Monday, September 26, 2011

TotW: Tosta Mista

I don't even know how to describe this song from Hooded Fang ... "infectious", comes to mind.
They're last album, Album, was okay from what I heard. I remember checking it out when it was long listed for the Polaris Prize. It didn't grab me, but I didn't dislike it either. Not one to usually judge an album by it's cover, I wasn't taken by the band's new album, Tosta Mista, as I'm not really impressed by the whole Mexican wrestler/lucha libre thing.

And then I heard this lead single. While I don't think it grabbed me the first time, it had me hooked after the second or third go 'round. Regardless of the the cover art, this "surf rock" -esque shuffle, with it's background vocals, multiple lead singers, and high pitched, single string guitar grooves has been my earworm this week. It's noisy in all the right ways, it's layered perfectly, it's fun and there is just something about it. While the last two weeks here have featured 'summer' songs, there is something about this track that reminds me of the fall.

Tosta Mista (the album) isn't that long I've heard, but this Toronto band might have another Polaris Prize listed album on their hands if this single is any indication. Certainly a band to keep your ears on!

» Listen: Hooded Fang - Tosta Mista

Monday, September 19, 2011

TotW: Make a New Dance Up

I first heard this song on Radio3 last week ... and I haven't got it outta my head since! Much like last week's song, this is a super-poppy (in a good way) mid-summer party track that was released a few months too late. This would have been an awesome song-of-the-summer!

Everyone seems to want to compare it to the Miami Sound Machine sound, and I don't deny it, but it's also not a bad thing to be compared to when you're talking about a wicked summer song! It's bouncy and fun and I just love the singer's voice. It's so perfect for this song. The horns in the chorus just add to the groove; and I love these little breaks in the song where everything stops, just for a second.

You make me wanna dance, you make me wanna move, you make me wanna... you make me wanna make a new dance up!

This song builds to a wonderful climax, with this little spoken word part and the emphasized vocals in the repeating chorus right at the end. Everything is there, and it's got this really "alive" feeling to it; like you're right there on the beach at sundown with them, dancing and celebrating the summer.

» Listen: Hey Ocean! - Make a New Dance Up

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Next week – Monday at 8:00pm EDT to be exact – the 2011 (Canadian) Polaris Music Prize will be handed out to one of the ten short listed albums. This year, just like the past five years that the prize has been given out, there are a few albums on this list that I think are very deserving of the prize. I should also say that I've never once been able to select the winner before they've been announced, so I'm certainly not one to place bets on. That said, it's not going to keep me from breaking down the short list right here for your enjoyment:

Albums I don't think will win:
  • Galaxie - although I'm enjoying this album, with last year's winner (Karkwa) being a French -language album, I don't see the jury selecting two French -language albums in a row.
  • Hey Rosetta! - I'm a huge fan of their first EP and their last full LP, I can't get through this album. I don't know if it's just too much of the same thing or what, but I'm just not connecting with it.
  • Ron Sexsmith - I hate to do it, but I'm going to pull the "too mainstream" card for this selection. It might also have something to do with the use of auto-tune on the album that bothers me.
  • Timber Timbre - you're not supposed to compare a selected album to the artist's back-catalogue, but there was something about this band's previous release that I enjoyed more than I do this album. It's still a very solid album, but I don't see it taking the prize.
  • The Weeknd - not being a huge fan of this genre, especially the amount of swearing and generally crude language featured in these songs, I don't love this album. Long list, yes; short list, maybe not.

Monday, September 12, 2011

TotW: The Hippopotamus

Grant Lawrence played this song Friday afternoon on Radio3 and I've been listening to it all weekend long. It's a great end-of-summer party song.

As with most ska/punk stuff, The Hippopotamus comes in as just over two minutes long. However, the band, The Planet Smashers, have been around for much longer having started out way back in 1994. Most famous for their song, Surfin' in Tofino, these guys have so much fun and energy in every song.

If you're familiar with the ska scene, then you know what to expect here: horns, a steady beat, upstroke guitars, fun lyrics, and, in this case, lyrics that are telling you how to do the latest dance craze, "the hippopotamus". So, have a listen and get ready to dance along!

This track is from their just-released album, Descent Into the Valley of... and it promises to be a blast.

» Listen: The Planet Smashers - The Hippopotamus

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Snakes. I started looking at this site because someone mentioned the Narcisse Snake Dens on the CBC Radio3 blog one day and the first (reliable) google result was ... from U-Haul. Specifically, this link on the SuperGraphics mini-site: #125 - Manitoba.

We've all seen a U-Haul truck on the road, and over the past few years, I assume we've all taken notice of the art on the side of each truck. It's state/province -specific and it's not just pretty... it's also informative! I mean, did you know that there was a famous series of snake pits in Manitoba?

What about a flaming ghost ship off the coast of Nova Scotia? The mysterious Loch Ness -like Champ monster living off-shore of Vermont? If you didn't know these things already, you could wait for the appropriate U-Haul truck to pull up next to you at a stop light... or you can learn all about these things on-line!

But, I'll warn you... if you start poking around this site, you can 'lose' a lot of time checking out everything that is here. Oh, and although I can't find him anywhere, apparently the company mascot, Sammy U, is hiding in each image... something else for you to keep an eye out for!

» Found at: U-Haul SuperGraphics

Monday, September 5, 2011

TotW: This City's a Mess

This one is a classic... well, not a classic in the sense of it being from the '90s (like, say, I'd pulled treblecharger's Red for the TotW today...) but in the sense that it's awesome and fun and great and always a fun song to hear.

Juno Award winning, Vancouver, BC -based band, Said the Whale have had their good times and their bad; if you haven't already seen it, check out their movie/documentary, Winning America for all the details. But, as a result, this super-hard working band has earned their fame through relentless touring and an honest love for the music.

This City's a Mess starts out with a steady drum beat and a wicked hand-clap pattern... then the guitars join in... the soft vocals next... and then everything kicks in. It's another song with a "ba- ba- bada- ba" bit in the chorus, more group vocals, more slow- fast- slow- stylings... but it's still it's own song. Hearing them shout "this city's a mess, this city's a mess" during the final chorus is such a sing-a-long moment.

If you like what you hear here, you've got a lot of StW to hear. This is from their 2008 album, Howe Sounds. They released a second album in 2009, Islands Disappear, and are (I believe) just finishing up the follow-up to that stellar album now. The band is also out on the road right now, touring... again.

» Listen: Said the Whale - This City's a Mess