toronto

VIDEO: FansToys Terminus Giganticus (Pack A)

Balancing a music collection with a toy collection is expensive, but they do have a lot in common.  For example, both feature “holy grail” items that you simply must have.  In 2017, the holy grail category was won by toys for the first time.  Behold!  Enjoy the video at bottom.

Key points:

* Terminus Giganticus is FansToys’ version of a Masterpiece class Omega Supreme action figure, to fit seamlessly with your official Transformers Masterpiece collection.
* Fucking huge.
* Comes in two packs: Pack A (September 2017) and Pack B (November 2017).
* Thanks to Madhaus Toys (facebook.com/madhaus.collectibles) for the pre-order!

References:

* For more information on third party toys:  Getting More Tale #570: Third Party
* Incredibly galleries  from TFCon:  Getting More Tale #578: TFCon 2017

Video:

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#584: Fake News

GETTING MORE TALE #584: Fake News

Fake news is not recent.  Fake news has been around as long as there were people!  Here is a list of fake news stories from the Record Store days.

In the mid 90s, many people actually believed that Marilyn Manson had his bottom ribs removed so he could bend over and blow himself.

From the same time period, word had spread that all five Backstreet Boys released solo albums on the same day, and that “Walmart has them.”

Bafflingly, and for many many years, people believed that Toronto got album releases before anywhere else in Canada.  As if albums were delivered by the Pony Express.

Levels of hoaxes so complex it’ll make your head spin.   SuperShadow was a supposed Star Wars inside informant who leaked prequel plots and characters.  He was a notoriously hated spreader of fake Star Wars news, but the layers of intrigue here go down to all the way to…me…who posed on MySpace as a “fake” SuperShadow, in hopes of smoking out the real one.  Fake news of fake news!

In an interview with Slash published in the March/April 1994 issue of M.E.A.T Magazine, the guitarist claimed the next Guns N’ Roses album would be out the following summer of 1995.  Heh.  Won’t get fooled again?

There are of course many “fake news” stories through the history of rock and roll.  “Paul is dead.”  “2 Pac is alive.”  “There are two Nikki Sixx’s.”  “Joey Tempest is a demon.”  What are your favourites?

#555.5: A Short Visit to Sonic Boom

GETTING MORE TALE #555.5: A Short Visit to Sonic Boom

Yesterday I took Mrs. LeBrain to Toronto to see a neurosurgeon.  It was a great meeting; very positive, but we will get more into that in a future tale.   (Look for an upcoming Getting More Tale story called “Seize the Day” if you want to know more.)   After the meeting with the doctor, she had some tests.  I didn’t need to be around for the those, so with a couple hours to kill, I went down to Sonic Boom on Spadina.  I was accompanied by Mrs. LeBrain’s Mom, who insisted we cab to the store.  It was a rainy miserable day outside.  Wet, cold, windy and unpleasant.  The cab ride wasn’t unwelcome.

I’m glad I shaved my beard down to a goatee the other day, because almost every dude in that store looked the same.  Bearded hipsters buying vinyl, left right and center, lookalikes all!  I tuned out the background noise and focused on the cool.  Upstairs they had two colouring books I almost considered getting.  Do you know anyone who is a huge fan of either James Franco or Benedict Cumberbatch?  If so, I am happy to report that Sonic Boom had colouring books of both.  (They also had Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation.)  I spied the new Mastodon among the new releases, but headed downstairs where the real treasures usually lay.

Although I put in a Herculean effort, there was little to be found.  Maybe I have too many CDs, because everywhere I flipped it seemed to be “got it, got it, got it, got it…”  Aaron asked me to look for Danny Michel and a few other titles.  Nothing to be found.  I was struck by how just about everything seems to be reissued on vinyl today.  The Spice Girls’ first album, Spice.  I fail to comprehend.  It doesn’t compute.  I considered buying some Kiss reissues, but I didn’t really want to come home with something I already owned.

With some persistence I did liberate three titles:

  1. The Sword – High Country (CD, used, $9.99)
  2. Queen – The Game (2 CD remaster, used, $9.99)
  3. Rush – Agora Ballroom, Cleveland Ohio, May 1975 (vinyl, new, $32.99)

The Queen set was in the recent arrivals, and that is a nice score.  I’m nowhere near complete with my Queen remasters, but when I can pick them off one by one, used?  That’s the best way.  The Rush on the other hand is something of a chance I’m taking.  This is a radio broadcast vinyl, and I’ve never bought one of those before.  They had several available.  I don’t have anything live from Rush in 1975, so that was the key factor.  Also a non-album track:  “Bad Boy”, a Larry Williams cover.  180 gram coloured vinyl to boot.  Should be good times.

Not a knockout shopping excursion, but not a waste of time either.  We walked back to the hospital (although Mrs. LeBrain’s Mom would have preferred a cab) and got soaked, but it’s good to stretch the legs when it’s a long day of driving and sitting.  Besides, we enjoyed looking at the Toronto scenery.  The fruit and vegetable markets smelled great.  They even had bonsai trees.

Back in the hospital waiting room, I was able to do a little research for my Kiss Re-Review series in progress.  Guess which album I have to write up next.

I don’t want to use the word “disappointing” for this Sonic Boom trip, because I am very pleased with my new albums.  I told Uncle Meat I wanted some more The Sword, and Sonic Boom delivered.  I’m more surprised than disappointed that I was only able to scrounge up three finds this time.  Every visit is different, and I’m sure that next time I return (either in the fall with Aaron, or sooner for more tests) it will be another story.  Sonic Boom is still an absolute must for any music fan visiting Toronto.  Don’t miss out, and be sure to check out the new arrival bins.  They are often the key to many great finds.

As always Sonic Boom gets 5/5 stars.  And so does Mrs. LeBrain for being a tough-as-nails trooper.

 

YESTERDAY

Mike and Aaron went to Toronto again…again…again!

As usual we came, and we conquered.  It was our fifth annual Taranna Music Excursion.  Together we did our best to rescue the precious, precious music from select stores in the city.

As before, I filmed the whole thing for a potential video doc.  When we are ready, Aaron and I will begin to roll out all the wonderful treasures we came home with from Toronto.  In the meantime, I’m going to spend today listening to tunes!

TODAY

You know where we’re going today!

 

And if you don’t, then check out the below videos.  Today is the fifth annual adventure.  And that means music.  Lots and lots of music.

GUEST REVIEW: The Raven Age (opening for Iron Maiden at the ACC Toronto, April 3 2016)

This guest review hit my inbox courtesy of Zach “I Like Iron Maiden” Britton.  He is possibly (and quite probably) the only Iron Maiden fan in the world who has had a song written and recorded about his love for the band.  Last night he went to see them again.

Opening act The Raven Age features Steve Harris’ son George on guitar.

THE RAVEN AGE – ACC Toronto, April 3 2016  (opening for Iron Maiden)
by Zach Britton “the Lamb Lord”

Five guys dressed like Criss Angel bring you the Twilight soundtrack.

I was not impressed.  I’m not kidding about the Twilight soundtrack bit.  Though certainly more metal, it spoke to me of the angst of a teen vampire boy courting a human girl.  And all their stuff sounded the same to me.  I’m no musicologianist*…but I know what I like.**  And it wasn’t eight metally tunes about pubescent vampires.

 

?/5 stars

*Zach knows this is not a word.

**He likes Iron Maiden.


“The Maiden Song” – dedicated to Zach Britton

REVIEW: Stompin’ Tom Connors – “Live” at the Horseshoe (1971)

STOMPIN’ TOM CONNORS – “Live” at the Horseshoe (1971 EMI)

Since this is the first Stompin’ Tom review ever here at mikeladano.com, we need to step back and take a quick look at the bio of a Canadian hero that may be completely unknown to most overseas readers.

Charles Tom Connors was born in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1936.  A restless young Connors frequently hitch hiked and got into trouble down the east coast, and at one point wound up in Skinner’s Pond, Prince Edward Island.  This is a place that has come to be associated with Stompin’ Tom over the years.  I visited there myself in 2002, and saw his childhood home.  I took a photo of the street sign of what is now officially called Dr. Stompin’ Tom Road.

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Tom’s break happened while drifting through Timmins Ontario.  Short on change for a beer at the local watering hole, the bartender told him he’d let him have the beer for whatever coins he had in his pocket, as long as he’d get up and sing a song or two.  Tom got out his guitar and that turned into a 14 month stand.  Before too long he had recorded eight singles.

Stompin’ Tom sang idiosyncratic Canadian songs.  He was not interested in commercialism in music whatsoever.  He stubbornly wrote and played often comical songs about the things he’d seen and done hitch hiking around the country.  He became known as “Stompin’ Tom” by providing his own backbeat.  Like a folk country Angus Young, he would pound his booted left foot on the floor, keeping time.  He eventually had to provide his own “stomping board” because bar owners were complaining about damage to their stage.  He would stomp right through the board periodically and have to replace it.

In 1971, a concert film called Across This Land With Stompin’ Tom Connors spawned the album release “Live” at the Horseshoe and became a part of Canadian history. The Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto was a legendary establishment. Now with four studio albums and one Christmas record under his belt, the legendary Horseshoe set was recorded for posterity and became a television staple for years. This live album is culled from that show, though heavily edited for single-length LP time. The original set was 90 minutes and 30 songs.  My dad showed me the special as a kid.  I loved it.

When EMI issued the album on CD, they retained the original LP 12 song running time.  Even the nicely packaged 1998 Man of the Land series edition is only 12 tracks.  The album is a mix of originals and better-known covers.

Newcomers may find Stompin’ Tom’s nasal twang unpalatable, but when that left foot starts stompin’, it’s hard to resist.  “Happy Rovin’ Cowboy” introduces Tom’s band to the crowd.  He bills himself as from “the potato fields of Prince Edward Island”.   Then it’s his hit about the “best man in Ottawa”, Mufferaw Joe.  “Big Joe Mufferaw” is a Canadian folk classic and this version from the Horseshoe is definitive.  According to the lyrics, Big Joe put out a raging forest fire near Smiths Falls with just five spitballs!  Just stomp along!

“Come Where I’m At” is a “Newphie” phrase, and the song beckons you to come home to Newfoundland, “So don’t stay where you’re to, come where we’re at!”  It’s not Yoda-speak, it’s just Canadian!  Tom then covers “The Green, Green Grass of Home”.  “Now it’s almost time I sung an American song,” begins Tom.  “This here is a song that made so many singers famous, that I just thought if I turned my golden Prince Edward Island voice to it, I’d prob’ly become famous too!”  Probably not — Tom does it with exaggerated twang and irreverent comedic flare.  Then, he covers his friend “Gordie” Lightfoot, with “Spin, Spin”, another Horseshoe regular.  This time his plays the song “straight” with due respect but still with the stomp.  It’s a wonderful upbeat song so feel free to stomp along.  “Muleskinner Blues” has one of Tom’s most legendary vocal hooks, and it goes something like “aw wha wha wha wha wha whoo”, though it varies!  This is the kind of song that people loved Tom for.

The second LP side began with an ode to all the big drinkers at the Horseshoe, with “Horseshoe Hotel Song”.  You can hear them hootin’ and hollerin’ and drinking along.  He pokes fun at himself in the tune, claiming he can’t really sing, he’s just another getting slushed at the Horseshoe Hotel.  They eat it up, loving every witty line.  Another cover, “I’ve Been Everywhere”, is one that Tom could almost claim as his own, considering its hitch hiking subject matter!

The rest of the album is all original.  “Sudbury Saturday Night” is a favourite that was later covered by Kim Mitchell.  Sudbury is famous for its nickel mines, and Inco was the big one.  So the lyrics go:

“Well the girls are out to Bingo,
And the boys are gettin stinko,
We’ll think no more of Inco,
On a Sudbury Saturday Night.”

Once again, this version is definitive.  The song is best heard with an audience hollering along.  “Big Bus to Nashville” is a pleasant song that name-drops the Horseshoe, and features that boot stomping again.  “Luke’s Guitar” is a story about a man who had to choose between his wife and his guitar.  Again it has one of those classic Tom vocal hooks, and it goes something along the lines of “Clang-clang a-deedle dang a-deedle”.  It’s hard to resist so don’t try and just go with it.  Ending the album is “Bud the Spud” from the bright red mud, of Prince Edward Island.  According to Tom this came by request about “150,000 times” that night.  Because of the filming and recording of the live album, Tom was to stick to a strict set list and couldn’t do requests.  However he went ahead and played “Bud the Spud” anyway, and it made the final album!  Like several of the other tracks, this recording is definitive.

In the movie Wayne’s World, the character of Wayne Campbell, played by Canadian Mike Myers, claimed that people in the subburbs got copies of Frampton Comes Alive in the mailbox with boxes of Tide.  Sadly that is not so, but in Canada, everybody should be issued a copy of this live album with their birth certificate.  This album in my ears defines the country that I live in.  Others may disagree and they are welcome to do that, but I believe that “Live” at the Horseshoe is a history lesson about the country that we live in as much as it is an amazing live album.

5/5 stars

#454: VIDEO – Mike and Aaron Go to Toronto Again…Again!

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“Are you filming right now?”

GETTING MORE TALE #454: Mike and Aaron Go to Toronto Again…Again! The Video!

Thanks to Aaron for the musical soundtrack, and thanks to the stores for the many music discs!

 

Full detailed purchases can be found here, and here.

#452: Mike and Aaron Go to Toronto Again…Again!

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GETTING MORE TALE #452: Mike and Aaron Go to Toronto Again…Again!

WE HAVE RETURNED, SIRE, WITH PLUNDERED TREASURE FROM THE TOWN.

Toronto was, in a word, perfect.

We have done this every year for four years now, Aaron and I, always in the fall.  We go to the heart of Toronto and plunder its best music.  Then, we return to our homes, and listen in glee while making evil laughing sounds and clutching our treasure in our greedy hands.  This was the latest in the year that we had gone (November 28), but miraculously the skies parted that morning and we were not rained upon nor snowed.  It was once again, just perfect.

Aaron’s complete post on this trip can be found by clicking here!

We were accompanied like last year by Aaron’s dad Wayne, who just wanted to walk around and see if there were any curiosities that struck his eye.  After parting ways, Aaron and I made our way to Stop #1:  BMV.

I found three treasures there, all of which I am very happy and excited aboot:

1. STYX – Equinox, $5.99 CD used. I’m still trying to grow a Styx collection so this great album was a find. Review is already written; to be published.
2. QUEEN – Queen – 2 CD remaster, $9.99 used. SCORE! Just reviewed the 1991 issue of this album recently. Can’t wait to dig into the bonus EP!
3. OASIS – Definitely Maybe – 3 CD remaster, $14.99 used. SCORE! Erk, wait! The discs were not inside! BMV will be sending me the discs shortly, but dang! Nice find. This is to be kept alongside my 2 CD edition featuring the live album, Oasis Live.
4. MARTIN POPOFF – The Big Book of Haἳr Metal, $14.99, originally $33. Lotsa text, loadsa pics, let’s go!

Music heard in store: Judas Priest – “Metal Meltdown”, “Ram It Down”, “Victim of Changes”. Pretty amazing shit to hear in a book store.

Total spent: $45.96.

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BMV Books
471 Bloor St W
(416) 967-5757


Stop #2: Pauper’s Pub (39 Bloor Street West). This is a lunch time tradition. Aaron had the veggie burger (with avocado and salsa) and fries, I had the Canadian (cheese and bacon) burger with a garden salad. I would put this lunch in my top five burgers of all time, easily. It was that good.

We hoofed it back to the point at which we started, the parking lot right next to Stop #3:  Kops. The Cult serenaded us with “Fire Woman”. Lots of goodness found here:

1. HENRY ROLLINS – The Boxed Life 2 CD (sealed!), 2 for $5.
2. ROLLINS BAND – Come In And Burn (sealed!), 2 for $5.
3. TRIUMPH – Edge of Excess, 2 for $5.
4. STEVE EARLE – A Special Collection, 1989 promo greatest hits CD with 17 tracks! 2 for $5.
5. RAINBOW – “Can’t Let You Go”, 12″ single, $7.99. Features two live tracks unavailable on album including Joe Lynn Turner singing “All Night Long”. Can’t wait to spin this.

Total spent:  $17.99.

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Kops Records
229 Queen St W
(416) 593-8523


Final Stop:  Sonic Boom.

We always do well here and this was no exception.  I told Aaron that I was hoping to buy some deluxe editions, and considering I’d already scored Queen and Oasis, I thought I had been doing well.  I had forgotten that Faith No More had some deluxes out.  I remembered this when I saw the vinyl reissues at Kops, so I was sure to look for the CDs at Sonic Boom.

Treasures plundered:

1. BEN FOLDS – Ben Folds Live, $2.99 used.
2. BRANT BJORK and the LOW DESERT PUNK BAND – Black Power Flower, 2 bonus tracks, $14.99.
3. FAITH NO MORE – The Real Thing deluxe, $22.99.
4. FAITH NO MORE – Angel Dust deluxe, $22.99.

I have a really extensive collection of Faith No More singles and EPs. I had most of the bonus material already on physical copies, but with a few notable exceptions. Now I got ’em: “As the Worm Turns” with Patton singing, and some of the live tracks such as Sheffield 1990 and Munich 1992.

Total spent: $63.96.

Sonic Boom
215 Spadina Ave
(416) 532-0334


Final Stop 12. Moonbean.  Aaron had to grab some seriously impressive coffee.  It’s the tradition!  Moonbean can be found at 30 Andrew St. (1-866-595-0327), or online at moonbeancoffee.com.

But wait!  That’s not all!

Aaron’s Box of Generosity:

As is his modus operandi, Aaron surprised me with some serious treasures.

1. EXTREME – “Tragic Comic” digipack CD single, featuring “When I’m President” live, which I didn’t have before!
2. KILLER DWARFS – Method to the Madness CD, out of print! I have all their studio albums now.
3. NIACIN – Live in Tokyo DVD, featuring Billy Sheehan on bass. This outta be a mindblow!
3. WILLIAM SHATNER – Shatner Rules, book. I’ve read a few of Bill’s books before and they’re fun.
4. WAYNE JOHNSON – The Colony of Unrequited Dreams. Know nothing about it, but I love Canadian settings in fiction.
5. MICHAEL ONDAATJE – Coming Through Slaughter. “My favourite book” – Steve Earle. ‘Nuff said.
6. HENRY ROLLINS – Fanatic! Vol 1, 2 and 3. An early Christmas has come. Rollins meticulously tracks every song he played on his radio show, with notes. Lots of metal and punk and more.
7. Rock the Cradle Lullabies – Dreamin’ with DEF LEPPARD. Might actually be good since Phil and Viv play on the CD! (Collectible regardless.)
8. Hot Wheels diecast starship USS Enterprise NCC-1701 (reboot version, in package). I love it!
9. A KISS backpack!  To put all my goodies in!

Aaron can be found at keepsmealive.wordpress.com.

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In Conclusion.

Aaron made three trips to Toronto in 2015, I now have made two (for record shopping).  You might think we tapped that city out.  Hell no!  See you next year, Toronto!

Total spent: $127.91 (before tax).

Total items (not including Aaron’s generosity):  14.

Average cost per record:  $10.94.  Consider all those deluxe editions I bought, that is not bad at all!

 

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Coming Soon:   the annual video documentary of the trip!

 

 

#451.5: Guess What We Are Doing Today?

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