Sunday, July 31, 2005

DVD - Bride and Prejudice


This 2005 film is based on Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice novel from 1813, which was made into movies a number of times. It was a BBC production in 1996, starring Colin Firth and then remade again, starring Firth, as Bridget Jone's Diary. Firth played the Darcy character in both films. The Jones film is based on a novel by Helen Fielding, and her book was a retelling of the Austen story.

Directed by Gurinder Chadha who directed Bend It Like Beckam, Bride is a very funny, and lavishly photographed. India has it's beautiful, modern places and they are on full display. Witness the beach scenes at night with the rave starring singer Ashanti. The characters are mostly extraordinarily attractive, thanks especially to former Miss World 1994 Aishwarya Rai, and her on-screen sisters. Martin Henderson plays the brooding Darcy, someone who was immediately smitten but not comfortable showing it. Rai's Lalita (Austen's Elizabeth Bennet character) is whip smart, opinionated and won't marry for money over love.

Essentially, the Bakshi family, farmers, have four daughters, with two being pushed into marriage by the matchmaker mother. When rich family friends come to visit for a wedding, the mother encourages the attraction between a couple of them and the two oldest daughters. One hooks up with Lalita's older sister, played by the stunning Namatra Shirodokar, a former Miss Universe runner-up. His friend, Will Darcy, whose family own luxury hotels, is into Lalita, but so is the nerdy rich one from L.A., Mr. Kholi and Darcy's nemesis, the charming cad Johnny Wickham. Seeing all the beautiful people in this film can make you a believer in love at first sight.

Most of the dance numbers are typical Bollywood save for the one in which Lilita's sisters tease her about how the rich nerd "no life without wife." It's meant to recall the movie Grease and is a refreshing change of pace. All the songs were written by Indian songwriters with the goal of appealing to Western ears. Mission accomplished.

Lalita appears too eager to dismiss Darcy. He's nuts about her but at the same time, she can't stand him. The film would have had more heart, too, if they removed some of the flash to focus more on the characters. At times, it's just a tad too much like music video. They also should have kept one of the deleted scenes in which Darcy visits Balraj (Naveen Andrews)to apologize for talking his friend out of marrying Lalita's older sister, due to the gold-digging attitude of the mother. Lalita's friendship with Johnny Wickham also appears to develop too quickly.

Compared to the Austen films that came out about 10 years ago, Emma (with Gwen Paltrow) and Sense and Sensebility (Emma Thompson, Hugh Grant), Bride and Prejudice comes close but isn't quite in the same company.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

DVD review - Beulah: A Good Band is Easy To Kill

Beulah - A Good Band is Easy To Kill
Released: August 2, 2005
89 minutes, plus over 2 hours of bonus material

San Francisco's Beulah should have been massively more popular than they were but the same can be said about countless other bands who toil not quite in complete obscurity but who are perpetually on the cusp of the an elusive breakthrough. They essentially broke up in 2004. Fans of indie pop-rock should definitely check them out.

Front man Miles Kurosky begins the DVD by complaining that someone said a Beulah album was good but not as good as Bob Dylan’s Blood On The Tracks. He goes on to state that he thinks the Beulah album is better than Dylan’s and argues that Dylan’s emotions due to the break up with his wife are not more intense or profound than Kurosky’s. He believes that he was brutally honest and practically “bled on the tape” but doesn’t think Dylan did. His exclamation “Fuck Bob Dylan” is odd but even more so, sad. He’s absolutely frustrated that Beulah had not achieved the type of commercial success that their music would warrant.

He says that certain bands you can only compare to their past, not to other artists. He’s totally right, of course. I loathe when I try to turn people onto lesser known but great indie songs only to have they say, “Yeah, but the Beatles are better.”

At the DVD’s outset, we see Kurosky making last minute arrangements on the phone and then rehearsing in preparation for a 31-date tour in 2003 in support of their Yoko album.

At the first show, in LA, he muses about how the show might result in them getting signed to a major label and receiving a huge amount of exposure. At one stage or another’s, it’s a dream just about every band has.

The DVD follows the band as they travel to each venue play a tune or two and then repeat, with lots of footage of mundane but intimate moments. Trey, the merchandise manager, discusses what he does and it seems sad in way as he appears to be spinning his wheels. He drives, handles equipment, tries not spend any money, eats fast food, and spends time hurrying up and waiting, “keep the groupies away from the band and sleeps occaisionally.”

There are some funny “road trip” scenes like when they are approaching the Arizona border and worry about being searched if they don’t declare their California bananas. In another scene, no one actually works the self-serve gas pump so they leave, assuming that they have fueled up. Fixing a flat becomes a group exercise. There’s the scene which involves a 17 year-old who e-mails the band that she is unable to get into the show since it isn’t an all-ages event. You have to be 21 or over. They invite her to show up at the soundcheck and allow her to join them on stage, tambourine in hand and singing along. In one of the many van scenes, they discuss allowing fans on the stage at a show. Is it being kind or cruel because they can never find the beat? This is followed by shots of several shows in which they brought fans on stage. It’s incredibly fun!

In one scene in Canada, they’re at a fan’s bachelor pad when Miles whips out a new $20 US bill. The fan, Nathan, proceeds to talk about how the US comes up with colorful new money when they aren’t at making war with other countries. He then proceeds to talk about how there should be war against corporate society. Bill the trumpet player, tells him to stop and almost immediately, the room empties. Nathan is left to talk about how he offended his guests but didn’t plan to. They reference the Nathan incident at the end of the DVD by thanking him for his hospitality and saying that no one should be having the Canada vs US debate.

There’s two hours of bonus material including complete live footage of 17 songs from the tour.

A Good Band is Easy To Kill is not meant to be a biographical look at the band but it would have been more interesting if they did include some more information along these lines. Apart from that, this is one of the best “band on the road” documentaries around.

There’s two hours of bonus material including complete live footage of 17 songs from the tour.

review - Stealth

3.5 /5

On one hand, this film is derivative, far fetched and formulaic. There's very little intrigue. The dialogue is corny. On the other hand, I found it very entertaining. It's action packed, fast-paced and just plain fun.

Over 400 US Navy pilots apply to be part of a new program with an advanced super fighter. Three get accepted. They bond as a team and later on, they are joined by a computer-piloted fighter, who is programmed to learn tactics from the team. It appears out of nowhere on a moonlit night like the Batplane. Later, it gets hits by lighting and begins to not follow orders...

Jamie Foxx, Josh Lucas (who looks like a young Kevin Costner) and Jessica Biel are our heroes and this film rates a 5 /5 for overall cast hotness, thanks to most of the scenes that Biel is in.

In some ways, it's not as bad as the previews hinted. It's bound to bomb badly as there were less than 50 people at the late showing.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Sandy Hook Golf Course

For years, I've known little more than the name of the Sandy Hook Golf Course. Today, Norm and I played this neat little course, located in the heart of the Interlake cottage country.

I had my best round of the season so far, 90, which could have easily been a few strokes better. Norm shot 94. We were both pleased to break 100.

The course didn't feel as long as many of the other places that we have played. The par 5s aren't terribly long. The round took us 4.5 hours, mostly because of the number of slow moving senior citizens playing ahead of us. That and the fact that they also had a tournament in front of us. The rough is mostly forest, but it is full of natural pathways, and it was fairly easy to find our balls. I didn't spend too much time ball hunting, though, due to the groups behind us.

One of the guys at work mentioned how a co-worker bought a Jazz 3-wood at the pro shop for around $20. After we paid for our green fees, I noticed a rack of Jazz woods and enquired about the price of a 5-wood. It was only $19.99 and soon, it was mine. I only managed to take one shot with it, an approach shot which flew about 200 yards. It felt great. Unfortunately, I did not have much luck with my three-wood. I typically sliced it badly. My approach shots with the pitching wedge once again, typically fell short of the green. On most of my iron shots, however, I decided to take a regular, full swing, as opposed to letting the club drop by its own weight. The shots went further, which was no surprise, but they also felt a bit better. I hope to abandon the experiment of always taking really gentle swings with the irons.

Sandy Hook is a fairly easy course. It's not a championship course like Bridges, Pinawa or Morden's Minnewasta. It's a pleasant place to play and is no doubt very popular with the cottagers. One thing that we both noticed was the number of people in power carts travelling on the cart paths, in the direction opposite to ours. These were the locals, driving from their cottages, many of which border the course, to the first hole. Only in cottage country.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Bad Album Covers

These are really funny! From the Boston Globe.

Oh, the trainwreck that is 1970s and '80s fashion! If you're looking for some prime examples, check out our recent collection of truly awful album covers.

Not winning any fans in the PETA organization, the boys from Manowar use the pelts of various woodland creatures for their attire on their anthology’s cover. Apparently the animals were in short supply.
(Text by Ian Rider / Correspondent)

by Request Only

Meet Ken: The poster boy for 1970s sultry style; complete with semi-handle bar mustache, rock-hard helmet hair, and polyester safari suit.

For this 1981 album cover, The Village peeps wanted to show the fans their off-the-job wear. No cops or construction men here: Leather pants, make up, and the Flock of Seagulls haircuts seemed to be the order of the day.

Gracias Por La Musica

Oh, those Swedes and their pastels! For this Spanish language album, ABBA sports their zipper-laden pastel body suits. Benny, the fashionable one, is really working the Star-Trek moonboots and chest hair undershirt.

Live at the Pavilion Theatre-Glasgow

Mike Terry at the piano, looking "Goldmember"-esque in his shimmering purple sequined ensemble, bright orange hair, and pasty skin.

The Miracle

It's a miracle that they sold any albums after this cover.

The Music of James Last

Take it easy Jimmy! Could this album cover make you feel any more uncomfortable? We hope the photo shoot didn’t LAST, for the girls’ sake.

The Many Facets of Roger

Roger’s many facets include kickin' afro, his ridiculous blue suit, and his seemingly endless supply of facial expressions and hand gestures.

At Play with the Playmates

Nice scooter. That's really all we could come up with for this one.

Jim Post
I love my life

Clearly, Jim loves his life. Can you see the love and happiness in his warm, welcoming gaze...can you?

Devastatin' Dave
The Turntable Slave

Devastatin’ Dave, the Soul-Glo slave! Dave rocks the Gheri-curled mullet and the Brett Hart shades on this album cover for his single “Zip Zap Rap.” The two-fingered point lets us all know that Manny Ramirez is a fan.

Por Primera Vez

Ai Papi! Muchachos and muchachas we give you Tino, sporting the striped socks, skin-tight shirt, and shorts so short they make John Stockton blush.

Country Church

Country, Church, and good music. Goes together like turtlenecks, tight tanktops, and plaid pants. This photo is like an old TV show waiting to happen. Wait, was this an old TV show?

Happiness with Ron Johnson

A little something that all of the ladies in the early 1960s were searching for.

Freddie Gage
All My Friends Are Dead

Freddie’s albums are great for parties, holidays, or office get-togethers. An all around good time for the whole family.

John Bult
Julie’s Sixteenth Birthday

Before R. Kelly….Before Michael Jackson….There was….JOHN BULT!

The World of Laverne Tripp

It is Laverne’s world and we are all just living in it folks. Just be glad you're not living in the northeastern region of South America.

Butch Yelton and Upbound-Swing that Gospel Axe

These five country folks are going to heaven and they are taking no prisoners!

Crying Demons
Amazing recordings of demons speaking through the people who are posessed by them

Crying Demons are DY-NO MIIITE.

Mike Adkins
Thank You For The Dove

You’re Welcome!. (No Mike Adkins were hurt during the shooting of this album cover.)

Reunited and it feels so bad

Here's an interesting article from the Boston Globe.

Reunited and it feels so bad
When we buy into geriatric rock, prime talents pay the price
By Geoff Edgers, Globe Staff | July 24, 2005

Sometimes, when I'm watching a group of money-grubbers like the Pixies, I'll take off my glasses and squint a bit. In a dark hall, and with a little imagination, time slips away. Suddenly, it's 1991. I'm surrounded by college chums, not aging attorneys and desperate house-husbands. And Frank Black isn't cashing in. He actually wants to be playing ''Here Comes Your Man."

But eventually my eye muscles get weary, and the picture sharpens. Here I am, a sucker like the rest of them, searching for a nostalgic jolt. I'm hopeless, willing to see '70s punk pioneers Television at the Paradise and '60s icons Simon and Garfunkel at a casino. If only the Andrews Sisters were around to bury the hatchet.

But this summer, I'm swearing off reunion rock. I don't care if Loggins & Messina offer a ride to their Bank of America Pavilion gig tomorrow in a souped-up El Camino, or if Pink Floyd allows me to sit on their giant, inflatable pig during ''Wish You Were Here." I'm out. Same goes for any show featuring Gang of Four, Cream, Judas Priest, the Eagles, or the Who.

Because somebody has to take a stand. How else can we stop the spread of this reunion rash?

You don't have to go to the Casey Kasem School of Economics to understand the temptation to re-rock, and why bands that insisted they'd never look back are suddenly eager to kiss and make up.

Jim Messina's most recent solo album, 1996's ''Watching the River Run," has sold 3,200 units in nine years, according to Nielsen SoundScan. A new Loggins and Messina compilation, released to coincide with their current tour, has moved 174,000 copies since May. Judas Priest's tenure with replacement singer Tim ''Ripper" Owens wrapped with a live CD in 2003 that has barely cracked 20,000 in sales. This year's ''Angel of Retribution," a reunion with Rob Halford, is at 150,000. Frank Black's 2003 ''Show Me Your Tears" has sold 20,000. A Pixies compilation put out last year has hit 118,000.

At least the Pixies were honest about their motives. When the '80s college rock darlings re-formed last year, they didn't offer any of the obvious reasons. There was no musical rediscovery. No Dr. Phil justification. No claims of newfound maturity.

No, the Pixies admitted they're in it only for the money.

''We've had this chip in our back pocket for a long time," Black told the Globe. ''We're cashing it in this year."

Black gets points for honesty. He doesn't get points for abandoning his mantra. In virtually every interview after the band dissolved, the singer would be asked about a reunion. No way, he said.

So what's the harm? Can't we just have fun with old songs?

Yes, and that's what karaoke machines are for. Going to an Eagles concert might seem innocent enough. But when you slap down $175 to hear a crusty take of ''Hotel California," you're supporting a business model that excludes new bands, new music, or even moderately successful aging musicians. Why would a promoter put together an innovative tour package that sells at $39 a ticket when he can wheel out Crosby, Stills & Nash for a guaranteed cash-in? New groups end up playing the Middle East, and artists such as John Hiatt, Gillian Welch, or Paul Westerberg fall deeper into indie label irrelevance.

What's worse is that we've not only started to buy tickets to see these sellouts, we've started to celebrate them. Bands like Styx and the Eagles were easy targets, even in their primes. The resurrections of Dinosaur Jr., Mission of Burma, Gang of Four, and the Pixies put the critics in a corner. They can't slam their aging heroes. Instead, there's a collective sense of justice. Finally, they think, these groups are getting what they deserve. Money and attention.

I prefer Bob Mould's take. He's one of punk rock's great voices, the leader of Husker Du, which broke up in the late '80s. Mould, whose artistic integrity has never been in doubt, could pull off a reunion without any questions. Instead, Mould is releasing another solo album and dismissing the constant inquiries about Husker Du.

''I don't feel like I'm in the same place in my life as I was when I was doing that music," Mould said by phone last week. ''I was in my late teens and early 20s and had a pretty nihilistic, explosive view of the world. At the age of 44, I'm actually pretty mellow and content."

But wouldn't a Husker hoedown bring in some serious coin?

''Do I want to make more money and suffer one more moment of my life with two people who hate my guts, or do I want to continue living a totally fun life?" said Mould. ''Real estate is a good investment, too."

Geoff Edgers can be reached at
© Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Contracting out

I have mixed feelings about contracting out jobs. Sure, you can save some money but you end up creating lower-paying jobs that most of us wouldn't want. And, where does it end? Why not contract out clerks, payroll administrators, accountants, etc.? Our taxes could be lower. Sometimes, contracting out is one way to pare down a bloated, inefficient system.

Frankly, I am more concerned about program spending. Recently, we had some type of Francophone games in town for students across the country who speak French. Nice idea, for sure, but I wonder if our taxes paid for any of this event. Should we pay for something like this?

When it comes to tax dollars being spent, I would rather pay less taxes and decide how to spend that extra money rather than have the government spend it on my behalf. True, there are some things they have to spend our taxes on, but there's a lot of discretionary spending that is out of control.

A lot of people are in favour of contracting out. But, when their job is in danger of being contracted out, some of them may feel different.

Contracting out garbage was supposed to save $3 million, according to Donald Benham's website. Now, the figure is a saving of $1.4 million. He proposes that they be given a year to find ways to save $1 million. I can live with this idea.

What never gets contracted out? Management. Highly paid City of Winnipeg bureaucrats are probably not in danger, even though their system may not be as efficient as it good be.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

review - Corrosion of Conformity - In The Arms of God

In The Arms of God is Corrosion of Conformity's 9th album in 21 years and I recently saw them in concert, in support of Motorhead. Compared to the other opening acts, Corrosion of Conformity proved themselves to be deft musicians who put on an excellent show. You simply can't easily pin a label on their sound when they pull out more suprises than most bands.

Their songs are characterized by dirty, sludgy bass lines, bluesy riffs, razor-sharp thrashy guitar and tons of well placed CRUNCH! The drums are more Bill Ward than Lars Ulrich. Unlike many of their contemporaries, COC's gives you variety in each song rather than just one dominant sound. Take the album's opener, for instance. When the bluesy opening quickly turns into crunch and destruction, you know you are listening to a band off the beaten and overly worn track.

Doom and thrash meld together and one the best examples of this Dirty Hands Empty Pockets. The song turns on a dime and changes pace, getting faster. Vocalist Pepper Keenan wrote most of the songs and sings like he's reaching down deep giving it his all. "Rise River Rise" is more laid back but no less intense, with his searing vocals. Keenan vocals are not buried in the mix and can be understood. World on Fire is another teriffic track that starts out sounding like something that would not be out of place on an Ozzy-era Black Sabbath album. The outro reminded me of "Fade To Black", but it stands on its own, rather being an imitation.

The final and title track, "In The Arms of God", is a glorius, neck-snapping, opus. Other tracks that I like include "Never Turns To More", "Stone Breaker" and "Paranoid Opioid."

What's most admireable about this album, my first taste of COC on record, is the attention they pay to crafting difficult to categorize songs. They give you a more challenging listen.

Monday, July 25, 2005

NATASHA FATAH: Muslim youth: an identity dilemma

From the CBC.

Muslim youth: an identity dilemma

CBC News Viewpoint | July 22, 2005 | More from Natasha Fatah

Natasha Fatah is a producer for CBC Radio's Current Affairs Show "As It Happens." Prior to that, she was a television and radio reporter in Windsor, Ontario. She has degrees in Journalism from Ryerson University and in Political Science from the University of Toronto. She has lectured on anti-racism, politics and media studies at elementary and secondary schools around the Greater Toronto Area. In 1996, she was the host of 'News from the Muslim World' on Vision TV.

In a small backyard in Ajax, Ont., a Pakistani family gathers for a barbecue. The parents attend to the meal, while the two teenage sons and I engage in a discussion about current affairs. The elder brother, who is eighteen, tells me that he opposes same-sex marriage and supports capital punishment. This young Muslim was raised in Canada, in a secular society, but he has a decidedly conservative frame of mind.

I’m not suggesting that just because you're born here, you are predisposed to being liberal. There are of course, millions of Anglo-Saxon Canadians who were also born and raised here, but who are conservative. What was odd in this scenario was that the parents of this young Muslim man completely disagreed with him.

During the meal, they tried to politely point out to him that capital punishment is flawed and that marriage is a right for any two people in love. But the young man persisted in his unaccented English and his parents shook their heads in resignation.

This interaction was strange, but it is not uncommon. There has been a growing trend in the past few years among young Muslims – born and raised in U.S., the U.K., western Europe and even our mosaic-loving, multicultural Canada – to be more conservative than their immigrant parents.

The common narrative for most immigrant communities is that parents are traditional and conservative, while their children try to introduce secularism, but the opposite is happening in many Muslim households.

Go to any university campus in Canada’s larger cities and you’ll see the first seeds of a conservatism being born in young Muslims. For example, at the University of Toronto’s Muslim Students’ Association, male members won’t make eye contact with the females, they won’t address them, won’t sit next to them, and, worst of all, the female students pray behind the male students, even though in Mecca, Islam’s holiest city, men and women pray side by side.

This separation between the genders is not happening at the universities in Karachi, Cairo or Dhaka, but for some reason, it is happening among Muslims in the West. While these "social regressions" may not seem like a big deal, they are emblematic of a larger trend towards rejecting everything that is western.

We only need to turn to that awful Thursday morning when 56 people lost their lives in the London attacks. And then, there was the horror of realizing that this act wasn’t carried out by strangers, by foreigners who had brought some exotic eastern disposition with them to the "civilized" West. These were four young Muslim men, Britons raised in the United Kingdom. They lived in the city that they attacked. Why would they, with all the opportunities in the world open to them, choose this path of action?

Sarah Joseph lives in London. She is the creator and editor of Emel Magazine, a glossy lifestyles publication, targeted at young Muslims. She says young Muslims in the West face particular sorts of challenges, including an identity crisis that their parents didn’t have to face.

"The search for identity is a complicated one among second- and third-generation Muslims," Joseph says. "The first generation knows who they are and knows where they came from. They don’t have any confusion about identity, but the younger ones do. And many young Muslims were searching for a way to bridge the gap between their British identity and ethnic or cultural identity and they saw Islam as that bridge because they could be both British and Muslim."

Joseph says this trend initially proved to be quite positive, because choosing identity based on faith, a set of values, allowed these Muslims to have interracial marriages and allowed women to be loyal to their religion and also participate in the civil society. However, Joseph says that since the war in Bosnia, where thousands of Muslims were slaughtered, there has been steady growth in a militant and violent sector of Muslim youth, who are frustrated and feel alienated.

When asked about the danger of Muslim youth becoming increasingly conservative, Joseph quickly rejects the premise. "Terms like 'conservative' and 'progressive' aren’t at all helpful. I don’t think adhering to your faith is a bad thing as long as you accept that we live in pluralistic society. We have to be accepting." Joseph insists that the "conservative" proportion of Muslim youth is "a minority of a minority of a minority."

She says that Islam isn't just a religion, it’s a way of being, but you need a formula to put that way of being into practice, and that the process can be painful and confusing. And sometimes, people can misinterpret it – the way a minority of militant Muslim men are doing. While these conservative youth might represent a minority, they are the voices that you hear in the news, and when you hear silence from moderate Muslims, tiny conservative voices can seem quite loud.

Tariq Ali, an international human rights activist and celebrated author who also lives in London, says that while militant Muslim youth may be a minority now, their numbers are growing fast.

"It’s a real problem that we face. I’ve had arguments with Muslim kids in this country (soon after 9/11 and they became quite violent in their language when we were debating." Ali says that while acts of terrorism are indefensible, they do require an explanation. He says it's not that difficult to understand why they would retaliate in the West.

"If you decide that you are going to wage wars and occupy countries, it will increase the interest for young people to these radical groups that are resisting and fighting back," he says. "The way to stop this is to go for a political solution, in Palestine, in Iraq and in Afghanistan and pull out western troops from there, otherwise kids here in the diaspora will say 'why shouldn’t we go and fight?' and from their point of view it’s not an unusual response."

Ali says that these youth just want to have a voice that opposes foreign occupation and wars in their countries but, unfortunately, moderate Muslim leadership is lacking, so they join hard-core fundamentalists groups, not necessarily because they are religious, but because it's the only organized response out there. Ali adds that if the only response to these attacks is to punish more Muslims and to defend the West, then this only adds fuel to the fire.

Another prominent Muslim Briton, respected writer Ziauddin Sardar, recently wrote in the New Statesman that “the question of violence per se is not unique to Islam–. But this does not lessen the responsibility on Muslims in Britain, or around the world, to be judicious, to examine themselves, their history and all it contains to redeem Islam from the pathology of this tradition. To deny that the terrorists are a product of Islamic history and tradition is more than complacency. It is a denial of responsibility, a denial of what is really happening in our communities. It is a refusal to live in the real world."

Meanwhile, in the legislative halls of western countries, there seems to be no end to the "war on terror" which usually translates into the detention, humiliation, and death of thousands of innocent Muslims.

Joseph says it's unfortunate that young Muslims and non-Muslims alike don't realize that Islam can be interpreted as so much more than politics and prayer. She wishes that Muslims could be known for other things, such as music, and art, poetry and philosophy.

But for the time being it’s pretty likely that the next time you read about a young Muslim in the paper, you’ll probably also be reading the words "Al-Qaeda," "fundamentalist" or "terrorist."

If this trend continues, then the future for the 1.2 billion Muslims on this planet looks quite bleak.


We need far more pieces like Natasha Fatah's.

Articulate Moslems have been the missing part of the situation since 9/1 - it's taken us four years to find any sort of dialogue with the religion and people(s) amid which 21st Century terrorism has arisen.

Western governments are clueless, and still deny that Iraq is a cause of Moslem frustration. Who else but a Moslem can explain to us that Bosnia was also a trigger a decade earlier?

Edward Mason

Sunday, July 24, 2005

review - The Island

2.5 /5

I don't think I would see this film again. It had potential, but it unravelled itself into derivative Hollywood crap.

Workers in an high-tech complex all dress alike and live individualy without families. They are told that they are survivors from the outside world, which has become too contaminated to live in. They all aspire to win the weekly lottery, which promises a trip to a beautiful tropical island where one can enjoy life free of toxic pollutants. This is the only safe outdoors place to live in the world and it is a much coveted prize... You get the feeling that the script writers watched Logan's Run and Gattaca for inspiration.

The film has a frantic pace, once our heroes get outside. With all the car chases, etc., the film becomes to similar to every other action thriller.

There is a scene in which McGregor tries to turn off the holographic generator. This reminded me of the scene in which Alec Guiness turns off the tractor beam in the first Star Wars film. Both Guiness and McGregor played Obi-Wan Kenobi.

The Dr. played by Sean Bean, squirts a liquid on Lincoln Six Echo's cheek, which turns into little robots that crawl into his eye socket, to monitor his neural processes. This reminded me of the spider-like identity checkers from the film Minority Report.

What happens when your turn off a huge turbine generator and turn it back on again? Does it make more power and operate smoothly? Or does it catch fire and crash into the infrastructure of the secret facility? You'll have to watch the film to find out!

Sadly, the plots holes are massive. You'd think this ultra-secret and secure facility would have a metal detector that could detect hand guns, right? You'd also think that if you were't sure who the clone was and who the client was, you'd just check their right wrist for the serial number or brand.

The final scene reminded me of the Polyphonic Spree's last album cover.

The acting wasn't anything special. McGregor and Scarlett Johansson's talents are wasted. They just go through the motions, mostly. No Oscar nods, guranteed. Steve Buscemi did the best acting job. I'm getting so tired of seeing Sean Bean as the bad guy.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Mars Sandhill Resort Golf Course

Located in Libau (well, actually, 9 kms from the corner of Highway 59 North and Highway 317), Mars Sandhill Golf Course is another course that I had not played before. I knew a little bit about it, but not much. They don't seem to have a website and the other guys in my foursome had not played it before, either.

The front 9 has four par 5's while the back had none. In fact, the first hole opens on a par five that doglegs right to left. I ended was the only one to par it.

My game was characterized by mostly excellent drives, but trouble with fairway shots. I hit my three-wood several times, but rarely did I have a shot that I really liked. A few of them ended up hitting off the toe and into the bush, which is thick and mosquitoe infested. My approach shots with the pitching wedge or 9-iron almost never went as far as I had hoped. I need to hit them harder or use a longer club. The greens were slow and obviously were not cut that day. We saw two cute foxes, one of which was being fed by the snack cart woman.

On the back nine, I was on pace to shoot in 90s until I blew up and a couple of holes due to exhaustion. If I gave myself a triple-bogey on both of those holes, I would have shot 98. The course didn't feel overly tough, and I know if playing conditions were better, I would have played better. It was really warm and humid with no wind. I simply felt worn out and tired after walking the reported distance of 5.9 kms. We saw a lot of dragonflies, but on those occaisions when we entered the bush, mosquitoes followed us out. Twice we had to liberally spray ourselves with repellent.

This is yet another time that I wish the conditions were like in the cooler, pre-mosquitoe season.

The four of us were happy with the course and we will be back eventually.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

MTS Centre Ranks 23rd in the World


True North Sports & Entertainment Limited and the MTS Centre are pleased to announce PollStar Magazine, one of the leading journals in the entertainment industry, has placed the MTS Centre 23rd in their Mid-Year Top 100 list of arena venue ticket sales in the entire world.

Through the first six months of 2005, the MTS Centre has sold 111,694 tickets. These tickets sales include entertainment events only and do not include sporting events, such as hockey.

The MTS Centre is ranked fourth in Canada, ahead of such venues as the Pengrowth Saddledome in Calgary (40th), the Corel Centre in Ottawa (44th), Rexall Place in Edmonton (62nd), and General Motors Place in Vancouver (78th).

The MTS Centre was ranked 17th in North America, ahead of such venues as Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim, CA (24th), the United Center in Chicago, IL (28th), the Pepsi Center in Denver, CO (31st), and Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, MN (42nd)., among others.

“Such a significant ranking in a one of the entertainment world’s most important magazines can be attributed to the acoustic attractiveness of the building to touring acts, its ability to adapt to different crowd sizes, and the work of our entertainment division and building management team, led by Senior Vice-President, Event Management and Building Operations, Kevin Donnelly,” said Jim Ludlow, President & CEO of True North Sports & Entertainment Ltd.

“This ranking in the entertainment industry around the world is a tremendous compliment to Winnipeg entertainment fans. It has been an extremely busy first six months of 2005,” said Donnelly, “and we can promise Winnipeggers an even busier next six months with the likes of Pearl Jam, Def Leppard, and other significant acts on the horizon.”

“To be named to the top 25 busiest arena venues in the world is a major accomplishment for the city of Winnipeg,” said Ludlow. “And we expect to maintain, if not improve our position in PollStar’s list due to the schedule of events that will come through the MTS Centre. In fact, to date, over 800,000 fans, including hockey, have come to the MTS Centre since it opened in November, 2004. We anticipate hitting the one million fan mark by our one-year anniversary in mid-November, 2005.”

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Tiger Woods wins the 134th British Open

So far this year, Tiger Woods has won the Masters for the third time, finished second in the US Open to New Zealand's Michael Campbell and has now won the British Open for the second time. He has also claimed the career grand slam for the second time. This means, he has won all four majors, twice, a feat previously held only by Jack Nicklaus.

Woods also held the lead for all four days, something no one has done for about thirty years.

The British Open was actually more enjoyable to watch than the US Open, since the greens were not like an upside down bowl, with balls falling off them.

Woods didn't play flawlessly, of course. Time and time again, he missed putts for birdie. However, he simply made less mistakes than anyone else.

This was also the farewell major tournament for Jack Nicklaus. He didn't make the cut to play on the weekend, but he is so famous, that he actually appears on some Scottish paper currency.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

golfing John Blumberg and Falcon Lake golf courses

I played John Blumberg Golf Course on July 8, and given all the recent rain, it had a lot of standing water on the fairways. After you tee off, you watch you ball splash down.

I drove the ball really well that day. On number 15, the par 5 along the river, I teed up and let it rip, not caring where it landed. For the first time in years, I actually it driver and had the ball land on the fairway on this hole. I aimed a bit left, towards the trees and the ball flew that way before coming back to the fairway and stopping on the right side. My second shot with the three-wood mercifully didn't go into the water, but ended up on the right side again. I flew an 8-iron show to the left of the green, and hit to hit a very gentle shot across the cart path, onto the green. Typically, the pin placement is such that you risk rolling the ball into the water. I gently bumped the ball, but it rolled about 20 feet past the hole. One of the guys in the foursome had the exact same shot and ended up in the same place.

I one-putted a few times and was generally pleased with my performance until the final hole. I hit a long drive into the rough, in a direct line to the green. Usually, this is not a bad place to be since the rough is easy to hit out of and you are closer to the hole than if you played along the dog-legged fairway. Unfortunately, it took my about 6 strokes to get the green, something that I would never have predicted. I ended up with a 9 and show 103. I was so looking forward to breaking 100.

Yesterday, we played Falcon Lake golf course. It's about 90 minutes drive along the TransCanada. Upon arriving you see a sign indicating that it is rated as the number 2 course in Manitoba and # 30 of the top 100 in Canada. Despite a slope rating of 123 from the white tees, this is actually a fairly easy course. The fairways are wide, really wide. You can let it rip with the driver on many holes. All fours of us started off poorly, however. I was 9 over par after two holes, and won the honours with an 8 on number 2, a par five. After a few holes, I was shooting around bogey golf. The back nine, also mostly tree-lined holes, didn't go as well. I shot 50 on the front 9 and 53 on the back. I had a three 7s on the back, which ruined the round. I pared four times, and had seven bogeys. A few times I missed par by one inch. When I play this course again, I really should have 8 or 9 pars and break 100.

Just before number 10 is a little shack where you can buy snacks and cool drinks. While teeing off, one of guys in my foursome left his hot dog sitting on his cart. A raven quickly swooped down and flew off with the bun!

One of the guys in my group was constantly telling us how much he loved his new driver. It's a Tommy Armour model from last year that he pciked up for $100 at Golf Town. It's about 440 cc, he thinks and time after time, he ended up going right to left, and finding the fairway. Last week, he claimes to have hit a drive about 330 yards. He agreed with me that overall, distance is not my problem. My biggest problem is hitting long-irons to the greens in regulation. So, I may not buy a big driver this year as I don't think it will do much for my game at this time.

Falcon Lake cost $38, Blumberg, around $28. Falcon is a friendly course for the average golfer with its wide fairways. It's not as tough as Pinawa, or Minnewasta and, not as beautiful as Buffalo Point, which has a few holes along Lake of the Woods. Falcon Lake doesn't have any lake-side holes.

review - Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Incredible eye candy, but ultimately, not very filling. The audience actually clapped at the end, though, so I think this will be a moneymaker.

It's a morality tale for young children. Others will find it very tongue in cheek. At times, it's really funny with caricatures plucked from the times we live in: the hyper-competitive Jon Benet Ramsay-esque young American brat, the video-game obesessed little jerk, the upcrust neo-Royalty, estate-livin', pony-riding, super-snob spoiled British brat and the young German candy glutton (not unlike the foreign kid from the Simpsons.) Depending on your sense of humour, you will laugh your head off or find it all too silly.

Johnny Depp is superb as the loony and disturbed eccentric chocaltier, who, like Krusty the Clown, has issues with Daddy. Unfortunately, the script just doesn't take advantage of his incredible manic lunacy.

Our hero Charlie is lives in a grimey, run down shack, replete with smelly grandparents and perpetual meals of cabbage soup. Dad is unemployed. He's is played by Freddie Highmore, last seen with Johnny Depp in Finding Neverland.
The Oompa-Loopas (all cleverly played by actor Deep Roy) are like the Jango Fett clones from The Clone Wars. The glass elevator reminded me of the "elevator" from The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy. The factory is a whimsical delight, an acid trip for candy lovers. Director Tim Burton once again is the master of creating an alternative world, but, in the end, it's just not enough.

I don't think I have ever seen Grant Park Mall so packed with cars on a Friday night. Of course, they were releasing the new Harry Potter book at 12:01 am and had a party beginning at 10 pm.


Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Triniman has no taste: 125 recordings from 1985-2005

These sort of lists are really silly and pointless. Spin recently came out with their list of the best 100 albums since 1985 and it sparked one of my Blogcritics colleagues to encourage the rest of us to come up with our own lists.

This list is not meant to be definitive or represent anything other than some recordings in my collection from the last twenty years that left a strong impression on me. I've left off lots of excellent albums.


001 Marillion - Misplaced Childhood (Marillion's pinnacle. Songs blend into one another. The music flows with brilliant flashes of artsy progression.)

002 INXS - Listen Like Thieves .  This album rules the airwaves with a fresh sound.

003 China Crisis - Flaunt The Imperfection (Their second solid pop album. That they were largely unknown outside of the UK was a shame. Exquisite pop songs without an overreliance on synths.)

004 Scorpions - World Wide Live (Their best live album and better than most live metal albums.)

005 A-Ha - Hunting High and Low (Synth-pop perfection that they never equaled.)

006 The Cult - Love

007 The Waterboys - This Is The Sea 

008 Metal Church – Metal Church (A stunning album with a dark atmosphere and brilliant songs. They never topped it. Better than most 99.99% of the metal albums released.)

009 Accept - Metal Heart (Well-crafted songs from a band described as Germany's Judas Priest. With their backing vocals, no one sounded quite like Accept.)

010 Gary Moore – Run For Cover (1952-2011)


011 Keith Jarrett Trio - Still Live (The best trio in the world? Quite possibly.)

012 XTC - Skylarking (A very difficult album to make with Todd Rundgren, but also a pop and sonic masterpiece.)

013 Queensryche - Rage For Order (At the time, a state of the art metal album with a uniquely talented band.)

014 Iron Maiden – Somewhere In Time (Maiden's most advanced recording, full of great songs.)

015 Metallica – Master of Puppets (Arguably their finest moment..its mostly been downhill since the Black album.)


016 Marillion - Clutching At Straws (The final album with Fish, loaded with memorable, introspective songs.)

017 The Pogues - If I Should Fall From Grace With God (On just about everyone's list for a reason!)

018 Def Leppard - Hysteria (When metal and pop united. Polished but strong.)

019 Prince - Sign 'O' the Times (Imaginative, hear this if you think he's one-dimensional.)

020 Ozzy Osbourne - Tribute (Killer live album with Ozzy's young virtuoso, Randy Rhoads. The best live Ozzy album.)

021 Zakir Hussain – Making Music (Tabla master and musical innovator..saw him live last year and it was an amazing, jamming show. One of the world's best players.)


022 Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan - Devotional and Love Songs (The best collection of his material ever...very catchy, fast songs and other with unbelievable melodies...a voice that you must hear. Believe the hype.)

023 Helloween – The Keeper of the Seven Keys Part 2 (European power metal at its finest, no one called them a Maiden clone ever again. Maiden wish they could have written this album.)

024 Enya – Watermark (If you have to own just one of her recordings start here for sure. A landmark album by any measure.)


025 Pat Metheny Group - Still Life (Talking) (Superb, memorable compositions with playing to match. Metheny is a genius.)

026 Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan - Shahen-Shah (Perhaps the best non-compilation album by the master. I turned a lot of people onto his music because of this album.)

027 Les Négresses Vertes - Mlah (The French Pogues? Hyperactive, and brilliant, they apparently disgraced themselves at the Winnipeg Folk Festival, but all is forgiven after listening to this, their best album.)

028 The Cure - Disintegration ('s rarely done so well.)

029 XTC - Oranges and Lemons (Another fun, smart, sonically delicious offering.)

030 Peter Gabriel - Passion (Most of my friends heard this upon visiting. Gabriel's most uplifting recording, and the soundtrack to the controversial film, The Last Temptation of Christ.)

031 Quincy Jones - Back On The Block (So many strong tracks by a who's who of the R'n'B scene at the time.)

032 Roxy Music - Street Life: 20 Greatest Hits (Probably the recording I have played more than anything else. I must listen to this weekly.)

033 Soundgarden – Louder Than Love (Sludgy, raw, Zeppelinesque rock before they became more polished.)

034 Shawn Colvin – Steady On (Some stunning songs. This album won the popular folk vocalist a Grammmy.

035 Material – Seven Souls (Laswell and William S. Burroughs - a unique concept.)

036 Wynton Marsalis – Majesty of the Blues (Some of the catchiest jazz you can imagine.)

037 Faith No More – The Real Thing (I always thought the first track, From Out of Nowhere, was way better than Epic. Overall, a strong metal-rap-thrash album with the vocal gymnastics of Matt Patton.)

038 Chick Corea  - Akousitc Band (I prefer Corea's acoustic work the best...superb piano playing, top notch players.)

039 Vikrama – Hands On (Strong compositions, wonderful group led by Knut Haugsoen (1935 -2011), produced by ECM's Jan Erik Konshaug. As enjoyable as any jazz album in my collection.)


040 The Stone Roses - The Stone Roses.  A highly influential album, cited as the top UK album of all time, also credited with launching the Britpop phenomenon.

041 Wynton Marsalis – J Mood

042 The Cure - Mixed Up 

043 Cocteau Twins - Heaven or Las Vegas

044 Ravi Shankar - Philip Glass - Passages (Not as avant garde as you might expect, but oh, so fantastic compositions with Indian vocals. Desert island disc for sure.)

045 Black Sabbath – Headless Cross (The songs are excellent. Sabbath lives!)


046 Jill Sobule – Things Here Are Different (She disappeared for a while then repacked herself as a pop singer...listen to this for a quiet, late night album, with amazing songs...sounds nothing like the "I Kissed A Girl" material.

047 Public Enemy – Fear Of A Black Planet (Unequalled powerful album. Kills.)

048 Terence Blanchard - Mo’ Better Blues Soundtrack (...great sound, catchy tunes.)

049 Pet Shop Boys - Behavior (Maybe their best album, mature sounding.)

050 Depeche Mode - Violator (The peack of Depeche Mode.)

051 3 Mustaphas 3 – Heart of Uncle (Again, most of my friends heard tracks from this breakthough album.)

052 Metheny with Dave Holland and Roy Haynes – Question And Answer (This started out as a jam session with the tapes rolling but ended up as an unbelievable album. Three virtuosos cutting loose has never sounded so good.)

053 Branford Marsalis – Crazy People Music (Branford is a star in his own right and plays with unreal players.)

054 King Sunny Ade – Juju Music (This was supposed to do for African music what Bob Marley albums did for reggae. It didn't become as popular as it could have but it's a gem.)


055 Frank Zappa - Make A Jazz Noise Here (Wow. This is jazz and it is more than proof of what a seriously great player Zappa was.)

056 U2 - Achtung Baby


057 Fishbone – The Reality of My Surroundings

058 Neil Young – Weld (You have to hear "Like A Hurricane", the same tune recorded by Roxy Music. Neil's live version here is unreal. One of my favorite all-time tracks.)


059 R.E.M. - Automatic For The People 

060 Loreena McKennitt – The Visit (I ended up buying several copies for friends and relatives, it's that good. She's one of the finest singers in the world and this is another Desert island recording. Everybody loves it.)

061 Talking Heads – Sand In the Vaseline (it's a compilation but I love it.)

062 The Cure – Wish (Maybe their most commercial album, but also very strong.)

063 The Roy / Lerner Quartet – Quarter To Three (Another jazz album that is as good as anything I have. Larry Roy has his own sound as a virtuoso guitarist and Marilyn Lerner matches note for note on the piano.)

064 Ofra Haza – Kirya (With Lou Reed and Iggy Pop helping out, this album was artistic deelopment from a singer who left us much too soon.)


065 Dead Can Dance - Into The Labyrinth (Probably their breakthrough album, stunning sound, exquisite otherworldly songs.)

066 Enigma - The Cross of Changes (Maybe the most accessible Enigma album.)

067 Al Di Meola – Heart of the Immigrants (Tasty fusion with Eastern European soundscapes. I saw him live when this came out and we were all thrilled by the concert. Di Meola is a giant.)

068 Pet Shop Boys – Very (Another pop triumph. They haven't been this consistent recently.)


069 Dead Can Dance - Toward The Within soundtrack

070 Delerium - Semantic Spaces (Another Desert Island disc for me. It takes several listens to get into, but once you're hooked, there is no going back. The peak of swirling, ethno-ambient pop.)

071 Global Communication - 76:14 (An ambient classic.)

072 Aphex Twin - Selected Ambient Works, Vol. 2  (Another ambient classic.)

073 The Future Sound of London - Cascade EP (This can't be improved. Still sounds state of the art today.)


074 Intermix - Future Primitives (More tribal sounding than ambient, but still sounds like the offshoot of Delerium that it is.)

075 Trial of the Bow – Ornamentation (The most ambient sounding Indian-influenced music ever!)

076 The Orb - U. F. Off: The Best Of The Orb

077 Synaesthesia – Desideratum (Dreamy ethno-ambient music from the Delerium guys again.)

078 Tricky – Maxinquaye

079 The Best of Alaap (Very catchy Pakistani group located in England.)


080 Delerium - Karma

081 Vas - Sunyata (A duo specializing in Persian music.)

082 AR Rahman – Vande Mastram (The top Indian music composer.)

083 Banco de Gaia – Big Men Cry (More ethno-ambient pop.)

084 Chumbawamba – Tubthumper (The rest of the album is very solid.)

085 Arcana – Cantar de Procella (Mediaeval funeral music? Influenced by Dead Can Dance, no doubt.)

086 Pro-Tech – Orbiting Cathedrals (Techno drums and beat from the Delerium guys.)

087 Prodigy – The Fat of the Land


088 Air - Moon Safari (Dreamy pop that they haven't been able to top.)

089 Black Sabbath - Reunion (I listen to this all the time.)

090 Fun da Mental – Erotic Terrorism (Political ethno-pop band. Some great sounds.)

091 Robert Rich – Seven Veils (Ambient Middle eastern music.)

092 Talvin Singh – Ok 

093 Mythos – Mythos (Very catchy new age music, and Canadian, too.)

094 Sacred System – Nagual Site (Jamming Bill Laswell album with exotic instruments - priceless.)

095 Kruder and Dorfmeister – Session (Pop, jazz, hip-hop-influenced DJ recording. Instant karma.)


096 XTC - Apple Venus Volume 1 (What a comeback for XTC! Few groups have had such a long career and yet manage to come up with such stellar material.)

097 DJ Cheb I Sabbah – Shri Durga

098 Yes – The Ladder (After several so-so albums, Yes returned with a great album.)

099 Black Star Liner – Bengali Bantam Youth Experience (Indian pop from the UK, insanely catchy and fun. Underrated album.


100 Delerium - Poem

101 The New Pornographers - Mass Romantic (On this album you can find what many were calling Canada's new national anthem - "Letter From An Occupant," with Neko Case on vocals. This is powerpop at its most unpretentious and fun.)

102 Tabla Beat Science – Tala Matrix (More Laswell ethno-jamming.)

103 Rhea’s Obsession - Between Earth and Sky (Gothic Toronto band, influenced by Dead Can Dance, but never made it to my city.)

104 Weakerthans – Left and Leaning (My city's favorite indie rock band and one of the top bands from North America. Songwriting is really strong.)


105 Devin Townsend - Terria (He's being heralded as a creative genius and after listening to several of his CDs, I would have to agree. Unreal metal multi-instrumentalist and singer. A national Canadian treasure. No one comes close to the level of creativity that Devin has. State of the art sound, too.)

106 Beulah - The Coast Is Never Clear (Consumate college radio indie-pop band who folded after not making the big times. If you like XTC-ish pop, this is worth having.)

107 Nicky Mehta – Weather Vane (A stunning singer-songwriter, and master of both. My favorite solo artist from Canada. After this recording, she ended up in a new trio, the Wailin' Jennys. Their first album won a Juno (Canada's answer to the Grammy)for best folk album by a group, thanks in no small way to her brilliant songs.)

108 Carlos Santana – Divine Light (A Laswell produced ambient recording. Headphones music.)

109 Markus Stockhausen – Karta (Eurpoean jazz trumpeter par excellence.)


110 The Future Sound of London - The Isness (I didn't think they could reinvent themselves, but this is ethno-ambient pop heaven with English vocals. Who knew they had it in them?

111 Wilco - Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (The most celebrated "indie" album of the year.)

112 Madrigaia – Viva Voice (An amazing a cappella album, sung in several European languages. They played for the Queen a couple of years ago.)

112 Bob Dylan - Bob Dylan Live 1975 (The Bootleg Series Volume 5) (Dylan can do no wrong.)

113 Neal Halstead – Sleeping On Roads (His debut solo album, full of strong songs. Formerly of Majave 3 and Slowdive.)


114 Dimmu Borgir - Death Cult Armageddeon (Unbelieavable bruttal, orchestral black metal. The compositions have substance to them and are highly listenable, even though you won't be able to make out the words. Great sound.)

115 Led Zeppelin - How The West Was Won (Another Desert Island disc, the epitome of live Led Zeppelin.)

116 The Postal Service – Give Up

117 Grandaddy – Sumday

118 Zwan – Mary Star of the Sea

119 Dave Holland Quintet - Extended Play: Live at Birdland (Superb jazz, excellent soloists all around.)


120 The Wailin' Jennys – 40 Days (This album has three-part harmonies and super songs, and has won over the Canadian folk scene. It won a Juno this year.)

121 Frank Marino - Real Live (Ledgendary Hendrix-esque guitarist who is one of the world's best players. Must be heard to be believed.

122 Michael Kaeshammer – Strut (Too good to be true jazz pianist who could replace Diana Krall as the biggest star in jazz - yes, he is that good.)

123 The Futureheads – The Futureheads (Get the pop-punk-funk out!)

124 Sondre Lerche – Two Way Monologue (A rising star and clever songwriter who deserves a huge audience.)

125 Judas Priest – Metalogy (A boxed set showing that they have strong songs from every era - from the 70s to now.)

126 Tomasz Stanko Quartet – Suspended Night (Another European jazz trumpeter, and some are calling him the Polish Miles Davis.)


127 Stars - Set Yourself On Fire (Canada's top alternative recording by a band this year. Instantly enjoyable, clever, gorgeous pop songs,with two vocalists.)

128 Sufjan Stevens – Illinoise (He's a much heralded singer-songwriter with two highly-acclaimed albums in the past two years. Well-crafted songs abound.  The original cover had Superman on it, but later releases had him airbrushed out and then eventually replaced by some balloons.

Okay, there's actually 128 recordings on this list, but who's counting?!

website page counter