Category Archives: FFF

FFF: A Northern State

I’m not usually one to wax nostalgic. Well, not excessively anyway. But I promised a number of people that I would dedicate my FFF blog to my summer. Quite literally May to September friends that I found quite unexpectedly. Some friendships that flourished, some that were an unexpected surprise; even those that disappointed.

A bit of background: All it took was an ill-fated wave of water. My summer changed. I went from living 10 minutes from work to uncertainty and drastic change. For anyone who knows me, I’m fairly routine-oriented. So change and I do not always get along. So, I moved my work location. Car pools and an entirely new situation. And I have to admit, there was a bit of trepidation. My old friends were like my favourite old jeans – I knew them. I was comfortable in them.

However, it took only a few short hours to know that change is often a catalyst for realizing you can fit better somewhere else. Suddenly I had a slew of new people to discover. And I fit. Better than I expected.

I think the biggest surprise of the summer was how large a part music played in it. I have always had this internal “life soundtrack” – songs that hold memories and meaning. I happily discovered that there are others who hold that same philosophy. I talked more about music – likes and dislikes; industry standards; cowbells and how “woo” sung in a song makes it more sing-able (that’s a blog for another day in the near future). I spent my days with radios blaring, reminding me that marketability isn’t the devil’s tool. I learned, I fought, I laughed. I can’t remember the last time I laughed so hard it hurt.

I can’t possibly dedicate a FFF to every person I want to. Trust me, I spent the better part of my night last night going over my head a song choice for as many people as I could. I can’t possibly express my gratitude for this May to September adventure that has given me new friends that I hope remain so even after I’m gone. All I can do is offer up a series of songs. Those they have specific meaning for will know who they are and why the song is there. These are the people that meant the most. Overall though, they are like a gift to all those I’m leaving behind. Songs that mean something to me. Because of you.

For everyone else, as my final goodbye, I am offering up a veritable buffet of AC/DC. To the rest of you, it may leave you scratching your head. Seems an odd choice for me. But every time I hear an AC/DC song, I am going to smile, remembering the summer they played on the radio 2485 times. I’d put Nickleback, since they seemed to play almost as much. But everyone I work with knows that Nickleback are not allowed on the radios when I rule the car. I’m the boss, motherfuckers. Boo. Yah. (see? All that classic rock has warped my mind).

Summer Memories, courtesy of:

Hey Rosetta, Welcome

 Big Wreck, Blown Wide Open (no, it’s not Creed… funniest slip ever, but it’s the best song to have someone sing to you)

 Hollerado – Got to Lose (3rd time featured on B&L.. must be the lyrics…)

 Young the Giant – My Body (best toe-tapping/work out song of the summer):

 Black Keys – Howlin’ For You

 Bon Jovi – Bed of Roses (it pained me to do it, but Sean B. deserves it!)

Adele – Rolling in the Deep

Dennis Leary – Asshole (just for the Chassis boys):

And, now… the AC/DC. Forgive me.

(probably the AC/DC song I like best, courtesy of the movie, “Empire Records”, which was a movie I watched almost as many times as I heard AC/DC this summer):

Well played, Northerners. You have my love and I will miss you all (I’m not going to cry, I swear.. gingers have no souls, you all know that) It’s not goodbye, but rather an “I’m always around.” At least in spirit.  xoxo

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FFF – Influential

Someone once said, “…the most influential people in my life are probably not even aware of the things they’ve taught me.”

This seems to have been the theme of my summer. The joy of change is that you meet new people, hear new thoughts and remove yourself from the stagnant nature that you wore like a comfortable old shoe. To further that shoe analogy, sometimes new shoes pinch, but in the end, they look spectacular and you adore them.

I have often found some of the best musical influence at work. Sean B. is a great example, plus, he likes blog shout outs (Hi Sean!). And over the course of the last few months at work, I have talked more about music than ever. A testament to some of the amazing people I met this summer. Even when arguing the merits (or lack thereof) of Nickleback and AC/DC (more on that next week). I learned these past few months. I learned that just because a song is successful doesn’t make it a sell-out. I learned that everyone has a unique taste in music that should be appreciated, even if it is not agreed with. I learned that there are people out there that are more than just their reputations and when instinct tells you to look closer, you listen and are often rewarded for it. I learned that there are other people out there, who, like me, listen to lyrics and notes and make music an integral part of their day and life. And these are the people that influence me and inspire me most.

Hollerado was a great recommendation this summer.  Canadian Indie at its finest.  They are a bit Weezer-esque.  Got to Lose never fails to make me smile. The lyrics, especially when recited verbatim, combine sentiment and quirk; definitely a fun song.  One that will always carry the memories of this summer. Introduced to me because I took time to listen and learn. It was my reward and I am terribly grateful for it.


FFF – Summer Lovin’

The Who: Jenn Grant (www.jenngrant.com)

The What: Honeymoon Punch

I know I’ve already mentioned Sean B. this week, but it’s a Friday. And he often gives great recommendations. And seeing as it’s time for a Friday Friendly Find, I’m going to give him yet more credit.

And that credit is in the form of Jenn Grant. Halifax songstress. I’ve never heard of her. He saw her live, got the album, gave it listen (a few times) and knew I’d like it. Fast forward a few days and I am sitting at home on a Friday night (I know, I know) with a glass of wine, sitting on the couch on my back deck, enjoying the faltering heat of a sweltering day listening to new music. A good way to spend a night.

Now, I’m inclined to like Jenn Grant without even listening to her. She’s a ginger. And we gingers have to stick together (we’re almost an endangered species!). But, that kind of defeats the purpose of having a blog where we review and talk about music. So, in she goes.

At first listen, Jenn Grant is redolent of my two favourites Kates (Bush and Nash). Which means the album is playful, to my ears anyway. It’s the best I can describe it. Cute and fun. But not fluffy pop goo. It has some chops. I’ve read, quite a bit actually, that Jenn Grant’s previous album, Echoes, is much more guitar-ridden, not to mention angst-ridden, which is usually my very favourite. Whereas this album is filled with a more synthetic sound – I did find it pretty keyboard-heavy – which is not a bad thing at all. The cute sounds found on Honeymoon Punch is a good way to introduce myself to Jenn Grant. It’s not too serious off the hop. I like her. She seems precocious and playful. I can always dive into the serious stuff later. This is just the “get to know ya” phase, so the album works for new listeners.

Side note: I wonder if she ever gets annoyed at having to answer interview questions about how they believe Echoes was this big breakup album and Honeymoon Punch is her gooey love album? Why can’t she just feel like writing/singing something a bit different?

Even the slower numbers are upbeat in feeling. Frankly, it’s lovely summery music. It makes me smile. From feel-good simplicity in Paradise Mountain to lovely opening harmonies in Walk Away (which then moves from the fresh and slower tune I was expecting to a sharp snare backbeat, unexpected horns and a punchy beat). Jenn Grant manages to make her songs relevant with the folk-y, almost San Francisco Sound vibe that I’ve predicted is coming back in a huge way (if it’s not already here). Although, equally surprising is to move farther along the album and hit a song like the previously mentioned Walk Away. Which has a bit of an 80s feel. And it all kind of works together, oddly enough.

On first listen, it’s eclectic (which you know I like) and utilizes a variety of instrumentation, beats and, seemingly, influences. Funnily enough, I’m listening and wondering if the album is almost a testament to sounds I love from different decades. We’ve covered 50s go-go; 60s/70s folk; 80s electro – even Baby’s Been Away has an almost-90s grunge guitar start to it. Maybe to some, it may seem like a muddle. For me, it was more of a progression. A bit slow and dreamy to start, moving into stronger beats and punches of little surprises and ending with a very lovely parting note in the simplistic Stars to Waves that showcases some gorgeous and enviable vocals. My favourite part? Halfway through that song. A very interesting change-up that lasts until the very end. I’ll let you listen for yourself, but it’s worth lasting through the entire 6+ minute song.

So, since I’ve not listened to her previous albums, I’m basing my opinion on Honeymoon Punch. It’s fun. It’s fresh. And I’m going to give my credit card a work out by buying Echoes just to compare the two projects that are so seemingly different. Definitely worth a listen. Preferably with a fruity frozen drink, sitting on a beach with the people you have the most fun with. It’s just that kind of an album.

Top 3 Highlights:

Getcha Good: Not only is it cute and perky, but it kind of makes me want to have Nancy Sinatra follow it on a playlist on my iPod. I likened it to “Girl Weekend Music”. That’s big accolades. Although, I do have to say that it is likely the most “marketable” song on the album. Which usually means I avoid it. I didn’t this time. Strange, that.

Stars to Waves: Okay, it doesn’t start off as the most “upbeat” song, but it gives you an idea of just how stellar Jenn Grant’s vocals are. And don’t forget the little surprise (think big instrumentation) halfway through. I like surprises.

Heart of Sticks: Kind of a mix of 50s-a-go-go and folky pop and some pretty lovely harmonies. Definitely interesting. (it was a hard choice between Heart of Sticks and Walk Away Walk Away’s 80s electro-pop sound was definitely a draw. It definitely gets an honourary mention)

Nicely played, Jenn Grant. And now I want more.

Getcha Good Video:

p.s. Dear Lila, I’m sending you samples. We want to hear what you think!!


FFF – Cover This

I have a thing for cover songs. Something I’m certain I’ll elaborate on at a later date, but hearing a new take on an old favourite (or even a song I didn’t like the first time around) is something that always brings a smile to my face.

Today’s FFF is courtesy of the Deftones. Their cover of Lennon’s “Jealous Guy” was one I had never heard before it was sent to me. I mean, one of the first songs I learned to play on the trumpet was “Elanor Rigby” (save the Band Camp jokes, please), so I have a predisposition to appreciate the original recording artist. A story for another day, of course, but I don’t think you can love music and not appreciate the sheer impact Lennon et al had on pop culture. While I appreciate many of Lennon’s songs (and even the Beatles), they were never my true favourites. I have to admit, however, this cover? I prefer it over the original. And because I hold a special appreciation for great covers, this song was a perfect recommendation. Funny how people with the same name always tend to make good recommendations on Fridays.

That “Jealous Guy” is one of the most commonly covered songs, it would take something pretty special for this one to stand out.  It did.  Side note – did you know there have been at least 92 recorded covers of this song?  Unreal.

So, today’s rec combines two of my favourite components – a reintroduction to an artist that has been off my musical radar (Deftones) and a cover song.  A great way to bounce toward a long weekend.

Well played.


Friday’s Friendly Finds (FFF)

I like the letter F. Most of my favourite words start with it. Yes, I have a 4-letter F-word addiction I could be cliché and say that word was, “food” (although I do enjoy a tasty burger from time to time), but no. It is what you think.

Another F word we love ’round here?  Friday. Fridays are usually about good friends, good music, a few good drinks and the lingering promise of mid-afternoon naps taken in the warm sun, lounging and playing and a break from the monotony of your Monday through Thursday.

Our Fridays here are about our friends. Friends who love music the way we do, that always have a recommendation at the ready to share and who understand those gleeful hours right after a new musical discovery.

In some ways, through their recommendations, you might get to know them a bit too and realize why they earned the name “Music buddy.”

Today, my Triple-F feature comes from a work friend, Sean B. Sean has a taste for the eclectic, as I do. He has reminded me of bands I’ve forgotten (Frente! is a good example) and introduced some really great new musicians into my daily soundtrack.

Girl Talk. Also known as Gregg Gillis. What Gregg Gillis does to music is why I love music – it’s a complete mash-up of the somewhat eclectic (“Jump on Stage” features an all-time favoured Portishead) with the very popular (snippets of Gaga, Missy Elliott, Beyonce) and he doesn’t apologize for any of it. Girl Talk makes music I often tend to find unpalatable on its own and turns it into something that makes my head nod and my toes tap. I’m a bit surprised at myself because of it – the music found here are not my usual style. It’s much more hip hop/pop than my norm. The album All Day was immediately downloaded (free! The best music friends are ones that hit you up with freebies) and, as it was suggested, I spent my entire day today roaming through it.

The best experience in this album? How you would hear those beginnings of a sound, get into it; it’s not anything earth shattering, but solid good beats. And suddenly you hear Peter Gabriel. Or Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time”. Or any other number of highly recognizable tracks that then mesh with other snippets. And you discover you’re grinning. And liking it. And, despite my surprise, I’m also sharing it with all my other friends.

As always, thanks for the rec, Sean! Well played!

Get Girl Talk’s All Day here:

 http://www.illegal-art.net/allday/


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