With six internationally acclaimed albums and a well-received book of poetry to his name, Rodney DeCroo is turning his talents to the theatre. I met with Mr. DeCroo in Vancouver at a Commercial Drive café in late August and talked with him about his current project.
Allegheny, BC, directed by Jane Heyman, is a musical and poetic journey through the landscape of DeCroo’s early life. DeCroo delivers the main performance, accompanied by Mark Haney on the double bass. Gal Minnes provides lighting, set design, and videography.
DeCroo told me that “The songs, stories and poems in the performance add (Read more…)
Ian Kamau is a Toronto based artist performing in Montreal for the Suoni per il Popolo festival at a concert organized by Howl!. Kamau is a key underground hip-hop artist creating today in Canada. This interview focuses on Kamau’s approach and specifically on the Traffic, a soul track from his debut album One Day Soon.
Stefan Christoff: There are many different influences, like jazz, hip-hop, electronica and soul in your sound, can reflect on your sound and how you create your music?
Ian Kamau: I listen to all different kinds music and now increasingly we are living in a (Read more…)
The Rob Ford crack controversy has a soundtrack.
First we have the bluntly titled Rob Ford Smoking Crack by 21-year-old hip hop artist Corey Charron. The three-minute ditty tells a fictional account in which Charron, who recently won a $5,000 freestyle competition on US network BET, smokes crack cocaine with the Toronto mayor and ends up stuck in traffic, because Ford “f–ked us with public transit.” (Don’t miss the full lyrics.)
Up next is Our Mayor, an electronic remix by Rynecologist that samples audio from Ford’s arrogant denial that he smokes crack, as well as some choice (Read more…)
It was 43 years ago today that four students were killed at Kent State University, shot dead by the Ohio National Guard as they protested US military involvement in Cambodia. The bloody tragedy would move Neil Young to write the timeless protest song Ohio, which was recorded and heard on the radio within weeks of the incident.
In his liner notes for the song on his later Decade retrospective, Young would call the massacre “probably the biggest lesson ever learned at an American place of learning.” In our current political climate where dissent in increasingly repressed and criminalized, (Read more…)
The newest agit-POP video from the folks at the Albino Squirrel Vimeo Channel asks Morgan Freeman and CBC Radio host Jian Ghomeshi to stand with Palestinians and consider cancelling an event set to take place in a few days.
Something happened last spring: a whole generation of Montrealers was mobilized, politicized, made aware that they had a voice. Finally opening their windows onto spring mornings as the snow melted into the grass, people converged outside, en masse, where the air was filled with promise. They filled their lungs with it, it entered through their pores, informing their every motion, their every thought.
Despite their demands falling on deaf ears, and the repression doled out by the police, they still held their heads high, knowing that they were fighting the good fight, knowing that no matter how hard the government (Read more…)
In the United Kingdom, music retailer HMV is on life support. Although HMV Canada’s parent company is mounting a rescue attempt, the brand responsible for 35% of the CD market in Britain may soon collapse, in large part due to the shift towards purchasing music online. While many consumers would rather buy their music from Apple or Amazon, software freedom activist Richard Stallman argues that there are serious repercussions to buying music online instead of in record stores.
Danny Kelly says good riddance to HMV because it was sickly for some years before it died. I suggest however (Read more…)
A Russian court has turned down an appeal by jailed Pussy Riot member Maria Alyokhina, who has requested to serve the remainder of her prison sentence in the future when her 5-year-old son turns 14. She had argued that their separation has damaging his development.
Amnesty International criticized the ruling. “We are clearly deeply disappointed with the decision because basically it’s a further travesty of justice in this case,” Natalia Prilutskaya, a campaigner for Amnesty campaigner Natalia Prilutskaya told Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty. “We think that the three girls shouldn’t have been arrested, first of all, and they (Read more…)
Radiohead’s Thom Yorke is threatening to “sue the living shit” of British Prime Minister David Cameron if his Conservative Party uses their music in an election campaign.
“I can’t believe he’d like King of Limbs much. But I also equally think, who cares?” Yorke told Dazed & Confused. “As long as he doesn’t use it for his election campaigns, I don’t care. I’d sue the living shit out of him if he did.”
Yorke’s fears aren’t exactly unfounded. Right-wing politicians have seemingly made a habit of appropriating songs from left-of-centre musicians. English rockers Keane were surprised to learn (Read more…)
Today marks the start of a five day hearing process about the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline. About 330 speakers will have 10 minutes each to address the panel responsible for reviewing the $6-billion Enbridge project.
A couple years ago Canadian musician City and Colour wrote the song “At The Bird’s Foot”, a beautiful song that I only heard for the first time last week. Originally written in response to the oil spill in the Gulf, it’s a telling reminder of all that can go wrong when we push economics over environmental protection – the leading concern by British Columbia (Read more…)
Bob Dylan has a new album out, but you’re not supposed to listen to it.
Sony Music has released a box set of demos by the artist, entitled The 50th Anniversary Collection: The Copyright Extension Collection, Vol 1. With only 100 units available, the ultra exclusive release isn’t intended to make money … at least not right now.
Rather, the label has put these previously unreleased early tracks to plastic to exploit a loophole in Europe’s copyright laws, and avoid having the music enter the public domain.
Kyle Chayka of Hyperallergic explains:
Under current European copyright law, music is (Read more…)
I’m tired of Gangnam Style. Especially so since Psy denounced his past anti-war performances in South Korea — presumably because criticizing the US military doesn’t jive with his newfound pop celebrity status in America.
Even more exhausting are the endless Gangnam Style parodies and rip-offs, most of which are simply limp attempts at a laugh. There’s a new one, however, with a greater, worthwhile cause.
Amnesty International teamed up with London-based sculptor Anish Kapoor to produce Gangnam for Freedom, a new take on the viral video that seeks to raise awareness of free speech restrictions placed on human rights (Read more…)
A Moscow court has ordered Russian internet providers to block videos by Pussy Riot, calling them “extremist” and seeking to incite “mass disorder”. . . . → Read More: Art Threat: Pussy Riot videos banned by Russian court
Muscial icon Stevie Wonder will perform for a fundraiser to support the Israeli military, who recently ended their week-long bombing campaign of Gaza that killed 160 Palestinians and injured one thousand more, mostly civilians. According to Israeli news website Ynetnews, Wonder will appear at an annual gala hosted by the Friends of the Israel Defense [...] . . . → Read More: Art Threat: Stevie Wonder to perform at Israeli military fundraiser
Today, Art Threat presents a track by the Montreal band Léopard et moi in the lead up to the sixth edition of the Howl! concert series in Montreal.
Rooted in the Québécois underground music scene in Montreal, Léopard et moi was involved in the foundation of the celebrated La Brique loft space and experiments at the intersection of multiple musical styles creating a sonic atmosphere that speaks to the creative pulse of Montreal today.
Léopard et moi will feature at the upcoming Howl! which is an artistic celebration of the 2012 Quebec student uprising. Recognizing the critical role that culture
. . . → Read More: Art Threat: Free mp3 from Montreal’s Léopard et moi
I’ve been a monumental fan of Hedwig and the Angry Inch since John Cameron Mitchell’s transexual punk rock musical first hit the small screen over a decade ago. I’ve introduced dozens of friends to the East Berlin queen, confused dozens of strangers by performing bluegrass-styled covers of Midnight Radio, and tracked the multi-talented Mitchell down at a Seattle club to say thanks (and dance to the sweaty soul tracks he was laying down as the visiting DJ).
So I was naturally thrilled to learn that John Cameron Mitchell has teamed up with ambient Icelandic artist Sigur Rós and animator
. . . → Read More: Art Threat: John Cameron Mitchell creates Sigur Rós music video about gay bullying
A Montreal punk rock band recently released “>Carré rouge, a fast-paced music video inspired by classic punk sounds, and carried by collective chants from the massive street demonstrations sparked by the historic Quebec student strike.
“Loi spéciale, refusé! À qui la rue? À nous la rue! Carré rouge! Carré rouge! Carré rouge!” is called out over driving guitars and lyrics that transport you to the front lines of the Quebec student uprising.
The punk anthem openly objects to the Parti libéral du Québec’s Loi spéciale, or Bill 78, which, despite a current election campaign, remains law
. . . → Read More: Art Threat: Punk rock video conveys the energy of Quebec’s Carré rouge
Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys (photo by Michael Morel).
Late hip hop pioneer Adam “MCA” Yauch has explicitly prohibited any posthumous use of his music for corporate advertising.
In a copy of his will obtained by Rolling Stone this week, the Beastie Boys rapper states: “Notwithstanding anything to the contrary, in no event may my image or name or any music or any artistic property created by me be used for advertising purposes.”
In a related development, the Beastie Boys are suing Monster Beverage Corp. for copyright infringement, claiming the energy drink pusher used their music and name
. . . → Read More: Art Threat: Beastie Boys’ Adam Yauch forbids commercial use of his music
While Chuck D’s famous phrase “Rap is CNN for black people,” has been quoted by countless ‘reality’ rappers, there are few artists who have embraced the concept as throughly as Emrical. The only difference is that in this case the Montreal-based emcee reports from the racially diverse low-income community of Montreal-North.
Emrical’s latest video Combien de Morts focuses on the tragic death of Fredy Villanueva, a teen who was shot by police in Henri-Bourassa Park on August 9, 2008. It is an incident that spawned a riot and was followed by a flood of newspaper headlines, local
. . . → Read More: Art Threat: Montreal-North stand up: part two – An interview with MC Emrical on the fourth anniversary of the death of Fredy Villanueva
As Russian president Vladimir Putin visits London to engage in both Olympic and diplomatic shenanigans, several major British musicians, including Pete Townshend, Jarvis Cocker and Corinne Bailey Rae are calling for the release of members of the feminist punk band Pussy Riot, who have been locked away in a Moscow prison since March 3.
Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Yekaterina Samutsevich and Maria Alekhina have been charged with hooliganism and face up to seven years in jail for performing a “punk prayer” against Putin in a Moscow cathedral this past February. (See the video below.) Their trial began earlier this week.
. . . → Read More: Art Threat: Rock stars demand Pussy Riot release – Feminist punk rockers jailed in Russia for performing "punk prayer" against Vladimir Putin
Adrian Glynn and Brendan McLeod aren’t known for writing music with a political slant. When he’s not writing gorgeous western-tinged melodic songs, Adrian joins Brendan in the Vancouver band, The Fugitives, a four-piece composed of musicians who double as slam poets, writers, actors and hilarious accordion players (ok, there’s only one of those). But Bill C-31 was just the right issue to ruffle their feathers and inspire a divergence.
“Brendan and I often lament how difficult it is to write songs about political issues,” Adrian told me when I started asking questions about this particular song. “If it was
. . . → Read More: Art Threat: Everyone Needs Their Heart – Vancouver’s Fugitives sing against Bill C-31
If you support the Occupy movement, relish discovering new music, and are gainfully employed, then you seriously need to plunk down ten bucks and purchase Occupy This Album.
An autonomous project designed to support Occupy, Music For Occupy has produced this epic compilation album to raise both funds and awareness for the global social movement tackling social and economic inequality. The compilation features 99 tracks by 99 artists, including heavy hitters such as Tom Morello, Yo La Tengo, Joan Baez, Ani DiFranco, Yoko Ono, Thievery Corporation, Willie Nelson, Girls Against Boys, and Debbie Harry. Michael Moore even makes an appearance,
. . . → Read More: Art Threat: 99 musicians for the 99 percent – Occupy This Album features music by Yoko Ono, Tom Morello, Yo La Tango and others whose names have fewer o’s
The deeply political, community-committed, and talented LAL from Toronto, sing about surveillance with images from the Toronto G20 manifestations from two summers ago. LAL was formed in 1998 and is comprised of poet, singer & Bengali-rooted Rosina Kazi, producer, sound designer, philosopher, aphorismist and Barbados-born king of chill, Murr, and last but not least bassist Uganda-born Ian de Souza. Video by Wandering Eye Productions.
When you go to the website for Berlin’s 7th Binennale, you encounter a stream of changing photographs from occupy and protest movements from around the world — Venezia, Toronto, Florence, Malacky, Athens and on and on. It is emblematic of curator Artur Zmijewski’s approach the largest art exhibition in Germany, which opened on April 27. In the forward to Forget Fear, the accompanying publication of the Berlin’s 7th Binennale, Zmijewski explains that “Art needs to be reinvented, but not as some crafty option to aesthecize human problems of the impoverished majority. What we need is more art that offers
. . . → Read More: Art Threat: 7th Berlin Binennale highlights political art – Curator Artus Zmijewski creates exhibition of activist art