We Were Unlucky In Love

>> Monday, 28 September 2009

The twin sisters' Quin - aka Tegan and Sara - will bring their elegantly shorn haircuts and thoughtful, celebrated pop music to the Burt in the new year, playing a gig there on January 14th. Pre-sale starts Wednesday. No code yet. I'll see what I can uncover (thanks to Aaron for the heads up).

Afi and Cage The Elephant are two acts comprising Jingle Bell Rock 2009. The event takes place December 15th at the Convention Centre.

Vancouver's Said The Whale hit the Pyramid on November 3rd w/ Hannah Gorgas.

The Maroons are there on December 12th w/ Atomic Blondie.

Infinite Playlist: Volcano Chair - Unmap


The Hold Steady - Live At The West End

>> Saturday, 26 September 2009


So, I wasn’t exactly enamored with Thursday night’s Hold Steady show, which was easily the marquee event in Winnipeg two nights back (fuck half-speed NHL hockey). Sold out. Lots of people looking for tickets.

And I wanted to love it. I wanted it to be the best show I’ve seen all year. I wanted my Facebook status to feature some seriously impassioned hyperbole. Unfortunately, I just didn’t feel that oh-so-wonderful connection the entire time, like I did during, say, TV on the Radio.

Part of the problem for me was the main set’s length. It felt too long and peppered with too many slow-to-mid tempo, spoken-poetry meanders that invariably caused me to drift off. I did, however, perk up instantly whenever Finn & The Boys tore into one of their 70s-rock-leaning assaults like “Party Pit” or “Stuck Between Stations.” Or during one of their big-ass, brilliantly realized singles “Sequestered in Memphis.”

But for what it’s worth, I suspect I am in the minority here. Most of the 400 strong at the West End seemed enthralled with the Hold Steady and charmed to bits by the surprisingly animated Craig Finn. He’s a helluva crowd worker and, well, pretty damn cool.

The evening’s highlight for me was the encore – it was saturated with upbeat, raucous tunes. It is the huge, anthemic stuff I feel “America’s Best Bar Band” do, well, best.

Oh, and I thought opener Still Life Still were pretty great and reminded me of early Broken Social Scene machinations. I was impressed so much that I’m gonna go seek out SLS’s record.


New rumblings at the Pyramid:

First up, a very very tempting show: Young Galaxy is at the Pyramid on October 18th w/ Bend Sinister, trEas, and Royal Canoe.

The Mahones perform there on October 6th w/ the Popes.

October 23rd sees Grady play there.

On November 9th, Mad Caddies play a gig w/ The Johnstones.

Trivium rock the joint on November 19th w/ Chimaria, Whitechapel, and Dirge Within.

One Hundred Dollars swing through town on October 29th.


Kelowna rockers We Are The City land at Sam’s Place on October 15th.

Moneen drop by the West End on November 30th.

Winter Gloves are at the Lo Pub on November 27th.

Infinite Playlist: Kings of Convenience - Declaration of Dependence


The Girl From Back Then

>> Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Shout out to the 80s! Def Leppard return to the MTS Centre on November 4th with Cheap Trick and Man Raze.

Digression: I wonder if Bun E. Carlos will be behind the kit for Cheap Trick. Last I checked he was kicking it powerpop-style with the awardwinningly bizarre supergroup Tinted Windows (feat. Taylor Hanson of, um, Hanson; James Iha of, well, the Pumpkins; and Adam Schlesinger of, er, Fountains of Wayne).

Shout out to the 90s! Stone Temple Pilots evidently still exist and are also playing the MTS Centre but on November 15th. Used to go mental for "Vaseline."

Shout out to guilty pleasures! Unabashed synth-popper Lights is at The Garrick on November 19th. Get out your headbands!

Oh, and congrats to Robin and Geoff for winning the Patrick Brealey discs. Will get those out to you asap.

Infinite Playlist: Kings of Convenience - Versus (New Album soon!)


11 Questions With...Patrick Brealey

>> Thursday, 17 September 2009

For a good time call: folk singer-songwriter Patrick Brealey. Or better yet, head down to the Albert on September 23rd to see/hear the engaging performer live and in the flesh. Be sure to sample some of his homemade pickles while you’re there – reports say the vinegary snacks really add to the overall charm of his show (and that the pickles are very tasty).

I’ve got two copies of his well-received, folk/country/blues/cabaret-pureeing cd, Mercury In Songbirds, for give away. Simply flip me an email by 4 p.m. Tuesday with “Patrick Brealey: Giveaway” in the subject line, your name in the body, and I’ll draw winners randomly.

Plus, the charismatic Mr. Brealey answered 11 Qs for yours truly.

Unfortunately, he doesn’t have an all-time favourite Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, but makes up for this serious transgression by giving a shout out to Virginia Woolf and linking a pretty great Family Guy clip for your viewing pleasure.

1.Where are you right now?

I'm in my little rundown shack on stilts in the Little Portugal neighbourhood of Toronto.

2. Who is the best Toronto-based band (other than your own, of course)?

There are too many incredible bands in Toronto to pick just one. So it's a four-way tie for me.
a) The Beauties -- I feel as though these guys are like The Band. They've honed their chops as an awesome bar band that can back up any singer on the spot, they can get a whole room up and dancing, they're tighter than a hipster's custom, screen-printed t-shirt, yet they haven't even started recording their first album yet. The whole is a sum of the parts -- every member is awesome.
b) The Good Lovelies -- The Andrews Sisters meets AbFab with this giggle-fueled trio who can charm the socks off any disgruntled Bay Street lawyer.
c) The Foggy Hogtown Boys -- Best bluegrass band in Canada, no contest.
d) Christine Bougie and Dafydd Hughes -- Who can make ambient, soundtracky, instrumental jazz cool? These guys can. I believe Christine is one of the best and most sensitive musicians I have ever heard -- and she played on my new album!

3. What are your top three, all-time, desert-island records?

a) Stardust by Willie Nelson
b) Blue Train by John Coltrane
c) Sun, Sand & Surf -- Desert Island Classics Vol. 3 (various artists)

4.What’s one song you love, but regularly dismiss as a “guilty pleasure”?

Other than Locomotion, I like pretty much every single Kylie Minogue puts out, namely Can't Get You Out of My Head, Come into My World, and Slow. In theory, these should be guilty pleasures but the fact remains that I don't actually feel guilty liking these songs, I simply like them. So I think I'll go for Boot Scootin' Boogie by Brooks & Dunn. Time to linedance!

5. What was the last great concert you saw?

Seeing Tom Waits at the Commodore in Vancouver in 2004 may remain the greatest concert I have ever seen or will ever see. But as for a more recent nod, I saw Joel Plaskett for the first time in February, playing solo to about 15 people in a hotel room in Memphis and he absolutely blew me away. His song "Beyond, Beyond, Beyond" made me cry a little.

6. Who is one producer, alive or dead, that you’d just love to work with?

I'd love to work with Daniel Lanois. He brings such a unique, signature sound to the table while getting the best from the artists he works with. His work with Bob Dylan (Oh Mercy, Time Out of Mind), Willie Nelson (Teatro) and Emmylou Harris (Wrecking Ball) shone new light on those already established artists and allowed them to cast new shadows with it. Same kind of reverence goes to T-Bone Burnett -- brilliance wrapped in a tall-framed weirdo.

7. Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert?

Jon Colbert.

8. Simpsons, South Park, or Family Guy?

Family Guy. It's all about Stewie and Brian. Oh, and this:

9. Would you rather have invisibility or flight?

Flight, hands down. Invisibility is for creeps and kleptomaniacs.

10. What book(s) are you currently reading?

I'm in over my head in books right now. First is the Neil Young autobiography by Jimmy McDonough -- I'd been told by many people that I needed to read this one and so far it's proving to be an enlightening look into Young's world, his personality, his stubbornness and ultimately the fact that he was just a guy who wanted to play music for a living. I'm also reading Bottomfeeder by Taras Grescoe, a non-fictional look at the state of the world's fisheries and how we can continue to eat seafood in an ethical way -- it's educational without being preachy. Last but not least, I've delved back into the classics with Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf. I was skeptical about picking it up again (I was supposed to read it in university, yet only mimed my way through it) but I'm glad I was talked into reading it as Woolf wrote herself an incredibly interesting and evocative novel. A more enjoyable and far less nerdy version of James Joyce's Ulysses. Kudos, Ms, Woolf!

11. And finally…who’s your favourite Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle (Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo, or Raphael?

I don't have a particular affinity to one Turtle. In fact, they all look the same to me. But when it comes to talking animals I like this guy:


(UPDATE: This ticket is now sold). I’ve got an extra ticket for The Hold Steady’s sold-out show for sale, so shoot me an email if you're interested in this smokin' hot ticket. My cost was $27 and that’s what I want for it.

Speaking of sold-out gigs, Final Fantasy's October 2nd show at the WECC is now sold out. Tickets for his October 3rd performance are still available.

Oh, and Alana Levandoski's October 24th show at the WECC has been canceled.

Infinite Playlist: The xx - xx


10,000 Days Old!

>> Wednesday, 16 September 2009

This post is significant for two very good reasons:

1. IT’S MY 400th POST! Hooray!
2. Today, I am… *drumroll*…10, 000 Days Old! Double hooray!

In celebration of the latter historical event, I was planning on making a definitive “10,000 Days Playlist”, an extensive set of tunes comprising some of my favourite songs of the past 10K days (like Iron & Wine's "Naked As We Came" and The Smashing Pumpkins' "Glynis"). Sadly, I have about 80 jungle-thick pages of 18th Century Literary Theory to hack my through for tomorrow, and it’s likely gonna take all night (and a flood of frustrated tears) for me to read. Rain check on the 10K playlist, ok?

Before I bury myself alive in the cement-heavy philosophical worlds of Voltaire, Hume, and Rousseau, here are some important shows of note:

Matthew Good returns to town on November 21st at the Burt. Presale is underway and the code is Hollywood (thanks to Julie and Andrew for the heads up/code).

Promising indie-rockers Rah Rah return to the Lo Pub on September 24th w/ We Were Lovers.

The Trews play an acoustic gig at the West End on November 18th.

Little Girls open for You Say Party! We Say Die! at the Albert on November 25th.

Final Thought
is at Crescent Fort Rouge United Church this Sunday (the 20th) w/ Crisis Jane and Everyone Everywhere.

Infinite Playlist: Iron & Wine – The Shepherd’s Dog



>> Monday, 14 September 2009

KISS are still alive and kicking and touring and wearing dollops of make-up! Catch 'em live at the MTS Centre on November 9th.

On Halloween, catch Nomeansno at the Albert.

Speaking of holidays, Winnipeg Chantal Kreviazuk is at Pantages Playhouse on Remembrance Day.

Justin Rutledge
is at the West End the day before w/ Melissa McClelland.

Jesse Denatale is at the Park Theatre on October 2nd w/ Scott Nolan.

"11 Questions" Christeners Library Voices return to the Lo on October 9th w/ In Flight Safety.

Speaking of "11 Questions" alumni, The Wooden Sky open for Elliott Brood on September 30th at the West End.

Infinite Playlist: Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix


A Volley Of F-Bombs: Japandroids - Live At The Lo Pub

>> Sunday, 13 September 2009

(Thanks to Sarah for sending along the top photo)

Friday night’s Japandroids show at the Lo Pub confirmed that I am irrevocably getting older and crankier.


See, because all of the reasons why I disliked their set were what I used to love about a stupendously chaotic rock show. These include:

1. 100 people crammed into a 30 person area (now: incipient Claustrophobia).
2. Excitable indie-rock fans slam-dancing in this area (full-on Claustrophobia now + flying elbows).
3. Crowd surfing (flying elbows + kicking feet at the tiny Lo Pub? Not quite the sprawling space of Edgefest ’98).
4. Lead singer/guitarist Brian King’s volley of f-bombs (someone buy him a swearing Thesaurus)
5. Amps cranked past 11 (Vegas is giving 3 to 2 odds on me being full-on deaf by 35)
6. Lots of sophomoric song-dedications (reminded me of seeing friends’ bands in High School... “This song goes out to my best pal, The Maestro”). Plus, this badly hurt the set’s momentum. .

So yeah, even though I love/heart/adore Post-Nothing to an almost unhealthy degree, the Japandroids’ concert experience just didn’t work for me. I’m sure many of you loved it for the same reasons I didn’t. And it was Franz-Ferdinand-show hot in there. Yuck. By the time I bailed (just past 1), I noticed the crowd had thinned considerably and overheard a few people complaining about the heat, volume, and space.

On a positive note, I absolutely loved second-opener Mt St. Helens Vietnam Band. They were like a faster-paced Sunset Rubdown…who put on a stellar concert a couple months back.

Up next: The Hold Steady on September 24th.

Infinite Playlist: Junior Boys - Begone Dull Care


The Green Man

>> Friday, 11 September 2009

Some new shows to throw down:

Marianas Trench are at the Burt on October 27th.

Hatebreed, Cannibal Corpse, Unearth, Born of Osiris & Hate Eternal all comprise a massive metal bill at the Garrick on December 8th.

Aussie imports JET are at the Garrick on October 18th. A digression: Pitchfork's review of their debut Get Born is one of my favourite album reviews ever - I re-read it earlier today and laughed and laughed.

Winnipeg roots-folk patrons Nathan are the opening act for The Vic Chesnutt Band, November 20th at the West End.

Well, gotta run - off to the Lo for some sweet Japandroids action. Have a brilliant weekend!

Infinite Playlist: Matt & Kim - Daylight


11 Questions With...The Paps

>> Thursday, 10 September 2009

Hailing from Gimli (incidentally, my favourite Manitoban town), The Paps make catchy and pithy and untamed power pop. The young foursome – Fiona, Jordan, Jodi, and lead singer Terra are all around 20 years old – have just released their second EP, Not Looking For Romance, and have been busy showcasing its punchy tunes all around Gimli and Winnipeg. And they're buds with the inimitable Guy Maddin - just last year the girls landed the incredibly fortuitous opening spot for Maddin’s My Winnipeg screening at the Burt. What a score!

Anyway, bassist Fiona and drummer Jodi collectively took part in my 11 questions schtick, and here’s what the young ladies had to say. (Sure ain’t hearing a lot of love for Leonardo these days, but lotsa love for Lady Gaga. Hmmm…)

1. Where are you right now?

At the boat, picking up internet from the hotel...

2. Who is your favourite Winnipeg-based band?

What ever band Bobby Desjarlais is in at the moment, he's a superstar

3. Where’s the best place to catch a bite in the city?

There's nothing better then Sals at 4 a.m.

4. What are your top three, all-time, desert-island records?

The Exploding Hearts - Guitar Romantic
The Clash - The Clash
The Arctic Monkeys - What Ever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not

5. What’s one song you love, but regularly dismiss as a “guilty pleasure”?

'Just Dance' by Lady Gaga

6. Which band/artist would you love to tour with?

The Strokes

7. What is the worst bus route in Winnipeg?

All bus routes suck ass in the winter

8. What’s you favourite periodic element?

Oxygen by Bryan Adams

9. What’s the best local record shop?

Music Trader

10. What book(s) are you currently reading?

I'm With The Stars by Pamela DeBar

11. And finally…who’s your favourite Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle (Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo, or Raphael)?

Fiona= Raphael
Jodi=Michaelangelo (she would date him if he were real)

Infinite Playlist: Japandroids - Post-Nothing


The Rural Juror

>> Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Quick note: presale password for Metric is ALIVE (thanks to Rieds for the heads up).

Infinite Playlist: The Rural Alberta Advantage - Hometowns


I'm Focusing On Your Emotion

>> Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Canada's favourite Synth-poppers Metric return to the Burton Cummings Theatre on October 28th. Presale starts Wednesday.

You Say Party! We Say Die! drop by the Albert on November 25th.

ARCTIC swing through town twice in the next month or so. On September 19th, they'll be at the Cavern, and then at the Standard Tavern (formerly Hooligan's) on October 8th.

Infinite Playlist: M83 - Saturdays = Youth


11 Questions With...Sierra Noble

>> Friday, 4 September 2009

At a tender age of 19, Winnipeg fiddling virtuoso Sierra Noble’s salient accomplishments easily belie her years lived. Including taking home the Manitoba Junior Fiddling Championship in 2004, charming audiences in North America, Europe, and Asia with her warm, smoky singing and uplifting fiddling, and earning humanitarian commendation after commendation, Sierra’s resume is deep and impressive and forever expanding. Her new EP, Possibilities, has been getting play all over, mainly on the strength of the heartstring-tugging single “Possibility”. AND she recently opened for Sir Paul McCartney! A Beatle!

The uber-giving folks at her label MapleMusic Recordings have passed along three copies of Possibilities for me to give away to blog readers. If you’re interested, simply shoot me an email (on the side) with “Sierra Noble: Possibilities Give Away” in the subject line and your full name in the body of the email. Deadline is Thursday @ 4 p.m. when I’ll draw the winner randomly.

And the lovely Miss Noble generously took some time to answer 11 questions for me and gave some thoughtful responses. In doing so, she gives a shout out to The King’s Head (where, coincidentally, I’m about to head off to for a night of debauchery), our city’s veritable folk treasure The Duhks (and the much-loved, defunct Scruj MacDuhk), and admits to having two favourite Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

I really should keep an ongoing favourite TMNT tally.

1. Where are you right now?

I’m in my second home right now. My sister Brook’s house in Toronto…I can hear my little niece and nephew fussing around upstairs because they just woke up, and the voice of my goofy modern dancer brother in-law Rob.

2. Who is your favourite Winnipeg-based band?

The Duhks. Even though in reality they’re based out of a van at the moment, they’re an amazing Winnipeg band. Always have been, back to the Scruj MacDuhk days. They’ve really put Winnipeg on the map in the global Folk Music world as a place where really great Folk music is born. Not to mention them being some of the greatest people I’ve ever known in my life.

3. Where’s the best place in the city to catch a bite?

Oh wow, that’s a loaded question…so many to choose from. I’ll give two. Often I find myself craving the fish and curry chips at The Kings Head…best comfort/chill out food ever.
But even more often I have serious cravings for the Combo A and/or Combo B at Masawa in Osborne…it’s my favourite restaurant in the city…it’s…simply…amazing.

4. What are your top three, all-time, desert-island records?

If I were on a desert island…(in no particular order because they’re all equally important to me)

Oliver Schroer – “O2” album …for relaxation, reflection, and having my best friend Oli at my side

Now this second one would require me to have a cassette player on the island, but it’s worth it…I would need to bring my sisters tape of her DJ-ing in like 1999…her name was DJ Terra, one of the hottest DJ’s ever, and this cassette is some killer Drum & Bass. I would miss it greatly while trapped on an island. And she may kill me for writing this, just so you know. She is now a promising, young, fresh out of school, entertainment lawyer in Toronto, Terra Noble…look her up.

And the third I think would have to be Shawn Colvin’s “These Four Walls” album. She’s one of my favourite singer-songwriters ever, and I can listen to this album over and over and always get something new out of it.

I know you said three but there’s some other music that I would fight to have with me too…the Little Village record…Bela Fleck & The Flecktones “Left of Cool” album…and one more song, the song that will never be beat by any other ever for me, “Blackbird”.

5. What's one song you love, but regularly dismiss as a guilty pleasure?

Well, I’m going to have to explain this one or else I’ll be getting a lot of confused and concerned calls from friends. I am a very heart driven person and have always been very romantic and in turn, very sentimental. When I was 15 I fell in love with a guy in Alberta…we were crazy about each other. I went there, he came to Winnipeg, he’s a champion Metis dancer so we toured together sometimes too and he’d dance in my shows. It was beautiful and pure and unstoppable…the kind of love (if you get to experience it at that age) that you’ll search the rest of your life to find again…but probably never will. Anyways, one of his favourite bands was Nickelback. We listened to them a lot because of it. Over time our memories together became woven into this bands songs…and there lies my very guilty pleasure that is my love of Nickelback. It’s a sentimental thing I promise…so please don’t line up in droves to slap the back of my head, haha. This one song in particular was the story of his and my life together, being in love but having the distance between us….”Far Away” by Nickelback…I really do love that song. I’ve been made to feel like I need to apologize for that…but I won’t, I will love it forever despite what others say…just as I did that boy.

6. What was the last great concert you saw?

Paul McCartney. No description needed. Best. Concert. Ever.

7. What is the worst bus route in Winnipeg?

To be completely honest, I don’t take the bus enough to really be able to say…but I do know by experience how annoying it is to get from downtown to Polo Park if you accidentally get on the #11 instead of the #21…

8. Would you rather have invisibility or flight?

Flight! I’ve always wanted to be able to fly.

9. What's the best local record shop in our fair town?

I’m ashamed to say that I really don’t know…I don’t know why but I was never really one to go rummaging through record shops for the next thing that will blow my mind…maybe it’s time to start…anyone wanna come along?

10. What book(s) are you currently reading?

The last really good book I read was called “Ishmael”. There’s a review quote on the front cover that I now fully understand and concur with after reading it, it says, ‘the books I’ve read are broken into two categories…books I read before Ishmael, and books read after.”

11. And finally who’s your favourite Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle (Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo, or Raphael?

It’s a tie between Raphael and Michelangelo.

Infinite Playlist: Sierra Noble - Possibilites


Franz Ferdinand - Live At The Burt

>> Thursday, 3 September 2009

Late yesterday afternoon a friend of a friend offered me a Franz Ferdinand ticket for $20 (First Balcony), so I decided to check out the prized Glaswegian post-punkers last night. I’m not really a FF fan, and wasn’t particularly blown away by their set, but still enjoyed parts of it (mainly the songs from their breakthrough). I was clearly in the minority. Admittedly, the lads from Scotland were loose, fun, sounded crisp, and inordinately pleased to be in Winnipeg. And their drummer basically owned the joint.

I’ve never been up on the first balcony before, and it was stifling hot like the inside of a hockey player’s glove. I had to leave twice just to cool off, and when I returned the first time, it was like being punched in the face by mean-spirited body odour, making that ungodly moment one of my most unpleasant concert experiences to date. *Now* I know how Jerry Seinfeld felt.

Fortunately, I was admitted onto the floor post-main set and relished being in an better ventilated area that wasn’t 45 degrees Celsius and, thus, really, really stinky. When it comes to The Burt, you really can’t beat the sound, atmosphere, and temperature regulation down on the floor.

Anyone else there?

Infinite Playlist: Delorean - Ayrton Senna


She'd Been Building Up A Castle In L.A.

>> Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Long time, no update!

Resident songstress Alana Levandoski is releasing her latest Ken Nelson-produced record Lions and Werewolves at the West End on October 24th. I mention Nelson because he produced one of my fav albums, Kings of Convenience’s Quiet Is The New Loud (plus Coldplay’s Parachutes, which is still a solid listen).

Iconic Canadian roots-rockers The Skydiggers have booked a two-day stay at the West End for November 13th and 14th.

Danny Michel is also doing a two-night thing at the West End but on December 18th and 19th. It’s a pretty unique couple days since his two shows will be recorded and made into a live record. Yes, if you haven’t been, the lovingly revamped West End’s sound is *that* great.

Spirit of the West frontman John Mann is there on November 21st.

Adrian Belew is at the West End on October 6th.

Icelandic electro-wizards STEED LORD play the Zoo on September 24th.

Folksy singer-songwriter Patrick Brealey is at the Albert on September 23rd.

Dan Mangan swoops by the Lo Pub on October 28th w/ Katie Murphy.

Shout Out Out Out Out rock the Pyramid on October 13th.

Champion drops in on November 14th.

Trivium play a gig there on November 19th.

The fantastical-costume-loving Gwar are at the Garrick on December 5th.

Last but definitely not least, I’ll call this scuttlebutt until I can find corroborating evidence: Kanye West - who sure got the piss taken out of him in a recent episode of South Park - is returning to the MTS Centre on November 30th. If this is true, I’ll be there since his Glow In The Dark tour blew me away.

Oh, and congrats to Sarah and Shane for winning The Fast Romantics’ cds. I’ll get those out to you asap.

Infinite Playlist: Phoenix -
Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix


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