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

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

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MAY 20 16

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BeatRoute Magazine

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

Glenn Alderson

glenn@beatroute.ca

MANAGING EDITOR

Joshua Erickson

joshua.erickson@beatroute.ca

SENIOR EDITOR

Maya-Roisin Slater

mayaroisin@beatroute.ca

GRAPHIC DESIGNER

& PRODUCTION MANAGER

Rachel Teresa Park

rachelteresapark.com

WEB PRODUCER

Shane Flug

COPY EDITOR

Thomas Coles

CONTRIBUTING EDITORS

CITY

Yasmine Shemesh

yasmine@beatroute.ca

COMEDY

Graeme Wiggins

graeme@beatroute.ca

FILM

Paris Spence-Lang

paris@beatroute.ca

THE SKINNY

Alex Molten

molten@beatroute.ca

LOCAL

Erin Jardine

erin@beatroute.ca

FRONT COVER PHOTO

Sarah Whitlam

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CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

Victoria Banner • Sarah Bauer

Reid Duncan Carmichael • David Cutting

Bryce Dunn • Heath Fenton

Colin Gallant • Jamie Goyman

Michelle Hanley • Callie Hitchcock

Boy Howdy • Fraser Marshall-Glew

Kathleen McGee • Jamie McNamara

Jennie Orton • Andrew Pitchko

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CONTRIBUTING

PHOTOGRAPHERS &

ILLUSTRATORS

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Coley Brown • Kristin Cofer

Caitlin Conrad • Reuben Cox

Marco Felix • Christian Fowlie

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

Working for the Weekend with John Fluevog of Fluevog Shoes...........................................................4

Cate Le Bon.......................................................................................................................................................................5

Savages....................................................................................................................................................................................5

King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard......................................................................................................6

Titus Andronicus.......................................................................................................................................................6

Blessed.....................................................................................................................................................................................9

Head Wound City....................................................................................................................................................9

Black Mountain........................................................................................................................................................10

No Sinner..........................................................................................................................................................................10

Violent Femmes.......................................................................................................................................................11

Carly Rae Jepsen.......................................................................................................................................................12

Glad Rags..........................................................................................................................................................................12

Mac Demarco.............................................................................................................................................................13

Andrew Bird..................................................................................................................................................................13

ELECTRONICS DEPT.................................................................................................................14 - 15

• Moderat

• Antwon

THE SKINNY..............................................................................................................................................16 - 18

• The Rebel Spell

• Kris Shultz

• SBDC

• La Chinga

• Subculture

CITY..........................................................................................................................................................................19 - 23

• Vancouver Comic Arts Festival

• Vancouver International Burlesque Festival

• Once Our Land

• Ari Lazer

• The Heatly

• Bistro Wason Rougue

• Bunz Trading Zone

• Hosehead Records

• Queen of the Month

COVER: Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun.....................................................................................21

COMEDY...........................................................................................................................................................24 - 25

• Been There Done That

• Mark Forward

• John Dore

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

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

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

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

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No Sinner, pg. 10

May 2016 3


WORKING FOR

THE WEEKEND

Fluevog Shoes has been championing the weird

and wonderful for more than 40 years now. Bright

colours, encouraging messages etched in the soles,

that gorgeous new shoe smell, Victorian inspired

with enough clunky angles to make them delightfully

disgraceful, these shoes are unconventional

Vancouver originals. The brand’s namesake, John

Fluevog himself, has been in the shoe business

since the early 1970s. Collaborating with others in

the beginning of his career, Fluevog in its current

incarnation is John’s solo company. Having started it

independently when Fluevog shops started popping

up in the 1980s, it was John’s two hands building

every aspect from the ground up. Now with 20

stores all across North America, Fluevog has many

helpers to lighten the load. For John, success doesn’t

mean taking a back seat, still at the helm of this ship

of leather oddities he is steering Fluevog against

the current of trends and tendencies and towards

much weirder waters. Following the beat of his own

drum, John Fluevog is injecting soul into your soles,

one square heel or elaborate buckle at a time.

BeatRoute: When you first branched off from Fox and

Fluevog to start your own company, what did your dayto-day

look like as you built the brand?

John Fluevog: It was like super hectic, full of

fear and trepidation. I did everything, all the

advertising, I designed the shoes, was doing

HR, opening the stores, visiting the stores,

handling the cash flow, inventory, everything.

with John Fluevog of Fluevog Shoes

BR: Fast-forwarding to present day, what does a day in

the office look like for you?

JF: Well it’s a lot better because I’ve got other people

doing stuff. I should have done that way sooner in

my life, but there you go. I’ve got other people doing

things, so like with the design team I generally set the

mood and the themes of the season and I will do the

sort of baseline drawings, then they’ll come in and

tune them up and show them to me, and it’s great.

BR: Why do you think nice shoes are important?

JF: Well they make you look cute, right? They make

you look cute and they’re what’s between you and

the earth. You can spend a lot of money on clothes,

on sweet jeans, but if you’ve got a crappy pair of

shoes on, it just kills everything. When you put on

a nice pair of shoes you can wear the most simple

jeans and t-shirts and look great. Maybe it’s the

last thing a lot of people consider, but to me being a

person that thinks about their footwear, that’s key.

BR: Many artists and musicians have been seen

sporting Fluevogs over the years, is this a symbiotic

relationship? Do art and music heavily influence your

designs?

JF: Well I think the thing is that music makes people

dream, it makes them step out of themselves. In the

same way, I feel that fashion can do that. Also, like

musicians, I put a lot of myself into the designs; I put

slogans and I put stories and messages on the shoes. I

think when you express your humanity in whatever you

by Maya-Roisin Slater

photo by Sarah Whitlam

do it takes on a different depth; a depth of life. I think

those are also really important things in music, you

need to put your own vibe into it, your own energy.

BR: What’s your favourite music to design to?

JF: Probably the blues, because it’s so simple.

It’s simple and it’s predictable, it’s familiar to me.

It’s funny that the blues can make you feel good,

but the blues makes me feel good if that makes

any sense. Maybe it’s the simplicity of the music,

maybe it’s the raw lyrics, I love the blues.

BR: What was the last live concert you attended?

JF: Oddly enough on this particular day, it was Prince.

It was at the Winery Club in New York, it was maybe a

year and a half ago. The Winery is a bar and a club in

New York in the Lower West Side, and he came on at two

in the morning and played until five. I don’t know if I

lasted until 5, but it was a small venue and he was right

there, like 50 feet away from me and he sang his heart

out. It was awesome; I couldn’t believe I was there. The

band was major hot; it was this smoking band. I loved it.

BR: What do you hope to achieve in the next year?

JF: I hope I can let it go more. I think there’s a sense

that, as a business grows and becomes bigger it weighs

on one more. You’ve got to create and keep the thing

going, be responsible for all these jobs. I’m hoping

that I can learn to be at peace more, and let it go.

Celebrate International Fluevog Day on May 15

4

May 2016


CATE LE BON

feeling the pure joy of making music

older is great for not car-

about stuff, and I mean that in a

“Growing

positive way,” says thirty-three-yearold

Le Bon from her home in Los Angeles.

“[It’s about] realizing that things can be

hugely important to yourself and you can

never expect them to be important to other

people. You’re not waiting for any kind

of validation from somewhere else.”

It was a recent collaboration with White

Fence mastermind Tim Presley as a psych

Cate Le Bon has been reawakened creatively and her boundaries are limitless as she moves forward.

SAVAGES

learning to adore life on sophomore album

photo: Ivana Kli Kovi

rock duo named DRINKS which exposed Le

Bon to free-wheeling, flirty as hell “music

for the love of music,” a kind of fantastic

reawakening which influenced the cacophonous,

rabbit-hole sensibility on Crab Day.

This came two years after recording her

sparse and cunning third studio album Mug

Museum. Le Bon hit upon a revelation: “I

realized that I loved making music. I wanted

that feeling for the next solo record.”

That feeling of pure love and abandonment

is, according to Le Bon, joyous.

Not to say Le Bon’s past albums including

Mug Museum are completely morose,

but she does know how to play at the

edges of darkness and human absurdities.

Joyousness on Crab Day comes

across more like an inverted smiley face.

“Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful,” sings

Le Bon on the song duly titled “Wonderful.”

Clanging guitars and goofy xylophone

kick in and out like Molly Ringwald’s legs

in The Breakfast Club’s dance scene. “My

heart’s in my supper,” she croons in her

cloudy and mountainous Welsh accent.

Nothing is predictable on Crab Day.

“It was one of the best times of my

life, making that record,” says Le Bon.

Le Bon and gang (producers Noah

Georgson and Josiah Steinbrick, plus

Warpaint drummer Stella Mozgawa, Stephen

Black, and Huw Evans), recorded the

ten tracks at a studio in Stinson Beach,

Northern California, where everyone

was feeling “really grateful and excited

and joyous,” about the whole thing.

The group recently reunited (with the

addition of Red Hot Chilli Peppers guitarist

Josh Klinghoffer) for a pair of shows

in L.A. and New York City to promote the

release of Crab Day on Drag City as BA-

NANA!, described as a semi-experimental,

semi-improvisational ensemble.

“I was thrilled that we were able to

MUSIC

by Sarah Bauer

get that band together,” Le Bon says.

“It was a really nice re-entry into getting

my head around the record again.”

Crab Day is certainly the kind of album

you want to listen to a couple of times to get

your head around. Her lyrics start and stop

with oddball pairings of objects and human

parts, clammy imagery and queasy suggestion

(“I’m gonna cry in your mouth,” she

asserts on “I Was Born on the Wrong Day”).

Within the storm of saxophone, electric

piano, and clashy, gritting guitars, the full result

is not so much discordance as it is highly observed

chaos. Sounds jangle around in kooky

mixtures, but the production is ultimately crisp

and supremely delightful.

“Noah is incredible at putting everything

in its right place,” notes Le Bon. The many,

varied parts of Crab Day assemble in an

interpretive form, much like the short film accompaniment

to Crab Day, directed by Berlin

director Phil Collins.

Seems as though an Eric Wareheim collaboration

should be in order.

Having lived in Los Angeles for the past three

years, Le Bon has found her community for

making weird and sensational things come true.

“It’s a very generous and inclusive scene,”

says Le Bon. “I’ve fallen in with wonderful,

wonderful people.”

Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful.

Cate Le Bon performs at the Cobalt on May 12

by Jamie McNamara

If Savages were a lesser band, they might

have been susceptible to the so-called

“sophomore slump.” But the London

quartet has never been known for half

measures. Instead, the band only seems

to have dismissed conventional wisdom

and returned with an album that is transformative

both on record and onstage.

Savages first album, the astounding Silence

Yourself, was prickly post-punk in the same

vein as Joy Division. It was a resounding success

that had a distinct feminist punk ethos

that managed to come off as aggressive punk

taken to overblown, atmospheric levels. The

band, consisting of lead singer Jehnny Beth,

guitarist Gemma Thompson, bassist Ayse

Hassan, and drummer Fay Milton arrived on

the scene fully formed, with unwavering political

messages and an unrelenting live show.

While their follow-up, Adore Life, is still

often sonically prickly, the themes and content

of the album seem softer and more personal

— that’s not to say the band is any less “punk.”

“I don’t really think it’s about being less

angry, I think it’s more the fact that we’ve

been playing on tour as a band together for

the last three years and I think we’ve got a

lot better at dealing with being on the road

and being a band,” says bassist Ayse Hassan

on the phone from outside the venue

of a stop on their recent European tour.

“Because of the response we’ve had over

the years from the different audiences that

we’ve come into contact with, we’ve found

that in some way we’ve let our guard down

a little bit and become a bit more open,

and I think that’s reflected in the record.”

That newfound openness is never more

apparent than on the title track of the album.

It’s a slow-burning torch song that yearns

for life other than any singular person.

That’s not to say the album doesn’t

feature the anthemic thrashers that the

band became known for. Lead single

“T.I.W.Y.G” (short for This Is What You Get)

is a stomping send off to anyone who dares

mess with love. Its message is piercingly

direct from a band that also sounds much

closer with one another, despite recording

the album separately. The immediacy

heard on Silence Yourself is still there,

but it arrives more nuanced. The reverb

is controlled, and it sounds like the band

has harnessed the energy they used

on their debut in new, emotional ways.

Hassan credits this to the band wanting

to take more time writing the album.

“I think that in our minds we saw

Silence Yourself as a sonic snapshot of

that moment in time. For the first record

it was important to capture what we do

live on record. That record is more raw,

it’s us in one room playing together trying

to encapsulate what we are live,” says

Hassan. “For the second record we felt that

we needed more time to find the sounds we

wanted to use, and for us to do something

different is exciting. So, recording separately

presented its own set of challenges.”

While it’s a gamble to try and shift sonically

in between albums, Hassan insists the

band was never worried about changing.

“What I find exciting about this band is

that there’s a constant state of…..I was going

to say evolution, but I guess it’s change

in general. I like the idea that everything is

flexible. If Gemma wants to incorporate a

new sound into a certain song, she’s free

to do that. I think the songs will continue

to change as we play them more over

the year. We’re constantly trying to push

the boundaries within ourselves and to

always keep learning how to create, but

in different ways, even if it’s just with a

few different notes, or different sounds.”

Savages perform at The Imperial or on May 27

Savages’ recent work has more feelings, but no less fury.

May 2016 MUSIC

5


KING GIZZARD

& THE LIZARD WIZARD

to infinity and back again

When King Gizzard & the Lizard

Wizard set out to create their 2016

album Nonagon Infinity, they did

so after years of cultivating the relentless

behemoth on the stage and on the road.

“It’s a record we put together live, really.

We were playing all these songs in their

rough versions and they were coming

together slowly with improvisation,”

recalls frontman Stu Mackenzie. “So it

became this kind of condensed hyper

real version of what felt right.”

What began to emerge as they put the

tracks together was that each track seemed

to lead into the next, as if they were chapters

of a larger book. This passing of the torch

from song to song slithered down the line to

the last note and it was decided that it made

the most sense for that note to lead right

back to the first one. The result is a big mean

ouroboros of an album, one that is best served

whole and repeatedly; after all, it is meant to

be “the world’s first infinitely looping LP.”

From the first big-balls-on-the-table notes of

“Robot Stop,” when the album hits you with the

titular first lyrics, chanting “Nonagon infinity

opens the door,” the record does just that and

keeps kicking it open over and over again.

“We definitely set out to make the heaviest

album we have ever made,” admits Mackenzie.

Mission. Accomplished.

Nonagan Infinity has that large throbbing

Black Sabbath heartbeat to it, like what it

would sound like if you put a stethoscope

up to a bull’s erection. It is like one of those

freight trains that you wait at a crossing

for, one that seems to keep surging past

you, car after car, until your brain can’t

fathom what kind of engine could pull such

a thing and your guts suddenly become

very aware of how easy it would be for it

6 MUSIC

to run you right over if you got too close.

But you should get close to Nonagan; and

if you have the time, according to Mackenzie,

you should try to listen to it more than once.

“It’s very possible that you could

find it means something totally

different the second time around.”

Like all concept albums—a dying breed

of long form musical creation—the themes

and sonic offerings evolve as you revisit.

In fact, if you put it on and allow yourself

to settle right into it, you might even miss

how the last growling and lurching notes

of “Road Train” barrel directly back into

the intro notes of “Robot Stop,” and you

won’t even realize you have been led right

back into the gauntlet without getting

the chance to dust the desert off of you.

A pretty impressive feat for an album

released in the time of the $.99 single on

iTunes. Though Mackenzie admits that this

harkening back to a time when an album

was enjoyed as a whole doesn’t necessarily

mean it should be ingested on vinyl.

“This is an album that actually makes

the most sense to be consumed digitally

because you can’t loop a record. So it

actually makes the most sense to listen

to it on an iPod in your headphones, more

than any other album we have done.”

So snag a digital copy of your own

when the album drops on April 29 and

ride the snake as it devours its own

tail over and over and over again.

Or even better, take in the immersive

and all-encompassing live show that King

Gizzard has become known for when they

ride this runaway train through Vancouver.

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard

perform at The Rickshaw on May 28

The Australian psych septet are quickly becoming one of the most prolific bands operating today.

by Jennie Orton

photo: Lee VIncent Grubb

TITUS ANDRONICUS

punk rock existentialist keeps it authentic

Frontman Patrick Stickles’ battle with manic depression has become a driving force of Titus Andronicus.

It’s been awhile since Titus Andronicus’s

latest album, The Most Lamentable Tragedy,

has come out, and the last time BeatRoute

talked to front man Patrick Stickles, it was

a sprawling, many-layered conversation

that went on for an hour or more, covering

all kinds of topics. One might think he’s

over talking about it, as he laughs, “I’ve

discussed it a bit for sure.” Luckily talking

is something that seems to come naturally

for the 30 year old punk rocker.

The Most Lamentable Tragedy is a

sprawling, 90 minute rock opera, a narrative

about mental illness that is a compelling,

emotional journey. While Titus Andronicus

is not a stranger to concept records (2010’s

The Monitor focused on the U.S. Civil War),

punk isn’t known for its sprawling narratives,

but playing it safe was never in the cards,

explains Stickles. “You wouldn’t want us

to just lob it over the plate. You have to be

willing to fall on your face and look like a fool

if you want to strive for greatness. You have

to take a risk and put yourself out there.”

This isn’t just important for reasons of

self-expression, but also for maintaining your

artistic credibility with your fan base. “You

can make some sort of pandering, puffy piece

of art, and hope that it caters to the masses’

idea of what’s a good record in 2016 and maybe

that will be a hot thing for a few months or

a year and maybe that’s lovely, but I have to

think more about the longer arc of the career,

the whole body of work and make every

component of it as true as possible because

that’s what will be your currency as an artist,

even after the time of it being a hot thing

is past. If you are able to foster a genuine

connection with the audience, hopefully that

will keep them coming back year after year.”

The narrative feel of the album also

allowed him to really earn a lot of the emotional

expression in the songs. To Stickles,

context is what really makes the emotional

moments that much more impactful “The

goal was to present a wide enough emotional

spectrum across the narrative that when the

character is feeling low or sorrowful it will

mean more because you’ve seen that character

at the height of joy or ecstasy or vice

versa. I think when you do that it allows you

to explore any of those extremes more fully.”

The narrative also provided the means to

look at ideas that Stickles had previously not

delved into with his previous work. Rather

than fall into cheap love tropes, dealing

with ideas of romantic love were “earned

because earlier in the narrative in the rock

opera we had been with the character

when he was his most defeated and sad

and then the joy of romantic love hopefully

means more when you know what’s at the

other end of that spectrum, and later in the

narrative hopefully it means more because

you know how much it meant at the time.”

Another concept that seems more

prominent on this record is that it seems

to be more hopeful, especially after the

bleaker Local Business. This seems to cut

to the heart of Stickles’ thoughts. “You have

to go through some time facing that bleak,

hopeless attitude to come through the

other side and see the hopefulness that’s

embedded in it, in our black universe and

how lonely it all is. Once you’ve dealt with

that you can see the freedoms that come

from that. The freedom that you create,

as opposed to the one that was handed

to you as a young person falls away.”

I told him that sounds a lot like existentialism.

“Yeah,” he answered,

“that’s my whole bag. That’s what I’m

selling, That’s what I preach.”

Titus Andronicus performs at the

Biltmore Cabaret on May 28

by Graeme Wiggins

photo: Matthew Greeley

May 2016


JUNE 16-19

NIGHT SHOWS

AT THE COBALT

TICKETS: LEVITATION-VANCOUVER.COM


BLESSED

Fraser Valley quartet cursed by ambition

by Joshua Erickson

Unbeknownst to many, the Fraser

Valley has become a creative hub,

producing a large number of fantastic

bands over the past two decades. This

passion and creativity in the scene has laid

the groundwork for a band like Blessed to

exist. Based out of Abbotsford, Blessed are

a four piece post-punk band that have big

things in mind for their future and the talent

With major momentum behind the band, it is #blessed to be Blessed right now.

HEAD WOUND CITY

all grown up but still screaming

“I recounting the recording process for

hadn’t screamed like that in years,” says

Head Wound City singer Jordan Blilie,

A New Wave of Violence, out May 13 on Vice

Records. That may be true, but vocally the

35-year-old hardcore vet has never been in

better shape. Whereas his younger Blood

Brothers-era self only managed to record

line-by-line, due to the strain and intensity of

the process, this time around he was eventually

doing entire takes straight through.

Guitarists Nick Zinner (Yeah Yeah Yeahs)

and Cody Votolato, drummer Gabe Serbian,

and bassist Justin Pearson spent roughly

eight days in early 2015 recording the album

in San Diego with producer Ross Robinson.

Blilie and Robinson spent another six weeks

writing lyrics and recording vocals to get the

frontman up to the producer’s demands. “He

wanted my voice to be in the shape it would

get if I’d been three weeks or a month into

tour. So I just went over to his house every

day and did vocals until my voice blew out.”

There have been monumental changes in

the decade since Head Wound City released

their self-titled debut album. The follow-up

is also a milestone for Blilie’s adult life.

During recording he discovered that his

wife was expecting their first child. Furthermore,

the musician was between semesters

at UCLA, where he is completing

his English degree. “I just really wanted to

and songwriting to back it up. Consisting of

Drew Riekman, Reuben Houweling, Mitchell

Trainor, and Jake Holmes, the band’s

collective resume of projects include, but

is not limited to, GSTS!, Open Letters, Oh

No! Yoko, Relentless Ben, and Little Wild.

For principle songwriter and guitarist/vocalist

Drew Riekman though, Blessed is a

fresh start and a departure from his days

photo: Jaimi Wainright

as the frontman of a wild hardcore band.

“This band has been a culmination of a

long time of wanting to walk away from

music based around ‘how fast can I play, how

energetic can we be, how crazy can we be

live.’ Blessed [comes from] an angle where

we stopped writing towards ‘how good is this

going to be live,’ and more towards ‘how great

of a record can we make?’ and worry about

how it will translate live later,” says Riekman.

Blessed are getting ready to release their

debut self titled EP on May 20 and it has been

a long time in the making. With the band’s

first single, “Waving Hand,” premiering on

Noisey on April 8 and second single “Feel”

premiering on Stereogum on April 25, the

momentum behind the band is growing.

Recorded at The Barn with Curtis Buckoll

from Rain City Studios, the EP is as tense

and loud as it is sparse and beautiful. All

this is the result of a song they recorded

a week after forming the band. A decision

that has haunted the band to this day.

“‘Swim’ is kind of one of those songs

that has really cursed us. In a way that it

doesn’t represent who we are as a band at

all anymore. The first day we ever jammed

together, we wrote [‘Swim’] and a week later

we recorded it,” elaborates Riekman. “And,

because it has taken us a year and a half to

write and record this EP, the only song we

were showing people was ‘Swim’ and then

study something I was passionate about.

I’ve always loved writing [and] studying

books in a classroom setting.” In 2004 the

singer dropped out of college when things

started picking up for his former band, The

Blood Brothers, who quickly shrieked their

way to the top of the emo/screamo ranks.

Blilie’s penchant for working under stress

and time constraints may prove to be a helpful

skill set for his studies. It’s a definite departure

from his pace a decade ago, when the

band felt it had all the time in the world to get

distracted by the “minutiae of the process.”

Their new approach comes through on A

New Wave of Violence, which is teeming with

the urgency and imminence of coordinating

four musicians leading grown-up lives, pursuing

their separate ventures on the heels of a

“staggeringly violent year here in the States.”

Blilie continues, “Seemingly every week you’d

see on the national news a new case of police

violence against unarmed black men, women,

children. You only really need to have a small

amount of awareness of the world around

you to be presented with violence daily.”

The sentiment also resonated with New

York shredder Zinner, who suggested

the album title “completely independent

of reading anything that I had written. It

cemented the record to right now.”

Whereas their first album has an element of

silliness to it in the song titles and lyrical content,

this time Blilie made a concerted effort to

create something more substantial, an honest

portrayal of his mindset that he’s proud of.

But the album isn’t all seriousness. There is

still evidence of anti-authority snottiness and

a glint of irony on “Head Wound City, USA.”

The song possesses a “brutal repetition...that

lent itself to having somewhat anthemic lyrics”

and is about a fruitless search for refuge.

Its title, however, is explained as such: “I liked

the kind of brashness and audacity of having

a song titled with the name of the band.”

we have people coming out to our shows being

like ‘I listened to your song and it doesn’t

sound anything like you live,’ and we have to

say ‘Oh, sorry,’” say Riekman with a laugh.

Blessed’s plans don’t end with their EP

though. That is just the beginning. The band

has ambitious touring plans, a goal to play 100

shows by the end of year, 60 of them being in

The United States. While the band’s US tour

itinerary is still in the works, in May they will

be heading off on a 27 date tour that will see

them cross Canada covering everywhere

from Victoria, BC to St. Johns, Newfoundland.

While the name may seem to allude to

being religious in a sort of sense, that is

not the case. In fact, the band simply chose

the name because they all liked the sound

of it and it wasn’t already taken. I guess

you could say the band are #blessed.

“Coming up with a band name is such a

hard thing for a band to do, and when we

found that [Blessed] wasn’t taken by anyone,

we set out with it” says Riekman. On

the plus side, the band hopes this may make

crossing the boarder into The States easier

for them, a spot where many Vancouver

bands before have been held up or denied.

“We can just tell them we are a Christian

band. It might help. It’s worth a shot.”

Blessed release their self titled

EP everywhere on May 20

With members of Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Locust, and Blood Brothers, Head Wound City are not for the faint of heart.

Blilie may have graduated from Blood

Brother to actual father, but he hasn’t outgrown

a good sense of humour or hopefulness.

“When I was younger it was very easy

to give in to a very fatalistic world view and

that’s just not something I want to carry with

me when I’m trying to demonstrate love and

compassion to a being that is taking every

one of their cues from his mom and myself.”

Head Wound City perform at

the Imperial on May 27.

by Thalia Stopa

photo: Eva Michon

May 2016 MUSIC

9


BLACK MOUNTAIN

psych rockers find levitation in a new challenge

Vancouver’s Black Mountain tread new ground on their fourth album, IV.

The occasional heckler doesn’t phase

Black Mountain singer/guitarist

Stephen McBean. Rather, he appreciates

the challenge. And if you aren’t a

fan of Black Mountain already then Mc-

Bean might be able convert you in the live

setting. A seasoned musician and touring

artist, McBean is also a self-described

introvert who’s still prone to “deer in the

NO SINNER

a regeneration of degenerates

photo: Magdalena Wosinska

headlights” moments on stage. The focused

task of winning over an audience member

is a thrilling opportunity to snap out of it.

“Sometimes there’s a weird energy when

someone yells something that can kind of

twist your psyche into like a healthy creative

wrestling match. I always play to people at

the very back of the room,” says McBean.

“Like maybe some dude with a shaved head

and long-sleeved mixed martial arts wrestling

shirt. He’s only there because like some

woman that he works with and wants to

have sex with is going. He’s by the bar doing

Jaeger shots, forcing some sort of energy

for him to turn around and notice the music,

that can be another fun way to play shows.”

Between heavy touring, the band’s two

days in Vancouver coincides with the marijuana

holiday 4/20. McBean is spending

it rambling – on foot and in conversation

– through the West End, past “Some bongs,

some bongos, and reggae on the street,”

towards a vaguely remembered Greek

restaurant on Denman street. Talk veers to

politics and nachos. By his account, funds

from government-controlled substance dispensation

should funnel into free munchies

so that stoners on the street could “dip into

some community nachos at your leisure.”

McBean asserts that freedom is a common

theme through Black Mountain’s music,

from 2005’s self-titled debut to this year’s

sprawling, synth-heavy fourth album IV,

released April 1 on Jagjaguwar. Maybe it’s

the five-year-long break between this year’s

release and the enthusiasm of reuniting to

make the album that makes it their most spacious-sounding

to date. The band (rounded

out by vocalist Amber Webbs, keyboardist

Jeremy Schmidt, and drummer Joshua Wells)

also has a new bass player, Colin Cowan.

Although Cowan didn’t record on IV, he

did complete his first European tour with

the band. Of the five musicians who auditioned

for the band, Cowan was the only one

McBean didn’t know. It was clear though that

their musical chemistry and personalities

gelled. “He’s a great musician [and] he’s really

good at being a freak, which is good. It takes

the pressure off of me,” McBean laughs.

Black Mountain has an extensive tour

ahead of them, through North America and

back to Europe. McBean has love for the

highs and lows of the road, and there’s no

mistaking his passion for it all. “Getting five

people in tune with each other and then

the audience, the electricity - that’s why

it’s so exciting. There’s so many variables,”

exclaims McBean. “You’re given the luxury

of reinterpreting the album every night.

Usually, if you’re a famous painter you paint

your masterpiece and then it’s placed in a

museum under a controlled viewing environment

at the right temperature and with

like a weird purple velvet rope around it.”

Surrendered to their whims and elements

beyond their control, Black Mountain’s varied

soundscape – including Webber’s melodic

almost operatic vocals and heavy guitar riffs

– are known to attract to a diverse crowd

from metal-head kids who wanna rock out

to music nerds interested in vintage gear.

It’s a wonder then that there’s anyone

out there left to be converted.

Black Mountain perform at the

Commodore Ballroom on May 21.

by Thalia Stopa

by Erin Jardine

In an industry of turbulence, Colleen Rennison

of No Sinner has found a balance

in picking her battles. After a significant

lineup change and negotiating a relationship

with Mascot Label Group, Rennison has

garnered tremendous support and momentum

with the impending release of No

Sinner’s second album, Old Habits Die Hard.

The original line up of No Sinner included

Parker Bossley (Bass), Eric Campbell

(guitar), and Ian Browne (Drums). “We were

really excited about writing and all three

of us were at this transitional stage in our

lives where we were looking for something

to put our passion into,” recalled Rennison.

The story of the album is a bittersweet one;

compromise is essential in any relationship,

business or otherwise. But the decision

to push back the release of Old Habits Die

Hard in favour of re-releasing No Sinner’s

debut album, Boo Hoo Hoo, in Europe was

one that caused changes for No Sinner.

“We recorded the album at a lot of different

studios over four or five years. We were

ready to release it when Mascot Label Group

approached us. When we joined Mascot they

wanted to re-release Boo Hoo Hoo in order

to capitalize off that. So everything received

a bit of a push back. We were excited about

the new material and wanted to release it

10 MUSIC

right away. The reason Ian, Eric, and I don’t

play together anymore is because of that:

that feeling of not being able to evolve.”

No Sinner’s lineup may not be the same,

but the legacy of the songs that were written

has Rennison looking to the future with

optimism. “The songs [Browne, Campell,

and Rennison] wrote together are fucking

killer. I appreciate the time and creative

power that the three of us brought to the

table. I’m proud to bring it to new players.

The guys I’m playing with now, the reason

why they said yes and the reason why

they’re with me now is because they’re

good songs. They’re excited about playing,

which makes me proud,” says Rennison.

With the trials of No Sinner weighing on

Rennison, she went on the road with her

motorcycle for over a year. Many details

of what went wrong were rehashed in her

mind endlessly, but there was something

good about taking a break and seeking a

change in scenery. “I was so anxious and

impatient for things to happen. It felt like

the harder I pushed the longer it took. I’m

just relaxed in my head now. It’s not so fire

and brimstone. What tainted our vibe was

that it became too serious. It became about

pleasing other people. The fun was taken

out of it. We were confused and misleading

With a brand new line up, Colleen Rennison and No Sinner are back with Old Habits Die Hard.

ourselves for the wrong reasons. Now I’m

just ready to play these great fucking songs.”

Now, the new No Sinner line up is comprised

of Daniel Sveinson (guitar), Nathan

Shubert (keys), Cole George (drums),

and Joe Lubinsky (bass), all veteran rock

musicians in their own right. At this stage,

a few short tours are set up – with every

ounce of their energy focused on promoting

Old Habits Die Hard. “We’ve only

been playing since October, hopefully

when we’re on the road and we have more

leisure time together, we’ll get into writing,”

comments Rennison. This is not a

comeback for No Sinner, but a regeneration

with due respect to the band’s past.

No Sinner performs at the Cobalt on May 20

May 2016


VIOLENT FEMMES

healed blisters make way for a valiant return

Slaying a dragon, marrying a princess,

and becoming king. It’s stuff storybooks

are made of and also, metaphorically,

Violent Femmes. The longstanding band recite

this fantastical tale in “I Could Be Anything”

on their new album, We Can Do Anything,

but beneath the song’s childlike facade,

folk-drunk instrumentals, and Gordon Gano’s

playful sneer lays something more — an

optimistic declaration of sorts. For bassist

Brian Ritchie, it affirms the fearless attitude

of the Femmes when they make music.

The Milwaukee post-punks found immediate

success in 1982 with their self-titled debut

that produced iconic stomps like “Blister In

The Sun” and “Add It Up.” We Can Do Anything

is their first full-length in 16 years, following

a number of makeups and breakups

that came to a head when Ritchie famously

sued Gano for selling advertising rights to

Wendy’s. After reuniting in 2013 at Coachella

for an intended one-off performance, they

soon found themselves back on the road

and in the studio. For the record, Ritchie

and Gano are getting along “just fine.”

“There’s something about the band that

you start out with that you can never really

shake,” Ritchie says. “That’s like the defining

moment. People always associate you with that

band. They look at the other things as subsequent

musical projects, but on an emotional

level, you’re always associated with that band.

This is probably one of the reasons bands

continue and one of the reasons bands reform.”

It’s not the warmth of nostalgia, however,

that makes Violent Femmes’ return a triumphant

one, but the magic that happens

when the talents of Ritchie and Gano combine.

Ritchie acknowledges that it can only

be truly captured with the two side-by-side

and much of the essence has to do with the

spontaneous spirit that arises from their

collaboration — something rooted in never

succumbing to contemporary music trends.

“When we recorded the first album, we

made a conscious decision to avoid any kind

of production methodology that was current at

that time — which was 1982 — so that the album

would be able to be interpreted as having

come from the past or the future,” he explains.

That ethos has been carried throughout their

catalogue and again with We Can Do Anything,

on which the rambunctious blend of folk, punk,

jazz, and blues is highlighted through contributions

from freestyle section Horns of Dilemma,

drummer Brian Viglione, and Barenaked

Ladies’ multi-instrumentalist Kevin Hearne.

They recorded live off the floor — a method

utilized often in the band’s earlier days (“It’s

an earthier way of recording,” Ritchie maintains)

— and dipped into Gano’s songwriting

archives, some material spanning over 20

years. “I [wouldn’t] be surprised if every album

had songs that were written before the band

even started,” Ritchie says. “And considering

the band has been around for 35 years, that’s

saying something.” Since the new effort wasn’t

exclusively written as a body of work, the

Femmes cultivated a sonic flow to create a

cohesive experience. “Then,” Ritchie continues,

“the question becomes ‘what angle are

we working, what do we want to do, what kind

of statement are we making as a whole?’”

Beyond the title’s blatancy, the statement

We Can Do Anything makes is about perseverance.

It’s something that resonates with

the Femmes, both in personal relations and

from a musical standpoint. “People have this

idea that we came out with two really strong

albums and after that it was a little bit shaky

and I wouldn’t entirely disagree with that,”

Ritchie says. Following works that are considered

masterpieces can be nerve-wracking, he

admits, but “you just have to put on your ‘I don’t

give a shit’ hat and go ahead and do it anyway.”

After all, Violent Femmes have always done

whatever they’ve wanted — an approach that

reflects what they themselves respect in music:

integrity, endurance, and unabashed boldness.

“The more we put that into our own music,”

Ritchie says, “the more legitimate our music is.”

Violent Femmes perform at The

Commodore Ballroom on May 15

by Yasmine Shemesh

photo: Ebru Yildiz

After a lengthy hiatus, the Violent Femmes are back and touring behind new album We Can Do Anything.

May 2016 MUSIC

11


CARLY RAE JEPSEN

an emotional homecoming

Canadian gem Carly Rae Jepsen is quietly but forcefully pushing the boundaries of pop music.

Carly Rae Jepsen is coming home and

she’s bringing a big show full of all

kinds of emotion with her. BeatRoute

caught up with the illustrious homegrown

pop star to find out more about her latest

album, E•MO•TION, the creative process

involved in bringing it together, and why

it’s taken her so long to bring it all back

home. Her absence in Vancouver is purposeful

however, as she explains, sometimes

certain places mean more and in

this case it’s her home city. “This album

has been my passion project and my baby

and we spent so long promoting it and

GLAD RAGS

socially progressive punks with their humour on-point

With song titles like “Anorexia” and

“5HTP” (an over the counter mood

balancing drug), Glad Rags attempt to

assault their audience with progressive commentary

on the world around them. Glad Rags

are a punk band, and contrary to some of their

subject matter, they certainly do not take themselves

seriously. Glad Rags is Andrea Demers

(drums), Sarah Jane Taylor (guitar/vocals),

Tracy Thorne (bass), and Selina Koop (guitar/

vocals). As for how they found each other,

Koop explains, “The guys in our friend scene

were having these brojams where they would

go to the jamspace and play covers. I think that

sparked the conversation like ‘that sounds fun,

we want to do that!’” They joked about playing

exclusively Courtney Love covers, before they

found their grounding in writing original songs.

“I think the abrasiveness came out quite

naturally,” says Thorne. “We would literally drive

around in [Selina’s] truck and scream at each

other,” Taylor mentioned, in absolute seriousness.

Anyone in this time can find something

to scream about if they dig deep enough, and

the single, “Anorexia” provides an emotional

outlet for Glad Rags about the disease that

plagues many. “The anger is directed at the

disease itself. So the lyrics go, there’s something

that is encouraging you to be a certain

12 MUSIC

releasing it,” Jepsen says on the phone

from her tour stop in Halifax. “Now we

get to celebrate the songs and it’s going

to feel really wonderful to come home.”

E•MO•TION is a fast paced journey

through some very personal stories. Aptly

named, it moves from track to track, eliciting

all kinds of feelings. The tracks themselves

serve as an emotional barometer

of sorts, they aim to inspire the listener to

feel comfortable knowing certain experiences

in life are shared rights of passage.

Jepsen gets personal, she goes deep and

she wears her heart on her sleeve.

way. You feel helpless, you feel hungry and

you don’t love yourself because you don’t feel

like you’re meeting a standard that someone

else has set for you,” recalled Taylor. Glad

Rags is very pro-food, “The amount of potato

chips we have eaten could circumvent the

world, twice,” insisted Demers. “We consume,

and we don’t feel bad about it,” added Koop.

On being a band comprised of females, they

laugh and poke fun at the possibility of calling

any and all “all-male” bands as “boy bands” or

a “male fronted” band. “Growing up I listened

to all-male bands,” remarked Demers. “Well,

yeah, they wrote the scene,” added Taylor.

“Being in an all girl band seemed to be a niche,”

continued Demers, “I had to pay attention to

that, and be conscious of that difference.”

The band simply loves playing together,

and enjoys seeking out the weird shows.

They’re gaining more momentum with Sled

Island and Music Waste in the queue for the

summer. Aside from their message seen in

the lyrics of their songs, they are focused

on the energy of the party, and what their

take on punk music can bring to any situation.

Their full-length album is sure to make

hair and consciousness stand on end.

Glad Rags perform at SBC on May 28

“I wanted to make an album that was

very personal and that felt like it was from

the heart. An album that’s honest and that,

even if no one heard it, I could die happy

knowing it existed,” she says. “And at the

same time I really wanted to connect it to

people and for it to feel like an album that

people could hear and feel like it had been

written for them, for their personal life or

for whatever they were going through.”

E•MO•TION had a slow burn upon its

initial release, but by the end of the year it

had made its way on to many year-end best

of lists. Her newest video is for her single

“Boy Problems,” directed by Canadian

photographer and Instagram starlet, Petra

Collins. The end result was a female-driven

1980s dream paradise crossed with

slumber party shenanigans featuring the

likes of Tavi Gevinson (ROOKIE magazine

editor-in-chief). The collaborative process

is something Jepsen promises more of.

“I basically arrived to a girl party where

we talked about our male problems and

danced it off together,” she says. “It couldn’t

have turned out better in my mind.”

Evolving in pop music as an artist can

be tricky, with mounting pressures to

recreate your last hit, but Jepsen’s aim

is to improve as a songwriter, growing

from one project to the next.

“With Tug Of War (2008) I began very

much as a singer-songwriter, sort of pull

out your journal entry and put it to music. I

wasn’t considering song structure so much.

Then with Kiss (2012) we had this amazing

opportunity to work with a handful of

world-renowned producers and different

collaborators and I think I allowed myself

to just run into that project to try and get it

out as quickly as possible because we were

kinda on fire with the single ‘Call Me Maybe’

so we wanted to share something quickly.

With E•MO•TION, one of the first things I felt

while I was talking to my team about what

was next was that I didn’t want to do it that

way again. I really felt like I needed time and

I needed time to explore and to write many

songs until I landed on the sound. That

was really my sound and with E•MO•TION,

that is the discovery that is most exciting

I found the form of pop that attracts me

most. And I am excited to share this more

than anything else I have done before.”

Gently rejecting the title of pop star,

she is quick to assert that she is an artist

above all else. “There are many different

sides to music and I think sometimes

you can get pigeonholed into one type,

which is where people stamp an identity

on you,” she says. “Every artist is allowed

to explore and change and grow and go

for things you want to do, as opposed

to the things that are expected of you.

I really experienced that (with E•MO•-

TION). I think this discovery will help me

go even deeper with the next album.”

Carly Rae Jepsen performs at

Rogers Arena on May 20.

Local punks Glad Rags are not afraid to call society out on its bullshit.

by David Cutting

by Erin Jardine

photo: Andrea Demers

May 2016


MAC DEMARCO

a journey of rediscovery and interpretation by Andrew Pitchko

ANDREW

Mac DeMarco has been the dream

boy of indie pop for a number of

years now. Though originally from

Edmonton, he can safely claim hometown

advantage in Vancouver, Montreal, and

most recently New York. With an incredibly

dedicated and internet savvy fan base he

has become, by his own admission, a kind

of internet meme, but you should not let that

take away from his music. Now as much as

ever he draws inspiration from singer songwriters

of the past to weave a simple and

yet distinct sound. When we woke DeMarco

up just past noon he was in his New York

apartment, still half asleep he was more

than eager to jump right in to the interview.

DeMarco claims to have developed a

small obsession with acoustic guitars as

of late. Having rediscovered James Taylor,

he goes on to say that sometimes artists

just re-emerge in to prominence on his

playlist. Though he has listened to him

for years, it is only now that he has dived

past the classic hits and began discovering

some of the b-sides. A similar thing

that must have happened with Paul Simon,

another one of his all time favourites, who’s

songs he has been keen on playing live.

That’s one of the things about DeMarco,

he does not hesitate to pay homage. Wearing

the voice of his influencers on his sleeve,

he often pays tribute to one or two during

a show, exposing a whole new generation

to songs like “Still Crazy After All These

Years” which have gotten noticeable attention

from DeMarco’s fans on Youtube. In a

lot of ways this is the dichotomy of DeMarco.

On one hand he spews the kind of goofy

banter and frolic one would expect from his

reputation, but he has also developed and

reflected a sincere musical appreciation

for the singer-songwriters of yester-year.

Though he uses no samples on any of his

recordings, he does at times borrow and, in

his own words, “plays tribute” to the greats.

When asked about this he reminds me of

an old anecdote regarding James Taylor.

When Taylor was recording a new album

in London, The Beatles invited him to their

studio to hang out and play. When he came

he ended up playing “Something in the Way

She Moves” which was one of his songs he

was just recording at the time. Just after

hearing it, George Harrison went home

and wrote “Something,” one of the most

iconic Beatles songs. When confronted,

George Harrison said he loved the song so

much he went home and wrote it himself.

So perhaps this musical journey of

DeMarco’s is one of rediscovery and

interpretation that runs along those lines.

A boy sharing all his favourite stories,

tunes, and jokes to the world around him

only too happy to have a willing audience.

His relationship with his fans, just

like his musical heroes, is very close, as

he routinely goes on Reddit where he

has an active sub-reddit dedicated to all

things Mac. He claims that the fans always

have his back. He recently dropped

a few never before released treats directly

on to the site much to his fans delight.

When asked about his up and coming

show in Vancouver, he says he is

very excited about it. “That’s where

the Sonic Youth played” he adds. “I

can’t wait to play there myself”

Mac DeMarco performs at the

Malkin Bowl on May 27

While he may seem like a goof, Mac DeMarco’s reverential songwriting tells a different story.

photo: Coley Brown

BIRD

fulfilled is the life of a whistling logophile

With Are You Serious, Andrew Bird has released his most personal and honest album yet.

When describing his music to some

unbeknownst pals, you may find it

challenging to paint a true likeness

of Andrew Bird. “He plucks the violin while

holding it like a guitar,” you will tell your

friends excitedly. “Oh, and he whistles along

in perfect pitch. Then he loops it, and adds in

more violin, but plays it the proper way!” You

might even impress them by quoting lyrics

from the hyper-articulate track “Tenuousness.”

Although these attributes are distinctively

Bird, he truly triumphs by offering

listeners stories for their own decoding. Your

friends will thank you for the introduction.

“It’s a fine line between ambiguity and

specificity that allows people to apply it to

their own lives,” Bird says slowly, giving

delicate thought before speaking. “I like

when people get the humour of [my music].

A lot of time there’s lines that have a bit of

a twist to them, that people can hopefully

think deeper about: like some sort of everyday

thing, but thinking about it in a different

way.” The Illinois-raised, classically-trained

violinist has been skirting the edges of indie

and folk for over 20 years. He started off

in the band Andrew Bird’s Bowl of Fire, but

when the rest of the group couldn’t make a

show, he performed it as a solo act. As you

might have guessed, the front man flourished.

He even added more sound-makers

to his roster: the guitar, the glockenspiel, and

that quintessential Andrew Bird whistling.

Over the years, Bird has amassed an impressive

collection of records, notably Weather

Systems, The Mysterious Production of

Eggs, and Noble Beast. Although his methods

have changed slightly over the years (from

looping himself to four people sharing a mic),

he remains true to his style. Esoteric wordplay,

comforting structure, and heartbreaking

violin is the formula for almost any Andrew

Bird song. “I think the most fertile thing, the

thing that always brings [music] to my head, is

simply just the pace of walking in an unfamiliar

city,” Bird says purposefully. “You know,

something about going to look for a coffee

and all these melodies start rushing into

your head. ‘Cause you’re kind of in between,

you’re in some sort of strange purgatory…

Something about it allows ideas to come.”

His latest album Are You Serious, deviates

the closest to explicitly relatable, arguably

more than any of his past releases. It’s not

without good reason, as Bird recently felt

each end of the happiness spectrum. He

got married and had a son, but also moved

across the country and unexpectedly dealt

with some life altering news. By all accounts,

Are You Serious is the exclamation

one would make in a situation so awful

that it bordered on humour. “This album is

someone who means what they say,” Bird

shares, personifying his latest. “I described

it early on as being brutal at times, in the

sense that it doesn’t shy away from some

tough moments. And I think it’s more in touch

with physicality. It’s a visceral record.”

Though he might become a little more

known with this latest release (hearing him

on the radio — albeit CBC2 — is still a shock

to the system), Bird is someone that will

consistently give us the clues and leave the

solving part up to us. Here’s to 20 more years

of trying to describe his brilliant whistling.

Andrew Bird performs at the

Orpheum on May 21

by Kristie Sparksman

photo: Reuben Cox

May 2016 MUSIC

13


ELECTRONICS DEPARTMENT

MODERAT

a synthesis of three minds

by Jamie Goyman

photo: Prioreau Green

Moderat embody the power of III, a complete audio and visual declaration.

Berlin, 2003, felt the first touches of Moderat

and what the three producers had set out

to accomplish. Stemming from the already

working acts of Modeselektor (Gernot Bronsert,

and Sebastian Szary) and Apparat (Sascha Ring)

these three released their first collaborative

EP Auf Kosten der Gesundheit (BPitch Control)

which had fans applauding its originality and

surprisingly catchy nature. The 10+ year journey

for Moderat took hold and has consistently been

pushing out the goods ever since. “We have very

different personalities,” says Bronsert, “but what

we have in common is the love for music and

perfectionism.”

When three seasoned minds come together, in

studio, and put their creativity and production to

work the end result never comes up short. The

new album III (Monkeytown Records) delivers

some of the finest musical decisions that keeps

the album on a course of clarity, moving past the

divide that could momentarily be detected in their

previous work. “My personal favorite is ‘Ghostmother,’

for me this song represents the sound

of this record. The artwork of III is also inspired

by the song: the phenomenon ‘Ghostmother’

is from the early beginnings of photography.

100–120 years ago you had very long exposure

time for a picture in good quality. Children had

to sit still for quite some time for a portrait photo

which was difficult, especially for very young

kids. So what do you need to make this work?

The mother, right? So they tried to hide/integrate

the mother into the background of the photo with

some really weird and sometimes scary results,”

Bronsert explains.

III is an album composed of fused talent that

clearly demonstrate just how well these three

know one another musically. Collecting ideas

individually and in the end coming together to

make it one piece, the creative standards they

have established together define the sound of

Moderat. “We had no real plan, but had a pretty

clear idea about the sound and we knew that

Sascha had to sing more. At the end we usually

just start and see how it goes. Like I said though,

we were on the same page regarding the sound

of III right from the beginning. We argue more

about details.”

The live performance itself is where Moderat

fully let out their creative expression and each

song takes on an energy that can’t be completely

recognized through recordings, the true allure of

Ring’s vocals on “Rusty Nail” (Moderat – Bpitch

Control) comes through and your body feels

the vibrations in the air from the music filling

the room. Not only is the live performance from

Moderat almost musically seamless, there is an

entire aspect to the live show that is the perfect

level of overwhelming, to say the least. The very

stimulating visuals that accompany their live

music are nothing to scoff at or brush off as the

usual, the planning and set up behind the live

show is illustrious, if you will. “We work together

with the Pfadfinderei for many years now. They

are responsible for the stage design, the live

show, and all visual aspects of Moderat,” states

Bronsert.

The live shows that come from Moderat are

continuously well-balanced and fluent, both

visually and audibly, these three guys from

Germany aren’t fucking around when it comes to

their music; they’re the real deal. “The need/urge

to express ourselves creatively started in our

childhood I believe – for each of us. It’s in us.” Let

your body get loose with the instinctual chaos

that they have been perfecting since ‘03.

Moderat performs at the Vogue Theatre on May 23

14 MUSIC

May 2016


ANTWON

flexin’ twice the luv in the booty club

Historically, San Jose rapper Antwon

presents a very interesting composition

of emotional nuance, ostensibly

clashed against wild assertions of explicit

desires. In the same five minutes of an

album that sifts through the phenomenon of

self-image and depression, he also launches

into “I eat the pussy after periods, strawberry

day.” While he promises he “skeeted in

her throat,” he also promises, “Finna watch

sunrise, hold each other during Mimi’s / I’m

finna hold you girl when we fall asleep.”

But what seems like a clash is actually a

breaking out of a mold into something new

for rap music as we know it. Antwon brings

the sexually explicit and the tender out of a

binary. He represents a wide range of emotional

and sexual realities and never tries to

keep them in different rooms. He sheds any

societal sexual repression and lets it breathe

amongst life’s other neuroses, allowing

connections to be made that couldn’t when

these genres were deemed separate entities.

Touring behind his latest, Double Ecstasy

EP, many media outlets have categorized

Antwon’s sexually explicit material as

“tongue in cheek” and “absurdist.” However,

speaking to Antwon, he does not seem to be

reaching for irony at all. When asked about

the lyrics “Hit the pussy raw 2016 / It’s time

to have sex” on his new single “Girl, Flex” he

says, “I’m talking about sex; I’m stating the

point, I’m not trying to be ironic. I just try to

be honest to me.” Antwon abides by playful

and raunchy lyrics as self-expression.

After being in the rap game for more than

10 years now, Antwon’s new music plays

with lo-fi beats and production in what he

calls “a rebirth in sound.” But the real change

lies within Anwton himself. “I’ve evolved

more. I’m more focused now, I know what

I want.” He has sought longevity and after

San Jose rapper Antwon uses playful and raunchy lyrics as a form of self-expression.

album upon album, has achieved it with soaring

marks and there’s no stopping him now.

He just finished a co-headlining We Stole

Hip Hop tour with Wiki and is heading out

on a tour of Europe for the summer, but

he doesn’t act like someone who is ready

to rest on his laurels. “I work on my music

everyday. I have to keep my plans tight,”

says Antwon, citing that he regularly

works every day until one in the morning.

What’s impressive about his Double

photo: Kristin Cofer

by Callie Hitchcock

Ecstasy EP is that it’s versatile in sound

while maintaining the status of killer

dance beats that would hold up in a live

setting. The production and beats that he

raps over are varied and belong to a car

with heavy bass, cruising the streets of

downtown. Over all his albums he maintains

a stronghold on lyrics, beats and

interesting instrumentals. His 10 years of

experience really shines when looking at

how he’s not afraid to choose disparate

samples while also oscillating between

vulnerable and aggressive wordplay.

Whether he’s in the mood to delve into

love, depression or oral sex, Antwon the

entertainer always rises to the occasion.

With lyrics like, “Show me love in the

booty club” from the first song on the EP

“Luv,” and “On a whirlwind trip getting two

bars deep getting lit” from “Dri-Fit,” Antwon

is clearly having a lot of fun. The combination

of out-there lyrics and raw energy in

his music makes you feel like Antwon is a

party you want to join. He represents wild

abandon, emotional honesty and sucking up

every drop of life possible.

Whether you’re dancing in your room or

banging it out, dancing at the club, Antwon

will set you free.

Antwon performs at 22 East 2nd Ave on May 7.

May 2016 ELECTRONICS DEPARTMENT

15


THE REBEL SPELL

finding affirmation within tragedy

This May 21st the extensive community

that Todd Serious, aka Todd Jenkins,

helped build will gather to mourn his loss

and celebrate the music he created with his

band The Rebel Spell. Todd tragically passed

away March 7, 2015 from a climbing accident.

He is remembered by his family, friends, band

mates, and fans. The Todd Serious Memorial

Show will bring everyone together to enjoy

one of his greatest passions: his music.

The Rebel Spell became a Vancouver DIY

icon through years of hard work and dedication

to both their music and their ideals. They

were a band with work ethic and drive, and it

was their dedication to their community and

politics that built their reputation over their

12-year career.

Sitting in a sunny East Vancouver park,

Erin, guitarist and one of the founding members

of The Rebel Spell, takes a moment to

reflect on the energetic frontman and the band

she shared with him.

The band was formed when Erin placed an

add in The Georgia Straight looking for a new

project. Todd and Stepha, the band’s original

drummer, answered the add. “Todd in his

mind already had this vision of a band with the

name The Rebel Spell. So it was kind of like

I was actually the addition to something that

was already in the making,” explains Erin. “It

turned out to be right in line. I was looking for

something more political, something more DIY

than the project I was involved with before.”

Thus The Rebel Spell was born. The band

produced four albums and toured Canada

extensively as well as The United States and

Europe. They toured with Canadian punk

heavyweight Propagandhi, and to pay tribute

to Todd’s memory, Propagandhi released a

cover of The Rebel Spell’s song “I am a Rifle.”

They have a lot to be proud of and Erin doesn’t

shy away from that pride. “I feel really good

about the whole body of work we created. I

feel like our songs are my babies and I don’t

have a favourite album or a not favourite

album. It’s all really special to me.”

For Erin, losing Todd put both her and Todd’s

life choices into focus. “Throughout my time in

the band I’ve had a lot of doubt about my life’s

choices because living in grinding poverty for

that long is really difficult and it took a toll on

me. I often felt like I was spinning my wheels

and I wasn’t going anywhere in my life,” says

Erin. “Since Todd died, just how many people

have reached out and talked about how my

band has impacted their lives, how they think,

and what we meant to them, it’s made me feel

like I really have made the right choices in

life. Made me feel like both Todd’s time on this

earth and mine have not been wasted.”

“Everything about this has been bitter sweet.

It’s just completely horrible but at the same

time really life affirming. I’ve learned the hard

way not to take stuff for granted,” she adds.

The band’s last release ended up being

oddly prophetic. Titled The Last Run, it sadly

lived up to its name. The shock of Todd’s death

came with the grim realization that they would

never play with him again.

“We played our last show on New Years

Eve of 2014 and we were booking our next

tour. We were about to go back to Europe. We

were in full swing of everything. Last Run had

just come out a few months before and, you

know my whole life revolved around this band

pretty much, and in an instant it was gone.

Completely...and so that was hard, and it was

by Alex Molten

hard to think that we would never play these

songs again. I think this will give us a bit of

closure,” says Erin on the decision to put on

the memorial show.

The Rebel Spell that you will see on May

21st will be the final line up the band had, with

Erin on guitar, Elliot on bass, and Travis on

drums. Stepha, the drummer in the first line

up, will be doing most of the vocals with some

guests coming to sing some songs as well.

“We are going to have some surprise guests.

There will be people from our past. It’s going

to be wonderful, I’m really excited,” hints Erin.

When asked about a favourite memory of

Todd, Erin remembers the love he had for

his dogs. “One time when we were on tour

somebody asked us if we were allergic to dogs

and Todd said ‘I’m allergic to not dogs.’ As in

he was allergic to having dogs not around,”

laughs Erin. “I can handle so much. I can get

through so much of thinking about him and

like not break a tear at all but whenever I think

about his dogs, and [them just] waiting for him

to come home and like they don’t even know

where he is...That totally breaks me. Besides

his band he had his climbing and his dogs.

Those were the things he based his whole life

around and everything he did in life was for

those three things.”

So come remember Todd Serious and

celebrate the band he and his band mates

dedicated so much of their lives to. His voice

will live on through his songs so take the time

to listen.

The Rebel Spell with perform at the Todd

Serious Memorial Show at Astorino’s on May 21

KRIS SHULTZ

destroying perceived notions one box at a time

Metal music has always gotten a bad rap

and has garnered a reputation as a bunch

of angst-ridden, rowdy rebel rousers.

It’s just noise played by a bunch of musicians

who have a one track mind, right? Wrong.

Case in point, Kris Schulz. His metal resume speaks

for itself; he is a well respected axe slinger in local

stalwarts Mechanism, West Of Hell, and Cocaine Mustache,

but beyond that Schulz has just released a solo

album full of acoustic wonderment. This album is a far

cry from his previous power chord existence. It is one

hundred percent of just him and the acoustic guitar:

no drums, no vocals. It is an amazing journey and real

eye opener to a soulful side that many metal musicians

have and hold dear to their heart. Many just don’t have

the guts to throw it all out there. The album is called

While The City Sleeps and it is 13 songs of beauty. It

is inspiring to hear these songs that are so obviously

coming straight from a pure and passionate place.

“I had a major realization and it hit hard. I knew I

needed to do this but I did not know how to play this kind

of music that I had in my head,” Schulz explains. “All the

16 THE SKINNY

songs were written way above my level. I struggled the

whole way. I’ve never played anything more challenging.”

In saying that, Schulz is being a bit modest. A couple

of year ago he took a few of these songs to the Canadian

Fingerstyle Competition, a world renowned acoustic

event that has players from around the globe competing,

and placed fourth. Schulz is not the type of guy

into competitions, but this impressive feet gained him

connections to heady record label FretMonkey Records

who released his album and ultimately culminated in

back to back sold out release shows at The H.R. Mac-

Millan Planetarium in Vancouver. Starting May 4 he will

be embarking on a two month cross Canada tour. So

guitar aficionados, this is a chance to see a true talent

and another side to a multi talented intense individual.

“I am not a big fan of boxes. If I could change

one thing about the way people perceive music

it is to fuck off with boxes. You play music.

You are a musician. Everyone has multiple influences

coming in,” says a wistful Schulz.

Kris Schultz performs at the Heritage Grill on May 4.

by Heath Fenton

May 2016


SBDC

nasty names yield positive results

by Alex Molten

While being interviewed, the gals of

SBDC are sitting on a couch in their

jam space wearing wedding gowns

and tiaras and they are having a blast. The

band plays a catchy brand of care-free punk

that prompts smiles and butt shakes while not

being afraid to laugh at themselves or their

own jokes. In fact they are really good at that.

The band is Karmin S. and Cheryl B. on

guitar, Alicia D. on bass and Kati C. on drums,

LA CHINGA

livin’ large in a black light poster world

with the vocals being sung primarily by Karmin

and Alicia and some occasional back-up help

from the others.

The premise of the band was actually

brewed up years before any songs were

actually written. Karmin and Alicia are both

are mental health workers who, through their

jobs, have been called many foul names. It was

during a discussion on which insults bothered

them most that their band name was born.

Seems to be that once in a while we all

need a musical kick in the ass to take us

away from our digitally perfect, bereft

of soul, manufactured, pooper scoop world

and take a minute to kick back, flip on the lava

lamp, pull out the ZigZags and spark one up

and get lost in your “Homework Rots my Mind”

poster while crankin’ some especially primo,

shit-kickin’, boogilicious rock and roll!

These three dudes serve up hip-shakin’

goddamned down n’ dirty mayhem like it is. A

musical trademark tattoo’d - no, BRANDED -

into their denim flare wrapped asses are the

same guys that are getting all sorts of industry

and street level lovin’ for their musical flexing.

They are completely in the NOW and are the

tres hombres that make up the MIGHTY musical

muscle known as La Chinga .

Ben Yardley serves up a dazzling display

of mind melting six string sonics. He recalls a

very tasteful and vast array of influences while

putting his own kind of heavy cream on top

to satiate the senses and satisfy the palette.

Carl Spackler brings home a knuckle-dragging

thunder on the four string as he slams

his beast into some ferocious grooves so he’s

wailing like a motherfucking rock and roll

banshee over top of Yardley and killer tubsman

Jason Solyom. Solyom, who doubles as the

studio guru, pulverizes every molecule of

space not already liquified by his band mates.

Heavy dudes who dig the La Chinga thunder

include Rancho de la Luna/Eagles of Death

Metal mastermind Dave Catching, original

heavyweight Black Flag bassist Chuck Dukowski,

Venice Beach groovers the Shrine, and BF/

Circle Jerks/Off! Lead vocalist Keith Morris!

Tidy peanut gallery eh!

Yardley, Spackler, and the newest addition

to the La Chinga rawk machine, drummer,

multi-instrumentalist, and all-round swell dude

JoJo Jones sat down to discuss usual bullshit

about where, when, why, how over a few

stubbies after a recent rehearsal.

According to Yardley, the electricity that

clearly projects their close-knit band “started

when we all got together in a one-off as the

Snakeskin Cowboys to play Jay’s wedding.”

These dudes aren’t newbies, they cut their

teeth in some of the best bands to hit the

scene over the last ten plus years. Each (Jones

included) have paid their dues, danced with

the devil and lost. They’ve played Buttfuck

Nowhere, USA to six people and have also

shared bills and played with some of rock and

roll’s real royalty before creating La Chinga a

few years back.

Spackler adds, “When my buzz band fell

apart after label insanity, lawyers, road weariness

and infighting, when it was no fucking fun

anymore, I wanted to get away from that sound

and found myself listening to bands like Free,

Cactus, the Four Horsemen. Bands I always

loved – along with TSOL, Waylon Jennings,

The Burrito Brothers, etc... but, bands I needed

to reconnect with... and, it got me excited about

writing again.”

Yardley had been through a similar meatgrinder

in his 20s. “I spent most of my 20s

on the road playing every shithole imaginable.

“Neither of us get really triggered by

anything, other than stupid bitch or dumb

cunt. That kind of pisses [me] off. There’s not a

whole lot you can say to that. And so, Nathan,

my bandmate at the time, [who] was in the back

seat, screamed out ‘Make it your own, start a

band!’ and we were like ‘Super Bitch and the

Dumb Cunts!’” laughs Karmin.

So while SBDC was born that day, it

remained only a joking idea for a couple years.

“It was like two years of us talking about this

project,” says Karmin. “We used to joke that

SBDC was not just a band, [it was] also a

lifestyle.”

Two years into living the “lifestyle” they

brought Cheryl and Kati in on the joke. In

August 2015 they released their debut album,

Pretty Shitty. Featuring tracks titled “Sluts of

Paradise,” “Princess of Pop,” and “SBDC Takes

On the NYPD,” it’s a hilarious and energetic

ride from start to finish.

The band is about to release their second

album, which is called Future Ex-Wives and are

embarking on a tour on May 23. They will be

adventuring past the border into the American

South, cutting back up through the east, and

returning west for Sled Island in Calgary. A

song called “Nothing Personal” from Future

Ex-Wives is up on their Bandcamp and it’s a

Working on my chops and playing in, and with

some great bands and players. Carl and I just

started jamming and Jay was the obvious

choice to drum. Solyom is a beast. And, from

that very first rehearsal Jay recorded and

uploaded a song to YouTube and that was the

genesis of La Chinga.”

JoJo is a great fit. While not trying to replicate

Solyom’s playing, Jones adds his own

slinky kind of swing as he pounds the living

shit out of his kit. Jones comes with his own

list of achievements: “I’ve played with a lot

of people… projects that each rocked in their

own unique way – Black Betty, Jake E Lee

(Ozzy’s guitarist) and stoner/sludge rockers

Sir Hedgehog.”

The extremely wide musical palette of

great listen. A little tighter and longer than the

songs on their first album, it still retains all the

charm the band infused into Pretty Shitty.

As an audience member at an SBDC show,

one feels like they are getting let in on a private

joke. They clearly love playing with each other

and their happiness is contagious. If they make

a mistake, they shrug through it. If they play

tight, well then all the better. One of their songs

even has a mess-up written right into it.

“There’s this whole thing that where to be

taken seriously as women doing anything

you have to do twice as good. That you have

to be better than anything. But we obviously

didn’t do that,” muses Alicia about her band’s

unabashed on-stage confidence.

“We straddle that line where we don’t take

ourselves seriously but still [are] able to play

the songs. They’re catchy and people seem

to like them, so basically I think we’ve found a

really good balance,” adds Cheryl.

“We can raise the bar and lower it at our

will,” says Karmin

“It’s our frikkin bar,” laughs Alicia

“We can drag it on the fucking ground if we

got to,” concludes Carmen.

SBDC will perform a tour kick-off show at

Antisocial Skateboard Shop on May 20.

by Boy Howdy

Yardley, Spackler and Jonas impacts their

retro-tinged boogie with some really intelligent

and ambitious writing and arranging.

It’s this attention to the craft of songwriting

and arranging that perfectly compliments

their monster musical chops and electric live

shows. This is what separates La Chinga from

the pack. No bullshit man! They are a band that

gives shout outs to as diverse a selection of

performers as Rich Hope, Goatsnake, Boards

of Canada, along with Sunday Morning. This

is not a band in black and white – it’s a band in

full black light! Fire one up and pull up a little

closer to the bumper...but be warned, they’ll

melt your face!

La Chinga perform at the Rickshaw on May 13

photo: Tiina Liimu

May 2016 THE SKINNY

17


SUBCULTURE

notes from the underground

Every month, like clockwork, I procrastinate

on writing column until the 11th

hour. It just doesn’t make sense to me

to have people reading something extra stale

which cancels out writing it earlier.

I’ve received praise from random people

of every ilk for my writing

which feels pretty fucking

good. I was amazed

by the cross section of

peeps that actually read

my blurb. I kind of wish,

through Beatroute, I could

answer a feedback mailbag.

That would make

coming up with themes

pretty easy. I’ve been

penning this column for

over 4 1/2 years now and

I’m sure I’ve rehashed the

same subjects multiple

times because shit

always seems to come

back around. How many

more, “do this, don’t do that” blogs pop up

every month. This month I saw a rash of

‘evil’ promoter posts. It’s a thankless job

sometimes, even if you’re doing it right.

I have severe writers block this month.

Here’s some unsolicited advice blurbs for

shits and giggles. I will reach 600 words this

month with this convoluted method.

Dear bands: Please practice a set up and

tear down, live show situation with your

gear. Aim for 15 minutes on a timer. Promoters

and other bands will be stoked to share a

bill with you if you get your shit together on

this. Accolades from your adoring fans can

wait.

Dear newer band: here is some tips on

how to get paid at a show. In my case, I have

a very poor memory from years of boozing

and endless faces so it’s a good idea to

check in with me before the show starts.

Send one guy, generally the online contact

or responsible member so I know your face.

After midnight’s door cash out, I do a few

laps around the bar looking for you. Keep in

mind I also have poor eyesight. If you’re not

by Wendy13

around you get added to the list. I have an

extensive list in my float wallet of uncollected

band dough. Look me up if you think

you may be on this list. It goes back at least

5 years. It wonder how many bands have

assumed they didn’t get paid by me and have

put me on their evil promoter

list?

Dear live music fans: expand

your musical horizons. Check

out a local or touring bands

you’ve never seen at least once

a month. Live a little.

Also... Enough cover charge

balking over 10 bucks. Every

time you spill your coffee that’s

5 bucks. I those Instagram pictures

of you drinking expensive

beers at trendy joints around

town. Se the value in 15-20

musicians performing live music

for you. Ten dollars is a pittance.

Dear bar patrons: If you’re too

drunk, there is likely a scenario

where the door guy will refuse you entry to

the pub. You are not more important than the

risk of a hefty fine and possible enforcement

closure of the business. See you tomorrow.

Call it a day.

Dear everyone: I can not help you get into

the bar without ID. It’s not my call. I just book

the bands there and collect my paycheque

like any other working stiff. Get to know door

guys like Phill. He may just vouch for you.

Better yet, haul your carcass down to the

DMV and get your shit together.

Dear other promoters: Attempt to be

conscientious of what else is going on in this

city. I’ve made plenty of sacrifices for the

sake of not killing someone elses show. Your

turn.

Dear Internet: Try matching the shit that

comes out of your typing fingers with what

you’d really do and say in reality. The personality

trait of a gutless keyboard warrior

is getting really stale. Like it or not, the law

is catching up with this trend of irrational

bullshit. Get it together.

Phew, there it is. See you around.

18 THE SKINNY

May 2016


VANCOUVER COMIC ARTS FESTIVAL

celebrating the visual triumphs of the graphic novel

Have you ever noticed nerd is the new

norm? Just look at the way Fan Expo

is lined up out the door with people

who can all agree Star Wars is a pretty good

film. The Vancouver Comic Arts Festival is

putting the comic book back in the comic book

convention — three days of people who draw

comic books exhibiting solely to people who

read them. VanCAF founder Shannon Campbell

was happy to tell BeatRoute, “This is a specially

curated event to connect creators with people

who read comic books; we keep the event

free so the attendees are able to purchase

what matters: lots and lots of comic books.”

The need for diversification in the nerd

industry has proven positive as Campbell

started VanCAF five years ago and has seen

a steady increase in attendees with each

edition. “I started it because I was inspired by

the [unaffiliated] Toronto Comic Arts Festival,”

she says, “and now it’s incredible to see both

TCAF and VanCAF being used as a credit

for indie comic creators across Canada.”

Campbell has her work cut out for her,

choosing integrity over a quick buck as

comic expos everywhere take off. She turns

down the t-shirt towers and the anime pillow

vendors in favour of dynamic plotlines and

unique voices. “At expos like San Diego or Fan

Expo, comic creators often have to make fan

art of popular characters to draw people to

their booths and try to sell their own original

stuff as a package deal,” she says. “But at

VanCAF I tell the creators they won’t need

fan art covering original content to sell.”

VanCAF is called an “arts festival” specifically

to highlight the artistic merit of comic

writers and illustrators, a medium often

dismissed as childish by the uninitiated. “Comic

books have always pushed boundaries and

evoked emotion through both story and art,”

Campbell maintains. Independent graphic

novels have continuously used fantasy and

gritty reality to push social justice ideals and

play out progressive thinking scenarios, from

Vancouver’s burlesque community is

one of the biggest success stories of

artistic unity in the city. Vancouver

International Burlesque Festival’s President

Lola Frost gives credit to not only the local

burlesque community, but also to the audience

for the art form’s endearing evolution.

“I love Vancouver’s style because it is

very diverse,” Frost says. “Like, if someone

asks you to define burlesque in Vancouver,

you can’t just put your thumb on it. And the

audiences in Vancouver are great. And I

think that comes from putting together high

quality packages for them and giving them

what they want to see as well as delivering

it at any level. You can see burlesque at a

dive bar, you can see it at an underground

speakeasy, you can see it at The Vogue

Theatre, it’s a multi-reach art form.”

It isn’t just about pasties and tassels though.

Amongst some of the festival highlights this

year is TIT Talks — a series of TED Talk-style

presentations by performers and academics

alike that combine both the art of burlesque

with women’s studies, sex work, gender identity,

and body image. There will be no shortage

of performances, and VIBF has arranged for

showcases with some stellar big names, both

local and international. Showcases include

New York-based multiple burlesque title-holding

artist Julie Altas Muz and her husband,

and Mat Fraser, who is known for his appearance

as Paul on American Horror Story: Freak

Show. In relation to Fraser’s thalidomide-induced

phocomelia — a malformation of the

limbs — his workshops are on body image.

“Julie’s theatrical background and her

ferocious strip tease has really brought about

her art form into a whole other level,” says

Frost. “You’ve never really seen it before, you

think you have a narrative about where she

is going and then she messes with you!”

It’s this marriage of international stars

and local powerhouses that makes the VIBF

Watchmen in the 1990s to Bitch Planet today.

Going over the events and guests of VanCAF

2016, one can see that celebrated cartoonist

and For Better or For Worse creator Lynn

Johnston is billed the same as Simpsons

Comics writer Ian Boothby in an equal spread

of ages, genders, and talents. As ever, graphic

novels are an exceedingly great way to find

many diverse voices within a specific art form.

Vancouver Comic Arts Festival runs May

21-22 at The Roundhouse Community

Arts & Recreation Centre

This is not an expo for those who want to show of their cosplay, but to celebrate a love of comic books.

INTERNATIONAL BURLESQUE FESTIVAL

blending striptease and theatrics with community and social awareness

The growing popularity of the burlesque art form has found a comfortable home in Vancouver.

RIO

THEATRE

1660 EAST BROADWAY

MAY

HIGHLIGHTS

WWW.RIOTHEATRETICKETS.CA

Vancouver Bird Week Presents Documentary

THE MESSENGER 6:00 PM

INTRODUCED BY DAVID SUZUKI

The Gentlemen Hecklers Present

GREEN LANTERN

Doors at 9:00 PM

Purple Rain

7:00 PM & 10:00 PM

LETʼS GO CRAZY.

Get tix now - 10:00 show already sold out!

The Fictionals Comedy Co. Present

IMPROV AGAINST HUMANITY

8:00 PM | #IAHatRio

PRINCEʼS CONCERT FILM

SIGN Oʼ THE TIMES 9:30 PM

THE CRITICAL HIT SHOW

A #DNDLive Comedy Experience

8:00 PM

OPEN MIC MOVIE NIGHT

9:30 PM

HELD OVER!!!

Geekenders Theatrical Co. Presents

THE FORCE IS SHAKINʼ:

A SCI-FI BURLESQUE ADVENTURE

8:00 PM

CHECK WWW.RIOTHEATRE.CA

FOR OUR COMPLETE CALENDAR OF EVENTS

May 2016 19

CITY

by Victoria Banner

photo: Caitlin Conrad

by Jennie Orton

photo: Marco Felix

such a well-rounded triumph. “It’s not only

for our audiences, but for our community to

come together and get to know each other

and learn something. It’s good to know each

other on and off stage,” Frost maintains.

“We’re very theatrical, we get really weird,

but we also have this level of professionalism

and polished art that really spans our

audiences so that not only people who are

into traditional burlesque will understand.

Come see us, we’re pretty awesome.”

The Vancouver International Burlesque Festival

runs from May 5 -7 at various locations

MAY

5

MAY

6

MAY

7

MAY

8

MAY

11

MAY

14

&

15

MAY

17

MAY

18

MAY

19

MAY

25

MAY

26

MAY

27

JUNE

3&

4

FINAL SHOW OF THE SEASON

PAUL ANTHONYʼS

TALENT TIME

An Old Timey-Time Show!

Isao Takahataʼs

ONLY YESTERDAY 5:30 PM

DRIVE 11:55 PM

ALL THREE. ALL DAY. NO SPOONS.

THE MATRIX

Trilogy Marathon!

Kicks off at 5:00 PM

ERNEST & CELESTINE 1:45 PM

APRIL AND THE EXTRAORDINARY

WORLD 4:00 PM

10 CLOVERFIELD LANE 6:30 PM

DEADPOOL 9:00 PM

FINAL SCREENING

BLADE RUNNER:

THE FINAL CUT 9:30 PM

O HAI MARK!

THE ROOM

Live Script Reading and Screening

(WITH GREG SESTERO IN PERSON!)

PANʼS LABYRINTH

11:55 PM


ONCE OUR LAND

a fresh take on the end of the world

A new graphic novel by Peter Ricq.

It seems like there’s a surplus of post-apocalypse

fiction in modern media. Television has

The Walking Dead, last year’s Mad Max added

to a long list of stories that take place in nuked

dust bowls, and tons of novels and comics

shock us with tales of wastelands not so far

away. Most stories of this nature have similar

setups and aesthetics, and while no one is

knocking Mad Max (not even a little bit, that film

was great) it’s refreshing to find any profound

sense of originality in the case of a lot of these

stories. Vancouver multidisciplinary artist Peter

Ricq’s graphic novel, Once Our Land, sweats

ingenuity from its pores with an extremely fresh

take on the post-apocalyptic nightmare story.

Ricq has long been a prolific force in art

world. He co-created the animated television

series League of Super Evil, lent his talents

as junior designer on another animated series

Storm Hawks, and was honoured with

the jury prize for Filmmaker To Watch from

the Canadian Filmmaker Festival for his 2007

animated short, Glitch. He’s also a gifted painter

and musical composer/performer, the latter is

showcased through his work with Gang Signs

and recently Juno Award-nominated electro-pop

group, HUMANS. Once Our Land is the

latest in a line of accomplishments that highlight

Ricq’s unique eye and irrefutable talent.

Set in 1830s Germany, Once Our Land begins

with creatures invading Earth from inside gift

boxes that mysteriously appear on every man,

woman, and child’s doorstep. The story then

follows a young girl and an old man as they

navigate through their devastated town while

attempting to avoid the nightmarish creatures

that have killed most of the other inhabitants.

The artwork is gorgeous, blending ruined

1800s-style buildings drawn with stark realism

and cartoonish, exaggerated characters.

Speaking with Ricq over the phone, I came to

realize the grand scope of not just the comic, but

of how it came into existence. “I actually started

it when I was 19,” Ricq reveals. “I had the first

chapter done, it was black and white…I had a

friend who started working for a Montreal based

publisher…I sent them The Gift, which is part

one. They really liked it, but they wanted me to

add forty more pages because eighteen pages

[wouldn’t] sell and there’s not that much dialogue

so it would end up being too fast of a read.”

Ricq then connected with local artist Sunny

Shah and collaborated to finish the second chapter.

“So, I told the publishing company from Montreal,

‘yeah I plan on doing it. Send over the papers

so we can get an agreement,’” he continues.

“They sent me something and it was the worst

thing that I have ever seen.” Due to the lacklustre

terms of the contract, Ricq decided to self-publish

using Kickstarter and managed to raise

roughly 15 thousand dollars through pre-sales.

This month, Ricq will launch Once Our Land

alongside an art exhibition that features work inspired

by the novel by more than 35 international

artists. Kids aged 16 and younger are encouraged

to bring their own drawings of monsters,

which will be displayed on the gallery’s walls,

giving aspiring artists an opportunity to publicly

exhibit and sell their own art for the first time.

Once Our Land launches at ONLOK

Gallery & Studios on May 13

by Reid Duncan Carmichael

ARI LAZER

the metaphysical man

by Jennie Orton

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “If a

man is at once acquainted with

the geometric foundation of things

and with their festal splendor, his poetry

is exact and his arithmetic musical.”

Ari Lazer is one such man.

Lazer, a Vancouver-based artist and

educator, is a scholar of sacred geometry

— a concept that assigns meaning to

numerical proportions. Through his work,

he’s cultivated a keen sense of understanding

of the world around him. “There was

this pattern, these sets of patterns, that

underlie all the phenomena in the physical

world,” he says. “And it started to create

a radical shift in how I perceived not only

my work as an artist, but also my life as

a human being. What really is important

to me is emphasizing the interaction

between great, well-grounded science,

and profound metaphysical thought.”

It’s the unifying makeup of the universe

that Lazer finds most compelling. “It’s the

way nature uses a finite set of resources

in the most efficient way possible,” he

explains. As such, it stands to reason this

extends to human beings as well. In 2009,

Lazer founded the Traveling Alchemists’

Outreach Society, a home base for explorations

concerning the metaphysical

world, and through which he conducts

presentations to share his knowledge.

“I’m really passionate about bringing

together the right brain and the left brain,”

he says, “Because I think, intuitively, in the

right brain we already have this predilection

to these ideas; we enter a room and

it just feels better to be in there, we see a

person or a tree and it just strikes us as

inherently beautiful. But the left brain is

struggling at this moment to catch up; how

is it that looking at a six-fold pattern on a

sheet of paper can make me feel this kind

of emotion? So I am really fascinated with

how we as human beings interact with

our environment and learn from it, utilizing

the same principles to create a culture

where we are much more balanced.”

This month, Lazer hosts a multimedia

experience called Dream Journeys; an

event he calls “a visual narrative journey

that takes us from that first circle to the

emergence of the pattern in our world.”

“When we look at these simple geometric

relationships that describe the vast majority

of all life on this earth,” he maintains. “That

is a vastly empowering and enriching thing.”

Dream Journeys is held at the

Vancouver Planetarium on May 19

Ari Lazer’s Dream Journeys is a live experience to behold.

20 CITY

May 2016


LAWRENCE PAUL YUXWELUPTUN

a colourful dialogue of art as activism

Writen by Yasmine Shemesh Photo by Sarah Whitlam

It’s a warm spring day and bright light is

streaming through the windows of Lawrence

Paul Yuxweluptun’s East Vancouver

studio, dancing upon the colourfully painted

canvases propped up against the walls.

Yuxweluptun is leaning forward in a chair

and rolling up his t-shirt sleeve to reveal a

tattoo. It’s an image from his painting Night

In A Salish Longhouse — a sacred spirit

drummer — inked onto his arm by his

friend and fellow artist, Corey Bulpitt.

“I’ve kind of become one of my own humanoids

in my own painting,” he grins, slowly

scanning his eyes over the lines etched on

his skin. It’s a statement that, though uttered

casually, is truly defining of the artist. The

bond between Yuxweluptun and his work goes

beyond the surface of the skin; it’s something

that ventures further than a person

and his creative outlet. Yuxweluptun and his

art are very much entwined at the core.

With a career than spans more than 40 years,

Yuxweluptun has made a distinctive imprint

generations. Yuxweluptun was there from

kindergarten to grade three, when laws were

changed, allowing First Nations people to live

off the reservation and attend public schools.

“To me, the residential school was like throwing

a stick of dynamite into somebody’s culture

and then you get to go pick up the scraps of

what’s left of your identity,” Yuxweluptun

says. “I lost my language at residential school.

My dad lost it. My mother lost it. My grandmother

lost it. There was this loss of being.

I was in a Longhouse and they were talking

their own language and I’m sitting there and

“MODERNISM PAINTING WAS A WAY OF DEALING WITH

THIS STUFF TRADITIONALISM DIDN’T ALLOW FOR,”

it was very —” He pauses. “Sometimes I get

very depressed about not having language. It’s

very hard to think of what colonialism means

and how it can destroy somebody’s culture.”

Yuxweluptun doesn’t shy from administering

a tongue-lashing to the Canadian government,

particularly when it comes to protecting the

environment. His concern for the natural

world runs parallel to both his heritage and

his character as a self-proclaimed “tree

The manner in which Yuxweluptun achieves

this produces an inimitable aesthetic where,

stylistically, he plays with the abstract — applying

humanness to the metaphysical and adding

a melting effect to tangible terrain (the latter,

a nod to surrealist Salvador Dalí). The visual

integration of more formal Northwest Coast designs

assist to illustrate a spiritual understanding

that conveys a “real” and “lived” experience.

“Modernism painting was a way of dealing

with this stuff traditionalism didn’t allow for,”

Yuxweluptun explains. More traditional forms

of First Nations art, he maintains, “did not allow

the dealing with the modernity of colonialism.”

But his crusade is armed with a sharp wit.

Yuxweluptun leans back in his chair and

motions to the wooden easel behind him

holding a large canvas. Against a royal blue

background are four men in suits, their faces

masked and their mouths filled with pointed

teeth, twisted in sneers. The painting, titled Fish

Farmers They Have Sea Lice, is part of his

Super Predator series that depicts corporate

CEOs, bank cartel, and oil barons as dangerous

beasts, jaws and all. A visual concept that

is indeed “nasty,” he smirks, “but it’s funny.”

Another painting, Red Man Watching White

Man Trying To Fix Hole In Sky, casts a satirical

light onto the destruction and loss of land. In

Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Michelangelo, getting

acquainted with various definitions of what

art could be. In 1983, Yuxweluptun graduated

with an honours degree in painting from the

Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design. “My

interest became in painting in a modern way

and seeing things that was a very interesting

way of presenting my work,” he says. “I seem

to make symbolism come to life and, more

or less, they become new symbols in new

formats and they become very surreal.”

The nonfigurative nature of Yuxweluptun’s

work exercises his right to have an existential

thought. “I can relay things in a different way

other than on a mask or a drum or a regalia or a

totem pole,” he warns. This is exhibited prominently

in a style that he calls “ovoidism,” where

he uses the hollowness of the ovoid shape

to make its own statement — a deconstructed

presentation that recalls the dismantling

objective of residential school. “I liked the idea

of what it could represent,” he says of the form.

Through his life experiences and innovation,

Yuxweluptun has played a vital role in shifting

the perspective of what modern First Nations

art can be. He is certain to not leave the value

of traditionalism behind, instead utilizing it to

cultivate a fresh and paramount discourse. And

although his brilliance has been exhibited

in the world of contemporary art through his

searing and sometimes controversial work. His

Coast Salish and Okanagan heredity is a

fundamental component of his craft, in which

he vividly melds traditional iconography and

modernist styles with polemic representations

of the ongoing struggles of First Nations people.

Subject matter like colonial suppression,

land rights, and environmental degradation provoke

a difficult yet exceedingly important

conversation that reflects Yuxweluptun’s unapologetically

caustic views — convictions that

stem from battles he has fought since birth.

Yuxweluptun was born in Kamloops in

1957. Due to segregation laws at the time, his

mother was forced to deliver in a separate

hospital for First Nations women. As a young

boy, he was sent to a residential school — a

systemic tragedy that reaches back through

hugger.” Clear-cutting, pipelines, and the

consumption of natural resources, he insists,

are debilitating an already fragile system.

“I grew up with songbirds when I was a

kid,” he recalls, his voice wistful. “And in the

last couple of years, I went up to the Okanagan

and I woke up and I realized how quiet

it had gotten. When I was a kid, five o’clock

in the morning the sun would come up

and the whole valley on the reserve would

chirp of songbirds. I knew what it meant

and when I went there recently it was quiet.

Silent. What are we doing as human beings?”

For Yuxweluptun, art offers a means

to congruently document these issues

and provide a commentary. “To me, that’s

part of my job as an artist. To be a part of

the social fabric of life and record history

in a way that is possible,” he says.

it, two men outfitted in lab coats, clutching

a withered piece of sky and balancing on an

arm that’s pierced with junk, reach upwards

to repair a gaping tear in the blue. The ground

beneath them is barren; a nearby mountain

is emblazoned with spirits, whose faces

are warped in pain. To the side, a “red man”

observes in horror. He is striking in a rainbow

of tones, built from formlines (a Northwest

Coast two-dimensional style) and ovoids (eggshaped

forms), but see-through — invisible.

Art was always a means of expression for

Yuxwelptun, a gift that was bestowed to him

naturally. He began carving when he was

just five years old and later gained an interest

in modern painting when he became part

of the public education system. He’d spend

stretches of time at the local library with his

father, engrossing himself in the works of

at prestigious spaces such as The National

Gallery of Canada, the first true retrospective

of his life’s work, as well as his first major solo

exhibition in Canada in 20 years, will open

this month at The Museum of Anthropology.

Comprised primarily of his paintings and

drawings, Unceded Territories will present

a survey of Yuxweluptun’s most significant

pieces over the last four decades, alongside the

provocative timeline that exists within them.

“I think I’ve taken a look at the world

and I’ll take my run at it,” he says. “It’s just

fun. That’s for history to decide later on

where they’ll place me. The history book

may have room for an Indigenous person.”

Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun: Unceded

Territories is on display at the Museum of

Anthropology from May 10 to October 16

May 2016 CITY

21


THE HEATLEY

a place for the people

Somewhere on the terrace of a little

Parisian café, a stunning brownhaired

couple laughs demurely over

tiny steaks of seared tuna. The sun trickles

down on them, it’s 1:30 p.m. and lunch

is just winding down. With the arrival of

an early summer in Vancouver, as well

as the opening of lunch service at Hastings

Sunrise’s Bistro Wagon Rouge, this

vignette is one you can spin into reality.

On a ridiculously warm Wednesday in

April, we visited the blue-collar French

spot to see what it was like living midday

en francais. Your first step journeying

into a Parisian café lifestyle starts with

seating choice, so if you can, try to nab

a spot by the window so the sun can

drench you and passersby can ogle at your

classic beauty as they go on their way.

The sun is hot and dehydration is

serious, so order yourself the house’s

signature cocktail — a mix of gin and

photo: Michael Brennon

The Heatley is truly a DIY effort, down to the very last chair.

BISTRO WAGON ROUGE

a European daydream

It’s not uncommon to see the transition

made from the music industry to

the restaurant/bar industry. They are

both integral parts of the entertainment

world and the pairing of music to dining

is unequivocally important. If you’ve ever

thought about opening up your own bar,

you’ve probably have had a few conversations

with your buddies over what your

menu, ambience, and theme should be.

But what would it actually take?

Michael Brennon has the answer.

Brennon is the owner and creative

mind behind Strathcona’s The Heatley,

a restaurant and bar located on Hastings

and, you guessed it, Heatley.

Originally finding his roots in rock

music, jack-of-all-trades Brennon has

done what most of us only talk about over

coffee. Moving from tour life to kitchen life

in Toronto, he lent his culinary talents to a

number of projects before making his way

lavender lemonade known affectionately

as The Wagon Rouge to keep yourself

from getting parched. In Europe, there’s no

drinking without eating, which means it’s

pâté time. House-made with chicken liver

and pork fat, Bistro Wagon Rouge’s version

is served alongside crostinis, pickled

vegetables and French mustard. This is the

point in the meal where you revel in the

blissful act of eating pâté smack dab in the

middle of the day. This is what makes life

worth living. Going to a French restaurant

without ordering salade niçoise or moule

et frites is basically a criminal act, so try

to keep your wits about you. Five gorgeous

steaks of tuna will arrive on a bed

of potatoes and greens, a perfectly boiled

egg on either side of the dish, and everything

is covered in tapenade dressing.

Bistro Wagon Rouge’s take on salad

niçoise is fresh and light. It’s rumoured that

lightly seasoned veg and lean protein are

to the West Coast. Between a few notable

positions (one of which being sous chef

at The Alibi Room), Brennon worked as a

mental health practitioner and helped with

housing and clinical day programs for the

disabled. Somewhere in this journey, he

also became a wood worker and handyman

— conceptual rivers that all flowed

into what became the idea for The Heatley.

Before Brennon got his hands on the

restaurant, the space was divided into

a hardware store and a paint shop. He

drew up plans, knocked the wall down,

and set to work building his vision

from the ground up. “Once I got started

building, I realized that I couldn’t really

go out and start buying stuff, because

it just wouldn’t fit,” Brennon says. So,

he handcrafted all the furniture in the

establishment, from stool to bar top. This

is the attitude that exemplifies someone

committed to his own creation. And

what give the French their natural glow,

so check yourself for a je ne sais quoi in

the mirror when you’re finished. Right

when you think the afternoon couldn’t get

better, you’re staring a plate of mussels

in tomato and white wine broth right in

the face. You forget ketchup even exists

as you lovingly dip your fries in mayo.

Croutons sprinkled on top of the dish

absorb the broth beautifully, with every

muscle you are reminded why you love

the sea. Campbell’s single serving soup

cups eaten in the murky depths of a dreary

staff room just won’t cut it anymore. You

only have one life to live. Let that life be

full of luxury at noon. Don’t forget to ask

your server for a digestif at the end. Sip it

thoughtfully because dreams do come true.

Bistro Wagon Rouge is open for

lunch Wednesday through Friday

from 11AM to 2:30PM

by Fraser Marshall-Glew

although it truly is by his own blood

sweat and tears that we are able to enjoy

such a place, it is all for the people.

The Heatley’s neighbourly vibe is

reflected in its menu, which offers

laid-back fare like macaroni and cheese,

hot dogs, and baked s’mores. The beer

is great too, and pairs perfectly with

weekly music nights like bluegrass

Sundays and mullet Mondays (which

features a playlist of hard rock).

“Truthfully, I have very little interest

in readers polls or awards,” Brennon

stresses. “I really just wanted the

people to define the feel of this place

and I do what I can to facilitate that.”

A refreshing attitude in what can

undoubtedly be a trend-following city.

The Heatley is located at 696 East

Hastings Street and is open Monday -

Sunday from 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 a.m.

French cuisine from the people behind The Red Wagon.

by Maya-Roisin Slater

22 CITY

May 2016


BUNZ TRADING ZONE

money-free marketplace gets rich on community

by Yasmine Shemesh

What happens when money is

taken out of the equation? A lot,

when it comes to figuring out

what you truly need. The ancient system

of exchanging items is the foundation of

online marketplace Bunz Trading Zone —

a place where you can get a houseplant

for a bottle of olive oil by finding value in

things you already possess. More than

anything, a sense of community is what

makes up the sweet stuff of Bunz, in

which, through a simple swap, generosity

is donated and friendships are built.

Bunz was created three years ago in

Toronto, when founder Emily Bitze took

to social media in search of tomato sauce.

She ended up starting a Facebook group

that traded things and, soon enough, there

were thousands of members. As the

numbers continued to climb, so did the

places where Bunz opened their virtual

doors — now, there are Facebook groups

for zones in seven Canadian provinces,

26 Canadian cities (including Vancouver),

and nine international cities like New York

and Berlin. And the platform is only getting

stronger. In January, Bunz launched a

smartphone application that organized Toronto’s

ever-expanding feed, allowing categorical

searches and direct messaging. By

summer, the app will launch in Vancouver.

There are plenty of Bunz benefits

beyond saving money, including waste

reduction by the upcycling of products.

HOSEHEAD RECORDS

celebrating five years, eh?

There’s a clip from the cult Canadian

film Strange Brew where brothers

Bob and Doug Mackenzie listen to a

flexi-disc of a “British new wave band” that

consists of nothing more than the sound

of fingernails on a chalkboard. After a few

seconds, they feed it to their dog, Hosehead.

I imagine this same process happens with

every demo that partners in record crime

Patrick McEachnie and Mike Simpson have

to listen to, albeit with much better results,

for their punk label, Hosehead Records.

“Punk 45s are the best format for

listening to music,” claims McEachnie.

Maybe not for bedtime listening, but in

general.” The love goes back to a bond

Community, however, is perhaps the

biggest. “You’re meeting people, you’re

discussing things, you’re exchanging

ideas,” says marketing director David

Morton. On Craigslist or Kijiji, for example,

you pay and leave. With Bunz, you trade

a blouse for a beer and then probably

share a drink with your new friend. “It’s

about tapping into communities that are

already there,” Morton continues. “I don’t

know how many neighbours you know,

but I can guarantee you if you start trading

you’re going to meet a lot more of them.”

Cans, subway tokens, and consumables

like kombucha are the most common

currency. There aren’t really boundaries

for what can be traded, either, so long as

it’s legal. Morton admits he’s seen weird

he and Simpson have shared since grade

school, with music being part of their

adolescent growing pains. Train rides

from the Toronto suburbs to record stores

brought home the spoils of punk records

like The Ramones and The Germs. It helped

that Toronto was a hotbed of hardcore in

the mid-2000s and, McEachnie states, “The

best time for bands in Toronto; you had

Fucked Up, Career Suicide, The Bayonettes,

and all these bands putting out great records

and it inspired us to start Hosehead.”

The pair bought tape duplicators

from a woman who used to record AA

meetings and released their first album

from Simpson’s band, First Base, in 2011.

Patrick McEachnie, one half of Hosehead, is committed to putting punk rock on wax.

photo: Victoria Black

things being swapped, including sex toys

and a 32-foot sailboat, but the best was a

summer road trip for providing a covered

parking space in the winter. “When

you remove money, it leaves room for

good will, it leaves room for connection,

it leaves room for charity, it leaves room

for all kinds of great things,” he says.

And though bartering is an age-old

practice, now is an exceedingly appropriate

time for it. “The millennial generation has a

different set of challenges than our parents

did,” Morton says. Bunz is, he maintains,

“a drop in the bucket towards the solutions

that are going to help us keep going.”

Find Bunz Trading Zone

Vancouver on Facebook

photo: Rishahb Varshney

Emily Bitze and David Morton are hoping to see a larger community connection through Bunz.

McEachnie continues, “We made 100

copies and, weirdly, 50 of them went

straight to Japan! After that, we knew we

were on to something.” Since his move to

Vancouver (while Simpson reps the east),

that “something” has been a steady string

of releases from Canadian bands (Sonic

Avenues, Needles//Pins) and beyond

(Swedish power-pop purists The Moderns).

Owning a label comes with its

headaches, however, and money

migraines are constant. “The worst part

of releasing records is how much we

have to dish out before we even have the

finished product in our hands,” laments

McEachnie. “But when it eventually

arrives you breathe and get ready to do

it all again. We have to credit labels like

Dirtnap, Douchemaster, Ugly Pop, and

Quintessence for getting us excited about

music and keeping us going for this long.”

Five years isn’t long, and more

excitement is around the corner for this

dynamic duo, such as a special re-issue

from late 1970s English punks The Scabs

and an LP from Pale Lips, a garage-pop

foursome from Montreal. So, grab your

toques, pack the cooler, and let these

hosers take your hard-earned money

in return for some sweet tunes, eh?

Hosehead Records celebrate their fifth

anniversary at the Astoria on May 7

by Bryce Dunn

CARLOTTA GURL

a whole lotta gurl

by David Cutting and Chase Hansen

It’s Saturday night at the Junction and it is standing room only. Everyone

is gathered to see “Absolutely Dragulous,” Carlotta Gurl’s

drag show that celebrated its five-year anniversary in February.

The music stops suddenly and changes to something iconically

gay. The curtain beside the stage is thrown back and Carlotta Gurl

makes her entrance, screaming at the top of her lungs, “WHAT’S

UP BITCHES!” There is a strange, muffled sound as Carlotta shoves

the microphone down her throat and everyone cheers.

Carlotta is a salacious vixen. Within minutes of opening the show,

some random man sitting in the front row has lipstick smeared

across his face. Carlotta croons, “Oh yea baby, you know you love

it, I’ll see you later,” moving into her first number while flipping and

twirling her way into the hearts of her fans. The crowd screams

— all eyes are on Carlotta.

“Absolutely Dragulous” is one of two weekly shows that Carlotta

hosts at the Junction. Every Wednesday night she co-stars in “The

Baron Gurl Show,” a collaborative gig with co-star Isolde N Baron

(The Queen of East Van) that juxtaposes class and humour. Carlotta

takes great pride in her high-energy shows — once, she even broke

her leg on stage, but still continued performing until the end. The

show, after all, must go on.

Carlotta got her start in drag shortly after to moving to Vancouver

in the early 90s. She credits the queens on the scene at that

time as the inspiration for her confidence. Her name, Carlotta, is

an extension of her boy identity, Carl. Carlotta is capable of doing

the things that Carl dreams up. The close connection between the

two is something that both personalities acknowledge. “Sometimes

when I am performing something I have always wanted to perform,

Carlotta and Carl transcend and become one,” she says.

Carlotta often invites younger local drag queens to perform at

her shows. “There is always another party” is a mantra she states

reverently as we talk about advice she’d give to up-and-coming

queens. The key to turning out phenomenal performances is rest,

she insists — something she knows about first hand when burning

the candle at both ends nearly ended her career.

Carlotta also believes herself to be an educator, gaining wisdom

from years of collaboration with organizations, like TD bank and

Tourism Vancouver, which respect her as an artist and performer.

She sheds light on the fundamentals of drag, which draws upon

impersonation and cross-dressing, but also creates something

unique unto itself. One of its functions is to poke fun at mainstream

culture. “It is important to remember that drag cannot be pigeon

holed into what we see presented in the mainstream media,” she

says. “Every queen is an artist and every artist is different. If you

subjugate yourself to something or someone else, you will end up

not liking or knowing yourself.” One thing is certain: the future of

Carlotta Gurl is as bright at the lipstick she leaves on the faces of

her audience members.

Carlotta Gurl performs at the Junction on

Wednesday nights for “The Baron Gurl Show” and

Saturday nights for “Absolutely Dragulous”

May 2016 CITY

23


COMEDY

BEEN THERE DONE THAT questionable advice from a comedian

Summer is so close I can almost taste Juice cleanses are supposedly all the no business working on my fitness.

the burnt hot dogs and cold beer. In all rage, it’s not strange to me at all that you If by now you’re offended, calm down

fairness though, we kind of just skip over

winter in Vancouver. Anyone who thinks we

don’t is a pansy and needs to be exiled to

the Prairies for a week in January, then we

can talk. The lack of snow and cold is why

when I wasn’t allowed to go back to California

I chose to live here instead. That and

the border cop who denied me lives in Vancouver

and I’m still seeking my vengeance.

It’s also almost time for us to stop

wearing layers of clothing and head to

the beach. Whether you’re keeping your

clothes on at Kits Beach or getting naked

at Wreck, you need to have what is known

as a “beach body” before you hit the sand.

Vancouverites are some of the most active

people in the world, but there are some,

like myself, who use the rainy months as a

time to stay in and catch up on every season

of Law and Order SVU that Netflix has to

offer. My inactivity is probably also what

has kept me single for the two years I’ve

lived here. I don’t have a yoga butt and my

idea of a good date involves a dive bar pub

crawl — not biking up Mount Seymour and

snowboarding down. This is the year I need

to get in shape for the beach and I have approximately

three weeks to do it! Here are

a few ways you can tone your tummy and

shape your glutes in time to sit in the sand.

forego food for up to a month and instead

fuel your body on lemonade and cayenne

pepper. I imagine the hot pepper running

through my body burning the evil fat while

I’m unable to move due to the lack of any

nutrients entering my body. This means

I will basically lose weight in my sleep,

this is the miracle I’ve been looking for. I

heard Beyoncé juiced for an entire month

leading up to filming Dreamgirls and she

only flew off the handle and was irritable

the entire time. Juice is what your body

needs in order for it to become smaller and

for you to become more of an asshole.

I’ve looked into CrossFit and Paleo;

both seem to be a great way to tone your

body and lose your current friend circle.

Which is totally fine, because then you

can head to the beach with your new

CrossFit family and eat the meat of a deer

that you hunted with a bow and arrow.

Yoga, the original exercise of the true

Vancouverite. Slap on a pair of those

$200 leggings and head down to a hot

studio to stretch and fart next to strangers.

I’m still not sure why I haven’t gone

to a yoga class yet, other than the fact

that it had been decreed by the lord of

Lululemon that a person of my size has

no business in their pants and therefore

and turn off your MacBook. You don’t need

to start your blog listing reasons why I’m

a terrible person and clearly don’t know

what I’m talking about. Do you really think

I’d forego a month of food to drink juice?

Hell no! What I’m trying to say is go to the

beach, no matter what your body looks like.

Enjoy the sand between your toes, jump

into the ocean and feel that salt water on

your bare skin. The first summer I lived

here a friend took me to Wreck Beach. I was

nervous, not just because the thought of

that many stairs terrified me, but because

I’m not a fan of keeping the lights on during

sex, let alone hanging out on a beach with

everything hanging out. The stairs weren’t

that bad and I’ve never felt more confident

than I did naked on that beach. So be

yourself, be healthy and move your body,

but also have fun and eat ice cream and

drink beer. If anyone gives you any guff,

know that deep down inside they’re starving

and haven’t eaten a burger not made of

rice flower and beans in years. Who’s the

gross one now? Love yourself and you’ll

always have the perfect beach bod.

Kathleen McGee has a podcast called Kathleen

McGee is a Hot Mess and you should listen

to it! Visit kathleenmcgee.ca for more.

by Kathleen McGee

24 COMEDY

May 2016


MARK FORWARD

Toronto comedian keeps things authentic

Artistic integrity is one of those ideas that

is often seen as far more important to

the artist than to the audience, but that

misses the fact that it’s always running “under

the hood.” It might not be obvious at first, but

an artist needs it to build both skill and trust in

their audience. For comedian Mark Forward, it’s

clearly something that he puts a lot of thought into

and underlies a lot of what he does and says.

Mark Forward is a stand-up comedian from

Toronto. Being from Canada’s tinsel town, he also

has an impressive acting resume. You may have

spotted Mark on Letterkenny, Mr. Dee, and The Jon

Dore Television Show. Mark is also a TV writer

and if you pull out your phone and IMDB him, you

can see that he is behind many other projects

in the “tolerable” section of CANCON. Some of

this work is by necessity, he explains, “I love

stand-up comedy but you have to do lots of

other things in comedy or you will physically

die. Well I guess physically dying is the only way

you can die, but you’ll emotionally die too.”

This intensity of Forward peppers much of what

he has to say about comedy and his career. The

theme of artistic integrity looms large for him. For

Forward, rather than pander to one audience or

another, the comedy has to come from within. He

explains, “It took me 15 years to release an album

(2014’s Things I Thought Of) because when you

start as a comedian you’re first trying to make the

comics in the back laugh, then you try to make the

audience laugh and then you just start doing what

you find funny which is the most fun for everyone.”

JOHN DORE

keeping it cool and casually Canadian

You may or may not recognize comedian

Jon Dore from the mid-2000’s Jon Dore

Television Show (Hint: he played Jon Dore).

The show was short-lived and was a tad before its

time. It was like Nathan For You before we decided

we loved awkward weirdos. Jon Dore is still on the

ball, currently based out of California and headlining

killer stand-up shows across North America.

Despite crushing it in L.A. for the past few

years, Dore’s ability to remain down to earth is

second only to his legendary comedic ability.

“I’m just so excited to play Vancouver, it’s been

a year and a half...Vancouver is like the best

city to wander around with a coffee in hand,”

states Dore. As to where in Vancouver he likes

to spend his time, he responds, “I’m looking

forward to Dave Shumka’s BBQ. That should

be a good time…put it in the paper that everyone’s

invited to Dave Shumka’s backyard.” Dore

radiates the typical bearded, plaid-clad, Canadian

drinking buddy persona with every response.

Also in humble Canadian fashion, when asked

about upcoming projects, shows, or sketches

he is working on, Dore always replies with

“we” rather than “I,” referring to his friends and

fellow writers/comics Adam Brody and Dave

Derewlany, who helped him with his original

show. “We’re currently putting most of our time

into coming up with new ideas for shows, but I’ve

also been writing for Jash.” Jash is a comedy

network made by Sarah Silverman and Michael

Cera similar to Funny or Die. This work ethic

comes from the excitement of making a fresh

start when moving to Hollywood as an unknown

For anyone who hasn’t seen Forward in a club,

he has a wildly unique style of stand-up that if

you had to label it, would fall in to the category of

Alternative Comedy. Having just performed in the

Edinburgh and Melbourne International Fringe Festivals,

Forward claims he gives people very little

warning about his unique style. “I just put ‘something

different’ in the programs and make sure

the show is as funny as possible,” a smart way to

initiate audiences to modern stand-up. “It’s amazing

when you realize you have the freedom to do

whatever you want, anything, on stage.” Forward

appears to have a fondness for the undersell followed

with a sensory overload of comedic ability.

While not being a household name when you

think about Canadian comedy, Forward continues

to advance in the big leagues just in the peripheral

of the public eye. This can be a challenge

but with an impressive Canadian career.

“It really is like starting over but you’re

more prepared, you’re not intimidated by the

idea of performance but you have to pound

the pavement and spread the word that

you’re capable so that people slowly over

time want you to be a part of their show.”

Known for high concept practical jokes both on

and off stage, Dore elaborated on why he seems

to be one of the few comedians who is willing to

go ten extra miles for a laugh. “The reactions are

nice and strong, life is good and comedy is fun.”

Expressing fondness for some favourite clubs

and club owners in Calgary and Winnipeg yields

some hints as to where this positive attitude got

its roots. “Being a Canadian comedian driving

insane distances all over the country you are

treated to some of the shittiest conditions on

Earth and you’re just so thankful when you meet

someone who treats you like a human being,

you want to give back when they give back.”

And while we won’t hear a Jon Dore podcast

anytime in the near future (“Everyone is doing a

podcast…”) he did make sure to tease a promising

comedic project coming up in Canada we’ll hear

about soon enough. He also wanted to reiterate,

in humble Canadian fashion to make sure

people come to his show: “Tell them to come to

my show.” And you probably should, because

despite the TV industry’s golden touch, Jon

Dore remains a genuine, Canadian headliner.

John Dore performs at Yuk Yuk’s

Comedy Club May 27 and 28

given that Canada’s most talented comics are

trapped in a who the f**k is Arcade Fire nightmare.

Forward had 32 tour dates in the USA and

three late night talk show appearances this year

alone. His relative obscurity given his obvious

talent is mostly due to a broken system, but he

prefers to focus on what he can do with a little

bit of tortured artist humility. “If I have any advice

for aspiring comedians, it’s wait until you’re good.

With YouTube and such there’s too many people

calling themselves headliners and comedians

before they have any ability. You can’t take back an

awful TV set and no one looks at the date it was

filmed and assumes you have grown as an artist

later down the road. Focus on getting good first.”

Mark Forward performs at The

Comedy Mix on May 5 and 6

Alternative comic Mark Forward is quickly climbing the ranks of the comedy ladder, one laugh at a time.

Jon Dore will go the extra mile for a laugh.

by Victoria Banner

by Victoria Banner

May 2016 COMEDY

25


FILM

DOXA: DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL

for the love of truth in film by Jennie Orton

THIS MONTH IN FILM

by Paris Spence-Lang

by their nature

tend to be very personal

works,” says Dorothy “Documentaries

Woodend. “I think that is why they

have that power and impact on people.”

Director of programming and

head film wrangler for DOXA, Woodend

has cultivated a large respect for

the visceral impact the documentary

medium has on a varied audiences.

To see evidence of this, check out

the essays on the DOXA website put

together by this year’s guest curators:

writer Rebecca Carroll, film curator

and researcher Thierry Garrel, and

producer Zeina Zahreddine. Each

of the guest curated programs are

very personal and they carry with

them a lifetime of personal investment;

Zahreddine was moved to tears

while writing her essay for the site.

“They’re very different in their approach

but they ended up being kind of

united by this fundamentally personal

approach to the films they wanted to

put into their program and their essays

as well,” says Woodend. It is this direct

conduit to the human experience that

Woodend believes unites not only the

film makers and the audience, but also

those who seek to celebrate and bring

these films to the world’s attention.

“I think documentary film makers,

because they are on the ground and they

are imbedded and they are making the

work, they are imbedded in the community

and they have a personal stake in the

stories,” she muses. “You need to have

something burning in your gut and in the

story you want to tell to make it happen.”

The burning guts this year are

evident. Carroll’s program concerns

itself with issues within our perceptions

of race and identity and features

three films including Black is…Black

Ain’t, film-maker Marlon Riggs’ last

film, finished posthumously by friend

and co-director Christiane Badgley.

Garrel’s program, entitled French

French includes a retrospective of last

year’s guest curator Claire Simon. And

Zahreddine’s program is Arab Spring/

Arab Fall, an investigation of new Arab

cinema emerging out of Syria, Palestine,

and Egypt, a culture dear to her heart.

“It’s a highly experimental and

fearless film culture,” says Woodend,

“looking at these new film-makers who

are creating their first work and being

informed by these cultural changes

that had come about in their lifetime.”

So how do you approach a film

festival with over 80 films? “Pick up a

program guide, ‘cause we really agonize

over the program guide,” laughs

Woodend. “We don’t copy and paste

from press releases. We take the time

to watch the films and write about them

and try to capture their essence.”

DOXA runs May 5-15, for showtimes

visit doxafestival.com.

Alice Through The Looking Glass

THE MATRIX TRILOGY

The crown of the shaky Wachowski sisters’ career,

The Matrix is an undoubtedly awesome series—even if

the last film was a little weak. It was heavily borrowed

from Ghost in the Shell, and is, in hindsight, utterly

insane. But still, this marathon screening is worth

seeing: black trenchcoats, slow-motion bullet dodging,

red pills, hacking, blue pills, a lot more hacking, and

Keanu Reeves—these all make for excellent entertainment.

You can see it all at The Rio Theatre on May 7th.

PURPLE RAIN

Some incredible musicians are dying on us, but Prince

was—like David Bowie and Michael Jackson—much more

than a musician. A true auteur of an artist, Prince released

in 1984 what many consider his masterpiece—not an

album, but a film, Purple Rain. Starring Prince himself, the

film follows The Kid and his band as they try and make

it as musicians in Minneapolis. Based on Prince’s life

and featuring a stunning soundtrack that includes “When

Doves Cry” and, of course, “Purple Rain,” this movie was a

major success when it came out and is still lauded today.

Watch musical history on May 14th at The Rio Theatre.

AFTR

UPCOMING RELEASES

At least seven more Marvel movies are coming out in

May, including Captain America IX and X-Men MXIV.

The Angry Birds Movie is coming out on May 20th

because Hollywood thinks we’re idiots. (We’re not, are

we? This won’t pull $130 million at the box office, will

it?) Alice: Through the Looking Glass hits May 27th

because Hollywood remembered they can actually

make something good and make money, and that Sacha

Baron Cohen deserves more roles with accents.

MAY 6 DRIVE MAY 13 FRIDAY THE 13TH (1980) MAY 20 JURASSIC PARK (1993) MAY 27 PANʼS LABYRINTH JUNE 3 GOOD BURGER

26 FILM

May 2016


ALBUM REVIEWS

ANOHNI

Hopelessness

Secretly Canadian / Rough Trade

Hopelessness is an outspoken protest album

by an inscrutable artist responsible for some

recent, important conversations on trans

visibility and misogyny. As a feature-length

review, it’s a somewhat terrifying subject.

If the name ANOHNI is unfamiliar to you, it

may be useful to know that she is an accomplished

avant-garde theatre artist and has won

over the rest of the art world with her smoldering

chamber pop as Antony and the Johnsons.

The recent change in name comes in part

from being a transgender woman. The media

world’s awareness of which became fodder

for headlines throughout the music press, but

this is not the most important thing to know

about either ANOHNI or Hopelessness. While

trans visibility remains an extremely important

conversation to have, (ANOHNI’s role in which

leading to scrutiny of the Academy Awards’

decision to exclude her from performing her

nominated song at this year’s ceremony), she

is an artist with too much to say to be ghettoized

into one facet of societal labels.

For existent fans, the conversation point

of Hopelessness is likely the departure from

acoustic piano and orchestral instrumentation

to the high gloss, electronic maximalism of

Hudson Mohawke (TNGHT, Kanye West, Drake)

and dank experimentalism of Daniel Lopatin

(Oneohtrix Point Never). It’s a sonic chapter

unlike any she’s penned before, and while

the thumbprint of the two can’t be ignored on

the record, ANOHNI is a mammoth presence

whose talent can only be stimulated, not overwhelmed.

After all, she’s gone toe-to-toe in the

past with megaliths like Björk and Lou Reed.

The thematic core of Hopelessness is its

outright rejection of contemporary society’s

complacency, with America seemingly the bull’s

eye of her condemnation. There’s no better

example than “Obama,” which calls the sitting

president to task over surveillance, persecution

of whistleblowers, torture and failed promises.

It’s a blunt approach that may well be questioned

for its one-sided absolutism. What makes

this work is the incorporation of unlikely sonic

nuance. Mohawke’s enormous synthetic horns

and Lopatin’s bone-liquefying sub-bass are

immediately exciting like all good pop music

should be. Pop is often concerned with distilling

the complexities of love into four word choruses

that create enough feeling to capture the listener

fully, only letting them pause to reflect more

deeply at the onset of comedown. ANOHNI has

harnessed that spirit to make the ugliness of social

injustice palatable and impossible to ignore.

The boldest example of this strategy may

be “Crisis,” the late album cut that sounds like

the moment the hunk stops his beloved from

boarding a plane in a romance movie. Before you

cringe, you might want to take into account that

this song is an apology to violent extremists created

by American war crimes in the Middle East.

There are also tracks that need little explanation,

like trap banger “Drone Bomb Me” and stuttering

anthem “Execution.” This review doesn’t have to

take a political stance (and nor does the reader)

to appreciate what ANOHNI’s end game is. It’s

impossible not to have a strong reaction to what

she’s saying, and that’s a much more interesting

accomplishment than a consensus of belief.

In order to take away the political divisiveness

of its subject matter, I like to imagine what

this album would sound like to someone who

doesn’t speak a word of English. Almost unquestionably,

ANOHNI has the most powerful

and unconventional singing voice since Björk.

The closest comparison would be an elite alto

choir falling into a chasm mid-note during an

earthquake. The immensity of the beats, bass

and timeless melody provided by her producers

would be cheapened by terms like immaculate

and epic. Hopelessness inspires its exact opposite

through an untouchable level of production

value, raw talent and explosive statements.

Best-rewarded listeners will appreciate all three

components, but even the least radical audience

member is unlikely to find nothing to adore.

Written by Colin Gallant

Illustration by Christian Fowlie

May 2016 REVIEWS

27


Julianna Barwick - Will Bleached - Welcome the Worms Tim Heidecker - In Glendale Tim Hecker - Love Streams

Autolux

Pussy’s Dead

30th Century Records

Released off Danger Mouse’s recently established

label, 30th Century Records, Autolux

has officially traded in the shoegaze

they were once known for and instead gets

busy with interstellar rock layered with

tic-toc tech beats. A major shift from their

2004 debut album, Future Perfect, Pussy’s

Dead leaves little room for familiarity.

If anything remains, lead singer Eugene

Goreshter still maintains a spiderweb-quality

of voice only Elliot Smith can master.

The first track, titled “Selectallcopy,” is

arguably the most amount of pop this

album can muster, with its steady repetitive

rhythm. True to Autolux fashion, the lyrics

are slightly spooky, and sound like they’re

coming from another room. Their second

track, “Soft Scene,” is crunchy, danceable,

and almost soundtrack-like. It’s clear at

this point that Autolux are confident in this

direction as the rest of the album swings

in and out with experimental sounds, an

aesthetic no doubt brought on by producer

BOOTS; a now well-known artist and producer

who worked with Beyoncé for her

self-titled album Beyoncé in 2013. Listeners

may feel they’re beginning to hear the same

song over and over, or that some of them

are just about to overstay their welcome,

but with a bit of commitment, there are

still a few surprises remaining. Final track

“Becker” captures a missing piece not yet

heard on this album; it’s both satisfying and

sweet, opening with the sound of an acoustic

guitar before tucking into a sleepy run

to the finish line. For those who remember

Autolux as the dreamy and soft band from

a more than a decade ago, it’s reassuring

to know that the album is still soft. For

fans, this could be a sign of things to come

for the three-piece from Los Angeles,

and for 30th Century Records as well.

• Leyland Bradley

Julianna Barwick

Will

Dead Oceans

You can feel yourself wading through

ominous oceans of sound as soon as

Will inhabits the intimate realms of your

consciousness. The nine-track adagio

swells with languid waves of looping

vocals alongside drifts of electric currents.

They lap over each other, yet they do not

overcome one another. Julianna Barwick

is minimal in her instrumentation, creating

a purposely simplistic tone. A tone that

makes you feel as if you are a slow-moving

wave in a body of water, eventually evaporating,

condensing, becoming a cloud, until

finally dripping down as rain beating on the

earth below. Pit pat, pitter pat. Creating a

consistent and unique melody, one that is

natural, the kind that you hope could last

forever. Like Barwick’s hands pitter-pattering

across piano keys or her bow slip-sliding

across cello strings. She embraces

rhythms that mirror natural acoustics.

The earth, an ocean, the atmosphere,

its rain. The sounds she creates are as

natural as her own introspection, exploring

her mind’s depths, refraining upon her

own emotions. And as she reflects, you

reflect. And as her emotions process, they

naturally lead to the soundscapes that

culminate in the ethereal world that is Will.

• Hannah Many Guns

Bleached

Welcome The Worms

Dead Oceans

Even though the record was released

on April 1st, this Californian trio’s new

record is no joke. The band’s second

record features an early 2000s alternative

rock and garage band sound that

is pretty rare in rock music these days.

This writer would call their sound, if

The Hives had a strong female vocal.

Since their 2013 release, Ride Your

Heart, the vocals have gotten stronger

and the beat more stable and consistent,

sounding like they have put thousands

of hours into improving their sound.

“Keep On Keepin’ On,” is a solid

start to the record, with its consistent

toe-tapping beat and simple sing

along lyrics that would get the listener

pumped for a night out in a heartbeat.

The fourth track, “Wednesday Night

Melody” takes a turn, beat wise, slowing

everything down slightly, but still keeping

the consistency of the rest of the record.

The fifth track, “Wasted on You”, features

a semi-fast beat including lyrics

that bluntly talk about wasting time on

a person they were once interested

in, saying in the chorus, “I can’t keep

wasting my emotions on you, getting

high on the drug that I call you.”

The entire 10-track record is a consistent

collection of head-banging fast paced

songs featuring fearlessly real lyrics

clearly influenced by the fast pace life of an

easy going Californian twenty-something.

• Andrea Hrynyk

Tim Hecker

Love Streams

Paper Bag Records

Space is definitely the place throughout

this otherworldly release by a seasoned

sonic manipulator who is no stranger

to pushing the boundaries of electronic

experimentation. Flute sounds are

meticulously sampled and placed in

robotic orchestration on “Obsidian Counterpoint”

making it come across like a

soundtrack for imploding stars. What

sounds like a xylophone is also heavily

processed with blasts of echoed reverb

leaving it almost unrecognizable.

The vast array of tones is quite overpowering

as tracks incorporate anything from

humans chanting to stuttering oboe loops.

Like much of Hecker’s work the samples

are never too smooth. Sounds glitch from

one another leaping in expressions of

surprise. Each track is like a stream of

sounds bleeding into one another over the

course of the album. Where this river of

sound is headed is up for you to decide

because the extreme abstraction suggests

this album is really all about the journey.

• Dan Potter

28 REVIEWS

May 2016


eat brunch

Available weekends

from 11am-4pm*

*Available every day at The Three Brits from open - 4pm

donnellygroup.ca

30 REVIEWS

May 2016


Hooded Fang - Venus on Edge Jessy Lanza - Oh No Parquet Courts - Human Performance

Tim Heidecker

In Glendale

Rado Records

Tim Heidecker (Heidecker and Wood,

The Yellow River Boys, Tim & Eric) is

well known in comedic circles for his

nuanced satire and goofball characters.

He’s also no stranger to the music studio.

In Glendale marks successful emergence

for Heidecker, with his first

earnest collection of songs produced

under his full name. The “post-normcore”

overtones and, at times, banality of

the subject matter, do not disappoint at

painting a picture of the humour in young

fatherhood and domestic obligation.

Heidecker opts for the sound he is

most accustomed to: a mix of ‘70s-inspired

singer-songwriter ballads, bar

rock and Americana that both charms

and burrows in after listening.

Title track, “In Glendale,” is upbeat with

blaring horns and lush, layered backing

vocals that wouldn’t be out of place on a

Van Morrison track. “Work From Home”

is a half-speed hangover anthem with

flourishes of Wurlitzer and subdued stabs

of horn. “Ghost In My Bed” posits acoustic

macabre as a viable sound by way of lively

acoustic strumming and ghoulish lyrics.

There’s a brief encounter with Nicholas

Cage, a Yankee Hotel Foxtrot kind

of outro, an ode to central air, and tales

of struggling Californians. And though

Tim Heidecker skirts the line of sincerity

and comedy with In Glendale, he ensures

banality and surrealism are never at odds.

• Mike Ryan

Hooded Fang

Venus on Edge

Daps Records

It’s been three years since Hooded

Fang’s last album, Gravez. Accordingly,

their jaw-dropping new full-length

Venus on Edge doesn’t waste a moment

rocketing off. “Tunnel Vision” has the

patented bounce of a Hooded Fang song,

but with much higher tension and fidelity

than the band has showcased in the

past. As twin razorwire guitars shriek

out against the palpitations of the bass

line, vocalist Daniel Lee yelps out: “We

sleep! To Drown! Inside! That sound!”

It’s not even the most dizzying charge

on the album. The surf- and psych-tinged

riffs propelling Hooded Fang towards a

crash are almost impossible to imagine

being played by human fingers. A personal

favourite is “A Final Hello,” a track

that sounds like a sped-up version of the

performance from Revenge of the Nerds,

except with way, way more lasers. Even

“Plastic Love,” which plays at being a

case of post-sunstroke disorientation, hits

a searing sweet spot at the intersection

of psych and savagery. It really helps

the songs that Venus is such a step up

in fidelity. Every time an effect is used

or the pace takes a sudden turn, you can

discern that this is no accidental chaos.

Venus on Edge charges at the listener

at full pace, but makes enough exciting

zigzags to keep its mystique in tact. In

this reviewer’s opinion, it’s already one

of the finest rock records of the year.

• Colin Gallant

Jessy Lanza

Oh No

Hyperdub

Jessy Lanza seemingly came out of nowhere

with her icy smooth debut Pull My

Hair Back in 2013. Based out of Hamilton

and coming out of the gate as a Hyperdub-approved

artist drew attention from

all corners of the globe, including a nod

for the 2014 Polaris Prize. Three years

later, she’s back in even finer form.

Sonically, similarly crisp drums, wet

bass and breathy vocals make up the bulk

of the album. Where Lanza most shows

growth is in mastery of mood. Opener

“new ogi” centers on a visceral synth

arpeggio, and leaves the listener wanting

more by the end of its short two minutes.

It’s a strategic holding pattern: at the

moment of the song’s sudden conclusion,

“vv violence” begins with a hop-scotch

lyrical taunt from Lanza. “Got to say it

your face but it doesn’t mean a thing.”

It’s an ultra taught track that makes for

an early highlight while foreshadowing

some of the pacing tricks to come. After

club-centric “never enough” comes the

blurry, opioid yearning of “i talk BB,” a

removed yet fed-up plea to a lover to

shut up and listen. Compared to Pull My

Hair Back’s somewhat vague slow jams,

the slow pace of Oh No’s downer numbers

feels much more confident. To no

surprise, the highest point comes with

lead single “it means i love you.” It’s a

brilliantly balanced track, walking the

line between 2 a.m. club fare and private

dances in unlit bedrooms. It’s at this

intersection that Lanza sits on a throne,

unchallenged in her rule of electro-pop’s

ability to be personal and communal.

• Colin Gallant

Little Scream

Cult Following

Dine Alone Records

Building on the wandering first album

Gold Recordings, Cult Following expands

on a theme a self-exploration by using

an eclectic orchestra with an assortment

of collaborators. Among them are the

likes of Mary Margaret O’Hara, Sufjan

Stevens, Sharon Van Etten, Aaron and

Bryce Dessner (of The National, who also

worked on her first album), Owen Pallett,

Kyp Malone and finally, Little Scream’s

long time producer Richard Reed Parry.

Rather than changing tones suddenly,

songs lead into one another so seamlessly

you may miss the title change. The

album, perhaps slightly more cohesive

than the last, breathes a slowly evolving

air. What starts off as a dandy Scissor

Sisters-like album with “Love as a

Weapon,” quickly becomes a speculative

art-pop breakdown of relationships and

sentiment with swelling instrumentation.

Comparisons to St. Vincent and

Hundred Waters are not quite right but

true of Little Screams’ use of discordant

guitar ornamentation, layers and lively

vocals. On the whole, however, this is a

different project that follows the impulse

to capture larger-than-life emotive

magic that slips from state to state.

• Arielle Lessard

Lyrics Born

Now Look What You’ve Done, Lyrics Born!

Mobile Home Recordings

With over two decades of hard work and

constant production as an artist in the

more obscure reaches of hip hop, Lyrics

Born has added another album to his ever

growing discography, “Now Look What

You’ve Done, Lyrics Born!” This time

around, the self-styled ‘Funk 4 The Future’

artist has complied a collection of 16

tracks into a greatest hits album to prove,

once again, that he’s a heavyweight in the

underground scene. Brought to life with a

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May 2016 REVIEWS

31


The Strumbellas - Hope Villas - Medicine Walrus - Goodbye Something EP Xiu Xiu - Plays the Music of Twin Peaks

Kickstarter campaign, the album features

collaborations with the likes of the Cut

Chemist, KRS-One, Dan the Automator and

of course Lateef the Truthspeaker. Full of

smooth, funky bass lines and catchy drum

beats, this is the album to get any new

listeners into the artist, and a sure winner

with fans looking for a curated collection

of his epic catalogue. “Callin’ Out,” “Bad

Dreams,” “I’m Just Raw” and “PackUp

[Remix] ft. Evidence, KRS-One” hit in

succession to hold down the early going of

the compilation and nicely tour the listener

through some serious highlight material

of LB’s career. With his baritone rasp and

creative forays that push the bounds of hip

hop into a blend of R&B and funk, Lyrics

Born is an artist worth checking out.

• Andrew R. Mott

Parquet Courts

Human Performance

Rough Trade Records

Parquet Courts’ new record Human

Performance is one of the group’s most

listenable outings to date, and unlike

previous efforts, it shines when the

band decides to slow down the tempo.

Songs like the lead single “Dust,”

feature the Brooklyn band’s ability to

distill everyday anxieties into a fairly

straightforward tune. Like most of

Courts’ oeuvre, the song is repetitive

and sonically simplistic, anchored by a

tom, heavy percussion and singer Austin

Brown sarcastically sing-talking about

everyday minutiae like sweeping dust.

It’s refreshing to hear the band bounce

back after their decidedly unlistenable

venture into noise on the Monastic Living

EP. Songs like “Berlin Got Blurry” and

“Outside” are two of the more catchy singles

the band has ever released, perfectly

combining the group’s angular sonics with

singer Andrew Savage’s personal lyricism.

Interchanging vocalists helps Human

Performance immensely. Once again,

Austin Brown steals the show with songs

like the woozy “Captive of the Sun” and

the listless, bongo-centric “No Man No

City.” Bassist Sean Yeaton also takes his

turn at the mic with “I Was Just There,”

a woozy late night quest for munchies

that eventually turns into a tightly wound

send off to neighbourhood gentrification.

• Jamie McNamara

The Strumbellas

Hope

Six Shooter Records Inc.

With two studio albums and a self-titled

EP already released, Hope fits beautifully

into Toronto-based band, The Strumbellas,

already fantastic discography.

The folky, easy listening sound makes

it the perfect soundtrack for a sunny

road trip. The album fits nicely, genrewise,

near The Lumineers, James Bay

and all those rising alternative-folk acts.

The album starts off with feel-good

tune “Spirits,” which is already off to a

successful start, sitting pretty at number

five on the iTunes Alternative charts.

The album features several upbeat,

toe-tapping songs including, “Dog,” “Young

& Wild” and “The Night Will Save Us.”

The third song on the album is a

powerful track called “We Don’t Know.”

It has lyrics that talk about hard times,

and not knowing what the future will

hold, but knowing that one will be okay

anyway. Aside from the raw and real

lyrics, the anthem-like track features

impressive violins by Isabel Ritchie.

The band’s fourth track, “Wars”, is an

optimistic song that features lyrics that

talk about taking one’s negative traits

yet accepting them as positive things.

One of the only ballads on the album,

“I Still Make Her Cry,” features a

simple piano and vocal track with honest

lyrics about missing someone you

love when you’re away from them.

The album concludes on a softer

note with the 11th track, “Wild

Sun”, overall making the album an

impressive collection of songs.

• Andrea Hrynyk

Villas

Medicine

Wise Child Records

Skirting the lines of EDM, R&B and an

austere form of pop, Villas’ Medicine

EP is a new project that’s borne from

the undercurrent of modernity and the

mainstream’s malaise, undulating with a

dark lyrical focus, layered melodies and

highly produced rhythmic diversions.

Anchored in a rural studio in Canada’s

Prince Edward County, the Medicine EP

was co-produced by D’Ari and Jake Birch

with the songs being co-written by Villas’,

Miel & D’Ari, in a collaboration with contributors

from Atlanta, Chicago and Israel.

The five tracks of the album explore the

darkness, contradiction and struggle of a

personal relationship that’s fraught with

a need to escape stolen regrets, haunting

failures, and crushing expectations. The

album’s journey begins with “Diamond

Rings,” a track full of self-denial and

defiance in the pursuit and embrace of

imperfection. “Life Jacket” follows this

opening with a confessional from Miel

about drowning in the self-destruction

of desire and her propensity to drag a

lover under if they dare to need her. The

midway point of the album is a perverse

disclosure that dances the border of

hubris and penance, “Fuckin Round on

You.” The apex of this dark foray is found

in “Can’t Sleep,” a track that waxes about

the unceasing fear of failure, the crushing

weight of inadequacy and the plea for a

fresh start and escape. The album’s conclusion

is “Higher Heights,” the only track

that seems to evoke a sense of hope, but

through the unabashed desire to use the

body as a source of release and ecstasy:

sex as medicine. The whole album reads

as an exploration into the suffering of a

woman who’s fighting for the freedom to

misbehave and find solace in her collapse.

• Andrew R. Mott

Walrus

Goodbye Something EP

The best/worst thing about Goodbye

Something is that it’s only four songs

long, barely a taste of what the Halifax

psych-rock band is capable of. “Wearing

It” sets the stage with slippery guitars

and some slap-back vocals in a pretty

satisfying rock song that cleverly

avoids resolving its progressions at the

most enduring points in the song and

introduces an excellent guitar freakout

with a fledgling muted bass-line.

The roll into “Fur Skin Coat” is smooth

enough and the slow build of the song

earns the Beatles namesake they are

rolling with, but is over in a paltry two

minutes. “Feels” is certainly the standout

with its ear-catching tremolo guitar

and dynamic structure. The drums

on this track also push forward in the

more driving moments, a sly contrast to

the funkier guitar and bass parts. The

EP closes with an acoustic flare, and

some mild twang before transitioning

into another half-earned guitar freakout

and ending way sooner than it should.

It’s not that it isn’t cohesive, it just isn’t

concise. Goodbye Something very effectively

demonstrates Walrus’ range as a

band, but doesn’t offer a clear picture of

who they are or who they might turn into.

Here’s to a freaky and forceful full-length.

• Liam Prost

Xiu Xiu

Plays the Music of Twin Peaks

Poly Vinyl / Bella Union

The word of Xiu Xiu recording an album

entirely made up of covers from David

Lynch’s canonized Twin Peaks series was

a dangerous proposition. Musicians of the

new millennium have robbed the grave of

the show so thoroughly that it puts Jim

Morrison to shame. But who better than

the Xiu? Chief songwriter Jamie Stewart

has always dealt in the uncomfortable,

unspoken horrors of sex and violence that

also exist beneath the pristine exterior of

the town of Twin Peaks. With the show set

to make a brazen return and a new generation

of hip fans, could Stewart and co.

really pull off such sacred subject matter?

The answer is an emphatic yes. Instead

of trying to outdo the original

compositions or alter them to the point

of being unrecognizable, Xiu Xiu has

found a way to create a parallel to the

original that honours it naturally. At

70 minutes in length and with seamless

transitions of mood and structure,

it isn’t valuable to offer a track-bytrack

analysis, as Twin Peaks itself

isn’t a puzzle that can be solved by

concentrating on individual pieces.

A useful genre reference point is

post-rock, given the instrumental tendencies

and attention to eerie mood

in the work. Better still are adjectives

noir-ish, minimal and patient.

Xiu Xiu’s success on Plays the Music

of Twin Peaks is such that it produces

a failure on behalf of this critic; they’ve

accomplished an immense piece that

rivals the work of one of the world’s

hardest to describe auteurs. It’s addictive

and exhausting, something I may

still be trying to find the words for

long after Twin Peaks returns to air.

• Colin Gallant

32 REVIEWS

May 2016


LIVE REVIEWS

Father John Misty

The Orpheum

April 5, 2016

Father John Misty’s Vancouver show wasn’t

scented with “Innocence,” his collaboration

with Sanae Intoxicants, but something headier

— reverence, joviality, and pheromones.

More than notes of orange and vanilla, this

suited The Orpheum’s opulence and J. Tillman’s

performance.

Banter wasn’t missed because the

anecdotal quality of songs like “Bored in

the USA,” complete with the whipping

out of a cell phone to record himself, and

“This is Sally Hatchet” satisfied the soldout

crowd. Tillman’s narratives achieved

proportionate heights (he is impressively

tall) within the enormous theatrical

setting, which he expertly steered,

sometimes one-handed when the other

was occupied with a glass of wine.

Flourishes of hands and hips, backbends,

knee-falls, and a bouquet-crotchrubbing

incidence fleshed out the stories.

Supported by up to six musicians at one

time, Tillman held the audience rapt and

swaying, even twirling in couples.

Vancouver was the third show in a monthlong

tour, one of three in Canada. From

opener “Everyman Needs a Companion” to

his encore solo performance of “I Went to the

Store One Day” and the climactic rock ‘n’ roll

frenzy of “The Ideal Husband,” Tillman gave

equal time to 2012’s Fear Fun and last year’s

I Love You, Honeybear, and played a cover

of The Beatles’ “Revolution.” The Orpheum

is always acoustically and physically

impressive, that Tillman could match it with

his talent, swagger, and showmanship for

90 minutes is a testament nonetheless.

• Thalia Stopa

photo: Sarah Whitlam

Death From Above 1979 with

Eagles of Death Metal

PNE Forum

April 26, 2016

When the black t-shirt clad, long-haired, jean

vested masses all descend upon a venue at

the same time, you can be sure a proper rock

‘n’ roll show is happening. Such was the case

at the PNE Forum for the thrilling doubleheader

of Canadian noise-punk duo Death

From Above 1979 and cock rock warriors

Eagles of Death Metal. The coming together

of these two powerhouses clearly excited

the audience, as crowds filled up the beer

gardens, downing drinks in eager anticipation.

When the Paris terror attacks in November

of 2015 happened, Eagles of Death Metal were

directly at the centre of it all. The unfortunate

tragedy boosted the band’s profile significantly,

but the band didn’t take a second to reflect

or rest on that. Instead, Jesse Hughes and

co. (the band was Josh Homme-less for this

tour) took to the stage like they had something

to prove. Wearing a tight neon pink shirt,

over-sized aviator sunglasses, and donning

his signature moustache, Hughes wasted no

time strutting around the stage with his guitar,

winning over the audience completely by the

end of opening number “I Only Want You.”

Throughout the performance the band were

tight, sweaty, sleazy and full of bravado.

After a brief intermission, and one long

beer line later, Death From Above 1979 took

to the stage. If there is one thing to be said

about DFA 1979, they are a LOUD band. The

duo of Jesse Keeler (bass/ keyboards) and

Sebastian Grainger (drums/ vocals) have the

amazing ability to sound more full and create

more noise than most bands that are double

or triple their size. Opening their set with

the anthemic “Always On,” from their postreunion

album, The Physical World, was like

a punch to the gut as the sound pummelled

the crowd. Audience members ate it up and

the crowd reached frenzied heights when

three songs into the set, the band played “Turn

It Out,” the opening track from the classic

debut, You’re A Woman, I’m A Machine. The

band seemed gracious to be playing to such

a large crowd, but didn’t waste much time

speaking. Backed with an excellent light show,

DFA 1979 ripped through almost every track

off their two albums, including the live debut

of fan favourite “Sexy Results,” leaving the

rock craved masses more than satisfied.

• Joshua Erickson

photo: Galen Robinson-Exo

May 2016 REVIEWS

33


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

by Michelle Hanley

Café Deux Soleils YVR Airport Funky Winker Beans

Café Deux Soleils is a popular eatery on Commercial Drive. It’s got

a great veggie burger and a nice little patio that is the perfect spot for

watching patchouli scented and dreadlocked white people hula hooping

on the sidewalk outside. The last time I was here I watched a dude

simultaneously smoke a joint while drinking from a carton of almond

milk. It was amazing and also so terrible.

The bathrooms here once had a reputation of being some of the

grimiest and most graffitied in the city, but no longer. The recent

renovations have them sparkling! It’s consistently clean and always well

stocked. There are three different bathrooms so there’s never a wait. Café

Deux Soleils? More like Café Poo Soleils! Because it is a great place to poo.

YVR is one of the country’s busiest airports. It is also home to what is

said to be one of the nicest bathrooms in Canada. It has been shortlisted

for the Canadian bathroom awards (how do I get on the panel for that?)

and has been recommended to me numerous times.

Maybe I went to the wrong bathroom though because I was terribly

disappointed. The bathrooms smelled so bad! A terrible combination of

desperate poops held in after long plane rides and gross e-cigs, confirmed

by the empty e-cig packages on the ground of the bathroom stall. It was

poorly maintained and cluttered. It did however have a fun vending

machine complete with ”rude rhino” brand Canadian flag temporary

tattoos. Airports are weird.

Funky Winker Beans is a cool and grimy dive bar that has great karaoke

and questionable hot dogs. I like to come here to increase my punk

credibility and drink very, very cheap beers. It also has the best name of

any bar in the whole city.

The bathroom at Funky’s is not bad at all! It is surprisingly well lit,

perfect for mirror selfies. It smelled shockingly pleasant and its walls were

covered in dainty floral tiles, reminiscent of my sweet grandmother’s

bathroom. It was relatively clean and well stocked despite it being such a

dive. Is the wonderful state of the bathroom at Funky Winker Beans proof

of further gentrification in the DTES? Either way, it makes for a great place

to poop.

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MAY 22ND - KIBBLES & BEATS (EARLY)

MAY 25TH - NEW MUSIC FROM TOKYO VOL. 1

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