FIELDS was recorded over the course of a weekend, and features 6 excellent Canadian musicians from various genres playing their hearts out. The Mod Villains are Myke Mazzei’s folk-rock band, formed in the Winter of 2007. Each member, from the saxophonist to the percussionist to the songwriter, brings years of gigging and musical sweat, passion, and love to the group.

 We play folk music, we throw in some distortion, and we finish with a mighty crescendo.

 Myke And The Mod Villains are playing from the heart and soul of Canadian perspective, be it a dissolving trust in our national government (“Fade”) to wide-open sonic fields (“On Loneliness”).

This folk rock band has a troubadour style that is reminiscing of The Tragically Hip. Every song is a story. The first track “fields” is a folk jazzy number that is a great start to this five song EP, each song is unique in its own with a rock tempo, sax dressing and intriguing vocals.

The second track “been thinking” is a sweet little love song, the title says it all.  The third track “I go” gave me Manteca flashbacks, something in the opening, I have to say this was my favorite track. Short and as I said, sweet. “Hands of time” and “nobody’s saviour” are a great finish, nobody’s saviour with great harmonics and lyrically superb, with more of a rock edge.

It was hard to find any additional information on this group, as far as the where, what’s and whys of things, but I highly recommend checking them out if they are playing near you. Don’t sit in the dark, rambling again, get out there!!!

Check out more on upcoming shows at http://modvillains.com

Tracks
Fields
Been thinkin’
I go
Hands of time
Nobody’s Saviour

Reviewed by Carolina Smart

Myna Wallin is the four S’s. Sexy, Sassy, Sensual, and Smart. A super vixen of all super vixen’s with the literary and female spirit to back this statement up. Not only does she ooze the four S’s, so does her writing.

I was first introduced to Myna when I volunteered for the Toronto Small Press Fair, five years ago. Soon after I was delving into her books, starting with A Thousand Profane Pieces and haven’t stopped since. She is a mentor and a true inspiration to women and writers alike.

This brings me to Myna’s latest novel, Confessions of a Reluctant Cougar. As a single woman who has had to machete her way through the dating scene, I fully embrace Olivia’s frustration during her journey. Confessions of a Reluctant Cougar is filled with short snippets of Olivia’s dating life, and insights that any woman can grasp, acknowledge and firmly say, ‘Yup, been there, done that.’ Whether it be online dating, blind dates, family set-ups or randomly meeting someone under the most unusual of circumstances, Olivia, though fictional is as true to life as it gets.

When she isn’t writing, editing, teaching or inspiring Cougars of all ages, you can occasionally catch her hosting book launches, poetry readings or touring her own book.

Cougar or not, you need to read not only Confessions of a Reluctant Cougar, but pick up all of Myna’s other works, check out her website and go hear her read!

Myna’s official bio:

Myna Wallin is a poet, a prose writer, an editor and a part-time cougar. Her first full-length collection of poetry, A Thousand Profane Pieces (Tightrope Books, 2006) was launched after publishing three chapbooks with her  imprint, believe your own press, a press she co-founded with David Clink. Last spring was her foray into novel
publishing, with the release of Confessions of a Reluctant Cougar (Tightrope Books, 2010), With Tightrope Books she’s also edited two poetry collections, one by Sandra Kasturi (The Animal Bridegroom) and one by Phoebe Tsang (Contents of a Mermaid’s Purse) as well as co-editing two anthologies, including I. V. Lounge Nights with Alex Boyd.

Myna is teaching erotic writing at U of T’s School of Continuing Studies in the fall. She received Honourable Mention in Descant’s 2010 Winston Collins Prize for Best Canadian Poem, and she was shortlisted for the same prize in 2011. She recently collaborated with filmmaker Henry Mak on a video-poem of “The Self as Both Object and  Subject, dusting off her acting skills. Myna used to be an actress and discovered recently,  through Google, that she is still listed on the IMBD* for her role in the Canadian feature film, Dear John.

*International Movie Data Base

So, a little disclosure is probably in order here. I found The Local Skank on one of those tangential  Intarwebs click safaris. I was looking for New Orleans bands to check out, and there they were in all their skanky glory. It was pretty much love at first YouTube listen.

The Local Skank have been skanking up stages since 2008, bringing a really different kind of brass sound to the New Orleans music scene. The Skanks’ witty original tunes cover topics like stalking, drinking, boyfriend-stealing sluts, quitting your crappy job, eating, and a dude named Pants; pretty much all topics I find appealing. Except for the pants. I’m not fond of pants.

When I was in New Orleans earlier this year, I had the chance to see them twice (I’m their out-of-town stalker fan!) and they are even more fun on stage than they are recorded. With snazzy outfits and snappy attitude to go with their skalicious musical stylings, they had the crowd at One-Eyed Jack’s up and rocking their sweaty socks off. It was an epic fun night; one of best I had on that trip, and I have the t-shirt (and the scars) to prove it.

The Skanks just wrapped up a tour of the east coast and answered a bunch of questions I sent them as they drove back to New Orleans–as car games go, it’s more fun than punchbuggy–and I gotta say, they give great interview:

You seem to have really different musical backgrounds. Tell me more about that.  

We sure do! In all respects, this band shouldn’t work, but with all of the different influences we have, it actually gives us something that is completely unique to any genre we know of! Hannah comes from a bluegrass, world and classical background. Ashley, as well, is classically trained and listens to indie and retro 80s pop. Dani is the ska, dub and stoner rock girl, Melissa listens to Punk and Rockabilly and Darryl likes an eclectic mix of everything and is crazy about soul music.

How on earth did you all meet and decide to start a band? Who was the first one to say “you know what we should do? We should totally start a band!”?

Actually we met on Craigslist! Dani put out an ad looking for female horn players and Ashley and Hannah responded. Melissa came late to the party when she saw an ad at Guitar Center and Darryl was added after the band was completely formed. When the original, female drummer didn’t work out, we were looking for a replacement. His band had played with us on several occasions, and he felt as though he could give us the spark we were lacking.

And who gets credit for the band name?

Dani came up with the band name as well! She stole it from a guy in Cleveland that said that if he had a ska band he would call it “The Local Skank” but he would never have one, so he gifted it to Dani!

Your Local Skank calendar is a really interesting promo idea. How did that happen? And how was the support for it–did people like it?

Melissa joked around on Facebook that we were performers, musicians, actors and singers, now all we need to do is be models too! A local photographer by the name of Sharky from Black Sails Photography said “Let’s do it!” We decided to do a tongue in cheek pin-up calendar, since all of us are kinda girl-next-door types and it was a complete promotional success! The demand for it was so high that we are busy trying to release the next 18 month calendar!!!!

You’re on a crazy east coast tour this summer–how many dates in how many days are you playing? How’s it going so far?

ELEVEN DATES IN TWELVE DAYS, plus one on air radio show! Louisville was the only date we missed because TORNADOS hit the interstate 20 miles ahead of us spreading debris all over the road. They shut the interstate down and it took us hours to reach the club. We ended up drinking with the staff before heading back to the hotel. It has been wild though. We played to a awesome ska crowd in Grand Rapids including some of the members of Mustard Plug that came out to support us! We drank mid-day moonshine with Dani’s grandparents in Cleveland, sweated our asses off in a packed house of revelers in Ithaca, slept in the van halfway to play an in-store for the legendary Randy at The Record Collector in New Jersey, stayed overnight in NYC for Darryl’s birthday via train, followed up by shows at The Saint, The Fire, The All Asia in Boston, we played at the coolest stage / venue ever at Roxy and Duke’s Roadhouse in Dunellen, NJ and The Somewhere Else Tavern in Greensboro. THEN HEAVY REBEL WEEKENDER. That is a freaking story all on its own. We are not a band to take promotion lightly, so we donned Local Skank Shirts and went MUD WRESTING before the gig. (M~ Hey look–there’s video of the filthy skanks! http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=1663029315263&comments) It is a seriously insane three day musical event in Winston-Salem North Carolina so we were a bit nervous about how a ska band would be received, but we rocked it with all we had and were rewarded with a room of skanking  rockabilly guys! We weren’t done yet though! The next day we partied to some of the best music the world has to offer, drank whiskey out of a sideshow performer’s nostril tube and Dani and Ashley got pulled up on stage with a band and shook their groove thangs to some metal Elvis!

What’s the most important thing to bring on tour with you?

Darryl! Darryl keeps us centered. Dani also says not to forget the glitter, cupcakes, unicorns…oh, and instruments too.

Any particularly insane gigs yet?

In Boston, there was a woman outside who began to cry while watching our set through the window, so Dani ran outside and serenaded her with her wireless system.  In Dunellen, a guy brought his marionette, Elwood, on stage and Hannah skanked with him. I think there is footage out there of it somewhere. Ithaca was so packed that a few of us almost passed out from the heat in the room! Heavy Rebel was the crown jewel of insane, with the mudwrestling, nose whiskey, and go go dancing…when they crowd likes a band they throw beer cans at you! Darryl got all the beer thrown at him, though….and we can’t wait to do it again!!!

What’s the worst thing you’ve eaten on tour?

Skyline Chili in Cleveland. Hands down. Chili over spaghetti that is sweetened with cinnamon and cocoa. Gross. We all greedily ate Scotch eggs Benedict and thought it was awesome with the exception of Dani…. she didn’t approve.

What’s the most unexpected fun thing that’s happened?

Everything. We went out just expecting to hopefully have some rad shows and this tour has totally surpassed our expectations! Everything was filled with a crazy wonder and we attribute it to the wonderful characters we met on tour. What beautiful, crazy, people are part of the tapestry of this place! We want to get to Canada next! (M~ Yes! Come to Canada! I happen to know this band that would be an awesome opening act for you…)

What’s the first thing you’re going to do when you get home again?

Sleep for a week! Darryl says he wants to flush his own toilet and turn on his own faucet. He is sick and tired of automated truck stop fixtures guessing when you are done.

Your drummer is cute as a bug, and a snazzy dresser. It’s hard to get the drummer from my band to wear a shirt with less than three grease stains on it. Any tips for getting him gussied up some?

Darryl says blow jobs (M~I’m so glad my drummer won’t be reading this interview), but that would be a lie, ‘cause it doesn’t happen. He actually came to us that way. He showed up at our first show with a suit jacket designed with our name on the back written in glitter and puff paint. We knew he was a keeper then. He owns a suit and tie in every color, including zebra print…if you can call zebra print a color.

The Local Skank’s CD, Collect All Five, is an awesomely entertaining, brightly produced collection of their original songs. With quirky arrangements and instrumentation held down by the solid, rocking rhythm section, this is a great summer playlist album–ahhh, ‘specially Quit My Dayjob, which I’m listening to right now, as I write this, at work. What are the odds that my boss will read this review? Yeah…  You can find the Local Skank’s CD, Collect All Five, on iTunes, CD Baby and Amazon.

You can follow all their adventures on FaceBook (www.facebook.com/pages/The-Local-Skank/171476307540) and Twitter (http://twitter.com/#!/thelocalskank), and if you’d like to get their calendar so you can have a little skank in your life every day, you can get in touch with the skanks through their website, www.thelocalskank.com

Of all the films I’ve had the solemn duty to review, my greatest surprise has been a collection of short horror films compiled under AAAAAAH!!. I had never even heard of a Horror short, but upon reflection why wouldn’t there be? Short film subjects are gaining more and more notoriety, and it is a fantastic avenue for young, aspiring directors and screenwriters to get their feet in the water.

Now comes a second collection under the AAAAAH!! Brand, and I have to say to start with that I found this group of films as engaging as the first volume. Sometimes there is an air of familiarity to most of the stories, as they generally all follow some pretty standard story lines. But that is the genre. If you like Horror films, this sort of thing is not nearly as important as the other components of the film.

I liked that in this collection not all the films took itself so seriously. There was some wonderful dark humor in this compilation, especially the Canadian short “Legend of the Seven Bloody Torturers” which has a bureaucrat coming to a dungeon to inspect the torturers and the prisoners that admire them. Very short but quite funny.

Not to be missed for the same reason is “Trick or Treat” which features a young woman dealing with an impudent child dressed as a skeleton demanding candy even though Halloween was the day before, and wreaking havoc when the woman refuses. There are a couple of great twists to this one.

The most impressive film for me on the disc was the first one featured. “The Room” opens with a young woman trapped in a small bloody cell by her father, for reasons she doesn’t understand. She has strange conversations with her sister who comes to bring her food, and ask her help with homework, but can’t let her out as “bad things will happen.” The story is realized gradually and fully and the Meza-Valdez brothers managed to tell a very complex story in only 20 minutes. The atmosphere is intoxicating.

“Out of the Darkness” also stood out for me as it took the most risk writing wise, of any of the films featured. The story follows a frustrated man who is about to become a father for the first time, and the stress and insecurity he feels about the baby has led him to drink and be verbally abusive to his wife. He gets into an accident while drinking and wakes up to find himself cared by a woman who seems almost from another era. Quickly the viewer starts to question what is real, and what is the stuff of this man’s nightmare.

Filmed in black and white, the writer/director Nicolas Rucka took a risk presenting such a complex and occasionally surrealistic film with such time constraints, but I think he pulled it off, and the actress who played the “other woman” gave a very multi-level performance.

Finally “Gnaw” tells the tale of 3 people who are in the midst of a zombie infestation and hole themselves up in the hallway of a school but 2 of the 3 are bitten, and tension is high as the group tries to holdout, hoping for a rescue from the infected that may never come.

From the first seconds to the final credits the stakes are very high, and the production made much out of showing very little. What is beyond the barricade became very ominous indeed.

I only hope I get a chance to see a third volume of this wonderful series, as this is becoming a really strong showcase for a new generation of Horror directors.

F: Then eventually we hooked back up at York University.
L: When did you start Gooffee, and how long had you known each other when you started?
F: I guess we had known each other for 4 years, maybe 5 years.
K: I guess 4 years, but to be honest, be barely hung out. We knew each other through friends from back in the day.
F: We knew each other through music back in high school and then became closer when we went to York U.
K: We started sharing songs that we both liked, like EDM music that we both enjoyed, and through that we decided to start a project.
F: I put up some House music online, and almost a week later I was approached by a record label, and I said “fuck, I can’t do this by myself.” Kolter’s a great producer, I had already known this, so I teamed up with him.
L: What’s changed since you guys started making music?
F: Well, we went from House to Dubstep.
L: What about between you guys?
F: Not really, the reason we work is because we can be really brutal with each other. When we are in the studio and something’s not working out, we’ll just say, “this is shit, let’s move on.” We’re honest with each other.
L: So, you guys have pretty much been like that since day one then?
F: Pretty close, there was probably a bit of a transition period. Maybe a week or two. By the third or fourth time we had gotten together, we knew what we had.
K: The first three times we got together there were some songs that we were kind of coasting with despite the fact that neither of us really loved what we were making. It was more about understanding and working with a new person. Once we decided to be completely honest, it was like “fuck that, we are here to make music.” And when we got past that, that’s when we started to find the sound we were looking for.
F: That was definitely what let us achieve our max potential.
L: Who are Gooffee’s influences?
F: Shit man, that changes on a daily basis.
K: Our influences range from everything. I come from a thrasher/hardcore kind of background. I used to play in a band in the hardcore scene. We love the heavy, especially in EDM, the heavier the better. In particular, I can’t name influences, I would go on forever.
F: And then tomorrow I’d name a million more.
L: What were you listening to when you first started making music together?
F: When we first started we were more into the Dutch House scene. So, like when AfroJack first started coming up. But we have moved really far away from that.
K: That was more him. He really introduced me to the Dutch House scene. The whole reason I got into EDM was like The Bloody Beet Roots, Crookers, MSTRKRFT. They really broke it out to me that way, and I understood from that I could take the hardcore background into an EDM kind of feel. I never really understood EDM before then.
F: When Dubstep started to come to North America we were both interested in it, but when we started to produce Dubstep, it just felt natural.
K: I’ll easily attribute Fil for the majority of opening my mind to it.
L: What are you guys listening to today?
F: I’m listening to a lot of hip hop personally like OFWGKTA (Odd Future Wolfgang Kill Them All)
K: For me, I’m really feeling the Toronto producers like Torro Torro, Zed’s Dead, Killabits, The Frandiscos.
F: Yeah! A lot of people killing in Toronto right now.
K: Once you’ve been introduced to the scene, it’s a lot easier to become influenced by meeting people on Facebook, checking out their updates and hearing people you know. The Toronto scene fits me a lot more than anything else.
F: Toronto’s on the map, for sure.
L: Do you feel like your influences shape your music?
F: Yeah, from time to time, but we try and do our own thing. We are trying to not repeat anything. We feel like there’s no point imitating songs that are already good, so we try and do something else. Then we get our own Gooffee style going.
K: Yeah, no doubt. I listen to a lot of new music and I try to find what I like, and what I don’t like and try to understand the fact that this song is big because these guys have their own niche, or sound they are going for. Then it’s about trying to create that for ourselves, by taking the things we do like and replacing the things we don’t. Adding more Gooffee influence in the background helps us build with that.
F: I’d say with the new wave of Electronic producers, it’s not so much about the way their song sound but how they produce their tracks. The way they EQ and master. You have a model to work with, and you know this is what you have to achieve. We don’t want to copy anyone, just take lessons on how to produce.
L: What do you feel makes good Dubstep and what makes bad Dubstep?
F: At the end of the day it’s subjective, but in my personal opinion, a lot of people repeat themselves in Dubstep. There is certainly a formula for dubstep. They have a nice little melody in the intro and then just wobble the fuck out at the drop. It’s been done, and it’s been done to great effect, but this scene is moving so fast and there are so many producers, that I’m looking for shit that sounds more fresh. Like when you’re listening to your headphones and you’re like, “holy shit, what is that sound? I’ve never heard that before!” I want to hear something that makes me go, “what the fuck was that?!”.
K: I’m not looking so much to create a sound as I am a texture. If you listen to a song there are certain textures that the bass might take, or the highs might take, and it’s not so much a sound anymore as it is a feeling. We’re trying to EQ our stuff to get a lot more feeling out of it.
L: How important are the tools you work with? Does it require good tools to make good music?
F: Well, we’ve found that using things like a MIDI keyboard really helps. You can press one key and screw around with the pitch shift.
K: Yeah, just automate it a little bit. But as far as tools go for production, software and stuff like that, it completely depends on the producer. I know producers who have done phenomenal things with FL Studio, great things with Ableton. We personally use Reason, but it’s not about what you use, just how you use it.
L: What was the most memorable show you’ve ever played?
K: Probably the Mansion show at Wrong Bar. Or the show we played with Peace Treaty. It was a shitty turn out but I got to play with idols of mine.
F: One of my favorite shows was this house party in Ottawa. We played for 15 minutes. People were hanging off the ceilings, and I thought the roof was going to collapse. The cops came, and it was perfect, I couldn’t have asked for better.
L: What’s in the future of Electronic and how if Gooffee a part of it?
F: We are trying to push the envelope. Trying to take dubstep to a new level. Take hip-hop to a new level. Trying to focus less on genres and more on creating songs. For most of our career we have been like, “OK, let’s make this House song” or, “let’s make this Dubstep song.” Now we are trying to just do what feels right.
K: Genres aside, regardless of drum percussion, or bpm, we’re just interested in making music.
F: I’m very excited about what we have to come and we hope people enjoy it.

For over two years, Gooffee has been killing the Toronto EDM scene with their massive beats and reckless disregard for traditional genres. House, Dubstep, and Hip-Hop are just a few sounds they have managed to mix together to brew an all new moltov cocktail aimed at anyone willing to listen. They’ve shared the stage with heavy weights such as Vitalic, Peace Treaty, Torro Torro, Tapedeck Bro’s, The Frandiscos, Mix Chopin, Barletta, and Alex Metric just to name a few. With 4 solid EP’s and an impressive 20+ tracks up on Soundcloud, it won’t take you long to understand why the bass in your face has left dancing as the only option. From the lowest lows, highest highs, Gooffee’s got something for every critic and fan alike.

You can find Gooffee on Itunes as well as,
http://soundcloud.com/gooffee
http://twitter.com/gooffee
http://www.facebook.com/gooffee

FEATURE WRITTEN BY DEREK LEDUC

The Lady

~Imagine Alanis in Wonderland having tea with Charles Dickens and The Cranberries~

Being born during The Week of The Unconventional has its advantages in the artist’s life. Lovingly referred to as being “weird” and an “odd duck”, Meghan Morrison (LeBlanc)’s journey to music has been just as backward as the series of happy accidents that brought her to the scene.

And a talented lady she is, recently finishing an original composition for a short film and scoring the trailer. She also as of this week will be writing a column for WomensRadio.Com that is based on her real life adventures, in trying to establish a career as an independent artist. As a creative writer (not just a songwriter) and friend, she aspires to take on the challenges of trying to write from a perspective outside of her own (and in imaginary or real environments) to create something meaningful for people that matters to her.

She also supports the work of charity giants such as War Child, Amnesty International, World Vision, and the David Suzuki Foundation, feeling it is important to provide a platform where grassroots organizations can be recognized for the work they do on a local, national, and/or international level.

From her success blog to her goals, this gal has a full plate, and seems to be all up for seconds.

The Music

After completing a Master’s degree in Applied Health Sciences at Brock University, which coincided with her former band (Purl of Surf) parting ways, she decided to put any further academic endeavours on hold in order to initiate her solo project in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in the fall of 2008. The following spring Meghan took her maternal family name and organized a busking tour that enabled her to travel home to Nova Scotia for her cousin’s wedding in the summer of 2009. While most artists tour to promote a CD, it is befitting that Meghan’s debut solo album was the opposite; Dara’s Wedding Tour Souvenir CD, as the name suggests, was created to support the tour.

Awarded “Best Female Vocals in Alternative Pop” on GarageBand (week of January 25th, 2010) for her part on Fly With The Angelz (from the BBF album), critics describe Meghan’s music as “ambitious song-writing” and say her voice “reaches from powerful, sorrowful, and everywhere in between”. Often compared to Alanis Morissette in sound and physical appearance, which this writer can concur, Meghan’s style is still unique and is a dynamic and emotive blend of dark and light sounds, with ethereal qualities that are textured by her East Coast/Celtic roots. “Though most of my lyrics are written in the second person, they are actually very introverted. And though I am an incessant giggler, my songs are often quite serious and dark. I’ve been told that I’m a walking contradiction. I like that. It feels human.”

Her focus now is on writing and recording the next album with her new band (Kelly LeFaive – Violin, Brad Gulka – Drums, Colin Davis – Lead Guitar, Stuart Everitt – Bass and Rhythm Guitar), set to be released during a double release party with You Left Saving the Planet (a band she plays Synth in and will be gigging regularly with in 2011.

After completing a Master’s degree in Applied Health Sciences at Brock University, which coincided with her former band (Purl of Surf) parting ways, she decided to put any further academic endeavours on hold in order to initiate her solo project in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in the fall of 2008. The following spring Meghan took her maternal family name and organized a busking tour that enabled her to travel home to Nova Scotia for her cousin’s wedding in the summer of 2009. While most artists tour to promote a CD, it is befitting that Meghan’s debut solo album was the opposite; Dara’s Wedding Tour Souvenir CD, as the name suggests, was created to support the tour.

Though the Canadian songwriter’s music has yet to hit air waves in her home and native land, the album was picked up by a number of radio stations across the US during a trial radio campaign in 2010. Despite this opportunity, she has decided to keep the physical album as a limited edition in order to maintain the integrity of its ‘souvenir’ status.

Her songs are of a true troubadour, and from”Rise and Shine” to “Ball and Chain” every song is a story that is memorable. This girl is going places.

Meghan’s albums are available on iTunes and CD Baby, as well as her official website: www.meghanmorrison.com. For other information try twitter.com/megsmorrison or myspace.com/meghanmorrisonmusic

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