2011, The Final Recap. Top 10 Albums, Songs, Foods, Travel, Writers

Posted on by Ricky in Year End Reviews | Leave a comment

Because I can’t help myself

10 Albums I Listened to the Most This Year

Destroyer – Kaputt
The Vaccines – What Did You Expect From The Vaccines
The Horrors – Skying
Hooded Fang – Tosta Mista
Wild Beasts – Smother
Young Galaxy – Shapeshifting
Black Lips – Arabia Mountain
Washed Out – Within and Without
British Sea Power – Vahalla Dancehall
The Rapture – In the Grace of Your Love

10 Songs

M83 – Midnight City
Girls – Vomit
The Vaccines – Post Break Up Sex
Austra – Lose It
The Rapture – How Deep Is Your Love
The Horrors – Still Life
Cut Copy / Architecture in Helsinki – Need You Now
Foster The People – Pumped Up Kicks/Houdini (inescapably catchy)
Young Galaxy – Cover Your Tracks
Adele – Someone Like You (Buffet Libre Remix) *don’t really like original

10 Eating Experiences

Cinc Sentits
Guinea Pig
Alpaca Tenderloin
Squid Black Ink Paella, BOMBAS! aka Everything in Barcelona
Legit Kofte
Sugar Mamma‘s Mini Donuts
Pide / Turkish Pizza
Salt Lick / Iron Works / Everything in Austin

Top 10 Travel Memories

Pulp, Primavera
Hiking Machu Picchu
Amazon Rainforest
Istanbul’s Bosphorous
Familia Sagrada, Barcelona
Blue Mosque / Sophia Hagia / Basilica Cistern
Freezing ass off skating down Ottawa Canal
Going to Sam Adams brewery..when it was closed
Crashing coworker’s wedding and err, high school concert in Istanbul

Top 10 Panic Manual Writers

Paul – what a tank, traveled the world, reviewed shows from Austin, Guelph, Barcelona, Paris and Denmark among others. Shaved his sideburns into a star for Halloween.

Brian – Fringe/Theatre MVP, Writes Jazz pieces and also produced a baby.

Wade – Jack of all trades will be coming with you with an insanely brilliant album review series next year, and also, provided us with endless donuts throughout the year.

Mark – Covers Jazz and Worldly music like no one else, also, will go to whatever NXNE show I tell him to go to. Interviewed someone.

Allison – Eighties music experts went to more 80s bands this year than one could imagine, while constantly lamenting about how hot and fit those fifty year old singers were. Managed to not piss off an entire local band’s fanbase this year too.

Sarah – Our only writer with Elite status on Air Canada. Sarah was too busy mimicking George Clooney’s character from Up in the Air to delight us with too many show reviews but she still listened to more Canadian music than all of us (minus Wade) combined.

Stacey – Our newest casual Toronto writer has true appreciation for local and cancon music and is the only member of the Panic Manual team that could legitimately save your life (she’s a doctor). Also, compared an RAA show to sex.

Halley and Celeste – The youngest and brightest writers on our blog, the sisters of destruction listen to all the hip and new music I used to listen to. They’ll provide you with insight on boatloads of new bands and songs next year, while the rest of us sit around in our rocking chairs reminiscing about the nineties.

Gary and Derek – Our two resident photographers, Gary moved himself onto the set of the Wire / Baltimore last year and has since become a nutjob who dedicates his year end article to the occupy movement. Still, he takes amazing pictures. Derek not only took amazing pictures at SXSW, he took them while being completely inebriated. Also, provided us with the minibooth for our 90s party.

Vik – Our graphics and layout guy Vik had the pleasure of making this site look pretty this year. Also, has a really cute kid and let me borrow Red Dead Redemption for half a year


Overall, just like Tori Amos said.. “Pretty Good Year”


It’s coming.
Be ready to rock.
Be ready to roll.

Concert Review: M83, Active Child, November 18, Lee’s Palace

Posted on by Paul in Concerts, Everything | Leave a comment

Toronto – Reviews can be a bit of a tricky thing.  It’s pretty hard to be completely objective when reviewing anything – the reviewer’s biases are bound to come in to play, as are their moods.  And as far as Friday’s M83 show at Lee’s Palace, goes, I was not in the best of moods.  In fact, I was downright grumpy – I had just awoken from an unplanned nap on the couch, had missed a few crucial moments of that week’s episode of Fringe, was still tired, and felt a bit sick.  Obviously this would colour my opinion of the show to an extent. 

Active Child was up first and certainly sounded great, but not as good as the first time I saw them.  This may have had less to do with my mood and more to do with not being able to discover them live for the first time as I did when they played The Garrison back in September.  Pat Grossi’s voice still impresses though, and the band’s mix of harp playing with electro RnB style jams works well.  Is it weird that I kind of want them to do a Terence Trent D’arby cover though? 

As the time approached for M83 to take the stage, you could sense the anticipation amongst many in the young crowd.  Starting the show off with the band’s weird mascot thingy walking onstage amid a haze of smoke, the band emerged shortly thereafter and proceeded to deliver a high energy set, which was good since it countered my generally low level of energy, and got me up to a slightly higher level.  They sounded impressive in the way that all of the best live versions of electronic music can be – a full band always brings a lot more to the table than just one guy with a bunch of electronics.  Full of heavy guitars and catchy keyboard hooks, it lived up to the full on rock ‘n roll moves of frontman Anthony Gonzalez.  By the point near the end of the set where Gonzalez started shouting “Toronto! TORONTO!!” I was totally grinning and even almost kind of dancing.  The guy definitely knows how to put on a show. 

So I’m sorry M83, you probably deserve better than my tired, grumpy old ass complaining about how tired and grumpy I was during your set, but it’s all I have to give.  Hopefully I can catch the band some other time when I’m more well rested.

Here’s the setlist for the show: http://www.setlist.fm/setlist/m83/2011/lees-palace-toronto-on-canada-3bd1e80c.html

Concert Review: Active Child, M83, October 28, Black Cat

Posted on by halley in Concerts | 2 Comments

Washington DC – So many unexpected occurrences at the Active Child/M83 show on October 28 at the Black Cat. Of all the concert venues in DC, I feel as though I know Black Cat the best, but this show threw me for a loop. In the first place, it was my first concert flying solo. In the second place, the audience was super male-heavy. I don’t know if it was just the weekend for bromances or if the two artists appeal to guys, but either way, coming from a city where women usually dominate the scene, I was a little taken aback (but not complaining!).

Actually, one of the many men in the audience ended up making me a new friend when his conspicuously greasy curls forced a long-time fan of Active Child to ask to share my floor space because ‘that guy’s hair is soooo gross and it keeps touching me.’ I spoke to
the girl for a while and she proved a wealth of knowledge about the opener. She told me the group is heavily inspired by the lead singer’s (Pat Grossi) days as a choir boy – which helped explain why the set crew was setting up harps as well as other, more standard instruments, such as keyboards and drums. Her enthusiasm got me totally pumped to hear Grossi’s classically trained voice, which sounded good in recording but promised to be even better live.

Unfortunately, after that pleasant first encounter, we were faced with a second unexpected incident: technical trouble. Although Active Child was supposed to take the stage at 6:30 (for the early 6:00 show), they didn’t start playing until closer to 7:00. I’ve never seen the Black Cat crew have trouble setting the stage, so I’m not sure where things went wrong, but the keyboardist could not get his sound right. The set-up ended taking so long that Active Child only got four or five songs out before they had to leave to make sure M83 got on-stage in time to keep the late show on track.

I wish the band had been able to rebound from the incident better. They sounded amazing and Grossi’s voice is seriously hauntingly beautiful. The sound of the band is great too. Sadly, it didn’t seem as though the group members really recovered from their delayed start, and they almost seemed to be scowling at the audience the whole time. I’d love to see them again when things are going more smoothly. That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed their tracks, especially Way Too Fast and Playing House.

Active Child – Way Too Fast by AU Magazine

M83 took the stage around 7:20 and just rocked it. Their lights were awesome and they kept the banter to a minimum, instead focusing on pumping out song after song. Perhaps not surprisingly, Midnight City really got the crowd going, as did We Own the Sky. I was surprised by how young the group members looked – to me, their sound comes off as really mature – the product of experienced music-makers. Very impressive.

Between the two bands, they managed to sell out Black Cat for both early and late shows – so I can’t imagine anything but great things from both acts in the future. I’d highly recommend seeing both if you have the chance!

Midnight City by M83

Awesome Song of the Day: M83 – Midnight City

Posted on by Ricky in Song of the Day | Leave a comment

Toronto – Freakin amazing track by an artist who rarely falls to meet expectations, Midnight City is the blazing new single from M83 and is the first track to be released off his double album Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming out October 18. This track is ridiculously good with a sax solo at the end that’ll make you want to put on a captain’s hat and some white jeans. Can’t wait until the new album comes out. Listen now. Download for free after.

Tour dates
Oct. 15 – Mexico City – Corona Capital Festival
Oct. 28 – Washington DC – Black Cat
Oct. 29 – Raleigh, NC – Kings Barcade
Oct. 30 – Asheville, NC – Moog Fest
Oct. 31 – Atlanta, GA – Masquerade
Nov. 1 – Tallahassee, FL – Engine Room
Nov. 2 – Orlando, FL – The Social
Nov. 4 – Houston, TX – Warehouse Live
Nov. 5 – Austin, TX – Fun Fun Fun Fest
Nov. 7 – Phoenix, AZ – The Crescent Ballroom
Nov. 9 – Los Angeles, CA – Music Box
Nov. 10 – San Francisco, CA – The Independent
Nov. 11 – Portland, OR – Wonder Ballroom
Nov. 12 – Vancouver, BC – Venue
Nov. 13 – Seattle, WA – Neumos
Nov. 16 – Minneapolis, MN – Varsity Theater
Nov. 17 – Chicago, IL – Lincoln Hall
Nov. 18 – Toronto, ON – Lees Palace
Nov. 19 – Montreal, QC – Le S.A.T.

Nov. 20 – Boston, MA – Paradise
Nov. 22 – New York, NY – Webster Hall