Record Buying – A Descent into Madness Part 1: Suede, Slowdive, Jamie XX

Posted on by Ricky in Everything | Leave a comment

A post shared by Ricky Lam (@panicmanual) on

As a somewhat big music fan, you would imagine that I would have had a record player for ages. So it comes as a surprise to many that I did not. It wasn’t because I didn’t want one, more so what would happen if I did buy one.

As a kid, I collected too many hockey cards and then eventually comics. Then it was DVDs and CDs for awhile, then a digital mp3 collection. You get the point, I like to accumulate shit. So in my mind, I knew if I got a record player, it would start all over again and frankly, records are not cheap. The logical thing to do was to enjoy the music as it was (mostly free) and not bother with it. However, it did feel like a part of the music world was missing.

I always knew eventually I would get a record player. In March of 2012, Suede released a box set of their albums. Naturally as a massive Suede fan, I bought it. Mostly because I figured it would be annoying to try to find all these Suede records should I buy a record player. Yet I didn’t buy one to listen to these records.

Until August of this year. Somehow a Friday night conversation about how “every day you don’t have a record player is a day you aren’t enjoying your records” came to make sense. Two days later I bought a record player – the Project Debut Carbon (which has dropped $100 in price since I bought it, much to my annoyance)

Anyways, since then I’ve been buying a lot of records (and enjoying the process). I figure I will write about the records I buy since this is a music blog or something.

1. Suede – The Vinyl Collection
Price Paid: $250??

I actually don’t remember the price I paid, but a box set of your favorite band is priceless. This box set is great and comes with a nice book that talks about each record and the record making process for that record. I still don’t have the heart to put on their record A New Morning and I doubt I ever will. Dog Man Star was the first record I played (after I played a test record to make sure I didn’t fuck up anything) and it was totally glorious. Not sure how my roommate felt about me cranking it up but she seemed cool with it.

2. Slowdive – Slowdive
Screen Shot 2017-10-25 at 11.25.47 PM
Price paid: $17.99 (Dead Dog Records)

I was just hankering to buy another record. The collection must be awesome! It must be curated. In my head, I was already mentally building a collection of records that would populate my household. However, my first foray into record stores highly suggested it would be a very expensive venture. Records were even more expensive than I thought. 30 bucks for new records? WTF?

Anyways, I was getting pissed off that all the records I wanted were thirty dollars or more and then I saw Slowdive sitting in the new release section at a nice price point of $17.99. While some of my friends are obsessed with this band, I was only neutral towards them. However, I really enjoyed this album when it was released earlier this year, so I thought, this is a good price point and also an album album, not a bunch of singles with shit tracks in between. It’s also good for late night listening because it’s pretty mellow. I enjoy this record.

3. Jamie XX – In Colour
Screen Shot 2017-10-25 at 11.32.41 PM
Price paid: 23.99 (Rotate This)

I loved loved loved the XX concert earlier this year (and all the XX albums) but one of the highlights of that show was Romy singing Loud Places, one of the many highlights from Jamie XX’s album. Perhaps it was the vivid recollection of that moment that spurred me to buy this record as I looked through Rotate This’s vast collection, or perhaps it was the fact that this record is pretty awesome. Anyways, In Colour has a great collection of songs that you can pretty much put on at any time. I don’t know what juice that kid was drinking growing up but the dude can produce some poppin’ tracks.

When I opened this record, a little card dropped out and it was like a download code. I was like … do I type this into … my bit torrent site? I guess some people just legit download music. Good on them.

So it’s been 9 weeks and I’ve bought 20 records. I’ve decided to write about each one, to chronicle my journey. (Maybe)

ImagineNATIVE Review: The Road Forward (Marie Clements, 2017)

Posted on by Gary in Everything, Reviews | Leave a comment

To varying degrees and on a spectrum of acceptance, we are all aware of the issues facing our First Nations communities. If our knee jerk reaction on being exposed to these painful, negative stories is denial, then we shouldn’t be surprised that this selective pressure pushed for the evolution of fighters: singers, songwriters and activists whose whole lives are built around being heard, being recognized to promote change. And thus, we come to this film. The Road Forward is a positive (and forceful) image of people who had no choice but to fight for their own rights, told through songs.

The Native Brotherhood/Sisterhood of BC are organizations that sprung up in the 1930s in response to deprivation of liberties of the native people on the BC coast. Originally formed around fish processing factories to the blueprint of a workers union, it gradually took on the job of neighborhood watch in Canadian politics regarding native rights and freedom. Recognizing the need to unite the cause as well as to communicate news in general, in 1946 they began to run the paper Native Voice, not as the mouthpiece of the organization, but as THE gazette for native life and politics in BC and around the country. That is where The Road Forward starts.


If we are feeling reductive (and blind and deaf and dumb), we could categorize this as another “struggle film”: documenting and prominently highlighting the otherwise invisible hardship people endure outside of our plastic anechoic chamber. But that would not only be a gross understatement, but also an irresponsible one. Calling this a musical slightly breaks the term as we typically grasp it in the Broadway sense. Yes, it uses blues, rock and rap to convey, emphasize, and weave together a story. Yes, it is a great showcase for native talents who persevered despite adversity. But it has more soul, and more self-determination, than that description betrays. Like saying fried chicken is just poultry pieces with breading in hot oil for 10 minutes, the secret is in the cookin’ and eatin’. The vehicle on which these feelings of pride, shame, fear, sorrow, cultural confusion, and far more beyond, is the key to this film. This allowed it to take on a new ability, and strike a distinct tone on the same subject that we all know (and tend to bury in ignorance) so well. And so, even if it lacks analysis of pragmatic solutions as to the road going forward, you need to watch this. It’s a powerful and important monologue, and we need to hear the (war) cries and start to discuss and enact realistic and humane solutions.

PanicManual Essentials Review: Theracane

Posted on by Ricky in Everything | Leave a comment

Screen Shot 2017-10-11 at 11.11.10 PM

Apparently, if I like something, I’ll never shut up about it. I guess this is why I have a blog. Anyways, I like to buy stuff online. It’s a horrible disease, but with it, comes some positive. Sometimes, the things I buy are gold. It’s these things I wish to share with you.

Now, despite what you are thinking, I am definitely not a high end influencer galavanting the globe attending free swag parties with run of the mill youtube stars. Actually, I have a desk job and have had been working in front of a computer for the better part of my life.

What does this mean? I have an achey back and lower back. Since I don’t have my personal massage therapist yet, this presents a problem. How do I take care of the knots in my body?

Enter the thera-cane.

Now just looking at the picture above, you would think it is just some random hook. But don’t be basic. The little knobs at the end are magical and it’s hook like shape means you can use it to reach sore spots in your lower back. Take a look at this picture

Screen Shot 2017-10-11 at 11.21.01 PM

I didn’t draw that, but that’s a magical spot. It’s like…good pain. I don’t know how to explain it.

Anyways, this thing is magical. If you have some pains in your neck, shoulders and back, this can definitely help with the knots there. Most of my friends who have tried it have bought it.

You can buy it at your local body health store or amazon. I dunno google it.

Burger Review: Station Burger, Richmond Station

Posted on by Ricky in Everything | Leave a comment

Screen Shot 2017-09-26 at 10.45.49 PM

Welcome to part 8 of this burger series. As a reminder, this is a series based on a top 10 list of burgers published in Toronto Life.

Now that we are in the final stages of this burger challenge, I have to hand it to this guy. We are struggling to eat a burger once a month, and yet this guy was able to build up the courage to eat a burger EVERY SINGLE DAY. Is there anything you do outside of brushing your teeth, putting on contacts (if you have them) and drinking water that you do every single day?

So far this year, I’ve gone
– at least 24 hours without eating (intentional fast or non intentional travel fast)
– at least 24 (probably more) hours without showering (camping/cottaging)
– at least 24 hours without drinking coffee (and probably was pissed off about it)

And those are some basics you think you do daily yet I have managed to skip them. This guy held to a a daily diet of burger. It must have been tiring. You have to admire the guy’s dedication.

For the 8th burger episode, we went to Richmond Station, a place known primarily as a restaurant opened by a Top Chef winner, who also coincidentally used to work at Marben, which had a really good burger. Expectations were definitely high.

Station Burger
lettuce, beet chutney, aged cheddar, milk bun, rosemary fries, dill pickle, garlic aioli – $22

At $22, it was tied with Carbon Bar for most expensive. Both are fancy places but $22 is quite high for me. I soon found out that the patty is made of “brisket, sirloin and round for his burger, then stuffs it with braised neck and short rib” which could explain the high price. Most likely it’s because it’s a fancy place though.

The Verdict
At first, when I saw this burger, I was like … this is all I get for 22 dollars? But then after the initial bite, I realized the error of my ways. Like the quiet person in the corner of a table during a company meeting, I realized that I shouldn’t sell something short based on initial appearances. This burger may have been small, but it was dense.

The assortment of beef parts rolled into this patty was pressed pretty tightly and just came off as thick. It had a very meaty taste which is something that I guess shouldn’t surprise but I just feel like I really was consuming the essence of the animal.

Because it was made from not just ground meat, the patty did have a decent chewiness to it, which I’m not sure how I felt about.

By now, we have seen restaurants of all kinds try to give their burger some extra edge by accompanying it with innovative ingredients. This burger was no different. Aside from your standard lettuce and aged cheddar (which you know, is pretty common), the burger was accompanied by a beet chutney.

I assume it was to provide a little bit of sweetness to the otherwise meaty burger, but frankly, I didn’t really taste too much of it so I can’t really comment on it. The meat taste of the burger was pretty overwhelming, for better or worse.


The burger was definitely a bit greasy as it was dripping if not right away, then fairly soon afterwards. The bun itself had a cute little shape to it, and was baked in house. One thing I found surprising was that Sarah’s bun was noticeably darker then mine. Perhaps this inconsistency is a product of baking, I don’t know.

I think I enjoyed this burger. It may have been too dense for me, which is surprising given my affinity for devouring meat. I think it overwhelmed some of the accompanying flavors a bit and really was quite heavy. Still, I enjoyed the burger, but not at the levels of the Wickson or Bar Buca. Was it worth $22? Probably not.

Here is fellow burger enthusiast Sarah’s take on it:
“It was a filling burger, so it had that going for it. It’s not a burger I would go back for but I’m glad I had it once.”

Oh yeah, the fries were fairly average, which was a bit disappointing.

Burger Scale

Amarillo Burger, Casino El Camino – $10 USD
The Burger, Wickson Social – $19
Bombolone Burger, Bar Buca – $15
Station burger, Richmond Station – $22
Burger, Rasa – $17
Prime Beef Double Cheeseburger, Museum Tavern – $19
Skyline Burger, Skyline Diner – $14
Brisket Cheese Burger, Carbon Bar – $22
Game Burger, Antler – $18
Vegan Mac Daddy, Doomies – $16