Soundtrack of my Life: “Hope There’s Someone” by Antony and the Johnsons


I had also started this piece in the last couple of months, but I’ve had a hard time writing it. But I’ve started again, and will complete it so I don’t think about it anymore.   All I’ve ever wanted in life was to matter to someone. To be considered worthy of someone’s love and … More Soundtrack of my Life: “Hope There’s Someone” by Antony and the Johnsons

Soundtrack of my Life: “War In Peace” by Skip Spence


I started writing this before all the hell of November began, so I decided to finish it. I’ll write the 2016 year-end stuff next month and then that’s it until I find some sort of joy or purpose. When I discussed Skip Spence’s exquisite and underappreciated OAR, I mentioned a fondness for the broken and lost geniuses … More Soundtrack of my Life: “War In Peace” by Skip Spence

Soundtrack of my Life: “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen… and John Cale… and Jeff Buckley… And Rufus Wainwright… and k.d. lang…


The world is bleak. There has been little of the past few years of my life that has lent itself to hope and optimism, and the one thing I had hope and optimism about backfired spectacularly. This reinforced what I had always been told about myself, both by actual people and what my unending internal … More Soundtrack of my Life: “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen… and John Cale… and Jeff Buckley… And Rufus Wainwright… and k.d. lang…

“I’m telling the story, and if I can’t tell the story, I’m not going to sing it.”


  I’m getting to the point where I’m running out of synonyms for sadness and loss. Just listen to this voice, the voice of the incomparable Sharon Jones, with her devoted Dap Kings. She made it big late in life. But she always had that voice. Godspeed, Sharon. And thank you for sharing everything. Go … More “I’m telling the story, and if I can’t tell the story, I’m not going to sing it.”

“I love you in a place where there’s no space and time.”


Give me a man with a piano, and I will show you devotion. Leon Russell. He wrote some beautiful songs. He mentored Elton John. He tagged along with Joe Cocker, played with Delaney and Bonnie. He was a studio musician throughout the sixties, as part of the legendary Wrecking Crew. He played on Pet Sounds. … More “I love you in a place where there’s no space and time.”

“There’s a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”


I can’t find the words. I cried. God, how I cried. I curled up on my bed and cried until my eyes could no longer produce tears. But my body still rocked from sobs even then. I couldn’t stop. Maybe my already fractured state I couldn’t take one more loss, one more piece of sadness. … More “There’s a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”

Soundtrack of my Life: “God Give Me Strength” by Elvis Costello and Burt Bacharach


There is a delightful and underlooked gem of a film called Grace of My Heart, directed by Allison Anders and starring the incomparable Illeana Douglas. Anders is a highly acclaimed independent film maker responsible for the amazing Gas Food Lodging and Mi Vida Loca, but my favourite is the still Grace, a film of warmth and tenderness filled with incredible … More Soundtrack of my Life: “God Give Me Strength” by Elvis Costello and Burt Bacharach

Soundtrack of my Life: “Holocene” by Bon Iver


There is something sublime about Justin Vernon’s music. It’s the delicacy, I believe. And I need delicate right now. Vernon’s wistful falsetto, the gentleness of the brushed drums, the quietness of the guitar arpeggios. “Holocene” is a bar in Portland, Oregon where Vernon stated he had ” a dark night of the soul”, and as … More Soundtrack of my Life: “Holocene” by Bon Iver

Bob Dylan wins the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature


Last night, during a bout of insomnia, I began writing a piece for Noise That Thinks about Arcade Fire’s first album. It was a tentative, disorganized beginning- 750 words and I’m still not sure if it makes any sense, linear or otherwise. Writing at Noise comes with the knowledge that I am currently suffering not only from … More Bob Dylan wins the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature

Set List: Tragically Hip, Rogers K-Rock Centre, August 20, 2016


Fifty Mission Cap Courage (for Hugh McLennan) Wheat Kings At the Hundredth Meridian In A World Possessed by the Human Mind What Blue Tired as Fuck Machine My Music at Work Lake Fever Toronto #4 Putting Down Twist My Arm Three Pistols Fiddler’s Green Little Bones The Last of the Unplucked Gems Something On Poets … More Set List: Tragically Hip, Rogers K-Rock Centre, August 20, 2016

“No Dress Rehearsal. This Is Our Life.”


It’s odd being a Canadian who writes about music. The narrative is completely different from what it would be if I had grown up in the American midwest or in East Anglia. Australians might understand it. Another English-speaking land with its own cultural touchstones, musically. I once heard someone try to explain Powderfinger to an … More “No Dress Rehearsal. This Is Our Life.”

Sister Blog Notice!


If you are so inclined, take a wander over to our new sister blog, Noise That Thinks. I am literally writing about my vinyl collection. It’s more like a diary with entries sprung from the album I’m writing about that day. Take a gander, follow if you like. Remember, my Twitter is still palais1977, my … More Sister Blog Notice!

Soundtrack of my Life: “One For My Baby (And One For the Road)” by Frank Sinatra


  Frank is the guy I go to when my heart has been ripped out of my chest and mocked mercilessly by men, God, and just about anything and anyone else you can think of. While the go to album is In The Wee Small Hours, Frank’s ode to his crumbling relationship with Ava Gardiner, for … More Soundtrack of my Life: “One For My Baby (And One For the Road)” by Frank Sinatra

Alan Rickman- “There’s a voice inside you that tells you what you should do.”


The hits just keep on coming. In my house, Snape is king, more so than any other Harry Potter character. Not just because he’s a misunderstood misfit. It’s because Alan Rickman played him, and Alan Rickman is this household’s favourite actor. It goes beyond Snape, trust me. I still love Hans Gruber, with his Euro … More Alan Rickman- “There’s a voice inside you that tells you what you should do.”

David Bowie -“I’m always amazed that people take what I say seriously. I don’t even take what I am seriously.”


I’m still walking around stunned by the news of David Bowie’s death. I haven’t been able to fully process it.  I’ve tried to write something for days, as shock and sadness propelled me into a bout of insomnia. Words left me. I couldn’t even attempt to put a sentence together. Denial is beginning to turn … More David Bowie -“I’m always amazed that people take what I say seriously. I don’t even take what I am seriously.”

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame + Museum 2016- or… Meh.


It’s time for my annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame + Museum​ WTF? omissions list: Yes; The Zombies (I cannot even); War; Megadeath; X; Journey; Warren Zevon; XTC; Dead Kennedys; My Bloody Valentine; Dire Straits; Nick Drake; Motorhead; Black Flag; Prefab Sprout; The Doobie Brothers(!); New York Dolls; Nine Inch Nails; Duran Duran; Slayer; … More The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame + Museum 2016- or… Meh.

Soundtrack of my Life: “Light & Day/ Reach for the Sun” by the Polyphonic Spree


In the wake of tragedy, in trauma, in revisiting trauma, it is easy to succumb to paranoia and fear and not see the bigger picture. I wrote a poem of sorts in the aftermath of Paris about not being afraid. And then I put on Billy Bragg and other protest singers and listened to anti-war … More Soundtrack of my Life: “Light & Day/ Reach for the Sun” by the Polyphonic Spree

Soundtrack of my Life: “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out” by the Smiths


I hate love songs. I generally hate love, mostly because I’m a bitter old hag who hasn’t dated in thirteen years. I’m damaged beyond words and to say I have trust issues might be a drastic understatement. I know this song list is overflowing with love songs. So, the first thing you need to know … More Soundtrack of my Life: “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out” by the Smiths

Soundtrack of my Life: “The Crying Game” by Boy George


Boy George never gets enough credit as a singer. He nails songs that cry- “Do You Really Want To Hurt Me?” is a classic for a reason and it has nothing to do with the cheesy 80s production surrounding George’s tearful voice. That vocal style is amplified in his biggest solo hit, a cover of … More Soundtrack of my Life: “The Crying Game” by Boy George

Soundtrack of my Life: “The Ballad of El Goodo” by Big Star/ “Mona With the Children” by Doug Cameron; or The Search for the Absolute Favourite


I get asked time and time again about what my actual all-time favourite song is. This is an impossible question- the answer changes every hour, depending on mood, what I’m listening to, what I’m tired of, what I can remember from day-to-day, who I’m talking to. “In The Midnight Hour”. “Find The River”. “Dancing Queen”. … More Soundtrack of my Life: “The Ballad of El Goodo” by Big Star/ “Mona With the Children” by Doug Cameron; or The Search for the Absolute Favourite

Soundtrack of my Life: “Where Have All The Rude Boys Gone” by Ted Leo and the Pharmacists


I love love songs about music, whether it’s John Miles singing about how music was his first love to Stevie singing about Duke, musicians have written about the music that inspires and delights them as long as music has existed. I can list a dozen songs about loving genres, instruments, music in general. But a … More Soundtrack of my Life: “Where Have All The Rude Boys Gone” by Ted Leo and the Pharmacists

Soundtrack of my Life: “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” by Tears for Fears


Some songs are just your favourite. They come to you while you’re young, and they never leave you. These are the songs that you love, without irony or cynicism. “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” is one of those songs for me. It’s the type of love that makes you chase down an original Swiss … More Soundtrack of my Life: “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” by Tears for Fears

Soundtrack of my Life: “Mandinka” by Sinead O’Connor


The power of imagery, coupled with a powerful voice, on top of a ferocious song. That is how I became a Sinead O’Connor fan. I remember her on the Grammys. I was eleven. She was very young, her head shaved, looking unlike anyone I had ever seen before. There was a comment in the room … More Soundtrack of my Life: “Mandinka” by Sinead O’Connor

The Album List: # 191 Sly and the Family Stone “Stand!”


Sly Stone was a genius. Is a genius. A one time drug addled platinum mohawked genius. But a genius none the less. A funkified, soulful genius with the ability to make me dance in a spontaneous way. I wanna take you higher, and all that jazz. Sly came to me late in life after Arrested Development … More The Album List: # 191 Sly and the Family Stone “Stand!”

Soundtrack of my Life: “Reward” by Teardrop Explodes


I have talked before about the joy a great brass section can bring to a dreary existence. It works time and time again- hence the popularity of songs like “Crazy in Love”, “Move On Up”, and the entire career of Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass (never underestimate or write off Herb Alpert). But among … More Soundtrack of my Life: “Reward” by Teardrop Explodes

Soundtrack of my Life: “Lloyd, I’m Ready to be Heartbroken” by Camera Obscura/ “Are You Ready To Be Heartbroken?” by Lloyd Cole and the Commotions


Scottish twee. Yes, it is. Pure pop, with Tracyanne Campbell’s thin, girlish voice and the band’s chipper tempo hiding the darker, almost scornful lyrics that touch on myopic love and loss of identity.  Can you stay a girl while holding a boy’s hand? Do girls want to be protected like the Crown Jewels? Are you … More Soundtrack of my Life: “Lloyd, I’m Ready to be Heartbroken” by Camera Obscura/ “Are You Ready To Be Heartbroken?” by Lloyd Cole and the Commotions

The Album List: # 190 Jimi Hendrix Experience “Axis: Bold As Love”


Ah, Saint Jimi. The master of the guitar, the king of the riff, hero to many. He is much beloved by the masses, and the art of the rock and roll guitar was propelled forward by him into an unknown stratosphere. As previously stated in my other Hendrix album recap, God is taken on blind … More The Album List: # 190 Jimi Hendrix Experience “Axis: Bold As Love”

Soundtrack of my Life: “The Village Green Preservation Society” by the Kinks


There are things that those who love me know about me: 1. The Kinks are my favourite band. 2. This is my favourite album of all time, and I often proclaim it the greatest album ever created. 3. My kids prefer Katy Perry to Ray Davies and I feel like a failure as a parent because … More Soundtrack of my Life: “The Village Green Preservation Society” by the Kinks

Soundtrack of my Life: “Weightless Again” by the Handsome Family


I have tried to write about this song for a while now. I absolutely love it, but it spring from a darkness and it feeds my brain in its more painful and damaging days. The problem I have is that when my depression amps up, I favour songs that may make people question where I … More Soundtrack of my Life: “Weightless Again” by the Handsome Family

Soundtrack of my Life: “Blake’s Jerusalem” by Billy Bragg


Here we are, on a Sunday morn, watching football instead of being in church. I don’t often go to church- being  single parent, I usually spend my Sunday doing various pieces of housework that need more than ten seconds of concentration and sleeping. Saturdays often belong to various appointments and groceries. I grew up with … More Soundtrack of my Life: “Blake’s Jerusalem” by Billy Bragg

Soundtrack of my Life: “Song To the Siren” by Tim Buckley


The guy is essentially known now as Jeff Buckley’s junkie dad. That’s just so wrong. Anyone who has heard the incredible Starsailor album knows that. This song is also now better known as a This Mortal Coil song. This Mortal Coil were music execs playing dreamy electropop, but “Song to the Siren” was essentially a one-off from … More Soundtrack of my Life: “Song To the Siren” by Tim Buckley

Soundtrack of my Life: “What You Do To Me” by Teenage Fanclub


I discussed Teenage Fanclub’s Bandwagonesque here. The lyrics are twenty-one words repeated over and over on top of a sunny melody, topped with grungy guitars. They were so Big Star that it hurt. It’s a juvenile love song- “What you do to me, I know, I can’t believe, there’s something about you that’s got me down on … More Soundtrack of my Life: “What You Do To Me” by Teenage Fanclub

Soundtrack of my Life: “Into The Mystic” by Van Morrison


Someone on the web, in some comments section somewhere, recently criticised Van Morrison as a singer. Limited range, nasal tone, the usual things said when someone hates a singer. Now, the guy wasn’t totally wrong on those points- Van is nasally, and does not have a huge range. But Van is an amazing songwriter, and … More Soundtrack of my Life: “Into The Mystic” by Van Morrison

Soundtrack of my Life: “Cornflake Girl” by Tori Amos


1991 was when Tori Amos unleashed Little Earthquakes on to an unsuspecting public. A fiery red-head who could play the piano like it was her bitch, spawned from Debussy and Rachmaninoff and inspired by Zeppelin and Bowie, she unleashed a torrent of feelings on the universe. I will be speaking about songs from Little Earthquakes later- it is … More Soundtrack of my Life: “Cornflake Girl” by Tori Amos

Soundtrack of my Life: “The Whole Of The Moon” by the Waterboys


Sheer exhaustion, work, life, and a totally broken down computer have taken me from my goal, but I am back several weeks later with more songs and records to discuss. It’s good to be back. I decided to come back and discuss one of my all-time favourite songs, the glorious and bold swaths of synths … More Soundtrack of my Life: “The Whole Of The Moon” by the Waterboys

Soundtrack of my Life: “Uptown Top Ranking” by Althea and Donna


Because reggae is a man’s world. And girls occasionally sing cool songs about looking awesome on the dance floor. I’m guessing that’s what this song is about- it’s sung in a Jamaican patois in quite dense accents. But the music swings and sways. It’s cool. I like cool. I’m not cool. Not even close. I … More Soundtrack of my Life: “Uptown Top Ranking” by Althea and Donna

Soundtrack of my Life: “Red” by Treble Charger


Being a teenager in 1990s Canada was a different musical experience than you ever thought possible. Years of CANCON made people listen to Rush’s “Closer To The Heart” more than one should ever hear ( why didn’t my local radio station play”Tom Sawyer”?) and it also made Corey Hart a superstar for four years. The … More Soundtrack of my Life: “Red” by Treble Charger

Soundtrack of my Life: “Like A Virgin” by Madonna


This is on the list for one reason and one reason only. Because I used to sing this in the kitchen. My mother found it amusing. My father was horrified. I was seven. Of course, legendary song, it’s Madonna, I’m a girl child from the 1980s. But mostly, it’s because it made my dad crazy. … More Soundtrack of my Life: “Like A Virgin” by Madonna

Soundtrack of my Life: “In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel


I remember having a conversation with a guy about Say Anything (my real favourite movie- well, tied with High Fidelity and Love, Actually). He ended up finally ranting and raving ( I don’t remember how it got there), but he finally just exploded. “Fucking Lloyd Dobler ruined everything for us, man. Fucking EVERYTHING!” Well, Lloyd Dobler is sweet and … More Soundtrack of my Life: “In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel