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Tag Archives: Music

Julien Baker – Ballad of Big Nothing (Cover)


julien baker ballad big nothing

While things are in the process of changing around here, I came upon this incredible cover of an Elliott Smith song, and had to share. Obviously, the image for this series has always been a picture from the Elliott Smith memorial wall, but I don’t think I’ve ever shared one of his songs as a part of this, because I’d already wrote about him┬áway back when I started the blog, and because I tend to hate it when people cover artists like Elliott Smith and Bob Dylan as they are on the untouchable list.

But – “Ballad of Big Nothing” was always one of Elliott’s songs that I never loved quite as much as the rest for some reason. And when I heard this version, I realized it is the kind of cover that brings something great to the song, rather than just replacing his vocals with vocals I’ll usually care less about.

The way Baker – who was literally only 8 years old when he died – slowed the melody down and stripped away some of the extra elements Elliott had brought into his work in the last couple albums really, really works – and allows the brilliance of his lyrics to shine through even more. I think she managed to make it sound almost uplifting in its declarations, whereas Elliott sounded somewhere between angry and not giving a shit on this one.

Apparently this tribute album will be released on October 14th 2016, and also features covers from J Mascis, Lou Barlow, Amanda Palmer, Juliana Hatfield and Yuck, so I’m putting away my hatred of people messing with his work because these are the right artists to take on such a challenge.


Giveaway – VIP Tickets To Yukon Blonde At The Mod Club

Win VIP Tix To Yukon Blonde At Mod Club

Hi guys! Some of you may have noticed that the blog has been quiet lately, and that is because I am nearing the final stages of a rebrand and redesign – but TTRO will be back and completely revamped this summer, so I am grateful for your patience.

In the meantime, I have an awesome giveaway to share with those of you in Toronto. Yukon Blonde are playing a special show on Thursday June 2nd at the Mod Club, and thanks to Jim Beam, I have a pair of VIP tickets to giveaway to it.

VIP tickets include special seating in the Jim Beam VIP lounge, a meet and greet with the band, some free drinks, and a bourbon tasting – so they’re something you’ll probably want to get in on.

To enter, just email me at lisa at with the subject line “Yukon Blonde.”

I’ll give bonus points to anyone who mentions they are signed up for the upcoming TTRO newsletter, so be sure to mention that you are signed up for it (and use the email you signed up with) when you enter.

The winner will be notified on Wednesday June 1st by 5pm.

Good luck!



Giveaway – Tickets To See The Godfather Live In Concert


Since it’s February and we’re all doing our best to get through the winter, I thought I’d give you another good reason to get out of the house with one more great giveaway.

This Saturday February 20th at 7:30pm, the epic mafia movie we all know and quote is coming to the Sony Centre to be screened while the Motion Picture Symphony Orchestra simultaneously brings its epic soundtrack to life.

You didn’t think The Godfather could get any better, but, it can.

To win a pair of tickets to the screening, email me at with the subject ‘The Godfather.’

Followers can also get up to 3 bonus entries via the following options:

  • liking/commenting on my Instagram post about it.
  • by retweeting my tweet about the giveaway.
  • by┬áliking/commenting or sharing my Facebook post about it.
  • The winner will be contacted via email on Friday morning.

    And if you don’t want to take the risk of not winning tickets, you should probably consider buying your tickets now.



Shaking Off 2015, And Remembering Bowie

this is paradise cameron street

Well, the end of January is here – and I had planned to post this review of 2015 a few weeks back, but then David Bowie died – and it felt wrong to post about my year when I (and the world around me) was feeling so sad about losing this music legend. So I put it off… but then I wasn’t sure if there was any reason for me to write about Bowie after literally anyone and everyone wrote everything that could be said about him.

But then I remembered how shitty I felt (in retrospect) for not writing about Lou Reed when he passed away. Lou’s I don’t give a fuck attitude made him arguably even more of a personal icon for me than the colourful Bowie, so I wasn’t expecting Ziggy Stardust’s death to hit me quite as hard as it did. I am well aware that I will be a mess when Dylan (and Springsteen) leave this world, but I wasn’t expecting it with Bowie. Maybe because I had never thought about it, because he really did seem like a beautiful immortal alien.

What I will say, is that I hope everyone can exit the physical world with the level of creativity, grace, humour and acceptance he did with Blackstar. As he always did, he used his fame to shine a light on something seemingly scary if you’re struggling with it (gender, sexuality, diversity… being different in any way, and now death) and made it into something beautiful.


Now for that 2015 year in review I wrote…. Well, the last one I posted was all the way back at┬áthe end of 2012.

By the end of 2013, I was working my ass off during Christmas break for free – the year end was so stressful I just didn’t have time to write about the year as a whole – but the majority of the year was actually some of the best times of my life – I traveled for free to many festivals, I attended all the events, ended toxic friendships, met someone special, and opportunities came my way that I will remember forever. While I don’t know that this Weakerthans song really summed up 2013 for me, it was an important one for a few reasons, so it gets the title.

In 2014, some shady shit went down. I made mistakes, for sure, but something so vile was done to me that I didn’t feel it would be a positive thing to write about. My privacy was violated in a huge way and lies were spread – I could have sued (and some say I should have because of the proof I have) – but my decision was instead to let it go and use my time in more positive productive ways. The experience made me understand completely why so many Ghomeshi victims chose to stay silent about what happened: you can try to get justice, but you will only stress yourself out more – and after the months I had already spent being in a constantly stressed out state, the last thing I wanted was more stress. I chose to focus on being happy, and put it behind me as much as I could. As the year came to an end, I was very happy. My song of 2014 was Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off. It was the anthem I needed, right when I needed it. Just remember, if you address the lies, you are playing into it. Don’t spend your energy on negativity, it will only drag you down with them.


So here I am at the end of 2015┬ástart of 2016. My song of 2015 is Ryan Adams version of Shake It Off, because 2015 was hard as well, but for personal, rather than outside reasons. This song fully exemplifies the way it feels when a truly important relationship ends and you’re trying your best to move on. Taylor’s version is the anthem you need when people that don’t matter are fucking with you (haters gonna hate), Ryan’s is the version that feels exactly right when it’s someone who matters the most (players gonna play).

2015 was a hard year. I hadn’t fully healed from what happened in 2014, and it’s quite possible I used my relationship to ignore it. If I had someone, I was okay, and I could forget what happened to me and how it tainted my relationship with the thing I had always loved most – music.

As my relationship ended, I struggled deeply to be happy. I had lost my passion for the local music scene, and now I had lost my best friend.

I am lucky enough that I had great friends to pull me through the hardest days. They lifted me up and invited me out, stayed up with me until the sunrise made it safe to sleep again, and reminded me to shake it off, and to know my worth. I also have amazing parents, a family that loves me, and a pomeranian who is still the light of my life. So, while I felt a giant void from the events of the last 2 years, I am well aware how lucky I am, and how the ones that matter never go away, or make you feel like you’re unworthy of their time.

2015 was also the year that I moved to a new apartment. When facing heartbreak, a new home is a good way to wipe away memories and start fresh – but after 7+ years living on Cameron street in the literal heart and soul of the city, I really did not want to move. I started my blog there, ran my business from its moldy, damaged walls, and watched my life radically grow from something I was bored of into the purpose driven, opportunity drenched one I created.

Basically, all the good things that happened in my life happened while I lived there. My life only started to feel like it was mine when I was able to wake up every morning and see that big THIS IS PARADISE Cameron House sign out my window – reminding me that it was paradise – and that my life would never again be like it was before I lived there. Before I knew how to be me. Before I knew who I was supposed to be. I had graduated University when I moved there at 22, and here I was, newly 30, having to leave my first real home behind.

I am now 4 months into the radical shift that is Liberty Village life, a whole 20 minute walk away from my former intersection. And I’d be lying if I said I love this neighbourhood even half as much as I loved Queen and Spadina – but I do love my new apartment – and no longer living in a dilapidated, rundown 3rd floor walk-up (that briefly had mice) is actually quite nice. My giant balcony has a view of Lake Ontario, and I have about double the space of my former place, along with a game room, an onsite gym, free parking, storage, and a park for Mr. Bojangles to play in – aka I giant change from Cameron Street. Oh and I have so much counter space, so I can fulfill all my cooking dreams #growingup.

Speaking of cooking – I set out a bunch of hefty goals in 2015 – and I think one of the only ones I successfully completed was learning to cook. I had a goal of cooking one new from scratch recipe a week – 48 total – and while I didn’t hit that number – I still did pretty damn good. I didn’t want to be 30 and┬ástill eating chemically modified food from a box, and thankfully I will never have to worry about that again.

My intentions for 2016 are, as always, quite large, but I finally feel like I am back in the headspace to make them happen. I have no more distractions and I know the path I need to take to reach the next big goal.

A redesign of TTRO is in the works, and when it happens, things will feel different – but the content itself won’t change because it will still be my thoughts, ramblings, experiences and opinions. I might be writing more about healthy living, and less about drinking all night watching bands, but that’s because I am no longer 24 – as I was when I started this. My life goals are a little different now, so as I change, the blog changes too.

This is my 2016 manifesto:┬áI will not waste a minute of 2016 on people who don’t have a minute for me, as I have done so much in the past. On guys who don’t text back within a respectful timeframe, on “cool” people I think I need to impress, on writing I don’t want to do, on anything that doesn’t inspire me and anyone who doesn’t give me back as much as I give them and want me in their life as much as I want them. I will spend more time working on the big projects I am excited to produce; with the people I know will always be there for me; and doing more things that are good for my health and well-being.

I hope you had a great 2015 (or at the very least, one filled with big lessons as mine was). Here’s to a productive and kind┬á(rest of) 2016.


The New Sony Audio in the Ford Explorer is Incredible

2016 ford explorer sony audio

The way technology is changing vehicles is quite a thing to witness. The connected car is a thing of brilliance and beauty. As if our lives weren’t simple enough, now our cars are as useful as our smartphones.

Well, I didn’t think it could get much better – but the fact is – when it comes to audio, most cars have a decent system, but there is usually room for improvement.

Lucky for us, Ford figured out how to reach the pinnacle of car audio perfection by teaming up with Sony while they were designing their new 2016 Ford Explorer Platinum.

The new Premium Audio System by Sony includes 12 high-quality speakers in 10 areas throughout the car, including sub-woofers – meaning your car has a surround sound system – so everyone in the car gets the same epic sound quality experience (yes even way at the back).

I had a chance to test drive the car and it was almost comparable to concert quality sound – the Clear Phase and Live Acoustic technology ensures there is limited distortion (no matter how loud you blast it), which is key for those long highway drives when all you want to do is singalong at the top of your lungs to Springsteen to make the trip go by faster.

During the launch, myself and a group of bloggers were invited to the Sony Centre to check out the car while also experiencing the concert sound of the Sony Centre, to compare. It’s crazy to me how they were able to capture that live sound experience within the vehicle.

While I wouldn’t normally see the band Magic! out of my own volition, it was super fun to have a private show put on for the very small group of us, in a venue as large as the Sony Centre.

Sidenote – we also stopped for dinner at Pravda Vodka Bar for dinner – which, as a Vodka girl – I had always been meaning to try out. If you’re looking for a great date spot in Toronto, this is the place. Their drink menu is my dream drink menu.

Beyond the brilliant audio, the car itself is beautiful. It’s the largest vehicle I’ve ever driven, which normally would intimidate me, but with SYNC doing its job, and all the other perks it comes with, I was more than happy to drive this SUV around the city. The greatest perk of all might be the massaging seats. I’ve had heated seats before – but this takes it to another level. I get serious lower back pain from time to time and having this option was truly a blessing.

What can’t this car do? Seriously. If you want to impress your relatives this holiday, drive up in one of these. Everyone will want to take turns testing it out.Lisa