Saturday, April 21, 2012

"Jackie Oh" by Cheap Curls

Damn, I haven't posted in FOREVER. I can't even remember the last time I actually felt motivated to blog, but I was randomly browsing the internet tonight and flipping through some Tumblr accounts dedicated to Dum Dum Girls.... not even necessarily music-related, but for outfit inspirations.

Anyway! Bambi Davies, the former bass player of Dum Dum Girls, left the band a little while back to pursue her own project - Cheap Curls. Her real name is  Katie Serbian-Brouillette, by the way.

The reason I'm posting? I listened to this song - "Jackie Oh," which will be on Cheap Curls' debut 7" - to be released on Art Fag Recordings in May. Garage-y lo-fi rock, girl vocals and catchy. Yeah, that's my sort of music. Check it out!

Friday, December 23, 2011

In the year 2011 (recap).... new home excitement / moving blues

My biggest excitement of this year, by far, was that I bought a condo in Toronto. Downtown Toronto, to be exact. I'd been searching for a year and half and it was starting to seem hopeless. A few days before my 29th birthday, I jokingly said that I hoped for my 29th year, I would finally find the perfect condo in Toronto.

Lo and behold, my real estate agent emailed me a listing for a condo in this particular building I'd had my eye on... ON MY ACTUAL BIRTHDAY. No joke!

Long story short, I moved in to my own home in the second week of December. It's been quite an adjustment, but it's pretty damn rad. There's still lots to do and things to move. I have no idea where I'm going to keep all my CDs and the ever-growing record collection between my boyfriend and I... not to mention all our instruments (my piano, five guitars between the two of us and whatnot), but we'll figure it out.

With that, I conclude this entry with a few Instagram photos taken since my move to Toronto.

1. HOMEOWNER. The day I got the keys to my condo.
2. The CN Tower against a beautiful blue sky.
3. Ridiculously kitschy cat tea towel. My kettle looks like a curling stone, which I think is awesome.
4. My bedside: cupcake rug from my friend Rachel and pink argyle slippers.
5. Nightmare Before Christmas wooden block calendar. I bought this ages ago for $3.00 from the now-gone Criminal Records (sniff, sadface). I didn't have anywhere to put this in my cluttered room at my parents' house, so I'm so happy it sits prominently on my dresser now). Bunny ring holder from Umbra.
6. Cupcake jar I bought recently. Thinking of using it to house tea bags.
7. Ceramic squirrel trinket holder. I like squirrels. You knew that, right?
8. Window/curtains.

PS - feel free to follow me on Instagram - my username is squirrelscout.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

In the year 2011 (recap).... Goodbye, Amy

I loved Amy Winehouse's music the moment I heard it. That defiant, dismissive tone in the opening notes of "Rehab" - if you're at all familiar with Amy Winehouse at all, then you know what I'm talking about - sing it with me - "They tried to make me go to rehab, but I said, No no no."

And this defiance would sadly be the catalyst to the downfall of a young, but troubled talent, gone from the world at the age of 27.

I will admit that I was shocked and devastated when I found out about Amy's death this summer. Like many people said, her death was not surprising - others cruelly commenting that "she had it coming" with her chosen lifestyle. But somehow still, I was deeply saddened at the loss of this young, talented woman. In the height of her popularity, I marveled at how young she was - younger than me!

For months after the release of Back To Black, I made it my goal to get my hands on any other recordings just to hear more of that voice. When I visited London, England in 2007, I brought home many CD singles - my most favourite being the single for "Back To Black" (which included the music video as well as two b-sides - "Valerie" from a BBC session and "You're Wondering Now).

In her downward spiral, I dismayed over the prospect of this talented woman becoming mere tabloid fodder. The drugs and boozing, show cancellations and performance embarrassments, there seemed to be so many scandals and then the bad influences surrounding her. Looking back, I suppose it's almost as surprising that she lasted that long.

A month after her death, when I finally willed myself to listen to Back To Black, I had to fight back tears. Her otherworldly voice, so full of life and sass, evoking the girl group era with that modern edge - there may be forthcoming imitators, but there will never be another Amy Winehouse.

I think it's so unfortunate that in order to hear new material from Amy, we had to wait for a posthumous release (Lioness: Hidden Treasures). The songs on this record are signature Amy and far from throwaway (why weren't they released sooner?), but upon the realization that there will never be any more new Amy Winehouse songs, my heart sank and I teared up.

"Our Day Will Come" is the first track from Lioness.

Check out the Amy Winehouse Foundation - a charitable foundation in Amy's memory, set up by her family. Proceeds from the sales of Lioness will be go to the Amy Winehouse Foundation.

Rest in peace, Amy.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Looking ahead to 2012...

Excitement is a pretty good motivator, and you know me - I like to feverishly post about bands/songs/albums that I can't stop listening to at the moment. Well, this is one of those instances.

I played the heck out of Cape Dory by Tennis - it's pretty obvious, since it was my #2 record on my 2011 list. I'm so excited that they have a new album, called Young & Old, coming out in February 2012 (the 14th, Valentine's Day to be exact!) and they're playing in Toronto, at the Horseshoe on February 29th, leap year day! I missed out on seeing them earlier this year since I was in Portland, Oregon, so you can imagine how stoked I am to finally see them!

The first single off Young & Old is called "Origins," backed with "Deep In The Woods," which has been labelled as a b-side, but this song is SO. DAMN. GOOD. It's gotta be on the album, right? Plus they made a (super creepy, kind of disturbing) video for it. B-sides don't get videos, right?

The new album was produced by Patrick Carney, of Black Keys fame. While Cape Dory has a distinct, carefree summery feel of sailing and adventure-seeking, these two new songs still retain Tennis' jangly girl group-esque sound, but perhaps with a darker edge. Perhaps this is what Tennis sounds like land-bound, in winter or autumn? In any case, I like what I hear very much. Can't wait to hear the rest of the album - will it make my 2012 album list?



 Deep In The Woods:


Saturday, December 17, 2011

Top Ten Albums of 2011

I haven't blogged in a REALLY LONG TIME, people. I've had a lot going on - I'm constantly composing blog posts in my head when I'm not at the computer but never seen to have time to actually draft something up or even log in to Blogger.

I've been thinking about getting all personal and writing a post or two about how my year has been - a lot has happened in 2011, so it seems appropriate to put it into words on my blog. That is, if I can find the time. Sigh!

But of course, my first priority is to post my top albums of 2011. When I sorted albums by year in iTunes, I was somewhat surprised at all the albums that came out in 2011 but didn't make a huge impact in my life. I feel mildly guilty not going crazy over albums that everyone seemed to love this year (most notably, Bon Iver). It's not to say I didn't like these albums, but they didn't really resonate that deeply with me... and therefore didn't result in many repeated listenings.

Anyway! These are the ten albums that I played the heck out of this year. If you check out my profile, you'll see that I'm not joking. Dum Dum Girls and Tennis were my absolute favourites this year. Timber Timbre and Anna Calvi were definitely my favourite discoveries. In regards to Timber Timbre, I do believe I tweeted at some point that this band is filling that M. Ward-shaped hole in my heart (but please release something SOON, M. Ward - I do love She & Him, but I need some solo stuff).

1. Dum Dum Girls - Only in Dreams
2. Tennis - Cape Dory
3. Anna Calvi - s/t
4. The Elected - Bury Me In My Rings
5. Sarah Slean - Land & Sea
6. Nicole Atkins - Mondo Amore
7. Timber Timbre - Creep On Creepin' On
8. The Kills - Blood Pressures
9. Lykke Li - Wounded Rhymes
10. Wild Flag - s/t

Favourite album released in 2011 that wasn't technically "new" but still made my year:
Beach Boys - The Smile Sessions

Honourable mentions:
La Sera - s/t
Beirut - The Rip Tide

Favourite standalone song:
"So Long" by Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward from the Winnie the Pooh soundtrack (they weren't billed as She & Him on the tracklisting, most likely to capitalize on Zooey's name...)

All right, that's all from me for now. Hopefully I'll find some time to post again soon!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Cover me, an out-of-nowhere edition

Well, here I am again, blogging! I'm not sure what's gotten into me, but I'll take it.

I seem to have run out of clever names to title my blog entries about cover songs and their originals, but you get the idea. I was inspired to post this last night when my boyfriend, a Sonic Youth fan, told me he was listening to the deluxe edition of Goo and discovered that on the second disc contained a cover of the Beach Boy's song "I Know There's An Answer" from Pet Sounds.

Now, I've never gotten into Sonic Youth, so don't shoot me. I admit I've not really heard much of their stuff, but I've never been quite sure that they were my "type" of music anyway. That aside, when I heard their cover of the Beach Boys' song, I was pleasantly surprised. It still has the jangly whimsy and innocence of the original. The vocals and harmonies stay pretty true, but have a more raw and earnest tone than the Beach Boys' sweet, near-perfect harmonies. (PS - is it Thurston singing in the Sonic Youth version?)

I think what really ties Sonic Youth's version to the Beach Boys original is the syncopated tambourine that remains in both. I gotta say, I really like Sonic's Youth version - I love that guitar line in the second verse.

The original song:

Sonic Youth's cover:

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Still obsessed...

I haven't blogged in forever. I'm not entirely sure why.... I mean, I do know, in that, I haven't been overly inspired to write and it's been hard to find time. But I thought I could just write a quick one, insert a video and call it a day, knowing I've updated my blog.

So yes! Dum Dum Girls' second full-length album, Only In Dreams drops today. I pre-ordered it on Sub Pop the moment I could (on August 8, so says my confirmation email) and with the streaming link provided, I've literally listened to this album HUNDREDS of times since then.

I'm a little bummed that I probably won't get my pre-ordered LP (plus bonus 7" single) today (you know, on album release day), since my order was shipped last Thursday and it takes about a week for packages from the US to get to Canada (if not more). I'm a bit upset by this, Sub Pop, but I will have to deal with it.

Check out the swirling, mesmerizing video for the first single off Only In Dreams, "Bedroom Eyes."