Top Songs of 2018

It’s been a couple of years since I did this, but I wanted to get back to it since it’s always fun to look back on the year through my peculiar musical lens (and typical me, late as usual). As in past years, there were some big songs that came on my radar but I want to focus on Canadian artists. There probably wasn’t a more impactful song this year than This is America by Childish Gambino and the latter part of the year saw me playing a lot this Morrissey cover. But for the first time, I’m going to put two non-Canadian acts on my list as my top picks.

I made a YouTube playlist here.

10. Dan Mangan – Lynchpin – Dan Mangan has been incredibly consistent over the past decade, always soothing, Lynchpin is slightly more ethereal than folksy and I think that’s a good thing. 

9. Broken Social Scene – Old Dead Young – Every few years they BSS seem to threaten to reform and take over, and seem content to be consistently great from a distance for a short amount of time. 

8. Stars – Are You With Me – This is a touring year for Stars but they released a couple of pretty decent singles. I think Stars are one of the most consistently strong bands in Canada. “If you’re with me, then let’s leave now.”

7. Ellis – What a Mess – I love how chill this track is and yet there is longing in it and I think that’s a tough line to walk but this song does it well. 

6. Chastity – Heaven Hell Anywhere Else – I really like the 90’s alt-rock sound to this. The whole album has an alt-90s vibe and it feels weird to think of 90’s music as retro, but this is a pretty damned good album. 

5. Jeremy Dutcher – Mehcinut – Dutcher won the 2018 Polaris Prize and this is such a beautiful album, it’s unlike anything I’ve ever heard and at my age, I don’t get to say that much anymore. 

4. Shy Kids – I was in L.A. – These guys are so talented, they seem to be gaining a larger following with each album and I hope they keep releasing material like this. This is an album with a good sonic palette and this is the happiest tune. They also make their own videos and I think this one is worth checking out.

3. Elisapie – Wolves Don’t Live by the Rules – Criminally underrated, Elisapie doesn’t seem to get much mainstream attention outside of the CBC and I guess her music might be difficult to classify. This is a lovely video too. 

2. Shout Out Louds – In New Europe, I’m not sure how you write a song this good and not use it on your album, but Shout Out Louds did exactly that. I love these guys, they keep being amazing with diminishing returns and no airplay in North America. 

1. The Decembrists – Once in My Life I can’t remember the last time I fell in love with a song quite like this one. I love everything about it, the tune, the lyrics, the arrangement, the video. I loved how they said so much with 3 simple lines, “Oh, for once in my life, can just something go right? I’ve been waiting all my life,” the John Hughes synths and the video which makes the song hopeful instead of mopey.


The Fine – New Flash Fiction in the Lunaris Review

While I was whittling down my manuscript, I had to look at each chapter and try to think of it within the context of the whole. This was a chapter that didn’t make the final cut as it didn’t develop the character (by that point in the story, the reader knows the protagonist doesn’t fit in) and it didn’t advance the plot. But I thought it worked well as a standalone piece and the good people over at the Lunaris Review saw fit to give it a home. Here’s a link to the story:



The Tragically Hip – Sunday August 14, 2016

The last time I saw The Tragically Hip was for Canada’s 125th birthday celebration at Molson Park in Barrie in 1992, a few months before the release of Fully Completely and before they became the biggest band in the country. Twenty-four years and eleven albums later, they are playing their final tour after Gord Downie announced he had terminal brain cancer.


Continue reading “The Tragically Hip – Sunday August 14, 2016”

Recap – The FOLD (Festival of Literary Diversity)

Recap – The FOLD (Festival of Literary Diversity)

I remember seeing the idea for FOLD grow on Twitter over a year ago to finally coming together. I looked at the lineup and sessions and bought a weekend pass. I liked the idea of FOLD in theory but the reality was so much better than I possibly expected. Everyone involved should be incredibly proud of what they accomplished this past weekend.

The inaugural FOLD event was held at the Peel Art Gallery Museum and Archives centre in downtown Brampton. Although I work about 5 minutes south of this building, I had never been to it before. It’s an interesting building that mixes old and new as an addition was built over an old courthouse that was built in 1867.


Continue reading “Recap – The FOLD (Festival of Literary Diversity)”

Book Club – The Lord of the Flies

Book Club – The Lord of the Flies

I’ve read Lord of the Flies three times, once in high school, once about ten years ago and again last month because I decided to tag along with my mother to her book club. If you came here through a Google search looking for something to help you with a high school paper, I’ll try to update this soon with something useful.

Continue reading “Book Club – The Lord of the Flies”

An Interview with Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Silvia Moreno-Garcia is the Mexican-Canadian author of the short story collection This Strange Way of Dying and the novel Signal to Noise. She has edited the anthologies She Walks in Shadows, Sword & Mythos, Fungi, Dead North and Fractured. Silvia is also the Publisher of Innsmouth Free Press, a Canadian micro-publishing venture specializing in horror and dark speculative fiction.

Signal to Noise

Signal to Noise is a novel that revolves around its two main characters – Meche and Sebastian – in Mexico City in chapters that alternate between 1988 and 2009. They are high school misfits in 1989, infatuated with the wrong people,  who discover music and how to cast spells using it. They think their newfound powers mean a turnaround in their fortunes, but obviously nothing is that simple. In 2009, Meche returns to Mexico City from Europe for her estranged father’s funeral, and her friendship with Sebastian has fallen apart. This is a heartbreaking story of family, love, loss, music and magic. Music is an integral part of the novel and there are lots of reference to 80’s music, both English and Spanish, sprinkled throughout the novel. This tagline sums it up nicely: “I Long before iTunes or MP3s, you said “I love you” with a mixtape.”

Thanks to Silvia for taking time to answer some questions.

Signal to Noise was published by Solaris and is available for purchase here.

Silvia’s website can be found here.

Continue reading “An Interview with Silvia Moreno-Garcia”

My Top 10 Songs of 2015

My Top 10 Songs of 2015

Earlier this year I bought a copy of  Uncut magazine in the airport before a flight. It felt very antiquated to be reading a music magazine in 2015 in the age of YouTube. It came with a CD that I still haven’t listened to because of a general lack of CD players in my life. Reading cliched passages about swelling choruses, walls of noise or melodic whatevers, made want to keep the writing about the songs on this list to a minimum and I was reminded of the famous quote, ‘writing about music is like dancing about architecture.’ And while there were a lot of other great songs that I could’ve listed (some other standouts from this year), I limited my list to indie Canadian acts. Here’s a playlist of my favourites of the year. At the bottom, I’ve included a list of my wife’s top picks of the year, because she has pretty great taste.

Continue reading “My Top 10 Songs of 2015”

My Love Letter to CBC Radio 3 On Their 10 Year Anniversary (via 2009) – Part 2

You can read about Part 1 of my post on being an expat in Chile, the CBC Radio 3 Blog, and when me and my favourite sidekick got into a car crash over here. I made a playlist of the Canadian music I was listening to at the time over here.

Me and Em

Continue reading “My Love Letter to CBC Radio 3 On Their 10 Year Anniversary (via 2009) – Part 2”