It’s too bad that cool internet photos always get questioned by the Photoshop factor. Either way, it’s like a T-1000 ice hand! The ice sculpture at Arnold’s wedding! A frozen PowerGlove ! Click that link, then you don’t have to take your multivitamin today. That video has riboflaaaavin.
Frozen Niagara Falls, in 1911. Maybe our parents feel alienated by our climate change paranoia because they had to hear all about global cooling 40 years ago. Jes?
After many hours of research, guilt, uncertainty, pressure, and realizing when two people work full time that we can afford one car, we took the dirty plunge. I work in the sticks, Cara works in the sticks (plus Hamilton one to two days a week). It takes me about 60 minutes one way, Cara about 75 on transit. I now need wheels for field work and getting to some remote locations, Cara wants to feel safe on the busiest highway in the world (better reason).
As for our Mother Earth, the jury is out. It’s not a fully robust argument, but I defend myself with the advantage of always going used:
“Making a Prius consumes 113 million BTUs, according to sustainability engineer Pablo Paster. A single gallon of gas contains about 113,000 Btus, so Toyota’s green wonder guzzles the equivalent of 1,000 gallons before it clocks its first mile. A used car, on the other hand, starts with a significant advantage: The first owner has already paid off its carbon debt”.
Meaning do some full cost accounting on your car (production, distribution, operation, disposal) and realize that used cars can cut down on two (and potentially all) of these things. Production would account for 10-15% of total emissions so we’re already good there. But hey, down the rabbit holes we go.
I’ve heard only two songs of his since I heard of him back in ’06. ’05/06 was quite a year. He is a friend of a good old friend. He is from Hamilton, Ontario. He has a very special voice, it’s quite something. A lot of Jeff Buckley, a lot of warm echo, a lot of dark romance, a lot of feels, plenty of heart, a little bit of tortured, a concerted amount of effort, and not enough attention. That was too many quantities. He definitely seems like a cat guy. Most good musicians are cat guys.
And here’s a song I’ve kept of his, this chorus is one of the most beautiful things I’ve heard in the past 5 years. If you like Jeff Buckley, you’ll be butter in two seconds. Sorry, the comparison is too there. You’ll understand a few words, but it doesn’t matter in the slightest.
Joel Elliott – I Leave Women
This was supposed to be a post about the Southern Ontario’d Southern Souls. It’s really quite a solid website, albeit direct copies of Paris’ Blogotheque and London’s Black Cab Sessions. Toronto needs one too, all big cities need one. Local music, local landscapes, local culture and feelings of belonging. If we don’t mystify our geography, it won’t feel as special. People love New York because of mystifying its geography in media and through osmosis. Toronto can do something similar, hopefully in our own apathetic self-conscious, overly kind way.
And only 3 weeks late. But I’m excusing it as that I needed a 3 week buffer digestion and reflection time. And you were so fatigued from the decade end listnoise that this new list is like you’ve never seen a list before. And because this list is so important to your life. Yar. To me, 2009 was considerably less impressive than 2008. Mainly because 2009 didn’t produce Fleet Foxes, and Robin Pecknold’s voice is still the male lead in the musical of my brain.
10. Camera Obscura – My Maudlin Career – one gets transplanted to the Enchantment Under The Sea Dance a little bit, if a lady was singing Earth Angel. Like if Zooey Deschanel was actually good. Vintagey, some beautiful big band grandeur, young voices, and some nice Beach Boys throwbacks. Too bad the album gets a bit tired 4 songs through. Little dynamics and changes in mood, but the mood it has is a nice thing.
Camera Obscura – James
9. Dark Was The Night (Various Artists) – Kind of cheating as it’s a comp, but there’s too many great songs on this record. Organized by members of The National, this charity compilation boasted some true b-side gems. Jose Gonzalez covers one of Nick Drake’s best, Bon Iver offers one of his best songs, and The National utter some words that automatically come out brilliant. B-sides are b-sides for a reason, but it’s nice to know that bands still hide one or two nicely kept nuggets. I feel like Grizzly Bear takes after Radiohead in releasing this b-side single to compilations like Dark Was The Night – keep it simpler and poppier than your normal songs, and softly kill in 3 short minutes. Listen for the insane vocal syncopation and steel drum accompaniment on such a seemingly simple folk song.
Grizzly Bear – Deep Blue Sea
8. Grizzly Bear - Veckatimest – haha. They’re pretty good. Not hipsterbloggerspeak – just a solid grower record, earth shattering arrangements, and about 3 groundbreaking songs. I love when bands know their best song, and that song is the first song. They love Brian Wilson, they love Radiohead, they want to pay tribute to American rock in their own architecture schooled, cowlicked way. Once you hear this song, you’ll wonder if Jason Reitman thought this was the perfect opening song to his new movie, or if it would just be too literal.
Grizzly Bear – Southern Point
7. Passion Pit - Manners -Detractors may say it’s just ecstasied MGMT of 2009. I see it as a slightly refreshing twist on electro rock. Perhaps more importantly, Passion Pit marks the end of irony and its stronghold on people like us. Their name, their aesthetic, what they want to do to you – it’s literal, it’s straight up, it’s honest, and there’s no dry punchline. To me it’s a breath of fresh air. I don’t have to try and act cool anymore, I can sound like a girl, have my chuckles, and try and tug back that lost infantile ignorance. If you haven’t heard their lead single “Sleepyhead”, focus for the first 60 seconds because it’s perfect. After that, meh. Here’s what Passion Pit would consider a ballad, Moth’s Wings.
Passion Pit – Moth’s Wings
6. Bruce Peninsula – A Mountain is a Mouth – Thank you Toronto. More literal lovely. OK so this album wasn’t the most earth shatteringly great record. However, they do have an eternally fun live show, undeniable smokered vocals with mandatory Tom Waits references, and the gift of bringing back good memories of your elementary school choir. I miss choir, and that’s why I love cliche Toronto singer collectives like Bruce Peninsula.
Bruce Peninsula – Steamroller
5. Malajube – Labyrinthes – If you know me, you know I have a soft skull spot for French rock music. It’s femmy, it’s piano minor chords, it’s often good mood music. Malajube beef up on their second major release. They don’t get enough love in the Anglopress. Lead single Porté Disparu is classic smooth French pop, and Christobald`s Wintersleepy meets Bloc Party instrumental always catches me off guard with that one extra chord, so I always refill my cup.
Malajube – Christobald
4. In-Flight Safety – We Are An Empire My Dear – So much Canadiana, I know. Don’t worry there will always be more. Since this band’s inception circa 2004, these four gentleman from Halifax have always made me jealous. They’ve always written the music I wish I had written, melted the bands I wish I had melted together. Their initial love of Sigur Ros, and now with their new record, a clear nod to Brooklyn’s The National. Not fair. Lyrically the band remains cheesy and weak, but so am I Lois. So am I.
In-Flight Safety – I Could Love You More
3. Metric – Fantasies – You hate me right now don’t you. Metric is good ok? This year I fully came to terms with my addiction to rock hooks. Thank you Metric. I feel like once Emily et al rid themselves of their record contract, they said to themselves, “Let’s make the hookiest stadium rock record we’ve ever made, on our own, and make some insane money doing it”. The new modus operandi for ex-major label starlings. Some of this record is full blown fluff. Some of it makes Brandon Flowers overdose on Xanax wishing he wrote 4 bars of Help I’m Alive. The record was destined for fist pumping from the first line (snort not song).
Metric – Satellite Mind
2. Ohbijou – Beacons – oh was 2009 the year of the female voice. It also marked the full return of earnest. Ohbijou is earnest. I almost felt sexist for how many male-centred bands and artists I listened to, but 2009 filled my quota and then some. Casey Mecjia’s voice is lullaby pablum. Often delicate, but upon request she can really wail in her own urgent, special way. Ohbijou makes beautiful folk pop music from Toronto. You should really listen to this record.
Ohbijou – Black Ice
1. Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix – Boy this was Phoenix’s year. On every late night show (twice), a Cadillac commercial, continuously overheard from teenage girls sharing both white headphones and frappuccinos right after school. And that’s what it is. This album is summer, it is freedom, it is open arms, it is looking at the sky, it is wind blown hair, it is greasy hair from three skinny dudes from Paris and a brown basher of a drummer. Like if Aziz Ansari and Animal from the muppets had a bebe. Phoenix was my favourite live show of 2009 where I saw the tirelessly hip proletariat of Toronto explode with vulnerable joy. This album is the definition of pop with brains, the goal of every musician of every stripe.
Phoenix – 1901
And anotha one.
Phoenix – Fences
I eat risotto like it’s daily Flintstone vitamins. Not good. I like how you can throw your fridge on any risotto and it still tastes great. Shrimp and basil this time. Ready for more urgly flash?
More brulees. Easiest/finest dessert.
Pork roast stuffed with Stilton and rosemary with a sauce made of roast drippings, white wine, and caramelized onions. GORSH. Thanks be to Callum and Alix.
Fish night with potato cakes, steamed veg, chives.
- What cheap American food is doing – and Canadian food too, really. Now we have proof we’re just as fat as they are.
- Monsanto’s corn and those lab rodents – this is pablum, just for us. GMOs may just be needed to feed the growing population, but the ones in charge of the seeds have put their businesses through the shaky grinders of intellectual property law. On the other side is forcing farmers to buy seeds every year, and saying you’re feeding the world but not doing anything significant to actually feed people that need it most. You’re not responsible for feeding everyone for free, you just can’t say you’re feeding the world like you’re humanitarians. So far, you’ve hurt way more people than you’ve helped.
- The Whole Foods CEO is the extremeist me – John Mackey is both an Ayn Rand disciple and a frolf enthusiast – that’s just too extreeeeeeeeme. A bit nuts but exotic organic nuts.
- A year without plastic – entitled “Plastic Manners”, a traditional but great idea for a blog (the “project” blog [cough Julie and Julia]). Hope she gets a book out of it. I’ll be reading, I’d like some good alternatives.
- Hybrid cars don’t save much (any) oil – Not really as green as you expect when you even just consider “full cost accounting” – sourcing parts from all over the world doesn’t make it that ecogoodnstuff.
- Why drivers need to support transit investment, and not whine – because it makes commuting way way smoother. Reduced road rage is worth its weight plus much more.
- A primer in Environmental Assessments (EA) – leave it to Spacing to cover a necessary but possibly dry topic in environmental policy. Luckily they tackle a fascinating case study – the Gardiner Expressway.
- How nuclear power works – from our friends at HowStuffWorks, it’s about time we actually knew some details on nuclear power.
- Feed-In-Tariff 2.0. – How Ontarians in the know of current energy policy are trying to truly capitalize on a subsidized energy gold rush.
- U.S. drinking water widely contaminated – loaded term, and quel surprise – gas stations, industry, chemicals, fertilizer, pharmaceuticals, sewage, cosmetics, cigarettes, dead animals, road salt, and whatever else you can think of. And you think bottled water is that much better.
- How birth order affects your personality – one of my favourite topics of conversation, but the results may not be what you think.
- Curing those ringing ears – maybe there’s hope for us dummies that listen too loudly. It just feels better, mmkay.
- Let’s face it, science is boring – New Scientist discusses some of the less sexy parts of science, and there is plenty to choose from.
- The problem with a “public” interest in science – perhaps because politicizing science goes against its very principles.
- Where does the universe end? – Exploring the Hubble-fueled view of the ever-expanding universe.
- More Waterworlds – nearby stars could be hosting water based planets too. Luckily no webbed-footed Kevin Costners.
- Toronto’s arts scene coverage gets a boost – some coverage on new/small/emerging galleries, musicians, and artists around the city. And with an attractive, bearded, Urban Outfitted plaid shirted gentleman. Kudos to Late Night in the Bedroom, now sponsored by big blogTO.
- Toronto Chinese food > New York’s Chinese food – And the WSJ says so.
Hello lovelies. Sellout post title. And sellout band photo. But hey, who doesn’t want wheaty agri-foliage in a band photo? The faces are nice, and it is what it’s supposed to be. But I really enjoy this song. Beach House has a new record coming out this year, and people are excited about it. I thought Devotion was nice – a bit one note and minimal dynamic but some very nice, redeeming qualities. Slightly masculine cat-powered vocals, shaker, nice organs, and good old-fashioned prettiness.
This track “Norway” is one of their shining beacons off their new LP, Teen Dream. They are a bit over the top with the analog drift slide guitar on this track, but it makes it sound that much more dreaaaaaaaamy. If you were dreaming on a slightly nauseating deep sea boat ride.
Beach House – Norway
This year, your friend the internet loved the photobomb. Some goodies, some boringies.
Look closely you gearheads. I couldn’t believe this when I saw this photo in an article discussing the technological marvels of James Cameron’s Avatar.
Next time you think you deserve better gear, remember this : James Cameron uses a muthaflippin Behringer mixer. For the most advanced 3D movie of all time. Something is terribly, terribly wrong.
- Ten years of our impatience – hilarious article on the tech trends of the ’00s, and some nice snarky editorialism on our growing impatience as a culture. [Globe]
- Top baby names of the decade – you know you’re curious. In short – bible names for guys, and grandmother names for girls. Best news – no more Mike! Oversaturation wins! [Globe]
- No one blames Canada for Copenhagen – we may not have helped matters, but we all know it’s U.S. and China that needs to lead. And our reputation is turning into blue slime. [Globe]
- How to debate a climate change skeptic – learn more about their traditional arguments, and hear how Scientific American rebuts those arguments. [Scientific American]
- Montreal’s BIXI bike sharing program coming to Toronto – more talks coming, but I think changes to Toronto’s bike infrastructure and culture need to be improved before it can be as successful as Montreal. Here’s to hoping. [Urban Country]
- New microscopes show the true shape of atoms – humans are amazing at some things. Atomic and sub-atomic science can be truly spiritual. [New Scientist]
- 10 basic HST myths – learn more about our business friendly and electorate-somewhat-unfriendly tax. [Globe]
- Everything you know about going green is wrong – some valuable perspective for those who mean well but still buy into the greenwashing. [The Daily Green]
- The cap and trade critique – watch the trailer of a new movie critiquing cap-and-trade. Us environmentalists are never happy are we? if only it was politically palatable to implement a revenue neutral carbon tax. Too bad Stephane Dion was one of the worst spokesmen to push said tax. Siiigh…. [New York Times]
I’ve been singing these 30 seconds of this song for the past three days straight. If commercials have to exist (have to), this is all I ever want in one. I had never heard of Rufus when I saw this commercial – forgive me, it was 1998. But I saw this 25 second performance and I wanted to be informal friends with this man. What a beautiful and concise little performance. Super rich voice, unique timbre, confident playing, great vintage song choice, great cut of song choice for a 30 second commercial. When Gap was cool. He sold out his hardcore folkie fans, but everyone sells out, right?
Cara and I celebrated our 10 year “togetherness” this New Year’s Eve. Our first kiss happened during the Millennium fireworks in Kingston, ON (insert gooey “awwww”s here). We decided on an exclusive coupletime NYE this year, we’ve never done that but it was great to reflect on 10 years together. The word epic gets used too much in our vernacular, but that word fits for 27 year old geeks.
A beautiful dinner at Grace in Little Italy. A lot of Toronto bloggermom foodies love to talk about how Little Italy is now a dead part of the restaurant community in Toronto. They’re mostly right. I think it will undergo a bigger renaissance soon, but don’t go to this part of town thinking there are too many great food options – it’s been filled with mediocre quasi-Italian for too long. Then enter restaurants like Grace, Sidecar, and Negroni. Slowly re-gentrifying bringing simple but beautifully done food to the fore. C had a beautiful potato crusted halibut, I had the Beef Wellington. Best Beef Wellington I’ve ever had, because of the chicken liver pate and oyster mushrooms between the puff pastry and the cow.
Hope you had a moderately exciting and fun NYE. If it was better than that, well done.