Black Mountain • Savages • Har Mar Superstar • SNBRN • Daniel Romano • Baroness • ANOHNI
Editor’s Note/Pulse 4
Bedroom Eyes 7
Netflix & Kill 14
Edmonton Extra 26-27
Book of (Leth)Bridge 28
Letters from Winnipeg 29
Let’s Get Jucy! 32
This Month in Metal 40
Dan Savage 50
Marlaena Moore 30-31
Decidedly Jazz Dance Centre,
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Summer Movie Preview,
Big Rock Eddies
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Black Mountain, Tim Heidecker, Savages,
Brian Jonestown Massacre, Har Mar Superstar,
La Luz, Whitney, Sean Hamilton,
Peter & the Wolves, Cowpuncher, Julius
Sumner Miller, Moments Fest, Fall City
SNBRN, Terravita, Stooki Sound
The Ironwood Stage & Grill, Robert
Rooke, Back Pocket, Daniel Romano
Black Rat, Zimmer’s Hole, Baroness,
ANOHNI and much, much more ...
Triton, Modern Space, Rihanna
Managing Editor/Web Producer
Music Editor/Social Media Consultant
City :: Brad Simm
Film :: Joel Dryden
Calgary Beat :: Willow Grier
Edmonton Extra :: Jenna Lee Williams
Book of (Leth)Bridge :: Courtney Creator
Letters From Winnipeg :: Julijana Capone
Jucy :: Paul Rodgers
Roots :: Liam Prost
Shrapnel :: Sarah Kitteringham
COVER PHOTO: Levi Manchak
This Month’s Contributing Writers
Christine Leonard • Gareth Watkins • Tyler Klinkhammer • Sarah Mac • Mike Ryan •
Michael Grondin • Kyle Lovstrom • Sara Elizabeth Taylor • Alison Musial • Hannah Many
Guns • Haley Pukanski • Foster Modesette • Zenna Wilburg • Robyn Welsh • Leyland
Bradley • Breanna Whipple • Max Foley • Emily MacDonald • Michael Dunn • Andrea
Hrynyk • Shane Sellar • Trent Warner • Andrew R. Mott • Arielle Lessard • Brittany Rudyck
• Jamie McNamara • Dan Potter • Jonathan Lawrence • Dan Savage
Black Mountain - page 22
This Month’s Contributing Photographers & Illustrators
Levi Manchak • Haley Pukanski • Andrea Hyrnyk • Rickett & Sones • Andrew Imanaka
• Beggars Group • Forced Exposure • Unfolding Creative Photography • Jennica Mae •
Eric Roberts • Josh Doohkie • Geoff Fitzgerald • Rick Rodney • Liam MacRae • Doug
Seymour • Cassie Harasemchuk • Daniel Cole • Kevin Eisenlord
Tel: 403.451.7628 • e-mail: email@example.com
We distribute our publication in Calgary, Edmonton, Banff, Canmore, and Lethbridge.
SARGE Distribution in Edmonton – Shane Bennett (780) 953-8423
Connect with BeatRoute.ca
Facebook.com/BeatRouteAB :: Twitter.com/BeatRouteAB :: Instagram.com/BeatRouteAB
e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org • website: www.beatroute.ca
Copyright © BEATROUTE Magazine 2016. All rights reserved. Reproduction of the contents is prohibited.
BEATROUTE • MAY 2016 | 3
SHAnnOn and THE CLAMS
San Francisco’s premiere garage doo-woppers swing up north to play with La Luz May 25 at
Vans, bands and beer June-3-5 out in them
thar Three Hills. Go to vanditsvc.blogspot.ca
Half Man! Half Ant! All Action! Mutant rawkers that spawned from the streets of Calgary 20 years ago
return to their former stomping ground with their very first full-length, Do The Dummy.
Sat. May 14 with the Von Zippers and Quit School at the Palomino.
That old scoundrel Kamil Krulis is back with
another DJ nite. Wednesdays at
The Roasterie in Kensington.
GARBAGE DAZE: THE DiGiTAL AGE
DIY purists, Garbage Daze, are expanding their
festival line-up this year by bringing in spaceypsych-showgazers
LSD and the Search For God
from San Fran as well as the progressive sounds
of the now Berlin-based techno outfit, Shifted.
Check out the full list of more than 40 artists at
Quality Traditional Tattooing
#402 815 1 st Street S.W. Calgary, Alberta
Black Diamond Tattoo Studio
4 | MAY 2016 • BEATROUTE
Artistic Director christens DJD’s new crystal palace
Kimberley Cooper has been a part of the Calgary dance scene as a dancer and
choreographer for many years. She is now the Artistic Director of Decidedly
Jazz Danceworks, a 32-year-old dance company that has just moved into a
beautiful brand spanking new building at 111 - 12 Ave SE. Cooper is currently
creating the inaugural performance for the 230-seat theatre in the DJD Dance
Centre that also houses the community dance school. The piece is called New
Universe and will feature the nine-member professional dance company and a
five-piece band led by American jazz icon, William Parker who is also composing
the music for the performance. New Universe runs from May 27 - June 12.
PHOTO: NOEL BÉGIN
BEATROUTE • MAY 2016 | 7
DECIDEDLY JAZZ DANCE CENTRE
a New Universe awaits
Jazz is coming out from behind closed
doors thanks to the construction of the
impressive Decidedly Jazz Dance Centre
in the heart of the New West. Ten years in the
making, the cutting-edge facility will provide a
much-needed growing room for the professional
company and dance school, which has
been in its current home since 1993. Designed
by architect Janice Liebe of the DIALOG design
firm and built by CANA Construction, the new
structure embodies the kinetic movement of
a dancer’s body with its graceful application of
glass and steel. While a versatile modern theatre
and seven well-appointed dance studios rank
highest amongst the new institute’s assets, the
abundance of natural light and flowing floor
plan are sure to infuse the environment with
“It’s a spectacular facility. It’s not just for us,
we feel that it’s really a space for Calgary,” says
DJD’s artistic director, Kimberley Cooper. “It’s
also just such a beautiful, vibrant, glass-filled
open place that I think it will add to the landscape
of Calgary. You’ll be able to look in and
see dancing all the time, which is something we
don’t see that often. The beacon at the top of
the building is a 10-metre penthouse that’s kind
of like a light-box and we’ve just been working
with some artist to create a public art piece
that’s going to be in there. That will really draw
your eye to the building as well. The artists’
names are Hadley+Maxwell. Without giving too
much away, they are big on the Canadian art
scene and they were here taking images for a
beautiful concept that will let people know that
is dancing going on in that building.”
Located within the new 12-storey Kahanoff
Centre on Centre Street and 12th Avenue SE,
the accessible space offers a 327 sq. m dance
studio, a comfortable 232 sq. m community
living room, multiple smaller dance studios (to
be available for booking) and will additionally
provide storage for the Company’s wardrobes,
dressing rooms, media room, library, box office
and administrative offices. A home that has
been custom-fit to accommodate the present
and future needs of an organization that anticipates
great things to come. To accomplish this
lifetime goal, DJD worked closely numerous supporters
including the philanthropic Kahanoff
Foundation, who rents office space to charitable
organizations at affordable rates. Construction
of the Decidedly Jazz Dance Centre within the
context of the burgeoning complex, located
at Centre Street and 12th Avenue S.E., means
that the first five floors of the new building are
inhabited by Decidedly Jazz with the six floors
above them being occupied by DJD’s co-residents
the Calgary Foundation.
“This building has been a long time coming,”
says Cooper. “As the economy has risen and
fallen a couple times it’s taken a lot longer than
we thought it would. So, there have been many
incarnations of what it has now turned out to
be. We’ve had really great partners all around.
We have had a lot of support from the government
and the Kahanoff Foundation, individual
by Christine Leonard
donors. You can name a seat in the theatre for
$1,000 or donate more and have the building
named after you. Everyone from millionaires
to the dancer alumnus who are pulling funds
together to buy a couple of seats. There are lots
of ways you can claim your space within the
Centre, which I think is really cool!”
As a member of Calgary’s dance community
and DJD’s resident choreographer, Cooper
shares her company’s passion for innovation.
Aiming to demonstrate that the new facility
will consist of more than sprung floors and
wires, she is busy rehearsing the first work to be
presented in the Centre’s crown jewel studio
theatre. Cooper’s latest choreographic work,
New Universe, featuring nine dancers and five
live musicians performing the music of NYC jazz
legend William Parker, is sure to leave a lasting
impression as it premieres at the Decidely Jazz
Dance Centre’s Opening Gala on May 27th.
“For me, what I’m really looking forward
to is being able to create in the space that the
work will be performed in, because that is so
rare in the dance world. It’s pretty spectacular
and that’s where the company will rehearse
every day,” says Cooper. “The nice thing about
being in this smaller space is that we can run
for longer and that’s better for everybody. The
artists get to do it more, the work gets stronger,
the word of mouth can travel throughout the
city and that’s our best ticket seller. I think that
all of those things will help to make us more
A one-of-a-kind place of business that offers
a unique forum and launchpad for the performing
arts, DJD’s headquarters will undoubtedly
make it a cultural focal point as Calgary
progresses through a ribbon-cutting Year of
Music. Cause for celebration on many fronts,
the completion of this new facility marks not
only the realization of a dream, but denotes the
value that citizens continue to attribute to the
arts and the ways in which artistic disciplines
continue to benefit the community at large.
“We’ve been talking to board for Fluid Festival,
we’ve been talking to One Yellow Rabbit,
we’ve been talking to the Old Trouts, and Sled
Island has approached us about utilizing our
new spaces. People have already asked to have
a wedding on our main floor because it’s gorgeous.
And, really, we want to be an arts hub,”
Cooper confirms. “Everybody’s excited about it,
because it has the ability to change the cultural
landscape in Calgary. And we’ve have great
neighbours; the National Music Centre and Arts
Commons are only a few blocks away. We feel
like Calgary is building a new arts district right
now and it’s really nice to be a part of that.”
DJD’s Opening Weekend Gala that shows off
their new studio and performance space takes
place May 27 and 28. Then New Universe,
DJD’s new work choreographed by Kim Cooper
featuring original music composed by New York
jazz composer William Parker, who will also lead
the live band during performances, runs until
BEATROUTE • MAY 2016 | 9
Inside the filthy, funny mind of Canada’s number one singing stand-up...
Shirley’s stageshow... a little Elvis, a little Dolly, and whole lot of dirty
You sing like an angel. Has your voice always been
tuned towards comedy?
Gee thanks. The only time I ever get compared to
anything religious is with angels. Naw. I don’t even
see what I do as comedy. I’m just singing songs as
truthfully as I can. The truth can be really hilarious
to most people, certainly to me, and I welcome the
opportunities that come to me for that fairly common
response. Some people find it upsetting, sad, scary, or
boring. I welcome all those reactions. I think they are
the truest truth to the person experiencing them, and
that’s what music is all about man. I wanna hold up a
Where do you hale from? Where do you now reside?
I grew up in Surrey BC, known for its loose women and
for being the car theft capital of North America. I spent
the last eight years in Vancouver, probably because I
ate a lot of pot brownies and forgot how many years
were passing. I put all my stuff in storage in January and
hit the road, so now I live in Suitcaseville, World.
What kind of a kid where you? Are you an adult
now? What’s the most grown-up aspect of Shirley
I was always humping furniture and trying to take my
clothes off. I sang a lot of songs out in the middle of
the woods at the top of my lungs, and dressed up in
fancy lady clothes. I’m an adult, but I’m not a grownup.
Grown-ups to me are people who lost the magic.
They sold their dreams, did what society told them
to do because society told them to do it, not because
they wanted to. I live in the moment and I don’t feel
trapped. I’m still doing everything I did as a kid, but
with the wisdom of an adult woman. So I think I am
winning life. I’ve learned a lot, I’ve listened a lot, and I’ve
loved a lot, and I always make time to play. I still hump
the furniture on occasion.
How often are you performing?
So often. I go from festival to festival, and show to
show, traveling, working. I think I’ll take a break in
September to write some new songs. I’ve been going
non-stop for a while now. I can’t even remember. I’m
still drunk from last night I think.
What is your favourite place in the world to
The Victoria Events Centre I think. I love Victoria.
Edmonton, Calgary, Nelson and Montreal are also up
there. Robson Valley Music Festival is amazing. New
York City, Melbourne. There are many good places
with good humans. I can’t wait to explore more and
add them to the list.
What’s the worst gig you’ve ever had?
I had to really think this over, but the worst one
was probably in Revelstoke when some men in the
audience were heckling me by telling each other that
they wanted to rape me at the top of their lungs. I
stopped the show and yelled at them, saying things
like, “What would your mother think of you if she
heard you talking like that?” One guy got up and left
right away. The other two stayed. I felt very vulnerable
and unprotected. The guys were really angry. I got
offstage to take a break between my sets, and one of
them started to come up to me. The manager (a lovely
person) stood between us and told the guys they had
to pay up and leave. They tried to leave without paying
and were chased down, and then kicked out again.
I got onstage and finished the show. The rest of the
audience felt terrible about what had happened and
apologized, which was unnecessary. But there’s good
humans in Revelstoke.
How do you handle a heckler?
Most of the time, people are drunk and they don’t
realize what they are doing is disruptive, annoying,
and/or making themselves look stupid. I point that out
to them with a joke, and they usually shut up. If they
don’t, I will ignore them and they will shut up. If none
of that works, I get security to remove them. I care
more about the audience when the hecklers start up.
I want them to get their money’s worth and enjoy the
show and not have it ruined by some asshat.
What do you think motivates a heckler to share
belligerent thoughts at full volume, rather than just
listening and laughing?
I would assume their parents didn’t love them enough.
Maybe they feel insecure and small for another reason.
Perhaps because they are shitty people, they don’t get
the satisfaction of connection in their lives. Instead
of taking a look in the mirror to have more fulfilled
lives, they ruin my show (and my friend’s shows) to
get validation. Generally, as I mentioned before, this is
spurred on by too much booze. Some people are just
dirtbags, and I feel bad for their folks.
How long have you been pursuing comedy?
I haven’t started pursuing it yet, it keeps coming to me
and I say yes to it. What I look for is people who can get
something of value out of what I do, and that guides
me around the world. I did my first show in 2009 at a
burlesque fundraiser. That was seven years ago!
On a scale from mildly perverted to “Get the kids
out of the room, NOW!” where do you fall?
“GET THE KIDS IN THE ROOM, NOW!”
Your website mentions you do parties. What does
a Shirley Gnome party entail? Do you get a lot of
I get lots! I love doing house parties, and private concerts.
I started writing songs for that exact environment -
sitting in the living room, laughing with friends. I bring
that energy to people’s homes and we have a blast.
Sometimes they have a whole outdoor stage scenario
and we put on an intimate concert. There is nothing
more rejuvenating to me than these gigs.
Are you earning a living solely through song…
kinky, lascivious song?
Yup! I have been doing so for four years this August. I
feel like I am grifting the world.
What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?
This guy gave me the most horrendous blow job. He
just yarded his fingers up my vag and sort of shook
them around and then touched only the very tip of his
tongue to the very tip of my clitoris. I felt like a puppet
being mangled by a poorly trained puppeteer. We’re
talking about sex, right?
Who are your heroes?
Dolly Parton and Catherine the Great.
What do you do for fun?
Sex. If I have time for any recreational activities, I like
to grab a nice dude (consensually) and pound all day.
When that’s not readily available, or I am spent, I like
finding bedazzled clothes at thrift stores, swimming
in the ocean, listening to music, dancing, drinking and
smoking weed with my friends and watching dumb
videos on the internet.
Best movie last year?
Big question! I feel like John Oliver’s piece on sex
education in America was one of the greatest vids
I watched last year, but it wasn’t a movie. So let’s go
with... Montage of Heck.
Why are you so sexually overt?
I have no shame and I don’t see what the fuss is about.
Has anyone ever fallen for you not knowing exactly
what you’re singing about? Like they spoke another
Not that I know of, but I welcome that wholefartedly.
Worst date experience?
I met a guy on tinder who showed up to the date high
by Kyle Lovstrom
on meth, or maybe speed. He worked for a marketing
company, taking photos of First Nations elders to
use as propaganda for an oil company wanting to
build pipelines through ecologically fragile traditional
territories. He spilled his drink on his crotch seven
times, when he would laugh. I think it was an attempt
to get my attention to his crotch. It is hard to say
though - he was pretty high.
What is an inappropriate number of cats living
under one roof?
As long as they are fed, safe, neutered and able to go
outside, I say pile ‘em on.
Anything notable or crazy ever happen on tour (off
the top of your head)?
I stayed in a sex dungeon of a dominatrix’s house after
a gig one night. She was one of the kindest, loving hosts
I’ve ever had on the road.
If not entertaining, what else would you do?
Sex education and advocacy for underprivelidged
women. Learn how to spell underpriveldaged.
Have you ever creeped yourself out with your own
You have no idea what doesn’t make it to the stage.
Any advice for aspiring comedians?
Find people to be your mentors, who have lots of
experience, who you trust. Get honest feedback -
praise isn’t helpful. Record your shows - listen to them
as if you’re an audience member and ask yourself what
you wish that performer did better. Always try to be
better, even when you’re getting good reviews and
lots of laughs. Don’t be lazy. Don’t think you’re special,
because you’re not. Have a fuckton of fun. If it’s not fun,
steal the fun back.
Do potential suitors have a lot of wild expectations?
Yup. It mostly manifests as men who think because
I enjoy sex, that I will fuck them. It’s entitlement. This
idea that women who are unashamed of their sexuality
also don’t have any standards, or are easy, or will put
up with bullshit behavior. I have a special song I have
started singing which takes a lot of that imagined
sex appeal right out of the equation. It seems to have
filtered out the idiots, and left only the good men
behind for the pickin’. I’m still working on it though.
Catch Shirley’s filthy, funny show at Dicken’s Pub
on Friday, May 6. This is a fundraiser for Calgary
International Burlesque Festival.
10 | MAY 2016 • BEATROUTE CITY
12 | MAY 2016 • BEATROUTE CITY
FERRIS BUELLER’S DAY OFF
Fifth Reel presents John Hughes classic
by Jonathan Lawrence
Matthew Broderick stars as the eponymous wise guy, Ferris Bueller.
Anyone know anything fun to do on a day
off? Anyone? Anyone? Well, just ask Ferris
Bueller, that righteous dude. In the late
John Hughes’s 1986 classic film, Ferris Bueller’s Day
Off, it’s revealed that Ferris (Matthew Broderick)
has, in fact, missed school eight other times prior
to the eponymous day off we all know and love,
which begs the question: What happened on those
days? Either way, it’s a minor infraction compared
to the 27 days missed by Ed McNally, childhood
friend of Hughes, and the real-life inspiration for
Bueller (he denies it, but the real-life parallels are
endless). So this May, go take a day off from work
or school with Ferris at the Plaza Theatre, courtesy
of the Fifth Reel, even if you have to fake a stomach
It’s ironic that Ferris Bueller refers to high school
as “childish” when acting so is exactly how he’s able
to deceive his gullible parents into staying home.
Hughes once commented, “he’s six there, and it’s
just what they want.” However, between the buffoonish
principal Ed Rooney, the monotonous economics
professor (Ben Stein) and all the “wastoids”
and “dweebies” at Shermer High School (yes,
that name does ring a bell; Judd Nelson crawled
through the very same air ducts in The Breakfast
Club, another Hughes classic), it’s very apparent
why Ferris has no desire to spend his precious days
there. And, besides, if he played by the rules, he’d
be in gym right now.
“Cameron’s Day Off” might not have the same
ring to it as the existing title, but it’s arguable that
Ferris’s despondent best friend (Alan Ruck) might
be the true hero of the story - although you’d
certainly hear more of Cameron’s self-pitying “Go
Down Moses” song than Yello’s “Oh Yeah.” Despite
his perennial down-and-out demeanour, Hughes
notes that Cameron can be assertive, but only
“under the guise of someone else,” as evident when
he dupes Rooney into thinking he’s Mr. Peterson.
For many reasons, Cameron is arguably one of
Hughes’s most interesting and complex characters,
likely because he was based on a real friend
Hughes had in high school.
Perhaps because it’s a John Hughes film, it’s easy
to associate Ferris Bueller’s Day Off with being a
coming-of-age film, but from Bueller’s perspective, it’s
not really so, according to Fifth Reel organizer Alonso
Melgar. “Ferris is kind of immature and arrogant, and
largely stays that way for the entire movie,” he says.
Cameron, on the other hand, he says, “grows up
through the course of the movie and learns how
to stand up for himself and take control of his own
life despite the potential consequences…[The film
shows] stuff we all have to go through at some point
before we can really grow up.”
Ferris is essentially a superman - he has no real
problems, and therefore not as relatable. As Hughes
pointed out, Ferris “can’t lose, if he did lose he
wouldn’t be Ferris Bueller.”
That’s not to say the teenage philosopher isn’t
admirable in his own right (or worthy of his own
movie title). He may have pushed his friend far past
his comfort level, but it’s later revealed that Ferris orchestrated
the whole day for Cameron to get out and
experience life – and to have a chance to deliver his
“Life moves pretty fast” line, one which has become
cemented in film quote history. Whether or not Ferris
comes across as virtuous, he has inspired people
for 30 years with his laid-back, cool demeanour and
positive attitude. Super-fan Chris Herbus was heavily
inspired by the film when it was originally released
and remains so to this day.
“It made me want to get to know everyone,” he
says. “It changed who I was to take bigger risks and
just have fun.”
Chicago is undoubtedly the uncredited fourth
main character of the film. It’s no secret that Hughes
loved the Windy City. “Chicago is what I am,” he said.
“Ferris is sort of my love letter to the city… I wanted
to capture as much of Chicago as I could, not just the
architecture or the landscape, but the spirit.”
Many events and locations of the film were also
pulled right from Hughes’ life. He attended Ferris’s
high school and frequented the Chicago Art Institute,
the same museum where Ferris, Cameron and
Sloane posed like statues, calling it a “place of refuge
Much like Ferris and the gang, the aforementioned
friend of Hughes, Ed McNally, (now a lawyer) also
took his dad’s prized car for a joyride throughout
Chicago, and attempted to erase the added miles by
putting it in reverse. “We’ll drive home backwards,”
Ferris assures the panicked Cameron that his dad
won’t notice the additional miles. While that plan
didn’t work for Ferris and Co., it inadvertently took
off 10,000 miles from the car’s odometer for poor Ed
McNally, which is arguably better than it ending up
in a ravine.
Fifth Reel screenings are always fun events geared
towards the fans and this one is no exception. “We’ve
got some neat stuff planned,” says Melgar. In tribute
of John Hughes, the event is going to be Chicago-themed,
with “deep dish pizza and some great
Chicago beer.” And it wouldn’t be a Fifth Reel event
without a musical guest to get the party started; this
month will feature indie rock group Child Actress.
Like many of John Hughes’s films, Ferris Bueller’s
Day Off was ahead of its time, addressing issues about
teenage life that hadn’t really been done before; it created
a perfect balance between comedy and drama
with a message about seizing the day that is still “loud
and clear,” according to Herbus.
The former prankster Ed McNally may have
publicly denied his role as the inspiration for Ferris,
but despite his lofty lawyer status, delivers reverence
for Hughes and the laidback character we all wish
we could be. He reminds us to “deal with your fear.
Believe in yourself. Make sick days count” and that
“your current situation doesn’t have to be your fate.
There’s always another way.”
What’s that, you say? All that wisdom from a
simple high-school comedy? That can’t be. I know, I
just watched the latest Zac Efron movie and I wasn’t
too impressed, either.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off plays May 14 at the Plaza
Theatre. For more information, visit fifthreel.ca
BEATROUTE • MAY 2016 | 13
SUMMER MOVIE PREVIEW
spoiler alert: more superhero movies
by Joel Dryden
Professor Xavier et al. with a variety of powers and what not. I’m
sure it will be good.
Swiss Army Man (June 17)
First, the plot: Swiss Army Man stars Daniel Radcliffe as a farting
corpse who helps a suicidal character played by Paul Dano find
redemption by providing him companionship and going on an
adventure (as a corpse). You can’t quite call this one a Sundance
favourite considering half the audience stood up and walked
out, but enough members stayed and applauded for a film that
somehow is garnering surprising critical attention despite its
Independence Day: Resurgence (June 24)
In what will likely kill at the box office despite probably not being very
good, Independence Day: Resurgence reunites Jeff Goldblum with
Roland Emmerich (The Day After Tomorrow) but sadly does not include
Will “Welcome To Earth!” Smith. This after rumours that the recently-announced
MIB 23 (22 Jump Street/Men In Black crossover, which is
so wrong it’s right) would also not include Smith. Big mistake. There is
no greater pleasure in the universe then watching Will Smith disrespect
Captain America: Civil War seems likely to assuage disappointment following the headache that was Batman VS Superman.
Jason Bourne (July 29)
Matt Damon returns to the franchise that has dropped its Bourne
X naming convention and Jeremy Renner and from the looks of
the trailer neither of those two things will be much missed. The
Bourne series has always impressed, and the return of director
Paul Greengrass means you can expect 1) plausible car chase
scenes 2) Matt Damon limping 3) Someone exclaiming, “That’s
Captain America: Civil War (May 6)
In what should have been known as Avengers Part 3, Captain America:
Civil War bears Cap’s namesake but is sure to contain no less than 15
other Marvel superstars. From Iron Man to the Marvel-universe debut
of the second-time-rebooted Spider-Man, the film pits Team Chris Evans
vs. Team Robert Downey Jr. In terms of films featuring beloved superheroes
facing off in special-effects smothered spectacles, CA:CW surely will
satisfy fans’ deep-rooted urges better than the wreck that was Batman
NETFLIX AND KILL
what’s streaming and slaying this month?
Two very depressing facts: one day you will die and in all
likelihood that will be it; there’s no reward for being good or
punishment for being bad, just an infinity of unimaginable
nothingness. Also, Adam Sandler is halfway through his contract to
produce four original films for Netflix, the second of which, The Do-
Over, is released this month. It stars the person who least deserves
to be rich, famous and happy and a bunch of his idiot friends as
IT DOESN’T MATTER BECAUSE IT’S ANOTHER AWFUL ADAM
Bloodline (Netflix) is returning for another season on the 27th, to the
delight of the eight people who watched it. The first season received
unanimous critical praise and audience indifference, a kind of reverse
Batman vs. Superman. A similar fate likely awaits Marseille, the network’s
first French original show. It stars heavyweight Gerard Depardieu
and, for all I know, this may be the next Wire (or the brilliant Gallic
crime show Spiral), but it’s going to be a hard sell.
Amazon Prime subscribers are getting not only a weird amount of
James Bond films this month, but another U.K export: the sci-fi show
Humans. Set in an alternate present where lifelike robot servants are
as ubiquitous as iPhones, it actually managed to have both positive
reviews and viewers. Like Spiral, it’s one of those foreign shows that your
cool friends are going to tell you to watch, which is exactly what I’m doing
now. Except that I’m not your friend and if we met I would hate you.
The Angry Birds Movie (May 20)
Not a recommendation, just a reminder that it exists.
X-Men Apocalypse (May 27)
Director Bryan Singer returns to the second sequel of the prequel
to his original trilogy. Despite the fact that the X-Men series is
long in the tooth with more entries than mutants, the quality
has remained consistent throughout (with one or two notable
exceptions). This entry sees Oscar Isaac as Apocalypse threaten
Adam Sandler returns to Netflix in The Do-Over, mercifully halfway through his contract.
Suicide Squad (August 5)
Recent rumours of reshoots following the critical skewering of Batman
vs. Superman have loomed over what was a very impressive trailer for
Suicide Squad. Reportedly, producers were looking to add humour to
the film. Which really is what everyone is expecting from a movie about
psychopaths and murderers.
Other films on the docket: Alice Through the Looking Glass (May 27),
The Conjuring 2 (June 10), Warcraft (June 10), Finding Dory (June 17),
The Legend of Tarzan (July 1) and Ghostbusters (July 15).
by Gareth Watkins
14 | MAY 2016 • BEATROUTE FILM
BIG ROCK EDDIES
trailblazing a new path forward
This year’s theme for the Big Rock Eddies is “Trailblazer”
In its 23-year history, The Big Rock Eddies has celebrated local
filmmakers, giving up-and-coming film crews the chance to
show their stuff in writing, shooting and editing a film as well as
the opportunity to screen their films.
“The Eddies is a grassroots film festival celebrating local
filmmakers and helping them get their names out there. We’re
throwing a festival to encourage the film community,” says Mike
Garth of Big Rock’s sponsorship and events.
Named after Big Rock’s founder Ed McNally, participants of
The Eddies traditionally created short advertisements for the
film festival. However, last year Big Rock announced the Eddies
would instead be all about short film, which proved to be quite a
“They went great. We sold out, we had nothing but positive
reviews and our winners went on to enter their films in other film
fests,” says Garth. “Everybody was very impressed. Judging by our
ticket sales for this year’s Eddies, I’d say we’ve created a buzz.”
The top 10 winning film crews will get the chance to showcase
their films at the Eddies Film Festival at Theatre Junction GRAND
on June 4.
A cash prize of $10,000 will be awarded to the first-place winners,
and their films will be entered into the Calgary Underground
Film Festival as well as the Calgary International Film Festival. Second-place
winners will receive $5,000 and $2,500 will be awarded
to third-place winners.
“Trailblazer,” is the theme for this year’s event, and submissions
are due on May 20. Films may be no longer than five minutes.
“How you interpret [Trailblazer] is up to you. For us, Ed McNally
was a trailblazer. He was a retired lawyer and a farmer who in
the ‘80s decided to open up a micro-brewery, which was unheard
of in Alberta,” explains Garth. “He also believed in other trailblazers
doing their thing, whether it be music, film, arts and culture,
and that’s a continuing mission here at Big Rock, that we will do
our thing, and help others do theirs.”
by Michael Grondin
This year, the Eddies will be judged by CUFF founder and director
Brenda Lieberman, CUFF’s executive director Steve Schroeder,
Canadian entertainment blogger Mike Morrison of Mike’s Bloggity
Blog, Calgary Emmy award-winning film producer Chad Oakes
and filmmaker Jamie Dagg.
Participants get a leg up, the chance to get their names out
there, as well as “exposure and the opportunity to be mentored
by talented and successful filmmakers as well as receive industry
know how,” says Garth. “We really love sponsoring film, and the
arts and this is our way of giving back, by celebrating film and the
local film community.”
Eddies judge Lieberman says this challenge is a great chance for
aspiring filmmakers to take their first step into filmmaking.
“These shorts are a great way to see how the filmmaking
process works. Because this is such a unique event, and because
the prize is so substantial, we really want to encourage people to
really consider being a part of this,” says Lieberman, adding that
participants will then have films that can be entered into other
“It’s a chance to make some quality shorts that you can be
proud of and continue to do a lot with.”
Lieberman says there are tons of resources out there for people
who want to make films.
“We really want to encourage people to take that plunge and
whatever resources we can provide, such as finding partners, getting
deals on equipment, or training, we are always there to help.
The more filmmakers we can breed out of Calgary and Alberta,
the better,” she concludes.
Submissions for the Big Rock Eddies are due May 20. The Eddies film
festival happens June 4 at Theatre Junction GRAND.
BEATROUTE • MAY 2016 | 15
rewind to the future
by Shane Sellar
The 5th Wave
Star Wars Episode VII
The 5th Wave
The easiest way for invading aliens to assimilate
into our society is by staging a televised singing
Unfortunately, the enslaved adolescents in this
sci-fi movie have no vocal range.
When aggressors from outer space unleash an
array of orchestrated attacks on the Earth, including
EMPs, earthquakes, plagues and the possession
of human hosts, military-trained teenagers (Chloë
Grace Moretz, Nick Robinson, Maika Monroe) are
tasked by their superiors (Liev Schreiber, Maria
Bello) with exterminating the infected adult population,
and averting the fifth and final assault.
But when members of the junior militia start
exhibiting inhuman abilities, the real purpose
behind their formation is revealed.
With its derivative body-snatching script,
pedestrian creature design and obvious twist
ending, this monotonous adaptation of the
YA novel is a much lower-caliber film than its
Besides, when you send teenagers to fight aliens
the hybrid birth rate ends up going through the roof.
Ride Along 2
Telling your kids you went on a police ride along
when you were really arrested only works once.
Nonetheless, the makers behind this comedy
feel that their audience is less astute.
To get her rookie officer fiancé Ben (Kevin Hart)
out of the way so she can plan their nuptials,
Angela (Tika Sumpter) asks her reluctant brother
James (Ice Cube) to take him along to Miami while
he investigates a drug lord, Pope (Benjamin Bratt).
But to bring him down they must team up
with a local detective (Olivia Munn) and one of
Pope’s hackers (Ken Jeong) who has been skimming
money from him.
The needless sequel to the middling original,
this second go-round has too many similarities
to the original to be worthwhile, including weak
action, hollow acting and a serious joke deficiency.
Incidentally, on Canadian police ride alongs you
get to sit up on the horse behind the Mountie.
When attacked by a bear remember to always roll
into a ball so it doesn’t have to chew you as much.
The victim in this drama, unfortunately, chose
Hunting up north, a group of trappers (Tom
Hardy, Domhnall Gleeson, Will Poulter) are
engaged by natives and forced into the wilderness
where a Grizzly mauls their guide, Hugh Glass
Left for dead, Glass endures his injuries and pursues
those who betrayed him. Along the way, he frees
a native girl from her French-Canadian captors.
One of the most gripping tales of wilderness
survival, this fact-based account of frontier
justice is beautifully shot and brutally told by
director Alejandro G. Iñárritu.
But its DiCaprio’s performance, supplemented
by Hardy’s, which really brings the humanity to
this indescribable tale.
However, due to this incident, European socialites
had to wait an extra month to get their beaver
felt top hats.
The Hateful Eight
The worst part about being trapped in a cabin
with a bunch of cowboys is listening to them
drone on about Tom Landry. Mind you, the cowboys
in this western don’t have cheerleaders.
After the Civil War, ex-soldier turned bounty
hunter Major Warren (Samuel L. Jackson) hitches
a ride aboard a stagecoach alongside a fellow
hunter (Kurt Russell) transporting a prisoner
(Jennifer Jason Leigh) to Red Rock for hanging.
A blizzard, however, strands them inside an
isolated outpost occupied by a cast of ne’erdo-wells
(Walton Goggins, Tim Roth, Michael
Madsen, Bruce Dern) who may, in fact, be there
to intercede on the outlaw transfer.
Taking a typical western narrative and turning
it into a gruesome, foulmouthed whodunit
with a stirring score, writer/director Quentin
Tarantino returns to close quarters’ storytelling
with a vengeance and aplomb.
Thankfully, when cowboys are confined
indoors today, instead shooting each other, they
like to line dance.
The best part about sightseeing tours to the suicide
forest is that the ride back is less crowded.
Case in point, the missing American in this
After receiving word her twin Jess has disappeared
in a forest at the base of Mount Fuji known as a suicide
hotspot, Sara (Natalie Dormer) dashes to Japan.
Along with a guide (Yukiyoshi Ozawa) and a
reporter (Taylor Kinney), she retraces her sister’s
footsteps. But only the reporter is willing to stay in
the forest overnight with her because it’s haunted.
This is later confirmed when a ghost warns
Sara’s about her travelling partner.
Inspired by the real Aokigahara forest, this misguided
attempt at psychological terror falls short.
In fact, it’s less than jarring narrative can never
seem to commit to a genre. With haphazard visual
jolts trumping the few psychosomatic scares.
Besides, one mammal’s suicide forest is another
mammal’s international buffet.
If you’re moving into a densely wooded area don’t
be surprised to find dead sex-trade workers on
Mind you, the only corpses the family in this
horror movie is likely to find are their own.
Relocating his wife (Bojana Novakovic) and
child to an isolated Irish village where he’ll be
surveying for a future deforesting, Adam (Joseph
Mawle) is warned about the local woods’ otherworldly
inhabitants but pays no mind.
It’s not until they’re attacked do they take the
wee-folk rumours seriously. Adam is specifically
intrigued by Changelings and becomes convinced
that his son is one.
Eschewing traditional monsters for an ancient but
underrated one, this British/Irish co-production not
only brings longstanding Irish folklore to the forefront
but also does it in a frightening fashion that sets
this import apart from its insipid American cousins.
Moreover, who’s to say that the Fay don’t want
a Starbucks in their forest?
Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens
Despite its liberation years ago, the Galaxy is
once more under the control of a new Sith Lord:
And while the Dark Mouse doesn’t make an
appearance in this sci-fi movie, his presence is felt.
A forager, Rey (Daisy Ridley), befriends a droid
transporting the whereabouts of the last Jedi (Mark
Hamill) to the resistance General (Carrie Fisher). But
an overzealous member of The First Order (Adam
Driver) wants the droid too, so Rey must flee with
help from an ex-stormtrooper (John Boyega).
Later, they align themselves with a grizzled
smuggler (Harrison Ford) with knowledge of Rey’s
With stunning effects and organic worlds,
Disney’s continuation returns the franchise back
Unfortunately, that also includes familiar menaces,
similar plot points and a plagiaristic ending. Not
to mention a petulant child posturing as the villain.
Furthermore, where does Disney get off not
including any sing-along kids songs?
Concussions are only a problem in sports when
the players start scoring on themselves.
Fortunately, the athletes in this drama are
somewhat able to find their opponent’s end zone.
Aghast at the drastic brain injuries a former
Pittsburgh Steeler sustained throughout his football
career, forensic pathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu
(Will Smith) sets out on a self-funded crusade to
expose this NFL-wide epidemic.
With help from the Steel’s physician (Alec Baldwin),
Bennet is able to publish his findings, which are
rejected and buried by the organization until years
later when more players start committing suicide.
This shocking true story of the NFL’s calculated
cover-up of its countless concussion cases in the
early 2000s finds Will Smith at his acting finest,
delivering a powerful performance. But however
timely the subject matter may be, the overall story
lacks artistic impact.
This preexisting brain trauma, however, is
exactly why ex-football players should be boxing
He’s a Folk Laureate. He’s the…
16 | MAY 2016 • BEATROUTE FILM
psyched out and forever wandering
Black Mountain frontman Stephen McBean
is something of a rock guru in the Canadian
music scene and beyond.
A musician since he was a teenage punk, it’s
been 11 years since Black Mountain released
their debut album but the 47-year-old has plenty
of ideas to share on his longevity.
“Like most people that are creative, you
keep finding ways to challenge yourself and
find whatever the spark is or whatever makes
you happy or sometimes whatever makes you
miserable. Whatever fuels it,” McBean says while
wandering the streets of Vancouver during a
couple days off between a very extensive summer
This pearl of wisdom is just one of many
interspersed as he rambles on foot through
the West End past “some bongs, some bongos
and reggae on the street,” towards a vaguely remembered
Greek restaurant on Denman Street.
McBean’s two-day stopover back at home base
between European and North American tours
coincides with the marijuana holiday, 4/20. 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.”
The seasoned performer admits that often
nachos or something equally ordinary will be
Black Mountain tour behind IV with new member and invigoration.
in his thoughts while playing a show. The ideal
frame of mind when playing is something transcendental.
“You wanna get to that place where
you’re kind of out of yourself [and] you’re just
travelling along with the music and the sound
and the audience,” he says.
McBean has garnered many fans over
the course of his career, through both Black
Mountain and his equally towering side project,
Pink Mountaintops. One of the things McBean
appreciates most about Black Mountain is its
photo: Magdalena Wosinska
unique sound that appeals to a diverse crowd,
from metalhead kids who want to rock out to
their guitar riffs, to those in awe of singer Amber
Webber’s powerful and melodic voice, to the
music nerds interested in their vintage gear.
Black Mountain is currently touring in support
of IV, released last month on Jagjaguwar.
It’s been five years since their last release and
the passage of time, combined with a yearning
for freedom and the joy of reuniting, makes it
their most spacious-sounding album to date.
by Thalia Stopa
The band (rounded out by keyboardist Jeremy
Schmidt and drummer Joshua Wells) also has a
new bass player, Colin Cowan. Cowan didn’t play
on IV, but he did just complete his first European
tour with them. 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.
McBean embraces 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,”
he says. “You’re given the luxury of reinterpreting
the album every night. 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
a weird velvet rope around it.”
There are no velvet ropes around McBean and
his band of psyched out bandmates while they
emit their sounds at blank canvases all around the
world. And it seems that, so long as McBean keeps
on moving and rambling, so too will the music.
Black Mountain performs at the Marquee Beer
Market & Stage (Calgary) on May 19.
learning to Adore Life on sophomore album
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, 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,
but 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
You can catch Savages with Head Wound City on May 22nd at
West End Cultural Centre in Winnipeg, May 24th at Commonwealth
in Calgary, May 25th at the Starlite Room in Edmonton or
on May 27th at the Imperial in Vancouver.
Savages’ recent work have more feelings, but no less fury.
by Jamie McNamara
18 | MAY 2016 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE
getting real In Glendale
Tim Heidecker’s latest album is unlike anything you’ve heard from him before.
Comedian and musician Tim Heidecker is
infamous for his surreal satire, most notably
as part of the duo Tim & Eric. But on
May 20th he’ll be releasing In Glendale, a much
more relatable, human work showing Heidecker
at his realest. BeatRoute had the rare opportunity
to speak with him out of character on the
subject. Read on for a side of Heidecker that’s
remained largely unseen. Questions and answers
have been truncated for brevity.
BeatRoute: You’ve made this album available
through Rado Records, with Jonathan
Rado of Foxygen playing in your live incarnation.
How did you guys link up?
Tim Heidecker: Jonathan is on Jagjaguwar and
Chris Swanson (the label’s head) is a friend of mine
who financed The Comedy amongst other things.
He took me out for coffee one day and said, “What
are you doing musically? It seems like you love to
make music but everything you’ve done has been
in the comedy world and satirical, and it would be
interesting to hear something from you that was
more serious.” I’d been thinking about doing that
for a while and at least doing something that wasn’t
sort of masked by a persona or a fake character. He
threw out Rado’s name because he was interested
in getting into producing more and working with
other people. He and I met and we really clicked
with similar tastes. We’re both huge fans of Warren
Zevon, Randy Newman and other eclectic, kind of
weird ‘70s singer-songwriters.
BR: They have a unique slant on storytelling.
TH: Exactly. But with a real love of melody and
harmony and arrangement. So we connected on
that and I said I’d love to make a record that’s really
straight forward and well produced with these
songs I’d been working on that are not necessarily
all that funny—some of them are, some of them
aren’t—and that’s how we kicked it off… He got it
right away that I’m not an artist who’s very comfortable
staying in one lane for too long, and the
excitement about doing something that was gonna
be murky and confusing was something that we
embraced as not something to be worried about.
BR: So how long had you been sitting on this
idea that you wanted to do a more serious
TH: I moved to Glendale about two and a half years
by Mike Ryan
photo: Cara Robbins
ago and I was sitting in this house, a little bit bigger
of a house than we had before, a sort of real ‘adult’
house with my baby who was a few months old
and as I was sitting writing songs, I was just writing
material that was more personal… [Glendale is]
really where you go when you’re an adult. It’s like
an adult city [laughs]. We moved there because the
schools are good and there’s a yard and all that kind
of stuff, so it did feel like it captured this growing up
vibe that I’m going through.
BR: Are you feeling like it’s a challenge to
show this side of yourself and have people
accept it as such?
TH: Um, I knew it would be a problem and I’m
happy to do my best to clarify it. I understand the
confusion. I love playing with reality and will continue
to do that. I guess this is the opposite of that… I
think most people know that I’m a guy that makes
stuff and it comes out in all different forms, and I’m
hoping that maybe there’s a group of people that
aren’t familiar with my comedy and come upon the
record like any other musician and takes it for what
it is. It doesn’t have to be this big backstory to it
necessarily to access it.
BR: You worked with really talented musicians
on the album. How did you all come
TH: Funny enough, it’s a good story. Most of them
are in a band called City City. I met them a few
years ago when they had sent Eric [Wareheim] and
I a video of them covering a bunch of Awesome
Show songs. They were really funny, really well
done, technically accomplished versions of some
songs. I wrote them a note saying how cool it was
and ended up running into them at a show. I had
been writing some songs for The Yellow River
Boys, and I was thinking, I’m never gonna get this
finished because I am not capable enough to
make this music sound the way it should sound.
It should sound like a really professional, glossy
studio album. So I just asked Jeff in the band if
they’d take my demos and arrange and produce
this ‘90s Lynyrd Skynyrd rock group. They killed it
and delivered in spades. I just kept in touch with
them and they became my go to band.
In Glendale comes out on May 20th through Rado
Records. Tim Heidecker will play select West Coast
dates including a stop at Sasquatch in support.
THE BRIAN JONESTOWN MASSACRE
getting lost in the idea
by Mike Dunn
working on two brand new albums,”
explains Anton Newcombe over the phone
from Berlin. “I wrote 45 songs at once. One
record is exactly how you would expect The Brian
Jonestown Massacre to sound, and the other is
what I think it sounds like, closer to what I think it
It’s wise to take him at his word, given Newcombe’s
creative output as the driving force behind The Brian
Jonestown Massacre over their prolific 20-plus year
career. Newcombe famously made records in the late
‘90s in a week, mixed in a day, and delivered some of
that era’s defining underground lo-fi indie rock.
“I’m a conceptual artist,” says Newcombe, “in that I
get lost in the idea. I don’t record things so that they’ll
be perfect. I make music that lives or dies in the medium.
Doing things lo-fi was a practicality. I didn’t need
permission to make records or music. I kept all my
publishing, I own all my records. A lot of the bands
from that time sold their publishing for essentially
a mortgage, maybe a cute sports car, and where are
they now? No one’s gonna reissue those records.”
“See, I’m into creating a culture where people are
themselves. Like, even Dylan, in the early days, was
just being Woody, and that was kind of lame or whatever,
but someone could dress like Johnny Rotten or
Sid Vicious, and unless they take the myth to that
end like a complete idiot, they’re still themselves. That
was the power of punk and post-punk, it was folk,
because you were yourself immediately.”
One of Newcombe’s new creative partners is Tess
Parks, whose excellent 2015 release I Declare Nothing
he produced, and for whom he has no small amount
of praise. “Tess is a force of nature. She has a very malleable
style, and at the same time, she’s always herself.
I asked her to sing ‘Five to One’ by The Doors, and if
you closed your eyes, it was a spooky comparison,
which is really hard to do, but she’s just such a powerful
artist. I was reading about her in a magazine and
she dropped BJM as a point of reference, and I just
found her and said, ‘Why don’t you come to Berlin
and work with me?’”
Newcombe has spent the last nine years in Berlin, a
move he attributes to “the damage in my consciousness
of being American. I was living in Manhattan,
which, you know that Sinatra line, ‘if you can make it
here, you can make it anywhere’? Well, that’s just not
true. Manhattan’s a shithole for the most part, to be
honest. America’s been at war my entire life, and it’s
like, no one cares, just which country are we going to
invade to run a pipeline through?”
The move to Germany, he explains, is for practical
reasons as much as anything. “It’s a very culturally
advanced place. Berlin puts a billion dollars a year into
the arts, because that’s what they want to be known
for. Here, it’s okay, as an artist, to be any age, and it’s
affordable enough to have a family, where young
people in America are wondering how they could
ever afford college for their kids. I don’t even play
here, I don’t need a scene to support me, I go out on
the road, and we do well there.”
To that end, Newcombe is excited to come back to
Canada. “Man, we haven’t played in Canada in years,
and all those shows are selling out. It’s a really great
place, it’s like you’re driving for miles, you come over a
hill, and there’s this huge, expansive city out there, like
the Wizard of Oz or something. I’m really happy to
be coming back, we’re bringing a really cool show, it’s
gonna be a mindblowing show.”
The Brian Jonestown Massacre performs at the Starlite
Room in Edmonton on May 20th, at Marquee Beer
Market & Stage in Calgary on May 21st and at the
Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver on May 23rd.
Anton Newcombe’s prodigious creativity continues to fuel The Brian Jonestown Massacre.
20 | MAY 2016 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE
HAR MAR SUPERSTAR
going all over the place on his way back to town
Sean Tillman, better known by his stage
name Har Mar Superstar, is a man whose
reputation precedes him.
His energetic, outlandish, and often half-nude
performances have earned him a status as a
sex-obsessed love machine, not to mention his
song content. Swinging from one genre to the
next, Tillman’s eclectic, often sexually charged albums
offer a taste of a number of different styles
ranging from R&B, funk and soul to synth-pop
and hip hop.
Starting out, Tillman says his onstage persona
came about organically. “I guess I kind of
thought about it,” he says. “I didn’t really sit
around and calculate it. Once I got up on stage
and I could be a little more larger than life, I just
had so much fun with that I could just kind of
do whatever I wanted on stage and act however
“It was a bit more shock and awe at one point,
but now it’s a bit more just like an earned confidence
that I had. It’s not so much of a ‘put on’
anymore it’s more just me being myself.”
Tillman credits some of his early career success
to his performance.
“For years I think people in other bands really
loved me. I was more of a musician’s musician,
and you know the word spread that way, and
that’s how I ended up on a lot of crazy bigger
tours,” Tillman says. “Other people not in the
industry kind of caught on when I made the Bye
Bye 17 record. The reaction was always kind of
confrontational, and I love that. Now it’s just
more of a genuine give and take.”
Bye Bye 17 is the second most recent album by
Har Mar Superstar, and one of his most successful.
Bye Bye 17 was the first album that was created
in partnership with Cult Records, the Strokes
frontman Julian Casablancas’ record label. Many
considered Bye Bye 17 to be Har Mar Superstar’s
first “serious” album, and while it is a more
sincere exploration of the funk and soul genres, it
manages to keep the laid-back, casual vibe that is
consistent through all of Tillman’s work.
Casablancas is the credited producer on Har
Mar Superstar’s latest album, Best Summer Ever
that debuted April 15. “He’s kind of an unstoppable
force,” Tillman says. “He’s full of so many good
ideas. I’m glad we got to really closely work on a
“I think it’s my favourite record that I’ve made,”
he says. “After I wrote a bunch of the demos and
got everything together song-wise, we decided
to produce it as my greatest hits from the 1950s
and 1985 sort of thing. We kind of went all over
the place as far as sounds and vibes of the songs
went. It’s kind of a scattered, all-over-the-place
Har Mar Superstar performs in Vancouver at the Cobalt
on May 6th, in Calgary at the Palomino on May
7th and in Edmonton at the Needle on May 8th.
Sean Tillman a.k.a. Har Mar Superstar worked with Julian Casablancas on his latest.
by Tyler Klinkhammer
photo: Rickett & Sones
BEATROUTE • MAY 2016 | 21
definitely not the Beach Boys
La Luz make brief Western Canadian stops before finishing their next album.
When most people think of surf music, they
think of good vibrations and California
dreams. La Luz would like to take this
opportunity to change that.
Originally from Seattle and currently calling Los
Angeles home, La Luz is a four-piece surf-rock band
or surf noir if you prefer — which you should.
Banding together in 2012, La Luz have released
numerous singles as well as two full-length albums:
It’s Alive (2013) and Weirdo Shrine (2015). Since
their latest release, Weirdo Shrine, La Luz has
attracted a lot of attention, including rave reviews
from SPIN and Pitchfork. This has landed them an
extensive touring schedule, including a recent rip
After a lineup change or two, the band is as follows:
Shana Cleveland, guitar; Marian Li Pino, drums;
Alice Sandahl, keyboard and Lena Simon, bass. Each
of them partake in the vocals, resulting in sweet,
Recently we had the opportunity to chat with
frontwoman Shana Cleveland to get better acquainted
with La Luz and their surf noir sound.
“When most people think of surf, they think of
the Beach Boys.” Cleveland admits.
La Luz is not that type of surf. They’re more like
something out of a Tarantino movie. “The Beach
Boys are a big inspiration, but I feel like we’re quite a
bit darker.” She laughs.
Their slightly reverberated and angelic, harmonized
vocals are accompanied by laid-back guitars
and simplistic yet pristine beats, all tied together
with a very dark, lingering ‘60s vibe throughout.
Summed up in a sexy title: surf noir.
“When I hear the word surf, I tend to think of
by Sarah Mac
photo: Andrew Imanaka
darker music right off the bat. But the term [surf
noir] or idea is more to complement what most
people think of when they hear the term surf. “
Although La Luz’s sound may be more in a
relaxed state, their shows are anything but. Taking
their stage presence back to the days of ‘60s garage
rock and mixing it with their own doo-wop style,
live shows tend to be lighthearted and tons of fun.
“We always just try to have a good time; we don’t
take ourselves very seriously. We work hard, but
we’re all pretty goofy onstage. Our tour van is just
a ridiculous place of never ending jokes and I feel
like that kind of seeps on to the stage,” Cleveland
“A lot of people dance at the shows and we
like when people dance. But we try to encourage
crowdsurfing, just for entertainment value. Mostly
our own entertainment, because we’re stuck in a
van all day,” she laughs. “But you can do whatever
you want.” This time around La Luz only has two
stops in Western Canada, but don’t worry, there’s
“We’re working on new music and we should
have it recorded by this fall. So, if all goes well, we
should have a new record out within the next year.
And then we’ll be back.”
The promise of a new album is fabulous news
for any La Luz fan. And although Cleveland
couldn’t give us any of dirty details, the anticipation
alone will keep us anxiously waiting for more
sweet surf noir.
Catch La Luz when they hit the Palomino in Calgary on
May 25th and on May 27th at the Biltmore Cabaret in
Ex-Smith Westerns return with rural ruminations
When you sit down to talk with Whitney’s
core duo of Julien Ehrlich and
Max Kakacek it’s hard not to find
yourself smiling. The two are indie rock mainstays:
Ehrlich is an ex-drummer of Unknown
Mortal Orchestra and Smith Westerns, where
he would play with lead guitarist Kakacek. The
two became close friends and after the dissolution
of Smith Westerns in 2013 they found
themselves writing together in their shared
Those early writing sessions resulted in two
demos: “No Matter Where We Go,” and “Golden
Days,” both of which have been spruced up for
their appearance on the duo’s forthcoming debut
album Light Upon the Lake.
There’s a certain simplicity that runs through
Whitney’s music, the songs are often short and
usually very simple, but not sparse. The two often
talk about their appreciation of the confessional
country rock of the ‘70s. The result is a collection
of songs that sound like instant classics, familiar
and yet brand new. Ehrlich, who pulls double duty
both drumming and singing in Whitney, says the
simplicity stems from a desire to get away from
perfection and over-production.
“I think a little bit of it is that we didn’t perfect
everything. We performed the takes so they’re
perfectly imperfect. There are some weird messups
in certain songs that we both really love. If
they were taken out it would sort of change them
for us in a way we didn’t want them to change.”
The simplistic approach extends to the
equipment the two used in studio. The album
was recorded on a 16-track Tascam tape machine,
Kakacek credits it with keeping the duo from
overworking the songs.
by Jamie McNamara
“It’s way easier to over do it, to make something
too busy, than it is to make something really
simple. For our personalities it worked in our
advantage where it forced us to cut all the fat out
That’s not to say the album doesn’t feature
flourishes. Rich horns and strings crop up all
over the album, like on the stunning “Polly.” A
song that starts with Ehrlich’s gentle croon and
a Rhodes organ, but builds into a massive, psuedo-Chicago
Yet while the record sounds effortless, its
creation came at a difficult time for both Ehrlich
and Kakacek who both lost bands and girlfriends
in quick succession. Still, the album sounds transitional,
but celebratory. The two are both quick to
mention they’ve made it to greener pastures, and
it’s clear from listening to the album.
“I think that’s a testament to us as people. I
think a lot of the lyrical content is pretty serious,
but even when we were going through some of
the darker stuff that got put on the album - were
just happy dudes, so that’s probably why it would
sound more lax” Ehrlich says before laughing at
saying the word “lax.”
“I think it’s an uplifting and hopeful record. A
lot of the music is by design pretty hopeful, it’s a
hopeful balance to the sad lyricism. I think that’s
exactly the state we were in. We were stuck in, for
better or for worse, the shittiest winter in Chicago,
but I think it forced some good shit out of us.”
You can catch Whitney with Unknown Mortal
Orchestra at West End Cultural Centre in Winnipeg
on May 21st, Amigos Cantina in Saskatoon on May
23rd, Starlite Room in Edmonton on May 24th, or at
Commonwealth in Calgary on May 25th.
Whitney rolls through town while on tour with Unknown Mortal Orchestra.
photo: Sandy Kim
22 | MAY 2016 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE
shovelling dirt against the tide
Calgary’s Sean Hamilton is a singer-songwriter
whose passions are fuelled by experiences
from a life steeped in punk rock.
Known for playing alongside his friends in many
local bands (including Jenny, Julius Sumner Miller, and
Miesha and the Spanks), Hamilton will be releasing
his first solo work titled Pushing Back the Sea this
September. Longtime friends Spencer Kathrens on
drums, and Adam Riche on guitar, played a big role in
the writing and recording process.
“I’ve always been a punk rock guy, playing in punk
bands, playing drums, guitar, and singing,” says Hamilton.
“Playing music has shown me the world, I’ve
toured, and I’ve released records.”
However, after a trip to Tennessee a couple of years
ago, Hamilton was inspired to put punk to the side
and begin trying something else out with his music.
“About two years ago, I just started writing other
genres of music. I went to Nashville and I checked out
what that place is like,” says Hamilton. “That kind of
changed my musical direction, and as much as I still
love writing punk rock, I had all of these really cool
songs starting to pile up, and I had to do something
with them, so I started this infamous solo project as
most artists eventually do.”
His soulful, alternative folk is punchy and full of
hooks, using just the right amount of pop framed in a
punk rock perspective.
“I’ve always been interested in the human condition,
what we do, what we experience, how we experience
things, and I’ve always really liked pop songs.
Even in punk rock, songs can still be catchy, and you
can sing along to them, there’s hooks and that’s just
good music to me,” says Hamilton about his approach
“I wanted to find a way to say things that had
meaning, that had weight and human experience in
them but in a way that might be more easily remembered.
So it starts as a totally selfish thing where I’m
writing music for me and then I’m trying to make it
totally about other people,” says Hamilton, adding
that his friendships and relationships are the biggest
inspiration to his songwriting.
And though Hamilton says that writing and playing
music hasn’t always been the easiest, he says the
struggle can be worth it.
“It’s the struggle of doing something that’s going to
inevitably conquer you. It’s not a battle you can win,
but a battle you feel like fighting anyways,” he says.
Hamilton will be sharing two songs titled “Dirt
Against the Tide” and “Love Ain’t a Crime” from his
upcoming release at Broken City on May 27th.
“I’m really excited to finally show people what I’ve
been capable of doing in music for a long time. I play
in a lot of other bands but I don’t have any of my own
music out in the world and it’s really exciting to be
able to share [that] with my friends and everybody
out there,” he concludes.
Catch Sean Hamilton’s album preview release at
Broken City May 27th alongside Seth Anderson and
After a trip to Nashville, Sean Hamilton explores music outside the punk spectrum.
by Michael Grondin
photo: Unfolding Creative
BEATROUTE • MAY 2016 | 23
PETER & THE WOLVES
party like it’s 1959 by Mike Fury
Hey, hey rock and roll
will never die, this is
the story of... Peter
and the Wolves. Founding
members, Peter Cormier,
Theo Waite and Paul
Rodermond were born and
breed in Bowness and are
steeped deep in traditional
jazz, country and blues... all
things rockabilly. They just
released their second fulllength,
Papa’s Goin’ Out Of
Town. Mike Fury, no stranger
to tradition himself as one of
Calgary’s legendary country
crooners, quiz the band
about their background and
just who do they love?
Musically you roam from rockabilly, jazzy-swing
to bluesy, voodoo swamp rock. That’s a fair of
territory. Going back to the ‘50s and even the ‘40s,
who are some of the artists you unearthed that
you really like?
Peter: I’ve decided that my favourite rock and roller
is Gene Vincent and the Blue Caps. It’s completely
indescribable what I want. I also like big bands. My
dream was once to become a big band drummer.
They just don’t make those band like they used to.
Theo: I take inspiration from New Orleans jazz.
Cab Calloway, all his stuff was great. And even new
guys, like Jeff Healey, I really want to emulate that
in my bass.
Ms. Cherry: A lot of 1950’s doo-wop. The Time-Life
Classics that used to scroll down on the TV screen
at 2 a.m..
There’s a fair amount of keyboards in the
Wolves, a defining factor. Roller rink sock-hop,
boogie woogie piano, dirgey blues... It’s not
often you hear a lot of organ in rockabilly.
Peter: Yeah, you just don’t hear that many modern
rockabilly bands with a piano, like the classics
when there was actually a piano in every bar.
Theo: The thing I really like about Paul’s playing
is that he doesn’t play mod organ. He has the
honky-tonk blues, the bass notes and the trills up
high. It’s really distinctive.
Peter, Ms. Cherry and Theo
Obviously you embrace tradition. If you could go
back in time to a place in musical history, where
would it be?
Peter: Gene Vincent made some live records called
the Town Hall Party in 1958 and 1959. I want to be
there with all the cheering and screaming and energy
Theo: 1959 and staying there for the next five years,
seeing how rock and roll came together at that point.
Ms. Cherry: Every day I listen to Tempo on CBC. I
love sonatas, classical music and Yo-Yo Ma. To go back
when music was something that growled in your belly
and you put it down on paper.
Little Judy, Veronica, Loverboy Louie, Penny Penny,
Maryann... Who are these characters in the songs?
Based on real life people, cartoons, movies?
Peter: Some of them are about real people, but most
of them are just stories with characters that I like to
have fun with and write catchy lyrics.
Three years ago you were underage playing a pizza
joint. Now you’re taking a road trip playing across
the country. Are you going to knock em dead out
there, or are you nervous about what awaits?
Peter: I’m so excited for the experience, even if people
hate it. But I’ve never had an audience where someone
there didn’t like it.
Peter and the Wolves kick of their tour with a CD
release party at the Kensington Legion that goes for
two nights — Fri. May 13 and Sat. May 14.
pick up the pace and throw another new punch
Matt Olah, Cowpuncher’s ambitious
frontman, is sporting a new pair of glasses
with translucent, turquoise-blue frames
that compliments his bushy, strawberry-blond beard.
He’s a handsome man; with a bold look. I tell him
so, although a bit taken back by the compliment, he
But Olah isn’t easily persuaded. He can be somewhat
of a challenge. I also tell him that Cowpuncher’s
latest release, Hustle, is also brave and bold, quite a
marked difference and change in direction from their
“Yeah?” says Olah, cocking his head to one side
unsure of that assessment. “We get that question
everytime we put out a (new) record. ‘Oh, but you’re
so rock and roll now!’ Really? I don’t get that.”
Despite the objection, Hustle is radically different
from what Cowpuncher once was. No longer a rootsy
rock band flush with twang geetar, an upright bass and
weird tales of the estranged heart (okay, there’s still a
bit of that), the band’s brave new sound is a largely result
of working with producer Derek Downham from
Toronto who sets out to make “no bullshit” records.
Hustle is a bombastic sonic attack, an eclectic mix
of aggressive (gasp!) dance melody driven by a score of
turbulent bass frequencies, gang vocals and prog-guitar
that sways from fluid stratosphere meanderings to
a terse, angular flurry of notes along with big, meaty
hooks that dig in deep.
Olah nods and sums it up, “Yeah, we made a riffrock
record.” Indeed it is. But not one that’s simply
Matt Olah concedes to making riff-rock records.
dominated by the blues riff. While it’s a rock and roll
record, it’s also sophisticated and uncompromising
which Olah attributes to Downham’s approach.
“I will never, not work with a producer again,”
states Olah confessing that the experience changed
his whole perspective on making music. “That was
the smartest thing we’ve ever done in our whole
Even though it was like “working with a bulldog
and there was a lot of yelling,” Olah says Downham
spurred them on to “cut the fat, get to the point and
make it faster.” Hence, Hustle.
Another notable difference contributing to Cowpuncher’s
sprawling assault is bassist Shari Rae who’s
helped shape the band’s changing dynamics.
“Shari actually played on a cruise ship,” says Olah
(pointing out a misconception I made in a previous
interview that Cowpuncher’s drummer, Jeff Sulima,
was a cruise ship vet – he’s not). “She has all these
files on her iPod that she’s got sharing with other
people she’s played with. It literally has everything on
it. We listen to her iPod a lot when we’re driving.”
Olah adds that Rae often brings ideas in that helps
the band connect better. “She plays in a military band
as well, and they’re all about the team work... When
we’re stuck on how to blend something together,
she’ll know where to take it. Solid, she’s really solid.”
Cowpuncher’s vinyl and CD release for Hustle is on Sat.
May 14 at the Nite Owl playing with The League of
Wolves and The Sweets.
THE FANCY DIAMONDS low-fi class from the prairies
In modern North American culture where dark blue jeans are considered
“formal wear,” it’s refreshing to see a band who dresses up for their
gigs…in powder blue tuxedos, nonetheless.
Saskatoon-based the Fancy Diamonds are a band who most likely
has never lost a staring contest. With a nerdcore swagger and lowfi
sensibilities, they are committed to a sound and style that allows
them to take what they play seriously while simultaneously not taking
themselves too seriously.
A blend of Pavement with a vocal delivery reminiscent of the Presidents
of the United States of America, The Fancy Diamonds recreate the mid-
90s alternative low-fi scene with clean jangly guitar, and solid riffs that are
somehow sloppy and tight, like a good ole prom date.
With a combination of surf and garage rock, and nod to the fun
punk bands of the past, The Fancy Diamonds focus on danceable tunes,
rocking good times, and as much fun that can be packed into polyester
tuxedo pants in two and a half minute increments.
At the 43 second mark in their first video, “Rocknrollin’”, the first single
release from their debut EP, Sparkle Party, the band is jubilantly trashing a
baby stroller next to a prominent gratified wall in Saskatoon. Does it depict
the band’s inner-rebellion or symbolize one’s plight over the effects of growing
up losing childhood to adulthood, their attack against e.e.cummings’
goat-footed balloon man whistling far and wee? Who cares? It’s awesome.
The Fancy Diamonds have infectious hooks and groovy melodies that
seem to dare you to try to not like them. Go ahead. Try it. They dare you…
The Fancy Diamonds kick off their tour at Amigos May 5 (Saskatoon), then
O’Hanlon’s May 6th (Regina), The Knndy May 7th (Winnipeg), Bobby’s Place May
8th (Moose Jaw), Bohemia May 12th (Edmonton), Palamino May 13th (Calgary)
ending with a final show May 14th (TBA). Sparkle Party is available via Bandcamp
24 | MAY 2016 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE
by The Riz
JULIUS SUMNER MILLER
fun punk party masters release their debut album by Willow Grier
Calgary’s “fun punk” party masters Julius Sumner
Miller know a few things about how to debut.
From playing their first live performance with
punk legends Guttermouth, to the forthcoming
release of their first album on Meter Records (Calgary
punk scene vets), to playing their album release at one
of the biggest punk rock festivals in Canada: Montreal’s
Pouzzafest. JSM has been putting in their time for
years in the scene, and it seems to have paid off.
Guitarist Sean Hamilton jokes about how surprised
people are seeing JSM: “We are all pretty established
around town. People will think they have to come out at
some point and see us play as a favour and then they’ll
get there and say ‘that was actually so sick!’”
“There is a slight sense of humour to everything,” says
vocalist Darren Ollinger. “Sometimes if the audience
doesn’t know that the song is meant to be funny, they
might not have a good time. But if you look around and
see that everyone is putting their Sunday night fingers up
and having a blast at the show and you follow suit, you’re
gonna have a great time.”
With songs like “Japanese Swordfight” that has “HI-
Julius Sumner Miller are licking batteries and having a laugh.
FALL CITY FALL
sophomore effort returns to DIY roots
Crossing borders not only within hardcore, but across genres, Calgary’s Fall City Fall
have worked a new sound into their upcoming release while staying true to their
loud, aggressive roots. Modern Day Savage, the second full-length release by the
group, represents a more finely-tuned project than their previous release, Victus.
While Victus was described by guitarist Jordon Storey as being purposefully “noisy and as
close to a live sound as possible,” Modern Day Savage is a product of “a willingness to be pushed
harder than ever before and be really critical the recordings.”
The group spent a month in Vancouver at Rain City Recorders with producer Stuart McKillop
recording Modern Day Savage. While the album does represent some changes in sound
for the group, their hardcore roots still show through in the form of punchy, aggressive vocals,
driving beats and clashing melodies.
One significant departure from their previous release is the simplification to one
guitarist and vocalist.
“I had something to prove to myself, holding my own without a second vocalist,” singer
Keenan Pylycathy says. “I did all the writing myself, which was really difficult, but I’m really proud
of how it turned out. It’s straight to the point. I have something to say and I’m going to say it as
loudly and clearly as possible.”
While their previous album was released under American label Victory Records, Modern Day
Savage is a return to the group’s DIY roots, something welcomed by members of Fall City Fall.
“We worked hard and we sweated for it, to make sure each part was as good as it can be,”
Storey says. “It’s a good feeling and you can be proud that you and your bandmates worked
hard enough to get there. And we paid for that shit ourselves.”
Modern Day Savage releases April 26th, and you can catch Fall City Fall at their hometown
album release show at Dickens on May 21st.
YAH!” gang vocals in no short supply, and the facetious
“Dangerous,” which has the band boasting about their
adrenaline seeking ways (“I’ve got a nine volt battery,
and I’m gonna lick it!”), JSM has a fantastic penchant for
blending tongue in cheek humour with actual shredding.
“It’s cool to be in a band where no matter what,
no matter how good or bad the band is after, or how
poorly attended it is, we are doubly lucky because we’re
basically just going to the bar with our four buddies and
in between we get to melt some faces,” says Ollinger. JSM
will let you in on the jokes and have you sing along. You
will not be able to leave their show without a smile on
your face. They love punk rock and they want you to love
In the words of the master physicist the band borrows
their name from, “He who is not stirred by the beauty of
it is already dead!”
Check out Julius Sumner Miller as they release their debut
album “Why Is It So?” on Meter Records, May 20th, with
an exclusive preview stream on BeatRoute.ca beginning
photo: Arif Ansari
a full day of all-ages music in Siksika Nation
Moments Fest is even bigger in its second year.
On the night of May 7th, the heavy
sounds of smashing cymbals and
sludgy bass rhythms will be filling the
Siksika Community Centre during the second
instalment of hard rock and metal festival
Carlin Black Rabbit, drummer of punk-thrash
band No More Moments, was asked by Siksika
Nation to organize the music festival a couple
years back. Having had a successful turnout
in 2014, he and the band have expanded their
roster by booking a ton of their best friends to
come out and play. “Moments Fest is more intimate
than other festivals,” says Black Rabbit. “All
of the bands, they’re just normal guys. They’re
just hangin’ around, watchin’ the show – rockin’
out! You can go up to them, you can talk to
them, you can hang out with them. There’s no
such thing as a backstage at Moments Fest.”
With two stages and 14 bands, the festival
is organized in a way that has bands playing
continuously all night long. The lineup is stacked
with some rad Calgarian talent, including The
River Jacks, Mandible Klaw, and MANcub.
Fall City Fall releases new album that required being pushed harder than ever before.
by Hannah Many Guns
Alongside No More Moments, a ton of emerging
Siksikai-goo-wan bands will be taking the
stage as well, including the West End Rangers,
Red War, and the B-Team.
“There’s also going to be some surprise bands
playing,” reveals Black Rabbit. “I’m not going
to say anything, but these surprise bands are
going to be totally worth it. The poster may say
14 bands, but who knows, maybe we’ll have 20
bands on that bill!” These bands will definitely
rouse out your inner beast, and Moments
Fest encourages everyone that comes to go
full-throttle with head banging and mosh pits.
“We believe in the safe space policy,” affirms
Black Rabbit. “No one’s gonna judge you. You’re
not gonna get beat up. We’re going to do what
we can to make sure you have a great night.”
Take the trip out to Siksika Nation, just an
hour east of city limits and experience the ‘rez’
way of letting loose. Share in a moment you
definitely will not forget during Moments Fest II.
Moments Fest takes place May 7th at the Siksika
by Jodi Brak
BEATROUTE • MAY 2016 | 25
GHOST THROATS DIY FEST
Alberta hardcore fest uses platform to include all
For every festival sponsored by an energy
drink, there are handfuls of smaller, DIY fests
put together by local artists, for local artists.
The hardcore/screamo fest, Ghost Throats, is one
such example. After being organized for a number
of years by Andrew Benson, the reins have
shifted to Durell Smith to bring the seven-yearold
festival to life. When BeatRoute caught up
with Smith, it was hard not to get excited about
the upcoming dates in Edmonton and Calgary.
BeatRoute: Can you explain what Ghost
Throats is and how you got involved?
Durell Smith: Ghost Throats has always been a
fest that looks to present what all-ages shows
could be like, or what all-ages shows are like. It’s
been trying to cultivate an environment that’s
safe and fun to go to and that promotes a good
thing in the community, not just local hardcore
or indie rock, necessarily. I got involved by helping
out with postering and eventually the social
media aspect. Now I’m heading it up this year! I
grew up in the shadow of [the band] Compromise
and going to the Yesterday Was Everything
hardcore festival, which was the highlight of every
summer for a kid like me. So if I could at least do
something similar to that, where we’re able to
get kids to take in Rayleigh or Borsht or Feminal
Fluids, that would be a success to me.
BR: So, for this particular festival, how are you
Edmonton’s SLATES will be part of this year’s edition of Ghost Throats Festival.
finding ways to get underage kids active?
DS: That’s always been the challenge, every year.
We try to do a lot of strategic postering, like at
bus stops where we know a lot of kids are waiting
to get to school or to part time jobs, or whatever.
Maybe if they see the words, “hardcore” or
“punk” or “indie,” they’ll be interested. It can be
intimidating to come to a show for the first time
and you can tell most of the people in the room
all ready know each other. I don’t think there’s a
way of getting past that, but what we strive to do
is be very open and make it a space where you
can meet friends and be an introductory part of
being involved in local music.
BR: Where do you see Ghost Throats going in
by Brittany Rudyck
DS: Well, I really like how we’re maintaining what
we already have in town, what we have in Alberta
with the scene that’s been happening already for
years. What we want to do is really just expand
on this hardcore scene and champion all-ages
shows. We don’t need to go bigger than where we
already are. It’s not so much about growing as it is
BR: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
DS: I’d just like to take the opportunity to thank
all the promoters who I’ve worked who have
allowed bands I’ve participated in to play their
shows. I’m going to try to pay it back with this
one! I wanna thank Andrew Benson, especially,
because without his years of commitment,
stressing out and this and that, we wouldn’t have
Ghost Throats. Kevin Stebner, as well. He’s been
a huge inspiration going into this year working
with him so closely. And, from the bottom of my
heart, Craig Martell. Where would I be without
that beautiful, beautiful man? Finally, a huge
shout out to Not Enough Fest. They have been a
huge inspiration to me, as well.
Catch the Ghost Throats Fest in Edmonton Friday,
May 27th at Bohemia, Saturday, May 28th at the
Sewing Machine and Ritchie Hall. Calgary gets Ghost
Throats Sunday, May 29th at the Hillhurst United.
Lineup info is available online.
NOT ENOUGH FEST
growing a community of queer, trans and female people
Not Enough Fest returns for its sophomore edition.
Not Enough Fest Edmonton (NEF) will run for two full days
this year: May 21st and May 22nd at Ritchie Community
League Hall. NEF is a festival of “all new bands both new and
experienced supporting more queer people, trans folks, and women
(q/t/w) getting involved in music,” says organizers who include:
Tanisha Arthur, Nicole McDonal, Stacy Burnett, Stacey Hyde, Kendra
Cowley, Stephanie Olsen, Kahn Lam, Jasmin Joe, Clare Grehan, and
NEF brings together q/t/w artists who may not have met otherwise
and has created a community that extends outside of the two-day
festival. This community of artists continues to grow every festival, with
19 bands already registered for the pre sign-up, and bands traveling from
photo: Levi Manchak
other cities like Calgary, Saskatoon and Vancouver. “I think that NEF is a
really great place to have your first show because last year was my first
show at NEF and it was instant — people started booking me for shows.
It’s great because it’s so much press all in one. People recognize that, too,
which is why we have so many people signing up and holding off to play
their first show until NEF,” says organizer Nicole McDonal.
NEF has been instrumental in affecting change in Edmonton’s music
scene: from their Safe(r) Spaces Guidelines to the Edmonton Band Archive:
Women, Queer and/or Trans artists, an ongoing document started
by the organizers for promoters to consider. The archive inspired another
document for Edmonton visual artists, illustrating their influence in increasing
the visibility of q/t/w artists in other art scenes that are predom-
by Emily MacDonald
inately cisgender, and male-dominated. “I have noticed a huge difference
since the 2015 NEF. Bills are so much more inclusive and even taking
smaller steps to creating safe(r) spaces. It’s starting to become ingrained
in the culture when it comes to booking. It’s working! It’s almost hard to
go to a show that’s all dudes,” says organizer Tanisha Arthur.
In the months leading up to the festival, organizers have been putting
together workshops and skill shares. While the main goal is to support
q/t/w folks to start bands, these workshops have also been an empowering
space of professional and personal development for artists to
continue on with projects after the festival.
Most recently, NEF facilitated a Scream/Noise workshop at Harcourt
House artist-run-centre, and during our interview organizers discussed
the importance of aggression for t/q/w in music: “In t/q/w bands it’s
such a statement to be in hardcore band, or noise project, or anything
that strays from that limiting aesthetic that q/t/w people are supposed
to be guarded or hidden. I think it’s really important that they’re out
there screaming and making a name for themselves,” says Arthur.
“The image that came out of NEF last year was that it was more of a
punk festival, but there are also folk artists or solo projects like Conjure
(Jacqueline Ohm) up there by themselves making beautiful music and
even that is just as important,” adds McDonal.
“Our goal with hosting workshops is to give participants all the
resources they want and need in order to help them with their potential
projects for the festival and beyond. Anyone t/q/w is welcome regardless
of whether or not they plan on playing the festival. We just want people
to learn and take away what they’re interested in, to create a platform for
whatever they’d like. It’s not confined to the festival,” concludes Arthur.
This year’s installment of NEF takes place May 22- 22nd at Richie Community
Hall in Edmonton. Interested in getting involved? Check out their
Facebook page for more info.
26 | MAY 2016 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE
new drum machine-based duo takes us on a cyberspace trip
by Haley Pukanski
day I dream about drum machines” is a very accurate reflection
of Edmonton’s newest duo, Quantize. This being the description
on their Bandcamp page is of typical Quantize fashion, as are
the Internet-era jokes they use as track and album titles for their debut
album. Hack the Mainframe was released on April 20th (4/20.) The drum
machine-centric band will have you catching a groove with the dark, and
hard-hitting drum beats, while synth-y harmonies put you into a techno
The band, composed of Nicole McDonal and Amanda Trajkovski, started
in August 2015 after a joke between the two. “Our style and sound all
tie into our name, which we came up with joking in Wunderbar; about
how quantize would be a cool band name,” recalls the duo via email.
Quantize is a function of drum machines that is used as a timing device.
The members are no strangers to electronics, as Trajkovski also plays in the
post-punk band, Blood Bitch, and McDonal also played the drum machine
in her project Little Tits last year. In Hack the Mainframe, influences
from both of the member’s side projects are clearly apparent, as they fuse
intense post-punk drums with catchy house and techno compositions.
Track two on the album, “Oodle Noodle Girl,” fits these elements into a
minute-and-a-half-long pop song. Like the other tracks titles, such as “DJ
Scallop,” the duo successfully merges together “meme culture” with some
serious bangers of tracks. “We added the computer slang as we felt it tied
into the more technical aspect of our instruments. We chose the red pill,”
say McDonal and Trajkovski.
Just as Internet culture has transformed and grown, so has Quantize.
2015 and 2016 have been both successful, but completely different years
for the band. Although last year gave the band a good start, 2016 has been
a year of progress and growth for the band. As the scene in Edmonton
continues to change due a plethora of things, different opportunities (and
challenges) have influenced the duo. “The Edmonton music scene is an incredibly
accepting one, and we are fortunate to play with many bands who
are stylistically different. Edmonton’s noise music scene is thriving. If you
want to play live music as an electronic performer in Edmonton, you end
up playing with bands that don’t sound like you. It creates diversity within
the scene and allows people to get interested in listening to a wider range
of genres,” notes Quantize.
Something in the name must be lucky; the duo has won two contests
this year. “This year we won eight hours of recording by Matt McKeen in an
auction for Brown, Black and Fierce. He recorded, mixed and mastered the
whole record. We also played the first Rockin’ for Dollars put on by Craig
Martell at the Buckingham. Everyone spins a wheel in hopes of winning
money at the end, and we were lucky enough to walk away with four pregnancy
tests.” Hundreds of dollars of time and (maybe) useful supplies are
all at the duo’s fingertips.
The duo fortunately has more than just four pregnancy tests in their
reach. They are well equipped with electronics. Trajkovski plays a Roland
Juno-106 synth connected to a loop and an Alesis SR-16 drum machine.
McDonal plays a Yamaha RX5 drum machine and a multi-pedal. They have
also done one off shows with added vocals or bass as an ancillary tool, but
are truly a drum machine-centric band.
Hack the Mainframe is the lovechild of the Internet and real life. Fusing
elements of meme culture and the Edmonton Music Scene, 2016 has been
good for Quantize. Presently they are on hiatus, but keep your eyes peeled
for more in the future from a band like no other.
Hack the Mainframe is now streaming on BeatRoute.ca.
photo: Meagan Baker
BEATROUTE • MAY 2016 | 27
BOOK OF BRIDGE
ATTAINABLE RECORDS PARTICIPATION
new Lethbridge venue welcomes developing artists by Courtney Creator on the dark side of post-punk
rt, friends and hanging out.” The three
crucial elements of Attainable Records,
Lethbridge’s most recent music and arts
venue. What began as a dream to start a record
label by three friends studying Digital Audio Arts
at the University of Lethbridge, is now growing into
a reality. Owen Campeau, Duncan Metcalfe and
Connor HD, who play together in the band ‘With
Gorgon Arms’, saw the opportunity to create their
own musical paradise and took action.
“We wanted to do something for us, by us.”
says Mechaela Marr, who joined forces with the
trio in January as their Art Director. “We wanted
to create room for people who are younger, still
developing, doing this more for fun and just
wanting to make art.”
“It doesn’t have to be the most refined thing,
there can still be some of that jagged edge.” says
HD. “It’s development, even if you don’t have the
perfect outcome figured out yet, that’s what we’re
here to help you with. The best way to learn is
It’s not only the performers who are learning.
“We’re trying really hard, but we’re students,” says
Marr. “We don’t really know what we’re doing, so it’s
been a really big learning experience for us as well,
so every event we’re knowing how to run it a little
bit better, and it’s getting easier.”
From art battles and pop up galleries, to Wyrd
Canada’s distro tour and an underage battle of
the bands, Attainable Records is a meeting place
“We wanted to connect the different sectors in
a very cohesive way,” says HD. “So we create really
diverse programming that encompasses a lot of
“We’re having an artist trading card before a band
show, so we’re hoping that the artists might stay and
see a band they haven’t heard before, and the musicians
might get there early and see this cool art going
on.” says Marr.
“Since our inception we’ve really been about feeding
the artistic community,” says Metcalfe, “facilitating acts
that might not see the exposure otherwise.”
“Whatever we can do for the betterment of arts and
culture in Lethbridge is exactly what we want the end
goal to be,” says Campeau.
Attainable is sure to keep on growing, and they invite
you to grow with them. “It’s attainable,” says Marr.
“It’s all attainable.
To find out what’s happening at Attainable Records go
to www.attainablerecords.com, and like them on Facebook.
This month’s highlight: Electric Eye Music Festival,
by Courtney Creator
photo: Brandon Wynnychuk
“We played music everyday until we had enough police at our door that we were going to get a
ticket,” says guitarist and vocalist Cory Fischer. “The end of that summer we got enough noise
complaints that we had to go find our own practice space.”
This was the inception of Internet Love, a catchy pop-rock quartet in windy YQL that has evolved into the
noisier post-punk, Alberta-core band Participation. Consisting of guitarists and vocalists Cory Fischer and Rob
Rice, drummer Rebecca McHugh and recently added bassist Brandon Saucier of Medicine Hat band Terra,
the group debuted their new configuration and sound at the end of January opening for Freak Heat Waves in
Bassist Saucier has found the experience of playing in Participation to be freeing. “The band is open to a lot
of different ideas,” says Saucier, “I like to come up with my own stuff and they’re all very accepting of that.”
“We’re pretty collaborative,” says Rice, “I’ll just bring a basic idea for a song and we’ll all just add to it, shape it
up, make it into something good we all like.”
“I would want to know what any four people thrown together in a room making music sounds like,” says
McHugh, “because that’s what makes the band, every person that’s in it.”
The group has a couple demos on Bandcamp (participation.bandcamp.com), “Success’” and “Homies,” and
hopes to have more tracks ready to share by their show at Electric Eye Music Festival in Lethbridge on May
14th, which will be the kickoff to their spring tour with Terra.
The band is excited about the creative community in the city they currently call home. “I definitely think
the scene is growing and I think that’s the best part about it,” says Fischer. “I’ve just seen nothing but more
shows and more experimental music.”
Their music, while always evolving, is strongly influenced by their environment.
“We’re very of our time and place,” says Rice. “For me the primary characteristic of most Alberta music is
this dryness that it has, and a little bit of a sadness, more of a coldness.”
“It has a very desolate vibe to it,” says McHugh.
Inspired by bands such as Women, Fountain, Telstar Drugs, Dri Hiev, Freak Heat Waves, Ashley Soft and
Masks, Participation creates a relentless wall of sound to overtake your senses, then catches you with a hook
that leaves you wanting more.
“Out of the noise erupts this little glimmer of pretty, and that makes that small moment of something nice
so much more impactful,” says Fischer. “I think having as noisy music as we do, when you hear that hook that
we put in there and it’s a little more pop, that stands out.”
“It sounds like everything is fighting to be heard,” says McHugh. “It’s this little orchestration of tweaks and
for a second I can hear each different part.”
“I want to take post-punk and in our way twist it and nudge it and make it a little more surreal, nasty,
messed up,” says Rice, “Really get into the darkness of it.”
You too can dance to the darkness. Participation, along with Terra, are touring from May 14th until June 5th,
playing at venues across the country, from The Apollo in Thunder Bay on May 17th to 9910 in Edmonton on June
3rd. For a full list of dates search Terra and Participation Canadian Tour 2016 on Facebook.
28 | MAY 2016 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE
letters from winnipeg
pop-punkers find catharsis from old grudges on debut LP
Grunge-y pop-punk outfit Mulligrub aren’t
the type of band to let an old grudge die.
On their debut album, Soft Grudge, vocalist/guitarist
and lead songwriter Kelly Campbell
delivers angst-ridden, autobiographical songs,
drawing from an amalgam of resentments and
The band—also composed of bassist Mirella Villa
and drummer J. Riley Hill— mostly focuses on the
experiences of Campbell, whose confessional style
of songwriting and affection for ‘90s grunge-sounds,
hearkens back to the open-book musings of artists,
like Liz Phair, and contemporaries Waxahatchee and
From the most revealing lovelorn track “Anyways
However,” regarding a past relationship, to “Man on
the Moon,” in which Campbell laments a butt tattoo
that never came to be, all of the songs, she says, are
Perhaps, the heaviest though, is “Europe,” about
a friend of Campbell’s who turned out to be a
sexual predator. “I was sad and confused because
that’s not how I thought of him at all,” Campbell
recalls. “He was a safe space kind of person for me,
and then when that happened he just ran away
from any kind of accountability, both physically
and emotionally. It was kind of a cathartic thing for
me to write that song.”
It could be said that Soft Grudge is an album
about dealing with the complexities of broken
relationships. “It’s being nostalgic, but also really bitter
(From L-R) Mulligrub are Kelly Campbell, J. Riley Hill and Mirella Villa.
about the shitty things that happened,” Campbell
adds. “You have these really bad feelings, but you also
still remember the good ones, so it’s hard to have a
Formed in 2013, the band initially started with
friends Campbell and Hill before Villa came on board.
Hill is known in music circles as a solo artist, and for
his work as a producer and engineer, having recorded
releases by Winnipeg acts Living Hour, Basic Nature
photo: Eric Roberts
and The Zorgs, to name a few.
Villa cut her teeth in a one-off punk band formed
through Not Enough Fest (NEF), a festival that supports
the participation of woman-identified, queer,
trans and non-binary individuals who want to get
“I always wanted to be in a band, but was always
really nervous and shy about it—just intimidated
by the scene,” says Villa. “Not Enough Fest made me
by Julijana Capone
more ambitious and confident.”
After seeing Mulligrub play as a two-piece at a
house show, Villa says she had to be in the band. “I
was like, ‘I love your band. This is the best band I’ve
seen in a long time,’” she remembers. “Then Kelly and
Riley asked if I wanted to be in it. I bought a bass and
have just learned to play by ear.”
Inspired by NEF, Campbell was also one of the
organizers behind Cootie Club, “a project responding
to the low visibility of women and non-binary people
in music in Winnipeg,” according to their Facebook
page, which allowed for some underrepresented people
to play their first shows in a safe, supportive space.
“I started it with some friends and got too busy
to keep up with it, but I hope to keep doing it again,”
Campbell says. “There was never really huge attendance,
but I thought it was really important for the
people that went, and the people that played went
on to play more shows.”
While her work with Cootie Fest is community-based,
Campbell says as a songwriter she mainly
writes for herself. Even still, she hopes that her music
is able to make a connection with others.
“If anyone can connect with my own experiences,
then I’m into that,” she says.
Mulligrub perform at Broken City on May 8 (Calgary),
Vinyl Envy on May 13 (Victoria), Fratters on May 18
(Red Deer), and The Almanac on May 19 (Edmonton).
To purchase and hear more of Mulligrub’s tunes, head
ADAM HANNEY & CO.
new LP, ‘12/12,’ documents a year in songwriter’s life
Winnipeg singer-songwriter Adam Hanney.
It started out as a challenge. Four years ago,
nascent indie-pop singer-songwriter Adam
Hanney put himself to task to write one song
every month for a year. The resulting tracks are an
audio portrait of a year in the artist’s life, and form
his debut LP, fittingly titled, 12/12.
Armed with an acoustic guitar and a desire to
build his own song catalogue, the then 18-year-old
Hanney dove head first into the songwriting process,
finding and forcing inspiration throughout the year.
“It was such a haphazard thing,” says Hanney. “I
only had 30 days to come up with the arrangement…
I would write little thoughts down in my phone
all the time… sometimes it would be building the
song from absolutely nothing, and trying to force it
to come together, which is a good exercise for any
While the bare bones of each song was initially
conceived by Hanney solo, the songs would be
fleshed out over the next few years with a full band,
hence the “& Co.” in Adam Hanney & Co.
“Nothing was written outside of the studio other
than the lead guitar, the lyrics, and the melody,”
explains Hanney. “A lot of the remaining parts
happened over the course of years, so it was a good
experience to reflect on a song that you had written
years ago, and you’d have to build on it using different
methods of songwriting.”
“As much as they were written, it didn’t feel like
they were fully formed,” he adds. “It still felt like they
had a lot of potential to go in different directions musically.
We had to write every drum part, every guitar
lick, every keyboard part in the studio.”
The added instrumentation pays off with
numbers, such as “Howl”—also the first track that
Hanney wrote, and one that he says began as a forced
exercise. Stinging guitar licks, shimmering synths, and
ticking percussion punctuate Hanney’s careening
vocals, while also revealing the songwriter’s anthemic
Some Manitoba music scene pals also make appearances
on the record. Jess Rae Ayre of Sweet Alibi
provides backing vocals on “Manhattan,” and Adam
Fuhr of Yes We Mystic contributes some synth parts.
Though the record’s sequencing runs askew from
by Julijana Capone
the chronology in which it was written, the physical
format includes a booklet with lyrics, and a corresponding
number for each song that denotes the
month and year it was created.
Hanney suggests listening to the album from both
angles for an alternate experience. “I think it’s really
interesting listening to it chronologically,” he says. “I
did it recently and I was really surprised at how well
On the heart-stricken slow burn “Manhattan,” and
closing kiss-off “Wait,” Hanney reflects on the end of a
long-term relationship. He confesses that the breakup
was especially motivating for his songwriting.
“I find that I am exponentially more creative when
I’m sad,” he says with a laugh. “I remember being up
at like three in the morning and writing that all in
Indeed, the album is as much about the self-discovery
of an 18-year-old as it is about the arduous
process of songwriting and its rewards.
“That was why I did this, “ says Hanney. “It was
fundamentally an exercise in songwriting. I just
wanted to get some songs and I wanted to get better
at writing them.”
Adam Hanney & Co. perform at the Park Theatre on
May 18 (Winnipeg), Fratters on May 20 (Red Deer),
The Biltmore Cabaret on May 26 (Vancouver), Upstairs
Cabaret on May 28 (Victoria) and The Almanac
on May 31 (Edmonton). To purchase or to listen to
12/12, head to adamhanney.co
BEATROUTE • MAY 2016 | 29
poetry in motion
Photo: Levi Manchak
30 | MAY 2016 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE
Marlaena Moore is weird. She’s weird in the way that all interesting and ground-breaking things are weird. She can write serious,
heartbreaking songs with a staggering stage presence and a bubblegum goofy/hard as nails personality that shines through on every
song. That’s weird. You’re not supposed to do that. If you write serious songs you’re not supposed to have light, fun live shows.
It’s crazy, right?
— Moore’s Facebook page bio, written by Craig Martell
archetype of singer-songwriter. She’s a delightful mosaic made
up of a variety of pieces and materials not normally combined.
An evolving mosaic with pieces that are being constantly rearranged with
additions and alterations, but underneath the collection of moving bits,
the foundation remains the same. BeatRoute spoke to Marlaena, Edmonton
promoter Craig Martell and even her mother Denise and stitched
together the mosaic that is Marlaena from her childhood to her latest
album GAZE, released this month.
THE MAKING OF MARLAENA
For Marlaena, creativity is in her DNA. With an Annie Lennox song as the
soundtrack, Marlaena was born in Vancouver in 1993 to Denise and Tim
Moore. Even from a very young age Marlaena began absorbing tunes.
Denise explains, “almost before she started talking she was making musical
sounds. She would memorize every song from every Disney musical all
that kind of jazz.”
Her parents are also creative types. Her father Tim worked in the film
industry; Denise did a bit of work in film also, in addition to being a window
display artist/merchandiser. “We were always doing projects, our poor
children had to live among the latest project, some weird prop being built
on the living room table,” says Denise.
The Moores moved to Edmonton when Marlaena was seven and she
began piano lessons, but that didn’t last for too long. “I hated anyone
teaching me anything,” says Marlaena. “I didn’t want to learn sheet music
or anything like that, I just wanted to learn how to find chords and play
with basic structures to further my song writing.” Although she doesn’t
identity as a pianist, it was on the piano that she began writing little ditties.
Initially Marlaena didn’t take to the guitar. Her father, however, played
a bit on the acoustic, and Denise explains how the two of them planted
the seed: “She just didn’t have the linear way of learning things, so part of
our little plan was to just leave this guitar sitting there thinking at some
point she is going to pick that up.” When she finally did, Denise recalls that
“the first song she ever taught herself to play on the guitar was from The
Simpsons, the sort of folk song that Lisa sings.”
After completing Grade 6, Marlaena was enrolled Indigo Sudbury
Campus, a school that practices a form of democratic education. Students
decide how they want to spend their time, and learn from experiences,
rather than in a traditional classroom setting.
“My mom remembers when I was very, very little, before public school,
I was making cool visual art and painting and doing kid projects. She
remembers taking me to public school and seeing what our art projects
were, and she thought it was so heartbreaking
that I wasn’t allowed to express who I was.” At
Indigo, Marlaena was able to interact with people
of all ages, learn at the pace she wanted, and focus
on experimenting with and making music. She
studied there until the school closed due to lack
of funding when she was in her late teens.
“She always surprises me,” say her mother. “I
can remember her first song, ‘Planet Mars’, a very
sweet, little song about herself. It was the first
time she really put her heart out there out and
delved into exposing an inner life through music.
She sat down and played this song for Tim and I
and our jaws were just hanging open. ‘Where did
this come from, how did she do that?!’ She was 14
or 15 years old.”
Soon after Marlaena recorded her first CD but
then took a break from writing songs and got
involved with swing dancing. “I was really bad.
It is actually really hard. I was knocking people’s
glasses off.” A testament to her tenacity, Marlaena
persevered. “Eventually I became part of the Lindy
hop scene and went on to teach dance. I was
very happy I was able to take that time and take
a break from writing songs... I couldn’t do it there
for a while.”
Photo: Levi Manchak
At age 18 Marlaena ventured into Wunderbar; Edmonton’s premier
punk rock watering hole. “She would come in alone,” recalls
former owner of Wunderbar and promoter Craig Martell. “Sit and
drink ciders and watch any band and was excited about every show.
Just soaking it in. Her interest and enthusiasm was the first thing I
remember about her.”
“Craig and the Wunderbar shaped me so much. I feel like tearing up
talking about it. Playing that last show there and looking out into the
crowd and seeing all these people that I know because of that bar. I fell
in love at Wunderbar, I had my heart broken there and got the most
wasted I have ever been. I played to zero people and have played to
120 people. That room has had to be one of the biggest influences on
me for sure. Ahh Wunderbar,” sighs Marlaena.
Inspired to be in her own band, Marlaena started a three-piece
group, the Sweathearts. “I remember having a vision of having all-girl
punk band called the Sweathearts and our first hit would be a song
called ‘Holy Fuck’ about wanting to have sex with a Christian guy.” The
Sweathearts had a short run before the two other members moved to
When she was 20, Marlaena released Beginner, a collection of songs
she wrote during her teenage years. Recorded with a full band and it
has a folky feel. “Even after that album came out I was already starting
to make weird plans in my head, wanting it to sound a bit different.
Trying to move away from the folk thing as we all do. Not totally abandon
it but just try new things.”
Following Beginner, she joined the garage punk outfit Switches
and added to the music she had previously been attached to, along
with her personal style. “I joined Switches and I took a break from
the solo stuff for a while. I wasn’t producing my own material that I
liked at that time. It was great to be in a band and play with [other]
bands that I really liked. I met people I wouldn’t have met by touring
and meeting people in other cities. That experience helped me so
much,” emphasizes Marlaena.
When Switches took a hiatus, Marlaena got an opening solo
slot for Chad VanGaalen and decided to take her own music more
seriously. She planned to go to Los Angeles to see Kathleen Hanna
and other women she admires playing at a Burger-A-Go-Go Festival,
but changed her mind at the last minute. “I had a week off work
so I decided to stay home and write and the album. “And that was
exactly what I did,” says Marlaena recounting the creative burst that
DON’T GIMME THAT LOOK
“It is a very simplistic sounding record. It is very clean in a lot of ways
because it was quite rushed. I am very impulsive. It can serve me but
also be my downfall.” Despite the time limitations and her tendency to
dive in headlong, Marlaena claims, “Everyone who played on it pulled
through and we made it work.” GAZE was recorded by Rene Wilson
(Renny Wilson), who also plays bass, guitars and keyboards on the album,
along with Andy Mulcair (drums) and Ross Nicoll (piano, organ).
Jesse Northey recorded the last track on the album.
Before she wrote GAZE Marlaena was listening to “a mix of garage
rock and Rae Spoon and Jennifer Castle. A juxtaposition of weird chord
changes, grungy guitar, and quirky lyrics mixed with raw emotion.” The
Beatles also comes up - Marlaena’s favourite band as a kid. A band,
she notes, that taught her how to write music and lyrics. “I still am
in so many ways the exact same person I was when I was a teenager,
and when I was five years old. I just like to absorb new interesting new
things,” she adds.
“Marlaena is very poetic,” says mom Denise smiling. “A poet who puts
her poems to music.” Although there are feminist lyrics on Beginner, they
came out somewhat intentionally. With GAZE, the poetry was more
focused, along with a feminist focus that was intentional.
“The reason the album is called GAZE was because of a lot of things
that I was going through personally. I was kind of realizing that a shocking
percentage of the way I was behaving or putting myself out there was
directed by validation from men and their approval. The whole male gaze
thing, seeing myself from their eyes… really wanting to break free from
that but feeling very trapped by it. All of the songs play into that quite a
bit,” summates Moore.
Marlaena elaborates on her Sled Island bio (“Cheerily titled tracks
like “You’ll Absolutely Die,” propose solutions rather than simply
highlighting problems”): “Lyrics are the most important part for me,”
states Marlaena. “I think a lot of artists have the belief that they can
only write when they have a lot of problems and are very sad. Over
the years I have held that belief… But actually taking a really clear
look, I can’t write shit when I’m sad, I don’t want to do anything
when I’m sad. I realized the times that I can actually really write are
when I’m actually in my heart and getting a really clear perspective
things. Generally, not all the time but a lot of the time, I mean it is
the reason why I started writing songs in the first place. I want to
be heard by someone, it might be a specific person, it might be a
group of people. I think that is sweet. I like to be a solution for sure.
Sometimes for me I will write a song that is almost an affirmation
to myself. I have a song called “Future Love”
o the album it is all about not settling at
all. And that is something I have to remind
myself a land have lot over the years. I guess
within that is kind of my brain on a skillet.
Trying to dig through and find solutions for
my own problems, that is for sure.”
Putting her poetry in motion, Marlaena
comes alive on stage. “Her songs are great,
she’s never written a bad one,” explains Martell.
“Her voice is perfect but I think what mostly
[stands out] is that it was authentic. You could
tell she was feeling every emotion she was
singing about. It was haunting and wild.”
Watch her live, listen to her album or talk to
her outside a bar, Marlaena is unforgettable.
Marlaena Moore is currently on a cross-country
tour promoting GAZE performing with Andy Mulcair
on drums. She’ll pour her heart out on May
18th at the Almanac in Edmonton with Power
Buddies, Conjure, and DJ sets by Physical Copies
and on May 19th in Calgary at the Bamboo
with Wares and Dream Whip. She is also playing
Electric Eye Fest in Lethbridge, which runs from
May 11th to 15th
BEATROUTE • MAY 2016 | 31
talking a new order
SNBRN has some strong words for the current state of EDM.
all the same, everyone’s playing the same song, the
same song, what happened to having some taste?”
Kevin Andrew Chapman a.k.a. SNBRN talks about the
way he feels about a scene he says is “predictable.”
Often, audiences find themselves listening to the same electronic
tunes, the same 4/4 beats and the same auto-tuned voices,
which can ultimately lead to stagnation. A lot of deep, ambient
house mixes have generally the same vibe, fluctuation, and energy
as the next tune and it’s difficult for DJs to break free from the
humdrum nature of the humming drums.
Th. The New Order Tour featuring SNBRN, Shaun Frank, Dr.
Fresch, and Delaney Jane is coming to Calgary on May 14th, and
SNBRN has something to say about this very thing.
For upwards of six years, SNBRN has been making beats and
melodies like a mix of Ace of Base’s “All She Wants” as a form of
deep, chill house or Nate Dogg’s “Gangsta Walk,” successfully
channeling the SoCal aesthetic.
SNBRN has true-to-Cali sound, with a fusion of house, trap and
by Amanda Faith Taylor
classic bass music. Imagine sunsets and palm trees and throwbacks
to rappers like Nate Dogg and Tupac. It’s been described
as “Sunset house,” a term SNBRN’s manager randomly stumbled
upon and coined. It insinuates a lovely saltwater smell between
bass drops and steel drums and the beauty of a dipping sun as
your eardrums tingle.
He says what happened sometime in 2012 or 2013 was a shift
that he calls, “a turn in the wrong direction.” Without thinking
twice, he explains that music seemed to shift toward a money-centric,
cookie-cutter style where tracks were predictable and
Predictable tunes are something house fans are already pretty
But what SNBRN and Dr. Fresch, who have known each other
for over a decade, are saying is that the same vibe and energy they
share onstage is what they want to emulate into their music to
combat this stagnancy.
“I think that it’s so important to stay true to yourself, not follow
the money, and do what you think is cool,” says Chapman.
When each set is so vastly different, with each DJ playing their
own style and then all collaborating at the end, it really is a new
form of music: A New Order.
When I spoke to Chapman, he was sitting in his car in the
sunshine, windows down, enjoying the SoCal spring. Excitedly, he
mentioned he’s working on some new music he’s going to reveal
to Calgary audiences first, so he recommends that listeners “get
ready for some surprises.”
New Order attendees are poised to experience music that
strays from Top 40 convention and touches upon uncharted
SNBRN will catch you with a couple rays of surprise, and next
think you know, you’ll be reaching for your aloe vera.
Chapman’s views are his own. See him for yourself at Flames Central
in Calgary on May 14th.
soldiering on as a duo
by Max Foley
This author’s first brush with Terravita set a hell Simmers had a change of heart, and wanted to pursue
of a precedent. In the depths of the seemingly different avenues for himself. But it’s far from a messy
unending revelry at Shambhala two years ago, divorce. “If Matt got in touch with me and asked me to
the trio was in the midst of hosing down the crowd plug his new stuff for him, I’d do it in a heartbeat. I still
with an ocean’s worth of bass, until the torrential
love the guy. There’s no bad blood there,” Barlow says.
downpour trickled to a halt in a catastrophic His pragmatism is a refreshing change of pace from the
PK-flavored meltdown. A triplicate of confused faces dumpster fire breakups that seem typical of the scene.
looked around behind the decks, with vocalist Jon With this in mind, how does their latest release
Spero’s mic hanging limply. A lone air horn echoed hold up? Barlow mentioned that The Fallen was a bit
across the Village. Spero said a few words into the of a mold-breaker for them. But that seems par for
microphone—the sole piece of equipment still functioning
the course when you’re dealing with the group that
—before leading the crowd into clapping a put drumstep on the map. Their decision to move in a
beat for him. For the next three minutes, he pacified more “hybrid-trap” direction, paired with an emphasis
the sound-starved crowd with a blistering freestyle on Spero’s vocals, seems bold, but perhaps not bold
that would later be dubbed the ‘Technical Difficulties”
enough. The album as a whole is interesting, but could
rap. It was the type of thing that could only use more depth in its production.
happen at Shambhala.
However, judging Spero and Barlow on their latest
So, then, how does Terravita measure up, two years work wouldn’t do them justice. Live sets are where they
down the road, fresh off the release of their new The truly shine, and it’s clear that they perform incredibly
Fallen EP and in the midst of a colossal tour?
well under pressure. It’s too early to tell whether
Chris Barlow, the man behind the decks at Terravita, Simmers’ departure will sink them, but if you know
phoned in from Boston with a contagious enthusiasm anything about Terravita, you’re hardly fazed and know
that could only be dissuaded with another, tougher they’ll put on a good show.
question: what happened with Matt Simmers? Why is
Terravita suddenly a duo, and not the trio that endured Terravita plays Marquee Beer Market & Stage in
almost a decade under two different aliases?
Calgary on May 13th and at Union Hall in Edmonton
From Barlow’s account of the split, it seems like on May 14th.
32 | MAY 2016 • BEATROUTE JUICY
Terravita always manage to put on a hell of a show.
LET’S GET JUCY
Scuba is Let’s Get Jucy’s top pick this month. This show will be rated-R for Rare.
Honestly I can’t believe it’s May already, but
we’ve made it and that’s cause for celebration
in my books. May our days be filled
with sunshine, cold beer, deep bass and saucy beats.
Rejoice! Once again, this month offers a highly
unhealthy amount of digital music goodness to
indulge upon in this city we call home.
Kicking things off proper we have Cyantific
performing at a new Supreme Hustle event entitled
TURBOH! This happens on the 5th at Habitat. Supporting
this deadly producer of upfront DNB we have
local heavyweights Dan Dakota, Logo, Slim Pickins
and DJ Cain.
For those itching to get festival going a bit ahead
of schedule, this should come as wonderful news:
Tribe Festival will be celebrating its inaugural year
at Camp Chief Hector in Kananaskis. This takes place
from May 6-8 and features headliners The Desert
Dwellers, California spawned purveyors of downtempo,
psychedelically loaded, tribal bass rhythms.
The festival MO, as quoted from their website states,
“A vision of bringing an inclusive TRIBE of beautifully
diverse souls together to offer their gifts, freely
express and honour each others experience.” It will
be kid-friendly, feature a huge number of different
workshops and also boasts an impressive and diverse
lineup of local talent.
May 6th at the Marquee is a young producer making
serious waves early on his career, Oliver Heldens.
He aptly balances the worlds of popular EDM and
underground deep house and disco.
This next one is incredibly exciting: one of London’s
top garage/deep house duos Gorgon City will
be performing a DJ set at the intimate setting that is
the Hifi Club. Be sure to get your tickets for this one
in advance. These two are on absolute fire, releasing
hit single after hit single, touring the world with an
impressive live show, and collaborating with some
massive names in pop music. Their last performance
in Calgary was truly something special, so do yourself
a favour and treat yourself to this one without a
second thought. May 12th!
On May 20th, the low-end champions over at Sub
Chakra present Vancouver bass music master, Bass
Coast headliner and Lighta! member Self Evident at
the Nite Owl.
On the 22nd, Shambhala Music Festival headliner
Grandtheft brings his overwhelming trap sounds to
That very same day, the extra-terrestrially talented
Mat the Alien will be performing at Wild Bill’s Legendary
Saloon in Banff.
Scuba, the envelope pushing, genre bending
pioneer graces the decks at Hifi on May 26th alongside
former Calgarian Project Pablo.
Brostep icon Flux Pavillion will be conjuring up
some absolutely perverse and depraved bass faces at
Flames Central on the 27th.
Finally, closing out the month is Oh Wonder, the
serene, electro-pop duo from the U.K. who will be
performing at Flames Central alongside LANY.
• Paul Rodgers
guerilla trap takeover continues
You’d be forgiven for not knowing that
Stööki Sound is more than just two
DJs making beats. The grassroots trap
project by Jelacee and DJ Lukey is coming up
on a half-decade of rock-solid sound, built on
a foundation of 808s and U.K. bass. And yet a
year before Stööki Sound was born, the duo had
already been hard at work building Stööki, the
umbrella under which Sound and two other
similar ventures exist.
While Stööki Sound is the most recognizable
in the circles we travel, Stööki Vision and
Stööki Play, representing ventures into fashion
and art respectively, were the pillars that
allowed Sound to flourish. “The music came
later,” says Lukey, speaking on behalf of himself
and Jelacee. “We have always been interested in
combining different art forms. Working in this
way allows us to remain [open-minded] and
see the overall potential of the movement.”
Stööki’s multifaceted approach to art and
creativity stems from their equally diverse influences.
Lukey quotes the tapestry of genres that
is the U.K. as his and Jelacee’s primary influence.
Inklings of cinematic virtuosos like Hans Zimmer
give their intros what Lukey describes as an
“epic” feel. Epic not in the sense of tired-out
Internet lingo, but perhaps in the sense of, say,
an old growth forest, or a jumbo jet.
by Max Foley
Lukey’s description of Stööki Sound as
“minimalistic” and “unique” fits the bill; you’d
be hard-pressed to find another project with
a similar sound. However, parallels can be
drawn between Lukey and Jelacee’s work and
that of other U.K. bass artists such as Hucci
and Mura Masa – two artists that Stööki have
already collaborated with.
In that vein, few artists of Stööki’s class have
emerged from the dungeons of U.K. bass. As
such, they’re effectively leading the charge,
bolstered by the bold few that continue to
push this type of sound. Lukey hopes to bridge
the gap between U.S. and UK bass through collaborations
with artists like Baauer, RL Grime,
Future and Young Thug. One can only imagine
the trap-flavored critical mass of sound such a
gathering would precipitate.
For now, Stööki is set on blazing the same trail
that has them on the fringes of the spotlight. In
the words of DJ Lukey: “We have a new project
that we’re working on at the moment. Jelacee
started spitting lyrics on sets end of last year and
we realized that we could incorporate that into
our music and further develop ourselves as a
unique entity in music. We have a lot of exciting
things on the way!”
Stööki Sound plays the Hifi Club on April 23rd.
Whether in Sound, Vision or Play, these two creators are restless innovators.
photo: Jennica Mae
BEATROUTE • MAY 2016 | 33
THE IRONWOOD STAGE & GRILL
“Go Out, Sing Your Best Song And Leave”
by Mike Dunn
The Ironwood is a home away from home for artists and patrons alike.
photo: Liam Prost
The Canadian music scene is essentially a small city, made
up of various neighbourhoods that don’t meet up in the
centre of town as often as maybe they could. Each scene
has its gathering places: from derelict, esoteric joints that do
their best to survive while still providing an excellent and eclectic
musical experience, to larger clubs that thrive with the hum
of large shows, big headliners, and events that bring music to
bigger crowds of more mainstream tastes. In the middle ground
though, are the medium-scale venues that create communities
around themselves, enhancing the neighbourhoods they’re in,
and becoming a destination venue for music lovers, and for the
artists themselves. In this, the first in our Roots section’s profiles
of Calgary’s venues, we look through the doors of The Ironwood
Stage & Grill.
It’s a skill that comes with time, especially common to bartenders,
who can survey the whole room from their perch behind
the wood. They can tell, from one look around the room, how
close to capacity they are, and can even give you a number, often
within a head or two.
“Someone didn’t believe me once,” says Pat MacIntyre, owner
of The Ironwood Stage & Grill. “I said, ‘you count them, there
are 73 people in here.’ She counted, and said, ‘you’re wrong Pat,
there are 71.’ I looked back at her and said, ‘what about the two
in the bathroom?’” Shortly after, two revelers came back into the
showroom from the rustic lobby that houses a small window
front dining area, in addition to the restrooms. MacIntyre says he
can even tell how many people are at a show over the phone, just
from the tone of his manager’s voice when they answer it.
“It’s experience, I guess,” he says matter-of-factly, after a soldout
Sunday night show, long after the band and staff have gone
home. “I’ve been a bartender most of my life, and about 25 years
here in Calgary. I just want to make sure the band is great, the
artists are well taken care of, and the customers have a great time
and remember our place.”
To that end, artists from all over Canada speak of The Ironwood
with a warmth usually reserved for their own local favourites.
“Pat took me under his wing when I lived here,” says Edmonton
singer-songwriter Joe Nolan. “Every time I come in, he takes
me upstairs to ‘the office’ and tells me about Easter egg hunts,
anti-Olympic genocide songs, and how he sees the rock ‘n’ roll
scene in our time, and more importantly, what it really means.”
It’s that reverence for music, and local music in particular, that
The Ironwood holds in the highest esteem. For years, the walls
were adorned with paintings of the legends, Jagger, Dylan, et al.
Last year, upon the passing of pianist Ron Casat, one of the Alberta
roots community’s most venerable and decorated players, the
stage was rechristened The Casat Deck, and a painting of Casat
was hung along the west wall with the greats.
“The sound is pristine, the food is delicious, and I’ve had some
of my most memorable shows there,” says Scarlett Jane’s Andrea
Ramolo. “It’s like, home base for me in Calgary.”
As is often the case with bartenders, the welcoming smile is often
accompanied by a chaser of a sharp humour. Winnipeg singer-songwriter
Scott Nolan wrote a song for MacIntyre and The Ironwood, and
shot a video for it with some of Winnipeg’s most respected roots musicians.
“The song is called ‘Go Out, Sing Your Best Song, and Leave,’” says
Nolan. “And although Pat claims not to remember, I never forget.”
“I was there to play solo and it was a full, seated audience. I was on
my way out the back door when Pat called me upstairs. I was using
medicinal marijuana to relieve anxiety and he insisted I use his office.
He called downstairs and ordered a tray of espresso-flavoured vodka.
Before long I noticed that I was running late for my set, and that the
smoke from the office was beginning to fill the club. I was getting set to
go when Pat said, ‘I dare you to go out, sing your best song and leave.’
Just walk right out! Well, it wasn’t right for me to do, but it was right for
the song. Pat thought I was Scottish and I thought he was Irish, and by
the time we had it figured out it was too late, we were already friends.”
The Ironwood Stage & Grill hosts live music almost every night of the
week, but never sells tickets. Shows are by table reservation and firstcome,
first-serve after that. The cost of the show is added to your bill
at the end of the night.
BEATROUTE • MAY 2016 | 35
with Gillian Moranz &
QUInTon BlaIR &
young Benjamins &
The Raven and the Fox
& ERIn kay
Todd MadUkE &
laTE nIGHT at the
bold young blues artist steps out as a singer-songwriter
Rooke strives to “express what [he’s] all about through singing and songwriting.”
on returning to Calgary after a year across the continent and gettin’ Hitched
BeatRoute readers may remember Back Pocket
from their recent performance during JUNO
week on a moving C-Train, rolling from one
side of the city to the other. What you might
not know however, is that this is hardly the most
intrepid adventure they have had as a band.
Back Pocket is primed to release Hitched, a fabulous
rock and blues record that celebrates the new
marriage of lead members Chris Kreuger and Lacey
Smith. Both the new record and the marriage are a
direct result of a year-long trip across North America
with the two lovers and their dog.
When asked why he went on the trip, Kreuger
describes that its “not the easiest question to answer.”
Krueger has had some experience on the road before
in metal and hardcore bands. “While you are on tour,
you don’t get to see much except the inside of a
club,” but on this trip, Kreuger and Smith “wanted to
emphasize on the travel side of things.”
Travel they did. Over breakfast (Kreuger’s idea) we
got to glimpse the map of the trip and also an extensive
collection of travel photos, as well as hear quite a
few humanizing stories about the places and people
they met. The trip wasn’t supposed to be a Back Pocket
tour by any stretch, but the two did perform a few
times, and they ended up writing most of the material
that would end up becoming Hitched.
Between big tourist destinations the couple
would often camp out in some remote location,
and Chris could sit out with his guitar and work
out songs. The trip brought their songs to life, and
it also helped solidify the two’s relationship. “I’m
photo: Taylor Cullen
sure there were maybe some friends and family
who were betting that we wouldn’t make it on the
trip.” Kreuger admits the two had a pact that if
they “really can’t handle [it] and the relationship is
suffering, we weren’t afraid to pull the chute on it.”
by Zenna Wilberg
Robert Rooke may be young, but his attitude and musical talent stretch
far beyond his years. The 22-year-old country and blues singer/guitarist
is gearing up to release his first EP, The Road, on May 7th.
“It’s the first project of mine involving singing. I wanted to express what I’m all
about through singing and songwriting,” Rooke explains, and the newly-pressed
five-track EP does just that, showcasing Rooke’s impressive vocal and lyrical
ability alongside his finely honed guitar skills.
Rooke began seriously playing guitar at the age of 13, and has continued playing
and excelling ever since. He graduated with a diploma in jazz performance
from Mount Royal University, and has also spent time at the Musician’s Institute
in Hollywood, California. The Road started to come together after Rooke
returned from LA, a trip that inspired the raw, heavy track “Wash Me Clean,”
which Rooke describes as “all my angst coming out.”
Rooke’s true passion is in the electric guitar, and this is obvious as soon as you
hear him adeptly and powerfully bleeding out chords and melodies. Although
Rooke’s music is heavily influenced by the likes of John Mayer and Zac Brown
Band, his listening extends to an extensive range of genres, from rock to hip hop.
Rooke’s father is also a singer-songwriter, and has always encouraged Rooke’s
passion for music. “Friday night, both me and him are off to play gigs. It’s pretty
cool,” Rooke commented, adding that his entire family has always been supportive
of his goals.
Humble, Rooke shows gratitude and appreciation for the many talented Calgarian
musicians he’s worked with. “Seeing how the crowd reacts when someone
can just rip on an instrument is pretty inspiring,” says Rooke on performing with
local talent. He acknowledges that Calgary’s music scene is a challenging one
to break into, but takes it on optimistically as a way to grow and improve as a
With undeniable talent, both vocally and on guitar, Robert Rooke can hold
his own in Calgary, and The Road is an impressive culmination of his capability
as a musician.
Robert Rooke plays May 7th at Wine-Ohs, May 8th at the Mission, and June 4th
at 500 Cucina.
by Liam Prost
Back Pocket wrote a whole record on the road, despite wanting to “emphasize the travel side of things.”
But they rallied, ended up married with a fabulous
record and a great story to tell.
Back Pocket’s Calgary release show happens May 28.
36 | MAY 2016 • BEATROUTE ROOTS
sharp new aesthetic, cinematic new record, and the need to ‘belong to yourself’
At first glance, it’s difficult to tell how much
irony is embedded within the bars of
Daniel Romano’s music. A dreadnaught
guitar with his full name inlayed into the frets,
an ornately embossed Telecaster, sequined suits,
ascots, and a whole wardrobe’s worth of hats have
shared the stage with Romano as presently as his
equally smartly-dressed backing band, ‘His Trilliums.’
So defined by lavish country aesthetic and its
accompanying swagger, Romano’s recent releases
seem incongruous with the punk rocker who
penned and rocked Attack In Black’s incredible
Marriage (2007), and produced and played on City
and Colour’s best releases. With new record Mosey
however, Romano is back as a “rock ensemble,” a
shift which Romano attests definitely “feels good.”
“It’s more dynamic for us, it’s more dynamic for
the audience,” Romano describes. If nothing else, it
at least gives audiences a chance to get acquainted
with his palpable guitar skill. The new live show is
extremely loud and raw, and the sets feature almost
entirely new material. This stands in contrast to the
record however, whose mono grooves (the album
is literally mastered in mono) are extremely ornate,
cinematic even. There are swooping string lines,
punchy acoustic pianos, and even charming vocal
echoes from Rachel McAdams on the pun-titled
track “Toulouse.” The record is certainly progressive,
although not entirely a departure, but for Romano,
“records and performances are so separate.”
This separation is especially true of Mosey, which
Romano has been supporting even before the most
Daniel Romano releases Mosey on May 27th.
recent record If I’ve Only One Time Askin’ (2015)
came out. “There’s the odd guy in the cowboy hat in
the back of the room flipping me the bird,” but for
the most part, audiences have been receptive to the
There’s a certain analogue to Dylan going electric
in the new ensemble, and the new track jacket and
reflective-striped trousers definitely contribute to the
suggestion, but for Romano such direct comparisons
are “not intentional.” He politely disparages the
journalistic tendency to simply compare artists to
each other instead of looking at them uniquely and
attempting to be truly “descriptive.”
This desire to be seen independently as an artist
words and photo by Liam Prost
is a large part of “Mosey,” (both the record, and the
self-appointed style Romano participates in) which
he pitches to BeatRoute as a way to avoid having
to “belong to terrible clubs,” something he admits
eventually “happens anyway.”
As a result, the comparisons that are pitched for
Mosey are more thematic than relational. Tarantino
and Ennio Morricone have come up, which, by using
film as an analogue, directly discourages descriptive
comparison. “[Tarantino’s] use of references is on
point” argues Romano. In both auteurs’ productions
there is an element of pastiche — references and
influences that “shouldn’t need to be explained.”
Romano explicitly rejects the notion of genre
and comparison points for his music, but with his
recent successes, this has become even more difficult.
Romano was honoured this year with a JUNO
nomination for Adult Alternative Album of the Year
and was also asked to present an award, but even this
category is inherently vague and unspecific. “I’m an
adult and I make music that not everyone will like”
is the way Romano describes his affiliation with the
category. He suggests that “you have to belong to
yourself,” and this feels like a good thesis statement
for our entire interview. “You don’t have to wear a
cowboy hat to make great songs,” despite how great
Romano might look wearing one. The track jacket
and accompanying curly mop of hair however are no
less Daniel Romano than any art that he has recorded,
produced, painted, or even worked into leather.
Mosey is out May 27th on New West Records.
BEATROUTE • MAY 2016 | 37
dark matter over brain matter
Calgary’s own BlackRat releases Hail to Hades on vinyl in May.
Disclosure: Ian Lemke of BlackRat occasionally
writes for BeatRoute Magazine.
Infesting the fetid basements and lamplit
alleyways of Calgary, Alberta since
mid-2012, the omnivorous trio known
as BlackRat has managed to carve out a
pretty comfortable niche for themselves in
the bowels of Calgary’s underground metal
scene. United by a love of low-brow motifs
and high-speed ferocity, guitarist-vocalist
Ian Lemke (Witchstone, Savage Streets),
bassist-vocalist Stu Loughlin (Savage Streets),
and deathproof drummer Russell “Rust”
Shanahan unveiled their raw-headed debut
LP Whiskey and Blasphemy (Xnihilo Records)
back in 2013, following the release of their
six-song demo earlier that same year.
The spark of that initial momentum has
built to an inextinguishable firestorm as
BlackRat prepares for the official launch their
next full-length album, Hail to Hades, chiefly
dedicated to those ‘80s metal pioneers who
explored the “concept of evil music when it
was new!” Pursuing support for their latest
collection of visceral tunes, the threesome
found an ally in Regina-based label/distro hub
No Sanctuary Records, who are “dedicated
to preserving and spreading the noise of old
school punk and metal through vinyl and
“The proprietor of No Sanctuary Records,
Jeremy Knourek, is a really rad dude who’s into
metal and punk in Canada. There’s not a huge
number of people doing do-it-yourself releases.
So, we just kind of gave him a shout and he was
immediately like ‘Yeah, I’m down to co-release a
limited-pressing of 300 records with you guys!’”
Lemke explains. “We were about to release it
independently, so it was nice to have a bit more
cash to help finish it up and get going with the
distribution. It was just good timing.”
Good timing and an ideal fit for the pestilent
Calgarians, who already had their beady eyes
focused on the prize of producing their new
album at the only record pressing plant in
“I work at Canada Boy Vinyl,” Lemke
explains. “Obviously, that hook-up also made
it a no-brainer for us to record here. Our
technician, Ian Dylan (The Electric Revival) was
kind enough to guide me through cutting my
own record, even though I’m not an engineer.
Which was really cool, but nerve wracking.
Essentially you’re playing the record at 1,000
watts of power through a needle into this sort
of acetate lacquer. I don’t think a lot of people
get to do that, so I was stoked.”
Evidence that putting a project on the backburner
isn’t always a detriment, BlackRat has
demonstrated remarkable resiliency in returning
to their dark ministrations after a nasty turn
that almost ended their existence as a band.
“This whole album was written by the end of
summer 2014 and we were supposed to record
it that October. But then, one fateful night, we
were getting drunk in the graveyard, which we
do, because we’re idiots,” Lemke begins.
“And, we were on our way to a house party
at a friend’s house. And I wanted to impress
Ian and Stu with some sweet moves,” says
Rust picking up the rat-tale of woe. “I ended
by Christine Leonard
photo: Cassie Harasemchuk
up falling four to six metres over the rail at the
Bridgeland C-Train station and fracturing my
skull. It was a bummer. I also lost the hearing
in my right ear. So, that’s been an interesting
change. But, I’m still alive so that’s awesome. I
had to relearn a little bit and take speech therapy.
It was interesting jamming for first time. I’d
get headaches; have to stop. I’d get dizzy and
almost pass out while playing. It was a weird,
but the funny thing is I think I got better at
An astrophysicist, Rust recorded the drum
tracks for Hail to Hades under the largest dome
at the Rothney Astrophysical Observatory in
the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. In the
end, he’d contribute his life’s blood before the
project was to see the light of day.
“We didn’t think this was ever going to
happen. That we’d ever make this album,” says
Lemke. “If you look on the album insert there’s
this very blurry, barely visible image and it’s
Russell’s face when he was unconscious after
he fell. We figured he probably want a picture
of how fucked up his head was. At the time we
didn’t know how serious his injury was. It was
fucked. Medically, he should have died.”
Remarkably, a couple of return-shows later
and the hard-to-kill Blackrat, Rust, was “back
up to snuff.” Suddenly, Hail to Hades had a future
and a significance not lost on its close-knit
BlackRat play their album release party on May
13 at Filthy McNasty’s in Edmonton. They will
play their Calgary release show at Broken City in
Calgary on June 10th with Mortillery.
back from the abyss
by Heath Fenton
Zimmer’s Hole just may be the epitome of the phrase
They are named after their friend’s butt and they have their
tongues permanently planted in the arse of heavy metal. Their comedic
sense and the antics that follow Zimmer’s Hole is epic. That being
said, there is no mistaking that a line-up that boasts three quarters
of Strapping Young Lad means serious business. Since the early ‘90s,
Zimmer’s Hole guitarist Jed Simon, bassist Byron Stroud, and legendary
drummer Gene Hoglan’s band have made fire trotting maniac
noise in much the same vein, albeit very slowly. That said, Zimmer’s
Hole has a twitch of the classics. The tipping point is the mentally
unstable vocalist, The Heathen. He turns the SYL boys on their head.
With a wide ball grasping range and a nose for sarcastic timing, The
Heathen delivers a sermon every time, often with cheeseburgers
or a giant booze-filled strap-on in tow to entertain (or torture) the
wretched audience. Song subjects may cover anything from the
grotesque, to the awkwardly corny, and then some bizarrely accurate
observations of heavy metal culture. It is a spectacle to behold.
“Just keep your head up and watch your backs is all I’d say,” Simon
laughs. See them while you can, because lately they haven’t been
around too often which is a serious shame.
There was some talk that after the demise of Strapping Young Lad,
the members would be able to concentrate more on Zimmer’s Hole
and make it more of a full-time thing.
“Everyone is scattered around the continent now so the usual
getting together every day isn’t as easy as it once was,” Simon
“We’ve always wanted to be a full-time band, and we’ll just
have to see how this next year pans out for everyone. I would love
nothing more than to get a regular cycle going. I have enough
material for years of releases,” he says. The band hasn’t released a
full length since 2008’s When You Were Shouting at the Devil...
We Were in League with Satan; they’ve only done three since their
inception in ’91.
“We will be spending some good time together soon, and a lot of
magic has happened in the past when we are all in the same room.
I’m looking forward.”
About damn time for the heathens to return!
Zimmer’s Hole performs on Friday, May 20th at Dickens Pub in
Calgary with Fuquored, Untimely Demise, and Kyoktys. On Saturday,
May 21st, they play the Starlite Room in Edmonton with the same bill,
replacing Kyokyts with Blëëd.
38 | MAY 2016 • BEATROUTE SHRAPNEL
giving purple the royal treatment
Baroness return to Alberta and British Columbia late this May.
It’s been a long road to recovery for Savannah,
Georgia’s Baroness. Broken in twain by a harrowing
bus crash that devastated the progressive
metal group in 2012, the remaining band
members, guitarist Pete Adams and singer-guitarist
John Baizley, have had a few years to establish
their new normal. And, though the physical and
emotional scars inevitably remain, there was
solace to be found in the remarkably effortless
assimilation of incoming players drummer Sebastian
Thomson and bassist Nick Jost. Fresh off a
six-week run through Europe, Baizley relates how
the foursome took extra pains to ensure that they
were prepared to present audiences with the full
Baroness experience in all its glory.
“When we touched down in England two
months ago we were coming off a bit of a break
and rented a building out and played the entire
record for our own sake, to see where we were
with it. Some of the songs were a little rough,
because we hadn’t played them since we recorded
them, but after two or three days we really
clicked in with it. I would say, by two weeks into
the tour we were completely comfortable with
Revisiting material from their Red Album
(2007) and Blue Record (2009) while showcasing
their vascular new release, Purple, Baizley’s
measured approach marries the group’s past and
present incarnations to create the most tangible
Baroness to date.
“Since we began, we’ve always played something
off of every release that we’ve got as we
tour. With the last tour we’ve played our whole
new record every night, which is something we’ve
never been able to do before,” says Baizley. “That
was possible because, we wrote a good record
and we wrote it with the idea that we wanted
to play it. In the past, we’ve traditionally done
photo: Doug Seymour
a song on each record that was conceived, or
written, in such a way inside a studio that it’s virtually
impossible to play. That’s always happened,
however with this record, as we were writing it,
we did make sure that it was playable.”
Not just playable, but memorable as all hell.
The incremental release of the singles “Chlorine
by Christine Leonard
& Wine” and “Shock Me” had fans drooling
over Baizley’s spiraling guitar runs and glimpses
of his breathtaking cover-art well before the
LP’s release. But more than anything, it was the
heart-twisting revelations and grudging acceptance
that listeners were quick to connect with
“I’ve got the weirdest perspective on it,” admits
Baizley. “It’s very difficult for me to say with any
certainty whether people are responding well to
it. They appear to be…. First and foremost the
people sing along a lot more, it turns out if you
write intelligible lyrics, and present them in an articulate
way people can remember, they will join in
with you. And I really love that. That’s something
that came pretty late to us. The audience singing
with us. And it’s been kind of breathtaking to see
it happen. To go from zero to 60, as we say, in the
course of two years. But I’ve also noticed that the
demographic of our audience has changed pretty
significantly and that’s something that you hope
for, but can’t really do something specific to widen
audience base. You could but most of those things
are disgusting and terrible, overly commercial
things. My hope was that we’d write better music.
And more people would listen and I’d like to think
that’s what’s happened.”
Baroness perform at the Marquee Beer Market &
Stage in Calgary on May 26, at the Starlite Room
in Edmonton on May 27, and at the Commodore
Ballroom in Vancouver on May 29th.
Scheduled for May 28 & 29 at Fort Calgary, this year’s
conference will bring a variety of recognized experts
within the Calgary WordPress Community to share their
expertise on the power of WordPress. Our theme of Music
will be showcased throughout the various events and
sessions, but don’t fret! Information will be valuable to all,
musician or not.
Session topics for all experience levels
• WordPress for Musicians
• WordPress for Creatives
• WordPress for Marketing Professionals
• WordPress for Developers
• WordPress for Bloggers
BEATROUTE • MAY 2016 | 39
journeying to the Sludgeland and beyond
by Willow Grier
Calgary’s Witchstone will release a split on May 13th with The Deathwheelers.
In a vast and barren wasteland, grey mud oozes
over the cracking, overworked earth. Smoke has
suffocated trees and turned them into twisted,
diabolical skeletons against a turbid sky. Here, an
enslaved race crawls about like festering beetles,
searching for the last morsels of sustenance in the
starved and pulverized place. A king, cold and immovable
surveys the scene with disdain, counting
his riches as they dwindle, and refusing to repeal
his staked claim. This earth may be rotting and
decrepit, but it is his inheritance, and he will suck
every last ounce of profit from its wrinkled stores
before moving on to his next conquest.
This imagery, a hyperbolic otherworldly imagining
of a real life situation, is brought into existence by
Calgary psychedelic doom band Witchstone on
their forthcoming album, Summon The End. That
one isn’t done quite yet, but a split with Montreal
biker-sludge band The Deathwheelers, is on the
Their two tracks were recorded by Byron Lemley
of Numenorean, and are a part of an unofficial
East-meets-West series curated by Saskatoon’s
Sunmask Records. The songs were inspired partially
by guitarist and vocalist Sean Edwards time in the
“I was so unhappy. I was working on the rigs, not
doing anything crazy, kinda just a grunt worker, but I
lost my mind. It was pretty crazy seeing a lot of people
out there that were really sad and depressed and
lost in it all and it just seemed like a really interesting
concept to me.”
Edwards recalls. “We ended up writing songs metaphorically
talking about slaves and wastelands, and
kings and towers. Imagining the [uprising] of lower
class, and what imagery that created.”
Guitarist and vocalist Ian Lemke adds, “It’s not
really a political statement,” but more of an exploration
into an emotion. While heavier and more
complex than the band’s previous album, Tales of the
Riff Riders, it still holds onto Witchstone’s signature
trudging, languid, pestilence that has made them
photo: Cassie Harasemchuk
a highly sought after staple. The band’s approach is
similar to their chugging, gloomily hypnotic sound;
slowly creeping, shrewdly developing. Witchstone
takes their time between releases and typically only
plays shows twice a year.
Says Edwards of the new split release: “This is our
first collaborative writing in the line-up that we’ve
had for four years. It’s a different sound, because
we’re still in a transitional period of trying to get to
where we wanna be [sonically].”
Lemke adds, “The split is unlike anything we’ve
done before and probably unlike anything we will
do. This is kinda a snapshot in time of us figuring
ourselves out but the songs sounded pretty cool.”
He adds, “As a band we’ve never really nailed
down our vocal style at all. We’ve never had one
singer. There [are] so many different vocal styles
on these two songs, with just us trying a bunch
of different things out. We all sing, and it’s a little
heavier and less droning. When you play slow, it
can be seen as boring, but with these songs we
really tried to make it layered and detailed and
keep people interested.”
With the intro to “Sludgeland” this can be heard,
as its heavily turbulent layers crash forth and crawl
back to simmer lightly beneath petulant goblin
cry vocals. Fading layers highlight a moody, grim
atmosphere and then tumultuously crash forward
again to create a riff-ripping burning forest of sound,
which withers and rambles for 10 minutes. With
second track “Altar Riot,” the band marches into
sun scorched desert lands, with haunted echoes
and almost a bluesy feel that rounds out the overall
sound of the album and paves the way for the band’s
forthcoming full length, which they plan to put out
Witchstone is thrilled to release their split LP with The
Deathwheelers on Sunmask Records May 13th. Catch
them on tour through western Canada in May and
June, including their hometown release show June 3rd
at Broken City with The Weir and Chieftain.
May is the best. It’s when the shows amp
up with such ferocity that we can’t
even come close to covering everything
that deserves covering in this magazine. So
then we get hyped about it in this column!
First up, the early month stuff that is a bit too
early for coverage in these pages. On Monday,
May 2, Portland’s own traditional heavy metallers
Spellcaster will be gracing the stage at Dickens in
Calgary with local metallers Riot City and Hazzerd
on a tight, three-band bill organized by Big Nate
Productions that costs only $10.
Our own Breanna Whipple chatted with the
Spellcaster guys, you can check out the story online
where they discuss Iron Maiden, an impending
album, and more.
Two nights later on Wednesday, May 4th, oncefrom-Vancouver-now-in-Calgary
epic folk metallers
Scythia will have their official release show for their
fourth album, the more death metal oriented Lineage.
Recorded at LSD Studios in Lubeck, Germany
and Sonic Pump Studios in Helsinki, the eight-track
album sees the band slightly warp their epic power
metal template into a heavier slab of metal with
more growls and howls. Check out www.beatroute.
ca for an exclusive track premiere, and be sure to
see the band when they release Lineage on May
4th in Calgary with Finland’s Thunderstone and
Calgary’s Viathyn. The band will play on May 6th
in Vancouver with Thunderstone, Titan’s Eve, and
Mournir; they’ll make a mighty trek back West for
May 7th to appear at the Shredmonton Festival.
Speaking of Shredmonton, the metal festival
and conference takes place in Edmonton on May
6th to 8th at the Starlite Room, Brixx Bar and Grill,
and Shaw Conference Centre, and is organized by
Tyson Travnik of Farmaggedon fame. Featuring over
20 bands and an industry based conference along
with instrumental clinics, the bands performing
include Goatwhore, Disciples of Power, the Acacia
Strain, Dying Fetus, and many more Canadian
acts, including Mortillery, Planet Eater, WMD, and
Exit Strategy. The conference takes place May 7th
Calgary’s Scythia release their fourth studio album Lineage on May 4th.
and features clinics on recording and live production,
publicity/ media/ journalism, and more. To
take in the full festival experience, a pass costs $120,
while individual conference and show tickets are
also available. Check out www.shredmonton.com
for more information.
If you’re into heading up to Edmonton during
the conference, be sure to attend the Mortality
Rate EP release party at Kensington Commons
Church in Calgary on Saturday, May 7th. Also
featuring Self Harm, Elora, and Withdrawal, the
show is all ages and only $5. Go for the good vibes
and people, stay for the ferocious hardcore/grind
and a copy of the single sided vinyl.
On Thursday, May 12th, check out a fantastic
gig at Good Luck Bar in Calgary, featuring the
newly signed post-black metal act Numenorean
alongside Vancouver’s beautiful indie/post-rock
act Summering. Capacity at the bar is extremely
limited; show up early for aural devastation.
The next evening, head to the Palomino Smokehouse
and Bar in Calgary for the release party for
Calgary’s own grindcore titans WAKE. We covered
them in the issue last month, but this show should
NOT BE MISSED. Also featuring Numenorean, the
Weir, and Spurn, the show costs $10.
On Saturday, May 14th, long standing epic Viking
metal warriors Amon Amarth descend upon
Calgary for a show at MacEwan Hall Balllroom
with Entombed A.D. and Exmortus. Fresh off the
release of their 10th studio album Jomsviking, the
band is sure to inspire moshing aplenty. Be sure to
catch them in Calgary, or in Winnipeg on Thursday,
May 12th at the Garrick Centre, in Saskatoon on
Friday, May 13th at O’Brian’s Event Centre, or in
Vancouver on Monday, May 16th at the Commodore
Alrighty…. We’re out of space. But don’t forget
to go to the rest of the amazing gigs this month,
including headlining spaces by Black Mountain,
Baroness, Act of Defiance, and Zimmer’s Hole.
Now get out there!
• Sarah Kitteringham
photo: Kevin Eisenlord
40 | MAY 2016 • BEATROUTE SHRAPNEL
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
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.
• Colin Gallant
illustration: Cristian Fowlie
BEATROUTE • MAY 2016 | 43
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
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
Welcome The Worms
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
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
• Andrea Hrynyk
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
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
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
Venus on Edge
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 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
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
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
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 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
44 | MAY 2016 • BEATROUTE
[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
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
• Jamie McNamara
Calgary’s Sleepkit execute Champion Weekend,
their debut release, with great attention to
detail. It’s an eleven-song behemoth of a journey
To call this album lush would be an understatement.
Layers upon layers of Marie Sulkowski’s
colourful analog synths — some swooning,
some bleep-blooping, others emanating as the
focal points of their unending yet oh-so-entertaining
compositions — set the stage for Ryan
Bourne’s crunchy and driving bass lines.
Champion Weekend has got all the right
levels of grit and chaos, balancing in place for
interweaving, reverb-soaked singing and steady,
Their influences are clear, taking inspiration
from classic, experimental synth rock, but they
do not hesitate to add their own flair to this
dedicated, full sounding effort. It’s like they
blasted their way out of another dimension and
time warped directly through the 1960s, ending
up in today’s technologically driven world.
Sleepkit have found a working formula for
blending songs that are both hazy and full of
feedback, to powerful and crunchy, to smooth
and melodic. Some perfect for dancing, some
perfect for smashing things to bits on an intergalactic
Champion Weekend is precise and calculated
while simultaneously saturated in Technicolor
• Michael Grondin
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
The folky, easy listening sound makes it the perfect
soundtrack for a sunny road trip. The album
fits nicely, genre-wise, 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
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
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
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
Plays the Music of Twin Peaks
Poly Vinyl / Bella Union
• Liam Prost
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-by-track 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
BEATROUTE • MAY 2016 | 45
What are songwriters supposed to do when they
lack conflict in their personal lives? What happens
to an underground punk band when they move
away from small DIY tours in underground venues to
playing around the world at increasingly prominent
clubs and festivals?
You might think that punk music needs that conflict;
that a punk band loses its credibility as it grows;
but White Lung is progressing in direct retaliation
against these doubts. On Paradise, they have gotten
better. They are digging deeper. As a band, they’ve
pushed their craft further, and like juggernauts show
no signs of slowing down. They’re as hard, fast, and
loud as they were on their first album, but they’re
moving in a direction that’s as unrelenting as their
music and there’s no sign of them slowing down or
Critics have always noted the pop leniencies of
vocalist Mish Barber-Way’s voice and hooks, but on
Paradise it culminates into the band’s most catchy
and accessible work to date. The album’s third
song, “Below,” wouldn’t sound out of place next to
Hole’s best work. With one minute left in the song,
Barber-Way’s melody fades from the forefront into
the background, turning to ash with the song’s sharp
guitar as she exclaims, “I want to take it all down.”
Her words are a final spark against a world trying to
cut the persona she’s embodying down.
The band’s most recent album Deep Fantasy
fought against the encroachment women face in
our society, and was their most upfront feminist
punk record. It tackled body dysmorphia, rape
culture, and sexual assault in a way that felt both
empathetic and healing despite the heady assault
of guitar and drums.
These riot grrrl roots are still present on Paradise,
but the politics have shifted to be more personal and
less societal. Since Fantasy, Barber-Way got married
and has stated that she’s in a happier place than she’s
ever been while recording. Now, the writing reaches
past more obvious political stances to embody characters
that showcase these same ideas as it relates to
their own experiences.
The album’s second single “Kiss Me When I Bleed”
is a prime example. It’s written from the perspective
of a rich woman who marries below her social class:
“They say I split my pride in two / when I became
a bride for you / but what do they know?” To her,
being in love is more powerful than societal pressure
and even when at its messiest it can be all consuming
(“He’ll suck out your eyes for me”).
In an interview with Annie Clark (aka St. Vincent)
posted on their website to promote the album,
Barber-Way said, “There’s this really stupid attitude
that only punks have, where its somehow uncool to
become a better songwriter… I have no interest in
staying in Kindergarten.” If that’s the case, then White
Lung might be uncool, yet they’re making stronger
music than most punks out there.
• Trent Warner
Last Gang Records
Back with their first album since 2010’s Latin,
Toronto’s electro-indie enigmas Holy Fuck
have returned with another full-length entitled
simply, Congrats. This may come as a bit of a
surprise, but with Holy Fuck, fans know well to
expect the unexpected. The band dropped Congrats
almost out of thin air, after recording it in a
matter of days, not in a rural Ontario barn as per
usual, but in an actual studio setting.
Congrats features all members present on
Latin: Brian Borcherdt, Matt “Punchy” Mac-
Quaid, Matt Schulz and Graham Walsh.
Founding members Walsh and Borcherdt
have both lent their many-tiered talents to
other projects in the space between Holy Fuck
records. Borcherdt, the Yarmouth born musician
who helped foster bands like Wintersleep
has kept busy not only with solo work but with
Lids and Dusted. Walsh has done production
work for the likes of Alvvays and Preoccupations
(formerly known as Viet Cong).
The distance between releases, and the
individual work the members have done
throughout that interim, has apparently allowed
the group to reconvene on a note that is
both reminiscent of their past work, while still
holding its head up in the sonic landscape of
2016. Boisterous at times, creating unease and
tension and operating with all the elements of
great experimental noise, while still being able
to commit to steadfast, pulsating rhythms.
Creating electronic grooves without computers
has always been Holy Fuck’s niche, and they
have been able to channel that one again in
“House of Glass” for instance, commences
with a jarring bass line, before settling into a
cheeky, synth beat that teeters somewhere
between bedlam and the discotheque.
Their first single “Tom Tom” is an exemplary
case of Holy Fuck’s sound: injecting an electronic
modernity into a brash punk tune.
With a slew of tour dates on the horizon,
Holy Fuck, who have been arguably more notorious
for their captivating live act than their
studio work, now equipped with a revivified
lineup and an arsenal of new material, will be
an absolute force to be reckoned with in the
• Paul Rodgers
At only 23 years old, Montreal’s Kaytranada has
become one of the most in-demand beatmakers for
rappers that are looking for hazy, boom-bap beats
with a distinct electronica bent. Listening to 99.9%,
Kaytranada’s debut album for esteemed XL Recordings,
it’s hard to deny the producer’s talent – even if
some of the tracks don’t quite land.
Kaytranada’s sound has evolved into a slinky
beast. His bass lines roar, they’re usually body
movers, full of kinetic energy waiting to be released
onto a steamy dance floor somewhere. It’s clear that
Kaytranada is really tapping into the future funk/
jazz movement popularized by Anderson .Paak,
Flying Lotus, and Kendrick Lamar. The former even
lends his talents with a confident feature on album
highlight “Glowed Up.”
.Paak isn’t the only collaborator to give a stellar
performance on 99.9%. London duo AlunaGeorge,
Chicago rapper Vic Mensa, and even UK garage don
Craig David step up to the mic. “Got It Good,” David’s
track with Kaytranada, shows the producer’s ability
to serve up a beat that caters right to his collaborator’s
talent. It’s the perfect beat for David, whose
caramel voice and slinky flows complement Kaytra’s
stunted, chugging, electro-funk beat beautifully.
Elsewhere, Kaytranada’s collab with fellow Montrealers
BadBadNotGood, is the work of a match
made in heaven. Both camps flash their more overt
jazz sensibilities on “Weight Off,” a brief venture
into the instrumental hip-hop that both parties are
Unfortunately, Kaytranada faces the same problem
that most producers eventually do when they
set out to make a full-length. His beats are designed
to be rapped over, and without vocal talent to help
carry the track, Kaytra finds himself with a lot of
filler on the album. Instrumental tracks like “Track
Uno” and “Breakdance Lesson No 1” fade into the
background and don’t really fit within an otherwise
tight tracklist. That’s not to say all of the producer’s
instrumentals fail. “Lite Spots” is a guest free track
that has a buoyant, filter house bassline that begs for
vigorous head bobbing.
Despite a few missteps, 99.9% works because of
Kaytra’s undeniable talent as a producer. Even when
the songs don’t hit, the work put into them is evident
always. Kaytranada is a rising producer, but it’s clear
that 99.9% isn’t his peak, it’s just another stair on the
way up to the top.
• Jamie McNamara
Arts and Crafts
There has always been something purely magnetic
about Andy Shauf. Even before his breakout, The
Bearer of Bad News, and his signing to Arts and
Crafts and ANTI-Records, he had an illustrious early
career crafting surprisingly adorable basement popfolk.
Bad News wasn’t where the brooding began,
but it’s certainly his defining moment; a concise
record which pairs Shauf’s round, slightly nasally
vocal, with a now-signature heavily detuned guitar
and clarinet. Shauf has ridden that record for all its
worth, never losing momentum or buzz.
The Party has been festering in the background,
an occasional new song permeating a set or cellphone
clip on the Internet for a couple years now.
As a result, a lot of the material on The Party isn’t
exactly new. “Martha Sways” in particular has been
floating in and out of sets since 2012. This doesn’t
make for a disappointment however, the familiar
songs feel comfortable, clean, and entirely contiguous
with The Bearer of Bad News.
That said, the moments on the record that hit
the hardest are the least familiar. Tracks like “Begin
Again” and “Eyes of Them All” have a bounce and
drive to them that feel fresh and even a little fun,
although this is tempered by the consistently sour
Like on his previous recordings, the vocals are
often doubled, but more sparingly used for punctuation.
The overdub also loosens during these moments,
unsettling the lyrics to strong thematic effect.
Lyricism and storytelling once again the centre-point
of the record, this improved production strongly
benefits the more strongly penned songs.
The Party presents itself as a conceptual record
about parties, inebriation, and the loss and loneliness
endemic in hollow social interaction, but it doesn’t
commit hard enough to come across as gimmicky.
Rather, the consistency of Shauf’s experiences at
parties fleshes itself out strongly enough to be
relatable. This is most evident on “Quite Like You,”
wherein Shauf’s characteristic vulnerability breaks
into a muted aggression, perfectly framed by his
description of his own inebriation. Further, Shauf’s
unending preoccupation with cigarettes mirrors
the compulsion to break through the greater social
strata to push to more intimate interactions, a side
benefit to smoking that carries a pretty tangible appeal
to introverts, even those who those who can’t
The Party is an extremely strong record for Shauf,
thematically centered, beautiful, and as always,
• Liam Prost
46 | MAY 2016 • BEATROUTE
April 21, 2016
On the same day that Prince died, Rihanna
brought her ANTI world tour to Calgary’s
Saddledome. It was a day that called for
good music and a big enough spectacle to
take everyone’s minds off of the passing of
The Purple One. Rihanna succeeded in doing
The evening featured a podium-like
secondary stage for the show’s beginning.
Opening number and mom’s favourite
“Stay” displayed Rihanna’s vocal power and
tenderness. Most of the rest of the set did
not. She launched into some of ANTI’s raunchier
tracks while performing on a moving
catwalk to the main staged, dangling just out
of reach of the crazed fans below.
By the time she reached the main stage,
an ever-changing maze of platforms and trap
doors, she was in full hits mode. Sadly, fan
favourites like “Umbrella,” “We Found Love,”
and “Rude Boy” were trimmed to minute or
so long medleys with Rihanna relying on the
crowd to do most of the singing for her. To
her credit, fresher hits like “Work” and “Bitch
Better Have My Money” went full tilt — to
the point that the floor was literally shaking.
Where she made up for lapses in energy
was in her boundless personality and the DJ
set-like flow of the show. Nearly every song
was seamless, and she was able to control
the crowd with just a change of expression
on her face. Rihanna knows exactly how hard
she has to try, it’s just a little too bad she
doesn’t step further than satisfactory.
• Colin Gallant
photo: Getty Images
MANcub, Triton, Nosis, Lustre Creame
April 16, 2016
It was a relatively quiet night in Dodge City, that is until
a quartet of Calgary-based thunderbeasts Nosis, Triton,
Lustre Creame and MANcub took to the stage at Dickens.
Kicking things off with an alt-metal bang, brutal rock
three-piece Nosis unleashed their brand of heavy swing
equipped with vocal harmonies that are as inexplicably
appealing as a whiff of gasoline at the pumps. Next, an
intriguing conceptual mash-up of jazz, funk, blues, and
metal, the Skin Barn glow of Lustre Creame filled the
showroom like a vinyl-hoarder’s delight.
Third, the straight-ahead, no nonsense approach of
metal purists Triton rolled out in a demon-throated gale
wreaking of dark glory and sulfurous skunk-weed. From
pummeling riffs to strafing vocals, the uncluttered fireand-brimstone
assault was a pleasure to behold.
Finally, MANcub mounted the dais around 1 a.m.;
keen-eyed, full-bearded, mercurial and ready to
rumble. Ripping into the haunting hollows of their
cuntray-tinged album, Hangman, the prairie-dwelling
headliners’ displayed their mastery of definitive hardcore
anthems. Adept string-slingers, they echoed Calgary’s
windswept streets and go-with-your-gut sensibilities
within their ear-snagging intros, road-hardened rhythms,
and golden guitar tones. Blessed with a remarkably
vibrant sound set-up that night, the four horsemen;
singer-guitarist Trenton Bullard, singer-guitarist Sean
Doherty, drummer Kevin Ross and bassist Dean Kneeshaw,
forged ahead with newly-smithed material that
portends great things to come from these burgeoning
and bellicose shotgun rockers.
• Christine Leonard
photo: Mario Montes
Modern Space, Windigo
April 8, 2016
Openers Windigo drew a small but enthusiastic
crowd from the moment they started
playing. Things in the band have been shaken
up recently, but
frontman Anthony Kameka’s great voice
remains the same.
The crowd expanded just slightly when
Toronto’s Modern Space started to play.
During every song, the crowd moved side to
side to the beat, cheering loudly when every
They played an hour-long set with
about ten songs, that included four
covers: “Break On Through” by classic rock
band, The Doors, “High By The Beach”, by
soulful alternative singer, Lana Del Rey,
“Loser” by nineties rocker, Beck, and “Fake
Tales of San Francisco” by English rockers,
The other six songs included the bands’
pop-rock tune “It’s Only a Dream,” which
has a similar vibe and vocals to Brian
Dales of the pop-punk party band, The
Summer Set. The main crowd may have
been small, but they stayed enthusiastic
about the band’s energetic show till the
• review and photo: Andrea Hrynyk
48 | MAY 2016 • BEATROUTE
Working out the kinks...
I’ve been aware of my emetophilia since a very young age and have
always kept it private. No need to tell me about the health risks, I’m
aware, and I’ve only ever indulged this kink through videos online.
The actual substance doesn’t turn me on—I have no desire to be
puked on. For me, the fantasy involves being with someone as they
begin to feel sick, and then taking care of them as they puke. It has
something to do with the buildup and release. Who knows? I’m
married, and I told my husband about my kink exactly once, a few
years ago. He wasn’t judgmental, but he never brought it up again.
We have a great sex life otherwise, and I’ve always assumed I’d have
satisfying, normal sex with my husband and masturbate to this kink
in private. But recently, on a whim, I posted a message on a kink site.
A few weeks later, a guy reached out to say the description exactly
mirrored his own kink. We’ve been texting for a few weeks. He makes
me feel like less of a freak, it’s been super hot, and we’ve talked about
meeting up and role-playing for each other. It makes me go crazy
just to think about this. In light of the health risks—and the fact that
I’m married—this would be a one-time thing. Do I have to tell my
husband? I don’t want to have sex with this person; I just want to
live out my fantasy for one night, which doesn’t necessarily involve
getting naked. But obviously we will both get off, so there’s a definite
sexual element. My husband and I have had threesomes, so he’s not
a “strictly monogamous” guy, but it is new for me to strike out on my
own. But more than that, I’m mortified at the thought of him knowing
about the kind of night I’m having, asking me about it later, etc. I
would just rather him not know. But is that cheating?
—A Lady Emetophile Meets Her Match
The answer to your last question—is that cheating?—is obvious.
If that wasn’t cheating, ALEMHM, or if you thought your husband
wouldn’t regard it as cheating, you would be asking him for
permission to meet up with your vomit buddy. So let’s just run
with the assumption that getting together with your VB would
constitute infidelity, if the low-grade, nonpenetrative, not-for-everyone
So do you have to tell your husband? You could tell your husband—and
lots of people will insist you must tell your husband—
but I’m sitting here, in this Starbucks on Lex and 78th, wondering
if your husband would rather not be told.
You shared your kink with your husband once, and he never
brought it up again. We can reasonably assume that your husband
isn’t interested in discussing, much less indulging, this very
particular sexual interest of yours. Another reasonable assumption:
Your kink may not be something your husband wants to
think about. The awareness of your kink, to use Emily “Dear
Prudence Emeritus” Yoffe’s phrase, could be a libido killer for
him. If your husband worked at stuffing your disclosure down
the memory hole, because it interferes with his ability to connect
with you sexually, asking permission to spend an evening with
your VB could come as an unwelcome reminder.
So you could make—as I’ve just made—an argument for sparing your
husband the reminder, and sparing yourself the discomfort, by not telling
and/or asking him, and then discreetly meeting up with your VB just this
once. (The counterargument is also easily made: He never brought it up
again because he picked up on your shame, he didn’t want to distress you,
etc.) But if you decide to meet your VB, ALEMHM, weigh the risks (what
happens if you get caught?) against the rewards (scratching this off your
kidney dish list!), meet up with your VB in public first, and let someone
know where you are and who you’re with on the big night.
I’m a 49-year-old gay man. I’ve become friends with a 21-year-old straight
guy. He’s really hot. He’s had to drop out of college and return home. I know
he needs money, as he hasn’t found a job yet and has resorted to selling
off old music equipment. I would love to have some sweaty clothes of his,
namely his underwear, but I’d settle for a sweaty tank top. Is it legal to buy
someone’s underwear? He’s a sweet guy, and I don’t want to freak him out by
asking something so personal. How do I broach the subject?
—Lustfully Obsessed Stink Seeker
It’s perfectly legal to buy and sell used underwear, LOSS, so there’s no
legal risk. But you risk losing this guy as a friend if you broach the subject.
You can approach it indirectly by saying something like “So sorry to hear
you’re selling off your music equipment. You’re young and hot—you could
probably make more money selling used underwear or sweaty tanks.”
Then follow his lead: If he’s disgusted by the suggestion, drop it. If he’s into
the idea, offer to be his first customer.
I am a twentysomething, straight, cis-female expat. How long do I have to
wait to ask my German lover, who is übersensitive about the Holocaust,
to indulge me in my greatest—and, until now, unrealized—fantasy: Nazi
role-play? He is very delicate around me because I am a secular Jew and the
descendant of Holocaust survivors. (Even though I’ve instructed him to watch
The Believer, starring Ryan Gosling as a Jewish neo-Nazi, to get a better grasp
on my relationship with Judaism. To be clear, I am not actually a neo-Nazi—just
your garden-variety self-hating Jew.) This persists even though we’ve
spoken about my anti-Zionist politics. Evidently he was indoctrinated from
a young age with a hyperapologetic history curriculum. I appreciate that he
thinks it was wrong for the SS to slaughter my family, but it’s not like he did it
himself. I know it sounds really fucked up, but I promise this isn’t coming from
a place of deep-seated self-loathing. Even if it were, it’s not like we’d be hurting
anybody. We’re both in good psychological working condition, and neither
of us is an actual bigot. I would try to get to know him better, but we are so
different (there’s a big age difference) and I don’t really see our relationship
being much more than ze sex.
—National Socialist Pretend Party
“Sex writers get all the really good religion questions,” said Mark Oppenheimer.
“Can we trade mailboxes sometime soon? I’m tired of dealing
by Dan Savage
with all the questions about why evangelicals support a thrice-married
misogynist reality-TV star who never goes to church.”
Oppenheimer writes the Beliefs column for the New York Times and
is cohost of Unorthodox, an “irreverent podcast about Jews and other
people” (tabletmag.com/unorthodox). I invited Oppenheimer to weigh
in because I am, sadly, not Jewish myself. (Jewishness is conferred through
matrilineal descent, your mom—or, if you’re Reform, either parent—has
to be Jewish for you to be Jewish, so all those blowjobs I gave to my first
Jewish boyfriend were for nothing. No birthright trip for me.)
“First off, I think that Die Fraulein should make her kinky proposal
ASAP,” said Oppenheimer. “Given the ‘hyperapologetic’ curriculum that
her Teutonic stud has absorbed, he is probably going to freak out no
matter when she asks him to incinerate—er, tie her up and fuck her. On
the other hand, if he’s open and kink-positive, he’ll probably be down for
whatever. But it’s all or nothing in a case like this. She can’t win him over by
persuading him that she’s not one of those uptight, unforgiving Jewesses
who is still hung up on the destruction of European Jewry.”
While your kink didn’t really faze Oppenheimer (it’s not exactly unheard
of), NSPP, your discomfort with your own Judaism did.
“In her letter, she assures us that she is ‘secular,’ ‘anti-Zionist,’ and
‘garden-variety self-hating’—then jokingly compares herself to the Jewish
white supremacist (played by Ryan Gosling in that movie) who in real life
killed himself after the New York Times outed him as a Jew,” said Oppenheimer.
“Now, all of us (especially homos and Yids) know something about
self-loathing, and I think Jews are entitled to any and all views on Israel,
and—again—I am not troubled by her kink. That said, I do think she needs
to get to a happier place about her own heritage. Just as it’s not good for
black people to be uncomfortable with being black, or for queer people to
wish they weren’t queer, it’s not healthy, or attractive, for Jews or Jewesses
(we are taking back the term)
to have such obvious discomfort
with their Jewish heritage.”
And finally, NSPP, I shared
your letter with a German
friend of mine, just to see
how it might play with
someone who benefited from
a hyperapologetic history
curriculum. Would he do
something like this?
“Not in six million years.”
Listen to Dan at
Email Dan at
@fakedansavage on Twitter
EMPOWERING CANADA’S DIVERSE SEX POSITIVE COMMUNITY
We are an inclusive, sex-positive adult store. Through our huge selection of high-quality toys, lingerie,
and gear, and our commitment to ongoing education and sharing resources, we aim to create a space
for an open and compassionate experience, and help empower our customers to continue
to explore and define their own sexual expression.
50 | MAY 2016 • BEATROUTE