When the Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins visited the White House on Monday, the only American on the squad — Tim Thomas — wasn't among them.

That sparked a 'controversy' for the journeyman netminder with critics calling him out for not being a team player, a theory supported by his own statement to media: "This was about a choice I had to make as an individual."

Thomas's reasoning was pretty simple. He's not happy with the Federal government — both Democrats and Republicans. It's not like he hasn't been open about his political views before, once saying he aspires to be a guest of Fox News's Glenn Beck. Aim high, Timmy!

And while he has his detractors to be sure, there are those who back Thomas for sticking up for his political beliefs. And still more who justify the absence by saying it's a trite tradition anyway.

In either case, it's probably a whole lot of nothing, despite concerns people have over what it will do to the Bruins' team chemistry. It's not like goaltenders aren't traditionally known for being individuals. Historically speaking, it's been rare to have a goalie as a rah rah guy in the locker room. Roberto Luongo was the first goalie to be named a team captain and look how that turned out.

If anything, Thomas has put the NHL in the spotlight in the good old U-S of A. Given the state of a lot of American teams, that can't be a bad thing. After all, the league doesn't care about politics. They just need asses in seats — Democrat, Republican, Tea Party or otherwise.


I know it sounds “2” good “2” believe, but 2 Live Crew are back. Yes, the boys who penned “Me So Horny” and myriad other songs that share that song's emotional crux are reuniting.

And this time – it's personal. For me. Because I am indeed “so horny.”

2 Live Crew is one of those groups who never seemed to leave us – their influence has been that deep. Every time a rapper says something explicit and cunnilingus-related, I think of them. Every time I see the film Star Wars – which is pretty much daily – I think of how “Uncle Luke” called himself Luke Skywalker for a period of time, until the blatant copyright infringement caught up with him. It's the reason I decided against calling my upcoming dubstep project Meth Mouth Chewbacca.

I hope they revive some tracks from their little-discussed LP Sports Weekend, an album I can only assume is great when paired with the Huey Lewis album Sports. So pay top dolla’ to see one of the pioneering groups in low-effort rap!


A new nomination process for the 2012 Academy Awards hasn’t exactly changed the game. The pool is shallower than the past two years by only one title, leaving it at an odd nine:

The Artist

The Descendants
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
The Help
Midnight in Paris
The Tree of Life
War Horse

It’s actually surprising that Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, the 2011 film most cynically designed as Oscar-bait, actually earned a nomination; it squeezed in only one other nod (Max von Sydow for Best Supporting Actor) and failed to impress either critics (unless they wrote for People Magazine) or audiences. As usual the actual race comes down to about two titles, a toss-up between the underdog nostalgia of The Artist and the safe, warm American story The Descendants.

Further surprises include lead acting nods for Demian Bilchir in the little-seen immigration drama A Better Life, Glenn Close as a creepily unconvincing transvestite in Albert Nobbs, and a supporting notice for Nick Nolte in the admired but financially unsuccessful MMA pic Warrior.

Also note the Best Animated Feature category has yielded five nominees for only the third time in its eleven years of existence, giving nods to foreign titles A Cat in Paris (France) and Chico & Rita (Spain, through distributed by Disney.)

Shut-out: Shame, 50/50, Take Shelter, Drive, Another Earth, The Interrupters, A Dangerous Method

Full nominees here. The whole dog and pony show goes down February 26.


First Boston Pizza launches a 'Joy of Finger Cooking' online ordering campaign and now this.

Sir Richard's Condom Company is doing away with that embarrassing walk down the condom aisle of your local drug store once and for all with its new home-delivery service. Register for a subscription and you can ensure a steady supply of vegan-friendly Sir Richard's condoms delivered right to your door!

And for every condom you buy, a condom will be donated to a developing country. It's true, they are the TOMS of the safe-sex world.

We're not sure what the postal worker who delivers our shipment each month will think, but sign us up!


[html]Toronto-by-way-of-Ottawa trio The Balconies are ready to become a true indie rock crossover success outside the local scene. Their momentum continues with the upcoming, violently-named Kill Count EP set to drop February 28. Watch the band sing the title track from a wrestling ring in the official video, directed by Alon Isocianu, below:

Kill Count EP:

1. Kill Count
2. Tiger
3. 300 Pages (Bonus Track)
4. Battle Royale (Bonus Track)
5. Serious Bedtime (Bonus Track)

Tour dates are in the works, but The Balconies have been confirmed to play SXSW in Austin and Canadian Music Week in Toronto. We’ll be there.

Related: The Balconies Live @ TORO


After reading that Vinny, the most tolerable-seeming of Jersey Shore's tanned gang, left the house abruptly because being there was heightening his anxiety issues to dangerous levels, I was interested - because as a work-from-home freelance Renaissance Man, I too can get anxious.

My next step was an attempt to watch the episode in question on – but I then remembered the famous file-sharing site has been shut down for copyright infringement. And who is the CEO of Megaupload? None other than Jermaine Dupri alternative Swizz Beats. He doesn't even have the oddest Megaupload-related name – that honour belongs to Kim Dotcom AKA Tim Schmitz AKA Kim Tim Jim Vestor, a hacker who seems to be at the centre of Megaupload.

I don't know where I stand on copyright infringement. Clearly, it's wrong, but when I get to watch something for free it gives me a frisson that I can only imagine is the same feeling as finding a bag of candy on the street. And if you're the kind of person who wouldn't pick up a discarded bag of candy, please stop reading now ... because this is the end of the article.

(Note: Contrary to initial reports Swizz Beats was never actually the CEO of Megaupload.)


[html]This week on the TORO Playlist Santigold gets animated, Dr. Dog's studio is invaded by astro-men, Louise Burns throws a party for all the cool kids, and Barack Obama reveals his musical chops.

Santigold - “Big Mouth” (From Master of My Make Believe, out Spring 2012) 

Dr. Dog - “That Old Black Hole” (From Be the Void, out February 7)

Louise Burns - “Drop Names Not Bombs” (From Mellow Drama, out now)

Lake Forest - “Silver Stars” (Southern Souls version, originally from Silver Skies, out February 14)

Unknown Mortal Orchestra - “Thought Ballune” (From S/T, out now)

Bahamas - “Lost in the Light” / Recording Doc (Album Barchords out February 7)

Barack Obama - "Let's Stay Together"


Mark Wahlberg got in trouble this week, and it wasn't for his low-energy award presentation at the Golden Globes. Instead it was because of remarks about the events of 9/11.

“Pink Floyd's The Wall”-Berg intimated that had he been on one of the hijacked planes, the outcome would have been different, and he would have helped land the plane after overpowering the terrorists. I would find that believable if he were actually Max Payne.

I would even find that believable if he were Dirk Diggler and killed no-goodniks with his flesh pipe. But Marky Mark? Was he planning on annoying them to death by playing his song “Good Vibrations” on a loop? Because actually, I think that might work.

He wound up apologizing. Unfortunately, it wasn't for "Good Vibrations.”



Carnivalesque punk-folk rocker Mark Bragg has announced a series of concerts (promoted as “delightfully disturbing”) in Ontario and Quebec supporting his latest album, the intense Your Kiss.


February 17 – Windsor (The Phog Lounge)
February 19 – Hamilton (The Casbah, w/ Wax Mannequin)
February 21 – Toronto (Tranzac, w/ Ronley Teper)
February 23 -  Ottawa (Zaphods)
February 24 – Montreal (L'Escalier, w/ Les Têtes Réduites)
February 25 – Montreal (L'Escalier)

Bragg’s “Your Boys Home” (from Your Kiss) via Southern Souls:

Related: TORO interviews Mark Bragg



[html]Folk-rock band and TORO Garage Sessions alumni Octoberman have announced a release date for fourth full-length LP Waiting in the Well. The 10-track album, co-produced by Toronto singer/songwriter Jim Guthrie, will drop March 6. Take a look at the gnarly cover art here, with tracklist and tour dates visible below. You can also check out the album’s cheerful first single “Dressed Up” right here:

Waiting in the Well:

1. Waiting For Christine
2. Pool Hoppin’
3. Burning Sun
4. Dressed Up
5. Thank You Mr V
6. Actress
7. Falcon Song
8. The Bystander
9. Wind Up Bird
10. Eddie and Rita


March 23 – Winnipeg (Lo Pub)

March 24 – Saskatoon (Venue TBA) 

March 26 – Edmonton (Wunderbar, w/ Doug Hoyer)

March 28 – Calgary (Broken City, w/ Extra Happy Ghost)

March 29 – Nelson, BC (Venue TBA)

March 30 – Mission, BC (House Party)

March 31 – Vancouver (Waldorf Hotel, w/ The Abramson Singers) 

April 3 – Regina (Venue TBA)

April 6 – Sudbury (Venue TBA)

April 7 – London, ON (Venue TBA) 

April 12 – Guelph (Venue TBA) 

April 13 – Toronto (Tranzac Main Hall, w/ Del Bel)

April 14 – Ottawa (Raw Sugar)

April 15 – Montreal (L’Escogriffe)

April 18 – Sackville (Venue TBA)

April 19 – Halifax (Venue TBA)

April 20 – Charlottetown (Baba’s)

April 21 – Fredericton (The Capitol)

Related: Octoberman Live @ TORO


Wikipedia (i/ˌwɪkɨˈpiːdiə/ or i/ˌwɪkiˈpiːdiə/ wik-i-pee-dee-ə) is headed toward its first voluntary blackout, in protest of the Stop Online Piracy Act and the PROTECT IP Act, both currently being debated by the House Judiciary Committee. An attempt to break down both Acts within the limits of this blog would be inadequate (try looking it up on Wikipedia) suffice to say that if approved they would permit the American government to prosecute and/or disable websites alleged to be promoting infringements. This could have a profound impact on the internet as we know it, which we should first and foremost admit is kind of a mess. Just saying.

The blackout will begin tomorrow morning (Wednesday, January 18) at 05:00 UTC. Copy all your essay material ahead of time, kids.


In case you’ve been living under a high-definition rock the Television Critics Association winter press tour has been going on for quite some days now, offering all the news on 2 Broke Girls and Two and a Half Men reporters can stomach before being forced to regurgitate it back to the average viewer.

I don’t have a functioning television signal so it’s all relative to me, but I did manage to watch the entire first season of FX pulp-thriller American Horror Story and thought it was fucking great. Creator Ryan Murphy is trying something admittedly rare (even unheard of) with the show’s format, starting fresh with a new storyline and set of characters every year. Now at the FX network panel he has shared some details about its second season, indicting that casting has already begun; furthermore “two or three” cast members will return to play different roles. Jessica Lange created one of the year’s most unique characters with her wounded, scheming Constance (above) so her return as someone else would be a mixed blessing perhaps. But still, she’s got my vote. 
[Via TV Line]


[html]Eek. It’s hard to hate on Lana Del Rey when she keeps dropping good-to-great songs, and hard to stick up for her when she does stuff like this:

The SNL set has the acoustic quality of a seafood warehouse, but it’s been on for 58 years and everybody knows that. It’s up to the artists to compensate, and Ms. Del Rey certainly didn’t. Oh well. Her debut Born to Die drops January 31.





loosies.jpg Loosies is the story of Bobby (Twilight’s Peter Fancinelli) a “young pickpocket on the New York subways living a fast, free lifestyle.” Yes, a fast, free lifestyle that only the cottage industry of taking things out of random New Yorkers pockets can afford. “I have all the discount Subway cards and flu-infected $5 bills a man can handle!” - Bobby (IMDB Memorable Quotes)

So while Bobby is living fast and furious and hopefully washing his hands 18 times a day, some beautiful woman is like “Oh, what’s that over there to my right?” And an upholstered Michael Madsen counters back “Who cares, there’s something I need to shoot over to my left!” All the while Bobby stares ahead, perhaps toward his future as a professional dumpster diver or discarded cigarette butt wholesaler.

Unlike a lot of Awful Movie Posters, Loosies doesn’t suffer from a lack of Photoshop skills. It’s just that the concept being executed visually is a little fuzzy. Is Fancinelli holding the camera in front of himself? Why is the world titling? What was American Buffalo and did it have enough fans to warrant an above-credit shout-out? Probably, no, and no.



"Wow!" - Everybody


[html]Blitzen Trapper - “Taking it Easy Too Long” (From American Goldwing, out now)

Related: TORO interviews Blitzen Trapper

Charli XCX - “Stay Away” (Live) (Single)

ZZBRA - “Green” (From The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, out January 31)

Nash - “Sad Robot Harmonies” (Single)

Related: TORO interviews Nash

Emma-Lee - “Not Coming By” (From Backseat Heroine, out February 9) 

Related: Emma-Lee live @ TORO

LCD Soundsystem - Shut Up and Play the Hits (Trailer) (Out January 22)


The time has come again for the stars of the 21st century to be judged by the harshest taskmaster of them - the Hollywood Foreign Press.

How will they prepare themselves for the ordeal that is the Golden Globes and its plethora of gift baskets, fawning paparazzi, and (scariest of all) circular tables?

I'll tell you how: pushups, chin-ups, eating one piece of dried low-fat seaweed, and steroids. That's actually a list of things I'm doing in order to be the next Rambo when Sylvester Stallone retires, but I'm certain a few celebutantes are also doing those things 'just for the halibut,’ to quote my favorite halibut-related saying. 

The "Office-ial" host of the GGs is returning atheist/cut-up Ricky Gervais. You never know what he'll say! You do know how he'll say it: With smugness. But why shouldn't he be smug? Have you seen his abs??

As for who will win the awards, I'm going to my bookie right now and putting all my money on Avatar. Don't try to stop me!


What's the story of the week so far?

It's not that Jay-Z released "Glory," a song to honor his newborn daughter and it wasn't my commercial debut in the new Vince Offer Schticky ads – it's not even the new pictures of Dolly Parton showing off her newly lifted milk bags at some event.

It's the story about Tiger Woods' ex-wife Elin Nordegren bulldozing the house he once used as a stop-gap in between winning at golf and cheating on her.

When I first heard this story I was all up in the attitude of “girl, why you gotta get rid of a perfectly good house when so many people live in cardboard boxes or attics?” Then I looked into the story and learned the old house was termite-infested and hadn't been hurricane-proofed in years.

Plus she gave Habitat For Humanity a lot of the lumber gleaned from the destruction of her sanctuary. Her kind act of house breakery has inspired me to do the same. If a golfer cheats on me I will blow up my home! 


Talkative Toronto singer/songwriter Jennifer Castle will play some dates with notoriously reserved California singer/songwriter Cass McCombs at the end of this month. Their conversations will be very one-sided. 

Castle and McCombs will appear together (well, not on stage together, but like in the same building on the same nights) at Montreal’s Il motore January 25 and Toronto’s Garrison January 26. Castle will follow that with a solo appearance at Lupercalia Fest in Owen Sound February 17.

In other Jennifer Castle-related news, Jennifer Castle has granted NYC-based label No Quarter Records the privilege of releasing her still-great 2011 album Castlemusic in America, exact release date TBA. Check out the vid for album track “Powers” below.

Related: TORO interviews Jennifer Castle

Related: TORO interviews Cass McCombs (no shit!)