[html]Electro-pop artist Austra is all about the art. Exhibit A: this willfully nonsensical clip for Feel it Break track “Spellwork.” Featuring random fruit, a scary black horse, and a buncha folks hangin’ out in the woods lookin’ sad, it definitely has to be seen to be observed:

Might have been more effective if they hadn’t filmed it in the middle of the afternoon. Just sayin’. Also this:


Related: TORO interviews Austra


Long time coming, but Toronto folk favourites Great Lake Swimmers are finally set to release their fifth album, their first in three years.

It’s called New Wild Everywhere and will drop April 3. Lead single “Easy Come Easy Go” can be heard below, with an official release January 17. Single cover art and recent press pics indicate GLS have become more of a unified band and not just a few bodies in orbit around frontman and creative force Tony Dekker. Further evidence: New Wild Everywhere is the band’s first album recorded in a studio instead of various places like “historic churches, castles, music venues, and more.” (“More” being Dekker’s bathroom, probably.) 

  Great Lake Swimmers - Easy Come Easy Go (radio edit) by nettwerkmusicgroup

New Wild Everywhere:

1. Think That You Might Be Wrong
2. New Wild Everywhere
3. The Great Exhale
4. The Knife
5. Changes With the Wind
6. Cornflower Blue
7. Easy Come Easy Go
8. Fields of Progeny
8. Ballad of a Fisherman’s Wife
9. Quiet Your Mind
10. Parkdale Blues
11. On the Water
12. Les Champs De Progéniture

Tour Dates:

April 5 - Montreal (L'Astral)
April 12 - London, UK (Cargo)
April 14 - Manchester, UK (The Deaf Insitute)
April 15 - Brighton, UK (Green Door Store)
April 16 - Brussels, BE (Botanique)
April 17 - Diksmuide, BE (4AD)
April 18 - Ottersum, NL (Roepaen)
April 19 - Groningen, NL (Vera)
April 20 - Berlin, DE (HBC)
April 21 - Hamburg, DE (Prinzenbar)
April 23 - Basel, CH (Sud)
April 25 - Brest, FR (Le Vauban)
April 26 - Paris, FR (Petit Bain)
April 27 - Turnhout, BE (Warande)

w/ Cold Specks:

May 4 - Winnipeg (West End Cultural Centre)
May 6 - Edmonton (McDougall United Church)
May 7 - Calgary (Central United Church)
May 11 - Vancouver (The Commodore Ballroom)
May 12 - Victoria (Alix Goolden Hall)
June 2 - Toronto (The Music Hall)

Related: Great Lake Swimmers Live @ TORO


This year’s Coachella 2012 festival lineup has been announced, and all those unfrozen from their pre-millennium cryogenic chambers should be very excited. The Indio, California fest has now expanded to two separate weekends (April 13 - 15 / 20 - 22), and features a heft of acts predominantly active in the ‘90s: Pulp, Refused, Mazzy Star, James, Atari Teenage Riot, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Jeff Mangum (of Neutral Milk Hotel), Dr. Dre & Snoop Dogg, Company Flow, and the newly reunited At the Drive-In. Plus a few others.

Booked acts hitting close to home include TORO Garage Sessions alumni Airplane Boys, and acts we’ve had the pleasure of interviewing including The Sheepdogs, St. Vincent, and The Head and the Heart. Special thanks to local favourite The Weeknd for coming out of his cave and playing a real, full live set.

Related: The Airplane Boys Live @ TORO

Related: Interview with The Sheepdogs

Related: Interview with St. Vincent

Related: Interview with The Head and the Heart

Album Review: The Weeknd


[html]Our friends in Glasgow’s Sparrow and the Workshop have shared their nifty new video for “You Don’t Trust Anyone,” a highlight from sophomore release (and TORO’s #3 Album of 2011) Spitting Daggers. It’s a colourful piece of work, crafted by Glasgow School of Art students Sally Sibbet and Danny Pattison.

Via Sparrow frontwoman Jill O’Sullivan: “We were blown away by the effort and skill they put into this video and by the magical results. All we had to do was twirl around on seats in front of a green screen and they did all the hard work and voila, here's the video. We hope you like it!”

Related: Interview with Sparrow and the Workshop


[html]Comedian and TORO pop culture columnist Nick Flanagan has a new gig as an “unwanted guest” backing up prostitute-punching pitchman Vince Offer for his newest product, The Schticky:

"Vagina pun." - Vince Offer (Bartlett's 18th Edition)


[html]As previously reported, The Shins minus every member that wasn’t frontman James Mercer will release their fourth album Port of Morrow this coming March 20. In the meantime you can hear the deceptively-titled rocker “Simple Song” below. Enjoy yourselves.


To mark its 50th anniversary Amnesty International will pay tribute to Bob Dylan, one of the most influential social activists (however strongly he would oppose that title) in popular culture, by launching a cover song compilation called Chimes of Freedom.

The massive 4-disc collection of new or previously unreleased covers will be released physically January 24, featuring a roster both fittingly broad and deeply unfocused:

Disc 1

1. Raphael Saadiq - Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat
2. Patti Smith - Drifter’s Escape
3. Rise Against - Ballad of Hollis Brown
4. Tom Morello / The Nightwatchman - Blind Willie McTell
5. Pete Townshend - Corrina, Corrina
6. Bettye LaVette - Most of the Time
7. Charlie Winston - This Wheel’s On Fire
8. Diana Krall - Simple Twist of Fate
9. Brett Dennen - You Ain’t Goin‘ Nowhere
10. Mariachi El Bronx - Love Sick
11. Ziggy Marley - Blowin‘ in the Wind
12. The Gaslight Anthem - Changing of the Guards
13. Silversun Pickups - Not Dark Yet
14. My Morning Jacket - You’re a Big Girl Now
15. The Airborne Toxic Event - Boots of Spanish Leather
16. Sting - Girl from the North Country
17. Mark Knopfler - Restless Farewell 

Disc 2

1. Queens of the Stone Age - Outlaw Blues
2. Lenny Kravitz - Rainy Day Woman # 12 & 35
3. Steve Earle and Lucia Micarelli - One More Cup of Coffee (Valley Below)
4. Blake Mills - Heart of Mine
5. Miley Cyrus - You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go
6. Billy Bragg - Lay Down Your Weary Tune
7. Elvis Costello - License to Kill
8. Angelique Kidjo - Lay, Lady, Lay

9. Natasha Bedingfield - Ring Them Bells
10. Jackson Browne - Love Minus Zero / No Limit
11. Joan Baez - Seven Curses (Live)

12. The Belle Brigade - No Time To Think
13. Sugarland - Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here With You
14. Jack’s Mannequin - Mr. Tambourine Man
15. Oren Lavie - 4th Time Around
16. Sussan Deyhim - All I Really Want to Do

17. Adele - Make You Feel My Love (Live on WXPN)

Disc 3

1. K’NAAN - With God On Our Side
2. Ximena Sarinana - I Want You
3. Neil Finn with Pajama Club - She Belongs to Me 

4. Bryan Ferry - Bob Dylan’s Dream
5. Zee Avi - Tomorrow is a Long Time
6. Carly Simon - Just Like a Woman
7. Flogging Molly - The Times They Are a-Changin’
8. Fistful of Mercy - Buckets of Rain
9. Joe Perry - Man of Peace
10. Bad Religion - It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue
11. My Chemical Romance - Desolation Row (Live)
12. RedOne feat. Nabil Khayat  - Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door
13. Paul Rodgers & Nils Lofgren - Abandoned Love
14. Darren Criss feat. Chuck Criss and Freelance Whales - New Morning
15. Cage the Elephant - The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll
16. Band of Skulls - It Ain’t Me, Babe
17. Sinead O’Connor - Property of Jesus
18. Ed Roland and The Sweet Tea Project - Shelter From the Storm
19. Ke$ha - Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right
20. Kronos Quartet - Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right

Disc 4

1. Maroon 5 - I Shall Be Released
2. Carolina Chocolate Drops - Political World
3. Seal & Jeff Beck - Like a Rolling Stone
4. Taj Mahal - Bob Dylan’s 115th Dream
5. Dierks Bentley - Senor (Tales of Yankee Power)
6. Mick Hucknall - One of Us Must Know (Sooner or Later)
7. Thea Gilmore - I’ll Remember You
8. State Radio - John Brown
9. Dave Matthews Band - All Along the Watchtower (Live)
10. Michael Franti - Subterranean Homesick Blues
11. We Are Augustines - Mama, You’ve Been On My Mind
12. Lucina Williams - Tryin’ to Get to Heaven
13. Kris Kristofferson - Quinn the Eskimo (The Mighty Quinn)
14. Eric Burdon - Gotta Serve Somebody
15. Evan Rachel Wood - I’d Have You Anytime
16. Marianne Faithfull - Baby Let Me Follow You Down
17. Pete Seeger - Forever Young
18. Bob Dylan - Chimes of Freedom

Digital Bonus Tracks

1. Outernational - When the Ship Comes In
2. Silverstein - Song to Woody
3. Daniel Bedingfield - Man in the Long Black Coat

I for one would’ve preferred a recording of the argument about who was going to get stuck doing “Heart of Mine” over Ke$ha raping “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right,” but hey, it’s for charity.

Listen to the compilation now via Facebook.


[html]Swedish country-folk duo First Aid Kit have gone from Youtube covers to rock-solid original material in no time flat. “Emmylou,” an amorous highlight for their upcoming sophomore album The Lion’s Roar, now has a video. Not much to it, but the song holds a lotta water:

Sisters Johanna and Klara Soderberg are, at 21 and 19 years old respectively, writing songs about Emmylou Harris that are strong enough for her to cover. I feel old.


First thing’s first: Evil Dead is being remade (again) which I was not aware of. That’s already too much information, but here’s more: it will be blogged written by Diablo Cody and probably star next-big-thing actress Lily “Eyebrows” Collins. Damn, does she have some sharp friggin’ eyebrows or what?

With this news fans can let go of their fear that anyone would try and fill the shoes of series regular Bruce Campbell; his character Ash, the defining element of Evil Dead, will be replaced by a Diablo Cody avatar who fights the undead presumably by luring them to an American Apparel outlet and garrotting them with her eyebrow hairs. Groovy?


Katy Perry and Russell Brand are done. Don't cry, this now means YOU have a shot with one of them. Which means I have a shot at them too!

I'm thinking of consensually kidnapping Russell and taking him to Massachussetts or wherever it is man-man partnerships have been legalized and becoming Mr. Nick Brand. What a cool name! Maybe I'll just change my name to Nick Brand without the kidnapping/marrying portion. It would save a lot of trouble.

Hindu leaders are criticizing the duo for having a solemn, sacred Hindu ceremony and breaking up just over a year later. Meanwhile, Katy's evangelical Christian parents are breathing a sigh of relief that the couple decided to besmirch a religion that wasn't theirs.


The Golden Globes, Oscar’s early-rising, borderline-alcoholic second cousin, have dropped their 2011 nominees, with the usual mix of surprise and confusion. We’ll cover the film noms here, full list viewable via Entertainment Weekly.

Best Picture (Drama): The Descendants, The Help, Hugo, The Ides of March, Moneyball, War Horse

Best Picture (Comedy/Musical): 50/50, The Artist, Bridesmaids, Carnage, Midnight in Paris, My Week with Marilyn

So Hugo is less comedic than My Week With Marilyn? I haven’t seen the latter but wasn’t exactly expecting a laugh riot. Was it a musical? Also, snubbing Shame, Drive, A Dangerous Method, and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo in favour of the widely-seen but little-loved Ides of March makes me suspect this list was slapped together at the end of August.

Best Picture (Animated): Arthur Christmas, Cars 2, Rango, Puss in Boots, The Adventures of Tintin

No surprises here, but no clear winner either. Rango and Puss in Boots were both widely-seen and generally praised, critics loved Arthur Christmas but box office was weak, Will The Adventures of Tintin finally legitimize motion capture animation after the disastrous Mars Needs Moms?

Best Picture (Foreign Language): The Flowers of War, In the Land of Blood and Honey, The Kid With a Bike, A Separation, The Skin I Live In

2011 didn’t see many legit foreign-language crossover successes. In the Land of Blood and Honey (directed by Angelina Jolie) and The Skin I Live In (from Pedro Almodóvar) have name recognition, while the Cannes award-winner The Kid With a Bike and year-end list favourite A Seperation have more critical cache. Good luck, The Flowers of War, whatever you are.

Best Actor (Drama): George Clooney (The Descendants), Brad Pitt (Moneyball), Ryan Gosling (The Ides of March), Michael Fassbender (Shame), Leonardo DiCaprio (J. Edgar)

Gosling for The Ides of March over Drive? Probably the biggest oversight of all 2011 nominees, in terms of actually paying attention to consensus over hype. No matter; it’s Clooney’s to lose, with a possible upset from Pitt or a dark horse victory via Fassbender, though the old fogies in charge of these awards (and most others) probably balked at the film’s graphic content.

Best Actor (Comedy): Jean Dujardin (The Artist), Brendan Gleeson (The Guard) Joseph Gordon-Levitt (50/50), Ryan Gosling (Crazy, Stupid, Love), Owen Wilson (Midnight in Paris)

No contest. Dujardin is going to walk away with this one, and probably the Oscar.

Best Actress (Drama): Glenn Close (Albert Nobbs), Viola Davis (The Help), Rooney Mara (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo), Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady), Tilda Swinton (We Need to Talk About Kevin)

Outside The Help, few of these films were widely-seen. Mara might get a boost when Dragon Tattoo finally opens, as will Streep (though she’s playing a very controversial figure, Margaret Thatcher, which has dogged the film since it was first announced.) Swinton may sneak in with the dark, critically-praised Kevin.

Best Actress (Musical/Comedy): Jodie Foster (Carnage), Charlize Theron (Young Adult),  Kristen Wiig (Bridesmaids), Michelle Williams (My Week with Marilyn), Kate Winslet (Carnage)

Though I wasn’t a huge fan of Bridesmaids, it would be nice to see a win in this category for a genuine comedy instead of the usual drama-with-comedic-elements. Williams has the most hype behind her, but again My Week with Marilyn barely qualifies in the designated genres.

The Globes ceremony, again hosted by Ricky Gervais, goes down January 15. We’ll see how our predictions held up!


After weeks of speculation, the hammer has dropped and Howard Stern has been tapped as a judge for next season's edition of America's Got Talent, and I am excited.

He will be taking over for Piers Morgan, which is kind of like a sophisticated robot taking over a job from calcified piece of bear doody. Stern has vowed to wear suits as a classy look for the show. Hopefully not lawsuits! I'm not 100% on what that last sentence meant. I guess I just don't want anyone to sue Howard Stern.

Pro-idiocy group the Parent's Television Council has already weighed in against the hiring, with the PTC president saying the move 'smacks of desperation'. The PTC should consider shifting their critique to the Golden Globes, whose 2011 nominations include the incredible fantasy series Game Of Thrones, which is rife with incest, murder and various Dungeons & Dragons-friendly plotlines. As far as I recall, the religious rights' hatred of D&D is even stronger than their feelings against Howard. At least he's from the same bloodline as Jesus.


[html]Hey, whatever happened to Beck? I was never the world’s biggest Beck fan, but I miss having him around. Certainly he’s kept busy with production work and that Record Club project that didn’t seem to go anywhere, but word of new, original music has been sparse.

That isn’t going to change today. What we’ve got instead is a remix of Feist’s “How Come You Never Go There,” lead single from her latest record Metals. It’s pretty funky. Enjoy!

How Come You Never Go There (Beck Remix) by Feist


[html]In the years since Wincing the Night Away (2007) Shins frontman James Mercer fired half the band, collaborated on a successful (I think?) side project with Danger Mouse as Broken Bells, and departed from longtime label Sub Pop. Pretty much everything but make a new Shins record. That’s about to be remedied; this March album no. 4 Port of Morrow will drop via Mercer’s own Aural Apothecary records, and feature the following tunes:

1. The Rifle's Spiral
2. Simple Song
3. It's Only Life
4. No Way Down
5. September
6. Bait and Switch
7. Fall of '82
8. For A Fool
9. 40 Mark Strasse
10. Port of Morrow

Cover art is viewable above, touring and precise release date TBA.


[html]Lana Del Rey recently topped our Best Videos of 2011 list, an honour I’m sure she appreciates very much because she reads my shit every day. Now she’s unveiled her first genuine, non-webcam clip (though at this point pretty low-quality), for debut album title track “Born to Die” [via Pitchfork via a random Russian streaming site] featuring tigers and a makeout session with some dude who isn’t you.



[html]Does anyone really care about Time Magazine’s “Person of the Year” award? What does that even mean? Remember when they chose “You” and there was a little faux-mirror on the cover and everyone was like “Huh”? That was good for a few larfs. In fact over the past decade Time’s editors have chosen broad groups in lieu of actual “persons” five times, including this year with “The Protestor.” Not Mohamed Bouazizi for his martyrdom, not the staff of Adbusters for kick-starting Occupy Wall Street, just “The Protestor.” So if you slapped together a placard and danced around the street in cargo shorts, you are the PERSON OF THE YEAR! Way to go. You did it.


The prudish city of Toronto, Canada is agog and aghast at recent shenanigans at a subway station, where a couple decided to have sex on the platform, after being kicked off the train for booty callin' in it.

The platform boffery was filmed by a schmuck and then posted on Worldstarhiphop, home of a million other videos of the 'gonzo' variety. Their joyless rutting is almost as drab as the decor of that particular subway station.

In fact, the most exciting part of the video is when a subway employee gives them a sort-of-stern '"get oot." The suspected couple has been charged for their indiscretion, and I say: Good. May all those in the future who practice mediocre public sex get the book thrown at them, and may that book hit one of them in the butt.


If you haven't heard of Walk Off The Earth, this indie Burlington band will have you glued to youtube with their innovative live performance videos. 
Their latest video, a cover of Gotye's "Somebody that I used to know" using five people on one guitar is just a taste of their creativity and musicianship. Enjoy!

TheHardestEver.jpg gives it to us hard in his latest video for "T.H.E (The Hardest Ever)" featuring Mick Jagger & Jennifer Lopez. 

The video is not so subtle visual intercourse as skips the foreplay and speeds right into biznez' using motorcycles, trucks, trains, and airplanes to get to outerspace with Lopez, exploding with the dynamo that is Mick Jagger. If you're sensitive to stobes and flashing lights, click away now, otherwise, watch for yourself.