• Albums To Watch For In 2011

    Dic 29 2010, 5:28

  • Concert - The Books / The Black Heart Procession

    Dic 8 2010, 4:39

    Sun 5 Dec – The Books, The Black Heart Procession

    Read The Bastard!

    The Books / The Black Heart Procession
    Vogue Theatre, Vancouver BC December 5
    San Diego, CA's Black Heart Procession live up to their name. Every song in their Vancouver set lyrically dealt with some aspect of heartbreak and sorrow, while Tobias Nathaniel roused unsettling emotions on a digital piano from his first note. Other primary member Pall Jenkins moved between guitar, musical saw and morose solo vocals.

    Unfortunately, either Pall had a cold or he simply doesn't have much range with his voice. He fell flat in his rare voyages to a higher register, and otherwise remained safe. This became mundane after a few tracks, about the same time as the visuals -- a jittery slideshow of crosses, clocks, vampires and crying people in green and red hues -- started repeating. Nathaniel's piano emoted far more resonantly over the course of their set than Pall's monotonous vocals, but as poignant as Tobias was, it wasn't enough to save this set.

    Contrasting the opening act with a sense of humour and wonder, the Books are something else. Primary readers Paul de Jong (cello) and Nick Zammuto (guitar, vocals) appear humble. Yet when their bizarre mixture of electroacoustics, found sound arrangements, cheeky VHS visuals and pop folk instrumentation start humming in unison, a bizarre incantation takes place. At once, you feel like a mystic on the verge of transcending space and time.

    The Books' patchwork visuals synched up with the plunderphonic soundscapes in most of the pieces, often to hilarious or awe-inspiring effect. One can only guess how many hours of instructional golf tapes they had to sift through to make the video backing "I Didn't Know That" (from The Way Out) but the effort was worth it.

    Unfortunately, the recorded sounds were significantly louder than the live instruments, while the videos bordered on distracting. However, when one relaxes into the experience, the Books wash over the listener/viewer in waves of visceral, surreal head-trippery, conjuring strange images and ethereal tunes in your mind's eye and ear.

    Read The Bastard!

    Join the Exclaim! group
  • Exclaim's Improv & Avant-Garde: Year in Review 2010

    Dic 3 2010, 11:36

  • Exclaim's Electronic: Year In Review 2010

    Dic 3 2010, 6:57

  • Concert - Blonde Redhead / Ólöf Arnalds

    Nov 23 2010, 1:22

    Sun 21 Nov – Blonde Redhead, Ólöf Arnalds

    Read The Bastard!

    Blonde Redhead / Ólöf Arnalds
    Commodore Ballroom, Vancouver BC November 21
    All it takes is one song to fall in love with Ólöf Arnalds. Her syrupy vocals meld perfectly with her nimble picking, alternately on an acoustic guitar and charango. Her warm eyes glow beneath a mane of short, bleach blonde hair, and above a pearly white smile that couldn't help but shine, even during the odd lamenting tune. Though most of her material was sung in her original Icelandic, including an ace cover of "Twilight Time" by the Three Suns (made famous by the Platters), one can sense the joy she feels, and gives out, by her heartwarming presence and slightly awkward banter.

    However, as time wore on through her set, it became increasingly difficult to focus on her sound. The chatter of the room quickly overpowered her strings, and her voice, while captivating, was a little too subtle for the setting. Given the lush arrangements and harmonies on her 2010 album Innundir Skinni, a little bit more oomph would have done wonders in in the spacious Commodore Ballroom.

    Blonde Redhead's level of sophistication shows their longevity, having been together just shy of two decades. Featuring brothers Simone and Amedeo Pace on guitar and percussion, respectively, and the bizarre Kazu Makino, who trades vocals with Simone between spurts on keyboard and guitar, the band were tight through material old and new. Though his singing isn't the most riveting, Simone played his oddly shaped guitar with precision, while Amedeo worked hard to flesh out the pulsing lower frequencies, partly provided by a fourth touring member on synth duty and syncopated rhythms.

    Yet, as impressive as the rest of the band undoubtedly were, it was obvious Makino is the star of their stage show. She came out wearing a deformed white plastic mask with two tufts of straw hanging from it, and it was impossible to take your eyes off her from that moment on. Her voice may not have the widest range, but her morose crooning resonates like a forest fire once it gets under your skin, accented by her unsettling physical movements.

    All together, though, Blonde Redhead put on a wicked show with a rich, well-rehearsed sound, stunning yet minimalist visuals, and a sense of theatricality often lost in this modern age. Even their lighting guy was stellar, always presenting something different with each song, typically cued by the lyrics or percussion. Here's to future decades of Blonde Redhead.

    Read The Bastard!

    Join the Exclaim! group
  • Concert - Junip / Sharon Van Etten

    Nov 13 2010, 23:12

    Thu 11 Nov – Junip, Sharon Van Etten

    Read The Bastard!

    Junip / Sharon Van Etten
    Venue, Vancouver BC November 11
    New Jersey via Brooklyn, NY's Sharon Van Etten is not a menacing figure on stage. Armed only with an electric guitar, she isn't the tallest girl, and when the light hit her eyes during her first ever appearance in Vancouver, the awkward banter started flowing. Yet, when she sings, the carries the conviction of a young Joan Baez (without the incessant vibrato) or Cat Power, and her bashful jokes and cracked smiles begin to reveal the naked truth of her performance.

    Sharon was present as an artist, engaging the audience on a deeply personal level through her humble, profusely complimentary, unabashedly honest disposition. In effect, she made the somewhat drawn-out tuning sessions between songs a big part of the charm in seeing her, almost as much as her strong, emotive vocal work. Every eye in the place was glued to her as she moved from guitar to harmonium for a rendition of "Love More" that was every bit as powerful as the version on her critically acclaimed sophomore album, Epic, released by Ba Da Bing earlier in 2010.

    In contrast to Etten's style and demeanour, the unearthly, Gilbert O'Sullivan-like voice of José González bequeathed a more sombre, serious mood. Almost tinny, but with a hint of depression, his ethereal vocals and acoustic guitar consistently found the sweet spot in the middle of his five-piece touring band. Throughout selections from the band's 2005 EP and long-awaited 2010 debut album, Fields, their downtempo indie grooves, interspersed with progressive rock-outs, worked the capacity crowd into a sweaty, heaving mass.

    José didn't engage the audience directly all that much, or even stand up, instead choosing to put his energy into the sound. With the Zero 7 collaborator and subsequent rising star's talented, well-rehearsed band fleshing out incarnations stunningly similar to those heard on González's solo albums, they managed to summon the striking solemnity of Swedish fields ravaged by the elements of winter. In the live setting, they produced something well beyond that which can be heard on Fields, delivering tangible passion with their astonishingly complex arrangements.

    Read The Bastard!

    Join the Exclaim! group
  • Concert - Efterklang

    Set 21 2010, 19:30

    Thu 16 Sep – Efterklang

    Read The Bastard!

    Media Club, Vancouver BC September 16
    By Alan Ranta

    Recent signees to the legendary 4AD label, Efterklang happily performed a fine assortment of selections from across their increasingly impressive catalogue, favouring their newly released and most pop-oriented record Magic Chairs. It was easy to tell this Copenhagen collective was close, and not just by the fact they managed to clown car seven musicians on the humble Media Club stage. They were a tight unit, still seeming to enjoy each other's company after nearly a decade of performing together.

    Lead singer Casper Clausen and bassist/guitarist Rasmus Stolberg beamed contented smiles despite a plethora of up-and-down level adjustments and a little line noise. The Danes were so charming and humble that Casper managed to keep the vox popule firmly in his grasp even after he committed the sin of announcing his joy of playing in the United States (perhaps he got his Vancouvers mixed-up).

    Throughout their set, they proved that the constant level adjustments were worth it. The violin of Peter Broderick in the back corner still came through to add its unique timbre to the band's rich and diverse aural tapestry, even with the sounds of drums, bass, guitar, keys, sounds effects and loops, trumpet, and added percussion such as tambourines and Clausen playing the air conditioning vent attached to the ceiling with a set of drumsticks.

    Backing up Clausen's vocals was a consistent swell of two, three, and four part harmonies, as their sound filled the space perfectly, leading to several waves of audience-led synchronized clapping. Their rolling bass lines were noticeably more bouncy and funky than those heard on their more distant and slightly wistful records, even through their intermittently odd time signatures. The opening track and first single from Magic Chairs, "Modern Drift" was especially moving in the live setting.

    Read The Bastard!

    Join the Exclaim! group
  • Concert - Casiokids / Light Pollution / Einar Stokka

    Ago 25 2010, 17:11

    Sat 21 Aug – Casiokids, Light Pollution

    Read The Bastard!

    Casiokids / Light Pollution / Einar Stokka
    Media Club, Vancouver BC August 21
    Einar Stokka was first up on an early night triple bill. The Norwegian lad had a generic voice and unimpressive skills on an acoustic guitar, but he seemed sincere as played his English-sung singer-songwriter fare, joined by members of fellow countrymen Casiokids for his final song. Since this was his last North American gig, he gave away copies of his EP, which was a nice touch.

    Next up, Chicago's Light Pollution took the stage with all the grace of four junkies trying to fit into a bathroom on a Greyhound bus. But once their first song kicked in, they were miraculously solid. While not tremendously in tune, their brand of heavily layered lo-fi shoegaze psychedelia didn't really call for that, and these guys genuinely gave it all they had. Bassist Jed Robertson was bouncing the entire time he was on stage, with or without music and with or without the beat. It was remarkable so few people made their way to the front because the energy pouring out from the monitors was so palpable you could almost taste colors.

    However, the audience rushed the stage for Casiokids. Soaking in all that swirling '80s nostalgia, these Scandinavian scamps are the right band at the right time, from their name to their sound. With an arsenal of precious pawnshop keyboards and dance punk grooves, their sugary pop and rolling beats are undeniably "in," and their capitalization is ensured by the fact they are a tight live band and generous, joyous performers.

    Lead singer Ketil Kinden Endresen's wondrous, moaning, extended upper-register melodies, combined with a funky rhythm section and all those keyboards, make it sound as if Sigur Rós toured with The Rapture, and sang in Norwegian rather than Hopelandic. While Casiokids ended up going a little "Under the Sea" at times, with cheesy percussion and a slide whistle solo, their closing tracks cast aside all doubts.

    For the second to last song, guitarist Fredrik Øgreid Vogsborg took over on vocals. Gifted with a hint of torture in his voice, Vogsborg balanced out the cheese, bringing a necessary gravity to their sound and a compulsion to their beats. The appearance of a costume-clad monkey man made a smooth transition to the borderline raunchy "Fot i hose," capping off their finale in fine style.

    Read The Bastard!

    Join the Exclaim! group
  • Concert - Steel Panther / StinkMitt

    Ago 10 2010, 19:23

    Wed 4 Aug – Steel Panther

    Read The Bastard!

    Steel Panther / Stinkmitt
    Commodore Ballroom, Vancouver BC August 4
    Surrey retro rappers Stinkmitt missed the mark opening this gig. Fronted by the animated duo of Betti Forde and Jenni Craige, and supported by a dude dressed as a surgeon who feigned scratching while pressing play on a MacBook Pro, their brand of crude early '90s electro did not go over well. Granted, it was nice to have an estrogen-heavy foil to balance out the testosterone-pumping cock rock of headliner Steel Panther, but it was obvious these girls were not nearly as committed or talented.

    Tracks about menstruation and camel toes tempered the floodgates, but with each track going on about two minutes too long, even the faithful began to falter by the end of their set. StinkMitt made a critical mistake when they announced they had time for one more track by continuing to ask if the crowd wanted it, after which a loud booing ensued and continued throughout their final song.

    The problems with Stinkmitt became more apparent as L.A. glam metal outfit Steel Panther took the stage. First off, Steel Panther contain actual musicians. Formerly of the L.A. Guns, singer Michael Starr has serious pipes, and guitarist Satchel proved why he had been in a band with Rob Halford with every riff; his extended soloing was truly impressive on a technical level. Overall, the band's influences were clear, especially with covers of Van Halen, Black Sabbath, and Halford's Judas Priest on their set list, among others.

    In addition to Steel Panther's obvious proficiency in the genre, they displayed an unwavering loyalty to their characters. Their colourfully coarse patter was executed as masterfully as any comedy troupe, punctuated by their hilariously spaced-out bassist Lexxi Foxxx, who broke out a glittery mirror to fix his makeup and hair between songs. They all showed genuine affection to the crowd, accepting gifts from rabid fans and thanking their supporters.

    While the opening act was a novelty, the level of commitment shown by Steel Panther is nothing short of commendable in this age of irony and perpetual fad. They eat, breathe and live the role of heavy metal icons. Even if you find some of what they do offensive, tapping into the basest beer-swilling, scissor-kicking, red-necking, womanizing aspects of rock, you have to respect them on some level. They put on a real rock show.

    Read The Bastard!

    Join the Exclaim! group
  • Calgary Folk Fest 2010: YEAH, MEH, BLEH

    Ago 4 2010, 21:55

    Read entire article at Tiny Mix Tapes...

    It was over a decade since I was last in Calgary, not since I turned 18, the legal drinking age in the province of Alberta. Between our disastrous and sinister Prime Minister Stephen Harper, whose riding is Calgary Southwest, and the reputation of the Stampede, I had built up some negative impressions of the city over the years that had, up to this point, given me all the excuses I'd needed to avoid revisiting. Plus, as a BC boy born and raised, and thus a longtime fan of the Vancouver Canucks, there is that whole division rivalry thing. Fate will have its way, though. And, indeed, when the opportunity to cover the Calgary Folk Music Festival came my way, I felt something pushing me to expand my horizon a bit.

    Braving a horrendous 16-hour Greyhound bus ride to get there, my effort was rewarded with a fantastic festival experience. Everyone who volunteered at the festival and all the vendors I talked to were genuinely nice and forthcoming, while the crowd was passionate and pleasant, selling out the 12,000 capacity space on Friday and Saturday, proving that the festival is alive and well in this city. There were a few worthy record stores in town too. Plus, the mountainous views near the provincial border started the ride home on an awe-inspiring note. I'm going to miss those when I'm flying into town next year. Calgary, you're alright by me.
    • YEAH:
    Etran Finatawa
    The touring quintet of Etran Finatawa brought the hopeful sounds of Niger to a Calgary crowd that could likely relate to the story of the band's survival of a harsh desert climate as they performed on a sunny Sunday afternoon, the second sweltering, cloudless day in a row for the festival. The band's history is one of coming together, a joint venture between nomadic tribes on the fringes of the Sahara, and their music presents the acceptance and hope required to withstand the unforgiving weather and lack of resources of their stomping ground. With a couple Western instruments and a couple of upside-down drums, the likes of which I've never seen, their bubbly dirges not only put all those in the shade into happy comas, but also brought several of those out in the elements to their feet for some committed yet sluggish hippy swaying.

    Joe Henry
    Joe Henry is a musician's musician, quietly plugging away on the albums of legends such as Ani DiFranco, Betty Lavette, Soloman Burke, and Aimee Mann, without stealing much of their fire to bring back to the mortals. Although he skates on the fringes of obscurity as far as the mainstream is concerned, Henry sings with the voice of truth, emphatically bolstered by timeless songwriting skill and one hell of an acoustic guitar. He preaches his rustic Americana with conviction, coming across as being equally classy, funny, and humble, making jokes at his own expense and profusely thanking the crowd. By all rights, Joe Henry should be a household name.

    Man Man
    Philadelphia's Man Man were not the most "in tune" band I heard all weekend, but they were easily crazy enough to pull it off. With tribal dashes painted on their faces, a concoction of confetti, feathers, forks, and head butts flew across the stage at unexpected points, sometimes for no other reason than to goad their bandmates into laughter. Singer/keyboardist Honus Honus (a.k.a. Ryan Kattner) could give Karen O a serious run for her money, especially when he puts on that green dress. Altogether, Man Man was like some wonderful combination of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Monotonix, with a little Gogol Bordello for flavor. No matter how hard you try, you're never going to have as much fun as they do at their shows, but it is without question worth the effort. This is likely as close to a Frank Zappa concert as I am likely to see without resorting to Dweezil.

    Toronto's Ohbijou has obviously practiced a lot. The seven-piece ensemble has a rich orchestral pop sound, with each performer filling in all the space and thus animating their compositions, but never coming close to crossing the line into cacophony. Fronted by the adorable Mecija sisters, singer/guitarist Casey has a voice so cute, you want to hug it. They also covered Neil Young's "Harvest Moon" in a workshop, which was a tremendously great choice. If they performed with drop-screen visuals of puppies and kittens filmed with a wide-angle lense, your head would explode.

    St. Vincent
    The main outlet for Annie Clark, former member of The Polyphonic Spree and Sufjan Stevens' touring band, St. Vincent imposed its presence on this weekend through two notable workshops and a magnificent main-stage set. The Oklahoman project's style of oddly depressing folk-pop stood out of this lineup like Michael Richards at a Black Panther Party meeting. They had a massive sound at the main stage, taking on more of a trip-hop tinge than was obvious on their first two studio albums, like a primarily acoustic Massive Attack set.

    Captivating as a singer, Annie can also play a mean guitar. She was nothing short of righteous when she sent her band offstage to cover The Beatles' "Dig a Pony" solo, in the name of Texas and its similarities to Calgary as she lovingly saw them. Of course, she noted the possibility of mixed feelings among Canadians for that comparison, palpable in the air as it was, but she assured it was a good thing for her.

    I doubt that particular main stage is used to seeing the kind of breakout feedback jam moments that occurred at points during their set. Yet, incredulous as many were at the start, people of all ages were nodding their heads on beat by the end, with the majority rising for a standing ovation after their closing number. Furthermore, her cover of the Nico version of Jackson Browne's "These Days" was the single greatest moment in the Insider Trading workshop, capturing the theme perfectly.

    Timber Timbre
    Polaris Prize nominee Timber Timbre was definitely the highlight of the festival, a fact proven by their winning of the Galaxy Rising Star award, as voted on by festival patrons. As the sun bore down on the Saturday afternoon without a cloud in the sky, this Ontario trio let loose a slow-burning set of hypnotic campfire blues-folk that just about sent the shade seekers at the Ship & Anchor stage to a higher plane of existence.

    With front man Taylor Kirk's voice dropped into a tortured register, Timber Timbre were positively shamanic, yet rustic in that "alone in a cabin in the woods" horror movie kind of way. After their first song, with Kirk working guitar and a kick drum while wearing a mosquito mask that made him look like an old-time executioner or a Dethklok minion, the audience remained was so spellbound that they didn't make a sound. This prompted Taylor to ask, "Are you still with us?" A chorus of wooing and applause followed.

    They were an awesome workshop band too, proposing a jam with "all the wrong notes" alongside the stunning St. Vincent, the standard Sunparlour Players, and the subpar Library Voices. The next day, with Ohbijou, Laura Marling, and Samantha Savage-Smith, they covered "Vampire Blues" by Neil Young, during which Kirk announced that it was time for the guitar solo and added, "...anyone but me." There were no takers, leading him to resort to asking, "Violin solo?"

    Later, Kirk encouraged a "jaunty" version of "Demon Host" from their 2009 self-titled Arts&Crafts debut, lighting up the track's usual mood and having a fun time doing it. When the time to pick a song in that workshop came around for round three, he requested "Black Ice" by Ohbijou, giving it up to another band on stage rather than grabbing every moment they could for themselves. They always tried their best to get other bands involved, which is precisely what these workshops are supposed to be.

    • MEH:
    The Avett Brothers
    North Carolina's Avett Brothers came across much more dynamic live than on their critically lauded major label debut, I and Love and You from 2009. They changed instrumentation and altered their lineup throughout their set, from five down to just Seth Avett and his guitar. Their changes were sweeping and tight, moving from quiet to loud in a heartbeat and propelling their otherwise quaint folk into full-on dirges and zesty barnburners. "Kick Drum Heart" still sounded like a bad elementary school recital song, but their occasionally undercooked lyrics notwithstanding, there is no denying that these boys can play. Despite the sea of low-back chairs at the stage, almost everyone there stood appreciatively throughout their set.

    Ian Tyson
    The consummate professional handled the main stage with all the grace you would expect from someone in the Order Of Canada. Tyson's set was a home run for older demographics; with his repertoire stretching back almost 50 years, and his voice aging from the Elvis-like rumble of his youth to an older Rod Stewart-like grumble. There is a certain purity and innocence in what he does, seemingly embodying that notion where people look back nostalgically at a period of time and say, "Things were simpler back then." Even if he is a long way down the Rick Rubin resurrection list, he makes nice music for nice people, and it was inspiring to see a gentleman who has been around as long as him still doing what he loves.

    Konono Nº1
    Hailing from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, I find Konono Nº1 hard to pay attention to when all of their Bazombo trance songs sound exactly the same, last 10 minutes at a time, and do not subsribe to the typical musical narratives of Western musics. I don't know why they bother labeling their tracks. They might as well just jam, 'cause that's what it sounds like they are doing anyway. Actually, maybe that's what they were doing.

    Laura Marling
    Boy howdy, can this Mercury Prize nominee sing. It's only the fact that she did not bring much to the workshops that she is not getting a hard recommendation from me. On Sunday, she twice passed on the opportunity to play her songs with Ohbijou, Samantha Savage-Smith, and Timber Timbre on stage, despite the audience giving her a rousing round of encouraging applause and shouting out requests. Perhaps the shyness came from a lack of confidence, training, or inexperience (she is only 20), but in any case, it was unnecessary: When she performs her own Victorian indie folk material, you cannot take your eyes off her. Her voice has a penetrating, raw, haunting quality to it, utterly captivating to behold. Hopefully, she will realize how awesome she is soon.

    Michael Franti & Spearhead
    Michael Franti is a sticky wicket for me. On the one hand, he has some great lyrics, political and hopeful, everything good folk lyrics should be. He unquestionably does his part to try to make this a better world. However, I cannot stand the direction his sound has gone over the past 20-odd years, seeing him diving headfirst into his cheesy side. But at least he puts on a respectable show, hitting all of his well-rehearsed marks from bringing kids on stage to running out in the crowd and playing "Everyone Deserves Music" from there. He gave the crowd exactly what they wanted, exactly what has caused Franti to be booked for this festival so many times — by the numbers all the way. The annoyingly goofy look on his guitarist's face was icing on the cake.

    That said, despite sounding just as corny live as on record, the big bass produced by Spearhead and easy vibes flowing from Franti suited the festival well. He came on as the rowdies spilled in from last call at the beer gardens and started both shove-trains into the dance areas and light scuffles over blanket placement respect, a sacred notion at this kind of festival. The crowd had been begging to dance all day, so of course it went over well. A pizza guy even proposed to his girlfriend during this set (she said yes), so that leaves no question as to how much his music means to people. Here's hoping they listen to his lyrics just as intently as his banal instrumentals.

    • BLEH:
    DJ Logic
    Jason Kibler (a.k.a. DJ Logic) had a decent track selection, apparently spinning mostly tracks he made, lots of jazz and "world music"-influenced hip-hop with traces of drum 'n' bass. However, the Bronx producer is a mediocre scratch DJ at best, and he rarely attempted mixing throughout his set. That was probably a good thing, because it was a consistent trainwreck when he did try using the crossfader, but most often he elected to let tracks run out before starting the next one instead. There were also several obvious record skips that threw the crowd temporarily off beat, which did not help matters. He should stick to producing, and that is likely where he devotes much of his energy. The fact that he uses Skull Candy headphones is a big red flag that he is not serious about deejaying anyway.

    Library Voices
    This Regina band took the stage dressed all in white, ready to paint the stage with their ineffectual indie pop anthems. Almost all of their eight touring members contribute vocals, but most of them could not hold it together, breaking apart into pure yelping with gusto. They sound more eclectic on record, but always with the generic feeling that they want to be someone else like Arcade Fire or Sufjan Stevens. To get anywhere near that caliber, they'll need to make less predictable sounds and changes.

    Possessing a great name for a mediocre synth pop band in this era of irony, the Broken Social Scene side-project was a reasonably tight unit, but they did not take many chances, with unexceptional progressions all leading to the middle. They had the Calgary crowd on their side, though, if only to catch the white roses they chucked into the crowd from time to time. Principal singers Amy Milan and Torquil Campbell had the chemistry of a recently divorced couple, while keyboardist Chris Seligman looked like he was trying to bring a WWII bomber in for a landing behind his garage sale synths. They were much better in the downtempo moments, when drummer used synth kit pads to employ a couple less-ordinary sounds, and the group resisted the urge to go mid-tempo... again.

    • EH?:
    There were other bands there that I saw a little bit of here and there, but not quite enough to place in the unerringly precise scale above. I only caught a couple songs from Madison Violet, whose shimmering harmonies invoked the voice of god in their religious-tinged roots-folk. Not seeing more of them remains my single biggest regret of the weekend, up there with chugging two beers on Saturday and then standing in direct sunlight until I almost passed out. I had seen Polaris Prize nominee Dan Mangan before, so I made no special attempt to see him this time. What I did see looked like Dan being his usual self, riding the line between cutesy and smarmy that has made him adored by his growing fan base and quietly loathed by many in the industry. I also saw just a touch of Victoria folkies Jon and Roy and glitch-pop outfit Axis of Conversation at various workshops, and they both left me wanting a bigger piece. Here's hoping for next year.

    Mysteries of the Universe Unraveled [4:20PM, Sunday]
    Of all the workshops I caught, Mysteries of the Universe Unraveled (DJ Logic with members of Man Man, Etran Finetawa, and St. Vincent) had the most actual jamming in it by far. After Logic thankfully stopped feebly scratching over everything and just laid down some dope beats for the actual musicians to groove on, everything fell into place. You could tell Man Man was itching for riffing, while the acoustic guitarist from Etran was always one of the first performers to jump in. St. Vincent brought out some of their heavier beats, which eased the transition into Logic's selections. Banter was kept to a minimum, as the set progressed fluidly. What an interesting mix of experimental, "world," indie, and electronic sounds. This set presented the concept of the workshop at its very best.

    Read entire article at Tiny Mix Tapes...

    Thu 22 Jul – Calgary Folk Music Festival