January 9, 2018

A Top 10 List cuz 5's are for Fighting.

This was going to be a Top 5 List only but after just having watched a preview of an upcoming Letterman special on Netflix, I was inspired to add the 2nd half of it, just like all those Late Show Top 10 Lists we all grew to love so much.

I breezed over a handful of solid releases from 2017 in the previous post, which more or less re-emphasized everybody else's favourite releases of the year. But it has taken me 10 days into the new year of reflecting on all of what I've been listening to this past year and true story: a lot of it isn't stuff that was released in 2017. Hell, a lot of it was released in 1997! Or 2004 or 2016 or 1991 sometimes, too. And a lot of that I am only learning about now for the first time. Case in point: Thought Riot.

That said...

I am going to go ahead and say that 2017 was more or less a wash for Favourite Albums 6 through 10, with none being all too overly outstanding than the other. Beyond these 5, I would consider giving honourable mentions to Dave Hause,  Hot Water Music, Authority Zero, and Badcop/ Badcop, with none being all much more outstanding than the other.  If I must choose, I would say that my Top 10 List would have to look something like this.

10) Jesse LeBourdais. The guy from Cambridge knows how to write songs.
9) LIGHTS. I like catchy pop music with pretty female leads. She plays a Rancid cover.
8) The Bombpops. I like catchy pop punk with pretty female leads. >Badcop/Badcop frshur.
7) Comeback Kid - Outsider. I like Canadian hardcore with stinky old guys.
6) The Bronx - V. I like American hardcore. Not sure if they are quite as stinky.


5) The Menzingers - After the Party.  Mostly for the songs writing, but a great (1st) live show might have influenced that. Not sure who the lead singer is though! Which one's Tom?! #nobodycares

4) Worst Days Down - Elsewhere. We all have our favourite local/regional bands that continue to release new music. WDD is one of Edmonton's best. Can't wait to see where these guys go next!

3) Propagandhi - Victory Lap. Great Propagandhi record. It just so happens that it's not my favourite of theirs, and not my favourite of 2017. Love it though!

2) Frenzal Rhomb - Hi Vis High Tea. Super fun record that got more play this year than most other records released in 2017 frshur. Love every track.

1) 88 Fingers Louie - Thank You For Being A Friend. This much anticipated record was such received by ALL with so much love and admiration -- maybe because it was 17 or 18 years since their previous release. Oh. And their 2015 Punk Rock Bowling performance proved to me that they can do a rad job live too.

The Others:
As per my previous post,. I haven't listened to the new Flag On Fire, Dearly Divided, or Strike Twelve albums nearly enough, and I have only been listening to Iron Chic since December, and Nothington since last year. What I've heard I really like though! Straightline, Allout Helter, and Mobina Galore are the 3 bands that I will be looking forward to listening to more.  Apparently F.O.D. , Bear, and SLED, are neat bands with new records I should probably check out some time, too. Maybe after I finish a podcast -- or better yet -- a book!

December 17, 2017

2017 Was A Joyous Year, Too

Wow I reviewed my blog and indeed 1 year ago, I posted about how 2016 was reckoned by many to be The Worst Year Ever  Or Whatever. Nothing's changed. 2017, I admit, was a doozie - BUT - sometimes I feel it's just the nature of human beings (or media?) to identify with the shittiest of things in order to boost their outlooks of their own personal lives. Yes. Trump became president. An endless list of male dirtbag Hollywood stars, members of the media, and politicians of all rankings across the globe were called out for being disgusting, specifically in a way that abuses and exploits their female counterparts. Prominent media person Brittney Rudyck brought awareness to these shitty things on a local level, as an Edmonton venue ended up closing its doors after allegations and investigations of sexual misconduct of its owners were made. Personally, I feel that the #metoo movement is a direct result of having elected a fucking POTUS that is guilty of displaying masochistic behaviour all his life. I am thankful that women at least got a voice this year for the shit that they've been having to put up with for ever.  What else happened. Mary Tyler Moore died. So did Leonard Cohen, Della Reese, AC/DCs Malcolm Young, Bill Paxton, Tom Petty, Chris Cornell, Linkin Park's Chester Benington, Adam West, Prodigy, and - one that brought a tear to every Canadian's eye: Gord Downie. Also: hundreds of others. Cynics say: "well, all people die". But nevertheless it is still very sad.

Aside from the deaths and the dirtbags, one might argue that the world is in a pretty fragile state as of December 2017: talk of nuclear war, millions displaced in Syria/ the middle east, "Russia Problems", a more divided America than ever, the realization of the effects of climate change (I haven't seen this little snow at Christmas in Edmonton in years).

Are you miserable yet?

2017 wasn't all bad though. So if you  can't get beyond that Schadenfreude attitude, you can fuck right off. I am going to say I liked 2017 for the following reasons:

Kayla. The love of my life makes it easier to swallow all the BS listed above.

My family. It's been great to see my family grow by marriage, and also having reached out to others near and far. Also my cats & dog.

The music. I am not closed-minded and therefore enjoyed new music from bands like The National, Worst Days Down, LIGHTS, 88 Fingers Louie, The Shins, Mobina Galore, Jay-Z, Nothington, Body Count, Future Islands, The Menzingers, Dave Hause, The Flatliners, Jesse LeBourdais, Hot Water Music, Frenzal Rhomb, Comeback Kid, The Bronx, The Bombpops, Badcop/Badcop, Authority Zero, Dropkick Murphys, Rancid, others... 

The concerts.
belvedere at the needle,
worst days down album release at QA hall,
against me and descendents @ union
said the whale at starlight room, 
the wheat pool at the needle,
murder by death + tiger army, the ranch,
forester w/ klusterfunk and abandin all hope, grizzly trail (needle),
jesse lebourdais from that super awesome band cambridge, BUCK
comeback kid sitting down upstairs, 
menzingers a week later,
iron chic with that owth band that i think is kinda neat.
+ those 25 rockfest bands i saw in QC in june (namely: mute, ignite, PUP, bad religion, killswitch engage, face to face, AWS, good riddance, afi, pennywise, and masked intruder)

There were probably a few others mixed in there throughout the year too, but those were definitely the highlights. One of the other great "shows" we saw this year was Phantom of the Opera at the Jubilee Auditorium. Can't go wrong with a little Andrew Lloyd Webber.

The movies. I'd be hard-pressed to list all of them but off the top of my memory: Beauty and The Beast starring Hermione Granger (preceded with a date night to The Melting Pot). Moana. Coco. Another Pirates of the Caribbean & Guardians of the Galaxy & Despicable Me & John Wick & Lego movie, Wonderwoman, The Justice League, Japan's Your Name, The Big Sick... From home, we loved zombie flick Train To Busan. Also: Game of Thrones, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Master of None, and Orange Is The New Black. Star Wars Episode VIII was released last week (I guess Rogue One is a 9th movie). We will hopefully check that out before January.

The trips. Kay & I haven't bought into the whole traditional wedding customs, albeit we had that beautiful outdoor ceremony surrounded by family and friend. Therefore, we never really planned that out-dated constraint of needing to go on a honeymoon. Rather, we are very excited to travel with each other as much as we can wherever we can. It just so happens that 2 months after our wedding we ended up in DisneyLand. That was a great time: Halloween Time was happening and the parks were done up accordingly. The rides were as good as ever and the snacks were even better. In total, I've done DisneyLand in 1988, 1994, 2008, 2013 and 2017. In 1998 I did DisneyWorld and in December 2014. We'll be good for Disney for a while. We will see where we get to next, but with the wedding this year, we were happy enough just to do this short trip and have a couple of ski trips. I was pretty lucky to be able to do this trip this year too...

The job. Oh I got a job in 2017. That's kind of a big deal.  Especially if you want to go on trips. Or eat.

Her work/school. She's doing a great job balancing all that and accomplishing loads always. Super-proud of her.

The house. I've been here 16 years now. It's been good to me and now us. I am loving what we are getting figured around the house. I hope to have more friends around more often in 2018.

The instagram: #mdotmilo fml. Also, other hashtags. Eek. (say: #ryz2017pt1, #ryz2017pt2, #ryz2017pt3, #ryz2017pt4, #ryzstagvacay, #vidzbyry, #go2thesho, #nofuckingfilterEH, #ryansgettingmarriedEH,  #kaymarriesry, and #ryangotmarriedEH). #mdotkaykay, #fuzzbombfelix, and #mdotjdog are OK too. #ryanspunkrockmusic and #legovignettesbyryan and countless others are in there, too. As I say: fml.

So yeah. It's been a good time. Despite the world and all of its atrocities, there have been some wonders, too. (i.e the description of ths blog)


Phase III Begins (AKA my Wedding post)


When I look at my life, it is easy for me to split it up into phases. The first: Years 1 thru 18. A generally genuinely healthy childhood filled with hockey and cartoons and mickey mouse and school. The 2nd phase includes my young "adult" life: learning how to drink beer, getting through the distressing implications of failing university exams, figuring out how to talk to girls, and learning how to spend my time on the people or things most important to me. Ultimately, this decade-long phase led me to becoming the man I am today: a newly married man who could only find a himself a bride as wonderful as she is, thanks, in part, to the values I developed through Phase II, and also to the values instilled in me by Mom in those formative Phase I years. After all, how a man responds to crisis and interacts with family will definitely make a difference as to the type of partner he will attract.

That transition from Phase II to Phase III went relatively fast. My bride and I dated for about 40 months before getting wed. My Mom was in and out of cancer treatments for 41 months. The end of Phase II and the beginning of Phase III amount to 7 years of some of the saddest and happiest days I've lived. My wife will tell you that I have claimed that Ages 8 through 12 (Phase I) were my happiest, but I would submit that those days were a different kind of happiness.  It's also conceivable that each Phase could be split into 3- or 4-year sub-sections: each where our personalities develop and our values change. Certainly, a 21-year old will have a different mindset than a 25-year old (at least in some ways) and the same can be said for Ages 6 vs. 10 or 14 vs. 17. I was not quite 30 when my Mom died and I was definitely different than I was 3 years earlier, before she got sick. My Phase II was unmistakenly ending.

WDW. That was not a bad way to move forward with Phase III of my life. It was helpful to be working again, and my Mom showed me how to have relatively affordable adventures for nearly 3 decades so spending a week in Florida was going to work out fine. I just knew that my girlfriend and I were going to have a good time together. In addition to Mickey Mouse and Harry Potter, we were slated for the Gainesville Propagandhi NYE show too! It is hard to say for sure the exact moment I fell in love with her was, but that trip was pretty damn' special. 11 months later I was proposing to her at the Lincoln Centre in NYC. 

I wouldn't call it a prolonged engagement but it allowed Kayla and I to really look at what this Phase III could potentially look like if we took the time and care in our relationship. The 21 months gave us ample time to plan our wedding and continue to simply enjoying doing the fun things like skiing Skoki and going to Mexico while loving our Cosmo, Jasper, Milo - and eventually - Felix!

Phase III included my adopting my Mom's maiden name, as she and her Mom meant more to me than my Dad ever did. It also gave us the comfort in both building something exciting and new with a legal change of name in our married life together. 

I would be amiss to not detail one of the biggest highlights of Phase III (to date). That would be the last Saturday in August where my Kay and I met to be wed on a warm summer day on the University of Alberta's Devon Botanic Gardens. My fiancĂ©e found a beautiful place before she found her groom, and I couldn't have been happier to join her in a non-religious ceremony in front of our most cherished friends and family.  She looked absolutely incredible. A stunning dress with all the right parts and teal shoes and an ovarian cancer ribbon and perfect hair topped with a tiara. Her face is super-beautiful, too. This Phase III thing was just getting better and better hour by hour...

We had an amazing wedding party, including her nurse friend, a high school friend, and a sister-in-law. I too had a high school friend who was able to perform violin for the ceremony, as well as stand as a groomsman. He played pieces from Studio Ghibli (specifically, a piece from Howl's moving castle called Merry-go-round of Life. My best man did a splendid job from morning to night (and the previous night letting me crash on his cot) and his sister and a British Columbian Colombian stood up for me as well.

We had a great party at the Lois Hole Enjoy Centre in St. Albert. We had the BEST food and an even better photographer that captured moments to late into the evening. Me and my new wife gave the most sincere of speeches, and my Best Man Matt's words were probably another highlight of the evening. A fun photobooth and a funny DJ topped it all off. I am pretty sure most people had almost as good of a time as me!

Our wedding allowed me opportunity to see family I wouldn't have ever expected to see soon otherwise, and also let me to get to know more of my bride's family better as well. I HAVE A SISTER NOW! AND NOT 1, NOT 2, but 3 NEPHEWS!! Too rad. I love all her family: it's nice to have family here that I know love me and I can love back just as much.
So there you have it. My life interpreted in 3 short phases. I think this 3rd will be AOK. I can't say for sure what the next will entail, but when it comes, I will take it all in stride. Until then I will continue to enjoy each and every day as much as I can with my sweet sugarplum. 

September 4, 2017

Remembering RockFest

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Well in that case, it’s good that I didn’t spend my stag weekend in Vegas! No, I didn’t bring Syphllis home, not Mono, or not even a hangover. But rather, I did bring home some epic memories from my trip to Quebec late last month with 2 of the best friends a guy could ask for! And thanks to the onset of Instagram, a lot of public record has been transferred from the media form of text to photos and video!

So yes, my 700 uploads to Instagram in 3 in a half years led to my strategic utilization of hashtags, including #ripefrrockfest, #roadtorockfest, #ryansgettingmarriedEH, #amnesiarockfest, #rockfest2017, and most generically: #rockfest. Outside of the festival, we were able to utilize #jetaimemontreal,  #cityofchampions, #banginsummer #frshurz. Fuck. 


In 2014, I posted a detailed blog about my experience at this festival. That was the 10th year and it was at least as good of a line-up. Then, bucketlist bands included my seeing The Implants & Alice In Chains, + The Gaslight Anthem and you know: dozens of others.  A year later, I flew to Las Vegas and took in Punk Rock Bowling 2015. (0 Total Blog Posts in 2015). But man, seeing 88 Fingers Louie play a pool party + club show, and watch Sick Of It All, PEARS, Turbonegro for the 1st time at the festival was a super-good time. It was my 2nd time seeing REFUSED, too, which not a lot of 33 year-olds from Edmonton can say. But more than that it was cool to hang with buds Justin & Christopher -- we had a blast hanging for those 4 days! #automaticfriendsforlife.

But now I am getting married. < insert IMPENDING DOOM MUSIC HERE (JK LOVE!) > I don't know how many LESS concerts I can expect going to in the NEXT 15 years but I hope that for festivals, I can get the chance to go to some with the wife. Riot Fest Chicago, for example, is one that I wouldn't mind getting to as a married man! 

But I am sure thankful for Matt and Chantel to be able to spend the time (and money) to go on 1 hella whirlwind trip c/w camping and Wal-Mart and poutine and beer beer beer.

$6.25 for a budweiser in the festival grounds isn't even too too terrible! And we avoided the other corporate booze sponsor: Jagermeister, like the plague.  

Day 1 was ... exhausting. Stupid-early flights + 200+ THOUSAND people showing up to the quaint town of Montebello takes its toll. After driving through a farmer's field, we were able to walk with our bags through a 2nd farmer's field to some pre-made tents c/w sleeping bags. That DEFINITELY earned us some 9 o'clock beers. The Planet Smashers were playing with other "pre-fest" bands and we were ready for rest. Then? The rain. By midnight, a lot of things were wet! By the morning: a drizzly mudfest was about to take form. 

We got through the gates right about 1PM where L.A. hardcore band TERROR was just taking the stage! "Pick It Up!" " One heavy, funny way to start the day. It was even better when the rain quit! M & C bailed on the Tony Sly stage to go check out Soulfly and I waited around cuz Masked Intruder was going to be starting quick! My pals were also able to check out some of All That Remains before coming over to watch MUTE at the Francophone "Headrush" stage. They were awesome in 2014, but seeing these guys rip through a set to their adoring fans for a 3rd time was pretty damn special.  So funny how they talk (a lot) between songs in French then (both) vocalists sing all songs in English. 

A few minutes after they stopped, my First Favourite Band - Pennywise - started. 


I watched 4 or 5 stands from 50 feet out before bailing to the bleachers where M & C were taking it all in with slightly drier, more comfortable surroundings. Pennywise played tributes (like they do) and sounded as good as ever: certainly better than NOFX sounded for "the early show" in RockFest 2014. 


Matt went and caught some of Norma Jean while Chantel and I watched Thursday before heading over there too for food, the end of Goldfinger, and REEL BIG FISH, and a little bit of Basement. 

Wu-Tang Clan was starting. I "saw" them but didn't "watch" them. We got in a good spot for Killswitch Engage, who featured REEL BIG FISH's trombone player on one of their songs. KsE sounded so awesome live. I came home and listened to their newest album Incarnate a whole bunch. We loved there Hawaiian shirts and plastic flamingos on stage. With a turn of the head, we were able to remain in our bleachers and watch AFI play the main stage. Some might disagree, but I think they played some of their best songs!  I only ever saw them play 14 years ago, so this was a treat f'rshur. I think we left the festival and came back to watch half of Parkway Drive (M&C saw some of Less Than Jake I think -- I did not :( ). It was more important to me to rest up and get in a good spot for that old man, Dr. Greg Graffin, do his thing for that iconic band BAD RELIGION. This was definitely a highlight of the festival. HE'S SO OLD! And they sound so goooooood.  As a 33 year old, Crowd-Surfing wasn't in the cards, and mosh-pitting was kept to a minimum -- gotta keep the teeth for the wedding, after all. In addition, I was happy to chill with friends and watch Bullet for My Valentine back on the Jagermeister stage, rather than stretching myself to go watch Jello Biafra & Lucero back at Tony Sly.   I saw Jello play at PRB so that's AOK!

Just as the sun began to set, Dexter Holland and Friends. Same deal: I feel #blessed to be able to see the Offspring. They were more-or-less the 1st "big" concert I ever went to back in 2001 and I enjoyed my time with Chantel and Kay at Edmonton's worst venue: SHAW - last spring. The night was unwinding. I mean gearing up. Offspring played Ixnay on the Hombre + 4 or 5 of their beloved singles, finishing with Self Esteem.

Just as they were ending, we were in good shape to watch the start of another highlight: IGNITE! Their set went by super-fast, probably cuz I was enjoying it so much. Once again: 3rd time seeing Ignite, including the time they played with Pennywise and Circle Jerks at Red's and - you guessed it: RockFest 2014. 

We stayed at the Tony Sly stages for Down By Law (who JFK flew in to Edmonton a handful of years ago) -- great to see them again --- and "finally": FACE TO FACE to finish off the night. Matt sang lots. But even if I could have interrupted his singing, I wouldn't have bailed Face To Face to watch the night's mainstage headliner: RAMMSTEIN. We definitely were able to watch the end of Rammstein though, from a ways back. There was indeed fire, and then the singer ascended with angel wings, caught fire, and... descended. Impressive though. And they sounded good, especially if you are into that sort of thing!


The grounds and town and campsite were muddy as fuck everywhere. No getting around it. Somehow, between food and drink and loads of bands, we were able to get back to our bunks and get at least a little sleep! Charged some devices, found a stinky outhouse: festival life.

DAY 2. Drier. Matt's burnt. Somehow. Even with the Mostly Cloudy Day 1.  But honestly, he wasn't terribly burnt. I'd say "just annoyingly burnt". And there were peanut butter and jam sandwiches and chips and swiss rolls and energy drinks so we were OK! Anti-Flag was starting early. We got there earlier. Early enough to watch some of Quebec's Gutter Demons even! Stand Up basses are neat. Anti-Flag did their thang. fuck police brutality and all that. It's hard to remember how much I LOVED them in Warped Tour 2002 or 2003. Their club show @ Starlight Room last year was way more extensive but we all got the jist of it and enjoyed what they did. But we were gearing up for bigger and better things: Off to Tony Sly stage for The Dreadnoughts. They have a fiddle and play "POUTINE".

But as per usual: A WILHELM SCREAM was going setting up to RIP another insane set. So happy they are a band! 

The world would be a lesser place without them in it. Immediately after, Teenage Bottlerocket played a set with drummer Brandon Carlisle's replacement from Edmonton band The Old wives.


We skipped ska band The Specials to eat and catch some Boston hardcore band Death Before Dishonor. That was a pretty intense performance where one dude took a header and landed a foot in front of my feet.  There was a WAY bigger party for the following set by this little band called PUP.  I saw them at Denizen Hall just after Ryan Young was featuring this new young Toronto band on his podcast. THEY SOUND SO GOOD! They're gonna be as big as Rise Against in a couple years. A neat part of PUP's set was right before they got going, a nice young gentleman asked his girlfriend to marry him on stage and she said OUI!

Our friend Steve Rawles' followed with his Canadian band Belvedere right after. We saw them at The Needle Vinyl Tavern a month ago so it was a very abbreviated set in comparison!  Australian band Frenzal Rhomb showed up in Montebello for a 35-40 minute set, and we were able to watch some of it before needing to bail and chill and beer before the evening's shows! A quick break, then back to Tony Sly stage for France's Adhesive and that other huge highlight: GOOD RIDDANCE. After the good riddance show, I managed to score a drum stick from Sean Sellers and photos with both Chuck and with Russ. They were great to do that for their fans! Thanks, guys!! 


Agent Orange was playing while I was getting these pics and after that we were back to the bleachers! 

 311 was playing but I think Matt missed Converge. And I missed The Unseen cuz ALEXISONFIRE was playing as the sun began to set! Great sound, great set: I knew no songs. Well, maybe 5. Great light show and performance. Again, I thought my AOF-seeing days were long gone. Chantel bought a shirt. It has a unicorn on it and says DIE ALREADY or something on it. Rad.  

 I was too tired to go and watch a band I've never seen: Dayglo Abortions at Tony Sly and instead had #beerswithbuds as At The Drive-In got going. Eventually, I said we had to get closer because we could here Grimskunk on the stage at the other end of the park so we left the bleachers and stood behind a Drunk Guy Dancing. No harm, no foul, just almost. At The Drive-In was an impressive live show and they played new and old songs. He throws the mic around a lot and jumps off the kickset lots too. By now, the choices were to sit through Eagles of Death Metal just to go watch Iggy Pop or hang out and wtach Discharge, Sham 69, and Protest the Hero. Neither of these 2 options were too appealing so we decided to head back to camp! 

All in all, the festival was a blast.

The next morning, the trick was to get out of the festival. This was an easy task...
I think only 1 wrong turn. Fun times. Their roads have curves in them. Different!! We checked in to L'Auberge J'ardin @ Rue St. Denis and went for Schwarz' Deli. mmmmm. Food. We spent the next few hours walking around the city, including the waterfront and Old Montreal. 

At this time, I was pretty worried about home cuz our cat Milo wasn't doing so good and my fiancé had been spending time at the animal emerg. He eventually got admitted and diagnosed with heart disease, but I am happy to report that 3 weeks later he is doing ok, with the right pills. Really, it was all a good time aside from being stressed for Kay and my kitty but thankfully we have good and smart people in this world who can help us out! We had a great final night in Quebec and hit up Foufounes Electrique on a dead Sunday night and shot some pool. Thank you for being a friend Matt & Chantel. Now come help me get married.

chocolate and marshmallow

montreal grafitti

I think fine art's fine.

April 9, 2017

Dear Peter Mansbridge:

Today we celebrate The Dominion of Canada going to WAR 100 years ago. Canada was 1 of over 20 countries that participated in the Great War and were pretty small-beans, as remembered by the History of the World anyways. According to Wikipedia:
"A smaller part of the Arras offensive, the capture of Vimy Ridge by the Canadian Corps, became highly significant to that country: the idea that Canada's national identity was born out of the battle is an opinion widely held in military and general histories of Canada."
What would our identity be otherwise? And what do YOU personally take pride in? Me? I like the Maple Leafs - cuz they remind me of me - inconsistent, fragile - internationally reviled! _____ This post originally started with intentions of talking about how the Toronto Maple Leafs were able to clinch a playoffs spot only after 81 of 82 games into the year by preventing Sidney Crosby from scoring on about 5 or 10 chances in last night’s game. Nothing is more Canadian than a The idea was to remind you of your apparent love for Propagandhi by reminding you that you are NOT Alberta-Born, Prairie-Raised, probably. Wars sadly repeat themselves. Human nature’s? desire to control and conquer continues. What we are celebrating on this day is the fact that more Germans died than Canadians, in a in a battle in a war that ultimately resulted in the deaths of 7 million civilians AND 11 million soldiers between “good guys and bad guys” alike. Notably, “the good guys” were responsible for 1.6 Million civilian deaths and “the bad guys” were responsible for 0.62 Million civilian deaths. Through the entirety of The GREAT War, The Dominion of Canada sent over 418,000 men and about 60,000 of them were killed. Of those, 3,598 were killed at Vimy Ridge. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qNqgzbg7mT4

March 25, 2017

Bringing Back The Blog, Eh?!

December 27th I published a blog in which I talked about bringing back the blog.

Since then, I have published two: One, a list of 30 albums with a brief commentary and the second, a list of 15 bands that I don't listen to with an even briefer explanation for each. I conclude with how despite my non-interest in Pennywise that I would go to Punk Rock Bowling for my stag and enjoy them anyways.

I re-started the blog also in the spirit of "doing something". My days of doing nothing were tedious and tiresome. "Work on the basement" and "Apply for jobs" were my life. And the latter was a rollercoaster of emotion as an interview for 1 of 50 applications might seem to go OK, but then fail to produce a result.

That's why when receiving a job offer the day after sitting down with the president of a company I had cold-called the previous week, I was ... surprised.

With these recent developments, I don't know what I can hope for: less "free time". More earned time, and having to be accountable to not only myself and my family but to a bossman, too.

It will be interesting trying to "get'r done" as there is - as always - much to do. A wedding to plan, gym routines (also as of Jan. 2017) to maintain, bills to pay, basements to renovate, concerts to go to, and a woman (and animals) to love. I don't know how "Ryan's Stag" is going to play out -- I think it's probably more important to get a day or 2 off around my actual wedding, rather than a drunken extended long weekend in Las Vegas or Montreal or Montebello. There's a Ride To Conquer Cancer that I really have no reason not to do this year and - did I mention a wedding to plan?

I guess we will see how things work out. But for now I am going to listen to some American at a bowling alley regret voting for Donald Trump.

January 3, 2017

My Favourite Bands Are Boring

I am not necessarily going into this blogging thing totally half-hearted second time round. And I am starting to generate a few more ideas about things that I could rant about here.


Right now the pressing things on my mind include all the big music lists that people post (probably too much about) and that has inspired me to continue my OWN list of a different variety!

It's not to say that I don't LIKE these bands but it just so happens that I spend little if no time at all hitting play on the music that I once would have played daily.


15) Green Day / The Offspring  --- Because Blink 182 doesn't even make the list.

14) D.O.A. - Canadian hardcore -- that feels tired. But go green, or whatever.

13) The Dropkick Murphys - PRB2015 was good and I appreciate their history but I've heard enough bagpipes.

12) The Bouncing Souls - Maybe I haven't listened to their latest album enough, but I find it hard to find the motivation to go out and listen to it. They were featured on a podcast last week and it did remind me that they remain a terrific and strong band that I should probably try harder to pay attention to.

11) 98 MUTE - Probably one of my favourite hardcore punk bands out of the California area. Though Chaos Delivery Machine is tight, I will always love 98 MUTE more. I DO think it's super-rad that they played that show with Union 13 and a handful of other great bands for those 3 different "Album-In-Its-Entirety" shows that Pennywise hosted in SoCal last March.

10) Ten Foot Pole - I like Rev. And others. But Rev a lot. Maybe I'll pay more attention when they release their 1st album in almost 20 years. They released Insider in 1998. Don't really know much from them since then. 

9) Less Than Jake - I'll always like the Alexis Bledel music video though. I would much rather listen to The Mad Caddies in general.

8) Anti-Flag - Saw them last year. And also at Montebello RockFest. Tight live. I don't appreciate their new stuff like others do. 

7)  Avenged Sevenfold. I will always love those 1st 2 albums. But nothing else. 

6) Screeching Weasel - TV City Dream & My Brain Hurts like when I was 16 but otherwise: no. Also: Ben Weasel is kinda annoying.

5) Pulley - 2016's No Change In The Direction is been received VERY well. I like it but haven't listened no other Pulley albums and don't have too much desire to despite how great they are! 

4) SNFU - An epic old guy. That is like wayyyyyy too old. I wouldn't mind catching them once more though! For painful reminder and she's not on the menu and bobbit and drunk on a bike and... 

3) NOFX - I don't typically hit "Skip" when these guys come on, but I don't necessarily search them out either. First Ditch Effort had a timely release, shortly after I powered through 12.5 hours of Hepatitis Bath Tub on YouTube. And the live show was one of the best ones I've seen. That said, I never think to myself: Shit! I need to listen to NOFX today! Cuz I don't. So I won't.

2) Rancid - see #13 above and replace Bagpipes with Rancid.

And the band I MOSTLY don't listen to at all any more is...

1) Pennywise! - This band has meant so much to me for so long now, and it is extra-special that they are one of the few announced headliners that will be playing my stag at Punk Rock Bowling this May. I really enjoyed their energy for their XXV YEAR ANNIVERSARY SHOW here and I am optimistic for more good things from this band. I've enjoyed Zoli's Pennywise album and old Pennywise albums and newer Pennywise albums. Although I don't typically don't skip songs when they come on, I will usually put on any old Death By Stereo or Propagandhi album. 

Punk Rock Bowling is going to be great. Including The Bouncing Souls AND Pennywise, too.

Honourable Mentions: Rise Against, Coheed & Cambria, A.F.I., Tsunami Bomb, Slick Shoes,  Atreyu, Alkaline Trio (are they still making new music, or is that guy in Greenday now?), annnnd The Distillers. Definitely don't know whatever became of The Distillers. Were The Donnas better? Can't really remember. It's all about The Bombpops and Badcop/Badcop and War On Women for girl bands nowadays, am I right?!

December 28, 2016

Your Favourite Band Sucks

Blog resurgence Post #2. A lot of people have been posting their favourite albums from 2016 this entire month. Though a lot of these lists come from people that only listen to 1-to-3 styles of music, I find value in them anyways. Few break that mold and list bands outside the punk / skatepunk / melodic hardcore / hardcore genres. Really, it's a damn' shame I haven't listened to more of Signal Hill. And I am only learning about Australian instrumental group We Lost The Sea because of one of these lists. So without further ado, here's my list of top 30 releases from the past year, and a little mention of releases from 2015 when this blog was lying dormant. 

Check out   WE LOST THE SEA ⇦ before proceeding

My Third 10 Favourite Albums from 2016:
*30) Rihanna  - Anti 
29) Young the Giant - Home of the Strange
28) Venerea - Last Call for Adderall
27) Implants - The Golden Age EP
26) Masked Intruder - Love and Other Crimes EP
25) Bouncing Souls - Simplicity 
24) G.L.O.S.S.  - Trans Day of Revenge EP
23) Lightspeedgo - Just A Memory EP
22) Suicidal Tendencies - World Gone Mad
21) Last One Standing - Nothing Left to Lose

My Second 10 Faves:
20) Against Me! - Shapeshift With Me
19) Descendents - Hypercaffium Spazzinate
18) Alien Boys - S/T
17) Nofx - First Ditch Effort
16) Skipjack - A Soundtrack to A Eulogy
15) PUP - The Dream Is Over
14) Pulley - No Change In The Weather
13) Thrice - To Be Everywhere Is To Be Nowhere
12) Brutal Youth - Sanguine
11) Off With Their Heads - Won't Be Missed 

and last but not least...

My ULTIMATE TOP 10 for 2016 releases:
10) Ignite - Peace In Our Time
9) Belvedere - Revenge of the Fifth 
8) Useless ID - State Is Burning
7) Death By Stereo - Just Like You'd Leave Us, We've Left You For Dead EP
6) Mandible Klaw - S/T
5) Rebels Sing - The Rebel Spell Tribute Compilation
4) Face To Face - Protection
3) Mute - Remember Death
2)  Kill Corporations - 432 Hz
1) Pears - Green Star

I almost listed Millencolin's True Brew and the solo record by Useless ID's Yotam Ben-Horin "Californa Sound" but they were 2015 releases. 2015 also saw the 1st release from Good Riddance and Strung Out in a few years. They were both excellent. Agnostic Front released The American Dream Died. Santa brought it for me a year later and I've only played it through once. 2015 saw the departure of The Rebel Spell's Todd Serious from this mortal coil due to a tragic rock climbing accident. That hit a huge number of Canadian punk rockers hard.  The previous year were breakthrough years for Youth Decay, War On Women, Badcop/Badcop, Edmonton's Fire Next Time, and likely a handful of others. But that was then and this is now...

So 2016. I must say that I don't really care about the new Brian Fallon Painkillers record. There's a time and place for Fallon records I suppose, and I'm not in that time or place right now. Other bands I've come to be disappointed in are Get Dead and Direct Hit. I don't really get all the hype. The new Brutal Youth record will probably work its way higher up the list but I have only listened to it through about 3 & a half times, aside from their Rebel Spell cover of Bring 'Em In. I also abandoned checking out new Tiger Army. I have Iggy Pop's new album too but haven't cared enough to listen to it. Same with Nick Cave. Nick Cave seldomly misses the mark though. I would probably list KsE if I were more into metal like the olden days. Same goes for Deftones' GORE. Did Anthrax release an album too??  I did happen to like the 1st Green Day single but that's all I've wasted my time on. Truly though, I would be more likely to be caught listening to indie bands Young the Giant, Bastille, or Fitz & the Tantrums with my boo on the local radio station.

2016 was a great year for concerts. It started with about my 8th Propgandhi show in February and The Offspring in March. I also saw Anti-Flag tour on their American Spring album. I saw Black Mountain and The Tea Party with Jesse. Choke and The Flatliners played 2 shows here as well. Millencolin played here for the 1st time since 2002 at the Starlite Room. Definitely a highlight of the year. PEARS came through twice, the 2nd time being with Useless ID and NOFX. Although I missed the 1st PEARS show, it was fun seeing the pre-show acoustic sets of Zach Quinn and Yotam Ben-Horin at The Buck on Whyte.  The Renegade Kid, Seth Anderson, released his 3rd solo project in 2016 thanks to the help of Joey Cape and One Week Records. No festivals like Amnesia RockFest 2014 and Punk Rock Bowling 2015, but I have already purchased tickets for my stag party for Punk Rock Bowling 2017. 2 of my best buds are planning on coming down there with me for that as well.  The notable headliners so far are  Pennywise & The Bouncing Souls, amongst a handful of lessers like Discharge and Cock Sparrer.  I went to my last  The Anatomy Cats show in 2016. They have been inspirational to me the past 7 or so years as well. Sucks that they're done. I missed a couple biggies f'rshur too. Off the top of my head: Fire Next Time with Fred Penner. A Wilhelm Scream.

Lastly, I would like to consider the non-2016 releases that made more playtime than ever before. Off the top of my head, these bands would include many that were introduced to me thanks to the Anxious and Angry podcast and others from pretty great friends both near and far. Thanks, friends!

15) Worst Days Down
14) Noisefight
13) Strike Twelve
12) Fire Next Time
11) The Dirty Hits
10) Lucero
9) Drag the River
8) Civil War Rust
7) Samiam
6) The Slow Death
5) 88 Fingers Louie (since PRB2015)
4) Dearly Divided
3) Moral Decline
2) I Am Heresy
1) Avail

And that's all I have to say about that.

oh. almost lost my thumb in 2016 too. close call. Not as bad as the time I did it in 2011...


*actually, I couldn't think of a 30th band but I definitley have this album thanks to the library.