BeatRoute Magazine B.C. print e-edition - December 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.

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.


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December 2016 1

December 2016

december ‘16


BeatRoute Magazine



Syd Danger



Shane Flug


Thomas Coles


Victoria Sieczka / badbloodclub


Gold Distribution

Heather Adamson ∙ Glenn Alderson

Kaje Annihilatrix ∙ Rob Antle ∙ Kevin Bailey

Kim Budziak ∙ Maddy Cristall ∙ David Cutting

Beth d’Aoust ∙ Mike Dunn ∙ Kennedy Enns

Joshua Erickson ∙ Heath Fenton ∙ Colin Gallant

Willow Grier ∙ Michael Grondin ∙ Carlotta Gurl

Kyle Harcott ∙ Adrianna Hepper ∙ Sarah Jamieson

Erin Jardine ∙ Prachi Kamble ∙ Karolina Kapusta

Noor Khwaja ∙ Jay King ∙ Jackie Klapak

Danny Kresnyak ∙ Adria Leduc ∙ Paul McAleer

Kathleen McGee ∙ Hollie McGowan

Amber McLinden ∙ Jamie McNamara

Devon Motz ∙ Keir Nicoll ∙ Adey Okoyomon

James Olson ∙ Jennie Orton ∙ Johnny Papan

Cole Parker ∙ Liam Prost ∙ Mitch Ray

Colleen Rennison ∙ Galen Robinson-Exo

Yasmine Shemesh ∙ Paris Spence-Lang

Vanessa Tam ∙ Austin Taylor ∙ Willem Thomas

Brayden Turrenne ∙ Sadie Vadnais ∙ Alec Warkentin

Savannah Leigh Wellman ∙ Graeme Wiggins

Erich Bouccan ∙ Katrin Braga ∙ Mark Brennan

Michael Clarke ∙ Ben Colen ∙ Scott Evans

Chase Hansen ∙ Julia Iredale ∙ Sesse Lind

Tim Matheson ∙ Jennifer McCord

Chris Preyser ∙ Graham Spence

Tonje Thielsen ∙ Leah Trottier ∙ Johann Wall

Glenn Alderson ∙ glenn@beatroute.ca


Glenn Alderson


Joshua Erickson


Vanessa Tam


David Cutting


Jennie Orton


Erin Jardine


Yasmine Shemesh


Graeme Wiggins







∙ with Peter and Chris




∙ 12 Beers of Christmas ∙ Creeps



10 ∙ Darcy Michael


∙ Top 25 Local Albums

∙ Editor’s Picks Of The Year


∙ Neurosis ∙ Protest The Hero

∙ Diecember Fest ∙ Zuckuss

∙ Porter Robinson ∙ Cover: Zed’s Dead

∙ Contact Winter Festival ∙ Aesop Rock

∙ Machinedrum


∙ Best of 2016: Top Films of the Year

∙ Foliosa ∙ Rebel Soup ∙ Keithmas VII

∙ The American


∙ Queen Of The Month

∙ From The Desk Of Carlotta

∙ Give Em Oral


∙ The Weeknd ∙ Beach Season ∙ DIANA

∙ Drive By Truckers ∙ Meek Mill

∙ Thee Oh Sees ∙ Young Mammals


∙ PUP ∙ YG


We distribute our publication to more than 500

locations throughout British Columbia. If you would

like BeatRoute delivered to your business, send an

e-mail to editor@beatroute.ca

202-2405 Hastings St. E

Vancouver BC Canada

V5K 1Y8

Paris Spence-Lang


Galen Robinson-Exo


©BEATROUTE Magazine 2016. All rights reserved.

Reproduction of the contents is strictly prohibited.

December 2016 3



No matter your holiday tradition, there is likely

a moment when you encounter, either very on

purpose or by contact high, an adaptation of

Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. The timeless

tale of regret and redemption rings true for many

people as they take stock at the end of the year and

prepare for the soul-sucking onslaught of many days

of family. So it is fitting as 2016—one of the most

world-renowned, record-breaking, sucking chest

wound years of recent memory—comes to a close

that we seek a lighter-hearted version of the tale to

bring us gasping across the finish line of these gritty

and despicable 12 months. Enter A Peter n’ Chris

Christmas Carol, a cheeky twist brought to you by

Fringe Festival stars and Canadian Comedy Award

winning scamps Peter Carlone and Chris Wilson.

We watch as Chris, absent of Christmas cheer, is

visited by those familiar ghosts on Christmas Eve

with hilarious results. We spoke to Peter Carlone

about their take on the story and why the themes

are intrinsically part of our holiday traditions.

BeateRoute: So why is Chris bah humbugging?

Peter Carlone: Well we wanna spoof stuff that we

love. Spoof it in a way that honors it. So a part of

that is we kind of want to still tell that classic story,

but we were thinking like what is it that makes him

grumpy? Like is he just a grumpy old guy and it’s the

classic Christmas story all the way and we find spoof

in that, or is it some sort of sillier comedic reason? The

one we are working on right now is part of the reveal

in the plot so….I don’t know if I should tell BeatRoute

how it turns out in the final scene!

BR: What do you think it is about this story that

is so universal that it has stood the test of time?

PC: It’s funny you say that, I was just talking to

someone about that. What I think I have come up

with is that, have you ever heard this theory? That

there are like five stories or only seven stories that

we are all telling over and over again in different


BR: The literary bugaboo.

PC: Yeah. (laughs) Is it ok if I call it that from now

on? So I wouldn’t say that the actual plot of the

Dickens story is one of those plots but that the

way it’s being told must touch on one of them. You

know, that someone is fundamentally not happy

with something and, with some help, figures out

that the main reason he is unhappy is himself.

BR: Well I’m a sucker for the story and love seeing

other adaptations of it.

PC: Well I don’t want to shoot myself in the

foot but I would say ours will be one of the more

“unfaithful” adaptations. Cause we’re not just

gonna DO it again, y’know? We’re not gonna just

do the story. We’ll hit the major beats of it but like

in a totally different way. Like right now our Jacob

Marley ghost is a person who is a ghost but he’s

more of a corporate ghost. He’s sent from “Ghost

Corporate,” because cheering people up around the

holidays has become such a huge industry that you

can’t just send your best buddy to do it. There’s a

whole training process, you have to be vetted to be

a helper ghost…

BR: This time of year does tend to make people

very reflective, which is why this story resonates

with so many people. What happens to YOU

during the Christmas season?

PC: That’s interesting…Where do you wanna go

with that? How real do you want to dive? (laughs)

BR: I’ll leave that up to you.

PC: ‘Cause the thing is, and I think this is why Chris

and I make comedies the way we make comedies,

is cause things can get really heavy around these

times and I think there is just a lot of power and a

lot of fun to be had from making jokes and making

a good piece of comedy that everybody can get on

board with and doesn’t necessarily try to divide you

into groups.

BR: If you had access to the ghost of Christmas

past, what is something you would definitely want

to go see?

PC: Oh wow, that’s a big one. I feel a lot of pressure

to say something awesome. You know what would

be kind of cool is to go back to see the moon landing

and feel the energy of the crowd.

BR: But not mess around, just still let it happen

but just observe it?

PC: Oh yeah not mess around…OR if I was gonna

mess around I would go a couple years back and see

what we can do about this whole Trump sitch. Just

be like “GUYS! It happened, it’s not a joke!” I feel like I

could write a whole book about the things I would like

to go back in time and enjoy. You know what I mean?

Like: “just enjoy yourself, geez!” Like University. “Just

chill. You don’t have to freak out EVERY DAY. Just like

freak out once a week or something, holy crap.”

BR: You’ll live.

PC: Yeah you’re GONNA live. It won’t have

mattered. (laughs)

Catch A Peter n’ Chris-tmas Carol at Performance

Works, 8:00 pm December 9 and 10.


December 2016


past that, there is no past that


Henry Rollins: world traveler, actor,

author, radio and television host, and

elder punk statesman as former singer

to the mighty Rollins Band and Black Flag

is back on the road this winter bringing his

spoken-word across North America, with

more than 80 dates lined up.

Fans can expect Rollins to mix

his always-timely commentary on

the current state of politics—with

anecdotes on his latest L.A. experiences,

to perspective gained from his extensive

world travels. “Rollins is many things,”

says the Washington Post, “diatribist,

confessor, provocateur, humorist,

even motivational speaker…his is an

enthusiastic and engaging chatter.”

Since his last U.S. spoken word

tour in 2012, Rollins has been busy

to say the least. The epitome of

a workaholic, Rollins has starred

in films like He Never Died and

Gutterdammerung, he’s done voiceover

work, written new books

like A Grim Detail, continued to

contribute a column at LA Weekly,

hosted on television (National

Geographic, History Channel, IFC),

continued to deejay a radio show on

KCRW, and yet still finds time to tour

as a spoken word performer–having

performed countless shows around the

world over the last 35 years.

We were able catch up with

Rollins briefly (c’mon, who else moves

that fast?) to get a few answers about

some stuff that had been bugging us,

and hopefully, bugging him.

BeatRoute: What are you most

pissed-off about these days, and what

can we expect from your upcoming

spoken tour?

Henry Rollins: What bugs me at

this very moment is the amount of

people who didn’t vote in the last

election in America. A lot of people

are complaining but I don’t know how

many actually voted.

BR: What are some of the bands

that are an active concern right now,

in your opinion, who not only bring

the heat with music and talent, but

also seem to understand the current

climate of the music industry, and are

doing great things?

HR: There are a lot of bands I like very

much. Bands like Thee Oh Sees, The

Julie Ruin, Point Juncture WA, Ty Segall,

Ausmuteants, Lowtide, Terry, Crystal

Fairy, etc. that I think are fantastic. I think

there are at least two music industries.

There is the one that has all the Beyoncés

of the world, which is a dull, corporate

roar, and then there is the very exciting

independent music industry. The latter

has never been better.

BR: As someone who was in a

band that broke their backs whiteknuckling

it on the road to try and

get by, what’s your opinion on bands

going the route of crowdfunding with

subscription sources like Patreon as

a means of attempting to make a

living playing music?

HR: I think different times and

situations make for different

methods. It’s nothing I would do

but I’m not interested in telling

someone how to make their

records. It may very well be one

of the better ideas. If you want

direct-to-the-fans, that’s how to do

it. I think it’s a completely valid way to

go about it.

BR: America has a new president. You were

there when Reagan was elected, and American

hardcore exploded in fury. Do you foresee

this happening again in the Trump era?

HR: I don’t but I think there will be

some great benefit concerts to push

back against what might be a challenging

time for LGBT folks, women, nonwhites,

Muslims, etc. I’m looking forward to

getting busy on all that.

BR: You’re friends with Tim Friede,

the venom man. Weren’t you guys

working on a TV show together about

his antivenom processing?

HR: I met him when I was part of a National

Geographic thing that featured him.

Amazing guy.

BR: For that matter, when was

the first time you remember your

fascination with snakes taking off?

HR: I was 11. Snake keeping is a very

time consuming task. I would do it if

I had the time but I don’t any more. I

live all over the world and that doesn’t

make for good upkeep.

BR: As a champion of the Stooges

for a long time, what was your take

on the new documentary, and what’s

with the kids picking Raw Power over

Fun House these days?

HR: I think anything that brings

people to the Stooges is a great

thing. I think Raw Power is a ver y

approachable album compared to

Fun House, which is my personal

favorite. Fun House is more

conceptual, Raw Power is more straight

ahead rock. Hopefully, someone who

Ever an enigma, Henry Rollins is once again taking his thoughts on the road in

a politically charged landscape following the US election.

becomes curious will check out ALL the

Stooges material.

BR: I was so excited to hear your vocals

again on the new Ruts DC track. What

are the chances of there ever being a

Rollins solo album?

HR: Hopefully none. For me, music was

a time/place thing. It was an age related

endeavor. I gave all when I had something

to give and then moved on. I can see

doing something like I did on the Ruts DC

record. They asked me, I said sure but past

that, there is no past that.

Henry Rollins performs at the Vogue

Theatre on January 4.

December 2016 MUSIC



Montreal band reflect on inspiration, pressure and mojo


Half Moon Run seem to have “it” – call it

destiny, luck, or perhaps mojo (the term

used by Plants and Animals to describe

their soon-to-be tourmates). But with

just their first album they accomplished

the kind of career landmarks that most

indie bands can only dream of. The

group’s very formation could be seen as

an act of fate, when Connor Molander

and Dylan Phillips found singer Devon

Portielje via a Craigslist add looking

for musicians. From there, their debut

album Dark Eyes went gold in Canada,

and the band found themselves playing

international stages with the likes of

Mumford & Sons. But they’re careful not

to subscribe to any ideas of grandeur,

and even get a little uncomfortable

at the idea. “I feel extremely lucky,

but when the time comes where

you’re reflecting on those things, it’s a

dangerous mental territory to get into.

Pride comes before the fall – I’m weary

of thinking about how great anything is

going,” Molander shares from his home

in Montreal.

After any successful first album,

there is always the looming question

– will they be able to follow it up?

Expectations from fans and critics can

put a lot of pressure on the creative

process, but the group decided to

turn inwards and use it to their

advantage. “Internally is where the most

meaningful pressure came from – all

we can do is try to do our best, and you

can’t bother with what anybody else

is going to think about it. And I think

that internal pressure is a good thing,

it keeps you from getting complacent

– even to the extent of conjuring it up

when I don’t feel it, because it’s such a

great motivator.”

Even with that kind of drive,

when it came time to focus on writing

their follow up album, the foursome

(now joined by Isaac Symonds) found

themselves at a bit of a creative

stalemate being at home. “We had all

this free time in Montreal to write the

new record, and we needed to light a

fire under our own asses, so we basically

just got in the van and tried to make

an adventure out of it. We needed a

spark, and it worked wonderfully - that’s

when we really hit our stride.” The final

Half Moon Run harvested the warmth of California to power their new record, Sun Leads Me On.

destination was California, where the

band was able to mix work and leisure

in a setting that inspired much of the

music on the album. Even the title, Sun

Leads Me On, is a nod to that journey,

chasing the sunset as they drove west.

The sunshine seemed to have an effect

on the tone of the album too – there

are more moments of optimism and

pleasure than on the mostly melancholic

Dark Eyes. You can almost hear echos

of the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds era in

singer Portielje’s falsetto, or in the

opening track “Warmest Regards,” a

pleasant reflection featuring acoustic

guitars and flutes. But the band hasn’t

strayed from the percussive intensity

and vocal harmonies that have become

their signature sound – they’ve simply

built on it, going deeper into the darker

depths, and the delicately optimistic

ones as well.

Their upcoming Canadian tour

takes place in theatres, something

Molander is looking forward to. “It

allows you more ebb and flow within


turns out slow brewing brings out flavours you never knew were there

Photo by Jennifer McCord

a set, you can really bring things down

to an intimate moment.” The band has

some surprises planned for this time

out, in Vancouver specifically, to take

advantage of the acoustic opportunities

theatre venues provide. And as the

band continues to build a career that

has already taught them a heck of a lot

about putting on a good show – you can

be sure there will be some magic.

Half Moon Run performs at the

Orpheum Theatre December 16.

Back to the basics, Plants and Animals are happy again after letting their creative juices recharge.


Plants and Animals emerged from the

Montreal scene at the height of its indie

band frenzy – the success of bands like

Arcade Fire was shining an international

spotlight on the culture-rich bilingual

city, and at the time you’d be hardpressed

to find a hip 20-something that

wasn’t in a band. But this three piece

was no passing trend – the release of

their first full length album Parc Avenue

earned them both Polaris and JUNO

award nominations in 2008. 2010 saw

the release of the raucous La La Land,

followed by the slightly mellowed out

The End of That in 2012, cumulating in

over six years of constant hustle (write,

record, tour, repeat). When the cycle

wound down, they all agreed it was time

to take a breath. “We had a cumulative

burnout,” says drummer Matthew

“Woody” Woodley. “We needed to slow

down to let our creative juices flow. We

needed to play with other people, and

have the luxury of time for reflection

on the songs we were working on. We

all had kids in the time we were off, so

being able to be more domestic was

welcomed, we were all into it.”

Giving themselves the freedom

to create unhinged by a tight deadline

allowed the group to really let creative

ideas foster, something they hadn’t been

able to do since their first album. “We

wrote in the studio, which sometimes

seemed backwards, building music off

of one little moment or idea, as opposed

to going in with a song already finished.

Sometimes the best stuff is the most

intuitive stuff, and not necessarily the

most fleshed out and laboured over.”

This kind of improvised approach

was even applied to lyrics at times,

where singer Warren Spicer would

fill in unwritten lines with gibberish

or random thoughts, that would

sometimes stick and inspire the rest

of the words. The result at times feels

mystical - lush cinematic landscapes

that bring a sense of nostalgia, not in

that they sound familiar, but that they

bring an unnamed emotion almost

out from behind a memory, one you

want to feel again but you’re not sure

why, or exactly where it came from. It’s

a beautiful collection of carefully

crafted musical ideas, that still

maintains the loose experimental

feel the band is known for.

While the creative process might

have harkened back to their original

days as a band, the influences didn’t. “I

think for a long time a lot our influences

were from the golden era of rock ‘n roll,

and we drained whatever was in that

well for us. It came up consciously a

bunch of times, let’s not make an album

that sounds like the ‘70s, let’s make

something that sounds contemporary.

We started getting inspired by other

things, and listening to a lot more

contemporary music.”

Woodley lists some hip-hop

references, and while they may not

be directly audible influences in the

music itself, it’s the production and

the experimentation with sounds that

the band was interested in. And they’re

happy with the results – for the first

time in a while, it turns out. “We all

really like this record, more than the

past two. In hindsight when we talk

about them, there’s some good stuff but

we’re not completely satisfied. We’re a

three headed beast, so we’re trying to

keep everybody happy at the same time.

You have to make compromises because

of that, and sometimes when you look

back you think ‘I wish I’d spoken up

about that’. Part of the reason we took

so long with this record is we wanted to

be happy with it – and I still am.”

Plants and Animals perform at the

Orpheum Theatre on December 16.


December 2016

December 2016 7


December 2016


an amorphous sonic entity for a plugged-in world

Photo by Katrin Braga


Amongst the buzzing music scene here

in Vancouver, six-piece sonic scientists

Brasstronaut stand out among the

crowd. Having just recently released

their third, self-titled LP, Brasstronaut

continue in their exploration of music

that spans whole genres. “When

there’s six people each bringing their

own tastes and backgrounds… it

becomes amorphous,” states the

band’s guitarist, Tariq Hussain, when

asked about the band’s sound, which

is one that is hard to define and that

revels in the openness of the medium.

“We don’t really identify with any

particular scene,” mentions Hussain,

and perhaps that is why the band has

found an international audience and

have been able to branch out and tour

both North America and Europe.

We live in an age of mass

consumption, “Where the trends

almost don’t even matter. Everyone’s

doing everything all of the time, and

it’s available all of the time,” so there

is a danger for things, whether it be

music or movies, to become formulaic

and stale pretty quickly. Speaking

about his part mixing the album,

keyboard/vocalist, Edo Van Breeman

makes it clear that “[he] didn’t have a

formula for it…[the songs] were mixed

however they felt they should be

processed. We don’t really put a lot of

rules on how the whole thing should

end up.”

Elements of everything from jazz,

rock, folk and even some electronic

ambience can be heard in this latest

LP, which really emphasises the idea

of musical fusion. Not as much in

their sound but in their willingness to

experiment do Brasstronaut harken

back to the prog rock bands of the

1970s—bands like Genesis, Yes, and

King Crimson, who each dabbled in far

reaching regions of music inspiration.

Some bands prefer to record

more than play live, if they play live

at all, but to the guys in Brasstronaut,

the live element of the band is critical

to what makes the whole thing

special. “I think if I didn’t have those

opportunities, it wouldn’t be worth

it,” says Van Breeman. “[Sometimes]

we’re not getting paid barely anything,

but the nice thing is that we’re getting

to play our music for thousands

of people, and that’s amazing. You

can’t put a price tag on that kind of

experience. That’s why I did this, is to

play those types of shows.”

Brasstronaut celebrate musical fusion on the release of their third and long-awaited LP.

Not to sound preachy, but in today’s

tech saturated world, where everything is at

the touch of a button, it is easy to become

isolated. Despite this, though, the live music

concert is one of the enduring traditions in

our culture that promotes a communal

experience. “To bring people together

in a show space, you’re basically acting

as a church situation or a spiritual

sanctuary for people. An important

thing in the dystopian world we live

in, to get people together and enjoy

something,” Van Breeman adds.

Check out Brasstronaut’s new album

and if they happen to be playing a

show near you, definitely go check

them out!

The Railtown Sessions give local talent a chance to peacock like they always wanted to.


Light Organ Records open the talent stable and let it run amok


Over the past four months BeatRoute

has been premiering a four-volume

EP series from Light Organ Records

entitled The Railtown Sessions.

Featuring four distinct singer

songwriters based out of Vancouver,

the series has highlighted a selection

of the city’s deep rooted talent and

helped to shine light on particular

artists who have varied careers as

working musicians. Vancouver’s

Andy Bishop (Twin River/White Ash

Falls) was the visionary behind the

project, handpicking the artists who

worked with a team including Bishop

as producer and Colin Stewart as

recording/mixing engineer to record

at Light Organ Records Studio.

“Our plans were very clear before

beginning the project,” shares Bishop.

“The vision and outcome essentially

remained the same. It was one of

those special recordings that came

together very easily while still allowing

full creativity. We never felt rushed or

short on time. It was very magical.”

Sarah Jane Scouten, Rob

Butterfield, Johnny 99, and Debra-

Jean Creelman each recorded

four songs that were released as

individual four-track EP albums.

All four songwriters are roots

artists at their core, with Scouten’s

traditional elements, Butterfield’s

retro-rock, Johnny 99’s country

flare, and Creelman’s ethereal

psychedelia, the Railtown Sessions

deliver a series aimed to wet any

music lover’s appetite.

Each artist performed an

exclusive live set at Light Organ’s

studio to premiere their respective

release. To culminate the

conclusion of the series, all four

artists will be performing together

in an end-of-year show at the Fox

Cabaret on December 9. “We’re

going to pretty much rip off The

Band’s Last Waltz by having the

band remain on stage while the

artists switch out,” shares Bishop

enthusiastically. “We are still

working on a few ‘special things’

that will be unveiled the night

of the show.” No doubt it is sure

to be an unforgettable night of

music culminating a unique project

honouring the heart of Vancouver’s

music scene. “This was easily one

of the most productive and fun

recording sessions I’ve had the

privilege of working on,” Bishop

reflects. “It was just a really great

hang that could have never ended.”

The Railtown Sessions first

edition of all four unique recordings

are available now exclusively

through Light Organ Records both

digitally and on limited release vinyl

at www.lightorganrecords.com/store.

Thanks to the successfully executed

format, The Railtown Sessions are set

to continue with a second edition

that is currently in the works to start

recording in January.

Railtown Sessions comes alive

December 9 at the Fox Cabaret.

December 2016 MUSIC

































6:30 TO 10:30 IN THE HALL







































































tightening up the fabric of mankind with some true depth of soul


It was a Friday evening and Lee Fields

was preparing for a performance in

Newark, New Jersey. It was the last show

before he flew out to Japan to perform

there for the first time. When he

answered the phone, I thanked him for

taking the time to speak with us. “Well,”

he said simply, “It was the right thing to

do.” This sense of propriety was present

throughout our conversation.

The 65 year old singer recorded

his first single in 1969, and has released

albums on thirteen different record

labels since then. A visit to his current

record company’s website reveals that he

and The Expressions, his backing band,

are playing practically every night in

the next few months, in cities spanning

from Japan to Germany to California.

Music seems to be a lifelong and

constant pursuit in Fields’ life, and

this dedication is reflected in both his

music and the way he talks about it.

When asked about what he sees

as the message of his work, he says

without hesitation, “Love. Love and

togetherness, because in order for

two people, or a group of people, or

a nation of people to survive, we have

to care about each other.” Fields and

the Expressions’ latest album, Special

Night embodies this sentiment, with

earnest, straightforward lyrics about

making the world a better place and

loving the one you’re with. “My songs

are simple, to the point, and about

something,” Fields says. “Something

that’s going to make someone’s

day.” He says he is very careful to craft

songs that will stand the test of time,

and that he feels people will relate to:

“I try to say something that’s making

some sense, something that people

can feel.”

Positivity is a crucial feature of

Fields’ music. He strives to write songs

that leave his listeners with a sense

of hope, and he crafts his music in a

manner that is very cognizant of the

power of words. In his analysis, “A song is

like a house, and words are just materials

for building a song. If you choose bad

mortar or bad wood, that house is not

going to stand for long, and the same is

true of music…The mind has to absorb

quality, good sound and information in

order for it to be healthy, and that’s why I

take a lot of time to write my songs.” He

seems to take a great deal of pride that

the goal of his music is to uplift people,

and contrasts it against music that, in

his mind, has promoted criminality and

violence in the black community.

For Fields, music is about

connecting with people, and giving his

fans avenues by which to connect to one

another. In the past year, he says, two

couples have gotten engaged onstage

during his performance: “I would like

to believe that I had something to do

with two people finding each other, and

experiencing real love.” It is also a crucial

part of his spirituality; when asked what

soul music means to him, Fields muses,

“the body is like a machine, that carries

the spirit around for whatever given

time we have here on earth. But in the

final analysis, everyone is going to have to

give up the body… so to me, soul music

means that the soul is of the spirit, and the

spirit is of God.”

In a world so rife with cynicism, the

success of musicians like Lee Fields is

a testament to a renewed desire for

music imbued with an earnest desire

to spread love.

Lee Fields & The Expressions perform at

the Imperial on December 7.

Photo by Sesse Lind

For Lee Fields hope seems to spring eternal; we should all take a drink.


December 2016


a collision of Vancouver forces in the dark heart of Montreal


East-Van sonic therapy

Photo by Johann Wall


Like The Rolling Stones famously said,

“You can’t always get what you want.”

And sometimes, despite your purest

intentions you end up with something

else entirely. Other times you may find

you go on a spirit quest to Montreal to

sip coffee and play gigs in sunny cafes

for all the beautiful people but end up

recording a dark and earnest record

in an underground bunker until the

sun is but a distant memory. The latter

happens to be the recent adventures of

Local Creature & Alien Boy! (feat. Viper) and

the result was The Viper Sessions, a truly

inspired and moving country album, born

out of coincidence and idle hands.

After heading to Montreal with a

head full of dreams of playing rock and

roll for our Francophone neighbors, Local

Creature (Eric Campbell – The Dirt, The

Catastrophes) found himself with a lot

more free time then he had anticipated.

Venues were all booked up for the summer

and the gigs were looking scarce. “I was

kind of losing my mind after a while, I was

having a good time but I had no purpose

for being out there. You can only go to

so many coffee shops,” Campbell says.

Enter Alien Boy (Scott Matheson – Vader

Ryderwood), already situated in Montreal

after an exodus across the country

involving a foggy abduction of the extra

terrestrial variety (hense the namesake).

When asked about the specifics of his

encounter, Matheson could only tell

me that “I have been having a series

of dreams that are helping me piece it

together, maybe one day I can retain

enough information to tell you about

extra terrestrial life.” One can only

hope. At this point Alien Boy was also

enjoying a brief period of respite and

relaxation. What happened next was

pure poetry. “Well we both have a bunch

of free time and the space is pretty

dope so we better rent a microphone,”

Alien Boy recalls. Just magic. It was also

around this time Vancouver violinist

and heartthrob Viper (Emily Bach -Dirty

Spells, Big John Bates) was making a

brief stop in Montreal. The planets had

aligned, the time was right, the bunker

was awful and it was as if fate itself had

conspired for these three friends to

meet on the other side of our big weird

country to record some beautiful music

in a “hellish nightmare cave.”

With both Campbell and

Matheson having their own unique

brand of folk song writing and Bach’s

incredibly adaptive violin playing, The

Viper Sessions manages to hold your

attention the whole way through,

drawing you close with haunting

melodies and breaking you down

with good old fashioned grit. The

bunker dwelling trio took a minimalist

approach to the process, recording the

entire album with a single microphone,

that sadly did not survive the process.

The bunker giveth and the bunker

taketh away. Between the three of the

band members the resume of musical

projects they have been involved with

is almost unbelievably diverse, and it

shows. The Viper Sessions is a truly

engaging record start to finish.

Keep an ear to the ground for the

release of The Viper Sessions early next

year and be sure to find your Local

Creature prowling about The Fox Theatre

on Dec 22nd for the Fox’s annual

Christmas Pageant.


The Prettys are a tripped-the-fuck

out five-piece rock and roll act with

elements of surf, soul, and San Francisco

psychedelia in their sound and a dark

chord of true-grit depression in their

ugly lyrical content.

This talented East-Van quintuplet

is a modern day wrecking crew, borne

from the ashes of a legion of defunct acts

with every member keeping hooks into

numerous other projects. Yet the Prettys

remain the focus of their attention.

I caught up with two members at

the Grandview Legion, founder/guitarist

Code and saxophone player Matt (last

names withheld). We emptied pitchers

of pilsner draft and toasted Gordon

Lightfoot over bargain Irish Whiskey,

while attempting the age-old question,

what makes you so damn pretty?

According to Code, the soon to be

released LP Soiree is their “second first

record,” bringing in new instruments,

new members, and a newfound

maturity. “Well, I don’t live in a van

anymore,” he says. “Without this music

we’d all be either dead or in jail… We’d be

all sorts of fucked up if we didn’t play all

the time.” He says the band has already

begun recording material for their third

album, and hopes to follow the prolific



straight up rhythm and blues

blossoms on Magnolia


The Prettys have bought the ticket and are taking the ride.

path of acts like King Gizzard and the

Lizard Wizard by eventually releasing

multiple albums every year.

The first single, “Friendship,” features

a disco tempo and cheery vocal melody

that on a casual listen seems to be sunshine

put on wax, but like a sad clown, you soon

realize the smile is painted on and under the

makeup is a bubbling psychopathy. “That

song is actually about being a shitty friend,

a shitty person in general,” Code muses.

“We’re not always the happiest people

but the music, playing it and playing it

together is what makes us happy.”

Saxophone player Matt became

part of The Prettys two years ago. He

saw them play live, decided they ruled

and eagerly made his play to join ranks.

He says he sees himself as the band’s

third guitar player, providing a texture

reminiscent of the Rolling Stones sax

man Bobby Keys into the songs.

“It’s not something you can expect

while rehearsing,” he says. “We’re not all

tight assess when we go into the studio.

We put up a disco ball, and just create

those great moments together. It keeps all

the demons at bay.”

Shortly after Matt joined the band,

the Prettys went on their first American

tour. The first show was a flop, but a bonding

experience encouraged by a stoned record

store manager and a few bottles of wine. On

the road they encountered crack dealers,

cops, attempted gear thieves, and spent

many nights packed in a grimy hotel room.

This is the kind of thing that will make or

break a band, and in the Prettys case there

is no turning back.

Now, with the line up established and the

stage set to rock, The Prettys will release

their LP Soiree onto the scene at Fortune

Sound Club December 8th.

Photo by Michael Clarke

Photo by Leah Trottier

Local Creature — The most lovely stuff to ever emerge out of a hellish nightmare cave.

The overwhelming feeling I get as I talk

to Emily Chambers, who I’ve caught on

the phone from the road somewhere

deep in the heart of Brooklyn, is that she

does whatever the fuck she wants.

A Berklee College of Music voice

program drop-out (“I didn’t wanna be

150k in debt and have a performance

degree.”), she quit her full time insurance

job after three years of employment

and has been on the road living out of

her van, Bessie, for 66 days on a tour of

the US. She booked the tour herself to

support her five-song EP, Magnolia, which

she independently released in September.

“It’s a sign of feminine beauty and

perseverance,” she says of the title, citing

the departure from her R&B band project,

Champagne Republic, as large reason.

“It was a big thing for me to walk

away.” I ask her if it makes an appearance

on the album, in the form of a lyric or

something. “No actually,” she replies.

“It has nothing to do with any of the

Emily Chambers hit the ground running with the release of her debut solo EP, Magnolia.

songs.” Perfect.

You’d be hard pressed to find

someone who wouldn’t be taken by the

flaxen haired bombshell, who’s sultry

no-bullshit brand of classic soul and

R&B reminds me of a cross between

Diana Krall and En Vogue. She hits that

flirtatious and subtly tongue-in-cheek

showmanship reminiscent of Michelle

Pfeiffer in the Fabulous Bake Boys on

the head, but with real pipes and a real

band to back it up.

“For the most part it’s all live-off-thefloor.

We did three days of bed tracks and

I sang with the boys, I really didn’t overdub

any vocals,” Chambers says.

Joined by boyfriend and

Washboard Union-er Brenden Krieg

on drums, Winston Minckler on bass,

Alexander Slock on guitar and Tyson

Naylor on keys, the album has a lovely

intimacy and a stunning accuracy to

the live performances I’ve seen. This is

likely due to having John Ram’s touch

on production at Afterlife, now moved

into the legendary Mushroom building

that was built as a studio during the

time that “live-off-the-floor” was the

only way to record.

Unsigned and un-managed (though

perhaps not for long), Chambers is the

real deal for those of you who like your

rhythm and blues served straight up.

Emily Chambers performs at Guilt & Co.

December 14.

December 2016 MUSIC



mellowed Bohemian flavour with a touch of pop and a big messy finish


Before hipsters had the French press,

artisan gin, birch wood phone covers,

waxed moustache and riding a unicycle

to work, they looked to the Dandies of

the Warhol variety for hints at flavour.

A uniquely self-aware Portland anomaly

back before Bohemian was chic and

before Portland became a sea of condos

and ironic street art, the Dandy Warhols

have always been sneering while indulging;

never pretending to be something they

are not and telling it like it is with such an

unbridled sense of knowing sarcasm that

you can’t really argue.

They have resurfaced with

Distortland, their first full studio

album in four years, after spending

a considerable amount of time in a

traveling time machine celebrating the

13th anniversary of Thirteen Tales from

Urban Bohemia Live at the Wonder, their

third and first measurably commercially

successful album. Distortland has that

very self-aware, road-weary tone that we

all adopt when we spend any significant

amount of time looking backwards.

Guitar player and founding member

Peter Holmström, for one, was glad to

get back into a forward trajectory.

“Speaking for myself, I don’t really

like dwelling on the past,” Holmström

admits. “When we did the reissue of

Thirteen Tales it really started freaking

me out because it was like we were

looking back on what we’d done and felt

like it was signalling the end.”

Though it would appear to an

outside observer that the Dandies were

teetering dangerously close to becoming

a “heritage act,” the creative juices still

flowed and the band continued to

navigate a business and a home base

that were both being gentrified and repackaged

to fit a changing time.

“For the first 10 years or so there

was just this steady – it felt uphill –

sort-of climb. The success and the way

the music industry was going and our

place in it. And then Napster and all that

stuff changed the way that everybody

does business, and it’s just sort have

been survival mode since then,” muses


“I’m not really sure we’re necessarily

sure what is going on.”

Though the Warhols are, as

always, trying to suss out enough of

the game rules to play by them without

succumbing to the tides, they have

picked up wisdom from their time in

the gauntlet that has changed their

tone from societal observations to

existential minefields. Couple that with

the pop sensibilities of Jim Lowe behind

the boards (Taylor Swift, Stereophonics,

Fitz and the Tantrums) and you have an

album that is both accessible and full of

The Dandy Warhols take new

album as a chance to stop

dwelling on the past

Photo by Erich Bouccan

those messy truths we have come to be

indebted to the Warhols for bestowing

on us while we try to ignore the fact

that our coffee isn’t fair trade.

“We try sometimes to play

along and do things that will – not

fit in – but that would fit the format

better than what we normally do, like

shorter song lengths and less noise,

but we never get it quite right,” admits


That coming up short of getting

it exactly right is what has made The

Dandy’s Warhols such an appealing

touchstone for the ideals of those who

want to march to their own drummer

but who don’t want to just say “fuck it”

and burn out like a candle; something

messy but with the strength to evolve.

During “Catcher in the Rye,” a head

bobber and personal favourite

of Holmström’s, churning with

momentum led by Courtney Taylor-

Taylor’s purring vocals and Holmström’s

neato guitar tricks, Taylor advises:

“Don’t you know anything can get you


If you let it.

Some days more than others

This is how I’ve lived and learned

To divide them.

If you needed a friend I can lend

Some of my time to remind you.”

And remind you they will.

“You realize that all that little petty stuff

is just petty stuff and it doesn’t matter.

And you just let it go,” says Holmström.

“Yoga and meditation helps.”

So Bohemian.

The Dandy Warhols perform at the

Commodore Ballroom on December 6th.



December 2016




The Hard Part Begins is seductive and

sensual with gauzy guitars and gentle

drum machines that are strewn with lofi

synth and plinky MIDI piano. Forays

into toe-tapping dream pop, theatrical

balladry and twangy spaghetti western

are nestled within a cloud of hazy reverb.

At the centre of this New Age daydream

is singer Patrick Geraghty, whose

trembling baritone simultaneously

evokes cheeky schmaltz and aching

melancholy. Sadness has never sounded

sexier. (AH)

Releasing this debut LP seemingly out

of the blue, the title track opens with

Evy Jane’s hauntingly beautiful voice

floating in over orchestral instrumentals

produced by collaborator Jeremiah

Klein. Having been waiting since 2012

for new music from the pair, they have

pleasantly delivered on all fronts. (VT)

Spectres – Utopia (Deranged)

Moody and atmospheric, Spectres have

delivered another timeless post punk

offering. Just the right amount of goth

undertones with a nod to Christian Death,

Utopia is the sound of a band we’ve come

to know and love, a band who continue

to hide in the shadows of Vancouver like

extras on the set of Lost Boys. (GA)

IV is a vast album, boldly coming at you

with an eight-minute opening track and

basically keeping the drama at that level

the whole time. IV is the soundtrack

to your desert fever dream — crunchy,

synthy, expansive and relentless. Not for

the faint of heart. (JO)

driven ballads will definitely make you

feel some type of way. (GA)

Anciients - Voices of the Void

(Season Of Mist)

Anciients build tension within

their instrumentals very effectively

throughout this sophomore opus.

Tons of riffage within a solid structure

of songs, with the right amount of raw

emotion, felt more in the guitar lines

than the vocals. They travelled a darker

road this time around, drawing in new

attention that this band deserves. (EJ)

2016 was kinda meh for pop music,

but in an eager reprise Carly Rae Jepsen

stepped forward and gently reminded

us how it’s done right. Again. On Side B

she endeavors to revitalize that fuzzy ’80s

feeling of romance and illusory vibes. This

homegrown talent is the queen of pop

and queen of our hearts. (DC)

So Loki – V (Owake Records)

Matching their carefully distributed

debut EP, V, with equally specific ways

to physically experience the record

within the city, So Loki is looking to

make an impact on Vancouver with their

progressive hip-hop lyrics and production

style. And without any exaggeration,

they’ve totally succeeded. (VT)

White Lung – Paradise (Domino)

White Lung are as fierce as ever, but

things sound different on their fourth

LP, Paradise. With the risk of alienating

their core fan base, Mish Barber-Way

trades in her raw growling vocals for

a more polished singing style and the

risk pays off. White Lung have always

sounded sharp, but Paradise just cuts

deeper. (JE)

Art D’ecco – Day Fevers (Your Face)

This album is eyebrow-raisingly good;

a self-reflective journey, a heroes

wandering through a glammy abyss. A

lot like what would happen if T-Rex did a

duet with Orbison in Venus’s best-keptsecret

underground Euro pop club. (JO)

The Evaporators – Ogopogo Punk


Everyone’s favourite Human Serviette

is back with his band of merrymakers,

The Evaporators. After suffering a

stroke earlier in the year, Nardwuar has

returned in fine form. With track titles

like “I Can’t Be Shaved” and “Mohawks

& Dreadlocks,” The Evaporators’ wit is

still intact, their hooks are hooky and

they’re just as goofy. (JE)


Coming from Abbotsford, Cheap High

are familiar with the hell that suburbia

brings. The group boils down those

experiences into a tense and seething

beast of a record. Cheap High channel

cues from bands such as Protomartyr,

Joy Division and The Smiths, and are

further proof of the well of talent the

Fraser Valley holds. (JE)

Honest and pure, James Green’s Never

Ready is an ode to the working class

of sorts, but without ever coming

off too somber to pick you up after

a long day on the job. Somewhere

between Bill Callahan and Tom Petty,

Green has found his own voice and

it’s accompanied by a perfect blend of

country, folk and rock ‘n’ roll. (GA)

Supermoon - Playland (Mint Records)

Uniquely formatted as a double 7”,

Playland consists of eight short, snappy

indie pop ditties. Fun and lovably

off-kilter, the women of Supermoon

spike their cotton-candy-sweet

melodies with hints of dissonance and

melancholy. (AH)

Hot Hot Heat – Hot Hot Heat


A lighthearted ode to a journey towards

closure, the songs on this farewell LP

run the gamut of exploring the act of

growing apart to the gentle prettiness

that exists within the new; all presented

as happy ditties that would be very at

home pulsing out of a portable radio in

the basket of a fixie on Third Beach. (JO)

City (You’ve Changed Records)

Adrian Teacher may have disbanded

Apollo Ghosts, but he’s still doing what

he does best: writing concise indie rock

ditties full of catchy hooks and local

references. His latest is a playfully scathing

commentary on gentrification. (AH)

(Mascot Records)

Giving us the dose of feminine strength,

resolve, empowerment and badass take-noprisoners

edge so many of us are yearning

for in rock ‘n’ roll, this album simultaneously

delivers a swift dagger to the heart while

daring you to dance on the bar. (HA)

Having collaborated with countless

Vancouver bands over the years, pop

auteur Jay Arner keeps getting better.

The outstanding Jay II is full of goodnatured

jokes, but the overwhelming

mood is one of glum existentialism.

Whistle along while contemplating the

void. (AH)

These New Westminster boys are

growing up and exploring the potential

within the soulful end of stoner rock

to the point where some interludes

could be described as a ballad. Not

to be written off as soft though, New

Waste brings forth some seriously

sophisticated riffs. (EJ)

Astrakhan - Reward in Purpose (War

Reward in Purpose commences with

a slow build of tension with ten minute

song, “Omajod,” a nod to Astrakhan’s

roots in doom and sludge. Powerful, clean

(Heavy Lark)

Finding grace in the comfort of song,

Daniel Terrence Robertson’s stark

debut is a beautiful exploration of life,

love, mortality and religion. These eight

heart-wrenching and haunting pianoharmonies

pepper this album, polishing

the sound as uniquely their own. (EJ)

Gritty, soulful and strange, this album

is an all-together riveting expression

shrouded in relative darkness, including

covers from generations of yesteryear

while providing a spin on contemporary

avant-country. (HA)

Dark and brooding electronic post rock

to take you in to the night; Sex With

Strangers found their groove a long time

ago but continue down a path of synthesized

submission. In a lot of ways Discourse is all

over the map genre-wise, but who really

wants to stay in once place when you’re

doing it with randoms anyway? (GA)

Dirty psych rock in all its glory. Spinning

tales as old as time of life on the road,

it’s all about digging the realness and

forgetting about everything else. Just

get lost in it, you can’t over-think this

music or it loses its magic. (HA)

Easy-going art-rock band Douse are

building on their folksy bones with their

debut full length offering, The Light in

You Has Left. Heavily filtered guitars

and vocals float over synth chords

and play with tension throughout the

album making for a dynamic listen from

beginning to end. (VT)

The Prettys - Soiree (self-released)

When I hear “soirée,” I think of hors

d’oeuvres and long-stemmed wine

glasses. The Prettys’ rockin’ album

Soiree, on the other hand, is the kind

of party that’s characterized by raiding

your parents’ liquor cabinet and barfing

on the lawn. (AH)

December 2016 MUSIC


BEST OF 2016






In a perfect world, Kanye wouldn’t be such

a divisive figure in pop culture and everyone

would just STFU and enjoy TLOP for the

amazing album that it is. But maybe it’s better

to have Yeezy as a litmus test to filter out the

people who just don’t get it. I’ve been jamming

this record pretty much every day since its

release, and every day I appreciate it for a new

reason. Pray for Ye this holiday season.

(Runners up: Frank Ocean - Blonde, DIIV – Is

The Is Are, Skepta - Konnichiwa)


Charlotte Day Wilson – “Work”

I feel this track on so many levels. It’s kind of

sad but it also makes me really happy. CDW

made her west coast debut over the summer

during Levitation, bringing her modest onewoman

R&B chiller vibes to the Imperial and

she killed it. Every relationship takes work if you

want to be happy in your life. This song reminds

me that it’s ok to not give up on love.


I’d just got home from M For Montreal

and was so sick of live music, but then

my friend Simon called to remind me

PUP was playing and I’m super glad he did.

It was tough to pretend I didn’t know all

the words at this pop punk rager and even

decided to make it my one crowd-surf of

the year. At one point my glasses fell to the

bottom of the mosh pit and didn’t even

break — a punk rock miracle indeed!


The Girl With All The Gifts

I love me a good post-apocalyptic zombie

movie and this is one of the best I’ve seen since

28 Days Later. A unique take on an arguably

tired genre, it’s a wild ride from start to finish. I

also like how they call the zombies “hungries.”


Finding return flights to LA for $50 can

only yield amazing results. This particular

trip consisted of three free nights at a Four

Seasons, one evening at the Comedy Store

watching Pauly Shore, Judd Apatow and

Anthony Jeselnik, and an Uber ride from

Prince’s former bassist, Gerry Hubbard,

who ended up dropping us at In-N-Out

after a few extra circles around the block

while we chatted and reminisced about his

recently departed friend.


Australia’s King Gizzard & The Lizard

Wizard is likely the hardest working band

in the world. With eight records in the

last four years, Nanagon Infinity may be

their best. Riffs on tops of riffs, catchy

hooks, harmonica solos, and blazing

unhinged psychedelia abound. Runners up:

David Bowie - Blackstar, Young Thug - JEFFERY)


With the untimely passing of Malik

“Phife Dawg” Taylor (along with Bowie,

Prince, and countless others) one might

have thought 2016 couldn’t get any

worse. Then Trump won. A few days

later, A Tribe Called Quest released a new

album and it couldn’t have been more

timely. A new ATCQ album could have

been firmly rooted in nostalgia, but album

standout “We The People…” proves ATCQ

have no time for looking back and that

their sights are set firmly in the future.

Political and unwavering, it is truly a

breathtaking track.


Seeing of one the most creative minds in

music history perform my favourite album

in its entirety in front of me was surreal.

“God Only Knows” made me cry.


Hail, Caesar!

Criminally overlooked, Hail, Caesar! may be

the Cohen Brothers’ funniest film since

The Big Lebowski. Look out for scene

stealer Alden Ehrenreich staring as young

Han Solo in the 2018 Star Wars spinoff film.


Seeing Lake Louise for the first time. I was

born and raised in BC and somehow never

made it up to Lake Louise until recently. In

such a tumultuous year filled with so much

misery, tragedy, and general shittiness, it

was nice to experience some quiet, tranquil

beauty. four years, Nanagon Infinity may

be their best. Riffs on tops of riffs, catchy

hooks, harmonica solos, and blazing

unhinged psychedelia abound. Runners up:

David Bowie - Blackstar, Young Thug - JEFFERY)




Our home grown queen slices us deep

with this epic 80’s throwback album.

Comprised of rejects from her 2015

EMOTION album, this collection makes

me wonder if Jepsen’s producers have

the Crabby patty recipe for pop Music.

She takes the mundane, like going to

the store and riding a bike and makes

them into atheism that us gays will be

worshipping for years to come.

Runners up: St Lucia - Matter, Lady Gaga

- Joanne (Sorry Bey)


Impassioned Politically charged front

man Stephen Jenkins takes us to the

moment where racism manifests and

slays our comfortable privilege so hard.

A must listen.


This show was LIT. Nobody was standing

still. The complexities of the music was

effortlessly created on stage to the finest

detail. The band genuinely looked like

they were having a good time. I bought

tickets off a 15 YO girl the morning of

the show, went alone, knew every word,




Need I say more?


Meeting my drag mothers, Shanda

Leer and Carlotta Gurl. Shanda was

an incredible support for me when I

was starting Queen of the Month and

Carlotta Gurl is one of the kindest hard

working queens I know.




I’m generally not into tons of Beyonce,

but that beautiful being sure knows

how to motivate women and release an

album. First there were the rumours of

Jay-Z cheating, then the memes that

spread like wildfire as social media

realized the album video had been

released through Tidal, a company that

Jay-Z owns, and of course the stern

reminder to those who allow themselves

to be swallowed by entertainment

media that art can progress beyond the

recording studio, stage or video set and

penetrate the media and ultimately the

target audience’s perception of reality.

Black Mirror shit. Runners Up: Sumac -

What One Becomes,

Meshuggah - The Violent Sleep of Reason


Gorguts – “Pleiades Dust”


Sometimes one of the best way to

become a fan is to be absolutely blown

away by a live performance without

any prior listenings or awareness. I was

shocked I hadn’t heard of Fidlar before

and they became my summer learning

how-to-longboard soundtrack.



Every Vancouverite loves seeing Ryan

Reynolds in their city, I’m down for an

obscene amount of sequels.


with an outdated iPhone 5 with no

predictable battery life, a cracked screen,

fuzzy microphone and software issues.




Roadiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool

This album is so beautiful and striking

that it took me about 5 listens before

I could put it into words. It is anotherlevel

dreamscape on par with nothing

else. Runners up: Beyonce – Lemonade,

David Bowie - Blackstar


From the first notes until the

vaulting layered vocals of the chorus,

this seductive piece of glam candy is

like that person who has your heart and

mind in a stranglehold who you gladly

submit to.


3 hours long and punctuated with

stories from the Smoky Mountains; the

show was gripping and joyful. Dolly is

also disarmingly self-aware. When she

said “I’ve always been a little too good to

be real bad, and a little too bad to be real

good” I discovered a new life goal.


An absolutely stunning film in every

sense of that word. I was captivated,

horrified, sickened, exhilarated, and

ultimately haunted by it. It is unlike any

movie I have ever seen.


My first

night back, I was in the passenger seat of

a car belonging to the man I came back

to be with, driving down Cornwall as the

sun was going down and I felt like a pretty

massive badass for making it back here in

one piece. Great city. Glad to be here.


December 2016












I love this record because it challenges

hip-hop conventions while still catering

squarely to a rap music audience. I also

love its seamless inclusion of gospel

music, it’s full of really upbeat, uplifting

tracks that don’t feel contrived.

Runners up: Bon Iver - 22, A Million

& BadBadNotGood - IV


“Glowed Up”

This one’s the track I found myself

dancing by myself to most often

this year. I feel like Kaytranada and

.Paak really compliment one another,

and this is a gem of a morning commute

song. If this song doesn’t make you want

to dance, you’re dead inside.


It’s not often that a concert will make

me tear up, but I definitely shed a

couple tears during this performance.

The Orpheum is a beautiful theatre,

and Blake’s performance was equally

elaborate and well-crafted. He was

accompanied by a guitarist and a

drummer, all of whom had been friends

for years, and they were all incredibly

on point. They played live renditions of

some lesser-known dubstep remixes by

Blake, the most memorable of which

being “Stop What You’re Doing,” which

quite literally shook the theatre along

with everyone in it.


The genius of this film is its absolute

dedication to an absurd premise; it takes

place in a world in which people who are

single by a certain age are given one last

chance to find love before they are turned

into animals. The result is a surreal, funny

and thought-provoking film about an

expertly crafted alternate universe.


by watching

a fireworks display orchestrated by hippie

lunatics at the Oregon Country Fair.


Obel has this incredible voice that’s at

once delicate and powerful. The way

that she pairs it with violin, cello, and

harpsichord on Citizen of Glass gives

me chills every time I listen to it. It’s

haunting, evocative, and gorgeous. Like

the score to an old Hitchcock.

(1. Suede - Night Thoughts 2. Tragically

Hip - Man Machine Poem)


Lush - “Out of Control”

It’s incalculable how many times I’ve

listened to this glorious, glorious song

on repeat. Reforming after two decades

and releasing the wonderfully dreamy

Blind Spot, Lush sadly announced

they’re calling it quits for good. The

reunion may have been short, but it was

very sweet.


Paramount Theatre, Seattle

How to even describe this? No words

can do justice to the beauty that was

this evening. The 50th anniversary of

Pet Sounds, one of the greatest albums

of all time. A breathtaking setting. A full

band that made songs like “God Only

Knows” sound like the heavens parted.

Brian Wilson at the piano, singing

joyously. An experience I will never




Oasis: Supersonic


This summer, my cousins were visiting

from Wales. They were here for about

three weeks, but we had this one really

special day at Spanish Banks. We took

turns barbecuing burgers and hot dogs.

We swam in the ocean. I taught my

youngest cousin how to skim board. We

kicked the ball around and bruised our

shins. We laughed until the sun set. It

was perfect.


Bernie Sanders is a fan of Kanye West. I

know because Kanye is as progressive as

you get: he is an explorer, and his ability

to find uncharted realms in sound

constantly amazes me. If Kanye’s ego

is really as big as people think it is,

then why is he so freely able to risk

everything? Kanye made Pablo for one

person: himself. Everyone else can go

fuck themselves. Runners up: Chance

the Rapper - Coloring Book; Dorian Ye -

The Life of Paul


I never knew that Sister Nancy would

sound so good hyped by Swizz Beatz.


I never get tired of talking about Kanye,

but this show spoke for itself. Kanye flew

over the crowd and played 74

immaculate songs. Everyone else needs

to quit practicing on stage.


“Booo.” Yeah, whatever. This movie kind

of sucked (it felt like I was watching the

Celebrity Apprentice) but putting the

quality aside, it penetrated the populace

and spread a message we need to hear.

There were better movies, like The

Lobster and The Neon Demon, and

even better documentaries, like Where

to Invade Next, but I would rather

see a film with an impact, and in that

regard, DiCaprio delivers.



Oh man, we’ve been waiting for a new

album from Frank for four years and

he didn’t let us down. This album is so

perfect and timely it makes me want to

cry in public. Runners up: Flume - Skin,

Kanye West - The Life Of Pablo


Is it too soon to call this song iconic? I

don’t think so. The lyrics are iconic, the

video is iconic, the dance moves are

iconic, all of the residual memes were

iconic, Drake is iconic.


I’ve always wanted to see these guys live

and it just so happened that they were

playing Pemberton the year I was set

to go. Yolandi’s voice sounds like a high

pitched hyper-angel.



I’m terrible at watching movies when

they’re still new and just so happened to

see this one while I was on a plane. The

last time I set foot in a movie theatre was

to see Star Wars - The Force Awakens

last year. Sorry.


I turned 30 this year which is kind of

the best/worst thing ever depending on

how you look at it.


Chance may have had the breakout album

of the year, but compatriot Noname got

more play from me. She shares some

similarities to Chance but while he’s

gone on to push the envelope of rap, she

holds things down lyrically with a great flow

and way with words. There’s some deeply

affecting and relatable stuff here. Runners

up: Danny Brown - Atrocity Exhibition, Carly

Rae Jepsen - Emotion Side B


Aesop Rock – “Rings”

Super affecting song about age and

giving up on your interests. He’s best

when he doesn’t let his hyper-lyricism

get in the way of narrative and this

captures that balance perfectly.


It’s not often you see a 68 year old thrust

his pelvis like that. He’s still got moves.

Made especially important given his

recent stomach cancer diagnosis.


Green Room

Terrifying and brutally violent. Any

movie that uses “Nazi Punks Fuck Off”

as a plot point will likely be a fave.

Violence against Nazis seems all the

more relevant at this point in the year.


That it’s coming to a close. 2016

killed off some of my favourite artists,

elected a terrifying monster to the most

important position in the world and failed

to move very much forward personally.

Here’s hoping 2017 gets better.

December 2016 15


in pursuit of their emotional essence for over 30 years


Few carry such formidable influence

over the development of heavy music,

yet actively practice the gratitude and

humility for the art as Neurosis. “If

we’re credited with pioneering a genre

or a sound, I guess on a certain level

we succeeded in finding our own voice.

The fact that it’s inspirational to other

people is a great honour. When you

make such self centred weird music the

fact that anyone else likes it at all is a

pure miracle,” aptly puts vocalist and

guitarist Steve Von Till. “When you’ve

been around for 30 years, you’ve seen

so many labels come and go. They seem

quite absurd in the grand scale. We were

always inspired by the DIY punk ethos

of ‘fuck you we do what we want’ and

what we wanted to do was to create an

emotionally powerful, original mode

of expression.” Neurosis has released

twelve LPs, with their most recent being

2016’s Fires Within Fires.

Each release offers a window into

the development of this group as their

lives ebb and flow like any other. “We

see it as a spiral of evolution, we’re

spiralling towards the essence of what

we are supposed to be. We feel very

lucky that the inspiration we tap into

just by finding each other and opening

ourselves up to the spirit that seems

so much bigger than us, this own force

of nature that it just happens we are

the ones who get to tap into it. By the

strange geometry of our relationship with

our instruments and each other, we tap

into something fairly infinite and we’ll

probably die trying to find the perfect

versions of ourselves, but that’s fine,” Von

Till is evidently in awe of the creations

produced by Neurosis over the years.

The Fires Within Fires release

lined up perfectly with their 30 year

anniversary string of shows, but even

that was a natural collision of unrelated

forces. “We live pretty far away from

each other. It’s rare that we actually get

the time to just sit and jam. We took

a weekend to meet up and see what

happens and by the end of this one

weekend we had the skeleton for this

whole album. The technical date for our

anniversary is December 2015, originally

we were going to book gigs at that time.

As soon as that weekend was over we

were like ‘holy shit, we can’t believe this

album has just dropped in our lap like a

Photo by Scott Evans

gift from the universe, fuck gigs, we’re

spending our anniversary alone in the

studio where we want to be.”

So, technically Vancouver is celebrating

Neurosis’ 31st Anniversary on December

20 at the Venue with Yob and SUMAC.

Photo by Chris Preyser


a sea of change in their latest release


Never ones to rest on their laurels,

Toronto’s Protest the Hero sought to

take on a new distribution approach

with the release of their latest EP, Pacific

Myth. Released over a 12 month span

to paying subscribers via Bandcamp,

vocalist Rody Walker cites the NOFX

“7 Inch of the Month” vinyl club as the

primary influence for the prog-rockers

to experiment with sharing music with

their fans. Walker describes the process

as a fun experiment that allowed the

band to push themselves to write

music in a more streamlined fashion.

More generally, Walker encourages

experimentation when it comes to different

distribution methods. “I think everyone

should be attempting to experiment and

I don’t know necessarily if you need to

innovate but why not?” Walker says. “The

industry has been the way that it was for so

long that it needed something to shake it

up. Crowdfunding and other things like

it came in and really shook it up. There’s

no reason not to push it further.”

Pacific Myth also signalled a sea

change in the writing process within the

band as drummer Mike Ieradi recorded

in the studio with Protest for the first

time. “Mike had a lot more input [in

the songwriting],” Walker reports. “He

constantly writes music on GuitarPro

and he just sends it out. So we wound

up using a lot of his guitar stuff which

is hilarious because he’s a drummer. I

think things really changed up for the

other guys in the band.”

Last year Protest celebrated the

ten year anniversary of the release

of their debut album Kezia with an

accompanying tour in which they

performed the record in its entirety

with the original lineup on stage.

Walker provides a particularly wry

perspective on the longevity of the

band in reference to that tour. “What I

think was most interesting about those

Kezia shows was meeting a lot of people

coming out that were our age and had

listened to the record a long time ago,”

Walker observes. “And then there were

these kids with a ghost of a moustache

on their face going ‘Oh yeah I used to

love Kezia back in the day.’ What? You

loved that when you were like two?

You’re 12 years old right now, what the

fuck are you talking about? If we keep

going here there are going to be kids

coming to shows that weren’t alive when

Kezia came out. That’s a little terrifying to

me but also kinda funny to me.”

After 2016 mercifully concludes,

Protest join August Burns Red on their

own anniversary tour before setting their

sights on Australia to escape the dreaded

Canadian winter. Protest the Hero aim to

keep forging their own path.

Protest the Hero play Vogue Theatre

December 8th with A Wilhelm Scream.


December 2016


the soft fuzzy side of the crusty scene


Adrianna Hepper is cat-mum to E. Van’s

wildest little rock n roller Yngwie Meowmsteen,

and founder of PetFam.com . Sign up to safely

connect with other loving, nearby pet parents

for free pet sitting exchange!

Patrons and participants of all music

loud, heavy, aggressive, and sweaty:

what, I pray thee, is our DEAL with

dissolving into helpless, baby-talking

babbling softies the second a cat comes

into view? What compels us to swaddle

a filthy stray in the warmth of our most

beloved battle jacket without a second

thought, or transition from smashing a

drum kit to patting out a lengthy drumbum

solo hilariously on our dogs’ butts?

Many of us heavy music lovers also

love to support pet rescues - could it be

as musical underdogs we feel a particular

affinity for the real… underdogs?

Whatever the reason, oi! We

bloody love our pets! And here to prove it

are four local badass musicians confessing

their love for their widdle furbabies.

Cavan Egan

Guitarist and Vocalist


Sage Davies

Vocals/ Guitar

The Waning Light

Parker Lane


The Mountain Man



1.What kind of pet do you have, and

what is its name?

1. Snoop Lion is a “felis catus,” otherwise

known as a “domesticated cat.”

1. My dog is a rat terrier named Princess


1. I have a big German shepherd named


1. I have a 30 pound Maine Coon cat

named Sunrise.

4. What’s your most hilarious or

a human, who are you pretty sure


To pinch the cheeks of these hopeless,

pet-loving musicians in person, come

down to Diecemberfest, Dec. 9 at the Russian

Hall in Vancouver where they’ll all be

playing. Bring a food item for pets (SPCA)

or for humans (Food Bank) to be entered

to win good stuff from local businesses!

2. I once spent five hours wrapping a

2×4” in twine to make him an adequate

scratching post. Halfway through the

process I had to grab a pair of gardening

gloves to keep my hands from blistering.

3. Following a recent minor operation,

Snoop had to wear a cone and stay

inside for ten days. He protested by

pissing on my expensive MEC raincoat.

4. Shikapoo, Shikapuss, and Mr. Meow

(who wants his morning meats).

Recently I’ve also started calling him

Psycho Dink.

5. Back in time, Snoop Lion would

probably turn up as a Viking, Pirate, or

maybe a Samurai. If it were a future

reincarnation, probably a secret agent

eager to hunt and kill his enemies, yet

loyal and loving to his allies.

2. I make little blanket forts for her. It just

kills me to see her little head poking out.

3. While camping last summer, Slaya

unzipped the tent and bolted at

4:00am. Having derided our white trash

neighbours for having lost their six

year old the previous evening, now we

were the dickwads waking everyone up

looking for the damned dog.

4. Frequently I tell her that she’s “Dada’s

number one girl.” Neither Mrs. Sage nor

our daughter, Haida, are impressed.

5. Slaya would be that neurotic stoner

that’s worried about everything but

can’t be arsed to even get off the couch.

2. When I’m eating spaghetti, I like

to share and hope for a Lady and the

Tramp-type scene. It never ends up that


3. If Loki isn’t monitored when he’s

doing his business, he will eat said

business. Once, after chomping down

some delicious fecal matter, he ran up and

licked my friend’s arms and white shirt.

4. My girlfriend constantly calls him

Tuna Lips because his breath always

smells like sour fish (laughs).

5. Do cartoon characters count? Because

he’s totally got Yogi Bear’s demeanour,


2. I occasionally buy him expensive wet

dog food, so that I can heckle him for

eating the same food as a poodle or tiny

Yaletown dog.

3. I have literally watched Sunrise fight

three cats simultaneously. He won, they

backed away. He also bullied another cat

of mine so bad that it peed all over the

house from stress. He likes to dominate.

4. “SUNBOY!” said in as high pitched a

voice as possible.

5. John Goodman in his fattest and

most surely role.











Christmas Calorie Counting?

ive got a secret if you pinky swear not to tell who told me.

(Santa told me )Matcha Torches Body Fat(it was santa)

December 2016


the joke is on you


Local grind busters Zuckuss have been

at it for nearly 20 years. They play

regular gigs thoughout Vancouver, but

space them out with enough months in

between for a hefty dose of headliner

excitement every time they pop up on

a bill. Zuckuss play what they like to call

Star Wars inspired pornogrind, and it

goes pretty much exactly like it sounds.

“Basically we take pornography, Star

Wars, and death metal grind, [and] fuse

them all together,” drummer Bossck

Jass explains. “Conceptually that exists

mostly in our artwork and song titles.

There are no lyrics. We use vocals

purely as a percussive instrument.”

With three records under their belt,

Titfucked By A Tauntaun (2000),

Rancor Rimjob (2004), and Gamorrean

Gangbang (2009), you can probably get

the jest. Let’s just say that the artwork

for each album is pretty much spot

on too. It may seem all tongue and

cheek, and it is. But make no mistake,

when it comes to the music, Zuckuss

are as serious as it gets. Jass, guitarists

Dungar and Boba Frett, bassist Lord

Blader, and vocalist Landin Morpussyin

spew out a spastic, chaotic, and brutal

brand of metal. Crazy, obscene, and

often bizarre samples are trampled

under sheer terror vocal sounds and

savage musical earthquakes. Their

lack of song structures makes it go off

like a symphony of car bombs. “We’ve

averaged it out that a song that is

typically under two minutes long may

contain anywhere from 25-30 different

riffs with blast beats upon blast beats.

Very chunky and heavy,” says Jass. “It

takes a lot of hard work to play and

learn this music.”

Are there any other metal bands

in this town that can lay claim to

being around for 20 years? If there are,

then I can’t think of any (Annihilator

doesn’t count). Zuckuss might just

be the oldest band you never heard of.

However, they are no slouches. They

have been around the greasy metal shop

like an old oil rag. They’ve shared the

stage with such high profile acts such as

Napalm Death, Cryptopsy, Suffocation,

Cattle Decapitation, and Kataklysm.

They are very well versed in the

underground and that is where they get

their respect from. “We kind of want to

be that band that no one knows about.

We’re not exactly making a product that

is very sellable,” Jass goes on. “Especially

with the blatant plagiarism of Star

Wars imagery. We don’t pay for any of

the samples we use. And we use a shit

tonne of them. No record label will ever

sign us. The risk would be high to take

us on. We have a very limited fan base.

So we really don’t fucking care.”

True to form, Zuckuss have an

agenda. They are presently in the

studio recording their 4th record and

plan to release it to coincide with their

20th anniversary on May the 4th. 2017

is also the 40th anniversary of Star

Wars. The fourth coming record Zuck

My Nock will be the latest installment

in Zuckuss’ plan of an end total of nine

albums in three trilogy structures that

replicate George Lucas’ Star Wars vision.

“We like to have fun. Most death

metal to me is ridiculous. They sing

about raping corpses and mutilating

people. And the guys doing it are so

serious about it. Zuckuss is poo poo

humour. We’re playing the most brutal,

heaviest, fastest, and most complicated

death metal possible. But we do it with

a shit eating grin on our face. There is

no blood and no violence. We don’t

promote racism or intolerance. We are

happy when we play our music. We’re

a bunch of jokers,” Jass proclaims. “But

we’re serious about the music. Make

the music brutal, but the imagery light


Seeing them live is like a harmless

prank that becomes serious business

right quick. So you best get in on it.

Zuckuss will be opening for the Golers

and Tyrants Blood on December 3rd at

Pat’s Pub.


In physics, “dead time” is the time after each

event during which the system is unable

to record another event. I chose it as the

name of this column because I believe it

signifies the reality of how the underground

arts community operates, especially in this

day and age, and especially in a city like

Vancouver. The artists I’m referring to go

largely unnoticed by anyone outside of the

community they’re involved in, whether it

be through the grind of establishing oneself

by playing lowly attended shows, or through

the work of DIY spaces that are navigating

the ever tricky balancing act of legality and

legitimacy. The irony of having to hide to

exist, but being unable to sustain without

being seen, would be quite humourous if it

wasn’t so bitterly true.

Despite being the very fabric of the

so-called culture that “our” spokespeople

claim to champion (and use to decorate

their rhetoric with), the arts community

are among the ones who have slipped

beneath the cracks, toiling in that “dead

time” that isn’t being noted by anyone above

the surface. And when the occasional ray

of potential light appears in the form of

funding or the relaxation of unreasonable

rules, I’m naturally inclined to be skeptical

of whatever is presented. Take for example

the naive excitement that surrounded the

announcement of the $15 million BC Music

Fund earlier this year. Has anyone you or I

know seen any of that? Do you believe any

of us will? Are we not part of that group

that “develops culture” and “contributes to

the cultural fabric of our province”? I guess

not. We are the tier below. When they talked

about creating jobs were they talking about

enabling artists to work within their own

industry? Or were they talking about the

numerous bureaucratic channels one has to

pass through just to be told yes or no?

This isn’t surprising. Nor is it new. We

have relatively little systemic support, a

the irony of having to hide to exist


police force that at times serves as a revenue

collection agency, and a myriad of outdated

regulations that are gifted a convenient cop

out clause in the form of vaguely worded

criteria that allow the powers that be to

tread the line between misleading and

dishonest. The arbitrary and petty nature

of certain processes, coupled with the

constantly changing and unclear criteria, can

make something like a licence application

feel like nothing more than a thinly veiled

bribe, under the guise of legitimate due

process. It’s a trait of this part of the world;

the over complication of processes and

implementation of arbitrary guidelines that

largely serve the institutions that perpetuate

these processes and guidelines, rather than

the people they claim to assist. No, this is

not the case 100 per cent of the time but

it often is, and we feel it regularly in our

backyard. It’s a vocalized facade trumpeting

arts and culture rendered laughable in a

city landmarked by the cruel poeticism of

constant reminders such as the old Red

Gate now occupied by a Crossfit, or

development deals being sweetened by

the allure of the very “cultural fabric”

they are rendering obsolete.

It’s hard not to feel like the walls are

closing in. The available area is literally

shrinking. But this is not an excuse to fold.

It’s under these circumstances that the finest

art emerges and the most creative thinkers

are forced to invent new ways of existing, of

sustaining, and of thriving. The landscape

is changing. The new era of Vancouver is

looming over the remnants of the golden

age, and although I loathe much of what is

coming, I’m excited for the art and music

that will grow out of adversity.

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.


December 2016




Vancouver — The end is nigh, the end of 2016 that is. And thank goodness,

amirite? Let’s put a bow on this garbage year and take it to the curb on a high

note with our top five end of the year electronic and hip hop concert picks.


December 10 @ Celebrities

Hailing from Hamburg, Germany, Marco Niemerski, known professionally

as Tensnake, is probably most recognized for his popular single “Coma

Cat” which swept the interwebs as well as the UK Singles, Indie, and Dance

Charts back in 2010. Currently, he’s become just as well known for his

marathon deep house and disco infused sets that continue to pack dance

floors around the world.

Sweater Beats

December 14 @ Fortune Sound Club

Gaining popularity in the midst of Soundcloud’s heyday with the release

of his debut single “Mlln Dllr” on Annie Mac’s Radio1 show, Antonio Cuna,

also known as Sweater Beats, has always been on his own hybrid wave of

contemporary R&B and dance music. Currently on tour with a brand new

live set, only purely euphoric and sexy vibes can be expected from this

experienced producer.

Roy Woods

December 15 @ Imperial

Another OVO Sound wunderkind, Roy Woods, who also goes by Denzel

Spencer, is a Canadian rapper, singer, and songwriter from Brampton,

Ontario. Getting his first big break when Drake premiered his single,

“Drama,” on OVO Sound radio, the young crooner will definitely make ya

body whine in support of his debut LP, Waking at Dawn.


December 16 @ Fortune Sound Club

Deeply engrossed in the future of hip hop, R&B, and electronic dance music,

Falcons is an LA based producer that prefers to live on the more turnt up

side of the musical spectrum. Well known for his original single “Aquafina”

featuring American rapper Goldlink, Falcons has been able to travel all

around the world with his music and has even spent some time living here

in Vancouver back in the day.

The Funk Hunters

December 21-22 @ Commodore Ballroom

Vancouver’s own The Funk Hunters put the soul back into electronic dance

music. Fresh off of a successful year playing international stages including

Coachella, Burning Man, Pemberton Music Festival, and Shambhala, the DJ

duo of Nick Middleton and Duncan Smith are returning to their hometown

for the holidays to share their bass heavy sound, their stunning customcurated

visuals, and their animated stage presence.

The Funk Hunters

Photo by Mark Brennan


a bromance that benefits us all


EDM besties Porter Robinson and Madeon share how their ten years of friendship inspired The Shelter Tour.

While these two electronic music

producers have both played in

Vancouver many times before, Madeon,

also known as Hugo Leclercq, and Porter

Robinson’s upcoming performance on

The Shelter Tour will be based around

their first collaborative single “Shelter” as

well as the duos own inspiring friendship.

Currently in their 20s, Robinson

and Leclercq first met in an online music

production forum back in 2006 when

they were just 14 and 12 respectively.

“We’ve seen each other grow into

adults and our unique life situations

are [actually] incredibly similar,” says

Leclercq of their decade long friendship.

“We are both electronic music

producers who had to tour the world at

a young age. Those things are difficult to

share with everyone else.”

“It’s similar to when twins develop

their own language,” explains Robinson,

seamlessly picking up where Leclercq

trails off. “Hugo and I have so many

[shared] references, patterns of speech,

and ways of thinking and discussing

ideas. It can be hard to decipher for

other people. That’s how close we are

and how much of a deep understanding

we have of each other’s sensibilities.”

While Robinson is mostly known

for his sweeping electro house

compositions and Madeon is more

recognized for his futuristic electropop

tracks, together the two producers

operate in an aural sweet spot that

highlights both of their strengths

simultaneously. Their collaborative

single “Shelter,” for example, is a perfect

representation of the duos chemistry as

producers and was created in Leclercq’s

home studio located in Nantes, France.

Focusing primarily on songwriting

and lyrics, the two producers chose to

work on the track together in the studio as

opposed to online. “A lot of [our process]

was [through] conversation. Talking about

what we wanted to express, about music

and sharing a human moment opposed

to sending demos back and forth over the

Internet,” says Leclercq.

“We [also] spent a long time stuck and

frustrated with the lyrics. The big surprise

came when we changed the theme of the song

to something a lot more real to us,” explains

Robinson. “That was a big breakthrough.”

“[The new theme that we decided

on was] family and passing on. The idea

of transmission through generations

and how those ideas formed who we

are [as people],” Leclercq adds.

Building on the pair’s musical

collaboration, the two also combined

their talent on the visual aspect of their

tour. “We wanted to showcase our

friendship and the human component

of our music, opposed to the fictional

visuals we use in our solo work. So

the slides in the art show are more

photography based,” says Leclercq.

“We had so many breakthroughs

about videos and lighting that were very

revelatory,” Robinson mentions. “One

of Hugo’s biggest demands was the use

of a lot of negative space, often times

refusing to shift the borders of video

walls to create [an] infinite perspective

which [looks] pretty amazing. So the

visuals are deeply collaborative.”

Leclercq adds, “The real show will

be the way we interact with each other

on stage. We have a great time together

playing our favourite music.”

Porter Robinson and Madeon perform

at The Vogue Theatre December 6 and 7.






After almost a decade spent releasing an

onslaught of EPS and remixes, travelling

worldwide on several massive tours, and

most recently, completing their first

full-length studio album and starting a brandnew

record label, Dylan Mamid and Zachary

Rapp-Rovan, also known as Zeds Dead, have

accomplished an insane amount in their careers so

far. “I still think we’re freshmen in this scene [in terms]

of people [that we] look up to. I forget [that] we’ve been

in it for [so] long,” Rapp-Rovan answers humbly over

the phone.

Rapp-Rovan and Mamid first met in their

hometown of Toronto in the mid-2000s where

they bonded over their mutual love for hip-hop

music and production. Growing up in the Myspace

era, the duo originally teamed up under the title

Mass Productions and independently released a

free LP inspired by 1990s hip-hop titled Fresh

Beetz. Pretty soon thereafter, the two friends first

discovered electronic dance music and began to

produce dance beats under Zeds Dead, a moniker

inspired by the movie Pulp Fiction, in 2009.

As their fan base began to expand, the duo

founded a weekly underground party that they

called Bassmentality in the actual basement of a

Toronto bar called 751. Used as a platform for

new DJs to freely play, the night championed the

early EDM scene in Canada and explored sub-genres

like dubstep, UK garage, and bass. Over the years

the party became known for featuring local weekly

performances by Zeds Dead and The Killabits as

well as international acts like Skrillex, Nero, Borgore,

Bare Noize, and Camo & Crooked, to name a few.

In 2013 Zeds Dead released their breakout

EP Hot Sauce through Diplo’s Mad Decent label,

which quickly placed them on the international

EDM circuit. A short year later, the young

producers showed off their knack for collaboration by

working closely with Toronto-based rapper Omar LinX

as well as other well known artists like Twin Shadow, Big

Gigantic, Bright Lights, and Dirtyphonics to release their

EP Somewhere Else to much critical acclaim.

Northern Lights is the first original LP from the

Zeds Dead camp and showcases a striking compilation

of musical genres and partnerships from beginning

to end. Listening to it, the bass and dubstep genres

that some of the first Zeds Dead fans initially fell

in love with merge with party-ready electro-house

tracks, calming soundscapes, and that fusion of hiphop

the pair is known for, to create both a cohesive

and encompassing sound. With vocal features

from a haphazard collection of artists including

Weezer’s frontman Rivers Cuomo, rapper Pusha

T, Swedish rapper Elliphant, Jadakiss, and Freddie

Gibbs, it all somehow

works together on the

album. “I’m really

proud of who we got

to collaborate with

for Northern Lights,”

explains Rapp-Rovan.

“We collaborated

with [so many] of the

people we looked up to

growing up listening to

music. We’ve wanted to

make our own album

since we started Zeds

Dead. It’s just the way

it went that we ended

up releasing remixes

and EPs instead.”

Two years in the making, the pair decided

to lighten their show time having been touring

nonstop since 2010 to dedicate the necessary

studio time to work on the album. “We wanted to

make a real album that was kind of like the stuff

that we grew up on, where it wasn’t just a collection

of songs, it was more like something you could

listen to front to back [that] was cohesive and told

a story. Northern Lights is representative of the

feeling that we were going for.”

While the backdrop of the album is very

moody, mysterious, and dark, the bright range

of vocalists guide the listener through the album

like the beguiling shimmer of the aurora borealis

itself. “Sort of like beauty in darkness, if you want to

call it that. It’s interpretative but it’s definitely dark, but

there are light moments, and it’s not all super serious,”

concludes Rapp-Rovan. “We did our best to put

together a cohesive piece of work. It took two years and

we made a lot of music before narrowing it down to the

best of what represents what Zeds Dead [truly] is.”

According to Rapp-Rovan, the most

challenging track for them to create was most

definitely “Stardust,” featuring synthpop singer

and producer Twin

Shadow. “We went

through so many different

phases. We knew that we

had something really

dope and there was a

lot of experimentation.

In the end I think we

came up with a really

cool piece of music that

isn’t easy to place or put

in a box,” he explains.

Released just last

month, Northern

Lights was also

the first release on

Deadbeats, the official

musical imprint of Zeds Dead. “We’ve wanted

to have a record label for a really long time now.

[Just] to be able to release our own music as well

as put out artists that we think are really great,”

says Rapp-Rovan. “We’ve always been kind of

do-it-yourself so it just furthers that story.” So

far, the label has also rolled out the debut EP of

French electro producer Nebbra and plans to also

release a compilation of songs from promising upand-coming

artists that Deadbeats has picked set

to come out at the end of the year or early 2017.

The label won’t be limiting their releases to just

electronic music either. “We’ve always been hiphop

heads and we definitely want to showcase that

side of us,” says Rapp-Rovan. More than a record

label, Deadbeats will also act as a community for

like-minded artists, a literal expansion of the Zeds

Dead world.

Having just released a music video for their

single “Too Young” off of Northern Lights, the

creative duo wants to send a message to their fans

using the pastel-coloured, hash-tag adorned

stop-animation by artist Chris Ullens as their

means of delivery. “It’s a critique on our overuse

of social media,” states Rapp-Rovan. As artists

that first released their music via Myspace and

have seen social media, and media in general,

evolve at breakneck speeds, the song is pretty

on point with the social media conundrum our

generation faces. The claymation in the video, like the

catchy song itself, appears attractive and bright where

the dark lyrics and even darker motifs catch you

off-guard. Much like social media has changed,

the electronic music scene has transformed

almost past recognition since Zeds Dead first

started producing music, and yet, Rapp-Rovan says

they’re not worried. “I think we [just like to] keep

to ourselves and stay in our own world, and it hasn’t

failed us yet.”

The industrious pair plans to take it easy

in the New Year after hitting up multiple

cities across North America and Europe on the

Northern Lights tour. The dynamic duo has

collaborated with Strange Loop (the company

behind Flying Lotus’ psychedelic visuals)

for some very trippy production to unleash

on the audience. “Generally our sets are

almost completely our own music and the visual

accompaniment that we have goes perfectly with

it,” Rapp-Rovan promises. “It’s going to be a real

audio-visual experience.”

Zeds Dead performs at Contact Winter Music Festival at

BC Place on December 26th.


December 2016


Australian producer Flume, known

personally as Harley Edward Streten,

has been enthralling electronic music

fans since his first critically acclaimed,

double-platinum studio album, Flume,

released in 2012. His innovative,

matchless work fluctuates between

experimental, electro-pop, hip-hop, and

future bass. His second chart-topping

studio album, Skin, was released earlier

this year to more critical acclaim and

features the popular single “Never Be

Like You” with Canadian vocalist Kai.

BeatRoute’s must-see acts


After a successful summer festival circuit, local dance music fans were left

looking forward to the reveal of one of Vancouver’s largest winter music events.

Contact Winter Music Festival’s lineup this year is loaded with something for

everyone and takes place at British Columbia’s largest venue, BC Place. Here you

can check out our eight must-see acts on this year’s festival, and wrap up the

holiday season dancing with your crew to some of the top sounds in EDM today.


Born in Phoenix, Arizona, Mija, also known as

Amber Giles, is an electronic music producer,

DJ, and promoter who first became popular

by playing a back-to-back set with Skrillex

back in 2014. Not wanting to be categorized,

Mija describes her sets as “fk a genre” and

regularly traverses everything from trap and

heavy bass to disco, bounce, and beyond.


Well known for his distinctly atmospheric,

groove-driven tracks, Matt Collar, who

produces music under the name Big Wild,

is an incredibly talented electronic

music DJ, producer, composer, and

engineer. Inspired by the natural beauty

of Northern California, the young artist

is known to mix his computer-based

recordings with live piano, drums,

guitars, and other instruments on stage

during his performances.


Zeds Dead is a bass-fueled Canadian

electronic music duo that has worked

relentlessly to make an imprint on the

global electronic music scene. Over

an onslaught of EPs and remixes over

the years, they have recently released

their first studio album Northern Lights

which is a prime example of their edgy

and untouchable sound – a medley of

dubstep, trap, hip-hop, and drum & bass.


Grammy nominated brothers Howard

and Guy Lawrence are two English

electronic music producers that are

most commonly known together

as Disclosure. Gaining international

recognition for their debut studio album

Settle, the hysteria currently surrounding

the project first came to light almost

solely based on the success of their single

“Latch” featuring Sam Smith, which later

helped launch the album to the number

one spot on both the UK and US Dance/

Electronic Album Charts.


Marshmello, like this producer’s

name suggests, doles out fluffy gooey

electronic music goodness with every

song he releases. The mysteriously

masked music maker (whose identity

remains anonymous) creates happygo-lucky

synth-filled dance music and

originally blew up in 2015 after remixing

songs by Zedd and Jack Ü, while also

releasing his own original singles

“Summer” and “Alone.”


Los Angeles-based Drezo, or just

Andre to his friends, is known for the

signature deep house style he brings

to his sets throughout the underground

music scene. The unique sound that

he has created continues to innovate

house music with equal parts ominous,

repetitive, and impulsively driven beats.


Although not much is generally known

about the UK based trap producer

Hucci aside from his first name probably

being Oliver, all you really need to know

is that his hard hitting bass heavy tracks

supplemented by intermittent showers

of hi hats and soaring vocal drops will

truly knock you on your ass.

Contact Winter Music Festival 2016

takes place December 26-27 at BC Place

single bill



double bill


DEC 1- 9



DEC 10 - 14



DEC 15 - 19




when you write about seclusion and some buyers finally tune in

Photo by Ben Colen


A lone figure huddles beneath giant bat

wings. Just above their peaked tips are

dozens of serpentine eyes, nefariously

reaching claws, jagged brambles and

slimy tentacles, writhing forth from a

cloak of darkness. This ominous scene

is the visual representation of Aesop

Rock’s latest album, The Impossible

Kid, as brought to life by historically

imaginative artist Alex Pardee.

The artwork is symbolic, first,

speaking to the crushing weight of a

year of tumult. 2016 has taken with both

hands, with great losses felt throughout

the music community, coupled with

political and social upheaval. Some

remarked that the apocalypse was upon

us. Secondly, the artwork speaks to

the personal struggles Ian Bavitz (Aes

himself) has faced over the past few

years, brought to life in arguably his

most personal release to date.

“I wanted it to feel like a person’s

desire to isolate,” says Bavitz of the

visual Pardee actualized. “Feeling like

the environment was coming alive.

Like being alone in a place you don’t

know, and sensing that maybe there’s

something out there. Letting any little

bump in the night become exaggerated

in your head.”

This reflected the experience Bavitz

had while writing The Impossible Kid, as

he retreated to a cabin in the woods,

with only his cat Kirby (who has its own

song on the album) for company, and

the overwhelming silence of isolation.

Bavitz details this account on “Rabies,”

reminiscent of Kerouac’s Big Sur, in all its


Bavitz discusses his isolated writing

process and how The Impossible Kid fits

into his repertoire: “I go dark, over-think,

and make shit. That’s sorta the cycle I live

in. I wouldn’t know how to judge which

of my works is more or less personal...

They all kind of consume me at the

time.” He continues: “I had a handful

of years which resulted in some losses,

and had the opportunity to get away for

a second, so I took it. I’ve lived in some

amazing cities, but there is occasionally

the feeling that you need to ‘keep up’

with what’s going on in these places

in a way that is counterproductive for

me. Once I start to feel like I’m in a

competition every time I step outside

my home, it’s time to move on.”

Although the album is touted

as coming from a place of darkness,

there is a lightness that peeks through,

along with the clever humour that sets

Aesop Rock apart (“Lotta Years,” for

example). For instance, Bavitz has rediscovered

his love for drawing (which

he discusses in the track “Rings”) and

skateboarding, and this has become a

fresh source of inspiration.

“Skateboarding is 100 per cent

responsible for everything I am today,”

Bavitz states. “That is how I always

identified, and growing up it was who

I felt most comfortable around. It was

something that attracted a pretty

diverse group; all types of weirdoes and

creative minds and people into art and

music and all that shit.”

Additionally, Bavitz has taken on

the role of sole producer, having largely

worked with collaborators previously.

“Being in control of every sound and lyric

allows me to feel like the final product is

truly mine, instead of saying ‘Here is my

solo record’ when I only really did 50 per

cent or less of the actual legwork,” he

explains. “If it’s awful, at least it’s mine. If

it’s great - wonderful. I hope the passion

I have is clear and that people know

that whatever they hear is not gonna be

some bullshit. I work my ass off.”

For decades, Aesop Rock has

been making hip hop for intellectuals

and weirdoes. His honesty creates instantly

relatable moments to offset even the

most outlandish settings. His wordplay is

so complex it’s often hard to keep up with,

but after settling into its subtle nuances,

it’s impossible not to appreciate.

“I love reading science news

and seeing what we as humans are

discovering,” he describes of his

inspiration. “And watching people who

really get into shit, no matter what it is.

If you make the best risotto, and that’s

your passion, and I can tell, then I can

watch you talk about that shit all day.”

Whether waxing philosophic on the

dissolution of Pluto’s status as a planet,

taking the listener into the mind of a sea

swept sailor encountering a mermaid,

or wryly discussing the awkwardness of

being in therapy (“Shrunk”), he never

Self-produced new album a step towards greater ownership of his craft.

takes the same path twice.

Given his standing as an icon of

the underground rap world, BeatRoute

asked Bavitz what his thoughts were

regarding the future of Trump’s America

and what it means for the world of


“Trump is an abomination,” Bavitz

replies. “I guess what I sometimes

struggle with is the choice of [spending]

my time and energy speaking out

against this awful man and what I

believe it means for us as a society, or

[recognizing] that that’s a losing battle,

and just doing my best to spread what I

believe to be positivity in an attempt to

make people realize that all is not lost.”

“Countercultures thrive when

mainstream culture is a disgusting place

- and when I think of what has helped

me personally throughout my life, it

was never someone berating me about

what I should and shouldn’t believe,” he

continues. “It was people showing me

that there is other shit out there.”

The Impossible Kid is a prime

example of something bright

coming from darkness. Upon further

examination of its telling album art,

perhaps one can ascertain that the lone

figure is actually taking his own bizarre

features and harnessing them into a

superpower. A striking reminder that

what many think to be impossible can

become reality, if you know how to look

at the whole picture.

Aesop Rock plays the Starlite Room

in Edmonton on December 16th, The

Gateway in Calgary on December 17th,

and Venue Nightclub in Vancouver on

December 19th.


a celebration of life and positive human energy


Machinedrum has escalated to a

new stage in his career, and with his

latest release on Ninja Tune, Human

Energy, he is inviting everyone to join

him. “I wanted to create an album that

embodied a feeling [of unity] by having

a more uplifting and celebratory nature

sonically,” explains Travis Stewart, aka

Machinedrum, from his new home in Los

Angeles. “The album is a celebration of life

and of the positive energy that everybody

has [the] potential to tap into.”

For the past 15 years, Stewart has

developed a reputation for his ability to

traverse across a variety of electronic

music genres while maintaining a

high calibre. Under his solo moniker

Machinedrum or in collaboration with

other artists like, Om Unit as Dream

Continuum, Jimmy Edgar as JETS, or with

Praveen Sharma as Sepalcure, Stewart

has proven himself to be both versatile

and a true master of percussion.

Through a series of recent events in

his personal world, Stewart began taking

a new approach to life thereby adding a

more positive and uplifting element to

his sound. “The whole approach to this

album in general was sort of a naïve kid’s

approach to learning about these new age

concepts,” tells Stewart. “I wanted to have

fun with it rather than just bore people

with all the details [of new age ideas]

which can usually push people away.”

A return to alternative therapeutic

practices such as reiki and guided

meditation, not to mention a recent

engagement to his partner, paved the

way for an inner transformation which

is reflected in Human Energy. “A lot of

it happened unconsciously,” he shares.

“When I was writing the album, I was just

going with the flow and [didn’t] really

give it too much thought. I was kind of

leaving my body, as I do whenever I’m

writing songs, and tapping into another

plane of existence.”

New experimentations with

sound and a deeper connection to the

subconscious led Stewart to incorporate

the connection between sound and

colour in his work. “I have a synesthetic

relationship with music. Whenever I

hear music that really speaks to me

it puts pictures in my mind. Certain

sounds have tones and colours for me.”

Not too long ago, Stewart tried his

own hand at producing music for the

alternative healing arts, and then shared

the instrumental track made for guided

meditation with his online followers. “I

actually made that tonal piece to help

me meditate when I was writing the

album,” he says. “I would start everyday

by listening to it while meditating for 15

minutes, then I would start working on

music. It was a palate cleanser in a way. It

really helped clear my mind and be able to

focus without thinking about everything

else that was going on in my life.”

With a new direction in the studio,

Stewart also collaborated with artists

Strangeloop and Timeboy to create

an audio-visual experience fit for his

performance. A desire to “hit people

with energy” by utilizing projections of

colour in finely calculated ways on the

dance floor, Stewart is hoping to give

his audiences more than just a party. “I

want people to feel like they’re present

and connected to the music. Rather

than it [just] being about me and what

I’m doing, I want people to feel like

they’re all [in it] together.”

Machinedrum performs at Fortune

Sound Club December 29th


December 2016

The best way to countdown to

December 25? With beer, of course.

And since Vancouver is such a fertile

breeding ground for the craft variety,

it’s a perfect way to both support

local and get into the holiday spirit.

BeatRoute hit some of the city’s finest

breweries to find the tastiest seasonal

offerings to celebrate with.


33 Acres of Ocean - West Coast Pale

Christmas brings about feelings of

nostalgia and this beer fills that need

quite well. It’s a West Coast style pale

ale that has a nice pine/evergreen

flavour that has a bit of hop kick

without being overpowering. It’s a

drinkable beer that has a refreshing

citrus flavor, and that pine touch will

remind one of the Pacific Northwest

and keep with the season nicely. (GW)

While 33 Acres avoids falling into

the stereotypical seasonal trap, that

doesn’t mean that their beer has

no seasonal aspects. Says 33 Acres

manager, Dustin Sepkowski, “It’s

important that seasonal brews will

interest us and encourage us to try

them, but also to have our core staples

be just that. A beer that is clean and

drinkable, and the consistency to earn

the trust of beer drinkers.” 33 Acres

of Darkness is a seasonal favourite,

selling much more during the winter

months than otherwise. It’s a black

ale that while isn’t super strong, nor

super thick, provides the comforting

warmth that’s perfect for the cold

months—warm and satisfying

without being filling. (GW)

Having trouble dealing with in-laws,

or other family members? Maybe 33

Acres of Euphoria is the right beer for

you. It’s super strong at 9.2% so it will

get you buzzed quite quickly, but it’s

delicious banana and spice flavour

will make it enjoyable to drink down.

It’s strong but not overpoweringly so.

It’s got a spiciness that will encourage

drinking and an alcohol content that

will make sure you’re going to be able

to handle whatever your gross uncle

has to say. (GW)


This dark and warm milk stout is

light in alcohol, but rich in flavour.

Sweetened with lactose (milk sugar)

and chocolate, it leaves a pleasantly

lingering coffee aftertaste. (KN)

A sea salted and caramel Scotch


Ale, Salty Scot is a darker brew that

maintains a harmonious balance

between its two flavours. (KN)

Toques of Hazzard — an Imperial White

IPA — has a malty tartness that’s not

quite sour, with flavours of gooseberry

to keep the brew light bodied. (KN)

Along with these brews, Parallel 49 is

also offering a Season’s Greetings case in

partnership with Central City Brewing,

which features 24 different beers — one

for every day of the advent calendar.


It’s just not winter without a seasonal

stout and R&B is delivering one with

a twist. Served on nitro, the Dark

Star Stout is smooth, creamy, and

surprisingly mellow for a stout. Not too

heavy — very Guinness like in terms

of comparison — with rich notes of

chocolate and coffee. (JE)

For those that like their stouts strong, this

is the beer they are looking for. The Ursos

Arctos is a Russian Imperial stout with a

hard hitting 10.4% and 70 IBU. Very rich,

very heavy, and with super concentrated

caramel notes, the Ursos Arctos is a very

complex tasting beer with layers of flavour

that hit you in waves as you drink it. Not for

the faint of heart, but one of the best beers

you will taste this winter. (JE)


A brewery that never fails to challenge

themselves and the palette of their

consumer, Strange Fellows Brewing is

featuring two limited release holiday


seasonals that explore the dark side of

folklore themes and quirky traditions.

For example, their principal holiday

beer is an ode to the anti-father

Christmas, Krampus himself. “We

actually have a Krampus costume

that one of our bartenders made, you

can come here in December with kids

and have a photo on the throne with

Krampus, and we made at least four or

five kids cry,” laughs head brewmaster,

Iain Hill. If you’ve seen Krampus, you’ll

know why kids are crying. The beer is

a Belgian Abbey Dubbel. “It’s not a

hoppy beer, more based on malt and

yeast flavours,” Hill adds. “It needs

to age a long time and we made it

months ago. It’s brewed in the historic

style of Belgian monasteries — like a

Trappist ale.” (EJ)

The second winter seasonal is Boris,

a Russian Imperiale Stout. Strange

Fellows experiments extensively with

aging beers and attaining flavours

through a barrel, and Boris is the beer

that puts Strange Fellows through

its paces. (EJ)



Don’t be alarmed by the high ABV of

this local take on a classic Belgian style.

Relative newcomers to Vancouver’s

bountiful craft beer scene, Strathcona

Beer Company’s strikingly authentic

version of this dark, malty treat of

an ale is a lip-smacking gift boasting

a robust, rich flavour that avoids the

overly complex palate distractions

some Belgian Abbey ales tend to get lost

in. Accessible to both those seasoned in

the expansive world of Belgian beers,

and to others who’ve never heard of

world-renowned ales such as Chimay or

La Chouffe, this single-batch Dubbel

is highly drinkable — dangerously so.

As a beer style sometimes recreated

less-accurately than others by

craft breweries, it’s impressive and

appreciated to have such a faithful

rendition of one of the tastiest, winterappropriate

brews available right in

our Eastside backyard. Made with

dark Belgian candy sugar imported

directly from Belgium, this Dubbel is

sweet, reaffirming, and (be careful

— remember the ABV!) worthy of

repeat refills. (WT)


Six years ago, on Beatty street, stood a

well-regarded brewpub by the name

of Dix BBQ & Brewery. Following its

closure, the brewers moved on to

other projects, but they’ve kept the

spirit of Dix alive with the help of

Nigel Springthorpe and Brassneck

Brewery, through a yearly tradition

of a collaboration in the muchloved

Pacific Northwest IPA

style called the Spirit of DIXmas.

Brassneck, one of Vancouver’s

premier craft breweries, actually

operates using Dix’s brewing

system, having purchased it

following the closing of Dix’s doors.

As the very first IPA produced

by the Main St. brewery, Spirit of

DIXmas is a lovely, welcome addition

to BC’s massively varied IPA family. It’s

strong (as expected), aromatic, and

flowing with flavour notes running

from pine to citrus and beyond.

Made with Centennial, Citra and

Simcoe hops, Spirit of DIXmas is

an excellently balanced IPA with

that requisite light-handed touch

of bitterness that leaves you

craving another glass. Get down to

Brassneck before it’s sold out. (WT)


















































December 2016 CITY



the Canadian play that shook the ground and opened minds


From December 1-10, the Vancouver

based Realwheels Theatre presents

their production of Creeps. Creeps

is a controversial, ground-breaking,

and subversive play that transformed

Canadian theatre by offering a unique

perspective on living with a disability.

The play was written in 1971 by David

E. Freeman who, as someone who lived

with cerebral palsy, wrote the entire play

by typewriter, which he worked with a

stick held between his teeth.

Creeps is a story of four disabled

men who spend their days brooding

in a gruelling and insulated workshop.

After growing tired of the way they are

treated, they rebel by holing themselves

up in the warehouse washroom. In there,

they indulge in gossip and smoking, while

liberating themselves by rejecting the

institutionalized conduct they’ve been

subjected to. In the original production

in the 1970s, Freeman personally coached

the actors so that they would not be seen

to simply impersonate the disabilities

associated with the condition. The

play also has the educational purpose

to inform the audience about the

causes and symptoms of cerebral

palsy. The unapologetic honesty and

audaciousness of the script is both

hilarious and heartbreaking, and the

sarcastic dialogue encapsulates a blend

of cruelty and transparency into this

understudied world.


Directed by the innovative Brian

Cochrane (52 Pick-up, Wide Awake

Hearts, Speech & Debate), Creeps’

casting features actors both with and

without disabilities and includes, from

the disabled community, Paul Beckett,

Adam Grant Warren, and Aaron

Roderick, alongside David A. Kaye and

Genevieve Fleming.

Creeps includes some outdated

language that may “Raise some

interesting questions and cause

controversy,” says producer Rena

Cohen, but it gave a voice to a

misunderstood community in a

particularly complex time in a world

that remains prejudiced. Cohen

describes that the characters feel

that they’re “the toilet of humanity”

and that “the play is an argument

between those that are protesting the

structures between those disabilities.”

She explains: “it’s a dark comedy that

deals with difficult subjects, it is also

an opportunity to recognize how far we

have come over the past 45 years.”

A powerful and fresh display of

the fight against oppression through a

brutally honest lens, Creeps brings some

sense of the difficulty of living with a

disability to light in the powerful form

of live theatre.

Creeps runs from December 1-10 at the

Historic Theatre. Tickets are two for one

on December 3, which is the International

Day of Persons with Disabilities.

Photo by Tim Matheson

Creeps fearlessly embraces dark humor within the search for humanity with a disability


going green has never been so easy


Listen up plant lovers: Foliosa is about to

become your new favourite gardening

company. Based out of Vancouver,

they specialize in setting up indoor

gardens — and creating the plant

wonderland of your dreams.

“I had the idea for what is

now Foliosa a couple of years ago

when I was studying landscape

horticulture,” says founder Britt

Wainwright. “It was a very tiny

idea and it took me a while to figure

out exactly what I wanted Foliosa to

become. Plants can be scary because

they are living things and most people

don’t have the time to nurture them.

So, you see a lot of spaces with the

wrong plants and they are getting over

or under watered. I want to change that

by making the right plant choices for

spaces and I also offer the service of caring

for them, like a plant mom.”

Foliosa doesn’t stop at installing

Rebel Soup gives the ugly food of the world

a chance to be part of something great.

plants in your home or office — they

also help you look after them, coming

in to water, dust, and clip, and ensuring

that the plants flourish and receive

proper nutrition. Say farewell to

unknowingly killing your plants.

Wainwright’s hope is to collaborate

with and promote local makers. Along

with beautifying homes, Foliosa has

garnished venues like the American

and Tacofino with greenery. “When

styling for permanent containers, I put

emphasis on adding plants that

are best for the space by making

sure they can thrive in their

environment.” Wainwright says. “I

take into account what the client is looking

for — it’s important to me to understand

their vision, if they have one — and blend

it with what I think will look beautiful and

function within the space.”

“With event styling there’s more wiggle

room for getting a bit wild. Since you’re not

worrying about long term plantings, you get

more creative freedom,” she adds.

Suffice it to say, we now all have a fairy

plant-mother in Britt Wainwright.

Learn more about Foliosa and their

services at foliosa.org.


challenging perceptions one bowl at a time


“We don’t believe in conventional

standards, and in buying Rebel Soup,

you’re taking a stand with us,”

says Amanda Slater, who aims to

challenge the perception that “ugly”

produce has no value.

Combining her background in

holistic nutrition and the support

of a social venture entrepreneurship

program, Slater has transformed

what started out as a home-based

soup club into Rebel Soup, a small

business on a mission to tackle

f arm-level food waste through

the simple process of making


Rebel Soup works directly with

local farmers to buy their unsellable

produce, which can amount to

between 30 and 40 percent of what

they grow. These vegetables, though

perfectly nutritious, cannot be sold

to supermarkets because they do

not meet aesthetic standards. In

contrast to the aisles of uniform,

blemish-free produce found in

supermarkets, Rebel Soup embraces

unwanted, uniquely shaped veggies

and transforms them into nourishing

vegan soups.

“Don’t be fooled by a pureed

vegan soup!” asserts Slater. The soups

are hearty, packed with roughly a

pound of veggies in every jar, often

Britt Wainwright uses her green thumb to

save the lives of green things everywhere.

combined with ingredients such as

nut milks and organic beans for fiber

and protein. Slater chooses spices and

combinations that bring out the natural

flavours of the vegetables in an effort to

deepen the connection between people

and their food.

Since its launch in early October,

Rebel Soup has quickly gained

momentum. Slater hopes to have the

soups carried by a few cafes and small

retailers in the new year. Currently, the

soups are available through the online

soup club at rebelsoup.ca, where you

can select your flavours and have the

option of delivery or pickup. Rebel

Soup will also be a vendor at the first

annual Kitsilano Winter Market, held

at Kits House on December 3.

Rebel Soup aims to bring

awareness to food waste issues by

providing a convenient meal option

that has a real impact. “Our mandate

is ‘good for the environment, good

for the farmers, good for you,’” Slater

says. “We want to make sure that

the farmers are being paid. We

want to reduce the amount of

food that’s being wasted and be

able to provide a very accessible,

nutritious meal for people.”

Learn more about and purchase Rebel

Soup at rebelsoup.ca.

December 2016


a legendary party for the legend himself


“If you can remember Keithmas then

you weren’t there!” jokes Jon Hewer, the

man behind the party of the season. “It’s

become our de facto motto for the event.”

In its seventh consecutive year, the

event that combines Keith Richards’

birthday and Christmas is only growing,

giving the rock and roll junkies of

Vancouver a place to get their ya-yas

out, knowing that they’re giving back

to some of the people that need it most

this winter season — the beneficiaries

of the Greater Vancouver Food Bank.

“This kind of started as a lark

seven years ago,” remembers Hewer.

“We thought it would be a fun night.

By the time the night arrived it had

morphed into this whole other thing

where the sum was greater than the

parts. We raised $800 bucks and five

boxes of food and had so much fun that

we immediately said we have to do it

again next year. And now here we are,

seven years into it, and have raised over

$30,000 for the Food Bank!”

Beyond the charity of the evening,

there’s plenty to get into on the night

itself through raffles and auctions. Last

year they auctioned off Richards’ pants.

The moment the name was called for

the winner, the whole theatre went wild

— a consistent occurrence throughout

the evening.

With the support of many,

Keithmas is a consistent must for

partiers. With an eclectic musical lineup

— which, this year, includes Rich Hope

performing songs from the Rolling

Stones’ album Some Girls — the event is

sure to give a proper tribute to the man

of the hour.

“We tend to get all the credit as

organizers, but really the bands are what

makes it so special,” says Hewer. “Without

the artists generously giving all of their

time there is no Keithmas. And lastly, on

December 16th, let’s raise a glass (or a bottle)

of JD to the human riff master himself, the

indestructible Keith Richards, without

whom this event wouldn’t exist!”

A worthy toast, to be sure.

Keithmas VII takes place on December

16 at the Rickshaw Theatre.


new venue with a no-bullshit attitude aims to reinvigorate Vancouver nightlife


In the wearisome bar scene of

downtown Vancouver, finding your goto

hangout is no easy feat. The city’s

newest watering hole, the American, is

attempting to establish a new pocket

of nightlife that will hopefully refresh

this monotony.

Simon Fallick, one of the

pub’s owners, discusses his and his

team’s collective aim to create “An

atmosphere that’s not easily found

in Vancouver.” The casual and playful

interior of the American will be “an

inviting type of space for people to

come and enjoy,” catering to those

who are tired of “going to clubs and

grimy bars.” Fallick explains that the

space will be the perfect spot to

just “listen to some great music

and shoot pool without having

to get dressed up or worry about

dealing with shit heads.”

The location of the American

on 926 Main Street is a story in

itself. The building is over 100 years

old and was, at one point, home

to an infamous hotel by the same

name. After being a notorious spot

for criminal activity in its heyday, it

has since been refurbished, adding

new additions to the neighborhood.

The last of these was Electric Owl,

a Japanese izakaya-style venue

that eventually shut down and was

purchased by the new owners of the


While chatting about Electric

Owl’s closure, Fallick emphasizes

that “The promise for something

special was always there.” The

main difference between the

American and its former inhabitant

is that, unlike Electric Owl, the

aim of the new space isn’t to be a

live music venue, but rather, “to

create something where you [can]

just go and be yourself and have

fun.” The subtler styles of events

at the American include pop-up

restaurants, as well as DJ sets on

the weekends. With the addition

of arcade machines, the team also

plans to potentially host gaming

events at the pub.

Whether you want to watch a

big game in a friendly environment

or catch up with some friends, the

American offers a lighthearted

and fun space to unwind. As

Fallick jokingly refers to it, the new

“Cambie for adults” is sure to bring

something special to this “vibrant

part of the city.”

The American is located at 926

Main Street.














































































December 2016 CITY


Winter Wellness

Winter may well be the hardest season to stay on top of our overall health. For most of us, we’re stuck indoors

and, when we’re not, soggy weather and frigid temperatures put us in danger of catching a cold. Motivation

for going outside and getting exercise is often lacking, especially in light of holiday parties, copious amounts

of alcohol, and days filled with delicious indulgences. Plus, seasonal depression is a very real mental health

issue — and is at its crux. All things considered, it’s especially important not to be sparing with yourself in

body, mind, and spirit. So, we consulted a few local experts for insight on how to keep well this winter.


understanding the connection between physical and spiritual


Open books are hard to come by, even

in the age of Instagram. There is quoting

Rumi and then there is understanding

what the hell you’re actually quoting.

There is surface open and then there

is deep open. Chloe Elgar is the deep

blue Pacific kind of open. Her sense of

humour blankets company in an instant

state of ease, without detracting from

her unmistakably human demeanour.

“You have to meet people where

they’re at,” she says warmly. “Small

steps. If I tell them to go put their

crystals outside in the morning are

they going to think I’m a wacko?”

Probably. But then again, mysticore

is trending.

Elgar’s approach to health,

however, will have the energy to

carry her through the next wave

of amethyst and quartz carriers

(but she’s into it, in case you were

wondering). From her conflictheavy

upbringing and psychology

background, Elgar finds herself today

in happier, healthier territory: holistic

nutrition. She’s part psych major, part

public figure, part intuitive healer, and

part writer, among other things. Everything

she says makes so much sense, it seems wise

she should publish a how-to-be-you manual.

Actually, she did: Living in Light.

She easily toes the line between

personal and professional, drawing her

authority from a place of vulnerability,

sharing her struggle with an eating

disorder and anxiety boldly on her

website, Chloe’s Countertop, alongside

useful advice, recipes, and her podcast,

Conscious Conversations. It’s all part of

her larger belief in an integrative approach

to health and wellness that includes

practitioners outside of her realm of

expertise (osteopath, chiropractor, MD),

as well as spiritual discovery.

“All of our weight and body issues,

all that physical stuff is connected

with the spiritual, the emotional,” she

explains. “You can follow a diet or eating

plan, but it’s not sustainable unless you

face the reasons you’ve had to turn to

it in the first place.” She speaks bluntly

about the big missing piece she sees

blocking people looking to get healthy:

the inner child.

“It’s going back to your childhood

to look at where and how belief

systems were created so you can start

to understand why it is we do what we

do. If someone told you when you were

younger that there are starving children

in Africa, so you should eat everything

on your plate, then overeating, binge

eating, and not knowing when you’re full

can actually come from that moment.”

In Elgar’s world, we always have

a choice. “Either your body is going to

be the waste bin, or the garbage is,” she

says, encouraging her clients to trust

their bodies to let them know when

they’re full, not full, and what they’re

really craving.

“I know I am not for everyone,”

she admits. “And not everyone is for

me. I just have to be really authentic

within myself so I can help people as

best as I can. Intuition and spirituality

and emotional practice is really

important. It took me years to get this

stuff and really embrace it.”

Her clients, followers, and even

first-time acquaintances can find solace

in the fact that Elgar will match their

output and then some, sharing when

they share, listening when they need an

ear, and gently guiding them through

their dark baggage, back into the light,

crystal-assisted or not.

To find more about holistic nutrition, contact

Chloe Elgar at chloescountertop.com.


the quiet practice of self-care


With the onset of winter, it’s common

to sequester inside and fall into a

social-hibernation state of cancelled

commitments and avoided friends. It

becomes alarmingly easy to slack off on

looking after yourself and maintaining

any level of self-care — something

everyone needs.

One of the best ways to enact selfcare

is to do something that makes

you feel content and comforted.

Yoga has been proven to be a prime

opponent of stress and depression,

so BeatRoute spoke to Carly Russell,

a longtime yoga therapist, about yoga

and self-care in the wintertime.

BeatRoute: How do you define selfcare?

Carly Russell: Self-care is a dedication

of energy to taking a look at your

needs and creating a time and space

for your needs to exist. It’s figuring out

what it is you actually want and what

you need to do to go about creating

that change — without feeling like a

failure if you don’t feel amazing 100%

of the time.

BR: Why is yoga a good therapeutic

form to combat the “winter blues?”

CR: In the winter, people want to feel

warm and to feel comforted. I think

people are drawn to yoga because it

sort of represents that. People see it

as a way to bring comfort through

flexibility of the body and the mind.

It’s empowering someone through

movement and healing so they feel more

in control of their bodies. Yoga teaches

us to go from the inside out, to not be

outside in, so it’s being able to take a

moment and look at your surroundings

and the energy you have to give out

and making sure you’re taking enough

energy back in towards yourself in order

to be able to live healthily.

BR: Why yoga specifically, as opposed

to other forms of exercise?

CR: For many, yoga represents a

difference: the quiet practice, focusing

on breathing control, and also just

being able to sit with yourself. Asking

yourself hard questions and moving

through spaces that are challenging.

It’s working with both the effort

and the ease, and creating a balance

between the two.

BR: What would some of your other

self-care methods entail?

CR: Eating better, joyful activities

that are stimulating. I do sensory

deprivation therapy, which has helped

my meditation practice. What self-care

looks like for me is going to look different

for you. That’s why there’s so many things

out there for therapeutic purposes.

Find Carly Russell at Seacity Fitness and

Burrard Physiotherapy.


tips for keeping skin soft and luminous

this winter


Dry skin is a reality that many face this

time of year. No one seems immune

to the perils of winter that leave skin

feeling parched, red, or irritated.

“Even though we live in a rainy

climate, we spend a lot of time indoors with

the heaters on, which can make dry skin

worse,” explains Gwen Richards, co-founder

of Fable Naturals, a Vancouver-based

company that specializes in handmade,

local, fairly traded, and natural skincare.

However, according to Richards, a

solid regimen of daily moisturizing and

weekly exfoliation can go a long way.

Using a humidifier, drinking plenty of

fluids, and applying a moisturizer specially

formulated for dry skin are also ways to

keep your skin supple in the winter.

“Vancouverites are busy and active

and often forget to protect their skin from

the elements during the winter season,”

she adds.

Moisturizing is important because it

maintains the integrity of the skin’s natural

moisture barrier (a physical and chemical

barrier that keeps out microorganisms

and irritants). A healthy barrier means

softer skin, fewer wrinkles, even skin tone,

and fewer breakouts.

Because soap-based cleansers can

strip the skin’s moisture barrier, Richards

recommends using oil cleansers in winter

— especially if you have dry or mature

skin. “Our rosehip and olive facial oil is a

customer favourite all year round because

it is so nourishing. The benefit of using oil

is that you get intense hydration from just

a few drops.”

And for anyone who may be put off by

oil-based cleansers, fear not — they won’t

clog your pores. Richards gives her word.

Fable Naturals is available at various stockists

including the Soap Dispensary and Be

Fresh, and online at fablenaturals.com.


December 2016


part sass king, part domestic goddess



Darcy Michael may be racking up film

and television credits and relishing the

success of his recent comedy album,

Family Highs, which shot to #1 on iTunes

shortly after its release this past spring,

but as we chat on this blustery morning,

he’s tidying his office and cleaning

his cats’ litter boxes – activities he

claims keep him humble. A family

man, recently appreciating some

downtime at home with his husband

and daughter in Ladner after years of

non-stop travel to Toronto and L.A.

for work, Michael is enjoying a bit of

domestic bliss. “I secretly just want

to make enough money that I can be a

comfortable housewife,” Michael jokes.

“Cleaning the litter box and making

homemade ginger juice and burning

sage, that’s my shit.”

This recent change in pace is only

temporary, however, as Michael has

been hard at work writing scripts for

Darcy — a show in development for

CTV, based on Michael and his husband

Jeremy’s experiences as a gay couple

raising their daughter in a small town.

“The way I sold the show originally was I

wanted to make a gay Roseanne,” laughs

Michael. “Because, you know, it’s about

a blue collar, kind of not rich family

making ends meet. And that’s kind of

how Jer and Grace and I started.” It’s

no surprise that Michael has gravitated

toward this fresh take on a familiar

premise, given his description of his own

upbringing in a loving, unpretentious

household in small town Ontario. “My

parents definitely shaped who I am as a

comedian. And my whole family. Most of

the memories that I still have from being a

kid are of us laughing or doing something

stupid. […] Food fights are still a big thing

in our family […] Handful of spaghetti

across the room? Let’s dance!”

Considering the marital bliss

Michael has enjoyed for over a decade

here in Canada, we couldn’t help but

digress to the topic of recent political

affairs south of the border. As an artist

considerably invested in politics and

social justice, Michael is a tad deflated.

Darcy Michael does it for the love of good-natured ribbing, handfuls of spaghetti and high quality protest art.

“It’s a nightmare. I guess we all now

know how racists felt when Obama

got elected.” Determined to look for

a positive, however, he adds that

“repression breeds art. Fear breeds

art. The silver lining is that we’re

going to create some amazing

protest art over the next four years.”

And we look forward to the birth of

Michael’s particularly irreverent breed

of protest art in years to come.

It’s been a while since Michael’s

schedule has allowed him to perform

in his home clubs, so he looks forward

to reuniting with long time friend

and fellow comedian, Ivan Decker,

for their upcoming New Year’s Eve

show. “Ivan’s my comedy brother,

we started together. Well…” quips

Michael, “I’d prefer if we were

comedy boyfriends, but he’s pretty

dead set on staying straight.” To

experience Michael’s unapologetic

sass and good-natured ribbing of fellow

comedians in person, head down to The

Comedy Mix on New Year’s Eve.

Darcy Michael headlines The Comedy Mix

December 29-30. On December 31, Darcy

performs in a Triple Header with Ivan

Decker, Chris James and host, Kevin Banner.

Visit http://www.thecomedymix.com/

for tickets.

December 2016 COMEDY




she’s extra!


Imagine a child at home in Mission:

playing alone, obsessed with Sailor

Moon, and imagining a world in which

they create artistic performances of

their very own. These are the humble

beginnings of the drag behemoth

known as Raye Sunshine.

With horrible pencil thin eyebrows

and a thirst for audience adoration,

Sunshine made her first appearance on

the Odyssey stage performing to “Boys”

by Britney Spears. Having grown up gay

in a small community, Sunshine was

prepared for what the drag scene had

in store. “I’ve been hated my whole life,”

she states. “I just don’t give a shit.”

Dubbed the “Supermodel Empress”

during her reign, Sunshine did a staggering

22 courts and visited everywhere. She

was driven to ensure that she represented

the Vancouver community on as big of a

scale as she could. Traveling as she has,

she learned a valuable piece of wisdom.

“It’s not about pleasing the other girls, or

hyping up a promoters ego or a visiting

Ru girl,” she says. “The most important

thing is the audience, the ones that came

to see you perform.”

“The worst thing you could ever do is

just walk past and stay within your group.”

Sunshine understands what is

truly responsible for her success and

she honours that. “Mingle,” she insists.

“Use that drink ticket to buy someone

standing alone a drink, ask them what

brought them out. For fuck sakes, smile

at the group of new people at the club,

‘cause chances are those are the ones that

will come and fill the seats at your shows.”

Sunshine is also an accomplished

makeup artist and is always willing

to lend tips and tricks to new queens.

Being able to express her creativity in

different ways is extremely fulfilling

and the help she lends to new queens

is a mark of that — she wants to see them

learn and grow just as much as she has. Not to

mention, her looks are creative and edgy,

and are accompanied with performances

where every detail is considered and

executed with great intention.

“It’s the thrill of creating something

on stage that a community can talk

about,” she explains. “Using art to

create conversation makes everything I

do worth it. I get to live in my fantasy

world that I’ve created, being as bat shit

crazy as I am, millions of ideas tumble

through my head with in a single

day, creating those ideas into life and

executing them into reality is a thrill.

That thrill of the stage, the roar of the

crowd and the gasps make it worth it,

but also feeling that fear right before I

go on, is addictive. If I ever lost that fear

before going on stage I would probably

quit drag because at that point it’s not a

risk or a challenge anymore.”

Sunshine is a drag fixture, and when

we talk about the future, she has a very

clear idea of what she wants to achieve.

“I want to expand my ‘empire’ and show

the world my love of drag,” she says. “So,

who knows where I’ll be, but I do know

I will always perform in Vancouver

because without this city and the

people that raised me up, I would still be

that new boy in a dress walking around

Bingo collecting donations.”

Catch Raye Sunshine on January 13 at the

Commodore Ballroom for “It’s Just Drag.”

Photo by Chase Hansen


December 2016

Photo by Graham Spence



pushing the boundaries of

Vancouver drag




I tend to and stay optimistic, even in

a world where hate, inequality, and

homophobia seem to reign supreme.

We’ve fought homophobia for what

seems like forever and have achieved

some great milestones such as gay

marriage acceptance and more civil

rights equality; but what will the

future bring? Is it two steps forward

and one step back? What can we do to

protect ourselves from the oncoming

struggles? I choose to think positive,

that we can and will, in the face of

insurmountable obstacles such as

blatant homophobia, survive and

prosper. I choose to believe that in

any case love really does trump hate!

I’ve had some people curious to

know my “coming out” story recently.

Well, there’s not too much to tell.

I’d endeavour to say that I was never

really in; I was always loud and

flamboyant, even as a child. Not to

say that this is a prerequisite for

being gay, but everyone around me

seemed to know I was “queer” before

I even knew what the word meant. It

wasn’t until I moved out of my small

town and went to a relatively bigger

city where I studied the arts and

met like minded individuals who

were all trying to find themselves

and discover who they were. What

followed was a time of exploration

and self discovery, where I learned

that being gay was wonderful; it was

there that I started to develop the

Carlotta personality. Coming out

can be an amazing experience when

shared with people we know will

understand and not make judgments

out of ignorance. There are some

wonderful programs today, such

as Out in Schools, designed to help

people understand and accept their

sexuality without the stigma and

negative reactions that have been

associated with it in history. We can

only hope that the struggles in gay

culture faced in the past won’t be as

difficult for today’s youth in society.

That is my ultimate Christmas wish.

Until next month, I love you all my

dahlings and hope you have a wondrous

and gay holiday season filled with love

and laughter and some fantastic drag

shows. Remember… If Carlotta Gurl

was Mrs. Claus, Santa would definitely

come more than once a year.



with Brandon Patrick Folkes, general manager of the Odyssey


The odyssey is coming back to life and

we got a chance to speak with Brandon

Patrick Folkes, one of the men who is

taking on the role of animating the club

space in its new era.

BR: What is the importance of queer


BPF: Plainly they are where our culture

- in our community - nurtures and

grows. They have existed (and continue

to exist) as homes and safe havens

for the many who need physical and

emotional refuge. They are places for

us to share, socialize, create, and meet

- stages to produce on, rooms to help

give back, and where love can be shared

without shame. Without them, we as a

community wouldn’t have a proper

forum for us to allow our purest form

of personal and collective expression.

BR: What do people need to know

about the Odyssey that they don’t

know, or that they get wrong?

BPF: I think a lot of people have

“made up their mind” about the new

Odyssey based on events of the past

year and that isn’t my place to argue

as new management. But it has been

the toughest thing for us to deal with

in trying to retain a piece of our local

culture. I really want people to

understand that all the staff and

management care about this place.

None of us would be here if we didn’t

see the importance of its existence

and didn’t want it to grow. Sebastian

(the other manager) and I without

question love this space and have

made it our personal mission to

succeed. We have been fortunate to

have many of the old staff and artists

from the old Odyssey come and work

with us now, and to me it means we

are doing something right and to

have that support is incredible.

BR: Tell us about your dream for

the Odyssey.

BPF: My dream for The Odyssey is to

have it live up to its legacy and move it

forward into a new exciting era in our

community. We may not be the exact

clone of our original selves; but let’s

be real - nothing really ever is. As with

the times we must evolve and be just

as bold. Social progress is consistently

evolving forward; and these places

outside of the Davie Village are an echo

of that change. As the old Odyssey

on Davie once stood as a platform of

LGBTQ+ progress and creativity, the

new one antes that jump even further

by being there outside of the bubble

and being a solidified LGBTQ+ space to

exist for all. To further this ideal - this is

my dream.

December 2016 QUEER








Star Wars has a history of great prequels, so it’s no surprise to see another

one. For the lucky among us, our first encounter with the franchise was

not of a Gungan, but of R2D2 escaping with the Death Star plans. Left off

where A New Hope picks up, Rogue One follows an unlikely band of heroes as

they attempt to steal the plans. A little anti-climactic since we already know the

Death Star has been destroyed, like, four times. (In theaters December 16th)


Obama wasn’t always a POTUS—before he took up residence in Trump

Tower, he had to go to POTUS school. Then known to his friends as Barry

(and to Republicans as “Barrier”—ha!), Obama spent his post-secondary

years torn between the same insecurities as us all. Except he clearly handled

them better. This riveting biopic will leave you wanting more—just like his

second term. (In theaters December 16th)


As Supersize Me showed us, Obama isn’t the only one capable of helping

us grow. But McDonalds wasn’t always an international obesity generator;

it was once a local, homegrown obesity generator. Though strange to find

out even Birdman has a craving for McNuggets, Michael Keaton is sure to

pull off a killer performance of Ray Kroc. And the best part? No subliminal

advertising! (In theaters December 16th)


You can look at some prissy list of the

year’s top Scandinavian cinema. You

can watch the Oscars and wonder

where the good directors have gone. Or

you can read my list. I don’t like socially

aware movies. I don’t like movies with

stunning cinematography, and I don’t

like movies with the plot of an Alexandre

Dumas novel. I just like movies. I don’t

think Rolling Stone will agree with this

list, but they can go fuck themselves. I

think these are the best movies of 2016

and to be honest, I’m pretty sure I’m right.


I’m tired of people saying the world is

going to hell in a man purse—there’s

plenty of hope if you look for it. Michael

Moore found it, and all he had to do

was leave America. A one-man invasion,

Moore tours Europe and Tunisia to steal

the best ideas the world has to offer:

tantalizing ideas such as no homework,

two-hour lunch breaks, free university,

decriminalized drugs, and a woman

president. The film is eternally optimistic,

and while some say Moore isn’t a true

documentarian, I’d rather watch hope

than fact any day of the week.


With stunning stop-motion animation,

A-list voice acting, and a killer story,

Kubo is a near-perfect masterpiece.

Yes, it’s a movie for children, but by

now that should be a compliment.

Both funny and deeply emotional, you

will laugh and cry at what is probably

the only movie with origami fight scenes.

Kubo wields his shamisen like a violin

against the devil—not only does he use

it to battle evil, he does so with gnarly

licks that reinforce a raw and energizing

score. Finally, Matthew McConaughey

has found his calling as a samurai beetle.


This film is great because it captures

what most of us are feeling postelection:

like our band has just witnessed

a murder at a neo-Nazi skinhead bar

and are now forced to fight for survival.

And though the world around us isn’t

as bad as it seems (see #1), it literally is

in Green Room. This is slasher cinema

done right—by carefully concocting

a plausible setting and scenario for

hammers, machetes, attack dogs, and

Exacto knives to come out, the fear

is real. And now I know how to kill

someone with a fluorescent light bulb.


Everyone says this movie sucked. Maybe

they’re right (it got booed at Cannes),

but then again, probably not. Nicolas

Winding Refn (Drive) paints another

colourful masterpiece using the power

of his mind in this emotion-void pit of

failing humanity as he drags naïve model

Jesse (Elle Fanning) through LA’s worst.

When she comes out the other side,

she is no longer a person but a warning

to society as it plummets towards…

well, I don’t want to spoil the ending.

Though the ending will probably spoil

your appetite.


But honestly, Earth is amazing. And

even if neo-Nazis are trying to kill

you, or fashion models are trying to

steal your mana, just remember that

someone made Swiss Army Man.

With a box office dominated by high

budgets and higher sequels (Fast

and Furious SEVEN!), someone had

the decency to make a movie about

farting and boners and other dumb

shit that is entirely sincere—AND

heartwarming. And the good news

is Daniel Radcliffe finally broke free

of his Harry Potter stigma. It just took

playing a dead guy to do it.


December 2016




XO / Republic

Starboy, the latest from Toronto-based songbird

The Weeknd — moniker of Abel Tesfaye — is an

unfortunate expression of the Faustian bargain: a

trade of what made him originally interesting, for

the benefit of radio-friendly superstardom.

While he’s certainly come a long way from his

“drinking Alizé with his cereal for breakfast” roots,

having found unprecedented success over the last

two years, Starboy marks a shift in direction from

the self-abusing efficacy of his earlier work — and

that’s not necessarily for the better.

Tesfaye seems to have fallen into the realm of

mainstream R&B braggadocio (which isn’t entirely

unwarranted), but the progression from the

fragility of his prior releases to the conventions of

the “superstar status” ethos has diminished his role

of the interesting, heart-on-his-sleeve-and-drugson-his-upper-lip

image that made him so endearing

in the first place.

Sure, some of the hedonistic tendencies

are still there, but it no longer seems to have the

same part-humility, part-hard-truth aspect of

Tesfaye’s earlier songwriting (particularly his Trilogy

mixtapes) which featured an obviously younger,

more exploratory form of basement-R&B: esoteric

samples, confessional lyricism, stark, crystalline

synth backdrops, and an atmosphere of melancholia

that made it cool to revel in lachrymose debauchery.

Tesfaye himself seems to address some of the topics

of his previous works on Starboy, particularly on

the stand-out track “Reminder,” which has him

~reminding~ the listener that he “just won a new

award for a kids show / Talking ‘bout a face numbing

off a bag of blow,” before reeling with his newfound

status as a household name in the following line:

“I’m like goddamn bitch I am not a Teen Choice /

Goddamn bitch I am not a bleach boy.”

Considering the lyrical content of Tesfaye’s

releases, this reference to his mega-hit “Can’t Feel

My Face,” off of 2015’s Beauty Behind the Madness,

can be taken as rather ironic to both listener and

artist when considering the supposedly conservative

views of the masses that have propelled the

decidedly un-conservative Tesfaye to stardom, and

the truth that if the vibe of Starboy is any indication

of Tesfaye’s future projects, there’s a lot more Teen

Choice Awards coming his way.

This overt pop bent isn’t inherently a bad thing,

but unlike Tesfaye’s past work, the material on

Starboy lacks the charisma and magnetism required

to save it from its most glaring issue; Starboy

features 18 tracks — a 68-minute runtime — with

little variation to separate the soppy, overworked

808-driven pop tunes from one another. The result

is an album that feels more than a tad bloated.

It seems that Tesfaye has fallen for a common

pop music pitfall that arises once an artist starts

receiving massive radio-play: albums become less

about the coherent whole, and more about drawing

the listener’s ear to the singles.

Case in point: the features on Starboy, which

are comprised of a long list of the usual suspects,

from the certified collab-gold Daft Punk (on not one,

but TWO tracks), to fellow phenom Future, and the

omnipresent Kendrick Lamar, who seems to have

made it his mission to feature on every major album

of 2016.

While each of the artists featured on Starboy

manage to bring something to the table, for better or

worse, they contribute to the overall feeling that this

album was produced under the umbrella of “too big

to fail.” Many of the tracks give off this atmosphere of

pre-packaged, inoffensive, formulaic radio-rap ready

to climb up the charts because that’s what they were

produced to do.

Maybe this is an overtly cynical approach to

dissecting Starboy, as anyone who came up listening

to his Trilogy set of mixtapes can attest to knowing

that The Weeknd finding success wasn’t so much a

question of “How?” as it was a question of “When?”

Tesfaye is clearly no longer the under-the-radar

wunderkind who somehow managed to soundtrack

a thousand late-nights (and their accompanying

morning-afters), but by breaking into the role he

was undoubtedly destined for — that of a major

hitmaker — he seems to have followed a steady

decline in terms of captivation and originality that

began with his lacklustre debut studio album Kiss

Land in 2013.

The unfortunate truth is that albums like Starboy

will eventually be forgotten. Stacked up against the

dime-a-dozen pop releases that managed to maybe,

just maybe, shuffle off one or two memorable songs

before they fade into the backdrop, but if that works

for The Weeknd, who are we to judge?

If the explicit references to expensive cars,

jewelry, and the lifestyles of the rich and famous

found across Starboy are any indication, Tesfaye is

reaping the benefits of much-deserved success and

enjoying every minute of it.

In his own words: He’s a motherfuckin’ star, boy.

December 2016 REVIEWS



Beach Season

Libra Year

Universal Music Canada

Just two years ago, Calgarians Simon

Blitzer and Sam Avant, otherwise

known as Beach Season, were hiding

out in their parents’ basements, hard

at work pioneering “bootywave.” The

self-named genre was a proprietary

blend of sultry, synth-heavy tracks

that featured ample low-end, and

lithe, R&B-flavored vocals from Avant

that had a bedroom intimacy, even

with its admittedly lo-fi production.

Libra Year, the duo’s major label,

debut EP for Universal, is leaps ahead

of “bootywave”-era Beach Season, but

it’s often clear that they haven’t quite

found their voice, no matter how hard

they attempt to remain “on brand.”

Production wise, Libra Year is in a

totally different league than that of

their earlier, SoundCloud-hosted work.

Its six tracks explode with massive

synth chords, DJ-Mustard-meets-

Flume basslines, and crisp, radio-ready

vocals from Avant.

Yet, while songs like “Tribes” and

“Body Heat,” are sonically scintillating,

dig beneath the surface and they both feel

vapid and impersonal, filled with vague,

R&B clichés that don’t do much to set

Beach Season apart from a slew of other

acts currently dominating pop radio.

The EP’s final track, “Pink Room,”

is proof that Beach Season can make

genre-mashing pop music that is fun

to listen to, but it may be some time

before Blitzer and Avant hone their

talent into a project that fully realizes

that potential.

Blu and Union Analogtronics

Cheetah in the City

Fat Beats

Ever since his groundbreaking album,

Below the Heavens, came out in 2007,

I’ve held up Blu as arguably the most

talented MC around when he’s on his

game. However, the inevitable dilution

of his prolific nature means that he

often puts out subpar material. As

such, I’m left excited but wary of new

releases as they come. So I came to this

project with Union Analogtronics a

little apprehensively.

The album largely sees Blu check

his ‘conscious rapper’ hat at the door,

instead dropping rhymes dripping with

bravado. Thought provoking lyrics are

sacrificed for his pure flow to shine

through, and while his complexity

emerges on a few numbers, his raps

stand out more as a complimentary

item for the consistently impressive

soundscapes of Union Analogtronics.

The French-based production team

produce warm, synth-laden, bass-heavy

bangers driven by hard hitting jazz and

funk undertones that stay fresh and

dynamic throughout, bringing the best

out of the impressive roster of guest

vocalists featured on the album. While

Blu changes up his typical approach

on this one, Cheetah in the City is a

quality release with superb production,

providing an unabashed and intentional

Boom it in Your Jeep type of sound.

Bow Wow & Soulja Boy

Ignorant Shit


Picture this: It’s 2007, George ‘Dubya’

Bush is golfing out the remaining years

of his presidency, demotivational

posters are being shared via primitive,

T9 word texts, and Soulja Boy’s seminal,

proto-meme-rap dance-anthem “Crank

That (Soulja Boy),” is bumping out of

first-gen iPod Touch earbuds worldwide.

It was a simpler time; the halcyon days

of pre-Future trap music and garish,

blinged-out grandstanding. Those

warm memories are something that

should be cherished, which is more than

can be said about Ignorant Shit, Soulja

Boy’s joint mixtape with fellow ‘what’s

he been up to?’ rapper, Bow Wow.

The album is very similar to the

latest Ghostbusters film; you tuned

in hoping for an injection of a healthy

dose of narcotic nostalgia, the problem

is that the feeling wore off in the

first four minutes and you were left

with 80+ minutes of vacant time to

introspectively wonder why someone

felt the need for this resurgence.

Ignorant Shit stands as an

effort to resurrect two careers back

into relevancy, and in some ways it

surprisingly succeeds. The fifth track

“That Way,” is a great microcosm of the

album, a lightweight Pusha T mockup

that does little to justify its existence.

Soulja Boy and Bow Wow followed

the script and created a cookie cutter,

Atlanta-sound album glamorizing the

duo’s wealth accumulated over the

past decade. Still, despite their wellpublicized

differences in the past, it’s

nice to see both artists could reunite

and create an album that would have

been deemed creative and noteworthy

if it came out in 2007.

The Colourist & Emilíana Torrini

The Colourist & Emilíana Torrini

Rough Trade

Icelandic singer-songwriter Emilíana

Torrini has been making music

professionally for almost two

decades, working on six solo albums

and cataloguing a lengthy list of

collaborations with everyone from

trance DJ Paul Oakenfold, to Australian

pop star Kylie Minogue. Torrini’s

discography is a document of an artist

that works best when being pushed

to their personal creative limits, a trait

that has led Torrini across the globe,

collaborating with gypsies in Cordoba,

a 60-piece symphony orchestra in

Iceland, and an experimental jazz band

in Belgium.

Still, after all these disparate

collaborations, Torrini’s work with The

Colourist Orchestra, a Belgian ensemble

founded in 2013 by percussionists Aarich

Jespers and Kobe Proesmans, is arguably

the best work she’s done to date.

Jespers and Proesmans assembled

an eight-piece orchestra to deconstruct

songs from across Torrini’s catalogue,

taking odds and ends from the original

songs, but largely piecing them back

together in ways that leave the new

versions almost unrecognizable when

compared to their original compositions.

Performed live for this album,

these compositions are lush, vibrant

pieces of music that overflow with

string swells, whimsical woodwinds,

and organic grooves that Torrini

takes full advantage of. Opening track

“Caterpillar,” is underscored by a

thumping rhythm section reminiscent

of a classical Moderat, living in stark

contrast to Torrini’s flawless soprano.

It is immediately entrancing, leading off

11, sprawling compositions that build

upon the original works of Torrini, but

never live in their shadow.


Interviews With Dull Men


The fact that Steve Albini has heard this

record might tell you everything you

need to know about it. Jordan Koop, who

recorded Interviews With Dull Men in

2013 in his then brand new Noise Floor

Studios on Gabriola Island, used the

record as an example when he attended

Albini’s master class mentorship in France

last year.

That Albini himself was influenced

by bands such as the Birthday Party, Pere

Ubu and Throbbing Gristle is no secret.

That Cowards are influenced by Big Black

and Rapeman is probably no secret either.

Interviews is minimal and

repeating like a drunk night out with an

abusive old friend. Dark and nihilistic,

it expounds on the liminal, pushing the

threshold of the listener, entreating us to

explore the limits of our thinking — the

horror of philosophy. Self-abasing verging

on anti-social, it’s a “sticky sheen of selfhate

and seedy situations set upon a

crunchy Pro Co Rat infected bass.”

The songs here have been given

a little more room to breathe, with a

couple old tracks re-recorded and a

bunch of new material that is finally

seeing the light of day, which wasn’t

always a certainty as the band broke up

in September of 2014. A pity since this

is once of the best albums of the year.

Limited edition of 100 tapes.

Dark Tranquility


Century Media Records

Dark Tranquility, one of the more

prominent Swedish melodic death

metal bands, has been dishing out one

great album after another since their

1993 release Skydancer. For 13 years

they have been defining the genre, so

it is completely disheartening to hear

their latest album, Atoma. The meat,

albeit bland, is definitely in the middle

of the album: “Neutrality,” “Clearing

Skies,” and “When the World Screams,”

have the elements of a classic DT song:

the speed and the energy a longtime fan

has come to expect.

However, it’s not enough to

make up for the watered-down goth

rock that infiltrates the first few songs,

overshadowing the rest of the album.

The overbearing clean vocals, are way too

prominent throughout and don’t offer up

a pleasant contrast with the harsh - as is

the expected - melodeath formula.

Coming into this expecting any

of the passion we heard on Haven, or

more recently We Are the Void, is a

huge disservice. A few of the tracks on

the album are almost redeeming, but

the oscillation between the bland, hard

rock-styled songs and the traditional

melodic death songs is far too unstable,

unpredictable and unenjoyable. There is

just too much uninspired fluff to make

this a notable album.


Familiar Touch

Culvert Music

In 2013, Toronto synth pop group

DIANA had an overnight success

most bands only dream of. The band,

consisting of Carmen Elle, Joseph

Shabason, and Kieran Adams, posted

“Born Again” online without expecting

anything to come of it. The single

exploded online, garnering fanatic

response and catapulting DIANA into

the crosshairs of plenty of unexpected

label attention. Perpetual Surrender, the

album that followed was a hastily-crafted,


December 2016

flash-in-the-pan that seemed to be formed

out of pure creativity; hindbrain instincts

taking over and producing gold.

As both a blessing and a curse, DIANA

had plenty of time to craft their sophomore

album, resulting in Familiar Touch, a loving

recreation of ‘80s pop music from the likes

of Talk Talk, Cocteau Twins, and OMD.

Unfortunately, DIANA suffer the same fate

as many bands doing ‘80s synth pop

amalgamations often do: by basking

in the neon glow and the hues of Hughes

(John, that is), they get lost in a Marty Mcnot-so-fly

time machine, ultimately making

music that sounds dated upon arrival.

The songs of Familiar Touch are

particularly upsetting because they

never quite reach the highs of Perpetual

Surrender, often being just good enough

to compare to the ‘80s tunes they are so

eagerly inspired by.

Admittedly, Perpetual Surrender

isn’t all this disappointing. “What You

Get” is a heart-on-the-sleeve synth jam

that could’ve sound tracked a prom

scene in basically any ‘80s movie that

had one. It’s a great song, but much like

the rest of the album, it just feels like

one you’ve heard before.

Drive-By Truckers

American Band

ATO Records

There won’t be enough space here to

properly justify why American Band is the

year’s most important rock record, there’ll

only be enough room to gloss over the fact.

Kicking off with “Ramon Casiano,”

co-frontman Mike Cooley lays down

what will amount to a history lesson

in American race dynamics from the

perspective of middle-aged, southern

white guys. The story of the murder

of the aforementioned Casiano at the

hands of Harlan Carter, a 17-year-old

Texan who would later become head

of the NRA, kicks off with a powerful

rock groove which seldom lays back

throughout the album. Patterson Hood

gets his licks in on the subject in “Guns

of Umpqua,” a retelling of the mass

shooting on the Umpqua Community

College in Oregon in 2015. Hood and

Cooley have always had a distinct knack

for post-incident ambiguity in narrative,

but the songs on American Band get

closer to point, and therefore the roots

of the seemingly endless problems in

America today. “Kinky Hypocrite” is a

stone classic, a Faces riff with Cooley

taking the righteousness of the political

religious right to task for their own

sexcapades, all in the most tuneful way

possible. Hood’s “What It Means” is a

relentless series of questions without

answer, and Cooley’s “Once They

Banned Imagine” is the greatest protest

song since “Killing In The Name.”

To be succinct in imploring

listeners to really hear American

Band, the most chilling and troubling

statement is the one that’s never made:

Middle-aged southern white men may

only hear these truths if they’re spoken

by middle-aged southern white men.

Fear of Noise



Bask in the gloom of Hierarchy, the

latest from Vancouver’s jazz-punkpsychedelic

three-piece Fear of Noise.

Stretched over seven tracks that sound

more like aural fever-dreams, Hierarchy is a

labyrinthine knot of sonic chord progression,

thundering stereophonic drum beats (think

doom-rock at its finest), and winding pitter

patters of bass that ultimately equates to a

sound that’s by no means “easy listening,” but

is ultimately rewarding as hell.

From the moment the birds begin to

chirp and the dissonance begins to build

on opener “Blister,” Hierarchy promises the

listener that this won’t be a simple Sunday

drive. While the album itself hovers

around the forty-minute mark, time has

no place amidst the rollicking percussion

and the climbing-up-the-walls delirious

atmosphere which at points can be a tad

disorienting. But it’s not all insanity.

Songs like “Spider Pills” and “Lost in

Solution” ditch some of the more abrasive

noise for a conventional, straight-forward,

almost beautiful kind of guitar-heavy

lament before the 8-and-a-half minute

“Smooth Talk Rough Planet” closes the

album off with a full-force wall of sound.

In the end, Hierarchy isn’t so much

about being fearful of noise, but instead

opening yourself up and embracing the


Future States

Casual Listener

Golden Brown

If Vampire Weekend and some ‘60s pop

rock band had a millennial-indie-goth

baby who got really into vapourwave

just last week, Future States would likely

be that kid.

Casual Listener, the first full-length

from this Montreal psych pop five-piece,

was recorded in a church in northern

Quebec over a two-week period last year.

Future States dare to explore new

ideas, evident within their rich, yet alien

arrangements. One moment we have a

melancholy indie folk song with nothing

but whispery vocals, whistling and

acoustic guitar, the next we have chilled

out, ambient electro.

“Melody” is truly the focal point

of the nine song album. It’s a cool

breeze of a listen, created by layer

upon layer of ‘60s-esque, warped-tape

guitars. It features surfy, indie rock

hooks, and warm synth textures all laid

on top of unpredictable percussion,

December 2016 REVIEWS


a combination of live drums, drum

machines and sampled breaks.

Each song flows gently into the next,

complimented by moments of hazy drones

formed from obscure samples — what

sounds like dial-up internet noise, effects from

random video games, whistling birds, crashing

waves, pitch shifted vocal patterns and lifted

music pieces that are chopped and re-sewn.

It’s apparent the young band put a lot of

detail into the production, resulting in a quirky,

laid back album that lightly touches roots of


Industrial Priest Overcoats



Industrial Priest Overcoats frontman

Trevor McEachran describes his band’s

latest offering as one that is deeply

inspired by his personal experiences

with drug addiction, mental illness,

and prejudice that is inescapable for

indigenous people living in Canada.

Gone.Nativity is a record that delivers

on every ounce of rage and wildness

expected from a person in McEachran’s

shoes, but it also pleasantly surprises

with mature melodies that show signs

of restraint and careful deliberation.

The record is all over the place

in terms of cohesiveness, but the

individual songs are enjoyable and the

lyrics are refreshingly blunt. “Now I

have to decide

whether to swallow my pride or

spit on your eye,” shrieks McEachran on

standout track “ALL MY RELATIONZ.”

McEachran’s vocals and high-pitched

shrills are reminiscent of Colin Newman

from the English post-punk band Wire.

Released in 1977, Pink Flag by Wire is arguably

one of the best albums in the genre, so while

Industrial Priest Overcoats have a long way

to go, the elements are there for success.

There are truly ear-catching moments

scattered through Gone.Nativity and the

energy is palpable, but the band seems

to move on to the next idea before fully

fleshing out the ones that work.

Trap or Die 3

Def Jam/CTE World

Jeezy, formerly known as Young Jeezy,

is 39 years old, but that doesn’t stop

him from falling victim to the trap.

When it comes to trap music, releases

are plentiful, beats are predictable, and

lyrics are interchangeable. Trap or Die

3, Jeezy’s seventh studio album, is no

different from all the other generic trap

releases this year that took less than a

week to make. It seems like rappers are

racing (probably to the bank), attempting

to release project after project in the

shortest timeframe, and the worst part is

that quality or originality doesn’t seem to

matter anymore.

“Girl, you know you’re flexing with

your flexing ass,” exclaims Jeezy on

“Sexé,” channeling his inner 2 Chainz on

a track that sounds identical to others

but with slightly more ridiculous lyrics.

Trap or Die 3 was Jeezy’s third numberone

album in the U.S, and it is also third

album in as many years. Jeezy’s next

album, Snow Season, is due to arrive

before the end of the year, bringing a

blizzard of fatigue with it. Despite these

criticisms, Trap or Die 3 delivers… on

being mindless “turn up” music that is

awful enough to mirror the thought

process behind bad decisions commonly

made in drunken stupors.


Park EP

Counter Records

Southampton-raised, London-based

singer, songwriter and producer Laurel is

evidence of the Internet’s ability to serve

as a fantastic incubation chamber for the

music industry. The roots of the 22-year-old

singer-songwriter’s career originate directly

from SoundCloud. The service was home to

Laurel’s earliest bedroom-productions that,

like many young creators on the website,

showed indisputable talent, but a lack of

confidence and distinct direction.

Now signed to esteemed

independent label Counter Records,

Laurel’s voice is almost unrecognizable to

those early recordings, as is her song writing

and production abilities. On “Hurricane,”

the first single from her brand new fourtrack

Park EP, Laurel shows just how much

impact a few years of development can

have on a young artist. It’s an impeccablyproduced

indie pop track that is expansive

despite still being made in a bedroom.

It’s highlighted by Laurel’s endlesslyemotive

voice that is often reminiscent

of Florence Welch, impressively reaching

the same stadium-sized heights, all from

the comfort of her bedroom.

“Goodbye (Demo),” the last track

on the EP, does the complete opposite,

stripping away everything but fingerpicked

guitar and Laurel’s quietest

vocal delivery that manages to pack

the most punch. It’s a torch song that

is unflinchingly intimate, unvarnished

and an overall haunting way to end a

tauntingly short EP that puts Laurel

at the top of the list of artists to be

watching in 2017.


Last Night on the Planet

Ninja Tune

Letherette is indeed making ninja like

moves on the musical front. Hailing

from Wolverhampton, UK, the duo

of Richard Roberts and Andy Harber,


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December 2016

have pushed through the muddle of

digital label chaos to release their debut

album, Last Night on the Planet, under

the subversive heavyweight Ninja

Tune. The duo shows an impressive

dedication to musical diversity,

evident in what is a full spectrum of

genres throughout the album. From

beginning to end, it truly feels like a

complete work, without gap or void,

encompassing what many have come

to expect from Ninja Tune signings.

The intro track “Momma,” is a

smooth hip-hop ode aided by the

services of Rejjie Snow on the mic. Their

first single off the album “Shanel,”

has that old-school, 808 breakbeat

vibe that’ll have you questioning

what era you’re in. As the journey

continues, they bring in their

house influence and keep it riding

for a few tracks, before breaking it

up a bit showcasing some ethereal

elements. Yet, the duo still finds

a way to work in some more hiphop

with the title track that fades

to another meditative melody at

the end. With Last Night on the

Planet, it’s clear Letherette have

found their niche, setting them up

to keep releasing quality music for

years to come.

Living Body

Body is Working

Kingfisher Bluez

With its influence in all the right

places, Body is Working, the debut

album from Leeds, UK based, selfdescribed

“Post-Brexitcore” band

Living Body, is a rich studio release

with deliberately paced movements

and instrumentation. Studio is the

key phrase here, because the record

feels a little bit like a rock opera. While

cinematic, very little of it conjures

images of a live performance. With

post-rock linearity, there are expansive

swells and dynamic low moments,

but it also contains some achingly

raw vocalizations from both male

and female singers with some clearly

pointed lyricism.

Hyper-articulate and quintessentially

modern British guitar work reels in the corners,

flutters and clean hooks are everywhere

with the horns, keys, and understated

rhythms playing second fiddle,

occasionally there is a literal fiddle or two

as well, as in standout track “I Recollect.”

Production elements also fill the gaps,

but adds a layer of digitality that roots this

record in its studio feeling.

Body is Working is more than a proof

of concept, it’s an exercise in masterful

guitar work, smart songwriting, and clever

arrangement. That it left us wanting more

might be more of a compliment to Living

Body than it seems.

Bruno Mars

24K Magic

Atlantic Records

Who does Bruno Mars think he is? No,

seriously, I’m asking.

Based on wedding and Bar

Mitzvah neo-classic “Uptown Funk,”

Mars’s biggest hit to date, you’d think

24K Magic would simply jack Prince

one more time and that Mars would

shell out for Mark Ronson (who did

the heavy lifting of writing “Uptown

Funk”) to produce his album. Instead,

he and producers Shampoo Press & Curl

(really?) and The Stereotypes (really?)

ripped off Ronson and a confusing

melee of other hitmakers for a mostly

confused, anachronistic mess.

To be fair, there are a couple of

good things about 24K Magic: it’s only

nine songs long, Halle Berry makes an

appearance, and occasionally Mars

seems to be in on the actually funny

part of the joke this record is.

“Chunky” uses silly jewelry

terminology and soggy, boogie hues

to give love to the old-school ladies.

“Shout out to the girls who pay their

rent on time,” he sings for some reason.

A better delivery of funk-indebted

humorous, light-heartedness is “Perm”

(which Ronson and Mystikal are likely

filing suit over at this very moment).

Mars actually sounds reverent and

delightfully charming for the briefest

of moments, encouraging someone

uptight to “throw some Perm on your

attitude.” It’s the same hook-heavy,

substance-free fun of “Uptown Funk,”

just a little too familiar for comfort.

Not much of the rest of the album

is even worth talking about. There’s

some pretty embarrassing Boyz II Men

posturing, a fake missed call to Halle

Berry and perhaps the most revolting

song of all time: “Versace on the Floor.”

That one is recommended to only the

most adventurous of masochists, for

whom the surprise should not be spoilt.

Don’t bother seeking out this

album. There are plenty of places

you’ll inevitably encounter it anyway:

an awkward car ride that can only

be put at ease by the worst of top 40

radio, a nightclub you wish you hadn’t

gone to but got dragged to by that

one friend, literally anywhere caterers

work, the lobby of an office building

that smells like leftovers crossed with

feet, or perhaps even the Seventh

Circle of Hell.

Meek Mill


Maybach Music Group

After a tumultuous year away from the

spotlight, Philadelphia rapper Meek

Mill returns with DC4, his first project

since Dreams Worth More Than

Money, an album that many believe to

be a high point in his career. Following

some high profile feuds with some of

the industry’s top names, Meek Mill

seems eager to prove himself an equal

among their ranks, a feat he tries to

achieve with DC4.

The album is filled with an

intensity that often translates into

yelling, but that’s not a complaint. This

album truly plays on his strong writing

abilities and his ability to revisit his

childhood and themes of violence towards

black people with a broad lens. Despite

the themes the album isn’t completely

serious, incorporating some infectious

tracks like “Offended.” The roster of

features including Young Thug, 21 Savage,

and Atlanta trio Migos, adds a level of

credibility to the album, showing that

some of the scene’s top players still run with

Mill. If this album is anything, it is proof

that Meek isn’t about to let his career

take a hit from any other rapper.


Happy Pop Family

Mint Records

With lazy, skate park guitars, much

like that of bands like Heaven for

Real and Walrus, and a relaxed power

pop sound like Nap Eyes, Happy Pop

Family, Monomyth’s new 11-track

album, is the perfect listen for a warm

Sunday afternoon. The Halifax fourpiece

plays with hallowed sounds and

guitar-monies, reminiscent of bands

like Television, that mesmerize you

without you even being aware of it.

With garage-y, indie pop hooks, the

lazy beach day vibe of Monomyth gives

each chorus of these songs a catchy

element you’ll find yourself humming

throughout the day. Their drowsy

vocals and lyrics, seemingly inspired by

early ‘90s grunge, alongside psychedelic,

jangly instrumentals hold something for

fans of various sub-genres.

Despite being consistently

compared to Halifax legends Sloan, I

myself find nothing in common with

the two acts. While both bands are

great, Monomyth brings a calm vibe

and an I-don’t-care attitude in their

sound that will connect with the new

generation of slacker youth. Overall,

the album is a soft sludge piece of art

representative of the common human.

Agnes Obel

Citizen of Glass

Play It Again Sam

One of the more underappreciated

technological advancements in music

production is the ability to change

the pitch of the human voice. Not

in the T-Pain, “All I Do is Win” usage

of AutoTune, but in the ability to

completely drop the octave of a

human voice while still keeping

it in tempo. The results can often

be controversial: Frank Ocean on

this year’s Blonde standout “Nikes”

is a clear contender for positively

received use, but then there’re the

less-than-favourable initial reactions

to hearing Justin Vernon of Bon

Iver, or Dave Longstreth of Dirty

Projectors - both seasoned “acoustic”

musicians - adopting the digital

baritone throughout the year.

Five-time Danish Music Award

winner Agnes Obel, falls in the latter

category. The classically-indebted,

folk singer-songwriter uses the

technique on “Familiar,” the first single

off of Citizen of Glass, her intoxicating

third full-length. The single features

Obel dropping her gently-emotive

falsetto into a lower register for the

chorus; the resulting voice is exactly

like the title of the song describes.

It feels so recognizable - comforting

in its warmth, yet off-putting in its

unnatural pronunciation and eerie,

lower-range falsetto. It’s an unnatural

element that Obel juxtaposes with

ornate string arrangements and an

elegant piano accompaniment that

wrap her uncanny valley voice in silk.

It’s the only time Obel obfuscates

her operatic voice on Citizen of

Glass, but it is one of the strongest

singular moments on any album from

the last year, a high-watermark that

the rest of the album never quite

achieves again, despite being wholly

captivating, and coming close on “It’s

Happening Again,” and the aching,

album closer “Mary.”

With its classically-influenced

instrumentation, Citizen of Glass is

a stark, frost-bitten album that often

sounds like it doesn’t belong in 2016,

but then again, it often sounds like it

doesn’t belong in any time period at

all, and that’s just one of many great

things about it.

Allan Rayman

Hotel Allan

Universal Music

Beginning with a mournful, selfaddressed

lament, Toronto’s Allan

Your Connection to Vancouver’s

Independent Theatre Scene!

A Peter n’ Chris-tmas Carol

December 9-10

A hilarious send up of the Classic

Dickens’ Christmas story.

Pajama Men:

Pterodactyl Nights

February 16-18

A surreal night of jubilance and

inventive comedy.

Funny Music Weirdo

April 20-22

“I love it when comedy feels like skydiving ...

Chase Padgett is almost frighteningly funny.”

—The Georgia Straight

Tickets as low as $20!


December 2016 REVIEWS



Rayman has finally released his debut

LP. A great deal of mystery surrounds

this singer/songwriter. He shies away

from press, and his releases seem to

emerge from a great enigmatic fog.

However, once heard, they sink deep

within a very profound part of the

lucky listener’s very being.

He has a distinct vocal style that

is hard to forget. Tastefully subdued

and layered in emotion, characteristic

of a southern bluesman, his voice

projects heartfelt, soulful lyrics borne by

mesmerizing melodies and rhythms.

He brought back some of his

previous singles like the incredible

“Lucy The Tease,” a song that will

instantly get you hooked on Rayman’s

sound. “Tennessee” is also found here,

combining a serene depth of melancholy

lyricism and surprisingly fresh hip-hop

percussion and sampling.

This full length also features many

new songs, and really showcases this

man’s range. A funk groove kicks off

“Beverly,” before being joined shortly

down the road by some ethereal guitar

plucking, only to be bombarded by a juicy

bassline and Rayman’s signature crooning.

A release that certainly merits

multiple listens, but you will find that goes

without saying once you hear it.

Dawn Richard


Local Action/Our Dawn Entertainment

Monomyth is a term used to describe

a basic narrative framework that’s

been pulled from the stories of Jesus

Christ, Gautama Buddha and applied

to the creation of modern-day fictions

such as Star Wars, The Matrix or The

Lord of the Rings. They’re all about the

hero’s journey, a protagonist gathering

some deeper knowledge and their

transformation into something better

because of it. In 2016, D∆WN, or Dawn

Richard, is our redeemed protagonist.

D∆WN got her start in music as a

member of P. Diddy-sponsored, reality

show-spawned girl group, Danity Kane. It

wasn’t until 2013, with her independentlyreleased

solo debut Goldenheart,

that her journey progressed from the

blandness of pseudo-top 40 stardom to

her destined role as a visionary blender of

R&B, dance, and electronic music.

Redemption is the final piece of the

monomythic album trilogy, starting with

Goldenheart and punctuated by last year’s

brooding Darkheart.

Almost every track of Redemption is a

highlight, with various interludes providing a

pause in an otherwise non-stop affair. “Love

Under Lights” turns its EDM-crescendo into a

shimmering metamorphosis of the entire song

while “Black Crimes” is a Black Lives Matter

anthem that contrasts the term ‘hate

crime’ with law enforcement’s seeming

love of their ability to commit them.

Redemption is impassioned,

empowering and the perfect way to end a

trilogy that we can only hope gets a sequel.



Carpark Records

Sadie Dupuis, of Speedy Ortiz fame,

shows fans another side with a solo

project that is a fuzzy, feminist fantasy.

Under the name Sad13, Dupuis leans

away from the harder grunge sounds

of Speedy Ortiz, aiming instead

towards a more pop and electronic

influence. Fortunately, the change of

pace is welcomed.

Slugger is filled with feminist pop

anthems that everyone can dance to.

The 11 songs on the album expertly

weave a narrative that combines

both personal struggles and political

commentary. “Get a Yes” is a song about

consent in relationships; a much-welcomed

break from the American news cycle where

women are constantly told they don’t have

control over their own bodies. Other songs

like “Hype,” confront sexism in the music

industry with fantastic lyrics like, “they still

wanna lick my asshole/ they still wanna buy

what I’m selling them.” Overall, Slugger is an

album that packs a punch while still being

incredibly fun to listen to.

Thee Oh Sees

An Odd Entrances

Castleface Records

Leave it to John Dwyer and co. in Thee

Oh Sees to not only release two albums

in one year, but to release two

albums that manage to be at once

completely different, and yet meant

to play as companions.

A Weird Exits was a snapshot of a

new version of Thee Oh Sees, complete

with new drumming tandem Ryan

Moutinho and Dan Rincon, making a

case that, while they’ve always been

known primarily for their raucous live

show, they could reach excellence as a studio

band as well. That album landed fairly far on

the more psychedelic side of Thee Oh Sees

discography, filled with Hendrix-esque guitar

heroics, but anchored with pummeling

krautrock-inspired rhythms that helped

keep even the wooziest elements of the

songs grounded.

An Odd Entrances dives even further

into the transcendent qualities of krautrock,

slowing down the tempo overall and offering

up even more new looks (see: bossa nova

pastiche on “At The End, On The Stairs,” and

folkloric balladry on “The Poem”) from a

band that never ceases to bring garage rock

to surprising new places.

Young Mammals


Odd Hours Records

Although Young Mammals originate

from Houston, the sound of the band’s

latest offering, Jaguar, would beg to differ.

Layered with carefree, twangy guitars and

dreamlike vocals, Jaguar can conjure

the breezy atmosphere of a beach

instantaneously. The sound of summer

is practically bursting out of this record,

melting through chunks of coldness that the

winter season carries with it, but that does

not necessarily mean that the entire

album is memorable. The majority of

Jaguar blends together, nearly seamlessly,

so while it does not make for the most

surprising or interesting listen, it capitalizes

on what works. Since the majority of

tracks fall under three minutes, the album

flows quick, making it easy to commit to

in a short amount of time.

Standout tracks include the

irresistibly catchy title track “Jaguar” and

slow-burner “Heavenly,” which feature strong

lyrics and vocals that steal the show. While

the lyrics on other tracks match the music

well enough, they are easily forgettable and

there is room for more creativity. However,

as the band’s name states, Young Mammals

is young, and the amount of potential Jaguar

showcases is exciting.

Sort of Damocles

When I Die Throw My Body In The Garbage

Boat Dreams From The Hill

The sonic equivalent of looking through pictures of people and good times that

have passed you by, Sort of Damocles captures melancholy in its most gentle

and beautiful form. This is an album that asks the listener to contemplate and

reflect, as it is music that lends itself to introspection.

Cheap High

Subterranean Suburbia (LP)

Dipstick Records

A product of the burgeoning post-punk scene in Abbotsford, Cheap High

comes out swinging with their debut, Subterranean Suburbia. Creeping with

post-punk tension, the album takes fans into Cheap High’s dystopian nightmare

of superficial relationships and a willingly isolated and apathetic society.

Expressing the frustration, rage, and emptiness of modern living, the album

pairs its Joy Division tendencies with clever, image-heavy lyrics. In all, Cheap

High proves that post-punk is far from dead.

Mother Upduff

The Decay (EP)


Mother Upduff’s most recent EP does not shy away from its roots, with psychedelic

noise rock overtones leading the way. The heavy, bluesy, and soulful

album brings to mind a grittier sound of soul power, not unlike the Black Keys.

“Concept and Scope” sounds like a James Bond theme from the days of yore,

while the dogged guitars of “Parnassus Drive” make you feel as if you’re in a

dark, smoky blues club. The album is bare and raw – no special effects here –

as the band continues to embrace its live sound with its strained (and at times,

sharp) vocals.

Little Crow

Little Crow


An atmospheric debut release that exhales a melancholy tale, acoustic-alternative

duo Little Crow deliver a soft-spoken yet powerful record that touches on

subjects of love, heartbreak, and fading memories. A haunting effort fueled by

pure emotion, this four-song EP holds greatly produced recordings of beautiful,

radio-worthy tracks that leave you wanting more.

Winona Forever

This is Fine


This is Fine is a distorted collection of poppy indie-rock songs that will surely

get you groovin’. Winona Forever’s catchy opening tracks bring to mind laying

on the beach during a relaxing summer day, sipping a refreshing beverage,

smiling as the sun smiles upon you.

With elements of garage rock, alternative, and pop, the indie-darlings

from Langley, BC deliver a likeable, upbeat record.

Post Death Soundtrack

The Unlearning Curve


PDS have crafted a consistent stream of tracks that utilize a broad range

of instrumentation while still retaining a linear mood and tone that carries

through most of the album. Due to the consistency in the songwriting,

each song serves as a fairly good reflection for the rest of the album. Each

track is cool and foreboding, giving off an air of intrigue and edginess, with

an overarching sense of melancholy that runs throughout.


December 2016


PUP, Meat Wave, Chastity

The Cobalt

November 21, 2016

It may have been a Monday night,

but it sure felt like a Friday at the

Cobalt for PUP’s first Vancouver

show in almost two years.

Completely sold out, the venue

was nearly packed for the night’s

first opener Chastity. Hailing

from Whitby, Ontario, frontman/

songwriter Brandon Williams

and his band started the night off

strong. Mixing a singer-songwriter

approach with elements of hardcore,

emo, and post-rock, Chastity put

on an impressive performance.

During the last two tracks, Williams

opted to spend the rest of his time

performing in the crowd or on top of

tables and getting the crowd moving.

An early sign the night was going to

be a wild one.

Second on the bill was Chicago’s

Meat Wave. With an already warmed

up crowd, Meat Wave blasted into

their furious brand of garage punk

without hesitation. Although it

was obvious most of the crowd

had never heard Meat Wave before,

that didn’t stop them from playing

as hard and fast as they could. By

the end of the set beers were flying

and people were moshing wildly:

a great first appearance for Meat

Wave in Vancouver.

As wild as things got, it was

all practice for when PUP hit the

stage. As a band from Toronto who

tours almost constantly, having

nearly two years between shows

in Vancouver seems like a major

oversight. Their presence was

surely missed here. Opening up

with their brilliant track “If This

Tour Doesn’t Kill You Then I Will”

from this year’s The Dream is Over,

the audience sang every word along

with frontman Stefan Babcock

and you could seethe smiles creep

across the band members faces’ as

the song went on. Second song in

they played their breakneck-paced

smash hit “DVP” and it was madness

for the rest of the night. The next

hour was filled with songs from all

three of their albums and a nonstop

onslaught of stage divers, crowd

surfers, and people looking for their

missing shoes/glasses.

PUP may not look the part of

your average punk band, but they

certainly perform like one of the best

out there. Nearing the hour mark,

Babcock shouted into the mic “PUP

the band doesn’t believe in encores…

We’re gonna play two more songs

then walk off stage. Have a great

night! ” True to their word they

did, and the crowd did not look

the least bit pissed about it. In

f act, audience members seemed

too smiley, sweaty, and covered

in beer to care about much else.

Simultaneously ferocious and fun,

PUP proved why they are one of the

most-hyped bands of 2016. Hopefully

they don’t take another two years

before returning to Vancouver.

Photo by Timothy Nguyen


Vogue Theatre

Nov 21, 2016

Rapper YG, a Brazy Bompton native,

took the stage twice Monday night with

two sold out shows at the Vogue Theatre

for the Vancouver stop of his Fuck

Donald Trump Tour. The venue’s air was

heavy with the aroma of a particularly

dank sativa, mixed with Polar Ice vodka

shots and, at the earlier all ages show, a

side of “Mom, I’ll be home by 10.”

Dressed in the current go-to

California closet ensemble of designer

plaid, ripped jeans, Eazy-E shades and

shiny gold trainers, YG 400 finessed

some signature tracks like “Toot It

and Boot It,” “Who do you Love?” and

“Why You Always Hating?” The massive

nine-foot tall monitor behind him

broadcasted images of flowing malt

liquor, palm trees and prescription bottles

full of dried herbs, hyping up the crowd

who simultaneously roasted blunts,

echoed lyrics and beat each other up.

YG took the time to reach

out to shirtless audience members and

also pull out his phone to check the

last-minute score of the Raiders game. The

show peaked as YG took a Trumpesque

mannequin onstage, stomping

its head while the crowd chanted

“Fuck Donald Trump.”

The after show scene outside

the venue saw attendees posing for

selfies with dismembered limbs of

Donald Trump in YG hoodies and trying

to convince limo drivers to take them

back to the burbs. Satisfied.

December 2016 REVIEWS




Ah the Greyhound bus station. Forever a place that no one

really wants to go but since airlines still insist on charging $500

for a round trip to Calgary, it’s a necessary evil. As a Canadian

performer I’ve seen my share of Greyhound stations and as far as

bus station bathrooms go, this one is surprisingly nice.

It has its own security to keep the riff raff out and, besides

having a mysteriously cut up toilet seat, was very clean and well

stocked. It will make taking the Greyhound feel less shameful.



It’s important for McDonald’s to have good bathrooms. They

are always needed immediately after dining. The plus about

this bathroom is you don’t need to be buzzed in by the staff. It’s

always nice to find an unlocked public bathroom. This bathroom

however, was too clean. Yes I said it — too clean.

I think I left that bathroom as a blonde because the smell

of bleach was so strong. Also, points taken off for one-ply toilet

paper. Come on McDonald’s, you know the messes your food

makes. You need a two-ply minimum policy at least.



I’m a fan of any bathroom that provides me with reading material,

and Scotia Bank Theatre doesn’t disappoint! Movie posters and

upcoming events are posted in every stall. This experience was

enhanced by the tears of a 14-year-old girl crying to a friend

because they were on a double date and she didn’t think Hunter

was “feeling her.”

This bathroom was overall very clean and very entertaining.

Way to keep the drama on the big screen and out of the bathrooms!




December 2016

December 2016 39


December 2016

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