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

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

APRIL 2016

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GUNS N’ ROSES • COURTNEY BARNETT • BLEACHED • THE ARCS • MIIKE SNOW • ARLO GUTHRIE • TINASHE • TACOCAT


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apr. 20 16

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BeatRoute Magazine

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CITY

Yasmine Shemesh

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COMEDY

Graeme Wiggens

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FILM

Paris Spence-Lang

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THE SKINNY

Alex Molten

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LOCAL

Erin Jardine

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FRONT COVER PHOTO

Christelle de Castro

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Table of Contents

Working for the Weekend with Vanessa Dandurand of Sound & Salt.................................................4

An Evening With Noel Fielding..............................................................................................................5

Courtney Barnett......................................................................................................................................................6

Bleached................................................................................................................................................................................6

Sort of Damocles.......................................................................................................................................................9

Sightlines...............................................................................................................................................................................9

The Orange Kyte........................................................................................................................................................9

The Arcs..............................................................................................................................................................................10

Wild Nothing...............................................................................................................................................................10

Miike Snow.....................................................................................................................................................................11

Arlo Guthrie..................................................................................................................................................................12

The Jolts..............................................................................................................................................................................13

Eric Campbell & the Dirt.............................................................................................................................13

Pink Licorice..................................................................................................................................................................14

Sofia Danai......................................................................................................................................................................14

COVER: Santigold...............................................................................................................................................15

ELECTRONICS DEPT.................................................................................................................16 - 17

• Tinashe

• Floating Points

THE SKINNY..............................................................................................................................................18 - 20

• Subculture

• Modified Ghost

• Thick Skull

• Terminal City Confidential, Guns N’ Roses

CITY..........................................................................................................................................................................21 - 23

• Going Home Star

• Dirty Old Woman

• In The Footprint Of The Crocodile Man

• Queen Of The Month: Shanda Leer

• N8ne

• Raffi

• Royal Dinette

• Jackalope’s

COMEDY........................................................................................................................................................................24

• Darcy Michael

• Been There Done That

• Everyone In The Pool

FILM..................................................................................................................................................................................... 26

Album Reviews.............................................................................................................................................27 - 32

Live Reviews...................................................................................................................................................................33

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

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The Arcs, pg. 10

• APRIL 2016 3


WORKING FOR

THE WEEKEND

with Vanessa Dandurand of Sound & Salt

by Alex Molten

photo by Sarah Whitlam

Vanessa Dandurand is a busy woman.

She not only is one-sixth of the garage/

soul band The Ballantynes, she also

heads Sound & Salt, a production company

through which she books shows, handles PR,

and consults. Anyone who has tried to promote

shows knows it’s not a task for the faint hearted

and anyone going to shows in Vancouver has

probably seen her around. Dandurand puts on

some of the best and most badass shows in the

city. Some of her most recent gigs have included

Toronto’s Career Suicide, LA’s Neighborhood

Brats, and Portland’s Pissed Jeans. If you want

to check out her next grand opus, Sound & Salt

is hosting Philadelphia’s Sheer Mag on April 29

at the Astoria.

Dandurand hasn’t limited her scope to Vancouver.

She also does PR and sponsorship for

This Is Hardcore festival in Philadelphia, which

is happening August 4-7 this year. And in between

all this hustle, Dandurand still manages

to fit in a day job, working for Eden Medicinal

Society, a marijuana dispensary that was established

in 2011 and was the first organization

to pass the Canadian Association of Medical

Cannabis Dispensaries accreditation program.

BeatRoute: How is it working for Eden?

Vanessa Dandurand: Eden is really, really

interesting. I don’t know what I was expecting

when I started there, other than it was something

completely different. Right off the bat it’s

not a head shop. We don’t sell bongs, we don’t

sell vaporizers, it’s not [for people looking for]

novelty joints and edibles. That’s not the way

it works. We’re a medical dispensary and we’re

not for profit.

I don’t smoke while I’m at work, none of us

medicate except for one of my coworkers who

has epilepsy. [They are] the only one of us that’s

allowed to smoke on the job because it stops

seizures.

BR: Dispensaries are becoming the popular way

to purchase weed. What are your thoughts on

Vancouver’s growing dispensary numbers?

VD: It’s so crazy. In Vancouver seeing a dispensary

or like five dispensaries on a block has

become so normal that you kind of forget that

to work in medical marijuana today there’s still

a certain level of activism involved because it’s

not legal. [Well] it’s not all the way legal. It’s

about granting responsible access. Anyone who

becomes a member at Eden requires a doctor’s

note. It doesn’t have to be a recommendation

or prescription for marijuana, but it does have

to confirm that they have a condition.

BR: What are your thoughts on weed culture?

VD: Weed culture, honestly, is new to me. I

never went to a dab bar, I never went to a vapour

lounge, I’ve never been to a 420 rally, and

I don’t do the art gallery ever when there’s a

gathering of people in front of it. But like, it has

helped me everyday. [It’s helped me] through

major periods of grief, major periods of mental

health issues, [and through] health problems in

general. I have anxiety [and] it helps my anxiety.

BR: Do you have a favourite strain of weed?

VD: I mostly smoke sativas. Within weed there

are sativas, indicas, and hybrids. An indica

would be something heavier; you feel it in your

body, [gives you] a kind of body high. It’s really

good for stress, for sleep issues and chronic

pain. If you’re going to compare it to alcohol,

indica is a scotch, you have it at the end of the

night, sort of like a nightcap. A sativa is more

like your morning coffee. It’s more uplifting. It’s

known to stimulate creativity. Hybrids, on the

other hand, are more like a beer. You can have

a heavy beer, you can have a light beer, you can

have a fruity beer, you can have a radler, you

can have a Guinness, you can have whatever.

BR: Weed can have some wacky names. Any

favourite names?

VD: There’s a strain called Bruce Banner, and

within Bruce Banner there is Bruce Banner

number one and Bruce Banner number three.

I don’t know what happened to Bruce Banner

number two. That type simply doesn’t get sold.

Maybe it’s somewhere but I don’t know. Bruce

Banner number one makes you feel like you’ve

been hit by The Incredible Hulk and Bruce

Banner number three makes you feel like you

are The Incredible Hulk. Bruce Banner number

one is a very heavy indica strain, Bruce Banner

number three is a 70/30, so 70 percent of it is

sativa.

Sound & Salt presents Sheer Mag at the Astoria

on April 29.

4 APRIL 2016


AN EVENING WITH NOEL FIELDING

the endless journey through time and space

In the first episode of The Mighty Boosh,

originally broadcast in May of 2004

on BBC Three, a man with an edgy

haircut dressed in a red cowboy hat

and a purple feather boa can be seen

grabbing the testicles of a massive

kangaroo puppet in an attempt to

save his best friend and coworker

who is losing a boxing match

against the rabid creature. The

man in the hat is Noel Fielding,

his losing companion Julian

Barrett. They were the creators,

writers and stars of

the show, an international

cult hit that chronicled the

adventures of characters

Vince Noir (Fielding) and

Howard Moon (Barrett) as

they lived through surreal

adventure after surreal

adventure. Starting as a

live show, then making its

way to radio, and finally

landing on television, it’s

been 12 years since The

Mighty Boosh first aired

on BBC. Since the show’s

end the pair have gone

on to pursue individual

creative projects, Barrett

acting in television shows

and movies, Fielding

doing the same, as well

as getting back to his

roots of live performance.

Calling in the

middle of the tour for

his stage show, An

Evening With Noel

Fielding, he is in Toronto

lying on a bed

at the Fairmont Hotel,

surrounded by a variety

of vintage coats.

“I don’t know what’s

wrong with me, I’ve got

a disease,” says Fielding of

his compulsion to buy used

outerwear. After a whirlwind

career starring in a popular comedy program,

touring the world with it, getting wrapped up

in the raging London night scene of the early

to mid 2000s, starring in another popular

comedy program, then setting out for

a new world tour of stand up and

sketches, coming out on the other

end with nothing more than an

affection for ’70s era parkas is a

pretty wholesome problem to

have.

“I thought about doing stand

up at my university but that

seemed really scary. So I did a

performance art thing at college

where you had to do an act to

do with a book. I dressed up

as Jesus and sang Jumping Jack

Flash; that was my first gig really,

I built a big cross and jumped off

it. I did a little bit of stand up as

Jesus, talking about lepers and

miracles. I couldn’t even grow a

beard yet; I had to paint one on.

Then I started doing gigs at the

university, but as Jesus. Then I

suddenly thought, I’m quite

good at this, but I can’t just

pretend to be Jesus, that’s

ridiculous. So I booked a

proper gig out in the real

world,” says Fielding.

That proper gig in the

real world took place

in Cambridge, Fielding

and three friends piled

in for the drive. The

show had a full audience,

but due to a particularly

sinister bout of fog on

the highway, few of the

other comedians showed

up. Fielding, the shy art

school kid who’d cut

his teeth impersonating

religious figures, was

understandably nervous.

“Phil Jupitus was there,

which is insane really that

he was at my first gig and

by Maya-Roisin Slater

we ended up doing Nevermind the Buzzcocks

together years later. I just panicked; I thought I

couldn’t do it. Then Phil gave me a big hug and said

‘Just try, don’t worry about it.’” Fielding’s expected

five minutes turned into fifteen, the audience

laughed, and he was hooked. Continuing on the

stand up circuit, Fielding was eventually booked on

the same show as Barrett. “I absolutely stormed it

and he went on after me and was furious because

I’d gone on and done all the weird stuff. Then he

gave me a lift home. I was with four girls, I don’t

know why, but he told me after the only reason he

gave me a lift home was because I was surrounded

by girls. Then when we got to my house I said ‘Julian

you do know if you come in you can never leave?’

and he said ‘Yeah, that’s fine, I haven’t got much on

anyway.’ The next day he phoned me up and we

started writing.”

From that point onward, The Mighty Boosh

consumed their lives. Winning the Perrier Award at

the Edinburgh Fringe Festival lead to a string of live

shows, eventually they built a studio in Shoreditch

and turned the show into an audio program,

following that it ran on television for three years,

bred two live tours, a book, and even a mobile

phone app. “That 11 years just became a blur,” says

Fielding. “We did have a really good time. I do miss

the Boosh a bit. But at that point in England it did

get a little crazy.”

His current project, An Evening With Noel

Fielding, is touring around North America right

now. He says the show uses the best bits of his

last television outing, Luxury Comedy, with some

characters from The Mighty Boosh, a sprinkle of

stand up and some mild kidnapping. Having done

the show over a hundred times for audiences

around the world, he describes it as very honed.

Travelling across continents with suitcases stuffed

full of dusty jackets, all laced up in some sort of

gaudy silver boot, Noel Fielding is living a life usually

reserved for the protagonists of left-of-centre

children’s novels. A Cockney Willy Wonka type

figure, Fielding has made a career of turning the

grotesque Dickensian aspects of life into charming

characters drenched in loud colors and primary

school era glitter glue. Challenging reality is a

strange job, but somebody has to do it.

An Evening With Noel Fielding will be at the Vogue

Theatre on April 9

• APRIL 2016 5


MUSIC

COURTNEY BARNETT

no time for sitting around

Courtney Barnett is one of the most clever and witty lyricists around today.

It’s morning in Melbourne when Courtney

Barnett calls me. She’s sitting in her car,

wrapped in a blanket parked in her driveway.

It’s raining, cold, and miserable outside. Her

house has bad cellphone reception and it’s

too frigid to sit on the lawn. Unpleasant

circumstances aside, she’s still laughing. This

situation could easily be the premise for one

of her songs, because for Barnett, tragedy

breeds comedy and the specifics of everyday

mundanity are spun into relatable tales

of heartbreak and triumph in the face of

confusion.

The Australian songwriter’s journey with

music started as a kid living in the suburbs

of Sydney. With a cool older brother and

a neighbour willing to trade mixtapes as

guiding lights, Barnett started learning guitar

and writing music at an early age. At 18 she

started performing her solo work, and though

she dabbled in collaborating with bands for

a while, she maintains throughout she was

always doing her own thing. In line with this

independent thinking was Barnett’s move to

start her own label, Milk! Records, to facilitate

the release of her first EP. Now a full fledged

direct artist-to-listener operation, in the

beginning Milk! Records was nothing more

than a ploy to be heard.

“It was pretty basic. I didn’t really have much

money so I just set up a website and released

my first EP on CD and digital. Not many people

were buying them because not many people

knew who I was, but it was kind of word of

mouth and it spread a bit,” explains Barnett.

Barnett managed to cobble together the

means to get her music to other continents.

With the help of money raised from localized

touring, government arts grants, and labels

by Maya-Roisin Slater

in New York and London, she’s been touring

beyond Australia regularly since the release

of her double EP, A Sea of Split Peas. Her

songs, which centre around exposing personal

pitfalls, show that Barnett is a shy and anxious

women. For her, touring was a way of facing

her fears, like a kid being thrown into the pool

to swim for their life. “I grew in many ways, as

a musician, as a songwriter, as a person. I really

had to learn some life skills and social skills. I’m

very shy and not very good at socializing, but

stuff like that really pushed me to have to do it.

You have to meet people, you have to do press,

you have to mingle with the bands, the other

bands are sometimes really nice people. I try

to stay open to experiences, I guess you can’t

grow unless you push yourself in ways like that.

It’s fun, it’s great playing your music in front of

anyone, anyone who’ll listen, it’s amazing,” she

explains.

Back home after a long bout of touring

and summer festivals in support of her

debut album, Sometimes I Sit and Think and

Sometimes I Just Sit, released in 2015, Barnett

is slowly but surely getting started on her next

project.

“I’m trying to make a new album. I just get

distracted a lot,” she explains. Barnett hopes

to have it out by next year, that goal and many

others are sitting on a list for her horizon. “I’ve

always had a lot of things I want to learn how

to do,” she says. “You know, learn how to play

piano, learn how to speak French, it never

happens. But maybe that’ll get better in the

next year. I’ll learn how to be a better person,

all kinds of things.”

Courtney Barnett plays the Commodore

Ballroom April 19

BLEACHED

LA band has a passion for thrashin’

Earlier this year, Annie Clark (St.

Vincent) made headlines for

designing a female-friendly guitar.

If things go as planned, Bleached sister

duo Jessica and Jennifer Clavin may

be next in a movement of women

musicians revolutionizing the onstage

experience for female rockers. In their

case, the Clavin’s education in fashion

design would lend itself perfectly to a

line of clothing that is also, as Jessica

posits, “thrash-friendly.” It’s a no-brainer

for the group, rounded out by bassist

Micayla Grace and drummer Nick Pillot,

the sole male member. The band’s

female majority is unanimous on what

comes most naturally to each of them

individually: performing.

With its careening guitar melodies,

slightly unhinged momentum, and

subtle snarl, Welcome The Worms is

more conducive to thrashing than the

band’s 2011 debut album, Ride Your

Heart. Drug-references, tales of reckless

abandonment, and self-destruction are

abound on Bleached’s second LP, but

the album isn’t intended to glorify these

themes. Rather, it’s about “welcoming

the dark side of life” along with the light.

Speaking over the phone with Grace and

the Clavin sisters the day after wrapping

up their stint at SXSW and only hours

before a show in San Antonio, the

conversation steers towards juice and

spa sessions rather than the deadly

sugar-liquor combo of the new song

“Sour Candy.”

That Welcome The Worms was the

first time that the Clavin sisters involved

Grace in the writing process is a testament

to the trustworthiness of the band’s

newest permanent member. Jennifer is far

from oblivious to her possessiveness of

Bleached and is honest about the fact that

the aspect of making music she finds most

challenging is having her writing meddled

with in production. However, she is just as

forthcoming to say that the new approach

to writing, which was done collectively

as well as alone, allowed the individual

members to let out their different sides.

The outcome, says Grace, represents their

personal and collective growth. The hope

is that eventually the band will evolve to

encompass what Jessica calls a “whole

band concept,” akin to The Kinks and The

Beatles, with their drummer also on board

with the writing duties.

If Bleached can keep on their current

trajectory it seems a sure thing that

whatever form their next collaboration

takes on will have an exponentially

greater outcome.

Bleached perform at the Biltmore Cabaret

on April 28

Bleached are embracing the “whole band” concept on their new LP.

by Thalia Stopa

photo: Nichole Anne Robbins

6 APRIL 2016

Music


SORT OF DAMOCLES

Music

SIGHTLINES

horror movie soundscapes spark a spooky new spiral by Brock O. Lee pop punk, for lack of a better genre by Erin Jardine

Any article about Vancouver musical

polymath Chris van der Laan must

necessarily start with a long list of

his diverse array of bands. He raps in the

stoner collective Too High Crew, concocts

jovial pop-punk with Wars, creates ominous

drone metal with Hurricane Ripped

My Jacket, produces twinkling art-pop

with Heavy Steps, and sings with his young

nephews in Poo Thousand, among a variety

of other projects.

His latest experiment is Sort of Damocles,

a solo alias under which he just released

a cassette of instrumental keyboard

compositions titled Goat Prayer / Life Is

Shit. Its 20 lo-fi tracks all clock in at under

two minutes in length, and they’re made

up of harsh organ sounds, skin-crawling

horror movie spookiness, and occasional

lullaby-like prettiness.

It’s a huge departure from anything the

ever-eclectic van der Laan has done before,

but he’s nonchalant when explaining the

origins of the project. “I brought a RadioShack

keyboard home from my parents’

place and made up some riffs and progressions,”

he tells BeatRoute. “I dumped those

recordings onto my computer and did

some overdubs, added some effects, did

some EQ’ing.”

Amidst the lo-fi keyboard soundscapes,

there are a few snippets of van der Laan’s

young children crying. “My kids were in the

room when I recorded most of this Sort

THE ORANGE KYTE

expanding minds one track at a time

photo: Dara McDermott

Stevie isn’t rushing the output of The Orange Kyte.

of Damocles stuff,” he explains. “I decided

that I liked the cries after I tried editing a

few out. I’m sure when I hear this stuff in

several years I’ll be more interested in how

my kids sounded than I will be about the

songs I recorded. The songs will still sound

pretty cool though.”

To complement the spooky soundscapes,

Goat Prayer / Life Is Shit comes

with a hilariously dour album cover of

a mascara-daubed goth. Of the comical

imagery, van der Laan offers, “It’s not that

funny to me. I understand that most people

or maybe even everybody might find

the imagery funny though, which is cool.”

Next, van der Laan has plans for

another instrumental tape for Sort of

Damocles, releases from a number of his

The ever eclectic Chris van der Laan is at it again.

strange and unusual to sell

music these days,” remarks

“It’s

Stevie Moonboots. When the

first release by his new project The

Orange Kyte began selling digitally on

Bandcamp shortly after its release in

January, he was pleasantly surprised.

That song, a psychedelic slow-burner

called “Morning Pages”, is the first

installment in a series that will see

Moonboots recording and releasing a

new track each month with a different

set of collaborators.

The Orange Kyte actually started

as an exercise in learning how to

record and self-produce music, and a

hardware transaction sent the project

onto a very different trajectory.

“Initially I was just going to buy a

four-track from Chris (van der Laan,

of Wars, Slim Fathers, Too High Crew,

and many more) and he was going

to show me how to use it,” Moonboots

recalls. But the pair ended up

collaborating over email and using

technology to a much greater extent

than they intended.

“I still have a lot of people I want

to work with, different styles and

different equipment. I had an idea to

existing bands, and brand new projects

called Shame Spiral, Angel Shit, and Perfect

Spaceship. All of these will come out

through his self-run Boat Dreams from the

Hill label, along with some releases from

friends’ projects.

In other words, listeners should stay

tuned, because Vancouver’s most diverse

musician just keeps on branching out. He

explains, “I brought some recording gear

home last month and I have been putting

a bit of a dent in my giant music to-do list

after my kids go to bed when I’m not too

tired or doing something more pressing like

cleaning or looking at my phone.”

Goat Prayer / Life Is Shit is available now at

sortofdamocles.bandcamp.com

photo: ???

by Justin Penney

introduce a different instrument with

each track to make different textures

I haven’t used before. There will definitely

be some electronic stuff, and

maybe some stripped-down stuff with

just a guitar and a tambourine.”

In addition to Morning Pages, The

Orange Kyte released Dope:86 in February

and one more as-yet-untitled

track in March. The varied personnel

on each track makes live performing a

challenge, as does the lack of written

material. “You can’t tour on the back

of a single,” he chuckles. “But the

long-term plan is definitely to release

a full-length album on vinyl. This yearlong

project probably won’t make it

to vinyl, but people who buy it will

get something from me for sure, a

handwritten, hand-drawn artifact.”

Folks who want to see Moonboots

live will have to check out his other

gig as guitarist/vocalist in Vancouver

psych-rock outfit The Strange Things.

In the meantime, The Orange Kyte

will continue to expand its universe

one track at a time.

For more, visit theorangekyte.bandcamp.com

Eric Axen doesn’t necessarily love Northern BC, but his move

from Smithers to Vancouver stirred enough emotion to fuel a

thematic full-length album for his musical project Sightlines.

The songs are self-described as pop-punk, but Axen believes he

interprets the genre differently: “I always use the term pop-punk

forgetting that it doesn’t mean what I think it means. I use it in

the sense that it’s punk in that it’s direct and efficient, no frills.

It’s pop in that it’s catchy and self-contained in a few minutes. It’s

not overly ambitious musically, but it is ambitious.”

Sightlines is a project that includes Axen (vocals and guiter),

C.A. Chux (bass), and Graeme Macdonald (drums). Both Morgan

and Macdonald have considerable primary projects, Kiss Painting

and Dead Soft respectively. Sightlines is often jokingly ribbed

by local media sources for the short songs and the seemingly

long time it’s taken for a full-length record to be released, but

this is simply a result of this side project being well received.

Axen has a clear explanation for the time lapse. “It doesn’t feel

like it has taken four years to make an album. There have been

many six-month breaks. I write really slowly, it’ll take me half

an hour to write the lyrics and I won’t have music until years

later.” The songs come together from equal parts of all members.

“C.A. is a phenomenal bassist for writing amazing parts that

compliment the songs. Honestly, I’ll bring in a few chords and

he’ll play around it and it becomes something else altogether.

Graham as well, doesn’t just play a beat he plays the parts.” This

combination of creativity has definitely created something well

received, as the band has been seen on bills such as Sled Island

Music Festival, and have toured Canada regularly.

The album is called “North” with intentional quotation

marks. Axen hails from Smithers, BC and a lot of the emotion

that fueled these songs are related to his perception of the

experience. “Werner Herzog inspires me, his documentaries are

very fictionalized and he calls it ‘the ecstatic truth’. He thinks

that he’s getting at a more poetic truth. It’s a deeper perception

of the truth,” says Axen. “I use that idea to make sense of what

happened, you have to turn it into patterns and stories to

understand it.”

Sightlines perform at 333 April 15.

It took a move South for Eric Axen to write “North”

• APRIL 2016 9


THE ARCS

finding chemistry within the studio

by Jennie Orton

photo: Alysse Gafkjen

Dan Auerbach is moving forward with his new band The Arcs.

always said they put notes on

paper, but that’s not music. What do

“I’ve

you do with the notes? What do you

do with the charts? What do you do with

the chords? It’s what you put into it.” That

was legendary guitar player and session

musician Tommy Tedesco describing the

art of studio session playing.

Singer and guitarist Dan Auerbach

knows that to be true. The collaborative

and improvisational precision that has

created the nearly five albums of material

with his new project The Arcs in the last

year is the result of that studio musician

skill and humble creative camaraderie

that has built so much of the hit music of

the last five decades.

“If you’ve got a good heart and an

open mind, I think it goes really far in

the studio. Because the best music in

man’s history is all done by collaboration.

Always,” says Auerbach. “Interpretation

by different musicians and combinations

is what makes music so special.”

The musicians that make up The

Arcs are a roster of studio greats with

rap sheets a mile long and skill to spare.

Auerbach sits on vocals and guitar and is

joined by Truth and Soul Records founder

Leon Michels, Black Keys touring bassist

Richard Swift, Menahan Street Band

drummer Homer Steinweiss, frequent

Amy Winehouse and Mark Ronson

collaborator Nick Movshon, and guitarist

Kenny Vaughan.

“It’s really fun. I’ve never played with a

group of guys like this,” he says. “I mean I am

a decent musician but these guys are pretty

amazing. Phenoms all of them, really.”

The result is an affectionate freeform

jam session of a catalogue that marries very

diverse and well cultivated influences with

impeccably practiced style to create an

effortless psychedelic soul funk rock hybrid

with swagger, teeth, and history to spare.

“We get together, we start fiddling with

our instruments and ten minutes later

we have that recorded,” recalls Auerbach.

“That’s kind of how it works, and it sounds

a little crazy but we’re all in a point in our

lives where we are clicking on all cylinders.”

The rare breed that is the studio

session musician has been a common and

indelible thread in music since recordings

were first pressed. The skill levels required

to sight read and play music within

hours of getting eyes on it, playing other

people’s visions for the love of playing,

and the sake of making a paycheque,

allows for a unique acquisition of a skill

sets most musicians couldn’t fathom. This

explains not only The Arcs’ large amount

of output in the last 12 months but also

the resume of influences on their first

album Yours, Dreamily.

You can hear the time spent by Nick

Movshon and Homer Steinweiss with

The Dap Kings on “Put a Flower in your

Pocket,” and Amy Winehouse’s ghost is all

over “Pistol Made of Bones.” The presence

of every bit of modern soul and rock is

in “Stay in My Corner” ( which is also the

only song all musicians were available to

record together at once). These guys have

brought their resume to this gig and have

created a fun feast of what they do best,

but for themselves for once.

“I finally got to make an album with

these guys that was ours. In some form, this

group has made dozens of records together

over the years but they were never our

records,” muses Auerbach.

“We would make Lana Del Ray records,

or Dr. John records, or whoever we had in

the studio. So it was just that idea of having

ownership of something. It seemed to

bring the best out.”

Tedesco was famous for saying, “there

are four reasons to take a gig: for the money,

for the connections, for the experience,

or for the fun.” It would appear The Arcs

exist for at least three of those.

“We’re just all gonna keep making music

together until it’s not fun,” says Auerbach.

“I only do it because I love it, I would never

do it for any other reason. I feel very lucky.”

The Arcs performs at the Commodore Ballroom

on April 11

WILD NOTHING

solo project becomes a full band effort

For the most part, Wild Nothing has been a

one-man show, with guests brought in to

make touring possible, but Jack Tatum is

becoming more willing to allow other musicians

to participate in the creation of his sonic vision.

Beatroute got a chance to speak with Tatum at

his home in Los Angeles, and he talked a bit about

the beginnings of Wild Nothing.

“The first record I did, Gemini, was made just by

me, writing and recording all of the parts and putting

it all together myself.” This was in 2009, when

Tatum was still a student at Virginia Tech University

in the small city of Blacksburg. “I’d written

tons of songs before that, but that was the first

time I’d tried to challenge myself to make a [full]

record.” His insular approach to songwriting has

persisted: “Part of that has to do with [the need

for] me having a monopoly on my own ideas, and

not being able to easily compromise. I’m definitely

kind of controlling when I hear something in my

head, and I need it to be a certain way, otherwise

I feel frustrated.” But, he says, he’s become more

open to including other people in the process of

recording, as evidenced by the participation of

drummer John Ericsson (of Peter, Bjorn, and John),

guitarist Brad Laner (of Medicine), and others on

his most recent record.

“It’s these small little battles, allowing people to

come in and do stuff on top of what you’ve written,

and seeing how that plays out. I want to keep doing

more of that sort of thing…it would be difficult

to make the kind of records I make now without

getting other opinions, and other players involved.”

Wild Nothing’s third album, Life of Pause, was

released in February, almost a full four years after

the previous album’s release in 2012. “Life just kind

of catches up with you,” Tatum says. “I was working

on this record, but not constantly…before I

knew it three or four years had gone by.” It will be

clear to fans of Wild Nothing’s previous releases

that Life of Pause represents a different direction

for the band, substituting the atmospheric,

dreamy pop sensibilities of 2012’s Nocturne with

more brusque indie rock ambience.

On the subject of taking musical risks, Tatum

cites David Byrne as an inspiration: “It’s hugely

inspiring, because he’s constantly got some new

project he’s working on it seems…he’s not a onetrack

mind guy.” Although he is clearly motivated

by a desire to explore new musical avenues, Tatum

can relate to the expectations of consistency

from fans: “You get used to something, and you

can have really deep emotional relationships with

the music that you love, and you can feel a real

betrayal when someone shifts from what you’ve

come to know them for…but, it’s different as a

musician, like, I’m usually rooting for people when

they try and do something different, even if it

doesn’t pan out. I think it’s better to try.”

Not only is Life of Pause a foray into a different

sound, it also takes a unique approach to the idea

of an album as an artifact. The cover art for the

record is a photograph of Tatum sitting in a chic

1970s-style living room, built specifically for the

purpose of being used for this album. Accompanying

the release of the album, Wild Nothing also

released a music video that encompasses two

songs and features the same room as the backdrop

in a kind of cinematic album art. “Every record

that I’ve done is an attempt to make a small

little world within itself,” Tatum says. “I’ve always

enjoyed the idea that a record can be something

Wild Nothing’s Jack Tatum is learning to let people into his musical world.

by Galen Robinson-Exo

that you step in and out of, that has an identity of

its own, and it was no different with this record.

We just took it a little further and made it a bit

more literal by envisioning this physical space for

the record to live in. It was important to me that

people feel like there was a sort of physicality to

the record.” What worlds will continue to emerge

from Wild Nothing’s ever-changing trajectory? We

look forward to finding out.

Wild Nothing performs at the Biltmore Cabaret on

April 26

10 APRIL 2016

Music


MIIKE SNOW

the same shape in different forms

From the depths of the mythical

forest, a jackalope reemerges.

He shakes the cobwebs loose

from his antlers, and brushes the

dust from his fur. The brilliant sheen

that once flickered across his coat

reignites under the sunbeam’s light.

The jackalope has returned, as mysterious

and undefined as ever, and

perhaps the only beast suitable to

represent Miike Snow. Not one man

but three, Miike Snow is arguably

the most genre eluding band of this

decade. With a style that is near

impossible to pin down, they’ve

been charcterized as everything

from progressive-psychadelic-pop all

the way to trip-hop-electronica. No

wonder they’ve branded themselves

with a whimsical creature, Miike

Snow is as about as legendary as

they come.

“I feel like, it’s funny - we’re

getting a good response from it [our

new album], but it’s another one of

those albums that doesn’t fit into

the music scene right now,” singer

Andrew Wyatt says, breaking into

a devious laugh, “We always kind of

zag when everybody else zigs, and I

don’t think it’s intentional.” Wyatt,

the American element of their

Sweden-based trio, seems glad to be

back after a few years of uncertainty

during a Miike Snow hiatus. Alongside

with their return, they have a

gift for us: their third album, aptly

named iii. The record recalls the

nostalgia of their self-titled debut

and the intimate feelings shared in

songs like “Silvia,” and “Burial.” iii

travels along the same pattern that

is their album blueprint: prolific indie-dance

bangers, moody melodic

keyboard sequences, and sly song

lyrics filled with clever undertones.

iii feels like an acceptance - an

understanding that Miike Snow

will never stray from who they are.

“I think sometimes people like to

do what fits in with everyone else,”

Wyatt explains, “The more I experience

modern music these days, the

more I see kind of how Miike Snow

has always had an awkwardness to

it. And that awkwardness continues,

and I’m okay with it.”

iii tells a tale of a band who have

taken what they know, but put a different

spin on it. The majority of the

tracks come laden with matters of

the heart, but not as tragic sounding

as those from their previous

albums. These songs, “Heart is Full,”

and “Heart of Me” are brimming

with coy requests to be treated

better, while “I Feel The Weight”

certainly bares down, but with the

feeling that good things are around

the corner. Although they are trying

new things, they’ve stuck true to

Miike Snow stylings: heavy synths,

hip-hop beats, breathy vocals, and a

lot of well-groomed noise.

With four years between records,

picking up after so much time away

can be difficult for anyone, even

with various side projects prodding

at the trio’s creativity. “I mean

let’s not kid ourselves, it’s actually

been very hard putting it all back

together,” Wyatt reveals. “But now

that’s running and going it’s good. It

feels good. The thing is, after many

years of doing it, I don’t stress out or

think that [inspiration] comes at any

particular time. It can come - and

also not come , by the way - and you

have to be totally open and chill

with that too.”

Miike Snow performs at the Commodore

Ballroom on April 9

by Kristie Sparksman

photo: Nick Zinner, Joachim Belaieff, Henrik Korpi

Sweden-based trio Miike Snow return and continue to refuse bowing to any trends.

Music

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• APRIL 2016 11


ARLO GUTHRIE

this social network kills fascists

Strange times are these to be a Millennial.

We’re blessed both with

the idealistic nature required to

change the world, as well as the technology

to do it faster than ever before.

However, a great lethargy seems to dog

us like a benevolent rain cloud, and, at

the end of the day, little gets done.

Guthrie had no such troubles

spreading his message. By the time he

was 22, he’d released three albums and

a feature-length film, and of course, the

infamous “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree.”

Over 18 minutes, the song tells

the story of Guthrie’s Vietnam draft

denial due to his criminal record. The

charge? Littering.

The song helped fuel a movement

of frustration towards the asinine draft

and the lumbering bureaucracy behind

The prolific Arlo Guthrie still has things to say and a desire to see the world change for the better.

it, and became so popular that Guthrie

stopped playing it at his shows—everyone

had already heard it so many times

that playing it, in his mind, became

pointless. Now he only dusts it off once

a decade (his performance in the Chan

Centre will be the 50th anniversary—

he only asks that you wear soft shoes

so if you get bored you can sneak out

quietly).

The numbers are in the air, but

Guthrie has undoubtedly stirred hundreds

of thousands to some form of activism

through his work, whether it was

a protest or a letter-writing campaign

or just an awakening of thought. But

times are clearly different now, with

the activism scene being dominated

by unending movements on Facebook

and Twitter. Issues are simultaneously

so hyperbolically marketed and so

immense in scope that fighting them

can be infuriating.

Guthrie, who was protesting before

organization was a thing, offers a

solution to those trying to see and do

too much. “One of the things I would

tell anyone—who asks—of any age is

to try to see what’s right in front of

you. It’s always easier to think of things

other people should do wherever they

are. Sometimes it’s easy to think that

you have to get together with lots of

other people and do something you

all agree on—which is why not much

gets done. So, I just try to do the things

that are within reach as an individual. If

everyone did that, of course everything

would get done. Either way, don’t give

up.”

This is a simple yet surprisingly apt

battle-cry; while it’s easy to slip into

the realm of “slacktivism” (and we

must be careful not to) simply adding

a rainbow filter to our profile pictures

can perceptibly shift the ideology

of our culture. These shifts can help

bring down xenophobia, homophobia,

racism, sexism, and all the other isms

living next door.

It works for physical issues too. Facebook

likes won’t feed the homeless,

but individual donations and volunteering

will. And while a problem like

homelessness can seem immovable by

doing, as Guthrie says, “things that are

within reach as an individual,” there is

one example he can give that proves

individual action makes a difference:

Bernie Sanders.

by Paris Spence-Lang

Bernie Sanders is up against a brick

wall of an establishment, but it’s individual

donations and part-time volunteering

that are enabling his historically

grassroots run for nomination. This, of

course, pleases Guthrie, who sees much

more than just the White House at

stake in the campaign.

“Naturally, I would love to see a guy

like Bernie Sanders become president

of the USA, and I’ve let him know that.

But whether he succeeds or not the fire

is lit and unlikely to get extinguished

any time soon. A lot of people all over

the world in every country are sick of

feeling like ants or bees—simply there

to work their lives away so those at the

top can be pampered. There’s nothing

wrong with being pampered, by the

way. But when it comes at the expense

of average people feeling they are no

better than insects, it doesn’t usually

work out well for the overly well-todo.”

The Guthrie clan has given more

to Bernie Sanders’ campaign than its

endorsement. It’s not uncommon to

see Sanders on stage with Vampire

Weekend, singing “This Land is Your

Land” at rallies, a little tune Arlo’s

father Woody Guthrie penned back in

1940. “I’m very glad for Bernie that he

found a career in politics,” says Arlo,

“because he surely wasn’t going to find

one in music.”

Some say Guthrie lives in an ideological

world of fantasy—his favourite

books, after all, are The Hobbit and The

Lord of the Rings—and that may be

true, but it just might be the best vantage

point to tackle the world’s problems.

So maybe the Guthries have an

unorthodox history of activism. If so,

Arlo’s latest fundraising drive, through

his not-for-profit organizations, is

about as Guthrie as it gets: “I’ll be doing

a cross-country motorcycle ride.”

Arlo Guthrie performs at the Chan Centre

for Performing Arts on April 21

12 APRIL 2016

Music


THE JOLTS

something not like the others

by Alex Molten

The Jolts are charged up with a desire to push their boundaries.

photo: Sarah Whitlam

The Jolts have been a punk staple in Vancouver

for years. Musically they’re known for

playing an unapologetically rowdy brand

of punk rock with rock and roll sensibility. If you

want a guarantee for a good night then a Jolts

show is where you’ll want to be. Fast and fun,

channelling that Ramones-esque energy, they’ve

built a reputation for being electric on stage.

The Jolts is comprised of Joey Blitzkrieg on

guitar and vocals, Joshy Atomic on guitar, Dusty

Duderino on drums, and Evan Dabbler plays

bass. With their first release in five years coming

up, the last being 2011’s 8%, Blitzkrieg takes a

moment to talk about the band’s upcoming third

LP, No Parodoxes.

“Any old Jolts fan who hears it is going to be a

little bit mystified I think. It jumps genres a little

bit. But it’s still of all the different genres that we

like. You know, from ’70s heavy metal to Johnny

Thunders kind of rock ‘n’ roll,” says Blitzkrieg.

No Paradoxes is definitely a switch up. The

band experiments with different sounds and,

while it may not be what their fans will be expecting,

it does make for a dynamic listen. Their

first single, “Microwave Kids,” is in step with the

expectations that people may have of the band,

but the album isn’t so straightforward.

“It wasn’t purposeful. I think it was just everything

that was just brought to the table that

we kind of tried to use,” says Blitzkrieg. “In the

past we would have turned down some of those

songs like ‘Blasters’ or ‘Brian’s Girl’ that were totally

not within our specific genre and this time

we were excited to change it up. It does get a

little bit boring playing the same power chord

riffs over and over.”

“Blasters,” released with “Microwave Kids” to

preview the album, brings in some Motörhead

influences while “Brian’s Girl” wouldn’t be easily

categorized as punk; it sounds like a definite nod

to garage rock and roll.

Recorded with Jesse Gander around two years

ago, it has been a long process to get the album

out. Long pressing plant wait times (it took a

year and four months to get the record pressed)

has meant the band has had to wait to physically

release No Paradoxes.

“It’s taken so long to put out that, at this

point, we’re just going to kind of wait and see

what people think of it and make our decisions

from there. This album release will be a good

time, the first time to really be testing these

songs live,” shares Blitzkrieg about The Jolts approach

to this release. “I think maybe three have

been played live before. So we’ll see how it goes

and from there and I mean we’d be super happy

to do a tour.”

Whatever the future holds for The Jolts,

they’ve done something with their upcoming

album that many established bands stay away

from. Ten years, one EP, and three LPs in, they

have changed things up. While this album may

not sound quite like their last two, it still is

unabashed rock ‘n’ roll. It’s less a love letter to

their fans and more like paying homage to their

influences.

The Jolts perform at the Astoria on April 22

ERIC CAMPBELL & THE DIRT

a rock ‘n’ roll romp in the wild wild west

When Eric Campbell sings, he regurgitates

his entire soul and leaves it there for the

audience to absorb. He sings in front of

his best friends, who also happen to be his band.

The Dirt is Campbell (vocals, guitar), Erik Mulder

(bass), Colby Morgan (drums), and Emily Bach (violin).

Campbell is a songwriter and has written music

since the inception of the band when it was just

three high school kids (Campbell, Mulder, and previous

drummer, Eddie “Danger” Reid) jamming in a

basement to pass the time. Reid was a large part of

the band’s early sound and came up with the name

The Dirt to poke fun at how the music sounded

like dirt being thrown into the listener’s ear. “We

got way better though,” laughs Mulder. The name

stuck however, and with it, so did the greasy image

that The Dirt effortlessly upholds. Now, after an

extensive Canada-wide tour, Campbell and Co. are

cleaning up with a full-length album they are calling

Western Violence and Brief Sensuality.

The title refers to the opening screen of the

1968 film Once Upon a Time in the West, which

reads “Rated PG-13 for western violence and brief

sensuality.” Mitch Ray of the promotion company

Art Signified tipped Campbell off to the concept

and the name fit the gritty and soulful feel of the

album. Eagle Time Records was the backdrop of the

album’s recording, an eerie haunted setting that

stuck with the band. “It was really scary, we’re all

Music

pretty logical human beings, but it was ghost scary.

People have been murdered there,” insists Bach.

It’s a collision of meaningful social connections

that gives The Dirt the powerful performance that

translates to a successful recording.

The album is intensely personal. It recounts experiences

with other musical partners, hotel rooms,

and impromptu studio writing that make for a

portrait of a band that has developed a distinct

identity within the Canadian rock and roll stage.

“I think [Campbell] writes a hundred songs [for]

every one that is brought to The Dirt. He’s a songwriting

machine. It’s not that [he] doesn’t want to

collaborate with us, but [he’s] got so much ready

to go. So anxious to get it out,” explained Bach. The

Dirt has evolved into a collaborative group, with

Campbell writing most of the songs on the album.

One song however was recorded live off the floor.

“We were all in onesies, [Bach] had been up for

three days straight. We were supposed to record

‘The Rose Inn Motel’ but no one had that energy.

So we just jammed it out. Every single person in

the band had one part to it,” says Campbell. “It was

amazing, really bonding. It’s a joyous song, so much

fun to play. Also, it’s called ‘Tragedy,’” adds Bach.

The Dirt exudes the Old West lifestyle, with

strung-out stories of extended sets in an underground

bar, their tour van being towed from

outside a venue, and a haphazard endeavor to get it

back. Their energy in telling this story is just a simmering

light to what is seen onstage. Campbell is a

force beyond his time; he loves being weird, and his

booming voice maintaining the tightness of the set

while his actions resemble a perfect representation

of “flying off the handle.” A stoic crowd does not

affect them, and they can play for hours on end.

“We played in this upstairs loft. There was a

by Erin Jardine

decent crowd, maybe 40 or 50 people. I don’t know

how long it was. By the time we finished, there was

no one,” recalled Campbell. Does The Dirt care

whom they play for? Absolutely not, but their goal

is to play for everyone.

Eric Campbell and the Dirt release Western Violence

and Brief Sensuality on April 28 at The Cobalt

Eric Campbell and The Dirt come out with guns blazing for their release of Western Violence and Brief Sensuality.

• APRIL 2016 13


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PINK LICORICE

dark-pop disco duo step out of the shadows

Connor Mack and Bella McKee are Pink Licorice

and they want to make candy for your

ears. Hiding behind an austere pink/black

colour scheme on their debut album, Punishments,

it’s hard to tell just what year it is. Channelling the

vibes of Johnny Jewel and Glass Candy’s dark disco

empire circa 1996, their throwback efforts are more

sweet than sinister as the duo add in big guitar

sounds and embrace what McKee refers to as “dark,

intensity of licorice with pink frivolity.”

“We play evil music but we’re polite, well-mannered

people,” Mack assures BeatRoute over an

afternoon coffee in the downtown east side.

There is nothing really noir about Mack and

McKee, nor pink for that matter. Mack has a

welcoming aura about him and flows with conversation,

while McKee is soft-spoken but generous

with laughs. The duo in real life is an interesting juxtaposition

to the serious, saturated tone set on their

latest music video for the track “Black Galaxy, Pink

Demon,” which is all pink lights and dark shadows.

The band’s origin stories are far-flung and serendipitous.

Mack hails from the frosty foothills of

Calgary while Bella grew up in the Vancouver ‘burbs.

They met through their previous project, The Stolen

Organ Family Band, which they were both a part

of while living in Kelowna. When the band parted

ways, Mack and McKee picked up the pieces of

their shared connections and formed a team whose

mission became to fuse their favourite genres of

music — pop, synth, disco, rock, and electro.

“We pretty much woodshedded for four months

SOFIA DANAI

empress of herself

The best vocalists put something at stake

with their music. The music needs to be

heard by the musicians themselves just as

much as by others. Sitting in The Wallflower with

Sophia Danai, she confirms, “Writing this record, I

don’t even know if it was a choice. I felt like I had

to get through that time.” A kind of self-speak

is born that others can feel and relate to on a

visceral level. Danai exhibits this type of raw and

honest artistry.

Her music spans many genres — soul, R&B,

electro-pop — and her new album, Love Royale,

even showcases some Latin beats and jazz compositions.

At the heart of all her music is a palpable

exploration of self. “I am more intuitive in

my songwriting than I am in my life. Everybody

has that intuition, that gut. We know ourselves,

we know our feeling, but we get so distracted

with life and other people’s expectations of us

and stress and we lose our connection to that.

When I’m songwriting, it’s my way of listening to

myself and reconnecting to whatever is going on

with me.”

Tapping into one’s authentic self can be difficult

and it’s been a long road for Danai to get to

this place on a personal and artistic level. When

she first started in the music industry she worried

about how she came across. “I was really trying

to craft everything so I appeared in this certain

way and I really had no idea what I wanted to say.

I had an idea of what I wanted to be but I wasn’t

ballsy enough to stand there.”

and churned out 30 songs. There are eight on Punishments,”

says Mack.

McKee describes the songwriting process as

a natural collaboration. “We work together on a

rhythm, or we both have parts of songs that we

mash together.” As a duo, the band’s creativity

flourished. “There was better communication and

organization,” notes McKee. Having attended The

Royal Conservatory of Music, McKee is a prolific

piano player and her talents are on full display when

she takes to the keyboards. Mack plays guitar and

guides the song structures. They both write the

lyrics and the melodies. McKee gradually became

Pink Licorice are giving you ear candy to savour.

Now Danai has taken complete control of her

creative vision. “For this record I decided to leave

the company I was working with. I learned how

to produce myself and I collaborated with other

producers but I got a basic knowledge so I could

see what would happen, see what I would say, see

how I wanted my voice to sound if it was just me

with no other people saying what would be cool

Spanning multiple genres, Sophia Dani has a unique creative vision.

by Prachi Kamble

interested in working a bass synth and from there a

sound was born.

“This town has enough jangly guitar bands,”

Mack says. “We like disco beats but also great fuzzy

ass guitars and monster hooks.”

With a great backlog of working material, expect

a few more EPs this year from the Pink Licorice posse.

For now Mack and McKee are ecstatic to finally

shrug off their cloak of anonymity and parade the

campy fruits of their labour on stage.

Pink Licorice performs on April 8 at the Biltmore

Cabaret

by Callie Hitchcock

for me to do.”

Danai beams positive energy and creative

power. She assures, “As you get older and start

shedding a bit of your insecurities, you can start

listening to yourself and what is true to you.”

Sophia Danai’s Love Royale album release party is

April 1st 8pm at the Biltmore Cabaret (Vancouver)

14 APRIL 2016

Music


y Thalia Stopa

the phone, cozied up in the bunk of her

On tour bus, Santi White — better known to

her fans as Santigold — has spent the fourth

day of spring traversing a Colorado blizzard.

At one point, stranded on the side of the road

for nearly eight hours, the bus happened to be

pulled over next to a truck-stop diner that was

in the midst of a power outage. Rather than

be depressed or discouraged by the scenario,

White wandered into what she compares to

the set of a film: a dark room full of truckers

with “tumbleweeds blowing by us...a moose

head on the wall...the door almost blows off...

It’s amazing!” It’s the 39-year-old musician’s

self-described gift to be able to find inspiration

in the most unlikely and random of things

that is undoubtedly what makes Santigold’s

music its own exceptionally interesting and

varied landscape. It’s also what makes White

herself a remarkable force of nature.

Nearly eight years have passed since the

release of Santigold’s debut LP, Santogold, and

she’s no longer surprised by what inspires

her. “If something captures my attention [then]

it’s inspiring. Even like...trash on the street...

That’s why I love New York so much: there’s

no shortage of things to look at or experience

or feel,” she says laughing. “There’s been so

many times where…somebody catches your

eye because they look cool, you know what

I mean? And you look back. There’s been so

many times where I’ve done that and it’s like

a homeless person who is obviously like a

little mentally off and they look amazing!”

White’s youthful ability to get excited and find the

fun and interest in the mundane is balanced by

her wisdom, introspect, and a cultural awareness

that verges at times on jadedness. Both sides of

her personality are equally evident on this year’s

album, 99cents, released in February. White’s

voice noticeably drops an octave when she starts

talking about the motivation behind her third

album release: our current consumerist culture.

While making this album, White was confronted

with the unavoidable reality of this impact on her

life and career as a musician. “You’re making

products that are basically being given away for

free. And that puts us in this weird situation now

where there’s an insane amount of marketing

and pushing of your brand that’s going on just to

try to make a living at what you’re doing. So the

experience of being a musician has changed so

drastically because of it, and it’s in my face.”

Not one to be easily daunted or to back down

to a challenge, she decided to tackle the

monstrous issue head on and full-force by

using every social media tool at her disposal

— no matter how foreign or challenging it

may be to her values, or how admittedly

exhausting and time-consuming the process.

From Tumblr Q & A’s to Instagram interviews,

her intentions went far beyond typical selfpromotion

or simply playing along with the

game as it may at first seem on the surface.

“It’s...kind of a conflict that I have to deal

with and come to terms with and I think this

album is my way of coming to terms with

[social media]...pretty much to embrace it,

highlight it and make sort of a satire out of

it. And at the same time just making it a very

accurate portrayal of the time and culture

for people to view and reflect on, because...

you know technology is moving so fast and

it’s kind of like sending us skidding out of

control in this one direction...and we’re not

steering. And I think that’s dangerous.”

In a playful, visual commentary on this

issue of control, White took the opportunity

to use webcam technology to project

the viewer’s own face onto media like

posters, ads, and a jumbotron in her video

for “Can’t Get Enough of Herself.”

White is quick to acknowledge that “there’s

so many other very serious and heavy, scary

things happening in the world right now

that it might seem disconnected to focus so

much on [social media as an aesthetic], but if

you look at the presidential race right now, I

think a lot of the things I’m talking about on

my record are very present in the way that

people are treating the presidential campaign,

where basically people are literally choosing

a TV personality rather than a person.”

But will Santigold’s fans and listeners be

savvy enough to detect her nuances and

the underlying messages of 99cents? White

admits that there is only so much within

her control in that respect, but she draws a

comparison to the common early experience

of misinterpreting lyrics: “I don’t know about

you but when I was little I used to sing lyrics

wrong, so wrong, all the time...just sing your

little heart out to the wrong lyrics. And then,

these songs just stay with you your whole life

until you revisit them and one day you’re like,

‘Oooh’...And I can only control how long it

takes people to get to that ‘Oh’ moment, but I

do have faith...that they will find the meaning.”

For all of its weightiness, 99cents doesn’t

exactly sound like a political album through

its upbeat, sometimes candy-sweet and

ultimately danceable pop production riddled

with influences from rock to reggae. This

is no doubt an indication of White’s own

early exposure to artists varying from Otis

Redding and Nina Simone, to Madonna and

U2...Bad Brains to Bananarama. Indeed, the

music industry landscape and consumption

of music is worlds apart from White’s own

musical upbringing, some of which began

before she was even old enough to form

memories of them, including seeing James

Brown play live. She does remember one

very formative Fela Kuti show though, as

well as weekly Saturday trips to the record

store with her older sister and father,

who was a true music-lover and avid

collector. White reminisces joyfully about

the experience of being allowed to buy any

record she wanted and sitting on her deck

reading the lyrics on the record covers.

These days, White has a difficult time naming

a single record that she has enjoyed in its

entirety and is clearly frustrated by the

unrealistic expectations that the proliferance

of what she refers to as “corporation artists”

puts on the average musician. In drastic

situations it can even set them up for disaster.

For instance, recently the last-minute

expectation for Santigold to orchestrate

a three-storey-high video projection for a

private gig is the perfect example of what

White and her peers are up against. “And

by the way,” White says., “A video projector

costs $30,000,” White says in disbelief.

“It’s honestly almost undoable for a human

being. The technology dictates the pace

and it’s hard to keep up with, and I’m just

watching artists all around me burn out. And

it’s sad because I don’t think that people

realize what they’re asking of the artists.”

White is still just one person, despite what

she may lead us to believe from the literal

multiplication of her likeness in performances

of the single “Can’t Get Enough of Myself”

printed on t-shirts for her performance on

The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

and plastered on the set’s walls on The

Ellen DeGeneres Show. Santigold truly

plays up the woman or superwoman duality

as an artist. Santigold the artist seems

to possess an almost super-hero- like

confidence and strength exponential to

her actual singular existence and in spite

of the endlessly shifting obstacles, it’s not

unlikely that White will be able to summon

the energy to face many more battles in the

realm of pop culture going forward.

Santigold plays The Vogue Theatre on April 11

Music

• APRIL 2016 15


ELECTRONICS DEPARTMENT

TINASHE

climbing the ranks in style

by Chris Jimenez

Tinashe Jorgenson Kachingwe

is currently on the ride of her

life. The eldest of three siblings,

the 22-year-old rising R&B artist has

been climbing the ranks of the music

industry with ease and style since

diving into the entertainment industry

at the age of six.

In 2007 Tinashe joined a five-piece

pop group named The Stunners,

maturing her artistic chops until the

group elevated their music career,

touring as the opening act for Justin

Bieber’s My World Tour in 2010 on

20 tour dates. When the tour ended

The Stunners split and Tinashe moved

forward as an independent artist,

releasing her debut bedroom-recorded

mixtape, In Case We Die, later that

year. Tinashe’s hard work gained her

the attention of RCA Records, who

then released three additional mixtapes

plus her debut out-of-the-bedroom

solo album, Aquarius. Tinashe

reflects on the difference between

recording in her bedroom to recording

in big studios and the loss of intimacy.

“There’s always something special

about having that home studio oneon-one

uninterrupted vibe. I do think

we have lost some intimacy but at

the same time I’m still able to record

music in my home studio and still able

to get that kind of DIY feel. My set up

is a U87 with a couple Neve preamps

and a Duet. It’s not super decked out

but you don’t really need too much to

have high quality music,” she says.

Tinashe is currently touring to

promote her soon to be released album

Joyride. Travelling to Europe, Asia, and

North America, she tries to keep strong

contact with her family during this

busy time.

“For me I think I try to involve them

as much as possible, I’ll bring my brothers

and parents out to as many shows

as much as they can. They are huge fans

and super supportive, so it’s not so hard

to keep up with the family.”

Tinashe continues to get her feet

wet in many genres, embracing her

pop side from her days spent with The

Stunners, performing covers such as “I

Wanna Get Better” by The Bleachers,

all while adding her own R&B tonality.

“One of my favourite things about

the type of artist I try to be is that

I don’t fit into any specific box or

a particular category. I try to take

inspiration of different genres and kind

of mold them together and create my

own thing.”

The dedicated approach of Tinashe’s

hard work continues to inspire

fans and show them anything can

happen when working out of your

bedroom, learning how to record and

mix from Youtube tutorials. We ended

the interview with Tinashe expressing

her mindset of songwriting on tour

and how different it would be from

the Aquarius tour.

“I continue to stay inspired, so

if an idea comes to mind then I’ll

definitely write it down or work on

it or if I have a day off I’ll go to the

studio, but for the most part being

on the tour I’m mainly focused on

the tour and promoting the new

music from Joyride, so I’m excited to

share that new stuff [with] people

like ‘Fires and Flames.’ I think we

tried to up our ante, I want it bigger

and better this time around. I want

it to really feel like a stadium show in

an intimate environment.”

Tinashe performs at the Vogue Theatre

on April 10

Tinashe wants to take you on a Joyride with her new stage show.

16 APRIL 2016

electronics department


FLOATING POINTS

chasing perfection in experimentation

Seated in his London-based studio against a

backdrop of synthesizers with notes taped to

the wall, it’s immediately evident that Sam

Shepherd (aka Floating Points) is a man completely

immersed in his passion for music. This is a man,

after all, who has designed his own ultra-high end

DJ mixer in an ongoing hunt for perfection in live

sound. Although he has been a highly regarded

figure in electronic music for several years following

the 2009 releases of Love Me Like This and the

Vacuum EP, it’s since finishing his doctorate in

Neuroscience that he seems to have finally had the

time to fully commit to this lifelong passion. It is

fitting then that his latest LP, Elaenia, is comprised

of some of his most absorbing and personal music

to date. Written for an evolving full band and taking

inspiration from classical jazz, electronic music,

soul, and even Brazilian pop music, it’s a testament

to Shepherd’s musical intuition his ability to make

something so personally controlled sound so alive

and experimental on record.

“It sounds like there’s a lot of freedom in the

record,” says Shepherd. “I mean I played a lot of

the instruments on it, so a lot of the synthesizers

and all that stuff, and they were all improvised, and

then the stuff that was written down strictly was

all the string parts and things like that, they were

scored out. Things like the bass line on it, I’d actually

already recorded it myself, playing it myself, and

the drums as well, and with the bass part I actually

wrote a score and was like, ‘I want you to play it

exactly like I played it, but better’. I’m not a guitarist

so I just played him the bass line on a single string,

because I don’t play, but I had a bass guitar at the

time with one string working, so I played the whole

bass line on the low string — It doesn’t actually

sound that terrible!”

by Andy Soloman

Despite the painstaking attention to detail

evident in Elaenia, the sonic and emotional range

is best experienced in one complete sitting. For

Shepherd it very much continues to be an evolving

project - changing and developing as it travels

through different venues in a live setting.

“It’s the first time I’ve been able to do it properly,

now that I’ve got help. I’ve got a sound engineer, I’ve

got monitors, and I’ve got technicians and all this

stuff. I can actually focus on the music and I can be a

bit more free to do the music I actually want to do.

And yeah, I think it’s irreversible at this point, because

now I can have like, two marimbas and a whole horn

section and things like this, and I’m definitely going to

continue to evolve it. So in fact this tour we’re going to

do in North America is going to be with an additional

guitar - just to keep things evolving and moving and

changing, and interesting to perform. The show is

changing all the time, the music is changing.”

According to Shepherd the only way to keep

things fresh and floating is to keep on writing,

something that he’s happy to do now that he has

more time to embrace his creative side.

“I’ve been writing some new music this week that

I’d like to try out with the band, and we’ll see how it

goes. I like the idea of it actually evolving on stage,

and the stage being used as an exhibition for the

music, but also as a place that we can experiment

with it, because I think those are the times when the

most exciting things can happen,” he says. “It could

also go either way, who knows. But it’s exciting and

it’s definitely interesting. I don’t like the idea of just

going out like a machine and just playing the same

dots that I’ve played before - it has to keep changing

to keep it interesting.”

Floating Points performs live at Celebrities on May 4

photo: Renee Stamatis

Floating Points live show is an ever evolving, ever changing beast.


SUBCULTURE

notes from the underground

Another live music venue closes its doors.

The Railway Club was a long-time supporter of

live music but it’s a tough business. Any given

night is a crap shoot, regardless of the talent on

your stage. These property owners are really out

of touch with the exorbitant rents they want

for bar spaces. Seventeen

thousand a month just

isn’t possible. No one in

Vancouver has that type of

disposable income to spend

on boozing anymore. We’ve

already lost The Electric

Owl because of this. Now

The Railway packed it in

and The Columbia sits vacant

because anyone with

business sense isn’t jumping

into that pricey rent pit of

serpents and fire.

I know they tried to sell

The Railway but who can

afford another 5K a month

on top of rent for their

“sweat equity” known as the business. The smart

yuppsters just lurk or rub their greasy palms

together with the greedy slumlords. Some deep

pockets will now gentrify up that space. Free

sweat equity up for grabs.

I’ve driven by The Hindenburg on a Friday

night to see it shuttered. Unless you have an

event with enough people in finicky Vancouver

showing up, it’s cheaper to remain closed, or in

my case host a karaoke night. It whittles down

the expenditures, and a possible toilet paper

party cleanup is saved for the next day. Venue

expenses never stop.

Vancouver is a cultural hub, even if the

supportive public is vanishing. I see all these

“Dear John” style blogs and letters to the editor

popping up everywhere now. How could anyone

possibly be bored here? Local shows are a measly

ten bucks. That’s two cups of coffee. Those

same people griping about cover at your door

are pulling hundreds out of their ass for trendy

arena shows and merch.

by Wendy13

Millenials are the new live music participants.

Mailing it in is not limited to Radim Vrbata. The

days of gigs with no gear to hump and 20 minute

sets are here. It’s mind blowing how many times

I’m asked if I’m supplying the stage gear lately.

One band recently told me they don’t own any

gear. These twenty-somethings are

the people with disposable income.

We all know how scenes run in

cliques. People grow up and out

of things like live, local punk and

metal with the arrival of children,

marriage, or career opportunities.

Sobriety is also a factor. Most

live gigs happen in an alcohol

immersed environment. I know

it’s hard for me to be around the

booze, especially late into the night

when the triple told stories thrive

or the rails roll out.

The Railway closing isn’t a big

deal for me as it wasn’t a place I frequented

often, but it meant a lot

to others. Every time I’m out of my

cave I run into someone reminiscing about The

Cobes. It’s kind of a blessing for all the other live

venues hanging by a thread, as it’s one less local

show per night. That won’t last long though because

something else always springs up. Possibly

another fly by night place that doesn’t have the

legal demands of being a legitimate business.

I’m envious of people that that have no qualms

about raking in the dough without having to pay

the piper.

I guess the Wiccan tenet of “Do what you will

but harm none” is weighing heavily on me these

days. The ruthless attitude to be a cutthroat or

semi-conscious promoter evades me. I recently

folded a big show I had booked into a festival

because it’s what was best for the band. I worry

about a show I’ve had booked for months with

two touring bands that a new promoter just

postered over with a slew of local bands of the

same ilk. It’s exasperating. Life never allows the

luxury of heeding your plan, you just have to

adapt and, as always, hope for the best.

18 APRIL 2016

THE SKINNY


MODIFIED GHOST

local promoters pull out the heavy weights for inaugural festival

Let’s face the truth: Vancouver sadly has

never been a hotbed for music festivals.

While there have been success stories

like Folkfest, there have also been many failed

miseries (New Music West comes to mind).

There are some promising upstarts like Burger

Fest but for the most part, Vancouver has been

nothing but crickets when you talk of great

festivals. Enter Jason Pruder and his promotion

company Modified Ghost. In early April some

of the world’s best extreme bands will invade

five venues over four days. The line up is impressive

with the likes of Dillinger Escape Plan,

Suffocation, Intronaut, and Job For A Cowboy,

and that is just the tip of the iceberg. The fest

also features local heavyweights like Baptists,

Anciients, and more. This is the Modified Ghost

Festival of 2016, and to say the very least, it is

going to be a doozy.

Modified Ghost is Pruder’s brainchild. Pruder

has been promoting shows in Vancouver for

roughly five years and started Modified Ghost

about a year ago after his previous company

came to an end. “I got into promoting through

playing music and booking shows for bands I

was in. The first few years of playing local gigs

around town was an inspiring time for me, and

I had always aspired to be a part of awesome

shows. I was fascinated by pretty much everything

that went into putting on shows in the

different bars I was playing, and one thing just

sort of led to another,” Pruder explains. “Having

experience as a performer is definitely helpful,

and has provided different kinds of opportunities

to learn things about the music industry.

So many things go into booking, managing, and

running a live music event. Any good opportunities

to learn and gain experience are invaluable.”

Pruder pretty much hit it out of the park

with this four day shindig. It seems crazy that

Modified Ghost has only been around for a

year and yet can still reel in some of the big fish

that it has. “I’ve wanted to be a part of a music

by Heath Fenton

festival since I got into promoting. I started

talking to different artists about the idea, and I

also reached out to various mentors and peers

for their assistance in making things happen,”

says Pruder.

The fun gets started on April 7th at The

Biltmore with Misery Index, Allegaeon, Baptists,

Theories, and Acquitted; April 8th at The

Vogue Theatre with Dillinger Escape Plan, Job

For A Cowboy, Revocation, Gorod, and Bookakee;

April 9th has two shows. The first is at The

Rickshaw with Suffocation, Cattle Decapitation,

Dead Cross, Toxic Holocaust, Intronaut,

Archspire, and Scale the Summit. The second

show is at The Astoria with Powertrip, Cult

Leader, Anciients, Usnea, North, and He Whose

Ox Is Gored. April 10th has Absu, Uada, and

Graveolence also at the Astoria.

That’s right, count ‘em. Twenty six bands!

Hot damn! Festival Passes give you access to

all venues and bands. If you want to be choosy

then you can buy for individual shows as well.

There really hasn’t been anything like this in

Vancouver and for it to happen in the extreme

music scene makes it even more amazing. Nice

work, Pruder. If you are into heavy music and

are not out at this festival in one form or another

well there isn’t a lot that can be said to help

you. Just go.

Modified Ghost takes place April 7-10 at various

venues

THICK SKULL

a beautiful mistake

Sitting in a hostel in Tallum, Mexico, Kay Gallivan, the front

person of Victoria crust band Thick Skull, finds a quiet moment

to talk about her band and their upcoming release.

Relaxed in the sunshine she is taking a break from painting a

mural. In a months time when she returns from her trip it’s back

to the heavy: the seemingly never ending sheets of West coast

rain and the heavy music of her band.

“The guys from Thick Skull had asked me last year to do

vocals for them and I actually showed up to the first practice

only to apologize in person and say that I was too busy to be

in a band,” laughs Kay Gallivan about how she ended up the

band’s vocalist, “but then when I showed up they basically

handed me a microphone and were like ‘Alright, lets get to it’

and then I felt too awkward to say no and now here we are, a

year and a half later.”

Thick Skull is Hal Johnson and Jason Lee on guitar, Stephen

Michaud on bass, Jason Michaud playing drums, with Gallivan

on vocals They are releasing their first full-length album Soft

Spine on April 21st. It follows up their 2015 demo that you can

find on their bandcamp.

“It’s been a year since we first recorded and the first time we

recorded it was only a demo and we had only been together

for a couple months. So it was really just about having something

we could show promoters and be like ‘see we are a real

band and this is what we sound like.’ And also to document,

you know, [because] when you first start a band you never

know how long it’s going to last so I always feel this really

intense sense of urgency to just record anything to make a

THE SKINNY

document that you were around for a while. That was sort of

the spirit in which we recorded the last thing,” says Gallivan

about the different recording experiences. “And this time…

we knew each other a lot better, and we got to be a lot slower

with it, so that was nice.”

The lyrics on the upcoming album are blatantly personal;

they are words about hurt and anger. “For me it’s really important

to have lyrics that are really comprehensible. Or that like

seem simple. So that reading them you get an idea of what the

song is about. I think people often hide their meaning. They

shroud their meaning in obscurity [and] try to find something

to say that won’t be understandable. I like to try [to] make

it understandable,” says Gallivan about her writing process,

“there’s this quote that I heard that was ‘Art should disturb the

comfortable and comfort the disturbed’ and I really liked that.”

Gallivan wants to comfort those who don’t always feel comfortable

at punk shows. “As far as people who are disturbed

and who are comfortable within this genre of music, like, most

of the time that I’m playing heavy music shows I’m the only girl

on the bill, let alone queer person,” elaborates Gallivan. “My

main priority is that the total weirdos who go to shows that

feel really alienated and feel like they should stop going understand

it. Little teenage weirdos, I guess.”

So whether you are an alienated weirdo or a music junkie

looking for a new band to get into to, check out Thick Skull. It’s

a little different than your average crust band.

Thick Skull will be releasing their album Soft Spine on April 21st

by Alex Molten

photo: Thomas Colwell

• APRIL 2016 19


Guns N’ Roses 2016:

Duff McKagan reflects on the Vancouver punk scene

by Susanne Tabata

Presented by

Read no further if you are looking

for salacious details on the Guns N’

Roses reunion. There aren’t any.

The last time GnR rolled through

Vancouver, the intro guitar riffs to

“Welcome To The Jungle” were heard

from backstage, where Duff McKagan

was talking with Ron Reyes and

Randy Rampage, who had come to

support his band, Loaded. McKagan

made a guest appearance later on

the stage with Axl Rose. And that

was the last time we saw Duff.

Guns N’ Roses headlines day two

at Coachella. It’s no secret Slash and

McKagan have both rejoined GnR, having

each quit the Axl Rose-fronted band

in the late 1990s. With this news, it’s

time to get nostalgic and revisit those

Vancouver connections with the former

Fartz drummer, who gave this interview

for publication in BeatRoute Magazine.

“My first real punk show was when

my band, The Vains, opened for Black

1977

Flag (Ron Reyes), and The Subhumans

in Seattle in 1979 at Washington Hall.

Sometime that year I made my first

trip to Van to see our heroes, DOA.

“We’d fake notes from our parents to

cross the border. Me and my pals were

15, hence … under age.” It is hard to

imagine no internet or surveillance, but

it’s true you could drive across the US-

Canadian border with ease and Vancouver

would draw Seattle youth because of the

drinking age of 19 (not 21), the all-ages

venues, band houses, and freedom.

“The Buddha didn’t check ID. We

thought this was the coolest thing in the

world! I met Zippy (Pinhead) at this point,

and he introduced me to the fine art of

drinking Old Stock. We began to be able

crash out at the DOA house off of Georgia

(The Plaza)....This was equal to staying in

KISS’s mansions or something like that.

Shithead was super cool to us kids.”

McKagan goes on record again to speak

of his heroes of that era - Chuck Biscuits

(DOA Drummer) and Randy Rampage

(DOA bassist). “Rampage and Biscuits

were THE baddest on the planet. Bar

none.“ Of course, he’s talking about the

rhythm section in the original DOA. Luckily

tracks on Something Better Change and

Hardcore 81 are still available from Joe

Shithead on Sudden Death Records. And

oddly, not recorded by badass producer Bob

Rock and engineer Ron Obvious, known

for seminal early records made during

graveyard shifts at Little Mountain Sound.

“Seattle’s punk scene wasn’t strong,”

McKagan says. “Places kept getting shut

down, and there was support in Van.”

It’s true that the first Vancouver scene

was the most prolific punk scene in the

Pacific Northwest. Considering the body of

work that got recorded on vinyl, cassette,

videotape, photograph and film, it is the

most well documented early punk scene in

Canada. The ties ran down the coast to San

Francisco, through Seattle and Portland —

not East-West. San Francisco was the sister

city to Vancouver and that’s why Zippy lived

there, and Brad Kent (RIP) joined Penelope

Houston and her band The Avengers.

McKagan notes there was something else

unique about the city. “Vancouver was more

in touch with the UK scene, so travelling

100 miles north was like being transported

to Europe/UK back then. The Fastbacks

started playing up there a lot in ’80/’81. The

Modernettes had just broken up....and there

seemed to be a need for Fastbacks style of

girl power-pop/punk...Ala Modernettes.”

McKagen was at Hardcore 81, a set of

shows at 1036 Richards - The Laundromat

- which marked the time when the scene

got codified. Shortly after, things really

changed. The UK influenced sounds

were getting replaced by American

hardcore sounds, circa 1982. Drugs

helped kill the scene. It was also dying

a natural death, says Duff. “Heroin hit

Seattle in late ’81, early ’82....Bad, ugly,

stupid...killing the scene by late ’83.”

“I moved to LA in ’84 cause that’s as far as

my car could go. Played with Biscuits that

same month, and then hung out a bunch

with Ron Reyes in LA before he moved to

BC. Ron and I were super into Prince, Hanoi,

Stones...kind of the direction us first-wave of

punkers were going. Punk had turned into

suburban punk gang warfare, hardcore by

this point. We had all already moved on.”

And then there was Guns N’ Roses.

Today Duff lives “in Seattle again (since

’93) and still consider that early Van scene

as my rock ‘n’ roll training ground, and

Rampage and Biscuits are still my heroes.”

Susanne Tabata is the creator of the

documentary Bloodied But Unbowed

about the first Vancouver punk

scene and its ties down the coast.

Special thanks to Duff McKagan.

Wishing you well on the tour.

Duff McKagan with Zippy Pinhead (left) and Randy Rampage (right).

20 APRIL 2016

city


CITY

GOING HOME STAR

IN THE FOOTPRINT OF THE CROCODILE MAN

by Meredyth Cole

DIRTY OLD WOMAN

Royal Winnipeg Ballet dances for truth and reconciliation by Yasmine Shemesh stripping away the double standard by Jennie Orton

For five years, the Truth and Reconciliation

Commission (TRC) travelled across

Canada to collect the testimonies of

First Nations survivors who were submitted

to the residential school system. 94 “calls to

action” were then published to recognize

the harrowing legacy. One of these calls was

directed to the arts community and donations

were made to put towards projects that

would acknowledge the accounts and create

something enduring by using them.

The Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s production,

Going Home Star, responds to this call.

Late Anishnabe Elder Mary Richard, a fan

of the company’s 1971 production of The

Ecstasy of Rita Joe, had been encouraging

RWB’s longtime artistic director André Lewis

to create an Aboriginal-themed project. To

help fulfill the vision, Tina Keeper (Cree activist,

former member of the Canadian House

of Commons) joined the RWB’s board of directors

and suggested doing a ballet based on

the TRC’s findings. Lewis — who performed

in Rita Joe — agreed immediately.

“I was [at] one of the [TRC] events in

Edmonton and boy, you heard some pretty

rough stories, testimonies,” Lewis says. “It was

not an easy situation. I have two kids, my wife

and I, and I could not imagine losing them at

age six to go somewhere where I don’t know

a journey into contemporary art and environmental plight

When Carol Mayer, curator at

UBC’s Museum of Anthropology,

first visited the Sepik River

in Papua New Guinea in 2006, it began

an enduring fascination with the art of

the region. “I was very impressed by the

combination of imagery and technical

virtuosity,” she says. This brilliance is

showcased through sculptural works made

by the Iatmul people — an ethnic group

that inhabits the Sepik riverbanks — that

comprise the Museum’s current exhibition,

In the Footprint of the Crocodile Man:

Contemporary Art of the Sepik River.

Most of the 27 sculptural works on

display, carved out of wood and ornamented

with features of paint, fiber, shells,

and feathers, are inspired by legends

of the crocodile as The Creator. With

accompanying photography and video,

and modeled after the actual shape of the

Sepik, the exhibition creates an immersive

environment; even the walls are painted

in the colours of the river and the lighting

produces a kinetic, watery effect.

The incisive beauty of the sculptures on

display would be enough to warrant a trip

to the MOA, but the exhibition seeks to

do more than showcase rare art. As Mayer

traveled through Papa New Guinea to

prepare the show, she conducted interviews

with 17 artists both living and working near

where it is, you have no control. I would find

that — well, I don’t know how people coped.”

A diverse cast of artistic collaborators was

assembled, including Giller Prize-winning

novelist Joseph Boyden. Boyden penned a

powerful narrative that follows the journey of

a young, contemporary Aboriginal woman,

Annie, as she begins to understand the plight

of her ancestors through Gordon, a homeless

residential school survivor. A commanding

musical score composed by Christos Hatzis

features Polaris Prize-winning Inuk throat

singer Tanya Tagaq and Steve Wood & the

Northern Cree Singers, alongside choreography

by Mark Godden.

Working with a diverse range of mediums

— dance, literature, music — was a challenge,

but, Lewis says, a fulfilling one. “We work

the Sepik. In the process, she uncovered an

overwhelming concern among these people

about the Frieda Mine, a nearby mining operation

that threatens the river that exists as

both a source of inspiration and livelihood.

Drawing attention to the plight of these

people, who Mayer reveals “view themselves

as ‘small people’ with no voice,” became as

important as exhibiting their artwork.

“I was left with the challenge of introducing

the museum visitor to this incredible

art form (that they had probably never

seen before) and at the same time bringing

awareness to the threat of the mining

operation,” she says.

Mayer’s commitment to raising awareness

about the mine’s specific environmental

threat, while celebrating the work

of artists from a small geographic region,

their unique mythology, and visual language,

produces an all-encompassing effect

— something she says she hopes will leave

the viewers feeling “awed and challenged.”

A renewed sense of connection to the

wider world, and of the people that inhabit

even its most unfamiliar corners, is sure to

accompany those reactions.

In the Footprint of the Crocodile Man:

Contemporary Art of the Sepik River runs at

the Museum of Anthropology until January

31, 2017

differently and, to tell you frankly, every artist

works differently. It’s not just because of cultural

differences, but cultural differences can

also accentuate those ways of working differently

or looking at the world differently.”

Looking through another pair of eyes is,

in fact, an integral concept when it comes to

Going Home Star. “At first people say, and it

was mostly the non-indigenous community

that felt, ‘why are you doing a story like this?

This is not our story, this is an indigenous

story,’” Lewis says. “First of all, I disagree.” It’s

a Canadian story, he maintains. A story that

peers deeply into the country’s painful past,

through lenses of truth and reconciliation.

Going Home Star runs at the Queen Elizabeth

Theatre from April 7-9

A beautiful, harrowing, and honest take on the lasting impact of residential schools.

photo: Samanta Katz

There is something about the idea of a woman over 50 having

a sexual appetite. Whereas the idea of a May-December romance

between an older man and a younger woman has held

inspirational appeal in both art and in life for centuries, the reversal

of roles seems to be seen as downright provocative and almost

always amusing.

For her celebrated one act play Dirty Old Woman, playwright

Loretta Seto found within this double standard — as well as from

feedback from her single sixty-something female friends — inspiration

for a story about what happens when an older woman has the

gall to start dating a much younger man.

“In some ways I think there is an expectation when looking at

women who are older that they aren’t supposed to be interested in

sex anymore, they’re not expected to be sexual or sexy,” says Seto.

“You’re the grandmother now as opposed to a sexual being.”

The play follows Nina, a 50-year old woman dating a 20-year old

man, as she deflects and absorbs the roadblocks and pratfalls that

come within that territory. The result is an honest and, at times, quite

funny exploration of romance attempting to flourish in a situation

deemed abnormal.

“There is a stigma that it isn’t a relationship that is necessarily going

to last, that it’s just a sort of passing thing, or that he’s using her for

a specific reason,” Seto says. “It can’t just be two people who maybe

connect or just like each other.”

Though the story may appear at first glance to have an agenda

to unearth an unjust stigma threatening to prevent single women

everywhere from enjoying fresh meat without scorn, what emerges is

a more universal study of how we view romantic unions in general.

“It kind of asks why do we have expectations? Why do we have

judgements about certain configurations of relationships?” muses Seto.

Dirty Old Woman seeks to leave the audience with the feeling that

sexuality, love, and drive can belong to anyone regardless of age and

should be embraced and explored with healthy vigor.

Dirty Old Woman runs at the Culture Lab from April 12-24

Dirty Old Woman is as fun as it is thought provoking.

city

• APRIL 2016 21


QUEEN

OF THE

MONTH

SHANDA LEER

making political statements through sequins

Meet Shanda Leer: astrologer, comedian, performer, and East

Van’s Favourite Tipsy Aunt At A Wedding. Shanda has risen

to fame on the Vancouver drag scene after her first performance

over five years ago where she frosted a pound cake on stage,

only to consume it all by the time Shania Twain was done belting,

“Don’t be stupid!”

Talking to her about her beginnings, Shanda recalls her messy,

puberty drag phase as where she discovered her character. After

overhearing an audience member mention that they loved that she

just didn’t give a fuck, Shanda was born, fully sequined and ready to

politely turn up the party.

Shanda has a monthly sketch comedy show at XY called Studio

with Shanda where I heard her address the audience like so: “I grew up

Irish Catholic in a Jewish neighbourhood and I dress like your favourite

aunt on a weekend trip to Atlantic City.” Naturally funny, her humour

is smart and the way she uses her body gives her a lofty presence that

demands the audience’s attention. Not to mention, her awkward

nature is relatable, making her a fan favourite.

Shanda is also a member of the BRATPACK, a coven of drag sisters

that perform weekly at The Junction. Listening to her speak about

what she calls the “bitchsterhood” is inspiring. She speaks respectfully

of them, honouring their creativity and unique styles. Though quick

to point out that they’re not without competition, she maintains that

they transform that competitiveness into performances that challenge

ideas about gender, sexuality, music, and feminism.

For Shanda, drag is political in a subtle way. “I think it is one of the

few political statements you can make that fucks up heteronormative

society while your being paid,” she says. “Also, it is the only one

with sequins.”

As a studied astrologer (you can find her monthly column in ION

Magazine), Shanda divines truths and wisdom from the stars. Her signature

turban gives her a spooky-gypsy-fortune-teller-mom vibe that

makes you want to ask her to make you sandwiches and tell you your

future. Her talent comes from being observant, deriving inspiration

for looks and performances from mundane tasks like typing reports,

pooping, and grocery shopping. She honours what drag is to the queer

community, sharing that “Drag is one of the only things that is ours, it

is one of the few traditions that is just for us.”

Catch Shanda Leer at Studio with Shanda on the first Saturday of every

month at XY and every Thursday with the BRATPACK at Junction

by David Cutting and Chase Hansen

N8NE

vintage-inspired tees made with humour and authenticity

N8NE’s first piece, a Jacobim Mugatu

sweater, appeared on a friend’s Instagram

and immediately blew up. It

sold out within days and remains sold out

today. N8NE’s owner, a Vancouver DJ who

goes by the name of Freeky P, was then

forced to add to this random burst of inspiration.

What followed is a line of urban

clothing that’s taking the city underground

by stylish storm.

N8NE (pronounced “no one”) specializes

in vintage-inspired, pop culture-themed

“band” tees. “They are hella campy,” says

Freeky P. “I like putting irony into them.

They’re trying to get a laugh.”

Freeky P designs the shirts himself and is

enjoying the line’s clandestine reputation.

“I’m a one man show,” he explains. “I like

being underground and being discovered

bit by bit. I get new people finding

out about the brand online everyday.”

The graphics on his latest series of tees

resemble those you might have found at

concerts in the 1990s — harsh colours,

bold contrasts, and cheesy fonts — and

seek to evoke the simplicity of the era.

Humour plays a big part in the designs,

as well. Take, for example, the Justin Bieber

“I’m Sorry” tee that shows a smiling Bieber,

a smiling Selena Gomez, Bieber’s ostentatious

sports car, him being restrained from

RAFFI

respecting earth and child

“I

have a new album out, it’s called Owl

Singalong – it’s a hooooot.”

The laughter that followed that

statement was as genuine as the statement

itself, but that’s what you get from singer/

songwriter/child welfare advocate Raffi

Cavoukian. Raffi is entering his 40th year as

a live children’s entertainer and has not lost

one ounce of his sincerity.

There’s always a worry when speaking to

a hero from your youth that they’ll shatter

your childhood to smithereens. But within

minutes of asking Raffi about his passion

project, the Centre for Child Honouring, it’s

evident the enthusiasm for children that is

his trademark is both palpable and real.

“Child Honoring came to me as a vision.

A luminous moment that woke me up on a

Sunday morning at 6:00 in 1997,” he recalls,

without an ounce of pretention. “I saw

those words ‘Child Honouring’ emblazoned

in the air. And I knew at that moment

that I was being given a gift of a vision for

respecting Child and respecting Earth.”

“Respecting Earth and Child” is the

slogan for the Centre for Child Honoring,

a BC-based non-profit Raffi founded

that’s dedicated to promoting respect for

children and the world we create for them

to live in.

“Once you embrace the entire crystal

of what Child Honoring is…you see how

much better human potential could be

the paps, and that infamous holiday nude.

The Drake tee has 1-800 Hotline Bling

layered over both an image of Drizzy on

his cellphone and a prayer emoji, which is

now a tattoo on the rapper’s neck for real.

There is a Kanye West Wing tee and a hologram

2Pac one, too. You get the gist.

Due to N8NE’s success, Freeky P has

bagged projects with local fashion brands

like DIPT and F As In Frank. “I’ve had a

lot of people hit me up with design work

and not just for this clothing line,” he

says. The garments have also caught the

attention of a team of designers across

the border in Los Angeles, Soulection, for

whom Freeky P is in the process of some

major collaborating.

With street and sportswear becoming

mainstream in recent fashion again, alongside

the resurgence of 1990s music and TV

shows, the N8NE line has come in a timely

fashion. Through his t-shirts, Freeky P aims

to bring back the authenticity that existed

before we surrendered to the detaching

whirlwind of technology. He revealed that

he even made his first round of sales quite

literally “out of the trunk of his car.” It

doesn’t get more personable than that.

N8NE t-shirts can be purchased online at

www.n8nelovesyou.com

activated if we honour the young beings

who come into our lives right from the

very beginning,” he says. “If we respect

their person-hood, if a child feels seen for

the person he or she feels that they are at

that young age, then they won’t grow up

conflicted.”

Further putting his money where his

mouth is, Raffi has also spent two years

drafting up the first-ever Bill of Rights for

Protection of Children’s Environmental

Health with the province of New

Brunswick.

“It behooves us to choose benign

processes and products, not to put more

toxic compounds in our environment; in

many ways what we do to our earth we are

also doing to children.”

By protecting childrens’ rights to a safe

environment while writing songs that help

them figure out their surroundings, Raffi

has become a safe voice to go to when a

kid wants to feel seen and special. He even

closed the telephone interview for this

article with “a big hug to you, Jennie.”

Even well into my 30s, that made this

#BelugaGrad — his affectionate name for

those who grew up on his music, namely

“Baby Beluga” — feel pretty great.

Raffi performs at the Orpheum on April 23.

Proceeds from the concert benefit the Centre

for Child Honouring

by Prachi Kamble

by Jennie Orton

22 APRIL 2016

city


ROYAL DINETTE

JACKALOPE’S

innovative eats make you muse about what you munch by Paris Spence-Lang a hangout for lovers of BBQ and music by James Olson

It’s 5:00 on St. Patrick’s Day and

people with green dollar-store

decorations are already

prowling the downtown strip, including

upstairs in The Blackbird.

Chen-Wei Lee, manager of The

Royal Dinette, effectively ignores

them. “I’m not Irish,” he says.

The restaurant has no garish

green. There’s emerald in the

leather chairs, green in the jars of

preserves lining the walls, and in

the open kitchen, piles of fresh

greens are prepped for plating.

Elegant and comfortable, it’s an

old-fashioned space. Deceptively

so — The Royal Dinette is home

to some of the most innovative

dishes in Vancouver.

With an ever-changing menu

facilitated by local, seasonal

ingredients, the restaurant is

pulling Vancouver by its ankles

into the locavore culinary experience

with their house-made

cheese and hand-shaped witchhat

pasta (that’s cappellacci). A

cocktail with kombucha brewed

by one of the staff and the lemon

curd ice-cream — possibly the

best I’ve ever had — are also

house-made, making for an

obvious theme: the chefs at The

Royal Dinette do it themselves

and they do it fresh.

You can tell what’s in season

by looking at the menu. Today,

sunchoke and nettle dominate.

Duck makes a guest appearance

every three weeks to a packed

audience. So what’s the process?

The restaurant gathers fresh

sheets from farmers a couple

weeks before the food is ready.

These sheets list what the farmers

will have available. The rest

is like a flavour jigsaw, matching

ingredients across the farms to

create a menu that’s fresh, local,

and full of flavour.

Finding constant inspiration

for new recipes takes as much effort

as cooking them. “Jack reads

about menus every day,” says

Lee, of head chef Jack Chen. “He

spends hours reading menus,

Transition to almost zero waste, Royal Dinette are at the forefront of food innovation.

researching restaurants across

the globe.”

One of the biggest challenges

Chen and his staff face is keeping

the kitchen as close to waste-free

as possible, which means finding

places for ingredients that most

would throw in the compost.

The solution was Ugly Duckling

Dinners, where guest chefs come

to cook with coffee grounds,

pasta trimmings, and whey.

This is all part of an effort to

make people stop and chew a

little slower — to reconsider

what food means to them and

what they want out of their

experience instead of going

for the fastest, the biggest, or

the cheapest plate. Lee leans in

and tells me, “Think about why

you eat.”

The Royal Dinette is located at

905 Dunsmuir Street and is open

Monday to Friday from 11:30 a.m.-

2 p.m., 4:30 p.m.-10 p.m.; Saturday

from 5 p.m.-10 p.m.

photo: Fred Fung

Jackalope’s Neighbourhood Dive is a great place for vegans and carnivores alike.

Stepping into Jackalope’s

Neighbourhood Dive, I’m

greeted with an intriguing

mix of sights, sounds, and

smells: the aroma of grilled

meat, eclectic décor, and

fist-pumping metal blasting

on the stereo system. Chatting

over a beer and a dish of skillet

fried chicken, sous chef Jordan

Kinicki and front end manager

Matt Hewlett share with me

the secret recipe to the restaurant’s

ongoing success.

Founded in 2014, Jackalope’s

has cornered a niche market

for lovers of southern BBQ and

hard rock. Hewlett has nothing

but praise for the ownership,

the staff, and the clientele,

rarely pausing for a sip of beer.

“Everyone who comes in here

are on the same page,” he says.

“People come in here for our

atmosphere, the music we play,

the vibe we have, and when

they have our food they’re just

loving it.” Kinicki adds that it’s

not uncommon for customers

to hang around for two to

three hours on average.

The brisket and burgers

are highly recommended,

but Kinicki adds, “the menu’s

balanced enough that you

have plenty of choice. We have

enough things on the menu

that you won’t be bored by any

of the options.” And though

the restaurant caters to meat

lovers, Jackalope’s has its fair

share of vegan and vegetarian

options as well, including the

grits & gravy and the Portobello

Sandwich.

Music makes up a large part

of what Jackalope’s is all about

and Kinicki quickly fires off

a list of staff members who

play in bands themselves.

“Everyone else either goes to a

ton of concerts or listens to a

ton of music,” he says. “Either

you’re in a band or you’re an

audiophile.” Hewlett goes

even further to illustrate how

deep the love of music here

really is. “If you wanna hear

some nerdy conversations, get

a couple staff members together

and it gets pretty bad

sometimes,” he says. “I think

the peak of that was when I

was having a discussion with

Shane [Clark, cook and former

3 Inches of Blood guitarist]

where we were dissecting

80s era Rush. I realized in the

midst of it that it was probably

the nerdiest conversation I

had ever had.”

Above all, there are two key

factors that make Jackalope’s

such a fun place to work and

eat. “It’s a combination of

good food and good atmosphere,”

Hewlett states. “You

don’t really need much else.”

After wolfing down that fried

chicken and downing a couple

of beers, I’d have to agree.

Jackalope’s Neighbourhood Dive

is located at 2257 East Hastings

city

• APRIL 2016 23


COMEDY

DARCY MICHAEL

small town comic’s joie de vivre brings TV success

Darcy Michael is a recognizable face in

Vancouver despite residing (hiding?) in the

quiet town of Ladner, BC. If you haven’t

seen him headlining The Comedy Mix, you may

have seen him in the much hyped but (short lived)

TV series Spun Out or heard him on The Debaters.

He might be from a small town but he manages to

maintain a successful comedy career.

Worry not about the fate of Michael’s TV career,

the man is so undeniable that even though he

chooses to shy from the big city, CTV has hunted

him down in his hometown and given him the

comedy golden ticket—a green light for a self-titled

sitcom called Darcy. The show will a be sit-com

based off Michael’s home life, but Married With

Children it won’t be. Technically Michael and his

husband are married and have a 17 year old daughter,

but his drug friendly west coast politics make it

much less of the white-picket-nightmare the words

“family sitcom” evoke.

No stranger to doing all the things comedy-wise,

Michael has a recording coming up for an album

titled Family Highs at the comedy mix on April 9th.

The deadly combination of actor who does standup

and or stand-up who can act, Michael already

has a stand-up TV special under his belt. It’s that

beautiful passion for comedy rather than stardom

that has created such a hot act.

“I remember when we were taping my stand-up

special in Toronto I asked the producers if me and

another comedian could split the hotel room so

we could double our stay and watch all the other

fantastic acts taping their specials that week.” That

there is hardcore dedication to the craft.

Stand-up comedians often have a difficult

time balancing a successful career and a desirable

home-life, when asked how he does it, Michael

responded with “I’m really grateful for what I have

going on at home.”

During the time of the interview Michael was out

smoking and walking his dog around his neighbourhood.

A very mellow down to earth guy, Michael

told a story of someone genuinely thankful for the

things they have in their life. “Sally Field [his newly

adopted basset hound] is afraid of everything and all

the problems you get in a rescue dog…but have you

SEEN basset hounds? I love her so much.” Very rarely

does a comedian on the telephone have that kind of

West Coast in every sense, Darcy Michael is not your typical comedian.

by Victoria Banner

unfiltered joy.

That joy might just be what empowers his success,

and makes him that much more compelling a comic.

The small town might be what inspires that sense. It’s

worth seeing how this mixture of joy and West Coast

political sensibilities translates on stage. If he’s gonna

drag himself out of Ladner, you should probably take

some time out of your week to see him.

Darcy Michael performs at the

Comedy Mix on April 7-9

EVERYONE IN THE POOL

a guide to open mic comedy nights

It’s 8 p.m. Wednesday and there appears to

be quite the event going on at Seven Dining

Lounge on Broadway, just off Main Street in

Vancouver. People standing at the back to get a

glimpse as to what’s happening on stage where a

barely audible 19-year-old is waxing on about the

first time he got a boner. No one laughs. He leaves

yet the crowd applauds him for trying. Repeat

this process for 20 to 30 comedians and you start

to get the idea of Stand-Up And Deliver Comedy

Open Mic, the brainchild of local comedians

Sam Lee and Ed Konyha. That and Crafty Comedy

(Sunday’s at 12 Kings) is Vancouver open

mic in its purest form — everyone, regardless

of skill or talent, gets a turn. Half of you reading

this are totally onboard and the other half of

you are thinking “Why the hell would I go watch

open mic when I’m treated to all the hilarious

free speech I could ever hope for on the bus?”

Because comedy open mic, while intended as a

workshop tool for performers, can actually be a

really fun time for you as an audience member if

you know a thing or two about them.

You can come and leave whenever you want.

If you walk by a bar and see a show going on,

come sit! Open mics are free. Every comic

only does five minutes so you will have missed

nothing. If you’ve been sitting, for the love of

god, you don’t have to stay until the end. These

things go on for four hours so leaving after

you’ve had your fill is completely acceptable.

Producers have ways of ensuring the show

remains funny, even if 30 losers show up. The

person emceeing an open mic isn’t just reading

by Victoria Banner

names; usually there’s an established professional

comedian capable of getting booked on

proper comedy shows at the helm. When crappy-boner-comic

weirds out the crowd too much,

the beloved emcee returns every five minutes to

keep you laughing and clear the suckage for the

next comic. Comedian Jonny Paul, who emcees

the 12 Kings Pub open mic every Sunday, turns

every gap between amateur comedy sets into a

hilarious roast battle.

There are a LOT of crazies at open mic, but

there are just as many pros, headliners and even

celebrities who will drop in from time to time

and try new material. There is a certain rawness,

energy and hilarity to these sets that could

never be recreated in a comedy club. Open mic

producers will always give priority to club acts,

even if the show is in progress, so it’s never long

before the show you chose to sit in on for free

has the entertainment value of a 40 dollar ticket.

So what have you got to lose?

Stand-Up And Deliver Comedy Open Mic is every

Wednesday at Seven Dining Lounge and Crafty Comedy

is every Sunday at 12 Kings.

24 APRIL 2016

city


BEEN THERE DONE THAT questionable advice from a comedian

It’s April! My favourite month! side. One day we were enjoying one

Winter is finally gone, the flowers of his famous rollies and I saw him

are blooming, it’s my birthday get to the end and singe the exact

month, and 4/20 is upon us! If place he kept losing. That day we

you don’t know what I’m talking learned that filters are your friend if

about, what are you doing living in you have facial hair.

Vancouver? It’s the day we celebrate

and praise the magic that is the

marijuana plant! In 2016, if you still

have never gotten stoned and eaten

a bag of Cheetos, you’re missing out

man. Here’s a “how to” 420 guide

from a user that doesn’t really know

how to.

HOW TO ROLL A JOINT

A perfect joint is a magical thing.

To me a perfect joint is the size of a

cigarette with a filter. I judge anyone

that smokes without a filter. They

might be judging me right back,

but at least I’m not spitting out bits

of weed that have snuck into my

mouth. My ex-boyfriend Jim rolls

the best joints and I was his muse.

He never smoked joints because

he just smoked alone out of his

homemade pop bottle bong, then I

came along and wanted him to share

so he became a master joint roller.

Jim has an amazing beard, all my

boyfriends do, but he could never

figure out why his moustache on the

left side was shorter than the other

HOW TO SMOKE FROM A BONG

I moved to Toronto when I was 28

to do more comedy and to try and

live in Toronto. I started smoking

more, but I was still much more of a

drinker. I was invited to a party filled

with people I wanted to like me and

accept me as one of their own. I was

still a novice smoker and had never

smoked from a bong before. I walked

into this room and there was a bong

sitting on a table, one of the cool

kids passed it to me and said “go

ahead.” I didn’t know what to do, but

I didn’t want these people to know

how cool I wasn’t. So I thanked him,

took the bong and proceeded wrap

my lips around the long tube and

deep throat that bong. It may have

been the wrong way but I got super

high and three guys asked me out,

so was I really doing it wrong?

EDIBLES

My favourite way to enjoy the

benefits of this magical plant! I’ve

never been a smoker so smoking

it is just a necessary evil. I’ve

always loved to eat, so clearly this

is a match made in heaven. I like

to call edibles the roller coaster

treat, because you never know

what will happen. Some people

hate that unpredictability but to me

that’s the best part. My favourite

pastime is eating an edible and

going to a movie, because when

you’re on edibles everyone is a

terrible actor and the extras are

the most entertaining part. Word of

caution though, never give an edible

to a first-timer and take them to

Disneyland — I don’t think my older

brother will ever be the same. He

saw stuff mannnn…Crazy stuff…

Stuff Disney doesn’t want us to

know about.

So this 420 get a little or a lot

stoned but make sure you feel the

benefits of one of the most natural

awesome ways to feel good. My

one wish for April 20, 2016 is that

our brand new and amazing Prime

Minister Justin Trudeau gives us an

amazing surprise and legalizes it on

that date. Because it’s 2016.

Kathleen McGee has a podcast called

Kathleen McGee is a Hot Mess and you

should listen to it! Visit http://www.

kathleenmcgee.ca for more.

by Kathleen McGee

photo: Nicole Ashley

Film

• APRIL 2016 25


FILM

YOUR 4/20 GUIDE TO STONER MOVIES

THIS MONTH IN FILM

as recommended by stoners themselves by Paris Spence-Lang by Paris Spence-Lang

Let’s talk about stoner movies, possibly

the most challenging genre for any director

to earn their stripes with. To make a

good stoner movie, you need to be a stoner

(or extremely lucky, à la Reefer Madness). The

only problem is, it’s hard to operate expensive

camera equipment and finicky editing

software while eating the devil’s salad. To

facilitate your audio-visual experience on

the 20th (or the weekend [or, frankly, in the

middle of the day, every day, because that’s

your life, isn’t it?]) I set out to find the best

stoner movies, because operating the TV is

hard when you forget you left the remote in

the fridge while looking for food. Better to

queue these babies up in advance.

I figured it would be best to let the experts

handle this one, so I assembled a crack team

of bong-rippers to inform me on the ins and

outs of four-twenty filmography. Working

with Matt and a guy who asked me to call

him “Danger”, we uncovered three must-see

stoner films.

PLATOON

“It’s a Nam movie that explores the usage

of pot during war,” says Matt, a surprising

choice for an inherently bad genre. “It’s got

everything: Charlie Sheen back when he was

an actual actor, shotgunning smoke with

an actual shotgun, a killer sound track, and

Willem Dafoe Jesus metaphors.” I always

considered Platoon to be more of a psychological

war horror, but hey, Willem Dafoe

also played The Green Goblin. That’s no

coincidence.

BONG OF THE DEAD

“Danger” (a name so stupid I can’t remove

the quotes) tells me this is his favourite. He

offers a nice synopsis: “Two stoners in the

zombie apocalypse learn that zombie brains

grow amazing weed really fast.” If you’re

looking for a nice date movie, this might

be the one—there’s also a little love story

thrown in. Apparently this movie was made

for $5,000, but they still found room in the

budget for a zombie-powered shower and a

zombie-slaying vehicle that puts the original

Dawn of the Dead’s to shame.

PINEAPPLE EXPRESS

“Perfect stoner comedy,” Matt tells me.

“Especially if you’re a stoner.” I figured that

was a given, but you can’t argue logic with

someone who’s high. “It’s like it was designed

to get stoned to.” It probably was, or at least

designed while getting stoned. Seth Rogen

and Evan Goldberg, the masterminds behind

this movie and other stoner favourites like

The Interview and This is the End, as well as

every comedy released in the past decade,

smoke a lot of weed when they write. Keep

your eyes peeled for Seth’s infamous cross

joint, which plays a starring role.

Popcorn is important when you’re sober.

When you’re high, it’s a federal mandate.

Now that you’ve got your movies lined up,

it’s time to handle the snacks. Matt gave me

some simple advice on making your popcorn

four-twenty worthy: “Nab some peanut

M&Ms and pop that shit in your popcorn.”

Since time moves slower when you’re

high, and since you probably bought in

bulk, you might need more movies to tide

you over till you’re sober. Here are some

runner-ups: Half Baked, Grandma’s Boy, Super

High Me, Dazed and Confused, Harold

and Kumar Go to White Castle, the vintage

thriller Reefer Madness, and anything by

Cheech & Chong.

And one last tip for watching movies

while stoned. When it comes time to… ah,

what’s the point. You’ll probably fall asleep

before the previews finish anyway.

The Jungle Book

VANCOUVER SOUTH AFRICAN FILM FESTIVAL

The first significant South African film festival to run outside

the country, this is an unparallelled chance to explore a culture

we rarely encounter (Die Antwoord and District 9 aside).

With nine amazing films in both English and Afrikaans, all

topics South Africa are covered in highly human form, from

illegal relationships during the apartheid to a rugby player’s

battle with motor neuron disease.

VSAFF runs at SFU Woodward’s from April 8th-10th.

CANADIAN FILM WEEK

Do you like Canada? Show a little patriotism by supporting

our national film industry at the VIFF Vancity Theatre. With

a dozen Canadian films running all week, you can catch

everything from a documentary on punk legends The Smalls

to a romance about a Vancouver DJ, along with vintage films,

silent films, collage films, and more.

Canadian Film Week runs at the Vancity Theatre from April

15th-21st.

After this, you will never want to eat popcorn without M&Ms in it again

Pineapple Express

MAINSTREAM FILMS

I guess we were all desperately awaiting a Jungle Book remake,

because it’s coming on the 15th. With a sent-from-heaven cast

of Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson, Ben Kingsley, Christopher

Walken, and Gus from Breaking Bad, there’s a chance—a

chance—it might actually be good. Speaking of animals,

Keanu is out on the 29th. It’s by Key and Peele, it’s about a cat,

and it looks pretty bad. And I don’t know if anyone cares but

a 12-year-old me, but a Ratchet and Clank movie is also out on

the 29th. Time to break out the PS2.

FRIDAY LATE NIGHT MOVIES!

19+

VALID ID FOR

BAR SERVICE

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

APRIL 8 THE DARK CRYSTAL APRIL 15 POOTIE TANG APRIL 22 KUNG FU HUSTLE APRIL 29 HEATHERS MAY 6 DRIVE

26 APRIL 2016

Film


albumreviews

Tacocat

Lost Time

Hardly Art

The city of Seattle is having somewhat of a cultural renaissance

as of late. The riot grrrl movement has been

made a significant mark on the younger generation

and bands like Chastity Belt, La Luz and Boyfriend

are leading the charge with politically motivated, but

not overtly political, pop-leaning guitar music that

reflects changing attitudes about feminism.

Arguably the most important band to the new

scene in Seattle is Tacocat and their breezy, bubblegum

brand of pop music. Like many of their peers,

Tacocat’s music is sarcastic and sonically simplistic,

but that simplicity serves a purpose. Tacocat’s third

album Lost Time, succeeds in its ability to make

feminist ideas the main focus of their music in an

unapologetic and down-to-earth manner.

Tacocat’s musical formula has stayed largely

similar since 2014’s NVM. Vocalist Emily Nokes sings

about Plan B, Internet trolls, and mansplaining with

the inflection of a jaded 20-something. Bolstering

her are fellow bandmates Bree McKenna, Eric Randall

and Lelah Maupin who play a melodic blend of

surf-infused rock ‘n’ roll. It’s a simple formula, but it

serves the band well.

The album’s title comes from a phenomenon experienced

by those who’ve had close encounters of

the third kind, specifically sourced from The X-Files.

The reference is more than just a nod to a cult favourite:

the show’s counter-cultural commentary and

all-too-rare presentation of a strong female lead fit

perfectly with Tacocat’s own aesthetic. They even

named a track in honour of Agent Dana Scully.

On that song and the rest of the album, producer

Erik Blood’s presence pays off in full. Lost Time

sounds cleaner, with less emphasis on fuzz and more

Reviews

focus on keeping things lean. The songs never over

stay their welcome; in fact, only one song on the

album actually cracks the three-minute mark. They

are brief and to-the-point, the product of a band

that knows exactly what it wants to say.

It’s that laser focus for displeasure that makes

Lost Time such a treat to listen to. “The Internet” is

a rollicking attack of Internet trolls, a simple topic

executed expertly. “Your place is so low, human

mosquito,” Nokes sings with a melodic yowl not

unlike Corrine Tucker, but with less palpable rage

and more apathetic disappointment.

That cultural disappointment reappears on the

album’s second single “Talk.” It’s a taut, moody

ballad that sounds like a cross between Blondie and

Sleater-Kinney. The chorus features Nokes’ voice

blown out to its emotional zenith as she laments

the death of face-to-face interaction. It’s the most

serious song on the album, but it doesn’t feel out of

place sandwiched between Tacocat’s jauntier work.

Lost Time often has a ragged energy, never is it

more audible than the melodic blast “You Can’t Fire

Me, I Quit.” It’s a no-nonsense send off to a lover

who tried to make the first step in ending a relationship.

It’s full of ingenuous putdowns, the kind

that sting under the surface and attack a person’s

character directly. Tacocat are masters of talking

people down in an unpretentious manner. It makes

their lyrical arguments sound so convincing and

common sense.

The next time you hear someone disparaging

feminism for being a collective of bra-burning,

man-hating women, give them a copy of Lost Time.

If they can’t find something to enjoy, you can be sure

they’re a lost cause.

Written by Jamie McNamara

Illustration by Syd Danger

• APRIL 2016 27


Antwon

Double Ecstasy EP

Anticon Records

Los Angeles via San Jose rapper Antwon is known

as an artist that could easily be called “post-genre.”

In the past, the rapper has tipped his hat to such

disparate influences as rapper Biz Markie, Cocteau

Twins and Biohazard. On his new Double Hazard

EP, it’s easy to hear elements from all of them.

The five-track EP is a collaboration with producer

Lars Stalfors, whose presence adds a cohesiveness

that was missing from Antwon’s previous

work. His productions are dark and grimy, focused

on punishing low end and disorienting melodies.

“Club” features a constant 16th note sub-bass

assault that is unrelenting. It functions as a

perfect backdrop for Antwon’s often over-the-top

lyricism.

Antwon’s sexual appetite is as strong as ever, evidenced

by sex-centered songs like “Girl, Flex.” The

track finds Antwon doling out a healthy helping

of confident cunnilingus raps a la Danny Brown at

his most hedonistic. Its effectiveness is dampened

with a lazy hook, “Girl, flex. We bout’ to have sex.”

More often than not, it’s hard to justify Antwon’s

appearance on otherwise stellar beats. It

doesn’t seem like he has anything important to

say, and his raps meander and suffer because of it.

• Jamie McNamara

Boris with Merzbow

Gensho

Relapse Records

You know how The Wizard of Oz and Dark

Side of the Moon sync up? The Boris parts and

the Merzbow parts of Gensho sync up too, in

the way that if you were to play The Shaggs’

Philosophy of The World at the wrong speed

while watching a badly-damaged VHS of Meet

The Feebles they would sync up, in that you’ll

actually just end up insane and insanity, as Philip

K Dick reminds us, is sometimes an appropriate

response to reality.

You’re supposed to play both halves of

Gensho on different media players, adjusting the

volume until you strike a balance between Boris’

post-rock epic “Farewell” (still Boris’s best song)

or their sultry jam “Rainbow” and Merzbow’s

irredeemably harsh noise. Boris may be palatable

to anyone with a taste for alternative music, and

the re-recordings of fan-favourite songs here are

as close as they’ll get to a best-of, but Merzbow

is the alternative to music itself, and here he

doesn’t even make the minimal concessions to

rhythm that had his fans crying “Judas!” in the

early two-thousands.

If you have time to put into mixing your own

noise album then go right ahead, otherwise

enjoy an introduction to one of the world’s most

consistently fascinating guitar bands.

• Gareth Watkins

Explosions in the Sky

The Wilderness

Temporary Residence Ltd.

Antwon

The mark of a great album is how much it enhances.

From studying, to chores, to road trips, to

daydreaming, to love-makin’, a great album will

always be applicable and will always elevate. With

Explosions in the Sky’s seventh studio album, they

tap into our natural world in an astonishing way,

and are able to take listeners on mind-expanding

journeys within minutes. Lying in bed with nothing

else but the music, it is possible to explore the

galaxy, the imagination spilling forth like paint

on a canvas. In “Losing the Light,” shadows begin

growing across a sun soaked landscape, reflected

in the increasing, droning lows, ever placating

beautiful chiming highs. Dappled flecks of

golden light can be called to mind, flickering like

dying embers, slowly overcome by a darkening

landscape. One of EITS’s best songs to date. Also

of immediate note is “Logic of a Dream,” with its

waving intensity that crests and falls, almost like

the beating of a gong. The trance builds as if some

mystic battle march, with dreamy Siren-like tones

coaxing listeners from fear. The song then devolves

into the bright trademark sound the band

is known for. Pleasant, soothing tones pull the

listener from the sweaty recesses of a fever dream

into a sunlit, morning of rolling over and falling

into sweet sleep. This album is equally cathartic,

effervescent, and transcendent. Like putting the

perfect filter on your camera for a photograph,

The Wilderness will highlight every ounce of

beauty from the moments in your life.

• Willow Grier

Sam Beam and Jesca Hoop

Love Letter for Fire

Sub Pop

Sam Beam is no stranger to collaboration. From

the excellent EP recorded with Calexico to the

covers album he released last year with Ben

Bridwell from Band of Horses, it hasn’t been a

shock to see an ampersand stuck next to the

name Iron and Wine. Love Letter to Fire however,

does not include his typical stage name. Sam

Beam nakedly shares the namesake of this record

with Manchester singer-songwriter Jesca Hoop

and they have produced an album 13 entirely collaborative

tracks. Iron and Wine fans are catered

to a little bit more strongly here than Jesca Hoop

fans however, although their voices interplay

very well, Sam Beam is more strongly present

in the vocal mixes on most tracks, even though

Jesca Hoop probably nets more time singing.

The songs as well are more straightforward than

either songwriter’s recent solo material, and as a

result the record tonally skews in the direction of

Iron and Wine’s Kiss Each Other Clean (2011). On

tracks like “Kiss Me Quick” and “Valley Clouds”

in particular, Hoop does not quite get her due

behind Sam Beams percussive guitar and humid

vocals. Both are obviously experts at crafting

beautiful songs and together they elevate each

other’s work, a strong step in the right direction

for both songwriters.

• Liam Prost

The Dandy Warhols

Distortland

Dine Alone Records

Everyone’s favourite Urban Bohemians have

hit a milestone with their 10th album Distortland.

The result is an aptly named album full

of infectious distortion, focused, crafty hooks

and more than a few salty bits of wisdom. The

Dandies have always brought poppy fun and a

little edge of darkness to their musical poetry

about trying to portray oneself as unaffected

while being plugged right in. Amongst the

reverb heavy synth, the plucky hooks, the

strummy catching riffs, the mean ol’ distortion

and the surfy grabs that string together the

tracklist of this album, there are almost smug,

world weary bits of advice that land whether

you want them to or not. In “Catcher in the

Rye,” amongst the bass groove leading you

through it, you hear: “Don’t you know anything

can get you down if you let it. Some days more

than others this is how I’ve lived and learned to

divide them.” What follows is a series of advice

for disillusioned youth, the kind just like Holden

Caulfield, the main character of the titular book

the song is named after: “Keep your head down

and let the worst of it pass on by you,” “If its not

fun then it’s funny for sure.” The Dandies are

most notably not one of those bands trying to

hold on to who they were two decades ago. This

is an album that marries a much more settled

production style, a much more tempered sonic

approach, and a much more established voice.

Which is what makes the big finish that much

more intriguing. “The Grow Up Song” is the final

track and a true bummer of a tune. Perhaps

intending to be ironic, perhaps very much not,

Courtney Taylor-Taylor wearily confesses to

being past his prime and weary of the game,

finishing with the cop movie trope of “I’m too

old for this shit”. With true hipster cynicism, he

rewards the listener for ingesting all his wellformed

and catchy advice by telling them he is

over it all. Quite a jarring slap from a guy who

once cordially invited you to come to his vegan

work so he could get them to cook you something

that you’ll really like. Getting old appears

to still suck.

• Jennie Orton

28 APRIL 2016

Reviews


$

5 JAMESON

$

7 .85 DBL HIGHBALLS

EVERY

FRIDAY

WITH DJ

UNIT

OLD SCHOOL

H I P H O P

with

FKYA DJs

and

DJ DEATHLY

CHILL

$

5 DRINKS

CLUB HITS

ALL NIGHT

The Lamplighter · Library Square · The Bimini

Cinema · The Butcher & Bullock · The Blackbird

The New Oxford · Tavern · The Three Brits

donnellygroup.ca


Dinner

Psychic Lovers

Captured Tracks

Dinner is Danish singer/producer Anders Rhedin.

Rhedin has been making glossy, late night synthpop

over the course of three EPs and one guided

hypnosis (!) cassette. Psychic Lovers, his debut

album for Captured Tracks, finds success often

because of its ability to channel those synth-pop

hypnotics.

His take on synth-pop is slightly off-kilter,

mostly due to awkward vocal performances

that sound as if The Count decided to go on

a coke bender in ‘80s LA. Rhedin’s voice is low

and his pronunciation of words is oddly widemouthed.

His vocal deliveries tend to sound like

dopey yowls that never really work in an entirely

pleasing way. Still, the effect is slightly endearing

at moments and songs like “Cool as Ice” manage

to overcome.

Fortunately, Rhedin’s hyper-glossy productions

restore some of the emotion taken away by his

voice. The production work on songs like “Turn

Me On” is good enough that the songs beg for

repeat listens. It’s a slinky, confident mix of ‘80s

synth dramatics and ‘90s euro house euphoria

that would be better enjoyed best without vocal

accompaniment.

• Jamie McNamara

Hit Bargain

Hit Bargain

Independent

Hit Bargain have a song about Die Hard. They have

won at music. Goodnight everybody.

Okay, if you want a more “review” style review,

then here it goes: they are a four-piece from L.A

whose members have previously played with

These Are Powers and The Pains of Being Pure At

Heart. They are, apparently, the “progenitors of

Queencore,” “the intersection of queer, queening

and hardcore.” Google “Queening.” Their

hardcore is faster, sloppier, shoutier indie-rock

rather than less-than-heavy metal; the vocals are

mostly audible, the guitars are generally clean.

That leaves the songwriting, which is on the

whole solid. In fact, and I hate myself for saying

this, the song about Die Hard, “The Circuits

That Cannot Be Cut” might actually be the

worst song here, in that the hook is that vocalist

Nora Singh is deadpanning that “Alexander

wept” line and not an actual hook. Elsewhere,

on the shorter and choppier “Cheap Death” for

instance, they prove that they can go without a

conceptual crutch.

In conclusion, on the scale of “sprechen ze

talk?” to “Yippe-ki-yay motherfucker” I give

them a “so he won’t be joining us for the rest of

his life.”

• Gareth Watkins

ILoveMakonnen

Drink More Water 6

Warner Bros. Records

Drink More Water 6 arrives at a strange point in

rapper ILoveMakonnen’s career. Now three years

removed from the breakout fame of infectious

hit “Tuesday,” Makonnen doesn’t seem like

such an oddball rapper anymore. In fact, he’s

one of the less outlandish personas in today’s

rap landscape. He doesn’t have the charm and

curiosity of fellow cityman Young Thug, but he

isn’t as vocally talented as Ty Dolla $ign.

Drink More Water 6 seems to find Makonnen

trying to solidify his lane as the king of

psychedelic southern rap. He specializes in

a more upbeat, goofball perspective of The

Weeknd’s depressed hedonism.

Lyrical subjects are fairly on par with

Makonnen’s established image; there’s the

banger about selling drugs (the aptly titled

“Sellin”), the banger about being on psychedelics

with that special someone (“I Only Trip With

U”), and the banger about ignoring haters

(“UWONTEVA”). Interspersed amongst the

high points are oddball tracks like the woozy,

ketamine-induced ballad “Back Again.” Still,

ILoveMakonnen has a hard time putting nuance

into his vocal deliveries. His flows have an

inherent ability to drift from melody to melody,

but they all smash into the listener at varying

levels of shouting. Ultimately, Drink More Water

6 is a good well of playlist-ready bangers that

work better separately than consumed in one

sitting.

• Jamie McNamara

Lab Coast

Remember the Moon

Wyatt Records

Lab Coast’s fourth LP Remember the Moon

encompasses the band’s well established sound

through the combination of stirring pop guitar

melodies and at-home recording methods. The

album has a patchwork quality, sewing together

catchy guitar riffs, notes of chilling synth-pop,

and altered percussion sounds. Many of the

songs toy with the lightness of being in love and

the small observations of daily life with a slight

sense of innocence in the lyrics and melodies.

Some of the songs on the LP were finished a few

years ago, while some are brand new. Although

the album content does not follow a specific

arc, the songs work well as a collection and all

elicit similar feelings within the listener. The

album starts strong with “Hanging Flowers,”

which begins with heavy, full drums and builds

to reveal elements reminiscent of ‘60s pop

music. The song, and much of the album, makes

the listener feel like they are swimming in the

music. The first single off of the album, “Bored

Again,” embodies the wistful and melancholic

sound that much of their music possesses. The

combination of the extremely catchy guitar riff,

distant sounding vocals, and lively lyrics, gives

the song a light and airy feel. The quasi-title

track “Remember the Moon Jr,” has repetitive,

pulsing guitar notes, fast drums throughout and

ghostly, echoing vocals. Remember the Moon

utilizes more instruments than any of the band’s

previous records. Along with effect-ridden guitar

parts, swelling bass, and a mix between sampled

and hybrid drum parts, the album contains the

unexpected: cello, violin, pitched percussion,

saxophone, banjo, and organ. Not only are these

atypical instruments included, the band’s choice

to record them in interesting ways makes their

sound unusual but compelling. Lab Coast has

created a name for themselves locally and with

their reputation comes a specific sound - one

that can be noticed in past albums and has been

built upon in Remember the Moon.

• Robyn Welsh


Breathtaking… Aidan Knight has been

called the Canadian Sufjan Stevens due to

the melancholy of his music. On his third

LP he sounds closer to Bill Callahan, his

forlorn baritone suffused with a worldweariness

that suggests a singer twice his

age and experience.” - Uncut – 8/10

New album Each Other in stores now

04/26 EDMONTON, AB, CANADA - STUDIO 96

04/27 CALGARY, AB, CANADA - PALOMINO

04/29 VANCOUVER, BC, CANADA - BILTMORE

04/30 VICTORIA, BC, CANADA - LUCKY BAR

Matthew

Barber& Jill

Barber

present:

The

Family

Album

New album The Family Album in stores April 1st

Award winning Barber siblings

release a beautiful warm collection of

songs including new original material

and covers by legendary songwriters

Neil Young, Townes Van Zandt,

Bobby Charles and more.

04/15 ST. ALBERT AB, ARDEN THEATRE

04/16 ST. ALBERT AB, ARDEN THEATRE

04/17 BANFF, AB - ERIC HARVIE THEATRE

This project is funded in part by FACTOR, the Government of Canada and Canada’s

private radio broadcasters.

Ce projet est financé en partie par FACTOR, le gouvernement du Canada et les

radiodiffuseurs privés du Canada.

www.outside-music.com

30 APRIL 2016

Reviews


M83

Junk

Mute Records

As news of the release of M83’s first album in almost

four years started to trickle out, it became

harder and harder to take it seriously. Junk is

an album inspired by ‘80s TV shows like Punky

Brewster and Who’s the Boss, featuring guest

appearances from guitar icon Steve Vai and

Beck. The lead single “Do it, Try it” was a sincere

throwback to ‘90s euro house.

In recent interviews, M83 mastermind

Anthony Gonzales seemed to be lamenting

the death of artistic originality. If being original

was his only goal, then Junk succeeds in full.

It’s an absolutely bizarre record that bounces

from ‘80s era balladry, to ‘90s dance music with

relative ease. It sounds like electronic dance

music taken to monolithic heights, and is the

next logical evolution for a band that seems to

feed off of nostalgia.

Gonzales has noted his desire to step back

from his role in the limelight in recent interviews.

The result is a more diverse range of

vocalists and collaborators to usually amazing

outcome. “Walkaway Blues” features touring

guitarist Jordan Lawlor on vocals to stunning effect.

Norwegian pop star Susanne Sundfør lends

her warm baritone to the emotionally charged,

retro-futuristic ballad “For the Kids.”

The downside comes when Gonzales loses

sight of his grander ambitions. Songs like the

jokey, ‘70s TV interstitial song “Moon Crystal”

feel out of place, the rare M83 song that sounds

emotionless and fake.

• Jamie McNamara

Moderat

III

Monkeytown Records

Moderat’s tumultuous path to maturity embodies

the archetypal hero’s journey, brought to

life by the genre-bending earworms of Modeselektor

and the aurally conscious crooning

of Apparat. The trio’s illustrious catalogue has

only grown more refined and dialed-in with the

passage of time, defying a creative process rife

with conflict. III represents Moderat’s crossing

over into adulthood. After a history of creative

competition, III is arguably what they’ve been

striving for this whole time.

The unlikely ubergroup’s latest offering is the

most elegant pairing of their respective talents

yet, a multi-genre Saharan dreamscape. Apparat’s

uniquely hypnotizing vocals are no longer

conspicuously absent from more complex

instrumental works; he is featured on all of the

album’s offerings except two – the wonderfully

haunting, urgent combination of footwork and

glitch that is “Animal Trails” and the comparatively

bouncy and optimistic “Finder.”

Modeselektor’s eloquently stripped-back,

yet complex, sonic panorama paves the way

for Apparat’s most loquacious lamentations

yet. “Eating Hooks” enraptures the listener

early with enticing, buttery garage cuts and

soul-soothing vocals; flagship single “Reminder”

serves as a microcosm of the creative process

behind III; the monkish intonations of “Intruder”

are punctuated by crystalline synths and

tantalizing drum work.

III is an incredibly approachable foray into

electronic music; passing it by because ‘electronic

isn’t your thing’ would be a big mistake.

Do yourself a favour.

• Max Foley

The Mountain Man

Bloodlust

Independent

Throbbing bass guitar and Sasquatch screams rip

through the speakers during “Backhand of God,”

the opening track on Bloodlust, giving a great

representation of what’s to come on this five

track EP where a continuous supply of Hatebreed

and Pantera inspired brutality is served up raw

and in unforgiving form. The dense pummeling

proves to be super addictive, even as the

chainsaw guitar riffs tear to pieces any hope of a

discernible melody, ensuring things gets nastier

and nastier with every minute.

The Mountain Man are clearly into pure chestout

aggression as the song “Bloodlust” further

demonstrates the band’s adherence to sonic gore

with its Cannibal Corpse fed through a wood

chipper aesthetic. This Vancouver band definitely

lives up to its name, just like a crazy bushman

who makes the deep dark woods his home. They

can both get the job done whether it’s skinning

squirrels for meat or blasting out some savage

heavy metal.

• Dan Potter

Operators

Blue Wave

Last Gang Records

Pomegranate and cellophane, a perfect visual

pairing to suit the lush, analog charm of Montréal-based

Operators and their new debut

album Blue Wave.

Operators formed in 2013, releasing EP1 a year

later to showcase a quick taste of the project’s

sound and vision. Composed of Canadian

indie veteran Dan Boeckner (of the acclaimed

and recently reunited Wolf Parade), as well as

American indie-rocker Sam Brown on drums and

the diversely talented Devojka, Operators create

punchy, textured jams.

With an immense focus on synthesizers and

a plethora of other synthetic elements blending

with the driving indie-rock themes, Blue Wave

manages to capture natural uplifting emotions,

while instantly summoning a desire to dance

along.

Produced by Graham Walsh of Toronto-based

Holy Fuck, Blue Wave’s 10 songs go over smoothly,

layering bouncy analog arpeggios, swooning

pads with saxophone and driving drums, creating

a fertile visual environment navigated by Boeckner’s

heartfelt words.

And the tracks on this album aren’t short,

which is what you’d expect from minimal, synthy

pop songs. However, Operators use a pointed,

well-thought out strategy to make each second,

and each direction count: placing everything meticulously,

with a result of masterfully produced

and all-the -hile catchy dance tracks.

• Michael Grondin

Night Moves

Pennied Days

Domino

Night Moves’ new release, titled Pennied Days,

is a nine-track album with psychedelic vibes,

‘80s synth-pop effects, and a modern indie-rock

sound. Just under 40 minutes in length, the

album is an easy listen. The first track, “Carl

Sagan,” is a hit. Hauntingly catchy, it’s simple

beat is clothed in beautiful vocals and electronic

guitar licks. The song “Kind Luck” sounds almost

like country hard rock, while others like “Border

on Border” are reminiscent of the Electric Light

Orchestra and Bowie. The final track, “Only to

Live in Your Memories,” is a momentous finale to

the album: crashing and falling like an electronic

orchestra, leaving you satisfied and full. Overall

the album feels good, calming at times, but

uplifting and engaging at others. The middle of

the album does seem to blend together but there

is still enough uniqueness in songs to make this

album stand out. Powerful guitar with space age

effects, wavy background noise and soothing

vocals make Pennied Days a worthwhile listen.

• Foster Modesette

Plants and Animals

Waltzed In From The Rumbling

Secret City Records

M83

The midsummer campfire light is glowing away to

embers; Fanny has taken her load off, the pebbles

have all been tossed, the winds have ceased their

blowin.’ The night appears to be winding down

to its sleepy conclusion, and that’s when the acid

kicks in. The last, ill-remembered lines of whatever

classic sing-along meander a bit, someone finds a

glockenspiel — before you know it the sun is rising

like a sunflower locomotive, and the whole gang is

chanting “look inside your heart” with the sincerity

of a rural youth group being slain in the spirit.

The End of That was one of the most cathartic

break-up albums of all time, and returned Plants

and Animals to a more straightforward approach

Reviews

• APRIL 2016 31


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to songwriting, aesthetically and thematically echoing

The Band’s The Last Waltz. Luckily for us, that

was far from the end of that, and Waltzed in From

the Rumbling keeps pace with Plants and Animals’

rambling, rose-smelling career. Orchestral, but not

over-produced, this album explores new ground sonically

by taking familiar folk-rock clichés like a strumming

acoustic guitar, or a catchy singable hook, and

forcing them to the background. This has allowed

them to build on the foundation they’ve worked

hard to construct, without repeating themselves. The

band has become masterful at guiding the listener’s

emotions by using the common musical language

of midcentury American rock and roll as the raw

material to express a vision, which is enormously

more complex. In an age of profound egotism and

instantaneity, this album makes lasting progress in

art while still paying tribute to its ancestry - lighting

fireworks with Rolling Stone magazines.

• Rob Pearson

Poliça

United Crushers

Mom+Pop

At their core, Poliça has always been an intensely personal

band. Give You The Ghost and Shulamith were

personal to the point of being claustrophobic, lead

singer Channy Leaneagh and company writing electronic

ballads that were suffocating and intoxicating.

United Crushers is the third full-length from

the Minneapolis synth-pop group, and it builds

on Poliça’s ability to make atmospheric synth-pop

with political teeth. United Crushers is a bleak, dour

record that manages to be a joy to listen to.

Poliça continue to hone their fairly distinct formula

that has heavy emphasis on percussion and bass.

Drummers Ben Ivascu and Drew Christopherson

weave together syncopated drum beats that sound

as if they were coming from one drum set. Bassist

Chris Bierden and band leader/producer Ryan Olson

do an amazing job to build a dour atmosphere that

doesn’t suffocate the listener.

In an interview with DIY Magazine, Leaneagh

says that she “saw this record as my last chance.”

Indeed, this record feels more urgent than past work.

Songs like “Wedding” feature political territory like

police brutality that the band didn’t deal with in the

past. It feels like the logical next step for a band that

continues to excel.

• Jamie McNamara

Poor Nameless Boy

Bravery

Chronograph Records

Despite what most people will tell you, there is a

lot you can tell about a record by its cover. Poor

Nameless Boy does himself an incredible disservice

by including his baseball capped self on the cover,

looking disinterestedly off into the distance in

greyscale, the boring title of Bravery slapped on with

digitally eroded letters. The problem inherent isn’t

that Poor Nameless Boy’s music doesn’t match the

sad-boy bro-country aesthetic the cover connotes,

the slow-burn country tracks inside fit that description

eerily well, but rather that the actual product is

so finely polished and pretty that Poor Nameless Boy

might as well be wearing a suit on the cover. The title

track and opener introduces a strong, earthy guitar

tone that permeates the entire record satisfyingly.

The instrumentation introduces itself slowly without

drawing attention to itself with massive bass drones

and brushed drums laying the groundwork for a

distant violin to play around in. The record opens

with a one-two punch of the charming “Bravery”

and hooky “Atlantic Ocean,” demonstrating its tonal

range very quickly. It runs out of steam soon after

however, when the electric guitar of “River & Trees” is

unplugged, the rest if the record is mostly drab slow

songs, with an especially uninspiring cheesey piano

closer. Regardless, nuanced production and a strong

first half make Bravery a commendable exercise in

bro country.

• Liam Prost

Sanctums

Migrant Workers

Modern Math

Art is a product of the environment it was created

in. For Dan Solo and Evangelos Lambrinoudis, that

environment was the grey, bleak reality of working

on the oil patch to make a livable income. Their

surroundings led them to start thinking about

conditions faced by migrant workers and a dystopian

industrial future. Solo and Lambrinoudis used that

experience as inspiration for Migrant Workers, their

second album together as Sanctums.

Sanctums earn their keep with an atmospheric

blend of ambient techno and other paradoxically

linked genres. Some of their past work could sit

next to Burial, with a focus on cinematic sounding,

beat-oriented tracks. The duo are more interested

in ways to compel than they are with the use of

beats, leading to an album that rarely feels like it

belongs anywhere else than near a nightclub. Instead,

Migrant Workers unfolds much like a movie score. It

is a heavily moody record that can be compared to a

hypothetical midway between Junior Boys and John

Carpenter.

Lambrinoudis’ work as Corinthian is abrasive

and nerve-wracking. A toned-down version of that

overblown aesthetic appears on this album, but it

feels as if the producers are unafraid to make their

music beautiful. Standout track “All Around Us” is a

warm, lush synthscape that brings to mind Tycho’s

sun-soaked electronica. Not to mention, it is one of

few songs on the album that embraces melody and

genuinely feels upbeat. It is a well-deserved break for

the listener, a moment where the perpetual dreariness

subsides and some brightness shines through.

That’s not to say that the bleak qualities of the record

are any less enjoyable. “A Thousand Mile Stare” is a

beautifully minimal track that is coated in a dense

brain fog. Its darkness is hypnotic and enticing, its

synths pulsing slowly drawing you in deeper and

deeper into its grasp.

It isn’t until halfway through the album’s runtime

that “Sentinel” finally embraces the duo’s dance-floor

tendencies. The track is a seven-minute stunner that

features swirling atmosphere that slowly builds itself

into a brooding 4/4 techno slow burn. It’s amongst

the best work either of the producers have ever

released, separately or together.

Migrant Workers is a downright impressive record.

It’s the product of two veteran producers who know

exactly what mood they are trying to achieve with

their records. It isn’t as accessible listen as Sanctums

previous works, but instead it rewards repeat listens

that reveal something new to enjoy every time.

• Jamie McNamara

SUUNS

Hold/Still

Secret City Records

Mental breaks, realizations, anxiety attacks, and

sedation: these are the kind of cognitive atmospheres

that inhabit SUUNS’ new album Hold/Still. Opening

track “Fall” begins with loud gnarls of guitars at unease,

and from here the remaining ten arrangements

juxtapose one another by zig-zagging from heavy

bevies of bass to beating bits of synth to shrill squeals

of strings to swells of swirling sound. It’s all over the

place, yet it is extremely concentrated. In its entirety,

listening to the album makes you feel as if you’re in

the inside of a mind that is going every which way,

ultimately finding itself lost within its own confliction.

But that’s exactly how the mind can be, and this

is what makes Hold/Still a complete fixation, the fact

that it identifies and hones in on the nature of such

conflictions in order to make it an audible speculation.

This is an album that makes you really think,

and even after you’ve taken your headphones off,

you might just notice that the sounds of SUUNS has

tilted your perspective in one way or another.

• Hannah Many Guns

Tokyo Police Club

Melancholy and the Infinite Radness (Part 1)

Dine Alone Records

Tokyo Police Club probably write hooks on the

cold sides of their pillows while they sleep. 2014’s

Forcefield was such an effortless exercise in perfect

indie-dance-rock that moments of it actually

started to feel like they weren’t trying. Regardless,

three records of infinitely fist-bumpable music under

their belt and a couple solo projects underway

from its membership, what exactly Tokyo Police

Club was going to become was a bit of a mystery.

Melancholy and the Infinite Radness (Part 1) is the

awkward stepsister to Forcefield that I’m not sure

anyone was asking for, but it rocks no less than

Tokyo Police Club fans should expect. It opens

strong with “Not My Girl,” whose clean hooks and

mumblecore lyrics tickle the teenager in us all. The

only awkward moment comes from “The Ocean”

which goes headfirst into contemporary pop far

enough to include a half-hearted beat drop. The

cheesey keys and synths on this song are the only

serious missteps on an otherwise charming EP.

Whatever Part 2 of this project brings, it may not

be unprecedented, but it is certainly more than

welcome.

• Liam Prost

Van Damsel

Van Damsel

Independent

Sunlit and glazy indie-electro-pop, bubbling with

a razzy, mouth-filling micro-froth. A quagmire,

perhaps, Van Damsel presents their debut LP, Van

Damsel, full of wiggles and sniggers primed on reflective

tranquillity. Perpendicular in its parallels, lax

as an intense mineral bath, yet explosive like being

tickled by fireworks, the jams are snappishly sweet,

the hooks smartly sticky, and harmonics tightly

knotted. Literally. Van Damsel fucks the fuck out of

finicky forced fun, flips you over and heaves you into

a furious, fevered, naked, pancake breakfast dance

party in a government-subsidized cafeteria with

cinnamon buns to die for. Of course, this sounds

kind of preposterous. There’s an outside chance

that what you just read might look like unabridged

jibber-jabber, but what else can a person say when

an album sounds like the memory of a spectacular

feeling and you didn’t even need to snort a bunch of

blow to get there?

Lowering the volume on this (while that’s never

really an option, ever) would be a forfeiture, both for

the senses and the perceptions, as the crescendos

ascend; the cadences fuss happily into vast, wide

open spaces; escaping the drudgery and drifting on,

to the next dimension.

• Lisa Marklinger

32 APRIL 2016

Reviews


livereviews

photo: Lisa Wu

Leon Bridges

Orpheum Theatre

March 15, 2016

“Boy, you sound like an old man.”

That’s what Leon Bridges’ mother told him when he first sang “Coming Home” for her.

And she was right — with buttery vocals and a penchant for classic Southern soul, Bridges

reaches back far beyond his young 26 years, recalling greats like Sam Cooke and Otis

Redding. But his act is no tribute — touring in support of his critically-acclaimed debut,

Coming Home, and performing in Vancouver on March 15, the singer whisked a sold-out

Orpheum Theatre away on a nostalgic journey that showed he’s in possession of a zest

that’s all his own.

After a bombastic instrumental introduction from his six-piece-strong band, Bridges

shimmied onto the stage and into a slick rendition of “Smooth Sailing.” His voice was

smooth with a deep richness to it, particularly strong on swooners like “Pull Away” and

“Lisa Sawyer” that saw him belt though a range of beautiful pitches. New and previously

unreleased songs like “Let You Down” and “Hold On” stood sturdily alongside the boogie-woogie

of “Brown Skinned Girls” and “Twistin’ and Groovin’” (that latter which, Bridges

revealed, is about his grandparents meeting), and had couples all but twirling each other in

the aisles.

Patrons began to take their seats again as indigo lights bathed the stage and a sultry

blues riff rang out, only to leap back up in whoops and applause when Bridges broke into

a gospel-laced cover of Neil Young’s “Helpless.” Once-spinning couples now swayed with

heads resting on shoulders.

This ability to captivate an audience in such a way — in a way that reaches right down

into one’s soul — is truly a testament to Bridges’ honest approach to his craft. His performance

was at once humble and bold, reflecting intentions steeped in a genuine love for

the music. It was obvious he enjoyed the evening as much as his fans did, not ceasing his

foot-stomping for a moment and dancing from one end of the stage to the other on musical

breakdowns that were highlighted by twangy guitar and buzzy blasts of saxophone.

A two-song encore that included a hip-swinging “Pussyfootin’” would conclude the

night on a exquisite note as the band cleared the stage and Bridges picked up a guitar.

Under a single stage light, the soul man delivered an acoustic rendering of “River” that held

a spellbound audience at a hush, save for the roaring ovation that followed the final chord.

• Yasmine Shemesh

Joanna Newsom / Robin Pecknold

Vogue Theatre

March 30, 2016

It all started with “Happy Birthday.” As opener Robin Pecknold took

the stage at 9 p.m., a couple of fans shouted out birthday greetings to

the Fleet Foxes frontman, who jovially acknowledged that it was his

30th birthday. This led to the crowd regaling him with “Happy Birthday”

before the first song began. Not a bad welcome for an opening act.

The performance was short but transfixing, as Pecknold played

unaccompanied folk ditties on acoustic guitar. With his short hair

covered by a toque and his beard cropped close, he looked a lot tidier

that he did in his hirsute Fleet Foxes days, and he opened with a nimbly

finger-picked instrumental piece. From there, his voice was gorgeously

rich and precise, and he grinned when fans gave cheers of recognition

for the pastoral Fleet Foxes ditty “Tiger Mountain Peasant Song.”

After a short break, Joanna Newsom arrived onstage alongside four

multi-instrumental backing players. With their abundance of silks, paisley

print and floral patterns, they looked a bit like hippies indulging in Renaissance

faire cosplay, and this impression was intensified when they opened

with the harp-plinking back catalogue cut “Bridges and Balloons,” which

highlighted the quirks of Newsom’s caricature-like voice.

The singer’s idiosyncrasies harkened back to the New Weird America

movement of last decade, and although her olde-tyme aesthetic

seemed a little out of date, there was no contesting the strength of her

songs: she switched between piano and harp on the heart-wrenching

neoclassical ballad “Anecdotes,” while the muscular “Leaving the City”

sounded comparatively contemporary with its pounding drums and

distorted keyboard tones. Best by far was “Monkey & Bear,” an epic

allegory about abuse and exploitation that was delivered with chilling

intensity.

Towards the end of the set, Pecknold returned to make a guest

appearance on a few songs, cementing the sense that this night was a

celebration of last decade’s baroque folk craze. Let’s hope that the buzz

bands of 2016 still sound this good in 10 years’ time.

Reviews

• Lauren Ipsom

photo: Timothy Nguyen

• APRIL 2016 33


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

by Michelle Hanley

The Passport Office Dude Chilling Park Fortune Sound Club

The Passport Office. Is there a worse place? A seemingly endless

purgatory full of crying children, rude line cutters, smelly old people

and depressed newlyweds who lost their passport on the eve of their

honeymoon. It is, however, home to a beautiful bathroom.

It nearly makes the trip to the passport office bearable. The walls

are covered in lovely pastel art-deco wallpaper. It is incredibly clean

and well maintained. It smells wonderfully floral and pleasant.

A great place to poop even if you don’t have to renew your passport.

Dude Chilling Park is a small and modest park with a funny sign

that people like to take selfies in front of. It’s also home to a truly disgusting

porta-potty. I have a very strict no porta-potty policy. I don’t

go camping. I don’t attend music festivals. I don’t go anywhere where

a porta-potty is my only option. This particular porta-potty is a great

example as to why. The stench was unbelievable, like poop had somehow

fermented. Everything was gross. The whole roll of toilet paper

was pulled from the wall and someone had spilled what appeared to

be a whole bottle of wine all over it. This toilet has zero chill.

Fortune Sound Club is arguably the coolest nightclub in the city.

It’s got a terrific sound system and a great bathroom. It is also a place

I’ve seen Aaron Carter perform live at on two different occasions. It

was incredible. The bathrooms here are impressive. The stalls are huge

and private, with the occasional bit of empowering graffiti on the wall.

They’re generally very clean and well maintained. Though, it is a very

busy bathroom, full of girls complimenting each other on their lipstick

and sending drunken Snapchats to their friends.

Fortunately, Fortune Sound Club is a great place to poo.

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