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The Mixtape – Songs from Osheaga 2012

Part of the long hiatus the blog has had was because I spent a week in Montreal, enjoying what has quickly become one of my favorite cities and most importantly, attending Osheaga. I didn’t get to go to Bonnaroo this year so this was my big festival for 2012 – and it did not disappoint.

I’ll say right now – it’s better than Bonnaroo. The lineup was stacked, every band played an incredible set, and the organization, and the crowds – are much better here (except all French people smoke so there was always smoke in my face that I couldn’t escape in the crowd, which was gross). I will have full coverage of all the bands I saw each day up soon – but for now, here’s a mix made up of my favorite songs from most of the bands that played the festival. Well, the ones I wanted to see (or was at least considering seeing).

Stream it below, then DOWNLOAD IT HERE if you like it.


(If you represent an artist on the mix and would like their song removed, please contact me at lisa at and I will happily remove it right away, thanks!)

Sigur Ros – Svefn-G-Englar This song is to me, what heaven would sound like if it exists. Hopelandish indeed.

The Black Keys РTighten Up These guys are probably on too many of my mixes, but goddamn, there can never be enough Dan Auerbach in this life. Sexiest man at Osheaga, sexiest set of the fest.

Florence ¬†And The Machine –¬†You’ve Got The Love Though I have a hard time stomaching the ‘flowery female musician’ performance she and¬†artists¬†like her are so fond of, girl can sing, and she was one of the few main stage performers who really had fun with the crowd. And it’s an amazing song. When food is gone you are my daily meal.¬†

City and Colour –¬†The Grand Optimist I skipped his set for Bloc Party. No regrets there.

Bloc Party –¬†This Modern Love Because they were incredible, as always.¬†This modern love breaks me.¬†This modern love wastes me.¬†Listen to the new album here!

MGMT –¬†Time to Pretend While 78 percent of Osheaga was watching Justice, I saw MGMT for the first time. Fireworks went off, it was fun.

Feist –¬†1234 She didn’t play this song, which seems a bit cruel, but she was incredible anyhow.

Metric –¬†Combat Baby They didn’t play this song, which was also disappointing. This was my first time seeing them live (though I’ve seen Emily and James with BSS many many times), as they fell off my radar after¬†Old World Underground and Live It Out.

Justice –¬†Genesis They are one of those bands I feel like I should like, but I have yet to really understand the appeal. But i’m not big into electronic music, so that is probably the only reason.

Franz Ferdinand –¬†Ulysses This whole fest brought me right back to college/my early indie kid days. Franz, Feist, Metric, Bloc Party, The Walkmen, The Shins, The Black Keys – that basically sums up what I listened to in 2004/5… Franz fell off my radar fast after their first album, which I probably hadn’t played since 05, so it was very nostalgic to hear songs like Michael live.

Garbage –¬†I Think I’m Paranoid And then there was the random 90s throwback with Garbage. Shirley Manson is the definition of a performer. I wanted more ladies like her on stage and less of the flowery ‘wave your hands around’ contrived bs too many of the female musicians playing seemed to be doing.

M83 –¬†Midnight City Didn’t get to see their show – Black Keys will always win against a new band – but this song is incredible.

Cursive – Drunken Birds I didn’t end up catching their set, and I gotta admit, I don’t even really like this song. But for those of you that do…

The Jesus and Mary Chain¬†– Sometimes Always JAMC live was the best part of the festival, easily. Everyone else was watching Snoop Dogg/Lion, but there was still enough awesome people at the Green Stage with me that it was a perfect show. I got much closer than I would have had I saw them in Toronto, and they played the same set, so I didn’t miss out on anything. And yes, Draper’s new wife on Mad Men came out to sing Hope Sandoval’s vocals. She’s no Mazzy Star, but it worked. This song is the definitive JAMC song, for me.

The Raveonettes –¬†That Great Love Sound Few songs bring me as much joy as this one.

The Walkmen РCanadian Girl Missed their set because it was so early on Friday (WHY? They are a much bigger/better band than Down With Webster who I had to sit through, seriously), which kills me, because they probably played this song, which I have still somehow never ever heard live.

Little Dragon –¬†Ritual Union The only time I passed by the electronic stage and didn’t cringe was during Little Dragon. LOVE this song. Solid band.

The Jezabels¬†– Easy To Love Love this girl and this band rocks live. She’s like Karen O, it was a breath of fresh air in a line up filled with female musicians who do not subscribe to rock n roll ethos.

Yukon Blonde –¬†Oregon Shores What does it mean to fall in love when you’re alone? I don’t know, Yukon Blonde, but it’s a great question.

Zeus –¬†Hello Tender Love Zeus played at 1pm on Sunday – which means I was still asleep. Missing Zeus might be the saddest part of my weekend. I can’t even describe what this song does to me, it’s¬†inappropriate.

Portugal. The Man –¬†Sleep Forever I’ve still never seen this band, which sucks because I love their sound. This song blows me away. Why were so many good bands playing before 2pm, and so many average ones around 4pm? Only real issue with the festival, in my opinion.

Tame Impala – Solitude Is Bliss This song is bliss.


 Did you attend Osheaga? Which bands blew you away? 


Osheaga Day 1 – Franz Ferdinand, The Weeknd, Florence + the Machine, Sigur Ros, MGMT, Les Breastfeeders

There are music fans who love the commune spirit of big outdoor music festivals, but there are just as many music fans who can’t stand them. The idea of being stuck with tens of thousands of others outside in blistering heat, using porta-potties and being all but cut off from the outside world can be a turn off for many – but I adore it. According to older friends, a day will come when I will no longer find these events as enjoyable as I currently do, but I truly hope that instead I’ll end up like those rare cute older couples I see at these things who decided not to put an age limit on fun.

This was my first time attending Osheaga, and I am not¬†overexaggerating¬†when I say I was incredibly impressed. While the only similarly large music festival I’ve been to that I can compare it to is Bonnaroo, Osheaga was much more organized and convenient. The lineup was also planned out in a far more¬†efficient¬†way, as the two side by side main stages meant you could listen to one big band while getting close to the other stage for the band you really want to see. At Bonnaroo, all the stages are far apart, so you truly have to pick and choose, and miss out on many of the artists you probably want to see.

There’s also the fact that one is in Montreal in August (80 degree heat – perfection) and the other is in Tennessee in June (100 degree desert like heat – death like). I couldn’t help but laugh at people complaining about the heat at Osheaga – I was more than fine with one bottle of water a day, when I needed at least 4 at Bonnaroo and was still dehydrated.

Also, because you’re not camping at Osheaga, it is possible to avoid the nasty porta-potties completely (I DID) so long as you go to the bathroom before you get there and once you get off the island. This was a big plus for me, as that was the absolute grossest part of Roo. To continue with that, being able to go home and shower and sleep in a bed at the end of the night was also a huge benefit. Being able to actually sleep after a day on your feet, and being able to rid yourself of the caked on dirt each day, were both incredibly wonderful things.

Now, for the bands I saw.

Work meant I wasn’t able to get there on time for The Walkmen, which was incredibly sad for me as they were a big reason I was looking forward to the festival. By the time I arrived, Down With Webster was onstage instead. If I have any complaints about Osheaga, it’s that some of the best bands were on the super early timeslot, while bands like those guys somehow snagged the mid-day main stage. (Band photos taken from the Osheaga press website).

With that said, most of the bands I wanted to see Friday came at the end of the day. Franz Ferdinand was the first band I ended up watching outside the media tent, and they gave the audience a good show. This whole festival felt very 2003 for me (in a good way – that was when I stopped listening¬†exclusively¬†to classic rock/folk and started embracing modern music again, thanks to bands like these guys) as they were the first of many bands at the fest to bring me back to my first year of University. While I do still see them as a bit of a one hit wonder and haven’t played their music since probably 2005, their first album was solid. I was obsessed with it back in the day, so it was fun to see them live for the first time, all these years later, and still remember the words to so many of their songs.

The set didn’t make me want to go out and buy their newer releases by any means, but it was¬†nostalgic¬†in the best way possible to dance and sing along to songs like “Micheal,” “Take Me Out” and ‘Matinee.”

¬†Abel Tesfaye, or The Weeknd, as most know him, is not an artist I would make an effort to see outside of a situation like Osheaga – where he was on right after Franz and right before Florence. While I am not particularly into his mixtapes (I know I’m alone here, sorry!), seeing him live gave me a new respect for him. He represented Toronto in a big way, which is always appreciated, and he sounded great on that giant stage. The sexy sound he has brought back to the mainstream was actually a nice change from the indie rock that dominated my weekend, and his hold on the audience showed great depth as a performer – something rare to see in a 22 year old who just started performing live less than a year ago.

While I tend to write musicians off when they build buzz by not appearing in public and going by cheesy¬†pseudonyms, seeing performers like him reminds me not to be so jaded. Sometimes a ‘good thing’ is actually a good thing, even if it’s marketed in such a¬†phony¬†way.

Their first album is one I will love for years to come – if only for how “Dog Days” somehow lifted me out of a really terrible time in my life – so it was convenient that they were on right before Sigur Ros. The new album hasn’t had nearly as much of an impact on me, but Florence’s voice more than makes up for any lackluster songs. This was my first time actually seeing them perform – I had heard their set at Bonnaroo – but again, because Osheaga is set up in a much more¬†efficient¬†and crowd friendly way – it was possible for me to see the stage this time, which was rarely the case in Tennessee.

That said, there was something about seeing her live that made me fall slightly out of love with them. I’ve seen her perform on SNL and so on, so I knew what to expect, but seeing an entire set full of the whole hand-wavy ethereal dancey act kind of got on my nerves. It probably goes back to my overwhelming dissatisfaction with the lack of women that truly rock in the current music scene. Seeing this sort of pandering fairy princess thing onstage does very little for me, but the music makes up for it. They don’t play rock n’ roll, so I can’t expect her to have any kind of edge – but maybe it’s because I think she’s the one responsible for starting this awful trend, that made it grate on me so much. Ladies in music – I beg you – stop waving your hands in the air like you are catching butterflies – it makes it incredibly hard to take you seriously.

Now that I got that off my chest, I will say she was one of the only performers at Osheaga who really engaged with the audience in a friendly, entertaining way. She talked directly to us, she asked us to participate, and she gave a great, fully engaging show. That alone more than makes up for any perceived annoying qualities.

“Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)” was the stand out song of the short nine song set, and as amazing as her performance of “No Light, No Light” was, it seemed an odd choice to end the set with, especially on a festival audience that is likely filled with a ton of people who don’t know anything but the monolith that is “The Dog Days Are Over.”

Sigur Ros could have been the only band playing on day 1 and I would have been more than happy. Were it not for my great fortune of seeing the Jesus and Mary Chain with a relaxed, very small crowd on Day 2, they would have taken my number one spot for best set at the festival.

They are that rare breed of band that holds a power that can not be explained, it has to be witnessed in person. Someone on twitter tried to get into it with me about how terrible they are, and I couldn’t even bother to argue – there are people who get it and there are those who don’t – and that is completely fine. They sing in a made up language called Hopelandish, which sounds horridly cheesy to someone unfamiliar, but it really just sounds like they are singing in their native language – which is why it feels incredibly genuine and beautiful. It is the music of dreams, and to witness it live is to be a part of that dream.

The set didn’t include any of my favorite songs, but because all their music has a similar feel and flow, it really didn’t matter. I have been intrigued by their sound since I was a kid in high school, so to finally see them live was as incredible as I had always expected it would be. If you ever get the chance to see them, take it. Especially if you are one of those who don’t get what the big deal is – I guarantee it will all make sense when you experience it for yourself.

While I missed most of their set in favor of Sigur Ros, I caught the last four songs, which ended up being the best part because of the fireworks Osheaga set off for Justice’s set that was happening at the same time on the main stage.

“Electric Feel” was the first song I heard as I approached¬†their¬†stage, followed by “The Handshake,”¬†and that proved to be the highlight of what I saw as they ended with the less than spectacular “Congratulations,” and “Alien Days.” An underwhelming closer, for sure, but at that point I was paying more attention to the massive colourful explosions going off in the air next to the stage, so it didn’t really matter. When I looked at the setlist I noticed they didn’t even play “Kids,” which seemed odd. Would have been a perfect song to end the night on.

The night wasn’t over yet, as I had the chance to check out a band I’d heard nothing but good things about after I finished at the Green Stage. Les Breastfeeders played in Toronto during NXNE and their set was the talk of the festival. I had hoped to check it out but they played super late, so I wasn’t going to miss them this time around.

When I got there they had already started, and there was a small but passionate crowd of fans dancing around and having a blast right along with them. To say they embody the French party lifestyle that is the spirit of Montreal is an understatement. I rarely like music with lyrics I can’t understand (I listen first for the words), but as soon as I laid eyes on them I was sold.

Their style and sound is very 60s influenced, which automatically makes me appreciative, but they also own the stage in a way that most bands are completely incapable of. To be frank, they seem like they are on a lot of drugs – but I mean that in a good way (if that’s even possible). There is one guy who wears makeup and whose role seems to be just to run around the stage like a crazy man, keeping the crowd entertained. The lead singer ripped his shirt off at one point. The dual male and female vocals are a musical¬†rarity¬†I live for. As their name might suggest, they have no filter, and that makes for an incredible show. I loved every second of this set.

When I say I want to see more ladies in music that rock, this band defines what I mean by ‘rock.’ It’s a relentless energy – you know these guys love every aspect of performing, and most importantly you can see them having fun doing it.


I’m Definitely Going To Osheaga 2012

This lineup is awesome, and also very different from Bonnaroo, the other summer festival I will be attending – so that works out perfectly.

Sigur Ros! Um, that’s one from the bucket list that I will be quite happy to finally see live. Didn’t see that coming, and hadn’t thought about them in a while, so that’s quite an awesome announcement. And of course, I absolutely adore the Black Keys, and after having to miss their set at Bonnaroo for Buffalo¬†Springfield¬†last year, this will make up for it.

The lineup really is stacked, with Justice, Florence, Feist, MGMT, Metric, M83, The Weeknd, Brand New(!), Garbage, The Raveonettes, The Sheepdogs, The Walkmen, Little Dragon, Austra, Arkells, Jezebels, Dan Mangan, Zeus, Kathleen Edwards, The Shins, Franz Ferdinand, Bloc Party, Bombay Bicycle Club and Young Galaxy making it a must attend festival. Montreal has stepped it up, and I love it.

Also, Montreal happens to be my new favorite city after my awesome visit over the weekend – ¬†so I was gonna go even if the lineup wasn’t great, but I’m pretty pumped it’s this good.

Tickets go on-sale Friday March 23rd at noon, but Virgin Mobile/Osheaga members can get 10% off during the presale happening at 10am Wednesday March 21st.

UPDATE: They’ve recently added more bands to the lineup (I’ve updated to the new poster to reflect that) and I couldn’t be happier that I will finally get to see The Jesus and Mary Chain live!!! (Unless some terrible scheduling happens and they clash with another band I REALLLY need to see, which happens sometimes at these festivals).¬†Common, Santigold, Knife Party, Wolfgang Gartner, Buraka Som Sistema, Fun., Adventure Club, The Airborne Toxic Event, Avec pas d’casque, Wintersleep, The Aggrolites, Yukon Blonde, Poli√ßa, Memoryhouse, Keys N Krates, Prison Garde, Zombie Disco Squad, Mak 10 & Hyper MC, ¬†LP, ¬†Solids, FunkyFalz, ¬†Kaytradamus, Simon Called Peter, Vosper are the other recently announced bands also playing.


Photos: Camping in Niagara

Every summer I spend a weekend back home camping with my fam. It has been how my parents spend their vacation time since I was a little kid (they are not full of wanderlust like I am, unfortunately).

Since Osheaga got back to me too late (one week before?!) to properly plan a trip to Montreal, I headed south to camp last weekend. So now instead of photos of Broken Social Scene, Hey Rosetta, Sweet Thing, Death From Above 1979 and The Flaming Lips I bring you photos of my dog, and a whole lot of nature, taken mostly on a walk around the lake. Enjoy.