BeatRoute Magazine B.C. print e-edition - November 2016


BeatRoute Magazine is a monthly arts and entertainment paper with a predominant focus on music – local, independent or otherwise. The paper started in June 2004 and continues to provide a healthy dose of perversity while exercising rock ‘n’ roll ethics.


Randy Rampage and ChRis WalteR tell the tale of a RoWdy punk RoCk past

November 2016 1

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November 2016


BeatRoute Magazine



Syd Danger


Shane Flug


Thomas Coles


Shimon Karmel


Gold Distribution


Heather Adamson · Justine Apostolopoulos ·

Kristina Charania · Matthew Coyte · David Cutting

Dave Deveau · Mike Dunn · Kennedy Enns ·

Joshua Erickson · Shayla Friesen · Colin Gallant ·

Jamie Goyman · Carlotta Gurl · Michelle Hanely

Amber Harper-Young · Erin Jardine · Prachi

Kamble · Jay King · Sarah Mac · Paul McAleer

Jamie McNamara · Devon Motz · James Olson ·

Sean Orr · Jennie Orton · Liam Prost ·

Mitch Ray · Galen Robinson-Exo · Paul Rodgers ·

Megha Sequeira · Yasmine Shemesh ·

Maya-Roisin Slater · Adam PW Smith · Stepan Soroka ·

Paris Spence-Lang · Thalia Stopa · Susanne Tabata

Vanessa Tam · Alec Warkentin · Robyn Welsh ·

Kendell Yan




Maia Anstey · Steve Appleford · GL Askew ·

Gabe Ayala · Badbloodclub · Rebecca Blissett ·

Natalie Brasington · RD Cane · Michael Vera Cruz ·

Walker Evans · Chase Hansen · Joe Leonard ·

Lynol Lui · Maggie Macpherson · Darrole Palmer ·

Shalan And Paul · Galen Robinson · Chris Stern


Glenn Alderson



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Glenn Alderson


Joshua Erickson


Vanessa Tam


David Cutting


Jennie Orton



Erin Jardine


Yasmine Shemesh


Graeme Wiggins







november ‘16



∙ with Kiran Bhumber

Sensored & Synthesized













∙ Queen Of The Month ∙ From the Desk

of Carlotta ∙ Queerview Mirror

∙ Mandy Tsung


∙ The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari



∙ Daughters ∙ OFF!

∙ NOFX ∙ Ulcerate

∙ Mac Miller ∙ Ego Death

∙ Lido ∙ Autograf


∙ Bob Saget ∙ Tom Green

∙ East Side Culture Crawl ∙ Empire of

the Sun ∙ Craft Cider Festival ∙ Walker

Evans ∙ Layers Of Influence

∙ Lady Gaga ∙ The Darcys ∙ Gord Downie

∙ Protest The Hero ∙ Solange ∙ Martha Wainwright


∙ Danny Brown ∙ James Blake



Paris Spence-Lang


Galen Robinson-Exo


202-2405 Hastings St. E

Vancouver BC Canada

V5K 1Y8

©BEATROUTE Magazine 2016. All rights reserved.

Reproduction of the contents is strictly prohibited.

November 2016 3



At the New Forms Festival this year there was an

installation that, in very simple terms, turned a

swing set into a self propelled bit of sorcery like

you always kind of dreamed of when you were

a kid on the rickety death trap your dad put

up in the back yard. The project was called

Pendula and it was an immersive audio-visual

installation featuring projections and swings

as instruments. The relationship between

movement and music was the imaginative

brain child of Kiran Bhumber (in collaboration

with video artist Nancy Lee). Bhumber now

takes the discipline of exploring movement as

an instrument to Sensored and Synthesized,

an interactive music performance at Western

Front on November 4. Using vocal techniques,

haptic feedback, sensors, and electronics,

performer Marguerite Witvoet will wear a reactive

body suit which responds to touch with musical

output; the result is a free form ever evolving

musical performance that displays Bhumber’s

continued life work of reactive musicality and

memory & movement. We talked to Bhumber

about her work and how the idea of movement

has evolved during the process,

BeatRoute: Can you tell us about the magic of the

reactive body suit? How does it work and what was

it like to put such a thing together?

Kiran Bhumber: The bodysuit is touch reactive,

meaning, based on where and how you touch the

suit, you will generate musical outputs.

The current version uses parallel tracks of

resistive and conductive fabric for each sensor on

localized areas of the bodysuit. Simultaneously

touching the two tracks (with a metal thimble or

a highly conductive finger) completes a circuit, and

the resulting voltage depends upon how far along the

resistive fabric you touch. From there, we’re able to use the

voltage values and map them into sound parameters.

It’s been an amazing experience working with

my former professor Bob Pritchard on this project.

We have both learnt a lot about the human form,

fabrics, and how different types of performers

embody their performative characters in the suit.

BR: What was it about the relationship between

movement and sound that first made you want to

explore it?

KB: From a young age, I was obsessed with

synthesis techniques and electronic music while also

being trained as a classical musician. My compositional

styles reflected both of these passions when I started to

experiment with live-processing of acoustic instruments.

During this time, I was trying to figure out a way I could

shape both types of sounds (acoustic and computer

generated) into a more traditional performance setting.

When I first discovered interactive music

performance, I realized that I could use a performer’s

gestures to embody both of these sounds

simultaneously, and, in this way, the performer

becomes two dimensional: Performing physically


with their instrument, and using their ancillary

gestures to trigger and manipulate electronically

generated music.

BR: Let’s talk about Pendula. What is it about and

how was the New Forms experience?

KB: Pendula is an immersive audio-visual swingset

installation and musical performance made

in collaboration with Nancy Lee. We have

surround-sound and projections (four speakers

& projections). The participants create their

own aural and visual environment through

their individualized swinging motions. We also

developed the swings to be performed as a musical

instrument. The Pendula ensemble performance

took place during our installation premiere and It

consisted of myself on clarinet, Clara Schandler(also

known as Sidewalk Cellist) on cello, Nancy Lee on

swings, and Neelamjit Dhillon on tabla.

Nancy Lee and I actually met during New Forms

2014 when we were both volunteering. While we

were painting, we were brainstorming what type of

new media art we would like to showcase at NFF. This

is when the idea of Pendula actually came about.

Having Pendula a part of NFF 2016 was very

surreal for us, because it felt like we had completed a full

circle. It was such a great experience installing the work in

an indoor, enclosed environment (our first installation was

outdoors for the Vancouver International Jazz Festival),

watching attendees enjoy themselves, and hang out with

their friends on the swings. We received really

great feedback from festival go-ers and are open to

future invitations to install the work!

BR: What have you found most surprising about

your exploration into human movement?

KB: I think what I have found most surprising

about my exploration into human movement

is that it doesn’t matter how many times you

have installed and observed individuals during a

particular installation that you have created, the

next time, you will find that there is an interaction

that someone makes that you do not expect. This

makes you go back to the drawing board to see

how you can further refine your design to take into

account these interactions.

BR: What are some undercurrents in your work

that give it its pulse?

KB: I think my work comes from my love of

both music and science, particularly with the

sensorial and perceptual relationships we have

with sound. I’m fascinated with how we can use

these properties to inform our interaction design

choices within multimedia works.

Kiran Bhumber’s Reactive Body Suit will be featured

in the Sensored & Synthesized concert at Western

Front on November 4.


November 2016

Jenny Hval

it was a bore, it was a fucking horror



When I call Norwegian experimental

pop artist Jenny Hval, she’s climbing

into the trunk of a car in London’s South

Hackney neighbourhood. There among

the luggage, she waits for the keys to

her next Airbnb, and offers up some

thoughts on her most recent release,

Blood Bitch, and the evolving intentions

behind her music. Though she’d been

playing in bands from the age of 16, Hval

first started seriously putting energy

into music while attending university

in Melbourne, Australia. “I was

studying other types of performing

arts and fine arts, so music was sort

of the only thing I wasn’t studying,

it was my free space. A way of

processing a lot of heavy theory that

I was reading, and sort of avant garde

art strategies I was studying,” she

explains. Immersed in this rigorous

academic environment, and finding

freedom in songwriting as a method

of digesting the information she was

taking in, Hval entered a tumultuous

relationship with pop music. “For a long

time I was quite embarrassed because

I was making these sort of Simon

and Garfunkel songs about explicit

performance art studies and heavy

theory. I didn’t take the pop music

side of what I was doing very seriously,

it was sort of like a lower art form or

something.” Though a confusing refuge

at first, the contrast between pop and

academia provided a welcome space in

which to collect thoughts and feelings.

It provided a separation from what

Hval was studying, leaving room for

the concepts she was learning to be

interpreted in new creative ways.

Since then Hval has released six

albums, the most recent of which

being Blood Bitch, a ten song LP with

blood as its central theme: the blood of

women, the blood of cult horror films,

the lust for blood by a vampire. Far from

her more premeditated theoretical

beginnings, Hval didn’t set out to create

work married to a theme or message.

“I started writing at a time when I was

playing a lot of shows with Apocalypse

Girl, the record that I did the year before.

So I was kind of tired of feeling like I was

doing social commentary with music to

it, and I wanted to just write something

that sounded beautiful.” With beautiful

music as her sole intention, Hval

joined forces with Norwegian noise

producer Lesse Marhaug and started

putting things to tape. Recorded in a

work space above a bike shed in Oslo,

the album came together with plenty

of time and experimentation. “I let

my interests and my life at the time

become an album. I fused together

the ideas of being on the road touring

with women, and exploring the creative

sides of that, and taking a lot from the

movies I was watching— cult movies,

horror films, and some sex films from

the seventies,” explains Hval. Making

a link between her time touring with

women, the creativity that comes with

such an experience, and the narrative

structures of vampire and horror films,

the theme of Blood Bitch manifested

itself. More ethereal than previous

albums where the lyrical message

is the main focus, Hval hopes this

piece of work can connect with

listeners in a different way. “I didn’t

want to write good lyrics, I wanted

to write very bad lyrics but they

would be hidden in the music so you

wouldn’t have to focus on them so

much. But I think as the album was

written in the recording process, we

ended up liking what was happening. I

don’t think it’s the sort of album where

you have to read the lyrics and study,

I really hope it can be a dream ride, a

subconscious journey to listen to.”

Though Hval’s music has evolved

greatly since her first solo album, To Sing

To You in Apple Trees, then released

under the moniker rockettothesky,

a motif can be found throughout all

her projects. Themes of sexuality and

gender, the often silenced desires of

women appear consistently throughout

her work. Though sexuality is ever

present in pop music, Hval’s approach

is a rarely heard mix of questioning and

confidence. Her fearless vulnerability

on these subjects is unique, and

disarming. Singing of menstrual blood,

gynecological visits, and washing

down birth control with rosé, Hval

hopes to erase words like “taboo”

from association with these habitual

reproductive tasks. “I want them to

have more of an occult power, and be

seen as magical,” says Hval. The desire

to romanticize things which may be

seen as clinical or grotesque seems to

be the root of Hval’s musical practice.

She began writing songs to macerate

the dense material she was taught in

school. Continuing on throughout

her career she used music to express

complex political ideas and artistic

criticisms in a way listeners who might

not have come up in academic spaces

could resonate with. In Blood Bitch she

Jenny Hval’s new album Blood Bitch is an

uncompromising political and artistic statement.

looks at the human body and the things

it does to keep us alive: cold, wet, red,

painful things. Human habits that some

experience, or are born from, but have

been reduced to doctors forms and

bottles of aspirin, and doused in bleach.

Just as Hval wants to inject emotion

back into academic ideas, does she

want to inject romance and magic into

taboos. “I think we’ve made this kind of

wound in our brains and spirits where

we think that the academic can’t have

anything to do with emotional stuff, and

the emotional stuff needs to be seen as

very simple and inexplicable. Then the

academic is sort of dry and sensible.

And that’s not true.” Hval interprets

this separation of mind and spirit as an

unhealed wound, one where she sees

pain. At 36, Hval has been making music

for about 20 years now. She says as she

ages she can see herself getting stronger

and weaker. From the trunk of a car in

South Hackeny, London, she is sitting

surrounded by suitcases, proud to tell

me everyday she becomes stronger and

weaker. Here she embodies her vision

for expressing ideas, where feeling and

thought trade places, and are admired

in new ways for growing both stronger

and weaker.

Jenny Hval plays the Biltmore Cabaret on

November 16th.

November 2016 MUSIC



following anything but familiar patterns


Toronto based 4 piece Pup is that punk/

rock/amazing that these past few years

fucking needed; pure unabashed raw,

live energy.

“I think, for me, the whole band

is about that cathartic release; I have a

lot of pent up energy, both positive and

negative and I think writing aggressive

snotty music is a really good way to

release some of that,” admits lead

vocalist & guitarist Stefan Babcock.

The band released their latest

album The Dream Is Over in May, a

volatile and personal record that shows

Pup’s growth from their self-titled debut

album. From the first single “DVP”

to the almost-anthemic aggression

of “Familiar Patterns,” the band have

found audiences have easily connect

with the music the new record, and it

probably has something to do with the

fact that when writing songs they’re

always thinking about playing them live.

“We recorded both our albums live off

the floor, except for vocals and a couple

overdubs; it’s important to capture that

energy by all of us playing together in the

same room rather than tracking drums

and adding bass then guitar. That’s

just never really worked for us,” explains

Babcock, “When you build songs and

JUly Talk

infusing modern connection with aged whiskey and road rash


Peter Dreimanis’s voice rolls over the

confessional lyrics in “Touch,” the

thundering closing track on July Talk’s

sophomore album of the same name.

Like thick tires rumbling over the

loose gravel, his Tom Waits’y growl is

enveloped by crescendos of backing

vocals and ominous piano, as the thud

of a human heartbeat shoves itself past

the Snapchat feed that is modern life.

As July Talk takes their “come together”


play them live, I think it’s important to

track them live in the studio otherwise

you lose a lot of energy. It’s always been

the goal of each record to capture the

energy of the live show.” That energy

he talks about bears its teeth when

listeners hit play or, better yet, catch the

guys live; they’re that type of group that

leaves your body writhing and buzzed,

and you love it. “We’re always on the

verge of kind of falling apart as a band

so it’s kind of probably fun for people to

witness a train that is constantly about

to be derailed.”

To break it down, what keeps Pup

going at full blast is the genuine respect

for their band mates and the desire to

be in a solid band that knows its shit,

keeps their music unrefined and puts

it out regardless of any bullshit. “We’re

highly dysfunctional group of adults

to be honest. I think we’re all just

motivated. It’s a combination of all of

us being really motivated to succeed

on our own terms, combined with a

pretty deep respect for each other…

It’s important to fight through all the

bullshit and dysfunction and look at the

bigger goal and kind of suck it up when

you need to suck it up and put in the

work and effort, and try not to let the

little things get you down.”

Starting their tour out August 27,

stage persona to the road with an album

that explores themes like connection,

longing, and intimacy in the modern

age, the band gets a rare opportunity

to see the evolution of communication

wrangle with the body’s desire for

physical catharsis.

“I think the interest on focussing

on the human connection, be it of a

physical nature or just looking each

other eye to eye, presented itself to us

because we are worried like everyone

and aside from two days off in October

Pup will be on tour straight through

to mid-December. Thats about 75+

days. “It’s a lot of touring, pretty much

nonstop. Once that’s over I think we’ll

take a much deserved month long break

and catch up on life, do what normal

people do. We already have plans to go

back to Europe in January and February,

take a month off and then get back to

it,” tells Stefan.

The band, who seem to be

constantly touring, has got it down to

an almost science when it comes to

The Toronto rockers have embraced the addictive taste of touring and are overdosing gleefully.


else is, that all of these new ways we are

being given to connect to each other

digitally are really meant to bring us

closer together but we haven’t quite

figured out how to do that for real yet,”

Dreimanis posits.

July Talk seems to have set out to

show the palpable and important new

world emerging between the old and

new definitions of connection. Touch is

a reflective, sometimes sexy sometimes

sad, look at intimacy in the millennial

keeping sane for the never-ending life

of 100km per hour scenery passing by.

“It’s important to try your best to have

your own space because you’re always

around other people. I like to get up

pretty early about once a week and

take the van and go on a hike on my

own… Just even tuning out the world,

putting on headphones and listening

to music and being in your own world

is a really important part of my day.

Being able to disconnect and go into

my own world and listen to something

that nobody else is listening to around

age. The music is pleasing, and close, and

seductive, but there is a hunger that never

lets go; like a rumbling stomach. This is

due in part to the lyrics, which stagger

between sultry game playing and fitful

declarations of frustrated self-awareness.

The album also owes its palpable

viscera to the decision to record

the whole thing live. Recorded with

producer Ian Davenport, who routinely

avoids the use of a click track, July Talk

was able to replicate the energy of their

storied live show on the album.

“It was all about capturing the

moment,” says Dreimanis. “We wanted

to hear the humanity in it.”

The band has a well earned

reputation for talking with fans after

the show and it is this bridging of that

gap that July Talk has always found to be

cathartic and beneficial.

“I think there was a vibe in every

room that we played that felt a little

culty. It was a group of people who were

in on this little thing that was bigger than

the five of us and just sort of happened,”

he admits. “There has been an immense

feeling of connection in the room.”

So as the band crawls along the

highways of North America, spitting

whiskey into the crowd and then hugging

the people it hit when the lights go up,

they become innately aware of the fine

line between a digitally curated self and a

me is pretty rejuvenating.” This is why

when they hit the stage their live show

is unforgettable, any room fills wild

with the band’s potency and leaves the

audience dripping and satisfied.

Vancouver is no doubt ready for

Pup to come through with what Stefan

describes as “a loud noisy clusterfuck.”


Pup performs at the Cobalt on November

21 (Vancouver) and at Lucky Bar on

November 22 (Victoria).

sweaty moment between hot bodies.

“There is something really weird

about that, like for example when you

are having your Thanksgiving dinner in

a van at 7pm and all of your families

are tucking their babies in after having

a big turkey dinner back home,” says

singer Leah Fay. “But there is also

something really special about having

an insight and seeing the world through

those really brief moments of human

connection with people in a breakfast

room at a Quality Inn.”

So when Dreimanis and Fay sing,

“We get so tired and lonely, we need

a human touch. Don’t wanna give

ourselves away too much,” during the

aforementioned “Touch,” you can hear

that disconnected comfort we all share

within the iOS, and our secret desire to

stage dive into the arms of a crowd just

like us.

“The shame within it is the elements

with ourselves that we are ashamed

of or embarrassed by are usually the

most interesting and intriguing parts

of ourselves,” he muses. “A lot of what

neglects to be shown ends up being the

stuff that is going to make the person

who is gonna fall in love with you fall in

love with you.”

July Talk performs at the Commodore

Ballroom on November 23

November 2016

November 2016 7


November 2016

JaMeS GReen

a pleasant moustache ride through

the bramble patch of life


Fond oF TiGeRS

fostering a world of communal capabilities


It’s here! It’s winter in Vancouver, and

that means some things are certain:

Vitamin D supplements, soggy socks,

existential dread and the inevitable

need for some warm music to keep

you going on those rainy walks. James

Green has you covered for the last one

(maybe the others as well, but you’ll have to

talk to him about that). With his first solo

offering Never Ready to be released in early

November, Green is ready to show the world

his sensitive side with a collection of songs to

hit you right where your heart should be.

Hailing from East Van, Green has been

part of this city’s music scene for several

years now, filling various roles in numerous

projects including drumming in prolific local

shoegaze outfit Did You Die. This is, however,

our mustachioed hero’s first chance to

showcase his particularly smooth brand of

alt-country. With modest compositions

reminiscent of heavyweight crooners such

as Townes Van Zandt or John Prine, and an

earnestness that could hold its own with

Sharon Van Etten or Jason Molina, Green’s

thoughtful baritone is a perfect remedy for

the coming winter.

Recorded within the cozy confines

of Afterlife Studios, Never Ready

is a dynamic record that flits

effortlessly from jangly folk to

sparse country and back again.

Tunes like “Lonesome Blues”

manage to include a myriad of

THe vicioUS cycleS

revved up like a tiger in the night

traditional country instrumentation

like slide guitar, violin and organ while

retaining the modest composition and

warm vocals that help the record weasel

its way into your head; and heart, if you

have one.

The intense honesty and

unrepentant vulnerability could make

you blush if it weren’t so charming.

Admissions of selling your furniture to

make rent and the longing to be just

a decade younger again manage to

be deeply personal but also relatable:

like all great folk songs, it’s easy to see

yourself in among the brambles. The

pleasant bounce and sway of ‘Golden

Age’ feels so familiar and comfortable,

you would think you knew the meaning

of every lyric - but even the ponderous

Green admits, “I have no idea what that

song is about.” Regardless of the themes

you manage to extrapolate from these

songs ‘Never Ready’ is an accomplished

first offering and one that should not go

under the radar.

Do yourself a favour and be sure to

stop by Art Signified’s Studio Vostok

in Chinatown on Nov 5th to see James

Green and friends celebrate the release

of ‘Never Ready’.

Vancouver’s Fond of Tigers have

resurfaced with an offering that

continues to push the boundaries

of what is possible in the realm of

composition. For a band who has never

begun the creative process with the end

result predetermined, their new album

Uninhabit showcases an ever-evolving

soundscape shaped by the communal

capacity of the band’s seven musicians,

whose shared experience and familiarity

over time are apparent within the

complexities of the music they create.

“The group of people that I play and

work with are all extraordinarily genuine

in their pursuit,” shares band founder

Stephen Lyons. “We have always been

on the fringes of the industry side of

making music and feel hopelessly out of

touch with that.”

This insulating process was

somewhat challenged when their last

album, Continent & Western, won a Juno

award for Instrumental Album of the

Year in 2011. The win came as a surprise

to the band who had already entered a

time of hiatus as multiple members were

moving to Toronto and experiencing

other touring opportunities. The timing

didn’t allow for a “seizing the moment”

type of response, although Lyons admits

they would not have known how to act

in that way if it had.

“It would have been smart if we

had used that as a momentum tool, but

I can’t see how it would have helped

in terms of our creative approach. I

have a lot of mixed feelings about it,

including frustration to have that

happen and then not do anything as a

group for a long time, but nothing was

worth doing at the expense of what

we had.”

Fast forward to present day and the

release of Uninhabit, an album that breaks

away from their historical approach of

substantial layering in a concerted effort to

remain in one emotional space for longer

intervals, although intentionally interrupted.

“I wanted to get into a groove and then

have those feelings get disrupted and

derailed and then feel them come back,”

explains Lyons.

This commitment to the process

of producing something of artistic

sustenance has continued to bridge

the divide of listeners drawn to Fond

of Tigers over the last decade and a

half and will propel them to the next

incarnation that awaits.

Fond Of Tigers’ Uninhabit is available now.



The Vicious Cycles have been burning

a black patch through rock and roll,

finding the threads that link the their

favourite music and using them to sew their

club patches onto their leather jackets.

“When rock and roll started it

was supposed to be fun. People come

to one of our shows to have a good

time,” says lead singer Billy Bones.

They’re currently gearing up for

the debut of their new release, Tiger

In The Night b/w Full Leathers.

That’s assuming Bones makes it

to the venue, as his motorcycle

has become legendar y for

breaking dow n with sp e c t acular

regularity. His band mates

re cite a long list of times the

bike turned a short trip into an

hour s -long ordeal.

“My favourite was when I saw

Billy trying to fix his fuel line with

a piece of an old umbrella. He

had a piece of wood in the spark

plug line so that it wouldn’t short

out,” says Norman Motorcycho,

the band’s theremin and keyboard


But as Billy tells us in many of

their songs, he loves his bike. The

Vicious Cycles are as much about

attitude as sound, and both trace

a line that trails back through

the history of rebel music. They

combine stripped down basics with

deft hooks, like if the Ramones

beat up The Barracudas and stole

their best bits.

“We’re not reinventing rock

and roll by any stretch, but we come

at it a bit different because we’re all

fans of bands like Stiff Little Fingers

and the Buzzcocks and Cock Sparrer

and the Clash,” says Bones.

That energetic, rabble-rousing

music gets mashed together with

their love for motorcycles. Billy’s lyrics

lay his thoughts out in foot-stomping

odes to old bikes, Steve McQueen and

“listening to the Mummies on the stereo.”

It’s live where the band brings it all

together. Flaming theremins, revved

up riffs and chest thumping stories

of defiance have built an enviable cult

following that is spreading down the

west coast, and into Cuba, where they

Hear The Vicious Cycles roar when they release Tiger In The Night this month.

rode their bikes and played a show

with Che Guevara’s nephew.

If you’re on your way to a VC

show and see a leather-clad guy at the

side of the road trying to get his bike

started, please give him a ride. The

show can’t really start until he gets


The Vicious Cycles release their latest

single at The Cobalt (Vancouver) on

November 10.

November 2016 MUSIC

















































































9th 16th and 23rd







NOV 16










NOV 27










Ovaltine Cafe. 251 East Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC.






WWW.WISEHALL.CA (604) 254-5858


November 2016

THe Pack a.d.

examining the spectra of human burden


Becky Black and Maya Miller continue to radiate positivity,

even on their darkest album to date.

Five alaRM FUnk

Frank Zappa meets Hedwig meets the mating dance of the silverback gorilla


Rule #1 of the best friend and bandmate

codebook: when asked to strip naked

and be filmed while tied to a cold, hard

surface for half a day, one must always

oblige. This rule is particularly true

when you’re local badass duo The Pack

A.D., and you have a knack for creating

wicked music videos.

Take the science-fiction inspired

video for “So What” – the first single

off of the band’s latest offering, Positive

Thinking – which starts with green alien

hands examining vocalist and guitarist

Becky Black on a surgery table with

lighting wands. Eventually, these aliens

pierce her neck with thick-needled gnarly

syringes that look as if they’re covered in

extraterrestrial earwax. (Yum!)

“I think this video was [drummer]

Maya’s idea, and…well, I don’t know

why I agreed to it,” chuckles Black.

“The studio we were in [for the video]

also had really high ceilings, so it never

heated up in there. I had a wet sheet

draped over me for a couple of hours

and shivered a lot.”

“But, I love the video,” Black

concludes. “Science fiction just gets me.

I’ll always be a fan.”

Despite its title, Positive Thinking

is easily the band’s darkest release to

date. It’s also the most methodic of

their six albums, with polished song

infrastructure that extinguish the wild

guitar riffs, pounding drum lines, and

fuck-you attitude that define the band.

Together, the album’s eleven songs act as

a lens focusing on the spectra of human

burden: cases of quietly aching depression,

lethargy, biting loneliness, suffocating and

monotonous jobs. Highlights include

the pulsing rage of “Yes I Know” and

90’s grunge “Skin Me”, whose lyrics ooze

apathy (I’m made of metal/plastic heart/

attack my mind) and complement

Black’s droning, sung-through-grittedteeth


From late October through the end

of November, the band is touring – pissing

rain, post cards to fans, and thrift store pit

stops included – in Canada and the US

with a small string of shows in France and

Germany. Fittingly, their hometown show

is their last one. “I’m looking forward to

sleeping in for a week, playing some video

games, and then doing holiday stuff [after

touring],” says Black. “Hopefully, it’ll be

nice and relaxing and not terribly, I don’t

know, cold. I might be working on some

material over the winter and recording

too, but who knows. Nothing’s set yet.”

The Pack A.D. perform at Fortune Sound

Club on November 26.


Among the many domestic visceral

thrills of Vancouver as a city—the

zip lines, the suspension bridges, the

whale sightings, and the bathrooms at

the Cambie—there is the experience of

seeing the throbbing behemoth that is

Five Alarm Funk. A self-described “pack

of howling funk musicians hopped up on

tainted ice cream,” 12 pieces wide Five

Alarm Funk creates a show that is utterly

relentless: a rare unhinged primate turf

war that can cause even the most “over it”

Vancouver hipster to cash in their fucksto-give

in favor of getting really sweaty.

“The driving force of the group, the

energy and the feeling of the passion

that we get from the audience is what

drives the band,” promises band-leader

Tayo Branston. “Together in this harmony

of sweat and noise and movement; it

makes for a wonderful life.”

This uncool amount of joy and

abandon has served Funk well as they

have spent the better part of the last

decade touring Canada while selfpromoting

and releasing albums and

developing a fan base capable of very

successful crowdsourcing ventures; the

most recent of which funded their yet

untitled new album and their hope of

expanding their touring efforts to the

southern states.

The album, set for a spring 2017

release, has been described as “less

chaotic” by Branston. “It has some

serious pure funk. More in the realm of a

dance record than say Abandon Earth, our

last record, which was like this heavy metal

psychotic gypsy adventure.”

Even the most ventilated of venues

stinks of that smell that was perpetually in

your high school boyfriend’s room, sweat

and pheromones and enthusiasm and sweet

sweet freedom.

“Everybody kind of leaves it at the door

at a Five Alarm Funk show,” says Branston.

“You’re there for the pure enjoyment of it.”

In a world so full of affected songs and

affected singers, it behooves us to attend live

Five Alarm Funk shows to remind ourselves

what life, hard work, and catharsis really feel

like; and to support this band of gypsy

baboons and their dream of invading our

neighbors to the south and loosening

them up in their time of great need.

Five Alarm Funk plays on November 10

at the Imperial.


Five Alarm Funk transforms bars across the nation

into Pantheons of sexuality unseen by man.

November 2016 MUSIC




Keith Morris continues to

channel chaos


Anti-establishment at its core, it’s tough

to toss the word “god” around when

talking about punk rock. But if there ever

were gods within the genre, Keith Morris

would be one of them. A founding

member of Black Flag and The Circle

Jerks, Morris’ influence is immeasurable.


Rhode Island noise rockers come

back from the dead


“Maybe somebody considers me to be a

guiding light,” Morris says, with palpable

irony, over the phone from his home in

LA. “My problem is that I’m an angry guy.

I’ve got some friends that tell me to take

a couple of steps back and some deep

breaths.” In Morris’ current band, OFF!,

he does exactly the opposite. The 61-year

old sounds just as pissed-off and angry as

in his classic work.

“I live in Los Angeles on one of the

busiest intersections in America.” Morris

explains regarding inspiration for OFF!’s

material. “The energy is really negative.

People honking their horns, screeching

their brakes, showboating, all of the

guys with tiny penises in their ‘lookat-me’-mobiles.”

Morris’ immediate

surroundings clearly inform the energy

and vibe of OFF!’s music. The chaos

of Los Angeles also motivates Morris

into hitting the road with the band.

“It’s a love-hate relationship,” he says,

regarding his home.

Of course, it’s impossible to

ignore the bigger picture when looking

at sources of frustration in the US.

November 8th cannot come quick

enough,” Morris says, regarding the

upcoming election. “We need to get this

over with as quickly as possible. These

people, whether they tag themselves

as republicans, democrats, libertarians,

or green party are all a bunch of fuckin’

flaming shit-burgers,” he explains,

colourfully. “The two choices that we

have for the major parties are beyond

brutal. And I’m aligning myself with

the fact that that we deserve this

for allowing it to happen.” It’s a new

morning in America.

“Maybe I should learn to meditate,

get into some yoga, start jogging and

riding my bike, climbing in the mountains,

going to the petting zoo and petting all

the furry animals, buying flowers and

giving them to all the little old ladies that

live on my street.” Morris reflects. “That’s

all fine and fun and wonderful and swell

and beautiful and nice and all those

adjectives… but there is shit going on that

people need to know about!” And Morris

will have the chance to let them know

when OFF! enters the studio next

month to begin work on their fourth

LP, a yet-to-be-named follow up to

2014’s Wasted Years.

OFF! Plays the Rickshaw Theatre on

November 18.

Released in 2010, Daughters’ self-titled

third record has gone on to be not only

the band’s most well received record to date

but in a sense a fixture in the band’s cult

status. As the band essentially disintegrated

throughout the recording process,

Daughters became a “mythical creature,” as

vocalist Alexis Marshall puts it, due to the

drama and mystery surrounding its release

and subsequent acclaim. The hardcore/noise

quartet are in the midst of their first full tour

after reforming and sporadically performing

together since 2013. For Marshall and

guitarist Nick Sadler, getting the band

back together required time and space

to heal from old wounds.

“We sat down and had dinner and

within 15 minutes we started talking

about plans. We just needed to be in the

same room I guess,” Marshall says. “It

felt that enough time had gone by that

any issues that Nick and I had had been

not necessarily forgotten but they didn’t

seem that important anymore.”

Beyond Sadler’s schizophrenic

guitar work and the volatile aggression

of the Daughters’ rhythm section,

Marshall’s vocal stylings stand out as

one of the most unique elements of

the band’s sound. Described by some

as the sound of Elvis Presley being

tortured or the sound of a raving mad

southern baptist preacher losing his

mind, Marshall’s vocals certainly stand

apart from the rawer, scream leaden

work of Daughters’ contemporaries.

For Marshall the switch in style, starting

with the band’s second record Hell

Songs, came from a need to innovate.

“It seemed that if we were going to

progress musically, we would all have to

change what we were doing. To continue

to do what I was doing vocally would

have been a disservice to how we were

progressing musically,” Marshall explains.

Touring the West Coast leg of the

tour with equally abrasive acts like Loma

Prieta and The Body was a deliberate and

calculated choice for the band. Variety

is the name of the game for Daughters’

live bills. “We want to run the gamut of

fast, crazy stuff with Loma and then the

slower, doomy electronic heaviness of

The Body and then whatever the hell we

end up doing. I think it makes the night

a little bit more interesting for people”

says Marshall.

Marshall expresses optimism at

Daughters’ immediate future. While

the band has not set any concrete

date for the release of new material,

Marshall mentioned several times

throughout our conversation that the

songwriting process is ongoing with the

band planning to record at different

studios while on tour. “We’re going to

keep writing, we’re going to release

something, and we’re going to go on

more tours,” Marshall reports. “I’m

trying to be as open as possible. We’re

going to be around for a while hopefully.”

Daughters play The Cobalt with Loma

Prieta and The Body November 12.


November 2016


the agony of victory and going to work wasted


Hailing from Los Angeles, California,

NOFX are legends of their own genre.

Back in 1983, Fat Mike (Burkett), lead

vocalist and bassist, along with guitarist

Eric Melvin and drummer Erik Sandin

(or Smelly, as he’s lovingly adorned)

banded together to form NOFX. After

a few tours and many failed attempts at

a fourth member and second guitarist,

Aaron Abeyta, or El Hefe as he’s been

dubbed, joined the band in 1991. The

four have remained together since and

wreaked havoc in every country and city

allowing them entry.

Throughout their 33-year

career, NOFX have released 13 fulllength

studio albums, four full-length

compilation albums, one split fulllength

record, two live albums, two

DVDs, and a plethora of EPs, singles and


In 2016 NOFX had two major

releases; their first book, The Hepatitis

Bathtub and Other Stories, which

debuted back in April, and in October

their 13th full-length album First Ditch

Effort dropped. Both the book and

the album gave fans a glimpse into the

band’s personal life, the history, the

antics, and the heartbreak.

Their list of accomplishments is

miles long, but NOFX isn’t slowing down.

So we chatted with Fat Mike to reflect on

this past year and the tour ahead.

“Well you know, First Ditch Effort

was the longest we’ve ever taken

between albums, it’s been four years

since our last. We didn’t want to rush

it and I wanted to do an album where I

could just relax and take my time. Since

I usually just write what I’m feeling,

the book opened up a lot of doors for

me and made me feel comfortable

talking about my deepest thoughts and

secrets,” he says.

“It turned out the way I wanted it

to, though. There were six songs that

didn’t end up going on First Ditch. They

were more ‘fun’ punk rock songs and

the album felt like it was supposed to

be more sad and somber. But the LP

version is a lot different, there’s at least

five songs on there that are different.

And check out the lyrics for ‘Generation

Z’ on the lyrics sheet cause they’re a lot

darker than what’s recorded.”

Although Burkett’s dark depiction

is accurate, NOFX always manages to

lighten the mood. Songs like “Six Years

on Dope” and “Sid and Nancy” are a

familiar style known to earlier NOFX

tunes. On the other hand, “I’m So




Sorry Tony (Sly)” will require a tissue

box for sure.

“The LP version of ‘Tony Sly’ is

much sadder.” He casually adds.

On a lighter note, their book The

Hepatitis Bathtub became a New York

Times bestseller – not bad for a punk

band, right?

“That’s why we did the book tour

and signings every day. You know, you

have to sell nine or ten thousand to make

the bestseller list, and on the book tour we

only sold maybe 1,500 books in a week,”

he recalls.

a steadfast hold on creation and identity

Few bands have carved such a solid

musical trajectory for themselves as

Ulcerate. A three piece, with drums, guitar,

and bass, their recorded sounds definitely

sound like a lot more than that. “Channelsplitting

and looping [are] only utilised live

so that we can pull off the sheer amount

of counterpoint material, and deliver a truly

huge sound,” explains drummer Jamie

Saint Marat. A stand out element on

the record is the formidable drumming

of Saint Marat who formed the band in

2000 with guitarist Michael Hoggard.

16 years is a long time for any

band to be hammering away, during

that time there has been a large

flux of music creation. “Metal to

me is continually splintering into

a thousand different directions.

We just write the death metal we’d

like to hear. We started the band as

teenagers and have always tread the

path of staying true to ourselves and

not paying a lot of attention to any

“So we were pleasantly surprised

that we did make the list, but we would’ve

been really bummed if we didn’t. We knew

it was a good book, but we didn’t know how

well it would sell,” Mike explains.

“But that’s what is nice about books,

it’s like putting out a good record in the

‘90s, it’s going to sell for 20 years. You put

out a record these days, you only have a

few months and then it becomes part

of Spotify or Pandora. But a book, even

though they’re on the Internet, people still

like to buy them.”

Let’s get to the tour though. For

those keeping tabs on NOFX, you

know that Fat Mike just finished a

round of detox; many wonder if the

detoxing will have any effect on the

stellar debauchery NOFX have worked

so hard to perfect. So we asked him

and he’d like to clear things up…

“I had 85 days where I was

totally clean, but now I’m drinking

before shows again. I’m just not

taking painkillers anymore. I

did a whole tour in Europe sober,

it was fine but it’s just not as fun.

So I decided I would start drinking

before shows and see how it goes.

And shows were more fun again.

So I’m gonna stick with that for a

while,” he laughs.

“You see, the thing is I play

better when I’m sober. But I had to

ask, what’s more important? How

much fun I have or how well I play?”

We all know the answer to that question…

“Yeah, that’s what I thought too.”

NOFX plays at the Commodore Ballroom

in Vancouver on November 4 and 5.

circulating trends,” says Saint Marat. This is

a strong value to have, and it shows in their

product. Ulcerate records all of their own

music, but have had, “other people mix

demos and pre-production to get a feel

for how things might sound with outside

influence, but so far we haven’t opted for

that route with album mixes.” Every other

aspect of the recording process is dictated

by the members of the band.

“We use a lot of counterpoint and

melodic interplay which will add to the wall

of sound approach. When broken down into

individual pieces there’s a lot of repeating

motifs,” comments Saint Marat on the

musical structure. “[Hoggard] uses a loop

station combined with signal splitting to

deliver a lot of the counterpoint and overlay

material. Our bass tone is also extremely

prominent in our live mix, and will often take

up the slack in absence of a second guitarist.”

It is clearly a method for success,

New Zealand is rural for metal, and their

unquestionable identity that is adamant in

their music carried their releases overseas.

With multiple North American tours, the

live performance packs on the heavy that

the records promise.

Ulcerate plays at the Astoria Hastings on

November 6.

November 2016 THE SKINNY


noT yR bUddy

fostering inclusivity in Vancouver’s punk scene for five years

a thoughtful perspective on respectful discourse

My name is Mitch Ray. I put on events

and manage artists under the name

Art Signified and I co-run an art space

known as Studio Vostok. I intend on

using this column to talk about topics

primarily within the arts community.

Sometimes in a light-hearted way.

Sometimes not. At the very least I’d like

to offer a thoughtful perspective on

things. Today, I am tired.

I had an exchange recently with the

editor of another publication regarding

diversity and representation in music.

The contents of our conversation

might be a topic I explore in a future

column, but for now the aspect of that

interaction that I’d like to discuss is the

notion of respectful discourse, which

is a seemingly fleeting concept in an

increasingly polarized community. I was

struck by the passion emanating from

each of our perspectives, both wishing

for the same end result, but manifested

by different means. The fact that this felt

rare and exceptional is a sad reflection

of our sorry times. It’s prevalent in the

arts community and it transcends far

beyond this subset of society as well.

We are all traversing the same

terrain, despite the legitimate and

illegitimate claims that we are

disconnected. A person I have great

respect for in the arts community

told me that Vancouver has the

highest concentration of artists of

any “major” city in North America.

It’s because geographically we are

very small compared to some other

cities, and within our already small

city the crux of the artistic community

lives and operates in an even smaller

condensed area. We’re also supposedly

“connected” even more since the

advent of social media, yet amongst all

this proximity people are often distant

and antagonistic. We have many severe

problems that other cities do not have,

but this closeness is not a problem. It’s

a luxury. It’s an opportunity to educate

from within. Is there a limit to how

far one can go as a “successful” artist


in Vancouver? Probably. But being

able to make an impact on important

problems within one community is

more attainable here than elsewhere,

in theory. Perhaps this closeness serves

to enhance the intensity of certain

issues. Social media seems to bring out

the worst in a lot of people. It can give

a vehicle for the most negative traits

in an individual. I have seldom seen a

respectful, rational or productive online

debate about a serious and relevant

issue that seriously needs to be resolved.

I don’t think it’s an absurd assertion to

encourage people to listen instead of

ignore, or to inform instead of lambast.

It’s a more productive step for the

majority of a lot of these issues that

desperately require resolution. The

fact that we actually need resolution

seems to be lost in the fray entirely. Are

things actually getting better at this

rate? I don’t believe they are. Of course

there are instances where nothing can

be done, unfortunately. Some people

are garbage, some people never learn

and some people will say those things

about others without ever having made

the effort to educate them. Social

responsibility is a role that I embrace,

but the burden is a heavy one and I

don’t wish that weight on anyone who

isn’t willing to shoulder it. When you

have a platform, you should use it. Not

everyone is built for that. People need

to understand that.

What exactly am I getting at?

I don’t know. And that is exactly

the point. I don’t have the answer

and most of you don’t either. If you

don’t know, you should listen. For

those of you who were expecting a

written piece rife with the humour

you may have come to know me for,

my apologies. I haven’t found much to

laugh about lately.

Mitch Ray puts on events and manages

artists under the name Art Signified. He also

co-runs an art space in Vancouver known as

Studio Vostok located at 246 Keefer.


Chances are, if you go to punk shows in

Vancouver you’ve been to one hosted

by Not Yer Buddy, an Abbotsford-based

promotion company that has been

responsible for close to 300 concerts since

its inception in 2011. Spearheaded by

Seamus McGrath, you may find Not Yer

Buddy’s hands behind everything from

sold out gigs at The Rickshaw to smokey

house parties and backyard matinees.

McGrath, who grew up listening

to his older brother’s Clash records in

rural Nova Scotia, saw a void to fill in

Vancouver following the ravaging of the

local arts scene by the 2010 Olympics.

This was compounded by the death of

a dear friend, whose passing prompted

McGrath to re-evaluate his involvement

in the community. “It rocked my world,”

McGrath explains. “I was a hermit for

several years, and that forced me to see

a lot of people I hadn’t seen in a long

time. That sparked something inside of

me.” McGrath began throwing the odd

weekend house show in Abbotsford,

increasing in frequency and eventually

growing to organize events in Vancouver.

“There’s so much good fucking

music here,” McGrath explains, when

asked what makes the Vancouver scene

special. “And there is a city government

that is definitely not about it. They

don’t give a fuck. They want it out.”


So that leaves people like McGrath

to pick up the slack and do the often

thankless behind-the-scenes work that

allows a strong local music scene to

flourish. “Sometimes I feel like I know

what I’m doing, and sometimes I don’t.”

McGrath explains, regarding his role as

a promoter. “Sometimes I feel like what

I’m doing doesn’t even matter, and

sometimes it’s the complete opposite.”

But for an entire community of local

musicians and fans, Not Yer Buddy’s

work is essential.

Dealing primarily with punk

rock, Not Yer Buddy has succeeded in

fostering a consistent atmosphere of

inclusivity at their shows. McGrath

explains that the regulars at Not Yer

Buddy concerts are approachable,

open minded, and non-judgemental.

“We don’t have an illustrious record

of attracting assholes to our shows,”

he explains. “It doesn’t matter how

many people are there or what

the bands are playing, necessarily.

Everyone is on the same wave length,

connected to the same good feeling.

There’s no bullshit, no pretentiousness,

no anger.”

Not Yer Buddy’s 5th Anniversary takes

place at the Rickshaw Theatre on

Thursday November 10th with Red

Circle, Off by an Inch, Mess, The Corps,

Dagrs, Anchoress, and Strugglers.

Regardless of what you might think, Seamus McGrath is totally your buddy.


November 2016




With the closing of punk music venue

Funky’s on Hastings, Chris Walter moves

east to launch his latest book I Survived

DOA by Randy Rampage at Pat’s Pub.

Not driven by money, nor prestige, this

is a self-published writer and owner of

Go Fuck Yourself (GFY) Press, whose

works include music biographies for

SNFU, Dayglos, and Personality Crisis. Plus

such notable titles as Liquor and Whores,

Punch the Boss, Chasing the Dragon and

Beer. Walter is in collaboration with Randy

Rampage, the punk rock original and cofounding

member of DOA who has been

left for dead many times and can be seen

sporting a fluorescent safety vest in transit

to and from work on the docks. There is a

code of honour among men of that era.

That is why it is doubtful Rampage will tell

tales out-of-school to the extent that anyone

will go to prison.

Before talking about the book,

attention is focused on the unfunny business

of US politics. Is it the PC overdose causing

the rise of Trump as most comics will tell

you? “I really don’t know, but something

has gone horribly awry. People are sick

and tired of political administrations that

whip them like rented mules. But instead

of going with far left or moderate options,

voters swing farther to the right. I get that

they’re rebelling against the system, but

how can they possibly believe Trump will

ever help anyone but himself?” And

while Rampage surrounds himself with

progressives, the son of a Socred has

always been a bit lighter about serious

things. “Life is about survival in a fucked

up world. There was Fucked Up Ronnie,

Fucked Up Bush I, Fucked Up Bush II,

raising. His recall is almost frightening

at times. He remembered the name on

a birth certificate that Brad Kent had

brought along as backup ID to cross the

US border! Randy remembered the names

of promoters he hasn’t seen in more than

thirty years. How freaky is that?”

There is a CODE amongst

insiders that certain things don’t get

said. Rampage has taken a bullet on

more than one occasion to save the

reputation of the old guard. “People will

get some of the truth about what went

on with watered-down Jeff Waters and

Politico Joe. There is some crazy shit

that is no one’s business and I will not

tell anyone about it. I just gave a POV

Rampage-style. And I did protect Joe

and some others a bit. I don’t want to

fuck someone over to sell books when

it’s nobody’s business.”

If your name is Chuck or Joe you are

safe. If your name is Cheryl or Jeff, buy

the book. Walter figures it’s “guitarist

Jeff Waters of Annihilator who might

not be too happy with some of his

stories and comments. I have a feeling

Randy doesn’t give a shit what Jeff

thinks because he certainly didn’t pull

any punches, literally or figuratively. He

could have gone into more detail about

his drug use, but he went deep enough,

and I know he isn’t proud of that part

of his life. Overall, I was satisfied that he

told the full story.”

“I wasn’t protecting Joe, but I

wasn’t out to hurt him either. Randy

told the stories he wanted to tell, and

Joe might not like all of them, but there

isn’t anything in the book that will send

him to jail. I never allow subjects to

settle scores in print because I don’t think

readers find that interesting. It’s one thing

and now Fucked Up Donald. Did my

generation create Donald Trump? No,

he created himself. And we are due for

a shake up. That’s the appeal of Trump.”

Rampage continues, “We were

wanting to do something about the

world but not knowing how to put it

together. Our hearts were there but we

didn’t know how to go about getting

social change. We were all dreamers

like all outsiders are. Now I know if

you don’t do something about it, it can’t

change. So vote.” Walters interjects,

“Most of us lucky enough to still be

alive are starting to realize we’re not

bulletproof and that maybe we should

take it easy just a bit. Nowadays, we’re

losing the old crew to things like heart

attacks and other health-related issues.

Ultimately, I see us as idealists that

slowly acknowledged we couldn’t save

the world from people like Trump. Like the

hippies before us, we gradually assimilated

into society, gathering occasionally at

shows featuring musicians older than our

parents were when we first steered away

from the mainstream. Perhaps I’m being

too harsh. I know a lot of very talented

and creative people, and the punks

in my circle are fairly intelligent. I can

tolerate all manners of bullshit, but I

have a limited threshold for stupidity.”

Let’s change the subject.

Being a DOA fan, Chris Walter

would have done a book on DOA but

Joey Shithead wrote it himself. “I figured

Randy would be more forthcoming

anyway, because he doesn’t have to

worry about a political career and

doesn’t have family to offend. I’m glad

we did the book. Randy’s memory is

surprisingly good and his stories range

from extremely funny to absolutely hairto

acknowledge problems and difficulties,

but another entirely for subjects to behave

like US presidential candidates. Who

wants to read that shit?”

“I know about punks, drunks,

junkies, and whores, so it only makes

sense to write about that. However, I try

to keep it fresh by combining the novels

with music biographies and memoirs, as

well as my recent foray into ghostwriting.

My next book, Tales From the Tattoo

Shop, will also be non-fiction. I wish I

could stick entirely to fiction because it’s

so much fun to write, but non-fiction

keeps me off the welfare line.”

If the world ended tomorrow for

Chris Walter, “In the smoking rubble of

Vancouver, under the bloated, rotting corpse

of a corporate banker, search-and-rescue

robots will find a copy of Mosquitoes &

Whisky, the pages glued together with

putrefied body fluids. Steel fingers will

pull the paper apart and the robot will

send a photo to human controllers safe in

a bunker somewhere. The words will read:

‘The house was a thousand miles distant.

I set off in a staggering gait, drooling bile

and lurching badly. Somehow, I made it up

the steps without my head falling off. I’d

never been so brutally hungover.’” Not to

mince words, Rampage, whose partial

remains are to be dumped over the

30 foot pool in Lynn Canyon finishes

with, “I came, I saw, I died. If you want

a straight forward honest rock ‘n’ roll

story from the bottom…that’s what this

is. And I’m proud of Chris.”

Chris Walter and Randy Rampage will

be reading from the book in an intimate

evening at Pat’s Pub on Hastings Street

(at Dunlevy) November 11, Armistice

Day, 8 p.m. onwards.

November 2016 15



























keeping things interesting and emotionally real for their fourth LP


a long distance offering to the pop gods

JUSTINE APOSTOLOPOULOS Beatitudes has been described by

Rykka as an “offering to the pop gods.”

European pop-star Rykka is set to be

back in Canada this month with her

new album Beatitudes. The Vancouver

born Swiss-Canadian, now hailing from

Zurich, is clearly a very imaginative

artist. Her records have consistently

evolved in sound and genre, reflecting

how she has grown throughout her

career. After graduating from the music

program at VCC she shifted her focus

from jazz to more folk-based music,

transitioning from there into indie rock

and changing her stage name to Rykka.

“I was tired of being Christina Maria,

with the cursive and the rainbows,” she

says. “I wanted something with more

edge. From there I’ve been going in a

The album was recorded and produced

in Toronto’s Coalition Studios, co-write

Warne Livesey taking instrumentation

and production in a new direction for

Rykka, who had a lot of fun working on

the album. “He [Livesey] is really free in

what he can do as a producer, and we

could get really deep into production

because of it. I’d say, ‘can you make this

sound like a unicorn?’ And he would,

because he’s been producing for years.”

The single “Bad Boy,” released earlier this

year, has a very energetic and effervescent

feel with strong vocal melodies, synths,

and catchy dance beats, elements that are

guaranteed to be present throughout the

entire album.

more poppy direction.”

Rykka’s last Vancouver

After releasing her second album

Kodiak in 2013 — a conceptual album

where each song was written from the

perspective of a different animal — she took

home the coveted $107,000 first place prize at

the Peak Performance Project that year and

turned her focus back to songwriting. Over the

next three years she buckled down and wrote

more than 100 songs, from which ten were

chosen for the upcoming album.

“It was insane,” she says about the

performance was at the Fox Cabaret

in 2015 and she is excited to be touring

Canada again, bringing her new sound

back to her original home base.

“This show is really fun, a little more free

than performances I’ve done in the past.

I tend to jump up and down a lot when

I’m singing so I decided to bring a small

trampoline on tour with me this time.

I’m going to be bouncing up and down

on stage.”

process, in which she sometimes set a

goal of three songs a week. “So I began

co-writing as well, which is something I

haven’t really done in the past.”

Rykka performs at the Biltmore Cabaret

on November 10 and at Lucky Bar in

Victoria on November. 11.






















“[Singing] is the only thing I’ve

considered doing, I’ve always sung.

It’s lucky that it worked out,” Martina

Sorbara reflects on the blast-off career

she has shared with Dan Kurtz and

Joel Stouffer as Canadian three-piece

electro-pop/indie band Dragonette.

Royal Blues is their fourth LP, and

perhaps the biggest departure from

Dragonette’s norm. The beautiful, large

pixelated tears adorning Sorbara’s face

on the album cover is no small hint of

some emotional themes. In Sorbara’s

words, these “came from life experience.

The only way I write is from what’s

happening and what was happening was

some pretty hard times. My emotional

self lives inside and the only way it really

comes out is songwriting.”

With the attention-deficit trend

of music, the preference of singles

and other channels of releasing music

over full length albums within the

electronic world, I asked about Sorbara’s

relationship with the mediums of

releasing music, to which she replied,

“There is the question of what is the

point of waiting until you have ten

songs to release a full-length. I think

Dragonette is a little bit outside of that

world. We’ve written such a range of

music on our albums, I think what our

fans appreciate about us is our quirky album

tracks and the weird left field shit that comes

up on the album, and that’s important to us.

The way we identify who we are is by that

range I don’t think we’d be the same band,

or interesting to ourselves.”

Amidst the personal difficulties

facing Dragonette, the phoenix of the

tribulation is Royal Blues. The process

changed, but the bouncy beats enjoyed

by electronic and instrumental lovers

alike are firmly in place within the

album. “The process of writing [this]

record included more songwriting with

others. Collaborating was something I

hadn’t done a lot of before. I spent a lot

of time travelling writing with basically

strangers. Before it was more of a home

studio writing process with [Kurtz].

Dragonette remain a bit of an enigma in the fast-paced world of electronic music

The music this time wasn’t specific

for Dragonette, I wanted to see what

came out of it.”

Dragonette play the Pyramid Cabaret

in Winnipeg on November 16, Louis’

Pub in Saskatoon on November 17,

the Starlite Room in Edmonton

on November 18, the Gateway

in Calgary on November 19, the

Sapphie in Kelowna on November 22,

the Imperial Theatre in Vancouver on

November 23 and Sugar Nightclub in

Victoria on November 24.


November 2016

Mac MilleR

the art of love and being yourself done with swagger


Mac Miller has never pretended to be anything but

himself, which has garnered him the respect of the

rap community over an impressively short, six-year

run. The Pittsburgh rapper has kept up with the

changing face of hip-hop and has continued to

thrive through its recent evolution.

The Divine Feminine is Miller’s fourth studio

album on which he takes his music in a very

unexpected direction. On this record Miller chose

to sing a lot, and rap with a style that effortlessly

transcends genres like rivers traversing pools of

house, funk, soul, and 90s hip-hop. His lyrics are

cheeky, their wordplay complex, and his skills as a

producer are really what has given him longevity.

With the sudden attention showered on him

because of his rumoured romance with pixie-cute

songstress and lover of donuts, Ariana Grande, his

emphatic and articulate renunciation of Donald

Trump on the Lewis Black show, and the glowing

reviews for The Divine Feminine, Miller is certainly

in a good place in his life. Miller talked to us on

his day off in Atlanta, GA, on the precipice of the

new tour, which will bring him to Vancouver on

November 6th at the Vogue Theatre.

On off-days like these, Miller binge watches

TV shows, “I watch movies and shows as much

possible,” he confesses. “Recently I’ve been watching

that Exorcist show and it’s incredible!” He just

got back from touring in South Africa where the

reception overwhelmed him, “Hearing the crowd sing

words back to me was a huge moment. Whatever the

definition of success is, at that moment, I felt like I

had done something important.”

His first single from the new album, “Dang!,”

features Anderson .Paak, a rising R&B star who is

blending hip hop, soul, and funk together with his

vocals to create some next level, post-Frank Ocean

era shit. The video for “Dang!” shows Paak and

Miller reliving a Groundhog Day-esque version of

a breakup, in a town teeming with candy colours

and Broadway musical glee. “I can’t keep on losing

you, over complications,” are sung as Paak and

Miller pine at their gorgeous video girlfriends,

whose constant eye-rolling clearly indicates that

they’ve had enough. This is the essence of The

Divine Feminine. Miller is now mature and ready for

something deeper than just a good time.

An album about love, relationships, women,

and sex was very much an intentional decision for

Miller. The idea hit him in the unlikeliest of places.

“I was doing an interview and talking about not

wanting to write about depression and dark

topics because I was tired of those emotions” he

explains, “someone in the crowd asked me what

emotion I wanted to tackle next, and I realised

I really wanted to talk about love. That’s been

absent in my music for a while. I wanted to dive

into it more. I discovered that I had a lot to say on

the matter, which was cool.” From the album’s

title to its contents, Miller’s homage to feminine

influence is evident. “I’ve had a lot of incredible

women in my life. You learn a lot about yourself

from them,” Miller clarifies. “I’ve learned about

patience and taking my time with things to make

them right for that moment. I learned how to open

myself up to my emotions, and I became more

emotionally intelligent.”

These changes are apparent on The Divine

Feminine, especially when you compare the album

to its agitated predecessor, GOD:AM. Miller has

greater confidence in himself as a musician now.

“I’ve learned to trust myself more. I’ve gotten

better at communicating my vision. I now sit in

the driver’s seat,” he notes. “I’m learning that there

will always be people who are better musicians,

and better at certain things than me, but no one

is going to have the vision that I do.” The album is a

gold mine of talent: Anderson .Paak, Kendrick Lemar,

Cee Lo Green, Ty Dolla $ign, Ariana Grande, Njomza,

and Bilal, as well as producers like DJ Dahi, Aja Grant,

Frank Dukes, and ID Labs.

Miller thrives in collaborative environments,

without compromising on that Mac Miller sound.

“I get people in the studio and see what happens.

I love collaborating. You learn so much from the

record and even more from each other.” The

album took Miller a year to create and he admits

to have been influenced by D’Angelo and Al Green

at the time. When it came to colouring between

the lines in terms of genre, Miller threw caution to

the winds. “I broke down all boundaries for myself

on what I should and shouldn’t do. I gave myself the

freedom to really create and use my voice in some

very different ways.”

Miller’s maturity doesn’t mean the fun

is gone. In fact, the album is dirtier than ever.

Brazenly provocative lines are laced throughout

the album like, “Won’t get Hall of Fame d*ck from

a minor league dude, I just eat p*ssy, other people

need food,” or, “Freak mind is divine, so we f*ck

from behind.” The album is hella sexy. Unlike surface

level, mainstream hip-hop fare, this sexy is full of

positivity and peace, and not preoccupied with a

hunger for dominance.

The album’s positive content did not make

creating it any less taxing on Miller’s soul. “I was

digging deeper into different areas of my life,” he

says, “at times I had nothing to say. It would take a

lot for me to just sit there and wait for something

to come. It’s never easy. I would never make an

album that’s easy to create. I would feel unworthy

getting anything out of an album like that. If what

I’m creating has the potential of impacting even

one person, then I want to put everything I have

into it.” Creatively, Miller is a self-professed slave to

emotions. “The first thing I focus on is the music. It

speaks loudest to me. The words come based on the

sounds. I capture the emotions through music first. I

know I can put together a song in five minutes, but

that’s not what I’m trying to do now. I want to make

the right statement and capture the right moment.”

The Divine Feminine is Mac Miller’s most

honest work to date. He has done a lot of work

emotionally and musically to get here. He finally has,

in his own words, “got angels, no more Satan,” and we

couldn’t be more ecstatic for him.

Mac Miller plays the Vogue Theatre on November 6.


Mac Miller pays tribute to love, sex, and powerful female influences on The Divine Feminine Tour.



your month measured in BPMs


Let’s just pretend Christmas isn’t as impending as

advertising leads us to believe and continue to live

in this bubble we call November a little while longer.

Feeding into our blissful ignorance, here is our top

electronic and hip-hop concert picks for the month.

Wave Equation

November 4 @ Western Front

Electronic music will be manifesting itself in the

physical world with performances by Marguerite

Witvoet in Kiran Bhumber’s Reactive Body Suit, Mási +

Marina (Alanna Ho and Marina Hasselberg) and Sarah

Davachi. Expect a night of abstract experimentation

through physical sensors, liquid movements and

analogue synthesizers.

Rae Sremmurd

November 7 @ PNE Forum

Born in Tupelo, Mississippi, brothers Khalif “Swae Lee”

Brown and Aaquil “Slim Jxmmi” Brown make up the

American hip-hop duo Rae Sremmurd. Best known for

their turnt up club bangers “No Flex Zone” and “No

Type,” this night is being posed to pop off.

Tory Lanez

November 14-15 @ The Vogue Theatre

Arguably the original “crowd walker” of rap music,

Canadian hip hop artist Tory Lanez is currently on

tour supporting his debut studio album, I Told You.

Most well known for his popular singles “Say It” and

“Dimelo,” Lanez one of the biggest artists currently

on the forefront of modern hip hop whose live

performances often become high-energy daredevil

spectacles in and of itself.

Rüfüs Du Sol

November 24 @ Imperial

After a long two-year wait, Sydney, Australia dance

music producers Rüfüs du Sol are back with a new

album titled Bloom. Comprised of Tyrone Lindqvist,

Jon George and James Hunt, the group takes on a

unique approach to songwriting to create high energy

and melodic tracks that are poised to bliss out their

fans from beginning to end.




eGo deaTH

Noah York and Maya Gulin embrace the noise of every day life on The Total End.


Ego is what sometimes makes it difficult

for people to see things clearly, and

see beyond their own interests and

pleasures. Ego death is the absence of

who you have built yourself to be.

Most people experience this sensation

while after consuming copious amounts

of psilocybin. I did. I drowned in Cat

Lake. I went in after my camera, which I

later realized I hadn’t even dropped into

the water. I became trapped in the SD

card of my camera. I was dead. It was

terrifying, but at once calming.

Ego Death is the name given to

the psychedelic experimental ambient

project of Noah York and Maya Gulin,

who just released the cassette The Total

End on Calgary-based experimental

label Deep Sea Mining Syndicate. It’s

no accident that The Total End is the

perfect soundtrack to actual ego

death. Time rolls like dense clouds

over the infinite horizon, senses fail.

You can hear the trees drone on like

thousand-year-old curmudgeons. The

piercing stabs of a blue whale aren’t

reassuring like a new age YouTube video;

they are confusing and full of angst. Why

are the waves eating themselves?

This isn’t a laconic task. It takes

work. Mental work. You are experiencing

the divine, but you won’t realize it until

much later. York himself recounts his

own experience. “I started rolling forward

in this giant crystal cathedral. It felt kind

of like a giant inside of a tire and I was

rolling forward slowly with this crazy

music playing. Then the rolling forward

slowed down to a stop and it all started

to go in reverse until the grains of sand

started filling back up, bottom to top,

right to left, until it was smoke again and I

was right back were I started. Easily my

most insane journey in my mind. The

next day was one of the most beautiful

days of my life. We drove to Banff and

laid down on the top floor of a parking

garage in the sun for like four hours.”

It’s that totality that is captured

on The Total End — thesis, antithesis,

synthesis. Nothing is lost or destroyed,

but raised up and preserved as in a spiral.

Recorded in one night after the death of a

beloved pet, it is steeped in despair.

“It was a heavy vibe and we

were kind of fixating on the topic of

death,” York says. “It’s really hard

to watch anything suffer until its

demise. But it wasn’t all dark. I feel like

there are some celebratory moments on

the album.”

Although York has been working

on Ego Death for a decade, it seems as

though collaborating with his romantic

partner has reinvigorated him.

“I was a pretty amateur musician

in the beginning and that naivety

added something to the music. Now

that I know a bit more what I’m doing

it’s nice to have a new voice in there

that still sometimes has to rely purely

on instinct to work out an idea.”

The result is a primordial tension.

Man and woman. Big bang and big

crunch. Entropy and creation. The

absence of who you have built yourself

up to be.

Ego Death’s The Total End is available

now via Deep Sea Mining Syndicate.

Lovers in a dangerous time, Noah York and Maya Gulin make a little noise on


November 2016


pop art for the rest of us


The artwork for Autograf’s latest single

“Future Sauce” features three Sriracha

bottles in graphic pink, yellow, and

blue—a clever spin on Andy Warhol’s

iconic Campbell Soup masterpiece. The

vibrant image accurately sums up what

this hot new electronic band is all about.

“We came up with the art design first

and the song came afterwards,” explains

Mikul Wing, one third of the ebullient

Chicago act. “There are always two

aspects to everything we do: musical

and visual. The two inspire each other in

both directions.”

Autograf is made up of Mikul

Wing, Jake Carpenter, and Louis Kha,

electronic music lovers with strong

visual arts backgrounds. Autograf’s

signature low key, house sound woke

the electronic community up with a

soothingly catchy anthem about destressing

called “Don’t Worry.” Since

the track’s success, Autograf has gone

on to remix tracks from big acts like

Odesza, Bastille, Lorde, and Griz. The

band amassed a staggering following

on Soundcloud just over the course of

a year before getting signed to a major

record label. “Ten years ago things were

controlled by record labels. Now you

can build organic followings and foster

creativity online,” notes Wing. “Music

isn’t rooted physically anymore.”

Wing and Kha met at visual arts

school. They discovered Carpenter’s

ambitious metal, robot sculpture

work after graduating, when Wing

was throwing massive art parties in

his Chicago gallery and learning from

the city’s best DJs. Being art kids, it

was clear that the trio was going to

make something unconventional. The

guys were being exposed to break

beats, a thriving local house music

scene, and the international electronic

music scene. “We like to say we’re live

electronica because of the direction

our live shows have taken,” says Wing.

“We try to create organic sounds. We’re

organic and electronic!” At their shows

you see anything and everything on

stage, including a few drum sets, bass

guitars, electric guitars, keyboards,


djembe, mixers, and a tonne of live


There is a striking DIY element

to Autograf’s work as well. Putting

their own handiwork into making

their instruments, merch, and stage

ornaments, is all intentional. “When

we started Autograf, dance music was

all build-ups to epic tracks. The culture

around dance music was getting lost.

It was all about how hard you can rage

out. Integrating art and a DIY element

into music helped us connect and bring

culture into the music.” The band relishes

the control they get to exercise on their

music and image. “We bring in people

who are not big corporations to help us

do everything. We’re very aware of who

we are and how we want to be perceived.”

For the release of “Don’t Worry”,

Autograf famously stationed art

installations ranging in size from 4x4

feet up to 8x12 feet around Chicago,

along with murals of ice creams and

“Don’t Worry” signs on prominent

city walls. For a factory party that the

band threw to recreate Andy Warhol’s

original badass soiree, 8x5x5 foot giant


turning existential dissatisfaction into relentless results

Chicago producers Autograf invigorate electronica with colourful visual art.

Warhol soup cans weighing 600 pounds

were created, as well as a ten-foot tall

smoking cigarette. Their live shows

are similarly 360 degree, immersive

experiences. On stage, their hand-made

sculptures are strung with lights the trio

lovingly picked out at Home Depot, and

which they also control live on stage.

Autograf’s aesthetic is influenced

by pop art. “We want our art to be

accessible to everybody. Art should not

be restricted to galleries,” says Wing.

Autograf want to inspire their audiences

to chase their dreams and follow their

passions by example. “We want to tell

our listeners to not hold back. Go out

and make art!”

Autograf performs at Imperial on

November 11.

Electronic music producer Lido is truly the personification of his music.


With zero ego behind his words, Peder

Losnegård states matter of factly that, “I

am music.” Starting his career producing

music under the moniker Lido just a

few short years ago, Losnegård goes on

to explain what he meant, in that he’s the

physical manifestation of his sound. “People

are always like, ‘Oh yeah I love music too,’

and, ‘Music means a lot to me too,’ [but] I’m

like no. I’m only good if my music is good, so

I really am music.”

The background of our phone

conversation was washed with the hustle

and bustle of a standard afternoon in

New York City where the young artist is

currently stationed. “I’m trying to learn how

to sing, so I’ve been doing vocal lessons,”

Losnegård mentions casually. While the

multi-instrumentalist has been singing on

his own tracks for many years now, he’s only

just now taking singing lessons to see if it’ll

make a difference in his work. “I’ll always be

a drummer and a pianist first and foremost,

but now I’m sort of learning that my voice is

an instrument too [and] that I should learn

how to use [it],” he says.

Blending the melodic elements of

R&B, hip hop, and live instrumentals into

his predominantly electronic compositions,

Losnegård has succeeded in creating his own

sound which first started gaining popularity

during the “golden era” of Soundcloud before

major label takedowns started happening.

“I felt like everyone was just ready for me,”

he explains. “It’s just lining up exactly the

way I wanted it to be and it was completely

random. I was bored and I was fed up and

was like, you know what? I’m going to make

some really weird stuff that probably only I

will like [and put it online]. Turns out, a lot

of people liked it and it completely changed

the course of my life.”

Growing up in a small town on the edge

of Norway, the level of success Losnegård

has already experienced almost feels surreal

at times. “The fact that I was listening to

Big Timers and Snoop Dogg and Nas when

I was kid was all because of the internet,”

he says. “But it’s almost redundant to give

credit to the internet at this point because

everything is on the internet. So it’s definitely

like I owe [all my success] to people, and to the

world, and to music, but I came in at a time

where the best way of finding those things was

on the internet.”

When it comes to collaborations,

it quickly becomes a family affair for

Losnegård who’s known to become very

close with the people he works with.

“If someone helps me make something

beautiful, or helps me become a part of

something that is important to me as

music, then it’s very natural for us to

become very close as human beings too

because my connection [to music] is so

close to me as a person,” he mentions.

Some of his closest friends and

collaborators are artists like Santell,

Heavy Mellow, and Chance the Rapper.

“I’m very fortunate to work with Chance

the Rapper who is on a musical level, my

brother,” he says fondly of the rapper.

“Because I grew up on gospel and soul music

and so did he. He was the first rapper that

I really heard anywhere that was interested

in using gospel and church references in his

music. The first time I heard his music I was

like fuck, I’ve been waiting for this dude for

ten years! I’ve finally found somebody who

wants to be rapping on the sounds that I’ve

been making for so long.”

With a constantly active mind and a

quick workflow, Losnegård always seems

to be working on something new and

exciting with little downtime. “When

I’m creating stuff and the second it’s

finished, I never listen to it again. The

second the journey is over, it’s over,” he

states matter of factly. “I can’t imagine

ever being fully satisfied. I really do

think I’m gonna be creating stuff forever

because again, I sort of am what I create.

And I am the happiest when I do, so if I

don’t create anything, I’m kind of scared at

what the fuck I am,” he said, punctuating

his thought with an uneasy laugh.

Lido performs at the Rio Theatre

November 7



ob SaGeT

50 Shades of Danny Tanner


For many milennials, hearing Bob

Saget’s act for the first time was a lot

like hearing your dad describe his first

time while drunk on spiced rum. A

chill comes over you and a piece of

your childhood dies. Though Danny

Tanner is never really far away,

Saget has garnered a somewhat

well deserved reputation as the

gatekeeper of blue humor on the

standup stage. You will find shades

of this filth king on stage, during

his “as himself” appearances on

Entourage, and within his Twitter

feed (“Sex isn’t everything. A healthy

relationship is one where you talk &

listen to the other person. Before

you pay them to have sex with

you.”), but it is his generosity of spirit

that he rarely gets credit for: the

winsome shrug and generous voice

we have all come to trust to tell us

why sometimes it’s ok to not fit in

at school.

“I’m not as blue as I used to

be,” he admits. “Growing up a little

bit, talking about more serious stuff

between the jokes my dad told me

when I was nine.”

Tom Green is still on that

Tom Green tip.

Life has also given Saget perspective

that has led to his involvement in

aspirations beyond that of his true

home on the comedy circuit. His

sister’s untimely death at the hands

of Scleroderma in 1999 made him

into a tireless representative for

awareness of the disease, including

a role on the board of the

Scleroderma Research Foundation.

He has done Tony award winning

plays (“an incredibly rewarding

experience”), he has hosted game

shows, he’s written books, he’s been

nominated for Grammys (“I didn’t

win. I always say ‘Kathy Griffin won,

and I like him’”), he unabashedly

reprised his role as Danny Tanner

on the new and absurdly popular

Fuller House (“Which I never

thought I’d see; I never thought

I’d walk into that living room

again. We’re called The Legacy

Cast, like we come out of dry ice

or something”), and is known and

loved for helping travelling comics

secure gigs in his home of Los

Angeles (“Stand-up comedy is a hard

road, it really is luck of the draw. So I like

to try to help out”).

“ It ’s a fun life,” he admits.

“I’m no spring chicken but I’m not

as old as my friends Don Rickles

and Norman Lear.”

ToM GReen

Canada’s original prankster re-focuses on stand-up


At 15 years old, Tom Green first set foot on a

stand-up stage in Ottawa, Ontario. It is now

30 years later and he’s on a world tour that’s

landing in Vancouver in early November.

Green first got his start in

Canadian show business through rap

group Organized Rhyme, and soon

after began working for Much Music,

studying broadcasting and hosting

CHUO Radio. After college his cable

access show, The Tom Green Show, which

eventually catapulted him to stardom,

was picked up by The Comedy Network.

The show presented guerrilla-style

street interviews, risk-taking pranks, and

disgustingly hilarious behaviour; it was

the first of its kind. Eventually plucked

by MTV, Green went on to work with

the infamous American Music Channel

before his untimely testicular cancer

diagnosis at the age of 28. In innovative

form, Green insisted on televising the lifesaving

surgery that enabled his return to

writing and acting in film and television.

Before streaming was common practice,

Green hosted Webovision’s Tom Green



Bob Saget exudes a warm and generous energy to those not

offended into retreat by his thoughts on enemas.

“When I hang with them they

slap my cheek and go ‘you’re a

baby’ and I go ‘ok, I’ll take it. I can

be a baby, sure!’”

Saget’s greatest gift is being a

pleasant surprise. You don’t expect

him to speak so warmly about

stepping back into Danny Tanner’s

shoes (“It’s very special because

we’re family”), you don’t expect his

punch line to the Aristocrats to be

breath-takingly depraved, and you

don’t expect him to take his stand

Live!, interviewing the likes of Norm

MacDonald and Bill Burr. Green

has also appeared on the late night

television programs of numerous other

comedians, from Conan O’Brien to

David Letterman (Green’s all-time

hero); once even hosting the show

before Letterman’s retirement.

The Pembroke, Ontario-born

comic admits that in the past he has

had other projects to deter him from

constantly performing stand-up but,

says “It’s all part and parcel of the

same thing. I never really feel like

I’ve stopped doing anything, you

know? I’ve been doing music, and

the stand-up, and the TV, and my

web show. It really feels like it’s all

sort of the same thing.”

Green’s website,,

features “Do the Donald,” a dark, catchy,

satirical rap video highlighting Trump’s

idiocy as an entertaining warning to

all Trump supporters. Living in LA,

Green expresses concern for current

political situation in America: “I think

that’s the sort of sad thing about

Hollywood in general, is so many

people who are completely adamantly

up act so seriously (“It’s like a date. I

remember every show I’ve ever done,

pretty much”). A renaissance man

just waiting to incite gasps, Saget

is one of the few standup comics

whose dedication and influence can

be felt in the delivery and career of

countless others.

Or any time someone starts an

inspirational speech with “Y’see kids….”

Bob Saget plays the Hard Rock Casino

in Coquitlam November 10 and 11.

against Donald Trump still stay quiet.

They don’t want to upset their fans that

are Trump supporters. People should

really stand up for what they believe in

when it’s important. There’s a moral issue

here. They don’t want to offend their fans

because they want to make money. I feel

a responsibility, with Trump having been

racist and using bigotry and racism to fan

the flames of division in America. I just

think it’s so disgusting that I have to, like,

let people know that I’m not cool with

that. And hopefully, you know, some

of my fans who may have been Trump

supporters might look at it differently.

That would be good.”

How does Green feel about coming

back to his home country? “I can tell you

I’m excited about coming to Vancouver.

I love Vancouver! I put out a skateboard

this year with Vancouver based company,

Skull Skates. I love being up in Canada. It’s

been too long and I’m looking forward

to coming back.” It might be a good

chance to welcome him back and he

will prove to you that “he’s not just

the guy from Freddy got Fingered.”

You can catch Tom Green at Yuk Yuks

Vancouver on November 4 and 5.

Visit for tickets and

subscribe to

for exclusive Tom Green content.


November 2016


eaSTSide cUlTURe cRaWl

beloved annual arts festival celebrates 20 years

East Vancouver shows its tasty bits in the shadow of a murder of crows.


vancoUveR cRaFT cideR FeSTival

first-ever event cheers to local industry, quality production, and community

In the early nineties, a group of East

Vancouver artists decided to share

their work and creative processes

with the community. The main reason

for the open house, which ran out of

Paneficio Studios, was to fundraise for

political movements close to home —

supporting friends who’d been arrested

protesting Clayoquot Sound, raising

money to help a neighbour whose

house burnt down, rallying for friends

suffering from AIDS. “We started out

having very much of a cause aspect to

it,” says visual artist and muralist Richard

Tetrault. “And then, of course, it also

became an exhibition of our work and

a chance to, you know, sell some work

and meet people and all that. The two

of them worked in tandem quite nicely.”

With each passing year, more

studios become involved. The small

event quickly grew into a myriad of

open houses coinciding their dates on

the same weekend in November and,

soon, it was attracting thousands of

people. Celebrating its 20th anniversary

this year, the Eastside Culture

Crawl continues to facilitate a deep

connection between the community

and the creativity that thrives within it.

A few special events help celebrate the

Crawl’s milestone. A discussion series,

Talking Art, has eight artists speaking about

what informs their work. There is also an

exhibition, As The Crow Flies, which includes

70 artists who have been part of the Crawl for

the last two decades. Arranged salon-style

with the pieces mounted closely together,

the exhibition is held at a variety of venues

from The Cultch to The Arts Factory.

Tetrault will have two paintings on

display in As The Crow Flies. The images,

done with acrylic and graphite, are of

crows — frequent subjects in his work

(he even segued them into the Crawl’s

official logo, which he came up with).

“In some ways, they’re personality

stand-ins for my protagonists in my

paintings in the Downtown Eastside,”

he explains, referencing his oft on-site

location. “In other words, they kind of take

the place, sometimes, of my human figures.

They’re a presence that’s always there

and that’s very vacillating between dark

and light.”

He continues, “Crows and ravens were

here long before the city was, but now that

the city is here, they adapt to it. So, their kind

of contemporary landscape is alleyways as

opposed to old growth forests. And I just

find that really interesting. One of the birds

that have persisted to make their livelihood

in the urban landscape.”

And like the crows that watch

over the community from treetops and

telephone wires, the Eastside Culture

Crawl is, too, something deeply imbedded

in East Vancouver’s identity.

Eastside Culture Crawl runs from November

17 – 23. For a map of participating studios,



There is far more to cider than that stuff

you drank in high school. You know

the kind — the sickly sweet mixture that

hurts both your molars and your stomach

lining after a couple of sips. But that massproduced

swill is a world away from the

flavourful ciders that us British Columbians

have fermenting in our own backyard. In fact,

the province is a bounty of cideries — many

of which will be showcased at the Vancouver

Craft Cider Festival on November 27.

The inaugural annual event (which

sold out quickly) is presented by the

Vancouver branch of the Campaign for Real

Ale Society. The non-profit organization is

behind the popular CiderWISE festival, but

while CiderWISE includes gluten-free beers

and ciders from Washington, Oregon, and

Spain, the VCCF will only focus on BC-made

cider. After all, says David Perry, president

of CAMRA Vancouver, supporting and

promoting local industry and community

is at the heart of CAMRA’s mandate.

In choosing participating cideries,

CAMRA worked with craft cider bar

Orchard & the Sea. As the only of its kind in

the province, the Vancouver establishment

had a discerning insight on whom the festival

could highlight. “We wanted places that are

producing, if not exclusively, predominately

cider,” adds Perry.

Amongst the featured cideries are

Scenic Road Cider Co., Salt Spring Wild

Cider, and Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse.

The latter produces some of Perry’s personal

favourites. Of note is their award-winning

Rumrunner — the apples that make up the

cider are homegrown, hand pressed, and

then aged in rum-soaked bourbon barrels

for six months. The result is dry

and slightly carbonated, retaining

gorgeous rum profiles with rich

hints of brown sugar.

The VCCF will also have

educational component where

attendees get to learn more about the

long history of cider, dating back to its

believed birthplace in Spain, as well as

Giving apples their day in a grain dominated world.

the niche of land-based ciders (cideries

that own their own orchards). And, of

course, there will be food pairings to

accompany the tastings, with glutenfree

options to accommodate those

with wheat sensitivities.

With its vast spread of cider

varieties and inclusive community

atmosphere, VCCF promises to be a

delicious evening of discovery — with

none of that sickly sweet stuff.

Vancouver Craft Cider Festival is held at

The Beaumont Studios on November 27.

November 2016 CITY


eMPiRe oF THe Son

art strengthens a bond not lost to loss


It has been just over a year since Tetsuro Shigematsu

premiered his one-man show, Empire of the Son, at

the Cultch. It has also been just over a year since his

father, the primary subject of the production that

explores their acrimonious relationship, passed away.

This month, Empire of the Son makes its anticipated

return to the Cultch before embarking on a national

tour. And as time passes, Shigematsu finds his

relationship with his father continues to grow.

“Interestingly enough, I feel that, in a way,

the emotional intensity has increased for me

unexpectedly,” he says, “because when I first

performed in the immediate aftermath of my father’s

death, I suppose part of me was afraid of being in

such close proximity to his death in a chronological

sense because it just happened. But now that it’s a

year later, I feel that, given that distance, I’m more

relaxed and I’m more open to accepting or feeling or

channeling my father’s spirit, or even the sense of who

he is, onstage.”

His death was something Shigematsu was as

prepared for as he could be as he finalized his script —

something left malleable to keep the story true to life.

After all, much was at stake. The newly re-assembled

Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre spent two years

putting all efforts into producing the project. The

Cultch, a venue Shigematsu calls his Wrigley Field,

took a leap of faith, too, booking it without so much

as seeing a script.

As it turned out, Empire of the Son was a

tremendous success. Its run completely sold out, the

extended run too, leaving rave reviews and enchanted

audiences in its wake. Shigematsu, however, lost his

father just 18 days before opening night.

Performing was therapy beyond compare. “It

was a way for me to grieve and work through my

feelings, sublimating it and turning it into something

else,” Shigematsu says. “And if I didn’t have all of that,

I don’t know what I would’ve done.”

For most of his life, Shigematsu’s relationship

with his father, Akira, was strained. Despite living

under the same roof, they’d never really spoken, apart

from passing condiments at mealtimes.

Born in Japan, Shigematsu’s father immigrated

to London and worked as a radio broadcaster for the

BBC and, after moving west, the CBC. Shigematsu,

himself, was drawn to the airwaves, hosting CBC

Radio One’s The Roundup, following writing for This

Hour Has 22 Minutes. Though connected by both

blood and profession, cultural and generational

barriers separated Shigematsu and his father. His

father would revel behind a microphone speaking

to millions across the world, but found it stressful

to carry a conversation with his own son.

Shigematsu first explored their relationship in

the nineties with a show he’d written called Rising

Son. When his father’s health began to decline in

2013, Shigematsu, himself now a father, knew he

needed to return to the material. What happens

when his children start questioning their identities

and, eventually, ask about Grandpa? Shigematsu

didn’t want to not have answers.

One thing mutually understood was the

radio interview. When Shigematsu pointed his

microphone at his father, everything came out.

Within this emotionally remote man were vast

worlds of experience — he had stood in the ashes of

Hiroshima. He had tea with the Queen of England

and witnessed Marilyn Monroe singing “Happy

Birthday” to President John F. Kennedy. He was a bit

like Forrest Gump, Shigematsu laughs, intertwined

with such significant moments of the 20th century.

In a final interview, Shigematsu explained to

his father that he wanted to share his story and

asked for his permission to do so. “And my father,

given his stroke, would often take so long to answer,

sometimes I’d wonder if he’d fallen asleep when I

was interviewing him,” Shigematsu continues. “But

he said ‘yes’ right away.”

Unsure the question was fully comprehended,

Shigematsu repeated it. Again, he said yes. “And I

said, ‘why do you say yes so quickly?’”

“And he said, ‘because if you tell my story, then

my life would’ve had some meaning.’”

Shigematsu was surprised. As a son, he still

looked to his father for nuggets of wisdom in

answer to life’s big questions. He never anticipated

he was actually providing them to his own father.

“That, for me,” Shigematsu says, “more than the

show, more than the accolades and the tours and

all of that — the experience of giving myself an

excuse or pretext to sit down with my father for all

those hours, all those afternoons, that whole ritual,

is the thing that I’m most grateful for.”

Empire of the Son runs at Vancity Culture Lab from

November 1 – 13.

Time brings clarity and closeness as Tetsuro Shigematsu’s masterpiece returns to the stage.


November 2016

WalkeR evanS

a revolutionary and his portrait of contemporary life ...just don’t call it art


Walker Evans is, by all accounts, a

pioneer of modern photography. In

1933, his was the first solo show in

the medium to ever be exhibited at

the Museum of Modern Art in New

York. His iconic book, American

Photographs, is a defining piece of

North American photographic history.

He is regarded in the art world as

an architect of the documentary

photography genre and his influence

on modern street photography can

hardly be overstated.

Starting on October 29, the

Vancouver Art Gallery will be showing

a retrospective exhibit of Evans’ work.

This career-spanning collection,

entitled Depth of Field, is the most

comprehensive accumulation of his

work that has, to date, ever been

shown in Canada. We spoke with

Vancouver Art Gallery curator Grant

Arnold, who described Evans’ work

as “seemingly cool and detached, and

extremely descriptive… [it] doesn’t

necessarily at first glance even look

like art, but the more you look at [the

images] the more you realize there is a

poetic aspect to them which survives

over time.”

Evans was the progenitor of

what has been described as a lyrical

documentary style, documenting the

daily realities of a growing America

with a keen eye for detail. In the 1930s,

Evans’ approach to photography was

in direct contrast to that of many

of his contemporaries. At this time,

photography was not seen as an

art form on par with more classical

mediums like painting or sculpture.

There were almost no museums that

collected photography and very few

that exhibited it.

Fine art photographers like Alfred

Stieglitz and Edward Steichen were

determined to change the art world’s

perception of photography as a practice,

and thus focused on the creation of

images that would accomplish that

goal. Evans wasn’t interested in this and

regarded their work as too imitative of

other media. He preferred to capture

the world as it was and his insistence on

this point led some to describe him as

an “anti-art” photographer. As Arnold

explains it, “He looked a bit more to

newsreels and things like that as a kind

of vocabulary to base his work on…

and deliberately rejected work that

was self-consciously positioning itself as

art.” Still, he had connections with the

MoMa very early on in his career, and

while he may have publicly denounced a

“fine art” approach to the photographic

medium, his career certainly benefitted

from his relationships with the art

world’s elites.

The works on display at the

Vancouver Art Gallery will showcase the

breadth of Evans’ photographs, from the

streets of New York to portraits of the

Dust Bowl, spanning his early career in

the 1920s to images he made just before

he died in the 1970s. Also on display

will be a number of signs that Evans

collected throughout his career and

would exhibit alongside his own work

while he was alive. As Arnold describes,

“He would often just take signs he

liked from public spaces, which makes

sense when you consider how often

he would photograph signs, and they

would be pretty commonplace...some

of them would just say ‘no parking,’

but he would have been interested

in the graphic design element [of

them].” These small pieces of history

complete this exhaustive exhibition

of Evans’ exploration into the

American character.

Walker Evans: Depth of Field runs at the

Vancouver Art Gallery from October 29

– January 22.


Walker Evans’ camera was both a news reel and a lens for a growing world.

November 2016 23



deSk oF

caRloTTa GURl


Hello all my beautiful people and

welcome to Carlotta Gurl’s warped,

wild, and wonderfully weird world.

First of all, I would like to say a heartfelt

thank you to everyone for all the positive

feedback on my last two columns. It

does this old queen good to know she

can entertain the masses not only with

crazy cartwheels and carefree onstage

antics, but also with humorous stories

and vivid experiences culled from her

amorous youth as an up and coming

entertainer in the city. Although my

mind may have gotten a little foggy

(due to the occasional bender and the

subsequent repercussions), this queen

has still retained at least 50% control of

her faculties, thus at least half of what I say

makes sense, and the other half I can chuck

into my old trunk of fried wigs.

This column has become a passionate

vehicle for me to express my creativity in

a new and uncompromising way. I believe

it is very important for all of us to show

our creativity any chance we get. We get

so obsessed and weighed down with the

pressures of money, position, and the

creature comforts we so need to survive,

sometimes at the detriment of our spirits.

Being creative allows us to escape the

ordinary, if only for a brief time. We all

have some creative part of ourselves tucked

away somewhere that’s screaming to come

out. Do yourselves a favour and embrace

this. Take that art class you’ve always wanted

to take, express that interest in that theatre

company you’ve always been interested in,

or dress up as that character you’ve always

wanted to dress up as. Take that time, if even

a little, to nourish your artistic side. You will

find yourself a much happier and more fulfilled

human being because of it.

People always ask me my thoughts on

gender and if being a drag queen has ever

made me think about becoming a woman.

For sure I have entertained the notion on

more than one occasion, I have definitely

done drag to the point where it felt like I was

living as a woman. But really that is quite

the exaggeration, I mean what woman

would be as garish and slut barring as

me? I’m lucky that I’ve always been quite

comfortable in my own skin. For those

that feel they have not been born into

their right body, I think it is very important

they make the necessary changes they

need to become a whole person. We are

only on this planet for a short time so

embrace who you are and you are most

happy being. Sometimes the path to

becoming your authentic self can be a rocky

one, but that is the choice we all need to

make to find happiness in our lives. Be who

you want to be and take the time to find

out who that is. There is much truth

to the old adage: “Life isn’t about the

destination, it’s the journey.”

Until next time my precious

Gurls out there, love yourself, express

your creativity, love the gender you

want to be, love your life, and, most

importantly... love me. Keep your freak

half flying. Love you all.

You can see Carlotta on Wednesdays at

11p.m. at the Junction for the Barron Gurl

Show, on Fridays at 11:30 p.m. at the Odyssey

for Feature Length Fridays, and on Saturdays

at 11:30 p.m. at the Junction for Absolutely

Dragulous. Or just spot her around the West

End, because after all she is the Queen.



a community legend

“The most important thing in life is to be

gracious to others.” —Jaylene Tyme

The glitter, the rhinestones, the sequins,

the makeup — every minute detail

creates a vibrant and contrasting texture

on stage. Her smile lights up the room

and her heart emanates joy. Jaylene Tyme

is our local legend. Her experience with

drag started in Calgary, Alberta inan

underground scene that, Tyme recalls,

thrived inits uniqueness. DzI remember

I didn’t have my shit together,dz she

reminisces. DzI just wandered around

trying to find myself, I found kindness

in the scene.dzIn those early years,

Tyme was inspired byold school drag, a

combination of humour and glamour

that was showy and shiny. She admits

that in these early days she was more

concerned with looking like a girl —

something, years later, she would realize

was tied to her own gender identity. DzI

found my expression of self through the

expression of drag,dz Tyme says. DzIt

was the pulse ofmy truth, the character

that I put on was the closest expression

tomy spirit.dzJaylene Tyme loves the word She never misses an

opportunity to say it.DzCommunity tome

represents family,dz she explains. DzWhen

I first came out into the gay community

at19, I separated myself from the family

that I knew because I needed to find

somewhere that I could be myself, because

I was at a point where I was confused. I

didn’t understand what gender identity

meant, what being gay meant, what being

different meant. I knew that there must be

something out there. So when I left home

I kinda left not knowing what to expect.

I was very much alone and I needed to

find a new family. So when I went into

the gay community, that was when I was

really able to realize a community. In other

words a family of people that share the

same curiosity, share the same challenges,

share the same passions, init all there is


It was said when Jaylene was Empress in 2006

that she wouldn’t miss the opening of a bag of chips.

a lotof talent, artistry, and dysfunction.

A real multitude of personalities that

are relatable.dzTyme hosts a show atXY

Nightclub every Sunday called Legends. It

a Vegas-style show that offers world-class

impersonations. Tyme and her guests

challenge themselves bytransforming

into characters. Some of her most notable

characters include Dolly Parton, Barbara

Streisand, Marilyn Monroe, and Cher, the

latter who was her first impersonation.

Her transformations are so complete

that even the tiniest characteristics are

accentuated. In2006, Jaylene Tyme won

the title of Empress of Vancouver under

the Dogwood Monarchist Society. The

title, she says, is among her proudest

achievements, next to her sobriety and

living her authentic truth every day. The

role of Empress is important because the

person elected becomes the ambassador

for the gay communityof Vancouver.

And Tyme’s early experiences are what

made her such a powerful Empress. DzI

remember when I experienced challenging

points inmy life, I wasn’t looked down

on,dz she says. DzI remember this clearly

and now I carry that in everything I do. I

always remember the kindness I was given

and in turn give that same kindness to

everyone I meet.dzTyme’s self-awareness

makes her a person to admire and her

willingness to share sogenuinely makes

her the most wonderful person to speak

with. With her radiant aura, she

breathes life into the world around her.

Not to mention, her drag verges on

mastery. Weare honoured to know her.

Jaylene Tyme is the host of Legends at XY

Nightclub and the founder of The Legends

Calendar, a calendar filled with local drag

talent and their transformation into icons

from history and pop culture. The calendar

is available for purchase at 1181 Lounge

and XY, as well as Little Sister’s Book & Art

Emporium. All proceeds from the calendar

go to the Dogwood Monarchist Society.


November 2016

Mandy TSUnG

intersections in oil and ink


Mandy Tsung is constantly asked the

question, “Why do you paint women?”

In defiance, she questions them: “Do

you ask all of these men why they paint

women in this certain way? Do they

ever have to explain themselves?”

Tsung is a queer, half-Chinese,

intersectional feminist whose

work in oil paintings and tattoos is

concerned with the nuances of race,

female expression, sensuality, and

sexuality. “Because I am a women

I have these experiences,” she says,

“I’m speaking for myself when I’m

painting a woman, whereas I feel like

men don’t know they are speaking for

women...they paint what they see as a

surface object...maybe they don’t have

the concept that a woman is a person.”

Besides, most of her models are close

friends of hers who identify as nonbinary,

so while she paints the female

form, she actually doesn’t just

paint women.

In August, Tsung worked with a

group of artists on a show called “Dirty-

Knees” that focused on the varying

experiences of growing up half-Asian,

of being borne by two distinct cultures

but never fully belonging to either.

Language is one of many currencies that

afford cultural flexibility. “By the time I

was old enough to learn Cantonese,” she

says, “I just wanted to be Canadian. You

want to assimilate and there’s so much

pressure to do so.”

Being queer has a huge influence on

Tsung’s work, but having hit her “queer

puberty” after college, she struggled

in understanding and claiming it.

“Someone was saying I objectify women

in my paintings,” prompting counsel

from her queer friends, “they said we

see women in a sexual way because

we’re attracted to them, but you can

still make art that conveys sexuality

without turning them into passive

objects...that’s harmful.”

Her portrayal of the female form

is subversive insofar as her approach

to the subject, “I’m a woman,” she

hesitates for a moment, “maybe I’m a

non-man painting non-male people.”

There’s a difference and Mandy Tsung

QUeeRvieW MiRRoR

my gay grampas


Though scientists and academics have

pondered the notion of a gay bloodline

for almost as long as gays have walked

this mighty Earth, the findings still

feel hazy, or at least my limited-atbest

research has come up with more

questions than answers. In traditional

families, these stories trickle down

the family tree to give us a sense of

who we are and where we’re from:

of the bigger picture. But without

some kind of bloodline, how are the

stories of our queer ancestors passed

on? Where do young queers get a

concrete sense of what came before?

The internet and popular culture do

not legacy make.

I’m not saying life revolves

around our queer experience, but we

can’t deny that our experiences are

shaped by our queerness. If we want

to learn from our community’s rich

history and get a sense of where we fit

in the landscape of queer activism and

social understanding of queer issues,

it’s pivotal for us to make contact. So what

can we do? To start, we can say hi. Just hi.

Our queer elders are all around us — At

the bar, in Jim Deva plaza, at Pride. But we

need to be willing to connect. We have to

be open to the possibility that we want

to share our stories and that we’re not

wants people to learn something

about why that difference exists in a

movement of artists painting women.

Queer tattoo culture and non-white

tattooing traditions have greatly informed

her painting practice as well. “With certain

designs I’ve made with half-Asian people in

mind they tend to go into that community...

people get it, I don’t have to write a

statement about every tattoo I make,

hitting on each other, but just trying to

genuinely connect. (Though by all means,

hit on each other if that’s your jam.)

When I lived in Toronto ten years

ago I had gay grandpas. These were men

who I’d seen at the bars so many times

that I thought I should at least say hello.

One was a drag queen, decked out in

heels, even at 76; the other was his partner

of 50 years. I found that inspiring, both the

heels and the longevity of their relationship. I

didn’t know them well. We never spent time

together outside of the bars, but I also spent

a hell of a lot of time in the bars, so it felt like

quality time. As a bright-eyed little homo,

these men opened my gay eyes. Hearing

about the early years of their relationship,

about their unwillingness to actually admit

to one another that they were in a

relationship together as a result of the

turbulent world around them, made me

deeply grateful for how far queer rights

have come.

Through the work my husband

and I do through his company Zee Zee

Theatre, we have been fortunate enough

to meet a huge spectrum of queers from

various generations, and we’ve been

welcomed into the fold of many a dinner

party where we were the youngest by

30 or, at times, 45 years. What a gift.

Through these dinner parties we were

able to meet two gentlemen who we

consider some of our dearest friends. There

are decades that divide us and we have

it’s understood through experience.”

In January Mandy will be

collaborating with two other artists on

a show titled “Strong Female Character”

at Hot Art Wet City, as well as a solo

show in New York in the Fall of 2017.


had very different life experiences, and

we take the time we have together to

share these untold stories from our gay

lineage. These incredible men, at 65 and

85, have become our gay grandparents,

though they would kill us if we ever

said that in front of them. They’re

dear friends, but the notion applies.

It’s through them that we get a better

understanding of our queer selves and

certainly of the great strides that have been

made in queer liberation, and the luxuries

and privilege that our generation holds.

Let me be clear: These men are not

our daddies. They are not picking up

the cheque. They are beautiful and

kind men who have a wealth of life

experience that they’re willing to

share over a glass of wine and a lot of

belly laughs.

A few years ago we asked our

gay grandparents if they’d allow me

to write a play about them, and we

were thrilled when they said yes. They

were very candid in what they shared

and I’m so proud to be able to share

their life story, of sorts, in the form of

a Technicolor gay musical at The Cultch’s

York Theatre this March. It’s called Elbow

Room Café: The Musical and it’s about

their legacy, about the stamp we want to

leave on this community, this world once

we’re gone. How people will tell the story of

who we were. Lucky me to have found gay

grandparents whose story I can help tell.

November 2016 QUEER




THiS MonTH in FilM



These films are so European Union, the theater

seats have the armrests removed. Featuring films

from 23 EU countries, including the big ones like

France and Luxembourg, viewers will be treated to

everything from Belgian exposés on immigration,

to costume pieces born of Dutch novels. Film is

meant to bring people together, from the directors

to the viewers, and this fantastic program was

made possible through the efforts of Vancouver

consulates, EU delegates, and the embassies of

the participating states themselves, making this

a true multicultural union of expression and

entertainment. The European Union Film Festival is

playing at the Cinematheque.



This largely crowd-funded show has been sharing

the new and innovative in animation for 16 years,

with 32 of the animated shorts receiving Academy

Award nominations and nine of them taking home

the golden man. That’s right—these aren’t your

average Seth MacFarlane cartoons. This year’s lineup

includes 16 short films from around the world,

with heavy hitters like Pixar’s Piper, technological

marvels like Google’s Pearl (which will still make

you cry), and lesser-known gems from countries

like Latvia, Korea, and Israel. With both a kidfriendly

section and a few after-hours films, all will

be enthralled with the imagination and illustration

behind this incredible festival. The Animation Show

of Shows is playing at the Rio Theatre

talented neurosurgeon, piano player, and etc. etc., is

suddenly thrust into a world of… well, more worlds as

he must save the multiverse from itself. With a trailer

that feels uncannily Christopher Nolan, this might be

a Marvel returning to X-Men form. Just without that

frog guy. In theaters November 4th.


While I spent my 17th year on a rainbow of joy,

high school junior Nadine spends hers enduring

humiliations stemming from the opposite sex. Oh

wait. The Edge of Seventeen follows Nadine as if she is

a shadow of our former selves, pinballing through highschool

tropes faster than a Vine-friendly version of John

Hughes. Portrayed by Hailee Steinfeld with a genuine

earnesty that plays off of an applaudingly cruel Woody

Harrelson, this film’s sure to be more popular than all

the band kids combined. In theaters November 18th

THe cabineT oF dR. caliGaRi

an archetypal piece of German Expressionist cinema


The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari innocently

opens amidst a garden, where we, the

unassuming audience, find Francis. This

all-around protagonist and young man

is recounting events recently endured

by him and his fiancée, Jane—more

horrifying, in fact, than the meeting of

the couples’ parents. We soon discover

that Francis is recalling his time at the

county fair, where Jane, his friend Alan,

and himself are urged to enter the tent

of Dr. Caligari, a shrouded figure whose

act consists of a large crypt-shaped

cabinet. In it resides a somnambulist

he controls at will. Despite being

asleep for 25 years, Cesare, Caligari’s

sleep-walking minion, has awoken with

the power to see into the future. When

Alan challenges Cesare on when he will

die, Cesare declares that he will be dead

before dawn. Later, Alan and Francis are

unshaken but Jane is shown to be deeply

affected by Cesare’s predictions and when

Alan is indeed found dead the next morning,

all roads lead to Dr. Caligari.

Widely regarded as the archetypal

piece of German Expressionist cinema,

Caligari contains aspects of artistic nuance

coupled with characteristics of film noir, still

a novelty in 1920. The expressionist style

features intangible twists and curvatures,

and light that bends and bounces as if

telling its own version of the story. Shadows

and streaks play pivotal roles, tossing out

the ideas of visual propriety and steady

cinematography that had become the

epitome of black and white cinema. Sharp

forms make their appearances alongside

spiralling streets and towering structures,

questioning the viewer’s depth perception

while tilted walls and windows close in all

around. Cubist homages to the greats like

Picasso abound in the crammed nature of the

buildings and door frames, as well as angular

wall hangings and geometric trees, cutting

through the air and filling the viewer with

anticipation of the mystery lying just ahead.

Much like Cesare with the death of Alan,

the film has been thought to foreshadow

the darkest period in German history:

WWII and the rise of authoritarianism

alongside Adolf Hitler. Exploring themes

of unquestionable obedience to authority,

Caligari had critics quickly liken Cesare to

Germany’s soldiers under the reign of the

Third Reich, with one popular German

writer, Siegfried Kracauer, drawing direct

parallels between Caligari and Hitler.

Playing with perceptions of reality and the

viewer’s point of view in the ways in which it

presents the storyline, you will, perhaps, for a

brief period of time, see the film’s dramatic

and eclectic shapes and music as much more

real than the reality you are accustomed to.

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is playing at

The Cinematheque on November 12 with

a live musical accompaniment.



Benedict Cumberbatch plays Doctor Strange, the

latest of the Marvel heroes to gain the superpower

of cinematic stardom. Strange, a handsome and


November 2016

lady GaGa


Universal Music Canada

Bon Jovi, Bret Michaels, and Jenna Maroni: just

three pop/rock acts to have pulled the nowclassic

“going country” maneuver. With much

of Joanne, Lady Gaga is the latest to join their

ranks – to mixed success. There are a handful

of worthwhile surprises from the artist born

Stefani Germanotta that we’ll get to a bit

later, but overall Joanne is not the hard-won

reinvention many expected of her.

In the three years since Gaga’s worstreceived

full-length, ARTPOP, she’s done much

to shed the expectations that came along with

her larger than life persona that mixed up highand

low-brow forms of expression, capturing

all the world’s attention along the way. She

won a Golden Globe for her performance on

American Horror Story, was nominated for

an Oscar for Best Original Song, and nabbed

a Grammy for her album of jazz standards

(another classic sidestep for an out-of-vogue

pop star) with Tony Bennett.

With all that branching out done, what

were fans to expect upon the announcement

of Joanne? A Sasha Fierce-esque character?

Maybe even a Chris Gaines? In fact, Joanne is

the name of a deceased aunt she never met

and happens to share a sexual assault trauma

with. On the title track Gaga strums tenderly

and restrains her vocals to a vulnerable crackle

as she implores her aunt not to go into the

afterlife but instead stay with her family.

A pretty standard grief track, though one

suspects that’s because of the lack of the room

for nuance in pop music rather than Gaga not

having complicated feelings about it all. Early in

the album, “Joanne” reinforces that Gaga knows

which muscles to flex to best serve a song’s tone,

never falling victim to over-belted wails.

It’s a shame she doesn’t quite pull that

part of her act off when she adopts a new

tonality for the “gone country” contingent of

the record. From opener “Diamond Heart”

through “John Wayne” (yes, really) and along

to “Million Reasons,” Gaga misses the mark

of a successful genre transition with tooaffected

nasality and flattened consonant

annunciation. It’s the voice your friend Steve,

whose OkCupid page says he’s into all music

except country and metal, makes when he

wants to get a cheap laugh. In fairness, these are

the absolute low points on an album that does

come with strong highlights and more successful

new fields of exploration.

“Sinner’s Prayer” is the one slice of Dixiefried

Gaga (unless you count the title track,

which lies closer to folk ballad than country)

that pans out. It’s also a song where her cast of

major supporting characters shines brightest.

Written by Gaga, Thomas Brenneck, Mark

Ronson (co-producer for the entirety of the

album) and Josh Tillman (aka Father John

Misty), it’s a western fable about two tainted

people in an explosive love affair. It’s where

Gaga best commits to Southern mysticism and

benefits from the dual guitars of Sean Lennon

and Josh Homme – one smoky and mysterious,

the other a bright lilt that carries the tune.

The following three tracks that conclude

the standard version of the album are a hat

trick. “Come to Mama” is a bit hammy in its

let’s-all-just-get-along sentiment, but cabaret

vocal from Gaga and a Phil Spector Christmas

meets Let’s Dance Bowie composition offers

what a lot of us want from pop – a simple, feel

good moment.

“Hey Girl” puts both feet firmly in the

‘70s with its near exact interpretation of the

rhythm from “Bennie and the Jets” paired with

psychedelic synth squeals and harp plucked by

duet partner Florence Welch. It’s a girl-power,

support-one-another anthem that works

quite well due to Gaga’s turn as a supporting

character, letting Welch’s vocal dramatics take

the lead.

Finally there’s “Angel Down,” a song

that’s been interpreted both as a little too

pandering and as a sincere plea. It touches

on the confusion of the social media era and

puts police brutality against people of colour

into the center of its yens. A minimal, twinkling

instrumental takes the background as Gaga gives

a perfectly measured amount of vocal intensity,

all the while creating an instant earworm with

her Leonard Cohen-like cadence.

Taking inventory of the highs and lows

of the album, it almost feels like there are two

Joannes. While Gaga reflects and plays with

a new direction, she’s tapped into both her

strengths and weaknesses. It helps humanize

the record, even if at some expense of the

listener’s ear. Perhaps this is best exemplified

by her not-quite-smash lead single “Perfect

Illusion.” It’s the closest thing to classic Gaga

style and makes awkward use of rock (Homme

again) and Kevin Parker of Tame Impala’s

signature synths. It doesn’t add up to much to

remember – but as an act of imperfection it

gives us a modular vantage to approach what

we expect Gaga to be, where she was, is, and is

headed next. This album is one that questions

itself, making strides and missteps towards

a high point for Gaga. It may be a necessary

breather for her, but it could just as easily be

the work we last remember from her. Only

time will tell.



November 2016 27


Animals as Leaders,

The Madness of Many

The Darcys,


Gord Downie,

Secret Path

The Game,


Moby & The Void Pacific Choir,

These Systems Are Failing

Animals as Leaders

The Madness of Many

Sumerian Records

Tosin Abasi, Javier Reyes, and Matt

Garstka, otherwise known as Animals

as Leaders, have come together again

to take you into the madness of their

musical minds. The Madness of Many

is the first album the band has selfproduced,

however, it often feels

like a disappointing follow-up to

their Billboard Top 200-charting

The Joy of Motion. After putting

out three mind-bending records,

each one was better than the last,

it feels that the trio have hit their

ceiling in terms of ingenuity.

The deception comes with

the intro track “Arithmophobia,”

where the listener is charmed by

the sound of a sitar which leads

to an onslaught of heavy riffage,

followed by mellow jazz solos, and

an intense breakdown to finish.

No complaints, classic Animals

as Leaders. As the next few songs

go by, however, the listener is left

begging for something special to

grasp onto. It isn’t until the end of

the fourth track “Inner Assassins,”

where the usual chugs fade to clean

strumming and a gorgeous, melodic

solo, that some sense of inimitability

was reached.

Animals as Leaders haven’t

in any way “fell off,” as far as their

talent and song writing ability is

concerned. The issue is the inability

to keep the listener engaged and

excited throughout the entire album.

Regardless, Animals as Leaders are

still the masters of their own domain.

The Darcys


Arts & Crafts

There is a plague of artists scoping out

the ‘80s for inspiration, and while the

era is easy to dismiss as an awkward

transition period, there is plenty of

fun synth tones and bubbly drum

machines to mine for ideas. That said,

a self-serious indie rock band deciding

to shirk their low-tempo droning

choruses for danceable rhythms is

hardly a new idea.

Toronto’s The Darcys are

following this trend boldly, with

direct lyrical and para-textual

references to the so-called ‘decade

of shame.’ It comes across playfully,

but never broaches direct parody.

The tonal infrastructure borrowed

from the period is dialed in smartly

with contemporary polish. There’s

enormous detail in every track, and

each one is extremely fresh. Beyond

the tone and instrumentation, the

musicianship is as precise as you

would expect from a band who put

out a Steely Dan cover album less than

five years ago.

Centerfold doesn’t come entirely

out of left field for The Darcy’s.

Warring (2013) was hardly inaccessible

as a record (it did come out on Arts

& Crafts after all), but it did contain a

certain level of brood. This new release

feels like The Darcys are finally enjoying

themselves, and it’s entirely infectious.

Gord Downie

Secret Path

Universal Music Canada

There’s no need for introduction

to the terminally-ill Canadian rock

legend Gord Downie. He and his band,

The Tragically Hip, are easily one of

the greatest Canadian rock groups of

all time. Secret Path, however, is a solo

project. In Secret Path, Downie tells

us the story of Chanie Wenjack, an

indigenous boy who died escaping a

residential school 50 years ago.

In a press release accompanying

the album, Downie tells us that “this

is Canada’s story.” Residential schools

are a dark part of our history that we

rarely acknowledge, but it is essential

to our identity as Canadians. There is

no better musician who could possibly

capture this pain, this sense of loneliness

and confusion than Downie.

The title track is one that vividly

describes the journey of Wenjack

and is the best track on the album.

Pounding, unrelenting drums propel

each song forward into the next,

making the album feel exactly as it

should: a journey. The production

on Secret Path is top-notch, but as it

always is with Downie, it’s never really

just about the chords and beats. The

passion in the project is what pushes

it into the realm of being one of the

most essential Canadian albums in years.

Downie and his brother, who helped with

the album, are donating all proceeds to go

towards healing the wounds caused by

these residential schools.

The Game


Blood Money/eOne

Fresh off the release of two massive

albums last year, West Coast rapper

The Game is back again with 1992.

Usually, an artist releasing full-length

albums in a short succession is call

for concern, but the quality of the

Compton rapper’s 2015 output, The

Documentary 2 and The Documentary

2.5, proved otherwise.

While 1992 does not have as

many memorable tracks as his 2015

albums, it still has just as many Kanye

references (if not more), and proves

that The Game is still riding a hot

streak. One of the best tracks is the

opener, “Savage Lifestyle,” featuring

a Marvin Gaye sample, a chorus

dedicated to the aftermath of the

Rodney King trial, and a whole lot of

rage to the boys in blue over a beat

that never stops switching up just like

The Game’s flow.

Colour is an important theme

of 1992, specifically red and blue.

On “True Colors/It’s On,” he tells

a horrifying story of his childhood

about his dad molesting his sister,

detailing the blood on her shirt when

he found her. 1992 is a solid, honest

album, offering nothing extraordinary

save for a few tracks, but The Game’s

talent makes it a worthwhile and

smooth listen nonetheless.

Hope Sandoval and the

Warm Inventions

Until The Hunter

Tendril Tales

Fans of ‘90s dream pop forbearers

Mazzy Star are in luck. The

enchanting voice of vocalist Hope

Sandoval has been renewed in Hope

Sandoval and the Warm Inventions’

highly anticipated new album:

Until The Hunter. The album is a

mellow exploration of loss, growth,

and questioning. The repetitive

background in many of the songs pulls

the listener into a trance, a delicate

balance between dream pop and

psychedelic folk.

In the track “A Wonderful Seed,”

the artists seem to draw inspiration

from traditional Celtic folk music

while integrating ghostly hums.

The album’s first single “Let Me Get

There,” features a vocal duet between

Kurt Vile and Sandoval. While there’s

no doubt that the two are both

powerful musicians, Vile’s voice seems

out of place. At times, his vocals and

the electropop guitar accents detract

from the dream-like atmosphere of

the song.

Apart from that track, the album

makes the listener feel as though

they are high on a Viking ship that is

floating through the clouds, and is a

must listen for ethereal dream pop

lovers and Mazzy Star fans alike.

Moby & the Void Pacific Choir

These Systems Are Failing

Little Idiot Music

Moby is no stranger to criticisms on

his vastly-varied body of work. Well,

he received a great deal of praise

for his most successful, and not-soarguably

best, album Play in 1999.

That featured many truly timeless

electronica classics like “Why Does

My Heart Feel So Bad,” and that

song from The Beach, but his

previous album, Animal Rights,

nearly ruined him as he tried to

force his angsty, teenage punk

years into an album. So, while

that train wreck was criticized

for deviating too far from what

he was good at, so too was the

preceding album, 18, chastised for

sounding too much like Play. Also,

if you, like me, happened to be in

attendance at his much-hyped set

at Shambhala 2014, there’s a good

chance you criticized him to his

very core for that colossal mockery

of a “DJ set.”

Now we have These Systems

Are Failing, and while I tried to

push my negative associations

garnered from my one experience

seeing him “perform” aside while

listening to his latest record, it

didn’t help much. It seems as though

he has returned to his ‘80s punk

influences, channeling his personal

issues with the modern world into

perhaps his lividest music yet. The

problem is, it doesn’t pack enough

of a punch; even with all its fuzzy,

synth heavy guitar lines and drum

machines and his deadpan voice that

permeates through out. Like the rest

of the album, it’s monotonous and

uninspired. Much like the way he

apparently perceives this generation,

you might say.



Stones Throw

When Anderson .Paak released his

debut album Venice in 2014, he was

essentially homeless, hustling to

survive. That album caught the ear


November 2016




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November 2016 29

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November 2016



John K Samson,

Winter Wheat

Pale Lips,

Wanna Be Bad


Rats In Paradise EP


A Seat At The Table

of New Jersey native Glen Boothe,

otherwise known as producer

Knxwledge, who himself is no stranger

to the hustle (you don’t get to 64

releases on Bandcamp without serious

dedication, after all). The two started

working together as NxWorries,

releasing an EP in 2015 called Link

Up & Suede. The latter track would

make it’s way to none other than Dr.

Dre, landing .Paak a contract with

Aftermath Records and a total of

eight(!) guest spots on the Dre’s 2015

comeback album, Compton.

Yet, as amazing as 2015 was for

.Paak, 2016 has somehow been even

better. In January he released the

album of the year in Malibu, all the

while working with Boothe on a followup

to that 2015 EP, the full-length YES

LAWD! for Stones Throw Records.

YES LAWD! is a fitting victory

lap for .Paak, even when it doesn’t

work all that well. It’s a dank and

dusty beat-tape, filled with subthree-minute

throwback jams, that

sounds like a ‘70s R&B Madvillainy.

In a few ways it mirrors that 2004

classic from Madlib and Doom, most

notably that it features two of the

game’s most outlandish outsiders

flexing on the game with an infectious

unfuckwittability. The album finds

.Paak adopting a Superfly-era Curtis

Mayfield persona. He’s a shit-talking

amalgamation of Shaft and Sade,

torn between being a lover and a

player, often in the same line. On

the late-album cut “Sidepiece,” he

contemplates his place as a rap game

Don Juan, protesting his love for a

woman is strong enough to relinquish

his other sexual escapades, even

though “one won’t do, and two is not

enough for me, no!”

It’s soundtracked by swelling,

sampled strings and slowly rolling

toms and tams straight out of the ‘70s.

On opener “Livvin’,” and the stunted

jam “Kutless,” the dust in the grooves

of the record is as audible as any of the

sampled instruments.

There are brief moments that

take away some enjoyment from

YES LAWD!, but it still leaves the

impression that when they’re on,

NxWorries are the smoothest duo

since Rob Thomas and Santana.

Pale Lips

Wanna Be Bad

Hosehead Records

Montreal garage-punks Pale Lips have

a ripping time of a first LP on their

hands with the release of Wanna Be

Bad. Just a few chords, vocals that run

from sweet harmonies to raw yowls

and a healthy heap of sass keep these

12 nuggets of brittle but bright power

pop a riot from start to finish.

Tongue-in-cheek opener “Doo

Wah Diddy Shim Sham (Bama Lama

Loo)” makes playful use of vintage

garage-pop scatting while maintaining

the genre’s reverence for earnest vocal

melody. If that sounds a bit innocent

for a record called Wanna Be Bad,

fear not: “Queen of Spades” is

an ode to the thrill of gambling,

“Mary-Lou Sniffin’ Glue” (sounding

not unlike an Exploding Hearts

song) preaches the joys of inhaling

that you should not, and “Run Boy

Run” is about taking vengeance on

a cheater.

Like much punk and garagerock,

the album doesn’t exactly

swell with variety throughout.

Rather, it takes something fun and

unfussy and injects it with snark, snarl

and a sense of humour that makes

the tracks endlessly personable. It’s a

saccharine and venomous concoction,

perhaps described best a big, bright

lollipop coated in a lethal dose of speed

and arsenic.


Rats In Paradise EP

Buzz Records

Toronto DIY punk “supergroup”

Peeling features members of

Mexican Slang, Odonis Odonis,

Dilly Dally, and Golden Dogs. Their

first EP as a group, Rats In Paradise,

combines aspects of garage rock,

punk, noise and pop into one album.

In the song “Magic Eye,” lead

singer Annabelle Lee’s rasp and

growl is paired with hard hitting

drum beats to create a sultry song

focusing simply on body positivity and

sex. Another song off of the record,

“Leisure Life,” condemns apathy, greed

and those who are “making money off

of war and institutional oppression.”

While the themes of the album

seem a bit heavy handed, what’s

produced is an enjoyable, almost

pop-influenced, punk album. In just

four songs, Peeling tackle broad

concepts such as sexuality, death,

consumerism, religion and mental

illness, but - like much of Buzz

Records catalogue – Rats In Paradise

is still a hazy, fuzzy and fun album.

Protest the Hero

Pacific Myth

Sony Music

There’s no middle ground when it

comes to discussing Canadian progrockers

Protest the Hero. Four strong

albums in, PTH has developed a


reputation that stems primarily

from frontman Rody Walkers

divisive vocal delivery which shifts

from crystal-clear highs to vicious

gutturals on a dime. However, Pacific

Myth, their latest EP of voracious

fret-burners, is a prime example of

a band that knows their place so

well that they’re unable to escape the

territory of self-parody that comes

from musicians that *literally* grew

up playing the same music they’re still

putting out 15 years on.

To remedy this situation, Protest

has started implementing unique

marketing strategies to produce

their work, beginning with 2013’s

Volition (which was crowdfunded

via Indiegogo), and continuing with

Pacific Myth, which was released over

a 12-month span to paying subscribers

via Bandcamp.

The result is 12 tracks (well, six,

with accompanying instrumentals)

that essentially sound like rejected

cuts that didn’t quite make it onto

their last full-length. In fact, any

song on Pacific Myth could be

slipped into any other post-Fortress

release and the listener would be

none the wiser.

While the guys in Protest are

undoubtedly talented, Pacific Myth

has made it clear that being really,

really good at what you do doesn’t

necessarily make it interesting.

John K. Samson

Winter Wheat


As if John K. Samson needed

to prove to us that he is among

Canada’s best songwriters, Winter

Wheat is the lyrically ambitious, clean

and clever, release that we weren’t

sure we were going to get this late in

his illustrious career.

With the Weakerthans now

permanently defunct, and his

Propaghandi days a distant memory,

Samson began settling into singersongwriter

mode on Provincial (2012).

It’s a beautiful record, but also small and

reserved. Armed with the knowledge

that Samson writes fitfully, this year’s 15

track, sprawling, Winter Wheat, comes

as a most pleasant surprise.

Close listens do not go

unrewarded. The record is packed with

extremely compelling narratives, such

as the charming and fun first-person

account of a Cambridge spy about

to be caught on “Fellow Traveler,”

but it also maintains the many

quotable one-liners that made

Weakerthans’ blue-collar anthems

so memorable. “The payday lonely

pray in parking lots, a one bar wifi

kinda town,” Samson whispers on


The record is fairly sparse

in its production, and this helps

highlight Samson’s lyricism. This is

most true of “Alpha Adept,” which

balances its delusional narrator

with some slinky bass guitar, wirey

synths, and a beautifully sci-fi

keyboard breakdown. “17th Street

Treatment Centre” sounds like a

first take recording, just electric

guitar and wavering vocals, it feels

deliberately unpolished, like it was

recorded from the hospital bed of the

protagonist. Among the most energetic

and fun songs on the record is ‘Fellow

Traveler,’ but with its soft percussion,

and widely spaced doo-wop vocal

harmony, the track never peaks quite as

highly as it could.

Winter Wheat is a fantastic record,

a sprawling collection of short stories

with a clean, but soft, coat of paint.


A Seat At The Table


On her first album in eight years, A

Seat At The Table, Solange Knowles

considerably raises her creative

ante, while providing a strong

female perspective concerning race

and gender issues in 21st century

America. In co-writing, producing,

and arranging the album, Knowles

proves not only a deft-yet-sensitive

hand at vocalizing the strength and

struggles of today’s women, but her

skills as a composer and producer

serve as an example of the highest

degree of musical imagination and

taste currently in pop music.

From the cascading intro

harmonies of “Rise,” there’s an inkling

that A Seat At The Table might be a

more run-of-the-mill pop exercise, but

the notion is quickly disregarded, as

the opening cut never drops the beat,

settling on vocals and Wurlitzer with a

subtle high-hat/kick on the off beat to

November 2016 REVIEWS


la vida local


Do Easy

Twin Rains,

Automatic Hand

Martha Wainwright,

Goodnight City


Anchoress is Ruining My Life


keep the cut off balance.

“Don’t Touch My Hair”

is continually rising, with an

arrangement brought to classy

heights by classic ‘90s hip-hop horns

that blaze into a sort of Daptone

climax. It’s a shocking move for a pop

record, but at this point, Knowles

has confounded throughout, and her

artistry, and reverence for the history

of black pop music is well assured.

Solange Knowles is a singular artist,

distinct and distant from her

commercial pop past, and A Seat At

The Table is a smart, unpredictable

album that ought to position her as a

serious voice in the social movements

of her time, and breathes some life

into a style that has long become

sterile, rote, and endlessly greedy.


Do Easy

Outside Music / Hand Drawn Dracula

If you’re looking for a slow-burning,

ethereal album filled with spinetingling

harmonies, you’ve come to

the right place with Tasseomancy’s

Do Easy.

Tasseomancy’s definition as

a word describes the divination of

information based on tea, coffee,

or wine-resin reading. It’s a form of

fortune telling that belongs to the

earth. On that front, Do Easy has you

covered with unadorned yet hair-raising

harmonies from twin vocalists Romy

and Sari Lightman. The duo formerly

known as Ghost Bees form the crux

of the band, but this LP is bolstered by

the perhaps more recognizably named

contributions like Simone Schmidt

(Fiver, One Hundred Dollars) and Alex

Cowan (Blue Hawaii, Agor).

Starting with the pianopunctuated

torch song “Dead Can

Dance and Neil Young,” drifting

blissfully along to lead single “Missoula,”

(a bit like Belinda Carlisle meets Beach

House in a Leonard Cohen-written

fable), and wrapping with the startling

spare “Eli,” Tasseomancy track deeply

personal themes best explained in

late-night whispers and not in a

needfully brisk album review.

If you’re someone who values the

reward of taking time to settle into deeply

considered pacing and merits reflection

on – and investigation of – pristine, obtuse

music without a single clear grabbing

point, you’ll find the rewards of Do Easy to

be rich and plentiful.

Twin Rains

Automatic Hand


Drift into the electro-dream realm

of Canadian duo Twin Rains. Their

debut album, Automatic Hand, splices

motivational melodies and despair,

creating a sublime mindscape for the

listener. After moving from homeland

Toronto to Vancouver, Jay Merrow

and Christine Stoesser unearthed

this gleaming gem, full of laidback

beats and whimsy. There is a deep

stormy ripple throughout the album,

a yearning and pining vibe that is laced

with Stoesser’s solemnly sultry vocals.

Opening track “Before” totes a weight

of anticipation, while twin track

“Ghost Bird,” is slow, almost dragging

with trailing guitar and sorrowful


Fear not, though, the album is

not entirely dark. Sunny guitar licks

grace their first single “Flash Burn,”

while “Automatic Hand” is dressed

with the zest of Ace of Base. Haunting

synth and a driving beat unleash

an uncontrollable dance-y pants

direction on “A Swim,” laden with

contemplative lyrics like, “If I know

that the moon is making the waves,

who am I to point out the undertow?”

The frequency of loneliness and

reverie reverb throughout.

As a whole, the album is

seamlessly cohesive, marrying poppy

guitar, airy vocals, intriguing synth,

and wandering beats, all whilst

carrying a wide spectrum of emotion.

Just in time for the reflective essence

of winter, this debut is not to be


Martha Wainwright

Goodnight City

Cadence Music

After four years of slumber since

her last solo album, Come Home

To Mama, Martha Wainwright reemerges

only to say “bonne nuit” with

Goodnight City.

Wainwright has recently

admitted to feeling exhausted and

satiated in the studio after spending

long, persistent hours arranging each

of the 12 songs for this release with

her band, proudly stating that “the

integrity of the songs and our ability

to play together as a band” comes

through due to minimal overdubs

and the cohesive camaraderie that

inevitably unfolds out of such a

focused collaborative period.

While Wainwright wrote lyrics

for only half the songs on Goodnight

City, she carefully adapted and

crafted six other offerings from

songwriters such as Beth Orton,

Canadian poet Michael Ondaajte,

and her brother Rufus Wainwright.

The album begins in an easy, playful

realm while quickly unraveling into

a stormy battle of arrangements,

verbose lyrical content, and the

raw, effortlessness of her voice.

Each song demands attention of its

own, resulting in a dramatic journey

through voyeuristic landscapes.

Revealed are intimate glimpses into

the symptoms of family, romance and

fame, making this a challenging listen

unsuited to the emotionally faint at

heart. Admittedly, some of the clichéd

content is only forgivable due to the

impressive charisma of her voice, but

will most certainly lend to a steamy,

boisterous live show.

Veteran hardcore nice guys Anchoress are back to ruin your life with face

melting riffs and lung shrinking anthems. An album for punk fans old

and new, AIRML has more chant along choruses than you can throw a

beer can at and enough fancy fretwork to get your feet moving and your

fists pumping.



Pop Era

If this were the Batcave at the zeitgeist of darkwave, these kids would be

the cat’s pyjamas — all spooky synths and disaffected dirges set to the sexbeat

of a forgotten world. Alas, it’s 2016 so a new haven for the haunted

must be resurrected and I’ll be damned if this ain’t the soundtrack to

their fever dreams. This Vancouver trio conjures up the souls of gothic

past (Kiss In The Dreamhouse - era Siouxsie and industrial iconoclasts

Cabaret Voltaire) with cold-stare contemporaries like Soft Moon and

Zola Jesus with menacingly moody results. “Hated Thing” is a prickly pear

of staccato-stabbing keyboard work from Jonathan Salvatore Crozier and

Christian Pelech, while “The Beast” is no creature comfort, rhythmically

lurching and pulsing forward whilst vocalist Lindsay Dakin warns you of

its impending arrival. She coyly suggests “It’s understandable you want

to escape into the arms of a beautiful saviour,” but something tells me

you’ll be dead and buried faster than you can namedrop an Alien Sex

Fiend song (See what I just did there?). Don’t be surprised if you start

hearing a lot more from this trio in the future - your melted mind will

thank you later.

Adrian Glynn


Light Organ Records

With morelightthannolight, Adrian Glynn brings the folky storytelling of

his past into a modern landscape, blending acoustic guitars with bright

synths and drum machines. While the overall vibe feels upbeat and lighthearted,

there’s a darkness in the lyrical depths that fans of his earlier

work will be pleased to know hasn’t been replaced with shinier things.


NØ. 2


NØ. 2 is a collection of three new songs by this post-punk duo, this time

working with outside producer Alex Kurth. It retains the lo-fi sound of

their first release, and offers a mix of two driving numbers highlighted

by guitarist Ian Schram’s eccentric guitar playing, contrasted by the

atmospheric dirge of the closing song “Not Pray.” The tight musicianship

of the duo and Schram’s cunning lyrics raise the band above their

contemporaries and warrant taking a listen to their work.


November 2016


Danny Brown, Zeloopers

Vogue Theatre

October 6, 2016

Detroit rapper Danny Brown is an

enigma. After the huge success of his

albums XXX (2011) and Old (2013), he

opted to wait three full years before

releasing his latest album Atrocity

Exhibition. Instead of capitalizing on

the hype and rushing something out,

Brown opted to take his time to create

an album he could be truly proud of. The

album is his weirdest and least hyped-up

album so far. Although Brown’s show

at the Vogue was not sold out, it didn’t

diminish the crowd energy one bit, as

people looked ready to party the second

they walked in the door.

Filling up around 10:15, Brown’s

advertised start time, the makeup of

the crowd really began to reveal itself.

On the floor was all the kids (literally,

kids – I would venture a guess to say

at least half the floor was 18 or under)

with drinks, joints, or pills in hand.

On the balcony was all the adults who

enjoyed Brown’s recorded material,

but didn’t want to get swept up into

the action on the floor with all the

kids. Introducing his set with a bizarre,

ugly, and stylistically appropriate

remix of Joy Division track “Atrocity

Exhibition,” which his new album is

named after, Danny Brown took to the

stage and opened with XXX cut “Die

Like a Rockstar.” The crowd went off

like a bomb and didn’t stop until Brown

walked off stage.

Decked out in skinny black jeans, a

black leather vest, and a Hanson t-shirt

(yes, Hanson of “Mmm Bop” fame),

Brown’s energy was infectious. Going

through his set in chronological order

– beginning with XXX, moving on to

the Old in the middle, and ending with

Atrocity Exhibition material, Brown

proved himself to be a formidable

rapper. Most impressive was his

decision to use minimal backing tracks.

Most rappers now focus on high-energy

live shows and rely on backing tracks to

fill in the gaps when they need to catch

a breath. Not Brown though. Only

employing backing tracks for choruses

and hooks, Brown put his rapping

chops on full display, which showcased

his unique flow and clever wordplay.

After performing for exactly one

hour, Danny Brown excitedly went to

front of the stage after a firing on all

cylinders performance of “Pneumonia,”

and yelled, “That’s it! Good night!” and

left the stage. The audience was left

confused by his abrupt departure and

wanted more. Alas, despite around

five minutes of intense cheering, there

was no sign of Brown coming back. It

was a shame the set ended so quickly –

though, to his credit, Brown fit 20 songs

into his one-hour set. I would have also

liked to hear more Atrocity Exhibition

tracks. That being said, Brown still

proved he really is one of the best, most

creative, and exhilarating rappers there

is in the world right now.



James Blake

Orpheum Theatre

October 13, 2016

You probably wouldn’t expect a

James Blake performance to test the

structural integrity of the Orpheum

Theatre; the 28-year-old English

musician is better known for his talent

of rattling emotional foundations with

his brand of soulful electronic music

than architectural ones. But although

it was a terrifically stormy Thursday

night, the historic venue was rumbling

with bass thunderous enough to rival

the awesome weather outside.

Aside from the incredible lightshow

- most memorably the flickering

aquatic-like downward projections

during “Limit to Your Love” - Blake

held the audience captive from his

position hunched over his synths and

the majority of the audience remained

respectfully seated throughout the

nearly 20-song set.

The packed theatre seemed content to

acquiesce to their solemn surroundings

and sway enraptured in their seats.

Probably the track most conducive

to raver gyrations was an homage to

the pre-EDM dubstep genre courtesy

of an old remix from U.K. producer

Untold. Suddenly the decorous

former vaudeville movie house was

transformed to a British club that one

could imagine as the ominous setting

for a new James Bond film or the like.

Blake’s third album, The Colour in

Anything, released earlier this year on

Polydor Records, was a conscientiously

more collaborative effort. However,

apart from a brief vocal contribution

from opener Moses Sumney, Blake’s only

assistance was from his two supporting

musicians (and childhood friends) on

guitar, synths and percussion, each

sharing equal stage space on three

elevated platforms, and the artistic

video projections behind the stage.

The musical additions were hardly

missed and some of the most heartwrenching

tracks occurred during a solo

encore comprised of “Wilhelm Scream”

(a song adapted from a track by Blake’s

father), a cover of the Joni Mitchell song

“A Case of You” and the complexly

looped 2011 track “Measurements.” The

latter faded with the lights, allowing

Blake to make a ghostly exit and cede

the theatrics once again to the storm

battering the city outside.

November 2016 REVIEWS




Can you believe it’s been two years since Vanpooper debuted in

BeatRoute? Wow! In Vanpooper #1 I gave a scathing review to the JJ

Bean on Commercial Drive, but they finally renovated their disgusting

bathrooms and it’s time for an update.

These bathrooms were once horrifying nightmares. Broken toilets,

holes in the wall and some of the most obscene graffiti west of Bon’s

Off Broadway. But now they are sparkling and shining and new with

beautiful tiles and brand new toilets. There’s even a hook to hang your

coat and bag up while you poop. They’ve also finally added a used

needle bin because harm reduction is so great and important. I’m very

impressed with how this JJ Bean has turned its toilets around.

Did you know that there’s a cafe in the city that makes coffee

out of cat poop?? It’s true! Kopi Luwak is made from the digested

coffee beans that wild Indonesian civet cats poop out. I went all

the way to La Cuisson in Kerrisdale to try it but then I realized

it was 60 dang bucks a cup and I don’t know if cat poop coffee

aligns with my vegan morals. Oh well.

The bathroom at La Cuisson is adorably decorated with fake

flowers and cute paintings. It brilliantly utilizes an old coffee

barrel as a garbage can. It was spectacularly clean and well

stocked. A great place to poop, and a great place to spend a small

fortune on coffee made of poop.

Gene is a cute little coffee shop in the coolest building in Mount

Pleasant. This triangularly shaped cafe on Kingsway and Main is home

to some famously grumpy baristas and some very weird bathrooms.

Due to the odd shape of this building, the bathrooms here are

naturally strange. There are two very small bathrooms. The one I went

to was bright and clean. It cleverly had bits of chalkboard paint on the

walls to discourage graffiti, which is a brilliant touch. The mirror was

broken in half, but it seemed like it could have been an intentionally

quirky piece of bathroom interior design by the Emily Carr students

who work there. Not an awful place to poop, but there are definitely

better coffee shop toilets on Main Street.


November 2016

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