Rickys Random Articles

Friday Top 10: Top 10 Reasons to Make a Top 10 List About Random Music Stuff

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1x1.trans Friday Top 10: Top 10 Reasons to Make a Top 10 List About Random Music Stuff

It’s Friday, it’s the end of the week. Can’t think, can’t analyze, can’t absorb new music. Am I getting old? Hell Yes. So I’ve decided that I’m doing a Top 10 list every Friday. How long will this last? Probably until February. Regardless, what matters right now is this: I’m about to start my first top 10 list, and you might be wondering why do this, Ricky? Well, here is why.


It’s easy – no story required, no in depth research and no need to think about how to frame something. Just 10 things – BAM!


It allows me to go through my music playlist, and then listen to songs I haven’t listen to in a while. Let’s say I want to make a “Top 10 Songs that have a Gospel singer” list. How am I going to find this out? I’ll have to navigate my albums folder and pick them out. along the way, you realize things like “holy crap, I haven’t listened to Shed Seven in a while” and then you queue it up.


Makes you think about music differently. I must not be the only one who listens to a track like Suede’s We Are The Pigs and think “I wonder what other songs have a child choir singing in it”. Then you compile a list of these songs, then you have a top 10 list!


Despite what real journalists think, People like top 10 lists. It’s moderately entertaining, light-hearted and finished by the time you are done taking a crap. Much like a sandwich.


It’s really the only way an indie blog can write about mainstream artists like Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Justin Timberlake, Jay-Z, Kanye West, Black Eye Peas and other mainstream bands without losing indie cred. This doesn’t really work for the Panic Manual, since we have any indie cred to begin with. I just wrote that so Google spiders will index this article with those artists as keywords anyway.


Maybe one day the Letterman writers will stumble upon one of our lists and invite us to go read it on their show. Then Wade can fulfill his life long dream and go on Letterman.


All the other music sites do it, so it must be kind of cool. We want to be cool.


If I put each part of the top 10 on a different page, then you have to go through 10 pages to go see what’s number 1. That’s 10 page views AND 10 (or more) ad views. More money to us! (0.0001 cents instead of 0.00099)


Backlinks, baby!


Because sometimes, just sometimes, trying to come up with a new way to describe another chillwave or singer-songwriter song is just boring.

So next time you stumble upon a top 10 list of ____ and wonder why, those are the reasons.

Speaking of Top 10 lists, here is my friend’s website http://top10r.com/ it allows you to democratically decide a top 10 amongst your friends. It’s great.

Nostalgia 2012: Concert Photos of 2011 Explained

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Can’t believe 2011 was 4 days ago. Missing it already.

In 2011, Winters were warm. In 2012, winters are cold. That’s enough for me to want to go back.

I fancy myself to be a concert photographer. More specifically, I fancy myself to be an Iphone concert photographer. It’s a rare breed. Sure, a lot of people take snapshots of concerts with their phones during a show, but how many of them use them for their music blog? Not many. Those other people just look through their albums one day, wonder ‘what is this?’ and then delete the picture. I however, put it on this site for the world/12 people who visit this blog to see.

Here are some of my favorite iphone concert photos from last year, in the interest of nostalgia. As an artist, I have given each picture an appropriate title.

“What Did You Expect From My Iphone?”
It’s a play on the title of the debut Vaccines album. I had carefully framed this picture to only expose half of lead singer Justin Young’s body, because it represented the half-hearted effort they put in their debut. They would later redeem themselves at SXSW and prove to be one of my favorite new acts of the year.

1x1.trans Nostalgia 2012: Concert Photos of 2011 Explained

“Dye It Small”
I intentionally went thirty feet back from the front of the stage at this Smith Western gig to carefully frame this shot. The smallness of the band within the picture represented my tiny expectations of this Chicago trio upon entering the Horseshoe Tavern. I only went to this show because my friend Josh was going by himself and I didn’t want the rock and rock hipsters to eat him up. The band did exceed my low expectations with a solid set of guitar riffs lifted from various 70s rock bands.

1x1.trans Nostalgia 2012: Concert Photos of 2011 Explained

Foals is a band that, underneath their massively kick ass tunes, are quite nerdy. They sing about singularity, for god’s sake. Given their penchant for writing about singularity, I tried to capture lead singer Yannis Philippakis descending onto the darkness. In this shot, half of him is human, and the other half – darkness. This image is a reflection on our increasing dependence on technology and how we are becoming less human because of it.

1x1.trans Nostalgia 2012: Concert Photos of 2011 Explained

“Keep Shining”
The bright light featured in this picture (taken at a Shad concert) represents a rising sun. For a long time, the Canadian hip hop scene has been in the dark, but now, thanks to the popularity of artists such as Shad, Drake, The Weeknd and K’naan, Canadian Hip Hop has never been hotter. This picture shows the light/sun penetrating the darkness, much like how this hip hop scene has penetrated our world.

1x1.trans Nostalgia 2012: Concert Photos of 2011 Explained

“The Beat but no Pulse”
It looks like I am really far away from the stage at this Austra show but really, it’s just a solid depiction of how far away I felt emotionally from the show. Despite really liking their debut record, I felt strangely disconnected from the band at their recent homecoming at the Phoenix. I needed to take this picture to convey my feelings.

1x1.trans Nostalgia 2012: Concert Photos of 2011 Explained

There you have it, some secrets of the trade. Look for more deep Iphone concert photos this year.

Travel Review: Peru

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1x1.trans Travel Review: Peru

What an exhausting two weeks. Most of my vacations consist of traveling to some world class city, gorging on their gastronomical delights and taking in the various shops and clubs that the place has to offer.

Not this trip.

As I wrote in my preview, this vacation was more of an outdoor adventure kind of trip. Having survived two weeks, here are some thoughts about my trip.


- First time sleeping in a mosquito net. Sleeping in a bed that was surrounded by a mosquito net, I felt a bit like a prisoner. It only takes one stroll through the Amazon at night to realize that the alternative is a lot worse.

1x1.trans Travel Review: Peru

- First time not taking a swimming opportunity. If you know me, you will know that I love to swim. The guides in the Amazon said we would be able to swim in a designated area in Lake Sandoval if we wanted but had to sign a waiver because of the poisonous sting rays, piranhas and caiman that inhabit the same lake. No thanks.

- First time I wore a sun hat or bandana. The sun was so intense sometimes in the Andes that I got a sunburn on a cloudy, rainy day

1x1.trans Travel Review: Peru

- First time I ever hitch hiked: while in the Cordillera Blanca (aka the home of the highest tropical peaks on Earth), we had to hitch hike from locals to various drop off points for hiking.. which led to:

- First time I sat in the trunk of a hatchback. After a particularly exhausting hike to Lake 69 (altitude 4600m, picture above) we were desperate to hitch a ride back to the area our lodge was. Fortunately, these Dutch teachers had extra spots in their taxi for us. Sadly, it was in the trunk part of the hatchback. A 40 minute ride on a gravel road going down a mountain is not pleasant when folded up like accordion. I took a pretty average video of the experience:

- First time in an overnight bus. Peru has overnight buses covered. They are amazing. Super comfortable, goes back all the way to 170 degrees, foot rest and a server on the bus who gives you food and coffee. All for 30 bucks or something. Why don’t they have these to New York city?

1x1.trans Travel Review: Peru

Machu Picchu: What can you say? It’s an astonishing sight to see this ancient Incan city at the Sun Gate after a grueling four day hike that involved some crazy up and downhill hikes. Doing it any other way would be cheating, in my mind. Pretty good weight loss program too. No picture can really describe it’s magnificence, which I guess is why I hiked there in the first place.

Amazon Rainforest: Amazing. five minutes into our hike to reach our lodge, we encountered one of many monkeys living in the area. Tarantulas were everywhere, as were all kinds of birds (including parrots) and various other animals. Even the flora in the Amazon were interesting. it’s a shame it’s all getting destroyed.

All in all, Peru is an amazing place that I would highly recommend to anyone. The natural diversity the country has to offered is unparalleled for the countries’ size and I honestly felt two weeks isn’t enough.

Airline review: Taca Airlines

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1x1.trans Airline review: Taca Airlines

It only seems fitting that a trip to South America should include a South/Central American airline. My flight to Lima was booked on Expedia and the cheapest most reasonable option was Taca Airlines, an airline I had never heard of. Apparently, Taca stands for Transportes Aéreos del Continente Americano and is actually a brand of five indie airlines operating out of Central America. The flights I had included a stop over in San Salvador. Here is my review of my experience.

Ease of check in: A fairly painless process that included web checkin 24 hours prior, although I was a bit perplexed at the lack of seating chart on seatguru (use united a320 for reference). Despite being able to pick my seat, I still had to lineup to check in my luggage. So..basically I had to lineup.

Seating Comfort – Standard a320 seating, not too comfortable but better then the discount airlines. I didn’t get the seats I wanted (emergency seats) but the seats were comfortable enough.

Sustainance – I was most impressed with the booze offered, Flor De Cana rum was readily available and the servers were quite liberal with the amount of rum they gave in a rum and coke. Big thumbs up. I was able to order a red wine and a beer from the same person. Am I an alcoholic? I dunno. The beer offered was of the South and Central American variety, which further added to my excitement of the trip.

For a snack, Taca gave us some mix of nuts and dried fruit called Congo Mix. It was delicious. My lunch included a tasty lasagna and my dinner was some chicken and tomato mixture. Each came with salad, bread and some sweets. it was about average for an airline but better than Air Canada’s crap (and much much better then whatever United Airlines offers).

In House entertainment
Sadly, I had to watch Captain America twice since they were two separate flights. The other movie was Mr Poppers Penguin, which reminded me of Liar Liar (Jim Carrey as overworked divorced father who ignores kids, then changes his life around), only with animals. Remember when Jim Carrey was funny? me neither. On the way back to Toronto, saw a movie called Water for Elephants which started the vampire from Twilight and Reese Witherspoon’s teeth. It was pretty bad. However, on a plane, everything is watchable. Even Glee*.

Overall impression: Taca Airlines is usually the cheapest option when flying to South America and it’s not bad, especially with the free flowing alcohol. I would highly recommend it over the stuffy atmosphere that is Air Canada or United Airlines


Glee complaint time!
I had never seen Glee before boarding this airplane and let me tell you something – it’s a pretty bad show. Not only does it feel like a glorified musical after school special, the characters are cardboard caricatures and everything was wrapped up all too nicely. In this particular episode, the football team was divided because the macho linesman didn’t want to be on the same team as the members of the Glee club, who are the quarterbacks, running backs, etc of the team. Somehow in the end, it all neatly wraps up and they are banded together. Still, because it took so long, the team is down 3 points in the championship game and are about to lose when the leader of the team realizes that they could still win if the other teams quarterback fumbles and they return it for a touchdown. Naturally, this happens and just like any unrealistic fairy tale you tell kids growing up, the good guys win and the bad guys lose. It was so stupid because the other team fumbled because the center over snapped the ball to the qb who was lined up in SHOTGUN formation. SHOTGUN! on a kneel down play! What coach would allow that? it’s so stupid. Anyways, I hate the show.