Ozzy Osbourne – Ordinary Man [review]

Commentary, Music

With Ordinary Man, Ozzy Osbourne presents his most personal album yet, without losing any of his theatricality.

He’s also in very good hands musically, with accompaniment from members of Guns N’ Roses, Rage Against the Machine, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers and guest vocals by everyone from Elton John to Post Malone.

Nightmares in Ecstasy [book review]

Books, Commentary

Reading Brendan Vidito’s Nightmares in Ecstasy is like entering a basement laboratory to find hundreds of unspeakable things sealed in jars, peering through the murk to glimpse eyeballs and tentacles and other mutated appendages that appear unnervingly human, but somehow not.

The 2020 JUNOs have been cancelled – so check out some Canadian music.

Arts Coverage, Commentary

The news broke today that the 2020 JUNO Awards had been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While this decision was probably wise, it’s also a huge blow to the Canadian music industry.

Many Canadian artists — not just the performers and nominees, but the local acts slated to perform JUNOfest shows in Saskatoon this weekend — rely on the JUNOs for exposure. I know I’ve discovered many of my favourite Canadian artists — The Beaches, William Prince, Lisa Leblanc, iskwē and many others — from JUNO season events, and I imagine I’m not alone. 

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been listening to most of the nominated albums and putting together a primer on each category. Whatever happens with the Awards, I’m sure these artists could use a shout-out right now.

Below is a rundown of the nominees for the following categories, along with a link to one standout track from each: Rock Album; Alternative Album; Adult Alternative Album; Metal / Hard Music Album; Indigenous Artist or Group; Traditional Roots Album; Contemporary Roots Album; Pop Album; and Country Album.

Give these tunes a listen, and if you find something you like, feel free to share with your friends. Give the artists a follow. Download a song or buy an album, if you can.

Let’s support Canadian music.

Elijah Wood attends a freaky family reunion in COME TO DADDY [review]

Commentary, Film and Television

In the opening scenes of Ant Timpson’s Come to Daddy, former Lord of the Rings star Elijah Wood is once again on a quest.

When we first see him, he’s travelling on foot along a desolate shore, his baggy garments resembling a cloak, on the way to meet his estranged father who’s reached out inexplicably after a decades-long absence. The scene has a certain dreamlike quality, which seems comparatively normal as the film descends wholeheartedly into insanity.

William Prince – RELIEVER [review]

Commentary, Music

William Prince’s Reliever is as much of a balm as its title would suggest.

The Peguis First Nation folk singer’s long-awaited follow-up to his JUNO-winning debut sees him no less thoughtful, and even more assured in his song-writing. There’s a distinct gospel influence on this record, with gentle acoustic arrangements and Prince’s soothing baritone belying sweeping reflections on life, death, love, and redemption.

Harley Quinn lets loose in BIRDS OF PREY [review]

Commentary, Film and Television

Cathy Yan’s Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) finds our anti-hero finally freed (quite against her will, I might add) from a life-defining toxic relationship; it also sees the character released from the constraints of Suicide Squad.

Kesha – HIGH ROAD [review]

Commentary, Music

Kesha’s fifth album kicks off with a throwback.

After a bait-and-switch piano intro, opening track “Tonight” bursts into a gleefully rapped verse reminiscent of her autotuned party anthems like “Crazy Kids” and “Sleazy.” It’s perhaps no coincidence that the second song, brash banger “My Own Dance” has her “hungover as hell like 2012.”

Don’t believe the reviews: THE TURNING is worth a watch. [review]

Commentary, Film and Television

If you believe the reviews, The Turning is a turn-off.

Audiences and critics seem to be united on that. The ghost story earned an “F” rating on CinemaScore. One writer for the Irish Times claimed that the film was such a “waste of time,” readers shouldn’t even bother to skim his review.

I’m not going to say these people are wrong, just that it would be a mistake to listen to them. While not perfect, The Turning is visually striking, well-acted, consistently scary and surprisingly potent, with a palpable sense of menace building throughout.