Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Tomorrow is a big day for Terraria fans... version 1.1 will be released.  This new update includes over 200 new items, almost 40 new enemies, four new bosses, new biomes, new armors, new ores... in a word, it's epic.  And, last Friday, the official preview teaser trailer for 1.1 was released:

If you've never heard of this game, let me try to explain: it's an exploration game, similar to the more popular/well-known game, Minecraft. You can mine ores in the ground, use them to craft new tools, weapons, buildings and such. There are enemies in the world, from simple slimes to massive bosses, to interact with along the way.

The fun of the game comes from the random exploration aspect of it; the advancement of your tools and the discovery of new biomes (from the desert, to the jungle... the caverns to the underworld... and even oceans and floating islands in the sky). As you grow and explore deeper and further into the world, you can improve your stats and gear, meet new NPCs who will help you out on your adventure, find new cosmetic items or accessories, learn new crafting plans. And now (well, tomorrow...) there will be much, much more of this to go around.

At $10 on STEAM, this game is a steal.  On sale (the recently concluded "Autumn Sale" or the upcoming "Winter/Holiday Sale"), you can find it for as little as $5, which makes it an absolute must-own in my books. Getting started can seem a little daunting and perhaps a bit un-structured, however, the official Terraria Online Wiki is an excellent resource.

» Found at: Terraria Online (DevBlog)

Monday, November 28, 2011

TotW: Blackwater

I'm going through something of a 'rap' phase at the moment... I think it was my discovery that Donald Glover, from Community, raps under the name Childish Gambino. His first album, Cul-de-sac (free for download), is quite amazing; his just released album, Camp, is also blowing my mind.

But, since I'm trying to keep this TotW feature Canadian indie -focused, I tried to think of some Canadian rap/hip-hop that I've also enjoyed.  Enter K-OS.

His most recent effort is another free for download 'mixtape' entitled The Anchorman Mixtape (note: download from the SKoA link at the end of the review, not the K-OS link; it seems to be hacked/broken).  I haven't listened to the whole album, nor have I seen the movie on which this tape is named in honour of, but apparently there are snippets of the movie included throughout the tape.

The song itself it pretty catchy.  It's pretty drum 'n bass heavy, which shouldn't surprise too much seeing as Death From Above 1979's Sebastian Granger helps out on the track. The language is clean, unlike the afore-linked Childish Gambino album! There are lots of vocal tricks and effects on the layered vocals which gives the song a great texture. I certainly don't know enough about rap to compare K-OS' "flow" to other performers... but I like it.

» Listen: K-OS - Blackwater (f- S. Granger)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Wow, it doesn't get much better than this: Jonathan Coulton's masterpiece, the closing song Still Alive from Portal, the video game plus Canadian indie artist, Sara Quinn, of Tegan & Sara.

Just in case this video isn't enough, the link below takes you to a post Jonathan made recently which features links to other new videos from his latest album, Artificial Heart. Oh, and did I mention that this version includes an intro done on a theremin?

» Found at: Jonathan Coulton's website

Monday, November 14, 2011

TotW: Let Go Lightly

I discover most of my 'new music' on CBC Radio3 while I'm working away. You know those rare tunes that just steal your attention away from whatever it is you're doing at that moment? This was one of those songs for me.

From Donovan Woods' second album, the song Let Go Lightly is a wonderful, spirited acoustic song that just rolls along at this perfect pace. It's driving, well written and sung with the slightest rasp that just really seals the deal for me. The harmonica in the intro is also that little 'something extra' that pulls you in; the hand claps towards the end of the song are subtle on the first listen, but you find yourself clapping along after a few repeat listens.

I'm certainly not too familiar with Donovan's work, but I hope to change that as this isn't the only song I've heard on Radio3 that has stopped me in my tracks. While listening to Grant Lawrence's show Friday afternoon, the song My Cousin Has A Grey Cup Ring, from Woods' first album, grabbed me as well. As this 4-star NOW Magazine review says, his sound is a little bit Dan Mangan, a little bit Ryan Adams... a damn fine combination if you ask me.

» Listen: Donovan Woods - Let Go Lightly

Monday, November 7, 2011

TotW: Ciao Monday

13 full-length albums later and this lady is still taking chances and putting out new material. Impressive.

I've been publishing a 'track of the week' now for awhile and I'd intentionally done it on a Monday as a way to get/do something positive out of this otherwise miserable "Monday" of a day. Well, it comes as no surprise that I'm not the only one who feels this way... however, Emm has the ability to write a wonderful, pop-song out of that feeling we all get on the first day of the work week.

In her own words, the song starts with "simple piano notes but they had a somber but splendid feeling about them". Her vocals are as strong as ever (maybe stronger...) and the lyrics are both clever and uplifting at the same time:
Ciao Monday you break my heart
There's a mountain the minute you start
Open the door you can walk right through
Monday Monday I'm done with you
I'm almost certain that you've heard something from this talented artist previously, even if you didn't know it. Check out this song from her latest album, Northern Gospel, that was released back in September. She's also still got a few tour dates remaining before the end of the year, so if you get the chance, check her out live.

» Listen: Emm Gryner - Ciao Monday