Hello and Happy December! Did you miss me? I missed you!!! I truly did. It’s been a long, wonderful, and rather important weekend for us here at TSURURADIO. Yes, in one sense, you could say it was just a mini-vacation up to the land of milk & indie to take a tiny break from the daily grind and see a little bit o’ family, sure… but, in reality, it was so much more, it became…. A pilgrimage to rediscover 2009.
It all started, as it always does, during our Aaron Loves Meghan anniversary mixtape presentation on November 17th because for me that marks the beginning of the end of that year as the holidays start coming on, stupid decorations start adorning houses, people start putting up their various “best of” lists, you start seeing next year’s leaks popping up, and in my head, 2009 just started feeling, well, done.
It’s at this point, that my brain starts quantifying and qualifying the year, starts making rudimentary lists of albums that stuck with me and have been, not just the most awesomest, but also the most tsururifc in my heart of hearts. What was different about this year though was the shear volume of albums we’ve listened to, discussed, and shared with each other. We’ve gone through hundreds! More than any other year by a long shot! There was only one thing to do to resolve all the albums, to make sense of all the musical insanity in my head, and that is go to indie music mecca… Canada!
We decided to go to Toronto & considering our family is in Toronto and in the surrounding area and we are never one to turn down a free meal, it only made since anyway.
We packed up the car with skinny jeans, record label t-shirts, a messenger bag, a sweater or two, and a warm jacket that hid most of all that (after all, it IS Canada in November) a shit ton of mixtapes, and made our way via I-71 by Cleveland over to Erie through that New York monetary raping called the Thruway or something($3 to travel on the interstate? that’s fucked up) into Buffalo (motto: nothing smells quite like Buffalo), through Niagra on the QEW, passed about 1,000 Horton’s and Swiss Chalets until finally we reached the Toronto, not only home to the much loved and hated Maple Leafs…
But also the adopted & actual birthplaces of some of our favourite music artists floating around the myspacings today. We got there later Friday night, staying at the Ramada Inn on Jarvis — not too shabby! I’ve certainly have done photoshoots in much worse — and after a relatively easy but still long yet musically fulfilling seven hour drive, we decided to call it a night and get a fresh start in the morning.
Saturday was for visiting our normal haunts, like that ancient Canadian symbol Starbucks for coffee & a light pre-packaged breakfast before venturing along Queen Street, where we hit some clothing and record shops, looking, not only for some clothes & records (my navy zip-up sweater had seen better days), but also some focus & clarity, a way to sort the insanity of 2009 out of our heads. Well, we bought some clothes (great deals at Aritzia by the way for the ladies) and a couple records from good ol’ Criminal Records…
Where we got, as you can see, Vapours by Islands and the self-titled debut by Clues. I was feeling better. Wandering around a record store, flipping through the 12″ disc, forces you to think about what albums ARE worth the $16.99 Canadian dollars to drop? I saw some great albums, some I already own, some I don’t, plus, and possibly more interesting, was the sadness I felt when they didn’t carry a couple albums I wanted.
This epiphany of emotions, also called EoE — which, to all you budding weavers out there should note, is also short for End-On-End a yarn-dye technique in woven fabrics that lends a cool “ladder texture” effect to your fabrics, but back to music — led to moments of clarity. Suddenly I could not just hear my number four album in my head, I could FEEL it emotionally. All the albums I wanted to own started sorting themselves out, dropping in their slots like the square goes through the square slot, the circle through the circle slot, and so on and so forth….
Everything was looking good. We spent the rest of the day just hanging out like we always do, but with our heads up a little higher with the confidence endowed by our visit to Criminal.
Later that night we hung out with Baby’s brother where we ended up at a bar called Clinton’s Tavern that kept the drinks coming and a particularly ghetto version of Scrabble playing (seriously, it had maybe 35% of the letters in the box?). But hey, as this photo by Will shows, it had enough letters for “taint”…
And any Scrabble game you can do that is A-O-kay with me.
Clarity aside, our pilgrimage was not complete. Just as Jesus or Moses or Abraham or whoever supposedly went out in the woods for 40 days and flooded the earth for 40 nights while getting lost in the desert for 40 years (what’s with all the 40s?), so must we head to a place of seclusion, away from the glitzy world of record shops & wi-fi… Yep, we went to (after a quick stop in Scarborough to see Fantastic Mr. Fox, which, by the way, WAS fantastic) Nestleton, Ontario…
Nestleton, so peaceful. Wandering along, by the lake, enjoying the wind and cold air, clearing the mind, a sort of meditation on the entire year. The only music playing were the albums in my head, each taking a turn at their designated number, reminding me, confirming to me why they were No. 6 or 12 or 33 or whatever, and a few making a final bid for a higher slot (two actually did, more on that Thursday). But it was after this Sunday night of isolation (and a delicious roast with a bread product called yorkies, plus a viewing of Pulp Fiction with the in-laws) that we drove home on Monday instilled with liter after liter of confidence that carried us every kilometer home, where we listened to our favourite albums & mixtapes of 2009, 2008, 2007 and many more, singing gleefully, like kids that just learned a naughty nursery rhyme.
So, with all that, over the next couple days, we will get our shit together, get our typing fingers a-typin’, and present our Most Awesomest Tsururific Albums of 2009 with Accompanying Mixtapes, but before all that hoopla and circumstance begins, I’d like to make a little note to a few “honourable mentions”, a few albums that if the lists were longer, if the accompanying mixtapes could hold more, they may have made the cut. I’m not going to say little blips for each album (it’s difficult enough for the ones that made the list), but I will say this… There were days some of these albums were the best of the year, there were days & weeks when some of these albums owned all my ear time, making it hard to move on, and though I may only go back to some periodically, they are all wonderful albums and worthy of all your love and a small percent of your paycheck.
ONE LAST THING: I’m a firm believer in the “there are no wrong answers in music”, you may think one of my honourable mentions should be #1 or vice versa, or how could I possibly have not mentioned that one album by so and so. Whatever. I probably DID forget an album or two, and maybe next week, I may be kicking myself for leaving one of the albums below off the main list. So be it. THIS IS MEANT TO BE FUN! Lighten up, have fun, and just enjoy!!! Life’s WAY too fucking short. And with that…
The Most Awesomest Tsururific Albums Of 2009: The Honourable Mentions!!!
(IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER)
Sun Gangs by The Veils
MP3: The Letter
Reservoir by Fanfarlo
MP3: I’m A Pilot
How It Ends by Devotchka
MP3: Such A Lovely Thing
Hold Time by M. Ward
All Of Us In Our Night by Modern Skirts
MP3: Soft Pedals
Merriweather Post Pavilion by Animal Collective
MP3: My Girls
Face Control by Handsome Furs
MP3: Radio Kaliningrad
Lost Channels by Great Lake Swimmers
MP3: Pulling On A Line
Fever Ray by Fever Ray
MP3: Triangle Walks
Nobel Beasts by Andrew Bird
MP3: Fitz And Dizzyspells
Alright my friends! That’s it for today… Stay tuned to tomorrow when we start with Part I of our Most Awesomest Tsururific Albums of 2009 with Accompanying Mixtape, The Opening Acts!!!