Archive | April, 2012

Tune-day Tuesday: A Real Hero by College ft. Electric Youth

30 Apr

How many of you have seen Drive, with Ryan Gosling?

The film is certainly not for the faint-hearted, but it is surprisingly clever and well executed. With that being said, I attribute this week’s installment of Tune-day Tuesday to the film, Drive. A Real Hero, by College, came in at the perfect time during the film, serving to create the appropriate atmosphere for the film.

This beautiful song came from a collaboration College did with Canadian duet, Electric Youth. I love the 80s throwback that the song has and its eerie instrumentation juxtaposed against the pure singing. I think the song does a good job of reminding us that we are all just human beings, trying to survive.

“A Real Hero”

(feat. Electric Youth)

Real human being
And a real heroBack against the wall and odds
With the strength of a will and a cause
Your pursuits are called outstanding
You’re emotionally complex
Against the grain of dystopic claims
Not the thoughts your actions entertain
And you have proved to be
A real human being and a real hero
Real human being and a real hero
Real human being and a real hero
Real human being and a real hero
Real human being

Hope you enjoy the song as much as I do!

Keeping it real,
Merzybean.
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My Favourite Places in Pictures

25 Apr

I have talked about my passion and love for photography but have yet to really portray this in my blog.

I decided to compile ten photographs that I have taken in Greece, Italy, and Florida for a first installment of “My Favourite Places in Pictures.” As I have mentioned, tirelessly, travel is one of the most important things in my life and without it I would feel less cultured, educated and curious. Travel ignites a creativity within me and a yearning for discovery.

Orlando, Florida: Animal Kingdom Safari

Milos, Greece:

Rome, Italy & Sorento, Italy

I hope that these photographs brought you along with to some of my favourite places. I can’t wait to do another post with more photos of my favourite places! Feel free to share some of your favourite travel stories.

Xoxo,

Merzybean.

Tune-day Tuesday: COACHELLA edition.

17 Apr

Firstly, I apologize that I have not been blogging nearly as much as I would like to be! This is partially to blame on my rigid gym routine, as well as my oddly busy schedule. Who knew that I’d be so busy in the days waiting for my full-time job to begin and in the midst of career-job hunting! I digress. The reason I went on about my lack of posting is because of this week’s Tune-day Tuesday installment. As all music enthusiasts are aware of, Coachella Weekend 1 has just past and Weekend 2 is approaching. For those of you who are unfamiliar, Coachella is an annual music and arts festival that is held in California. The beauty of this festival is that it connects the different genres of music and brings a diverse collection of artists and audiences together to celebrate their universal love for music. Music is one of the most important things in my life, I truly cannot live without music. This is why I think that music festivals, such as Coachella, are so incredible.


In honour of Coachella, I will be featuring five artists/bands in this week’s Tune-day Tuesday installment because I cannot pick one song this week with all of the wonderful performances I’ve been catching on YouTube. Thanks to YouTube, those
of us who are not fortunate enough to physically attend the festival, can still capture highlights!

Without further ado, here are some of my favourite artists playing at Coachella, with my favourite songs by the particular artists (in no particular order).

1. Holocene: Bon Iver

Above is Bon Iver’s set at Coachella 2012.

I think that Bon Iver was one of the most underrated talents of 2011 and finally, in 2012, they are receiving the recognition they truly deserve. Bon Iver epitomizes what good song writing and composition can do to a song. Holocene, which was up for a Grammy at the 54th Grammy’s, is so incredible.

and at once I knew I was not magnificent
Strayed above the highway aisle
Jagged vacant, thick without us
I could see for miles, miles, miles

Rolling Stone Magazine writes that “The cathedral-folk sound is idyllic, the memories of an ex are terrifying. This takes sensitive-guy poetry somewhere sublime” as they listed Holocene as one of the 50 best songs in 2011.

The genius behind Bon Iver: Justin Vernon.

2. Echoes of Silence- The Weeknd

And you reply I like the thrill
Nothing’s gonna make me feel this real
So baby don’t go home
I don’t wanna spend tonight alone

The Weeknd represents Toronto, very well, in my opinion. I always love featuring local talent and Abel Tesfaye, as we all know as the Weeknd, lends his beautiful voice to collaborations with the likes of Drake. The Weeknd brings a dark edge to R&B and has a really beautiful voice, which can be quite rare in his genre. In Echoes of Silence, The Weeknd showcases his beautiful voice in a haunting anthem about loneliness and the echoes of silence that ensue. I think you will fall in love with this song, as I did, after listening to it. I truly don’t have a bad word to say about it. The entire album is incredible and you can download it for free off of The Weeknd’s offical website: http://the-weeknd.com.

3. Cosmic Love- Florence and the Machine

As I’m sure those of you who follow my Tune-day Tuesday posts have noticed, I sometimes post the live versions of the songs I feature because I simply prefer the sound of live music. I’m sure you can agree with me that the true test of an artist is how much I enjoy their live performance. If the sound on the CD surpasses the live performance, I am left feeling let down. Florence Welch has a beautiful, powerhouse voice that never disappoints. Florence and the Machine released their album Lungs, and Cosmic Love is my favourite song off of the 2009 released album.

The stars, the moon, they have all been blown out
You left me in the dark
No dawn, no day, I’m always in this twilight
In the shadow of your heart

And in the dark, I can hear your heartbeat
I tried to find the sound
But then it stopped, and I was in the darkness,
So darkness I became

It seems as though the songs I choose share a common them of loneliness and darkness that results because of the loneliness, but these songs are just so stirring. Cosmic Love is no exception, as the lyrics tangle the audience up in the story that Welch ever so beautifully sings about.

4. Bloom-Radiohead

Radiohead is no stranger to the Coachella stage.

Off of King of Limbs, Bloom is one of my favourite Radiohead songs because of the ambiance it creates. Neil McCormick, for The Telegraph, accurately writes “simultaneously deeply weird and inviting, Bloom leaves me tingling with delicious anticipation. Which is, oddly enough, just about what you might expect.”

Open your mouth wide
A universal sigh
And while the ocean blooms
It’s what keeps me alive
So why does this still hurt?
Don’t don’t blow your mind with why

I’m moving out of orbit
Turning in somersaults
A giant turtle’s eyes
Jellyfish float by.
(it’s what keeps me alive)


The beauty and the mystery of Radiohead is what is left to the imagination.

5. Born To Be-The Airplane Boys

Again, I’m proudly featuring Toronto talent. The rap duo known as The Airplane Boys, is made up of Beck Motley and Bon Voyage. As their Facebook page describes them, they are “an evolutionary breed of sound that pushes the barriers of modern music. Having mastered their craft with a better grasp of mainstream music, The Airplane Boys have begun to make their move into the pop music industry. Their digital sound constantly evolves; built on captivating synths, experimental drum patterns and intricate lyrics. The intent for change is to stray away from the old to brand artistic music and pave a new path to stardom.”

Something that makes The Airplane boys both unique and relevant is their ability to bring two genres together so beautifully.

Born To Be was actually the very first song Airplane Boys’ song I listened to and I was immediately captivated. Not only do the rappers have a spitfire way of throwing out their lyrics and their rhymes, they are able to pull back the energy and lure in listeners with the beautiful melody.

the things we fear in the most, already happened 
what’s life without drive and no passion? 
It all passed by, I was passive 
but they can’t set sail without the captain 
same song we all feel alone 
thank god mistakes have me grown 

Well friends, that about does it for this week’s installment of Tune-day Tuesday. I hope you can appreciate that it took me quite a long time to determine which 5 artists I would feature out of the entire 2012 Coachella line up. If I could, I would have written about even more! I think that the collection of features that I did choose represent my musical preference quite accurately. My advice, if you’re looking for new music to listen to, pick a few random artists/bands on the Coachella line up and check them out on YouTube. This is one of the best ways to find new, excellent music, and if you’re anything like me, you’re always wanting to hear something new!

 

Tune-day Tuesday: Gotye feat. Kimbra- Somebody That I Used To Know

10 Apr

I know that I’m a little bit late with this Tune-day Tuesday feature, but I couldn’t leave it any longer! Somebody That I Used to Know, off of Gotye’s third album Making Mirrors, has been gaining popularity since its July 2011 release, and rightfully so. I love when you can listen to a song on a top 40s radio station as well as on the alternative rock station. The song has an 80s feel to it and the balance between the singing and the instrumentation is just right, in my opinion.

What I love so much about the song is the power that Gotye puts into the chorus. The build up to the chorus is haunting and pulls on my heart strings because I can truly feel every lyric. The lyrics place me back to past memories. The song, featuring New Zealand artist Kimbra, puts out a very powerful message quite simply. How many of us have people in our lives, who we were once very close with in one way or another, and now they’re simply just somebody that we used to know?

I told myself that you were right for me
But felt so lonely in your company

But that was love and it’s an ache I still remember

I find that there are so many people who can listen to these lyrics and completely understand what Gotye is singing about. Feeling so alone while you’re in someone’s company, we’ve all been there.

Amazingly enough, the Walk Off The Earth cover has a staggering amount of views. I’m sure if you know the song, you have seen this video. If not, it’s a must see:

But you didn’t have to cut me off                                                                                            

Make it like it never happened and that we were nothing                                            

I don’t even need your love, but you treat me like a stranger                                   

And that feels so rough

That’s all,

Merzybean.

Get Your Game Face On

3 Apr

One of my favourite hobbies is playing games with my friends. This has always been one of our favourite things to do as a group and this has been the case for over ten years! My parents ignited my love for boardgames from an early age.

I wanted to share with you all a few of my favourite board games and party games, in no particular order.

1. Apples to Apples

This game is fantastic because you can have between 4 and 10 players. The objective of the game is once the cards (red apples) have been dealt, a green apple is drawn. Each player must select the card from their individual hand and put it in the center of the table face down, selecting a card that they think works best with the word on the green apple card. Each round has a judge, so choosing the card is also determined based on who the judge is. If the judge selects your card, you win that round. The role of judge alternates every round and it adds a fun dynamic to the game because some rounds get more heated than others.

The other great part about this game is that every time you play it is a completely different experience. Whether it is because of the people you are playing with, or the cards you are dealt. This is a must play game if you’re looking for a fun couple hours.

2. Taboo

Taboo is one of my favourite games. I have played it with my friends, family and even my students! Warning to teachers playing Taboo in class, skim through the cards because hearing a grade 12 boy describe lingerie to his team is slightly uncomfortable.

The object of the game is to describe the word at the top of the card, without using any of the 5 words listed underneath the word. Here’s an example:

If you accidentally say one of the forbidden words, a member from the opposing team will buzz you with the obnoxious sounding buzzer provided. Each team will try and go through as many cards as possible within the time limit. This game is always fun when playing with close friends/family because you can often use inside jokes or say things that will be a direct hint for what the desired word is. Taboo is a fun, lighthearted game that always has the players laughing as each round goes by.

3. Cranium

The beauty of Cranium is that this game is fun for everyone. Like a traditional board game, the objective of the game is to move your player piece around the board and reach the center of the board first. The great part about Cranium is how you arrive to this point. There are four different options in Cranium: Creative Cat, Star Performer, Word Worm and Data Head. Each turn is unpredictable because you can go from answering a trivia question, to humming the tune of a song, to sculpting an object, to unscrambling a word. This game gives everyone an opportunity to shine, whether you’re a right brain or a left brain.

4. Settlers of Catan

It’s true what they say, don’t judge a book (or a game in this case) by its cover! My good friends, Amy and Ross, are wonderful hosts for many of our frequent game nights. It was at their house that I was introduced to The Settlers of Catan, or Catan for short. This game did not sound appealing to me originally and I regret doubting this game because it is truly amazing.

The objective of this game is strategy based, which makes for a great competition.   Players must expand their colonies by building roads, settlements, and villages by harvesting commodities. The Settlers of Catan website explains in more detail: Trade sheep, lumber, bricks and grain for a settlement, bricks and wood for a road, or try to complete other combinations for more advanced buildings, services and specials.

Trade with other players, or at local seaports to get resources you might lack. The first player to achieve 10 points from a combination of roads, settlements, and special cards wins.

If the opportunity ever arises, do not pass up the chance to play Catan. The game could last up to several hours but the fight to the end is always a lot of fun.

5. Trivial Pursuit

Of course, everyone knows about Trivial Pursuit. Trivial Pursuit is an obvious classic. The objective of the game, for those of you who are unfamiliar (if there are any of you), is to move around the board and answer questions correctly. You receive a wedge for answering a question correctly. There are 6 categories so you want to get a wedge from each category, answering a question correctly for each of the categories, and get to the end of the game first.  Whether you win or lose, you always leave with a little bit of useless trivia at the end of a game of Trivial Pursuit.

If you have any favourite games that you want to share, please do!

Until next time,

Merzybean.