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The Ditty Bots
The Ditty Bots



The Ditty Bops
Summer Rains

Ditty Bops Music

With every change in season comes the inevitable shift in wardrobe. While summer already makes for some of the most pleasant changes in attire, allowing for the removal of heavy sweaters in favour of light tank tops and flowing skirts, The Ditty Bops propose you go one step further.

In the title track to their new release, Summer Rains, the pair turn in their hats, scarves and coats and don, instead, their birthday suits.

The follow up to the 2006 release Moon Over the Freeway, Summer Rains flows between the mild and the melancholy in a way that makes both ends enjoyable.

In the song “Feel From the Outside In,” they ask of an invisible ex-lover: “Does it threaten you to know that I’m happy?/ Does it lighten your heart if I’m sad?” But they shake it off a step or two later with “Skinny Bones” and its bit of sage advice: “Shake rattle and roll your bones/ To hell with what you’re not.”

Supported by a team of string instruments ranging from the almost laughably small and playful ukulele to the deep and steady bass, the album is as easy to throw on as your favourite pair of sandals.

Were it any longer than its 12 relatively short numbers, it might run the risk of becoming repetitive, but as it stands, the album does a good job of saying enough is enough.

These two may question the amount of time wasted on various people and places, but rest assured not a moment of your time spent listening to this dreamy duo confess their loves, losses and philosophical musings on the nature of marriage, death and the flying of kites will be wasted.

—Erin Flegg



Sam Roberts
Love at the End of the World

Universal Music Canada

On Love at the End of the World, Sam Roberts says goodbye to the hormonal bellyaching of his “Eileen” days and instead brings a whole new kind of angst to the table.

On this new disc, released in May, Roberts is older, wiser and more world-weary. Building on the themes of his last album, 2006’s Chemical City, Roberts takes on environmental degradation, the loss of cultural certainty—“not even the Sundance Kid could shoot his way out of the hole I’m in”—and how our world is changing too fast for us to keep up with.

But for all the heaviness of the lyrics, Love at the End of the World has some surprisingly upbeat tracks.

It’s this kind of deliciously-intertwined purpose that makes the album so compulsively listenable. Head-bopping and toe-tapping aside, Roberts makes socially-conscious music that neither drags you down with despair nor buoys you up with false hope.

In “Them Kids,” the album’s first single, Roberts laments that “The kids don’t know how to dance to rock and roll,” while simultaneously giving them a song to dance too. In some ways, this small-scale problem solving is something Roberts is calling for in every song on the disc.

In the lovely and perplexing song “Lions of the Kalahari,” Roberts takes on both the benefits and the downfalls of globalization. Singing “When I die, won’t you please feed me/ To the lions of the Kalahari?/ I don’t care if they eat my bones/ Because I know I won’t be going home/ Oh, it’s never far away from me,” Roberts complicates travel, calling it out as a virtue all the while undercutting this by the absurdity of his request to be eaten by lions. He may not be offering up a concrete solution, but he does manage to force the issue without preaching through your speakers.

In a beautifully subtle way, Roberts is calling into question our global travel habits, without passing any judgment himself.

After all, as he says on “Fixed to Ruin,” “What I learned from you is that history’s just the things we do,” a line that gives everyone the opportunity—and arguably, the right—to stand up and work for the future history we want to see.

Halfway through the 13-song album Roberts sings “Just give me a reason to carry on,” and knowing that he finished the next six songs seems to say he found that reason, making what could have been a pessimistic disc about the sorry state of the world into a nod to the optimist who keeps going anyway.

—Angela Hickman



The Ting Tings
We Started Nothing

Columbia/Red Ink

We Started Nothing isn’t just a humble title for the Ting Ting’s debut album but also an honest one. The sometimes electroclash, quasi-funky, new-wavy, disco-flirting duo borrow, often recklessly, from a multitude of genres, churning out catchy, repetitious tunes that aren’t exactly hell-bent on starting a musical or political revolution.

And the thing is when they get it right, this over-spiced recipe is fabulous, serving up delicious tracks like “Great DJ,” “That’s Not My Name” and “Keep Your Head” that are sure to inspire private and public dance parties. But too many tracks on the album come across as half-baked, as if the band really needed more time to simmer before releasing their first full-length. Annoyingly waltzy, “Traffic Light” sounds like a children’s song from Sesame Street as singer/guitarist/drummer Katie White croons in a way too sickly-sweet voice “Don’t you be a traffic light, don’t you be a traffic light/ with all things said you turn to red/ Don’t you be a traffic light.”

Redemption comes when White belts it out like she’s some sort of cross between Le Tigre’s Kathleen Hanna and Beyoncé on the almost anthem-worthy “That’s Not My Name.” The track’s percussion stomps defiantly as White yelps “They call me ‘Hell’/ They call me ‘Stacey’/ They call me ‘Her’/ They call me ‘Jane’.” Later on, White turns on the sugar and sarcasm softly asking “Are you calling me, ‘darling?’” just as her counter-part Jules De Martino joins in, providing a chanting background stream of indecipherable lyrics that feel all too familiar, like something from the late 90s—like Savage Garden? But as crazy as it sounds, it works.

New wave colours fly on “Be The One,” which stands out as a strong track because The Ting Tings retire their in-your-face grooves for something more mellow with wavering electronic keyboard sounding out the riffs.

But when the catchy riffs get too redundant, like on the title track, The Ting Tings’ weakness for easy melodies becomes too much and drags down the album as a whole. We Started Nothing is best kept for a small handful of well-pruned tracks but in its entirety, it’s not likely to start the upheaval they weren’t promising.

—Adèle Barclay

All final editorial decisions are made by the Editor(s)-in-Chief and/or the Managing Editor. Authors should not be contacted, targeted, or harassed under any circumstances. If you have any grievances with this article, please direct your comments to

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