BeatRoute Magazine B.C. print e-edition - March 2016

beatroute

BeatRoute Magazine is a monthly arts and entertainment paper based in Western Canada with a predominant focus on music – local, independent or otherwise.

MARCH 2016

FREE

EKALI

electronic

producer

on the rise

PAGE 15

IGGY POP • PROTOMARTYR • YOUNG FATHERS • PORCHES • SEASONS FESTIVAL • JONATHAN GOLDSTEIN • WHERE TO INVADE NEXT


JOHNFLUEVOGVANCOUVERGRANVILLEST··WATERST··FLUEVOGCOM


M AR. 20 16

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COMEDY

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FILM

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THE SKINNY

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FRONT COVER

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Table of Contents

Working for the Weekend with Matt Owchar of Blueprint Events.....................................................4

Protomartyr.....................................................................................................................................................................5

Young Fathers................................................................................................................................................................6

Sarah Neufeld.................................................................................................................................................................6

Chastity Belt.....................................................................................................................................................................9

PWR BTTM........................................................................................................................................................................9

Porches.................................................................................................................................................................................10

Wintersleep....................................................................................................................................................................10

Hashteroid.......................................................................................................................................................................11

Redrick Sultan.............................................................................................................................................................11

Daughter............................................................................................................................................................................12

ELECTRONICS DEPT...................................................................................................................13 - 16

• Sadar Bahar

• Radio Radio

• Morgan Page

• Brevner

COVER: Ekali.............................................................................................................................................................15

THE SKINNY..............................................................................................................................................17 - 19

• Neighbourhood Brats

• Hissing

• The Real McKenzies

CITY..........................................................................................................................................................................20 - 22

• Incite 2016

• A Vagrant Kind of Life

• Jonathan Goldstein

• East Van Bazaar

• Tuck Shoppe

COMEDY........................................................................................................................................................................23

• Simon King

• James Kennedy

If I had 15 Million Dollars.............................................................................................................................24

FILM..........................................................................................................................................................................25 - 26

Album Reviews.............................................................................................................................................27 - 31

Live Reviews......................................................................................................................................................32 - 33

Vanpooper......................................................................................................................................................................34

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Sarah Neufeld, pg. 6

• MARCH 2016 3


WORKING FOR

THE WEEKEND

with Matt Owchar of Blueprint Events

by Glenn Alderson

Photo by Sarah Whitlam

Matt Owchar dedicates his day life to

making sure your nightlife is the best

it can be. He got his start in the music

industry as a DJ and can still be seen behind the

decks from time to time, spinning choice cuts

late in to the night as Expendable Youth. During

the day Owchar keeps regular office hours as talent

buyer for Fortune Sound Club and marketing

manager for Blueprint Events, one of the largest

entertainment, lifestyle and events organizations

in Western Canada. This month Blueprint is

hosting their annual Seasons Festival, a multiday/multi-venue

electronic music festival stacked

with that Blueprint caliber of entertainment

we’ve come to expect. As lead marketer and

assistant buyer for Seasons, Owchar has been

pulling double duty lately but we managed to

track him down to pick his brain about music

and the Vancouver nightlife community that he

has become such an integral part of.

BeatRoute: What does an average day look like

for you at the Blueprint office?

Matt Owchar: The Blueprint office happens to

be a central location where our team convenes

on a daily basis, but we’re all pretty much working

on keeping the machine going every waking

hour. The music industry never sleeps, so to

speak, so neither do we.

BR: Do you ever find it difficult juggling your

nightlife with your day life?

MO: Of course. Inherently going out all the time

and working a day job are diametrically opposed

to one another. After awhile though, the novelty

wears off and you begin treating going out like

a job itself. There’s obviously still a lot of fun involved

- I get to book and see artists I personally

enjoy listening to, meet new people all the time,

plus I still actively DJ. There’s also a youthful energy

in our industry that helps keep us all young

in spirit. Also, I’ve discovered in recent years that

you basically have to engage in rigorous physical

exercise a few times a week to maintain mental

and physical health, plus combat the wear and

tear on your body from staying out late, drinking,

so on and so forth.

BR: What kind of music do you listen to at the

office? Is it different from the music you find

yourself listening to at the club?

MO: When I can I usually listen to mellower mixes

or rap mixtapes. Recently I’ve been super into

Young Thug’s “I’m Up” but I’m a fan of Ben UFO’s

mixes both because he’s an incredible DJ and

for track discovery. I also enjoy Derek Duncan’s

Leisure series and have been trying my best to dig

into the LibraMix.org catalogue as much as I can.

BR: What are some of the best things about your

job on a day-to-day basis?

MO: In essence, I really do have a dream job. As

someone who dreamed about working in the

music industry my whole life, essentially shaping

my career path has been a true blessing. Discovering

a new artist that you know is going on to

great things is very satisfying. Discovering and

promoting music and contributing to our city’s

culture is just a rewarding experience in general.

BR: Can you tell us a bit about what it takes to

pull together a successful festival?

MO: In the case of Seasons - a lot! If you think

about the logistics involved, Seasons, compared

to say a Contact or FVDED in the Park (both of

which are insular festivals taking place in static

locations), is a far bigger project in scope. I mean

it’s five days, 30 events, 60+ artists, eight venues,

showcases, art installations, etc. There’s some

commonalities between the events, as they

wouldn’t be grouped together as a festival if that

weren’t the case, but at the same time, every

event within the Seasons sphere has to be treated

with its own care and detail.

BR: What are some of the things you are most

excited about at Seasons Festival this year?

MO: An overall more cerebral, mature and

experimental lineup - from the main event all the

way down to the small club shows. It’s something

we’ve slowly been building towards, but it was

important for us to learn the ins and outs of

running a multi day festival first. Now that we

have that foundation, curating and booking more

in line with our personal tastes and vision of what

we’ve wanted the festival to be has become the

priority for Seasons. Also, the addition of very

credible curators like Derek Duncan (Pacific

Rhythm) and Malcolm Levy (Hybridity) is exciting

to me. I’ve been friends with Derek for a long

time and we’ve always had this mutual respect

for one another despite operating in different

lanes as promoters and DJs. We’re essentially

using Seasons as a pilot program to bring our

collective expertise together to offer something

unique that will hopefully open up awareness

and discovery from people across various scenes

in Vancouver.

BR: When Seasons is over, how are you going to

spend your first day off?

MO: Probably in a shallowly dug grave somewhere.

Just kidding! I’ll be at home, asleep.

For more information about Seasons Festival,

which takes place March 23 to 27 at various

venues, visit www.seasonsfestival.com

4 MARCH 2016


MUSIC

PROTOMARTYR

the bender before the benediction

Eight Mile is a road in Detroit Michigan

that runs east to west. Stretching from

the I-94 to the city’s western point, it

acts as a border separating the predominantly

African American core from the more white,

upper-class suburban neighbourhoods that

crowd the north. Only two miles closer to the

Detroit River sits the much less culturally significant

“six-mile” and a slightly more stabilized

community called Nichols where Protomartyr

frontman Joe Casey was born and maintains

residence in the childhood house he grew up in.

“It’s one of those things where you don’t really

know what other people think about where

you live until much later,” Casey says about his

Motor City upbringing. “I didn’t think it was

odd that the majority of my friends were black

or that the majority of the city was black. I just

assumed all of America was African American.”

As he talks to BeatRoute about his band’s

most recent album, The Agent Intellect, and

their upcoming tour, Casey relaxes at home eating

a pączki donut; not because he’s Polish but

because it’s Fat Tuesday and that’s just what

you do in Detroit on the day before Lent. People

line up for hours to get their hands on these

pączkis; they start drinking early in the morning

and dance to polka music late into the night. To

celebrate this bender before the benediction,

Casey is laying relatively low, enjoying a brief

moment of downtime in between tours. His

band has been actively on the road for the past

two years since signing with Sub Pop imprint

Hardly Art in 2014 for their sophomore release,

Under Color Of Official Light.

Protomartyr has come a long way from their

unrefined beginnings in the city’s garage rock

underground, playing basement shows where

Casey would join guitarist Greg Ahee, drummer

Alex Leonard, and bassist Scott Davidson

for a portion of each set, walking on stage from

the back of the room to transform the dynamic

of the three twenty-somethings who round out

the band.

“We were really kind of a hacky band with

a lot of gimmicks originally,” Casey says. “The

original idea for Protomartyr was the guys were

going to help me record a quote-unquote ‘solo

album’ or a single and then we thought it would

be funny if when they were playing shows, they

would play two Protomartyr songs and then I

would walk up, sing a song and then leave. But

all that stuff sort of fell by the wayside when we

started taking things more seriously.”

Protomartyr might be his first band but

Casey is very serious about his craft as a lyricist,

and as a frontman this passion shows, despite

the fact he doesn’t exactly look the part. Not

that the singer of a post punk band needs to fit

a certain mold, but Casey’s casual attire is so

perplexingly heavy on the dad vibes that there’s

even a blog dedicated to his style. Descriptions

Of Joe Casey is a Tumblr page that compiles

comparisons music journalists have scrambled

to use in an attempt to wrap their heads

around his on-stage aesthetic. One refers to

him as an inverse Bono, another compares him

to the crazy guy at the bus station, and another

to a bad ass middle school English teacher. Casey

doesn’t seem too bothered by it though.

“The sad thing is, there was one that said I

looked like a Belgian lorry driver and we recently

played in Belgium and I looked around and I

can tell you right now that I really do look like a

Belgian lorry driver. Saw a lot of guys that look

like me. But I think I look pretty cool,” he says

with a laugh.

The dad-like attire of frontman Joe Casey doesn’t make Protomartyr’s music any less menacing.

by Glenn Alderson

Though being almost ten years older than

the rest of his bandmates puts Casey in a peculiar

position, at the end of the day it’s all part of

the dynamic that makes Protomartyr so unique.

“For this to have come off as well as it did, I

needed Greg, Alex, and Scott to come together

and do it. The more we go along, I’m pleasantly

surprised by how good they are. I kind of lucked

in to that. So it’s going to be really sad when I fire

them all,” he says, maintaining his cheeky disposition.

“They’re getting too old now. Sorry guys.”

Protomartyr performs on March 8 at Fortune

Sound Club

photo: Zak Bratto

Music

• MARCH 2016 5


YOUNG FATHERS

Mercury Prize winners express themselves in the realm of pop music

Calling from Berlin, Graham Hastings is

fresh off the stage. He says he thinks the

show was bad for them, but good for

everyone else; they worked themselves up a bit,

but probably nobody noticed. Hastings is one

of three in the Scottish experimental pop group

Young Fathers. If it isn’t evident right off the bat,

Young Fathers are perfectionists, an attribute

which has helped them push their far left brand

of pop into the mainstream. They are winners of

the Mercury Prize, currently touring with Massive

Attack. The band started recording material

crowded around a single karaoke mic as teenagers,

and pretty much haven’t stopped since.

“I grew up in an area in Edinburgh called

Drylaw. When I was younger you couldn’t really

express yourself, you weren’t able to dance or

sing, because it was just wrong. It’s a pretty

Hailing from Scotland, Young Fathers are as controversial as they are catchy.

typical area in Scotland, where you’re brought

up to work your life in an office, or a factory,

or as a tradesman, and anything different from

that is kind of weird. So to survive, especially

at school, you wouldn’t really do anything

different,” explains Hastings. He went on to

meet his bandmates Alloysious Massaquoi and

Kayus Bankole at a local club’s youth hip hop

night. “When I met them they were dancing, so

I joined in dancing, pretending it was normal.

Secretly I’d always danced in my bedroom to

records and no one had ever seen it, if you went

to the youth club or the local community centre

and they were having a disco no one would

dance, because if you danced you were a show

off or you would end up with a sore arm that

night because you’d get punched. When I met

the guys, seeing how they were being expressive

amongst their friends and that it was respected,

and not just respected but actually people were

attracted to them because of that, I felt it was

a way out for me,” he says. Hastings invited the

pair back to his mum’s house, where he’d been

secretly making hip hop beats, and the band

was formed. At Hastings’ family home they

would record all day, and at night return to the

club where they’d met, honing their live show at

open mics. “At that time it was like 8 Mile and

stuff, so everyone had their hoods up and were

all angry, in Scotland it was a whole thing where

people wanted to be that so bad, but were from

rich backgrounds. They wanted to be hard so

bad, that it was just incredibly fake. We used to

find it really funny. We’ve never been big fans of

underground music for the sake of being underground,

we always liked pop music so [we] used

the stage to dance, sing pop songs with hooks,

and put on a real show. We never discussed it,

but that was our thing. That grew into what

Young Fathers is,” he explains.

Their most recent release, an experimental

pop record titled, White Men Are Black Men

Too, is the kind of album that takes things

personally. Touching on race, unity, and the

perils of youth, the album’s controversial title

was intentionally placed to incite conversation

on all these topics. “It’s a cry for something

better than what the situation is now. Ultimately

it’s a statement, almost a question, to make

people talk. We’re not dumb enough to think

the statement is true, it’s asking for it. It’s there

so people say ‘Hold on a minute, what do you

mean by that?’ We could have come up with a

title that says white and black unite, or something

along the lines of what we’re meaning,

which is [that] we’re better together. Of course

everyone is. Unfortunately that doesn’t really

make up for a good album title that’s going to

incite interest. So it’s a bit of using situationism

and trying to grab people’s attention,” says

Hastings of the title. The band wasn’t fully

aware of the political implications involved in

creating subversive music as a mixed race group

until they reached a certain level of success. “In

by Maya-Roisin Slater

doing interviews people asked us questions that

make us really uncomfortable as a band. Like

when we went to America we got a few questions

like “How can you have one white man

and two black men in a band?” I remember so

many questions just hinting at ‘What’s up with

the white and black thing?’ For every one of us

it was just kind of like, ‘What?’ We’re not dumb

and we’re not blind, we know what we look like.

But it’s not something we ever really thought

about, though it’s something that you need to

think about. People want us to be a certain way,

we’ve turned up to gigs where there are two

mics and one DJ set up because they think the

white guy’s a DJ. We’re also always proposed as

a hip hop group, even though when you listen

to most of our music, it’s not hip hop. We came

from a hip hop background, but the music that

we’re making now, the best way we can describe

it is making pop music that’s not popular.

So the sentiment of the album is a call for a

conversation, there’s no right or wrong answer

to what it is,” says Hastings.

Young Fathers have already defied the odds.

Winning the Mercury Prize up against some

pretty big contenders, making a stand for

empirical music in a straight laced culture, and

touring the world as a result. Hastings says this is

because their focus was never on making music

for their friends to enjoy, but rather making

music on a standard of what they believed to

be the best. In applying the work ethic and

creative thinking they saw in their idols to their

foundation of eccentricity, they have built Young

Fathers from the ground up. Once he hangs up

the phone Hastings has ten minutes before he’s

called on stage to sing with Massive Attack. In

the coming months his band will tour around

North America. By the end of the year Hastings

hopes to have some time off, where him and

his bandmates can figure themselves out again,

before they hunker down to come up with

something new.

Young Fathers perform at Fortune Sound Club on

March 19

SARAH NEUFELD

songs of reflektion and limitless experiences

Sarah Neufeld, violinist and composer

best known as a touring member of

Arcade Fire, is getting ready to embark

on an upcoming North American tour to

promote her new solo album, The Ridge. The

album is a visceral experience for the listener

within the instrumental realm while Neufeld’s

beautiful vocals add endless possibilities for

one’s consciousness to explore.

“I wanted it to stay in that world to have a

truly limitless experience. The voice is so fun to

work with to create different textures with the

way it sounds. I am at the stage where I can flex

that muscle a bit more now,” Neufeld says.

It’s in this playful mindset based in improvisation

and her intuitive nature that the songs

come to life on The Ridge. “The music comes

from a really light place,” she says. Many of

the songs were born while on the Reflektor

tour in the summer of 2014, which helps put

in perspective the type of energy surrounding

Neufeld while composing. The album starts

with the title track “The Ridge” which began

one night in a hotel room. “I found something

that struck a chord and just kept going.” After

the tour she was left to her own devices to create.

“Everything was very internal, yet very light

hearted. I was having a lot of fun writing.”

For an artist who has a lifetime of experiences

in collaborative music making,

developing her own solo work has brought

discoveries that have expanded her love of

creating independently and deepened her

appreciation for working with others.

“I love the creative working relationship,

but now that I have worked alone, I realize I

need that just as much,” she says.

Her freedom to explore in isolation and

also indulge in partnerships are encompassed

in the album, which includes Arcade Fire’s

Jeremy Gara on drums. Being dubbed as

“rhythmic pop minimalism,” the album is a

transcending body of work that doesn’t truly

fit any category at all.

“I’m totally great with that,” says Neufeld.

“I’m one who tends to move away from

genre definition.” A statement that is not at

all surprising from this well seasoned artist

who is set to envelop audiences with her

thoughtful energy and alluring boundary-defying

music.

Sarah Neufeld performs at the Fox Cabaret on

March 26

by Heather Adamson

Arcade Fire’s Sarah Neufeld is carving a distinct solo career of her own.

6 MARCH 2016

Music


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CHASTITY BELT

they started a joke

by Alex Guiry

As witty as they are catchy songwriters, Chastity Belt defy expectations.

Based out of Seattle, Chastity Belt

are an all-female noise-pop band

that sing about fucking guys, as well

as not being fucked by guys. The band is

made up of Julia Shapiro (guitar, vocals

& writing), Lydia Lund (guitar), Annie

Truscott (bass), and Gretchen Grimm

(drums). BeatRoute rang up frontwomen,

Julia Shapiro, to talk about the intentions

of her writing.

A chastity belt is a medieval, metal,

locking device manufactured to prevent

sexual intercourse, temptation, and

masturbation. Historically it represents

the notion that men own womens’ sexual

desire, and that medieval prejudice still

lingers. The girls in the band use hyper

sexualized, sex-positive humour to liberate

and unlock this belief, and in the process,

taunt the “cock-and-balls” attitude that

dominate the continent. Light-hearted

lyrics like, “This is sex/ this is war /this is me

fucking you on the dance floor /You’re a

slut/ I’m a whore/ we’ve fucked everyone

before” make their music accessible to

both genders.

Earlier albums Fuck Chastity Belt and

No Regrets, leaned towards slapstick

college-style humour that encouraged

listeners to repeatedly chant fun words

like, “Giant! Vagina!” Since then, Chastity

Belt have progressed their style of humour

to fly under the radar.

“I don’t want it to be taken too seriously,

but we’re not writing joke songs any

more. When we first started that’s all we

could do. It was easier to write those songs

because you don’t have to worry about

messing up or embarrassing yourself because

it’s a joke, but now I think we are all

way more confident musicians and realize

we can write good songs,” says Shapiro. “I

still try to write in some humour, sarcasm,

or witty thing, but I don’t want to make

anyone cringe.”

The band doesn’t label their music as

if they are part of a feminist movement.

They don’t force the audience to identify.

They leave clues in their writing, the album

art, and simply the presence of four girls on

stage. “We are feminists, so it’s cool to be

known as feminists, but not all our songs

are about being a feminist, some are just

about being a person. If anything we would

like to be role models for younger girls who

aspire to be musicians, because for me,

growing up I didn’t have that many female

role models or girls who played music.”

For Julia, it has been her peers that influence

her as an artist: “A lot of the people

that I’ve met in Seattle have been really

supportive and helpful. In my other band

[Child Birth] both of the other women

[Bree McKenna of Tacocat and Stacy Peck

of Pony Time] are older than me, been in

bands longer, and give advice, so I feel like

I’ve learned a lot from them.

Early in 2015, Chastity Belt toured

with Australian songwriter Courtney

Barnett. “That was a dream tour. I had

some cool conversations with her about

how she writes songs.” After that tour

they left for two and a half months in

Europe and played alongside Death Cab

For Cutie. “That’s crazy to me, I just loved

them so much in middle school. I never

thought I’d be sharing a stage with them.

We played the biggest shows we’ve ever

played before.”

As for what to expect in upcoming

shows: “We have a bunch of new songs,

maybe like five we can play live, and we are

working on a bunch more. I feel like our

other new songs we’ve added are a little

more complex than our last album [Time

To go Home]. I’ve written all these weird

kind of folksy songs on my acoustic guitar.

I’m not sure if they are going to translate

into Chastity Belt, but we are trying to

record something this year. I’m just trying

to see what comes out and see if it works

with the rest of the band.”

The band that started out as a joke have

reinvented themselves by creating tension

through introspection, all while holding

onto their original antics.

Chastity Belt perform at Fortune Sound Club

on March 8

PWR BTTM

glitter bombed duo get rowdy

“I

don’t know how I could write a song if I was

trying to hide anything.”

Brooklyn based PWR BTTM have really

carried their own over the past two years, enough

so to have consistent praise and that steady

growth in audience any musician would envy. Ben

Hopkins and Liv Bruce first met while attending

Bard College and their shared interest in creating

a punk band that spoke to/about them set everything

in motion. “I had always wanted to be in a

band, but I had never thought a person like me

would be able to be in one because I was queer

and I thought bands were for cool straight boys in

leather jackets. Liv inviting me to start the project

felt like my chance,” says Hopkins.

The two released their demo Cinderella Beauty

Shop in 2014 where the guitar and vocals were

tackled by Bruce and Hopkins handled drums.

This seamlessly shifted to shared responsibilities in

writing and instruments for future projects. Their

new LP Ugly Cherries (Father Daughter Records

+ Miscreant Records) displays their musical

development with an album that, true to their

form, continues to challenge what the world sadly

considers the norm today. Their lyrics are on point

with a message that is parallel with the changing

views taking place in today’s world around gender

identity and what people are exposed to on a

regular basis. To many, these two are pushing

boundaries and creating a wave, others would say

Music

they are only being honest with who they are and

being real; some could say both. Either way, there’s

no need for PWR BTTM to change a thing about

what they have going on.

2016 has started off without a hitch for this

duo. Coming off the September release of their

latest LP, a widespread tour across North America

with SUN CLUB, And The Kids, and Ra Ra Riot

began in February and has been getting people

buzzing. With that lineup how could you not

get the vapours. “Ra Ra has actually been one of

my favourite bands for many years. The Rhumb

Line, their first album, is about a lot of places near

where I grew up in Massachusetts so I’ve been

a huge fan for like seven years, I’ve actually seen

them three times.” tells Hopkins. “It’s lit!”

The next few months will see a lot of touring

from these two, a permatour as Ben put it. From

the sounds of things PWR BTTM is not about

to go into hiding, as the two are set to continue

keeping busy doing one thing they do extremely

well - creatively express themselves. “Expect some

Britney in 2007 level melt downs from the both of

us as well as some videos and other projects we

ain’t gonna tell you about yet!”

Their shared eagerness, honesty, and humour

are electric and their live show is no different.

The glitter packed PWR BTTM comes at you with

everything you would want from two musicians, a

guitar, and a drum set. Yes glitter, amazing sparkle

the shit out of your face and shine like the glorious

bastard you are glitter. “It’s sort of a radical thing

to cover yourself in something that’s supposed to

be like dainty or femme and whatever. (Which is a

very, very good thing to be). Then juxtapose that

against a more aggressive style of playing that we

tend to do. It’s like glittery armour that I use to

reflect the anger that’s in my songs. It also makes

my poop beautiful,” explains Hopkins. “I can’t help

it, this is just what my face looks like,” says Bruce.

by Jamie Goyman

If you’ve had the pleasure of witnessing their

live act you know the drama, power, and wit that

come from PWR BTTM. “Vancouver can expect

the antics of a band that is nothing if not a live

action blooper reel covered in glitter accented by

guitar shredding and other weird shenanigans,”

according to Hopkins.

PWR BTTM perform at the Biltmore Cabaret on

March 31

PWR BTTM mix punk, humour, and a queer aesthetic to deliver delightful results.

photo: Andrew Piccone

• MARCH 2016 9


PORCHES

a lesson in career revitalization

Aaron Maine sheds the eclectic for the electric on his Domino Records debut, Pool.

Artistic reinventions rarely go as smoothly

as they have for Aaron Maine and his band

Porches. The Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter

made his name on quirky, folk-pop cuts

released on Bandcamp that had more in common

with early Flaming Lips than any electronic music.

Pool, Maine’s new album under the Porches moniker

and first album for Domino Records, is not at

all like the twee pop he used to make. It is a sleek,

catchy, synth-pop record indebted to both R&B and

certain blends of UK dance music.

“My interests shifted a bit away from rock music.

I questioned whether I would even listen to my own

music if I wasn’t making it. So I started to listen to

some more, drum machine, electronic-driven stuff

when I moved to [New York City],” says Maine on

the phone from his Brooklyn apartment.

“I really liked the way people reacted to that. It’s

still an emotional experience, but it airs on the positive

side, where you’re gathered and you’re dancing

and comfortable. As opposed to getting bummed

out and honing in on aggressive, sad music. The

album is still pretty emotional and I’m sure people

will think it’s a drag at times, but I just wanted to

make something that was more fun and chic and it

felt cool listening to instead of sad.”

Maine isn’t wrong to say that Pool is still

an emotional record. It’s sleek production and more

upbeat arrangements are used by Maine as a way to

couch the more devastating elements of his lyrics.

Album single “Be Apart” features Maine at his most

clever. The song has a bouncing, analogue bass line

that bobs and weaves underneath warbled synth

chords and a deep house-borrowing melody. Maine

croons gently about isolation and inclusion, themes

that proliferate the bulk of the record. In a clever

by Jamie McNamara

photo: Jessica Lehrman

bit of wordplay, Maine leaves the crux of the chorus

ambiguous. He sings “I wanna be apart, of it all,” the

inflection in his voice purposefully vague to leave

the listener unsure if he wants to be “a part,” or be

apart from the world outside his apartment.

“You’re kind of able to make electronic music

alone. Which is fun, you can just kind of do it all by

yourself. I think that lends itself to making something

isolated or hyper-personal,” says Maine as a

siren blares in the background reminding him that

he lives in a busy part of a huge city.

“A lot of the lyrics are about transitioning to

this new place and dealing with acceptance in the

city and the excitement of being here and being

exposed to some new things. I had been living at

my mom’s house until I moved here. Everyone looks

amazing here, and dresses so good, and listens to

crazy music. All of that contributed to me wanting

to grow as an artist as much as I could.”

Still, it’s the unexpected ways that Maine’s new

surroundings have affected his music that are the

most impressive. His voice has taken a massive leap

from 2013’s Slow Dance in The Cosmos. Maine’s

voice is more emotive and captivating. He croons

gently now instead of warbling like the frontman of

an emo band.

“I was consciously trying to use my voice in a

different way and explore what it could do and the

different emotions it could express. I like the idea

of having to be quiet in this apartment and use

some more intimate, whispering head-voice. Maybe

sensual vocal takes, as opposed to the older yelling,

‘angsty’ vocal style. I thought it would be nice to get

a little more personal.”

Porches performs at The Cobalt on March 26

WINTERSLEEP

still challenging listeners to look inwards

For a decade and a half, Wintersleep have

woven their melancholic alt-pop in past the

frayed edges of Canada’s musical tapestry,

and are now fastening themselves a place near

the foreground. As their legacy struggles to gain

its central focus after splitting with their record

label and joining the Dine Alone family, their

forthcoming LP, The Great Detachment, takes a

moment to reflect on the theme of identity and

its allusiveness in an age of separation.

While treading between personal narrative and

social commentary, Wintersleep’s lyrics have always

found and exposed a common vulnerability

in the individual’s experience of various contemporary

psycho-social conditions. The cathartic

resolution may not be found within the lyrics

however, but in the symphony of contrasting melodies

and transcendent syncopations sustained

by years of cohesion as bandmates and as friends.

Leave it to these Haligonian-ex-pats-turned-Montrealers

to get you smiling and tapping your feet

along to songs about your own identity crises

in the alienated consumer nightmare culture in

which you live.

The members of the band still work out parts,

songs, or ideas on their own before uniting to solidify

the sound as a band — a practice informed

by their early days, explains singer Paul Murphy.

“When we first started, we hadn’t even really

played live for the first two records,” says Murphy.

The fact that each member has been able to

develop uniquely along their own trajectory over

the course of Wintersleep’s evolution, has allowed

the band to be something greater than the sum

Wintersleep return with new album after an extended hiatus.

by Rob Pearson

of its parts. Maintaining many side projects or

performing solo shows has clearly served to help

keep the creative juices flowing, but they are a

band first and foremost, and prefer to support

each other’s work.

“I might have played 20 [solo] shows, and even

then Tim played on half of those, and Loel played

on some of those as well!”

Their coming together to record The Great

Detachment ironically marks the end of a longer

than usual hiatus for the band. As Murphy was

the first to welcome a child into the Wintersleep

family, he took a much-deserved break while he

and the rest of the band rested and developed

new material. They returned a year and a half

ago with dozens of songs from which they would

begin to determine the shape, size, and sound of

their character.

“Which songs are going to represent us as a

band?” recalls Murphy, reflecting on the arduous

and unenviable task of whittling down the record

from the songs they had written and worked

out over the break, many of them fully arranged.

“You’re searching for your identity every time you

make a record.”

As they have grown older, closer as friends,

and tighter as musicians, the music has become

more polished, denser, and more complex. Yet

amongst the beautiful and mesmerizing din, that

initial question of identity posed in their inaugural

songs like “Orca” or “Caliber” still challenges

the listener to look inward.

Wintersleep performs at the Imperial on March 25

photo: Norman Wong

10 MARCH 2016

Music


HASHTEROID

stoner metal power trio strikes back

2016 is proving to be a year of rebirth and

rejuvenation for three-piece stoner rockers

Hashteroid. After taking an extended hiatus

to regroup in the wake of personal tragedy,

Alex Gidora (vocals/guitar), Mike Grossnickle

(bass), and Grant Prouse (drums) are poised to

make their return to the stage to celebrate not

only the vinyl release of their debut EP but the

second coming of Hashteroid proper.

Building upon Gidora and original Hashteroid

drummer Steve Chambers’ tenure in Hugenelk,

Hashteorid was conceived as a fusion between

more traditional stoner rock influences (Kyuss, Fu

Manchu) with the faster, heavier leanings of Saviours

and local Vancouver heavyweights Baptists.

“In Hashteroid we seemed to figure out a

different style of playing a lot faster and more

sinister, with some different, heavier influences

coming in at that point. Hashteroid is definitely

faster and heavier” Gidora explains. “More to

the point, Hugenelk had a lot of problems with

bloated, long songs and we try to keep it pretty

tight now.” Quickly bringing Grossnickle to the

fold on bass, the first incarnation of Hashteroid

made a name for themselves playing with the

likes of Waingro and M16, performing at Burger

Fest 2014 and recording the band’s first EP,

Release the Depths.

Recorded at Rain City and mastered by the

prolific Stu McKillop (We Hunt Buffalo, Unleash

the Archers), Release the Depths was tracked

live-off-the-floor, owing to the EP’s raw, punchy

sound. Recording live enabled the band to more

fully capture the organic, jam-based feel of their

live shows and improvisational writing process.

“We wanted the freedom to tease things out

when we could. We jam a lot in practice…so

we wanted to have that effect [on the record].

It seems to have worked,” Gidora says. “This

release definitely seems more raw and coherent

than anything we have recorded in the past.”

Grossnickle agrees, “There were a couple parts,

some of the solo sections where some of it was

improvised. We just left it open every time we

played that song. For the most part it went

pretty smooth. We didn’t do that many takes

Hashteroid prepare to blast back in to the Vancouver music scene with a renewed sense of energy and vigor.

by James Olson

per track and we finished quicker than we had

booked for time in the studio.”

On April 1, Hashteroid will play not only

their first show since going on hiatus but their

first ever headlining show. Joined by friends in

M16, Hallux, and Woe Monger, the power trio is

electric with anticipation.

“This release [show] will really be us celebrating

being back. It will be our first show with

Grant on drums. We’re really looking forward

to it,” says Gidora. With more shows, a possible

summer tour, and work on their first full length

album in the works, Hashteroid are back and

ready to scorch some trails.

Hashteroid performs at SBC Restaurant on April 1

REDRICK SULTAN

tripping out on the physics of sound

by Erin Jardine

Vancouver-based psych group maintain their “life’s a beach” disposition.

Redrick Sultan’s live performance

thrives in dark venues that provide

a backdrop for psychedelic visuals,

leading the audience away from the present

and into a drug-like state of thinking.

They are a no frills band, with three members

contributing to the walls of sound

that have earned them a following in their

hometown of Vancouver and throughout

North America. Redrick Sultan has

something deep to say, and it reverberates

within many through the ambient

complex chords. Spencer Hargreaves

(Guitar) and Noah Jordan (Bass) have a

story to tell, and it’s especially evident in

the lyrics on their newest album, Fly as a

Kite, written on the road by a band with a

sense of adventure.

In the technical realm, one might listen

to Fly As A Kite and deem the songs “out

of tune.” Redrick Sultan believes that

“in-tune” is in the eyes of the instrument

holder. Jordan found himself incredibly

inspired by mathematics in relation to

string instruments, and the capabilities of

a differently tuned and fretted instrument

– such as the guitar that Hargreaves plays.

Jordan explains, “I first picked up the

trombone, and I started getting interested

in the physics of sound. I wondered who

determined what all the notes would be

on a piano or a fret board. Other places

in the world, these stringed instruments

had different variations, I got into Turkish

folk music, which utilizes a different

set of notes. But the traditional stuff

doesn’t really have a play in rock music,

so I adapted it and put the different fret

board in Spencer’s hands.” The chords

of Redrick Sultan are a departure from

what the normative listener is trained to

hear. But with years of dedication to their

psychedelic music of many influences, the

product yields well-constructed melodies

behind powerful droning vocals.

When asked about the lyrics within the

album, both Noah and Spencer launched

into the themes that lay on the surface

of their songs. The longstanding chain of

events of the drug trade made an impact

on Jordan’s perception of global events.

“There’s an experience attached to it

when you’re around the drugs,” remarks

Hargreaves. “You see the consumer’s role

in the war on drugs.” Jordan spent time in

Mexico City and in being there, experienced

the effects of a militant territory on

the civilian population and his perceptions

of the imbalance of power are seen

in lyrics such as, “Around this hour, The

guards watch the tower, Of life, of crown,

of queen so speaks the ghost of power.”

He met with a road-tripping Hargreaves

in Las Vegas “which was kind of hard because

we didn’t have any money to drink

or gamble,” and in a bumbling attempt to

do justice to the album name – meagerly

tried to fly a few kites in the American

desert at dawn on Hargreaves’ birthday.

The Fear and Loathing experience was, “in

theory it was a really bad time,” laughed

Hargreaves. Regardless of that fact, the

stories collected as a result of these bad

times by these perceptive individuals

make for some seriously interesting music.

Redrick Sultan performs at the Cobalt on

March 3

Music

• MARCH 2016 11


DAUGHTER

dispair leads way to hope

Everyone feels sad sometimes. It’s a set of emotions

no more distinct than happiness, ranging

from the smallest dips of disappointment to the

most devastating pits of personal agony. More often

than not it passes with a quick hug or a good laugh,

but sometimes it can linger. Sometimes sadness

seeps into the cracks of old heartbreak, into the

heavy silence of loneliness, into the bouts of hopelessness

that can paralyse. In these moments we are

London based trio Daughter know how to strike an emotional chord.

powerless, our pain remedied only by comisery. This

is how many of us have come to know Daughter.

Few bands have penned their descent into crippling

despair so indulgently and, with the release of their

second album, they’re ready to show us the way out.

Elena Tonra, Igor Haefeli, and Remi Aguillela

have been writing and performing as Daughter

since forming in 2010, when vocalist Tonra was

struggling with the limits of being a solo artist.

The trio quickly found their sound, realeasing two

EPs and garnering enough attention to prompt an

offer from British record label 4AD, home of Bon

Iver, Iron &Wine, and The National, to name a few.

Soon after came the 2013 release of If You Leave,

the debut full length album rife with romantic

agony and emotional defeat. Tonra’s unabashed

lyrical confessions, cradled by Haefeli’s crying guitar

and Aguillela’s thunderous drumming flooded the

British pop scene like a torrential rain. Daughter

wasted no time basking in their new-found fame,

soon embarking on a lengthy international tour in

support of the record.

Fans have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of

a sophomore album ever since the band’s first

mention of it back in September of 2013 and, three

years later, Daughter has finally graced us with a

sequel. Released on January 15th of this year, Not To

Disappear is an album that provides extensive insight

into the band’s growth, both musical and emotional.

I spoke briefly with Remi Aguillela, Daughter’s drummer,

about the new album and about the changes

the band has undergone since their first LP.

Like many debut albums, the writing and recording

of If You Leave was often impeded by a lack of

time and money “Because of our schedule when we

did [If You Leave]...we never got consistent studio

time,” Aguilella recounts, “When we finished touring

for [the album], we decided to rent a little studio in

London. We [then] had the ability to go whenever

we wanted and play together.”

by Mel S-L

Daugther not only had a stable musical homebase

from which to tackle their new album, they also had

the unconditional support of their label, and no due

date. “It’s crazy to say that in 2016...the fact that we

didn’t have any pressure from our record label [is]

amazing,” Aguilella shares, “We had the ability to

say ‘Well, I don’t think it’s ready yet therefore I’m not

going to put it out.’” This change of circumstances

allowed to band to make an album much more true

to their intended sound.

Not To Disappear picks up right where If You

Leave left us: drowning in a sea of haunting delay and

bittersweet vocals. However, there is an unmistakable

energy that propels this album from the very

first track, all but eradicating If You Leave’s tone of

defeat. Not To Disappear is the breath after surfacing

in arctic waters. No longer submerged and sinking,

Daughter now traverse a sea of newly liberated

emotions: anger, fear, gratitude, and hope.

Despite their initial fears, reception has been

warmer than ever. Daughter’s penchant for true and

tragic songwriting has earned them the dedicated

support of their fans. Although unfailingly sad, Not

To Disappear is a testament to our ability to heal in

the wake of great loss. It reminds us that recovery is

an arduous and often ugly process, but ultimately

necessary in rediscovering our own sense of self.

“They let us do our thing... and that’s what

we did.”

Daughter performs at the Vogue Theatre on March 18

DONOVAN

WOODS

HARD SETTLE, AIN’T TROUBLED

NEW ALBUM FEATURING THE SINGLE

“ON THE NIGHTS YOU STAY HOME”

www.donovanwoods.net

This project is funded in part by FACTOR, the Government of Canada and Canada’s private radio broadcasters. Ce projet est

financé en partie par FACTOR, le gouvernement du Canada et les radiodiffuseurs privés du Canada. P & © 2016 Meant Well.

12 MARCH 2016

Music


ELECTRONICS DEPARTMENT

SADAR BAHAR

legendary soul selector brings the boogie in a big way

Even before Sadar Bahar started working

the decks on his own, he was absorbing

the culture of Chicago’s party scene as

far back as the ‘70s. While these early-day

experiences of watching other DJs taught

him plenty of skills of the trade—from the

fundamentals of cross-fading to figuring

out which records go together and which

don’t—one of the most important lessons

he learned was to never underestimate

your crowd. No shade if you’re the kind of

selector that pre-loads your Serato with

a series of boomin’ back-to-back tracks,

but as Bahar explains on the line with

BeatRoute from his home in Illinois, he

walks into his worldwide appearances with

only the loosest sense of which funk, soul,

and disco rarities he’ll be busting out of his

record bag.

“I just do it off the top of my head. I’m

a DJ that’s been out here before all this

hype stuff started, I’m one of the ones that

started this thing,” the vinyl-only DJ says

matter-of-factly while he and a couple of

buddies enjoy a John Wayne flick on TV.

He adds on the topic of other DJ’s pre-selected

faux pas: “You get to a party with

a set in your mind, and you’ve never seen

these people? They could be having a horrible

time while you’re sitting here, going

through a set you think is hot. You’ve got to

play to the people’s knowledge — how they

react, how they dance, and how they move.”

Ever since getting his first set of Technics

turntables, a gift from his mom, Bahar

has been blessing parties and clubs with a

plethora of rarified R&B sounds. A noted

crate digger, his collection has only gotten

bigger since first coming up in the Chicago

house scene of the ‘80s, with thousands of

rare finds having managed to creep their

way into his arsenal. Wax platters that never

quite made it en masse to North America

are often on his hit list, with the potential

treasure of a musty box at a record show

or vintage shop appealing more to the DJ

than the simplified point-and-click of the

Discogs.com scene.

“I’m always on the hunt,” he says proudly.

“But I’ve got, like, a good-sized record store

[worth of material] in my basement. I’m

always finding stuff, and I deal with a lot

of collectors, so pretty much every day I’m

buying stuff.”

In addition to his year-round club

appearances, which he fills with neon-pink

disco grooves and rare soul, the producer’s

tasty edits of ‘70s funk crews the Rimshots

or Leon Lee have popped up through his

Chicken Wing Edits series of 12-inches.

Though it’s been about six years since

volume two dropped, Bahar teases that

a third instalment is on the way. His Soul

in the Hole compilation from 2012 has

likewise become classic, filtering together

anything from the vintage, cranked-thermostat

thump of Lonnie Givens’ “The Heat

is On” to the ecstatic, bass-slappin’ sounds

of Chuck Higgins & The Wild Bunch’s

“Funkyfied.”

Unsurprisingly, even more edits are on

the horizon, with a new 7” single potentially

by Gregory Adams

being spun on Bahar’s upcoming run of

spring dates. While keeping the specifics of

the A-side close to his chest, he admitted

it’s a track he “used to always play,” despite

the audio specs being a bit off for his tastes.

“They made it on 33, but it should have

been on 45,” he allows. “So we had to do

some work to it to make it playable.”

Beyond refurbishing few forgotten gems,

Bahar also has a project of originals coming

up at some point in the near future.

“The album is going to be raw material;

it’s going to be stuff we did in the studio

with a bass player, a guitar player and a

drummer, all from scratch,” he says, noting

that the recording sessions, which yielded

somewhere in the neighbourhood of 20

original compositions, took place in Amsterdam.

An ETA has yet to be finalized, but

it’s looking like the full-length will be preceded

by 12-inch singles on Detroit house

label Sound Signature, Rush Hour, and a

new label that’s being started up by Bahar.

Whether crowds will hear him spinning

these latest, modern-day soul songs alongside

dusted-off finds from the bargain bins,

collectors crates, and beyond is anybody’s

guess, Bahar’s included. All that is certain

is he’ll pop at least a few dozen LPs and a

fat stack of 45s into his bag before he heads

out on the road, and take it from there. His

simply-stated ethos: “I always change it up.”

Sadar Bahar plays the Pacific Rhythm showcase

for Seasons Festival at Open Studios on

March 26.

RADIO RADIO

rap duo put an Anglo spin on things

Sometimes it seems like rap music takes itself a little

too seriously. Aside from meme-ification of Drake and

Kanye, hip-hop has moved a long way from its initial

pop successes. It’s hard to imagine now, with the mournful

and emotional sounds of Future and Drake dominating the

airwaves, that a lot of the initial rap hits were largely humour

based. From the Fresh Prince rapping about Freddy Krueger

and beating Mike Tyson, to Tone Loc’s “Funky Cold Medina”

and Young MC’s “The Principal’s Office.” Eastern Canada’s Radio

Radio are keeping the fun, lighthearted spirit of rap music

alive with their latest album Light the Sky, moving away from

their Acadian French dialect and releasing their first entirely

English album.

Canadian media can be challenging, with the two worlds of

English and French rarely seeing much crossover. But English-Canadian

success was not the primary motivation for Radio Radio.

As group member Jacques Doucet explains, “It was mostly the

challenge. For me, I’ve been rapping since I was sixteen. Rapping

in a French Acadian language so it was fun but just to explore

new things was important. I rarely speak English. I’m bilingual but

I rarely have the need to speak English in everyday life. This was

an opportunity to speak English as well as to explore new places

in Canada and medias.”

In most of Canada, French music can tend to be ghettoized to

very specific timeslots or avenues. Much Music for example, back

when they played music videos, relegated French music to one

show mostly. “Growing up” says Doucet, “for what we were doing,

Much Music had French Kiss which was like at noon once a week.

In my year book it said ‘most likely to be on French Kiss’ and it

came true.”

Their English release is what’s allowed them to get a new

audience when they visit out west. “We’ve been out west a few

times but mostly just catering to the French community, which is

small because it’s only announced to French people, but this time

around we’re trying to get more people out to discover what is

really just a Canadian band. We represent Canada well with our

bilingualism and fun music.”

Radio Radio performs at the Biltmore Cabaret on March 26

by Graeme

Wiggins

photo: Leda & St. Jacques

A fixture in the Chicago party scene in the ‘70s, Sadar Bahar knows how to get a dance floor moving like no other.

electronics department

Radio Radio transitioned from French to English in the name of art.

• MARCH 2016 13


MORGAN PAGE

actively seeking evolution

Last year Morgan Page unveiled an album loaded

with celestial electronic melodies and textured

vocals called DC to Light. This year he embarked

on a North American tour to share the fruits of his

labour with lovers of electronic music. Touring is the

reward for all his hard work in the studio and after

speaking with Page, it’s quite clear that he relishes it.

“I love being in the studio but I love the excitement

of the shows and meeting the fans. There’s

this electric feeling in the air,” he says. Page has been

in the electronic music sphere for a long time now,

managing to thwart the longevity curse of most

EDM DJs. With DC to Light, Page has proved once

again that he has staying power with music that

actively seeks evolution.

Page is talking to BeatRoute from an airport

lounge, waiting to be flown to the next stop on his

Souls and Sins Tour, with fellow DJ Borgeous. The

two artists share the same booking agency and have

established a good rapport.

“We’ve had many sold-out shows. It’s working!”

he confirms. “A co-headline tour is a lot more fun

than a regular tour.” Page has some treats lined up

for his night at the Commodore Ballroom during

Seasons Festival, “Lots of new edits and mashups,

some new originals, new remixes as well. I just did

a remix for Armin Van Buuren, so I will play that.

I’m going to test new music. See what works!” His

excitement is infectious.

DC to Light has been in the making for two years.

On it, Page has put his signature, poignant lyrics in

the hands of some very strong vocalists like Lissie

on “Open Heart” and Michael S. on “Against The

World.” Page’s strength lies in his ability to fashion

songs and romance out of electronic sounds. You

won’t find varied proclamations of “drop the bass”

here. It’s pretty music but there is deliberation

behind it.

Page reveals taking inspiration from an ecological

standpoint for DC to Light. “The album was made

with solar power” he explains, “the entire studio was

powered by solar to experience a futuristic way of

making music.” The organic production reflects in

the music too. “I like the metaphor of the sun hitting

the solar panels and powering the studio to create

the waveforms on the recording” Page elaborates. He

used the album’s earthly origins to steer the sound

into a direction “that is a little more aggressive than

usual, while preserving a strong sense of song.”

When Page was getting into electronic music, he

found his way through his love for hip-hop, folk, and

songwriting. Radio and UK music mags were his only

real resources. “I first heard ‘Longest Road’ archaically

through Mista Jam on the BBC. Being in the midst

of a super basic heartbreak, I remember feeling on

the lyrics and novel sound, hard. EDM’s geographic

shift has taken time. Europe has been spoiled for a

while but electronic music is maturing in the US. It’s

here to stay. People are hungry for new sounds and

unique musical frameworks.” It would be foolish to

miss out on this musical revolution of the digital age.

Morgan Page performs March 24 at the Commodore

Ballroom as part of Seasons Festival.

Dipping his toes in many genres, Morgan Page is bringing the sounds people want to hear.

by Prachi Kamble

14 MARCH 2016

electronics department


Embarking

on a

tour of Asia

and Australia

just 36 hours

after knocking

out two photo

shoots and an interview,

it’s becoming clear that a fast-paced

life is now the norm for Nathan Shaw, AKA

electronic music producer Ekali. After his song

“Unfaith” was sampled by Drake on a tune

that emerged just a year ago, as well as his

nomination to the esteemed Red Bull Music

Academy, the young Vancouverite’s life has

transformed into a balancing act between

the evolution of his career and a devotion to

his hometown and family. He admits, “I do

miss Vancouver when I’m gone. I feel like

when you’re touring, there’s this weird middle

ground when you tour for a month or two,

then you come home, then you leave on tour

again – that’s the worst cycle. Either I like to

be home for a long period of time, or always

be on the road and never come home.”

Despite a life that’s increasingly in

transition, Shaw has discovered that being

nomadic has lent itself rather well to his

creative process. “It’s hard for me to get

things done musically while at home; I work

better on the road. I think it’s because I’m

more used to the road mentality at this

point, because I’ve been touring more.”

Acknowledging that the excitement and

clarity of unconventional exposure is more

advantageous in the moment, he adds,

“There’s something to be said about writing

immediately as soon as you become inspired,

as opposed to coming home after a great

experience and reflecting on it. I prefer

writing in the moment.” That’s already been

working to his benefit, as in February, Shaw

reached a personal milestone when racking

up over 10 million plays on his Soundcloud

account. When asked why he feels his music

has resonated with so many people, the

soft-spoken artist takes a moment and a

sip of coffee before replying simply: “I don’t

know, to be honest, but I write what I love.”

Shaw’s strengths are in his command

of two very different sounds: that of dreamy,

ethereal R&B-esque melodies, and that of

self-admitted hard-hitting “club bangers.”

Recent collaborations with artists in the

forefront of the industry such as Flume, G

Jones, and PartyNextDoor have only helped

to further his reach. The G Jones connection

developed after the Californian producer

caught Shaw spinning one of his songs at last

year’s Shambhala, then hit him up via Twitter

EKALI

creating new

sounds in

a realm of

possibilities

with an idea, after which the two artists traded

the tune back and forth until it was complete.

Social media has not only allowed

him access to those considered previously

inaccessible; it’s allowed him a greater

freedom with which to divulge tricks and

techniques to fans and burgeoning producers,

something he sees as quintessential to growth.

“That’s just part of who I am as a person

and who I want to be as an artist. I’ve always

tried to share my knowledge of what I do and

my own personal techniques with my fans. I

don’t like staying in control for too long. People

when they hold on to their secrets, they tend

to stagnate and sit in one spot. As soon as

you allow other people into your realm, you

can move on from there and create something

new, and that’s sort of my whole philosophy.”

Exploring the limits of his previous

dynamic has resulted in increased

possibilities. “My music now appeals to at

least two different demographics: people who

are staying at home listening to my music on

their headphones, and those who are going

out to the club to hear these tunes on a big

system.” In fact, his sound tends to touch on

both aspects even within a single release.

His rework of Flume’s “Smoke & Retribution”

deviates from the original in just the right

subtleties, adding a bass-driven depth and

accentuated rhythm while maintaining the

dreamy attraction of the original in a manner

that’s fast becoming his trademark.

The confidence to juggle multiple

genres with respect is nothing new to him,

considering that Shaw grew up in a musical

family exposed to a juxtaposition of jazz and

hip-hop, extending to the drum and bass

records his sister would play. “There was

definitely an amalgamation of different genres

I listened to growing up, and electronic music

was always a part of that,” he explains. “It’s

always been there in my head; I just never

had the opportunity or the drive to make it,

until recently when I started wanting to write

songs. I began searching for a medium,

and I found it through electronic music.” His

travels to destinations as exotic as Beirut

have affected him both as an individual

and a musician, making a dedication to

this career path an easy decision.

Despite the reliance of countless

contemporary artists upon the ease of

sample-based derivatives, Shaw prefers

to take the opposite approach, drawing

instead from his own creativity while paying

homage to the originators. “I’m inspired by

hip-hop and classic sampling, all that kind

of stuff that I listened to growing up, but that

doesn’t really play a part in my music too

heavily. I try to create my own sounds, and

any sampling I do is ripping audio tracks

from anime movies, or obscure stuff like

crumpling paper [and] footsteps through a

forest.” The oft-mentioned sample on Drake’s

“Wednesday Night Interlude” came from the

only original song Shaw has ever released,

causing not only the unexpected fame but a

curious pigeonhole he didn’t anticipate. “The

rap category is not necessarily my penultimate

goal or anything. I do love rap music, I want

to work with rappers, but I’m not a rap artist.

I’m an electronic artist, and that umbrella is a

lot wider than just rap music,” he explains.

Despite a current reliance on

production tool Ableton to execute both his

studio creations and live performances,

Shaw’s history playing bass with Juno

award-winning band Said The Whale has

left him with a respect for the physicality

that comes from producing music with a

tangible instrument. “It’s something that’s

pretty magical. Having a keyboard in front of

you, or touching a guitar, I don’t think that’s

something that’s going to go away. That

said, the barrier between your ideas and the

musical canvas is basically gone now. As

long as you know how to use your program,

you can get the ideas out of your head pretty

quickly.” With his fifth consecutive showcase

at SXSW succeeding his Asian/Australian

tour, there are no barriers in sight to the

success of this talented young producer.

Ekali performs as part of Seasons Festival

on March 25 at the Pacific Coliseum

BY SUMMER SWANSON-SLOTIUK

electronics department

• MARCH 2016 15


BREVNER

forever hungry and fixated on the future

Growing up in New Westminster,

Matthew Brevner was diligently

preparing for his rap career by the

age of six, writing poetry and studying

reading comprehension through Hooked

on Phonics. His formal introduction to the

genre happened in middle school when

he heard Jay Z’s Volume Three, when he

finally felt represented in music. Hova

resonated with Brevner as the voice of the

underprivileged, defining rap as poetry,

but cool. His high school had a built in

recording studio, so throughout his time

there he was constantly writing and

recording. Life after grade school proved

to be slightly more challenging.

“I wanted to learn how to record my

own music, so I signed up for the four

year program at The Art Institute, but I

dropped out after a semester because

I was like, yo this program is $40,000 a

year, there’s no guaranteed job placement

after because I’m not trying to work at

a fucking radio station and there’s no

equipment so I’d be trained and not have

the tools to use my skills. So I was working

a shitty job at the time and doing

whatever else I had to do on the side to

cover bills, and I bought a very modest

recording set-up and kind of went from

there,” Brevner explains.

Brevner’s biggest thrust into the public

eye came in the form of an opportunity to

co-produce a song for Swollen Members

affiliate Madchild called “Jitters.” Brevner

claims he fronted money to help with

the song and accompanying video but

wasn’t properly compensated following

its release. “The 13 year old in me thought

if I have a number one single on Rap City,

shit was on; I’m helping my mama get

out of debt, it’s lit. Not only was it not

that, but I actually took on a lot of debt

because I didn’t see the money from it. So

I moved to New York temporarily, I was

working with Chinx and French Montana

doing video work for them. I didn’t even

tell them I was a musician at the time. But

then being around those guys, was such

a positive influence for me. It gave me my

hunger back,” says Brevner.

His time in New York did more than

just increase his drive, it gave him a greater

awareness of the subjects he wanted to

approach with his material. “A lot of guys

that were up-and-comers around then,

landing pretty decent gigs and shit, were

talking about stuff that was so foreign to

them, but things you have to talk about

being in that arena. For me I spent my

whole career up until this point avoiding

it. I was a product of that stuff, but I didn’t

want to talk about it because it was too

close to home. I thought ‘I’m going to be

different, I’m going to write love songs.’ So

I came back with the hunger to actually

tell my story and not be afraid what local

guys are going to think about me. I always

thought nobody wanted to hear about

this mixed kid from Vancouver talking

about the street because it’s not cool. But

whether it’s cool or not, that’s what I am.”

Though he still looks uneasily at his

shoes when making comments about

doing what he had to do to “survive”

earlier in his career, it seems all his experiences

up until now have landed him

in a place where he can live in his truth.

A truth which can exist as love songs,

closer to the poems he wrote as a kid,

and one that can also exist as jacked up

rap tracks, a self-aware embrace of both

the meek and the militant in himself.

Brevner released his self titled EP on

February 26, before setting out on his

first headlining tour across Canada. As

he talks of his vision for the future of his

city and his collaborators, the defining

quality of Brevner rises to the surface,

he is incredibly focused on the future.

A fast talker and a big dreamer, Brevner

knows exactly what’s on his horizon, shit

just has to go to plan.

Brevner’s self-titled EP is available now via

mattbrevner.com

Brevner is putting in the work and time and reaping the rewards.

by Maya-Roisin Slater

16 MARCH 2016

electronics department


NEIGHBOURHOOD BRATS

retirement is not for the punk at heart

The way guitarist George Rager tells it, Neighborhood

Brats got its start with a conversation

he had with lead singer Jenny Angelillo

at a DJ night sometime in 2009 in the Mission

District of San Francisco. That conversation sounded

something like this:

Rager: “Hey! You’re the girl from [the band] The

Orphans!”

Angelillo: “Yeah.”

Rager: “We should start a band!”

Angelillo: “I’m retired….”

Rager: “No you’re not… come on.”

It was that interaction that got the two working

together. But while they were a good fit for a creative

relationship, finding a band name can be challenging.

The two played their first show under the name Just

Head which was a reference to a Nervous Eaters song.

“We only played as that for one show because I

was like ‘I am not going to be in a band called Just

Head. Just no,’” laughs Angelillo about why the name

got canned, “Then [we were] Roofie and the Night

Stalker. When we started we were writing songs

about like living in San Francisco and the sketchy shit

that was going on there. Unfortunately I had gotten

roofied, and we wrote a song about me getting

roofied…I still can’t believe that we got away with

calling the band Roofie and the Night Stalker for a

couple years.”

“Neighborhood Brats is a song from British band

The Boys, there is a song called ‘Neighborhood

Brats’,” says Angelillo about the final name, “I was

listening to The Boys at work one day and this song

came on and I was like oh that’s a good band name

and George was like ‘I like it’.”

The band, whose current line up is rounded out

with Mike Shelbourn on drums and Dan Graziano on

bass, is high energy with just the right amount of snot

nose attitude. Fast and fun, it is everything punk rock

should be. Rager was right to push Angelillo back

up to the front of a band, she is the ultimate front

person. Energetic with powerful lungs, she brings an

intensity to the band that makes you want to hear

more. Paired with Rager’s ripping riffs you have a

recipe for a great punk group. They are worth any of

the hype they have ever received and deserve more.

The Brats have been through some challenging

stuff together but always seem to find their way back

to each other. They’re album Recovery (2014) was

written and recorded despite difficult life circumstances.

“Recovery was written just by George and I.

George would come over or I would go to George’s,

basically it was written in my apartment in Long

Beach. George would just come over and drink coffee

and lay on the living room floor and [we would]

bounce ideas off each other. We wrote the album

not in the studio, not in the practice space, just him

and I playing songs together,” recounts Angelillo.

“There was a lot of really heavy shit going on for the

both of us while we were doing the album. I was

going through a gnarly breakup, super crazy breakup.

George was going through a breakup of his own. I

had just gotten clean and sober so I wasn’t partying

anymore. We only practiced three times before

we went into the studio. I was living in Long Beach

and everybody was in Southern California and we

recorded up north in Oakland and we would have to

go back and forth between LA and Oakland to work

on recording stuff.”

They have not only persevered through relationship

break ups, moves, health problems, and

the pursuit of sobriety; they actually have survived

through the band breaking up. In 2015 they called

it quits; everything had just gotten to be too much.

Posting a farewell post on Facebook to their fans,

Rager stated that while the decision was difficult

the mayhem of being in a punk band had become

too overwhelming.

“I had too much going on in my life to be managing

a punk band that wasn’t making any money,”

chuckled Rager about the reality of being in a

by Alex Molten

band, “What we are dealing with is the immediate

availability of anything and everything at anytime

and it has repercussions on artist. You know artists

by and large can’t necessarily survive in this type of

environment.”

Despite the difficult environment that the music

industry has become, our favourite Neighborhood

Brats are back, this time with Angelillo talking Rager

out of retirement. They are hitting the road again

and have a lot to look forward to in the next year.

“I’m excited to write again and record a new album,

definitely. And play shows, do everything that

makes being in a band awesome,” says Angellilo,

“It’s what I do best. It’s just, being a performing…

Being a performer is what I do.”

Neighborhood Brats play at the Astoria on March 19

HISSING

a time for angry, depressing music

“We don’t have many frills for our live

show, I think we tend towards a more

workman-like aesthetic. We are all

interested in noise and audio experimentation and have

been talking about incorporating some really jarring

extra-musical sound elements into our live show, so

there’s a possibility that will make it onto the tour setlist,”

says the bass player and vocalist Zach about what

to expect from his band Hissing’s live show, “If nothing

else, there will be a lot of feedback.”

Hissing is heavy and dark and plays a mixture of

black, death, and doom metal. Fast and unsettling the

band seems to strive to stay away from safe places. The

band is rounded out by drummer Sam and guitarist Joe.

They are embarking on a westcoast tour with fellow

Seattle band Un, a funeral metal band that is touring

their LP The Tomb of All Things.

“All of us have been playing music since a young age

and have been in a few bands here and there over the

years. [Hissing] just happens to be the most successful

one that has come of that,” says Zach about the history

behind the band, “We all used to live in small towns

and I think relocating to Seattle has allowed us to do

something that people actually take note of, which is

very cool. I got into metal through punk and hardcore,

I discovered grind and death metal around the age of

seventeen or so and became enamoured with it. I think

the challenge of creating something that demands some

THE SKINNY

real legwork on the part of your listener is what all of

us enjoy about metal, and is certainly the ethos that

informs our music.”

The bands initial release of their 2015 self titled

demo on cassette sold out so they will be rereleasing

it on CD through Olympia based Disorder Recordings.

“We’re recording a batch of new material very soon,

some of which will go towards a 7” that we’re putting

out on Southern Lord, and the rest of which will go

towards one or two potential split releases and another

cassette-only release we’ll have available at tour dates,”

says Zach.

Being a Seattle based band puts similar pressures on

a band that happens in Vancouver. “It rains a lot. Rent

is expensive. The recent gentrification from tech companies

is a real bummer. Just yesterday a Proposed Land

Use sign was posted outside our practice space saying it

was going to be demolished some time this year, which

is incredibly annoying. Although I can’t complain too

much given that there are entire longstanding lower-income

(mostly non-white) communities getting almost

entirely forced out of the city by developers and greedy

landlords driving rent prices up. It’s bullshit and there’s

nothing we can really do about it. If there ever was a

time in Seattle to be writing angry, depressing music,

this is it.”

Hissing performs at the Hindenburg on March 24

by Alex Molten

• MARCH 2016 17


THE REAL MCKENZIES

a quarter century of bagpipes and beers

How do these tartan-clad pranksters do

it? What is their secret sauce? Showing

little slack and growing after twenty

something years of road steady touring and full

houses isn’t easy.

“To tell you the truth, even WE don’t know

how we do it. I suppose it’s kind of like bowling.

You grab the ball, throw it down the lane, and

try to knock as many pins over as possible,”

explains the enduring frontman, Paul Mackenzie.

They might just be onto something sporting

one of the strongest and longest running work

and party ethics to hit this town. “We have an

agenda. We have consulted our Scottish Physician

concerning this matter and she gave us all a

slightly soiled bill of health,” he adds. As for that

secret sauce, ingredients such as beer and whiskey

seem to have leaked in from unnamed informant,

and yes, McKenzie did indeed confirm.

Another contributing factor is the collective

spirit of this band, with all members contributing

and writing, “This circumvents a plateau

effect and keeps us on the up and up,” he adds.

The 2014 release Rats In The Burlap, is well

onto to its second year of touring. This one was

recorded at Motor Studios in San Francisco with

Josh Garcia as engineer and Fat Mike producing,

plus JJ Heath engineering vocals in Vancouver.

The punch of this album is every much RNR as

it is punk, boosting that familiar McKenzie’s

sound. The frontman confirms it: “Yes, we are

in accordance that Rats in the Burlap is just as

much a RNR album as a punk rock album. Please

remember that before there was punk, there was

RNR. The album is doing very well, and it has

expanded the Real McKenzies’ fan base. Now we

have just as many fans punching the air as we do

those punching the haggis,” he says.

On the topic of longevity, there is a landmark

25th anniversary recording in the mix. “in

celebration of a quarter of a century performing,

by Tiina Liimu

touring, and recording. We are looking forward

to our 26th,” he explains. To add to this, they

managed to recruit new lads into the fold: “Two

new guitar player/vocalists and one huge piper

from Basque Country,” says Mackenzie.

With several songs in the demo state, it will

be exciting to hear that massive undertaking in

its full form. “One of our pipers, Gord Taylor is

writing a lot of the material. New songs from

our newest members Dan Garrison and Jono

Jak also adding refreshing sounds,” explains

bassist, Troy Zak.

The Vancouver show has a special line up. The

McKenzies will have two pipers on stage for this

tour kick off and the first tour with guitarists

Jono and Dan. “We’re reunited with BOIDS and

have the honour of sharing the stage with Bishops

Green,” adds McKenzie.

“Getting Bishops Green on the bill was a big

deal for us,” says Zak, sharing former bands with

BG guitarist Scott Farquarson and bassist Adam

Payne plus recording with the latter in his studio.

“The last two releases from this band have

really put them on the map globally and we are

huge fans. They’re a punk band with substance,

and in case you haven’t seen them live they’re

fucking terrifying, they will be a hard act to

follow,” explains Zak.

With kegs and cases being loaded in the

transport, the upcoming show promises to be

an incredible experience. “We have written

a new set with 32 songs, spanning from the

beginning of our career to present day,” says

Paul McKenzie. “It’s a carefully selected set,

with tunes arranged to fuel an unforgettable

extravaganza. On behalf of myself and The Real

McKenzies, we are looking forward to performing

and sharing an excellent St. Patrick’s Day

celebration!”

The Real McKenzies perform at Venue on March 10

photo: Kit Woodland Photo

18 MARCH 2016

THE SKINNY


SUBCULTURE

notes from the underground

I just finished binge watching two years

worth of The Walking Dead over the last three

nights while procrastinating this column. The

parallels are immense: loss, appreciation of

what once was, making do with what you have,

starting from scratch, doing your best, surviving.

Fuck…This sounds like

one of my dad’s lectures

from 35 years ago.

Yes. I miss the Cobes.

Those were special times. I

know where I am now obviously

irks some people.

It has given opportunity

to many and it sucks that

some people are gone.

Shit changes. We are still

here. John the Soundguy,

Cheese, Evil Bastard, Phill

and I, are the remnants

of the corporate cull.

Some new, cool allies have

arrived. I’ve put in six long

years trying to make a go

of this place. It’s tough to feel like you’re on

borrowed time against the swell of gentrification

or hipsters usurping what you’ve built yet

again. Bullshit resistance from your own scene

for whatever reason fucking sucks.

If it’s something I did, I wish people would

be adult enough to discuss it. This seems to be

a world that’s morphing into gutless, gossiping

keyboard warriors. The irrational rumour

mongering and petty innuendo are affecting

people’s lives. I’m sad to see how entitled and

irresponsible society has become. Got an issue?

Own it. I’ve pulled my weight, endured endless

bullshit from scumbags and sacrificed more

than I needed to in an effort to see live music

continue. Grudgingly, I was thrust into a position

of being an authority figure to boozers.

But understand that to exist legally means

there are rules. Anarchy isn’t possible. I had

to be hard on people who could crumble the

scene structure with their hijinks antics.

If your problem is because the bar has a

weird stage, I’ll just laugh. I remember when

by Wendy13

the city rolled into the Asbalt and ordered the

stage removed because it was deemed illegal.

I came into work for a show and the $700

worth of wood we had used for our side stage

was gone. Later, during a shitwater episode

we looked up to the roof and there was the

flooring of the bright red stage

up in the rafters. I had listened to

bands gripe about having to play

on the floor only to see that now

it seems that is all the trendy rage.

I prefer a stage for bands. Deduct

my punk points if you must. At

least the audience can see the

performers and the singers aren’t

losing their chicklets when a mic

gets smashed into their mouth

from an exuberant music fan.

At this point, if the Trump style

“you’re fired” threats became

reality, my Plan B is I’ll just rent

four walls and a roof and sell off all

my venue related equipment and

memorabilia. I still have a P.A. in

storage and the cash register, ice machine, and

other goodies. I could throw some boozecan

style shows for rent revenue while downsizing

my musical hoard. Goodbye Public Storage and

finally space for an art studio in my cave. That

intrigues me. Starting from scratch again to

endure more overlord bullshit does not.

When you have a friend tell you that what

you’re doing is for naught because you have a

“dead” venue, it stings. Sure, old George was

a bastard and the Corporation thinks of me

as a minion and doesn’t appreciate my work,

but I’m still fighting. These are the cards I’ve

been dealt. I’m working with my hands tied

behind my back and am becoming an expert

in damage control. I’m happy to report the

absurd online harassment has subsided as

clicking unfollow and blocking have become

my favourite tool for “Take No Shit 2016.” I will

always wonder who the fuck started that swirling

shitstorm. There are still good local shows

to see here. Buckle up.

THE SKINNY

• MARCH 2016 19


CITY

INCITE 2016

spring evenings of book readings

You might have seen Bif Naked in concert,

but have you seen her helm a book reading?

The singer is part of a long list of writers presenting

at Incite 2016, the series of free, bi-monthly

book readings happening from March through to

May at the central branch of the Vancouver Public

Library. Also on the roster are Haida Gwaii poet

Susan Musgrave, English writer Chris Cleave of Little

Bee fame, and Canadian treasure (and Life of Pi

author) Yann Martel.

If you have the time of your life at Writer’s Fest

every fall, spring is probably when you again feel

the thirst for literature the most. Hal Wake, artistic

director of Vancouver Writer’s Fest, founded Incite

five years ago as a sure-fire remedy. “The attendance

for the series has grown steadily over the years,” he

says. “We have, as a result, been able to bring writers

to Vancouver whom audiences otherwise would

not have seen, even at Writer’s Fest.”

Topics at Incite this year include politics, faraway

places, gender, and global warming. Wake adds that

the readings will explore a genre the Writer’s Fest

has yet to: food. “We have three books, each looks

at food in a different way,” he says. “Stephen Le is an

academic who wrote One Hundred Million Years

of Food — it examines human relationship with

food. Susan Musgrave has written a beautiful book

about food from Haida Gwaii, with recipes and

all.” Alongside literature on the Occupy Wall Street

movement and another about fracking, Incite will

also introduce new novelists like Jess Taylor, Kevin

Hardcastle, and Yasuko Thanh. What’s more, an

entire day has been set aside for poetry, which

will include the works of First Nations poet Gary

Gottfriedson.

Though there’s something for every reader at

Incite, Wake suggests being adventurous. “Make a

discovery,” he urges. “Incite offers the opportunity

to discover a new voice, a new way of seeing things.”

Indeed, there is something perspective-changing

about listening to an author read aloud words that

may have them taken years to weave together.

“Writers sometimes sacrifice money, wealth, time,

and well being to research on and think about important

questions,” explains Wake. “They commit

time and concentration in ways that you and I

can’t…A good book will change how you see the

world, forever.”

It is easy to agree. A good book reading comes

pretty close, too.

Incite 2016 takes place at the central branch of the

Vancouver Public Library from March 2 to May 14

Bif Naked is one of the many talented writers offering a perspective change for Incite 2016.

by Prachi Kamble

photo: Karolina Turek

A VAGRANT KIND OF LIFE

looking between the lines

For Erdem Taşdelen, one cycle is ending just as

another begins. Taşdelen is the current artist-in-residence

at the Burrard Arts Foundation

and his upcoming exhibition, A Vagrant Kind of

Life, coincides with him re-locating from Vancouver

to Toronto.

The exhibition centers around a poem Taşdelen

assembled using excerpts from an 1802 work

of non-fiction. The source, A Historical Account

of the Discovery and Education of a Savage Man,

chronicles the bizarre tale of “Victor of Aveyron,” a

boy who was discovered in the woods of southern

France. Victor was unable to speak and was

assumed to have lived alone in the woods for most

of his life. The story has inspired numerous artists,

including the great French director François Truffaut,

and Taşdelen has explored the material before

in a film that re-imagines the tale in present-day

British Columbia.

Taşdelen’s poem will be shown using a slide

projector. “Each slide is basically a line of the poem,

so it unfolds in seventy lines,” he explains. The timing

of the slides will slice the poem up neatly into

segments of text, creating a visual rhythm inherent

in the sound of poetry.

Though Taşdelen is a visual artist, his work is

deeply preoccupied with language. “I feel like my

work is sort of the intersection between visual

arts and text,” he says. More specifically, Taşdelen

explores the instances where language fails us,

something he thinks it does “more often than not.”

But this is a good thing as much as it is inconvenient.

“That’s why there is literature, I think,” he continues.

“[Language] is not a one-to-one equation and that’s

where all the interesting stuff happens.”

Given Taşdelen’s impending move, it’s easy to

read into the exhibit’s title and the rootlessness

that’s at the heart of Victor’s story. Taşdelen, however,

sees his work as more of a folk tale than autobiography.

“The poem I composed is descriptive of

the boys situation but not very specific to that story,

so it’s sort of more like a fairy tale.” After all, “wild

children” like Victor are almost invariably hoaxes

Erdem Taşdelen brings non-fiction, poetry, and visual art together into one project.

by Meredyth Cole

and the retelling of these stories intrigues Taşdelen

more than their potential legitimacy. Again, it is the

nuances of language that inform this work.

But, Taşdelen admits that vagrancy, as a metaphor,

is something he can relate to. “I would not

see myself as that just because I’ve lived in multiple

places,” he says, “but I do because I don’t feel like

there is one home — I don’t think I ever will and I

think a lot of people might relate to that feeling.”

A Vagrant Kind Of Life runs at the Burrard Arts Foundation

from March 3 - April 2

20 MARCH 2016

city


JONATHAN GOLDSTEIN

wrestling with the mysteries of being

Calling from his agent’s brother’s small

penthouse apartment in the Upper

West Side of Manhattan, Jonathan

Goldstein is about as Hollywood as it gets for a

Canadian radio host.

Goldstein started his career reading essays

on air, moving on to produce for National

Public Radio’s wildly popular show This American

Life, eventually leading him to host his

own program for the CBC, a little thing called

Wiretap.

“I used to do magic as a kid, which I think

in a lot of ways is sort of like telling jokes.

You know, there’s a punchline at the end, the

surprise of some sort of magical affect. But I

wasn’t a very good magician, my hands would

get sweaty, I would drop all the coins or the

balls. That is to say I think I come at it maybe

not as a native storyteller, but as someone

who needs to structure his thoughts on paper.

I guess I came to it as a writer, as someone

who was trying to figure out how to tell good

stories that wasn’t very good at it in real time,”

says Goldstein of his abilities as a storyteller.

Though he doesn’t classify himself as one, with

three books and hundreds of hours of anecdotes

on tape, a storyteller is what he is.

In his book, I’ll Seize the Day Tomorrow,

Goldstein discusses the existential anxieties he

experienced in the 52 weeks leading up to his

40th birthday. He asks himself: “With so little

to show for it, is it possible to even call myself a

grownup?” Both in person, on page, and on the

radio, Goldstein is an eloquent and extremely

detailed storyteller, but the defining quality

of his work, which sets him apart from the

other witty NPR-types, is that all his stories are

drenched with some sort of existential dread.

The thesis of each harrowing tale seems to be a

statement on the cosmic joke.

“I was recently having this conversation with

my wife about this feeling of continuity with

the person you were as a child, and the person

you were at all the different stages of your life.

I feel pretty much always the same. Whereas it

seems she, and a lot of other people the more

I talk about it, don’t really feel that sort of kinship

with who they were. And maybe because

of that kinship I have a harder time getting

over things, because I’m not able to feel the

same objectivity and say ‘oh well that was just

me as a kid,’” he says. It’s this connection with

the injustices of infancy that gives Goldstein

his special power, the ability to speak from the

voice of childhood, when he was just a sweaty

palmed amature magician and a comedian

afraid of punchlines. In speaking from this

voice he strikes the chord of that nervous kid

still hidden deep in all of us.

With a healthy balance of childlike wonder

and cynicism, in July of 2004 Goldstein broadcasted

his first episode of Wiretap. Wiretap

was a surreal radio show that ran for 11 years

on the CBC. Some episodes were fictional,

others non-fictional, but all played with the

concept of reality and introspection. Without

the extensive resources that were at his fingertips

while he was acting as a producer for This

American Life, in the beginning Goldstein had

to rely on his imagination to fill in the gaps.

“There wasn’t really anything like that at the

time on the CBC. Radio was considered a very

newsy medium and everyone took what they

heard at face value. Initially people would believe

things they heard on the show, and then

as time wore on that began to change. There

was a kind of formlessness to it that, over time,

became a format. I wanted to speak with people

I found interesting. I also wanted to be able

to write fantastical stories that had an element

of magical realism and flights of fancy. I also

had people in my life I wanted to share with

the audience, like my parents and friends, so it

encompassed that element too,” he explains.

Wiretap saw its end last year, marking the

beginning of a new era for Goldstein, who is

now in the process of challenging himself with

a new show. This new show, which will be put

out by New York-based podcasting company

Gimlet Media, will encompass many of the

same sensibilities as Wiretap, but in the real

world and with more reporting. In doing so,

Goldstein hopes to unapologetically make a

deeper dive into longform storytelling.

In the downtime before he unleashes the

program on us, he’s travelling around to festivals

telling his stories up close and personal.

He will be joining us in Vancouver on March 31

as part of Chutzpah! a Jewish arts and culture

festival that has been running in the city for

the past 15 years. Judaism has played a big role

in Goldstein’s life, or at least his past life. As

a senior in high school he was very seriously

considering joining Yeshiva, a Jewish institution

where students go to intensively study religious

texts. “One of the stories I’m working on

right now, in fact when we get off the phone

I’m going to be working on it, is a story about

my near entrance into Yeshiva when I was a

teenager, and kind of trying to go back and

re-trace what went wrong, why I didn’t end of

devoting my life to religion,” says Goldstein.

Though he chose the less devout of two paths,

he still feels Judaism has helped shape his way

by Maya-Roisin Slater

of processing the world and, in turn, his way of

telling stories. “This is something that I’m still

working on, but I think what I’ve learned has to

do with the balance between being revenant of

the mystery that we’re all living inside of and

surrounded by a kind of good spirited sense

of humour. I always described it when I was

growing up as a Jew’s relationship with God is

one of wrestling. Like you’re always wrestling

with the truth and the things that you’re supposed

to do. You’re duty bound to observe, it’s

a questioning faith, which is why there’s all this

sort of exodus and talmud. At the same time

personality-wise, I think there’s something

about questioning authority that makes me

uncomfortable. Maybe that’s why I’m drawn to

writing, because I do my questioning behind

people’s backs, because questioning authority

to their face seems kind of awkward or nervous

making. Basically, I’ve learned from it to bear

the mantle of a human being that wrestles

with the mysteries of being,” he explains.

As a storyteller Goldstein will continue to

embody these lessons he drew as a child from

faith. With each new tale, whether real or fantastical,

he recounts moments of people wrestling

with the mysteries of being. The mysteries

of almost being 40, the mysteries of family

dinners, the mysteries of forlorn child stars

from the 1970s. It is often in plain sight where

the biggest mysteries lie, Jonathan Goldstein

applies a voracious curiosity to the mundane,

trying to solve the puzzle of existence one

story at a time.

Jonathan Goldstein will be speaking on March

31 at the Norman & Annette Rothstein Theatre

(Vancouver).

Prolific author and radio personality, Jonathan Goldstein is marking the beginning of a new chapter with a brand new show via Gimlet Media this year.

city

• MARCH 2016 21


EAST VAN BAZAAR

The Bazaar is coming to East Vancouver.

This traveling market of arts and crafts,

which has been setting up shop in

various locations around the city since 2014,

has found its latest home at The Hall just off

Commercial Drive. The Bazaar first formed

after the closing of Studio East, the muchloved

alternative live events space and gallery,

sparking a “go big or go home” mentality in

founders Luke Summers and Stephanie Mc-

Carty. Thrifty shoppers may be familiar with

other popular communal markets under the

pair’s helm, including the East Van Ham.

Providing artists and dedicated people of

craft with an outlet to the public, the Bazaar

offers a large range of all things handmade

and there are no boundaries placed on the

assortment of wears being sold, provided

that the products are of the “made in house”

variety. There are over 40 vendors, the roster

constantly changing according to location in

a reflection of its community. Given Commercial

Drive’s predisposition for the strange and

artsy, the market’s stay in East Van looks to

be worth checking out. Keep your eyes peeled

for Marta Burnay’s beaded jewelry, insect and

reptilian curios from Odditorium, and sweet

treats (including Nutella macarons) made by

Sharon Sun.

March 5 marks the Bazaar’s first date at

The Hall and it’s a perfect time to get into

the spring weather and check out what your

favourite local artists have been up to during

the rainy season. Finding weird knick-knacks

to adorn your house in and stocking up on

farmer’s market foods are just a couple added

bonuses — I even got word of potentially

seeing some breweries getting on board in

the future.

If you are of those introverted artistic types

and spend all your time making things in the

house with the blinds drawn, this could be a

great way to get out and meet your community.

$75 gets you the space and basic equipment

needed to open your own little shop and

applying is easy as looking them up online.

Or, you can just spend a couple hours getting

lost perusing some locally-made treasures.

Either way, vendor or vagrant market-goer, this

Bazaar has more than enough to fill up your

shopping cart.

East Van Bazaar will be held at The Hall (1739

Venables St.) on March 5

THE TUCK SHOPPE

your friendly neighbourhood market by Fraser Marshall-Glew sandwiches — a love story by Paris Spence-Lang

Farmer’s Market veggies, knick-knacks, and more!

If you’re a cyclist like me, you’ll notice a

strange sensation as you blow down Union

Street, past good old Gore. It’ll pull you off

the road and, before you realize what you’ve

done, you’ll have locked up your fixie (because

you are riding a fixie, aren’t you, you trendy peddler).

The sensation leads you to a storefront

you’ve never seen before: The Tuck Shoppe.

Why haven’t you noticed it? Because it’s

new? Maybe, but probably because you were

too busy feeling big in the city and it’s only now

that the Tuck Shoppe has found you ready —

ready to slow down, ready to lay into your life

again, ready to eat a crafty sandwich and drink

a goddamn pint.

There’s a vintage Sears canoe on the ceiling.

I find the paddle in the bathroom, along with

a poster of Veronica saying she loves Canada. I

find the proprietors, Adam Merpaw and Zach

Buckman, engaging with their clientele. Introverts

beware.

Borne from the idea that businesses can be

enjoyed, Merpaw and Buckman built this place

with no pressure in mind. “The store’s full of indulgences,”

they tell me, whether you’re being

indulged by the kitchen or the taps (I’m drinking

a first-run cider from the guys at Bestie,

bone-dry). “It’s stuff you can get excited about.

It’s somewhere you can go to get a sneaky pint

in on your lunch break.”

Though it’s hard to be sneaky in the Tuck

Shoppe — everyone knows each other. And it’s

Low pressure, localized eatery is bound to grab your attention.

not just the people: fresh ingredients grown

and baked within walking distance are the

foundation here. The guy from Union Street

Cycle is finding a bike for the hostess while he

waits for his sandwich.

I start with the celery root soup. Scratch

stock, fennel, and pork belly lardon, and I think

we develop an emotional connection.

For the sandwich, from a distinctive menu of

six options, I chose the French onion dip with

brisket, Swiss cheese, caramelized onions, fresh

horseradish, and a side of onion jus, broiled

on the cashmere of baguettes and served with

Hardbite chips and an unbelievable store-made

pickle spear.

Look, I don’t care if your brisket was bred

in Alabama, this brisket kicks your brisket’s

cattle-branded ass. Marinated for 24 hours,

cooked sous-vide for another 24, I welled up

with this food in my mouth. I well up. Churches

need to stop with their wafers and start serving

French onion dip, because I’m pretty sure

Jesus’s heart pumped onion jus.

“What did you think?” Ha. Stupid question

— not even the great poets could describe

love. They give me a home-made fruit roll-up

as a parting gift and I go to leave. But next time

you notice a strange sensation as you blow

down Union…

The Tuck Shoppe is located at 237 Union St and is

open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.

22 MARCH 2016

city


COMEDY

SIMON KING

finding consistency in change

by Victoria Banner

Sometimes a change of scenery can provide a

new context and the result can be exciting to

witness. BeatRoute recently took the time to

catch up with Vancouver’s loudest export, Simon

King, before his triumphant return to the Comedy

Mix. King was a decade-plus fixture of the Vancouver

(and Canadian) comedy scene before moving

to the UK in the spring of last year. He moved to

the UK after doing all the things there were to do in

Canada (JFL, Halifax/ Winnipeg Comedy Fest, hour

long comedy special) and the states (recording his

Unfamous album).

Independent comedians don’t have international

touring record deals the same way musicians do, so

the only way to progress is to tackle one country

at a time. The first thing you want to know about

is, what is comedy like outside of the centre of the

universe: Los Angeles, California?

“I’ve learned so much but one on the most

important things is how universal comedy can be,”

Says King on his new surroundings, “it’s surprising

how much material is completely transferable. It’s a

window into the similarities of people all over, not

just Europe and The Americas. I’ve taken material to

the Middle East and Asia that I was worried wouldn’t

translate and it’s made the leap no problem. Every

politician who wants to start a war with a country

should go be a comedian there for a bit, you’d be

surprised just how much alike we all are.”

King is lucky in the way that his strong, smart

political writing is backed up with an almost Robin

Williams-esque level of high-energy showmanship.

His fast paced loud delivery lubes smart progressive

ideas into the tightest of buttholes. He has

successfully navigated the social justice climate of

the internet age while keeping a firm grasp on the

truth, all with the entertainment value of someone

who eats solely off of being funny. He compares

himself to punk music: political, silly, and loud. He

carries those ideals in his artistic choices. He’s self

produced two subsequent comedy specials - one

at The Rickshaw Theatre in Vancouver and one

at Vern’s in Calgary (That’s a deep cut for all the

rockstars reading this).

Kings’s styling has created many fans over the

years allowing him to do/sell out epic takeovers of

cheap-as-free dive bar stages; the ONLY place to

see him. He’s packing the ever-classy Comedy Mix

this time round but if you follow him on Twitter

@unfamous you could probably coerce him out

to the drive for some bourbon. All across Canada

Mr. King has been known to be wildly friendly and

seems to be having luck with our stiff upper lipped

friends in the UK “I’ve made some wonderful new

friends overseas. In no small part because I’m a

happy drunk. Plus who doesn’t love Canadians?”

Simon King performs at the Comedy Mix March 17-19

Being Unfamous hasn’t stopped Simon King from taking the crown of comedy.

JAMES KENNEDY

rising star stays on his hustle

James Kennedy started from the bottom, now he’s here.

“In the words of Jay-Z, ‘hustle hard in

any hustle that you pick.’”

That was a post from comedian

James Kennedy’s Facebook page the day

he was scheduled to chat comedy with

Beatroute. This changes the conversation

from “wAs ThE FiRst TimE YoU dId CoMeDY

ScARY derrp?” to “TELL US YOUR

WAYS HUSTLE WIZARD.” Tell us he did

and hustle he does.

Vancouver’s newest comedy golden

boy arrives to chat in a black jeep covered

in skateboard and Wu-tang stickers.

A skater himself, Kennedy is undeniably…cool?

Old school comics would

love to tell you that stand-up comedy is

a sanctuary for losers: get on stage and

talk about how your wife won’t touch

you because your dick doesn’t work and

the audience has a good long laugh at

your troubles. Everything James Kennedy

has done in the past two years is a

slap in the face to long held Canadian

comedy industry beliefs, just as comics

are *supposed* to be losers it’s also

supposed to take 5-10 years before you

could be considered a headliner.

“I don’t consider myself a headliner”

says Kennedy, who headlined the coveted

Yuk Yuks New-Years show. “Right now I’m

just keeping my nose down and focusing

on getting good at comedy. That is why I

don’t have much content: no website, no

clips on Youtube. I don’t want that until

I’m good,” says the man who won two

major Vancouver comedy competitions

in two days apart within months of first

taking the stage. Obviously Kennedy has

a different definition of “good” than the

average comedy newbie who’s got some

real earth-shattering insight on Jared

from Subway.

With the bar for quality set as high

as his aspirations, Kennedy’s starting

point (weekends at the comedy club) is

most comedians end goal, but he is far

from done. “I want to be able to work in

the States as quick as I can.” (Another

comedy goal that takes 10+ years.) “I

want to buy a van and tour the whole

country with my girlfriend.” A touring

musician and DJ for most of his 20s,

Kennedy is not one to shy away from the

rock and roll dream. Now thirty-one, his

late start in the comedy game, usually

a career killer, has only ignited his

trajectory combining years of hands on

indie production knowledge and deadly

natural talent.

“I started producing comedy shows

out in Port Moody, near where I grew

up, I just kept putting the best guys on

it.” His current weekly show (Kings Head

Comedy every Tuesday @ 9pm) keeps

by Victoria Banner

that level of quality while taking chances

on promising local hustlers. “You can see

who is putting in the work and who just

wants it with no effort.” His commitment

to integrity comes off as either an

inspiration to or a thorn in the side of

many local acts. He draws his inspiration

from his aggressively outspoken love of

rap music and the heroes he’s picked

within the genre. He easily quotes Kanye

West “Lock yourself in a room doing five

beats a day for three summers. I deserve

to do these numbers.”

Kennedy is out on the Vancouver

scene working on new material every

night so you’ve probably seen him

around, but if by some miracle you

haven’t- follow him on Twitter @jimmykcomedy,

find out where he’s playing

and treat yourself to some serious next

level effort.

“Two years ago today I drove to

Kelowna to perform for free with no

accommodations more than willingly

because I wanted to do my first 25 minute

set. This week I’ll be doing 25 minute

sets opening for Tim Meadows as part of

Just for Laughs Northwest,” says Kennedy.

Spoken like a true hustler.

James Kennedy performs at Yuk Yuk’s on

March 10-12

COMEDY

• MARCH 2016 23


IF I HAD 15 MILLION DOLLARS

a vague offering from the BC government

Last month the BC government pledged 15

million dollars to grow Vancouver’s music

industry into “the Nashville of Canada.” I was

at the press conference and while it was not unlike

many press conferences, it was still very weird.

It began as it often does with people making

sure their name was on the guestlist (though I

don’t think the $7 dollar cover was life shattering if

it wasn’t). Atop the stairs in their finest “look professional

attire” (black shirt, buttons, less ripped

jeans) was easily the largest, soberest congregation

of “music industry professionals” I’ve ever seen.

Few were sure what was up, though whispers of

“it’s money” floated through the room, presumably

because we all got the invite describing the event

as Music Canada’s launch of the BC Industry report.

Music Canada basically commissions research

about the music industry in Canada; check out

their report comparing Toronto to Austin for a

good time! I was looking forward to a discussion

about the report’s findings and recommendations,

because facts and objectivity are like unicorns in

the idealist wastelands of the Vancouver music biz.

However, the plot changed when it was announced

that Premier Christy Clarke was going to speak.

If you’ve never seen the Warehouse Studio 2

live room, it’s deliciously large. Yet, the bulk of

attendees were corralled for the announcement

within three meters of the back wall, separated

from the podium side seats by a breaker of

tripods and reporters. Within this sacred space

were the VIPs, which included seats for Chad

Krueger and Matthew Good (his old guitar player

was with the mob). At the front stood Michael

Buble, the head of the BC Chamber of Commerce,

the new guy at Music BC, the Premier,

and the Music Canada dude. Praise was delivered

unto an absent Brian Adams for opening segregated

meters of space to us all.

First to speak was Music Canada, referencing

the challenges and opportunities listed in the

report. I encourage you all to read it in a brightly lit

space with a magnifying glass, because the printed

version uses a barely visible sans serif font. He went

on to introduce Michael Buble, who’s job it was to

introduce the Premier. Why? WHY!?!

Atop emerald green platform shoes, the

Premier praised music as a source of personal

developmental strength, derived from DOA

shows and Vancouver’s now defunct Richard’s

on Richard’s. Eventually she made it to the magic

words, “15 million dollars.” The VIPs instantly

rose to their feet in applause. She went on to pay

lip service to “challenges,” “young artists,” and

“housing costs.” When she finished I would have

given anyone in that room $100 to tell me what

the province was actually going to do with the

money. And I wasn’t alone.

The first question from the crowd was along the

lines of “You’re saying this money will help young

and struggling artists who are being pushed out of

Vancouver by housing costs. How?” The Premiere

said something about education; Buble interjected,

not understanding the question, though in

You get a fur! You get a fur! You get a jet! You get a jet! You get a….

by Art Price

his defense I can see how cost of living challenges

didn’t compute. The press got into the eye-rollingly

pointless issues and won hearts and minds with

questions about MSP premiums and Alberta’s

economic woes. Luckily for all of our sanity, Dan

Mangan managed to sneak in one last question. To

paraphrase, “Hey, 15 million is great, but what are

you going to do with it?” With the Buble smokescreen

already deployed, the Premier again referenced

funds, education, and finally FINALLY that

the BC Music Report’s recommendations would be

used as the road map to how to use the funds.

It was then time to flee; I paused only for a

moment to notice the album mastering session’s

worth of cheese and snacks that had been set up

for mingling. My soul craved a rainy walk back

towards Main Street to reset the Lotus Land

reality meter.

photo: ???

24 MARCH 2016

city


FILM

THIS MONTH IN FILM

At a recent film event, Michelle Muldoon

stood chatting with three other writers.

The only woman in the conversation,

Muldoon was brushed off when another

attendee joined in. “He introduced himself to

everybody in the group but me, never looked at

me, and left…I was the one who worked with

the festival and the group, yet he felt I couldn’t

be important enough to chat with, he didn’t

take the time to find out what my involvement

with the festival was. I know many other women

who’ve had similar experiences,” she says.

This is the current climate for women

working in motion pictures. Yet Women in Film

and Television, an advocacy group as well as

the organizers of the International Women in

Film Festival, is working tirelessly to address the

pigeonholing and discrimination felt by women

in the industry. Muldoon, a screenwriter and a

board member for WIFTV, joined us in a crowded

downtown café—americano in one hand,

Moleskine full of statistics in the other— to

talk about inequality in film and how it can be

balanced in the future.

“Statistically, it’s abysmal as far as behind the

camera goes. Also it’s the kind of roles women

are getting in front of the camera...It shouldn’t

always be the girlfriend, the wife, the bitchy

boss. That’s best exemplified by the Geena Davis

Foundation’s philosophy…What they say is, if

you can see it you can be it. That’s why they

feel roles in front of the camera are so important

for young women, because what they see in the

media is what they can aspire to. We have a right

to see ourselves on screen…The more women

directors there are, and influencers behind the

camera, the more complex roles and the more

speaking parts there are for women in front of

the camera,” explains Muldoon.

Despite indefatigable work over the subsequent

27 years since its inception, WIFTV has yet

to solve all problems of inequality in the industry.

So for those young women who are looking to

pursue a career in this field, while the path to get

there is still discouragingly uneven, Muldoon has

this advice “Expect to hear no and don’t listen to

it. Don’t listen to the naysayers, just keep putting

one foot in front of the other and find people

who want to walk that journey with you.”

The Vancouver International Women in Film Festival

runs from March 8-13

WHERE TO INVADE NEXT

Vancouver International Women in Film Festival by Maya-Roisin Slater make america great again? by Reid Duncan Carmichael

Let’s talk about gender inequality in film and how it can be balanced in the future.

Let’s be honest—America has dropped the

ball on winning wars. At the beginning of his

latest sardonic escapade, Where to Invade

Next, Michael Moore points out that The US

of A hasn’t really won a war since WW2, which

means that, despite shovelling tax dollars down

the military’s throat, they haven’t been entitled

to a victor’s usual spoils. (You know, the death of

communism, cheap oil, and the elusive WMD.)

So Moore, beloved socialist documentarian,

planned his own campaign. Hat on head, flag in

hand, he set out to invade countries that America

can actually take something from, things

America needs more than oil or power. Foreign

concepts like “health care,” “rehabilitating prisons,”

and “healthy school lunches.” Yes—commie

things. And even he was surprised to find how far

America has fallen.

Moore’s premise is ambitious, but as far as

documentaries go, it’s a well-realized piece of art

that makes a point: The US spends too much

money on its military and not enough on the

health and happiness of its people. But while

some of the ideas that Moore wants to steal

are obvious to us Canadians, some are exciting

finds, and some are downright surprising—did

you know there’s a Muslim country in Northern

Africa that has comprehensive women’s

health care including free birth control and

abortions?

True to Moore’s style, the film shows rather

than tells. Moore plays his part well, but he lets

the footage speak for itself. Almost everyone

interviewed was surprised to hear that America

wasn’t as great as it let on and that added

volume and depth to his argument. “What do

you mean you don’t have government-mandated

vacation time in America?” quizzed one

Italian couple that had nine weeks of it. His

points were made well from one interview to

the next and all he had to do was pit the idiocy

of the current American standard against their

foreign counterparts. Bravo Michael.

Free education may still be a foreign concept,

but Where to Invade Next is a cheap (and

pirate-able) alternative to a foreign policy class.

It makes a point and a case throughout its

seductive narrative. It’s entertaining to watch

while staying true to itself. It’s heartfelt, bold,

and informative. In the age of Bernie Sanders

and Donald Trump, this is a must-see—especially

since Canada has a lot to learn, too.

Where to Invade Next is currently in limited release

and can be seen at Fifth Avenue Cinemas and

International Village

Michael Moore travels around the world and discovered just how regressive America is.

FRIDAY LATE NIGHT MOVIES!

19+

VALID ID FOR

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VISIT WWW.RIOTHEATRETICKETS.CA FOR SHOW TIMES & TICKET PRICES

WHAT BETTER WAY TO

SPEND YOUR FRIDAY NIGHT?

MARCH 4 GUMMO MARCH 11 SPACE JAM MARCH 18 TRAINSPOTTING MARCH 24 FIRE WALK WITH ME

ALSO SERVING GRILLED

CHEESE SANDWICHES,

BEER, POPCORN AND

NIGHTLY DRINK SPECIALS!

Film

• MARCH 2016 25


THE VIDIOT

irreverently reporting on whats new on store shelves

by Shane Sellar

Brooklyn

The reason why the Irish settled in Brooklyn was

due to Manhattan’s strict public intoxication laws.

Surprisingly, the cailín in this romantic

movie is a wee bit of a teetotaler.

Sponsored by her family’s former priest (Jim

Broadbent), Eilis (Saoirse Ronan) is able to

leave Ireland behind and settle in Brooklyn,

where she subsequently works in a shop.

At a dance she meets - and later marries - Tony

(Emory Cohen). But when she returns home for a

funeral, she keeps her nuptials a secret so she can

flirt with an eligible Irishman (Domhnall Gleeson).

Complete with authentic Irish and annoying

Brooklyn accents, this complex yet cottony

coming-of-age love story is a sincere snapshot

of 1950s New York, while Ronan simply

embodies the naivety as well as the mixed

emotions of becoming an American.

Moreover, it reminds us that not all immigrants are

terrorists; they’re also letting in two-timing hussies.

The Good Dinosaur

If an asteroid hadn’t wiped out the dinosaurs

then the Flintstones would

have been the first reality TV show.

Instead, this family movie reimagines that

non-extinction scenario as a cartoon.

After losing his father (Jeffrey Wright), a naïve dinosaur

named Arlo (Raymond Ochoa) is separated

from his mother (Frances McDormand) during

a flood and forced to find his way back home.

En route, Arlo befriends a laconic cave boy

he names Spot, and receives guidance from

an array of prehistoric predators (Sam Elliott,

Anna Paquin, Steve Zahn) who may or may

not want to eat the travelling companions.

With unconventional character designs,

mature themes involving loss and scary

scenes of animal-on-animal violence, The

Good Dinosaur is a definite departure from

Pixar’s predictably upbeat output.

Unfortunately, none of these new elements

help make this black sheep a classic.

On the bright side, if dinosaurs had survived

we’d all be wearing Velociraptor leather coats.

Trumbo

One telltale sign a screenwriter is a communist

is they name every male lead character Sergei.

Wisely, the sympathizer in this drama

used American names in his scripts.

Accused of imbedding anti-American rhetoric

into his scripts, gossip columnist Hedda Hopper

(Helen Mirren) and actor John Wayne (David

James Elliott) see that card-carrying communist

Dalton Trumbo (Bryan Cranston) is imprisoned.

Blacklisted, he must sell his post-prison scripts to

schlock producer Frank King (John Goodman) under

pseudonyms, until Kirk Douglas (Dean O’Gorman)

petitions to get him credit for Spartacus.

Meanwhile, his family (Diane Lane, Elle Fanning)

suffers at the hands of his daunting schedule.

While the casting of the real-life actors portrayed

in this biography is questionable, this

quirky account of Hollywood’s red witch-hunt,

and its most outspoken victim, is a fascinating

and frightening account of historical hysteria.

Scarier still, back then you had to write movie

dialogue without using the F-word.

Steve Jobs

If it weren’t for Steve Jobs, men would

have to hand-deliver their dick pics.

Erroneously, this drama explores his

lesser contributions to society.

Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Jobs (Michael

Fassbender) is confronted by his ex and her

daughter, whom she claims is his, moments

before he’s set to reveal a new product before

his CEO (Jeff Daniels), investors and the media.

While he denies paternity, he eventually forms

a friendship with her that follows him to his

next company. Meanwhile, her mother and his

friends and colleagues (Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen)

start to resent his hubris and inhumanity.

With snappy yet highly improbable dialogue

supplied by Aaron Sorkin and kinetic clips

combined with static stage shots from director

Danny Boyle, this academic adaptation

of the Apple mastermind’s memoir is laborious,

pretentious, and melodramatic.

Besides, Steve Jobs isn’t dead… Apple is just

waiting to unveil their latest version of him.

Crimson Peak

To really make it as a female novelist

in the 19th century, one had to adopt

a pen name ending in Brontë.

Instead, the fledgling author in this thriller

accepts the surname of a baronet.

Following her father’s funeral, horror-fiction fan

Edith (Mia Wasikowska) weds a British industrialist

(Tom Hiddleston) who transports her across the

pond to his Gothic estate, where he works and

resides alongside his sister (Jessica Chastain).

But buried beneath the red clay of the country

manor are restless spirits that haunt

Edith, warning her of her hosts’ iniquity.

From director Guillermo del Toro and featuring a

bevy of sinister performances, Crimson Peak is a

stunningly shot Victorian ghost story with atmospheric

set design and a palpable sense of dread.

All of which help to elevate it past the gratuitous

gross-out of standard horror schlock.

However, lesser minds are going to assume that

everyone at Crimson Peak is menstruating.

Spotlight

The Catholic Church opposes abortion because

they need more children to molest.

Fortunately, the journalists in this drama

are putting a stop to the latter.

When Marty Baron (Liev Schreiber), the new editor

of the Boston Globe’s investigative department,

gets wind of a lawyer’s (Stanley Tucci) claim that

the Archbishop hid allegations of sexual abuse, he

directs his team (Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo,

Rachel McAdams) to focus solely on this story.

Their findings unearth dozens of victims still waiting

for justice, an archdiocese simply relocating

the accused, and negligence on the paper’s part

for not publishing tips it had received years prior.

The unfortunate true story that shook Boston

to its core in 2002, Spotlight’s ensemble

cast shines as a beacon of excellence

equal to the journalists they portray, while

the script is detailed but not exploitive.

However, the Catholic Church exacted

its revenge when the Internet destroyed

newspaper subscriptions.

Spectre

With his parentless upbringing, eccentric

enemies and endless gadgets, it’s obvious

that James Bond is really Batman.

And while Gotham City is not on Bond’s itinerary

in this action movie, he does travel extensively.

While Agent 007 (Daniel Craig) goes about

exposing a clandestine criminal empire run by a

ghost from his past, Blofeld (Christoph Waltz),

his boss M (Ralph Fiennes) tries to keep MI5 from

shutting down the Double O program in favour

of a worldwide intelligence gathering initiative.

With help from a Quantum scientist’s

daughter (Léa Seydoux), Bond ascertains

that the two may just be connected.

The 24th instalment in the British spy franchise,

Spectre certainly serves up some ambitious

action sequences and unexpected surprises.

However, those revelations are more

inane than intriguing, while the main

villain is just feeble in general.

Moreover, doesn’t Spectre realize that the only

way to thwart James Bond is with an STI?

The Last Witch Hunter

The best way for a witch hunter to attract their

prey is to saturate themselves in warlock urine.

Fortunately, the huntsman in this fantasy has

other methods of detection at his disposal.

Seconds before she is slain, the White Witch

curses the witch hunter Kaulder (Vin Diesel)

with life ever after. While he survives the posthumous

pandemic that she unleashes on the

Middle Ages, his wife and child are not so lucky.

Eight centuries later, with help from

a pair of priests (Michael Caine, Elijah

Wood) and a dream-walker (Rose Leslie),

Kaulder continues to kill covens content

on resurrecting their ivory empress.

With its monotonous narrative, second-rate

special effects and daft dialogue delivered by

its disinterested and one-dimensional lead, Last

Witch Hunter trudges along the well-trodden path

of all the sorcery stories that have come before it.

Besides, there is nothing tackier than having a

stuffed witch’s head mounted on your wall.

Bridge of Spies

The biggest difference between American

and Russian spies is Americans won’t

trade military secrets for blue jeans.

Mind you, the only trading transpiring

in this drama is of a human nature.

Hired by the U.S. government to represent

accused KGB agent Rudolf Abel (Mark Rylance),

insurance lawyer James B. Donovan

(Tom Hanks) goes on to negotiate Abel’s

exchange with Russia for a downed U-2 pilot

(Jesse Plemons) and an American abroad.

On the home front, Donovan’s wife (Amy

Ryan) and family are unaware of the dangers

he faces on the wrong side of the Berlin Wall.

Scripted by the Coen Brothers, directed by

Steven Spielberg and starring Tom Hanks, Bridge

of Spies is award bait at its best. But, when

balanced with the real-life intrigue of Cold War

diplomacies, it’s also those artists’ finest hour.

Furthermore, for a successful Cold War negotiation,

be sure to bring some McDonald’s with you.

He’s a Portobello Mushroom Cloud. He’s the… Vidiot

Brooklyn

The Good Dinosaur

Crimson Peak

Spotlight

The Last Witch Hunger

Bridge of Spies

26 MARCH 2016

Film


albumreviews

Iggy Pop

Post Pop Depression

Loma Vista

A ghost is haunting the 17th and likely final album

by James Newell Osterberg, Jr. The ghost of Osterberg’s

friend, producer and collaborator David

Robert Jones. From the bifurcated city of Berlin

they cut a swath through 20th-century rock and

roll, becoming the quintessential rock stars, living

harder than anyone could and still recording songs

as universally beloved as “The Passenger,” “Lust for

Life” and “Nightclubbing.” With The Stooges, Pop

took up the mantle of filth-encrusted rock ’n’ roll

laid down by the Sonics and straight up invented

punk rock. Decades later musicians are still picking

up instruments because they want to be one of the

two: feral, primitive Iggy Pop or mercurial, post-human

David Bowie.

The former left on January 10th of this year, gifting

the world the album Blackstar, recorded in secret

as he was dying of cancer. While it was no Alladin

Sane or Low, having Bowie’s spectral hand on your

shoulder as the man who has been so many people

and lived so many lives grapples with his mortality

does something to the listener.

If Blackstar was the ultimate rock star forging for

himself a life after death then Post Pop Depression

is that same figure living a death in life, having outlasted

his “usefulness” (Pop’s term, from an interview

with Rolling Stone). The title itself is all you need to

know about the content: what happens to Iggy Pop

after Iggy Pop?

It’s a story he’s been telling at least since 2001’s

Beat ‘em Up. His last few albums feature the kind

of “kids these days” rants masked as righteous

anger that characterize artists who have outlived

themselves (complete with Sum 41 and Green

Day cameos), then take a sharp left turn into Jazz

standards and chanson on 2009’s Préliminaires.

Bowie never did anything like that: in the nineties he

was recording jungle and drum and bass songs, on

Blackstar he was influenced by Kendrick Lamar and

Death Grips.

Pop recorded the album with Josh Homme of

Queens of the Stone Age and Eagles of Death Metal,

one of the few figures in contemporary music who

could conceivably have lived through Pop and

Bowie’s champagne- and cocaine-fuelled Berlin years

and come out the other side. The collaboration was

initiated by Pop, who sent a package of lyrics and

poems to Homme along with, tellingly, his recollections

of the recording sessions with Bowie that

Reviews

produced his best solo work, the albums The Idiot

and Lust for Life.

The least charitable reading of Post Pop Depression

is that Pop and Homme have produced a

decent Berlin-era David Bowie album. This would

not be a terrible capstone for his career: Bowie

acknowledged that he made Pop his “guinea pig” on

The Idiot for ideas that would come to fruition in

Low, the first part of his Berlin trilogy. If Pop’s first

solo album was a covert Bowie album, then his last

has every right to be. A layer of fuzz covering the

bass on “Gardenia” could be scraped away and what

would be left would be the funky yet still robotic,

sparse, cold sound of “Sound and Vision.” Elsewhere,

“Sunday”’s chorus borrows the distinctive cadence of

Bowie’s own choruses, “Heroes” in particular, though

the bulk of the song is reminiscent of Television and

Talking Heads thanks to a bassline that gets stuck in

your soul beneath a guitar line that’s more silence

than sound.

As a Josh Homme album, the latest in his Desert

Sessions, it fares better. Queens’ have never topped

2002’s Songs For The Deaf, though …Like Clockwork

came close, but as an artist Homme still has

the vitality, the “usefulness,” that Pop is mourning

on this record. He sounds like he can keep this up

for another twenty years, likely because he can and

will. As a vocalist he hits the high notes that Pop’s

low-end drawl can’t, as a guitarist he’s the best Iggy’s

worked with since the Stooge Ron Asherton, as a

producer he can take overdriven bass and make it

sound as clear as church bells. Homme once said

that he dissolved his first band, Kyuss, because he

couldn’t write anything as good as The Idiot and

Lust For Life, and he handles the compositions here

with the reverence Pop has earned.

But where is Iggy Pop in all of this? His voice is still

intact, still registering in the low frequencies and still

evocative of a well-read guy from the wrong side of

the track. Lyrically he’s a mess, jamming whatever

rhymes into an ABAB schema and telling when he

should be showing. His sloppy lyricism contributes

to the album’s major low point, the song “The Vulture,”

which brings us the couplet “his evil breath/

smells just like death/he takes no chances/he knows

the dances” over Ennio Morricone guitars, brass

and bells. Despite this song and other missteps the

album remains solid, and Homme’s production is a

big part of that, but a bigger part is Pop’s willingness

to finally say, “I’m done” and the license that gives

him to revisit his glory days.

Written by Gareth Watkins

Illustration by Zach Hoskin

• MARCH 2016 27


Baauer

Aa

LuckyMe

Let’s get the “Harlem Shake” part of this

review out of the way. Baauer helped create

trap music as an EDM staple, and that

created a viral staple of the early genre’s

wall of shame. Lame dads on newscasts,

pre-Snapchat tweens and YouTubers who

would die out with the Ice Bucket Challenge

all embodied the spirit of the mis-named

“Harlem Shake” phenomenon. But can we just

let Harry Bauer Rodrigues live at this point?

He lost damn near every cent he made on the

track, has made weird but irresistible shit for

LuckyMe ever since and has finally deigned to

put out an album four years after that cringey

piece of internet history.

Aa reckons with trap, to be sure. In fact

it sneers in the face of all its copiers with

detonators like “GoGo” and the brutally

MC-showcasing “Day Ones.” Baauer shows

that when trap is used right, it’s completely

unstoppable.

There are plenty of politely inconspicuous

transitions, too. But where Rodrigues really

hits home (aside from his reclamation of the

throne) is when he goes head to head with

worthy collaborators like unrepentant UK

oddball Tirzah for art school garage track

“Way From Me,” Slumdog-gone-Wu Tang

cut “Temple” with G-Dragon and M.I.A.,

vogue-referencing “Make it Bang” with TT the

Artist or perfectly contemporary “Kung Fu”

with Pusha T and Future.

It would be easy to hate on this album for

making no sense, but every left turn brings

another “oh shiiit” moment. Turn up.

• Colin Gallant

Big Ups

Before A Million Universes

Exploding In Sound

Masters of the grungy slow burn into talkcore

explosions, Big Ups bring together the

best of both worlds on their dynamic sophomore

offering, Before A Million Universes.

A forceful emotional punk blueprint, these

New York brats bruise their way through

a rollicking whirlwind of an album. Tough

yet introverted, meandering with focus,

Before A Million Universes references Walt

Whitman’s Song of Myself, “And I say to any

man or woman, Let your soul stand cool and

composed before a million universes”. Cool

and composed, frenetic and completely not

composed at the same time.

At their fastest they recall Single Mothers,

at their slowest they recall heavy psych stalwarts

like Destruction Unit; at their loudest

they recall METZ and at their snottiest they

recall Pissed Jeans. These are just some touch

points however, as they mostly recall Big Ups,

and they’ve perfected their indie punk hybrid.

The standout track is clearly “Capitalized”

which they teased fans with back in December.

As the title suggests, it’s a seething anti-capitalist

rant. “Tell me what you’re worth

/ Salary, two weeks off from work?” screams

Joe Galarraga.

The album slows right down at “Meet Me

Where We Are” and the heavily emo intro

to “Negative.” There’s an odd cow-punk/Big

Black sound to “Hope for Someone” followed

by the power fuzz of “Knight,” which ends

with a minute of chirping feedback noise.

“National Parks” is slow burning grunge

ballad about Galarraga’s mother, the album’s

second single and sharp juxtaposition to the

aforementioned “Capitalized.” It all comes

together with the final track, the five-minute

“Yawp.” The song is such a crazy mix of styles

and makes a perfect closer to the album.

From sneering to sensitive, livid to laidback,

political to personal, Before a Million

Universes is the best sophomore record a

band could ask for.

• Sean Orr

Seth Bogart

The Seth Bogart Show

Burger Records

Seth Bogart

On his debut album under his given name,

Seth Bogart is a Hunk without his Punx. Not

that he needs them: Bogart has personality

to spare and lays himself out more vulnerably

here than on any past release. The idea

of making a “show” of himself gives him

permission to be upfront under the guise of a

plastic performance. Bogart skewers and acknowledges

the ease of slipping into a vacant

Angelino with opener “Hollywood Squares.”

This track sets the musical tone of lo-fi but

punchy pop hooks via crunchy guitar and

plinky synths, and also sets up the dynamic of

real vs plastic to follow.

Despite its playful title, “Forgotten Fantazy”

is an open look at Bogart emerging from

a moment of romantic weaknesses to reclaim

his own identity. “I’m surrounded by your

thoughts / But I’m not listening,” he sings

sternly but tenderly to the lover who has

smothered him.

Bogart further explores his romantic entanglements

with the saccharine post-jealousy-tantrum

of “Smash the TV” and asks to be

wanted on “Lubed Up.”

The Seth Bogart Show doesn’t completely

shed Bogart’s penchant for glitzy camp;

“Eating Makeup” is equal parts TLC and John

Waters, with a stupendously bratty vocal turn

by Kathleen Hanna, and “Nina Hagen-Daaz”

splits the difference between outsider art and

consumerism.

Through it all, Bogart manages be tongue

in cheek without detaching himself from an

honest exploration of self in relation to the

over stimulating world around him.

• Colin Gallant

The Cat Empire

Rising With the Sun

Two Shoes Records/Fontana North

The Cat Empire’s newest release, Rising With

the Sun, is a celebration album. Even the

cover is a depiction of the ‘Ojos de Dios’ (Eyes

of God), a celebratory image in Mexican culture.

Since their beginnings in 1999, the band

has developed somewhat of a cult following.

Not easily categorized by genre, the music

they create is catchy, fun, most of the time

upbeat and anthemic. Using live instruments

with the addition of some DJ trickery, the

band has a unique ‘jamming’ kind of sound.

Songs such as “Midnight” are as beautiful as

they are relaxing, where other songs such as

“Bataclan” are powerful and loud. “We kept

everything fresh,” said frontman Riebl, in

a album press release. “We were confident

because we had a sound from our previous

record (2013’s ‘Steal The Light’) that we were

really happy with, so that was our starting

point, it was just a matter of going back to

that physical space and coming up with new

songs.” Overall the album feels fresh. Despite

some instances of repetition between tracks,

the Cat Empire masterfully tackles genres the

likes of reggae, ska, jazz, and even some hints

of rock n’ roll.

• Foster Modesette

Cold, Cold Heart

How the Other Half Live and Die

Fluttery Records

On their debut outing, Cold, Cold Heart have

added some new vigor to the post-rock genre

with a beautifully complex set of songs. Hailing

from Southern England, the three-piece

have been garnering attention and praise on

UK radio for good reason.

How the Other Half Live and Die is a

journey full of emotion based on the lives of

the three members — debilitating disease

(MS hindering 10 years of member Robert

Mannings life), deaths, heartbreaks and disillusionment.

The record is so powerful, even

in its most stark and barren moments.

You can feel pain building in the cinematic

soundscapes that make these songs feel so

vast; tracks “Mountain” and “Megan” are fine

examples of this, but it’s a theme throughout.

The songs journey to a point where you know

pain has become so insufferable that the only

way to alleviate it is for the crushing sound

of distorted guitars to break the seal. And as

you listen through those moments like you

are living them, you then emerge on the other

side as the songs reach a calmness, granting

you the realization that things are maybe not

so bad after all.

• Adam Rogers

HÆLOS

Full Circle

Matador Records

Hailing from the rainy streets of London,

HÆLOS’ debut, Full Circle, rampantly evokes

melancholy and other feely emotions through

symphonies plied by synths and electronic

beats. Sampled in the first track “Intro/

Spectrum” is a glimpse of a lecture of famed

philosopher Alan Watts, known as “The Spectrum

of Love”:

“We know that from time to time there

arise among human beings people who seem

to exude love as naturally as the sun gives

out heat. These people, usually of enormous

creative power, are the envy of us all, and, by

and large, man’s religions are attempts to cultivate

that same power in ordinary people.”

Watts sets us up for an elegiac journey inward.

Full Circle poses questions to the heart,

and causes us to reflect while getting lost in

the ether through hypnotizing beats. Though

the album is gloomy in nature, the electronic

trances pick up the soul acting as an elixir to

cure the sadness and drill toward the very

center of existence.

The vocals are well blended; the feminine

and masculine dynamic is cohesive – reflective

of the XX’s work. With ethereal vocals

and sultry beats, who wouldn’t want to dive

through the despondent depths of one’s own

thoughts and past?

• Shayla Friesen

Greg Laswell

Everyone Thinks I Dodged A Bullet

Vanguard Records

Everyone Thinks I Dodged A Bullet begins

with the track “I Dodged A Bullet,” in which

he declares, “I’m not going to tell my new

friends about you/ No, I’m going to let that

slide” is a caustic song that reveals how lovers

become strangers. Laswell’s low, rumbling

baritone voice (reminiscent of Leonard

Cohen) combined with mournful strings and

intimate, often gut-wrenching lyrics plays

like a lullaby for the broken hearted. Everyone

Thinks I Dodged A Bullet is a mix of

atmospheric rock, melodic ballads, a dash of

electronica and feels intrinsically personal as

he takes you through the gamut of emotions

that come with love and heartache. The line

from “Not The Same Man“ proclaiming, “I’ve

got great big plans since you’ve seen me last

/ I’m not the same man” is enlightened and

bold, while the line “You love your husbands

too / As long as they don’t belong to you”

from the track “Out Of Line” is biting and

callous. This is the album you would listen

too after a break up, lying in bed, wallowing

in your sorrow. And this is not meant in a

bad way; Laswell skillfully draws out a visceral

response and creates a bond between artist

and listener. Misery or not, this album is good

company to keep.

• Aja Cadman

28 MARCH 2016

Reviews


THE

ROAD

TO

DUBLIN

MARCH 1 - MARCH 17

Drink Irish Beer, Go to Ireland

Featuring a new

Irish beer every day.

OLD SCHOOL

H I P H O P

with

FKYA DJs

and

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CLUB HITS

ALL NIGHT

The Lamplighter · Library Square · The Bimini

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The New Oxford · Tavern · The Three Brits

donnellygroup.ca


Heron Oblivion

Heron Oblivion

Sub Pop

Heron Oblivion’s self-titled debut is a hypnotic

trove of cacophonous, fuzz and wah-drenched

psych-rock that wraps itself in the warm, yet

menacing embrace of film noir ambience.

Throughout the first side, the band deftly

moves from an ethereal, Mazzy Star vibe, lifted

by the dreamy, distant voice of vocalist and

drummer Meg Baird, to the massive, buzz saw

dual-guitar crunch of Charlie Saufley and Noel

Von Harmonson. The album’s second cut, “Oriar”

drops like a bridge collapse, an elephant of

a riff punctuated by screaming fuzz wah that

somehow finds its way to a calm, softer place

where Baird’s voice gently soothes, if only long

enough to find us back underneath the structure’s

fall. “Sudden Lament” is a slight left turn

from the madness, surf guitars stacked against

a melody that lives slightly under the mix, only

to turn celestial in the chorus, with a wild,

MC5 instrumental break that barely holds on

long enough to lead us back to the chill surfer

vibe. “Faro” moves even further outside the

looking glass, the heavy vibrato of its intro riff

mixed with a janky clean guitar creates a weird

balancing act, driven by Baird and Ethan Miller’s

“Peter Gunn” groove, moving with all the

swagger of a rhinoceros, fully aware it needs

only forward momentum to make its point.

There’s beauty and there’s chaos; for Heron

Oblivion, there seems to be little middle

ground between the two.

• Michael Dunn

If I Look Strong; You Look Strong

Yamaha PSR-248

Non-Minutiae Records

There’s always a certain excitement that

comes from listening to a new If I Look

Strong; You Look Strong (IILS;YLS) release.

Noah Michael, the solo-artist behind the

project is probably one of the hardest working

people in Calgary’s musical community.

He’s a multi-instrumentalist with hands in

numerous projects, and his influences are

as diverse as IILS;YLS’ body of work. His past

releases have ranged from classical influences

to electronic to heavy metal and punk, and

this latest even comes with a hint of jazz.

The second track is what you might hear

if Aphex Twin took a xanax and collaborated

with Hudson Mohawke or Arca but overall

the subsonic experience is IILS;YLS’s alone.

The five-song effort is extremely diverse

but for the right listener is a fun, eclectic, and

dazzling sample of Michael’s influences and

output.

• Trent Warner

Into It. Over It.

Standards

Triple Crown Records

Into It. Over It. is the brainchild of Chicago-based

singer-songwriter Evan Weiss. In

the past, Weiss’s prolific output quantity

and raw, unvarnished lyricism earned him a

strong underground following. 2013’s Intersections

found Weiss and co. at the forefront

of the “emo revival” that saw a resurgence

in the plain-spoken, confessional rock made

popular in the ‘90s by bands like American

Football. Now, with the first wave of the

“emo revival” in the rear view, ITOT bring

forth their third full-length Standards.

Standards was written during a lengthy stay

in a secluded Vermont cabin in the dead of

winter. The results of these getaways often

result in album’s like Bon Iver’s For Emma,

Forever Ago introspective and cold. While

Standards stays in line with the thematic

qualities of ITOT’s past catalogue—relationships

and self-inspection chief among them—

it’s surprisingly the band’s most upbeat

album.

The band seems more mature, even if

it’s only been a couple of years in between

releases. The music is arpeggiated and polyrhythmic,

often sounding like a cut straight

from emo progenitors Sunny Day Real Estate’s

best work. Clean electric guitars often

lock together in complicated riffs, the drums

syncopated to them forming a dizzying bond.

If anything, Standards is acknowledgement

that relying on trends to forecast music often

leaves great bands in the lurch.

• Jamie McNamara

Lionlimb

Shoo

Bayonet Records

Lionlimb, out of Nashville, TN, is releasing

their first full-length album entitled Shoo.

The newly created band is made up of Stewart

Bronaugh, Joshua Jaegar and Angel Olsen.

Lionlimb is a resurrected project, originally

started in 2010, that was put on hold while

lead Bronaugh worked his day job. Along

with the influence from ‘70s psych-rock,

there is a clear jazz influence to the 11 songs

on this album, heard in the piano, organ, and

drum rhythms. The album opens with “God

Knows,” showing off Bronaugh’s understated

soft vocals (which is eerily similar to the

late and great Elliot Smith) and guitar riffs

that are straight out of the ‘70s. The middle

song, “Hung,” features Angel Olsen’s delicate,

serene voice, complementing Bronaugh’s.

Along with the guitar and piano on this song,

the two voices blend effortlessly together so

naturally, creating a supremely dreamy duet.

“Crossroad” closes the album beautifully with

the addition of a sprightly saxophone solo.

This last song is probably the loudest on the

album, due to this musical addition, ending

the collection of songs on a high-note. This

album in its entirety is a slow progression to

the bright sax-laden finish, but with Bronaugh’s

intimate vocals, the catchy melodies,

and lo-fi guitar riffs, Shoo is a strong and

sweet endeavor from start to finish.

• Nicole Angus

Low Levels

Low Levels

Shake Records

The late ’70s new wave explosion could be

seen as a gift that keeps on giving in terms of

keeping the punk rock art form alive and as

NEW PORTRAIT WORK by SHIMON

04·02·2016 7:30pm to Late B3- 238 East 10th Ave. Vancouver, BC

www.shimonphoto.com

Reviews

• MARCH 2016 31


vital as it sounds today on this debut from

Vancouver’s Low Levels. All those grimy

and dysfunctional urban decay inspired

sounds make an appearance, like the use of

skeletal dissonant guitars that zap back and

forth, held together by a relentless pulsating

rhythm section. The co-ed vocal approach

between guitarist Al Boyle and bassist

Emily Jayne on “Just Kids” added to the jerky

rhythms of the math rock genre, taking this

short romp of an EP much higher in unexpected

ways. On “Strip Mall” the coveted

off-key wail is shouted with perfection,

delivering such great lines as “Got my reasons

for running away / got my reasons to make

you pay.”

The weaving guitar lines move you lower

and lower but the constant shouting lifts the

mood, not unlike riding a tidal wave into a

sleeping city.

• Dan Potter

Northwest Division

Orange & Black

Independent

Enterprising hip-hop group Northwest Division

are here for the long haul. Their latest

offering, Orange & Black, hits the ground

running with “Zero To 60,” in which emcees

Junk and Hungry take aim at unworthy

glory-hunters who refuse to embrace the

grind. Energetic lead single “Dunning Kruger”

doubles down on the deluded artist, capped

by a feature from Billboard-charting Strange

Music wizard and fellow rapid-fire lyricist,

Rittz.

Orange & Black contains no shortage of

swagger, but the strength of this self-aware

alliance lies in their sincerity and versatility,

aided by dynamic production from E.N.G.,

Chin Injeti and Stroker DeLuca. Junk and

Hungry are equally adept, providing hope

with the uplifting “Change” and taking a

moment to reminisce on “Reflections.”

Anchored by the titular hometown anthem,

the loyal Van City crew are determined

to realize their vision. They’re simultaneously

wary of distraction and their own vulnerability

with mature confessionals that also

capture the project’s inspirational tone, particularly

“Like I Lived” and “Gon’ Get It.”

Northwest Division are unapologetic for

their ambition. Though propelled by urgency,

they value the journey. But make no mistake,

they’re enjoying the ride.

• Nadeem Zayed

RJD2

Dame Fortune

RJ’s Electrical Connections

Ramble Jon Krohn (RJD2) has created a Soul

Space Jam Opera with Dame Fortune, mining

the pulse of Philly Soul to add historical

flavour to his voyage into the heart of the

current American Condition. A very cinematic

album, Dame combines the experimentation

and slick sample work RJD2 has become

known for over the past two decades with

live instrumentation and Philly flavour, enabling

the album to sound half like a soul album

and half like an ode to escaping humankind

in favour of space travel. The leap into

the album that is “A Portal Inward” sounds

like the song that plays when Flash Gordon

is going up on E, and it is followed by a feast

of sonic twist and turns. The exciting mad

scientist Paul’s Boutique glory days vibe of “A

New Theory,” the slick psychedelic backbone

of “The Roaming Hoard,” the strings and

soul carrying the velvet refrain and pleading

message of Jordan Brown in “Peace of What,”

the big brass groove of “Sheboygan Left.” At

the seventh inning stretch that is “PF Day

One” (short for Post Ferguson, in reference

to the Ferguson shooting and subsequent

protests) the album shifts to a lonely alien

cosmic journey, complete with surprise

strings amongst the latter-career Moody

Blues style synths. It pulls on the emotions in

a way that prepares your ears well for things

to come; like the peyote dream of synth and

drums that is “My Nostaglic Heart and Lung,”

or the high stakes signature RJD2 flow in “Up

in the Clouds.” The standout is “Band of Matron

Saints,” with its live multi-instruments,

its diggable riffs, its swaggering flow, the Billy

Preston style keys and the reverb laden howl

of Josh Krakcik; this song defiantly strides

with zero fucks to give. By the time the Death

Valley heat stroke finish of “Portals Outward”

spits you out with a deceivingly tender afterglow,

you feel both lonely and stimulated; a

perfect mindset for re-examining the notion

of peace and human unity in modern times.

• Jennie Orton

The Zolas

Swooner

Light Organ Records

Swooner, the third full-length album by

Vancouver natives The Zolas, is a 10-track

compilation of melodic rhythms and dancelike

anthems, with a unique, almost tropical

undertone.

The album begins with the infectious single

“Molotov Girls,” an upbeat indie party anthem.

Swooner continues in a similar vein throughout

the majority of the track list, with catchy

lyrics about good friends, relationships and

love. The album carries a theme of contrast

as vocalist Zachary Gray alternates between

somewhat breathy vocals, to a deeper, yearning

sound.

Other exceptional songs include “CV Dazzle”

and “This Changes Everything.” The former

leaves a slightly more intense impression than

other songs on the album, with powerful

chords and a strong electronic presence. In

contrast, “This Changes Everything” is a soft

request to a lover.

Swooner is an energetic endeavor, with insistent

lyrics that are uplifted by a harmonious

combination of keyboard, guitar and drums.

A particular sound that stands out in multiple

tracks is reminiscent of steel drums, which is

instrumental in providing the listener with a

summery, nearly tropical feeling.

In a word, Swooner can be called an anthem

— an ode to good times and youthful

nonchalance.

• Zenna Wilberg

32 MARCH 2016

Reviews


livereviews

Propagandhi

The Rickshaw

February 6, 2016

FEATURED CONCERTS

VICTORIA, BC

photo: Tiina Liimu

As I waded through the diverse

crowd on Saturday, Propagandhi’s

second night at the Rickshaw, it

was apparent that the show, which

was tacked on when the Friday

performance sold out, was much

needed. This legendary Canadian

punk band still has powerful pull,

and with more than just the punk

community.

As the band took to the stage,

the crowd readily reciprocated Propagandhi’s

energy. I haven’t been

to a show with so many dedicated

fans in a very long time. A sweep

of the crowd revealed that many

members of the audience didn’t

just know the lyrics of the bigger

hits, but the words to seemingly

every song. One of the things I

really admire about Propagandhi

is their accessibility. They play

well-constructed songs that are

likeable, while still communicating

about societal and global issues

of oppression. Seeing a mass of

people singing along to songs that

promote critical thought is a relief

in a world normally hypnotized by

sheepish pop radio.

Propagandhi are also obviously

well seasoned professionals, and

played a tight set to prove it. Their

hired gun guitarist Sulynn Hago,

who stepped in for David “Beaver”

Guillas, meshed great with the

band. While some of their songs

have a pop flavour, their live show

is all punk: fast and loud. Leaping

around their discography, they

played a very different set than the

night before, I discovered this while

chatting with a fan who attended

both nights.

As Propagandhi brought their

set to a close, they played a cover of

“I am a Rifle” by Vancouver’s Rebel

Spell in memory of the band’s lead

singer Todd Serious, who past away

last year. They brought members of

the Rebel Spell out to sing back ups

and this emotionally charged song

was definitely the highlight of the

night.

To sum it up, the show was great.

Not only did I thoroughly enjoy the

band, I also liked the audience. It

was great to see how wide-spread

Propagandhi’s appeal is. Socially

conscious punk for all!

• Alex Molten

WE ARE

THE CITY

PLUS HIGHS

SAT MARCH 12

LUCKY BAR

FAST

ROMANTICS

PLUS LABS

FRI MAR 25

LUCKY BAR

JON AND

ROY

PLUS WILD ROMANTICS

AND ZOUBI AND THE SEA

FRI MAR 18

SUGAR NIGHTCLUB

WINTERSLEEP

PLUS GUESTS

SAT MAR 26

SUGAR NIGHTCLUB

Wet

Biltmore Cabaret

February 10, 2016

It’s difficult not to resort to

stereotypes or feminine tropes

when describing Wet’s on-stage

presence at The Biltmore Cabaret

last Wednesday evening. To

characterize singer/songwriter

Kelly Zutrau as “the girl-nextdoor”

and qualify her confessional

songs of heartbreak as the

tense bridge between the virginal

and experienced persona might

be an injustice…it also might

draw comparisons between her

and early Christina Aguilera

(before she was X-tina), Jessica

Simpson (without the prominent

Christianity), or Mandy Moore

(remember her?). Those references

may be dated, but the point is

that there’s something nostalgic

and pure about the Brooklyn-based

band’s singer that isn’t

commonplace in the current

pop genre. From Zutrau’s tender

clinging of her microphone and

her thoughtful, unchanging expression,

to the outfit of red tab

Levi’s blue jeans and red shortsleeved

blouse, to the clarity

and strength of her voice – the

singer endeared the audience for

an hour of solid R&B-influenced

pop balladry.

The truth is, it’s this selfconscious,

slightly awkward and

undeniably unspectacular quality

that makes Wet exceptional. On

the heels of the January release

of their debut LP, Don’t You, the

fact that The Biltmore sold out

a humpday show proved the

effectiveness of the media hype

surrounding the band, who have

recently been championed by

both The Fader and Billboard.

The set began with album

opener “It’s All in Vain,” which

was botched by the addition

of an unintentional track

playing through the speakers.

Zautrau pointed out the mishap

afterwards, adding, “It sounded

like Death Grips.” From then

on it was mostly smooth sailing

through the eleven tracks that

comprise Don’t You.

The introspective nature of

Wet’s lyrics, which centre on the

end of a relationship, may be

accountable for the restrained

live show translation. Though it’s

not hard to imagine that Wet’s

sound won’t be confined to

small, low-key venues for much

longer. Hopefully, it’s not at the

expense of their charm.

• Thalia Stopa

photo: Josh Grafstein

STEVE DAWSON

AND THE BLACK HEN

TRAVELLING

ROADSHOW REVUE

FRI APR 1

ALIX GOOLDEN HALL

THE

ZOLAS

PLUS GUESTS

FRI APR 8

SUGAR NIGHTCLUB

BAND OF

RASCALS

PLUS DMALAHAT AND

STINGING BELLE

FRI APR 1

SUGAR NIGHTCLUB

WE HUNT

BUFFALO

WITH WAR BABY AND

BUZZARD

SAT APR 9

LUCKY BAR

FOR FURTHER CONCERT LISTINGS & TO

PURCHASE TICKETS, PLEASE VISIT:

WWW.ATOMIQUEPRODUCTIONS.COM

Reviews

• MARCH 2016 33


VANPOOPER rating the best (and worst) of Vancouver’s public toilets

by Michelle Hanley

English Bay Bathhouse Uncle Abe’s Belgian Fries

The beaches in Vancouver are lovely and serene places where you can do

stand-up paddleboard yoga in the middle of winter. English Bay is a popular

spot for such activities. It was also was recently named one of the

best beaches in the world by a bunch of misinformed people who never

had the displeasure of swimming through goose poop, lemon wedges,

and glow stick wrappers. The bathrooms at English Bay are located in a

beautiful, pastel coloured, art deco bathhouse. Unfortunately the inside

of these bathrooms are not nearly as pleasant as the outside. Instead

of maintaining the beautiful 1930’s look, it was renovated into another

smelly, poorly maintained public park bathroom. I’ve also heard that the

stalls in the men’s room are super short so everyone can see you poop.

The Cactus Club is next door and they have award-winning bathrooms.

Go drop a deuce there instead.

Uncle Abe’s is a great new bar in Mount Pleasant, tucked away

between a pizza shop and a falafel place. The sign outside proclaims

that it is a “Super Great Fun Times Spot,” and I concur. It is delightfully

kitschy and cozy, with funky 1970s decor. Its owners previously ran

the Rumpus Room, which was torn down to make way for yet another

condo development. Classic Vancouver!

This bar is quirky as hell and the bathroom is no different. Upon

entering, the first thing one notices is the ATM in the bathroom, right

across from the toilet. Finally! A place where you can simultaneously

poop and withdraw an irresponsible amount of cash to spend on

three too many cocktails. My favourite thing about this bathroom is

the poster of the hunky, Speedo-clad scuba divers on the wall. You

Abe-solutely got to poop here!

I suspect that there is nothing particularly Belgian about Belgian

Fries. It specializes in the very distinctly Canadian dish of poutine and

always has loud salsa music playing. Despite this, I am fond of the

place because of my love of everything deep fried. Did you know they

have deep fried ice cream on the menu? How is that even a thing?

The bathrooms here are surprisingly clean, despite the fact that the

walls are absolutely covered in incredibly juvenile graffiti, mostly of

inspirational quotes and teenage declarations of love. It easily rivals

Bon’s Off Broadway as the most graffitied bathroom in the city. Some

of my personal favourites included “Stop Trying To Empower Me

While I’m Taking a Shit” and “The Fries were O.K.” Much like their fries,

their bathrooms were just O.K. three poops out of five.


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