Arcade Fire wins Polaris Prize. Duh.

I know everyone is somehow shocked yet not shocked that Arcade Fire won the 2011 Polaris Prize. How could such an indie prize that rests on artistic merit alone who is partial to the band with the shortest wiki entry, go to a musical behemoth like Arcade Fire? Well, simple, it was the best album…

The Bon Iver love-in

Anyone that likes music, likes Bon Iver. Well, they can at least appreciate the music. If you haven't heard of Bon Iver, no worries, just click here—and thank me later. Play it for your girlfriend/boyfriend/dog and love will quickly ensue. Anyway, Bon Iver came to town this past week, and, in short, it was solid.…

NXNE Showcases

What a week. A new puppy, NXNE, MMVAs and speaking events. In short, Hank—that would be the puppy—is a delight/devil. MMVAs were just what you'd expect, not my favourite, it is what it is. But NXNE is always slightly magical—the city's distinct music scene and crazies comes alive. It's refreshing. And I wrote a bunch…

Interview with a Tattoo Artist

by RYAN BOLTON, originally published on blogTO. Tat-A-Rama, more than any of the other tattoo shops we've checked out, has a history. Opening its doors for the first time in '87, many of Toronto's top tattoo artists have worked at Tat-A-Rama at one point. There are only a handful of things that keep a tattoo shop…

Gord Downie. 200 people. Award show.

A night of surprises. That's how I would recount Tuesday night's Verge Music Awards in four words. Gord Downie, for example, played to 150, maybe 200 people tops, at the Mod Club. The biggest award of the night -- Artist of the Year -- went to the Windsor boys in indie-pop band, Michou. They beat out…

Seeing The Decemberists in a snowstorm

by RYAN BOLTON, originally published on blogTO The Decemberists are an apt band to see when a snowstorm is looming. Everyone is giddy, excited for a snow day. Everyone has reason to sport a beard and their warmest flannel. And The Decemberists’ name itself brings forth images of that cold, fluffy stuff. It all started…

Tattoo Shop Profiles

I have been working on a set of Toronto's top ink dens with blogTO. And it's been both an enlightening and enjoyable experience. Here's one of my latest pieces, looking at Sal's Tattoo & Barber Shop. by RYAN BOLTON, originally published on blogTO Sal's Tattoo & Barber Shop doesn't cut hair. They used to, a…

M.I.A. is M.I.A.: The Review

by RYAN BOLTON And the show starts with M.I.A. being, er, MIA. The internationally acclaimed electronic shock rocker is late. M.I.A.'s tour DJ comes on stage to let the crowd know she's running behind and starts spinning some floor-vibrating beats to get the crowd to "vibe out and start dancing." It works. Some 20 minutes…

Arcade Fire’s Toronto Island Show

by RYAN BOLTON Arcade Fire was a far cry from the suburbs last night. They were on an island. Toronto Island. As the band got ready to hit the stage, their third album, which has been as well received as it was anticipated, The Suburbs, became the number one selling album in North America. And…