Calgary Comic Expo • Santigold • Lab Coast • Sloan • Sanctums • Jason Collett • WAKE • Taco Cat
Editor’s Note/Pulse 4
Bedroom Eyes 7
Places Please 12
Letters from Winnipeg 33
Edmonton Extra 34-35
Let’s Get Jucy! 37
This Month in Metal 47
Calgary Comic Expo, Singles Night,
Comedy Monday Night, School of
Thought, Black Diamond Tattoo,
Calgary Underground Film Festival, Wreck
City: An Epilogue, Netflix and Kill, The Art of
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Sntigold, Death From Above 1979,
Sloan, Scratch Buffalo, The Collapse,
Anti-Flag, The Reckless Heroes, Lab
Coast, The Black Mamba Tales,
Cale Michael, The Zorgs, The Small
Glories, Cayley Thomas, Van Halst,
Sanctums, Souljaberta Party, Kytami
Jason Collett, Shuyler Jansen,
Aidan Knight, David Miles
Begrime Exemious, WAKE, Gorod
Taco Cat and much, much more ...
Managing Editor/Web Producer
Music Editor/Social Media Consultant
City :: Brad Simm
Film :: Joel Dryden
Calgary Beat :: Willow Grier
Edmonton Extra :: Jenna Lee Williams
Book of (Leth)Bridge :: Courtney Creator
Letters From Winnipeg :: Julijana Capone
Jucy :: Paul Rodgers
Roots :: Liam Prost
Shrapnel :: Sarah Kitteringham
COVER ART: Suzen Statz; photo by Diane + Mike Photography
This Month’s Contributing Writers
Gareth Watkins • Christine Leonard • Jennie Orton • Sarah Mac • Claire Miglionico •
Michael Grondin • Kyle Lovstrom • Sara Elizabeth Taylor • Alison Musial • Hannah Many
Guns • Haley Pukanski • Foster Modesette • Benjamin Pearson • Robyn Welsh • Trent Warner
• Breanna Whipple • Thalia Stopa • Emily MacDonald • Michael Dunn • Lisa Marklinger
• Shane Sellar • Brittany Rudyck • Jamie McNamara • Rob Pearson • Jonathan Lawrence •
This Month’s Contributing Photographers & Illustrators
Haley Pukanski • Syd Danger • Cody Oliver • Brian Van Wyk • Isis Essery •
Jill Kinaschuk • Riley Smith • Shane Houser • Renee Robyn • Stefanie Atkinson •
Ripley Hoogstraten Morden
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Death from Above 1979 - page 22
BEATROUTE • APRIL 2016 | 3
LA PIRE ESPÈCE
PRESENTED BY Theatre Junction
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4 | APRIL 2016 • BEATROUTE
COBRA J. COLLINS
slam jammin’... “our words can change us”
What first attracted you to poetry?
I’m pretentious, but beyond that, my draw
to Spoken Word specifically stems from
a deep love of stories and the idea that
our words have an auditory history. The
concept of leaving your audience or reader
with a story that they can retell or carry
with them is pretty spectacular.
Do you have a favourite poet or writer?
As pedestrian as it sounds, Bukowski. I’ve
always been drawn to art that manages to
capture the profound beauty within the
mundane. With that said, he was for sure
still an asshole.
What type of subjects do you like to
What I would ‘Like’ to tackle, would no
doubt end up being just a series of dirty
limericks...Have you heard about the man
from Nantuckett? It’s more about the
stories I need to tell. For me those subjects
can range anywhere from family and love
to our missing and murdered Aboriginal
women. It’s about speaking your truth,
whatever that might be.
What do you like or need to get you into
a creative writing mode?
Staring at a blank page and recognizing
that, regardless of what you type, the sun
will rise without you, has been surprisingly
inspirational, that and a few glasses
What do you like best about performing?
That people are listening. I used to joke
that Slam Poetry was just ‘Yelling at
Strangers’ but the last few years in this
community have really shown me the
difference our words can make. You’ve got
people who hear you speak and it strikes
something in them that encourages them
to find their voice and take the stage, it’s
If you could live the artist’s life without
the day job, where would that take you?
I think it would be more or less the same.
Maybe more scarves and less mornings? I’d
probably try and craft an unrecognizable,
but alluring accent.
What does the J stand for in your name?
Jo, short for Josephine, after my great
grandmother. (Shockingly not the portion
of my name most people are curious
Favourite alcoholic beverage?
The tears of my enemies... or Lucky Lager
because it’s cheap. I’m a poet and I’ll take
luck wherever I can find it.
Cobra J. Collins is a Calgary based Metis poet of significant height. She was a member of the 2015 Calgary
Slam team, representing our city on a national level at the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word and is a
member of Calgary’s Inkspot Collective. She is the co-host of Expressions, a poetry open mic night at Cafe
Koi, an evening which focuses on creating a space to showcase new artists while building a connected
spoken word community. Cobra puts the “free” in freelance writing for several publications locally, most
notably BeatRoute Magazine. She is an avid fan of beauty and firmly believes our words can change us.
BEATROUTE • APRIL 2016 | 7
Marvel mastermind, Stan Lee, makes one more cameo appearance; Archie is rejuvenated at 75 by Christine Leonard
Stan Lee stalked by his friendly-neighbour creation.
It’s no secret. The whole universe loves a parade.
And when you’re the fastest growing pop-culture
convention in North America, commanding
an audience of over 100,000 participants, you not
only get to take over the Stampede Grounds, but
you get to throw your own freakin’ parade through
the heart of the city. Reflecting on the evolution of
The Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo, from
a gathering of 3,000 people in the first year to a
massive media mecca that rings up numbers that
equal a daily gate-count for The Calgary Stampede,
official spokeswoman Emily Expo is impressed,
but not entirely surprised, by the four-day event’s
“Last year was simply amazing,” says Emily Expo
(aka Lindsay Thomas). “It was really exciting to witness
just how much the Expo has grown and to be
able to celebrate that avid fan-base all together with
so many people. We always do our very best to listen
to the fans, and always be friendly and personable.
Because we do approach this from the standpoint
that this is a community. You could label the Expo as
many other things—a business, a corporation—but
number one more than anything, we’re a community
and we feel very passionate about maintaining that.”
A colourful snapshot of what the Expo has on
tap, the annual POW, or Parade of Wonders, is the
perfect excuse to step outside your downtown office
building and take in the supernatural personalities
who infuse the entire weekend with fun and fantasy.
Set for 10 a.m. on April 29, the POW will find a virtual
legion of Imperial Stormtroopers, heroes, villains,
minions, cosplay warrior princesses, and assorted
luminaries marching, gliding and riding from Eau
Claire Market Outdoor Square to Olympic Plaza at
the doorstep of City Hall.
“We are looking forward to the Friday morning
POW, Parade of Wonders, which Downtown Calgary
presents with us. Last year over 1,800 cosplayers
showed up. And, it’s still getting bigger! It is tremendously
popular and a great spectacle to watch and a
good activity for families.”
Accommodating a galaxy of different tastes and
interests has always been a mandate and a challenge
for the Expo. As they strive to include as many genres
and art forms as possible they have learned to go with
the flow and expect the unexpected. Social media has
been an essential tool for Expo organizers, who are
constantly updating schedules and posting announcements
to keep attendees up-to-speed with ongoing
adjustments to the Expo’s many moving parts.
“It’s definitely a trend every organization is experiencing
as social media snowballs,” she acknowledges.
“There are so many great guests on the line-up. Personally,
I’m really excited about Lea DeLaria (Big Boo)
and Jackie Cruz (Flaca) from Orange is the New Black.
Not only is that a favourite of mine, I love that show,
but also it’s different. It’s something you don’t see at
a lot of conventions. I’m thrilled to welcome these
ladies to Calgary. I’m also really happy about hosting
Jason Isaac (a.k.a. Lucius Malfoy). I’m a big fan of his
across the board. He does amazing work; particularly
within the world of Harry Potter for the ‘HP’ people
in our crowd. There are a couple of guests that we’ve
not announced yet. Our team is always working right
up until the last minute to make additions. So, you
never know what’s going to happen. For example, a
big highlight for me in 2015 was Neil Patrick Harris
dropping by. I think we announced him the Thursday
before last year’s show. It’s something I will be talking
about for a very long time.”
While even the most coveted of merchandise can
be found on the Expo’s sprawling show-floor, and connecting
with fellow fans a big draw, in-person appearances
are the height of the Expo experience for many
event-goers. Indeed, as the loquacious Emily Expo is
quick to point out that the opportunity to explore
new worlds (and civilizations) is its own reward.
“Absolutely, this is what it’s all about. You can
engage with like-minded people, but who also have
different interests, and you get to learn about things
you’ve never discovered or tried before. And, that’s
always really fun too.”
Speaking of collecting memories, elder statesman
of the comic book industry, the venerable Stan Lee
is undoubtedly going to be a huge draw for fans of
graphic art and all-things Marvel. A superhuman in
his own right, the 93 year old comic creator will share
his “Excelsior!” catch-phrase, industry insights and
winning grin with yet another generation of acolytes.
“This is Stan Lee’s final foray in to the Canadian
convention scene,” confirms Emily Expo. “For those
who have not yet had a chance to meet him, or see
what he has to say at a panel, I would highly recommend
that they take advantage of this opportunity.
Because I don’t think he’ll becoming up here in the
future. And, he’s a peach. He’s a really great guy.”
“Apart from Stan, obviously. We’re proud to be
welcoming back the amazing artist Ray Fawkes (Constantine).
It’s always a pleasure to see him at shows,”
she continues. “We’ve also got Mike Sass (BioWare)
coming, Katie Cook (MLP: Friendship is Magic) is
coming, Dean Yeagle (Playboy’s Mandy), Jim Zub
(Samurai Jack) who writes a comic called “Wayward”,
which I love and that’s a comic I follow closely. For
those who are into Archie comics we have a lot of
Archie stuff coming this year. It’s the 75th anniversary,
so people should definitely check out the Riverdale
Lane that we’re having with some of the Archie artists
and whatnot. Lots of really great stuff going on that
we’re excited about. It’s great on a lot of levels, even for
people who aren’t super into comic books, if they want
a place to start. Archie’s a pretty good way to go.”
Morphing the skyline of Stampede Park into Gotham
for a long weekend may seem like a dream come
true to some and a nerdish nightmare to others. But
that’s the beauty of the thing. As the Vulcan philosophers
tell us, enlightenment lies in embracing “Infinite
Diversity in Infinite Combinations.” LLAP, my friends.
The Calgary Comic Expo takes place from April 28 to
May 1 at Stampede Park. For more information about
this year’s extravaganza go to calgaryexpo.com.
The all-new, adult-contemporary Archie.
It might be getting nicer outside, but April’s theatre
offerings are so exciting that you’ll be happy to
sacrifice a few hours of sunshine. Here are my picks
for must-see theatre this month.
Victor Mitchell Theatre at Pumphouse Theatres
You’ve probably heard of the Fantastic Four, the
X-Men, and the Hulk… but have you heard of Jack
Kirby, the man who brought them all to life? King Kirby
explores how the comic book artist, writer and editor
poured his life into his comics, and the fateful mistake
he made that sent him into obscurity.
Theatre Junction GRAND
When a plague descends on a surreal and gothic
suburbia, ten teens flee to Concord Floral, a
long-abandoned greenhouse seen by parents as a
scourge, and by their kids as an escape. Together,
they keep each other company while they wait for
the mysterious plague to pass. Concord Floral was
written by the 2014 Governor General’s Award
winner Jordan Tannahill, who, at only 26 years
old, has been described as “one of Canada’s most
promising young independent theatre artists.”
Motel Theatre at Arts Commons
Greg sits in a dark room while his wife Srey, a Cambodian
immigrant, prepares to speak at a glittering
gala in support of the foundation that saved her life.
Greg has just discovered an explosive secret that
threatens to destroy not only his marriage, but also
the thousands who benefit from the foundation’s
work supporting education for girls around the
world. This world premiere production asks the
question: what would you be willing to sacrifice for
the greater good?
Third Street Theatre
April 15, 16, 29 and May 15
Tim’s life is at a crossroads. Behind him: his paralyzing
past in the conservative church and reparative
therapy to try to “cure” his homosexuality. Before
him: a crucial decision about the future of his faith
and the role it will play in his life. This semi-autobiographical
play is presented in two acts; act
one is a 60-minute staged reading, and act two
is a conversation with the audience, allowing for
reflection, feedback and dialogue.
• Sara Elizabeth Taylor
BEATROUTE • APRIL 2016 | 9
ADULTS ONLY NIGHT
light up your love life at TELUS Spark
Humanity faces a horrifying range of existential hazards these days. How would you fare if the
Between the bombs, the radiation, drone blitzes, climate change, Donald Trump, ISIS, and
dinosaur cloning, we seem to be hell-bent on inventing our own demise. Seeing as how a post-apocalyptic
wasteland seems to be the only future we are capable of orchestrating, better have a bead on
how to acclimatize when the soup burns with the scorch of a thousand suns.
As with every second Thursday of the month, the Telus Spark Science Centre hosted its hotly
anticipated Adults Only Night (AON), an evening of exhibits open exclusively to grown folk. This
month’s theme was Urban Survival. Could you start a fire without first pocketing a friend’s lighter?
by Kyle Lovstrom
How long would you last if the supermarket shelves were devoid of stock? Around 2,500 people paid
the $20 to pit themselves up against a variety of survival challenges and to visit the hundreds of
exhibits Telus Spark offers.
Left Overs Calgary, a non-profit, volunteer group specializing in food waste reduction within the
service industry, was on-site giving attendees a few ideas on how to keep your belly full in this hypothetical
land beyond time. Left Overs Calgary provides food for such charitable organizations as the
Drop-In Centre, the Food Bank, Alpha House Society and the Boys and Girls Club.
“France, U.K, and Denmark have championed the eliminating food waste movement,” says Left
Overs founder Lourdes Juan. “Grocery stores in France are zero waste. They’ve worked on it from a policy
level, which is what I’d like to see in Calgary. We don’t want to be just a Band-Aid solution.”
Alternate Root was there as well, teaching methods of maximizing the nourishment from foods
that aren’t exactly fresh. Apparently, old pumpkins can be used to beautify your face, and not just by
sticking an old jack-o-lantern over your head either.
“Tonight we’re putting on a workshop on how to prevent waste on a household level,” says Alternate
Root volunteer, Deborah Wong. “Right now we’re doing facials using cucumbers and pumpkins.
Why spend $100 on something you can get for $3?”
Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) brought supplies and ran relay races, while a faction of the U
of C dedicated to understanding the mechanics of human relationships known as, The Love Lab, was
there theorizing on the namesake subject. Would love and repopulating the planet be a walk in a
nuclear winter wonderland?
“We always try to incorporate innovative third party organizations into Adults Only Night,” says
AON event planner Erin Christensen. “They’re absolutely fantastic. Third party collaborators really help
make the different themes cool and exciting. They play a huge part getting the crowd to come out.”
AON starts at 6 p.m. They’ve got beer. AON is wildly popular, easily one of the most enjoyable
evenings all month.
“I’m excited for Stampede Scientist. Future Humans, in May, is sold out,” says Christensen. “That
will be the last AON to take a look at the Body Worlds exhibit. We’ve got Blood coming in Oct.
which ties in nicely with Halloween.”
AON takes place every second Thursday at Telus Spark, the Calgary Science Centre. Buy tickets online. Visit
www.sparkscience.ca for details.
COMEDY MONDAY NIGHT
the fun-filled, fail-safe, open-mic experience
Witnessing the cringe-worthy slow death of a
nerve-busted, cherry-popper bungling Jack Johnson
covers, while the audience looks sincerely unappreciative
as though frozen in a hedge-maze outside the Overlook
Hotel, is enough to generate the perfect storm of empathy and
anxiety in me… I’m forced to flee. Like salted cinnamon to
somebody lost at sea, calling a comedy night an “open mic” is a
tough sell. The potential for disaster is too real.
“When I started doing comedy 10 years ago, open mic
meant playing in bars where nobody wanted you there,” says
Comedy Monday Night (CMN) performer Jeremy Furlong.
“People are talking over you. You can hear pool balls dropping
in the background.”
But there wasn’t five minutes of amateur hour during CMN,
aside from one intoxicated fella slightly unaccustomed to an
evening of listening and laughing rather than contributing at full
volume (Furlong quickly put him in his place), where attendees
got full value for their $5 cover charge.
Every Monday at 8 p.m., Calgary’s quintessential stand-up
comedy open mic night kicks off at Broken City. The show runs
until about 10 p.m.; being in bed by 11 p.m. is easy for early-risers.
Arrive prior to show time to secure a seat.
CMN, Western Canada’s longest running comedy open mic, began
with the man who launched 1,000 comedians’ careers over the
past 10 years—producer, promoter, and comedian James Moore.
“It was born out of a need for stage time,” says Moore. “Back
then, there wasn’t an open mic room anywhere in the city. If you
visit the Yuk Yuk’s website, there’s probably six or eight kids on
that roster that got their start here. I’m proud to have been able
to play a part.”
Every week features no less than two first-timers and a few
lotto spots are available, drawn between comedians in the room
on the night. If stand-up comedy is calling to be crossed off your
bucket list, visit comedymondaynight.com and make contact.
Also, take in the beginner’s guide for useful hints—i.e., don’t
drop the microphone believing you’re Chris Rock when finished
performing (that flashy little number unfortunately breaks
microphones, and subsequent voices are lost).
Mr. Moore meticulously curates each show to satisfy, mixing
just the right amount of juvenile jokesters cutting their teeth,
developing comics harnessing gold, and professional grade
“I got up there in 2014,” says Matt Foster, a punchy and hilarious
up-and-comer. “It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever
done. But everyone’s got to start somewhere and this is the place
to find your legs.”
Even comedy royals from beyond Canadian borders recognize
what a special night Mondays have turned into.
“Bob Odenkirk has been here. Zack Galifianakis has been
through those doors. Comedy in Calgary wouldn’t be where it
is without a trendsetter, and a pioneer, like James Moore,” says
CMN performer and host of his own show, Kris LaBelle. “James
Moore’s mission to incite opportunity and construct a
thriving Calgary scene continues to expand with the creation
of his brand-new TV show, After Birth Alley, hosted by veteran
comedian Daryl Makk. After Birth Alley goes in-depth, post
game, sideline interview with performers to discuss the process
of developing material, what their lifestyles entail, and whatever
generally twisted thoughts lurk inside the mind space of a standup
CMN takes place at Broken City every, you guessed it, Monday night
at 8 p.m. Also look for CMN on Vulcan Television at www.vulcantv.ca.
by Kyle Lovstrom
10 | APRIL 2016 • BEATROUTE CITY
GO AT NIGHT? ”
BY Jordan TannahillA Theatre Junction Production
DIRECTED BY Raphaële Thiriet in collaboration with Erin Brubacher and
the members of Theatre Junction’s 2015-16 Mentorship program
APRIL 13 – 16 2016
BUY YOUR TICKETS NOW! THEATREJUNCTION.COM | 403.205.2922
Media Sponsors: Follow us: TheatreJunction // TheatreJunctionGRAND
BEATROUTE • APRIL 2016 | 11
SCHOOL OF THOUGHT
an investigation of languages past, present and future
by B. Simm
School of Thought… “The presentation will be unique, experimental
and cutting edge. It will be a circle of possibility—and the process will
be interactive.” Taken from schoolofthought.ca
Sheri-D Wilson, renown spoken word artist, published poet and
veteran festival organizer, points out that School of Thought
is an event that works on a different structure than a typical
“It’s basically run by donation,” says Wilson. “We will have funding,
but it’s not from any funding bodies. Rather, it’s for the people by the
people. It’s about people who want to be part of something. They
want to be part of the dialogue, to be part of the story. Instead of
it being someone wrote the story and you go and listen to it, this is
about creating the story with everyone who’s in attendance.”
The participatory focus of School of Thought is organized and
set up in two parts. The first is a series of readings that takes places
over three nights at Wine-Ohs in which presenters have been asked
to write a poem that is at least seven minutes long dealing with the
theme of languages lost and found. The event, or “gathering” as Wilson
prefers to call it, then moves to Festival Hall where the audience
is invited to discuss the previous readings along with interactive
conversations with “people who know a lot about languages, lost
One of these informed individuals on lost and found languages is
Marc Okrand, author of The Klingon Dictionary that hobbyists and
Star Trek fans are largely familiar with. Another language specialist in
attendance is Bob Holman, an American poet, professor and activist
of promoting poetry whose 2015 PBS program, Language Matters,
addresses the rapid extinction of many human languages.
Within the context of languages lost and found, Wilson notes:
“The importance of such a gathering is that it’s about communication,
it’s about culture and all these languages being lost. And
therefore about the ways of seeing, and the ways of being are lost.
Everything is being centered into one mono-culture, one mono-language
and one mono way of seeing. It’s homogenized, without any
past. It’s limited in its perspective and ways of seeing the earth. A
lot of the old languages that are going extinct are connected to the
earth, survival and how we have a relationship with the earth.”
In contrast to discussing languages that have been lost, Christine
Schreyer, a linguistic anthropologist who created Superman’s
Kryptonian language, will facilitate a discussion on how to create a
new language that presents new possibilities and new ways of seeing
ourselves and the world.
School of Thought: Languages Lost and Found takes place April 19-24.
Go to schoolofthought.ca for complete details.
Black Diamond Tattoo
bare bones is beautiful
After tattooing for nine years at other shops, Luke van Wyk decided
step out on his own. Preferring to work in American and Japanese
traditional styles, he claims “those are the arteries of tattooing, it’s what
tattooing has been built from. It the best medium, I think. It will look
best over time and holds their own. There’s no gimmicks, it’s just good
tattooing.” With that van Wyk chuckles, “But I would say I specialize in
good tattoos. And with this new space I’m hoping to settle into a style
that’s more personable.”
Located in the historic Grain Exchange Bldg., van Wyk is looking
forward to having a “small, laid-back, bare-bones operation” that he can
get to know his clients and work closely with one on one.
Black Diamond Tattoo is located at #401-815 1st SW. Ph: 403-667-5557.
• B. Simm
12 | APRIL 2016 • BEATROUTE CITY
GREY EAGLE EVENTS
one casino is not like the others
There may be those who, when they think of casino entertainment,
jump to washed-up, ‘80s one-hit-wonders in their mind. However,
at the Grey Eagle Casino, this misconception could not be further
from the mark; their bookings include Wu Tang Clan, M-83, The Offspring,
Megadeth, Diana Ross and much more. BeatRoute spoke to their
Event Centre Entertainment Director Russ Giroux to find out what sets
them apart from other similar establishments.
“I don’t think we ever subscribed to that model I don’t think it’s
sustainable, it may work in other parts of the country and the world but
it won’t work in Calgary,” says Giroux, speaking on traditional casino programming.
“Calgary is a town full of music lovers and they want quality
talent, so you gotta bring what people want to see and what they want
to spend good money on.”
When asked if, like in other casinos, their events experience a lot of
walk-in traffic, Giroux explained that, “we’re very much a hard ticket
venue which is a different model than a lot of typical casino venues especially
compared to the US. That’s why our shows, when you look at our
calendars it’s not a-typical casino entertainment. It runs the gamut.”
Giroux himself used to be a tour manager for bands like Matthew
Good and Joe Satriani and personally loves getting to see some of his
favourite groups and bands that he’s worked with come through.
With Calgary experiencing the closure of venues like Ten Nightclub or
The Republik in recent months, music fans may be experiencing some
dread about the state of the music scene. While Giroux explains that
clubs like these are not in their “competitive set” (which would be venues
in the 2500-3000 capacity like Mac Hall or Jubilee) he does not like to see
places close down.
“Anything that exposes people to live music is good for the industry
so I hate to see venues closing down,” he says. “It’s bad for patrons, it’s
bad for bands and it’s obviously bad for the people who are employed by
• Paul Rodgers
BEATROUTE • APRIL 2016 | 13
CALGARY UNDERGROUND FILM FESTIVAL
annual indie cinema showcase keeps on growing
by Jonathan Lawrence
This year’s CUFF will feature a retrospective on “indie cinema godfather” Richard Linklater.
a city beneath the streets,” writes
Robert E. Sullivan, author of Underneath
New York. Sullivan may have been merely
referencing pipes and cables, but the metaphor applies
perfectly to Calgary, Alberta - to many, a corporate,
cowboy-obsessed city, but it’s proven to have a
thriving and growing artistic community. This is no
more evident than in the Calgary Underground Film
Festival (CUFF), now entering its 13th year. From
April 11th to 17th, there will be over 30 short and
feature films screened from every genre - all weird,
fascinating, and not shown at your local Cineplex.
Brennan Tilley, lead programmer for the festival
since 2008, is committed to fulfilling the city’s demand
for original films.
“We know the audience here and what they want,”
he says. “We’ve been doing this [for] 13 years.”
Many of this year’s films - such as Honey Buddies, a
Lewis and Clark-inspired adventure comedy or Wreck
City, a documentary on an elaborate Calgary art
project - might not find a home in mainstream film
festivals, but that’s where CUFF comes in.
Tilley assures, however, that this doesn’t suggest they
are of lesser quality or are too inaccessible.
“[These are] films that just fall under the radar,” he
says. “We know what the sensibilities are of the filmgoer
that is interested in our festival.”
While the festival prides itself on its challenging and
thought-provoking content, there is plenty to see and
do for those who may not be interested in arthouse
media. One such event is CUFFcade, a demonstration
of five Canadian-made independent video games, free
to play and open to the public (so save your quarters
for another arcade). Each title features unique gameplay
and boasts names like “3.2.1. Grenades” and “Paradise
Perfect Boat Rescue.” This year, each game, which
can’t be played anywhere else, has been designed exclusively
by Calgary developers, whom will be available to
meet at the launch reception on April 10th.
If free video games aren’t enough, be sure to throw
on your favourite pyjamas and head down to the Saturday
Morning All-You-Can-Eat Cereal Cartoon Party, an
annual tradition featuring three hours of random cartoons,
PSAs and commercials from the 1940s to 1980s
- bound to be an interesting history lesson in itself. And
I can’t think of a better combination than learning and
a bottomless bowl of Cap’n Crunch.
CUFF focuses on indie cinema, so to celebrate its
history and those who pioneered the low-budget
field, the festival is proud to present a retrospective
of esteemed writer/director Richard Linklater, whose
upcoming film Everybody Wants Some!! will see its
Canadian premiere at the festival. Furthermore, the
festival has chosen to showcase two of Linklater’s
earlier works, Slacker (1990) and Dazed and Confused
(1993), the former of which being the main inspiration
for Kevin Smith’s Clerks (1994), another indie film
pioneer. Lead programmer Cameron Macgowan referred
to Linklater as the “godfather of indie cinema,”
and for good reason.
With festivals like Sled Island and CUFF growing
each year, Calgary is being recognized as a city with a
proven arts scene. That said, the organizers couldn’t be
more proud - or shocked - by what they’ve achieved
in the last seven years, particularly in attendance rates.
Tilley notes that the festival was “seeing numbers that I
originally thought were mistakes.”
Despite the staggering audience sizes - roughly doubling
each year - the organizers remain grounded about
CUFF’s success, passing the credit along to the “strong
artistic sensibility” of Calgarians, as Tilley puts it. So put
down that suitcase, boys and girls, you don’t need to
go to Montreal anymore to see anything beyond the
newest Marvel flick.
The Calgary Underground Film Festival will run April 11
to 17 at the Globe Cinema. For more information, visit
Meathead Goes Hog Wild
Meathead Goes Hog Wild is the unsettling
wild ride of filmmakers Kevin Cline, Zach
Harris and Sean Pierce. Friends since high
school, the trio found themselves in Chicago
shooting the weirdly comic yet very dark
low-budget depiction of a low-life slacker
who spirals out of control.
When the unnamed protagonist gets
fired from the local butcher shop for his
pervy customer service, he loses control
of the last bit of his functioning emotions.
He is set on getting his job back, but first,
he raids the meat shop and goes on a
goodwill meat distribution mission around
town in the middle of the night. He finds
trouble with a gang who steals his meat,
cellphone and wallet and eventually reaches
the ultimate breaking point in an abandoned
warehouse where inhuman grunts,
disturbing screams and overall erratic behaviour
take place. The ride starts out slow
but reaches a point of no return. Random
sexual encounters, humping, streaking, gun
duels, blood and more deadly screams and
grunts take the whole concept of a night
gone bad -similarly to The Hangover and
yet completely dissimilar to the popular
comedy - to a completely new level of shit
gone wrong, this time, psychotically.
Meathead Goes Hog Wild plays April 15 at
10 p.m. at the Globe Cinema.
• Claire Miglionico
Other highlights at CUFF 2016
Lace Crater - Western Canadian premiere.
After a bad breakup, Ruth makes a connection
with a stranger, Michael, who shows up
in her room. The one problem? He’s a ghost.
Plays April 16 at 9:30 p.m.
Everybody Wants Some!! - Opening film at
this year’s SXSW Film Festival. Richard Linklater
returns with a “spiritual successor” to
Dazed and Confused (1993), set in the world
of 1980 college life. Plays April 13 at 7 p.m.
The Dwarvenaut - International premiere.
This film follows Stefan Pokorny, a man
obsessed with Dungeons and Dragons
from a young age who launches a multimillion-dollar
Kickstarter campaign to bring his
miniature sculpture project to life. Plays April
17 at 7 p.m.
Patchwork - Calgary Premiere. Directed by
Tyler MacIntyre, Patchwork follows three
murdered women who have been reassembled
into one. It’s a “dark, gory horror
comedy.” Plays April 16 at 11:59 p.m.
For full listings, visit calgaryundergroundfilm.org
• Joel Dryden
BEATROUTE • APRIL 2016 | 15
WRECK CITY: AN EPILOGUE FOR 809
documentary follows Calgary-based curatorial collective
Wreck City is a “collage documentary,” collecting mixed media from a variety of local artists.
In the spring of 2013, an unassuming street in
Calgary’s Sunnyside neighbourhood sentenced
to certain death by a condo development
company. Among the casualties were nine homes,
three garages and a greenhouse.
It’s not an uncommon story in the frenzy of
demolition seen in Calgary over the last few years.
However, included in this set of buildings was 809
Gallery, a DIY garage gallery space that was at the
heart of Calgary’s emerging art scene.
With hopes to do one last show, 809 Gallery
– along with eight curators and more than 100
artists – set out to make an installation piece out
of each building, and WRECK CITY was born.
Now, almost three years after WRECK CITY bit
NETFLIX AND KILL
what’s streaming and slaying this month?
First, an apology. In my last column I implied
that the new season of House of Cards (Netflix)
would be boring. Turns out I was wrong:
although it doesn’t quite measure up to the first
season, its portrayal of a U.S. election cycle where
everybody is 20 IQ points smarter was refreshing,
and not even an embarrassingly bad mid-season
dream sequence could slow it down. I was slightly
less right than usual.
In happier news, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
(Netflix) is back so that Ellie Kemper can be that one
character she plays in everything. The first season was
far better than it had any right to be, and even got
a nod from the Emmys. The second looks to be one
of those “binge it on the night it’s out so nobody on
Twitter can spoil it for you” things.
You can’t get Hulu north of the wall, so unless
you want to spend eight seconds Googling how to
get around that restriction you’ll have to stream
the new episodes of The Mindy Project through
CityTV’s website. My initial enthusiasm for this show
was dulled by the eponymous OBGYN’s chemistry-vacuum
of a relationship and my horrifying
discovery that Mindy Kaling is a libertarian. I eagerly
await the episode where she argues that having to
pay taxes and not being allowed to own nerve gas
are against the Constitution.
the dust, a documentary following the installation
and the artists who created it is set to debut at
the Calgary Underground Film Festival. Directed
by Ramin Eshraghi-Yazdi of Nur Films, WRECK
CITY: AN EPILOGUE FOR 809 will make its world
premiere on April 15th.
The doc utilizes hundreds of hours of footage
shot by artists, curators and Eshraghi-Yazdi
himself on a variety of technology, including
cellphones, DSLR cameras and professional
In this way, much like the installation, WRECK
CITY emerges as a film of many parts. Eshraghi-Yazdi
says the documentary was shot by just
about anyone who was on site.
House of Cards’ (Netflix) latest season follows the U.S. election cycle.
by Meaghan Lawrence
“There were a handful of people shooting stuff
throughout, before it was open to the public and
during,” he says.
Eshraghi-Yazdi said sifting through all of the
content was a monumental task – much of the
submitted footage was shot by amateur videographers,
and often would consist of long stretches of
cameras pointed at the ground.
“This documentary didn’t have a plan,” Eshraghi-Yazdi
says, adding the footage didn’t lend itself
to any traditional narrative format. “We just tried
to film as much as we could and piece together
what we had after the fact. The stories we had
were all we had to work with.”
The chaotic, mixed-media style in which the
documentary came together - a “collage documentary,”
as Eshraghi-Yazdi puts it - “captured the
piecemeal-style of the whole event.”
Eshraghi-Yazdi says he believes WRECK CITY
was unique to Calgary as it speaks to the entrepreneurial
spirit of the city.
“[It was the] unlikely story of a group of DIY
artists approaching a developer…and turning it
into an artist village.
“There have been a lot of projects before and
since, the same type of milieu, but this was a
pretty significant thing for Calgary. It was very
significant because it was a very DIY [and]
entrepreneurial type thing, and I think maybe it
couldn’t have happened in any other city other
WRECK CITY: AN EPILOGUE FOR 809 plays April 15
at 7:30 p.m. as part of the Calgary Underground Film
Festival. An afterparty at the Palomino will follow,
with live music by Kenna Burima (who will recreate
the score from the documentary), Sleep Kit, Purple
Ryan & the Beautiful Ones and Ghostkeeper.
by Gareth Watkins
16 | APRIL 2016 • BEATROUTE FILM
THE ART OF THE PRANK
CUFF presents the chronicles of Joey Skaggs’ career
by Breanna Whipple
The Art of the Prank follows “the Godfather of the Media Hoax,” Joey Skaggs.
This format in which you’re consuming serves
as an exemplary component of iconic media
prankster Joey Skaggs’ life mission. For
Skaggs, reality became a malleable subject at a very
young age. One of Skaggs’ teachers painted the
largest picture of all, diminishing each individual to
a single molecule in this vast universe. That is when
Skaggs changed forever.
Initially pursuing a career in fine art, he found
himself bored by the dull process and lack of immediacy.
With so much emotional turmoil fuelled
by the Vietnam War, Skaggs decided to combine
political commentary with art, resulting in a well
thought-out protest. Curating a Vietnamese nativity
scene, which he and a band of hippies obliterated
later by flames, the media twisted the events and
spawned a story full of fallacies. This aftermath,
like his experience with that teacher so many years
ago, worked as a catalyst for self-discovery - he
realized that he could use his unique form of art to
challenge the system.
Becoming “The Godfather of the Media Hoax”
did not occur overnight. It was a lengthy, ingenious
process that expanded from the late 1960s continuing
to the present day. One of his earliest, most
legendary hoaxes began in 1976. Skaggs managed
to publish an ad for a dog brothel in the alternative
weekly newspaper The Village Voice. Expanding on
the fib in the same ways he would for several years
to come, he hired actors to play along to receive
airtime on various news outlets, in this instance
ABC News. Gaining attention from both the APSCA
and the Bureau of Animal Affairs, Skaggs was finally
moved to reveal the truth in order to avoid a court
hearing. Did this stop him from executing episodes
of culture jamming? Not a chance in hell.
The Art of the Prank is an aesthetically striking
documentary that chronicles Skaggs’ fascinating
career as a professional anti-establishment prankster.
Having pulled off truly unbelievable stories over a
large magnitude of decades, his mission to expose
media bias in such a tongue-in-cheek manner is
unlike anything that has yet to be offered. Instilling
belief of the existence of things such as a celebrity
sperm bank auction or a fat squad that chains up
refrigerators to impulsive reporters is only the tip of
the iceberg of his extensive lists of accomplishments.
Though obviously humorous on the surface,
Skaggs’ life mission is also a very important one.
Skaggs warns us that we must all be skeptical of
the media-dominated world. We are currently in a
time where an endless amount of information is a
mere click away, allowing irresponsible words to be
believed by those who are quick to accept opinion
for fact. Skaggs set the groundwork for future
generations to continue the art of exposing the
bloodhounds of mainstream media. It is all too easy
to swallow words and ignore the facts. This film
demonstrates the importance of taking risks, specifically
opening your eyes and thinking for yourself.
Don’t be submissive – question everything.
The Art of the Prank makes its Canadian premiere
at the Calgary Underground Film Festival, with two
shows scheduled April 16 (at 6:30 p.m.) and April 17
(at 1:30 p.m.).
BEATROUTE • APRIL 2016 | 17
rewind to the future
by Shane Sellar
The Big Short
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2
The Big Short
The best part of homeownership in the early
2000s was if your house ever burnt down, you still
had two left over.
While no one saw this as a problem, the suits in
this dramedy did…and made millions.
When rogue hedge fund manager Michael
Burry (Christian Bale) uncovers what will eventually
become the housing bubble, he predicts its
eventual collapse, and despite ridicule from every
bank he meets with, he bets against it.
His credit default swap scheme, however, ends
up intriguing a trader (Ryan Gosling), an investor
(Finn Wittrock), another hedge fund manager
(Steve Carell) and an ex-banker (Brad Pitt), all of
who want in.
Clarifying the complexities of the financial crisis
and defining the convoluted terminology involved
with elucidatory side vignettes, this layperson
adaptation of the non-fiction novel is frightening,
facetious, and keenly insightful.
Incidentally, with all those subsequent foreclosures,
smart traders would’ve invested in cans of
The toughest part of being in a same-sex relationship
is deciding who has to sleep on the couch
after an argument.
Fortunately, the Sapphic socialite in this drama
is likely to have a really comfy one.
Manhattan shop girl Therese (Rooney Mara)
becomes smitten with a sophisticated older
woman, Carol (Cate Blanchett), who invites her to
spend the holidays with her.
But Carol’s ex-husband (Kyle Chandler) and
Therese’s boyfriend (Jake Lacy) are adamant
against their forbidden affair.
So much so, that now the court is threatening
to take Carol’s daughter from her because of her
An unexpectedly optimistic lesbian love story
set in the ridged 1950s, this handsomely shot
arthouse adaptation of the gay-lit novel from
the same era honours its iconic backdrop with
sets and costumes as alluring and nuanced as its
Thankfully, nowadays, society would only have a
problem with the lesbians’ noticeable age difference.
The reason why retired boxers don’t do colour
commentary is because their concussed brains see
four fighters instead of two.
Surprisingly, the archaic pugilist in this drama
has contracted a non-boxing ailment.
Determined to make a name for himself in the
ring, Adonis (Michael B. Jordan), the son of Apollo
Creed, seeks out his father’s old rival and friend,
Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone), to train him.
When the media gets wind of Adonis legacy, he
quickly lands a landmark bout.
But his shot at the light heavyweight championship
is endangered when his mentor is diagnosed
A refreshing addition to the Rocky anthology,
Creed is as much homage to the original as it is an
update of the mythos, with knockout performances,
kinetic direction, and rapid-fire editing
all aiding in its inspirational yet unconventional
sports movie trajectory.
Conversely, retired ringside cutman can always
get seasonal stitch-work with the NHL.
The upside to being a stepparent is that you can
ditch out right before the kids’ college tuition is due.
Fortunately, the replacement dad in this comedy
has lots of time to decide.
The unabashed stepfather to his wife’s (Linda
Cardellini) two children, Brad (Will Ferrell) is living
out his paternal dreams. But his ongoing bonding
with his new kids is interrupted by the arrival of
their bad-boy birth father: Dusty (Mark Wahlberg).
Initially welcoming, Brad’s hospitality quickly
turns to hostility when he feels Dusty encroaching
on his territory. But can the bumbling Brad outwit
the alpha male interloper?
While its progressive plot could have been
playful, this re-teaming of Ferrell and Wahlberg in
familiar comedic archetypes struggles to make the
awkward family situation seem all that humorous,
original, or even somewhat realistic.
Incidentally, the best way to get rid of the birth
father is to bring up child support.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2
Ironically, the tweens who grew up with the Hunger
Games are now young adults struggling with
their own eating disorders.
Mind you, the titular famishment in this sci-fi
movie is more of a metaphor.
Determined to overthrow the Capitol and
kill its president (Donald Sutherland), Katniss
(Jennifer Lawrence) aligns herself with an all-star
squadron (Natalie Dormer, Sam Claflin) that also
includes her boyfriend Gale (Liam Hemsworth)
and ex-partner Peeta (Josh Hutcherson).
Behind enemy lines, the team trots through
booby-trapped and mutant infested sewers, losing
friends along the way.
Meanwhile, the love triangle between Katniss,
Gale and Peeta comes to a head.
The fourth and final chapter of this dystopian
series, Part 2 is a satisfying conclusion to this
respectable franchise. Peppered with plenty of
surprises and noteworthy performances, this dark
and dire instalment is likely its best.
Furthermore, this finale means archery-related
injuries amongst girls are sure to decline.
The Peanuts Movie
The reason behind Peanuts’ long-running success
is that fans always felt sorry for that kid with
However, this animated adaptation affirms that
Charlie Brown’s baldness is not from chemotherapy.
The eternal milksop Charlie Brown must put
aside his insecurities if he hopes to get the new Little
Red-Haired Girl at school to take notice of him.
To catch her eye, he enlists the aid of his beagle
Snoopy to help him win her over using talents he
does not posses, in academics, choreography and
In between Chuck’s failed attempt, Snoopy
bangs out a book about his alter ego the Red
With its psychoanalytical take on childhood,
familiar score and even more memorable supporting
cast, this keenly animated adaption of Charles
Schulz’ beloved comic strip pays respect to its
origins by sticking to its innocuous formula.
Furthermore, Charlie Brown’s soulmate will
forever be fellow comic-strip loser Cathy.
To catch child abductors, the police should be staking
out Home Depot’s sex-dungeon department.
Unfortunately, the captor’s enclosure in this
drama was preexisting.
Raised by his mother, Joy (Brie Larson), in a
backyard shed belonging to the man who abducted
her when she was a teenager, five-year-old Jack
(Jacob Tremblay) is completely unaware of life beyond
the room where she and he are imprisoned.
After a successful escape, the two try to acclimate
to outside life. This includes reconciling with
Joy’s now-divorced parents (Joan Allen, William H.
Macy) and dealing with the media’s victim shaming.
One of the most frightening yet life-affirming
films in years, this character-driven adaption of the
novel will resonate with viewers, not only for its
brave performances, but also for Jack’s alien-like
viewpoint of the world we take for granted.
Ironically, the shut-ins discovered that everyone
in the outside world was being held captive in a
The easiest way to tell which sister is the crazy one
is by asking who the oldest is.
And while this comedy doesn’t analyze the lucidity
of birth order, it is about siblings going crazy.
When their parents (Dianne Wiest, James
Brolin) sell their family home, reckless Kate (Tina
Fey) and responsible Maura (Amy Poehler) host
one last house party.
Inviting their friends from high school (John
Leguizamo, Bobby Moynihan, Samantha Bee) and
their new neighbour (Ike Barinholtz), they try to
recreate their glory days with booze, drugs and
But a conflict concerning Kate’s daughter drives
a wedge between them.
Despite the zany premise and comedic talent
of both leads, Sisters is an unfunny foray into
the sad-sack realm of female adulthood that’s
unceremoniously seasoned with unsavoury dick
and fart jokes.
And just because your parents move out,
doesn’t mean the new homeowners don’t want a
40-year-old in their basement.
He Flies Under the Gaydar. He’s the…
18 | APRIL 2016 • BEATROUTE FILM
searching for the meaning of pop culture in the discount bin
Santigold has subverted the viral marketing machine on latest album 99cents.
On the phone cozied up in the bunk of
her tour bus, Santi White 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. 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 things that 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. White’s youthful ability
to get excited and find the fun 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 issue’s impact on her life
and career as a musician. “[Y]ou’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
photo: Christelle de Castro
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
from a challenge, she decided to tackle the monstrous
issue head on and full-force by utilizing every
social media tool at her disposal - no matter how foreign
or challenging it may be. From Tumblr Q&As to
Instagram interviews, her intentions went far beyond
typical self-promotion or simply playing along with
the game. “[I]t’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,
by Thalia Stopa
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 utilize
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 Myself.”
For all of its weightiness, 99cents is still an upbeat,
sometimes candy-sweet and ultimately danceable
pop production riddled with influences from rock to
reggae. White’s range of influences come from being
raised in a family of music lovers, and seeing artists
like James Brown and Fela Kuti perform in her youth.
These days, White is clearly frustrated by the unrealistic
expectations that the proliferance of what she
refers to as “corporation artists” puts on the average
musician. For instance, recently the last-minute expectation
for Santigold to orchestrate a three-storeyhigh
video projection for a private gig is the perfect
example of what White and her peers are up against.
“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 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 during her
recent daytime television debut on The Ellen DeGeneres
Show. From the album work of 2012’s Master
of My Make-Believe to her hands-on approach to
everything from video and art direction to music
production and post-production. 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. 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
Santigold plays Flames Central in Calgary on April 13th.
Quality Traditional Tattooing
#402 815 1 st Street S.W. Calgary, Alberta
Black Diamond Tattoo Studio
20 | APRIL 2016 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE
alt-rock group debut EP ‘Wanna Know The Secret?’
Songwriter and frontman Chris Naish says the
name of his alternative-rock band Scratch
Buffalo is a secret. “Even the other guys in the
band don’t know the meaning of the name.” What
we do know about Scratch Buffalo is that they’ve
been playing gigs since 2014. The group consists of
Naish on guitar and vocals, Mark Straub on drums,
and Scott Wildeman on bass. Each of them are
music aficionados who have spent a good sum of
their years scouring a selection of albums, from
rock-n-roll to post-hardcore to good ol’ guitar
driven blues. Their music brings all of these genres
to Calgary’s indie-garage-rock scene, and after two
years of fiddling with tunes and jamming them out
at this venue and that venue, they’ve finally come
out with the culmination of those efforts: debut EP
Wanna Know The Secret?
While the debut doesn’t unveil the secret behind
the band’s name, it grinds and grooves through six
tracks, which are thoughtful in lyricism and lively
in composition. “To me, I always think that we’re
like sort of ‘60s garage meets ‘70s glam rock with
singer-songwriter-y lyrics,” explains Naish. In this vein,
opening track “Kick It Out” kicks the EP off with the
steady beat of Straum’s drums, swells with Wildeman’s
bass groove, and comes to life with Naish’s pronounced
guitar and escalating vocals. It’s gonna be a
rock ‘n’ roll record, that’s no secret, and as the second
DEATH FROM ABOVE 1979
making the Canadian Tuxedo a peacekeeper’s uniform
It’s not every day that Death From Above 1979 puts out a new
album. In fact, 10 years elapsed between the release of You’re a
Woman, I’m a Machine (2004) and the Toronto two-piece’s most
recent LP The Physical World (2014). Disbanded between 2006 and
2011, guitarist/keyboardist Jesse F. Keeler and drummer/vocalist
Sebastien Grainger had plenty of time to work out their individual
ambitions, including Keeler’s side-project MSTRKRFT, before
returning to the drawing board to draft up the adolescent fervor and
streetwise charisma of The Physical World. Somewhat daunted by
a spate of cancelled dates last summer, “Due to some super unsexy
bureaucratic immigration/visa issues,” the pair was more determined
than ever to bring their long-awaited album to the people.
“We knew we wanted to come across Canada again in support of
Scratch Buffalo takes cues from different corners of rock on new release.
track “Why D’Ya Leave” hits your ears, it is impossible
to keep your head from bobbin’ up-and-down. The
distinct, and instantly catchy chorus exemplifies
Scratch Buffalo’s ability to create danceable tunes,
and it wasn’t even their only hook in the book.
“When we were recording, we had three or four
different melodies kickin’ around for the chorus of
‘Why D’Ya Leave,’” notes Naish, “and so we were like
‘which one is the best one? That one. Okay, let’s just
do that.’” That’s what distinguishes their groove. Their
music lives in the essence of their own instantaneity.
DFA’s Sebastien Grainger reflects on Paris tragedy while prepping for co-headlining tour.
our latest record. We also wanted to do it bigger, something a bit more
exciting. So, when the opportunity came up to go out on tour with the
Eagles of Death Metal, we jumped at it right away!”
Although accustomed to the unpredictable nature of stringing
together an international run of live shows, the DFA (as they are affectionately
called) was left speechless when, on November 13th, 2015,
their potential tour mates Eagles of Death Metal were caught up in the
horrific ISIL terrorist attacks on Paris’s legendary Bataclan Theatre.
“We had actually confirmed all of the dates and the venues the day
before the Paris attacks. So, you can imagine the kind of absurdity and
abstractness of that situation. The insanity that was that event, that is
still that event, is hard to digest,” says Grainger. “It’s so much bigger than
real life in a sense. When it occurred, my initial feeling was like everything
photo: Janelle Wildeman
“We’re kind of crazy about that sort of thing – trial
and error,” asserts Naish. “Not having a finished, 100
per cent perfected piece, but more like a ‘this is what’s
happening right now, this is what’s going on, this is
what we sound like now’ piece.”
Having caught the ear of the listener within their
first two tracks, third, fourth, and fifth track come
together as a triad of compositions that exhibit the
trio’s musical ability. “Funeral In The Streets” is poignant
in its surreal lyricism; “Get Sick” is characterized
by a distinct surf-melody; and “I Know Your Name”
by Hannah Many Guns
embodies the group’s foundation of rock ‘n’ roll.
Finishing off strong, the album’s standout track “Black
Water” brings us back to the early ‘70s blues revival.
The hard-hitting arrangement will have your head
nodding along with their bashing guitar, smashing
cymbals, dashing solos, and Naish’s impassioned
If you really want to get a good idea of what the
group has to offer, check out one of their live shows.
“I’m a big fan of Iggy & The Stooges,” says Naish. “I
heard that when they were first starting out they
would write two minutes of a song and then they
could go for 45 minutes because the last whatever
amount of the song was all just improvised. I thought
that was a cool idea, and I put that into my songs. So
when we play live, we’ve got chunks that are improvised.
It goes verse, chorus, verse, chorus, that’s always
the same. But then we’ve got this one chunk right
here, and that could go on for three minutes or 10
minutes, whatever we want. There’s chunks that we
can just go crazy in. But it isn’t a jam band sorta thing,
there’s always somewhere we can go back to.”
Learn Scratch Buffalo’s secrets at their album release
party April 7th with openers Highwind and All Hands On
Jane. They’ll be rockin’ it on Broken City’s intimate stage,
so be sure to come out and listen to the trio the way
they’re meant to be heard: live.
by Christine Leonard
was a bit futile. Like, ‘Well, what’s the point of doing this?’ was one of the
emotions I went through. Because it seemed so banal. It was a rock show.
And, rock and roll hasn’t been a dangerous medium for a long time. It’s
very absurd that this kind of event would bring danger back to rock and
roll, but in the worst sense.”
Undeterred by the lingering threat of violence, DFA and EODM
remain committed to taking their rightful place onstage and giving
audiences the entertainment experience of a lifetime. Sharing a mutual
appreciation for the outpouring of support they’ve received from friends
and fans around the globe, the two bands hope to bring peace and the
joy of boogieing down to whoever needs an injection of positivity in
their life. As Grainger sings on The Physical World track “Always On,” “I’ve
been losin’ sleep; Just keepin’ up with what’s become; Reachin’ out for
something else; When all I want is love.”
“It’s a very weird and difficult thing for me to talk about; I’m not
fearful. I really don’t think there should be any concern. It didn’t change
anything. I don’t think it can or should. You also can’t live your life that
way. Without going into any of the feelings that the Eagles of Death Metal
have about it and their experience, which is unfathomable, it’s almost
too much to talk about. I hope this tour is a good experience for them,
I can’t imagine it’s very easy – even on the flipside of the fallout of the
whole event there’s also the high positive emotion that they experience
at shows now must be overwhelming.”
Noting that Arcade Fire once issued a benediction that their fans
should dress up, in formal attire or costumes, for their Reflektor arena
tour, Grainger portends that an all-denim choice of attire might be the
uniform that sweeps the audience at their upcoming fêtes. As he put it
in DFA 1979’s official press release, “Canada, get ready for real rock and
roll and wear your tuxedos.”
“I’m wearing one right now, actually. A Canadian Tuxedo dress code
might not a bad idea, maybe I’ll try to tweet that out. That’d be incredible.
Wow, imagine that.”
Death From Above 1979 perform alongside Eagles of Death Metal at, at
the Shaw Conference Centre in Edmonton on April 28th, at the Grey Eagle
Casino in Calgary on April 29th, at O’Brian’s Event Centre in Saskatoon on
April 30th and at the Burton Cummings Theatre in Winnipeg on May 1st.
22 | APRIL 2016 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE
Canadian power pop vets reissue ‘One Chord To Another’
by Mike Dunn
Sloan looks back on decades of power pop ahead of One Chord To Another anniversary tour.
With the inherent challenges of touring
in Canada, the long drives between
destinations and the often unpredictable
weather that can accompany those drives, a
Canadian band that can claim an uninterrupted
history of 25+ years is a rare one indeed, and as
Sloan head out on an extensive Western Canada
tour to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their
album One Chord To Another, guitar player Jay
Ferguson remarks that, while some fans have come
and gone over their two-and-a-half decades, some
are just finding the band now.
“Even when we were starting out, our audiences
were really young. So we see some familiar faces when
we’re on tour, though some people have kids or jobs
really early in the morning and don’t go see shows at
all anymore, but when we supporting our last record
[2014’s Commonwealth], there were these young kids,
like 14, 15, coming up and telling us they’d recently
heard us for the first time, and were really into seeing
us play. It’s kind of cool to see the audience come
around full circle like that.”
One Chord to Another, which included the hits
“The Good in Everyone” and “Everything You’ve Done
Wrong” is getting the deluxe reissue treatment for
its 20th anniversary, a three-disc vinyl box set that
includes the album, a second disc that includes studio
outtakes, demos, and B-sides from the sessions, a 7”
of demos, a 32-page book, and a third full-length disc
Ferguson describes as “The Sloan Party Album.”
“It’s like an homage to The Beach Boys Party Album
they put out in 1966. At the time, our label wanted to
offer a U.S.-only bonus disc with the CD, so we had a
bunch of friends come into the studio, and we played
a bunch of songs we loved, some bands like The
Modern Lovers, Stereolab, Roxy Music. We’re adding
it to the reissue, because it was only available in the
One Chord To Another got a big part of its distinctive,
White Album-like sound more out of necessity
than anything. “We didn’t have a lot of money, even
with the success of Twice Removed,” Ferguson recalls.
“What we ended up doing was recording all the
drums to a cassette four-track in our rehearsal space
back in Halifax, and took those tracks to the studio to
lay the rest of the parts down on them. Our producer
and engineer, Lawrence Currie, specifically told us that
the liner notes had to read ‘Drums recorded by Sloan’,
because at the time, he wasn’t keen on that sound,
and thought we should just lay them down again
in the studio. I imagine he’s alright with them at this
The album features all the Sloan hallmarks: clever,
idiosyncratic songwriting, tight harmonies with nods
to The Everly Brothers, Jayhawks, and Beach Boys, and
propulsive guitar jangle suggesting not only the strong
influence of Lennon and Harrison, but some Exile-era
Keith Richards, and the gritty glam lines of Mick
Ronson as well.
The band plans to feature One Chord To Another
from start to finish in the first set of their shows,
after which they’ll take a small break before coming
out for a second set featuring many of the hits from
their catalogue, as well as fan favourites. “It’s interesting
to have been around such a long time,” says
Ferguson. “A lot of the bands we came up with are
gone, and we’ve been really lucky to be able to stay
together and make a living being in this band. We’ve
been fortunate, and we’re grateful to have been
together this long.”
Sloan makes extensive stops in Western Canada
including the Pyramid Cabaret in Winnipeg on April
9th, the Broadway Theatre in Saskatoon on April 10th,
the Needle Vinyl Tavern in Edmonton on April 15th,
Marquee in Calgary on April 16th and the Imperial
Theatre in Vancouver on April 20th. Many more dates
can be found online.
BEATROUTE • APRIL 2016 | 23
THE BLACK MAMBA TALES
drumming up ‘Beluga Droid’ from the smoky void
The Black Mamba Tales send fuzzy vibrations with Beluga Droid.
Beluga Droid was once an inside joke that
became a strangely appropriate album title
for prairie fuzz rockers The Black Mamba
Tales (TBMT). Their raw and rugged style was
birthed in smoke-filled garages many moons ago,
first in the form of band Dirty Zane, then Broken
Therapy, and now as the dangerous and deadly
photo: Darrel Richards
Cam James and Mark Peters recorded, produced,
and engineered Beluga Droid, their third
album, all on their own, and are proud of what
came about in the process. James describes being
inspired by everything from “time and space in
relative dimension,” to “historical events like the
war of 1812,” as well as “weed, electronics, bigotry
and politics,” and as with most musicians, “the
by Willow Grier
deaths of Lemmy and Bowie.”
“I tried to be a bit more poetic and graceful
with my lyrics compared to our other works,” he
explains. “It also describes a more hectic time in
our lives as we grow older and realize the everyday
hurdles of modern life,” he continues.
The hands-on duo has plans to release the album
“fully independently, and plan to expose the
record to as many college radio stations, music
blogs, newspapers, arcades, bowling alleys and
music directors as possible.”
Their grassroots, no-frills approach to “fuzzy,
faded rock and roll” is mirrored by their live show,
which changes night to night with “different
instrumentation and changing tempos.” Creating
as they go, TBMT are partially motivated by the
scene that bore them. “There is a certain vibe
around the summer months in Calgary that is
unbeatable,” says James. “Sled Island, Folk Fest and
Lilac Festival...it’s all so amazing.”
While this inspired evolution of sound may
include a “completely random [album] name that
was brought to us by the smoky muse and we
were only its humble medium,” as James describes
the birth of Beluga Droid, the sonic stew had
been brewing for some time. Robotic sea-dwellers
or not, TBMT “hope to make people dance.” As
James concludes, “We want to send these vibrations
throughout the cosmos.”
Catch The Black Mamba Tales’ album release with
The Silkstones and The Archaics on Friday, May 6th
at Broken City.
ex-Risky Endeavor member finds Melody in Memory
The breakup of a band can be a pretty traumatic time. Much like a
romantic partnership, musical relationships have deep roots within the
lives of those involved. And for a conclusion to be reached, there is a
sizeable amount of emotional reorganizing and coping to be done before one
can move on. For Cale Michael, that reorganizing came in the form of a road
trip to the West Coast, where he not only was able to put things into perspective
after the ending of a musical project, but add fuel to a new one.
Michael used to front Calgary punk outfit Risky Endeavor, before the group’s
mutual breakup in May of last year. While the decision took some time to get used
to, it did allow Michael to pay more attention to what he labeled “back burner
songs.” He elaborates, “I had been writing a bunch of songs near the end that just
didn’t fit our sound so I’d just play them at home.” Moving more towards alt-country,
Michael’s new direction is quite a departure from Risky Endeavor’s style. “Before
it was all about being as wild as possible onstage and screaming at the absolute top
of my lungs,” he recalls. “[Now,] being the sole songwriter, I am able to explore each
song idea to its full potential and make the most out of what I have.”
Melody in Memory is the title of Michael’s first solo release, and he describes
it as “a concept album….and pretty much a love letter to Vancouver, where [he]
had travelled after Risky broke up as sort of a recovery process for [his] soul.” After
writing the song “Coastline” on the ferry from Vancouver Island back to the mainland,
Michael came to the realization that he had to stop “running away from [his]
problems and face them head on.”
Inspired by crossover acts like Frank Turner and The Constantines, as well as
local folk punk talent and friends Bryan Michael and Sean Hamilton, Michael
honed his brand of “roots driven alt country mixed with raucous folk punk” weekly
at Calgary event Rockin’ 4 Dollar$.
Then Michael enlisted the help of friends Jason Bradley (Flowshine, Hopethorns,
Trevor Algurie) on drums, Dylan S. Keating (The Nix Dicksons, Tanner James) on
pedal steel, and co-producer Wil Moralda who contributed “lots of ear candy with
keys and lead parts,” to round out his sound.
With a completed album, Cale Michael hopes to share his revelations with the
Calgary scene he feels has welcomed him with open arms, and reach the rest of
Cale Michael finds his happy place with a new solo project.
by Willow Grier
photo: Keith Skrastins
Western Canada with a summer tour. “It gives me the ability to express myself in
ways that I never could before. When I’m in the zone on stage where everything
just locks in, I feel at peace inside. It’s my form of Zen.”
Melody in Memory will be released online on April 8th. Catch Cale Michael performing
the songs live with The Statistics and Fear the Mammoth in Edmonton at Cafe
Blackbird on April 9th. A limited run of physical copies will also be available.
24 | APRIL 2016 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE
local basement-recorders contribute to Calgary’s music scene
Lab Coast has been on the radar of many
local music lovers since 2008. Their free-spirited
sound has been honed through their
inventive home-recorded method. Recording in
their own space gives them the control and the
ease to follow their own process. When recording,
the band members often write and record
parts on the spot, seeing no necessity for demos.
Inspired by the local music scene, the band tends
to collaborate and socialize with Calgary artists.
Multi-instrumentalist Chris Dadge, in speaking
to BeatRoute, says that he and the band tend to
enjoy listening to and gain inspiration from musicians
who utilize similar recording equipment
and technology to them.
Remember the Moon, the band’s fourth LP,
which is set to be released April 29th, utilizes the
plethora of instruments left in their recording
space by other local musicians and friends. While
David Laing, lead vocalist for the band, experiments
with saxophone and keyboard, Dadge creates
riffs with string instruments and fabricates
unique sounds with effect sodden percussion.
Since they always have weird instruments laying
around, it is easy and tempting to include an array
of them in their music, which they did in their
latest LP. For Dadge, screwing around with all of
the different instruments is, “a great time, it’s one
of the things that makes [being a musician] a lot
of fun for me.”
Laing and Dadge are the songwriting virtuosos
behind the Lab Coast albums. Dadge speaks
Lab Coast are hitting the road in support of new album Remember The Moon.
about the importance of objective listening after
completing songs in order to see whether or not
the product is worth listening to. He hopes that
to some, the band’s music will feel like an addictive,
irresistible drug. In talking to BeatRoute, he
photo: Cody Oliver
says he “would like if [listeners] would feel like
playing it again and again and again, to be something
that becomes almost like you need a hit of
it or something.” Whether the need to replay the
music is driven by melody or something textural,
by Robyn Welsh
Dadge believes that an important aspect of music
is the ability of something within it to speak to
the listener. Lab Coast has achieved this through
their wistful and melancholic musical aspects
that often evoke a visceral response in listeners -
making them want to replay the songs.
Lab Coast’s recently released music video for
‘Bored Again’ treads new water. In the video, the
band plays on the deck of an indoor pool while
lane swimmers complete their lessons. The video
was directed by Sara Jean Hughes, lead vocalist
for Calgary band Pre Nup, in which Dadge plays
in the live incarnation. According to Noisey, Sara
Jean Hughes said, “I’ve always been obsessed with
the dim lighting of old, rundown swimming pools
and have been looking for the right project to
film in one. The song ‘Bored Again’ complements
this perfectly - it’s a fun pop song with a tinge of
sadness.” The video features underwater shots of
swimmers gliding through water and is the first
Lab Coast music video that the band was directly
involved in making.
Lab Coast has been refining their sound for
years, and Remember the Moon is a welcome
addition to their nuanced catalogue.
Lab Coast are touring in support of the release, with
stops in Edmonton at 9910 on May 5th, Calgary at
The Palomino on May 6th, Lethbridge as part of Electric
Eye on May 12th, Regina at O’Hanlons Pub on
May 13th and Winnipeg at The Handsome Daughter
on May 14th.
talking punk rock and politics
First off, let’s get one thing straight: Anti-Flag isn’t
anti-government, they’re simply anti-war.
Hailing from Pittsburgh and banding together
in the early ‘90s, Anti-Flag have become militants in
the punk rock community. The quick, upbeat tempos
draw you in and the loud, scratchy vocals keep you
coming back. But Anti-Flag’s lyrics are what really pack
the punch – blunt, and only interested in facts. Since
the start and over a dozen albums later, they’re still
spreading their message of empathy and unity. All while
lending their support to many worthy human rights
causes along the way.
Although Anti-Flag has been busy, they haven’t
toured Western Canada in almost a decade. We decided
to catch up with the band and enlisted the insight of
long-time bassist, Chris Barker (affectionately dubbed
Chris #2), to discuss anniversaries, their Canadian tour
and of course, politics.
Let’s look back. 2016 marks the anniversary of three
massive Anti-Flag albums: 20 years for Die for Your
Government, 15 years for Underground Network, and
10 years for Blood & Empire.
“Those anniversaries come and go for us as a band,
but we are curating the set lists to be really heavy on
those three records,” says Barker. “We’re also playing
a ton of covers to kind of demonstrate that everyone
in the room found punk rock somehow. Kind of like,
‘here are a few songs that inspired us to pick up these
instruments in the first place.’”
Canadian fans are heavily anticipating this tour, but
why did it take so long for Anti-Flag to return?
“For a while we were trying consistently to find as
many new places to tour as possible. But with the last
record, American Spring (2015), we felt like it was the
most important Anti-Flag record released in a really
long time. So we made a conscious effort to go back
to places that we’ve toured in the past. It was really
by Sarah Mac
important to us, we really wanted to make sure we got
back to those places that we really cut our teeth on,”
Since this is Anti-Flag, it was inevitable that we’d
have some discussion about politics. “It’s a tumultuous
time in the world right now, not just for America,” says
Barker. “But we’ve always felt it’s our band’s job and
duty to go out there and share ideas of empathy and
compassion and let people know that we [Americans]
aren’t all gun-toting Texans like George W. Bush, and
we all aren’t immigrant-hating, blind nationalists like
Donald Trump,” he continues.
This is not an easy message to spread - especially as
of late – but Anti-Flag’s determination and enthusiasm
“Recently it’s been interesting because of the divisiveness
of politics globally, there’s one extreme to another,
which is a good thing. Things tend to stay the same
whenever the decision-making process seems safe and
people are apathetic and not engaged on both sides.
Lately, you find more people paying attention to ideas
of activism and leaving things better than how they
While this may be true from a broader perspective,
when it comes to his home soil, Barker is aware of the
political turbulence his country’s going through.
“I do keep coming back to the idea that we [Americans]
get the presidents that we deserve. So if Donald
Trump gets elected then perhaps that’s what America
deserves in this point in time in history.
“But I’m an optimist. If I wasn’t, I wouldn’t be in a
shitty punk rock band.”
THE RECKLESS HEROES
cutting ties to reach the highs
The Reckless Heroes release their long overdue album this month.
by Jonathan Lawrence
photo: Jonathan Lawrence
After two years of vague answers and In 2016 the band was able to cut ties with
unfulfilled promises from their independent
label, The Reckless Heroes pressing and distribution of the album. Now
the label and completely self-finance the
have finally released their aptly-named third that the worst is behind them, they are collectively
album, Losing Faith in Everything.
determined to remain positive and
I sat down with the guys at the eclectic Palomino
can finally make light of the situation.
Smokehouse, a favourite venue among “There were, complications,” Semenoff
Calgary music lovers, and one of the many bars quips, pausing for comedic effect, and everyone
and clubs around the city where the punk-andmetal
laughs at the dramatic understatement.
Anti-Flag are touring nearly ever corner of Western
influenced band has made their mark. “Musically, we’re getting better,” Towill
Canada in April and May. Select dates include April 18th We ordered beer and the guys related several says, sipping his pint. “Things are always going
at Venue in Vancouver, May 4th at the Starlite Room in humourous tour stories over poutine; laughter
up for us.” The Reckless Heroes have a lot
Edmonton and May 6th at The Gateway in Calgary. erupts when they recall an incident with a missing
to be proud of: they’ve toured throughout
pillow. “We did a cross-country tour and Canada several times, made a professional
didn’t kill each other,” Kevin Towill, the band’s music video, and opened for the Cancer
frontman, says with a grin.
Bats in 2015, one of their biggest influences.
The group formed in 2009 by existing members
Additionally, the guys book their own
Kevin Towill (guitar/vocals) and Chris tours and do their own promotion, and are
Saunders (guitar), yet several line-up changes currently working on a split album with hardcore
kept the band on its toes until 2012 when
punk band Western Death set for a July
Danny Daigle (bassist/co-vocalist) and Nolan release. Now without a label, they are happily
Semenoff (drums/the “sass”), who had joined independent and only work for each other.
a year prior, completed the final picture.
“It’s still a struggle,” Saunders jokes.
Taking their collective influences of Propagandhi,
For all their success, the Heroes know
Rise Against and early AFI, the band who they are and what they want. “Being in
began writing music seriously and crafting a band doesn’t pay,” Towill says. They each
their iconic look: striped ties and bullet belts; agree, knowing that, either way, they are
an emblem of their professional-meets-punk pursuing their passion - or as Semenoff puts
attitude. Determined to set themselves apart it, hopefully “not having to work a day job”.
from static rock bands, they put their focus For now, it’s clear that they are having a blast
into entertaining and having a memorable drinking beer and eating poutine, ribbing
stage presence. “We want to put on a show,” each other and swapping old tour stories.
Daigle says in earnest.
Chris Saunders dryly remarks: “We’re just
However, it hasn’t been all sunshine for everyday, normal guys who are crazy enough
the band. The guys share the grief they to pay to be in a band.”
experienced for nearly two years from
The Reckless Heroes new album, which
their now-former independent label that was intended to be released in the summer
they say essentially stripped them of their of 2014, will finally be available in April with
investments and left them without answers an official CD release show alongside other
or a final product, despite having finished punk acts Me Three and Foul English. Sorry
recording at the studio. The band also had Axl, this might just be the most overdue
to deal with hype surrounding the album album of all time.
and constant questions from fans on its
whereabouts, but the guys were just as in the Catch The Reckless Heroes album release show
dark as their supporters. Daigle recalled the at Broken City with Me Three and Foul English
photo: Megan Thompson
awkwardness they experienced from having on April 21st. They’ll also perform in Lethbridge
to tour without a physical album to promote. at Moose Hall on April 22nd.
26 | APRIL 2016 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE
Anti-Flag are set to embark on the cheekily titled Make Canada Great Again Tour this spring.
living in a small town world
Parks over by Craigie Dam and turns off the ignition
Turns on the radio and chews a plug of Copenhagen
From here the city looks like a star that fell across the horizon
Doesn’t seem to know, and just keeps on shining
by B. Simm
Listening to the wistful, country-sweet voice of Jenny Kost, lead vocalist
for The Collapse, it’s hard to imagine that she sings stories not far
removed from the crown jewel of karaoke hits, “Don’t Stop Believing.”
Then again, the tale of small town girls living in a lonely world has some
deep underpinnings that we all recognize on and off the karaoke stand.
The original lineup of The Collapse, drafted by good pals John Hadley
and Ken Price, featured vocals from all four members, one of which was a
better vocalist than the others. But when that particular person gave up
the band, Hadley says they were left with “three mediocre singers, that
had various orders of ability who weren’t super interested in getting good
at singing.” Faced with a mediocre outlook they were open to suggestions
and other options.
“Jenny had a theatre background,” says Hadley. “She sang in musicals,
she was in the Martyr Index for awhile. We’d go to karaoke and she’d get
up on stage and get a standing ovation singing Pat Benatar, Meat Loaf or
something like that.”
Once recruited, she took the songs Hadley and Price had written and
generated a fresh, new feel and interpretation. Although the intention
wasn’t to reinvent The Collapse, with Kost as lead vocalist it definitely
propelled them into being a superior alt-country outfit.
We’ve finally crossed the finish line: Spring is officially upon
us and it’s time to end our hibernation and see some goddamn
shows. The first weekend of the month is chock full
of emergent Canadian talent thanks to JUNOfest, but if you’re reading
this, it’s too late. That sentence is the closest thing you’ll get to Drake
at the JUNOs. Regardless, you have no excuse to stay home this month.
Let’s start it off with a little hip hop — RIP Phife Dawg! Perhaps the
most influential local platform for developing hip-hop and R&B artists,
10@10 turns 55 this month. Damn, they must be doing something
right if they’ve put on this many showcases of up-and-coming artists.
Take a little time to embrace community on April 6th at Commonwealth.
Another milestone on our list is Hang The DJ’s sixth anniversary. If
you like to keep it O.G. goth and weird as can be, you must have been
to at least one instance of Calgary’s dankest DJ night. Acquaint yourself
with the darker side of dance tunes both new and old on April 9th at
If it seems like there’s a disproportionate amount of folk punk going
on this month, chalk it up to three sets by Edmonton’s screamingly
sincere Old Towns. He’s got a show at The Palomino on April 15th and
two sets on the 16th at the Ship and Pizza Bob’s.
April 17th is for you, pop-punk fans. The Story So Far and Comeback
Kid are gonna be filling with you angst at Marquee. Not a bad
excuse to break out the cargo shorts and teenage hormones.
April 19th might be this columnist’s birthday, but much more
importantly is the day that the inexplicable Fefe Dobson plays Flames
Hadley grew up in Olds, Alberta, a cozy little community, population
8,000, 45 minutes north of Calgary on Highway 2. He moved to Calgary,
completed a degree in English and began writing songs with The Collapse
that drew heavily from his rural roots.
“We were really into the Drive-By Truckers. They influenced us writing
about the South as a complicated place. We were trying to write
about Alberta as complicated place with that similarity.”
Who Knows How It All Happens, recently released by The Collapse, is
a small town, soul-searching, existential-probing collection of songs that
move free and easy on the surface, but are far more complex when you
latch onto the lyrics. Both Hadley and Price tap into self-reflective moods
where their characters gaze into the wilderness and wonderment of reality
and then struggle with what they can’t grasp about all that wonder.
In “Distant Craigie Dam” a husband spends some alone time watching
big city lights blaze away, while his wife knows where he’s wondered off
From her bed Sarah hears him throw a rope over the towing winch
And drag the fence post driver back into the shed
Fires up old Gus and sneaks out the driveway
She know where he goes every now and then
photo: Andrew Arthur
M83 performs in Calgary in support of his weird new album Junk.
Is everything that people feel happening inside that little light
What would happen if that light went out
Do they do the things they do every day
It all looks so small from this far away
All it takes is time, for restless minds
All it times is time, to ease those troubled eyes
Tries to wash the taste out of his mouth with Listerine
Crawls into bed and Sarah asks him where he’s been
“Honey do you think it’s funny we’re trapped in flesh and bone?”
She kisses him on the cheek and says, “Baby go to sleep”
“That’s a straight up Ken song,” notes Hadley. It’s about grabbling with
the meaning of life, what’s the purpose?” While subtle, the song also
peels back layers of self-identity questioning what we do and don’t know
“I really like the idea that this guy doesn’t have a name, but his wife
does,” says Hadley pointing out the wife’s confidence and reassurance.
“And there’s so many ways you can interpret that last line of the song
where she says, ‘Baby go to sleep.’ It’s a simple loving, comforting gesture.
But it’s also something that’s she’s seen with him a thousand times before.
She knows what he’s thinking, where he’s been and tells him, ‘It’s okay,
baby. Just go to sleep.’”
The songs and circumstances on Who Knows How It All Happens are
something that Hadley envisioned as happening in the same place, the
same region, the same small town. Although reflective and thematic,
it’s not an album full of quiet ballads. On the contrary. In addition to
the sprawling soundscapes shaped by big country chords, The Collapse
churn out no-holds-barred rockers, shoe-gazing walls of feedback, some
broken-down Dixieland with a sophisticated horn-section along with
their very own fifth Beatle, Lorrie Matheson, who provides layers of soulful
keyboards to what is perhaps one of the most intelligent, articulate and
captivating records to come out of this neck of the woods for quite some
time. The Collapse have risen.
Catch The Collapse at Pizza Bobs with Liquor Mountain Sat., April 30.
Central. I don’t really remember what her mid-2000s hit was called,
but I definitely know she’s representative of what the Canadian music
industry will tolerate.
4/20 is the international day of blazing all of your reefer. Drugs are
cool! So counter-cultural. There are plenty of places for Caucasians to
display their dreads with the indignant pride that can only come from
privilege on this day. I’d suggest seeing the Body of Light show at The
Palomino, but you could also head to the Grey Eagle for Collective
Soul or keep it casual at the (BeatRoute staff-affiliated) edition of
Rockin’ 4 Dollar$ at Broken City.
Did y’all know that Calgary has a big old link to Broken Social Scene?
One of our own, Lisa Lobsinger, became a touring and recording
vocalist for them shortly after their self-titled came out. She’s been in
Toronto for a minute, but she’s going to be back in town her amazingly
named new project Laser. It doesn’t hurt that Calgarian JUNO
nominees AM Static will be there too. Stop by The Palomino on the
22nd to check it out.
I feel like it’s a been a while since we saw Vancouver’s Tough Age. If
I were you, I’d take the opportunity to see them at the Palomino with
the always good Napalmpom, Blü Shorts and Power Buddies on the
Also that night is a huge show at the Grey Eagle on the 30th. Weirdo
French-pop phenom M83 is in town to support his vaguely vaporwave
album Junk. He made the soundtracks for a Tom Cruise
movie and slayed the festival circuit, so expect it to be a time.
• Colin Gallant
BEATROUTE • APRIL 2016 | 27
BOOK OF BRIDGE
the scene exists, and it wants you
by Courtney Creator
AN ANT AND AN ATOM
Lethbridge scene is here. It exists, and
people don't realize it exists," says Sean
Warkentine, music director of CKXU 88.3
FM, Lethbridge's community/campus radio station.
"I've only been discovering how here it is."
The scene may seem small, but it's strong, and
full of creators who are constantly contributing to
the growing culture of Lethbridge.
A pinnacle in the Lethbridge music scene is the
Electric Eye Music Festival, taking place this May
11-15. Coordinators James Phelan and Eric Sharp
started the festival in 2014, inspired by festivals
they admire, such as Sled Island.
"The vision of the festival has always been to
highlight the emerging acts and showcase artists
within the region," says Sharp. "This year we'll
expand it across five days, and bring in more artists
that we love, that we want to see here."
What began as a one day, by donation event, has
grown to 50 bands, playing at 6 different venues
across the city, for "the ridiculously affordable"
price of $60, which will also get you an Electric Eye
compilation tape of 2015's live recordings.
Last year Viet Cong and Chad VanGaalen opened
the festival on Thursday night, setting up music
lovers for a weekend of melodious bliss. This year's
Wednesday, be sure to catch Striker, well-established
hair metal tongue-in-cheek fun time party
band. Thursday will be nostalgic with David Bowie's
incarnate, Johnny de Courcy, as well as Vancouver
garage pop band Painted Fruit. Friday you can party
with Napalmpom, righteous riff-rock from Calgary,
and Saturday it gets hot with the Freak Heat Waves.
To see the full list of bands, and to purchase
tickets, go to eemusicfest.com.
This year's festival is expanding beyond musical
acts to include 'Castrati: An Electro Drag Opera'
hosted by Theatre Outré, a pop-up art gallery at
the city's newest venue Attainable Records and the
first ever YQL Anarchist Book Fair.
Emmy MacDonald, the initial organizer of the
Anarchist Book Fair, is excited to bring her favourite
parts of anarchism to Lethbridge, such as information
about free press and co-housing, while taking
an intersectional, feminist approach to make the
event more accessible.
"I wanted to do it, but do it differently, and Lethbridge
is a good place to do that," says MacDonald.
"I feel like the community here is really supportive
about new ideas and really willing to get excited
Anarchy workshops, a comic panel with Eric
Dyck and Stacey Bru, and keynote speaker Michael
Truscello, associate professor at Mount Royal University,
will take place on Saturday, May 14. " I hope
that it will really get people connected more than
anything," says MacDonald. "We're all doing our
own things, and maybe we could join together."
Collaboration is key in our intimate community.
Mechaela Marr, art director at Attainable Records,
is hosting an art exhibit for Electric Eye, asking people
to interpret what the festival and music means
to them. To submit artwork, email firstname.lastname@example.org
by April 30.
Attainable Records is a non-profit, artist run,
volunteer led art and music venue initiated by University
of Lethbridge Digital Audio Arts students
Owen Campeau, Duncan Metcalfe, and Connor
HD, who were later joined by art history major
"Whatever we can do for the betterment of arts
and culture in Lethbridge," says Campeau, "is exactly
what we want the end goal to be."
"[We're just] building on top of the community
that already exists here," says Marr.
Electric Eye is an annual multi-venue arts and music
fest that takes place May 11-15. For more information
go to eemusicfest.com.
Weird Distro Tour
Attainable Records (Lethbridge, AB)
February 20, 2016
Rolling through the cold darkness on my long board to the street with music underground.
It's not really winter in the south, a snowless February. This venue is new to the city and to
me, but I know I've reached my obscure destination by the trio of silver boots and glittery
faces crossing the empty pavement to 314, 'Attainable Records' printed on the glowing
glass door between a bridal shop and a couch store.
Downstairs. Vibrations inviting. The weirdos are here. Weird Canada, on tour, moving
their headquarters from Ontario to Victoria, is visiting communities along the way, sharing
sounds of eclectic Canadian artists encapsulated in revived formats of records and tapes.
The melody of keys and smooth bluesy vocals juxtaposed with moody electric strings
of a hungry guitar flows into my eardrums and I'm feeling gold. Saint St., a newly emerged
four-piece local band sets the opening tone for the evening with class.
Energy rises as Divorce Court, pop-punk darlings, also fresh to the scene, scream and
sweat their set out. The intimate crowd of people, friends and familiar faces, groove with
the infectious bass line, a song sure to be replaying in heads this week.
And as promised, it gets weirder.
Experimental, drone, mystic act Postnamers graces the red-curtained stage with his
disconnecting dance moves and haunting voice, echoing over a looped electronic mystery.
I soak the sounds into my sketchbook, sinking to the floor, a view of twinkling lights
between swaying leg silhouettes.
The energy curves closer as An Ant and an Atom finalizes the night, with the remaining
attendees joining me on the concrete floor to sit in silence to absorb the otherworldly
noises made by a man, a guitar and a computer.
And that's just the opening act to a night of music in YQL. From there your silver boots
walk around the corner to join the rest of your glitter-faced clan in a tribute cover night for
David Bowie. The night is full when you find the music.
• Courtney Creator
28 | APRIL 2016 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE
ART OF THE PRANK
DIRECTOR ANDREA MARINI, UNITED
STATES/ITALY/UNITED KINGDOM, 2015
DIRECTOR CAN EVRENOL, TURKEY,
DIRECTOR ATHINA RACHEL
TSANGARI, GREECE, 2015
DIRECTOR ADAM RIFKIN, UNITED
An emotional and humorous documentary
following the evolution of artist Joey Skaggs.
SATURDAY APRIL 16, 6:30 PM (18+)
SUNDAY APRIL 17, 1:30 PM (ALL AGES)
A squad of unsuspecting cops go through a
trapdoor to Hell when they stumble upon a
Black Mass in an abandoned building.
FRIDAY APRIL 15, 11:59 PM (18+)
In the middle of the Aegean Sea, on a luxury
yacht, six men decide to play an absurdist
game rooted in measuring male antagonism.
THURSDAY APRIL 14, 7:30 PM (18+)
An insane genre-bending cinematic sleight
of hand trick about a cineaste stalker who
kidnaps his favourite actress.
THURSDAY APRIL 14, 7 PM (18+)
DIRECTOR JOSH BISHOP, UNITED
EVERYBODY WANTS SOME!!
DIRECTOR RICHARD LINKLATER,
UNITED STATES, 2016
FIRST GIRL I LOVED
DIRECTOR KEREM SANGA, UNITED
DIRECTOR JESSE THOMAS COOK,
A Dungeons & Dragons DM goes on a
quest to bring his most ambitious miniature
sculpture project to life through Kickstarter.
SUNDAY APRIL 17, 7 PM (18+)
A “spiritual sequel” to DAZED AND
CONFUSED set in the world of 1980s
WEDNESDAY APRIL 13, 7 PM (18+)
Anne falls in love with the popular Sasha,
creating a love traingle with her best friend.
TUESDAY APRIL 12, 9:30 PM (18+)
SUNDAY APRIL 17, 2 PM (ALL AGES)
A chilling horror thriller about two young
women who unwittingly summon a Death
Cult while performing an assisted-suicide.
WEDNESDAY APRIL 13, 10:15 PM (18+)
HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE
JANIS: LITTLE GIRL BLUE
DIRECTOR BEN WHEATLEY, UNITED
DIRECTOR ALEX SIMMONS, UNITED
DIRECTOR TAIKA WAITITI, NEW
DIRECTOR AMY J. BERG, UNITED
A modern skyscraper is a battlefield as the
Two best friends go on a seven-day
WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS director
Oscar® nominated Amy J. Berg presents
social strata crumbles and a literal class war
backpacking trip through Oregon in this
Taika Waititi’s latest follows a defiant city kid
a stunning, insightful portrait of the original
comedic buddy film.
who finds himself on the run in the wild.
“Rock Chick” Janis Joplin.
FRIDAY APRIL 15, 7 PM (18+)
TUESDAY APRIL 12, 7 PM (18+)
SUNDAY APRIL 17, 4:15 PM (18+)
OPENING NIGHT FILM!
MONDAY APRIL 11, 7 PM (18+)
SUNDAY APRIL 17, 6:30 PM (18+)
DIRECTOR HARRISON ATKINS, UNITED
During a drug-fueled weekend with friends,
Ruth has a one-night stand with a ghost.
Soon after, she begins to feel a bit... strange.
SATURDAY APRIL 16, 9:30 PM (18+)
LOVE & PEACE
DIRECTOR SION SONO, JAPAN, 2015
A surreal musical comedy, by acclaimed
Japanese Director Sion Sono, about a man,
his newly found pet turtle and the fate of the
SATURDAY APRIL 16, 9:15 PM (18+)
DIRECTOR AGNIESZKA SMOCZYNSKA,
A Polish 1980s-set musical horror fantasy
about two mermaid sisters.
FRIDAY APRIL 15, 9:45 PM (18+)
SUNDAY APRIL 17, 9 PM (18+)
DIRECTOR ROBERT G. PUTKA, UNITED
A sharp witted family drama about three
women coping with effects of mental illness
on their family.
THURSDAY APRIL 14, 9:30 PM (18+)
PARADISE PERFECT BOAT RESCUE
by KITTY LAMBDA GAMES - CALGARY
MAN VS SNAKE
MEATHEAD GOES HOG WILD
MEN & CHICKEN
DIRECTORS TIM KINZY & ANDREW
SEKLIR, UNITED STATES/CANADA/
A competition doc about the man who set
the record for the highest number of points
ever recorded on an arcade game.
SUNDAY APRIL 17, 3:30 PM (18+)
DIRECTORS KEVIN CLINE, ZACH
HARRIS & SEAN PIERCE, UNITED
A microbudget indie about a 20-something
slacker spiraling out of control.
FRIDAY APRIL 15, 10 PM (18+)
DIRECTOR ANDERS THOMAS JENSEN,
An absurdist Danish comedy starring Mads
Mikkelsen about two misfit brothers.
WEDNESDAY APRIL 13, 7:30 PM (18+)
SUNDAY APRIL 17, 9:30 PM (18+)
DIRECTOR PENNY LANE, UNITED
The story of a doctor who cures impotence
by transplanting goat testicles into men.
WEDNESDAY APRIL 13, 9:45 PM (18+)
SATURDAY APRIL 16, 1:45 PM (ALL AGES)
DIRECTOR TYLER MACINTYRE, UNITED
A dark gory horror comedy about three
women who have been murdered, dissected,
and reassembled into a single person.
SATURDAY APRIL 16, 11:59 PM (18+)
RETROSPECTIVE – LINKLATER: DAZED
DIRECTOR RICHARD LINKLATER,
UNITED STATES, 1993
Richard Linklater’s cult classic about the last
day of school in 1976.
SATURDAY APRIL 16, 4 PM (18+)
RETROSPECTIVE – LINKLATER: SLACKER
DIRECTOR RICHARD LINKLATER,
UNITED STATES, 1991
One of the key films of the American
independent film movement of the 1990s,
directed by Richard Linklater.
SATURDAY APRIL 16, 2 PM (ALL AGES
THE SATURDAY MORNING ALL-YOU-
CAN-EAT-CEREAL CARTOON PARTY!
CURATOR KIER-LA JANISSE, 1940s-
A three-hour trip down memory lane with
a tribute to Saturday morning cartoons,
complete with sugary cereals.
SATURDAY, APRIL 16, 10 AM (ALL AGES)
SHORTS: DARK AND DELICIOUS
SHORTS: STRANGE THINGS ARE AFOOT
UNDER THE SHADOW
VARIOUS COUNTRIES, 2015/16
A wildly dark, fun, disturbing, and gore-ific
mix of horror shorts in a variety of styles,
and sub genres.
THURSDAY APRIL 14, 10 PM (18+)
VARIOUS COUNTRIES, 2015/16
A fun/strange/hilarious mixture of short films
from around the world and in a variety of
SATURDAY APRIL 16, 3:45 PM (18+)
DIRECTOR AARON BROOKNER, UNITED
STATES/UNITED KINGDOM, 2016
The story of filmmaker Howard Brookner
whose portrait of William Burroughs
captured the 1970s/80s cultural revolution.
TUESDAY APRIL 12, 7:30 PM (18+)
DIRECTOR BABAK ANVARI, UNITED
As a mother and daughter struggle to cope
with the terrors of the post-revolution, war
torn Tehran, evil begins to haunt their home.
TUESDAY APRIL 12, 10 PM (18+)
WRECK CITY: AN EPILOGUE FOR 809
DIRECTOR RAMIN ESHRAGHI-YAZDI,
A doc about a ground breaking experiment
where 150 DIY artists turned a block of
houses slated for demolition into art.
FRIDAY APRIL 15, 7:30 PM (18+)
DIRECTOR PEDRO MORELLI, CANADA/
Part animation, part live action, ZOOM is
a fast-paced, pop-art inspired, multi-plot
SATURDAY APRIL 16, 7 PM (18+)
Calgary’s first independent video game arcade. Play games created by
Canadian indie developers, completely free of charge!
Each year CUFFcade showcases a newly curated selection of the best in new local, and
Canadian independent videogames. We have five custom 3.2.1. made GRENADES cabinets located on the
mezzanine level of the Globe Cinema. CUFFcade runs by throughout BANYANGO - CALGARY the festival, and is free and
open to the public. This year all five games are from A snowball Calgary fight developers. with high explosives.
Go up against a friend and blast them away.
CUFFCADE LAUNCH: SUNDAY APRIL 10, 1-4 PM AT GLOBE CINEMA
OPEN THROUGHOUT THE FESTIVAL: APRIL 11-17, 2016
by MAD CAPACITY - CALGARY
Head to head dogfight through a sea of asteroids
to be the first to rack up your kills.
MONDAY, APRIL 11
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 13
THURSDAY, APRIL 14
FRIDAY, APRIL 15
SATURDAY, APRIL 16
SUNDAY, APRIL 17
OPENING NIGHT FILM!
HUNT FOR THE
New Zealand, 2016,
TUESDAY, APRIL 12
U.S., 2016, 80 min
U.S./UK, 2016, 96 min
FIRST GIRL I LOVED
U.S., 2016, 91 min
UNDER THE SHADOW
U.S., 2016, 114 min
MEN & CHICKEN
Denmark, 2015, 107 min
U.S., 2016, 79 min
Canada, 2015, 95 min
U.S., 2016, 83 min
Greece, 2015, 99 min
U.S., 2016, 83 min
SHORTS: DARK AND
Mixed Short Films
Various, 2015/16, 98 min
UK, 2015, 119 min
WRECK CITY: AN
EPILOGUE FOR 809
Canada, 2016, 60 min
Poland, 2016, 92 min
MEATHEAD GOES HOG
U.S., 2015, 102 min
Turkey, 2015, 97 min
MORNING ALL- YOU-CAN-
1940s-1980s, 180 min
U.S., 2016, 79 min
U.S., 1991, 97 min
THINGS ARE AFOOT
Mixed Short Films
Various, 2015/16, 95 min
DAZED AND CONFUSED
U.S., 1993. 102 min
ART OF THE PRANK
U.S., 2015, 84 min
LOVE & PEACE
ART OF THE PRANK
U.S., 2015, 84 min
FIRST GIRL I LOVED
U.S., 2016, 91 min
MAN VS SNAKE
2015, 92 min
U.S., 2016, 80 min
JANIS: LITTLE GIRL BLUE
U.S., 2015, 107 min
U.S., 2016, 84 min
Poland, 2016, 92 min
MEN & CHICKEN
Denmark, 2015, 107 min
Japan, 2015, 117 min
U.S., 2015, 91 min
U.S., 2015, 83 min
Tickets and more information at
LICENSED EVENT – SCREENINGS AFTER 3PM 18+
$10 REGULAR SCREENINGS – $8 CUFF MEMBERS / STUDENTS / SENIORS | $40 5 FILM PUNCH PASS
letters from winnipeg
defying classification with new record ‘Chew On It’
The Zorgs are Taylor Burgess, Steph Kolbuck, and Dave Skene.
When we last heard from Winnipeg slack
punks The Zorgs, they were readying
to make their live debut at the 2015
instalment of Sled Island, and still in the midst of
promoting a three-track cassette, called Stop The
World. Now, the trio’s first full-length, Chew On It, is
ready for release through Transistor 66, and they’re
hitting the road with dates across Western Canada.
“It’s our first real tour and third unreal tour,” says
bassist/vocalist Dave Skene, referring to the house
shows and impromptu gigs they’ve hooked up in
the past while travelling.
Recorded at Collector Studio (The Thrashers,
Surprise Party), the new album picks up
where 2014’s Stop The World left off, featuring
nine snotty, hip-shaking punk cuts drenched in
surf instrumentals, spy film-inspired vibes, and
Take for instance, the track “Uptight Rhythm,”
where the spastic vocal stutters of guitarist/vocalist
Taylor Burgess are interspersed with vomiting guitar
wigouts and some amusing call and response lines
between him and drummer/vocalist Steph Kolbuck
that ask, “What’s up your butt?” to the reply,
“That was sort of inspired by The Courtneys
song ‘Manion,’ but it’s also a nod to The Fall,” says
Burgess. “It’s kind of absurd. The song is about
being in your own head and doing whatever you
can to get out of it.”
The record’s first single, “I’m Sick,” is another
standout that Skene describes as “a blues song
that isn’t played like a blues song,” and a tune
that quite literally became a self-fulfilling prophecy
“I would get sick after writing the song,” he says.
“It’s like I wrote myself into bed.”
Kolbuck, the shyer member of The Zorgs—whose
onstage persona is a stark contrast—puts her own
mark on tracks, like the garage-pop gem “Cruisin,’”
and James Bond-inflected “Moneypenny,” adding a
little sexuality and sass with her vocal coos.
“She always threatens us when we’re not working
hard enough that she’s going to leave us and join
a band called the McGillivray Boys—a solo band,
btw—and tells us how popular they’re gonna be,”
by Julijana Capone
Skene, the thespian Zorg, inserts a bit of his
acting chops on the closing rock ‘n’ roll monologue,
“Prophesies,” inspired by the on-air personalities
of Winnipeg’s extremely bizarro cable
access shows of the ‘80s and ‘90s (See: Survival!).
“It’s an eye-witness account of an experience that
hasn’t happened yet,” Skene says. “It’s like the apocalypse
has already come and I’m giving tips on how
to survive the cataclysm…that’s more of an acting
performance than a real song.”
With their pogo-worthy rhythms, in-jokes and
absurd humour, the threesome’s approach to songwriting
is built around a desire to defy classification.
“We’ll take a certain semantic or stylistic direction
on a song and then look elsewhere for inspiration,”
says Burgess about their process.
“This album’s recipe is to take a little bit of postpunk,
take a little bit of punk rock, put a little bit
of surf in the pot and then finish in the oven,” says
“The next album might be a little bit different,
maybe a little bit of country music and you mix it
with a little bit of polka or whatever.”
We can’t wait to hear that.
The Zorgs perform at the West End Cultural Centre on
April 2 (Winnipeg), Broken City on April 15 (Calgary)
and Bohemia on April 16 (Edmonton). Chew On It is
out now at transistor66.com
THE SMALL GLORIES
veteran roots singer-songwriters find harmony in new duo
You don’t have to listen for very long to hear the musical
chemistry between roots dynamos Cara Luft and JD Edwards
of super-duo The Small Glories.
Both artists have found success for their varied projects over the
years—Luft with The Wailin’ Jennys and as a solo artist, and Edwards
with his five-piece folk-rock band the JD Edwards Band, along with folk
unit Dry Bones. Since banding together a few years ago, the two have
toured steadily and are now unleashing their anticipated debut LP,
It includes new co-writes and several tracks from each artist’s own
arsenal, re-worked with a Small Glories stamp, such as “Had I Paid,” written
by Edwards and showered with Luft’s uplifting clawhammer banjo
strums and the duo’s full-bodied vocal harmonies.
First paired together to perform during the West End Cultural Centre’s
25th Anniversary Concert in 2012, it was then that the two singer-songwriters
realized that they were onto something special. A cover of Greg
MacPherson’s song, “1,000 Stars,” which they performed that first night
also appears on the new album.
A year went by before the two would reunite onstage again—but a
spark was lit. And when a spot opened up for Edwards to join Luft on
tour, he happily volunteered.
“We were playing to Cara’s audience,” says Edwards. “They had seen
her in many different combinations and variations onstage and people
really enjoyed this duo… By the end of that first tour, we decided that we
were going to be a band.”
“I’ve been wanting to sing harmony with someone for a really long
time, especially a guy,” Luft adds. “I had done the female harmony thing,
and that was really beautiful, but I felt like I just needed a sonic shift.
Singing with JD was like, ‘Holy crap! This is phenomenal. This guy is the
best singer I’ve ever sung with.’”
Indeed, both artists have excellent sets of pipes. On a spirited,
foot-stompin’ cover of Woody Guthrie’s classic, “Way Over Yonder in the
Minor Key,” the two powerhouse singers fittingly chant the chorus, “Ain’t
Cara Luft and JD Edwards of Winnipeg powerhouse roots duo The Small Glories.
nobody who can sing like me,” with a celebratory conviction.
Produced by Neil Osborne and recorded live to tape at Bottega
Studios in Kelowna, B.C., new co-written originals include the road-worn
folk tune, “Home,” a collaboration between Luft, Edwards, and multi-instrumentalist/producer
Lewis Melville; and the mellow acoustic-laced
balladry of “Fast Turning World” (co-written with Belly Hardy).
Musically, The Small Glories feels like a turning point for both of the
veteran musicians, a period of reinvigoration, and a creative boost that
couldn’t have come at a better time for Luft, especially.
“Singing with JD helped me fall in love with music again,” says Luft.
“I’ve been slogging it out for a very long time…When The Small Glories
started it happened at a time when I needed a shift and I needed a
partner in crime. I needed to have that other voice and that other energy
by Julijana Capone
onstage. I didn’t realize I needed it until it started.”
The collaboration has had a similar effect on Edwards with old songs
feeling new again, including the aforementioned “Had I Paid,” a version
of which also appears on the JD Edwards Band’s 2011 album, Roads and
“I’ve played that song for many years and I think with The Small
Glories it’s found its place,” says Edwards. “I’m really happy with where it
is these days.”
The Small Glories perform at the Ironwood on April 28 (Calgary), The
Almanac on April 29 (Edmonton) and Communitea Café on April 30
(Canmore). For more information on The Small Glories, visit thesmallglories.com
BEATROUTE • APRIL 2016 | 33
Edmontonian returns from tumultuous hiatus with debut album Weird Love
Edmonton based musician Cayley Thomas
is debuting her first LP Weird Love April
16th, after a long recording process that has
been interrupted by an unexpected loss of her
voice, surgery and recovery (including a month
in silence to recover her instrument). She has
picked up where she left off when she started
the process in late 2014. Thomas is an active
supporter in Edmonton’s arts scene and has a
large following within the community that has
expanded since touring Western Canada in the
fall of 2014 and early winter of 2015. This will
be the first project she has released since her
five-song EP Ash Mountains in August of 2013,
dedicated to the memory of her brother Alex
Much of Thomas’ songs are personal and
about specific experiences. This album promises
further complexity and honesty that goes beyond
linear story telling. “My best friend and I wandered
around Asia for about six months in 2014
and quite a few song ideas materialized during
that time,” says Thomas about her song writing
process, “but this album is honestly just a big vast
treasure hunt of experience. The things I saw, music
I heard, people I got to know – it is all there.”
The recording was a long process: “14 months
to be exact,” Thomas says, “life got in the way a
couple times. And as time passes you grow, you
get older, you start to second-guess everything
but then you remember it’s all just a snap shot in
time. You can revise it until the end of time but
Cayley Thomas’s new album Weird Love faced plenty of challenges.
you have to acknowledge that they exist in a time
and place and try not to fall too far down the
rabbit hole of instrumentation and arrangement.
It’s important not to lose sight of simplicity.”
Before she started pursuing music, Thomas
completed a BFA in Acting at the University of
Alberta a few years ago. “It’s a cool program — it
requires you to be a pretty multifaceted performer,”
Thomas says, and it translates into her
shows. There is vulnerability and sincerity in her
live performances whether Thomas is playing a
solo set or with a full band. “I hadn’t really written
an original song up until that point. But you
can’t sit around waiting for the phone to ring,
you know? You gotta make your own work.”
For the release in Edmonton, Thomas will be
by Emily MacDonald
playing with a full band but also has some solo
sets booked in Calgary and Victoria leading up to
the release date. “I’ve collaborated with a lot of
really amazing musicians over the last few years,”
Thomas says, “But these days I’m pretty focused
on establishing myself as a solo artist. Consistency
is difficult without a steady crew of players and
the economic challenge of traveling with a full
band is tricky. So I’ve been reimagining the full
band sound into a solo performance with a synth
and a sampler. It’s fun exploring new sonic possibilities,
and liberating to be self-sufficient.”
Exclaim! premiered the music video for lead
single “What If/I Wish” and if you haven’t seen
it already, it’s a moving celebration of people
in Edmonton’s arts community doing what
they love, shot by Dylan Howard and edited by
Thomas. “For some people it’s more clear than
for others and for some people it’s a bit more
vague, but that love is people doing things they
really enjoy, and being engaged in what they’re
doing and dedicating their time to,” Thomas
says. And for Cayley Thomas that is making music.
“You always hear people say, ‘do what makes
you happy,’ but really, if you don’t, then things
might not turn out so well. It’s about what we
are all working towards, what makes it worth it
Check out Cayley Thomas’s album release on April
16th at The Needle Vinyl Tavern in Edmonton with
Bud Frasier and the Electric Razors & The Archaics.
goth rock takes on feminism, body image and more with impressive debut
Van Halst returns to Alberta after a mission out east.
Kami Van Halst knew she was passionate
about singing from a very young age.
“My earliest memory of wanting to sing professionally
was kindergarten when they couldn’t get
me off the stage at a school performance. I was the
loudest kid in the Christmas tree, that’s for sure,” she
laughs. “I really liked being onstage and I have such a
vivid memory of that. My mom has it on tape, and
photo: Renee Robyn
that’s when my parents started noticing my affinity
for the stage.”
BeatRoute could easily hear the smile in her voice
when we chatted on the phone about the debut
album, World of Make Believe, an impressive effort
from the goth rock quintet sharing her last name.
What began as a solo project quickly evolved into
a full band concept, loudly sharing their notion of
social justice with the world.
As a collaborative creative, Van Halst has been
working with guitarist Scott Greene in the music
world from an early age. It was Greene who opened
her eyes to this music.
“While I was in university I was in a couple of
bands. Cover bands, bands that went nowhere and
I was frustrated. I was taking guitar lessons from
Scott at the time and he suggested we write some
music. We started writing songs that were intended
for me as a solo, hard rock, alternative rock project.
The songs turned out to be really good, but we were
missing something. After a few voice lessons in New
York and Los Angeles, I began sprinkling screamo into
our music. That’s when we felt this would be a better
fit as a full band as opposed to a solo artist. It’s been a
Growing up in Edmonton and experiencing prairie
culture has no doubt served Van Halst well since her
recent move to Toronto to help further the band. Especially
when it comes to writing about social justice
issues like mental health, religion, domestic abuse and
more. She even partnered up with her sister, Brittney
Grabills, to write two tracks on the new album.
“Questions” is one of the two co-written by Grabills
and seeks to address the issue of victim blaming.
“A few years ago, there were a bunch of women
who were getting assaulted in an alleyway on the
south side. We got the idea for the song when a
person in a prominent position (I can’t remember
by Brittany Rudyck
who it was in this moment) basically said, ‘Well, what
were they doing there in the first place?’ They were,
in my opinion, putting the onus on the women and
that they shouldn’t have been there. We wanted to
song to literally be questions to get people thinking
about victim blaming. ‘What was she wearing?’ ‘Was
she by herself?’”
The song is a haunting and pretty ballad, but darkly
confronts the issue at hand with a husky whisper
before crashing into heavier riffs and louder, angrier
yelling. A beautiful exploration of an ugly subject.
The rest of the album stays on a similar track, with
chaotic, yet articulate howls, and sombre, moody
guitar. They seem to be compared to Evanescence a
fair bit, but with an added layer of crispness with Ms.
Van Halst’s screamo vocals and obvious stabs into
Van Halst are taking the album on the road across
Canada beginning April with an album release party
in their hometown of Edmonton, which they haven’t
visited since moving east last summer.
“I noticed once we stepped into the Edmonton
metal scene, we were recognized right away. So, it’s
small, but it’s a closer community.”
Don’t miss the album release party for World of
Make Believe on April 2nd at Filthy McNasty’s in
Edmonton. Canadian Extreme Metal Radio has them
headlining MetalFest at Overtime Sport’s Bar in
Calgary on April 29th!
34 | APRIL 2016 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE
post punk quintet releases a seething new tape
After years of playing musical chairs with their
members, Latcho Drom seem to finally have
a line-up cemented. For now, that is.
Longest-standing members, guitarist and vocalist
Elliot Schelske and bassist Matthew Gooding, sat down
with BeatRoute to talk about their tape release for
Don’t Measure, Cut Yourself. The conversation took
turns toward Star Trek, Valentine’s Day proposals on the
High Level Bridge and Edmonton’s developing Ice District.
Outrageous topics not unlike their eclectic sound.
Think lots of screaming and spoken word style vocals,
eccentric guitar work and balancing keyboards.
Since their inception somewhere around 2013, Latcho
Drom have been writing and recording, but never
really seemed to get anything off the ground.
“We got together as a band and members
changed, then members changed again,” Schelske
explains. “About a year ago, the band kind of fell
apart after we recorded an album that we never
got to release. Then, at the end of the summer,
the original drummer got back in touch with me.
I wasn’t doing anything with Latcho Drom, and it
all went from there. In the fall we started jamming
regularly and came up with a bunch of songs and
recorded in January.”
Don’t Measure, Cut Yourself is the fruit of their
labours, and is ripe with references to falling in love and
various social commentaries. Their first single, “Shit
District” reflects on the evolution of the downtown Edmonton
core. A punk rock spoken word commentary
with scratchy guitar and frantic work on the high hat,
“Shit District” articulates a point of contention for some
since the City of Edmonton’s decision to move forward
with Rogers Place.
“The song is about the Ice District,” divulges
Schelske, who goes on to claim, “Moneyed interests
push around their influence at the expense of
democracy and the people who live in certain communities.”
While expanding that “It’s also about how
by Brittany Rudyck
just because you market something doesn’t mean it
actually has any personality or meaning. Things that
become cool and awesome aren’t built to become
that way. The community will latch on to those
things that represent it.”
The rest of the album follows suit, with catchy guitar
hooks, honest vocal delivery and no filters. While there
is certain imagery used within the album, there isn’t
necessarily a unifying theme.
“One of the goals with Latcho Drom when I started
was I didn’t want to create cohesive albums. I just
wanted to write songs that were good to listen to on
their own. When I had enough songs to put together an
album, I released them that way. But there are certain
themes that come up on the album. Being in love and
drug addiction come up a couple times. But so does
reading Wikipedia,” says Schelske.
As for the new line-up making everything possible?
Schelske reconnected with Gooding and drummer
Aaron de Leon after their time away from the project.
With the addition of Corey Polo on keyboards and
David Letersky as the second guitarist, they’ve found
When asked about their unique band name, Gooding
and Schelske both encouraged people to pronounce
it however they choose.
Says Schelske: “Originally it was a film I saw about
gypsy musicians in Europe by a French fellow. The
visuals were so stunning, I just never really forgot them.
When we got the band together, we needed a name.
You can’t apply to festivals without a name. So it was
the 11th hour and I suggested that one. I liked it because
it didn’t have any associations for English people,
more or less. As far as I know, it means ‘safe journey’ in
the language of the gypsies.”
They don’t play a lot of shows, so catch Latcho Drom
April 1st at the Alley in Edmonton for their tape release
with Counterfeit Jeans, I Hate Sex and Surf Dads.
However you want to say it, Latcho Drom is finally ready for their proper debut.
photo: Shane Hauser
Shout Out Out Out, Teledrome, BOOSH
March 12, 2016
Do you feel electrical? After a two-year hiatus
of performing live shows in Edmonton, Shout
Out Out Out Out came back with a bang
in celebration of Edmonton’s newest venue,
The Needle. Accompanied by Calgary’s
Teledrome, and Edmonton’s own BOOSH, the
show was a long-awaited mega dream.
No other venue could have housed the
show better than The Needle. For one, the
size of the party was unsurprisingly gigantic.
The sound was phenomenal, with every
instrument perfectly mixed. In the case of the
opening act BOOSH, this came as a major
advantage. Frontman Brett Klein engaged the
audience with his live chip-tunes as his two
drummers kept the rhythm. The high notes
were never drowned out by not only one, but
two drummers. This show had a lot of drum
sets. Headliners Shout Out Out Out Out also
featured the use of two transparent drum kits.
Along with a plethora of drums, there was
a plethora of energy. Between the combined
stage presence of the bands, and dancing,
shouting fans, there wasn’t a quiet moment.
Band members were jumping around as
much as (if not more than) the crowd. The
atmosphere was a happy, sweaty bliss of
sorts. Every band had charisma that was
emphasized by this atmosphere. The stage
became less of a stage, and rather bands
and fans became one hyper energy, gaining
momentum as the show went on.
Teledrome got the crowd super stoked,
pre-headliner, with their short, intense pop
songs. Keyboard player Jamie Fooks-Sadler
truly thrived from the bright lights and
intense drum beat. They moved around the
stage, played keys phenomenally, and eventually
introduced a well-coordinated head bob
during their hit “Boyfriend.”
After Teledrome, Shout Out Out Out Out
really brought the noise. Immediately as
frontman Nik Kozub started introducing the
band, the crowd followed by chanting “Shout
Out Out Out Out!” Saxophonist Brett Miles
jumped onstage to play along on “Never the
Same Way Twice.”
The highly anticipated party didn’t fail to
be a great one, a dream come true for any fan
of 2000s Canadian electronic dance punk. It
was well-deserved payoff for Clint Frazier, the
drummer of Shout, and his crew of painters
who finished work on the venue just days
before. Although it is new, the Needle will
house an important part in Edmonton’s
musical development, just as Shout Out Out
Out Out has.
• review and photo: Haley Pukanski
BEATROUTE • APRIL 2016 | 35
pioneering electronic duo returns with unlikely LP by Colin Gallant
Electronic music in Calgary is suddenly a recognizable conversation
piece again. Apologies to be the millionth writer
to say so, but we’ve attracted some press in the last year
or so. THUMP did an in-depth overview of the scene, Beatport
called us one of the 13 cities to watch, and isn’t it Tourism Calgary’s
Year of Music right now?
Sanctums are in the distinct company of being used to this. Not
that they take their position for granted—Dan Solo and Evangelos
Lambrinoudis were nothing but generous and without pretence
during the interviews conducted for this story—but any Calgarian
whose first meaningful encounter with electronic music in Calgary
wasn’t at Chasing Summer probably shared a life-affirming night out
with one of its members.
Over nearly 10 years working together, — “[Evangelos] was
probably 17… He booked me for my first ever show in Calgary,”
remembers Solo — the two have been known by many an alias and
have been progenitors for events, even entire sub-cultures. A lightning
round version reads like this: both fostered bass culture in the
city with their DIY Modern Math club nights and label. Solo has appeared
regularly throughout Western Canada both under his name
and as Slope. Lambrinoudis has thrived as Corinthian and runs Deep
Sea Mining Syndicate, a cassette label and boutique booking fancy.
Their work as Sanctums came from a rejection of the mainstreaming
of a culture than had been nurtured at Modern Math.
“We’re going to make anti-club music, and we’re just going to do
something totally different — for us,” Lambrinoudis remembers
saying. A few MIDI controllers and releases later, Sanctums found
themselves on the cover of now-defunct FFWD Weekly, and with a
prestigious spot at Red Bull Music Academy’s MUTEK event in 2014.
Not a small news event that year in Calgary, it was also the year that
Sanctums stopped performing and releasing music.
Until now, at least. New LP Migrant Workers began almost by
chance when Solo had to come to Calgary on business and had offtime
that coincided with Lambrinoudis’s schedule.
The record is a nearly inscrutable, dystopian melting pot of
personal, political and fantastical sonic bodies that bear no resemblance
to other music in Calgary, or anywhere else.
Dan Solo and Evangelos Lambrinoudis return as Sanctums with Migrant Workers
“I was going through one experience and he was going through
another. We started building up this fantasy, almost sci-fi, cyberpunk
storyline – as a metaphor to tell the story of our relations to each
other, and our relations to our family and what was going on in
our lives. So we had this idea of a movie that we wanted to write,
and instead of writing the movie we just wrote the soundtrack,”
Adds Lambrinous, “When we were able to channel that into this
album, that was the ultimate catharsis of the feelings we had, and
feeling so far away from the things that we love.”
The reasons for the break in Sanctums’ activity are a paradox of
complicated simplicity. The two have an instantaneous dynamic
that escapes time and place. Both the problem of making, and the
inspiration for, Migrant Workers comes from the fact that the two
have rarely been in the same place at the same time.
Imagine the greyest, coldest place in the world. Solo and Lambrounidis
have both been there. Though never at the same time or
at the exact same place, both understand the loneliness of being
a worker in Alberta’s brutally isolating oilpatch environment —
hence, the title. They decided on it well ahead of the album’s actual
creation, when Lambrinoudis spent a few days visiting Solo en route
This thematic groundwork later became something more nuanced.
The recording process of Migrant Workers came much later
and saw the two working in new fields of equipment, fidelity and
physicality. Expansive in mood and sudden in its release, the album
is both a culmination of Sanctums’ past and a subtle question of its
Solo has announced plans to return to Calgary where Lambrinoudis
resides on a full-time basis. No live plans have been detailed.
Migrant Workers is as much a question of what Sanctums will do
next as it as an answer to where they’ve been, and that question is as
tantalizing as its unpredictable answer.
Sanctums’ new album Migrant Workers comes out on April 8th via
Modern Math. Get a taste with single “All Around Us,” available the
same day on BeatRoute.ca
photo: Bryce Maruk
Ah, April. Summer festivals dropping their lineups, the collective joy
of thousands of forest ravers approaching and the university school
year rapidly coming to an end. It’s your first taste of the prospect of
summer, with all of its outdoor shows and Bow River floats to come. Use it
as your opportunity to spend a little more time out and about in our fair
city. Here’s everything you need to know to keep it Jucy this month.
The beginning of April coincides with the onset of JUNOfest. One way to
enjoy it is with a set from Merkules, who makes a prompt return after his March
show with a set at Broken City alongside Snak the Ripper and Rich Aucoin on
There’s another JUNOfest event worth your time that night at the Hifi,
featuring Humans, Willa, and a DJ set from k-os. If you’re unsure what that will
be like, you’ll just have to go and see it for yourself.
One last choice that day is Toronto’s Digital Soundboy and junglist warrior
Marcus Visionary. Give them some signal at the Nite Owl.
The Hifi, as always, has an absolutely stellar and diverse bevy of shows for our
enjoyment this month. For those unfamiliar, their A-Trak booking is kind of a
big deal. Perhaps one of Canada’s most prolific DJs, he is known for being the
first to win all three major DJ titles. He was the youngest and the first Canadian
winner to take the coveted DMC World Championship at only 15 years old. He
was also a member of the legend status DJ crew Invisibl Skratch Piklz with Qbert
and Mix Master Mike. He is also the owner of Fool’s Gold Records and was none
other than Yeezus’s personal tour DJ. All that and more at the Hifi on April 7th.
A very exciting up-and-coming, mysterious musician is playing an early
show at the—you guessed it—Hifi on April 9th. Allan Rayman’s combination
of deeply soulful vocals sung over tasteful, down-tempo, electronic
beats are not to be missed, and are sure to skyrocket him to success. Not to
be missed, seriously.
Another very special show this month is London’s Quantic, bringing his
Tropical Elevation World Tour to the beautiful Banff Centre on the 10th. He
combines multiple musical elements including a healthy dose of jazz into a
very danceable concoction. The Jucy team just got back from the Convergence
Residency at The Banff Centre and we can assure you that it’s worth the trip.
Boston’s smooth house producers, mixers and re-interpreters Soul Clap
make a very rare appearance at the Hifi on the 14th. Call it a master class on the
evolution of disco.
On the 16th, again at the Hifi, Dirtybird Records’ rising star Ardalan will be
throwing down his particular brand of bouncy house beats.
At the Commonwealth on the 16th, Vancouver’s electro/indie band Bear
Mountain will be showcasing their charming live sounds.
Legendary U.K. breaks outfit The Freestylers will be rocking Wild Bill’s Legendary
Saloon in Banff on the 18th. Push up!
Dark dubstep dons Truth will be doing their best to hit the mythical
brown note alongside super hype bad-gyal Whipped Cream for Bassface
2016 at the Marquee.
• Paul Rodgers
BEATROUTE • APRIL 2016 | 37
province-wide network of producers team up for good times
Last month BeatRoute premiered something
weird and wonderful. Edmonton’s Hood Joplin
and Calgary’s Barnaby Bennett rounded up
some other Albertan producers and each produced
a beat made from the Soulja Boy sample pack in
under 30 minutes. It was half joke, half a way to
strengthen ties between the often-isolated scenes
in the province. Now, in the same spirit of bringing
musicians together, the pair has organized a club
night at Good Luck Bar on Friday, April 22nd, which
BeatRoute will be proud to co-present. We called
up Hood Joplin to enquire further on both silly and
“I take everything very seriously,” she says. By the
time the SOULJALBERTA compilation had reached
its apex and was cited in a scholarly article, she worried
that it had gone too far and that the humourous
nature of the project would overshadow the
artistry of the musicians involved. The forthcoming
party is partly an opportunity to flex the muscle
behind the memes.
Hood Joplin has made many efforts to unite artists.
From her early days at the Rude Haus DIY venue
to her slot on Manicure Records, starting an inclusive,
multi-disciplinary series called carepackage and
often driving back and forth between Edmonton
and Calgary in under a day to check out music.
You may be wondering why we haven’t disclosed
her name. “It’s not a branding thing. I like my name,
it’s who I am, but I’d like prefer it not out there,“ she
says. It’s a sad fact that electronic music still carries
a stigma of being drug-fuelled and hedonist. HJ is
quick to note that “I spend 90 per cent of my time
in my house by myself making music to post online.
I’m not some party monster who’s out all the time.”
Another issue she’s faced in the electronic music
world is a lack of comfortable, safe spaces for women,
queer folks and anyone else who isn’t a white,
male heterosexual. The recent carepackage party
aimed to provide an alternative to this, and “had like
400 people there and there wasn’t a single fight, not
a single incident. I didn’t see a single unhappy face.
It turned out exactly how we wanted it to.“
HJ is always working, and already has a new
release since the SOULJALBERTA comp. Her Masala
EP touches on some of her Pakistani heritage and is
something of an ode to her father for instilling that
culture in her. It’s a dreamy blend of footwork beats
and Bollywood samples that soothes as much as it
titillates. HJ is a first generation immigrant of blended
ancestry, and the range of influences she’s been
exposed to is apparent in her ever changing output.
“I just do what I feel. I can’t really force it. Like
I try to like flip out and be like ‘ok, make a fuckin’
Future type beat,’ and I can’t just like sit there and
do that — it just has to come out.”
As for next month’s party, it’s partly about showcasing
up-and-coming Albertan talent, partly about
no-bullshit good times and partly about presenting
an array of musical styles as equally valid and
Check out Hood Joplin, Barnaby Bennett, Bob Dylan,
Sven K and Tendencies at Good Luck Bar on April 22nd.
The SOULJALBERTA compilation is streaming now at
by Colin Gallant
showcasing the versatility of dance music
photo: Sandy Rossignol
One of the greatest things about dance music is its seemingly
infinite diversity. When it comes to producing electronic
sounds for people to dance to, who’s to say what you
can or cannot incorporate? Vancouver-born, Victoria-based Kyla
Tamiko LeBlanc, who blended her first and middle names to form
her stage name Kytami, also blended her extensive training in the
violin/fiddle with her love of electronic music into a very unique
and invigorating sound.
Trained from the ages of three to 17 at the Vancouver Academy
of Music in classical violin, LeBlanc further honed her skills and developed
a talent on the fiddle playing in a Celtic pub called the Dubh
Linn Gate. She got her taste for the festival circuit and playing to ravebased
audiences when she co-founded Delhi 2 Dublin. In 2006, she
decided that she needed to branch out, and left the group to pursue
her solo career.
“We don’t speak,” she states flatly. When asked if we can delve a
little deeper, she exclaims through playful laughter, “You can try!” She
manages to diplomatically sum it up as follows:
“Artistic differences…” she recalls. “I felt like it was weird - there
were these four guys and me, and being the only girl in a group
with quite strong opinions that started to not really gel and I think
just looking back on it now they were really headed in a different
direction than what I wanted to do or what I want to accomplish.
They’re sort of more on this funk, East Indian vibe and I come from
a punk-rock, drum and bass, hip-hop background and that was
awesome for a time, but I guess I just needed to go explore the
potential of my own vision.”
Kytami’s live shows are a torrential outburst of energy. The show
consists of her on her fiddle, Deriek “Dirty” Simon (of Victoria’s
rock band SpaceBoots) as the MC or “hype man” and producer/DJ
“I think people really react to us because our set is like a DJ set,”
by Paul Rodgers
LeBlanc explains. “All the songs are mixed together, we don’t stop
in between tracks. It’s a seamless DJ set, yet we’re bringing a totally
live energy and an experience to the stage, so I think people are
digging that. “
She has also been working with Phonik Ops on an album for over a
year now and describes the process as “very challenging.” As a group
that straddles the realms of electronic producers and live bands, they
know the struggles of keeping up with the immense flow of production
that electronic producers are able to release, while battling with
the complexities of the musical composition that goes into their work.
“I don’t want to rush it. I don’t want to just chuck stuff out there
that I’m not 100 per cent happy with,” states LeBlanc. She explains that
a big progression in her production process came with getting her
own studio space in Victoria and having Phonik Ops come in and help
get it set up. While they do butt heads, “constantly,” LeBlanc cheekily
explains that, “we have a common goal, and that’s what keeps us going,
really. We both have the same vision that we want to accomplish.”
True to her varied musical background, the album will be an amalgamation
of multiple genres and tempos that LeBlanc is into including
drum and bass, breaks and hip hop.
“I still draw on all of them today,” states LeBlanc speaking on her
musical influences. “They all come from an authentic and meaningful
place to me, and I never set out to be like, ‘this is what my music’s
going to sound like.’”
While the release date for the album is still uncertain, Kytami’s
enthusiastic and deeply skilled approach to her craft, combined with
the dynamic musicians she has working with her at the moment, will
no doubt continue her on an upwards trajectory.
You can experience Kytami firsthand on her Alberta mini-tour in Calgary
on April 27th at Dickens, Edmonton on April 28th at the Mercury Room,
Red Deer on April 29 at the Vat Pub in Lethbridge on April 30 at TBA.
38 | APRIL 2016 • BEATROUTE JUICY
latest album like ‘letting go on a rollercoaster’
Jason Collett doesn’t mind a few beautiful happy accidents in his artist process.
On embarking on his first Western Canada
tour in three years, Jason Collett says he
took his time with his new record, Song
And Dance Man, in part because he “had a certain
ambivalence about tossing something else into the
gaping maw of the new masters.”
photo: Isis Essery
“We used to tour to support records, it seems
now that we’re making records to support the
endless touring,” says Collett from his home in
Toronto, the happy noise of little kids in the background.
“I haven’t been out on the road in a few
years, and that’s okay with me, I like being home.
I’ve been really fortunate with licensing deals in
that I’m able to stay home and work. I like that. I
get to be home with my kids, and concentrate on
Collett’s break from touring has given him some
perspective on the things younger artists need to
do to get the word out. The title track on Song
And Dance Man cleverly addresses some of the
issues and demands facing artists today, making
“light-hearted jabs” at the contemporary music
machine, streaming services, and social media,
“but jabs nonetheless.”
Collett finds himself “too antiquated for social
media. I feel phony doing it; like a used car salesman.
No one needs to see what I had for breakfast.
You see young artists, and they’re good at the
whole thing, but mostly to me, it feels like they’re
obligated to participate in creating their own
Song And Dance Man is a departure from his
past output, the barroom swagger of his earlier
releases replaced by a certain lightness, a laid back
funky vibe he attributes to a certain playfulness
in the studio among the band. Produced by Afie
Jurvanen, (best known as Bahamas), Song And
Dance Man found Collett letting the band dictate
the groove, which took the songs to places he
“There was a lack of pre-production this time. I
started with about three albums’ worth of songs,
and Afie and I went through them, each picking
by Michael Dunn
the ones we wanted to do for sure, and the ones
we didn’t agree on, we had to push to have included.
So when we went in, I’d play the basic idea of
the song twice, that was enough for the band to
pick it up. Then when we’d count it off, I’d play up
until the vocal came in, and then I’d stop playing,
and let the back lead it. It’s a different dynamic,
the band usually follows the vocalist, but with me
letting go, it’s like, I become more a part of the
band and just let it go wherever it decided. It’s like
a roller coaster, there are dramatic changes and
twists, and you have no choice but to go with it.”
The decision to let the band lead the way can be
mostly credited to what Collett calls, “a confluence
of relationships, long in the making.” Including
Jurvanen on bass, Rheostatics drummer Don Kerr,
and “secret weapon” Christine Bougie on lap steel
and guitar. This band of heavy hitters inspired
Collett to let the unpredictability of recording just
“When you go in, if you haven’t thought about
the result too much, you’re more prepared for the
beautiful happy accidents of making music.”
Jason Collett plays an onslaught of Western Canada
dates in April and May. Catch him at the Fox Cabaret
in Vancouver on April 26th, at Festival Hall in Calgary
on May 2nd, at the Mercury Room in Edmonton on
May 3rd, at Amigo’s in Saskatoon on May 4th or in
at The Good Will in Winnipeg on May 5th. His many
other dates are available online.
singer-songwriter coming home to Alberta in support of ‘The Long Shadow’
There’s a lot to be said for having a record on the shelf. Young
people start hanging out at shows, and eventually make
friends with the older scenesters, “who were there, back in
the day,” and glean some pointers on the history of the scenes they
live in. Everyone in Alberta alt-country circles knows about Corb
Lund, and we’re currently seeing a reborn and rejuvenated Jr. Gone
Wild hitting clubs and festivals throughout the west. Certainly as
noteworthy and highly regarded are the albums of Old Reliable,
and the current work of that band’s two main songwriters, Mark
Davis and Shuyler Jansen.
Davis has kept busy making records of his own and with Edmonton
“heavy wave” duo Concealer, Jansen has been crossing the west
as a family man, from Edmonton to Saskatoon, and finally to North
Vancouver, while continuing to make records, such as 2007’s Today’s
Remains, produced by Steve Dawson, and 2011’s Voice From The Lake,
which found Jansen’s proclivity for experimentation welcomed more
strongly by Vancouver producers David Carswell and John Collins.
Never the type to stick to one source of inspiration, Jansen enlisted
a formidable lineup of Western Canadian roots musicians to make his
latest record, The Long Shadow, in order to bring to life his dramatic
alchemy of country-folk, synth pop, and spacey stoner rock. Having
players like Kacy & Clayton, Ryan Boldt and Chris Mason of The Deep
Dark Woods, Old Reliable drummer Mike Silverman, and Calgary expat
Paul Rigby on steel made Jansen’s mixture all the more potent, and
The Long Shadow has earned high marks from critics across Canada.
“I had the bare bones of this record when we set up in Wakaw,”
says Jansen, referring to a cabin in the rural Saskatchewan town
where a lot of the album was recorded. “It was a nice setting, we
set up all the gear and played as much as we wanted, we cooked
big meals together. When we finished there, David (Carswell) and I
took it to Vancouver to put the finishing touches on it and mix it.”
With making and producing records their foremost concern, Jansen
and Boldt, along with Kacy & Clayton and a few other close friends
and artists have banded together to start Big White Cloud Records,
a small label they hope will allow them to always have an outlet with
which to create and produce music, outside of the larger independents
they find themselves working with more and more often these
days. “Well, say we write some songs, and it doesn’t exactly fit with
what the label’s working on with the Woods, or with Kacy & Clayton,
or with Jayne Trimble, we can record that stuff, together, and put it
out with Big White Cloud. It’s nice for us, artistically, to have a home
we can come back to.”
While certainly not as busy on the road as he was back in the days
when Old Reliable was one of Western Canada’s hardest working
bands, Jansen has kept busy, producing Kacy & Clayton’s album
Strange Country, and last appearing in Alberta in December, backing
up Ryan Boldt on bass, as well as Kacy & Clayton, with Silverman
on drums. “It’s pretty cool you know?” Jansen says. “Mike and I have
been playing together since we were 14 years old, trying to sound like
Danko and Levon. Now that we’re a bit older, we get a lot closer to
that than we did back then.”
For this short run through Alberta, Jansen promises, along with the
rhythm section of Silverman and Chris Mason, and Edmonton singer
and multi-instrumentalist Amy Van Keeken, to stretch the songs out
live, with “the possibility of exploding My Bloody Valentine volume
and ruminations on a single squalling chord.”
Shuyler Jansen plays a CKUA live taping on April 29th at The Oilsands
Discovery Centre in Fort McMurray, and in Calgary, May 1st, at Nite
by Mike Dunn
photo: Jill Kinaschuk
BEATROUTE • APRIL 2016 | 41
talking through his anxieties and embracing his creative output
Fresh off of the release of his album Each Other,
Aidan Knight is on tour in Europe and getting
ready to return to North America for its second
leg, but despite rave reviews and having released two
records prior, he’s still learning to keep his anxiety
and doubt at bay.
“…It hasn’t gotten easier. That will most likely be
the thing that makes me stop releasing [music],” says
Knight. The fear of sharing something you created is
something everyone experiences in life, but few of us
make art as intricate and deliberate as Aidan Knight.
Knight revealed to Exclaim earlier this year that he nearly
gave up Each Other before its completion. Releasing
the album was an exercise in letting go for Knight, but
his perfectionism runs through every track.
Despite the chaos of the album’s formation, he shows
no signs of stopping. Overseas, he has found something
he didn’t know he was missing and losing what he
describes as his own “self-importance.”
Each Other is a record about reaching out to others,
and it’s a theme that Knight is still exploring in his personal
life. The record comes from the lens of personal
reflectivity, but demonstrates an inherent longing for
personal connection therein. Fortunately, his tour mates
perform these introspective songs with a “touchy feely”
approach and explore the songs to “take it all in.”
Knight hopes listeners are able to connect to the
music in the same way. To him, reviews and discussion
of the album might be insightful, but ultimately the
success or failure is in listening to and experiencing the
by Trent Warner
music. He wants people to move to the music both
literally and figuratively. To him, that means, “[shaking]
their ass” or “[changing] their perspective.” It’s about
“I am hoping for that perfect marriage of a show that
feels great but you walk away not understanding every
single thing that happened onstage,” says Knight.
It’s interesting for a person who seems so concerned
with meticulous craftsmanship to be even more concerned
audience reception, but for Knight the music is a
medium for connection and communication.
On Each Other standout “The Arp” he writes: “What
a life that we have lived/ And we’ll live it again.” While
the creation of this album might have been tumultuous,
the experience seems to have provided Knight with a
quiet confidence and a yearning to push himself and his
music in bold new directions. Having now seen Germany,
Norway, Denmark, France, Italy and Spain, Knight
notes that he finding himself increasingly more capable
of fitting himself into a worldwide musical context.
Aidan Knight has a strong, eye on his releases and
this is clear throughout his body of work. On Each Other,
he trades in previous investment in atmosphere and
raw emotion for faithful indie rock that ties in strong
instrumentation and the rugged pursuit of theme.
Aidan Knight plays Winnipeg’s Good Will Social Club
on April 22, Calgary’s Palomino Smokehouse and Social
Club on April 27, and Vancouver’s Biltmore Cabaret on
on his new style and sharing his music
David Myles used “The Big Share” to get his music out in an unconventional way.
by Robyn Welsh
photo: Riley Smith
Aidan Knight reveals how his record Each Other almost didn’t happen.
photo: Brian Van Wyk
David Myles has explored the world of
music through listening to different
genres and making records spontaneously,
amalgamating whatever music he
surrounds himself with at any given time. His
new EP, Here Now, is fittingly how he feels both
here and now. A take on contemporary pop
music sewn together with Motown, Smokey
Robinson, and classic soul, Here Now, is the
musical offspring of Myles with frequent
collaborator, Halifax based hip-hop artist and
When Myles declined a job offer in the early
2000s in order to pursue music professionally, he
started by attending every open mic in every bar
or coffee shop that would have him. From there,
he gained enough traction and confidence to go
on tour. He kept rolling, and hasn’t stopped since.
But that’s just the kind of musician David Myles is
— fueled with a dedication and passion for music
off all styles and origins.
Now an established folk artist, Myles is a consummate
professional. When he is not listening to
music, he is puzzling the backbones of new songs.
Once Myles develops a compelling new idea, he
takes it to Classified, and together they bring it to
life. In speaking to BeatRoute, Myles says that he
and Classified gain a lot from each other. “We kind
of build on each other’s energy and we are both
real music fans and enthusiastic and like to work
hard but we come from totally different musical
worlds.” Their differences come together in the EP
to break new ground for both artists.
Here Now will be formally released on
April 8th, but Myles wanted a creative and
contemporary way to release the EP, and thus,
gave birth to “The Big Share.” This modern
album launch has roots in his exploration of
the historical movements of pop. The ultimate
purpose of “The Big Share” is for people to
share music and the way that it makes them
feel with others. In March, the album was given
to five super-fans who have since shared it with
their friends, who shared it with their friends,
eventually sending the EP all across the world.
It’s an exercise in six degrees of separation,
demonstrating how connected we are, but
also how music connects and brings people
together. Until the official release on April 8th,
anyone can go online and track the progress of
the EP as it floods new ears around the world,
and perhaps if you are keenly connected you
can scope it out for yourself and put yourself
on Myles’ neon-coloured map on his website.
Myles hopes that listeners can find optimism
and hope within his music. “In the ideal world, it
probably sounds cliché or idealistic, but I really
want people to feel connected to one another,” he
says, “what’s so beautiful about music is that it can
really pull people together.” And if readers ever
need proof of that, David Myles has empirically
proven it with an ambitious sharing project. Oh,
and the music is pretty good as well.
David Myles plays several rural Albertan theatres
from April 7th to 16th including TransCanada
Theatre in Olds on the 13th, Horizon Stage on the
15th, and Bert Church on the 16th.
42 | APRIL 2016 • BEATROUTE ROOTS
Edmonton death squad
by Sarah Kitteringham
Begrime released The Enslavement Conquest on March 4th via Dark Descent.
photo: Riley Hoogstraten Morden
The first time BeatRoute interviewed Edmonton’s Begrime
Exemious in July 2013, it was shortly after being introduced to
the band’s venomous style of crusty death metal. At the time,
their release pace was impressive; they were on the verge of releasing
yet another 7-inch via the now defunct Fuel Injected Records and
To this day, the mantra of work hard, play harder has remained unchanged,
meaning their sound has been honed for the better and their
notoriety has increased dramatically.
This is particularly evident on their third full-length; the Dark Descent
Records release The Enslavement Conquest. Released in March of this
year, the 10-track rager has groovy interludes and effortless jackhammer
fills alongside dramatically variant pacing, and features considerably
better production than previous efforts. In addition, there is a decreased
emphasis on their black metal roots, giving it a (dare I say) melodic death
Unlike on their previous full-length Visions of the Scourge, Enslavement…
features guitarist Derek Orthner on double duty as provider of
growls and howls. Alongside second guitarist F. Thibaudeau, the two
provide a dual vocal assault “much like Carcass.”
Given that our first conversation went swimmingly – resulting in Orthner
hilariously and infamously declaring, “everyone is an asshole” – we
figured we should let his words be printed as is again this time around,
only editing for length.
BeatRoute: To start, it sounds like a voice box or some sort
of distortion voice effect in the beginning of “Conscription
Woes,” the fifth track on the album. What the heck is that?
Derek Orthner: Those are actually guitar leads with some heavy wah
BR: In terms of an effect, were you attempting to create some
atmosphere, or was it something you were just trying out?
DO: It just felt natural to put some sort of Bolt Thrower-esque lead there,
and to me it feels like the impending fate of being conscripted for war as
it squeezes onto your mental awareness.
BR: In terms of that being a lyrical choice, why? That’s not a
reality we know anymore... and by “we” I mean us as privileged
DO: I based it off of the novel The Forever War (1974) by Joe Haldeman.
In it, Earth is engaging in a war with alien species, deep in the universe.
They draft all the strongest and most intelligent humans for the battle,
who become prime war machines. However, because the best human resources
have all been devoted to war, civilization on Earth regresses as a
whole, and when the soldiers return, they feel like they no longer belong,
and thus are forever committed to war.
BR: Are much of your lyrics based on science fiction on this
DO: This is the first [full-length] album that I’ve been the vocalist on
[after he sang on the January 2015 split release with Flash Out], and of
course with that I had to think of lyrical themes I wanted to write about.
Our lyrics have always been rooted in horror, but coming more from
morbid viewpoint. I wanted to keep that theme of horror, but since I
read a lot of sci-fi novels, they took on topics like warfare and dystopian
societies. For example, [the third track] “Transcendence” is based off of
[the 1974 novel] Flow My Tears, the Police Man Said by Philip K. Dick,
and it’s about a drug-induced reality in a police state. [Track six] “Subconscious
Nemesis” was influenced by the Foundation series by Isaac
Asimov, and is about mind control.
BR: Aside from that, the production on this album is just WAY
better than on previous material - is that something you guys
were consciously working towards?
DO: Absolutely. When I mixed [the band’s 2012 full-length] Visions of
the Scourge, I was very inexperienced. In the four years between, I spent
as much time as possible recording my friends’ bands, side projects, and
of course, the handful of shorter Begrime releases we did. We’re DIY
guys, so it’s never going to sound over-produced and sterile. That being
said, we’re always learning and trying new things to make our sound
leave a heavier mark.
BR: Musically, you guys seem to have had a vision since day
one - even the music on your debut Impending Funeral of Man
feels cohesive. You’ve got a similar approach, but as discussed
your production and tones have cleaned up nicely. In terms of
your musical approach, you guys have always felt focused. Do
you see things as having changed? If so, where are you at with
musical evolution this late in the game?
DO: There are definitely changes present in our music, but much of the
approach is the same. We’ve always worked together as a unit when it
comes to songwriting, so that helps maintain a sense of cohesiveness
throughout our material, but at the same time, things have evolved.
[Lineup changes] have had their impact, and often leads to other members
stepping up their contributions to the creative process. I feel we’ve
shed a lot of our black metal influences (but not quite all of them) and
emphasized early ‘90s death metal with a healthy dose of thrash on this
latest record. Our core sound is understood, but at the same time, we
want to keep things fresh and exciting.
Begrime plays Manitoba Metalfest on Friday, April 15th alongside
Terrorizer, Immortal Possession, Flash Out and Plague. You can also see
Begrime Exemious in Edmonton on Friday, April 22 at Mama’s Pizza with
MessiahLator and AHNA. The next evening, Begrime plays Calgary with
AHNA, BlackRat, and Mortality Rate at Lord Nelson’s Pub and Grill.
BEATROUTE • APRIL 2016 | 45
grindcore with a capital W-A-K-E
Where would we be without grindcore?
Probably still a species of mostly hairless,
soon to be extinct murder-apes
listlessly orbiting an unremarkable G-type star.
That, or the Guinness Book of Records wouldn’t
have a single reference to Napalm Death, who
continues to hold the prestigious ‘shortest song’
crown, 27 years after the release of the 1.316
second epic “You Suffer.” Despite this undeniable
boon to mankind, coupled with Calgary vibrant
metal and punk scenes, Cowtown hasn’t really
embraced grind like it could – or should. At least
Alberta’s most prominent name in the genre more
than makes up the lack in quantity with… ‘quality.’
Quality is the wrong word. Not that WAKE isn’t an
incredible band. They are, but you wouldn’t take a
WAKE doesn’t do the micro-song thing. Their
shortest recording is “Smolder,” from their 2013 album
False, which clocking in at a stately 53 seconds
is practically an epic for the genre. Their take on the
genre hews closer to the metallic sounds of Virginia’s
Pig Destroyer and Sweden’s Nasum but with a
vicious twist of black metal at its most chaotic, as
opposed to the more punk-orientated sound of
Scum-era Napalm Death, Extreme Noise Terror and
the obscure proto-grind band Siege. There’s little to
no political content in WAKE’s music, except of the
personal-is-political kind, and although the subject
matter is definitely dark we’re not talking Goregrind,
the sub-genre defined by Carcass’s focus on
medical and scatological imagery. We’re definitely
WAKE unleashed their third full length LP this past month.
not talking the avant-garde grind of Agoraphobic
Nosebleed, The Locust or Discordance Axis.
Like their music, the band didn’t take long to get
up to full speed, says guitarist Rob Strawberry.
“The band started in 2009. I guess we were kind of
going for that metallic grindcore or grindcore crossed
with ‘90s metallic hardcore kind of thing. We started
touring right away, released a 7-inch right away, released
(the 2011 album) Leeches not long after that.
The rest is downhill from there.”
Their impending third release Sowing the Seeds
of a Worthless Tomorrow is not just downhill at
this point, but drilling deep into the earth. Metallic
hardcore will always be there as a backbone, but
they’ve added a dizzying array of influences into the
mix that create a kind of all-purpose omni-Metal, a
possible answer to what you’d play if you had one
track to explain the whole of extreme music as it
exists in the early 20th century. The band themselves
listen to “everything,” says Strawberry, “and it shows”
(especially since their vocalist Kyle Ball makes Trap
beats on the side).
FALSE, their last full-length, was released in 2013,
though the years in between releases have seen them
by Joel Dryden
tour extensively and play festivals that have included
the renowned Maryland Death Fest (they crashed
with Blake from Pig Destroyer afterwards). Following
tours, the writing for Sowing… was delayed courtesy
of drummer Brian Serzynski being in Milwaukee,
which, despite plentiful beer, wasn’t proving conducive
“Most of the writing’s done by myself. I’ll write a
bunch of riffs and structure a skeleton around it. I’d
send riffs and ideas back and forth, sometimes by
something as primitive as video chat. He’d write parts
in Milwaukee and come back for week-long writing
sessions to make stronger, better songs.”
Although you can name the grindcore bands
that have come out of Calgary in the time it takes
Agoraphobic Nosebleed to play “Fuck Your Soccer
Jesus” (approximately five seconds), WAKE is content
being an anomaly.
“Funky death metal has been big for a long time,”
observes Strawberry of the local scene.
“There’s been a few grindcore bands that have
been around Calgary but they never last, they don’t
have any longevity.”
And why have WAKE lasted?
“We just haven’t gotten bored of it yet. It’s something
we love doing, and that’s it.”
WAKE’s Sowing the Seeds of a Worthless Tomorrow
is now available. The band will perform at their
album release party in Calgary on May 13th at the
Palomino Smokehouse and Bar alongside Numenorean
death metal masterminds step into uncharted territory
Gorod embarks on an extensive cross-Canada tour this April.
Through a fusion of death metal and experimental elements
such as Latin jazz and ‘70s groove, French quintet Gorod has
developed a dynamic soundscape that is entirely unique.
The compositions are complex and melodically intricate, yet they
progress holistically. Herein, you can feel the architect at work.
Gorod’s music crashes over their listeners with a wave of acutely
timed, chugging rhythmic progressions, intricate melodic hooks and
commanding guttural vocals. The lower register of drums, bass and
rhythm guitar provide the perfect framework for a steady flow of
crisp neo-classical riffs to accent and complete the compositions.
The result is some of the most engaging and melodically interesting
listening available in modern death metal.
“The point is to be constantly looking back to the songs entirety, not
focusing on only one part of it and just filling out the rest of the song
with gratuitous technical stuff,” explains guitarist Mathieu Pascal, who
caught up with BeatRoute via email.
“I think the listeners don’t like and don’t need to be constantly surprised
and brutalized, musically. On the contrary, maybe they prefer to
‘ride’ the music, following the flow more than fighting it.”
Continues Pascal: “It’s actually the structure of the song that’s memorable,
not the details or the individual sections inside. There are some
basic structures used in popular and mainstream music that can work
by Benjamin Pearson
for any style, even death metal. And oddly, you can stay surprising and
original when following one of these basic song structures.”
Gorod continues to lead the way in the world of extreme music
with the release of their fifth studio album, A Maze of Recycled Creeds.
Released in October 2015, the album continues their consistent lineage
“There are some influences in this album I never use that much,
like old school thrash metal, groove elements from the ‘70s, and odd
chord progressions that I picked up from Erik Satie, a French piano
composer and a character in the lyrics, that I really dig. Another
thing is that we did this album all by ourselves, from the writing to
the production, only helped by some close friends, like Pierre Yves
Marani for the mastering or Eric Liberge for the artwork. The result
is that we had all the necessary time to achieve and refine all sides
of the album, looking for the perfect note, drum groove, but also
perfect sound and balance,” offers Pascal.
This genre melding and integration has long been a notable and prevalent
aspect of Gorod, but it some time for the band to be comfortable
with the process.
“These influences are more and more noticeable now, but they were
included in the music from the beginning,” agrees Pascal.
“I always wanted to mix these exotic vibes with metal, so I had to learn
the good way of making it musically cohesive and relevant.”
He concludes, “It’s a challenge to find something fresh and new on
each album, always being surprising and unexpected. But it’s also what
motivates us the most in making music.”
Gorod plays at Vangelis Tavern in Saskatoon on April 6th, in Calgary at
Dickens on April 7th, at the Vogue Theatre in Vancouver on April 8th, at
the Brixx in Edmonton on April 11th, at the Exchange in Regina April 12th,
and at the Windsor Hotel in Winnipeg on April 13th. All dates include
Bokakee; Beyond Creation will also perform on select dates.
46 | APRIL 2016 • BEATROUTE SHRAPNEL
Start your April off in style! On Friday, April
1st, head to Distortion to celebrate everyone’s
favourite metal supporter, Mrs. Nancy
Barnes. She’s having a progtastic birthday party
featuring the recently reunited Caveat (who now
boast new bassist Amanda Marie), alongside Illuminated
Minerva, Tylor Dory Trio, and Subsume.
Tickets are $10, partying with Nancy…. Priceless!
On Saturday, April 2nd, JUNOfest 2016, the
metal edition, is taking place at Dickens in Calgary.
Head down to see nominees Cancer Bats,
KEN mode, and Diemonds, along with Calgary
rockers Chron Goblin. Tickets are $20 for the
show. If you prefer dad rock and wicked beards,
that same evening the one and only sharp
dressed men known as ZZ Top are playing at the
Grey Eagle Resort and Casino.
The following Friday night on April 8th, you
can catch Intronaut with Scale the Summit
and Northlane at Dickens in Calgary. If you live
330(+/-) kilometres north in Edmonton, head to
Rendezvous Pub for an evening of ugly, hateful
noise featuring Körperlose Stimme, Traer, Hive,
and Wraith Risen. That same show hits Calgary
on Saturday, April 9th, with Wacken Metal
Battle Calgary winners Sentient on the lineup,
along with Gales of Avalon. If you’re a dork who
will stay at home, make sure you check out the
lengthy list of rad new releases and spend some
cash: Cult of Luna and Julie Christmas will be releasing
their collaborative album Mariner, Ihsahn
has a new album dubbed Arktis via Candlelight,
and the almighty sludge monsters Sourvein are
back with Aquatic Occult via Metal Blade.
Although the release date seems a bit murky,
On Tuesday, April 19th, head to Edmonton for
Finland’s own swamp metal band Kalmah, who will
be playing Alberta for the first time ever alongside
Vesperia, Trollband, and Mongol. If you dig melodic
death metal with epic flourishes, this gig is sure to
make you mosh “to the grave.”
Apparently we are all weekend warriors because
most of the gigs this month are on weekends
(thank Satan, amirite?). True to form, on Friday,
April 22nd, Edmonton death metallers Begrime
Exemious will perform at Mama’s Pizza with AHNA
and MessiahLator. The following evening they play
Calgary at Lord Nelson’s Pub and Grill – be sure to
read our interview with guitarist and vocalist Derek
Orthner in the section.
That same evening on Saturday, April 23rd simply
features too many show options. You can head
to Overtime Sports Bar in Calgary for Revenger
with The Cadavor Dog, Thrashadactyl, Ripper Alley,
and Hazzerd. Calgary Beer Core is having a sexy
Grindhouse party over at Distortion, while the
Mercury Room in Edmonton is hosting a gig with
performances by Red Skull Ritual, Tides of Kharon,
Screaming Radio, and Dayshift Strippers.
On Monday, April 25th, Ottawa’s own Occult
Burial will release their full-length debut, Hideous
Obscure. Following up on a handful of vicious
tapes, the nine-track record is made by a band
who lives and breathes ‘80s metal, parlaying a
vicious blend of thrash and speed metal that
would fit nicely sandwiched on your record shelf
between Exciter and Sodom. Be sure to check out
www.beatroute.ca in the month for an exclusive
premiere and interview with the three members
of the project.
If you dig thrash, be sure to check out Distortion
in Calgary on Thursday, April 28th for Montreal’s
own Reanimator. They’re playing with W.M.D.,
Illyrian, and False Flag.
Enjoy your spring!
• Sarah Kitteringham
Occult Burial release Hideous Obscure on April 25th.
BEATROUTE • APRIL 2016 | 47
The city of Seattle is having somewhat of a cultural
renaissance as of late. The riot grrrl movement has
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
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 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
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.
• Jamie McNamara
illustration: Syd Danger
BEATROUTE • APRIL 2016 | 49
T R O U B L E
It’s hard not to consider Woodpidgeon a Calgary band, even if any semblance
of locality has been ironed out after years of writing, recording,
and touring in exotic places. Coming from anyone else, a track titled
“Canada,” would either carry nationalistic weight, or cynical self-loathing.
Mark Hamilton however, can write about Canada in the abstract genuinely
as a bona fide citizen of the world, and that has lead to some of the
best Woodpidgeon material yet.
Woodpidgeon has historically been described as a “collective,”
featuring a rotating cast of some of Calgary’s most interesting players,
but with the release of T R O U B L E, I think it might be finally safe to call
Woodpidgeon a solo project.
The record opens with “Fence.” A sprightly guitar stands alone with
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
a subtle roughness that leads into a moody minor key arrangement.
The inherent harshness is quickly mitigated by a soft flute, but the song
denies us the usual Woodpidgeon prettiness. Hamilton’s vocals come in
with characteristic fragility, but the lyrics runs dark, and no outlets are
The record stays this dour almost all the way through, only coming
up for air in brief moments, such as the chorus-laden guitar intro of the
The record is hardly flat however, and picks up tempo-wise in the second
half, while delivering some of the more distinct tracks including the
honest and earnest “Faithful,” whose video perfectly executes the track’s
introspective and forlorn atmosphere, featuring Hamilton meandering
through a pink haze in a preternaturally green forest.
Many of the tracks on the record, although this song in particular, feel
so direct that it makes older Woodpidgeon material almost elusive by
The album concludes with it’s strongest material, the more conventionally
beautiful track “The Accident” unfolds powerfully in a devastating
and relatable narrative about a traffic collision. Having been recycled
from collaborative project EMBASSYLIGHTS, the effect of T R O U B L E’s
soft arrangements and darker production become even more clear on
this track. Hamilton himself is more sonically visible than on its previous
recording, and thus, even more vulnerable. The more delicately washed
instrumental as well dampens the rhythms, slowing the track down.
Having wiped away the tears from “The Accident,” the record crescendos
into “Rooftops,” which features one of the livelier instrumentals on
the record, but held back until after a silence; half of a secret song, teasing
the playfulness so absent from the rest of the release. Woodpidgeon has
always tugged firmly at the heartstrings, but never with quite as much
force as on T R O U B L E.
• Liam Prost
It’s no secret that “metal that sounds like it was made in the ‘80s” is
swelling forth from the underground like incessant and wretched hell
spawn at this very moment. Call it a reaction to the hyper processed
production of the 2000s, call it a bunch of kids/adults trying to be
TRVE (with the V, not the U, because that’s how she goes, boys), or
call it the great poser elimination… It don’t matter. Murky production,
non-triggered drums, and basement-quality recordings are spewing
forth both deliberately and organically from bands around the world,
to polarizing results.
If you sit on the side of the fence that looks back at Exciter and Sodom’s
classic early material with glee, then Occult Burial’s debut full-length
will pass your lofty expectations. The Ottawa trio lives and breathes that
period; hell, they’ve only released cassette and vinyl demos and splits;
their live performances are ritualistic and deliberate. For their debut
full length Hideous Obscure, released via taste making label Invictus
Productions, you can expect blackened speed metal with a specific
template: that is Obsessed by Cruelty era Sodom mixed in with some
Torment in Fire era Sacrifice. Hell, one of the band members even sports
an Angelripper bowl haircut in a promo photo. These guys aren’t fucking
around with their homage worship, although the uninitiated might be
inclined to suggest otherwise.
Hideous Obscure is a whole-package-deal: it’s nine songs of a
raspy blackened screech over punk/traditional metal riffs, sped up
and stripped down raw. From the atmospheric instrumental opener
(creatively dubbed “Intro”) to the Inquisition style Popeye/frog vocals
opening up “A Witch Shall Be Born (Daughter of Darkness)” which is
peppered with the jackhammer snare, the music is fist pumping and
simple-in-the-right-ways. “Blasted Death” has the perfect intro with a
ripping solo and aggressive backbeat; later on, the title track is all raw
grooves and malignant growls.
Of course, such a sound is accompanied by a strong visual aesthetic,
including a highly stylized name and smoky cover art, complete with
skulls and gauntlets. This is a package deal, and Occult Burial knows the
crowd they are catering to. Here, living and practicing a certain musical
style resulted in a highly pleasing package, sure to inspire worship from a
deliberate and specific crowd.
• Sarah Kitteringham
Hurt & the Merciless
Even though Amy Winehouse, and now Adele, kicked the door wide open
in the U.K. with their spin on blue-eyed soul, that genre has always been a
steady force in Britain. Turn back the clock to the early days of The Who
when Roger Daltry was still impersonating his favourite black R&B singers,
when Steve Marriot fronted The Small Faces with his scorching, souldrenched
vocals, when Eric Burdon single-handedly redefined soul for the
young and restless with The Animals’ painfully beautiful version of “The
House of the Rising Sun,” or when Joe Cocker’s tormented breakdowns
were simply soul-driven exorcisms of the highest power. All those lads
had the fire in their fingertips and easily set the house, the heavens ablaze.
There’s a long list of singers from that burst of British blues-makers in the
‘60s that made their mark in similar ways. Soul, fiery soul, made in the U.K.,
is a cultural trademark, deeply embedded.
When The Heavy emerged from Bath, England in 2007 with their debut
Great Vengeance and Furious Fire, it was all too clear that a splendid blend
of Massive Attack’s scratchy, seductive trip-hop and the Black Keys’ dirty
garage blues led by Kelvin Swaby’s resurrection of Otis Redding that another
U.K. tour de soul-force had been launched. Surprisingly, The Heavy,
even with profound critical acclaim and a string of brain-exploding singles,
hardly register on the pop-culture radar—nowhere near Amy and Adele’s
bleeps screaming off the screen. Perhaps that’s because while the band can
snap out infectious soul-stingers, they’re still far too steeped in street swagger
and experimentation to be properly groomed for the upper echelon of
pop stardom. We can thank our lucky stars for that.
The lead off track, “Since You’ve Been Gone,” from their fourth album,
Hurt & The Merciless, is yet another true testament that this band is
incapable of releasing a bad track that strives to dominate the dance floor
for three-and-a-half minutes. The rhythm section digs in with breakdowns
so deep the Public Enemy influence can’t go unnoticed. Yet the only
politicization found here are those that also run through Amy and Adele’s
music—the torn, heartbreak fabric of domestic life. The Heavy are full of
strife, full of stories of unpretentious accounts of everyday life that lends to
both a vulnerability and an extremely attractive authenticity. It’s a curious,
but wonderful thing, when one of the best rock-steady bands in the world
plays into the anti-thesis of the spotlight and would rather shine on the
sidelines and in the shadows than be yet another beast of celebrity.
What also makes The Heavy such a rich experience, is their deviation
away from trying to make a repetitive cluster of slinky-smooth, in-thepocket,
feel-good, soul-spinners. While Memphis-driven horns anchor
“The Apology” with a sweet, melodic hook, Dan Taylor’s crackling fuzz
guitar and Swaby’s distorted vocals steer that sweet sound into a darker
tunnel of love. Similarly the dub-infused “Miss California,” the sorry demise
of a beauty queen, also detours from its primal groove and pulls in a
mariachi horn cameo. “Slave To Your Love” is a good old-fashioned, raveup,
garage stomper that shows no restraint with its wall of wailing horns,
guitar flurries and female backup vocals in full flight. Ending the record,
Swaby tears a page from the Percy Sledge songbook with the barroom,
gospel-tinged ballad “Goodbye Baby.”
The Heavy amplify British soul and R&B. Expect tradition. Expect them
to fuck with it, and do it well.
• B. Simm
50 | APRIL 2016 • BEATROUTE
Double Ecstasy EP
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
Sam Beam and Jesca Hoop
Love Letter for Fire
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
• Liam Prost
Boris with Merzbow
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
The Dandy Warhols
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 well-formed 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
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
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 wide-mouthed. 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
Explosions in the Sky
Temporary Residence Ltd.
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
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”
BEATROUTE • APRIL 2016 | 51
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
Freaks of Nurture
The Reverberation Appreciation Society
This album is the aural equivalent of the beige
foam that collects in the surf on bad beaches.
It’s the 2015 Point Break remake of music. It’s the
opposite of Pet Sounds.
Holy Wave’s music is mostly equal parts psych
and surf with some garage rock creeping in at the
edges. It’s also a slow, lifeless, colourless, joyless slog
through 44 minutes (subjectively, eight hours) of
tepid jams. Every one of their five-minute songs feels
six minutes too long and the two quickier, punkier
sub three-minute songs here, while definitely highlights,
aren’t worth staying for. If you’ve been paying
attention to North American guitar music since
Chillwave was a thing then you’ve heard better.
According to a recent interview on this album
Holy Wave are experimenting with “traditional
pop elements.” Hate to be the one to tell you this,
but you have made the least pop album possible.
This is music that offers the listener nothing but
the hope that a power outage might cut it short.
• Gareth Watkins
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
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
Remember the Moon
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
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.
52 | APRIL 2016 • BEATROUTE
“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
• Jamie McNamara
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
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
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
• Max Foley
Kim Myhr + Jenny Hval with the Trondheim Jazz
In the End His Voice Will Be the Sound of Paper
Contemporary Nordic artists Kim Myhr and Jenny
Hval conceived an experimental and largely improvised
album rooted in Bob Dylan’s aging voice. On
the album, composer Kim Myhr strips his instrumentation
down strictly to acoustic guitar, creating an
effect that can be both effervescent (as on “Mass”)
and ominous (as on “Something New”). Regardless of
the effect, the guitar pervades through the music and
its natural sound is often skewed and unrecognizable.
The Trondheim Jazz Orchestra is present too,
adding depth to the music where the guitar can’t.
Myhr and the orchestra have collaborated before,
and the ease with which they play off of each other
Hval is new to the mix, but brings emotional
punches that accentuate the music through her soft
and airy vocals. While her voice may sound drained,
it’s an exasperation that allows the music to remain
at the forefront of each song. On track “Me, you,
me, you,” her vocal coos echo, mimic, and taunt a
slight horn sound before the lamentation: “Yes you,
you are close/ until things are no longer heavy.” Her
voice erupts with what sounds like a kettle boiling as
accompaniment, the tension rising and relinquished
with the sounds of horns and clarinets offering
resolution. It’s an exciting new turn for Hval, whose
most recent albums are impeccable, and it’s a chance
for her to embrace the more experimental sound of
her early work.
• Trent Warner
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
• Foster Modesette
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
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
• Michael Grondin
Plants and Animals
Waltzed In From The Rumbling
Secret City Records
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 singalong
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 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
• Rob Pearson
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
• Jamie McNamara
Poor Nameless Boy
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
54 | APRIL 2016 • BEATROUTE
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
Out of the Garden
Polyvinyl Record Co.
Listeners have grown accustomed to Jess Abbott’s
shiny and rhythmic guitar leads on the more driving
moments from Minneapolis’ Now, Now. Hiding
behind a thinline telecaster and a pair of clubmaster
glasses, Abbott helped elevate the indie outfit
beyond their emo haircuts and sentimental lyrics. Her
debut as Tancred however, thrust Abbott into the
front, bare-faced on the self-titled release, delivering
stark folk-rock songs almost totally devoid of the
intricate guitar-work so emblematic of Now, Now’s
most recent release Threads (2012). Out of the
Garden continues this trend, ignoring opportunities
for clean hooks and instead, turning up the fuzz
wherever possible. The songs are concise and the sentiments
are tight, resulting in a release that’s stronger
and more confident, edging into punk in moments,
softened at the corners by Abbott’s warm vocal delivery.
This contrast pays off during the moments where
Abbott juxtaposes the emotional vulnerability of her
lyrics with the confidence inherent to her garage rock
apparatus, most notably on tracks like “Pens,” which
follows the ironic lyric ‘it’s crazy how stable I am’ with
a series of saccharine ‘oohs.’ Out of the Garden turns
it up for Tancred, but loses none of the definition. A
fast, hooky record with little room for criticism.
• Liam Prost
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 indiedance-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
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
• Lisa Marklinger
First comes the thesis: the first great wave of
corpse-painted, church-burning, actually Satan-worshipping
black metal. Then, its antithesis: guys and
some girls dressed like regular guys and girls who
esteem Loveless as highly as Hvis Lyset Tar Oss. Then
comes the synthesis of the two, and that’s WODE.
Their take on the genre is to run its history in reverse,
starting with clarity both emotional and aural and
using the limitless musical palette that Krallice and
the late lamented Altar of Plagues draw from to make
something bleak and cold, hitting that point beyond
all the bullet-belts and medieval weaponry where
black metal becomes both majestic and terrifying.
I would like to think that WODE will step up their
release schedule after receiving the overwhelmingly
positive feedback they’ve got coming. This is only
their second release in five years, and this side of
the Atlantic will only get 300 vinyl copies. Maybe it
takes half a decade to create black metal as perfect
as this, maybe this band can stay in blackened
hearts and warped minds for long enough to get to
where they deserve to be, and the good news is that
you can help: if you like extreme music of any kind,
at all, you’ll definitely need this album.
• Gareth Watkins
BEATROUTE • APRIL 2016 | 55
Slayer, Testament, Carcass
MacEwan Hall Ballroom
March 14, 2016
Topless, sweaty dudebros really love yelling “SLAYER” at ear splitting volumes, particularly before,
during, and after Slayer shows. So that’s how Slayer at MacEwan Hall Ballroom was on Monday,
March 14th. It was a whole heck of a lot of people yelling in-between a riveting, ferocious set by
Carcass, an energetic later-era set by Testament, and a discography spanning set by the current
incarnation of Slayer, comprised of only half its original members. Overall, the set by the legends was
rather by the numbers, and let’s be honest: without Hanneman and Lombardo, we all know what
this circus ring is about.
• Sarah Kitteringham
March 25, 2016
Partway through their set, Bombargo’s frontman, Nathan Thoen, oozing with conviction, took a
break from the action to ask the small but captive crowd if they wanted a “chill tune, or to funk
it up?” Ah, funk-rock, or more precisely white funk-rock is a precarious thing in hands of an ambitious
bar band tooling with jazz. Shades of mid-70s Deep Purple (sans Blackmore) with Thoen
injecting an uncanny Lionel Richie vocal delivery and guitarist Spencer Chilliak shredding like Pat
Metheny on a bender, Bombargo turned up the funk right up. With all their steamy, gimme-allyour-lovin’
grooves it still took a bit of coaxing to get those hips shaking, but the dam eventually
burst with a chorus line of ladies front and centre taking it all in and throwing it all back. Even
though Thoen bellowed a bluesy “pour me another” into the mic, “play that funky music white
boy, play that music right” was the hook everyone was hanging on.
• B. SImm
56 | APRIL 2016 • BEATROUTE
Dan takes a kick at the one-liners can
Are you incapable of concision? Your answers are too long! You blather
on, often rehashing the problem (unnecessary!) before giving four
words (at most!) of (rarely!) useful advice. I’ve heard you say you have
to edit letters down for space. Try this instead: Edit yourself! I want
more of the letters—more from the people asking questions—and less
—Keep It Short, Savage, Expressed Sincerely
Feedback is always appreciated, KISSES.
I’m 30, happily married, with my husband since I was 17. First boyfriend,
kiss, etc. I never had sex with anyone else. This never bothered me
because I wasn’t really into sex—but there have been big changes in the
last year. I guess I am having a sexual awakening. My sex drive increased,
and I’ve started reading erotica and fantasizing about getting kinky. I’ve
also been having very strong urges to fuck someone else. As someone
who always had strong values and opinions when it comes to sex and
marriage and cheating, these feelings really confused me! So I found a
safe and harmless outlet: Second Life. I created a hot avatar and have
been role-playing, talking dirty, and banging people across the world for
six months. I love it. I get to experience scenarios I fantasize about but
would never do in real life. Before your readers start pulling the cheater
card: I have talked about this with my husband, and I have his blessing.
He knows I have an SL account and I’m having cybersex. Here’s where it
gets murky. Most of my SL friends haven’t asked if I’m taken in RL, and
I haven’t told them that I am. I flirt as if I’m single, though, because I’m
worried people will treat me differently if they know I’m married. I do not
wish to meet or have RL sex with anyone I meet on SL, and I make that
clear to everyone. I don’t do photos/voice chat/Skype. But if someone
asks me if I’m married in RL, I always tell the truth. I’m writing because
I’m worried about this one guy. The cybersex is super hot, and he’s sweet.
He’s my go-to guy, and I’m his go-to girl. He knows I have cybersex with
other people in SL, and I have told him he is obviously allowed to have
sex with others too. But I’m worried our SL relationship has become a bit
more. He leaves me messages when I’m not online, telling me he misses
me and “loves being with me,” and I’ve said the same to him. I’ve also
made it clear I have no intention of meeting anyone from SL in RL, ever.
Regardless of my intentions, I’m worried that I’m crossing the line and
being unfair to my husband. I’m also worried that I’m being unfair to my
guy in SL, because I’m sure he must think I’m single, even though he has
never asked. Am I crossing the line and at risk of hurting my husband/
SL guy? Or am I just having some harmless fun that helps me satisfy this
strange new itch that’s driving me crazy?
—Second Lifer And Spouse Haver
P.S. It’s important to note that SL has not negatively impacted my RL
sex life and, if anything, has made it better. It has also made me happier
and less cranky at home.
You’re doing nothing wrong, SLASH.
My husband and I met our “soul-mate parents” at our daughter’s
preschool a few years ago, i.e., that rare couple with a kid the same age
and the same artistic interests and political values. Our kids instantly
bonded and are now BFFs. They have sleepovers, go trick-or-treating
together, sled together—little girl heaven. Early on, the guy called my
husband and they had a hard-drinking lunch. The guy spilled his guts
about a painful previous relationship. It was weird, but we wrote it off.
Three years of normal interactions and a kid later, we’re really good
friends with the wife, while the guy stays in the background. I decided
to start up a FetLife profile for fun—my husband and I are monogamish,
and this is with his okay—and I find the guy’s profile, which
clearly states that his wife does not know he’s on this site. What do I
do? Pretend I never saw it? What if the wife finds out I knew? Do I tell
him that I know? Most of all, I worry about the strain this would place
on my daughter’s friendship. Her heart would be broken.
—Has Evidence Louse Parent Making Arrangements
Mind your own business, HELPMA.
II am a kinkster. I have been since I can remember (I am now 21 years
old), and I’ve never told anyone about my deep dark desires until the
last year. During my time at university, I made good friends with a guy
who I was able to open up to about my preferences, as he had similar
desires. We created a beneficial arrangement. I suddenly no longer
felt like I needed to suppress my “fucked up” masochistic needs and
became extremely happy and more comfortable with them. I keep a
journal, and naturally I wrote about this arrangement and a lot of the
explicit details. Last summer, my mother read my entire journal and
was horrified. After she read it, I received a very nasty text message
from her about how our relationship was over, she couldn’t believe
what I had done, and she was no longer going to help pay for my
postgraduate courses, etc. She was deeply disturbed to learn that some
money she had given me for my 21st birthday was spent on a hotel
room where I met up with my kinky friend. (It wasn’t like we could
meet in my family home!) I never wanted my mother to know about
any of this, and I feel bad for how it upset her, but this was also a huge
violation of my privacy. The only way to resolve the situation was for
by Dan Savage
me to pretend that I deeply regretted everything, tell her I can see now
how messed up those “weird” sex practices are, and say that I’m cured
and will never engage in them again. Months have passed and I’m still
angry with her for having read my diary. I feel sad about the lies I told
and having to pretend—still—that I regret what I did. Because the
truth is I’ve never felt more like myself than when I am doing BDSM. It’s
not my entire world, but it is an important part of who I am. How do
you think I should take things from here? She’ll never understand, so
telling her isn’t an option, but that means suppressing my deep upset
at her as well.
—Mother Unfairly Destroyed Daughter’s Libido Entirely
Fuck mom; be you, MUDDLE.*
* Shit, I really can’t do this one in four words. Confront your fucking
mother, MUDDLE, once you’re out of grad school (priorities!), about
the awful, shitty things she did to you: reading your journal; shaming
you for your sexual interests and your private, consensual, respectful,
and healthy sexual explorations; and her unforgivable acts of
emotional and financial blackmail. And you should wave the results
of this study under her nose when you confront her: livescience.
com/34832-bdsm-healthy-psychology.html. It’s just one of several
studies showing that people who practice BDSM—not just fantasize
about it but actually practice it—are psychologically healthier than
Listen to Dan at
Email Dan at
@fakedansavage on Twitter
58 | APRIL 2016 • BEATROUTE