A playlist for my little sister

I’m hanging out with my little sister in our parents’ basement with our golden retriever while a fire smolders in the woodstove. A few minutes ago, she said, “Hey, show me some new music you’ve been into lately.”

So here we go.

I really like William Alexander from Long Beach, both in his solo projects and as The Meanest Boys. Hazy, faded lyrics with a gentle semi-falsetto, looped and shuffled samples, and blissed out melodies. Both of Alexander’s musical projects are my go-to for when I want to feel inspired, jittery, and calm at the same time.


Tonkapuma is Daniel Lee of Lee Paradise, Phedre, Hooded Fang, Daps Records, ect. This particular project allows him to flirt with bass-heavy, rhythmic surf rock. I love the slow start in Hey Lady that gradually progresses to a hair-tossing, lip-smacking, hi-hat crushing conundrum.

On that note, I also love Lee’s work as Lee Paradise. Think Tonkapuma with an eerie, silly-sinister funhouse warp in the grooves. Last weekend, I threw a distro pop-up shop at Ratio for Wyrd Distro with Marie & Aaron and one of my purchases was Lee Paradise’s Water Palace Kingdomwhich came out earlier this year in April on Pleasence. If you haven’t bought anything from Wyrd Distro yet, I highly suggest it! After browsing dozens of cassettes and records, you’ll leave with an emptier wallet and/or an updated wantlist.

I believe that Breaker made Wavelength’s Adam Bradley’s 100 Essential Canadian Songs of 2014, and I’m not surprised why.  It’s got a sick, unforgiving bassline and lyrics that seem to be squeezed out of Dan Lee’s gut. As choice as it is, it’s still not my favourite track on the album. Diner Talk is a playful call-and-response sung alone. The spiky octave jumps in the bassline really accent the sharp snare hits with a crisp sonic bookmarking.

Toronto’s Absolutely Free are such a good band. They’ve been picking up critical acclaim like fresh white socks attracting dirt in a student house. Their new ST is probably one of the best albums of 2014.

(Side note, I couldn’t be bothered to compile a Best of 2014 post; I am too busy not washing my hair and eating everything that can be brought to the couch with minimal effort).

Montreal’s Moss Lime are minimalistic and sharp. They just released their debut cassette EP on Fixture Records and I will confidently bet you a hundred dollars it will sell out. This hundred dollar bill will also be attached to a fishing line that is sewn into my jeans, so it’s a win-win scenario for me. I snagged my copy of the EP from the Wyrd pop-up!

Favourite tracks are Ice Cream Sandwiches, which is in the same key signature as their cover of Calabria 2014, but carries a pure surf rock vibe.


My friend Matt just texted me this afternoon that a vinyl copy of Sean Nicholas Savage’s latest album, Bermuda Waterfall, is currently on sale for $5 at Rotate This. Thanks Matt, but you know I’ve already got a copy of this! It came out in May on Arbutus and it’s dreamy, sexy, and dozy. The first time I played it, I was folding laundry in my boyfriend’s room while he was out running a show, and his roommate was reading in bed with the door open. I looked in as I was finishing up and he was fast asleep by the time I flipped to the B side. That’s how good this record is. It’s a little silly and embarrassing but I think of Naturally is my private love song that I sing whenever I’m by myself. I love how detuned it sounds (without actually being detuned) because of the minuscule pitch bends in the synth chords.

The Rat‘s lyrics are so good. Savage is a pop genius. I wish I had a physical copy of Arbutus Records’s Taste of Savage which is Savage covers done by other artists on their roster. You can still listen to it online, but I don’t think they ever pressed any copies.

Since we’re talking about videos now, here’s the Chad VanGaalen-animated video for Timber Timbre’s Beat The Drum Slowly off their molasses-dark album Hot Dreams.

I was lucky enough to be taken to see Timber Timbre on their third night at Lee Palace’s a few weeks ago, and it was a real treat. Neon signs bent into cryptic eyes, narrow palms, and blank crosses, dark smoke drifting from the left corner of the stage, and the absence of overhead lighting. Every song was milked for the most emphatic emotion and the only thing that spoiled it was the number of moderately disruptive “new” fans, some of which didn’t even face the stage during the incredibly long set (absurd!)

I had two free tickets to see Montreal’s TOPS at Tattoo last week but I didn’t go because I was too tired and got caught up making decorations for the Wyrd pop-up. She’s So Bad is one of my favourite songs from their 2012 album, Tender Opposites, released on Arbutus. I haven’t listened to all of the tracks on their new album Picture You Staring yet, but I would be awfully glad if someone picked me up a copy (hint hint) as I really like Way To Be Loved.

Last comes one of my absolute favourites, Toronto’s Omhouse (aka Steven Foster, one of the nicest & most enthusiastic people to have in your audience or playing a set right before yours) released a single in May called Have I Fooled You which does a great job sinking its teeth into your brain. I haven’t been able to stop singing the chorus (even if I don’t have the uncanny ability to loop my natural voice).

This turned into a much longer post than I intended, but my sister seemed to like these songs as I was writing about them, so my work here is done! Goodnight!

The Meanest Boys from Long Beach

I was reading Texture Magazine this morning surrounded by a pile of used Kleenexes and empty teacups. For the last six days, I’ve had an unbearably stupid sinus infection which has rendered me useless for human interaction, so I’ve been sequestered in my apartment, eating pistachios, pickles, & pomegranates. I like eating in alliterations and in colour patterns when I’m sick, because it’s not like my taste buds can function on a sophisticated level when they have a layer of mucous smeared on them. So why not have fun with it?

There’s been a lot of local buzz around Chandra lately and I haven’t bought into the hype yet (Toronto music scene, plz don’t strike me dead). Throughout my life, I have always been unable to navigate the cool table; I don’t really understand popular fringe subcultures until it is already embarrassingly late. I think this is because I was weaned on Disney for too long.

Anyways, Texture Magazine did a piece on Chandra before her much-celebrated show at Double Double Land last week with Bile Sister, Sexy Merlin and New Chance, so I thought it would be a good idea to read it. I didn’t go to the show last week because I was too busy cultivating millions of cold viruses to spread around my social network.

The Chandra piece was pretty good, but I still feel lukewarm about her music, and it’s not because I’m a post-punk hater (give me post-punk garage rock and I’m happy as a clam). I think it’s because, like so many other influential artists – e.g. Kate Bush, you have to arrive at her music at a very specific time within your own life in order to appreciate her fluency.

I was scrolling down Texture Magazine when I stopped on a video by Casina777 embedded in a piece detailing local artist/cool human Alicia Nauta‘s musical picks. Aping The Rolling Stones’s Beast Of Burden, it’s basically everything I look for in a YouTube video.

From here, I spiralled down the Internet hole of watching Casina777 videos, including one that was cryptically-entitled “Maze.”

If you’re reading this at work, you probably shouldn’t play this video unless you want your bosses to think you have a warped CGI fetish. The description box said the music was by William Alexander from Long Beach, and Google magic pointed me towards his musical project The Meanest Boys. Maze was released on Girls Basketball via Juniper Tree Songs eight months ago. I’m thinking of buying a 5-cassette sampler from Juniper Tree Songs just to save money on shipping to Canada, so I’ll let you guys know once it arrives (I’ll take a picture and do a review of what I get).

Anyways, here’s Maze – it’s totally amazing. Psychedelic without being slow-paced. Kind of frenetic but also cohesive at the same time.

Really glad I stumbled upon The Meanest Boys today, because I love lo-fi pop with strange samples. I listened to Strangest Things, self-released October 11th 2011, all the way through without stopping. I’m now working my way through his 2010 album, Cheer Up Friend. Finding out that he loves Avey Tare makes a ton of sense.

Here are my favourite tracks.

Facebook | Bandcamp (The Meanest Boys) | Bandcamp (William Alexander) | Soundcloud

I’m going to take a shower and pick up a record I ordered in from Rotate This now.