The Heirlooms • Wintersleep • Fever Feel • Hermitude • Amelia Curran • Carcass • Iggy Pop
Editor’s Note/Pulse 4
Bedroom Eyes 7
Places Please 11
Edmonton Extra 30-31
Letters from Winnipeg 32
Let’s Get Jucy! 35
This Month in Metal 45
Convergence, Edmonton Cat Fanciers,
Rumble House, Coming Out Monologues
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm,
Switchblade Sisters, Alberta Filmmakers
Podcast, Netflix & Kill
TABLE OF CONTENTS
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,
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Amelia Curran, Mary Gauthier, Mo
Kenney, Zachary Lucky, David Francey
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Iggy Pop and much, much more ...
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Managing Editor/Web Producer
Music Editor/Social Media Consultant
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Jucy :: Paul Rodgers
Roots :: Liam Prost
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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
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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
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COVER PHOTO: MATT BARNES
photo: Norman Wong
BEATROUTE • MARCH 2016 | 3
Saturday, March 19
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:
BEATROUTE • MARCH 2016 | 7
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
64 and 70 individual
events and that’s
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
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
performances by some
of the city’s most rockin’
The Shiverettes and The
“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
TWO NIGHTS, 16 VENUES AND OVER 130 ARTISTS PAINT THE TOWN RED
Milk and Bone
FRIDAY, APRIL 1
* Denotes JUNO nominated artists
LEGION N0. 1 THE BLUES CAN BROKEN CITY COMMONWEALTH FESTIVAL HALL FLAMES
LeE HARVeY OsMOND*
The Moanin’ After
Big Dave McLean*
Mitch Belot Band
Milk & Bone*
(of Souljah Fya)
Lyndon John X*
The Royal Foundry
The Dead South
l Muirhead Quintet*
Dan Brubeck Quartet*
Chris Andrew Trio
LOLITA’S NITE OWL PALOMINO
Son of Ray
Peter and the Wolves
The Provincial Archive
Scenic Route to Alaska
RANCHMAN’S WINE-OH’S MARQUEE
MARKET & STAGE
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*
Dzeko & Torres
and special guests
LEGION N0. 1
LEGION N0. 1
BLUES CAN BROKEN CITY COMMONWEALTH DICKEN’S FESTIVAL
Kirby Sewell Band
The Wet Secrets
Lemon Bucket Orkestra*
Ralph Boyd Johnson
Snak the Ripper
TThe Ashley Hundred
LeE HARVeY OsMOND*
The Noble Thiefs
THE GATEWAY HIFI IRONWOOD LOLITA’S NITE OWL PALOMINO
k-os* (DJ set)
Old Man Luedecke
Alex Pangman* and
The Juno Jazz Allstars
Chris Andrew Trio
The New Electric
The Ramblin’ Ambassadors
Two Bears North
& The Alibi
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
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
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
“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
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.
BEATROUTE • MARCH 2016 | 11
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.
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.
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
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
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
this month’s presentation is about.. by Sara Elizabeth Taylor
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.
Alberta Theatre Projects
Martha Cohen Theatre
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
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
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.
Theatre Junction GRAND Studio
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.
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.
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
7: Professional Native Indian Artists Inc.
Art Gallery of Alberta, 2 Sir Winston Churchill
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.
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,
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
• Allison Musial
BEATROUTE • MARCH 2016 | 13
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
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
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
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.
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,”
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
“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
“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
“I think we need to do more to make everyone
feels welcome. I like what I see for the future,” Watterworth
“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,”
“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
rewind to the future
by Shane Sellar
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
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
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
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
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.
The best part about meeting your favourite author
is finally getting to tell them how to improve their
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.
With his parentless upbringing, eccentric enemies
and endless gadgets, it’s obvious that James Bond is
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
With help from a Quantum scientist’s daughter
(Léa Seydoux), Bond ascertains that the two may just
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
Moreover, doesn’t Spectre realize that the only
way to thwart James Bond is with an STI?
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.
If it weren’t for Steve Jobs, men would have to
hand-deliver their dick pics.
Erroneously, this drama explores his lesser contributions
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.
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
Scarier still, back then you had to write movie
dialogue without using the F-word.
He’s a Portobello Mushroom Cloud.
18 | MARCH 2016 • BEATROUTE FILM
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,”
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
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.
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
20 | MARCH 2016 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE
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
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.
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
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
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
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]
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
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?
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
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
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.
grassroots rock n’ roll, with experience
by Foster Modesette
album art — gig posters
quality & pride
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
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
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
“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
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.
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
“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
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.
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
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!
BEATROUTE • MARCH 2016 | 29
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
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
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,”
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,”
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.
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
Going forward the band plans to release more videos
for tracks off Hex Beat, and recording analog to create a
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.
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
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
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
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
“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
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
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
“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
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
“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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
BEATROUTE • MARCH 2016 | 35
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,
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
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
“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
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
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
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
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
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
american songwriter breaks from teaching for shows
hard sometimes to really have a grasp
on time and place,” Mary Gauthier tells
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.
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
“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,”
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
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
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
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
like instrument with 18-21 strings) to make things
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
BEATROUTE • MARCH 2016 | 41
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  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.
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
“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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
BEATROUTE • MARCH 2016 | 45
Post Pop Depression
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
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
Running From The Blows
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
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
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
Future Soup EP
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
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
• Paul Rodgers
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
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
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
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
The Seth Bogart Show
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
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
• Colin Gallant
Demise of the Crown
Demise of the Crown
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
48 | MARCH 2016 • BEATROUTE
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
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
• Jamie McNamara
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
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
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.
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
Everyone Thinks I Dodged A Bullet
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, 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
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
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
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
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
The Unrequited Love
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
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
Mass For Shut-Ins
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
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
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
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
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
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
No Fantasy Required
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
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,
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
• Willow Grier
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
Palomino Smokehouse Anniversary Party
February 20, 2016
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
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
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
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
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
Listen to Dan at savagelovecast.com
Email Dan at email@example.com
Follow Dan @fakedansavage on Twitter
58 | MARCH 2016 • BEATROUTE