40

When thinking of what to do for my 40th birthday earlier this year, I thought “Why not take a trip to Chicago?” It had been nine years since my first visit there in 2011, and I really enjoyed what I saw of the city (when I wasn’t melting under the sun at Pitchfork Festival). I thought it would be a great way to do something fun, while not making a big deal of it.

With what has happened over the last few months, it obviously meant that a trip over the border was not in the cards. So over the last couple of weeks I’ve been thinking about what it means to turn 40, and have been doing a lot of reflecting on my life up until now.

Inspired somewhat by Hanif Abdurraqib’s recent playlist project SIXTY EIGHT 2 OH FIVE, I started looking back at the music that shaped meI didn’t go into quite so much detail, as I can’t even imagine how much work and research was involved in putting his site together. Instead, I looked back on music that played an important role in my life and put it together in a chronological (as it relates to my musical discovery) playlist.

My early years definitely skew towards popular music/my parents’ taste but these are all songs I have vivid memories of while growing up (with the obvious exception of “kids songs”).

I was a bit of a movie fan growing up, so some of the musical tastes were inspired by what I was watching at the time, as well as what I was into at the specific time itself. I should also note that there are bands on this list that appear much later than when I first knew of them, or listened to them, but I opted to choose the song from the time in my life that they really became a staple band for me. I should also note this playlist was made with Spotify, so there are a few songs I would have included but couldn’t have due to not being available, such as “All Good” by De La Soul (feat. Chaka Khan), “Parkin’ Rock” by Zoobombs, and “Howl at The Moon” by The Paint Movement (only 2 of which I was able to find videos for).

Anyway, it’s been fun reflecting over these last few weeks, and putting this together. I will continue to add to this list as new songs/bands emerge in my life, and will be posting some photos over the next little while from some of my favourite concert memories (including ones from my pre-shooting days). Thanks for following along.

Weekly playlist #9: PAUSE

Hey there. Well, in case you didn’t notice, last week I didn’t upload a playlist. A few changes came up in my day-to-day life the last couple of weeks that took a much larger chunk of time than I expected, so for this week I’m presenting a longer playlist without the notes, as I have previously done. I aim to be back next week with a newly updated playlist, for now I present to you Week 9 & 10.

If you have an upcoming event that you would like included in the weekly concert list, or would like your music considered for the weekly playlist, please email me at ryan@tunesinto.ca.

2019 – Week 8 Playlist: All the Stars

Autumn 2009 was a busy time for me, and it was a time that saw me start the original version of Tunes in TO. Though the site launched in October that year, I spent much of September building up content to start the site with. One of the very first shows I shot for the site was when The Antlers played The Horseshoe Tavern, who had just released their breakthrough album, Hospice. It seems like a lifetime ago that I shot that show, and their in-store performance earlier that night at Criminal Records (RIP), but here we are ten years later. In honour of the ten year anniversary of the album, the band has announced a tour that sees them making a stop at The Opera House on April 8th. Tickets for that show cost $37.00 + fees, and can be purchased at Soundscapes and Rotate This.

The Antlers @ The Horseshoe Tavern. September 24, 2009. Shot pre-Tunes in TO v1

Speaking of ten year anniversaries, this coming April marks ten years since Stereolab manager Martin Pike announced a pause in their activities. The band released seven albums over a twenty year span, but never broke through to receive any commercial success. Last week it was announced that the band will be reissuing all seven of those albums over a year-long campaign, starting with 1993’s Transient Random Noise-Bursts With Announcements and 1994’s Mars Audiac Quintet. The two albums will be reissued on May 3rd, via Warp Records and Duophonic UHF Disks, as expanded and re-mastered editions on vinyl, compact disk and digital. Along with the reissues, the band will be hitting the road, including a stop at The Danforth Music Hall on October 2nd. Tickets for this one sold out quickly, so it appears as though people have finally caught on to them.

Another 90s UK band in the midst of a revival is Sleeper, who reunited in 2017 after an almost twenty year split. They came back with a small tour, and announcement that they’d be releasing a new album in 2019. That new album is titled The Modern Age, and it is scheduled for release March 22, via their own Gorsky Records. No North American tour dates as of yet, so keep an eye out for those.

Last week, Melbourne-based songwriter Alex Lahey announced the release of her sophomore album, The Best Of Luck Club. The album will be out May 17th, via Dead Oceans, and can be pre-ordered HERE.

Yesterday marked what fans of David Lynch have referred to as “Twin Peaks Day,” in honour of the day in which Agent Dale Cooper enters the fictional town on the cult classic television series. In honour of the show, I’ve included a couple of bands with ties to the show.

The first band is Chromatics, who announced last week that they will be hitting the road for the first time in over five years. They’ll be at The Danforth Music Hall for an already sold out show on May 27th. Fans of the show will remember the band being the first to appear at Bang Bang Bar in the 2017 revival of the series, with performances of their songs “Shadow” and “Saturday”. I chose their cover of “Running Up That Hill” because Kate Bush also made music news when she released the video for her cover of Elton John‘s “Rocket Man” It only felt appropriate to find a way to include both covers this week.

In other Twin Peaks news, we shift our attention to the band who share the name with the show. Last week it was announced that they’ll be playing with Pup and Charly Bliss at RBC Echo Beach on July 21st on a pretty stacked triple bill. Nothing new for Twin Peaks, as far as material, but this marks the 3rd (and largest) show for Pup in Toronto this summer. So if you missed your chance at getting tickets for their two nights at The Danforth, be sure to grab your tickets at Soundscapes/Rotate or online HERE.

In more immediate news, Anderson .Paak & the Free Nationals will be at Rebel TOMORROW, which gives me an excuse to put one of my favourite songs in the last few years on the playlist. Not sure if these prices were what was originally charged, but there are still some tickets available through Ticketmaster if you’ve got some extra cash burning a hole in your pocket.

Last week Hand Habits, the solo project of Meg Duffy (who you might recognize as a long-time member of Kevin Morby‘s touring band), released the music video for their new song “what lovers do.” The song is the latest single from her album, placeholder, which will be released this Friday, via Saddle Creek. Watch the video below, or give the full album a listen at NPR.

Earlier this month, Donovan Woods dropped a new song called “Go To Her”, along with an accompanying music video. He’s hitting the road this week, with a series of sold out shows around Southwest Ontario (London, Kitchener, Sarnia & Meaford, to be exact) leading up to The Junos, where he’s nominated for two awards, including Songwriter of the Year. Go Donovan!

I’m a little late on this next one, as Helado Negro was actually just in town last week opening for Beirut. However, the release of his new album This is How You Smile is just a couple of weeks away. The album will be released March 8th, via RVNG Intl.

Weyes Blood (pronounced wizebluhd) will be releasing her new album Titanic Rising on April 5th. The album is her fourth, but first with new label Subpop. Along with the new album, a tour has been announced that includes a stop at The Horseshoe Tavern on May 24th. Tickets for that show can be purchased at Soundscapes/Rotate, while Titanic Rising can be pre-ordered online HERE.

Back on the topic of 90s revivals, Teenage Fanclub is on the road, and will be making a stop at The Phoenix on March 8th. Last week, the band released single “Everything is Falling Apart,” their first single since Gerard Love left the band, and since their last full length – 2016’s Here. Hopefully there’s more to come.

Just over a year after the release of the Polaris-shortlisted/Juno nominated In a Poem Unlimited, U.S. Girls (AKA Meg Remy) announced they’ll be playing a Toronto show on June 8th at The Opera House. Tickets cost $24.50, and can be purchased at Soundscapes/Rotate. The band has garnered a reputation for their fantastic live shows, so you might want to scoop these ones up quickly. They were named the #1 Best Live Band of 2018 by Paste and Stereogum – who called their performances “a revelation.” If that doesn’t convince you, check out the recently released video for “Time,” featuring live footage from their performance at last summer’s Sappyfest.

Colin Caulfield has been a full-time member of DIIV since 2013, but last week shared his new funky solo track, “Get to the Point.” The song is a follow up to last years release “Looking for Revenge,” and he promises to release more new music later this year. In the meantime, you can check out his gardening show (yes, I’m serious.)

And, closing out the week, the best song nominated for the “Best Song” Oscar. Not that it really matters.


Notable concerts this week
Note: * indicates a show I may be taking photos at

02/25 – MADEINTYO @ Mod Club
*02/26 – Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals @ Rebel
02/26 – Parcels w/ Penthouse Boys @ Lee’s Palace
02/26 – Julia Holter w/ Jessica Moss @ The Great Hall
02/26 – Jacob Banks @ The Danforth Music Hall
02/26 – Matt Nathanson @ Mod Club
02/26 – Alex Cameron & Roy Molloy @ The Horseshoe
02/26 – Miya Folick @ The Drake Hotel
02/26 – The Beths w/ Bad Bad Hats @ The Garrison
02/27 – James Blake @ The Sony Centre
02/27 – Bali Babi @ Hard Luck Bar
02/27 – Empress Of @ The Great Hall
02/27 – Wild Rivers @ The Opera House
02/27 – Dillon Francis @ The Danforth Music Hall
02/28 – The Barr Brothers (performing “Barr Brothers”) w/ Liz Powell (of Land of Talk) @ Mod Club
02/28 – Pkew Pkew Pkew @ The Horseshoe
02/28 – Murray Lightburn (of The Dears) @ The Burdock
02/28 – Feast in the East @ The Jam Factory
02/28 – Mother Mother @ The Phoenix
02/28 – Switchfoot @ The Danforth Music Hall
03/01 – Mother Mother @ The Phoenix
03/01 – grandson @ The Opera House
03/01 – A Bowie Celebratin @ The Danforth Music Hall
03/01 – The Barr Brothers (performing “Sleeping Operator”) w/ Jesse MacCormack @ Mod Club
03/01 – Marc Ribot @ The Jam Factory
03/01 – Eric Prydz @ Rebel
03/01 – Gavin James @ The Horseshoe
03/02 – The Barr Brothers (performing “Queens of the Breakers”) w/ Richard Reed Parry (of Arcade Fire) @ Mod Club
03/02 – Mike Krol @ The Garrison
03/02 – Aurora @ The Danforth Music Hall
03/02 – Greyson Chance @ The Drake Hotel
03/02 – Mat Kerekes @ Hard Luck Bar
03/02 – Blackalicious @ Lee’s Palace
03/03 – State Champs @ The Phoenix
03/03 – Alice Phoebe Lou @ The Garrison
03/03 – Flogging Molly @ Danforth Music Hall
03/03 – Kamaal Williams w/ Henry Wu @ The Velvet Underground
03/03 – Rotem @ The Horseshoe

If you have an upcoming event that you would like included in the weekly concert list, or would like your music considered for the weekly playlist, please email me at ryan@tunesinto.ca.

2019 – Week 7 Playlist: Motion Sickness

Kicking off this new week is Sunflower Bean. If the name rings a bell, it could be that you remember their song “I Was a Fool” was included on my Best of 2018 playlist. It could also be the fact that just last week they were announced as the artist in the very tiny print on a large tour this summer that sees Beck and Cage the Elephant co-headlining. The tour stops at Budwieser Stage on August 11th, but If you’d like to catch a bit more than what’s likely to be a short 15-20 minute set, the good news is that you’ll have the chance to do that in May. They’ll be playing a proper set at Lee’s Palace for Canadian Music Fest. Tickets run $22.00 + fees, and can be purchased HERE. As for the Budweiser Stage show, I’ll get back to that later.

Palindromic Seattle band Tacocat has announced that they’ve signed a record deal with Sub Pop Records. Their fourth album This Mess is a Place will be released on May 3rd, and along with the announcement of the album, they’ve released first single “Grains of Salt”. The band will be doing a U.S. tour in May/June, though there are no stops north of the border at the moment. Guess we’ll just have to wait for the next leg of tour dates to be announced, but in the meantime the album can be pre-ordered HERE.

A couple of weeks ago, I included “Dylan Thomas” on my weekly playlist, off of Phoebe Bridgers‘ joint album with Conor Oberst as Better Oblivion Community Center. Early last week, Phoebe was cited in a NY Times article exposing Ryan Adams for sexual misconduct, “dangling success” in front of numerous young women, and being abusive/manipulative in his relationships (including his marriage with Mandy Moore). By now, you have likely heard the story, but if not here you go.

I wanted to include Phoebe’s song “Motion Sickness” this week because she has specifically stated the song is about Adams. I put it on the list for anyone who hasn’t heard it that might stumble on this blog, so that you might have a chance to listen to what she is saying. I have been a fan of Adams for almost 20 years, but as a person, I have no trouble putting any type of fandom aside here. What Adams did was wrong, plain and simple, and I can’t really see myself listening to any of his music anymore in light of the information that has surfaced.

As a man it’s important to listen, and to believe women because even though it feels like there has been some progress in the past few years, we are still living in a patriarchal society. It takes a lot of courage for these women to come forth and face the inevitable backlash from those that, bluntly put, hate women and want to uphold the patriarchy. That’s why I also wanted to include this statement from Phoebe’s twitter feed.

I couldn’t agree more with her statement, and as a person it is important to remember that if someone you know is saying or doing something unacceptable, it’s up to us to call them out on it. As a male, I just want to say this stuff is deeply rooted through generations of reinforcement, so just remember not to be offended if someone calls you out for something. You may not be aware you’ve said something wrong, but that doesn’t make it right, and the only way to improve is to listen, and understand, when someone calls you out for something.

Moving back to newer music, last week Rain Phoenix released a double A side called Time Gone. The Double A side features her solo debut “Time is a Killer” (featuring Michael Stipe, of R.E.M.), as well as two previously unreleased tracks from her band (with brother River): Aleka’s Attic. This year marks the 25th anniversary of River’s death, and Rain wanted to honour her brother’s joy of music by releasing the tracks.

From one child actor to another, Jenny Lewis announced recently that she’ll be opening for Death Cab for Cutie on their North American tour, including their stop at Echo Beach. Her new album On the Line will be released on March 22nd, via Warner Bros. Records, and last week she released the second single “Heads Gonna Roll”.

Bayonne‘s new album, Drastic Measures is coming out this Friday, via Mom+Pop Music. Along with the album, comes a tour which will include a stop at The Monarch Tavern. Tickets are $15 + fees, and can be purchased at Rotate/Soundscapes, or online at Ticketfly.

If you are reading this, it’s likely that you are not at The Sony Centre for tonight’s Beirut concert. The band released their new album Gallipoli a couple of weeks ago on February 1st, and are coming through town in support, so looks like I was pretty bad at getting this news to you in time. Sorry about that.

Beirut @ Toronto Urban Roots Festival 2014. Shot for Beyond the Watch & the festival. Full set not available online anymore.

To make that up, here’s some extremely advance news. Mini Mansions have released the first single, “Gummy Bear” from their forthcoming album Guy Walks Into A Bar…, which is scheduled for release July 26th, via Fiction Records. No tour dates announced here yet, so keep an eye out for that sometime later this year.

Spellling will be releasing her new album Mazy Fly this Friday, Feb. 22nd via Sacred Bones. You can file that announcement under “Just enough notice”.

Also under “enough notice”, last week the trailer for Danny Boyle’s new movie Yesterday was released. The film stars newcomer Himish Patel and puts forth the question: What would happen if you woke up one day and suddenly you were the only person with any recollection of The Beatles? The film will be released June 28th, via Universal Pictures.

I wanted to mention this movie, so I could to tie it to the collateral damage of Ryan Adams’ actions, where young female musicians have ended up quitting because of men manipulating/abusing them, and dangling success. Just think of all of the talent that could have made it, that gave up because of men abusing their position of power. In thinking about this, I almost wonder how different this movie would look/be received if it was told from the point of view of a woman. Just something to think about, and why I have decided to choose Regina Spektor‘s cover of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” for this week’s playlist.

Lydia Ainsworth‘s new album Phantom Forest is scheduled for release May 10th. No tour at the moment, but keep an eye out for that in the near future.

Mike Krol released his album Power Chords on Merge Records last month, and his supporting tour started over the weekend. He’ll be making a stop in Toronto at The Garrison on March 2nd. Tickets can be purchased at Rotate/Soundscapes for $13.50 + fees.

Earlier in the post, I mentioned that Sunflower Bean would be opening for Cage the Elephant and Beck, but neglected to mention the fact that Spoon(!!!) will also be on that bill. I also forgot to mention that the tickets are on sale now, starting at $36.50 + fees for lawns, and can be purchased HERE. So there, now you have all of the details.

Spoon @ Dundas Square. North by Northeast 2014. Originally shot for Tunes in TO v1

Delicate Steve has a new album on the way. It’s called Till I Burn Up, and is scheduled for release on March 1st. In support of that album, he’ll be making a stop at The Baby G on April 27th.  Tickets are $15.50 + fees and can be purchased at the usual record establishments.

Finally, I just wanted to take a moment to acknowledge the passing of publicist Darryl Weeks. When I was first starting Tunes in TO, Darryl was one of the first publicists that I connected with. I remember wanting to cover Junior Boys and Woodhands at Lee’s Palace, and he was extremely helpful considering I was still just figuring out what I was doing. In the years following, he was always very accommodating with any requests that I had with the site, and it’s sad to see him go so suddenly. I would just like to offer my deepest condolences to Darryl’s family, close friends and colleagues.


Notable concerts this week
Note: * indicates a show I may be taking photos at

02/18 – Adrianne Lenker @ Longboat Hall
02/18 – Joe Jackson @ The Danforth Music Hall
02/18 – Bob Mould @ The Phoenix
02/18 – Dropkick Murphys @ Rebel
02/19 – Beirut @ The Sony Centre
02/19 – YG @ Rebel
02/19 – Royal Trux @ Lee’s Palace
02/20 – Action Bronson @ The Danforth Music Hall
02/20 – Cherry Glazerr @ Velvet Underground
02/20 – Corrosion of Conformity @ The Opera House
02/20 – Meg Mac @ The Rivoli
02/21 – Neil Morse Band @ The Opera House
02/21 – Deerhunter @ The Danforth Music Hall
02/21 – Zaki Ibrahim @ The Great Hall
02/22 – Watsky @ The Danforth Music Hall
02/22 – Erin Costello @ The Dakota Tavern
02/22 – Le Butcherettes @ The Drake Hotel
02/23 – The Trews @ The Danforth Music Hall
02/23 – MNEK @ Velvet Underground
02/23 – Monster Truck @ The Opera House
02/23 – Wolf Eyes w/ Mark Morgan @ The Garrison
02/23 – Shallow North Dakota @ Hard Luck Bar
02/24 – Chrome Sparks @ Velvet Underground
02/24 – It Looks Sad @ Baby G
02/24 – Bhad Bhabie @ The Phoenix Concert Theatre

If you have an upcoming event that you would like included in the weekly list, please email me at ryan@tunesinto.ca.