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

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January ‘17


BeatRoute Magazine



Alisa Layne



Shane Flug


Thomas Coles


My-An Nguyen



Gold Distribution


Heather Adamson • Justine Apostanopolous •

Jonathan Crane • Maddy Cristall • Beth D’Aoust

Kelsey Dionne • Mike Dunn • Heath Fenton •

Bridget Gallagher • Jamie Goyman • Carlotta Gurl MANAGING EDITOR

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Susan Horner • Danny Kresnyak • Elliot Langford jennie@beatroute.ca

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Esther Tothova • Sarah Whitlam • Troy Zak


Vanessa Tam



Glenn Alderson




Erin Jardine



Yasmine Shemesh









∙ with Alicia Tobin












-The Comedian


-Just Cause


-The Real MacKenzies


-Dead Time






-Kevin Abstract

-Mykki Blanco

-Wind: Up


-Wax Tailor


-JFL Northwest:

Cover: Tom Segura

Chris d’lia

Aparna Nancheria

Barry Crimmons

Todd Glass

Nate Bargatze

-Wrestling Jerusalem

-Practices of Everyday Living

-Chinese New Year


-Queen of the Month

-From the Desk of Carlotta

-Give Em Oral



-Live Reviews



Glenn Alderson




David Cutting



Graeme Wiggins



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editor@beatroute.ca • beatroute.ca

©BEATROUTE Magazine 2017. All rights reserved.

Reproduction of the contents is strictly prohibited.

Temples - Page 5

photo: ???

Febrary 2017 3


finding inspiration from the shadowy places within

yasmine shemesh

graeme wiggins

We can all agree that working retail sucks. Between

entitled customers, power-tripping bosses

and the annoying habits of your fellow workers,

being a cog in the wheel of consumerism has

never felt less glamorous. Possibly the only benefit

is the generally flexible schedules, which happen

to be compatible with the lives of musicians

and comedians. One might consider veteran

comic Alicia Tobin an expert on this life, as she

co-hosts a podcast called Retail Nightmares in

which she and her partner Jessica Delisle talk to

various comics and musicians about the terrible

retail jobs they’ve been forced to take in order to

keep their dreams alive.

At the best of times in the best of places, comedy

can be a difficult industry to stand out in as

a stand up. Tobin has carved out a long career

as one of Vancouver’s favourite comedians with

regular appearances at venues around town (as

well as abroad) and is becoming a fan favourite

on local podcast stalwart, Stop Podcasting

Yourself. She also hosts a monthly comedy show

called Come Draw With Me at Hot Art Wet City,

which will be part of the upcoming JFL Northwest

comedy festival. We talked to Tobin about

her podcast, her show and what it takes to make

it through the retail grind.

BeatRoute: What do you currently do for a

day job?

Alicia Tobin: I work in marketing in the natural

health industry. I try to get people to eat better

and stuff!

BR: What's the hardest part of doing both

comedy and working?

AT: I guess having down time. I actually pencil it

into my schedule now.

BR: Are there any downfalls of being funny

when you work retail? Benefits?

AT: According to me, I’m hilarious at work. But

I don't talk about present jobs on my podcast

or onstage unless it’s something positive or relatable.

Being funny in retail is the only way to

survive, not only can you say just the right thing

when a customer is having a bad day, you can

help brighten it up a bit and be the "fun one" to

work with. The fun one is basically the president

of the store. There is no downfall to being funny.

It is a survival strategy that almost everyone can

benefit from.

BR: What's the worst job you've ever worked?

AT: I worked one hour as a telemarketer. And

I am going to rate scooping ice cream at Laura

Secord as the second worst job because I think I

was let go because I ate too much which seems


with Alicia Tobin

BR: What inspired your Retail Nightmares


AT: I was visiting Jessica Delisle at the video store

she worked at when a customer who had been

horrible to me at the store I worked at came

in. Of course, this customer is just horrible everywhere

they go and it sparked the idea that

customer service people have all these amazing

stories to tell that are deeply funny and so we

should get them out there.

BR: Have you learned anything about the retail

industry from talking to so many people

about it?

AT: No, I knew everything already. I am an expert

in many areas.

BR: Do you have any advice for a struggling

retail working trying to cope?

AT: Yes, it is not okay for people to treat you

badly because you are behind a cash register or

a telephone. That is a reflection of who they are

and not your value. Those mean people probably

have a lot of problems, like farting 24/7 or

something very embarrassing that makes them

grouchy. To be fair, we have all had bad days too

and bringing some compassion to any aspect of

your life can help deal with other people and our

own crap too.

BR: What's the worst retail job a guest on your

show has had?

AT: Oh so many, but I think Amber Harper-Young,

who worked as a server at a strip club,

had the

photo by Sarah Witlam

worst job and someone was killed outside the

club one night and I can't shake that story. Between

the misogyny and murder, it is just so


BR: Can you tell us about the show you're doing

for JFL Northwest?

AT: Well, I have a little show called Come Draw

With Me where the audience draws and I talk

about their drawings. I will have three talented

and wonderful comedians on the show too! It is

a really gentle and silly show and one of the last

at the wonderful Hot Art Wet City before it closes.

Please, come draw with me!

BR: How has Vancouver comedy scene

changed since when you started?

AT: When I started comedy in 2007, the funniest

guy in town was Graham Clark and that hasn't

changed at all. Years of hard work created what

we see now, which is a bustling comedy scene

with tons of great shows to see each month.

From the improv community who bring this

tireless enthusiasm for creating new shows to

the weekly stand-up shows that help build experience

and community for an art that is quite

solitary, a lot of people have worked to create a

vibrant comedy culture here. It isn't magic, but

all of this hard work and passion creates so many

funny and magical moments.

Catch Alicia Tobin on February 26 at Hot

Art Wet City as part of JFL Northwest Comedy


"What do you think that song’s about?” Thomas

Walmsley asks. The bassist for Temples, speaking

over the phone from his home in East London,

is referring to “How Would You Like To Go,” a

head-swirling track off the band's sophomore album,

Volcano. In the song, melancholic lyrics talk

of going under the ground. It is, indeed, about

death, Walmsley confirms. "That’s kind of more

where our heads are at on this record. Quite extreme

on subject matter and just different pillars

of human condition, really.”

Death, he adds, isn’t a subject the English fourpiece

have quite written about before. Sun Structures,

the band’s critically acclaimed 2014 debut,

was a technicolour dream of mysticism and spirituality.

With its cosmic narrative, the album effortlessly

conjured the golden era of psychedelic

pop and quickly propelled Walmsley, guitarist/

singer James Bagshaw, keyboardist/rhythm guitarist

Adam Thomas Smith and drummer Samuel

Toms into a starry universe, headlining festivals

like Glastonbury and supporting the Rolling


On Volcano, their highly-anticipated follow up,

though, Temples fan away the metaphysical haze

to reveal subject matter that’s more tangible and


changing with purpose in a life without sound

christina zimmer

With their fifth album, Life without Sound, released

a day after the start of their tour, which

is taking them through North America and Europe

until the end of March, Cleveland-based

punk rocker


Cloud Nothings have a lot going

on. In between practicing for the tour and doing

ordinary stuff like grocery shopping, lead

singer and guitarist Dylan Baldi explains how

the latest album is just another step in the

evolution of their music for the band.

“We try to purposefully change with every

record, I don’t think any one of us is interested

in doing the same thing twice. So we got

a little heavier for a while, then the heavy

stuff started to get kind of boring, so now

we’re kind of making things that are a little

more structured,” he says. “This record was

more just influenced by trying to write better

songs, just trying to become a songwriter that

I would have liked to listen to on my own basically,

without thinking about other bands, just

thinking about what we’d done in the past and

how to improve on it.”

It’s an ambitious goal, especially considering

the fact that the previous two albums, Here

and Nowhere Else (2014) and Attack on Memory

(2012) both received “Best New Music”

raw, and, in the process, find themselves looking

inward rather than through rose coloured glasses.

“Certainty,” Volcano’s soaring and buzzy first

single, is about complacency. “Roman Godlike

Man,” another track, is about narcissism. "We try

and address what makes us all such fragile human

beings and hopefully by the end of the song we

answer those questions,” Walmsley explains.

Conceptually, Volcano is a complete departure

from Sun Structures, a record where everything,

from cover art to lyrics, was deliberately connected

to form a specific experience. With Volcano,

Temples didn’t set out with a concrete idea of the

kind of record they wanted to make. They just

knew they wanted to be direct in their creative

approach, rather than being obscurely poetic. It

was, in every sense, a reaction to their debut.

"I suppose there’s a lot of nervous energy that

comes across on this record,”Walmsley admits.

“Not that that’s only come about recently, but I

think perhaps it seemed like the right time for us

to want to get across songs that address things

like that.”

He adds, "I think we’ve all changed and certainly

grown up a little bit as songwriters and, this

time around, the songs took precedent, really,

status on Pitchfork. However, their sound has

indeed matured and come to be more sophisticated.

It’s still loud but more melodic, which

becomes especially apparent in the vocals

and guitars while the songs are underpinned

by the prominent, rapid and powerful beat of

Cloud Nothings contemplate a Life Without Sound with their third ambitious LP.

Temples sacrifice themselves to the Volcano and come out hot as hell.

photo by Jesse Lirola

drummer Jayson Gerycz. Lyrically, the new album

has a recurring theme around ceding to

be somewhat insular and isolated and trying

to open up to the world.

“I like to be alone but I do think it’s important

maybe to not necessarily rely solely on

photo by Ed Miles

over any kind of sound or any overly referential

sound that maybe our previous music has had.”

At the same time, Temples have expanded

themselves sonically. Their already sharp dexterities

have been further whetted, with each track

meticulously mapped out one-by-one to explore

its mood. Glittering synths, heftier rhythms, and

the maintenance of the band’s brilliant pop sensibilities

combine to create a nuanced and celebratory

framing to heavier subjects — something

almost akin to putting on a brave face to confront

life’s harder realities.

After all, Walmsley laughs, "It’s all inevitable, so

you may as well enjoy it while you can."

Temples perform at the Rickshaw Theatre

on February 26.

that and be a little more out-and-about in the

world and do positive things,” Baldi says.

The album was recorded with producer John

Goodmanson (Sleater Kinney, Death Cab for

Cutie) at Sonic Ranch in El Paso, Texis, bordering

Mexico where the band got to hang out in

a beautiful part of the desert eating tacos. The

recording only took three weeks, due to the

fact that they showed up prepared. “We practiced

a lot in this shitty little practice space

that smelled like gasoline. We were ready.”

The song writing process has changed quite

a bit from the time Baldi founded Cloud Nothings

in 2008 as a one-man-band, writing and

recording his first album, Turning On, from

his college dorm and his parents’ basement.

“I write the main idea basically, I’ll come with

a song, and then after we play it all together,

then it kind of becomes apparent like oh we

should change this part or we should switch

this, you know, when you play together as a

band it kind of becomes obvious what works

and what doesn’t. So it’s a collaborative process

after the initial song idea appears.”

With the amount of records released by

now, Baldi feels the band has a good mix of

numbers for them to pick and choose from for

every gig and he already has an idea what this

could look like for their upcoming show at the


“In Vancouver, I feel like we’re going to play

the hits. Get ready, yeah. All the hits.”

Cloud Nothings perform at the Biltmore Cabaret

on February 16.

4 February 2017

Febrary 2017 MUSIC



ashes to ashes and the ghost of home that never lets you go

jennie orton

While many of us jumped on the train of thinking

of 2016 as a formative hell beast of a year,

one we gave credit to for any metaphorical fire

and brimstone we experienced either directly

or indirectly, Rural Alberta Advantage frontman

Nils Edenloff was one of hundreds who

experienced fire of the literal kind.

As wildfires tore open the fabric of his hometown

of Fort McMurray, AB, narrowly missing

his parents who had returned there from visiting

him in his new home of Toronto just days

before, he was face to face with a sudden and

desperate homesickness.

“I felt like I left on my own terms,” he admits.

“But there was always that idea that if I wanted

to I could always go back to Fort McMurray.”

“The fact that maybe there won't be something

to go back to was sort of hard to wrap

my head around.”

The result of this period of reflection and

loyalty to the grass roots that grew him was the

new single “Beacon Hill,” released like a New

Year gift to fans in early January. The track, a

dramatic but relentlessly optimistic morsel of

Canadiana, has a tone that suits the hearty resolve

of tens of thousands of people who evacuated

the city, fatality free, last spring.

It is a resolve that runs deep in Edenloff’s Alberta

blood and equipped him to deal with the

other bombshell that 2016 was sporting: the

departure of decade long band mate Amy Cole

in September.

Cole, who left to explore other artistic avenues,

left a large hole in the family dynamic

of the band; one since inhabited by singer and

musician Robin Hatch, friend of drummer Paul


“It's hard to lose someone you've been family

with for ten years,” he confesses. “But Robin is

a lot younger than Paul and I so she's making us

work a little harder.”

The result is a road-test-worthy amount of

new material and North American and European

tour legs to see what sticks for a return

to the studio in the spring. After a hiatus from

new music that Edenloff worried would contribute

to a loss of interest in his band and

their brand of earnest story-telling, same day

sell out shows in the Albertan home land (as

well as one in Vancity) renewed his belief in the

bond with the fans that share his lineage.

“It felt good that people remember us because

I dunno, things move fast in this day and


Prairie grit and a sturdy bloodline lead Rural Alberta Advantage to new growth amongst the rubble.

So as the new lineup marches on, through

the ash and dust of 2016, they do so with an

evolved sense of visibility and new stories

steeped in the smoke and the earnestness of

their home soil.

“Any place you spend a considerable amount

of time in is going to leave an indelible impact

on you whether you realize it at the time or

not,” he muses. “Alberta was so supportive

from day one. It’ll always be ‘where I am from.’”

Rural Alberta Advantage will be playing at

the Fox Cabaret (Vancouver) on February



February 2017


a new breed of pop star: basking on the bright side

maya-roisin slater

With long dark brunette hair that flops over one side of

her face, a young Louise Burns clutches her low hanging

bass guitar and dons a rebellious expression. She is

dressed head to toe in black, a choker necklace made to

look like a piece of barbed wire is wrapped around her

neck. At this moment in time Burns is performing in the

music video for her first band Lillix’s soon to be hit single,

“It’s About Time,” she is 18. This project, which launched

her musical career, was started by her and three other

friends in the small town of Cranbrook, B.C. when Burns

was only 11. Through a series of miraculous events involving

a bogus small town record producer, the SO-

CAN phone directory, a lawyer with faith and the then

thriving record industry, Lillix was signed to Madonna’s

label, Maverick Records, on the spot in a happenstance

meeting in LA. Burns was then thrust into the spotlight

at 15, she was gold in Japan and very heavily in the music

industry’s clutches.

“I hated the game. I really didn’t enjoy being in a pop

band and at the time I thought it was quite miserable,”

says Burns. “There’s a lot of stuff (that comes with) being

on a major label. We were blackmailed to lose weight

before our first record came out. We recorded most of it

and they said great but two of the members have to lose

weight or we’re not going to release it. So they sent them

to a very expensive retreat in the Okanagan and they

went for like two weeks, super strict eating plans, fitness,

crazy. And we were too young to say ‘no, fuck you,’ feminism

or whatever. We didn’t know about any of that shit.”

Reaching a breaking point with the pressures of the industry

intensifying, Burns left the group at 19 and moved

to Vancouver, trying to rekindle her love for songwriting.

Joining other people’s bands, she drifted from her childhood

dream of pop and experimented with genres like

psyche and punk. After a few years trying out different

groups she decided to embark on a solo career, collecting

all the songs she’d been writing over the years and releasing

them as her debut album on Light Organ Records,

Mellow Drama. A throwback record with heavy ’50s and

’60s pop influence, the songs on Mellow Drama are soulful

and nostalgic.

“The first record I was obsessed with old music, it was

part of who I was at the time. I don’t think I listened to

anything modern at all. It was a bit much. I wanted to

make the opposite record of what I’d been doing with

Lillix,” she explains. “So I played everything myself except

for drums. I sang everything and I wanted it to be as organic

sounding as possible.”

Her second record The Midnight Mass takes on a more

’80s feel, peppered with dark synths and drum machines.

Burns attributes this shift to self apathy.

“It just seemed so boring to just go back to what I was

doing, I wanted to keep going and play with new technology,”

she says.

The extensive touring which followed the release of

Midnight Mass took her all over the world, to the US, Europe,

China, and even rural Mongolia. Along the way she

took a live band and this experience letting other musicians

influence the work is what landed her with the distinct

sound featured on her latest release, Young Mopes.

“I didn’t want to think about any referential era because

I’m really aware of people thinking I base it on

decades, which I don’t. I just let it happen. And I didn’t

worry about it being a schizophrenic record. One song

is country, one song is ’80s pop. Whatever, I don’t even

really care, I had fun with it and that’s my approach,”

Burns explains. Young Mopes came together slowly over the

fours in between her last release. Songs — some fully formed,

others just skeletons — collected over time on her computer

until she was finally ready to sort them, and decide which

ones would end up on tape.

“I picked what I thought were my best songs at the time.

But it’s hard to really narrow them down because I’m never

satisfied with what I’ve written. Nobody ever is, you just have

to put your foot down and say fuck it,” she says with a sardonic

giggle. Burns is excited for the record’s release, upon which

she can return to touring, a consistency she’s come to crave.

From her beginnings as an early ’00s Canadian pop star, to

her time hopping between genres as she found her footing

as a solo artist, Burns has now arrived at a time in her career

where she is nothing more than herself. Quite an incredible

feat for someone who’s been inundated with music industry

jargon from a young age. Her new record combines all her

past musical selves, with an overarching quality of wisdom

to it. Wisdom which comes from one too many run-ins with

smarmy record producers, misogynistic sound guys in Saskatoon

and the terabytes of song ideas that come along the


Along with producing her own records, Burns is moving on

to coach other young songwriters on their paths to success.

She also continues her side gig as a music journalist, contributing

pieces to the CBC on a regular basis. She took a coding

class to get a better idea of the technical side of electronic

music techniques. She was late for this interview, scrambling

to catch the bus. And now she’s sipping her glass of wine in a

local bar joking about how, at 15, she was big in Japan.

Louise Burns performs February 4 at the Lido


photos by Megan Magdalena

wardrobe and styling by Candice Ho Lem

Febrary 2017 MUSIC



taking on societal commentary with their debut LP

photo by Lindsay Elliott


taking the long road back to midnight













































heather adamson

Vancouver indie-darlings Gay

Nineties dazzled everyone with

their debut EP back in 2011. The

buzz about their live performance

and fresh sound made

them one of the bands to watch

in the city and the moniker

hasn't faded. Flash forward five

years to the release of their much

anticipated debut LP Decadent

Days, Gay Nineties are positioning

themselves to come out

swinging with an album that is

ripe for the hype that is already

building. “Hype is a funny thing,”

muses frontman Parker Bossley.

“It doesn’t really exist in Canada.

It seems to happen elsewhere

and can make its way here, but

never seems to originate as a Canadian


Discussing the state of the Canadian

music industry was just

one of many interesting topics

touched on with Parker Bossley,

who was in Los Angeles enjoying

a well-deserved glass of red

wine after a strenuous workout.

“Every day I am down here I try

to do a long fitness activity and

Mi'ens, Vancouver's premiere purveyors of hypnotic

looping mathrock madness (or as they often

call it, experimental-sparkle-noise-pop), have

been entrancing and warping minds for three

Gay Nineties ride the fine line between endearment and bravado on their debut LP, Decadent

then I write. Currently I don't

think I can bend down to touch

my toes, that is how much pain

I am in, but it feels amazing.”

This sidebar, among others, was

shared with the perfect blend of

endearment and bravado, the

two qualities we all yearn for in

a rock star. He was aloofly cool,

yet intensely in the moment as

he provided commentary rife

with thought provoking opinion

which is directly reflected in the

new album's lyrical themes and

imagery, chock-full of perspective,

personality, and substance.

“The overall message of the album

is very much reflected in its

name (Decadent Days),” shares

Bossley. “Everyone is watching

the decadence of others. We are

watching rich people on TV and

we are broke. I wanted to take

the glamour out of what is projected

because we don’t really

see any of it.”

The eight tracks are perfectly

crafted, no fillers, with a clear

story that demonstrates a deep

respect for the recording process

and their audience who

have been waiting patiently to

discover the direction the band

would go in for their debut LP.

The sound is big, bold, and brash,

wrapped up in 1980s inspired

pop/punk/rock that plays like

a fresh homage with a distinct

modern edge. The use of saxophone

and synth help carve out

the album's sound with Bossley's

strong, sexy, and sensitive vocals

driving each song. Having flown

to Nashville on a one way ticket

Vancouver math rock two-piece Mi’ens step up with Challenger.


expanding the thought behind the spazzy math rock

elliot langford

Photo by Patrick Farrugia

to hijack the creative process,

Bossley spent a lot of time in the

city of Franklin, including hanging

out in Confederate cemeteries

at night drinking wine by

himself. He returned to Vancouver

with over 40 songs. “The

band went through all of them

together,” describes Bossley. “We

demoed so many songs so many

times before going into the studio.

We had anticipated recording

the album over two months

and it took us one week. That's

how prepared we were.”

Their recording experience

comes as no surprise when listening

to the polished result.

The album is a testament to

them as a band and their commitment

to producing music

that their fans and new audiences

will be quick to embrace with

songs you want to both listen to

and talk about.

Decadent Days is being released

on February 10.

years now, locally and across Canada and the US.

They are now set to release their sophomore album

and third release overall Challenger.

“Challenger is about the ideas of political

change, the end of the American era, and how

the new instability affects us all,” explains the

guitar-shredding half of Mi'ens, Miss Kim. “So we

were trying to put some larger ideas into notes

and this is what we came up with.”

To capture both Kim's fuzzed out Jazzmaster

tones, angular riffs, and multi-amp live-looping

set-up, as well as drummer Evan's dazzling displays

of percussive passion, the band enlisted the

help of local legend Jesse Gander (Japandroids,

White Lung, Bison BC). Kim calls working with

Gander a “treat and privilege.”

“He has such an in-depth understanding of

recording and of music in general, and he really

knows how to capture a band's live sound and essence.

[He] captures the warmth and fuzz of our

sound without losing definition. Each melodic

line maintains an articulate legibility in spite of all

the layers. He is a master at capturing the analog

within the world of digital technology.”

Also aiding in the recording was young upand-coming

producer prodigy Mariessa McLeod

who helped record the trippy backwards drums

of “Spacer.”

“With ‘Spacer,’ we decided to have some fun

and do something completely improvised, which

is a little glimpse of some of the stuff we do at

our live shows,” explains Kim. “All of our songs

are composed and performed as written, but

the spaces in between songs are where we get

a chance to just sort of spazz out, and ‘Spacer’

captures that space rock feel. [It's also] a fun double

meaning, because we wanted three tracks on

each side of the album, and it's literally a spacer

between the more accessible, poppy ‘Dewey

Decibel System,’ and the rest of the album which

is, well, more challenging for the listener”

Mi'ens is inspired both by some of the big

names in experimental rock (Battles, Don Caballero,

Death Grips, Marnie Stern) and also local

bands, describing the Vancouver music scene as

“wonderful,” and counting What's Wrong Tohei,

Double Standards, Shearing Pinx, Lié, Anybodys,

and Dirty Spells as favorites. “The most important

thing is community,” reflects Kim. “Art should

be a way to wake us up and bring us together.”

jamie goyman

Seventeen years later and the popularity

of Matthew Good’s 1999 release, Beautiful

Midnight, still proves itself relevant

after holding the number one spot on

the Canadian Vinyl Chart in early 2016.

After selling large amounts of back catalogue

vinyl and holding strong in the

charts, a conversation between Good

and his manager took place which became

the catalyst for the five-song album


“It’s a fantastically fun thing to do,”

says Good. “There’s years of perspective,

especially when it’s something you’ve

done and it’s that old, you’re kind of like

‘yeah ok I’m going to look at this in a

whole new way.’ From that aspect it was

a lot of fun.”

Heavily known for earlier works

“Symbolistic White Walls,” “The Future

is X Rated,” “Anti-pop,” and “Apparitions,”

Good has continued to release

solo albums with the same consistency

and vigour; roughly releasing an album

every year since 2003, each showcasing

his artistic growth year to year.

The new EP, I Miss New Wave: Beautiful

Midnight Revisited, recorded in The

Tragically Hip’s The Bathouse Recording

Studio, took songs that Good saw room

for improvement on to reflect greater

technical restraint and the obvious

maturity that comes with two decades

of work and life. The energetic take on

“Suburbia” finds its place on the EP with

a slight change in atmosphere from

what might be expected; Good’s personal

favourite, “Born To Kill,” dials back

the guitars and lets the vocals lead. A

slowed down “Load Me Up” caps the EP

off, leaving listeners with an entirely new

experience from a song they’ve known

for years. The touches he’s put on each

track shows a tempered take on the

1990s edge everyone felt and is something

that’s a more fitting description of

Matthew Good in 2017 and establishes

where he is as an artist.

“Creativity, in however fashion it

comes to you, is always an exorcist,”

Good says. “I think it’s just one of those

things that you either do or you don’t

do and it has basically all the control

and you’re kind of just a conduit.”

The kickoff for the Canadian tour

in early February happens in Victoria,

reaching all the way to Halifax by March

end. That hustle already felt is only the

beginning of the upcoming circus, the

nationwide celebration of Canada’s

150th birthday.

“When that happens, especially as a

musician in this country, things tend to

go off because there’s a lot of shows,”

Matthew Good brings the benefit of experience to familiar ground in order to rewrite Beautiful Midnight’s History.

explains Good.

Already planning for the upcoming

new album release this fall, Good began

recording early January and should see it

finished sometime before the summer.

A release that will most likely make it

into your rotation and complement, if

not amplify, the West Coast atmosphere.

The tour will have Beautiful Midnight

performed in its entirety. However, if you

want a proper introduction as a first time

listener “Non Populace” is Good’s suggestion.

“As a piece of music as a whole I think

that it does something as far as I’m concerned,

something I think more music

should do. It’s got elements that are very

exploratory. It has movements in it like


Friday: 5pm–12am

Saturday: 12pm–12am

Sunday: 12pm–6pm

a symphony,” he says. “When you get

something really right, you get something

really right.”

Matthew Good performs Feb. 11 at the Alix

Goolden Performance Hall (Victoria) and

Feb. 16 to 18 at the Commodore Ballroom





February 2017


a new band on the block

heather adamson

The energy and enthusiasm is contagious from

one of Vancouver's newest bands on the scene,

TANGLERS. This young, burgeoning foursome

consisting of Andrew Noble (guitar), Matt

Catellier (drums, guitar, vocals), Ross Macnab

(guitar, keys, drums, vocals), and Cole Young

(bass, vocals) have taken off, following their debut

live show only six months ago at the Fringe


Reaching them in their jam space off of Commercial

Drive and Hastings, the entire band were

together to take part in the interview which

demonstrated their excitement and eagerness to

share their music with a growing local audience.

“We have the most fun we could possibly have

playing live shows and we just want to keep

building on the momentum to play as often

as we can for audiences big and small,” shared


Releasing their debut EP Light Slips this past

December, the six tracks have a psych rock appeal

with a mainstream edge. “We recorded it

all in six hours,” shared Catellier. “We bought all

photo by Lucas Harrison

of our own recording gear and our friend Nick

Short who plays in the band Swim Team helped

us record everything off the floor.” Including the

instrumental piece,“Chinese Garden,” proves

their willingness to take risks and showcase

their musicianship front and center. The track

is a standout and the band shares that they have

much more where that came from.

Constantly writing with at least a dozen additional

songs they could record right now, TAN-

GLERS are building on their momentum with

multiple local shows coming up where they want

to strengthen their connection with the local industry.

“Aside from playing as much as possible, we

are focused on becoming a bigger part of the

music community,” shared Catellier. “We want

to help out other musicians wherever and whenever

we can because we understand that is what

strengthens the local scene.”

TANGLERS perform at 333 on February 14

with Three Magic Circle and the Velvetines.

The absurdly talented Tanglers shoot from the hip and off the floor for the good of the local scene.


re-inventing the slime

danny kresnyak

Dopey’s Robe is a five-piece

Vancouver slime-pop postrock

band. Guitarist, co-vocalist

and Mount Pleasant liquor

mix-master Max sums up with

three words, “…keep it slimy.”

This ethos strikes to effect in

drummer Matt “Mort” Munn’s

refusal to write beats for any

melody he deems too poppy

or soft. “I play raw drums,”

says the skin pounder, juice

maker and oracle of the time

space continuum. “Sometimes

I just come with a drum beat,

and I’m like awww this is sick.

Play bass to this.”

Songwriting technique

aside, Mort was the champion

of the band’s name, the visionary

behind its logo and takes

lead vocals in the song Under

the Robe, a track all members

agree is the best introduction

to their sound. “I get so hyped

when we play, especially when

I can see him (gestures to

flute, harp, lap-steel and drum

smoking leatherman, David).”

“Dopey’s Robe is like champagne,”

says David. In addition

to pedal steel, this energetic


has brought the flute into his

repertoire since joining the

group. “In my other band I do

vocals so my hands were free,”

he says, as he spins a drum cigarette

between slender-ringed


The group is seated on an

earth tone velvet 1970s vintage

couch. In front of them

is a pressboard coffee table

and half-full magnum bottle

of Chilean red, the cork lost

shortly after removal never

to be seen again. Jethro Tull’s

Dopey’s Robe channels their inner poison apple on their debut.

This Was spins on a turntable

next to a mirror, reflecting the

scene back at its subjects.

“Now we have at least like

three or four tracks that include

the flute,” Kasper, the

bands the vocalist and guitar

player, silent until now, pipes


Dopey’s Robe is relatively

new on the stage, though the

membership has played in several

other respected Vancouver

acts, including: The Silver

Skeleton Band and Wandering

Halls. Their live show has a

growing reputation as a slimefest.

At a recent house party

show, the group’s set was interrupted

when a pipe in the boiler

room was broken and the

crowd of 200 people was exposed

to a gas leak of unknown

substance or origin. “I was feeling

good man,” Kasper smiles

as he shares this memory.

While the band has marked

photo by Dan De Amaral

several early victories in a hot

streak of Vancouver live venues,

they say the energy of a

house party is what they crave.

“When it’s all your homies

there, and everybody is getting

raw,” says bass-player by night,

UBC oceanography lecturer by

day Kohen. “You know when

everything hitting perfect and

you're playing the songs perfect,

that’s sick as fuck.”

The boys in Dopey’s Robe

are hard at work on new material,

and planning a tour to

Tijuana in the coming months.

If all goes to plan, they’ll be in a

basement near you soon. Keep

in mind, however, that they

never play on Sundays. “I have

basketball,” says Kohen. And

the other members agree, Sunday

is their day off.

Dopey’s Robe perform on

Feb. 16 at the Cobalt.


poking the bear of brutality

heath fenton

In the year 1997 Vancouver had a burgeoning metal

scene, or what seemed like one. One of the upstart

bands to sprout about this time was Just Cause.

Just Cause was a project started by guitarist/vocalist

Patrick J. Beaudoin when he approached the

mighty Gene Hoglan about some songs he had

written. The seeds were planted and the myth

would grow large. They gigged heavily and in 2001

they released the monstrous album Finger It Out.

The album would gain massive accolades both

within Canada and internationally. They were dark

menacing death metal that encompassed rampageous

riot-like sounds with shadowy, buried-alive

vocals. Beaudoin’s bludgeoning elastic thrash riffs

flexed with Hoglan’s signature skin-beating controlled

chaos was an unstoppable force. The album

was a stamp on the scene and a landmark for Canadian

metal. They were on the cusp of great things

to come. But alas, it was not to come. Just Cause

would go on, but some steam was lost. The shows

were becoming few and far between and the band

would run the gamut of various lineup changes.

Besides the odd sporadic show in the mid 2000’s

they appeared to fall off the face of the planet.

“2007 was our last show. That was it. Then I

went out east,” Beaudoin explains of the almost

ten year hiatus. “After many years of doing this I


beating riffs to death and hugging it out

kelsey dionne

In Heron, the hugs are mandatory. A four-member heavy

band from Vancouver B.C. comprising of Ross Redeker

on mid-tone guitar and vocals, Scott Bartlett on low-tone

guitar, Jamie Stilborn on soundscapes and vocals, and the

lone female, Bina Mendozza on drums.

With musical influences ranging from ambient, doom,

atmospheric, and sludge, they stress repetition, revisiting

layers and texture to create a decimating wall of sound.

“We beat riffs to death. We can play a particular riff for

two, three minutes if we can, essentially,” says Redeker.

“One riff for fucking ever,” Heron says in unison. Manipulating

riffs as much as they possibly can has become a

highlight of Heron’s identity.

They are also not afraid to try something different, “‘A

Gnawing Worry,’ which sounds almost black metal, is a

very fast paced song in the middle of the live set we play

right now,” shares Stilborn. “Look at it this way, Heron

doesn’t have a particular sound, if it feels good for us to

write … then it feels really good when we play it.”

A decade and a half after Redeker started writing Heron

riffs, the band took shape. “There’s some seasoned musicians

in this band and it’s really exciting that we all have a

good pace. We’ve been committing to this band … we get

in here, we are serious, we jam, we hug, we cry, we hug,”

Mendozza says. After having a stress free recording with

their newest EP, Fire Twin, original members Bartlett and

Redeker felt that, “When Jamie and Bina joined, it just

clicked. This is Heron now, it’s what we were looking for

all along.”

Heron doesn’t have a bass player, and that’s what guitarist

Redeker likes about it. “Our music is stripped down

to a skeletal state, because there’s only two guitar players,

soundscapes, and drums there’s that opportunity to


Heron’s newest EP, Fire Twin, was a celebration of the

found that I was not putting my priorities in the

right place anymore.”

Beaudoin would retreat back to his hometown

of Montreal to refocus and ultimately reset. He

took a break from playing extreme metal for many

years. He also enrolled in audio engineering school.

It was the breathe of fresh air he needed. After his

program completed he dusted off some old riffs

for Just Cause and reacquainted himself with his

inspiration. Slowly but persistently the riffs turned

into songs and he hooked up with drummer Jon

Dale (A Killer’s Confession). The two put to work

the recording and engineering studies Beaudoin

gained and they recorded what would be the new

Just Cause.

“It was a long break, but it was the best thing I

could have ever done,” Beaudoin reveals. “For myself

and Just Cause, we are back. And we are the

best we’ve ever been. Metal is in my blood and this

is unfinished business.”

Intently fixated and recharged, Beaudoin has

come out of hibernation, and is back in Vancouver.

Just Cause is in a foul mood. It’s feeding time.

In addition to Dale, Beaudoin has recruited a claw

studded mauling crew of local bruins. Matt Modder

(Crackwhore, Tyrants Blood) will be performing

live drums with Aaron Gustafson (Anciients)

on bass, and long time Just Cause regular Rico Forrester

on guitar. 2017 marks their 20th anniversary

and they will be celebrating with their return to the


There is a new album under wraps, and it will remain

that way, but the new material will be on full

display during their live set. “Almost half our set is

going to be new songs. There is a new kind of dirtiness

to it,” Beaudoin oozes with zeal. “This show

will definitely be epic all around. Expect brutality

at its finest.”

It is not often that you get to witness a caged

animal released and observe an unhinged attack

relatively unscathed. Just Cause will once again be

on full display in all their merciless fury. This is not

a “come back,” this is a “come at you so step back.”

It is refreshing news for the extreme metal world to

band’s new chemistry. “These tracks are really fresh …

they are a representation of what was happening then,

and it really captured that moment,” Mendozza says. “The

whole album, musically and artistically, just came together.”

w“Every time we play “The Great Attractor” or “Fire

Twin,” I can look around and we are all beaming. We’ve

been playing it for how many months, but it just doesn’t

photo by Lisa Bayer

revel in. This will not disappoint, unless you miss it.

Just Cause headline the Rickshaw Theatre

in Vancouver on Feb 18 with Dead Asylum,

Aggression, and Obsidian.

Just Cause headline Logan’s Pub in Victoria

on March 4 with Torrefy and Liberatia.

photo by Milton Stille

lose its luster.” They unanimously agree it’s some of the

best writing they have done. “I can’t wait for people to

hear it, and appreciate it. We are all so proud of what we’ve

made,” says Bartlett.

You can check out Heron’s record release show at

Studio Vostok (246 Keefer St) on February 17.

Febrary 2017 13



Paul Mckenzie on 25 years of Canadian celtic punk rock

photo by Troy Zak


prepare to unleash thrash destruction

justine apostolopoulos

Frontman Paul McKenzie has the kind of

drive and passion that builds legends. He

quit high school at age 17 to tour across

Canada with his then band TT Racer, leaving

his Catholic upbringing in a cloud of


“My parents had said ‘If you go on this

tour, don’t bother coming back!’ so I

didn’t,” says McKenzie, who went on to

spearhead a wave of Celtic punk music

that’s taken him “easily one million miles”

on the road so far.

The Real McKenzies are celebrating 25

years of ripping bagpipes and electric guitar

fueled Scot-rock this spring. In March,

they release their tenth studio album,

Two Devils Will Talk, which McKenzie

describes as an arsenal of Dan Garrison’s

(McKenzie guitarist since 2015) songs.

“Dan brought the idea of the album to me

and I was right on board,” he says, looking

forward to performing the new record of

anthem-inspiring songs. “I love the adrenaline

rush of performing and connecting

with the audience. The times when the

audience knows the lyrics better than

I do, those are proud moments. It’s all

about the collective positive energy.”

The current line-up of the band has

two electric guitars and three bagpipes,

which exceeds the limits of what any

practicing Celt-punk lover reasonably

hopes for, including Paul McKenzie: the

one consistent member of the band since

its inception in 1992. He states in his

straight-forward and jovial manner, “Although

I’ve broken 100 men over 25 years

with the McKenzies, there’s no doubt in

my mind that the group of men we have

in this line-up are the most honorable,

talented, and attentive group of men I

could have the honor of sharing the stage

with. I look forward to many more years

of excellent rock and roll and turning on

ten thousand more people.”.

In his time off, McKenzie is usually in

his home-town of Vancouver with his

family, sailing the waters of the B.C. coast

and making no plans whatsoever for retirement.

There’s no book on the horizon,

but six more months of touring with the

band coming up this year, promoting the

new record across North America and Europe.

You can catch the Real McKenzies at The

Rickshaw Theatre (Vancouver) March 4.

johnny papan

photo by Dave Carr

A heavy metal resurgence is afoot, and

it may begin with the release of Terrifier’s

truthfully titled album Weapons

of Thrash Destruction, dropping January

20th. Inspired by Judas Priest, Slayer,

Megadeth, Pantera, and many more

of metal’s classic influencers, Terrifier

proudly delivers a true-to-form tribute

to the genre that thoroughly kicked the

ass of the 1980s: thrash.

Since inception, the quintet have

composed double-kick blasting drums,

chugging bass, and guitar riffs comparable

to automatic warfare, complemented

with warp-speed leads that could

give many of metal’s most notorious

shredders a run for their money. Chase

Thibodeau, Terrifier’s gritty lead vocalist

states, “This album title is exactly

how it sounds.”.

Terrifier worked on the album for

nearly two years as they further developed

their chaotic style. “[The] Songs

are a little more in depth than the older

stuff,” the frontman confirms. “The

lyrics are inspired by a lot of different

things, movies, books, and imagination.”

Social matters are also a topic of

interest. “‘Deceiver’ is one song I think

most people can relate to. It's basically

about being screwed over or ripped off

by someone. I think everyone has had to

deal with that.”

Much like their sound, Terrifier

formed in a way that could be considered

“old school” by the standards of today’s

online era. “Guitarist Rene Wilkinson

and I answered an ad we found at

a guitar shop,” Thibodeau recalls about

the band getting together in 2012. “It

was posted by our drummer Kyle Sheppard,

and other guitarist Brent Gallant.”

Later, bassist Alexander Giles would join

the group.

Members of Terrifier believe that metal

music could once again see a great elevation

in popularity. “More and more,

we’re seeing thrash bands rise from the

ashes. People are getting into heavier

and faster stuff as time goes by.” When

asked how people who don’t listen

to thrash might react to Weapons of

Thrash Destruction, Thibodeau simply

responds, “They’ll love it or hate it.”

Two days after the album drops, Terrifier

will be opening up for metal legends

Entombed A.D. at the Rickshaw Theatre.

Terrifier has also performed alongside

acts such as, Suffocation, Destruction,

and homegrown Vancouver brethren 3

Inches of Blood, amongst other notable


It’s clear, metal music is not dead.

Lurking in the shadows of the music industry

are new artists like Terrifier, mastering

their crafts, looking to flip the

industry on its head. Weapons of Thrash

Destruction is an impressive effort, explosively

blending classic tricks with a

modern, fresh feel.

Terrifier celebrates their album release

on February 17th at Pat’s Pub, 403 East

Hastings Street.

Let's analyze the contentious issue of musicians

asking for money and the stigma attached

to it. A lot of people, myself included,

often cringe when we see GoFundMes from

bands asking for donations. The truth is we

usually don't know the full scope of these

situations and painting things with such a

broad brush is indicative of a larger problem.

As is the case with almost everything, sometimes

it's warranted, and sometimes it's not.

The negative connotation around crowdfunding

often comes from the perception

that bands are freeloading or trying to circumvent

the grind of earning income from

shows, tours or merch sales. This is certainly

the case sometimes and in these instances

they shouldn't be validated, but it isn't always

a case of asking for a handout. Unless

a band is commanding significant guarantees

or label money, they are generally not

being compensated fair value for their skills

or time invested. Is accepting financial contributions

from friends and fans better or

worse than accepting grant money from the

government? Or a business loan from a bank?

Or even a paycheque from a construction

company that contributes to gentrification

or a non-profit that misappropriates public


I'm not sure governments or banks are renowned

for being credible or ethical institutions.

Yet the criticism of accepting money

from those entities seems to pale in comparison

to the direct approach of crowdfunding.

Some bands might not be able to successfully

apply for a grant. There's a reason grant writers

exist. It's a long, technical and tedious

process that still might amount to nothing,

despite the many hours it takes to complete

the process. Sometimes people need help.

Not everyone's first instrument was bought

for them. There are actually people who had

to work a lot harder than most just to begin

playing music. They are working from a disadvantageous

position from the outset. Not

everyone has the luxury of being able to ask

a parent for financial help. Sometimes people

encounter heavy financial obstacles that

are well beyond their control. It's entitled


and arrogant to blindly assess every situation

without knowing the facts. Again, this is not

an excuse for bands to be lazy and exploit

people's generosity. I feel the need to restate

this because it unfortunately is a common

trait for people to think that illustrating the

validity of one side means you are vehemently

against the other side. It's not that simple,

and simplifying things to such a degree is a

backwards approach.

If you were to scrutinize your favourite

bands do you think all of them achieved "success"

through just hard work, shows, working

day jobs and being fiscally responsible? I'd say

they likely had to do those things for sure,

but did none of them receive help? Is receiving

grants from Christy Clark's government

or from a federal music fund that is governed

by a board of directors that includes

representatives from Bell Media or Rogers

more "punk" than "selling out" with a Kickstarter?

Of course people do pay taxes and

therefore are receiving back what they have

already bought into. This isn't undermining

the validity of grants. This is contemplating

the difference in public perception of different

approaches that are largely based off the

same principle.

I'm not saying one should or shouldn't

crowdfund, obtain grants , or strictly adhere

to a DIY ethos. I'm saying that people should

put some thought into their judgment of

varying approaches instead of viscerally decrying

something without proper knowledge

or context. It's up to the individual to determine

if the request is from a legitimately

hard working band or from a band that hasn't

earned it. If it's the latter, don't contribute. If

it's the former, maybe there is a rare instance

where it might be ok. It might not be popular

to make that assertion, but I find no purpose

in the redundancy of preaching to the choir.

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


Febrary 2017 15















FEB 10


FEB 11


FEB 13


FEB 15


FEB 17


FEB 18


FEB 20


FEB 22













BEN ROGERS & the bloodred yonder













FEB 23



FEB 24


FEB 25


FEB 27




Screaming Chickens Theatrical Society Taboo Revue





WWW.WISEHALL.CA (604) 254-5858


the momentum towards connection through music

courtney heffernan

One day after the release of New

World Alphabet, Ashley Buchholz

of USS (Ubiquitous Synergy

Seeker) feels so buoyant he’s at

risk of floating away.

“I’ve been having to wear steel

toed shoes to make sure that I

stay on the ground,” says Buchholz.

“I’m in quite an ethereal

[state]. This is the byproduct of

catharsis, this lightness.”

Even though New World Alphabet

is USS’s fifth album, the

excitement Buchholz feels differs

from their previous releases. His

excitement is a testament to the

work he and his bandmate Jason

Parsons put into New World Alphabet.

Now that the album is

complete, Buchholz describes

his emotions with metaphors of

air and water. His predominant

feeling is awe: “Now life is just


New World Alphabet represents

a creative turning point

for the Toronto-based duo. The

album’s sound is the fusion of

two-step, acoustic rock, and

hip hop that is USS’s signature.

The theme is a departure from

the predominantly inward focus

of their previous albums

(the self-destructive mentality

on their 2014 single “This Is The

Best” comes to mind). Instead,

the focus on New World Alphabet

is external, with a goal of fostering

connection. “Who’s With

Me” is USS’s anthem for togetherness.

Conceptually, New World Alphabet

begins after one resolves

to make a change. Buchholz says,

“[The album] boils down to the

statement that precludes any

great, true change in one’s life:

‘I’ve had enough’… All of a sudden

you start acting differently,

and you start talking differently,

and you start being around

different people and your life

starts to change.” From there,

says Buchholz, one starts to use

language differently to communicate

a changed perspective.

This new language is a new world


The shift from an inward to

outward focus is indicative of

Buchholz’s changed mindset. In

USS’s 2008 single “Hollow Point

Sniper Hyperbole,” Buchholz

needs someone to save him

from his sinking ship. Almost ten

years later, he wants to act like

a lighthouse for those who are

feeling isolated by their depression

and anxiety. “I want to be a

lighthouse instead of lost at sea,”

he says. “I’m tired of being the

one who’s lost at sea.”

Buchholz is a self-professed introvert

who, for a time, isolated

himself because he felt uncomfortable

around other people.

Eventually he realized, “We get

so sick when it’s just about us.”

He made a decision to change

his mindset and in so doing, he

felt an energy that became the

catalyst for his desire to connect.

He says, “There’s this point in

the process when it stops being

so much about you… [It changes]

to ‘How can I make you feel

better? How can I help you?’ This

whole album is informed by that


A few dates into a Canadian

tour that will take them across

the country, Buchholz already

knows what he hopes USS will

accomplish in their performances:

he wants to foster the

maximum connection. For Buchholz

and Parsons, the tour is

an “opportunity to be able to

connect with people.” When he

performs, whether he is playing

older USS material or songs

from New World Alphabet, “I’m

singing those songs to people

that need that vibration, that

comforting vibration.” His hope

is that everyone – himself and

Parsons included – come away

from the show with feelings of

togetherness and joy.

USS perform at the Alix

Goolden Hall (Victoria) on

February 9 and 12 and at

the Commodore Ballroom

(Vancouver) on February


Ashley Buchholz and turntablist Jason “Human Kebab” Parsons write their own New World Alphabet.


what were you doing when you were 20?

vanessa tam

Imagine knowing, with absolute

conviction, exactly what

you wanted to do with your

life at the age of nine or ten.

“I used to go on this Nickelodeon

forum [when I was

in grade four] and type out

lyrics,” Ian Simpson says over

the phone in between bites

of lunch. “I think that, now

that I'm able to reflect and

really think about it, that

kind of just shows how ambitious

I was at a young age.

I [remember] exactly what

I was listening to [at that

time] because I was so in

tune with what I wanted to

do as an artist.”

Growing up in suburban

Texas, Simpson took on the

moniker Kevin Abstract

when he started making

music and releasing it on

the internet because there

wasn’t really a local scene

that he felt understood what

he was trying to do. “That's

why I turned to the internet

and released all of my music

there,” he says. “And even

though it wouldn’t connect

on people for years, I ended

up meeting a bunch of

people [online] and made a

bunch of friends because of


That same group of online

friends eventually developed

into the creative “All-American

Boyband” of artists,

designers, singers, producers,

and directors known as

Brockhampton. Currently

based in LA, the whole team

moved into one house where

they would be free to collaborate

on projects at any

given time. “[Back in] 2005

I knew I wanted to move to

LA because I was watching

a lot of MTV and that show

Next and Room Raiders and

I would just see the palm

trees and I would think like

man, that looks so cool. I

wanna live there,” Simpson

recalls. “The older I got, the

more that feeling stuck with

me. I'm super in tune with

my emotions so if I'm stuck

to something based off of

an emotion, I'll probably be

stuck to that [thought] forever

until something like ruins

it for me.”

A young creative with total confidence in his work, Abstract wrassles suburban drudgery.

A natural storyteller,

Simpson’s last couple albums

as Kevin Abstract,

MTV1987 and American

Boyfriend, handle the universal

issues kids deal with

growing up in the suburbs

including anxiety, love,

identity, and drug use. “Just

going to the most random

places [to hang out] because

there was literally nowhere

to go in these towns. So you

will hang out at the grocery

store, you will hang out at

the mall, and you will hang

out at the high school when

no one's there,” reminisces

Simpson. “You kind of just

enjoy each other’s company

and you both feel like this

sort of disconnect [towards

other people] and you don't

really know what it is because

you're so young.”

Currently at age 20, Simpson

is beginning to find himself

leaving his adolescence

behind as he transitions into

adulthood. “[Getting older]

doesn't bother me though

because the older I get and

the more I experience, it allows

me to have a different

perspective when I reflect

and think about my time in

high school,” he states with

absolute confidence. “I'm

photo by Izzy Commers

still super in tuned with like

how I felt as a teenager and

I'll probably write albums

for adolescent and youth

and teenagers probably

for the rest of my career as

Kevin Abstract. I don't think

there's a problem with that

because John Hughes made

films about [high school] for

so long so I figured I could

do the same thing with music.

And if I get tired of it

then I'll just stop and only

make movies.”

Kevin Abstract performs

at the Biltmore

Cabaret February 26th.

your month measured in BPMs

Did you seriously think that you were going to be able to make it to the gym

every day in 2017? When making New Year resolutions, it’s important to be

realistic in your expectations. Next time try something like, “Every month I

resolve to attend at least three shows from the Clubland top electronic and

hip hop concert picks in 2017.”

Run The Jewels

February 8 @ Vancouver Forum

American hip hop group Run The Jewels was only just formed in 2013 by rapper

and producer El-P and rapper Killer Mike. Currently on tour in support of

their third studio album, Run The Jewels 3, the duo champions a more classical

style of hip hop that features thoughtful lyrics and simpler overall beats.


February 11 @ MIA

Currently based in Brooklyn, New York, Bedouin is a partnership between

Rami Abousabe and Tamer Malki where they produce deep house with a global

sensibility. Strongly influenced by their Middle Eastern heritage, Western

upbringing, and world travels, the duo is currently promoting the release of

their latest EP, Ride into the Unknown.


February 17 @ Rickshaw Theatre

Born in Los Angeles, California as Stephen Bruner, Thundercat is one of the

most well known American bass guitarists in the world. Known for his work

with Flying Lotus, Kendrick Lamar, Mac Miller, Suicidal Tendencies, and many

more, Bruner still managed to find the time to release three studio albums of

his own. The latest being, The Beyond/Where the Giants Roam.


February 18 @ Fortune Sound Club

Tennyson is a brother and sister duo hailing from Edmonton, Alberta who create

music that’s equal parts sweet and odd. Known for merging electronic music

with irregular drums and interesting samples like a cars “door ajar” tone for

example, Luke and Tess Pretty seem to be able to find inspiration everywhere

for their unique sound.

Ghostface Killah

February 27 @ Rickshaw Theatre

A prominent member of the Wu-Tang Clan, Dennis Coles, aka Ghostface Killah,

is still considered by many to be one of the greatest MCs of all time. Born

in Staten Island, New York, Coles is well known for his verses on tracks like, “Ice

Cream” and “Brooklyn Zoo II,” as well as his collaboration album with Badbadnotgood,

Sour Soul.

Ghostface Killah


vanessa tam


February 2017




infiltration and honesty breeds a new kind of freedom

hollie mcgowan

If you asked Michael Quattlebaum,

a.k.a. Mykki Blanco, how

they felt about being labelled a

“queer hip hop artist” five years

ago, you would have been scoffed

at. Progressive changes in culture

and society need to start somewhere

and today Quattlebaum

can finally see the light at the end

of the tunnel.

“A lot of people now really feel

empowered by the term,” acknowledged

Quattlebaum. “A lot

of people now say, ‘Like any label,

it gives me a place. Now I can go

to the show.’ One of the unique

things that I am most proud of [is

how artists like myself and] Big

Freedia, Le1f and Zebra Katz created

a fan base and a subgenre of

music that people [from] all over

the world [can strongly] identify

with. So I must accept that while I

do find it ridiculous, a lot of people

need it and [that’s why] I don’t

knock it anymore.”

Accepting the term “queer rap”

is only one of the many challenges

that Quattlebaum has had to deal

with over the years. Coming out to

the public as HIV positive was also

a major step the artist took in the

face of stigma, opening yet another

door for those who still live in

fear of persecution.

“When you start to have a public

platform and people know

things about you, the idea of

keeping certain things a secret becomes

very stressful and shameful,”

explained Quattlebaum. “The

more people know something personal

about you, the more they

feel they can connect to you on a

deeper level. And where I thought

that so many people would publicly

shun me, the opposite happened.

That whole experience of

coming out publicly as being HIV

positive completely changed my

idea of how people can be. I don’t

think I really believed that people

could be that compassionate and

that good.”

Opening up about their personal

struggles continued to give

way to more inner transformation

and revelation which eventually

lead to the long-awaited release of

their debut album, Mykki. “When

I started working on the album I

was like, ‘You know what? I have

to start making this album about

everything in my life because I’m

looking at my career and theirs

a lack of intimacy,’” they said. “I

wanted the album to be intimate

and decided that we weren’t going

to do any concepts. I wanted people

to know my personality and

understand how I really feel, not

necessarily how they see me on

stage or in a video. So that’s what I

sought out to do.”

Showing their true personality

is definitely something that automatically

comes across in the

album. Many of the lyrics and

poems cut straight to the point

of what really lay at the heart of

their deepest desires of genuine

love and human connection that

anyone can relate to. As far as

Quattlebaum is concerned, what

else is there to life than being

honest to oneself and the rest of

the world about who you truly are.

“Like, what are you going to do?”

they laughed. “This is what I’ve

had to do, you just keep making

interesting work. One of my goals

has always been is to infiltrate the

mainstream with cool ideas, but

also never be boxed in by just that


Mykki Blanco performs at the Biltmore

Cabaret February 28th.

photo by Julia Burlingham

Full transparency and vulnerability brings Mykki Blanco closer to their fans than ever before.


booming bass night stays true to its origins

hollie mcgowan

photos by Ester Tothova

Michael Red (left) and Tank Gyal (right) invite you to Vancouver’s newest grime and dancehall monthly.

As Vancouver’s music scene continues to

flourish, grime and dancehall are two subcultures

that have seen significant local

growth in recent years. Now with Wind:Up,

a new monthly party at the Biltmore Cabaret,

the two genres are able to come together

for an evening of booming bass that stays

true to its origins across the ocean.

Unknown to most, Vancouver has a long

history in dancehall and grime thanks in

part to Wind:Up resident DJs Tank Gyal

and Michael Red.

Tank Gyal, a member

of Lighta! Sound and

head honcho of the

long-running dancehall

weekly Thursday

Ting! has been a cornerstone

of the local

dancehall scene from the get go. “My

knowledge of the dancehall community

here [in Vancouver] begins with Brukout!”

she recalls. “Prince Sho and the Royal Platoon

fam started it at Shine from 2001 till

around 2009. That's where I began going to

dancehall nights.”

On the other end of the spectrum, BC’s

West Coast has continued to cultivate its

own unique identity within the global bass

music community and continues to gain

an international reputation for its unique

sound and vibrancy. A great example of this

growth is Michael Red, founder of the legendary

DJ crew Lighta! Sound, chief commander

of local music label Low Indigo, and

resident DJ at Wind:Up.

“Max Ulis, Paul Devro, and Jesse Proudfoot

had a night in either 2004 or 2005

called Grime Sessions in the back room of

Shine,” he remembers. “To my knowledge,

this was the first sighting of vocal grime

being played in Vancouver. Memories of

that night remain as one the freshest and

most exciting energies I've ever experienced

at a Vancouver club


Since their introduction

to the

city, both grime and

dancehall have gone

on to share a history

that continues

to contribute to Vancouver’s overall bass

culture, music, and production style. With

Wind:Up, the two genres and their followers

are able to come together and unite

under one roof. “When Tristan Orchard

came up with the idea for the night I was

on board right away,” says Tank Gyal. “As

far as I know, there's currently nowhere else

in Vancouver where you can hear grime on

a regular basis and it's one of my favorite

types of music for sure.”

“...continues to gain an

international reputation for

its unique sound and vibrancy.”

Wind:Up takes place at the Biltmore

Cabaret February 24th.


a hand-crafted blast through time and space to piss off the patriarchy

vanessa tam

An experimental hip hop

project that regularly

challenges its listeners,

clipping. is the collective

mindset of producers

William Hutson, Jonathan

Snipes. and MC

Daveed Diggs. Starting

out as a casual remix

project between friends,

the band self released

their first album Midcity

in 2013 and has since

released two more studio

albums on Sub Pop.

“Clipping. is the sum

of all our training—our

roles in the band reflect

our outside work.

Jonathan is a composer,

William is a scholar, and

Daveed is a storyteller,”

Huston shares. “When

we’re working, those

roles all blur into each

other quite a bit, but

those are the three aspects

of any track that

make it a clipping. track.”

Known to meticulously

build each of their tracks

from the ground up, their

latest album Splendor &

Misery follows a person

into outer space and employs

countless original

samples and simulated

recording techniques to

create the album’s futuristic

backdrop. “Our

sounds are either recordings

we made of physical

objects (field recordings,

etc.) or synthesizer

patches we made ourselves—no

presets,” Huston

explains. “We use

samples when we want

to make a specific reference

and we expect our

listeners to recognize

the source. We’d never

sample a drum hit or a

melodic line because we

couldn’t come up with a

good enough one on our

own. That isn’t that we’re

against sampling—many

of our biggest influences

are producers who

use samples, but we are

trained in sound design

and think that it’s something

unique that we can

contribute to the genre.”

Another way the band

pushes their genre is by

eliminating the use of

pronouns in their work. “I

think that any art whose

form challenges what is

presumed to be ‘natural’

is an attempt to call into

question all social constructs

that are taken for

granted,” says Huston.

“The development of

western music is so tied

to systems of patriarchy

and colonialism that to

resist one can be a simultaneous

attempt to resist

the others. I don’t mean

for that to sound preachy,

or self-important, but we

originally thought that

we could operate with

that level of subtlety and

that people would clearly

understand our politics.

Turns out, that wasn’t

true. We needed to start

to be more overt in our

messages and practices.”

Experimental hip-hop

group Clipping brave the

final frontier with Splendor

& Misery

photo by Brian Tamberello

Experimental hip hop group clipping. brave the final frontier with their latest album Splendor & Misery.




hitting the long road with cinematic fuel in the tank

johnny papan

VANCOUVER - “There once was a boy who

lived in a house with his mother. His room

was piled high with crates of vinyl records.”

These are the opening lines to the album

Dusty Rainbow from the Dark, a tripped out

musical story in which a narrator shares the

tale of a young boy who discovers the power

of music.

“That was a very introspective album. I was

searching for a way to explain what music

means to me, and how I’ve grown up with it,”

explains Jean-Christophe Le Saoût. Known

professionally as Wax Tailor, Le Saoût is a

French trip-hop producer, turntablist, and

filmmaker who has been pushing the boundaries

of his genre since 2001.

Stylistically, Le Saoût adds a cinematic

edge to his expansive sound and often uses

dialogue samples from films in his work. “I

often define myself as a music director,” he

explains. “I’ve always been fascinated with

film, and everything involving cinema. I think

dialogues are kind of like rap verses. There’s

a rhythm in the words and I like to play with


Acting on his love of film, Le Saoût recently

went on to direct, score, and release a documentary

film about record store owners

in the United States titled In Wax We Trust,

highlighting their drive to continue selling
























physical albums in an increasingly digital

world. “I grew up with vinyl and am still a

vinyl lover. There’s something special about

this format,” he mentions fondly.

In 2014 Le Saoût pushed his creative horizons

even further with the release of Phonovisions

Symphonic Orchestra, a live album

in which he collaborated with a 35-piece orchestra

to re-imagine tracks from his preceding

four albums. “It was an epic experience.

For the first time in my life I felt like I was

the actor and the audience at the same time,”

says Le Saoût. “Imagine you’re a painter who

usually only works with primary colours, and

then one day someone gives you a wide pallet

to play with. This was something like that.”

Le Saoût’s latest studio album By Any Beats

Necessary, like all of his releases, draws inspiration

from very specific ideologies. “I really

wanted to create a vibe around the idea

of a U.S. road trip,” he says. “When I think

about cities in the U.S., they’re often associated

with some kind of music and period.

I’ve tried to mix all those things together. A

journey into the sounds of time, with my own

touch of course.”

Wax Tailor performs at the Rickshaw Theatre

on February 7th.




















C O N C E R T S!











Wax Tailor strikes again with his latest trip-hop outing, By Any Beats Necessary.



















INSTAGRAM: @theastoriaeastvan

TWITTER: @Astoria25

FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/astoria.hastings

BOOKING: astoriavancouver@gmail.com
















SUNDAY FEB 26 (1-6pm)



switching up the routine to get a new routine

graeme wiggins

With a young child, a weekly podcast, a fairly

rigorous tour schedule, and a desire to keep

fit, veteran comedian Tom Segura relies on

routine to keep things working smoothly.

When Beatroute caught up with him, just

before lunch, he’d already had a pretty busy

day, and that was even without dealing with

the career side of things. As Segura explains,

he “got up took care of the son, made breakfast,

played around with him, tried to get a

nap but couldn’t.” Later in the day the career

business would take over, “picking up the

t-shirts for the tour, I have specially designed

shirt for this tour, so going to pick those up,

then do a podcast at two.”

It’s lucky then that his podcast, Your

Mom’s House, that he does weekly with his

wife comedian Christine Pazsitzky doesn’t

seem like work to him. “The podcast to me is

probably the most enjoyable thing because it

doesn’t feel like work. As far as comedy podcasts

go, we’re completely non-guest reliant,

meaning the wife and I, who’s also a comic,

it’s just us. And it’s just us being ourselves.”

Their podcast is a free-flowing conversation

between the two, with years of injokes, where

they joke about everything under the sun,

share audio from esoteric youtube channels

and just riff. One memorable recent

obsession features an extremely boring man

that reviews microphones. It’s an odd one.

There’s also an ongoing bit involving their

fans submitting videos and audio of them

going through drive-throughs and greeting

the servers with “Hey Mommy” (a reference

to the shows title) and ending the order with

“Thanks Jeans.” It’s a lighthearted dynamic

that has developed a devoted following. “I

mean it’s very juvenile so there’s nothing

forced or contrived about it. It feels like no

work because it really just is us being exactly

who we are. We genuinely have a lot of fun

doing it.

They started the project in 2010, just before

the podcast boom, which is how they’ve

built their following. It’s been an organic

process, by sharing their conversation and

people coming to listen. “It’s been awhile.

It’s grown so so much. Which is like a nice,

because it’s grown and it’s kind of just us

doing what we would be doing.” Sharing the

intimate side of themselves garners pretty

hardcore fans. “We feel a great appreciation

for them; they definitely feel like they know

you because they actually do know you. It’s

one sided though because they know you

far better than you know them. It’s hard because

sometimes they’ll come up to you and

say something, not even an inside joke, but

something intimate. And you’re like ‘wait,

what?’ It throws you off and then you’re like:

‘oh yeah I did say that one time on the podcast.’”

Having a regular outlet like a weekly podcast

also helps brings people to the show,

and vice versa: “Those things feed of each

other well. People come to your shows

and learn about the podcast, and people

who listen to the podcast and possibly go

to your show.” But it this dynamic isn’t perfectly

ideal; despite having a pretty similar

feel to his onstage act, the podcast is a little

more authentic and real than his onstage

persona which can lead to some issues. Segura

explains, “I love having the podcast

fans at shows but I definitely would not

want it to be 100% podcast fans at a standup

show. And the reason is that they know

you so well that it’s almost like you feel like

you’re putting them on in stand up. It’s like

if you did standup in front of your family

and your family is like “what are you doing

right now?”” It’s not that he puts on a front

or different character but there is a formalism

to the stand up side that can be offputting

to people who feel like they know

you well. ”I’ve had podcast people come up

to me and say: ‘I just wanted you to know I

didn’t enjoy that’...yeah thanks man.”

In today’s comedy world, perception is

something that comics can be very concerned

with; self-censoring and filtering their

act through screen of perceptions about what

others think. Segura’s comedy is refreshing in

that while he doesn’t seem to intentionally

push against perceptions deliberately like

some comedians do in rebellion to this phenomena,

he doesn’t seem to be concerned

with it at all. “Honestly the filtering thing, I

mean on the podcast there’s virtually none.

We just kind of go wherever. It’s free-flowing,

stream of consciousness.” For his stand

up, his only filter is whether he thinks he can

make something funny. In his words, “filtering

happens when I’m bored of something or

it just doesn’t work. I’ll give something a shot

and try to make it funny and think I should

be able to make that a laugh, and if it just

doesn’t after multiple times that’s it.”

There are areas Segura doesn’t filter so

much as avoid because he doesn’t feel like

he’s the best at making them funny. He’s not

known for his political comedy, for example.

For example, he’s a self confessed news

junky, and while he thinks it might lead to

funny things to have a president that is so

thin skinned on twitter, “the whole thing is


fucking bummer.”

“That really comes from just feeling like

other guys and girls are better at it. If I felt I

had a really good political bit, I wouldn’t stop

myself from doing it. I just feel like it doesn’t

feel like that’s my lane, for stand up.”

So while you shouldn’t expect hot, political

takes when he hits the stage in Vancouver

for JFLNorthwest, you should expect a good

time. He should be on the top of his game:

he loves playing Vancouver. “Oh my god, yeah

dude, Vancouver is definitely my top favourite

places to tour. I’ve just had great experiences

there. Comics love going to a city for

two reasons: the first is that the city is cool,

the second is the shows are good. Sometimes

it’s one or the other, bu t with Vancouver it’s

both. It’s a beautiful city, I dig the people and

the shows are always fun. Cities like that, you

always have it in your head, I can’t wait to go

back there.”

Catch Tom Segura live at JFLNorthwest

February 25 at the Vogue Theatre and

catch his podcast Your Mom’s House available

on itunes.

Tom Segura


February 2017

Febrary 2017 COMEDY




Cue the ultimate laugh track

Even a severe case of epiglottitis, a

condition which could result in the

blockage of air to the lungs that required

a life-saving operation, can’t

keep this two-time Emmy winning

comedian down. With a combination

of sweet delivery and

occasionally crass subject matter

Sarah Silverman can confound expectations.

Both her special, Jesus is

Magic, and her TV show, The Sarah

Silverman Program, pushed buttons

and took her comedy to the

edge. With her latest HBO special,

We Are Miracles, getting critical acclaim

and a Grammy nomination,

Silverman is still on fire.

Sometimes you need to smile from keep from crying. It’s been a long, hard few months, with depressing weather

and news keeping positive attitudes in check. What better way to shake the sads out than laughing yourself stupid?

The second annual JFL Northwest comedy festival brings that possibility to life, with almost two weeks of international

and local comedy at multiple venues around the city.



turning negatives into positives during the age of Trump

It’s really Trevor Noah’s time to shine. As

host of popular political comedy show

The Daily Show on Comedy Central,

he’s found his stride and managed to

keep the show relevant while making it

his own, a tough job, given he’s following

in the footsteps of Jon Stewart. Hailing

from South Africa It’s only been five

years since he made his US television

debut on The Tonight Show with Jay

Leno (a first for a South African comedian),

but he’s managed to transition

from international success to North

American fame with his singular take

on world events and social issues.


actor/comedian updates his role

It’s hard to overstate how popular Jim

Gaffigan is. He’s one of the only comedians

to sell out Madison Square Garden

and has actually performed stand

up for Pope Francis at the Festival of

Families in Philadelphia (which had

one million attendees!). He’s the most

streamed comedian on Pandora with

more than 647 million streams. When

not acting or taking care of his five children,

Gaffigan tours the country, selling

out arenas like few can with his hilarious

takes on life, fatherhood and, most importantly,



Atlas needs a knee replacement

beth d’aoust

A mere 38 hours after narrowly surviving

a hit-and-run collision with

an 18-wheeler en route to Nashville,

Barry Crimmins was gracious

enough to chat with us about life

and comedy, in anticipation of his

visit to Vancouver for the Just For

Laughs Northwest Comedy Festival

this February. Crimmins had nodded

off in the back seat of a rental

car on tour when the rear tire of a

semi-trailer smashed through his

window. All passengers managed

to escape relatively unscathed after

spinning into a ditch as the driver

sped off, but few would fault Crimmins

had he taken a hiatus from

comedy to decompress after such

a harrowing experience. Crimmins

is no stranger to trauma however,

as he has spent a lifetime proving

he is nothing if not resilient. After a

few days rest he was back on stage,

thrilling audiences with his uniquely

irreverent blend of razor-sharp

musings and impassioned tirades

on politics, justice, and topics of


A true “comic’s comic,” Crimmins

is affectionately referred to by

many as the godfather of the Boston

comedy scene, having given life

to two rooms where many legendary

comics, such as Paula Poundstone,

Stephen Wright, and Denis

Leary got their start. It was not until

the tremendous success of Bobcat

Goldthwait’s critically-acclaimed

2015 documentary, Call Me Lucky,

however, that Crimmins’ level of

recognition shot to international

status. Goldthwait’s film chronicles

Crimmins’ extraordinary life of

triumph over adversity. From relief

work in Nicaragua to his collaboration

with the US government in

apprehending child pornographers

at the onset of the internet, Crimmins

has spent the past few decades

putting humanitarian efforts

ahead of both career and personal

well-being, and only recent revelations

have alerted him as to the toll

of such valiant practices.

A survivor of horrific sexual

abuse as a very young child, Crimmins

spent years working through

his own trauma, only to be burdened

with an outpouring of stories

like his own from kindred spirits

online once he brought his story

public. Crimmins refers to this time

period as 23 years of “running a oneman,

24-hour-a-day, seven-day-aweek,

rape crisis centre…I didn’t

believe I deserved to be healed

until every single other person was

healed,” confesses Crimmins. “I was

just walking around with everyone

else’s pain [and] was pulled back

into the pit I was trying to pull everyone

out of…So now I’m going to

do a show about that [called] Atlas’

Knees, because I carried the weight

of the world around for a quarter of

a century and now I’m not.

True to character, Crimmins

is concerned about the future of

marginalized peoples down south,

in light of recently inaugurated

President Trump’s divisive policies.

Currently based in upstate New

York, Crimmins actually empathizes

with his right-wing neighbours

who voted for Trump, professing

“Trump was just a census of

self-loathing in this country. I don’t

hate people who hate themselves.

This guy is a bullying, domineering,

intellectually bereft, patriarchal

voice saying ‘what I say goes!’ And

that’s just flat out abuse.”

Combatting injustice, Crimmins

urges people to “take it to the

streets. Turn the revolution into

your own little life. Listen to the

people, stick up for the person being

bullied at the office, stand up to

the crap. Unite with other people.

Understand that it takes more guts

to be interdependent than to be

independent.” A lifelong crusader

for peace and justice, Crimmins insists

that “the way to defeat Trump

is with love because it’s a foreign

substance that scares the shit out

of him.” And with his impassioned

call for unity, Crimmins brings a little

laughter and lightness in times

of uncertainty.

To witness Crimmins’ razor wit and

poignant perspectives in person,

head down to The Biltmore Cabaret

on Thursday, February 23 at 7pm.

Aparna Noncherla’s comedy often deals with her struggles

with mental illness. She’s channelled that and more into a

number of TV writing positions (notably Late Night with

Seth Meyers), a podcast about dealing with depression

called The Blue Woman Group with, and one of the funniest

twitter accounts you can find.

While the recent election of Donald Trump might seem to

exacerbate anxieties and depression, and comedy might seem like

a force of good on that front, Noncherla suggests caution: “I think it

is a fine line, normalizing or making light of the situation as opposed

to attacking the bigger issues that are being affected. It’s fine to make

those [peepee jokes], but you shouldn’t be ok what’s happening.

Catch Aparna Nancherla live February 25 at the Biltmore


While you may know him from the sitcom Whitney from a

few years back, or the show Undateable which recently finished

its last season, Chris D’Elia would prefer to be known

for something else.

“I don’t like when I do something and it becomes something

that people know me from. If I’m on a TV show and people

are like ‘you’re the guy from that show,’ it bugs me. I want

them to know me as me.”

This desire for people to know him as him seems to have translated

into a more mature move in his comedy. There’s little in the way

of topics he won’t take on. “You can’t censor yourself. Sometimes

you run into a bit where you’re like ‘maybe I crossed the line,’ but

that’s your job as a comedian to find out where that is.”

Catch Chris D’Elia live February 24 at the Vogue Theatre.

• Graeme Wiggins

Crimmins bringing laughter and lightness in times of uncertainty, scars and all.

Febrary 2017 COMEDY




keeping the silliness alive and kicking

beth d’aoust

A prankster at heart, Todd Glass is

famous among friends for surprising

guests with absurd, perplexing twists at

his dinner parties. From mariachi bands

parading through the house, to grilled

cheese chefs emerging from the bushes,

to trumpet players bursting into song

from the roof of his garage, Todd Glass

reveals how cultivating play, silliness,

and authenticity have dramatically improved

his life. When asked about his

antics, Glass attributes his quirkiness to

his line of work. “I genuinely love most

stand-up comedians, because they

don’t let go of that silliness,” explains

Glass. “Comedians sort of get to be like

we’re in tenth grade. You can drive…

you have your license… so you can go

do things, but you’re still silly. Most comedians

haven’t let go of that juvenile

side which I really cherish. For comedians,

you know, we get to be adults and

we certainly have a different depth as

we get older… which I’m glad about…

But you can do all that without letting

go of the silliness and the playfulness of

being a child.”

Switching gears for a moment, Glass

speaks from a place of wisdom after

having spent the vast majority of his 30-

year stand-up career hiding his sexuality,

declaring that “Always truth is better in

life. Life was good for me before I came

out. I had enough friends that knew, but

it’s definitely better now. In my case I


rising comic mines the past for precious gems

Nate Bargatze has a way to make you tell him all your secrets.

Todd Glass proves that letting go of the absurd is a fools game.

was hiding that I was gay, but it’s bigger

than that. It’s whatever you’re hiding.

It could be something as simple as you

got a DUI ten years ago and you’re embarrassed

to talk about it. Whatever it is

that you’re hiding… life is always better

when you’re not keeping a big secret.”

Glass is emphatic about collectively creating

open, accepting, non-judgmental

environments where people feel safe

to celebrate their differences and insists

that “instead of telling people to come

out, we should just… as a world… put

out a welcome mat.” That being said,

Glass is no fan of censorship. “I don’t

mind offending people. I just don’t want

to offend the brilliant people. I want

to make fun of the right people. When

you do stand-up comedy and you pick

on the wrong people you tend to not

be proud of that years later in your life.

Whatever you’re doing, make sure it’s

right. Be proud of it.”

This very same uplifting attitude and

zest for life spills over when Glass speaks

of recent comedic ventures. Camping

With Todd, the pilot he just shot with

friends Jon Dore and Zach Galifianakis

in the Angeles Forest, and his podcast,

The Todd Glass Show, allow plenty of

time for silliness. Evidently, Glass rarely

slows down for long and is already planning

the next adventure. “To do my own

tour in a tour bus, and bring my band

with me across the country, is absolutely…

number one… the only thing on my

bucket list, when it comes to comedy,

that I’ve never done.” We look forward

to the full-scale Todd Glass tour in years

to come, but in the meantime we highly

recommend checking out one of five

Vancouver shows Glass is set to perform

with local favourite, Chris James, as part

amber harper-young

of the JFL NorthWest Comedy Festival.

Head down to Yuk Yuks in Vancouver,

from February 23-25, to soak up some

characteristic Todd Glass hilarity in person.

Visit http://www.jflnorthwest.com

for tickets.

Early in his career, Nashville native comedian

Nate Bargatze moved to Chicago

in 2003 to first pursue comedy.

He took a stand-up class in the windy

city and watched the big comics on

the scene at the time, like Pete Holmes

and Hannibal Buress. Now 13 years later,

after living in NYC, LA, and Nashville,

Bargatze’s got two specials on the

street: Yelled at by a Clown and Comedy

Central’s Full-time Magic, both of

which are titled specifically referencing

his father’s actual professions while

Bargatze was growing up.

His father was the inspiration for

more than just titles. When asked

about his inspirations he answers, “I

mean my dad definitely...comic wise,

I’m a big Bill Burr fan...I got to watch

him kinda become what he is, so it was

awesome to get to see that. Just being

in New York was great, you just got to

see how people kinda blow up, so that

stuff means a lot cause...you can see

there’s a path. You learn from them.”

Besides being a guest on such outlets

as Conan, The Tonight Show starring

Jimmy Fallon and WTF with Marc

Maron, he’s performed for the troops

overseas upwards of four times and

has won both the New York and Boston

Comedy Festivals. He’s opened

for Jim Gaffigan in Toronto at Just for

Laughs and before that for Maron at

Carnegie Hall! Bargatze speaks of the

experience at the legendary venue, “It’s

pretty cool to be in a place that’s so

historic that you can kinda feel that it’s

almost everybody’s first time there. So

it was my first time and I think it was

Maron’s first time and then it’s also a

lot of the audiences’ ...It’s was pretty

great. Everybody’s real happy!”

Bargatze has a laid back delivery,

retelling actual life experiences and

making honest commentary, always

exposing both his and others’ ignorance.

He takes you to each place and

time, not missing a detail that will humorously

compose his storytelling. He

plays subtlety against the adamancy

of his comedic voice in a way that will

etch his jokes in your mind well after

you experience him. Bargatze’s also a

comic that is mindful that the subject

matter in his act is varied throughout

his show. He genuinely wants to connect

with every being in the crowd.

Catch Nate Bargatze Feb 18th at

Biltmore Cabaret


one-man show sets out to build bridges of compassion and love

yasmine shemesh

Mark Schiff

When a comic is hailed by Jerry Seinfeld as one of the funniest

he's ever seen, you know you’re in for a treat. Mark Schiff — who

was a writer for sitcoms like Roseanne and Mad About You, and

a frequent guest on The Johnny Carson Show — is relatable, witty,

and light. With a standup career that has spanned decades in

tow, Schiff remains both relevant and hilarious.

Mark Schiff performs on February 20 at the Norman

& Annette Rothstein Theatre.

Aaron Davidman is the writer/performer of Wrestling Jerusalem, part of the 2017 Chutzpah! Festival.

Aaron Davidman was watching a documentary the other

night. In the program, an elderly congressman stated that he

was disgusted at the lack of civility in debate. “We used to

have adversaries,” the politician said. “Now all we have are enemies.”

Davidman, the writer and actor behind Wrestling Jerusalem,

a play about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, thought

it was an interesting distinction.

“What happened to the adversarial relationship, where you

have different ideas, you argue, you debate, and you learn,

and you grow, and you make your way as a democracy?” Davidman

contemplates, speaking over the telephone from his

home in California. "Or as a community?” In Wrestling Jerusalem,

Davidman seeks to provide a deeper understanding of

both sides of an entrenched battle where the narrative often

becomes a with-us-or-against-us argument.

"I think the impetus is to really try to move the conversation

from a real polemical conversation to something much

more nuanced and complex,” Davidman says. “And that still

remains the goal of the piece.”

Of course, it's a complicated conversation. A bloody one

characterized by tremendous historical, political, social, and

religious divisions. One where all voices, regardless of from

where they come, desperately need to be listened to. Wrestling

Jerusalem creates an immersive experience where the

multitude of sides can be both felt and heard. Onstage, Davidman

inhabits 17 different identities — people he met and

interviewed while travelling to Israel over the course of nearly

a decade — each of whom have very different points of view,

from Jewish and Muslim merchants, to clergy to soldiers to

average citizens.

“Each character is fully rounded and very passionate about

their convictions, and they’re also very human,” Davidman

describes. "It’s very hard to write off any of these characters,

no matter what your perspective is. And that’s the goal of

theatre, of course, is to really humanize these issues so that

they have a face and heartbeat. No matter where you fall on

the spectrum — you might disagree with some of these people,

but you have to engage them.”

That’s also the trouble the world is in right now in general,

he adds, in the sense that people are growing more

into a place of disengagement, where we disengage with

those who are different from us — the “other" — and

remain stuck in reaffirmations of what we already believe.

"I think that’s a dangerous condition in our particular

world,” Davidman continues. "And I’m trying to push

back against that and encourage engagement.”

For Davidman, the greatest takeaway of this whole

experience has been being reassured, by his audience’s

response, that multiple perspectives are vital to our humanity.

“The transcendent themes of the piece have really

won the day, over any one particular perspective or

one particular character or person,” he says. “For me, it’s

become an exercise — this exercising my capacity to really

hold multiple perspectives within me and not come

down on one side; not come down in one limited space."

What has Davidman learned about humanity? "On the


Shay Kubler / Radical System Art

Vancouver’s own Shay Kubler / Radical System Art presents

the world premiere of TELEMETRY. The piece features locally-based

dancers alongside celebrated tap dancer Danny Neilsen

in an original performance that explores the concept of the human

body as a satellite for sound, energy, and memory through

a variety of styles, from bebop jazz to contemporary.

Shay Kubler / Radical System Art performs from February

18 - 20 at the Norman & Annette Rothstein Theatre.


one hand, people are cruel,” he replies. "They’re cruel, and

violent, and selfish, and afraid… But on the other hand,

people are incredibly generous, and trusting, and full of

love, and good will. And both are true. And the question

is, which is going to win the day? And I’d like to believe that

it’s the latter that is going to win the day, because love is the

most powerful force that we have."

Wresting Jerusalem runs at the Norman & Annette

Rothstein Theatre from March 1 -2 as part of the

Chutzpah! Festival.

The Klezmatics

This Grammy Award-winning band celebrates its 30th anniversary

this year. The New York-based Klezmatics combine

klezmer (a traditional music style of Eastern European Jews)

with an eclectic array of influences (including jazz, punk, Arab,

and African rhythms) and themes like human rights to weave a

rich, interpretive, and powerful sonic tapestry.

The Klezmatics perform on February 23 at the Norman

& Annette Rothstein Theatre.


February 2017

Febrary 2017 CITY




not your average dinnertime ritual


astrological forecast 2017: year of the fire rooster

image by Eugene Chan

maddy cristall

Practices of Everyday Life : Cooking is a rare, unique, and powerful

interactive and multimedia performance that challenges our

perception of everyday objects. Montreal-based Navid Navab is

the artistic director, composer, and creator of this stirring idea.

Navab has an extensive history in composing music, visual art,

and digital media, composing eclectic music in his early stages

of adulthood. He was born in Iran, moved to Guelph, Ontario

at a young age, and now resides in Montreal. The concept for

Practices of Everyday Life | Cooking has been evolving over the

past few years and is perpetually being finely tuned. Chef Tony

Chong is the sole stage performer for this production. Chong

uses food ingredients and utensils on stage, but handles them

in a completely different manner than expected. For example,

Chong uses a whisk slowly and passionately while contorting his

arms in a modern dance-esque manner — his body tells us a

story that is completely open for interpretation while he prepares

delicious food that both smells and looks amazing. Nevab

describes the scent emulating from the stage as “seductive and

aromatic.” This is strangely disorienting yet completely beautiful

to watch. This performance is accentuated by stunning visuals in

sync with his action and haunting, visceral music.

Navab wants to “Stir the senses and change the way we conceptualize

everyday objects.” There is something extraordinary

about bluntly confronting the monotony of everyday life. “This

performance gives us the opportunity to give every day tools a

different meaning,” he says. “We get to detach things from being

just utilitarian.” This concept could easily come off as sloppy

and vague if it weren’t fronted by and in sync with such refined

talent. The other two members of this production are Jerome

Delapierre and Michael Montanaro — Delapierre conducts real

time video responsive to Chef Chong’s actions and Montanaro

provides the mise en scène, adding depth with beautiful and intuitive


Chong offers the audience the prepared food after the performance.

With a tangible reward that invites the viewer into

a world that otherwise seems surreal, Practices of Everyday Life

| Cooking aims to experiment with perception. And isn’t that

what theatre is all about?

The Practices of Everyday Life Cooking runs at the Western

Front from February 23 - 24.

Everyday household objects haven’t had this much personality since Beauty and the Beast.

photo by Navid Navab

courtesy of Honey Gifts

Sex Toys that will change

V-Day to O-Day

Super freak? Just wanting a little self love? Our friends

at Honey Gifts provided us with this handy list of sex

toys that promise to keep the heat up in the bedroom

on Valentine’s Day — or any day — no matter what

your style is. Whether you’re coupled up or riding solo,

all your bases are covered.


HIM: Pulse III SOLO Hot Octopuss Male Masturbator allows a

man to go from flaccid to ejaculating in a minute. The newest version

is now even stronger and waterproof!

HER: Womanizer Pro Waterproof Compact. This toy creates a

soft suction pulling the blood flow to the sweet spot and, combined

with vibrations, has been a real winner. The newest version

is also waterproof for underwater activity.

FOR ORAL: BJ Blast. This is a fun item a lot of couples pick

up because it's their childhood memories... but re-invented!


HIM: Lelo Hugo Prostate Toy with Remote. Achieve the ultimate

P-spot orgasm hands free with Hugo. Reviewed by bloggers

and customers!

HER: Rosebuds Stainless Steel Plug with a large Swarovski crystal.


is one of the most popular couples toys we have. Worn during

intercourse, it can be shaped to your preference and pushes up

against the G-spot for her and sends vibrations down his shaft as

well. Download the free app, and you can use it as a fun remote

panty vibe without limitations in distance — your partner can be

in Australia and still reach out and give you a thrill!

FOR BEGINNERS: We often recommend these great

items to people who are unsure of what they want. Great G-spot

or C-spot toy with strong vibrations, rechargeable, waterproof,

and made of a quality material. Very pretty as well!

Honey Gifts is located at 3448 Cambie Street and 411

West Cordova Street.

susan horner

The Lunar New Year lands this year on January

28, heralding the year of the Fire Rooster in the

Chinese Zodiac. A combination of elements,

yin fire (a candle), and the Rooster's fixed element,

yin metal (a coin), create an image of a

delicate, finely crafted tool, a beautiful piece of

jewelry, or a well-refined technique. Like a candle

holding light in dark places, yin fire illuminates

the dark while yin metal indicates style,

intellect, relationships, and beauty.

The dignified Rooster is truth speaking, academic,

innovative, and a keen perfectionist.

Performance artists and fashion are likely to

thrive with this year's demonstrative energy.

There will be lessons in love for the Monkey,

Dragon, and Rat, which could inspire life-long

commitments or the passions of non-exclusiveaffairs.

The concubine of the Chinese zodiac,

the Fire Rooster values sophisticated

romance and is sure to put any fair-feathered

romances to a hard test.

Health problems may include disorders of

the reproductive organs, STIs, skin problems

(rashes, acne, eczema), and could affect the

lungs, large intestine, and even cause inflammation

of the GI tract.

What does it mean for you? Your year and

month are both relevant here.

Rabbit (Pisces): Change, challenge, and opportunity.

While the bunny loves to snuggle, the

sophisticated Rooster demands a much more extravagant

mating ritual. Metal chops the Rabbit's

fixed element, wood, indicating minor surgeries,

quarrels, and criticism. Generally soft and courteous,

the Rabbit may feel backed into a corner this

year, tempted to fight, flight, or bite.

Dragon (Aries): The Dragon is the best

friend to the Rooster, so get ready for a good year,

Dragons! The Red Phoenix and the mystical Dragon

form a celestial pair, combining both talent and

good looks. Enjoy your luck but save your money

as 2018 will bring unexpected challenges when the

Dog brings you back down to earthly levels.

Snake (Taurus): A sophisticated intellectual,

planner, and truth speaker, this year everything's on

time and budget. People appreciate your efforts to

schedule and organize. Enjoy recognition for your

talents, beauty, and vision. Don't let an overly pessimistic

attitude get in the way of your success.

Horse (Gemini): There's nothing to fear from

this year, except true love. The cock can smell your

lies, Gemini's, so try the truth for a change. Enjoy

sports and athletics, start or expand your business,

travel the world, or make new friends, this year you

want to be seen and will do anything to get all eyes

focused on you!

Sheep (Cancer): Dear Goat: Your sensitivities

are a blessing, but are also your worst curse.

Thicken your skin in the face of criticism and stay

focused on the task at hand. Take pride in your domestic

duties and stick close to your best friend, the

Horse for company and comfort.

Monkey (Leo): Refine, renew, revise. Now that

you know your dark side, it's time to reach out and

get to know others. As the life of the party, people

see the best in you this year. Work on your projects,

relationships, and love language and you can expect

to make a lasting impression on everyone you meet.

It's your time to shine.

Rooster (Virgo): Overall a lucky year. Beware

any addictive, self-destructive, egotistical, pompous,

or arrogant behaviour in yourself or others.

Roosters are not inclined to work with their own

kind, and can be ruthless and cruel in their criticismand

truth-talking. Forgiveness and honest communication

are key. Seek out the Snake and Ox for

industrious, purposeful, and constructive ways to

apply your energy.

Dog (Libra): Take it or leave it, make it or break

it. Hard work pays off if you team up with the annual

energy and the charm of the Monkey (your talisman).

Be truthful, loving, loyal, and accountable

and you'll find this year offers good company and


promise of future success and recognition. Support,

reassurance, and true friendship are the return on

your genuine investment of time and energy.

Pig (Scorpio): Meticulously clean or appallingly

filthy, the Pig benefits this year from the advice

of the truthful Rooster. Find motivation from inspiration,

apply it, and watch yourself become skillful,

creative, and artistically expanded. Although money

might be tight, there's opportunity to enjoy the

sights, sounds, and laughter of a well rounded year.

Rat (Sagittarius): A clean slate, perhaps.

Ready to hit the big red button and eject yourself

from your house, your relationship, and your job?

All at once? Think twice. Set a foundation for future

growth, rather than seeking instant gratification.

Choices this year will mould your life and the lives

of people you know for years to come. Create your

future, it's up to you.

Ox (Capricorn): The pragmatic, dependable,

and hardworking Ox can enjoy a year of accomplishment,

especially where new knowledge is

concerned. Re-train, upgrade, and establish yourself

as a professional, but let something go, as a full plate

and a heavy load may take its toll on your health.

Tiger (Aquarius): Take action. Speak your

truth, but also mind your tongue. As a public speaker

and team leader, we all love to see your smile, but

this year you're on a mission and it may look more

like a fierce sabre-toothed snarl. There's time to get

your point across, and although urgency and fear

are great motivators, their influence is seldom lasting.

Susan Horning is a Feng Shui Consultant

and Bazi Astrologist living and working in

East Vancouver. Find out more about her at



February 2017

Febrary 2017 CITY




duality in a world turned upside down


am interview with Jaik Puppyteeth

david cutting


dancing queen

anthony casey aka shanda leer

I’m writing this on the day Donald Trump was officially

sworn in as the 45th President of the United States. What

a fucking shit show. All my social feeds are littered with

jokes that are truly facetious in nature, earnest posts to

stay safe and a general “Well, son of a bitch” that you’d

have to be neck deep in The Apprentice reruns to not


Of all the gross stories resulting from this waking

nightmare, one specifically stuck out—the removal of the

LGBTQ webpage from the White House website. Sure,

this could be routine maintenance while they update the

site to reflect Donnie’s new regime aesthetic; Wix is not

as user-friendly as they position themselves. But I refuse

to look for any silver linings. A peacock who’s lost all but

orange feathers is trying to sweep any minority, visible or

otherwise, under the rug and while I haven’t lived in the

US since I was ten, I’m not willing to have part of my identity

erased and suppressed.

When I started to drag, I was opened up to the complexities

of gender and body politics. I had never considered

any part of my identity beyond its most basic ideals.

photo by Chase Hansen

Your identity is powerful and helps you find your place. It

probably has some parts you haven’t explored yet, either.

For ten years, I figured “gay” was part of my identity.

When I realized I identify as bisexual, I went into a tailspin

internal debate: Do I need to tone “it” down with women?

Will anyone trust me? Am I lying to myself? And that’s

on top of wondering where I now fit between my friends

and community. Most people assume there’s a duality to

being bisexual, but I’ll level with you—it’s pretty straightforward

(for lack of a better term). I have genuine attractions

to men and women. But don’t think I can’t see the

tiny eye rolls in some of your eyes when I say I’m bi. I can

smell the suspicion and it’s worse than walking through

The Bay fragrance department at Christmas.

If you’re feeling uneasy about your place in the world

because the current President of the United States is also

in the WWE Hall of Fame, think about this: This is how a

lot of queers all along the spectrum feel every. single. day.

So make space for everyone in your community, respect

their identity and cherish our shared history whether it’s

on a website or not.

kendall yan

Behind the poignant and

acerbic cynicism of Jaik

Olsen’s satirical illustrations

lies the sweet heart

of a bitter pup jaded by

a dissatisfaction with

everyday life. A self described

“recluse,” Olsen

operates under the moniker

Puppyteeth, and his

bark (which can now be

heard as a voice over at

Vice) is worse than his

bite. I’d venture to say

he’d only draw blood if

you asked but I wouldn’t

know for sure, we only

had coffee while he

spilled the T.

After having two cups

of coffee without eating

I was jittery, unfocused,

and anxiety ridden, but

when I sat down with Olsen

I felt immediately at

ease as he began to articulately

express his own

shortcomings. “It’s a coping

thing for me,” he explains,

removing his magenta

satin windbreaker,

“I’m cynical and jaded,

I’m a failure at relationships,

I’m a failure in a lot

of respects and I respond

to that by making fun of

it. A lot of my drawings

are about aspects of my

persona and it’s nice that

people can laugh along

with me or resonate with

the way I feel. It’s cathartic

to have people relate

to them.”

Olsen has a cartoon

strip in Beatroute called

Pidgeys in the back of

each issue. “The conversations

from those strips

I’ve plucked from conversations

between millennials

talking about things

like how they gave the

rest of their drug money

to a cute boy who’s

now ignoring them, or

whether they’re in an

open relationship or

not.” The genius of Pidgeys,

along with most of

Puppyteeth’s catalogue,

is their virtue as millennial

archetypes. We’re all

the Pidgeys, and by seeing

that we can have a big

schadenfreude at each

other and have a little cry

for ourselves.

Olsen might not want

me to tell you this, but

he’s not as hopeless as he

makes himself out to be.

In fact, that’s what draws

us to his art: the candid

expression of malaise

that so many of us harbour

in our daily interactions

bears witness

to our own discontent.

Despite his depressed

daddy exterior and his

rejection of happiness,

his puppydog eyes betray

him as a gentle artist fuelled

by a state of unrest.

“I just hate small talk,” he

says. And I don’t want to

seem rude to people, but

my life is just a series of

interactions I don’t want

to have.” But I mean,

whose isn’t?

Mila Dramatic takes to the

stage with such confidence and

joy that the crowd can't help

but be captivated by her raw

magnetism. This is no doubt the

result of years of dance training

with a general inclination towards

being an entertainer. In

2016, her second year competing,

Mila went on to win the

Title of Vancouver’s Next Drag

Superstar. As the competition

begins again and they seek out

a new drag juggernaut, Mila

gets to fill a seat as a judge; another

role she can add to her

glistening drag resume.

Known for her dramatic

(obviously) well thought out

performances, Mila shares:

“I have never faked my way

through a performance. I like

to have the structure, I don't

want to flounder so I map out

every little detail. Dance is just

so crowd-pleasing, and fills the

gaps in songs so nicely.” Her

life as a dancer influences this

greatly. She elaborates, “I live

a very structured life. I am in

school for dance. I dance seven

hours most days, go home,

stretch, work, sleep, then do

it again. Because I practice so

much I have to have good habits.

I have to eat well, and train.

It’s not easy but it's worth it.

Dancing is so much fun I can't



carlotta gurl

Hello, all my beautiful peeps, and welcome back to the Gurl's

inner sanctum of sinful queries and decadent thoughts. This

month I find myself engrossed with ideas about the act of

hooking up and casual sexual encounters; a topic that a modern

day sex goddess like myself takes great pride in being

versed in.

Sex can be a very powerful tool in breaking down the barriers

that hold people back from being who they are. Would I

be considered a sex therapist? Hardly. Have I used sex as therapy?

Absolutely. I can recall many situations where sex was

very beneficial past the obvious physical gratification and

release, but one in particular stands out in my mind which I

feel behooved to share with you all.

I have enjoyed the company of many men over the years,

but I helped one particular individual deal with more than

just his sexual inhibitions. At the time I didn't realize the man

was married and when I found out, I wanted to end it; but

before doing so I confronted him. After our talk it was clear

that he felt his wife would understand his needs and fantasies.

I counselled him and encouraged him to speak with her

and just as I suspected: she was open to it. The miscommunication

and estrangement came to an end and they became

engrossed in each other once more.

And that is how Carlotta Gurl saved a marriage through

sex by being the other woman. Who would have thought it?

With all the apps on our phones these days the age old art

of hooking up is dead. We no longer are required to dress up

and go out and make small talk. We can instead resort

to “looking right now,” “can you host?” and the best

yet: “dick here now.”

The best is seeing the faces in the audience at my

shows of the men I have rocked at the tubs the night

before. Because that is how butch I am out of drag;

dick swinging, you would never know that it is not the

perfect female illusionist Carlotta behind that bathhouse

sodomy. Whether we want to, or can, admit it,

hooking up is a part of our culture. Gay or straight,

imagine not doing it.”

It is no doubt that the joy

that Mila brings to the stage is

one of the factors that won her

the title of Vancouver's Next

Drag Superstar 2016. She is

quick to elaborate on exactly

what it is about drag she loves.

“I love that I get to pretend to

be famous. Lip syncing to songs

by famous people gives you a

chance to channel global superstars.

It’s like being a drag queen

makes you an instant celebrity,

it's unlike anything else I've ever

experienced.” She follows with,

“I also like that it gender bends.

I love that I get to be a woman

and a man and everything in

between. I love how Grannie

Annie (my grandmother) calls

me beautiful now because she

is not sure if ‘Handsome’ fully

describes me.”

Drag seems glamorous but

it can be very uncomfortable

and weird at times. Every drag

queen can point out what is

hard about drag and Mila is no

exception, quipping “I would

say tucking, but I don't tuck, I

would say nails but I have only

ever worn them twice. Maybe

wig hairs getting in my mouth?

NO! The worst is the moment

when you're frantically getting

ready, and you walk through

your room and see all the receipts

littering the floor. I always

get this pang of regret where

it all just feels so pointless and

wasteful and I wonder what it's

all about... but then I go out and

everybody is so loving, and I just


“Drag is hard! It's so

multi-faceted and you've got

to master so many different elements

to pull it off well. And

the Vancouver drag market is

saturated so the bar is high. Doing

drag now is like facing the

titans, you have to be ready.”

She speaks from experience

here having run a tight race

for the crown in last year’s

competition, but she is also

lovely and quick with valuable

advice. “Take care and practice

every part of your drag. Drag

is a lot of work, don't be afraid

to practice at home to get

acquainted with finer details

of your drag character.” She

photo by Chase Hansen

digresses, “I will be exploring

the whole time I do drag, I will

never stop learning.”

We are excited to see where

Mila takes herself, which stages

she death drops on, which

queens she helps nurture and

where she takes her drag as she

evolves and reaches for her own

renaissance. Once a title holder,

always a title holder.

young or old, vanilla or kink, we are all just horn dogs

who deserve love and carnal pleasures. I hope if you

are reading this you are having fabulous sex as I will be

as soon as I am done this column.

Gonna keep this conclusion short: come see the six year

anniversary of my show Absolutely Dragulous at Junction

nightclub Saturday Feb 25th (and every saturday

for that matter). Happy fucking, Dahlings!

photo by Graham Spence

Febrary 2017 QUEER



paris spence-lang

Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival

Feb. 10th-15th at select theaters

“The easiest way to see a mountain view is a picture, but the best way… is a video.”

So goes the unofficial motto of the VIMFF. Celebrating its 20th anniversary, this

niche yet highly BC-apropos suite of stunning films traverses the trails of nature

adventure, hardcore climbing, mountain biking, skiing, and environmental shorts,

feature-length docs, and more. With almost 100 showings, this is sure to wet any

wilderness-adherent’s appetite for stunning panoramas, spectacular cliff-hangs,

and countless acres of the open outdoors. Films are screening at select local theaters,

including The Rio and The Cinematheque. See www.vimff.org for details.

Upcoming Releases

The Lure

The sailor’s tale of a mermaid’s siren song is a haunting and cruel story—but

it comes off as pure entertainment in Polish director Agnieszka Smoczynska’s

debut film. The secret? Switch the setting from the sea to a strip club.

This horror-musical defies genre and clothing as two carnivorous mermaids

become overnight sensations as cabaret singers. But in their attempts to

lure their prey, it’s one of the scaled sisters who gets hooked as she falls in

love with a member of the backing band. Will love triumph? Or will she kill

and eat her boyfriend? Based on a true story. (In theaters February 1st)

I Am Not Your Negro

Drawing on an unfinished manuscript by writer and social commentator James Baldwin,

I Am Not Your Negro tackles an up-to-the-minute examination of race in America.

From Baldwin’s personal accounts of his friends Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X,

and Medgar Evers—all assassinated—to #BlackLivesMatter and the ongoing protests

our current climate has triggered, the documentary holds no punches as it explores the

representation of black people in America—a country whose history, Baldwin argues,

lies more than parallel to those it exploits and vilifies. (In theaters February 3rd)

David Brent: Life on the Road

With lifelong dreams of becoming a musician, David Brent—the painfully laughable

boss from Ricky Gervais’ The Office (the real one, not the American one) is back

and on the road. (As a cleaning products salesman.) But Brent is known for his ignorant

perseverance, and determined to make a go at turning his lovechild, Foregone

Conclusions, into Britain’s next big band, he strikes out on a self-funded tour. Like

past post-Wernham Hogg Brent expeditions, Gervais likely pushes the buffoonery

buttons once too many, but no fan of The Office can turn down the singer of

“Equality Street”. (In theaters February 10th)


DeNiro tries and fails to live up to the movies title

hogan short

When The Comedian’s opening credits

first appear they tell us promisingly we

are about to watch Hollywood icons like

Harvey Keitel, Danny Devito, Billy Crystal,

and, of course, the film’s star: Robert De

Niro. Only two minutes into The Comedian

and I was already excited that De Niro

might end his streak of confused roles and

comedic misfires (hello, Dirty Grandpa!)–I

was quickly proved wrong. I became disappointed

with not only De Niro, but myself

for being duped by the once-might Don.

The Comedian stars Robert De Niro as

aging insult comic Jackie Burke. Once with

a successful career, Burke now struggles to

remain relevant in a world obsessed with

going viral. When an obnoxious web series

team tries to hijack his poorly-attended

act, he physically attacks them, resulting in

Burke being court ordered to community

service.This is where he meets Harmony,

played by Leslie Mann, who is the only refreshing

character in the movie, as a result.

She seems to be the only person he is remotely

decent to and, as their relationship

grows, the film completely forgets the community

service plot. This happens often.

The Comedian follows Burke’s comeback

as he shows all the different ways he

can be unlikeable. We watch him reluctantly

attend his niece's wedding and be nothing

but an ignorant asshole to his entire

family and guests. We watch him repeatedly

interact rudely and selfishly with his

family, his friends, and his manager. Burke’s

mean-spirited narcissism could be overlooked

if the standup material written for

the character been funny, but it only comes

off as crude, mean spirited, and worst of all,

unfunny. A protagonist doesn't necessarily

need to be likeable but they do have to be

interesting. De Niro has a history of making

unlikeable characters interesting—The King

of Comedy comes to mind—but Burke is

uninteresting and unlikeable, and in a light

hearted comedic story of redemption this

is a pivotal problem. The script attempts to

give us a reason to empathize with Jackie

Burke but they formulaically inject this in so

abruptly it only convolutes things further.

The Comedian feels like a film that was

only ever intended for an older audience. I

don't say this because of the older age of the

cast but because of how out of touch the

entire thing feels. Whoever the audience is I

don't think they will be laughing.


Near To The Wild Heart Of Life


Japandroids’ music has a funny way of playing with

nostalgia. Maybe it’s the sonic reminiscence of a

rock era long since passed, or possibly the youthful,

halcyon lyricism of guitarist and vocalist Brian

King, but the Vancouver duo have built their name

on heartfelt garage rock that constantly asks, both

lyrically and sonically, for the listener to remember

days gone by.

Together with drummer, and occasional

woah-woaher, David Prowse, Japandroids have

been pummeling the ear drums and heart cavities

of fans across the world, not only earning

them a reputation as one of the most consistently

hard-working touring bands of the last decade, but

as one of the most downright enjoyable rock acts

of the last decade as well. Almost five years after

the release of their last instant-classic album, 2013’s

Celebration Rock, the boys return with a new album,

a new label, and a new outlook on life.

Unfortunately, Near to the Wild Heart of Life,

the Vancouver duo’s first album for Epitaph imprint

Anti-, is a mixed-bag that often has a hard

time finding a place in between the nostalgia and

the future. Japandroids have fought hard to remain

in a drunken, youthful glow, but they’ve inadvertently

made one of the strongest reminders of nihilistic

determinism. Everything good will end.

Springst-emo is dead. Long live Springst-emo.

Japandroids rose to prominence on the quality

of their scrappy, guitar-drums rock-revivalism,

bashing through slapdash odes of youthful exuberance,

like on Celebration Rock standout “Younger

Us,” singing “Remember saying things like ‘we’ll

sleep when we’re dead’ / And thinking this feeling

was never gonna end / Remember that night you

were already in bed, Said ‘fuck it’ got up to drink

with me instead!”

Near to the Wild Heart of Life is full of that same

bashing dynamic, but the youthfulness is gone,

replaced with vapid beer rock, and I-read-On-The-

Road-in-university tales of travel and hedonism. All

throughout, Near to the Wild Heart of Life sounds

like it was crafted to be cut-and-pasted into countless

Hockey Night in Canada highlight reels and B.C.

tourism commercials. It’s never more obvious than

the acoustic-guitar-anchored “North East South

West,” which sounds like Arkells doing a cover of

Said the Whale doing a cover of Springsteen. The

song sounds like it was steeped in Canadiana to

the point that it’s quite shocking how often Japandroids

sound like The Trews on this album (and no,

that’s not a compliment).

Unfortunately, things get a lot worse before they

get much better. “I’m Sorry (For Not Finding You

Sooner)” is a dirge-y, feed-backed snoozer of a rock

ballad that is processed to the point that it sounds

as if Savage Garden tried to make shoegaze and

failed. Luckily, the song functions as a sort of interlude

at only two and a half minutes.

On any other eight-track album, that may be a

complaint, but Japandroids use the next track, the

seven-minute “Arc of Bar,” to make you wish they’d

stuck with shorter run times. The song isn’t really

that abrasive on the ears. Led by an alarmingly simple

“yeaaaaah, yeaaaaah” chorus, it’s actually fairly

enjoyable sonically.

Unfortunately, it’s also the song that displays

some of King’s worst lyricism to date. It’s filled with

clichés, making King sound like a cross between

the human embodiment of the “That Guy in Your

MFA” Twitter account and a tone-deaf Craig Finn.

It’s filled with cringe-worthy bar patron poetry like

the opening lyric, according to Genius: “Hustlers,

whores, in rooms galore / A sinking city’s stink / An

arc of bar, a flesh bazaar / Of diamonds, dust, and

drink / The jukebox jamming, the lions lamming /

The jokers doing the dealing / And queens are over


Yet, when the lyrics aren’t this kind of flowery,

Kenny Loggins fever dream, they’re over-simplified

and uninspired. The lead-off title track features the

lyric: “And it got me all fired up / To go far away /

And make some music from the sound of my singing,

baby / So I left my home / And all I had / I used

to be good but now I’m bad.”

That song saves itself by being damn catchy, but

its simplicity leaves nothing left to examine past

face value.

While Japandroids never felt like a band that

demanded intellectualism, their lyrics had heart; a

youthful simplicity that recalled simpler times and

fewer responsibilities. Often on Near to the Wild

Heart of Life, it feels as if that simplicity has been

replaced by overworked cliché.

Everywhere on this album, Japandroids embrace

the aesthetic that brought them such success with

Post-Nothing and Celebration Rock, but these new

songs seem to lack the immediacy and free will of

those previous works. Frustratingly, a lot of the

tracks on this album flirt with that early quality,

but instead, their near misses prove that a middling

album from a great band proves to be even worse

than a terrible album from a bad band.

“Midnight to Morning,” for example, is just a

There is Nothing Left to Lose-era Foo Fighters song

with less instruments; “No Known Drink or Drug,”

sits King’s voice in the back of the mix leaving perfect

space for Prowse to fill in with some ill-advised


“In A Body Like A Grave” is this album’s

slow-burning closer, just like “Continuous Thunder”

was on Celebration Rock. Remaining consistent

with the seven songs previous, it just makes

you want to put on “Continuous Thunder.”

Japandroids didn’t make drastic changes to the

formula on Near to the Wild Heart of Life. Sure,

there are new layers that they have added into the

mix, with synths and acoustic guitars finding their

way into the duo’s wheelhouse, but it’s still clear

something is off. The immediacy of Post-Nothing

and Celebration Rock has all but disappeared, leaving

in its place a Japandroids that often sound like

they’re mimicking their scrappier beginnings, but

leave no room for errors to arise. Instead, Japandroids

sound like a more professional band, or at

least a band that has been recorded more professionally.

Growing old is inevitable, but Near to the Wild

Heart of Life certainly doesn’t make a strong case

for it.

•Jamie McNamara

•Illustration by Cristian Fowlie


Febrary 2017 31


Prisoner - Ryan Adams

Ryan Adams


Pax Am/Blue Note

Although Ryan Adams has released music

at an impressive pace for nearly two

decades, his latest album, Prisoner, feels

like it was a long time coming. Adams’

last release was 1989, a Taylor Swift cover

album that came out of nowhere,

shocking fans and receiving lukewarm

reviews from critics. While Adams’ version

of 1989 revealed a different side to

Swift’s music, stripping back the chewy

and tasteless pop fat, it limited his ability

to play to his strengths. Prisoner,

on the other hand, sounds like a project

crafted by a veteran, incorporating

years of experience into an album that is

fuelled by heartbreak, but elevated by a

mature sense of forgiveness. It is his best

release since 2004’s Love is Hell.

Prisoner starts off with “Do You Still

Love Me,” a track that blends organs

with electric guitars, only intensified by

a thunderous chorus that overshadows

the entire album. Adams takes his listeners

back in time with a song that was

meant for a sold-out stadium, delivering

his lines with enough passion to make

Born in the U.S.A-era Springsteen seem


Prisoner is consistently good in many

ways. Even though the first track advertises

a different product, all is forgiven

because Ryan Adams has been through

enough heartbreak to last a lifetime.

Maybe his next album will focus on a

different topic, but that would just be


•Paul McAleer


Future Politics

Pink Fizz Records


Future Politics - Austra Invisible - Big Wild Migration - Bonobo Crystal Fairy - Crystal Fairy

Future Politics is a synth pop heart-toheart

that couldn’t come at a better

time if you’re feeling vulnerable and

uncertain about the future. The Toronto-based

band’s first release since 2013

is Austra mastermind Katie Stelmanis’

own call to action. In her words, a call

“to put together our collective visions

and hopes and make a future to stand

behind.” Radical and energetic, Future

Politics offers an anthem of hope

and delivers with substantial punch.

Through emotionally charged lyrics

and energetic, driving synths, it offers

an experience that guides you into dark

visions of dystopia with moody reflection

and melancholic undertones, before

pulling back towards her vision of

a shining future.

The album is full of dramatic operatic

vocals and catchy rhythms reminiscent

of Massive Attack and The Knife, yet

unique on its own merit.

“Utopia” blends in elements of house

and synth pop while Stelmanis’ dynamic

vocal energy acts as an emotional manifesto.

The structured, driven rhythm, a

contrast of operatic prowess and slowly

shifting, heavy and dark atmosphere

in the track “Beyond a Mortal” unite

to create a captivating combination. A

fast paced, resonating chorus of bells in

“Freepower” create a refined, flowing

and simultaneously powerful sound

that builds to a danceable peak.

Future Politics fits closer to Austra’s

prior release, Olympia, than their breakout

album, Feel It Break, but builds on

that solid foundation with rich, atmospheric

texture, a more refined sound

and lyrics that move in to engage you


• Andrew Stirling

William Basinski

A Shadow I n Time

2062 Records

The ambient work of avant-garde composer

William Basinski is one of the rare

examples of great creation coming from

the twilight of inevitable decay.

Perhaps best known for his series The

Disintegration Loops, a collection of

four albums made from deteriorating

tapes of his previous work, Basinski’s

multi-decade career has been mired

in the idea of the meditative power of

looped soundscapes. On A Shadow In

Time, his latest release, he revisits the

lonesome, subaqueous atmosphere

that his best compositions have encapsulated.

Consisting of two 20-ish minute

long tracks, A Shadow In Time plumbs

the familiar depths of many ambient

themes: the passing of time and a mood

of omnipresent foreboding.

“For David Robert Jones,” — a eulogy

for the late David Bowie — features

a heavily layered expression of leaving,

complete with undulating waves of

sound, while the title track opens with

an almost crystalline fragility and swelling

drone, before tailing off into an immaculate

spattering of piano.

A Shadow In Time isn’t so much a

two-track compilation as it is an experience,

and one that makes as substantial

a place as any for one to jump off into

the void of Basinski.

•Alec Warkentinw

Bing & Ruth

No Home of the Mind


To string together the words “up-andcoming”

with “ambient artist,” especially

in a genre that prides itself on its slow

pace, might not make sense at first. Still,

if anyone is worthy of that distinction,

it’s 4AD newcomers Bing & Ruth.

No Home of the Mind, the fivepiece’s

first effort for the label, breezes

through its blissful ten tracks, at some

points resembling label-mate Tim Hecker’s

Dropped Pianos EP, and at others

successfully emulating the rising swell

of Stars of the Lid’s The Tired Sounds Of

(except with less drone).

No Home of the Mind also separates

itself from the at-times overlong airiness

that is commonly found within other

ambient recordings, keeping all tracks at

easily-consumable lengths and featuring

an array of left-field turns that showcase

the collective’s knack for recognizing

the many parts needed for constructing

a balanced atmosphere.

As ambient producers go, Bing &

Ruth are the new breed in regards to

composition, a welcome fresh expression

in a genre that seems to be dominated

by the same unchanging acts,

and the malleability of No Home of the

Mind is a reminder of what makes this

genre so good in the first place.

•Alec Warkentin



Some Other Planet Records

With the same dreamy atmosphere of

Tame Impala, but with a decidedly European

edge, Cairobi’s self-titled follow

up to their 2015 EP, Distant Fire, is full

of psychedelic magic carpet rides to

get lost in. “Gristly Words,” a weird and

experimental ditty starts everything

off with weird timing and ethereal vocals,

boasting a jazzy heartbeat for a

psych-flavoured track that features

more than enough to keep your ears

busy. By the time you get to “Systems of

Mutual Doubt,” you are up to your neck

in a sci-fi sized sonic landscape: jangly

far off guitar, chirps and distant swells,

it’s a weird ride, but one that is surprisingly

easy to get into. A standout track

is “Zoraide,” with its multi-layered percussion

and upbeat tempo, it thumps

deep under your skin while leaving an

optimistic taste in your mouth; the confident

stream of consciousness vocals

playfully leap over the relentlessness of

the production. As you lay back into the

weightlessness of the closing track “No

Better Ending,” you have to appreciate

the craftsmanship in this release; it is a

fizzy, ambitious, gently throbbing, sashaying

selection of tracks that are never

too long but surprisingly complex.

Perfect music for space travel or getting

very lost in the forest.

•Jennie Orton

Cloud Nothings

Life Without Sound

Carpark Records

On the first single off Cloud Nothings’

latest album, frontman Dylan Baldi sings

“I want a life that’s all I need lately / I am

alive, but all alone,” in a truthful and

ardent way, creating the longing and

honest feeling present throughout Life

Without Sound.

The newest album by the Cleveland

four-piece brings along the beloved

qualities such as fuzzy, yet melodic,

guitars and sing along catchy choruses

attributable to the band, but comparably

brings a feel of something more polished

and perfected.

Baldi’s drowsily powerful vocals

preach compelling and relatable stories

of living day by day, and watching it pass

by you. The words and stories delivered

through the album will find a way to

connect and attach themselves to the

softest parts of your own personal experiences,

creating a nostalgic aura around

you - even if you’re living in the current


Though the album starts off with a

slower and more reserved sound, the

band sinks their hooks by the second

song, with its irresistible guitar and melodious

build up.

The album ends with the same

self-contained sound as the first song,

but builds to a triumphant end. Overall,

the album is gripping. It hits home

and accepts the hidden insecurities we

have about being alone. The polished

and perfected piece that is Life Without

Sound will leave you excited and itching

for more of whatever Cloud Nothings

have in store.

•Jackie Klapak

Crystal Fairy

Crystal Fairy

Ipecac Records

Crystal Fairy’s debut album is a beautiful

fusion of lumbering, heavy sound

and piercing vocals. The band is comprised

of King Buzzo and Dale Crover

(The Melvins), Terri Gender Bender (Le

Butcherettes), and Omar Rodriguez-Lopez

(The Mars Volta). The Melvins’

influence is heard in Buzz’s sludgy riffs

and Dale’s galloping drums. Omar’s bass

lines bounce off the heavier riffs, generating

a full, deeply textural sound.

Terri’s vocals are the highlight of this

album. Her power and varied pitch

range cut sharply through the heavier

instrumentals. Like thick, black oil

in water, the opposing sounds swirl to

create a conflict of chromatics without

being muddled. The lyrics are cryptic

and poetic, producing imagery that

complements the emotive vocals and

heavy riffs. Terri’s knack for annunciation

draws the listener’s ear towards

emotionally salient lyrics bringing them


The album has plenty of heavy hitting

songs like “Chiseller” and “Drugs on the

Bus”. Tracks like “Under Trouble” and

“Sweet Self,” offer a change of pace with

psychedelic, ambient background noise

and metallic guitar tones. The album

ends with a sinister, riff-heavy Christmas

carol. The goofy lyrics suggest that despite

a combined “150 years of musical

experience,” showing Crystal Fairy don’t

take themselves too seriously.

•Bridget Gallagher

Tim Darcy

Saturday Night


In a shift of direction from his work with

Montreal art-rock band Ought, Tim

Darcy’s first solo record Saturday Night,

showcases a rare and diverse talent,

finding him extrapolating the best parts

of a veritable scattershot of genres from

Americana to post-punk.

Through the first few tracks of Satur

day Night, Darcy successfully

channels the guitar-driven energy of

alt-country artist Ryan Adams (“Tall

Glass of Water”), churns through the

chords of a track that could pass as a

Neutral Milk Hotel B-side (“You Felt

Comfort”), and even croons his way

through a fitting homage to the hits of

yesteryear (“Still Waking Up”).

In fact, as one makes their way

February 2017

Pure Beyond Reproach - Egyptrixx

Hang - Foxygen Sweetsexysavage - Kehlani Music to draw Satellite - Kid Koala Solidarity - Bill and Joel Plaskett

through Saturday Night, the harder it

exactly is to pin its genre down, and by

the time it reaches the title track — a

sparse post-punk anthem featuring

echoing, angular guitar-work and a foreboding

angelic choir — any hope of a

central theme is entirely lost.

Although this is essentially a minimal

criticism for an ultimately strong release,

it does lead to the album feeling

more than slightly disjointed, but hey,

Aristotle be damned: the parts of Saturday

Night equate to more than the sum

of the whole.

•Alec Warkentin




Foxygen’s new eight-track album, Hang,

is an orchestral experiment that starts

strong, but seems to showcase the

background orchestra more than the

band itself.

Featuring a 40-person orchestra on

every song, the melodies are theatrical

and entertaining, especially on songs

like “Follow the Leader,” “Avalon,” and

“America,” with powerful string and

horn sections, and comical melodies;

they sound like something you’d hear

in an old-timey saloon, or during an epi

sode of Looney Tunes.

However, the tracks become repetitive

and melancholy, leaving one wanting

more of the rock excitement that

Foxygen’s earlier albums possessed.

Hang feels like the duo’s darkest, most

cartoony album yet.

Deviating from this, “On Lankershim”

includes some uplifting melodies and a

nice addition of country rock including

some background slide guitar and

catchy vocals.

Hang has at least one or two songs

that are memorable, though for the

most part, the album serves best as

background music for easy listening,

and not much for paying attention.

•Foster Modesette



Warner / TSNMI

With a contemporary pop landscape

ruled by tropical house and soft EDM,

Kehlani is minty fresh. Her laidback, sugary

sweet throwback R&B has already

landed her a swathe of adoring fans

(dubbed the Tsunami Mob – her label

is TSNMI and her nickname is ‘Kehlani

Tsunami’), and a Grammy nomination

for her second mixtape, You Should Be

Here (she is the first woman and second

artist ever to do so). Fitting then, that

her debut, SweetSexySavage, references

TLC’s iconic CrazySexyCool. The album

is even interspersed with interludes á

la any true, old school R&B classic. Her

lyrics aren’t particularly deep, but their

simplicity bears an honesty unlike much

else out there right now.

In a few places, SweetSexySavage

hugs the sweet bubble gum pop world

too closely, but overall it glows by evoking

the period Kehlani seems most rooted

in. A time when Brandy, Monica, and

Lauryn Hill dominated radio play with

their infectious melodies and lyrical

hearts. R&B might not need saving, but

Kehlani is making a stand for what once


•Trent Warner

Kid Koala

Music To Draw To: Satellite

Arts & Crafts

Kid Koala’s Music To Draw To: Satellite

is an understated, slow tonal journey

across a simple, white landscape. Aided

by the soft, gentle voice of Icelandic

singer Emilíana Torrini, Kid Koala

has made precisely what he set out to

make. Soft, dreamlike sounds to have on

while immersed in a project. Each song

is less a song and more a canvas for the

listener to impose their thoughts, ideas

and visions on. Not only is the album an

accompaniment to drawing, it is also

great to read to, write to, or listen to

while taking a long, contemplative walk

through a wintry landscape.

It is a vast departure from Kid Koala’s

turntablist roots, both in tone and pace.

And while the Montreal-based artist has

put down his tables in favour of strings

and synths, there are still songs found

here amidst the ambience. “Collapser”

and “Fallaway” are swaying, meandering

pieces that break the surface from what

is otherwise a languid ambient journey

that gently drifts by while the listener

calmly draws, or reads, or writes.

•Alex Meyer

Los Campesinos!

Sick Scenes

Wichita Recordings

Los Campesinos! has always oscillated

between quirky and stylish, literary and

nerdy. The high-brow/low-brow plateau

the Welsh indie-rock outfit so gracefully

rollerskates between, offers the band

a quotable originality. Over time the

band has become more dryly emotional,

while the twee exterior of their early

records has refined into a shinier and

slinkier guitar-driven format. 2013’s No

Blues solidified this new attitude with

driven, but heavily melodic arrangements

surrounding grindingly ironic

song writing.

Sick Scenes is a record that works entirely

the same way, almost to a fault. It

peaks and valleys in remarkably similar

places, with hilarious literary pun song

titles to boot. First single “I Broke In

Amarante,” is where their format works

the best, coming together in a moment

of levity wherein vocalist Gareth Campesinos!

explicitly asks the rest of the

band to bring back call and response

vocal harmony lyric “seems unfair”

during a quiet moment. It’s a moment

of lightness and humour that works

well. The record is peppered with clever

lyrical moments like this, and it peaks

and valleys well enough to be a satisfying

one-sitting listen. It’s hard to argue

with melodies this grand around so lyrical

hooks this inventive, but it refuses

to stir the pot where things might be

getting a little over-boiled. A band this

clever shouldn’t ever have to stagnate,

and they are getting a little bit too close

for comfort.

•Liam Prost

Bill and Joel Plaskett


Pheromone Records

When you’ve entered ‘do no wrong’

territory as Haligonian singer-songwriter-rocker-poet

Joel Plaskett has, expectations

become outrageously high. In

response to the obvious pressure, it

seems Plaskett has been making less

and less grandiose records as time goes

on. The worst thing you can say about

2015’s Park Avenue Sobriety Test is that

it’s small. The titular song referencing a

particularly sharp turn in a backstreet

in Dartmouth, NS; smallness is not the

record’s curse, only its caveat.

Solidarity is a similarly small release,

bringing in his English-born father for

co-singing and song writing duties.

Bill Plaskett’s contributions are traditional

and unpolished. Listening to

Bill’s wheezy delivery almost feels like

listening to one’s own dad. Unlike Joel’s

beatnik Canadiana lyricism, Bill’s

writing is gooey and straightforward,

warmed in the corners by glowing newfolk

arrangements. There’s a reason why

the dad is billed (pun intended) first as

well, the record is almost evenly split between

who leads each track, a conceit

that does more to introduce us to Bill

than to add more to Joel’s legacy. But

the record’s most inviting moments

are when the duo are singing together,

most notably on the smile-inducing

title track: a protest song with cheekto-cheek

Nova Scotian earnestness. An

unobtrusive fiddle anchors the song in

tradition, while the younger Plaskett

picks up the song with a sly guitar solo

near the end.

Solidarity is profoundly unpretentious.

No one would blame you for

dismissing it as insubstantial, but to do

so would be to ignore the joy of small,

friendly, family music.

•Liam Prost

The Sadies

Northwest Passages

Dine Alone Records

With country music making leaps in respectability,

from the underground up

to the mainstream, a Canadian music

fan could be forgiven for being a little

smug in their knowledge of the catalogue

of The Sadies, one of Canada’s

longest-running and hardest working

alt-country acts. They were an instrumental

band to begin with, their dexterity

gleaned and honed from growing up

in the barroom country scene, eventually

adding vocals and harmonies, giving

their frenetic roadhouse workouts a bit

more of a Southern California vibe.

The psych-folk of “Riverview Fog”

kicks off their latest, Northwest Passages,

airy swirls around a fingerpicked

acoustic, with a desert twang swelling

in the background, before the odd highhat

based beat picks up, slightly discordant

with the laid-back harmonies. It’s

similar in feel to Beachwood Sparks’

2011 comeback album The Tarnished

Gold. The cut serves as a countdown,

as the greasy rock n’ roll of “Another

Season Again” goes straight for liftoff, a

reminder that few Canadian bands have

distilled the giddiness of 60’s psych-folk

with such hip-shaking danceability as

have The Sadies.

If there’s a mild weakness on Northwest

Passages, it’s in the simplicity of

some of the lyrical themes. That could

just be nitpicking, especially when the

vocal harmonies and are delivered

so well. The Sadies have once again

brought forward a lush collection of

cinematic and atmospheric alt-country,

as emblematic of the style as anything

being produced in Canada today.

•Mike Dunn



Young Turks

Sampha has just barely skirted the public

eye for six years, but it’s safe to say

he’s your favourite pop star’s favourite

pop star. Having worked in varying capacities

with the likes of SBTRKT, FKA

Twigs, Beyoncé, Solange, Frank Ocean,

Drake and Kanye West, it’s dumbfounding

that his full-length debut, Process,

is only now upon us. For an artist who

has previously spent his time on the

sidelines, it’s been well worth the wait:

Process is earnest, vulnerable, and deeply


Throughout the album, Sampha

moves through a full range of human

emotion like the scales on his piano.

He’s gratified on “(No One Knows Me)

Like The Piano,” nostalgic on “Kora

sings,” and vindictive on “Under.” None

of the emotions he’s conveying are beyond

reason – it’s not a concept album,

but each song has a meditative quality

that evoke the album’s title: Process.

He’s processing every single thing he’s

feeling for the listener as he works it

out for himself. His voice, like hot stone,

conjures pleasure and pain through its


“Blood on me,” the album’s second

single, sees the artist at his most frantic

as he awakens from a nightmare all too

real. “I wake up and the sky is blood red

/ I’m still heavy breathin’ / felt so much

more than dreamin’,” he manages to utter

through the breathlessness of jolting

out of a dream, attempting to discern

reality. Midway through the song, the

harrowing percussion breaks away as he

coos over his protector, the piano. It’s a

moment of respite amidst a sea of personal

demons and a song that’s otherwise


The album’s credits are almost exclusively

between Sampha and co-producer

Rodaidh McDonald. Process leaves

the artist’s star-studded CV behind,

proving that sometimes, working things

out for one’s self is the best form of healing.

If the past six years were Sampha’s

Febrary 2017 35



Nothing Feels Natural - Priests

process, the performance to come

should be superlative—and tender.

• Trent Warner

Peter Silberman



Very few artists flit with the emotional

capacity of listeners quite as well as

Peter Silberman, frontman and primary

lyricist for indie-rock group The Antlers.

On Impermanence, his first solo

release, the man behind the devastating

concept album Hospice, attempts

to draw heavily on that same temporal

vein. Unfortunately, he can’t quite

seem to find it.

Much like the later years of postrock

pioneers Talk Talk, Impermanence

focuses on wandering, forlorn guitar

notes vibrating at a glacially slow-pace

as Silberman’s falsetto croons across

the album’s six tracks.

Unlike Talk Talk, however, Silberman

provides little to no contrast or relief

from wave after unrelenting wave of


Nothing Feels Natural

Sister Polygon Records

After multiple listens of Priests’

first full-length, Nothing Feels

Natural, it’s no pleasure to try

and cram the dynamic nuance

of their genre wandering and

personal-meets-political lyrical

subjects into a review of digestible

length. Despite running only

34 minutes, it’s a robust work

that’s as comfortable roaming

sonically as it is with translating

first-hand experience into an assured


Opener “Appropriate” starts

as straightforwardly punk rock

in sound as the album gets –

yet somehow closes naturally

with an implosion of sax screed.

By the second half of the disc,

Priests have tackled anthemic

indie rock, no wave and postpunk.

After that, an orchestral

interlude prefaces a back half

that shrieks, shimmies, twangs

and jangles.

To properly open a conversation

on the themes of

the record is moot, given the

rhythm at which we consume

criticism today. What saves this

is that Priests’ music is filled with

hooks, variety and an irate aim,

imploring you to make your

own enquiries.

• Colin Gallant

Northern Passages - The Sadies

laments, resulting in a finished product

that ultimately blends into an amorphous

blob of muddled melancholia.

There are a few moments of saving

grace, however, such as the nine-minute

opener “Karuna,” which is ideally

Silberman’s most successful attempt at

the sound he was presumably going for,

and “New York,” which features an almost

Cohen-esque reverence and song


In short, Impermanence showcases

the sound and lyricism that Silberman

has perfected over his many albums

with The Antlers but ends up sabotaging

itself by not letting the listener

breathe for a damn moment.

•Alec Warkentin

Teen Daze

Themes For Dying Earth


We asked Priests to elaborate

on the wild genre tendencies

of the album. Below

are truncated responses regarding

the record’s baffling


Daniele Daniele: Sequencing

is always one of my favorite

parts of making a record.

It’s very intuitive. I think we

all weirdly knew somehow

that “Appropriate” had to

open the album and “Suck”

had to be the closer for the

whole record or at least one

of the sides. Sometimes you

just know where a song belongs…

I love that Janel Leppin’s

interlude opens up the

b-side. Once we tried that and

I heard it, I just knew that was

how it was supposed to be.

From there it was just a matter

of rearranging the puzzle

pieces till they fit.

Katie Alice Greer: The LP

isn’t meant to be heard on

shuffle. It’s a full-length record,

like a book or a movie,

where you’re supposed to listen

from beginning to end.

Taylor Multiz: When sequencing

this record it felt we

were trying to create a narrative

arc and, unintentionally,

it ended up being in close to

chronological order from oldest

to newest material. A thematic

strain running through

the record is grappling with

the frustrations of the creative

Process - Sampha

Themes For Dying Earth is the first fulllength

album release from Teen Daze

on FLORA, a label started by the Fraser

Valley artist and Sled Island 2012 alumnus


Since the start of the decade Teen

Daze has been featured on the hit You-

Tube channel Majestic Casual multiple

times. For those that are unfamiliar

with him, this should provide some

sense of what he sounds like.

The vast majority of songs featured

on that channel sound like they could

soundtrack all the emotional, yet uplifting

scenes from a Netflix original

series about teen angst, or the angst

of characters in their early 20s who are

meant to be relatable to teens. Themes

For Dying Earth falls into that category.

While some of Teen Daze’s earlier

works leaned closer to dance music, this

album is centered on the dreamier side

of pop, with airy lead vocals appearing

on many of the tracks. Even though it’s

not a Netflix series, if you muted Skins

and played this album it would probably

totally fit whatever’s happening on

screen. In fact, you’d probably cry and

sniffle even harder every time Cassie

steps into the frame.

•Jonathan Crane

process. It’s almost like we’re

taking you with us through

the process from start to finish.

Priests perform on February 15

at 333 Clark.

LA Vida Local

The Cut Losses

Electric Dolphin

Packed full of power chord laden anthems and airy surf rock melodies, "Electric

Dolphin" delivers on all the things that are sure to get your pop punk

nostalgia going . This is their debut album and they have managed to curate

a sound drawing from multiple sources yet still unique in delivery. With upbeat

tempos, and choruses that beg to be sung along to, each track is layered

with tight production, clever lyrics, and groovy hooks that urge you to dance


•Reid Oakley

Luke Frame


Stripped down from the more driven surf rock of Sh-Shakes, guitarist Luke

Frame's latest project "Louis" offers up a series of enjoyable blues and country

inspired recordings. With tracks like the toe tapping 'Grab On' to the crooning

vocals on 'Noble Man' there is a definite old world quality apparent within

the music. Steeped in country stylings, from the moodiness in reverberating

guitar chords to the occasional growl of Frame's voice, this is an album laced

in honky tonk staples from start to finish.

•Reid Oakley

Local Creature and Alien Boy

The Viper Sessions

The viper sessions is a gritty, folk driven tour de force; full of sweeping melodies,

haunting violin, and melancholic storytelling. Harnessing a dreamlike

texture throughout, this release is a callback to it's musical roots through the

unique themes explored in the lyrics, but with modern influence apparent

in some of the heavier guitar riffs and production techniques.Recorded on a

single microphone, the album is a love letter to the folk music of generations

past, and does a fantastic job channeling the greats while still looking to the

stars and taking risks in a beautiful way.

•Reid Oakley

Real Ponchos

To The Dusty World

The fifth release and second full-length by the local folk rock/country band

finds them in familiar territory, delivering a solid batch of melodic tunes and

spaced-out jams. Singer Ben Arsenault's voice shines, fitting somewhere

loosely in between Rick Danko and Levon Helm, while the band vamps on

vintage Crazy Horse rhythms. The songs themselves are pleasant, evoking

the old western ethos of dusty towns and wanderlust. The music may not be

overly original, but with few local bands playing to the same niche market,

they stand out as highly authentic and perform their songs with comforting


•Scott Postulo


Green and Black

The technical death metal prowess of this group is put on full display, especially

in regards to song structure and variety that this LP provides. Each

song has depth and personality, interweaving musical landscapes as the band

phase through multiple dimensions with chugging riffs, ultra precise drum

work, and vocals morphing effortlessly between guttural and screeching.

Riftwalker conjure a sound that is, at times, reminiscent of fellow Canadian

death metal titans, Gorguts, simultaneously adding in dashes of metalcore

as well.

•Brayden Turenne

Matt Chanway


Each song off Matt Chanway’s first solo LP presents an expansive maze of

labyrinthine virtuoso sections in which he stretches his muscles as a technical

guitarist, going between between cryptic solos and thrashy rhythmic

sections to keep the listener on their feet. Chanway presents a white hot

blaze of mathematical guitar mastery in this release, exploring an incredibly

complex sonic landscape at blinding speed. Fans of virtuoso guitar playing,

such as Marty Friedman’s solo work, will find much to love here.

•Brayden Turenne



January 21, 2017


Commodore Ballroom

January 12th, 2017

Kicking off his Canadian promo tour

in Vancouver on Thursday, January

12th, T.I. performed a set full of his

greatest hits for a sold-out crowd at

the Commodore Ballroom. The Hustle

Gang boss released a 15-track album

titled Us or Else: Letter to the

System in late September. The tour

was set to promote the politically

charged album that addresses the

on-going issues and events taking

place in the United States, including

police brutality, systemic racism,

and the Black Lives Matter movement.

photo by Darrole Palmer

VANCOUVER - It’s not often nowadays that

we get to see a punk band with as much mileage

as Comeback Kid in its natural habitat: a small,

grungy venue, perfumed with the musky aroma

of spilt beer. Eccentric fans were ready to put

their bodies on the line as an expression of their

gratitude to the music.

The energy was riotous, and attendees had

just as much of a showing as the headlining band

itself. If live music etiquette was an alphabet,

the show was covered from A to Z. It was everything

a punk rock show should be. Sweat would

flutter in the air as long-haired men and women

jolt their heads up and down to the downtuned

thrash riffs. Moshers were jumping in tandem,

causing the floorboard to bounce, and circle pits

were set in motion.

With no security guards or barricades, fans

would take ownership of the stage from the moment

Comeback Kid stepped on. Civilians were

hopping on the elevated platform and lurching

themselves back into the crowd, sometimes doing

flips, or splatting face-first onto the floor,

as is the risk when you’re near 200 pounds and

people aren’t expecting you to cannonball towards

them. Luckily, there was a communal vibe,

T.I. is one of those artists that

people forget how many hits he

has until they’re played one after

the other. Starting the show with

one of his most popular tunes,

“Top Back,” he sent his fans into a

2007 throwback-frenzy. Although,

T.I. is still an entertaining artist,

it’s evident that the RubberBand

Man has lost some of his elasticity.

He performed alongside two

hype-men and a DJ, heavily relying

on the support of backtracks. Playing

crowd-pleasers like “Live Your

Life,” “Rubberband,” and “Why You

Wanna,” T.I.’s performance was

predictable and confusing considering

the purpose of this tour was

to promote his new album.

With tracks like “Black Man”

and “War Zone,” it comes as a surprise

that T.I. would only play one

song off of US or Else: Letter to the

System. Even if it “Ain’t About the

Money,” T.I. banked on the success

of his old tracks to carry on the

show rather than promoting his

new record. Having artists speak

out about the general debauchery

of the state of their country

is not only important but refreshing.

With all things considered, it

seems as if T.I. missed the point

of the show. It could have been a

great learning opportunity for his

fans that looked like they probably

would ad-lib the N-word if

the DJ stopped the music if given

the chance, which is truly not that


•Molly Randhawa

and concertgoers were quick to help their fallen

comrades up off the floor.

A man in the front-right of the crowd grabbed

a microphone stand, and pointed the mic into

the pit, amplifying the bruised-up choir during

one of Comeback Kid’s aggressively melodic

choruses. During the band’s hit “Wake the

Dead,” another fan was allowed to take over

as frontman for a portion of the song, ending

his few minutes of fame by diving back into the

molten crowd.

Comeback Kid fully embraced the rowdy behaviour

put forth by their audience, in fact, in an

earlier interview, guitarist Stu Ross stated playing

at an intimate space like the Cobalt gives the

band an opportunity to “play our show for you

the way it’s supposed to be played.”

With members of the Comeback Kid currently

residing in Vancouver, this served as somewhat

of a homecoming show, and friends of the band

came out to support. The hardcore quintet performed

tracks spanning their career, and proved

that in this modern era of music, the punk rock

spirit still burns.

• Johnny Papan

photo by Joshua Grafstein


February 2017

Febrary 2017 37

VANPOOPER rating the best (and worst) of Vancouver’s public toilets michelle hanley


I only first visited a Mountain Equipment Co-op for the first time

very recently and now the mystery of where all the middle aged white

people in this town buy their fleece pullovers and rainproof windbreakers

has been solved.

The bathroom at MEC was nearly impossible to find. I searched endlessly,

past climbing walls and sleeping bags and hiking boots until I finally found it

near the bicycle repair shop.

The washrooms were sad and grimy and an empty kombucha bottle was

sitting on top of the toilet. The bathrooms were very busy with a long wait for

the few stalls. If I ever need to return to MEC I will certainly be pooping


Tsawwassen Mills Mall

A brand new outlet mall has just opened in the weird little suburb

of Tsawwassen and it is great. There's a Hot Topic and a Bass Pro

Shop and a Build-A-Bear Workshop and even a store that only sells

hot sauce! Everything you need is at this mall.

I had really high hopes for the bathrooms but I was a little let

down. The stalls were very cramped and small and didn't have any

of the luxuries I was expecting in this dazzling brand new centre

for consumerism.

However it was very clean and the soap smelled really good and

the mall was really cool so I'll probably be back.

The Storm Crow

(Commercial Drive)

The Storm Crow is a great place if you are a huge nerd. I really like

getting drunk and I love Harry Potter so this bar is one of my all-time


On my most recent visit there was long line for one of the two bathrooms

and I got stuck in the grosser of the two. What it lacked in

cleanliness it made up for in charm. The toilet was cleverly decorated

to look like the titular throne from Game of Thrones. It was very cute

despite the grime. The tiles were a beautiful floral print with the occasional

bit of graffiti scratched onto it. My personal favourite was

the obligatory Commercial Drive “NO PIPELINES,” which somebody

responded with, “But where will the poop go?”


T U E S D A Y F E B 1 4 T H


























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