BeatRoute Magazine B.C. print e-edition - January 2017

beatroute

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.

JANUARY 2017

FREE

AFI

THE XX

BLUE RODEO

TALIB KWELI

LYDIA LOVELESS

The Revenge

of the Popinjay

PuSh Fest musical turns queer comedy in to a royal bloodbath

January 2017 1


TRIM SIZE: 10.25"W x 11.5" H, RIGHT HAND PAGE

UNIQUE SOLES

FOR

UNIQUE SOULS

SINCE

2

January 2017

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January ‘17

Publisher

BeatRoute Magazine

Graphic Designer

& production manager

Syd Danger

syddanger.com

Web Producer

Shane Flug

Copy editor

Thomas Coles

Front Cover illustration

Victoria Sieczka / badbloodclub

Distribution

Gold Distribution

Contributing Writers

Glenn Alderson ∙ Heather Adamson

Kaje Annihilatrix ∙Kevin Bailey ∙ Sarah Bauer

Jonathan Crane ∙ David Cutting ∙ Mike Dunn

Colin Gallant ∙ Carlotta Gurl ∙ Michelle Hanley

Safiya Hopfe ∙ Prachi Kamble ∙ Jay King

Lucas Kitchen ∙ Jackie Klapak ∙ Coralie Kournay

Danny Kresnyak ∙ Ana Krunic ∙ Elliot Langford

Paul McAleer ∙ Jamie McNamara ∙ Alex Molten

James Olson ∙ Jennie Orton ∙ Johnny Papan

Mitch Ray ∙ Yasmine Shemesh

Maya-Roisin Slater ∙ Paris Spence-Lang

Vanessa Tam ∙ Willem Thomas ∙ Tommy Ting

Sadie Vadnais ∙ Alec Warkentin ∙ Graeme Wiggins

Christina Zimmer

Contributing

Photographers &

Illustrators

Bitternorth.com ∙ Autumn de Wilde

Rhys Graham ∙ Bryan Hall

Dorothy Hong ∙ Andy Julia

Klaartje Lambrechts ∙ Nicky Newman

My-An Nguyen ∙ Darrole Palmer

Franz Ritschel ∙ Jiro Schneider

Milton Stille

Advertising Inquiries

Glenn Alderson

glenn@beatroute.ca

778-888-1120

Editor-in-Chief

Glenn Alderson

glenn@beatroute.ca

GRAPHIC DESIGNER

Syd Danger

www.syddanger.com

ELECTRONICS DEPT.

Vanessa Tam

vanessa@beatroute.ca

QUEER

David Cutting

david@beatroute.ca

MANAGING EDITOR

Jennie Orton

jennie@beatroute.ca

local music/

the skinny

Erin Jardine

erin@beatroute.ca

City

Yasmine Shemesh

yasmine@beatroute.ca

comedy

Graeme Wiggins

graeme@beatroute.ca

04

05

06

Working for the

Weekend

∙ with Steve Mann

the arkells

blue rodeo

afi

comeback kid

08 fruit bats

10

11

13

17

kyle morton

jp maurice

the tequila mockingbird

orchestra

the katherines

12 breakpoint

little sprout

15

lydia loveless

THE SKINNY

∙ Frank Love ∙ Regrets

∙ Alcest ∙ Dead Time

ELECTRONICS DEPT

∙ Clubland ∙ Talib Kweli

∙ Dumbfoundead ∙ Stevie Ross

19 comedy

∙ Sundee Dhaliwal

20 city

21 cover

22

∙ Federal Store ∙ Pandora’s Box

∙ Harzoon Mirza

∙ The Revenge of the Popinjay

push festival

∙ Portraits in Motion ∙ Sweat Baby Sweat

∙ Dirtsong

24 queer

∙ Queen of the Month

∙ From the Desk of Carlotta Gurl

∙ Queer View Mirror

26 film

∙ This Month in Film

∙ Canada on Screen

31

37

ALBUM REVIEWS

∙ The xx ∙ Childish Gambino

∙ Kid Cudi ∙ The Rolling Stones

LIVE REVIEWS

∙ Aesop Rock ∙ Neurosis

38 vanpooper

Distribution

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

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©BEATROUTE Magazine 2017. All rights reserved.

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January 2017 3


with Steve Mann from File Under: Music

Maya-Roisin Slater

Steve Mann was a plastic guy. Hawking vinyl

lettering, ink cartridges, and raw sign making

materials at a soul crushing office job, a life in sales

was not exactly shaping up to what he’d hoped.

Away from the water cooler he led a double life in

an indie rock band called Philoceraptor, a project

which Mann himself says he “Didn’t completely

screw up.” During this trying time in his life is when

he met Karen Hood through a co-worker. Sensing he

needed a change, she asked him to combine his love

for music and savvy at selling non- biodegradable

goods as a manager for the label she was running,

File Under: Music. It’s been three and a half years

since that holy union, and Mann’s soul is now

notably un-sucked. Hood started the label herself

in 2007, signing a young Dan Mangan and helping

him build his successes. Before her first foray into

the music industry Hood was a councilor, and her

business partner Lisa Stewart an actor. “I wonder

how hard it would be to start a record label?” they

asked themselves. And here they are ten years later

in an upstairs Chinatown office surrounded by

boxes of CDs and records, with a whiteboard on

the wall tracking File Under: Music releases that

became so extensive they stopped updating it in

2013. We sat down with Mann in this very office to

get some juicy details on the thrilling ins and outs

of a nine-to-five in this crazy ‘ol thing we call the

music industry.

BeatRoute: What do you do at File Under: Music?

Steve Mann: I’m a label manager, which means

I have to do many things to keep this machine

Photo by Sarah Whitlam

rolling. So specifically I would say anything that

has to do with the input of music, so finding artists

and making sure everything’s set up properly. So

art, production, to getting it out here, figuring out

how we’re going to promote a record, setting up

budgets for that and also all the writing and copy

and creative we do to so people can find out about

the music we put out.

BeatRoute: What’s the hardest part of your job?

SM: There are two really hard parts. One is figuring

out what to do with the industry at any given time

because it changes so fast, and the big change is that

sales are decimated compared to what they were

and unfortunately the fact that sales are decimated,

people don’t really understand what affect that has

on getting people to love artists again or connect

with them. On the other side of the coin it’s dealing

with artists. Because as much as I love artists—and

I do love artists—it takes a lot of communication

so they know what’s best for them. And I try not to

say that condescendingly because I mean it with

all the love in the world. There are things that I’m

sure they think will work, that I know because I’ve

done it for so many records, so many releases, that

just don’t work. But it’s because they’ve never done

it before and they don’t know any better. So like

“We want to put this record out right away and we

just finished recording it!” Well it takes six months

to set up everything to do that properly, please

believe that that’s true. So I guess one way to put

that is earning the trust of our artists, and trying to

turn their music into business. People shit on that

as a concept all the time, but I think it’s a very noble

pursuit in a very Ayn Rand-ian sense, I think the best

way to show value for something is to get money

so there can be more of it. So as much as it might

bug NEEDS one day that I’m like “I need you to do

your social media a little better, and I’m going to

put an ad on this thing.” It’s because I want them

to make more money so they can make more music

and they can go and make this bigger and better.

So that’s a difficult bit of terrain to traverse, I think

I’m not horrible at it because I’ve been on that side

of things, I know the value a little bit more than a

soulless record executive.

BeatRoute: Do you think your experience as an

artist before working with File Under: Music has

affected how you do your job?

SM: It’s definitely made it easier. Because I can

appreciate things, like there was an artist I spoke to

about doing a thing with and he was really hesitant

because he wrote a record that was a break up record.

And he thought as much as it was a good idea to do the

things that we were talking about doing, he’s like, “I can’t

put this record out right now, because if I put it out my

relationships really over.” And I was like, “Your relationship

is really over, right?” And he was like, “Yeah it is, this

just makes it real.” It’s just like you know what I totally

understand it, hit me up when the time’s right for you. As

much as I know this will work, I’m not going to force you

into it. Because nobody’s going to be happy at that point.

So the empathy definitely does help, and it also helps me

talk people through the dark times if you will.

BeatRoute: So, what’s your favorite part of your job?

SM: Being able to listen to so much music all the

time. And the fact that I can see through the code

a bit and see there are paths to success. It’s very

very very difficult. I think Vancouver’s especially

challenged sort of compared to Toronto, Montreal,

and Ottawa. It’s just geography. We’re trapped by

the mountains, the next market to the East being

Kelowna, we’re trapped by the ferry you need to get

to Victoria so you lose a lot of your cash just trying

to get there, and the border is only going to get

harder to cross from here on in. Whereas if you’re

in Toronto, Montreal, or Ottawa, you have those

three cities to bounce between and as soon as you

get your visa and you drive around the great lakes

you go through three Canada’s worth of people.

So I find in Vancouver there’s almost a mindset of

there’s no point in really trying because all we can

do is fail, and I think Vancouver sells itself short a

lot of times for that. My greatest joy will be when

I can figure that out for bands and help them be

really successful.

For more on the File Under: Music singles series, visit

fileundermusic.com

4

January 2017


music

THE ARKELLS

road warriors focus their attention on the details

Lucas Kitchen

Oh how the times have changed. After

winning a couple Junos and releasing

their fourth studio album, Morning

Report, in 2016, the Arkells have

embarked on yet another far reaching

tour covering North America and parts

of Europe. For lead singer Max Kerman,

whether they’re playing a stadium

opening for Frank Turner or headlining a

sweaty bar in Germany, it’s all the same

— you never know who’s watching.

“The one thing I’ve realized is that

you’ve gotta take every little detail

seriously and really care about every

aspect of the show,” Kerman says. “You

never know the thing that might move

the needle so you’ve got to try your best

and hope good luck will find you.”

Good luck certainly has found the

multiple Juno award-winning band.

Just this past November the Hamilton,

ON based rockers played what Kerman

described as a “bucket list experience” at

Massey Hall in Toronto when they played

two back-to-back sold out shows.

“We were almost afraid we’d be

let down because we built it up in our

heads so much, but then it exceeded

expectations,” Kerman says.

Playing those larger shows in

stadiums or theatres doesn’t allow the

Arkells to mingle with the audience

post-show as much as they used to, but

that connection to their fans is still the

most important aspect of the band’s

life. VIP experiences, contests, and

membership in the Arkells Collegiate

Vocational Institute have all been part

of them giving back to their fans.

“We noticed a lot of people like

covering us on acoustic guitar and the

golden ticket idea grew from that,” he says.

That “golden ticket idea” being that

fans submit videos of them covering the

Arkells’ latest single, “My Heart’s Always

Yours,” and the winning video would

earn that fan a free ticket to any and all

Arkells concerts for 2017.

“We still get such a kick out of being

a part of someone’s life and that hasn’t

changed at all as the band has grown

in Canada. When you put yourself out

With Morning Report, The Arkells have found the sweet spot between being big enough to breathe and close enough to touch

there in the world you never know what

you’re going to get back.”

The band released their first single,

“Drake’s Dad,” off their most recent

album last May, which came as a bit of

a pleasant surprise from a band that

seemed to be perpetually touring. Just

how did such a pavement pounding

group manage to record an album

while still travelling the continent? For

Kerman it came from their previous

recording experience.

“I’ve realized [recording] can be a

bit of a dodgy experience when you’ve

just got one or two months of time

blocked off to be holed up in a studio.”

This led to the group recording the

album over several months with a couple

stops in LA and Toronto and the help of

four different producers. Overall, Morning

Report is a solid addition to the Arkells’

catalogue and Kerman feels the same way.

“We really like the job and we

wouldn’t force anything if we felt it was

shitty, but because we were so jazzed

on the songs we thought let’s just get to

work. Why do we have to assume that

we have to wait another eight months

to put out new music? If the whole team

is jazzed then let’s fuckin’ do it.”

Arkells perform at the Thunderbird Sports

Centre (Vancouver) on February 1.

BLUE RODEO

one thousand arms over a split lane highway

Danny Kresnyak

CanCon legends prepare to break the odometer while bringing their new album to a vast Canadian audience

Luminary Canadian country rockers

Blue Rodeo and their crew are hard at

work on final preparations for a coastto-coast

tour across Canada in the dead

of winter. Anyone who’s attempted this

on any level understands the mass of

challenges it presents.

Why would a band with more than

three decades of CanCon icon status,

shelves cluttered with Juno awards

and millions of albums sold, choose to

subject themselves to the bitterness of

the elements during the harshest time

of year?

According to co-lead singer,

western-shirt enthusiast and heartthrob

of the true, north strong and free, Mr. Jim

Cuddy, they do it because, “Canadian

audiences are faithful, they stick with

you. You show up, They’ll show up, the

front row may be in parkas, but they’ll

be there.”

“The only catch is, you can’t suck…

too often. Or that will get noticed too.”

According to Cuddy, the new record,

1000 Arms, is a return to the early style

of their first records that captured the

band’s live vibrations. This includes

harmonies and call-and-answer vocal

parts shared between Cuddy and his

chief musical collaborator Greg Keelor.

The material on 1000 Arms

explores and embraces the nature of

what a community is and what it does.

The title track, penned by Cuddy, was

Inspired by a podcast about the true

story of a woman afflicted with bi-polar

disorder. The women was a beloved

character, operating a unique coffee

shop in her neighbourhood. At times

she relied on her neighbours to help her

through her manias, and the security

she was offered by their collective arms

helped her to thrive, held up by the

good will of her neighbours.

Blue Rodeo’s career is made on this

sound, and this tour during the barren,

desolate part of winter is a thank

you to their fans in classic Canadian

tradition. “When we were first starting

out, it was wide open. Nobody toured

at this time of the year so it was easy

to get dates.” And as Cuddy, a familyman

through and through, added, “it’s

the time of year when you are missed the

least at home.”

The tour will touch down in

big-whistle stops with two shows

in Vancouver, two in Calgary, and

other major centres before returning

home with thousands of new clicks

on the band’s shared odometer.

Blue Rodeo will also visit smaller

communities, places like Thunder

Bay, where the tour begins on

January 11, roughly eight-hours (in

ideal conditions) of winding split lane

Canadian Shield highway from the

nearest major population centre. And

Estevan, Saskatchewan, where Cuddy

says he’s seen “a new prosperity…”

due to “migration, where places like

Saskatchewan used to have entirely

unique identities, now Canadians have

moved around and brought their own

traditions.”

Cuddy says this effect has

strengthened the national fabric and

given Canada a chance to be the catalyst

in connecting the global community

with real progress.

While this ethos and tour reach

wide, Cuddy wants to go further. “I

want to play Rankin Inlet,” and a host

of other places which are often left

out of the national policy dialogue yet

are vital parts of the Canadian identity.

Particularly now, as we face a post-

Brexit, staring-down-the-barrel-ofpresident-Trump

world that seems to

have chosen to isolate itself from the

notions of community presented in this

work, and by this tour.

“Some artists may feel they have a

toothless grip, but In Canada, we’ve had

the opposite effect,” said Cuddy. “We can

do a lot more than just get out the vote.”

Blue Rodeo performs on January 27 and

28 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.

January 2017 MUSIC

5


AFI

darkness prevails from the sunshine state

Glenn Alderson

AFI frontman Davey Havok doesn’t

want to talk about the tattoos he

recently, and mysteriously, blacked out.

He also doesn’t want to divulge the name

of his soon to be released book, a sequel to

Pop Kids (his 2013 coming-of-age tale about

a pop-culture obsessed, pseudovegetarian,

atheist, pyromaniac, trapped within a

rural northern Californian town). And he’d

rather not disclose the direction of his soon

to be released musical project, DREAMCAR,

featuring members of No Doubt. He can,

however, talk about AFI’s new album,

The Blood Album, which is going to be

released this month via Concord Music.

After ten studio albums and 25+

years holding a microphone as the lead

personality for his gloomy goth rock

troupe, it makes sense that he would

probably want to keep his cards close to

his chest while talking about his creative

outlets. One thing at a time, and right

now, Havok still has blood on his hands.

Talking on the phone from Hollywood,

the 41 year old sounds refreshingly

chipper and excited that the record is

finished and ready to be released.

“I’m really happy with how everything

turned out,” he says. “We spent a lot of

time working on it and we’re excited to

share Blood with our fans.”

You can tell Havok is in interview

cruise control mode, but what more can

you really say? The album was recorded

over the course of the last year and was coproduced

by guitarist Jade Puget and Matt

Hyde (Deftones). The theme of blood runs

throughout, not out of a twisted fascination

with vampires or anything overtly cheesy

like that, but it’s something Havok says was

unconsciously on his mind while writing for

the album.

“The theme of blood just kept

coming up in a lot of the lyrics I was

writing so when we finally paired down

the album from the 60 songs we had

originally written, I brought it up again

with Jade and we decided that calling it

The Blood Album made sense.”

The end result is a sonically diverse

collection of tracks that may or may not be

surprising if you’ve been following the band’s

career for the last ten-plus years since they

topped the Billboard charts with their 2003

major label breakout, Sing The Sorrow.

Havok is still channeling his inner

Morrissey with hints of Danzig always

present in the background, but this album

slightly veers back to the band’s punk/

hardcore roots — gang vocals, razor

sharp 4/4 riffs, all cleverly disguised

underneath anthemic compositions

and crystal clear production.

Obviously gone are the lighthearted

days of “I Wanna Get A Mohawk (But Mom

Won’t Let Me Get One)” off the band’s 1995

debut, Answer That And Stay Fashionable.

Havok has presumably removed the black

nail polish along with his tattoo sleeves, but

AFI grow up and find balance in the darkness with The Blood Album

the punk rock ethos is kind of still there, just

hiding in plain sight.

“It’s not like it happened over night

though,” Havok says. “There was a very

gradual progression to our success and

it wasn’t until 2006 that the mainstream

media even started to pay attention to

us. So it’s not like how some bands will

put out one album, it will get successful

and then by their next album they’re

playing stadiums. For us it was a much

more gradual progression.”

Havok might be all covered up but at

Photo by Jiro Schneider

the same time, he’s completely exposed

on The Blood Album. 2016 was a dark

year and 2017 doesn’t look like it’s going

to be much better, but maybe it’s ok to

hide in the darkness.

When asked how he finds solstice in

these sinister times, Havok is quick to answer,

“Anything Nick Cave does. The new Neurosis

album. The New Tom Ford movie, Nocturnal

Animals. It’s beautiful and perfect.”

AFI performs on January 24 at the

Commodore Ballroom.

COMEBACK KID

hardcore heavyweights continue thrashing from all angles

Johnny Papan

On the grind for more than a decade,

Comeback Kid has been a long-lived

dominant force in the hardcore punk

scene. Founded in Winnipeg, MB at

the strike of the new millennium, their fast,

heavy, aggressive and melodic sound has

gained them notoriety both nationally and

internationally, recently taking the quintet

through South America and Europe.

“We do a lot of international

touring,” explains guitarist Stu Ross,

who has recently acquired the job

of talent booker at The Cobalt, one

of Vancouver’s most notorious live

music venues. Ross recalls some

of the band’s craziest experiences

Photo by Bryan Hall

Tales from the hardcore world of military police, sweaty over capacity gigs, toys for sick kids, and the joys of new songs on home soil

performing abroad.

“A few years back in Bandung,

Indonesia we had a show cancelled due

to what local police chalked up to permit

issues,” he says. “The promoter ended up

moving the show onto a military police

base about an hour from the city. We had

to surrender our passports upon entry.”

Without any idea of what to expect, the

band was taken to a defunct bunker where

they were greeted by a roaring crowd of

more than 700 people. “The place had dirt

floors, a concrete stage and a hole in

the ground to piss in, but there was a regular

functioning P.A. system. The show was super

fun and well worth the wait.”

Another show was cancelled in

Tel Aviv, Israel. Last minute, the band

was invited to play at a 200 capacity

DIY venue instead. “The show was

fucking nuts. Wall-to-wall people,

hotter than hell, so much energy

and excitement. It made for such

a memorable experience.” In 2014,

during a South African tour, shows

went smoothly and CBK performed in

front of hundreds of fans each night.

“The craziest thing was the actual

travel through the country, city to

city, the townships, the countryside.

We got to play with cheetahs, horseback

with giraffes, and swim with sharks. So

that whole trip was pretty nuts over all.”

Recently, the group showed

their charitable side, playing a full

set of mosh-worthy tracks at the For

the Children festival in Los Angeles.

A charity event, attendees were

required to donate toys upon entry,

which would be given to children

in need. “It’s a cool festival with a

really great cause. We were happy

and honoured to have been involved

with such a special event.” Comeback

Kid headlined this two-day festival,

packing the Union Hall alongside

some of the grittiest punk bands from

around the globe. The angelic nature

of the event, however, would not stop

the show from becoming a heavenly

combustion. A video of Comeback

Kid’s set, which can be found on

YouTube, shows fans thrashing

from all angles, toppling over each

other, jumping on stage and throwing

themselves back into the thunderous

sea-like pit. The band would end the

night with one of their biggest hits,

“Wake the Dead.” Alas, a truck would

leave the venue jam-packed with toys,

and rowdy audience members would

exit with proudly worn battle-scars.

Comeback Kid is currently writing

the follow-up to their 2014 album, Die

Knowing, anticipated for a Summer

2017 release. This month the band

will spend some time in Vancouver

working on the album and playing

a one-off show in a more personal

venue than you might expect.

“It’s a great opportunity to see

CBK in an intimate setting,” Ross says

about their upcoming show, which will

be at the Cobalt. “It’s a tighter room

than we typically play in Vancouver. No

barricades or security lurking near or on

the stage. We’re able to play our show for

you the way it’s supposed to be played.”

Surely, this will be an explosive one,

not for the faint of heart.

Comeback Kid performs at The Cobalt

on January 21.

6 MUSIC

January 2017


January 2017 7


FRUIT BATS

back to life after a discourse in grief

Sarah Bauer

Fruit Bats is a band you might have a

hard time explaining to your Grandma,

but it’s the name under which multiinstrumentalist

and singer-songwriter

Eric D. Johnson has become known for

by fans over the past 20 years. So much

so that while touring as a solo artist,

he found himself having to mention it

every time he played a show.

Going solo was meant to signify a

clean break from the Fruit Bats moniker

in the wake of personal crisis for Johnson,

who with his wife had lost to a miscarriage

what would have been their first child.

In 2014, under the name EDJ, Johnson

released his most cathartic and personally

revealing work to date. The sound was all

folksy and warm Fruit Bats, but its content

was a discourse in grief.

Coming from a folk-pop band on a

productive stride since the early 2000s

“indie rock” heyday, with Sub Pop label

cred and string of critically celebrated

albums, Johnson could not anticipate

the comparatively quiet response to

EDJ. Bringing Fruit Bats back for its

latest record, Absolute Loser (Easy

Sound Recording Company), made

sense practically for its connection to

EDJ’s material.

“EDJ and Absolute Loser should

probably somehow be released

together. In many ways they’re like a

single statement,” says Johnson. “It was

weird, but ultimately people recognize

Fruit Bats so I just thought I should

probably use that name again.”

There couldn’t be a better set of

tunes to reinstate Fruit Bats back to its

fanbase than what is found on Absolute

Loser. Its ten tracks are tied together

with the kind of sweetness that recalls

cozy Sunday mornings listening to

the oldies station on the radio while

your mother makes breakfast in her

bathrobe. There is nostalgia and sadness

but it’s well cloaked as any fine country

record should be with rollicking guitar

and smiling verses.

It’s back to basics with snappy

banjo on “Humbug Mountain Song” and

strumming guitar on “Birthday Drunk”

and Johnson’s unmistakable high tenor

voice carrying listeners to joyful and

familiar places. Those familiar with past

albums The Ruminant Band and Spelled

in Bones will take comfort in Johnson’s

unflaggingly thankful approach to

observing the varied turns of life.

“Good Will Come To You” is as

optimistic as the title suggests, with

only a sigh of a suggestion this could be

the kind of pep talk Johnson has had to

give himself before.

“I have a feeling that good will

come to you / I have a notion that good

will come to you,” he sings, and he is

believable. May good come to us, so

long as we are kind to one another.

It worked for his rescue dog Pinto,

a very sweet terrier occupying most of

Johnson’s Instagram feed these days.

Pinto is “really nice,” Johnson says, but

“you’d kind of have to be nice to be

a homeless street dog in Mexico and

manage to get rescued like that.”

Fruit Bats perform on January 13 at

the Cobalt.

With Absolute Loser, Eric D. Johnson finds solace in nostalgia and the sweetness in rescue.

8

January 2017


KYLE MORTON

going solo and slowing things down

Safiya Hopfe

Salem, Oregon’s favourite collective

of orchestral indie rock, Typhoon, has

seen growing acclaim since releasing

White Lighter in 2013, but frontman

Kyle Morton recently chose to take a

step back from his band in the interest

of trying something new.

In his words, “Typhoon projects

always take a really long time and they’re

always agonizingly slow. So I wanted to

do something sort of fun and easy and

labour-less.” Morton wanted something

that would allow him to take a breather

and make use of a pile of songs that had

accumulated over the years, behind

closed doors while the creative process

of his 18-piece ensemble absorbed all

recording efforts and creative focus.

The result is What Will Destroy

You, an instrumentally minimal

and altogether intimate solo record

that grapples with love, loss, and

the apocalypse, coherently and

holistically despite the aura of

spontaneity and coincidence with

which all of the songs actually came

together. As it turns out, the overarching

theme— “exploring love as either the

thing that will destroy you or that will

save you”— came after the making of the

record itself, leading naturally to the title

What Will Destroy You.

Simply put, though, it’s no concept

album. Morton highlights how little of

it was premeditated and explains that

most of the songs were written “offthe-cuff.”

“I had the songs in the bag

before we even started, they were songs

I had written almost by accident.” He

continues to explain that the process

took around a month in its entirety. “I

recorded it with my old friend in Long

Island, an engineer who worked on

all the Typhoon records, and we just

recorded it in that, I would just drop

by his house a couple nights a week

and we finished it in about a month.

With Typhoon, I keep using the word

laboured but it’s belaboured almost.”

The painstaking diligence Morton

attributes to Typhoon’s artistic process

is unsurprising, considering the

sheer grandeur reflected both by the

ensemble’s size and the abstraction

of the ideas they work to unravel.

Desire, death, and attraction are but

a few examples of the “philosophical

concepts” the band has tackled, and

that he himself tends to gravitate

toward no matter what he is thinking or

writing about. But the reality of concept

albums is that they don’t always

materialize organically. “When you try

to force something it will sound sort of

strained, and definitely when I listen to

our last Typhoon record, White Lighter,

which is the record I’m really proud of

and something I really like, there’s this

feeling of pressure and strain. I mean for

one, we played all the songs so fast on

the record, I don’t know what we were

thinking. Like god it sounds like we’re

on amphetamines or something.”

Ironically enough, it’s been busier

since the record’s release than during

the making of it. Kyle Morton is touring

solo for the first time, though he’s always

had a pretty good time performing by

himself at shows here and there in Oregon.

He refers to the “clown-size shoes” he has to

fill in the absence of his many bandmates,

and in addition to working a day-job

explains that every spare minute has been

spent recording Typhoon’s new record. He

isn’t shying away from any of it though. He

calls the world of making music “a dog-eatdog

world” but he doesn’t intend to back

out. “It seems to be pathological. I don’t

know if I can stop now.”

Kyle Morton performs on January 9 at

the Rickshaw Theatre.

Typhoon frontman Kyle Morton gets melodic with his new solo offering.

Photo by Jen van Houten

JP Maurice

celebrating the musical anatomy of boys and girls

JP Maurice is no longer a victim of expectation as he prepares for the release of his new EP, Girls.

Heather Adamson

Vancouver songwriter JP Maurice is

ringing in the New Year with a new

album. His six-track EP Girls drops on

January 14, which stands strongly on its

own while building anticipation for an

LP that will be released later in the year,

very fittingly entitled Boys. Two albums,

simply yet aptly named for an artist

whose interwoven relationships with

musicians and industry professionals

are central to the life he has built for

himself, which includes being a partner

at Vancouver’s Blue Light Studio.

“Being a part of the studio has been

wonderful,” says Maurice. “It is a place

where I feel supported and nourished as

an artist and a person. It can feel really

overwhelming being out there in the

music industry on your own and now I

have help around me that is solid.”

Embedding himself in the

Vancouver music scene as a songwriter,

performer and producer, Maurice’s

multifaceted career has influenced the

maturation in his own music and the

choices he has made for his upcoming

releases. Girls is layered with group

vocals on various tracks and highlights

Maurice’s penchant for strong pop-

rock offerings. A chameleon of sorts

when it comes to genres, Maurice has

the ability to maneuver effortlessly

between anything from a crooning jazz

infused ballad to a classic rock anthem

and shares that the LP will have more of

an alt-country vibe.

The pressure to prescribe to a certain

type of music or produce a particular

sounding album has eased for Maurice

over the years.

“I hit a pretty low point a few years

ago,” says Maurice. “I was a victim of

expectation. But I’m at a point now

where I have a lot of great friends and

people around me. I just want to keep

making records and staying creative.”

Preparing for the release of his new

music and knowing all too well the

emotional trappings that can come

along with it, JP Maurice is confident

in his choices and the songs that he is

sharing with audiences at this stage in

his life.

“Honestly, I am not worried about

how my music is going to be received.

Humanity and the state of the world are

things I spend time worrying about.”

JP Maurice performs at the Biltmore

Cabaret on January 14.

January 2017 MUSIC

9


THE LEMON TWIGS

1960s glam made to last in Long Island

Photo by Autumn de Wilde

Christina Zimmer

For a band that has only just released

their first full album, Do Hollywood, in

October of 2016, the Lemon Twigs from

Long Island, NY have already received

some significant publicity in global

media. Brian and Michael D’Addario

were nominated New Band of the Week

by The Guardian UK in July 2016; their

album has received a lot of praise with

regards to its diversity, sophistication,

and unconventional sound, and their

eccentric dress code — Brian looks

like a 1960s rock star and Michael goes

for the glam look — has prompted

mixed reactions. The fact that their

music style brings back the sound of

the Beatles, the Beach Boys, and Todd

Rundgren — performers who have

been influencers to the brothers from

an early age, also thanks to their songwriting

father, Ronnie D’Addario — is

in particular remarkable considering

that the brothers are only 19 and 17

years of age. Speaking to Brian during

his holiday break in Long Island after his

return from touring the US and Europe

to promote the new record, he explains:

“We were five when we started playing

drums and I was seven when I started

playing guitar and writing songs.” In

the meantime, Brian masters the guitar,

bass, drums, keyboards, horns, and

strings, and also owns a trumpet, a

violin, and a cello. Together, Brian and

Michael solely executed all instrumental

accompaniments on the record and

only when playing live, the brothers

are supported by Danny Ayala on the

keyboard and Megan Zeankowski on

the bass.

The style of their music is often

described as baroque rock of the

1960s, psychedelic, vaudeville. Asked

where they get their inspiration from,

Brian replies, “Initially the Beatles

were inspiring, so were a lot of bands,

Leonard Cohen was and still is very

inspiring to me. I’m really like inspired

by music that I don’t know so much

about, usually the point of inspiration

is when I’m first discovering something.

So like I can be inspired by Big Star or

by opera, like Henry Purcell, or Richard

Rodgers musicals, but those things that

I mentioned I don’t know too much

about but when I hear something,

because I don’t know so much about it,

it inspires me to learn more about it and

try to make music like that.”

The album consists of an equal

amount of pieces written by both

brothers in 2014 and is rife with

impactful melodies, instrumental,

and rhythmic variety and attention to

detail — this also goes for their first

two single releases. “These words,”

written by Brian, features a forceful,

harmonious chorus transitioning into

a rapid instrumental symbiosis of piano

and xylophone, whilst the anthemic

“As long as we’re together,” penned by

Michael, is skillfully interrupted by a

playful synthesizer solo.

With some written material in

the bag, they contacted Foxygen’s

Jonathan Rado online and sent him a

few pieces, he really liked them, and the

rest is history. According to Brian, Rado’s

appreciation of the music really inspired

them whilst collaborating with him for

the album: “Now there was kind of like

someone listening, it felt like there’s an

audience for the first time, someone that

didn’t have any reason to like our music,

that we could craft our songs for.”

During their upcoming shows, the

brothers will be performing songs from

their recently released album, some

Two teenagers fresh out of a time machine blow minds with Do Hollywood

new material which will be compiled on

an EP due to come out in 2017 as well

as one of the songs from the next full

album, which has yet to be recorded.

The new songs, Brian reveals, are of

the same origin as the songs from Do

Hollywood as they were demoed at the

same time but, according to Brian, they have

a different energy to them when played

live. So there’s plenty to look forward to for

existing fans and fans-to-be alike.

The Lemon Twigs perform at the Cobalt

February 1.

THE

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10 MUSIC

January 2017


THE TEQUILA MOCKINGBIRD ORCHESTRA

celebrating ten years of chasing the worm

Heather Adamson

Victoria’s homegrown Tequila

Mockingbird Orchestra (TMO) are

celebrating ten years as a band and

they are going on an anniversary tour to

celebrate. It’s quite a legacy for any band

to make the decade mark and these five

musicians appreciate everything they’ve

gone through to get here. “It’s hard for

bands to stay together,” says vocalist/

guitarist Kurt Loewen. “Ambition,

distance, inspiration, and creative

differences can work against you but

we are grateful for what we have.” Three

of the five are original band members

and the current five-piece have been

playing together for the past five years.

Now spread out living in various parts of

the country, they reunite to create and

tour together three to four months out

of the year, a healthy balance they have

struck between those that would be

happy touring all of the time and those

that don’t want to be on the road much

at all. Apart for much of the year, they

place a lot of value on the time they

set aside to continue their collective

artistic pursuit. “Aside from creating

more music together, our main focus

is to be really good to one another

because that is what got us here in

Photo by

bitternorth.com

the first place,” says Loewen.

Having toured across Canada

and internationally, Loewen spoke of

some of the places they have lived and

performed in over the years. Berlin,

Spain, Yukon, and Montreal, to name a

few, are places and experiences that have

influenced the constant evolution of the

band’s music. Their reputation for being

collaborative, spontaneous, and endlessly

creative has led to many opportunities and

they plan to harness this energy for their

upcoming tour to share with audiences.

The band will be performing

in Vancouver on January 12 at the

Rickshaw Theatre, a show being curated

by Ruhamah Marie Buchanan of Rogue

Spade Arts. “Seeing TMO perform

Victoria tribe of brotherly love celebrates ten years riding the creative Rapids together.

during the Sunday night closing set at

Kaslo Jazz Festival this past summer was

incredibly inspiring,” says Buchanan.

A huge fan for years, Buchanan has

been waiting for the timing to align

to showcase the band in a certain

format and the tenth anniversary was

the perfect occasion. “I enjoy creating

multi-media immersive environments

by inviting musicians, circus performers,

and visual artists of different mediums

to perform collaboratively,” says

Buchanan. The night is set to include

performing arts troupe Omnika in

Motion, as well as local troubadours

The Tailor, and MEGANG, along with

a few other surprises. “We haven’t

even met Ruhamah yet,” says Loewen.

“She reached out to us and we were

so grateful. We want to honour her

impressions of us from our performance

in Kaslo by embracing improvised

collaboration, spontaneity, and

openness on the stage. It has always

been about the performance for us.”

After a decade of performing

and touring together, the Tequila

Mockingbird Orchestra is more like a

brotherhood than a band. “Other than

my immediate family, they are the

longest relationships I have had in my

life,” shared Loewen. “It is heavy and

beautiful and I wouldn’t change a thing.”

The Tequila Mockingbird Orchestra perform

at the Rickshaw Theatre on January 12.

FEATURED CONCERTS

VICTORIA, BC

HOLY FUCK

PLUS GUESTS

SUGAR NIGHTCLUB | WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 18

JOHN K. SAMSON

& THE WINTER WHEAT

PLUS GUESTS

SUGAR NIGHTCLUB | WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 1

The Katherines kick-start their career with To Bring You To My Heart.

The katherines

the soulfulness of sisterhood

Maddy Christal

The Katherine’s are a three-piece

Vancouver based indie-pop band

comprised of two sisters, Kate and

Lauren Kurdyak, and their life long

friend Kaitlyn Hansen-Boucher.

Their debut album, To Bring You

My Heart (604 records), will be

released this month and is an

extensive tapestry of sound and a

lyrical ethnography full of youthful

reflections.

The Katherines were recently

graduating high school yet have

managed to release a highly selfaware

record that encapsulates

the experience of being vulnerable,

confused and heartbroken. Front

woman Kate Kurdyak has an

intoxicating voice that is rich

in depth and experience. It is

palpable to listeners immediately

that the three are well trained and

highly technical, however their

sound is whimsical and youthful.

Kate’s fun and courageous spirit

is well suited to her music. It is

clear she doesn’t take herself to

seriously, yet seriously enough.

She currently resides in small town

Squamish, studying social sciences

at University. She is truly a nonjudgmental,

warm and intelligent

conversationalist who straddles

between remarkably intellectual

to admittedly silly. Her plans for

the future involve two album

release concerts in Vancouver and

Toronto in late January before a

more substantial tour across BC

in the spring. Shortly following

that the band will record their

next album, in which most of

the material is already written.

Kurdyak shared that she would

love just to get in the car with her

fellow bandmates and see where

they end up at some point in their

career. Embodying the soul of rock

‘n’ roll but the mind of a realist, she

expressed her gratitude for being in

a band with people so close to her.

“We flight like sisters, then

make up and it’s really great,” she

says. “We share everything, which

brings us closer.”

Kate writes the songs while

Lauren and Hansen-Boucher

provide diverse instrumentality. To

Bring you My Heart features their

unique approach to songwriting

and pop-infused indie ballads.

A wide array of Canadian talent

is featured alongside the ladies

on this notable album, including

Hawksley Workman, Fake Shark’s

Kevvy Mental and Hot Hot Heat’s

Steve Bays.

The album is a collection of

complicated songs with vulnerable

lyrics and honest musings. The

sound is bold, which pairs well

with the humble lyrics generously

delivered.

The Katherines perform January 20 at

The Cobalt.

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January 2017 MUSIC

11


BREAKPOINT

challenging black and white thinking with debut EP

Sadie Vadnais

On Commercial Drive, the snow has

put the street into chaos, grey slush and

asphalt stopping up busses, pedestrians

falling over themselves trying to get to

where they want to go. It’s hard not to

smile, sitting with Jacob “Winter” Grey

and Evan Bettcher (drummer Jayden

England couldn’t get there), talking about

their album which feels very similar: chaos,

upheaval, deviation from the norm.

“We’ve all been there, to the

breakpoint. We didn’t mean to get there,

but here we are,” says Grey, lighting a

marlboro. “It comes from a personal

place…it’s very metaphorical.”

“Yeah,” adds Bettcher. “We basically

do whatever the fuck, and make our music

from that, the good and bad contrast.”

It’s a great punk album for a band of

young people to come out with, but that

shouldn’t be the focus of its listening as

it hits with thrash and metal too. It’s the

album you wished you had put out when

you were in a band, which is refreshing and

transporting, a theme that Breakpoint

wanted to accidentally convey.

“In the track ‘Finger Crossed’ some

of the drums are a mistake but we just

kept them because we ended up liking

them.” Grey laughs, “Our EP was recorded

Photo by Aly Laube

in a bathroom with the fan going.”

“Our sound has changed so much,”

Bettcher adds. “We listened to the EP

over and over and then improved...but

we just want our audience to come to

their own conclusions about what the

album is.”

“Last time we recorded we were

going for free thinking,” Grey nods in

agreement, “but this time I think you

just dig for what it means…we tried

not to be political, but our track ‘For

Eyes To See’ is about fracking and the

pipelines, but you might get something

different, you know? Everybody should

take something different from it if that’s

what you need. We wanted to put

meaning to every riff.”

This self titled album is a testament

to all the great highs and lows that

come with being young. It’s a crashing,

weaving attempt at bottling the angst

and hilarity of growing up, and they

come close, then ease off, keeping it

accessible and tight enough to not be cliché.

Breakpoint is the line in the sand when you

felt you just had to ride the wave.

Breakpoint album release show is at 333

Clarke Drive on Jan 27th with Frogpile

and Mouthbreather. Tickets are $10,

doors at 8 PM.

Another great punk EP for those who want to survive youth cliche-free

Photo by Lauren Ray

This Vancouver trio found their way out of the woods and into an artistic collective

LITTLE SPROUT

swiping right never turned out so well

Elliot Langford

“I don’t know why I swiped right... but I

said hi to you first,” says Amie Gislason,

singer and guitarist for Little Sprout.

“Did you?” asks drummer, Sean Gordon.

“Yeah!” laughs Amie.

Several Skype sessions later,

Gordon took a ferry from his home in

Nanaimo over to Vancouver to meet

Gislason in person. Soon enough,

not only were they dating, but they

were forming a band, with Gordon

recruiting his friend and roommate

Reese Patterson to play bass.

“I was like ‘Reese can play bass I

think,’” he says. “And that just worked

out really well, sort of luckily.” Little

Sprout’s tape marks the first formal

music release for any of the members.

For Gislason, it’s the realization of a goal

she had since she formed her first band

as a teenager.

“[As a teenager] my number one

goal was to be in a band. My number

one influence was ska and I was listening

to a lot of System of a Down,” she laughs.

Her band Time To Quit lasted half a

year, and played a handful of packed all

ages shows, breaking up when her best

friend and bandmate moved away.

During her twenties, Gislason went

through a long tumultuous period of

alcoholism and drug addiction during

which playing music hurt. “Playing

guitar reminded me of better times

and of being functional,” she says.

After going through recovery, one of

Gislason’s goals was to play music again.

And not only to write new songs, some

of which were inspired by her addiction

and recovery, but to revisit some songs

that had been laying dormant for a

decade.

“The songs that survived through

that time deserve to be played if they

survived that long. ‘Solar Wind,’ I wrote

when I was 16 or 17.”

Little Sprout balances the heavy

emotional weight of some of the lyrics,

with contrasting poppy angular guitar

parts and playful drumming.

“I like having the lyrics be super

depressing and then having a cute guitar

part,” Gislason says. “But I also have a

song about dating an alien!”

The three band members are

also visual artists and collaborate on

bright colourful imagery for the band.

For Gislason, both art and music are

“Ways to express things [she has] never

been able to communicate in words.”

She describes her strength as being

as a realism-based painter, Gordon’s

art as more abstract, and Patterson’s

background is as a graphic designer.

They note their roles in the band as

being similar.

“Abstract, representational, and

form,” Gislason says describing Gordon,

Patterson, and herself.

“I would say I’m the most grounded

in reality,” says Patterson, to which the

others laugh.

Little Sprout plays tape release shows at

333 in Vancouver on January 14th and in

Nanaimo at the Vault on January 20th.

12 MUSIC

January 2017


LYDIA LOVELESS

midwest country singer breaks out of the barn

Graeme Wiggins

When you’ve been writing with your heart on your

sleeve for your entire adult life and have developed

a devoted fan base like Ohio country singer Lydia

Loveless has, it can be heard to branch out and

progress without some bumps in the road. And

even though she doesn’t see her new album, Real,

as a huge switch up, fans can be a little more

picky.

“I don’t think it was that much of a jump

given that there was something else in between.

I also have a lot of fans that are like Indestructible

Machine is your best album ever so maybe people

just don’t fucking get it, if that’s their opinion

about what my best work is,” she explains.

The progression on Real was a natural one

that came out of “just getting older, and actually

growing up a bit in the past few years.” The process

of recording started for her early, and initially

involved little in the way of knowledge.

“I was sort of learning to write songs and

make records by just doing it. I started and just

immediately jumped into the studio and started

recording so my learning process is pretty apparent

in the progression of my albums and this is just a

little more sophisticated sonically,” she says.

This sophistication apparent both in

production and her lyrics is most evident on

“Heaven,” a keyboard-infused track about God and

religion.

“I know that white people get really angry about

keyboards and non-guitar instrumentation. We had

some fun with that.” So while this might upset some

of her fans, she’s definitely happy with the result.

“I’m making it sound dumber than it was; it was

fun and experimental and great and as far as the

songwriting goes, I was progressing into a little less

‘born in a barn’ sound writing style anyways.”

That progression takes time, which can

make her fans impatient, but in order to write

new songs, you need time to just exist. There’s

only so many songs about the boredom of

touring that can be written. “People are always

like ‘It’s been so long since your last record’ and

it’s been like two years. I’m only fucking human. I

don’t have Max Martin in the room with me. I’m

not Taylor Swift where I just read my diary in a

boardroom and someone starts beat-boxing over

it. I actually have to create this shit. And remember

to be a human too.”

The end result is a deeply personal record

that comes out of some less than happy

experiences she’s going through. This is reflected

in the title of the album, Real, which points to

questions of perception.

Her notoriously fierce live shows might be

a little different north of the border, but expect

an engaging one nonetheless. As she explains, “In

Canada they’re a bit stripped down because some

of my band members can’t get into the country

so it might be a little more on the acoustic side,

but I think they are pretty confessional. I try to

engage the audience. I’ve never been much for

listening rooms, I know that’s what artists want

is for everyone to shut up and listen to my art

but I like to talk to the audience a little bit. I’m an

entertainer and performer, I’m not here to make

everyone miserable.”

Lydia Loveless performs at the Biltmore Cabaret

on February 2.

Photo by

David T. Kindler

With Real, Loveless stares adulthood down and never blinks

January 2017 MUSIC

13


WAINGRO

“When Mitch and I were just starting to collaborate

he was throwing their first show at 333, just down

the street from an afterhours [venue] I had a show

that night at. Waingro packed the room and ended

up getting Mitch's whole show shut down. The

remaining band on the bill, Molten Lava, being a

touring band at the time jumped on my show and

ended up being one of my favorite bands ever.

Thanks Waingro.”

- Taya Fraser

*Waingro has played all four of Art Signified’s anniversary shows

ASTRAKHAN

“One of the best show memories with them is when

Mitch, our friend Driscoll, and I went with them on a little

island tour. We basically drank our weight in whiskey and

got in shit from various people for partying too hard. It

was perfect, specifically locking Adam We (Guitar) in the

Cambie Hostel bathroom and filming him having to

breakout. Also Jerome (drums) was forced to party with us

the whole night.”

- Taya Fraser

*Astrakhan’s Reward in Purpose was one of

BeatRoute’s top 25 local albums of 2016

HERON

“I believe the first Heron show we did was Burgerfest,

guitarist Scott Bartlett puts on the one day festival with us

and is one of our best pals. I really look forward to how

many amps Scott ends up with, probably comparable to

the amount of face tattoos Ross ends up with.”

- Taya Fraser

*Ian from Passive and Eric from the Dirt both did stints in BRASS

BRASS

“One weekend I had a show at the Railway and Taya had an after

hours show the same night. We both had bands drop off our shows

at the last minute so we both suggested to the other that we get

BRASS to fill the slots. They came through at the last minute and

thoroughly blew both of our minds. I remember showing up to the

after hours show and I had just missed BRASS' set and Taya had a

look on her face like she had just seen God for the first time. The

next few months were some of the best times ever.”

- Mitch Ray

ART SIGNIFIED

IV YEAR ANNIVERSARY

HEDKS

“Hedks is my band. I didn't want to play this show

because I felt it a little biased me being in the band. But

my bandmate Twitch works so god damn hard, when

Mitch asked if we would I couldn't deny her the show.”

- Taya Fraser

ERIC CAMPBELL AND THE DIRT

“We had to get from our show in Saskatoon on Tuesday night all the

way to Toronto on Thursday night. It was about a 40 hour drive with no

meaningful stops. It was cutting it so close that if someone took too

long in the bathroom at a gas station then we were at risk of missing

the next show. To make matters worse, the van we had rented was

suspect at best, and it was the kind of situation where if we went too

fast it might overheat, and if we went to slow we might miss the show.

It was kind of like the movie Speed.”

- Mitch Ray

DOPEY’S ROBE

“I know all those guys through their prior projects. I saw them

live and they were awesome, seeing them open for the

Allah-las was great, they’re a new band but they really belong.”

- Mitch Ray

COUSIN ARBY

“Scott got a huge almost life size cut-out of a horse for use as

a stage prop at Cousin Arby shows. And I'm quite certain it's

just been sitting on the deck of our apartment for months and

has never been used.”

- Mitch Ray

*Cousin Arby is a country music project by Scott Postulo, who is

Mitch Ray’s landlord and Taya Fraser’s boss, and a great friend.

DEAD QUIET

“Kevin has this lyric, it goes, ‘you have my respect and I

owe you my life.’ We’d always joke about it. I think he

thought we were making fun of him, but it’s really just a

great lyric. At the last anniversary show, he stopped the

song at the part, looked right at us and said ‘Mitch and

Taya, you have my respect and I owe you my life. Everytime

that lyric came around he would stare right at us.”

- Mitch Ray

*Dead Quiet is a newer project by frontman Kevin Keegan,

formerly of Montreal’s metal band Barn Burner

Art Signified celebrates their four-year anniversary with

many guests and friends on January 20 and 21 at the

Rickshaw Theatre.

14 MUSIC

January 2017


FRANK LOVE

Frank Love pushes female fronted punk in loud new directions

Prachi Kamble

Frank Love makes soul punk. Their

punk is hardcore but it also has some

serious dance issues. “Aside from punk,

soul, and lately opera,” explains lead

singer, Juljka Klingler, “we borrow from

soft, weird, indie stuff, as well as from

hip-hop and angsty pop.” Three years

ago, Frank Love’s members, a mix of

punk veterans and band newbies,

came together to get the aggressions

of their daily lives out via music. Now

they find themselves confronted with

a pleasantly reinvigorated intent for

musical creation.

The band released Hot Garbage

with Owen Reimer in 2015, and Strange

Attitude with the legendary Jordan

Koop in early 2016. A fall trip to Koop’s

studio on Gabriola Island, later in 2016,

yielded a brand new album that led

Frank Love into uncharted territories.

Koop directed the structure and melody

on many of the songs. “[Koop] gives you

freedom yet maintains the timeline,”

says Klingler. “He provides critique yet

remains neutral, and respects your

process while respecting his own. It’s

not as easy as it sounds!” The album

touches on fresh and important

themes. “We have one song called ‘Dirty

Water’ which is about how many First

Nations reserves don’t have access to

drinking water,” she reveals. “We also

have a song called ‘Dark Lipstick’ which

is about loneliness and lust while ‘Group

Therapy’ typifies our band. It talks about

how music can be soothing in sorting

out the paradoxes of life.” Another

intriguing form of experimentation on

the album is that of singing in a madeup

language. Klingler laughs off this notfor-the-creatively-squeamish

endeavour

with modesty, “you don’t have to think

of the words, which is an added bonus!”

she says. “You are free to focus only on the

melody which takes you to unexpected

places, creatively. They say that praying in

‘tongues’ takes Catholic priests closer to

God. I can’t say I was closer to God but it

sure took me somewhere!”

Frank Love has created quite the

reputation for themselves in the local,

live punk circuit, steadily winning

over fans with powerful shows at the

Railway Club, the Waldorf, Lana Lou’s,

and The Rickshaw. The band members’

interpersonal relationships create a net

of unshakeable trust that allows them

to bare their souls on stage. Half the

band being female is a refreshing pull, as is

expected, but add to that Klingler’s on-stage,

alter ego and you start to grab attention fast.

Klingler sings many of her songs in a man’s

shirt and a buxom, old man beard, when she

dons this enigmatic persona. “My partner

and I thought we couldn’t possibly be a

couple in a band together, so we decided I

would be this man named Baus Rod. I

took it pretty seriously in the beginning

but now I think I can gain more from

being myself.” With Baus Rod, Frank

Love takes challenging the gender roles

in punk, one-step raucously too far.

Don’t miss Frank Love’s scrumptious

punk spread on 2017’s first Friday the

13th, at the Rickshaw Theatre.

REGRETS

older but not wiser, a heavy project for the fun of it

Alex Molten

As the snow tumbled out of the sky

onto an ill prepared Vancouver and the

streets turned into a slushy wasteland,

vocalist Heath Fenton and guitarist Taylor

Lipton settled into a booth at What’s Up

Hot Dog to discuss the upcoming album

release for their new metal band Regrets.

The two have known each other for

years through the Vancouver metal scene

and their former bands. Earlier jamming

sessions came to nothing, but now, a little

older and debatably wiser, they have formed

Regrets and are getting ready for their album

release show. The line up features Patrick

Taylor on guitar, Ryan McDonnell on bass,

and Eliot Doyle on drums.

“When I first started playing metal I

wanted to be a rock star. Took me about five

years to realize no…” says Fenton describing

the change in his approach to making music

over the years.

“I was super competitive about it when

I was young. All night and all day always

trying to be a hundred and ten percent,”

laughs Lipton. “I’d have hand grips going in

the car so that I could play guitar better. Now

it’s just I want to have fun.”

It is with this attitude that Regrets

came to be. Lipton was writing songs as

his former band Abriosis was winding

down and decided to approach Fenton

about starting a band. He missed Fenton’s

vocal style and knew he would be a good fit for

this new project. Fenton jumped at the chance

and now the two are taking on Vancouver.

“Heath’s been in so many bands since

the nineties, Patrick was in [the band]

Excruciating Pain, and I was in Abriosis and

we were touring a lot in our twenties and

everything but now we’re kind of at the

point in our lives where we want this fun

project,” says Lipton. “Regrets is basically that

fun project for us. We want to be able to play

mixed bills with other bands and rock out.”

Their first album Work Hermit is

definitely heavy metal. Fenton’s vocals are

far from operatic and they slide from a harsh

metal sound to a hardcore punk feel but

with classic sounding metal riffs threading

their way through the seven songs on the

album, it is definitely grounded in the metal

world. The release date is January 3rd and it

will be available on Bandcamp for free. Be

sure to check out the stand out track

“Ghost Stabber”.

Regrets will be performing on January

27th at Pat’s Pub and Brewhouse.

January 2017 The skinny

15


ALCEST

French heavy metal explores the furthest reaches of influence

James Olson

France’s Alcest have arisen as one of the

more unique acts within the broad and

ever expanding world of heavy rock/

metal music. Blending elements of

black metal, shoegaze, folk, and dream

pop, the music of Alcest is described

by the band’s songwriter and vocalist/

guitarist, Neige as otherworldly,

spiritual, and introspective. Over the

course of five albums, the band has

developed a sound and style that is

encompassing in the singularity of its

exploratory vision. Each record is a

journey for listeners.

Their latest release Kodama

shows the band simultaneously

exploring new territory and returning

to a more aggressive songwriting

style. Shelter, their previous release,

was distinguished for having a much

more clean and melodic sound rooted

almost exclusively in dream pop

and shoegaze. “[We] needed to go

for something more personal, more

contrasted, louder drums, that was

darker too [on Kodama]. In a way, each

Alcest album is composed in reaction

to the one before, and that’s not

something that we actually plan,” Neige

explains. “Kodama comes back to some

of the older aspects of our sound, like

the screaming vocals and the length

of the songs for example, but I would

Photo by Andy Julia

say that it also has a lot of new elements

that could be considered as a heritage

of Shelter.”

There is a strong influence drawn

from Japanese culture throughout

Kodama. The album’s title itself is a

reference to the classic Hayao Miyazaki

film Princess Mononoke and the cover

was heavily inspired by the works of

Takato Yamamoto. Neige explains that

this influence runs even deeper in this

new release as Asian scales were used

to write guitar melodies for certain

songs on the record. “We wanted to

integrate these influences in a way

that feels appropriate to the context

of Alcest. The goal wasn’t to go fullon

Japanese, it wouldn’t have sounded

right. I would say that it just gave an

overall feel to the record, an identity,”

Neige says. “The reason why I always

was attracted to Japan is because it’s

so different from Europe, on every

level. It’s almost like another world for

occidental people.”

With Kodama topping many best

of the year lists for a variety of major

music publications and a world tour

under way, Alcest have set themselves

apart as one of the most creatively

invigorating acts within rock and metal.

Alcest play The Rickshaw Theatre with

Creepers and The Body February 4, 2017.

illustration by syd danger

A guy walks into a department store to

buy a new jacket. He spends $100 on it. He

doesn’t really want to spend it, but he kind

of has to. He’s going to a show later and

he wants to look half decent. He doesn’t

know much about the bands playing but

177 people are “going” and another 240 are

“interested” so logic would suggest that he

also be in attendance. Hours pass, the night

beckons and our hero arrives at the show.

Four local bands. $10 at the door. Fuck that.

He complains. He tries to get in free. He

considers sneaking in the back. Eventually,

reluctantly, he pays.

I find this discrepancy in priorities to be

fascinating. Why is it that someone will buy

an item of clothing for $100 that costs $1 to

make and could very well have been made by

the underpaid hands of an exploited child in

an impoverished country, but scoff at paying

$10 to watch four local bands? Or balk at

paying $1 for an album on Bandcamp that

might have cost thousands to record, done with

equipment that cost thousands to buy, playing

music that took weeks or years to master.

Before you write this off as a sensational

hyperbolic guilt trip, don’t. Because 1) I am

as guilty as anyone. In fact everyone is to a

certain degree. And 2) It is not hyperbolic.

That’s what makes it interesting. The

investigative depths required to truly

uncover the societal reasons for this reality

require more time and space than a column

or even a thesis can provide. So what I’d like

to do is merely pose the question in the

hopes that people will at least think. Why

is it that music is held in such relatively low

regard on a monetary scale?

It pains me that essentially the only

way to carve out a living in this industry,

aside from having a foothold in large scale

events, is through the profits from alcohol,

putting a price tag back on music

From the desk of Mitch Ray

which generally won’t find their way into the

hands of musicians at all. Much is dictated

by bar profits, and it is a direct result of the

reality that the $10 standard for a small

show doesn’t bring in enough money from

the door alone to cover all of the entities

involved in making an event happen. If you

tried to quantify hours spent in this line of

work, the rate of pay per hour is obviously

not even close to minimum wage for the

vast majority of those involved. It’s a world

of underpaid musicians, aided by underpaid

organizers, graciously documented by

unpaid photographers and unpaid writers

who contribute to publications that exist

entirely from advertising money. Musicians

give you so much. How can you tell them

their music is worth less than a can of pop?

I feel it would require a massive shift in

values for things to balance themselves out

on this front, which is a stretch even for the

most idealistic of dreamers. What we can

do is contribute as much as possible, inform

those who are misinformed, and when the

arts are undermined by external forces we

can collectively stand up for those artists.

Until music is treated like an asset rather

than a nuisance, little will change. You are

not a terrible person for buying clothes. As

a friend of mine once put it, unless you’re

living off the grid and off the land you are not

exempt, so we are all somewhat complicit in

the perpetuation of this standard. I’m not

asking you to sell your belongings and max

out your credit card on Bandcamp, I’m just

asking you to think about it next time you

scoff at paying $10 for a show.

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.

16 The skinny

January 2017


electronics dept

clubland

your month measured in BPMs

Photo by Dorothy Hong

Vanessa Tam

VANCOUVER — What if 2016 wasn’t really a bad year and all of your favourite

OG musicians and actors were just getting older and therefore you’re getting

older? What if 2016 was just a normal year and 2017 aims to be just as normal?

Existential food for thought as you gaze at our top electronic and hip hop

concert picks for the month of January.

T.I.

January 12 @ Commodore

Atlanta born rapper T.I., known also as Clifford Joseph Harris Jr., is one

of the pioneer artists behind the now well known trap music subgenre

of hip hop. Most known for his Billboard charting singles, “What You

Know,” “Whatever You Like,” and “Rubber Band Man,” T.I. also continues

to entertain a decently successful acting career in a variety of movies and

reality television shows.

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.

Lizzo

January 27 @ Alexander

Rapper, singer, and feminist, Lizzo is an up and coming artist who is

thriving in the alternative hip hop scene. Hailing from Detroit, Michigan,

Lizzo, real name Melissa Jefferson, is currently on tour promoting the

release of her latest EP Coconut Oil and her feel-good lead single from the

project, “Good as Hell.”

Sango

January 28 @ Imperial

Growing up in Seattle, Washington, Sango is a producer who starting

gaining popularity by associating early on with the LA based music, arts

and culture collective, Soulection. Driven by producers like J. Dilla and

The Neptunes, Sango, known also as Kai Asa Savon Wright, continued to

develop his own sound that’s a mix of 90s R&B, drum samples, and globally

informed rhythms.

Method Man and Redman

January 29 @ Fortune Sound Club

American hip hop artists Method Man (Wu-Tang Clan) and Redman (Def Squad)

have lead incredible careers so far both as a duo and as individual artists. Having

collaborated on everything from albums to the cult classic stoner film, How High,

the pair continue to bring their working relationship to the next level by judging

and performing at the Canadian Fire Bowl cannabis competition. Yup.

T.I.

TALIB KWELI

a stentorian voice for the voiceless, and he doesn’t need your permission

Prachi Kamble

Talib Kweli needs no introduction. The

Brooklyn based rapper has created a rich

and politically charged hip hop scene

on the East Coast that has stood the

test of time. With six solo albums and

numerous collaborations already to his

name including his critically acclaimed

work with Mos Def as Black Star, his

latest collaboration project Awful

People Are Great at Parties (APAGAP)

was just released in November on his

label, Javotti Media.

Bringing together talents of artists

who are just as passionate about social

justice as he is, the record sees artists

like Hi Tek, Rapsody, Kaytranada, Aloe

Blacc, and J Dilla peppering the track

list like sparkling rap diamonds. While

Kweli himself rapped on some of these

tracks, he also produced a few of them

and acted solely as a curator on others.

“I love group projects,” he enthuses.

“On APAGAP, I got to sit back and let

the crew shine, which was important.

I wanted the world to see that the

Javotti squad is talented [both] with

and without me and feel [that] the best

music is made this way. The more dope

Talib Kweli opens up tough dialogue with Awful People Who Are Great at Parties.

artists willing to get down, the better.

I don’t want anyone to change for my

sake; I think artists should evolve organically.

Both my children are artists, and they give

me hope for younger artists and art.”

Known to take strong social and

political stances in his work, Kweli’s activism

has been a significant component of his

musical output for more than a decade now.

“I have taken many artistic chances in my

career and made all types of songs,” he says.

“As of right now, I enjoy creating music that

uplifts people and brings them hope. I think

it’s necessary for my role to be the voice of

the voiceless.”

Currently experiencing the

aftermath of the recent American

presidential election, Kweli felt a greater

creative responsibility towards giving

that voice to communities and people

who are backsliding into vulnerability.

“It is important, now more than ever

for compassionate people to show

solidarity towards groups that will be

increasingly marginalized in Trump’s

America,” he says.

Putting his words into action,

Kweli’s activism saw further culmination

in two “Ferguson Is Everywhere”

concerts this year. Starting a Gofundme

campaign after protesting in Ferguson to

raised $100,000, he then put it towards

the concert series in order to raise more

money and bring positive attention to

the high-tension issue. “Tom Morello

came, Immortal Technique, K Valentine,

Jessica Care Moore, Tef Poe, Pharoahe

Monch, and more. We celebrated the

life and condemned the death of Mike

Brown through art,” he shared.

It’s thanks to rappers like Kweli,

Mos Def, Naz, Common, and Lauryn

Hill that hip hop now enjoys its rightful

reputation as an intellectual form of

art and literature and can be used as

a platform for present day intellectual

rappers like Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole,

Lupe Fiasco, Lowkey, and Chance the

Rapper. “I really don’t care how the

powers that be feel about hip hop.

I never did,” says Kweli. “They don’t

define what great hip hop is, we do. Hip

hop was created because of exclusion.

We don’t need a pat on the head or

approval from the status quo to know

we dope.”

Talib Kweli performs at Venue January 25.

January 2017 ELECTRONICS DEPT.

17


DUMBfOUNDEAD

Koreatown’s undisputed rap battle master flips the script

Paris Spence-Lang

A lot of rappers talk about the streets

they grew up in, but for Dumbfoundead

that would take half an album. Born

in Buenos Aires, Dumb—né Jonathan

Park—was smuggled into Mexico by

his parents, and eventually ended up

in Los Angeles where he’s been repping

Koreatown ever since. He’s been on the

open mic circuit since the age of 15 at the

same venues folks like The Pharcyde and

Freestyle Fellowship cut their teeth at, but

it wasn’t until he started battle rapping that

he really started to blow up.

Despite being one of the most popular

rap battlers of all time—and the funniest by

far—with the release of his fourth album,

We Might Die, Park says his last battle is

likely behind him. “There’s obsession that

comes with sports… it’s just like any boxing

match… you’re thinking about that

person 24 hours a day.”

By cutting the clutter that comes

with obsession, Park is experiencing a

new musical headspace and is finding

a different side of himself. “[When] I’m

writing a rap battle I’m sitting down and

kind of writing almost as if I’m writing

a script, but I think with songs like

“Harambe” it was more the energy I was

trying to paint. My writing process as of

late… it’s less cerebral and more [about]

the vibe of feeling as opposed to getting

into my head and thinking of words…

it’s more about the vibe of the music.”

Park has walked this line between

battler and entertainer for a long time,

but ironically, it’s in his battling where

he tries most to clown around and in

his music where he chooses to fight his

internal battles. “I think I definitely have

far more serious moments in my music

than rap battling. I show a lot more of

my comedic side in my rap battles which is

something that I’m really into… I don’t know

why I haven’t done much of that in my music.”

As if to accompany this period of

musical self-reflection, Park is returning to

his roots for his latest project, a collaboration

with his Korean counterparts in the

motherland. Likely the most popular Korean-

American rapper at the moment, he’s been

working hard to put his home country on his

back—at least in North America. With the

current hysteria around Korean culture—

something that’s surprising even to him—

he’s not afraid to tap into the energy of

rappers like recent collaborators Keith

Ape and Microdot for his new project.

“Korean music is not just Korean music

anymore—it has such an international

audience. I feel very proud to represent

the Korean-American experience.” Still,

this can be a battle in itself: “It’s like the

Asian-American experience is very

different. We’re not just Asian, we

also have this American side that we

battle with.”

Sticking to your roots is a hip-hop

tradition, but it’s more important than

ever to connect with your fans in new

ways. “I think the only way you’re gonna

stand out nowadays is really about

what you stand for and who you are.

Anybody can fucking rap, but that doesn’t

mean people will connect to them.” While

it seems like a Korean-American rapper

coming up from Argentina and Mexico

wouldn’t have to work hard to stand out, it’s

clear that Dumb puts a piece of himself

into everything he does through his

honesty and self-deprecation—the

former rare and the latter even rarer

in rap.

These are tidings of vulnerability

working its way into the cream of the

hip-hop crop. While it’s cool to brag

about cars and cash, rapping about

feelings and fathers (what’s up, Isaiah

Rashid) is the new thing. But Park sees

that some of these new rappers have a

chip on their shoulder—and that even

he can be hypocritically hyperbolic. “It’s

not just about dishonesty with money.

There are conscious rappers that are

Dumbfoundead’s been battling his whole life, but now he’s ready to just chill, man.

very dishonest too. I’ve had moments

in my raps in the past where I’ve been

dishonest. Sometimes you fool yourself

into thinking you care about a cause

more than you do.”

That, in a sense, sums up Park’s

philosophy on music, battling, and his life:

too often we fool ourselves into caring

about some shit we shouldn’t, and into

battling everyone and everything when

the battle is inside of us—when all we

want to do is just eat some bibimbap and

make some fucking music.

Dumbfoundead performs at Alexander

Gastown January 26th.

Stevie Ross creates soulful R&B that’s accessible to the masses.

STEVIE ROSS

moving on, owning it, and putting Vancouver on the map

Vanessa Tam

Listening to his latest neo-soul

flavoured futuristic R&B tracks, it’s

difficult to see the connection Stevie

Ross had as Subway, half of the rap

group The Scale Breakers over five years

ago on Vancouver Island.

Hailing from a small town in

Alberta with a complicated past

associated with drugs and gangs, Ross is

looking towards the future with a new

sound and a new overall vibe in terms

of his music. “I truly feel that everything

I make is better than the last song so I

never really am satisfied,” he shares. “I

don’t wanna be a street rapper but I

think I do have a story to tell from being

around that life.”

Inspired by artists like Kanye West,

Moka Only, and Drake, Ross’s latest

project, Something In Wonderland, is a

project that he has been working on for

the past five years in collaboration with

local producer Aaron Hamblin, aka

Speechless. “We banged that whole EP

out in like four days. [Hamblin] already

had some of the beats made and then I

came in and played on some of them,”

he explains. “Then for the next like

three years after that we were replacing

all the instruments with real horns and

whatever. It’s crazy that I sat [on this

EP for so] long but it sort of feels like it

stood the test of time for me.”

Always hustling, Ross sells beats

and hooks that he produces to other

artists on the side to make ends meet

and constantly battles with the internal

decision to either keep them for himself

or to sell them off to the highest bidder.

“The new stuff that I’m making, I’m

writing it for me but if somebody’s like,

‘Oh I would buy that,’ I’d sell it. Just to

build my name and get these meetings,”

he says, justifying his decisions. “That’s

where I really feel like one day, they’re

gonna exploit me because for $250, they

shouldn’t get that [beat] you know?

But in return, I’m eating off of that and

paying my bills and I don’t have to go

work a job. So it’s tough.”

In terms of the local hip hop scene

in Vancouver however, Ross remains

optimistic. “2016 was different I think

because everybody started mobilizing

together. Like [Matt] Brevner’s

connection with Snak [The Ripper]

and Merk[ules] and then Stompdown

[Killaz] and them embracing me. Then

being cool with the Hicu, Seth Kay,

Spotty and the So Loki guys, I feel like

there’s all these different groups who

have like mad respect for each other and

it’s not fake either,” he says. “Not like a

few years ago in the underground hip

hop scene where everybody was sort

of on their own tips. I really think this

past year everybody was really like, ‘Yo

we need to work together because we’re

never gonna be able to be like Toronto

if we don’t.’ When I see people out now

it’s always love, you know.”

Stevie Ross releases Something In

Wonderland on Apple Music January

6th and performs at Alexander Gastown

January 13th.

18 ELECTRONICS DEPT.

January 2017


SUNEE DHALIWAL

from comedic dreams and laughable origins

comedy

Dhaliwal gleefully lives the dream of telling jokes that would get you suspended for a living

Johnny Papan

“I had three dreams: be in the NBA,

a professional gangster rapper, or an

actor-comedian. The first two didn’t work

out because it turns out you have to be

really good at those things.” Abbotsfordraised

stand-up comic Sunee Dhaliwal

has been busting hilarity through packed

comedy clubs for over nine years; being seen

at the Just for Laughs festival, on his own

Comedy Now television special, and even

opening shows for some of the world’s most

notorious funny people.

“I was in sixth grade when I saw my

cousin watching Chris Rock’s Bring the

Pain,” Dhaliwal explains in regards to

discovering his comedic potential.

“I heard a joke that I didn’t really

understand. It involved a lot of bad

words and I recited it at school. I got

suspended, but I still remember all my

friends laughing.”

In 2007, Dhaliwal was unexpectedly

lunged into his first stand-up show

ever at Yuk Yuk’s in Vancouver. “I was

working at Staples, not to brag,” he

chimes. “My manager posed as me and

e-mailed Yuk Yuk’s.” In preparation,

Dhaliwal checked out an amateur

night, and began looking into his life

for comedic material. He retold these

stories to friends and family, narrowing

his most rib-bruising chucklers into

a solid five minute set. Despite being

generally comfortable cracking jokes

in front of people, Dhaliwal assures his

first time on stage was nerve wracking.

“It was an out of body experience.” Not

long after, he would find himself billed on hot

shows, opening for the likes of Jo Koy, Charlie

Murphy, and Sugar Sammy, to name a few.

Not all performances over his career

would be shining, however. Dhaliwal recalls a

time performing at a club with a giant window

that looked onto the street. An ambulance

pulled over by the glass just as he had gotten on

stage, drowning him in red flashes throughout

his entire set. He also deals with his share of

hecklers, but does not shy away from

firing cannons in retaliation. “Anyone

that heckles, I make fun of relentlessly.”

When asked what advice he has for

up-and-coming comedians, the 6’5 Indo-

Canadian comic says “Have fun. It can be

a hard job to maintain, but there’s nothing

like it.” He continues, “I get paid to talk about

what’s happened in my life. A room full of

strangers I’ve never met will get dressed up

and pay money to listen to what I have to say.

My friends and family still don’t understand

it. I can’t explain it.”

On the side, Dhaliwal also works as an

actor. “I love acting, people treat you better

than in stand-up.” Recently, he starred in his

own comedic YouTube skit about going to

the gym, exercising alongside two real-life

professional trainers.

The well-versed funnyman shows

no signs of slowing down. With a handful

of gigs already booked for the New

Year, Sunee Dhaliwal concludes his

interview with the best part of being

a successful comedian: “I haven’t

needed a regular job in six years.”

He then gently knocks on a wooden

desk, just in case.

Sunee Dhaliwal performs January 6-7 at

Hecklers (Victoria) and January 12 at Yuk

Yuk’s (Vancouver).

January 2017 comedy

19


city

THE FEDERAL STORE

the little shop with a big heart

pANDORA’S BOx

a rehearsal studio full of possibilities

Willem Thomas

While the name may evoke the image

of a fur trading post back in the age of

the American frontier, Mount Pleasant’s

recently opened — November 12, after

some delays — Federal Store is actually

a bold, modern take on combining two

mainstays of urban living: the cafe and

the convenience store.

Situated on the corner of Quebec

and 10th Avenue, within a single block

of two busy thoroughfares, this bright

little spot is a fresh, novel addition to

the already cafe-centric area, providing

a joint coffee shop and grocery store

service. With Victoria’s Bows & Arrows

coffee providing the caffeinated-goods

and food options already far surpassing

some more established places nearby,

expect extended and repeat visits.

While the cozy space is fully

formed and feels meticulously arranged,

the truth behind its origin tells a bit

different story — one of chance, trying

new things, and maybe some luck.

The convenience store that stood there

previously (and had the same name and

distinct Coke-style signage) had closed

and Colette Griffiths and Christopher

Allen were walking by and decided to slip

a note under the door that same day. “We

got a call two days later from the owners

who live next door in the townhouses

adjacent to the shop,” says Griffiths. “We

met the owners, saw the space, and then

two hours later they called and said it

was ours.” While Griffiths had ambitions

of one day opening a coffee shop, The

Federal Store sort of just fell into place and

they ran with it.

After a quite lengthy permit

acquisition, design, and renovation

process (they got the keys in March

2015), the pair have arrived at the end

result of a decidedly unique cafe and

grocer. Built over months and months

of work utilizing “Lots of YouTubing

and the help of friends,” the space came

together with assistance from family,

other local businesses (some of their

wiring was given to them by Elysian

Coffee), and the lending of ears and

advice by a few local already established

business-owners. “On all fronts people

have been very generous,” says Allen.

“Everyone has been super supportive.”

Griffiths and Allen’s aim is to

provide a quality community coffee

shop that also provides many of the

essentials — primarily local products —

anyone living nearby may need. It feels

like a new format of business, and the

pair have ideas for the future. Among

those plans? Griffiths says, “A patio

scene next summer would be fun.”

The Federal Store is located at 2601

Quebec Street.

Johnny Papan

Upon entry, you are greeted by a giant

banner of two 1950s women joyfully

screaming in a concert audience, setting

the tone for artists coming in to fulfill

their musical desires. Since opening its

doors three years ago, Pandora’s Box

Rehearsal Studios has quickly become one

of Vancouver’s premiere rehearsal spaces.

Built and run by musicians, for musicians.

Spending over a decade as the

drummer of Terror of Tiny Town,

owner Paul Alexander is no stranger to

rehearsals. “One of the inspirations for

building this space was being unable to

converse with my bandmates because

we could hear the band next door,”

he explains. Alexander, alongside his

wife Colleen, storage locker specialist

Dan Flynn, and La Chinga guitarist

Ben Yardley implemented “box in

box construction” while building this

studio from the ground up, always

keeping the importance of sound

quality at the forefront. “If we had a

choice between making it look pretty

or making it sound good, we made it

sound good.”

The 19-room studio was built

entirely on ground level concrete, so

artists need not worry about carrying

gear up and down stairs. Amps,

microphones, and full drum kits are

also included within each space. “If

you’re renting a room for two hours,

you don’t want to spend 20 minutes

setting up, and another 20 minutes

tearing down,” Alexander explains.

“We include a lot of stuff that other

places make you rent. Here, you can

walk in and play after five minutes.”

What’s pleasing is the broad mix

of musicians that come into Pandora’s

Box. “A grandmother will be practicing

karaoke, while there’s a grindcore band

in the next room, and a 35-piece brass

band in Studio 19.” Studio 19 is the

largest rehearsal space, often utilized for

music video shoots and small concerts.

“A lot of artists come here every week,

some have been with us since we

HAROON MIRZA

exploring the connection between sound, light and psychoactive plants

Cutting out the middle man to create a rehearsal space for musicians by musicians

opened. It’s a community here.” The

studio has even caught the attention

of some big names, including Devin

Townsend, The Pack A.D., and Black

Mountain, all of whom have rehearsed

within these walls.

Prior to Pandora’s Box, Alexander

and Colleen ran the Surf Junction

campground in Ucluelet, BC for 11 years.

Alexander states the transition from

running a camp to rehearsal studio was

simple. “The job is essentially the same,

we rent space and clean toilets. What’s

great is that we don’t have to tell people

to be quiet anymore.”

Pandora’s Box Studios is located at 1890

Pandora Street.

Coralie Kourany

Local couple decides to bring some sustenance and staples to the brewery district

This month, Vancouver’s Contemporary

Art Gallery welcomes British artist Haroon

Mirza’s first solo exhibition in Canada.

Internationally known for his interactive

multimedia installations, Mirza began

his exploration with plant medicine a

couple years ago, studying the healing

properties of psychoactive species of

plants. In researching their history, Mirza

became aware of their potential in healing

psychiatric and physical ailments —

symptoms of trauma, as well as addiction.

Plant medicine has been traditionally

used for thousands of years and, as a result

of their psychotropic properties, has

been used in ritualistic, transcendental

religious practices, offering an alternative

understanding between the relationship

of language, art, and religion.

Through his discoveries in

psychedelic psychotherapy, Mirza

chose to undertake his own aesthetic

sensibility he had felt both visually

and acoustically through his own

experimentations. “Entheogens” presents

his invested interested in geometric

abstraction and photorealism, which are

portrayed through raw live electricity.

The artist kept a visual record of his

explorations, starting by taking spore

prints and making electro and acid

etchings of Psilocybin Cubensis, a

species of psychoactive mushroom. By

running electricity through the cap of

the mushroom, the spore print etched

a unique pattern onto copper PCB

blanks. Mirza explored alterations of

this concept and added components

of light and sound through an amp and

speakers — an immersive live visual and

audio interference that, he states, is “Like

music composed by light.”

By demonstrating the fact that

the information and signals we perceive

are reduced to various frequencies of

wavelengths of sound and light within the

electromagnetic spectrum, Mirza tunes

into an alternative theory of technological

knowledge and suggests that there are

infinitely more signals of frequencies that

humans are incapable of seeing, as their brains

are not yet developed enough to identify.

“It wasn’t a single experience that

encouraged me to explore this subject,

but experience itself,” Mirza explains. “My

self awareness has been elevated in that

consciousness is way more complex and

incredible than we can possible imagine.”

In his creative process, Mirza’s

manipulation of electric current creates

a way for the audience to understand the

relation between sound, light waves, and

entheogens. As the viewers engage in the

“Physicality of the work itself; its aesthetic

and technicality,” they are encouraged to

think about these plants — and, in turn,

common Western perceptions towards

psychedelic drugs — in greater detail, to

understand a deeper root of our humanity.

“Entheogens” runs at the Contemporary

Art Gallery from January 13 - March 19.

20 CITY

January 2017


THE STRAIGHTS ARE IN DANGER!

For one night in January a fictitious serial

killer is on the loose and only visible, physical

homosexual stereotypes will save you. The

Fox Cabaret is going to be turned into a safe

haven for straight people. Hold hands with your

bro, kiss your girlfriend, do anything you can to

ensure you are visibly homosexual. For one night,

heterophobia will reign supreme and the choice

will be clear — appear homosexual or die.

Studio 58 graduates Anthony Johnston

and Nathan Schwartz are ANIMALPARTS,

a performance company based out of New

York. They are bringing their show, The Revenge

of the Popinjay, to Vancouver for the 2017 PuSh

International Performing Arts Festival. Using

hip-hop and rap as the musical medium, the

story satirizes clichés of homophobic culture,

misogyny, male dominance, and aggression.

“We use unabashed sexualized gay imagery

which isn’t heard in contemporary music,” says

Johnston. “We decided to tell a lot of this

story through the language of hip-hop culture.

We do our best to use those motifs to our

advantage, trying to click into homophobic

and misogynistic culture, which can be found

in hip-hop. This piece of theatre is exciting

because it isn’t like anything else, people don’t

know how to categorize it.”

The world that is created is inspired in part

by the lack of queer characters of depth in pop

culture and mainstream media.

“The Popinjay is just an act of extremism

fighting back against all of that stuff. I think

what’s been interesting about the show is that

people get really uncomfortable having a white

gay man saying the things he is saying in the

way that he is,” says Johnston. “The Popinjay is

a piece that explores grief and loss and is the

middle part of a trilogy of work that we’ve been

creating for over six years. They all stem from

the death of my sister. This show contains a

character that is aggressive, anti straight, and a

potentially violent, gay rap star. It came out of

our need to try and explore the darker side of

grieving and the question of what would happen

if you let your grief manifest itself as an actual

literal monster. What would that look like?”

Gay men are often faced with being put

in minute roles as the sidekick or best friend,

often reduced to the simplest humour or sassy

dialogue. The idea of seeing a character or

piece of art exploring the complexities of these

diverse individuals and what happens when we

ask questions of their experiences and emotions

becomes something of a swan song.

“When we first asked the question we had no

idea exploring that question is where The Popinjay

was born,” Johnson says. “It comes from the

need to understand personal anger and how an

oppressed group (the queer community) looks if

that blows up in some sort of extreme version of

fighting back. The world that is created through

this is interesting and engaging.”

Without having homosexual culture

overtly in the mainstream, the opportunity

exists to share it authentically. The beauty of

this piece of theatre is that the themes are fresh

since they aren’t served to us daily. Hopefully

we are secure enough to not have to fight for our

place in the mainstream so that when a piece of art

goes there, it can act as booster shot of tolerance

for those who may be ignorant of such explicit,

liberating behaviour and language that exists from

being oppressed against. The Journey of coming

out takes resiliency and, with it, comes a lot of

liberation within each individual.

“What really excites people when they

come to see the show is that the piece takes

people through a lot of places on a journey, from

the first moment of a white guy rapping about

eating cum and getting fucked and killing

straight people, seems kinda ‘haha’ funny. The

idea of being heterophobic is kinda hilarious in

its absurdity to us because it’s not even a thing.

It’s almost like reverse racism — there is no

such thing,” says Johnston.

Schwartz elaborates, “We didn’t want

to make a piece of theatre that preached to

the choir. We can make a statement about

homophobia and misogyny to a bunch of theatre

people but I feel like they share that point of view.

We wanted to challenge it a little further and ask

‘can we have a gay serial killer character who is

definitely a bad guy and trying to get the audience

on board with mass murder as an answer to feeling

oppressed?’”

Art has a way of helping bend individual

worldviews on subjects and,

at times, theatre aims at being

created for that sole purpose.

The Popinjay is a collaboration

that stems from improvisations

and workshops around the

creators’ conversations on

real life experiences in grief,

homophobia, and, at times, being the minority

in a situation.

“All of this work was created through

improvisation, both through text and

movement. Ideas and things that maybe at first

seem like a joke, we would then be like, ‘actually

that thing that you said yesterday, shouldn’t that

actually be in the show?’ We both agree that if

it’s said, then it came from somewhere,” shares

Johnston of the creative process between the

ANIMALPARTS collaborators. “I think that

push to keep bringing what’s authentic to the

show and go to the edge with it helps us to find

really exciting ideas. We have conflicting ideas at

times and, at the end of the day, we end up with

something a little more interesting than if we had

been attempting to make something on our own.”

Promising an experience that is immediate and

that gives an environment which sets the tone for the

show itself, The Popinjay will get revenge and we won’t

ever be the same.

“The end of the piece is kind of a political rally

cult leader calling to arms the audience, asking

them to join him.” Johnston queries, “Where is

the line drawn between people raising the roof and

this funny rapper who is being sexual and lewd,

grabbing his crotch in his tighty whiteys?”

The Revenge of the Popinjay is being produced by

ANIMALPARTS and ZeeZee Theatre for the 2017 PuSh

Festival. Join the experience January 28 at the Fox Cabaret.

THE REVENGE

OF THE POPINJAY

killing queer stereotypes with humour and music

by david cutting

January 2017 21


PORTRAITS IN MOTION

visual poet Volker Gerling captures moments in time

Photo by Franz Ritschel

Yasmine Shemesh

A couple years ago, after Volker Gerling

finished one of his flipbook cinema

performances — a show, titled Portraits

in Motion, where he flicks through

series of his rapidly-shot portraits and

projects them onto a big screen — the

artist met a woman. She was moved

by the performance and wanted to

be a protagonist in a flipbook. After

exchanging a few emails, they lost touch.

Upon finally regaining contact, the

woman told Gerling that she’d recently

been through trauma — losing her father,

her brother, and her brother’s partner in

a short time span — and had decided to

crop her once long hair short.

“She put her braid in a box, and

put it away, and she said to herself, ‘I’m

not allowed to long for my hair, I’m not

allowed to cry about my hair, I have to be

strong,’” Gerling explains. “Because she

wanted to prove that she is able to live on

without her father, without her brother,

without [his] partner.” When they met to

photograph for the flipbook, the woman

pulled out her hair and held it close to her

face. “When she touches her hair, you can

feel all her sadness about the loss of these

three men and you can feel all her longing.”

This kind of intimacy — the type

that provides a rare glimpse into one’s

soul — is something that is characteristic

of Gerling’s flipbooks. It’s a result of shooting

images at a hasty pace, where the gaps

left between the frames create room for

spontaneity and storytelling — a genuine

break into a smile, sadness welling up in the

eyes, poetry.

“Right from the beginning, I was more

interested in really pure emotions and

honest moments,” Gerling says, speaking

from his home in Berlin. In the late

nineties, Gerling attended Filmuniversität

Babelsberg Konrad Wolf, first studying

film direction and later changing focus to

photography direction. A documentary

showing an elderly woman thumbing

through a flipbook of herself as a young

lady inspired the photographer, planting

a seed in his mind to create his own

version of the portraits. Then, in 2002,

equipped with a hawker’s tray, he

began walking the streets of Berlin

and showing his flipbooks. He took

no money with him, relying only on

contributions he collected in an empty

honey jar and sleeping, mostly, in his

tent. Since then, Gerling has walked

more than 3,500 kilometers throughout

Germany and into Switzerland, sharing his

work and searching for new moments to

capture.

“For me, when I’m asked, ‘what are

you doing? What is your profession?’ I

normally answer that I am a storyteller,

because that’s what I feel I do,” Gerling

explains. “That’s a way, a very special way,

of storytelling.”

Gerling’s walking project is not just

about person-to-person interactions,

though. The process of traversing the

land and, especially, sleeping outside also

allows the artist to take in the narratives

of everything around him — and within

himself.

“I found out that I’m not interested

at all to read books when I’m walking,

because I want to be in the here and in the

now,” he says. “I want to hear everything

that’s around me. I want to hear the

birds and the animals and the wind and

the trees and so on. I even don’t want to

switch on any lights in my tent, because I

realize that I like to feel when it’s becoming

dark. It’s sometimes almost as if you can

feel the earth is moving with you, when

you are on the ground in the wood, and

this is a really great feeling.”

Portraits In Motion runs at the York

Theatre from January 24 – 26.

Volker Gerling finds presence by flipping through life one precious moment at a time

A startling, cutting-edge music,

theatre and performance art series.

Genre-defying shows by the world’s

most exciting emerging artists.

JAN 20

JAN 21

JAN 27

JAN 28

FEB 3

FEB 4

DYNASTY HANDBAG (LA)

BRIDGET MOSER (Toronto)

POINT BLANK POETS (London)

ANIMALPARTS (NYC)

HONG KONG EXILE (Vancouver)

LIDO PIMIENTA (Toronto)

SHOWS 9PM • TICKETS $ 22

2321 MAIN STREET

22

January 2017


sweat baby sweat

Jan Martens channels love through movement

Yasmine Shemesh

Most of Jan Martens’ pieces of dance

are derived from an autobiographical

place. For Sweat Baby Sweat, his love

duet, the Belgian choreographer first

looked to a personal relationship where

he felt afraid of what would happen if

he were to be alone. To portray this

struggle, the movement between the

two dancers, Kimmy Ligtvoet and

Steven Michel, is minimal — slowed

down in order to maximize both effort

and intention.

“In contemporary dance, normally

when you lift somebody, you would

use speed, you would use momentum,”

Martens explains. “And in Sweat Baby

Sweat, we slowed everything down so

it’s become more intense, but also more

physically hard to do. It was, for me, a

good translation of this sometimes hard

work that love can be.”

Indeed, in moments like, for

example, where Ligtvoet is balancing

her entire body weight on Michel’s

foot, the dancers must work together in

order to not slip or collapse. It’s tricky,

Martens maintains, especially when they

begin to sweat, but it keeps them fully

present and emotionally aware — and

also adds an unpredictable theatrical

element. “Sometimes you see things

almost go wrong,” he says, “but I think

it’s the strength of the piece, rather than

a weakness.”

Music also plays an important

role in Sweat Baby Sweat. The piece

is danced to an 18-minute Cat Power

song called “Wille Deadwilder,” a track

Martens chose specifically because

he enjoyed its repetitive melody and

its surreal-like associations about

relationships. Song lyrics are also

projected on the back wall during the

length of the performance, aiming to

speak to the nostalgic connections we

often have with love songs — the first

song, for example, you slow danced

to or the song was playing during

your first kiss. The lyrics are derived

from a wide range of artists, from Joni

Mitchell to the Bloodhound Gang —

the latter’s “The Bad Touch” for which

the piece is named. A humourous, yet

apt, namesake.

“I liked ‘sweat baby sweat’ because

it gives content,” Martins says, referring

to the opening line of the track. “‘Baby’

is about love and ‘sweat’ is about the

physical output which is there.”

Sweat Baby Sweat runs at the Scotiabank

Dance Center from January 18 – 20.

Photo by Klaartje Lambrechts

MACBETH

Shakesperean ambition and bloodshed

bathe The Congo

Jennie Orton

On the side of the planet where Donald

Trump is the worst kind of apocalypse

that any of us can imagine, the last 20

years in the Democratic Republic of the

Congo would rock our foundation to

rubble. There have been more deaths in

the eastern DRC than in any conflict since

World War II, a fact that many of us are

blissfully unaware of. This is where director

Brett Bailey and Third World Bunfight come

in with their adaptation of the Verdi opera

performance of Shakespeare’s Macbeth.

The atmosphere of greed and power

in the Congo pairs well with the tragic and

violent tale of The King of Scots and his

bloodily paranoid rise and fall. Actress

and singer Nobulumko Mngxekeza

who takes on the role of the insidiously

ambitious Lady Macbeth, describes the

adaptation as a much needed look into

an invisible plight.

“We see how people that don’t do as

Photo by Ryhs Graham

they are told get to be dealt with in a blink

of an eye and how a person you think you

know and trust can just turn their back

on you and want you dead to fulfill their

needs,” she says. “This adaptation is living a

life that was lived by another person, feeling

the pain they go through and went through.

I could also say one of the benefits for all of

us, as the artists and the audience, is that we

are teaching each other about the things

that we were not aware of before.”

The opera, though performed in

its original Italian, is steeped in African

culture and truth. The act of sharing

poetry while shining a light on a desperate

situation is a challenge that Mngxekeza

feels strongly about.

“It is also important for those

people who have experienced and fled

countries and conflict areas — and

who might have an opportunity to see

us perform — to know that we are not

trying to open old wounds.”

“Our version of Macbeth sends a

message and tells a story of those who

can’t tell it themselves.”

Macbeth runs at Vancouver Playhouse

January 16 – 21.

DIRTSONG

Black Arm Band recreates

Indigenous Australian magic

Prachi Kamble

Black Arm Band has been telling

Indigenous Australian and Torres

Strait Islander stories for over a decade

now. Their motto is to celebrate the

past while revolutionising the future,

through music and art. The band’s

guest Artistic Director, Fred Leone, an

acclaimed Indigenous Australian opera

singer and hip-hop MC, is bringing Dirtsong

to Vancouver’s Push Festival. Drawing

from a rich heritage that emanates from

40,000 years of a colossal ancestral past,

Black Arm Band productions ask brave

questions about Indigenous experiences

the world over.

With Dirtsong, Black Arm Band

strengthens the representation of

Indigenous Australian communities in the

mainstream eye. “There are 12 different

Aboriginal languages in Dirtsong,” says

Leone. “The music, the vocals, and the

visuals are meant to transport audiences

into the world of Indigenous Australia.

You may not understand what is being

said, but you will get the feeling of home

and understand Aboriginal people’s

connection to the land.”

Leone’s musical career started with

singing at the Sydney Opera. He has also

been a major influence in the Australian

hip-hop scene, founding Impossible Odds

Records, and winning numerous awards and

nominations. For Leone, the work doesn’t end

with the music. Social justice is the driving force

behind his work and Black Arm Band’s legacy.

Photo by Nicky Newman

The collective seamlessly combines traditional

music with contemporary sensibilities, with a

staunch intention.

“With Black Arm Band, I get to be in

the groove and not only empower myself,

but use a language that is almost extinct.

Around 12 people would understand when

I speak Butchulla!” exclaims Leone. He,

himself, hails from the Butchulla country

of Hervey Bay, Fraser Island region, and

from the Garrawa people of the northern,

Gulf of Carpentaria areas. Many of Leone’s

family members have become linguists to

preserve their heritage. His aunt has even

written the first Butchulla dictionary. “I’m

passionate about finding innovative

ways of transferring knowledge from

one generation to the next,” he explains.

“When put into contemporary contexts,

traditional artforms become easier for the

youth to absorb.”

Along with Dirtsong, Leone will also

be participating in a discussion titled Critical

Ideas: Home, Memory, Land at PuSh. He will

shed light on the relationship between man,

land, and animals, in Indigenous traditions.

“Australian aboriginal culture is history,”

he says. “Our memories are embedded in

the land. Stories and songs are roadmaps

that you give the youth or the other 350

aboriginal countries in Australia. To

travel to another country in the olden

days, you would have to learn the song

for every river, stream and mountain.”

The stories still exist and live in the

youth today but in the English language,

“so with Black Arm Band we want to

take these stories, reclaim them and

put them back into our traditional

languages.”

Dirtsong runs at the Queen Elizabeth

Theatre on February 4.

January 2017 23


queer

David Cutting

In the crowded cubicle that is 1181, it is

standing room only. There is excitement

and booze in the air. Everyone is out

on Sunday and they need a place to

worship, so Alma Bitches lets them

pray at her feet. In a crop top, tutu,

and thong, and with a lewd saying, this

bearded queen whips her audience into

frenzy. They are yelling, they are living.

She stomps around and they cheer. She

yells into the mic, it’s too loud to hear

her. This is Alma’s Sunday night cult, a

show she calls Sanctuary.

Alma got her start in the Vancouver

chapter of the Sisters of Perpetual

Indulgence. “When I joined the Sisters, I

was in a dark place and saw the best way

of getting out of that place was by giving

back and helping others,” she says,

sharing that, often, people don’t know

each other’s stories, the rich tapestries

of their history. “I am in my 14th year of

sobriety. I had a reality problem — I used

drugs and alcohol to avoid reality. My own

experience was that I was abusing it until it

abused me. I realized I needed to put them

away and live each day as it comes.” Working

with the Sisters, doing fundraisers and sing-alongs,

was a great passion for Alma.

“The best feeling is when I have just

finished a show and it feels so good because

I could see the audience was living for me

and my guests,” Alma continues. Alma

hosts two weekly shows, both on Sunday

nights. The first is Sanctuary at 1181 at

11:30pm and the second is Shequel at

XY, later on at 1:00am. Known for having

interesting themes and fun guests, the

colourful shows serve as some of the

local drag fans favourites. “I have always

ALMA BITCHES

don’t let the name fool you, she is a bitch

been a performer,” Alma says. “I used to

perform with my Sisters, this was when I

was smaller, we would lip sync and they

would throw me around the living room

and our grandmas would clap and be

entertained.”

To Alma, drag is a job and she

encourages younger queens under her

tutelage to do the same, offering the

advice to “always remember the bigger

picture. You are doing a job, if you went

to your day job loaded, would you get

to keep that job? Treat this like that job,

because the audience is there to see

you, you have a responsibility to them.”

“I have a beard and it’s not because

I’m lazy, but because I have a point to

make,” she stresses, adding that, to her,

drag is about being as unabashedly

Photo by Chase Hansen

queer as possible — taking the gender

norms and walking the line with them.

She recognizes that it isn’t everyone cup of

tea, but that it is important to be able to

take rules and bend them, because gender

is not rigid — only our minds are.

Also travelling to San Francisco

and Portland to perform, Alma is always

reaching for something bigger. “You

have to be heading towards something

or you’re not going anywhere,” she

maintains. “As an artist, it is very

important to have aspirations beyond

the local dream. Always set a goal.”

We can hardly wait to see this bitch soar.

Catch Alma Bitches at Sundays at 1181

for Sanctuary at 11:30 and Sundays at

XY for Shequel.

Photo by Graham Spence

Carlotta Gurl

As we face 2017, hopefully refreshed

and recharged, let us take the time to

look within ourselves and see what we

want to accomplish in this New Year.

I've never been one to stay steadfast

in my resolutions, and these aren't just

the ones I make about eating better

and achieving a healthier lifestyle after

I throw all the turkey leftovers into

a blender with a bottle of vodka and

whipped cream; no, I’m talking about

the honest to goodness resolutions

where we really try to inherently

change something about ourselves in

an attempt to become better people.

I almost always say this is the year I'm

gonna take charge of my life and party

less and work harder, and for the first

hour I'm almost there. Then I revert

back to form, pour myself a martini, and

say F%$# it! I applaud those people who

flock in droves to the gym in the month

of January and work out vigorously to

slim down that post holiday body, We

can only aspire to do our best. Slow

down, take a moment, see where you

are and where you wanna be, and then

go after it. After all: the only person we

are truly competing with is ourselves. I

too put a lot of pressure on myself at the

From the

Desk of

Carlotta

Gurl

beginning of the year to get more of the

things I wanna get done, and I'm slowly

learning as I get older to alleviate some

of that pressure by going after what I

want with a much more thought out

strategy and clear head. But hey, this

time last year I was able to pay off my

hefty student loan and sock a few bucks

away so dis bitch can still get it done

when she needs to.

2017 marks the six year anniversary

of my show "Absolutely Dragulous" at

the Junction nightclub. I'm overjoyed

that this show has been able to go

on this long and with such success.

I have to credit all the amazing and

talented entertainers in this diverse

city for showcasing their unique and

innovative performances. I'm a firm

believer in evolving with the times

and this helps take my show to new

limits. It is very important to ensure

that no matter how seasoned one

is that transforming and keeping in

tune with the world and trends is a

priority because that is how to remain

relevant. Always push your own

limits. Until next time my dahlings,

stay strong, stay loving, and most

importantly...stay pretty.

24 CITY

January 2017


Queer View Mirror

In the main room the music drowns.

Dionysus is standing tall behind the

stage as the grandmaster (daddy) of this

party. In queer temporality, industrial

time (or homogeneous empty time) cede

to operate as it has been indoctrinated

by the nation state. Normative fictions

collapse under queer time. It’s all part

of the darkroom effect, a black hole

sucks up everything into a time warp,

even the clock cannot escape, and

spits it back out into public bathrooms,

parks, clubs, beaches, bathhouses and

bars. Murmuring, moaning, ahhhhthe

liquid state of queerness

Tommy Ting

The recent events of 2016 have been

hard to stomach. On most days, I am

at a loss for words; even my senses

feel numbed. And over time it feels

like I have nothing to say. Maybe I am

suspended in disbelief, but I have always

felt so much. My ex-boyfriend told me

that feeling so much and feeling nothing

at all are very millennial queer effects.

Was that a read? Or maybe it is just a

sickness. I have consulted numerous

writings on the productivity of negative

effect, but an indifferent one? I am

unconvinced yet here I am regardless.

I have never been much of a writer

because my writings are awkward and

unsophisticated. To recount my queer

encounters this year, I return to where

I always start all my thinking: the pool.

Room #1

Five, six, seven, eight, and under!

The loss of sight heightens all my other

senses so I feel my way across this dark

and humid room with my skin instead.

Haptic-navigation. The room reeks of all

kinds of bodily and chemical fluids and

I kind of love it. As I crawl through this

swamp, I imagine liquid particles rising

and evaporating into a viscous black fog

that envelops us with a tingling warmth,

protecting us from the besieging world

outside.

Room #2

Amorous mourning

In the next room filled with blue and

red light, our porous bodies meet and

press against each other so hard it’s as if

there were a million micro penetrations

of your flesh into mine. As our bodies

enter each other so do our memories,

identities, and feelings. In this beautiful

ritual of possession and release, we

embrace the joy and suffering of things.

We fall in love and we let go of love.

Room #3

Trans-temporal drag disruptions

ing, slurping, slappings,

fuck-yeahs, the sudden

loud banging. We are

flâneurs in the dark,

cruising utopia. Queer

cultural codes become

the only form of

communication; it’s

a visual and body

language. We want

to stay here; it feels

safe here, no one

will harm us here.

Temporality takes

on different forms;

it’s thick and curvy,

smooth and lean,

hairy and sticky

or even chemically

aromatic. Queer time

ticks in all directions.

No! Not tick, dance!

Queer time is a dance,

and it moves horizontally,

side-ways, back-andforth.

It is an anti-linear,

anti-chronological beat.

The music crashes

across the dance floor, it

engulfs us and pulls us

under into its belly.

Room #4

Ah, yes, I remember it well.

Outside the time is magic

hour, golden red hues

slam deep into metallic

blues. The bruised sky

entangled and the

uncanny takes hold.

Memory is driven

by present needs to

imagine and desire

a better future. The

fluidity of time, I

invite you to swim

in it. There’s no place

like home, there’s no

place like home, there’s

no place like home.

Time is strange,

and strange is

queer.

January 2017 CITY

25


film

this month in film

Paris Spence-Lang

Harry Potterthon – Jan. 21st-22nd at The Rio

When I was 11 I waited all summer to get my letter. Of course, I didn’t really expect

to go to Hogwarts—just some Canadian HBC outpost version. If you were

as disappointed as me when the owl failed to call your name, you’ll take solace

in this two-day retreat into the world of wizards. Running through all eight

movies in two days, muggles are invited to don their magical merchandise and

load up on chocolate frogs for what is sure to be a wild two days of pretending

you have a wand.

Upcoming Releases

Split

James McAvoy plays 24 different people in this split-personality psychiatric

thriller, including a child, a woman, and a crazy motherf***er. After abducting

three teenage girls, Personality X holds a coup to take over the entire mind of

Kevin, with only an old psychiatrist to stop him—along with the help of a few

of Kevin’s nicer personalities. McAvoy gives the performance his all, surely realizing

that this allows him 24 chances to win an Oscar. (In theaters January 20th)

Behemoth (Bei Xi Mo Shou)

While McAvoy needed 24 voices, director Liang Zhao only needs images to

bring the reality of China’s environmental tragedies crashing down on his

viewers. Asia’s economic growth has been harried at every step by an equally

growing ecological crisis, and Zhao turns a Mongolian pit mine into a ground

zero for the planet. Featuring stunning image after stunning image, you’ll walk

out of this one wanting to hug a park full of trees. (In theaters January 27th)

BEHEMOTH

CANADA ON SCREEN:

FREE MOVIES ALL YEAR LONG

Paris Spence-Lang

What if I told you that you could

watch seemingly unlimited movies in

their original resolution, hand-chosen

for you by experts, all without paying

your Netflix membership? Welcome to

Canada On Screen.

Intended to celebrate Canada’s

sesquicentennial, Canada On Screen

is a year-long national showcase

of our best in film. Along with the

Toronto International Film Festival,

Library and Archives Canada, and

Cinematheque Quebecois, Vancouver’s

Pacific Cinematheque has spent years

preparing for this celebration by

collaborating on a list of 150 essential

works of Canadian cinema and moving

images. The best part? All Canada

On Screen screenings are free. The

second-best part? There’s a music video

category, and Drake made it on the list.

Jim Sinclair, executive and artistic

director at the Pacific Cinematheque,

says it wasn’t easy getting down to

150. “How many feature films do you

choose? How many documentaries do

you choose? How many experimental

films do you choose? … There was a lot

of horse trading going on,” Sinclair says.

Still, the work is important, not just for

this year, but, as Sinclair believes, for

decades to come. “We see this Canada

On Screen project as being a living

initiative. Every year or two we would

add new names to this list of essential

work.”

The celebration has a goal of

spreading awareness, not just of

Canadian films, but of how good they

are. This includes cinema like 32 Short

Films About Glenn Gould which laid

My American Cousin, one of Canada’s most important films, screens opening night.

groundwork for Bob Dylan flick I’m Not

There, and Paul Anka documentary

Lonely Boy which heralded a

breakthrough for cinéma vérité.

It’s a difficult task. “Canadians read

Canadian books, they watch Canadian

television, they listen to Canadian

music… but it can be harder to get

Canadians out to see Canadian cinema,

because our movie screens are so

dominated by that massive industry

across the border... Other countries

have the same issues, but we’re right

next door to the guys.” This cultural

divide, by no coincidence, is explored

in-depth in the opening-night classic

of BC film My American Cousin, which

inspired a generation of disenfranchised

Canadian filmmakers.

Sinclair also wants the films

to inspire the next generation of

filmmakers, one raised on smartphones.

“The tools are there. That’s no barrier

to someone who’s inspired and has the

vision. We’re not quite at the iPhone

film stage yet but in ten years that very

well may be a category.”

This future-focused mindset

comes with the territory. To Sinclair,

Canada On Screen is here to ensure

the longevity of the industry. “Projects

like this are ongoing ways of keeping

Canadian cinema vital… and hopefully

inspiring the artists of tomorrow who

can see the remarkable achievements

of almost the last 100 years in Canada...

They have the potential and the drive

and the desire… all they need is the

inspiration. And Canada On Screen is

about inspiring people.”

11:30 PM 11:30 PM 11:55 PM 11:55 PM

GET A BEER AND GRILLED CHEESE FOR YA FACE JAN 6 DEAD SNOW JAN 13 FREDDY VS. JASON JAN 20 FASTER PUSSYCAT! KILL! KILL! FEB 3 JOHN WICK

26 CITY

January 2017


eviews

The xx

I See You

Young Turks

The xx’s first album in four years is a much-needed

reintroduction to the lovelorn trio whose eruption

waned to a smolder with the passing of time (and

trends) that followed the power of their debut.

Sophomore album Coexist (2012) skipped

upping the ante of their unforgettable self-titled,

instead honing minimalism and cementing their

brand of melodramatic melody and vague intensity.

During the four years between that likable but

often forgettable work, producer and electronic

multi-instrumentalist Jamie xx (née Smith) gambled

on a solo album that had one big chart success and

perhaps three or four songs worth remembering a

year later. Despite this reviewer’s misgivings with

In Colour, it nonetheless went on to dominate

summer 2015.

Jumping to I See You, The xx have added a

major heft to a sound that threatened to become

tiresome. Most of the record displays an extra

oomph of musical confidence and a restless need

to push further rather than restrain and fall back.

While it does suffer from a sagging midsection, I See

You has some of the most exciting songs recorded

by the band and affirms they won’t rest easy.

Four rattling blasts of horns ring out at

the beginning of the album with the onset of

“Dangerous. The use of horns alone is blindsiding,

but the ease in which they jump to a dead sexy

bassline cut apart by urgent garage drums is

dizzying. The xx have always known how to start

things off with a strong impression while setting the

tone for an album: The xx’s “Intro” was wordlessly

urging, Coexist’s “Angels” was achingly lulling, but

“Dangerous” is abrupt and alarming and alive like no

xx song before it. Best of all, it’s defiant.

“Let them say there are warning signs. They

must be blind.”

Here and onwards, guitarist and co-vocalist

Romy Madley Croft belts out her lyrics so assuredly

it erases any memory of her excessively whispery

style from previous releases. She and sparring

partner Oliver Sim (whose honeyed baritone has

grown from the band’s beginnings in pleasing

increments, if never as drastically as Madley Croft’s)

draw more excitingly on their not-lovers-but-morethan-friends

dynamic than ever.

That continues on the next track, “Say

Something Loving.” The pair trade off reiterations of

one another’s unfinished thoughts and feelings of

neediness, inadequacy and purity in their love. It’s

not surprising to see the pair play expert foil to one

another, but it’s a noticeable improvement on one

of the band’s biggest strengths. The two are so in

sync they become an echo, thematically suitable in

the context of Jamie xx’s meticulous tidal phrasing

of beats and delay that washes back and forth over

the vocalists’ laments. It’s like a Caribbean sunset

after just enough wine and constantly rewritten

texts to a significant other.

Next up is “Lips,” an honest-to-God ode to

doin’ it with that special someone. It’s mostly slinky,

midnight samples and more sparing on analogue

instrumentation than even the most digital songs

released by the band in the past. “Pressed up against

the ceiling, pushing down on me,” titillates Sim.

It’s genuinely erotic and as exotic as three sheetwhite

20-somethings from London can manage.

The temperate flavour they coyly draw from the

southern hemisphere is weighted eerily by a Druidlike

choral sample that reels them back from cheese.

Closing the first third is “A Violent Noise.” The trio

complement the electronic stretch taken on the

previous song by anchoring an earthbound narrative

about overstimulation and anxiety to a coiled guitar

arpeggio. It’s both crispy and wet, unlike most xx

songs in its textural complexity. So ends the best run

of songs on the album.

“Performance” is where things take a dip. It’s

like a beta version of “Infinity” from The xx, with less

grandeur than it reaches for with the whole slow

and steady, quiet-loud routine. The narrative is as

vague as the band ever is, a string sample offering a

limp substitute for genuine drama. In that just-right,

downtrodden mood people most enjoy The xx in,

it’ll do, but is ultimately a weaker version of some of

their existing material. Unfortunately, this sour taste

colours the next few downtempo numbers in the

middle of the album.

The upward momentum of the first run of tracks

promised an album-long ascent of a band reborn, or

at least highly reinvigorated. By contrast, tracks 5-7

feel like naptime for the group. “Replica” and “Brave

For You” rely on little more than catchphrases than

well-executed emotionality. The latter is quite pretty

in its twinkling instrumental, but betrayed by the

overwrought lyrics and vocal delivery. Still, this phase

capitalizes on how easy and cathartic in can be to

sing along to dramatic love songs. It’s hard to fault

a band for keeping on with what’s been their bread

and butter throughout their career.

The final act is what saves I See You from being

a half-effort. Twin pop songs “On Hold” and “I Dare

You” are just so fun to sing along to that fussing

over predictable lyrics never crosses one’s mind.

The melodies so purely lovable that their Coldplay/

Arcade Fire/Michael Bay adjacency is worth it.

The band knows it, too. Closing track “Test Me”

is a briny olive after all that sugar. Self-hatred and

lashing out at a partner are undercut by minimal

piano and a reprise of glorious horns. After the

band plainly lays out the ugliness of their feelings, an

orchestra of disparate samples stampede over another

and remind the listener that there always comes the

moment to shut up and show rather than tell.

While I See You has plenty of great standalone

songs sitting right next to weak ones, no piece of this

album makes sense without the rest. It’s as imperfect

as it should be.

• Colin Gallant

• Illustration by My-An Nguyen

January 2017 reviews

27


album reviews

AFI, AFI (The Blood Album)

B.K.R., The Fly EP

Alya Brook & His Soundmen, (I Dont

Wanna Hear Your) Break Up Songs

Childish Gambino, Awaken, My Love!

The-Dream, Love You To Death

AFI

AFI (The Blood Album)

Concord Records

Oh, the sweet sound of Davey Havok’s

voice has returned to sing the sorrow

away for us all. Skate/emo/pop punks

of yesteryear rejoice and heed the

nostalgic reminisce of a time long

since past. One where you were

blaring 1999’s Black Sails in the

Sunset, painting your nails – black

of course – all while disregarding

the grease stains still left over from

changing your skateboard bearings

just hours before.

AFI (The Blood Album) is a

wicked addition to AFI’s already

stellar catalogue of feel-good,

harmonic, pop-punk anthems. Songs

like “Aurelia” and “Hidden Knives,”

showcase their trademark operatic

resonance, while “So Beneath You”

holds hints of their thrash roots.

From beginning to end it is what

we’ve come to expect from Havoc and

company. Though, it is admittedly on

the softer side of their sound. This must

be expected being that the thrashy,

skate punk style they once brandished

has tailed since the turn of the century.

AFI have come along way since their

self-titled EP. Those looking for the

‘90s AFI might be disappointed. Those

who have loved all that the band has

produced since, will bask in its glory.

• Jay King

B.K.R

The Fly EP

17 Steps

With The Fly EP, B.K.R have made a

compelling EP of club tools that are

aimed squarely at the dancefloor. The

24-minute, four-track EP arrives on

Dusky’s label, 17 Steps. It proves a fitting

home for the EP that often sounds like

what Dusky have been doing with their

own EP’s on the label.

The Fly isn’t a game changer by

any means, but the lead-off track,

“Bubble and Spark,” with Jamie Jones,

is a fairly enticing collab. It’s straightahead

techno track, with just enough

pad work to give a little levity with

dancefloor “spark” courtesy of the

track’s bouncing bass line akin to “A

Groove” by Mike Dunn.

The title track is a straightforward,

909-based stomper much

like the kind Bicep has been perfecting

recently. Unfortunately, it’s not as

good as a Bicep track, seemingly

designed explicitly as a set filler.

The final two tracks on the EP

are the real highlights. The irresistible

“Dis” and “Das,” are both catchy,

1080p-meets-Toolroom tech house

floor-fillers. Built on mean, square-wave

303 bass lines, and complimented by

wonky, overdriven stabs, the two tracks

complement each other perfectly,

ending the EP on a high-note.

• Jamie McNamara

Ayla Brook & His Soundmen

(I Don’t Wanna Hear Your) Break Up Songs

Self-Released

A year can feel like an eternity for an

artist, or it can fly by with no notice. It’s

often a matter of how willing you are to

throw yourself into the self-promotion

game. Edmonton’s Ayla Brook returns

from a long recording hiatus with (I

Don’t Wanna Hear Your) Break Up

Songs, which finds Brook concentrating

on the little realities of daily living, set to

a breakneck, barroom groove that drips

a froth of Keith Richards down the side

of a pint of J.J. Cale.

“Hold On” is a breakneck twostep,

with Hammond organ and some

classy gentleman harmonies over the

choruses, while “Wasting Time” is an

honest and straightforward missive on

living and working in the bar industry,

that kicks off and jives the whole way

through with that classic Sticky Fingers

swagger. “On Your Right Side” is relaxed

in just the right way, as nonchalant as

Lou Reed over a T-Rex groove. “Reason

To Stay” is a classic soul rave-up played

with lean and greasy punk energy, and

“A Song Before The Woods” closes the

record with a Romani caravan vibe, with

a hooky guitar riff over a squeezebox

vamp to conjure some Eastern European

hobo happily skipping and whistling

past the graveyard.

Eight years have passed since Brook

released the Danny Michel-produced

After The Morning After, and Brook has

found a new willingness to let loose and

get loud, the clang and groove of boot

heels on hardwood providing a willing

dance partner for his hooky musings

of barroom ennui, a reminder that the

swinging doors are always there until

closing time.

• Mike Dunn

Childish Gambino

Awaken, My Love!

Glassnote Records

This shit is fire. I’m just as shocked as

you are to report that, but it’s true.

Childish Gambino, a.k.a. the dude that

everyone loves as Troy (and one half of

television’s greatest ever bromance) in

Community, has had a wonky musical

career. It kicked off with a catalogue

of forgettable, hipster joke raps, before

evolving a little in his last release,

Because the Internet, with some Frank

Ocean-inspired singing that caught this

listener’s attention—even if it didn’t

hold onto it very long.

With Awaken, My Love! Childish

Gambino sounds authentic, as if he

shed his self-consciousness and made

the music he was meant to: that straight

psychedelic, freaky-funky, cosmicgroove

nasty.

The first track, “Me and Your

Mama,” opens with a contemporary

synthed-out sound for a couple

minutes before being smashed to bits

with an Isaac Hayes-esque guitar lick in

a drastic switch up, and Gambino lets

out his impressive primal singing over

some natural earthy instrumentation

without looking back. Over the next

few numbers, he channels Parliament

Funkadelic very convincingly until the

noteworthy heater, “Redbone,” brings

the mood more between the sheets.

“California” is a somewhat miscast

earworm that gives the album some

levity, while “Baby Boy,” oozes Al Green

soul. The album’s last couple songs close

it out on an uplifting note, though they

do drag on a bit.

To simply call this release a

throwback sells it short. It holds its

ground among the pantheon of albums

it derives its influence from.

• Kevin Bailey

The-Dream

Love You To Death

Radio Killa Records/ Roc Nation

Although The-Dream’s last studio album

came out in 2013, he has been anything

but dormant. Whether he is gracing

Pusha T or Kanye songs with his heavenly

voice, or taking a cue from Beyoncé and

releasing a visual album, it is always good

to hear from the R&B veteran.

Love You to Death is an EP that

features stripped down, minimal

production, allowing The-Dream’s

singing and songwriting abilities to pull

the listener into his world. If The Weeknd

28 reviews

January 2017


ONF_Beatroute_full page Vancouver_10.25 x 11.25.pdf 1 2016-12-19 11:34 AM


Fancey, Love Mirage

J. Cole, 4 Your Eyez Only

Kid Cudi, Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin’

stuck to his shadowy roots, while also maintaining

his current push for more pop accolades, it would

sound a lot like this EP. As if not to agitate the

dehydrated brain after a night out, the production

on this album is reserved and calming, yet the lyrics

linger like a headache, persistent in subject matter

and tone.

“I forgot about them things you did in college.

Can you forget about them things I did last night,”

asks The-Dream on “College Daze.”

The lyrics on this project range from symbolic

like “the sunlight brings out everything” to how

we all know a girl that flexes like Rihanna. The

dichotomy in these two different types of lines

is what keeps Love You To Death so engaging.

Production-wise, the EP plays it safe, but it works

as a concise package, proving that The-Dream is still

as memorable on his solo projects as the songs he

features on so frequently.

• Paul McAleer

Fancey

Love Mirage

Self-Released

Love Mirage is the new album from Todd Fancey,

the lead guitarist of The New Pornographers. To be

honest, I don’t think I’ve ever actually listened to

The New Pornographers. I decided to review this

album because my editor told me there was disco

involved. This is actually true to a large extent.

There is a substantial amount of disco involved, just

not the kind that I was thinking of. If there’s any

one term that can be used to describe this album it

would probably be “baroque pop,” a type of indie

that channels white, pop disco acts of the 1970s

like the Bee Gees and Electric Light Orchestra.

Fancey recorded the album with vintage

keyboards and synths, which is probably why

on tracks like “Carrie,” I legitimately thought I

was actually listening to ELO for a second.

Although there’s tempo variation

throughout the album, with slow crooners like

“Turn Around Baby,” and the upbeat roller-discomontage-worthy

“Witch Attack!,” it overall maintains

the same cheerful, airy spirit throughout the whole ten

tracks.

Those who aren’t fans of baroque pop will

probably find this album ironic at first, but we live

in an age where irony inevitably gives way to postirony,

so you might as well hasten the process and

check this one out.

• Jonathan Crane

Flower Girl

Tuck in Your Tie-Dye

BUFU Records and Designer Medium

With Tuck in Your Tie-Dye, NYC-based five-piece

Flower Girl have created a potent argument that

the best course for modern malaise is a giant grin

and a tie-dye shirt. Like a jubilant, jockish Stephen

Malkmus, Flower Girl leans heavily on a poppedup

imitation of Pavement, or early Wilco. Often,

Flower Girl sound like fellow NYC transplants

in Parquet Courts, blending Americana with an

indie, slacker ethos.

With the lead-off title track, Flower Girl

set a lackadaisical pace with a gentle, acoustic

guitar chunk and a heady, half-baked-but-extraobservational

vocal turn from frontman Nick Morris

that rests throughout the rest of the 12-track LP.

“Lets Build a Fort,” is another paisley-speckled

piece of sonic special brownie, combining clean

electric guitar with a deadpan vocal that makes

everything seem pseudo-serious. Really, that’s the

best way to experience this album, with a tongue

in cheek and not a care in the world.

• Jamie McNamara

J. Cole

4 Your Eyez Only

Dreamville/Roc Nation/Interscope

When J. Cole released 2014 Forest Hills Drive

with virtually no promotion, the album had to

be something special and the music would have

to speak for itself. 2014 Forest Hills Drive, as every

Cole fan will remind you, went double platinum

without any features, exceeding all expectations

and carving Cole a spot beside some of the hottest

rappers in the game.

With his latest record, 4 Your Eyez Only,

Cole attempts to reuse the formula that made

his previous album so successful. He uses the

same ingredients: a surprise release, no noticeable

features, and a documentary leading up to the

album release, but he forgot about delivering on

the music side of things.

While the majority of 2014 Forest Hills

Drive featured memorable hooks, versatile bars,

and conductive production, 4 Your Eyez Only is

boring, dull in comparison, lacking energy in every

extent in favour of telling a story. The concept

behind the project is about Cole’s friend who died

and the album is directed at his friend’s daughter.

The narrative is endearing, but the execution

is nowhere near Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A

Butterfly, an album that Cole may think he’s

competing with on 4 Your Eyez Only. While there

are great songs on this album like the title track,

“Neighbors,” and “Immortal,” there are too many

tracks in-between that water down and sabotage

the entire record.

With his sales lifting him up, Cole is

unrelenting in letting his listeners know that he

is one of the greats, but saying it does not make

it true; the music has to speak to the claim too,

something Cole has clearly forgotten with his

latest release.

• Paul McAleer

Kid Cudi

Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin’

Wicked Awesome / Republic

Following the backlash towards 2015’s Speedin’

Bullet 2 Heaven, it’s no surprise that Scott Mescudi

a.k.a. Kid Cudi would try his damnedest to revert

back to the sound by which he originally made

his name, though to do so in such a spectacular

(see: incredibly monotonous) fashion, may have

ultimately been his downfall.

Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin’, his latest

effort, is a four-part, 86-minute expression in

phonetics featuring his archetypal wails, hums,

and haws, slowly spread over nineteen (nineteen!)

near-indistinguishable tracks ranging from long

and drawn out, to slightly-shorter and drawn out.

If the title is any indication, his recent

rehabilitation for depression earlier this year

seems to have directly influenced Passion,

Pain & Demon Slayin’, with many of its tracks

featuring Cudi confronting some of his issues

head on, but it poses the question: What else

can be said about Cudi and his demons that

hasn’t already been said over six albums and

a mixtape?

The main issue with Passion, Pain &

Demon Slayin’ is that it’s an amalgamation

of all the Cudi tropes: highly viscous

production, fogged-out vocals, and even his

at-times clever lyricism can’t save what is

essentially a lacklustre, if not incredibly long,

performance.

It’s no Speedin’ Bullet, thankfully, but

Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin’ leaves the

listener hoping that the man on the moon

finds a better place to land sometime soon.

• Alec Warkentin

January 2017 reviews

31


JANUARY

ARRIVAL

D.A. Stern, Aloha Hola

Machinae Supremacy

Into the Night World

Self-Released

It is not uncommon for power metal bands to

incorporate video game sounds into their music,

but Sweden’s Machinae Supremacy takes this

influence to a new level. The quintet, avid video

gamers, choose to incorporate the SID chip from

the Commodore 64 with their power/industrial

metal riffs, creating a very unique and instantly

recognizable sound. Their latest album, Into the Night

World, is their seventh studio album and it is another

consistent installment of retro, throwback sounds coupled

with auto-tuned falsetto vocals, piano interludes, and heavy

metal riffs.

For better or for worse they have been following

the same formula since 2004, and while some may see

their lack of evolution as a hindrance, they have become

masters of their particular genre. Typically focusing on

traditional power metal themes of fantasy and sci-fi,

Machinea Supremacy follows the grain. However, on

this album, they do deviate slightly to give a nod to

themes of love, loss and personal accomplishments. The

second last, and possible highlight track on the album,

the instrumental, “SID Metal Legacy,” is the pinnacle of

the fusion between the distinctive SID chiptune and

standard heavy metal. All in all, the album is well done;

going forward it can be reasonably expected that

Machinae Supremacy will continue to put forth

similar sounding, but high caliber albums.

• Kaje Annihilatrix

D.A. Stern

Aloha Hola

Twosyllable Records

With easy, catchy choruses, and that pop style

guitar we all love deep down, the sound of D.A.

Stern will secure a spot in the soft part of your

heart, but also keep you emotionally hooked for

the heart-aching and terribly relatable dark lyrics in

many of his songs. Recorded and produced by Stern

in his mother’s New Jersey basement, Aloha Hola is

the artist’s debut full-length.

The 11-track album is a lyric-to-sound

contradiction that you can’t help but listen to

over and over again. With soft odes dedicated to

heartbreak, melancholy pop melodies about booze,

and tunes about bright light cities, the album in its

entirety is the perfect anthem to youth and growing

up. While bringing you on a woeful lyrical adventure,

the instrumental accompaniment gives you some

Sepultura, Machine Messiah

kinder, lighthearted leeway. With a sound reminiscent of

the Beach Boys, but also bringing a ‘60s style surf rock finish,

this album is the perfect psych pop record to remind you

of why music is your best friend.

• Jackie Klapak

The Rolling Stones

Blue & Lonesome

Promotone/Universal

Lost in the shift to urbanized, musical virtuosity through

the past four decades, was the essential thrust of what

made the blues what it is: Groove. Unrelenting groove,

that swing that was immediately danceable for anyone

who could bend their knees, move their feet, and shake

their hips at the same time in a deliriously sweaty flail to

the unsophisticated sounds of a band standing within

feet of each other. The co-mingling scents of sex, smoke,

liquor, and possibly gunpowder lingering through

the air in a conspiratorially dangerous and subversive

mélange that both excited, and frightened, the people

who lived through the first rise in popularity of Black

American music.

There’ll always be the caveat that white

musicians took the music of their black heroes

and brought it to the masses, at times even through

theft, but The Rolling Stones were always purists. The

Stones revered this music, and treated their heroes as

near deities. They may have moved away from the blues

to develop their own sonic signatures – ones which

have been template rock ‘n’ roll for 50 years - but to hear

the Stones let rip on the classic forms as they do on Blue

& Lonesome is to hear a band which has digested 100

years’ worth of blues styles and songs, and distilled it

down to its essence.

Blue & Lonesome is the album Stones fans have

wanted for years: to hear the band unencumbered by

the excesses of ego and production, and in some way,

to feel what the kids in 1962 must have felt, shaking

and screaming to the sound of the one band that was

getting it right the whole time.

• Mike Dunn

Sepultura

Machine Messiah

Nuclear Blast Records

With much steam still in the engine, Brazilian

heavy metal monarchs Sepultura, keep chugging

along with their fourteenth studio album. Using

a very cohesive writing and recording process as

a self-credited tool, they have released what they

consider to be their most complete album yet. The

Sohn, Rennen

engineering quality by highly touted producer,

Jens Bogren (Opeth, Kreator), is a huge plus factor

throughout.

The title and intro track is a completely

mesmerizing segue into what is a layout of classic

Sepultura-sounding tracks. The next number, “I am

the Enemy,” quickly brings back that thrash feel the

band was known for during their inception. We then

immerge into “Phantom Self,” which begins with an

orchestral addition but is filled in immediately with

driving vocals and powerful axe chugs.

While the overall sound generally remains

the same throughout, each track has a different

feel and tempo. Machine Messiah appeals to the

true heavy metal lover with no surprises, just

solid riffs, tasty solos, and toasty, guttural vocals.

The album finishes off with the wonderfully

demonic “Cyber God,” which properly accents

why these well-seasoned veterans are still

spearheading the metal scene with hard

charging, unwavering force.

• Jay King

Sohn

Rennen

4AD

Rennen, the sophomore release from South

London producer and singer Sohn, essentially

follows the same shtick as his 2014 debut

Tremors. The good news, however, is that this is

one of the more formidable shticks out there.

For those unfamiliar with his sound, it

probably would have been grouped in with the

“post-dubstep” label when he first emerged at the

start of the decade. In 2014, when Rolling Stone listed

him as an “Artist You Need To Know,” he was drawing

comparisons with fellow Londoner James Blake for

fusing R&B with left-field, atmospheric electronica.

According to the press release, Sohn tried

to limit each track on the album to three main

elements. In electronic music this is a surefire sign of

an artist wanting to refine their sound and mature,

and it definitely shows on the album. Tracks like the

gripping vocally-driven “Still Waters,” and the

percussive “Falling,” showcase an artist who’s

becoming more daring and bold.

Other standout tracks include “Proof,” with

its pitch-shifted vocal chops, the album opener

“Hard Liquor,” which apparently set the texture for

the entire release, and “Primary,” a song that showcases

Sohn’s prowess as an electronic producer.

• Jonathan Crane

6

7

8

11

12

13

14

19

21

22

25

27

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2

8

BLADE RUNNER

THE FINAL CUT

DEAD SNOW

FRIDAY LATE NIGHT MOVIE

HAYAO MIYAZAKIʼS

HOWLʼS MOVING CASTLE

PAUL THOMAS ANDERSONʼS

THERE WILL BE BLOOD

STANLEY KUBRICKʼS

A CLOCKWORK ORANGE

THE GOLDEN GLOBE

AWARDS

Live and FREE on the big screen

TRIVIA, GAMES, PRIZES AND MORE!

THE GENTLEMEN HECKLERS PRESENT

BIRDEMIC

ULTRAMAN DOUBLE FEATURE!

ULTRAMAN X: THE MOVIE

AND

ULTRAMAN: GINGA S

THE GEEKENDERS PRESENT

UNCAPED CRUSADERS

A ʻBatlesqueʼ Tribute To Batman

KITTY NIGHTS PRESENTS

A LIVE ROCK TRIBUTE TO

DAVID BOWIE

MISCHIEF MANAGED

HARRY POTTER BURLESQUE

“Like Harry Potter... But Way Hotter!”

HARRY POTTERTHON!

Movies 1 - 4 Jan 21

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DAY AND WEEKEND PASSES AVAILABLE

THE CRITICAL HIT SHOW

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#DNDLIVE IN ITS FIFTH YEAR

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AGAINST HUMANITY

Oh, the humanity!

#IAHatRio

32 reviews

VISIT WWW.RIOTHEATRE.CA FOR A COMPLETE CALENDAR OF EVENTS.

January 2017


live reviews

Photo by Darrole Palmer

Aesop Rock

December 19th, 2016

Venue

Queens rapper Homeboy Sandman

started the show off strongly with

a set of tracks ranging across his

discography that showcased his

finely crafted writing and diverse set

of flows. Punch lines were delivered

with humour and his sometimes

self-effacing, light hearted sense

of humour came across well. The

incredible fast rap of “The Carpenter”

impressed with its velocity and set

closer “God” from his latest album

Kindness for Weakness impressed

for its joie de vivre.

Upon ending his set Homeboy

Sandman made a point to tell the

crowd that they were at a show that

night that was akin to seeing Mozart

or Beethoven; that Aesop Rock was

a one of a kind artist; a virtuoso that

is up to that level. At the moment it

felt a touch silly; a fun complimentary

piece of hyperbole meant to hype the

headliner and get the crowd amped

up. But it was clear from the moment

Aesop Rock took the stage that this

was a rap show on a whole other level

than we’re used to.

While focussing mostly on

tracks from his latest album The

Impossible Kid and performing on

a rural themed stage design that

seemed mostly to exist due to a few

lines from his song “Rabies,” he gave

the crowd almost two hours of rap

in its most concentrated form. Bar

after bar, line after line of intricately

written raps without losing syllable,

and with a clear and joyous delivery. It

was astonishing to witness. Whether

rapping intimate stories about his

brothers (“Blood Sandwich”), his cat

(“Hey Kirby”), or therapist (“Shrunk”),

or delivering some of his greatest hits

to close out the show (“Daylight,”

“Lucy,” “None Shall Pass”), there was

never a moment he didn’t seem in

complete control of his craft or out of

breath and it really felt like Homeboy

Sandman (who joined him on stage

for a riotous encore featuring tracks

from their joint EP Lice 2) was right.

• Graeme Wiggins

Neurosis/Yob/Sumac

December 20th, 2016

Venue Nightclub

When December 20th’s lineup was

announced, it was every post-metal fan’s wet

dream come to life – so it wasn’t surprising

that in Vancouver (a city that seems to suit

the genre better than most), Sumac, Yob,

and Neurosis sold out completely. One

unfortunate problem was that the venue

seemed pretty unprepared for this volume

Photo by Milton Stille

of people, and a lot of us who came to see

all three bands wound up waiting outside

in line, listening to a muffled Sumac even

though we’d arrived well before their posted

set time. It seemed that the staff were

trying their best, but I had already missed

half of Sumac’s set before I got in. Which is

even more of a shame because what I did

get to see from the sludgy supergroup that

includes Aaron Turner (ex-Isis... the band,

not the militants), local Nick Yacyshyn

(of Baptists) and Brian Cook (of Russian

Circles) was impressive. Their orchestrated

dissonance kicked off the night and ended

with a message from Turner, saying that

“There’s one thing I want to say. It’s that this

is about love.” An apparent juxtaposition

with their music, but you could feel it in the

crowd even at this point. Even at a show like

this, the music doomy and tuned below

any reasonable earthly boundaries, I didn’t

detect a shred of hostility.

So, below the oddly placed Christmas

decorations (having your view blocked by

a Christmas tree at a metal show is strange

to say the least) we prepared ourselves

for fellow Pacific Northwesterners Yob,

out of Oregon. Yob stole the show for me

personally, and were the most entrancing

band of the night, and the most classically

doomy. During “Marrow,” it seemed that

the usually constant stream of people in

the crowd pushing to get to the bar, the

bathroom, their friends – whatever – was

suspended for the duration of the song.

Frontman Mike Scheidt’s guitar repeated

a mantra that seemed to captivate all of us

for that segment of time, and was a bit of a

shocking end to the set. By then the venue

was allowing ins-and-outs, so we could all

go outside for a bit and collect ourselves for

Neurosis.

Californian post-metal legends

Neurosis are not for the faint-hearted, this

is even more so when being present for one

of their live performances. “Lost” off of their

1993 release Enemy of the Sun kicked off

their set with a favorite, setting the energy

levels high for the rest of their set, and

keeping it up by following with “The Web.”

Live and in person, their songs have an

almost industrial feel and energy coming

from the stage, keyboardist Noah Landis

beating the shit out of his synthesizers

with almost more enthusiasm than

drummer Jason Roeder - while frontman

Scott Kelly played like any second now

he was going to throw his guitar over

his shoulder and go rampaging through

the crowd. The middle of the set had

more long and contemplative pieces

that took the energy down a few notches

with a few songs from their latest release

Fires Within Fires. The crowd seemed to reanimate

when the voice-over interview for

“Takehnase” began, another crowd favorite

which once it was launched into made it

feel as though the vibrations throughout

the venue would make it collapse upon us (I

picture a nervous live engineer trying to keep

decibels at just-below lethal levels) and from

where I was standing near the front I wasn’t

sure that I would hear anything ever again.

Though, I’m pretty sure it would have been

a worthy way to go. The first half of “At the

End of the Road” served as an intermission

but made the crowd a bit restless – even we

can only listen to white noise guitars for so

long. They finished on “The Doorway,” and

Neurosis did a great job of the set list. With a

band where each album is pretty distinct it’s

not an easy feat to put together a coherent

performance.

By the end of it all, it felt like we had

all gone through some bizarre meditative

ritual, on the edge of a bad trip without quite

falling in. You think you know what you’re

getting into when you attend a night with a

lineup like Sumac, Yob, and Neurosis – but

you really don’t until you’re at the end of it,

faced with the jarring silence of an emptying

venue.

• Ana Krunic

January 2017 reviews

33


Michelle Hanley

The Bolt Bus

The Bolt Bus is a great discount bus service that I use frequently to

go to Seattle and Portland. It is much nicer than the Greyhound,

but still pretty terrible.

The bathroom on the bus is essentially a moving port-apotty.

It’s got the freaky blue water and the unsettling breeze

from the toilet and the foaming hand sanitizer in place of a

functioning sink. There is something particularly degrading

about pooping while aboard the peasant wagon and I would

recommend avoiding it. In retrospect, eating at The Cheesecake

Factory immediately before a five-hour bus journey was probably

a bad idea.

Canadian Tire

(Cambie Street)

I recently paid a visit to Canadian Tire to sob in the

bathrooms after the rude cashier wouldn’t honour the flyer

price on a Magic Bullet blender that I was trying to buy my

boyfriend for Christmas. It was a truly terrible experience,

weeping on a toilet, using Canadian tire money to wipe up

my tears.

The quality of the bathroom at Canadian Tire nearly

made up for the terrible experience at the till. The stalls were

lovely and spacious and the bathroom smelled very pleasant.

These toilets are quite nice, but not as nice as the bathrooms

at the Home Depot.

White Spot (Kingsway)

White Spot is a local chain of mediocre casual family

restaurants. I like to eat here because even though I am a

grown-up adult woman, I can order two kids Pirate Paks for

myself because it is cheaper than an entree and you get to

eat your food from a fun cardboard boat. White Spot is great!

The bathrooms at White Spot are exceptionally lovely.

There is tacky art of the Pacific Northwest on the walls. The

bathrooms are clean and well stocked. Although it is pretty

cramped and there is usually a line up of exhausted mothers

and their irritating children waiting for the bathrooms, it is

worth having a poop at.

34

January 2017


January 2017 35


UPCOMING EVENTS

TUESDAY JANUARY 10TH

SUNDAY JANUARY 29TH

MONDAY JANUARY 23RD

CHOIR! CHOIR! CHOIR!

THURSDAY FEBRUARY 2ND

LYDIA LOVELESS

SATURDAY FEBRUARY 4TH

KOBO TOWN

THURSDAY FEBRUARY 16TH

CLOUD NOTHINGS

UPCOMING MRG SHOWS

~

FEBRUARY 4 - ADAM ANT - THE VOGUE THEATRE

FEBRUARY 7 - WAX TAILOR - RICKSHAW THEATRE

FEBRUARY 15 - PRIESTS - 333

FEBRUARY 28TH - ANDY BLACK - RICKSHAW THEATRE

MARCH 20TH - JAPANDROIDS - COMMODORE BALLROOM

WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 22ND

CLIPPING

FRIDAY FEBRUARY 24TH

PALMISTRY

FRIDAY FEBRUARY 26TH

KEVIN ABSTRACT

TUESDAY FEBRUARY 28TH

THE RADIO DEPT.

/BILTMORECABARET @BILTMORECABARET @BILTMORECABARET

36

January 2017

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