• Wordfest 2016 • Tokyo Police Club • Sum 41 • Diamond Mind • Duotang • • Bon Iver •
Editor’s Note/Pulse 4
Bedroom Eyes 7
Edmonton Extra 34-35
Book of Bridge 36
Letters from Winnipeg 37
Live Reviews 57
Savage Love 58
Burlesque Fest 12-13
Wordfest, MST Festival
Torrey Pines, Herland, Donnie Darko
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Tokyo Police Club, Sum 41, Slow Down
Molasses, Benjamin Stevie, JPNSGRLS,
FOONYAP, Port Juvee, Boreal Sons,
Northwest Passage, Miesha & the Spanks
Sorrow, Librarian, Sinistarr
Wide Cut Weekend, Del Barber, CS
Stoneking, Picture the Ocean, Lauren
Mann, Terra Lightfoot, Cam Penner
Ghost, Black Mourning Light Festival,
Bon Iver and much, much more ...
Managing Editor/Web Producer
City :: Brad Simm
Film :: Jonathan Lawrence
Calgary Beat :: Willow Grier
Edmonton Extra :: Levi Manchak
Book of (Leth)Bridge :: Courtney Faulkner
SaskTell :: The Riz
Letters From Winnipeg :: Julijana Capone
Jucy :: Paul Rodgers
Roots :: Liam Prost
Shrapnel :: Sarah Kitteringham
Reviews :: Jamie McNamara
This Month’s Contributing Writers
Christine Leonard • Gareth Watkins • Sarah Mac • Kennedy Enns • Michaela Ritchie •
Jennie Orton • Sasha Semenoff • Sara Elizabeth Taylor • Brittany Rudyck • Morgan Cairns
• Jamie Goyman • Yasmine Shemesh • Maya-Roisin Slater • Claire Miglionico • Tyler Stewart
• Max Foley • Hannah Many Guns • Arielle Lessard • Devon Dubetz • Mike Dunn •
Amber McLinden • Andrew R. Mott • Alec Warkentin • James Olson • Shane Sellar • Paul
McAleer • Trent Warner • Cole Parker • Brett Sandford • Andrea Hunter • Dan Savage
This Month’s Contributing Photographers & Illustrators
Sebastian Buzzalino • Michaela Ritchie • Greg Doble • Jason Halsted • Joseph Visser •
Rachel Pick • Anastasia Moody • Brieanne Mikuska • Meghan MacWhirter • Jon Martin
Tokyo Police Club - page 21
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BEATROUTE • OCTOBER 2016 | 3
THEATRE JUNCTION GRAND OPENS ITS 25TH ANNIVERSARY
SEASON BY WELCOMING BACK HIROAKI UMEDA (JAPAN) WITH
INTENSIONAL PARTICLE + SPLIT FLOW FROM OCT. 12-15.
“Hiroaki Umeda is one of those singular artists who over many years of
research, collaborationand technical innovation, has developed a live-art
form that he can callhis own,” says Artistic Director Mark Lawes. “The combination
of high-tech video, laserlights and electronic music that merges
with the body creates a visual and sonic landscapenot easily forgotten.
Visceral, immersive and beautiful.”
In Intensional Particle, Umeda visualizes the energy created by
movement. Using sensors to track his motions, Umeda creates a digital
universe where the audience is devoured by sight and sound. In split flow,
speed is expressed through deliberate movements and strobes of light.
A high luminance laser projects three primary colours –red, green and
blue – in split-second velocity. First appearing white to the human eye, as
the dancer moves through it, the white light splits into numerous colours
creating different realities.
ARTS COMMONS PRESENTS: NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC LIVE
SPEAKER AND PHOTOGRAPHER CHARLIE HAMILTON JAMES
WITH I BOUGHT A RAINFOREST ON OCTOBER 23 & 24, 2016.
In a spur of the moment decision, Charlie Hamilton James bought a
100 acre section of the Peruvian rainforest in an attempt to save it.
What he found when he started living there, was that the diversity and
complexity of stories of the people was as great as the biodiversity he is
trying to protect.
Discover what it’s like to live in—not just visit—two of the world’s
great wildlife parks from the point of view of this critically acclaimed
“I am constantly staggered and inspired by nature both in its design
and its beauty; it’s led to a lifelong obsession to understand, document,
and save it.” — Charlie Hamilton James
MEDIA DARLING’S AWARD WINNING FILM VIOLENT TO
SCREEN AT KNOX UNITED CHURCH AS PART OF CALGARY
CINEMATHEQUE’S TENTH ANNIVERSARY SEASON
SCREENING ON THURS., OCT 13.
Acclaimed Norwegian language film produced by Calgary’s Media Darling
makes its homecoming debut. VIOLENT, the audacious, award-winning
Norwegian-language Canadian film created byVancouver-based production
company Amazing Factory, produced in conjunction with Calgary’s
own boutique filmcompany MEDIA DARLING, will finally screen in
Calgary as part of the Calgary Cinematheque’s tenth anniversary season.
The debut feature from director Andrew Huculiak, drummer for innovative
Vancouver indie group We Are The City, Violent was shortlisted
for competition at the Cannes Film Festival, and screened in the festival’s
Perspective Canadaindustry sidebar. Violent was one of a select few films
considered for Canada’s entry for the Best Foreign Language Filmcategory
at the 2016 Academy Awards.
4 | OCTOBER 2016 • BEATROUTE
WARHOL RETURNS The Factory Party: Centennial Planetarium Oct. 22
BEATROUTE • OCTOBER 2016 | 7
illuminates the modern manuscript
It wouldn’t be autumn
in Calgary without a
little leafing through,
and Wordfest 2016 is
the perfect occasion to
pick up a new tome or
two. An inspiring and
that whips the city’s literary
circles into a frenzy
of activity this annual
gathering of readers and
writers has exceeded
its original scope and
now extends to events
the year. The locus of
Wordfest’s focus, their
10-day “main event”
festival in October, has
become both a valued
proving-ground and a
hallowed institution of
cultural exchange for
to general director Shelley Youngblut, this year’s
festival will be one of enlightening encounters with
some 70 writers who are actively plotting-out the
shape of Canadian literature to come.
“We’re now in the 21st year of Wordfest and it’s
my second year and first full year of programming,”
says Youngblut. “I’m really emphasizing the idea
that we’re connecting Calgarians with life-changing
ideas. We have brought in this second-tier of
Canadian writers; people who are writing with
such brazen originality. There’s one writer named
Andrew Sullivan his book is as if the Coen Brothers
had given up on the lightness. He’s got a book
called Waste where his main characters are Skinheads.
There’s another author Jay Hosking ‘Three
Years with a Rat’ that’s deeply original. And Affinity
Konar ‘Mischling,’ so watch out for those.”
Building showcases around the festival’s roster
of award-winning and emergent authors, who are
considered “Ones to Watch,” Youngblut hopes to
draw eyes and attention to the works of cutting-edge
writers from across North America and
beyond. Designed to dive between the lines and
dig beneath the surface, Wordfest manipulates the
template of literary workshopping by facilitating
provocative and interactive presentations that illustrate
the written word by engaging audiences with
potent doses of live performance and, more often
than not, contagious laughter.
“We’ve also got fantastic late-night events at the
Big Secret Theatre. The first one is Literary Death
Match, anybody who’s been to Wordfest in the last
four years knows that you have to go to it. We’ve
got this guy Adrian Zuniga from Los Angeles who
does them all over the world, it’s a must-see thing.
Friday night it’s The Naughty Bits Read-a-Thon, in
which our Festival writers are going to read aloud
not-safe-for-work passages from either their books,
or other people’s books, from a bed on the stage.
And then on Saturday it’s the Adult Spelling Bee!
We staged it last year for 50 people and there were
no pictures allowed because of a certain amount of
by Christine Leonard
nudity. People loved it. So, we’re bringing it to the
Big Secret Theatre where we can have the potential
for full-nudity and, of course, the bar. It’s not your
Mother’s literary festival and that’s part of what
makes Wordfest in Calgary so special!”
Food for thought will not be in short supply as
Wordfest strives to shed light on the inspirational
storytelling of novelists such as Madeleine Thien,
who will be conversing on her trade during a
private Breakfast Talk at Sidewalk Citizen Bakery
in the Simmons Building. Likewise, author Mark
Leiren-Young will be anchoring the Curiosity
Showcase, providing insight into his humourous
approach to history and the penning his CBC
Ideas documentary “Moby Doll: The Whale that
Changed the World.” The celebration of creativity
claims its space with a retinue of envelope-pushing
artists such as Karen Hines, a two-time nominee for
the General Governor’s Award for her avant-garde
dramatic works, and a powerhouse line-up of
female authors who translate their experiences to
text without trepidation.
“I hope everybody checks out Karen Hines,”
says Youngblut. “Her alter-ego, Pochsy, is really big
on the alternative theatre scene. Anybody who’s
been to Fringe plays, or has seen her collaborations
with Canadian clowns of horror Mump & Smoot,
will recognize her. We’ve got her for five nights in
the Arts Commons’ Motel Theatre, performing a
staged-reading called ‘Crawlspace’ for 30 people,
where Karen starts talking to you about her
experience with a real estate horror story. We also
have a panel called the Bionic Women Writers,”
she continues. “I’m really big on the idea of women
with strong voices, the Festival is filled with them.
I think for anybody’s who’s a part of Femme Wave,
this is your literary version of Femme Wave. I think
it’s going to be a real talker.”
An articulate answer to Calgary’s increasing
demand for reliance and sustenance, Wordfest’s
decision to engineer life-changing opportunities for
readers is to be applauded. There’s no denying that
a timely exploration of non-fictional topics that address
an array of practical concerns and concepts,
without setting foot in a waiting-room, is just what
the doctor ordered.
“Canada’s leading psychiatrist, Dr. David Goldbloom
M.D., is coming on Saturday October 8th.
He’s written a book called ‘How Can I Help?’ I think
all of us have some mental health concerns right
now, and so for 15 bucks you can come and actually
listen to someone who knows what he’s talking
about. We also have a couple of panels coming up
in the area life-changing ideas; the first one specifically
deals with inclusivity, it’s a really diverse panel.
And then the following week we have a provocateur’s
Uncivic Politics panel that is perfect in terms
of Calgary’s upcoming civic election (when nobody
seems to be able to listen), which features James
Hoggan, the author of ‘I’m right and you’re an idiot’
and Board Chair of the David Suzuki Foundation.”
Add to this reckoning a massive Wordfest Youth
Program that attracts some 11,000 student-attendees
and you have the makings of a literary happening
capable of rivaling the most prestigious writers’
festivals in the world. As an annual occasion that has
bloomed into a perennial platform for the exchange
of ideas, Wordfest has come to represent the consumer’s
thirst for knowledge as much as the creator’s
impetus to share their innermost thoughts.
“It’s absolutely necessary to stress that the most
important person in all of this is the reader,” Youngblut
asserts. “This year in particular, if you come to
any of the showcases you’re going to be hearing
from, and getting a sense of, the writers who are
going to be setting the agenda nationally and
internationally. These are the authors people are
going to be talking about and you will have heard
of them first. So, it’s also a festival of discovery. It’s
really diverse and really electric and kind of like
the equivalent of having the New Yorker Magazine
come alive but in Calgary.”
Wordfest 2016 runs Oct. 7-16 at various locations in
Calgary. For a detailed schedule of events and complete
list of artists appearing go to wordfest.com.
8 | OCTOBER 2016 • BEATROUTE CITY
Lives of Poets (with Guitars)
Canadian author uncovers 13 treasures
On North American shores, writing about
music and its cultural spin-offs has largely
been defined by the snarky authority
of Pitchfork and trash-talkin’ teardowns of VICE
giving birth to the new, new cool. Whereas those
writing for music publications in Britain, although
still cheeky, offer far more in the way of literary
craft, storytelling and historical insight compared
to the brash Americans.
Ray Robertson, a Canadian novelist, aligns himself
closer to the British tradition reinforcing that smart,
lively prose and a bit of wit goes a long, marvelous
way. In his recent book, Lives of the Poets (with Guitars),
Robertson wades into the world of musicians
who weren’t chart-bustin’ household names, but still
possessed remarkable talents turning out genuine
gold-nugget recordings. One part of Lives of the
Poets is a record guide revealing these undiscovered
treasures, the other is Robertson’s gift of spewing out
stories that simply shame most rock ‘n’ roll writers
into the hacks they really are. We caught up with
Robertson to take us on a tour of his journey writing
BeatRoute: Obviously you're a avid music fan,
listener and collector of records. You make
the all too correct observation that "our
favourite musicians are as close to real-life
magicians as most of us will ever know." What
were some of the first records you owned and
ones that you have kept listening to (in addition
to those artists you wrote about) that
had that magic?
Ray Robertson: I grew up in a small town in Southwestern
Ontario in the ‘70s and ‘80s, so unless you
were lucky enough to have a cool older sister or
brother with a great record collection, finding out
where the world kept all of the good stuff was no
easy task. The first record I bought with my own
money was Elton John’s Captain Fantastic and the
Brown Dirt Cowboy. The coolest I ever felt while
buying a record was handing a copy of The Velvet
Underground’s first album over the counter to the
store clerk. Neil Young is about the only survivor from
my teenage record pile.
BR: The tagline to the book is "Thirteen Outsiders
Who Changed Modern Music"... The Ramones certainly
reinvented and revolutionized rock 'n' roll,
but most of the other artists you selected their
music is steeped in the tradition of blues, country,
gospel and folk. In what ways, then, did some of
these individuals alter and shape modern music?
RR: A guy like John Hartford was, yes, playing bluegrass
when he recorded his Areo-Plain L.P., but it was
bluegrass mixed up with, among other things, the
Beatles, pot, and Beatnik poetry. Absolutely singular.
Ronnie Lane created his own kind of music, too, as
did Sister Rosetta Tharpe and her very loud electric
guitar. The list goes on.
BR: When discussing the context of these particular
artists and their contributions, on a few
occasions you take a shot at some famous artists
bringing up some actual details (e.g., David
Crosby: the pushy, bratty rich kid; The Sex Pistols’
recording budget in the hundreds of thousands
was hardly DIY punk). In doing, when you call
these artists "outsiders" they're really unsung
heroes. Was that an impetus for writing the book
as well: to help foster the recognition and credit
RR: Exactly. What I mostly do is write novels, and all
you can hope for when you publish one is that it’s
the best possible book it could be. With Lives of the
Poets, there was definitely an additional, proselytizing
element: to expose the music of the artists in the
book to more people. These musicians are all heroes
of mine, so it felt almost like a duty to get their stories
BR: How much do you weigh in on the notion that
the lives of these artists lived are largely responsible
for art they produced? Is that primarily why
you deemed them to be significant, because they
had rich, intense, tragic, eccentric or weird lives in
some fashion and, in turn, produced great art?
RR: You can’t separate the life from the work, ever.
That’s very often the academic approach, but it’s
by B. Simm
a falsification of the artistic process, as any creator,
whatever their field, knows. I vowed not to write
about an artist unless they created a very special,
unique body of work and their life story was not only
fascinating but illustrative of some interesting theme.
Like Little Richard: his music was exemplary, his
artistic influence vast, his life and his music shaped to
a great degree by his life-long inability to reconcile his
homosexuality and his love of rock and roll with his
fundamentalist Christian beliefs.
BR: When doing your research, did you unearth
anything about an artist's personal life, their work
or professional history that was totally unexpected
or you thought was profoundly unusual?
RR: Several people in the book came to understand
what they wanted to do with their lives in same way:
for the older ones, it was by seeing Elvis Presley on
The Ed Sullivan Show; for the younger, it was going to
the movies to watch A Hard Day’s Night.
BR: Outside these 13 chosen artists, is there
anyone else you could have or wanted to add but
didn't make the cut? Who would they be, and for
what main contribution?
RR: Well, there’ll eventually be a Lives of the Poets
(with Guitars): Volume Two, but I’ve got a novel coming
out next fall first, and then there’s another book
of non-fiction, this time on death, that’ll be published
after that. So I’ve got plenty of time to decide who to
write about next. It’ll definitely include James Booker,
Duster Bennett, and Mary McCaslin, though. I get
excited just talking about it.
Wordfest presents Roots Poets and Heroes with Guitars:
Ray Robertson with Holger Petersen Oct. 8 from
1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. at the Glenbow Museum Theatre.
Is feminism for sale?
Bitch Media co-founder doesn’t buy it
As Andi Zeisler puts it, she didn’t “set out to writing a book
about the commodification of feminism.” But as co-founder
and creative director of Bitch Media, observing and steering
the pop-culture imagination of a nation, she found that she had accrued
more than enough material to pen We Were Feminists Once:
From Riot Grrrl to CoverGirl, the Buying and Selling of a Political
Movement, a unique tome on the subject at the heart of her two
decades of experience as an independent journalist and advocate for
“Is it a more dangerous time to be a feminist? Maybe,” says Zeisler.
“It’s unfortunate that the advent of new technologies and forms of
communication means that there are now more ways for anti-feminists
to attack individuals and the ideas that they’re trying to put forward,
but at the same time the rise of social media has made it easier than ever
for likeminded people to come together and find solidarity around the
issues that matter to them.”
Finding common ground while sharing divergent opinions, and
gathering knowledge from grassroots sources of expertise, is the ultimate
expression of cultural community-building; and something Calgary’s
Wordfest annual literary festival has ingrained in their organizational
architecture. As a forum whose audience appreciates spirited debates
and discussions on the juiciest of social topics, Wordfest has set out a
cerebral buffet of events that will provoke and satisfy the rebel reader in
us all. Zeisler a.k.a. Andi Z is slated to engage in a Literary Death Match
opposite fellow print-jockeys Jillian Christmas, C.C. Humphreys, Kenneth
Oppel, Alissa York, Aaron Paquette and Mark Leiren-Young. Cajoled into
performance-mode by jet-setting host Adrian Todd Zuniga, a variety of
authors will read selections from their most eyebrow-raising passages
before a cocktail-lubricated jury of their peers. The following evening
Andi Z will return to flex her intellectual muscle alongside a panel
comprised of women word-bombers including cultural anthologist Lynn
Coady, graphic memoir creator Teva Harrison, and novelist Lisa Moore.
This much-anticipated gathering of Bionic Women Writers is exactly the
kind of real-world activism Zeisler has identified as the true catalyst to
“I think that over time feminism as a concept has shifted from being
a collective purpose to a source of individual identity. When we say that
feminism has been sold out, that doesn’t mean running down Miley
by Christine Leonard
Cyrus for twerking and calling it empowerment. There are many versions
of sexual empowerment. What we’re talking about is the selling of an
image of what it means to be a feminist on a much larger scale. For
example, that Secret commercial that tries to convince young women
that if they want to do their part towards closing the wage gap that they
should be wearing a certain brand of deodorant. It’s absurd.”
Given that she has written on activism for the likes of the Washington
Post, Salon, Ms., and the Los Angeles Review of Books it’s not surprising
that the Oregon-based Zeisler has encountered more than her fair share
of armchair critics. The winds of discontent swirling around the issues
she examines in her latest book have only gained momentum with gong
show that is the current U.S. election. And as those currents have grown
so have her concerns about the blatantly racist and sexist attitudes that
have been exposed in the midst of the tensions that are gripping her
country. In the end, Zeisler is more concerned with actions than words.
A position any advocate for Team Human can surely appreciate.
“I think the question that people need to be asking themselves in the
face of these massive and complex social problems is, ‘What am I willing
to do to make a difference in the world?’ Rather than just applauding
celebrities and calling them ‘brave’ for identifying themselves as ‘a feminist’
in an interview, we should be asking them how they are going to use
their fame, and their influence, and their money to really change things
for the better.”
Andi Zeisler is appearing at Wordfest on Oct. 12 from 9:15-10:45 p.m. and
Oct. 13 from 7:00-8:30 p.m. on both occasions in Art Commons, Big Secret
BEATROUTE • OCTOBER 2016 | 9
(non) standard – M:ST returns
by Sasha Semenoff
Destabilizing viewers through performance art.
It would be an understatement to say that some
works of contemporary art can be challenging
to the casual viewer; walking into a gallery these
days can mean coming up against any number of
puzzling projects – works that to the uninitiated
can come across as dense and even overwhelmingly
difficult to comprehend. Gone are the days of easily
digestible landscapes and portraiture, and according
to many, it’s for the better.
A similar comparison can be made between traditional
forms of performance art such as plays, ballets,
and musicals, and more experimental artistic works
such as those that will be occurring over the course of
the M:ST 8, the eighth biennial Southern Alberta Performative
Arts Festival, during the month of October
in Lethbridge and Calgary.
M:ST–the abbreviation for Mountain Standard
Time, the time zone in which Alberta is located–is a
perfomative arts festival, meaning that featured works
are defined by, first and foremost, the live presence
of the artist, but can also comprise elements of visual
media such as video and film, live web-streaming, as
well as spoken word and site-specific interventions.
While many of these works can initially be a bit
intimidating to engage with, according to festival artistic
director Tomas Jonsson, it can be a very positive
experience once you immerse yourself in it.
“I think it’s a really destabilizing experience but
in a very generative and positive way. Any kind of
discipline of performance art is trying to shift and
open up new ways of experiencing work, so a lot of
familiar conventions you would have in theatrical art
experiences won’t be there,” says Jonsson.
Because of the lack of familiarity and conventionality,
the experiences of encountering works of
performative art can be surprising and unexpected:
no two works are alike and anything goes. But the
aim of the festival is not to intimidate but to engage,
and once one does that, the possibilities of experience
really open up.
“Once you dive into the water, you acclimatize to it.
There is that initial step that needs to take place, but
once that happens the intimidation washes away very
quickly. So that’s really what we want to do, to provide
that opening for people to come into it and to really
make it their own,” says Jonsson.
The name of the festival is an allusion to the amalgamation
of time and space, and according to Jonsson,
the festival itself is an ongoing exploration of what it
means to occupy the space that we do; through a variety
of performative works, artist explore the notion of
presence and place.
“I think presence is the most important aspect of
the festival and that goes for the audience as well as
the performers. It’s really cultivating the space of presence
of where we are, where we are together, where
we come from – and there’s quite a trajectory as well,
so where we go from this,” says Jonsson.
There is no shortage of diverse works for viewers
to engage with at the festival, including everything
from Calgary artist Alana Bartol walking the entire
city limits of the city in an endurance performance
exploring the arbitrary nature of borders, to the
presence of echo + seashells, a duo from Finland and
the Netherlands, who will be performing songs they
have written during their tour of Western Canada, to a
collaboration at Fort Calgary between local indigenous
artist Terrance Houle and Nathalie Mba Bikoro
that will challenge cultural assumptions rooted in
colonization – and much more.
These various performances will be complemented
by a series of artist talks, lectures, and public conversations
occurring throughout both Lethbridge and Calgary
in a variety of partner galleries and institutions.
Asked if there is any one single thing that attendees
and participants can expect from the festival,
Jonsson says, “Many of the works will require direct
engagement, not just passive receiving. To be prepared
for the festival I’d say, get ready to get your
M:ST 8 Southern Alberta Performative Arts Festival
runs from October 1-2 in Lethbridge and October 21-26
in Calgary at various locations. See website for details.
10 | OCTOBER 2016 • BEATROUTE CITY
It’s SHOW TIME!
CALGARY INTERNATIONAL BURLESQUE FESTIVAL
One of the big upgrades this year to the Calgary International
Burlesque Festival is that they will be occupying and enjoying the
extravagance of Flames Central. What a glorious place to have a
“I know!” says CIBF president, Ruby Demure, squeezing out
bursts of joy. “That’s our big Saturday night show. On Friday we’re at the Chinese
Cultural Center. Under the big dome inside, it’s so lovely.”
In the past Demure says the festival was constrained because there were a
wide range of rules set by the AGLC that put everyone on edge, including venue
owners who could be fined up to $10,000 for certain violations. But this year, a
recent AGLC ruling change, which doesn’t discriminate between exposed breasts
for male and females, allows for full frontal nudity making things far more relaxed
Asked whether they plan to take full advantage of the topless opportunity,
Demure quietly says, “Noooo, we’re going keep those boundaries tucked in a nice
little box for now. But it makes it so much easier. I can’t tell you how many times
a pastie flies off and a venue could get fined ten grand. And we just never knew
about some of these rules because they were so vague and it could vary how each
(AGLC ) officer interpreted things. You never really knew you were safe.”
Demure notes that the pressure relief is not just for the festival, but also for the
burlesque community. There’s a number of venues that feel more comfortable
welcoming shows, such as Flames Central and the Chinese Cultural Centre opening
up their doors and all the splendor inside. Demure adds that with the ruling
change burlesque is getting more exposure in the city because of existing patrons
in the new locations. As a result, there’s a better understanding and appreciation
“Within the last year there’s been a big growth of people watching, taking it in,
and also the in number of performers. It’s so amazing because you’re now seeing
people come watch the shows that weren’t in the community already. A whole new
audience is opening up, enjoying performances and becoming regulars.”
The relaxation of laws, bigger and more promising venues has allowed burlesque
not only to gain a wider audience, but it has also helped the art form develop to
become more enticing and entertaining.
“When the burlesque revival first started in Calgary, we felt all we needed was a
stage. We just wanted to be on stage. The women who started this movement just
wanted to be able to perform. There was a time you just do what you gotta do.
And now that it’s matured and there’s more community support, and the people
performing have honed their art, they know to ask and expect and demand a little bit
more as well. It’s nice to go to a venue and say, ‘These are our requirements. We need
lights, we need space for this, that and the other thing.’ So it’s become a production.
And I think there’s value in that and obviously Calgary is responding.”
The evolution of the local burlesque community spills over into bringing
respected performers from other parts of the globe and raising the bar for the
CIBF. One of the headliners this year is Perle Noire. Originally from Texas, Noire
gravitated to that showgirl capital, glitzy ole Las Vegas, then was drawn to the
rich, exotic tapestry of New Orleans. There she become fascinated with Josephine
Baker, whose star rose rapidly in the 1920s and ‘30s as one of the world’s most
celebrated silver screen beauty and burlesque dancer, then later on an outspoken
activist who raged against racism. Known as “The Black Pearl,” Baker was the
inspiration for Perle Noire’s stage name.
On Cosmopolitan’s website, Noire spoke at length discussing her love of burlesque
and its importance to her as a performer, artist and black woman under the
gaze of diverse and growing audience. Boldly expressing her sexuality that ranges
from jazzy to tribal, Noire basks in a dazzling display of silk, feathers, grace and
elegance. The Mahogany Queen of Burlesque is unquestionable one of the world’s
most compelling burlesque dancers intent on breaking all kinds of boundaries.
Burlesque as Art
Burlesque, to me, is the epitome of artistry. There’s comedy, there’s people dancing,
there’s opulence. Growing up, I loved ballet, I loved ballroom, I loved opera — and
burlesque was all of that in one.
Burlesque is Bold
Society has always had a negative attitude about women who are free, whether they’re
free with their bodies or free with their minds. Strong, outspoken, unapologetic women
are not celebrated. And burlesque is the epitome of a bold and uninhibited woman.
Perle Noire: The Mahogany Queen of Burlesque
Burlesque as Beautiful Imperfection
My mission is to help women in burlesque who don’t have traditional bodies or
conventional beauty. I want to help heal the audience member who feels like
she’s alone. Burlesque makes me feel powerful instead of powerless, and I want
to make the audience feel that way too. I’m making a choice with my body,
embodying strength and happiness with the beauty of my imperfections, and
sharing that with the world.
12 | OCTOBER 2016 • BEATROUTE CITY
Highlights and Headliners
FRIDAY NIGHT CABARET
Calgary Chinese Cultural Center
Oct. 14, 8 PM
Traditional burlesque, a glamour spectacular,
headlined by the divine Miss
Judith Stein, with honored guest Maggie
McMuffin, and hosted by Vancouver’s
SATURDAY NIGHT SHOWCASE
Oct. 15, 9 PM
Diverse, dark, funny, sexy, silly; a little
different from conventional styles. Headliner
Perle Noire the Mahogany Queen of
Burlesque (NY) takes the stage along with
emcee Blanche DeBris (LV) followed by
the official CIBF After Party with Molly Fi
from Girls On Decks and DJ Dopamine.
Vanocouver emcee, he owns a suit,
has grown his very own beard, and is
packing up a quick-wit and toothy grin
as he travels across the Rockies to share
himself with you.
Sporting a sparkly, skintight evening
gown and two pounds of bright blue eye
shadow, her stage presence marries Phyllis
Diller with Miss Piggy.
SUNDAY BURLESQUE BRUNCH
Sheraton Eau Claire Grand Ballroom
Oct. 16, 12 PM
What better way to wrap up the festival
than with some bacon and legs? This
year’s ticketed admission includes a
brunch buffet in the beautiful Sheraton
Eau Claire Grand Ballroom, headliner
Sizzle Dizzle Burlesque (NY) along with
Alberta’s own The Dirrty Show.
After years of combining nudity with other theatrical genres such
as rock musicals and cabarets, Maggie started burlesquing in 2010.
Initially a stage kitten for Montana’s premiere troupe The Cigarette
Girls Burlesque, she quickly began work as an emcee and performer.
Drawing inspiration from past and present pop culture, Maggie
combines comedic flair with the gritty dance moves of 1970’s strip
clubs. Known as The Pelvis of Justice, she’s here to hip-thrust her way
into your heart.
Brooklyn-based magic maker, known for her “audacious amount of personality” Sizzle
Dizzle’s versatile chameleon skills allow her to shift from neo to classic to comedic in the
blink of a glitter-dosed eyelash.
THE DIRRTY SHOW
Gliding your mind into the gutter one soaring harmony at a time, two sexually empowered women (Kayla Williams and Melody Stang)
sing of ‘Double R-rated’ topics that are rarely brought to light and transform them into catchy morsels of melodic hilarity. The duo’s live
synergy explodes with inappropriate banter, hilarious comedic spin on sexuality, ridiculous faces and alluring dance moves.
BEATROUTE • OCTOBER 2016 | 13
by Sara Elizabeth Taylor
With Calgary’s theatre season in full swing, there are lots of
reasons to head indoors this month to catch a play. Here are
the top picks for must-see theatre in October.
INTENSIOANL PARTICLE + SPLIT FLOW
THeatre Junction, Oct. 12-15
Minimal, radical, subtle and violent, Japanese artist Hiroaki Umeda is a
multi-disciplinary choreographer, dancer, sound, image and lighting designer.
In Intensional Particle, Hiroaki Umeda visualizes the energetic power of
movement using motion sensors creating digital universes that develop a
life of their own in which a body is seemly devoured by sight and sound.
In Split Flow, speed is expressed through strokes of light and a slow moving
body. A high luminance laser projects three primary colors – red, green and
blue – in split-second velocity, which appear white to the human eye. But
when the dancer moves through them, the white light splits into the three
colors and different realities come into existence.
ONE MAN STAR WARS TRILOGY AND ONE MAN LORD OF THE RINGS
Victor Mitchell Theatre at Pumphouse Theatre
Two childhood favourites will be coming to life at breakneck speed on the
stages of the Pumphouse Theatre this month. Charles Ross -- Canadian
actor, one-man storytelling machine, uber geek -- will be playing all the
characters, fighting all the battles and bringing back all the memories as
he acts out the original Star Wars and Lord of the Rings trilogies in just
one mind-bending, 60-minute act each.
Alberta Theatre Projects and Catalyst Theatre
Martha Cohen Theatre
Oct.18 - Nov. 5
The wonderful, inventive, darkly whimsical Catalyst Theatre from Edmonton
brings their story of the town of Fortune Falls to Calgary this month
in partnership with ATP. One young security guard wanders the halls of
Mercey Candy Factory, its doors long closed and the sweet joys it brought
to the town a distant memory. That is, until a new owner arrives and
changes everything. If their past productions are any indication of what’s
in store, Fortune Falls is definitely not to be missed.
LEST WE FORGET
Forte Musical Theatre Guild and Lunchbox Theatre
Oct. 24 - Nov .12
War changes us all: those who fight, those who wait at home, those who
weren’t even alive but who live with the consequences; we are all forever
altered. These lasting effects are examined in this world-premiere production
that uses music and song to journey from WWI to the present day
sharing the stories of the lives of soldiers and their families.
University of Calgary School of Creative and Performing Arts
Oct. 28 - Nov. 5
Four women sit in a palace, awaiting the return of the dictator. As the
explosions in the distance grow slowly closer, the tension grows, and,
unknown to them, the fragments of their lives become part of the
mosaic of history.
14 | OCTOBER 2016 • BEATROUTE CITY
Broken City Brunchtober Feast!
It’s alway been a mystery why people insist on
waiting in long lineups for their breakfast experience
on a Saturday and Sunday at a few select
eateries when there’s other high-five, easy access
options. Pub food doesn’t always translate to a
boutique breakfast, but then Broken City doesn’t
offer standard pub fare. A grilled cheese sandwich
with bacon and pickles or cornflake and coconut
French toast is a perky fix, along with the venue’s
focus on “vegan friendly” plates that includes
cinnamon pancakes and their hearty breakfast
bowl filled with chili, salsa, scrambled eggs,
melted cheese and hashbrowns. There’s also
plenty of fruit and big juicy slabs of steak, go
either way. Post a pic of your meal online, and
get 50% off during the month of October. Yeah!
• B. Simm
THE WET SECRETS / CURTIS GLAS / THE VELVETEINS
PAIGE WOODBURY / GHOST FACTORY / TANNER JAMES
DANE / THE WELLS
SHHHH IT , S A SECRET
THE BIG REVEAL IS A PARTY LIKE NO OTHER PARTY
JUMP ON THE BIG REVEAL PARTY BUS AND WE , LL CELEBRATE OUR MUSIC
COMMUNITY AND SHARE A FEW TASTY HEADLINERS COMING AT YA FOR
BIG WINTER CLASSIC 2017.
COME TO BROKEN CITY SOCIAL CLUB ONLY TO BE WHISKED AWAY TO A
NEARBY SECRET LOCATION FOR THE BIG REVEAL.
OCTOBER 13, 2016
bus to a party at
a SECRET LOCATION
THIS WILL BE AN INTIMATE SHOW. LIMITED CAPACITY.
BUSES WILL RETURN TO BROKEN CITY SOCIAL CLUB.
BECAUSE WE LOVE YOU THIS IS A , PAY WHAT YOU CAN , EVENT.
BEATROUTE • OCTOBER 2016 | 15
GIRAF announces 2016 at screening of queer punk animated feature
by Claire Miglionico
Filmmaker Clyde Petersen will be in attendance for the film, performing live with his band Your Heart Breaks.
Clyde Petersen likes punk rock and
two-stepping to live country music. He
is a self-proclaimed night owl who never
wants to have to wake up before noon or before
the mail arrives.
For those who are unfamiliar, Petersen is a
Seattle-based multimedia artist. He is an active
member of the transgender and queer communities
in Seattle and works in film, animation,
music and installation. His work has been
featured around the world but he may be best
recognized for his music videos for indie artists
Kimya Dawson, Laura Veirs, The Thermals and
Deerhoof, to name a few.
Torrey Pines, Petersen’s first feature-length
stop-motion animation is based on his childhood
growing up queer in the ‘90s to a schizophrenic
single mother in the San Diego area. It
is currently a touring theatrical show with a live
score provided by Your Heart Breaks, Petersen’s
own indie punk-rock band.
The film is a “queer punk coming-of-age tale”
that unfolds in a “series of baffling and hallucinated
events.” At the age of 12, Petersen is
kidnapped by his own mother who, at the time,
suffered from untreated paranoid schizophrenia.
She takes him on a cross-country road trip that
alters his family life forever.
The concept for Torrey Pines was fueled by
the song of the same name Petersen wrote and
recorded back in 2007 with singer-songwriter
friend Kimya Dawson. The name refers to the
Torrey Pines State Park where Petersen spent
much of his time as a child by the beach it
Petersen and Dawson toured the world with
the song and people started responding to it
favourably. “After the shows, [people] would
come tell us stories about their lives; growing
up with members of their family experiencing
mental health issues, growing up queer, feeling
lonely. These were all topics that came through
in discussions around the original song,” shares
Petersen, who studied ASL (American Sign
Language) during the post-production phase
of Torrey Pines, decided to focus on the visual
“language” of the story rather than having it be
driven by dialogue.
“It was important for me to make a film that
could cross both geographical borders without
a language boundary and tell the story to
someone who might be deaf or hard of hearing,”
As a visually-oriented individual himself,
Petersen says he wanted the underlying familial
tension to be “what is felt most” when it came
to the communication portrayed in the film.
Although Torrey Pines comes from a deeply
personal period in Petersen’s life, Petersen says
he is able to separate himself from his past.
“It’s been a long time since I struggled with
identity in such a teenage manner and dealt
with familiar struggles in such a way,” he says.
Petersen also believes that, with the Internet,
the present-day youth has already been exposed
to similar personal stories. “It feels like the
topics in Torrey Pines are nothing compared to
what’s out in the world for people to find,” he
What makes Torrey Pines extra special is the
live music Petersen provides with Your Heart
Breaks, which is sure to make for a memorable
“I just love when people play live music to a
film. My favourite memories of festival events
include [2006’s] Guy Maddin’s Brand upon the
Brain! being performed with a live Foley team*
and narrator,” he says.
Petersen liked it so much that he hired a
member of Maddin’s Foley team – soundscape
artist Susie Kozawa – to work on Torrey Pines.
All the sounds for Torrey Pines were built
by hand. The same goes for the back to basics
nature of the overall production. It was shot on
a homemade multiplane animation stand. “The
camera is mounted on top of a wire frame and
shoots down several layers of glass,” says Petersen.
Everything is handmade and hand-painted.
Glitter, paint and paper were used and very little
computer was used to animate.
On his thoughts on what makes animation
still relevant to this day, Petersen feels that it is
a beautiful and accessible way to tell stories that
may be better told without living creatures and
a ton of resources.
“Here in Seattle, we have a very strong
independent animation scene. There is an
organization I help run called SEAT (the Seattle
Experimental Animation Team). We put on
group shows, make collective films and share
resources,” he says.
Petersen’s hope is to take Torrey Pines to
Europe, Australia and Japan next.
Torrey Pines with live score by Your Hearts Breaks
will be playing at The Globe Cinema on Thursday,
October 20. This event doubles up as the lineup
announcement for this year’s GIRAF animation festival.
GIRAF 2016 will take place November 24-27.
* Foley is the reproduction of everyday sound effects
that are added to film, video, and other media in
post-production to enhance audio quality. These
reproduced sounds can be anything from the swishing
of clothing and footsteps to squeaky doors and
breaking glass. (source: Wikipedia)
BEATROUTE • OCTOBER 2016 | 17
this land is Herland
For the last five months, the five female directors
of the Herland Video Production Mentorship
have been diligently working on the development
and production of short films. With mentors
from the local film community to help guide them,
the directors each created shorts, and now they are
finally ready for us to see. Screening on October 7th
at Theatre Junction GRAND, it will be a night that
not only celebrates five emerging talents, but the
fostering nature of Calgary’s film community. We sat
down with one of the workshops participants, Paige
Boudreau, to talk about the workshop and the upcoming
screening, where she will premiere her short
film, Mallory Memphis.
Boudreau, who had been working in the industry
as a producer, was thrilled to be part of the mentorship.
“I really love the Calgary community, so being
mentored by other people the community was really
big for me,” says Boudreau. “I feel like this is a Calgary
thing, but when people get on board, they’re on board
110 per cent.”
One of Herland’s goals is to foster female filmmakers
who, in the midst of the cinematic boys-club, often
find themselves overlooked when it comes to funding
and mentorship. Boudreau, who was initially hesitant
to take part in a female-focused program, now appreciates
its significance. “For a long time I was really upset
and didn’t apply to women-centric things, because
I wanted my work to stand toe-to-toe with anybody,
I didn’t want to feel like there was this handicap,” says
Boudreau. “And what I realized is, it’s not a handicap,
by Morgan Cairns
it’s leveling the playing field.” When asked what would
be the most significant thing she takes away from
the mentorship experience, Boudreau mentions how,
through the program, she has become an advocate
for women in film. “It really opened my eyes to how
the odds are stacked against us as women, but it also
made me really passionate and a real advocate for
showing the world that we are just as capable and we
have beautiful stories to tell.”
And while Boudreau has gained invaluable experience
through the Herland mentorship, she says the
community stands to benefit as well. “When Calgary
supports Calgary filmmakers, were creating a better
culture for everyone. I think we have world class talent
here, and we are able to elevate it to a city-wide, province-wide,
nation-wide and global scale.”
Encouraged to create films based on a personal story
or experience, you can expect an engaging and diverse
lineup of films. From Paige Boudreau’s black comedy
Mallory Memphis, the story of a girl who is unable
to hold her breath, to Taouba Khelifa’s poetic documentary
Enough, that asks four women the forthright
question of “When did we start believing we weren’t
enough?,” to Gillian McKercher’s Family Photo, Vicki
Van Chau’s The Perfect Man and Jessie Short’s Sweet
Night, the thematic impetus of the program is evident
in its resulting works.
Herland participants screen their films at Theatre Junction
GRAND on October 7th. Free tickets can be claimed
via the venue’s box office.
Paige Boudreau is one of five female filmmakers put in focus this October 7th at Theatre Junction GRAND.
photo: Tiffany Leung
The Fifth Reel trick-or-treats us to 2001 cult classic
October 1, 2016. Twenty days left. Not
until the end of the world, but rather
the Donnie Darko showing at the Plaza
Theatre, courtesy of The Fifth Reel. It’ll be playing
just in time for the Halloween season, which
is suitable given the significance of the holiday
in the film. Or was it? No one knows what’s going
on in this film spare a few eager fans who’ve
dissected the ins and outs of the film’s ideas in
extensive essays online, throwing around such
terms as “Primary and Tangent Universe,” “Artifact”,
and “Living Receiver.” Hell, even star Jake
Gyllenhaal has admitted his confusion over the
plot, and director Richard Kelly has suggested
a supplementary Cliff Notes is needed to make
sense of it all. That said, logical or not, Donnie
Darko is chilling, deeply atmospheric, funny,
brilliantly written and wholly original.
Trying to summarize the complex plot of
Donnie Darko would be a fool’s errand, but here
goes: a young man by the name of Donnie Darko
(Jake Gyllenhaal) attempts to find atonement for
his wrongdoings via the powers of time travel, a
detached jet engine and a six-foot-tall menacing
rabbit, all while discovering love, dealing with
his family, and questioning the sexuality of the
Smurfs. Not necessarily in that order.
Although the first viewing (or three) will likely
leave you scratching your head, the themes in the
film are more palatable than the plot, which focus
on choosing your own path in life and the consequences
of those choices. The film tackles the
idea that every minor choice triggers a different
scenario, which affects another scenario, and so
on. The science of endless parallel universes and
control over time will interest many, but the basic
theme of being accountable for your actions and
making amends is poignant and can be appreciated
The characters are also memorable and easy to
like. Donnie boldly stands in the face of authority
and questions the complexity of our choices
throughout the film. His audaciousness and
intelligence results in one of the most inspiring
by Jonathan Lawrence
Reunite with Donnie, Frank and Ricky at the Plaza Theatre this Halloween season.
characters in modern film - aside from Seth Rogen’s
character, of course, as Ricky the Bully. And
let’s not forget Frank the Rabbit, otherwise known
as the most horrifying man in an animal costume
next to the bear guy in The Shining.
The film has a distinctly ‘80s visual and thematic
feel, despite being released in 2001. All the
elements are there: moody, alienated characters,
edgy dialogue, family dynamics, cliquey highschool
kids, and a vintage soundtrack (you can’t
beat Tears for Fears). If Steven Spielberg, John
Hughes and John Carpenter somehow had a kid
together, Donnie Darko would be their strange
Director Richard Kelly was only 26 when he
wrote and directed the film, which only rivals
Spielberg’s age of 27 during the making of Jaws,
and John Singleton directing Boyz in the Hood at
23 in terms of “how-the-hell-did-they-do-that.”
It is also his first feature-length film, which only
worsens the amateur wannabe filmmaker’s frustration.
However, the film’s unfortunate release
shortly after 9/11 (especially revolving around
a falling piece of airplane) likely hurt initial box
In the 15 years since its release, however, the
film has become a cult classic, shown at midnight
screenings everywhere, and for good reason;
it’s a film that stays with you. It’s clever blend of
cinematic, literary and musical influences create
a truly iconic film that few others can match.
Everyone remembers that rabbit. Keep the lights
on afterward, folks.
The Fifth Reel’s showings are always a blast and
are unlike your run-of-the-mill theatre screenings.
Shouting, commenting, and quote-alongs are
part of the package, and the Plaza always serves
themed drinks to add to the experience. If you
miss out on this event, I can’t promise there’s a
wormhole to give you a second chance to make it,
but, hey, I’m no expert on tangent universes.
The Fifth Reel screens Donnie Darko Oct. 21 at the
18 | OCTOBER 2016 • BEATROUTE FILM
rewind to the future
by Shane Sellar
The Conjouring 2
Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising
Captain America: Civil War
The good thing about being resuscitated today is
Captain America and Bucky no longer have to hide
their gay relationship.
Mind you, this action/fantasy still plays it as a
When someone gains access to the Winter
Soldier’s (Sebastian Stan) trigger words, they order
him to attack a UN conference on the registration
of enhanced humans.
Now Cap (Chris Evans) and some like-minded
Avengers (Elizabeth Olsen, Anthony Mackie,
Jeremy Renner) are opposing Iron Man (Robert
Downey, Jr.) and the rest (Scarlett Johansson,
Paul Bettany, Don Cheadle) in order to protect
Bucky, and their right to fight ungoverned.
While it’s the third entry in the Cap franchise,
Civil War feels like a mini-Avengers movie considering
the number of cameos in it. Fortunately, Cap
remains at the forefront of this multifaceted and
masterfully crafted chapter.
However, unlike America’s other Civil War, this
version has a serious lack of mutton chops.
The Conjuring 2
The biggest difference between American and British
ghosts is the latter stops haunting you at teatime.
However, this horror movie doesn’t divulge if its
phantoms take one lump or two.
Amityville experts Ed and Lorraine Warren
(Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) are dispatched
by the Vatican to investigate a demonic possession
across the pond.
However, Lorraine is hesitant in helping a mum
(Frances O’Connor) rid her daughter (Madison
Wolfe) of a demon due to a prophetic dream she
had involving Ed’s death.
While she eventually agrees to participant,
the case itself may not be as supernatural as
they first thought.
Based on one of Britain’s most notorious
hauntings, this somewhat factual sequel is
enhanced by the ambiguity of the Enfield occurrences
themselves. Meanwhile, the reprising
leads remain magnetic, and the scares are more
mature than most.
Furthermore, once Brexit kicks in most all of
England’s ghosts are going to emigrate.
Love & Friendship
A best friend during Victorian times was someone
who could write copious letters without
Fortunately, the friends in this romantic-comedy
meet face-to-face on occasion.
Unable to obtain her deceased husband’s
fortunes due to previous liaisons, Lady Susan (Kate
Beckinsale) must find her daughter (Morfydd
Clark) a prosperous suitor to keep their high
Her plan plays out at her brother’s country
estate – and through correspondence with her
American friend (Chloë Sevigny) – where she
hopes to pawn off her first-born on dimwitted
Sir James (Tom Bennett), and claim her brother’s
friend (Xavier Samuel) for herself.
Her past indiscretions and an unplanned pregnancy,
however, threaten her plot.
One of the very few period comedies around,
this adaptation of communiqués composed by
Jane Austen is quite cheeky, whilst remaining rather
proper. More surprising is Beckinsale’s performance
as the coquettish countess.
Thankfully, nowadays, daughters can pick their
own rich husband to marry.
First-time investors feel more comfortable with an
in-your-face financial advisor.
Case in in point: the abrasive on-air expert in
Known for his unorthodox delivery, Money
Monster host Lee Gates (George Clooney) is no
stranger to audience uproar. It’s not until an incensed
investor (Jack O’Connell) enters his studio
with a bomb, however, does Lee feel the effect of
his advice firsthand.
Now, it’s up to him and his producer (Julia Roberts)
to defuse the situation live, whilst authenticating
the strapped stakeholder’s claim that a CEO
(Dominic West) manipulated their company’s
stock, costing shareholders millions.
Ripped from today’s headlines and featuring a
seasoned cast of actors, this Jodie Foster helmed
hostage situation is ripe with potential. Unfortunately,
the zealous bomber and evil capitalist
characters come off as stock, while the script is
Meanwhile, this constant corporate corruption
is proof you should buy stock in cushy
The worst part about being a talented vocalist
is you’re the only one who has to sing Happy
However, the songstress in this biography would
likely charge for that performance.
Financially-strapped jazz singer Nina
Simone (Zoe Saldana) is committed after
threatening her lawyer with a firearm. Under
observation she befriends an orderly, Clifton
Henderson (David Oyelowo), who she later
employs as her aide.
Servitude under Simone, however, is more
torturous than expected; Clifton is put in charge of
obtaining the booze and the boys needed to keep
Nina entertained. When she does perform, her
songs always end under duress.
Strictly focused on the soloist’s lowlights, this
unauthorized and unflattering interpretation
of the radical artist offers little in the way of
sympathy or exposition on Miss. Simone’s cultural
contributions, or career high notes.
Besides, everyone already knows that playing
jazz music is just a gradual form of suicide.
Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising
The worst thing about living next to a frat house is
hearing rape whistles all night.
Fortunately, the home in this comedy is adjunct
to an innocuous sorority.
A freshman (Chloë Grace Moretz) is so disenchanted
with her sorority’s rules on partying
that she and a small contingent rent out their
New parents (Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne) are
looking to sell their home so they can move to the
‘burbs, yet are unable to because a sorority has
just moved in next door.
With the help of a former frat boy (Zac Efron),
the couple hopes to oust the co-eds.
While advertised as a sequel, Sorority Rising is
simply the original retold in an improved format,
with female leads instead of males and funny
jokes in lieu of a fusillade of phallic ones.
Incidentally, with the amount of pervs around
you should have no trouble selling a house next to
For some unknown reason sharks always get the
munchies after eating a surfer.
However, it’s hard to tell if the great white shark
in this thriller has bloodshot eyes or not.
Determined to surf the same isolated inlet that
her recently-deceased mother surfed when she
was younger, Nancy (Blake Lively) drops out of
medical school and heads to Mexico.
Her memorial quickly turns into a struggle for
survival, though, as she finds herself stalked by the
same shark that laid waste to the humpback whale
she sits atop.
Injured, Nancy eventually makes it over to a
cluster of rocks, and later a buoy where she makes
her last stand.
A novel cat-and-mouse concept that falls
apart on execution, this idiotic one-woman show
is not only implausible, but its special effects are
as laughable as Lively’s deadpan performance.
Incidentally, sharks are more corporative if you
tell them you’re with the Discovery Channel.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the
If society ever found out that mutated turtles dressed
as ninjas actually existed, it would shame them for
Surprisingly, this action-adventure ignores their
exploitation of feudal Japan.
When the turtles and friends (Megan Fox,
Stephen Amell, Will Arnett) learn of Baxter Stockman’s
(Tyler Perry) mutagen that turns humans
into animals, they hope it works in reverse.
Elsewhere, an alien overlord from another
dimension needs Shredder’s (Brian Tee) help in acquiring
three components that will open a portal,
allowing him to invade Earth.
Although the character designs still come
off more gecko than turtle, this superior
follow-up to the irritating original film finally
embraces its middle-aged fan-base - and its
animated origins - by adding beloved backup
characters into the mix, as well as amping up
the effects-laden action to Saturday morning
Furthermore, it’s easy to tell if someone used to
be a turtle because all they wear are turtlenecks.
He’s an After-Mathematician. He’s the…
BEATROUTE • OCTOBER 2016 | 19
Deryck Whibley learns to live again
Sum 41 are back and finding inspiration in a second chance.
About a year into Deryck Whibley’s recovery
from kidney and liver failure, an alcohol-related
collapse that put him in a medically-induced
coma and left him unable to walk, the
Sum 41 frontman reached a tipping point. The
process was at a halt – hours of daily physiotherapy
didn’t seem to be working and he could barely
stand without excruciating pain. Whibley, nor his
doctors, didn’t know if he was ever going to get
TOKYO POLICE CLUB
Toronto rockers gamble on the long game
think to be a musician you have to have a
reckless abandon and really believe in your pipedreams
and ignore all of the nay-say,” parses Tokyo
Police Club keyboardist/guitarist Graham Wright.
With two EP releases and a 10-year anniversary
under their belt in 2016, the Toronto four-piece have
made sure listeners have kept up with April and September
releases Melon Collie and the Infinite Radness:
PT I and Melon Collie and the Infinite Radness: PT
II. Scattered between Toronto, Los Angeles and New
York City, the band has shifted into what seems to be
a more honed-in yet sporadic dynamic. “We [didn’t
record] the EPs the way we usually do. There might
be two songs that were recorded in the same session
otherwise it was months apart,” explains Wright. With
the majority of the recording done separately, the unchartered
territory not only kept the creativity flowing
overtime, it also gave the band the opportunity to
ensure that each song really did its own thing.
“With each new release, when we were working on a
song we really were thinking about what specifically that
song was going to do, how it came across, what it said for
itself, how it behaved. I think each song could stand on its
own as a single.”
The new two-part EP gives a refreshing new take on
what makes Tokyo Police Club tracks so memorable. The
bright, guitar driven first single “Not My Girl” reminds
those who needed it just why they loved Tokyo Police
Club. On “PCH,” vocalist/bassist David Monks’ pleading
voice pulls the lyrics to the foreground. Both PT I and
photo: JW Hopeless
better. It was no way to live; death by drink was
even a more appealing fate. Then, one night, at
four in the morning, amidst swirling thoughts, a
lyric suddenly surfaced. “What am I fighting for?
Everything back and more.” He wrote it down.
Then another. “Some days it just gets so hard.” The
lines kept coming, flowing. He had a song – something
to work towards. Words to live up to.
“And then that moment, it sort of gave me that
PT II are the resurgence fans have been waiting for since
With a less polished vibe coming off the two EPs, and
trickles of singles in-between have put the spotlight back
on Tokyo Police Club, but it hasn’t all been realized as they
imagined it would be.
“The idea is that instead of making one record, one
splash, and have everyone react with ‘that was great,
what’s next?’ we thought it would make more of an
impact for a longer period of time. Although… Our genius
plan didn’t pan out exactly how we wanted,” says Wright
of some streaming service unpredictabilities.
Essentially growing up with each other and their music,
since the ages of 19 and 21, the unity and rapport the four
have is easily heard in their songs and witnessed live.
“Every single tour we’ve ever done is a fairly straight line
graph, I think we like it more and more and just get better
at playing live… There’s a lot of beaming from the stage or
whispering a joke in the other guys ear, trying to get him
to fuck up when he’s trying to play. We have reached a level
where it’s just muscle memory now and it always feels
like we’ve reached a destination. I just hope the radiance
we feel inside comes through… Honestly, if you see us on
stage joking and laughing with each other you basically
got the picture, we’re just dorky guys.”
Tokyo Police Club perform at Alix Goolden Hall October
4th in Victoria, the Commodore Ballroom October 5th in
Vancouver, Flames Central in Calgary October 7th, and as
part of UP + DT Music Festival in Edmonton October 8th.
realization of what it means to actually have faith in
something,” Whibley reflects. “To believe that you
will get better. You don’t know how, you don’t know
why, you don’t know when; as long as you push and
you fight harder – if you think you’ve been fighting
hard already, you gotta fight even harder and you just
gotta believe. And that’s what I told myself. And a
year later, I was finally able to step out onstage and go
out on tour, and now here I am.”
Today, Whibley is happy and healthy — a state
he credits to his journey to sobriety. “Even if I
would have quit drinking before, it wouldn’t be
what it is now,” he maintains. Booze had simply
become part of his lifestyle, reaching its most
excessive after Sum 41 wrapped a three-year-long
tour in support of 2011’s Screaming Bloody Murder.
Whibley then decided to detach: no music,
no responsibilities, and therein lay the problem. “I
mean, obviously this band has always been heavy
drinkers, heavy partiers, and, you know, I was
probably an alcoholic a long time ago, but really
functioning,” he continues. “It’s when I lost the
function was when I had no more work to do.”
The aforementioned lyrics would make up the
song “War,” a hopeful track off Sum 41’s new album,
13 Voices. The project, the pop punks’ first in five
years, proved to be the key for Whibley to push
forward as he determinedly re-learned how to play
guitar, while slowly becoming comfortable in his own
skin again. As a result, his songwriting is reflective of a
man piecing his life back together.
Tokyo Police Club revel in the sunny glory of reckless abandon with two-part EP.
by Yasmine Shemesh
Musically, 13 Voices administers a tremendous
punch, which partly comes from the
reemergence of original guitarist Dave “Brownsound”
Baksh. Baksh, who left the band a
decade ago, reconnected with Whibley before
his hospitalization and stayed with his old friend
after he returned home. Baksh’s presence now
adds three guitarists to the lineup, alongside
Tom Thacker and Whibley.
“You really notice it live,” Whibley says of the
dynamic, which also includes bassist Cone McCaslin
and drummer Frank Zummo. “I think that’s where
we sound different than we’ve ever been able to
sound before, because we can play a lot of stuff that
is on the record that we couldn’t do before. It’s a
much bigger sound… It’s just a really full sound. Just
being a five piece, it’s so fun. I never thought I’d like
being a five piece, but now I couldn’t imagine it any
Indeed, it’s certainly scary, Whibley admits,
to release music that was written from such a
vulnerable place – but getting personal isn’t
something new. He’s always written from his
soul and 13 Voices is just, in many ways, a new
chapter. The past may have been great – but
now, Whibley says, “it’s time to take it into a
whole other world.”
Sum 41 performs at Union Hall (Edmonton) October
25th, MacEwan Hall in Calgary October 26th, and the
Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver Oct. 28.
by Jamie Goyman
photo: Nicole Fara Silver
BEATROUTE • OCTOBER 2016 | 21
SLOW DOWN MOLASSES
crystallizes their melancholy jam with 100% Sunshine
by Christine Leonard
Slow Down Molasses bottle lightning in a jar.
photo: Lindsay Rewuski
Celebrating a decade of rolling the haze and rocking
watering holes across the Great Plains, Saskatoon’s
Slow Down Molasses is slightly bemused by their own
longevity. Long dark winters and hot dusty summers have left
their mark on the melodious and moody ensemble, prompting
pragmatic lead guitarist/vocalist Tyson McShane to take
stock of all that has been accomplished and that is still left to
“It has been a long while and I’m actually somewhat amazed
that we’re still doing stuff,” says McShane, the band’s principal
With a barrel-full of enduring releases to their credit, including;
I’m An Old Believer (2008), Walk Into the Sea (2011), Bodies of
Water: Remixes (2012), and Burnt Black Cars (2015) McShane and
company are now poised to step into the sunlight, and maybe
even show off their rumoured farmer-tans, with the release of
their latest LP, 100% Sunshine (2016).
“This album is the first time we’ve recorded with the same lineup
that we toured the previous album with,” reports McShane,
who pioneered Slow Down Molasses’ last two albums with bandmates
keyboardist/guitarist Aaron Scholz, guitarist Levi Soulodre,
bassist Chris Morin, and drummer Jordan Kurtz. “Previously, it
was always a very solid group of people, but there were a lot more
that we’d bring in for recording sessions and we definitely weren’t
playing the same arrangements all the time. Now it’s the same five
people playing all the time and it has definitely made things a lot
more concise and a lot more exciting in ways. It was very wonderful
to be very collaborative in the past and get to play with a lot of
local people I was a fan of, but it’s kind of amazing to have a good
idea of what everybody else is going to do when we’re writing and
Just because they’ve reigned in the guest list doesn’t mean
Slow Down Molasses has turned off the tap when it comes to
creating multifaceted pieces of recording studio pop-art. On
the contrary, the quintet’s fantastically communal compositions
have blossomed and grown in ways that are equally unexpected
and consistent with their reputation for generating melodious
“I think its quite funny how this new album is similar to how
we used to indulge a lot of layers, except this time we were much
more deliberate with what we were doing. That laid the foundation
and now it’s a really exciting album to play live, because we
can improvise around those more focused dimensions.”
As deceptively loose sounding as the cold-plagued McShane’s
stogy sinuses, the album’s first single, “Moon Queen,” embodies
the super smooth fulsomeness and echoing vibrancy that
we’ve come to expect from this post-punk synth and sawdust
ensemble. Intertwining the esprit of modern electronica within a
traditional wire and wood framework, Slow Down Molasses crystalizes
the momentum and portent of a civilization teetering on
the edge of tomorrow. Toeing that barbed line between a fleeting
fad and a steady fade.
“It’s really a key thing in what we do,” McShane acknowledges.
“A least of couple of us are into drone and free-noise type
stuff, while half the band came-up through playing in punk
rock bands. So, there’s always a bit of desire, especially in a live
situation, to tend to be more energetic. My songs are relatively
simple and I tend to nail them, so we decided to be fairly
chaotic on stage.”
Wise enough to know when a semblance of order is merited,
Slow Down Molasses recorded 100% Sunshine’s eleven lugubrious
tracks with Barrett Ross and Chad Munson at Ghetto Box Studios
in their hometown before entrusting to Glasgow-based producer
Tony Doogan (Belle & Sebastian, Mogwai, Teenage Fanclub)
with putting a platinum-polish on the final mixes. According
to McShane working alongside Doogan, at his infamous Castle
of Doom Studios, was an invigorating experience. One which
provided him with a valuable new perspective on something he’s
been so close to for so many years.
“We were so incredibly excited to get to work with Mr. Tony
Doogan on this album. He definitely challenged our preconceived
notions of ourselves,” McShane recalls. “All of the records he’s
done sound like big rock albums, but with a lot of chaotic stuff
going on around them. He’s known for being able to balance
those moments and he definitely delivered. It was above and
beyond anything we expected. It was a fantastic experience and
nice way to wrap up this album.”
Slow Down Molasses perform October 7th as part of UP+DT
Music Festival in Edmonton, October 9th at Nite Owl in Calgary,
October 14th at O’Hanlon’s in Regina. They then head out to Reykjavik
for Iceland Airwaves next month.
22 | OCTOBER 2016 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE
hitting the right opportunity at the right time
JPNSGRLS aren’t ready to divorce from touring for their latest album just yet.
Vancouver’s JPNSGRLS have momentum
on their side. Last year was especially big
for the eclectic alternative rock unit as
photo: David Tenniswood
Charlie Kerr (vocals), Colton Lauro (guitar), Chris
McClelland (bass), and Graham Seri (drums) took
the stage at Liverpool Sound City, SXSW, and BC’s
own Pemberton Valley Music Festival. For Kerr,
performing at Western Canada’s premier open air
festival was a life changing experience. “Not only
did we get to play this huge show for tons of people,
it was a great opportunity. As we go across the
country we find so many people who tell us that
they saw us at Pemberton and after that became
fans,” Kerr says. “Sometimes it takes one of those
instances where the stars align. Sometimes all it
takes is people seeing you at the right show.”
This past summer, JPNSGRLS dropped their
long awaited sophomore LP Divorce. Enlisting the
efforts of David Schiffman (Red Hot Chili Peppers,
The Mars Volta), Tom Dobrzanski (The Zolas), and
Steve Bays (Hot Hot Heat, Mounties) to co-produce
a handful of tracks apiece, Divorce has shaped
up to be a significant step forward for the band.
The band has matured in many respects; Kerr
remarks that McClelland, Seri, and Lauro have become
more inventive players. Kerr feels that his skill
set as a vocalist and lyricist has improved in many
respects. “As a singer, I’m pound for pound better.
There are more ambitious vocals [on the album],”
Kerr says, “As a lyricist, it was really important to
me to get more personal and write something that
only I could write, write something with my sense
of humour and my politics and my life experiences,
as mundane as they might seem to me. I met
somebody who was really terrific and they inspired
me to think that I was worth writing about without
having to stand behind a cliché or sound like all the
by James Olson
musicians and artists that I grew up on.”
The emphasis that Kerr places on personal reflection
and exploration manifests itself in an intriguing
deconstruction of the album title. “The album title
is a reference to in ‘Oh My God’ when I say ‘I was
conceived in New York/ Two strangers planted a
seed/ And that was four years before the divorce/ I
think it had an affect on me.’ I kind of started looking
at myself as if I was a character in a movie, as if my
life was a film” Kerr explains. “I was looking at what
my glaring flaws were and one of them was a very
warped experience and a warped point of view of
what love is, kind of an all or nothing sensibility and
idealism. I was trying to dissect that and get to the
bottom of it. A hypothesis of mine was that perhaps
love is such a weird, twisted thing because I never got
to see it between my parents. The origin story of the
songwriter Charlie Kerr is that divorce.”
Along promoting and touring to support the
new album, Kerr already expresses anticipation at
returning to the studio to begin working on the next
song cycle. “I think we’ll be busier than we ever have
been and we’re really excited about that. Now I’m
in a place where I don’t quite recognize the guy who
wrote and sang all the Divorce material,” Kerr says.
“That seems foreign to me so I’m excited to move on
to the next set of songs that I’m writing.”
JPNSGRLS play Dickens Oct. 7 (Calgary), Brixx Bar as
part of UP+DT festival Oct. 8 (Edmonton), and Light
Organ Records Oct. 13 (Vancouver).
the golden impermanence of sun-soaked hours
The best music has the power to transport
the listener anywhere in the world in a few
notes. As the first bars of Port Juvee’s new
Crimewave EP play out, the listener is overcome
with a sense of irrepressible nostalgia. Memories of
sun-soaked beaches, abandoned skate parks, and
maybe a so-secret-that-everyone-knows-about-it
warehouse party or two. Bike cruising along river
paths, backpacks loaded with boxed wine and
cheap beer. Even if these memories are not your
own, somehow you find yourself tapping into the
collective consciousness to unravel these surf-laden
Crimewave is filled with memorable as hell pop
hooks, a lo-fi punk treatment, and decidedly sunny
vibes. One would expect nothing less from a band
who originally caught the ear of Justin Gerrish
(producer behind Vampire Weekend, The Strokes,
Weezer) via a demo floating around a New York
house party. But since their first album as Port Juvee
(the band also spent some time under the Bleachers
moniker) was released in 2014 with Gerrish in tow,
there has been a considerable amount of growth
that has occurred. With the addition of drummer
Distance Bullock and re-addition of former guitarist
Jourdan Cunningham, Port Juvee’s sound has been
getting some new life.
“I think with this EP we completely changed directions
sound-wise. For one, we were trying to soundscape
a lot of different pedals to create new sounds,”
explains guitarist Lauchlin Toms. “As Distance joined
the band I felt like we were a little bit more free to
experiment drum-wise. We wanted to change the
Port Juvee’s latest EP sounds just like the good times.
sound tone-wise so we really let loose on our normal
writing procedure and experimented a ton.”
Bassist Logan Jukes adds: “In the process of this one
we tried to be as authentic to ourselves as possible.
We didn’t stay within the same sound. If someone
came to the table with a really bizarre riff, it wasn’t
written off. We took it to see where it went and
reinvented what we sound like. [The album] captures
photo: Brieanna Mikuska
by Willow Grier
a youthful energy. Being out with your friends in a big
city, roaming around, and coming home with ‘Double
Vision.’ It’s the soundtrack to a night on the town.”
Lead singles “Crimewave” and “Double Vision”
speak to Justin Gerrish’s treatment, while the rest of
the tracks on the album were very hands-on for the
band. After the two new members had been brought
on in time for their last tour, Port Juvee found themselves
work-shopping, writing, and in some cases
performing live the songs that would become this EP.
“We were really lucky to have the experience of
that tour,” recalls vocalist Brett Sandford. “We wrote
a lot of songs really quickly and then spent a lot of
time really fine tuning the small details. It was something
we haven’t really done before.” Cunningham
adds, “When we talk about the creative process, it’s
mostly subconscious. It’s not like we wrote a concept
album about some big thing that happened.
Honestly, we’re just pretty lucky that we have the
group of dudes playing together where things just
come to fruition. We have these skeletons and they
actually become things.”
Port Juvee’s sound has evolved to be more fleshed
out, effected with more complexity, and more
moodily experimental. The sound is bigger, and more
robust, but still falls into their easy-to-love signature
style. Not only memorable for the nostalgic quality,
but memorable too because of the obvious synchronicity
of the band.
“We’ve gotten into a place where we can be truly
happy with what we have,” Sandford describes.
“Everything from the songwriting to production to
the finished product we are happy with. I think that
definitely speaks to the value of the new people in
Port Juvee release Crimewave and head out on tour
with Sticky Fingers in October. Catch them Oct 7th in
Vancouver, Oct 12th in Calgary at The Gateway, then
on to Edmonton, Winnipeg and beyond. Full dates on
their Bandcamp page.
24 | OCTOBER 2016 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE
new album ‘Palimpsest’ sensitive, colorful and irrepressible
by Arielle Lessard
Calgary resident Foon Yap possesses a particular blend of
raw talent, poise and creative drive. Together with her
violin and seamless ear for composition she is able to
carefully wind through high and low tones, combining stimulating
elements that elevate her work and help to navigate the
purest form of self-exploration. Unafraid to pitch her sweet
voice to anxious cashes in Bjork-inspired dynamism, her work
as FOONYAP is unlike anything else. Palimpsest, the artist’s
latest endeavour, is a project that expels and reflects all at once.
Songs range from two to eight minutes, with every composition
at a necessary length, building on themes at the inner core.
“Gabriel Moody,” a song sang in French, uses careful plucks like
the beginnings of a slow rain and is overlaid by beautifully rich
strings. Other songs incorporate lullabies, synth, bass, and a
range of delicate features.
An artist that has managed to collaborate on indie folk rock
with Woodpidgeon, and explored “vampire sex metal disco” on
FOONYAP and The Roar, Foon’s first independently released solo
album is a further extension of self; a detailed blend of Asian folk
electronica. Foon says, “genres can be really limiting, and I don’t
like to make music to fit in a certain genre or appeal to a certain
audience. Now that I’m looking back [on FOONYAP and The
Roar], now that I’m older, I know what I was doing in that band.
I was reacting to the male gaze, I was kind of putting on a show,
I was making it as disgusting and sexual as possible so that you
[couldn’t] look away, that was the energy behind that band and it
was a very outward looking project, very loud and brash.”
She continues, “On Palimpsest, I [was] thinking deeply. In
between that time and the release of this album I went through
some major health issues and other events, and realized that I had
to turn inwards.” Taking over a year to record and produce, and
three years to idea and create a solid business plan to self-release
the album and prepare for a Canada-wide tour with European
dates to follow, Palimpsest is the product of discipline, patience
and thorough growth.
“After FOONYAP and the Roar,” she says, “I knew very consciously
that I’d missed a lot of opportunities because I hadn’t
set myself up to capitalize on them. I never viewed it from the
business perspective, so I knew that my next album I’d approach
as a business. Palimpsest has existed for about two years, but it’s
only now that my ‘business’ is where it needs to be that I’m able
to release it. I spent the last three years saving to invest in this and
took the last year to market the album.”
In a very conscious decision, Foon created a character for
the front cover of Palimpsest, “I wanted to convey softness and
sensuality as well as an idea of gentle movement that meant to
reflect the kind of self-growth I’ve experienced over the last five
years. [As] a person of contrast, the album is full of contrast [and],
while I have this personality that’s extremely outgoing, assertive
and aggressive, I’m also overwhelmingly fragile,” she reveals with a
“If you take your time and are patient and really learn about the
industry it is possible to do it. You really have to see it as a five, 10,
15-year thing. I would encourage people who are serious about
becoming artist entrepreneurs to take that perspective, be patient
and especially learn the legalities and be fluid, willing to change
with the times.”
FOONYAP will release the stunning Palimpsest at The Ironwood on
October 20th with support from the Hermitess. She has additional
tour dates in Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, Fernie, and Montreal, and
will be playing Femme Wave festival November 17-20th in Calgary.
FOONYAP’s latest considers the seriousness of past and future.
photo: Anastasia Moody
26 | OCTOBER 2016 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE
limitations set you free
The songs of Boreal Sons are a certain type of magic.
They are earthly but angelic, grounded but lofty,
and the trio is soaring to new heights with their upcoming
release, You and Everyone. The album is full to the
brim with vigor and vitality, and a natural evolution from
Threadbare their 2013 release. The songs are layered with
a large array of keys and synth, while their iconic melodies
float polyphonically overtop.
After their 2014 European tour as a four-piece, 2015
was spent soul searching and restructuring the band. Evan
Acheson (keyboards, synth, vocals), Reagan Cole McLean
(bass, vocals, synth), and Zach Schultz (drums, vocals) decided
to trust in their experience and vision, and try their hand as
a trio. Acheson explains, “This to us was a challenge we were
slightly tentative about but also trying to throw ourselves
into.” He continues, “In a way… limitations set you free. If
you’re working within certain requirements or boundaries,
you need to be more creative, need to be smarter in order to
create the same quality of an album.”
Boreal Sons are using this lineup change as an opportunity
to expand upon their potential, exploring what the absence
of guitar could mean musically. Acheson describes how this
has led to an evolution of their sound. “We tried to create
textures within the spaces that would have previously been
filled by a guitar, whether it’s more background ambiance or
leading melodic arrangements.” He elaborates, “In other cases
we’ve treated the space left behind by the absence of guitar
as another instrument, and we’ve tried to use that negative
“What Becomes” opens the album by kicking the door
down. A burst of rippling, spacey synth leads into Acheson’s
honeyed vocals and heartfelt lyrics. The song evokes a feeling
of disarray, of grasping to understand what life is left after loss
burns through our foundation. The song smolders on, and the
vocal refrain keeps floating like ashes gently falling. “Where are
you? Where are you?”
“The song explores our inability to grasp that a loved one
is gone,” Acheson explains. “It explores how weird that something
as familiar as death can feel so shocking.”
“Strangers,” the third song on You and Everyone, is a
stripped-down song reminiscent of Boreal Sons’ classic
euphonious ballads. This song explores the album’s second
theme: love. Love and death are parallels, in the way that
they are both so universal yet so surprising. “Deep down, we
know our flaws and shortcomings so well, we’re pretty hard
on ourselves.” Acheson says. “And when we truly believe that
someone loves us in spite of those things, it’s liberating, it’s
completely shocking because it flies in the face of what you
think to be true about yourself.”
You and Everyone contains the essence of previous
Boreal Sons records, but emboldened through time and
experience. There is a bigger range of styles, from grandiose
and commanding art-rock to vulnerable introspections set
to soft piano. Acheson explores some fundamental truths
in life, powerful experiences that happen to all of us. The
universality of these experiences gave him the inspiration for
the title. “It’s sort of us participating in a shared experience,
of death and love.”
Boreal Sons are heading on a 14-date cross-country tour in October
to support the album. Catch Boreal Sons at the Gateway
in Calgary on October 22nd, or find a show in your city online.
Boreal Sons work on both musical and thematic elements of their sound.
by Andrea Hunter
photo: Rachel Pick
BEATROUTE • OCTOBER 2016 | 27
COMING TO TOWN...
BASIA BULAT W/ OH PEP!
KNOX UNITED CHURCH, OCT. 8
A few months on from the release
of her fourth studio album (the
Polaris-nominated Good Advice),
autoharp enthusiast Basia Bulat
returns to Calgary for a show at
the gorgeous Knox United Church.
Her indie-folk songwriting chops
and one-of-a-kind voice have won
her much favour in Calgary’s hearts
in the past, and the addition of
Calgary Folk Fest 2016 favourite Oh
Pep! as openers only sweetens the
by Colin Gallant
Wild Rose Artist Residency
by B. Simm
BELLA UNION HALL, OCT. 13
Ever heard of those lazy kids, born to
talented, wealthy parents? Ziggy Marley
isn’t one of ‘em. Between his outfit
Ziggy Marley & The Melody Makers
and solo work under simply his own
name, Marley has released more than
10 albums of reggae and related styles
in four different decades. Lately, Marley
may have benefitted from a pinch
more attention from the success of
Arthur memes in the last few months
– Marley composed the show’s
theme. The more you know!
STIFF LITTLE FINGERS
MARQUEE BEER MARKET, OCT. 21
Having been members of punk’s first
wave alongside contemporaries The
Buzzcocks, The Clash and Sex Pistols,
it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that
Stiff Little Fingers are living legends.
Using fast, loud guitars and infectious
hooks to contrast heavy lyrical subject
matter about the violent Troubles
of Northern Ireland and depression,
Stiff Little Finger’s greatest asset is that
they allow the listener to engage in
serious topics in a musically inviting
setting. This year marks the band’s
40th anniversary, so see them on stage
while you still have the chance.
Josh and Drew, brewing up a storm.
Nestled in the heart of Currie Barrack, Wild Rose Tap Room is a beloved watering hole for many folks in
southwest Calgary and beyond. Wanting to reach out to the music community a little more, employees
Josh Thorp-Vallis and Drew Jones
set out to create their Artist Residency Program.
“Not a lot of people are doing it in Calgary. It’s a chance for artists to take control, it’s a chance for us to be
more engaged in the community,” says Josh Thorp-Vallis.
The residency extends over nine months. Three bands have been chosen so far: the female-fronted,
spicy R&B Torchettes, rousing folk-rockers The Frontiers and the electro-soul groove machine Sargeant
Wild Rose is housed in an old World War II Quonset. In the back of the Tap Room, there’s a large expanse
with a makeshift bar and stage. A touch grassroots, folksy and fun. Here “community” can easily connect. Given
that most of the entire SW area, once out of downtown and the Beltline is a disastrous wasteland when it
comes to neighbour bars and live venues, the Tap Room’s performance hall is a godsend with terrific sounding
walls. Shows are booked every two weeks starting Oct. 11.
“The artists curate the evening. They can opt to play solo, or bring on a younger, new band giving them
some exposure, promote a record release, whatever. It’s their night, their schedule to do what they want.
Jones says that one of the ideas behind creating a residency is to not only allowing the artist freedom, but to
create a go-to space where exposure to particular audiences can open doors to their careers.
“In bigger cities like Toronto, New York, LA, Chicago, if you play at certain venues, ‘Wow, you’re making it.’
And it’s not the venue itself,” stresses Jones, “it’s the people that go to that venue. It’s the industry people who
hang out there. What if on a Tuesday night you made an impression or got recognized by people who could
make a difference. That’s what we’re looking at. We don’t have that in Calgary, yet.”
GREY EAGLE, OCT. 23
Anthemic indie-pop heartthrobs
The 1975 are heading to Calgary for
the first time – hot on the heels of a
string of number one singles and a
Mercury Prize nomination. Indeed
2016 was a big one for the band, with
a shift in sounds towards electronic
influences like synth-pop and house.
It also marked a switch-up in aesthetic
for the visually-minded group:
black and white abstraction replaced
with brilliant neons and pastels, a
suitable pairing for their musical
development. Their show at the Grey
Eagle Event Centre is open to all ages,
so consider taking your kid sister.
28 | OCTOBER 2016 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE
THE NORTHWEST PASSAGE
A_WAKE while still dreaming by Mike Ryan
There’s a whiff of irony in the title of the latest
offering from The Northwest Passage. Paul
van Kampen and company have crafted
A_WAKE, a collection of tracks, many of which
feel at peace in the dreamy and exploratory task of
confronting the past.
That’s not to say the entirety of the band’s effort is
steeped in the ambient. Quite contrary to that statement,
these talented artists espouse great moments
of frenetic, yet melodic builds, prompting catharsis to
The band’s piano-driven melodies are bolstered
with violin, bass and guitar punctuating van Kampen’s
musings on tragedy and loss, love, hope, and atonement
for possible mistakes. Originally, he’d had songs
ready to go, while the formation of the band allowed
further ideas to flourish.
“Some of the songs existed even before the band did.
‘Lorelei’ was the first song we tackled, and actually, in
some ways the lineup was formed around the song and
the vision I had for it,” van Kampen recalls. “Originally it
was just Daniel Wilson and I, but I asked Darren Young
to join on upright bass at the time, and once we got
working with that song and a couple more, we knew we
needed a violinist. Darren knew Laura Reid and knew
that she was ideal for the song, so yeah, the song actually
formed the band I guess you could say.”
“Lorelei,” a standout from the album, starts out
ambient with distant wailing and squealing guitar giving
way to an active bass line and punchy piano. While the
components build, a driving kick drum and skittering
snare hits propel the song to a steady groove, before it
finally takes off with it’s dissonant ambience and swirling
dual violin tracks.
Opening track, “Reignite,” has a vibe not dissimilar
to Patrick Watson in its own nostalgic and
mournful way. It’s a song of loss and not being
The Northwest Passage gear up for lush new album.
able to go back to a remembered place.
“‘Reignite’ is about a childhood friend of mine who
passed away a short while ago, but it’s not really a sad
song. It’s more about wanting to be back in that place
that we were as kids. It takes a bit of a sad turn when
I reflect on our friendship falling apart as we went to
different social circles later on, but it’s hopeful as well,”
van Kampen reflects.
Title track “A_WAKE” is a slow burn that rides
cathartic waves of brief intensity into moments of
introspection. “Negative Space” depicts a snowedin
family as fear sets in against an unseen enemy.
Its claustrophobic theme butts up against the large
production of bowed strings, layered electric guitar
and lush harmonies. Fellow Albertan Clinton St. John
appears by way of a beautifully-played cover track.
“I think my favourite track on the album is actually
a song that I’ve always adored. Even though I tend
to lean away from doing covers whenever possible, I
really wanted to take a crack at his song, ‘In Corners
We Grow.’ Clinton and I have been pals for a long
time, and this song is always getting in my head.
He released the song a couple of times on different
albums with different takes on it, both of them
gorgeous. My wife and I both really fell in love with
this song on road trips, and so it brings super positive
feelings to me all the time. I’m also really proud of
our interpretation because while it’s quite a different
take from Clinton’s version. I really think it does
justice to the song.”
The depth and breadth of the band’s efforts is on full
display with this release, and is a perfect way to tune out
the world on a grey winter day.
A_WAKE will be released at The Ship & Anchor with
accompaniment from SAvK, and Clinton St. John on
& THE SPANKS
getting stranger on new 7”
Miesha Louie gets her spanks in formation with new release.
“I beer,” laughs Miesha Louie of her first
first met Danny at Sled Island 2011 by
sneaking backstage and drinking his
meeting with Danny Farrant, current drummer
of The Buzzcocks. “I ended up being his tour
guide for the rest of the festival.” Now, five years
later the U.K.-based Farrant is returning the
favour, this time as Louie’s tour guide. The guy
who’s been travelling the world playing “What
Do I Get” and “Ever Fallen in Love,” along with
frequent collaborator Paul Rawson, has landed
double duty in the producer chair and behind
the mixing board of Miesha & the Spanks’
upcoming 7”: Stranger.
Farrant and Rawson aren’t the only new blood
answering the call for the Spanks’ first vinyl release
since 2013’s Girls, Like Wolves. Drummer Sean
Hamilton (Jenny, Julius Sumner Miller), who
originally planned to round out the two-piece
in a short-term auxiliary role, felt an immediate
connection with both Louie’s previous catalogue
and the songs poised to become Stranger. “I was
really nervous when I started. I learned probably
12 songs in two days for a show to cover, then
when I showed up, Miesha was just like, ‘Play
them however you feel it.’ The style that Miesha
plays makes me feel like I’m 15 years old again,
just pounding my drums in the basement,” beams
Hamilton of his beats that swirl between driving
Queens of the Stone Age-style rhythms and ‘60s
pop familiarity. “I try to either accent the hell out
of the parts or stay perfectly flat so they can just
live on their own. There’s no middle ground.”
It’s this natural feeling resonating through
the title track and B-side “Motorin’” that makes
the 7” such a step forward for the band. “I feel
really re-energized about the whole thing,”
by Brett Sandford
photo: Sebastian Buzzalino
smiles Louie of the finished product. Stranger
sees the band making confident adjustments
from the head-on rock-and-roll stylings of past
Spanks releases, with some calculated moves
into mid-oughts Josh Homme-ian style territory.
“We worked with Danny a lot on co-writes,”
continues Louie of the process, “he rearranged
the songs a lot and really cleaned them up.
It’s big. It’s cool. Sean is also a songwriter, and
he does some really interesting things. I have
someone here that I can bounce not only drum
ideas off of, but also song ideas.”
Recorded at Calgary’s OCL studios with
engineer Josh Gwilliam over three days, Louie
and Hamilton batted the tracks across the pond
nightly with Farrant, taking full advantage of the
8-hour time change across the Atlantic to keep
the momentum going. “Working long distance
was funny, recording all day, sending it to Danny
at night, then he’d get us his notes before we woke
up and we’d keep recording with his changes the
next day,” explains Louie of exploring the right
tones and dialing the arrangements of the songs.
Throughout the changes and new team behind
the project, Louie’s scrappy rock-and-roll beating
heart still remains the distinct centerpiece of the
sound. Stranger not only serves as an exciting
sample size of what to expect from the upcoming
Girls, Girls, Girls full-length that the Spanks are
expecting deeper into 2017, it also lives on its own
as their best work to date.
Miesha & the Spanks release Stranger October 4th,
with shows at Edmonton’s UP+DT Fest on October
7th at The Starlite Room, and in Calgary with two
shows: 18+ at The Palomino on October 8th and
all-ages at Broken City on October 9th.
32 | OCTOBER 2016 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE
heavy metal mining in the sunshine
words and photo by Levi Manchak
you noodle around to find riffs, or do you approach writing
with a more defined idea?
LT: Practically every single one of my songs - or at least the ones
I like best - were written without an instrument in sight. They’re
formed in the shower, at the office, walking around eavesdropping.
A phrase or an image or the squeaky break of a rusty Tercel
will leap out at me as unimpeachably mellifluous and I’ll have the
nucleus of a song then and there.
BR: Besides the core members of Diamond Mind (Liam, Aidan,
Matthew) are there any guest musicians appearing on Heavy
LT: In addition to the core members, the album features some local
Edmonton flavour. Cantoo’s Aaron Parker, Mitchmatic, then-member
Ian’s brother Andrew and our very own Aidan made up the Last
Minute Brass Ensemble (“Tijuana give that another go or should we
auto-tune it?”) heard on the title track. Also, in addition to engineering
and arranging, Jesse Northey stepped up to play synthesizer here
and there. Finally, and most importantly, we coerced our best pal
Samantha Savage Smith into singing with me on the sad, millennial
duet “Webster’s,” making for what is probably my favourite moment
on the album.
BR: Some of the lyrics on Heavy Metal Sunshine are playfully
literate. Are you a big reader? Have books or poetry found
their way into the thematic content on the album?
LT: I initially want to answer “no” but scanning back through the songs
I realize there are a few literary influences tucked here and there. American
lit’s favorite gasbag Jonathan Franzen taught me the term “anhedonia,”
which, in addition to fuelling album track “The Janks,” provided me
with a catch-all excuse for all my maladies on the order of fibromyalgia.
Album track “Hades Proper” is a pretty ham-fisted dilution of the myth
of Persephone. Finally - and this is my favourite - the album contains a
Lord of the Rings reference so blatant you’ll miss it your first few times
through. I haven’t decided whether I’m embarrassed about that yet.
BR: How long did Heavy Metal Sunshine take to finish?
LT: One year and one month.
After mining a few EP nuggets, Diamond Mind unearths their first full-length.
BR: How did you connect with Wyatt Records for the release?
LT: Our relationship with Wyatt Records grew right out of our friendship
with Samantha Savage Smith. She’s been our biggest supporter, and an
incredible compass since the beginning and when Wyatt was conceived I
feel like it was a pretty natural step to stumble into their beckoning arms.
Even the title of their first LP Heavy Metal Sunshine shines a
spotlight bright enough to leave a sunburn on Diamond Mind’s
ability to craft clever irreverence into a graceful statement.
The music of Heavy Metal Sunshine takes a similar path, navigating
baroque-pop sensibilities with a compass and map aiming toward
classic indie rock. When BeatRoute asked primary songwriter Liam
Trimble about the group and their new LP, he enlisted his narrative
skills transforming our questions into this charming, quixotic interview.
BeatRoute: How was Diamond Mind formed?
Liam Trimble: We were formed about one billion years ago in
the Earth’s mantle, as carbon-bearing minerals were subjected to
unthinkable pressure and heat forming a cubic crystal lattice that
would, many, many years later, be excavated from a shitty Edmonton
bungalow basement jam space.
BR: How did Heavy Metal Sunshine come to be?
LT: After a run of fun-sized EPs, we decided to append a couple of extra
songs to the end of the next one and call it a long player. The previous
releases were quick and easy cassettes that just barely let us stretch our
musical legs. With Heavy Metal Sunshine we went into a studio proper
(Edmontone, under the supervision of Jesse Northey) and spent a much,
much longer time layering and tamping down sounds.
BR: Are the songs on Heavy Metal Sunshine written as a band
or are you the main songwriter?
LT: In terms of songwriting, let’s just say that the majority of the time
I, Liam, am bringing in the slab of angel food and then we all have a bit
of fun with the icing guns. And the result is an off-putting, off-brand
BR: I recall you mentioning that you’d started playing guitar
in your teenage years, had you played other instruments or
sung earlier? Did you take lessons?
LT: I still have the synthesizer my sister and I received for Christmas when
I was maybe eight years old but it wasn’t until the summer of Edgefest,
‘90s Alt, and blue camo bucket hats that the spark really took and
the guitar became my life. It would be about another decade before I
opened my mouth to sing.
Concerning the guitar, I only had the privilege of going to lessons twice
and they were with a man who was as equally in love with Steve Ray
Vaughan as I was so we were quite a match before the plug was pulled.
BR: There’s a distinct refinement to the songs on Heavy Metal
Sunshine. Where do you cultivate your inspiration from? Do
BR:Has living as an artist in Edmonton had any effect on the
songs or creation of Heavy Metal Sunshine?
LT: Edmonton is in absolutely every crevice and pore of this album.
In spite of the title, recording sessions would start in the pitch black 6
p.m. of an Edmonton winter evening and I feel like that’s tangible in the
creaks of our voices and our stiff little digits trying to hammer out the
songs. Less tangibly (far less tangibly), these songs and the images they
fire in my brain as the songwriter - they all represent a row of sad little
snow globes lined up on a windowsill. Each one is a moment of my life in
this city, trapped in a little bubble, moments in our dim bars, weird little
parks, on our pockmarked streets.
BR: Any general thoughts on the Edmonton music scene?
LT: I’ve spent the past 20 minutes trying to patch together a Miller
analogy describing how Edmonton produces the champagne of weirdo
bullshit music but it sucked. Edmonton is beautiful and warped and will
always be my home.
BR: What’s next for Diamond Mind?
LT: Two words: the moon.
Diamond Minds’ Heavy Metal Sunshine is out via Wyatt Records on
34 | OCTOBER 2016 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE
jazzy songstress exposes vulnerability on sophomore album
Without a doubt it’s been a long and
winding road to Billie Zizi’s burgeoning
career in “gypsy jazz.” Zizi’s initial
flirtation with music transformed into dedicated
commitment over the last seven years leading to
her sophomore album, Moon of Honey.
Initially Zizi planned to work in international
development and set out to travel and volunteer
with the Canada World Youth program in her
late teens. Upon returning home she discovered
her dad had booked them a gig at an art gallery
“When I came back to Canada, I had no idea
what I was doing,” she laughs. “My dad was
like, ‘Oh, I got us a gig!’ I told him I wasn’t really
good at guitar and he basically said that it didn’t
matter. So we did this gig playing background jazz
music and I really liked it. I practiced really hard
and then I got into the Grant MacEwan music
Nearly eight years later, Zizi has toured the
country by rail, has put out one full-length album
and is set to release her second. Moon of Honey
marks a very important shift artistically for Zizi
who wrote the album from a much different place
than the first.
“I was very devastated during the recording of
this album. I guess I’m proud I did a thing when I
was sad,” says Zizi.
The results speak for themselves. The new
record is a dreamy meander through Zizi’s heart,
taking the listener places they may have been
WENCHES & ROUGUES
Celtic romp cranked right up
The adage “you can never trust a book buy its cover” can be
applied to many aspects of one’s life including movie watching,
cookbook buying, and cd listening. With cover art depicting
traditional Irish iconography, a ghostly pirate ship tossed to the torrent
of a savage sea on a planet that looks like it is ruled with an iron fist by
a group of helmet wearing, unpronounceable named, super powered
deities, your record better deliver.
With their self-titled debut full-length album, Wenches & Rogues
bandmates Kristen Ratzlaff (vocals, oboe, whistle), Pierre Bazin (bagpipes,
whistles, vocals), Trevor Merrigan (lead guitar), Booker Blakely
(fiddle), Carmela Brockman (accordion, Keys), Austin Heagy (bass),
and Brady Kirwan (drums) bring their unique musical influences, artistic
backgrounds, and personal histories to create an album exuding
an energetic musical joy, an album to draw-in musicians, fans, and
Opening with “Scotland the Brave”, listeners are immediately hit the
big, familiar sound of a bag pipe playing one of the most recognizable bag
pipe songs in history. From tradition to fusion, big electric guitars kick in
with Scotland leading a charge in rusty El Caminos and polished Mustangs
with metal heads, kilt wearing patriots, and muscle bound rough necks
hanging out the windows, pelting neighboring countries with haggis and
thumb worn copies of Trainspotting.
“Surrender” is a mix of metal, traditional tin whistle, soaring lead vocals
with a grindcore background vocal line coalescing in a tightly arranged,
and played, track. The multi-influenced track is seamless in drawing
upon each members’ musical influences. “Twisted” starts with a RHCP
influenced bass line before Kim Wilde comes in and kicks Anthony Kiedis
off the mic.
“Mud Hardy’s” is a cleanly played traditional tune proving Wenches and
Rogues multi-genre approach comes from a place of true musicianship
Billie Zizi embraces vulnerability in her sophomore effort.
unwilling to explore within themselves. Hopeless
romantics will love the subtle loneliness in her
voice, while guitar nerds will love her dirty solos,
dripping with hints of Wilco and soaked in reverb.
A huge fan of music since she was a kid, she
isn’t afraid to take cues from artists she admires,
including one Icelandic icon. “When I was writing
this album I listened to so much Björk,” Zizi reveals.
“I made myself listen to more Björk than I
thought I could stand. It was kind of an experiment.
I would go on a run and listen to her last
album, Vulnicura. I listened to that album so
much that I was sick of it and almost hated it,” she
laughs. “But I feel like I got a deeper understanding
of it listening to the whole thing every day.”
Not only does she draw inspiration from
and sound musical choices. Combining other traditional tunes like “Mist
Covered Mountains”, “Paddy’s Leather Breeches” with originals, there is an
over-all love, and appreciation, of music, a tone of comradeship and joy, of
sharing musical gifts and passing them to a family member, your neighbor,
or new audience member. It is the sense of being in a song circle with John
McDermott, Lorenna McKennitt, the Pogues, Pat Benatar, Evanescence,
Dropkick Murphys, and Veil of Maya.
The Rosetta Stone to this record is how well-blended and balanced the
musical influences work in the arrangements. At no point does this album
seem self-aware, tongue-and-cheek or other hyphenated phrases; it is an
by Brittany Rudyck
artists like Björk, she also draws deeply from
the family well. Her father, Cam Neufeld, is a respected
musician in Edmonton and around the
world. He played a huge part in both of Zizi’s
albums as well as educated her in the plight of
the professional artist.
“I think I’m really lucky because I had a healthy
perspective on what it is to be a working musician
right off the bat. I didn’t have any misconceptions
about how glamorous it was or if there was any
sort of money or fame. I grew up going to a lot of
music festivals and I was exposed to a lot of music.
I think that helped create my musical roots,
my palette and my artistic propensity, in a way.”
Neufeld will be joining her onstage for her
upcoming album release show, which she assures
will be magical.
“I have a little bit of synesthesia, so sound
comes across as shapes to me,” she muses. “So,
when we’re onstage and everything is connected, I
get this music bubble that’s all over me. I don’t really
see it. I just feel it. It’s like this light halo and at
the risk of sounding new-agey, I think the music is
really something you can meditate in and ascend
to be connected to something that’s bigger and so
much more important than the sound.”
Catch the groove at Billie Zizi’s album release at the
Needle Vinyl Tavern in Edmonton on October 21st
with the Sumner Brothers and Karimah. Stay tuned
for confirmed dates on her cross-Canada tour later
honest, heart-felt, successful attempt at melding diverse musical cultures.
With cover art that needs to be painted on as many 1970s beige vans as
humanly possible, Wenches and Rogues is a tribute to music lovers of all
tribes and banners to come together, to celebrate, and to rejoice in music’s
Check out Wenches and Rogues son Soundcloud ( soundcloud.com/
wenchesandrogues), Reverbnation (https://www.reverbnation.com/
wenchesandrogues) and the usual social media suspects.
• The Riz
BEATROUTE • OCTOBER 2016 | 35
BOOK OF BRIDGE
THE LAST SLICE
a final farewell to a local favourite
by Tyler Stewart
On August 27th, the longest-running music
venue in Lethbridge permanently closed its
doors. After 11 years of operations under
brothers Jesse and Tyler Freed, The Slice was not just
the most consistent place to see live music in town,
but a breeding ground for the local music scene, and
to many, a second home.
“I discovered The Slice because of a Sun-Rype juice
commercial, actually,” explains Jesse Northey, namesake
of the art-pop group Jesse and the Dandelions, and a
Lethbridge-raised musician now living in Edmonton. “I
searched out the song from the commercial to discover
it was Said The Whale, and weirdly enough, they were
actually playing The Slice the next day.”
As an 18-year-old just starting out in the music
scene, that concert made a huge impact on Northey
as he began playing shows, hosting jam nights and
promoting concerts himself at The Slice.
“It’s really a testament to the community of Lethbridge,
how The Slice brought people together for
music and developed friendships,” Northey says. “It
gave me an opportunity to get up and play with people
that were way beyond my skill level, but in a way I
could learn and grow. I haven’t found another place
that’s been that supportive.”
Local songwriter and occasional bartender Shaela
Miller can testify to receiving the same support – even
having her face chosen for the iconic mural that graces
the outside of the building.
“My very first show at The Slice was the night the
mural was completed,” Miller says. “The Slice was like
home to me and to so many other local musicians and
music lovers alike.”
While The Slice nurtured the local music scene, it
also played a role in developing more of a pan-Albertan
music community, offering a consistent place for touring
bands to route through. From hosting the kick-off
to the Swig of Alberta travelling festival, to providing
guarantees to touring acts that would otherwise
never stop in Lethbridge, The Slice went out on a limb
night after night to help musicians connect with local
“There were plenty of bands like July Talk, Hollerado,
Said the Whale, and others that chose to spend
valuable time there,” Northey says. “It was The Slice
making these types of shows happen. Without them
taking that risk, the Lethbridge music scene would not
be what it is today.”
While the scene will soldier on, thanks to newer
venues like The Owl and Attainable Records, Lethbridge
has not only lost the best thin crust pizza in
the province (if you ate there, you’ll know), but a place
where friends were made, passions were encouraged,
and community was built.
“The Slice closing almost feels like a painful breakup,”
Miller laments. “The kind of breakup where you are
both still deeply in love, but know in your heart it is
over and there is no turning back.”
The end of an era is Lethbridge arrives with the closing of hub The Slice.
photo: Jon Martin
music to consume you by Courtney Faulkner
Being hypnotized into a trance by the
delicately haunting, unearthly electronic
sounds that build into a great body bursting
climax is a common symptom of immersing
yourself into a Postnamers live performance. To
gain the full effect of this musical magic your
presence really is necessary.
“I’d say with Postnamers it’s 75 per cent
pre-planned and 25 per cent just feeling it,” says
Matthew Wilkinson, the creative front of Postnamers
who encapsulates your attention with
resounding vocals accompanied by disjointed
dance moves. “The songs are structured in a way
where even within the structure that does exist
there’s so much room for members of the band
to just do their own thing on top of it.”
“The improvisation is built into the song,”
says harpist Mary Wood, who also plays with
Wilkinson in her band Feverfew. “There are
times that everyone knows they can explode.”
“I like crescendos,” says Wilkinson, “And the
way we reach the crescendo will be different
These improvisational interludes are the
highlight of a Postnamers show, where all chaos
is released into a fury and you find yourself
completely present in your existence.
On October 15th you can fully enter your
body, as Postnamers plays with Melted Mirror
and Physical Copies at Attainable Records.
“Melted Mirror plays really clever synth-driven
pop,” says Wilkinson. “Their singer is really
charismatic, they’re a really fun band. And
photo: Levi Manchak
you can always dance your ass off to Physical
Keep tuned to a Postnamers album being
released in 2017.
“I’ve got a full record that’s full orchestration,
it’s huge sounding,” says Wilkinson. “It was four
years where all my spare moments were put into
music making or masturbation.”
Postnamers play with Melted Mirror and Physical
copies at Attainable Records October 15th.
tropical glam in a 12-string guitar
is a lot of strangeness that’s beautiful
and needs to be celebrated, which is
a lot of what J Blissette is rooted in,” says
Jackson Tiefenbach of their current musical project
and adopted artistic persona. “This is the opportunity
to do something that is uniquely my own.”
“Music is an avenue that allows me to be the
kind of person that I want to be, and to have the
freedom even just to be walking around wearing
as many scarves as I am at any given moment,”
says Blissette. “There’s some real self-expression
and honesty to the life of an artist.”
With a flair for floral shirts, black lipstick,
leather jackets and a quintessential light up
pink flamingo as the fifth band mate on stage, J
photo: Meghan MacWhirter
by Courtney Faulkner
Blissette “plays songs that sound like what Marc
Bolan would write if he spent three years getting
drunk in Havana, and had more of an interest in
government conspiracies and serial killers.”
A little bit dark, and a lot of fun, they’re one of
the new bands that arose from the ashes of what’s
been dubbed “The Great Band Death of 2016,”
a time where the Lethbridge scene experienced
numerous band breakups, and the closing of a
beloved music venue, The Slice.
Blissette, formerly The Ruby Plumes, experienced
a monumental shift in the past six months
after he quit drinking and his band broke up.
“Leading up to that point I had two consistencies
in my life,” says Blissette, “And that was drinking
and The Ruby Plumes, and those both left.”
“You have these things in your life, and they
keep you stable, they hold you down... that went
away,” says Blissette. “I no longer have getting
black out drunk to look forward to, so I have to
find actual things that make me happy, or make
me a better person, to look forward to.”
“I got sober, and with that came, ‘There went
your last excuse to be doing anything other than
great things.’ So let’s really focus and try really hard,
and learn to sing, and learn to be a bit more of a
frontman, and make better music,” says Blissette.
“Now I’m in a group of the best musicians available
who are just great people working very hard, and
putting more work into the music than ever.”
J Blissette plays with Flatbed and Blü Shorts October
28th at the Lethbridge Fish and Game Hut.
36 | OCTOBER 2016 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE
letters from winnipeg
embrace nostalgia as vice by Julijana Capone
Duotang are back with a new album after a 15-year hiatus.
Winnipeg bass-and-drum combo Duotang have a new
record, called New Occupation, their first full-length
since 2001. Considering the band’s demise began in
Calgary (during an argument-turned-fist-fight over ordering
chicken or pizza), it only makes sense then that the reformed
duo should launch a Western Canadian tour in support of
the album from the same city where, over a decade ago, it all
After a string of successful reunion shows in 2014 and 2015,
which led to some new material surfacing, all signs had been
pointing to a new album. While Duotang’s sound has always
been informed by a number of sources, on New Occupation they
haven’t lost sight of those garage-infused touches. With 15 more
years in, it’s confident, minimalist rock ‘n’ roll fuzz ornamented
with vox and self-aware lyrics. Not of one particular time, and still
best served live.
“I was ready to be done after our first reunion show in Winnipeg
at The Good Will,” says drummer Sean Allum. “It was like
this perfect night. We played great. Everybody loved it. I was the
one pushing to do that show. Rod didn’t really want to do it. Then
Rod brought in these new songs… This is by far our best album.
Duotang 2016 is what Duotang 2001 always wanted to be.”
“We have nothing to worry about and nothing to prove,” adds
vocalist/bassist Rod Slaughter. “That’s a nice feeling. We’re just
making music that feels right.”
The album’s tongue-in-cheek lead track sets the tone with the
repeating refrain “nostalgia’s a vice and I lack self-restraint,” a jab at
those who’re stuck in the past. “We all know people like that, who
are like, ‘It’s not good if it’s not from 1966,’” says Slaughter. “By the
end of the song, I realize I’m the exact same way. I’m that person
that I’m complaining about.”
While two-thirds of the album’s content is new, some of the
material was written at different times. “Friends,” for instance,
originally appeared on the band’s first 7-inch. Even still, it all comes
together into a cohesive narrative, commenting on the struggle
to balance work and responsibilities (“New Occupation”) while
fulfilling other passions (“That’s What Keeps Us Alive”).
“I think the main theme is poking fun at people like us
that are working a 9-to-5, and are still focused on doing
the right thing to keep the roof over our heads,” explains
photo: Jason Halstead
Slaughter. “But we’re not whole, we don’t feel right. We
need to fill our lives with other things—whether they’re
creative or destructive.”
In the decade or so following their split, both members have
settled into careers, and Allum now has two children (his 11-yearold
daughter, Abby, appears in the mods-versus-rockers-themed
video for “Karma Needs to Come Around”).
Despite the fact that Duotang never did achieve any substantial
level of notoriety, they still managed to make a permanent mark
on many within the Canadian indie-rock scene of the late-‘90s and
“If there was ever anything to say about Duotang, it’s what this
guy once told me in Calgary,” says Allum. “He said: ‘You’re never
gonna make it, but you’ll influence some bands.’ At the time it
was kind of a knock on us, but you talk about Duotang now with
people that were in the music scene, and they really liked us. We
never had a huge audience. The small following of fans that really
dug us, a lot of them were musicians.”
Now many of the musicians that got behind them in their heyday
are showing their support once again. Stomp Records founder
and Planet Smashers frontman Matt Collyer is releasing New
Occupation on his label. Vancouver power-pop act Uptights will
be joining Duotang on all of their Western Canadian tour dates.
Apparently, Uptights organist Jesse Gander (also a well-known
record producer) reached out to Slaughter after hearing the band
was putting out a new album. As well, Brent Oliver (Duotang’s
manager) will be resurrecting his long dismantled outfit, Slow
Fresh Oil, with Lyle Bell (of The Wet Secrets) for Duotang’s Edmonton
“Admittedly, we were never very big, and now most people
have no idea who we are,” says Slaughter. “But the fact that some
people who we really admire and respect are saying it’s great that
you’re doing this, that means the world to us.”
“It’s all coming back full circle,” says Allum.
Duotang perform at The Palomino on October 28 (Calgary), 9910
on October 29 (Edmonton), Canmore Hotel on November 2 (Canmore),
The Biltmore on November 3 (Vancouver) Copper Owl on
November 4 (Victoria) and The Good Will on November 12 (Winnipeg).
To purchase New Occupation, head to stomprecords.com.
indie-pop newcomer takes a leap forward
by Julijana Capone
20. All of my friends are 20. We’re all just so dysfunctional,” says Winnipeg
indie-pop wunderkind Micah Visser. “You can’t expect to have
your shit together at this age.”
The up-and-coming singer-songwriter is talking about the inspiration behind
his new EP, Forward, a document of “the strange, fearful step into adulthood,”
according to his bio, where the future is so exciting yet so uncertain.
“It’s a very strange time, because everything just feels so up in the air,” he
says. “A lot of things change really fast.”
The album’s second track, “Keeping Up,” about dysfunctional relationships,
adds to the premise, shimmering with sunny synth-pop sounds and Visser’s
endearing vocal awkwardness. “The idea of two dysfunctional people trying to
help each other seems like a good idea in theory, but a lot of the time it just
perpetuates the cycle of dysfunction,” he says. “You don’t know why you’re
keeping up with this person, but you just keep on doing it.”
Before he was out of high school, Visser had released a handful of folk-inspired
bedroom recordings, culminating into his first full-length, ok night,
in 2015. While Visser’s previous works have been self-produced solo efforts,
Forward is his first record with the inclusion of a full band—which happens to
include his brother and long-time collaborator, Joseph, on guitar.
“My brother has been huge every step of the way,” says Visser. “It’s been
really exciting for me to take these parts that I’ve written that are fairly simple
and take them to people that are so great at their instruments. They just take
it that much further.”
The album, as Visser notes, was not just about moving forward personally,
but also musically, and allowing himself to be more open to collaboration.
“I felt like I had gone as far as I could go with the sound on ok night, especially
live,” says Visser. “I wanted to give people something that was a little
more fun live without detracting from the emotion of the music.
“Part of me, before especially, just wanted music to be about me,” he
continues. “I just wanted it to be my little thing… I think of music more as a
shared thing now.”
Micah Visser performs at Swing Machine Factory on October 6 (Edmonton), Broken
City on October 7 (Calgary), and Vangelis Tavern on October 13 (Saskatoon). For
more information, head to micahvisser.com
Indie-pop wunderkind Micah Visser keeps moving forward.
photo: Joseph Visser
BEATROUTE • OCTOBER 2016 | 37
far from sombre – everchanging and effervescent
Sorrow is focusing on the chill.
It was 2012. Peak dubstep was right around the
corner, and every bedroom producer wanted a
piece of the pie. YouTube was replete with scores
of channels promoting all sorts of bare-bones
140bpm noise that blended into itself. SoundCloud
wasn’t much better. But amongst the chatter a few
names kept popping up, stubbornly refusing to go
quietly into this formulaic howling abyss.
fostering community and honing her craft
Bass Coast festival has been making increasingly
far-reaching and eye-catching waves
in its past few years. This year they sold out
of tickets before the lineup dropped, and they
continually strive to cultivate an atmosphere of inclusivity
and acceptance in a setting teaming with
incredible art and stage installations with a world
class lineup of international and regional talent.
The festival was founded by two women: Liz
Thompson and Andrea Graham. Graham’s life largely
is dominated by two things: Bass Coast, and her
work as a DJ/producer under her alias The Librarian.
BeatRoute had the opportunity to catch up with her
during her long drive back to her home in Squamish,
B.C. from Symbiosis festival in California, which was
her last festival performance of a very busy summer.
“I’ve been away almost every week since June,”
Graham says. “I am looking forward to getting home
and spending some time getting creative and making
music. And we’re already well under way working
away on Bass Coast 2017 as well, so it’s kind of my
plan for the next two months – to stick a little closer
to home and work on music and Bass Coast.”
Graham has a multi-tiered past which includes
schooling for jazz piano, hotel management and a
nearly completed B-COMM which she left in order to
start a coffee shop, which is what she did right before
she started Bass Coast.
After returning home from California, Graham
says she will be taking two weeks off from shows in
Sorrow was one of the good ones. He spent years
building enough momentum to escape a purely online
presence, culminating in his first North American
appearance this past summer, as well as a headlining
slot at Shambhala.
Unwilling to confine himself to one genre, Sorrow’s
endlessly versatile and bold style translates into a
challenging but rewarding presence in the realm of
early October for some much needed down time,
that will however include a lot of work on Bass Coast
2017. Then, in November, she plans to dedicate the
whole month to making music.
“I feel like my creative process has changed a lot
over the years because as Bass Coast is demanding
more of my time it actually creates a lot less time for
making music,” Graham explains. “So only in the past
year have I been trying to dedicate more of my day or
my week towards that and also try to learn as much
from my friends and the people that are around me.”
That sense of community and channeling inspiration
from those around you is a huge component of
what makes Bass Coast so special. Everyone from the
artists and organizers to the volunteers and attendees
are encouraged to dive in headfirst.
“We want everyone to be able to participate
whether that is through an official way or even just
by participating in the theme or going to a workshop
or meeting your neighbours – it’s all about everyone
really getting involved in whatever way they can.”
Shambhala, (another festival Graham headlined
this summer) selling out in one day is yet another
indication that these types of festivals are only getting
more and more popular. Bass Coast tickets go on sale
mid October and Graham states they are “preparing
for a rush.” The unprecedented sellout of tickets for
2016’s festival presented one of the biggest hurdles
for Graham and the other organizers; they had to
work even harder to preserve the intimate, consistent
electronic music. “I think I’m known for spontaneously
switching up my style over the years now, for better
or worse. I’ve always found it very hard to stick to
one style and it’s almost as if I just get bored with my
sound palette.” he explains.
“I make electronic music which is predominantly
mellow [and] chilled out, but I dabble in all sorts
of sounds ranging from aggressive grime to purely
This explorative attitude stems from a palette
of influences as broad as it is deep. Not only does
Sorrow draw ideas from acts such as Oxide & Neutrino,
Wiley, Loefah and Skream, but also from his surroundings.
“I actually grew up in Birmingham, which
played a huge role as a city during the Industrial
Revolution. It’s filled with old factories and buildings
from the late 19th and early 20th century, which isn’t
the nicest to look at day in day out, so it has a very
derelict and destitute vibe to it.”
Throw in a U.K. upbringing in the heyday of
garage, grime and dubstep, and it’s no small wonder
that the soundscapes he crafts elicit so much
emotion. His collaborations with Asa, Culprate and
KOAN Sound (born out of a charitable effort for
Movember) are an interesting exploration of blissful
melancholy, an elegant epitome of each artist’s
palette and commonalities.
Moving forward, Sorrow aims to continue blazing
that bold trail of genre-busting brilliance – a
mission motivated by the stream-once-and-forget
nature of music nowadays. “I have always thought
Bass Coast, making music, and something you may not know about The Librarian.
vibe and maintain a space that “fosters community.”
Listening to her speak about her craft or her festival,
the two primary things that demand the most of
her time and energy, or hearing one of her painstakingly
crafted – yet seemingly effortlessly executed
– live sets, her passion and dedication are unmistakable.
When asked what one thing about herself that
readers may not know might be, unrelated to her role
with Bass Coast or The Librarian, she responded:
“Outside of music and Bass Coast, I live in the
mountains and I love mountain biking, and that’s
by Max Foley
that it’s very important for music to be memorable,
especially in this day and age with the constant
stream of new music online, so I try to make uncomplicated
but catchy music with just the right
amount of variation throughout. I think humans
by their very nature are attracted to repetitive
music at least to an extent, so I try to incorporate
that into my music [too.]”
The man’s passion is palpable, matching his
knack for pumping out quality content. Sorrow
has a grime EP releasing soon; he’s also in the midst
of working on another EP that’s on the other end
of the spectrum – what he describes excitedly as,
paradoxically, “more chilled out music.” Surely,
attendees at his Calgary show will be regaled with
tasters from both.
What else does Sorrow have planned for the
“I’m hoping to work with more singers and MCs
in the future, so you can expect some featured artists
on future tunes. I’m in a place now where I feel that
focusing on my chilled out music is the right thing for
me, so I’m getting back in touch with that emotional
side of my music.” he explains.
He closes with a promise: if you catch him on one
of his North American dates, you won’t regret it.
“Good music will be played across the spectrum!” he
declares. If the past is anything to go off of, it’s hard
not to believe him.
Sorrow plays Nite Owl in Calgary on October 14th.
by Paul Rodgers
photo: Third Eye Arts
why I call Squamish home… It’s close enough to the
city to be able to travel and have that sort of music
and urban fix, but I’m also in the mountains and I get
a lot of inspiration for music and Bass Coast as well
while I’m riding my mountain bike.”
These are the things she lives for, and her fans and
festival attendees remain forever grateful and in awe
of that fact.
Catch the Librarian at work on October 29th at the
BEATROUTE • OCTOBER 2016 | 39
footwork mastery and the history of Jeremy Howard’s music
Jeremy Howard suggested Local 510’s video game
night as the spot to meet up for his interview
with BeatRoute; an appropriate setting given
that he based his musical moniker Sinistarr off of the
1982, Asteroids-esque arcade game Sinistar.
Howard was born in Detroit and has been hard at
work developing an extensive back catalogue since
around 2007. He first heard of Calgary in 2013 through
Sheena Jardine-Olade when she interviewed him for a
piece FREQ Magazine wrote on the Movement festival
where Sinistarr performed.
He met some of her friends and, after some conversing,
was convinced to come check out festivals like Bass
Coast and Shambhala in the summer of 2014. And then
in early 2015 played a show in Calgary.
“I played Habitat March 2015 and then it kind of fell
into place there,” Howard explains. “I kind of fell in love
with the city.”
“I think [the city] has heart and they have their ear
to the ground properly on what’s going on around here,
or what’s going on outside of Calgary and outside of
Canada in general – as opposed to other cities where
they have a small scene and they’re kind of fighting back
against the bigger scene, people [in Calgary] are going
out on Fridays and Saturdays you go to the clubs and
people are going to check out stuff.”
Detroit still holds a place deep within Howard. He
has family and friends there, and the city’s sounds still
influence the music he makes.
“It would be nice to see them again, because I haven’t
been back since I moved,” Howard says. “I’d like
to go back and see them and just see old friends and
things like that. The scene’s nice; everyone’s still kind
of vibing. We have this saying that’s like, we’re still
here if you’re not, we’ll still be here. So I know they’re
still gonna be there.”
From Detroit to Calgary, Sinistarr continues being prolific in releases.
by Paul Rodgers
Howard’s influences, of course, are not limited to his
city of origin alone. Going through his mammoth list of
original tunes, remixes and collaborations is staggering.
He has released drum and bass for legendary and varied
labels like Hospital, Renegade Hardware and Goldie’s
Metalheadz. He gained a great deal of notoriety as a
DNB producer and then moved forward and started
making footwork, which gained him even more attention.
He has also produced house and techno and seen
releases on labels like Juke Trax, Tectonic and Human Elements,
as well as joining up with Urban Tribe, an outfit
founded by Stingray313 that has hosted Carl Craig and
Moodyman among others.
Most recently, he made a five-track EP for
D.Bridge’s Exit Records; an imprint Howard would
feel quite at home with. The new tracks all hover
around the 165 BPM mark and showcase his talents
at crafting footwork.
“I feel like they’ve been on it, ‘cause I did that BBC
mix recently and I was actually talking to the press guy
for Exit and I was like, ‘yeah, I’m actually really happy
I did this mix because there’s a lot of stuff in the 160
range, 160-165 range that I was able to play and most of
it was on Exit’ and he said, ‘Yeah that means we’re on to
something good.’ Sure enough they had like at least four
or five releases out that I was able to play that were just
solid like that so I think their programming is changing
[the] game anyway.”
While diversity in the content he produces has never
been an issue, Howard states he is happy with where
he is currently at and wants to just continue honing his
skills, and seeking out the perfect home for his eventual
Sinistarr plays alongside J:Kenzo at Sub Chakra’s five year
anniversary at Habitat on October 28th.
photo: Michael Benz
LET’S GET JUCY!
Hatcha will be at Habitat on October 20.
With September dispensed with we
can now settle in to the month of
October, with its last remaining
moderately nice days, pumpkin spice saturation
and every raver’s favourite holiday: Halloween!
This month, and especially the weekend of All
Hallow’s Eve, is outrageously jam-packed with
Noctilux has returned from a brief summer
sabbatical with a couple sterling bookings. First
off, on October 6th, they have Croydon’s Deft representing
20/20 LDN that also hosts such forward
thinking artists as Halogenix and Ivy Lab. This will
be a versatile night of genre bending tunes taking
place at Habitat.
Next up, on the 7th, an artist with a complicated
and captivating life story, and equally engaging
music, MNDSGN will bring his unique sounds to
The Hifi. Check him out online!
On the 8th, this time at Nite Owl, Manchester’s
big bossman Chimpo will perform what is sure to
be an unforgettable night. From his widely varied
production work that features collaborations with
recent supergroup Richie Brains, to his always
impressive DJ sets, to his booming, baritone voice
which he has lent as an MC to countless tunes this
may be one of the shows of the year.
There is a CJSW funding drive taking place on
the 9th at Commonwealth presented by Dirty
Needles and Shaolin Sundays featuring, among
others DJ Cosm. Get down there and show some
support one of the world’s greatest independent
Noctilux gang come correct yet again with
their immense booking of Hatcha, a man largely
responsible for helping to forge and maintain the
sound of proper dubstep. Deep heads don’t sleep!
This goes down on the 20th at Habitat.
On the 22nd you can walk the line between
hipster indie pop and Real Trap Shit with a victory
lap performance by Purity Ring at Mac Hall.
They’re stopping by midway between the release
of 2015 album Another Eternity and whatever the
heck they’ll get up to next. Why here? Why now?
Is the truth really out there? This show likely won’t
answer those questions, but it’s hard to imagine it
won’t deliver aesthetically and offer dedicated fans
a night out to remember.
October 27th marks the return of one of
Canada’s hottest bass music sensations: Ekali. With
support from one of Calgary’s finest producers
OAKK, you can safely wager you’re in for some big
Then again, you could choose to head to
everyone-under-18’s favourite venue, MacEwan
Hall, to see white rapper tour-de-force/Justin
Bieber acquaintance Post Malone on the 27th as
well. This major-label rapper is stopping in Calgary
between… Something, and another thing, maybe.
Enjoy the show, and study up with the online
story we likely lost after this column entry.
October 28th is a big one. Sub Chakra, who
began with humble origins at Sal’s on 17th turns
five and celebrates their incredible accomplishments
and growth over the years with one of the
best in the bass biz, J:Kenzo alongside Sinistarr and
founder Metafloor in addition to a massive lineup
of local talent.
That same day, Australia’s Mr. Bill brings his
mind bending production skills to Distortion.
The 29th has two gargantuan shows next
door to one another: Bass Coast founder and
extraordinary DJ/producer The Librarian performs
at the Hifi, while at Nite Owl 403DNB presents the
21st year of Fright Nite. This long-running Calgary
tradition this year features London heavyweights
Mob Tactics and The Prototypes with yours truly
warming things up at 9:00. (I’m allowed to mention
myself now and then, right?)
Phew. That’s a lot of music. Stay safe, stay
spooky and I’ll see you all again next month!
• Paul Rodgers (with antagonistic contributions
from Colin Gallant)
40 | OCTOBER 2016 • BEATROUTE JUCY
WIDE CUT WEEKEND
the first cut isn’t always the deepest
Alberta’s own roots artists are put on display during autumn multi-venue fest.
Last year was the year of the winter festival in
Calgary. Not only did we have a beautifully
mild season, but we had several new winter
music festivals come onto the scene. As the last
leaves fall off the trees, it’s time to bust out some
layers, put some thick tires on your bikes, and prepare
for round two of the winter festival circuit.
Wide Cut Weekend is back again after a wildly successful
first fest last fall. The multi-venue roots outing
features largely the same format as before, albeit with
a few new venues, a few new faces, and a drive to
smooth out a few of the rough edges.
“We really hit a nerve,” artistic director and host of
CKUA’s Wide Cut Country tells BeatRoute, “there is a
huge community that wants this kind of music.”
“From the launch party” of the festival, Brock and
the other Wide Cut organizers knew they wanted
to do it annually, but with an undertaking this large,
“you hope but you don’t know.”
Wide Cut Weekend operates as a non-profit society,
and thus relies on sponsorships, donations, and
grants to keep the doors open and the tunes rolling.
Given the increased availability for grants after a full
year of operation as a society, Brock and her crew had
their work cut out for them raking in enough support
to become sustainable.
Having a year under their belt also allowed them
to overhaul their volunteer program. “We knew
we had to take a more methodic approach,” Brock
attests, in order to get more “support” for the
photo: Peter Seale
organizers. As of writing time for this article, Wide
Cut Weekend is no longer accepting applications for
volunteers, so we anticipate that this year there be
plenty more friendly faces to usher and support your
journey from venue to venue.
The Wide Cut roster is severely stacked with
southern-souled song writing savants, but the key
trend between them is their place of origin. Most
of the strummers and singers lay their heads here in
cow country, and there is both a practical and artistic
reason for it. The initial vision for the festival involved
more touring artists, but when the organizers (almost
all of whom had never run a festival before) began
crunching the numbers associated with out-of-town
acts, they decided to look a little closer to home. All
by Liam Prost
involved are happy with the decision, and Wide Cut is
now proudly an Albertan artist-driven festival, with a
few exceptions for its second year.
Alberta doesn’t just mean Calgary, however. “We
have bands from all across the province and we have
audience members from all across the province,”
Brock tells us, “there is such a great crossover from
people from Calgary who had never seen that band
from Edmonton or Medicine Hat or whatever, and
Even as the festival grows and money for hotel
rooms becomes more available, Brock adamantly
proclaims, “I will always want to keep the heart of the
festival being Albertan.”
And grow the festival has, expanding to the
new (mostly) renovated King Eddy in the East
Village, both floors of the #1 Legion, the Oak
Tree in Kensington, The Blues Can in addition to
Mikey’s Juke Joint, and the Ironwood Stage and
Grill. Don’t fret the travel time between the Blues
Can and Oak Tree though, Wide Cut has crafted
a beautiful union with local party aficionados
BassBus to get patrons from venue to venue on
their titular music-mobile.
Wide Cut Weekend carries its namesake from
Allison Brock’s CKUA radio program Wide Cut
Country, but we’d advise you to scrub any negative
associations you might have with the twangy C-word.
Wide Cut Weekend prefers the term ‘roots,’ and has
booked acts that encompass the entire range of that
wonderfully vague qualifier.
“The name of the show was more geographical
than genre,” Brock argues, “the show launched in
2000” when the term “alt-country” was common
vernacular whereas now the term roots is a the
more-often quoted catch-all term for Americana,
folk, bluegrass, etc. Take a look around this section of
BeatRoute, for example.
“What commercial country does is very different
from what my show has done and what the festival
has done,” Brock attests. “The audiences are different.”
The acts are certainly different too, with artists ranging
from folk crooners to blues rockers.
Highlights include traditional-banjo songstress
Amy Nelson, whose turn-of-the-century (the 20th for
clarity) styling is second to none. Braden Gates will
be bringing some pretty finger picking to strike your
folk fancy. Del Barber will be fresh off a tour with the
hockey-song troubadours the No Regretzkys (check
out our full story on him later in the section). Up on
Cripple Creek will be waltzing like it’s their last time
to the songs from Big Pink and beyond, an act that
Allison Brock tells us will “rock your socks off.” Lucas
Chaisson will be bringing his rocking new tunes (and
rugged new beard). ‘90s Alberta super group Beautiful
Joe will be reuniting for the weekend featuring
Jane Hawley, Tim Leacock, Danny Patton, Steve Pineo
(who will also be performing under his own name at
the festival), and Ross Watson. Dave McGann will be
rustling up his heartfelt roots rock tunes. Kimberly
MacGregor will be singing her sweet and sultry songs.
And who can get enough of Justine Vandergrift’s clear
and relatable Americana?
Wide Cut Weekend runs October 13th-15th at several
venues across Calgary with transportation between
venues provided by BassBus. Day and weekend passes
are currently available.
BEATROUTE • OCTOBER 2016 | 43
Aussie blues unrefined, undefined
by B. Simm
Dressed completely in white
cotton, which is CW Stoneking’s trademark
style, he looks every bit the Southern Gentleman,
a ‘30s troubadour, roaming from house parlour
to hotel lounge. Sipping lemonade in the heat, then a
beer, a shot of whiskey. Playing for nickels and dimes,
not making much of anything, but manages to stay
fed, keep the grin on his face and somehow his jacket,
pants and shoes remain immaculate white.
Stoneking probably doesn’t roam from house
parlor to hotel lounge, although he may have the odd
beer and shot of whiskey. And the Australian native
isn’t really a Southern Gentleman. But the white suit
is indicative of one thing certain: he’s a purist committed
to jazz, blues and ragtime steeped in the raw,
untamed sounds of a distance past.
Jungle Blues was released in 2008 and while
Stoneking liked a lot of the ideas generated on that
recording, he wasn’t happy with the recording’s
“To mix the damn thing was just a nightmare.
It was recorded on Pro Tools, there were so many
tracks, and instruments and sound effects.”
In response to wrestling endlessly with the digital
process, Stoneking stripped the sessions down to a
single room on the next record with two mics connected
to a two-track tape machine that recorded a
set of drums, a bass, four female back-up singers and
Stoneking’s guitar amp. On his bandcamp page, the
making of Gon’ Boogloo is summed up by, “How it
arrived on the tape, is how it stayed.”
“Yeah,” says Stoneking on the phone from Nashville,
where he played the Americanafest the night
before, “I wasn’t intending to go as so simple as I did. I
sort of just happened.”
Hey, hey... start the season scrappin’
by B. Simm
a song,” admits Del Barber, “that I made fun of
in my youth. I thought it was lame and I was never
a Tom Cochrane fan. But the more I listented to
his stuff and his band, I saw them live, the more I thought
‘Man, this is the kind of song I wish I could write.’ It’s got
a huge chorus, it’s got a great story, it’s got substance, it’s
true. So I thought it was a ballsy thing to do and something
I wouldn’t get to do any other time.”
Barber manages to belt out Tom Cochrane’s “Big
League,” the iconic Canadian hockey hit, like Barber himself
was in the big league. He also manages to make the
song his own, along with handful of other quintessential
tracks like Stompin’ Tom’s “The Hockey Song,” and “Clear
The Track Here Comes Shack,” but also, surprisingly,
Garry Glitter’s “The Hey Song – Rock And Roll Pt. 2.”
Released last spring at the tail end of the hockey season,
Del Barber’s and the No Regretzky’s The Puck Drops Here
is a tough and tumble collection of covers and orginals
that Barber literally bashes through with wild abandon —
it’s a scrappy, but a thoroughly enjoyable game.
He says, “The record was an excuse to experiment and
use different templates and genres. It’s really fun music,
and the most fun record I’ve ever made. There were no
rules and we didn’t have time to think about it, we just
did what came naturally.”
Gon’ Boogaloo also happens to be fine document of
music made in its undistilled, excited dangerous state.
In addition to Stoneking’s blues purity, Boogaloo springs
off in different directions and happily dovetails into
calypso, reggae and bouncy feel-good dance hall. The
four backup singers comprised of two sets of sisters has
undeniable traces of ‘60s doo-wop, gospel and girl pop
lending to the record’s buoyancy and freshness.
It would seem that with his soul firmly planted
deep in the roots of America, Stoneking would have
toured that country from one end to the other by
now. Not the case. Securing a band has always been
a problem. Fortunately he’s found all that he needs
on this current trek with three females playing bass,
drums and sax along with providing back-up vocals.
“It’s a condensed version of what I had on the
record, and it’s been working out real well.”
C.W. Stoneking brings his blues purity and handsome
white suit to the Palomino, Monday, Oct. 10.
Del Barber might pull a Big League during Wide Cut Weekend.
He plays the Blues Can Fri., Oct. 14 and The Legion #1
Upstairs Sat., Oct. 15.
44 | OCTOBER 2016 • BEATROUTE ROOTS
PICTURE THE OCEAN
five years of hard touring brings duo back to Edmonton
The touring life can be exhilarating; every
day a new locale, some place your eyes have
never seen and may never see again, or the
familiar faces of friends you made the last time
you passed through. For Jesse Dee and Jacquie
Boisvert of Edmonton’s Picture the Ocean, their
five-year run as self-funded touring musicians
took them across Canada several times, through
Europe, America, and as far as India, giving them a
new perspective of their Prairie home.
“It took a bit of getting used to,” says Dee (pronounced
Dah-min-yoo), “I think we were looking for
that ‘sameness’ of day-to-day life for a while, rather
than just show-to-show-to-show. I still love driving,
checking out the little spots that we’ve come to
know, we love that, but we have a lot of good friends
in Edmonton that we never got to see very often,
and it’s been great to reconnect with them, and
start some new projects.” In addition to Picture the
Ocean, Dee purchased a live production company,
Listen Louder Productions, and holds down guitar
duties in Joe Nolan’s band, The Dogs. He and Boisvert
continue to maintain their long-held tenures in Scott
Cook’s band, The Long Weekends.
That sense of home is palpable on Something
Real, their new album recorded live to tape in a cabin
in Edmonton’s river valley, with engineer Scott Franchuk.
The warm and spare acoustic feel of the record
is enhanced by Dee and Boisvert’s personal intimacy,
their voices swirling in intricate harmony.
“I’d been reading a Neil Young biography, Shakey,
and it really made me want to do something
stretching beyond her former fairly odd folk
photo: Kristy-Anne Swart
Lauren Mann proclaims that the “world is a
beautiful place,” and on the Calgary native’s
latest release Dearestly, we broker a tinge of
her optimism through effortlessly catchy songs
as well as stripped down, natural ballads. Mann
found herself Inspired by the glean of the ‘40s as
well as the earnestness of “old Disney movies,”
entranced by the whimsy and beauty present in
both. Dearestly features tight harmonies that are
easy to enjoy and each song is filled with heartfelt
and sentimental lyrics. Whether the focus of the
by Mike Dunn
photo: Erin Walker
unadorned, really raw,” says Dee. “I don’t think it’s
the kind of record we can take into the bar circuit,
where, you know, you have the volume to make
sure the crowd will hear it. For a record like this, we’d
like to concentrate on house concerts, theatres, and
Picture The Ocean will release their second album,
Something Real, at The Aviary in Edmonton, Wednesday,
by Kennedy Enns
song is fun or covers some of the darker themes
across the album, she demonstrates her songwriting
Standout album cut “St. Lawrence” was inspired by
an exploration of a small island off the coast of Quebec
while on tour. The song’s chorus was written in
English, but translated into French in order for Mann
to pay homage to the idyllic island that helped inspire
the sultry anthem.
Dearestly is meant to be experienced all at once, as
Mann guides the listener through each of her songs,
bookending each of its five distinct movements with
an instrumental track, “Idyll” I through IV. Perfectly
paced, she’ll have your foot tapping before you even
notice in between her deeper, more introspective
moments, which contrast and complement Dearestly’s
After winning the CBC Searchlight contest in
2014, Lauren Mann is continually thankful for the
exposure the contest has brought her even after
she has re-invented her image. Having dropped the
mantle “The Fairly Odd Folk,” Mann now has more
freedom to explore her voice as a solo artist, as well as
invite different artists to join as her back-up band, she
promises fans that she’ll “always have a band playing
with [her] and they’ll always be fairly odd folk.”
Lauren Mann performs October 5th in Edmonton at
The Buckingham, October 7th at the The Slice in Lethbridge,
and October 9th in Calgary at the Ironwood
Grill and Stage. More tour dates across the prairies
can be found online.
Hamilton folkie’s meteoric rise just keeps on going
photo: Lisa Mcintosh
It would be simple enough to describe Hamilton-based
Terra Lightfoot’s rise through
the Canadian music scene in the past year as
“meteoric,” given her relentless touring schedule
this year and having opened several dates for Blue
Rodeo last winter after a well-received club tour
to promote her latest album, 2015’s Every Time
My Mind Runs Wild. Lightfoot’s showing no signs
of slowing down though, as she prepares to tour
the U.K. and Europe before beginning a Western
Canadian tour in October.
“There’ve been a lot of people that have come
around that I really respect, who’ve become like,
mentors,” says Lightfoot, talking to BeatRoute while
she takes a break from packing for her European
tour. “I’ve had lunch, or talked through email
threads, or just met up with people to listen to their
new album a work of amorphous, experimental folk
Cam Penner’s music is raw, uninhibited,
and more than anything, diverse. Having
recorded a grand total of eight albums
over the course of 14 years, Penner has spent a
lot of time honing his musical style and creating
what you see today.
“I don’t listen to the music I write. I listen to hip
hop, soul, some Motown, and stuff like that,” Penner
says. “I think the biggest thing is I’ve been doing this
for quite a while, so how do you keep on making it
interesting? I want it to change all the time.”
Incorporating folk, rock ‘n’ roll, and even electronic
elements, Penner’s newest album, Sex & Politics,
is an album produced without a rigid structure. The
album has “a sinisterness, a darkness, and a light to
it.” It’s cohesive, and its intimacy is a reflection of
Penner’s recording studio tucked away in the woods
in British Columbia.
“It sounds like an album to me. It doesn’t sound
like a bunch of songs from here and there, it sounds
like an album.”
Penner began touring with Jon Wood 10 years
ago and the duo hasn’t slowed down since. Touring,
much like songwriting, has been an experiential
process that has grown into something amazing.
“The album is one piece of art, and then you take
those songs on tour and it’s a different kind of art,”
Penner says. “It’s even more uninhibited when you
get onstage and you try and pull the rug from under
yourself and your audience’s feet.”
Touring, songwriting, and producing albums have
been a continual process of learning, and Penner’s
by Mike Dunn
records, people that I never would have pictured
myself getting to talk to in a social way, and they’re
all lending their ears. It’s really inspiring.”
With plans to head back into the studio in
January, Lightfoot is showing no signs of letting up
on the momentum that has brought her to where
she is now. “We also have a live record with an
orchestra coming out in the spring,” says Lightfoot.
“We recorded it live in Hamilton. So many artists
wait until later in their careers to do a live record,
and I thought as a younger artist, I’d like to challenge
Lightfoot also found tremendous inspiration in
a writing excursion to Nashville, recording demos
for a new record with Steve Dawson, and taking in
day trips throughout the American South with her
father, who she certainly did not expect to join her
in the South.
“You know how you invite your parents out, and
you don’t expect them to come?” says Lightfoot
with a chuckle. “I said, ‘Dad, you should come down
on this trip with me,’ not expecting him to actually
do it, but he got on a plane, and we just had a really
nice time, travelling together. We saw Bishop Al
Green leading the services at his church, and it was
so mind blowing, it was just amazing to experience.”
Terra Lightfoot plays extensive dates throughout
Western Canada this fall. Catch her in Calgary on October
13th at Festival Hall, in Vancouver on October
19th at The Media Club, or one of her many other
dates listed online.
by Amber McLinden
picked up on quite a few things throughout his
career. Over time, you come to understand the best
way to approach music, he explains.
“Not being afraid of any idea. Not being afraid
of trying anything out. Not being afraid of things.
Challenging yourself. I think as you get older, you
just don’t worry about shit as much as you used to.
You go, ‘Fuck it, let’s just lay down whatever we want
on the canvas and we’ll sort it out.’”
Catch Cam Penner at the Almanac in Edmonton on
September 28th, and the Ironwood Stage and Grill in
Calgary on September 29th and 30th.
BEATROUTE • OCTOBER 2016 | 45
they who cannot be named by Christine Leonard
Swedish goth rockers Ghost conjure the unholy spirit.
have an assigned task and that’s to speak to you,” flatly iterates
the Nameless Ghoul on the other end of the line.
After all, as contradictory as it may seem, anonymity
is at the aesthetic coeur of his band’s identity. Emanating from
Linköping, Sweden in 2008, Ghost (known as Ghost B.C. in the
United States) is a gothic-rock outfit that draws their dramatic and
visually stimulating persona from dark religious imagery that is
typically associated with the realms of heavy metal.
Recipients of multiple Swedish Grammis Awards, for their albums Infestissumam
in 2014 and Meliora in 2015, the six-member ensemble paraded
down the aisle and into the international spotlight this past February
when they accepted the Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance
for the Meliora single “Cirice.” Led by their highly-decorated anti-papal
overlord, Papa Emeritus III (two previous Papas have already been retired -
to the South of France, one would presume), Ghost’s five Nameless Ghoul
instrumentalists drew stares of Los Angelian disbelief as they mounted the
dais in mouthless Minotaur masks.
“Whether or not this is a comment or rock stardom, initially the
whole image was just something that suited the music. We never
counted on being popular,” the customarily mute minion explains.
“Even though we had achieved some success in Europe beforehand,
America has always been the growing ground for us. This is by far where
we have played the most and where we spend most of the touring cycle.
We’ve come to a level now, which I really enjoy, where we want to play
everywhere. We’ve always been very insistent that we weren’t really doing
the work unless we were playing Medicine Hat and Kamloops.”
Proving that humour is never far removed from tragedy, Ghost has
rendered the imposing genres of hard rock and metal more accessible to
general audiences thanks to projects like their EP, If You Have Ghost, which
included cover songs produced by Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters. The faithful
masses have also responded favourably to Ghost’s most recent EP, the September
released Popestar, which features covers of Eurythmics and Echo &
the Bunnymen alongside the anthemic band’s “strongest concert-opener”
to date, “Square Hammer.”
“I don’t think that anything would have been successful had we not
done the tours. We would never have been nominated for or received a
Grammy. We would never have been signed to our American label. Had
we not done the tours I don’t think Dave Grohl would have known who
we are; so, I am a firm believer in touring. I think that that is the shit.”
And now that they’ve rocked a million faces, Ghost has some very
pragmatic reasons for not revealing their own.
“It’s a hard one,” says he-who-cannot-be-named. “Some of us get
recognized to a certain degree; there’s always someone in a record
store or guitar shop coming up and whispering ‘I love your band.
Thank you!’ Whereas for more normal bands they are not subjected to
that level of respect. Because if you are an artist and you put yourself
out there, and you have an Instagram account and you’re photographing
everything you’re about to consume, I think people, more or less,
will regard you as some sort of public domain. And, you are also sort
of expected to be your onstage persona to a much further degree
than we ever are. I must say that any wishes that you might have had
as a younger person of wanting to be recognized, to the point where
we are recognized in our street clothes, I don’t feel I’d like that to be
happening on an everyday basis. It feels being very comfortable being
able to step in and out of that recognition.”
Able to reconcile the oppositional forces of fame and freedom, Ghost’s
avoidance of celebrity status while exploiting cultural iconography is perhaps
their greatest artistic achievement. Relying on archetypal constructs
to elicit an emotional reaction is nothing new in the world of agent provocateurs,
but Papa Emeritus III and his entourage of elemental familiars
have brought a burgeoning generation of fans into their demon-strative
fold with a flair for creating musical rituals that leave a lasting impression.
“Our thing has always been look bigger than you are and you will
become bigger! If you’re going to take it to the arenas, you’d better
look like an arena band. Otherwise why would they believe you?”
He continues. “Now we’ve swum out way too far. That’s why we’re
doing this tour with all of the new pyro and production and all of the
staging stuff, because no one is going to applaud if we don’t show up with
Ghost perform with Marissa Nadler at MacEwan Hall in Calgary on October
11th and at the Vogue Theatre in Vancouver on October 13th.
Edmonton extreme metal
event bigger and better by Sarah Kitteringham
Following the success of Halloween 2015’s first ever Black
Mourning Light Festival, the Edmonton event is returning
in a bigger and better capacity for round two. With two
concerts (rather than one) and 16 bands (rather than 11), this
year’s rendition will run from October 21st to 23rd, capped off
by a Sunday VIP “mourning after” breakfast with all the bands.
Dustin Ekman, the mastermind behind the webzine Crown
of Viserys and record label Funeral Rain, is the curator and
organizer of the festival, which highlights black and doom
metal in particular. Its expansion was courtesy of chance, he
“To be honest, I didn’t plan on two days. It’s simply the fact
that the Panzerfaust/ Erimha/ Idolatry tour was coming in,
and I had a chance to snag it for Friday. If I didn’t, someone
else would have, and so it just made it natural to expand the
fest,” says Ekman. Given that the event expanded naturally, he
figured to cap it off with an unusually intimate ending.
“The breakfast is ultimately my way to make Black Mourning
Light truly stand apart from many other festivals. It’s a way
for fans and bands to connect in a unique way, and it’s also
just a good way to send a band home or to their next tour
stop, with a belly full of food and newly made friends,” he says.
The VIP breakfast will also take place at Rendezvous on
Sunday morning, after two band-packed nights. On Friday,
it will be a Canadian band only affair, featuring Panzerfaust,
Erimha, Idolatry, Display of Decay, Vile Insignia, and Hive;
Saturday will feature American bands UADA and Helleborous,
alongside Wormwitch, Norilsk, Cell, Holocaust Lord, Nachtterror,
Dethgod, and Ye Goat-Herd Gods. On both nights,
the venue will screen independent filmmakers work amidst
the cavalcade of bands. Keeping with tradition, prizes will be
awarded to the best of the best of those who wear costumes,
given the festival’s “proximity to Samhain.”
Black Mourning Light festival takes place from October 21st
to 23rd at Rendezvous Pub in Edmonton, Alberta. Individual
day tickets or festival passes are available online from http://
For more information, visit blackmourninglight.
BEATROUTE • OCTOBER 2016 | 47
American black metal quartet casually drop one of 2016’s most vicious offerings
by Sarah Kitteringham
UADA tours Alberta in October with enigmatic Colorado black metal band Helleborous.
2016 has hardly been a banner year for black
metal. While a handful of long-running
entities like Rotting Christ, Ulver, Darkthrone,
Inquisition, and Destroyer 666 have released
albums, next to no bands have broken into popular
consciousness on the strength of their debut. Like
it was in 2015, when longstanding outfit MGLA
dropped their third release Exercises in Futility and
suddenly gained tens of thousands of new fans,
2016 saw Finnish outfit Oranssi Pazuzu’s psychedelic
and offbeat fourth full-length Värähtelijä
break through after years of experience. That said,
the album hardly fits within any of black metal’s
parameters, instead offering entrancing and hypnotic
syncopation and bizarre chord progressions
amidst vast spacey sections and croaking vocals.
Despite few bands truly becoming known to
metal aficionados worldwide, the underground
has been awash with surprisingly strong offerings
that should push their creators into the spotlight.
Among them are releases by Predatory Light, Sorcier
Des Glaces, RID, Bog of the Infidel, Nox Formulae,
Gevurah, Illithid, and UADA; the latter of whom
dropped Devoid of Light in April via Eisenwald, a
German record label that specializes in black metal.
It is likely the biggest break-out in the genre this year,
and deservedly so; its five tracks are awash with cold,
howling vocals, vicious tremolo picking, and massive
instrumental freakouts. Indeed, if you’re a fan of the
one-two punch sell, UADA’s would be “RIYL: MGLA,
Dissection. It’s a throwback to the second wave of
black metal that emerged from Scandinavia, with all
the melody, atmosphere, and massive hooks you’ve
been yearning for.”
According to guitarist and vocalist Jake Superchi,
who helped form the band in 2014, it’s hardly
deliberate that their cumulative efforts resulted in
such a specific sound. Instead, he and his band mates
Robb Bockman (bass), Trevor Matthews (drums),
and James Sloan (guitars) got to this point following
years of experience in other projects, and are breaking
through courtesy of their drive.
“All of us do have some decent experience, of
course gaining even more with UADA. James, Trevor,
[and] Robb were the picks when I thought of starting
a new band. All of our previous bands have been
playing together for years. I have personally booked
many festivals and shows in town and I knew these
three would be right for the next move,” he explains
during a brief e-mail interview.
“It may sound a little arrogant to say we are not
surprised but as said earlier we came out blazing and
hungry with goals and visions. We are careful with our
booking and presentation.”
Partially inspired by a global resurgence in the
underground of the genre (Superchi says “black metal
in 2016 is the best it’s been in 20 years”), UADA has
already shared the stage with Mortuary Drape and
Inquisition, and have upcoming performances scheduled
with Rotting Christ and Marduk.
“We as people are not competitive types, but starting
this band we made it our mission to be one of the
best black metal bands out there. We will continue to
push forward in that direction, we have a mission and
music is what drives our lives,” he writes.
“There is a second album in the works, nothing
I can speak of yet. We have had some other labels
write us recently but our second album will again be
released through Eisenwald.”
With a namesake that translates to “Haunted”
in Latin, UADA’s thematic presentation is strong.
Devoid of Light’s artwork features the skeleton of an
adult clutching their skeleton child amidst a volcanic,
scorched earth. The lyrics are awash with references
to chaos and darkness; live, the band performs back
lit, obscured by a curtain of fog.
“It is a very important part to our show. We back
light ourselves and add fog to create a wall and we
become shadows in it,” explains Superchi.
“That was how we wanted to present ourselves
and our live setting. It was meant to be the anti-image,
which has become something in itself.”
He concludes, “We are looking forward to sharing
our craft with everyone in Alberta soon.”
UADA perform at Distortion in Calgary with
Helleborous, Numenorean, Cell, and Traer on Friday,
October 21st. They perform in Edmonton as a part
of Black Mourning Light Metal Festival on Saturday,
48 | OCTOBER 2016 • BEATROUTE SHRAPNEL
THIS MONTH IN METAL
are $25 in advance. The next evening, Kataklysm will play the
by Sarah Kitteringham
Starlite Room in Edmonton with Display of Decay; tickets are
$26 in advance.
Lots of shows are going down this month, and several heavy On Friday, October 7th, head to Vern’s to have a Thanksclinting
Calgary bands are releasing albums. Onwards, to the listings! Fest, a.k.a. beer for supper to the soundtrack of Edmonton and
First up: on Tuesday, October
4th, “Northern hyperblast”
death Calgary metal. Crust punks Mass Distraction will be performing
alongside Kataplexis, Bestir, Sigil, and False Flag. The next
metal band Kataklysm will be touching down at Dickens in
Calgary. The recent winners of the JUNO Award for Heavy evening, head to Distortion to celebrate the 10th annual Calgary
Metal Album of the Year will be joined by Carach Angren and Beer Core Awards. As per usual, bands will play, drinks will be
local metallers Statue of Demur. Tickers for the Calgary show drank, and awards will be awarded to local heavy metal, punk,
Lots of shows are going down this month, and Tool with a malicious edge. The band will play
and several heavy Calgary bands are releasing
albums. Onwards, to the listings!
Tickets are $20 in advance; the same lineup will
alongside Earthside, Binary Code, and Dissona.
First up: on Tuesday, October 4th, “Northern perform in Vancouver the following evening at the
hyperblast” death metal band Kataklysm will be Red Room Ultra Bar.
touching down at Dickens in Calgary. The recent Celebrate a decade of heavy punk with Calgary
winners of the JUNO Award for Heavy Metal institution The Press Gang, who will be releasing
Album of the Year will be joined by Carach Angren their fifth studio album Medusa 6 on Saturday,
and local metallers Statue of Demur. Tickets for October 29th. To learn more about the 10-song,
the Calgary show are $25 in advance. The next nearly 30-minute record, we chatted with Colin
evening, Kataklysm will play the Starlite Room in McCulloch, who’s been spearheading the project
Edmonton with Display of Decay; tickets are $26 since their inception in 2006.
“Musically, those who know the band, I think
On Friday, October 7th, head to Vern’s to have will actually not be expecting this at all. We’ve
a Thanksclinting Fest, a.k.a. beer for supper to progressed exponentially in a short amount of
the soundtrack of Edmonton and Calgary metal. time due to a few factors. One of those being the
Crust punks Mass Distraction will be performing
alongside Kataplexis, Bestir, Sigil, and False Hammer) into the fold on bass guitar. Her style of
inclusion of Lindsay Arnold (formerly of Orphan
Flag. The next evening, head to Distortion to playing rounds out the sound of the band which
celebrate the 10th annual Calgary Beer Core makes us sound more cohesive...definitely more
Awards. As per usual, bands will play, drinks will tighter,” explains McCulloch.
be drank, and awards will be awarded to local “When we learned of Ronnie’s departure
heavy metal, punk, rockabilly, and rock bands. from the band (the amazing Ronnie Keats), I
Head over to calgarybeercore.com/2016votes to personally sought out Lindsay. I’ve been a fan
vote in advance.
of her playing for many years, and she has an
The former backing band for Ihsahn of Emperor impeccable work ethic which fits in quite nicely
are performing in Calgary on Tuesday, October with what we are trying to achieve as band.
11th at Distortion. Leprous play an amorphous Sonically, we are much more present.... The
style of progressive metal, evoking King Crimson new material is not so much of a departure,
but a sweet progression into different modes
of heavy. Far more focused... All very riff-based.
This album was written differently than others
as well. I saved certain songs till the very last to
take advantage of the studio, and to keep material
fresh. I didn’t write lyrics for certain songs
until I was forced to. The results are very incredible
to say the least... I think we all surprised
ourselves with the output. We’re quite excited
about unleashing this new material and a new
revitalized band dynamic and presentation.”
In addition to the Calgary release show, the band
will embark on a three week cross Canada tour
that begins on October 13th in Regina. They play
the Cavern in Winnipeg on October 15th, at Liquid
Nightclub in Medicine Hat on October 27th, and
at the Vat in Red Deer on October 28th before
returning home for the release.
If you’ve got some extra cash and a vehicle to get
you there, don’t miss out on the bill of the month
at Red Room Ultra Bar in Vancouver. Finnish death
metal titans Demilich will be performing with
death doomsters Hooded Menace, American
upstarts Vastum, and Vancouver based act Temple
of Abandonment. Tickets are $20 in advance or
$25 at the door. Don’t. Miss. That. Gig.
Finally, on Sunday, October 30th, there
will be a huge all-ages event dubbed Days of
the Dead in Red Deer at Scott Block Theatre.
The all-day event features Without Mercy,
Leave the Living, KYOKTYS, Planet Eater,
Tyrants Demise, stab.twist.pull, Train Bigger
Monkeys, Trær, and more. Tickets are $10 in
advance or $15 at the door.
photo: Liisa Bastard
• Sarah Kitteringham
The Press Gang release Medusa 6 in October!
BEATROUTE • OCTOBER 2016 | 49
22, A Million
Justin Vernon, or Bon Iver, is an endlessly memeable
cultural character. From the now self-parody
narrative of Justin Vernon retreating to an isolated
cabin in the woods to record For Emma Forever
Ago (2009), to his upset Grammy win and the
resultant “who the heck is Bonny Bear?” backlash.
The weight of expectation plays heavily into a
major music release, but few artists with as much
mainstream success seem to be as dedicated to
move beyond what has driven their success, as
Folks who pine for the passionate guitar-folk of
tracks like “Skinny Love” and “Lump Sum” were
somewhat left in the dust for the misty and layered
second record, the sultry, Bon Iver, Bon Iver (2011),
but it’s hard to lament the change too much. That
said, the more low-tempo, atmosphere-centric
tonality that characterizes Bon Iver, Bon Iver, and
carries on into 22, A Million doesn’t come entirely
out of left field. Vernon has released two records
under his own name, the second of which, the wispy
Hazeltons (2006) features some of the same vocal
doubling that would go on to characterize Bon
Iver. The long-winded, post-rock inspired Volcano
Choir, and specifically their 2013 record Repave, also
pushed Vernon’s penchant for experimentation.
What seems to separate Bon Iver from Vernon’s
catalogue is one thing: Vernon’s voice. Falsetto
vocals, creative auto-tune, and beautiful, but
obfuscatory lyrics permeate all stages of Bon Iver’s
discography, and true-to-form, on this new release,
vocals are somehow even more prescient.
The lead up to the release of 22, A Million
has done the record a palpable disservice. The
unpronounceable tracklist, ambiguous title, and
Vernon’s obnoxiously public bromance with hiphop
Godhead Kanye West manifested a disingenuous
narrative of ‘Bon Iver goes electronic.’ But that
is not what 22, A Million sounds like.
Instrumentally, the record is divergent from its
predecessors, especially in its earlier tracks, but it
never strays tonally from what has been established.
Opening cut and early release “22 (OVER
S∞∞N),” opens with what sounds like a lo-fi vocal
loop, with a cute auto-tune sample suggesting ‘it
might be over soon.’ It’s a unique and gripping
introduction, but as soon as Vernon’s falsetto
vocals begin spewing pleasant, but incomprehensible
lyrics and a disaffected electric guitar accented
by floating horns enter the soundscape, the track
reveals itself unapologetically Bon Iver.
This cut, and the rhythmic, compressed, “10 d E
A T h b R E a s T” that follows are among the most
sample-driven songs. The latter’s squelchy drum
loop is possibly the most ostentatious movement
for the entire duration.
Not to say that the smaller movements are boring,
but there are moments that are staged a bit
like adult contemporary. There is a softness and
a smoothness that ques accessibility. “8 (circle)”
is perhaps the best example, a track that opens
with an airy ‘90s vintage synth, flute, and some
delay-heavy snare rims. It borders on cheesy, but
holds onto a horn-fronted swagger as it builds.
The track also holds a tonal and melodic similarity
to Frank Ocean’s perfect “Thinking About You,”
which serves as a reminder of Vernon’s hip hop
connections, without ever getting his feet too wet.
The closest Bon Iver gets to stepping out of his
own skin is the strangely affecting “715 – CREEKS.”
Vernon’s vocals are multiplied and pitched up and
down to create robotic harmonies with himself. It
works to such great effect, that the relatively clean
piano that opens
“33 “GOD” immediately thereafter feels a little
awkward, especially when the cringe-worthy lyric
“I’d be happy as hell if you stayed for tea” jumps
out early in the song. This track eventually redeems
itself when a fast and complex drum track
breaks the rhythm, but this transition, and several
others like it, hurt the flow of the record.
22, A Million starts and stops frequently in this
manner all the way through its first half, but after
“29 #Strafford APTS” kicks in with its familiar
acoustic guitar picking and distant pianos, the record
settles into a flow that is much more reminiscent
of Bon Iver, Bon Iver. The closing track “00000
Million” bookends the record as only Bon Iver can,
with a sparkly major key piano ballad intercut with
a fitting Fion Regan sample. Once again, the lyrics
feel subservient to the soaring vocal melody, but
in doing so it removes any inherent cliché in the
song’s otherwise pop-standard structure.
It’s hard to tell if 22, A Million is the record we
wanted from Bon Iver. The production is strange,
and often disjointed, but the songwriting is familiar
in all the right ways. The textural horns, frequent
pianos and hazy synthesizers that permeate
the record all feel like Bon Iver at this point, and
the few acoustic guitar and banjo features are similarly
comforting in their familiarity. The moments
where Bon Iver commits the hardest to his new
electronic aesthetic and lets samples and modulation
define the tone are the most successful, if
only because they come the closest to fulfilling the
promise of the “Bon Iver goes electronic” narrative.
22, A Million is listenable from front to back,
an album through and through, and although not
without its awkward moments, is one that should
help make your winter another good one.
• Liam Prost
illustration: Greg Doble
BEATROUTE • OCTOBER 2016 | 51
À La Mode
In keeping with the cuisine-centric image portrayed
by À La Mode, Winnipeg’s self-described “heart-pop”
band, Perfection Salad is a delicious recipe of synthpop,
slacker-rock, and millennial melancholy spread
over 27 minutes and two languages.
The band’s debut full-length features a sublime mix
of sleepy, oneiric melodies and louder, more upbeat
indie-rock jams all complemented by the skill of
vocalist Dominique Lemoine’s occasionally-accented
Parallels can be drawn between À La Mode and
Baltimore’s dream-pop-darlings Beach House, especially
on tracks like the ironically-titled “Never Sleep
Again,” which features a hazy, almost nursery-rhyme
atmosphere, complete with softly twinkling chimes,
and a beautiful string section.
“Ce sentiment,” the albums attention-grabbing third
track, follows a quiet-loud-quiet format that showcases
the power and maturity of Lemoine’s voice in a way
that isn’t necessarily prevalent on many of the albums
Even a track like “Total Doom”, which is ‘cutesy’ almost
to a fault, doesn’t detract from what is ultimately
a strong release.
Overall, Perfection Salad isn’t perfect, but it is a
delectable slice of indie-pop that is sure to leave you
• Alec Warkentin
Even in a year of high-profile reunions, American Football’s
comeback album still manages to surprise. The
Urbana, Illinois emo progenitors released their debut
self-titled album in 1999 to critical and commercial
silence, only to disband amicably one year later.
Still, that first record somehow survived. As if it was
some sort of group therapy, the record spread through
the lonely bedrooms and insular headphones of
The record’s Midwestern minimalism, hypnotic,
mixed metre time signatures, and unflinchingly
honest lyricism offered an empathetic escape to the
emotionally distraught. Songs like “Never Meant,”
with its interlocking guitar lines from Mike Kinsella
and Steve Holmes, and slyly-syncopated drumming
from multi-instrumentalist Steve Lamos, provided the
bedrock for a deeply-affecting rumination on a dying
Eventually, the so-called “emo revival” of 2013 and
2014 would set the stage for American Football to play
once again, first live, and finally on record with their
sophomore album, American Football.
The album’s cover art is representative of its overall
tone. Where American Football’s debut S/T found
them on the outside looking in, the cover featuring a
voyeuristic picture of the exterior of a simple Urbana
home, American Football finds them inside the house,
but ultimately still reeling from relationships that have
fractured and atrophied.
Compositionally, the band’s polyrhythmic
pitter-patter returns, but it’s somehow even gentler
than before. Luckily, the songs themselves are full of
nuanced introspection, instead of “nice guy” self-pity
that often plagues emo. Lead off track, “Where Are
We Now,” opens with familiar, wistful guitar haze as
Kinsella offers up the album’s first lyric: “Where are we
now? Both home alone, in the same house.”
That line works as a sort of thesis statement
for American Football, an album full of grown-up
examinations of interpersonal relationships that have
only grown more complicated in the 17 years since the
Elsewhere, the angst-ridden “Give Me The Gun,”
features Kinsella attempting to talk down a lover from
their emotional edge.
On “Home is Where the Haunt Is,” Kinsella uses his
more mature world-view, not to mention his audibly
more mature croon, to lament the way that “some
things never change.” Fortunately for listeners, that
sentiment rings true with this long-awaited sophomore
• Jamie McNamara
A subdued but gorgeous voice, alone in a room with
nothing but a piano and her frustrations of failed
romances. This is how Banks’ sophomore release
The Altar opens, and it is one of the album’s best
moments. The singer thrives when her vulnerability is
accentuated by the bevy of vocal effects, Wonky-influenced
beats and the occasional stripped-back
ballad that make up her music. “Fuck With Myself,”
with its piercing string-pluck synths, hits this mark
wonderfully, covering the topics of self-acceptance,
self-love and self-destruction that the title suggests.
Self-acceptance is a running theme of the The Altar.
The title evokes Banks herself as a Goddess, the title
of her debut, that she herself is praying to. Standouts
“Gemini Feed” and “Mother Earth” also hit on this
Unfortunately, The Altar faces the same general
problems that her debut did with an overstuffed
tracklist that hides its gems in between a lot of filler.
“Trainwreck” is a suitably titled track, and dulls the
listener’s impression of the entire album with its overly
trendy, EDM-focused sing-rapping which doesn’t play
to any of Banks’ strengths. “This is Not About Us,”
“Weaker Girl” and “Judas,” while not as overtly bad, are
dull and do nothing to either impress or interest the listener.
As a soulful crooner writing confessionals about
the trappings of relationships, Banks is an extremely
talented lyricist with a knack for ear-catching melody.
It’s just too bad she only shows up for half of The Altar.
• Cole Parker
Beyond the Fleeting Gales
Run For Cover
Crying is a charming New York trio that got their
start doing genre fusions of twee pop and chiptune,
somehow managing to make the blend sound good.
This was mostly thanks to an exceptional sense of
melody and remarkably earnest lyrics from lead singer
Elaiza Santos. That was only two years ago, when they
released two EPs, Get Olde and Second Wind.
Beyond the Fleeting Gales is their first full-length
record. Despite that, the record already serves as a bit
of a departure from the group’s stylistic roots, which
might seem obvious from the admittedly awful
album cover. Despite the album art’s gaelic typeface
and plain images of blue skies and green fields, the
album has more in common with Irish rockers Thin
Lizzy than with the hypothetical Celtic gospel album
it seems to hearken back to. Moving away from the
8-bit and sliding closer to the ‘70s and ‘80s, their
debut is chock-full of hair metal shreds and Yes-like
arpeggiated synth leads. Impressively, they never
seem to fall into the corny clichés that plague the
rock music of those decades.
The Game Boys are gone, replaced almost entirely
by boss-battle-adjacent synths. They provide atmosphere
for the LP’s slower forays into prog-ish power
ballads, and harmonize with Santos’s voice in a way
that still sounds unique.
Beyond the Fleeting Gales is Crying ditching their
gimmick, while still managing to carve out their own
• Cole Parker
Cymbals Eat Guitars
Even in a year filled with stranger things and get
downs, Cymbals Eat Guitars’ Pretty Years turns out to
be the most impressive throwback to a wistful time
period more invigorating than our own. Although
Pretty Years is an album that is heavily influenced by
the golden eras of Springsteen, Bowie, and the Cure, it
is, against all odds, entirely unique; the band’s very own
Pretty Years is heavy on warm, catchy synths and
vibrant bass lines, contributing to the overall nostalgic
sound of the album.
As with all Cymbals Eat Guitars work, the guitar
work is something to be admired, but the lyrics are
what transcend the album into something iconic and
“Goodbye to my dancing days/Goodbye to the
friends who fell away/Goodbye to my pretty years,”
wails Joseph D’Agostino, the band’s founder and
frontman, on the chorus of standout track “Dancing
Days.” It’s hard to imagine that D’Agostino only started
writing choruses with 2014’s excellent LOSE.
Even though the album was recorded and cut in
under a week, you wouldn’t be able to tell. Lyrically and
musically, Pretty Years is the product of passion. Each
band member had a volcano of inspiration brewing
inside of their souls—suddenly overflowing, ready to
explode at any moment. So rather than letting the
energy go to waste, they went to the studio.
• Paul McAleer
Twenty-seven-year-old Oliver Perry lives a relatively
simple life in Castlemaine, Australia. He lives in a small
shed attached to some horse stables, an idyllic rural
lifestyle that Perry uses to make his auteurist pop music
as D.D Dumbo. His self-recorded EP, 2013’s Tropical
Oceans, is a looping, lo-fi adventure into the head of
a musically-meditative madman. Utopia Defeated,
D.D Dumbo’s debut album for 4AD, continues that
trend, but strips away the lo-fi and pushes it into a
professional studio. The result is a wild, whimsical trip
into the mind of one of indie music’s most underrated
Dumbo uses a 12-string guitar, and instruments
from around the world, to create a rich textural
background for each of his creations to chug along
within. Album opener “Walrus,” is a head-bopping
pop tune akin to a subdued Vampire Weekend.
Dumbo’s voice is restlessly expressive, always searching
for groove amongst the kinetic rhythm. The funky,
imaginative “Satan” is further proof of this, showing off
Dumbo’s confident tenor that can reach into falsetto
with unpredictable ease. Overall, Utopia Defeated is
a rhythmically dense debut that marks Dumbo as a
major talent to follow both now, and hopefully well
into the future.
• Jamie McNamara
The Hard Part Begins
The Hard Part Begins with a goodbye, the scent of cologne,
leaving a humid crowded concert hall and stepping
into the crisp night air, snow crunching beneath
your feet. The nods to this experience in the first song’s
beginning lines act as Scene One in a collection of musical
anecdotes dedicated to the plight of a wallflower
and his surreal take on what occurs around him.
Patrick Geraghty describes his project, Gal Gracen,
as “Devotional Voyeurism,” which even more than his
initial release, Blue Hearts in Exile, it is. This follow-up
EP of self-recorded songs is the story and well-stewed
over observations of someone looking from the
outside in, desperately trying to make sense of what
they see. All this is set to Geraghty’s signature dallying
guitar riffs, some janky synths and the occasional wisp
of flute. The anxiety, the poetry, the ’60s-gone-wrongsounds,
all works together to create a new genre, a
sort-of neurotic psychedelia.
Like slacker rock’s jumpier and more apprehensive
little brother, Gal Gracen’s The Hard Part Begins should
play in the background of all your fever dreams
• Maya-Roisin Slater
When you use the term “Revolution” in your album
title, you set an expectation for something earth shattering
in its importance. What Green Day has instead
provided with Revolution Radio is a mashup of social
justice keyword pop punk ditties with bratty, throwback
Green Day three-chord thrashers. The result is
a mixture of emotions: you feel glad to hear them
being brats again, but you keep getting hit with the
same misguided attempt at topical moral fabric that
brought us that tragic, poser cover of John Lennon’s
“Working Class Hero” in 2007. That’s not to say the album
doesn’t have its fun bits; debut single “Bang Bang,”
is as mean, messy and relentless as a Green Day track
should be. “Say Goodbye,” which owes its backbone to
Jack White, is a catchy rabble-rouser, and “Too Dumb
to Die” has some neato feedback to it.
Unfortunately, there are just as many flaccid entries
to match: “Revolution Radio” sounds more like
Blink-182 whining about how no one listens to them,
“Still Breathing” is trite and full of long-road rhymes like
coupling “horizon” with “siren,” and “Youngblood” is
a song that should just not be written by someone in
their mid-40s. Green Day has always been striving to be
more impactful on a social scale than they are, and for
that they deserve to be commended, but ultimately
what would be a more honest record is one about
what it feels like to weather that storm and come up
short. ‘Cause that is the real modern activism: being
angry and frustrated and unable to find a way to make
• Jennie Orton
Fluke Or Flounder
On his third full-length release, Fluke Or Flounder, Edmonton
singer-songwriter John Guliak adds a natural
touch of British folk to his dark, Western Prairie sound,
while his evocative, narrative lyrical style brings to life
the heartrending tales of the hard living and the hard
Leading off with “Dust,” Guliak conjures the imagery
of rural living so familiar on the prairies, railway crews
52 | OCTOBER 2016 • BEATROUTE
and empty family farms, and both the currency and
nostalgia of times and places where “their spit shined
Chevys looked like highway clowns…trucks were made
for working, not for polishing and driving around.”
The classy and forward-thinking alt-country
production by Paul Rigby is always present on Fluke Or
Flounder, though he wisely never lets excess get in the
way of Guliak’s lyrics, like the story of a First Nations
woman, a victim of the residential schools on “Emily;”
“Who are you Emily? Where’s your family, among the
dead and wasted? The hated and raped and tossed
aside?” These are hard questions, and Guliak asks them
with both sensitivity for the victim, and a subtle anger
toward the system that cuts through. “It’s Not Me” and
“Triptych” are also excellent cuts on a welcome return
from a stalwart contributor to the Edmonton roots
• Mike Dunn
Cameron House Records
The transition from a classic honky tonk groove to a
more streamlined and evocative country rock sound
is evident on Kayla Howran’s sophomore release,
Spare Parts. Howran’s vocal chops and ease with
melodies rise quickly to the top of the mix, a tender yet
confident timbre set to highway-paced grooves, giving
Spare Parts that cruising, open road feeling.
The title cut features some excellent steel and
12-string electric guitar, while “Your Next Song” feels
like a seething kiss-off, even through its elegant folk
sonics, while Howran sings fearlessly, “…you’ve been a
stain on every dream I’ve had, the grit in the sand, the
foot over the line. So why don’t you tell me about your
While trashing the commercialism of mainstream
country is as rote as any bar band covering “Folsom
Prison,” Howran brings fresh and empathetic reasons
for not being able to hear it on “Country Radio,” and
“Liner Notes” burns with a dark, haunting Lera Lynn
feel. The churchy soul of “Thanks For The Good Times”
closes out the album on a high note, again showcasing
Howran’s vocals in among a classic Stax groove
complete with horns and Hammond. Spare Parts is a
great effort from Kayla Howran, and is a standout in
this year’s crop of Canadian country releases.
• Mike Dunn
The Healing Component
Free Nation Records
Chicago rapper Mick Jenkins has always been fascinated
with water. The way it functions as a life force, but
also the ways it can take life away. His breakthrough
mixtape, 2014’s The Water[s], used this fascination
to cement the 25-year-old as a Chicago rapper that
favours intimate introspection over belligerent bangers.
His debut album, The Healing Component, finds
him fixating on love, often using water as a metaphor
for an all-consuming love. On “Strange Love,”
Jenkins talks about drowning underwater, the beat
flowing like a babbling brook complementing his
baritone voice and easy-going cadence perfectly. Two
tracks later he takes this metaphor to an even more
powerful place with “Drowning,” his collaboration
with BADBADNOTGOOD. The band barely makes
themselves known in the first two minutes of the song,
using sparse instrumentation while Jenkins’ brings his
voice to a falsetto register with vulnerable veracity. He
repeats Eric Garner’s final words, now a rallying cry for
the Black Lives Matter movement, “I can’t breathe,” like
an incantation, dwelling on the words until he finally
gives in and drops a rapid fire flow that ruminates on
the American political landscape.
Elsewhere, Jenkins enlists newly-minted, Polaris
Prize 2016 winner Kaytranada to pick up the pace on
two tracks. The first, the celebratory “Communicate,”
features Kaytra’s trademark bobbing bass lines and
buoyant, constantly oscillating synths that propel the
track into bona fide mainstream radio territory. It’s a
fitting celebration for a young rapper that deserves all
the praise he’s about to get.
• Jamie McNamara
Jimmy Eat World
Dine Alone Records
Integrity Blues is the ninth studio album from Arizona’s
Jimmy Eat World, following 2013’s Damage, an album
that saw the band stray away from the studio and
record straight-to-tape from home and which drew a
mostly positive critical reception.
The band worked with producer Justin Meldal-
Johnsen (M83, Nine Inch Nails) and crafted a more polished
sound than their preceding release’s rawer sound.
Perhaps Meldal-Johnsen’s most notable influence
comes through on the track “Pass The Baby,” which has
an automated, electro-pop/alternative feel to it. Dark
and moody to begin with, somewhat reminiscent of
acts like Imagine Dragons or AWOLNATION. The track
seems a little out of place, but its atmosphere actually
transitions quite nicely into the following track “Get
Right,” which is a lot more charged up and energetic,
proof that the group still has preserved and maintained
some of the youthful spirit responsible for their
work on albums like 2001’s Bleed American.
Overall this is a solid effort from a band who has
been working for over two decades. Expect lots of
cheery, bright and jangly guitar lines carrying Jim Adkins’
signature vocal style, with a few heartfelt ballads
such as the title track of the record intermingled.
• Paul Rodgers
JoJo had a lot to fight for with this album. It’s her first
official full-length with Atlantic Records since her
drawn out split with her previous labels who caused
“Irreparable damages to her professional career.”
For those who remember her 2004 hit “Leave (Get
Out),” you’re late to the party. JoJo has released a series
of brilliant, unpolished mixtapes in the past few years
while fighting to be released from said labels.
Title track “Mad Love,” is reminiscent of Rihanna’s
“Love on the Brain.” JoJo flexes her entire vocal register
while contemplating the universal questions that come
up when you’re in a relationship so bad it’s good. It
pulls in classic elements of big, orchestral R&B in a way
that still feels fresh. “Vibe” tacks on to the dancehall
riddim becoming all too common in pop music right
now, but where her music leans on what’s popular, her
lyricism and fierce independence make it seem new.
Unexpected appearances from Remy Ma (on “FAB.”)
and Alessia Cara (on “I Can Only”) show the link
between JoJo as a hard b*tch and her roots as a pop
It’s clear JoJo has poured a lot of heart and soul
into Mad Love. It’s a successful R&B album, if you
BEATROUTE • OCTOBER 2016 | 53
can work past the formulaic moments and see the
depth of musical knowledge JoJo’s utilized to get to
• Trent Warner
Instead of relishing in the emo-rock revival and
tracing its roots around, we should just acknowledge
that Joyce Manor is lovable because they write
tight, snappy pop-punk songs that never overstay
their welcome. Cody even has the outfit writing
some of their longest songs to date. Long, of course,
is relative: the longest track on the record is still a
paltry four minutes.
As opening tracks go, rarely do you get one as precise
and barn-raising as “Fake ID.” An anthemic guitar
line cuts into focus leading into a perfectly pitched
narrative about an attractive underage girl and her
adoration of hip-hop iconoclast Kanye West. The track
is hilarious, sharp, and so listenable, you might even
forget there is a whole record left to adore.
And adore you shall, track after track, Cody is infectious
and dynamic. “Angel in the Snow” and “Make Me
Dumb,” in particular, both have rhythmic circularities
and enticing sing-along choruses.
The record ebbs and flows strongly with a nice
acoustic cut in “Do You Really Want to get Better” and
a few well-earned down tempo movements throughout.
Cody is almost too squeaky clean in its song and
album structure, but that’s a pretty minor criticism
of an otherwise punchy and fully realized outing. It’s
quick, snappy, and we can’t stop listening to it.
• Liam Prost
A Corpse Wired for Sound
Merchandise’s latest album A Corpse Wired for
Sound isn’t quite sure what it’s trying to be.
A dash of post-punk, a smattering of shoegaze,
and a whole lot of synth, Corpse is an odd mishmash
of tracks that manages to hold itself together through
loud, echoing drum beats, pulsating basslines, and
frontman Carson Cox’s brooding-yet-catchy vocal
With a title lifted from a short story by sci-fi author
JG Ballard, A Corpse Wired for Sound keeps with
the theme by burying some of it’s more technical
instrumentation underneath the rubble of dystopian
Stand-out tracks like sonic opener “Flower Of Sex,”
and the deceptively cool “Shadow Of The Truth” have
an infectious energy, but A Corpse Wired for Sound
suffers from a tendency to aim for highs it can’t
always seem to find.
Still, the album is a welcomed change of direction
from the Tampa three-piece, following 2014’s
underwhelming After the End, and the peaks it does
manage to hit are worth committing to the slightly
over 40-minute runtime.
A Corpse Wired for Sound is undoubtedly a stronger
record than Merchandise’s debut effort for 4AD,
but ultimately leaves the listener wishing they had
pushed this new transition a little further.
• Alec Warkentin
As a self-proclaimed final album, M.I.A.’s fifth studio
effort, AIM, is off the mark if the 41-year-old rapper
wants to go out on a high note. The album opens with
“Borders,” a track that has that classic M.I.A. style: a
dance groove juxtaposed against a simplified-to-abstraction
narrative. Unfortunately, the record wanes
into a scheme of abrasive repetitiveness after that, with
just a few moments of undeniable strength, artistry
and spot on production. There’s a great willingness to
experiment on the record that has to be admired, but
M.I.A.’s show of vocal tone-deafness and lack of clarity
is untoward and doesn’t do her justice. “Foreign Friend”
is a prime example of this failing on the album, with
its melodic pops of strength and singular moment of
clever lyricism wasted by stale timing and consistent
pitchiness. “Visa,” “Fly Pirate,” and the Diplo remix of
“Bird Song” are saving graces on the record and better
demonstrate M.I.A.’s ability to push repetitiveness in
a track without going over the line. While the album
fails as a last dance to remember, it does have some
moments that will stand out in the full body of M.I.A’s
work, leaving listeners hoping that she’ll come back
again with another effort.
• Andrew R. Mott
The Divine Feminine
From a high school rapper selling CDs out of his backpack
to telling introspective love stories, Mac Miller’s
progression has been nothing short of spectacular.
Miller’s fourth studio album, The Divine Feminine,
boasts production from I.D. Labs, DJ Dahi, and Tae
Beast amongst others.
Features on the album come from Anderson .Paak,
CeeLo Green, Kendrick Lamar, Ariana Grande and
more. “Dang!” featuring Anderson .Paak was the first
of three singles released before the album, and was
followed by “We” featuring CeeLo Green, and “My
Favorite Part” featuring Ariana Grande.
Miller’s jazz influence is much more evident on The
Divine Feminine than any of his other albums through
his use of piano, horns, and a mood he sets like a fine
red wine. The first track, “Congratulations” featuring
Bilal, has Ariana Grande introduce the album before
Miller sets the tone by calmly rhyming about a girl he
loves, and the vivid memories he still has of her over
a piano-riddled track produced by Miller (as Larry
Fisherman) and Aja Grant.
Throughout the album Miller focuses his rhymes
on a lover, begging them not to leave on tracks like
“Dang!” and “Stay,” and shows off both vocal improvement
and lyrical maturity on “God Is Fair, Sexy Nasty”
featuring Kendrick Lamar.
• Dalton Dubetz
Ed Banger Records
Quentin Dupieux, aka Mr. Oizo, has a knack for breaking
molds. The producer’s constant innovation over
the last 20 years has cemented him as a closely-guarded
secret – one that has started to leak into mainstream
All Wet is but another morceau of psychedelic
chirping in Mr. Oizo’s arsenal. Starting strong with “OK
Then” and “Sea Horses,” Dupieux opens his oeuvre
with a sleazy seminar on the archetypal funk-laden
French house sound. “Freezing Out,” featuring
54 | OCTOBER 2016 • BEATROUTE
Canadian sex-siren Peaches, is a jarring departure from
convention, a footwork-accented dubstep ode to
vaginas. From then onward, Dupieux takes listeners on
a veritable rollercoaster of sonic exploration. Standout
dancefloor-ready tracks like “Ruhe,” “All Wet” and “Low
Ink” clash with the bare noise of “Chairs” and “Useless”
in a beautiful chaos best consumed as an album, not a
shuffled mess of singles.
Where Mr. Oizo’s sound was once too-future, votes
of confidence from creative luminaries like Boys Noize,
Charli XCX, and even Skrillex, are a resonating “fuck
you” to the pandering, safe trend that electronic music
has been invaded by as of late. Ultimately, Dupieux’s
latest work is an unapologetic tapestry of intriguing
tidbits. While few of its tracks fit the conventional definition
of music, the impression is that Mr. Oizo never
intended for them to be. All Wet, then, is a challenging,
but rewarding listen for the open-minded.
• Max Foley
First Ditch Effort
Fat Wreck Chords
First Ditch Effort is the latest release from punk legends,
NOFX. In anticipation of this album, two teaser songs
were released: “Six Years on Dope,” which dropped in
late August, and “Sid and Nancy,” released on Record
Store Day. Both of these songs are great examples of
the array of music on First Ditch Effort, both genuine
and the ridiculous that is NOFX. Recently the band
published their first book, The Hepatitis Bathtub and
Other Stories, where they shared experiences on a very
personal level. This album is almost a continuation of
the same open honesty. Lyrically, First Ditch Effort has
more depth, both personal and emotional, which is
a far cry from their earlier albums. There are slightly
more harmonies and little less political aggression, but
this is NOFX; naturally the lyrics are smart and equally
smartass, with cleverly camouflaged sarcasm and angst.
Melodically, it’s as most NOFX albums are: infectiously
upbeat, fast, and easily addictive. Short quick tempos
are reminiscent of older albums, but they’ve also added
slightly more complex and experimental elements to
this album. From rhythm patterns, to the use of a piano
and audio clips. Overall, First Ditch Effort is a great
addition to the ever-growing NOFX discography.
• Sarah Mac
Conor Oberst, for as long as modern memory serves,
has been a voice of fragility and yet brazenly earnest
confessionals. At first, the patron saint of the broken
hearted, leading Bright Eyes to fame with a swath of
sweetly sad and oddly compelling tales. This time
around, when Oberst sat down to write, the intention
to make an album was not there. But what poured out
as he holed up in his hometown of Omaha, with snow
piling up outside, and wood fire ashes piling up on the
hearth, became a glowing and honest collection of stories
that is the perfect soundtrack to the drawing cold
of the season. Decidedly unpolished, with little effect,
and warmth instilled by gloriously imperfect harmonica
parts, the album dances between the stirring piano and
guitar styles the songwriter is known for, with the air
of a train hopping transient, looking to escape some
unknown history. The highlight of the album is “Barbary
Coast (Later),” a perfect Jack Kerouac-ian example of the
aforementioned feeling. There are moments that make
the listener think of Jeff Buckley (“You All Loved Him
Once”) and Andy Shauf (the dark and uniquely human
stories of the album, including “Mamah Borthwick”),
and yet it all comes together so undeniably Conor
• Willow Grier
Sweden’s Opeth have been in the game a long time,
going all the way back to 1990. Releasing 12 albums
along the way, becoming known the world over as one
of the most diverse groups working in metal and refusing
to get tied down by one individual set of stylistic
constraints. Sorceress is the group’s first release on the
mighty Nuclear Blast record company, one of the most
reputable in the industry.
Album standout “The Wilde Flowers,” has a sort of
Mike Patton-era Faith No More operatic quality to it.
The next tune, “Will O The Wisp,” calls to mind Jethro
Tull with a very gentle minstrel nature with just acoustic
guitar and clean story telling vocals. Opeth’s last record,
2014’s Pale Communion, saw the group flirt with the
sonic realms of the ‘60 and ‘70s, and the prog rock
sound has remained a continually prevailing influence.
Now on Sorceress, frontman Mikael Åkerfeldt
states an influx of jazz into his already bursting record
collection provided new creative elements from which
to work with.
The album is a real journey and perhaps the group’s
most adventurous work yet. Moments of tranquility
are interspersed with great high points, shredding solos
and soaring ranges of vocality. Opeth remain steadfast
in their pursuit of forging onwards into new musical
territory for themselves.
• Paul Rodgers
Picture The Ocean
The path of artists is rarely a straight line, and the art
they create is often reflective of their chosen avenues.
On their new LP, Something Real, Edmonton’s Picture
The Ocean have delivered a subtle and close knit set of
songs that shines a soft light on their transition from
road weary to finding the nearness that can only come
from having a place to call home.
The warm, opening strains of “Anywhere,” with only
an acoustic guitar and tambourine to accompany the
matrimonial harmony of Jesse Dee and Jacquie B, finds a
sweet melancholy in the end of a long road, the refrain,
“You can’t call me here, I could be anywhere,” at once
letting the ones you love know you’re safe, even if they
can’t hear you say it.
“Excalibur” takes the returning home narrative a bit
further, and puts a new spin on the conversations bands
have about making plans for the future, at once hopeful,
and disconsolate at the ways the world can change
the plans you cared so much for, with or without your
Picture The Ocean may not be putting on the miles
they used to, but their seams feel as tight knit as ever,
and Something Real offers a smartly composed and
performed heartfelt proximity to the dreams of youth
and the realities of age.
• Mike Dunn
There are plenty of SEO-oriented ways of discussing
electronic enfant terrible Powell’s music, many of which
were engineered by Oscar Powell himself. Having
published personal email correspondence everywhere
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56 | OCTOBER 2016 • BEATROUTE
from Twitter to YouTube online, swerving into IRL with
oppressive billboards, and finally back to email with a
P2P album announcement directly to a fan, Powell’s
craftily-won breakthrough on XL suspiciously scans as a
case of wagging the dog.
Just before listening to Sport for the first time, this
reviewer was worried that Powell had missed his calling
as a marketing executive and wrongly stumbled upon
music. Boy, was he wrong.
Sport is a lo-fi feeling work made up of hiss, fraudulent-sounding
drums, perverted digitizations of rock,
fraught basslines and weird electro-clash parodies. That
shouldn’t seem to make much sense on the surface, but
Sport is also a case of being happily proved wrong. It’s
a debut album that has enough imaginable narrative
cohesion between online/offline life, business/art
mechanics, and cool/corny power roles to halt the
hurried listener’s quickness to assess, and convinces one
to ease up and listen for a while. Its highest value is that
it doesn’t ask to be liked but instead can’t be looked
There are enough sonic plot points found along the
noise, groove, rawkishness and club-informed phases to
solidify its haphazard construction as a deconstructive
device. Jarring the listener between outright abrasion,
slick delight and crispy uncool, Powell shows he’s
not just agitating us out of sadism. Instead, the tonal
disagreement and cast of desperate, screeching vocal
characters sampled along the way remind us of the
turbulent, intrusive ways that we tune out the parts of
life that we don’t want to see. Hints and nods towards
social issues, raw ugliness, actual dance-worthy parts
and crass rehashings somehow make sense together
and offer an alternative to doing just one thing particularly
well. Powell’s ability to scream into the void and
actually draw attention is ostentatious and impossible
not to think about.
• Colin Gallant
Six Shooter Records
It is refreshing to come across an album that utilizes
musicianship as a medium to enlighten. I mean, getting
jiggy to a riff is great and all, but feeling heavy from a
rhyme is something else entirely. Polaris Prize-winning,
Inuk throat singer Tanya Tagaq’s newest album, Retribution,
makes you feel this something else. “We turned
money into God/ and salivate over opportunities to/
crumple and crinkle our souls/ over that paper – that
gold/ Money has spent us.”
It really has, don’t you realize it? We strain, we suffer.
Our Mother Earth, she’s in pain, she suffers. She knows
the patterns of time. She knows those coming generations
of humankind will strain, suffer, too. Money – it’s
a tool, yes, we all know that. Its presence really messes
with our minds, though. Blurs our perception into
thinking we need more and more of it and insists upon
materialistic gain until we can’t see anymore. Our vision
fails and we blindly consume. This vicious greed seeps, it
prevails. We should resist.
Tagaq thinks so, too. Throughout Retribution, she
speculates upon the travesty of inclining towards
Western thought, touches upon quantum theory, and
laments upon rape concerning women, the land, and
our souls. Furthermore, Tagaq’s powerful gutturals,
shrieks, and hysteric vocal stretches in-and-of-themselves,
voicing her realizations. You really have to listen,
though. Meditate upon this album. You must. Every
sound you hear, whether it be vocalization, synthetic
swirls, strumming and sliding strings, or any spit of
rhyme, it’s all purposeful. It really makes you think.
Music ought to do that from time-to-time, eh? Awaken
the currents of your thoughts rather than numb your
circuitry. Make you swift rather than drift. Strays you
from delusion, thus becoming the ultimate retribution.
If that’s what your ears are desirous to hear, this is an
album for you.
• Hannah Many Guns
Yann Tiersen may not be the biggest name in North
America, but in his home of France, he’s renowned
for his heartfelt, cinematically-inclined compositions.
Most famously, his work formed the soundtrack for the
2001 film Amelie, eventually going platinum in Canada.
That’s the peak of Tiersen’s career in the mainstream,
but he’s steadily been amassing an impressively experimental
discography without the spotlight shining on
him. Recorded at Abbey Road, EUSA, Tiersen’s latest
album – and first composed solely for piano – may just
be his crown jewel.
EUSA is the Breton name for the French island
Ushant, the place Tiersen hides away to write most of
his works. A so-called “musical map,” EUSA is filled with
evocative, entrancing piano work, accompanied only by
a field recording taken from the exact spot each song
was named after. Songs like “Pern,” and the waltzing
“Porz Goret,” offer an escape into the near-desolate
island. The compositions are almost hypnotic in nature;
Tiersen’s performance is full of artful arpeggios and
human tempo shifts while birds chirp gently in the
EUSA isn’t a glitzy affair, but it is an utterly arresting
record that manages to be musically minimalist, but still
• Jamie McNamara
Burbank’s Touché Amoré have always been known for
their intellectual brand of emotional post-hardcore, but
on Stage Four, their first album for major label Epitaph,
the group manages to progress yet again. The result
is a mature masterwork that is easily the group’s best
album, a statement that is quite a compliment after
2013’s bracingly stunning Is Survived By, an album that
laid bare lead-singer Jeremy Bolm’s personal shortcomings
and neurosis for all to see.
That trademark unvarnished honesty returns again on
Stage Four, but this time Bolm’s neuroses are tragically
validated by the passing of his mother from cancer just
two years ago. Stage Four offers an unflinching look into
Bolm’s psyche as he processes the loss of his 69-year-old
More often than not, Bolm finds himself unmoored,
drifting in a gorgeous cacophony led by guitarist Nick
Steinhardt and anchored rhythmically by drummer
Eliot Babin. Sonically, the group sounds stadium ready,
finding visceral catharsis in blown-out atmospherics
and thundering tempos. It goes without saying that
Stage Four is an emotionally heavy album, but the band
does well to keep from veering into melodrama. Instead,
the album offers a hauntingly human examination into
the process of grief. It’s easily one of the best albums of
the year, a crushing gut punch that feels all too familiar
for anyone who has ever lost a loved one to cancer.
• Jamie McNamara
Taking It To Heart, Volume 1
If you needed proof that Calgary’s music scene is a hotbed
of talent, look no further than the new compilation
Taking It To Heart, Vol. 1 from fresh-faced label Treeline
Records. The comp, which will see any proceeds
donated directly to the Heart and Stroke foundation, is
packed full of local talent and familiar faces from across
The compilation starts off on a great note with
“Shape Of Things To Come,” an already amazing Operators
record with Perfect Pussy frontwoman Meredith
Graves joining Dan Boeckner on vocal duties. It’s a rapid
fire, electro assault that is demonically danceable and
raw. In addition, tracks from Canadian favourites like
Kevin Drew, Woodpigeon, and Winnipeg’s Duotang
lend a friendly hand to the cause.
Calgarian acts Melted Mirror, Chad VanGaalen, and
Pre Nup, hold down the local contingent, making Taking
It To Heart, Vol. 1 a rare compilation that warrants
a full listen.
• Jamie McNamara
Warpaint’s latest album, Heads Up, is a seductive
and mature third album. Since their self-titled album
released in 2014, Warpaint has evolved and created a
cohesive, polished sound. The band cites artists such as
Janet Jackson, Kendrick Lamar and OutKast as inspiration,
and the presence of both R&B and rap influences
are clear on the album.
Heads Up feels like more of an expansion of their
previous work instead of a concrete shift in direction.
Standouts from the album include the single they
released, the fittingly titled “New Song,” which feels the
most unique from previous releases. “New Song” has
a strong pop influence and is a song you could easily
hear blasting out of any car radio. As well as “So Good”
which features a steady, dance ready beat. Heads Up is
a moody and sensual album that moves at a faster pace
than previous albums, and is a welcomed change of
pace for Warpaint.
• Kennedy Enns
The most infamous moment of Wilco’s career is their
famous firing from Reprise Records. This came after it
was determined that their magnum opus, Yankee Hotel
Foxtrot, was too inaccessible for wide release. As if the
irony wasn’t great enough that Yankee Hotel would
go onto become a bestseller, with last year’s Star Wars,
Wilco put out the least accessible music of their career.
If Schmilco is any indication, Wilco is going to continue
doing whatever they want.
Schmilco is the quirky fuzz folk record I don’t
think any of us knew we wanted. It’s lean, earthy,
and entirely strange. It opens with an oscillating
guitar line behind a raw acoustic line with all of the
imperfections left intact. Fingers sliding from fret
to fret, the buzz of muted strings permeate several
tracks on the record. Behind frontman Jeff Tweedy’s
youthful pessimism on “Normal American Kids,” the
bedroom folk aesthetic feels naturalistic, even for
such a marquee artist.
The record is a palpable 13 tracks, but they mostly
run around three minutes. Even with the glean of professional
production and major label mastering, some of
the record feels strangely, but intentionally, unfinished.
After the weirdo glory of Star Wars, Wilco keep the
crazy train rolling with an alt-folk extravaganza. It’s
• Liam Prost
photo: Jamie McNamara
Junior Boys, Borys, Egyptrixx
September 18, 2016
Junior Boys played a career-spanning set of favourites to a modest crowd on Sunday night in Calgary.
Maybe one would guess (though this reviewer didn’t) that a romantic electro-pop act with a real daddy of
a lead singer would attract a noticeably 30-something audience of gay men. Not your average demographic
at Commonwealth, and a refreshing break from the heteronormativity of nightlife in Calgary.
We’re here to talk about music, though. Openers Borys (who does the Boys’ live sound) and Egyptrixx
were solid picks; each playing abrasive, exhilarating electronic sounds with real-time live playing.
The Boys themselves leaned heavier on mid-tempo, dark-tinged balladry. As far as a Sunday night goes, it
certainly seemed a smart move. There was, however, one drawback: there was almost no detectable energy
coming from the people onstage. It’s not that you’d expect Greenspan to do a backflip in the middle of “So
This Is Goodbye,” but cradling a mic and shifting slightly on rhythm doesn’t grab the viewer’s eye.
Ultimately, seven years since their last show in Calgary, Junior Boys provided what people wanted most
from them: suave, tender brooding with silky basslines, prickly beats and heaping helpings of synth.
• Colin Gallant
One Love Festival
September 10-11, 2016
Now a two-day, two-stage endeavour, it was debated
whether Calgary had the scene to hold up One
Love’s growth from its inaugural year in 2015. The
amount of people who won tickets days before the
event perhaps hinted at less than ideal ticket sales,
but all weekend the venue felt full and energized, at
least for the big ticket acts.
This time around rap weirdoes like Atmosphere,
Action Bronson, Tyler, The Creator, and Logic
performed. Atmosphere played a set filled with
throwbacks and b-sides, with Slug free-styling much
of the lyrics. Sadly, this set did get less love than it
deserved from the young crowd. With following acts
Jhene Aiko, who won over the crowd early with a
2Pac cover, and Saturday’s headliner Big Sean closing
out the night, the festival was off to a strong start.
Sunday saw Earl Sweatshirt and A$AP Ferg get
things bumping, and by the time Tyler was set to go
on, the crowd was so riled up that photographers
were (at first) barred from the photo pit. To close
out the festival, the speed-spitting Logic (who was
replacing Lil Wayne) took to stage and wowed the
crowd with his incredible technical ability. He took
the time to celebrate young fans in the front row and
even talked about his own experiences with anxiety.
As the day began to get colder, some chose to call
it a night. But those who stayed were blessed with a
demonstration of Logic’s songcraft. He truly proved
why he deserved to be there by creating a beat, adding
samples, and freestyling an entire song. This left
the freezing crowd with huge smiles and wide eyes as
they departed from the park and towards a massive
line of cabs and party busses outside.
• Willow Grier
Tyler, the Creator
photo: Willow Grier
BEATROUTE • OCTOBER 2016 | 57
My husband left the picture recently, and I’m now a single mom supporting
an infant in Toronto. I work a retail job and am drowning financially. I
hooked up with a guy I met on Tinder, and I didn’t warn him that I’m still
nursing because I didn’t even think of it. Luckily, he really got off on it—so
I was spared the awkwardness of “Eww, what is coming out of your tits?!”
Afterward, he joked about there being a market for lactating women in the
kink world. My questions: If I find someone who will pay me to suckle my
milk, is that prostitution? And if I advertise that I’m willing to be paid, can I
get into trouble for that? The possibility of making some money this way is
more appealing every day.
—Truly In Trouble
“Allowing clients to suckle her breasts is, of course, sex work,” said Angela
Chaisson, a partner at Toronto’s Paradigm Law Group. “But sex work is
legal for everyone in Canada, new moms included. The new sex work
laws here—the 2014 ‘Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons
Act,’ an Orwellian title for a draconian piece of legislation—prohibit sex
work close to where minors might be. So if she’s engaging in sex work
close to kids, she is risking criminal charges.”
No one wants sex work going on around minors, of course—on or
around minors—so that’s not what makes the ‘Protection of Communities
and Exploited Persons Act’ an Orwellian piece of bullshit.
Laws regulating sex work in Canada were rewritten after Terri-Jean
Bedford, a retired dominatrix and madam, took her case to the courts.
The Supreme Court of Canada ultimately ruled—unanimously—that
criminalizing sex work made it more dangerous, not less, and consequently
the laws on the books against sex work violated the Canadian
Charter of Rights and Freedoms. But instead of decriminalizing sex work,
Parliament made it legal to sell sex in Canada but illegal to buy it, aka the
“end demand” approach to stamping out sex work.
“By making a sex worker’s body the scene of a crime,” writes sex
worker and sex-workers-rights activist Mike Crawford, “the ‘end demand’
approach gives cops full license to investigate sex workers, leaving sex
workers vulnerable to abuse, extortion, and even rape at the hands of
Chaisson, who helped bring down Canada’s laws against sex work,
doesn’t think selling suckling will get you in trouble, TIT. “But Children’s
Aid Society (CAS) would investigate if they felt there was a child in
need of protection,” said Chaisson. “So the safest thing would be for
her to stick to out calls only and to keep the work away from kids and
anywhere they might be.”
To avoid having to worry about CAS or exactly where every kid in
Canada is when you see a client while still making some money off your
current superpower, TIT, you could look into the emerging online market
for human breast milk. There are more ads from breast milk fetishists
(204) at OnlyTheBreast.com (“Buy, sell, or donate breast milk with our
discreet classifieds system”) than there are from new parents seeking
breast milk for their infants (159). Good luck!
I’m a 27-year-old straight male and a high-school teacher held to a strict
code. I left my fiancée in June and haven’t had sex since. Needless to say, I’m
really horny. I’m also in that weird in-between age where I’m not comfortable
hanging out at college bars but I’m also a bit younger than most of the
women in other bars. But when I scour dating apps, I see profiles of women
ages 18 to 22—women who, for all I know, could have been students at my
school. I would never fuck a former student, of course, but I’m worried that I
could get my license revoked if my supervisors discovered I was online trolling
for sex. So what am I supposed to do? My cock is making sad faces at me
— Teacher Evidently Needs Sexual Encounter
If you live in a college town, TENSE, there’s at least one bar where grad
students hang out—look for the bar where women are grading papers,
not pounding shots, and hang out there. And with more than one in three
new marriages beginning with an online meeting these days, and with Pew
Research telling us that 60 percent of Americans approve of online dating,
I don’t see how your supervisors could possibly object to staffers scouring
dating apps and the interwebs for age-appropriate partners. Unless we’re
talking about a Catholic school staffed entirely by nuns, which isn’t what
we’re talking about.
My boyfriend of five years is a sweet, smart, handsome, loving, supportive,
middle-aged, chubby white guy. We have a fulfilling sex life. When we first
met, he shared a fantasy he had about watching me get fucked by a black
guy. (He knows it’s not something I’m interested in IRL.) I’ve caught him
several times posing online as a young, buff, handsome black guy looking for
a “snowbunny.” I call him out on it every time, and it causes huge fights. He
says he’ll stop, but he never does. Weighed against all his other good qualities,
this isn’t that big of a deal. Clearly he’s not going to meet up with the women
he’s chatting with. What makes me sad is that I adore him as he is—I love his
big white belly, his bald head, and his rosy cheeks. I think I do a good job of
communicating this to him. I guess I’m writing to you for some reassurance
that I’m doing the right thing by letting this behavior go and also for some
insight into why he’s doing it in the first place.
—Upset Girlfriend Hates Eroticized Racial Secrets
If this isn’t that big of a deal, UGHERS, why are you calling him out on it? Why
are you monitoring his online activities/fantasies at all?
What your boyfriend is doing sounds relatively harmless—he’s pretending
to be someone he’s not while flirting with other people online who are
most likely pretending to be someone they’re not. (I promise you most of
the “snowbunnies” he’s chatted with were other men.) The world is full of
by Dan Savage
people who enjoy pretending to be someone they’re not, from cosplayers
pretending to be Captain America or Poison Ivy to creative anachronists
pretending to be knights and ladies to Donald Trump Jr. pretending to be
a human being.
We can’t gloss over the racial/racist cultural forces that shaped your
boyfriend’s kinks, of course, but it’s possible to explore those kinds of
fantasies online or IRL without being a racist piece of shit. And a person
can pretend to be someone of another race online—because it turns them
on—without injecting racial hate into online spaces and/or thoughtlessly
reinforcing damaging stereotypes about people of other races. You’ve
seen your boyfriend’s online chats, UGHERS, so you’re in a better position
to judge whether he’s exploring his fantasies without making the world a
worse place than it already is for actual black men.
If he’s being a racist piece of shit online, UGHERS, call him out on that. If
he isn’t, stop policing his fantasies.
Mid-20s female here, ready to date after a period of difficulty in my personal
life. I have started taking an antidepressant, which has allowed me to regain
control over my life, but one side effect is difficulty having orgasms. People
can be judgey when it comes to antidepressants, and it’s not something that’s
easy to share. It’s frustrating because this medication allows me to be in a
place mentally where I can pursue healthy adult relationships, but it affects
sex, which for me is something that is key for a healthy relationship. How do I
have a conversation about this with a potential partner?
—Hopeful About Potential Partners, Yay
You can put off the convo about your meds with a white lie, HAPPY, by
telling your potential partner you never come the first few times you’re
with someone new—no pressure on you to come (or come clean just yet),
no pressure on them to make you come. Then level with them about the
real reason you’re having difficultly coming—new to antidepressants, still
adjusting, but grateful for the other benefits—after you’ve gotten to know
them better. It’s a harmless, understandable white lie, not a major betrayal.
If they react like it is one, HAPPY, then you’ll have to DTMFA.
Listen to Dan at
Email Dan at
@fakedansavage on Twitter
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