Thursday, January 28, 2010

Concert and Album Lists

If you look on the right column, you will notice that I have added two new lists.

The first is a list of upcoming Toronto concerts that we recommend (or are going to). We figured this would be a better way of adding new concert announcements as we heard them, rather than posting a new blog post every time.

So keep checking the list for new recommendations and of course, keep checking Ticketmaster, Live Nation and your favourite band websites for other dates. I also follow my favourite bands on Twitter, Facebook or MySpace to hear announcements as soon as they are available.

The second list we've added are for upcoming (and recent) album releases. Dates are not set in stone as album release dates are often changed, but it gives an idea of what we can look forward to in 2010.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Toronto Island Concert

The Toronto Island Concert is back this year after being cancelled last year.

There are more band announcements to follow. For now, the following are confirmed:

Broken Social Scene
Band of Horses

There will be more bands announced in the near future.

Presale begins January 18th.

More Concert Announcements

Adding to pjmixer's post from earlier this are more concert announcements that have caught my eye:

Editors February 18 at The Phoenix
Muse with Silversun Pickups March 8th at Air Canada Centre (anyone with a GA ticket for me? lol)
Jamie Cullum March 9th at Massey Hall
Bedouin Soundclash March 12th Mod Club
Norah Jones March 23rd at Massey Hall (sold out)
Vampire Weekend March 30th Sound Academy (new album just released...thx JH)
Hot Chip April 20th at Kool Haus
Owl City April 27th at Sound Academy (daughter's new favourite)
The XX April 4th at Phoenix (tickets on sale Jan. 15th)
Hawksley Workman April 24th at Massey Hall
U2 July 3rd at Rogers Centre

Early 2010 Toronto concert announcements

The Cribs at The Phonenix this Friday, Jan 15th - still not sold out (good or bad?)
Timbaland at the Sound Academy on Jan 22nd - hoping to find hip hop co-pilot
Frank Turner at The Horseshoe on Jan 26th - new find from Kelly1122
Nouvelle Vague at The Opera House on Jan 27th - should be interesting lounge with retro twist
Clientele at The Horseshoe on March 19th - going to this one - smooth sounds of spring
Air at The Phoenix on March 23rd - would be nice
Nada Surf at Lee's Palace on March 29th - need to listen to more - CS is a big fan

And a few comedy shows that caught my eye:
An Evening with Kevin at Roy Thompson Hall on Feb 6
Steven Wright at Convocation Hall on Jan 30 and 31st

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Where I find new music: Part 2 -

Quick on the heels of posting my 2009 best of, I log into to post a new track for this new year.  In, after your track ends it automatically starts playing from your favourite DJ list.  So on comes this really great track from The Duke Spirit, called You Really Wake Up the Love In Me from a DJ named albertsdad.  I quickly sample and download a few tracks, sync my iPod and presto, the first new music find for 2010.  

Monday, January 4, 2010

PJMixer best music of 2009

I downloaded and listened to a ton of music this year and also went to more concerts (21, 31 artists) than I have in many years.  There are a few friends and fellow concert photographers that enjoy the same music as I do, however my tastes are quite varied and I'm finding more than ever, that perhaps my music is not on everyone's radar screen of what's good or popular in music today.  However, I do hope that you'll agree with some of my choices for 2009 and more importantly I hope you'll find something new in the lists below that appeals to your ears and rhythm.  

1. Kasabian - West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum.  Driving riffs, beats, and sing-a-longs across the majority of the tracks of this fantastic record - first time I heard it I knew is was going to be my number one (shortlisted for the 2009 Mercury Prize, and was named Best Album of the 2009 by Q).  The only thing missing is a North America tour !  pjtracks: UnderdogFire and Where did all the love go ?

2. K'Naan - Troubadour.  Somalia born and now based in Toronto, K'Naan conjures up a modern blend of hip hop, rap, pop and African beats with very personal and political story telling.  Fabulous.  The album was shortlisted for the 2009 Polaris Music Prize. A remix of Waving Flag has been selected as the official song of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.  pjtracks: Dreamer and Take a Minute.

3. Jamie T - Kings & Queens.  Quirky voice singing our clever, perky and potent lines make the blend of upbeat pop, rap, hip hop with a few ballads irresistible.  pjtracks: Sticks 'n' Stones and Chaka Demus.

4. The Temper Trap - Conditions.  Fantastic surprise when we saw these Aussies bring the house down at The Horseshoe Tavern a few months ago.  Credit to Suze20TO for the find, must-see live act, overflowing with energy and chart potential.  pjtracks: Science of Fear and Love Lost.

5. U2 - No Line on the Horizon.  When I first got this album I wasn't immediately impressed.  However, after quite a lot of listening, the quality of the songwriting and the music is what we've come to expect from U2 - perfect.  But what got them on the list this year was their concert performance.  Best show of the year and maybe an all time top 10, big thanks to Scotty H for the comp tickets and getting the chance to see the biggest band in the whole up-close.  pjtracks: I'll Go Crazy If I Don't go Crazy Tonight, Magnificant and Moment of Surrender

6. Champion - Resistance.  This second album from Montreal DJ and guitar gang takes much more of a rock path, but the beats from Max always get you moving and then the guitars and catchy keep you in the moment.  Superb live show a must-see.  pjtracks: Alive Again, Resistance (Skool) and Backing Off.

7. The XX - XX.  Wonderful mellow minimalist, electronica perfect for late night listening.  Thanks to Rob S for the tip on this one.  pjtracks: Crystalised and VCR.

8. Florence and the Machine - Lungs.  A voice that at times reminds me of Kate Bush (and on other tracks can really belt it out), lovely layered and varied tracks on this rather unique sounding album. pjtracks Rabbit Heart (Raise it up), You've got the Look and Kiss with a Fist.

9.  White Lies - To Lose My Life.  A great example of the renewed 80's sound found in quite a few albums this year.  Lyrics are a little dark, but the synth layers are warm and the beats and buildups are top draw. pjtracks: Death and E.S.T.

10. Camera Obscura - My Maudlin Career.  Light, fair-weather tunes that put a smile on my face, but don't seem to fit our current sub-zero conditions.  Another recommendation from Rob S. pjtracks: You Told a Lie and James.

Other 2009 releases that I played a lot this year, but didn't quite make the top 10 include: The Clientele, Jet (pjtrack: She's a Genius), Manic Street Preachers, Coldplay (the live LeftRightLeftRightLeft), Sam Roberts (pjtrack: The Pilgrim), Franz Ferdinand, The Streets (pjtrack: Heaven for the Weatherand Cut Copy (pjtrack: Lights and Music).

There were a flurry of releases later in 2009 (or in the case of Metric weren't available via my regular download channel), that I've begun to listen a lot to and are very promising and perhaps would have made the list if I'd found them earlier or monopolized the stereo for the last few weeks: John Mayer (pjtrack: Heartbreak Warfare), Norah Jones (pjtrack: Chasing Pirates), Metric, Jay-Z and Timbaland (pjtrack: Timothy where you been, feat. Jet).

My picks for songs of 2009 are:

1. Kasabian - Where did all the love go ?
2. Kasabian - Fire
3. K'Naan - Take a Minute
4. K'Naan - Dreamer
5. Peter Doherty - Last of the English Roses
6. Arctic Monkeys - Cornerstone
7. U2 - Moment of Surrender
8. Jay-Z - Empire State of Mind (feat. Alicia Keys) (and with all the shots of NY in the video, on first viewing, this becomes my favourite video of 2009)
9. Jamie T - Sticks 'n' Stones
10. White Lies - Death

And to finish off the lists for 2009, a few odd tracks from other artists that got a lot of iPod playtime: Deadmau5 - Ghosts 'n' StuffReverend and the Makers - No Soap in a Dirty War; Madelaine Peyroux - Instead; The Enemy - Sing When You're in Love; Junior Boys - Work; and last but not least, what 2009 list would be complete without Dizzee Rascal's Dance Wiv Me.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Quite the year for concerts...

2009 - 21 concerts - 31 artists, rated out of 5*

The Killers at Air Canada Centre (with M83) ****
Arkells at Horseshoe (with Waking Eyes and We Are The Take) - ****
Thievery Corporation at Kool Haus *****
Glasvegas at Mod Club (with Von Iva) ****
English Beat at Lee's Palace ****
Travis at Sound Academy (with Republic Tigers) ****
Gavin Rossdale at The Music Hall ***
Diana Krall at Massey Hall ****
Franz Ferdinand at Kool Haus ***
Coldplay at Air Canada Centre (with Elbow) *****
The Killers at Molson Amphitheatre (with Wolfmother) ***
Champion at Yonge Dundas Square (opening for Toronto International Film Festival) ****
U2 at Rogers Centre (with Snow Patrol) *****
K'Naan at The Phoenix Theatre ****
Arctic Monkeys at Kool Haus ***
Mat Kearney at Lee's Palace (with Diana Birch) ***
Psychedelic Furs at Kool Haus (with Happy Mondays) ***
Temper Trap at Horseshoe (and We Are The Take) ****
Thievery Corporation at Kool Haus *****
Champion at Mod Club *****
The Most Serene Republic at The Horsehoe (with Zeus and Still Life Still) ***