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Music

Record Store Day 2017

Sunrise Records

Tomorrow marks the 10th anniversary of Record Store Day!
Record Store Day 2017
It’s been a a sad year for music stores in Canada, what with HMV Canada going into receivership, with all locations shut as of April 14th. Granted it was as far from an independent as you could go, it was still a physical brick & mortar presence in Canada where you could buy records or CD’s in, with staff that were passionate about music and media.

As HMV began to liquidate, from the ashes the announcement came that Sunrise Records would be taking over the leases and expanding across the country in old HMV locations. A Canadian independent since 1977, Sunrise Records is now one of the only record store chains left in all of Canada. Always a favourite of mine, I was gutted to see their flagship location on Yonge Street in Toronto shut several years ago (damn you Toronto retail rent!). Sunrise was always a go-to for our RSD hunting, and I’m especially glad to hear of it’s expansion and am hopeful for its country wide success,

SO! Record Store Day 2o17, ten years on, how this day has grown. Without further adieu following are some of RSD 2o17 releases on my radar (psst – I haven’t included the rerelease of the ‘Dark Crystal’ soundtrack as I picked up a first pressing many years back when I was still lived in Brighton, UK, BUT if you find this, you should get it. Even if you don’t have a record player, just go out and get one, trust me.) RSD 2017 picks

1. The Cure – Greatest Hits  –  (2 x LP picture disc)
2. The Claypool Lennon Delirium – Lime and Limpid Green 10″
3. The Cure – Greatest Hits Acoustic (2 x LP picture disc)

Second Row

4. T-Rex – Electric Warrior – Gold Vinyl
5. The Doors – Live at the Matrix ’67
6. Shocking Blue – At Home (‘Shocking’ Blue Vinyl)

Third Row

7. Placebo – Without You I’m Nothing (12” EP Picture Disc)
8. David Bowie – BOWPROMO
9. David Bowie – Cracked Actor (Live Los Angeles ’74) 3 x LP

Fourth Row

7. The Count Five – Psychotic Reaction
8. The Distillers – Coral Fang
9. The Music Machine – (Turn On) The Music Machine

Music

The Cramps – Psychedelic Jungle

The Cramps Psychedelic Jungle

Artist: The Cramps
Album: Psychedelic Jungle
Cost: $24.99 CDN
Found: Hits & Misses, 799 Queen St West, Toronto, ON, CANADA. (NOW CLOSED)

There will never be anyone quite like Lux Interior.

The singer and founding member of the most excellent garage punk band the Cramps, died in 2009 from a heart condition.

I remember being pretty floored reading the news, floods of posts streaming by on Facebook. Such an outpouring, and such an incredible loss.

Years ago I saw the Cramps play at the London Astoria. The show was sold out, the venue absolutely packed with Cramps fans of all sorts, and the temperature soaring. I wasn’t wearing the most practical of outfits for a sweltering gig and was absolutely melting throughout the show. I can only imagine how Lux Interior and Poison Ivy were fairing on stage under the bright lights (and clad in PVC no less).

I was absolutely enamoured throughout the gig by Poison Ivy, watching her play with an effortless cool and rocking that guitar atop the tiniest of stiletto heel boots, swaying with the beat. The chemistry between Lux and Ivy onstage was electric.

Psychedelic Jungle Green VinylPsychedelic Jungle was the first Cramps record I ever picked up.  We stumbled across this on one of our weekend wanders around Toronto at Hits & Misses which specialized in Punk and Metal vinyl. Very sad to report that Hits & Misses is now shut, and sorely missed as it was a go to if you were after vinyl from those genres. Continue Reading

Beauty & Style

Fade Into You – Desert Dreaming

hold the hand inside you

My mind has been in the West lately. Desert dreaming – romance & road trips, just hurtling across the highway watching the dry and dusty landscapes go by. When I was a teenager I was obsessed with Mazzy Star’s ‘Fade Into You’, both the song and the video (the version shot in the Mojave Desert & Joshua Tree). I was born in Western Canada but we left for the east coast when I was 3, so my memories of the desert and prairies are fleeting. I wonder if that’s why I’ve always been fascinated by those areas – like something inside of me is calling me back.

And though I’m no longer a 14 year old fantasizing of escape from suburban wastelands, ‘Fade Into You’ still evokes that feeling of dreamy wanderlust in me. It’s an absolutely hypnotic and beautiful song.

Twenty years after the release of So Tonight That I Might See (the album Fade Into You is on), the band reformed and put out Seasons of Your Day in 2013.

The first single? California. Hope Sandoval’s voice as ethereal and magic as ever, the first line “I think I’m going back to California…”, strikes such a chord in my heart. It’s so far away.

Stills from Mazzy Star's 'Fade Into You' music video.

I’ll be westward bound again soon, till then this album is on heavy rotation. Below are a few haus & fashion finds for fellow desert dreamers, whether you’re headed there yourself or like to have something reminiscent of those wild lands close by.

Fade Into You - Desert Dreaming Style InspireFADE INTO YOU: DESERT DREAMING STYLE & HAUS INSPIRE

[TOP TO BOTTOM, LEFT TO RIGHT ]

1st COLUMN: 1. Marlowe Carryall 2. Handmade Wooden Sunglasses 3. Bronze Solstice Cage Ring 4. Handmade Boot Straps
2nd COLUMN: 1. Succulent Seeds 2. Ceramic Hands Planter 3. Plaid Flannel Shirt 4. Vegan Lipstick – SIREN
3rd COLUMN: 1. Vintage Floral Skirt 2. Desert Smoke Perfume Oil 3. Cactaceae Boyfriend Tee
4th COLUMN 1. Joshua Tree Print 2. Brass Chevron Necklace 3. Joshua Tree Pouch 4. Mojave Soy Candle

Music

June Mixtape: On Days Like This, In Times Like These

Whoops! I seem to have missed May’s Mixtape last month. Admittedly in May I was really listening to a few specific songs ad nauseam, which though great for when I’m in the zone working on something, doesn’t translate well into a mix for others to enjoy.

So, for this months mixtape I’m channelling a ton of nostalgia – 80’s & 90’s gothic rock style nostalgia. I was born too late to be one of the London Batcave kids, but I did catch the tail end of 90’s goth, frequenting the darkwave / trad goth room at Slimelight. I remember being utterly entranced by the older kids with crimped hair, winklepicker boots, and their ability to mix beautifully lace & drapey crushed velvets.

I always try to continue to expand my musical interests and not limit myself to one specific genre, but there’s something rather fun and comforting coming back to this music, “like a healing hand“.

Music

April Mixtape: I Still Sleep On The Left Side

April’s mixtape is an odd one in that it kind of became a collection of songs suited to a post break up landscape. I’m no where near this world now, but have been plenty of times in the past. There’s something rather indulgently wonderful about slightly aggressive “screw you music“.

It’s like that feeling of being purposefully splashed by a car and all you can do is flip the bird. You might be drenched in gross, muddy water but channelling all your angry energy into that one gesture is pretty freeing.

The same thing goes with just allowing yourself to feel the end of a relationship. A musical backdrop can be a great remedy as you move you through the pain and anger, till you’re on the other side of it for the better.

Music

March Mixtape: Lunar Theories & Stellar Remnants

I haven’t been making mixes as much as I used to. I’m totally aging myself here, but I think I really miss the intimacy of actually making a physical mixtape.

Much like creating a cut & paste zine, there was something wonderfully tactile about compiling the audio equivalent. Ranging from simple, pen scrawled track listings on a blank cassette insert to the more extravagant and thought out handmade artwork and linear notes, mixtapes were little pieces of art in their own right.

Even though I’ve seen cassette tapes popping up and starting to gain retro cool credibility, realistically, I won’t be rocking a walkman any time soon. Enter 8tracks. I’ve had mad love for this site for awhile, it’s a mixtape for the digital age, curated by real people. I love discovering new stuff via 8tracks, so am going to try and dust off my account a bit and have a go making mixes again. This is the first in a series of monthly mixes – March comes in like lamb this year, nostalgic and dreamy.

Are you on 8tracks? Let me know I’d love to follow you!

Music

Return of the Riot Grrrl – L7 Are Back!

L7- Return of the Riot Grrrl

L7 are badass.

While I may have been running around at 14 looking like a black haired mini Courtney Love in baby doll dresses, plastic barrettes and ripped tights, I counted L7 among my favourite bands.

There was something about them to my teenage self that seemed intoxicatingly dangerous compared to other girl groups. They were strong, fierce women and unrepentant of this. I got the sense that if they wanted to, they could really do some damage.

L7 Are BadassAs a young woman having grown up surrounded by saccharine pop ballads and glossy Seventeen and YM mags extolling the virtues of lip gloss and L.A. Looks gel, the Riot Grrrl movement was like finally being able to breathe after having my head held underwater for so long. Breaking the surface, gasping for that breathe of air you need so badly that it feels like your lungs are being stabbed from the inside/out.

L7 Grunge BandThere’s been a resurgence and interest as of late in the Riot Grrrl scene, and I think a lot of this actually stems from the success of The Punk Singer doc on Bikini Kill front woman Kathleen Hanna. It’s kinda appropriate that the charge should come again it seems from Hanna’s direction, given she was very much a pioneer and voice for movement. A new generation are being introduced to Riot Grrrl, and an older generation being reminded of it.

So yes, L7.

There’s been speculation over the past few months as to whether they’d reunite after having been on an indefinite hiatus since 2001. A social campaign has been growing after the following request went out on their Facebook page back in December:

Here’s the situation…
They say to raise a child it takes a village, well to get interest from promoters for L7 to do reunion shows it’s going to take an ARMY. An army of you all. No joke.

L7 Band

Here’s what we need…
We need your continued enthusiasm, your spreading the word by “Sharing” our posts and getting your friends and enemies to “Like” our page.

Well, looks like it worked because news hit today that the original line up of L7 are reuniting with a further string of shows to be announced tomorrow.

AND, for doc loving geeks like myself, a Kickstarter Campaign has just launched in support of their upcoming doc “L7: Pretend We’re Dead“.

AND AND AND it’s being directed by Sarah Price, who produced the fantastic American Movie doc.

This is definitely a Kickstarter to back. For pledging $3,000 or more you and a friend will have a SEANCE WITH L7 to conjure the spirit of Harry Houdini at the world famous Magic Castle in Hollywood? Uhm!!!?@#&#*(% HELL YEAH.

I am so ridiculously excited that these guys are back together and I’ll finally have the opportunity to see them live.

In the meantime, here’s a little vintage 90’s to tide us all over till then:

Music

Merry Hexmas

Hoping today is absolutely wonderful – whatever or where ever you’re celebrating, wishing you very well xx

Music Tattoos

Music Geek Tattoos

Music geek tattoos

Growing up in the Ottawa suburbs I used to watch MuchMusic pretty religiously. I still have a few VHS tapes kicking around from back in the day when I would tape videos off the television, VCR locked and loaded, ready to hit record when one came on I liked. A sort of visual mixtape really.

My introduction to a lot of music early on was through Much, particularly The Wedge hosted by Simon Evans and Sook Yin Lee, it was an absolute goldmine in the 90’s for Grunge and Alternative music.

It was on Much that I first saw Adam Ant, probably during one of their 80’s retro throwback weekends.

‘Stand and Deliver’ was unlike anything my little Doc Marten wearing, thrift store clad self had ever seen before. And while my Reality Bites cohorts killed themselves laughing at the campness of it all, I was absolutely mesmerized. The Dandy Highwayman had me hooked.

Adam Ant's TattoosAdam Ant performing at the O2 in London, UKYears passed, my Adam Ant collection grew and I moved to the UK where Adam and the Ants were still relatively well known, even if by some on just on ‘fancy dress‘ sort of level. It was here where I met my good friend Emma and finally got to see Adam Ant in concert.

Emma on the tube with Adam Ant concert ticketsI’d been throwing about the idea for years of getting a music related tattoo but nothing stuck with me. Passing ideas ranged from the cover art on the Smashing Pumpkin’s Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness album to Robert Smith’s Boys Don’t Cry silhouette to something NIN related. And while I still love all those musicians, I’m glad I waited till I was certain what the perfect music geek tattoo was for me.

Post Punk girls in front of an Adam Ant gig posterWhen I decided to move back to Canada from the UK, as a last hurrah together my friend Emma and I decided to get matching ‘Jolly Roger’ tattoos. The piece was so perfect on many levels, representative of all I loved about London and my friends there. The city is an absolute musical paradise, Punks, Post Punks, New Romantics, Goths and Death Rock kids knocking about Camden, Angel Islington and clubs in Soho. The vibrancy of different scenes, and the crazy energy of Adam and the Ants with their decadent theatricality rooted in punk and the Kings Road.

Tattooed Post Punk GirlsAnd hey. Pirates. Who doesn’t love a good skull n crossbones?

The design – a skull in a pirate hat with crossed flintlock pistols and a wee black heart, artwork used by Adam and the Ants in the 80’s.

Adam Ant music geek tattoosAs for having matching tattoos, I wrote a piece for Tattoo Hero last year on that subject – The Ties That Bind: My Matching Ink Story.

Both Emma and I have incorporated our Adam Ant tattoos into full sleeves since getting the original piece. We were tattooed at Evil from the Needle in Camden Town by Dave Byrant, after an absolutely surreal encounter with Amy Winehouse who walked by Emma’s car while we were blasting music from her “Back to Black” album.

My boyfriend Jeff also has music geek tattoos. And while he rolls his eyes a bit at his first tattoo now (the Led Zeppelin symbols on his back) because of the ubiquitousness of them, the placement is great and they’re executed well. His love for Zeppelin hasn’t faded and the tattoos still hold meaning for him.

The four symbols are a hugely popular music tattoo for people to get, and it’s not surprising given the popularity of Zeppelin, but I also think it’s due in part to the classic design of the symbols.

Led Zeppelin four symbols music geek tattoosThe four symbols came about in the wake of poor reviews from Zeppelin III. For the next album Page decided it would officially be untitled, using symbols to represent each band member instead. These symbols appeared in the records inner sleeve and subsequently would result in some fans referring to the fourth Zeppelin album as “the Four Symbols”.

The four symbols are:

Guitarist Jimmy Page – ZoSo, a symbol designed by Page with roots purportedly going back to a 1557 symbol for Saturn used by Gerolamo Cardano. Page has been resolute in not revealing what the symbol means, and to this day it’s uncertain as to its true origin or meaning.
Bassist John Paul Jones – a single circle intersecting with a a triquetra, chosen from Rudolf Koch’s Book of Signs.
Drummer John Bonham – three interlocking rings, also from Koch’s Book of Signs (and upside down they also happen to be the logo for Ballentine beer).
Singer Robert Plant – a circle with a feather in the centre, his own design.

There’s no definitive order to the symbols, though you’ll generally see them in the order listed above. I asked Jeff why ‘zoso’ wasn’t first for his tattoo, and quite simply he wanted Plant’s symbol first. The tattoo was done by James Sroga of Dead City Studios in North Bay, Ontario, Canada well over 14 years ago now.

The other music geek tattoo Jeff has is the Radio Birdman symbol on his forearm, tattooed at New Tribe in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Radio Birdman tattooRadio Birdman was one of the first Australian punks bands on the scene in the 70’s and are quite frankly fantastic.

The logo was originally designed by singer Deniz Tek, who was trying to develop a symbol for himself. When he formed Radio Birdman (awesomely named so after a misheard Stooges lyric), the symbol came along. With a professional graphic artist in the band – Warwick Gilbert. it was finally used for Radio Birdman after modifications by Gilbert.

Radio Birdman

If you’re considering a music geek tattoo we really love ours, and absolutely no regrets.

As with any tattoo – think it over well first. Music tastes can change, so you really need to know yourself well.

As to future plans for more music geek tattoos I know Jeff’s mulling over the artwork from the Beta Band’s Three E.P’s, and I’m seriously considering a piece inspired by artist Stephanie Pepper’s rendition of Adam Ant as a Dandy Highwayman.

If you were to get a music geek tattoo, what do you think it would be of?