with Greg Torwalt

Greg is a Saskatoon singer/songwriter/pianist and one-half of Too Soon Monsoon. The alt-pop band released two EPs in 2017 and this fall, in advance of a western Canadian tour, they’ll release two singles (“Ocean” and “Mountains of Blue”). Too Soon Monsoon plays O’Hanlon’s Pub in Regina on Oct. 5, and will also showcase at Breakout West in Kelowna from Oct. 10–14. /Gregory Beatty

“Everything is Everything”
Lauryn Hill | The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (1998)

I was so proud of myself at nine years-old for my ability to “spit” this song’s rap verse. Then I realized I didn’t know what I was saying, so I sat down with a dictionary, my family’s encyclopedia set, played the album on repeat, and educated myself as best I could.

“Extraordinary Machine”
Fiona Apple | Extraordinary Machine (2005)

I was introduced to Fiona when producer Jon Brion’s unreleased version of this album began to leak in 2004/05. Her wordplay, allusions, massive vocabulary (not unlike Lauryn Hill) and vibrato were striking and taught me that I should be proud of my individuality — and that playing the piano and throwing all of your emotion into a song is actually pretty cool.

“Silver Springs”
Fleetwood Mac | Rumours (b-side) 1977

Stevie’s rawness (both lyrically and vocally) is so honest and inspiring. I never tire of this song.

“Hotel Yorba”
The White Stripes | White Blood Cells (2001)

If I need a pick-me-up, this song gets cranked and I dance around the house for two solid minutes.

“Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)”
Arcade Fire | Funeral (2004)

This song wastes no time kicking into gear. The lyrics are smart and the music urgent. The bright xylophone peppered throughout the verses is a nice touch. I especially appreciate the lyric: “when the power’s out in the heart of man, take it from your heart, put it in your hand”.

Kamasi Washington | Harmony of Difference (2017)

The melodies from the EP’s first five tracks come together in a final 13-minute song. I was lucky enough to win tickets to his SaskJazz show this summer. Being able to witness Kamasi and his band thread five melodies together in perfect harmony was mind-blowing. It’s one of my favourite concert memories EVER and now one of my favourite records.