masses - just makes me adore them more. Sign of a good video.

After years of listening, The Keys are just still so phenomenal; unmistakably unique and one of the most thrilling things to happen to rock 'n roll in years. Keep it coming, boys.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Monday Doo-Wop

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Today's gigantic thunderstorm is quite a change from the sweltering heat we saw yesterday; a day I spent at the beach, stretched out in the sand under the cloudless sky - just loving life.

It's a little sad, I must say! And certainly not helping with the Monday blues. So, here are some stormy day contemporary doo-wops to go along with the raindrops.

Friday, August 24, 2012

TGIF: New Jessie Ware

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Don't you think this song sounds like it belongs in the city? I do. Something about newcomer Jessie Ware's creamy soulfulness coupled with the retro keyboard beat reminds me of Mariah Carey's mid-90s LP (no judgment) Emotions - a cassette tape I wore out before the age of 8. Also, a collection of meant-for-metro R&B jams that probably energized my now longstanding city obsession. Considering her obvious vocal ability, I find Jessie Ware to be fabulously modest - crooning behind groovy hushed melodies and oozing this infectious kind of glamour (if you've seen her, you'll understand).

Tonight I'm going dancing to celebrate my fabulous best friend's birthday. She's definition fabulous, I might add. The kind of gal who juggles life's little bits of chaos with such grace, holds her friendships dear to her heart and squeezes every bit of merriment out of a sometimes impossible city that can either be your best friend or beat you up on any given day. To celebrate this one-of-a-kind city girl, let's kick off the weekend with a chic jam that's just as hip as the birthday babe.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Thursdays with Kele

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I'm not yet a fan of the new Bloc Party song. I can't help it, I'm just really not into the comeback release. I've tried, I never crave a repeat, and I think I should be honest with myself and you.

So, instead - to honour a band I normally enjoy - let's toss back to a little old school solo Kele (the dreamy lead singer of the indie-rock band Bloc Party) song called "Everything You Wanted" - remixed with robotic keyboards and pulsing disco beats to make it just that much more sparkly and danceable.

I'm fairly excited that this wild week is almost over, and this upbeat 2010 jam makes me want to twirl on a flashy dance floor more than I did before flipping it on. I have a few opportunities to tap a toe this you?

...And did I mention he's a cutie.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Summer in The City

I had such a lovely weekend in the city. Did you? The best part about hosting a tourist for three days is that you get to explore all of your favourite spots again, often in a short time-constrained period; but with fresh eyes and a little more perspective. It invokes a lovely kind of Toronto pride when you show off the sparkly parts of town that took your breath away off the bat, or have grown to be favourite nooks after figuring out the city's best kept secrets.

We explored whole neighbourhoods, ate great food, drank better wine and listened to tunes galore. I think I might have also pushed a little bit of the beat-filled, downtown taste I've developed on to my guest; whether or not they embraced it, I'll find out during the next visit. I'm sure if they moved here they would appreciate how a deep bass and cool sample can complement the city life perfectly.

Obviously, Frank joined us at many points during the weekend! Here's a favourite from Channel Orange:

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Rustie and Aluna

I am currently loving this flashy collaboration between young Scottish EDM producer Rustie and R&B duo AlunaGeorge (singer Aluna Francis and George Reid) appropriately named "After Light." The addictive midnight anthem sparkles from first pulsing effect through to the chorus' trouncing beat - all thanks to Aluna's ladylike whisper that softens Rustie's electronic touch. Although it takes a lot for the house or dance genre to rope me in, the multi-faceted and colourful ingredients in this pixie-meets-big-beat collaboration leave me craving a repeat.

What do you think?

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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Shi Wisdom: Toronto Up-and-Comer

Shi Wisdom/ Photo:

If you've had your ear to any 416 radio stations as of late, you'll notice that a quality soulful croon is popping up frequently on the airwaves - drawing comparisons to Lauryn Hill through jazzy vibrato, breezy vocal riffs and fabulous authentic flavour of R&B and urban sophistication.

The best part? The girl is local herself. Born and raised in Toronto - Eglinton West specifically - Shi Wisdom is following in the tracks of Drizzy Drake, The Weeknd and Kardinal Offishall by sticking around the woods of this Ontario urban sprawl to grow her following, ride her early Canadian hype and stamp her music with hometown pride.

If you've yet to catch her live around town or hear her tunes, listen up immediately - she's bold, vocally innovative and without a doubt the next big thing out of Canuck territory. Here are three worthwhile listens - her own break-up bash "Take The L" and the tender address "LoveSpeak,"  as well as a sugary cameo on Kardinal's newest release "Mr.Parker" alongside the Jackson Five.

"I love Toronto, Toronto is where my sound was birthed. I love doing music in this city. It’s strange the calibre of artists we have here and how much effort we put into our music for some odd reason has surpassed the states in my opinion," Shi told The Come Up Show.

Toronto's Drake and Shi Wisdom

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The XX: Chained

The XX live/ Photo:

Oof, do I have a feeling that this new XX album will be a doozy.

Between the ethereal "Angels" and now the lofty reflectiveness of "Chained" - a melodic short leak from their long-awaited new album - I have every bit of confidence that critical acclaim is back on the horizon for the mysterious Brit indie rockers. "We used to get closer than this, is it something you miss?" lady lead Romy Madley-Croft and her male counterpart Oliver Sim dually question over a skittering beat and spastic, ghostly keyboard - before a tiny climbing guitar riff interrupts the calm flow.

Now, most of the blogosphere seems to agree that there are hopes of something equally as time-stopping as the singles off xx - but I tend to disagree that the first two tastes aren't yet doing the trick. Personally, I feel equally as dreamy and sedated hearing "Angels" and "Chains" as I did the first time I was haunted by  "Intro" or "Crystallized" - and like I've said before, I'm still convinced the band is holding back their new conceptual genius until the full-length hits shelves.


Friday, August 10, 2012

TGIF: The Walkmen Live

The Walkmen at Toronto's The Phoenix venue last week/ Photo Nic Pouliot of

Last week was my second time seeing one of my all-time favourite classic indie rock bands, The Walkmen, live. And let me tell you, they never disappoint.

Playing a heavenly (get it...their new album...) set of mainly new material, I never fail to be astonished at the suit-clad Hamilton Leithauser and his powerful vocals; they could be categorized somewhere between mighty, pretty and some classic kind of croon. Either way, the man has style - both vocally and fashionably.

Unfortunately, the bathroom line was so stupidly long that it made me late for the concert grounds - meaning I only heard the tail end of my favourite new song of theirs - "We Can't Be Beat." Starting ever-so-slow and picking up into a waltzy ballad with smooth doo-wop harmonies, this song is already timeless in my books. His voice, I'll say it again, so effortlessly delivers the song's message of relentless love.

Have a great weekend!

Give me a life/ That needs correction/ Nobody loves/ Loves perfection/ If you want my eyes/ Take my eye/ They're always true/ If you want my heart/ Take my heart/ It's right here for you

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

On This Day: Beatles Hold Up Traffic

8th August 1969.  The Beatles hold up the traffic for a very special photo session.  Here is one of the images that was not selected for the cover of Abbey Road.  Find out more about the album at at

Today in 1969, these four guys stopped traffic for a little photography session. It took a few tries to nail the best shot, as you can see.

Heartlines: Florence Wows Live

Florence in Toronto/ Michelle Siu for the Toronto Star

Last week, I shockingly was able to see eight of my favourite artists at three different Toronto concerts. Although I love the festival scenario, I feel so blessed that I was able to see all of this breathtaking live music in four days, without wandering a concert ground in search of a glimpse of their set. Naturally, more than a few different moments on stage stood out last week. I'll get through them all eventually, but the first two that I want to share came from the live goddess, Florence Welch - who was the number one mainstay in my musical diet the first month I moved to Toronto. I listened to her everywhere and at all times. Which is interesting, considering two of the best and most powerfully delivered  performances were my favourite songs about touring the world, craving a sense of home and taking care of her own heart while journeying oceans, highways and stages. You could absolutely tell she meant every word in these telling live takes - both spun to be melodically rich, stripped down and more heartwarming than I ever could have imagined. Happy Hump Day! Let these gorgeous tunes and words be a reminder to be real with yourself.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


The Twitterverse educated me that on this day in 1968, the great Aretha Franklin made her recording debut at Columbia Records at 18 years of age. R-E-S-P-E-C-T is right.

Praise the Queen!