Our Canadian men’s soccer team has no need to worry about missing out on the FIFA World Cup this year!

The team has entered first place in the final round of qualifying games. These rascals have been undefeated making them a pretty big deal, especially for soccer fans. Our boys have made a record 8 consecutive wins (yay them!) and landed themselves in the Concacaf Gold Cup Semifinals – a riveting time for the team, since the last time we made it this far was in 2007. They have already played their matches for 2021, but will be playing 3 games in January/February, and then 3 in March of 2022.

In 1985, our team won the Concacaf Championship, and in 2000 we won the Concacaf Gold Cup. We’ve made it to the Semifinals in 2002, and 2007; and obviously, 2021. It’s a really big deal for the team, as it would be for most big league sports franchises. I think it’s also been a big deal for fans of the sport.

Photo Creds: Pixabay

With all of the COVID-19 restrictions going on from 2020 through majority of 2021, it has been a super positive experience for the fans having their sports back on TV. Now that we’re allowed in-person viewings again, the team’s morale has definitely increased. It’s been a bummer having to play games without a frenzy of fans surrounding you, cheering you on to make that final goal; thankfully we don’t have to do this anymore.

When 2022 comes, let’s see if the Canadian Men’s National team can hold up against the pressure. We’ve seen them do it before, let’s see them do it again! Just over a month away until the next match, and I have quite a big inkling that we can make a big win and take home the trophy. Make like an orange, and keep your eyes peeled for the remaining 6 games.

BC Lions Finish Strong

It’s been quite the season in CFL this year, especially for the BC Lions. Starting their year off with a loss, it was a wonder how the team would perform in the coming games. But after seven straight losses, the Lions fought hard and destroyed the Edmonton Elks 43-10 in the season finale. It was an unexpected, but joyously welcomed ending for the team.

This game really showcased the skills of rookie starter Nathan Rourke, who has been with the Lions for this year, only. Rourke scored 3 touchdowns, and proved that he has the determination and dedication to make himself a household name. The 23 year old has lots of potential, and demonstrated that his growth in the league has just begun. I’m sure the Rourke we see in the next season will be at least 10 times better than the Rourke we saw in this one.

Photo Creds: Reg Natarajan (Flickr)

While the season definitely could have gone better, the final match was something to inspire the team. Ending off on such a high note has brought a lot of optimism and encouragement for how they will continue on next year. If you’re in the Whalley neighbourhood in Surrey, BC, you might be able to catch the Lions practicing at their training facility next to Tom Binnie Park, and across from Whalley Athletic Park. The team will be pushing themselves harder than before to ensure they’re ready for the 2022 season. Whether it’s by revising certain plays, creating better pep talks, or just dedicating time to hone in on specific skills; the team will come back playing like they never have before.

I’m excited to see next year’s games, and how the team will come together and blow the fans away with their newly developed skills. I think we can do a lot better than a 7 game losing streak.

No Canucks, No!

The Vancouver Canucks have been around for 51 years now, but are comparable to an expansion team. The team has won only 3 games out of their last 13.

The 2011 Stanley Cup loss was the first step in the descent of the “Sedin Era”. After a few more years of disappointment, ownership decided they needed a change; a change that culminated in the hiring of Jim Benning in 2014.

Photo Creds: TSN

Years of mismanagement, and the inability to navigate the cap, have led to the bleak and dire situation the Canucks find themselves in today. The lack of a plan from both ownership and management, has produced moves for short-term gain and long-term pain. The problem is that ownership and management have no idea what they’re doing, and these “short-term gain moves” have no gain.

The Canucks have been, arguably, the worst team in the NHL since Benning’s arrival in 2014. He has led the team to the playoffs twice, and have only won a single round. Going into year 8 of the Benning circus, he’s gone all in, trading consecutive first-round picks; yet the team remains one of the worst in the NHL.

You know it’s bad when the fans booed the team off the ice, which is exactly what’s been happening. It’s not just the booing though; fans are chanting “fire Benning” and “sell the team” in the stands and on the concourse. It doesn’t seem like there’s going to be any immediate changes in management, but who knows? If the team continues to play this way then someone is bound to get fired – likely Travis Green or Jim Benning. I suppose we’ll have to wait and see how the rest of the season plays out, and if the Canucks can even make it into the playoffs this year. All I know is that nothing will get better until someone new takes over.

Subsocial Studios

Vancouver is a big city, filled with lots of people and lots of dreams. So where can you go to find resources that will help you fulfill your dream? Your best bet is most definitely Subsocial Studios. If you’ve never heard of them, then allow me to tell you what and why you should know about them.

Subsocial Studios is a business that offers resources for a multitude of projects, whether you’re a musician, game developer, or something in between. Through collaboration with so many different creators, the people at Subsocial have honed their skills nearly to perfection – making them an excellent first choice when looking for a collaborator.

Photo Credits: Subsocial Studios Website

The inspiration behind Subsocial is, quite simply, Vancouver! The studio wants to highlight the community and art that lives in the city – because in their own words “when we work together as a community, we are stronger”. They’ve worked with tons of talented individuals who are passionate about what they do and genuinely dedicated to pursuing their dreams. Their website shares interviews and ‘subsessions’ which spotlights different artists for a deeper dive into what they do. The studio works on a “mutual gain basis”, meaning the creators benefit from the end result, and the studio benefits from having their business and skills showcased.

They have 2 studios, located in Vancouver (201 W 7th Ave – Unit B) and North Vancouver (340 Brooksbank Ave), and are quite easy to get to. They also have an Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and website, which allows for super easy contacting. I’d highly recommend checking them out, as I can’t imagine a business better for local projects than one that focuses on highlighting local art. It’s an important business for Vancouver, and the creators who often go unnoticed due to lack of resources. I strongly believe that as Subsocials gets larger, the dreamers of Vancouver will be heard louder than ever.

Local Talent Becomes Jim Bean National Talent Search Winner!

Jim Beam. Yes, you read that correctly. Jim Beam, as in the brand of American bourbon whiskey, hosted a virtual National Talent Search from June 21st to July 10th. It was 19 days filled with exciting performers, including some great Canadian acts like: Weight The Anchor (Ontario), Good Dear Good (Nova Scotia), Taken By Sanity (Alberta), Ricky Paquette (Quebec), and Brandi Vezina (Manitoba). Among the sea of Canadian talents is one man Richard Tichelman, who’s outstanding singing and songwriting skills brought him to glory.

Photo Credits: Richard Tichelman (RichardMusicOfficial)

Tichelman, 22, gets to perform at the “prestigious” 2022 Jim Beam Indie Awards in Toronto – a huge step forward in his blossoming career. Among the many cool gifts and opportunities this performance brings, the performance itself is by far the biggest and best. Musicians, producers, fans, and other industry members come in from all over the world to meet the winner.

Richard currently has a total of 3 songs out: Proud and The One, which are quite fun and poppy, and his latest release Hands, a more dance-floor club type song. Future song ideas are still in the works, with an album sure to come along when the time is right. The expected sound will be more on the pop side of music, but who knows what Tichelman will explore and experiment with? The possibilities of what he can create is basically endless.

We can speculate about his career and place in the industry as much as we want, but won’t get a sure answer until we see his performance. He’s got a lot of potential and it’s clear that with time and practice he can become a big hit. One thing that we can be fairly certain of is that Tichelman will not be a one hit wonder. His career and success have only begun. See you in 2022, Richard.

Music VS Machine

Music isn’t the same as it was 20, 30, or even 50 years ago. The only thing that’s remained fairly consistent is “The Machine”. Of course, in this context, “The Machine” refers to record labels and channels of media. Record labels and mass media outlets work closely together to promote certain songs and artists, making it incredibly difficult for new artists to gain traction and popularity.

One of the most challenging parts of getting into the industry is being heard. With new trends and constant media consumption, creating a new sound (and attempting to get listeners) can be stressful – especially when that sound doesn’t fit in with the typical “Top 40”. It’s a tragedy that an industry meant to thrive on creativity, has become so narrow-minded and lacklustre with the art it chooses to display.

Credits – Pixabay

Beginning artists usually struggle a bit as they start to get the ball rolling. It’s not a big surprise. What really sucks, though, is that often times the artist quickly becomes confined to the music that’s trending. This leads to a major loss of creativity. Trending music is constantly having to sound like variations of the same song – mainly because when record labels see one song become a hit, they try to recreate that sound with minor tweaks and adjustments.

“The Machine” has been following this same pattern for years, but with music applications like Spotify, Apple Music, and SoundCloud, it’s much easier to produce content without conforming to the existing limitations in mainstream media. The only downside of this, is that blossoming musicians have a potentially harder time getting signed and/or played on air because the lyrics, image, or overall brand don’t fit the current trends. I can only hope that as society progresses, the music industry can follow and learn to incorporate new sounds and new people.

Weekend Plans? More like Weeknd Plans!

Canadian R&B singer Abel Tesfaye – known world-wide as The Weeknd, will be coming to town soon for his After Hours Tour. With COVID, and all of the restrictions that came with it, concerts have been tough to put on; with new strains, multiple waves, and group limitations being the main contributors. The original concert date for Vancouver was January 15th, 2022. Due to aforementioned reasons, The Weeknd has been forced to reschedule the tour dates and has yet to announce them.

The After Hours Tour is named after The Weeknd’s latest album, which features 14 absolute bangers; the most iconic song being “Blinding Lights”. This part New Wave, part synth-pop masterpiece won the Album of the Year award for the 2021 Juno Awards! It’s subjectively one of his best albums yet, with “Trilogy” being my personal runner up -although who knows what he has planned for the next album release.

Some of his previous albums include: My Dear Melancholy, (2018), Starboy (2016), Beauty Behind The Madness (2015), Trilogy (2012). His song “Wicked Games” was the first song of his I ever heard on the radio, so it’s a decently safe assumption that it potentially was the first song to truly put him on the map. His sound has definitely changed from 2012 to 2020, and I don’t know if many people can actually say what his next album will look like! I believe his newer synth-pop/alternative R&B sound is working quite well for him – appealing to a much wider audience than his “Beauty Behind The Madness” album did. I can honestly say that no matter what he does with his music, there is constant impro

Regardless of what he’s done and what he’s going to do, his After Hours Tour is most definitely something to look forward to. Hopefully dates will be announced soon, and The Weeknd can be greeted with a true Canadian welcome, and a very full crowd.

A Michael Buble Christmas!

Michael Buble, beloved singer/songwriter from Metro Vancouver, celebrates his 10th anniversary of his albums Christmas and Let It Snow with a super deluxe box set and the release of new Christmas music videos. Buble re-recorded the album title track “Let It Snow” earlier this year at Abbey Road Studios with BBC’s Big Band Orchestra; a new music video for the song was also released recently – debuting on October 15th, 2021.

The classic big band sound that Michael is famous for shines through, and the video’s new look will give you all of the Christmas feels! The double CD set covers all the classic Christmas tunes, but brings 7 new songs to the table. Buble sings duets on both albums with the likes of Rod Stewart, Shania Twain, Thalia, and others.

Photo Creds: Wikipedia

Continuing on his Christmas success, Michael will be hosting Michael Buble’s Christmas in the City, an all new NBC Christmas special on December 6th. The show features a night full of comedy, music, and most importantly Christmas spirit. Special guests from New York’s Rockefeller Center’s Studio 84 will be joining Michael and sharing in the festivities.

2022 brings a new adventure for Burnaby’s sweetheart as he will be releasing a new album early on, and then he will be taking up residency at Resorts World Hotel in Las Vegas mid-year. Michael will join the ranks of other famous artists who have called Vegas home, such as Carrie Underwood, Katy Perry, and fellow Canadian Celine Dion. Bublé will bring big band music back to Vegas, much like his inspiration Frank Sinatra did once before.

It’s very fitting that the first song on his album Christmas is “It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas”, since our local icon has become a symbol for the holiday season. So keep an eye out for Buble’s next album, and tune in to the Christmas special.

Seto Band – No Genre, All Revolution

We’re living in a time where musicians and artists strive to fit themselves in a box. Where the most important thing being created isn’t the music – it’s the brand, the image, and especially the popularity. So what do you do when you’re sick of hearing songs of the past be sampled into the “music of today”?

Allow me to introduce Seto Band, the latest sound to come out of BC.

Pictured left to right: (Diego “Osvaldo” Bedoya, Bryson Rachel, Roger Seto, Me, Babak “Paradox” Rad)

Diego Bedoya, Babak Rad, and Roger Seto met in theatre school and discovered they each had a passion for music. With quite a few jam sessions here and there, the three guys decided to group up and enter a “Song of the Summer Contest” for CFOX in 2020. They created a song and practiced/recorded it at Soundhouse Studios, which is where they met the final piece of the puzzle: Bryson Rachel.

Each member stands out from the next, which works extremely well for the group. The differences in their influences helps create music that can and will appeal to everybody. Roger, 50, is an Educational Assistant who works at “an art-centric school”. Diego, 47, is a tennis coach who picked up a guitar 20 years ago and “had the itch ever since…be part of a band”. Babak, 36 is a self-proclaimed expert recorder player and has been rapping since he was 19. Bryson, 25, is a sound engineer/producer and co-owns a business called SubSocials that offers tools to musicians.

The song-writing process is completely collaborative, usually started with a guitar riff by Diego, and then built on by each member while respecting the original vision.

Now, why should we be listening to them?

Having a band create music that’s entertaining, but also exciting, is revolutionary. Often times artists are in the music industry for the wrong reason (i.e. fame, fortune, image), and once they’ve gained a following they refuse to try new things. Seto Band, which I describe as “genre-less”, is more than just music. It’s about art. The main component that should drive musicians to create, but often times doesn’t.

Seto Band already has 2 singles out: Live and Let Live, and Pusher. Both are good songs, with meaningful lyrics, and are most definitely worth listening to. They have 6 singles coming out, and many years worth of ideas and potential.

– Victoria Rowbottom