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
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
Calgary Film Centre, Dumb and Dumber
Sled Island live reviews - pages 56-57
TABLE OF CONTENTS
The Tragically Hip, Uptights, Fury
Things, Cold Cave, METZ, Prozzak, Pre
Nup, Bitter Fictions, L.T. Leif, Pancake,
The Kronic Groove Band, Blue Crime
Sergio Levels, Eli & Fur, Rezz, Bob Moses
Bottom Shelf Bourbon Trio, Calgary
Stampede Without the Stampede
Numenorean, Steel Panther
Sled Island 2016!
Managing Editor/Web Producer
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
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Copyright © BEATROUTE Magazine 2016. All rights reserved. Reproduction of the contents is prohibited.
photo: Arielle Lesard
BEATROUTE • JULY 2016 | 3
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.
BOB LOG III
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.
CALGARY INTERNATIONAL FASHION
“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. canifff.com
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.
THE 4TH ANNUAL
CALGARY GUITAR SHOW
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 25
THE NATIONAL MUSIC CENTRE
4 | JULY DECEMBER 2016 2014 • BEATROUTE • BEATROUTE
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
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
— 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.
BEATROUTE BEATROUTE • JANUARY • JULY 2016 2015 | 7
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 CalgaryFringe.ca -- 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
“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…
Broadway West Productions (Calgary, AB)
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
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
BEATROUTE • JULY 2016 | 9
CALGARY FILM CENTRE
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
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 calgaryfilmcentre.com
BEATROUTE • JULY 2016 | 13
DUMB AND DUMBER
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
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
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.
NETFLIX AND KILL
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
14 | JULY 2016 • BEATROUTE FILM
rewind to the future
by Shane Sellar
10 Cloverfield Lane
Eddie the Eagle
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
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
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
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.
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,
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
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
He’s Strictly Business Casual. He’s the…
BEATROUTE • JULY 2016 | 15
THE TRAGICALLY HIP
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
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
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
16 | JULY 2016 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE
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
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,”
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.
18 | JULY 2016 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE
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
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,”
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
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
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
20 | JULY 2016 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE
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 KRONIC GROOVE BAND
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.
22 | JULY 2016 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE
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
“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
They were formed in a bomb shelter turned art space in Amsterdam’s
“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,”
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
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
BeatRoute sat down with Tasy to discuss making and releasing her first
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
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
TH: It’s been about two years in the making, but some of the songs are
“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
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
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
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
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 interstellarrodeo.com
St. Vincent at Interstellar Rodeo 2015.
photo: Levi Manchak
24 | JULY 2016 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE
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!
THE DEAD FIBRES
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
BOOK OF BRIDGE
SOUTH COUNTRY FAIR
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
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
“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,”
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 thesilkstones.com 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
26 | JULY 2016 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE
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
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
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,
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
CALGARY FOLK MUSIC FESTIVAL
‘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
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
BEATROUTE • JULY 2016 | 29
CALGARY FOLK MUSIC FESTIVAL
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
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
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).
KACY & CLATON
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
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.
EMILIE & OGDEN
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
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
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.
30 | JULY 2016 • BEATROUTE ROOTS
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
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
“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.
ELI & FUR
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
“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
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
“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
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.
LET’S GET JUCY!
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
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.
38 | JULY 2016 • BEATROUTE JUCY
PRESENTER IN PROFILE: WINE-OHS
‘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
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
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
BOTTOM SHELF BOURBON TRIO
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.
STAMPEDING MINUS STAMPEDE
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
42 | JULY 2016 • BEATROUTE ROOTS
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
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 beatroute.ca) , 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 armstrongmetalfest.ca/
“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
46 | JULY 2016 • BEATROUTE SHRAPNEL
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
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
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
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
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 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’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
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
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
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
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
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
#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
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
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
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
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
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
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
June 22-26, 2016
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)
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)
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
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)
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
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)
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 beatroute.ca 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
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
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.”
Listen to Dan at
Email Dan at
22 58 | JANUARY JULY 20162015 • • BEATROUTE ROOTS