Posts Tagged ‘ Toronto ’

Charge of The Light Brigade Release The Defiant Ones

The vision of Charge of the Light Brigade is truly a focused one. Even the most reluctant of listeners will agree; with The Defiant Ones, this is a band that certainly cannot be stopped.

The debut LP from Charge of the Light Brigade combines intense, punk-influenced melodies with an irresistible pop sensibility yet there are no tracks that pander; instead, this collection of thirteen tracks has a vision that will leave listeners helpless.

Guitarist/songwriter Luke Sneyd has long been a fixture on the Toronto scene, originally as the guitarist for electro-rock act Mountain Mama.  Two solo releases included an early demo of his track ‘The Prisoner’ that was a finalist in the Unisong International Songwriting Contest, and the video won him a Top 5 spot in the Great Canadian Band Challenge, competing for a deal with Universal Canada.   And now, with new songs and new collaborators, The Defiant Ones is an honest and earnest culmination of five years of work.

Strong themes of doomed heroism and the terminal tick of relationships gone awry abound here.  They’re heard in the resilient sprawl of ‘Fastest of The Losers’, the furious early 90’s punk stomp of ‘Charge!!’ and finally, a moody but ultimately fulfilling cover of ‘Atlantic City,’ which serves as the album’s closer.  Each track drives its way into your subconscious with alarming and altogether defiant grace.  It’s an honest approach that fuels the entire record.  Candid emotions are abundant in every song.

Charge of the Light Brigade is a collaboration between songwriter Luke Sneyd and producer Marc Koecher, with bassist Jason Eagan (Clockwise, Ryan Luchuck), and drummers Zack Mykula (Bella Clava, Inhumanoids) and Owen Tennyson (Blue Peter, Rough Trade).


Interning: Pre Mortem

I’m in the final stretch of my internship, and I’m starting to get the itch.  To be honest, the only reason I’ve hung on this long is because I’m a serial abandoner.  There’s something about the final stretch that makes me restless to get onto the next thing.  I was missing two courses from university when I dropped out (I finished two years later).  I dropped out of college with one final semester after I was offered a handful of jobs and an internship.  And if I didn’t have those two priors glaring at me, I’d probably be long gone from my internship.

I enjoyed the experience.  It’s nice to be young and to get to work downtown and be close to the city.  The problem is that I failed to ask the right questions, and I fear that the next generation of interns will follow suit, as few of us have many role models in interning.

I was offered an internship pretty quickly.  It was within the first handful I applied for, and I know a lot of people may have had difficulty, but I was an eager beaver and applied more than six months ahead of the pack.  The memory of summer interns was still fresh in the minds of employers when I came a-knocking.  I dressed for the part, I packaged a professional looking portfolio with my best work, and I familiarized myself with the magazine.

The problem was that I had asked what I could do for them, and not what they could do for me.  I was trying to sell them on giving me an internship rather than figure out if it was right for me.  In retrospect, I should have made sure the internship was tailored to my needs.  I came into it looking for a job and some real world experience.

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Back in Stirling

“I don’t know. I’m from the countryside.”

This is my only excuse towards everything urban related. I’ve used those words at least 100 times but it’s true, I’m from the countryside. The town I come from is Stirling, which if Google Mapped, would show up blurry. It’s probably the only town without a Tim Hortons and also a home that still uses dial-up.

In a way, Stirling can be called the Louisiana of Canada. It has that feeling of a southern American town where people really love their trucks, beer and guns. It’s so small, the whole town only has one stoplight intersection, no public transportation and about 85% of the population lives on a farm. I love how my journalism teacher Kathy Muldoon referred to the Square One Shopping Centre as being “bigger than wherever the hell you’re from.” The sad part is, it’s probably is true.

Before moving to Oakville, I had no clue what a GO train was or even how much a bus cost. Originally, the people I met here didn’t know I was from such a small town three hours to the east. I guess I came off as being a Torontonian when I’ve really only been to Toronto four times.

Usually, people ask why I moved here in the first place when I could have gone to a college forty minutes away. The reason is because I’m not the country type; I’m more of a big city person. I also disliked the lack of multiculturalism and grew sick of looking at kilometres of hay and cornfields.

Although I have moved to somewhere more populated, I still have some of that country in me. I still have quite the collection of lumberjack plaid, a keenness for Johnny Cash and a different way of saying certain words. Of course there are some things that I do miss about living back home but so much has happened here, I don’t think I can be homesick. I’ve met new friends, interviewed some interesting people and even got myself a girlfriend along the way. At least saying I’m from the countryside is a great excuse when you act like a total ass in downtown Toronto.

– Matt

Journey to the Centre of Toronto

Having only been to Toronto on a few school trips, I had no idea how to get around the huge city. Even taking the GO Train into Toronto was like trying to speak a foreign language to me. All I was told was that taking the GO was “idiot-proof” and to “make sure you pay attention to the announcements”. To top it off, I just missed the GO and the next one will come in an hour.

Why was I going to Toronto you may ask? Michael Burton gave me an assignment for the upcoming photography issue of Travis, which I’m extremely excited about. He told me I could just phone and get all the stuff I need for the feature, but I hate phones.

I get off the GO greeted by a saxophonist and I’m more confused than I’ve ever been. It’s 11:30 am and I don’t have to be where I’m headed until 3, so I wander the streets of Toronto. With the CN Tower and the Air Canada Centre right near me, I take in the sights. If you know me, I’m not a Toronto Maple Leafs fan at all. Standing at Maple Leaf Square and seeing literally everyone wearing Leafs jerseys makes me feel better/bitter that I left my Ottawa Senators apparel at home.

Standing in front of the token part of the subway, I have no clue what to do and I’m hoping Torontonians aren’t laughing at me. I pay for 4 tokens; not knowing it only costs one and I look at an odd map on the wall. Since I know that Dupont Street was near where I have to go, I get on the train stopping there. I get off at St. George Station thinking I’m there when I have to keep going a bit more. I walk down to the second level of the station and almost accidently get on a train going east. Once I realize this, I made my way through the crowded underground to wait for the next train heading west. Turns out the next train won’t be coming for another 7 minutes.

After finally getting off at Dupont Station, I take the escalator up into a rough neighbourhood. Taking off down the road, I have no idea if I’m going the right way. The houses and shops on the opposite side of the road look old and broken while the shops to my right don’t look much better. Venturing down Dupont, I ask four people if I was going in the right direction. I was about to buy a map when a bald dude with a Blackberry tells me I just have to keep going the way I’m going.

Trekking down the neighbourhood, my iPod hits a Wi-Fi area. Now, I check to see if the guy before told me the right directions. Just as I close Google Maps and put on Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go by Wham!, I see a man walking towards me that looks familiar. I ask him if his name’s Daryn and he kindly answers, “Yeah man, how’s it going?” I try to ask for a picture but all I say is, “Awesome.” Once he’s long gone behind me, I pull my phone out and brag to my family and friends that I just met Daryn Jones, the host of MTV Live.

With graffiti covering the walls of corner stores saying “Fuck G20”, I start thinking about the riots that happened only a few months ago. Just then, apartments and city houses appear making me feel a bit better about walking down the street. I wind up outside West Side Studio an hour early to be sure I’m there on time. After spending over an hour with Nikki Ormerod, a commercial/freelance photographer, that earlier feeling of excitement comes back. Since it’s almost 5:30 and getting dark, I quickly walk to the subway on Lansdowne and head back to Union Station.

Some shots by Nikki Ormerod

Being the unluckiest person in the world, I get to Union only to hit the beginning of rush hour. Another problem is I have no clue where I can buy my GO ticket. Since everyone is in a hurry and I have no room to breathe, I relax and pick up some Mr. Sub. As I enjoy the delicious foot long veggie, I see where I can buy a ticket to go home. Obviously, the GO lines are filled with people trying to get home. Just then, I drop half my sub all over the table.

After getting my ticket and boarding the white and green train, I reflect on my journey to the centre of Toronto. To be honest, I’ll probably go back next weekend.

– Matt Main

Crossing off the Bucket List

AKA Real Life Xbox Achievements.

I knocked two things off the list this weekend.

Well the tentative list that wasn’t really a list until I realized they should have been on some sort of list.

1. Run 5k.

I didn’t really do much for this.  I have an on and off history with exercise.  One year I went to the gym three or four times a week without fail.  One year, I went to the gym a grand total of once for forty-five minutes before I decided it just wasn’t for me.  In high school I played football and rugby and I stuck with the workout regimen only during the season.  Thus I would bulk up during the season, and then spend the off-season getting flabby and weak again.

So I got the idea in my head this year I that was going to run some level of a marathon.  It seemed like a quantifiable goal to have.  A marathon is 42 km.  That’s pretty damn crazy.  I like eating fast food, I like drinking, I like partying and staying up late and playing xbox and watching movie marathons.  42 kilometres is just too much to start training for.  So I started small, 5k.

I’ve been going to the gym about 3 times a week for the last month or so, minus last week when I didn’t go at all for the only cited reason that I was too lazy.  But I went to the gym on Saturday and had a revelation, I was training slowly but surely to run a 5k marathon.  So far I’d worked up to being able to run 2.25 in 26 minutes.  The average time to run a 5k marathon is 30 to 50 minutes.  So I thought I needed to speed up.

Then it hit me.  I was running miles not kilometers.  This whole time I thought running 2.25 on the machine was 2.25 km.  It was 2.25 miles.  I went home and googled it and it turns out I was running 3.6km.  So I only needed 1.4 to go.  I’m a writer not a mathemagician, and it shows.

Today I went for it.  I was going to run the entire 5k.  It took 36 minutes and is 3.11 miles if you wanted to try it yourself.  In retrospect this is crossed off the bucket list but I’m going to add “run a 10k” to it.

2. Play In The Aeroplane Over The Sea front to back.,

Favourite album ever.  Jeff Mangun presents such a sublime piece of artistry and it’s such an underrated album.  I originally heard Oh Comely at a Brand New concert and investigated further to discover it.  Then I heard Kevin Devine’s Holland, 1945.  And then I really got into Neutral Milk Hotel’s In The Aeroplane Over the Sea.

This isn’t really an accomplishment either.  Anyone who can play the basic chords on a guitar should be able to keep up with this album.  It’s easy, but for me, who hasn’t really played guitar seriously in a long time, if ever, my fingers were burning afterwards.  There were points during Two-Headed Boy Pt 2 where I thought it just wasn’t going to happen.  But alas, it happened.

3. Bike to Toronto.

I’ve done it twice so far.  When the weather gets better I’ll likely do it a few more times.  It’s an interesting ride each time and there’s lots to look at and next time I’d like to explore a few more unexplored areas of Toronto.  Perhaps not the sketchy Queen St neighborhood that Chantelle and I walked through last week, but High Park and Trinity Bellwoods perhaps.

Sadly, I don’t have a bucket list, but I really should make one and figure out what’s actually going to be important to me in the future as far as goals are concerned.  I guess working at a major magazine (I’ll get that one closed in December).


Do it, do it, or die!

Die Mannequin scares us a bit. But that’s why it works. Steered by frontwoman — and yes, this is her real name — Care Failure, this band can play a guitar-heavy riff. Not to mention rock show. Ms. Failure herself looks like the girl you broke up with — 35 times in a row. And then she wrote some songs because of it. And they work, because the angst and definitely the image are there. They freakin’ opened for Marilyn Manson for the Canadian leg of his tour last year. That’s pretty badass when it comes to image, for sure.

We took in some Die Mannequin last night for their return to da T-dot at Tattoo Rock Parlour. Solid performance that sadly didn’t get the crowd into the full swing of things, but there was a definitely a sizable crowd and a lot of yelling going down. This did change when they played hits like “Bad Medicine” and “Dead Honey.” But back to Ms. Failure. This woman can put on a performance and make you want to fall in love in a self-loathing kinda way. It would be an interesting relationship, just tough because of all the touring. That’s always hard on the heart and the kick-ass rock ‘n’ roll nights.

Die Mannequin's Care Failure not giving a damn

Until next time, Die Mannequin, where we will meet in another bar, hopefully a seedy one, where our eyes can meet.

And then we can break up again and you can write another album.

Kisses and hugs,


Too Too Too Fast

I saw the new issue of TRAVIS today that is just itching to hit the stands next week.  It’s beautiful.  A lot of hard work went into it and this time I really got to witness each step of the process.  It’s a painstaking one but the team works

together like a well-oiled machine.  I can’t say it enough, I am proud of it.  Really proud.  If you’re returning to Sheridan get a copy and then grab a second copy and pass it on to one of your unsuspecting first-year colleagues.  They’ll appreciate it.

I beat Starcraft II, on normal, now I’m going to move onto cleaning up the straggling achievements on hard mode.  I still can’t beat even one of the challenges in Challenge Mode so I’m not going to go to multiplayer yet.  But yea, I did it, it took about a week but I soldiered through it.  Quite an enjoyable playthrough, definitely worth the wait.

Last night was Ra Ra Riot’s free show at The Mod Club.  It was a fun show, they played well.  If you don’t know the band, they’reSyracuse, New York’s answer to Vampire Weekend, plus a very attractive string section.  Got some ice cream after on College st at The Big Chill, I had Dulce de Leche and Nutella on a waffle cone.  It was awesome.

But that’s what I’ve been up to.  Trying to soak up the last glorious moments of the summer.  A summer that didn’t involve the beach at all.  So maybe that’s the last thing on my summer bucket list.  I was thinking back today, I’ve done so much this summer, it’s truly been a good summer and full of memories.  I’m excited for this year, but I’m sad to say goodbye to summer.