On Our Radar (Valentine's edition): Dan Mangan and Breath & Blade will get you through the year's shittiest day

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      As there’s no point pretending otherwise, let’s just say it: Valentine’s Day was  invented by a sadist.

      For the legions of us who’ll be having a threesome this February 14 with Jim Beam and either Palmala Handerson or a Hitachi Wand, the line “It’s a labour of love fucking yourself to death” from the Buzzcocks’ “Orgasm Addict” has a particularly bitter resonance.

      On the flipside, enjoy queueing up in a three-block line for custom chocolates at 50 dollars, well aware of the shitshow that ensued last year after you thought a box of Moirs Pot of Gold was enough to show your devotion and affection.

      Because Valentine’s is the most miserable can’t-win day of the year, you’re going to need some help getting through what’s left of it. Luckily, a couple of local songwriters are here to help.

      For those who know full well that they’re probably going to get laid tonight (that’s why you sprung for roses, Dom Perignon, edible shrimp-omelette-flavoured underwear) Dan Mangan has returned from protracted radio silence with a new single titled “Fool For Waiting”.

      As usual, one of the city’s favourite sons  does a better job explaining his art than we could ever hope to.

      In announcing the track, Mangan said, “‘Fool For Waiting’ is about finding someone who makes you feel less crazy, or at least someone who finds your craziness endearing because it’s real and honest, and that real, imperfect love is not always as fantastical or magical as a wild romance, but that it’s worth waiting for.”

      If that’s too wordy for you, consider this as a summation: starkly beautiful.

      On the dark side of the street, meet Vancouver’s Breath & Blade, a new duo comprised of singer-programmer Anne Emberline and guitarist Aleks Amer.

      Their debut single “My Love” hits all the right notes for those who plan to spend the next nine hours sitting in the dark alone flicking the lights on and off: think funeral piano, crashing grey-skies guitars, and vocals that suggest someone is more than familiar with staring into the void. Perfect for a mixed tape containing the likes of Evanescence, Nick Cave, Portishead, and anyone found on 4AD in the '80s, it's powerful and poetic.

      No matter how you’re spending the complete living hell that is Valentine’s Day, remember music is only going to make it better. Failing that, always keep in mind that nothing dulls the hurting like liquor, preferably 40-proof and consumed straight from the bottle.