Spotlight: Tom Barlow

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Tom Barlow

Tom Barlow… who is he, you ask?

A musician with a unique sound, style and lyrical enterprise.

 

More distinctly, Barlow is a Canadian Award-winning recording artist. He has had the awesome and intimidatingly rock and roll pleasure of traveling all around the world performing. His raw talent has allowed him to share the stage with some the greatest icons in the music industry (Avril Lavigne, The Barenaked Ladies, and Macy Gray).

Barlow’s first album (self-titled), shows a major difference from the Barlow we all know now. Not in a negative way, quite the opposite if anything. His music has changed over the years but he has always kept one thing consistent, his positive political message and ability to be versatile. “Married By Elvis”, a song with one of these expressive messages, Barlow uses his rock and roll style to share his views on gay marriage. He makes politics rock and roll.

The track “Washington” is a song that proves Barlow is not afraid to write or sing about his opinion or what he thinks of our world today. He is MOST DEFINITELY not afraid to call the lovely  President of the United States out on his bull shit.

The Fire, the most recent album given to us by Barlow. The album has a serious rock and roll vibe to it. The song “Marianna” has a very Rolling Stone vibe to it, that dark, gritty, yet sexy sound. The album as whole shows a wide range of genres. “No Saving” has a definite country quality about it, whereas “Clarice” my personal favourite track on the album has a 1975 Bruce Springsteen sound. Which to me is just classic Rock and Roll.

 

Four Juno nominations (including New Artist of the Year, Pop Album of the Year, and Video of the Year), and winning the Canadian Rising Star Award are just some of this rare artists major accomplishments. Personally I am just really mad he got to share the stage with Avril Lavigne, I will be holding a grudge for many years.

 

What to Listen to On Valentine’s Day… When You Hate Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day makes me kind of want to vomit. All day long all we hear are gut wrenching love songs about love lost, love found or anything about love love love love. Even though this all annoys me to my core.. I still want to listen to music on February 14th. That is why I have created a list of some songs to listen to on Valentine’s Day  when you hate Valentine’s Day.

Fuck You – Lily Allen:

No I am not telling Lily Allen to go fuck herself. Its the title off her second album “It’s Not Me, It’s You”. The song is Lily telling what we assume is an ex-boyfriend how awful he was and how much better she is without him. She really digs into the guy with lyrics like ” Do you get, do you get a little kick out of being small minded? You want to be like your father, his approval you’re after, well thats not how you find it” I think we can say this is not about love but maybe the opposite?

Star Star (Star Fucker) – The Rolling Stones:

Yikes, this song is seriously controversial. But it most definitely does not put you in the mood for Valentine’s Day. The song is pretty much about The Stones having sex with their groupies (many say it to be about Carly Simon in particular). When they used to play it on stage they would blow up an inflatable penis and dance around it. This song has ZERO romance and A THOUSAND controversies.

Psycho Killer – Talking Heads:

The reason I have chosen this song is in the title. PSYCHO KILLER. The song is about someone who we “think” is attempting to murder him. That’s one thing about the Talking Heads, their music is amazing but up to so much interpretation.

The most romantic part of this song is the French verse.

Cocaine – Eric Clapton:

A song that is about a mans love for cocaine. I guess he speaks very highly of cocaine, clearly respects her. He likes to be around her when he is sad, “If you got bad news, you wanna kick them blues. Cocaine”.

Just kidding.

This song is clearly about narcotics and in no way romantic, yet still such an absolute classic.

Lump – The Presidents of the United States of America:

The fact that this song is so upbeat and the last line of the chorus is “she might be dead” is why this song made my list. This guy says Lump is stuck in his dead but doesn’t seem to be bothered that she may in fact be dead. Even though when you dissect the song it comes off as extremely morbid, I can’t help but love it. It also most definitely does not let out vibes of any sort of romance.

Do You Wanna Touch Me? – Joan Jett:

“My, my, my whiskey and rye
Don’t it make you feel so fine
Right or wrong don’t it turn you on
Can’t you see we’re wastin’ time, yeah?”

This song is awesome for many reasons. 1) A woman is singing about sex so openly. 2) It isn’t sex with the classic romantic spin 3) Joan Jett is simply iconic.

Kate Nash: Then vs. Now

Kate Nash is an English singer songwriter. Her premiere album “Made of Bricks” is one of my all time favourites. It showcases songs such as “Foundations”, “Merry Happy” and “Nicest Thing”.

Then:

This album has almost a spoken word element to it. As if she is speaking to her listeners with a whimsical tune. Her songs tell stories about personal relationships, Kate does not hold back in these stories. The reason this album is so amazing is she tells us how “sick” some of her relationships make her feel, or how awful her partner is. Its relatable, and we all like relatable. One of the best lines on the whole album is ” You said I must eat so many lemons, cause I am so bitter. I said I’d rather be with one your friends mate cause they are much fitter.” I personally do not know many artists that can pull off a line like that while carrying on a great tune. How hysterical??

Though this isn’t a very American style of song, there are many similar British artists that have this sound. A great example would be The Streets.

Now:

Alright, now Kate has had many albums between “Made of Bricks” and now. It almost seems as if she has gotten more psychedelic and eccentric as her career has gone on. She also has established an acting career as one of the main characters on the Netflix series “Glow”.

Last week, she released a new single and video for a new song “Drink About You”. First off, the title… RELATABLE. Second, though it is a different sound from what I think any of her past music has been like, it’s awesome. She stays consistent with her honest and hilarious lyrics but puts a more, dare I say it, Pop spin on the track.

Though change can be scary, I can’t wait for more of this album. As well, she is coming to The Mod Club Toronto in April and I am personally hoping to hear some “Made of Bricks” tunes.

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Album & Wine Pairing

Who does not like a good glass of wine after a long day? Who does not like to clear their mind and unwind with some of their favourite albums? What if I could show you the way to enjoy both in one sitting?

Well, I can!

Below are some of my favourite wines and some of my favourite albums that I would pair them with:

Pinot Noir

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Jake Bugg’s Hearts That Strain

Pinot Noir’s name comes from the French words for pine and black. This makes it only fitting for a dark and moody album. Something like Jake Bugg’s Hearts That Strain, would pair amazingly with a Pinot Noir.

The album is Bugg’s fourth studio album and in my opinion one of his best. It has everything from classic blues to savoury ballads. Though the entire album is amazing, my favourite track has to be “Bigger Lover”. His sound remains consistent, but in this specific song there is a definite Simon and Garfunkel undertone.

 

Pinot Grigio

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The Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers

First things first, The Rolling Stones are the best band in existence. I had a hard time choosing an album for this post but Sticky Fingers has my all time favourite Stones song “Dead Flowers”.

Pinot Grigio on the other hand is the wine you drink when you are sitting in your backyard on a nice summer day listening to your favourite music and just feeling great. I guess what I am trying to say is this album and wine choice are just a feel good combination.

Not only does it have their best love song (“Wild Horses”) it also has some of their best songs of all time. From Jumpin’ Jack Flash to Midnight Rambler to Honky Tonk Women. The album is so versatile showing a wide range of all the Stones’ sounds. In my opinion, Pinot Grigio can go with pretty much anything, and same with Sticky Fingers.

Cabernet Sauvignon

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The Smith’s The Queen Is Dead

As dramatic as this sounds, both The Smiths album “The Queen is Dead” and a cabernet are great when you just feel moody. You just want to sit and listen to a great record that almost makes you feel that nostalgic kind of sad. One of my favourite songs of all time is on this record, “There is A Light That Never Goes Out”. This song just hits you with this simplicity that is just outstandingly beautiful.

Cabernet Sauvignon was the first red wine I drank. I feel like it is a lot of peoples first reds because of its simplicity. It doesn’t have any overpowering flavours and goes down extremely smoothly, similar to this album.

Malbec

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David Bowie’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars

Full bodied album, full bodied wine. This album is so rich with some of Bowie’s best work so I HAD to pair it with one of my favourite wines, two classics deserve to be together.

Said to pair with “funky” tasting cheeses or fruits, Malbec is maybe the only wine I would pair with David Bowie’s music.  This album in particular, it is the beginning of Ziggy Stardust. Ziggy is an eccentric alter ego made up by Bowie himself, he is a major icon in the music industry.

The album itself was the beginning of Ziggy and is what lead to the Ziggy Stardust tour. It contains songs such as “Starman”, one of my personal favourites of Bowie’s collection. As well as Suffragette City, a song that was extremely controversial in its time. It was said to be about David Bowie’s sexuality.

I don’t know a better or BOLDER wine to pair The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars with other than a Malbec.