BeatRoute Magazine Alberta 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.

The Heirlooms • Wintersleep • Fever Feel • Hermitude • Amelia Curran • Carcass • Iggy Pop


Editor’s Note/Pulse 4

Bedroom Eyes 7

Places Please 11

Vidiot 18

Edmonton Extra 30-31

Letters from Winnipeg 32

Let’s Get Jucy! 35

This Month in Metal 45

FEATURES

Junos 8-9

CITY 8-13

Convergence, Edmonton Cat Fanciers,

Rumble House, Coming Out Monologues

FILM 15-18

Batman: Mask of the Phantasm,

Switchblade Sisters, Alberta Filmmakers

Podcast, Netflix & Kill

TABLE OF CONTENTS

MUSIC

rockpile 20-32

Heirlooms, Nap Eyes, Radio Radio, The

Zolas, Wintersleep, Silverstein, We Are

Not Ghosts, Fever Feel, Collapse, Dead

Pretty, Tens Only, The Real McKenzies,

Wares, Empress COmedy Night, Versions,

Space Classic, Ghost Twin, First

Date Touring

jucy 35-36

Convergence, Hermitude, Sunday Skool

roots 39-41

Amelia Curran, Mary Gauthier, Mo

Kenney, Zachary Lucky, David Francey

shrapnel 43-45

Carcass, Massgrave, Black Tusk, The Sword

REVIEWS

cds 47-54

Iggy Pop and much, much more ...

live 56

Calgary Songs Project, Elder, The Revival

BEATROUTE

Publisher/Editor-in-Chief

Brad Simm

Marketing Manager

Glenn Alderson

Advertising Manager

Ron Goldberger

Production Coordinator

Hayley Muir

Managing Editor/Web Producer

Shane Flug

Music Editor/Social Media Consultant

Colin Gallant

Section Editors

City :: Brad Simm

Film :: Joel Dryden

Calgary Beat :: Willow Grier

Jucy :: Paul Rodgers

Roots :: Liam Prost

Shrapnel :: Sarah Kitteringham

Edmonton Extra :: Jenna Lee Williams

Letters From Winnipeg :: Julijana Capone

This Month’s Contributing Writers

Gareth Watkins • Christine Leonard • Jennie Orton • Sarah Mac • Lisa Wilton • Michael

Grondin • Kyle Lovstrom • Sara Elizabeth Taylor • Alison Musial • Graeme Wiggins • Tiina

Liimu • Foster Modesette • Robyn Welsh • Trent Warner • Breanna Whipple • James

Barager • Michael Dunn • Lisa Marklinger • Shane Sellar • Brittany Rudyck • Michael Dunn

• Jamie McNamara • ZennaWiburg • Maria Dardano • Jonathan Lawrence • Dan Savage

This Month’s Contributing Photographers & Illustrators

Michael Grondin • Jodi Brak • Sarah Mac • Sebastian Buzzalino • Zach Hoskin • Beau

Ioeffler • Louie Villanueva • Leda & St. Jacques • Kit Woodland • Issakidis Photography •

Marlous Dirks • Paul Wright • Matt Smirg • Eric Newby • Kent Neufeld • Tim Hatch • Levi

Manchak • Robert Szkolnicki • Keith Skrastins • Geoff L. Johnson • Stephanie Catbutt

Wintersleep - page 23

Advertising

Ron Goldberger

ron@beatroute.ca

403-607-4948

Distribution

We distribute our publication in Calgary, Edmonton, Banff, Canmore, and Lethbridge.

SARGE Distribution in Edmonton – Shane Bennett (780) 953-8423.

e-mail: editor@beatroute.ca • website: www.beatroute.ca

Connect with BeatRoute.ca

Facebook.com/BeatRouteAB :: Twitter.com/BeatRouteAB :: Instagram.com/BeatRouteAB

Copyright © BEATROUTE Magazine 2016. All rights reserved. Reproduction of the contents is prohibited.

COVER PHOTO: MATT BARNES

photo: Norman Wong

BEATROUTE • MARCH 2016 | 3


PULSE

Saturday, March 19

7:30 pm

Gasoline Alley

Heritage Park

Historical Village

1900 Heritage Drive SW

OYR’s WINE STAGE

Sexy, stylish and sophisticated, Wine Stage celebrates its 17th year as

Calgary’s premier wine and food event. At this dramatic fundraiser

for One Yellow Rabbit Performance Theatre, guests will savour the

world’s finest wines from the city’s best wine merchants, expertly

paired with the succulent culinary creations of Calgary’s most

celebrated restaurants. All proceeds from this event will support

One Yellow Rabbit Performance Theatre.

SHIP’s TALENT SHOW

In a media release The Ship and Anchor announced it “will be the sole

producer, allowing the Calgary Folk Music Festival to focus on new

programming directions.” This years contest has four categories for

musicians of various ages and stages in their careers. Entry deadline April 26.

LOST ART at the GLENBOW

For over 30 years, the status of Robert McInnis’ painting The Demise of

Seventeenth Avenue was “missing” – and its disappearance was no small

feat for an such enormous work. Three years in the making (1979 – 82),

the epic painting consists of 13 panels containing portraits of artists,

gallery owners, patrons, framers and others involved in the art scene on

17th Avenue in Calgary’s core at the beginning of the late ‘70s’ boom. The

Glenbow exhibit begins March 5.

4 | MARCH 2016 • BEATROUTE


LATE NIGHT at THE PLAZA

one part talk show, one part stand-up, one part talent search, all parts lunacy every second Wednesday night

Wacky Late Night hosts, Kyle Lovstrom and

Logan Cameron. Follow them on Twitter:

twitter.com/LateNightPlaza

BEATROUTE • MARCH 2016 | 7


CITY

BUFFY

SAINTE-MARIE

Five decades strong, Sainte-Marie is a JUNO nominee for the

Best Contemporary Roots and Best Aboriginal Album of the Year

The title track from Buffy Sainte-Marie’s 1964 debut album was “It’s My Way.” A searing testament of

independence and determination that helped launch a career that propelled her through five decades

as a folk singer, writer, poet, activist, multi-media artist and philanthropist. In 2015 she re-recorded

a gripping version “It’s My Way” for Power In The Blood which won the Polaris Music Prize for the best

Canadian album. This year, that album is up for another two awards: the JUNO’s Best Contemporary Roots

and Best Aboriginal Album of the Year. Buffy took the time to talk about a little about doing it her “way”,

unconditional love and the evolving state of Treaty 7.

“It’s My Way” ....You’ve carved out something for yourself. You have both rewards and your burdens, but

you’re taking responsibility, you’re accountable for your actions. It’s like an affirmation to be you—carry

the weight, you’ll have your day in the sun. A message of strength, leave the bitterness behind. That’s a

powerful thing to have. What is it deep inside that gives you that honesty and endurance?

Thanks for all that. I don’t know what else to call it but the Creator, the Great Spirit, also known as Mother Nature,

the Sacred Feminine, the Holy Spirit, – I fell in love with music, animals and the Creator as a real little kid

when I had nothing else, and it’s always stuck with me through thick and thin, awards and abuse, happy days

and sad. It’s been my WAY, my path, my connection outside of myself to everything and everybody else.

I majored in philosophy so I got to spend years studying – and enjoying - world religions and spirituality, and

the song “It’s My Way” puts the emphasis on the word Way. People who follow Hindu ways of relating to the

Creator talk about a person’s dharma, or way. It means your own path, your style, your road, and that’s what

the song is about: finding your own way.

Not to be confused with Frank Sinatra singing Paul Anka’s song MY WAY that emphasizes the word My. It’s

MY way is not the same as It’s my WAY.

1960s

The romantic in you is busting at the seams on more than one occasion. Smitten at times, and then

disappointed with the cold-hearted. Yet “Not the Loving Kind”, which challenges the unaffected with its

infectious soul groove, is like an anti-love love song. Is unconditional love always the best recourse?

It’s the ultimate kiss-off song, eh? And it only has two chords — what a miracle. Actually your question is very

good, and I feel that unconditional love is not always the best recourse. In my experience unconditional love

either happens or doesn’t; and sometimes what feels like unconditional love from someone else has more to do

with hormones than with reality. I’ve sometimes loved unwisely or for too long, seeing other people turn a corner

where I can’t follow, wherein I had to pull back on my support of the behavior, even though my emotional

love continued like a Disney fairy tale, and it can be a real torment. Sometimes we have to have the courage to

disconnect from what lacks common sense. Reality is our friend.

1970s

The late Michael Green along with members of Calgary’s One Yellow Rabbit theatre group, embarked

on a serious attempt to raise an awareness and better understanding of the circumstances surrounding

Treaty 7. I feel he made some progress... the proclamation “We are all Treaty people” is often heard in

the media. Do you think that there’s been a turning point in Canada amongst non-Aboriginals that has

begun to show and exert a sincere respect for First Nation People?

Yes, and I loved the idea of “We are all Treaty people” in theatre. I travel a lot among the high and mighty as

well as in the humble grass roots, and I often come across people of all backgrounds who really do get it. We’re

continually in the position of educating ourselves and one another, and what a privilege - it can be a lot of fun.

We have to try everything always. Theatre, songs, formal education, activism, writing, back seat conversations,

they’re all important strategies for making things clearer, better, more real, more hip. For me in trying to make

sense to non-Indigenous people, I try to remember that #1 they have never had a real chance to know the truth

about colonialism and us; #2 we are a very small minority and have had little chance to impact their mainstream

consciousness but now we have; and #3 many non-Indian people do take us seriously and would love to

know how to help. There’ll never be a better time for Aboriginal people to make friends and impact tomorrow

with real positivity. The world is going to keep on turning and we will forever be in the positions of both teacher

and learner, so might as well find ways to enjoy it.

Buffy St. Marie headlines the JUNOfest Indigenous Showcase at the Grey Eagle Event Centre on March 31.

8 | MARCH 2016 • BEATROUTE CITY


OUTLOUDYYC

Year of Music includes $25,000 in mircogrants for local musicians to let loose a smattering of JUNO party pop-ups

by Christine Leonard

Kicking Calgary’s culture cycle into high gear,

the 2016 JUNO Awards will see approximately

100,000 people come out to enjoy appearances

by a virtual who’s who of the Canadian music industry.

And while the beautiful people mix and mingle their

way through a bevy of JUNO-related performances

and soirees during the week leading up to the April 3rd

award ceremony, basking in the glow of the red carpet

may not be everyone’s flute of Moët. Thankfully, there’s

a crack team of tastemakers dedicated to engaging all

Calgarians in the anticipation surrounding the 45th

installment of the JUNO Awards, our nation’s annual

celebration of musical achievement. And, what better

way to grab people’s attention than through a series

of engaging and momentum-building performances

spotlighting local musicians and artists?

With an ear to the ground, Susan Veres, Volunteer

Chair of Marketing, Public Relations and Communications

for the 2016 JUNO Awards Host Committee,

has been tasked with presenting a wide-range of musically-themed

acts that will introduce Calgarians to the

JUNO-related festivities in tangible and inventive ways

including the JUNO-related Out Loud YYC program.

“When the Awards roll into town the programmed

events around the broadcast, or JUNO-hub, or

JUNOfest events are quite centric in their execution.

Those are ticketed events that you have to make your

way to. In the microgrant execution we were looking

at how do we pop-up in front of people in the middle

of their day and give them a moment to smile at,

remember and enjoy.

“We wanted to use the pop-up model to create

special occasions,” she elaborates. “Imagine you’re in

your everyday commute, running across the downtown

core, wouldn’t it be great if you’re intercepted

with a musical interlude in the middle of your daily

experience? They’re random. They’re intended to be

random and that’s the joy of it.”

Working alongside fellow 2016 JUNO Host Committee

members, Veres faced the formidable, but stimulating

challenge of administering the $25,000 JUNO

Microgrant Program. Distributed amongst this year’s

18 successful applicants, these catalytic microgrants

will allow for the presentation of JUNO Out Loud

music-related initiatives that will run through Calgary

until the end of March.

Thus far, the Out Loud program has heated up

Calgary’s Electric Avenue with the sounds of the BIG

Winter Classic in late January, setting the stage for an

intimate meet and greet with Corb Lund at the Jack

Singer Concert Hall in early February. Later that month,

the bustling downtown was transformed into New

Orleans-North by the horns and percussion of Freak

Motif’s two second-line parades, while the classical

masters of Honens treated the public to a free noonhour

symphonic spectacle a in the CORE featuring

three grand pianos in concert. The portable pre-Junos

party continued with surprise musical performances

adding perk to Phil & Sebastian’s 4th Street Cafe and

the Bass Bus’s presentation of “One: The Heart of YYC

Talent”, which saw a variety of visual and musical acts

by fifteen artists spread across two stages.

“The Phil & Sebastian pop-up was a great success.

People have so many ways to access music now. You

can download your favourite song’ you can stream it,

listen to it in your car or spin it on vinyl. Why not have

a musician playing in a coffee shop? It’s just more channels

through which we should be speaking to people

who want to hear and receive music.”

Calgary hosted the JUNO Awards for the first time

CITY

eight years ago in 2008 and one glance at the skyline

will tell you a few things have changed since then.

The prospect of reintroducing Canada to today’s

Calgarian outlook through the lens of Out Loud,

and similar ventures, is an inspiring one for Veres,

who is involved in the redevelopment of the city’s

East Village community.

Selecting from amongst

75 proposals, the Host

Committee looked for

ways to facilitate live

musical entertainment

opportunities for citizens

while providing gainful

employment and valuable

exposure to local artists.

Espousing the principles

of diversity, collaboration,

and creativity, they bestowed $500 to $5,000 microgrants

to artists who demonstrated the ability to

present their passion in easily-consumable packages.

“There is a strong cross-representation of genres

amongst this year’s grant-recipients. We’re really

cognisant that music is subjective. What appeals to

one person may not appeal to another, so we wanted

“Right now, we’re tracking

somewhere between

64 and 70 individual

events and that’s

quite staggering”

to be truly representative of the fabric of Calgary

and represent as much musical diversity as possible.

For example, The Grey Eagle Casino will be hosting

Buffy Saint-Marie; that’s an enormous and important

program showcasing the best of our Aboriginal talent

and know-how.”

Another example of

the local community’s

DIY spirit, Griffest 2016

at Broken City closed out

February with a day-long

all-ages autism fundraiser

featuring special

performances by some

of the city’s most rockin’

icebreakers including

The Shiverettes and The

Electric Revival.

“Music has no age, it has no season, it is all encompassing.

I believe everybody has a unique musical

DNA,” says Veres. “I’m a Maritimer and I can tell you

my experience of music is a strong part of my upbringing.

When you talk about charitable giving and Calgarian

giving back, MusiCounts is a charity that the JUNO

Committee supports and CARA supports, it helps

young people entering music or the musical field. Proceeds

from several of the events we support including

the JUNO Cup, a fun hockey game, and ‘Listening to

Our City: Youth Showcase Fundraiser for MusiCounts’,

which will take place at The Bella Concert Hall (MRU),

go to that cause.”

A jam-packed schedule of Out Loud programs in

March launches with International Women’s Day, to

be marked, in-part, with a runway full of female talent.

Elsewhere on the multi-media front, the dumpling

enthusiast Nikki Celis’s explorations of Calgary’s

music scene will be on display via temporary photo

galleries. Musical curator Prashant Michael John will

present ‘Playing in Tongues’ featuring an impressive

array of from around the globe, who will share their

cultures and experiences with the audience and each

other through and evening of world music. Dragon Fli

Empire will hold court for performance of urban music

at the Calgary Tower, while Port Juvee will head-up an

all-ages showcase of emerging indie bands who will

attract a the city’s youth to the proceedings. Add to

that a sparkling line-up of classical and neo-classical

concerts, acappella drive-bys, heavy metal community

centre revivals, multi-generational musical theatre, eatery

flashmobs, and traditional Korean dancing at the

local shopping mall, and you’ve got the makings of an

atmosphere of rapt expectation and civic participation

leading up to the big night.

“Right now, we’re tracking somewhere between 64

and 70 individual events and that’s quite staggering.

In the next couple of weeks you’re going to continue

seeing pop-up concerts happening in the core.

The work of host committee wraps up days before

awards arrive on April 3rd, our events are focused

on family, they’re focused on Calgarians, and they’re

focused on access.

“Outside of the microgrant program there will be

things going on around the city throughout JUNO

Week,” Veres continues. “There’s going to be buskers

on LRT lines, and you’ll see how we’re lighting up

the city in support of music through the illumination

program that includes the Calgary Tower,

RiverWalk and the pedestrian bridges. There’s also

the ‘Playing Your City’ project, which stems from

the notion that throughout your own day you can

play a sidewalk , bench, or your house, whatever you

want to play, and that might come together to form

a larger video of how Calgarians generate and value

music. It’s a cool effort that’s been well-received.”

Three months into 2016, the imminent arrival

of the Canadian music awards show is sweeping

through town like an early breath of springtime,

offering a fresh Out Look and an infusion of investment

that couldn’t be more welcome amongst

Alberta-based musicians struggling to produce the

next wave of JUNO nominees.

“The Mayor came out last year and proclaimed

this would be the Year of Music in Calgary; it’s

starting with JUNO Week and then there are

many celebrations through the year, including the

opening of the National Music Centre, and the 60th

anniversary of the Philharmonic. It’s a really big year

for music in the city, it just happens to be starting

with the JUNO Awards.”

For more information about the performances and

festivities leading up to JUNO Awards go to outloudyyc.com

for the complete listing of events.

BEATROUTE • MARCH 2016 | 9


JUNOfest

TWO NIGHTS, 16 VENUES AND OVER 130 ARTISTS PAINT THE TOWN RED

Milk and Bone

k-os

Whitehorse

FRIDAY, APRIL 1

* Denotes JUNO nominated artists

LEGION N0. 1 THE BLUES CAN BROKEN CITY COMMONWEALTH FESTIVAL HALL FLAMES

CENTRAL

Devin Cuddy

Fortunate Ones*

Jason Plumb

Jim Cuddy

Joe Nolan

LeE HARVeY OsMOND*

Miranda Mulholland

NQ Arbuckle

Whitehorse*

The Moanin’ After

The 6L6s

Big Dave McLean*

Mitch Belot Band

Peripheral Vision*

Kalle Mattson*

Milk & Bone*

AM Static*

Library Voices

Rococode

Young Empires*

Tasman Jude

Waymatea

(of Souljah Fya)

Lyndon John X*

Kafinal*

The Hearts

Boreal Sons

The Royal Foundry

The Dead South

THE GATEWAY

Mariel Buckley

Del Barber

Daniel Romano*

IRONWOOD

l Muirhead Quintet*

Dan Brubeck Quartet*

Emilie-Claire Barlow*

Chris Andrew Trio

LOLITA’S NITE OWL PALOMINO

Upstairs

Liz Loughrey

Chloe Albert

Sykamore

Scott MacKay

The Katherines

Shred Kelly

Son of Ray

The Heirlooms

Seth Anderson

Peter and the Wolves

Derrival

36?

The Provincial Archive

PALOMINO

Downstairs

The Elwins*

Scenic Route to Alaska

Port Juvee

RANCHMAN’S WINE-OH’S MARQUEE

MARKET & STAGE

Maddison Krebs

Drew Gregory

The Dungarees

Hey Romeo

SATURDAY, APRIL 2

SCARBORO UNITED CHURCH 1-5 PM

Classical Showcase featuring: Canadian Chamber Choir*, Elinor Frey*, Megumi Masaki & Nicole Lizée*,

Jeff Reilly* and Luminous Voices, Maria Soulis*, John Burge* Jordan Pal*, Dinuk Wijeratne*

Carmanah

Raleigh

Slow Leaves

Mike Edel

Derek Miller*

Dzeko & Torres

Sunseekerz, Sphen

and special guests

LEGION N0. 1

Upstairs

LEGION N0. 1

Downsrtairs

BLUES CAN BROKEN CITY COMMONWEALTH DICKEN’S FESTIVAL

HALL

FLAMES

CENTRAL

Surf Dads

Sunglaciers

Lab Coast

Faith Healer

Sunglaciers

Tim Hus

Kirby Sewell Band

The Wet Secrets

Lemon Bucket Orkestra*

Ralph Boyd Johnson

David Gogo*

Harrison Kennedy*

Blackburn*

David Gogo*

Merkules

Snak the Ripper

Transit

Rich Aucoin

TThe Ashley Hundred

Rah Rah

Chron Goblin

Diemonds*

Ken Mode*

Cancer Bats*

Lucette

LeE HARVeY OsMOND*

Alex Cuba*

Boogat*

Kiernan Mercer

The Noble Thiefs

The Dudes

THE GATEWAY HIFI IRONWOOD LOLITA’S NITE OWL PALOMINO

Upstairs

PALOMINO

Downstairs

RANCHMAN’S

WINE-OH’S

Matt Blais

SAVVIE

Wooden Horseman

Royal Tusk

Willa

k-os* (DJ set)

HUMANS*

Spencer Jo

Old Man Luedecke

JP Cormier*

Fortunate Ones*

Tara Kannangara*,

Alex Pangman* and

Jaclyn Guillou*

The Juno Jazz Allstars

Chris Andrew Trio

The New Electric

The Sweets

Lovecoast

Open Air

The Ramblin’ Ambassadors

Locomotive Ghost

Cowpuncher

Copperhead

Two Bears North

Rotary Park

Double Fuzz

TwoShine County

Jason Hastie

& The Alibi

Trinity Bradshaw

Autumn Hill*

Jonathan Roy

Sarah MacDougall

Hello Moth

SAVK

Hi-Strung Downers

10 | MARCH 2016 • BEATROUTE CITY


EDMONTON CAT FANCIERS CLUB

the ethics, glamour and expensive of a cat show

Angela Hick-Ewing is a deeply passionate

Cat Fancier. When I phoned her up for

this interview, I stood by as she cooed

to a rescue cat she was coaxing into taking its

antibiotics.

She and I spoke over the phone to discuss

what exactly a Cat Fancier is and what her group

(the not-for-profit Edmonton Cat Fanciers Club)

is aiming to do at Chase Your Dreams, their

upcoming cat show in Edmonton on March

19th and 20th.

Before we get into it, there are few things

you should know about Angela. She’s the web

admin for ECFC, a board member of the Calgary

Cat Association, a breeder of oriental cats, a

registered animal health technologist, a shower

of cats and a mother of a toddler.

She’d probably do even more for the cat

cause if she physically could. A typical day for

her begins at “about five or six in morning,” and

ends at midnight.

You can literally hear the dedication in her

voice. She always describes individual felines as

“kitties” and only uses the terms “cats” when it

comes to matters of business.

She let me know that the Edmonton Cat Fanciers

Club is registered with the The International

Cat Association (TICA), the authoritative registry

of pedigreed (read: purebred) cats for Fanciers

across the globe. In the interest of fair comment,

TICA is also a proponent of the health of all

domestic cats regardless of pedigree.

Mendo is a Supreme Grand Champion cat shown all over North America.

And so is Angela. She stresses that competitive

categories for participants in her groups’

shows are inclusive of “alters,” her jargon for

non-purebred cats.

TICA is also the authority when it comes to

officially recognized cat shows. Their stamp of

approval for showing events is no joke when

you factor in the cost of flying in one of their

photo: Beau Loeffler

credibility-lending judges.

“There’s absolutely no monetary prizes when

you show cats,” says Angela. “I work extra hours

to pay for the expensive hobby.”

And what is it that she’s paying for?

“I’ve always had fun seeing so many different

people from different areas networking and

meeting new people—and yeah, okay, if I get a

by Colin Gallant

regional win, I get a big, pretty ribbon that [gives

me] bragging rights and I love it,” she laughs.

In fact, Angela’s family of cats includes “Supreme

Grand Champion” Mendo (pictured).

But her personal connection isn’t the only reward

for Cat Fancying or putting on a show. The

ECFC mandates pet food drives, participation

from rescue shelters in their events and extinction

prevention through breeding. Angela even

cites an unnamed statistic that “show[s] that

about 98 per cent of the [rescue organizations]

that participate in a show have a huge influx of

adoptions two weeks post-showing.”

These reasons and more are how she answers

critics of cat shows. Obviously not every cat enjoys

being put on display, but she says that “the

kitties who are there quite enjoy it, most people

recognize when a kitty doesn’t like it anymore.”

She should know. As a working animal health

technologist, advocate and breeder, Angela

has put in a lot more blood, sweat and tears to

the cause of animal health than your everyday

Tumblr vegan. Her fandom is bewitching to

those who meet her and her undying passion

is a beautiful collage of confusing and inspiring

dedication.

Meet someone like Angela at Chase Your Dreams,

the Edmonton Cat Fanciers Club’s cat show at the

Italian Cultural Centre on March 19th and 20th, or

next month in Calgary at Kitties ‘N Blooms, being

held at the Ed Whalen Arena on April 16th and 17th.

CITY

BEATROUTE • MARCH 2016 | 11


RUMBLE HOUSE

Hump day, becomes fun day… please pass the paint

Rich Théroux, the master of guilty pleasures.

Don’t just lie there like a lump, you hump, hibernation is

for the bears. If you’re one of those, “there’s nothing to

do on a Wednesday night” types, then you know nothing

about the goings-on at Rumble House each and every week.

Immerse yourself in the world of live art.

Located at 1136¬–8th Ave. SW, a block away from the

Mewata Armoury downtown, like-minded artists are gathering

every Wednesday night between 7:00-9:00 p.m. at the Rumble

House to invent their works of art live and on the spot.

Anywhere from 30-50 aspiring artists will appear to brighten

up the space with their brush strokes and the rooms become

filled with lively banter and laughter, like your family’s kitchen

at Christmas, or a mental institution when the lights go out.

Same difference.

Rumble house brings people out of the woodwork (one guy

was literally working on his woodwork). Ideas were exchanged

and blended on the airwaves with Bowie and The Pixies. One

group could be overheard discussing Miles Davis and his

musings on the “notes between the beats” and how Picasso

felt the same way about “the paint between the strokes,” while

others debated the correct pronunciation of the French word

for pineapple. If this runs counter to your traditional concept of

the isolated art-maker locked away in room somewhere all alone

with their inspirations, then good.

“I think we’re helping people not take it so seriously,” said Jess

Szabo, Rumble House co-conspirator and second in command.

“Sure creating art is really personal and so vulnerable, but here

we can laugh at ourselves. And here you might fall in love with

a piece watching it evolve, which is something you won’t get

working alone in your studio.”

If one should happened to fall in love with a fresh painted

masterpiece the option to bid and stake claim is offered at the

end during the auction portion of the program. Bidding on

a piece begins between $10-20 per item, which sell then and

there, while other creations reach into the hundreds of dollars

— most notably a remarkable cityscape painted by Rumble

House originator himself, Rich Théroux, that sold for $575. If

your parents have drilled the notion of a “starving artist” into

by Kyle Lovstrom

your head, there’s another stigma eradicated by the Rumble

House. If you’re brave enough to auction, you will sell.

Rumble House is the brainchild of the talented Mr. Rich

Théroux, prolific painter, art philosopher, schoolteacher; a multifaceted

champion of all things imaginative. Thanks to his vision,

this space is well equipped to turn the stresses of daily life into

something positive and fun.

“We’re on Episode 138, including the original Gorilla House,”

says Théroux, (Rumble House was formerly Gorilla House on

14th street NW before the previous landlord pulled the rug one

year ago). “For me, painting is like digestion. I eat food. I take

in the nutrients, and expel. Although, I don’t pitch it that way

when I’m trying to sell my stuff,” laughs Théroux.

Rich and the gang recently returned from a road trip to Venice

Beach where they traded works of art for good deeds all the

way down the coast.

“A dentist went back to Atlanta and performed a dental extraction

for one of my paintings. A guy named Sharkos with one

ear went back to prison and read books to prisoners. A producer

who had never mowed a lawn before mowed his neighbour’s

lawn,” claims Théroux.

Théroux recently traded another painting to Banff resident

and videographer Martin Cairns in exchange for a sizeable donation

to the food bank last week. The mixed nuts in attendance

each week reciprocate Théroux’s generosity with a percentage of

their art sales.

“We stay open mostly on guilt,” Théroux chuckles. “We make

our rent just by hustling Wednesdays.”

Take away the Rumble House and it becomes difficult to conceive

of another set of circumstances that would have led this

miscellaneous congregation into the same room. Almost every

age and demographic is represented here.

“It’s like a family. Rumble House is doing a great thing for art,”

said former professional BMX rider Darcy Lisecki.

There aren’t too many operations functioning solely for the

benefit of the Calgary arts community. Next Wednesday take

part. Download the vision in your head onto canvas and sell it at

Rumble House. Poof, you’re an artist.

COMING OUT

MONOLOGUES

seven years of sharing and support

out,” long the daunting milestone in the life of any member

of the LGBTQ community, has evolved into a much larger

“Coming

and more embraced practice over the last two decades; one that

not only frees but brings together. In our reasonably comfortable part of the

world, such an act could conceivably cost you your career or your standing

until recently. Now, it can result in being given the Arthur Ashe Courage

Award at the ESPYs.

This important evolution of understanding and acceptance has been made

possible partly by open dialogue and the humanization of those in the process

of self-realization; an idea that is truly universal. It is this kind of dialogue and

visibility that the Coming Out Monologues have been striving to offer in the

seven years they have run in Calgary.

For organizers of the event, most of whom are former Coming Out Monologues

performers, the experience was not only personally transformative, but

also the opening up to a large and inclusive community.

Outreach coordinator Alex Naylor performed in 2014 and found surprising

catharsis from the experience.

“It happened kind of by accident but it was perfect timing because it

was just the previous fall that I had started coming out,” she recalls. “It was

a lot more about the people I got to know and the relationships that I built

through the process.”

“The performance was really nice and it’s always good for our community,

but the process is more valuable.”

Marg, a performer from 2015, describes it this way: “I definitely think the process

changed me. For me personally it was just a step moving towards my most

authentic self. It definitely moved me forward to where I want to be.”

Karissa Nyman, a performer scheduled to perform at this year’s event, echoes

this sentiment. “I think the most important thing about sharing this kind of story

is being genuine. Genuine stories connect with an audience when performing

and they also give the most accurate representation of the community.

“There is still a lot of struggle around identities that don’t fit into a male/female

binary or a gay/straight binary, such as genderqueer, bisexual, or asexual.”

“I also think it’s very important when sharing the story of an individual person

to remember and make clear that how one person identifies with a given label

does not mean everyone who identifies with that label experiences it exactly the

same way. There is a lot of diversity within the queer community and within individual

labels for gender or sexuality. Each person’s story is a little bit different.”

Naylor notices that there are less stories of coming out that end on a tragic

note. Though those stories still exist, there seems to be a growing community of

allies who are creating a safe environment for honest declarations of this kind.

“That’s not everyone, of course, but a lot of the performers last year were really

inspiring, how supportive their communities and family have been for them.”

“Attitudes are changing and it’s important not to forget that policies are

changing,” she says. “You don’t have to fight as hard to get a GSA (Gender &

Sexuality Alliance) in your school, there’s a really growing trend of awareness

happening in schools, and any moment of people bringing up inclusion policies

really helps.”

This exercise in transformation and education will take place Wednesday March

16 to Friday March 18 at the John Dutton Theatre.

• Jennie Orton

photo: Louie Villanueva

12 | MARCH 2016 • BEATROUTE CITY


PLACES PLEASE

this month’s presentation is about.. by Sara Elizabeth Taylor

ART

THE LESSON

There is an abundance of excellent theatre coming

to town this month, so rather than waste some

of this column’s word count on an intro, let’s go

straight to the top theatre picks for March.

Cockroach

Alberta Theatre Projects

Martha Cohen Theatre

March 1-19

A Middle Eastern man tries to put his haunted past

behind him as he hustles to survive on the icy cold

streets of Montreal. He’s charming, he’s a thief, and he…

sometimes thinks he’s a cockroach. Don’t miss this world

premiere production based on the novel by Canadian

writer Rawi Hage.

The Turn of the Screw

Vertigo Theatre’s BD&P Mystery Theatre Series

The Playhouse at Vertigo Theatre

March 12 - April 10

A young governess and the two orphaned children she

is hired to care for are haunted by ghosts in their lonely

English manor. But are the spectres in this spine-chilling

thriller real, or merely a product of her own fevered

mind?

Bad Jews

Theatre Calgary

Max Bell Theatre

March 15 - April 10

A grandfather’s death is the catalyst for a brawl over religious

tradition and family legacy when his three grandchildren

are forced to bunk together in an apartment.

Bad Jews’ portrayal of modern Jewish life—and indeed

modern life in general—will make you laugh, gasp, and

maybe even cry.

Taking Flight: Festival of Student Work

University of Calgary School of Creative and

Performing Arts

Various Venues

March 15-19, March 29 - April 2, April 6-9

Get a sneak peek at some of Calgary’s up-and-coming

talent in this annual festival that features works conceived,

directed, produced and performed by graduate

and undergraduate students. Visit scpa.ucalgary.ca for a

full list of the performances, including many free events.

The Lesson

Theatre Encounter

Theatre Junction GRAND Studio

March 16-19

Fans of absurd theatre will not want to miss Theatre Encounter’s

take on Eugene Ionesco’s one-act play lambasting

academics and intellectuals. A professor has taken

on a new pupil, but as the nonsensical lesson progresses

with a series of non-sequiturs, the professor becomes

more and more angry at the pupil’s ignorance.

Macbeth

The Shakespeare Company and Vertigo Theatre

The Studio at Vertigo Theatre

March 30 - April 16

Prophecies. Ambition. Murder. Madness. We all surely

know the story of Shakespeare’s famously cursed play,

but with the brilliant teams at The Shakespeare Company

and Vertigo Theatre at work behind the curtain, you

just know that this old classic will come to life in new

and unforgettable ways.

CORNER

It’s Youth Art Month, March those little

monsters down to the gallery! If you’re

monsterless, then get in touch with your

inner child anyway and experience something

beautiful.

7: Professional Native Indian Artists Inc.

Art Gallery of Alberta, 2 Sir Winston Churchill

Square, EDMONTON

March 5 – July 3

Art Corner goes to Edmonton this month in

search of the Professional Native Indian Artists

Incorporation. Commonly referred to as

the Indian Group of Seven, this exhibition

features the works of a significant alliance of

artists in the 1970s who sought to promote

contemporary First Nations art in Canada.

Serving as entrepreneurs and visionaries,

the group would influence and guide the

next generation of First Nations artists while

helping to change and redefine perceptions

of their art and culture that were often misunderstood.

Many of these artists emerged

from the debilitating Residential School System,

their success only attests to what must

have been a fiercely strong sense of self.

ACAD Spring Show + Sale

Alberta College of Art + Design Main Mall,

1407 14 Ave NW

First Night Fundraiser Thursday March 17, 5-8pm ($25)

Friday March 18 12-7pm

Saturday March 19 12-4 pm

The always anticipated ACAD Show + Sale

is back. This public art market is always

fully loaded with exciting finds. Over

3000 paintings, photographs, drawings,

prints, ceramics, glass, fibre, jewellery,

sculpture and just about anything else

that one could pull from their imagination

are on display and for the taking.

Top on the list for a St. Patrick’s Day

weekend. All proceeds support the

ACAD student body.

“Invisible Mother”

Marigold Santos

Stride Gallery, 1006 Macleod Trail SE

March 18 - May 13, Reception March 18, 2016 @ 8PM

Marigold Santos creates with delicate skill

of hand, bringing us haunting, nightmarish

imagery. Her process is deep rooted in her

own cultural ancestry with a multi-faceted

character, Asuang. From Filipino folklore,

this shape-shifting monster is describes

as ghoulish and demonic. Santos has

carried images of this fantastical creature

throughout her past work and once more

draws inspiration from it for this multi-media

drawing and sculpture installation,

“Invisible Mother”.

JUNO Tour of Canadian Art

Glenbow Museum, 130 – 9th Ave SE

March 19 - September 18

The excitement of the Juno Awards

in Calgary has spread to the Glenbow

Museum. Pairing art and music in an exhibition,

the museum has invited past Juno

winners and nominees to browse the vast

collection and select a work that speaks

to them, linking two creative minds,

influence and taste. It also functions

as a wonderful excuse to free inspiring

artworks from storage and into the public

view. Videos will be presented with the

artwork in which the musicians discuss

their selection.

• Allison Musial

CITY

BEATROUTE • MARCH 2016 | 13


FILM

BATMAN: MASK OF THE PHANTASM

Quickdraw Animation Society presents grim animated take on the Dark Knight

by Jonathan Lawrence

Batman: Mask of the Phantasm is a bleak, inspired vision of the Caped Crusader.

of the best animated films ever”

plays March 11 at Theatre Junction

“One

Grand

Following the success of the Tim Burton-directed

live-action Batman (1989), Batman: The Animated

Series premiered in 1992 and took the comic-book

and animated world by surprise. It was dark and

brooding with a jaw-dropping art style dripping

with 1940s noir influences, superb voice casting

(Kevin Conroy is the best Batman, just saying) and

an enthralling musical score by the master of heroic

themes, Danny Elfman.

The show earned four Emmy Awards during its

three-year run, including Outstanding Animated

Program, and for good reason. Anyone not captivated

by the Bat in Tim Burton’s versions surely found

themselves renewed fans as a result of the cartoon,

practising their best, “I am the night, I am Batman!”

impressions when they were (assumingly) alone.

A full-length film held to the same high standards

was released in 1993 dubbed Batman: Mask of the

Phantasm, and it does not disappoint.

From the first frame, we are pulled right into

Batman’s world. The opening shot of Gotham City

looks how every film noir wished their corrupt

metropolis did. The visuals immediately suggest

this isn’t your typical Saturday morning cartoon;

people smoke, drink, bleed and carry handguns. As

the credits roll, the camera pans over an amazing

Art Deco city under a blood red sky. Every other

building in Gotham looks as sharp and bold as

the Chrysler Building or the Empire State. Add to

the mix a newly orchestrated rendition of Elfman’s

classic Batman theme from the animated series and

you’ve got something that sets the mood for the

adventure ahead, and it’s beautiful.

Things get complicated when Batman becomes

mistaken for a cloaked figure known as the Phantasm

(eerily voiced by Stacy Keach) who is whacking

prominent mobsters across town. Not taking too

kindly to vigilantes, the police begin a full-on pursuit

for Batman – and although the Phantasm resembles

a grim reaper much more than Bruce Wayne’s alter

ego, Batman’s never really been one to catch a break.

Throughout the film, we see numerous flashbacks

to Bruce as a young, idealistic man who meets

and falls in love with femme fatale Andrea Beaumont,

and the promise of a bright future together

with her makes Bruce reconsider his crime-fighting

ambitions. However, Bruce knows it’s not easy, and

he feels guilt for wanting a normal life. He swears

to his parents’ grave that he’ll donate money to the

Gotham Police Department, hoping they’ll ease

his conscience. “Please,” he begs, “I didn’t count

on being happy.” It’s an emotional gut punch and

arguably shows Bruce Wayne at his most vulnerable

in any Batman flick.

The flashback sequences used throughout the

film not only explain Batman’s origins, but also how

Gotham City used to be. Everything in Bruce’s past

hints toward the grand possibilities of the future

both for him and the city. This was a time when

Gotham’s now blackened sky was once blue and

Bruce and Andrea began blissfully envisioning their

lives together. At one point, they visit the Gotham

World’s Fair, which an enthusiastic public service

announcement calls, “A bright tomorrow filled with

hope and promise for all mankind.” The contrast

between what could have been and what eventually

became of both Bruce and Gotham is emblematic

of the film’s bleak tone, and makes you wonder

whether there would have been a Batman if Gotham

turned out the way it was promised to be.

In true Caped Crusader fashion, for all the bleakness,

there is a positive through line, notably when

Bruce Wayne is reminded by his loyal butler Alfred

that “vengeance blackens the soul.” Understandingly,

Bruce has his doubts – Gotham is not a place

where justice prevails and only the good roam

free. He learns throughout the film that vengeance

can make you lose sight of who you are, and thus,

sets the precedent for who the Dark Knight would

eventually become. It’s a different origin story than

Batman Begins, but no less powerful.

The greatest aspect of the film, however, is not

the story, but the style. The vehicles, cityscape and

character designs are all taken straight from film

noirs of past and it’s absolutely stunning to look

at. The Art Deco style of the 1920s, with its bold

lines and symmetrical designs, make Gotham look

larger-than-life; like a great, unstoppable city. Even

the snappy dialogue serves as throwback to classic

noirs like Double Indemnity (1944) or The Big Sleep

(1946). Today, the action sequences look slightly

stilted but they are still exciting, especially with the

incredibly dramatic score that also harkens back to

Hollywood’s heyday.

Batman: Mask of the Phantasm plays at Theatre

Junction GRAND on March 11 at 8:30 p.m., courtesy

of Calgary Cinematheque. This is an awesome opportunity

to see not only one of the best animated

films ever made, but one of the best Batman films

on the big screen.

General tickets are $12, while tickets for

members, seniors and students are $10, and can

be purchased at www.calgarycinema.org. This

film is part of Calgary Cinematheque’s Salon

Cinema series, which invites members of the film

community to make film selections for screenings.

Batman: Mask of the Phantasm is presented

by Peter Hemminger, executive director of the

Quickdraw Animation Society.

14 | MARCH 2016 • BEATROUTE FILM


NETFLIX AND KILL

streaming shows that slay it (or don’t)

You may not have heard, but Orange Is the New Black (the show that cut a million

cables) has been renewed for infinity plus one seasons. Okay, three more

after this season’s fourth, but after a third season that saw a steep drop in quality it’s going to

feel like infinity plus one. Also, Netflix, unless you include a feature that allows me to skip past any

scene with Piper in it I’m switching to Amazon Prime. Real talk.

House of Cards (Netflix) is back for a fourth season on March 4th, which is good. (Turns towards

camera, adopts Southern accent) House of Cards hasn’t been good since its second season, and

“Pussy Riot Cameo” has replaced “Jumping The Shark” as shorthand for a show reaching irredeemable

awfulness, but I’ll be watching this anyway. Why? One word. Power. Throw enough money,

lavish cinematography and Kevin Spacey on the screen and people will watch. Y’all.

Everybody’s been waiting for Aaron Paul to prove that he is more than Jesse Pinkman, and, shockingly,

a Need For Speed adaptation didn’t do it. The Path (Hulu) just might. Synopsis: dude joins

a cult, cults are bad, we get to see Aaron Paul cry manly tears a lot. It might just turn out to be as

tense as the first season of Homeland or as baffling as The Following, since cults are seated alongside

serial killers on the bus back to the ‘90s, when they were still scary.

Lastly, if you want the ‘chill’ part of Netflix and Chill to get weird fast then there’s Pee-Wee’s Big

Holiday (Netflix). Just trust me on this one.

• Gareth Watkins

Aaron Paul, free of Walter White’s influence, joins a cult in The Path (Hulu).

16 | MARCH 2016 • BEATROUTE FILM


SWITCHBLADE SISTERS

Night Terrors Film Society presents revolutionary femme gang flick

Wielding chains, switchblades and Molotov

cocktails – the Dagger Debs are

worse than the women your mother

warned you about. Lace is the leather-clad leader

of the femme delinquents, all of which are notoriously

filtered throughout juvenile detention

centres due to violent criminal behaviour. Growing

accustomed to dominating civilians within their

turf, Lace happens upon a mysterious blonde vixen

that admirably holds her own against the one-eyed

gangsterette, Patch. Impressed by her innate ability

to rumble, Maggie, the mysterious blonde, quickly

finds herself initiated by the Dagger Debs. Seemingly

catching the eye of Lace’s man Dominic, head

of the Debs’ male counterparts the Silver Daggers,

tension arises between the two leading ladies,

which capsizes into irreversible damage.

Preceding the soft rock of gang-oriented cult films,

Grease (1978), by three years, Switchblade Sisters

(1975) manages to cater to the anomalous tastes

of trashy cinema lovers. Switchblades are wielded

in massive brawls throughout the film, reminiscent

of the rival gang love story West Side Story (1961),

however made all the more unnerving by the uncommon

driving force of female hostility. Aesthetically

outrageous with the post punk appearance of the

Dagger Debs, this style would later become a crucial

element for gang profiling with films such as The

Warriors (1979) and Class Nuke ‘Em High (1986)

heavily emphasizing this.

Though it wouldn’t be out of place to compare

the strong menacing aura of the Debs to that of

the vigilante women in films such as Ms .45 (1981)

THE ALBERTA FILMMAKERS PODCAST

local talent discuss about what’s going on in film

The Alberta Filmmakers Podcast features talks with our best and brightesT.

FILM

Switchblade Sisters plays on glorious 35mm on March 11.

or Savage Streets (1984), Switchblade Sisters is

truly unique because the Debs are bad simply

because they want to be. Within its 91-minute run

time, the audience becomes aware of the harsh

realities of abuse the women have forcibly faced.

Subjected not only to prostitution for personal

gain of their male counterparts and physical

beatings justified by menial social mistakes, it too

becomes known that many of the Debs have undergone

sexual attacks from the juvenile detention

centre’s wardens. This concept has appeared in

films of the same exploitative nature, including

Wanda, the Wicked Warden (1977) and Reform

School Girls (1986).

Much like several other exploitation films of the

1970s, Switchblade Sisters left a lasting impact on

alternative cinema heavyweight, Quentin Tarantino.

Paralleling voluptuous, violent vixens has been a

Despite locally-filmed The Revenant’s 12 Oscar

nominations, press surrounding Alberta

filmmaking has trended more towards an

apparent global warming disaster zone (that is to

say, Chinooks) rather than our flawless vistas and

bounty of local talent.

Though the filming goldmine that is Alberta has never

been a real secret, local filmmakers Matt Watterworth

and Scott Westby are looking to further shine a spotlight

with The Alberta Filmmakers Podcast.

“(We want) to make sure we are promoting our industry

as best we can,” Watterworth says. “We’ve got to do a

better job of bragging.”

“I thought podcasts were dying,” Westby jokes. “Then

Matt suggested we do a podcast and I was like, ‘What, so

we put it on cassette? And like, mail it out to people?’”

On the contrary – the accessibility of the format

has allowed the duo to appeal beyond the niche

market of Alberta filmmakers. In December 2015,

they achieved a spot on the “New and Noteworthy”

list on the iTunes charts.

By featuring a wide array of artists and film professionals

– such as Olaf Blomerus, VFX and design specialist

who wrote and directed the award-winning short film

Hello World – the podcast has been able to shine a light

on various facets of the business and art form while

showcasing world-class local talent.

“(We focus) on all parts of the industry to show we

are all on the same team and it isn’t just the producers

and the directors and the writers who make this happen,”

Westby says.

With the industry in Alberta growing steadily and

By Breanna Whipple

central plot point in several of his films, namely Kill

Bill Vol. 1 (2003) with the character of Elle Driver

seemingly heavily influenced by Switchblade’s Patch,

and Death Proof (2007) in which a trio of resilient

girls defeat a stalker. Undoubtedly noteworthy in

this connection, it is not only limited to Tarantino’s

work. A powerful resurgence of exploitation films is

ruling the underground, demonstrated by the gore

exploitative Father’s Day (2011) and the grotesque

post-apocalyptic Turbo Kid (2015).

Regardless of how odd it may seem, another

connection to be made is the similar plot progression

with 2004’s Mean Girls. Both include the

driving force of jealousy and the potential toxicity of

pact mentalities. Mean Girls may not have excessive

blood shedding, or assault rifle abuse, but that may

very well been an example of societal changes over

30 years of progression in Western civilization. Unruly

students having more authority over the staff

of their schooling is another similarity, which also

connects to another violent teen based cult film,

Class of 1984 (1982).

Released more than 40 years ago, Switchblade Sisters

continues to age gracefully and is still as shocking

as ever. It deconstructs the definition of toughness

and challenges gender-based stereotypes in the

patriarchal world.

“You can beat us, chain us, lock us up. But we’re

gonna be back, understand?”

Switchblade Sisters plays on 35mm on March 11 at

the Globe Cinema at 11:55 p.m. General admission is

$10 at the door.

by Jennie Orton

nabbing high-profile shoots such as Fargo and Hell on

Wheel – and with the new film centre and studio being

completed in southeast Calgary – Alberta is emerging as

a resource with a talent well strong enough to compete

with major markets on the West Coast.

“I wrote something that happens in the desert and

something that happened in a forest and something that

happened in the plains,” Westby says, recalling his early

creative process.

“It wasn’t until I finished filming that I realized that we

have all of those within a two-hour drive from the city. I

think that’s uniquely Albertan.”

Watterworth and Westby hope that as the podcast

grows, it can not only be a showcase for lesser-represented

groups like minority filmmakers and women – such

as Cheska Appave, a gaffer who appears on the Feb. 16

podcast and who has worked on Hell on Wheels and

Interstellar – but it can also become a hub for the local

community.

“I think we need to do more to make everyone

feels welcome. I like what I see for the future,” Watterworth

says.

“I think the podcast can become a resource for heightening

our industry and making us sharper and getting us

excited about what the future of filmmaking looks like,”

Westby says.

“If I can dream, I’d love to have William Shatner on the

show,” Watterworth laughs.

The Alberta Filmmakers Podcast is available for download

on iTunes or streaming on the podcast website at abfilmcast.ca.

BEATROUTE • MARCH 2016 | 17


THE VIDIOT

rewind to the future

by Shane Sellar

Brooklyn

Crimson Peak

Goosebumps

Spotlight

Trumbo

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 comingof-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.


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.

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.


Goosebumps

The best part about meeting your favourite author

is finally getting to tell them how to improve their

books.

Unfortunately, the teen in this family-comedy is

only interested in the writer’s daughter.

When Zach (Dylan Minnette) and his mom (Amy

Ryan) move in next-door to Mr. Shivers (Jack Black)

and his daughter Hanna (Odeya Rush), Zach is

instantly smitten with her.

But when Zach and his friend (Ryan Lee) break

into Hanna’s house to free her from her father, they

not only discover that Shivers is actually kid lit author

R.L. Stine, but accidentally bring every monster he

created for his horror series to life.

A wholly original tale featuring elements from

every Goosebumps book and TV episode, this

awesome adaptation benefits greatly from Black’s

maniacal performance, as well as its spunky script

and first-rate effects.

However, if everything they wrote materialized,

authors would just write about licensed theme parks.

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?

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.

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.

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.

He’s a Portobello Mushroom Cloud.

He’s the…Vidiot

18 | MARCH 2016 • BEATROUTE FILM


ROCKPILE

THE HEIRLOOMS

beaches and best friends

The Heirlooms release their sophomore album to the theme of “love, light, and UFOs.”

by Willow Grier

Immediately upon meeting with The Heirlooms, it’s easy to

tell how much they value their internal connection. From

the way they do their best to include every band member in

every outing and endeavour, to how they prompt other members

for their opinions during the interview, to their emphasis

on the importance of getting their thank you’s out (for the

record: Will Moralda, Evan Freeman, Tyler Jenkins, Ivory Hours,

and Mayor Naheed Nenshi-for his support of the arts). And of

course, the way that they speak fondly about their bandmates’

contributions to the album. Guitarist Matthew Spreen even

cites his favourite new song of theirs to be one that he “had

absolutely nothing to do with,” solely because it showcases the

feel of the album, and his bandmates’ talents so well. The air

of synchronicity is strong. And according to The Heirlooms, it

was a strangely perfect sequence of events that brought them

together in the first place.

The Heirlooms got their start with a chance meeting at a

birthday party between vocalist Kat Westermann and Spreen,

and evolved to include guitarist Bobby Henderson after a live

Fleetwood Mac cover that Westermann contributed vocals

for. After the song, Henderson recalls marvelling to himself, “I

need to play music with this girl.” Soon the trio would collect

drummer Kyle Edwards after he walked into Westermann’s

work with a visible drumstick tattoo, conveniently as they

were deep within their search for a drummer. Things seemed

to be progressing naturally to be sure. The foursome recorded

their first album in five short hours, in a live off the floor

setting, where the band prefers to do most of their work. The

album showed tremendous promise, received great reviews

and seemed to be the perfect tool to break into the Calgary

music scene. Mere days after its release, Heirlooms members

who were not already located in the city would uproot and

relocate to follow a hopefully building momentum.

After promoting their debut, the band desired to deepen and

progress their sound. Jordan Potekal of Marwood recordings, who

the band had recorded with, “literally learned bass for the band,” as

they excitedly relay. Finally, with a full lineup, The Heirlooms set out

to make an album that further encapsulated their growing psychedelic

pop-rock style, but perhaps more calculated.

“With the first album we needed to break into the scene, but

with this one we wanted to be more strategic, and think about how

we do things the best,” explains Westermann. Taking three days

this time around, the band packed up and headed to Henderson’s

family cabin at Ma-Me-O Beach, which is where the album got its

name. The chronicling of the haphazard, adventurous, yet strangely

fruitful weekend will be released on the band’s Facebook page

in anticipation for their album. Despite battling a tight schedule,

playing a show hours away in the same weekend, illness, the limitations

of a pop-up studio setup and more, the album came together

beautiful. “I don’t know how it worked out, but it worked out,”

Henderson exclaims.

From the opening refrain of “Introduction,” the first track of Ma-

Me-O Beach, it is clear this band knows how to create atmosphere.

With crunchy, blues-rock guitar, muted keys and sultry, silken

vocals that quietly work their way into the mix halfway through,

the track is a pleasing way to ease listeners in. Followed then by

the sprightly and flirty “Touch You,” the band shows early on the

range they have, transitioning between a cinematic and emotional

bluesy soundscape and a punchy, pop-hook-laden sunny escape.

Westermann’s insightful lyricism begins to shine at the forefront on

“Somebody’s Song.” Westermann explains what inspired her writing,

saying, “I think everyone feels that they want to find their life

purpose and be someone, whoever that is. It’s that longing feeling

to succeed in your own way, but not to bypass or take advantage

of those around you. And being that something/someone to those

that matter to you, that’s the most important.”

The album continues on its varied, hypnotic path with the

chaotic and spooky “Meltdown,” the chilled, tripping, and bluesy

“Interlude,” and the lullaby-like, piano rooted “Hold On.” The

album then seems to reach an even grander high with its conclusion,

“Blendin.” Though not as overtly gripping as some other

tracks, it is a seamless combination of instrumentation, character,

and fervor, and includes one of the best vocal efforts of the

album. The track was actually a revival of an unfinished song “that

completely sucked,” as Westermann describes it, but with new life

breathed into it from all members of the close collective, became

something extraordinary.

On the whole, The Heirlooms appear to have stumbled upon, or

rather manifested, an ideal creative coalition. Both within their own

band, and within the collective of musicians they are now aligned

with (Windigo, The Ashley Hundred, and the rest of Calgary’s Fossil

Records), they are poised to make the most of their evolving sound,

and friendship-fuelled propulsion. “It’s so awesome the kind of support

we’ve been getting,” Edwards beams. “When we first started,

they were the bands we were looking up to,” adds Spreen regarding

their fine Fossil friends. Now nestled within the heart of up-andcoming

Calgarian powerhouses alike, The Heirlooms are finding

the space they need to grow and glow. Westermann contributes

concluding words for those looking to find their place in the artistic

world: “To everyone struggling as an artist, keep at it. Love yourself,

love your art and someone is gonna pick up on those vibes.”

Visit beatroute.ca for the online premiere of Ma-Me-O Beach on

March 7th. Catch The Heirlooms’ album release party with Evan

Freeman and Ivory Hours at the Palomino Smokehouse & Bar in

Calgary on March 11th.

NAP EYES

a band on the verge prioritizes immediacy

by Liam Prost

Halifax is one of Canada’s finest music cities, which makes it all

the more discouraging when excellent bands move to Toronto

or Montreal, if for no other reason than to eliminate the 12-hour

drive to start any reasonable-length tour of the most populated sector

of the country. Nap Eyes are a band sitting at that exact moment in

their career, teetering between being a full time touring band and being

simply ‘Hali-famous.’ BeatRoute spoke to Nap Eyes songwriter Nigel

Chapman, who is the last Haligonian holdout of a band split between

Halifax and Montreal, but even he is “open to the idea of moving.”

Being torn between the two cities however, is what made their excellent

new record Thought Rock Fish Scale so immediate and fresh. “When

we do meet up,” Chapman suggests, the band ends up “learning and

recording at the same time.” Chapman writes songs by himself in Halifax,

and often the first or close to the first time those tracks are heard by

the rest of the band is in the recording studio, an approach Chapman describes

as “fun an spontaneous.” The lo-fi immediacy that results is born

from “working with limitations,” and it lets them make the music that

they find “intuitive.” Chapman says that “if the feeling is right you can

accept it.” And even if the sounds that come out aren’t perfectly clear or

the vocals aren’t totally in key, it still “feels pretty good to let go.”

This sensibility and process has brought the band some attention

from the right people, leading to signing with legendary New Brunswick

label, the Daniel Romano co-founded You’ve Changed Records, a deal

Chapman suggests they “got pretty lucky” with.

That’s not to say, however, that hi-fi sounds aren’t in their future.

With a possible move to Montreal on the horizon for Chapman and the

momentum from an excellent release, the band is excited for what new

horizons await. It’s frustrating for Chapman when listeners are expecting

something more “iPod-friendly” than what they find in Thought Rock

Fish Scale, because even though it is a record they are immensely proud

of, a more heavily produced Nap Eyes is not out of the cards just yet.

Nap Eyes plays the Media Club in Vancouver on March 26th, the Palomino in

Calgary on March 28th, Brixx Bar and Grill in Edmonton on the 29th, Amigo’s

Cantina in Saskatoon on March 30th and The Good Will in Winnipeg on

April 1st.

20 | MARCH 2016 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE


RADIO RADIO

rap duo putting an English spin on things

Sometimes it seems like rap music takes itself

a little too seriously. Aside from memefication

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 “Funky Cold Medina” and the “Principle’s

Office.” Radio Radio are keeping the fun,

joking spirit alive with their latest album Light

the Sky, taking a move away from their largely

French dialect and releasing their first all-English

language album.

Canadian media can be challenging, with two

worlds of English and French rarely seeing much

crossover. But Anglophone 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 16. 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 media.”

In most of Canada, French music can tend

to be ghettoized to very specific timeslots or

avenues. MuchMusic for example, back when

they played music videos, relegated French music

to one show mostly. “Growing up,” says Doucet,

Radio Radio made an artistic decision to move from French to English.

“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.” But the move to English

hasn’t dramatically affected their approach. In

Doucet’s words, ”the English thing was one thing,

but we wanted to maintain the Radio Radio

brand, which was basically making fun songs,

playing with language, even though it is in English

it was written taking serious things but making

by Graeme Wiggins

it funny, so that you think about it differently so

we kept the whole Radio Radio vibe in a different

language. So it’s a new album, new language, and

we have new producers on the albums as well.”

That Radio Radio vibe is refreshing in a pop

music landscape dominated by self-seriousness.

As Doucet argues, “I get the feeling sometimes it’s

like Adele or whatever, I mean [her new] album’s

not that bad - there are emotions they are depicting

that touches people that are in a certain

feeling — but just ‘funny’ isn’t really around, like

besides Weird Al.” And while funny topical songs

are their bread and butter, they realize the thin

line between writing funny songs and becoming a

novelty. “It’s a conscious effort in the writing and

subject matter to be just vague enough that you

identify with it in any social situation or timeframe.

So it represents where we are in life but we

want it to be good in ten years or whatnot.”

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 Palomino in Calgary on

March 22nd, at Brixx in Edmonton on March 23rd,

at Upstairs Cabaret in Victoria on March 25th and

at the Biltmore in Vancouver on March 26th.

THE ZOLAS

Vancouver dance-rock outfit have ‘no regrets’ about ambitious new record

The Zolas give no shits when it comes to perception of their experimental pop.

Vancouer’s The Zolas are prepped and ready for launch on their

new record, the aptly titled Swooner, which drops March 4th

on Light Organ Records. This release is unique for The Zolas,

emphasizing the dance in dance-rock, replacing pianos with synths

wherever necessary, and greasing their already slick guitar tracks with

milky chorus effects. But despite the new record pressures, the band

is not at all nervous about the release. “It’s hard to get anxious when

you made exactly the album you wanted to make” singer/guitarist

Zachary Gray told BeatRoute from outside a restaurant in Germany.

“We wanted to make a pop record, but we really gave no shits as to

whether other people would think it was as hype as we did.”

The Zolas pulled out all the stops, self-producing for the first time,

and taking their time in the studio to make sure they left with “no

regrets.” Gray describes that “from the very get go, The Zolas was meant

to be an experimental pop project.” And the band has honed their craft

well. “We experimented a lot, and we popped a lot,” Gray says.

by Liam Prost

The new release gleans in all the right places, but don’t mistake it for a

glam record. “I’m actually really sick of ‘80s music,” Gray says. The driving

force of this release actually lies a decade later, in trying to grasp the ‘90s.

The title track “Swooner” is The Zolas attempt to write a dance-grunge

song. Comparisons to the ‘80s are frequent according to Gray, but it’s

more of an “atmosphere” that comes from that era than an inspiration,

citing The Cure’s opus Disintegration (1989) as the closest thing to the

‘80s that he had in mind.

Lyrical material is also more forward thinking. The track “Male

Gaze” takes on some explicitly feminist themes, tracking the

desires of an Elliot Rodger-minded male as he slowly comes to

realize the ways he objectifies women. The band tackles this

weighty subject matter with characteristic wit, using video game

imagery to convey the character’s desire to subvert the agency of

women. “Everything is OK, woman in the window, I play her body

like a feminine Nintendo.”

The Zolas have made their career with songs primarily interested

in “nostalgia and lost love,” primarily because of the intensity of the

emotional experience attached, but on the new release, The Zolas

have broadened their reach to encompass other emotional experiences.

This lead the lyrical process into writing about progressive

political notions, such as feminism and environmentalism, but also

to unique emotional experiences. This is especially prescient in the

single “Fell in Love with New York,” which praises and deconstructs

the experience of uprooting oneself, and being granted the ability

to start fresh outside of the person you were where you came from.

Swooner promises to take you places you all sorts of places you

weren’t expecting to go, but maybe not the ‘80s.

The Zolas play at The Marquee Beer Market and Stage in Calgary on

March 30th and Union Hall in Edmonton on the 31st. More Western

Canadian dates can be found online.

22 | MARCH 2016 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE


WINTERSLEEP

still challenging listeners to look inwards

by Rob Pearson

Wintersleep return with new album after an extended hiatus.

photo: Norman Wong

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 the line 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

psychosocial conditions. The cathartic resolution may

not be found within the lyrics however, but is released

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 sustain the paradox of being something

greater than the sum of its parts. Maintaining many

ROCKPILE

side projects or performing solo shows has clearly

served to help keep the creative juices flowing, but

ultimately they are a band first and foremost, and

prefer to support one another’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 plays in Calgary at the Gateway on

March 23rd, in Vancouver at the Imperial on March

25th, Edmonton at the Starlite Room on March 29th,

in Saskatoon at the Broadway Theatre on March 30th

and in Winnipeg at the Park Theatre on March 31st.

BEATROUTE • MARCH 2016 | 23


SILVERSTEIN

very much alive in everything they touch

Silverstein showcase excellent new material with a new tour.

Chances are, if you grew up listening to hardcore punk,

post-hardcore, emo, screamo, or any combination of the four,

you’ve heard of Silverstein. A practicing band since 2000, the

group has now been making music for as long as several of them had

been alive when they started the project.

“We started when we were kids. I was 18 and was the oldest. Paul was

maybe 16. Bill would have been 15,” recalls frontman Shane Told. “At that

age, in your late teens to mid-20s, that’s when you start to find yourself.

You find what makes you unique and what you’re all about. We got to

find that together. There is a lot of different personalities, but we can

agree on the music we love, the music we grew up with, and what we’re

trying to do with this band.”

Silverstein achieved breakout success with their second studio album,

Discovering The Waterfront in 2005. Six albums later, the band is now

touring in support of I Am Alive In Everything I Touch, a concept album

relating to the cyclical nature of band life, and inspired in part by the

band’s home city, Toronto.

“I love [Toronto] in some ways and hate it in others,” Told explains.

by Willow Grier

“While we were recording the album we were planning [the DTW

10 year anniversary] tour. With the nostalgia of the last 10 years and

deciding what venues we were gonna play, all these memories came into

my mind based on our past and planning this. And it worked out [to be]

our future.”

Personally for Told, “The theme came from thinking about what I’ve

really attained in 10 years. Who I am, and what I have accomplished.

I’m not married, I don’t have any kids, and at the core of it all I’m still

the same person as I was almost 10 years ago. There is a little sadness

to the fact that I maybe haven’t progressed on paper, so you have the

story of starting in one place and ending there. This cycle. And in a band

it’s kinda living in a cycle as well: the tour cycle.” And yet, without the

“on-paper” progression Told referred to, he is still achieving musical and

career progression. “The first few records and the first few tours, we felt

like insecure kids. Self-conscious about our music and image. You kind of

find your path and realize that it works for you and you enjoy it. That’s

when we’ve made our best work and made our best music,” he says in

relation to where they are now.

“I’m at a time in my life where I’m getting older and things should be

starting to slow down. For me it’s the opposite, and that’s kinda good.

[Growing up,] I was just a kid who loved music. I spent all my money on

musical equipment or records. If you had told me when I was 16 that I

was gonna be 35 and [still making music], having sold a million records,

I never would have believed it,” he muses. “And we stand behind every

single one of our songs, which is a really cool way to feel about the art

you’ve created. I’d say in our entire career of 15 years, I wouldn’t really

change anything.”

Catch Silverstein in Edmonton on March 4th at the Starlite Room and

in Calgary on March 5th at Marquee Beer Market. Tune in weekly to

frontman Shane Told’s podcast “Lead Singer Syndrome” available on

iTunes and SoundCloud.

WE ARE NOT GHOSTS

so what is that sound in the attic?

by Michael Grondin

Do you think you have ghosts in your house?

And though they aim to reach their own standards

of perfection in a serious and dark genre,

Are there strange noises coming from the

walls and the floorboards that sound too

Melgar says We Are Not Ghosts is meant to be a

deliberate to be the pipes or the plumbing?

fun project.

Well, Alonso Melgar, the guitarist and songwriter

“I’m always afraid that we’re going to come

of Calgary’s We Are Not Ghosts, says you

across as pretentious, because it’s something that

should try and make contact with the spirits in

a lot of bands tend to be, regardless of the genre.

the void, and see if they exist.

It’s super easy for a band to be all, ’This is our art,

And just like some apparition you’re not sure is

no dancing at our shows.’ I get that mentality, because

there, haunting your imagination with otherworldly

I have felt like that in the past, but this style

sounds in a creaky old house, We Are Not

of music is on its own plane, and on the other

Ghosts showcase dedicated perfection within

side of that, it’s fun to play, and we don’t take ourselves

static voids.

too seriously when we play live,” alluding to

The two-piece, consisting of Melgar and Noah

the fact that he and Michael constantly poke fun

Michael, is releasing their first self-titled album,

at their music.

an ambient and cinematic seven-song effort that

“There have been a couple times where I’ll introduce

channels personal memories and experiences with

a song and I’ll say, ‘Sing along if you know

an experimental edge.

the words,’ but there are no lyrics. And we have

“You can definitely hear themes of what is

like two songs, but it’s a 45-minute set, ‘So get your

going on, whether it’s heartache, or the feeling

beer now cause there’s not going to be a break.’”

of loss or loneliness,” says Melgar, sitting at the

Melgar is happy that he has been able to share

window of Broken City in Calgary.

and make music with his friends, and he is excited

The instrumental post-rock of We Are Not

about the project, even if he may “put the Ghosts

Ghosts rises out of darkness, building into expansive

to sleep” after this release.

walls of sound. Melgar says the weight is

“It’s fun to imagine what your album is going

finally of his shoulders surrounding the time and spring with the help of friend and roommate, Eric When playing live, the band has some wiggle to look like and sound like,” concludes Melgar.

effort they put into this album.

Andrews, who runs Evius Studios in the basement room to divulge into experimental drone, but they “We try hard to write good music, we would like

“The past year, since we started playing shows, of their house.

wanted to be precise and pointed on this release. people to listen. It is what it is and we have fun

it’s been just fuckin’ bizarre, in terms of what’s “On a whim, I was like, ’Okay, we have these “I’ve always wanted to do a super droney set making it.”

happened in my life,” he says. “I wanted each and songs, we should just record a fucking album live for like 45 minutes and just make everyone in

every bit of those experiences to come through in already,’ and I literally just walked down to the the bar uncomfortable. That’s my dream,” he says. We Are Not Ghosts will be releasing their album at

the music.”

basement and told Eric we were recording next “But we don’t have Godspeed [You! Black Emperor]

Dickens on March 25th, playing alongside Cytokinesis,

We Are Not Ghosts was recorded late last week,” explains Melgar with a laugh.

money, or Godspeed privileges.”

Tiny Shrine and Strange Fires.

24 | MARCH 2016 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE

We Are Not Ghosts will release their debut full length to the delight of spectres and spectators alike.


FEVER FEEL

grassroots rock n’ roll, with experience

by Foster Modesette

album art — gig posters

quality & pride

facebook.com/RancheroDesignGraphicsCo

Fever Feel venture south of the border ahead of forthcoming full-length.

Real people playing real music: Fever Feel is a

budding Calgary band with deep psychedelic

and rock n’ roll roots.

Reminiscent of early ‘60s legends such as the

Rolling Stones, Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane,

Fever Feel has culture.

Creating melodies as groovy as they are memorable,

their music has an ability to take your emotions

on a trip, and live performances capture audiences in

a trance. It is clear that the musicians in the band are

there for nothing more than the music.

The band’s first “offering,” as Logan Gabert, lead

guitarist, puts it, was a three-track EP, titled, Days

of Daze, released immediately after their first live

performance.

Since the EP release, Fever Feel has been writing

and recording their first full-length album. All the

while making their way across Canada, from Victoria,

BC to Halifax, NS. The band now has their sights set

on international ventures

“We’ve been recording this record over the past

nine months,” said Landon Franklin, lead vocalist and

bassist for the band. “Going on tours and collecting

experiences. About a third of the album is going to

be new songs that people haven’t heard, but even the

stuff people have heard, they are going to hear it in a

different way.”

Both Franklin and Gabert stressed the importance

of the band having a distinctly different live and

on-record sound. “We don’t want our live experience

to feel the same as the recordings…when you get too

close to that, you might as well just be listening to the

record,” says Franklin.

Franklin and Gabert, formed the band, in 2014,

and since the culmination, Fever Feel has seen many

forms, with the recent inclusion of organist, Thomas

Platt, an “organ wizard,” the band says.

Fever Feel has an organic sound, reminiscent of

earlier pre-digital days. A jam band with live instruments

only, the music feels primordial.

“Lately, that kind of music has impacted me

most profoundly because of how stripped-bare the

instrumentation is,” says Gabert on early blues and

rock acts of the ‘50s. “The technology that they had

to capture the music was so primal that it had to be

done right, right then. That inspires me.”

Fever Feel is old school in their beliefs and their

techniques, and it’s incredibly refreshing. Recording

using reel-to-reel technology first popularized

in the ‘60s, the band has full creative authority on

their sound.

“For this record we are tracking to quarter inch

tape, which really has a sound of its own,” says

Gabert. “Better quality doesn’t necessarily mean it

sounds better,” Franklin adds.

Although techniques like this aren’t as popular

anymore, the band feels no obligation to ‘get with the

times’. “I don’t feel a struggle to be relevant because

rock and roll isn’t as popular as it once was,” says

Gabert. “We are just as relevant as anything out there

because we are writing about what’s going on right

now. Rock and roll, to me, is just the style we are

going for: it doesn’t cover up anything.”

Later this month Fever Feel will be touring the U.S.

West Coast, making their way down to California

and back, with record release plans in effect for later

this year. To kick off the tour, the band will also be

re-releasing the Days of Daze EP.

Catch Fever Feel on March 17th at Good Luck Bar

before they leave for their American tour.

26 | MARCH 2016 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE


DEAD PRETTY

Calgary psych-rockers put the time in

Calgary’s Dead Pretty evoke the Second Summer of Love with their carefully hewn recorded debut.

There was a time in British music that you don’t hear too

much about this side of the Atlantic. It overlapped the end of

post-punk and the beginnings of Brit-pop, and is now known

mostly for the Herculean drug-intake of the artists involved, rather

than the groundbreaking art they made. Jesus and Mary Chain offshoot

turned into Second Summer of Love stalwarts Primal Scream,

shoegazing experimentalists turned into chart-toppers The Verve,

photo: Keith Skrastins

and the Happy Mondays, who spent their entire recording budget on

crack, bankrupted their record company and attempted to kidnap

Smiths’ guitarist Johnny Marr. Good times.

Calgary band Dead Pretty might be one of the few acts out there

with these kinds of sounds as inspiration, mixing blues-rock, psychedelia,

acid-house, shoegaze and good ol’ fashioned indie rock. If you’re wondering

why you haven’t heard of them already, well, there’s a reason, says

by Gareth Watkins

vocalist/bassist Darren McDade: “We basically locked ourselves away

for the last three years, recording a bunch of songs, finding our sound,

finding what we want to do. We could have just released a bunch of

tracks right away but we really wanted to work on getting it to where we

want it. It’s taken a long time but I think we’re at the point where we’re

ready to show it.”

McDade and guitarist/vocalist Kenton Amstutz met in the shortlived

band Black Phoenix Orchestra, which had a roughly equivalent

sound but an entirely different modus operandi: they entered the studio

immediately in a frantic effort to get things happening. They won’t be

doing that again.

“We already recorded a full-length and we just threw it in the garbage.

We just weren’t happy with it and in the end we spent so much time

figuring out where we wanted to be and where we wanted to go that by

the time we finished recording our album we were in a different direction

already. No point in releasing some shit right?”

The EP they’ll release on March 11th is a taster for a larger, as yet

unnamed album coming this summer. They’re resolutely DIY, so the

EP isn’t just building cred, it’s building capital to get the record pressed,

T-shirts printed and the tour van gassed up. Their current catalogue was

recorded entirely in one 10X10’ home studio and they’re in no hurry to

upgrade. Labels, and even Kickstarters aren’t for them, but the sound of

the two songs they’ve released so far, “Death Row” and “Short Fused,”

is, as guitarist/vocalist Kenton says: “Big. Big chord changes, things you

wouldn’t expect. We really locked ourselves away, so we were sitting

down, figuring out tones, running guitars through multiple amps, multiple

mics, multiple effects pedals. The songs are huge.”

They are. Not just in sound but in scope, in allowing pop and far-out

psychedelic freakery to exist on the same stage. Pop is, after all, not so

much a sound as it is artists saying that their music ought to be heard.

That’s the next step for the Dead Pretty, says McDade:

“Once we release this main album the next part is trying to get people

to fall in love with us, to give a shit. That’s the hardest part in music.”

Catch Dead Pretty’s EP release March 11th at the Dog & Duck Pub in

Calgary. Also watch our premiere of the music video for their song “Death

Row,” online now at beatroute.ca.

TENS ONLY

tapping into the collective consciousness

Calgary’s Tens Only Collective are aiming to

break through the standard of conventional

music projects in order to bring

uninhibited creativity and interaction to their

dynamic live performances.

A multidisciplinary seven-piece which got its

start at ACAD in 2011, the collective draws a lot of

influence from psychedelic and classic rock. They also

include conceptual design and storytelling, complete

with costumes.

“We were all used to being in other people’s bands,

where one or two people had a say and it wasn’t very

democratic in terms of direction or sound,” says collective

member Jared Tailfeathers, who adds guitars,

vocals and bass to the project. “You know, everyone

played one instrument, the singer, the guitarist, the

bassist, drummer…”

Tailfeathers says he and his friends wanted to try

something completely different, accompanying their

music with science experiments and performance art.

“When we started this collective, we wanted

everyone to have a say, and to write and sing and play

what they wanted.”

Tens Only blend many different art forms—visual

art installations and hand made musical instruments

to name a few—to take their progressive

rock to new heights.

“It all started by jamming in a garage together, and

we ended up building this community of musicians

and artists that can really hone in on an idea, a sound

and a feeling,” says David Martin, a co-founder and

multi-instrumentalist in the collective.

All members of Tens Only are encouraged to play

different instruments, constantly rotating between

songs. Martin says they also try to engage with their

audience in unexpected ways.

“A lot of our artwork and installation work is

designed to get our audience involved. We want to

engage the community,” says Martin. “We make interactive

instruments that people can play together.”

“Every show we have played has been totally different.

We don’t like to be like every other band. Instead,

we like to have our own expression and do things in a

unique way,” says Tailfeathers.

Tens Only will be releasing their first two EPs this

year, which are two three-song trilogies exploring a

narrative written by the band.

The first EP is called The Quincy Slick Trilogy,

which follows a story based on collective member

Kyle Green’s near-death experience.

“The concept revolves around [the character]

Quincy Slick falling into a boiling sleep, talking to

the devil, Old Nick Switch, and how Mr. Slick will

only wake from his [sleep], if he journeys through his

Good things come in pairs for Tens Only, putting out two EPs.

subconscious mind,” says Tailfeathers.

“They are both three-song trilogies that are

narrative based. The songs are progressive and link

together like a three movement act,” he adds.

Martin says Tens Only is excited about their future

direction and they hope the collective can add to

Calgary’s creative community.

“Tens Only is our mandate for the way we

choose to live our lives. We really give it a 10 every

by Michael Grondin

photo: Madeline Kwan

day, and no matter what instruments we are

playing, or what ideas we bring to the project, we

want to try our best and work with others,” says

Tailfeathers. “We are excited to be a part of this

community but we also want to help the community

grow in any way we can.”

Check out Tens Only at their first EP release on March

25th at The Blind Beggar.

28 | MARCH 2016 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE


THE REAL MCKENZIES

a quarter century of bag-pipes and beers

How do these tartan-clad pranksters do it?

What is their secret sauce? Showing little

slack and growing after 20-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

enduring frontman Paul McKenzie.

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

by Tiina Liimu

and writing, “This circumvents a plateau effect

and keeps us on the up and up,” 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, touring,

and recording. We are looking forward to our

26th,” says McKenzie.

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!”

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with The Real McKenzies

at Dickens on March 17.

ROCKSLIDIN’

all the news fit to print for March

March is a packed

month at the beginning,

middle and end.

A huge list of legacy acts and

vital contemporary bands are

coming through alike. We can

only do so many stories in a

month, so here’s a round-up of

great live options for March.

Let’s start things off with an

unusual all-ages option. Port

Juvee and Scenic Route to

Alaska have paired up for an

OutLoud YYC-presented performance

at Cardel Rec South on

March 11th. It’s a great chance

for under-18s to get a look at

independent Alberta musicians

and for the older crowd to enjoy

music in a different setting.

The following night, The Palomino

has you covered with a big

ol’ metal party. Noisey and Monster Energy

present Georgian swamp metal act Black

Tusk and California’s ripping Holy Grail. Both

the decibels and beards will be off the charts!

On the 14th, a living legend graces the

Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium: Joan

Jett & The Blackhearts have been making

kick ass rock ‘n’ roll for decades and still hold

up after all these years. Don’t miss it.

If you’re looking for a slightly less debauched

option for St. Patty’s, head to The

Gateway on the 17th for the super sweet

singalongs of The Elwins. Who knows, maybe

they’ll even bust out their Adele cover.

Mr. Modern Lover returns to Calgary once

again! The esteemed Jonathan Richman will

perform with accompanist Tommy Larkin

at the Palomino on March 19th. Richman is

a true personality onstage, telling jokes and

mooning over the crowd. He’s known to go

off-mic and off-script at his shows, serenading

the audience from within and sourcing songs

from his epic, multi-lingual back catalogue.

The Grey Eagle practically has its own

Warped Tour going down March 25th with

The Offspring, Gob and Pigeon Park. Bad

news: it’s sold out. Try your luck on Kijiji!

There are many mysteries in life, just one of

by Colin Gallant

DIARRHEA PLANET

photo: Pooneh Ghana

which being the annual appearance of Electric

Six at The Gateway. Year after year, the

band pretty much exclusively for the hilarious

“Danger! High Voltage” pops its head up at

the venue. Round up your own Mystery Gang

and go find out why on March 26th.

And now, the award for best band name of

the month goes to: Diarrhea Planet. The revolting

sounding group actually makes pretty

endearing, charged up indie rock. Pair that

with some Pitchfork hype and a healthy does

of humour and you have one hell of a party

on March 29th at The Gateway.

Harkening back to your most intense feelings

of the mid ‘00s, Metric and Death Cab

For Cutie are headlining a big ol’ stadium

show at the BMO Centre on March 30th.

Support your indie pop elders!

On a smaller note, one of the best rock and

roll rooms in the city has a packed Western

Canadian bill on March 30th. Grungey

Vancouverites Dead Soft headline a bill with

local punks Empty Heads and Blü Shorts at

the Bamboo. Let ‘er rip.

Finally, make sure to check out ZZ Top on

April 2nd at the Grey Eagle. Sure, they might

be your dad’s favourite band, but your ‘90s

fuzz heroes wouldn’t exist without ‘em. Credit

where credit’s due!

ROCKPILE

BEATROUTE • MARCH 2016 | 29


EDMONTON EXTRA

WARES

solo act continues to melt faces with brand new 7”

Wares gears up new release ahead of cross-Canada tour this summer.

For some, making music is purely about fun

side projects. For others, like Cassia Hardy of

Wares, the act of creating is as necessary as

air. Without much of a self-described “flair” for

anything other than writing and making music,

Hardy has certainly found her place in the Edmonton

music scene and beyond with impressive riffs,

thoughtful lyrics and a wild live performance.

When BeatRoute recently asked Hardy about her

future dreams, her reply couldn’t have been more

romantic: “I would like to live in one van with a

mattress in the back and a duffel bag in the passenger

seat. I would like to drive around the country

and play my music to people. That is my long term

dream for myself. I don’t really care about the size

of the venue. I care about the engagement of the

audience. I care about writing the best songs I can

and hopefully changing some lives through music.

That would be my ultimate success.”

The simplicity, but tenacity of Hardy as a musician

is absolutely apparent at her live shows. Seeing

Wares perform is like witnessing a perfect explosion.

Stumbling casually into the audience, yelling off

mic and effortlessly wailing are part of a tousled, yet

crisp cocktail only she can serve up. A well-practiced

songwriter and performer, Hardy is sitting on a 7” to

release at the Needle in Edmonton later this month.

Her newest release will mark the beginning of a

new era for Hardy, who has an extensive back catalogue

of songs to draw from. “This one is with a band,

well, the first song anyway, and I wrote both songs in

2015, when it was recorded. I’ve been trying to catch

up with myself because I’ve been writing songs for a

long time, but not performing for a long time. I got

frustrated with me telling myself I needed to put out

the old stuff first. But, why bother with that? Why

don’t I just show people what I’m up to right now?”

With a 7” to tack onto what is an already

rousing live show, Hardy is taking Wares on the

road this summer to see the country. While most

people may find some of the longer stretches of

the road tiresome, Hardy’s inner poet views the

process as enchanting. “A lot of people I talk to

about touring are telling me to brace myself for

the between city drives, but there’s nothing I like

more than seeing Canada and the countryside.

by Brittany Rudyck

Maybe that sounds like a rookie thing to say,

because I haven’t seen it, but my favourite part of

any tour I’ve ever gone on has just been driving,

watching the road happen as you go and the funny

conversations you have with friends and the weird

situations you get into.”

As Wares will always be a solo show (with a few

rare full band occasions, like the release of her 7”),

there have been many opportunities to experience

the ins and outs of “making it” as an artist. A

former panelist for Not Enough Fest, Hardy wants

to see a surge in new musicians in Edmonton.

“Getting into the scene and sending those cold

calls is hard. When I first started, I presented as a

male and I was still clueless. It’s not like it was any

easier in that respect, as far as getting my nose

in the door. It’s just a thing you learn with time.

You’re gonna have to play the Tuesday nights at

the dive bar. It’s not going to be pleasant. Sometimes

there’s going to be four people there and

somebody is going to have some not so nice words

to say, which was very much my experience starting

out. And it sucks, but it you want to get your

name out there and play the good shows, you have

to play the shitty shows first. It’s just a matter of

doing it and it takes a lot of patience sometimes,

and confidence that what you’re doing is good,

and what you’re doing could be better.”

Wares will be headlining her album release party at

the Needle Vinyl Tavern in Edmonton on March 24th

with Thick Lines and Consilience.

EMPRESS COMEDY SHOW 2ND ANNIVERSARY

Edmonton’s most popular comedy night turns two!

The Empress Comedy Night is gearing up to celebrate

two full years of making Edmontonians bust their guts.

Originally started by Clare Belford, one of the city’s

most popular comedy nights was passed on to hosts Carina

Morton and Simon Glassman last September. BeatRoute

chatted with Morton to get the nitty gritty.

range of comedy and comedic styles. Pat Thornton is very unique,

not like what you might be used to on a Netflix special. There’ll

also be musical comedy; we’ve got ladies and gentlemen; a special

guest from out of town, other than Pat; a guest from Comedy

Records and more. It’s a show for everybody. We created it with

that thought in mind, really.

by Brittany Rudyck

BeatRoute: What is so special about the comedy night

happening on March 6th?

Carina Morton: This is our second year anniversary show for the

comedy night. Last year, they decided to make the year anniversary

a special thing as it’s a very popular show. They flew in Mark

Little last year, who is a pretty big deal. This year, we wanted to

keep the tradition up, so we’re flying in Pat Thornton. He has

a sketch on Comedy Central called Hotbox, he’s on a show on

CityTV called Sunnyside, he’s been on Just for Laughs and Royal

Canadian Air Farce, so he is also a pretty big deal. The cool thing

is that it’s independent. We’re just a bar, so people’s tickets are

paying to bring him in basically.

BR: What has your experience been like since beginning

to co-host the comedy nights?

CM: It’s been really fun. It’s an amazing show and the staff is really

supportive. They’re amazing. The audiences are very fun and they

love to be there. The best audience you could ask for.

BR: For the people who are more prone to going to live

music or to see bands, why should people try this comedy

show instead?

CM: The appeal of this show, specifically, is that we’ve got a huge

BR: Piggybacking off my last question, for those of us on

the outside of the comedic community, what is Edmonton’s

comedy scene like on the grander scale?

CM: Edmonton has a very strong scene. The sheer volume of

comics in the scene would surprise a lot of people. There’s at

least one show every night of the week, but usually two. There

are comedy roast battles and so many diverse shows. They’ll

mix comedy and music a ton, there’s improv and so much

more. The scene is amazingly strong. You can pretty much go

to a free comedy show every night of the week and see some

great up and coming comics.

BR: For those who want to get started in comedy, what

would be their first step so they too, can be part of the

Empress Comedy Show one day?

CM: There are tons and tons and tons of open mic nights. If you’re

just starting out, just get on stage. It’s alarmingly simple. Everybody

is extremely welcoming. Everyone wants to see new faces and

once you meet one comic, you’ll meet 55-hundred others. There’s

a lot of togetherness in this community.

The Empress Comedy Night’s Second Anniversary takes place on

March 6th. The hilarity kicks off at 8:30pm.

Comedic oddball Pat Thornton leads a pack of talent feting the Empress.

30 | MARCH 2016 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE


VERSIONS

Three-piece rockers continue to grow their sound

Electric Eye Music Fest described indie act

Versions as “If Mark Mothersbaugh of Devo was

enlisted into Fugazi, it might have sounded as

good as this.” A fitting description, as the acts that

they mentioned have influenced vocalist and guitarist

Tim Hatch, bassist Keith Olson and drummer Troy

Dykink. “We are about pushing limits, and seeing

what beats work what and just having a good time,”

notes Dykink.

BeatRoute discussed contrasts between their last

release Blasted to Something and their upcoming

release Hex Beat. Compared to Blasted to Something,

they spent more time recording and got pickier when

making their upcoming release. “You constantly have

to evolve your own playing to play to different beats

and different time signatures all in the same song. We

took an entire week to record this album,” explains

Olson. “We didn’t really take the whole week,” clarifies

Dykink. “We recorded the album twice in one week,

the kick drum mic wasn’t right… the bass guitar wasn’t

right the first time either. I wouldn’t have it any other

way,” adds Olson. “I am a big fan of the raw Steve Albini

type of recordings. I think it is a really honest recording,”

explains Hatch.

In the past, Versions had taken all aspects of the

band into their own hands: booking tours, recording,

mastering (Hatch has a background in sound

engineering), making album art, videos and merch —

the works. If all of those elements were a hamburger,

Versions made and loaded the whole thing from the

top bun to bottom.

For Hex Beat, Versions enlisted the help of Stu

McKillop from Rain City Recorders in Vancouver to

master the album. In a sense, one of the condiments

was added by a third party this time around. Hearing

the album mastered really allowed the band to listen

to their music more objectively, explains Olson. “When

Versions’ new album was recorded twice in one week.

ROCKPILE

by Jenna Lee Williams

we got the mastered version back, I could tell you…

fireworks!” Having someone else master the album

also allowed the band to focus on other areas of music

making. “We have been writing tons of songs. We are

ready to record more, even before we have release Hex

Beat,” says Dykink.

The Sweetie Pie Records compilation contains a

sneak peek of an un-mastered version the track “The

Rules Have Changed Again.” The mastered edition of

the song will appear on Hex Beat. Although the track

begins with the lyrics “What a glorious day,” Hatch

explains that the fast-paced track is lyrically quite grim

and is about “taking things one day at a time when you

are feeling low. You don’t control the rules, the rules are

always changing. ” Ride the Tempo reviewed the track:

“There’s been a lot of music that harkens back to the

New York art rock/post-punk period of the late ’70s. If

only it were all as good as this.”

BeatRoute asked Versions about some of their favourite

bands from that period. “I really love Richard Hell

and the Voidoids, with Markie Ramone on the drums,”

says Hatch. “Collectively as a band we all like Television

and all that kind of stuff,” adds Dykink. “We would listen

to Television cranked way up cruising in the van, late

at night on tour,” recalls Olson. Growing up in the ‘90s,

bands from that period also played an important role.

“We all love Guided By Voices,” notes Hatch. When Versions

first formed they bonded over old soul, specifically

Motown music.

Going forward the band plans to release more videos

for tracks off Hex Beat, and recording analog to create a

warm sound.

Check out Versions in Saskatoon on March 24th at Vangelis,

on March 25th in Regina at the German Club and

on March 26 in Calgary at the Palomino. Their album

will be available on Bandcamp on April 2nd.

SPACE CLASSIC

delivering solid dream pop on upcoming release

Space Classic releases his second album in less than a year on March 19th.

The dream pop solo project of Jesse

Nakano, Space Classic, has been

in existence since September 2014.

Space Classic emanates a nostalgic feel that

is pure, simplistic and follows through on

making catchy tracks. The video for “Following

Through” — the title track off his

last release — made Weird Canada’s New

Canadiana Choice Grips list earlier this year.

A review of that album on Grayowl Point

notes: “Listening to Following Through feels

like walking through your high school’s halls

on the last day of school. This very specific

feeling overpowered me during my numerous

listens (and I’m sure will continue to do so)

of Space Classic’s latest. This walk is marked

by nostalgia and an anxiety surrounding the

future that is almost unbearable. You grasp at

a past you’re happy to leave behind but yet is

so damn comforting.”

BeatRoute checked in with the multitasker

solo artist over the phone while he was shoveling

the walk. Although he makes all of his music in

his basement, the lo-fi sound is not intentional. In

contrast, the nostalgic feel is.

“I unashamedly love reverb. I know it’s a classic

thing. I like that spaced out sound. It is kind of

nostalgic for me. Nostalgia is a really big part of

music for me. If something can make me remember

or feel a certain way that I once enjoyed in the

past, I really like that,” explains Nakano.

Nakano will be releasing his latest album,

Faults, this month. Following Through took longer

for him to make, but with Faults “it feels way more

organic. I figured out what works. That is what

got me really excited about Faults. I’m excited to

finish those tracks up. I have been really busy with

school and work,” notes Nakano.

On his previous record Nakano did more

collaborating in terms of the songwriting process.

For Faults, he did things more Han Solo style.

by Jenna Lee Williams

photo: Kent Neufeld

“Collaborating is something I like, but right now

I’m addicted to just being alone and being in my

own headspace and doing it all myself. It is pretty

therapeutic. It is a new kind of style — the one

person does everything and just gets their friends

to play it live,” explains Nakano, who plays with

a full band at live Space Classic shows. Nakano

plays keyboard and uses his sampler at shows

and is accompanied by Ronell Drapeza on guitar,

Christian Nakano on guitar, Liam Faucher on bass

and Trevor Buttery on the drums.

Faults contains tracks about Nakano’s Christian

faith and relationships, but not all lyrics are

personal. “I think I make music because it is a

challenge. I like the idea of making something

that sounds good. That is often a big part of the

process. When I make music it is not always this

insane art moment thing. Lyrically it is not super

personal sometimes. Sometimes I just [write

lyrics] that I like the sounds of.”

Currently Nakano is listening to the new Beach

House album Depression Cherry. “Some of their

organ stuff I really like.” In addition, he enjoys

Majical Cloudz’ Are you Alone? and old and new

Youth Lagoon, Wild Nothing and Craft Spells. In

terms of Christian music, Sufjan Stevens and We

Are The City have influenced Space Classic.

There are also many local bands that Nakano is

a fan of and some include: Strange Fires, Gender

Poutine, Power Buddies, Little Blue and Leap

Year. “In the Edmonton music scene everyone

is incredibly kind. I find that to be really bizarre;

it is not what I expected. I honestly feel that the

Edmonton music scene is such a good scene to be

in, too. There have been some really cool artists

[that have] come out of Edmonton. I think it has

its own character. I love it!”

Check out Space Classic’s CD release show on

March 19th at the Almanac in Edmonton with

Little Blue and bobbitopickles.

BEATROUTE • MARCH 2016 | 31


letters from winnipeg

GHOST TWIN

gloom-pop duo makes soundtracks in need of films

Retro sleaze ball synths buzz around eerie

baroque vocals on Here We Are In the Night,

the debut effort of Ghost Twin, the gloompop

project of husband-and-wife duo Jaimz and

Karen Asmundson, also known for their experimental

film work.

The short film Goths! On the Bus!, a comedy

directed by Jaimz and Karen released in 2010, would

be the impetus for Ghost Twin’s formation a few

years later.

It was the first project where the two had shared

film credits, and the first time they had collaborated

on a piece of music.

“It wasn’t really a Ghost Twin song,” says Karen

of the jokey track in the film inspired by Bauhaus’s

“Bela Legosi’s Dead” and Marilyn Manson. “We would

never perform that live.”

But, Jaimz adds, “We had so much fun working

on it together that we knew we worked well

together… It was a natural progression to go from

film to music together.”

By 2013, the duo had played their first show, and

with Karen’s art/noir-pop band, Querkus, having recently

split, the timing was right to get serious about

a new creative endeavor.

Despite her classical training as a pianist, Karen

handles guitar duties for Ghost Twin while Jaimz

plays synth.

“In this project I don’t play any piano at all,” says

Karen. “It has been a really eye-opening experience to

try and simplify my ideas, because a guitar is something

I have a rudimentary ability with.”

Witchy synthwave duo Ghost Twin performing live. Credit: Robert Szkolnicki.

Working with producer Michael Petkau Falk (of

defunct indie-pop band Les Jupes and head honcho

at Head in the Sand records), the couple’s brand of

synthwave brims with darkness.

“We knew he was a secret goth,” says Karen of why

the producer was a good fit for their sound. “His first

band when he was really young was a goth band and

we remembered that… He also has such an amazing

skill set for production and recording.”

Cult cinema fetishists will likely feel drawn to

the duo’s cinematic arrangements that incorporate

synth-heavy creepiness and a hypnotic vibe.

If Julee Cruise (the haunting voice behind the

Twin Peaks theme song) provided vocals for the

by Julijana Capone

soundtrack of John Carpenter’s Assault on Precinct

13, the result would probably sound like the EP’s title

track, “Here We Are in the Night,” which was recently

released with a wildly creative video drenched in

mysticism from director Gwen Trutnau (KEN mode,

Chica Boom Boom).

“We just kind of let her take us wherever her

imagination wanted to go,” says Karen. “She loves to

build props and puppets and costumes. She lives in

a really crazy aesthetic world, so we let her do what

she does.”

Given their backgrounds as filmmakers, Ghost

Twin’s live shows are a musical and aesthetic feast for

the senses. Using a special program and video processor

that transmits images from digital to analog,

Jaimz is able to perform music live while triggering a

barrage of visuals and video clips.

“It’s like this very weird, colourful video art,”

says Jaimz. “Most of our songs are about strange

topics, like supernatural or occult topics, so

there’s a lot of clips drawn from experimental film

and horror movies.”

“As a filmmaker, I can’t help but think cinematically,”

he adds. “I’m always thinking what can I use for

visuals in this song as I’m writing it?”

Ghost Twin performs at The Knndy on March 12, the

West End Cultural Centre on April 2, and the Handsome

Daughter on April 17 (all dates in Winnipeg).

Explore more Ghost Twin music at ghosttwin.com or

visit ghosttwin.bandcamp.com to purchase tunes or

their VHS mixtape with live analog video art.

FIRST DATE TOURING

recording project and music festival founders add boutique booking agency to resume

Members of Living Hour have added “boutique booking agency” to their list of projects.

If you’re an emerging indie act and you’ve sought

out the help of an agency, then you probably

know how difficult it can be to get signed—or

even noticed.

Gil Carroll (also of on-the-rise dream-pop outfit

Living Hour) feels your pain. It’s also one of the

reasons why he’s banded together with a collective

of music pals—with shared experience as venue

bookers, festival organizers, and musicians (from acts

such as Royal Canoe, Surprise Party and Tunic)—to

launch the Winnipeg-based booking agency First

Date Touring.

“Especially within the realms of music that we play,

I wouldn’t say that there is a lack of agents, but it’s

very hard to find a committed agent to take a chance

on a young, emerging band from Winnipeg,” says

Carroll.

Though still in its infancy, the agency has already

added 16 artists from across Canada to its roster,

including Winnipeg goth rapper SMRT, hallucinatory

nu-gazers Basic Nature and, of course, Carroll’s own

band, Living Hour; along with Vancouver’s self-proclaimed

“sonic-weaver” Hannah Epperson, and

Edmonton’s answer to Morrissey, Tropic Harbour.

“We’re not choosing bands based on any sort of

commercial success,” says Carroll, who is hoping to fill

a particular niche in Canada. “It’s more so just bands

that we believe in.”

This isn’t the first time that Carroll has made

efforts to showcase emerging Canadian artists, especially

those from Manitoba.

Before there was First Date Touring, Carroll and

some friends, including Living Hour bandmate Adam

Soloway, started a recording project called Beach

Station Blues in 2012, featuring nine emerging acts.

Those initial recording sessions, Carroll says,

“contributed to the development and growth of the

Winnipeg scene by connecting bands and artists who

wouldn’t otherwise have met.”

Carroll and Soloway are also the figures behind

the Real Love Summer Fest—this year’s instalment

happens June 24-26, 2016—along with the Real

by Julijana Capone

Love Winnipeg label, which has released eight

compilation albums in the past four years, and a

bi-monthly showcase that focuses on homegrown

independent music at Winnipeg venue The Handsome

Daughter.

“It’s sort of becoming a local show and promotion

company now, because we sort of started streamlining

the things that we’re doing,” says Carroll. “We love

supporting local bands and artists. That’s what we do

predominately throughout the year.”

Indeed, it’s the river-deep talent pool in his own

backyard that keeps Carroll stoked. “The Winnipeg

music scene is fantastic and I consider myself lucky to

be a part of it,” he says. “There are tons of up-andcoming

bands that I’m really excited about, and I’m

excited to see how far they can go.”

With five agents and several national and international

tours already in the works, the agency is off to

a good start. “We’re definitely hoping to grow and

expand the roster,” says Carroll. “For now, it’s still a

really small team of people, so we’re taking it slow in

terms of bringing new bands to the roster.

“But we’re definitely open to hearing people’s

music.”

For more information on First Date Touring and

to check out the full roster and tour dates, visit

firstdatetouring.com. For all the details on Real Love

Winnipeg’s summer festival and musical compilations,

head to reallovewpg.com.

32 | MARCH 2016 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE


JUCY

CONVERGENCE

new residency program offers new ways to think, hear and sound

It might get freaky: Russian DJ Dasha Rush hosts the After Party.

An complex intersection of international musicians, inventors, visual

artists and technologists will be gathering at The Banff Centre this

month.

The Convergence Residency is hoping to offer a platform for creators

whose work defies genre and practice confines by differing from the master/student

dynamic of other residencies.

“In electronic music and digital arts, which are super mutational, you

don’t know where they’re going: there’s no rules, not necessarily any standards,

new forms are being invented, all kinds of languages are emerging

out of them… It becomes a kind of more horizontal exchange, maybe more

of a mentorship,” explains artistic director Patti Schmidt.

Schmidt is a programmer for internationally renowned festival MUTEK

and boasts 20 years with CBC, most notably as head honcho for defining

music program Brave New Waves.

Schmidt was approached by The Banff Centre with questions about

whether the demand for such a residency exists, how it would operate

and what, ultimately, would it offer? Schmidt saw the opportunity to bring

together fringe “autodidacts” together to create an environment where

isolated practices had their own community. With over 80 applications, it

was expected that there would be some drop-off for the 22 final spots. In a

rarity for a residency, all accepted applicants quickly agreed to commit.

“I think that sort of speaks to the ‘yes, there is a hunger’ for the access

to a kind of mentorship and teaching and learning environment in these

genres, because there are so few opportunities,” says Schmidt.

It might also have to do with the international roster of faculty such as

Uwe Schmidt (Germany), Dasha Rush (Russia) and Robin Fox (Australia).

Fox was a participant in the Centre’s past Convergence Summit, and helped

tie a thematic thread into the Residency.

As for residents, Schmidt “wanted people who had some kind of

a body of work behind them, and an ability to clearly articulate what

JUICY

by Colin Gallant

they wanted to do.”

But following in the spirit of mentorship, there’s no pressure to complete

a project during the Residency dates. Participants are given the chance

to build works around screens or apparatuses, or simply pursue methods

of research and process that aren’t offered elsewhere. Whether or not a

project finds a tangible end during the residency, there may be further

opportunities at The Banff Centre or MUTEK down the road.

“I wanted to make a bridge to create an opportunity for works that

happen [at Convergence] to live outside of Banff as well,” she says, citing

a project by Rush and Stanislov Glasov that will enter production during

Convergence and debut at MUTEK.

The most important for criteria for Convergence is that residents are engaging

with different mediums at the same level of dedication. For Schmidt,

the idea of something audio-visual isn’t so much an equation as it is a prime

number, the approach to art being less about paradigm than multiplicity.

Her example is Dasha Rush’s presentation of Antarctic Tact.

“The piece makes no sense without the other side of it. It’s not like the

music is soundtracking the visual; they move together, they’re a unit. The

genetic code of both of those things is wrapped together.”

Fittingly, Convergence has pulled resources from both Banff Centre’s

music and visual arts departments, with VA president Jen Maziuk serving

as co-artistic director. It’s a move that helps erode boundaries in art and

opens new approaches to categorization, perhaps even eliminating some

narrowness of the old guard.

“It’s not like there are music schools that really deal with this, at all; new

technologies… new ways to think, new ways to hear and sound.”

Convergence takes place March 6th to 26th at The Banff Centre. Get a peek

at Club Convergence events (March 11th, 12th and 18th) and join faculty and

residents for the Convergence Soirée and After Party on March 19th.

LET’S GET JUCY

I

shan’t mince words on an attempt at a clever introductory

paragraph this month. There’s just too many goddamn shows.

It’s a bit ridiculous, hardly fair even.

After recently celebrating their seventh birthday, Habitat continues

to bring cutting edge artists in an intimate setting. On March 4th

catch Sweden’s Jeremy Olander, heralded as the “saviour of the true

progressive style.”

It’s not often that Commonwealth hosts drum and bass events, so

this is already something special. On March 10th they are presenting

the legendary Hospital Records’ Hospitality Tour featuring S.P.Y.,

Fred V & Grafix, Etherwood and MC Dino. Liquid lovers eat your

hearts out!

That very same day Hifi’s Hai Karate present Dirtybird ambassador

and Snapchat supreme master Justin Martin. Do yourself a

favour and add mrjustinmartin on Snapchat. It’s outrageous.

The following day there’s another, grittier D’n’B act playing at

Dickens, presented by Philthy City: Toronto’s NC-17 who recently

headlined Fozzy Fest and has released on reputable labels such as

Viper Records.

Bass Coast festival’s curator The Librarian and Really Good label

owner Mat the Alien come through with Bass Coast’s Mutiny Tour

at the Hifi on the 12th.

Another absolutely massive D’n’B label tour also takes this place

on the 18th at the Marquee. One of the oldest, most prolific and

influential labels Ram Records are presenting three of their finest:

Calyx & Teebee, Delta Heavy and Mefjus. As if one triple-stacked

D’n’B massive wasn’t enough for the month. Take it easy, March.

On the 25th, Surrey BC’s Merkules brings his potent hip-hop

flavour to Distortion

Commonwealth present underground hip-hop veteran, Brooklyn’s

Masta Ace on the 24th.

Wolfcastle Agency bring Berlin’s naughty, booty-shaking house

producer Kill Frenzy to the Nite Owl on the 25th.

Very excited about this one: he’s got the right temperature for

shelter you from the storm and the right tactics to turn you on… we

have dancehall badmon Sean Paul (air horns)!!! This goes down on

March 27th at Cowboys. Not to be missed. Let’s get busy.

Closing out this absolutely mad March is Dutch melodic house

producer Bakermat coming through at Bespoke on the 31st.

• Paul Rodgers

BAKERMAT

BEATROUTE • MARCH 2016 | 35


HERMITUDE

bring their sweaty live show

Out of Australia’s Blue Mountains come the electronic

sound waves of Hermitude, a duo blasting their own “own

original brand of music: hip hop-inspired EDM,” and making

a stop at Commonwealth Bar and Stage in Calgary on Wednesday,

March 9th.

The duo is comprised of multi-instrumentalists Angus Stuart and

Luke Dubber, and getting raucous and rowdy dance party started is

their main goal, on any size stage.

“We just play as much as we can and engage with the crowd and

try to get everybody psyched up for a good night,” says Dubber,

on the road and at a stop in Eugene, Oregon before heading up to

Canada.

Hermitude are touring through the U.S. and Canada to promote

Dark Night Sweet Light, their fifth full-length album since 2003,

which, according to Dubber, is much more stripped down than their

previous releases.

“Compared to some of our previous records, [Dark Night Sweet

Light] is a lot lighter sonically, so everything has a bit more space

to breathe,” he says.

Blending styles such as downtempo and post-dubstep with

pop-flavoured dance, Hermitude have even taken sonic influence

from trap beats.

Their previous albums were much bouncier, packed with tons of

bright melodies and grooves. Dubber says they wanted to take a new

direction, producing tracks in a more of a direct fashion.

“We came in with a different mindset when we started the

record, which was to make a more minimal sounding record. We

wanted the individual parts in the songs to be stronger and more

deliberate so instead of over-cluttering the music with little sounds

and effects it didn’t need, we made sure that every part we put

down was important to the song, the melody and the theme of

each track,” says Dubber.

Hermitude is known for their big live productions, loosely recreating

the songs on their album with a splash of improvisation, aiming to get

the whole crowd moving.

“Our live show is basically some turntables, some keyboards, some

drum pads, and we are basically re-creating our album live,” says Dubber.

“We love to have fun at our shows, and if you come down, expect to get

sweaty and have a good dance.”

Dubber is excited about the tour, saying new places give Hermitude

drive to write and record new music.

“We get really inspired by traveling to different countries, and new

places. Hearing new sounds and seeing new things really inspires us to

write new music ourselves,” concludes Dubber.

Catch Hermitude at Commonwealth in Calgary on March 9th.

by Michael Grondin

SUNDAY SKOOL

dedicated to underground house music since 1996

Mark Quan hasn’t taken a night off in two decades of Sunday Skool.

Few residencies or weeklies around the world endure 20 years,

and while it’s true that Calgary is gaining momentum and

international recognition as a hub for both mainstream and

underground music, one may still not yet equate our scene with a

locale that supports a decades old deep-house night. DJ Rice has

defied that misconception, and on Easter Sunday this month Sunday

Skool celebrates its 20th birthday.

DJ Rice is Mark Quan, and he is a man who has borne witness to substantial

change throughout the city, and its music scene. Sunday Skool

had its inception at the White Elephant which became the legendary

Night Gallery Cabaret, before making a move to The Venue, which was

bought by the guys who made it the Hifi. Quan remembers Calgary

nightlife with $2 cover and $0.99 highballs. A time before everyone had

a cellphone, before the Internet was a ubiquitous part of all of our lives,

and when you had to lug a crate of records to each show, or across campus

for each CJSW performance; in this case for his weekly show, The

Power Move with now world renowned artist Tim Okamura.

“It was so hard to even get a chance to play in a night club, because

clubs were different back then. They had their resident DJs that did

their playlists and it was pretty much impossible to do a full night of

underground music… it was harder to get people out. It was a very tight,

underground scene, it was almost like a rave scene.”

Quan used to get all of his records out of Play de Record store in

Toronto. They would play them to him over the phone and then ship his

selections to him so he could incorporate them in his show.

“I was probably spending $5000 a year on UPS just sending records

every week back then,” muses Quan.

Quan still has every record he’s ever bought, comprising a personal

collection of about 10,000. Although the digital age now reigns supreme,

by Paul Rodgers

and the quest for illusive white labels is a lost concept to most young

DJs, Quan still hauls crates out to every show, using a combination of

wax and digital music platform Serato.

If his record collection wasn’t indicative of his level of dedication to

his craft already, what’s more astonishing is his level of dedication to the

night itself, that has become “routine and ritual” for him.

“I’ve never missed a Sunday for sickness or holiday or anything,” states

Quan. “The only times we’ve ever missed one (has been for circumstances

like) moving like when we moved from the Night Gallery to the

Venue/Hifi, renovations at the Hifi, or the big flood a couple years ago.”

That level of commitment is one of the keys to his sustainability

as a figure in Calgary’s house music scene; it’s a passion that

is so deep that it when he plays, he invokes an almost religious

experience amongst his audience, which over the years has been

comprised of regulars, new comers, freaks, walk-ins and anyone

else who happens to drop by.

While trends in house music in the digital age wane and waft with

an alarming voracity, and anyone can pick up some digital gear and

become a DJ, Sunday Skool has, and for the indefinite future, will always

provide a safe haven for people from all walks of like to experience true,

deep house music. Quan says, “I just enjoy it so much… every week for

20 years, you’re always striving for that perfect set, that perfect mix, the

perfect set of tracks because it’s ever changing every week, its never the

same, you never know what to expect.”

It’s called Sunday Skool for a reason. Go have a spiritual experience

while you learn about the

history of a timeless genre.

Sunday Skool celebrates 20 years on Easter Sunday, March 27th at the Hifi.

36 | MARCH 2016 • BEATROUTE JUICY


ROOTS

AMELIA CURRAN

the singer-songwriter is sad, angry and ready to tour

by Trent Warner

Amelia Curran’s hard at work on both a tour and a documentary with the Canada Mental Health Association.

When asked what fans can expect from

her upcoming tour, Amelia Curran only

has one answer. “Lots of rock and roll,

extra emphasis on the roll.”

The JUNO Award winner plays roots music that

is often compared to Leonard Cohen for its poetic

syntax and underlying melancholia. She accepts that

comparison graciously. She’s an artist whose work

doesn’t feel too far off from the retrospective humanity

of Fiona Apple or the experimental storytelling of

Neutral Milk Hotel.

Curran had big years in 2014 and 2015. In

addition to receiving a JUNO nomination and

critical praise for her 2014 album They Promised

You Mercy, she also released a short video online

that drew attention to the lack of quality mental

health services in her native Newfoundland with

ripples out to Canada at large. The inspiration

came from her own struggle with rampant

misdiagnosis and care for her own anxiety and

mood disorders. The video shares her story as well

as 98 others experiencing similar mental health

challenges in Newfoundland.

Curran is not an angry person, but that she is frustrated

with a system which actively prevents 90 per

cent of people struggling with mental health issues

from receiving proper treatment. But thanks to the

ROOTS

work of activists like Curran, strides are being made.

An all-party provincial committee has been established

for the benefit of mental health in Newfoundland,

and there is a movement to institute a 24/7

mobile crisis unit which the province sorely lacks.

With some luck and more work from activists like

Curran, these initiatives could spread across Canada.

“After the video came out, the landscape of email

and Facebook messages I received really changed

overnight,” says Curran. “I overestimated what a big

deal it was for people to see someone raise their hand

and speak out about mental health, and people really

supported that.”

The video now has over 100,000 views and features

prominent Newfoundlanders such as Rick Mercer

and the cast of Republic of Doyle in concert with

everyday Newfoundlanders in solidarity for action on

Mental Health. Following the video, Curran went on a

speaking tour with the Canadian Mental Health Association

(CMHA) to engage people on the issue. In

addition to her tour dates across the country over the

next few months, Curran is working on a documentary

with the CMHA to draw even more attention to

the cause.

Curran believes that themes surrounding mental

health, depression and anxiety have always been present

in her music, if somewhat masked by her witty

and sometimes cryptic lyrics. Her analytical writing

style can be traced back to her roots in theatre and

poetry, and help to inform what she calls her dramatic

“oh, the humanity” songs.

On the other side of the spectrum, Curran likes

to write songs about and engage in social justice

issues in Canada. On the phone, she expresses her

frustration with the victim-blaming response to the

Jian Ghomeshi trial and to the previous handling

of the issue of murdered and missing indigenous

women in Canada.

Although touring can be taxing physically and

mentally, Curran believes she’s healthier when she’s

on the road. She credits her routine and bandmates

for helping to support her while she undergoes

the process. And, if she’s really struggling, she now

knows its OK to raise her hand and speak out.

Curran is also working on brand new music, some of

which she will be performing at her shows, despite

her nerves about new music being filmed and

leaked before it’s fully polished.

Amelia Curran plays The Good Will in Winnipeg on

March 6th, The Exchange in Regina on March 8th, Village

Guitar and Amp Co. in Saskatoon on March 9th,

Fox Cabaret in Vancouver on March 11th and Central

United Church in Calgary on March 12th.

BEATROUTE • MARCH 2016 | 39


MARY GAUTHIER

american songwriter breaks from teaching for shows

hard sometimes to really have a grasp

on time and place,” Mary Gauthier tells

“It’s

BeatRoute over the phone from Banff. “I

played 170 nights last year, so I kind of lose track

of where I am once in a while.” Gauthier is currently

teaching at a retreat at The Banff Centre, along

with her tour mate, Texas songwriter Sam Baker.

“It’s amazing here, all these fantastic musicians of

all styles from around the world getting together,

collaborating and listening to each other. These

players really are thoroughbreds, they’re just outstanding,

and to be able to come to a place like

this, you’re really fortunate to have something like

this in Canada.”

Gauthier describes the history of government

support for the arts in Canada as, “an enlightened

view of society. The U.S. could learn a lot from

you. The American government just really doesn’t

view the arts as a responsibility.”

It may be this larger view of songwriting as an

art form that found Gauthier approached by Yale

University to write a book on the subject. “They

commissioned me to write this book examining

the motives for songwriting, not so much the craft

of it, but the deeper meaning behind it as an art

form.” But separating songwriting as an art form,

from the songwriter as a “craftsperson,” Gauthier

argues, is like comparing a fine dining experience

to a cheeseburger from McDonald’s. “They both

have their place, but where the craftsperson

writes to a specific formula with an end result in

mind, being mass appeal and a hit, the artist goes

into their writing without the benefit of knowing

where it’s going. The artist listens to the song, and

to what the song is trying to say.”

Gauthier identifies an escapism at play in

songwriting for the masses, often some caricature

of modern life, showing us some sweeping ideal of

the lives we’re “supposed to live.” Gauthier asserts

by Michael Dunn

that for the artistic songwriter, there’s no escape

at all, just a further plunge to find the deeper

truths. Those artists require that their work carry

significance to themselves, first and foremost.

With her manuscript deadline set for December

of this year, Gauthier is content to take some time

away from the road so as to fix her attention on

the task at hand. “I’m always writing songs, but a

book is about 5,000 times harder than writing a

song,” she admits. “Each chapter takes me about

100 hours, so I’m really lucky Yale has paid me to

write it. It allows me to concentrate on it, and it’s

an opportunity to be published.”

While she’ll be spending less time on the road,

she and Baker have a tour of Scotland set for September,

and their time at The Banff Centre has introduced

them to an excellent accompanist who’ll

join them there. “Her name’s Polly Virr, we met

her here. She’s an excellent cellist from England.

She plays so beautifully and sympathetically to the

songs, it’s like she’s playing what we’re trying to say.”

While she hasn’t any immediate plans for a

new album, Gauthier maintains that she’s always

writing new songs, and sees the long-term benefit

of her collaborative experiences. “I’ve always felt

very welcome here in Canada, it’s a great environment

for a singer-songwriter, and there are

audiences here that really care, that really want

to listen. These kinds of workshops are a valuable

experience to teach and to listen, and to hopefully

expand my skills as I mature as an artist.”

Mary Gauthier co-headlines with Sam Baker at The

Ironwood Stage and Grill on March 10th, and then

again at the Calgary Folk Club on March 11th. She

plays solo in Edmonton at the Blue Chair Café on

March 12th, and then she will reuinite with Sam Baker

and Eliza Gilkyson for a show at the Banff Centre

on the 13th.

Mary Gauthier is also working on a book exploring the motivations of songwriting.

MO KENNEY

no rivalry with Joel Plaskett to be seen here

The bouncy and brutally honest folk songs

of Mo Kenney have established her as a

young musical icon in Canada, and this

maritime singer-songwriter from Dartmouth,

NS has just been nominated for a JUNO for her

2014 album In My Dreams.

“It’s really surreal,” she says with a laugh, “it’s

great to be recognized. When I started making

music, I definitely wasn’t thinking about winning

awards, I wanted to do something I enjoyed while

also being successful.” In My Dreams is a masterfully

balanced 10-song album — a follow up to

her critically acclaimed self-titled debut release

in 2012. In My Dreams sees Kenney exploring

themes of heartache and heartbreak, but also

a few new beginnings. The album’s release has

definitely fulfilled Kenney’s ancillary goal of “also

being successful,” having led to numerous awards

including being hailed as among the “Best of Halifax”

by the city’s street mag The Coast, as well as

high praise from the East Coast Music Association

among others.

“I was writing as soon as my first record was

released, and a few of the songs were from before,

like ‘Take Me Outside’ was written when I was 18,

so when I wasn’t touring and I was at home I was

working on [In My Dreams],” Kenney revealed to

BeatRoute from her home in Nova Scotia.

Kenney isn’t afraid to bite off a cliché or two

in her lyrics and musical style, but she takes a

refreshing folksy approach to using the basics

– bluesy guitars, drums and bass — to produce

widely accessible ballads with clear hooks to hang

her witty lyrics.

What Kenney sings, and how she sings it, is

by Michael Grondin

Mo Kenney opens for Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls ahead of JUNO Awards ceremony.

photo: Paul Wright

unique to her experiences and her point of view,

she says. Her songs “are very relationship-based,

love-based, lack of love-based, and there’s some

love songs as well as some mean songs directed at

exes,” says Kenney.

Kenney’s success has been in no small part due

to Nova Scotia singer-songwriter Joel Plaskett,

who has played an integral role — as Kenney puts

it — in both the production and design of of her

two albums. “Joel and I ended up writing a lot of

songs together, mostly just half finished tunes,”

says Kenney.

Kenney and Plaskett are both nominated for

the same prize at this year’s JUNO Awards, something

that Kenney describes as an honour. To be

nominated in the same category is something

both she and Plaskett can be excited about as

friends who have worked together to make music

they are both proud of.

“There’s no rivalry between us. I’m happy to

be in the category with him. We’re really good

friends, and Joel has had such a big hand in my

record anyway that it’s both of us achieving

this together,” she explains. Kenney usually

plays as a three-piece, often with Plaskett’s

famous The Emergency, however she will be

flying “solo for these dates,” she says, “just me

and my guitar.”

Mo Kenney performs on March 3rd at the Commodore

in Vancouver, on March 5th at MacEwan

Hall in Calgary, on March 6th at Union Hall in

Edmonton, on March 7th at O’Brians Event Centre

in Saskatoon and on March 8th at the Garrick

Centre in Winnipeg.

40 | MARCH 2016 • BEATROUTE ROOTS


ZACHARY LUCKY

a road warrior prepped for a new departure

nice to see some new highways.”

Zachary Lucky spoke to BeatRoute while just outside Boston, prepping

for a gig in the city. “After being on the road for so many years in

“It’s

Canada, you kind of get to know the roads pretty well between destinations.

We’re gonna head south to North Carolina, and it’s our first time down here,

so all the sights are new and interesting again.” Lucky’s spent the past few years

as a veritable road warrior, crisscrossing Canada from sea to sea in support of

his three full-length albums. Based in his native Saskatchewan until recently,

when he moved to Toronto. “Well, it actually wasn’t music-related, even if

there are a lot of opportunities to play out there. I became a father, and my

daughter and her mother were in Toronto. I wanted to be close to them. I

can’t be going out on the road for three months at a time anymore.”

“Saskatchewan’s got a real tight-knit scene though. There are some

real stylistic differences between the hubs in Saskatoon and Regina,

but everyone’s really supportive of each other.” That support was made

apparent for Lucky earlier this year when Regina country artists Blake

Berglund and Belle Plaine recorded his songs “Town To Town” and

“Saskatchewan,” and released them together on a 7-inch. “Man, that’s

flattering.” Lucky says. “I’ve never been in a position where anybody’d

record my songs. It’s a real personal exchange, you know? Your songs

come from real personal places, and to hear another artist put their own

perspective on it, that’s a real honour.”

Lucky’s history of hard work on the road will allow him to bring a trio out

West on his next swing, where he’ll be joined by longtime bandmates Ian

Cameron on the pedal steel, and Mitchell Thomson on the upright bass.

They’ve got a new record in the can, and hope to release it later in the year.

“It’s a departure for us,” says Lucky. “Big changes sonically. We really spent the

time to work these songs up, and we’re really proud of it.”

Zachary Lucky tours Western Canada in March and April with stops at Cafe

Blackbird in Edmonton on March 25th and The Ironwood in Calgary on March

28th. Find more dates online.

Zachary Lucky will perform as a trio on his upcoming tour.

by Michael Dunn

DAVID FRANCEY

finding truth and beauty from ‘everything that hits your eye in a day’

David Francey has an extensive Canadian tour lined up to support his latest album.

David Francey is a Scottish-born traditional

folk artist who, despite his immigration

to Canada and years on its roads, retains

a charming and distinct Scottish brogue that

carries into his narrative lyrics. He plays traditionally

styled folk songs, but often Francey and

his three bandmates incorporate non-traditional

instruments like the bouzouki (a Greek instrument

similar to a mandolin) or a sitar (an Indian guitar

ROOTS

like instrument with 18-21 strings) to make things

more dynamic.

Over many years of touring and countless awards,

Francey has amassed an army of loyal folkies who

adore him for his endlessly relatability and careful

storytelling. Francey’s commitment to writing about

the everyday helps folks be able to see themselves

in all aspects of his songwriting. He plays from the

heart and draws inspiration from what might be

by Robyn Welsh

described as an “internal well,” “one that is full of

love, worry, work, and politics. Everything that hits

your eye in a day.”

When he was 10 years old he got his first job as a

paperboy, delivering newspapers door to door every

morning, reading about politics and the atomic

bomb. It was a scary world for a 10-year-old to be

thrown into, and he used to wonder if he would ever

see 12. His experiences working his first job inspired

one of his favourite of his songs, “Paper Boy.”

Francey has toured across the country twice

with his three band mates, and they are about

to start again a third time. The four of them

have developed a strong musical relationship,

and have learned to be patient with each other,

which makes being in a van together for long

periods of time significantly more bearable. In

talking to BeatRoute, Francey gushed about his

band, “they just get it. I mean, those boys, there

is nothing selfish about them. They love the

music and they’ll do anything for it.”

The tour will be full of stories and songs, brought

together intimately. Francey will be supporting his

newest record, Empty Train, but with a few older

tunes to round out the set.

David Francey and his band perform at Southwood

United Church in Calgary on March 18th as part of

Fish Creek Concerts and at the Royal Alberta Museum

in Edmonton as part of the Northern Lights Folk Club

on March 19th. Find him online for Western Canadian

tour dates.

BEATROUTE • MARCH 2016 | 41


SHRAPNEL

CARCASS

Jeff Walker discusses the past and future

After an impending tour with Slayer, Carcass will be taking a break.

“We were kind of in shutting down mode.”

So begins bassist and vocalist Jeff Walker of Liverpool’s

death grind progenitors Carcass of the band’s current

status. Following an 11-year gap that lasted from 1996 until 2007, the

United Kingdom-based death metal band cemented their return with

2013’s Surgical Steel, and have been touring frequently since. Still, they

were ready to take another break, until the one and only Slayer posed

an important question.

“We weren’t planning on going back to America. We were supposed to

do another tour, which fell through, then our agent just came out of nowhere

and said, ‘Yeah, the next option is Slayer.’ [Guitarist and vocalist] Bill

[Steer]’s reaction was pretty much just, ‘Fuck it man. It’s Slayer.’ After this,

it’ll be the last you’ll hear from Carcass for the foreseeable future.”

It’s hardly what many fans will want to hear, but also hardly inconsistent

with Carcass’ trajectory. Plus, we already got a strong reunion album to tide

us over for a few more years, right?

“To be honest, I haven’t really heard that much negativity about our last

album,” says Walker of the album in question.

“I’ve been searching for them, because I thrive on seeing that sort of

criticism. All we could do really, was write a Carcass album.”

Surgical Steel was just that: an exceptionally slick take on the latter-era

extreme death ‘n’ roll style Carcass explored on their ’93 classic Heartwork.

While some fans complained about the streamlining, one can’t help but

wonder what those people were expecting. After all, the ‘90s ended 16

years ago. Get with the times, Grandpa.

“For me, I think where Surgical Steel fits in our discography is… this is our

thrash album. Is there anything innovative you can really do with thrash

metal, anymore? Swansong [1996] was a more of our death ‘n’ roll album,

then you’ve got grindcore with our first album, Heartwork was our melodic

death album. But I tell you; we’ll never write a fucking black metal album.

Unless you mean like Venom black metal.”

Ever the innovators, since their inception Carcass are perpetually

sonically shifting. They released their seminal debut Reek of Putrefaction

in ‘88, a literal textbook of gore that became a huge inspiration for

grindcore and goregrind. They honed that approach on the ferocious

follow-up Symphonies of Sickness, channelling their hideous, hateful

hymns through cleaner production and uglier guitar tones before shifting

to a more traditional death metal sound on the ’91 release Necroticism

– Descanting the Insalubrious. Much to fans’ chagrin, they shifted once

more, this time into melodic territory, on Heartwork and their last release

before breaking up, Swansong.

SHRAPNEL

by James Barager

Surgical Steel has been the band’s only new material since their reunion

in 2007, not counting an EP of songs cut from that album. The only original

member not present in the reunion was drummer Ken Owen, as he

suffered from a brain haemorrhage in 1999, which resulted in him being

comatose and hospitalized for 10 months.

“Ken’s a bit of a delicate subject, isn’t he? I mean, Ken is irreplaceable. He

had his own style. As for whether he’s replaceable or not… I’m kind of torn

on it. Drumming is, to a certain extent, about keeping the beat and the

time, isn’t it?”

Walker continues, “That’s two things Ken couldn’t do. Ken was a character

and definitely brought a lot to what made Carcass. But we regrouped 17

years later, and we’ve still got a lot of the DNA.”

While Owen was never the best drummer, he was a perfect fit for the

dramatically veering Carcass. He always defied his limitations, while still

being aware of them, and accordingly his absence from the reunion caused

a minor fan outcry, which wrote off the reunion as a sellout since it didn’t

feature the full lineup featured on their most revered album(s).

But, hey, fuck ‘em. Shitty metal elitists will forever be impossible to

please, and it is ultimately their loss since Carcass has only improved since

their comeback.

“I can be a bit of a purist like fans can be with bands, where I don’t

like particular bands, after certain members leave, so I can fully relate

to fans who feel that Ken can’t be replaced. But I feel like the bands

never been better live. That’s no disrespect to Ken. Or to Bill or myself.

Bill’s a much better player now, I think I am, I’m a better vocalist than I

ever was, and I take it far more seriously now. We’re much better now.

It’s just different. If he hadn’t have been hospitalized, this would’ve

been the way to go, anyways.”

Though, this is far from the end for the England-based quartet, their

upcoming appearance with Slayer and Testament will be the last we’ll hear

from them until they feel like doing Carcass things again.

“We’ve had no time whatsoever to regroup, and again, this Slayer thing

has come up and thrown everything into turmoil.”

Walker concludes, “Bill plays in [bluesy rock band] Gentlemans Pistols

and they have a new album [called Hustler’s Row] out, I have another

band, with a new album. We were actually winding down; we haven’t got

anything written for new Carcass material. So this Slayer thing is gonna be

our last hurrah for a little while.”

See Carcass with Testament and Slayer on March 14th at MacEwan Hall

Ballroom in Calgary, or on March 15th in Edmonton at the Shaw Centre.

MASSGRAVE

Vancouver grind icons return

Despite their unremittingly fast tunes, when it comes to

releasing music Vancouver grindcore unit Massgrave

does things slowly. With a relatively small online presence,

the quartet keeps the band “casual” while working on

other projects and experiencing the joys of new parenthood.

Following a “pretty quiet year for the band” in 2015, this April

will see the release of The Absurdity of Humanity, a 12-song,

20-minute album that took “nearly two years to write.” The

release continues their lineage of ferocious, grinding crust, with

an extra dollop of punk injected throughout.

Captured by Rain City Recorders by Jesse Gander, the

new album will be available via Haunted Hotel Records

or the band, who will be hitting Calgary, Edmonton and

Saskatoon for a mini tour in late March, where they are

“hoping to have the record” on hand. To learn more about

the impending album and the band’s lyrical tendency to

comment on societal and microcosmic problems in their

short discography, we chatted with guitarist Goat, who

joined the band while “still in high school in 2000.” Answers

are edited for length.

BeatRoute: Your song titles are indicative of the

problems in the punk scene - songs like “Dead Beat

Promoters,” “Mainstream of Shit,” and “Fuck Scion” for

example. In particular, I’m curious about the latter and

if you’re celebrating or indifferent to the fact that Scion

just announced they are discontinuing that vehicle

line and presumably their bizarrely marketed garage

rock and extreme metal events?

Goat: When we heard Scion was done we were like “We did it!”

What a joke that whole thing was, and so depressing it was to

see how willingly people jumped on board.

I won’t lie; there [are] some great bands that have played

Scion-sponsored events. It’s not about the mainstream metal

and grindcore bands for me. I expect to see those names

on corporate sponsored shows, but it was a bummer seeing

those bands that came up in the DIY punk scene bend over

for Scion. Some respect was lost, and some of my records

ended up in a used bin.

BR: Speaking to more serious sociological issues, a lot

of your songs speak to the atrocities perpetuated by

mankind. In a broader sense, social justice has become

a major theme on the Internet in the past two years in

particular. I’m curious about the identity politics and

ideologies of your band, and if you have any thoughts

on the weird arguments that are constantly being

waged online regarding equality.

G: I’ve written lyrics for over 80 MG songs, and over the years

topics have become much more broad. The crazy stuff humans

do to each other and the earth is an easy thing to write about,

because I’m reminded of it everyday. We have never claimed to

be PC, or heavy political activists, but we do feel strongly about

many issues we write about.

Of course we’re against racism, sexism, and all forms of social

inequalities, but what punk band isn’t? Many of these topics

come up time and time again, and I think it’s good that they

do. Writing about inner conflicts and personal anguish is just as

important to me.

We don’t typically get involved with Internet arguments; we

all know how those things play out.

Massgrave performs at Rock Against Easter 6 on Friday, March

25 in Edmonton at the Alley and on Saturday, March 26th in

Calgary at Vern’s with Languid and Savage Streets. Listen to them

online at massgravecrust.bandcamp.com

• Sarah Kitteringham

BEATROUTE • MARCH 2016 | 43


BLACK TUSK

back to the bayou

Tenth anniversaries are usually a cause for celebration, especially when they

mark a high point on a band’s road to success. But the long and winding 10-

year saga of sludge metal group Black Tusk took a hairpin turn in December

of 2014, when the Savannah, Georgia-based outfit’s beloved bassist Jonathon Athon

was fatally injured in a motorcycle accident. Stricken by the sudden loss, the two

remaining members of the closely-knit trio, guitarist Andrew Fidler and drummer

James May, had to reconcile their need to mourn Athon’s passing with the professional

obligations that demanded their attention. The punk-infused swampcore band was

scheduled to begin the biggest tour of their careers and an album’s worth of Athon’s

last recordings (Pillars of Ash, Relapse 2016) needed to be prepared for release. It’s a

difficult matter to address, but not touching on the talented bassist’s untimely departure

would be even more difficult. A cold, hard fact that percussionist James May has

come to accept with grim determination.

“We’re not really presenting the new album [Pillars of Ash] differently, but everyone else

is, because it’s the last one with Athon; all done completely before he died. To us it’s just

another album, but it’s become a memorial-thing in the media. Which is fine,” says May of

the January 29th release, a rollicking Southern-fried slab of punk meets sludge; the bastard

child of Kylesa and Motörhead.

“There’s definitely been more of a bonding with fans since his death. We get to see how

much they care and identified with our situation. As far as the songs go, there are some,

like ‘Black Tide,’ that we might have wanted to play live, but won’t now. We’re not going

to play a song where Athon is singing about dying. It’s a sore subject. We had a pact that it

was going to be the three of us forever. We were going to be that band that never changed

members. And then something completely unavoidable, that you don’t expect, happens.

Everyone said the same thing; that they’d ‘Understand if we called it quits.’”

The choice to continue on and return to the stage didn’t come easily, but in early 2015

May and Fidler elected to forge ahead with trusted friend Corey Barhorst (Kylesa, Niche)

temporarily filling-in on bass. Tested in the heat of heavy metal battle, Barhorst proved to

be a fitting addition to the Black Tusk triumvirate and was subsequently invited to stay on

as a permanent member of the hardcore sludge-rock family.

Music from their new line-up is impending; the band dynamic changed but unbroken.

“We’ve already started writing new materials with Corey and are six songs into an

album nobody will hear for a couple of years. By then it will be perfected. It’s stressful

knowing that our next album will be examined harshly and looked at under microscope,

because it’s the first one with Corey.”

May finishes, “Musically, we’re open to whatever, the only rule with Black Tusk is that

we’re not going to alienate our audience and release a new record where you can’t tell it’s

us anymore.”

Black Tusk performs at the at Brixx Bar & Grill in Edmonton on March 12 and at the Palomino

in Calgary on March 13.

Black Tusk endures on through hell and high water.

by Christine Leonard

photo: Geoff L. Johnson

THE SWORD

no country for old men

The Sword does that “catchy, galloping, Thin Lizzy-versus-Black Sabbath-thing.”

There are few things in heaven and earth that mercurial

metal outfit The Sword hasn’t dreamt of, especially

when it comes to harnessing sheer sonic horsepower.

So it comes as no surprise that the ambitious Austin-natives

have taken some interesting detours over the course of

their artistic careers. As if sharing the stage with the likes

of Nebula, Lamb of God and Metallica, and being featured

on a version of the Guitar Hero videogame, wasn’t thrill

enough, The Sword went ahead and released their own hot

sauce, Tears of Fire (featuring the infamous “ghost pepper”

a.k.a. Bhut Jolokia). According to guitarist Kyle Shutt, the

band’s passion for fine food and drink has only intensified

following the overwhelmingly positive response to the

launch of their Winter’s Wolves Beer and Iron Swan Ale.

“We have a new beer coming out; our second with the Real

Ale Brewing Company,” says Shutt. “It’s called ‘Ghost Eye’ and

it’s a heavy oatmeal stout. It seemed like the perfect time of

year to do a dark winter beer. We’d love to try and put out our

own coffee, too. The guys and I are always joking about staring

our own foodie show like ‘Kyle’s Cooking Minute,’ where I

stumble off stage after drinking half a bottle of whiskey and try

to prepare a tasty dish.”

But, seriously, folks.

“We’ve also been working on a 7-inch for the next Record

Store Day. It’s a souped-up rendition of the old song ‘John

the Revelator’ and I think people will really get a kick out of

it. Other than that we’ve been toying with the idea of putting

out an acoustic EP with alternative versions of the High

Country songs.”

A singularly electrifying album, The Sword’s riff-roping 2015

release, High Country possesses all of the broad strokes and

fantastical trappings that have made the band a mainstay of

the modern stadium rock genre. Rangy vocalist John “JD” Cronise,

bassist/synth-player Bryan Richie and drummer Santiago

“Jimmy” Vela III once again possed-up with neon-cowboy Shutt

for a ribald space-metal-western epic. The resultant tracks,

including the radiant furrows of “Unicorn Farm”, divine thunder

of “Empty Temples,” harrowing title track and fulsome contrition

of “Tears Like Diamonds,” are remarkable achievements in

any realm of the imagination.

“We had spent a lot of time on tour over the past five years

and decided it was time to take a break,” Shutt explains of the

three-year run-up to their latest album.

“JD moved to Nashville, Jimmy went and got his scuba diving

certification and Bryan bought a new house an hour north of

by Christine Leonard

Austin. We had all given so much, it was time to take a year off

to figure out our personal lives and get inspired. Once we were

able to relax and focus on songwriting again we found that we

had written more songs than we needed to make an album. I

think that High Country was a case of too many cooks in the

kitchen, in a good way. We couldn’t agree on which songs to

keep, so we threw up our hands and put it all on there.”

By Shutt’s account, the “all-in” approach to arranging High

Country’s 15-chapters didn’t necessarily sit well with some

fans. Produced under the guidance of Adrian Quesada and

mix-master J. Robbins, who also produced the band’s previous

album, Apocryphon (2012), High Country intentionally veers

from the quartet’s customary chainmail-and-chalice formula in

favour of a more classic hard rock sound.

“There’s a difference between a bad review and one that just

misses the point,” he surmises.

“As an artist you’ve got to figure that even if people are complaining

about your work at least they’re talking about it, so

you must be doing something right. Always, since day one, we

did what we wanted to do and made the records we wanted to

listen to. We took all of our favourite bands and lumped them

into some catchy, galloping, Thin Lizzy-versus-Black Sabbath-thing

when no one else around us was doing that.”

A Texas-sized triumph with a retro-futuristic flare, the

“tuned-up” Nashville peaks and boogie-down valleys of High

Country are as unfettered as they are memorable. Something

that guitarist Shutt attributes to the creative bond he shares

with his daring and occasionally defiant bandmates.

“Our communication on this album was at an all time

high. We bounced a lot of concepts off of each other and

began consciously talking about songwriting in a way

we hadn’t before. We wanted to do something new and

different on High Country. We’ve never done a double-LP

before, but we were supposed to do a soundtrack for some

biker gang, Satan worship kind of film and it fell through.

We decided to continue with the work anyways; fleshedout

all of the instrumental tracks and explored every idea

we came across. By the end, we fell in love with everything

we’d done. Hollywood, we’re definitely open to doing

soundtracks. Call us.”

The Sword perform at Dickens in Calgary on March 29, at the

Starlite Room in Edmonton on March 30, at O’Brians Event

Centre in Saskatoon on April 1, and at the Pyramid Cabaret in

Winnipeg on April 2.

44 | MARCH 2016 • BEATROUTE SHRAPNEL


This Month

In METAL

So many shows, so little space.

If you like your metal with corsets, keyboards,

and billowing hair, then Finland’s own

symphonic masterminds Nightwish have you got

covered! The band performs in Winnipeg on March

1st at the Burton Cummings Theatre, in Saskatoon

on March 2nd at O’Briens Events Centre, and on

March 3rd in Edmonton at the Winspear Centre.

Two days later on Saturday, March 5th, the same

tour touches down at MacEwan Hall in Calgary. All

dates also feature Sonata Arctica and Delain.

March 4th will be a good day for death metal

with a dollop of doom in it. First up, legendary

deathy thrashers Dream Death will release their

third studio album. Dissemination follows on the

heels of 2013’s Somnium Excessum, and will be

released via Rise Above. That same day, Inverloch

will release the highly anticipated Distance Collapse

via Relapse. If you’re a fan of their previous band

disEMBOWELMENT and have yet to check it out,

I highly recommend it. Their crushingly slow tunes

bludgeon and hypnotize in equal measure.

Edmonton’s death metal titans Begrime Exemious

will release their next studio album via Dark

Descent Records on March 4th. The Enslavement

Conquest is absolutely ferocious, be sure to grab a

copy and read our impending feature in the April

issue, which will coincide with their release party in

Calgary and Edmonton.

If “You’re in Love” with a “Wanted Man,” “You’re

in Trouble.” But that’s okay: it’s time to “Dance”

your blues away and let your “Body Talk” when

American glam metal band Ratt performs at the

Deerfoot Inn & Casino on Saturday, March 5th.

Following a messy legal battle over trademark issues

and the revamping of their lineup (which some

might say has made the project a cover band), Ratt

has returned and is “Looking for Love.” Tickets are

available for $40 and up; the terrible jokes in this

article are free!

Mothers, lock up your sons! On Friday, March

11th, Night Terrors Film Society presents a screening

of shlock classic Switchblade Sisters at the

Globe Cinema in Calgary. If you like knife fights and

jezebels aplenty, head down at midnight and bring

$10 cash to gain entry.

Friday, March 18 is another great day for metal

releases. Finnish grindcore act Rotten Sound will

unveil Abuse To Suffer via Season of Mist; The Body

will release No One Deserves Happiness via Thrill

Jockey, and once more, Boris will team up with

Japanese noise monger Merzbo for their seventh

collaboration Gensho, released via Relapse. The

two-CD or four-vinyl project is particularly unique,

as they are intended to be played simultaneously

for extreme aural violence.

If you’re hanging out or living in Red Deer, you

can head to the Blarney Stone on Saturday, March

19th for their first metal show on their newly

renovated stage. The gig features Leave the Living,

Even Effect, Wraith Risen, Shiva… the Destroyer,

and Trær. If you’re in Calgary, Distortion is hosting

the Calgary Final of the Wacken Metal Battle. All

the bands were yet to be announced as of press

time, but Statue of Demur and Sentient are so

far in the running; they will battle it out with two

other Calgary acts. The following evening, head to

the Mercury Room in Edmonton for Round II of

the Wacken Metal Battle for Edmonton, where

Valyria, Shadows of Malice, Monarch Sky and

Mongol will duke it out. Tickets are $10 in advance

or $15 at the door.

The following Saturday, March 26th, head to

Tubby Dog for speed metal rampage, featuring

Vancouver’s own Roadrash, who are signed to Hard

and Heavy Records. They will perform alongside

Gatekrashör, Riot City, and X-Ray Cat. Bands start

at 9 p.m. sharp, and entry is by donation. This gig is

all ages!

The third round of the Wacken Metal Battle

for Edmonton goes down on Thursday, March 31st

at the Mercury Room, where Tessitura, Tides of

Kharon, Tyrant, and Van Halst will perform.

Don’t forget to attend all the tours and gigs we

covered in the section, by bands like The Sword,

Carcass, Massgrave, and Red Fang.

Viva la heavy music!

• Sarah Kitteringham

Vancouver’s own Roadrash performs at Tubby Dog on March 26th.

photo: Andrea Cantana

SHRAPNEL

BEATROUTE • MARCH 2016 | 45


musicreviews

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 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.

• Gareth Watkins

illustration: Zach Hoskin

BEATROUTE • MARCH 2016 | 47


Seth Bogart

Adult Books

Running From The Blows

Burger Records

Adult Books put out an album on Lolipop Records,

this one’s on Burger Records and let’s just get this

out of the way now: they’re cooler than you. Everybody

they know is cooler than you. Their life is one

long photo ‘essay’ from one of those magazines

that are 90 per cent ads for clothing brands you’ve

never heard of.

But damn if, on the evidence of this album,

they’re not charming. Their sound is roughly power

pop, mostly garage rock, somewhat post-punk,

a little surfy in places, there’s synths and holy shit

if the songwriting isn’t just there, right where you

want it to be. There are a lot of West Coast bands

at the centre of the venn diagram created by AB’s

genre reference points, and a fair few of them are

on Burger Records, and the only thing I can say to

make you pick up this and not the grimier together

PANGEA, the surfier Guantanamo Baywatch or

the party-er Dirty Few is that the songs here just

work better. If this was still the kind of musical culture

that could make The Lemonheads the biggest

indie rock band on the planet then on the strength

of the song “Suburban Girlfriend” alone these guys

would be huge.

• Gareth Watkins

Alpenglow

Callisto

Chizu Records

Brooklyn-via-Vermont band Alpenglow make

the kind of expansive, folk-tinged psychedelia

that seems like it belongs in a tourism commercial.

It’s the kind of emotionally-charged,

wispy folk-rock that soundtracks road trips or

mountain excursions.

The four-piece’s music lies on a spectrum somewhere

between Jim James and company in My Morning

Jacket, and the gentle folk of Fleet Foxes. Callisto

is the band’s debut album, following the release of

their Chapel EP in 2014. Chapel was recorded in a

small Vermont chapel and its sonics reflected that.

The band moved into the studio for Callisto, and the

results are quite impressive. The band’s incorporation

of drum machines and synthesizers is subtle, but very

effective. The band has also reigned in their reverb

slightly, but tracks like the stand out “Solitude” still

find them going big.

Frontman Graeme Daubert’s voice is one of the

biggest draws to the album. He really anchors every

track with his vaguely twangy coo. The band

does well to mix his voice front and center.

• Jamie McNamara

Autograf

Future Soup EP

Independent

After their first single “Metaphysical” received a

warm reception, Autograf has announced their

next release: an EP entitled Future Soup which

becomes available March 11. The album art

seems to pay homage to one of the band’s artistic

influences, Andy Warhol. As a live act, the trio

incorporate creative and innovative methods of

producing their music, while integrating actual

art elements as well, providing audiences with a

thorough experience.

This live electronic trio has built upon their first

single, which was an impressive first effort; “Metaphysical”

is a bright, summery tune with a serene

vocal line complementing the melody and carrying

the busy, progressive house bass lines.

On Future Soup the group has very much indicated

a step towards collective maturation. The

drum lines are more organic and tight while still

being very danceable. The bass lines still in places

have the brightness of “Metaphysical,” but there

is a new, refined degree of depth. Another important

factor in this release is the prevalence of

featured vocalist Patrick Baker on the title track,

which provides a whole new degree of soul and

ultimately aids in the group’s journey towards a

more solidified identity.

Autograf manage to cover a broad landscape in

emotion and feel over the five tracks of this EP. For

instance, the tracks “Hearbeat” and “Slow Burn”

are much more melancholic, downtempo grooves

highlighting the instrumentation of the guitars and

drums. “Horizons,” has some of that brighter, almost

tropical-esque tones and a quick, synthy pace. The

final track “Ocean Glass,” slows things right now and

closes out the EP on a deep, soulful note.

If this release is any indication of what’s to come

with this trio, they are going to be an act to keep

on one’s radar, both for live performances and

future releases.

• Paul Rodgers

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

The Basement Paintings

Mystic

Independent

One of the greatest things about instrumental music

is that even though it does not use words and obvious

storytelling methods to create emotion, it still

has the power to be unimaginably evocative. Perhaps

more so. For within the spaces between soaring

echoes and lingering notes, our minds weave together

fantastical landscapes, pull up long forgotten

aspects of our psyche, and create a space of swirling

dark matter capable of transforming into anything.

When I was first acquainted with the basement

paintings, it was after they had just released their

second album and I was immediately drawn into the

powerful complexity of what they had created. Their

process, as they described it, was long, laborious, and

overwhelmingly organic; much like the creation of

the earth itself. This gargantuan atmosphere has been

fine-tuned on their third release, Mystic. Filled with

smoldering sounds and no sense of hurry, the album

is made up of deeply nuanced, unexpected turns but

comes together sounding masterfully cohesive and

flowing. Upon each listen the album seems to unveil

more and more of its hidden depths, and invites the

listener to dig in and give in. “Portal” is an especially

well crafted gem, and is reminiscent of their previous

album, Time Lapse City in its sprawling, elliptic

glory. Like the ocean gradually swelling and falling to

overtake the wreckage of a city, the song slowly builds

into an unstoppable tempest. Cement crumbles

and waves slowly shape the decaying landscape into

something of wonder and mystery. “Cave Dance”

boasts a similar reverence inducing rise and fall,

eventually trickling off into soft darkness like a dying

flame. While their previous release fell more towards

the post-metal spectrum, this album seems more to

fall in a category without genre distinction, and more

of overwhelming cinematic resonance. Overall, Mystic

is a powerful, arcane collection of sounds that is

best listened to as a whole, and with full attention, as

there is much to glean and much that can be gained.

• Willow Grier

Seth Bogart

The Seth Bogart Show

Burger Records

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 restake a claim on 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 overstimulating world

around him.

• Colin Gallant

Demise of the Crown

Demise of the Crown

Independent

It happens in life, far more often than we’re aware

of, that the sound or sight of something causes an

instant, automatic physical reaction. In the case of

sound—Demise of the Crown being the prosecutor—we

find ourselves duly fazed. A Montreal

five-piece with a love for power metal probably

doesn’t seem like a sinister enough thing to do

permanent damage to everything you ever thought

metal is. Yet, here we are. In sheer, harmless terms,

Demise of the Crown is cautiously unorthodox in

it’s “genreability” and predictably impractical in

piggybacking itself on anything other than regular,

everyday, neighbourhood watering-hole Canadiana.

That said, a pitiless checklist:

Are they musicians and was it musical? Yes, yes.

Did the drummer drum? Yes.

Did the vocals work together? No. While Bay Area

thrash was a clear influence here, there was too much

disconnect between the “singing” and the “screaming”

to keep it in proportion.

Did every track have an okay guitar solo? Yes. Fans

of noble-sounding overtures and breakdowns will

find lots to discuss.

When the album ended, was it apparent that

this is what Death Angel might sound like if they

dropped their schtick and covered Queensryche-esque

songs? Absolutely.

48 | MARCH 2016 • BEATROUTE


Low Levels

Maybe the bar was set too high many moons

ago, but to experience a true, positive, mammalian

response when the melodies hit you, you want it to

be so unforgettable you forget to breathe because

your face fell off.

• Lisa Marklinger

Discontinuum

Drifter EP

Independent

Edmonton based musician Jeff Church has been

working on music as Discontinuum for over half a

decade, but never has his vision seemed as clear as it

does on the long-awaited Drifter EP. After almost five

years in production, Drifter arrives as part one of a

promised two-EP series.

The music here is very reminiscent of late-era

Opeth, or one of Devin Townsend’s various offshoots.

Heavy emphasis on acoustic guitar and clean, melodic

vocals make for an accessible listen, even with

the heady, prog-fodder lyricism. Despite the fact that

each of the three songs with vocals all feature different

vocalists, the EP is a cohesive product. From the

sparse, acoustic build of opener “Drifter,” to the final

moments of “Last Train,” Church’s vision is clear.

Five years may be a long time to make an EP, but

Church shows that some artistic visions take a while

to flourish.

• Jamie McNamara

HÆLOS

Full Circle

Matador Records

It’s no wonder trio HÆLOS hails from such a rainy

place: London. Their 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

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

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

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 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

Lushlife/CSLSX

Ritualize

Western Vinyl

In a world where the biggest rapper of our day and

age is more preoccupied with his ego and fashion

than actually creating good music (no offence Kanye,

I know there is still a lyrical king inside you somewhere

under all the bullshit), South Philly resident

Lushlife has released a tremendous victory for the

hip-hop world.

Joining forces with electronic trio CSLSX was

the first step in this astronomical success story. The

second is the veritable dream team of collaborators,

including Killer Mike, RJD2, and Ariel Pink. The

finished product is a pleasant dreamy stew of lush,

cleverly crafted lyrical gems nestled in deep and

spacey late night jams.

Without vocals, the soundscapes are a trance-worthy

starry sky, viewed from a power-shortage-induced

pitch black city. With vocals, there is a laid

back but still heavy hitting colloquial elegance added

to the mix.

With an overall vibe that calls to mind collaborative

venture Sour Soul (Ghostface Killah x BAD-

BADNOTGOOD) each song could be marked as a

standout, but as for tracks which will most likely be

touted, the first single “Hong Kong (Lady of Love),”

featuring Ariel Pink, is sure to have staying power,

if even for the vocal shine alone. The verse is solid

and unflinching, reminiscent of Blackmilk or Nas at

times. The production of the song has more minimal

transitions compared some of the others, but when

it settles into a lazy saxophone solo in the outro,

leaves the listener with a silky smooth experience like

starting a fresh cigar.

Other instantly memorable moments include

the heavily soulful string interludes juxtaposed with

highly varied intermittent verses in “Toynbee Suite,”

featuring RJD2, Nightlands and Yikes The Zero, and

the A Tribe Called Quest-meets-M83 collaboration

with Killer Mike, “The Ecstatic Cult.”

Overall, the album is beautifully produced, has

plenty of quirk and eclectic contributions to give it indie

cred, and comes together as a multi-dimensional

feast for the senses. Tons of surprises. Tons of reasons

to make this a major turntable staple.

• Willow Grier

50 | MARCH 2016 • BEATROUTE


Cullen Omori

New Misery

Sub Pop

Returning to mundane work after being in a moderately

successful rock band can’t be easy. When that

work involves cleaning medical supplies while being

forced to listen to Top 40 pop music, the ordinary

becomes excruciating. This experience helped inspire

former Smith Westerns frontman Cullen Omori’s

debut album New Misery.

Omori’s attempts at reflecting pop music often fall

flat, but the hazy quality his guitar and added synths

make for an interesting record that is reminiscent of

Spiritualized or INXS. Just like Omori’s job, the first

half of the album feels fairly monotonous, but at the

halfway point it finds deliverance.

Standout track “Poison Dart” actually encourages

the listener to dance—to get up and sway at least.

The next track, “Synthetic Romance,” has the sort of

hallowed chorus that elicits a room of strangers to all

sing along and rejoice in their collective loneliness.

It’ll be interesting to see how the album stands up

against former Smith Westerns’ Max Kakacek and Julian

Ehrlich’s new project, Whitney, whose new song

“No Woman” was an excellent first single.

• Trent Warner

Belle Plaine

The Unrequited Love

Independent

Among the trends in independent roots music the

past few years has been releasing a live album of

brand new songs. It not only offers the artist the

opportunity to record with the energy that only a

live show can provide, but it gives a wider audience

a snapshot of the show they’ll see when the band

comes through town. While most artists are content

to merely offer up the songs, Belle Plaine takes the

concept a little further on The Unrequited Love, releasing

the entire show, which showcases her charm

as a performer in addition to her strengths as both a

songwriter and a vocalist.

There’s a distinctive jazz-folk style to the

arrangements on The Unrequited Love, though

Plaine’s songwriting also leans slightly country. It’s an

interesting juxtaposition hearing country-folk songs

backed by smooth street corner saxophones, as on

“Swamp Lullaby,” with guitars closer to spacey rockabilly,

drenched in reverb and Bigsby flourishes than

the usual, more muted jazz guitar style. On “Frozen,”

Plaine’s paean to her ailing mother, she wisely opts for

sparse instrumentation, just piano and fingerpicked

acoustic guitar, with a tasteful upright bass staying

well back, bringing the feeling of the lyrics to the fore,

gentle harmonies singing, “If I could write a song that

would melt this winter, could bring the spring to you

in February, I’d sing it long and it would shake the

rafters in dark halls, if it would make this better.”

Live albums tend to be energetic affairs, and this is

where Plaine’s choice to include between-song introductions

and banter takes that energy down a notch.

Part of the live album’s mystique is knowing what a

band is capable of live, but knowing that you’re not

seeing the whole show, much in the same way the

Wizard asked Dorothy to “pay no attention to the

man behind the curtain.”

Plaine chooses a few top-notch covers to round

out the set, including a sultry take on Tom Waits’

“Christmas Card From A Hooker in Minneapolis,” and

a brassy, uptempo run at the Ray Price country classic

“Crazy Arms.” Having a band of heavy brass and a

full complement of tasteful jazz cats at her disposal

makes The Unrequited Love a nice listen, and goes a

long way to establishing Belle Plaine’s unique sonic

blend of country-folk and jazz.

• Michael Dunn

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

Mike Ryan

Mass For Shut-Ins

Independent

Calgary based indie folk artist Mike Ryan released his

soothing and well-delivered EP, Mass For Shut-Ins via

Bandcamp on January 17th. This album is modest

in sound as well as in size. The four-track album

perfectly emulates the most serene moments by

experimenting with the beautiful sounds of the instruments.

The indie artist plays with melodies by intertwining

electric and acoustic guitar with the beat

of the drum to create the perfect balance for this

reviewer’s ears. In addition to the beautiful combination

of strumming and thudding, Mike Ryan’s voice is

the missing piece to the puzzle of the most hypnotic

album this listener has heard. Mass For Shut-Ins has

the perfect pace for the ultimate daydream. Tracks

like “Hope” and “Venetian Blinds” are much like

artists such as City & Colour, Iron & Wine, and Bon

Iver. The use of instrumentation is almost identical,

and brings the same calm and content feeling this

listener feels while listening to Mike Ryan’s peers. The

organic beauty of this album is a must listen, and this

reviewer will have it on repeat.

• Maria Dardano

Sam Cash and The Romantic Dogs

Tongue-In-Cheek Vows

Cameron House Records

Having an expressive grasp of selfhood can be one

of the most revealing and incendiary things to put

in the hands of the masses. Luckily, the working

class have more practical things to concern themselves

with most of the time — like stuff, things,

and whatnot. Or, imposing their will on others,

venting, and taking twenty-minute power-naps.

So you fell asleep face-down at the kitchen table

with a tumbler of well whisky in your hand again.

SO WHAT. You were doing musical research and

re-evaluating your life. Why? Because this is what

you asked for. THE BIG EXPERIENCE. It’s important

to bow to your limitations once in a while. Perfection

is being able to admit your flaws and stupid

slip-ups. Tongue-In-Cheek-Vows, Sam Cash’s third

album (second with The Romantic Dogs), will do

all of that lamentable thinking for you. A poet by

nature, Cash shares autobiographical snippets of

the life and times of living his life inside his head,

but out in the open. Far too raw in a full spectrum

of emotions to come across as even accidentally

haggard, Cash makes himself so affable through

his lyrics, you practically become him by the end

of the album. The rhythms are simple enough to

make his art the centrepiece, generously fun and

varied enough to keep us fully entertained, and

free-sounding in a way that only a group of secret

genii could pull off. World class.

• Lisa Marklinger

The Skiffle Players

Skifflin’

Spiritual Pyjamas

From The Skiffle Players, something of a “Wrecking

Crew” of underground roots music sidemen

and songwriters, comes Skifflin’, a warm mix of

acoustic guitars, spacey steel and keyboards,

and relaxed instrumental and vocal harmonies

that suggest an easy camaraderie among the

members of the group. Any record that finds

Neal Casal and Dan Horne of Circles Around

the Sun, songwriter Cass McCombs, and Farmer

Dave Scher and Aaron Sperske of Beachwood

Sparks playing together would have no trouble

pulling at the common musical threads that link

their respective careers.

“Michael Weikel” finds The Skiffle Players in a

3-piece-suit stop-and-go strut reminiscent of The

Band, its barroom-bootleg intro foreshadowing

its greasy Creole instrumental ending, paying lyrical

tribute to New Orleans, and its “smoke-filled

bars, Professor Mack, I can’t wait to get back.”

The second side of the record points a little further

to one possible future for The Skiffle Players,

mixing acoustic instrumentation with unhurried

vocal harmonies over a bed of dense, synth-based

strings and a chord progression on “Always” that

calls to mind a folk take on the intro of “Band On

The Run”. “When The Title Was Wrote” is a sunny,

highway-paced California country tune combining

Byrds harmonies with left-field synth and fuzz

fills, not unlike much of Beachwood Sparks’ 2011

album The Tarnished Gold. The album closes out

with the mind-bending “Skiffle Paperclip When

Science Evolves,” which really must be heard to be

believed, if not understood. A sardonic, spoken-word

take on the kinds of druggy and incoherent

rambling often heard late at night around drug

people: “Who makes the weekend what elves can

make, science evolved mucking in the what, hor-

52 | MARCH 2016 • BEATROUTE


Submotion Orchestra

rible and salty and definitely not normal magical,

but sometimes a jumbled mess by anything and

everything, skiffle round the spring of memories,

behind decapitated narration of where now we’re

skiffling or what science may evolve to be.” And so

on it goes.

It’s in that particular track where the madness

lives, in its spoken word gibberish and the esoteric,

chordless “free-folk” swelling up from the band, but

for those who revel in madness, only certain bait will

catch a fish.

• Michael Dunn

Submotion Orchestra

Colour Theory

Counter Record

Back again with another stunning full-length album

is Submotion Orchestra, with their latest, entitled

Colour Theory. After their successful last record on

legendary label Ninja Tune, the nine-piece Leeds

based outfit has opted this time to put forth their

album on Counter Records, which boasts releases

from other acts currently making beautiful, eclectic

music like Odesza, Maribou State and Tiga.

As stated on their website, Submotion Orchestra

are truly making “some of the most interesting

and exciting music in the UK today.” Formed

in 2009, the group that is backed by producer

Ruckspin takes influence from bass music, ambient,

trip hop and jazz; all of which shine forth on

Colour Theory.

Vocalist Ruby Wood needed to take a step

back from the studio to focus on motherhood,

allowing the group to craft some immaculate

instrumental pieces such as “Amira” or “Kimono”

which both contain ethereal vocal stabs

and bouncing, garage-like rhythms. The album

would, however, not be complete without

Wood’s beautiful vocal stylings. “In Gold,” one

of the standout tracks of the album, which

begins with an almost Massive Attack style trip

hop groove that then drops into an astounding,

modern bass line is elevated by Wood’s voice.

The following tune, “Red Dress” also showcases

her talents in a chiming, contemplative composition.

Colour Theory also hosts appearances

from names like Andrew Ashong, Billy Boothroyd

and Ed Thomas who has also lent his

talents to Chase and Status.

According to the band, who are known as

much for their breathtaking live performances

as their studio work, they made a collective

decision to focus their energy this time on production,

and it is obvious. This is a sophisticated

record that will be a focal point of any collection;

a timeless, brilliantly crafted piece of music

from start to finish.

• Paul Rodgers

Tiga

No Fantasy Required

Control Records

Tiga’s third album, No Fantasy Required is an

outlier amongst most techno LPs. Often times

techno producers approach the long-player with

a certain seriousness that results in long, drawn

out albums that only serve to present a single

or two with aural filler mixed in. Instead, No

Fantasy Required is a relatively accessible, often

enjoyable record that displays Tiga’s unique

production style and aesthetic confidently.

No Fantasy Required is a perfect sampler for

the kind of off-kilter dance music, both good

and bad, that the Montreal-based producer

and label owner has perfected over his lengthy

career. Tiga steps into the role of frontman in a

way that is rare to see in techno.

Tiga’s minimal, retro-futuristic production

style is the basis of almost all tracks, but his

experimentation with genre takes the album in

often unpredictable directions.

Tiga’s reputation has earned him a varied

group of confidants that lend their production

prowess. Contributions from Paranoid London,

Matthew Dear and Hudson Mohawke keep No

Fantasy Required technically engaging, even

when the songs miss their marks. Mohawke’s

work on stand out single “Planet E” is especially

noticeable. It’s one of the most club-friendly

tracks, and non-coincidentally one of the best

on the album.

It’s when Tiga moves away from the club that

he runs into trouble.

The goofy, pseudo-serious “3 Rules” is essentially

a re-skinned LCD Soundsystem song,

complete with its own deadpan female vocal

flourishes a la Nancy Whang.

• Jamie McNamara

yndi halda

Under Summer

Burnt Toast Vinyl

Taking 10 years between albums is certainly a

risky endeavor. Taking 10 years between records

and completely changing the way your band

writes music is even more so.

Such is the case with UK post-rock band yndi

halda. Their self-titled first album was released

in 2006 and relied mostly on instrumental,

electric sounds.

The album was very well received and allowed

the band to tour extensively in support.

However, within a few years, the band released

a handful of demos, showcasing that they were

drastically altering their approach, leaning

towards live acoustic instrumentation and even

adding vocal tracks. yndi halda take their name

from the Old Norse phrase for “Enjoy eternal

bliss,” and while 10 years might not be eternal, it

does appear there was some bliss encountered

in the decade, as with the release of Under

Summer, they have found a place of sublime

sweetness and beauty.

While made up of only four songs, the collection

sprawls in length and ideas. What stands

out the most is the incomparably glowing string

work all throughout the album. The vocals serve

to punctuate but not distract from the purity

of instrumentation, and the band falls somewhere

in the spectrum between Sufjan Stevens,

Sigur Rós, and Explosions in the Sky. Definitely

a pleasant place to be. “Golden Threads From

The Sun” could be a stand-alone release, and its

glorious climactic build-up moves from slight

and sombre to tempestuous and roaring and

then back again with ease. It is not often the

case that taking a decade off to hone your craft

is advised, but in this case, yndi halda was worth

the wait.

• Willow Grier

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 dance-like anthems, with a unique,

almost tropical undertone.

The album begins with the infectious single “Molotov

Girls,” an upbeat, rebellious track that can be

accurately described as an 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

54 | MARCH 2016 • BEATROUTE


livereviews

Palomino Smokehouse Anniversary Party

The Palomino

February 20, 2016

The Synthetiques

photo: Jodi Brak

Celebrating a dozen years of successfully slinging delicious meat and music to the masses,

Palomino Smokehouse played host to a crowd of supporters who turned out to pay

homage to one of the city’s most popular wateringholes. The sizzle sold itself, as throngs

filled both floors of the venue proving that there’s more than brick and mortar holding the

beloved joint together.

Bad Animal laid down a solid launchpad for the evening’s proceedings, their punked-up

rock hooks digging deep into flesh and bone. Upstairs a beaming staff served up draught and

garlic fries as The Von Zippers took to the stage to greet a packed-floor of longtime lovers,

and a parade of incoming attendees, with an old-school punch of Calgarian rock ‘n’ roll.

Ducking downstairs with complimentary vinyl, Palomino Smokeout #4 pressed in a

limited edition of 500, tucked beneath arm, we plunged into the dark embrace of Regina’s

Black Thunder. No strangers to the Palomino’s aromatic atmosphere and friendly patrons,

the hard-hitting trio blasted heavy, modern, blues freak-outs with an energy that begged

to stay on for the rest of the night.

Stormin’ overhead, upstart quartet The Shiverettes had casual bravado and catchy riffs

drawing listeners ever closer to the flame. All that was left was for Ian Blurton’s explosive

dream team, Public Animal, to blow out the candles on the cake. And, that they did with

bandmate Caitlin Dacey (Bella Clava) matching the legendary Canadian songwriter-guitarist

song-for-song with her enthralling keyboards and perfectly matched vocal harmonies.

The warmhearted reception Public Animal received was not lost upon the bearded

bandleader, who declared there was a reason D.O.A. played Calgary so many times. The

typically inventive and self-depreciating Blurton paused at one point to offer a 50-cent

refund for a musical mistake and apologized for tuning his guitar live, though none of

eager-to-groove audience seemed to mind a bit.

• Christine Leonard

photo: Michael Grondin

Propaghandi, Magdalene

Dickens

February 11, 2016

On a foggy February evening, Winnipeg’s finest punk rock quartet, Propagandhi, rolled into Calgary for a soldout

show at Dickens.

Opener Magdalene started things off in perfect fashion, fueling up the crowd for the night ahead of them

and delivering an incredible performance in the process. Next up was Belvedere, who with the first riff had the

audience eating out of their hands – soaking up their entire performance and devouring talk of a new album.

The sold out show made it a packed house at Dickens and when it was time for Propagandhi to hit the

stage, there was slightly less than elbow room. Many Calgarians had been waiting years for Propagandhi’s

return and were anxious for their performance. As a bonus, this show was also Calgary’s first glimpse of Propagandhi’s

newest guitarist, Sulynn Hago.

Their set was primarily a heavier one, showing off the thrashier side and testing the limits of both their amplifiers

and newest member. They played so many hits and even more favourites, that by the time Propagandhi

made it to the “classics”—songs off of 1992’s album, How to Clean Everything—the audience was in a frenzy

and there was no turning back.

Returning not only for an encore but also taking requests from the audience, Propagandhi gave the crowd

everything they had and left them counting the days until they return.

• review and photo by Sarah Mac

Parquet Courts, Pre Nup

Commonwealth

February 19, 2016

In a recent interview with BeatRoute, Parquet Courts’ lead singer Andrew Savage previewed last night’s show

as such: “We might be doing a Bruce Springsteen kind of thing. You know, hardest-working man in rock and

roll, playing for about six, seven, eight hours sometimes. That’s my prediction.”

While the early set at Commonwealth on Friday didn’t allow for much more than an hour, the band didn’t

need more than that to wow.

The night started with Calgary power-pop upstart Pre Nup, featuring Lab Coast’s Chris Dadge on bass, tearing

through a brief set of not yet released, but still fleshed out material that seemed to share the self-awareness

that the headliners are known for.

By the time the Brooklyn-based art-rockers took the stage, the crowd had filled the floor to capacity. The

band started off with “No, No, No,” a herky-jerky highlight from their 2015 EP Monastic Living. The band

then immediately transitioned to “Dust,” the minimal lead single off the band’s upcoming album Human

Performance. The band previewed a few more fresh songs into the evening, all eliciting larges responses from

the crowd hearing them for the first time. Eventually the band worked towards their more up tempo works.

“Light Up Gold I,” “Bodies Made Of,” and the riotous “Sunbathing Animal,” were all greeted with cheers from

the sizable crowd that seemed to get more and more rowdy with each passing song. Still, nothing seemed to

get as big a reaction from the crowd as set staples “Stoned & Starving” and “Borrowed Time” managed.

• Jamie McNamara

56 | MARCH 2016 • BEATROUTE


SAVAGE LOVE

a lil’ A&A with some Savage stingers

A large crowd braved a snowstorm to come out to Savage Love Live at

Boston’s Wilbur Theatre. Questions were submitted on index cards, which

allowed questioners to remain anonymous and forced them to be succinct. I

got to as many of them as I could over two long, raucous, boozy hours. Here

are some of the questions I didn’t have time for in Boston…

What do you think of poop play?

I think of it rarely.

What exactly causes relationships to end?

Relationships end for all sorts of different reasons—boredom, neglect, contempt,

betrayal, abuse—but all relationships that don’t end survive for the

same reason: The people in them just keep not breaking up. Sometimes

people in relationships that need to end never get around to breaking up.

Magnum condoms are just marketing, right?

Wrong—but you don’t have to take my word for it. Just spend 10 minutes

on Tumblr and you’ll see for yourself.

I accidentally told my dad about your podcast when teaching him

how to use iTunes. I called home a couple of weeks later, and Dad told

me he’s been listening and Mom yells, “I’m not gonna pee on you!” :(

It could’ve been worse. Mom could’ve yelled: “We can’t talk right now! I’m

peeing on your father!”

Like most gay men in their early 30s, I enjoy chatting and sending pics

of my nether regions via dating apps. My conflict is that I am a public

school teacher. While I believe I have a right to a sex life, what if someone

I send a pic to disagrees? Do you think I should stop?

We need to pick a day for everyone on earth to intentionally release a

pic of their nether regions online. It should be an annual holiday—just to

get it over with and to prevent moralizing scolds from going after people

whose pics go unintentionally astray. But schoolteachers have been fired

for sexting. So… whether you stop or not depends on the degree of risk

you’re comfortable with and the faith you have in the discretion of the

folks you’re meeting on apps.

What is the deal with a “blumkin”? Like, honestly, why? Why? WHY?

They freak me out and confuse me.

Take it away, Urban Dictionary: “When a man is sitting on the toilet

taking a shit and has his woman come in and give him head during the

act of shitting.”

I’ve been writing this dumb sex-advice column for a long time, and

while I’ve received a few questions like yours over the years (“What’s the

deal with blumkins?!?”), I’ve never once received a question about an IRL

blumkin session gone wrong. So blumkins aren’t for real, and they’re not

really about sex. As you can see from the UD definition, it’s not about sex

or kink, it’s about misogyny and implied violence, i.e., the man takes a shit

and orders “his woman” to come in and give him head. Consensual degradation

and power play can be hot, of course, but blumkins and donkey

punching and dirty sanchezes—and the scared little boys who talk about

them—are bullshit. Sexist bullshit.

We’re both over 40, married 10 years. He wants a threesome, and I’m

ambivalent. He says +1 girl, I say +1 boy. What do we do?

Upgrade to a foursome with +1 opposite-sex couple.

I’m a 36-year-old hetero male, into BDSM and polyamory. I’ve been drinking

deep from the bowels of the internet lately, getting laid more than I ever

thought was possible. I’m open about the fact that I fuck around a lot and

that monogamy would never work for me. I use condoms with everyone

except my primary partner, and I abide by your campsite rule. I don’t want

to be anyone’s wonderful husband; I want to be the Casanova who climbs in

through the window. Last week, the internet was good at delivering. Usually

I can talk to 10 women who all seem interested, but in the end, only one or

two want to actually meet. But last week, I had sex five times in five days

with five different women. And that just made me feel awesome, turned on,

and wonderful. Is there a term for someone who gets turned on by finding

new people to have sex with? Have I discovered a new kink? Is there a name

for people like me? If there is, I couldn’t find it. Google failed me. Can a person

have a kink for finding new sex partners? What would it be called? Or am I

just a slutty man-whore?

— Dude Drinking Deep

I don’t think “drinking deep from the bowels of [blank]” is a good way to

describe something you enjoy, DDD. Watching a GOP debate? Perhaps

best described as drinking deep from the bowels of the terrifying American

id. Enjoying consensual sex with people you’re into? Better described

as “drinking deep from Aphrodite’s honeyed mouth” or “licking Adonis’s

jizz off Antinous’s tits” or simply “killing it”—really, anything would be an

improvement.

As for what your kink is called…

“What DDD describes is consistent with a motivational style once called

Don Juan syndrome,” said Dr. David Ley, author and clinical psychologist.

“It has also been called Casanova or James Bond syndrome. Essentially,

these are folks most excited by the quest/hunt for novelty in sex partners.

This was once viewed as deeply dysfunctional from a heteronormative,

monogamy-idealizing therapeutic culture. What I appreciate about DDD is

that, even though he uses sex-addiction language, it’s clear he has accepted

himself and his desire. I’d say he has adapted fairly well, and responsibly, to

that tendency in himself.”

by Dan Savage

My new girlfriend blurted out that she had a cuckolding past with her ex-husband.

She says her ex badgered her into arranging “dates” with strangers

and that he picked the guys. Her ex would then watch her having sex with

a guy in a hotel room. The ex only watched and didn’t take part. I am really

bothered by her past. She says she did it only because her ex pressured her

into it and she wanted to save her marriage, so she agreed. But I suspect she

may have enjoyed it and may have been testing me to see if I wanted to be a

cuck. What should I do? I am really torn by my feelings toward her.

—Confused In NOVA

You suspect she may have enjoyed fucking those other men? I hope she

enjoyed fucking those other men—and you should too, CINOVA. Because

even if cuckolding wasn’t her fantasy, even if she fucked those other men

only to delight her shitty ex-husband, anyone who cares about this woman—and

you do care about her, right?—should hope the experiences she

had with those other men weren’t overwhelmingly negative, completely

traumatizing, or utterly joyless.

And, yes, people will sometimes broach the subject of their own sexual

interests/fantasies using the passive voice or a negative frame because

they’re afraid of rejection or they want an easy out or both. (“My ex was

into this kinda extreme thing, and I did it because I felt I had to.” “That’s

gross.” “Yeah, I totally hated it.”) But cuckolding is almost always the husband’s

fantasy—it’s rare for the wife to initiate cuckolding scenes/relationships—so

odds are good that your girlfriend is telling you the truth about

those other men being her ex-husband’s idea/fantasy and not hers.

As for whether she’s testing you: That’s a pretty easy test to fail, CINO-

VA. Open your mouth and say, “Cuckolding isn’t something I would ever

want to do. The thought of you with another man isn’t a turn-on for me.

Not at all.” It’s an easy F.

What should you do? If you can’t let this go, if you can’t get over the sex

your girlfriend had with her ex-husband and those other men, if you can’t

hope she had a good time regardless of whose idea it was, if you can’t take

“I’m not interested in cuckolding you!” for an answer—if you can’t do all

of that—then do your girlfriend a favor and break up with her. She just

got out from under a shitty husband who pressured her into “cheating.”

The last thing she needs now is a shitty boyfriend who shames her for

“cheating.”

Listen to Dan at savagelovecast.com

Email Dan at mail@savagelove.net

Follow Dan @fakedansavage on Twitter

58 | MARCH 2016 • BEATROUTE

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