Sunday, January 26, 2014

My best of 2013 music

This was drafted a few weeks ago, I created the YouTube playlist but forgot to post it. So, on Grammy night I guess this is now more appropriate.

I've posted "best of" lists for many years (although I can't find them all to reference right now), but this year I was a little reluctant as I hadn't found a lot of new material or hadn't found much that I was really jazzed about.  Interesting fun fact that I'm very pleased to share is that the majority of these tracks are getting regular airplay on Toronto's new Indie 88.1 FM.  We have not had such a good station since the good CFNY years.  I'm also not certain it's because I'm hearing many of these tracks on the radio or that I'm hearing them on top 40 stations, but I definitely feel the weight of pop in this year's list.

As a disclaimer and unlike previous years, not all of these tracks were released in 2013 (if it's ok for the Grammys...).  A few 2012 releases but I didn't hear them until this year, so I'm calling this list 2013, best of (incl. newly discovered 2012s).  So why 17 tracks ?  I used to base the list on what would fit on a CD, but unfortunately quite a few of these tracks have been purchased through iTunes (versus past years of grey market downloads), but I'm not certain how many gift CDs I'll be able to burn for family and friends (sorry).  I did some trimming from the original choices and stopped at 17 as it looked like it was about the right amount for a CD, plus my son turned 17 last month.  Of the 17, I've seen 3 live of them live this year (Arctic Monkeys, Stereophonics and Fast Romantics).  And there are many more American artists in the list than past years and there are 3 Canadian artists (Serena Ryder, Fast Romantics and Arcade Fire).

Instead of embedding on links here, simply go to my YouTube playlist for all the videos together.

Daft Punk - Get Lucky
Arcade Fire - Reflektor
Empire of the Sun - Alive
The Neighbourhood - Sweater Weather
Cayucas - High School Lover
Django Django - Default
MS MR - Hurricane
Lorde - Royals
Serena Ryder - Stompa
Arctic Monkey - Do I Wanna Know
The Generationals - I Never Know
Valerie June - You Can't be Told
Stereophonics - Indian Summer
Imagine Dragons - Radioactive
Fast Romantics - Funeral Song
Bastille - Pompei
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis - Same Love feat. Mary Lambert

Movie reviews December 2013 and some forgottens

Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy

Silly and wildly offensive, but still very funny with many LOL moments. Huge cast of top draw comedians.


Before Midnight

Same mesmerizing dialog portrayed by the superb Hawke and Delpy. But much more serious and dramatic than previous instalments. Interesting supporting cast with their fair share of rich lines.


World War Z

Terrifyingly real (for me). Lots of mixed reviews - perhaps too much hype. It was much better than I expected. Superb sfx. Sure, the plot could have been stronger, but the straight up suspense and action were top notch.

Gotta compare to the walking dead. WWZ not as gory, but I thought it was more of a fright. The speed of those WWZ undead was scary.


And some forgotten reviews from months past:

Just Go With It

Very light and silly, but fun for fans of Sandler and Aniston.  I think Swardson's German hilarity beat out Kidman's daft performance.  Sandler and Aniston made a good couple with good doses of humour.  Aniston was simply irresistible.  Good soundtrack too.



I'd had this recorded for quite a while and never found the right time to submit myself to this potentially horrific story.  I watched it on a quiet afternoon and it was much better than I expected. Amazing how gripping it was with its very, very limited cast, sets and scenery.  I was amazed at the quality of the plot contents - superb acting and yes, terrifying.  Very well done and definitely not for everyone.


The Impossible

Horrific and extremely emotional journey. My wife was right - it was a tear fest. Super re-creation that does a terrific job of showing the power and devastation of the deadly force of nature. A real life horror show - frightening, gut wrenching, stomach turning and nerve racking.



Had it all - tech toys were amazing; some romance; great sci-fi plot (although there were a few questionable bits); nicely tied up with a big Cruise bow.  Reminded me quite a lot of the Howey books Wool and Shift.  I think they used the famous Maui mountain Haleakala for some location shots - and I'd coincidently just read about this beautiful location for its photographic reasons.


Witty, aged, very silly in bits, with a few serious scenes, but pretty entertaining.  Fonda, Mathhau and Caine were standouts.


Man on a ledge

A little awkward at times and a few unbelievable plot elements, but great stuff.  Escalates, twists, and surprises.  Very entertaining with solid cast.  Even the closing song was spot on.  I'd heard similar from reviews, but it was much better than I expected.


And yes, I have seen a few of the Oscar nominations, but saving that post until closer to Oscar night. 

Saturday, January 25, 2014

My NOW digest

I always manage to find items in NOW magazine that catch my attention, things I want to check out and share with friends.   A quick wrap of last week's issue:

New production of Les Miz still on until Feb 2 - would be nice
Rob Ford "not shamed by anything"
Lessons from the ice storm: cost of putting wires underground in 1970 $5,000 per house; the catch 22 of trimming the needed 25% tree canopy; the tenuous water infrastructure (the biggest consumer of power in the city)
Masterpieces from the Guggenheim exhibit at the AGO - no excuse not to go as I'm a member
London Road at the Bluma Appel Theatre - could be interesting and British 
Zippo Hand Warmer - super cool gift idea (coincidence that I also noticed the Heat Trick billboard ad today)
Trend Trunk - an opportunity to sell your used clothing thru an online consignment service
Fire logs - didn't realize there are all kinds of environmental issues with them
Eat Cheap item - Peter Pan $9 lunch special - nice
Concerts: Brazilian Girls at The Hoxton Feb 2; The Fratellis at The Phoenix Mar 1 (going with the gang); Kinks 50th anniversary tribute show at The Silver Dollar Feb 15; Kraftwerk in 3D at Sony Centre Mar 23; Trombone Shorty  (past but want to hear more); Cate Le Bon (cool name for a Welsh lady - check out note to self); Augustines at The Garrison  Mar 11 (seen twice, are the guys going?); Cayucas at The Garrison Mar 2
Albums: Against Me! - Transgender - liked earlier track; Coeur de Pirate - Trauma
Movies on my list: Dallas Buyers Club; Blue Jasmine (should be on disk now); American Hustle - why only NN ?; Captain Phillips (on disk); Enough Said (date movie opp); Hunger Games Catching Fire (NNNN - maybe I should finish the book and see it); Inside Llewyn Davis; Rush; Don Jon (on disk)
Movies reviews still to publish reminders: Her 8/10; 12 Years a Slave 9/10; Gravity 8/10

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Slacker and friends at the Rivoli

We have a very gifted musician friend that plays on occasion with his band, Slacker.  We went to see them play recently at The Rivoli.  A very cold night but it didn't stop lots of friends and family coming out to see the three bands on the bill.

Links to my photos published on other web sites

I recently Googled pjmixer and was pleasantly surprised to find the following use of my shots (my licensing allows the use of my photos for non-commercial purposes). 

Thanks for the photos credits everyone