The Unicorns will never die

The Montreal cult band continues to fascinate us nearly 15 years after their one and only album

Once upon a time, during the magical early to mid 2000s, Montreal experienced its very own musical renaissance. To many fans and critics, it was reminiscent of the surge in Seattle grunge music, which ruled the airwaves during the early to mid 1990s. The hometown of Leonard Cohen had become the new mecca of cool, especially among indie rock enthusiasts.

By 2005, Spin Magazine dubbed Montreal “the next big thing” and The New York Times fawned over the city’s “explosive music scene.” Among the most notable bands were The Dears, The Stills, Sam Roberts Band, Stars and, of course, Arcade Fire—the band that would come to rule the indie rock music world and win the Grammy for Album of the Year in 2011.

However, one Montreal-based band may seem like a mere footnote of this wondrous musical awakening, having left the party as quickly as they came. They released their one and only LP in October 2003 and, by December 2004, were no more. They were The Unicorns.

Formed in 2000, the band consisted of Nick “Neil Diamonds” Thorburn (lead vocals, guitar),  Alden “Ginger” Penner (vocals, bass, keys) and Jamie “J’aime Tambeur” Thompson (drums). When describing their debut album, Who Will Cut Our Hair When We’re Gone?, music critics often referred to them as “goofy,” “messy” and “whimsical.” While valid, these descriptions downplayed the band’s remarkable ability to write insanely catchy hooks and melodies that resist the standard verse/chorus/verse structure. The jangly indie-pop trio had an experimental streak, but they still evoked a familiar feeling. Above all, their tracks were truly an extension of their unique, hilarious personalities.

Few songs about dying and the fear of it are as fun as the LP’s opening track, “I Don’t Wanna Die.” The album also includes a few eerily beautiful, synth-heavy 80s songs that would fit seamlessly into a Stranger Things episode, notably “Tuff Ghost” and “Inoculate the Innocuous.”

“Sea Ghost” kicks off with perhaps the greatest recorder solo ever—it’s a standout track that encapsulates the chemistry between Thorburn and Penner. “Jellybones” is an example of the band’s ability to mix and mash different tempos and genres on a single track. “The Clap” stands out as the heaviest song on the album, illustrating how The Unicorns were willing—and able—to be much darker stylistically. “Child Star” is the most melancholy track on the album, a reminder that, despite their cartoonish antics and lyrics, this was a band capable of creating beautifully layered tracks.

“I Was Born (A Unicorn)” begins with a charming guitar riff accompanied by the simple, steady and heavy beating of a snare drum. This leads to a chaotic chorus of instruments and an amusing exchange between Thorburn and Penner, singing “we’re The Unicorns / we’re more than horses.” They literally whine their way to the end of the song.

The album closes out with the anthemic “Ready To Die,” which foreshadowed the band’s eventual breakup a year later, announced by a simple message on their website: “THE UNICORNS ARE DEAD, (R.I.P.).”

With lyrics that hover between morbidly curious and fantastically silly, this group’s manic energy and the sheer undeniable catchiness of their tunes have made The Unicorns a cult band. While many of their indie rock contemporaries have reached dizzying heights or terrifying lows, The Unicorns came and went like a shooting star, without ever disappointing us. Now that’s a unicorn indeed.

The Unicorns Who Will Cut

Our Hair When We’re Gone?

(Alien8 Recordings, 2003)

“I Don’t Wanna Die”

“Tuff Ghost”

“Ghost Mountain”

“Sea Ghost”


“The Clap”

“Child Star”

“Let’s Get Known”

“I Was Born (A Unicorn)”

“Tuff Luff”

“Inoculate the Innocuous”

“Les Os”

“Ready to Die”


Get into the Halloween spirit with these horror flicks

Cut the time browsing movie streaming sites for the best spooky movies with these picks

With the emergence of Netflix and other movie-streaming services, it’s never been easier (or harder, depending on how you look at it) to select a movie to watch. For movie lovers especially, assembling a movie-marathon list can happen with just a few clicks on your remote control.

Halloween is just around the corner. For those who appreciate spending the spooky holiday indoors, curled up on the couch with popcorn and a few Halloween-themed movies, it can be a little intimidating to choose from all that Netflix has to offer— especially when you’re tempted to rewatch the same classics every year like The Exorcist and Friday the 13th (or Hocus Pocus and Halloweentown for the faint of heart).

But have no fear (or do, ‘cause it is Halloween, after all), we have you covered with some of the best, albeit less familiar, Halloween movies currently streaming on Netflix and other streaming devices like Shomi.

The Silenced (2015)

If you’re not into gory horror, then the atmospheric Korean thriller The Silenced is for you. Detailing a young girl’s stay at a boarding school in 1938, the film follows a similar storyline to the 1977 horror classic Suspiria, and manages to stay away from the cheap scares the Korean horror sub-genre has become known for. Instead, it produces a consistent narrative with an unexpected and shocking ending. You can watch The Silenced on Netflix.

Let the Right One In (2008)

Perhaps you’ve seen the American adaptation of this film—which was decent, but not as good as the original Swedish version, directed by Tomas Alfredson—but don’t trick yourself into thinking you already know the story. While the remake draws heavily from Alfredson’s original vampire coming-of-age tale, nothing compares to his slow-burning tactics and chilling visuals that erupt into an ending sure to haunt you until next Halloween. You can watch Let the Right One In on Shomi.

Extraordinary Tales (2015)

If you’d rather steer clear of live-action films, Extraordinary Tales is an animated account of some of Edgar Allen Poe’s darkest stories, including “The Pit and the Pendulum” and “The Tell-Tale Heart.” In addition to the spooky animation, the film uses archive voice footage of legendary horror film actor Bela Lugosi for part of its narration. You can watch Extraordinary Tales on Netflix.

Rear Window is one of the classic horror films to watch this October.

Rear Window (1954)

We couldn’t make this list without including at least one film from the suspense horror master Alfred Hitchcock. If you like classic films, you’ve probably seen Hitchcock’s Psycho or The Birds. However, Rear Window is a classic in its own right, and is often overlooked. This thriller, which inspired 2007’s Disturbia, sees James Stewart as a man who, while on bed rest with a broken leg, fixates on one of his neighbours who he thinks has committed murder. He discovers the truth about this murder mystery with the help of his girlfriend, Lisa Carol Fremont, played by Grace Kelly. You can watch Rear Window on Netflix.


Top Ten: Most Romantic Love Songs

10. “L.O.V.E” – Nat King Cole
Let’s start the list with Nat King Cole, legend among legends. Mr. Cole really made his mark on music as a leading jazz pianist. In this song, he cleverly assigns a lyric to each letter of the word “love.” It’s been at the top of love song charts since its release.
Best lyric: “Two in love can make it / take my heart and please don’t break it / Love was made for me and you.”

9. “Home” – Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
This one may be a little unknown, but I promise an earful of joy and an instantaneous love life if you sing this to someone on Valentine’s Day. With a bit of western flare, the chorus makes the song No. 9 on the most romantic list.
Best lyric: “Home is whenever I’m with you.”

8. “With or Without You” – U2
U2 is one of my favourite bands, but their best song—one that has travelled the world, with couples in love arrogantly calling it “our song”—has to be “With or Without You.” The song recounts how a man who is deeply in love has to be with you—if not, life is impossible. Guys, you know what do come Valentine’s Day.
Best lyric: “My hands are tied / my body bruised, she’s got me with / nothing to win and / nothing else to lose.”

7. “Your Song” – Elton John
This is the perfect song to dedicate to someone as the big day approaches. Elton John captures the essence of what love is. He originally wrote this song and dedicated it to his father, due to the fact that they had problems because of Elton’s homosexuality. Since then, it’s become one of the most romantic songs out there.
Best lyric: “I hope you don’t mind that I put down in words / how wonderful life is while you’re in the world.”

6. “Drops of Jupiter” – Train
Train has made a name for themselves as great romantic songwriters, making single girls cry all over the world, day after day. What many describe as a tender tour of the cosmos, lead singer Patrick Monahan actually wrote the song when he lost his mother, and wished, as he was mourning, that she could just “come back to the atmosphere, with drops of Jupiter in her hair.” That line also wins best lyric.

5. “Truly Madly Deeply” – Savage Garden
Romance, no matter the situation, comes hand in hand with corniness—disgusting, ugly, makes-me-want-to-puke corniness. Savage Garden captured all the corniness in the world the day they wrote “Truly Madly Deeply.” For this reason, this one definitely gets a spot on the list.
Best lyric: “I want to lay like this forever / until the sky falls down on me.”

4. “Time After Time” – Cyndi Lauper
This is where things start getting serious. This classic song took romance by storm with its sweet lyrics, and has since been taken up by other groups including Matchbox Twenty. The amazing yet simple lyric “time after time” tells you all a loved one will do for you, again and again, time after time.
Best lyric: “If you fall I will catch you–I’ll be waiting / time after time.”

3. “Something” – The Beatles
There are so many songs to choose from when it comes to one of the most amazing bands to ever walk the Earth. “Something,” however, perfectly depicts how impossible it is to live without the one you love; how there’s something about her or him that’s impossible to get off your mind. Frank Sinatra said it best when he called it “the greatest love song ever written.”
Best lyric: “Something in the way she knows / and all I have to do is think of her. Something in the things she shows me / I don’t want to leave her now.”

2. “I’ll Be” – Edwin McCain
These are words that every man wants to say to a girl one day. Yet, to describe what you can do for the girl of your dreams is something most men are nervous about. Never fear, Mr. McCain has done it for us. It’s a masterpiece of a song, and to this day, one of the greatest love songs of our time.
Best lyric: “I’ll be your crying shoulder / I’ll be love’s suicide / I’ll be better when I’m older / I’ll be the greatest fan of your life.”

1. “Maybe I’m Amazed” – Paul McCartney
Paul McCartney captures the true essence of what love is all about. It’s surprising, and at times, it can be scary. Scary to feel such a feeling for someone. Scared of getting hurt. But in the end, knowing that, no matter what, it’s all worth it. I dedicate this No. 1 to my girlfriend, and wishing all the couples out there a Happy Valentine’s Day, and a Happy I Hate Valentine’s Day to all you haters!
Best lyric: “Maybe I’m afraid of the way I love you.”

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