Love notes.

Happy Valentine’s day beautiful readers.

Torontette is not going mushy on you this heart-filled holiday. Instead, here is a sexy playlist. Share it with your lover, or best friend or whenever you need to stir up your inner sex kitten. Meow.

hugs & kisses, torontette

Playground Love – Air

Between The Sheets – The Isley Brothers

All Mine – Portishead

Move On Up – The Dynamics

I’ve Given Enough – Blue Six

Lover, You Should’ve Come Over – Jeff Buckley

Sweet Jane – Cowboy Junkies

Use Me – Bill Withers

Don’t give up on Me – Solomon Burke

Girl, I Wanna Lay You Down – ALO

Sara Smile – Hall & Oates

Otherwise – Morcheeba

Quicksand (Thievery Corporation remix) – Natalie Walker

Destiny – Zero 7

Remember – Groove Armada

…and a little more folk please

They say that if you look into someone’s eyes and feel as though you are the only two people in the room, you know you’re in love. When the world fades to grey around you and life moves in slow motion, you know you’re in love. Last night’s show, for me, mirrored this connection, although in this case between a girl and not a boy, but music.

Going into it, I wasn’t familiar with the opening act, Nathaniel Rateliff & the Wheel. Rateliff is a Denver singer-songwriter who, with his previous band Born in the Flood turned down a deal with Roadrunner, a metal-focused label to instead pursue a slower pace; one that would allow him to sprawl out as a folk artist. So he signed with Rounder, and Nathaniel Rateliff and the Wheel came to life.

Rateliff is incredibly talented. This high, emotive tenor fills the stage with lyrics of human imperfection in an understated, yet haunting way. In my mind he sounds like Nick Drake, Glen Hansard and Leonard Cohen sharing a glass of whiskey.

Here’s a video of him performing “Early Spring Till”

And a photo from last night…

Nathaniel Rateliff & the Wheel

20 year-old English rose, Laura Marling appeared onstage blonder no longer, to my disappointment (excuse my bias). In fact, she walked right past us earlier in the evening, and I didn’t even recognize her. Marling is known for her striking melodies that carry forward, sometimes to surprising places, while you stand still in a state of fidelity. There were times last night, when the entire room was completely silent save for her voice and strumming guitar. And there were times last night, when you felt as though you were hearing her diary read aloud; one dark, passionate entry after the next. Only once was I reminded of her innocence – as she broke out into a fit of giggles during “Alas I Cannot Swim”, her last song of the evening. And my only criticism? She never played my favourite song, “New Romantic”, which I’m sharing here as a video.

It was an enchanting night to say the least. And in this case between a girl….this girl, and music, which can sometimes be the world’s greatest love affair.

torontette xo

And a couples pictures from last night…

Laura's set list

Laura Marling

Today, it’s about harmony

Last Thursday, I had the pleasure of being in a university town for work; one that has a reputation for wild parties, and good looking people. Any guesses?

It’s 12:34 am. The DJ is playing my new favourite song to hate, the one with the prolific lyrics “shots, shots shots” (you know the one) and suddenly I realize that I’m surrounded by 18 & 19 year olds fist-pumping, dirty dancing and loving this song 38231 more times than me.

The scene before me was nothing to criticize. Turn the clock back 5 or 6 years and I would be right there with them. Nostalgia began to bubble to the surface as I did a mental inventory of my partying past. Countless nights dedicated to Montreal’s nightlife, enough tequila shots to make any Mexican proud, more hours spent on the dancefloor than on the books, and 26 trips to Tokyo.

These were great times. Spectacular times. And even though I was once, not too long ago in the dancing shoes of these teens, I couldn’t help but feel 100. That was until I reflected on how great it is to be 20-something in our beloved city. Toronto truly caters to us when the sun sets.

So this Thursday, steer clear of the university parties, and swagger over to one of these 5 spots for a drink or three. And as you’re sipping on your crafted cocktail, know that you are old enough to savour it yet young enough to have another. Perfect harmony.

Torontette’s 5 Thursday night recos:

1. barchef: 472 Queen Street West

2. Union: 72 Ossington Avenue

3. Rasputin Vodka Bar: 780 Queen Street East

4. The Comrade: 758 Queen Street East

5. Nyood: 1096 Queen Street West

Bring it, Phil.

Tomorrow, February 2nd is Groundhog Day. Tomorrow if Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow, we will have to brace ourselves for 6 more weeks of winter (if you’re a believer in such folklore). This winter has been more miserable than usual for Torontonians. Frigid temperatures and little snow have made for frequent weekends trapped in the cold, grey surroundings of downtown.

Feeling chilly are we? Don’t fret, there’s hope yet. Like man’s best friend, Toronto still shows us love this winter, no matter how much we bitch and moan. It’s found in the air, with the funk of stale beer and voices in unison at our favourite live shows. This love may not be warm and fuzzy like your snuggie but it’ll sure make you feel good. So instead of driving your friends crazy complaining about the cold, get inside, get warm, and feel the love.

Torontette’s top 15 shows from now until April, in chronological order, with a taste of each.

1. Laura Marling: February 9, Lee’s Palace

Ghosts – Laura Marling (right-click to download)

2. Mumford & Sons: February 15, Lee’s Palace

Little Lion Man – Mumford & Sons

3. Rogue Wave: February 26, Mod Club

Good Morning – Rogue Wave

4. Yacht: March 4, Wrongbar

Psychic City (Voodoo City) – Yacht

5. Rjd2: March 11, Mod Club

Ghostwriter – Rjd2

6. Beach House: March 30, Opera House

Norway – Beach House

7. The Temper Trap: March 30, Mod Club

Fader – The Temper Trap

8. Vampire Weekend: March 30, Sound Academy

White Sky – Vampire Weekend

9. Shearwater: April 1, Lee’s Palace

Castaways – Shearwater

10. Miike Snow: April 3, Phoenix

Cult Logic – Miike Snow

11. The XX w/ jj: April 4, Phoenix

Heart Skipped a Beat – The XX

Things Will Never Be The Same Again – jj

12. Florence & the Machine: April 10, Phoenix

Dog Days Are Over – Florence & the Machine

13. Dr. Dog: April 14, Lee’s Palace

Heart it Races – Dr. Dog

14. Yeasayer: May 1, Lee’s Palace

I Remember – Yeasayer

15. Shout Out Louds: May 8, Mod Club

Walls – Shout Out Louds