I Was Young When I Left Home

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Minor Tremors

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Tori Amos • Precious Things

12 years old and infamous orange curtains at my uncle’s house in Israel always caused a Pavlovian dog-like reaction. Running past fields of sunflowers to the corner of a place that was shelter. The draping represented music. A ceremony where massive earphones would lock out sounds from everything external. And a rebel 16 year old cousin was my first ever music guru. Names like Sinead O’connor and PJ Harvey and Peter Gabriel and Tom Waits and Neil Young and Jeff Buckley. Thrown in the air for me to catch. But most of all Little Earthquakes. The debut of Tori Amos. An album that celebrates its 20-year-old release today. So complete. 7300 days gone by. The first chilling snow-covered day on the other side of the world. Much has transpired. Nothing has changed. And I’m that kid all over again.

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Songs 2011

The list. 20 songs that enhanced my life. Different from last year, here we have mostly short thoughts rather than stories and anecdotes. A playlist of the past 365 days. My soundtrack of 2011.

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20 • Beirut • Goshen

We begin with a glorious piano and Zach Condon’s long-lost voice singing about loss and a price paid.  Then trumpets and drums and the familiar Beirut-sounding orchestra come to life. It’s an illusion where darkness seems to be light.

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19 • Destroyer • Poor In Love

To know that someone ruminates like me. A proper dose of cynicism. Abundantly optimistic with a dash of sarcasm.   Composing luminescence. What we have here is a modern-day David Bowie.

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18 • Twin Shadow • Changes

Forget flew right by me last year. So a major discovery in 2011. This masterfully produced gem, off an album due next year is quite spectacular. And Twin Shadow always make me think of The Smiths, so I can’t resist.

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17 • St. Vincent • Champagne Year

Annie Clark cuts and soars. She plays her electric guitar and obliterates me. Composes rock anthems. Then softens like in this. Comes up with “I’ll make a living telling people what they want to hear. It’s not a killing, but it’s enough to keep the cobwebs clear”. I can’t not be on board. That’s me.

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16 • Wye Oak • Civilian

This is cheating. A romance with this raging masterpiece started late last year. Back then it was loved. Now I am in awe of it. Off a staggering album released this year, it hijacks my itunes again and again.

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15 • Lindsey Buckingham • Seeds We Sow

Almost 35 years late, I finally fall deeply in love with Fleetwood Mac. You know that feeling when anything Stevie Nicks or Christine McVie sing seems to be the truth? Then this. Lindsay Buckingham still has that power over me and proves it might never be too late for life.

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14 • Lykke Li • Sadness Is A Blessing

Obligatory Swedish kitsch. Pop like no other. What is in that Scandinavian air? The music video for this should have been the trailer for Melancholia.

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13 • Cut Copy • Need You Now

A tug and a pull. Deranged solitary beings in need of solace and an infectious build. At 4:43 it becomes a dance party of one.

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12 • Zola Jesus • Collapse

A slow cry masked by saturated fog and ash. It should be heard and felt. From the bottom of the earth, a raw and dark bellow. It leaves me numb. Zola Jesus appears on this list once more.

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11 • James Blake • A Case Of You

I don’t know what more I could ask for. James Blake captured my heart before. Here he covers the greatest Joni Mitchell song. Repaints a masterpiece and casts a three-minute spell.

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10 • PJ Harvey • On Battleship Hill

The most acclaimed album of the year is complicated. Uneasily, I play Let England Shake in repeat. And endure it and it sinks in and Polly Jean’s story penetrates. The reward slowly uncovered. This is eerie and blue. And when the piano creeps in at 2:17 everything subsides. It’s beauteous.

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9 • The Rapture • How Deep Is Your Love?

A lesson in how to create the perfect hit. Ask a question and simultaneously pummel with multiple exclamation marks.

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8 • Alexander • Truth

These are the sounds I wish I could create in my living room all alone. Fortunately, Alexander Ebert did exactly that. In a year with no new material from Edward Sharpe, I’m thankful for this gospel.

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7 • tUnE-yArDs • Bizness

Merrill Garbus is a marvel. She creates the most twisted and original magic. A whirlwind, a phantasmagorical roller coaster. This is the future of sound.

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6 • Fleet Foxes • Helplessness Blues

Two songs in one. At times I think this desperately calls for a beat. But then the wondrous harmonies radiate. Make me wish these were the 70s. And the lyric “If I had an orchard, I’d work till I’m sore” allows me to dream.

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5 • Niki & The Dove • Gentle Roar (Mylo Remix)

From Sweden (but of course) Niki & The Dove are the most exciting new reverberation this year. Rarely do I clock remixes in my life. But this re-work of a Knife-esque tune is hands down the favorite. The mumble-jumble of sound at 3:41 is a craze. So I need to book a flight to Stockholm ASAP.

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4 • M83 (feat. Zola Jesus) • Intro

The epic soundtrack to that road-trip script I’ve been meaning to write. Anthony Gonzalez and Zola Jesus devise flashing images, fleeting moments, great highs, lowest of lows. In double time, fast forwarded and then rewound to a sweet slow motion. A choir of voices elevates it all and everything around becomes bigger than life.

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3 • Austra • Lose It

Pop-opera. Popera. Katie Stelmais of Toronto reinvents the wheel. With her classically trained voice she generates an anthem. At 3:13 a turn into a darker territory. A haunting path that begs for abandoned dancing and repetition.

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2 • Lana Del Rey • Video Games

Fixation. Obsession. Call it what you will. It’s current and honest. It’s the smoky voice and the anomaly that is LDR. And I don’t mind if she’s a puppet in a well-oiled machine. It’s a perfectly constructed ballad. It’s the questions asked and the answers not given. It’s simple and so very good. It’s one of my most played tracks this year.  And this is incredible too.

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1 • Bon Iver • Perth

Euphoria at Massey Hall on December 7. Without a doubt, the best opening of a live show I’ve ever experienced. This song. A guitar, like a ray of light, creates the drone note from 0:08 throughout glorious twists and turns and the layers added. I should have chosen Holocene. But couldn’t after that concert. Justin Vernon delivers a sophomore album that took me a while to fall in love with, but when I did, it became the soundtrack of a year gone by. And so I glaze over 2011. It was not magnificent. Yet, that moment. Where chills crept down my spine. Goosebumps throughout my body. I realized I was listening to my favorite song of the year. “Still alive for you” he sings. While I look ahead to a better horizon.

Heavenly Creatures

Peter Gabriel • Blood Of Eden

In the middle of the night gusting winds and rain outside and a dream about falling do not let me sleep. Not being able to collapse back into a soothing coma I prop open a window and inhale nicotine mixed with cool air from a violent breeze hovering over the uncanny streets of Toronto.
Then, lying on the hardwood floor staring blankly at the ceiling. Yearning for a sound to slice the petrifying silence and bring life to my idle body. The chosen soundtrack is full of rich orchestral strings and heavenly creatures serenading. It’s wondrous how my ruminations have been pondered and written and sang before. A calm slowly trickles through each muscle and limb. I scrape myself off the ground and ascend into a desolate haze in which I write this and then plummet again.

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Lifeline

Lindsey Buckingham • Seeds We Sow

Hark! An acoustic guitar speaks to me. It tells me I’m still alive. It takes the lead, it’s a melodic lifeline.  It’s constant and vibrant and even when it fades out it comes back for more. As if to say “I’m here and so are you. And if you think it’s over and done with, it’s not”. So I carry on.
I often wonder what I’ll see in my last seconds of breath. What fleeting images will pass by. Milky light before the black. Dark shadows on concrete sidewalks. Maybe a single, defining moment of life. That time I accomplished that thing and felt like a success. Or a road trip, pictures through car windows, like bridges or endless fields of red anemones lost in green because of my color blindness. Or just my deceased grandparents, back in their small town in Israel, under a legendary avocado tree.  It might just be me sitting in front of a screen typing words about the future and the grand finale. Smoking a cigarette and thinking that right now I’m just fine.

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Blue

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James Blake • A Case Of You

12:21 am. The most wretched month of the year. In a week of everlasting frigidity. Blue is not simply a color. It’s a thought. An existing subterraneous sentiment.  A toilsome knot. Too burdening to alleviate. But when the purest voice meets the bravest song. It’s James Mitchell or Joni Blake. It’s astonishing. I turn the volume up high. So that Blue metamorphoses into ocean. Or sky. Hardship subsides. Suddenly. I’m on the mend.

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Doubt

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John Lennon • Love

Then there was the endless murmur of the radiator in our studio apartment on West 23rd. Overlooking a hotel across the street that is out of time. We stared at disenchanted couples in isolated rooms without envy. A single candle on the rustic wooden floor was the epicenter of our space. The glow illuminated our eyelids. False warmth as the temperature outside plummeted on and on and on. Because when I finished reading the poem I crafted during this past week of pain, your face said doubt.  You were inclined to play Leonard Cohen’s Chelsea Hotel No. 2.  Wilted comfort over the weak fiery flare. All I could hear was “I don’t need you”. So I blew out the flame.

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Park Life: The Songs of 2010

Here we go again. A glorious musical year ends. Full of exploration and extremes. Still writing. Still posting songs. Still ruminating over what this music does to me and putting it to words. Last year’s list was shorter and arranged at my brother’s apartment in Tel-Aviv. On the other side of the world, it rained incessantly. This year the list was compiled in this haven of mine on Park Road. On the first snow-covered day. It was time. Because precipitation and dark skies make me reflect. I guess.
18 is a random number, but it’s the most honest one. Adding more songs wouldn’t have made this as personal and true. These tracks shaped my year, my walks, my flights, my moods, my seasons, my mornings and late, exceedingly late nights. My life. Park Life. I briefly wrote about each of them. Simple anecdotes, thoughts they conjure and the places they take me. There were many other lovable tunes that didn’t quite summon up words. I simply loved them because I loved them. Those might show up in the near future, in some form or another.
The genius artwork was created by the gifted Meghan Kraemer, who’s on a much-deserved hiatus from photo-shopping stuff, and still willingly complied. I’m honored to showcase it. Couldn’t thank you more Meg. Love Lah you.
Here is my very personal musical journey. A playlist of the last 365 days. My soundtrack of 2010.

 

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18 • EFTERKLANG • FULL MOON

An intoxicated night in Tel-Aviv early September. A city that claims to never sleep seemed to have taken quite the nap. I decide to walk to my brother’s apartment and listen to music being shuffled at random. A 30 minute walk on the empty streets of my favorite place in the world. This song starts playing. Unrecognizable at first. An album I’ve owned for several months, but never really took the time to let in. So I resist the urge to skip. And all of a sudden the strings and the choir and the beat of the drum and the piano are a blessed gift. An unblemished soundtrack. Approaching my brother’s street, writing drunken facebook messages on friends’ walls from my phone. I look up at the Mediterranean sky. A full moon up above. Or a figure of my imagination. Then at home. Crash. Wake up depleted. But this song remains.

 

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17 • ARCADE FIRE • ROCOCO

A third. Of my holy trinity of bands. Love most everything they produce. Always have, always will. It goes: Radiohead <-> Grizzly Bear <-> Arcade Fire. In the weeks before the release of The Suburbs, snippets of this song trickled onto the web. An exciting sense of discovery overcame me. A sound unheard before.  When the album came out, it was all that I hoped it would be and this was in repeat. On a miserable day in August, grey clouds threatened to pour merciless rain on us. We went downtown to watch the modern kids play live on Toronto Island. I lost my friends in the crowd as this song was playing. I went on an expedition, the whole time thinking “I’m missing this”. But really, it was all registering. Rococo engraved in my brain. There was no torrential downpour. It all turned out okay.

 

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16 • JOANNA NEWSOM • EASY

Disc one track one of a saga. A trilogy that truly is a triumph from one of the most hyped-about, harp-playing, fairy-like, uber-talented phenom that is Joanna Newsom. And I distinctly recall the moment this played for the first time. Opening a door to the voyage that is listening to magic. An impressive journey of poetry put to music. Back then I thought it would be hard to trump this opener. Secretly hoping that each song will be better than the one before. And the rest of Have One On Me is quite sensational. But this remains favored. As if she could read my mind, this was the first song on the setlist of her live show at the Phoenix too. Making it eeeeeasy. Eeeeeasy for me to endure.  Sing. Speak. I’ll appear.

 

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15 • MIDLAKE • ACTS OF MAN

Right around this time last year I was visiting my family in Israel. My father turned 60 and I surprised him, by just walking into that renowned purple house of ours. The look on his face was priceless. A moment to remember for life. The first signs of a Middle Eastern winter, i.e. no snow, some rain and the possibility of warm sunny days. After my year-end list was finalized, I could start exploring songs of the year to come. This was the first one. The harmonies made me think Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Midlake tend to do that.  I was hooked. In my parents’ living room, the need to share this with someone was overpowering. My mother was making dinner. I turned up the volume. She liked.

 

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14 • SPOON • I SAW THE LIGHT

A rock ‘n roller-coaster. Back in the frost of January I was listening to a different track in repeat and making up stories about two best friends and a wall. However, this one is a maze. In which, no matter how sure Britt Daniel sounds and how many times he repeats the title, I never know if in fact I’ll see the light at the end.  But it happens. At 2:17. A shift. Flecks of luminescence begin blazing slowly in all their glory. To precisely create one uniform solid ray. In the most raw and organic way possible. By 4:28 I fully sense it. I’m blinded. And all’s right with the world.

 

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13 • LCD SOUNDSYSTEM • ALL I WANT

The joy of seeing LCD live twice this year is indescribable. It happened to me. On different sides of the world. And to have shared it with my brother in Israel was priceless. This Is Happening was one of my highlights this year. Play it front to back without thinking. In order. And abandon worries. Surprisingly, both in Toronto and in Tel-Aviv, James Murphy and co. hardly played any of the new songs. But it was all right. With a canon of groundbreaking, brilliant tracks from previous albums, the new material wasn’t essential.  And on a visit to NYC late April this was what I listened to. From JFK to Jamaica station to Delancey/Essex. Then a walk to Ronny’s place. Cigarette in hand. First signs of a summer to come. Much like that astounding city, I was alive. Confident in where to go. But I got lost, took a wrong turn, recovered. Strangers still asked me for directions. It felt like home.

 

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12 • OWEN PALLETT • LEWIS TAKES OFF HIS SHIRT

I write. Detach. Devise solitary characters. To vindicate a feeling. Put to words inner most thoughts. Repeat. Now and then in the first person. Most of the time not. Owen Pallett astonishingly does the same thing in this grandiose anti-hymn. Lewis comments on Owen. On life. With Owen. With the most rich melody and lush lyrics. To be able to create an ornate work of art such as this staggering piece. That is my final fantasy.

 

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11 • PETER BRODERICK • SIDELINE

This quintessential winter song was uncloaked in the dead of summer. Utterly inappropriate. So then the gloom kicked in, and this was the right companion for that. The exact dose of sincerity. A sensitivity that makes me envious. Stripped down. Piercing acapella. A living proof that all you really need is a heavenly voice. A gentle piano. And heart.

 

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10 • JAMES BLAKE • I NEVER LEARNT TO SHARE

A young prodigy from the UK creates a magnum-opus using a single sentence: “My brother and my sister don’t speak to me, but I don’t blame them”. A couple of months ago, somewhere around 3 am, my usual music/soul-searching time of day, I happened to stumble upon this. An odyssey of sound and harmonies. I’ve always been infatuated with families heavily saturated with siblings. Brothers & sisters. Because I love the one I have. To death. And this track makes me wish I had an abundance of them. Just like him.  Even though I can imagine it must be tasking to share.

 

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9 • SUFJAN STEVENS • I WALKED

We go way back. 4 years ago we were pretty much inseparable. And then a long hiatus. One that was very much needed for me to appreciate anew. In all honesty, my first listen through of The Age of Adz didn’t draw me in completely. I didn’t immerse myself in it like I did with Illinois. Track #8 Vesuvius is exquisite, but other than that the sound of his voice was too much of a reminder. A throw back to an album that (I thought) he could never live up to. And 3 weeks ago I gave it a second go. And this track is everything I loved and so much more. Electronic notes that are seamlessly weaved with an angelic voice crying “I walked because you walked, but I won’t probably get very far”. Heartbreaking and seemingly faultless. 4 years later. And we’re back.

 

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8 • BEACH HOUSE • SILVER SOUL

Late March. The smoke and illumination on The Opera House stage signified everything that THE best album of the year is. A hazy, colorful dream. Teen Dream. Front to back. Victoria Legrand is a force. With embracing vocals, lyrics and melodies that captivate. Ironically, a band named Beach House captured my soul for the better part of winter. My silver soul. When the year started Zebra played in repeat. But then this became the one. Shauna said it’s all reminiscent of Cocteau Twins. A modern-day version. She shared Cherry-Coloured Funk on my wall, which will now forever be linked with this Baltimore duo. Bewitching and irresistible. The chanting of “It is happening again” haunts me every time. My mind fills with re-occurrences I wish would cease. And the desire to forget.

 

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7 • LAURA VEIRS • JULY FLAME

Songs are places. In February I was Colorado bound. A ski trip I thought would be a mistake. As per usual, obscenely early for my flight. Obsessively listening to this on the moving walkways, while staring at oversized windows revealing taxiing airplanes and cold. And then on the breathtaking slopes of Breckenridge, Vail and Keystone. This song again, with the words “July” and “Flame” in its title. The irony. And I was so wrong. I had the time of my life. The trip was wondrous. This song is wondrous. A feat, with a choir and clapping and Laura Veirs asking “Can I call you mine?”. Sure can. Upon arriving home all I could do was write this.

 

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6 • JAI PAUL • BTSTU

Music gurus. I have a few. Everyone should have at least one. Some are fellow blog writers, one is a radio show host, and a couple are close friends. One of them is Mark Paiva. 99.9% of the songs he recommends I simply adore. I don’t need to over-think the pressing of play when he shares a track. So somewhere around March, on a random Tuesday, I opened my eyes to a feed of “news” on facebook. Paiva shared this, with the simple “Shit this is good!” caption hanging above. And boy was he right. This has become an obsession. Jai Paul, another young prodigy from the UK, with a timid falsetto, demands you to not fuck with him. Crazy, heavy, infused synths throughout stimulate an undeniable groove. Shocking and marvelous. A killer demo. I can’t imagine what it’ll sound like on an official album release. Also, 9 months later I still don’t have a clue what BTSTU means.

 

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5 • SHARON VAN ETTEN • LOVE MORE

Not sure how much more I can gush about this masterpiece. Relayed my thoughts here and here. Crystal clear. A precious work of art. Our song. Rebecca and I. The one we could listen to over and over and over again. Chained to the wall of our room, we hit repeat without an ounce of hesitation. We saw SVE live twice this year. She enhanced our lives with her presence and song and kindness and vitality. Her album is rightfully titled Epic. Yet another adjective to attach to one of the most stunning tracks to ever grace my ears.  Love more? Could I possibly?

 

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4 • MIRRORS • HIDE AND SEEK

The reason I follow some very special blogs. Because no matter how skilled I think I am in discovering the freshest reverberations out there, some people can simply do it better. And that’s what happened in April, when a favored blogger posted this smashing hit. Yes, a hit in my mind. This foursome from Brighton will surely detonate into the world next year. They must. A confession to a loved one that moves me. And makes me move. I think this one (even more so than Robyn’s tune) made me dance on my own the most this year. First there was this demo, and later in the year they released a new, different sounding version with an official music video. I prefer this earlier take. The one I originally fell in love with. Sounds more unsure, not as polished, less produced. It’s waking up in the morning from a wild sleep, with someone new lying next to you in bed, hurriedly running to the washroom to check imperfections in front of the mirror. That someone new has got to be for you.

 

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3 • ROBYN • DANCING ON MY OWN

To Sweden! Anyone who knows me knows my thoughts about this. And Robyn. This was her year. A 90s Swedish Princess upgrades to Queen. Back. Reinvented. Better than ever. I recall listening to this for the first time back in April. I hit play and instantly went from Go to Whoa! I think many people had the same experience with this boiling dance hit. 8 months later and it’s still devilishly irresistible. Addictive and perfect, it simply is the most extraordinary electro-pop song anthem released in years. And when the explosive beat at 3:07 hits, the rest is history. January 26 is when we get to see her live. Hope her show lives up to this.

 

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2 • THE NATIONAL • AFRAID OF EVERYONE

I’m assuming it’s very hard to produce a masterpiece and then try to achieve such great heights again. High Violet was released this year. A gorgeous album that couldn’t quite live up to the phenomenon that was/is Boxer. But who cares when you have songs like this? In September I visited my family in Israel. And on the way to the airport with my parents, a ride towards another sickening departure, this came on the radio. The three of us were silent, staring out respective windows. The dry landscape hurriedly passing by. The soundtrack to yet another goodbye in the works. It helped. It didn’t help. And in May at the legendary Massey Hall, I was surrounded by friends and this song live. Having the worst seats in the house didn’t matter. Stunning golden lighting. Meg took a snapshot of a priceless moment that would become a profile pic. Subdued breathing. A braid of voices reiterated “You’re voice is swallowing my soul soul soul”. And a single hidden tear was shed.

 

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1 • CARIBOU • ODESSA

A song unskippable. One that never should end. If only. The Dauphin accompanied lazy grey Saturdays in the summer, full of rain and lethargy.  Some of my thoughts regarding that mellow soother can very much be applied to this upbeat treasure. Every time this plays, by choice or at random, I’m transcended to unrivaled places. Flawless entwining of electronic beats and the soft vocal of mastermind, mathematician-turned-musician-extraordinaire Daniel Snaith aka Caribou. No wonder it seems so perfectly calculated. In apartment 3313, or on the street, or working out, or at my favorite bar. Countless are the times I’ve lost myself in the sound, relentlessly giving in to the beat.  But also feeling. A discrepancy between quivering lyrics of heartache and pain about a suffering relationship, and a melody that begs you to sway. Genius juxtaposition. Chaos ensues and reaches its peak at 4:55. And I’m lost at sea. Enchanted. Enveloped in another world. I never want to leave. And this is THE song of 2010.

 

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Happy Holidays!

Ghost Town

Wye Oak • Civilian

Moments when I don’t think of you anymore. I stare outside the window. Ghost town. No cars. Civilians gone. The frost puts everything on hold. Smoke what will be my last cigarette. Acknowledge it being over. Done. End. Full stop. Sealed in a chest that should never be reopened.  I’m proud of myself for those moments. Upon considering it to be the past, a strange sensation overcomes me. Placid. Not good. Not bad. Also while thinking about forgetting you, I strike a match. And much like the idea of a final cigarette, I realize I lie.

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Back of My Mind

Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros • Fire & Water

370 days ago. In the heart of this autumnal city of ours. A band of innumerable members struck live. It was an event. Chaos. Joy. Excitement. A fluttering sensation of unrelinquished love for music and life. The set list included all the glorious tracks that form their near-perfect debut album, Up From Below. And then a song unknown. Jade. Solo. Captured my heart.  She did not seem ok. I was not ok. The need to unearth the hidden gem was overpowering. Then it slipped into the back of my mind. Fast forward 370 days later. A year gone by. Older. Not necessarily wiser. To this playing.  And all’s right with the world. Now I’m ok. Or better. It seems.

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Tornado

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Sharon Van Etten • One Day

 Sharon Van Etten sold me an American Apparel t-shirt back in April. At the Horseshoe Tavern. Unassuming, appreciative and down-to-earth, she played make-believe retail salesperson with us and rightfully complimented my gorgeous best friend’s beautiful face. In front of two dozen people in the crowd, her voice filled the legendary space and sent chills down our spines. We requested Love More and she complied. Unprepared. An acoustic version we might never have had the privilege to hear, had we not asked. As twenty-ten slowly comes to an end, it might just be a front-runner for best track of the year. Tonight, seven months to the day, we get to see SVE live again. Opening for Junip/José González. God. I don’t think I need much more than that.

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Short & Sweet

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Sun Kil Moon • I’ll Be There

 Sappiness dissipates. Simple words. A corny ballad metamorphoses into magic.  Autumn. Fall. That is all.

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Made Him Old


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The Smiths • Reel Around The Fountain

Pissing rain on their town for a change. They decide to meet at a rustic tea room by Charing Cross station. Being with her, and at this geographic locale, he figures he should play the part. So he orders for both of them. One Darjeeling and one Green. As they sip the scathing liquid and stare at passersby on their way back from their lunch break to mundane office jobs, he’s certain he spots Sherlock Holmes rushing to catch the train. A sea of Burberry coats and umbrellas covering the streets make the pairing of London and the brand a total cliché. She asks him about his parents and siblings. Not sure of his age. He feels he needs to ask her back. He notices her impeccable, wrinkle free pencil skirt. Her burgundy stiletto starts shaking vigorously. Before urging them to leave, she mumbles something about a spouse. And as she grabs his hand and they step outside, he knows he won’t return to St. James High School ever again. His innocuous mates wrap their brains around trigonometry. As he grows up.

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Soliloquy

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Sufjan Stevens • Casimir Pulaski Day

 Winter 2006. I think was mild. Some snow and mainly harsh bursting winds. In a tunnel. Bitter and slashing on serene Heath Street West. The place I called home for three educational years. To the academia, via underground paths, to a grey and barren campus north-west of a city alive. This voice in the background was there throughout that season and to the end of my scholastic experience. I recall bright afternoons during Christmas break. Lying on my grandparents lush sofa, devouring Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections and a musical masterpiece named Illinois playing in repeat. Revealing itself as the epic that it is. Walking to the supermarket in slush and creating cinematic snapshots of life with it being the accompanying soundtrack. Our final assignment in university was to write and perform a seven minute monologue. When my final words were said, lights were dimmed. Music was cued. Sufjan Stevens filled the space. A banjo. A trumpet. Angelic vocals. Harmonies. Piercing perfection. A tale about loss put to song, superior to any soliloquy I attempt to conceive. The stage went dark. I was done.

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Also, exciting news. This site has been nominated for a Canadian Blog Award! Would love it if you took a moment to vote here.

Kites

Bon Iver • re: Stacks

“We’re having a soiree come on up!” you yelled outside your iconic window. Facing bustling Queen street, the voice of party and no reason shot waves of sound east and west. The best spot in the world. High as kites, we welcomed no one. You offered passersby to come and knock on our door. I fostered the idea of dressing up as Jack, Chrissy and Janet for Halloween. Three’s company after all. Seems like the story of our lives lately. Vino, toxic laughs, a reunion with a cat that makes so much sense, an incorrect order of pizza and then this song. It just gets better with age and it’s the first sign of forthcoming cold winds. Hopefully this one will be a good winter — bon hiver.  When the night ends, I walk down the staircase and pause right before the exit. A painting on the wall to the left catches my eye. A mother and her daughters braiding hair. So I stare at it for a moment and still hear voices of a sedated gathering that waits to be extinct. The painted ladies are weaving. Some sort of tale. Much like this astonishing tune. And then I make a move because a stranger is behind me. Hastening me to leave.

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