Monday, February 28, 2011


The Academy Awards may be (one of) the most elegant, prestigious ceremonies these celebrities rightfully attend, but sometimes, good people make BAD fashion choices. Hey, it happens to the best of us, but it really shouldn't happen when you have a stylist or a designer who is entitled to these expertise. And while most here love the drama their dresses and parts may cause, others - well, let's just say ought to dress themselves or go naked!

Amy Adams radiates glow with her creamy porcelain complexion and shiny, fitted midnight blue frock. Pairing it off with silver jewellery, confident hand placement, and an irresistibly white smile, Amy knows how to add in her own natural glitz.

Busy Phillips may have considered that black is slimming, but all this black does is lose her long, lean physique in bunches of unnecessary fabric!

In this curve-hugging white silver gown, Celine Dion proves that she looks better after having twins that many women may ever look in their life!

Hailee Steinfeld reinvents the adolescent Pretty in Pink with a classy but modern bun and headband combo and a baby pink poufy number and heels to match!

Halle Berry reminds us that she's one of the sexiest African American actresses in history by revealing her true body's sexiness in this strapless, see-through, body-hugging piece with a modestly long and frilly bottom. But, Halle, it's not like we forgot!

Hilary Swank wears a silver firework like a pro! What is this fabric, anyway - feathers? See, I can't even tell!

Thanks to Weight Watchers, Jennifer Hudson can now slither into a colour that is unflattering for most.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


From their innocent, child-like handwritten website ( to dark, adult lyrics about "Fake Drugs" ("there's cool side under your pillow, flip it"), Hollerado completes every end of the spectrum to earn a Juno nomination for "New Group of the Year" (alongside My Darkest Days and Said The Whale, respectively). And this isn't just an act for an awards show; the fact that the group were "childhood best friends" supports their cute friendliness in multimedia and communicating openly about their experiences through music together. Emotionally surviving from a confiscated bar to conquering fears of snakes and ladders, group bassist Dean Baxter shows us why that whether Hollerado or no Hollerado, their love will still live on.

V.B. So, how did a group of childhood best friends finally decide to turn their lifelong bond into a band?

D.B. The band has always been there. We had been playing together for years, but just as something to do in our tiny town. Then the one bar in the whole town burnt down, and we took it as a sign that it was time to move on. So, we started writing our own songs and hit the road.

V.B. Do you remember your first memories as children or favourite memories as friends?

D.B. Menno took Nick and Jake to the fair one year, when Jake was 10. They decided to hop on the old crazy swings - you know, the ones that lift off the ground and swing you in a big circle. They all get on Jake who is sitting in front of Nick, who is sitting in front of Menno - and the thing starts picking up speed and swinging the guys around. Jake must of had a bad hot dog or something, because he puked, missing Nick who was right behind him and hitting Menno who caught it all over his chest.

V.B. Being nominated for a Juno, do you think you possess some authentic element or competitive advantage over other bands or musicians (in Canada, etc.), and why?

D.B. No, I wouldn't say that at all. There are so many great bands out there that just don't get the exposure, and no one's ever even heard about them.

V.B. Why do you think your song/band should win that specific Juno award?

D.B. I can't say that we should win that award, but we have worked hard the past four-and-a-half years. A Juno award is definitely something to be proud of - recognition of the effort we have put into our work.

V.B. I can see that some of your songs - like "Juliette" and "Fake Drugs" - have some very interpretative lyrics. Do these lyrics derive from experiences or methods of brainstorming that you can recommend to other writers or songwriters?

D.B. I didn't think the lyrics to "Juliette" were that interpretive at all. It's basically just a story of a woman's last couple days before she dies. "Fake Drugs" is a little more interpretive, but we don't have any set way of writing. It's usually pretty clear which way a song will go in the early stages of writing it, so it's just a matter of effectively harnessing those initial emotions into something you can put down on paper.

V.B. Speaking of "Fake Drugs," do you believe more symbolic, indirect addictions - like shoplifting, sex, gambling, etc. - can be compared to real drugs, and why?

D.B. Yes, that's what the song is about. The TV show Strange Addictions has clearly shown all of us that real drugs aren't the only drugs out there anymore.

V.B. What's your ultimate "addiction," fetish, or fave(s)? Any specific interests, hobbies, etc.?

D.B. Tetris.

V.B. Speaking on the lines of expressing feelings about such real issues, going from Canada (Junos) to even the US and internationally, how - or would - you ever spark controversy? Would you ever pull a Lady GaGa or Marilyn Manson kind of image?

D.B. I don't think so. We're just a rock band.

V.B. What would you definitely do or never do? What would be your bests or worsts (fears)?

D.B. Life size snakes and ladders. I hate heights and snakes. Not doing it.

V.B. Finally, what are your long-term goals for the future? Any last words?

D.B. Hopefully, we won't have any last words for a while. We just plan on writing as MuchMusic as we can and try not to suck at it.

Monday, February 21, 2011


Once upon a time, Solitair (or "Silver," as his friends would call him) decided to channel his hobby by joining Toronto program "Fresh Art" with Canadian urban house names like Saukrates, Jully Black, and Kardinal Offishall. "I met them before," Silver Solitair explains, "but (because of this program), I developed my love (for hip hop) as a profession." Little did he know he would collaborate with Kardinal Offishall once again as a business partner, let alone a co-founder of the renowned Black Jays Production Team. As a producer, Silver's fame is most notorious for composing Kardinal Offishall's "Bakardi Slang," the hit single from the Konvict Music artists first American release, Fire Starter Vol. 1-Quest for Fire.

This Toronto-bred triple threat has successfully tried his rhythmic hands at being a artist, producer, and songwriter. While he considers producing and "writing the occasional hook" his specialties, he has just touched base with his inner and outer voice after over a decade of producing singles like the Juno-nominated, hip hop oldie "Easy to Slip" (from the Beat Factory compilation album, Rap Essentials 2001). "It depends on what I'm doing," Silver says, shedding light on how he taps into any of those artistic abilities. "It's the freedom of what I'll decide to do that day, but I just recently came into my own with singing and songwriting."

And with this change in attitude came this instinct to change his name. "I kept it as Silver Solitair. The change in direction can be represented by my change in name, (which has also) changed the presentation of my music." And change there was indeed, for lack of a better word. The album The Departure marks Silver's "departure" from conventional hip hop by mashing rock, pop, and alternative genres into his music. His album incorporates collaborations with hip hop name-makers like Lil Wayne, Estelle, Nina Sky, and Kardinal Offishall. "I was never in studio with Lil Wayne, but I did end up using him for my mixtape. I put in my own verse for 'YYZ.' I was blessed to work with Nina Sky in studio, but (our work) didn't come out, because of label disputes."

Adding in that Nina Sky serves as an example of an artist who "deserves to be alot more publicized," Silver empathizes with those who break - and don't break - through this cut-throat music industry. "There are people who work very hard and don't attain success, while some get in great careers in (as little as) a few years." Especially in Canada? "Canada has a chalk full of raw talent but less outlets for urban talent. We still have Flow 93.5, but as for other hip hop outlets, we almost lost community radio stations. To make it internationally - especially without a record label - it's damn impossible for urban artists to make it big, even with radio play. Being an artist in Canada, you must have a love and passion for music (to keep on doing it), because it is harder (here). It's a beautiful struggle, though."

But, is it more difficult to make it in this mainstream music industry today - not only because of more standards or less outlets - but because of hip hop's change for the worse? "I can't say that it's gotten better or worse, only that it's evolved," Silver says. "Commercially, what was considered dope hip hop (in the 90s, etc.) is different from what is considered dope today." Yet despite the significant jump from the more wholesome and less computerized old school hip hop to today's more explicit and techno-based urban "crunk," rap, and R&B beats and lyrics, Silver still believes hip hop serves as "great entertainment (and) overall, (the reflection of culture and personality, etc.) is positive."

Of course, while it may take a ship of Jay Z's and Eminems to impose permanent trends in music, Silver Solitair can do his part in changing hip hop for better - one step at a time. "I was nominated for a Juno in 'R&B Recording of the Year' (alongside Keshia Chante and Karl Wolf) for 'Come True' featuring Kardinal Offishall. The single is available on YouTube and ITunes."

You can find more information on other official Silver Solitair websites:


Monday, February 14, 2011


If my hour of perusing through red carpet pictures doesn't reign proof enough, the Grammy's is probably the most vital awards show for artists - and other celebrities alike - in the music industry. Oldies i.e. Mya, Monica, etc. and newbies i.e. Glee, Justin Bieber, etc. breathe and hum together to relish in yesterday night's announcements of today's biggest and brightest stars - brightest literally and metaphorically in their internal and external (ahem, fashion) achievements. Some glittered in all metallic, or in nothing at all (but scotch tape?) Let's take a look at who made the nominations for my best and worst-dressed lists - and believe me when I say there were a ton of applicants to choose from!

Let's start with the "nothing at all" category. Rihanna, we all know you have legs miles long and abs to die for. Must you rub that in by parading half-naked in bubble wrap?

Glee's Amber Riley debuts her hourglass curves in this strapless frock with intricate gold and silver detail. It's about time I showed some gals over a size 2 in my celeb fashion critiques!

Cyndi Lauper may have been the first woman to teach us that "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun," but clearly, she's been having too much fun - so much fun that she chose a leather dress made for a Dominatrix and not for a Pop Queen like herself. Oops!

Somebody tell Hayley Williams the toddler ballet academy called, and they want their pink tutu back!

Supermodel Heidi Klum sports chopped locks and a metallic gold gown framing her warm complexion and slender physique. Absolutely stunning!

Another sheer faux pas! Jenna Ushkowitz, what were you thinking? We can't hear your incredible pipes, but we can see everything (almost including, um, your other pipes) here!

JLo returns back to her sexy late 90s urban chic style in this long-sleeved, short-hemmed, futuristic silver and see-through piece. Let's not forget to mention her gams and gals are more fabulous and firm than ever!

Katy Perry pins a new trend of genie/Victoria Secret angel/bride beautifully in this midriff-baring, diamond-covered bra/crop top and floor-length princess tail.

Kelly Osbourne pulls off this extremely frilly and girly purple number, by tying in a cute boa belt and trimming the hem above the knee to highlight her well-earned tiny waist and athletic calves.

Kim Kardashian's my love, so I just had to put her on this list! Flipping her famous dark waves over a halter gold gown that glistens around her tanned skin and toned curves, Kim again steals the fashion spotlight, and she hasn't even been nominated for her to-be-released debut album yet!

Weird. I call Cyndi Lauper off on a Dominatrix-leather choice that would most likely compromise as a more low-key option for Lady Gaga. Funny how that works, huh?

Speaking of "Can't be Tamed," this is probably (one of) the most classiest piece(s) ever worn by Miley Cyrus. Perhaps she will revisit her country roots, too?

Nancy O'Dell glows in this miniature beaded blue frock with nude heels that lengthen and lean out her already long and toned legs, thereby creating the "centre of attention"!

Natasha Bedingfield captures classic Hollywood glamour with pinned waves and form-fitted cleavage, until she gets lost in a transparent floral bottom set.

Nicki Minaj reminds us of her original style in this (okay, Lady Gaga-like) wig? and leopard-print dress and nylons set. Rawr? Meow? Or angry kitty screech?

Finally, the pint-sized Snooki embraces a more elegant version of herself in this quarter-sleeved, high-neckline metallic number with a flattering layered side bang and dangling earrings.  No Waaaaa-ing here!

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Carrying - with confidence - such a soft-spoken voice and puppy dog brown eyes, you would never peg Justin Nozuka as a "city" man. Justin was born in New York but raised here in Toronto, and while the culture change between both places may stimulate slight dinner table debate, he can tell which one is which. "There are a lot of interesting characters," Justin whispers kindly through the phone. "There's multiculturalism in both New York and Toronto, but the cultures in Toronto are a lot more fresh, whereas in New York, they're more subtle."

Yet, swinging from one metropolitan to another may - or may not - bring promise to opportunities that will push an aspiring musician into the dog-eat-dog, hustle bustle of the industry. According to Justin, though, some places may be more hustle-bustle than others. "Toronto's a much smaller industry," Justin mutters rapidly to articulate his many intelligent thoughts. " - less people, less competition. New York's a little more talked about, more reflection in what you see on the street. Toronto's a little more laid back, while New York shows more energy!"

Since both industries are apparent though, it's no wonder that with his genuine talent and attitude, Justin - at 19 - soon became the "one-in-a-million" who release a debut album titled Holly (Coalition/Glassnote Records) after his mother. A family man indeed, he also grew up joining forces with his brother, producer G-Stokes. "But now, I'm writing all my own songs," Justin insists, who also dreamt and scribbled his first pieces "Supposed to Grow Old" and "I'm in Peace" when he was 15, and the remainder of his debut collection between age 16 and 17. This explains why the media ooh-ed and aww-ed at a sound and perspective beyond his years, branding Justin "as soulful and wise as blues greats four times his age." How does he tap into that artiste mindset, you ask? "The way I get over writer's block is through alot of listening, meditation, and music," Justin lists, in addition to sources of inspiration. "A lot of my songs are coming from different places, frustrations, different stages in my life - inspirations from life, sky, sun: everyone, everything on a daily basis."

With a mentality exaggerating such immaculate grace and serenity within himself, Justin stands out in his age group of followers who dress down and talk about sex, drugs, and alcohol blatantly. It makes sense that he would gear towards more "Blues" sound and steer away from the over hyped, overrated mainstream. "I really love Blues and Pop, all types of music actually," Justin clarifies, raising his voice sanely. "Added is a natural expression of sadness in Blues. So when I sing, I can start crying, and then when I write, it comes off as Blues-y."

Other than his stereotypically handsome Canuck Blues opponents Matt Dusk and Michael Buble, Justin sets his own standard. His follow-up, You I Wind Land And Sea, will further pave his path of performances on tour and television (VH1's You Oughta Know, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Good Morning America NOW, mtvU, Woodie Awards), and successful albums i.e. Holly. The future looks bright. "I'm working on a third album. So much has happened. I'm celebrating and want to collaborate more, reassess the whole situation, have a more positive life with more balance."

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


"Cancer Bats have come to destroy. Fueled by a burning desire to rage harder, play louder and have more fun than any other band, Cancer Bats mix hardcore, southern metal and punk rock into a lethal rock and roll explosion."

This may be what their official Facebook group says, but how does that expression go? Nothing on Facebook (or the internet) is ever written in stone. Not that the four bats (drummer Mike Peters, guitarist Scott Middleton, vocalist Liam Cormier, and bassist Jaye Schwarzer) aren't dangerously cool. Even though they shook stages loose at epic shows like Edgefest and alongside Canadian rock legends like Rise Against, Billy Talent, and Alexisonfire, don't be fooled by their excruciating tattoos or screeching (or original choice of name). Because beneath all that noise and fabric fat lies the muscle, heart, and mind of optimistic lyrics and thoughts that can blast loudly from deep inside.

Yeah, they know what they're talking about. Being recently nominated for the 2011 Juno Award "Rock Album of the Year" for "Bears, Mayors, Scraps, and Bones" - alongside familiars like Matthew Good and Finger Eleven (thank you very much) - it's been a long and well-deserved ride for Cancer Bats, who have been working since 2004 - and through from their previous albums (2006’s Birthing The Giant and 2008’s Hail Destroyer) - to finally their debut full-length record "Birthing The Giant." Cancer Bats are living proof that a positive attitude really does make a difference in how successful you become. "Not every man is angry, so it's more of a positive spin," Liam explains, when asked about their internal angst. Their positivity is evident in their lyrics and not so much in their sound, their songs posing as oxymorons to the stereotype of conventionally aggravated metal music and band members. "There's positive and negative, but we focus on the positive, because of the preconceived notion that metal has to be negative. Even the negative ideas in our songs show positive outcomes."

More specifically, though, not only are Cancer Bats' songs about these "misconceptions (derived from) yelling and loud noise (in metal music)" but issues they have personally dealt with, including robbery. " 'Trust No One' is about my (literally) being robbed, which happens alot when you're on tour," Liam points out. But, songs like "Scared to Death" actually benefit from crucial epiphanies that suddenly strike under life-altering circumstances. "It's less about fear and more about the good things you have - what's more important to you, if you were faced with dying i.e. the people you love. Nothing materialistic matters, especially in that situation - in that moment you're dying..."

...Which leads to their other song appropriately titled "Regret" (off the album Hail Destroyer), which also makes you realize that you should look at the hourglass half-full and not half-empty - especially when you can't turn back time and reverse decisions you've already made. "We have no regrets, because we realize we had to go through it, in order to get to where we are now. So, there's no point in regretting things."

"I have no regrets. I'm happy with our band and plan on continuing what we love, having fun and touring," Liam speaks smiling through the phone. Alas, don't dwell on the past, when you can focus on the future.

And the future looks bright indeed - starting with a Juno nomination and an album "Birthing the Giant, which is now available on Distort Records (Canada), Abacus Recordings (US), Hassle Records (UK and Europe), and Shock Records (Australia).

Friday, February 4, 2011


It's not everyday you acquire nods for your very first JUNO Award nomination, especially when you're up for Rap Recording of the YEAR, alongside the likes of Eternia & MoSS, Shad, D-Sisive, and - of course - Drake. But whether you're like Drake (a Toronto native) or Ghettosocks (a Halifax bred) - Canadian artist or rapper alike - you may not get the same credit where credit's due from everyone in America or other areas internationally. Some of them may argue that Canada doesn't generate the same level of resources as the US does in the entertainment industry or that rapping is considered a lower form of poetry, when, in fact, spinning and mixing words while simultaneously keeping up with quick beats proves rapping as one of the highest forms of poetry or even art alone. And with that kind of Juno lineup, you cannot doubt for a second Canadians and rappers have fought and triumphed over these ridiculous (and even racist) stereotypes, especially when rappers like Ghettosocks hustled to the top of the gold from an underrated place like Halifax, Nova Scotia. Now, with his latest album Treat of the Day and an award nomination, Ghettosocks had a lot to speak out on about racism, fame, media (and more!) in our exclusive Q&A. Check it out!

V.B. How was it like for you growing up? Could you relate your story to a rags-to-riches one like Eminem's or other rappers that mused your talent, or would you say your inspiration came from something different?

G. Growing up for me was fun for the most part. I really enjoyed riding bikes around the neighborhood and doing things that most kids do, like drawing and playing Nintendo, and all that. I can't really relate to the "rags-to-riches" stories, because I didn't come from poverty (nor affluence), and I have yet to become wealthy. I'm definitely inspired by my youth, as well as the people, places, and things that exist in my day-to day life.

V.B. Would you consider the Halifax culture different from the culture in Toronto or any other culture in Canada (in general or industry-wise), and why?

G. I love Halifax. Culturally, it's interesting and obviously different from any other place in the country. I think what makes it unique are a combination of factors: economy, geography, and history. You could probably do a whole separate interview on this topic. I love Halifax.

V.B. How did you come up with the name Ghettosocks :) Was that name your idea?

G. My friend Ewan Mill came up with it. He was making fun of me, and the name stuck - as any good nickname does. Smiles.

V.B. There aren't many Caucasian rappers; the only mainstream white rappers that come to mind for me are Eminem and Vanilla Ice. Do you feel like your race is perceived as a blessing or curse in today's hip hop industry? Do producers or any other representatives treat or depict your image differently? Do you make this - or issues with race - evident in any of your songs?

G. I haven't really spent much time considering the prospect of my race being an asset or liability. In my experiences, I've usually found that it's the media who most often makes race an issue. For example, mainstream media journalists are generally outsiders to the hip hop world and can only say "Em and Vanilla Ice," when asked to name off some white rappers. It's pretty much all they know, despite artists like 3rd Bass, Aesop Rock, Asher Roth, The Beastie Boys, Bubba Sparxxx, Buck 65, Classified, El-P, Everlast, Eyedea (RIP), House of Pain, Ill Bill, Looptroop, Mad Child, Matisyahu, Necro, Sage Francis, Sole, and The Streets virtually becoming household names. The lack of knowledge on behalf of those journalists is partially to blame for the perpetuation of this lack of information.

V.B. Coming from such an unlikely town and province in Canada (you usually hear about talent from Toronto and Vancouver), would you say networking and connecting with the industry has become more difficult?

G. I think that because of the prevalence of the internet, it has become easier to network from a place like Halifax, Nova Scotia. I would also like to argue that Nova Scotia is known for generating some of the greatest talent to ever come out of this country, and is in many ways comparable to the larger cities you mentioned. There is a vibrant, diverse music scene here with resources available to artists (ie: Music Nova Scotia) who are serious about furthering their careers. In terms of connecting with the "industry", it's pretty much Lord of the Flies everywhere nowadays, no matter what city you live in. It's the end of one era and the beginning of another.

V.B. How did you end up breaking from those limitations? Did you start off small first with gigs at bars, or do you prefer the newer, more public means of self-promotion i.e. Justin Bieber's way of YouTube?

G. I started off small. A few of us would rap outside of the library on Friday nights. Eventually I began to play at bars and coffee houses, hosted break dance battles, and entered rap battles. My crew (Alpha Flight) hosted a weekly hip hop night at a bar called the Khyber Club for a few years. It was during this time that I "cut my teeth" and got serious about music and performing. YouTube's definitely been a more recent thing.

V.B. What's your view on the most recent means of gaining publicity? It seems as though anyone can become famous - for anything i.e. a sex tape, a YouTube video, etc. - and the next thing you know, they're plastered all over Perez Hilton and getting interview requests from The Star, Maxim, etc. They can pull something completely tasteless - like drink and fight on a reality TV show or flash a crowd - and then suddenly, they're pushed into a reality where they have transformed into the newest viral sensation or sex symbol. Is this fair for those people who have different morales and may still confide in the internet for self-promotion but would like to maintain a more subtle approach, or do you think if they really want that degree of success, they should take any opportunity that comes their way, no matter what the consequence?

G. For me, the internet is a tool. Personally, I used it for staying in touch with people and getting my music out there. Obviously, some are going to rely on it more than others (Antoine Dodson), and others will exploit it in questionable ways (Ray J). At the end of the day, people are going to be checking out for names they like or trust. It's definitely a new game when people can get super famous off of a 30 second video clip, but I'm not sure where morals come into play. The internet is an anonymous place.

V.B. How's it like being nominated alongside the likes of Drake? How do you feel about all this Canadian talent finally becoming more recognized in the US?

G. I think Drake is a very talented artist without a doubt, and it's definitely unreal and great to be nominated alongside him. It's somehow comforting to know that an independent (unsigned = me) can be listed beside a Cash Money recording artist. Regardless of this, the entire category is stacked with fantastic artists who made amazing albums; D-Sisive, Shad, and Eternia & MoSS are all serious contenders, and I feel extremely privileged to be listed among them. I'm not sure to what extent we're getting recognized collectively in the US, but I guess it's cool that Canadian artists are making some waves down there.

V.B. Does your latest album - or any of your albums - convey an inside story or theme(s)? Do you possess a goal in terms of what you're telling in your upcoming albums, in terms of lyrics, beats, etc.?

G. I rap about stuff that I know and/or like and/or find interesting in terms of lyrics. Treat of the Day is a straight Rap album. The aesthetics of the beats and rhymes are influenced by the sounds of the 90's New York hip hop style. The content - although sometimes aggressive - is always genuine and within my world.

V.B. Last but not least, what are your hopes and dreams for yourself, for music, and for the world? Can you possibly articulate these feelings in rap lyrics for us?

G. I had a dream like Martin Luther that started super: watching the clouds cruise and stars maneuver. All the waitresses abandoned their jobs at Hooters and suddenly appeared on the beach rocking bras in Cuba. Scrubbing each other's arms with lufa, there was Carmen, Uma, and at one point thought I saw Medusa; but I wasn't lubing no boobs for Kama Sutra - I was charming their crew singing songs of Judah. King Solomon brought keys to unlock Bermuda. Slick Rick remembered his compass but forgot the ruler. Beauties blew smoke rings as they sparked the buddah, letters drifting up to the sky spelling 'Socks the future'. 'Ahhs' and 'oohs' got used up 'spite the screaming. Lots of clues ensued from the rhyme and reason, and as I realized the meaning of life's true teaching- KRS told me bluntly: I was dreaming.

Watch out for upcoming Ghettosocks material and much more through Droppin' Science Productions.