[html]McDonald’s is no stranger to controversy, i.e. the controversy in every person’s head before and after they choose to eat at McDonald’s.

But a recent radio ad (people still listen to the radio - confirmed) that implied petting stray pit bulls was “risky” has been pulled after a flood of customer complaints (form response ad pictured above.) Okay, pit bulls get an unfair rep, we can understand the annoyance. But let’s take a listen to the ad itself:

Did you notice the company is essentially acknowledging, for maybe the first time in their history, that people consider their food not only tasteless and gross but a risk?! This is big news.

“We know you think our food is going to kill you, but it probably won’t.” - McDonald’s

Also, I think the key word here is “stray.” Please do not take this ad retraction as an encouragement to pet STRAY PIT BULLS because Jesus Christ you shouldn’t ever do that.

Their corporate apology in full:

“In our effort to spread the word about our new Chicken McBites, a local U.S. radio ad has inadvertently offended some of our customers. The ad was insensitive in its mention of pit bulls. We apologize. We are pulling the ad, and we’ll do a better job next time. It’s never our intent to offend anyone with how we communicate news about McDonald’s.”


[html]Annie “St. Vincent” Clark has released the second music video from her acclaimed 2011 album Strange Mercy. Like “Cruel,” the clip for “Cheerleader” follows a theme of emotional bondage and defying the constraints of an institution (here, an art gallery instead of a suburban home.) Stay tuned for “Neutered Fruit” in which Clark will escape from a straightjacket while standing in line at the DMV.

Related: TORO’s Video Interview w/ St. Vincent


The data is in: Canada’s population is sitting pretty at 33.5 million, meaning we would now theoretically win a full-on, hand-to-hand combat brawl with Uganda (33 million) but would still get thoroughly pummeled by Algeria (37 million.) Smug assholes.

Additional notes:

- It seems the predicted trend of Westward migration is now an oil-stained reality, with most people living to the left of Ontario as opposed to filling Quebec and the East Coast for the first time in our country’s history, by a grand total of 0.1 per cent. That’s like 759 people! Or something.

- Population has increased 5.9 per cent since 2006 and forecasted to hold steady until we make immigration illegal.

- Ontario is still the best most populous province but its rate of immigration is slowing.

- Fertility rates are higher in the West. That doesn’t necessarily mean there is a higher rate of sexual activity, just a lack of appreciation for the consequences.


This is it, folks! Super Bowl weekend - the time when we buy beer by the keg, lime by the basket, and clog toilets with metric tonnes of human waste created by chicken wings and anxiousness about which millionaire wins a game.

If you're anything like me, the rules of football make about as much sense as the Esperanto version of the movie Inception. But, we all know what I love – the halftime show. Madonna will be performing at this year's show, so you can expect something more calculated than Stephen Hawking's math diaries.

Here's how I picture the conversation about Super Bowl booking having gone: 

President Of NFL: Well guys, what musician should we get to do the halftime show?

Madonna: I'd like to do it. 

President of NFL: Madonna?! How did you get in here? 

Madonna: I own a teleporter. I teleported in.

President Of NFL: I'm not sure football fans care about your ... argh!

(President is telekinetically choked by Madonna) 

Madonna: I'm performing at the halftime show.

(The President of the NFL dies) 

Madonna: I'm performing at the halftime show AND I'm the new president of the NFL AND don't ever think that I wasn't born with this pseudo-British accent. 

Rest Of NFL: Yes, Madonna.

She's released a football-ey video in celebration of her performance, featuring MIA and Nicki Minaj playing cheerleaders. But like it or not, we are all Madonna's cheerleaders.



[html]This week in the TORO Playlist we've got brand new clips from Foo Fighters, Nicki Minaj, and the insane South African rave-rap crew Die Antwoord.

Foo Fighters - “These Days” (From Wasting Light, out now)

Related: Foo Fighters concert gallery

Nicki Minaj - “Stupid Hoe” (Banned by BET!) (From Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, out April 3)

Cults - “Everybody Knows” (Leonard Cohen cover, song originally from I’m Your Man, 1988) 

Related: TORO interviews Cults

Related: Our review of Cohen's Old Ideas

Die Antwoord
- "I Fink U Freeky" (From Ten$ion, out February 7)

Mountains - "Blue Lanterns on East Oxford" (From Air Museum, out now)

Mountains will be performing at Lee's Palace in Toronto February 4, with This Will Destroy You and Amen Dunes.

Foxy Shazam - "Holy Touch" (From The Church of Rock and Roll, out now)

Actual Water - "La Violence sur Les Champs Élysées" (From The Paisley Orchard, out now)

Related: TORO interviews Actual Water


K'naan-dian musician K'naan is an angry bloke right now, what with the reanimated golem, robot-man politician Mitt Romney using the song “Wavin' Flag” as a means of publically celebrating his victory over Newt “Poot” Gingrich.

K'Naan quickly tweeted his disapproval of Romney's use of the song. This isn't the first time someone using a song inappropriately has turned out problematically; when I briefly worked in advertising and tried to use the song “Baby Got Back” for a diarrhea commercial, Sir Mix A Lot sent me a fake butt covered in pig's blood in the mail.

Mitt should have used a more accurate, republican-friendly song, like “One In A Million”, the homophobic Guns N Roses song, or “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk,” the most danceable country crunk song currently in existence. Or something from the Book Of Mormon musical.


The music world has lost an important, somewhat unsung figure; The L.A. Times reports that Soul Train creator and host Don Cornelius has died of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound at his home in California. He was 75.

After getting his start as a reporter and DJ, Cornelius founded Soul Train as a visual venue for African-American music, specifically soul, which would become a dominant force in pop for the next several decades and beyond. The program was spun from Cornelius’ traveling dance shows, popular around the Chicago area, and the similarly-themed, black audience-targeted dance show Red Hot and Blues.

Soul Train premiered in 1970 featuring Jerry Butler, The Chi-Lites and still-active R&B ensemble The Emotions. Cornelius would continue to host until 1993, welcoming hundreds of superstar guests including Aretha Franklin, Frankie Valli, James Brown, Four Tops, The Commodores, Stevie Wonder, Al Green, Funkadelic, and countless others. The show continued without its founder until 2006. 


[html]You asked for it:


Do you suppose when they’re making these hideous wax duplicates of famous people sometimes the sculptor makes them too normal-looking, and the PR guy is like “Steve, you didn’t make Nicolas Cage look like a plastic lesbian vampire and we’ve got three days until he’s scheduled to stand beside it pretending to be appreciative when really a small part of him is dying inside. I’m not going to tell you again.” [Via FilmDrunk]


It was almost two years ago when we first reported a movie based on the SMOKING HOT Stretch Armstrong rubber doll property was in the works. Fan anticipation was high, debates were raging. Would the film preserve the defining characteristics of the Stretch Armstrong character, that being his ... arms? Would he still have arms? Which villains would be included? If producers wanted an urban edge, was the world ready for a BLACK Stretch Armstrong?!?

Okay, so none of those questions were actually asked because Stretch Armstrong was a semi-popular novelty doll from thirty years ago that about eight people remember and no one had ever bothered to give him a front-story, let alone a back-story. But the Ship of Movie sails on, albeit without proposed star Taylor Lautner. After his first starring vehicle Abduction died a slow, hilarious death last year, he’s probably picking his roles with more caution. At least for his sake let’s hope that’s the reason he’s backed away from the STRETCH ARMSTRONG MOVIE and not, as sources say, scheduling conflicts.

“I wish I could be Stretch Armstrong but I’m busy.” - Taylor Lautner


Last night the stars of Hollywood gathered for the 18th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards which began with what seemed like a confusing tribute to Alcoholics Anonymous.

Select thespians announced from their chairs: 

“My name is Emily Watson and I’m an actor”.

“My name is Rose Byrne and I’m an actor.”

Right, well, I guess the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem?

Following this bit of glitterati group therapy, the evening proceeded to offer no surprises with the majority of the awards going to a movie that stinks a bit of group therapy itself.

The Help grabbed the SAG trophy for best ensemble cast, best lead actress (Viola Davis) and best supporting actress (Octavia Spencer). While a somewhat well adjusted, but frighteningly expressive Frenchman (Jean Dujardin) took home the prize for best actor in a lead role.  

Since the SAG awards tend to shift momentum in the Oscar vote, seems Clooney’s getting the old Facts of Life snub. Nothing Betty White (who also took home a SAG last night) can’t fix or was that Charlotte Rae?

So many problems so little time.


New York-based electro-acoustic duo The Books have called it a day, after ten years and four full-length albums.

The duo of Nick Zammuto and Paul de Jong debuted with Thought for Food in 2002. Their music combined obscure vocal samples arranged in a nonlinear, non sequitur fashion with electronically-processed acoustic instruments. Though sung lyrics occasionally poked through (“All Our Base Are Belong to Them”) and sometimes the samples were stripped completely (“Classy Penguin”) this formula held firm for The Lemon of Pink (2003), Lost and Safe (2005) The Way Out (2010) and various EP and DVD releases.

The long-awaited The Way Out seemed like a new beginning for the band, an album built around a solid concept (the re-appropriation of spoken-word self-help cassettes) with some of the most striking compositions in the band’s history. Alas, the title is now clearly prophetic. In an interview with Pitchfork Zammuto has explained: “I think The Way Out was an optimistic attempt to see if it could still work, and I remember thinking, even back then, that it might be a very aptly named record. I think [Paul and I] deserve a shot at rebuilding, so that will be my focus. And I'm excited to focus on the next phase now.”

Currently there are plans for a b-sides collection, box set, and DVD release in the near future. New music will come soon from Zammuto’s new project, called, um, Zammuto, I guess after calling your band The Books the names don’t come any drier.

Related: Our review of The Way Out.


Word has it that Matthew Broderick has busted out his Ferris Bueller for a Super Bowl spot.

A 10-second teaser leaked on the web today revealing a rather puffy Bueller opening up the curtains of his bedroom claiming “he can’t handle work on a day like today.”  Don’t worry, dude’s not promoting Chicago deep dish (save that dirty work for Paula Deen). But don’t get too excited there will be no Ferris Bueller II.

Apparently, Matthew Broderick has taken the one-time capricious teen into corporate terrain.

According to Jalopnik, Broderick is reprising the impulsive icon for a Honda commercial. Looks like the teen has become “The Man.” Not pretty.



Miley Cyrus has gotten the penis cake bug! And what a gross bug.

Photos have surfaced of Ms.Montana at her boyfriend Liam's birthday party, alongside a giant black dong-themed cake. And she was photographed pretending to lick the underside of said cake.

Geez. I actually have no problem with Miley indulging in bachelorette party shenanigans. Part of being young is doing things you will look back on and say, “My life would be much, much better if I'd never done that.”

It's also a weird cake to give your boyfriend. I have never desired a genital cake as a way of celebrating my exit from the womb, but hey - different strokes for richer folks! Although I did once buy a piece of beef jerky because it reminded me of the flesh on the inside of my throat. TMI?


Fifteen months after dropping a clip for infectious, funky single “Shout it In” San Fran-based trio Dirty Ghosts, fronted by Canadian ex-pat Allyson Baker (above), have finally announced details of their full-length debut. The Aesop Rock co-produced album Metal Moon and will drop February 21 via Last Gang. 

Metal Moon:

1. Ropes That Way
2. Shout It In
3. Surround the Controls
4. Battle Slang
5. No Video
6. Katana Rock
7. 19 in ’71
8. Steamboat to Concord
9. Pretty Face
10. Beast Size

The band has some California shows booked, Canadian dates to be announced:

February 23 - San Francisco (Noise Pop Festival) 

February 24 - Los Angeles (Bootleg Theater) 

February 25 - San Diego (Bar Pink) 

February 26 - Costa Mesa (Detroit Bar)

“Shout it In”:


Toronto hardcore quartet Cancer Bats are all set to release their fourth album Dead Set On Living April 17, via Distort Inc. The band has promised it will be their “most metal-tinged” effort yet and features guest contributions from members of Sacrifice, DevilDriver and An Horse.

Dead Set On Living:

1. R.A.T.S.
2. Bricks and Mortar
3. Road Sick
4. Breathe Armageddon
5. Dead Set On Living
6. The Void
7. Old Blood
8. Drunken Physics
9. Bastards
10. Rally the Wicked
11. New World Alliance

Cancer Bats toured almost 300 dates in 2011 and will “come close” to that this year, with a full crop of shows already lined up for Europe (check on their official site here.) They will play two shows in Quebec before heading out.

They’ve also just dropped a no-frills video for lead single “Old Blood” viewable right here:


[html]Scarborough high school students Mathew Ho and Asad Muhammad have made the viral video of the moment after launching a tiny, patriotic Lego man 24,000 kilometers into the air. The result:

Good work guys, but couldn't you have given the poor guy a helmet? [via CityNews]


[html]This week sees the physical release of Chimes of Freedom: The Songs of Bob Dylan, a 4-disc set of previously unreleased covers celebrating Amnesty International’s 50th anniversary [full tracklist]. To celebrate that celebration we’ve scooped up ten of our own favourite Dylan revisions. Enjoy!

Joni Mitchell and Johnny Cash - “Girl From the North Country” 

Richie Havens - “License to Kill” 

Jimi Hendrix - “All Along the Watchtower” 

Jim James and Calexico - “Goin’ to Acapulco” (Excerpt from I’m Not There)

Rage Against the Machine - “Maggie’s Farm”

Nina Simone - “Ballad of Hollis Brown”

Joan Baez - “With God On Our Side”

The White Stripes - “Outlaw Blues” 

Them - “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue”

Elliot Smith - “When I Paint My Masterpiece” 


This is America* and we have the freedom to sue anyone we want for any possible grievance. Even if “anyone” means a celebrity bajillionaire and “any possible grievance” is the thing they do every night for their bajillion dollar cheque.

The New York Times reports that Jay Leno is being sued by Indian-American citizen Randeep Dhillon for a joke made on his show last Thursday. I don’t watch Jay Leno because I don’t want my sense of humour systematically ground down into a mushy pulp, but here’s how the paper describes it:

“Mr. Leno’s Tonight Show monologue included a taped segment about the homes of the Republican presidential hopefuls; when Mitt Romney’s summer house on Lake Winnipesaukee was announced the screen instead showed the Golden Temple in Amritsar, India, a holy shrine to Sikhs and to followers of other Indian faiths.”

That’s it? I DON’T GET JOKE. MAKE JOKE MORE FUNNY. Does Mitt Romney have a pro-Sikh policy? Did he get caught with a Sikh mistress? Is the joke that he’s Mormon or something? Does that count as a joke?

Dhillon claims the jab (OUCH) “Hurt the sentiments of all Sikh people in addition to the plaintiff ... (it) clearly exposes plaintiff, other Sikhs and their religion to hatred, contempt, ridicule and obloquy because it falsely portrays the holiest place in the Sikh religion as a vacation resort owned by a non-Sikh.” I would say the Sikhs have a bigger public relations problem owed to the perception they have no sense of humour, but this litigious opposition to Jay Leno pretty much confirms that they do.

In other news, we all learned a new word today:


*We’re actually located in Canada but it’s kind of the same country, really. Let’s be honest.



el_ultimo_elvis.jpgA hypothetical conversation between the makers of The Last Elvis and a potential viewer:

“Have you ever wanted to be somebody else?”

“Yes! Okay, what are my options?”

“Well, you can be Elvis. In his tubby period.”


“Oh, yeah. As long as you remember to fellate your microphone.”

“That doesn’t sound like Elvis.”

“Elvis often licked microphones.” 

“No, he didn’t.”

“Yes, he was known for doing that all the time. That's actually how he died.”

“That doesn’t sound right.”

“Look, we only had room for the word Elvis and one photo to tell people this is a movie about a guy who wants to be Elvis. Because we ran out of film after one shot. And Elvis had oral sex with microphones.”

“I’d like tickets please!”

“How many?”


Check out the IMP Awards for Worst Posters of 2011


Sleigh Bells, the world’s sexiest noise pop duo by default, will return to work February 21 with the release of Reign of Terror, their very appropriately-titled sophomore album.

As we’ve come to expect, the video for lead single “Comeback Kid” features weapons, leather jackets, and a thousand unseen, somewhat awkward boners for lead singer Alexis Krauss.


Reign of Terror:

1. True Shred Guitar
2. Born to Lose
3. Crush
4. End of the Line
5. Leader of the Pack
6. Comeback Kid
7. Demons
8. Road to Hell
9. You Lost Me
10. Never Say Die
11. D.O.A. 

Album trailer: