Troye Sivan

I’ve become a bit obsessed with Troye Sivan. The chill vibes of his synth-pop are so damn catchy that you can’t help but listen on repeat. But what makes him even more unique is the fact that he’s openly gay at age 20 and not afraid to show it in his music.

Troye released a music video trilogy that follows the story of childhood lovers pulled apart by the homophobia of one of their fathers. Despite being a huge step for the music industry to openly feature a love story that shows teenage boys making out on a bed, the beauty in the videos is that they don’t feel like an overt statement. It feels like it could be anyone’s story. It’s a story about a young couple in love pulled apart by life’s realities; they just happen to be a young gay couple. Troye said it best himself in an interview: he wrote a love song and he happens to be gay, so featuring a straight couple would just be, well…odd. The videos take on a unique aesthetic and are really quite emotional. Here’s the first one, but I seriously encourage you to watch all three.

Apart from the songs included in the music video trilogy, he also has some songs that are just so catchy you can’t help but blast them while singing along at the top of your lungs. I’ll be the first to admit that this is pop music at its core and is maybe not the most intricate in musicality, but its so fun to listen to you won’t even mind. Oh and it’s pretty great when you hear his Australian accent slipping through.

This kid is seriously taking the world by storm. Hop on the band wagon while there’s still room.

 

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Why I Got a Semicolon Tattoo

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Project Semicolon is a movement dedicated to presenting hope and love to those suffering with depression, self-injury, mental illness, and suicide. A semi-colon represents the moment when an author could have decided to end a story, but chose not to. The author is you and the semi-colon is your life.

Why I Got a Semicolon tattoo; this is my story

When I was 16, my mom was diagnosed with depression.

When I found out her diagnosis, my first reaction was relief. I had known that she was sick for a few months (though never diagnosed) and I had conjured up every terrible outcome possible in my mind until I was convinced that she had something terminal. So it was a  gut reaction to feel relief when I heard the diagnosis and could peel back the worst case scenarios that had played through my head for months.

But as quickly as the relief came, so did the shame. When I found out my mom was diagnosed with depression, I was overcome with shame. I can’t explain it, but at my core I knew that I didn’t want to have to confront this part of me, that I didn’t want my friends to find out. It wasn’t until a year or so later that I eventually told my best friend and even then I had to cough up the words, loosen the knot in my stomach. She was understandably shocked that I had hidden something so important from her and all I could muster up was that I didn’t know how to tell her. Didn’t know what she would think.

The first time my dad tried to talk to me directly about my mom’s depression was while he gave me a ride to the sky-train. In those seven minutes he tried to bridge the silence, to make it okay to talk about it. I remember the moment vividly, how my cheeks burned brightly with heat, how a knot formed at the base of my stomach, how my ears plugged as though I had just landed from a plane ride. I kept my eyes wide so as not to let my tears spill. I begged the universe please make him stop. Please let me go on pretending that my mother is not depressed. To this day, I can’t remember a single word that he said. All I remember is stumbling out the car, walking to the train with my head to the ground so he wouldn’t see me cry as he drove away.

I am so disappointed in myself that I wasn’t brave enough to face the stigma. That I wasn’t strong enough to say “Yes, my mother is depressed. Yes, I still love her. Yes, I am here for her. Yes. Yes. Yes.”

 

I will always admire my mother for the fact that unlike me, she was unapologetic about her depression. She spoke openly about it, explained to me in the early days of her sickness that “it’s not that I don’t love you or that I’m not happy being your mom, it’s just chemicals.” She told us about her medication and her seemingly endless doctor’s appointments. To this day she tells me when she is going to see her doctor or if she has learned that another friend has been diagnosed with depression.

I admire my mother because even though she was the one suffering, she was also the one brave enough to talk about it, something that I struggled to do.

I watched my mom slowly transform her life. Though the diagnosis was chemical, she didn’t only use medication to get better. I watched her seek out a community to help hold her up (something I didn’t  offer her as much as I wish I could have). I watched her regain her commitment to the church. I watched her realize that despite her best efforts, the church wasn’t the community that she needed. I watched her join a running club, start attending boot camp. Over the years as my siblings and I grew older and less capable of filling the empty spaces in the house, I watched my mom build up her community until it was bursting at the seams with support and love. I joke these days that my mom has more friends and more of a social life than I do, and honestly I’m often certain it’s true. And best of all, through it all I watched my dad stand by her side, join her communities.

Sometimes I worry that I will head down a similar path to depression. I now know that mental illness runs in my family (in addition to my mom, my Opa had dementia and my grandfather was an alcoholic). I am afraid that if I do encounter depression, I won’t be as brave as my mom. I won’t have the strength to talk about it or the spirit to start a community from scratch. I worry about how my mom was only diagnosed at 43 and what does that mean for me at 23? I worry that I get anxious a lot, that I can be an insomniac, and that I am at times caught in self-doubt. I worry about how some days I can be hit with immense waves of loneliness for no reason at all and that some days (not often, but some days) I don’t feel like leaving the apartment. I worry that if one day those some days build into every day, I won’t speak up.

I don’t often speak about my mom’s depression. Until a few months ago, I had only ever told three people explicitly (my best friend, my roommate, and a boyfriend). This conversation isn’t easy for me. But it has to happen. Because if I can’t talk about it now, how can I expect to be capable of talking about it if I ever do need help? Because if I can’t even talk about my relationship with depression, how can I expect someone suffering around me to be comfortable sharing their story and asking for help? We need to start a conversation. We need to remove the stigma. I know that I am not perfect and to be perfectly honest, I was nervous the entire time I wrote this. But we can’t let our fear keeps us from reaching out a healing hand.

The conversation starts today. The conversation starts here. I have committed to this tattoo as a catalyst for the conversation that needs to happen; it is a promise to share my story openly. It is a promise to open my arms to those who need to have their stories heard too.

 

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New Slang – The Shins

With everything going on in the world right now from ISIS attacks, to the Syrian Refugee Crisis, to witnessing people turning their backs on their neighbours, I can’t help but sink into a song that tastes of melancholy. New Slang is that song for me.

This song has been on my list of most moving songs for a long time without me ever realizing it. I recently watched Garden State, a movie that features this song and as it played it hit me…I know this song. I knew that I had heard it countless times and I knew that every time I had heard it I felt a melancholy settle over me. I felt an odd sense of understanding…or perhaps a sense of being understood. Somehow despite this feeling, this song had somehow always slipped through my fingers. Somehow I had never worked out what the song was called or even who sang it.

It wasn’t the easiest song to track down even once I started looking because the lyrics are so blurred, difficult to catch onto exactly what is being sung at any given time. Luckily with the Garden State reference in hand an a short phrase, I was able to locate it on YouTube fairly quickly.

I was pretty shocked when I saw that this song is by The Shins. They are one of those bands that my friends always told me to listen to and music magazines referenced frequently, but I never actually took action. So I went through life not knowing what The Shins played as they continued to exist in my periphery.

 Obviously as soon as I discovered that New Slang is by The Shins, I had to go on a hunt for more, more, more. And oddly enough, even more of their songs sit in my repertoire of songs that I’ve loved when I’ve heard them, but strangely have never hunted down. Simple Song was a big example of a song I’ve heard countless times and sung along to on the radio, but never actually tuned into who played it. I’m pretty excited to spend some time exploring a band with a decently large discography that I’ve apparently already spent years falling in love with without realizing it. 

So even if the world feels like it’s a bit out of kilter these days and you don’t know how to process it all, hopefully this song will help you weather the fall.  

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November 18, 2015 · 6:43 am

My Top 5 Rap Songs (Yes, rap)

If you’ve known me for any time at all, you’ll know that I don’t do rap. I have never liked rap & I highly doubt that it will ever be featured prominently on my playlist. That being said, I am always willing to dip my toe into other genres and having shared a room with potentially the worlds #1 rap fan growing up, I couldn’t help but fall for a few gems. What can I say, I’m a walking contradiction. Granted most of these feature a catchy pop hook to offset the rap (yay!), I’m still proud to have managed to conjure up this list of 5.

While most lists I make like this take a long time because I can’t seem to ever get them short enough, this one was a bit of a struggle because I had to make sure I had at least 5 rap songs I was willing to associate with (a task harder to complete than one would assume). And if you’re thinking that I am being ridiculous and almost pretentious about all this, you’d probably be right. Because at the end of the day, listen to what makes you happy & don’t let anybody knock you down.

So, without further ado, My Top 5 rap Songs 

Baby Got Back – Sir Mixalot: Much to my father’s chagrin, I knew most of the word’s to this song by the time I was 10. Though this might not be what purists call rap (I’m not even going to pretend like I am educated enough on the genre to speak intelligently about it), I love throwing this one down.

Ms. Jackson – Outkast: Of all rap groups, I found Outkast made rap more digestible with their catchy hooks. I recall listening to this one as far back as 11 years old as I covered my paper route. I remember it took a solid 5 years before I realized that it was “never meant to make your daughter cry” and not “never meant to make your doctor die.” Oops, my bad.

Stan – Eminem ft. Dido: The spoken word lover in me fell for this one pretty hard in high school. It’s a heartbreaking story, set perfectly with a chorus hook sung by Dido. This one was also likely a fallout from my sister’s huge Eminem obsession. I had to end up liking something after being subjected to his songs day in and day out…

Pizza Party – L’homme run: What do you get when two preppy Columbia students on their way to indie rock fame (hint: this was Ezra Koenig from Vampire Weekend’s college project) form a rap duo? You get some pretty jokes raps out of it. So jokes, that a girl that doesn’t do rap just might fall in love with them. I forgot all about this one until I stumbled across it a few weeks ago and remembered all the joy it brought me in high school. Now it’s your turn to listen up and learn all about the P-I-Z-Z-A P-R-TY.

Gold DiggerKanye West: It pains me to say this because if there’s anyone I truly can’t stand, it’s Kanye West, but this song is just too darn catchy. I also somehow managed to memorize almost the entire thing without ever trying, so there’s that. I think the defining moment for this song was when Trainwreck managed to use the lyrics as a motivational speech from LeBron.

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Osheaga 2015: A whirlwind of a weekend

Osh Sign - Kaylee

Osheaga, come at us!

This weekend I attended Osheaga 2015 and it was one of the most unreal weekends of my life. The whirlwind of three days included so many of my favourite bands, some of whom I have waited 4+ years to see live, some of my favourite friends who are spread across the country and magically managed to land in Montreal for the festival, and a slew of new friends + new favourite artists. As my new friends might say, the weekend was hype, yo. 

Friday morning kicked off with a pre-party in our airbnb where I stayed with Kaylee, one of my best friends who lives in Calgary, and a group of friends of friends. We started things off right with a home DJ set in our living room before heading out to the festival grounds where we made sure we got in early enough to catch George Ezra‘s 3pm set. As anyone who has been around me lately knows, I adore this kid and his set did not disappoint. His voice was as big, if not bigger, in real life and it was almost all the more shocking to see it in person coming from such a gangly little white kid. I can’t pin down an absolute favourite in the set, but he closed with Did You Hear the Rain which was a unique end as it has a powerful sonic quality and wasn’t the standard approach to drop the biggest single as the close. It was funny (albeit decently annoying) to hear a group behind us yelling “Play Budapest!” throughout the entire set. I mean c’mon, we all know that it’s going to be played and it’s decently disrespectful to the artist to not even bother to listen to what else is on offer. Other than that the set was ridiculously perfect and all I wish was that it could have lasted longer, especially so that I could have heard two of my favourite songs Drawing Board and Get Lonely. 

Osh Ezra

After George Ezra, the next wonder to await us was Stars‘ set, where they played the Set Yourself on Fire album in its entirety to celebrate its 10th anniversary, bringing in everyone who contributed to the album to build out the full sound, from strings and horns to guest vocals. They even got the singer, Amy Millan’s, adorable little daughter up on stage to play the shakers. Hearing this album in its entirety was a beautiful thing because its been such a stronghold in my music arsenal for so many years and because it holds both of my two favourite Stars songs, Your Ex-Lover is Dead and Calendar Girl. These songs have always held such a powerful place in my heart, especially Your Ex-Lover is Dead, which got me through a particularly shitty break-up years ago and helped me realize that you don`t ever have to regret what has happened, as long as you learned from it. As the song goes, “I`m not sorry I met you, I`m not sorry it’s over, I`m not sorry there`s nothing to save.“ The other great thing about this set was that it clearly meant just as much to my friend who I peeked shedding a few tears as the set closed.

Osh Stars

Our next treat was Of Monsters and Men who I have been waiting at least four years to see, always just missing out before tickets sold out. It was incredible to finally see them play live, especially after such a long wait and after enjoying their new album Beneath The Skin so much. We were able to wiggle our way to the front of the crowd and had a spectacular view as we sang along with an incredibly enthusiastic crowd to some great indie anthems. I will note that their stage presence is lacking, potentially driven by a language barrier or simply by too few years on the road. Regardless they sounded fantastic and I can`t wait to continue watching them grow.

The night closed with a set by Florence + The Machine which was mind-blowing. Words cannot describe how insanely talented this woman`s voice is. I couldn`t even bring myself to sing along as she hit incredibly clear note after note. From the back we danced giddily, in awe of her vocal ability. A highlight of the festival was as we made our way towards the metro to attempt to beat the crowds, she began to sing Dog Days are Over and we skipped into a huge group of people dancing like nobody was watching. Of course we joined in! It was such an incredible high to end the night on, I couldn`t believe that we still had two more days of wonder ahead.

Saturday highlights kicked off with Milky Chance, a band I`ve recently been obsessed with. I swear sometimes I turn on the 10hr version of Stolen Dance and just let it run as I get things done around the house. So it was incredible to get into the crowd for this set and sing along to some of my favourite jams. Downside on this one was a poorly sound-checked stage that had bass you could feel in your bones (not in the good way) and a bit of an annoying crowd, but that still couldn`t stop me from loving this set. I would definitely check them out again if they hit Toronto any time soon.

osh milky chance

Next up, we hit the Electronic stage to see Oliver Heldens. Now I`m not usually one for Electronic, but I have to admit that I have been falling for it more and more lately, especially with some incredible mixes popping up as Youtube playlists. This set was one of those moments where great friends, good weather, and danceable jams blend together into pure joy. We actually danced our faces off, barely stopping to catch a breath for the full hour. This was also an extremely interesting set to experience as someone who attends music festivals 100% sober as we encountered people that were at all kinds of levels of intoxication. Despite being one of the few dry people in the crowd, I didn`t feel any less ecstatic and was so happy to share it with a friend who is equally as naturally hyperactive as me.

The final Saturday highlight was watching Weezer play. I`ve never been a massive fan, but they were always around when I was in high school, kicking it behind my mountain of Green Day albums. So as they played hit after hit, I couldn`t help but feel like I was 13 again as I sang along to every word. I also had a great laugh as a 17 year-old girl walked by and said to her friend “let`s get out of here, this is like totally Dad music“ with disgust. All I could think was you know what, maybe it is, but I’m pretty sure most Dad’s have a hell of a lot better taste in music than you do. Ain’t nothing wrong with the old school jams. This was made even greater when I discovered that the adorable little girl playing piano during Perfect Situation was River Cuomo’s daughter. It must have been take your kid to work weekend or something at Osheaga!

Osh - Weezer

Finally, we checked out a few of Kendrick Lamar’s songs, mainly so my sister wouldn’t 100% kill me when she heard that I left during his set.

We woke up Sunday a little sad to know that it was our last day at Osheaga, but super pumped to dance hard for a third straight day. Sunday was a great day because I saw sets from three different bands that I’ve always meant to listen to properly, but never had. It started with James Bay who was really great live and reminded me of a younger, scrawnier Jack White in his looks and demeanor. I have been meaning to check him out since he runs in the same crowd as George Ezra and I’ve learned over the years that listening to your favourite musician’s friends tends to be a surefire route to great music (hence my Lotus Child / Hey Ocean! addiction days)After James we saw The War On Drugs who were unreal live and I absolutely cannot wait to add them into my musical repertoire. They seriously killed it and I feel a bit stupid that I did not get on this band wagon sooner. After, I also checked out Hot Chip who I always disregarded after last Osheaga when my friend compared them to The Cure and told me I likely wouldn’t enjoy them. But boy, was he wrong! Maybe my taste has changed or maybe it was the atmosphere, but dancing to Hot Chip was ridiculously good fun. We made friends in the crowd, had a stranger pour glitter all over us, and danced like we had nothing to lose. Similar to the electronic set on Saturday, this was just pure joy as we lost our inhibitions

Hot Chip glitter party

Hot Chip glitter party.

Finally, Black Keys took the stage and we knew that the end of the festival was near. Despite our aching, destroyed bodies (I quite literally felt like I might collapse at any moment from the aches in my back and feet), we powered through the set, singing and dancing to every song. I cannot get over how absolutely incredible they are live. It is rare these days to see such musicianship on a stage. Of course I love my indie bands, but they don`t exactly push the boundaries on what you can accomplish with an instrument. Black Keys seriously have this figured out. At one point they played just the two of them without a back-up band and I couldn`t believe the depth of the sound that was coming at me, simply from a drumkit and a guitar. Watch out favourite bands, Black Keys are some mad real competition. As they walked off the stage, it didn`t quite feel real that the show was really over and that we needed to head home. I was really disappointed that they didn`t play Everlasting Light, not only because it is a phenomenal song, but because it was the song performed at Ariel`s memorial and always makes me shiver and think of her when I hear it play. Despite it not being performed, I still carried the thought in my heart and hopefully one day will be able to see them play it live in her memory.

I honestly didn`t expect Osheaga to be such an emotional whirlwind of a weekend. I knew the week leading up that I was incredibly excited and that it was going to be a ton of fun, but I never imagined it would be as incredible as it was. Through the heat, sweat, tears, joy, and aching feet, I felt invincible this weekend and I couldn`t have done it without my ridiculous partner in crime who was always down to get turnt and drop a set, Kaylee.

Till next time, Osheaga!

Osh sign - night

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Countdown to Osheaga: Of Monsters and Men

Only two days left until Osheaga and with each passing day I get a little more excited. Second up on the docket after George Ezra’s 3pm Friday performance are Of Monsters and Men. From the moment I first heard this band on The Peak radio station I had shivers. From distinct memories of cruising down West 4th with the windows rolled down blaring Little Talks to the moment I peeled back the plastic on my fresh copy of their latest release Beneath The Skin, I’ve been waiting four long years for an opportunity to see this band grace the stage.

If you’re going to Osheaga, I recommend you hit the Mountain Stage at 8:25pm on Friday to check out this killer band from Iceland!

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Countdown to Osheaga: George Ezra

It is less than one week until Osheaga 2015 and I cannot wait for this year’s unreal lineup. By some genius stroke of luck, not a single artist that I am stoked for overlaps on the schedule and I am so ready to crash the gates Friday afternoon to kick things off in style with George Ezra. I recently fell in love with his album and am in utter awe of the depth of George’s voice. Kick back and enjoy this wanderlust of an album and if you’re going to Osheaga, I’ll see you at The Mountain Stage at 3pm on Friday. It’s going to be killer.

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On the eve of 23

It’s 10:27pm on the eve of my 23rd birthday, which means that I have an hour and a half left of being 22. It means that for my parents in Vancouver, their youngest baby has 4 ½ hours left of being 22 and for my sister in China, her little sister has long since passed the threshold into 23. It means that time is all relative and time zones blur, but that at the end of the day I grew older, learned, and stretched myself into new spaces. Though I’ve always thought 23 was a bit of a dreaded age (re: nobody likes you when you’re 23), I can’t help but sit back and reflect on what 22 taught me and what the next year might possibly hold.

In the past year, I learned more than I would have thought could fit into 365 days, and that rate of growth and change seems to accelerate more and more each year.

At 22, I learned that it’s possible to fall in love a second time. I learned that the weirdly wonderful bliss that comes from being with someone you can show all your shades to isn’t a once in a lifetime opportunity. I learned that you can grow into new love, but perhaps even more importantly, I learned that if you were able to find a second love, then there’s nothing to say you won’t one day find a third. And that there’s also nothing to say, as unpoetic as it sounds, that one day you won’t find your fourth love, fifth, sixth love.

At 22, I learned that you can wake up on days you feel like crying and still make your way to work and hustle and exist outside of the pain, because life doesn’t pause just because you have a broken heart. Strategies still need to be set, invoices need to be paid, data needs to be analyzed. I learned that you are more than your broken heart.

At 22, I learned that I am capable of being a fully independent (mostly) functional adult. I learned that I was able to pack up my existence and move across the country, nearly 4000km, to pursue my dream and build a home. I learned that over time you can start to call two places home and that neither will feel like an awkward fit. I learned how to build a community in a new city, how to make new friends that come over for board game nights. I did not learn how to win Pandemic (maybe an active pursuit for 23?). I learned how to build Ikea furniture and how to ride a city bus with a coffee table in tow.

At 22, I learned that happiness is an active pursuit and that nobody other than me can make sure that I find joy. I learned that I need significant exercise and regular visits to the soccer pitch to truly feel like myself. I learned that I need to keep my hands dirty with art, that I crave the creative outlet that writing once was for me. I learned that my family means everything to me and that it scares me that only seeing them once or twice a year might become a reality.

At 22, I learned how to manage my anxiety. I learned that your body can’t physically endure over a month of sleepless nights, that insomnia is a cruel beast. I am still unsure of how I tackled this one, but for the first time in my life, I feel like I can process change in a collected way. Maybe it was the flurry of change that I had to somehow absorb so quickly when I moved to Toronto or perhaps my body simply grew too tired of feeding the anxiety day in and day out, but for whatever reason, I finally have my anxiety under control. At 22, I learned how to face uncertainty. And thank goodness, because 23 you have a heck of a lot of uncertainty in store for me.

At 22, I learned that “the real world” and “the rest of your life” are terms that you throw around a lot as you transition from elementary school to high school and from high school to University, but that these terms aren’t very accurate until you are thrown out of school into a world that is as big and open and uncertain as….welll, the real world. I learned that you can’t possibly have all the answers at 22 and that despite that being terrifying, it’s also kind of exhilarating. On average, I have only lived ¼ of this life. That’s a lot of white space to fill.

Finally, at the risk of being too much of a nerd and referencing a single board game twice in one reflection, I’ve learned that life is like the game Pandemic. Just when you thought you had figured it out, just when you felt like you could taste the win, another way to lose the game snuck up on you and you failed. The trick is to keep playing until you find the cure. And don’t forget to keep your eye on the clock, you only have so much time.

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The Start of a Great Vinyl Collection

I have wanted a record player since before I can remember. I don’t know what it was about vinyl that appealed so much to me. Maybe it was something about its roots in the old days when music seemed to stand for something bigger and grander, or maybe it was the way I saw that you could spend hours perusing a record store the way you do a used book store, or maybe it was simply the quirkiness of vinyl in a digital age. Whatever it was, I couldn’t help but itch whenever I saw a record store. So much so that I once found myself walking to a till with a collector edition Killers EP in my hands before I snapped out of it and forced myself to put away something that I would not be able to play.

So it was with great excitement that I received my first record player for Christmas this year that wasn’t just a hipster symbol to throw in the living room, but a full-blown system with fantastic speakers and all. This was going to allow me to not just listen to music, but experience it, as my brother and I have always liked to call it.

stereo

The first album I played on it was Pearl by Janis Joplin, and I have to say that it was the perfect album to start with. Not only did it symbolize that era when music was bigger that I was talking about earlier, but it was a record that I grew up with as a kid, never fully conscious of how much it was seeping in over the years. After that I spun The Clash self-titled album, followed by Back to Black by Amy Winehouse. I was actually pretty amazed by my family’s selection of music to accompany the record player. In three records they managed to bring together my love of rock, punk, and modern music. I have been loving listening to them.

So far, my favourite thing about vinyl is the care that it takes to listen to an album. You can’t just click “play” and forget what’s on as you go about your day. You have to carefully pull the vinyl out of its cover, take care not scratch it, gently blow off any dust, and delicately place it on the turntable. You then have to pick up the needle and carefully place it so as not to slip off the record but also so as not to start in the middle of the song. Then you have the 2-3 seconds anticipation as the needle scratches the blank vinyl on the outer edge before it finally falls into groove, brightening the room with sound. This may sound a bit dramatic, but for someone as impatient as I am, there’s something refreshing about remembering to take the time to truly enjoy the process of starting a record. Usually when I get a new album, I either hear it in bits and pieces over time as I steal a minute here or there, or else I listen to it on my ipod as I commute. It’s another experience entirely to just take the time, lie back on the couch, close your eyes, and enjoy the sound coming from the stereo. The last time that I fully recall doing this was when I bought 21st Century Breakdown by Green Day in 2009. Even though that was a CD, the process of sitting down just to experience an album, was still there. I am glad that vinyl in a way forces you to live that experience. Even the simple fact that you have to get up or come back every 30 minutes or so to flip the vinyl forces you to focus on the experience that you are having – listening to a great record.

Yes, this whole record thing may be a bit time consuming, but I’ve been stuck indoors with a terrible cold for the past few days, so it’s really just been perfect. But finally today, after spending much too much time in bed recovering, I braved the outdoors to grow my collection. First, I hit Kops Records on Queen Street West. I’ve wanted to go into this store since I first visited Toronto with my family in the summer of 2010. As much as I gazed into the windows each time I walked Queen, I couldn’t bring myself to go into a record store that only sold vinyl when I had no chance of owning a record player any time soon. So you bet I was excited today when I finally stepped foot into Kops. A small space organized by genre, I wasn’t sure where to start. Did I want to grab the classics first? Stock up on vinyl of CDs I already own? Hunt down my top 5 favourites? Collect only new artists? Collect only punk bands with limited edition green vinyl presses? As I browsed, I decided to find old favourites that I knew I loved, but to only buy albums that I didn’t already have. After a little while of browsing and bumping into fellow vinyl lovers, I walked out with my wallet hurting a bit and a good start to a record collection. What’s on tap for today you might ask? Here’s a quick look. Full reviews may be in store at a later date once I’ve spun these a decent number of times.

Haul

1. No One Is Lost by Stars – I was already on the hunt for a copy of this album since it came out in October, but I have to say that if I had any doubt, the split-colour vinyl definitely sold me. I’ve always had a soft spot for coloured vinyl and have wished I could order up all the limited edition colours presses on Amazon that I have seen over the years. I am going to need to keep this hunger in check moving forward if I intend to have any savings at the end of this collection.

Stars

2. The Bang Sessions by Van Morrison – Brown Eyed Girl definitely makes my Top 10 all-time favourite songs and I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to have it on vinyl. Plus, this record holds quite a few gems that I am not well acquainted with yet. I’ll admit, this is spinning right now, and I’m loving it. There’s something again about my childhood that I feel in these records. Thanks parents for raising me on the good stuff! This record also has some great uncut recording in it, adding to the gritty real feel that people like to associate with vinyl.

3. 25 #1 Hits From 25 Years (Compilation)  This caught my eye as I searched out Marvin Gaye and I was sold by the fact that it held another one of my Top 10 songs (Ain’t no mountain high enough) while hosting a solid number of less than familiar tracks. I’m pretty eager to get this one spinning.

4. Anthology by Steve Miller – Anyone who knows anything about me knows that I have a huge soft spot for Steve Miller. Despite growing up on him as well, it was  my friend Chris in high school who sparked the obsession. I’m actually not sure if he is even aware of this. But one day at lunch he was going on about how amazing Steve Miller was and I just thought huh, I better go check him out a bit more closely. And from that day on, I couldn’t part with my Best of Steve Miller album. I am beyond excited to have this bad boy on vinyl.

So that’s my collection so far in a nutshell. Am I perhaps a little bit crazy to care so much about starting a vinyl collection? Perhaps. But that’s okay because I am beyond excited and I think that this is going to refresh my music love and bring back the experience of listening that I’ve been neglecting for awhile.

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Song of the day: Save Tonight

Life is all about timing.

It’s funny to think how different we could have been, how our stories might or might not have intersected, if only timing had been a year, a month, a week, a day, a minute off.

I’m not one to believe in fate, but I am one to wonder what other lives we might have lived, had we not lived this one. Spur of the moment decisions, things as seemingly insignificant as whether or not you should go to a party or stay in to recover from a long day, can spin your life in an absolutely uncharted direction. And we’ll never know how things might have been if we’d kicked up our feet that night. We’ll never know if we’d still have ended up in this city, in this headspace, in this career…the list goes on.

But we did. We crossed paths. You, reading this right now, crossed my path. And for that I’m grateful. I won’t call it fate or meant-to-be, but I will say that it’s worth savouring. It’s worth saving.

Save tonight.

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