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NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs: Round 3

In: Sports & Health, Topher

Whaaaat the heck just happened?! It was a sad, unpredictable week for a lot of hockey fans. As I predicted, San Jose and Chicago knocked off the Red Wings and the Canucks, respectively. The Wings just didn’t have another series in the gas tank, and Chicago just seems to have Vancouver’s number.

The East though. The East. Again, what the heck happened!? My precious Penguins couldn’t knock off the 8th seeded Canadiens. Montreal made no mistakes in the games that counted. Gionta, Cammalleri, Halak, and new comer PK Subban walked all over the Pens in game seven. Within the first minute of the game, Crosby and Cooke drew penalties and Fluery let in a weak goal. It was a tough game to watch.

As amazing as Montreal’s wins over Washington and Pittsburgh are, where did Philly come from!? After I had all but dismissed them in round 2 due to all their injuries, they fell behind in the series 3-0. Only a handful of teams in all of professional sports history have come back from a 3 game best-of-seven deficit. Ironically, the last memorable time that happened is when the Boston Red Sox staged the ultimate comeback in the World Series a couple of years ago. This year, Boston’s on the other side of the coin. Amazingly enough, game seven’s goals mirrored the series the exact same way. Philly was down 3 goals to 0 before picking it up and ultimately winning 4-3. One of the greatest comebacks in sports history for sure.

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LCD Soundsystem at Paradiso

In: Music, Topher

Time for another installment of “Bands to watch at Sasquatch, 2010”. This Tuesday I had the immense pleasure of catching LCD Soundsystem at Paradiso in Amsterdam. I wrote earlier about their new album “This is Happening…” and in those few weeks I’ve grown to love the album even more.

A quick introduction: LCD Soundsystem is an electronic / dance / rock outfit coming out of New York, headed by music nerd James Murphy. They blew up in 2002 with their first single “Losing My Edge”, a minimal synth beat behind hipster sped-talked lyrics.

This was my first time seeing the band. I always enjoyed their singles “Daft Punk is Playing at My House”, “Trials and Tribulations”, & “All My Friends”, and their 45:33 DJ set for Nike a couple years back was my go to gym soundtrack. I had never really paid attention to their albums though. That was until songs from their latest album came out. “Drunk Girls” and “Dance Yrself Clean” found their way into dozens of listens each day. I couldn’t wait to see them live.

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The New York Post is reporting via The Jerusalem Post that Elton John has been banned from performing May 18th, in Egypt due to his “anti-religious sentiments.” Well, that and his gayness.

A quote from the head of the Egypt Musician Union, Mounir al Wasimi, says it all.

“How do we allow a gay, who wants to ban religions, claimed that the prophet Eissa (Jesus) was gay and calls for Middle Eastern countries to allow gays to have sexual freedom.”

“Allow a gay…” Isn’t that like the equivalent of “You people…”?

Anyway, some may say Sir John had it coming with his past controversial statements:

“I don’t know what makes people so cruel. Try being a gay woman in the Middle East — you’re as good as dead…”

He also claimed Jesus was a “super-intelligent gay man” who “understood human problems.”

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NHL 2010 Playoffs: Round 2

In: Sports & Health, Topher

Eeep. Well, that was quite a shake up of the Eastern Conference wasn’t it? Three out of four series upsets. I never expected Boston to beat Buffalo, but I really didn’t expect Philly to topple the Devils. In five games no less! And let’s talk about Washington’s epic ousting by Montreal. Oh so sweet. Washington cleaned up in the regular season, and then fell against a hot goalie. A game seven waived goal will probably have Cap fans reeling for the next 6 months, but you know what? It never should have gone to game seven. Washington coasted, and lost important games at home. They have no one to blame by themselves.

All that really matters though is that my Penguins made it to the second round. And, they are the top remaining seed in the East meaning they get home ice advantage until the finals (hoping they make it that far). After an exciting triple over time loss to the Senators too. I will hand it to Ottawa, although their fans are relentless whiners, with all the active injuries they had they put up a good fight. See you next year 😛

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Crystal Castles at Trouw

In: Music, Topher

Some bands generate buzz because they’re bringing something new musically to the masses. Some bands generate buzz due to their crazy live shows. Crystal Castles is a band that did both.

Originally gaining press via some amazing tracks posted on their MySpace page. One track in particular, Alice’s Practice, garnered attention almost immediately. Back in 2006, the crazy vocals, mixed with some pretty heavy electronic 8-bit beats seemed really fresh.

Their reputation for live shows pushed them even further into the spotlight. Alice Glass’s wild on-stage antics excited a lot of fans, and allowed Crystal Castles to gain even more.

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Sasquatch 2010: Caribou

In: Music, Topher

So, looks like some of Homorazzi will be going to Sasquatch again this year… but it won’t be me :(. As I’m stuck in Eurpoe, I won’t be able to attend, and Donovan’s too cheap to fly me out there for it. That doesn’t mean I can’t let you in on who will be playing and who you should go spend your time seeing.

Canadian group, Caribou, has been on my radar since I heard the single “Melody Day” from their 2008 Polaris Prize winning album “Andorra”. They, (or should I say he, as although they perform as a four piece the music is really all from one man, Dan Snaith) have been around since the early 00s, under a different moniker, Manitoba. Legal trouble forced them to change to Caribou.

Caribou’s sound is sort of electronic, but I wouldn’t call it techno or house. There’s many layers and synth beats, but you probably won’t hear any of their songs at a club. I’m having a hard time trying to describe their sound, but I would say a mix between Boards of Canada, and maybe Hot Chip? Bleh, it’s worth listening to anyway.

Their latest album, “Swim” was released on April 20th. It’s a good album. It’s not great, but some of the songs are great. Especially the first released single “Odessa”, which you can listen to here:

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2010 is shaping up to be quite a good year for music already. The new Robyn Track is amazing. Hot Chip came out with a pretty solid album. Broken Social Scene, The Arcade Fire, and The New Pornographers are all coming out with albums soon. It’s a non stop release of great artists’ new projects.

LCD Soundsystem have always kind of been hit and miss with me. One the one hand, James Murphy and Co. sure know how to make great songs, such as “All My Friends”, “Daft Punk is Playing at My House”, and “Losing My Edge”. Yet, a lot of the other songs on their albums fall a bit short.

listen to album preview after the jump

Behind the Cast: Catching Up with Topher

In: Behind The Cast, Topher

I’ve been living in Amsterdam for almost seven months now. It’s been pretty easy adjusting to living in a new country. The biggest benefit being that almost everyone here speaks English. I don’t think I would like it as much if I couldn’t communicate properly with people.

I was really worried when I left Vancouver that I may have made a bad decision moving. I worried about losing my friends, and missing the comforts of familiarity. I no longer feel that way. I made the right decision, as I’ve been having such a great time here.

Being away from home can really put things into perspective. I’ve had a lot of time to myself, since I don’t have the same number of friends here as I did back home. It’s given me time to reflect on what and who is really important to me, and what I can live without. The things that I thought were so important to me eight months ago I realize just aren’t that necessary for my happiness. I’m not going to write that “I’ve really found myself”, but I do have more clarity now.

The one thing that I’ve found kind of odd since moving is that I miss my family a little more than I thought I would. I moved out of the house at 17 to go to school. I haven’t lived in the same city as my parents since then. We kept in touch, usually with a phone call every Sunday, so I was never really that far apart. Now though, with the time difference and distance, I find that we don’t talk as much. I’m trying to convince them to come visit this summer. They’ve never vacationed in Europe and I think they might like it.

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