Refresh your Running Playlist

This weekend in Toronto the temperature is going up to an incredible high of TWELVE DEGREES CELCIUS!! sarcasm.

Truth be told, this buffer between cold and warm is my favorite temperature for running. Throw in the fact that I have found a few friends in my new-ish neighbourhood who also plan on crushing the Sporting Life 10K race in May, and suddenly we have ourselves a new running club that hits the pavement a few times a week.


A friend transplanted in New York saw this running group picture and asked for a playlist to help get her motivated to run.  I love getting requests for specific posts, so ask and you shall receive!  My playlist needed some refreshing, so after some digging, prodding and listening to remix after remix, here you go – a spring playlist refresh to help move your legs. (N.B., Alex: if you plan on running another marathon, this won’t suffice – it’s just over an hour of music ;) )

The challenge I’d love some help in resolving is getting this mix to my phone. Soundcloud has a free app for streaming, which is one way of getting this to work. Any idea how I can download/copy this to my phone so I’m not reliant on having a healthy signal? Advice is appreciated!

Happy running/gymming/listening and hoping this helps to usher in spring!

Top 10 Albums of 2013

The time of year has come again for me to make a list of the tunes that have dominated my speakers over the past year. Often my favorite albums correlate with the live shows I’ve seen, since I always try to intimately get to know a new album before I see a band perform it. Inevitably, there are two or three albums that dominate my waking hours and keep me from getting out there and listening to new stuff. This year, Rhye’s Woman, Arcade Fire’s Reflektor and Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories became the subjects of my obsession.

I’m getting ready to take a big, long vacation and it couldn’t come at a better time. For one, it’s freezing out and I’m escaping winter. Secondly, as my favorite sources of music news and reviews start to release their top 10 / 25 / 50 / 100 albums of the year, the list of albums I’ve somehow overlooked over the past year is growing and I get to refresh my iPod with tons of new music. So far on my list: Tennis, Grizzly Bear, Childish Gambino, M.I.A., Burial, Crystal Antlers, Volcano Choir and Juana Molina; these are the artists that will keep me company on planes, trains and beaches.

I was looking back on my favorite albums of 2012 and I realize that I’m still listening to those albums. My favorite albums of 2013 will no doubt remain on rotation, because a favorite album is one that you never tire of. Albums where after each play, you change your mind on which is your favorite track and each new listen has you noticing a different riff, new lyrics and new layers – these are worthy of being favorites.

Once again, in no particular order (because that is just a migraine waiting to happen), my top 10 albums of 2013:

2013 top 10

  1. Rhye – Woman
  2. Arcade Fire – Reflektor
  3. Daft Punk – Random Access Memories
  4. Tegan & Sara – Hearthrob
  5. Arctic Monkeys – AM
  6. Haim – Days Are Gone
  7. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Mosquito
  8. Austra – Olympia
  9. Local Natives – Hummingbird
  10. Kid Cudi – Indicud


This blog aims to celebrate the awesome, the unique, the creative, the positive, and the beautiful that surrounds us. It is also very much an ode to our beloved city; no matter how far we travel and and yearn to run away and rave about cities like San Francisco and Buenos Aires, Toronto is home and number one in our hearts.

While reading the Editor’s Letter in Issue 7 of PRODUCT magazine written by Editor-in-Chief and self-titled “Cultural Curator” Kyle Kofsky it became very evident that PRODUCT and For the Love of Awesome are clearly in pursuit of similar goals. Kyle describes the magazine’s mission as profiling the lives of Torontonians who have found success while choosing to live positively and to better their own lives and the lives of those around them, whatever their backgrounds and pursuits.


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Good Music on the Radio. Finally.

For all of my car-less “adult” life, my radio listening has been limited strictly to talk radio. My alarm clock has been permanently set to CBC Radio 1 at 99.1 on the dial. On weekdays I wake up to Matt Galloway’s voice on Metro Morning and try to tune into Jian Ghomeshi on Q later on in the day. The weekends vary between This is That, Definitely Not the Opera and Vinyl Cafe, depending on what time I rise. I have big love for CBC, but let it be known that the constant playing of Julie Black, Maestro Fresh Wes and K-OS isn’t what draws me in.

Until lately, what have been my radio station choices in this city? Certainly not 102.1 The Edge, which seems to play a recycled playlist from the 90’s consisting solely of Weezer, Nirvana, Oasis, Sublime and Our Lady Peace.


The great news is that we now have a great (not just decent!) radio station in Toronto: Indie88 at 88.1 on your FM dial. The station is playing a variety of music and is letting listeners dictate the tunes on rotation. I’ve been listening to the station online in anticipation, and since its launch on September 3rd, it has not disappointed me. The commercial breaks are minimal, idle chit chat from DJs is slight and when it does exist, it is relevant and interesting (read: music news you care about). Remember way back when MuchMusic played actual music videos and it was exciting for music fans? That’s what Indie88 is to radio today. No terrible programming.

Of course it’s awesome, music guru Alan Cross is on the programming team. The station also has Dave Bookman (head of my favorite Nu-Music Night every Tuesday at the Horseshoe Tavern), Matt Hart (of the Russian Futurists, an awesome Canadian indie band) and Raina Douris (know-all in Toronto’s music scene and a Twitter fave of mine) all on board.

Indie88 has found a delicate balance of playing older tunes that you miss hearing and make you go “Awww!”, not “Ugh.” Case and point: we don’t need to hear Radiohead’s “Creep” anymore, but “Reckoner” has yet to be overplayed and is most welcome! The station has an ear for great new Canadian tunes (Austra, Hey Rosetta!, Library Voices), other hot indie darlings (Said the Whale, Atlas Genius, HAIM, Local Natives) and bands I previously thought were pretty obscure and get downright excited to hear over the airwaves (particularly, Louis XIV).

This post may not be news to most of you, but I’d hate to know that even a few of you are still listening to Nickelback-friendly radio stations when you don’t have to be!