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Art Threat: The outlaw love and godless gospel of roots rocker Rodney DeCroo

Albumn review, “Campfires on the Moon”, by Michael Nenonen.

Rodney DeCroo’s latest album, “Campfires on the Moon,” reveals hidden faces. I’ll say more about that in a moment.

“Campfires”, released by Tonic Records, is DeCroo’s seventh album (eighth if you count his 2012 spoken word album “Allegheny”, and you probably should). Its gentle tempo is a noticeable departure from his previous musical works, which combined his signature lyrical depth with palpable anguish and anger. Those albums were well-received, and deservedly so, but he has achieved something remarkable with this new compilation, and that’s where my comment about hidden faces comes in.

(Read more…)

Art Threat: A soulful assemblage: A review of Come Worry with Us!

Come Worry With Us! is a film by Helene Klodawsky that follows Montreal-based band, Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra on a North American tour. A collage-like documentary, the film highlights Jessica Moss and Efrim Menuck, bandmates, partners and parents to toddler-aged Ezra, who is traveling with the musicians.

An assemblage of visual stylings (hand-held low-fi camera techniques, artistic cinematography, painterly colour schemes) combined with the original artwork of Jessica Moss and the soulful rock music of Silver Mt. Zion, the film offers a visceral experience.

Touching on that core feeling that some can’t get away from [insert whatever (Read more…)

Art Threat: Transform This: iconic Johnny Cash photo used to protest Saskatchewan university cuts

Things may soon be looking grim for many students and faculty at the University of Saskatchewan.

The Saskatoon-based institution is looking to slash up to $25 million from its operating budget. In a restructuring process the administration has branded TransformUS, the UofS is currently determining “university priorities”, after which they plan to “eliminate or reduce programs or services which rank as having lower priority”.

Many members of the university community have been vocal in their opposition to the planned cuts, arguing that the process lacks transparency and damages the traditional role of a post-secondary institution. Two open letters express (Read more…)

Art Threat: Skinny Puppy bills US military for music use in torture

The U.S. military is using a Vancouver band’s music to torture prisoners at Guantanamo Bay — and the artists are working to make sure they pay for it.

Electro-industrial act Skinny Puppy has learned through a former guard at Gitmo that inmates would be drowned in their unsettling sounds for up to twelve hours at a time — or until they literally crapped their pants.

Skinny Puppy co-founder cEvin Key spoke to CBC’s As It Happens about the situation, which the band is strongly opposed to. They plan on sending the American government a bill for $666,000 — an (Read more…)

Melissa Fong: Weekend Party Announcement- Carlos Souffront, Rennie Foster in Vancouver – 2013 BLOGCEMBER 30/31

Vancouver does have a few local standouts, however- one that has remained true to Vancouver is Rennie Foster. Foster is a fairly influential producer DJ that has mentored a lot of talent frequenting the best of the best in Berlin. Foster is headlining alongside Carlos Souffront- who hails from Detroit. I’m not huge on…

Melissa Fong: Weekend DJ Feature: Steffi- 2013 BLOGCEMBER 22/31

I am going to write a series on sexism and the gender gap in electronic music sometime soon, but for now let’s just focus on the amazing female talent that exists. Some of the fresher faces like Maya Jane Coles are not cutting it for me. Coles is talented, just not my particular style. Anja Schneider is good, Magda is better- but neither have the quality of Steffi as producer-Djs.

Steffi is a NINJA behind the decks….

Melissa Fong: Weekend Party Announcement- Anthony Collins in Montañita, Ecuador – 2013 BLOGCEMBER 20/31

Part of my BLOGCEMBER 2013 series- the Theme is Electronic Music *** As always, let’s set the mood: (various artists) *** Anthony Collins isn’t one of my first choices but […]

Melissa Fong: What is Resident Advisor?- 2013 BLOGCEMBER 19/31

One of the important things you should know is how to search for parties- especially if you are in a new city. Resident Advisor will list all the main parties at dedicated clubs. They will not usually list afterhours and will…

Melissa Fong: Why you should choose weekday parties- 2013 BLOGCEMBER 18/31

I usually prefer going out on weekdays. In a big city- parties are offered on weekdays and they are often a lot better than the weekend parties. …

Melissa Fong: When producers don’t know how to mix- 2013 BLOGCEMBER 17/31

One of the things that can be confusing is the difference between producing and mixing (and then associated style).

As I already explained, NOT ALL DJs PRODUCE. Personally, I refuse to see Djs that don’t produce. Mostly because I approach these events as concerts- NOT just any other club night.

There is a time and place for Djs who …

Melissa Fong: What should you wear to a house/techno party?- 2013 BLOGCEMBER 16/31


but MANY parties have dress THEMES. Some of the more organized parties will have costume themes and most people take part to collectively create a fantastical night. I never partake because I am joyless in that division- but I fully support the use of glitter, fun fur and body paints for others.

Melissa Fong: What is Boiler Room?- 2013 BLOGCEMBER 15/31

Other than a pretty meh movie from 2000, Boiler Room is like Electric Circus, but less about the go go dancing and more about the Dj. For those of you too young to remember ElectricCircus- thank goodness- it was cheesy and silly and you can just think of the Boiler Room like electronic music- TV.

Melissa Fong: Weekend DJ Feature: Deepchild- 2013 BLOGCEMBER 14/31

From quirky, stripped-back techno injected with soul to deep, dub-inflected excursions, Deepchild has earned himself a reputation as groundbreaking producer, respected DJ and electrifying live-performer. Based in Berlin, the Australian artist has performed at many of the world’s most respected electronic music institutions:

Melissa Fong: Weekend Party Announcement- Guy Gerber in Toronto – 2013 BLOGCEMBER 13/31

Guy Gerber is probably one of my favourite Deep House Dj’s. Scratch that- he is my favourite. He performs way more in Ibiza (and Miami) that I would respect (I… have a hate-on for my fictional image of Ibiza), but he just creates such solid tracks. I also like his public presence. He perfectly straddles popular collaborations with mainstream artists (like P.Diddy) and the house music world. you can tell he has a perfect ear for electronic.

Art Threat: Pussy Riot to be released from jail, leaked amnesty bill suggests

Rumblings out of Russia point to a possible imminent release of jailed Pussy Riot members Maria Alekhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova.

According to Russian media reports, the Kremlin is planning to release 1,300 people from prison as part of an amnesty dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the Russian Constitution.

A leaked draft of the amnesty bill, obtained by several Russian media organizations, suggests individuals convicted of politically-motivated charges, such as “hooliganism” and “participation in riots and attempts to incite rioting”, will be eligible for release. Another 23,500 people will be relieved of non-custodial sentences or have their criminal (Read more…)

Melissa Fong: Physicality of Djs- 2013 BLOGCEMBER 12/31

There are some Djs that have a great physical presence behind the decks- I’m not just talking about a “bounce” or a head bop that most Djs will indulge in:

Melissa Fong: Why I don’t like outdoor music festivals- 2013 BLOGCEMBER 11/31

Outdoor festivals never have good dancing- it’s a mosh pit of drunk or drugged out people (aka- eff your overpriced, overpriced outdoor EDM Festival). Outdoor festivals don’t have optimal sound systems- open air spaces never properly contain the sound and part of the art of the music-event is to get the optimal space to listen to the music. Finally, they are …

Melissa Fong: What time do I go to a party?- 2013 BLOGCEMBER 10/31

This is probably the most important factor for me. There are typically anywhere in between 3-8 7 people on the bill for that night at your typical party with one room. I like to listen to a sample set of most of the Dj’s and decide which ones I want to see. Let’s say that you have a party that goes from…

Melissa Fong: Ben Klock -breakandenter + Box of Kittens Party Review- 2013 BLOGCEMBER 9/31

Part of my BLOGCEMBER 2013 series- the Theme is Electronic Music *** As always, let’s set the mood: *** Ben Klock did almost a 2.5 hour set on Saturday night at […]

Melissa Fong: Weekend DJ Feature: Nautiluss- 2013 BLOGCEMBER 8/31

I don’t even know how I became quite as obsessed as I am with Nautiluss- I don’t even like his individual tracks that much- I just honestly like listening to his sets….

Melissa Fong: Weekend Party Announcement- Ben Klock in Toronto- 2013 BLOGCEMBER 7/31

One of the nice things is that Ben Klock is one of those legit artists that is still danceable. If you’re just getting into techno it’s a bit of a different style in terms of “the dance”. Techno tends to have a more frenetic… higher tempo beat than house. There’s an industrial quality to techno that can seem kind of confusing for someone who is more used to a more fluid house dance style.

Melissa Fong: Seeing a DJ is like going to a concert- 2013 BLOGCEMBER 6/31

If you go to these parties a lot- sometimes you’ll even see an entire crowd just facing forward to the DJ and watching him spin- they may crush up against the front to watch the details as soon as they come on stage. It truly is a concert experience.

Melissa Fong: Ticket Price: What should you pay for a good party?- 2013 BLOGCEMBER 5/31

The purpose of writing this is to let you know that price points depend on a lot of things and I want people to make decisions on genuine qualities rather than buying into a scene. The problem I am seeing with a lot of parties lately is that they have become progressively more expensive as they have become mainstream. I’m not saying mainstream can’t enjoy this music too- but remember that house and techno come from REALLY humble beginnings and it’s kind of like gentrification in music.

Art Threat: Allegheny, BC: transformative theatre that shirks corporate culture

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…)

Art Threat: Ian Kamau: artistic reflections on city life

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…)