Taylor Swift isn’t great at hiding her hand. Each album rollout, at least for her last three albums, essentially started in a different calendar year with corporate sponsorships and billboards and media tours. A Taylor Swift album was an Event, one that you could see coming from miles away like a warship on the horizon. So it came as a definite surprise when she announced, via social media, that folklore, her eighth studio album, was going to be released just hours after the announcement. …


Hello everyone. I am currently finishing the second year of my Bachelor of Education, and that requires me to complete various reflections regarding how I feel about a variety of pedagogical topics.

One of these reflections requires that it is posted publicly, to act as an artefact for other educators to use. The reflection is about using multimodality in teaching, and mine in particular focuses on multiple means of expression in mathematics pedagogy. If you are not interested in this, please do not continue reading. Maybe you can take a look at my main page, with many other interesting articles…


I’m back! Although it’s highly unnecessary to regale you all with tales of my hiatus, I’m going to do it anyway. Between my last article and now, I’ve completed a semester of school — only one semester now lies between me and my teaching certification, thank god. In the space between then and now, I’ve definitely still been writing — it’s just that the writing I’ve been doing isn’t of interest to anyone (myself included). …


Although we’ve seen the coronavirus pandemic wane somewhat in Ontario, mostly due to the overwhelming, and somewhat surprising, ability of the general public to put their lives on hold for the common good, we are still staring into an uncertain future. We’re seeing an alarming uptick in cases, perhaps due to some apathy, but almost assuredly because our premier decided to reopen some of the most dangerous business locations (gyms, indoor restaurants, bars) too early to be able to present a grotesque facsimile of “economic recovery” to his donors and cronies.

Our biggest challenge yet, though, has just started. On…


“People see rock ‘n’ roll as, as youth culture and when youth culture becomes monopolized by big business what are the youth to do? Do you, do you have any idea?” intones an interviewer. “I think,” a voice replies “we should destroy the bogus capitalist process that is destroying youth culture.” That excerpt is taken from “1991: The Year Punk Broke,” a documentary that followed the 1991 Sonic Youth and Nirvana tour. The reply given is by Thurston Moore, legendary Sonic Youth guitarist himself.

Now, if a band were to sample that quote as an opener to arguably their best…


Instead of focusing on a full album this week, I wanted to keep it short and talk about a favourite song. This week, that song is “Willin’” by the rollicking Southern rock band Little Feat.

Little Feat was formed in 1969 by Lowell George, who was then a member of Frank Zappa’s Mothers of Invention. There are three conflicting stories as to why George left the Mothers of Invention, per Wikipedia. In one of them, he shows Zappa “Willin’” and Zappa is so enthralled that he fires George so that he can start his own band. In another, the straight-edged…


Isaac Brock can see the future. There’s no other explanation as to how he created two successive albums that were visions of wildly different dystopian futures and somehow has seen them both come true. In 1997, Modest Mouse, with Brock as their unhinged frontman, released The Lonesome Crowded West, a monolithic flurry of rage against encroaching urban decay, full of imagery of crumbling shopping malls, seas of concrete, and characters whose lives radically shift due to these circumstances, never for the better. Songs like “Teeth Like God’s Shoeshine” and “Polar Opposites” mined anger and ennui from rampant consumerism and substance…


It’s been a rough few weeks for everyone. Besides the ongoing protests against police brutality and racism, not to mention further killing of black people at the hands of police there’s also a pandemic not yet in the rearview, not to mention a massive oil spill in Russia to cap it all off. I can’t personally remember a time where there has been such a confluence of apocalyptic-like events (although this has all been roiling under the surface for some time). Now, music has always been a method of escape in times of turmoil, temporarily melting problems and conflicts away…


From Jeppe Moenster via Unsplash

I’ve been a bit reticent to dive too far into commentary on the current protests against police brutality and racism taking place all across the continent, not because I am apathetic or don’t have an opinion, but because my voice isn’t really one that needs to be centred in this case (check my .avi if you’re wondering why that’s the case). With that being said, I’m hugely sympathetic to the cause, and believe that I (along with other white people) should focus on allyship and elevating the voices of people of colour through protest and donation and full-throated vocal support…


It’s the first bit of nice weather we’ve had in Southern Ontario since about October, which in normal times is a reason to rejoice. But, as we all know, we are in Not Normal times and as such the beautiful weather felt less like a reprieve than a taunt (two coronavirus articles in four days, an absolute treat). And since we are a species primarily focused on extincting ourselves in the quest for immediate pleasure, we puffed out our chests and told Mother Nature that it was on. This isn’t just a Southern Ontario thing, obviously. …

Alex Toth

writin about music mostly | contact me alex.ml.toth@gmail.com

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