BeatRoute Magazine - BC print e-edition – [March 2017]


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

The BC edition is distributed in Vancouver, Victoria and Nanaimo.




pg. 9


March ‘17





BeatRoute Magazine

Graphic Designer

& production manager

Alisa Layne

Web Producer

Joshua Grafstein

Copy editor

Robin Schroffel

Front Cover PHOTO

Andrew Volk

Front Cover DESIGN

Randy Gibson


Gold Distribution

Contributing Writers

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Trent Warner


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Savonna Spracklin • Andrew Volk • Sean Walker

Howard Wise

Advertising Inquiries


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local music/

the skinny

Erin Jardine


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Working for the


∙ with Hayleau

Fucked Up

Elvis Depressedly

The Courtneys

Moon Duo

Age Of Electric

Strong Women Strong Music

Wind Up Birds

Tiny Kingdom

Clap your hands say yeah

Open Mic Nights Vancouver

Shred Kelly





-Vallis Alps

-Big Wild



-BPM Vol. 1






26 film


The Skinny





-Aboriginal Speaker Series

-Growing Room

-Islamaphobia (op-ed)


-Puddles The Clown

-Farewell to Hot Art Wet City

-Elbow Room

-From the Desk of Carlotta

-King of the Month

-Queerview Mirror

-This Month in Film


-Dirty Projectors

-Run The Jewels


-Cloud Nothings

34 vanpooper

Glenn Alderson



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Chronixx - page 17

photo: ???

March 2017 3



the boys are back in town

photo by Leigh Righton



This rainy city entices many rad people, and Hayleau

is no exception. This beautiful ingenue released

her self-titled debut EP last fall and its

sneaky hooks are taking the world by storm and

we are all better for it. She has also been cast in

the Netflix original adaptation of the Archie and

friends universe, Riverdale, as the Josie and the

Pussycats bassist Valerie. We sat down to talk to

Hayleau to get a feel for what she is up to and her

thoughts on the all so sudden public recognition.

BR: What is it like to play an iconic role like one

of the pussycats in this brilliant new take on the


H: It’s crazy and amazing to be able to play Valerie!

She's always been my favourite character in the

comics because I felt like she was the most like me.

BR: How do you handle your fans now that Riverdale

is on the air?

H: I try to respond and interact with everyone that

supports the show. It's been so great to see how


many people are excited about the storyline and

characters! I've gotten some messages about people

going through hard times and learning through

Riverdale. It's humbling to have the support that

I've been getting and I feel very grateful.

BR: How does your family feel about this amazing

Riverdale opportunity?

H: My family is stoked! It's great. My mom collected

Archie comics when she was young so we have

a bunch of older comics. My dad will always be

my number 1 fan. Recording the episodes, telling

people about the show and my character. I tear up

about it sometimes haha it really makes a difference

having a good support system. We were all

surprised that it happened so fast, but the excitement

never ends.

BR: What is it about music/acting that you love?

H: I'm a creative and being able to express myself

through music was my first love. Going through a

break up or being pissed off at someone or situations

is hard to express and to get over. Writing

music is the best way to get it out of my system, to

vent, and to tell my side of the story. I love acting

because it allows me to play a character that has

traits that I don't have and really get to run with it. I

feel like Valerie in Riverdale is much like me but has

the balls to be a little more forward and aggressive

when she needs to be. It's fun to do scenes like that

because I feel like I learn about myself through the

character. Being Valerie is me getting to go back to

high school and do it over how I actually wish my

high school career went.

BR: Where did you study music?

H: My living room. haha constantly studying always


BR: What do you want to be known for as a Vancouverite

who is getting her start in acting?

H: I want people to know it doesn't matter where

you're from, that opportunity comes and you need

to be ready to knock it out of the park. I was working

at a breakfast restaurant when I auditioned for

Riverdale and I still mentally am that person. Just

excited and ready to work for this opportunity!

BR: What should people know about you that

they don’t already or that they get wrong about


H: I don’t know if this is something people don’t

know or want to know, but I'm really proud to be

from this city. I feel like Vancouver gets a little bit

forgotten about in regards to entertainment and

its our time go show what the F we got. I want to

support and lift-up other creatives and really do

some amazing shit here.

BR: If you could have any superpower, what

would it be?

The story of Japandroids is one of victory

and frustration, vitality and desperation,

emotional depth and youthful

lust. Their songs are life-affirming

anthems that beg to be the soundtrack

to the best night of your life. They ask

you to live in the moment, while you

reminisce about the best parts of your

past, and give a hopeful gleam into the

future. The duo of Brian King (vox/ guitars)

and David Prowse (drums/vox)

embody all of these things as Japandroids,

but this almost never came to


Japandroids formed in 2006, quickly

making a name for themselves in the

Vancouver music scene. They took a

DIY approach to nearly every aspect of

the band, even renting out their own

spaces and PA equipment to put on

their own shows. While recording their

debut album in the summer of 2008,

they had grown frustrated and felt

the band was going nowhere, so they

decided to quietly break up after they

released the record. On April 8, 2009

their debut album Post-Nothing was

released. Later that month Pitchfork

gave Post-Nothing a “Best New Music”

designation, and show offers from all

over the world started flowing in. In

2012 the band released the critically

acclaimed Celebration Rock and with it

came a new level of success.

It’s been five years since Celebration

Rock, and Japandroids are back with

their new record, Near to the Wild

Heart of Life. Last October, Japandroids

did a small warm up tour to get ready

for the release of the record, which

they kicked off with four shows at the

Cobalt in Vancouver, all of which sold

out. BeatRoute caught up with the

band after the second night of this

four-show stretch.

Meeting up with King and Prowse

at the Café Brixton, within seconds of

For Brian King and David Prowse, growing up is part of the job.

sitting down it is apparent they are excited

to be playing shows again. These

Vancouver shows were the first shows

after a three-year live hiatus. After the

final show of the Celebration Rock tour,

Prowse remained in Vancouver while

King split his time between Toronto,

where he had recently moved, and

Mexico City, where his girlfriend lived.

“We recorded Post-Nothing then

toured for a year and half on that record.

And as soon as we got home

we began work on Celebration Rock.

So from the time of Post-Nothing it

was…” King pauses to think about it,

“Five years. Those five years it was all

Japandroids, all the time.”

In those five years between 2008-

2013 the band played over 500 shows,

toured through 44 countries and released

two critically acclaimed albums.

It was time for a short break.

“We were dedicating some time to

fixing our personal lives, for once. Being

like, ‘I need some time to get my

shit together,’” says King. “When you’re

travelling and working that much, your

personal life is going to get destroyed.

So we needed a bit of time to figure

things out.”

The band apparently didn’t need

that much time though. After a short

six month break, they decided to start

writing again. King says that while writing

Celebration Rock, things were going

slow so they decided to shake things up

by moving to Nashville. The experience

worked out incredibly well for them, so

they decided to try it again for the new


After spending six weeks in New

Orleans, the guys went back to their

respective homes, getting back together

every month or so, playing musical

chairs with cities, bouncing between

Vancouver, Toronto and Mexico City.

King said the experience was very positive

and inspiring for the band, but

it wasn’t very time efficient. He notes

that five years is a long absence, but it

didn’t bother him at all.

“I think [time] is less important to us.

The goal when we write songs and record

them is to do something we think

is better than what we did before. So as

we were writing, after awhile it just became

‘it takes however long it takes,’”

says King with a shrug.

Long time fans of the band will

find all the familiar Japandroids hallmarks

on Near to The Wild Heart of

Life. Anthemic fist-pumping choruses,

woooahhhhh’s & ahhhhhh’s singalongs,

youthful vitality, nostalgia and

catchy, memorable riffs. There is just

more of it this time. On the record you

will hear synthesizers, acoustic guitars

and experimentation with production

techniques. These were all the results of

experiments in the studio and the two

could not be happier with how it went.

“This is the first time we’ve done recording

not trying to emulate the live

band set up. Once we opened that

door, the possibilities were endless.

We just decided to go with whatever

sounded best and figure out the live

thing later,” says Prowse.

Previously, the band had a strict

rule when they approached the studio

- only guitars, drums and vocals with

minimal overdubs. They wanted to

achieve a “raw, live” sound with those

records, according to King.

“Our early EPs were an attempt at

that and it was refined on Post-Nothing

and it was refined to the point where

we perfected it, the sound for our

band, on Celebration Rock. We did it!”

says King with an emphatic pause. “This

time we decided to try a new thing…

to me this is like 2.0 or something like

that. The start of something new.”

One of Japandroids’ early breakout

songs was “The Boys are Leaving

photo: ???

Town,” and King says the song was

“about something that [we] wanted to

happen. And after Post-Nothing, it did

happen.” Now, Japandroids are making

their triumphant return to their hometown.

The band has played countless

shows in Vancouver, but this particular

homecoming brings something new,

the duo’s first show at the prestigious

Commodore Ballroom.

“It seems ridiculous to be playing the

Commodore,” says Prowse, still sounding

in disbelief. King chimes in after

him, “yeah, when you’re growing up

here, the Commodore, that’s where the

“big” bands play. And when you’re a local

band here, to play the Commodore,

that’s the dream. To play the Commodore

is like playing Madison Square

Garden when you’re a local band here.”

Japandroids perform at the Commodore

Ballroom on March 25

H: INVISIBILITY. I just watched The Incredibles

(one of my fav Disney movies) and Violet’s powers

in the movie are so sick. It would be nice to be able

to sneak into a room or walk around naked and no

one know.

BR: What is next for Hayleau?

H: Who knows. I have so many ideas and goals that

I’m putting in motion for the year. Definitely new

music within the next few weeks. I just started

shooting a show that will be on Netflix next year

that I'm super excited about.

Vancouver singer and actress, Hayleau, is getting a chance to go to everyone’s favorite high school.

The Hayleau EP is out now and Riverdale is

streaming on Netflix

4 March 2017

March 2017 MUSIC



anger management with a atouch of pan flute

photo by Dustin Rabin


Anger has long been a driving force in

punk rock music, but in order to carve

out a 15 year career like Toronto’s

Fucked Up have, you’re going to need

more than just anger to bring to the table.

With their upcoming release of Year

Of the Snake (the eighth release in the

Zodiac series) and touring in celebration

of their first album Hidden Worlds,

Fucked Up have always managed to mix

forward thinking music and anger in

equal measure.

“We've always been a project interested

in trying to do different things.

We will always be a hard punk band, but

we all like different types of music and

ideas,” says lead guitarist Mike Haliechuk.

“The last record we did has a pan

flute on it so like, maybe we're almost

at the end of what we can experiment


That said, their new release still endeavors

to take their sound to uncharted

territories. He continues, “It’s more

on the experimental side for those 12"

(releases). It starts out hard, then gets

really trippy. It’s about psychedelics and

rebirth, real hippy shit.” This trend for

pushing their sound will likely continue.

“The next one is “[Year of the] Horse”,

which we have a demo for, it’s gonna

be an album length song in a bunch of

different movements, like a symphony

or something. Right now it’s like 50 minutes.

It’s very epic.”

Despite trying new things, Fucked Up

aren’t against celebrating their past. As

drummer Jonah Falco describes, “Right

now we're in the middle of celebrating

the 10 year anniversary of Hidden World

so we're touring that record in full. It's

something we never would have done

as a project ten years ago, although we

did do it once around the time of its release.”

With all the years spent playing as

a band, refining the evolution of their

sound, the live show remains pretty

much in the same space as when they

began. As Falco puts it, “The Fucked

Up live show was kind of fully formed

really early on in the band —vocalist

connecting with the audience, and the

band trying to create the most interesting

context for that to happen in. We've

just gotten more proficient at playing,

and maybe better at tuning.”

There’s been a lot of talk in music circles

about how the current political climate

is ripe for a punk resurgence. That

Fucked Up keep looking to the stars and so their Zodiac series continues with Year of the Snake.

political anger will somehow translate

into a newfound relevance for the anger

that punk and hardcore has brought to

the table. Falco sees this as missing the


“Attributing political energy and new

found dedication to punk music at the

hands of a lot of potential misery seems

opportunistic and also nearsighted.

Punk never disappeared and neither did

those people that chose to steer independent

music communities toward

ground level involvement in real political


Fifteen years in, that punk rock anger

can be hard to keep up. Families and

other pressures can alter or change that

anger. For some punk bands, getting old

means giving in. For Fucked Up though,

because they definitely have more to offer,

aren’t close to quitting yet.

“Maybe anger isn't or wasn't always

the motivation that made us work. It

definitely greased the gears, but I think

Fucked Up has always been about

exploration and working within the

framework we know best to push that,”

Falco says. “In that sense, we're not that

tired at all.”

Fucked Up perform March 19 at

the Cobalt.


a life in poptimism

Elvis Depressedly takes a sober stab at the Top 40 ladder


It's tempting to group Elvis Depressedly

in with a wave of nihilistic American DIY

bands that rose up along with Bandcamp

via Tumblr blogs and #lofi. If you

get to the Q & A that's been ongoing on

social media between Elvis Depressedly's

Mat Cothran and anyone who'll ask,

you get the impression of someone extremely

honest and occa

sionally fed up with some bullshit that

fits perfectly with someone who writes

songs about the ugliness of the world.

Speaking to him re-contextualizes everything.

There's a distinct excitement

and passion in how he sees the future of

Elvis Depressedly for both himself and

bandmate Delaney Mills.

There's certainly reason to be excited.

In 2015, after six years and eight releases

spread over three projects (the

other two being Cothran solo projects-

Coma Cinema and Mathew Lee Cothran),

Elvis Depressedly released their

label debut on Run For Cover Records,

New Alhambra. It's a richly textured record

that adds a discernible complexity

to the Elvis Depressedly catalogue with

the addition of samples and less traditional

song structures to the already

enticing pallet of manipulated vocals,

entropic personal lyrics and deliberate

out of the box production choices.

It was quite a departure compared

to what many would look to as their

breakthrough record, Holo Pleasures,

which was Elvis Depressedly's take on

shoegaze. After seeing how much the

out of print 7” was going for on the

secondary market, they saw an opportunity

to re-release the record in 2016

as a full length with the addition of California

Dreamin', a collection of songs

cast aside during the original recording

sessions that Cothran and Mills revisited.

While songs like “Slipped” have a

bit of New Alhambra in them, Cothran

tried to stay honest to the spirit of the

2013 Holo Pleasures recordings by deliberately

recording things “the wrong

way.” When asked about this purposeful

backtracking, Cothran elaborated, “It

was definitely kinda weird to go back,

because I do see Elvis Depressedly as a

band where I want clarity and I want

digitalism. Our goal is top 40. So going

back to that fuzz and mystery was

strange, but still fun.”

These chart topping aspirations may

come as a surprise but in Mills and Cothran's

eyes, Elvis Depressedly was always

a pop band.

“If it doesn't it's not a big deal, cuz it's

a pipe dream anyway, but if it does it'll

be like anything else I thought would

never happen but happened anyway.”

These pipe dreams come true include

touring outside of the US with UK dates

last summer, an upcoming Euro tour, as

well as being able to subsist off of revenue

from their music; an element of stability

that Cothran attributes to allow

him to tackle his current sobriety.

The clarity sobriety has afforded Cothran

is reflected in his latest record, Judas

Hung Himself in America, released

under Mathew Lee Cothran. The record

was the last hurrah for the old DIY recording

equipment Cothran had been

using to make music since day one. It

also highlights his pop ambitions with

new vocal processing obviously inspired

by the Billboard hits he sees himself

among. In anticipation of the release,

Cothran reflects, “It's going to be interesting

I think. That'll be like the first

swing at the plate, and the next thing

I'm hoping for is the home run. But if

not, I'll get it on the third swing for sure.

I get three you know!”

Elvis Depressedly performs March

23 at The Biltmore Ballroom (all



March 2017



all around the world and back again


The Courtneys


a weekend-long


with local producer

Jordan Koop at his Noise

Floor Recording Studio in

fall 2012, they had no agenda

beyond capturing a handful

of their songs. They certainly

never anticipated that the resulting

debut album, 2013’s The Courtneys,

would become an underground sleeper

hit, turning the trio of singer-drummer Jen

Twynn Payne, bassist Sydney Koke and guitarist

Courtney Loove into one of Vancouver’s

most hotly tipped indie pop exports.

“It surprised me,” remembers Jen, speaking

with BeatRoute in Moja Coffee on Commercial

Drive. “We had no expectations. We just

wanted to record the songs we had. And then

it took us quite far.”

So how did The Courtneys, who first formed in

2010, become so unexpectedly successful? Sydney,

reached on the phone at her current home

base in Strasbourg, France, cites “the moment

that changed everything for us” as an article by

Pitchfork, when the publication included them

in a feature about under-the-radar bands.

The added exposure meant that accomplishments

came quickly. The album sold out of three

consecutive vinyl pressings through Vancouver-based

label Hockey Dad Records, buzz band

Wavves tweeted lyrics from the single “90210,”

and the group scored deals to release and distribute

the album internationally. They also landed

high-profile opening gigs touring with Tegan

and Sara and Mac DeMarco, respectively. (Jen

is Tegan and Sara’s cousin, and she previously

played in DeMarco’s old band Makeout Videotape.)

The lengthy 2014 tour with Tegan and Sara

was a particularly pivotal moment for the threepiece.

“Touring with a bigger band, you learn a

lot from them,” Jen says. “It’s like a business,

how they run their crew, and then getting to

play these big venues.” Suddenly, The Courtneys

found themselves playing in front of crowds of

thousands in prestigious theatres and ballrooms

throughout the United States.

Sydney recalls, “It was sort of like rock ‘n’ roll

camp. They gave us a lot of advice on how to

prepare our tech rider and how to talk to sound

people, because we didn’t have our own sound


This professional advice has been valuable for

The Courtneys as they rise in the music industry:

Not only do they often face on-stage technical

difficulties due to having a drummer for a lead

singer, their all-female lineup sometimes attracts

patronizing scorn from mansplaining sound

guys. Sydney points out, “We’re this really basic

three-piece band who are all girls, so of course

the way that the technicians treated us sometimes

was totally great and other times was with

quite a bit of suspicion. We had to figure out how

to act confident and know what we were talking

about to at least communicate how we wanted

to sound.”

As The Courtneys continued to rack up new

achievements, they booked a scattering of days

at Noise Floor Recording Studio. The drawnout


process took

place over the

course of years:

lead single “Lost

Boys” came out way

back in January 2014, but

the bulk of the new material

wasn’t laid down until spring

2015. These sessions have now

spawned the sophomore album, II,

which came out in February. (Both Jen

and Sydney clarify that, although the LP

is sometimes mislabeled as The Courtneys II,

the correct title is simply II. “The album title is

kind of a reference to Led Zeppelin and Mac De-

Marco,” Sydney says.)

With its wonderfully straightforward combination

of fuzzy slacker-rock guitars, luminescent

pop melodies and witty lyrics, II recaptures everything

that made The Courtneys so addictive.

But it’s also a more ambitious effort, with many

of the songs riding surging, hypnotic grooves that

become more engrossing with each listen.

Opener “Silver Velvet” is a chugging, pastel-tinted

daydream that begins the album with

squeals of feedback and the blissed-out opening

lyrics, “The day is getting shady / Laying in the

aisle / There’s nothing in this life to do / But stay

here for a while.” The seven-minute “Lost Boys”

contains quirky lyrics about a “vampire teenage

boyfriend” and ends in an extended jam that

highlights guitarist Courtney’s stormy fretwork,

while “Tour” climaxes with euphoric refrains of

“It’s time for us to let go / Slack off and hit the

open road.”

Jen points out that these new songs are more

emotionally complex than the band’s past work,

describing the process of writing lyrics as “my

therapy.” Although some songs are about goofy

subjects like aliens (“Mars Attacks”) or a love for

television (“Virgo”), others concern relationships

and other autobiographical matters.

“On the first album, everyone was stuck on

saying that we were a summer band, and it was

beach-y and summery,” she says. “We have that

sound, but I read this review yesterday that was

saying that the songs [on II] were kind of sad. That

made me really happy. Oh my god, they get it!

They don’t sound sad, but they are in a way. They



than what is

first apparent.”

The album came out on

Flying Nun Records, an iconic New

Zealand label that has long been an

inspiration for the group. Sydney explains

that The Courtneys had offers from larger Canadian

companies who could have helped with

grant applications and commercial wheeling and

dealing, but they ended up choosing Flying Nun

for its distinct indie aesthetic.

“It actually just makes sense for us to be on Flying

Nun because our music sounds like the other

bands on that label,” she says. “Even though

it wasn’t going to be as good for our monetary

music industry career choices, we had to do what

makes sense for the actual music that we make

and what seems like it’s going to be the most fun

for us.” She adds that the band’s music is particularly

well received in New Zealand, making it a

logical choice for them to team with a Kiwi label.

With the album available now and already

receiving enthusiastic reviews, The Courtneys

are preparing for a North American headlining

tour that will kick off with a Vancouver show

on March 14. After the tour, their next move is

unclear: These days, the band members all live in

different countries, with Jen based in Vancouver,

Sydney in France, and Courtney in Los Angeles.

They all work jobs outside of the music industry

and have no intentions to pursue the band fulltime.

“Our whole thing is kind of that we don’t

have a career,” Sydney observes.

Photo by Andrew Volk



they’ve made an

album that they regard as

timeless. Although they continue

to embrace inspirations like ‘90s alt-rock

and Kiwi indie pop, II is much more than simply

the sum of its influences.

“I don’t know if we totally care what other

people think about the record, but I do think

that we all really like it,” Sydney reflects. “I’ll

be proud of that forever, and the validation of

it being released on Flying Nun is really, really

satisfying for me. I feel great about it and I

think the others do too. If people like it and

we get more opportunities in our lives because

of that, that’s really cool, but it’s hard to know

what opportunities we will accept and what

we’ll do next. We just have no plans and that’s

how it’s always been.”

The Courtneys perform on March 14 at

the Biltmore and on April 11 at the Cobalt

March 2017 MUSIC



Moon DUO

the perfect pair bring on a third and enter a fourth orbit


Sixteenth Century English dramatist

Francis Beaumont wrote, “only love

and the moon can make a dog growl

in rhyme.” Now time may have paraphrased

the renaissance playwright’s

words, but rest assured the original

text was equally romantic.

Beaumont’s words find dawn in

the work of two-piece Portland electro-eclipse-rockers

Moon Duo. The

group’s beating heart is a couple —

guitarist Ripley Johnson and keyboard

player Sanae Yamada — who have

crafted a haunting mix of rhythms into

a unique minimalist spellbound sound.

The pair have just reached outer orbits

with their fourth release, Occult Architecture.

“When we started it was just Ripley

(Johnson) the guitar player and myself,

we wanted to give ourselves the limitation

of two people to see what we

can do within that framework, see how

much noise we can generate,” says Yamada.

The most obvious evolution between

Occult Architecture and their


brotherly love and divine happenstance


previous records is that Moon Duo is

now a trio, puling drummer John Jeffrey

into their gravity.

Jeffrey came into the studio and laid

his drum tracks onto material the core

pair had already composed. According

to Yamada, this dynamic encouraged

the band to evolve in new directions.

Still, the tides remain the same.

Over three previous albums and extensive

tours of North America and Europe,

Moon Duo find harmony in their

shared passion for celestial bodies, and

draw inspiration from the far away

matters of time and space for their

minimalist, entrancing tunes.

“It’s (the moon) this distant thing

but it has this influential relationship

over the natural forces of the earth, the

tides, gravity,” Yamada says. In short,

it’s got a pull to it. The live show exploits

and tricks the senses, combining

crafted visuals with the all encompassing

fullness of the dark, filling the room

with the absence of light.

While the thematic motif of the

band’s lyrics usually draws from the

On the Marquee Stage, August 29th 2015, the brothers Kerns and

the brothers Dahle plugged in on the same stage as Age of Electric

for the first time in 17 years and the pop that shot through the stacks

was apparently heard across the nation. It pretty short order after the

house lights went up that night, interest came from all corners for the

band to do more live shows; and divine luck would have it, they just

happened to have some new music in the cannon just waiting to go.

“It’s such a fascinating turn of events, every time I go to talk about

photo by Howard Wise

Age of Electric steps out after a two-decade hiatus and brings with them some pretty new goodies.

Moon Duo bring a unique Architecture to the art of the tides with their fourth release.

supernatural, political upheaval in

the US has helped to shape the tone,

and the emotion of this most recent,

often darker work. “Art is inevitably a

social statement. Perhaps the political

climate is so extreme and unusual

photo by Alicia Atout

this it seems more surreal,” laments guitarist/vocalist Todd “Dammit”

Kerns, who is currently in LA and enjoying being Slash’s bass guitar


After what Kerns describes as a “passive aggressive” split in 1998,

AOE went off and did their own things. Though Kerns admits that

he and guitarist Ryan Dahle remained in close contact, often writing

music together on the side. This new music started to really take

shape and it wasn’t long before they started to get that old familiar

that it’s almost impossible to avoid it

filtering into whatever you are doing,”

says Yamada. “I’m horrified and, like

many other people, I’m still reeling. It

may take years before we actually see

the fallout and know what we’re trying

to say.”

Till then, I guess we’ll have to settle

for a howl at the moon.

Moon Duo perform at the Cobalt

on March 4.

ache for the stage.

“We were just kind of like ‘Hey we still do this pretty well together’,”

Kerns says.

And then, as they say, it just sort of happened.

Culminating with the approach of the 20th Anniversary of their

monster hit, and last release before the split, Make a Pest a Pet, the

decision was made to not only release the four new tracks they had

in the can as an EP (The Pretty EP released February 17) but also a

remastered 2 LP vinyl reissue with bonus tracks of Pest a Pet on the

same day; and a Canadian tour to support both.

“All that stuff just kind of seemed to fall from the sky at once. In

the eleventh hour I kept expecting it to fall apart. It’s like picking out

a china pattern with a girlfriend y’know? You’re thinking ‘I dunno, are

we ready for this?”

As with any situation where things get revisited after 20 years,

there have been some surprises in the shows played live insofar as

which songs seem to have blossomed during the hiatus. Kerns has noticed

a large following for the set opener, the bratty and relentless bit

of perfect 90s alternative that is “Motor” from their self-titled 1995

album. Kerns acknowledges that when the album came out the band

had so much to prove that their trajectory prevented them from

standing with the release too long.

“That music didn’t really have a chance to…I dunno, ripen? I guess?”

he laughs. “Those songs have been planted for 20 years, some for over

20 years, and its interesting to see what they have become out there.

And the only way to see what they have become is to play them on

stage and see the reaction.”

An impressive history for a band with two sets of brothers. Defying

the odds of what normally happens when family spends that much

time together (cough, Oasis, cough) the amicability of this band

keeps the music hooky but authentic, nostalgically 90’s yet refreshingly

new (as evident with the rolling and rumbling catchy strummer

“Show Me Your Weakness” from the Pretty EP which sounds like it

would fit right in streaming out an open window at Easy Eye Studio).

But just in case, Kerns has his own technique for any disagreements:

“The finishing and starting move would be [brother and bassist]

John Kerns, I’d be that guy in the corner with a Slurpee saying “kick

his ass, man!”

Age of Electric perform at the Commodore Ballroom (Vancouver)

on March 24.


supporting women in our backyard with the freedom of jazz


“Perhaps Atira chose jazz as a genre because

in it there is great freedom,” remarks Karin

Plato, artist liaison of Strong Women Strong

Music, an event produced as a celebration of

International Women’s Day and as a fundraiser

for Arita Women’s Resource Society.

Atira is a not-for-profit women’s advocacy

organization and one of the biggest providers

of social housing in Vancouver. Longevity

has lent itself both to SWSM and Atira; the

society began with projects and transition

homes in 1984. Strong Women Strong Music

started 11 years ago as a one-night affair, but

with the additional support of Vancouver’s

Coastal Jazz and Blues Society the fundraiser

has expanded to three separate evenings

and more musicians.

Plato has been involved in the event from

day one, performing as a vocalist and coordinating

the lineup.

“Certain years some of the artists don’t

know each other before the concert takes

place. It’s a lovely way to make new connections

and collaborate to share the music.

This is particularly true when we combine

experienced older artists with some of the

upcoming younger women artists who may

not have met before,” she says.


is dad rock still dad rock if it’s cool?

Born from the ashes of Owl Field Recordings,

the lads of Wind-Up Birds bring a

breezy blend of jazz, funk and pop that is

both familiar and refreshing. Guitarist and

vocalist Sam Willett points to Mac DeMarco

as a rallying point for the band in their

embrace of cheesy retro pop with distinctively

modern sensibilities. “He’s doing stuff

that people might not consider cool but

he’s making it cool,” Willett explains. “We

all like that kind of music. We like Steely

Dan. We like Paul McCartney. We like dad

rock. It’s groovy, it’s funky and we thought

it would be nice to incorporate that into a

band and play.”

Spend enough time with Wind-Up Birds

and an endearment for the nostalgic yesteryear

is palpable. A discussion of their

penchant for the retro evolved into an interesting

conversation of the relationship

between dad rock and vaporwave. “There

are always people that are looking back at

what people did before, sort of retro stuff,

and wanting to incorporate that into their

own art, be it photography, film, or music,”

says Willett. “We like that mixing of aesthetics.

That’s what vaporwave does really

well, is it mixes this diverse bunch of weird

aesthetics together to make a new one.”

Wind-Up Birds first full-length, Casual

Music Album, is a labour of love for the

quartet. Recorded in Willett’s living room

with a plethora of handcrafted and borrowed

equipment, the process, from Willett’s

perspective, went better than anyone

in the band could have expected. What

was both a cost-saving and creative-control

measure promises to be an anticipated local

release for 2017.

Coinciding with Atira’s values of inclusive

feminism, the music takes its own form

through improvisation with different pairings

of musicians, including upcoming artists

as well as some other experienced jazz

artists who may not have been involved in

previous years. This makes it interesting and

fresh for everyone involved and hopefully

aids in making an enjoyable experience for

the audience, especially if they come every

year to support Atira.

One of the challenges Atira faces is the

inevitable growth in the numbers of women

who continue to need help in Vancouver.

“Last year approximately half of the women

and their children needing support were

able to receive assistance. Through the year,

various fundraising events help bring awareness

to the need in our city,” says Plato.

With these growing numbers, an understanding

of the unique issues women might

face that force them to ask for help is critical.

International Women’s Day deserves attention,

which is what Strong Women Strong

Music delivers in their message.

Strong Women Strong Music 2017

takes place March 69 at Frankie’s

Jazz Club

When women need their voice more than ever, SWSM gives us all that and then some.

Wind-Up Birds are anything but weekend warriors, but they do dig on some Casual Music.


Along with their upcoming release show,

the band already is ready to start recording

again in the late spring and summer, with

seven to eight new songs written. “Our philosophy

is, we don’t know how long we’re

going to be able to play together as a band.

We’ve all got school and various commitments

so we want to make the most of

what we’ve got,” says Willett. “We’ve been

lucky that we’ve been able to play lots of

shows and we’ve been able to meet lots of

cool bands and cool people. We’ve been

able to put out T-shirts and tapes, which I

don’t think any of us have been able to do

in any other band. We’re just trying to make

the most of it.”

Wind-Up Birds play 333 on March 19

with Kai Bravewood, Wax Cowboy,

and Dear Rabbit


management in the trenches


With multiple barriers facing musicians

trying to make it and find

their way in an ever increasing

complex industry, having experienced,

passionate people to help

you navigate the waters can make

all the difference.

Enter Vancouver's Savannah

Wellman and Meaghan Davidson

who have recently launched Tiny

Kingdom Music; an artist management

and administration company

focusing on diversifying the

status quo management structure

to provide artists with choices and

levels of support in order to maximize

the number of musicians

they can support in the areas they

need it the most. Both Wellman

and Davidson left their long time

positions at Music BC to branch

out on their own and take all they

had learned and the connections

they have made in order to move

from handing bands a suggested

road map to being able to jump

in the passenger seat for the ride.

“It was amazing at Music BC to

provide artists with the information

they needed to further their

careers, but then our involvement

would end,” explained Wellman.

“After doing that for a very long

time we felt the desire to roll up

our sleeves and become more

hands on.”

Walking through the steps herself

as a professional songwriter,

musician and performer, Wellman

understands firsthand what

roadblocks are in the way of artists

making their music a sustainable

career path and is passionate

about helping them find their own

way. “Traditional revenue sources

are not there anymore so it is

about learning how to figure out

other ways to financially survive in

the music industry,” says Wellman.

“In Canada and BC, there are funding

sources available but it can be

difficult figuring out how to access

them. We want to help the musicians

we believe in be seen as professionals

instead of hobbyists and

be taken seriously by the industry

while communicating effectively

with an audience. It's about developing

the whole package.”

As women in the industry, the

immediate response from female

musicians was somewhat of a

shock, yet not completely surprising

to Wellman. “A lot of women

musician friends called us immediately

to express how relieved

they were to finally be able to

have other women to turn to in

this capacity. I was torn between

being happy to be able to provide

needed help and sad that so many

had been feeling this way for a

long time, that they would need

a female rep to be taken seriously

and have respect. It is one more

barrier to overcome and we are

here to provide whatever support

we can.”

As the two long-time friends

and colleagues begin this new career

path together, they are solid

in their vision and commitment

to the music they believe in. “The

idea of being a part of the career

of any one of the artists we love is

what excites us the most.”

photo by Scott Little

Davidson and Wellman leave MusicBC to rep local musicians.


March 2017

March 2017 MUSIC



refusing the repetition


Tuesdays: Cartems Donuterie on Main

I began my training circuit with Cartems Donuterie, where embarrassing

yourself in front of strangers is made easier by the

awaiting comfort food. But before I could rock the worlds of the

nine trepidatious attendees, someone played “Yellow” so I had

to leave. Still, I have love for the performers at Cartems—they’re

earnest and eager to improve, making this a great place to start


Performance length: 15 minutes

Performance quality: A for Effort

Things to note: When did donuts get so expensive?

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah first stole our hearts in

2005 with their self-titled debut, only growing bigger

over the years as hits like “The Skin of my Yellow

Country Teeth” and “Blue Turning Grey” appeared

on movie scores and became near-anthemic to

their fans. Now, over a decade later, they have released

their fifth album,The Tourist.

The sound is neither like nor unlike them. Frontman

Alec Ounsworth prides himself on aiming

for variation when songwriting, and yet there is a

distinct structure and dynamic that listeners can

continue to recognize the band by. It sounds like

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah as we know them, and

we’ve come to know them well. The patterns heard

on The Tourist are as apparent as the vivid variation.

Tracks like “Better Off” pay clear homage to

their signature style, percussively and lyrically. “A

Chance to Cure” sounds a little like Hail to the

Thief, and “The Vanity of Trying” incorporates a

melodic progression reminiscent of The National.

Some of the album’s edgier songs might even remind

one of Spencer Krug of Moonface and Wolf

Parade. The Tourist manages to blend, experiment

and dabble, all while remaining consistent.

After all, it is Ounsworth’s intention to both

honour himself artistically and to continue evolving.

“From one album to the next I’ve never set out

to do what I did on the last,” he says. “I make a conscious

effort to try not to repeat myself, from one

album to the next. I can't believe it when I hear a

band that makes an album and then makes the

next album and it basically sounds more or less

exactly the same. That to me doesn’t make a lot

of sense, except maybe from a marketing point

of view. To me, you’ve sort of got to stay on your

toes. If you're bored on stage, it’s going to come off.

One of the reasons I took a relatively long break

between the second and third album, I found it to

be a little taxing and I didn’t care to be dishonest

in front of people. So I needed to take some time

off to figure out how to be… how to like it again.”

Out of convenience, the band started out playing

in New York, a city with no shortage of variety

and venues, nor a shortage of critique and diverse

tastes. After all this time, engagement with audiences

has come to mean much more than recognition.

As a matter of fact, Ounsworth refers to recognition

as the “icing on the cake.” As the band’s

audience has become “more cult-ish and refined,”

according to him, this interaction has come to

mean something much more intuitive and has led

him to redefine success. To Ounsworth, this concept

simply translates into finishing a record and

being able to declare with pride that he has done

“everything he can do.”

After all, writing music seems to depend for him

a lot on authenticity, honesty, and laying all of his

cards out.

“I’ve been doing this for twelve years now, and

I’ve been writing songs for twenty, so I’m just used

to doing it in when I have something I need to say,”

Ounsworth says. “If you don't really have anything

to say then don't say anything at all. I think for this

particular one I had something to kind of get off

Wednesdays: The Drive Coffee Bar

After my cop-out at Cartems, I needed an incentive to show the

city what it really means to be a singer-songwriter. As a full-service

venue, The Drive Coffee Bar just so happens to be home to

some of my most encouraging friends, J. Daniels and J. Beam. The

best part: their “Vancouver Warmer-Upper” isn’t just a pre-performance

vocal exercise, but a beverage with four different kinds

of alcohol. Progress!

Performance length: 15 minutes

Performance quality: 3.5/5

Things to note: Don’t perform after three warmer-uppers.

my chest, and that’s often how the albums come

about. That’s how the first album happened, and

kept going for the five.”

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah perform March

18 at the Imperial (Vancouver).



Vancouver: a burgeoning metropolis of under-talented millennials, trying desperately to

allay their as-of-yet unsprouted careers as nouveau-mimes until they can break through to that

breathtaking borough of famous faces and endless sunsets, Venice Beach. Though I will staunchly

deny this statement’s veracity in person, I am one of such vaudeville vampires. And with my latest

mixtape drop barely nudging the needle on my SoundCloud plays, I was unsure of how to spread

my apparently unlistenable “jams”—until I discovered the open mic. Either I would sweep the

scene and catch my big break, or I would give up on my dreams and just become a doctor.

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah have developed music as a delicacy for a refined cult of a fan base

Illustration: Syd Danger

photo: ???

Thursdays: Café Deux Soleils

I thought open mic nights were my ally—until I came to Café

Deux Soleils. Turns out I merely adopted the mic—the “deuxers”

were born to it, molded by it. Not only is this place packed, you

need to show up early to put your name in a hat. I chose to throw

up in the bathroom instead, but I imagine if you pull off a tight

two-song set here, Def Jam calls and gives you a contract.

Performance length: 10 minutes

Performance quality: 4/5

Things to note: If you’re not chosen, don’t be upset—you’re

probably more of a listener anyway.


putting the accent on après



making a record of stank face worthy jams


If you want to be exceptionally good at something,

professionals say you need to have completed at

least 10,000 hours of whatever said thing is. If that’s

the case then Hawking has no doubt earned that

distinction; not only through their touring prowess,

but also their continuing willingness to adapt in the

face of adversity.

Following up their self-titled release from 2015,

the guys are keen to keep pushing their sound in

the direction they’ve chiseled for themselves, with

their first full-length release Diverge. Talking with

lead vocalist and guitarist Tom Vanderhoek, deeper

details arise of the band, and their upcoming album.

“It’s heavier, let’s just get that out of the way.

Actually, I say that and then I think about the softer

tracks including an acoustic one...We finally put in

some breakdowns though. Those are really fun.”

After announcing the album back in mid-November

the math rockers have been hard at work,

balancing tour life with a tight recording schedule,

“It’s a concentrated early-20s attitude from a bunch

of frustrated music nerds who wanted to make a

record full of good stank-face-worthy jams.” Similar

to their sound, the album title itself is a declaration

of their clear push in an aggressively original and

changing direction “It’s more self-explanatory than

my pretentious self would like to admit. We’re going

our own way with this record. We’re fed up with

Shred Kelly performs at Sugar Nightclub (Victoria) on March 23 and the Fox Cabaret (Vancouver) on

March 25.

Shred Kelly is the ultimate ski town band. So

much about how they came to be, who they are

and how they market themselves has always been

about deriving from Fernie, BC. The culture of

living and representing Fernie as a place continues

to influence their development as a band

as is explained by keyboardist and vocalist Sage

McBride, “Because our band was born out of the

party scene of a ski town, our music catered to

high energy sets because that was the driving

force behind the type of audience we were playing

to and it became what we are known for.”

Although this still rings true, the band has

expanded the dynamics of their live show over

the years as they have been exposed to different

types of venues that allow for and complement

changes in tempo in their set list. “Our musical

tastes are evolving and changing as we grow,”

shared McBride, “there are five of us and we pull

from our own personal influences to see what

sticks. We have been writing some softer songs

but we are mindful about what will fit into our

touring set while keeping the tempo up because

that is when we and the audience have the most


A mainstay on the Canadian touring circuit for

the past seven years, Shred Kelly have reached

a level of notoriety that now provides them a

certain amount of comfort and reliability when

it comes to the touring lifestyle, something they

came to appreciate when starting to break into

the European market last year. “We had our

second tour overseas this past fall in Germany,”

shared McBride. “We had forgotten what

it is like as an unknown touring band breaking

into someplace new. You are starting over again

and it is a challenge not having a consistent paycheck.”

However, the differences noted between

their early days touring in Canada compared to

their time in Germany were also clearly evident.

“When we were starting out as a band in Canada,

we would arrive for a show and there would be

no meal or drink tickets and we would be earning

a percentage of the cover at the door. In Germany,

although we weren't making a lot of money,

the venues hosted us so well with these incredible

food spreads everywhere we went and most

places arranged accommodation for us as well.

They really took care of us.”

Embarking on another BC tour this month,

Shred Kelly aren't taking for granted the fan base

they have built in their home province while continuing

to be surprised by what may meet them

at the next town they visit. “The towns we have

never played in before are always a blank slate

which is exciting, but what cotinues to scare me

most about touring is visiting the places we have

been before,” shared McBride. “That nervous anticipation

of being able to outdue ourselves never

goes away.”

Shred Kelly performs at Fox Cabaret in

Vancouver on March 25, 2017.

waiting for any scene or any industry to have a place

for us and we certainly have no intention of being

overly shy or polite about our efforts to pioneer one

for ourselves.”

Getting their start as an indie rock band in the

watered down Vancouver music scene was no easy

task for the group, but adapting is clear within their

skillset, and they were soon defining themselves

sonically on their own terms, “we embrace it. It’s

like we’re too heavy for the Indie crowd, not heavy

enough for the Metal and Hardcore crowd, too

Prog for the Punk crowd but too Punk to quit touring

and go get master’s degrees in music theory.”

With a planned six week run across North America,

beginning with Canadian Music Week in Toronto

in April and then heading down stateside before

they work their way back north along the coast,

there should be plenty of opportunity to catch

these highway stars when they roll into a town near

you, stacking those hours.

Catch Hawking’s album-release for “Diverge”

March 10 at The Rickshaw Theatre

With Diverge, Hawking carves out their own damn scene thankyouverymuch

photo: ???

















































































March 2017

March 2017 MUSIC











































Stop Petronas LNG! Defend Wild Salmon!



Carole Pope

and Rae Spoon




Annual WISE St. Paddy’s Day bash with

Shane’s Teeth

(Tribute to The Pogues)

Screaming Chickens Theatrical Society

Taboo Revue

Rose Cousins


Three For


WITH Blue Moon Marquee

AND The Burying Ground





Robt Sarazin Blake

Recitative album release show FEATURING Noah Walker

Youth Poetry

Slam Finals








WWW.WISEHALL.CA (604) 254-5858


cynicism with a smile


Sometimes light is best seen coming from a place

of darkness. For experimental indie-pop group

Why?’s songwriter Yoni Wolf, the darkness may

have come from an unnamed health scare he had

a few years ago. The light, however, can be seen in

their latest album Moh Lhean. Their sixth studio

album, and first to be released in four years, takes

the sarcastic edge off of their melancholic and hip

hop infused indie sound and replaces it with a

more hopeful tone.

“I think there was a lot of cynicism to some of

the older stuff, [but] I always said it with a smile,”

explains Wolf. “I’ve always had a bit of a darkness

and I made light of it all of those years. I’m trying

to dig out of it and working on being a little more


While much of the talk online centers around

the album as a return from their four year hiatus

since Mumps, Etc, in fact they’ve been working

on the album on and off for even longer. “It does

feel like a long time working on this project, I have

to be honest about that,” Wolf says. “One of the

songs I [actually] wrote in 2010, so technically

[the album was] started in 2010, if you want to

back that far. But you know, you have to let things

marinate and all that.” The hiatus narrative also

obscures the fact that he’s released a number of

other projects over that time, including a collaborative

album with rapper Serengeti called Yoni

& Geti.

Why? originally made a name for themselves

in the early 2000s as part of experimental indie

rap collective Anticon. Their current indie rock

sound reveals past influences with touches of

rap cadence filtered through an electronic sound

collage. The result can be labeled as either ramshackle

or precisely meticulous. To Wolf, it’s a little

bit of both. “Certain elements are very spur of

the moment, and certain things are meticulously

labored over. I think it just depends,” he says. “Everything

is pretty scrutinized.” Is he a perfectionist?

“I think so. My brother (Josiah Wolf, who is

also in the band) is as well, about different things.”

As to the writing process, “It’s a mystery. I’m

sure some people know that about themselves.

I don’t know [everything] about myself or my

process. It’s always different. Sometimes I’ll think

I’m dried up and have nothing left in me then it

dawns on me and it’s like, ‘I have something left

in me!’ It’s a mysterious process. You just have to

follow it when you know it.”

While the prospect of an upcoming tour is

daunting psychologically, it’s a necessary in today’s

music industry. “I used to make a living off

selling records, and I can’t do that anymore. I

make a living off touring [because] that’s how it is

now. It’s hard on my mind and body but I do enjoy

it.” This seems part and parcel to the artists more

optimistic outlook. “I’m pretty good. I’m trying to

be more [of a] positive person. Let the light shine

in and all that. I’m always working on it, everyone

is. If they’re not [then] they probably should be.”

Catch Why? live at Venue March 25 and

pick up their new album Moh Lhean out

March 3 on Joyful Noise.

Positivity takes the wheel when it comes to releasing a new album and touring with Why?


versatility in motion with hooks to spare


Nü Religion is here to empower a new voice and send ripples into the shifting tides

Just a few years into their careers at

THEY., Dante Jones and Drew Love

first met back in 2013 after they moved

to Los Angeles to work in the music

industry from Denver and Washington,

DC respectively. Connecting at a

core level in regards to music, the two

quickly became thick as thieves and

later released their first project as a

duo; an EP dubbed Nü Religion.

Creating truly genreless music anchored

by contemporary R&B, Jones

and Love grew up on a steady diet of

everything from punk to rock, pop,

80s R&B and soul. In addition to cosigns

received from major artists like

Bryson Tiller and Timbaland, THEY.

are positioned to be one of the most

versatile projects of our generation.

The strength of their said versatility

cannot be better demonstrated than

with their first official collaboration

with EDM heavyweights ZHU and

Skrillex on the track “Working For It.”

As unlikely as the partnership looked

on paper, the track came together perfectly

and drew core parallels between

the seemingly opposite genres of modern

EDM and hip hop.

“I feel like this generation kind of

split off into like one set of people

who really likes EDM and the people

who like hip hop,” Jones said over the

phone, thinking out loud. “But I think

now you can go to a rap show or a rap

festival and [see that] they're reacting

and jumping and bouncing around

like it's an EDM festival. I think [both

genres] take a lot from each other

and that the lines are getting a little

bit blurred at this point. Whether it's

EDM bass or 808 trap music, you're

gonna see the same reaction.”

With obvious nods to punk and

rock in their music, many would assume

that the duo is trying to revive

an arguably dying genre. “I think that

the term ‘rock and roll is dead’ has

been thrown around numerous times

throughout history,” Jones laments.

“But it's not necessarily like we're trying

to revive rock, it's just that we have

so many influences that incorporating

a lot of that stuff was a natural development

for us. You know I've been

making guitar driven music for as long

as I can remember, so I think it was just

a natural thing for us.”

Transitioning to the current oversaturation

of the North American

EDM scene, Love added, “I think what

EDM did [for music] was that it kind

of changed people’s expectations for

song structure. Where you know, back

in the day it was all about the hook.

But now it's more about creating a

moment whether it is like a vocal hook

or if it's more like a drop. That's something

that we always kind of have in

our approach whether it's a song like

‘Back It Up’ where the actual hook

is really more like an EDM drop. So I

think while the [EDM] scene itself may

be dying out, some of the influences as

far as song structure and the way people

listen to music is still gonna be like

carried over into wherever the next

wave of music is.”

photo by Alexander photo: Black ???

With a new album titled Nü Religion:

Hyena just released on Mind of

a Genius Records, the duo is looking

towards empowering likeminded artists

with the Nü Religion movement. “I

know a lot of people when they first

heard the EP, were definitely thinking

that they had an idea for what our

sound was gonna be,” Love mentioned.

“But each song is [going to be] different

on the album from start to finish.

Each song has its own unique flair to it

and I think [while the album] follows

a story and follows a sonic path, each

song will still different.”

“In addition to releasing our album

and doing our tour, I'm [also] really

excited to be trying our best to create

opportunities to empower other

people that are trying to do the same

thing [we are],” added Jones. “The Nü

Religion is an empowerment movement

and all we're trying to do is we're

embrace other musicians.

“I think we're in a really interesting

place,” added Love. “[With] urban music's

position in the world and also how

we're kind of in a transitional place as

far as what's going on in the world politics

wise and with racial tension and

everything. I definitely feel like there's

room for a different voice, and really

that's what we're trying to do is fill the

void and give an alternative to the music

that's out right now.”

THEY. perform at Alexander Gastown

March 8th.


your month measured in BPMs

vanessa tam


“I hope it snows a little more, I love seeing snow in the city when it’s supposed

to be spring,” said no one ever. Instead, let’s pool our collective energy into

generating longer days full of sunshine and chiller nights full of the best electronic

and hip hop concert picks for the month of March.

The Internet

March 16 @ Alexander Gastown

Based in Los Angeles, The Internet was formed by Odd Future members Syd

tha Kyd and Matt Martians. Their three studio albums, Purple Naked Ladies,

Feel Good, and Ego Death, showcase Syd’s raw natural talent as a singer and

the undeniable synergy the band cultivates when performing together.


March 18 @ The Vogue Theatre

Around the same time dubstep hit it’s peak in North America back in 2009,

Datsik started producing and releasing music on the internet from his bedroom

in Kelowna, BC. Armed with his signature bone shaking bass and devastating

drops, Datsik quickly developed a strong fan base and continues to

collaborate and perform with international artists like Steve Aoki, Wu-Tang

Clan, Diplo, Skream and more.

Black Atlass

March 20 @ The Biltmore Cabaret

Hailing from Montreal and signed to A-Track’s Fools Gold Records, Black Atlass

is the creation of singer, songwriter, producer and overall creative Alexander

Fleming. Completely fluent in piano, guitar, drums, bass, trumpet as well as

every aspect of sampling and music production, Fleming’s hauntingly beautiful

falsetto is what really gives his work that special edge that makes it instantly

recognizable as Black Atlass.

Isaiah Rashad

March 22 @ Fortune Sound Club

Signed to Kendrick Lamar’s Top Dawg Entertainment record label, Isaiah Rashad

is a hip hop recording artist, singer, songwriter and record producer from

Chattanooga, Tennessee. Flexing a smooth and laid back flow over downtempo

instrumentals, Rashad delivers his messages with thoughtful precision and


Isaiah Rashad

photo by Justin Hogan

14 BPM

March 2017

March 2017 BPM



Vallis Alps

sharing the love across every timezone


making your influences invincible


bringing everyone in to the same wavelength, cause: music




Imagine travelling halfway across the world for a volunteering

experience and meeting someone there that

shared the same beliefs, visions, and musical tastes as

you. Imagine being told that in a couple years time, you

two would have created a cohesive piece of musical

work, which would top music charts and result in you

playing at major festivals and selling out shows. That’s

sort of how it went for Vallis Alps.

“It was honestly a magical experience,” said Parissa

Tosif, vocalist and one half of the electronic dream pop

duo Vallis Alps, telling the story of how her and her producer

counterpart David Ansari first met and created

their first songs together back in 2015.

While Tosif is from Canberra, Australia, Ansari hails

from Seattle in the United States and together the band

is based in Australia. The pair met while volunteering in

the Bahá'í World Centre in Haifa, Israel. After returning

to their own homes, they continued sending each other

music. Ansari, at the time, was interning at Deep Well

Studio in the middle of the woods in Washington. At

the same time, Tosif was taking time off school to focus

on music and decided to take a risk and visit Ansari in

Seattle. Good fortune blessed the pair again when they

were given the opportunity of recording at Deep Well.

A month later, they completed four songs which lead

to the release of their first self-titled EP a year and a half


Their first single, “Young,” plays like a drowsy electro

pop melody as Tosif sings dolefully about the passage

of time and how it favors the young. Their debut EP, a

euphoric five track work of art, features Tosif with her

voice of milk and honey and Ansari’s ethereal production


With the promise of a new EP on the horizon, their

latest single “Fading” is the first taste of music from the

pair in almost two years. Combining Tosif’s tender vocals

with David Ansari’s uplifting production, “Fading”

was another infectious track that delighted their fans.

“The people we meet, our families, our struggles and

joys, our faith, the mysteries of our world and the events

taking place at this point in history are only some of the

inspiration for Vallis Alps’ lyrics,” says Tosif. “The new

EP [Fable] is conceptually based around the idea that

we wanted to snapshot where we are at this [particular]

moment in our lives. We wanted to give ourselves a

few concepts to remember for when we get older. That's

kind of how the name ‘Fable’ came about - little snippets

or stories that can be carried forward. Each song

has a different meaning, and story - but they all fit within

that overarching purpose.”

Vallis Alps is paying it forward by releasing the stems

of their music on their website. “We wanted to share

our stems because we feel like in this day and age, the

building blocks for every project - whether it be artistic,

scientific, mathematic - whatever field, should be accessible

for all to see and use,” Tosif explains. “We have

learnt so much from other people, from them explaining

what goes into their final product, that we felt it

would be cool to show people what we've learnt about

making a song.”

After hitting up North American destinations they’ll

be returning to their home base to continue performing.

The Australian leg of their tour has expanded to

meet further demands. “It's honestly such a privilege

to be able to meet the people that listen to our music.

Fans can expect our new songs, our old, and hanging

out with us two!” reveals Tosif. Ansari adds, “This tour

has a lot of firsts - we’re performing our new EP in it’s

entirety and we’re touring with a light show for the first

time. It’s a coherent audio-visual show that represents

our music better than our previous tours have, so we

can’t wait to show it to people.”

Vallis Alps performs at the Alexander Gastown

on March 11th.

photo by Sean Walker

Serendipity, faith and transparency are the building blocks behind Vallis Alps’ transcendent work.

Big Wild creates his unique wide-open soundscapes in the crowding world of EDM.


2017 is shaping up to be a monumental

year for Jackson Stell’s electronic music

project, Big Wild. Having just started

creating music under the moniker four

or five years ago, Stell is already landing

prime slots at major music festival and

touring with artists like Odesza and GRiZ.

“Putting out my EP and doing my tour

is a really big step for me [this year],” Stell

shares. “And then on top of that I’m working

on new music and just finding ways to

continue to make things grow. I think if I

can nail it this year, I'll just be in a really

good spot. But then again, I'm somebody

who's always looking into the future and

trying to make things bigger and better.”

Armed with his multi-instrumentalist

background and influenced by the wideopen

spaces of Big Sur (which also inspired

the creation of his artist name), Stell managed

to carve out a one of a kind space for

himself in the increasingly crowded world

of EDM. One of his earliest inspirations for

making beats, like many other electronic

music producers, was through listening to

rap and hip hop from an early age. Some

of the most popular tracks on his Soundcloud

are still the bootleg remixes of popular

tracks like Ludacris’ “Stand Up” and

Rich Boy’s “Throw Some D’s.”

“I think [electronic music artists are inspired

by hip hop] mostly because most

of the production is done on a computer

or with software, and a lot of people use

[that same] software in electronic music.

So it's kinda like a natural crossover,” he

explains. “I also feel like rap is definitely

more of a youth centric genre so when

you're in middle school or high school,

you're more likely to listen to [an be inspired

by] rap than you are to maybe rock

or other things.”

With the launch of his first EP titled

Invincible officially behind him, Stell feels

like he’s ready to take on a full LP next.

“I kind of re-thought a lot about how I

produce and approach music and I think

that now I'm ready for an album whereas

before I don't know if I was ready to really

commit and create a fully cohesive project

of you know 10 to 15 songs,” he says

reflectively. “Where I'm at now, I think I've

matured more and I know what it takes to

put it all together.”

Regarding his work with Odesza’s Foreign

Family collective, Stell feels completely

at home collaborating with his

friends and colleagues. “The basis of [my]

friendship [with Odesza] and the way this

all started was because we liked each other’s

music,” he stated confidently. “But

also like, they have really good knowledge

of how the music industry works and

they're really willing to help me. To meet

another artist, especially one at the scale

of Odesza, that's really into supporting

your music, that's really important to me.

That's kind of what I always wanted, to

have relationships in the music industry

based on music and not just based on just

like trying to gain like popularity among

fans and stuff like that drives away from

why I'm actually doing this.”

Big Wild performs at Venue March


Jamaican lyricist Chronixx, Jamar McNaughton, has

a tendency to make music that comes with a proper

rhythm and a voice that soothes. Having been

involved with and inspired by music from a young

age, his first song was written at age 5, it’s safe to

say that if you enjoy the vibes coming out of Jamaica

you already know of Chronixx and if not, well,

knowledge is power. “My relationship with music is

never to make it complicated or try to overdo it,”

tells McNaughton. “I try to bring my music as close

to my real life experience as possible and when I'm

not doing that, I'm making music to guide my life

experience. I want to sing music that will drag me

in the right direction.”

The new album, said to be out before summer

hits, has been made with that precise mindset of

trying to translate music into something tangible

in real life. The young producer and lyricist’s relationship

with music has consistently evolved with

him through the past 20 years and with the new

album, he continues to keep up with the main

goal of staying true to his inspiration. “I don't really

conceptualise an album. Inspiration comes and

you just have to channel it,” he explains. “The vibe

comes and you have to find the best way possible

to channel it. Sometimes the end [product] doesn't

match the original inspiration. Sometimes it does


finally a way to cut teeth in the local DJ scene


and when it does, it's the greatest blessing in the


His last EP Dread & Terrible topped charts and

had fans in a haze of solid bliss. The anticipation

since that 2014 release is at an all time high for the

heads that follow him, a number that only continues

to grow over time. Chronixx is on the right

path to spread his vibes and music to many more

waiting ears, the strong need felt by him to create

music and connect with people will have countless

albums coming from the man who never stops.

“For me it's not a concept in terms of an intellectual

concept, you get a vibe and inspiration, and

it’s now up to you as a musician, artist, poet or producer

to channel that and translate it into a song.

It is very beneficial to take some of your work and

spend time with it and make it into a body of work.

It is beneficial for any musician to create a good

body of work that people can identify you with for

the rest of your time as a musician.”

With a live band set to perform with Chronixx

in Vancouver, the audience is set for a very musical

experience. Having spent much of the last few

months working on the new album, the man is full

of music and ready to share it. Dynamic was the

word he chose to describe this tour with a healthy

heads up that Jah9, Kelissa and Jesse Royal will be

Beatginnings takes local artists from the bedroom to behind the DJ booth, helping gain confidence towards playing for a crowd.

joining him at different points of the tour. “The

best aspect about performing is a part of the process.

It’s how inspiration comes down to a song,

performance is an important step where you get to

physically translate that same emotion and inspiration

to another person. To hundreds of people at

the same time is like a miracle. It’s one of the only

photo: ???

Over the past few years, Vancouver has been exposed to multiple

events and initiatives dedicated to the rising popularity of electronic

and underground music. Inspired by local music collectives like

Groundwerk and Hideout, Beatginnings bridges the divide between

the bedroom and the club by helping less experienced musicians

build confidence by performing live for crowds of people. While sharing

their experiences getting booked in Vancouver, Sylva Sivz (Sivz)

photo by Joachim Maquet

Based on his organic relationship with music, Chronixx manifests his real life in his work.

photo by Chris Johnson

times when human beings get to connect and feel

each other’s emotions. I don't take credit for that,

that's the power of music.”

Chronixx performs at the Commodore

Ballroom on March 18th.

and Angelo Daniele (Palehock) came together after recognizing the

need to create a space for beginner producers and DJs with little to no

experience playing live shows.

Working to abolish the experience of getting booked for shows as

an exclusive experience for those who are more connected in the industry,

Beatginnings makes it a priority to book artists that have never

played in a club setting before. Together, the duo promotes local

artists without favouritism as long as they submit their application

on time. “[Beatginnings] wants to see people getting booked for their

skill and production,” explains Daniele. “Not by how many people

they can bring to the club. We make it a point not to book our pals

and become exactly what we’re trying to embody in the industry. We

listen to every submission to give everyone equal opportunity.”

Both Sivz and Daniele use the event to showcase the artistry and

experimental side within electronic music and explore newcomers

who are pushing boundaries outside of their scenes. “It provides a

chill, friendly and just-right environment for producers to come test

out their tracks and for DJs to gain confidence playing for a crowd”

says Daniele.

Having gained popularity quickly within the community, Sivz and

Daniele want to keep their idea focused. “When we first got started

out we were worried about after we gave people gigs, what would

be next? As cool as it is to be the Oprah of gigs, we wanted to be

sure we were doing more,” Daniele explained. To combat their fear,

the duo started facilitating music production workshops and cross

promoting their event with other electronic based communities like

Groundwerk. He went on to say, “We really want to be a voice [in the

community]. Opportunities to work with other [organizations within

the same space] are slowly arising and giving us plenty of ideas as we


The Beatginnings first timers edition takes place at The

Anza Club on March 29th.

16 BPM

March 2017

March 2017 BPM






















BPM Vol. 1

celebrating the greatest up and coming hip hop, R&B soul and electronic artists that Vancouver has to offer

Stevie Ross

Having just released his first neo-soul album

at the beginning of the year, Something

in Wonderland, Stevie Ross in on a wave.

Coming from a background as a street rapper,

Ross is making a conscious effort to

connect with more people with this latest

project. Layering his deep soulful voice over

live instrumentation, Ross is ready to take

Something in Wonderland as far as he can

in collaboration with local producer Aaron

Hamblin a.k.a. Speechless.

Brandon Gregora

Experimenting with music is fun when

you’re 22 years young and have a grip of

natural talent. Layering his heavily filtered

vocals over trap tinged instrumentals, you’ll

find Gregora singing about the three p’s of

contemporary R&B: parties, pussy and pills.

With just a handful of loosies floating on

his Soundcloud at the moment, Gregora

is poised to do whatever the hell he wants

with his music.


Vancouver is a young and hungry city both in terms of the music it consumes and

the music it produces.

Celebrating the continued growth of the Electronics Dept., we’ve decided to rebrand

ourselves as BPM to be more inclusive of the local and international rap, hip

hop and R&B acts that we cover in addition to the electronic music that we regularly


Beatroute Magazine is proud to present BPM Vol. 1, a fundraising event and showcase

of local musicians producing contemporary hip hop, R&B, soul and electronic

music for our generation.

BPM Vol. 1 takes place at The Anza Club March 18th.

Noble Oak

Jolin Ras

An inspiring creative, Jolin Ras merges his

contemporary beat production style with

live saxophone to create an unreal soundscape

that traverses space and time. Simultaneously

soulful and modern, his tracks

deny the requirement of a vocal hook to

create an incredible sonic performance that

instantly connects with his audience on the

deep and personal level.

After a lengthy stint living in Toronto and

touring across Japan, Noble Oak returns

back to his hometown of Vancouver with a

suitcase full of new experiences and immersive

compositions. Having started the Noble

Oak project on a whim just 6 years ago,

Patrick Fiore has come a long way with his

latest album, Past Life. A cozy mix of ambient

down-tempo and indie dream-pop, Fiore

explores ideas of change, transition and

loss in his latest work.

Chapel Sound

Comprised of DJs, producers, visual artists,

writers, singers and songwriters, Chapel

Sound is a collective of artists who’ve

joined together to push creative expression

forward without boundaries or prejudice.

Chapel Sound is for the children.

Empathy / Kinship

Based on soothing vocals and minimal

house vibes, Empathy is a new project that

was created by Alison Boulier and Thom

Kolb one day as they were basking in the

new love they found in one another. Sonically

adjacent, Kolb also produces electronic

music under the moniker Kinship where

he’s primarily inspired by the music his

friends make and enjoy.


10 years of breaking the rules (and a few bones)


The Dreadnoughts encompass a reputation that

is unlike any other Vancouver punk band out

there. In ten years they have raised the bar for

what punk music represents and stands for in the

local music scene and garnered themselves an allegiance

of fans that are intensely loyal and passionate.

“Having lived in East Van for 14 years, it is

rare that a couple of days go by without running

into someone on the street who has a connection

to our band,” mused drummer Marco Bieri (aka

the Stupid Swedish Bastard). Even during their

hiatus, their email inbox had daily requests for

shows, guitar tabs and other random requests.

“For whatever reason we have been part of creating

a huge community and I do not believe there

will ever be anything similar in my life to this,” said


This Dreadnoughts fandom culture is deeply

rooted in their take-no-prisoners live show that

has earned them folklore status worldwide. From

starting out with only five songs and still booking

three set evenings all over BC (thanks to vocalist

and lead guitarist Nicholas Smyth aka Uncle

Touchy or the Fang - being a human juke box),

The Dreadnoughts philosophy of “let it ride” has

created opportunities from day one to continually

surprise both themselves and audiences. Their

touring stories are rich in antics and flair, one part


all jokes aside, Apotheosis delivers thematic depth


horror, one part comedy including countless band

and audience injuries as a result of their overtly

physical live show. “Before I joined the band I was

a fan,” recalls bassist Andrew Hay (aka Squid Vicious).

“I would go home from shows with a black

eye on my face paired with a big smile.” Recalling

some of their most memorable shows, their

intensity is undeniable. “I feel like anytime we

played Pub 340 we almost died,” shared Hay. “It

was always a mixture of pure energy and absolute

muscle pain. It didn't help that they served drinks

in glass mugs. Glass everywhere.”

Their escapades have not been limited to BC or

Canada, not even close. Europe has been a hotbed

for the band from early on, with some of their

most riveting experiences taking place there with

large numbers connecting to the band and their

songs as anthems to express at times some hardcore

emotion. “At one of our shows in Monheim

Germany I had never seen our band and an audience

be more hostile towards each other,” shared

Hay. “A gentleman told me that it was actually

a good show because it was 'Avante Garde' and

'Very Disturbing.'” Some of their largest successes

have occurred in Eastern Europe including being

on Polish TV and getting to play a 6000 person

festival in the Western Ukraine after responding

to a random email and making up a fake manager.

Listening to Assimilation's first album,

Apotheosis, you're hit with death/

thrash that instantly makes you think

of bands like Morbid Angel, Incantation

and their peers it sounds like

it clawed its way through time out of

that scene in the late 80's/early 90's

The best advice from the band regarding the new release Apotheosis? Prepare to be Assimilated.

The Dreadnaughts take years of pure energy and absolute muscle pain on the road with an Anniversary tour.

As they reflect on the past ten years, they are

also looking ahead at what's to come, including

an 10th anniversary tour and a new album on the

way that they promise will have some new surprises

for fans to dig their teeth into. When asked

if they would be taking a political approach to the

album's concept, vocalist and lead guitarist Nicholas

Smyth stated “We tend to think that when

punk bands “go political” it really, really sucks.

That said, there is a way of being political without

being superficial and preachy including inviting

the listener to reflect on certain deeper issues and

to learn a little more about why we are where we

are. That is where we are going with this album.”

to land in present-day Vancouver.

Then you listen a little closer and it's

not quite the same tropes of the era

rather the imaginings of someone

who grew up immersed in that music

while doing a hell of a lot of gaming.

The name of the EP came about when

photo: ???

founding member, vocalist and guitarist

Jesse James Jardine was playing

a game on his PS4 called Apotheon

about a Greek soldier ascending to

godhood by conquering the Pantheon.

Apotheosis is the greek term for a

mortal becoming a god, and this lyrical

theme of inner strength and self-empowerment,

as interpreted through a

death metal lens, runs through many

of their songs and into their upcoming

full-length debut, Laws of Power.

"The new album is more death metal,

it’s more technical and less old school

than our EP,”says Jesse. The record

is a continuation of the theme on

Apotheosis, a former mortal negotiating

existence in the realm of the

gods (with lots of references to Dark

Souls, of course). Assimilation went

through many lineup changes to get

here, including members of Ogroem

and Terrifier. Jesse started the project

with more of a grind focus named

Ceaseless Discharge before forming


The current line up consists of Stephen

Shaw of Sinned on drums, Shiloh

"Mystique Garlique" Anderson on bass

and after posting an ad on Craigslist,

Matt Chanway on guitar ("First thing's

photo by Savonna Spracklin

From their stage names to their stage presence,

The Dreadnoughts are a force to be reckoned

with and time has proven that their staying power

is stronger than ever. Whether it’s a near death

crash on the Autobahn or a broken instrument on

the stage, this band continues to sacrifice life and

limb for the sake of their music and are proving to

be unstoppable.

The Dreadnoughts’ Ten Year Double Show

Extravaganza takes place March 17 and 18

at the Rickshaw Theatre.

first", laughs Jesse, "he was willing to

grow his hair.”) One glance at their

online presence shows you just how

much they take the piss out of both

internet culture and occasionally the

super-severe metal culture. For example,

a sardonic GoFundMe campaign

for their drummer Steve called "Save

Our Dad" to fund a PS4 to play Battlefield

I and "get hype AF." The campaign

is still live, by the way, if you feel this

is a cause worthy of your donations.

In similar fashion, the details are soon

to come for a show in Langley where

they're planning a kegger/bush party

show with a few other local bands

on March 18th following the release

of Laws of Power, as well as a western

Canadian tour in May with Terrifier,

Evilosity, Torrefy and Gatekeeper

joining them on select dates. I asked

Jesse for some last words: "Keep the

old-school alive, check out the bands

that the bands you like listen to, because

it's probably a hell of a lot better

than whatever you're listening to, and

prepare to be assimilated.".

Assimilation’s full length album

Apotheosis is released on

March 17th.

18 BPM

March 2017

March 2017 The skinny




a three headed heavy metal monster awakes


As most people in the extreme music community

know, Vancouver metal legends 3 Inches Of

Blood called it quits a while back, so it was just a

matter of time before the members would start to

resurface in new projects. Worse is the latest spin

off, made up of ex-3 Inches Of Blood members,

guitarist/vocalist Shane Clark (2004-end), bassist/

vocalist Justin Hagberg (2004-end) and drummer/

vocalist Matt Wood (2004-05). If you think they

are going to be just another 3IOB clone then consider

yourself greatly mistaken.

“Just listen to it. A band is the sum of its parts.

Three Inches of Blood is something we all have in

common and that we’re proud of, but this is the

music that this combination of people is making,”

Clark explains.

If any of you are familiar with the musical career

arcs of these three fine fellows, then you

know what Clark is talking about. Before they all

came together in 3IOB in 2004, they were all in

quite different bands. Clark was in stoner muscle

groove band Ten Miles Wide, Hagberg was playing

black/death metal with Allfather, and Wood was

playing in doom mongers Goatsblood. Keeping

that in mind, Worse blow any pigeonholes wide

apart and in all directions. The music gets doomy

at times and has a downright greasy element to

it. Clark’s trademark dirty groove is instantly recognized.

And with the three members all sharing

vocal duties, the music has many personalities.

“I’m really into repetition. I love being hypnotized

by the never-ending riff. We’ve all done vocals

before and we all wanted to give it a go,” says


The seeds of Worse were actually planted

about eight years ago when long time friends

Clark and Wood started to jam together. Clark

goes on, “When we would be home in Vancouver

at the same time, which wasn’t often, we’d drink

beers and jam on shit just because we see eye to

eye on the concept of playing for the sake of playing.

About six years ago we did a demo that we

got Justin to sing on, and then we didn’t jam for

about four years. It really became a thing again

two years ago when we were both in Vancouver

full time and we were neighbours and Justin was

still on board.”

Worse has since played a couple of local shows

and also recorded a recent three song demo,

which was released by War Crime Recordings.

“War Crime got a hold of me and said they

liked the demo and offered to put it out as a super

limited cassette. I thought it was a cool idea and

we’re rolling with it. Working on this with them

was super chill. They put out cool stuff,” Clark says

about the deal. And surely this is just the tip of

the iceberg. “This year we have a few things cooking

but too early to say. We’re focused on writing

right now. We’re recording this year and we’ve

got about three or four songs on the go. The stuff

after this demo will be cool. I would rather play

shows and get the music to the people. That’s the

way we’ve always done things. The reason this

band exists is because Matt and I liked to drink

beer and jam on stuff. The focal point is the music

for us at this moment, we’ll see what happens,” an

enthusiastic Clark reveals.

Seek out this band right now. This is just a

taste of what is to become. All three members are

monsters in the extreme music community and it

would be best to climb aboard the mothership as

it gathers steam.

Worse have released a three-song demo,

available for purchase at

Just when you thought things couldn’t get better, Three Inches Of Blood alumni band together for Worse.

We recently hosted a discussion panel at

Studio Vostok to discuss diversity and representation

in the arts community. It was

refreshing to see a handful of people have a

spirited conversation about an important

issue without watching it descend into a

counterproductive shouting match. Everyone

walked away with more insight than they

entered the room with and everyone left with

an increased respect for each of the people

they shared the discussion with. Among the

many topics addressed was the outcome of

mandates that place a focus on diversity, and

whether the emphasis on increased representation

can result in the inadvertent tokenization

of people.

There is no clear-cut correct way to approach

this. There will always be someone

who doesn’t agree and there are valid points

on both sides of the argument. With situations

like this, I think the most sensible way

to go about things is an unbiased assessment

of the positive and negative effects of

the outcome, and the gathering of various

opinions to form a consensus, with a greater

importance placed on the opinions of those

who are directly affected by the outcome. It’s

the impact on the individual affected that

ultimately determines if things were done in

an appropriate manner. I know people who

have felt that the attention paid to their differences

have made them feel tokenized. Am

I in this band because of my skin colour? Were

we added to this bill because of our gender or

our ability? These are thoughts that can cross

an individual’s mind and potentially make

them feel alienated.

The contrast to this is that if no effort is

made to increase the visibility of marginalized

groups then a different kind of widespread

tokenization will remain unchallenged. If

you’re a black guitarist you’re Jimi Hendrix.

If you’re a female vocalist you’re Janis Joplin.

These comparisons can become tiresome for

those who receive them on a constant basis.

The reason those examples have become the

a dialogue about diversity and representation

From the desk of Mitch Ray

token point of reference for many is because

of the lack of representation overall. It’s because

those “types” of musicians are not the

mainstream norm, and that lack of visibility

for certain groups is what perpetuates those

stereotypical comparisons.

From the business standpoint there are

factors at play that not everyone is aware of

and these have varying degrees of importance

for different people. Constructing a lineup for

a show is an often frustrating process with

bands unable to confirm or bands dropping

off the bill. It’s even more difficult when the

clock is ticking to get everything organized

and announced in order to sufficiently promote

it and ensure its success. As the list of

available and suitable bands dwindles, it isn’t

always easy or viable to adhere strictly to a

particular mandate. There is also the financial

incentive. Very few promoters are able to sustain

a living in their line of work, and it might

be hard to convince some that changing their

winning formula isn’t a risk that could affect

their livelihood. It’s unfortunate to think that

for some, diversity doesn’t even enter their

thought process, but it is indeed a reality and

it’s an outlook that is not entirely devoid of


There’s a lot of ground still to be made if

things are going to get to where they should

be. There are many different approaches

of achieving the same end goal, and aside

from truly regressive types I can’t imagine

too many people within the arts community

having the opinion that a more diverse community

is a negative. If you’re in a position of

influence you should take it upon yourself to

move things in the right direction, with the

open-mindedness to acknowledge that your

way is not the only way to reach the goal

many of us want.

Mitch Ray puts on events and manages

artists under the name Art Signified.


an opportunity to both learn about and be a part of Indigenous research


Acimosis (pronounced “ah-chee-moo-sis”) is

the Cree word for puppy. It is also the honorary

nickname that William Lindsay and his

team gave their ex-secretary at the SFU office

for Aboriginal Peoples.

Lindsay and his colleague Dr. Eldon Yellowhorn,

who are considered to be the go-to experts

of the Indigenous Research Institute at

SFU, have introduced a new approach of sharing

academic research with the general public,

specifically the Downtown Eastside. Lindsay,

who grew up in that community, describes

himself as a “Chindian” (Chinese-speaking Indian)

— a term that he learned from someone

in the audience during his recent Aboriginal

Speaker Series presentation.

The Speaker Series serves to give people “a

flavour of the kind of research that is happening

in SFU,” in an interactive and entertaining

way. All we need to do is to show up and

throw challenging questions at the speakers.

The first event in the next series, taking

place on March 7, displays photos from the

1800s, during the era of colonization. What

Lindsay finds interesting about these photos

are the implications of bias while these

“staged” shots were taken. On March 14, anthropologist

Katherine Nichols will expound

on the past relationship between Aboriginal

communities and non-Aboriginal academics,

and the importance of current collaboration

in rebuilding the broken bond.

Similarly, on March 21, Marianne Ignace,

The SFU Vancouver campus boasts a thriving Indigenous presence, one they are proud of.

director of the First Nations Language Centre

at SFU, will describe the efforts she took

in re-translating and re-claiming the stories

recorded from Secwepemc knowledge keepers

(in the late 1800s) that only exist in English

renditions. She’ll also talk about the preservation

of native languages through modern

technological means.

To echo the SFU Office of Aboriginal Peoples’

motto, “Engaging the world,” on March

28, Gretchen Ferguson, an associate director

with the Centre for Sustainable Community

Development, will present an international

perspective on Indigenous entrepreneurship.

She highlights the distinct conception of innovation

and profit making, and the collective



an exhilaratingly large gathering of women and genderqueer writers


Room magazine has come a long way in 40

years as Canada’s oldest feminism literary

journal and this year, Room will celebrate the

milestone by hosting Growing Room: A Feminist

Literary Festival, starting on International

Women’s Day, March 8. The inaugural

festival will include readings, panels, workshops,

and more, and many of the events are

free to attend.

“The roots of [the festival] go back to the

beginning of time…these are not new ideas

that we’re talking about. For some people, it

might be new to them, and that’s really exciting,”

said Arielle Spence, the festival’s director.

“We hope that people who attended

the women’s march for the first time attend

Growing Room, and those who are long-time

activists also attend.”

At the same time, the magazine will release

a special anthology entitled Making

Room: Forty Years of Room Magazine. The

anthology includes some of the best writing

by Canadian women and genderqueer writers

for the journal. The 416-page collection

will also explore the history of art and writing

since Room’s inception in 1975. Making

Room’s launch party will open the literary

festival at the Fox Cabaret.

Choosing the shortlisted pieces for the

anthology wasn’t easy — all of them were

painstakingly handpicked.

“We had a three-day retreat to a cabin,

the six of us. It was mostly civilized, but there

was some yelling,” she laughed. “It wasn’t

easy. There was a lot of writing that could’ve

gone in there, and I think there are some of

us who are still sad because there were some

pieces in there that we thought should go in

but didn’t really fit.”

Growing Room takes place from March

8 to 12. Over 40 authors will host festival

events and panel discussions this year, including

Lorna Crozier, Jen Sookfong Lee, Evelyn

Lau, Amber Dawn, Hiromi Goto, Dina Del

Bucchia, Carrie Mac, and Sonnet L’Abbé.

photo by Dale Northey

orientation in pursuit of the common good.

The Speaker Series is an invitation for the

Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal to once again

come to the table and start a collaboration,

but this time, both as guests. And who better

to host than Science — the impartial and

truthful Science, helping to rebuild trust and

embrace the thirst for knowledge.

The Aboriginal Speaker Series is co-organized

by the SFU Indigenous Research

Institute and SFU’s Vancity Office of Community

Engagement, and takes places

from March 7 28 at the Djavad Mowafaghian

World Art Centre, Goldcorp Centre

for the Arts.

Growing Room: A Feminist Literary

Festival runs from March 8 to 12 at

the Fox Cabaret, Creekside Community

Centre, 24 West 4th Avenue, and

Vancouver Public Library — Mount

Pleasant Branch.

illustration: Slavka Kolesar

Canada’s oldest feminism journal celebrates

40 years with literary festival,

special anthology collection




holding onto hope in the face of hate


I was preparing myself for the Monday ahead when I got the news

of the Quebec City mosque attack. A few days earlier, my Facebook

stream had exploded with protests surrounding Trump’s Muslim

travel ban in the United States. These posts included live footage outside

airports, moving videos of families stuck in transit, and the voice

of Hollywood actors crying out, “#NoBanNoWall.” Also among this

stream of frustration was the shining face of Justin Trudeau, promising

to take in the refused refugees. In a world where differences have

manifested into phobias, Trudeau’s repeated words of acceptance

have reinstated Canada’s cultural harmony. If the policies of our

southern neighbors have legitimized forms of hate, Canada has done

the opposite.

This is why the news of the mosque attack was so difficult to process.

In my idealized world as a Muslim immigrant, Islamophobia had

not touched my beloved new home. While I cried for the worsening

situation in the United States, I was grateful to be where I was: far

enough away to not worry about my own future. However, with news

of the attack, it became clear that fear and hate trickles outside of

borders. Perhaps it has always been hidden here. That’s the scariest

thought of all.

Tired of sharing social media posts of other people taking action, I

decided to try something less passive. My roommate and I attended

a rally downtown as a reaction to the attack. Keeping with the Canadian

cliché, there was a violent snowstorm the day of, but we bundled

up and braved the cold. To our surprise, the space was brimming with

pink-nosed, snow-covered sign holders. One of the many speakers at

the rally had a simple solution to the rise of Islamophobia. He urged

the public to ask their neighboring Muslims questions. At the grocery

store, in the mosque, online. Anywhere.

In high school, I had a girl ask me why I didn’t wear hijab and

whether it meant that I had chosen to not be a true Muslim. I had appreciated

the chance to explain myself and talk about the spectrum

in my religion, the same as in any religion. Her presumptions were

quickly eradicated, simply by talking to me for a few minutes.

We shy away from asking questions because we don’t want to

seem ignorant or ill informed, but I know that many of us on the answering

end welcome them when they replace misconceptions and

brainwashed hatred. I saw hope in the people at the rally, wearing

toques, standing in the freezing cold, and trying to learn.

Asking questions can often replace misconceptions.

photo by Masha George

20 The skinny

March 2017

March 2017 CITY





getting to know your local bartenders





send in the clown


photo by Emily Butler

Ever wanted to know more about that person behind the bar pouring

your liquid courage? Here’s your chance. This month, meet Chris Alarcon

from the Biltmore Cabaret.


I started bartending because after two and a half years of bussing I

strategically became best pals with my boss and convinced him that I

was ready for it. I wasn’t.


Let’s just say I’ve been there long enough that the guy I served last

night was discovering masturbation when I started.


Best thing about my job is commanding the respect of a stranger who

would otherwise not even look at me in real life. Because without me,

there’s no liquid courage for them.


My favourite drink to make is something exotic and blue with cherries

floating on top because it blows the minds of naive young kids.


Go-to drink on a night off is usually whatever my pal Nina Mila decides

to make me at The Boxcar. #NameDropper. Usually a vodka

soda. Bitters because I’m a simple man with simple pleasures and I’m

trying to watch my figure.



Greatest night at work was probably when I asked Jesse Pinkman from

Breaking Bad if he needed a tequila shot to which I got a very subtle

“No, thanks.” The acknowledgement was enough for this star-struck

guy. That or when Tame Impala played. I knew they’d blow up.


The worst night I’ve ever worked is anytime there’s a metal show with

five bands on the bill. One can only handle so much fury. Or the time I

said, “Bye, sweetie,” to a girl and her boyfriend tried to hit me over the

head with a bottle. Shoutout to our fabulous security staff for saving

my life that night.

The Biltmore Cabaret is located at 2755 Prince Edward St.

Chris Alarcon is blowing naïve minds,one maraschino cherry at a time.

shining light upon the beauty and struggle of immigration


“When I was seven years old, I opened a

World Book Encyclopaedia and landed on

the word ‘puppet.’ I thought, ‘That’s what

I’ll do for the rest of my life.’ The old family

joke was that if I’d happened to look at

twhe word ‘proctologist,’ I’d be looking up

your ass right now.”

Ronnie Burkett has been running his

ever-popular Daisy Theatre since 2013.

Originally intended to be a one-off performance,

this live, improvisational puppet

show was met with acclaim, and has since

been consecutively selling out theatres

over the last four years.

“It can be funny, it can be political,

and it can be very dirty,” Burkett states.

A self-proclaimed news junkie, Burkett

draws inspiration from current events and

trending topics daily. “What’s the audience’s

baggage when they walk in? What

are we as a community in that darkened

room thinking? It’s surprising which characters

can address this kind of stuff and

how the crowd will react.”

Audience interaction is also a part

of the show. Some volunteers may find

themselves manipulating characters and

others could somehow end up with their

shirt off. “When you invite a civilian to the

party, you lose full control of what’s happening.

Everything is in the moment.”


meeting the master behind one of puppetry’s most outrageous stage-shows


photo by Rose Lam

Of the Daisy’s large, diverse cast, Burkett

highlights three hand-sculpted stars:

Edna Rural, a confused and judgemental

Canadian; Esme, a drunk, vulgar, and

bitchy Hollywood movie star; and Schnitzel,

the innocent fairy. “These three characters

are all equal thirds Ronnie.”

In regards to the Daisy’s terrific popularity,

Burkett states, “I’ve always wanted

to ask audiences why they keep coming

back. I think it’s because I have a point of

Hong Kong artists show the talent they often have to leave behind

This year marks the 20th anniversary

of the transfer of sovereignty

of Hong Kong from the

United Kingdom to the People’s

Republic of China. To celebrate

this historical milestone

and its relevance to our city,

the Vancouver Art Gallery will

run an exhibit entitled Pacific

Crossings: Hong Kong Artists

in Vancouver from March 4 to

May 28. The exhibit contains

the work of four artists: Paul

Chui, Josh Hon, Carrie Koo, and

David Lam, each showcasing

their unique and diverse practices.

Using different forms of

media and archival accompaniments,

the collaborative event

will offer visual and historical

insights into the complexity of

artistic immigration.

Speaking with the exhibit’s

curator Diana Freundl, she explains

that the art “allows institutions

to consider peripheral

themes that reveal some of the

complex narratives and histories

surrounding Hong Kong

emigration.” While techniques

and backgrounds of the artists

are rooted in Hong Kong,

their transition to Canada has

evolved some of their work and

represents an interesting fusion

of culture. For example, Koo’s

pieces are painted using traditional

Chinese ink techniques.

Her works often contain abstract

landscapes mostly of

“mountains shrouded in clouds

and mist.” However, after immigrating

to Canada, inspired by

the nature of British Columbia

and Alberta, Koo’s work transitioned

to include the snow of

her surrounding environment.

Many artists from Hong

Kong left their notable reputations

and artistic communities

behind with their immigration

to Canada. While holding status

and popularity in their field

prior to immigration, “these

artists remain largely unknown

today in the Canadian art community.”

As a program run by

the gallery’s Institute of Asian

Art, the exhibit aims to “bring

greater visibility to Asian art”

and “increase engagement with

Vancouver’s Asian communities.”

Freundl hopes that the exhibit

will “provide some insight

into the art ecology of Hong

Kong (both past and present)”

while also showcasing the genuine

talent that currently lies in

the community’s shadows.

Pacific Crossings: Hong Kong

Artists in Vancouver highlights

both the beauty and the struggle

of immigration. While the

city celebrates variety in culture,

it can be difficult to re-establish

talent across oceans.

The must-see exhibition will

help to applaud cross-cultural

artwork while also educating

the public of unique narratives.

Pacific Crossings: Hong

Kong Artists in Vancouver

run at the Vancouver Art

Gallery from March 4 to

May 28.

view. If an artist doesn’t have a point of

view about the time they live in, it’s just

empty entertainment.”

“The world is nuts and uncertain right

now; the Daisy is the right dose of satirical

nonsense. Expect the unexpected.”

The Daisy Theatre runs at the Historic

Theatre from March 21 to

April 9.

photo by Alejandro Santiago

Daisy is the dose of satirical nonsense we need in the strange circus that is today.

There’s an old Saturday Night Live

skit that popularized the distinction

between things that are “funny

ha-ha” and things that are “funny

strange.” Things that are “funny haha”

are things like comic strips and

practical jokes, while things that are

“funny strange” are things that are

just odd, or absurd on the face of it.

Puddles the clown, visiting Vancouver

on his Puddles Pity Party tour,

falls under the latter category. He’s

a seven-foot-tall, sad-looking clown

with a beautiful voice whose cover of

Lorde’s “Royals” made him YouTube

famous, and now he tours the world

singing his unique takes on songs and

confounding expectations.

The fact that many people experience

coulrophobia (a fear of clowns)

makes the idea of a touring clown

musical act hard for some to get behind.

But Puddles’ act is welcoming,

and his gentle personality makes the

whole thing palatable. In his words,

“Every now and then, I’ll meet someone

who says they’re afraid of clowns.

But once they see my show, they relax

and realize that clowns are just like

apples. And one rotten apple doesn’t

Since opening in April of 2013, Chris

Bentzen’s gallery, Hot Art Wet City,

has shown pop surrealist/weird art

and housed many local, original comedy

shows. Unfortunately, this month

is the last to experience any comedy

mean that all apples are rotten. Most

apples are tasty and sweet. I’m a

sweet apple.”

Skepticism is an understandable

feeling. Today’s society is a guarded

one, making it difficult to open oneself

up and authentically take in an

experience that might at first seem

ironic in nature. Puddles understands

this and tries to work towards breaking

that concern’s hold on people. As

he describes, “It’s easy to get stuck in

cynicism and skepticism these days.

Maybe it’s from being hurt and trying

to defend against being hurt again.

My mee-maw used to say, ‘Life is just

a series of disappointments.’ And

that may be true. But in the between

times, there are some glimmers of joy.

You just have to leave yourself open.

Open to the disappointments and

open to the joyful surprises.”

Clowning is an ancient art, with

some clowns requiring years of training

to perfect their act. Despite being

both a clown and blessed with a

beautiful voice, Puddles’ training has

been fairly limited. “I’ve never had

any formal singing lessons. My meemaw

says I came out of the oven singing.

Never had any formal training of


Venue that brought art and comedy together closes its doors


HAWC was a great place to be surprised by laughter and weird art

magic in Bentzen’s artful space because

the venue is closing.

Before he started running the

gallery, Bentzen describes himself as

having “just liked going to comedy”

and he would frequent shows like The

Puddles swims gracefully in the wake left by Pennywise and the Juggalos

any kind, really. I’m a big coffee drinker

and once took a latte art class with

my pal Stu. Does that count?”

So it might be time for Vancouverites

to put aside their cynicism, embrace

openness and check out Puddles

Pity Party. You never know how

it might change you. In his words, “It’s

Sunday Service, Talent Time and anything

at Little Mountain Gallery —

shows where anything could happen.

“It’s like going to a punk show in the

‘90s,” he says. Bentzen knew he wanted

to have comedy at HAWC before

opening. “I knew I wanted to have a

bunch of stuff happening.” And he

did. Apart from comedy he also hosted

yoga, various sketch classes, workshops,

screenings, and more.

Someone who helped facilitate the

live comedy at HAWC was comedian

Alicia Tobin. Bentzen first saw Tobin

(HAWC’s current comedy curator)

perform at The Rio. Now, four years

later, together they have been responsible

for bringing more outsideof-the-box

formats to the Vancouver

comedy scene.

Although the venue’s shows have

been selected for the Just for Laughs

NorthWest Festival for two years running,

Tobin won’t take all the kudos

for the success the gallery’s comedy

has enjoyed. Tobin says, “Chris is a

huge comedy fan, and even though I

was initially connecting with comedians

and hoping they would work with

us to create great shows, beyond that

Chris should get all the credit. His

incredible work ethic and his love of

our local comedy scene, combined

with some very wonderful shows and

my first time in Vancouver. Vancouvians

can expect a night of song and

dance, sadness and joy and most of

all, fellowship. Oh, and free Puddles

cuddles after the show!”

Check out Puddles Pity Party

March 6 @ the Rio Theatre

terrific audiences, made HAWC so

special. I am going to deeply miss my

own show, especially the people that

came to the show — I met hundreds

of genuinely wonderful Vancouverites.

Thanks for drawing with me,


Tobin’s fun-filled show is interactive:

Everyone attending draws

something whimsical that she has

imagined/suggested, while encouraging

personal twists. And in between

showing these drawings and gently

mocking/interviewing the individuals

about them, she features short sets by

local comedians. Tobin speaks with

everyone attending the show about

their drawing with a well-balanced

approach of comedy and warmth.

If you’re interested in taking part in

HAWC’s alternative comedy experience,

see any of the final shows there

this month. You might even leave

with some tight, low-brow art.

Graham Clark Presents Friday,

March 10

Vancouverite: A Comedy Show

Saturday, March 11

Alicia Tobin’s Come Draw With

Me Friday, March 17

We Know Nothing About Art: A

Comedy Show March 18


March 2017

March 2017 comedy





celebrating community and sass through song and dance


Elbow Room Café on Davie Street

is a Vancouver legend. Known for

its sassy service and delicious food,

the restaurant holds fond memories

for so many. In the past couple

years, Dave Deveau and Anton Lipovetsky

have ventured to create

an even richer legacy for the community

staple — a show called

Elbow Room Café: The Musical, a

delightful romp through the rich

history of the couple who have

owned and operated the establishment

for decades. BeatRoute

caught up with Deveau to learn


BR: What is Elbow Room Café:

The Musical about?

DD: Elbow Room Café: The Musical

celebrates Vancouver’s iconic

Elbow Room Café (nowadays located

at 560 Davie Street, though

originally down on Jervis) — a little

hole-in-the-wall with great food

and a side of verbal

abuse. The cafe is owned and operated

by real-life partners in life

and crime Patrice Savoie and Bryan

Searle, who after over 40 years

together know how to put on a

good show of yelling and screaming

at each other, all with a subtext

of love. The musical looks at how

we age together in a Technicolor

world and tackles notions about

legacy, about what we want to

leave the world after we go.

BR: Where did the idea come


DD: Zee Zee’s managing artistic director

(and my husband/partner in

crime) Cameron Mackenzie came

up with the idea in 2013 when we

were sitting in the Elbow Room

with our friend and collaborator

Anton Lipovetsky. We had just

opened our critically acclaimed

play My Funny Valentine the night

before (written by me, directed

by Cameron, starring Anton), and

were musing about what a big

photo by Emily Cooper

The sass you’ve come to love with your eggs now comes to the stage

Vancouver musical might look

like — where would it be based?

Would it be recognizable? As we

looked around the room and saw

these endless walls of headshots,

larger-than-life colours, and a raucous

environment, Cameron said,

“What about Elbow Room: The


BR: What should people know

when going to see it?

DD: The show really resonates

whether you know the Elbow

Room or not because there’s

something deeply human about

the characters’ journeys, but you’ll

certainly get an added level of satisfaction

and belly laughs if you’ve

ever been to the Elbow Room

during its busy weekend brunches

to see Patrice and Bryan in action

— it’s an experience any Vancouverite

or tourist should experience

at least once.

BR: What makes it special?

DD: It’s a big, gay musical celebrating

Vancouver, celebrating our

queer community, and the songs

are unbelievable. I dare you not

to bust a gut laughing and shed at

least three tears. There are some

songs that actually render cast

members inconsolable — thankfully

we have a good rehearsal

process for them to be able to get

over it!

BR: What is your favourite part?

DD: I’m still amazed that Bryan

and Patrice gave me full access to

their lives and archives and let me

write their past and their future

onstage. There’s something amazingly

delicate, intricate, and profound

about being given that rare

gift. Watching them watch their

lives being performed onstage

during our 2015 workshop production

was astounding enough,

and I can’t wait to see how they

react to this far more developed


Elbow Room Café: The Musical

runs March 112 at The

York Theatre




Welcome back, my spring-kissed blossoms. This

is your time of renewal and resurgence. I’m just

now waking up from my post-wintery hibernation

and that crazy shit I drank to get me over

the seasonal blues is wearing off. Let’s hope

we’re all feeling as excited as I am about the upcoming

Spring Equinox. This is one of my favourite

times of the year. Aside from the occasional

hay fever, clogged sinuses, and reddened itchy

eyes, it really is a wonderful season to feel alive

and really any good allergy pill (and tequila) will

kick those pesky ailments to the curb. It is also

around this time I find myself being very thankful

for all the good things that have happened

in my life.

Indeed, my biggest accomplishment and greatest

joy would have to be the success of my

weekly show, Absolutely Dragulous, which just

celebrated its six-year anniversary. I’ve learned

so much about myself creatively as a performer

and MC from this particular show. I’ve also had

the great pleasure of working alongside and

learning a lot from some of the greatest drag

performers in this city over the last 20 years,

such as Willie Taylor, Justine Tyme, and Diana

Rose, to name a few. To say I’ve lived most of my

life on stage would even be an understatement.

On a personal note, this show has been my salvation

in more ways than I can express and has

led to many opportunities. I’ve also made some

great friends and got the chance to work with

some very creative and innovative designers,

hairstylists, and DJs. When producing a weekly

show with so many different elements it really

does take a village. I’m so incredibly thankful

to the exceptional staff and management at

the Junction for allowing me to do this. And

of course, this show wouldn’t be happening if

it weren’t for the fans that keep coming every

week. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

As an artist and performer I’m always looking

for ways to outdo myself and be the best that I

can be, and Absolutely Dragulous has given me

the vehicle to do just that. Until next month,

you beautiful people, be kind, be loving, and

most importantly, be fashionable. Love you all.


Standing on stage above the Cobalt crowd,

Ponyboy smiles down. Serving leather-daddy

realness, this drag performer effortlessly

whips the crowd into a frenzy; bending

norms while creating community is all

in a night’s work for this gender-tripping


“My name was given to me by my drag

dad Sammy Samosa (formerly Sammy Tomato),”

says Ponyboy. “It’s inspired by The

Outsiders. I have always had a thing for the

pretty-boy protagonist type, outwardly a

bit badass but inwardly just a hopeless lover.

Holden Caulfield was my second choice,

but I couldn’t find a good pun that wasn’t


Ponyboy is one of the founding members

of Man Up, a monthly drag show at

the Cobalt that runs the last Friday of the

month. The show came to be because of a

need for drag kings to have a stage. Now it

is home to a widely diverse family of drag

performers. “I’m inspired by the amazing

influx of young artistic motivated queer

people who want to get on stage and show

their ideas of what drag and gender performance

is. Vancouver drag has its own

unique flavour,” says Ponyboy.

Man Up also inspired a show, charmingly

and aptly called Man Up Amateur Hour,

where new drag performers can come

and try their hand at performing. It’s an

amazing first start because it provides the

performer with much the same experience


knocking some sense in


I'm a very emotional person. Something as little as

a friend not saying hi at the club can set me off into

a spiral of questions. Because of this, a lot of people

get confused when I talk so openly, casually, even

joking about being assaulted and hit in the back

of the head with a collapsible baton by a stranger.

There's two reasons why I joke about this: one, I

just really love seeing shocked and uncomfortable

reactions on people's faces, and two, I'm somewhat

thankful for the experience as whole.

While by no means am I thankful for the physical

pain and how emotionally distraught I was for

months afterwards, before the assault I was completely

disconnected from my local LGBTQ community.

I was obsessed with traditional masculinity,

and finding those traits in a boyfriend, I dressed colorful

but kept to my assigned gender's clothing and

turned my nose down at drag and its art in general.

After the assault, along with the obvious depression

that followed, I felt some of my friend's and classmate's

reactions as less than understanding.

I was about to begin my last semester of college

at Langara when this assault happened, and after

having a private meeting with the head of the faculty

to discuss what had happened, her reply was



as the main production. Ponyboy fosters

these welcoming spaces because they

know the importance and need for queer

entertainment in this world. “I’ve been

very fortunate to be supported for as long

as I have in the community. At this point

I really want to share the experience I’ve

gained with those who want to learn more

or try something new, be that performing,

hosting, or organizing. The community has

taught me so much; I just want to support

folks the way I’ve been supported,” shares


Drag in and of itself is a form of rebellion.

Its origins are that of a social device

that could change the world through politically

charged performances, safe spaces,

and relevant social commentary. “When

Man Up started I was a literal baby and

a brand-new queer. It took me a while to

begin to understand, for example, how

misogyny and racism can show up in drag

performances and queer spaces. My mentors

had planted these seeds early on, but I

only began to recognize this starting maybe

four years ago, through many conversations

and feedback from people in the

community. And of course, it’s an ongoing

process of learning and adapting to an ever-growing

community in a really troubling


You can catch Ponyboy the last Friday of

every month at the Cobalt for Man Up

"Well please make sure you do not miss any classes."

This came two months after when I was excused

from all classes and assignments for two weeks

when I had Mono. That meeting, among others experiences,

helped me change for the better.

Inside the coming months, I started to understand

exclusion and the lack of understanding that

I was guilty of as well as marginalized pain. I slowly

embraced queer culture and history and started

to delve into drag and it's pop-culture-resurgence,

and I acknowledged needs and parts of myself I had

completely denied beforehand. So from my heart,

which feels a whole lot bigger after this, thank you

Mr. drunk guy with a baton. And fuck you as well.

Talking about traumatic experiences as a way to cope can be highly beneficial towards recovery.

photo by Chase Hansen

24 queer

March 2017

March 2017 queer



This month in film


Maple Ridge Festival of BC Film March 17th-19th at The ACT Arts Centre

Everyone wants their own film festival—but with a burgeoning (and refreshingly

humble) film scene, it’s about time Maple Ridge got one together. This inaugural fest

is courtesy of the ACT Arts Centre and The Ridge Film Studios, and pays homage to

the local cinema that made it possible. With a dozen highly engaging, mould-shifting

films—all created in beautiful British Columbia—viewers are sure to see something

they’ll love, along with sets they’ll recognize from their own backyard. See for details.

Upcoming Releases :


I’ve eaten a lot of weird shit, but the trailer for this movie went down like a rabbit

kidney. Which Justine, a young vegetarian who’s never tasted raw meat, is forced

to enjoy when she enters the merciless yet somehow seductive world of veterinary

school. After the kidney, Justine’s appetite for raw becomes insatiable—with horrifying

consequences. Use a meat thermometer, kids.

In theaters March 10th

T2 Trainspotting

20 years after stealing their heroin money, Mark Renton (Ewan McGregor) returns

to his hometown to help Spud kick the heroin. Of course, Sick Boy and Begbie show

up too, with new hijinks, new problems, and new drugs. Director Danny Boyle drops

the needle on a killer UK soundtrack, and fits the film with a full suite of visual effects—no

tabs required.

In theaters March 17th

Ghost in the Shell

Based on the manga and anime, Rupert Sanders’ Ghost in the Shell stars Scarlett

Johansson as The Major, a cyborg counter-cyberterrorist tasked with stopping a new

enemy who hopes to sabotage the AI technology that made her possible. And while

the film has some whitewashing controversy, no one seems to care that Johansson

spends half the movie robo-naked.

In theaters March 31st

Ghost in the Shell


Logan: Wolverine’s Return to Form Cuts Deep

In Logan, Logan (Wolverine [Hugh Jackman]) is forced to

sharpen his claws once more to protect, at the will of Xavier

(Patrick Stewart), the last of the mutants: Laura, a small girl

who has a lot more in common with Logan than he would

like. Embarking on the requisite road trip to sanctuary,

Wolverine discovers what it means to feel… and loses a lot

more in the process—sounds good, right?

And it is. Logan and Xavier, who predate the current

Marvel meta, are actually played by competent actors absent

in most superhero films. But everyone else has the dialogue

of a Disneyland animatronic, a weakness that is often

favourably avoided in the film by replacing talking with the

off-cutting of people’s heads.

The movie still has the Marvel patina. But, when the excess

violence and propaganda and child acting are stripped

away, Logan puts emotion back into the movie-machine of

Marvel, making for a suitable homage to the glory days of

the X-Men.

Logan is in theaters March 3rd.

• Paris Spence-Lang

Bitter Harvest: Too Far Against the Grain

Window Horses:

An Ethereal Poem Painted Onto Film

You would be hard-pressed to find a film that feels

as culturally relevant as Ann Marie Fleming’s Canadian-made

Window Horses. Rosie Ming, a Canadian raised

by her Chinese grandparents, is invited to a poetry festival

in Iran. Rosie (Sandra Oh) embarks on her first trip alone

and learns about a Persian past and her own meaning of


What starts as a classic tale of a young talented girl finding

herself becomes so much more--this is a movie about

Bitter Harvest, a poorly executed attempt to set a doomed

romance against the backdrop of the Holodomor, comes

across as a film about a non-fiction atrocity that feels much

too fictional.

It sits in the new school of costume entertainment where

everyone in Europe had English accents and could evade

injury during a sword fight on horseback by sliding half off

the saddle and riding the horse sideways through the melee.

Real large scale tragedy should never feel like fan fiction,

particularly a tragedy that was not only an act of genocide

but one that has been ignored for years by a small but dedicated

population of deniers.

This is a film with obviously lofty ambitions but with

a lacking ability to draw attention to the genocide without

taking too much creative licence. But...The film was

made by three artists of Ukrainian descent who probably

lost relatives in the famine. One can appreciate the desire

to tell the story, particularly when no one else had, and how

that desire might create a voice that is a tad overwrought.

Bitter Harvest is in theaters March 3rd.

• Jennie Orton

self discovery and an awakening within one’s conscience.

Rosie’s many discoveries and realizations are beautifully

painted using unique animation techniques by guest artists,

highlighted by original poetry and music, while the

characters are brought to life by remarkable and recognizable

talent like Ellen Page and Don McKellar. Window

Horses is an animated movie as mature as any film, showcasing

true art in almost all of its forms.

• Hogan Short

Dirty Projectors

Dirty Projectors


“I don’t know why you abandoned me,” begins the

eighth album by lonely Dave Longstreth’s Dirty Projectors.

The band has always been his vehicle, but

this self-titled work follows a period of popularity

he shared with vocalist Amber Coffman. Beginning

with Rise Above, an unrecognizable reintrepretation

of the canonic Black Flag album of the same

name, cresting in 2007 with Domino debut Bitte

Orca (an album where Angel Deradoorian was

also a prominent vocalist), and continuing on with

Swing Lo Magellan in 2012. With a lineup shakeup

and a break-up with Coffman behind him, fans

new and old of the band wondered whether would

Longstreth would revert to the confounding ways

of early Dirty Projectors or find a way to one-up

the accessibility of its most iconic dynamics. After

all, the song the band is most likely to be remembered

for is the Coffman-led “Stillness is the Move”

from Bitte Orca. Much to Longstreth’s credit Dirty

Projectors stars a string of wonky pop singles, and

they’re some of the best songs he’s written to date.

Opener “Keep Your Name” shuffles between a

disaffected down-pitch on the vocals, slurred electronic

production and Longstreth in a vulnerably

vicious narrative as he (presumably) offers his raw

view of the aforementioned break-up. For once,

there’s an easily perceptible justification for his

penchant towards the off-kilter. If you had to listen

back to you trash-talking an ex, you would want a

little remove, too.

“Little Bubble” begins with jaunty strings but

quickly becomes an organ lament about how two

people in love can form their own small world

around them, if only temporarily. Like much of

the record, it’s evocative of the things we take for

granted when smitten and offers a relatability from

the wordy Longstreth not much seen before. The

song isn’t an ambitious production compared to

much of Dirty Projectors but it feels appropriate,

intentional and the right kind of restrained.

“Up in Hudson” is the obvious highlight of the

disc. It feels like a charitable TL;DR for a record

that remains complexly human and self-accountable

at every step. You’ll only need one listen for






to stick














ens to soak in all the musical movements and pedestrian

descriptions of the little joys that lead to

the humblingly-large pain Longstreth must have

felt while writing it. The first two thirds contain

pitched down Eastern melody, broken metronome

rhythm, swole up horns and mentions of both

Kanye and “Stillness in the Move.” One feels they

know Longstreth, or at least know the universality

of his experience, while constantly being surprised

at what anachronistic musical addition will come

next. By the time the two-minute guitar blaze set

atop polyrhythmic percussion arrives to finish the

track, Longstreth is without need for words, a little

bit like his friend Kanye during the climax of “Runaway.”

Last of the singles is the frankly perfect “Cool

Your Heart,” a sunny slice of euphoria co-written

by Solange and most impactful when show-stealing

guest singer Dawn Richard emotes. It washes

away the trapped feeling of much of Dirty Projectors

by substituting being stuck in your head with a

set of principles for the future.

Where the album suffers is during the half of

tracks not chosen as singles. For a long time now,

Longstreth has felt guardedly obtuse just for the

sake of keeping listeners at arm’s length. Much of

the musical and lyrical choices made on tracks like

“Death Spiral” (which owes Timbaland an unflattering

credit), “Ascent Through Clouds” (less elastic

than he wants it to be), and closer “I See You”

(adding a gospel reminiscent organ is no excuse for

depth), contradict what the singles do best: pair

intimately realist narrative with confidently confused

pop weirdness.

If that’s the cost for the high points for this album,

we are happy to pay up. After five years since

the “eh, fine” feeling of the safe choices made on

Swing Lo Magellan, it’s understandable that not every

moment on Dirty Projectors feels as well considered

as it could be. In a way, it’s a bit comforting

that this probably isn’t Longstreth’s best work yet

- knowing things could be even better will have us

at full attention for the foreseeable future.

• Colin Gallant

• illustration by Sarah Campbell


26 film

March 2017

March 2017 reviews






The Painters EP - Animal Collective

Paradise - ANOHNI Cascades - CFCF & Jean-Michel Blais

The Navigator - Hurray for the Riff Raff Human Voicing - The Luyas

Animal Collective

The Painters EP

Domino Records

Following the tepid reception to their

lukewarm album Painting With… last

year, a four-track release of music recorded

and left over from those same

sessions doesn’t necessarily sound alluring.

Damn if experimentalist darlings

Animal Collective don’t release some

solid extended plays.

While it doesn’t carry the frenetic

mania of 2008’s Water Curses, or share

the echoing pulse of Fall Be Kind from

the year after, The Painters EP is a surprisingly

exciting expression from a

group that pioneered experimentalism

in the mainstream, and who unfortunately

seemed to be losing their touch

for flare with their last LP.

While the highlight of The Painters

EP may be the group’s cover of “Jimmy

Mack,” originally popularized by 60’s

trio Martha and the Vandellas, each

track of the 13-and-a-half-minute release

plays to the strength of the AnCo

archetype: rhythmic psych pop backdrops,

delirious vocal harmonies, and

the unshaken dedication to a sound

that really no other group could emulate

half as successfully.

In short, The Painters EP does what

Painting With… couldn’t, resulting in

an experience that’s equal parts whimsical

and serious while still retaining the

distinct cohesiveness that’s prevalent in

AnCo’s strongest works of the past.

• Alec Warkentin



Secretly Canadian

ANONHI’s newest EP is both a warning

shot and a plea for help. Nine markedly

different women make up the cover of

Paradise, ANOHNI included, and the six

songs contained within showcase an intersectional

understanding and political

voice not commonly found in electronic

or pop music. She takes on corporate

greed, environmental degradation, and

toxic masculinity in the way that other

artists handle love and heartbreak.

ANOHNI is backed by production

from Hudson Mohawke and Oneohtrix

Point Never, compatriots on 2016’s

widely acclaimed Hopelessness. None

of the songs here would feel entirely out

of place on Hopelessness Paradise is

an extension of that album’s success; a

b-side of sorts. That album was the start

of ANOHNI asking grander questions of

American civilization, of war and surveillance,

and of her listeners. Now, she

is demanding answers and pulling us

from where we have strayed.

She sings for retribution against corporate

lackeys on “Jesus Will Kill You,”

implying that their God will punish their

lack of caring for our Mother Earth.

“Your wealth is predicated upon the

poverty of others / What’s your legacy?

Burning oceans, burning populations,

our burning lungs,” she sings through

vocal distortion, accompanied by signature

HudMo pan-flute and blaring


Politics aside, ANOHNI has the most

heavenly voice, through which she is

able to maintain tranquility while colliding

with the discordance of her beats.

On opener “In My Dreams,” her soft

reverb acts as a lullaby, each word pulling

you in deeper to the non-existent

Paradise, the alienating and cold world

ANOHNI has found us in.

ANOHNI could easily soundtrack the

revolution, and while it will certainly

be painful, god damn it, we’re going to

come back closer than ever.

• Trent Warner

CFCF & Jean-Michel Blais


Arts & Crafts

Cascades, the collaborative EP from

Montreal producer CFCF and neo-classical

pianist Jean-Michel Blais, is a confident

musical mind-meld from two

visionary musicians.

The duo first met while performing

together for the 2016 Red Bull Music

Academy. From there, the two came

together for this EP that trends towards

tasteful minimalism, but takes

inspiration from ’90s trance and other

electronic bombast. The result is songs

like the EP-highlight “Hypocrite,” that

blends grand piano with supersaw

synths not seen since the days of trance

raves. Another piece, “Spirit,” is reminiscent

of James Blake, complete with an

alluring piano melody and entrancing

electronic haze in the background.

Throughout the five-track EP, CFCF

and J-MB walk a thin line between

classical form and electronic cheese.

It’s a tough act to pull off, making it all

the more impressive that Cascades is

as good as it is. These songs probably

won’t have long-lasting staying power,

but they still make a case for bridging

genre and mindful collaboration.

• Jamie McNamara

Hurray For The Riff Raff

The Navigator

ATO Records

The world has changed since Hurray For

The Riff Raff’s acclaimed, 2014 album

Small Town Heroes was released, and

many now find themselves in vulnerable

and uncertain times.

The Navigator is singer, songwriter,

and human rights activist, Alynda Segarra’s

brave, bold declaration of love to

those facing prejudice. It couldn’t have

come at more crucial time.

It’s political without being ornery

and balances between hope and despair.

“Hungry Ghost” is a tribute to the

LGBTQ community; a kind of love letter

to the people who continue to create

sanctuaries and promote unity and

freedom in the wake of the Oakland and

Orlando tragedies.

“When will you help me out / You

can’t even pick me out of a crowd.”

Puerto Rican by descent, growing up in

the Bronx and living in New Orleans, Segarra’s

velvet vocals echo her own story

as each of the twelve tracks weave the

tale of a displaced and wandering street

girl navigating her gender identity, sexual

identity, class, race and culture to find

her place. None of this is more prevalent

in then in “Rican Beach,” a song

about cultural appropriation and gentrification,

which Segarra dedicated to

the water protectors of both Standing

Rock, North Dakota and Penuelas, Puerto

Rico, where coal ash waste is contaminating

drinking supply.

“Now all the politicians they just

squawk their mouths / They said we’ll

build a wall to keep them out,” she

sings. “And all the poets were dying of a

silence disease / So it happened quickly

and with much ease.”

The Navigator is a succulent, beautifully-united

concept album, with lyrics

that give a damn elevated by electric

guitar riffs, edgy percussion, Latin

rhythms, blazing rock and piercing ballads.

Ultimately the story ends with the

compelling anthem “Pa’lante,” a Spanish

term inciting a call to action, to keep

going, rise up and move forward. And

we shall.

• Aja Cadman

King Gizzard and the Lizard


Flying Microtonal Banana

Flightless / ATO

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard’s

newest album Flying Microtonal Banana

is the band’s first attempt at experimenting

with microtonal sounds. The

result is a valiant first attempt, but one

that is plagued with too much repetition.

Microtonal music basically uses

smaller intervals between notes, allowing

for more rapid sounding instruments,

a technique popular amongst

Eastern music. The first track, “Rattlesnake,”

makes great use of this, with

background shakers and rattles. The

band is sticking to their psychedelic

roots, and it sounds fast-paced and very


However, as the album progresses

you begin to realize that almost every

song sounds like this. “Melting,” the album’s

second track has the same “snake

charmer” microtonal sound to it, and

it’s hard to make it through three minutes

of this, five times in a row.

The band also makes use of strange,

ghoulish background noises, on “Open

Water,” something that sounds like an

un-tuned bagpipe is heard throughout

the track and later again on the album’s

final track, Flying Microtonal Banana.

Overall, one can appreciate the

band’s attempt to try out these off-kilter

tunings, and there are gems on the

album: A personal favorite for me, the

song “Nuclear Fusion.” But, the album

seems to reuse the same sounds, and it’s

not interesting enough to distinguish

which songs you like and which are just

background noise.

• Foster Modesette

The Luyas

Human Voicing

Paper Bag Records

With arms into Montreal’s finest acts

such as Arcade Fire and Belle Orchestre,

The Luyas surprise more in approach

than in execution. There is a familiar

baroque instrumental complexity, but

much less of the cinematic grandness

than their pedigree might predict.

Their fourth full-length outing, Human

Voicing, does an effective job of

avoiding contemporary musical tropes

that frequently get dismissed as “overproduced”

or “generic.” Tracks are often

slow and plodding, with only spare

moments of melodic clarity. Rarely,

if ever, does electronic affectation or

deep reverb inject anything inorganic

to its atmosphere. The Luyas efforts at

creating a meditative record seem to

come more from jazz than from rock

or pop. Pretty guitar and violin lines are

smartly obscured by layers of instrumentation,

often organs or mid-range

synths. Instead of reaching into chamber

pop, the arrangements stay hazy,

often anchored only by a bassline or

keyboard drone, and singer-instrumentalist

Jessie Stein’s breathy vocal.

The Luyas do more with less, and

Human Voicing is a clearly constructed

and restrained release. While it sinks far

enough into the mid-range to be murky

and contemplative, it bursts out often

enough to keep itself interesting.

• Liam Prost

Methyl Ethyl

Everything is Forgotten


It’s hard not to draw a parallel between

Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker and the

frontman of Methyl Ethyl, Jake Webb.

Both hail from the isolated city of Perth,

Australia, both started their respective

bands as a means to home record studio

experiments and solo material before

blossoming into full bands, and with

their latest albums, both have mastered

the art of blending heady atmospheres

with pop song structures.

Those surface level comparisons are

where the similarities end. Where Tame

Impala use pop-leaning psychedelia to

focus inward on the neurosis of Kevin

Parker, Webb and his two bandmates

expand outwards on their sophomore,

4AD album Everything is Forgotten.

Where Parker gains his inspiration from

The Beatles, Webb probably learnt more

from the Cocteau Twins and MGMT.

Everything is Forgotten is hooky

dream pop that channels the explosive

energy of Cocteau Twins into tightly

wound funk-indebted indie pop.




28 reviews

March 2017

Everything is Forgotten - Methyl Ethyl

VOIDS - Minus the Bear

Heartless - Pallbearer As Long as Your Eyes are Wide - Said the Whale Drunk - Thundercat







Beatroute Oct.indd 1






2016-10-21 2:17 PM




















Tracks like the opener “Drink Wine,”

sound like early-10s’ peak-Robyn mixed

with Purple Rain-era Prince, all strutting

basslines and strobing synthesizers.

Lead single “Ubu,” is a catchy piece of indie

pop, occupying a space in between

the bedroom funk of Unknown Mortal

Orchestra and the doomed post punk

of Preoccupations.

Still, even if it’s easy to heap praise on

Everything is Forgotten, it doesn’t come

without its detractions like “No .28,” a

song that sounds like a flabby Hot Hot

Heat B-side, or the orchestral, piano pop

leanings of “Femme Maison/One Man

House” that feel like Ben Kweller did a

collab with Fall Out Boy circa-“Sugar

We’re Going Down.”

Songs like “Act of Contrition” and

“Groundswell” pick the album back up,

reaching some of the best pop moments

of the year so far. Even with its missteps,

Everything is Forgotten is a confident

sophomore effort, solidifying the sound

of a band that has a bright future.

• Jamie McNamara

Minus the Bear


Suicide Squeeze

Playing VOIDS, the first album from

Minus the Bear in five years, is quite the

shock immediately. Different sounds

from different eras fire off instantly, including

DL-4 reversed guitar, and that


tempo they always seem to find. These

sounds, however, are all brought together

in a disparate and jarring way.

The absence of original drummer Erin

Tate means the incredibly awesome/

weird rhythms are toned down and the

drums themselves match and serve the

song a bit more. This gives the album a

way more pop sound than we had heretofore

experienced. It almost sounds

more Coldplay than math rock.

Reminiscence sets in as I remember

how - wait a sec - every Minus the Bear

album brings in new elements and is

confusing for the first few moments.

From Menoso El Oso’s more subdued,

reverb-y sound, to Planet of Ice’s longer

songs with synth elements, every album

from the Portland math rockers carves

out a unique sound.

Ultimately, for me, what ties it all

together are the unabashedly upfront

lyrics about sleep, regret, memory, drug

use, sex, and being human sung with

that signature “aloofness” by Jake Snider.

By the fourth song, “Invisible,” the

elements have coalesced and the band’s

vision for VOIDS comes home as a sick,

tapping riff enters for the bridge. Minus

the Bear succeed with another unique,

amazing album, but may lose some fans

enticed by their earlier sounds. Still, this

reviewer is happy to follow them into

the future.

• Noah Michael



Profound Lore Records

Arkansas’ Pallbearer were knighted

doom metal heavyweights in the underground

scene shortly after the release of

their critically-acclaimed, 2012 debut album

Sorrow and Extinction. Heartless,

the band’s most recent album, forges a

more musically technical sound than

previous releases. However, the virtuosity

of Heartless may push the band farther

from mainstream success, instead

increasing their acclaim among more

underground scenes.

“I Saw the End” kicks off the album

with unique vocal harmonies and the

crisp dual guitar tones on “Thorns,”

work with the crushing drums to form

a wall of sound that is not overwhelmingly

murky. However, the stand out

element of this album is the creative

composition of individual tracks. At

11:58 minutes, “Dancing in Madness”

may seem long winded, but the time

signature changes and layering of sound

stave off monotony. Despite this, the

tracks tend to run together too much.

Where past albums found sonic levity

in the form of classical acoustic guitar,

Heartless pushes forward with little to

break up songs or shift moods. Instead

of telling a story, Heartless feels as if

Pallbearer have written one long, yet

ever-changing song.

The technically intense music, lyrics

and album artwork create an album that

feels more intellectual than their past

projects. The question is, will the change

in direction lead the band deeper into

the underground? Perhaps leaving the

cliches of metal behind will make Pallbearer’s

music more appealing to fans of

other genres. Stigma and stereotyping

have made metal inaccessible and shedding

the genre hallmarks could catapult

Pallbearer into the mainstream.

• Bridget Gallagher

Said the Whale

As Long as Your Eyes are Wide

Hidden Pony Records

Said the Whale are absolutely one of the

most earnest and hardworking Canadian

bands. The Vancouver now-trio has

long been making music that is as exuberantly

friendly as it is fun loving. Even

in their quiet and somber moments,

STW has always been able to find ways

to make us smile.

As Long as Your Eyes are Wide looks

from the outset to be a more “mature”

outing, with nakedly explicit explorations

of grief and loss, coloured by a

coat of new-fangled production. The

record runs abundant with huge shimmering

synth and guitar melodies, and

the few remaining acoustic instruments

serve more rhythmic purpose than texture,

making for an unabashedly pop

experience, albeit one with little to no

compromise of the style and wit of their

past releases.

Co-songwriters Ben Worcester and

Tyler Bancroft trade off songwriting

duties to great effect as usual, but it’s

Worcester specifically whose work sparkles

the brightest, stretching himself to

a greater degree thematically, but also

vocally, even if his tracks are less raw-ly

emotional than Bancroft’s.

ASAYEAW feels intensely laboured,

both in production and in songwriting.

It takes a lot of emotional and intellectual

investment to make a record like

this, and STW does not make it look

easy. Every song is an investment and

their collective hearts are so far down

their sleeves they might as well be wearing

them as cufflinks.

• Liam Prost




Like much of Brainfeeder’s back catalog,

Thundercat’s third full-length is an

album that is often hard to pin down.

Featuring production from Flying Lotus

and appearances from Kendrick Lamar,

Pharell, to soft rock legends Michael Mc-

Donald and Kenny Loggins, Drunk is an

ode to soft rock that the virtuosic musician

has said is inspired by times in which

he was less than sober.

Production from Flying Lotus is apparent

from the get-go as the 23-track

album winds its way through CR-78 (you

know, the drum machine that ticked its

way to infamy on hits like Hall and Oates’

“I Can’t Go For That”) backed footwork,

neo-soul and the kind of avant-jazz that

Kendrick Lamar played with on his opus

To Pimp a Butterfly. It’s not hard to imagine

Drunk being the elevator music that

soundtracks the descent to hell.

Thundercat’s falsetto permeates

much of Drunk even when the backing

track maneuvers through its multitudinous


Songs like the lead single “Show Me

the Way” featuring soft rock legends

Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins

showcases Thundercat’s ability to blend

chopped-and-screwed soul with funk

basslines and thrilling vocal turns. Like

much of the album, the song sounds less

like the soft rock of yesteryear and more

like a jazz-indebted, Joe Jackson single

taken on a bad acid trip.

Drunk isn’t perfect, but it still remains

utterly fascinating. It’s an album that no

other artist could make but Thundercat.

Because of that, its missteps are lessened

by the sheer weirdness of it all.

• Jamie McNamara


RENT CHEQUE FRI MARCH 31 (last FRIDAY of the month)



SUN MAR 26 from 1-6PM (every last Sunday of the month)












SUN MAR 19 + 26 SAT MAR 25




80s/90s UK + BRIT POP



March 2017 31



LA Vida Local


The Rancid Waters of Existence

This EP delivers plenty of gruelling drumbeats and filthy guitar tones, interspersed

with sombre atmospheric passages. While there are some impressive

guitar leads throughout the EP, the real highlight is vocalist Noose’s

tortured and at times eccentric screams. Otherwise, there are no real tricks

or surprises here; this is just evil lo-fi black metal.

• Scott Postulo

Run The Jewels

PNE Forum

Feb 8, 2016

Run the Jewels took the stage at the

packed PNE Forum to the sounds of

Queen’s “We Are the Champions.” Had

this been any other rap act I would

have commenced with the eye-rolling

and sarcastic remarks at this point, but

El-P and Killer Mike truly have earned

their time in the sun. Over the last four

years their unlikely rise to fame can

only be described as iconoclastic. This

is not rap music that lends itself to selling

sneakers, headphones or life insurance.

It’s angry, defiant, full of violence

and dark humour, and yet at the same

time deeply heartfelt, empathetic and

hopeful. A complex ball of emotional

and moral contradictions, flawed but

striving for virtue, these are two largerthan-life

characters tapping into something

universally relatable. The success

of their message is a sign of our times,

and does it ever translate perfectly into

a live setting.

Like many of the fans that had waited

early in line on the day of the initial

ticket release, I was quite disappointed

when the show was moved from

the Venue to the PNE Forum. Usually

a switch to such a large venue comes

at the cost of the quality of the show,

diluting the connection between

crowd and artist, and making for a

less-enjoyable evening. But within the

first five minutes of the show starting,

I honestly could not have cared

less where I was. It’s a credit to RTJ’s

incredible charisma that they were

able to keep the energy levels of such

a giant crowd high for the entirety of

their hour-and-a-half-long set. The

show lacked any kind of lull or periods

of disinterest, which also speaks to the

strength of RTJ’s catalogue. The set list

was naturally heavily leaning towards

their newly released material, but the

crowd was clearly already intimately

familiar with the newest album, shouting

every word back at the two rappers

with full force. My favourite moment

of the night, though, had to be when

Gangsta Boo was invited out to perform

her verse on “Love Again.” Absolutely

incredible to hear a giant crowd

of mostly 20-something-year-old-men

shouting, “He’s got my clit in his mouth

all day,” at the top of their lungs. I don’t

think the importance of a moment

like that at a testosterone-fuelled rap

show can be overstated. While I was

less than happy about the venue baitand-switch,

I can’t think of a single other

rap act that deserves to cash in on

their hard work. So go ahead, play that

Queen loudly; RTJ really is the people’s


• Gabriel Klein

photo by Galen Robinson-Exo

Skye Wallace

Something Wicked

A definitive album that showcases Wallace as an artist who commands attention

and isn’t backing down or fitting any prescribed mould. Her strong

alt-rock vocals take centre stage on every track, spinning tales and swindling

your mind and heart with reckless abandon.

• Heather Adamson


Self Loaning

A schizophrenic math/punk rock hybrid that walks the line between heartfelt

emotion and spastic rage. Steady melodic sections are infused with

sudden bursts of frantic changes in time signatures that keep the listener

on their feet in between some of the more joyous or bittersweet choruses,

which ensures a good amount of variety from song to song.

• Brayden Turenne


Seven Veils

An EP that waterboards the listener with sheer sonic madness. Labyrinthine

onslaughts of hyper-complex death metal emanating from some unknown

Lovecraftian planet assault you, while still retaining that violent brutality

that will surely make your mouth foam over. What the release lacks in length

it makes up for in layered complexity that entices further listens.

• Brayden Turenne

photo by Galen Robinson-Exo


Rickshaw Theatre

Feb 17, 2017

Wearing an all black fit, it looked like the murdered out Thundercat

was really just there to slay us all. Performing alongside Justin Brown

on the drums and Dennis Ham on the keys; the trio opened with

“Tron Cat” off his 2013 LP “Apocalypse”. In between songs, Thundercat

exchanged some banter, pointing out a Godzilla shirt he saw

in the crowd. “That’s a really cool shirt man, that’s all I had to say”,

he giggles as he starts playing the opening chords to “Lotus and the

Jondy", a tune also off “Apocalypse” dedicated to his friends Flying

Lotus and Austin Peralta, who died in 2013 of viral pneumonia.

The rhythms that Thundercat delivers are completely in sync

with the movements of his body. Extreme focus and his facial expressions

while concentrating made it charmingly reassuring for his

fans to see that he was putting everything he had into his set. His

drummer and keyboardist were also on the same wavelength, keeping

up with the pace of the crowd and the vibe on stage without

missing a beat.

This was Thundercat’s fourth sold out show in a row on his world

tour to promote his upcoming album “Drunk”, which is set to be

released Friday, February 24th. The album features talents such as

Kamasi Washington, Kenny Loggins, Pharrell, Flying Lotus, and Kendrick


• Molly Randhawa

Cloud Nothings

Biltmore Cabaret

Feb 16, 2017

While their new album Life Without Sound

might be a touch more pop focussed and

mid-tempo, live Cloud Nothings’ stripped

down, no frills approach made for a show

that went by quickly and energized a crowd

that seemed to need it. Cloud Nothings

stripped things bare. There was little in the

way in between banter, a fact that singer

Dylan Baldi acknowledged near the end of

the set, and little in the way of over the top

performance. Nothing meandered, and the

pace rarely lifted. The new songs, sped up a

touch, aided by the, possibly a touch overzealous

drumming, fit in with the earlier

music just right and the crowd responded

strongly to both.

Cloud Nothings tap into a feeling of

hopelessness and fear that seems particularly

of the moment currently, a lot of their

choruses relying on a short repetition of

phrases to emphasize the emotional undercurrent.

Whether it’s just repeating “Line by

line” from Life Without Sound’s “Darkened

Rings” or “I want a life, that’s all I need lately/I

am alive but all alone” from “Modern

Acts” this repetition builds to an intensity

that pushes towards emotional release.

When singer Baldi and the crowd repeat “I

thought I would be more than this!” over

and over again in increasing intensity like on

pre-encore closer “Wasted Days” (a standout

if the set) one really sees the emotional

cathartic appeal of the band. This is further

emphasized on the final song of the encore,

“No Future/No Past” which repeated its title

into a final crescendo leaving the audience a

sweaty, drained mess.

• Graeme Wiggins

photo by Justin Uitto

Alien Boys

Self Critical Theory

Self-Critical Theory is a powerful feminist-driven manifesto, an album that

roars loud as one of the most classically punk releases of 2017 so far, and has

no shame charging you head-on with a clear, loud message. Full of rallying

calls within the thoughtful, often politically charged lyrics, Alien Boys are

insightful, angry, evocative and extremely tight musically, making you want

to mosh, but also be socially responsible at the same time.

• Reid Oakley

Gun Control

Volume 1

A collection of the band’s work over the past year, Volume 1 looks to show

off the ability of noise-pop outfit Gun Control, but low production quality,

repetitive melodies and often straining vocals stop them just short of a fully

polished release. While some recordings like “Take My Mind” manage to find

a good structure, most of the nine-song tracklist ends up falling into the very

familiar lo-fi punk aesthetic found from many bands of the scene.

• Reid Oakley

March 2017 33


ating the best (and worst) of Vancouver’s public toilets


Trump Tower

I have finally pooped at the Trump Tower as a radical act of political

protest. I would highly recommend doing the same. Let's start a

movement with our bowel movements. Destroy fascism by pooping

at ground zero!

I walked into the Trump Tower looking hopelessly out of place and

was immediately asked by an employee if I needed help. She led me

to the bathrooms, which were obviously very nice and glamorous —

Floor to ceiling stalls, marble tiles, real fabric cloths instead of paper

towels! Wow! This is how the 1 per cent poops. However, I'm still going

to give it a bad review because it’s owned by a hateful and fascist

dictator. #DUMPTRUMP

JJ Bean (Main Street)

JJ Bean is a large local chain of coffee shops in Vancouver. They serve

great cappuccinos and this particular location has some of the nicest


At my last visit here I had the particularly nightmarish experience

of accidentally walking in on someone who neglected to lock the

bathroom door and afterwards, running into a friend who introduced

me to the person I walked in on pooping! It was the worst day.

Despite that, the bathrooms are quite clean and charming. Though,

the weird semi-opaque glass doors are particularly anxiety inducing

because sometimes when the sun is shining, you can see a rough outline

of someone on the toilet through the doors. Not cool JJ bean.

Mount Pleasant

Community Centre

I love my local Community Centre. This one is my favourite in the city.

It is a great place to go if you need to return some library books or

enroll in a beginners Zumba class.

I frequent this bathroom often because it is very close to my work

and despite how much I talk about toilets and pooping and stuff, I

still can't bring myself to drop a deuce at my workplace. But the ones

here are especially nice. The bathroom is bright and spacious and

clean and they have free wifi! So it's perfect for mindlessly scrolling

through Instagram while bored on the toilet. This community centre

is a great place to poop.

































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