Posts tagged #Fitness Club Fiasco

we released an album today.

My band Fitness Club Fiasco released our album MODERN THOUGHT today. This project has taken a few years to make, interrupted and influenced by falling in love and then a wedding, two babies, a heart surgery, a brain tumour, a successful mayoral campaign, a few break ups (oops), the evolution of Hendo's beard, a spoiled Led Zeppelin t-shirt frozen on a driveway, a lot of pizza, one kick of the can at a radio competition, perfect and fitting artwork from our pal and expert woodsman Scott Hunt, and tireless and magical work from our secret weapon Mark Underdown that have made this album what it is. 

We all feel so proud of this album, what it represents, and what it's become. We are so grateful to everyone who has cheered us on, supported us through our indiegogo campaign, voted for us during Searchlight, paid cover at one of our shows (and attended overandoverandover again), paid for one of those robot t-shirts, shared our music with their friends - MODERN THOUGHT wouldn't be what it is without you.

You can stream (and purchase, WINK) our album here.  

[Album art for MODERN THOUGHT by Scott Hunt. Photo of FCF by Jan Douma].


Processed with VSCOcam with t1 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with t1 preset Processed with VSCOcam with t1 presetLately has been filled with this and that, including but not limited to walks along the lakeshore waiting for summer to come, stocking up on books and hosting brunch at my little house for friends. My blog is usually an indication of the buzzing or not-buzzing of my head, but now is not the case. Sometimes there is so much to listen to that it takes a second to get all my thoughts and feelings sorted out, causing a standstill while I sit quietly until at least a part of it settles. Spring (it still feels like spring) is filled with such wild growth and rebirth. Growing pains. That twelve year-old ache in your knees because you are three inches taller than you were yesterday.

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with t1 preset10313954_10152405657111692_6751328444898592980_nWe at Fitness Club Fiasco have been extra busy in the last few months, which has been really fun and every once in a while for about ten seconds we feel like legit rock stars. We were runners-up in the CBC Searchlight competition, played Canadian Music Week in Toronto (one of a few sweet reviews here), and released our second single from our upcoming album, Hades, which is available for FREE download here. I even had someone stop me on the street a few weeks ago and say "hey you're that girl from Fitness Club Fiasco!" so basically I'm famous (he's friends with our drummer but so what, we've never met before! That counts right?).

On the solo music front (which rarely has news lately!) I recorded two mini sessions with my friend Roydin Monteath on his roof! You can see an original song here and a cover of Bob Dylan's "It Ain't Me Babe" here.


cbc searchlight top ten.

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 presetA few weeks ago I blogged that my band Fitness Club Fiasco was participating in CBC's Searchlight Competition. Well, to update you, we have been voted winners of the Toronto region (!!!!) and are now one of the top ten finalists! We are so blown away and no one is more surprised than us, and we are just thrilled. It's been a crazy month and has been such a blast - it's especially surreal to hear our single played on CBC Radio. Processed with VSCOcam with t1 preset[This is us eating donuts, obviously].

We are holding our breath and crossing our fingers and toes now - this is the last week of votes before the final round; four people move on from here, three judges picks and the top voted band, and then the judges select the final winner. The winner receives $20 000 of equipment from Yamaha Canada, an opening slot in the CBC Music Festival in BC, and professional recording with CBC Music.

If you'd like, you can view our competition profile and vote for us here.

Also, if you're in the Toronto region, we are playing Canadian Music Week next week and we'd love to have you at our show! We're playing at Baltic Avenue at 10pm and we are so, so, so excited to play! You can see the event details here.

cbc searchlight competition.

10001344_10152307340456692_1060687596_nIt's been a busy behind-the-scenes month for us in Fitness Club Fiasco - independent of the band, Mike, Matt and I have been finishing up another semester at school, Jess Underdown took off to Singapore for vacation, and Cam added an insurmountable list of items to his Aquired-On-Kijiji collection. In between all of that our new single Hades is getting polished up and ready to release, we are booking shows for late spring, we have some new thank-you songs being written (you can hear our previous Thank-You Sessions here: Marisol, Legoland, No Words For YouJanette and Homer, Matt Legg-Bagg), and our single Goldmine is being played on Mix 106.5 in Owen Sound, Ontario, for the next few weeks. So exciting!

Some other exciting news: we are currently in the semi-finals of CBC Music's Searchlight Competition. We're in the running to win $20,000 worth of music equipment from Yamaha Canada Music, a professional recording with CBC Music, and a spot on the bill with Tegan and Sara, and Spoon at the Festival in Vancouver. We are thrilled to have made it to the semi-finals, especially in the Toronto region. It's one of those pesky vote-every-day contests, and we have been so blown away with our dear friends being good sports about the whole thing (and my parents' daily posts about the whole thing). If you'd like to hear our single "Goldmine" and take a look at our Searchlight page, you can find it here. This stage of voting is open until this Sunday, April 13th. 

Just another round of serious thank-yous to our friends and supporters who have been really cheering us on this year, investing in our music, attending our shows over and over (especially when there has been insane weather this winter!), being patient as we work hard to get stuff out to you, and just being objectively awesome.


songs for friends.

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A couple of weeks ago Mike and Jess from our band Fitness Club Fiasco came over to write and record another one of our Thank You songs for our fundraiser on Indiegogo. We ate a lot of food and wrote a little song for our friend Matt. You can hear it here if you'd like!



  Processed with VSCOcam with t1 presetJust a little note to say thank you, thank you, thank you to all who contributed to Fitness Club Fiasco's IndieGoGo campaign. We've surpassed our goal of $4000; the total is at $4272, with a few more donations still trickling in. I am so blown away by people's generosity. We love what we do and we have a really great album that I am already incredibly proud of that I can't wait to share.

One of the perks of donating was a personal song written for you if you donated $100; you can see a Spanish love song here and a folksy ballad about Lego here. I'll post more as we get the rest of them done in the new year; they're pretty cooky!

Thanks again from all of us in FCF. xo


songwriting with fitness club fiasco.

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 presetThis weekend my band got together before our gig in Guelph to write some songs. We have a fundraising campaign going on right now to help us finish our album, and if someone donates $100, we'll write them a song! We got a few done this weekend and I'll post the links when they're up. They're pretty ridiculous so I hope their goofy charm is appreciated!Processed with VSCOcam with t1 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with t1 presetThe melodica and some kiddie hand bells were definitely incorporated to lend themselves to the madness.

Some other exciting news, our friend Jon Lawless from First Rate People made a remix for the campaign, and it was reviewed in Exclaim, which is a Toronto magazine. You can give it a listen here.

Happy Tuesday! xo


this week in pictures.

This week can be summed up in one picture:
Processed with VSCOcam with t1 presetAs Christmas break approaches, this week is the first that I've truly felt like a frazzled, sleep deprived, brain-melted university student, with obnoxiously long papers to write, dry tests on literary terms to study for, and huge chunks of my philosophy textbook to try and form some semblance of understanding. This is crunch time, folks. Shifts at work all of a sudden feel like a study break, when I can talk to humans and talk about steak and wine instead of the significance of metaphor or intentionality of the human mind.

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 presetA welcomed reprieve to this crazy week was a really fun show we played on Friday- we were the house band for Campfires and Cocktails, a gala that raises money for the Neil Lovatt Memorial Foundation that pays for kids to go to Muskoka Woods. I worked at Muskoka Woods for years (the other Jess in Fitness Club Fiasco did too!), and it truly impacts and inspires youth in the most outrageous and exciting ways. FCF got all dressed up, and it was such a treat to have a great sound system and play a great venue as opposed to our usual hole-in-the-wall bars.

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Processed with VSCOcam with t1 presetHope your weeks are starting off great and that you're staying warm and cozy in this blustery weather.



Processed with VSCOcam with t1 presetI have an extra boring assignment that I need to finish before going to work, so naturally this is a great time to blog. Autumn is in full swing here in Toronto, and I have welcomed it with open arms, extra cups of tea and new ankle rain boots from Loeffler Randall. After I ordered them they got here fast, but because I don't have a doorbell, there was a lot of cat and mouse with the UPS guys (oh the joys of quirky downtown apartments). Now that I have them I wear them even when the sun is out. It's so nice not to have clunky rain boots and feel like a four-year old clunking around every time it rains.

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Processed with VSCOcam with t1 presetFitness Club Fiasco took a mini road trip to London last Friday. Since I don't have a car I take the train out to Burlington and Jess (there are two of us in the band) picks me up, and then we all meet up and carpool. A bit of a process. Last week was the first time I was early for the train, and as I was buying my ticket I realized I left my keyboard at home. Who does that?

We are currently doing a fundraising campaign to finish our album. You can check out more information on that here if you'd like.

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 presetMy heat was off last week for three days; there was a problem with the gas lines in our house so it was turned off for a few days. Wednesday morning I sat on the floor in my kitchen in front of my stove while I drank my coffee. It felt like a rite of passage in a way, in a cold, not fun, grumpy-that-I-have-to-go-elsewhere-to-shower kind of way.

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 presetThis has been a season of simplicity, finally painting my walls a pale grey, being organized enough (to my own surprise) to make my own lunches most days, lots of reading, lots of simple evenings with dear friends, lots of quiet. I think I am quick to let my time get away from me a bit, so I'm proud of myself for creating a sort of routine and slower pace in this busy city life. December is going to be an extra exciting month (can't wait to tell you all about it!!) so I'm trying to hunker down and stay focused and finish up this first trivial semester of school.

Happy Wednesday. xo





album fundraising campaign.

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with t1 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with t1 presetThis past weekend we had a great rehearsal for Fitness Club Fiasco, and made serious headway on a new song that sounds AWESOME. I love being part of a project that is producing such great music. Can't wait for you to hear it. Also, some very exciting news, we are more than half-way through the recording process and just TODAY launched an IndieGoGo campaign to help us with some of the funding for our album. Check out Mike's campaign video he made for us because he's a nut. You can go to our campaign site here.

Happy Tuesday! xo



photo-13The first month of school is done! It's been a swirling four weeks of essay reading/writing on the subway, figuring out the best point of my morning to get coffee, packing lunches, strategizing the most efficient route from class to class, and realizing that it takes a really long time to read five pages of a philosophy textbook. My writing classes haven't felt overly challenging yet but they HAVE been a lot of work, so I'm glad I don't feel like the content is in over my head. Here are some things that I've done to procrastinate on homework this month:

photo-12Processed with VSCOcam with t1 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with t1 presetFitness Club Fiasco practices have been coming to me at my little house lately, which is such a treat! (And, if you live in Toronto, we are playing at The Rivoli next Wednesday).

photo-15photo-17photo-14A few Sundays ago it was the Toronto Book Fair in Queen's Park, and my friend Natasha and I went to browse, and have a healthy helping of roasted corn (yes please). There were hundreds of vendors and publishing houses with discounted books. My book-loving heart wanted to scoop up a hundred books, but my student-wallet said no.

Processed with VSCOcam with m5 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with t1 presetThus far I've found it successful to combine homework with friends and alcohol. Probably not the healthiest studying habits, but it's been fun so far! This is my lovely friend Heather who kept me company on Sunday before we went to our very first meeting of Dinner Club.

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with t1 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with t1 presetMy friend Matt (who is also in Fitness Club Fiasco) filmed two music videos with Southern Souls for his band, Old English. We filmed in Oakville at Cameron's Brewery Company. It was such a cool venue to film in and I can't wait to see the final product, despite some awkward shots of me clapping.

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 presetOctober, October... Next week, I'm going home for a blink to the west coast for my dad's birthday and Canadian Thanksgiving, which I haven't been home for in 4 years! I can. not. wait. I hopefully will also get around to painting my kitchen, and have a lot of really dear people sleeping on my couch this month, which I couldn't be more excited about!

Thanks for visiting xo





photo-57It's been radio silence around here for the past few weeks; the end of August really got the better of me with a trip to Pittsburgh, a huge Fitness Club Fiasco show, getting my life together before school started this week (!!!!) and, oh yeah, moving this past Sunday. Here are some snapshots of my world from last month:

photo-431004697_376025622524733_895607560_nOur show at the Horseshoe Tavern last Friday (which was such a dream come true to play there), and our new fancy band photo (taken by Janice Douma).

photo-63photo-60photo-61photo-59photo-64photo-62Work friends got together for a beach party in the east end.

photo-65photo-55photo-56photo-51photo-50photo-52photo-66photo-49photo-46photo-67I went to Pittsburgh to visit Josh and Lauren. Highlights include a full day spent on a boat on the river, some seriously intense outlet shopping, a walking tour of the city, and going to a Pirates game.

photo-68The side effects of moving: random screws, nuts, and bolts. Everywhere. I guess this means I'm going to have some wobbly furniture.

This week I'm excited about unpacking all of my boxes and getting settled, painting the walls, and finding a good bag to carry all my books to and from school. I had orientation yesterday, and the new school adventure has begun! September will be about buckling down and getting organized, and finding a really great pair of leather boots (on sale if I can help it).



  photo-38Just like that, July is done! It's been a busy month in my little universe over here with long hours at work, lots of different writing projects on the go, and LOTS of concert dates for Fitness Club Fiasco taking up my days off (which is a good thing!).

Here are some snapshots from my world last month:




Behind the scenes. Tangled chords at our rehearsal space; sitting a song out at Matt's Old English show at Lee's Palace; striped shorts and synthesizers while I rehearsed some songs at home; pre-show beers. This is what dreams are made of.


photo-35Beach time. Despite being an unseasonably rainy summer, I've managed to enjoy some of the city on sunny days. I've realized how much more calm I feel when I make time to go to Toronto's lake side, or sit in the park, and take in some nature. It's good for the soul.

photo-34photo-36All of the starkly different landscapes of Toronto. 

photo-33August promises a trip to Pittsburgh, getting all the final ducks in a row for school like loans and school supplies (do people get school supplies for university??), making more time to sit outside, and getting ready to move September first (which I couldn't be more excited about).

Thanks, as always, for visiting.


white peach and lavender soda.

d0008146_1394112Happy Friday! It feels like summer (maybe) is here to stay in Toronto, finally having a few days in a row of sun and breeze as opposed to the dreary, rainy weather we've been having since I was home. I came across this great idea for a tasty summer drink on She Who Eats; white peaches soaked in lavender-infused hot water, and then, when cooled, topped up with soda. It would be great for a lazy weekend day.

Tomorrow I'm going to the beach all day and having a barbecue (my first true summer activities of the season!) and on Sunday Fitness Club Fiasco has a show in Guelph. I hope your weekend is filled with yummy food and restful time too.


fitness club fiasco: single release.

969024_341087209351908_1374932_nI am extremely proud and over the moon excited to share this with you; I am part of a band called Fitness Club Fiasco, and we released our first single from our new album today. It sounds absolutely killer and I am so excited to share it with you. Click here for the free download. For all you Torontonians, we're also playing at Clinton's tonight, which is my first show back since I was away on my trip, and I can't wait to get up there! Enjoy!

this week in words.

This morning I woke up sore. Really sore. Not as sore as last week, but still really sore. I am acutely aware of the muscles right above my knee, the muscles on top of my rib cage, the tight muscles in my lower back, the muscles in my shoulders. Walking down stairs is a slower crawl than most days. I'm sore because I've hired my friend Sam to, as I carefully instructed him, "kick my ass." So Every Monday or Tuesday or day we find to meet near-ish the beginning of the week, we go to a park and when he says jump I jump and when he says run up that hill I do and when he says sprint I sprint for about 30 seconds and then my sprint turns into a semi-pathetic saunter/ limp. Some people look really good working out. I would say the percentage in that category is about 3%. They're all hip and put together in their Lululemon, nothing's wobbling on them to begin with and working out is more a demonstration of their contour lines and smooth tummies and strong, powerful legs. I am not in this category. I feel slow. I feel lumpy. I get all blotchy and sweaty and out of breath. By the end of a rep of push-ups I am staring at the ground, elbows locked, aware that I need to bend my arms and shove my face towards the ground, and somehow there is a disconnect and I'm stuck and feel like I'm never going to finish the rep. Very confusing feeling, not sure if you've experienced that.

And I've been hard on myself. I used to not be so wobbly and out of shape. And I keep bringing up visions of a far-off girl who could run lines endlessly and attend a 2 hour basketball practice only to go home and go for a run afterwards. But life gets busy and (hallelujah) high school ends and then  you turn eighteen and everything changes and biology eventually gets around to your hips and thighs. And I am not that girl anymore, but this is the body I have. And I can tell you, getting "back on the wagon" has been hard. It is painful. But it feels great. It's been crazy to see how much of working my body is a mental game. Lessons in perseverance, endurance. Learning to push myself and be kind to myself, speaking encouraging words through my head. And the humbling experience of doing something that is hard, that I'm not good at, and doing it anyways, going home, feeling the reminder of how I did something good for my body today.

_______________________ .

And last night we had another Fitness Club Fiasco concert at Clinton's. What a sweet group of people that band is. Except for Matt Henderson. I don't like that guy at all.* It has been a really sweet thing to be a part of a project that is so much fun, to double quadruple how many live shows I do, be able to go out and have fun and dance around with great people, to have a safe place to practice being on stage and in the grind of it all.

After our set I got into a discussion about the manifestation of success in our lives. [Long sigh]. One individual involved in the conversation asked me and another performing musician why we weren't trying harder to make a lot of money off of our art. Or trying to get a manager. Or doing any type of some sort of musical job full time. Because aren't we ignoring what we want to do. He was talking to a musician/artist/Starbucks barista and a musician/artist/server. It's frustrating to have a conversation that you have with yourself on a pretty regular basis. I just feel like, if "success" makes us happy, and don't we all want to be happy all the time, or most of the time, should we not have our barometer for "success" a little wider than the black and white equation of making millions = success. Anything less = failure. I am such a firm believer that we all have a function in this world, and there isn't an off-switch to it in our lives. If you are a teacher, you don't have to spend a day in a classroom to be validated as a teacher. You're a teacher when you're speaking to your nieces and nephews, you're a teacher when you're listening to others speak. There is a deeper, bigger picture to what you do. Doctors aren't just medicine givers, they're healers, they take the time in all they do to say, "how can I make this better, how can I comfort you." and they can do that wherever they are. And, as a girl in the city trying to figure it out, as a girl who thinks a lot and rolls things over in my head, of course there are arenas where I can put my "functions", "gifts", "what have you's", to work than in the bar of a restaurant, I am still living. I still have the opportunity to work on my art and my communication and my poetry in those situations. It's all training. And if I have found authenticity, if I have found a way to support my life in an environment where I am enabled and empowered to pursue the things on my heart, I think that I have it pretty damn good if you ask me.

And now I go to do my hair, this ratty mess, clean myself up for the mad rush of business men and their happy hour after a day of crunching numbers. With sore arms and a full heart of songs from the night before. I'm preparing for a writing workshop for tomorrow, playing my songs for a group of actors/writers. Talk about nerve-racking. I'm sure I'll have more to share on that on Saturday.

May you go forth in all that is placed in your soul to do. Whatever it is that makes you fully alive, that is your home. Dwell in it.

*Matt Henderson is actually a very nice individual, he graciously helped me move last fall and he remembers to do things like email sound guys in advance and make sure everyone has a ride, and sometimes he'll drive me home from far places. Thanks, Matt.

Posted on May 25, 2011 and filed under from jess-.