BeatRoute Magazine Alberta print e-edition - May 2016

beatroute

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

Black Mountain • Savages • Har Mar Superstar • SNBRN • Daniel Romano • Baroness • ANOHNI


Editor’s Note/Pulse 4

Bedroom Eyes 7

Netflix & Kill 14

Vidiot 17

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

FEATURES

Marlaena Moore 30-31

CITY 9-10

Decidedly Jazz Dance Centre,

Shirley Gnome

FILM 13-17

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Summer Movie Preview,

Big Rock Eddies

TABLE OF CONTENTS

MUSIC

rockpile 18-25

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

Fall

jucy 32-33

SNBRN, Terravita, Stooki Sound

roots 35-37

The Ironwood Stage & Grill, Robert

Rooke, Back Pocket, Daniel Romano

shrapnel 39-40

Black Rat, Zimmer’s Hole, Baroness,

Witchstone

REVIEWS

cds 43-46

ANOHNI and much, much more ...

live 48

Triton, Modern Space, Rihanna

BEATROUTE

Publisher/Editor-in-Chief

Brad Simm

Marketing Manager

Glenn Alderson

Advertising Manager

Ron Goldberger

Production Coordinator

Hayley Muir

Managing Editor/Web Producer

Shane Flug

Music Editor/Social Media Consultant

Colin Gallant

Section Editors

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

Advertising

Tel: 403.451.7628 • e-mail: sales@beatroute.ca

Distribution

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: editor@beatroute.ca • website: www.beatroute.ca

Copyright © BEATROUTE Magazine 2016. All rights reserved. Reproduction of the contents is prohibited.

BEATROUTE • MAY 2016 | 3


pulse

SHAnnOn and THE CLAMS

San Francisco’s premiere garage doo-woppers swing up north to play with La Luz May 25 at

The Palomino.

VAnTOPiA 4!

Vans, bands and beer June-3-5 out in them

thar Three Hills. Go to vanditsvc.blogspot.ca

THE MAnTS

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.

ROASTABOUT

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

garbagedaze.com.

Quality Traditional Tattooing

#402 815 1 st Street S.W. Calgary, Alberta

403-667-5557

Black Diamond Tattoo Studio

www.blackdiamondtattoostudio.com

4 | MAY 2016 • BEATROUTE


KIM COOPER

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


CITY

DECIDEDLY JAZZ DANCE CENTRE

a New Universe awaits

CITY

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

positive energy.

“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

successful.”

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

June 12.

BEATROUTE • MAY 2016 | 9


SHIRLEY GNOME

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

mirror.

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

Gnome?

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

perform?

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

bookings?

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

language?

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

lyrics?

You have no idea what doesn’t make it to the stage.

NO IDEA.

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


FILM

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

cramp.

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

FILM

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

for (him).”

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

grade-school premise.

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

alien life.

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

Jason Bourne!”

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

vs. Superman.

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

SANDLER MOVIE.

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

success.

“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

film festivals.

“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.

FILM

BEATROUTE • MAY 2016 | 15


THE VIDIOT

rewind to the future

by Shane Sellar

The 5th Wave

The Revenant

The Forest

Star Wars Episode VII

Concussion

The 5th Wave

The easiest way for invading aliens to assimilate

into our society is by staging a televised singing

competition.

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

post-apocalyptic counterparts.

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.

The Revenant

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

to starfish.

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

(Leonardo DiCaprio).

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 Forest

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

horror movie.

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.


The Hallow

If you’re moving into a densely wooded area don’t

be surprised to find dead sex-trade workers on

your hikes.

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:

Darth Disney.

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

newfound abilities.

With stunning effects and organic worlds,

Disney’s continuation returns the franchise back

to basics.

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?

Concussion

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

professionally.


He’s a Folk Laureate. He’s the…

Vidiot

16 | MAY 2016 • BEATROUTE FILM


ROCKPILE

BLACK MOUNTAIN

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

touring schedule.

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.

SAVAGES

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

different sounds.”

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


TIM HEIDECKER

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

album?

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

together?

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

“I’m

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

should be.”

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

I wanted.

“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

record together.”

“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

compilation.”

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

ROCKPILE

BEATROUTE • MAY 2016 | 21


LA LUZ

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

through SXSW.

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,

sweet harmonies.

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

continues.

“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

good reason.

“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

Vancouver.

WHITNEY

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

Chicago apartment.

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

of arrangements.”

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

horn chorus.

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


SEAN HAMILTON

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

to songwriting.

“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

Ponetix.

After a trip to Nashville, Sean Hamilton explores music outside the punk spectrum.

by Michael Grondin

photo: Unfolding Creative

ROCKPILE

BEATROUTE • MAY 2016 | 23


PETER & THE WOLVES

party like it’s 1959 by Mike Fury

COWPUNCHER

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

coming through.

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.

by

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

accepts it.

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

previous record.

“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.

B. Simm

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

career.”

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

(http://fancydiamonds.bandcamp.com.)

24 | MAY 2016 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE

by The Riz


JULIUS SUMNER MILLER

fun punk party masters release their debut album by Willow Grier

MOMENTS

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.

ROCKPILE

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

it too.

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

May 16th.

photo: Arif Ansari

FEST

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

Moments Fest.

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

Community Centre.

by Jodi Brak

BEATROUTE • MAY 2016 | 25


EDMONTON EXTRA

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

the future?

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

maintaining.

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

Brett Montrose.

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


QUANTIZE

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

“All

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

dream.

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

ROCKPILE

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

“A

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

through experience.”

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

for many.

“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

different practices.”

“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,

May 11-15.

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

Lethbridge.

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

MULLIGRUB

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

regrets.

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

Swearin’.

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

“super personal.”

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

pure grudge.”

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

into music.

“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

to mulligrub.bandcamp.com

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

ROCKPILE

photo:Josh Doohkie

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

songwriter.”

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

indie-rock ambitions.

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

it worked.”

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

one go.”

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


MARLAENA MOORE

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

M

eetindiesinger-songwriterMarlaenaMoore,whodefiesthetired

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.”

ROCKPILE

Photo: Levi Manchak

THE WUNDERFLUNECE

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

different cities.

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

became GAZE.

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


JUCY

SNBRN

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?”

“It’s

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

annoying.

Predictable tunes are something house fans are already pretty

familiar with.

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

territory.

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.

TERRAVITA

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

Commonwealth.

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

STÖÖKI SOUND

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

JUICY

BEATROUTE • MAY 2016 | 33


ROOTS

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

ROOTS

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


May lISTInGS

FRI

6

TUES

10

THUR

12

FRI

20

SaT

21

THUR

26

FRI

27

SaT

28

Ryland MoRanz

with Gillian Moranz &

Steven Foord

JEnny allEn

QUInTon BlaIR &

BlakE BERGlUnd

TanIka CHaRlES

kEv CoRBETT,

young Benjamins &

The Raven and the Fox

kEn STEad

& ERIn kay

Todd MadUkE &

Guests

laTE nIGHT at the

Plaza Fundraiser

ROBERT ROOKE

bold young blues artist steps out as a singer-songwriter

Rooke strives to “express what [he’s] all about through singing and songwriting.”

BACK POCKET

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

musician.

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.”

photo:Crystal Schick

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.

Location TBA.

36 | MAY 2016 • BEATROUTE ROOTS


DANIEL ROMANO

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

new vibe.

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.

ROOTS

BEATROUTE • MAY 2016 | 37


SHRAPNEL

BLACKRAT

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

cassette format.”

“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

Canada.

“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

drums.”

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

conspirators.

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.

ZIMMER’S HOLE

back from the abyss

by Heath Fenton

Zimmer’s Hole just may be the epitome of the phrase

tongue-in-cheek.

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

explains.

“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


BARONESS

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

everything.”

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

on Purple.

“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

2016.calgary.wordcamp.org

SHRAPNEL

BEATROUTE • MAY 2016 | 39


WITCHSTONE

journeying to the Sludgeland and beyond

by Willow Grier

This Month

In METAL

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

immediate horizon.

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

Alberta Oilfields.

“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

this fall.

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

Ballroom.

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


musicreviews

ANOHNI

Hopelessness

Secretly Canadian / Rough Trade

Hopelessness is an outspoken protest album by

an inscrutable artist responsible for some recent,

important conversations on trans visibility and

misogyny. As a feature-length review, it’s a somewhat

terrifying subject.

If the name ANOHNI is unfamiliar to you, it

may be useful to know that she is an accomplished

avant-garde theatre artist and has won over the rest

of the art world with her smoldering chamber pop

as Antony and the Johnsons. The recent change in

name comes in part from being a transgender woman.

The media world’s awareness of which became

fodder for headlines throughout the music press, but

this is not the most important thing to know about

either ANOHNI or Hopelessness. While trans visibility

remains an extremely important conversation to

have, (ANOHNI’s role in which leading to scrutiny

of the Academy Awards’ decision to exclude her

from performing her nominated song at this year’s

ceremony), she is an artist with too much to say to

be ghettoized into one facet of societal labels.

For existent fans, the conversation point of

Hopelessness is likely the departure from acoustic

piano and orchestral instrumentation to the high

gloss, electronic maximalism of Hudson Mohawke

(TNGHT, Kanye West, Drake) and dank experimentalism

of Daniel Lopatin (Oneohtrix Point Never). It’s

a sonic chapter unlike any she’s penned before, and

while the thumbprint of the two can’t be ignored on

the record, ANOHNI is a mammoth presence whose

talent can only be stimulated, not overwhelmed.

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

megaliths like Björk and Lou Reed.

The thematic core of Hopelessness is its outright

rejection of contemporary society’s complacency,

with America seemingly the bull’s eye of her

condemnation. There’s no better example than

“Obama,” which calls the sitting president to task

over surveillance, persecution of whistleblowers, torture

and failed promises. It’s a blunt approach that

may well be questioned for its one-sided absolutism.

What makes this work is the incorporation of unlikely

sonic nuance. Mohawke’s enormous synthetic

horns and Lopatin’s bone-liquefying sub-bass are

immediately exciting like all good pop music should

be. Pop is often concerned with distilling the complexities

of love into four word choruses that create

enough feeling to capture the listener fully, only letting

them pause to reflect more deeply at the onset

of comedown. ANOHNI has harnessed that spirit to

make the ugliness of social injustice palatable and

impossible to ignore.

The boldest example of this strategy may be “Crisis,”

the late album cut that sounds like the moment

the hunk stops his beloved from boarding a plane in

a romance movie. Before you cringe, you might want

to take into account that this song is an apology to

violent extremists created by American war crimes

in the Middle East. There are also tracks that need

little explanation, like trap banger “Drone Bomb

Me” and stuttering anthem “Execution.” This review

doesn’t have to take a political stance (and nor does

the reader) to appreciate what ANOHNI’s end game

is. It’s impossible not to have a strong reaction to

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

accomplishment than a consensus of belief.

In order to take away the political divisiveness of

its subject matter, I like to imagine what this album

would sound like to someone who doesn’t speak a

word of English. Almost unquestionably, ANOHNI

has the most powerful and unconventional singing

voice since Björk. The closest comparison would

be an elite alto choir falling into a chasm mid-note

during an earthquake. The immensity of the beats,

bass and timeless melody provided by her producers

would be cheapened by terms like immaculate

and epic. Hopelessness inspires its exact opposite

through an untouchable level of production value,

raw talent and explosive statements. Best-rewarded

listeners will appreciate all three components, but

even the least radical audience member is unlikely to

find nothing to adore.

• Colin Gallant

illustration: Cristian Fowlie

BEATROUTE • MAY 2016 | 43


Autolux

Pussy’s Dead

30th Century Records

Released off Danger Mouse’s recently established

label, 30th Century Records, Autolux has

officially traded in the shoegaze they were once

known for and instead gets busy with interstellar

rock layered with tic-toc tech beats. A

major shift from their 2004 debut album, Future

Perfect, Pussy’s Dead leaves little room for familiarity.

If anything remains, lead singer Eugene

Goreshter still maintains a spiderweb-quality

of voice only Elliot Smith can master. The first

track, titled “Selectallcopy,” is arguably the most

amount of pop this album can muster, with

its steady repetitive rhythm. True to Autolux

fashion, the lyrics are slightly spooky, and sound

like they’re coming from another room. Their

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

and almost soundtrack-like. It’s clear at

this point that Autolux are confident in this

direction as the rest of the album swings in and

out with experimental sounds, an aesthetic no

doubt brought on by producer BOOTS; a now

well-known artist and producer who worked

with Beyoncé for her self-titled album Beyoncé

in 2013. Listeners may feel they’re beginning

to hear the same song over and over, or that

some of them are just about to overstay their

welcome, but with a bit of commitment, there

are still a few surprises remaining. Final track

“Becker” captures a missing piece not yet heard

on this album; it’s both satisfying and sweet,

opening with the sound of an acoustic guitar

before tucking into a sleepy run to the finish

line. For those who remember Autolux as the

dreamy and soft band from a more than a decade

ago, it’s reassuring to know that the album

is still soft. For fans, this could be a sign of things

to come for the three-piece from Los Angeles,

and for 30th Century Records as well.

• Leyland Bradley

Julianna Barwick

Will

Dead Oceans

You can feel yourself wading through ominous

oceans of sound as soon as Will inhabits the

intimate realms of your consciousness. The

nine-track adagio swells with languid waves

of looping vocals alongside drifts of electric

currents. They lap over each other, yet they do

not overcome one another. Julianna Barwick is

minimal in her instrumentation, creating a purposely

simplistic tone. A tone that makes you

feel as if you are a slow-moving wave in a body

of water, eventually evaporating, condensing,

becoming a cloud, until finally dripping down as

rain beating on the earth below. Pit pat, pitter

pat. Creating a consistent and unique melody,

one that is natural, the kind that you hope could

last forever. Like Barwick’s hands pitter-pattering

across piano keys or her bow slip-sliding across

cello strings. She embraces rhythms that mirror

natural acoustics. The earth, an ocean, the

atmosphere, its rain. The sounds she creates are

as natural as her own introspection, exploring

her mind’s depths, refraining upon her own

emotions. And as she reflects, you reflect. And

as her emotions process, they naturally lead to

the soundscapes that culminate in the ethereal

world that is Will.

• Hannah Many Guns

Bleached

Welcome The Worms

Dead Oceans

Even though the record was released on April

1st, this Californian trio’s new record is no joke.

The band’s second record features an early 2000s

alternative rock and garage band sound that is

pretty rare in rock music these days. This writer

would call their sound, if The Hives had a strong

female vocal.

Since their 2013 release, Ride Your Heart, the

vocals have gotten stronger and the beat more

stable and consistent, sounding like they have put

thousands of hours into improving their sound.

“Keep On Keepin’ On,” is a solid start to the

record, with its consistent toe-tapping beat

and simple sing along lyrics that would get the

listener pumped for a night out in a heartbeat.

The fourth track, “Wednesday Night Melody”

takes a turn, beat wise, slowing everything down

slightly, but still keeping the consistency of the

rest of the record.

The fifth track, “Wasted on You”, features a

semi-fast beat including lyrics that bluntly talk

about wasting time on a person they were once

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

wasting my emotions on you, getting high on

the drug that I call you.”

The entire 10-track record is a consistent

collection of head-banging fast paced songs

featuring fearlessly real lyrics clearly influenced

by the fast pace life of an easy going Californian

twenty-something.

• Andrea Hrynyk

Tim Hecker

Love Streams

Paper Bag Records

Space is definitely the place throughout this

otherworldly release by a seasoned sonic

manipulator who is no stranger to pushing the

boundaries of electronic experimentation. Flute

sounds are meticulously sampled and placed

in robotic orchestration on “Obsidian Counterpoint”

making it come across like a soundtrack

for imploding stars. What sounds like a xylophone

is also heavily processed with blasts of

echoed reverb leaving it almost unrecognizable.

The vast array of tones is quite overpowering

as tracks incorporate anything from humans

chanting to stuttering oboe loops. Like much

of Hecker’s work the samples are never too

smooth. Sounds glitch from one another leaping

in expressions of surprise. Each track is like a

stream of sounds bleeding into one another

over the course of the album. Where this river of

sound is headed is up for you to decide because

the extreme abstraction suggests this album is

really all about the journey.

• Dan Potter

Tim Heidecker

In Glendale

Rado Records

Tim Heidecker (Heidecker and Wood, The

Yellow River Boys, Tim & Eric) is well known

in comedic circles for his nuanced satire and

goofball characters. He’s also no stranger to the

music studio.

In Glendale marks successful emergence

for Heidecker, with his first earnest collection

of songs produced under his full name. The

“post-normcore” overtones and, at times, banality

of the subject matter, do not disappoint

at painting a picture of the humour in young

fatherhood and domestic obligation.

Heidecker opts for the sound he is most accustomed

to: a mix of ‘70s-inspired singer-songwriter

ballads, bar rock and Americana that

both charms and burrows in after listening.

Title track, “In Glendale,” is upbeat with

blaring horns and lush, layered backing vocals

that wouldn’t be out of place on a Van Morrison

track. “Work From Home” is a half-speed hangover

anthem with flourishes of Wurlitzer and

subdued stabs of horn. “Ghost In My Bed” posits

acoustic macabre as a viable sound by way of

lively acoustic strumming and ghoulish lyrics.

There’s a brief encounter with Nicholas Cage,

a Yankee Hotel Foxtrot kind of outro, an ode to

central air, and tales of struggling Californians.

And though Tim Heidecker skirts the line of sincerity

and comedy with In Glendale, he ensures

banality and surrealism are never at odds.

• Mike Ryan

Hooded Fang

Venus on Edge

Daps Records

It’s been three years since Hooded Fang’s last

album, Gravez. Accordingly, their jaw-dropping

new full-length Venus on Edge doesn’t waste a

moment rocketing off. “Tunnel Vision” has the

patented bounce of a Hooded Fang song, but

with much higher tension and fidelity than the

band has showcased in the past. As twin razorwire

guitars shriek out against the palpitations

of the bass line, vocalist Daniel Lee yelps out:

“We sleep! To Drown! Inside! That sound!”

It’s not even the most dizzying charge on the

album. The surf- and psych-tinged riffs propelling

Hooded Fang towards a crash are almost impossible

to imagine being played by human fingers. A

personal favourite is “A Final Hello,” a track that

sounds like a sped-up version of the performance

from Revenge of the Nerds, except with way, way

more lasers. Even “Plastic Love,” which plays at

being a case of post-sunstroke disorientation, hits

a searing sweet spot at the intersection of psych

and savagery. It really helps the songs that Venus

is such a step up in fidelity. Every time an effect

is used or the pace takes a sudden turn, you can

discern that this is no accidental chaos. Venus

on Edge charges at the listener at full pace, but

makes enough exciting zigzags to keep its mystique

in tact. In this reviewer’s opinion, it’s already

one of the finest rock records of the year.

• Colin Gallant

Jessy Lanza

Oh No

Hyperdub

Jessy Lanza seemingly came out of nowhere with

her icy smooth debut Pull My Hair Back in 2013.

Based out of Hamilton and coming out of the

gate as a Hyperdub-approved artist drew attention

from all corners of the globe, including a

nod for the 2014 Polaris Prize. Three years later,

she’s back in even finer form.

Sonically, similarly crisp drums, wet bass and

breathy vocals make up the bulk of the album.

Where Lanza most shows growth is in mastery

of mood. Opener “new ogi” centers on a visceral

synth arpeggio, and leaves the listener wanting

more by the end of its short two minutes. It’s a

strategic holding pattern: at the moment of the

song’s sudden conclusion, “vv violence” begins

with a hop-scotch lyrical taunt from Lanza. “Got

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

It’s an ultra taught track that makes for an

early highlight while foreshadowing some of the

pacing tricks to come. After club-centric “never

enough” comes the blurry, opioid yearning of “i

talk BB,” a removed yet fed-up plea to a lover to

shut up and listen. Compared to Pull My Hair

Back’s somewhat vague slow jams, the slow pace

of Oh No’s downer numbers feels much more

confident. To no surprise, the highest point

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

a brilliantly balanced track, walking the line between

2 a.m. club fare and private dances in unlit

bedrooms. It’s at this intersection that Lanza sits

on a throne, unchallenged in her rule of electro-pop’s

ability to be personal and communal.

• Colin Gallant

Little Scream

Cult Following

Dine Alone Records

Building on the wandering first album Gold

Recordings, Cult Following expands on a theme

a self-exploration by using an eclectic orchestra

with an assortment of collaborators. Among

them are the likes of Mary Margaret O’Hara,

Sufjan Stevens, Sharon Van Etten, Aaron

and Bryce Dessner (of The National, who also

worked on her first album), Owen Pallett, Kyp

Malone and finally, Little Scream’s long time

producer Richard Reed Parry.

Rather than changing tones suddenly, songs

lead into one another so seamlessly you may

miss the title change. The album, perhaps

slightly more cohesive than the last, breathes a

slowly evolving air. What starts off as a dandy

Scissor Sisters-like album with “Love as a

Weapon,” quickly becomes a speculative art-pop

breakdown of relationships and sentiment with

swelling instrumentation.

Comparisons to St. Vincent and Hundred

Waters are not quite right but true of Little

Screams’ use of discordant guitar ornamentation,

layers and lively vocals. On the whole,

however, this is a different project that follows

the impulse to capture larger-than-life emotive

magic that slips from state to state.

• Arielle Lessard

Lyrics Born

Now Look What You’ve Done, Lyrics Born!

Mobile Home Recordings

With over two decades of hard work and

constant production as an artist in the more

obscure reaches of hip hop, Lyrics Born has added

another album to his ever growing discography,

“Now Look What You’ve Done, Lyrics Born!” This

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

artist has complied a collection of 16 tracks into

a greatest hits album to prove, once again, that

he’s a heavyweight in the underground scene.

Brought to life with a 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

Parquet Courts

Human Performance

Rough Trade Records

Parquet Courts’ new record Human Performance

is one of the group’s most listenable outings to

date, and unlike previous efforts, it shines when

the band decides to slow down the tempo.

Songs like the lead single “Dust,” feature the

Brooklyn band’s ability to distill everyday anxieties

into a fairly straightforward tune. Like most of

Courts’ oeuvre, the song is repetitive and sonically

simplistic, anchored by a tom, heavy percussion

and singer Austin Brown sarcastically sing-talking

about everyday minutiae like sweeping dust.

It’s refreshing to hear the band bounce back

after their decidedly unlistenable venture into

noise on the Monastic Living EP. Songs like

“Berlin Got Blurry” and “Outside” are two of the

more catchy singles the band has ever released,

perfectly combining the group’s angular sonics

with singer Andrew Savage’s personal lyricism.

Interchanging vocalists helps Human Performance

immensely. Once again, Austin Brown steals

the show with songs like the woozy “Captive of

the Sun” and the listless, bongo-centric “No Man

No City.” Bassist Sean Yeaton also takes his turn

at the mic with “I Was Just There,” a woozy late

night quest for munchies that eventually turns

into a tightly wound send off to neighbourhood

gentrification.

• Jamie McNamara

Sleepkit

Champion Weekend

Independent

Calgary’s Sleepkit execute Champion Weekend,

their debut release, with great attention to

detail. It’s an eleven-song behemoth of a journey

into psychedelia.

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,

pounding drums.

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

road trip.

Champion Weekend is precise and calculated

while simultaneously saturated in Technicolor

feedback.

• Michael Grondin

The Strumbellas

Hope

Six Shooter Records Inc.

With two studio albums and a self-titled EP

already released, Hope fits beautifully into

Toronto-based band, The Strumbellas, already

fantastic discography.

The folky, easy listening sound makes it the perfect

soundtrack for a sunny road trip. The album

fits nicely, 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

Alternative charts.

The album features several upbeat, toe-tapping

songs including, “Dog,” “Young & Wild” and

“The Night Will Save Us.”

The third song on the album is a powerful

track called “We Don’t Know.” It has lyrics that

talk about hard times, and not knowing what

the future will hold, but knowing that one will be

okay anyway. Aside from the raw and real lyrics,

the anthem-like track features impressive violins

by Isabel Ritchie.

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

song that features lyrics that talk about

taking one’s negative traits yet accepting them

as positive things.

One of the only ballads on the album, “I Still

Make Her Cry,” features a simple piano and vocal

track with honest lyrics about missing someone

you love when you’re away from them.

The album concludes on a softer note with

the 11th track, “Wild Sun”, overall making the

album an impressive collection of songs.

• Andrea Hrynyk

Villas

Medicine

Wise Child Records

Skirting the lines of EDM, R&B and an austere form of

pop, Villas’ Medicine EP is a new project that’s borne

from the undercurrent of modernity and the mainstream’s

malaise, undulating with a dark lyrical focus,

layered melodies and highly produced rhythmic diversions.

Anchored in a rural studio in Canada’s Prince

Edward County, the Medicine EP was co-produced by

D’Ari and Jake Birch with the songs being co-written

by Villas’, Miel & D’Ari, in a collaboration with contributors

from Atlanta, Chicago and Israel. The five tracks

of the album explore the darkness, contradiction and

struggle of a personal relationship that’s fraught with

a need to escape stolen regrets, haunting failures, and

crushing expectations. The album’s journey begins

with “Diamond Rings,” a track full of self-denial and

defiance in the pursuit and embrace of imperfection.

“Life Jacket” follows this opening with a confessional

from Miel about drowning in the self-destruction

of desire and her propensity to drag a lover under

if they dare to need her. The midway point of the

album is a perverse disclosure that dances the border

of hubris and penance, “Fuckin Round on You.” The

apex of this dark foray is found in “Can’t Sleep,” a

track that waxes about the unceasing fear of failure,

the crushing weight of inadequacy and the plea for

a fresh start and escape. The album’s conclusion is

“Higher Heights,” the only track that seems to evoke

a sense of hope, but through the unabashed desire to

use the body as a source of release and ecstasy: sex as

medicine. The whole album reads as an exploration

into the suffering of a woman who’s fighting for the

freedom to misbehave and find solace in her collapse.

• Andrew R. Mott

Walrus

Goodbye Something EP

The best/worst thing about Goodbye Something is

that it’s only four songs long, barely a taste of what

the Halifax psych-rock band is capable of. “Wearing

It” sets the stage with slippery guitars and some

slap-back vocals in a pretty satisfying rock song that

cleverly avoids resolving its progressions at the most

enduring points in the song and introduces an excellent

guitar freakout with a fledgling muted bass-line.

The roll into “Fur Skin Coat” is smooth enough

and the slow build of the song earns the Beatles

namesake they are rolling with, but is over in a paltry

two minutes. “Feels” is certainly the standout

with its ear-catching tremolo guitar and dynamic

structure. The drums on this track also push forward

in the more driving moments, a sly contrast

to the funkier guitar and bass parts. The EP closes

with an acoustic flare, and some mild twang before

transitioning into another half-earned guitar freakout

and ending way sooner than it should.

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

concise. Goodbye Something very effectively

demonstrates Walrus’ range as a band, but

doesn’t offer a clear picture of who they are or

who they might turn into. Here’s to a freaky and

forceful full-length.

Xiu Xiu

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


White Lung

Paradise

Domino Records

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

crashing abruptly.

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

Holy Fuck

Congrats

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

Congrats.

“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

coming months.

• Paul Rodgers

Kaytranada

99.9%

XL Recordings

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

known for.

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

Andy Shauf

The Party

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

lyricism.

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

stomach tobacco.

The Party is an extremely strong record for Shauf,

thematically centered, beautiful, and as always,

extremely charming.

• Liam Prost

46 | MAY 2016 • BEATROUTE


livereviews

Rihanna

Scotiabank Saddledome

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

that… mostly.

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

Dickens

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

The Gateway

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

song concluded.

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,

Arctic Monkeys.

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

very end.

• review and photo: Andrea Hrynyk

48 | MAY 2016 • BEATROUTE


Savage Love

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

kind.

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

savagelovecast.com

Email Dan at

mail@savagelove.net

Follow Dan

@fakedansavage on Twitter

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and gear, and our commitment to ongoing education and sharing resources, we aim to create a space

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to explore and define their own sexual expression.

50 | MAY 2016 • BEATROUTE

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