Toronto venues: The Matador

Toronto the “Music City”? I’m not sure “the” is the right word, but maybe “a” would be better used.

Articles on the sale of the Toronto music venue the Matador (466 Dovercourt Rd) have surfaced. Former owner Paul McCaughey recently sold the Matador after buying it from the long-time owner Ann Dunn in 2010.

This has got me thinking about a number of things:

  • Where does change come from?
  • How can we cultivate and support music better?
  • Should we rely on wealthy investors to save our iconic venues?
  • What constitutes a good venue?

A very personal article by my pal, Ben Rayner. 
An article by former owner Paul McCaughey.

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Gush: “Slow Train” by Kevin Morby ft. Cate Le Bon

Damn this is good. Oddly I was writing about how amazing the National’s tune “You Had Your Soul With You” is, thinking exclusively about the addition of Gail Anne Dorsey’s vocals and *poof* enters a very conventional, pretty sounding Cait Le Bon, which really worked for my simple folk ears. Beautiful, elegant and minimal.

Chill out with this tune and let all the dumb frivolous stuff in your life melt away…

Gush: “Sisyphus” by Andrew Bird

Sisyphus was a cruel Greek king who was punished to push a large rock up on a steep hill, only to find it rolling back on nearing the top. Ever since, he has been known for pushing the rock tirelessly till eternity (source)

I’ve been internet searching all kinds of album titles this year. This sweet little tune is the best thing I’ve heard in a while. From it’s “Let it roll…” bit, which I feel may reference George Harrison’s “Ballad of Sir Frankie Crisp (Let it Roll)” and to the Radiohead “Karma Police”-type piano layer. And the bass line reference I can’t quite put my mind on (I will report back on this later). This song is lush, as Andrew Bird so often does, but it’s fast-spitted words makes it more exciting and different.

This is a keeper. The album drops next week. I’ve ordered multiple copies to my beautiful record store. 

Sarah Harmer on the Environment

I recall musician Sarah Harmer being an activist with the release of her concert and documentary film, The Escapement Blues. Great to see thirteen years later she’s still using her voice to make change.

Sarah warned: “We need to understand the threats in Bill 66 that concerned so many of us are the same that we have with the endangered species act review,”

Gush: “Ballad of El Goodo” by Big Star

Four minutes and twenty seconds of chills. I’ll never forget hearing this song for the first time at the Choir! Choir! Choir!/Jody Stephens event at the Great Hall.

The C!C!C! team had rehearsed the back up vocals to join in as Jody played this song. . They were also in the crowd and could actually sing, so it was a very welcome contribution. It was a delightful change up from singing “Thirteen” about one hundred times that evening