which keep the sheep all right with anything that seems safe and convenient

in anticipation for next weekend, i decided to fill this out for fun.

Choose a band / artist and answer ONLY in titles of their songs
Hot Water Music

Are you male or female:
Man the Change

Describe Yourself:
Choked and Separated

How do some people feel about you:
It's Hard To Know

How do you feel about yourself:
Alright For Now

How do you feel about ex boyfriends/girlfriends:
Sweet Disasters

Describe current boyfriend/girlfriend/crush:
Arms Can't Reach

Describe where you want to be:
Driving Home

Describe how you live:

Describe how you love:
Never Ender

What would you ask for if you had just one wish:
Better Sense

Share a few words of Wisdom:
Keep It Together

Now say goodbye:
Last Goodbyes


TOP 20 ALBUMS OF 2007.

20. THE SHINS: wincing the night away. [sub pop]
i squeezed this one on because i really got into it when it came out. the first few tracks are really great, and i like the mellow vibe. with that, it's hard for me to say that i like this record more so than either of the previous two shins full length efforts, nor can i really say i like more than 3-4 songs.

19. MODERN LIFE IS WAR: midnight in america. [equal vision]
this record came out shortly after i got really into MLIW's previous effort witness, and i guess i was a little let down at first, to say the least. a few tracks really jumped out at me at first, and int he long run, this record really grew on me (giving it it's place here) but i must say, the vocals and over all vibe of the record lacks that sincere, pissed off energy that i loved about witness. it does have some great visuals in the lyrics though, kudos!

18. AS CITIES BURN: come now sleep. [solid state]
played a few one-off shows with these kids this summer, and i suppose i was under the impression that they were still a metalcore band? catching some tracks off this disc live really perked my ears up, and after seeing a whole set, i definitely wanted to hear the record. using the recording team of the dude who did some of the new underoath record, and those guys in sweden who recorded the shape of punk to come really excited me, and certainly payed off. this record is fabulous, with the "post whatever" vibe of bands like brand new and the ability to unleash into something totally heavy at any moment really did it for me on this one. some great lyrical images if you're into religion at all, and definitely something not all that preachy and more so self searching if you're not.

17. SIGHTS AND SOUNDS: s/t ep. [smallman]
i heard that andrew from comeback kid had started a side project band with his brother and adrian from the getaway, heard the demos on myspace and didn't think much of it, until rob dyer asked us to play his birthday, and said that sights and sounds would be opening. the day before the show they did their own little thing at sneaky dee's and i swung by, too late for the set, but with enough time to chat with andrew and grab a copy of the demo. after listening the whole way through in my car, i was already stoked for the show the next day, and had the entire ep learned word for word by then. it's rad to see people who are really talented in one field of music branch out to do something different, yet still incorporating elements of what they've been doing. with that, sights and sounds has a really aggressive post-hardcore/experimental rock feel. while i can see a lot of andrews influences on this project [see: mew, the foo fighters, etc], this band sounds like something completely different and unique in itself. the last track(s) the only time/part two especially stand out. check them on myspace!

16. BAYSIDE: the walking wounded. [victory]
here we have a band that i consider my brothers, and have grown with for close to 5 years now. this record seemed to define everything they have gone through and worked towards in that time, and propped itself at the top of their catalog. low tuned instruments and pop hooks and structures make a fine contrast on this record, making it both heavy, dark and catchy. i think everyone is totally on their a game here, the songs are great, and the bayside flower is in full bloom.

15. THE WOODEN SKY (formerly 'friday mornings regret'): when lost at sea. [self released]
i had a lot of friends tell me about this band towards the beginning of the year, specifically a girl i used to kind of/sorta/not really date (because her boyfriend was in the band) as well as rob from s4c. i heard the song when lost at sea on their myspace after aforementioned girl told me i'd really like her new boyfriends band, and kind of putting it off. rob ended up giving me a copy of this cd when it came out, and they also played his birthday show. i kinda left this cd in the changer of my car, and ended up listening to it over and over each time i forgot to bring my ipod with me, but that never seemed to bum me out. this record is a great little alt-country number, with it's peaks and valleys of dynamic elements. the vocals are haunting and extremely original, and the songs are undeniable! the bassist of the band isn't dating that girl anymore either, and him and i totally became friends as well! the best part about this record is that it's pretty strictly DIY. self produced and released, and easily stands up with anything else out there today. can't wait to see what these guys do this year.

14. COMEBACK KID: broadcasting. [victory]
this was definitely a record i was highly anticipating. with the departure of former frontman, and all around sweet bro scott wade, only to be replaced by guitarist and former figure four frontman andrew neufeld, comeback kid seemed to be posed with a fresh start of sorts. i heard the first track off this record, and was totally stoked, but upon listening to the whole thing, the darker, less-punk-more-metal sound kind of let me down a bit. upon further listening, and after spending 3 months touring with these guys this summer, i totally love this record! the songs and the vibe definitely grew on me, even though it didn't grab me from day one like their previous material did.

13. TIM ARMSTRONG: a poets life. [epitaph/hellcat]
i heard the somewhat cheesy, and totally dancy single into action on the radio a lot while recording this spring in LA, and had a hard time getting the hooks out of my head. i definitely wasn't jumping up to rush out and buy it at that point though. after coming home and spending some solid time with this record and my roommate chris on our rooftop deck, relaxing to it's smooth vibes, and some tasty barbeque, this record really settled in for me. definitely the type of record you want to chill out to with some friends over some grilled food and your refreshing beverage of choice (lemonade for me!) i decided to buy this for my sister for christmas, because she really likes reggae music. i said to her "here's a dude who changed mine and justin (my brother)'s lives playing music as close to what you like as a white, tattooed guy from the streets of the bay area can get. i don't think she really liked it as much as i did.

12. SMOKE OR FIRE: this sinking ship. [fat]
another record that i got into real early last year. this sinking ship stood up as one of the best punk records for me through out the year. mixing the sounds of classic east coast punk rock with the grits of the south via gainesville's classic post-hardcore "beardrock" sound. this album is both catchy and aggressive, tons of hooks and a few real barn burners! get into it!

11. WILCO: sky blue sky. [nonesuch]
paul koehler had been trying to push this record on me all year, and for some stupid reason, i never really took a listen until the end of the year. upon first listen, i was totally hooked, and ended up listening to it for about 10 days straight before putting anything else on. i was totally stoked on how classic, yet modern this band was, totally reminding me of classics such as the eagles, the byrds, chicago and of course, the beatles, yet doing something new and original with their sound. i loved the totally organic sound and production quality this record has as well. in attempt to fulfill wilco's moniker of "dad-rock", and get him into current, hip, modern music (that's not something along the lines of michael buble), i bought this record for my step dad glen for christmas. i think he may have been hesitant at first, not sure what to think of my musical tastes sometime, but after i insisted we put the record on then and there, he totally got into it a few minutes in. hopefully it's getting regular spins in his suv, along side sports and traffic updates on "the fan 590".

10. CRIME IN STEREO: ...is dead. [bridge nine]
here's another record i got into super late in the year, probably the last couple days to be honest. i had heard a lot about this band, and had a lot of people tell me that i would be into them. i was totally under the impression that they would sound like poppy hardcore punk, along the lines of comeback kid, strike anywhere, kid dynamite, etc, and their first record totally does, and i loved it. i heard a ton of hype generated around the release of ...is dead and was pretty surprised that it took me as long as it did to pick it up. basically, this record, to me, sounds like a hardcore bands take on brand new and taking back sunday, and i totally love it. tons of great hooks, and rad grooves, with that general hardcore overtone. definitely a record you need to check out if any of this sounds like something you'd be interested in.

09. JOSE GONZALES: in our nature. [mute]
i heard a lot about this record this summer, and listened for the first time with rennick and aner while we put together my bike. paul also talked this record up a ton to me, and eventually hooked me up with it on the ipod. i was definitely stoked on it, but after seeing him play by chance of sharing a venue in denmark, i was totally stoked on it and started to listen more. this record has great vibes, smooth melodies and crisp tones. stands up with all of my other favourite singer-songwriters, and definitely adds his own little flare into a pretty straight up genre per say.

08. CHUCK RAGAN: feast or famine. [sideonedummy / no idea]
anyone who knows me at all knows that if chuck ragan shit on a piece of vinyl and pressed it on multiple/limited variations, i would buy every copy! this is certainly the case here! another solid singer songwriter number, and i think chuck only slides above jose, taking the S/S cake on principle alone. this record came highly anticipated, after hearing the demos, the live recordings, and well...being a HWM superfan. the full length doesn't let me down one bit, and finally hearing these songs with slick production gives them that much more staying power with me. the boat is probably one of my favourite songs of the year, and definitely one of the more moving songs of all time for me, an instant classic for sure. chuck is holding it down on his own, but i can't help but get stoked on seeing him back with the boys!

07. WEATHERBOX: american art. [doghouse]
i think i checked this one out on recommendation of my friend peter, and like most of these releases, was stoked on it from the start. it's great to hear a new, young band that reminds me of stuff i'm already into [see: critera, say anything, piebald] yet putting their own fresh spin on it, and doing their own thing. i got pretty obsessed with this disk while recording in LA, and couldn't turn it off or at least a week, and never really got sick of it. it's also great to see that doghouse is still putting out great records, as they released some of my favourite records of all time back in the day [forever and counting, four minute mile, fate's got a driver, et al].

06. MEMORIAL: berlin ep. [self released/not-revelation]
scott wade gets all the credit for this one, after hooking me up in a trade we did in the early summer. the story goes with this band, some guys who used to be in count me out, renne heartfelt and some other bands started this band, and planned to sign to revelation records. this move made perfect sense, as their debut ep totally resembled past rev landmark albums by elliott and texas is the reason, but i guess there was some legal issues with some past contract commitments the guys from heartfelt had. so basically, this ep/7" was ready to go on rev, and got held up for months, and eventually was decided that it was never going to see the light of day on a real label. the band made a wise call and decided to release it themselves, digitally via their myspace/paypal donations, and i totally love it! the main reason that scott passed it along to me was so that i could also give to former comeback kid bassist kevin call, and he, like me, couldn't get enough of it. ignore all the name dropping in this review, and check this ep out!

05. AGAINST ME!: new wave. [sire]
this record was all of the following: highly anticipated by me, extremely well received by critics, extremely bashed by ultra-punk fairweather fans. definitely a huge change of pace for the band [literally, you won't find one fast song on this disc], moving to a new [major] label and a new sound, which was a bit of a shock for me and the rest of their previous fan base it seems. i was definitely anticipating this release after hearing most of the songs live at last summers warped tour. while this record doesn't rank nearly as high as it's preceder searching for a former clarity did on my top albums of '05 did, it still stands solid on my list. aside from the lack of a fast song, i find that i love the first 4-5 songs of this record, and then it starts to trail off from there. definitely stoked on the steps this band has taken to break out into the main stream, and against popular punk belief, i think they are doing it for the right reasons. can't wait to see what they will do, and where they will go next, though as much as i wish it were true, i don't think they will become the next nirvana as much as the major label execs do.

04. GASLIGHT ANTHEM: sink or swim. [xoxo]
here's the real diamond in the rough for the year! definitely taking the cake as far as brand new debut releases goes, and well deserved it is. a friend from punkstop.com passed this along to josh at bamboozle fest, with the guarantee that he and i would love it, and guess what? we did just that. definitely listened to it for like 15 hours straight on the drive home in the van that weekend, and have given it excessive spins since then. this record totally rips, and is totally in the vein of that beloved gainesville sound, and that east coast [new brunswick specifically] vibe. they even give a little nod to their hometown roots and scene heroes with the jam 'we came to dance' [see: "you ain't never seen a two-step, like you seen it from your mamas house, where kids flash like lightning to the very best dancers around, we learned from the very best dancers in town"]. this record even has a little bit of a country/billy bragg vibe, with a couple mellowed out tracks in the middle and at the end. top notch!

03. THE WEAKERTHANS: reunion tour. [epitaph/anti]
i've pretty much decided that these guys can't put out a bad record [anymore...fallow was okay, but kinda bland]. i've loved their last three releases now just as much as the last, but never really quite more. each disc seems to have it's own vibe and growth, but stays on their a game with each. this record is no different, with similar imagery as the previous records [songs about odd characters from canada; and more specifically winnipeg, wonderful metaphors about love and loss, and even the cat is back!]. i can't say enough great things about john k. sampson and his poetic lyric writing abilities, the man is basically a genius! even though they take like 3+ years between each release, and really only tour once or twice per album cycle, i never seem to get bored of this band. to top this all off, i got to catch a recent performance in toronto, and they completely slayed, playing basically all of this record and the last, and a few choice numbers from left and leaving, including two encores spanning 9 songs between them. this record, just like, and with the help of the others, will definitely keep me tied over for the next 3 years before another release.

02. ATTACK IN BLACK: marriage / the curve of the earth. [dine alone]
alright, we have a bit of a special case here. not only did this band meet all my expectations for 2007 with the release of marriage, but they went and squeezed a vinyl/digital release into the end of the year with a home run out of the diy/home recording and obscure structure of the curve of the earth. let me explain more: basically these 4 kids from welland ontario who used to be really into minor threat, and played in hardcore bands before that released this ep last year called widows, and turned a lot of heads in the process. widows saw them step out of their punk rock roots a little, producing 4 songs along the lines of constantines, the weakerthans, and against me!, but still keeping a bit of the punk flare and attitude to boot. over the course of the next year and a bit, they seemed to get way into neil young, and stepped back up to the plate and delivered mariage, a groundbreaking full-length debut, as far as a few kids from the suburbs are concerned. in conjunction with a few cross canada tours with their pals in alexisonfire and city&colour, and plenty of support from the toronto media, they got off to a pretty good start. within the next few months these kids would do a few more trips across the trans-canada, and one day [supposedly] stumbled upon some weird old tape machine in their basement, and got the bright idea to each write, record and sing 4 songs in their simplest form. that meant vocal debuts for the majority of the band, which for some, were extremely refreshing, and for others, definitely seemed fresh, but that didn't seem to matter, as it all flowed with the vibe of the songs and the record as a whole. even though i got pretty bummed when i heard these dudes were supposedly talking shit on some of my best friends, i can't help but love these records, and am stoked on the infinite potential these kids have to remain my favourite new band in canada.

01. LIFETIME: s/t. [decaydance / fueled by ramen / atlantic]
when i learned that one of my favourite bands of all time was back together, and working on a new record, i was pretty stoked, but definitely concerned slightly that it could end up sucking and ruining the whole thing for me. luckily this worry was extremely slight, and completely uncalled for, as this record deserves it's spot as my #1 this year. strangely enough, this was not only my #1 anticipated record of the year, but the first record that i got in '07, and it's no wonder that it stayed at the top. any lifetime fan that doesn't think this record rips, and would've, could've [and probably should've] come out in '99, is pretty much out of their minds, and needs to get off their jaded asses and get into it. all the energy, the breakdowns, the sing alongs, and the hooks are there, and they sound better and tighter than ever before. the icing on the cake for this one was most certainly their performance at the kathedral in toronto this past april. after seeing the first reunion show weekend in new jersey back in the summer of '05, i thought that i would never see the band at the top of their game like that again, and while this show may not've been as special as the first, it certainly had it's own special feeling for me. being able to see a band i love play in my city, after not only being broken up for ten years, but coming back with a killer record to boot, and being able to jump around, sing along and stage dive with my friends and local show-goers was really special for me. forget about anything that may get you down about this record; the fact that it was put out by pete wentz/a major label, and the fact that it wasn't released ten years ago, because seriously, this record is as good as it gets in this day and age.

new records that i can't wait to get into in '08.
- constantines.
- the loved ones - build and burn.
- cursed III.
- david bazan's black cloud.
- set your goals.
- gaslight anthem ep.
- perhaps new owen material?
- hot water music - til the wheels fall off & any new music they may make collectively or individually.

stop runnin' yo' mouth, start havin' some fun!

woahhhh, i guess i've really let this go, on account of not having much time with internet connection the past 2 months being in england, europe, home in toronto with no internet at the apartment, and australia.

2008: gonna be great!
new years eve was pretty fun, and so far, 2008 is going so well. we were in australia for the past two weeks, which was amazing. today we flew to nagoya japan, and all of our luggage/gear is still in aus. i basically am stuck with the gym shorts and hoodie i wore on the plane, and it's fucking cold here!

i got a haircut in australia, too.

i'll try to put together a top albums of 2007 post tonight, and hopefully catch up on the last two months over the next two weeks.

things to look forward to:
- no hate in '08.
- flying to nyc to see hot water music in jersey on the 25th.
- stacy smallwood, katiebrown, et al in nyc.
- til the wheels fall off 2xLP w/ hand screened cover.
- canadian tour featuring rob dyer.
- cancer bats/this is hell on day off in toronto.
- a week and a bit off before us tour.
- a month+ off after us tour.