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7 Albums Every Man Should Own On Vinyl

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We generally try to steer clear of alarmism. The Internet has enough of that. But we’re going to make an exception right now and drop some Infowars-level doomsaying on you: the CD is dying a horrible death. For the last two years, revenue from music streaming services has surpassed sales of CDs. And the trend doesn’t seem to be letting up anytime soon. It’s time to retire the 5-disc boombox, man.

Now don’t worry; if you still long for a tangible representation of your music, it’s all good. In 2015, vinyl sales surged by 30 per cent, marking the tenth consecutive year LP sales have grown considerably. It would serve you well to hop aboard the phonographic bandwagon (if you haven’t already, that is). Vinyl is warmer, more soothing, and easier on the ears than the frigid ones and zeroes in your iTunes playlist. It’s the way music should be heard.

Of course, to fully appreciate the advantages of analogue, you want to make sure it’s the right music. Relax; if you really want to re-buy your collection of Dave Matthews Band albums on vinyl, we won’t judge you (too hard). But just as there are certain books every man must read in order to call himself a grown-up, there are certain records you must own in order to call yourself a respectable human being — or, you know, a music lover. These are records that stand the test of time — that take you on an immersive aural journey of the highest order. They’re the vinyls you will pass down to your children (because they sure as hell want nothing to do with your CD wallet).

 

Miles Davis – Bitches Brew (1970)

Miles at his most visceral. Bitches Brew captured the anguish of living in America just as the Civil Rights movement was falling apart and the war in Vietnam was raging. All that calamity was channeled into this double-album full of spur-of-the-moment thrills, brooding darkness, and rhythmic innovation: two bassists, three drummers, three electric piano players, and a percussionist, all playing at the same time. This album didn’t just invent jazz-rock; it discovered a new way to think about what music could be.

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Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin IV (1971)

Pretty much the greatest rock album ever made, by the greatest rock band to ever rock. It’s Zeppelin at their heaviest, headiest, and horniest. A swaggering gang of alpha musicians in full flow. No other album has a greater opening one-two punch than “Black Dog” and “Rock and Roll.” No other drumbeat is more jaw-slackening in hi-fi than “When the Leevee Breaks.” Over fourty years later, high school kids still crank this thing while hotboxing their parents’ cars. Fourty years from now, they’ll be doing the exact same thing in their parents’ self-driving airspeeders.

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A Tribe Called Quest – Low End Theory (1991)

The smoothest union of hip-hop and jazz ever pressed to record. Not no Parkay, not no margarine. Strictly butter, baby. When Low End Theory was released, it pushed the sonic envelope of the entire rap game. Today, it’s a Classic Rap staple. Q-Tip and Phife Dawg trade verses like Lennon and McCartney, complimenting each other better than cookies and milk. Plenty of rappers have tried to ape this sound; none have made it sound this easy.

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Radiohead – Kid A (2000)

How to disappear completely? Start a record collection without this in it. You’ll never be invited to another cool party again.

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The Beatles – Revolver (1966)

You know what? Fuck Sgt. Pepper’s. Revolver is the Beatles’ true crowning achievement. It did everything Sgt. Pepper’s did — rampant leaps in imagination, studio wizardry, a dismantling of the rock idiom — only with less marketing and fancy packaging.  And they did it with less pretension and in less time: sessions for this album spanned two-and-a-half-months, compared to the five months it took to record Sgt. Pepper’s. After George Martin created his own label, the group was given the freedom to create a record without anxious record execs breathing down their necks. This was our introduction to the Beatles’ ids — when they finally turned off their minds, relaxed, and floated downstream.

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Lovage – Music to Make Love to Your Old Lady By (2001)

C’mon, you need at least one baby-making record in your collection. Dan “The Automator” Nakamura’s trip-hop experiment with a merry band of sexperts (Kid Koala, Damon Albarn, Prince Paul, Mike Patton, Jennifer Charles) is as sultry as it is sardonic. The last part is key — you don’t want to lay the mack on her too seriously. That’s just creepy!

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The Band – Music From Big Pink (1968)

It’s your duty, as a Canadian, to own this record. Released at the height of the psychedelic movement in the late ’60s, big Pink turned the rock world on its axis, opting for something simpler and earthier. Screw wah pedals and tape loops — these guys were just fine with their fiddles and mandolins. The Band invented alt-country, 30 years before it became cool. Wilco, Ryan Adams, Drive-By Truckers — Big Pink is the fountainhead, and we’re still drinking deep.

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Written by: Alex Nino Gheciu

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Yamaha Canada Music x #TGE2016

Rock Band On Garage

One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain. – Bob Marley

On November 10-12 at The Gentlemen’s, the Yamaha Canada Music Garage Band Experience will WOW you. A fully-built garage with a massive selection of instruments to try out, from Yamaha Canada Music. This is the jam space of your dreams, because you can get hands on and try everything. Grab a guitar (like the new Revstar) and melt some faces with a solo. Grab those drum sticks and do that part from Phil Collins ‘In The Air Tonight’. Anything is possible! On that note (see what we did there) may we introduce to you…

#RandomActsOfMusic

Yamaha Music Canada are doing something very special that you need to know; It’s an initiative called #RandomActsOfMusic and it’s designed to celebrate all forms of music.

Now, we’re not talking about the Kanye West’s or Adele’s of the world, were talking about our neighbours, our friends and the people in our communities that share their passion for music with everyone around them. What’s great, is that Yamaha Music Canada supports these people and anyone interested in spreading music to the four corners of the globe by sharing their stories and videos on their website: www.RandomActsOfMusic.ca.

We encourage all of you to visit the #RandomActsOfMusic website and take some time to watch some of the videos Yamaha Canada has shared. These videos will show you the number of people who are spreading positivity through their passion. Remember we could all make an effort to #BeBetter and maybe music is the answer to that.

About #TGE2016:

The Gentlemen’s Expo is the premium event for emerging and established men’s lifestyle products, integrated consumer experiences and on-stage programming that will entertain and educate men.  It all happens November 10-12 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre South Building. Oh, and tickets are on sale right now. (AND YOU CAN SAVE $5 OFF GENERAL ADMISSION TICKETS BY USING PROMO CODE: FIVEOFF) 

Come to #TGE2016 if you are interested in: style, tech, music, sports, cars, alcohol, grooming, sex, food, entrepreneurship, whiskey, beer, spirits, gaming, DIY, wellness, health and more.  Come to#TGE2016 if you want to see great speakers and compelling ATTRACTIONS. Come to #TGE2016 if you want to #BeBetter.

BUY TICKETS for Thursday, November 10th – 4pm to 11pm

BUY TICKETS for Friday, November 11th – 4pm to 11pm

BUY TICKETS for Saturday, November 12th – Noon to 11pm

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Joey Vendetta To Host #TGE2016

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The Gentlemen’s Expo is proud to announce a series of special guests to help educate and entertain audiences at #TGE2016.

  • WHO: Joey Vendetta
  • WHAT: Main Stage Host for all 3 days.
  • WHEN: THURSDAY, NOV. 10th to SATURDAY, NOV. 12th
  • BUY TICKETS: Tickets are ON SALE NOW. Use code FIVEOFF to save $5 off General Admission tickets. #BEBETTER at The Gentlemen’s Expo. November 10-12 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

About Joey Vendetta:

Joey Vendetta is currently Senior Vice President at Live Nation Entertainment. He creates marketing strategies which promote superstar artists along with newer talents to connect directly to fans through Live Nation’s vast array of direct and partner fan connection channels. Joey has worked on tours with U2, Jay Z, Madonna, Coldplay, Aerosmith, The Weekend, One Direction and many more.  Joey also spent 12 years at The Disney Music Group working with artists such as Queen, Jonas Brothers, Miley Cyrus, Breaking Benjamin, Rascal Flatts and more in his capacity as VP of promotion and sports marketing.  Joey also worked at Elektra Records and orchestrated campaigns with artists including Metallica, AC/DC and Motley Crue. Before moving into the management side of the music business he spent over 10 years at Q107 Radio in Toronto as Program Director, Afternoon Drive Host and as a National Television Personality for many years. Joey currently guest hosts The Jim Rome Show on CBS Sports Radio across North America and Sportsnet 590 the Fan radio in Toronto during his frequent visits home; he has interviewed everyone from Jerry Bruckheimer and Mark Cuban to Sidney Crosby and Demar Derozan on the shows.

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Contest: Get The Band Back Together!

Rock Band On Garage

Super stoked to share this contest with you. ENTER HERE or click the image below for your chance to win one of two Yamaha Revstar Guitar, Amp and hard case combos. If there was ever a time to get the band back together, amiright? In partnership with Yamaha Canada Music, each prize pack contains: 1 Yamaha Revstar Guitar RS420 BST, and 1 Yamaha Amplifier THR10, and 1 Yamaha Hard Guitar Case EGC in Black.

yamaha-offerpop-810Yamaha Canada Music are going to blow people away this year at The Gentlemen’s Expo. Picture a mecca for garage bands complete with jam space, a bar and way more. I’ve said too much! Trust me, they are gunna rock. #RandomActsOfMusic has been a super cool theme that Yamaha Canada Music has been diving into recently. Check it out, but maybe grab a tissue first… someone may decide to chop onions during one of the videos:

Here’s a Yamaha made review of the Revstar RS420, just like the one of the ones we are giving away:

About #TGE2016:

The Gentlemen’s Expo is the premium event for emerging and established men’s lifestyle products, integrated consumer experiences and on-stage programming that will entertain and educate men.  It all happens November 10-12 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre South Building. Oh, and tickets are on sale right now. (AND YOU CAN SAVE $5 OFF GENERAL ADMISSION TICKETS BY USING PROMO CODE: FIVEOFF) 

Come to #TGE2016 if you are interested in: style, tech, music, sports, cars, alcohol, grooming, sex, food, entrepreneurship, whiskey, beer, spirits, gaming, DIY, wellness, health and more.  Come to#TGE2016 if you want to see great speakers and compelling ATTRACTIONS. Come to #TGE2016 if you want to #BeBetter.

BUY TICKETS for Thursday, November 10th – 4pm to 11pm

BUY TICKETS for Friday, November 11th – 4pm to 11pm

BUY TICKETS for Saturday, November 12th – Noon to 11pm

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Top Venues To Discover Live Music In Toronto

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Toronto has arguably become one of the best cities in North America to discover #RandomActsOfMusic. Whether you are new to the city, or have been experiencing the downtown lifestyle for a while now you realize how alive this city really becomes at night. Here are five of Toronto’s top venues you need to visit if live music is your thing:

Danforth Music Hall

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One of the biggest challenges any concert goer faces, is picking out that great view of the stage. Luckily, Danforth Music Hall’s floor is built with a slight incline so no matter where you stand you are guaranteed to have an amazing view. Additionally, if you prefer to have a seat next to you when you watch a show, they also have a large balcony. The sound and lighting are also fantastic.

Dakota Tavern

On 26-jul-10, at 2:45 pm, loureiro, christine wrote: <> dakota tavern. Credit: hogtown project. For jasmeet sidhu story only.

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Dakota Tavern is one of our favourite spots in Toronto just north of Ossington and Dundas. As you walk in to the venue down the steep steps, you are automatically transported out of the urban city into what feels like the deep south… Cajun country. Bourbon is your best friend here, so make sure you get well acquainted. The warm sounds from the bands and artists mixed with the twinkling lights and wood walls really bring out the ambiance of this local gem.

Horseshoe Tavern

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It’s been 69 years since Horseshoe Tavern has been leading the charge on music venues in Toronto and it’s no surprise as to why that is. If you want to experience a classic rock ‘n roll venue, that’s grungie and loud, then this is the meat and potatoes of Toronto’s downtown music scene. It’s got a small concert floor that’s flat but that’s the beauty of it… you need to earn a good spot if you want to see the show.

The Drake Underground

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If hip hop, dance and electronic music is your thing then The Drake Underground is the place you need to go. On show nights you have all types of people that come through that have one thing in common; to let loose, get the liquor flowing, and have a good time.  It’s dark and there’s very little cell phone reception which is great because you can actually enjoy the show and meet some pretty chill people.

And there you have it! Five spots in Toronto for you to discover #RandomActsOfMusic.

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Seven Tiny Desk Concerts That You Need To Watch

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Any serious music fan will tell you, that if you’re looking to find some great music online, you need to check out NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts. If you don’t already know what Tiny Desk Concerts is… sorry dude, you’ve been missing out. It’s an online video series from NPR’s All Songs Considered that features your favorite musicians performing at Bob Boilen’s desk in the NPR Music office.

Tiny Desk takes your favourite musicians and completely strips-down their performances offering viewers completely unfiltered voices and bare instrumental essentials. After watching, you realize how talented some of these musicians and singers are.

It’s some seriously great stuff! If you’ve never seen your favourite performers in concert before this will give you a good idea of what you’re in for.

We’ve pulled together our favourite Tiny Desk Concerts and listed them below for you to enjoy, in no particular order, so when you feel like being distracted from your work-day on this Monday afternoon, at least you will have something to watch. Hope you enjoy!

Leon Bridges

John Legend

The Pixies

Adele

The Arcs

Preservation Hall Jazz Band

Edward Sharpe And The Magnetic Zeroes:

Let us know what your favourite Tiny Desk Concert is, we would love to hear about it! Comment below or find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

The Gentlemen’s Expo is the premium event for emerging and established men’s lifestyle products, integrated consumer experiences and on-stage programming that will entertain and educate men.  It all happens November 10-12 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre South Building. Oh, and tickets are on sale right now. (AND YOU CAN SAVE $5 OFF GENERAL ADMISSION TICKETS BY USING PROMO CODE: FIVEOFF) 

Come to #TGE2016 if you are interested in: style, tech, music, sports, cars, alcohol, grooming, sex, food, entrepreneurship, whiskey, beer, spirits, gaming, DIY, wellness, health and more.  Come to#TGE2016 if you want to see great speakers and compelling ATTRACTIONS. Come to #TGE2016 if you want to #BeBetter.

BUY TICKETS for Thursday, November 10th – 4pm to 11pm

BUY TICKETS for Friday, November 11th – 4pm to 11pm

BUY TICKETS for Saturday, November 12th – Noon to 11pm

read more

Top 5 Concerts You Probably Shouldn’t Have Missed This Summer

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As we wind down to the last days of summer, it’s important that we reflect on the great live music that rolled through Toronto over the past few months. As we all know, “The Six” has become a sort of “Hollywood North” in its own right and each year the line-up of concerts to choose from gets bigger, better and more memorable than the last.

From reunion tours, to surprise appearances, and even gut wrenching goodbyes, the spring and summer of 2016 was filled with performances that took spectators on an unforgettable, emotional journey. Here are the top five concerts you probably shouldn’t have missed in Toronto this summer:

Pearl Jam Tour 2016 – Pearl Jam

Eddy Vedder and the gang swept through Toronto with two kick-ass shows in May, leaving everyone in a state of awe after their performances were finished. The band even brought out famed Canadian guitarist, Donna Grantis for both shows which was very timely considering Prince had been in the news for weeks due to his unfortunate passing.

Pearl Jam Toronto 2016 Night One

In the first show, Pearl Jam played their album Binaural in its entirety and finished the show off with two mind-blasting encores that included covers of John Lennon’s Imagine, Pink Floyd’s Comfortably Numb. The Who’s The Real Me, and Neil Young’s Rockin’ In The Free World.

In their second show, Pearl Jam played everything from Corduroy, Brain of J, Even Flow, and even Daughter for the first half. The second half of the show was a real treat though because the band played two encores that were comprised of songs like Oceans, Breath, Last Kiss, Better Man, Crazy Mary and even…. Yellow Leadbetter. Now any hardcore Pearl Jam fan knows, that it is very rare to see the band play songs like Crazy Mary and Yellow Ledbetter which made this a truly special night.

THE FORMATION WORLD TOUR – Beyoncé

Queen B stopped in Toronto for her massive Formation World Tour back in May and it was definitely one for the history books. Even if you’re not a huge Beyoncé fan, you can’t deny that the woman has some serious ‘chops’ when it comes to putting on a memorable show. She’s is undeniably one of the best performers of our era.

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Beyoncé started off her sold out show with her new single Formation and followed it up with songs like Kitty Kat in acapella and Run The World (Girls). As the night went on, she went in to tracks like Baby BoyMe, Myself and I; and even her classic head banger Diva. To wrap up the night she threw in hits like Crazy In Love, Freedom and the Destiny’s Child classic Survivor which of course made the crowd go absolutely insane.

Summer Sixteen – Drake, Future and Friends

During Toronto’s end of July long weekend, Drake made his infamous return to “The Six” as part of his Summer Sixteen Tour with two sold out shows at the Air Canada Centre for his Annual OVO Fest.

OVO Fest stretched over three venues this year — starting with headliners Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa at the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre Friday night, Machel Montano at Echo Beach Saturday night (co-headliner Beenie Man was a no show after contracting the Zika virus and Dengue Fever), and finishing up with Drizzy and Future on Sunday and Monday nights at the Air Canada Centre.

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The first night of Drake’s Air Canada Centre Performance started off with guest appearances by local rappers like Dvsn (pronounced Division) and Roy Woods. However, the biggest cameo of the night came from Drake’s rumoured love interest Rihanna. The two heated things up as they were bumping and grinding across the stage while Rihanna sang hits like Needed Me, Bitch Better Have My Money, Work and even Too Good.

On the second show, featured cameos by acts like French Montana, Future, Rihanna, and even Kanye West. In total the show consisted of a 46 song set list that nearly blew the roof off the Air Canada Centre. It was definitely one of the craziest shows of the summer!

Man Machine Poem Tour – The Tragically Hip

It seems as though The Tragically Hip was (and maybe still is) the band everyone was talking about across Canada this summer. Back in May, the band released a statement to their fans letting them know that front man Gord Downie was suffering from terminal brain cancer and that they would be embarking on their best and potentially last tour as a band. The Man Machine Poem Tour.

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As part of this tour, the band played three incredible shows in Toronto and left everything out on the stage, much like they did for all of their shows. However, aside from these three concerts in Toronto, the most important show of the entire tour and possibly the year, was the last one the band played in their home-town of Kingston, Ontario.

Yes we know… This isn’t a show in Toronto, but it’s still very important because it was the second largest moment in television broadcasting history. One quarter of Canada’s population watched The Hip give everything they had and more at this concert and it was a rollercoaster of emotion, right from the get-go.

The part that still stands out is when the image above was taken… for that short moment each and every Canadian felt exactly what Gord Downie was going through and it was a true tear jerker. This concert absolutely solidified The Tragically Hip as Canada’s band and everyone who watched it will never forget where they were that night.

Make America Great Again Tour – Prophets of Rage

Prophets of Rage consists of Chuck D (Public Enemy), B-Real (Cypress Hill), and three quarters of Rage Against The Machine. The band stopped in Toronto for one truly memorable show as part of their Make America Great Again tour.

Prophets of Rage

During this show, fans were lucky enough to hear all the major classics from Rage Against The Machine, including: Guerrilla Radio, Bombtrack, Testify, Bulls on Parade and even Killing in the Name.  Additionally, fans also had the pleasure of hearing their favourite Public Enemy and Cypress Hill songs, courtesy of B-Real and Chuck D.

The most surprising moment of the entire show though, was when the band invited a special guest to the stage who ended up being none other than rock legend Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters, Nirvana). If the crowd wasn’t already head-banging their music loving hearts out, they surely erupted when Grohl joined the band to play MC5’s Kick Out the Jams.  It was one of the most electrifying shows of the summer.

And there you have it… Five of the best live shows Toronto had the pleasure of seeing in the summer of 2016. If you had a chance to see even just one of these shows, be sure to cherish that memory because these experiences don’t come around very often.

Header Photo Credit: The Toronto Star.

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