BeatRoute Magazine Alberta print e-edtion - June 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.

Destruction Unit • Chixdiggit • Of Montreal • Hai Karate • Kris Demeanor • Mortillery • Tegan and Sara


Editor’s Note/Pulse 4

Bedroom Eyes 7

Places Please 10

Vidiot 14

Edmonton Extra 42-43

Book of Bridge 44

Letters from Winnipeg 45

Let’s Get Jucy! 37

This Month in Metal 53

FEATURES

Sled Island 2016 25-41

CITY 9-10

CKUA, Arts Corner, Monthly Mouthful

FILM 12-14

Space Jam, Chained Heat, Netflix and Kill,

Y2Kreative

TABLE OF CONTENTS

MUSIC

rockpile 16-22

Destruction Unit, Garbage Daze,

Of Montreal, Hooded Fand, Bad Animal,

Chixdiggit, Vantopia, Leftover Crack,

Dayglo Abortions, Brass Monkey, High

Strung Downers

jucy 47

Hai Karate

roots 49-50

Kris Demeanor, Jenny Berkel, North

Country Fair

shrapnel 52-53

Mortillery, The Month in Metal

REVIEWS

cds 55-58

Tegan and Sara and much more ...

live 60

Savages, Beyonce

BEATROUTE

Publisher/Editor-in-Chief

Brad Simm

Marketing Manager

Glenn Alderson

Advertising Manager

Ron Goldberger

Production Coordinator

Hayley Muir

Content Coordinator

Masha Scheele

Managing Editor/Web Producer

Shane Flug

Music Editor

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

This Month’s Contributing Writers

Christine Leonard • Gareth Watkins • Sam Risser • Sarah Mac • Mike Ryan • Michael

Grondin • Kyle Lovstrom • Sara Elizabeth Taylor • Alison Musial • Kyle Harcott • Levi

Manchak • Foster Modesette • James Barager • Jamie McNamara • Breanna Whipple •

Rob Pearson • Brandon Tucker • Michael Dunn • Shane Sellar • Trent Warner • Bryce

Dunn • Brittany Rudyck • Jamie McNamara • Jonathan Lawrence • Dan Savage

This Month’s Contributing Photographers & Illustrators

Michael Grondin • Levi Manchak • Courtney Creator • Dylan Smith

Front Cover

Tom Bagley

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

E-Edition

Yumpu.com/BeatRoute

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BeatRoute Magazine

1112A 4th Street SW • Calgary, AB • T24 0X6 • Canada

e-mail: editor@beatroute.ca • website: www.beatroute.ca

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

Chixdiggit - page 19

BEATROUTE • JUNE 2016 | 3


pulse

CALGARY MULTICULTURAL

ORCHESTRA BENEFIT

BROKEN CITY will be hosting a

fundraiser Thursday, June 30 with

proceeds going to support the Calgary

Multicultural Orchestra ‘s 2016/2017

season. The event will feature live

music and a 50/50 raffle. CMO offers

free after school music lessons to

children ages 6 -17. Children learn

a musical instrument, play in an

orchestra, and perform in community

concerts and recitals throughout the

year. The CMO is a creative learning

environment, and a safe space in

which to develop trust, confidence

and friendships.

NMC MEMBERSHIPS

NMC Memberships provide year-round access to Studio Bell and

help to support our operations. Memberships purchased between

June 1-June 30 will have a special “front-of-the-line” discount, and

cost $49 ($58 after July 1) for adults, $38 ($45 after July 1) for students/seniors,

and $94 ($110 after July 1) for families of four.

What are the benefits to advance memberships?

• 15% discount on membership price

• 10% discount at Studio Bell’s gift shop and coffee retailer,

Rosso Coffee Roasters

• 1 free general admission ticket for a non-member guest

• 1 gift card for Rosso Coffee Roasters

FROGFEST FESTIVAL 2016

Three days of camping, music, peace, love and frolicking in the forest

outside Rocky Mtn. House. Oh joy, oh bliss a wonderment not to be

missed. Sleepkit, The Firm Handshake, The Handle, Slow Down Molasses,

The Wheel, Robot Workers, The Ashley Hundred, Old Cabin,

EHM Sky Patrol, The Rumble, Rotary Park, Serious Clouds, Rosalind,

Rak and Targus, Chicken-Like Birds, Manaray, The Bitterweed Draw,

Ewan McIntyre, Pyramid//Indigo, Alexa Borden, Body Waves, Jesse

Speed, Silver Moss, Flowshine, Bryson Waind & The Citizens’ Band.

More info at frogfest.ca

WHAT IS INSHALA?

Inshala is a transformational festival, held in the great outdoors of

Southern Alberta. Inshala is a co-created gathering of people from

many communities. People come from near and far to share their

insights, talents and passions with each other.

You are invited to Inshala 9 “ELEVATE”. As we gather, we ‘Make

Time for Timeslessness’. This is a Multi-Generational event where all

ages are welcome. Through collaborations and co-existing at Inshala,

may we truly inspire each other to live our dreams awake.

The Conference offers a variety of experiences from Speakers,

to Movement Workshops, and Art Explorations; held within a chill

space named The Desa. There will also be a Kids Zone and Playgrounds,

Artisan Market, Art Installations and Art Gallery, Fire

Spinners, and a walking Labyrinth. Our evenings will be filled with

soothing sounds, groovy beats, and inspiring performers for all ages

to enjoy with two stages offered in the IllumaSphere, and the ARC.

4 | JUNE 2016 • BEATROUTE


THE SONICS

Sled Island presents... the greatest garage band of all

Illustration: TOMB

Straight Outta Tacoma, Washington 1960. The Parypa brothers, Larry and

Andy, set the band in motion, but it wasn’t until 1963 when they recruited

screamin’ Gerry Roslie as the lead vocalist and keyboard player, Rob Lind on

sax and the mighty Bob “Boom Boom” Bennet on drums that The Sonics

came alive. With their first two records, Here Are The Sonics (1965) and Boom

(1966), recorded in ramshackle studio on a two-track machine with a single

microphone, punk rock made its segue into the world changing it forever.

Forever for The Sonics wasn’t that long. By then end of 1966 they were heading

down another musical road that wound up a dead end. Still, for thousands of

bands following in their wake, they remained the purest of garage bands... there

was no substitute. In 2016, The Sonics are back. Veteran drummer Dusty Watson

now sits in Boom Boom’s seat, driving the band exactly how they were first

designed — bomb-fucking-bastic. Newcomer Freddie Dennis plays bass singing

some lead vocals — fierce and on fire. Here Are The Sonics, once more.

BEATROUTE • JUNE 2016 | 7


CITY

MADE IN CALGARY

an exploration of art from the 1960s to the 2000s now in print

Between 2013 and 2014, the Glenbow museum

presented Made in Calgary: An Exploration

of Art from the 1960s to the 2000s which featured

577 artworks by 219 artists spanning 50 years

of art-making in Calgary. Based on that exhibition,

the Glenbow has published an art-book, Made in

Calgary, which celebrates those artists, their work

during that time.

Melanie Kjorlien, the Glenbow’s VP of Access,

Collections and Exhibitions says the 1960s was chosen

as the starting point because “that’s when the

Art College (now ACAD) and the fine arts program

at the U of C started happening. There was a greater

influx of people, artists and instructors coming to

the city and a lot more development happening at

that time.”

While the educational institutions and the

ideas generated inside those walls certainly

played a vital role in developing Calgary’s artistic

community, Kjorlien notes that the economic

growth and decline that took place over the last

five decades also affected and shaped the city’s

artistic climate.

“The whole the boom and bust cycle, which is

unique to Calgary, had a huge impact on things like

arts funding which is hard sometimes to appreciate

but affects the ways in which people produce and

end up making in terms of their work. “

Five curators, that each oversee one particular

decade in the book, write expansive essays about

the artists, their personalities and mindset, along

with the social, political and economic landscapes

that existed during that 50 year span. In doing so,

they cover a broad cross-section of events which

not only tells the story of how Calgary’s artistic

community emerged and developed, but also

reflects the cultural growth of the city itself.

by B.Simm

1990s — Chris Cran

Large Laughing Orange

Woman, 1991

(left)

One of 10 large paintings from

Cran’s experimental series

called Heads.

1960s — Vivian Lindoe

Summer, 1970

(bottom)

A colleague of many in the

postwar Calgary art community,

Lindoe was a multidisciplinary

artist at heart, engaged

with painting, printmaking,

ceramics, batik and furniture.

1980s — John Hall

Flame, 1988

(bottom left)

In Flame, Hall assembled various

images and tourist kitsch

souvenirs that flooded Calgary

to commemorate the Calgary

1988 Winter Olympics.

CITY

BEATROUTE • JUNE 2016 | 9


JAZZYYC

Summer Fest brings the future now to Inglewood

All of JazzYYC’s main stage shows for their

Summer Festival will be held at the Ironwood

Stage & Grill so that Inglewood is the place

people will know where to find jazz in the city. Kodi

Hutchinson, the Artistic Director for JazzYYC is excited

about a number of acts that they’ve brought in this

year to play that stage.

“First on the list is Jens Lindemann and Tommy

Banks. They’re releasing an album that was nominated

for a JUNO that was also recorded at the Ironwood.

Lindemann is from Alberta, he was in the Canadian

Brass and is probably one of the top ten classical

trumpet players on the planet. But also a phenomenal

player of a variety of genres. The album he did with

Tommy is jazz-rooted and promises to be a show

flowing with energy.”

The act that follows on Friday, June 17 Hutchinson

calls the “big one” with Hugh Fraser and the VEJI Big

Band. No they’re not to jazz tribute to garden varieties,

rather the VEJI Big Band is the Vancouver Ensemble of

Jazz Improvisation who formed in college during the

1980s and are considered one of Canada’s great big

bands. They’re soon to record their first album in 15

years with a stellar, reunion line-up that‘s only playing

two or three shows this year, including JazzYYC.

Big bands improvise with well-written compositions

that are structured to back a smaller section of the

band to solo over. “Hugh Fraser,” notes Hutchinson,

“is renowned as a composer and knows how to really

move the music forward and build the energy. He’s

very dynamic. I won’t lie, he’s one of the reasons why

I’m a jazz musician. He was one of the most influential

musicians in trying to bring communities together in

Canada when I started playing.”

Sting’s touring pianist, Laila Biali, is also playing the

Ironwood and is considered by Hutchinson to be one

of Canada’s greatest singers. “Laila’s very contemporary

and does this thing called ‘requestamatic’ where she

allows people to post songs on her website that they

would like to hear when she comes through their city.

As a result, she developed a really unique repertoire

and does one of the best versions of a David Bowie

song that I’ve ever heard. She does a lot of different

material, Let’s Dance by Bowie for instance, and manages

to shape pop songs in a jazz way and jazz songs

in a pop way crossing over between the two with a

lot of success. We saw her in Germany at a conference

where she got a standing ovation and she was recently

asked to perform at the National Arts Centre in China.

Honestly, she’s one of the greatest jazz performers we

have right now.”

Marianne Trudel is another of the festivals main

stagers who, according to Hutchinson, has a lot of

world influences in her playing built on acoustic jazz

with a lot of African rhythmic influences in her music.

“She has a very French aesthetic, with a mixture of

European, African and North American.”

The JazzYYC fest moves from traditional, improvisational

to contemporary. Hutchinson feels that while

jazz musicians certainly respect and pay homage to

the masters from the ‘30s, ‘40s and’50s and that type of

groove music, there’s a definite trend for younger, evolving

musicians to embrace music they grew up with.

“When you get to someone like Laila Biali, who’s in

her 30s, you get someone who’s been listening to, say,

Radiohead. That pop influence is extremely strong. So

what you get in contemporary jazz, is more contemporary

rhythms and its also harmonically different

from traditional jazz, which is kind of hard to explain

to non-jazz listeners. But a lot of jazz musicians today

came out of pop music and it’s very strong.

10 | JUNE 2016 • BEATROUTE

Laila Biali: “One of the greatest jazz performers

we have right now.”

by B. Simm

PLACES PLEASE

by Sara Taylor

Many of Calgary’s theatre companies have wrapped

up their seasons, but there are still a few shows going

on this month. Here are the top theatre picks for the

month of June.

In Love & Warcraft

Workshop Theatre

Victor Mitchell Theatre at Pumphouse Theatre

June 10-18

After years of commanding a top-ranked guild in

Warcraft with her online boyfriend, Evie Malone has

life all figured out. In life, as in gaming, you simply

have to approach everything strategically, and with

a plan. But when the college senior and confirmed

virgin falls for a non-virtual, totally real and incredibly

cute guy away from the comfort of her computer

screen, she discovers that the real world is often more

complicated than the virtual one.

Suncor Stage One Festival of New Canadian Work

Lunchbox Theatre

Lunchbox Theatre

June 10, 11, 17, 18, 24 & 25

Each year, Lunchbox Theatre wraps up their season

with a series of staged readings of new works. After

combing through over 100 submissions, Lunchbox

Theatre has selected nine plays that will be performed

and open to audience feedback and discussion

after the show. Even better? Admission is free.

Visit the Lunchbox Theatre website for a description

of the nine plays that will be featured in this year’s

festival.

Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo

Search Tower Productions

Joyce Doolittle Theatre at Pumphouse Theatre

June 15-25

A tiger haunts the streets of war-torn Baghdad

attempting to find meaning amidst the city’s ruins.

On his journey, he comes across two American Marines

and an Iraqi translator who are also on a quest,

searching for friendship, for redemption… and for a

solid-gold toilet seat.

The 2016 IGNITE! Festival of Emerging Artists

Sage Theatre

West Village Theatre & Pumphouse Theatre

June 21-26

The annual IGNITE! Festival is a great way to experience

the bleeding edge of theatre, music, dance

and the arts. This year’s line-up includes shows that

are challenging, absurd, hilarious and surreal -- and

sometimes all at once. Visit the Sage Theatre website

for a full listing of this year’s shows.

CITY


FILM

SPACE JAM

The Fifth Reel brings childhood favourite to Plaza Theatre

We got a real jam goin’ down – Space Jam plays June 17 at the Plaza Theatre.

Though he might not be in the good graces of Canadian basketball

fans after eliminating the Toronto Raptors from the 2016

playoffs, Lebron James is this generation’s crossover star of the

NBA. From hosting Saturday Night Live to a surprising comedic turn

in Amy Schumer’s Trainwreck, James is not only one of the greatest

basketball stars of his generation, but also has assumed the role of

NBA ambassador, ubiquitous not only on the court but off.

But James’ career has yet to reach its apex if the rumours swirling are

to be believed – he could follow in Michael Jordan’s footsteps by starring

alongside the Looney Tunes in the oft-rumoured Space Jam 2.

The original Space Jam, released in 1996, is a much-loved childhood

favourite for those who grew up in the ‘90s. From Moron Mountain

to Mike’s Secret Stuff, from I Believe I Can Fly to Bill Murray’s bizarre

umbrella hat, many of us grew up wearing out our VHS tapes watching

Jordan team with Bugs Bunny to defeat the Monstars.

“I was the biggest Michael Jordan fan, but I also loved Looney Tunes

as well. For a kid who is obsessed with a sports player, to see them with

their favourite cartoon character, that’s pretty remarkable,” says Daniel

Bennett, also known as the hip-hop artist Transit. “I remember studying

every single part of the movie. One year, I got the Space Jam bedding set,

I think a Space Jam comforter, Space Jam wallpaper, Space Jam posters all

around my room.”

Bennett, who purchased a Tune Squad jersey donning “22” – Murray’s

number on the team – recalled his experience wearing the jersey at his

first show in Chicago.

“I came out to the Space Jam theme at the concert. I think they didn’t

like it as much as I liked it,” he says. “But it’s such a nostalgic thing. I think

it was a lot of people’s first encounter with basketball. Anytime I wear

that Tune Squad shirt at a bar there’s always some enthusiastic drunk

guy who gives me a hug and says, ‘That shirt’s amazing.’”

One of the men responsible for the movie that captivated a generation

of Bugs Bunny and/or Chicago Bulls fans is Herschel Weingrod, a

screenwriter with a resume of nostalgic best-ofs, including Kindergarten

Cop, Trading Places and Twins. Weingrod was brought on with partner

Timothy Harris to rewrite an earlier draft of the script producers weren’t

quite satisfied with.

“First of all, in order to write it, we had to watch about 30 years of

Looney Tunes cartoons. To write for Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck and

Sylvester and Tweety and all of those characters, you have to understand

their voices,” he said. “So there was Looney Tunes police. We would hand

by Joel Dryden

in a draft and they would say, ‘Bugs would never say that.’ (We’d say),

‘Actually, let me refer you to a cartoon from 1946…’”

As Weingrod and Harris got to work revising the script, producers

asked to pair which NBA stars they would like to get involved. They

got whoever they asked for – stars like Patrick Ewing, Charles Barkley,

Muggsy Bogues and Shawn Bradley.

“Oh! This is sounding pretty interesting,” Weingrod says. “Then I said,

‘What if Michael is playing golf with Larry Bird and Bill Murray?’ [They

said,] ‘OK.’”

After Stan (Wayne Knight) is flattened by the Monstars and the

match appears lost for the Tune Squad, Murray – who plays himself

– appears, volunteering to be the team’s fifth member. After Jordan

scores the winning points, Murray puts an end to his NBA career and

promptly retires.

“Most of what Bill Murray says he just makes up on the spot and it’s

just so brilliant and it makes the writer look 50 times better,” Weingrod

says. “He made up that beautiful part, there’s a scene where he says to

Michael Jordan, ‘You’re not playing anymore and I was wondering, I’m

white and I’m slow and I can’t jump but I can dribble and I can shoot, do

you think I have a shot?”

Jordan tells Murray no, to which Murray asks, “It’s because I’m white?”

“And Michael says, ‘No, Larry Bird is white.’ And Bill Murray made this

thing up about, ‘Larry’s not white, Mike. Larry is clear,’” Weingrod says.

“I mean, shit like that he just made it up on the spot and he’s cracking

everybody up [on set].”

Weingrod has heard the rumours about a Lebron-led Space Jam 2, but

he and Harris have yet to be contacted to help out on a potential sequel.

Like many fans of the original, he thinks a retread – such as Lebron

teaming with the Looney Tunes again to defeat a new group of space

aliens – wouldn’t satisfy.

“Someone’s going to have to come up with new twists on the familiar

story that still resonates with people. If you end up alienating the fanbase

from the earlier one, you’re going to get the kind of reaction like, ‘Ben

Affleck is Batman?’” he says. “I was reading comments about Space Jam

and half the people didn’t even like the first one but even those ones

were saying, ‘No, no, leave it alone.’”

If Space Jam 2 does come to fruition, Bennett said he will be

front of line.

“After becoming a dad and watching it again with my son and him

loving it from his perspective, that’s when I’m like, this movie is going to

become a life-long thing,” he said. “If number two comes out, I’m going

to drop everything I’m doing and take my kid out of class to go watch it.”

Space Jam plays June 17 at the Plaza Theatre. The Fifth Reel will be serving

up a special theme drink for the evening – a little something called Mike’s

Secret Stuff. For tickets, visit fifthreel.ca

HERSCHEL WEINGROD

screenwriter of ‘90s favourites looks back

Prior to Space Jam playing at the Plaza Theatre June 17, the

screenwriter of that film – and Kindergarten Cop, Twins

and Trading Places, among other ‘90s classics – answered

some questions about those VHS tapes you burned through as

a child.

BeatRoute: How does it feel to know many of the films you’ve

written have become cult classics?

Herschel Weingrod: It’s always a surprise and an honour that

people still do view that work fondly. It seems to hold up well for

lots of people. People throw lines at me, they quote lines, which I

find amusing. “It’s not a tumour!” and all that stuff. I did a Reddit

Ask Me Anything (AMA) last year and most of the questions

were either about the alleged sequel to Space Jam or they just

asked me, “is it a tumour?”

BR: Trading Places (1983) was very early on in your career.

How did you get that movie made?

HW: We met someone at Warner Brothers and he said (the idea) is

very funny, but if I can’t get Richard Pryor to play the black guy, how

can we make the movie? I said, well there’s this kid on SNL, Eddie

Murphy, and he said, “I don’t think he’s going to be a movie star.”

Then we got a meeting at Paramount and we told these other

producers the same pitch. They got all excited and Paramount made a

deal with us to write the script. The rest turned out rather well. It was

like a happy accident.

BR: Are you involved with Kindergarten Cop 2?

HW: Kindergarten Cop 2 was released straight to video with

Dolph Lundgren in the Arnold role. They never asked us if we

wanted to be involved.

by Joel Dryden

BR: Will you watch it?

HW: If they send me a Blu-ray I’ll watch it. I have no intention of

paying to see it.

BR: If you were brought on Space Jam 2, what would be your

story treatment?

HW: You’d have to invent some new really villainous group of

cartoons and Bugs Bunny has to recruit Lebron James and some

other NBA stars to help them beat these guys. (Maybe) they’re

going to have the NBA guys’ powers taken away. I don’t know

if you can duplicate that. It’s just obvious theft, it’s not original

thinking.

Space Jam plays June 17 at the Plaza Theatre. For tickets, visit

fifthreel.ca

12 | JUNE 2016 • BEATROUTE FILM


Y2KREATIVE

a goofy shoot with some seriously talented artists

L-R: Geneva Haley, James Barry, Gillian McKercher, Guillaume Carlier, Sean Edwards. Ted Stenson not pictured.

by Colin Gallant

photo: Keeghan Rouleau

NETFLIX AND KILL

what’s streaming and slaying this month?

Orange Is The New Black (Netflix) is back. A year ago

that would be happy news, like a clear STD panel or the

launch of a new candy bar, but after the steep decline

in quality during season three it’s like the launch of a candy bar

that gives me a bunch more STDs. The trailer confirmed that it

would be set in a women’s prison and that was about it. Could be

they’ve got something really cool planned, could be more Crazy

Eyes’ erotic novel. I mean, I’ll still binge watch it, I’m just not

going to like it.

Casual (Hulu) got universal praise and a Golden Globe nod

during its first season. Going by what I’ve seen so far it’s that kind

of comedy drama that isn’t funny enough to be a comedy, where

the stakes aren’t high enough for drama. Normally I’d advise you

pass on this one, but there’s no critical smoke without at least a

little fire, so give it a go.

I don’t know if Dreamworks decided that the lips of the characters

in Voltron: Legendary Defender (Netflix) would move like

they were trying to get away from the words coming out of them

to make it look more like badly dubbed anime airing on Cartoon

Network at you-have-a-serious-problem o’clock in the early two

thousands, but it’s kind of doing it for me. Plus, five mini lion-robots

come together to form one super-bot, so there’s that.

• Gareth Watkins

Y2KREATIVE is a new #YYC hubspot for artisanal Millenials to

handcraft lifestyle works that will one day be handed out in

dystopian $200 Happy Meals served in Michelin Starred food

trucks. That was a running joke theme when BeatRoute met up with

a group of artists in their new studio space, at least.

The not-quite-named space houses mostly filmmakers, plus one

illustrator/designed and writer/filmmaker/DJ/bar owner. The following

is the first in a series of artist profiles in and around the world of film.

James Barry and Sean Edwards: The duo behind Ramble Films.

Ramble has produced original shorts as well as working with Sled

Island, Bruce McCulloch’s Young Drunk Punk, Paper Bag Records,

local musicians, plus a lot more. They have recently wrapped a

music video for Feel Alright. The two like to buy more gear than is

defensible. See for yourself at rambleritual.com.

Guillaume Carlier: An independent filmmaker with a knack for capturing

live music, Carlier has been screening his film Moses at select occasions

over the last year. He also completed a project on Feel Alright — a

documentary, for CJSW — and will soon be on hand at Garbage Daze IV.

He knows more about wine than anyone I’ve met, and has a pronounced

appreciation for Celine Dion. View some of his work on Vimeo.

Geneva Haley: An illustrator and designer who works in the themes

of environments, music, agriculture, narrative, editorial and sequential

images. She’s done work for Sled Island, Marlaena Moore, authors

and more. She feels photos with house plants are “too Internet,” and

makes use of the ancient proverb that “Janice in accounting don’t give

a fuck.” Check genevahaley.com for more info.

Gillian McKercher: A member of the Calgary Society of Independent

Filmmakers who is a returning Herland participant and recently

completed a new script. McKercher has been commissioned

for the $100 Film Festival’s Film/Music Explosion! program, where

new works are created for songs by bands from Calgary. McKercher

also produced videos for the Calgary Collection. She believes in

teambuilding exercises and meetings about meetings. You can find

her on Vimeo.

Ted Stenson: A writer working in several mediums (plays, film, poetry,

fiction, etc), “sometimes filmmaker” and an owner of Good Luck

Bar, Stenson also goes by the DJ name Teddy Celebration. He’s been

published, been a member of juries and committees, and has recently

become a father. Stenson enjoys screaming at the television when

basketball is on. Find him at tedstenson.com.

Orange Is The New Black season four will hit Netflix June 17.

FILM

BEATROUTE • JUNE 2016 | 13


THE VIDIOT

rewind to the future

by Shane Sellar

Deadpool

How to Be Single

Joy

The Witch

Zoolander 2

The Boy

The best thing about babysitting British kids is they’ll

believe your skulking boyfriend is actually a magical

chimney sweep.

Unfortunately, that fib wouldn’t fly with the inanimate

child in this horror movie.

After a breakup stateside, Great (Lauren Cohan)

gets a nanny gig at an English manor where she’ll

be looking after the Heelshires’ (Jim Norton, Diana

Hardcastle) son, Brahms.

When she arrives, she’s shocked to learn Brahms is

really a doll the homeowners believe to be their deceased

son. While they’re away, Greata must adhere

to Brahms’ strict schedule, or face his cruel wraith.

Relying on the played out premise of a possessed

doll to deliver its hackneyed scares, this horrible

haunter has no redeeming qualities to speak of,

including the toy’s design or it’s failed attempt at an

eerie ambiance. Besides, the only way to rid yourself

of a haunted doll is to give it to your dog.

Deadpool

When the random shooter jobs are all taken, mercenary

work is the next best option for ex-military.

However, the garrulous gunman in this action-comedy

proves you can do both.

Mercenary Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) undergoes

cancer treatment for his girlfriend (Morena

Baccarin). But instead of a cure, the formula activates

his mutant healing ability and leaves him disfigured.

With help from some X-Men (Brianna Hildebrand,

Stefan Kapičić) he adopts a mask, a moniker and

a light-hearted outlook on his off kilter quest for

revenge on the perpetrator (Ed Skrein).

From Reynolds’ on-point portrayal, to the

cartoony violence and the fourth-wall narrative, this

reappearance of Marvel’s merc with a mouth after

his ill-fated debut in an earlier X-film is a ribald and

refreshing reboot that is as faithful to the self-aware

smart-ass as can be.

Furthermore, it shows burn victims a jazzy costume

is all they need to reacclimatize to society.

Dirty Grandpa

Spring break is convenient for senior citizens because

they already all live in Florida.

And while the vulgar elder in this comedy isn’t

there yet… he’s on his way.

Straight-laced lawyer Jason (Zac Efron) rekindles

his relationship with his grandfather, Dick

(Robert De Niro), at his grandmother’s funeral.

During their interaction, he agrees to drive the

widower to Boca Raton.

Much to the chagrin of his fiancée (Julianne

Hough), Jason and Dick hit the road, where Jason

learns his grandpa’s personality matches his phallic

name. From drugs and alcohol to felonies and coeds

(Zoey Deutch, Aubrey Plaza), Dick’s determined to

enrich his grandson’s stuffy lifestyle.

The timeworn tale of an eccentric mentor edifying

an uptight pupil but drenched in geriatric semen

jokes and soulless performances, this raunchy road

trip is both equally pointless and repugnant.

Moreover, when you have unprotected sex with

an old person you’re liable to contract liver spots.


How to Be Single

The easiest way for a person to stay single is to stop

bathing. However, the singles in this rom-com are

more concerned with attracting than repelling.

To gain worldliness, Alice (Dakota Johnson)

dumps her boyfriend, moves to NYC, lives with her

sister (Leslie Mann), and works at a law firm where

her co-worker (Rebel Wilson) introduces her into the

singles scene. Elsewhere, Lucy (Alison Brie) is kneedeep

in online-dating horror stories.

But over time, each finds a potential partner

(Damon Wayans Jr., Anders Holm, Jake Lacy, Jason

Mantzoukas) and must choose their ultimate path.

The painfully familiar story of four single females

navigating singledom in the city, HTBS is neither

insightful nor plausible. The women are weepy, the

men are unrealistic, and the script is disjointed and

laden with unladylike language and behaviour.

Besides, if being single is so much fun then why

can’t we torch all of the wedding gowns?

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

If zombies had existed in Victorian times, the

wealthy would’ve just thought them ugly peasants.

Mind you, the affluent in this horror movie are

fully aware of their flesh-eating epidemic.

In the wake of a zombie outbreak, 19th century

England’s most opulent families are required to send

their offspring away to be trained in marital arts. This

was the case with Elizabeth Bennet (Lily James) and

her sisters (Bella Heathcote, Suki Waterhouse, Ellie

Bamber, Millie Brady).

The undead, however, are not Elizabeth’s only

adversary, as she has found an infuriating rival in

zombie hunter Colonel Darcy (Sam Riley).

Not as over-the-top as one would expect a pairing

of Jane Austin and the living dead to be, P+P+Z

is also not as insipid either. Oddly enough, it’s the

public domain portion of this parody that’s more

pleasurable than the zombie killing parts.

Furthermore, zombies aren’t that scary when

they’re wearing powdered wigs.

Joy

The Home Shopping Network works exactly like

online shopping, except quantities are limited and

time is running out.

Two things the aspiring inventor in this dramedy

knows all too well.

Determined to bring her removable mop-head

to market, single mother Joy Mangano (Jennifer

Lawrence) convinces a QVC bigwig (Bradley Cooper)

to allow her the rare opportunity to host her own

segment, which eventually brings in sales.

But a shifty manufacturer recommended by her

deadbeat dad’s (Robert De Niro) girlfriend (Isabella

Rossellini) could put an end to all of her success, her

supply and her patent.

Based on the semi-motivational true story, Joy’s

ensemble cast and offbeat direction offers the only

entertainment in this breezy biography. Whereas the

plodding script only services those highpoints as it

lurches towards its inspiring yet manipulated ending.

Maybe next time they could focus on a real

QVC superstar, like, the inventor of porcelain clown

figurines.

Triple 9

The worst thing about working for a Russian boss is

their zero-tolerance policy towards bathroom breaks.

But as the thieves in this thriller have learned,

working alongside them is even worse.

The wife of a convicted Russian crime boss (Kate

Winslet) hires a coalition of career criminals (Chiwetel

Ejiofor, Norman Reedus, Aaron Paul) and crooked

cops (Anthony Mackie, Clifton Collins, Jr.) to obtain a

safe-deposit box from a bank for her.

But before she hands over payment, she now

wants them to infiltrate a government building to

steal more evidence to help overturn her husband’s

sentence.

Meanwhile, two straight cops (Casey Affleck,

Woody Harrelson) work the case from different

angels. Action-packed with some intriguing relationships

and colourful characters, Triple 9 defies its

numerous crime story clichés to formulate a forceful

but ultimately forgettable heist picture.

Furthermore, cops and robs only work well together

when it comes to fixing their marriage.

The Witch

The key to surviving in a Puritan society was accusing

as many people of witchcraft as you could.

Unfortunately, any accusation of necromancy in

this horror movie would fall directly on relatives.

Excommunicated from their New England colony,

William (Ralph Ineson), his wife (Kate Dickie), their

eldest Thomasin (Anya Taylor-Joy) and her siblings

relocate to an isolated homestead adjacent to a

forest.

When the newborn and the eldest son disappear

and the family’s goat starts speaking to the children,

rumours of sorcery start circulating with Thomasin

as the prime suspect. An unnerving but authentic

look at family life in 17th century, this multi-layered

slow-burner embodies the dialect, dress and superstitions

of the pious of those paranoid times.

Meanwhile, the subversive script is supplemented

by haunting imagery, restrained direction and notable

performances. Mind you, any demon ordering

you to dance naked in the woods is probably recording

it from the bushes.

Zoolander 2

Fashion isn’t filled with self-absorbed skinny people

any more; it’s filled with narcissistic fat people.

Fortunately for the returning Adonis in this

comedy, the plus size trend hasn’t affected the male

modelling side.

After inadvertently killing his wife, former

male-model Zoolander (Ben Stiller) returns from

self-imposed exile to partner with a Fashion Interpol

agent (Penélope Cruz) and a former rival (Owen Wilson)

to save his estranged son (Cyrus Arnold) from a

mad designer (Will Ferrell) who believes his blood is

the key to eternal youth.

The extremely overdue sequel to the 15-year-old

cult classic, this commercially-driven continuation

of the conceited character is more concerned with

gratuitous cameos than it is with fresh material.

In fact, writer-director Ben Stiller milks past favourites

like Billy Zane and Will Ferrell to death, while the

overall story just lacks vigour.

Incidentally, the only infirmity that still keeps

people from being a supermodel is their height.

He’s a Soldier of Fortune Cookies. He’s the…

Vidiot

14 | JUNE 2016 • BEATROUTE FILM


ROCKPILE

DESTRUCTION UNIT

extreme music that confronts the deep trip

Destruction Unit explores the excitement of excess.

Destruction Unit; a band this writer has championed for a

long time as a seeker of true psychedelic music, that which

touches on an important part of the psychedelic experience,

the bad trip. Through sonic aggression and construction of a state

of confusion, Destruction Unit explore these aspects that most acts

seem to shirk in favour of a more pleasant Reality Tunnel. Any well

ventured soul seeker will tell you that The Bad Trip is just a part of

The Deep Trip.

Destruction Unit member JS Aurelius, currently living in Vancouver,

was kind enough to field some questions regarding Destruction Unit, the

Desert and the importance of staking your claim in a world of garbage.

BeatRoute: Can you maybe give a brief overview of the genesis

of the band?

JS Aurelius: This is a tough one since I wasn’t around for the actual

genesis of the band, when Ryan first started playing under the name

Destruction Unit. However, since day one, more or less every aspect of

this band has been in constant flux, from being a solo studio project, to

being a 10-piece live band, from writing with acoustic guitars and church

organs to using nothing but distortion pedals. This band is more about

the trip than the origin or destination.

BR: Ideas? Intentions?

JSA: I think we are all interested in attacking expectation and complacency,

taking styles and genres and aesthetics and ideas that already

exist and attacking them with each other: anti-form, anti-structure,

anti-tradition. Of course you can point to references and influences,

but I think we’re really trying to crash them into each other so they

form a big, broken garbage pile that’s easy to climb up and plant a flag

on top of. As a group of people, we are some combination of socially

inept, depressed, nihilistic degenerates. Constantly straddling that

line between having a great idea and no clue at all. There is nothing

particularly novel about what we are doing, other than it being our flag

by Sam Risser

photo: Pooneh Ghana

at the top of that garbage dump. I’m sure to a lot of people, from the

outside, we come off as quite serious or angry or unapproachable, but

we’re really just doing all we can to get by in this world without giving

up on it totally. It’s hard not being depressed, it’s a struggle. And there

is plenty to be angry about. But there is also plenty to be thankful for.

It’s a privilege that we get to do this, that we get to see cities outside

of Arizona, and meet people all over the world and learn from those

experiences. It’s nice to know that there are just as many deviants out

there like us to keep things interesting and exciting. We’ve made plenty

of mistakes along the way, made fools of ourselves more often than

not, said things we wish we hadn’t, you know. But that’s how you grow.

You can’t take yourself too seriously or that process stops. You can’t

tear the world down around you without being willing to tear yourself

down too. That’s just the ride we’re all on.

BR: I’m also interested to hear your thoughts the desert, drugs

and “extreme” music.

JSA: Well, each of these things could consume you whole and spit you

out if you’re not in the right state of mind. I love the desert, I love the dry

air and the blistering heat. But that doesn’t mean I’d recommend it carte

blanche. And I’d say the same thing about drugs and extreme music.

Excess is exciting. We’re all more or less past the point of being able to do

anything else with our lives anyway.

BR: Will Destruction Unit be touring any time in the future?

JSA: We’re doing some shows in Europe this summer, late June and July.

Not a ton set in stone in the U.S. right now but I’m sure that will come

along. It’s a very dysfunctional band, at this point we don’t even know

who the full lineup is.

See Destruction Unit on July 2nd at Brixx in Edmonton and on a massive

bill including LSD and the Search For God at the #1 Legion as part of

Garbage Daze in Calgary.

GARBAGE DAZE

connectivity through chaos by Willow Grier

Calgary’s summer seems to have a music festival for

everyone. For the past four years, Garbage Daze has been

bringing in underground punk, and especially hardcore,

for the scene. Now in its fourth year (this year dubbed the The

Digital Age), the festival has grown to include even more genres

and venues.

Organizer Jason Scharf explains that while the styles have

diversified, the roots remain the same. “The electronic artists are still

coming from the punk spectrum. It’s people that grew up listening

to the same DIY music and have the same DIY ethos.”

Up until this year, Scharf and partner-in-crime Elijah Carnat-Gronnerud

have been managing every part of Garbage Daze themselves.

“This year we realized we bit off a lot more than we ever have

before,” Scharf explains. “So we reached out to people in the city

whose work ethic we admire and who we think put on some really

cool events.” Aligning with Two-Headed Dog Booking and Deep Sea

Mining Syndicate, Scharf and Carnat-Gronnerud have brought in

some of the most unexpected headliners yet.

As far as top recommendations go, one band Scharf brings

attention to is, “Career Suicide from Toronto,” a “really seminal 2000s

Canadian punk and hardcore band that have done a ton for the

scene across Canada.”

To add to the international pull, “Destruction Unit from Arizona

[is] this really intense and powerful live band that’s doing something

quite different. They started as post-punk, then [played] psych-rock,

and now their music is a hybrid of all their different interests.”

On the electronic side of things, one of the Saturday headliners

is Shifted from Berlin. Scharf hails it as “really cutting-edge, modern

techno that’s pushing what that genre is and where it came from.”

To add to the uniqueness, Shifted will be doing a live PA performance

instead of a DJ set. “He’s never done one in Canada at all, so it

will be really special.”

When asked about the biggest lesson learned from the past

couple years, Scharf responds, “That we needed to be more open

to working with people. The power of collaboration is so immense.

Two people can’t do everything.”

With the successful culmination of efforts going into this

year’s lineup, attendees should “be prepared to see something

really different and unique. A lot of these artists are offering

things that haven’t been seen in Calgary or Western Canada at

all,” Scharf concludes.

Garbave Daze IV, The Digital Age, runs June 3rd to the 5th in Calgary

at various venues. Full lineup, schedule and tickets available at

garbagedaze.com.

photo: Michael Grondin

16 | JUNE 2016 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE


HOODED FANG

explosive new album pre-empts Canadian tour

BAD ANIMAL

all heart and a lot of rosé

photo: Unfolding Creative

There’s a sort of chaotic magnetism surrounding Bad

Animal. Reminiscent of the raucous tornado of a similarly

named scruffy pink muppet, the band has burst onto the

Calgary music scene and excited audiences with their distinct

brand of hard-hitting arena rock compressed into a bar setting.

To be frank, this band would not be outpaced playing with

Arctic Monkeys or Cage The Elephant. In fact, there is such a

cultivated and distinct sound about them, it’s hard to believe

they are only about to release their first album (it’s fantastic

by the way).

In reality, some of the members had been making music together

for quite some time when they were forced to pause during

frontman Ben Painter’s battle with cancer. Not to be held down

for long, once Painter was in recovery, his mind switched back to

by Michael Grondin

Hooded Fang, Toronto’s art-punk astronauts, have

crash-landed in the middle of a colourful, alien

world. And the super sonic vessel they arrived

in is the charged Venus On Edge, their third full-length

album to date.

Colliding precision and cold calculation with spastic

energy, this high-speed collection of psychedelic punk takes

us on a trip through the chaotic minds of this experimental

four-piece.

Venus On Edge is a departure from their previous

albums, which maintained the punk and the indie, but not

as much of the chaotic experimentation found on this new

effort.

“Over time, people have different interests, and we listen

to a lot of different kinds of music. Our influences and our

lives are always changing and that seeps into our music,”

says bassist April Aliermo during a phone interview from

Toronto.

Explosive drums set a firm foundation for the dirty bass

driving, while fierce guitars echo and skip about, played with a

tone not of this world.

“What may be different with this record from our last ones

is we started experimenting more with different pedals, and we

were trying to make the guitars sound like other instruments,” she

explains. “We really got the drums and the bass to have a steady,

repetitive rhythm, but then Dan and Lane’s guitars are speaking to

each other like spastic birds.”

Recorded live off the floor in guitarist and vocalist Daniel

Lee’s dad’s basement, this dynamic 10-song album shows immense

attention to detail and maturity in the band’s sound. The

album features artwork from Toronto friend and visual artist

Michael Deforge.

“We were able to just seclude ourselves and just focus on recording,”

says Aliermo, adding that the vocals were the last step in

the process. “We had the instrumentals for a long time, and a year

later, Dan and I locked ourselves away and just hammered out

lyrics for a whole week and then we laid down the vocals.”

Hooded Fang will be embarking on a Canadian tour, with just

one stop in Western Canada announced so far at the Sled Island

Pre-Fest Party.

“We really want to play these shows for everyone, our live

show is heavier than our actual album. It’s like a dark run through

a tunnel,” she says with a laugh, adding that they try to have as

much fun as possible when they play live. “I’m lucky to play with

some really great musicians.”

Hooded Fang performs in the Lukes Drug Mart parking lot alongside

Chad VanGaalen, We Are The City and We Knew on June 12th.

by Willow Grier

writing songs with long-time friend Marek Skiba. Currently, Bad

Animal has come to include Skiba and Kyle Gritchen on guitar,

Trevor Stoddart on drums, and Danny Trevena on bass.

When asked to describe the band’s sound, Skiba quickly conjures

an analogy: “You know how Dean Martin would go onstage

and he would be holding a drink but never sips it? It’s the swirl of

the drink. And people are just thinking, ‘Aww damn that’s cool.’”

This quote is a pretty apt representation of what the guys are

like in person: energetic, clever, and quick to answer.

To their credit, their fun-having ways ended up setting a record

(while they recorded their album) at OCL studios... It was for

drinking the most during a session. And this even went further

when the proceeds from the bottles collected ended up saving a

high school’s dance, whose fund-raising recyclables were tragically

stolen. Bad Animal is all heart (and a lot of rosé).

Fun and games aside, however, the album they are releasing has

a ton of great moments. Drawing from heartbreaking personal experience,

to comic books, to dealings with the particularly vapid,

the album is “a series of vignettes. Many different windows into

different people’s lives,” as Gritchen describes.

But Painter says the band’s real merit is in their live performance.

“It’s all about the energy. We want to go fucking

insane, and leave it all on the stage... We really believe in what

we have here.”

Maybe you’ll see Bad Animal “getting lost” in the woods by

your house, or maybe you’ll see them melting faces in a crowded

bar. Whatever the occasion may be, you can be sure that there will

be an epic soundtrack to accompany them.

Catch Bad Animal’s album release at Broken City on June 17th. Also

follow their “Get Lost” video series where they take acoustic versions

of their songs to strange and sometimes uncomfortable places.

OF MONTREAL

20 years of a mad circus

by Trent Warner

It’s been 20 years since Kevin Barnes founded of Montreal in Athens, Georgia.

That the project has endured is no small feat for any band, especially

one with a rotating crop of members and surreal theatrical productions that

feature dancers, mascots, confetti and even, at one point, Abraham Lincoln

dressed up like Spider-Man.

Strangely enough, these are the only things that would make sense at an of

Montreal show. Throughout the band’s storied history, Barnes was inspired by

psychedelic ‘60s folk and rock, and has adapted to involve elements of funk, soul,

electronic and disco. At times, this work can be frenetic and disjointed, equal parts

David Bowie glamour and Sly & the Family Stone grandeur.

These influences blend to create dancefloor ready indie pop that hides darker

lyrical content and explores heartbreak, death, mental health and even Barnes’

divorce on 2015’s Aureate Gloom. To Barnes, the juxtaposition signals a hopefulness

and a yearning for survival. He notes that slaves would do the same thing to

uplift their spirits through melody and musical communion. Exploring his dark

feelings are what Barnes needs to move on to the next life. He seems to rejoice in

the change.

While the Canadian tour will be more stripped down, Barnes hints at a show

that’s still strange and visual. It makes sense for a band that’s always changing

to pull back at this point, it’s a rare thing to see their emphasis on the musical

performance. There are only four shows planned currently, all in Western Canada

after a stop at Toronto’s Field Trip Music & Arts Festival. After all, “It’s a pretty long

journey to get through Canada,” says Barnes.

Maybe that’s Barnes’ secret to performing and touring for so long. “It creates a

more circus-like experience to have a big group of people all travelling together.

There’s always someone new to talk to and escape if need be.”

At the end of the summer/early fall, of Montreal plan to release a new album

and embark on yet another tour. After 20 years, 13 albums, and a documentary

film, the band continues on to its next life.

Of Montreal plays Calgary’s Flames Central on June 18th and Edmonton’s Needle

Vinyl Tavern on June 19th.

Kevin Barnes discusses the spirituality of his freak-funk psych-pop show.

photo: Chad Kamenshine

18 | JUNE 2016 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE


CHIXDIGGIT!

25 years young! by Sarah Mac

With a quarter century under their belts, Chixdiggit! prep new album and Fall tour.

photo: Christine Lortie

It’s hard to believe it’s been 25 years since the

inception of local punk legends, Chixdiggit!.

Known for their fast, catchy riffs and fun,

light-hearted lyrics (usually about girls), Chixdiggit!

are veterans of the pop-punk scene and hail

from right here in Calgary. They’ve released five

full-length albums since their stumble into punk

rock stardom, as well as a handful of 7-inches,

singles and EPs. Their first album (self-titled) was

released on Sub Pop Records in 1996 and after

some extensive touring, label changes and a small

hiatus, they were picked up by Fat Wreck Chords

(2005) and have called it home ever since.

Recently we chatted with front man, K.J. Jansen,

about the band and anniversary show.

“We’ve had a good 25 years. It’s one of those

things, when we started we didn’t really think it

was really going to be anything. Now the joke’s

kinda on us. And well, 25 years kinda creeps up

on ya.” Jansen explains.

Twenty-five years is a long time for any band

and although we figured he couldn’t remember

it all, we asked for a rundown in honour of their

anniversary.

“I think we were 18, 19, that was our first show.

Then it was awhile before we could get the instruments,

and play them well enough to do it in front

of other people.” Jansen laughs and resumes.

“We just started as a joke. We had some friends

that bought the T-shirts that we made. And at

first, we were kinda thinking we could get by

without having to, you know, play shows and stuff

like that. We liked the idea of being in a band, but

not really the idea of the work. Then, the friends

who bought our T-shirts were asking us, ‘Where’s

this band?’ So, we were kind of challenged to play

a show,” he admits.

“After we played our first show, it turned into

another one and another one and then an album,

then a tour. But at first we had a really difficult time

getting a show out of town. Eventually, Huevos

Rancheros [another long-running Calgary band]

took us to Seattle, our first out of town show; then

we were hooked, and that was about 25 years ago.”

Jansen pauses, “Like I said, it creeps up on ya.”

Not only do we have 25 years to celebrate,

Chixdiggit! are reciprocating the love to their fans

in the form of a new album, which should be out

by September and followed by a tour. But until

then, you’ll have to get your fill at their upcoming

anniversary show. Which is a pretty easy compromise

if you ask us.

“I’m really looking forward to the anniversary

show, we haven’t played in almost a year. So it’s

time. And because it’s 25 years, it’s going to be a

party, that’s for sure,” Jansen laughs

“So you might as well come down to the show

and party and make fun of us for being old.”

Don’t miss Chixdiggit! at their 25th anniversary

party with The Shiverettes at Commonwealth in

Calgary on June 4th.

ROCKPILE

BEATROUTE • JUNE 2016 | 19


VANTOPIA

rollin’ out the Boogie Vans

by Mike Dunn

poster: Alan Forbes

Now in their fourth year throwing a wild and weird rock ‘n’

roll wizard party out in the bush, the Vandits VC have put

together their biggest lineup so far, with 18 bands spread out

over two nights, near Equity, Alberta.

Initially started as a fine excuse for the Vandits to get out of town for

a few days with their buddies and better halves, and have a chill hang

while checking out each other’s handiwork on the boogie van customization

front, Vantopia has grown from a small gathering of about eight

bands and 100 people in 2013, to the aforementioned 18 bands, and an

expected attendance of 300+ humans.

In addition to local favourites HighKicks, Woodhawk, and Miesha &

The Spanks, and Edmonton’s most loveable weirdoes, The Wet Secrets,

the lineup includes the reunion of Temple, Regina math-stoners Black

Thunder, Saskatoon’s Von Jumbo, and Denim Machine, who, according

to organizer Arlen Smith, “is kind of a side project of Frankie McQueen

and Mancub. They write rad songs about vannin’”

The party will be emceed by Vandits associate David “Matchstick”

Brooks, who writes and publishes a magazine called Custom Vanner out

of California. Matchstick has started a band called SAME/SAME, with

Vandits member Corey Martin, formerly of Breathe Knives and Helvis,

which Smith describes as, “a weird, dreamy psych/noise project that they

developed over Skype, sending song parts back and forth. They’re pals,

they talk on the phone all the time. I think they might be in love.” SAME/

SAME will play the Thursday night Vantopia pre-party at The Palomino,

which also includes Solid Brown and HFT, and again at the shaker on

Saturday night. The one act Smith hasn’t yet seen but is pumped to have

at the party, is Dead Quiet from Vancouver, “kind of a metal/fuzz rock

supergroup,” featuring members of Barn Burner and Ancients.

“I’m really stoked to cut loose. It’s pretty much my one weekend

a year to not have to be at the bar and responsible, and we’ve got

everything. Punk rock, thrash, stoner rock, garage rock, fuzz rock,

straight up rock n’ roll.”

Vantopia 4 goes down June 3rd-5th, near Equity, AB. Tickets are $30, and

include camping. There are no onsite liquor sales, BYOB, and no “unfamiliar”

dogs. The after party happens Sunday June 5th at The Palomino

Smokehouse, featuring Black Pussy, Frankie McQueen, Mammoth Grove

and Electric Owl.

20 | JUNE 2016 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE


LEFTÖVER CRACK

rockin’ Western Canada to the core

What many thought would never be, is actually happening – Leftöver

Crack are coming to Western Canada.

Leftöver Crack hail from New York City, and rose from the ashes of

the brief but highly influential punk band, Choking Victim, in the late ‘90s. Since

their inception, they’ve gone through a couple lineup changes, as well as some

intensive label shifts. But as it stands, they are as follows: Stza Sturgeon, vocals; Alec

Baillie, bass; Chris Mann, guitar; Donny Morris, drums and are currently calling Fat

Wreck Chords their home.

Recently we chatted with front man and founding member, Stza Sturgeon, in

preparation for their Western Canadian tour.

Known for their punk approach on a classic ska, dancehall mixture — dubbed

crackrock steady beat — Leftöver Crack combine dance worthy tracks with a message

of anti-fascism and solidarity behind them. They’ve released three full-length

albums to date, their latest, Constructs of the State; released in November of 2015,

is their first full-length album in 12 years. Constructs hosts a roster of various punk

rock heavyweights involved on almost every track, which gives it a very eclectic

feel, while still maintaining their roots.

The release of this new album put many fears of a L.Ö.C. breakup to rest,

although promise of more new material would be music to our ears, and Sturgeon

gives us some hope.

“We have a plan to put together a compilation of all our seven-inch recordings,

our split-sides and our compilation tracks that were never released. But we’re in a

creative space right now, where we can just decide to write a song or cover a song,

go into the studio the next day and get it done. Especially if we’re all together, like

on tour,” he explains.

“So, for all we know we could be in Edmonton, on tour, and be like, ‘Hey, let’s

cover a Brian Adams song,” he laughs, then stops.

“Just the fact that I just thought of it, now there’s a 75 per cent chance it’s going

to happen. I’m thinking ‘Summer of ’69,’” he continues, completely serious.

On a creative high and with a new album in tow, it’s safe to say L.Ö.C are looking

forward to their Canadian dates. And with shows already sold out, it looks like fans

are just as excited.

DAYGLO ABORTIONS

bringing the Armageddon to Calgary

Controversial punk icons talk changes and picking up the pace.

Canada Day is fast approaching and what better way to celebrate than

with Canadian punk legends Dayglo Abortions and the Calgary Beer

Core crew.

The Dayglo Abortions are veterans of political satire and have the albums to

prove it. Forming out of Victoria, British Columbia, they have been offending the

ROCKPILE

Leftöver Crack may or may not cover Bryan Adams.

by Sarah Mac

photo: Alan Snodgrass

“I’ve never been to Western Canada and I’m looking forward to getting my fill of

Canada and all things Canadian. Seriously, I’m really excited, it’s beautiful up there,”

Sturgeon concludes.

Leftöver Crack play Edmonton’s Starlite Room on June 28th, Calgary’s Dickens on

June 29th and 30th, Vancouver’s Venue on July 1st and 2nd and Victoria’s Distrikt on

July 3rd.

by Sarah Mac

public with the loud, heavy, tongue-in-cheek punk rock since 1979. Their first

album, Out of the Womb, was released in 1981 and The Dayglos have been consistently

pissing people off ever since. Their latest, March’s Armageddon Survival

Guide released by Unrest Records, is no different.

The constant and mastermind behind all this vulgarity is front man and founding

member, The Cretin. And luckily for us, he had some time to chat.

First off, Armageddon Survival Guide, is the first full-length album from The

Dayglo Abortions in 12 years. The last, Holy Shiite, was released back in ’04.

“We’re not the most prolific band on earth, it usually takes us a couple years

between albums. But we’ve gone through a lot of changes lately too. We changed

labels, we changed drummers and management. Actually, almost everything has

changed in a lot of ways,” The Cretin explains. “But we’re really proud of the new

album,”

“And we’re already working on songs for part two of the Armageddon Survival

Guide,” he laughs.

“We’re trying to get more prolific. But most importantly, we all just want to play.

That’s the biggest thing.”

And play they will! The Calgary Beer Core collective have set up an impressive

lineup for you to feast your ears on, and with The Dayglos as headliners you’re

guaranteed a gritty and obnoxious punk rock time.

“It’s Canada Day, it’s a good day to party, one of those days where you don’t

not want to play. And there’s no blatant nationalism at these Canada Day parties

either,” The Cretin jokes.

“We’ll probably play the whole new album; it’s going to be fun. We have two

extra guitarists playing with us, so it’s just going to be balls-out, three guitars. And

it’s the Calgary Beer Core, so it’s going to be a goon show; you guys are going to be

crushed,” he laughs.

There you have it, kids. This year also marks the 10th anniversary of Calgary Beer

Core’s Canada Day punk rock party – so don’t miss it!

Dayglo Abortions play Calgary Beer Core’s Canada Day party on — you guessed

it — July 1st at Distortion.

BEATROUTE • JUNE 2016 | 21


HIGH STRUG DOWNERS

move it on up, dig the Downers new record and new sound

The first thing that strikes you about

the High Strung Downers is that

while they may look and play the

part of a here-comes-trouble late ‘50s, early

‘60s rockabilly band, dressed-to-kill in snazzy

lizard lounge suits with their hot-rod hair

cuts, sonically and psychologically they’re

hardly one-dimensional.

There’s a swack of personalities and

stylistics going on that’s more like a blazing

romp across America than it is a quick swing

through Tennessee. Even though they’re

steeped in rock ‘n’ roll, country, R&B and

doo-wop, the Downers are a wild mix of

characters from different corners of the rock

‘n’ roll universe which makes them familiar,

fun and, all important, refreshing.

Joe Love, stand-up bass player, writes

straight ahead, this-is-how-it-is, point

blank, take no prisoners songs. Call him

Joe “Dee-Dee” Love, because he’s got a

heart full of Ramones achin’ to be. T-Bone

whacks away on the snare drum, but he’s

also a sure-fire crooner one part Tom

Waits, one part Chris Isaak with honeymoon

eyes. And the power-duo led by

Greasy Greg and Earl Garnet deep dip into

the Lennon-McCartney rock ‘n’ roll well of

everlasting life cranked on the Clash.

Greasys puts it into perspective, “When

people ask, ‘What are you guys all about?’ I just

say, ‘Picture the Ramones, playing on Johnny

Cash’s gear, dressed like the Rat Pack.”

Greasy Greg, is the new boy on the block

who replaced Buzz Elroy on rhythm guitar

and vocals, giving the band a whole new

turbo charge. Earl speaks to the line-up

change. “It happened naturally. Buzz certainly

was a strength who gave us a clear identity

and moved us forward. And we want to

continue to evolve, that should be the goal

of any band.”

Greasy previously played in another roots

band, The Ruminants, and was coming out

of bad patch in his life plagued by an awful

relationship breakup and a death. “I was in

a real negative space, and the band gave me

something to focus on, get excited about

and something to be a part of when I really

needed it in my life.”

There’s no denying that Greasy brings a

blast of energy to the Downers that didn’t

exist before. The shift from hayseed rockabilly

to hard-hitting rock ‘n’ roll took over.

Earl says that’s exactly what they set out

to do. “We were on a mission. Whatever

style of music we delved into, I wanted to

sound like now. I can’t write songs about the

‘50s, I just can’t.”

Greasy echos the same sentiment. “It’s a

pleasing aesthetic to do the whole rockabilly

thing, but it’s not 1955 anymore. And quite

honestly, I wouldn’t want to live there anyway.

Black people couldn’t vote, women had

little to no rights. It was great if you were a

straight, white dude, but that’s about it. Sure

we’re influenced by the past, but I’m pretty

happy to live in 2016 right now and to make

a record that has a High Strung Downers’

sound. The same way Credence Clearwater

Revival has a sound. You wouldn’t say they’re

a country band, a rock ‘n’ roll or R&B band,

you just know it’s a CCR song, and that was

our goal to making this record.

The HSD’s record release of Can’t Feel

Good All The Time is on Sat. June 11 at the

Ironwood Stage and Grill.

BRASS MONKEY

the pulse of Queensland is all about music, dancing girls and screaming for more

A menois et trois of management: Mark, Jesse and Mike. The main monkeys at work and play.

Easy come, easy go... The Downers toast to good and bad times, but always in style.

Mark Parker chalked up a number of years in

the bar industry with lengthy stints at the

Palomino, the now defunct Amsterdam

Rhino and then a two year run in Las Vegas managing

a bar on Fremont Street before tracking down his old

high school pal, Mike Workman, who was running

Dixon’s Public House in Midnapore. Combing their

pub and live music experience, they teamed up and

took over the Brass Monkey, a neighbourhood bar

nestled deep in the southeast burb of Queensland on

the edge of beautiful Deer Run.

Parker says they had their sights set on a couple of

places, but the moment he walked into the Monkey he

knew that was the bar. “I’m a music guy, and there was

great stage and PA already set up. I could work with

that, for sure.”

Jessica Chung, a marketing coordinator for OPA!, the

Greek food chain, was regular at the Monkey before

Parker and Workman took over. The three became fast

friends then associates moving towards making the bar

am honest music venue outside of downtown.

Initially Parker booked a few cover bands, but was

quickly dissatisfied as was his clientele. “I was paying

bands to practice their set list to an empty room. No

one was interested.” While regulars love their karaoke

and open jam nights (completed with flutes and sitars

by B. Simm

by B. Simm

sometimes), when the weekend comes, fresh, original

music is the order their customers ask for.

As Calgary matures, so does its demographics and

communities. It’s becoming increasingly common that

those who move out of downtown opting for a house

and yard don’t necessarily want to throw out the records

and social life they grew up with. Bars aren’t just a

phase of life, they remain a way of life no matter where

you live. That’s the new reality for old and young.

The Brass Monkey has all the right stuff to make

that happen. It’s a real music venue, not just a makeshift

live entertainment room on the weekend. A

bona-fide hangout whose motto is more the merrier...

“We live for the party. Life is better with dancing girls

on tables, live music and people wailing at the top of

their lungs.”

Chung says that bar has gone through a facelift with

the change of ownership. “They drove out the old,

crusty crowd, the drug dealers, all the bad stuff. It was

a rejuvenation, a re-brand that brought in younger, livelier

faces. There’s a community here now, without the

drama. We’ve become the pulse of Queensland.”

Visit the Monkey located at 950 Queensland Drive SE.

For more info go to brassmonkeypub.ca

22 | JUNE 2016 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE


THIS IS SLED ISLAND

In her welcome letter opening the Sled Island program guide,

executive director Maud Salvi notes that the strength of our

community is what has brought Sled Island to a decade of

being. I have to say I agree. After all, she’s my boss. (More on

that further down.)

Over 60 local bands (and more still from the Western

Canada region) will be performing at the festival on the same

stages as bands like Guided By Voices, Deafheaven and Peaches.

Homegrown artists of non-musical disciplines will be in

focus as well. Over 400 volunteers will commit their time. And,

hopefully, an enormous audience will spend five days engaging

with all of this.

In covering the festival, BeatRoute wanted to honour the

tradition of the presence of veteran bands and promising

younger talent, but also to highlight that this is the weirdest,

most gender and sexuality diverse year yet.

It can be a little awkward to talk about when we’re a media

sponsor and the person writing to you now does a short-term

contract with Sled each year. As a community-produced publication,

BeatRoute relies on interconnection to produce compelling,

accurate stories informed by firsthand understanding.

In a relatively small city with a precarious economy like

Calgary, you have to care very much about whether your culture

lives or dies. There’s a very real chance that the latter can

happen if you don’t.

So, fuck objective, fuck clinical detachment and outside

assessment. We love Sled Island and we love being a part of

letting art grow and touch people. What we hope the most is

that we can use that passion to tell you a story that’s worth

hearing, and inspire you to be an active participant in something

that takes a little faith to experience.

We hope you’ll find the following pages to be a weird, exciting

ride that inspire curiosity and exploration of Sled as a hub

where our city shines together, collectively, in unison. If we did

our job right, you’ll be asking for ten more years.

Colin Gallant

Music Editor

photo: Allison Seto

ROCKPILE

GUIDED BY VOICES

lo-fi indie-rock titans reform with new blood

After a four-year reunion run featuring

the “classic-era Guided By Voices lineup,”

the on-again-off-again lo-fi titans

called it quits once again in 2014, then resurfaced

with a new roster this year. Since news

of a GBV date at Sled Island broke, the band’s

founder and high-functioning lead songwriter

Robert Pollard has had much in the works,

and plans to keep the momentum going.

Since March, Pollard has released two

albums and counting—a solo effort, called Of

Course You Are, and GBV’s 22nd record, Please

Be Honest, which he recorded himself and

played every instrument on, thus making it sort

of feel like a solo work. But as Pollard explains,

he doesn’t separate or delineate projects.

“I wrote a new batch of songs and mapped

out all the parts for each one. I typically don’t

do that except for a project I have called

Teenage Guitar, and even with that I do mostly

spontaneous experimentation,” Pollard says.

“But for Please Be Honest my idea was to play

everything, have all the instrumentation and

vocal parts scripted and if I could pull it off

without it sounding too clumsy, I would give

it the Guided By Voices tag. If not, I would just

call it Teenage Guitar. Obviously I decided that

it worked.”

To mark GBV’s Calgary appearance, we

picked Pollard’s brain via email (he hasn’t

done a phone interview in years, apparently),

corresponding about his evolving approach to

songwriting and the future of the band.

BeatRoute: I’ve read that you keep a

notebook full of phrases sourced from

random places and things, and then you

create lyrics from that. What are some

of the lines in your notebook right now?

Robert Pollard: Here, let me get it out. How

can a fool decorate? Geezers’ hat team. Euclid

mannequin. Heavy blondes can cook. Discount

revolution. AC/DC motorized wheelchair.

Naming cities after planets.

BR: Do you have any new techniques

that you’ve incorporated into your songwriting

process for this album?

RP: I’ve begun a process where I re-assemble

sections of songs I’ve written using a cd burner.

It’s like editing a film. I can insert or repeat any

section I choose to at any place in the song.

It’s just moving things around until it’s right. A

similar process to making collages.

BR: My favourite song on the new album

is “Unfinished Business.” Do you always

feel compelled to finish what you’ve

started? Do you currently have any

unfinished business that you’d like to

return to?

RP: I don’t return. I move on to the next thing.

I keep the gutters fresh. If an idea doesn’t come

in a fairly spontaneous manner, it’s probably

not worth fussing over. I find that to be the

case probably 99 per cent of the time. I know

what I like. I’ve been doing it for a long time. I

know what pleases me.

BR: Because there is always so much in

the works for you musically, I’m wondering

if you have ever taken an extended

by Julijana Capone

period off from music—and, if so, what

was the reason?

RP: No, I have never done that. It’s difficult to

write on the road, but I never spend too much

time away from home. I work everyday at

home. Whether it be on songs or collages.

BR: Guided By Voices has disbanded

twice in the past, but reformed this year

with a fresh lineup. Did you feel that a

totally new lineup was necessary for the

band to continue?

RP: Yeah. We played for four years with the

original line up. Actually the Bee Thousand line

up. And we recorded six albums. It was very

productive and it was good to get everyone

back together again. But at the end it started

getting very mechanical and tired. There was

a great degree of complacency, so I decided it

was time to wrap it up. I’ve decided now that

Guided By Voices the brand name, just needed

new blood.

BR: How has it been playing and rehearsing

songs with the guys? Can you envision

more GBV live dates and albums in

the future?

RP: Yeah, we’re going to play as many shows as

we can and see what happens. Maybe record

an album or two. You find out what kind of

chemistry is there when you tour for a while.

We’ll just have to see how it unfolds.

Guided By Voices perform at Olympic Plaza on

June 25th as part of Sled Island Music and Arts

Festival.

BEATROUTE • JUNE 2016 | 25


PEACHES

Calgary opens wide for its first taste of the iconic artist in seven years at Sled Island

Peaches brings Rub to life onstage during stint at Sled Island.

An innovative and iconoclastic artist with a

heart of gold and the warpaint to match,

Peaches was already rocking the boat of

Toronto’s club scene when she debuted her first solo

outing Fancypants Hoodlum (Accudub Inc), under

her given name Merrill Nisker, back in 2005. But it

wasn’t until the electro-rocker and rapper was transplanted

to German soil in 2000 that her musical

career truly began to flourish. Signed to the Kitty-Yo

record label after an unforgettable one-night stand,

Peaches followed her water-testing Lovertits EP with

the release of her breakthrough album The Teaches

of the Peaches in the fall of 2000. Evidently, she

had found a home for her soul and her art in the

cultural Mecca and has stayed on to return the city’s

embrace.

“Well, I’ve lived here for 16 years and I just

think Berlin is still a super cool city,” Peaches says.

“It’s very open to night life, and music, and art,

and performance, and experimentation, and I’ve

received a lot of it and met a lot of international,

super-talented people that make their way

through. Being in Europe you get a little more of

that, because people float through a little easier

and also in terms of funding and collaborations

and other things like that.”

A tour de force with Marilyn Manson and

Queens of the Stones Age further established

Peaches’ reputation as a dynamic on-stage presence

with a talent for smashing gender-norms

through her glamorously riveting performances.

Deemed too racy for Britain’s Top of the Pops, she

went on to flaunt a full-beard on the cover of her

2003 album Fatherfucker (XL), which featured

Iggy Pop on the single “Kick It.” Continuing to defy

the odds and social conventions across borders,

her subversive songs were suddenly accessible

to a mainstream audience, popping up on the

soundtracks for movies like Waiting... and Mean

Girls, as well as on television series such as South

Park, 30 Rock, True Blood, and The L Word. Meanwhile,

everyone from Pink to REM were queuing

up to have some of that erotic Peaches magic

spread upon their labours.

“I’ve always been mostly interested in performance

art, and video, and music - the fashion thing

was never really a concern of mine, that just kind

of organically grew out of what was happening. I

think I’ve just found more likeminded people, not

that there weren’t in Canada, but it just seems like a

good flow. And, I’ve had a little stint doing different

projects in a theatre here and met different people.

There’s just a really good conceptual and contemporary

art scene. So, I don’t need to push. I just

try and do my thing and it just seems to like build

organically, which is really, really good.”

After marrying her polti-punk passions to those

of Joan Jett, Josh Homme, Beth Ditto, amongst

others, for her next LP Impeach My Bush (XL) in

2006, Peaches returned to command the dancefloor

in 2009 when she unleashed I Feel Cream

(XL). A glittering trans-disco fantasy, teased-out by

the show-stopping single “Talk to Me,” the album

was buffed to perfection by the skillful ministrations

of co-producers Simian Mobile Disco, Soulwax,

and Shapemod. The next year in, 2010, Peaches

gained the ‘Electronic Artist of the Year’ award

at the 10th Annual Independent Music Awards in

Toronto, and performed a one-woman version of

Jesus Christ Superstar at Berlin’s HAU1, entitled

Peaches Christ Superstar. For her latest full-length

outing, Rub (I U She Music), featuring Nick Zinner

(Yeah Yeah Yeahs), Peaches tapped into her love of

filmmaking to enhance and contextualize each of

the album’s carnal capers.

“From the beginning I used to make a lot of

Super-8 movies for the songs, so it was always part

of it. I’ve made a movie that I’m in and also directed

a lot of the videos that I’ve made throughout

the years. I’m also enjoying making videos for

every song on Rub. The track “Rub” has its own

six-minute video and was made using a deliberately

all-women cast and crew of 40 in the desert

with me and Lex Vaughn, who spent a lot of time

in Canada, and A.L. Steiner, who made the lesbian

porn film Community Action. There’s already five

videos that have been put out for Rub, including

‘Dick in the Air,’ which is a collaboration featuring

me and Margaret Cho.”

Other NSFW vignettes for the album include

the Peaches-directed “Light in Places” starring UK

by Christine Leonard

laser-butt-plug aerialist Empress Stah, “Free Drink

Ticket” directed by Sara Sachs, and “Close Up”

featuring Sled Island 2015 performer, Kim Gordon

(Sonic Youth, Body/Head). Directed by friend and

collaborator Vice Cooler (who performs alongside

Peaches at the 2016 festival), the combative-clip

for “Close Up” finds Peaches taking on the role of a

pro wrestler.

“I’m glad that they [female martial artists]

exist,” the composer of the ultimate walk-out

song, “I Don’t Give A ...,” confirms. “That video was

born out of my relationship with Lucha VaVoom,

they’re a Mexican wresting and burlesque troupe

who perform four times a year in L.A. and they’re

friends of mine so it was a nice collaboration. We

actually found me a stunt-double, a pole-dancer

and wrestler who was sort of my build, so that was

really cool. The director, Vice Cooler, also coproduced

that album with me. I have a little house in

L.A. and we spent a year in my garage making the

album from scratch there. It’s not so glamorous, it’s

just a garage, but it was fun.”

That album, Rub, and its accompanying

eye-candy provide a galvanizing glimpse into the

marvelous psyche, of an ambihelical performer

who channels Prince and Bowie, while embodying

the spirit of rebellious artists from history who

have refused to choose between sexual identity,

and self-expression. This assertion is echoed by

Peaches appearance on the silver screen in the

motion picture Desire Will Set You Free (2015 Amard

Bird Films), directed by Yony Leyser and is also

Peache’s selection for Sled Island’s film lineup.

Having called in favours and utilized her

impressive network of contacts to assemble an

avant-garde dream team of bands and artists to

fulfill her role as curator and festival queen diva,

Peaches looks forward to bringing a taste of her

adopted hometown to Sled Island and the Canadian

prairies.

“A lot of these acts will give people a Berlin

experience,” she says. “Hyenaz, Planningtorock, and

Born In Flamez will sonically blow people’s minds.

Just come as you are and be like you wanna be!”

As for her own flagship concert, the Sled Island

headliner Peaches promises to bust out the ultimate

Rub experience for her audience when she

mounts the stage at Flames Central.

“The first half of 2015 was about finishing the

album and getting it ready. It came out in September

and I’ve just been touring like a crazy woman

since then. It’s been business as usual, which is not

business as usual, which is just super exciting and

fun as usual. We have done so many shows and

so many festivals. Mostly America and Europe,

I’ve done Toronto, Vancouver and Montréal, like I

usually do, but it’s good to dig a little deeper. The

show is Rub-focused for sure, but with some classics

thrown in. I’ve only done all the songs from an

album in order live once; I’ve played Teaches of the

Peaches backwards so ‘Fuck the Pain Away’ would

be last. This show is pretty true to the new album

and working the songs out in their pure form. It’s

like a big mess, but in a really good way.”

Peaches performs at Flames Central on June 25th with

her curator picks Vice Cooler and Lafawndah.

26 | JUNE 2016 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE


PEACHES PICKS

bringing Berlin, America’s most exciting club music and more to Sled Island

“I’m just excited that it wasn’t restricted to just bands in a certain

area,” Peaches says with enthusiasm in describing her role as

curator of this year’s Sled Island Festival. “Having these superinteresting

Berlin bands, someone like Born in Flamez, that don’t

get to play outside Europe (especially in Canada), in a different

context is going to be exciting for everybody.”

by Christine Leonard

Planningtorock — “I’ve been a supporter of Planningtorock

(Jam Rostron ) since her first tour. I took

her on tour with me in 2006. She’s from Northern

England and has been living in Berlin for five years.

She’s also really, really specialized in their style and influential

in her scene. Planningtorock and I wrote and

produced the video for ‘Free Drink Ticket’ together,

and she also remixed my song ‘Vaginoplasty.’”

Born in Flamez — “They’re very dark, slow and

possess a more experimental sound that is very

happening right now. Atmospheric, but also still

danceable. From that new school of that, with a

big video element… I’ve seen her do a lot of diverse

projects that are cool sonically and that’ll be very

different too.”

Junglepussy — Junglepussy is more like rapping, but

it’s more New York. Like old-school style with that

amazing quick wit. Junglepussy and I have never met,

so I’m really glad she’s coming along. I always want

good strong performers, but I also wanted a mix of

all musical cross-sections. I think there’s a good mix

here, so I’m happy about that.

Hyenaz — “Hyenaz and I have a good relationship already. I actually had them [the duo of Mad

Kate from Bonaparte and Tusk] on tour with me for a bit. It’s very conceptual, very ritualistic performance

and a lot of movement. Mad Kate, she’s a great artist figure in Berlin doing a lot of performance

art and post-porn work and a lot of academic work. (It’s not like regular porn it’s like neo-porn. Like on

your own terms; not your typical porn.) So, they don’t get much chance to get out of Europe. That’s

going to be a really interesting show. I predict Hyenaz is going to blow people’s minds.”

Desire Will Set You Free (film) — “…will give

people a total view on a queer, open world in Berlin.

It’s a really good film about people living their lives…

My contribution to the movie is that I do a song by a

kabarett artist from the 1920s called Claire Waldoff.

She was very interested in gender-fucking back then,

but she was less popular than Marlene Dietrich.

What’s interesting to me is that she talked about a

lot of stuff during that time that’s been reintroduced

now in Berlin; in the past ten years there’s definitely

been that freedom again.”

Lafawndah — “Likewise, I

have yet to see Lafawndah

[Yasmin Dubois] perform

live. When it comes to Lafawdah,

she has this Middle

Eastern kinda vibe in her

singing and it’s also a little

experimental. But still keep

in mind that everything

that I’ve picked that’s experimental

is also danceable. It

is actually quite a nice mix,

now that I look at it!”

Maluca — “And then we

have Maluca, who has

these Caribbean roots.

Maluca has worked a lot

with Diplo, but is also a

great energetic live entertainer.

I saw her playing a

small club in Los Angeles

like four years ago.”

TT The Artist — “I know that TT [Tedra] and

I have wanted to play together for a long time.

I always DJ TT’s albums, so it’s nice to have

her along. I just love the music. It’s like booty

Baltimore beats and brings in more of like an

American vibe to the whole thing.”

Vice Cooler — “Such an incredible performer,

but he hasn’t really performed in a really long

time so it’s gonna be all new music. And, it’s kinda

me pushing him to play again, which is sort of

selfish, but I’m looking forward to it. I’m looking

forward to seeing all of these come alive!”

Cakes da Killa – “Cakes is from New York and is

always a lot of fun. Cakes and I have also done shows

before. In fact, we just recently played in France

together. She’s just super high-energy and really an

excellent performer. And, she’s such an insane fast

rapper!”

ROCKPILE

BEATROUTE • JUNE 2016 | 27


DEAFHEAVEN

from rags to riches, from intensity to even more intensity

I’m trying to see if George Clarke will ever blink. We’re engaged

in a staring contest across time and space to the Pitchfork Music

Festival in Chicago’s Union Park, Sunday, July 20th, 2014. I’m

thinking that maybe he won’t. To his right guitarist Shiv Mehra

is strumming two heavily reverbed notes on the most beautiful

Fender Jaguar I’ve ever seen, to his left Clarke’s best friend

and closest collaborator, Kerry McCoy, the only person onstage

wearing a piece of clothing that isn’t black, waits for his signal.

Clarke is wearing an immaculately cut black shirt, black pants,

black patent leather Oxfords polished to a reflective sheen, hair

parted far to the left. He doesn’t speak, but he’s communicating -

gesticulating wildly, almost conducting the crowd before the song

has begun. He still hasn’t blinked, and I’d hate to be whoever he’s

staring at. His stare is Old Testament wrath-of-God stuff.

Clarke may be one of the only frontmen in rock music, and

definitely one of very few in extreme metal, who can be accurately

described as ‘flamboyant’ onstage (he has been compared to

everyone from Freddie Mercury to, and I’m not making this up,

Hitler), but offstage he is thoughtful and reflective, particularly

when it comes to his band and its music. He’s also an ordinary,

suburban white guy getting into his late 20s, coping with fame,

notoriety, newfound wealth, touring, not touring, moving cities,

staying still. Being the vocalist of the band giving modern extreme

music a dose of raw and unfiltered feeling.

Clarke met Kerry McCoy in high school after moving to

Modesto, California, a place he now describes as “Pretty desolate,

a small town. San Francisco is where everyone attempts to go to

after they graduate and pretty much where we grew up is a suburb.”

McCoy was one of the only kids in the school who listened

to punk and metal, identifying Clarke as one of his people by a

Slayer t-shirt. They went deeper into the genre, finding thrash,

death metal and finally, and above all else, black metal.

“We were involved in a lot of random bands in high school,”

says Clark. “None of them really did too much. We didn’t really

get serious about what we were doing until Deafheaven started.”

After a spell of homelessness, sleeping in cars and on couches,

Clarke and McCoy moved to San Francisco, sharing a room in

a Haight-Ashbury borderline-squat, both resigned to working

nothing-jobs to be able to continue to play music.

They spent $500 recording a demo and released it online

through Bandcamp. Not long after Tre McCarthy, one of the

founders of the Deathwish Inc. label alongside Coverge’s Jacob

Bannon, found the demo on a blog and emailed the band, offering

to release the demo. Clarke and McCoy’s counter-offer was

that Deathwish release Roads to Judah, their debut album.

“Things started moving really quickly,” Clarke says. “We were

essentially nothing and then we became a real band. We did

SXSW and some touring and it grew from there. We toured for

two years and during that time we had different members switch

in and out. We ended up gaining our current drummer, Dan Tracy,

and started working on songs in the fall of 2012.”

Those songs had names like “Dream House,” “Irresistible” and

“The Pecan Tree,” the album was titled Sunbather. The cover

is pink, shading to orange. The title is written in a typeface,

Sunbather Book, that’s available to purchase. There’s a section in

which French musician Stéphane “Neige” Paut, who was hybridizing

black metal and shoegaze as early as 2005 with his band Alcest,

reads a section of Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness

of Being. While Roads to Judah’s lyrics detailed Clarke’s dissolute

life in San Francisco, Sunbather was about the possibilities that

were in front of him now that he had left that world behind. It

breaks all the rules that metal claims to have never had and does

so gloriously.

“That record is about wanting more than you have, and it’s

by Gareth Watkins

about wealth disparity and finding yourself in

financial straits. At that time we were going

through a lot of transitions. We had lost our

whole band, so Kerry started writing songs on

his own. It was very stressful, and I think we

turned that stress into something creative.”

Roads to Judah had been a critical darling,

placed in best of lists by the mainstream and

metal press alike. It opened doors for them, but

Sunbather was a wrecking ball: review score

aggregator Metacritic found that it was the

best-reviewed major release of 2013, and it now

stands as the seventeenth best reviewed record

of all time on the site, beaten by Bob Dylan,

Nirvana, Beyoncé, Serge Gainsbourg and Kendrick

Lamar. It took first place in the best metal

albums lists of Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, Spin and

others. On paper, it shouldn’t have worked at all:

black metal with a distinct and acknowledged

influence from Burzum, the one-man-band of

a white supremacist, convicted murderer and

church arsonist, but also gorgeous, crystalline

shoegazing, tropical EBow and slide guitar

harmonies from artists who dressed like regular

people and would talk about their love for

Drake in interviews.

Two years of touring followed before the

self-described “road warriors” were back in the

studio. Following Sunbather wouldn’t be easy.

“It was a high-stress situation again. Because

we had received all these accolades with

Sunbather we didn’t want to create the same

record twice. That was the biggest challenge: we

wanted to step outside of our comfort zone a

little bit and include different influences - just

evolve, and be interesting to ourselves.”

For last year’s New Bermuda, the band was looking to “trim the

fat,” as Clarke puts it, to “Focus on stronger, more clear melodies.

We also wanted to have a more metallic sound, a more riff-focused

record. There’s a lot more urgency on New Bermuda.”

In addition to having something to prove, Clarke was having

something of a quarter-life crisis, having gotten everything he

promised himself on Sunbather and still not feeling content.

“That record thematically is a bit darker - it focuses on depression

a lot, feeling uncomfortable, being in transition, dealing with

adulthood for the first time. It’s about a loss of creativity, about

moving to Los Angeles and not having it be what you wanted it

to be. About being depressed.”

The song “Luna” portrays this beautifully when Clarke screams:

“There is no ocean for me/ There is no glamour/ Only the mirage

of water ascending from the asphalt/ I gaze at it from the oven

of my home/ Confined to a house that never remains clean/ To a

bed where the ill never get well.” The song opens with a guitar riff

with a debt to thrash metal and Clarke sings in a register that’s

lower and more guttural than he had on previous records. It’s noticeably

more ‘metal,’ whatever that word means now that bands

like Deafheaven exist.

They’ll be playing Sled Island after coming off a headlining tour

with Tribulation and Envy and a support slot for Lamb of God

and Anthrax, both the largest they’ve ever played. They’re used

to being the odd band out, the metal band at the indie festival,

the indie band on the metal tour, but if knowing that half of their

audience just isn’t going to get it phases them then they haven’t

shown it yet.

Deafheaven play at the #1 Legion on June 25th as part of Sled Island

Music and Arts Festival.

28 | JUNE 2016 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE


PSYCHIC TV

Genesis Breyer P-Orridge and the weaponization of pleasure

Genesis Breyer P-Orridge is a monolithic

figurehead of underground music and art,

and has always rode the vanguard of the

avant-garde. Given he/r stature as a confrontational

artist going back to early ‘70s with COUM Transmissions,

or inventing “industrial music” as one-fourth

of Throbbing Gristle later that decade, or embracing

acid-house culture with Psychic TV in the ‘80s, right

through to he/r immersion into pandrogyny (now

preferring “s/he,” “he/r,“ “we” and “us” pronouns) -

Gen has always smashed boundaries and taboos.

Since reforming Psychic TV in 2003, P-Orridge has

continued to craft intricate and fascinating music, and

Psychic TV’s new album, Alienist, due out this September,

will be no exception here. A return to the music the

members of PTV cut their teeth on in those psychedelic

Sixties, figures heavily: “We’ve been going through

this interesting phase for a while now, where the band

that’s playing with me now are totally into obscure ‘60s

psychedelic music. The band has a real affection for that

era, and growing up in that era, we saw all sorts of those

bands live, like Pink Floyd.

“And it dawned on me that there wasn’t that same

excitement at most concerts that we were seeing

anymore, or being a part of - and that was a shame!

There’s a really amazing experience that can be had if

the band relaxes and just plays as long as they want, the

way they want, improvising when they want, and just

giving everything they have energy-wise to an audience.

That’s what an audience both craves and deserves,

and that’s why we usually have it in our contract that

we’ll play at least two hours, because it takes a while

for people to relax and realize they’re in a safe place at

last - where they don’t have to worry about looking

cool, or fashionable. They can do ridiculous dances, and

it’s okay, because people are laughing and smiling with

each other - so it’s about that now. That’s the drive - is

to get that connection with everybody there, in the

sort of timeless moment of energy. And that’s led us

to going back and looking at our library of what we’ve

enjoyed in that way, from bands in the past - so we’re

ROCKPILE

by Kyle Harcott

doing cover versions, and this new record has two,

of the four songs – ‘cos they’re long [laughs]. We‘re

covering Harry Nilsson’s “Jump Into The Fire,” and we do

“How Does It Feel To Feel?” by The Creation. The other

two songs are originals. There’s “I’m Looking For You,”

which is the story of Lucifer’s fall with the fallen angels,

and being told by a cynical observer that rebellion was

over and worthless, and it was too late! [laughs] And

the other song is about... well, you’ll have to see, that

one’s “The Alienist.” And that’s one that’s about my

love of words, really, because “alienist” can also mean

“detective,” and it can also mean “psychiatrist” as it did

in the Victorian era. So the title has all these different

seemingly contradictory meanings and that’s what that

song has become about - the playing with language and

the different resonance you get. But it’s a danceable one!

So if we could sum it up, it’s that in Psychic TV, we use

pleasure as a weapon.“

While the band doesn’t tour as heavily as they used

to, P-Orridge tells us s/he remains fond of Canada, and

recounts the tale of a special Ottawa gig in 1990: “Ottawa

was weird. We were booked into this restaurant

that usually had cabaret, Frank Sinatra-imitation singers.

Gosh knows why we were booked in there, it was so

bizarre. And the PA was so inadequate that we turned it

into performance art and piled all the tables and chairs

people were sat in, into a big pyramid, and sort of did a

samba ‘round this pyramid, with abstract noise in the

background. That same night we got a message that a

roadie from Mötley Crüe had turned up and said Mötley

were really big fans of Psychic TV, and they put us on

the VIP list for their gig at the stadium that night. So we

all went there after our soundcheck, to this stadium and

saw Mötley Crüe, and saw Tommy Lee going round and

upside-down in his drums in the air. Pretty amazing!”

As for the show they’re bringing to Sled Island this

year, people can undoubtedly expect “A brand-new,

super-duper video light show, and a lot of smiling!”

Psychic TV perform at Dickens Pub on June 24th as part

of Sled Island Music and Arts Festival.

photo: Jorge Pereira

NEW BOMB TURKS

Cleveland’s kings of swing

In 1990 the times were-a-changing:

Margaret Thatcher threw

in the towel, The Simpsons first

aired on TV and the New Bombs

Turks emerged from a dormitory

at Ohio State University.

Although the Turks were part of

the laid-back college town and

the state capital which defined

Columbus at that time, all four

founding members grew up in the

industrial grit of Cleveland, a two

hour drive to the north on the

shore of Lake Erie.

“Cleveland was definitely

different than Columbus,” says

Eric Davidson, the Turks’ frantic

frontman who, along with

guitarist Jim Weber and bassist

Matt Reber, formed the nucleus

of the most blistering of punk

bands to spring from the Midwest.

“Cleveland was an older town, with a

lot more ethnicity, drenched in music with a

punk history. It kind of had a big city attitude

that was very surly, dirty and industrial. It

was just a lot more diverse and sarcastic.”

Sarcasm was at the irreverent core of many

punk bands in the 80s and 90s. And the

Turks, who came from the same town as the

king of sarcasm, Harvey Pekar, were raised in

a climate of profound cynicism—the erosion

of America’s manufacturing and economic

core that produced the desolate Rustbelt era.

“This sounds all so needlessly poetic,” says

Davidson reflecting on his upbringing, “but

for people my age and a little bit older, we

were the children of people who were slowly

losing their jobs.”

Although Davidson sidesteps and downplays

the sentiment, Cleveland suffered one

of the steepest economic declines in US

history that resulted in nearly 25 percent of

its population, or 177,000 people to leave the

city between 1970 and 1980.

In the midst of its despair, Davidson notes

a number of circumstances that his generation

of Clevelanders cut their teeth on and

gave the Turks their unmistakable endurance.

“Dennis Kucinich was the mayor for awhile

(1977-79) who was very, very liberal and an

out-atheist (in a Catholic stronghold), the

unions were tough, and Cleveland always

had a really good radio market. Even though

boring classic rock lingered into the ‘90s,

sometimes at night you’d hear some pretty

good music on those stations, along with a

really good mix of college stations. And the

seediness, just the places you had to go see

bands, which was downtown or just on the

west side of downtown, were beat-up, old,

grungy dive bars you’d have to sneak into and

sit through a crappy cover band or new wave

band just to see that one punk band. That’s

the way Cleveland was, sometimes you had

to drive really fucking far just to see things,

and it all kind of builds this steeliness in you

by B. Simm

just to find things you like.”

Another of Davidson’s observations why

Cleveland spawned its particular character

conducive to punk was the extreme weather.

Living next to the mighty Lake Erie meant

summers were hot and humid but soon

plunged into dark, stormy, severe winters

that cut to the bone.

“I always used to say life is going get better

in the spring and summer, then it’s going to

get terrible, really fucking terrible. I remember

when we first went out to California,

where it’s kind of nice all the time, especially

LA, and I was visiting the guy who ran Lookout

Records.

He said, ‘Yeah, we were punk rock kids

who were mad at our parents, rude and

everything like that, but we weren’t really

that mad.’ I went, ‘What!?’, and he shrugged

saying, ‘We would just go down to the beach

and look at hot girls.’ Going down to the

beach and looking at hot girls was never

an option in Cleveland. If it was, I probably

wouldn’t have started a punk band.”

The New Bomb Turks officially put the

band on the back burner in 2005 although

they continue to play select festivals and

one-off shows. Jim Weber teaches high

school full time, and Davidson is an editor for

CMJ (College Music Journal) who now lives

in Queens, NY. In 2010 Davidson published

a witty, street-smart, insightful account of

garage punk called We Never Learn: The

Gunk Punk Undergut, 1988–2001. He says

the Turks’s current set is culled from the first

two Cyrpt releases, !!Destroy-Oh-Boy!! and

Information Highway Revisited as well 2000’s

Nightmare Senario which debuted their

current drummer, Sam Brown

Arguably the fastest punk outfit that

swings supreme, Davidson says they’re still

built for speed and promises “a fun show, or

we wouldn’t do it.”

Catch New Bomb Turks on June 25th at Dickens

Pub as part of Sled Island 2016.

BEATROUTE • JUNE 2016 | 29


TORTOISE

accomplished instrumentalists noting the presence of younger fans at shows

Tortoise come to Calgary shortly after the release of their

ESG

dance above all else

History will try to tell you that ESG are a no wave, postpunk

band. That isn’t entirely accurate. ESG prefer to be

thought of simply as the band that makes you dance.

Formed at the end of the ‘70s by three teenage sisters and some

friends from their neighbourhood in South Bronx, NY, the band

had no agenda of being part of Manhattan’s self-serious art

world. They had only three goals: stay out of trouble, make you

dance, and get a gold record. They succeeded at the first two,

but were robbed of the third.

Sampled without permission countless times before crucial

legal precedents for intellectual property were established, ESG are

in part responsible for hits by artists like 2Pac, Wu-Tang Clan and

the Beastie Boys. The list goes on, and on, and on.

We spoke to Renee Scroggins from the band on the issue and

the near-end of ESG after she sustained a serious knee injury. The

band has managed to soldier on and are working on new music:

“As a matter of fact, we’re gonna have a new album that we’re

gonna release in September called What More Can You Take?. I’m

talking about sampling, I’m talking about – there’s an artist out

there that’s a rapper, that’s stealing our name. Who steals another

band’s name?!”

“I have never in my life, in the history of music, saw someone

take another band’s name and it be acceptable. You wouldn’t

do this to a male artist, and yes, I do have to look at it as ‘you’re

picking on women,’” she says. Scroggins disagrees with not only the

unpermitted sampling of the band, but also the often misogynist

subject matter of the artists who’ve done it.

Still, there’s a lot of joy in the story of ESG. Playing music as

family (now including a second generation of Scroggins) has been

by Willow Grier

Sled Island has a penchant for bringing low-key legends to a

small but noteworthy festival. Mogwai, Earthless, and last

year’s guest curators Godspeed You! Black Emperor blew

the roofs off venues with beautifully woven, instrument-rich

works of art. This year, one of the top instrumental acts is Chicago

five-piece, Tortoise. With a career spanning longer than

many attendees have been alive, they will surely have a few

tricks hidden up their shell.

Tortoise began in the early ‘90s with a unique style of dynamically

layered textures and sonic ideas and infusing these with dub,

funk, and jazz.

One of the secrets to the band’s success is the fact that all

members are multi-instrumentalists. Founding member Doug Mc-

Combs says, “With so many songwriters there is always a different

angle and voice driving the project forward. It could develop much

further than with just one of us writing everything.”

While never stale, McCombs mentions that many of their best

ideas are those slow to develop, and long to linger. “When I write

songs I don’t do a lot of home recording. If I have an idea, I will

keep it around for a long time. If I still remember it some time later,

then usually that means it’s a good idea.” He then adds (not wholly

un-ironically, given the band’s namesake), “Our process is generally

quite slow. We often work on ideas for years before we end up

using them in an album setting.”

Tortoise’ new album The Catastrophist (their first in seven

years), expands upon concepts they created for the City of Chicago,

as a celebration of their diverse music scene.

The band created “skeletal pieces” that could be fleshed out by

large groups and soloists. McCombs elaborates that about half of

the music on the album comes from this energy-rich experience,

and the rest was them “figuring out how [they] could expand it in

a very ‘Tortoise’ way.”

McCombs speaks of his excitement attending a smaller, more

intimate festival, and also of sharing new material.

“A few years back, everyone in the front row was middle-aged

guys, and since then, things have changed. Now the crowds are

younger, there’s fresh interest again, which is really neat.” Since

Tortoise is playing one of Sled Island’s largest all-ages shows, it will

be great to see a full circle of appreciation.

Tortoise perform at Central United Church on June 24th as part of

Sled Island Music and Arts Festival.

by Colin Gallant

a way to keep one another close. They’re a band who has taken

many a licking but continued to bring lightness to their world

through their music. Classic releases like the EP ESG (1981) and

album Come Away With ESG (1983) are as potent today as they

were upon release.

Their appearance at Sled Island marks the band’s first stop in

Canada in eight years, and a chance to see band who just can’t be

stopped.

ESG play the #1 Legion on June 22nd as part of Sled Island Music

and Arts Festival.

KID MILLIONS

hittin Sled Island in three incarnations

by Michael Grondin

The music of drumming machine Kid Millions, and his many side

projects, bursts like a bubble; the bubble is an initial idea and what

explodes from it is an improvised journey fueled by curiosity.

Kid Millions (John Colpitts) is a member of the notoriously experimental

Brooklyn acts Oneida and People of the North, and has a solo

drumming project called Man Forever. All three acts delve deep into the

possibilities of sound, blending Millions’ unrelenting drumming with ambience

and chaos driven drone sounds, made by guitars, synths and many

other forms of sound and instrumentation.

Oneida, a five-piece outfit, has been on the experimental music scene

for almost 20 years, and with over 20 releases and a repertoire of unhinged,

mind-boggling live performances, they have found solitude in

their raw creation, rather than in the labels or categories being placed

upon their music.

“I don’t care at this point. It’s been twenty years. People are going to say

whatever. I’m not at war with the people who want to put us into a particular

box,” says Millions in a phone interview from New York. “It’s a business,

right, so people want to know what they’re getting. I don’t know if it inhibits

us and the sound we’re making, but perhaps it makes it easier for people to

dismiss something that doesn’t fall into their assumed genres.”

Without any preconceived notions of their trajectories or outcomes,

the music of Millions’ projects stem from possibility and feeling rather

than expectation.

“We’ve always used the studio as an instrument. We piece things together

from a lot of different sources,” he says. “We’re very open to what a

recording can be and we’ve become a lot less critical of what constitutes a

song or a piece of music.”

People of the North takes a step further into uncharted territory, using

repetition as a compass, where Man Forever gives Millions the opportunity

to explore what is capable with a set of drums and two hands.

“We give everything onstage. We don’t want to leave anything left over.

We really try to listen and be attuned to the various shifts and improvisational

directions that may come up,” says Millions of his acts’ live performances.

“I try to attend to what feels necessary in the moment.”

Oneida, People of the North and Man forever will be playing at this

year’s Sled Island Music Festival.

“I hope people listen, and that’s about as much as I can expect,” Millions

honestly concludes.

See Kid Millions as a part of Oneida and People of the North, as well as solo as

Man Forever at Sled Island Music and Arts Festival.

30 | JUNE 2016 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE


ANGEL OLSEN

inviting listeners to find the humour

by Liam Prost

“I whose wavering vocal crescendo’s are as ‘jazz-singer’ as they are

don’t want to sound serious anymore, that’s not the full picture of me.”

There’s a lot written about Angel Olsen, a crooning songwriter

‘horror-movie soundtrack.’ Within the indie-darling-discourse of Olsen, the

centre-point is obviously her beautiful, heart-rending music, which broaches

freak-folk in the intimate moments, and lo-fi rock at its edge. Her most

recent release Burn Your Fire for No Witness (2014) is a tremendous record of

fragmented sentiments, a cavalcade of visceral emotions and haunting lyrics.

Burn Your Fire cut “White Fire” opens with the cutting line “everything is

tragic, it all just falls apart.” For most other singer-songwriters, the self-seriousness

of such a sentiment would be striking, but this particular lyrical moment

is one she wants people to shit to. In a recent interview with Spin, Olsen

reported that she wants her music to soundtrack Lena Dunham defecating

in the HBO ensemble dramedy Girls, a show which she respects for “showing

every angle” of “daily life,” even those angles to which camera lenses do not

often focus. This remark is revealing both of Olsen’s music as a method with

which to reconfigure expectations about tone and emotionality, but also of

her sense of humour.

Olsen tells BeatRoute, “I don’t want to sound serious anymore, that’s not

the full picture of me.” A suggestion which is obvious to us on the receiving

end of her quips and liberal use of the word “dude.”

Olsen is a hugely buzzed about act, with media attention all over the place

and an outrageous Twitter personality, her lack of self-seriousness dares listeners

to read humour into her often dour music. Despite her success and newfound

public profile, she still opines that “it’s a privilege to be interviewed.”

Those who read her interviews or listen to her music “get to carve the piece

anyway,” and get acquainted with their own vertical slice of Angel Olsen. She

tells us that “you have to embrace the character that you are,” and it became

clear that no one knows Angel Olsen better than Angel Olsen.

While tight-lipped about details regarding her material, Olsen teases that

we can expect something “very soon” and that “it’ll still be wordy,” with some

“upbeat poppy shit” and of course, more “introverted material.” An impending

release to which Olsen admits to being “so relieved and so excited.”

Angel Olsen performs at Central United Church on June 22nd as part of Sled

Island Music and Arts Festival.

JULIA HOLTER

elusive songwriter and composer experiments with limitations

Julia Holter is an elusive person. Her most recent record

Have You in My Wilderness suggests an invitation into her

world, an exploration of the driving forces and collateral

damage of a musical career that has spun from academic

composition into convivial experimentation and even dipping

in pop and folk. Wilderness however, inviting as its green and

sprawling arrangements prove to be, provides few windows

into the songstress herself. Her narratives are elusive and often

impersonal, and her vocalizations are theatrical. There is a

grandness and eloquence to her music that seems impossible

to retain in a touring band, but Holter tells BeatRoute that despite

having incredibly ornate instrumentation on the record,

she is “really happy with the live band.” Holter performs in a

four-piece with viola, drums, bass, and herself on keyboard.

A smaller ensemble to be sure, but it is hardly stripped down.

Movements are reproduced, but sharpened, notes that float

on the record punctuate the live sound.

“I approach performing as a very different thing,” she says, and

“I enjoy the limitation of a different set of people for a live show.”

With this most recent recording, Holter infused some improvisation

from her band, an inclusion which seeps even deeper into

the live show, a change she views as an experimentation, not

necessarily a “progression.”

“With every project I have a different amount of control,” she

says. Holter kept a tight lock on her early recordings and that

has loosened more recently, but that doesn’t mean that she will

not take that road again. Rather, Holter experiments with adding

and removing limitations, influences, and improvisations.

“Every project is different and that’s what’s fun about it.”

Holter has also composed music for film, another such project

with its own set of limitations. She say that when composing for film

you are constricted to “what someone else wants you [to do],” and

SHOTGUN JIMMIE

new LP a tribute to indie-rock love affair

a long time touring around with other bands had

been a big part of my day to day, and I love a lot of

“For

those bands,” says Shotgun Jimmie a.k.a. Jim Kilpatrick

in between sets at Lawnya Vawnya in St. John’s, NL. “In the same

way that some songwriters just write love songs about love interests,

those bands are kind of my love interests.”

The love interests that Kilpatrick is referring to are bands like the

Constantines, Attack in Black, Eric’s Trip, and Project 9; bands that

also served as inspiration for a series of tributes on the indie-rockers

latest record, Field of Trampolines.

by Liam Prost

that the role of a composer is to “underline the emotions” and not

necessarily create them as she does so easily on her own projects.

Have You in My Wilderness is a beautiful and organic record,

polished and rounded out with shades of Sergeant Pepper, breathes

of chamber pop, and the majesty of mystery. Only Julia Holter knows

where her music will go next.

Julia Holter performs at Theatre Junction GRAND (Flanagan Theatre)

on June 23rd as part of Sled Island Music and Arts Festival.

by Julijana Capone

“I’ve been toying around with the idea of doing a tribute album

for awhile,” explains Kilpatrick, who previously paid homage to

Ladyhawk and Guided By Voices on his 2013 album, Everything

Everything. “I guess it just keeps popping up when I’m writing.”

The world-travelling singer-songwriter has called Brandon, MB

his home for the past few years, and recently started studying Visual

& Aboriginal Art at Brandon University. While his previous albums

have been largely a one-man-band affair, Kilpatrick says his artschool

studies have opened him up to working more collaboratively.

Enter Joel Plaskett, who produced the album at his studio in Dartmouth,

NS, and Human Music, the Winnipeg trio that appear on the

record and also function as Kilpatrick’s backing band, as of late.

“I had a realization watching Joel play at SappyFest a few years ago

that he’s just a genius,” says Kilpatrick. “He’d been saying ‘Hey man, I

want to record a record for you,’ and I thought if I have an opportunity

to work with this guy while he and I are both healthy, alive and

making music, then it would be foolish not to try it at least.”

Among the 10 tracks on the LP are a few sunny salutes to touring

and camping (“Join The Band” and “Triple Letter Score”), along with

those endearingly earnest tribute tracks, and the out-of-nowhere

psychedelic title tune. Indeed, the album is both a love letter to

Kilpatrick’s favourite bands and the adventures that come with life

on the road.

“I sort of had the idea that the Field of Trampolines would

be this metaphor for this better place or this better place of

existing,” he says.

Shotgun Jimmie performs at the Ship & Anchor on June 23rd and at

Wine-Ohs on June 24th as part of Sled Island Music and Arts Festival.

32 | JUNE 2016 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE


SUBROSA

silver thorns and sirens of the deep

by Christie Leonard

Draw the beeswax from your ears and

unlash yourself from the mast, there’s

no reason to dread the siren song of

Salt Lake City’s SubRosa. Painting melancholy

portraits with her banshee vocals and enthralling

guitar vortexes, Rebecca Vernon stretches

a skin of sludge, doom and stoner rock over a

gothic post-metal skeleton. The powerful undercurrents

generated by twin electric violins,

wielded by Sarah Pendleton and Kim Pack, lend

a supernatural bent to SubRosa’s epics, which

rarely dip below the 10-minute threshold. All

the while, the inescapable gravity of bassist

Levi Hanna and drummer Andy Patterson bring

the atmospheric ablutions back to a terrestrial

fulcrum.

“I feel like it’s really adventurous to have a

longer bigger canvas to work with and to have

a series of movements that tell a story and take

people on a journey, rather than just reaching

a destination,” Vernon says. “It’s been exciting

to build those stories and anticipate how we’re

going to make people feel.”

Thanks to appearances with the likes of

Kyuss, Red Fang, Deafheaven, and Cult of Luna,

SubRosa has established itself as a force to be

reckoned with. Two previous releases, No Help

for the Mighty (2011) and More Constant Than

the Gods (2013), along with their earlier LPs

and EP, have hit home with a growing North

American and European fan base. While readily

admitting that performing in the middle of the

day is one of her worst fears, festival-veteran

Vernon has no reservations about shedding

a little moonlight on SubRosa’s forthcoming

ROCKPILE

compositions.

“The title is For This We Fought the Battle

of Ages, and the release date is August 26th.

There’s a lot of literature that influenced the

new album, but the core and the heart of it is

[the novel] We. It’s an amazing old, sci-fi, dystopian

novel written in the 1920s by a Soviet

dissident named Yevgeny Zamyatina. He was

in exile most of his life because of his criticism

against Communism and the collective way of

thinking. In a nutshell, We is an argument for

individual happiness over collective happiness.”

Armoured in the romantic trappings of

myth and fantasy, SubRosa’s sprawling, lyrical

symphonies do battle with the emotional and

psychological demons by holding a mirror up

to the darkness within.

“I actually consider myself to been a positive

person, but one who’s keenly aware of the

vicissitudes of life,” Vernon explains. “Our

songs deal with social and political issues and

modern problems, like racism and warfare, and

I feel compelled to sing about this deep sorrow

and feeling of universal suffering in cosmic

and poetic ways. I guess we’re trying to look

up in the heavens, high up in the stratosphere

like a bird’s-eye view, and trying to sing about

it almost like the Greek chorus in an opera

watching the tragedy unfold on stage and

trying to explain how terrible it is, without a

message other than - life on earth is really hard

sometimes.”

SubRosa perform at Sled Island Festival from June

22nd to June 26th in Calgary, Alberta.

BEATROUTE • JUNE 2016 | 33


SETH BOGART

return five years later promises audio-visual experience

no! Fuck that shit.”

That was Seth Bogart’s answer to the first question posed

“Hell

in the interview for this story. We scheduled well in advance,

due to his being one of my idols and his omnipresence as Hunx at Sled

Island 2011 (also inescapable: endless lines to see him). Apparently,

there was a miscommunication with his publicist’s wanting to do the

chat after Coachella.

“That’s a festival I can get into,” he chimes in, when informed that this

call is to talk about Sled Island. I didn’t actually see any of his official

performances in 2011, but did enjoy his luridly intimate set at our old

BeatRoute office.

“I think I peed everywhere,” he (barely) remembers. “And I think

everyone drank my pee.”

Early this year, Bogart released his first album under his given name,

but will be billed as The Seth Bogart Show at Sled.

“It’s an audio-visual show, so there’s projections the entire show, and

lots of costume changes, and usually I have a set,” he says. “By the time

I come to Canada we’ll probably have some blow-up things on stage.

Then there’s lots of commercials and videos.”

Unbeknownst to Bogart at the beginning of our interview, someone had

recorded the entirety of his debut of the Show and let it loose on YouTube.

It depicted (spoiler alert) fake security guards who are lusted at during the

show, only to do something unexpected when the ruse is revealed.

“I need to find some of those for Canada,” he reacts. “I would always

flirt, every time, with security when I was in Hunx. Just because I always

thought it was funny.”

Almost all of the time, pop music is about love and sex. Yet with Bogart,

he at once — intentionally or not — normalizes and simultaneously

absurdifies homosexuality within supposedly alternative, yet predominantly

heterosexual, indie culture. The response (for Bogart and many others)

from the press has sorely missed the mark in its appraisal of so-called

“gay music.” The collateral effect has been to dominate the conversation

on, thus marginalize, artists whose sexual expression is as rightfully in play

in their work as it is for anyone inside the heterosexual experience.

“I feel the album is really weird because it’s half very silly and funny,

and then, there’s a few songs on it that are very personal and sad, about

losing friends… I guess there’s some sexual fantasy songs as well,” he

says. “When it comes down to it, I feel like I’m kind of a mix of all that

stuff, so, I was just trying to make something that felt really real to me.”

The Seth Bogart Show takes place on June 23rd at the #1 Legion, and Bogart

will DJ at Broken City on the 24th as part of Sled Island Music and Arts Festival.

TOPS

pop act flexes electronic muscle on tour

After a year spent touring their 2015 release, Picture

You Staring, Montréal based pop act, TOPS, travels

to southern Alberta for the 10th annual Sled Island

festival in Calgary.

“I’m really excited. [Guitarist David Carriere] and I are both

originally from Edmonton and it’s always been a festival that

I’m really excited about,” says lead singer Jane Penny.

The band brings their lush and intimate pop arrangements

from the album, all shimmering guitar, silky vocals, and throwback

synths, along with a host of new material, hinted at having

JOOKLO ZAPPA

liberation in the unknown

by Mike Ryan

more electronic elements and edge.

“Extremely cutting-edge,” Penny jokes.

While the songs are intrinsically the sound

and feel of the band, they do represent a step

forward, Penny says.

The natural tendency to change in

response to the passage of time, gained

experiences, influence and perspectives runs

alongside the literal space in which creation

takes place. It’s an important part of the

process for an artist, and in the case for TOPS,

that came in the form of a house for rent

in Glendale, CA. With an attached garage

and friends to keep energy levels high, the

band seems to be flourishing as they prepare

material for the next album, expected out in

the coming year.

“We have a bunch of new songs in the set

that we’ve been playing this past year. Everyone’s

been really patient and good about talk

of a new album. About half the set are songs

people haven’t heard yet and they are really getting into it. It’s

been really nice to see how people vibe with it before we make

the final recordings,” Penny adds.

With six videos released from the latest album, including an

erotic cameo from fellow Albertan, Mac DeMarco, TOPS has

provided plenty to tide us over until June and beyond.

TOPS perform on June 23rd at Broken City. Check online for more

Western Canada tour dates.

by Mike Dunn

“I met David and Virginia the night of the gig. There wasn’t

much discussion about what we’d do, we just set up, and got together

and played. They’re different from jazz, they have their own

science. They’re constant musicians, always playing somewhere,

and that’s different from me. I had this mentor once, Milford

Graves. He told me not to use what we practice in performance,

and just let music happen.”

Zappa’s musical awakening in the concepts of improvisation

happened very early, at the age of five, seeing his uncle play live, the

legendary rock composer and satirist Frank Zappa. Stanley would

listen to the songs, but the parts that struck him the most were

Frank’s flights of improvisation. “I was astounded by the sections

that took 15, 20, 25 minutes, where he’d just play and play. I could

give or take the vocal parts back then. Even now, I’ll go onto You-

Tube, and people will mash up these huge clips of Frank improvising.

I can just sit there watching it for hours. That’s what I want to

do. I want that freedom of rhythm, melody, and harmony. Frank’s

parts were always melodically fascinating.”

Zappa promises the JOOKLO ZAPPA set at Sled Island will be

firmly in the frenetic JOOKLO style, fully improvised, with three

career musicians playing off each other and “connecting with music.”

Where the knowledge of what’s going to happen in any given

show can give most acts confidence and comfort, it’s the unknown

that is most freeing in the improvisational style of avant-jazz. If the

magic they felt in Brooklyn was any indication, Zappa says he’ll be

looking forward to something similar at Sled. “It’s just our second

time playing together. We’ll have a few days to rehearse, and run

over ideas, and put a wild show together. I

have no idea what’s awaiting me at the moment.”

Somewhere, somehow, in the frenetic madness that is the

sound of JOOKLO DUO, saxophonist Stanley Zappa finds

a place for himself, adding to the esoteric avant-jazz by

“pushing buttons and pulling levers.”

“When you have two people who’ve played together as long as

Virginia (Genta, alto/tenor saxophone) and David (Vanzan, drums)

have, they have a method, an aesthetic, and it’s up to me to find a

few buttons, a few levers, and push and pull with them.”

Zappa had been aware of JOOKLO DUO for quite some time

when he was approached by his friend Kevin Reilly of Relative Pitch

Records, a New Jersey-based label specializing in avant-jazz, free

jazz, and free improvisational music, to fly out to New York and do

a show with them at Jack, a club in Brooklyn.

JOOKLO ZAPPA play Wine-Ohs on June 22nd as part of Sled Island.

34 | JUNE 2016 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE


BESNARD LAKES

finding magic in getting lost

The Besnard Lakes are a band with a righteous

mission. Since 2003 they have taken

their time to build and shape their dense

psychedelic grooves into wave after wave of

meditative, yet obliterating crescendos. Whether

experienced live, or lying on your bed with your

eyes closed and headphones turned way up, these

songs overwhelm the senses and wash over the

listener with a sense of surrender akin to a blissful

calm amidst devastating catastrophe. Jace Lasek

(guitar, vocals, production) explains to BeatRoute,

that a great deal of their musical inspiration is

derived from their time spent camping at the lake

in northern Saskatchewan from which they derive

their name.

“We have a permanent campsite up there, so

we make the pilgrimage from Montreal every year.

We try and take about two or three weeks off and

just go up there,” Lasek says.

“Everybody’s got to get away for a little bit, walk

away from this crazy world. It’s hard to get your

mind off of checking your phone all the time, and

checking your emails. You can’t do that up there,

so you just kind of sit in beautiful silence — it’s

amazing.”

Attempting to bottle the feeling of serenity

that they find there, the band then sets to work,

passionately constructing the songs that will share

the experience with their audience. Their aim is

not exactly political, but intentionally disruptive

to the oftentimes-relentless routines of daily

urban life.

“It’s an extension of going up to Besnard Lakes.

We really want people to feel that sort of blissful

moment where there’s not a care in the world,

and you don’t think about anything except for the

moment that you’re actually in right now, at the

show. We want people to get lost — for an hour,

hour and a half, or two hours — in our music, to

try and help people forget the pains of the world.”

In the past, The Besnard Lakes have employed

more occult and surreptitious means of intervening

in the reality of their fans, like engraving magically

imbued symbols called sigils onto little tags

and distributing them with limited edition vinyl.

Their music however remains their most powerful

medium for magic.

“Visual art is interesting because you can stare

at something for a while and it’ll make you feel a

certain way. Music is a bit more forceful in that

it’s intangible. It’s created, but you can’t grasp it, it

engulfs you physically and you can feel it. It’s really

special and magical for us.”

The Besnard Lakes perform at The Palomino on June

23rd as part of Sled Island.

by Rob Pearson

䰀 䄀 䈀 䌀 伀 䄀 匀 吀

ᰠ 刀 䔀 䴀 䔀 䴀 䈀 䔀 刀 吀 䠀 䔀 䴀 伀 伀 一 ᴠ 䰀 倀 ⼀ 䌀 䐀

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刀 䔀 䌀 伀 刀 䐀 匀 吀 伀 刀 䔀

⠀ 䨀 䤀 䴀 䴀 夀 䈀 唀 䘀 䘀 䔀 吀 吀 一 伀 吀 䤀 一 䌀 䰀 唀 䐀 䔀 䐀 ⤀

䤀 吀 ᤠ 匀 䄀

䠀 䤀 吀 䬀 䤀 䐀 匀 ℀

圀 夀 䄀 吀 吀 刀 䔀 䌀 伀 刀 䐀 匀 ☀ 吀 䄀 倀 䔀 匀 ⼀ 䌀 䄀 䰀 䜀 䄀 刀 夀 䄀 䈀 䌀 䄀 一 䄀 䐀 䄀 ⼀ 吀 䄀 䬀 䤀 一 䜀 夀 伀 唀 ᰠ 䘀 刀 伀 䴀 䜀 伀 伀 䐀 吀 伀 䜀 刀 䔀 䄀 吀 ᴠ 匀 䤀 一 䌀 䔀 ㈀ 㔀

眀 眀 眀 ⸀ 眀 礀 愀 琀 琀 爀 攀 挀 漀 爀 搀 猀 ⸀ 挀 漀 洀

ROCKPILE

BEATROUTE • JUNE 2016 | 35


A GLANCE AT CALGARY

Get to know a few of our own

ADVANCES

L.T. LEIF

SINZERE SINGS

SLO DANCE

photo: Michael Grondin

So many awesome Calgary bands playing Sled

(nearly 70), so few pages in BeatRoute! Below

is just a peek at some locals you may not have

known or who we haven’t had the chance to cover

much in the magazine. It’s up to you to find out

about the rest!

ADVANCES

Smooth R&B and disco-infused house beats will

get your booty shaking. Produced by a collection of

Calgary beatmakers and DJs, Advances’ main goal is

to get you dancing and swaying. They’ll be playing

as a live act for Sled Island.

ALEEM KHAN

Perhaps the only Calgarian artist set to introduce

their seven-piece live band and brand new album

at Sled Island 2016, Aleem finds himself hard to put

into words. Expect lushness.

BLÜ SHORTS

Blü Shorts may be the freakiest band in town. They

play sludgy, discordant art-punk louder and with

weirder than anyone else. One writer called their

Sled Island 2015 set the best they saw at the festival.

CHUURCH

A heavy cloud of intrigue hangs above duo

Chuurch, who appeared in Calgary with little warning

a very short while ago. They’ve just dropped

their first EP, and let’s say it has seriously caught our

attention.

CRACK CLOUD

Relentless fury and a patient, white knuckle grip.

Crack Cloud travels on a delicate line - one side regimented

thought, the other side bringing absolute

chaos. With the drums acting as the centerpiece,

punctuated guitar snaps, droning synths, hints of

saxophone and smooth bass lines add tension and

weight.

HERMITESS

The Hermitess lives up to her namesake in more

ways than one. A live performance from Jennifer

Crighton is special not just in its beauty and

intricacy, but also its rarity. At Sled Island, she’ll

be performing musically with her dissonant and

rapturous freak-folk. Yet a whole other side awaits:

Crighton has put together a filmic, auditory, and

sculptural installation as well.

L. T. LEIF

The initialized name is new for Laura Leif, but she’s

been doing great work for years. Woodpidgeon, EM-

BASSYLIGHTS, HexRay, and others owe at least some

of their history to Leif. Her new release, Shadow on the

Brim / Rough Beasts, is primed for a July release show,

and may be unlike anything you’ve heard from her.

NORWEGIAN ICEBREAKER

It’s been said before, but we’ll say it again: Norwegian

Icebreaker are the loudest band in Calgary.

They’re a psychotic freak-out mess in the best

possible way.

SINZERE SINGS

Sinzere is a rapper and singer who plays Sled for the

first time following her appearance at the inaugural

Femme Wave. She works in different subgenres of

hip-hop that take on haters and heartfelt emotion.

SLO DANCE

Patiently and quietly, Slo Dance make the most unprecedented

pop music in town. Minimal production

from Evangelos Lambrinoudis and raw vocals

from Kaleem Khan will leave you gasping for air.

36 | JUNE 2016 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE


WILD WILD WEST

a look around the region

THE AVULSIONS CONDUCT DADA PLAN

THE ZORGS

SHEARING PINX

tunic

BeatRoute prints both an Alberta and British

Columbia issue. While our AB home might be

Calgary, we do our best to inform readers about

bands from all over Western Canada. Below is a snapshot

of some of the best from the region. For bands

from Alberta’s capital, see the Edmonton Extra section.

We’re stoked to be presenting a BC showcase

during Sled. We’ve booked Dumb, who make crunchy

garage-rock, KIM GRAY, who has a debut album of

smoky vintage pop coming soon, Painted Fruit, who

jangle like pros, and Smoke Eaters, who make deadpan

pop music to freak out to.

VICTORIA

Jons: Wistful pop music for a more relaxed moment

during the festival.

Fountain: An absolutely blistering band that plays

fast and jagged post-punk.

The Backhomes: History will remember them as

psych legends. Big, pulsing trips through space.

okpk: Experimental electronic musician who will be

playing a dark live PA set.

VANCOUVER

Anion: Sludgy, noisy hardcore to bruise your

eardrums.

Astrakhan: More sludge! Their new album Reward

in Purpose comes out right before Sled.

Davachi/Smith: Sarah Davachi and Richard Smith

are literal experts in synthesizers and drone music.

Davachi is a returning fave of the fest.

Dada Plan: This is the music of crackling videotape,

which oozes with early digital age nostalgia,

but is still warm to the touch.

Latex Honey Glove: Electro-pop duo exploring

BDSM and power dynamics live on stage.

Mint Records 25th Anniversary: A giant party to

celebtrate 25 years of great releases!

Shearing Pinx: Unparalleled experimentalists with

dozens of releases and a punishing live show. Their Sled

shows are stops on a tour with French no wavers Zad

Kokar.

shitlord fuckerman: Pure 8-bit insanity filled with

humour and adrenaline.

LETHBRIDGE

Advertisement: Battering punk band with guttural

vocals.

An Ant and an Atom: Ambient music that shifts

from gentle to noisy with ease.

Participation: Post-punk rife with interlocked

guitars and chanted vocals.

SASKATOON

The Avulsions: Downcast post-punk with vocal

harmonies cutting through the gloom.

The Radiation Flowers: An upbeat, shoegazey band

that keep melody front and centre.

respectfulchild: Meticulously crafted violin looping

to daydream to.

Shooting Guns: Road warriors working the sweet

spot of doom.

WINNIPEG

Conduct: Snarly post-punk on the industrial fringe,

Conduct is hands-down one of the most exciting

live bands out of Winnipeg right now.

Wilt: One of the few black metal bands performing,

Wilt is a great chance to release some aggression.

tunic: A savage combination of emotive, hollered

vocals and twisting furious instrumentation.

The Zorgs: Adorable pogo-punk weirdos that

have no-fucks to give, and you’ll love them for it.

38 | JUNE 2016 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE


HERE COME THE VIDEOFREEX

Sled Island presents fascinating documentary on inception of video counterculture

The year is 1969. A war overseas runs rampant with

bloodshed while racism and sexism divides the people

at home. Despite the frequent discrimination and hate

crimes being brought upon the citizens of the United States,

the masses are oblivious.

Unlike the digital age we’ve become accustomed to, things

were much different 40 years ago. A grand total of three

news networks dominated television sets across the country,

manipulating reality with ease. This changed drastically with

the creation of portable video cameras, especially those that

fell into the hands of free-thinking minds.

The idea of picking up a video camera and telling his own

story was completely unimaginable, but that is exactly what

David Cort did. He began filming anything he thought to be

interesting, naturally drawing him to the festival of peace

and love in the summer of 1969, Woodstock. It was there

that he met Parry Teasdale, a kindred soul on a mission similar

to his own. Shortly thereafter Teasdale formally joined

Cort and his girlfriend, Mary Curtis Ratcliff, in collectively

documenting a commentative video counterculture.

It wasn’t long before the alternative video containing messages

of pro-vegetarianism and anti-war anthems caught the

attention of CBS network executive, Don West. Commissioning

the group, they were allotted a time slot for a guerrilla-style

television show funded by the network all while allowing artistic

freedom. Problems arose however when the pilot featured

radical political themes and was immediately cut. Refusing to

give in, the ever-expanding group known as the Videofreex continued

their fight for freedom playing a role that can largely be

the recipient of thanks for the excessive freedom in media that

we enjoy today.

Here Come The Videofreex provides fascinating and intimate

insight on the initial steps taken by the children of the revolution. If

not for their bravery and determination, one could arguably state

that history would not be what we’ve known it to be – the truth.

Here Come The Videofreex screens at Theatre Junction GRAND

(Studio) on June 23rd as part of Sled Island Music and Arts Festival.

by Breanna Whipple

EMOCEAN

Berlin-based Fenster serve as pit orchestra for feature-length film

I AM THE BLUES

beautifully shot documentary a snapshot of blues community

There’s a stark contrast to the boarded-up ghost towns

and urban decay the legendary blues musicians call

home in Daniel Cross’s I Am the Blues, and the guitars

they play: each one finely crafted, deftly polished and worth

a mint. It’s an effective image, given that blues music is a

source of pride and belonging in many poverty-stricken

southern U.S. communities – it brings people together when

there’s nothing else for them. The blues musicians here don’t

need garages to practice in – they set up a makeshift drum

set and play blissfully on the front lawn, and the neighbours

come down to watch.

The blues is an important part not only of these black

communities, but of all southern African-American identity.

In the south, blues is played and heard everywhere – even the

Reverend in the film is a pretty slick bluesman.

Although the genre’s lyrics usually revolve around hard

times and being down-and-out, the masterfully talented men

Over the more than hour-long journey that is

EMOCEAN – Fenster’s debut experimental film –

what begins with an island party soon transcends

into a “meta-psychedelic journey into another dimension.”

“It’s really playful and it doesn’t take itself too seriously, but

at the same time we really wanted to commit to exploring this

other world sonically and telling a story in a simple cartoony

way, but also has some layers of meaning embedded within

it,” said JJ Weihl, a member of the band. “We enter this world

where emotions are forbidden.”

Filmed, edited and produced by the band, EMOCEAN begun

as a joke – “Wouldn’t it be crazy if we made a movie and a

soundtrack?” – and according to Weihl, the band quickly took

that joke really far. While writing the story, the band felt drawn

to shoot on VHS, but decided to make the format of the film a

formal element of the storytelling.

“We wanted to justify it in the story. The movie starts as

a documentary and it’s all filmed in HD. When we’re sucked

into another dimension, it switches to VHS,” Weihl said. “We

grew up in the ‘90s. It’s like a nostalgic retro future landscape.”

and women portrayed in the documentary – most of them in

their 80s – aren’t complainers. In fact, they are full of vitality

and youthful humour. Their one concern is whether the blues

will continue to be meaningful now that all the great blues

musicians are getting old, many passing away. Perhaps the

biggest question the film raises is what will happen to black

identity in the south if blues music disappears.

I Am the Blues is beautifully shot, capturing the heart and

soul of the American South, and allows a glimpse into the lives

of the most musically talented octogenarians you’ll see from

Mississippi to the Louisiana Bayou. If you aren’t already taken

to the blues before watching the documentary at Sled Island

this year, you’ll undoubtedly have a few raspy tunes stuck in

your head for days to follow. And that’s a good thing.

I Am The Blues screens on June 23rd at Theatre Junction GRAND

(Studio) as part of Sled Island Music and Arts Festival.

by Joel Dryden

A successful crowdfunding campaign which raised

approximately €8,000 provided Fenster with the ability

to pay a small production crew, purchase props and fund

travel – but in the end, much of the filming was dictated

by experimentation, and editing was handled by the band

themselves, with each member taking a third of the film

to cut together.

“We didn’t even record to sound separately, we just (used

the camera sound). We made a production company for this

movie, ‘Whatever Productions,’” Weihl said. “That was just

about, whatever works, just do it. Have the people involved in

the project have as much fun as possible.”

The finished feature – a special experience to see a movie

“about a band made by a band while the band is playing”

– will screen as a “cine-concert” at Sled Island, with Fenster

serving as pit orchestra.

“The audience can focus more on the movie, and we’re on

stage, but kind of in the dark,” Weihl said. “We play, but they

don’t really see us so well. So it’s the music coming out of the

darkness of the stage.”

by Jonathan Lawrence

40 | JUNE 2016 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE


SLED ISLAND COMEDY

there’s nothing typical about this year’s lineup

This year at Sled Island, even the most

seasoned festival goers will be treated to a

few new things, as this appears to be the

“year of firsts” for the festival’s comedy component.

Not only have they opened up some of the

comedy to all age groups this year, but they also

boast two comedy curators rather than just the

standard one, not to mention an unprecedented

level of talent in their comedy lineup that actually

forced them to alter their typical show format.

Speaking of the amazingly talented comedy

lineup, people looking at the roster might

wonder whether the entertainment is suitable for

minors. With acts like Crimson Wave performing,

it’s expected that adult content (for lack of a better

word) will be present onstage. Evan Wilson,

one of Sled Island’s comedy curators, explains

that this all-ages policy relies on the discretion of

the viewer to decide what’s appropriate for them.

“Let’s just say that all ages can go into it, but we

leave it up to the discretion of the people attending

to determine whether or not something

is appropriate for them. I personally think it’s a

good thing for younger people to get exposed

to the kind of things Crimson Wave talk about.

If young people can hear some of the themes

and points of view of that comedy, I think that

them knowing that those are regular things that

people talk and think about could possibly have a

positive impact.”

ROCKPILE

STEPH TOLEV

Such an age-inclusive comedy show is a rarity

in a society where the majority of stand-up comedy

occurs in bars or other age-restrictive places.

This year allows Sled Island to give Calgary youth

a chance to see comedy preformed live, and

hopefully create a passion for stand-up within the

VISUAL ART AT SLED ISLAND

a thorough exploration of identity

Sled Island prides itself on its cross-pollination

as a music and Arts festival. We spoke with

Ginger Carlson, the visual art curator for the

past two years, to see how her selections fit into

and strengthened the overall experience at the

festival. According to her, the spirit of the programming

is mindful of the other disciplines being

showcased, and would be hard to miss — even for

the average concert-goer.

BeatRoute: Some of the work deals with erotic

content. Was this a curatorial theme you set out

to explore, or did it happen naturally? Either

way, what does that particular subject matter

lend to the programming? Is it at all due to

Peaches being guest curator? It seems like some

of the themes in visual art mirror her picks for

music.

Ginger Carlson: I definitely kept Peaches in mind

while selecting work for this year's line-up. As an

artist who is such a powerful and important figure

in discussions relating to eroticism and intimacy, as

well as someone who pushes a lot of boundaries, I

was definitely interested in reflecting and considering

those themes and issues through this year's

visual art program. A lot of the artists are making

work that deals with identity either directly or

indirectly and there is certainly some work that

deals with erotic content as well. Another thread

that connects much of the work is an interest in

pushing boundaries, of all kinds, from opening

GLORY, WHOLE

new spaces for intimacy to work that deals with

multiplicity and fluidity, and by playing with our

expectations and presumptions.

BR: You have said that this year’s art program

explores sites and non-sites, spaces and

non-spaces. Can you elaborate? Sometimes it

seems like people don't know Sled is more than

just a music festival — or that BeatRoute is

more than just a music magazine. Does the way

these works have been installed do something

to catch the eye of a viewer who wouldn't

otherwise be looking? What would you say to

someone who doesn't visit art galleries about

the program?

hearts of these teens.

This year Wilson, and fellow curator Sarah Adams

put out a public call for applications, which

resulted in over 60 submissions by comedians all

over the country. From this they selected the best

of the best, including Steph Tolev who Wilson

GC: In terms of exploring sites and non-sites,

spaces and non-spaces, I think that visual art can

be quite unique in its ability to bridge spaces and

ideas in ways that disrupt our expectations of

what music, film, or performance can look like or

feel like. The work in this year's program hopefully

will provide a lot of entry points for people that

generally don't visit art galleries, by both bringing

art directly to them at music venues and with

work that questions just where exactly those disciplinary

boundaries between visual art, music, film,

and performance lie.

BR: Can you highlight three shows that offer different

contributions to the overall cohesion of

by Brandon Tucker

describes as “Your best friend at the party, if

your friend could actually tell jokes,” and Cheryl

Hann who is “the funniest member of Picnicface,”

according to Wilson.

Not only is this lineup jam-packed with

pure comedy talent, but it also boasts an equal

amount of male and female performers. This isn’t

highly unusual in the world of comedy festivals,

and is something that Sled Island was very aware

of when they were putting together the lineup.

“There has been a lot of controversy around

festivals brushing off the fact that their lineups

are made up primarily of men, and we wanted

to balance the lineup because given the comedy

talent out there today there is no reason not to,”

says Wilson.

Aside from the stand-up showcases taking

place at Theatre Junction GRAND, Late Night at

the Plaza does a special Sled Island edition, and

Crimson Wave will be recording a live podcast

taping at Good Luck Bar. These particular events

are closed to minors due to the nature of the

venue’s licensing.

So whether you’re a teenager looking for some

laughs or a stand-up lover hoping to experience

one of the funniest nights of your life, then Sled

Island is the place to be.

Comedy events take place throughout Sled Island.

Check the program guide for performance times.

by Colin Gallant

the program? Or just three that would interest

our readers?

GC: At the #1 Legion this year we have two

projects that consider the intimacy of bodies,

Nine Kennedy's architectural intervention on the

second floor, GLORY, WHOLE, reimagines the

sexual and spatial site of the "glory hole" and Justin

Waddell's Will, Wish, Want or Purpose installation

in the basement will be a sexy and safe space for

viewing historical and contemporary experimental

films and videos that explore relationships, sexuality,

love, and cooperation.

At Theatre Junction Grand on Saturday

evening, we're working with the music program

to present performances by visual and performance

artists Tasman Richardson and Jeneen

Frei Njootli. Ashley Bedet's sculptural installation

a monolith and an obelisk walk into a room

will also be at Theatre Junction Grand, creating

individual spaces for reflection, respite, and

introspection.

Make sure to check the schedule for performances

by Jennifer Crighton, and Nicole Kelly

Westman and Del Hillier, as these artists will be

animating their visual art installations with performances

that bridge the worlds of visual art, film,

and music in surprising ways.

Art will be everywhere at Sled Island. Check the

schedule for installations, performances, workshops

and more.

BEATROUTE • JUNE 2016 | 41


EDMONTON EXTRA

SLEDMONTON 2016

Edmonton rushes Sled Island

If the artery that runs between Edmonton

and Calgary is the QE2 Highway, it’s about to

become clogged with Edmonton musicians

streaming southward for the 2016 edition of Sled

Island. BeatRoute put two fingers on the wrist of

the Edmonton music scene to check the pulse of

Calgary’s northerly neighbours. We asked them to

answer a random survey.

BeatRoute: Sled Island Guest curator Peaches

has an album from the early oughties called

“The Teaches of Peaches.” What are The

Teaches of [your band]?

Pigeon Breeders: Listen. React. Flow.

Jesse & the Dandelions: The “Candies of Dandies?”

Doug Hoyer: A: Notice the little things B: Pretty

much everything can be pretty funny and pretty sad.

c. It’s not hard to fall in love, if you want to fall in love.

Marlaena Moore: To not be afraid of being vulnerable

in order to be heard.

Hood Joplin: be positive + stay based

Switches: The Teaches of Switches are dance like

nobody’s taking 100 per cent of the shots you didn’t

eat, pray, live, laugh or love; so smile, cause nobody’s

watching you! YOLFO! You Only Live Forever Once!

Tropic Harbour: Eat Ramen every day, explore new

scenery, slow down and enjoy the good moments.

Betrayers: First Lesson: Throw your fucking chorus

pedal in the trash. Second Lesson: It feels good to

be bad. Third Lesson: Give no quarter for you shall

receive none.

Faith Healer: It’s all downhill from here.

HELLEN: Be yourself, go nuts, play loud.

N3K: Olde English.

Preston: Always put your foot with the coolest sock

forward.

Rayleigh: That’s awesome. No, we don’t have

anything like that. Like do you want a pun? Or some

advice? We don’t have any advice for anyone. Sorry.

Weird Year: That people should treat others well

with respect rather than be absolutely terrible.

Concealer: Disregard for technical proficiency.

Pyramid//Indigo: The teaches of Prius maintenance.

BR: “Acoustic Afternoon” or “Weekend Dad

Drives” could be Spotify playlist names that

describe the music genres that they feature.

(Folk & Classic Rock) What name would you

give your bands Sled Island set if it were a

Spotify playlist?

Pigeon Breeders: Pick Your Poison & Turn Off The

Lights (Weird Late Night Jams)

Jesse & the Dandelions: Stoner Music for people

who don’t actually get stoned

Doug Hoyer: First Date Picnic

Marlaena Moore: Sad gal sing along

Hood Joplin: -- - -CLUB 420- - --

Switches: Day Drunk Beaver Punks

Tropic Harbour: Dream and Chill or Big Shiny Jams

Betrayers: Bubblegum Flower Punk

Faith Healer: Everybody Hurts

Mitchmatic: Weeknight existential wobble

HELLEN: Night Sweats

N3K: Space Jammer Unlimited

Preston: Emo evening

Rayleigh: Daddy Likey

Weird Year: Turn this to 11 in a dark room

TEETH: Music You Won’t Know What to do With

Concealer: Post-Apocalyptic Picnic Classics

Pyramid//Indigo: Communist Doomsday

BR: If you could play in any other Edmonton

band featured at Sled Island this year, which

band would it be. (Bonus points for not just

saying another band you already play in.)

Jesse & the Dandelions: I would be overjoyed to

play in Diamond Mind or with Jom Comyn. I could

add some keyboard layers maybe and spice things up

with a harmony or two.

Marlaena Moore: Faith Healer, I would play tambourine

or triangle just to play in the same band as Jessica

Jalbert and Jenni Roberts.

Hood Joplin: Mitchmatic! One of my hometown

faves. Incredible musician & performer.

Faith Healer: I’d play in Physical Copies because I

heard a rumor that they’re opening for a band I really

really love. But honestly there isn’t an Edmonton

band doing this festival that I wouldn’t like to play in.

Mitchmatic: Caity Fisher! Cause despite being pals

forever we’ve never ever been in the same band.

HELLEN: Cocaine Eyes. They’re great people who

make absolutely rowdy tunes.

Preston: Either Feed Dogs or Switches.

Rayleigh: Counterfeit Jeans. That band rehearses at

our jam space and let me tell you this – they’re a very,

very fun band.

Weird Year: I’ve always wanted to play drums for

a hip-hop set, so playing with someone like Hood

Joplin would be cool. That or a collaboration with

Pyramid//Indigo.

TEETH: Maybe Tuques, not only because I love my

friends, but because I love the music they make. OR

Feverfew, Mary Wood is a genius.

BR: If you’ve played or attended before, fill

in the blanks in this sentence: One time, at

Sled Island I/my band _________ and it was

_________.

by Levi Manchak and Jenna Lee Williams

Pigeon Breeders: One time, at Sled Island the three

of us saw Godspeed together twice and it was

amazing.

Jesse & the Dandelions: One time, at Sled Island

I slept in the car because I didn’t have a place to

stay and it was terribly uncomfortable, but I packed

enough peanut butter sandwiches to last me the

week. Frugal!

Doug Hoyer: One time, at Sled Island, I opened for

St. Vincent and it was the biggest, most exciting &

terrifying show of my life.

Marlaena Moore: One time at Sled, I got really drunk

and went skateboarding. I was on the way to Palomino

when in the distances I saw all the Coathangers

hanging outside of the Palliser. Without thinking, I

yelled “COATHANGERS” picked up my skateboard

and ran to them and began to gush a perhaps inappropriate

amount. I ran into them all several times

during the festival and they ended being super cool

and nice. It was a lil embarrassing but also really rad.

Hood Joplin: One time, at Sled Island we walked into

the artist lounge at the Calgary tower for the first

time and they were playing my friend’s song on the

PA system! It was very cool.

Switches: One time, at Sled Island my band took

Ritalin and it was annoying and then we were tired.

Tropic Harbour: One time at Sled Island I drank a

Long Island that was only booze and it was a good

time.

Weird Year: I saw Kim Gordon live and it was the

most beautiful dissonance.

TEETH: One time at Sled Island my band chummed

it up with BIG|BRAVE and it was the best day of our

lives.

Pyramid//Indigo: One time at Sled Island we

watched children dance (and one scooter) to Drive

Like Jehu. It was inspirational.

Unfortunately not all bands had time to respond

but amongst the rad Edmonton acts playing Sled, are:

Caity Fisher, Cocaine Eyes, Diamond Mind, Everyday

Things, Feed Dogs, Jeans, Feverfew, Jom Comyn,

Physical Copies, Power-Buddies, Tendencies, tuques,

and Wares.

42 | JUNE 2016 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE


COUNTERFEIT JEANS

playful indie rockers serve up some seriousness on debut album

For as serious as their music makes them seem, the three dudes in Edmonton’s

post-punk poster children Counterfeit Jeans are more than

a little goofy. Passing through quite a few Simpsons before landing

on Counterfeit Jeans, the trio are funny dorks who don’t take themselves

too seriously.

Their relaxed approach to making music has served them well in the

two-ish years they’ve been a band and even recently earned them two Edmonton

Music Award nominations. Now they’re preparing to release their

first full-length self-titled record on July 1st, and the process still seems

just as fun as when they first started, as vocalist/guitarist Jed Gauthier

described with a chuckle.

“We did everything on this record ourselves except for the artwork and

the mastering. It was recorded in the jam space and in my living room.

My living room was where most of the vocals were done… probably in my

underwear,” he laughs. “My cats hate it when I sing or make any noise. They

just run and hide, which tells you how good of a singer I am.”

The new record is being released with the help of local Edmonton label,

Sometimes Music, who are helping distribute the album across Canada and

beyond. When asked about the friendly partnership, they indicated they were

stoked about it, yet it wasn’t a surprise the question was met with a joke.

“Basically we signed a 20-year contract and gave them the rights to our

names, images, power of attorney…” Gauthier smiled.

Heykants chimed in, “I think he gets, like, 95 per cent of the T-shirt

profits.”

Gauthier quickly added, “And Tyler’s first child.”

To which Bedford replied, “We signed a deal with Rumpelstiltskin, essentially.”

They’re a funny bunch, but Gauthier’s B.A. in Philosophy clearly shines

through in many lyrical explorations. Their first single, “No Desire,” clearly

states, “This is the sound of joyful elation, through the grips of self-annihilation.

I cannot wait to die to strip myself of desire;” an homage to Eastern philosophy

and the death of the ego. The Simpsons references seem to be a ruse.

Thoughtful lyrics appear to be a side effect of skillful musicianship, since

the music was written before the lyrics were even considered.

Counterfeit Jeans bring philosophy to rock and roll.

by Brittany Rudyck

photo: Meaghan Baxter

“All of the songs are disjointed in a sense. We had written all the music

and then when it came time to record, I had to write all the lyrics for the

recordings. It was really stressful to write 10 songs worth of lyrics at once.

So, if there are any recurrences, it’s because I was trying to hammer it out

as fast as possible,” Gauthier says with a smile.

You can see Counterfeit Jeans at Sled Island and their album release 9910 in

Edmonton on July 2nd.

THE NEEDLE VINYL TAVERN

new Edmonton venue welcome in wake of closures

The Needle Vinyl Tavern believes in its local music scene.

In the heart of downtown Edmonton, in the old CKUA headquarters, you

will find The Needle Vinyl Tavern: one of Edmonton’s newest bars, restaurants

and mid-sized venues that opened earlier this year. The Needle has

two stages, a state of the art sound system, a VIP area, and musical murals

(including an image of Prince) and is complete with a vinyl-tiled floor.

BeatRoute checked in with owner Rob Campbell and promoter/booker Daniel

Lenz to get the skinny on the Edmonton’s newest hot spot.

Edmonton lost many crucial music venues in 2015, but many new ones began

in 2016. “That is a bit of weird coincidence. We actually started the project more

than three years prior to opening. We really felt that location was critical. There

were venues around at that time that subsequently closed, and we were as

disappointed as any other music fan in town to see them close. We saw the vision

of our venue to be different than venues in existence. It took us the better part of

two years to find the right location,” explains Campbell.

Rob Campbell and fellow owners Neil Bosh James Leder had plenty of time

ROCKPILE

photo: Levi Manchak

by Jenna Lee Williams

to establish their business plan; a business plan that sets The Needle apart from

other bars. “We wanted to create a place that was designed from the ground up

a music venue. We wanted to build a place that had great sound, a proper green

room, and be comfortable for patrons also,” says Campbell. “We really do want to

make a difference in the Edmonton music scene and try and be supporters and

promoters of Edmonton music.”

The owners and staff of The Needle are also supportive of the Alberta Music

City initiative. Edmonton is a festival city, but is also well on its way to becoming a

music city of the north, similar to Edmonton’s sister city, Nashville, Tennessee.

“If you go to a city like an Austin or a Nashville, whether you are going for

brunch, lunch, happy hour drinks, a Saturday night out, there is music all the

time. We want to really try to bring that, have a place to go to be exposed to live

music,” notes Campbell.

This is a feature of the venue that stands out for Lenz also: “With having

longer business hours than most venues in Edmonton it allows us to have

more live music. We have music seven days a week including happy hour and

brunch acts, regular Sunday and Tuesday nights as well as ticketed events

throughout the week.”

What type of shows are booked at the Needle? From local bands to international,

The Needle hosts them all. Upcoming shows include: Danny Michel

on June 17th, SUUNS on June 15th, and of Montreal on June 19th. “Jim Cuddy

from Blue Rodeo, the Cuddy Family Band will be doing a fun party set in early

July. We also want to do a Canada festival and have some great talent lined

up,” says Campbell.

With the owners and staff all being music lovers themselves, Campbell discusses

the importance of community: “We believe in growing the whole music

scene in Edmonton. It benefits everyone in town culturally, and we really want

to actively engage in the music community and hopefully see it getting stronger

rather than the deterioration we have seen with the closures.”

The Needle is located at 10524 Jasper Ave. and is open daily from 11 a.m. – 2 a.m.

Monday to Friday and 10 a.m. – 2 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.

BEATROUTE • JUNE 2016 | 43


BOOK OF BRIDGE

MC SOPRANO

smooth urban beats in new release by Courtney Faulkner

CASTRATI:

nights I just drive off somewhere

and I park and I write in

“Some

the car,” says Lethbridge rapper

and producer Mc Soprano, who admits

to spending most weekends writing and

recording music rather than going out.

“I did record in a car once, when I

started music I didn’t have a studio...I

hung the microphone on the mirror of

the car and I just had the laptop right

there,” says Soprano, “I wonder what

people would think if they were driving

by seeing someone in the car just yelling

into the microphone.”

These days Mc Soprano, who has been

writing and recording music since 2008,

has a home studio, and is preparing to

release his EP album “Late Nights” on

June 17, with songs produced by Diplo

and Trelll. “The album is based on Lethbridge,

the struggles of being in a small

city...sometimes you’re bored, there’s not

much to do, so I wrote about late nights,

hanging out with friends,” says Soprano.

“I write about having a good time,”

says Soprano. “Everybody likes to have a

good time.”

“I think there’s a stereotype when you

tell someone you rap, cause it’s hardcore

rap, or gangster rap, but when I rap I

think it’s more like poetry,” says Soprano.

“I write about girls, past love, emotions.”

“There’s a track talking about the

struggles of an emerging artist, when you

first start working in music, making connections

and trying to break through,”

says Soprano. “It’s more of an emotional

track I’ve been working on for a while.”

Mc Soprano has been recognized for

his talent, winning contests and gaining

radio plays. “Last year I released a single

‘The Life’ and it made it to a bunch radio

stations,” says Soprano. “It was good, the

feeling was really great to actually hear

your song on the radio.”

While he’s been made offers to move

to a larger center, with an already thriving

urban scene, Mc Soprano has chosen to

build his empire in Lethbridge. “Just as

I’m a music artist and I’m trying to get

out there, there’s other people trying to

get out there too,” says Soprano. “If I just

up and left, there might not be anybody

to pave the way for other artists, or even

just work with them.”

“There’s a group called Roughies, they

do hip-hop and rap,” says Soprano. “I

hang out with them and work with them.

I think it’s just a matter of time before

a couple of us are able to get our songs

out there and people start recognizing

Lethbridge and knowing that there is

some talent here.”

“All it takes is just one of us to make it

out there and take everybody along,” says

Soprano. “And my friends here they really

support my music a lot. I would say my

friends really help me go on.”

“My ultimate dream is to have a few

artist who get exposure and put Lethbridge

on the map for music.”

To hear Mc Soprano’s latest album, which

he is releasing for free on June 17, go to

mcsoprano.com and soundcloud.com/

mcsoprano.

photo: Tammi Constantine

AN ELECTRO DRAG OPERA

lights, lipstick and sinful salvation

words and photo by Courtney Creator

Offending people is a good sign for the performers behind Castrati.

Eros is coming. Hitch a ride. Enter the Cult of Cosmic

Purgatory for a religious ceremony unlike any other

— yet, a surprisingly familiar one. Castrati: An Electro

Drag Opera, held its service for four nights during the

Electric Eye Music Festival, where congregation members,

danced, prayed, sang and ate the breadfood (despite

warnings of impending doom).

“Casting the whole audience as a congregation who has

come for this last epic service of this crazy cult, it brings everybody

in this thing together,” says Aaron Collier, the graceful

Princess Edward in the opera, and also the designer of the

lighting, set and music. “It’s one of those shows that you have

to be there for.”

“It’s been interesting to just watch audiences embrace the

show,” says Jay Whitehead, who unleashes as Didi d’Edada in

an electrifying red wig paired with matching bold lips.

“The first inspiration for the show came out of the characters

we created,” says Whitehead. “At the time we were

thinking of those issues of censorship and religion and sexuality

and how those things collide.”

“We all come from various religious backgrounds,” says

Collier. “It was a collaboration where we dreamed, and based

a lot of the story around religious ceremony.”

“It came out of a time where we were receiving lots of

backlash for being a sex and body positive space in Lethbridge,”

says Richie Wilcox, director of the opera. “This show

was our response to that criticism.”

Castrati was performed at Club Didi, a small DIY performance

space and private club in Lethbridge that hosts drag

shows, a season of plays by Theatre Outré, music tributes, underwear

dances and more. “It is an all-inclusive queer friendly

place where a whole amazing community comes together,”

says Wilcox.

The show has taken on various incarnations, and is in its

third rendition, evolving each time it’s revisited.

“Our first thing was just this wonderful collage of these

moments of music, of strange rituals and movement pieces,”

says Collier.

“We definitely offended some people, and that was a really

good sign for us. We were hoping that we were saying some

things that were contrary.”

In preparation for their performance at International

Dublin Gay Theatre Festival last May, the four spent a week

together refining the performance. “We had a very short,

intense rehearsal process, which we always do to ourselves

because we’re so busy creating other things,” says Katherine

Zaborsky, who dons a mustache and black suit to embody

Castrati, the son of Didi, “but in some ways that’s the best way

to do it.”

The result was an opera that’s much less dark with less

literal translations of ceremony.

“As we’ve gone forward and made this new narrative, it’s

funny cause people don’t take it as such a direct comment on

their religion, they just see it as this religion,” says Collier. “But

a lot of people still recognize it right away.”

“It translates and transcends, whatever religious upbringing

you have,” says Whitehead. “We all have similar rituals, the

shame, the taboo, all that stuff is the same in every religion.”

Processing their own religious upbringings through the

humorous opera has helped the actors understand and reconcile

their own relationships with sexuality, gender, shame

and religion.

“For me it breaks even more of a hole open into all of that,

knowing that all of these religious traditions that we adhere

to so vehemently, were simply human based, someone sitting

down and writing a text, really just some writing like we do,”

says Zaborsky. “Hopefully we can explode a little bit of that

blind faith and obedience that we have to experience everyday

in this modern culture.”

Castrati heads east to in Halifax this July for the Queer Acts

Festival, as a kick off to Pride Fest.

44 | JUNE 2016 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE


letters from winnipeg

TD WINNIPEG INTERNATIONAL JAZZ FESTIVAL

features fresh bill of jazz giants, newcomers and a few surprises

by Julijana Capone

Soul revivalist Andra Day is performing at this year’s festival.

Winnipeg is gearing up for 10 days of tunes as part of the

2016 TD Winnipeg International Jazz Festival—from

genre-bridging jazz and blues to revivalist soul and

brass-brimming funk, along with acts that fall under none of those

descriptors.

This year’s lineup brings to the stage jazz saxophonist Kamasi

Washington, neo-soul singer-songwriter Andra Day, as well as

indie-pop Swedes Peter Bjorn and John, and influential post-rockers

Tortoise.

Like other festivals across the country, the Winnipeg Jazz Fest is

feeling the affects of the low Canadian dollar. Some of the big name

international acts that would ordinarily perform as part of the Club

Series at Union Sound Hall are fewer in number, and thus have been

dispersed to different venues.

Rather than programming five to six nights at Union, Nolin has,

instead, programmed three like-minded shows in what would traditionally

be Theatre Series venues, like the West End Cultural Centre

and the Burton Cummings Theatre. “I wanted to try something a

little bit safer and a little bit different,” says Nolin.

Even still, a convoy of Canadian and homegrown Manitoba

acts are ready to fill the void. Sets are scheduled from 81-year-old

Montreal jazz pianist Oliver Jones, who will be performing as part of

his final retirement run; The Legendary Downchild Blues Band; and

Saskatoon’s Close Talker; along with Winnipeggers Mariachi Ghost,

Micah Visser; and Begonia, the latest project of powerhouse vocalist

Alexa Dirks (also of Chic Gamine).

With the event’s 27th year around the corner, we asked Nolin to

offer up 5 Best Bets for the 2016 installment of the Winnipeg Jazz

Fest in no particular order.

Kamasi Washington

Tuesday, June 21 at the Burton Cummings Theatre, 7:30 p.m.

The L.A.-born instrumentalist whose ambitious 2015 release, The

Epic, has been hailed for expanding the boundaries of jazz, is known

as much for his own musical chops as he is for his hip hop affiliations,

having also been part of the studio band for Kendrick Lamar’s To

Pimp A Butterfly, and a touring sideman for Snoop Dogg.

“I’m always looking for fresh and exciting,” says Nolin. “I’m always

looking for something new. Kamasi is sort of the epitome of that.

He’s such a bright star right now that’s bridging generations and

genres.”

Andra Day

Thursday, June 23 at the Burton Cummings Theatre, 7:30 p.m.

Andra Day is still a relative newcomer, yet the San Diego native’s

retro brand of jazzy soul has been striking a chord. “Her star is just

beginning to blast off,” Nolin says.

Peter Bjorn and John

Friday, June 24 at the Burton Cummings Theatre, 7:30 p.m.

You probably still haven’t gotten their 2006 hit “Young Folks” out of

your head, but Nolin says their forthcoming new album is yet another

one for the books. “It’s so good,” he says.

Tia Fuller Quartet

Saturday, June 25 at the West End Cultural Centre, 8:00 p.m.

While her name may not be as widely known as the aforementioned

acts, Nolin says Tia Fuller is someone we need to be talking about

more: “She’s toured the world with Beyoncé, she’s a huge jazz artist

that plays with some heavy jazz cats, but like Kamasi she also has a

foot planted in that other world.”

Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue

Sunday, June 26 at the Burton Cummings Theatre, 7:30 p.m.

Finally, Nolin says to expect the unexpected during Trombone

Shorty’s set. “It’s a rock-funk show, more than sort of a classic jazz

show, but it’s so entertaining,” he says.

The TD Winnipeg International Jazz Festival runs June 16-26 in Winnipeg.

For more information on tickets, passes and wristbands, head to jazzwinnipeg.com.

YES WE MYSTIC

purveyors of hopeful melancholy

The creative impulses of art-pop transformers Yes We

Mystic are shaped and shifted into luminous form on

debut full-length, Forgiver, or what the band has been

referring to as their “sonic ‘Rosetta Stone.’”

The inventive collection of tracks are a culmination, and

expansion, of 2013’s Floods and Fires EP and last year’s remix

effort, Vestige. “When we say ‘sonic Rosetta Stone,’ all of the

different things that we’ve tried and done, we try to unpack

in this album. It’s kind of the whole map of what we want to

accomplish and all of the different things that we want to

touch on emotionally, sonically and lyrically,” says lead vocalist

Adam Fuhr.

Merging dramatic orchestral indie-pop instrumentation

with audacious experimental flourishes, Forgiver marks an early

high-water mark in the group’s still-germinating catalogue.

Working with producer Jace Lasek (The Besnard Lakes, Patrick

Watson, Wolf Parade) at his Breakglass Studios in Montreal, the

five-piece brought bold ideas to the table and executed them

with remarkable skill. A warped-pop aesthetic is exemplified with

cuts such as “No Harm,” featuring electronic mandolin sounds

awash in reverb, or the “Contest of Wit,” on which droning flutes

are processed and distorted, before building into an unexpectedly

dance-y crescendo.

While recording, Lasek’s wife and Besnard Lakes bandmate

Olga Goreas was also in the studio. “We found out

that Olga used to play the flute, so we begged her to bring

it out for us,” says Fuhr. “That was the base from which we

built the rest of the ‘Contest of Wit.’”

And a big part of how the band continues to distinguish their

music is a careful focus on the structure of their songs, allowing

ROCKPILE

them to go to “new and interesting places.”

While the band’s desire to push creative boundaries is audible

on Forgiver, the album’s namesake was also a central theme.

As Fuhr has previously noted in a press release, “It explores the

different manifestations of forgiveness, and asks whether we can

reconcile our capacity to forgive with our own self-respect.”

In the lead-up to the release, the band teased the album with a

poster campaign, where they asked fans to text their replies to the

question: ‘What have you been unable to forgive?’

“We received something like 130 different texts from across

the country,” says Fuhr. “Trying to find connections between

other people’s baggage and our own was very interesting…

We found that the major strand that connected most people

was someone had committed an act that changed how they

viewed people…But there was a lot of instances of people recognizing

that forgiveness was something they wanted to work

on, or saying ‘This happened to me, but I was able to forgive.’”

That sort of hopeful melancholy is something that is certainly

becoming a hallmark of YWM’s musical makeup.

“There are bands that we like that have done happy albums

and we’ve liked them less,” jokes YWM’s chief lyrical contributor

Keegan Steele (vocals, mandolin, synth). “I don’t necessarily

believe in that cliché that you have to be miserable to make

good art… I have written happy songs, but they haven’t felt right

for the group.”

Yes We Mystic tour Western Canada this June and July. Select dates

include June 25th at Local 510 in Calgary, July 1st at the Biltmore

in Vancouver, July 7th at the Mercury Room in Edmonton and July

9th at Capitol Music Club in Saskatoon.

Yes We Mystic have just released their “Sonic ‘Rosetta Stone’”

by Julijana Capone

BEATROUTE • JUNE 2016 | 45


JUCY

HAI KARATE

Hifi’s flagship night draws to a close after nearly 20 years

Hifi owners pass the Thursday night torch to Substation Recordings.

This month, Hai Karate, one of Calgary’s longest-running electronic

music residencies will conclude. Created by Pete Emes and

Mike Grimes at the Night Gallery in 1999, and born from their

collective desire to play the sounds they felt were unrepresented in the

scene at that time, the Thursday night will change hands and be run by

Substation Records.

“We had a real kind of punk rock mentality about playing dance music,

where we felt that there was too many rules and we wanted to disobey all

the rules,” explains Emes.

“And it’s really hard to describe and relate to considering how different

the scene is now to what it was in ’99, but at the time it was something

different. And that evolved over the years, we felt like we continued to

fill a niche in terms of what the night was representing and what we were

promoting musically on the night, we feel like we’ve managed to keep it

really current over the lifespan of it,” he says.

Stating the importance of the Night Gallery in fostering a solid basis for

the night’s formative years, with its “special energy and vibe,” a common

thread with fellow enduring Calgary night Sunday Skool, Emes explains

that they owe their longevity largely in part to the support of the staff,

supporters and other DJs they had around them. And of course their determination

and clarity of vision.

Five years into their residency at the Night Gallery, the duo decided

based on a number of factors that they needed either to relocate to another

existing club, or start their own. They decided to take the risk, pooled

what they had together and in 2005 opened The Hifi Club.

“When we ended up putting it together and opening it, it was busy

right off the bat so we felt really lucky about that and that was kind of

hard decision to make, but in 2005 once we opened Hifi, we were full

steam ahead.”

The move to Hifi also marked the beginning of many long-lasting musical

alliances. At the Night Gallery, Eme’s brother Dave would regularly

open for them and Smalltown would play for the majority of the night.

Once at Hifi, they started filling slots with guys like Wax Romeo, Ivan

Rankic and DJ Pump.

At the start of Hai Karate, Emes was working downtown as a geologist

working for oil companies. The success of the early days of the night motivated

him to dive in to music completely. Alongside Grimes, they opened

Giant 45.

“At the time we wanted a record store where we could order from a

bunch of distributors and we’re filling a niche… and we wanted to be able

JUCY

by Paul Rodgers

to live off what we were doing, so we felt like opening that business would

be a good idea.”

Giant 45 served as a creative hub for local musicians at the time, and

past employees such as Dan Solo and Sandro (Sergio Levels) went on to

create nights of their own, like Modern Math.

Also around that time, Smalltown DJs (whose name originally stems

from an early mixtape entitled Pete Emes and Mike Grimes are Smalltown

DJs) also began playing at Shambhala Music Festival, where they continue

to play on an annual basis. This experience helped to further hone their

skills and sculpt their foundation and fanbase. They also met Bassnectar

there, who at the time was still in the beginning stages of his now massive

career. They brought him to Calgary where he played Hai Karate and

crashed on Grimes’ couch.

“He’s not sleeping on couches anymore, but he played Hai Karate back

in the day,” Emes says with a laugh.

Since the early years, they have continually brought in both established

and up and coming artists. Walking into the Hifi Club one can observe the

chronological plaques on the walls denoting some of the highlights over

the years, and Hai Karate were responsible for many of them.

Remembering fondly bringing artists like Kenny Ken, A-Trak, Diplo and

Chromeo, Emes states

that many of his most memorable times were had playing with their

local crew.

“When I would stay late and play until the wee hours of the morning

just for the staff or whatever those are kind of my most vivid memories,”

Emes says.

The duo are confident with the “hardworking” new management of

Thursday nights and ensure that they are “very conscious” about who they

select to work weeklies and run nights at the Hifi.

They are also keeping very busy. They have a new Saturday night called

My People, numerous records about to be released and a stacked up festival

season rapidly approaching.

“I’m 40 and, you know, it’s like a midweek show and a midweek night,”

explains Emes. “And I feel that the youthful energy and the young energy is

one of the exciting things about our culture, and I still feel like I have that,

but at the same time I feel like our voice is going to be better heard in a less

frequent, differently curated regular event rather than doing weeklies.”

Check out the final Hai Karate on June 2 at the Hifi Club. Smalltown DJs will

also be performing at Sled Island.

LET’S GET JUCY!

June is a special month in our city. With Sled Island taking

place part way through the month and the summer

finally beginning to sink in, it’s a great time to get out and

experience the vibrancy of the electronic and hip-hop music

communities that are thriving here.

Drum and bass mastermind Spor has a side project called Feed

Me. His next-level production skills as a renowned drum and bass

producer translate into electro-house that is as polished as it is

greasy. Check him out at Flames Central on June 4th.

On June 8th, Australian artist What So Not will be playing

at the Hifi. Once a duo featuring Flume, Australian born Emoh

Instead has since branched out on his own. His tracks have been

played by countless names in the EDM circuit and he has an

impressive festival rap sheet. Experience some huge sounds in an

intimate space.

Las Vegas’ BOGL will grace the stage of the Hifi alongside

VNDMG (pronounced Van-Damage). Expect some sounds that

stray from the realms of club convention on June 11th. 403DNB’s

Metropolis takes places June 24th to June 26th, comprised of four

events throughout different times of the day at Nite Owl, The

Oak Tree Tavern and Zon3 after-hours. Headliners include Alix

Perez, Cotesy, Total Science and Kytami among many others, and a

massive array of local DNB selectors.

Sled Island is bringing through plenty of international talent

in the vein of electronic and hip hop, but they also have a strong

focus on our local electronic music community. On June 22nd,

there will be a producer showcase featuring Beach Season, Mark

Adam, OAKK and MetaFloor. That same night there will also be

a special Sled Island edition of Studio Social, and applications for

that need are due June 17.

Australian born busker turned internationally known beatboxer,

singer, beat looping mastermind Dub Fx will perform at

the Marquee on June 28. This is a big one brought to you by the

joint effort of two hardworking Calgary crews Come Correct and

True Rhythm.

That’s it for Let’s Get Jucy this month. Check back in July for

more electronic music and hip-hop listings.

• Paul Rodgers

Dub Fx puts the soul in loop music.

BEATROUTE • JUNE 2016 | 47


ROOTS

KRIS DEMEANOR

And Cutest Kitten Ever by Foster Modesette

JENNY

Long-time Calgary musician and locally

renowned poet, Kris Demeanor, is finally

putting out a new album after a seven-year

recording hiatus.

“After you release seven recordings,” said Demeanor,

“some of the song structure, the whole construct of a

pop song, seems dull or done in your mind. To make

that fresh, for myself, I (started) involving people that I

don’t get to play with as much as I wanted.”

Demeanor’s bold new approach to writing and

recording came in the form of teaming up with Calgary

talents, Jamie Konchak, Allison Lynch, Cinnamon Anderson

and Rae Spoon, to create the Cutest Kitten Ever.

“A lot of the songs are like three or four chunks

that have been put together,” said Demeanor.

“Sometimes, in my mind, they are almost like a character,

a photographic snapshot, a scene, as apposed

to classical song structure.”

The record, Entirely New Beasts, released on May

15, 2016, is a minimalist’s cache. The album does have

detailed elements, found in synth pop backgrounds or

French horn segments, but at its core it is an experience

that highlights the simplicity of words and their

overwhelming bond with music.

“Music does sort of have a special relationship

photo: Alanna One Spot

with words,” Demeanor mused. “Lyrics that are either

obscure, or simple, can be forgiven in the context of a

good tune. That’s always been one of those things in

the pop-rock-folk world.”

A wonderfully rich album, filled with heavy guitar

licks, whistling, birds chirping, academic harmonies,

beautifully captivating poetry, and, above all, a love for

what is being produced, makes Entirely New Beasts a

statement worth paying attention to.

On Demeanor’s new musical endeavour, he tells

BeatRoute, “with that freedom, you have to be as adventurous

as possible. It used to be that the first draft

was always the best…catching the fresh-early energy

of a creative process, (now), it’s okay to look over a

piece and really scrutinize every word, decide over a

few months, is this really the way I want to say this?

Question it and re-tool it: on this album I did that more

than I ever have.”

Entirely New Beasts is out as of May 15th, catch Kris

Demeanor at the Ironwood on June 14th, and at

Calgary Folk Fest July 21st-24th as part of Berner, Mark,

Demeanor. Demeanor also will be a part of Verses Vs.

Homeless: A Shlelter From the Storm Production during

Sled Island.

BERKEL

the concept of home, and her new album Pale Moon Kid

“I

like to write about what I see, not just

what I feel.”

The concept of home, a place that is

not just a house, and is where you feel happiest

and most content, is the driving force of Jenny

Berkel’s songwriting, particularly in her most

recent album Pale Moon Kid. Berkel has always

pondered the idea of home, “I’ve had so many

homes... I’ve had probably 30 addresses. Home

to me isn’t a house, it is a place where I can be

at ease.”

This theme weaves throughout her songwriting:

album cut “Lilac, Lily” carrying in the whimsical

lyric “home is a knock on the door.”

All of the songs on the album were written

over a period of two years, and in that time

Berkel’s notion of home was tested during a

move from Winnipeg, to Toronto, to Montreal.

Berkel found herself tying strings from place

to place, and drawing inspiration from the

different geographies.

Two years of writing rolled into eight days of

recording, and in the heat of summer in Welland

Ontario, Berkel recorded Pale Moon Kid with help

from her sister, Kay Berkel, as well as producer

and collaborator Daniel Romano. The undeniable

chemistry between the three shines through the

cohesive layers of the album to give Pale Moon

Kid an intimate feeling. This, in part, is due to the

by Robyn Welsh

bond that Romano and Berkel formed playing

together in the Trilliums band.

In speaking with BeatRoute, Berkel opines, “I

like to write about what I see, not just what I feel.”

In doing so, she draws inspiration from Leonard

Cohen’s songwriting, and taps into Karen Dalton’s

vocal styling, which she describes as “sad trumpet”

sounding.

Berkel’s tendency to veer away from typical

progressions and lean toward dissonant chords

gives her music an unintentionally medieval

tonality. Her mysterious and full-bodied voice

combined, with the mystifying ambiance of the

instrumentals typify Berkel’s unique sound.

Like many artists, Berkel prefers a show where

people are listening intently, “I like to feel that

people are very present at the show, it can be big,

but I like it if people still feel close,” she says. At

a recent show in Toronto at The Dakota Tavern,

Berkel recounts, “It was a very quiet at the show...

but it felt a bit like we were having a family experience

all together because it felt very intimate.”

Jenny Berkel makes many stops on her June Western

Canada tour. Select stops include The Good

Will in Winnipeg on June 2nd, Creative City Centre

in Regina on June 5th, The Almanac in Edmonton

on June 8th, Wine-Ohs in Calgary on June 9th and

MoSo Fest in Sasktoon on June 16th.

Jenny Berkel is looking for intimate experiences on her upcoming tour.

photo: Justin Morabito

ROOTS

BEATROUTE • JUNE 2016 | 49


NORTH COUNTRY FAIR

welcoming you home

North Country Fair: Where hippies, hipsters and cowboys can all get along.

Any music festival is defined as much by

the land it’s held on as by the music it

presents; Gallagher Park, home of the

Edmonton Folk Music Festival, features rolling hills

and a dawn-till-dusk, sun-drenched view of the

city skyline from the capital’s iconic river valley.

The Calgary Folk Music Festival’s setting at Prince’s

photo: Doug Springer

Island Park is replete with thick fir trees with the

downtown core’s skyscrapers towering above

them, trails throughout the grounds, and is banked

on either side by the Bow River. But few settings

inspire the devotion of attendees as well as “The

Land,” the location of the North Country Fair, near

Driftpile First Nation, northwest of Slave Lake.

For the uninitiated, the North Country Fair

has been held annually since 1980, making it one

of the longest-running Alberta folk and roots

festivals. In that time, it has become a destination

festival for artists from across Canada and North

America. In the past, the lineup has featured some

of Canada’s most respected artists, some very early

in their careers, such as Tanya Tagaq, and Luke

Doucet of Whitehorse fame.

The festival, ever eccentric in its programming,

has a reputation for music running from the early

afternoon until deep into the night, featuring stranger

and stranger shows as the night turns to morning.

As it’s held each year on the summer solstice, it’s rare

that the night stays truly dark for more than a few

hours, giving way to a 4 a.m. twilight of dusk, where

the fog rolls in off the Driftpile River, and the hoots

and hollers of wild hippies, hipsters, rock ‘n’ rollers

and cowboys getting free and freaky can be heard

from all sides.

“All clichés aside,” says Meagan VanDruten, vocalist

from Edmonton’s Swear By The Moon, “The Fair is a

place where you can discover who you are. There’s

a symbolism between the space in the field and

the ability to discover who you are.” Her musical

partner, Zachary Moon, suggests that the generous

and welcoming vibe of the Fair, in addition to its

unpredictable nature, are a couple of the biggest

reasons people keep coming back. “You get out there,

and you’re greeted with a truckload of firewood from

the locals. And before you can even set up your tent,

some friend, new or old, has handed you a beer and

by Mike Dunn

a guitar. As long as you’re awake, it’s just sort of keeps

going like that. Everyone makes you feel like you

belong there. And I don’t know what’s gonna happen,

but I don’t want to miss anything either.”

This year’s lineup, as eclectic as ever, features a

rare solo appearance by Canadian legend Buffy Ste.

Marie, Vancouver rock ‘n’ rollers Bend Sinister, the

avant-garde psych-pop of Calgary’s Ghostkeeper,

legendary Manitoban children’s entertainer Fred

Penner, and B.C. blues guitarist Jesse Roper. In addition,

the Fair always features a diverse group of familiar

Edmonton-area artists including singer-songwriter

Joe Nolan and his new outfit The Dogs,

the energetic blues of Boogie Patrol, alt-country

weirdoes The Uncas, trip-hop stylist Tzadeka, and,

as has become custom, one of the Fair’s most vocal

and globe-trotting promoters, prairie balladeer

Scott Cook. “This’ll be my 21st Fair, and my twelfth

as a performer,” says Cook with no small hint of

nostalgia. “It was the first inkling I got of a wider

family, stretching across scenes, that I could be part

of. That first year, someone said, ‘Welcome home,’

and I believed them. It’s sun-drenched, fungi-tinted,

boreal perfection. Or, it’s a giant bog full of muddy

hippies searching for a dry rolling paper. Most likely,

it’s both.”

The North Country Fair will be held June 16th-19th at

“The Land”, near Driftpile, Alberta. Advance weekend

passes include camping and are $140 for adults, $80

for youth. Children’s passes are free. Details, full lineup,

and maps are available at lslncca.ca

50 | JUNE 2016 • BEATROUTE ROOTS


SHRAPNEL

MORTILLERY

nuclear metalpunks pound out toxic thrashterpiece

If one were to the fuse the horrors of both

the secretive chambers of Josef Fritzl and a

desolate post-nuclear wasteland, the result

would be Edmonton’s five-piece metalpunking

thrashers, Mortillery. Emanating metallic

toxicity since their spawn in 2008, their latest

full-length Shapeshifter packs their hardest and

most hazardous punch yet.

Although a quick Google search delivers thousands

of modern thrash bands at the click of a

button, Mortillery wallops courtesy of the prominent

influence of hardcore punk fused with classic heavy

metal. Founding member and rhythm guitarist Alex

Gutierrez elaborates on the contributions to their

unique sound.

“Kevin [Gaudet], our drummer, is more into

rock and roll, and Miranda [Wolfe, bassist] and

I are more into punk stuff, Cara [McCutchen,

vocals] listens to your classic heavy metal... and

Kent [Quinlan, lead guitar], he likes more technical

stuff... But since we’ve been hanging out he listens

to more aggressive shit.”

He continues, “In this band we play thrash metal

and we’re not looking to reinvent the genre. We just

focus on the parts of the genre that we identify with

more, at the end of the day we just play and write

whatever makes us stoked.”

The May 27th release Shapeshifter, which is the

band’s third full-length and second release under

Mortillery released Shapeshifter on May 27th via Napalm Records.

Napalm Records, demonstrates a more refined

presentation of the band’s collective skill. Their

frenzied metalpunk attack has subtly morphed,

developing from the rawness of their 2011 debut

Murder Death Kill to the melodic assault of Origin

of Extinction (2013). Now, those elements are

cohesive and incessant.

“I think we just grew better at writing the

songs, you know? Like we got to know each

other better and know what our influences are

and then try to use that better instead of just

like writing random songs, like at first it seemed

like we were all just kind of playing whatever we

photo: Dana Zuk

wrote, but now it’s more focused.”

In early May the band published a music video

for “Torture,” the eighth track on the aforementioned

record. Juxtaposing playing footage with a horror

movie-esque storyline, the consummation of the video

shows stacks of VHS with the names of Albertan

bands (presumably, the killer has claimed them all),

a move which simultaneously exemplifies the strong

camaraderie in the provincial metal community.

“I think that’s the cool thing about Edmonton

and Calgary, and I’m sure you see it when you go to

shows...everybody gets along pretty well, there’s not

really much shit in between bands, nobody is really

by Breanna Whipple

competing with each other or anything. So it’s really

easy to be involved, to be very supportive, because

everybody’s your buds and we’re also all in each other’s

bands too so it’s kinda hard not to support each

other,” says Gutierrez, laughing.

Albertan friends and fans aside, Mortillery enjoys

unusually strong visibility (bolstered by frequent touring

that has seen the band play Europe and South

America, among other locales) as Gutierrez believes a

frequent Internet presence is essential for expanding

the metal genre.

“I’m not one to be upset about people using

downloads and the Internet to find, promote and

help out bands. It ties in with touring, we’re a smaller

band enjoying moderate success and the internet has

helped us reach out to a wider audience who normally

wouldn’t know anything about us.”

Internet success is far from being the highest priority

on Gutierrez’s itinerary.

“I take this shit very seriously, for those who know

me know that I don’t fuck around when it comes to

my bands and the work it takes to make it happen.

Whether it’s our live shows or all the behind the

scenes stuff, I make sure we don’t take any shortcuts

and always perform to our best ability.

“Play it loud, play it fast, this is rock ‘n’ roll!”

Mortillery performs in Calgary on June 10th at Broken

City and in Edmonton on June 11th at Brixx Bar.

52 | JUNE 2016 • BEATROUTE SHRAPNEL


This Month In METAL

You know you live in a city with a respectable

and impressive number of metal

shows when you’ve got a huge festival

booking bands that hipsters and metallers alike

go gaga over (on that note, Sled Island is bringing

in Deafhaven, Bell Witch, SubRosa, and

more, head to www.sledisland.com for tickets)

and a dozen more incredible heavy gigs piled

on top. It’s for that reason I wish Shrapnel could

be five or 10 pages this month… but alas, there

is no room. Instead, I’ll get crazy stoked here

about all the quality gigs going down in Alberta

this month.

First up: Natefest will begin on Wednesday,

June 1st. An alternative to the regularly

scheduled Calgary Metalfest, which will occur in

September instead with the big four of Canadian

thrash, this festival features six bands per

night at Distortion, along with a free kick off

show at the Ship and Anchor on Wednesday

with Illuminated Minerva, Thrashadactyl, and

more. For the Thursday, Friday, and Saturday

gigs, tickets are $10 in advance per night. Check

out the Facebook event page for the extensive

lineups.

On Thursday, June 2nd, the original lineup

of Kataplexis is back for a gig with growler

Kyle Ball back at the helm. They’ll be joined at

Broken City by Oxeneer (fresh off the release

of their April full-length Worn Out) and black

metallers Numenorean. The following Saturday

on June 4th, Kataplexis will invade Edmonton

with MessiahLator, Low Level and more at

Mama’s Pizza.

The following weekend is where the show

options in Calgary get a bit overwhelming. On

Friday, June 10th, Brazilian black metal legends

Mystifier are playing at Lord Nelson’s; Edmonton’s

toxicthrashers Mortillery are playing

an album release party alongside BlackRat at

Broken City.

Unfortunately, despite our best efforts and

several messages back and forth, we weren’t

able to get our interview questions back from

the infamous Armando of Mystifier back on

time. If we had, you’d have learned all about

whether that new album is actually impending,

the methods behind the Satanic madness, and

more. Instead, just make sure that you burn

an homage to the fire demons in hope that the

organizers are chatting with each other about

set times and not overlapping, and buy tickets

to both damn shows already.

On Wednesday, June 15th, Canada’s best

ever metal band Voivod is playing at Dickens.

Had I not interviewed them the last time they

came through in February 2015, there’d be a

whole page devoted to the sci-fi legends and

their newest release, the incredible Post Society

EP. Sadly, space is limited, so instead I will just

highly, HIGHLY recommend you buy tickets for

their gig with King Parrot and Child Bite. You

can catch the same lineup at the Starlite Room

in Edmonton on June 16th, at the Exchange in

Regina on June 17th, and at the Good Will Social

Club in Winnipeg on the 18th.

If you’re anywhere close to Vancouver (or

have enough money to fly/drive there), I highly

recommend heading over for Covenant Festival

Mystifier plays Calgary on Friday, June 10th.

from June 16th to 18th. With performances by

Dire Omen, Auroch, Weregoat, Taake, Temple

of Abandonment, Drawn and Quartered, and

more, the incredibly affordable festival is now in

its second year. Head to the Hidenberg for the

shows; buy your $80 three-day pass in advance.

Two Alberta bands will be releasing albums

on Friday, June 24th at Distortion in Calgary.

The first is the long running proggy death band

Caveat, who has been resurrected with added

members. (Special side trivia: Caveat is the

first band I ever interviewed for BeatRoute way

back in August of 2005). They’ll be playing with

death/grind/gore act The Dead Cold again on

June 25th in Edmonton at the Starlite Room. To

get acquainted with the style of the new album

from Caveat, I highly recommend heading over

to Soundcloud to stream of the new “non-metal”

songs from the album dubbedd “Oghma

Infinium.” Featuring gorgeous violin and cello by

Karen An Sim, the song is reminiscent of recent

Opeth.

Meggido is playing their first show in seven

years on Saturday, June 25th at Vern’s with

Bloated Pig, World Class White Trash, and

False Flag. Head down for new material from

the band’s upcoming full-length, along with

several other classics.

Now, for the highlight of July that falls on

a weird date for publishing: on Saturday, July

2nd, legendary black metal act Revenge will be

playing at Dickens with an amazing list of opening

bands, including Auroch, Garotting Deep,

Radioactive Vomit, and Ominosity. Tickets are

available at http://revenge.zoobis.com/. Do not

miss this gig.

• Sarah Kitteringham

SHRAPNEL

BEATROUTE • JUNE 2016 | 53


musicreviews

Tegan and Sara

Love You To Death

Warner Music Canada

It’s been 10 years since the Calgary-born Tegan and

Sara’s career-defining The Con (2007) dropped. That

album saw the talented fingers of Kaki King, Chris

Walla and Jason McGerr of Death Cab for Cutie,

among others help grease the chains of Tegan and

Sara’s raw indie rock. Few songwriters can pen and

perform such shiver-inducing lyrics as “maybe I

would have been something you’d be good at,” from

closing track “Call it Off,” with as much vulnerability

and emotional resonance as Tegan and Sara. Synths

sirened through the dry acoustic guitars of the title

track while the two singers sang percussively on top

of each other, carefully squeezing chamber-pop influences

into their bedroom pop recording aesthetic.

Those same synth leads hit hard on almost every

track of new record Love You To Death, but nine

years and ten buckets of glitter later, the duo’s music

is almost unrecognizable, for better or worse.

When Heartthrob’s (2013) single “Closer” dropped,

it signaled a confident move into polished mainstream-ready

pop music. The track pops to life with

massive synth chords while the titular lyric bleeds out

of pitch defiantly, a quiet reminder of the duo’s indie

origins. The chorus features the triumphantly belted

“let’s make things physical” over a sharp drum line.

The expensive-sounding, detail-intensive production

lubricated the song for Top 40 radio consumption,

while the charm and indelible songwriting that typify

Tegan and Sara grounded the song in relatability. The

record that followed was polished at every corner,

possibly to a fault, but as a move into synth-pop, it

came across as authentically as it could have, and it

skewed towards sharper drums, dirtier synths, and

retained a few guitar tracks, all of which are shelved

entirely for Love You To Death.

Heartthrob propelled the duo into Taylor

Swift-opening glory, and as pop stars go, you could

do a lot worse than Tegan and Sara. Their unique

style and narrative, humble origins, and characteristic

doubling, demands twice the stage. Nothing about

Tegan and Sara has ever felt written or manufactured.

Love You to Death is lovingly imagined, but wholly

sterile in ways that Tegan and Sara’s music has never

been, even with the added sheen of Heartthrob.

Lead single “Boyfriend” opens with strangely familiar,

effervescent electronics. Not familiar in a nostalgic

sense however, but rather, reminiscent of other currently

successful pop acts, and of course, the young

producers whose music those acts borrow from. It

refrains from being an explicitly tropical-house track

or anything that deliberative, but the production

on “Boyfriend” carries the ‘80s inflected pop song

directly into the currently musical moment in the

least climactic way possible. The boring arrangement

on this track is doubly disappointing because it is so

easy to envision a more interesting instrumental, considering

Tegan and Sara have offered us so many in

the past. “Boyfriend” is, at its heart, a smartly written

track about the complications of dating someone

whose sexual aim and/or orientation is in flux, or at

least not perfectly centered. The song is progressive,

socially nuanced, and most importantly for the genre,

endlessly catchy. That said, the hammy beat drops

and floaty vocals turn the song into an unwanted

remix of itself, and not in the cool “Ignition” sense.

Further, the explicit themes of “Boyfriend” offer a

strong reminder of how Tegan and Sara’s identities

as gay women has been such a quotable part of their

musical mythos from day one. The duo has never

used either as a gimmick or a crutch, but rather, the

love songs abound throughout their discography

have held a level of gendered ambiguity, and thus

moments where their sexuality comes out explicitly,

feel stronger in their infrequency. Thankfully, this is

also true on Love You to Death. “Stop Desire” most

notably uses its title and chorus to confidently emote

the undeniability of both female, although more

specifically, lesbian, sexual and romantic desire.

Strong pop songwriting like this permeates the

entire record on tracks like the almost-heartbreaking

sparkle-piano ballad “100x,” and the obvious album

standout “U-Turn.” The latter track emotes the confidence

the project is contingent on more strongly

than elsewhere on the record, and the more muted

arrangement suits the song’s lyrical reliance. The witty

quip “Make a change or this is gonna stall / Shape

up or you’ll drop me like a call” perfectly prefaces

the punchy chorus. “I wanna write a love song / even

though you never asked me for one” carries both

the confidence of the duo’s newfound pop stardom,

as well as a profound sense of self-awareness. The

charming contradiction therein is that the song is

about writing a love song and not a love song. Moments

like these carry the legacy of wit and wonder

that Tegan and Sara that lose some of their impact

from the overly shiny arrangements.

“B/W/U” is the most reminiscent cut on the

record, offering a sparse electronic bed with lo-fi

drum machines and clean synth arpeggios. The intro

and post-chorus have a slow and cute electric-piano

lead that calls to mind former producer Chris Walla’s

influence, although even this track feels all-too-perfectly

pitched and polished, a clear reminder that

T&S’ Chris Walla days are over.

It feels strange to suggest something so cliché, but

Love You to Death listens more like what studio executives

probably Tegan and Sara should sound like

than what has made them such a tour-de-force. Such

a sentiment feels doubly strange considering they

have been major-label produced for almost ten years,

thus the new, overly glossy production is certainly a

stylistic choice by Tegan and Sara themselves.

As an exercise in pop songwriting, Tegan and Sara

offer a master class, but the arrangement feels stuck

in high school. Love You to Death is a stall for Tegan

and Sara, not necessarily a misstep, not necessarily

an all-time-low, but not entirely free of disappointment

either.

• Liam Prost

illustration: Dylan Smith

BEATROUTE • JUNE 2016 | 55


Drake

Views

Cash Money Records

Early into the daunting, 120-minute runtime of

Drake’s recent opus Views, the Toronto rapper

insists “Views already a classic.” Of course, to declare

an album a classic before it comes out is an absurd

gamble, but if any artist making music in 2016 were

to stake the claim, it could only reasonably be Drake.

Views is an interesting record because of

its place in Drake’s career. The album’s original

announcement over two years ago felt like a

much-deserved victory lap for one of the biggest

rappers of all time. Of course, that announcement

took place before just about every ubiquitous cultural

moment that Drake seemed to find himself

at the centre of in the following years.

It seems that Drake’s own success is his own undoing,

of course he’ll tell you that himself in most of his

songs, but it has never felt more true than on Views.

The massive releases of If You’re Reading This…

and What a Time to Be Alive found Drake owning

the rap industry simply by playing by his own rules.

Traditional release methods make Views feel like a

step back for the rapper that always seems to have a

finger on the pulse. Still, it’s not just the release methods

that make Views feel like a step back.

Sonically, the album shares more in common

with Take Care than it does with Drake’s more

boisterous oeuvre. Views is contemplative Drake,

for better or worse. The rapper is often examining

what it means to be a global superstar, but

the album is also a love letter to the city that

Drake loves so fiercely. All together, Views functions

better when Drake focuses on the latter.

The album is pastiche of styles that have found

success in a massively diverse Toronto. Afrobeat

and Caribbean influence crop up often, with

genres like grime and New Orleans bounce also

lending themselves to the mix.

Drake’s contemplations can’t help but feel stale,

especially because he’s retreading well-worn ground.

We know about Drake’s issues with relationships, but

what was acceptable for a 24-year-old on Take Care is

often groan-inducing for a man almost in his thirties.

Drake’s ruminations on past relationships are often

emotionally stunted, the petty product of a mildly

narcissistic manchild that avoids nuance in favour of

unwarranted braggadocio.

As always, Drake’s music is his saving grace. Songs

like the newly Popcaan-free “Controlla” and the

Rihanna-featuring “Too Good” are both song of the

summer contenders because they show the side of

Drake that isn’t brooding for once.

• Jamie McNamara

Swans

The Glowing Man

Young God / Mute

Swans are the masters of dark, “post-rock/punk”

sludge, and they have delivered some of the most

ambitious albums in recent years, most notably

2012’s The Seer and 2014’s To Be Kind, which were

guided meditations to the darkest, shittiest recesses

of the mind.

The multi-member collective, helmed by the

brooding and enigmatic punk rock cowboy Michael

Gira, have utilized raw power in their previous

efforts, channeling contemplative rage through

repetitive drone sounds, creating fiercely dense

walls of noise and feedback along with the whirling

progressions in their 20-plus minute songs. And,

not to mention, their music is always fueled by

some aspect of society that sickens them, casting a

restless ooze over their work.

They can make any other ambient or drone outfit

look feeble by comparison, based on the immense

power of their sound and their fully layered crescendos,

supplied by the wall to wall to wall stacks

of amplifiers in their studio and live performances

(Swans at Dickens Pub during Sled Island in 2013 was

the loudest show I have ever seen).

However, their new album, The Glowing Man,

is a step in a whole new intriguing direction. The

effort, dare I say, is jazzy, and orchestral, and peppered

with major chords. Now, the darkness, and

the repetition, and the intensity is all still here, but

the instrumentation is clean, and there is a larger

focus on Gira’s voice as he actually sings lyrics in

a classic post-punk style, rather than his usual

repetitive, three-word hymns.

We still get meditative, and we still find ourselves

rank with social anxiety, but the use of strings such

as cello, an assortment of mallet instruments, synthesizers

and horns alongside their usual arsenal of

guitars (which are fingerpicked and plucked, rather

than abused and beaten), bass and drums brings

out a whole new side to Swans’ perspective and

capabilities, showcasing that they are always willing

to try new approaches to their music.

But, in true Swans’ fashion, these orchestral,

20-minute epics still build and build in intensity

and pressure until they ultimately explode and

burn to the ground.

• Michael Grondin

Counterfeit Jeans

Counterfeit Jeans

Sometimes Music

Counterfeit Jeans bursts from the speakers with

the barely-restrained energy and volume that has

become the Edmonton band’s calling card. Reminiscent

at first of a noisier, more aggressive Television,

“Black Light” burns out of the gate, teeming with

overdriven guitar and bass, and propelled by a the

clangour of a mountainous half-time backbeat.

Counterfeit Jeans have developed their lo-fi postpunk

sound through relentless playing throughout

Alberta and the west, and their debut LP is strengthened

by the work, resulting in a tight punk rock

pocket augmented by roaring guitars, and setting

itself apart with distinctly memorable melodies.

Those melodies, though, would be of little impact

without quality lines. “This is the sound of joyful

elation, in the grip of self-annihilation, I cannot wait

to die, to rid myself of desire,” in “No Desire” is reminiscent

of Cobain in demonstrating the juxtaposition

of jubilant ecstasy versus existential nihilism.

“Gemini” opts for some restraint, kicking off with

slinky chord stabs before picking up a tricky-sounding

double-time guitar riff under the melody. The

rhythm section of Spencer Heykants (bass) and

Tyler Bedford (drums) provide an excellent pocket

throughout numerous tempo transitions, reminiscent

of The Jesus Lizard, which allows vocalist/

guitar player Jed Gauthier ample space to fill with

his outside-the-lines style, deftly mixing hard-driving

riffs with sharply-picked lines that veer from the

dexterous, to funky shots and into chaotic, but fully

in-control noise rock. Gauthier’s abilities to careen

through several guitar styles on any given song are

immediately apparent on “Generation,” a standout

cut full of left turns, that works through its dynamic

shifts in reverse, flying out of the gate, a whirlwind

of pounding vitriol, before winding down to a very

chill, almost indie-pop finish.

There’s a distinct musicality at work on Counterfeit

Jeans that belies its lo-fi aesthetic. When

music is at its most chaotic, the band tends to have

absolute control over what they’re playing, and

the tonal and tempo variations employed here by

Counterfeit Jeans demonstrates an attention to

the minutiae of the creative process. Such gears

are rarely shifted easily. The Nirvana comparison is

appropriate throughout the writing. In the noisier

moments there are hints of Sonic Youth and Dinosaur

Jr., and the melodies are reminiscent of Lou

Barlow’s best moments with Sebadoh. Whether

these are apt points of reference for the band or

not, Counterfeit Jeans has made a record that

sounds wildly fresh, breaking some heady ground

on their full-length debut.

• Mike Dunn

56 | JUNE 2016 • BEATROUTE


Islands

Astrakhan

Reward in Purpose

War on Music / Sunmask

Astrakhan arose towards the end of 2012 in the midst

of the rich ever-growing metal scene that resides

in Vancouver and its surrounding area. Reward in

Purpose follows an initial steady stream of EPs and

marks the first full-length of a band that, in their first

four years together, has continually demonstrated a

resolute dedication to pursuing a well-defined and

captivating musical undertaking.

The ten-minute opening track “Omajod,” is an appropriate

introduction for the group’s first full-length

release. It begins gradually, building momentum with

a deep, resonating psyche groove before giving way to

a long, grim scream that pierces the hazy atmosphere

and showcases a darker side of the band.

The bands numerous stylistic influences shine

forth throughout the album. Generally straying to the

heavier edge of progressive metal, such as in the driving

“Microcosmic Design.” Their more sludge-based

and gloomy elements also remain.

Riff-driven tracks like “The Traveler” maintain their

attentiveness slow-burning grooves, and also allow

the vocalists free range to illuminate their dynamic

range. Clean, symphonic lines are juxtaposed by

gripping, guttural screams.

Their ability to straddle greatly varied inspirations

allows listenability throughout the record’s entirety,

and therefore has the potential to reach a vast array

of listeners. Fans of the grittier prog-rock of a band

like early Tool, avant-garde and melodic Norwegian

black metal like Arcturus, and definitely fans of

story-driven stoner rock like The Sword.

• Paul Rodgers

Classixx

Faraway Reach

Innovative Leisure

Classixx are one of the more intriguing production

teams in recent memory because of their ability to

make the album a worthwhile experience in a singles

driven music landscape. Their 2013 debut Hanging

Gardens found a cohesiveness that is rarely found on

the dance music LP, opting for a more leisurely style

indebted to disco, new wave, and funk. That said,

that album also suffered from sameness and a decent

amount of bloat.

The duo, consisting of Los Angeles natives Tyler

Blake and Michael David, return with their sophomore

long-player Faraway Reach, which boasts an

intriguing collection of guests, but often suffers from

the same issues as its predecessor.

Despite a few missteps, Faraway Reach is often a

joy to listen to, balancing Balearic grooves and LA

synth-pop perfectly. Songs like “Just Let Go” find

Classixx in a highly collaborative mood, using guest

vocalist How to Dress Well to perfect effect.

Elsewhere, stand out single “Whatever I Want”

features T-Pain in a combo that works much better

on record than it does on paper. T-Pain’s auto-tuned

crooning is more subdued than his more boisterous

pop rap hooks, perfectly complementing the

mid-tempo bliss that Classixx have crafted underneath

him.

• Jamie McNamara

Gunsounds

Gunsounds

Independent

Formerly known as lushush, and earlier still as

Lu_shush, Tom Carlson of Missoula, Montana, has

taken a huge stride on his debut album as Gunsounds.

The self-titled work is an exercise in distorted

melodies and richly crafted beats. You’d be forgiven

for assuming he was a trap DJ based on his alias, or

for expecting vaporwave based on the cartoon kitty

adorning the album cover, but Gunsounds is more a

sometimes ambient, experimental pop project.

Carlson has a degree in audio engineering, which

shines through in the meticulous nature of the beats.

They approach being danceable, but usually fall back

in the name of offering something more cerebral.

Notable exceptions are “How_to_Draw_a_Scorpion_for_Kids,”

which has an alien club feel akin to

TNGHT’s “Bugg’n” it its first half, and “All I Wanted

Was A ;),” which is an endorphin rush of major keys

and joyful sirens.

At just under 30 minutes in length, Gunsounds

makes for a detail-rich re-introduction to a thriving

young producer.

• Colin Gallant

Islands

Should I Remain Here at Sea?/Taste

Manque Music

When a band releases two records in quick succession,

one of two things can happen. Either both

records can sound largely the same, leading one of

the two to be dismissed outright (see Beach House’s

latest releases), or, they can be stylistically counterposed

(such as Bright Eyes’ rootsy I’m Wide Awake It’s

Morning and dominantly electronic Digital Ash in a

Digital Urn).

By putting out two records so close together, Islands

does themselves, and us, a disservice by forcing

the records to read in relation to each other, which is

especially unfair given how balanced and well-constructed

both records are, despite not markedly

different.

Given the name if nothing else, Should I Remain

Here at Sea? is easily readable as a comment on

Islands career since their debut Return to the Sea. The

latter was a gloriously unpolished record, seeping syrupy

pop hooks from every corner, very much a tie-in

to Nick Diamond’s previous band The Unicorns. The

operative assumption of SIRHAS? however, is that the

band still is, in fact, at sea. Six releases later, Islands’

pop-rock aesthetic has been polished to death, such

that the suggestion that Islands is the same band that

produced Return ring false.

Taste is mostly synth and electronics driven, which

is the strongest contrast to SIRHAS?’s stripped down,

guitar pop style. The former record is also more

political than personal, with nods to male privilege

and police brutality. Both records are strong in their

own right, and it feels wrong to condemn a release

strategy, but there is simply too much music in the

world to give them both the time they deserve.

• Liam Prost

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard

Nonagon Infinity

ATO Records

Australia must have the best acid. The country is

home to a massive resurgence of psychedelic rock

that runs much more ragged than its American

counterpart. But while Kevin Parker and co. in Tame

Impala have ventured further and further from their

psychedelic roots, fellow Australians King Gizzard

and the Lizard Wizard have picked up the slack with a

prolific output of mind-bending garage-rock.

Nonagon Infinity is the Melbourne septet’s seventh

album in six years and it’s the latest experiment

from a band that refuses to sit still. The album was

made to function as an unbroken loop, the end of the

final song serves as an intro to the first. It’s a strong

dose of gimmick, but KGTLW never rest on it. Instead,

the album rips from front to back with impeccable

garage-rock swagger and confidence.

Nonagon Infinity is interesting solely because it

seems so far removed from its contemporaries. The

tracks on the album blend seamlessly, often to the

point that it’s hard to tell where one track ends and

the next begins. Couple this with the band returning

to various lyrical and melodic motifs throughout the

album and the result is a disorienting album that is

utterly captivating, but impossible to pick apart.

The album does suffer from being stuck in fifth

gear. The band roars through songs with a blinding

tempo, voraciously consuming riffs with delirious

efficiency. Rarely does the music slow down, and

the similarities between songs mean that a listener

could feasibly listen to the album one and a half times

before realising they are back where they started.

• Jamie McNamara

Layten Kramer

For The Sun

Independent

While the term “folk music” has recently grown

incalculably to include the cross pollination of

several intermingling styles, at its heart is still the

ability of a singer-songwriter to write and perform

compelling songs without the aid of a symphony.

Though For The Sun, the debut LP from Canmore

songwriter Layten Kramer, certainly brings the

house in regards to production and instrumentation,

his songs remain the focal point, as easily

imagined played around a crackling campfire as

they are with the lush and energetic treatment

they’re given here.

Kicking off with an eerie synth entanglement

leading into the delicately fingerpicked title track,

Kramer brings a sense of immediacy with his first

line, “Have you had enough of this life? Are you

growing tired of the lies?” The rhythm section

picks up a steady heartbeat, moving quickly to the

chorus, which drops amid Beatles-like grandeur

and the welcome harmony of horns and synth

lines. The second song, “Thin White Lines”, helps

the album settle in to what becomes its sonic signature:

uptempo folk-pop with stuttery-yet-danceable

beats, augmented by synths, and the always

hummable lines of a songwriter who knows that

having people listen to your words is contingent

on connecting to your melody.

For The Sun only touches on its folk elements,

certainly on the cantina melancholia of “Shadows”,

and on the closer “Time Is Here To Stay.” “Gold

and The Sea” is a standout, with dramatic builds,

a soaring, harmonized chorus, and a guitar break

that understands that a single note played in

desperation and conviction adds a lot more than a

hundred empty tones.

• Mike Dunn

Kristin Kontrol

X-Communicate

Sub Pop

There comes a time in many bands lives when the

lead singer strikes out on their own. It’s a huge risk,

but it can pay off a lå Beyoncé or flop like Debbie

Harry’s Koo Koo (1981). Now, it’s the Dum Dum Girls’

Kristin “Dee Dee” Welchez’s turn. X-Communicate

provides its listener a retro dance party, mixed in with

enough torch songs to really let everything sink in.

If the Dum Dum Girls referenced ‘60s girl

groups, then for her first solo soiree, Welchez has

time travelled into the future with a pit stop in

the ‘80s.The polished synth line of standout track

“X-Communicate” is reminiscent of new wave acts

like Blondie, but with a modernity that distinguishes

Welchez from being a kitschy ‘80s revivalist.

The song “White Street” is a stream of consciousness

narrative describing heading out to a

party with the heart ache of Robyn alone on the

dance floor: “If you catch my eye I just might take

you up tonight.”

Overall, Kristin Kontrol has created a solid first album

that asserts her risk in going solo was worth it.

• Trent Warner

Dan Lissvik

Midnight

Smalltown Supersound

As one half of influential Swedish duo Studio, Dan

Lissvik was responsible for bringing Balearic brilliance

to the often-bleak Gothenburg. Since Studio’s dissolution,

Lissvik has worked as producer for artists like

Montreal’s Young Galaxy, while also working on solo

works for the first time in his career.

The solo works culminated in last years three track

Shuvit! EP, an EP that showed that Lissvik’s ability to

BEATROUTE • JUNE 2016 | 57


Royal Tusk

make dubbed out music is still in tact, but it never felt

as effortless as his work with Studio. Now, the new

father returns with his debut full-length Midnight, a

record that shows that Lissvik still has a take on dance

music that is utterly populist while still remaining

absolutely unique.

The gentle, meandering feel of Studio’s essential

West Coast returns on Midnight. The propulsive,

post-ABBA drum work and listless guitars are straight

off of “Life’s a Beach,” but that’s not to say that

Lissvik’s style hasn’t evolved since his days in Studio.

Songs like the hypnotic “D” pick up where West

Coast left off, dropping the listener into a haze of

dubbed out drums and plucky synths that would feel

right at home on a Todd Terje record.

• Jamie McNamara

Royal Tusk

Dealbreaker

Cadence Music

On their first full-length album, DealBreaker, Edmonton’s

Royal Tusk have crafted a catchy piece of

modern rock, relying on melodic hooks and catchy,

crunchy guitar riffs. Unlike many of their contemporaries,

Royal Tusk’s commitment to songwriting

is evident in the use of lyrics in their hooks, rather

than rely on the trusty “whoa whoa whoa” laziness so

often present in today’s radio rock.

DealBreaker is radio-ready, but in a way that seems

content to be further outside most programming

lists. It’s clever modern rock, with some interesting

left turns, like the head-shop-jazz-while-whistlingdown-the-road

feel at the end of the title track.

There’s some cool Slash-y guitar work on the Wurlitzer-driven

closing ballad “So Long The Buildup.”

The dance rock harmonized verse melody on

“Above Ground” takes away from the smart chorus,

but when it’s sung solo in the breakdown, the lines

have more weight in anticipation of the big finale

chorus. Royal Tusk has a sound that should set them

apart from the radio pack.

• Mike Dunn

Alexis Taylor

Piano

Moshi Moshi

Alexis Taylor is no stranger to the ballad. As frontman

of synthpop group Hot Chip, Taylor has been known

to slow the tempo to croon wistfully, but it always felt

like a brief aside before the party started again. For

his third solo LP Piano, the British musician focuses

solely on ballads sung with only piano accompaniment.

Some of the songs are covers, like Elvis’ “Crying

in the Chapel,” but most are either new works from

Taylor or reworkings of his past writing. The move

is refreshing to hear from Taylor, but his style is

largely unchanged from past work, and it’s debatable

whether or not his nasally croon can carry an album

on its own.

Indeed, the main detractor from Piano is the

fact that it’s an LP and not an EP. Lead off track “I’m

Ready” is a song about the creative process, a song

that seems fitting on an album that feels more like a

creative exercise than a cohesive vision.

• Jamie McNamara

Weaves

Weaves

Kanine Records

You can’t really blame this Toronto foursome

for wanting to cover all their bases with their

genre-defying debut. In a super-saturated musical

blogosphere of what’s cool according to culturally

“hip” types, the appeal of sounding like you’re the

missing link between the Karen O-isms of art-punk,

tUnE-yArDs’ electro-beat collages and the fringes

of Eleanor Friedberger’s goofball pop past will

probably land you some affirmative head-nodding

and a 7.5 from Pitchfork. Sure enough, tracks like

“Candy,” “Tick” and “One More” bob and weave

(pun intended) with a bombastic punch to the gut,

while “Eagle” flies high with intricate sonic interplay

between guitarist Morgan Waters and the rhythm

section of Zach Bines and Spencer Cole. “Coo Coo”

self-medicates a calmer Jasmyn Burke espousing the

object of her affection, but she returns to freak-flag

form on the seething “Shithole.” With the music

scene in the Six branching out and taking risks with

groups like Dilly Dally, The Highest Order and Darlene

Shrugg, Weaves stand to make waves amongst

their peers and then some.

• Bryce Dunn

58 | JUNE 2016 • BEATROUTE


livereviews

Savages, Head Wound City

Commonwealth

May 24, 2016

When London post-punk band Savages burst

onto the scene in 2013, it was on the back of

a fiery live show that only seemed to up the

intensity found on their debut album. The

passing years have found the band solidifying

their claim as one of the best touring bands

of the moment, but until Tuesday night,

Calgarians never had a chance to see what all

the fuss was about.

The quartet, consisting of vocalist Jehnny

Beth, guitarist Gemma Thompson, bassist Ayse

Hassan, and drummer Fay Milton, played a

revelatory set to a packed Commonwealth that

seemed even more intimate than usual.

The night began with recently reunited

mid-aughts supergroup Head Wound City. The

group, featuring members of Yeah Yeah Yeahs,

The Blood Brothers, and The Locust, played a

raucous mix of noise and hardcore that was

technically impressive, but not entirely pleasing

to the small crowd gathered. The group tore

through a mix of old songs and material off

of their freshly released album A New Wave

of Violence, but their punishing sonics might

have been better suited for a later night.

The most impressive thing about Savages’

jaw-dropping performance is just how simple

it is. The band wears all black, and flashy stage

effects are kept to a minimum. Instead, white

strobes flashing only intensify the manic

performance put on by frontwoman Jehnny

Beth. Beth’s ability to stir up a crowd is a treat

to watch, she commands the room, often stopping

to make direct eye contact with crowd

members mid-song. Beth’s interaction with

the crowd seemed to forge genuine connection

between the audience and the band, her

attempts to reach out to the audience always

met with adoration. Savages’ music is often

intense, but the band does well to offer levity

to the audience with songs like “Sad Person,”

and the stunning “Surrender.” The night eventually

reached it’s emotional zenith with the

performance of the gorgeously earnest ballad

“Adore,” which was met with a healthy chorus

of fans singing along.

• Jamie McNamara

photo: Michael Grondin

Beyoncé

Commonwealth Stadium, Edmonton, AB

May 20, 2016

Beyoncé is contagiously indestructible.

With a forecast of single digits and rain for her outdoor show in Edmonton, you

might imagine a lowered level of enthusiasm for the multi-platinum cultural icon. You’d

be dead wrong.

Over the course of two solid hours and over 30 songs, Yoncé and her all-female

ensemble brought to life the themes of survival and strength so prevalent in her latest

album Lemonade.

But the show wasn’t about a flawlessness that eschews vulnerability, it was one

that embraced obstacles and hardship as beautiful, communal and essential to meaningful

living. She smiled through the blanket-like rain, embraced fans and let everyone

know that the elements (both figurative and literal) were worth overcoming.

The set list was what you’d expect from an artist with hits spanning two decades:

heavy on Lemonade and Beyoncé, but comprehensive of past fan favourites as well.

When things came to a close with anthem “Halo,” Beyoncé delivered the catharsis all of

the drenched fans and entertainers needed.

To see an artist so revered and larger than life surrender all of herself to the moment

gave a brightness to roughly 40,000 people who sorely needed it.

• Colin Gallant

photo: Daniela Velasco

60 | JUNE 2016 • BEATROUTE


SAVAGE LOVE

ask a stupid question, get a smart answer...

I’m a 31-year-old straight woman. I have a good job, great friends, and

average attractiveness. I’ve dated close to 30 men at this point, and I

can’t wrap my head around this: I’ve never had a boyfriend or dated

anyone for more than a couple months. It’s really starting to wear on

my self-esteem. I don’t believe anything is wrong with me, but the more

time goes on, the more I think I have to be doing something wrong.

The guys ghost me or things fizzle out or we’re not at the same point in

our lives. This is particularly true for one guy I’ve remained friends with

(common social circle) who is struggling with his career, though things

are still awkward because it’s clear there’s still something there. Another

area of concern: I’m still a virgin. Catholic guilt resulted in me being

a late bloomer, with my first kiss at 21. Once I got more into dating, my

low self-esteem coupled with the fact that I’ve basically decided I want

to be in a monogamous committed relationship with a guy before

having sex, relationships just never happened. I don’t have unrealistic

expectations that I’ll marry the first dick that sticks itself into me—but

I’ve waited this long, so I’m not going to jump into the sack with just

anyone without knowing that I can at least trust them. The only guy

I really do trust is Somewhat Depressed Guy, but propositioning him

could further complicate our already awkward friendship. Is something

wrong with me, and what the hell should I do?

—What’s Wrong With Me?

I get variations on the first half of your question—is something

wrong with me?—all the time. But it’s not a question I’m in a

position to answer, WWWM, as I would need to depose a random

sampling of the guys you’ve dated, interrogate your friends, and grill

you under a bare lightbulb for a few days to figure out what’s wrong

with you.

And you know what? Nothing could be wrong with you. You may

have pulled the short straw 30 times in a row, and you just need to

keep getting out there and eventually you’ll pull a guy who won’t

ghost or fizzle on you.

As for the second half of your question…

What the hell should you do? Well, gee. What you’ve been doing

hasn’t worked, WWWM, so maybe it’s time to do something else.

Like fuck some dude on the first date. Or if that’s too drastic, fuck

some dude on the second date. Or better yet, go to Somewhat

Depressed Guy and say: “I don’t think you want a relationship right

now, and I’m not sure I do either. But I like you and trust you, and I

could really use your help with something…”

While the commitment-and-monogamy-first approach has

worked for some, WWWM, it hasn’t worked for you. And being a

virgin at 31 isn’t boosting your self-esteem. There are lots of people

out there who jumped in the sack and did a little dick-sticking with

people they barely knew but had a good feeling about. The jumping/

sticking/dicking approach doesn’t always lead to committed and/or

monogamous relationships, but it can and it has and it does.

Somewhat Depressed Guy might be somewhat less depressed if

he was getting some, you might have higher self-esteem if you finally

got some, and dispensing with your virginity might make dating after

you part ways—if you part ways with him (you never know)—seem

a lot less fraught.

Straight male, 48, married 14 years, three kids under age 10. Needless

to say, life is busy at our house. My wife and I have stopped having

sex. It was my decision. I get the obligation vibe combined with a

vanilla sex life, and it just turns me off. We’ve had many conversations

about it and we want to find a balance. But it always defaults back

to infrequent and dull, making me frustrated and cranky. For the past

two months, I’ve tried to just push sex out of my mind. We live mostly

as parenting roommates. We used to be pretty kinky—dirty talk, foursomes,

toys, porn, etc.—but all those things wear her out now, and her

interest has disappeared. My guess is that she was just playing along

with my kinks to keep me happy and is now over it. Is this just life as

a 48-year-old married father of three? Am I being selfish for wanting

more in my sex life than my wife is willing to offer?

—Hard Up Husband

Is sex wearing your wife out, HUH, or is raising three kids wearing your

wife out? I suspect it’s the latter.

But in answer to your question: Infrequent and underwhelming sex,

sometimes with an obligatory vibe, is not only the sex life a 48-yearold

married father of three can expect, it’s the sex life he signed up for.

There’s nothing selfish about wanting more sex or wanting it to be more

like it was. Kids, however, are a logistical impediment—but a temporarily

one, provided you don’t go nuclear. A couple’s sex life can come roaring

back so long as they don’t succumb to bitterness, recrimination, and

sexlessness. To avoid all three, HUH, it might help to ask yourself which

is the likelier scenario: for years your wife faked an interest in dirty talk,

foursomes, toys, porn, etc., in order to trap you, or your wife is currently

too exhausted to take an interest in dirty talk, foursomes, toys, porn, etc.

Again, I suspect it’s the latter.

My advice: masturbate more, masturbate together more, lower your

expectations so you’ll be pleasantly surprised when a joint masturbation

session blows up into something bigger and better, carve out enough

time for quality sex (weekends away, if possible, with pot and wine and

Viagra), discuss other accommodations/contingencies as needed, and

take turns reminding each other that small kids aren’t small forever.

by Dan Savage

I didn’t talk to my nearly-70-year-old dad for most of my 20s. Now

that I’m back trying to maintain relationships with my parents, I

am struggling. My dad is the king of the overshare. He makes creepy

comments about women who are about 30 to 40 years younger than

him—including women who were kids when he met them but are now

grown-ups. Not something I want to hear. I don’t think he is abusing

anyone, just being creepy, but I desperately want him to stop with

the inappropriate comments. He makes about one creepy comment

per phone conversation. If he were a person at work, I would be able

to stand up for myself and say, “That is not appropriate.” But when

he says creepy stuff, Dan, I’m a deer in the headlights. I go silent, it’s

awkward, and I keep hoping he’ll understand how weird he’s being. I

would say something, but bringing up things that anger me causes him

to act overly sorry, and that routine is annoying too. I asked my mom

(they divorced a long time ago), and she had no suggestions. She was

just like, yeah, he’s like that. Any suggestions on what to say?

—Seeking Help Regarding Unpleasant Guy

“Dad! It creeps me out when you make comments about women you

wanna fuck. I realize you’re a sexual person, and I honor that, and blah

de blah blah blah. But these are thoughts you share with friends, Dad,

not with your adult children. There’s no need to go into your oh-so-sorry

routine, Dad, we just need to change the subject.”

Listen to Dan at

savagelovecast.com

Email Dan at

mail@savagelove.net

Follow Dan

@fakedansavage on Twitter

62 | JUNE 2016 • BEATROUTE

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