it's no secret that i, brittney townson, am addicted to zara. it's a strange thing because i hadn't really shopped at zara until a few years back and now it's become my immediate go-to for a killer outfit. at the same time, i am a woman on a budget and i'm trying hard ever since my very first clothing challenge earlier this summer to spend a lot less on clothing and recycle as much as possible. how do i do this? i now buy quality, classic clothing that's still affordable; zara in a nutshell. hey, zara; wanna hire me as your spokes girl? eh? if so, here are the things i want. thanks!
The first time I saw Melissa Cameron sing was earlier this year when Bangs & Blush and one of Melissa's projects Brooklyn Price were both performing at the very first Heartstrings TV showcase at The Supermarket in Toronto; I remember watching her set blown away by her voice, confidence and over-all stage presence. Dating a musician who plays in multiple bands and who hangs out with mostly musicians has made me see that local musicians really pay attention to what their friends are doing and tend to support each other as much as possible, and because of this I've met multiple people who have either worked with Melissa or are friends of hers who swore by the girl's voice. As I grew more acquainted with her, I attended a few more events where she was involved and most of the time singing her own material. She told me "Back To Me" means that she wanted to get back to focussing on her own songs and her own individual project, making this her very first solo record. When I heard the record she's been working on within the last year (or even longer) was soon to be released, I couldn't wait to hear it; she hooked me up with a copy.
I took the cd out of the plastic and instantly my eyes were studying the beautiful cover (designed by Juliana Neufeld) for a pretty solid chunk of time; over time I've gathered that Melissa is a woman of grace, style and femininity, so the quirky, graphic yet delicate artwork seems like it suits her perfectly. But when it comes to musical style, I can't quite get her pegged. In most cases, you'd think this could be taken the wrong way, but with Melissa she embarks on many different musical routes from the beginning to end of Back To Me - and it works like gangbusters.
Instead of going the usual review-writing route I usually take, which involves me listening to the album and giving an over-all hum of what I think about the album as a whole, I decided to review each song individually, because Melissa only teased us with six songs on this record. Mind the point-form'esque blabbering about each tune, but I wrote all of them while at the time in the moment of listening to the song.
1. This Way
I hear Amy Winehouse-eqsue drums, extremely delicate vocals and harmonies blanketed by synth strings; this is a very good combo. Mid-way through the song, darker, ambient synths make an appearance, instantly giving it a bit of a different, harder edge. This is a strong way to open the album that effectively gives instant excitement for what's to come from the remainder of the album.
Sounds like an immediate power-house break-up song. Slow, but punchy drumming and an organ gives this song a spooky vibe. I immediately recall this song from seeing Melissa perform it live, and always remembered it as one of my favorites. It has one of my favorite song endings on the album as well.
3. Back To Me
This is the only tune on the album with a ska flare, and I love it; sound works well with Melissa's soulful voice but still maintains the signature ambient, ghostly technique with a touch of some awesome choices of synth sounds. Also one of the more catchy chorus lines.
Back To Me's fourth track has a very electronic, Sigur Ros/Bjork like production which proves yet again that Cameron's solid power-house voice can work it's way into singing along to songs of all styles. Again, I love the synth sounds on this track.
5. In The Cold
This song has a lot of punch and a lot of emotion; definitely the heaviest song on the album.
6. The Heartbreak
'Heartbreak finishes off the album with a forceful blow; this song is catchy as hell and puts Cameron up there to the likes of Adele both melodically and vocally and leaves a 60's-esque taste in your mouth, which I obviously love. Seeing Melissa perform this song, she has the whole room chanting "HEY HEY" back at her, and it seems she's found the perfect recipe for a hit song.
To put it simply, Melissa's team of musical partners including producers and musicians Adam King, Nate Kreiswirth, Ben Nudds, Dennis Passley and Eon Sinclair, and Cameron herself (being the ring leader of a project) came together to create a record well done. I believe there's something for everyone on this album, and that this is definitely just the beginning for Melissa. And how many artists can say first time's a charm?
@ 9:20 PM
clothing swaps are the way to go, ladies (and gents!). stop rushing out to the stores and wasting your money on clothes you may end up just putting back on your rack with the tags still on; get some of your friends together and do a clothing swap! my dj partner lindsay and i have been swapping clothes for a few months now, and it's really the best way to give your wardrobe a kick-start! lindsay's on her way over to my house momentarily with apparently four garbage bags of stuff. i'm slightly salivating.
old family photographs
since my grandma betty passed away last week, the family has been digging up some amazing old photographs of hers from way before she even met my grandfather... here's one of her in 1944 (she would've been 14) and she's just too cute to boot. there were tons of other photographs of her and her friends camping, at the beach, playing in the snow, sitting on boats in the lake... she was quite the little socialite, and absolutely gorgeous and a very snappy dresser as well. very proud to call someone so amazing my grandmother.
finally tried burger priest with jesse and his bud jordan. we went mid week, in the middle of the afternoon, so there wasn't a single person in line (which is awesome, considering there can be line up's for up to an hour for these burgers). after reading many articles about burger priest, which is far east toronto at 1636 Queen Street East, i had figured out that i was going to order one of their special, not on the menu burger options; the high priest. the high priest is basically burger priest's take on a big mac... holy shit. i'm going to put out there that this was, by far, the best burger i had ever eaten. absolutely so friggen fresh, the meat and the bun are just unreal, and the rest of their toppings were pure flavour country. i didn't get the fries, because i heard they're not so good, but the burger alone was the perfect amount of food and left me licking my lips for a few hours afterwards. get your ass to burger priest.
49 days until halloween!
this is the time of the year when i start getting super excited for halloween. aside from racking my brain of what the hell to dress up as, when the stores fill with fun costume stuff and they start showing scary movies on tv... it's truly my favorite time of the year. but fuck, i still can't fucking figure out what to be. any good ideas, please forward them through my email... or else i may be stuck having to go as this:
drinking at bistro
here's a photo of me, taken by jen stewart, during our get together earlier this week to celebrate (a little belated, mind you) jen's 26th birthday! it was crappy weather out and it was all so last minute that we decided to go to the good ol' bistro (right across the street from sneaky dee's) for some cheap drinks. you can get a pitcher of mostly any mixed drink for $11, and that my friends, is dangerous. you can tell by looking at my stupid face in this photograph:
@ 1:55 PM
right outside of the deleware ave. ossington station exit is a little bakery/cafe called bakerbots; this place just opened earlier this year, and it has strange hours of oppression, but the ice cream sandwiches from this place are already city renowned. jesse and i had been in the house all day working away, and just finished a lovely home cooked meal for the first time in over a week, and decided to give it a shot. a mere 10 minute walk later, in the cool autumn evening weather, we landed on the bakerbots front step, leaving shortly with one of the most delicious little treats i've ever had. try their "everything cookie with burnt marshmallow ice cream"; you'll fucking die.
@ 9:47 PM
apologies from us here at shirk magazine for the lack of things i love friday yesterday; things have come to somewhat of a halt since thursday morning when i was notified that my beloved grandmother betty passed away. tears, heartbreak and all of that fun stuff aside, i'd like to give you a very special
things i love saturdays
the betty daniel edition
betty was my grandmother, my mother's mother and one hell of a woman. not only was she beautiful and had incredible taste in everything, but she was sharp as a tack and had one of the most killer, dry senses of humor i have ever known in anyone; if there's any reason at all you know me personally and think i'm funny, it's single handedly because of betty. the daniel's raised a family of complete goofballs; my aunts and cousins and my uncles who married into the family all soon realized that we were a gang of hilarious nutters who had the best of the best times while we were together, and it was because betty and my grandfather bill set the bar high. they met as two of the most good looking young adults i have pretty much ever seen, traveled the world, enjoyed the finer things i life such as good music, good food, good friends, good parties... and then had three beautiful girls, my aunt lesley, my mom lisa and my aunt wendy.
getting to know betty was one of the highlights of me living twenty-five years on this earth so far; i saw a lot of myself in her and always will be incredibly intrigued with anything to do with her and her life story. even at her worst, she would always find somewhere to sneak in a joke. and although it's very hard right now to be able to take some of life's worst blows with a grain of salt, my family and i know that she lived her life, and she lived the hell out of it. and that's the best way to live.
@ 7:02 PM
hello fello shirk-sters. how are ya? i'm wearing a sweater... on top of a collared shirt! isn't that awesome? meh; i can't decide. i love autumn but heading outside with a cup of tea this morning and getting the first chill i've had in months really hit me hard. but hey, i've got a star wars poster framed on my wall so it's all gooooooood.
@ 1:05 PM
how many times now have i mentioned my boyfriend, seriously. i guess it clearly shows that i'm obsessed with him. obsessed in a way not meant to be taken in a "i'm not sitting next to that bitch on the subway" fashion. i mean that i'm pretty fucking aware of how lucky i am to have the boyfriend that i do. he has got to be, not only the kindest person to me that i have ever met, but pretty much everything about him i think is the fucking bomb tits. he's the kind of boyfriend that every girl secretly dreams of having but sadly a lot never find. he's the sweetest, most sensitive, aware and loving person i've ever met; at the same time he's hard as fuck, never takes bullshit, gives you the hard truth and will probably kill anyone who hurts the people he loves the most. that, my ladies, i think is the best kind of man i've ever known of. and i, one lucky bitch, get to have him. for whatever reason he seems to think i'm pretty cool; so i'll be counting my blessings every day and so fourth. if you ever happen to find a man like jesse... hold on, and hold on tight.
the blues brothers
i was one of the lucky ones where my parents had "the blues brothers" on vhs around the house since i can remember. at a young age, i'm going to guess 5 or 6, i was in that phase where when i found a movie i liked, i obsessed over it and watched it nearly every day until my parents pleaded with me to for the love of god stop watching it. this was one of those movies. i think the reason i found my entire musical obsession and desire with soul music is single handedly because of this film (though adventures in babysitting is pretty up there). jake and elwood with forever be two of the most important pop culture icons for me, and fact that these men went to jail for their love of soul and blues makes feel that i'm not alone in that exact plausible sacrifice. we're on a mission for god FOREVER.
i will eat a lot of this whenever you offer it to me, period.
i have to say, i'm a big autumn fan. if you've been a shirk reader for 2+ years now, you'd know of my countless entries regarding my obsession with autumn. leaves changing, sweaters, pumpkins, pies, halloween, ghost stories... what the hell is any fucking better? i agree, summer is awesome. so awesome. but for some reason, my heart belongs to autumn.
@ 3:06 AM