Is it over already? Twelve months down and we’re (officially) into the second decade of the 21st century. With just four more years to go until we get those flying cars we were promised (holding you to this one, Mr. Zemeckis), it’s probably a good time to sit back and nurse that hangover (if you’ve still got one three days later, that is) and reflect on the year that was.

While we can’t tell you how 2010 was for you, we can say that for us here at FTB it was a helluva year. Think about it, a year ago we had just started out with a handful of regular writers, some political and arts coverage and big ambitions. Now, we have over 500 posts and eleven regular columns covering everything from sex to the environment to things Laurence doesn’t like.

We’ve also started covering a good portion of the independent music and arts scenes in Montreal and recently Brooklyn, New York, including artists you might not have heard of and festivals you probably have. Meanwhile our sports coverage which began with our unconventional Olympic coverage (the games and the protests) has continued in the form of an unabashedly pro-Habs hockey blog.

We’ve covered major events like the G20 with reports from the protests and the detention center and analysis of what the talking heads were doing behind the barricades. We’ve also continued our coverage of local stories like the ongoing saga of Café Cleopatre versus the city.

Some things have stayed the same, though, like our commitment to unconventional coverage and coverage of the unconventional and our year-old tradition of asking our writers for their favourite posts from the past year by themselves and by other writers on the site then compiling them somewhat informally into a list of ten.

So without any further adieu and in no particular order, here’s our fifteen favourite posts of the year:

Oh No! Theodore was in my living room: In what is probably the most unconventional post of our POP Montreal coverage, Cassie Doubleday reviews an unofficial living room show by Fredericton, New Brunswick based seven piece Oh No Theodore! as part of an after-hours put on by FTB. In this report, we find out that living room shows are quite the norm out east.

Macs, iPods, iPads, iPhones iRefuse to Conform: In what is probably our most controversial post of the year (among the can’t take a joke set), Mike Gwilliam takes a break from talking about video games to rail against all things Mac and in particular their marketing strategy and obsessed Mac users.

Ignorance is bliss: The non-story about the ‘Ground Zero Mosque’ is Quiet Mike’s springboard into this analysis of the ignorance of a large portion of the American electorate and the sad state that leaves the country.

Game 6: Hockey Night in Hipster County: This post from the Montreal Canadiens’ improbable playoff run chronicles Jaroslav Halak’s astounding 53 saves as the Habs force a game 7 with Washington (which they will go on to win) and shows hockey blogger Cindy Lopez very pleased to admit that her predictions were wrong as she takes in the game at the (at the time dry) Café Romolo.

Mo’ Mustaches, Mo’ Money The ‘stache is sexy: Sex columnist Jessica Klein takes a look at the Movember phenomenon and urges women to sleep with a guy sporting a ‘stache. Just doin’ her part, I guess.

This is what democracy looks like?: Ally Henderson brings us a harrowing tale of being detained illegally for no apparent reason while she peacefully protested the G20 Summit in Toronto. A tale unfortunately too common during the event.

Rich Aucoin interviewed by FTB’s Cassie Doubleday: In the first of many video interviews with musicians to come, We Heart Music columnist goes one on one with the originator of funcore and fellow Haligonian Rich Aucoin. The two talk about Rich’s music, his charity and much more.

Oh Canada: FUBAR: While she reviews films from all around the world, Stephanie Laughlin definitely has a fondness for Canadian cinema. In fact, she devoted the entire month of July to covering it. Included among this plethora of Canadiana was her review of recent indie darling Fubar, the first one, which we published shortly before the sequel came out.

The whiteness of being green: In this post from late August, columnist Mel Lefebvre takes the time to reflect on why the environmental movement of which she is a part seems sometimes to be the exclusive domain of white people.

Tuesday Night in Williamsburg: This is the first report on the Brooklyn, New York music scene pubished a few months before we got a Brooklyn correspondent and written as part music review, part travel piece from the point of view of Montrealer Jason C. McLean, part of the FTB team that went down to NYC to shoot an episode of JC Sunshine and meet the locals.

JC Sunshine Ep 306: Who Killed Ricardo?: This is by far the most unique JC Sunshine episode and some say the best so far. It’s entirely narrative format and film noir style (black and white detective story for the uninformed). While it works very well on its own, there will be some story elements you might not catch if you haven’t seen the preceding episodes. So if you have the time, we recommend starting a few episodes back if not at the beginning of season 3…or just jump in and enjoy the ride!

From Montreal to Hell in an Oldsmobile: No news is good news. And this rant contains no news whatsoever. It contains Olds. If that doesn’t give you an idea if what to expect in this somewhat disjointed odyssey of a rant by Laurence Tenenbaum, or if it does, read on.

“If we amplify everything we hear nothing!” Jon Stewart tells the 250 000 who gathered at Washington DC’s National Mall Saturday: Steve Ferrara makes the trek from Brooklyn to Washington, DC and brings us this report from Jon Stewart and Stephen Colert’s Restore Sanity and/or Fear on the National Mall.

The Silicone Diaries: An intimate encounter with a silicone goddess: Theatre and arts writer Jessica Alley takes us into the world of Canadian transsexual icon Nina Arsenault as she reviews her new play currently on tour.

Postcards from the edge: In this series of images from his Carte Blance column, photographer Hugo Trottier examines ideas that come to us in the middle of the night.

Well, that’s how we saw 2010 here on FTB. We’ve got big plans for 2011 (not as big as flying cars, but way more in your face), so keep checking back and a very happy New Year to everyone from all of us at Forget The Box!

In 2010 We Heart Music covered and saw over 41 artists, talked with four bands, attended two major Montreal music festivals, and created our own music month. Oh, and of course drank over, uh, lots of beer and liquor at various venues in Montreal and Brooklyn (seriously, we could have put someone’s kid through university).

Our livers may not love us these days, but we still heart the music. Even though we may not remember every guitarist’s name or the name of that girl who performed at Casa with The Burning Hell (oh wait, we did figure that out. Hey Ragged Dick!), we’ve tried to bring you a mixture of talented and emerging artists. Of course, “each to their own” when it comes to musical taste (it’s an olive to a date-square kind-of situation).

So, let’s get to the strange and reckless 2010 music goods…

(Fred suggests you listen to this while reading.)

The Doors – People Are Strange by beeq

It started out in a dark venue, where the lights dimly lit a small group of transgendered people (Rae Spoon @ Casa). Weeks later that same dark, dimly lit venue became an animal house, controlled by a wild Ontario man who dragged our eyes and ears into the bathroom to expose us to his ranchy and confetti-like tunes (B.A. Johnston @ Casa).

It wasn’t long until we all became hypnotized and began to feel like a package of pop rocks (FTB @ POP Montreal), roaming the streets of Montreal searching for venues, bands and parities, hiding from east coast monsters named Theodore (Oh No! Theodore @ Vegas).

Somewhere along the adventure we fell lustily for a foal (Foals @ CPJ), turned into lushes who danced richy (Rich Aucoin @ Le Belmont) and watched the sky turn wooden with some hot BC dude named Blonde (The Wooden Sky & Yukon Blonde @ Sala).

It got pretty fuzzy as we all passed out on the Mount Royal mountain. When we woke, our ears where screaming for madness for Montreal. It was then we started to hear about Brooklyn and the riots and the phantoms (Phantogram @ Il Motore) that Ben Franklin (Ben Franklin @ Bruar Falls) once knew! “Oh, Oh,” we shouted as we realized we had all gone loco (FTB @ M for Montreal, FTB goes Loco + the Brooklyn scene).

We became strange. We yearned for our home. We wanted what our ears could have had and turned our sights to a looking glass. We were now flys on a bar wall (Caroline Glass @ Bar Fly). Stop. See. Listen. It was in our backyards all along. And now, we are here, flying in and out of the smokeless venues that line the streets of Montreal. The End.

Now that story time is over, let’s look at a few of the artists we covered. Some of these links will go to the same article, but hey! I know you’re excited to see this list. This list is in alphabetical order, because that’s how I roll.

Here’s our coverage from the festivals and our special music month:

Cool beans.

Hope you enjoyed the little story and all the music and photos we covered in 2010.

Thanks to all the labels, bands, festival coordinators and music reps who let us into the venues, regardless of our state (joking!). But seriously, thank you.

Peace and check out the latest from The Concretes, Good Evening. They’re playing @ Sala on January 19 @ 8PM.

The Concretes – Good Evening by edsgms

Rob Ford, new mayor of

I must admit, I’m a bit confused. I’m not quite sure what I’m supposed to write about here. It’s a year-in-review piece, so at least the time frame is solid, but the subject matter, hmm, that’s another story.

You see, I don’t really have a clear beat. I started off 2010 as a theatre writer, but now that’s done by others and occasionally me, at least when it comes to burlesque shows (heh heh, but seriously, check out my reviews of Blood Ballet and Glam Gam). I do write about news and politics, even in this space, but I’m not the only one, so this can’t be a year in the news piece.

I could write about the year it was for FTB. (and in fact I will, but that’s coming up New Year’s Eve, not here.) So I guess I’m just going to have to talk about the year in random things that caught my attention.

It seems somewhat appropriate that I’m confused, because 2010 sure was a year of confusing things. While Calgary took a few steps forward and elected (by all accounts) progressive lefty Naheed Nenshi, Canada’s first Muslim mayor, Toronto took about fifty steps back and basically elected Rush Limbaugh in the form of anti-homeless, anti-cyclist loudmouth Rob Ford. The City of Montreal, under the direction of Gerald Tremblay, still wants to destroy the Red Light District, at least there was some good news last week that developer Angus may throw in the towel and let the venerable Café Cleopatre continue to exist.

Meanwhile in Quebec, Jean Charest and his cronies (before facing a sham commission) banned the wearing of religious head coverings when trying to use government services and made those services, even those that are supposed to be free, a little more expensive. This drew considerable protest, but you wouldn’t know it by reading The Gazette.

People are not impressed: photo of the anti-Charest budget protest by Chris Zacchia

At least Stephen Harper’s consistently a douchebag. He did up the ante a bit this year, though, by going all police state on peaceful protesters and the City of Toronto during the G20, using tactics that would have made Homeland Security and the CIA under Cheney (er, Bush) blush.

Harper’s new nemisis the UN took a step backwards, too, by condoning the baseless executions of gays and lesbians. At least Haiti decided not to allow Wyclef Jean to run for president, though their elections didn’t go all that smooth, regardless.

The good stuff: Buffalo Infringement Festival photo by Jason C. McLean

Even closer to home, things have been strange. Despite being a fresh, new and alternative media source, we’re still following Justin Beiber on Twitter and last time I checked we’re now following Paris Hilton, too. At least it gives me the opportunity to use the Biebs, Paris, Jean Charest and Islam as keywords in the same post, which is fun.

I did have quite a bit of fun this year, actually and got to report on it, too. From checking out the Brooklyn music scene first hand and getting a sarcastic kick out of the lone tea partier in Times Square to experiencing the unique joy that is the Buffalo Infringement Festival, 2010 has been quite a ride.

I guess my New Year’s resolution (or at least my public one) will have to be focus on the positive, still write about the negative (cause it’s important) and embrace the confusion.

Photo by Steve Ferrara

Journeymen get ready for the real experience. Multitudes is the kind of band that makes the listener loosen their grasp on reality. Their music transcends genre and is best described as transformative. Bending time and space, a song could start psychedelic and dancey. Then it can turn to free jazz, climax as hardcore and settle into a sophisticated noise.

I have always had a strong fondness for three piece bands.   A player can stretch out without having to worry about stepping on another player’s turf. This comes with a big responsibility though as each instrument is quite exposed. What makes Multitudes a great trio are their simplicity to approach, the passion they play with and the virtuosity each player brings to the stage. I really admire that drummer Alex Lambert is front and center in Multitudes’ stage set up. He is right where a lead singer would traditionally go. Lambert has rightfully earned that spot as he is a lead drummer in the band. Lambert is an animal, very versed in the trick of making odd meters feel like they are still in four. At times he is delicate, meticulously caressing the under hi-hat cymbal with a stick for example. Other times Lambert’s sticks appear as two fiercely glowing blurs shining across all four drums and two cymbals at the same time! The entire time his demeanor is calm and meditative. Bassist Brian House plays a great bass line in the parts of the songs where he sees fit to. At other times, his bass screams unforgivingly with the aid of guitar pedals, creating a magnificent array of soundscapes and explosions. Guitarist Pat Foley has great tone. I especially like it when he plays melodies with some sort of octave effect on.   His chord voicing choice is unique and multi-emotional.

Photo by Steve Ferrar

I first saw Multitudes by chance at a loft party in Greenpoint’s Good Yoga. This warm, spacious and well kept performance space was a great place to see Multitudes. There were so many people I could hardly walk through. All around the band there were about half a dozen old fashioned (1980’s) TV’s showing computer distorted images of the performance appeared on their screens as the show went on. It was the perfect effect for Multitudes. I next caught them perform at Death By Audio in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The band played great and debuted five new songs. Foley used a slide towards the end of the night creating smoky, drunken like melodies I really enjoyed. These were backed by massively full chords on bass. Death by Audio, on the other hand, is a horribly dilapidated, corner cut club. Despite its makeshift “DIY” vibe, it is devoid of the dive charm of NYC legendary clubs like CBGB. When people said CBGB was a total shit hole it was with a certain nostalgic charm. I personally have many fond memories of the club with no bathroom doors. I felt no such charm at Death By Audio, though I have to say the staff was very nice.

Multitudes released their first record, Ontogeny earlier this year. I briefly sat down with Brian House who told me they plan to go into the studio this winter to record the five songs they debuted at Death By Audio along with seven more to make a 12 song record. The new record, slated for release in Spring 2011, will feature short form songs with more of the band’s punk tendencies compared to the more conceptual Ontogeny. House also hinted at a tentative plan for the band to leave New York for a bit this winter and share their highly original sound with some other cities. Please check out for tour updates as well as info on their upcoming 2nd studio release.

Photo by Steve Ferrara

The first thing I heard from the Brooklyn based band Ben Franklin was their record, Optimist. The recording has a great sound. It is no shitty demo. There are big sounding drums, present vocals, and each instrument sits in its own clear spot in the overall mix. On the other hand Optimist isn’t over produced like 95% of the major releases today. The songs are catchy and clever post-punk with a taste of indie-rock. They make me think of bands like Cake, Weezer (Blue and Pinkerton only), Cursive, and Sunny Day Real Estate. After hearing Optimist, I knew I had to go to a show and see if the band live stood up to the recording.

I saw Ben Franklin at 11pm on a Wednesday at Bruar Falls, one of Williamsburg’s not so underground, hip spots. The club was packed. It took about four songs for the band to get warm, but once they got it they were on fire. Their vocal harmonies are well planned and spot on. I find the riff based sections of their songs to be where the band thrives. Billy Gray is not only the main vocalist but also the lead guitarist. His modesty on stage is dichotomous to his masochistic style songwriting. While speaking to the crowd he comes off as vulnerable and sincere. Bassist Eddie Garza does most of the talking for the night. His banter between songs is too long for me, though he does a great job of playing, singing and dancing during the songs. He is the designated fun guy in the band.

The lyrics are cynical and sarcastic with a touch of anger. Their fans connect with these emotions and have the uninhibited desire to party that is inherent to rock music. What I mean to say is: the crowd freaked out.
The song, Drink to Forget, was the turning point of the night. The audience members knew the song by heart. While singing along, they really started to move.

Photo by Steve Ferrara

As the night went on more drinks were consumed both on stage and off. I think I caught a glimpse of a flask
in Billy’s hand at one point. All this partying and the music led to a great and wonderful thing, STAGE DIVING
AND CROWD SURFING! It came on like a storm. First there was moshing. Then the momentum grew and some people were being lifted quickly here and there. Next thing I knew, it became like an underground VFW show
in 1991. A small girl got up on stage and just jumped. The audience caught her and carried her around. That was it.   Now it was “okay” for every dude to get up on stage and jump. The more people freaked out, the harder the band played. The harder the band played, the more the floor shook. At the end of the night all the instruments and people fell to the ground. As the band left a massacred stage Eddie picked up a mic and suggested a list
of priorities yelling, “Really, smoke weed and buy our shit!” He dropped the mic with a thud and the band walked off to greet fans.

Check Ben Franklin out at where you can “buy their shit,” Optimist, for free or name your price. They are currently finishing up the mixes of a new 7″ to be released on Killing Horse Records in January. It will be called Urgency.

Photo by Steve Ferrara

I had the privilege of being at Trash Bar in Williamsburg, Brooklyn last Sunday where I happened upon the power trio Bo-Peep. I know many of us out there have our issues with the live music scene today. In general there is a lack of enthusiasm at shows on the stage and in the audience. It seems that if the current music scene needed a word to coin it, it would be “medium music for a medium crowd.” Bo-Peep, however, sparks a flash back to a time before the Facebook generation, when live music mattered.

Bo-Peep is an all female band from Tokyo, Japan with more balls than every resident of Bedford Ave. combined. Their songs are a raw and savage celebration of life. Though they walked into the club almost completely unknown, Bo-Peep managed to possess an entire room of Brooklynites into breaking the norm: We all got our asses up and danced.

Instrumentally Bo-Peep was magnificently tight but with an ease that allowed them to run around the stage like maniacs. Bassist Kaori Takebayash was all spirit. She jumped, spun and kicked while executing precision bass lines. At one point in the set Kaori made a great save when her bass cable got unplugged. In an instantaneous swoop she re-plugged her bass in and continued the line mid-phrase like nothing had happened!

Shortly after that she out danced the kimono she was wearing revealing a black dress
and a layer of “I’m rock’n my ass off” sweat. Later in the set Kaori chose to jump into the audience and dance with us while still keeping the bass line going and managed to return to the stage safely without missing a note.

Photo by Steve Ferrara

Singer guitarist Mika Yoshimura was completely nuts. For most of the set her eyes were obscured by a mess of hair.
The few times when I did get a glimpse
they were rolled far back as if in a demonic trance. Mika’s voice screams and wails
with passion. She attacks the guitar with a tribal fierceness. In the finale Mika jumped
on top of the drum set and held one hand in the air. This could seem silly in the wrong context but in this room the energy was there. The entire audience was won over and responded by throwing their hands up in the air.

Drummer Ryoko Nakano appears to be the center that holds the band together. Her drumming was steady and hard hitting. Keeping the beat going from one song to the next, I think she may have only stopped playing twice in the set. Ryoko was also the spokesperson on stage, thanking the audience while the other two tuned between songs.

The only negative of the night were all the photographers in the front row. They were killing the vibe and blocking the view. Who were those guys? Was this a rock ‘n roll show in a dirty ass Brooklyn bar or an MTV shoot? If they were going to block the front row couldn’t they have at least taken turns or something?

So that’s basically it. Bo-Peep schooled New York City on its own curriculum. They have that NYC rock ‘n roll sound and spirit down more so then 95% of the bands in the New York scene today.

Check Bo-Peep out at or They have just released their 3rd album Vibe on the British/Japanese, indie label Flight Path Records. It is available on itunes.