Tuesday, May 27, 2008

3 live at the Sound Academy (video)

These guys were fantastic opening for Opeth.

Opeth live at the Sound Academy in Toronto, May 24, 2008

Opeth live at the Sound Academy

Opeth 9

Opeth 5


Demon of the Fall
Master's Apprentices
The Baying of the Hounds
In My Time of Need
Serenity Painted Death
To Rid the Disease
Heir Apparent
The Drapery Falls

Toronto skyline at night

Toronto Night Skyline (wide)

I took this photo from the docks (click to see larger version).

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Papercuts: Can't Go Back

Currently enjoying this album very much.

Spring tulips in Gatineau

Tulips in Gatineau

Tulips in Gatineau

Tulips in Gatineau

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Friday, May 16, 2008

Makeup mirror on table

TV07: Lamp

Nothing was re-arranged in this shot -- the setting was exactly as I found it.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Russian Circles: Station

Russian Circles is a three piece instrumental post-rock/post-metal band from Chicago. Be sure to check out their most recent release, Station.


TV07: Chicago viewed from the CTA

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Fiery Furnaces live in Toronto, Dec. 12, 2007

"Black Hearted Boy"


Matt of The Fiery Furnaces


Matt of The Fiery Furnaces


Taken at Lee's Palace on December 12, 2007.

First-person trip down Mt. St. Louis-Moonstone

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Mars Volta live in Toronto, May 12, 2008

This was one insane concert.

It was at The Sound Academy in Toronto, which is a very long and narrow venue. It was a zillion degrees inside and packed to the hilt. People keep pushing forward causing the crowding problem to worsen as the night wore on. At one point the security people had to gesture to the audience to start stepping back.

The Mars Volta (live) - 03

When you're watching the video, be sure to watch how entire sections of the audience move in a sudden lateral manner. That's how packed it was.

The male to female ratio was way out of whack. I'd say 10:1 in favour of the guys -- maybe even as bad as 15:1.

The Mars Volta (live) - 02

And the weed. Man, I have never seen so much pot smoked at a concert. And I go to a lot of concerts. When you watch the video you'll see an endless succession of smoke puffs.

Just after the concert started, the guy right next me smoked-up in a real hurry. He didn't make it through the show. At around the 2:30 point in the above video he completely passed out. He just dropped to the floor like a rock. He eventually got up, regained his senses, and then left.

The Mars Volta (live) - 05

Some people started throwing stuff at the stage. At one point lead singer Cedric Bixler-Zavala warned the audience that if they keep it up they would stop the show and "keep all the money."

Getting nervous, I eventually made my way to the back just to be safe. I endured a lot of physical abuse at the Messhuggah show during the previous week, so I was in no mood for more elbows to the face. Well, luck was not on my side last night as I ended up in the path of two guys in a fight and was nearly knocked to the ground.

What fun.

The Mars Volta (live) - 06

But the band was great. High energy, kinetic, and powerful. The neo-psychedelic aspect was really brought to the forefront, as was the unique and highly improvisational guitar playing of Omar Rodríguez-López. They had 8 guys on stage playing everything from wind instruments to bongo drums.

And as crazy as the experience was, I won't want to miss them the next time they come to town.

The Mars Volta (live) - 07

Toronto skyline from The Docks

Toronto Skyline from the Docks

Cloud Gate optics at Millennium Park in Chicago

TV07: Millenium Park: Cloud Gate Optics

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Ministry live in Toronto, May 4, 2008

Ministry (Live) - 03

Ministry (Live) - 04

Calvin's mini Lego Millennium Falcon

Calvin's Mini Lego Millennium Falcon

My son Calvin likes to make micro versions of Star Wars ships with Lego. This is his version of the Millennium Falcon.

The Helio Sequence: Keep Your Eyes Ahead

Portland's The Helio Sequence released their fourth album, Keep Your Eyes Ahead, this past January. I love this CD, but I think it's been largely overlooked; very underrated. Think Travis meets John Denver. Seriously.


Evelyn - Christmas 2007 - 42
Our family friend Evelyn passed away in February. This photo was taken last Christmas, about 6 weeks before she died. For some reason she obsessively read only one page of the Bible -- the section about Original Sin.

Saturday, May 10, 2008



My parents' new old dog. Poor thing was recently orphaned when its owner passed away.

Friday, May 09, 2008

The Duke Spirit: Neptune

This CD came out in February and I highly recommend it. Hints of Grace Slick, The Cult, and Sonic Youth. Fantastic.

Massive Attack live in Toronto, Oct. 6, 2006

Massive Attack live in Toronto, Oct. 6, 2006.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Meshuggah Live

Meshuggah (banner)

Meshuggah (Live) - 9

Meshuggah (Live) - 15

Meshuggah (Live) - 7

Meshuggah Live at the Kool Haus on May 4, 2008.

Meshuggah: "Bleed" (Live)

Meshuggah performs "Bleed" at Toronto's Kool Haus on May 4, 2008.

Ministry: "Watch Yourself" (Live)

Ministry performing "Watch Yourself" at the Kool Haus in Toronto, May 4, 2008.

Skiing at Mt St. Louis-Moonstone

This is me hitting the slopes at Mt. St. Louis-Moonstone on March 10, 2008.

Drive-By Truckers: "Putting People on the Moon" (Live)

Drive-By Truckers perform "Putting People on the Moon" at the Opera House in Toronto, March 19, 2008.

Drive-By Truckers: "Two Daughters and a Beautiful Wife" (Live)

Drive-By Truckers perform "Two Daughters and a Beautiful Wife" at The Opera House, Toronto, March 19, 2008.

The Most Serene Republic: "Why So Looking Back" (Live)

The Most Serene Republic performing "Why So Looking Back" at the Mod Club in Toronto, March 1, 2008. Love that piano sequence in 11/4 time.

Placebo: "Special Needs" (Live)

Placebo performing 'Special Needs' at the Kool Haus in Toronto on April 9, 2007.

Best albums of 2007

Time once again for my round-up of the year's top albums.

It was a particularly strong year for music and I was fortunate to be able to listen to a lot of it. Over 125 albums to be exact. My genres of choice included alternative rock, post-rock, experimental, metal, post-metal, industrial, alternative country, electronica and ambient.

This year I rated each album out of 10 stars. A 9+ rating means it's a classic, above 8 is excellent, and anything between 7.0 and 7.9 is still worth your while. Stay away from anything below 6.9.

My album ratings for 2007:

#1. 23 by Blonde Redhead (9.4)
Beautiful, sweeping and melodic dream pop. Stand-out tracks: "23", "Silently," "The Dress," and "Top Ranking." Top ranking indeed.

#2. Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga by Spoon (9.3)
Every track shines on this classy, fun and perfectly crafted album; one of the great bands of this decade. Stand-out tracks: "Don't Make Me a Target," "My Little Japanese Cigarette Case," and "Don't You Evah."

#3. Fear of a Blank Planet by Porcupine Tree (9.2)
Best prog album of the year by a long-shot, and one of Porcupine Tree's best albums yet. Stand-out tracks: "Sleep Together," "Anesthetize," and "Sentimental."

#4. Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? by Of Montreal (9.1)
Alt-pop, anyone? More fun than anyone should be allowed to have with one album. Stand-out tracks: "Bunny Ain't No Kind of Rider," "Faberge Falls for Shuggie," and "Labrinthian Pop."

#5. In Rainbows by Radiohead (9.0)
Unexpected greatness after a 4-year hiatus; Radiohead still matters. Stand-out tracks: "15 Step," "Bodysnatchers," and "House of Cards."

6. Children Running Through by Patty Griffen (8.9)
The only alt-country diva who comes close to Neko Case; unbelievable vocal performances and solid songwriting. Stand-out tracks: "Stay on the Ride," "Getting Ready."

7. Year Zero by Nine Inch Nails (8.9)
Reznor is relevant again. "Survivalism," "The Beginning of the End," "Vessel."

8. Andorra by Caribou (8.8)
Smooth, melodic and organic; sets a new standard for what can be done with samples. "Melody Day," "After Hours."

9. Excellent Italian Greyhound by Shellac (8.8)
This is what happens when you let recording engineers make an album; can you hear me now!!?? "Be Prepared," "The End of Radio," "Steady As She Goes."

10. Neon Bible by Arcade Fire (8.8)
Despite the hype, they deliver; these guys are for real. "Keep the Car Running," "Intervention."

11. Sky Blue Sky by Wilco (8.8)
Bringing that 70s FM sound to the 21st century -- guitar solos and all; Tweedy's melodies slay. "Either Way," "Impossible Germany," "Shake it Off."

12. Mirrored by Battles (8.8)
Four very talented guys who sound like eight very talented guys. "Atlas"

13. White Chalk by PJ Harvey (8.8)
Mmmmm, PJ on the piano. "The Devil"

14. Trees Outside the Academy by Thurston Moore (8.7)
This album is so good. Sweet arrangements, and even sweeter songwriting. "Off Work," "The Shape is in a Trance."

15. Population by The Most Serene Republic (8.7)
Best post-rock release of the year; another excellent addition to the very characteristic Toronto music scene. "Why So Looking Back," "Solipsism Millionaires."

16. Person Pitch by Panda Bear (8.7)
Brian Wilson meets experimental post-rock. And rollercoasters. "I'm Not," "Bros," "Take Pills."

17. Cease to Begin by Band of Horses (8.7)
Not quite up there with My Morning Jacket, but definitely a band that's coming into their own; solid sophomore release. "Islands on the Coast"

18. Beauty and Crimes by Suzanne Vega (8.7)
Yes, Suzanne Vega released an album this year -- and you should be sorry you missed it. "Anniversary," "Ludlow Street."

19. Friend Opportunity by Deerhoof (8.7)
Cute, quirky and sometimes non-sensical; I think these guys might actually be geniuses. "Matchbook Seeks Maniac," "Perfect Me," "+81"

20. Fables from a Mayfly: What I Tell You Three Times Is True by Fair to Midland (8.7)
Pop-metal that doesn't offend; dramatic, confident, and solid from start to finish. "Dance of the Manatee," "Walls of Jericho."

21. Death is this Communion by High on Fire (8.7)
A metal purist's delight; this is what thunder would sound like if it formed a band. "Death is this Communion," "Fury Whip."

22. Wincing the Night Away by The Shins (8.7)
Not as dazzling and fresh as their first two releases; maybe I'm starting to take their brilliance for granted. "Sleeping Lessons," "Sea Legs," "A Comet Appears."

23. Cross by Justice (8.6)
Absolutely huge sound design; I'd write more but I have to go dance now. "D.A.N.C.E.," "Phantom," "Genesis," "Tthhee Ppaarrttyy," "Valentine."

24. Drums and Guns by Low (8.6)
Sadcore that actually uplifts. "Hatchet," "Pretty People."

25. The Apostasy by Behemoth (8.6)
Polish blackened death metal brutality. "Slaying the Prophets Ov Isa," "Be Without Fear."

26. City of Echos by Pelican (8.6)
Consistently excellent instrumental post-rock that comes oh so close to post-metal. "A Delicate Sense of Balance," "Spaceship Broken Need Parts," "City of Echoes."

27. Challengers by New Pornographers, The (8.6)
Proving that they are in fact mortal, it's their weakest album yet, but the Neko tracks shine; still better than most bands. "Go Places," "Myriad Harbour," "All the Old Showstoppers."

28. Kala by M.I.A. (8.6)
Crank this sucker; brilliant use of samples and crazy beats. "Bird Flu," "Bamboo Banga," "Boyz," "Hussel."

The rest:

29. West by Lucinda Williams (8.5)
30. Liars by Liars (8.5)
31. Friend and Foe by Menomena (8.5)
32. Daydream Nation by Sonic Youth (8.5)
33. Harvest by Naglfar (8.5)
34. Conqueror by Jesu (8.5)
35. Nil Recurring by Porcupine Tree (8.5)
36. Make Another World by Idlewild (8.5)
37. The Boy With No Name by Travis (8.4)
38. Send Away the Tigers by The Manic Street Preachers (8.4)
39. The Besnard Lakes are the Dark Horse by The Besnard Lakes (8.4)
40. The Shepherd's Dog by Iron and Wine (8.4)
41. Night Falls Over Kortedala by Jens Lekman (8.4)
42. Amoeba by Hacride (8.4)
43. Snakes and Arrows by Rush (8.4)
44. Fort Nightly by White Rabbits (8.4)
45. Armchair Apocrypha by Andrew Bird (8.3)
46. Ithyphallic by Nile (8.3)
47. Ongiara by Great Lake Swimmers (8.3)
48. Here We Go Sublime by The Field (8.3)
49. Boxer by The National (8.3)
50. Grinderman by Grinderman (8.3)
51. Saltbreakers by Laura Veirs (8.2)
52. The Fragile Army by Polyphonic Spree (8.2)
53. Serpent Saints by Entombed (8.2)
54. Untrue by Burial (8.2)
55. Down Below It's Chaos by Kinski (8.1)
56. Passenger by Mnemic (8.1)
57. We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank by Modest Mouse (8.1)
58. Grindstone by Shining (8.1)
59. Drastic Fantastic by KT Tunstall (8.0)
60. Grindhouse - Deathproof by Various Artists (8.0)
61. The Good the Bad and the Queen (8.0)
62. Oh, Perilous World by Rasputina (7.9)
63. Rapid Eye Movement by Riverside (7.9)
64. Ire Works by Dillinger Escape Plan, The (7.9)
65. Cassadaga by Bright Eyes (7.8)
66. For Emma, Forever Ago by Bon Iver (7.8)
67. Strawberry Jam by Animal Collective (7.8)
68. No Shouts No Calls by Electrelane (7.8)
69. The Last Sucker by Ministry (7.7)
70. The Blackening by Machine Head (7.7)
71. Samus Octology by Irepress (7.6)
72. Songs III Bird on the Water by Marissa Nadler (7.6)
73. Ghosts Will Come and Kiss Our Eyes by Hrsta (7.6)
74. The Stage Names by Okkervil River (7.5)
75. The Sun by Fridge (7.5)
76. Ordo Ad Chao by Mayhem (7.5)
77. Widow City by Fiery Furnaces (7.4)
78. Pocket Symphony by Air (7.4)
79. With Oden on Our Side by Amon Amarth (7.4)
80. Visitations by Clinic (7.3)
81. The Reminder by Feist (7.3)
82. The Mix-Up by The Beastie Boys (7.3)
83. Favourite Worst Nighmare by Arctic Monkeys (7.2)
84. And Your City Needs Swallowing by I Am the Ocean (7.2)
85. Release the Stars by Rufus Wainwright (7.2)
86. Restless in the Tides by Forever in Terror (7.2)
87. Copia by Eluvium (7.2)
88. The Adventures of Ghosthorse and Stillborn by CocoRosie (7.2)
89. Sound of Silver by LCD Soundsystem (7.2)
90. Family Tree by Nick Drake (7.1)
91. Country Mouse, City House by Josh Rouse (7.1)
92. The Con by Tegan & Sara (7.1)
93. La Cucaracha by Ween (7.1)
94. From Beale Street to Obliveon by Clutch (7.1)
95. The Marrow of a Bone by Dir En Grey (7.1)
96. An Ocean Between Us by As I Lay Dying (7.1)
97. Astronomy for Dogs by The Aliens (7.0)
98. Icons, Abstracts Thee [EP] by Of Montreal (7.0)
99. Deliver Us by Darkest Hour (7.0)
100. Shadows in the Light by Immolation (7.0)
101. In Stormy Nights by Ghost (7.0)
102. A Weekend in the City by Bloc Party (7.0)
103. Icky Thump by White Stripes (6.9)
104. Yours to Keep by Albert Hammond Jr. (6.9)
105. Tears of the Valedictorian by Frog Eyes (6.8)
106. New Wave by Against Me! (6.8)
107. In Sorte Diaboli by Dimmu Borgir (6.7)
108. Yours Truly, Angry Mob by Kaiser Chiefs (6.6)
109. Elect the Dead by Serj Tankian (6.6)
110. The Historical Conquests Of Josh Ritter by Josh Ritter (6.5)
111. Foley Room by Amon Tobin (6.5)
112. This Age of Silence by Anterior (6.5)
113. Xenosapien by Cephallic Carnage (6.5)
114. Places Like This by Architecture In Helsinki (6.4)
115. It's A Bit Complicated by Art Brut (6.4)
116. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend by Miranda Lambert (6.4)
117. Living With The Living by Ted Leo & The Pharmacists (6.3)
118. Volta by Bjork (6.3)
119. Under the Blacklight by Rilo Kiley (5.9)
120. Some Loud Thunder by Clap Your Hands Say Yeah (5.8)
121. Never Hear the End of It by Sloan (5.8)
122. Punch by Sondre Lerche & the Faces Down (5.7)
123. Vena Sera by Chevelle (5.6)
124. Era Vulgaris by Queens of the Stoneage (5.6)
125. Our Love to Admire by Interpol (5.2)
126. Chrome Dreams II by Neil Young (4.9)
127. United Abominations by Megadeth (4.6)
128. One Man Revolution by The Nightwatchman (4.2)

Comments welcome! Please feel free to submit your own top five.