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"Fuck Kevin Durant" - Lil' B.

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

End of a Year 2015: Songs

You're smart. You're loyal. You're still reading this. I love you.

30. Space Pope feat. Yung Sneezy- "H.O.M.J.S." (Fun in the Sun Vol. 1)
29. Wiki- "Lil' Me" (Lil' Me)
28. Jazz Cartier- "The Downtown Cliché" (Marauding in Paradise)
27. Small Town Lungs- "Scavenger" 
26. Taylor Swift- "I Wish You Would" (1989)
25. A$AP Rocky feat. Lil' Wayne - "M'$" (At.Long.Last.A$AP)
24. Big Sean feat. E-40- "I Don't Fuck With You" (Dark Sky Paradise)
23. Taylor Swift - "Blank Space" (1989)
22. Kendrick Lamar- "i" (To Pimp a Butterfly)
21. War on Women- "Second Wave Goodbye" (War on Women)
20. The Weeknd- "The Hills" (Beauty Behind the Madness)
19. Kid Ink feat. Dej Loaf- "Be Real" (Full Speed)
18. Kevin Gates- "Plug Daughter" (I Don't Get Tired 2)
17. Earl Sweatshirt- "Faucet" (I Don't Like Shit, I Don't Go Outside)
16. Young Thug- "Best Friend" (Slime Season)
15. Taylor Swift- "How You Get The Girl" (1989)
14. Rae Sremmurd- "No Flex Zone" (SremmLife)
13. Future feat. Drake- "Where Ya At?" (DS2)
12. War on Women- "Say It" (War on Women)
4. Young Thug- "Numbers" (Barter 6)


Saturday, 2 January 2016

End of a Year 2015: Albums

Hey, I just wanna give a shoutout to all the greedy recording artists and label execs who pull all their music off of Youtube, forcing me to link illegitimate soundclouds that will probably cease to exist in a couple of weeks. Thanks for making it hard for people to give you free promotion, you troglodytes!

Here are the 10 best albums of 2015:

the Weeknd
10. Earl Sweatshirt - I Don't Like Shit, I Don't Go Outside: An Album by Earl Sweatshirt (Tan Cressida/Columbia)

This album probably would've been ranked higher, if I wasn't too busy liking shit and going outside to listen to it all year.

Listen to "Faucet"


9. The Weeknd - Beauty Behind the Madness (XO/Republic)

And the winner for "album playing during the most coke-fuel sexcapades, 2015 edition" goes to...

Listen to "Acquainted"


8. Title Fight - Hyperview (ANTI-)

I just want everyone to know Pitchfork gave this album a 7.6, which is the highest conceivable score those butt-sniffers will give a non-gimmick punk band. I also want everyone to know this isn't even really a punk album, so stop being a herb and listen to it.

Listen to "Murder Your Memory"

Self Defense Family
7. Freddie Gibbs - Shadow of a Doubt (ESGN/Empire Distribution)

If you ever find yourself thinking, "man, I really like Future, but I wish I could understand what the fuck he was saying," Gangster Gibbs is probably your man.

Listen to "Careless"


6. Future - DS2 (A1/Freebandz/Epic)

If you ever find yourself thinking, "man, I really like Freddie Gibbs, but I wish I couldn't understand what the fuck he was saying," Future is probably your man.



5. Self Defense Family - Heaven is Earth (Deathwish)

This is the best album to date from a band who puts out a lot of albums.


Young Thug
4. Quentin Miller  Drake - If You're Reading This it's Too Late (Cash Money)

2015: the year Drake became a meme.



3. Young Thug - Barter 6 (300/Atlantic)

Fwagatwagabrrapojaba-kakakaka-raks-raks-raaaaaaaaaaaks (wut?) bhaaeeeyaah-whagablagaboochie (blap-blap-SKREEEEEE) tdsafagjadboifagiea-eee-ee-groceriiieeeeeeeeezzzze (tugga-tugga-twAAH)



2. Taylor Swift - 1989 (Big Machine)

Did I put this album at number two because it was released in 2014, or do I actually like it less than the album I put at number one? Tune in five years from now, to my End of the Decade special, to find out!


War on Women
1. War on Women - War on Women (Bridge 9)

PSA to anyone born after 1985: It's the year 2015. If you don't fuck with hardcore and feminism by now, either read a book or kill yourself. As for the album - the lyrics are provocative and often hilarious, the guitar is super-catchy, the drumming is really tight, and I can't hear the bass in the mix. 10/10.



Honourable Mention:

Big Sean - Dead Sky Paradise
Meek Mill - Dreams Worth More Than Money
Jazz Cartier - Marauding in Paradise
Kid Ink - Full Speed
Wiki - Lil' Me
The Story So Far - S/T
Kendrick Lamar - To Pimp a Butterfly

Monday, 24 August 2015

Interview With Small Town Lungs


Seeing people you grew up with succeed is always a gratifying thing. While Small Town Lungs aren't a household name quite yet, these Whitby boys have all the talent and bravado to become one of the "next big things" in Canadian indie rock. I recently sat down with the band (and about 15 other drunken revelers) on the patio of Biermarket in Toronto to talk about the "Next Big Thing" experience, making a music video, and hearing themselves on the radio. Enjoy.

Introduce yourselves and say what you do in the band
Tom: I'm Tom, I'm lead vocals, guitar, and some keyboard.
Zach: I'm Zach, I play drums and do vocals.
Rowan: I'm Rowan, I play guitar, I do vocals, and I play synth.
Kory: I'm Kory, I play guitar and keys, and percussion.
Jason: I'm Jason, I play bass and synth, and I do vocals.

You've been played on the radio, you sold out a show in your home town, and you're about to play the Phoenix tomorrow to a capacity crowd. You've done a lot of things in a year and a half of being a band that most bands never get to do. How does it feel?

[Note: the band was set to play in the Edge's “Next Big Thing” concert the following day, at the Phoenix Concert Theatre]
Tom: I guess it's just that, we're all motivated to the point where those things feel like the next step for us. Like obviously this Phoenix Show and stuff, it's all crazy. But we're trying to put as much work into it as we can, and whatever comes along with that, we'll take it.
Rowan: Like, people keep saying “oh, aren't you excited for this, this is crazy right?” and it's like, of course, but I have bigger plans for us, you know? I want us to play a bunch of big shows. It's really cool that we're in this contest, but I want it to be a regular thing.
Jason: Even if we don't win, the amount of exposure we've gotten from this alone, and like the people we've met – we got to sit down with people from Dine Alone records – no matter what, it's been an incredible experience.

And you guys got to be on the radio.
Zach: It was funny; we were on our way to WayHome when they played “Scavenger”, and we ended up getting lost. They ran our segment right as we were in the part of the trip where you have to do a lot of turns and stuff, and as soon as it came on we were like, “forget directions, we're just gonna bask in this.” Right as the song ended, we're like “okay, we're waaay out of the way now.” (laughs)

Do you feel overwhelmed at all, being a newer band and having all this crazy stuff happen to you?
Kory: Absolutely...
Zach: But we do everything we can to like, not be overwhelmed. We put a lot of time in and do everything we can to be mentally prepared, but it's all going pretty quick.
Jason: It's probably the only time in our lives where all of us can say that we've been overwhelmed, but in the way that it's a positive experience.

How did you guys meet each other?
Tom: Zach and I knew each other for quite a while, we've been friends for a long time. We met Rowan in high school, and we knew of Jay and Kory though the Durham music scene. We were all in metal bands, except for Rowan.

Like, tech metal or like, throwing your fists around metal?
Kory: We were like, metalcore...
Tom: Yeah, you guys were throwing your fists, we were more a little bit more death metal.

Yeah, I seen you tapping on stage...
Tom: That's where it comes from, man (laughs).

So, you guys all go to Fanshawe College in London?
Rowan: Except for Zach.
Jason: We're all in different graduating classes of the same program.
Tom: We're taking music industry arts.
Kory: I think, like, music industry arts at Fanshawe is the place to be for aspiring musicians and engineers and such. We all kind of had that direction, so it was the best place to end up.
Tom: It helps a lot, because we all have the same knowledge base. I think that's why we're so technically oriented. Like, you saw it tonight; our set up on stage is pretty complicated, and I don't think we'd be able to do that if we all hadn't had the same experience, collectively. We can always look to each other for fixing technical problems which means we're able to take on those challenges.

[At this point my friend Tanner, who is also a friend of the band, and was with us that night, had a question he wanted to ask]
Tanner: What do you think your biggest challenge is as a band to overcome? Like, not in terms of arguing, but just like, challenges in terms of co-ordinating for the next big show, or recording, or whatever.
Kory: I think we're all like, pretty opinionated in terms of being songwriters. So if there's even just a single bar in a song that someone really enjoys and everyone else is like “naaah...”, it can be a bit of a fight to figure out what that fight is gonna be.
Rowan: We always end up figuring it out though. Like the first song, “Golden Thread”, I really wanted this one drumbeat, and Zach wanted this other drumbeat, so we went to eat food and we were all like, pissed at each other. But eventually we all just cooled down.

I saw from another interview that you guys approach songwriting like you're writing a movie almost. Is that something they taught you at Fanshawe, or did you get it from another band, or did you come up with it yourselves?
Zach: We're all just pretty big into film. It's sort of an unspoken thing, we don't ever talk about it when we're writing, it just sort of happens.
Tom: It's got a lot to do with trying to add the cinematic element to the live show. So when we write songs it's not really like “okay, we have a verse, let's add a chorus”, you know what I mean? When we're doing the live show, we want it to be an experience. Like how when you're watching a film, it takes you through different emotions and explores different areas of the human consciousness. With some bands, the live show is all about coming out to dance. That's a lot of fun, and there's a place for it, but as a band, our goal is to have people come out and take something from it.

I've noticed from watching you play a couple times that you're quite a technically proficient band. How hard is it to balance the progressive elements of your music with the actual songwriting?
Zach: I don't think we really think about that, actually.
Rowan: There's no real boundary to it. It's like, “why can't we use tapping here? Who's stopping us?” There aren't any rules, really.
Kory: As long as it serves the song. If you can do something crazy and it sounds good, it's all good.

I saw you put out a video the other day, wanna talk about that for a little bit?
Kory: That was a very fun experience, actually. Our buddies Kyle Marchen and Van Wickiam directed it.

What was your favourite part about doing it?
Rowan: It was so neat being around there. There were like 30 people in this place with ladders, doing a bunch of random stuff, and we were like “wow, this is for us?” It made me think about when [either Tom or Kory] started showing me Small Town Lungs stuff and said “we should make a band out of this,” and I was like, yeah that's kinda cool. Now there's like 30 people making a video of it. It's kinda messed up to think about how it far it's come.

So to close it out, is there anyone you guys wanna shout out?
(a whole bunch of indiscernible yelling and laughter)
Tom: Just generally, I wanna thank everybody who's been supportive through this whole thing. Even you guys [referring to the band's high school friends in attendance], I haven't seen you guys in so long, and for you guys to be so enthusiastic, it's really cool to see. All the support we've gotten has been fantastic.

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Sportsology: Get me ACanadian Summer, 'cause it's hotter than balls

See what I did there? I'm a genius.

ANYWHO, time to talk about some sports and shit. Surprisingly, this summer wasn't too horrible. Someone won something here, someone won something there; it was aight, as the youngsters say. Amongst it all, if I had to say there was 1 true winner in the sports world during the dog days, it had to be Canada. Now I don't know how to hockey, but I do know good shit when it makes itself apparent. Let's dive in, shall we?

1. Toronto Raptors off-season

Let's face it, if DeMar DeRozan starts ballin' next season, the Raptors are gonna be a force to be reckoned with in the East next year. So what did they do in the off-season? They built the shit out of there bench to make it injured-DeMar-DeRozan proof. Y'all picked up Cory Joseph from my San Antonio Spurs. I know it doesn't sound glamorous, but think of it like this: you just added a young talented basketball player *ahem* born it Toronto, has two years of NBA Finals experience, and gets a decent length contract, setting him up to become a star. You basically get four years to decide which of these two youngsters gets to be the face of your city:



 





                  C h o o s e
                   W i s e l y






2. Pan American Games

Taking a break from the major sports, the Pan Am Games were held in Toronto this summer. To be honest, there were some days this summer that I had nothing to do and even worse, nothing to watch on television. Thank God for the Pan Am Games, for without them, infinite boredom. Which was good for Canada, seeing as they came in 2nd place in the overall medal count (Fun Fact: One of the US medalist is also currently a wide reciever on the Buffalo Bills, which is basically Canada's NFL team). Lots of good gold medals, too: Swimming, Basketball, Martial Arts Disciplines, Biking, Rowing. In honor of Canada's success, I'd like to show you the best Canadian athlete alive right now, running in the outside lane :



3. Women's World Cup

Congratulations on successfully hosting not one, but two international sporting events, Canada. Due to me being an American, and having bias about how awesome the outcome of the Women's world cup was, I just wanna leave a fun stat dug up by the lovely writing squad at NPR:
The final drew "a prodigious 15.2/27 metered market household rating/share" from 7-9 p.m. ET, Fox says, citing data from the Nielsen ratings service. The network adds that the audience "peaked at 18.3/31 from 8:45-9:00 p.m. ET," as more Americans tuned in to watch the celebrations in Vancouver.
As a comparison, consider that the Golden State Warriors' recent title-clinching Game 6 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals earned a 15.9 overnight rating. That figure was hailed as a Game 6 record for ABC in a Finals series that drew the highest average numbers since the Michael Jordan era.

4. David Price to the Blue Jays

When you have a team that has a chance to win it all, and you still have time to improve that team, you do it. That's why the Blue Jays won big when they traded for saved David Price from Detroit. Since baseball is as interesting as watching paint dry, I'll try to make it somewhat bearable: Price is an ACE pitcher, but not just some guy who wins a lot of games. David Price is actually fun to watch, especially when he has games like his Blue Jay Debut. Letting up one run in eight innings while striking out eleven batters is definitely something that's going to put butts in those seats, which I assume were paid for by taxpaying citizens.



Bonus Music Points: The Weeknd

If you told me in 2010 that a twentysomething from Toronto was going to be the one of the largest recording artist in 2015, most of us would have guessed it was Drake. I'm starting the believe that the general population is figuring out Drake is nothing more than a goddamn fool. Most, if not all, of my approval for The Weeknd stems from my hatred of Drake. Or maybe it's kinda like the difference between Coke and Pepsi. I fucking hate Pepsi because Coke is better. I fucking hate Drake because The Weeknd is better. Makes sense, right?



Needless to say, Canada stepped it up this summer. Kudos.

Monday, 13 July 2015

Celebrity Mindreader, Vol. 2

Hardy har har, ye scaliwangs. It's time to round up and get your summer dose of Celebrity Mindreader. Today, we've got a real nice collection, I tell you what; classics, currents, and a whole bunch of pollacks as usual. Without further ado, let the games begin!

1. Taylor Swift



"Hater Alert on Aisle YOU!"

2. Bobby Moynihan



"I wonder how long it'll take everybody to realize I'm not Artie Lang?"

3. Leonardo DiCaprio, circa 1997



"Hey girl, I just swan-na get close to you."

4. Hope Solo



"No."

5. Dave Grohl



"Damnit, I should have made this throne a toilet."

And of course, there is the one whom which we call Ryan, and his take on love:






Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Check Out My Dank Memes

I know the "Starter Pack" meme has come and gone, but since it went viral (puke) about a year or so ago, I've noticed a couple of distinct fashion types in my day to day that I think deserve the "starter pack" treatment:


Natural habitat: Toronto's "entertainment district", various TTC/Go Transit platforms around the GTA.
Not pictured: Drunk boyfriend, replica Jose Bautista  Josh Donaldson jersey, more baseball knowledge than most dudes, $150 Drinking in Public ticket.


Natural habitat: Hamilton, ON and the cultural wasteland that surrounds it.
Not pictured: Lifted pickup truck, Metal Mulisha/Rockstar Energy t-shirt with holes in it, wallet chain, crack pipe.


Natural habitat: Off Campus student housing, backyard BBQs, bar patios, at their relatively well paying entry-level job.
Not pictured: Red Solo cup full of "sangria", iPhone, B.A. from a well known Canadian university.


Natural habitat: Lazy boy recliners, basements, the gym.
Not pictured: Bose headphones, Zig Zag Cutcorners, random amounts of lose change.

So there you have it; four new starter pack memes for you to ogle. If you have any dank starter packs of your own, feel free to send them to me.

Sunday, 28 June 2015

(PSA) Acoustic vs Electric: What are YOU listening to this summer?

NOW that summer is upon us, music festival season is here and in full bloom. Across the world, thousands of artist from all walks of life are playing on some form of stage for people willing to give a listening ear, and in some cases, a hefty price tag. Regardless, music and summer time go hand in hand, and that's a fact Jack. But what kind of music is right for the dog days? I not here to tell you to listen to music, nor am I telling you what music to avoid. Just don't go off being a dingus and not knowing what type of music to play at whatever event you venture off to this summer. So listen up folks, this is a guide for getting you're party set no matter where you may be under the sun.

Acoustic

The cool of the cool, the chill of the chill. Acoustic music is basically your "I don't have to work today, so I'm going to the river" type of music. Remember: Just because a song makes use of an electric instrument, that's not what determines what makes that song acoustic or electric by my definition. What makes a true acoustic song is it's tempo. It can be slow, but still upbeat; fast, but relaxing. If a song can get an uptight person to sit back and worry solely about chillin', you've got yourself a good acoustic song. The only draw back to acoustic songs is that one should not expect to show it off to his or her friends. We're not here to try and interpret the struggle an artists has faced conveyed through their lyrical and songwriting ability. Acoustic music is like that old late-night TV infomercial that had the tag line "Set it and Forget it!" I'd recommend sifting through some Tupac, Frank Sinatra, Dave Matthew, Daft Punk, Prince, Chicago, Led Zeppelin, or any type of classic surf music and pick out some of the more melodic and harmonious pieces. Don't try to stray into your deep cuts collection unless you are certain they fit the acoustic mold. Here's a personal favorite that I use as a marker in a lot of my acoustic playlists:



Electric

Alright, new scenario: you've worked all week. Once you get home late Friday afternoon, you start to get a second wind. You're still in a funk though, and you need a small boost to get you into Crunkmode. Trust me, we've all been there. Have no fear, electric music is here!
Make sure to put on a something that sounds good loud. No one ever successfully pregames to a Taylor Swift break up song, 'cause quite frankly, ain't no body got time fo' dat. Everyone likes to turn up a little bit differently, and I respect that, but if you're gonna party with me, you gotta bring the funky fresh beats. Always be looking for songs that are a constant build up; the last thing you need is a dreary down beat to ruin your good mood. Like acoustic music, there are some cons. The biggest problem is police. Sometimes, I and others have been known to get a little too hyped, resulting in various noise violations in both car and house forms. Electric music is VERY distracting, so make sure you're in an area specifically designated for hardcore swerving and maximum air guitar space. My recommendation is podcast, premade playlists, album mixes and remixes, or anything else specially made to flow. Creating an electric playlist can be very tough if you don't know the ins and outs of rhythmic structure and BPM. In need of a quick pick-me-up right now? I got you, son:




As mentioned in the intro, I didn't write today to say this artist is shit or this song is dope. I wrote this article to help out people in need of the age old question "What kind of music should we play?" Don't be the guy or gal in your circle of friends who gets banned from being DJ at get-togethers. Know your surroundings and get a good feel for the vibes. Don't blast the new Skrillex banger at a church barbecue and don't try to turn up to a Simon and Garfunkel ballad (I'm looking at you, Taylor). The best advice I can give is to always play it by ear.

-Trey