BeatRoute Magazine Alberta print e-edition - July 2016


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

Tragically Hip • METZ • Eli & Fur • Steel Panther • David Cross • Calgary Film Centre • Blood Orange

Editor’s Note/Pulse 4

Bedroom Eyes 7

Netflix & Kill 14

Vidiot 15

Edmonton Extra 24-25

Book of Bridge 26

Letters from Winnipeg 27

Let’s Get Jucy! 38

This Month in Metal 46


Calgary Folk Music Festival


CITY 9-10

FILM 13-15

Calgary Film Centre, Dumb and Dumber

Sled Island live reviews - pages 56-57



rockpile 16-27

The Tragically Hip, Uptights, Fury

Things, Cold Cave, METZ, Prozzak, Pre

Nup, Bitter Fictions, L.T. Leif, Pancake,

The Kronic Groove Band, Blue Crime

jucy 37-38

Sergio Levels, Eli & Fur, Rezz, Bob Moses

roots 41-42

Bottom Shelf Bourbon Trio, Calgary

Stampede Without the Stampede

shrapnel 45-46

Numenorean, Steel Panther


music 49-54

live 56-57

Sled Island 2016!



Brad Simm

Marketing Manager

Glenn Alderson

Production Coordinator

Hayley Muir

Content Coordinator

Masha Scheele

Managing Editor/Web Producer

Shane Flug

Music Editor

Colin Gallant

Section Editors

City :: Brad Simm

Film :: Colin Gallant

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


Brandon McNeil

This Month’s Contributing Writers

Christine Leonard • Gareth Watkins • Ana Mihajlovic • Devon Motz • Willem Thomas •

Michael Grondin • Jennie Orton • Sara Elizabeth Taylor • Alison Musial • Jodi Brak •

Naddine Maddell-Morgan • Yasmine Shemesh • Levi Manchak • Arielle Lessard • Breanna

Whipple • Jay King • Brandon Tucker • Michael Dunn • Adam Sarjeant • Shane Sellar •

Trina McDonald • Cole Parker • Sydney Ball • Brittany Rudyck • Jamie McNamara •

Jonathan Lawrence • Dan Savage

This Month’s Contributing Photographers & Illustrators

Michael Grondin • Levi Manchak • Jamie McNamara • Arielle Lessard • Syd Danger


Tel: 403.451.7628 • e-mail:


We distribute our publication in Calgary, Edmonton, Banff, Canmore, and Lethbridge.


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BeatRoute Magazine

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

photo: Arielle Lesard





Straight Outta Harlem.

Shemekia Copeland is

the New Queen of gospel,

blues and soul. She’s

headlining the Blues Fest

that runs a full week

from July 25 to July 30

featuring over 20 renown

artists that are the epitome

of “all killa no filla!”

In addition to the stage

performances, there’s a

blues geetar workshop

and a tour of the historic

King Eddy Hotel, now a

remodeled venue in the

National Music Centre.


If you don’t ole Bob, well

now is the time to get to

know him. Nobody, and

that means NOBODY

plays the guitar, stomps

the floor, swigs back the

whiskey and swoons the

ladies like ole Bobby.

Nobody has a sweet,

rock ‘n’ roll soul like

Bobby... mmm good!

He’s the Delta blues, Bo

Diddley, Screamin’ Jay

Hawkins, Jerry Lee Lewis

and AC/DC all rolled into

one hunka, hunka of a

burning one man band.

Gentleman beware, he

will set your girlfriend on

fire! You’ll have a whole

lotta lovin’ to live up to

after she’s been bouncing

on Bobby’s knee... whew!!

Palomino on Sat., July 30.



“Standing at the crossroad of new a genre in filmmaking... this two

day event explores the diverse, shifting landscape of fashion through

film in the categories of beauty, lifestyle and luxury.” Intoxicating!

Glenbow Museum July 22-23.


Sweet angelic things that named themselves

after a well-know, bad-boy, gangster

hang-out that thrived in Montreal

during the heyday of the flamboyant 50s

and swinging 60s. Exciting, well... YES!

The indie-pop fun of Motel Raphael is a

fresh, smart, darling (and a wee bit coy)

but an all together playful treat from

Quebec. Thank you very much! Please

leave your politics at the door, maintain

a measurable politeness and party with

pleasure. Palomino on Fri., July 15.






On The Fringe

Calgary Fringe Festival

JUly 29 – aUgUst 6... 10 days oF weird

Meet roB gee... CoMiC, Poet, PsyCHiatriC nUrse

gee worked for 12 years as a registered nurse in acute psychiatric

units around england, scotland and australia. He

also worked in child and adolescent units, drug and alcohol

services, eating disorders, early psychosis intervention and

psychiatric intensive care. in performance, he explores the

world of chaos and adventure that lurks behind the veneer of

everyday life.

gee first acquired a taste for the stage playing King Herod

in the school nativity. He started writing poetry when fronting

punk rock bands as a teenager. Based in leicester, UK, he’s

performed over two thousand shows, regularly appears on

BBC radio, and is sometimes sent into schools as a warning

to children.

— Dr. Seuss for adults.

— Didn’t so much break the mould,

as refuse to accept there was one in the first place.

— He’s a performance poet, but don’t worry – he’s not shit.




on the road again, going to the people

by Liam Prost



Every summer, the Calgary Fringe Festival brings some of the

most experimental, innovative, and sometimes just plan weird

theatrical creations to our city. Below are a few of the picks from

this year’s Festival, running July 29 - August 6. Check out the full

schedule at -- with most plays under an hour and all

under $20, you have nothing to lose!

Making America Great Again is a bold sentiment. A

comedy tour from one of America’s most prominent

comedians with explicit thematic ties to Donald Trump

(and by extension Ronald Reagan from whom Trump stole the

slogan) could be a direct political statement, and a reaction to

an American conservative movement whose ideology is skewing

further towards totalitarianism. Or it could be a title chosen on

a whim when given an hour to choose one. Would it shock you if

the truth was the later?

David Cross, the comedian and actor best known for his role

as the creator and star of The Increasingly Poor Decisions of

Todd Margaret and as the psycho-analyst and therapist

(the “analrapist”) Tobias Fünke in the cult classic Arrested

Development, describes the choice of a title for his first comedy

tour in six years as “not well thought out,” but ultimately a decision

he is “happy with.” Despite the political title, Cross insists

that “it’s not a message,” and that most of the set is non-political.

That said, there is no small amount of irony in bringing a

show called Making America Great Again to Europe and Canada.

Cross describes that he felt some anxiety with bringing jokes

with cultural context outside of America. “For the first few gigs

I was interrupting my flow by describing things… the context,

the references.” Audiences, however, have been understanding

and receptive, such that Cross has “learned pretty quickly not to

do that.” Even if there is a small piece of context missing, Cross

advises audiences to “just hang on one sec and we’ll be moving

on quickly.”

“Audiences have been great, very enthusiastic,” says Cross.

Europeans and Canadians tend to be “aware,” or at least “familiar

with the idea” of some of the more specific commentary. The set

features jokes targeted at the political response to recent mass


shootings, an American problem to be sure, but one that Cross

has found his international audiences to be understanding of.

Making America Great Again is Cross’ first large scale comedy

tour since 2010’s Bigger and Blackerer. In that time he has been

largely dedicated to film and television, but attests that he “never

really stopped” doing stand-up. After a project was postponed

and Cross found himself stuck in one place while recovering

from surgery, he began to aggregate and refine the material that

he has been disparately writing and performing in the last few

years. “There’s always that thing in the back of your head… wanting

to get out there” says Cross.

Even recent creative successes in film and television “can’t

replace the feeling” of “going to the people” directly.

In his previous stand up work Cross has often included more

performative elements that more closely mirror his other work,

but for this tour he promises that the set is back to basics. “I

come out, I do a bunch of time,” says Cross matter-of-factly.

Compared to previous work, it’s a more “traditional” stand

up set. “It’s me talking to you,” where he address the audience

directly telling his “jokey joke.”

At the same time, his stage set has changed a lot since the

tour began. Partly out of what’s been working and not, and also

how the social realities have shifted since he got on the road.

“You want to make each show special” and by engaging with

audiences at their level. For Cross that is often walking around a

city for an hour or two, and injecting his observations back into

the set. We can only wonder what kind of wonderfully terrible

things he will have to say about Calgary and Edmonton.

David Cross performs at MacEwan Hall on July 22nd, and the Horowitz

Theatre on July 23rd.

Knocked over, Knocked off, Knocked up

chiMOchiMO immersive Theatre (Calgary, AB)

Alexandra Centre (Muster Point)

July 29 - August 6

Who said theatre has to be enjoyed while sitting inside a building? Don

a costume piece, get your feet moving and interact with the characters

in this site-specific meandering performance. Your tour guide, a sweettalking

escort, will host you on this journey into unconventional spaces.

Bet you can’t guess what’s around the next corner…

Vagina Monologues

Broadway West Productions (Calgary, AB)

INKubator Theatre

July 29, 30, August 4-6

You’ve heard about it, you’ve read about it, now you can see the play

that was described in 2006, ten years after its release, as “probably the

most important piece of political theater of the last decade.” It all started

with New York playwright Eve Ensler, who interviewed 200 women

about the most intimate subjects, from sex and love, to masturbation

and menstruation, to rape and female genital mutilation. The result is a

can’t-miss performance covering the gamut of the feminine experience.

Proceeds from this show will be donated to a local woman’s charity.

Improv Against Humanity

Go 4 Broke Productions (St. Albert, AB)

The Blues Can

August 1-5

Enjoy seeing your friends squirm when you give them the ultimate

trump card in Cards Against Humanity? Then you’ll love watching the

Go 4 Broke players create hilarious scenes based on cards from the game

while you enjoy food and drink specials at the Blues Can. It’ll be more

fun than an icy handjob from an Edmonton hooker.


Shakespeare by the Bow

Prince’s Island Park & St. Patrick’s Island

June 21 - August 21

Okay, this one’s not part of Calgary Fringe, but Shakespeare by the Bow is

doing something so interesting this year that I couldn’t leave it out. They

are offering two ways to enjoy their gender-bending take on Hamlet this

summer. First, the traditional way: an evening or afternoon pay-whatyou-will

performance at Prince’s Island Park. But then, from July 19-24,

they’ll be moving the entire production over to St. Patrick’s Island for an

exciting new initiative: Hamlet – A Ghost Story. Why not watch them

both, then head over to the Fringe to check out Breakneck Hamlet,

which compresses the typically four-hour masterpiece into a one-man

60-minute whirlwind. I think you’ll be all Hamlet-ed out after that.

• Sara Elizabeth Taylor




new film studio hopes to grow Calgary’s economy

The Calgary Film Centre wants to engage both the local film community and out-of-town bigshots.

Largely thought purely an oil-and-gas town,

Calgary is making strides to become the next

Hollywood North with its brand-new film

studio, dubbed the Calgary Film Centre, which

opened its doors on May 19 to 50,000 sq. ft. of

potential movie-making goodness. Many local

developers and politicians are hoping that the

studio will boost Alberta’s stuttering economy,

to diversify and modernize the city’s industries,

and to provide world-class resources to the large

creative talent in Calgary. It’s likely to be a wise

investment; in 2015, the film and TV industry

added over $200 million to Alberta’s economy.

With so many recent large-scale productions

happening in Alberta, such as 2014’s Interstellar, last

year’s The Revenant and the award-winning TV series

Fargo, the Calgary Economic Development, as well as

Hollywood studios, are capitalizing on the financial

benefits of shooting in Alberta, in addition to its

stunning and varied scenery.

Although the new facility is still filling its positions

and the city of Calgary is still working on its burgeoning

media trade, the province’s film industry employs

over 3,000 people and is responsible for about $150

million in production activity every year, according

to Calgary Economic Development. There are also

by Jonathan Lawrence

hundreds of skilled people working in film and TV;

the crews in Alberta alone have reportedly received

over 50 Academy Award nominations and 90 Emmy


The organizers behind the new studio are

hoping that it will legitimize the city as a prime

location for shooting, as well as attract productions

that might otherwise shoot in Vancouver or

L.A. Based on how things have progressed, they’re

predicting a significant increase in film work over

the next five years.

So far, there are reportedly six Hollywood film and

TV projects that are looking into Calgary’s new studio

for their shooting services. Still, the organizers of the

studio stress the importance of local productions and

how Calgarian filmmakers should take full advantage

of it. They’ve stated their hopes that the studio will

see a fair share of big budget productions, as well as

local and regional work – something that many large

studios in other cities might not necessarily consider

or advertise.

Last month, Mayor Naheed Nenshi and film studio

general manager Erin O’Connor visited the Milken

Institute Forum in Los Angeles to enthusiastically

pitch the studio to big-name industry executives.

They claim that the edge they have over the other

studios is the price and availability of its resources,

which is a huge selling point for many film productions;

most high-quality studios in film-centric cities

are fully booked.

Alberta has been a destination for filmmakers for

decades - mostly for Westerns - such as Unbroken

and Brokeback Mountain, as well as less expected

films such as 1978’s Superman and the cult classic

Cool Runnings. With the addition of the new film

studio, Calgary’s photographic possibilities won’t be

restricted to flat prairies and ice-capped mountains.

With modern filmmaking technology, practically

anything is possible on a soundstage.

That said, the first production to shoot in the

facility will be the Western-themed television show,

Tin Star, starring Mad Men’s Christina Hendricks and

Tim Roth of Reservoir Dogs fame.

Calgary and Alberta loves their Westerns, they just

can’t get enough. Yet hopefully soon we’ll see the

rise of science-fiction, fantasy and thrillers being shot

in Calgary. Likewise, hopefully we’ll see an influx of

creative people to the city, as well as opportunities

for those who want to be involved on a film set, even

just for the sheer thrill of it. I know I’d be pretty darn

happy holding a boom mic for 15 hours a day.

Well, maybe 10.

Information on filming your next production at

Calgary Film Centre can be found at


BEATROUTE • JULY 2016 | 13


looking back at a buddy classic’s two-decade legacy

What do 1994’s Dumb and Dumber and

Stephen King have in common? Believe

it or not, there is a connection, if not

pointless trivia. It so happens that both King and

Jim Carrey, star of the cult comedy, stayed in Room

217 of the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado,

which also served as the fictional Danbury Hotel

in the film. However, while the esteemed writer

emerged having written The Shining, the latter

inexplicably checked out after only a few hours.

Maybe he had a ghostly vision of Dumb and

Dumber To.

It’s just not a true buddy comedy unless

there’s a road trip gone awry involved. When a

beautiful woman leaves a briefcase at an airport

terminal, the two dummies in question, Lloyd

Christmas (Jim Carrey) and Harry Dunne (Jeff

Daniels), struggling to get by, travel from their

ramshackle apartment in Rhode Island to Aspen,

Colorado to return the forgotten briefcase to the

woman – perhaps for a decent financial reward

or the reward of love. Either way, in true buddy

comedy fashion, their friendship will be tested

along the way. Unbeknownst to them, however,

the woman intentionally left the briefcase at the

airport which contained ransom money for her

kidnapped husband.

Jim Carrey’s breakout role as the lovable dimwit

Lloyd Christmas (film rule #22: dimwits are always

lovable), which, along with that year’s Ace Ventura:

Pet Detective and The Mask, helped launch him into

pop culture mainstream. From the awful, yet distinctly

‘90s haircuts that Harry and Lloyd don to the iconic

Mutt Cutts van (actually a 1984 Ford Econoline),

Dumb and Dumber is a classic full of iconic images to

anyone who grew up in the ‘90s.

“It’s the epitome of Jim Carrey’s classic physical

humour,” says Kevin Rosmer, long-time Carrey

fan. “It’s a comedy that revolves around the

characters rather than a concept,” a notion that

Rosmer feels is missing from modern comedies

where it’s both easy and effective to simply cast

a Rogen or a Sudeikis and call it a day. He likened

the film to the new generation’s Three Stooges –

simple, slapstick comedy that doesn’t depend on

effects or the times; it simply works on its own

charm and cleverness.

Plenty of surprises await Fifth Reel goers this month.

While the film was ultimately a huge success

and grossed nearly a quarter-billion dollars, Jeff

Daniels undoubtedly got the short end of the

stick, receiving only fifty thousand dollars for the

flick versus Carrey’s $7-million deal (nearly half

the film’s budget). Granted, Carrey had much

more comedic influence; Daniels had only previously

been known for working on dramas and

with Woody Allen.

In fact, Daniels’s agents urged him not to do the

film, and insisted that his co-star would overshadow

him and that the serious actor was “heading for

an Oscar one day.” Nevertheless, Daniels chose to

follow his instincts and do the film, and we’re glad

for it. He knocked it out of the park and played

“dumber” like we’d never seen before (and fired his

doubtful agents shortly after).

Carrey fans won’t want to miss this event. After

the showing of Dumb and Dumber, a secret midnight

by Jonathan Lawrence

screening of another Carrey classic will be shown, and

even Alonso Melgar, one of the organizers at The Fifth

Reel, doesn’t know which one it’ll be.

“We had a similarly themed Arnold Schwarzenegger

night a couple years back…[the first was]

Predator, and Commando was the secret movie, and

people really loved it,” he said. “We chose Dumb and

Dumber because it is, in my opinion, the most quotable

movie of the 1990s, and Jim Carrey in particular

really lays the magic down.”

In fact, many of those infamous quotes were

adlibbed by Carrey himself, such as “We’ve landed

on the moon!,” “Woah, Big Gulps huh?,” and Lloyd’s

rendition of the most annoying sound in the world.

As always, the evening will be hosted by the

Kinkonauts, who warm up the crowd with their hilarious

antics and audience challenges. Past highlights

include human-proton-pack ghost hunting, Arnold

Schwarzenegger impersonation contests, and lifesized

Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em robots. Each Fifth Reel event

features different shenanigans by the Kinkonauts, so

what they have planned this time is anyone’s guess.

This Fifth Reel event’s musical guest is John Lesbian

Seagull, whose bio reads as “a shared affinity for loud

guitars, beer that comes in 20 packs, and suck knobs

that are not broken off… We carry on turning our

amps as loud as they go, and we don’t hate each other.”

What else could you want in an opening act?

Don’t miss the Jim Carrey Double Feature on

July 29 at the Plaza Theatre. And if you really want

to feel like Lloyd Christmas, you can go hang by

the bar and put out the vibe. In an orange suit and

bowtie, of course.

The Fifth Reel presents Dumb and Dumber at The

Plaza Theatre on July 29th with performances by the

Kinkonauts and John Lesbian Seagull. Stick around

after for a surprise second Carrey-starring feature.


what’s streaming and slaying this month?

Hey, it turned out that the latest season

of Orange Is The New Black (Netflix)

was good. Like the seasons with Jason

Biggs good. I mean, it wasn’t like Jason Biggs was

responsible for seasons one and two being good,

he was more an innocent, nebbish-y bystander

of their relative greatness. If you haven’t binged

on it yet you still have a hole in your heart in

the shape of Pousey and Soso’s gloriously cute


Speaking of OITNB, one of its writers and

producers, Sian Heder, also wrote and directed Tallulah,

which Netflix got all hot and bothered over

when it premiered at Sundance. It stars Ellen Page

as a drifter who kidnaps a baby from its negligent

mother, so the combination of ‘Ellen’ plus ‘Page’

plus ‘Baby’ equals Juno comparisons. Alison ‘Juno’s

by Gareth Watkins

Mom’ Janney being in it probably doesn’t help,

but Uzo ‘Crazy Eyes’ Aduba and Zachary ‘Zachary

Quinto’ Quinto might drive things far enough left

field to sidestep hamburger phones and painful,

painful discussion of Mott the Hoople.

Also arriving is a new season of Marco Polo,

from the same “Let’s everybody try to make a new

Game of Thrones” rush that gave us Outlander

and The Shannara Chronicles and Bo-Jack Horseman,

starring a bunch of people as the characters

they always play, except sometimes animals and

Alison Brie as a Vietnamese girl for some reason.

Neither’s essential, but if you’re unemployed or an

insomniac or something and you’ve already seen

The Wire and Seinfeld and the first 11 seasons of

The Simpsons then maybe consider thinking about

watching them.



rewind to the future

by Shane Sellar

10 Cloverfield Lane


Eddie the Eagle

Hail, Caesar!


10 Cloverfield Lane

Here’s a helpful handyman tip: why not turn that old

bomb shelter into a contemporary sex-dungeon?

Or, like, the doomsday prepper is this psychological-thriller:

keep stocking it with preserves.

Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) comes to after

a car accident to find she is confined in an underground

bunker curated by conspiracy nut Howard

(John Goodman), who believes the air above is now

contaminated from an unknown attacker.

Remaining distrustful of her captor while building

a rapport with him, Michelle conspires with her

co-inmate (John Gallagher, Jr.) on constructing a

homemade HAZMAT suit for escaping in.

On one hand it’s an intimate and exhilarating

cat-and-mouse game with sporadic bursts of

humor and malice. And on the other, it’s an outof-left-field

alien incursion sequel to the 2008

found-footage Cloverfield. But some how these

two conflicting narratives work in an unanticipated


Ironically, to aliens, underground bunkers are like

cans of preserved peaches.


Stop-motion animation is arduous on voice-actors

because they can only say their lines in very small


Fortunately, like with this stop-motion dramedy, it

all comes together in post-production.

While on a book tour to Cincinnati, unhappily

married self-help author Michael (David Thewlis)

meets an old flame for a drink in his hotel. When

that doesn’t pan out he flirts with an insecure

groupie Lisa (Jennifer Jason Leigh) and takes her back

to his room.

Inspired by a fevered-dream, he suggests they run

away together. But her annoying idiosyncrasies and

his increasing anxiety towards society may end their

elopement before it begins.

A surreal, yet substantial, look at a mid-life crisis

through the meticulous method of stop-motion

animation, esoteric writer-director Charlie Kaufman

brings his awkward insight and doleful humor to this

Herculean effort with unprecedented and depressing


But at least this Claymation mid-life crisis has a

lower body count than the California Raisins’.

The Brothers Grimsby

Young men in England only have two career options:

the dole or football hooligan.

The Renaissance man in this action-comedy, however,

is successfully pursuing both vocations.

Strapped with a wife (Rebel Wilson) and 11 kids,

haphazard Nobby (Sacha Baron Cohen) dreams of

the day he’ll reunite with his long-lost brother Sebastian

(Mark Strong).

But when that day comes, Sebastian is working for

MI6 and Nobby fumbles an assassination attempt on

a notable humanitarian (Penélope Cruz), making it

appear Sebastian’s gone rogue

Now Nobby must clear his brother’s name and

prevent a biological weapon from detonating at a

football match.

While Baron Cohen has a history of delivering

lowbrow laughs, Grimsby does so in spades. Excessively

crude and intentionally mean spirited, the few

laughs it has are beyond infantile, while the action

simply feels out of place.

Besides, the real MI6 kills all your living relatives

before they let you join.

Eddie the Eagle

The upside to the Olympics being in Canada is the

low exchange rate helps your IOC bribe go a lot


Unfortunately, the hopeful in this dramedy will

need more than a kickback to compete.

Dreaming of gold since he was young, Eddie

Edwards (Taron Egerton) has shoehorned himself

into every possible activity with disastrous results. It’s

not until he witnesses ski jumping does the fearless

Brit find his calling.

With help from a failed ski jumper (Hugh Jackman),

Eddie gets the training he needs to qualify for

the 1988 games in Calgary, but not the respect of his

fellow competitors.

Despite its over indulgence in sentimentality and

played out sports clichés, this true underdog tale

still manages to rally enough heart and good humor

to provide a pleasant reflection on this unorthodox


Mind you, to those in the southern hemisphere,

this Winter Olympic anecdote is brand new.

Gods of Egypt

The upside to a bird-headed god is they’re easily

appeased with a bucket of mice guts.

Mind you, the falcon-faced deity in this action-fantasy

movie would rather devour his nemesis.

When the immortal Set (Gerard Butler) assassinates

Osiris (Bryan Brown), the King of Egypt,

and declares a new tax on all souls passing over

into the afterlife, the avian lord Horus (Nikolaj

Coster-Waldau) partners with a street urchin, Bek

(Brenton Thwaites), who has intimate knowledge

of his enemy’s booby-trapped compound.

But, in exchange, for helping him, Bek needs

Horus’ aid in retrieving his love (Courtney Eaton)

from the afterworld.

Inlaid with overblown special effects and abysmal

performances from a fair-skinned cast, this whitewashed

construct of an alternative Egypt is grossly

inaccurate, insulting and inane all at the same time.

Furthermore, with all of their internal organs removed,

Egyptians had plenty of room to store spare

change for any afterlife tolls.

Hail, Caesar!

Disgracefully, in the 1950s only white actors were

cast for communist roles in Hollywood movies.

Fortunately, this comedy offers some enlightenment

on the cultural insensitivity of “Redface.”

Employed by Capitol Pictures to protect their

stars from public scandal, Mannix (Josh Brolin)

faces an array of back-lot indignities, including:

a pregnant starlet (Scarlett Johansson), an inept

heartthrob (Alden Ehrenreich), twin sister gossip

columnists (Tilda Swinton) and a leading man

(George Clooney) who has been shanghaied by

communists within the studio (Channing Tatum,

Fisher Stevens).

The Coen Brothers’ ambitious but aimless attempt

at lampooning the low-end genre pictures of

post-war Hollywood and the escalating red menace

therein, Hail Caesar does have some noteworthy

odes to old Hollywood. Unfortunately, they never

coalesce with the larger story, which seriously lacks

the siblings’ eccentric brand of humor.

Besides, the best way to catch commie actors is to

stakeout the pot of borscht at craft services.

​London Has Fallen

To get the upper hand on terrorism we need to

employ the use of suicide bomber-hostages.

However, the high-level hostage in this action

movie isn’t likely to be allowed to wear an explosive


In London for the Prime Minister’s funeral, U.S.

President Asher (Aaron Eckhart) and his bodyguard

Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) are caught in a terrorist

plot to wipeout all world leaders in attendance

and kidnap Asher for online execution.

Across the pond, the U.S. vice-president

(Morgan Freeman) works with White House staff

to solve the mystery behind the mastermind’s

(Alon Moni Aboutboul) motives and the possibility

of a mole.

Overstuffed with straightforward shootouts,

commonplace car chases and patriotic orations,

this unwarranted sequel to Olympus Has Fallen is

even more bombastic and nationalistic with Butler’s

brutish performance and xenophobic one-liners as

its highest and lowest points.

Besides, you’d get more online traffic executing

that hunky Canadian Prime Minister.


No one has a problem with all-animal metropolises

as long as citizens always remember to pick their pet

human’s poop up.

Mind you, there aren’t many squatting Caucasians

in this animated-adventure.

Believing you can be anything you want to be,

no matter your genetic disposition, Judy (Ginnifer

Goodwin) forgoes carrot farming for police work in

the big city.

But instead of protecting the populace, Judy’s

issuing parking tickets because her buffalo boss (Idris

Elba) doesn’t think rabbits can be cops.

To prove she’s more than her genus, she pairs

with her species sworn enemy, a street-wise fox

(Jason Bateman), to solve a rash of unsolved missing

mammal cases.

Ingenuously devised, strikingly rendered and

wholly hilarious, this anthropomorphic whodunit

has all the earmarks of classic Disney but with a

modern message on diversity and tolerance.

Furthermore, contrary to popular belief, the

worst drivers on Zootopian roadways are not always

female pandas.

​He’s Strictly Business Casual. He’s the…



BEATROUTE • JULY 2016 | 15



an ode to the barstool bard

Looking back on The Tragically Hip’s place in Canadian life.

There is something that happens when we’re about to lose

someone we love. It becomes a time of reflection, where

we remember how truly wonderful they really were, and all

of the momentous ways they’ve shaped our lives. We feel luckier

to have known them — better for it. In May, The Tragically Hip

announced that their frontman, Gord Downie, had been diagnosed

with incurable brain cancer. Accompanying this is a farewell tour and

new album, Man Machine Poem. The news of Downie’s condition

struck a devastating blow to fans as they tried to process the heartbreaking

reality that they’d soon be forced to bid farewell to their

barstool bard. We’re still reeling. After all, we’ve never forgotten how

magnificent The Hip is. Downie is our Dylan; his poetry references

things that only we, as fellow Canadians, can truly resonate with. It’s

because of this depth that we’ve walked together, us and the band,

photo: Paul McNamee

for more than 30 years. They are ours.

And they always will be. No matter what happens, Downie has

imparted gifts that we may forever keep, from his untamed live performances

to the poignancy of his words. As the curtains close, we begin to

comprehend the bigger picture, perhaps in a more momentous way that

we have done so before — to understand that between lines about lost

hockey heroes, beneath the iconic throatiness, and amid a crushing diagnosis,

there is profound wisdom that we can take from Gord Downie.

In early days, the Hip cut their teeth playing at campus pubs and

local dives in Kingston. Downie’s wild ramblings earned him the

nickname “the barstool bard,” and his enchanting genius would make

fans of each audience he’d wax off to. As the years stretched on, the

band continued to tour, tirelessly, from coast to coast. Yet, 14 JUNO

Award wins and a Canadian Music Hall of Fame Induction later, they’ve

by Yasmine Shemesh

remained accessible. Downie’s stories are our stories, delivered to the

soul, not from a place of superiority. Humility is a virtue that The Hip

has possessed since the beginning — when Hurricane Katrina hit, the

band requested radio stations stop playing “New Orleans Is Sinking.”

War Amps credits them with helping to bring awareness to the organization

with a charitable concert in Winnipeg. If further case needs

to be made, it’s this — when tickets to The Hip’s farewell tour sold out

in seconds, the band announced they would partner with CBC to live

broadcast their August 20 Kingston concert so that everyone could

have the chance to say goodbye.

Our land and its people have frequently been Downie’s muse and

it’s that deeply-rooted patriotism woven through The Hip’s music that

makes it feel so familiar. On “Fifty Mission Cap,” Downie recounts the

disappearance of Bill Barilko — the Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman

who vanished days after scoring the winning goal in the 1951 Stanley

Cup finals. “At the Hundredth Meridian” tells us where the Great Plains

begin, referring to the longitude line that separates Western and Eastern

Canada. “Wheat Kings” references the case of a Winnipeg man wrongly

convicted of rape and murder, while “Courage” tributes Canadian author

Hugh MacLennan. As listeners, it’s comforting to hear stories we can

relate to. They might even prompt us to crack open the history books.

More than anything, though, it encourages Canadians to be proud of

where they come from.

It’s a good life if you don’t weaken. Seizing the day is a recurrent theme

in Downie’s lyrics and, boy, does that song title ring true now more

than ever. Despite his terminal diagnosis, Downie will be damned if he

weakens. No — instead, he’s hitting the road on a cross-country tour,

promising it will “blow people’s minds,” and releasing a new album. His

life, however long or short it remains to be, will be a good one. Reports

said Downie suffered a seizure late last year, underwent surgery to

remove part of the tumour, and then was treated with chemotherapy.

Less than two months later, doctors deemed him well enough to return

to what he loves most — performing.

In his signature warble, he’ll tell us to “use it up, don’t save a thing for

later” and to “wreak some havoc on the way out.”

And, amidst it all, he’ll reminds us that we must, always, try to live fully

and completely.

The Tragically Hip perform at Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre in Victoria

on July 22nd, Rogers Arena in Vancouver on July 24th and 26th, Rexall

Place in Edmonton on July 28th and 30th, Scotiabank Saddledome on

August 1st and 3rd and at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg on August 5th.


on getting down

best songs are awful liars, baring their souls

about how utterly worthless they are,” reflects


Uptights guitarist and vocalist Jason Stevenson,

though he admits, “it’s hard to write a song about being a

total piece of shit when you’re happily married.” As we sit

at Jesse Gander’s (vocals and keys) home base at Rain City

Recorders on a unanimously hung-over Sunday, local power-pop

quartet Uptights share some rock and roll wisdom

and several large glasses of water.

To say that Uptights is not the bandmates’ first rodeo

would be a gross understatement. Sporting an impressive

résumé of previous projects from 1990s local punk heroes

d.b.s., to more recent offerings such as Lesser Negatives and

Previous Tenants, the guys in Uptights have plenty of experience

to draw from. Still, if you were to ask Gander what he’s

taken from this storied musical career, he would tell you:

“The most important thing I’ve learned is to not play in too

many bands.”

Uptights have an undeniably fun sound, and write songs

riddled with hooks sure to put a bounce in your step with

their driving organ riffs and anthemic choruses. But Gander

insists, “There should always be a little bit of struggle and

a little bit of heartache in good rock and roll.” As a self-described

“negative creep,” he can’t help but squeeze a little

darkness into even the most uplifting songs, and finds love

songs – true love songs, that is – “one of the most difficult

things to write.” Regardless of their origins, the Uptights craft

catchy, fun as hell songs and as Stevenson modestly puts it,

“That’s the dream: that one day you are playing to a room

full of people, and they’re all getting down.” After putting

out a series of singles that were recently self-released as one

fantastic EP, Uptights will be heading back into the studio this

July to record their first full-length album before hitting the

road on a quick Western Canadian tour.

Uptights performs at Anti-Social Skate Shop in Vancouver on

July 9th, Broken City in Calgary on July 21st, The Almanac in

Edmonton on July 22nd, and The ‘Cutter in Hinton on July 23rd.

Uptights keep heartache in rock and roll.

by Devon Motz



rock trio blends influences to form distinct sound

Fury Things rekindle their special bond with Calgary this month.

photo: Daniel Kamnetz

Fury Things is an alternative three-piece from Minneapolis playing energetic

‘90s rock reminiscent of Dinosaur Jr., Bob Mould and The Pixies.

Since their formation in 2012, lead guitarist and vocalist Kyle Werstein,

bassist Devon Bryant, and drummer Andrew Carson describe themselves as

“quiet dudes playing loud music,” a fitting description of the juxtaposition

by Ana Mihajlovic

between their cymbal-crashing power rock and mild in-person demeanor.

Since their formation in August 2012, Fury Things has released three

EPs, one full-length album and two singles. In addition to constant touring,

they are well into writing and producing a new album, set for release in

2017. Their busy schedule has paid off; the band signed to Modern Radio

Record Label in the fall of 2015 while developing a loyal local and international

fan base.

Despite lifting their name from the classic Dinosaur Jr. single, “Little Fury

Things,” the band does not consider itself a revival act.

“We’re influenced by everything from hip hop to metal, and certainly

‘90s rock, but I can’t point to one single thing and say that’s exactly what

we’re trying to emulate,” explains guitarist and lead vocalist Kyle Werstein,

“I’ve had people say that we sound like bits and pieces of certain bands but

we don’t sound like any one of those bands in particular which I take as a


On their first full length album, the aptly titled VHS (2015), the band is

certainly closer to striking a balance between emulating their Minneapolis garage-rock

roots and finding their own unique sound. Hard-hitting drums, fuzzy

guitar riffs and melodic hooks still mirror their many influences, but the album

production shows a cleaner, modernized version of their former EPs.

The band will be promoting their new album on their upcoming Summer

Bummer tour, stopping in Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary. The trio

considers Calgary their second home and has played three consecutive

Sled Island festivals, the first being the nearly-canceled Flood Island of

2013. “When we saw the response from Calgary and its music community,

everybody banding together to have these pop-up shows amidst the

flood, that experience really endeared us to the city.” This year, the band

will be coming in July to experience its first Stampede season. “I’ve heard

many tales of what to expect, but it’ll be interesting to see the reality,”

laughs Werstein.

Fury Things will be performing at The Colbat in Vancouver on July 5th, The Buckingham

in Edmonton on July 7th and at the Palomino in Calgary on July 8th.


a search for light and warmth in a ‘dark and cold world’

The ethos of Cold Cave is that of, well, a dark, cold cave. From the

outside looking in, we see a dark image of obscure, shadow-covered

individuals clad in leather and sunglasses, clutching their instruments


Wesley Eisold founded Cold Cave in 2007 and they have released three

full-length albums and nine EPs to date, pushing their capabilities without

looking back too much.

Their gothic-darkwave-pop has a vibrant colour found in the layers of

bouncing ‘80s synth-lines, piercing but subtle guitar riffs, crunchy postpunk

bass grooves and uplifting choruses.

“Cold Cave is a search for light and warmth in what seems to be a

consistently tiring, dark and cold world,” writes Eisold in an email interview

from Los Angeles. “Cold Cave is for love, for poetry, beauty but takes in to

account all that is against those. It’s a voice that celebrates the possibility

of living in a world of peace.”

You could say Eisold’s music is a direct homage to the ‘80s synth-music

loving teenager he once was.

“I’m still a punk. It’s in my blood. Everything I approach in life is through

the eyes of how I saw the world at age 14. I don’t know if this is good or bad

but I am still emotionally driven,” he says.

However, Cold Cave still manages to push forward on their own trajectory.

“I guess I’m just a product of the ‘80s really. I was too young to be a part

of the ‘80s hardcore, punk or goth scenes but was old enough to realize I

loved it,” he says.

Eisold, who has fronted big hardcore acts such as Give Up The Ghost, is

Cold Cave’s only fixed member in a rotating cast of musicians.

“It’s a solo project but I have people who are in my direct life contribute,”

he says. “Cold Cave is a gang, even if it’s just me at times.”

Cold Cave will be playing at this year’s Terminus Music Festival in July.

When asked about Cold Cave’s live performance, Eisold kept things mysterious

and said it will be “dark and beautiful. Come and see.”

Eisold says that Cold Cave is “a reminder of all the good that could be, or

by Michael Grondin

Cold Cave perform in Calgary as part of Terminus Festival at Dickens.

photo: Mara Mckevitt

might have been.” He concludes, “I feel so lucky to have the people that like

my music also be people that I could talk to, that I would want to know.

That means the world to me.”

Cold Cave’s only Western Canada appearance this summer will be at Dickens as

part of the venue’s Terminus Festival on Saturday, July 30th.



bringing the noise when we most need it

Check in with METZ before their next release in 2017.

In doing research to talk to METZ frontman Alex

Edkins, one thing becomes very clear, very quickly.

Their touring schedule is a major point of

interest to the majority of music publications that

have talked about the band in the past. It’s hard to

help it, really. The band’s touring schedule is relentless,

much like the music they play. Just two days

after coming home from a whirlwind tour that saw

photo: Elinor Jones

the trio playing through countries like Singapore,

China, and Russia, Edkins still isn’t certain the title

is necessarily something they’ve earned.

“I don’t know why, but it’s definitely a sticking

point for a lot of people,” he says on the phone

from home in Toronto. “I think it might’ve been

true when we were first starting out. We were

touring that first record for almost two years and it

got a little bit ridiculous by the end.”

Admittedly, a lot of bands tour with near

constant pace, but not even a sliver of those

bands play music with the same intensity that

METZ manage to stir up night after night. The trio,

completed by bassist Chris Slorach and drummer

Hayden Menzies, have fittingly become world

renowned for their cacophonous aural assault.

While Edkins admits that performing as manically

as METZ does can get tiring, he still thinks it’s

more about finding balance than slowing down. Of

course, for a band like METZ balance still means a

fairly constant presence.

“With the last set of dates we officially ended

our tour of the last record,” Edkins says, sounding

slightly relieved. “We are going to be home in

Toronto for most of the rest of the year, other than

the odd festival show or one off tour. Basically all

of our focus is on LP three now.”

METZ’ third full-length won’t land until 2017,

but the band still left fans with reason to celebrate

in 2016, finding time in between touring to work

on music that would come out on three 7” records

earlier in the year. There was the arresting Eraser/

Full Auto for esteemed California label Three One

G, the spontaneous collaborative single with Swami

John Reis of Drive Like Jehu fame, and a split

7” for Record Store Day that found METZ trading

covers with post-rock heroes Mission of Burma.

The latter two releases came to fruition following

serendipitous timing and the hustle METZ is

known for.

by Jamie McNamara

“We’re huge fans of [Mission of Burma] and we

did the cover without really expecting much from

it. We’ve played shows with those guys, so word

got to them that we had done it and they offered

to cover one of our songs as well.” Edkins has a

slight tinge of disbelief in his voice at this point,

and it’s hard to blame him. “They’re heroes of ours

and it’s still crazy to hear one of our songs done in

their unique style.”

As for those one-off shows Edkins talks about,

METZ will make the trek to Calgary for a show that

is sure to be a perfect escape from mid-Stampede

madness. When asked about the idea of playing

Calgary during the most raucous event of the year

for one particular sect of Calgarians, Edkins laughs

before asking a question himself: “Is that a good or

a bad thing?”

It’s a good question, but really METZ’ music

is oddly fitting for the Calgary Stampede. Sure,

the Torontonian masters of percussive noise rock

aren’t a massive country act, but the carnage they

unleash is great aural accompaniment for the

cowboy themed piss-up that arrives in Calgary

every July. The clash of people all seemingly drunker

than the next, bouncing around downtown

Calgary with a bleary-eyed mix of sunstroke and

country-western fever. It’s something that only

the harsh noise METZ offer can cure, let’s all be

thankful they’re making the stop this year.

You can catch METZ in Calgary July 13th at Commonwealth

Bar & Stage.


cartoon pop act talk existential dread

In this new generation of attention deficit and social media

proximity and planned obsolescence and bingeing on television,

it would stand to reason that the idea of romance as an

addiction would be a widely identified common ground; one

that would certainly be alleviated by a band named after the

drug we created to help us find happiness within our staggeringly

suffocating anxieties caused by it all. And it would appear

our addiction to it is still in full swing.

When former Philosopher Kings Jay Levine and James Bryan

McCollum reunited as Prozzäk for the first time in over a decade to

play the nerdtastic Atomic Lollipop festival in Toronto, the reaction

was unpredictably massive.

“We were shocked about how many people were still interested,”

recalls Levine.

This enthusiastic welcoming back by fans led to the decision to

write new music and schedule a tour; and a collective happy sigh

was heard from all of us who are desperate to dose our Strange Disease

with something catchy while hopelessly trapped in an era of

Adele making us all want to drown ourselves in sad bubble baths.

“There was a lot of shallow pop stuff in the nineties, and even

though this is presented as fun music, it’s still got some truth to it

and it’s got some heartache to it,” says Levine. “I think it touched a

chord with people when they were 15 and now they’re 30 or 35 so

they can relate to something real about it.”

So what have Simon and Milo, Levine and McCollum’s animated

Euro-Pop alter-egos that make up Prozzäk, been up to while we’ve

all been maneuvering our 20s in this cruel, cruel world?

“Well Simon recently has been attending a love addicts group

and has been exploring self-help,” reveals Levine. The pitfalls of

which are examined in the recently released new single “Love Fools


Milo, on the other hand, has been dabbling in tantric meditation

with his partner, attempting to explore intimacy and retain that zen


exterior that makes him such a level-headed foil for Simon’s well

explored neurosis.

Levine attended love addicts anonymous to explore the idea of

lovesickness for this project and to get deeper connected to Simon

and found that he had more in common with his cartoon counterpart

than previously thought.

“I thought I had a major problem with love addiction, and it

turns out I do,” he admits. “Like most of us do.”

It is this human propensity for addiction, particularly to love,

that these men believe make Prozzäk such a relatable and deeply

embraced vessel of nostalgia and pop poetry.

“I think it’s existential dread and fear of death,” muses McCollum.

“And the desire to be worthy of having,” adds Levine.

Maybe it is both those very human tendencies that not only

make us thirst for that hooky little remedy to longing that Prozzäk

provides, but also draws Simon and Milo out of their exile and back

to the stage.

“Atomic Lollipop definitely inspired Jay and I, and the characters

too, to kind of jump back to life,” admits McCollum. “I think the

characters are kind of maturing.”

Levine disagrees. “I don’t think Simon is ever gonna find true

love. He is going to continue to have a lifetime of inappropriate

relationships for everyone’s entertainment.”

Good news for all of us who are unlucky at love and looking for

a bit of our own neurotic addiction dipped in Euro-Pop cheekiness,

sprinkled with pain, and spouted from the neckless, hapless,

shameless form of our hero and cautionary tale, Simon.

Sucks to be us; let’s dance about it. Some things never change.

Prozzäk perform throughout Western Canada this summer and

fall. Catch them at Taste of Edmonton on July 27th, at the Rickshaw

Theatre in Vancouver on September 17th and 18th, and in Calgary

at The Gateway on September 20th and 21st.

Simon and Milo return for a little nostalgia and relatability.

by Jennie Orton

BEATROUTE • JULY 2016 | 19


thoughtful decisions come from past mistakes

Pre Nup spent nearly two years perfecting a 10-minute set.

by Colin Gallant

photo: Josiah Hughes

Calgary’s Pre Nup release their debut Wrong Your 7” this month, a joint release

on Canadian labels Kingfisher Bluez and Debt Offensive Records. We sat

down with husband-and-wife duo Sara and Josiah Hughes to learn more.

BeatRoute: I was wondering why a married couple would choose Pre Nup

for their band name. Do one of you have like a really valuable collection of

marionettes or something?

Sara Hughes: The ironic part is that if we were to actually divorce we literally have

nothing of worth. We have no assets, no money. We would just have to figure out who

gets the cat.

Josiah Hughes: That’s not entirely true. We also have a whole bunch of issues of MAD

Magazine, a massive E.T. memorabilia collection and an insurmountable amount of

debt to divvy up.

BR: You have your first 7” called Wrong Your coming out soon. Bands putting

out a first release often shy from the expense of the physical format.

Any reason you chose not to do that?

JH: With Grown-Ups, we released like 60 songs or something stupid in the five years

we were a band. With this band, we want to make sure that everything we release is

the best possible music we can make. That’s why it took us nearly two years to perfect

our 10-minute set… so it wasn’t hard to figure out what we wanted to press to vinyl.

BR: The song “Wrong Your” touches on bad grammar and Josiah is an

editor [for Exclaim!]. Will you guys ever do a song about bad videography

since Sara is a filmmaker?

SH: I actually love bad videography, like Degrassi and other old ‘80s stuff. I love

films that have awful lighting and no production value whatsoever. Instead of making

fun of shitty filmmaking, maybe I’ll make an homage to it. In fact, we already have

a song called “Mickey Mouse Stuff” which is about Tommy Wiseau, the notorious

director of The Room. I gave the song to Greg Sestero from The Room when he came

to Calgary a few weeks ago. Hopefully he can pass it to Tommy.

BR: You guys play live with some members of Lab Coast. Why do you distinguish

Pre Nup as a band and who plays live in it?

JH: We had such a revolving door of members in Grown-Ups that we decided this

band should just be the two of us, and then we’ll have a live band. I write all of the

parts for the songs and play all the guitars and bass on the recordings, and then they

play them better than I possibly could live. Dadge asked if he could record Grown-Ups

right at the tail end of that band, and his eagerness was one of the things that pushed

us to get these Pre Nup songs done. Everyone knows him as a drummer, but he’s also

great at bass. I love that I’m making a guy who has gone to music conservatory play

fast, stupid pop songs. Darrell is married to Sara’s sister and was an original member of

Grown-Ups, so he’s already in the family.

Pre Nup plays 7” release shows in Edmonton at The Almanac with Switches on July 30th

and in Calgary at Local 510 with Walter TV and Janitor Scum on August 2nd.


antique aesthetics scatter across new record

When a craft is heavy with cargo and seeks to put

space between itself and anything else quickly,

select items are cast off to ease the journey. It is a

fitting image and title for Calgary’s own Bitter Fictions latest


The heady spaces offered up in Jettison form an expansive

and stratified environment, imbued with saturated colour and

haunting complexities.

This collection at times feels like the sensation of being

suspended in limbo - a series of transmissions beyond a physical

body - while still others feel more in this realm with recognizably

jangly, slightly atonal and chiming guitar loops.

Recorded on an, at this point, antique Tascam 244 tape

recorder, the man behind the moniker, Devin Friesen is resolute

in his choice for production aesthetics.

“There’s a level of personal unpredictability. You can paint

with it: play the tape back at different speeds, embrace the

creaking EQ, push and pull the sounds a bit. Sean McCann also

did a lovely job with mastering, and most of these pieces were

recorded with the potential for mastering in mind. In other

words, I know what I’m doing a lot better now. It’s a bit of a

cliché but I’m not into how a lot of music is produced. Digital

production can do wonders for some, and I’m certainly not

against computers, but far too often I feel like I’m listening to

software, or an advertisement. Heavy compression sucks the

soul out of everything – probably why you hear it all over commercial

music. There’s no depth or texture”, he says.

Most of the album’s tracks had been sussed out during earlier

parts of this year, in what Friesen describes as a “particularly

explorative and perhaps more hopeful tone than usual,” borne

out of themes of existential malaise, alienation, and personal


But while this album is processing some of the more difficult

emotions an individual can live with, it is an immersive and


on her new moniker and releasing a split with herself

You may know her from HexRay, EMBASSYLIGHTS,

Woodpigeon, or more directly, as Laura Leif. Leif has

adopted the new moniker L.T. Leif to mark a new,

“darker” chapter in her music, and also to rebrand from a

singer-songwriter project into a band. The name is concise

and professional, but also layered and introspective like the

music it touches.

“With a lot of what I do, there is a bit of my sense of humour

that slips in,” Leif tells BeatRoute, and we can certainly see it

in the name. Lieutenant Leif perhaps? Or L. tea-leaf? There is a

lightness that sits behind the otherwise impersonal name that

aligns well with Leif herself.

Her new record Shadow on the Brim/Rough Beasts is centred

on this kind of duality. The split name separates two very different

moments. The first half of the record was recorded with

Jay Crocker in Nova Scotia over the course of two winter weeks,

during which time the two “pretty much just worked on [the]

record.” The title, Shadow on the Brim, title stems from the

notion of the cup of joy, which aspires to be “filled to the brim.”

But even the brim of a cup casts a shadow.

This first half was very collaborative, Leif describes that she

and Crocker “came to something together that we wouldn’t

have come to separately.” Leif is an admitted “perfectionist,” and

they opted to keep only the tracks they were totally happy with,

but in doing so were left short of a whole album.

As Leif sat on the recordings, she was prompted another opportunity

to record a separate set of songs, which through pure

serendipity ended up the same length as Shadow on the Brim,

just long enough to fill one half of a vinyl pressing. This became

Rough Beasts. Leif then spent months exhaustively listening and

by Mike Ryan

photo: Cody Oliver

moving record deserving of exploration for those not hindered

by fear of emotion. It doesn’t feel alienating or terribly difficult

to access, an issue that Friesen identifies. The pacing alone is

its own reward, begging of the listener to block out all other

common distractions and take it in.

“I think of the electric guitar as more of a sound generator

than a “guitar” – it’s a plank of wood with strings and electronics.

Guitar music is some of the worst music, when it’s played

‘well’ or whatever, it’s nauseating. Bruce Russell from the Dead

C calls himself an ‘amplifier player,’ and I find that kind of thing

more relatable,” he says, showing a true commitment to his

craft while possible tinges of resignation of non-mass appeal

reverberate around the words.

On the backs of controlled feedback, low rumbling and

droning, Friesen complements these textures with squealing

guitar, bright harmonics flourishes, fuzzed out tones, and the

subtle movement of calloused fingers atop wound metal strings

in the collection of “playback as composition” works. It is as

intimate as it is expansive and well worth picking up what Bitter

Fiction’s has jettisoned.

Bitter Fictions releases Jettison on Friesen’s own Shaking Box

Music later this month.

by Liam Prost

reordering the tracks through “trial and error.”

“Ultimately I was trying to make it work as a whole, as a

journey,” Leif describes. The record follows a very strong arc,

peaking during “under our walking, a cave,” a brooding instrumental

passage that ends with the flip of the vinyl. On the other

side we are warmly greeted by the adorable and intimate “puff

ball thing,” a respite from the storm, and the beginning of the

second leg of the “journey.”

L. T. Leif’s new self-released record Shadow on the Brim/Rough

Beasts is available now.

photo: Cody Oliver



Punk Rock Sing-along kicks off at the Ship & Anchor


spice and everything nice

Sure to cast an impression, Pancake drips with possibility. Formed at

a house show Melinda Massolas (vocals/guitar) organized, Pancake

“crawled up from the sewers,” as Justin Van Groningen (drums)

puts it, and stuck together to play an all-ages show at the National

Music Centre. The four-piece lives in an interesting place, with their

live post-punk meets pop-rock performances existing under the earnest

influence of real fruit flavour and no-bullshit young soul.

Pancake is filled with digestible lyrics like “don’t fuck your friends” to serve

as gentle reminders that growing up is marred by silly stupors. Their nascent

song, “Brendan’s Dick Residue (B.D.R)” remains a tribute to guitarist

Brendan Long who, with his oddball nature, is more comfortable swinging

his hips and making over-the-top gestures while onstage. The tunes are good

enough to carry his Bono wraparounds off into the sunset.

Inspired by the likes of Rockin’ with Judy Jetson, Massolas grew up

watching the heroine, “who wanted to give it to this rock star Sky Rocker

and ended up saving the world through the power of music, love and all

that good stuff.” Calgary’s own Jean Sebastian Audet is also a big influence,

Massolas says. “Watching him really made me feel like I could do this too

because he was young and black, and so was I.”

While their one-year anniversary is fast approaching, Pancake has a

distinctly promising sound and a lot of growing room. With thoughts of

Stampede breakfasts, touring and playing next year’s Sled Island, they’re

nothing if not quietly determined. “I want to see pancakes at all our shows,

but so far the closest we’ve come is a cheese bun,” says bassist Tricia Minions.

Pancake is a shining example of what goes right when young, unassuming

artists have big dreams and time to kill.

Pancake show humour and humanity in first interview.

by Arielle Lessard

photo: Ben Painter

While they’re waiting on mixing and mastering of their first album, catch

them live on July 29th with Windigo and Fever Feel at The Palomino, as well

as Long’s mom’s birthday party that promises to be “off the wall and include

lots of wine.” Pancake is a crude gem and a welcome new arrival.

Catch Pancake at The Palomino on July 29th with Windigo and Fever Feel.

Luckily for my first edition of this column, the city is

blowing up with events worth checking out, so you

guys get less ramblings and more recommendations.

Yes, soon the city will be overrun by Stampede tomfoolery

and many of us will seek cover in our favourite off-the-beaten

path haunts, but if you are the type who likes to take

advantage of the free music at the Coke Stage, a couple Calgary

artists will be holding it down for y’all (I too shuddered

at that word use). BeatRoute favourites like the raspy and

rugged JJ Shiplett and The Dudes will be on stage July 7th,

and former Calgarian mainstay, the honey-voiced Jocelyn

Alice will be performing on the 13th.

Starting July 18th, the Ship & Anchor crowd will be welcoming

back its fourth season of the raucous and sometimes

comically offensive weekly Punk Rock Sing-along, featuring

the fantastic off-kilter hosting skills of Ghost Factory’s Rob

Gruszecki and Eric Svilpis. Prepare for a weekly romp through

the best punk songs of all time on the Ship’s packed patio as

guests are encouraged to scream their lungs out along to live

acoustic versions. There’s also awesome prizes, and the first

week is Rob’s Bachelor Party edition, so don’t miss it, because

he’s a gem and will soon be married and no doubt way less fun

(kidding of course).

Starting July 21st, Calgary Folk Music Festival begins with

some of the best headliners we have seen including the ethereal

Swedish folk God, Jose Gonzalez, and finger picking wizard

The Tallest Man on Earth. As far as Calgary representation

goes, post-rock/atmospheric newbie Evan Freeman will be performing,

and the crowd-warming beard-core Neo-folk of The

Northern Beauties will be in full swing. Additionally, former

Calgarians BRAIDS will be bringing their multi-instrumental

experimentalism back home.

On the smaller/newer side of the festival scale, Southern Alberta

Hardcore Fest takes place early in July at Distortion. Go

get some spin kicks in and support an up-and-coming festival

and some awesome Calgary and out of town bands.

Finally, Kensington will be turned into Diagon Alley July

31st in commemoration of J.K. Rowling’s new release, Harry

Potter and The Cursed Child. With the whole community

taking part in the day transformation, prepare for a swarm

of witches and wizards to be running the Kensington streets.

Get your wands ready!

• WIllow Grier


the funk is still fresh

If you haven’t heard of The Kronic Groove Band it’s because they aren’t

really a band anymore. In fact, they broke up five years ago. But if you

do remember The KGB (as they were affectionately dubbed), you

may recall some much younger (more innocent?) members of current

Calgary mainstays 36? along with a horn section and keyboards in a

funk-soaked, party-hard, wildly entertaining imagining.

Starting as more of a “rock” band with their first album, The KGB had

been playing together for just over three years when they fell into their

signature sound which guitarist Scott White describes as “funkadelic.”

“The sound is Funk with a capital F,” White exclaims. “There’s slap bass,

wah guitar all over the place, horn blasts, disco beats, jazzy organ jamming

and keyboards. We had the whole second album almost fully recorded

when we broke up. Some songs were unfinished, and missing horn parts,

but it was definitely our funkiest music,” he elaborates. So what caused the

fateful break up that put the good time jams on hold?

“It was too hard to organize all those people I think,” says vocalist Taylor

Cochrane, referencing the eight-person lineup. “Plus none of us knew what

the fuck we were doing from a business standpoint back then,” he adds,

laughing. In 2014, the band decided to give it one last hurrah and joined

A just slightly more grown-up version of The Kronic Groove Band returns.

by Willow Grier

forces for a one-off performance. This show ended up fuelling a resurgence

for the project however, and Cochrane pulled up the archived recordings.

In the interim, he had been working on plenty of other mixing projects and

building his chops, where he had felt unprepared in years past. “Now I think

I know how to not reverb everything out to shit and how to be tasteful with

things. Now I think [the album] is ready.”

The KGB describes the finished track list as something of a “greatest hits”

ensemble. “It’s a bunch of sweet party songs,” says White. “There’s a song

about going for munchie runs in the middle of the night. A song called

‘Party Hard,’ one of our favourites, which is a funk party odyssey complete

with an alcohol chant in the middle.”

Party with them again, or for the first time, but The KGB wants to whisk

you away to “Funky Island” with them for a special album release reunion

party. “This album is straight from the cryo-vaults,” laughs White. “And the

funk is still fresh!”

The Kronic Groove Band will premiere The Death of the Groove on BeatRoute.

ca on July 14th. See their reunion performance at Dickens also on July 14th

alongside Robot Workers and The Firm Handshake.



from a bomb shelter to a world tour

photo: Fan Liao

Dutch act Blue Crime makes their Calgary debut this month.

Imagine blue shimmering light reflecting off a swimming pool. The

music of Amsterdam’s Blue Crime has this floating quality that dances

about, and within their shoegazey ambience, heart-throbbing melodies

and sporadically fierce grit, Blue Crime find solace in intimate and passion

fueled live performances.

After an interrupted attempt to get a Skype conversation started

between Calgary and Brooklyn, NY, three of Blue Crime’s members spoke

of their excitement for touring in North America.

“We really care about the sound, but what’s important also is the atmosphere

and how we connect with the people watching,” says singer Liu

Mottes. “We hope that we can get to a point where we can be together

on stage and feel like one. We are still experimenting with that to see what

works and what doesn’t.”

“Continuity and flow are also important for our shows. We’re not the

kind of band that plays a song and chats, and plays a song and says something

in between. Which is fine but it’s not us,” says drummer and band

recording engineer Bart van Hasselt.

Blue Crime use a wide array of cosmic visuals to add to their performances

as well.

“We want to create an experience where we have the audience go

on the journey with us. The idea is for us to have this visually as well as

musically,” says bassist Floor van Dijck. “It’s not just about the songs, but

the experience.”

They were formed in a bomb shelter turned art space in Amsterdam’s

Vondel Park.

“It was a shelter for when something was going to go down. That’s

where everything for us came together, where the first ideas for this band

started. It’s a really beautiful place,” says Mottes.

This ambitious four-piece also place a lot of emphasis in their own drive

and vision, relying on a do-it-yourself approach to recording and writing.

“We all come from very different musical backgrounds and when we

come together everyone has their own spice to bring to the band,” says

van Dijck. “From that point, we just decided to embrace it and work really

hard and find our sound and work out how we wanted to perform.”

Blue Crime will be stopping in Western Canada in early July, and they

are very excited to tour through Canada and the U.S.A. “It’s the first time

we’re touring on this side of the ocean,” says van Hasselt.

“We are playing some really great nights with some amazing bands,”

adds Mottes.

Blue Crime perform at Nite Owl in Calgary on July 7th.


• Michael Grondin

BEATROUTE • JULY 2016 | 23




Tasy Hudson unleashes new album Under Our Beds words and photo by by Levi Manchak

Under Our Beds is released July 8.

Telling someone that you have a secret isn’t the same thing as

telling someone what the secret is. But once you tell someone

that you have a secret, it’s impossible not to want to hear it.

And once revealed, it’s part of the permanent record for good or

ill. There’s a lot riding on it. Releasing an album is a lot like spilling a

secret; there’s a lot of tension and excitement right before anyone

hears it.

Under the moniker Consilience, Edmonton-based songwriter and

multi-instrumentalist Tasy Hudson is feeling that kind of excitement as

she gets ready to lift the covers off her upcoming album entitled Under

Our Beds.

BeatRoute sat down with Tasy to discuss making and releasing her first

full-length album.

BeatRoute: Can you tell us about the name of your project


Tasy Hudson: My dad suggested it as a band name. So I had to read

about what it meant. It has to do with the unity of knowledge, or

like combining disciplines to narrow it down to one truth. The more I

thought about it, the more it seemed to fit.

BR: What about the theme for Under Our Beds?

TH: It comes from a line in one of the songs, “Secrets.” Under all our

beds, there’s secrets. The general theme is: those thoughts that you have

that no one else will ever know that you have.

BR: Who was involved in making the album with you?

TH: I did a lot myself. I wrote, sang and played most of the parts on the

album but Jesse Northey (of Jesse and the Dandelions) recorded and

played on it. Aaron Parker and Sophie Heppell also played some parts on

the album.

BR: How would you describe this album?

TH: It’s largely a chill album that flows.

BR: What made you want to start making music? Would you

say it’s a secret?

TH: [Rolls eyes] I could answer every question like that.

BR: This is your first release, so how long have you been working

on it?

TH: It’s been about two years in the making, but some of the songs are

fairly old.

“Ride Out” is the oldest song I’ve written. I was still in university and I

was feeling super stuck and just wanted to move on. That was about five

years ago. The rest of the album has come together in the last two years.

BR: Since Under Our Beds has been in the works for a long

time, has your taste changed drastically since starting work on

the album?

TH: I think it’s just gone towards guitar-based music. This album is pretty

piano heavy. Going towards guitar comes mostly from playing live. I’ve

been tailoring my music to live venues more than I realized just ‘cause I

like to rock out. But now I’m even going back to the piano again though,

since I’ve been listening this album.

BR: You play a lot of different instruments. Would you say

you’re fluid in terms of instrumentation choices?

TH: 100 per cent, yeah.

BR: Two years later, do you still feel close to the material that

you cover on the album?

TH: For the most part, yeah. A lot of the songs are vague enough that I

can draw new meaning from them.

BR: Why did you decide to release the album now?

TH: I just wanted to start doing it for real. I didn’t imagine that I’d promote

the album originally, but then I got really invested. I thought that

the songs weren’t garbage and it would be stupid to not do anything

with them, and after two years, I didn’t want to wait too much longer.

BR: Do you make your music as a release for an emotion or


TH: I can name songs that I’ve written where I wanted to “just get it out”

and other times I start writing the song and don’t stop to dissect it until

it’s done.

BR: Are the secrets that you allude to on Under Our Beds still


TH: Ummm… probably not. Also, it’d be fair to say that any anxiety

related to keeping those secrets has vaporized.

Under our Beds is out July 8th, and to celebrate the release Consilience will

be performing that evening at 9910 in Edmonton. At the show, Consilience

will be joined by an all-star lineup including locals Marlaena Moore and

Jessica Jalbert, as well as R. Ariel from Phoenix, AZ. Consilience also plays

Saskatoon on July 15th, Vancouver July 22, Victoria on July 23, and Calgary

on July 28th.


celebrating 5 years

by Jenna Lee Williams

2016 marks the fifth year of the Edmonton instalment of

the Six Shooter Records three-day showcase, Interstellar

Rodeo. The festival, which is held at the Heritage

Amphitheatre at Hawrelak Park, features acts that fall under

the blues, roots and country music umbrella and with one

stage, is a more casual alternative to the Edmonton Folk

Music Festival.

This year’s lineup features 22 acts consisting of local,

national and international acts. Friday night’s headliners

are JUNO-award winning indie rockers The Strumbellas

(Toronto). Cat Power (U.S.) takes the stage on Saturday,

along with a solo performance by Edmonton’s own Faith

Healer. Saturday night’s headliner is folk act Lord Huron (Los

Angeles). The festival is closed off Sunday night with José

González (Sweden), Kathleen Edwards (Ottawa), and local

performer Joe Nolan and rockers Sam Roberts Band headline

the evening.

Weekend passes or single day tickets are available for


Interstellar Rodeo happens July 22-24. For more information, the

full schedule, and to purchase tickets, visit

St. Vincent at Interstellar Rodeo 2015.

photo: Levi Manchak



flower children add structure (and an organ) to newest release

The Archaics mark ten years of playing together with new release.

If you’re at a show surrounded by hippies and

happen to breathe in the damp scent of Nag

Champa, either the Archaics are playing a set, or

there might just be a lot of hippies in the crowd.

When Edmonton’s flowery quintet aren’t getting

in trouble for burning incense indoors, they’re

happily burning it at their outdoor shows. Pairing

the earthy scent with their evolving style of mod,

Doors-inspired, B-sides is something they’ll do for

the time being.

When BeatRoute sat down with guitarist Josh

photo: Brock Mattsson

Beatty and bassist Peter Masson over coffee and

cigarettes, they happily shared insights into their

upcoming record, Soft Focus, and how they keep it

fresh after almost a decade of playing together.

“10 years!?” Masson laughs. “Where did it all go?”

Beginning the project before they could even

play instruments, the Archaics have spent the

last decade educating themselves in the ways of

“weird” music and giving each other the space

to grow up.

“We’ve noticed our tastes change rapidly,

which has definitely influenced our playing

styles,” Beatty explains. “Someone will grab a

new record and find it fairly inspiring and pass

it on to the next person. Or, someone will go

through periods of playing a lot while others

won’t be playing barely at all. I think that’s the

best part of playing with people you’ve known

for so long. Even though you’re not progressing

at the same pace, we all encourage each other

wherever we are.”

The Archaics’ willingness to be open minded

led them to Masson’s parents’ cabin near Pigeon

Lake in the middle of winter to record the last

self titled LP, take a few psychedelics and lay

some tracks down.

“We kinda got a bit of cabin fever,” Masson

laughs. “After the first week, it got a little tiresome.

We couldn’t even escape each other in the

bedrooms because we were using bunk beds!

That’s what was nice about recording in the city.

Work for eight to 10 hours then go home, get

some down time and get back at it. Structure is

definitely better for us.”

Since their last recording experience in the

cabin, they’ve added organist, Dylan Greenhough

into the mix. Admittedly, the band was

nervous to bring in someone new, but as Beatty

reveals, the choice to add Greenhough was the

right thing to do.

“With the new record, it was total sonic exploration

to see where we could make a new instrument

fit in or expand things,” Beatty explains.

by Brittany Rudyck

“Now we’re working on music beyond Soft Focus

and we’re writing together or basing parts off his

organ. It makes things less dense and it’s gotten

to the point where it feels weird when we have to

play without him.”

The addition of the organ to vocalist/guitarist

Connor Snell’s ‘have I stepped into a time

machine?’ type of vocals and the jazzy, simplistic

rhythm section that is Andy Trant on drums,

softens the sound slightly by adding some

surprising pep. With the goal of sounding more

technical in mind, the band took their cues

from afrobeat, Delta blues and swing records to

keep the psychedelia but turn that sound into

something more original.

And, sometimes in the midst of recoding in

cabins, burning incense and working their buns off

at “normal” jobs, people break bones. Thankfully

for Beatty, it didn’t stop him from playing a set at a

house show recently.

“As I left my house to get to the party, I broke

my thumb as I was carrying my amp out,” he

chuckles. “It immediately swelled up and I kind

of knew it was broken. Our organ player is an

EMT and he told me to go to the hospital and

not play the show. So, I played the entire set

with a broken thumb.”

Breathe deeply of incense at the Archaics’ Soft Focus

album release at 9910 in Edmonton with Mitchmatic

and Power Buddies on July 16. Local record aficionado

Chris Zuk will be spinning vinyl in between sets!


what remains after a real good party

Self-descried punk-psych trio The Dead Fibres make music

containing various fibres made up of different sounds

(including heaviness, surf, and ‘90s alternative rock) that

are woven together to form the band’s distinct style.

BeatRoute sat down with drummer Brandon de Gans and

guitarist/vocalist Zach Mouallem over patio beers. Kennedy

Pawluk (lead vocals/bass) was in Europe at the time of our chat.

The Dead Fibres has been a band since early 2014; the same

year they self-released their eponymous album. From day one

this project has definitely a team effort. “We all have known each

other for a long time. We have been playing together since junior

high and high school. It wasn’t until 2014 we were like: let’s be

Dead Fibres, let’s put an album out,” recalls de Gans.

“We wanted to make some grown-up music,” chuckles


Next BeatRoute asked the token band name question. “Back

when we first started jamming most of the jams were written

while being pretty drunk. Killing your brain cells and whatever is

left over will be these little burnt out crisp fibres. I would think of

those microscopic images of synapses and stuff. Imagine those

being wilted and stuff. And that was our brains!” explains de


The Dead Fibres’ new album is called Disgusting People With

Disgusting Motives and will be released on vinyl, CD and digitally

on local label Sometimes Music on July 15th.

When asked to describe their sound, de Gans explains: “It is

definitely dirty; something that feels like it is coming from this

dirty alleyway or sewer.”

“Especially with the new album. It is a little more coherent

than that first album. That first album was also recorded in two

different locations. It has become heavier than that first album.

Chaotic, loud, abrasive but funky and rhythmic,” adds Mouallem.


Disgusting People With Disgusting Motives was recorded

and produced by Jordan Koop at The Noise Floor (which is an

old boat repair shop that has been converted to a studio) on

Gabriola Island, and was mastered by Stuart McKillop at Rain

City Recorders in Vancouver.

When asked about their goals sonically their live show

came up instantly. “Some of my favourite shows that I go to

are high-octane, high-energy; everyone is going crazy, you

can’t help but move. We want to put on a show where people

are watching it and people are like, ‘That band is fucking

nuts!’” says de Gans.

Many bands that have inspired their sonic goals were introduced

to Dead Fibres while they went on tour last summer.

“Last year’s tour we played with so many math rock bands and

that really rubbed off on is. We have always liked playing weird

time and rhythms, but I think there [are] more of that on this

album,” notes Mouallem. “We saw this band while on tour called

Baby Labour that were really good, ” adds de Gans

In terms of lyrical content, their upcoming release is more thematic

than their debut. “The album is called Disgusting People

With Disgusting Motives because we were almost trying to write

about a character. It follows a character and his experiences,”

explains Mouallem. “He is a bad dude who likes to get completely

fucked and do bad things. Each song is a different slice of his

mind,” notes de Gans.

Come let your brain get crispy with The Dead Fibres in a city near

you. Select stops include Friday July 15th in Edmonton at the

Almanac., Friday, July 8th in Victoria at the Copper Owl, Sunday,

July 10th in Vancouver at Lanalou’s, Friday, July 22nd in Calgary

at Broken City, Saturday, July 23rd in Lethbridge at Attainable

Records, and Wednesday, July 27th in Winnipeg at DIY HOUSE.

Things get weird for The Dead Fibres on new album.

by Jenna Lee Williams

photo: Max Paran

BEATROUTE • JULY 2016 | 25



a love letter to my hometown music festival

South Country Fair celebrates 30 years at the end of this month.

Sunburns. Face paint. Tie-dye. Sunshine. Stilt walkers. Sweet

talkers. Late nights. Early mornings. Campfires. Thundershowers.

Fortunetellers. Fire spinners. The sound, the smell,

the feel of the South Country Fair.

The quiet little town of Fort Macleod, just shy of 200 km. south

of Calgary, with a view of the Rockies and an endless sky, takes on

a new life the third weekend in July. The community with a deep

love of the arts becomes a welcome home for hippies, travellers,

artists, musicians and music lovers alike.

This sweet summer marks the 30th year that the South Country

Fair family has been gathering to celebrate music and share in

community, in an intimate outdoor festival that has captured my

words and photo by Courtney Creator

heart since childhood.

South Country Fair, you are magic. I love how you bring musical

acts, from near and far, into one beautiful place of discovery.

I love the way the river hugs your curves of the campground, a

cool refuge from the heat of summer, a place to float and play,

with echoes of music from the stage. I love how your people are

kind and inviting, sharing stories and acoustic jams over campfires,

dancing together to music that speaks to the soul.

Napping in a hammock, cooking food on a campfire, reuniting

with old friends and making new ones, dancing in the moonlight,

singing in the sunshine, finding your favourite soundtrack to

summer... this is a paradise.

Musical picks you won’t want to miss are many, and though

you likely won’t be able to see them all, festival-goers, whoever

you are fortunate enough to see it’s guaranteed to be a real treat.

With a mix of old and new, paying reverence to the past of talented

musicians who have built the fair, and a look forward to the

future of up-and-comers, you’ll find the comfort of old favourites

and the excitement of new ones.

Highlights: Check out Quique Escamilla for folk music from the

soul, Jr. Gone Wild for a kick of “real deal country + punk rock

spirit,” see Scott Cook and his eclectic collection of fun-loving

musicians the Long Weekends, groove to the sharp wit of Big

Rude Jake, get in the mood with gospel soul “supergroup” The

Fates, dance to the classic Washboard Hank, find a friend in master

contemporary songstress Amelia Curran, lose yourself in Miss

Quincy’s “powerhouse voice,” and check out sincere singer-songwriter

Ryland Moranz.

South Country Fair takes place in Fort Macleod, AB, from July 15-17.

To see a full list of performers and to purchase your festival pass go to


a summer soundtrack of sweetened sadness

It only takes 30 seconds for The Silkstones to transport

you into the sombre dream world of HER, their sophomore

album releasing on July 12. The opening track,

“Steep Banks,” is a hypnotic collection of found sounds,

leading the listener into the delicate melody of the following

track “Sailing.”

“At the beginning there’s this huge wall of sound,” says

bassist Dylan Jerome Wagner. “I just had a delay pedal, put

a bunch of distortion, played one chord, and layered it.”

“We were trying to get the sound of Lethbridge,” says

Ryan Phillips, vocalist and guitarist. “So that’s why there’s a

train, and the wind.”

“It’s actual wind and an actual train going through Lethbridge,”

says lead guitarist Rus Andrew.

Bassist Wagner, who joined the band after their debut

album Webs on a Tree, has added another layer of complexity

to their sound.

“Dylan kind of has a different outlook on chords so it

changes the sound dramatically,” says Phillips. “In a very

good way, in a way that’s interesting to perform.”

“I think with Ryan and I, if we’re not on the same page

we’re in the same chapter, where as Dylan comes from

another book,” says Andrew. “It really brings a different

perspective. I’m always pleasantly surprised every time we

write a song together.”

“How would you describe your sound?” is always the

hardest question to answer, they say.

“Honest,” says Phillips, “a little bit dreamy. Some of the

tracks have some heat, it’s got some rock to it.”

“Chameleon,” says Wagner.

“I think we have a lot of songs that sound different,” says

Andrew, “and Ryan’s voice really anchors it together.”

“This album is about relationships mostly, who I love,

who I’ve loved,” says Phillips. “It’s a concept of love.”

The band already sees their sound continuing to evolve.

“By the time you finish an album and master it, you

want to make something different,” says Phillips. “I really

like this, but I don’t want to be making the same thing

over and over again.”

“I think we’re becoming better musicians and songwriters,”

says Andrew.

The Silkstones are looking forward to their first tour,

with a string of shows in Alberta, Saskatchewan and B.C.

“It feels like a step,” says Andrew. “It’s the first time that

we’ve done it, but I think we’re ready for it.”

The logistics and long drives of a tour are all worth it

once you’re sharing your songs.

“There’s something great about risking it all onstage,”

says Phillips. “It’s a huge outlet.”

“To know that someone is there listening,” says Wagner.

“That’s what it’s all about,” says Andrew. “When you’re

playing, you can feel people react to it, and you can feed

off of it.”

The Silkstones kick off their tour at The Black Dog in Edmonton

on July 2nd, and play the Ship & Anchor in Calgary on July

23rd. They’re in Calgary again on Aug. 20th at Wine-Ohs and

they’ll play the Owl Acoustic Lounge in Lethbridge on Sept.

16th. Go to for links to their latest album

HER and a full list of tour dates.

The Silkstones embark on first ever tour this summer.

by Courtney Creator

photo: Corley Farough


letters from winnipeg


on Traditional Synthesizer Music and Winnipeg

Excavating the depths of breakcore for nearly two

decades, Winnipeg-based electronic artist Venetian

Snares a.k.a. Aaron Funk, has consistently

brought new ideas to the surface while also inserting

his scathing tongue-in-cheek humour—something

he says he’s not always sure people get.

On his new effort, Traditional Synthesizer Music,

Funk performed all songs live on a modular synthesizer,

a challenge that, in many ways, restored his enthusiasm

for making music again.

BeatRoute spoke with the electronic genre-splicer

in advance of his show at Terminus Festival, a set that

will mark his return to Calgary for the first time in

over 10 years.

BR: Your most recent album, Traditional

Synthesizer Music, sounds very different than

what you’ve done in the past. Can you talk a

bit about your songwriting approach on this


AF: For Traditional Synthesizer Music, I recorded it all

live, so I didn’t allow myself to multi-track it and finetune

it or edit it or anything. It was basically whatever I

could perform live. That’s what you’re hearing.

To me, that was really exciting. I was kind of

feeling like using computers made me feel like too

much of a fucking God or something, like “I can

do anything with this!” When you feel like you can

do anything with something, it’s just boring. It just

became like there was no adventure… It was really

fun to just do something live… It’s a representation

of spontaneity.

BR: So you’re feeling excited about making

music again through this process?

AF: Yeah, for sure. It’s funny, because it’s a really nice,

melodic sort of record. Playing live synth stuff on this

Venetian Snares brings his breakcore insanity to Terminus Festival on July 31.


by Julijana Capone

tour, people are expecting it to be like that, but instead

it’s been entirely different… it sounds mental, like fucking

skyscrapers getting into fistfights.

BR: You’ve most notably said, “Winnipeg is a

frozen shithole.” But you’ve also said, “I hope to

die here under the wheels of a transit bus with a

picture of Randy Bachman on the side.” Is dying

in Winnipeg still your dream?

AF: That shit was all tongue-in-cheek. Like I was saying,

when you make something it can continuously get misinterpreted.

Someone could interpret that like a direct

diss on Winnipeg, but what that record really was, was

me laughing at all of these people that live there and

are like, “I hate this place. This is the worst place in the

world.” Well, why do you live here if you think it’s hell on

Earth? So it’s really funny. You lived there, so you know

that’s a really common attitude there.

BR: It is.

AF: It was really funny for me to explore how stupid

that is. I think that’s one of the stupidest records I’ve

ever made, but I was laughing my ass off the entire time

I made that album.

BR: And yet people still love to return to it.

AF: It’s so funny, to this day people are like, ‘I can’t

believe you said that.’ I actually love it there. I think it’s

a great place for artists to live and develop their art. It’s

not as much of a struggle as Toronto or Vancouver. It’s

a great place other than it’s cold. Whaaa! Put a fucking

jacket on!

Venetian Snares performs as part of Terminus Festival on

July 31 in Calgary. You can also purchase his new album,

Traditional Synthesizer Music, or shop past albums via


ladies and gentlemen… cue your song!

Natalie Scott aka Sophie Dee

“When you are holding an air guitar, you can’t be

holding a gun.” - Ancient Air Guitar Proverb.

The First Annual Saskatchewan Air Guitar

Championship kicked-off at the Saskatoon

Farmers Market on a Saturday in

May. Air guitar, for the uninitiated, has become

a competitive, worldwide phenomenon. Since

1996, the Air Guitar World Championships

have spread the peaceful message of air guitar

across the world. The organization extols the

virtues of world peace and charity, with Air

Guitar Canada raising money for Right to Play.

As a movement, it has caught the attention

of the United States, Japan, Germany, and Russia

that all host regional and national competitions.

The top winner from each regional competition is

flown to the national competition, with that winner

competing in the four day world competition

this August in Oulu, Finland.

What is it about air guitar that can bring so any

diverse cultures together?

Tribute. Creativity. Expression. Freedom.

Air guitarists get the opportunity to pay tribute

to the music and musicians they love, acting out,

in a public setting, something most people have

done at least once in their lives in their parents

basement or living room. The creativity involved

is as encompassing as any performance art

endeavor. There is song selection, song editing,

character design and development, costume

design, choreography, performance and crowd

interaction. All aspects of any live performance

condensed into one minute of sheer, expressive

joy, the intangible feeling of crowd connection

and accomplishment, tapping briefly into the

purity of shared experience. Then freedom, the

moment of flying, the temporary loss of gravity

before speeding down the first straight away of

the world’s largest roller coaster.

That is air guitar, and it is infectious.

Saskatoon competitor Dustin Davidson, aka

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner (WWCD), put

it this way, “I felt like the hen house was on fire,

there were shouts and cheers, and I’m was like

“Cockaddoodle doo to you, too!”

Mike Erman, the organizer for the inaugural

Saskatchewan Air Guitar Competition was not


by The Riz

photo: Bob Holtsman


only drawn to the artistry and creativity of air

guitar, but the sense of joy it creates: “Air Guitar

is just such a happy thing. While doing so many

interviews about the competition in the week

leading up to it, that it’s almost impossible to even

talk about air guitar without a smile on your face.“

Erman knew Saskatoon art and music community

was ready for an air guitar competition to

add another colour to Saskatoon’s diverse artistic

community. “People seem to be so interested

in the obscure and the different these days,” said

Erman. “I knew that there would be some real

characters come forward and I was not disappointed.

Everyone really got into the spirit of

things, and it was a huge success.”

“I thought the whole experience was amazing!”

said Natalie Scott, aka Sweet Dee, the first ever

Saskatchewan Air Guitar Champion, who ruled

the stage with her interpretation of Van Halen’s

classic “Hot For Teacher,” describing her experience

as “a perfect mix of fright, fun, comradery,

and competition.”

Air guitar is a highly supportive competition

where the competing guitarists, and the crowd

help one other strive for their best performances.

“I was so nervous leading up to the day,”

said Scott, “but once I arrived at the venue and

met the other competitors, I knew it was going

to be so much fun. The crowd was so supportive,

it helped shake my nerves. The first cheers

I got pushed me way further into my performance,


The night before the national competition

in Toronto is the Dark Horse Competition, a

category where any contestant can enter (on their

own travel expense) to compete against Canada’s

regional winners. Air guitar enthusiasts from

around Canada get one last shot at going to the

World Air Guitar Competition in Finland.

Next stop for Scott, though, is straight to

the Canadian Air Guitar Championships in

Toronto on July 16 to take down all comers

with a silent, but rocking, bravado. Any last

minute tips for air guitar competitors? “Practice,

practice, practice!” says the Saskatchewan

champ. “Know your song well, because once

you get on stage, you’ll need to rely on muscle

memory. It’s such a blur!”

BEATROUTE • JULY 2016 | 27



‘recognition doesn’t change what the horizon looks like’

by Mike Dunn

One would suspect musicians of the calibre

of Whitehorse’s Melissa McLelland and

Luke Doucet to be comfortable in their

ability to create fresh new music, but according to

the band, their new EP, The Northern South Vol. 1,

is defined by its limitations.

“We’ve made our records with full production,”

says McLelland, “but our live show is just the two

of us, using loops and different instruments, and

we wanted to make this record as close to our live

show as possible.”

“We bent the songs to sound like us,” says Doucet,

“A lot of great art is defined by the limitations of the

people creating it. The Beatles’ first three records,

they were emulating Little Richard, and thankfully,

they failed. They were The Beatles instead.”

The Northern South Vol. 1 is a collection of

vintage blues and R&B numbers, leaning heavily

on the Chess Records catalogue, including classic

Willie Dixon and Chuck Berry hits. While the vibe

on the record runs the gamut of blues evocations,

from the swaggering backbeat and low-end

pump of the Little Walter classic “My Babe” to

dreamy, sultry invitation of Robert Johnson’s

“Come On In My Kitchen”, the Whitehorse sound

is immediately identifiable, spurred by Doucet

and McLelland’s distinctive vocal harmony. When

asked if this move to releasing music closer to

their live set is part of a progression of the band’s

sound, Doucet makes the argument that the


Whitehorse sound has been consistently changing

since their eponymous debut in 2011.

“We’ve been singing together for 12 years, even

before the band. It’s the bedrock of what we do. Our

first record was sort of the safe place to be, a ‘CBC/

CKUA’ kind of record, safe alt-country, although I

don’t really like that term. We’ve made left turns

since, and we’ll continue to do so. Look at our heroes,

they defied categorization. Neil Young is a folk giant,

and he’s also the loudest electric guitar player, and he

spent the ‘80s making shitty electro records. Whatever

you’re creating, your personality comes through.”

Currently at work on a full-length follow-up to

their third record, 2015’s JUNO-winning Leave No

Bridge Unburned, again with the production team of

Gus Van Go and Werner F, Whitehorse is again taking

musical chances, hinting towards elements of a “late

‘90s British trip-hop style.”

“It’s not going to be some crazy avant-garde thing,”

says McLelland. “All the elements of what we do will

be there. We have some beat producers from Brooklyn

working on it with us, and having Gus and Werner

there allows us to step back from the studio and

production aspects and concentrate on songwriting.

But really, we’re open to anything musically.”

That willingness to take risks and alter what’s made

them successful punctuates the bravery inherent in

Whitehorse’s music, despite how well recognized

they have been by the industry for their prior work.

“I don’t think accolades or awards really change

what the horizon looks like,” Doucet argues. “We

didn’t know we were making a blues record with The

Northern South. We could have done a lot of things

creatively. It could have been vintage country songs.

The recognition is great, but accolades don’t change

our creative goals.”

“A lot of musicians keep taking risks,” says McLelland,

“and some don’t. Some love it, and some don’t.

This record is The Northern South Vol. 1. That means

we’ll make volumes two, three, and four someday


Even though their work keeps them constantly

working, Doucet and McLelland still have made a

point of supporting young, developing performers.

“I think, at this point, everyone’s getting to know

how great Andy Schauf is,” says Doucet. “And Terra

Lightfoot too,” adds McLelland, “She’s from Hamilton,

so we’ve had some chances to see her play here, and

she’s opened for us a few times too.”

Doucet and McLelland also take the time to

throw some support to a particular Alberta player:

20-year-old Edmonton guitar player Jasper Smith. “I

really think his potential is sky-high,” says Doucet. “His

playing, and his ear shows a real maturity. For a guy so

young to be able to shift from classic country licks to

Johnny Marr-style sonics, it just shows that he’s really


McLelland agrees. “I think he’s been coming to our

shows since he was like, 12. He saw us open for Jesse

Cook, and he’s been to every show since.”

“He’s playing with this girl in Edmonton, Ella Coyes,”

says Doucet, “And they’re coming up with some

really cool stuff. I think the possibilities for them are

really high.”

As their hectic touring schedule take them across

the country again this summer, including Alberta

stops at the Calgary Folk Music Festival and Edmonton’s

Interstellar Rodeo, McLelland and Doucet admit

that they don’t get to see as much music as they’d like

to, but that there are some artists they’re sharing the

bills with they’re excited to see.

“Shawna [DeCartier, Six Shooter Records president]

does such a great job on the Interstellar Rodeo

lineups,” says Doucet. “And so does Kerry [Clarke,

CFMF artistic director.] Marty Stuart, Bonnie Prince

Billy, and Cat Power. Cat Power might not always be

someone’s first thought for a festival headliner, she’s

not up there juggling kittens or whatever, but she’s a

really powerful performer. And to have Sam Roberts

up there [Interstellar Rodeo Edmonton], who’s really

a great performer, a real counterpoint to Cat Power

shows an effort to putting together a really eclectic


Whitehorse will be appearing Friday, July 22nd on the

main stage at Calgary Folk Music Festival, as well as

Saturday, July 23rd at Interstellar Rodeo Edmonton,

Sunday, August 14th at Interstellar Rodeo Winnipeg,

and August 20th and 21st at Salmon Arm Roots and

Blues Festival.

BEATROUTE • JULY 2016 | 29



making an unorthodox homecoming

BRAIDS isn’t your typical Folk Fest act. Overpowering

synths intermingled with tight

rhythm rolls and twinkling piano melodies

define their music, a sharp contrast to the tune

and twang of the festival’s titular genre, but it’s

not even the trio’s first Calgary Folk Fest. Their

first appearance was in 2011 before the release of

their debut album, Native Speaker. At the time,

the band skewed more generically closer to the

festival at large than now, with more focus on

guitar and less on electronics.

“It’s kinda cool to be black sheep,” says Austin

Tufts, the three-piece’s drummer. That said, there

might be more similarities between the group’s

brand of art-pop and folk than meets the ear, especially

thematically. Tuft highlights, “The vulnerability

of the lyrics and the fact that the song forms are

rather like storytelling.”

That lyrical core comes from the band’s engaging

frontwoman, Raphaelle Standell-Preston. “She has

such a strong lyrical voice, she kind of has the subject

of the band always,” Tufts attests. “The music is

almost an extension of her thought process and her

poetry and her feelings on things.”

The group’s songwriting process doesn’t begin

and end with Standell-Preston. Each member of

the band takes pride in equal partnership, with

Tufts often filling an atypical for a drummer,

queuing samples and modulating electronics, and

multi-instrumentalist Taylor Smith having a hand in

almost sonic intersection of the music. “It’s this very

collaborative thing where we’re constantly changing

what our role is depending on what the necessary

context is.”

The title of their latest EP, Companion carries

several meanings. The titular song grapples with

Standell-Preston’s relationship with her estranged

stepbrother after a traumatic time in her life. The

EP also serves as a “companion” record to Deep in

the Iris (2015), the group’s JUNO-award winning,

most recent full-length. Companion is also a fitting

description of intensely collaborative relationships

within the band, who formed in 2006 at Calgary’s

Western Canada High School. “I’m very glad the

people I’ve decided to do this endeavor with are

just the people I love the most in the world. It’s kept

us going.”

BRAIDS performs Friday, July 22nd as part of the

Digital Download workshop, Saturday July 23rd as

part of the Ether Ore workshop and a full concert on

the Twilight Stage (Stage 4).


Saskatchewan duo turning heads with sophomore release

really expect to have

such a historic label pick up the


It’s exceedingly rare that artists of the folk music

persuasion possess the comfort and confidence

to maintain a raw, live-off-the-floor feeling in their

recordings. There’s a propensity to desire a full-production

to flesh out the song, rather than let the

song do the heavy lifting. Perhaps that’s the reason

that audiences, fellow musicians, and the music industry

have found Kacy & Clayton’s lean and largely

unadorned recordings so endearing. There’s a feeling

of minimalist magic throughout 2013’s Kacy &

Clayton and 2016’s Strange Country, largely due to

the lilting, ethereal quality of Kacy Lee Anderson’s

“We didn’t

by Cole Parker

by Mike Dunn

voice, and the rich guitar playing of Clayton Linthicum,

so knowledgeably steeped in folk traditions

that he seamlessly blends British, Appalachian, and

Delta Blues feels within single sections.

The praise has been so widespread that Strange

Country has been re-released by New West Records,

a development whose significance is not lost

on Linthicum. “New West has released records by

Richard Thompson, Bobby Neuwirth, Ray Davies,

and lots of other artists we really admire, and there

was a hope that we’d have some label presence in

the US and Europe, but we didn’t really expect to

have such a historic label pick up the album.”

While touring has kept Anderson and Linthicum

away from home for a while, including their first

time touring Europe, supporting Daniel Romano,

plans for the follow-up to Strange Country are already

in the works. “Kacy and I have been planning

the next record for a while now,” says Linthicum.

“All I can say publicly is that we’re very excited to

make the next record, hopefully this December.”

While not divulging much, Linthicum hints toward

a larger, more expansive sound, while perhaps

throwing some shade as to the look of the album

design. “We’ve got some plans for expansion in the

production but I don’t want to give too much of

that away,” he says, “but the album cover will likely

have a sheep-shearing theme.”

Kacy & Clayton perform at the Calgary Folk Music

Festival on Stage 5 on Sunday, July 26th as well as

part of 3 workshops on Saturday and Sunday.


are harps the next big thing in music?

Traditionally associated with heavenly, orchestral

and otherworldly music, the harp is

not an instrument you would look towards

in modern pop music, but it is starting to make its

presence known.

If indie Harp acts such as Joanna Newsom and

Sarah Page have hit your radar, make room for one

more: Emilie & Ogden. The cliché image of the

“singer/songwriter” as a dude with a guitar is so over;

we much prefer a gal and her harp; the harp being

Ogden, of course.

Growing up in Montreal, Emilie Kahn knew she

wanted to do something with music from an early

age, but never really seemed to connect with a particular

instrument. It wasn’t until seeing Sarah Page play

the harp that Emilie Kahn knew she had discovered

the “instrument she had always been looking for.”

Since 2015, Kahn has been hard at work touring

her debut solo album, 10,000 and fielding many

interviews about songwriting, “Singing feels really

good and a really pure and natural way to express

something”. Kahn, who up until this point has just

been writing songs in her bedroom creating ethereal,

alternative, pop folk music that she is very hesitant to

categorize. She describes, “Everything is so influenced

by everything else it is so hard to pin point what it

is.” It’s more about finding a healthy way to deal with

“getting out anger or sadness that you don’t have anywhere

else to put” and so the album has a lot of songs

“exploring love falling apart… a lot of break-up songs.”

Is it challenging to be a solo act, but especially so

touring with a large cumbersome instrument such


touring internationally before even releasing a full-length album

Oh Pep! are young guns. Endlessly touring

their sonorous chamber pop, they have

finally decided that “now is the time” to

drop their debut full-length Stadium Cake. This

sounds like a momentous first step for a band, but

they’ve already been playing together for five years.

Oh pep! have opted for a patient approach to

make sure that they dropped the record “when we

felt we were ready for it.”

by Naddine Madell-Morgan

as the harp. “it’s not too bad … the annoying part is

that I can’t really bring it on the plane … I could buy a

ticket and bring it in the seat next to me, but I am not

actually allowed to because it’s too wide.” So when

you see Emilie & Ogden this summer, gives her a little

extra love. It might be easier to bring a guitar, but for

Kahn, the “key of the (Lever) Harp naturally is the key

of my voice.”

Emilie & Ogden perform at the Calgary Folk Music

Festival on stage 1 on Saturday the 23rd as well as at

the Ether Ore and Dueling Duos workshop.

by Liam Prost

At the heart, the band is two women, Olivia Hally,

the Oh, and Pepita Emmerichs, the Pep! Olivia belts

the quippy lyrics and methodically strums an acoustic

guitar while Pepita adds texture and melody on violin

and mandolin. They also add an assortment of other

instrumentation to the stage and the record to add

resonance and class to already lovable songs.

BeatRoute talked to both Pepita and Olivia, who

describe of the release strategy, “We made the decision

ages ago… It takes a little bit of time to organize

who you want to make the record with, make the

record” and also have “the right songs.”

Pepita and Olivia originate from Melbourne, Australia,

but they actually recorded the record in Nova

Scotia with Canadian producer Daniel Ledwell, who

produced a few of the artists who will be gracing the

stage at Folk Fest, a connection they made through

the Folk Alliance circuit in Nashville. The band’s connection

with Ledwell has led to an astonishing first

record, but also successes that in some ways have outpaced

the band itself. Stadium Cake is actually going

to be available in North America before it comes out

in Australia, both their country of origin and where

they have toured more than anywhere else. Stadium

Cake has given BeatRoute some “Crazy Feels,” and we

hope you catch them on the side stages of Calgary

Folk Fest before they end up literally throwing cakes

from stadiums.

Oh Pep! perform at Stage 5 on Saturday, July 23rd at

the Calgary Folk Music Festival as well as three workshops

on Friday and Saturday.




Calgary jack of all trades puts skills to good use in Toronto

Sergio Levels returns for a special gig in Calgary.

As Calgary’s bass music community continues

to thrive, it’s important to remember

that as with anything in nature, growth

necessitates change. In recent times we’ve seen

long-standing residencies celebrate anniversaries,

while others have drawn to a close or changed

hands, and some key figures in the scene have

come and gone.

Sandro Petrillo a.k.a. Sergio Levels is one such

individual. As one half of Piranha Piranha with Dan

Solo, and as a solo artist dubbed Mr. Geography,

he played a pivotal role in the formation of

Modern Math and Northern Lights. Both weeklies

brought in genre-pushing artists while simultaneously

giving Calgary DJs and producers new stages

from which to share and develop their craft.

In early 2015, Petrillo made a move to Toronto.

The home he and his girlfriend owned and lived in

together was “scooped up” for new development,

eventually forcing them to sell it, and begin looking

at alternate options.

“That was the initial thing,” explains Petrillo

over Skype from a vacation in Mexico. “Of course,

I needed a tiny bit of change, but I was very happy

with things in Calgary… it was kind of like life led

us in that direction.”

Toronto ended up being that new direction, and

promptly after his arrival, he was invited to the Red

Bull Music Academy Bass Camp in Montreal. This

helped him make some solid initial connections in

the Eastern Canada, further developing friendships

and getting into the club scene through his

existing ties with the “national beacon” that is the

Hifi Club.

However, moving to a new city has challenges.

Petrillo spoke of a “deep sadness,” and that it

took around nine months to really settle in. He

had been something of a “jack of all trades” in

Calgary; on top of DJing he did graphic design,

sound, taught private lessons, and was involved

with Beat Drop.

“There was a lot of stuff that I did in Calgary

that you couldn’t put your finger on and say, ‘this

is my position,’” Petrillo reflects. “And so when I

went to Toronto, it was like oh yeah all of those

connections that took so long to make, don’t exist

anymore, and so it kind of was this harsh reality as

to like ‘Whoa, I still want to do these things, but

where am I going to get an income from, Toronto’s

a more expensive city.’ It was devastating.”

by Paul Rodgers

He says the experience lit “a huge fire under

my ass.”

“It’s kind of like this beautiful success story, so to

speak,” he says. “It was so difficult.” After quitting

the “shitty” job at a garden centre, Petrillo got

back to working on what he loves and got himself

engaged in the scene, landing gigs and offering his

many talents when opportunities arose.

“I was just hustling and hustling and hustling,

and then sort of like building up that position and

forcing my way in to be like, ‘Hey, I’m useful, I really

care, I’m fairly nice, let me work on your projects

with you,’ and all of a sudden I’ve amassed a pretty

good client base so to speak.”

Petrillo is keeping himself busy in Toronto, playing

out regularly, co-managing the Modern Math

label and working on a small, multi-disciplinary

creative space he created called Pushmi Pullyu. His

show in Calgary this month will be a celebration of

Modern Math’s roots.

“It was a cultural thing,” Petrillo explains of the

legacy of Modern Math. “It was kind of the right

place at the right time and for us to be able to continue

to do it on an annual basis in Calgary is huge.

We both have so much love for Calgary and I’m

able to explore different cities, but frick, Calgary

was the spot. It needed to happen in Calgary… I

just feel so honoured to be able to continue to do

that and get the support that we have.”

Catch Sergio Levels at a special Modern Math night at

the Hifi on July 16th.


letting you know they mean business

by Paul Rodgers

With electronic music popularity still soaring around

the world, epicentres like the U.K. seem to function

with the relentless proficiency of an industrial

revolution era factory, churning out incredible amounts of

talent with no signs of slowing. Eli & Fur are one act that exemplifies

this. Having only begun producing music together

three years ago, they have forged for themselves a strong

following and prosperous career with their melodic approach

to house and techno.

Their most recent single “On My Own” featuring Forrest,

a scintillating deep house groove, is but one example of their

torrential outpouring of high quality music. Their 21,000

followers on SoundCloud continue to climb, and like some of

their other peers like Gorgon City and Disclosure, they have

ambitions of moving towards a more organic, instrument based

live performance, citing Bob Moses as a contemporary with a

similar approach.

“In terms of what it looks like, I mean I think we can be really

experimental with it,” explains Eliza Noble a.k.a. Eli. “We do a lot

of our stuff on Ableton Live, so a lot of looping, we’ll definitely

have some instruments in there, definitely some electric guitar,

that’s kind of how we start off with writing our melodies. I think

it just would be really cool to put on a show and have a lot more

to it then there is at the moment I guess.”

Noble has played guitar since the age of eight, starting off

from “more of a folky aspect of things,” and her and Jennifer

Skillman a.k.a. Fur both have experience on the piano.

“I think it’s a great tool to have, especially when making electronic

music,” says Noble, who was definitely the more vocal of


the pair throughout the Skype interview. “I think that the guitar

can be slightly more limiting, but it’s nice to have both of those

aspects I guess.”

Their last tour of North America they decided to do a Thelma

and Louise theme, and they say that the theme for their upcoming

tour, their longest to date, is still in the works.

“We just wanted to make it a little bit more interesting, and I

think that’s what we love to do, right, it’s not just playing gigs it’s

like a story and we like to bring the personality side to it as well

so I think actually like the idea of a theme is really cool,” explains

Noble. They have a no shortage of plans for the future.

“We’re focusing now on our own label and releasing music

from other people as well as our own,” says Skillman. “Whether

that’s an EP or just singles but we’re just sort of getting everything

lined up.”

Their talents and have propelled them to huge festival stages,

such as Coachella, and have gained them international recognition

including numerous nominations in DJ Awards and Bass

Music Awards.

“I think there’s so much that we still want to achieve and

does still seem super early,” says Noble. “And definitely with this

industry and dance music thing, it’s definitely a long journey –

it’s really something you really have to work hard at... so it’s little

things like that and being nominated for little awards here and

that’s always a nice thing that says, ‘Oh wow! People are recognizing

that we mean business and this is something that we’re going

to take seriously and be in it for the long haul.’”

Catch Eli and Fur at the Hifi Club on July 23rd.

Eli & Fur are in it for the long haul.

BEATROUTE • JULY 2016 | 37


rezzurecting summer


for fans of more than underground dance music

Bob Moses might be the first-ever musical act to be covered

extensively in Resident Advisor and play Ellen in the same

year. The sonically shapeshifting Brooklyn-via-Vancouver

duo of Jimmy Vallance and Tom Howie have been on a steady

ascent since the release of their debut album Days Gone By

(for which an expanded re-released was announced after this

interview had been completed) for Domino records last fall,

but arguably their biggest achievement is earning mainstream

accolades while still keeping respect from the underground.

“The thing is, most fans of ours listen to more than just underground

dance music,” says Vallance on the phone from home in

Vancouver. “There’s a lot of crossover these days, I don’t think we

by Jay King

One of the best things about the festival season is seeing

new talents make their mark on unsuspecting eardrums.

Some of these artists gain slow traction through

years of rigorous grind and style changes until their niche is

finally found. Sometimes, however, an artist will come out of

nowhere, take the music scene by storm, and rise to immediate

stardom. Rezz is the latter.

At the young age of 21, Isabelle Razazadeh, has accomplished

more in her first three years of production experience than some

have in a decade. The Niagara Falls native is in the middle of her

first headlining North American tour, Rezzurection. Her brand of

heavy, dark, industrial techno is a refreshing variation from what

might sometimes seem like an over saturation of repetition within

the electronic music industry.

“I feel like I’m developing a very loyal fan base,” Razazadeh says of

her headlining tour which she described as, “literally insane!” When

one of her biggest inspirations is Nine Inch Nails, and noticeably so,

a cult-like following is something that can only be anticipated.

Aside from sprinkling in a remix here and there, Rezz plays all

original music. Her recent EP, released on Mau5trap, The Silence Is

Deafening has gained critical acclaim and is in part what pushed

her to front a headlining tour. Songs like “Edge” truly showcase her

dark and distinctive sound. The newly released remix of Kill the

Noise’s “Without a Trace,” has also gained a lot of traction, showcasing

her softer side. She has also been named in Billboard’s 15 dance

artists to watch in 2016 list.

The Rezzurection tour is travelling through the U.S. and then

coming back up to Canada just before August, with a Calgary date

on July 31 at Chasing Summer, playing alongside Ontario friends

Zeds Dead among many others. She can also be found at the beloved

Shambhala Festival on the Pagoda stage the following week.

“There were a handful of festivals before I started producing

music that I was just dreaming to attend,” she explains. “Shambhala

was on that list, for sure. I just know that whatever music I’m going

to play is going to be so suitable for that fest.”

Between her unique sound and now brandishing her new, custom-made

“hypnotic goggles,” Rezz is hard to miss onstage. Be sure

to catch one of her sets and find out what all the hype is about.

Rezz performs as part of Chasing Summer which takes place at the

Max Bell Centre from July 30-31

by Jamie McNamara

have any fans that just listen to 4/4 kicks and get mad when we

don’t make that.”

The band did start with an underground bent, with songs like

“All I Want” finding success in the hedonist havens of Ibiza, but

they’ve increasingly leaned towards more mainstream efforts. This

move is reflected in the groups evolving live show that Vallance

says is what the duo has been working towards since the beginning.

“When we first started we only had one or two songs, so we

would do a DJ set and Tom would sing over our songs and that was

it. Then eventually we had enough of our own material that we

could do an hour of our own stuff.”

With the addition of a live drummer and some clever midi

magic, the two have found a blossoming live show that is much

more dynamic than most electronic acts. “Really it’s a band now,

and that’s something that we always wanted to do, but didn’t know

exactly how to get there.”

Much like their music, Bob Moses’ success was more of a slow

burn than instant success, but increasing radio play and spots on

festival lineups worldwide have helped bring them to the masses,

including notable fans like Ellen DeGeneres.

Speaking of the experience, Vallance sounds utterly dumbfounded

still. “We thought it was a prank at first, but she had heard us on

the radio and told her people to book us immediately.

“We were standing in the green room looking at pictures of

[Ellen] and Obama, her and Kanye - Jack Black was sharing the

room across from us and he could tell I was freaking out a little bit.

He came over to talk to me and just said, ‘You’re going to crush it;

I know it’s a bunch of soccer moms out there, but you’re going to

crush it.’ In my head I was thinking, ‘I’m talking to Jack Black right

now, this is fucked!’”

You can catch Bob Moses at Commonwealth in Calgary on July

21st, The Starlite Room in Edmonton on July 22nd, Commodore

Ballroom in Vancouver on September 3rd, or DISTRIKT in Victoria

on September 4th.


It is July, my dudes. Summer is here, the sun is out there just doing its

best, and promoters around town continue in their righteous pursuit

of bringing amazing artists through each month and making sure that

music fiends never have to stray too far to get a dance-floor on pretty

much any given day. Let’s take a look shall we?

Bleep Bloop plays at the Hifi on July 7, before he races off for his set

at Bass Coast. If you aren’t attending the festival, this would be a great

show to catch. Seriously well crafted, multi-tempo beats that churn up

the dance floor into a bass-addled frenzy.

Also on July 7, Come Correct presents DJ Monk at Habitat. He is an

old school selector and seasoned producer with a history that touched

upon sound-system music, acid house and jungle.

Another one on the 7th is Trust Issues vol. 6. This is the brainchild

of local artist Jodie Overland. Known for her captivating techno sets at

numerous venues across the city, Trust Issues focuses on another one of

her passions, which is bringing the latest rap and trap to fans in Calgary.

This takes place in the basement of Commonwealth.

HARD Festival boss, Holy Ship! Founder and legendary DJ/producer

Destructo will hit the stage at Marquee Beer Market and Stage on July

8. If you like your house with a bit of a lean towards that gangster shit,

this is one for you!

Atlanta-based rapper RITTZ will be at Commonwealth on July 9 for

an early show (7-10 p.m.).

Another artist that will grace the stages at Bass Coast this month is

Berlin based house and techno aficionado &me. He’ll be at Habitat on

the 9th.

Another festival pre-party at the Hifi! This one’s for Shambhala and

it features festival alumni and veteran party-rockers Featurecast and K

Lab. Come to the pre-rave rave on July 30.

If you’re feeling like a trip out to the mountains, AND you want to

catch some high-quality music at the same time, make sure to check

out Ottawa’s A Tribe Called Red. Their unique approach to modernizing

traditional powwow ceremonies combined with their advocacy for

speaking on issues facing the aboriginal communities around the world

make them an incredibly captivating act to see. They play at the Banff

Centre on the 30th.

I hope these listings help to aid you in your quest to hit as many

shows as possible every month, and as always, I’m sure I’ve failed to

include more than a few. Check back next month and enjoy July!

• Paul Rodgers

A Tribe Called Red are a great excuse for a trip to Banff this month.




‘the kind of place you know and love only with better wine’

Tucked into historic grain exchange building

in the heart of downtown Calgary, just a

stone’s throw from Stephen Avenue, is a

gem of the local music scene.

A simple sign, black with white text, hangs over

a rustic wooden door, displaying the name Wine-

Ohs to passers-by on First Street SW. The subtle

signage fits with the establishment: it’s a modest

place, but with a lot of heart… and great wine.

“The more I travelled, the more wine became a

part of my life. So I started talking about having

a wine bar. I wanted to create the type of space

that I would like to go to,” says Alanna Martineau,

owner and founder of Wine-Ohs. “We called it

Wine-Ohs because we didn’t want it to be pretentious,

we wanted it to be accessible to anyone and

be comfortable.”

The venue features two levels, the main floor for

the bistro and wine bar, while the stage sits in the

basement, which they have dubbed “the cellar.”

It’s a cozy space with soft, intimate lighting, and

furniture handcrafted by Canadian alt-country

artist Leeroy Stagger. Despite being envisioned

as a wine bar first, and a music venue second,

Wine-Ohs has quickly laid strong roots within the

Calgary music community, becoming a favorite of

local upstarts and touring acts alike.

It’s “the kind of place you know and love only

with better wine,” Martineau says. “I don’t know

if I imagined music being as much of a part of it

as it has become, but I think there’s a real need

for as much support as possible for live music in


Wine-Ohs caters primarily to roots musicians:

honky-tonk country singers, cowboy poets, blues,

jazz, folk and singer-songwriter performances are

held in the cellar six nights a week.

“I like roots music it because it’s never too loud,

things sound great but you can still sit in the back


and have a conversation,” Martineau says. “And we

can also put on a pretty good rock and roll show

without blowing your ears out.”

As a weekly treat, Calgary’s iconic country artist

Tom Phillips makes an appearance every Friday

night for happy hour from 5-8 p.m. with no cover


The T. Buckley Trio also lays claim to the Wine-

Ohs stage on Tuesday nights, bringing their subtle

fusion of country, rock and folk influences to the

cellar on a weekly basis.

“There’s been some really magical moments,

and every time I think to myself ‘I don’t want to

do this anymore,’ something really cool happens,”

Martineau says. “Ian Tyson showed up here on a

Tuesday night in February, just out of the blue,

which was really special. Tom Cochrane was also

here just after the JUNOs. A band was playing one

of his songs and he jumped up onstage to sing it

with them.”

Despite the ups and downs that come with the

territory of running a business, Martineau says

that devoting her time to Wine-Ohs has been

extremely rewarding, even coupled with the pressures

of working full time on the side.

“My life is so much more enriched by having

done this, with all of the wonderful people I’ve

met from across the country, musicians and fans

and just people who like wine, Martineau says. “It’s

a very different side of my life when compared to

my day job.”

Whether you’re after a heartfelt set of roots

music or just a well picked glass of wine, it’s hard

to go wrong with Wine-Ohs.

Wine-Ohs is located at 811, 1st St. SW, right off the

train line, check out T. Buckley Tuesdays, a BeatRoute


• words and photo by Jodi Brak

BEATROUTE • JULY 2016 | 41


finding eats and empathy in life on the road

by Naddine Madell-Morgan

photo: Dennis Tokarsky

What happens when a thrash-metal bass player from the bustling metropolis

of Pugwash, Nova Scotia, meets an indie-rock guitar player

from Ontario, and a sculptor from the Prairies? They form a hybrid

bluegrass-blues band with a mix of swing and early jazz, of course.

The Bottom Shelf Bourbon Trio are three musicians who have been living and

making music collectively in Vancouver for decades. Despite the officious sounding

genre tags they find themselves described as, there is absolutely nothing dogmatically

traditional about any of them or their music. The trio have lived in different

parts of the world, worked at funeral homes, taught Tai Chi, and one even holds a

Master’s Degree in Studio Art.

When BeatRoute asked them for the elevator quote on how to describe their

music, they had to laugh before seriously considering an answer. “Chris [Dawson-Murray]

and I have been writing bios for months now and have struggled with

it,” says guitarist and vocalist Steve Nelson “I call it genre-bending roots music.” A

sentiment to which we can’t help but agree, especially considering Dawson-Murray

had a totally different answer, “It’s hard to nail down, which sounds like a cliché

answer, but I call it early jazz with a hint of bluegrass.”

One thing is certain about the band however: they love to tour. “I would never

come home if I could,” says bassist Steven Huston. “We basically run as many

songs together as we can.” Offstage as well, they have effectively adapted to the

challenges of the lives of touring artists, they have even figured out that the key to

eating and staying healthy on the road is to set up their own mobile kitchen. “If you

are eating at restaurants every day everyone is going to get greasy and grumpy and

we’re gonna get into fist fights in a parking lot in Regina at three in the morning,”

says Huston, who apparently makes a mean mushroom basmati risotto.

That’s not to say that the band doesn’t have “greasy and grumpy” moments

however. Dawson-Murray is considered by the band to be the Papa Bear of the

group, and tends to take care of the others when they “on occasion” party a little

too hard. When asked, (because how can you not?), the tipple of choice for the

group is, of course, bourbon, with Huston inquiring, “Is someone else buying? Or

am I buying?”

Check out the Bottom Shelf Bourbon Trio at Wine-Oh’s in Calgary on July 16 and the

China Cloud on July 23 in Vancouver.


there’s always a little more beyond the usual ‘on a stick’ fare

Like anything that starts off with an admirable goal, is found to be profitable,

and has its very heart carved out and replaced with a gentrified

mountain of cash, the Calgary Stampede’s original goals of celebrating

farming and Western culture have long since been replaced by a sea of

beer-label straw hats and general drunken buffoonery, which has the tendency

to put the festival at odds with the city’s progressive community.

Let’s not kid ourselves though, from its very inception, Stampede was

always designed to make money, and for the city’s musicians, it has long

provided a stable source of income in the summer months. Beyond the

pancake breakfasts, corporate parties, and mass-capacity tents, though, are

the venues that consistently provide excellent music to the community,

and who ratchet up their events during Stampede to show off the diversity

of the city’s music scene.

Here are a few of BeatRoute’s picks for awesome shows every day of

Stampede without having to wade through oceans of deep-fried butter.

by Mike Dunn

July 7th at Broken City - L.T. Leif & Friends

July 8th at Ironwood Stage and Grill - Tom Phillips & The Men of Constant

Sorrow Stampede Kick-Off!

July 9th at Palamino – Femme Wave Presents featuring Mariel Buckley, Eve

Hell and The Torchettes and more

July 10th at Mikey’s Juke Joint - Stampede Burlesque Extravaganza!

July 12th at Ship & Anchor - Punk Rock Bingo: Stampede Edition

July 13th at Ship & Anchor - Washboard Hank, Peter and the Wolves and


July 14th at Oak Tree Tavern - Tom Olsen & The Wreckage

July 15th at Dickens - The Dead South and Lucky Sonne

July 16th at Wine-Ohs - The Bottom Shelf Bourbon Trio

July 17th at Ship & Anchor - Last Day of Stampede w/ The Isotopes, River

Jacks, Real Sickies & Jesse LeBourdais




Calgary blackgaze act refuses to compromise

Home will be released by Season of Mist on July 22nd.


remember starting the band in September

2011 with not too many ideas figured

out at that point and we were just sort of

waiting around for something to happen. And

something did happen.”

So recalls Numenorean guitarist, backup

vocalist and bandleader Byron Lemley.

“On December 22, 2011 we found out the

news that Woods of Ypres founder David Gold

[had] died and it really devastated us, as he was

one of the biggest musical inspirations to us.

Woods of Ypres was the first band I heard that

wasn’t scared to show a very vulnerable side

of themselves while still writing devastatingly

aggressive heavy music as well. Another huge

reason was that it felt eerily similar to same

feelings we felt when we lost our older brother

years earlier. We both knew instinctively knew

we would give Numenorean everything we had

from that day forward.”

In the five years since their inception, Numenorean

has literally exploded in notoriety

courtesy of that all-in mentality. Emerging as a

two-man project helmed by Lemley and his twin

brother and vocalist Brandon, the project released

their self-titled demo in 2014. The run of

500 CDs by Winnipeg-based label Filth Regime

Records, ran by Jordan Dorge of Wilt, has nearly

sold out despite the band only embarking on

one Western Canadian tour.

“When I first heard these two tracks I knew

what I had heard was something great and

special,” says Dorge of the release. His label has

also released music by Western Canadian bands

Begrime Exemious, Chieftain, and Laika.

“It moved me and motivated me to get this

out to the masses. The emotional journey

accompanied by the composition was just



Conjoining the atmospherics and dynamics

of instrumental rock with the grandiose and

orchestrated black metal that emerged from

second wave Norwegian black metal, the demo

was a launching pad for Numenorean, whose

sound is reminiscent of blackgaze bands like

Weakling, Agalloch, and Altar of Plagues.

“We share a lot of similarities with the Cascadian

scene, especially from the demo, which to be

honest was firmly rooted in that,” concurs Byron.

He continues, “Our upcoming full-length

Home feels very far away from it, especially with

the absence of acoustics and any real nature

themes. I know we share a lot sonically and

atmospheric with those types of band, but I feel

the emotion is different in many ways… one

being we all live in a giant city surrounded by


On July 22nd, Numenorean will unveil their

debut full-length via internationally distributed

and renowned label Season of Mist. Already,

four of the five songs of the album have been

premiered on websites from around the globe;

the band just recently opened for a sold-out

Deafhaven show at Sled Island; soon, they will

head out on tour with Ghost Bath across the

U.S. They are the first Calgary band to ever be

signed to the label, earning a three-album deal

in a time where very few newcomers are offered

such a thing. Comparatively speaking, the

only other Alberta band signed to the label is

Revenge, who had released four renowned fulllengths

via underground conduit Nuclear War!

Now before being picked up.

“Earlier this year, Season of Mist was originally

contacted by one of the members of Ghost

Bath, who were trying to help Numenorean find

the right home for their new album,” elaborates

Season of Mist owner Michael Berberian, who

photo: Sam Rollo

signed the band despite their lack of relative

recording and touring experience.

“After sampling their music, it became abundantly

clear that signing this band should be

a priority for us. This was definitely one of the

easier decisions we’ve made at the label.”

“Numenorean started as a side project to

express creatively what my brother Brandon and

I weren’t feeling at the time with other projects

we were involved [in],” offers Lemley.

“We had been in thrash/melodic death metal

bands for about six years at that point and felt

it wasn’t what we truly needed and by staying

in these bands it felt disingenuous to continue

on…. At the time, I handled all the instruments,

and Brandon took over vocal duties. We wanted

to write music that was sad, melancholic, expansive

and vulnerable while still holding onto the

aggression and anger.”

After the Lemleys recorded the demo, the

twins started rounding out their lineup, refusing

to remain complacent when members failed to

meet their expectations.

“The only problem we faced was that after

a few live shows we realized something was

wrong with the chemistry and had to start over

again. At the same time that things were falling

apart internally, the demo had been making it’s

rounds and the feedback was... very surprising to

say the least,” recalls Byron.

“People started buying it quite frequently,

mostly in Japan and Germany, until we were sold

out of our 250 copies.”

They soldiered on, determined to complete

their lineup with like-minded committed individuals.

“We knew then we had something special and

that’s about the same time the current line-up

was put together,” he recalls.

by Sarah Kitteringham

“It’s the best group we could have hoped

for as everyone was a contributing member to

Home, something we desperately wanted with

this band from the beginning, as we’ve always

stressed that Numenorean is an entire entity

serving the music and not a group of individuals.

I don’t think it can function any other way.”

Today, Numenorean features Chieftain

guitarist Rhys Friesen on bass, guitarist Roger

LeBlanc, and drummer extraordinaire David

Horrocks, who’s played with Calgary act Dark

Forest, Hrom, and Ominosity. As a unit, they are

stronger sonically than ever, collectively writing

Home after solidifying in February of 2015.

“It took us about eight to nine months,” explains

Byron, who tells us Numenorean had written a full

other album to release as their debut which was

dumped in the trash because it didn’t meet their

expectations (the material, he resolutely confirms,

will “forever stay in the vault”).

“I felt it didn’t represent the true dynamic and

chemistry of the band. We basically started over

again and everyone was a contributing member,

which in hindsight was a great move.”

The five-song, 44 minute Home is

gut-wrenching, beautiful, and buffeting, focused

on themes of loss and pain. Opening with a

sobbing cry, the album’s emotional soundscape

and lyrical content work in tandem, utilizing

shrieking howls, ebb-and-flow dynamics, blast

beats, and tremolo picking amidst quiet segments.

Home is both an emotional journey and

a complex and challenging package, particularly

when confronting its hideous cover art, which

actually resulted in the band rejecting another

album deal when the unnamed label refused to

release it as-is.

“We wanted to slightly break the fourth wall

and allow the experience to start before actually

hearing any of the music,” says Byron of the

cover, which depicts an “autopsy picture from a

murder that occurred in 1970.”

The cover is a naked dead little girl covered in

cuts and blood. While it’s censored by a slipcase

on the CD format, the vinyl release is “exactly

as we wanted it,” a move that reinforces their

unwavering disinterest in compromise.

“This album’s emotional soundscape and

lyrical content revolves around the experiences

of loss, which can be very cold and ugly and in

themselves hard to reconcile,” explains guitarist

Roger LeBlanc. “However there is sometimes

hope in those dark experiences. This photograph

represented that for us.”

“We all injected some very deep emotional

baggage into this album, and most perhaps

most important, was allowing ourselves to be

vocally vulnerable in the writing stages with no

judgment, which resulted in something beautifully

devastating,” concludes Byron.

Numenorean will release Home via Season of

Mist on July 22nd. The band will play their album

release party at Dickens in Calgary on August 6th

with Altars of Grief, Krepitus, and Hammerdrone.

They will embark on a U.S. tour with Ghost Bath in


BEATROUTE • JULY 2016 | 45


get on the bus! Glam gods make it on the road

by Christine Leonard

This Month


So sayth Steel Panther: “I don’t do any cocaine before a show; I wait for the guitar solo.”

It’s a long way to the top if you want to rock

and roll, but it’s only a short trip to the back

of the tour bus if you want to record a new

album. That is if you’re the lead-singer for the

internationally celebrated glam metal-comedy

band Steel Panther. Bonded in 2000 under the

moniker Metal Shop (later changed to Metal

Skool and eventually Steel Panther in 2008)

vocalist Michael Starr, guitarist Satchel, bassist

Lexxi Foxx and drummer Stix Zadinia have

discovered the best way to squeeze recording

sessions into their busy tour schedule is to take

the studio with them on the road.

“Right now we’re working on a brand new

full-length record,” says Starr. “We’re going to

be recording a lot of the vocals live on the tour

during the rest of the year. If you record in the

hallway where the bunks are and you put a lot

of heavier girls in there it gets a real warm, thick


“So, that’s a really good way to record a ballad.

If we’re doing a full-out ‘Pussy Whipped’ or

‘Party Like Tomorrow is the End of the World’

we’ll go into the back-lounge where’s there’s a

lot of mirrors to get a harder sound.”

Despite the tight quarters, fleshing out

their latest vision with plenty of sex, drugs

and rock ‘n’ roll is just business as usual for

the L.A.-based entertainers. Having spent the

past sweet 16 years travelling the globe and

performing live alongside Def Leppard, Mötley

Crüe, Slipknot and Guns N’ Roses, Steel Panther

has enjoyed enormous success, particularly in

Australia and Canada where they’re keeping the

spirit of ‘80s hair metal alive and kicking.

“Canadian people love metal… still and so do

Australians, they miss it. Canada and Australia

embraced Steel Panther right out of the gate;

it’s been fantastic for us,” he says. “Is heavy

metal aging well? Probably not. But does it

matter? No. Shit, I’m a sabretooth, for Christ’s

sake! But think about this, if you look at any guy

that you went to high school with that’s 53 - do

you think they look like Axl Rose right now?

Not a chance. He looks fantastic! His singin’ is

amazing! You know what the biggest offender is

for weight-gain in rockers? Lack of cocaine and

too much beer. I don’t do any cocaine before a

show; I wait for the guitar solo.”

As sagacious as he is salacious, Starr knows

exactly when to put the pedal to the metal

and when to ease off the throttle whether he’s

romancing groupies, eating candy, or partying

all night long. It takes certain amount finesse

and a strong constitution. Mandatory traits if

you’re going make a living pumping out Sunset

Strip satire albums like Feel the Steel (Universal,

2009), Balls Out (Universal, 2011) and All You

Can Eat (Universal 2014).

“If somebody doesn’t like Steel Panther because

of our lyrical content, or the way we look,

or the fact that we’re bringing glory to heavy

metal from the ‘80s they’re not going to like us

no matter how good we are. There’s just no way

around it. Kinda like if you get together with a

girl and you know it’s not gonna go right. You

just move on and go to the next girl. If you have

a sense of humour, don’t’ take yourself super

serious, and you like to have fun, and you like to

party - we’re your band!”

Steel Panther perform at The Ranch Roadhouse in

Edmonton on July 7th and at the Deerfoot Inn &

Casino in Calgary on July 8th and 9th.

Thanks to the precarious nature of print

deadlines and street dates, we are on the

streets a bit late this July, so the shows in

this column are starting a bit late too! Hopefully

you were not a dummy and did not miss the

Dayglo Abortions or Revenge gigs that kicked off

the month in style.

On Wednesday, July 6th, Distortion will be

hosting a black metal gig headlined by Winnipeg’s

progressive metallers Noire. Calgary’s Ye Goat Herd

Gods and Morley’s Dethgod will open the gig;

tickets are $10 at the door.

The weekend of Friday, July 8th is so far utterly

jam packed with gigs going down in Calgary. Distortion

will host the Southern Alberta Hardcore

Fest headlined by Xilbalba; the festival also boasts

performances by Grim Vision, WAKE, Putrid

Brew, Take Offense, Power, and more. Meanwhile,

Emmedia will host an All Ages Anarchist Attack

with Victoria’s ISKRA (read our extensive profile on

them from last year online at , and

Overtime Sports Bar will host All Else Fails with

The Archon Prophecy, Quietus, and Illuminated

Minerva. Over at Vern’s, yours truly has organized a

show with recently reunited Edmonton blackened

death metal band Rites of Thy Degringolade

with Dire Omen, Vaalt, and newly formed death

metal act Cultist. Given that the band is officially

returning from their 10-year hiatus and this will be

their second show since last year’s Covenant Fest,

it’s a show you shouldn’t miss!

The eighth annual Armstrong MetalFest will

occur once more at 3315 Pleasant Valley Road in

Armstrong, B.C. on July 15th until July 17th. With

pre-parties going down in several cities, the main

weekend event will be a whizbanger featuring

Unleash the Archers will perform at the 2016 rendition of Armstrong MetalFest.

camping, 36 bands, “trash wrestling,” a “Beer Helmet

March” and general shenanigans. We chatted

with co-founder Jesse Valstar to get the inside

scoop on the event, which costs $120 in advance.

You can check out the lineup at

“The festival started as a backyard party that

exploded into a full blown festival!”

Continues Valstar, “After the first year was a

success we decided to do it again…. That’s when

we made the move to the Armstrong fairgrounds!

That was a huge step for us because that when

everything kind of got real. We were no longer a

backyard party, we were a real event. So we had to

do a lot of research on how to a proper event. We

had 26 bands that year, and it was a total success!

After that year we went to 32 bands, and have been

holding steady at 36 bands ever since!

Of the 36 bands performing, all hail from Western

Canada. This year, the lineup boasts “Arkenfire,

A great power metal band from Kelowna, hard

hitting strong band who I think is going to rip it up

hard this year,” “Nomad, they are a wicked bush

metal band out of Enderby, and “W.M.D, a bunch

of young guys thrashing it up out of Calgary!”

We’re already out of space, but don’t forget to

head to Terminus: Gravity Fest at the end of the

month for an incredibly curated electronic/dark

wave/aggressive fest that will go down at Dickens

from July 28th until July 31st. Stories on the festival

will be peppered throughout the magazine due

to its multi-genre mandate. Regardless, be sure

to check out the fest, featuring performances by

Venetian Snares, Cold Cave, Caustic, and more.

Enjoy your summer!

• Sarah Kitteringham

photo: Dana Zuk Photography



Blood Orange

Freetown Sound


Expectations were high for Devonté Hynes’ third

album as Blood Orange. The bar set by 2013’s

heart-wrenchingly melodious Cupid Deluxe was

daunting. Could Hynes match its danceability and

endlessly singable choruses? Freetown Sound certainly

has and, more importantly, creates empathy

by offering a deeply personal voice on marginalization

and systemic oppression.

During the lead up to its release, Hynes said

the record is for “everyone told they’re not black

enough, too black, too queer, not queer the right

way, the underappreciated.” While some of the

lyrical content is directly pointed, such as the call

outs of cultural appropriation found in “Chance,”

Freetown Sound is an echo chamber of a mind

that experiences the world in a way that many do

not. Hynes wanders between sexual and gender

politics, being black in America, the immigrant

experience and the influence of Christianity –

oftentimes all in one song.

A great example of this is lead single “Augustine.”

It opens with Hynes recalling his family’s experiences

as immigrants, and moves quickly into a chorus

that quotes West African Bishop Saint Augustine.

Verse two explores what it’s like to lose a loved one

due to injustice, specifically mentioning Trayvon

Martin. Finally, the song closes with a lament for

Nontetha Nkwenke, the South African preacher

jailed (and later committed) for being a community

activist. It’s a lot, and if Hynes was giving us

anything less than the real deal, it would feel like

a mess. Thankfully, his conviction is palpable and

carries the densely referential nature of the album.

It’s not just the lyrics that shape Freetown

Sound’s commentary. There’s a sonic architecture

that allows tender love songs to bleed into protest

tracks. The use of spoken word, sampled dialogue,

protest chants and repetition lend Freetown

Sound a mixtape-like feel, letting the work feel

lived in and crackling with sincerity.

Let’s not forget that Hynes is a proven hit maker

with a keen ear for saccharine melody and New

Romantic rhythms. There isn’t a single song on

the album that won’t get stuck in your head. As

we also know of Hynes, he plays rather well with

others. Lorely Rodriguez (Empress Of) and he

duet as fiercely passionate lovers on standout

“Best to You,” with its soft frenzy of drums and

instantly infectious vocal patterns. “E.V.P” sees

Debbie Harry in a subdued turn as a ghost of selfdoubt,

the track sounding like if Stevie Wonder’s

“Superstition” was covered with the attitude of

Sonic Youth’s “Kool Thing.” An easy competitor

for best overall song would be “Hadron Collider,”

which again proves Nelly Furtado as a chameleon

queen with endless tenderness. Stranger still, Carly

Rae Jepsen could be confused for Kate Bush on the

tossing and turning “Better Than Me.”

With 17 songs and an hour-long runtime,

Freetown Sound is surprisingly well paced and

deliberate. The album functions as a look inside a

wandering mind that doesn’t insist on a singular

answer to its many questions. It’s refreshing to be

invited on a journey that’s about moment-to-moment

experiences, and which aptly captures

from a personal lens the climate of hostility and

otherness so present in the world today. In realms

both personal and political, there are many loud

voices doing a lot of talking and very little listening,

and Freetown Sound makes a compelling case

for the opposite to occur. Trying to fully unpack

Hynes’ purview and itemize his message would be

a disservice to a work that champions speaking for

one’s self and simply being heard. His openness,

combined with his unparalleled pop sensibilities,

make it one you’ll want to hear again and again.

• Colin Gallant

illustration: Syd Danger

BEATROUTE • JULY 2016 | 49



Arts & Crafts

BADBADNOTGOOD’s latest album IV is an enriched new step from the

jazz-meets-instrumental-hip-hop act’s previous records. For one, they’ve

gone from trio to quartet with the addition of past collaborator, saxophonist

Leyland Whitty. For another, it’s the first of their own albums

to incorporate guest vocals. BBNG have collaborated with Whitty and

produced music for vocalists for much of their best past work. It seems a

logical and rewarding decision.

Just a few moments into opening track “And That, Too,” the dual

synth lines (one crisp and airy, the other a bit bleary and lethargic) make

clear that there’s been a shake-up from the band’s usual bass-keyboarddrums

workouts. This song and the subsequent “Speaking Gently” both

make use of light psychedelia and serene orchestral accompaniment to

cinematic effect.

Third song “Time Moves Slow,” featuring Future Islands’ Sam Herring,

reminds the listener of one of the band’s best traits: their ability to shake

loose the absolute best from their collaborators. Herring is all buttery,

not single cartoonish yelp to be heard. His restraint is mirrored perfectly

with a smoky, minimal accompaniment from the band. The other guest

vocals come on “Hyssop of Love,” featuring Chicago rapper Mick Jenkins,

and In Your Eyes featuring Charlotte Day Wilson. Both show the band in

full control of tone and mood, with BBNG at the head of the table and

their guests adhering to the seating plan for the party.

As for Whitty, he proves wholly his worth on Confessions Pt. II,

featuring Colin Stetson. Few can go toe-to-toe with the alto saxophonist

who has mastered both scene-stealing technique and circular breathing,

but Whitty is clearly up for the task. His emotive skronking sits front and

center as Stetson plays a rhythmic foil for the song’s first half. The mossy

jazz of the song hits a crescendo with a rattling breakdown from Stetson,

only for Whitty to join back in and match him note for note.

Instrumentalism has always been the central attraction of BBNG; no

collaboration with a big name vocalist or integration of guest musicians

can overshadow their vivacious, natural chemistry as a group. Yet some

of IV’s most enjoyable moments come from exploring psychedelic mood

and expanded arrangements. With new blood and a bigger focus on

variety, the instrumental muscle of tracks like “Confessions Pt. II” and the

seven-minute title track hit event harder. Striking an alliance between

these poles is an excellent fit for the band, and we can only hope they

more exhilarating records like IV in them ahead.

• Colin Gallant

The Julie Ruin

Hit Reset

Hardly Art

The Julie Ruin’s Hit Reset is lusciously adorable but it hits like a smashing

sledgehammer. The band is composed of indie-art-punk behemoths, and

their second album is clean, clear and delivers itself in a professional and

driven fashion.

It’s got synths (a lot of ‘em), it’s got washed out guitar drone, toy piano,

cowbell, earth-shaking bass buzzing and tons more, coming together

with the bombastic indie-rock vocals of former Le Tigre and Bikini Kill

singer Kathleen Hanna.

In 13 songs, The Julie Ruin showcase a dedication to fun, poppy artpunk

that recalls Riot Grrrl and mid-2000s electroclash, but pushes into

new territory. It gets funky, it gets electronic; it goes across the board

within the confines of three minutes and a bit per song.

This is the five-piece’s first release since 2013’s Run Fast (Dischord) was

a bit looser by comparison, evident that they were trying out their sound

and just having fun with it.

Released through Hardly Art, Hit Reset has a big production sound.

The songs are far more concise but the album as a whole maintains its

edginess, accomplishing a feat where many other bands would just get

washed out in the mix.

The first single, “I Decide,” has a slow burning quality found in the

pulsing keys, walking bass lines and guitar distortion, but the vocals are

happy, clean and driving and full of “na, na, na’s,” a great juxtaposition

that is found throughout the record.

They sandwich disco dance tracks with supercharged moodiness,

enticing the immediate urge to sing along and jump in the indie-rock

circle pit of your teenage years.

The best part of this album though, other than Hanna’s explosive

singing, is the plethora of synth tones and voices. Every verse, chorus and

bridge seems to have its very own unique synth line. And they’re catchy

– and cheesy – in the best way possible.

Sometimes, Hit Reset does resemble LCD Soundsystem, Fischerspooner

or Deerhoof a little much, but that just comes with the territory.

They still maintain their own flair in their gyrating instrumentation or

the silly slap-stick, sing-along.

Hit Reset is a well thought out album. It maintains elements from

many styles of experimental art-punk while pushing forward on its own.

Even through the big, clean production, The Julie Ruin showcase their

sweet, dancey melodies with fierce, fun determination.

• Michael Grondin


Still Brazy

Def Jam Recordings

Despite getting shot in the hip last June, Compton’s Keenon Daequan

Ray Jackson had a pretty good 2015. The man better known as rapper

YG was a year removed from the release of his massively successful

debut album My Krazy Life, and was hard at work on a follow-up album,

then titled Still Krazy. The shooting came from an anonymous shooter,

outside of his own studio, and that resulting paranoia has clearly affected

YG on his newly-titled sophomore album Still Brazy.

Still Brazy is refined, but relatable. YG’s flow is simple and conversational,

but still sharp and observational. His diagnosis of everyday ills of

life in Compton is never cartoonish, but never reaches self-seriousness either.

On “Bool, Balm & Bollective” the rapper sits back and stirs shit from

afar with confident swagger and his new found “hard to kill” mentality.

Nowhere else is that mentality visible than the cocky “Who Shot Me?”

The song finds YG sitting back and flexing his amazing storytelling ability,

detailing the events of June 12th, 2015. The tense production from DJ

Swish is a perfect compliment to YG’s increasing paranoia.

The crowning achievement of Still Brazy, and possibly YG’s career

thus far, is the political trap anthem “FDT,” short for what else but “Fuck

Donald Trump.” It’s the modern day equivalent of a ‘60s political protest

song, and if the world is a fair place Bob Dylan would be covering the

song on an AARP mixtape (don’t steal that idea Jimmy Fallon).

Its political nature is a throughline on the album, the high-profile

police killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner featuring as inspiration

to the lead-in to “Police Get Away Wit Murder,” produced by Hit-Boy.

YG continues his streak of getting amazing features from his long list

of friends. Lil Wayne offers up his best guest verse in recent memory on

“I Got a Question.” Elsewhere, fresh off the release of her amazing debut

mixtape A Good Day in the Ghetto, Oakland rapper Kamaiyah offers up

an irresistible hook on “Why You Always Hatin?” The song also features a

Drake verse that proves how good he can be at being a cadence chameleon,

adopting a syrupy, West Coast flow with ease.

Leaving DJ Mustard also proves to be a great decision for YG, who

trades the chintz-Cali beats of Mustard for heavy hitters like Terrace

Martin (of TDE fame), Inglewood’s DJ Swish, and P-Lo.

The album is in a similar sonic lane as Dr. Dre’s Compton, a refined

and remastered g-funk amalgam spanning the last 20 years of West

Coast rap. However, unlike the aforementioned Compton, this album is

perfectly paced and wonderfully sequenced.

• Jamie McNamara

50 | JULY 2016 • BEATROUTE

Jay Arner

Jay II

Mint Records

Jay II is the fitting title for Jay Arner’s follow-up to his

2013 eponymous solo debut. In it, he trades in his

laid back glam-inspired indie for a more saccharine,

psych-inspired indie-pop jam. Surfy basslines, tight

rhythms, reverb-laden guitars and synths are all

provided by Arner and his partner in synth-pop

duo Energy Slime, Jessica Delisle. Arner seems like

someone who knows who he is. His lyrics are honest,

open and extremely self-aware but it still feels like he’s

soul searching for something he’ll like a little bit more

in himself. In that way many of the songs on Jay II are

remarkably relatable for its likely audience of slightly

jaded indie fans. Arner’s problems seem so insignificant

through the lens of objectivity, but they’re still

problems damn it, and the writing deals with that

sense of malaise perfectly. Album opener “Back to

School” is a relaxed beach tune about rediscovering

yourself after being distracted by the world for a little

bit too long, which provides a twinkly but acceptable

intro for the admittedly short (30-minute) album.

Other standouts include the album’s super-fun first

single “Crystal Ball,” Arner’s take on “Space Oddity”

with “Earth to Jay,” and “Personal Line,” an earworm

with what seems to be Jay’s own number as the hook

(I admittedly tried calling but was quickly declined).

• Cole Parker

Bent Knee

Say So

Cuneiform Records

Bent Knee’s third studio album Say So doesn’t ask

permission – it tells it like you never knew it was

about to be. The Boston based sextet has reached a

new level of fearless genre-bending in this ingeniously

arranged art-rock opus. Each song is a gripping

adventure where dreamy melancholic piano ballads

swell and distort with equal possibility of becoming

uplifting pop anthems or borderline sinister heavy

metal. In “Nakami” a Mr. Rogers-style opening quickly

gives way to a psychedelic chamber-pop breakdown

before rocking out alongside chanting and ethereal

wailing. The shamelessly wacky intro to “Commercial”

becomes a heavy affair reminiscent of Black Sabbath.

Bent Knee has once again shown that they have all

the elements and the flair – not the least of which

is the powerful, and now more snarly than ever,

voice of singer/keyboardist Courtney Swain – to do

whatever they want. Say So cuts a fresh wound into

the bleeding edge.

• Trina McDonald

Bitter Fictions


Shaking Box Music

Calgary’s Devin Friesen is the mastermind behind

local label Shaking Box Music, which shines a light

on Calgary’s noisier side of sound, and puts out some

ambitious avant-garde, psych and drone recordings

from many acts.

His newly released Jettison, under his solo moniker

Bitter Fictions, is a seven-song collection of nebulous

noise, self-recorded in a library basement.

This solo effort shows ingenuity in practice,

because it’s just one guy and his guitar. However, the

ideas that emanate from the meditational ambience

shine through.

Friesen balances precarious notes atop indistinguishable

sources of feedback and resonance.

Of course we have a loop pedal, we have all the

standard modulation found in this style, such as reverb

and delay among others, but the shivers, quakes

and pulverizing blasts of distortion are unique to say

the least, especially because of the limited instrumentation.

Witnessed during a performance at 2016’s Sled

Island, one way Friesen alters his guitar’s sound was

on display. He places a drumstick beneath his guitar

strings and uses another to prod, poke, caress and

bang on the former, creating dense vibrations that

create a foundation for anything he wants to lay over


And the result? Calming and introspective dronescapes

replete with sporadic layerings of melody.

• Michael Grondin

Marley Daemon

Shadow Friend


Mainstream pop music has this way of taking our

richest emotions – love and longing – homogenizing

them and feeding them back to us in a mind-numbing

display of narcissism and dysfunctionality, albeit

on a tray of satisfying hooks and grooves. Marley

Daemon’s recently released album Shadow Friend

employs the structure, dynamics and emotional

themes that make pop-music so widely appealing,

but the songs are refreshingly not about co-dependent

love and it’s inevitable and dramatic heart break.

Daemon’s crafty songs require careful listening to

determine that the love and longing she expresses

are for the old and simple ways, for a connection to

nature, and for a larger sense of self. Songs like “2012”

and “Mad Brain” befriend the shadow of the times

we live in and its associated grief. “Vessels” and “Red

Leaf, Black Stone” are about letting go and finding

freedom. Daemon’s musical talent, honed for years in

the folk group Dirty Grace, carries her weightier messages

with levity. The compositions are adventurous;

the rhythm is steady, pulsing and danceable and the

vocals, harmonies and beat-boxing move from Daemon’s

heart, straight to the listener’s. Shadow Friend

shines a light. It’s pop music reclaimed.

• Trina McDonald

Dark For Dark

All Dressed

Headless Owl Records

Just in time for lying in the grass and watching the

clouds comes All Dressed, from Halifax’s Dark For

Dark. Immediately playful and instrumentally hooky

right out of the gate with its Rickenbacker charm,

All Dressed easily recalls the best elements of ‘60s

folk-rock, using tones that haven’t been worn out

from overuse through this most recent folk boom.

Featuring lollipop-sweet vocals and lush girl-group

harmonies, Dark For Dark would be worth listening

to just for musicality, but like Lou Reed’s swan song

with The Velvet Underground, 1970’s Loaded, the

cotton-candy, beach blanket chime of those pop

harmonies conceals something of a deeper, more

menacing lyrical edge.

“There’s no cure for this fiery world we’re living

in,” the ladies of Dark For Dark sing on the lead cut

“Orchard”, amid doo-wop sha-booms similar to Winnipeg’s

Chic Gamine, while the early pop backbeat

rolls along in the background. “Owls” uses the same

very cool Byrds folk-rock vibe to great effect, while

standout track “Blue Morning” is closer to “Sweet

Jane”-era VU, with the added elegance of a distant

pedal steel to add a bit of the high and lonesome to

all the sunshine, before the bridge brings the song to

a beautifully arranged vocal climax. For all the lack

of light implied by their name, Dark For Dark are

definitely dialed into some excellent, sunshine-y ideas

on All Dressed.

• Mike Dunn


Slush EP

Arts & Crafts

Arts & Crafts’ newest signees offer up a rich, if predictable,

garage-grunge experience, with pelvis-shattering

low-register ambience, dripping sludge rock

cool and mom’s-basement juvenile angst. The nofrills

damp acoustic environment of their apartment,

which they outfitted for the recording, provides a

much needed sense of impact; the perfect stage for

their reverb-heavy sound, driven by languid rolling

bass, with only rare interludes of post-100 b.p.m. rock

beats (largely on “Ringworm”). Cutting their teeth

with Toronto’s Heretical Objects Collective has left

FRIGS confident, cool, and musically precise, a far

cry from their less groomed, DIY punk aesthetic of


But for all that practiced sound, FRIGS newfound

need for tightness may have also swallowed up what

a group needs most in a debut: namely, a sense of

vision or originality to separate it from a landscape

which is already regrettably up to its knees in ambience-heavy

post-punk. What has been groomed out

of this new release may have been the devil may care

spark which made their HOC days so compellingly

aggressive and confrontational, and which made their

earlier recordings so full, complex and natural. Arts &

Crafts seems to have picked up an undeniably talented

new group, but this otherwise promising debut EP

strongly lacks new ideas.

• Adam Sarjeant

Hood Joplin

#75FFA1 EP

Drama Hands

#75FFA1 is a cool mix of chilly synths and beats

informed by footwork and hip-hop. It’s that Northern

Alberta sound, and behind the decks is Edmonton

producer and DJ Hood Joplin. Locally, HJ’s leading her

small scene to make an impact with art and events

that strive to be inclusive, but she’s also been reaching

past it recently and connecting with her influencers

in Chicago. This is her first EP, and on it we see HJ

working to establish a signature sound while her

career has started to take off.

Opening track “#75FFA1” is a highlight, working

in increasingly more complex rhythms in the second

half before dropping off to the minimal beat of

“Audrey Hepburn.” The EP stays at that level over the

next few tracks, focusing on tone and lush backing

synths. “Hood Joplin Type Beat” is comparatively

spacious and dark sounding. Throwing on a few more

loops of any of these beats at the club would put the

listener into a deep trance.

HJ’s use of synths, often sounding symphonic and

constantly moving with the beats, shows that melody

is an important component to her music. It would

be interesting to see her experiment more with the

South East Asian melodies of her Pakistani heritage,

such as in her excellent “Masala” tracks.

The last song features Sam Lucia, front man of

Vancouver’s esoteric, dreamy hip-hop duo So Loki.

The two are a perfect match, with HJ’s hypnotic

production backing Lucia’s vocal fry, which balances

somewhere on the line between bored and menac-

52 | JULY 2016 • BEATROUTE

ing, before switching it up to overlap a strange chant

on top of a stuttering beat. It’s a joy to see two Canadian

up and comers experimenting together.

It’s 13 minutes and 33 seconds long, so #75FFA1’s

five tracks can’t really be called an immersive listening

experience. It would be great to see HJ extend her

beats into compositions and use releases outside of

her mixes to work with song structure. The first two

tracks of the EP prove that she’s got an understanding

of how to build intensity and accomplish this.

Let’s hope some of the beats from #75FFA1 make

it to dance floors and mixes across Canada. It’s a great

debut EP by an artist who is doing admirable work to

unite her small scene and help it grow.

• Sydney Ball

The Hotelier


Tiny Engines

broader rock landscape without losing the elements

that made them great in the past. The band emerges

with a sound more akin to ‘80s R.E.M than anything

in traditional emo canon. Still, there are interludes

that find Holden reciting spoken-word poetry,

lullabies, and all manner of tactics that often produce

eye rolls from listeners. From a lesser band, the moves

might result in cringing, but The Hotelier balance

everything tactfully.

Songs like the buoyant “Two Deliverances” cement

The Hotelier as a powerhouse band that knows

exactly the statement they want to make without


• Jamie McNamara

Edna King

Pressurize EP

Modern Math

The Hotelier

The so-called “emo resurgence” had to end at some

point, it only seems fitting that The Hotelier are the

ones to end it. The Massachusetts based three-piece

managed to go from playing DIY rec rooms to sold

out festivals on the back of their instant-classic

sophomore album Home, Like NoPlace is There. That

album found frontman Christian Holden trudging

through the depths of depression and personal turmoil.

The result was an album that was emotionally

arresting, but its bleak outlook often made it feel like

listening to a funeral dirge.

It makes sense then that the aptly named Goodness,

the long awaited follow up to HLNPIT, is a step

towards the light.

Arguably The Hotelier’s biggest accomplishment

with Goodness is making the leap from emo into the

Number eight in Modern Math’s steadily growing

catalogue comes in the form of Toronto’s Edna King,

with her debut release entitled Pressurize EP. A haunting,

almost unsettlingly psychedelic voice, laden with

distortion speaks of a dream, before repeating “this

is not real,” as a slowly pulsing, ominous bass drum

gives the opening track some motion. “Dreams” sets

a formidable pace for the five-track EP, and makes

way for highly dynamic musical experience.

A folky vocal lament commences track two, “Tracing.”

Soft percussion meets the voice in the middle

and creates a gentle, meditative fusion. The work

of Lisa Gerrard, such as the 1996 Dead Can Dance

album Spirtchaser is gently stirred from memory

throughout this release, particularly in tracks like


After the even more wistful and calming “Wake

Me Up,” which ironically would be a great piece of

music to fall asleep to, the title track “Pressurize”

comes in. It is an ambient trip for the listener, quite

a bit more ominous than its accompanying tunes.

Breathy, whispering stabs add to the feeling of unease

that crescendos gradually, before it’s throbbing


The EP concludes with “Memo Me,” a minimalistic

and ambient way to close out this enigmatic debut

from a captivating Canadian artist.

• Paul Rodgers


Windings EP

Smalltown Supersound

Hans-Peter Lindstrom should be awarded a stoner’s

music award for the sheer amount of mind melters

he’s released over his lengthy career under his third

name. The Norwegian cosmic disco don is well

known to anyone that prefers their dance music to

be borderline meditative in its hedonism, but with

his new Windings EP, the producer seems poised to

BEATROUTE • JULY 2016 | 53

make himself known to the rest of the world.

The three track EP is near perfect in areas that

Lindstrom has faltered in the past. The songs here

run a perfect length; the EP may only be three

tracks, but in Lindstrom fashion it’s still 20 minutes

long. In the past, the lengthy tracks meant

Lindstrom would wander, but here he sounds

focused, his arrangements much tighter than

some of his past work.

There’s the ironically-titled opening track

“Closing Shot,” a sumptuously slinky dance track

that is peak-Lindstrom. It’s a firecracker record,

full of arpeggiating synths that interlock and

wander into cosmic bliss.

“Algorytme” is the shortest track on the EP, but

it’s six minutes unfold with the same brilliance,

seemingly meandering and laser focused at the

same time. If Lindstrom has an album in store in

his near future, he would do well to build upon

the foundation he has blessed the dance music

world with on this EP.

• Jamie McNamara


Puberty 2

Dead Oceans

Mitski Miyawaki is far too young to be writing

songs this emotionally devastating.

The 25 year-old, who performs under her first

name, was known for her lo-fi ruminations that

often sound like St. Vincent put through the ringer.

Her 2014 album Bury Me at Makeout Creek

found success on Bandcamp with this formula,

but with her fourth full length Puberty 2, Mitski

has made the official jump to the big leagues.

Mitski and co-producer Patrick Hyland made

Puberty 2 as a duo, but Mitski has proven she

doesn’t need more than that to make an impact.

The defining moment on the album - and

honestly it’s one of the best musical moments

of the year - comes a minute and change into

the lead single “Your Best American Girl,” when

Mitski fully unhinges. Her guitar unleashes a fury

of feedback reminiscent of Pinkerton-era Weezer,

but the song is made all the more powerful

because it isn’t coming from another group of

mopey, sad white dudes. In fact, in a post on her

Facebook page, Mitski admits that the wonderbread-white

world of ‘90s indie rock was sonic

and lyrical inspiration to the song.

Sonic touchstones like that anchor Puberty 2,

but it’s when Mitski embraces her unique position

in indie rock that the album truly shines.

• Jamie McNamara



Last Gang Records

A brisk, automated marching band snare groove

kicks off “Wrong Glass Sir,” the first track on

MSTRKFT’s new record Operator. This is the third

LP from the Toronto duo, coming seven years

after 2009’s Fist of God.

“Wrong Glass Sir,” following the drum-core

intro, develops into a warehouse-raving acid

house groove. Track two, “Runaway” brings to

mind the crunchy, electro-funk sound, perhaps

most associated with MSTRKFT’s overall sonic

aesthetic; akin to the tone of the title track of

their last album. As with their past work, Daft

Punk and Justice come to mind -- a polished, robotic

symphony, bearing a vocal line reminiscent

of early Bloc Party.

The album has moments of high intensity,

synths and aggressive lyrics lash out at the listener

in tracks like “Priceless,” or the closer of the

album, “Go on Without Me.”

The concept behind Operator, as Jesse F.

Keeler previously explained refers to a concept

he came across while browsing military websites.

Basically, ‘operator culture’ is the idea of

the worker detaching from his tool; it’s easier to

handle thinking of being an operator of a tank or

a sniper rifle rather than associating with the end

result of their usage. Keeler said that they experienced

a similar feeling in their studio, discovering

detachment from their old drum machines and

modular synths, becoming operators as opposed

to musicians. This mentality is likely what

spawned the chaotic, disconcerting mood that

much of this album conjures.

Not conforming to popular “EDM” trends that

dominate frequencies in recent years, MSTRKFT

stay true to their original MO with Operator. A

hard-hitting behemoth of an album, interjected

with robo-funk grooves and mind-bending modular

onslaughts that will pique the ears of both

electronic and rock music fans.

• Paul Rodgers


The King of Whys


Mike Kinsella seems at ease. Now a family man

following years of being a stalwart, endlessly-productive

presence in Chicago’s emo, indie,

and math rock scenes, he sounds relaxed yet

unrestrained—exploratory even—on The King

of Whys, his first LP of original material under his

long-running Owen solo moniker since 2013’s

L’Ami du Peuple.

The album is lush, warmly-produced, and

decidedly expansive for an Owen release. Since

commencing his solo pursuits with 2001’s Owen,

Kinsella has—over the course of nine LPs—treaded

ever deeper waters in the ocean of math-rock

influenced emo/indie, with each record letting

itself be swept out just a bit further, only to stagger

back to shore carrying smoother production,

increasingly refined songwriting, and a greater

sense of humility.

Whys is Owen’s first album recorded outside of

Chicago, having sequestered himself in Justin Vernon’s

secretive April Base Studios in Eau Claire,

Wisconsin, with Bon Iver member S.Carey handling

production duties. The secondary influence

(and the full band brought in by Carey) supports

heftier, more florid arrangements, giving Kinsella

a renowned vigor to wax poetic on relationships,

fatherhood, regrets, and living with oneself.

The droning opening track “Empty Bottle”

crashes like a 10-tonne metronome, while later

on, “Saltwater” would not sound out of place on

the much sparser 2006 Owen release At Home

With Owen.

If you long for the relatable honesty of bands

like Braid and Sunny Day Real Estate, but are now

too old for the yelling, or if you’ve overplayed the

grooves on American Football’s sole full-length, give

Whys a chance. Let Kinsella break your heart again.

• Willem Thomas

54 | JULY 2016 • BEATROUTE


photo: Levi Manchak

photo: Shane Flug

photo: Sarah Kitteringham

photo: Arielle Lesard

The 10th Anniversary of Sled Island did not disappoint.

We can’t fit it all in here, but here we go!

This page, clockwise from left: Peaches, Guided By

Voices, Duchess Says, TT the Artist, Deafheaven,

The Sonics. This page, clockwise from top: ESG,

Dawn of Midi. Huge thanks to the Sled Island staff

and volunteers. Here’s to 2017!

photo: Michael Grondin

photo: Liam Prost

56 | JULY 2016 • BEATROUTE

photo: Michael Grondin

Sled Island

Calgary, AB

June 22-26, 2016

Day 1

ESG - #1 Legion

ESG performed to an enthusiastic crowd that was continuously shaking

on the dancing floor late into the night for a Wednesday evening/

Thursday morning. The legendary group added layers of percussion over

drums and bass including bongos, rhythm sticks, tambourine. At one

point in time one of the band members was jumping around the stage

in an alien mask and exclaimed “thank you for the wonderful audience

participation!” (Jenna Lee Williams)

Angel Olsen – Central United Church

Angel Olsen attests that it’s strange to rock out in a church, but we never

felt weird about it. As the church reached capacity before the set, the

already sweltering space became even sweatier. Olsen blitzed through

her set with poise, taking few breaks for banter. After the release of her

new “Intern” video a few weeks ago, we anticipated a healthy dose of

new material, but were left with a Burn Your Fire-heavy set to which we

were not disappointed.

Even if this is a typical Angel Olsen set, for her first time in Calgary, this

was the best introduction we could ask for. A sonorous set that felt like a

bookend, despite the night to come. (Liam Prost)

Day 2

Cakes Da Killa – Commonwealth

Cakes Da Killa played a high-energy set, and every few songs he would

place a towel on his head to wipe off the sweat, but he would leave it

on top of his head and sway his towel “hair” around like a woman in a

Pantene Pro-V commercial. He played some of his new shit along with

old favourites. Near the end of his set, he said he was going to part

the sea like Moses, and divided the crowd in half, giving many of us

the front row to his runway. The crowd’s energy was at top levels and

Cakes was feeding off it. (Jenna Lee Williams)

Chris Lorenzo – Sled Island Block Party

Chris Lorenzo’s set was monumental. Tune after tune after tune; originals,

exclusives, classics, VIPs — the man is an absolute beast behind the

decks. People just couldn’t dance hard enough. The crowd held aloft

a young man in a wheelchair. A girl took her shirt off. It was certifiably


Lorenzo dropped many classic and entertaining tunes with a

modern boost: “Gangster’s Paradise,” “Me Myself and I,” and a hilarious

sing-along ensued when he played Afroman’s “Colt 45.” He then

launched into a Netsky’s remix of “Everyday,” a huge half-step drum

and bass tune from a few years back, and then finally, at the request of

this writer, he played the nastiest jump-up track he had in his arsenal as

his encore. (Paul Rodgers)

Day 3

The Sonics - #1 Legion

The Legion was truly packed, and the bands, beers and buds were hot

and sweaty and vibrating with excitement for The Sonics. These proto¬punk

veterans did not hold back. A band that got its start in the ’60s

were still able to get a raucous pit going, effortlessly blasting their way

through song after song of gritty and full garage-rock anthems. (Michael


Psychic TV – Dickens

Few have lived a life as loudly as Genesis P-Orridge and far fewer have

lived as deeply in service to conceptual art. Psychic TV, conceived by the

iconoclastic P-Orridge, drew a multi-generational crowd to Dickens on

Friday night.

Psychic TV dosed their set with psychedelic post-punk kraut-rock,

spinning the genres and blending crowd together into an elated delirium.

An encore followed their set, no less intense, but explained in advance as

being short due to P-Orridge’s recent pneumonia.

The strong set was a testament to a battle-hardened veteran’s ability

to keep art alive, despite a world working against it. (Levi Manchak)

Day 4

Peaches – Flames Central

Peaches was like the best of any Sled Island: indescribably strange and

amazing. We are tempted to simply list the bizarre things things we

witnessed at Flames Central during her headlining set.

There were dance moves, nudity, and costume changes; but mostly

there was great grimy pop songs and an air of relentless empowerment.

Peaches began the night wearing a cape and shoulder pads, and a few

songs in began shedding clothes. There was a flesh-tone bodysuit with

hands all over it, a one-piece with a strange monster face on it, and by

the end of the night she was literally topless. Hers wasn’t the only body

on display either; two backup dancers wearing giant vaginas joined her

partway in, flapping open and closed and rubbing their stuffed clitorises.

The dancers also shed clothes periodically throughout the set until they

were chasing each other around the stage in G-strings.

The visual spectacle of it all was overwhelming, but it was still a

music performance, and Peaches brought it. The set ran heavy on the

latest release Rub with the particular highlight being “Dick in the Air,”

which we lament that we are still finding ourselves singing along to

photo: Arielle Lesard

even in public. She even busted out her most recognizable track “Fuck

the Pain Away.” If you were one of the unfortunate few who didn’t

make it into the packed Flames Central, you missed out. Sorry not

sorry. (Liam Prost)

Guided By Voices – Olympic Plaza

It’s not a reunion. Don’t call it a comeback. Considering their vast discography,

it’s easy to forget how many incredible songs Guided By Voices

have written.

Over the course of the headlining set at Olympic Plaza, GBV pulled

out classic after classic that we had almost forgotten were all written by

the same person.

Robert Pollard is a songwriting treasure, and the set proved that he is

also kind of a rock star.

The band rocked the entire set with vivacity; even the folkier songs

were turned up.

Pollard himself bounced around the stage, spinning the microphone

on its cord like a lasso, and broadly gesturing. Pollard was the preacher to

the cult of introspection, rocking out to the lyrical weirdness of songs like

“Tractor Rape Chain” without a second thought. (Liam Prost)

Day 5

Radioactivity, Speedy Ortiz – Annual Sled Island Pig Roast at Palomino

Arguably the best thing about Sled Island are the mornings after: the

looks on the faces of the hungover attendees, smiling and laughing, but

clearly worse for wear from the previous evening of non-stop music.

Then the music starts again and everyone comes back to life, faces

brighten up, smiles widen.

That was very much true on Sunday afternoon at the Palomino as

Sled Island 2016 came to a bittersweet close. People not quite willing to

rejoin the real world yet heavily attended the wrap-up party. Instead, the

attendees spent the day running between both floors of the Palomino,

catching every last bit of live music they could.

As the evening came to a close, Radioactivity and Speedy Ortiz

ended the day in an upbeat fashion, rocking the audience hard enough

that everyone briefly forgot that Monday was fast approaching. (Jamie


Go to to read our full Sled Island 2016 live recap posts

reviewing dozens more artists and events including Shotgun Jimmie,

JOOKLO ZAPPA, TT The Artist, Junglepussy, HUMANS, Kaytranada,

Duchess Says, Tortoise, Oneida, Power-Buddies, Switches, A-Bomb,

The Sonics, Deafheaven, Bell Witch, Chron Goblin, Witchstone, Numenorean,

Circuit des Yeux, Dawn of Midi, Aleem Khan, Chastity Belt,

PROTOMARTYR, Planningtorock, SUUNS, Land of Talk, Built To Spill,

Mascaras, Hurry Up and many more! Also check out the complete

photo album on our Facebook page.

BEATROUTE • JULY 2016 | 57

Savage Love

big is bold, bi confusing and tiny is tricky...

Is it a super douchey move to pretend to be a lesbian to avoid unwanted

male attention? I’m a straight single woman in my mid-thirties and a very

plausible lesbian in terms of sartorial stereotypes. Occasionally a guy will hit

on me in an awkward or creepy way and I’ll trot out a line about “not being

into men.” Most recently I used this pose when a courier broke down in my

driveway and I invited him in for a glass of water while he waited for the tow

truck. It was really uncomfortable and a little threatening when—after establishing

that I lived alone—he asked me out. I guess I use this as an excuse so

as not to hurt their feelings, but also to shut the conversation down as quickly

as possible if I’m feeling vulnerable.

Is this a harmless white lie, or a major cop-out that would offend actual

lesbians? Can you suggest some better strategies for when you’re feeling

cornered by a dude you’re not interested in?

—Lady’s Entirely Zany Identity Enquiry

“I’m not offended by this,” said someone I thought was an actual lesbian.

I shared your question with this person—a woman I thought was an

actual lesbian—because I wasn’t offended by it either, but wanted to

check with an actual lesbian just to be safe. Turns out my friend doesn’t

identify as a lesbian, but as a woman-who-loves-women-but-does-notidentify-as-a-lesbian-because-she-sometimes-finds-the-odd-dude-hot.


for the record: my friend is speaking for the WWLWBDNIAALBSSFTODH

community here—which often intersects/sexts with the lesbian community—and

not the lesbian community.

“But even though I’m not offended by it, I have to say I’ve found the

‘I’m into women’ line to be totally ineffective,” said my not-a-lesbian friend.

“The creeps I’ve used it on get even more riled up after hearing that line.

Sometimes I check out and start ignoring these creeps as if they’re wallpaper,

but that can rile them up too. Same with a polite ‘I’m not interested.’

The only success I’ve had with warding off creeps is by actually yelling at

them, asking them if they’d like to be treated the way they’re treating me,

and if their mothers, sisters, et cetera, would appreciate that treatment.”

My not-a-lesbian friend—who, as it turns out, identifies more strongly

with the term “bisexual” than she does WWLWBDNIAALBSSFTODH—has

also had some luck with the lose-your-shit strategy (e.g., screaming, yelling,

and waving your arms around like a crazy person).

“You kind of have to treat these people like bears at a campsite,” said my

not-a-lesbian friend. “You have to make yourself big and loud and scary so

they don’t get closer. Because they will get closer.”

I’m an incredibly confused man in my early 20s. I’m attracted to men and

women. I could see spending my life with either. But I think sexual activity

with either sex would be confusing and strange. In sex ed, I always thought

the whole idea of sexual intercourse was strange. I don’t think I’m asexual,

but I’m not sure if I am bisexual. I am more attracted to vibrant personalities.

I don’t think that I am just straight or just gay, because I have equal feelings

for both sexes. Does this mean I could find equal companionship with both?

Should I wait until I find the right person and decide from there?

—Confused About Sexuality, Help

According to the Tumblr Blog Decoder Ring that came in my last box of

Kellogg’s Feelios, CASH, you’re bi-classic (attracted to men and women),

bi-romantic (could be with a man or a woman), a sort of demisexual/

sapiosexual hybrid (demis are attracted to people they’ve bonded with

emotionally, sapios are attracted to people who are intelligent, and vibrancy

may fall at some point between the two), and maybe falling somewhere

on the asexuality spectrum. The best way to discover who/what works for

you is to get out there. If you find yourself feeling confused, just remind

yourself that confusion—like so much else—is a spectrum. And wherever

you fall on it, CASH, know you’ve got plenty of company.

I’m a 33-year-old straight guy with a small dick. I have a girlfriend of seven

years. When we met, I was really insecure and she had to spend a lot of time

reassuring me that it didn’t matter—she loved my dick, sex with me was

great, it was big enough for her, etc. I broke up with her once because I didn’t

think she should settle for someone so small. After some hugely painful nights

and another near breakup, we are in a good place now. We have lots of

great vanilla sex, we love being together, and we recently got engaged. After

everything I put her through—and I put her through hell—how do I tell her

that being mocked (and worse) for having a small dick is the only thing I ever

think about when I masturbate? I want a woman to punish me emotionally

and physically for having such a small and inadequate dick. There’s porn

about my kink, but I didn’t discover it until long after I was aware of my

interest. (I grew up in a weird family that lived “off the grid,” and I didn’t get

online until I got into college at age 23.) I’ve never been able to bring myself to

tell anyone about my kink. How do I tell this woman? I basically bullied her

into telling me that my dick was big enough—and now I want her to tell me

it isn’t big enough. But do I really want her to? I’ve never actually experienced

the kind of insulting comments and physical punishments that I fantasize

about. What if the reality is shattering?

—Tense In New York

“I was in a similar situation years ago with my then-girlfriend, now-wife,”

said TP. “I was too chicken to tell her about my fetish and worried she

wasn’t satisfied with my size, so I didn’t want to bring more attention to it. I

eventually went to a pro Domme and felt guilty about doing it behind my

girlfriend’s back.”

TP, which stands for Tiny Prick, is a prominent member of the SPH

(small penis humiliation) fetish scene. TP is active on Twitter (@deliveryboy4m)

and maintains a blog devoted to the subjects of SPH (his passion)

by Dan Savage

and animal rights (a subject his Domme is passionate about) at fatandtiny.

“I got really lucky because I found the Domme I’ve been serving for

more than 10 years,” said TP. “It was my Domme who encouraged me to

bring up my kinks with my wife. I only wish I had told my wife earlier. She

hasn’t turned into a stereotypical dominatrix, but she was open to incorporating

some SPH play into our sex life.”

According to TP, TINY, you’ve already laid the groundwork for the successful

incorporation of SPH into your sex life: You’re having good, regular,

and satisfying vanilla sex with your partner.

“TINY’s partner is happy with their sex life, so he knows he can satisfy

a woman,” said TP. “That will help to separate the fantasy of the humiliation

from the reality of their strong relationship. I know if I wasn’t having

good vanilla sex, it would be much harder to enjoy the humiliation

aspect of SPH.”

When you’re ready to broach the subject with the fiancée, TINY, I would

recommend starting with both an apology (“I’m sorry again for what I put

you through”) and a warning (“What I’m about to say is probably going to

come as a bit of a shock”). Then tell her you have a major kink you haven’t

disclosed, tell her she has a right to know about it before you marry, tell

her that most people’s kinks are wrapped up with their biggest fears and

anxieties… and she’ll probably be able to guess what you have to tell her

before you can get the words out.

“He should explain to her that he doesn’t want to be emotionally hurt

as much as he wants to feel exposed and vulnerable, and that can be a

thrill,” said TP. “It can be hard

for people to understand

how humiliation can be fun.

But humiliation play is one

way to add a new dynamic

to their sexual relationship.”

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