Twitter
Contest

Courtesy of Collective Concerts, enter here for a chance to win a pair of tickets to see Foy Vance on Monday, October 21 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.

Last Month's Top Sellers

1. BEATLES - Abbey Road (50th Anniversary)
2. BON IVER - i,i
3. SANDRO PERRI - Soft Landing 
4. RHEOSTATICS - Here Come The Wolves
5. JOAN SHELLEY - Like The River Loves The Sea

Click here for full list.

Search
Login

FEATURED RELEASES

Tuesday
Aug212007

THE NEW PORNOGRAPHERS - Challengers

new%20pornographers-challengers.jpgDespite much blogosphere chatter about Challengers being dour and lacking the energy of past efforts, the latest from the New Pornographers is hardly a snooze. A better suggestion might be taking a bit more time to embrace an album whose charms are no less abundant, just more subtly displayed. Sure, maturity always feels like code for "less enjoyable", but the gentle regret and sadness of Challengers is indeed a mature turn. In fact, the 'challenge' of which the band speaks could easily be toward its audience: come bearing patience, and you'll leave with beauty.
Tuesday
Aug212007

TALIB KWELI - Eardrum

talib%20kweli-eardrum.jpgHip-hop fans craving trunk-rattling power best take a pass on Eardrum, an album whose songs are more built on carefully constructed jazz and neo-soul sounds. The album's strength, and Kweli's strength in general, are his words. Kweli is a fantastic MC, possessed of impeccable flow and heady lyrics that are always intelligent without being showy or condescending. Boasting an impressive cross-genre guests list (everyone from Jean Grae, Madlib and Kanye to Norah Jones, Roy Ayers and Justin Timberlake), Eardrum is a little long, but has more than its share of solid, whipsmart tracks.

Thursday
Aug162007

OH NO - Dr. No's Oxperiment

ohno-dr.nos.jpgThe third album by the younger brother of hip hop producer Madlib, Dr. No's Oxperiment is more than just a case of sibling imitation. You can't deny how similar the album is to Madlib's superb 35-track instrumental opus, Beat Konducta Vol.1&2, but Oh No's style is far more focused on melody than spooky atmosphere. Patched together from samples of Turkish, Greek, Italian and other rare European psychedelia, Oxperiment is dizzying, hooky and fun wordless hip hop that proves these brothers can eat at the same table without stealing too much from each other's plates.

Saturday
Aug112007

WHITE NOISE - An Electric Storm

whitenoise_anelectricstorm.jpgA pairing of American-born David Vorhaus with BBC Radiophonic Workshop techs Delia Derbyshire and Brian Hodgson, White Noise was a definite contender for the oddest band signed to Island in the late '60s. With a more soft-pop-tinged A-side (although not without its more hardcore moments, such as the actual orgy recordings spicing up the Beach Boys bassline of "My Game Of Loving") backed by two long-form freakouts on the flip, An Electric Storm is both a novel artifact of its time and a highly original project that's still considered a high-water mark for experimental pop.

Tuesday
Aug072007

OKKERVIL RIVER - The Stage Names

okkervil%20river-stage%20names.jpgIn 2005's Black Sheep Boy, Okkervil River gave us a classic indie rock album. Literary, passionate, nervous, exuberant and dynamic, it played like film, full of recurring characters and themes. Like The National's Boxer, the new Stage Names stands to inherit the rewards of two years of touring, word-of-mouth and eager anticipation. So good on Will Sheff and crew for making a record that equals the superb Black Sheep Boy on every level. The Stage Names is a worthy sequel and honours expectations by relying not on gimmicks, but conviction, spirit and strong writing to seal our love.
Tuesday
Aug072007

MAGNOLIA ELECTRIC CO. - Sojourner (Box Set w/ DVD)

magnolia%20co.-sojourner.jpgLike Will Oldham (Bonnie "Prince" Billy) or Bill Callahan (Smog), Jason Molina has the distinction of being one of indie rock's most prolific and mysterious personalities. Using his elusive psuedonyms like an undercover agent (first Songs:Ohia and now Magnolia Electric Co.), Molina is a narrator and observer of great quality and insight. This box set collects a wealth of unreleased material, both solo and in full-band lineups, that is anything but subpar. Complete with a lovely woodcut box and DVD, it won't bring you much closer to understanding the man, but it's a great pleasure being lost in his world. 

Wednesday
Aug012007

GRAND ANALOG - Calligraffiti

grand%20analog-calligraffiti.jpg

Winnipeg MC Odario Williams, also as a member of hip hop crew Mood Ruff, has been working on Grand Analog for some time. Less of a linear solo project than a guy inviting his talented friends over to work on his tunes, Calligraffiti refused to be contained. The key here is that despite its grand ambitions, Calligraffiti remains focused on hip hop first and foremost. So no matter how many genres are on tap (classic rock, reggae, etc.) the foundation of the record is beats and rhymes. A further indication that it's high time Canadian hip hop gained the same cred as its indie rock.
Wednesday
Aug012007

BISHOP ALLEN - The Broken String

bishop%20allen-broken%20string.jpgBishop Allen took it upon themselves to generate some buzz last year. The project? An EP a month for a year, producing an incredible 58 songs and blog-load of hype and ecstatic write-ups. Now they've taken the cream of the crop and assembled a full-length for wider consumption. The verdict? The Broken String boasts more than enough great tunes to suggest their 2006 marathon was more than just an exercise in excess. Their take on literate folk-pop has plenty of contemporaries (Decemberists, Shins, Okkervil River), but they display enough wit and hooks to prove their worth.

Wednesday
Aug012007

CROWDED HOUSE - Time On Earth

crowded%20house-time.jpgIt's so easy to be cynical about this recent rash of reunions. So what makes Crowded House's case different? Well for starters, Kiwi songwriter Neil Finn never stopped making quietly vital solo albums in the time since the breakup; in fact, this was originally slated to be his third until the presence of CH bassist Nick Seymour shifted his focus. Or maybe it's just that the unassuming Finn is one of the most consistent, unsung writers in pop. Like all CH albums, Time On Earth is an exceptional study in lasting, bittersweet beauty. Such simple pleasures shouldn't be questioned, only embraced.

Tuesday
Jul312007

BAT FOR LASHES - Fur and Gold

bat%20for%20lashes-fur%20and%20gold.jpgLet's get this out of the way: Bat For Lashes' Natasha Khan sounds a lot like Bjork. Ah, but which Bjork? With the Icelandic icon currently exploring life as some kind of walking technicolour apple, it's easy to understand why so many Brits are nuts for Bat For Lashes. On Fur and Gold, Khan displays a directness that many of the artists to which she's compared (Bjork, Kate Bush, Tori Amos) have forsaken, all while retaining an air of unpredictability. Handclaps, harps, and piano create a translucent fabric that dresses but never obscures the exquisite centerpiece of this confident debut: Khan's voice. 

Monday
Jul302007

EL KINTO - S/T

el%20kinto-el%20kinto.jpgIf you’re a fan of Tropicalia, you’re bound to be knocked out by this compilation. Led by the eccentric Edouardo Mateo, El Kinto recorded some of the more unique sounds Uruguay had to offer in the late ‘60s. Their trick was to blend their country’s native “candombe” music with bossa nova and British beat. Seductively melodic and slightly off-kilter, El Kinto’s songs were never even released at the time, strangely enough. The liner notes explain why in compelling detail, and also provide the English translations of their Spanish lyrics, just in case you wanna sing along.

Monday
Jul302007

TALK TALK - Spirit of Eden

talktalk-spirit.jpgTalk Talk had already found fame with their first three albums, so they decided to make the next one on their own terms.  The result was a meandering avant-gardy, jazzish pop album that was near-impossible to tour live. EMI wasn't thrilled, of course, but critics were and so am I, because Spirit of Eden is glorious. It's been called atmospheric and lush, which it is, but with ecstatic rock-on moments, too. It's also been called timeless, and that's sure proven true--20 years on, and every time I play the album here someone gets a dreamy look in their eyes and leaves with it.

Thursday
Jul262007

JEREMY STRACHAN - The Heart Of The Matter

strachanj.-heart%20of%20matter.jpgAlthough now a resident of St. John's, Nfld., Strachan has been a Toronto fixture for years. Whether as a bassist in Sea Snakes, an indie-rock sax-for-hire, or in woodwinds n' buckets duo, Feuermusik, he is an endlessly capable musician. This 36-minute solo album stretches those capabilities to their furthest yet; a four piece suite in response to the paintings of Toronto artist, Katie Bond Pretti, The Heart Of The Matter is an enthralling listen. Recorded in a T.O. art gallery and emboldened by the room's natural reverb, Strachan's sax and clarinet sing with intelligence, reserve and emotion.
Thursday
Jul262007

BLITZEN TRAPPER - Wild Mountain Nation

blitzen%20trapper-wild%20mountain.jpgThere have been recent signs that, like psychedelic rock, folk, and, well, everything else before it, 90's indie rock has been gone long enough for a new generation of musicians to stake its claim to its style. Sure enough, Blitzen Trapper bear the sonic stamp of Sebadoh, Pavement, GBV et al, where the guitar playing was sloppy and singing charmingly off-kilter. But the excellent Wild Mountain Nation warrants attention on its own merits, thanks to unexpected doses of Southern rock and country balladry to keep our 'spot-the-influence' compasses confused. The great songs don't hurt either.

Wednesday
Jul252007

BREAD - S/T

Bread_St.jpg

Bread was one of those bands who I had resigned to the category of MOR '70s pop not worthy of a listen, but the amazing Elektra box Forever Changing included a few tracks which thoroughly piqued my curiousty. This album differs greatly from the other Bread material I was familiar with. David Gates wrote some incredibly unique and catchy pop tunes but, unfortunately for my tastes, quickly turned to making overly produced schmaltzy easy listening music. Check out "Don't Shut Me Out", "Family Doctor" and "Friends and Lovers" for some of the high points of this pop gem.

Wednesday
Jul252007

DANIEL HOPE - East Meets West

hoped.-east%20meets%20west.jpgI saw Daniel Hope perform Beethoven's Violin Concerto with the Koln Symphony about a year and a half ago and it was an event. I had not seen a classical violinist play with such precise recklessness in a long time. I bought this album at the concert and it remains a favourite of mine. The mixture of Indian ragas, Romanian folk dances, and Ravel rhapsodies could have proven an awkward stab at cross-genre appeal, but Hope and his accompanists make it work through sheer will and talent. An eclectic listen that retains a strong unity of themes despite its diverse repetoire.

Wednesday
Jul252007

MICHIO KURIHARA - Sunset Notes

kuriharam.-sunset.jpgSome have come to know Mr. Kurihara through his work with the underappreciated Ghost, Damon and Naomi, and most recently, Boris. Well, Sunset Notes sounds a little like all of those projects while remaining completely its own. From over-the-top builds to pretty folk songs and surf guitar riffs, one of my favourite albums of the year. A++!

Tuesday
Jul242007

YEAH YEAH YEAHS - Is Is EP

yeahyeahyeahs-isis.jpgFollowing an album whose considerably cleaner sound left their fanbase divided (2006's underrated Show Your Bones), this new EP returns to safer territory for the trio. Whether or not you enjoyed Bones, the brevity of Is Is highlights one of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' greatest strengths: their ability to sound so big with so little. The drums and guitar are both rawer and stronger than in a long while and singer Karen O sounds positively primal at times, tremblingly tender at others. A quick reminder that despite more artful recent excursions, this band can still kick ferociously and without artifice.

Tuesday
Jul242007

EMILY HAINES & THE SOFT SKELETON - What Is Free To A Good Home? EP

hainese-what%20is%20free.jpgEmily Haines' appeal has always stemmed from a generous combination of beauty and brains, but unlike her role in Metric, her solo material rests more firmly on the cerebral. This EP is a companion to last year's elegant Knives Don't Have Your Back and it's anything but a throwaway. The spirit of Haines' famous father (poet/writer Paul) permeates this music, but Emily intuitively knows how to keep proper distance, even when setting one of his poems to music ("Sprig"). In touch with her lineage but in pursuit of her own ends, this is a subtle expansion of an already strong record. 

Tuesday
Jul242007

SEBADOH - The Freed Man

sebadoh-freed.jpgLike many of their contemporaries, influential college pop collagists Sebadoh have been getting a healthy reissue/reunion revival. The latest is a mammoth 52-track version of their 'debut', The Freed Man. Although a duo, Lou Barlow and Eric Gaffney recorded 95% of this material solo, making the album more of a compilation of two artists. Despite this, they shared a lo-fi, 4-track recording style and play nicely off one another. As for the album, you're just as likely to hear a cat snoring or kid's book narration as actual songs, but that's part of the scattered appeal.