Caribou

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It’s Wednesday, and if you’re a pessimist this means you still have to get through the second half of the week before party city. I actually enjoy Wednesdays because I can feel the weekend approaching, Thursdays are usually cool and Fridays are a joke. To me, the week is pretty easy from here on out, or it would have been if I were still in school and not working a retail job that picks up on weekends. But, if you are a pessimist or a retailer, you may need a solid jam to get you psyched for the weekend and help you push through in the home stretch. For the rest of you, this is just another amazing tune. It’s brought to you by Caribou who has been all over music media for a while now. Caribou hails from Dundas, Ontario, which is pretty neat since that is basically Hamilton, and are about to play a sold out show in Toronto. Unfortunately, I missed the boat on this one, but hopefully I can come across tickets somehow.  The song is called Odessa and right from the first note you can tell it’s going to be a good one. It’s insanely catchy and the perfect addition to any dance party playlist.

Lost That Easy

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It should come as no surprise that Cold War Kids are making yet another appearance on my blog. Clearly, I love these guys. Lost That Easy was a staple this weekend during the hectic nightmare that was unpacking all of my belongings and painting my entire apartment. For the record, it took me four days to get it all done. During such tumultuous times it’s important to have a song that really takes you away from the present to avoid getting lost in a maze of self-pity. This tune really did it for me. I can’t get enough of the singer’s unique sound. Belting along is a must; however, I fully admit that I am quite awful. Really though, who cares? Whatever helps me get the job done.

St. Lucia and Vacationer Roll Through The Danforth

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Last night I hit the Danforth Music Hall for yet another show. I was beyond psyched for this event because it was a celebration of both my first night as a Torontonian and my sister’s birthday. I’d seen St. Lucia before so I knew that it would be amazing but that doesn’t even begin to describe it. The place was packed because people have started to pick up on how good these guys are. They kicked the show off on a high note and had the audience hooked right away. I hit another level of excitement when the songs I’d been dying to hear all week were up, Wait For Love and All Eyes On You. They treated us to some new songs which was prefect because it really changed things up from the last time I saw them (at Osheaga). The show reached another level of high when some of the more electro beats came out. My personal favourites from this part of the show were September and Too Close. I couldn’t get over how amazing the drums sounded. That was some serious talent. They sound great in the recorded versions but it’s an entirely different experience live. While I’m at it, I will mention how refreshing it is to see a solid saxophone solo. It almost makes me regret giving up the sax. I was the third best alto sax player in the grade 7/8 Challenge(d) band after all. They closed the show with a couple of crowd favourites. Obviously, this included Elevate and When the Night which really set the stage for a crazy night of dancing after the show.

One of the things that stood out most during the entire show was the ridiculous stage presence of every member of the band. Everyone was dancing and having an amazing time. It was almost impossible to decide who to watch. Also, they looked as good as they sounded… so much style. The energy throughout the entire set was unreal. I do feel a tad badly because they were not getting quite as much crowd participation as they usually do at some points. For example, during We Got It Wrong the audience is supposed to sing along and kind of failed at that. I don’t think that had anything to do with the band’s performance. I’m chalking it up to most people being newer fans and maybe not knowing the song. Either way, it was still amazing. I thought it was kinda neat when the singer went around and introduced every band member. This is pretty common during encores, but this time they said where everyone was from as well. It was nice to get a sense of each member’s background, and it makes perfect sense that people from all over the place could create such a unique sound when they come together. I didn’t have a single low moment and I can’t wait to see them again! I loved it so much I had to buy When the Night as my first vinyl and housewarming gift to myself. I can’t wait to unpack so I can break it out. I’ll be reliving this night for quite some time.

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I also want to mention that Vacationer did an amazing job as an opener. There were definitely fewer people in the audience when they were on stage, but they succeeded in getting everyone dancing and smiling. It’s hard not to dance when the singer is having such a great time himself. I’d only heard their newest album, Relief, once prior to the show but I can definitely say I will be checking them out now that I’ve had a chance to see them in the flesh. The vibe fit perfectly with St. Lucia, but was enough of a departure that they stood out on their own. I would have to say that Paradise Waiting was my favourite. It’s downright infectious.

See Ya #HamOnt

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Tonight marks my official last night as a resident of Steel City. These past fourteen months have been an experience. This may have been the hardest year of my life, but isn’t growing up always tough?

It started with me graduating from Queen’s and being totally lost. I had no idea what to do with my life and no money. I wanted to move out on my own in my hometown, but when I wound up broke and sleeping in my car I decided it was time to swallow my pride and move in with my mom. She generously let me live rent-free so it was my best option, but it meant moving to Hamilton. Hamilton was a couple of hours away and completely foreign to me besides the stories I’d heard of how dirty and scary it could be. Because bad things always happen in threes, I also wound up unemployed and single for the first time in three years within my first week in Hamilton. Times were tough but I was excited for a fresh start. Reality hit when I was working the shittiest serving job and making about $120/week. This was about the time I rediscovered my love of music.

Music helped me find the person I lost when I started dating my ex and allowed myself to become wrapped up in my relationship. Even though I was struggling to get by from day to day, music made all of it better. I was in a strange city with no friends, yet most of the time I didn’t feel lonely. Music made me want to get off my butt and start enjoying life on my own. I found a much better job, became a gym rat, and slowly things improved. I can say with certainty that I have had some of the best times of my life in the past six months. I started pushing myself out of my comfort zone to avoid missing out on the things I enjoy most. I go to shows solo and it doesn’t bug me. I’ve become much closer with my family. Most importantly, I decided to pursue a long-time goal of mine and move to Toronto. This brings me closer to friends, family, and my passion for live music.

So, here’s to Hamilton! This place is straight out of the twilight zone. I can’t say I love it, but it has taught me so much, forced me to become more independent and actually put effort in to providing an exciting future for myself. I will miss the friends I’ve made, Augusta Street (i.e. The Ship, The Pheasant Plucker and Gallagher’s), and I will miss the music scene. I’ve never experienced a place quite like this. If you want to get a sense of what I mean, just listen to any album by the Arkells. They are quintessential Hamilton; fun, talented, insanely entertaining and proud. They even have an album titled Jackson Square. I chose Heart of the City because it seemed like an obvious choice. I hope you enjoy the best Hamilton has to offer.

Wait For Love

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This song is not news to me but that doesn’t mean I love it any less. Around Christmas time last year I got a mixtape from a guy I was seeing and it opened my eyes to the wonderful world of St. Lucia. Wait for Love was easily one of my favourites on the whole tape (CD) and I can’t say I love it any less, even after a year of listening. It’s such a pleasant, upbeat song. It’s impossible to listen to this without smiling. It’s kind of rare and exceptionally refreshing to hear a song this fun and not have it cross over in to the realm of annoying and overplayed. I challenge you to chill out, close your eyes and play this song the next time you are really stressed and life is getting you down. For me, it works wonders. It’s off the album entitled When the Night, which I sincerely hope to hear in its entirety when I see them live this Friday.

It’s even harder not to love this song when you see their Sidewalk Sessions version on the SoulPancake YouTube channel. It’s clear how talented these guys are and how much fun they have doing what they do. It’s infectious. Also, the walking keyboard is amazing.

Sales

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One of my go-to songs to listen to during my commute these days is Getting it On by SALES. Another artist reposted this song on their SoundCloud page, which is a great way to find new music. I always find it interesting to see who my favourite artists listen to and draw inspiration from.

I love the dreamy, ethereal feel to this song. The melody is soft and sweet, and the singer’s voice matches perfectly. The lyrics have a slightly different tone if you really listen to them, but it’s still a great listen. SALES released an EP by the same name in September and all of the tracks seem like a great addition to any indie playlist. These are the kinds of songs I would want to listen to while tanning on a beach somewhere, just enjoying the hot sun and chill vibes. Can you tell I miss summer?

Here’s the EP for your listening pleasure:

We Can’t Ever Die

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I’ve got big plans on Friday night to hit up the Danforth Music Hall again and check out another show. This time, I fully intend to be present for the opening act in its entirety because it’s Vacationer and I’ve heard only positive things. I happened to come across this tune with just enough time to fall in love before the big night. It’s a remix of a song called We Can’t Ever Die by White Arrow. For the sake of this post I decided to check out the original as well. While I am also thoroughly enjoying the original mix, the remix has that extra layer of funky goodness I need to get me pumped for Friday. Now I can’t wait to see Vacationer and St. Lucia! What a night this will be…

Jordan Klassen

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Indie Shuffle strikes again with this little gem by Jordan Klassen. Bonus points to this guy because he’s Canadian. I love when that happens. The song is called Firing Squad and it’s got that infectious feel that makes me smile even though it’s after midnight and I’m utterly exhausted. His sound is what I’d describe as an easy listen, not because it sounds like daytime-radio-clinic-waiting-room music, but because I could throw this on in nearly any scenario and feel confident it would fly. How can you not love this sweet, poppy, indie-folk tune? The answer is simple, you can’t not love it. Double negatives, yay! So, if you’re like me and want to float in to your dreams on a high note tonight give Jordan Klassen a listen.

Don’t Wanna Be Your Girl

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Prepare to hear one of the most empowering breakup songs that isn’t by Queen Bey. I heard this song in the form of a remix earlier this year while I was a citizen of breakup city and I LOVED it. The song is about saying enough is enough which is necessary despite the feelings you may have towards that certain person when they can’t give you what you need. We’ve all been there at some point. It’s as if the singer was reading my mind. I listened to this pretty much on repeat for at least a week while I was working up the courage to call things off. Even if you are in a happy relationship, you can still appreciate the simple beauty of this song. Also, the video is certainly easy on the eyes. Nothing says raw vulnerability like a the singer, nude and covered in mud.  It’s not as sexual as it sounds.

 

Also, check out this remix by Branchez. This is the version that initially got me hooked. While going through a breakup I prefer to listen to a songs that are a little more upbeat rather than wallowing in self pity and this one accomplished exactly that.

Evening Commute

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Spotify is an amazing way to find new music. As soon as it was introduced in Canada I was all over that. I have it on my MacBook and iPhone. Both apps are amazing. I find the selection to be a thousand times better than Songza, which was my random playlist app before Spotify. I have had a ton of fun browsing through playlists from different artists and users. Evening Commute is hands-down my favourite go-to playlist. I love just about every song that has been uploaded on this one. On more than one occasion I have gone through the entire six hours or so of chill indie-house beats. It’s perfect for driving, cleaning, walking, reading and just about any other activity that you would need some relaxing, fresh tunes.

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