And love is just the easiest game to play

Photography by Tsuru

Howzit going, eh? Quite nice here thanks….

We are back from our little holiday excursion up to the motherland, where we spent a couple, quiet, snowy days nestled up in Nestleton, Ontario before trekking down a few miles to Toronto for a bit of record shopping (where we made out like bandits) and general shop perusing. It was a wonderful trip and we are refreshed, renew, revigoured, recharged, and ready (re-ready?) to work for a couple days before the New Year holidays kick in (nothing like a 2 day work week), ha!

Of course, I’d be remissed if I didn’t go into excruciating detail on the plethora of music we picked up, right? I mean, what’s a trip to Toronto without picking up at least 4 or 5 (or 6, or 7) albums? A bad trip, that’s what. A very, very bad trip. Well, no worries here, as we made our way into nearly any and every record and book store we came across (as well as a few cute boutiques along the way) and definitely helped to support the independent shops all around downtown by dropping way too much money in each of their coffers….

First, we hit one of my favourite new stops, Criminal Records on Queen St. It’s great, not just for vinyl and CDs, but also they have a rather large swag collection for sale (though I resisted this time from buying yet another shirt) and their staff are quite nice (not a hint of snobbery, thank you very much)..

Aww, there’s baby over to the left there, keeping an eye out for some sweet albums, didn’t realize you snuck in the photo there, sweetie… Anyway, we cleaned up Criminal, picking up a couple of loved gems and a little live Neutral Milk, check it out:

Not bad, eh? Live At Jittery Joe’s finishes off my Neutral Milk Hotel vinyl collection, so check, done. Next, I need to get busy wrapping up my REM & Violent Femmes re-acquiring of records (one of which, Why Do Birds Sing? was waiting for me at work this morning from a small little order on, nice). Oh, we did pick up one CD, for my daughter, something we tend to play the hell out of, but hadn’t got around to purchasing yet, Colin Meloy Sings Live! They had it on vinyl, but alas, she’s record player free (for now).

After a little hop on the street car, we made our way to our next two key stops…

Interesting old coot, eh?

Anyways, like I said, there are two more places we HAD to hit, one is our other favourite new haunt, She Said Boom!, where, if they served coffee, I’d probably never leave. Here they tend to offer up old vinyl, not a lot of newness here, along with an incredible new & used book collection that satisfies baby’s inner nerd. Here we picked up a mint-looking Roxy Music classic, Stranded:

Hawt. I’ve always been a sucker for Roxy Music, originally due to their album covers, and eventually I even liked their music! Hooray!

Even though it was an off & on rainy day Saturday, it certainly didn’t stop us from making our way to the only music store I can think of that doesn’t really offer a lick of vinyl, yet, we can’t help but walk out of there without buying at least 3 or 4 albums. That’s right, we hit Soundscapes. There’s something about that place where we walk in there and immediately trust nearly anything they offer. From their prog & soul sections to the oodles and oodles of Canuck indie, we are in music heaven. Baby picked up three albums, Mavis Staples’ Live Hope At The Hideout, Marlena Shaw’s The Spice Of Life, & Valery Gore’s Avalanche To Wandering Bear. All three of which made the long ride back to Columbus that much more bearable.

I was able to keep my part of the purchase to one album, and it’s the subject of today’s obsession, and our newest feature down in the Society basement, Andre Ethier’s Born On Blue Fog.

Not sure where to begin with describing this album. First it’s got this Mark Lanagan thing going on, but then the saxophone kicks in and everything opens up, arrangements begin to flourish and you are not sure what you are listening to, only to be replaced by strings that Andrew Bird would be proud of…. But just as soon as you think you’ve got this album figured out, Ethier finds his inner Lou Reed with “Cop Killer”, that drives and drives and blows your mind. It’s lush & lo-fi, folk & anti-folk, and just stunning.

Apparently, he’s quite the recluse, not even bothering to update his myspace page when the album was released earlier this month. In this age of longing for blog hype, and hoping to find yourself on the Pitchfork best of list (which, according to the record shops, people seem to really care about, Criminal could barely keep the records that made the top spots on their shelves… huh.) this guy would rather just make his music, get it out there, and then go do something else for a while. Art almost in it’s purest form, a rather refreshing approach. Not that he’d care, but it’s an album I truly regret not hearing before my best of 08 came along, as I’m pretty sure there would be a spot on there for him.

Well, I’ve listened to this album another fives times or so, so I think it’s time to wrap this post up. I’m off to get caught up on all the mixtapes posted in the society and all the new leaks & releases making their way around the interether since I was out. Should be fun!

Until next time… Enjoy!

Andre Ethier – 01 The Only Wine I Crave
Andre Ethier – 02 Easiest Game

Pick the finest rooms
oh, in a dictionary
under R…
under R for romance, for romance
Oh you are haunted by a room in disarray
You’re haunted by perfume of a new bouquet
And love is just the easiest game to play
Tie yourself to it and float away
Into thin air
Oh that’s love…

Andre Ethier – 03 By The Stables
Andre Ethier – 04 Infant King

Amazing, eh? Go show Andre all your love here, here, and here now….

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