Twenty years ago was the beginning of a love affair I had with a girl. It’s not like that. It actually had its genesis twenty-five years ago, when the terrible film version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer was released. Overall it’s an uneven experience. While Paul Reubens and Donald Sutherland give great performances with middling material, … More Soundtrack of My Life: “Full of Grace” by Sarah McLachlan
If I want some snark, some verbosity, some damn fine songwriting, I turn to Elvis Costello. There is something about how his songs play out. He’s fearless about genre (and occasionally language itself). And sometimes he shows up in the most random of places. Austin Powers cameo? Sure, why not! Host my own talk show* … More Soundtrack of my Life: Ten Best Elvis Costello Songs
I watched The Mary Tyler Moore Show long after it had left the air ( the show ended two months before I was born). It was at my maternal grandparents house over one summer. They had Nick At Nite on their cable package. I also watched some of The Dick Van Dyke show while I was there, … More “Take chances, make mistakes. That’s how you grow. Pain nourishes your courage. You have to fail in order to practice being brave.”
My Irish side is hidden by my very Danish name. It’s the side of melancholy, lamb stew, and whisky. It’s also the side of black humour, sarcasm, and avoidance. But the Irish side of me is what probably fuels my love of music, as the very first music I remember, aside form what I heard … More Soundtrack of my Life: “The Unicorn” by the Irish Rovers
Sigur Rós is my meditation music. So I’m well aware of Jónsi’s penchant for falsetto and ethereal prettiness. But the reason that “Go Do” is my favourite Jónsi song is because it is so damn euphoric. Over a dominant percussive line, he tosses out line after line of optimism and support. “We should always know … More Soundtrack of my Life: “Go Do” by Jonsi
I’ve spent the last several weeks knowing I had to end my “Friendship” with the man I have been deeply and most emphatically in love with for the past two years. So of course, I’m not in the best head space (to put it mildly). We were never actually friends. I not sure what we … More Soundtrack of My Life: “A Different Corner” by George Michael/ “Freedom ’90” by George Michael
I know I said no posting for a while. But… I am a simple girl with simple pleasures. Skippy on vinyl. One more must have record down. I wish it was the original Columbia recording instead of the Sundaze re-release, but I like my kidneys. In one way that 2017 is already better than 2016: … More Yeah. I Know.
I have an unabashed love for Blue Rodeo. They are one of the quintessential Canadian bands, part of my life as much as the Smiths and the Clash are. They write perfect little roots-influenced, country-twinged songs. Their best album, Five Days in July, can stand with any other Alt country album an American can produce. And … More Soundtrack of my Life: “5 Days in May” by Blue Rodeo
This one really hurts. I can remember the first time I saw Debbie Reynolds. I was five. I was supposed to be in bed, but I had sneaked into my parents bedroom to watch TV while they were in the basement watching their own show. I didn’t know what was on, I didn’t care. I … More “I do twenty minutes every time the refrigerator door opens and the light comes on.”
Music form artists we lost, and bands that lost members as well. And one Beatles track for Sir George Martin.
I have never seen Star Wars as a complete movie. I fall asleep, usually within half an hour, or I enter some bizarre trance and cannot recall seeing it at all. I’m aware of it, of course. My brothers are both fanatics, as most guys born between 1960 and 1985 are. I’d rather watch Star Trek. So … More “I don’t want my life to imitate art, I want my life to be art.”
Wham! is one of my first music memories. “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” is such an iconic song, not just in my life, but in the world in general. A fluffy little dance pop number,but so catchy and ridiculously memorable. I was seven when it was a huge hit. And then Faith. People forget how … More “There’s no comfort in the truth, pain is all you’ll find.”
This is probably going to be my last post for a while. I feel so empty right now that I’m finding it difficult to write about anything at all. When I’m not here, I’m staring at the blank page on my laptop. Inspiration is gone. Hope has left. My faith in people and love no … More Best of 2016: The Song List
When you love someone set them free. Over two years ago I met the most amazing person. I rarely meet people I can tolerate for longer than thirty seconds, so the fact I liked this person was a miracle unto itself. Yeah. I fell in love with him, breaking every single rule I set up … More Soundtrack of my Life: “Goodbye To You” by Michelle Branch
2016 has not been pleasant, personally or globally. I’m finding it hard to keep up hope for anything or anyone at the moment and I think I’m pretty much just lock myself in my house and stop talking to people. Every single thing I had faith in- humanity, love, truth, history- has been mocked and … More Best of 2016: The Album List
It’s time for my annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame + Museum WTF? omissions list: The Zombies (I cannot even); War; Megadeath; X; 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; Television; The … More The Rock And Roll Hall of Fame + Museum 2017- Journey?
I’ve been obsessed with Christmas music since I was forced to play an angel every year in the Nativity play. My hyper dramatic show off side wanted to be the Virgin Mary. She was the star until the doll playing Jesus showed up. The angels would all stand near the altar and sing “Away in … More Top Ten Holiday Season Songs of All Time
As we are all very aware now, I love Dylan. So very much. But this song choice is basically coming down to this: It’s fine. It’s cool. I get it. Really I do. You win. I give up. And that is that. It’s pointless to fight for something when it only seems to really … More Soundtrack of my Life: “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright” by Bob Dylan
I’m not a space junkie. I’m more of a fantasy person than a sci-fi person. I’ve never really seen Star Wars. I’m dazzled by the phenomena space can bring us, but I’m also aware it’s a giant vacuum ready to consume us all if it wanted to. That’s why astronauts are special people. They wander … More “Fear connotes something that interferes with what you’re doing.”
Because it’s December, because it’s the holidays, and because it is one of the greatest Christmas songs ever. Because King Crimson was the best prog rock band in history, because he could play, because ELP could do wonders with just three men. Farewell, Greg Lake.
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 attention. … More Soundtrack of my Life: “Hope There’s Someone” by Antony and the Johnsons
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
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 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.”
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.”
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.”
Leaving this here. Fight the good fight.
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
I am not a people person. I am bad at people-ing. I avoid them. If I let someone into my world, even just a bit, it means I would tear out my insides and set the world on fire for them. I don’t throw around the word “love” callously. If I say it to someone, … More Soundtrack of my Life: “Days” by the Kinks
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
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
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
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.”
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!
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
I have done this exercise on both Twitter and Face book in the past. I listen to the years entries and write quick blurb, usually about how terrible the song is, and leave. It irritates the normal people of this planet- you know, the ones who think Eurovision is some sort of trashy pop music … More Eurovision 2016- The Music
I know this is massively- MASSIVELY- late. I’m sorry. But let me say that 2016 is already pretty much a personal bust for me. And it is only March fourth. My top two albums of 2015 were released within 15 days of each other in the first quarter of 2015. One was highly anticipated, talked … More Best of 2015: Top Twenty Five Albums
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.”
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.”
As always, the year must end. And I will feel compelled to put together lists because I’m like that. Lists are comforting to me. So below are the twenty songs I loved best this year. Some are obvious. Some are less so. But the are all my 2015.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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!”