BeatRoute Magazine AB print e-edition - April 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.

Currently BeatRoute’s AB edition is distributed in Calgary, Edmonton (by S*A*R*G*E), Banff and Canmore. The BC edition is distributed in Vancouver, Victoria and Nanaimo.

Descendents • Jimmy Eat World • Comic Expo • Timber Timbre • dBridge • 420 Fest • Father John Misty


Editor’s Note/Pulse 4

Bedroom Eyes 7

Edmonton Extra 26

Book Of Bridge 28

Letters From Winnipeg 29

Vidiot 36

This Month in Metal 49


CUFF 30-35

CITY 8-14

Calgary Comic Expo, Juggalos, Midtown,

Decidedly Jazz Danceworks, Spoken Word

Fest, World Town, Golden Penis, Make It,

Places Please, Wrongs Today

FILM 30-36

CUFF: Fubar 15th Anniversary, Hounds Of

Love, Space Between



rockpile 16-29

Descendants, Jimmy Eat World,

Fashionism, Close Talker, Tommy

Grimes, Menace, Sum 41, Forbidden

Dimension, Bad Animal, Dane

jucy 39-41

dBridge, Chuurch, Troyboi, Snakehips,

Rumours Rave

roots 43-45

Timber Timbre, Leeroy Stagger, Matt

Patershuk, Braden Gates

shrapnel 47-49

420 Music And Arts Festival, Languid,

Striker, D.R.I.


music 51

Father John Misty and much more...



Brad Simm

Marketing Manager

Glenn Alderson

Production Coordinator

Hayley Muir

Managing Editor/Web Producer

Shane Flug

Music Editor

Colin Gallant

Section Editors

City :: Brad Simm

Film :: Jonathan Lawrence

Calgary Beat :: Willow Grier

Edmonton Extra :: Levi Manchak

Book of (Leth)Bridge :: Courtney Faulkner

Letters From Winnipeg :: Julijana Capone

Jucy :: Paul Rodgers

Roots :: Liam Prost

Shrapnel :: Sarah Kitteringham

Reviews :: Jamie McNamara

This Month’s Contributing Writers

Christine Leonard • Arielle Lessard • Sarah Mac • Amber McLinden • Kennedy Enns •

Jennie Orton • Michael Grondin • Mathew Silver • Kevin Bailey • Jackie Klapak •

Hayley Pukanski • Nicholas Laugher • Arnaud Sparks • Brittney Rousten •

Breanna Whipple • Alex Meyer • Jay King • Alec Warkentin • Paul McAleer • Mike Dunn •

Shane Sellar • Kaje Annihilatrix • Dan Savage • Claire Miglionico

This Month’s Contributing Photographers & Illustrators

Michael Grondin • Hayley Pukanski • Jim Agaptio • My-An Nguyen

Front Cover

Helen Young


Ron Goldberger

Tel: (403) 607-4948 • e-mail:

Descendents - page 16


We distribute our publication in Calgary, Edmonton, Banff, Canmore, and Lethbridge.

SARGE Distribution in Edmonton – Shane Bennett (780) 953-8423




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Copyright © BEATROUTE Magazine 2017

All rights reserved. Reproduction of the contents is prohibited without permission.




Cancer Benefit

Greta Marofke was born a happy, healthy energetic baby, but was soon

diagnosed with hepatoblastoma, a very rare liver cancer found in fewer

than one in a million children. Greta started her first chemo treatment

on her second birthday. That was followed by several more treatments

including surgery for a liver resection. Great news followed one year ago

when her tests showed “no evidence of disease.” Then on a routine doctor’s

visit in August 2016 a blood test confirmed the cancer had come

back, and this time she would require a full liver transplant.

Her family reached out extensively to doctors in Calgary, Toronto, and

Cincinnati to determine the best way to treat Greta. Canadian doctors

have done everything they can for Greta, but our health system is not

as advanced as other medical centres in this particular area. Dr. Geller, a

pediatric oncologist at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, who has a special

interest and extensive experience in the field of hepatoblastoma has

been working closely with Canadian doctors, but is convinced he can do

more to help Greta in the US than is possible to do so here. He has been

involved with nine rescue liver transplants (transplant after resection)

and eight of these children are doing well.

AB Health Care will not be covering the cost of Greta’s transplant

surgery estimated to be 1.2 million.

In January, a “Go Fund Me” campaign (

was started and to date $193,000 has been raised, but Greta and

her family still need more money.

On Sat., April 29, The Cave and Getto Boys will present 30 Bands on

3 Stages (indoors and out) for 10 hours. The event, 30-3-10, is aimed

solely to help raise funds for Greta’s surgery. 100% of ticket revenues,

beverage sales, festival merchandise sales and a silent auction will be

donated along with 100% of artists’ performances, stage set-up, fencing,

promotions, event management and production services. Location

720 - 16 Ave. NW. Doors open at 11:00 am. $20.00 General Admission

tickets available at Eventbrite.

• Lindsay Chadderton


Glenbow Museum

For one night only, witness the most black velvet paintings you may ever

see in one place. One Glenbow gallery will be filled from floor to ceiling

with 200 velvet paintings - the best of the collection of Rick Smith, one

of the world’s premiere velvet collectors. Rick has a history of sharing his

collection with the world - for years he hosted annual Cinco de Mayo

parties to show off his collection. Now, Rick has decided to set his collection

free, and is giving his paintings away to benefit Glenbow.

Rick Smith has been collecting black velvet paintings since 2001,

amassing over 400 from garage sales and pawn shops around Alberta,

starting with a velvet Elvis. The collection began as a hobby to distract

him from a personal health crisis, and became an obsession that led to

Rick “rescuing” as many of the painting as he could find.

Starting with a feature presentation about the history of black velvet

art, followed by live music, a nacho station, churros, cocktails and art

adventures, this party will be a celebration of retro kitsch. Whether you

wear your latest high-fashion ensemble or break out the velour and

bellbottoms, dress to impress.

Party favours: every ticket buyer will go home with a velvety treasure!

Party guests will be randomly matched with their very own black velvet

painting, to be taken home at the end of the night. Which one will be

yours? Some might be considered velvet masterpieces, all are guaranteed

to be a hilarious keepsake from an excellent night out.

Tickets $75 (on sale April 1)

6.30pm: Doors Friday May 5, 2017

7.00pm: Feature presentation - an exploration of the history of black

velvet art

7.45pm: The party begins - live music/DJ/nacho station/churros/

cocktails/art adventures

9.30pm: Painting pick up opens - meet your art match

11:00pm: Event ends


Year Eleven

Sled Island is back in Calgary with L.A. renegade Flying Lotus acting as

guest curator, plenty of heavy (Converge, Wolves in the Throne Room,

King Woman) and everything else you’d expect from our hometown,

discovery-obsessed fest.

Indie rock enthusiasts are covered with prominent slots by Cloud

Nothings, Low, Waxahatchee, Land of Talk and Mothers, among others.

If experimentalism and innovation are your game (a field Sled always

nails), look no further than Silver Apples, Hailu Mergia, Thor & Friends,

EX EYE and New Fries.

New this year are the Sled Island podcast (where they unveil ‘sclusies

absent from press releases and public announcements), and the gritty

work of illustrator Josh Holinaty (an ACAD grad and prominent artist in

our community).

Roughly 200 bands are still to be announced, including FlyLo’s curator

picks, headliners from around Canada and the world, and the best

emerging talent juried from nearly 1000 music submissions received by

the festival.

Still to come are announcements regarding visual art, comedy, film

and special events that put industry and interactive moments into

focus. As a multi-disciplinary festival, these programming choices are

likely to tilt the conversation about Sled Island from what bands they’ve

announced to what overall experience they offer attendees –whether

that be pass purchasers, participating performers, delegates, or our own

arts community.

In the meantime, Sled has made neither its second wave nor full lineup

announcements yet. We’ll be reporting again as soon as they do.

Flying Lotus




April 29th









GETTO BOYS bar & grill • the cave


to our






your one stop, premier rock ‘n’ roll merch shop

Who’s that wasically wabbit anyway? It’s

none other than Cory Martens,

well-known, well-respected, bad-ass

drummer and punk guitarist who’s

played many stages, many times across

Western Canada.

Standing outside his new biz, Twinbat

Sticker Co., Martens is putting the power

of rock ‘n’ roll into his print shop that

specializes in premium vinyl decals,

one-inch buttons, t-shirts, vinyl-cut

lettering, custom signage, vinyl banners,

wall decals, window decals, custom

license plates and guitar picks.

Your one stop, premier rock ‘n’ roll

merch shop? “Yes it is,” says Mr. Martens.




northern gathering promising is gonna bust a big move

“It takes a special motherfucker to listen ICP and love it,

you know?”

After almost 30 years of rocking the Insane Clown Posse

moniker, Joseph Utsler aka Shaggy 2 Dope is as keenly aware as

ever of the stigma surrounding one of the world’s most notorious

and resilient subcultures.

“Most of the fuckin’ world hates our guts. So being a Juggalo,

automatically, you’re gonna be hated on by pretty much

anything. And people think that Juggalos are scumbag thieving

pieces of shit, but that couldn’t be further from the truth,”

Utsler explains.

Juggalos have served as an easy target for the rest of the

world since the term’s official inception in the late ‘90s.

Whether the movement’s resilience is an evolved adaptation

to decades of hate, or a testament to the Insane Clown Posse’s

staying power, is anyone’s guess.

But what exactly is a Juggalo? What brings them up north of

the border?

Despite the movement itself existing for two decades, it

doesn’t seem like a concrete answer has ever revealed itself. But

it’s clear that the Insane Clown Posse has a certain allure to a

certain type of person.

In Utsler’s opinion, the most important quality is

open-mindedness. “But on the top end of the list, there’s[…]

keeping it real. [And] Juggalos are actually some of the most

big-hearted people I know. If you’re broken down on the side of

the road, chances of a Juggalo helping you out are a thousand

times greater than some asshole on his way to work,” he clarified,

with a tinge of passion in his voice.

“I’d rather have a hundred Juggalos at a show over 10,000 just

normal motherfuckers at a show. Juggalos have the heart of a

hundred people each.”

The Posse’s creative well seems pretty far from running dry,

too; after their famed First Deck of Joker Cards wrapped up in

2004, a second Deck was rolled out in 2009 – to the surprise

(and elation) of many Juggalos. Not to mention the complementary

‘Sideshow’ EPs which bridged each EP’s release.

Throw in another half-dozen solo albums, a plethora of

supergroup memberships, and a variety of appearances and

Insane Clown Posse: Shaggy 2 Dope and Violent bringing on their A++ game.

by Max Foley

directorial roles in film and television, and one can’t help but

wonder: what is it about the Insane Clown Posse that makes

them so prolific? Is it because they’re the end-all, be-all when it

comes to doing horrorcore/murder rap the way it’s meant to

be done?

Whatever the case, Calgary’s slated for a hell of a wakeup call

– Juggalos from all around the country will be rallying at the

Stampede Corral for a two-day gathering featuring guests like

Ice-T and Merkules. Utsler’s proprietary blend of understated

enthusiasm and time-tested wisdom bleeds through the phone

as he articulates the ICP’s love for Canada.

“Canada’s a little different – we feel more accepted there

than in America. The general populace doesn’t look at the ICP

the same way Americans do,” Utsler explains.

“There’s more casual listeners up there, and that affects the

energy of the show. We love throwing down for Juggalos, and

they make us bring out our A game; but those other people

watching make you wanna murder the show and really blow

their wigs off. They make us bring our A++ game.”

There’s another key reason why Canada’s earned the affections

of the Posse: the relative ease of obtaining Faygo, a budget

soft drink from the ICP’s backyard of Michigan. Faygo is what

Utsler describes as “the lifeblood of an ICP show.”

“We can actually get it delivered to our shows, whereas in

Europe or Australia we gotta use their off-brand soda, and we’ll

put fake-ass fake logos on them or peel them off. We throw so

much Faygo during shows that sometimes it’s just not practical.

That’s another important part of Canada is that you’re able to

get that precious Faygo. None of that knockoff shit.”

In short, while visits from Shaggy 2 Dope and Violent J only

happen every few years, absence does make the heart grow


“We fuckin’ love Canada. I’ma eat the fuck out of some of

those motherfuckin’ poontang fries.” Utsler finished. We’re gonna

hold you to that, Shaggy.

The Insane Clown Posse and their friends are hosting Canadian

Juggalo Weekend at the Stampede Corral on April 7-8. Find more

information at


calling all space cowboys… saddle up!

Comic book culture’s middle-aged poster boy, Kevin Smith.

by Christine Leonard

If the old adage is to be believed, you should “never meet your heroes.” But for fans

of the fastest growing comic convention in North America, that saying could not be

further from the truth. Attracting over 100,000 people in 2016, Calgary’s annual Comic

& Entertainment Expo (AKA Calgary Expo) engulfs Stampede Park and transmogrifies

those hallowed stomping grounds into a multimedia playground that is truly a spectacle

to behold. It’s not the first space rodeo for Calgary Expo’s spokeswoman and mascot, Emily

Expo, but she promises that 2017’s four day run of fandom will offer up a star-studded

affair that will be the highlight of your terrestrial orbit.

“The last couple of years have been huge for us and we keep trying to present an even

better experience for our attendees,” says Emily Expo. “At the moment the focus isn’t

so much on size as improving the quality of the event for all. Making sure that there is

something for everyone and trying to make sure that everything is well organized and

goes smoothly from an operational perspective.”

Engaging with a public that has so embraced all of its colourful components, Calgary

Expo has swelled beyond the scope of a self-contained entity and has extended its tendrils

into the very core of the City.

“I am quite proud of us as an organization for putting on the Parade of Wonders!,

which happens on the Friday morning of each Expo,” she explains. “To have all these cosplayers,

and the nerds, and the geeks, and the fans parading through downtown Calgary,

and showing their pride in this show that started with 3,000 people in 2006, is really quite

an accomplishment! The route is a little bit different year. We start at 8th and 8th and we

still wind-up at Olympic Plaza, but due to the growth of the event and how big it is it has

become a little too disruptive and we don’t want to annoy people with what we’re doing.

We want to create a community thing that everybody can come and enjoy, so we worked

with the City to develop a new route.”

Back on the grounds, where the Calgary Expo occupies 450,000 square feet dedicated

to the arts of gaming, shopping, and celebrity-worship, it’s all too easy to lose all sense of

direction and monetary prudence. But thanks to the Expo’s handy phone app, Calgary

cadets are less likely to miss their window of opportunity to land amongst the stars.

“We had an app last year and we revamp it every year, as things change and develop.

So, we’ll have that again this year for people who want it. It is really useful for keeping

track of your schedule, especially if you’re into panels and photo ops.”

Aside from a one-off concert appearance by James Marsters at the Expo’s official After

Party, the lynchpin in this year’s special programing is an appearance by the comic book

culture’s middle-aged poster boy, Kevin Smith. Known for his directorial triumphs (and

flops) as well as his podcasting career, and television show “Comic Book Men,” Smith will

be joined by his partner in rhyme, Jay Mewes (AKA Jay), for a separately-ticked event

called “Jay & Silent Bob Get Old” on April 29 at the Stampede Corral.

“I’m also super excited for Kevin Smith, because I’ve seen every movie he’s ever done

and I’m a huge Jay and Silent Bob fan. I’m looking forward to hearing his stories and seeing

him on stage with Jason Mewes. I think that’ll be a fantastic event. Although, definitely for

a more mature audience, and not recommended for the kids. I am sure most people are

aware. If you’re at all familiar with Kevin’s brand of humour, you’ll know what to expect.”

Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo runs from April 27-30 at Stampede Park.



defining Kensington’s new breed

Creating a difference is the key. And in a city flush with new boutique bars and

restaurants, many that are conceptually fresh and smart, Midtown Kitchen & Bar,

located in the cozy hub of Kensington, creates a difference by overhauling the idea

of a neighbourhood pub and stamping it with quality and contemporary character.

Originally from Vancouver, Ric Cutillo, is a chef by trade, a career he started in Spain

and honed in Europe. Stylish and down to earth himself, Cutillo says he wanted “a cool

comfortable space, where it didn’t matter if you were in a pair of shorts, work boots or

a suit, you were at ease and nothing offensive to deal with.”

He also conceived Midtown to be a “North American bistro” that avoided basic,

run-of-the-mill pub food and “all that deep fried madness.” On excursions to Portland

and Seattle with his wife, he was impressed with bars that focused on menus that didn’t

cheap out in any areas. “There’s a lot of great little watering holes that make the most of

everything there. I wanted good steaks, sandwiches and pastas. Good wines, spirits and

good beer. Not just whatever beer and wine out of a cardboard box.”

While Cutillo is proud to promote Midtown’s burgers made from “one hundred

ground chuck, with no mystery meat” as one of their big sellers, the menu has rich variety

of items ranging from small plates of oysters, surf tacos and spiced Brussels sprouts,

to a Cubano sandwich and the Winter Farm pizza topped with mushroom béchamel,

roasted butternut squash, caramelized turnips, roasted walnuts, mozzarella, balsamic

glaze and beet mirco greens. Definitely not pub grub. Keeping it farm fresh, Midtown

gets all of its ingredients from local suppliers and everything except the breads are

made in-house.

Early on Midtown decided to only serve craft beers with 40 different brands from our

“backyard and beyond” to select from. The wine list has a distinct North American focus

on it, and every Wednesday they offer a remarkable 50 percent off all their bottles.

Big changes have swept through Kensington, as 10th Street transitions from a relatively

quiet enclave to a bustling strip of commerce and new developments. Cutillo notes that it’s been a

battle to cultivate change while retaining Kensignton’s character, as the community continuously fights

not to be destroyed by 30 story condo units and big box retailers. He feels Midtown belongs to the neighhourhood’s

new breed. “Almost all of our clientele are locals from the area. That’s who we serve. And I

think that we’re part of the preservation, and part of the change.”

While the bar brought in DJs to play vinyl on the occasional night, they’ve now “jumped in” and switched to

having local bands and musicians every Saturday that lean towards folk rock. “Kensington is very much about

arts and music. It’s that kind of culture. Why not showcase it?” says Cutillo tipping his pint.

Midtown Kitchen & Bar is located at 302- 10st NW in Kensington.

by B. Simm



DJD: Modern Vaudevillians

spontaneous collaboration!

This spring, Decidedly Jazz Danceworks brings a

multi-disciplinary variety show to its stage. It’s an

unprecedented level of collaboration even for Artistic

Director Kimberley Cooper.

DJD usually fills all the roles for a show with in-house personal.

For Modern Vaudevillians, however, Cooper says they

had “a short rehearsal process, so I thought it would be fun

to include some artists from the community to contribute

to the production to take a little pressure off us. And I have a

genuine desire to collaborate.”

To name all the gifted artists (including an aerialist, two

clowns, a magician, a singer/actor, a band, and of course DJD’s

own company dancers) would take twice the space here.

And to coordinate the show, Cooper is putting a twist on the

traditional role of a vaudeville emcee to wrangle the acts together,

although she couldn’t speak about the specific details.

“I know how it starts and I know how it ends. I know there’s

an intermission. It’s just figuring out how everything else falls

into place. It’s definitely a puzzle, but it’s a very fun puzzle to

put together,” she says fondly.

This is one of the several ways Vaudevillians pays tribute to

its saucy theatrical inspiration, which was at an apex from the

late 1880s to the 1930s – a frame of time that also encompasses

the beginnings of jazz.

With the short rehearsal time, some artists will be meeting

just days ahead of their debut together on stage, which is also

very much part of vaudevillian tradition – spontaneity. Cooper

sees this as exciting, noting it lends to a good chemistry

and artistic development. “I’m really excited for this show. I

think it’s going to really change and grow through the process

of the performances. I think it’ll be a really fun.”

Modern Vaudevillians runs April 20th – May 6th at DJD’s

theatre space on 12th Ave. SE. Matinees at 2pm and evening

shows at 8pm.

BOOKS: All Our Wrong Todays

sci-fi novel mixes haha with reflection

Tom Barren, the central

character in Elan

Mastai’s first novel, All

Our Wrong Todays, lives in

a futuristic 2016 that is very

much unlike the reality of 2016.

Instead of the crime-infested,

disease-plagued, environmental

time-bomb we are familiar

with , Tom lives in an utopian

paradise, a gleaming sci-fi vision

of the 1950s where flying cars,

moving sidewalks and robot

maids shape an everyday pleasant

valley Sunday.

This great utopian was

created by the invention of the

Goettreider Engine in 1965,

a prototype radiation device that had “miraculous energy-generating

capacities expanded to power the whole world.” With its development,

the globe was much safer and clean, equality and consumerism abound,

a comfort zone full of mod-cons.

Tom should be happy, right? Everyone should be happy. But

when an unexpected pregnancy presents the opportunity for Tom

to hopscotch around the universe, he lands (via a good ole time

machine) in a parallel universe in 2016 that is today’s world. There

he discovers that the beautiful futuristic world he comes from,

filled with happy and shiny people and machinery, may actually be

the source of his discontentment.

photo: Trudie Lee

by Colin Gallant

“For my lead character, and the others in his life,” says Mastai, “it’s

about stripping the essentials away and leaving them with less. And

that’s how they, and also the reader, finds out who they are. And hopefully

getting people to think about themselves.

“We spend a lot of time being distracted technology,” adds Mastai.

“It’s insidious in our lives. But the book is not luddite harangue, at all. I’m

not anti-technology, I’m pro-complexity. I like to think about what can

be taken away from their lives, and who they still are, and what can be

taken away and they’d be a different person if they lost it. Whether that’s

society, technology or the people in their lives.”

Because the book is punchy and funny, it’s easy to tag it with a Back

To The Future theme. But Mastai, who grew up Vancouver, references a

combination of Douglas Copeland and William Gibson, two of that city’s

notable writers, as a closer comparison. In addition, Mastai, who’s a successful

screenwriter gaining international recognition with the romantic

comedy, The F-Word, says he simply set out to marry different genres.

“I have a lot of restless interests, and childhood love of science fiction

but never really a chance to write in the genre. I had this idea. Rather

than a movie I thought the book would be the best way to tell the story.

I wanted to do something that had a big science fiction concept, but

also very much about family, love and human connections that give our

lives purpose.”

All Our Wrong Todays was also scripted to have a three-act structure

that could be adapted to film, which Mastai recently sold the rights to

a studio for. The book is a fun, fast-paced romp (chapters average two

pages), dealing at times with sci-fi explanations and the meaningfulness

of life, but also the endearing misadventures of Tom Barren whose penis

changed everything about the world he once knew.


wild women and song!

by Victoria Banner

Calgary poetry slam team captain Cobra Collins.


ince 2003, the Calgary Spoken Word Festival, founded and directed

by multi-award winning poet Sheri-D Wilson, has gained an

international reputation for its progressive and innovative programming.

Keeping the festival fresh, alive and in the spotlight, this year’s

theme is Poetry + Music.

Asked why she picked that particular route, Wilson channels her

inner beatnik and says, “I always want the theme to be an expression of

what I’m jazzed by.” As such, the artists are encouraged to bring music

with their work or to work with musicians.

Leading off the festival, the renowned Western Canadian poet Lorna

Crozier will conduct a workshop that investigates the literary power of

the metaphor and how to work its magic.

Following that is an event called Wild Women and Friends. “Calgary is

a town of spoken word,” says Wilson. “We descend from Aboriginals and

cowboys, the original story tellers, and the new city is always looking for

something cutting edge.” In that tradition, the feisty and prolific Aretha

Van Herk will host a stellar line-up that includes Lorna Crozier, Calgary

poetry slam team captain Cobra Collins, the vibrant writer and filmmaker

Julie Trimingham, along with a fine cast of fierce poets who aim on

getting loud and feminine. As part of the evening, the collective Woolf’s

Voices “will gather us all up as the evening’s Mistress to howl together

in a space of our own.” Wilson will also share the stage with her band,

the ambitious Orbiting Ouroborus, who will be releasing a collaborative

album with Wilson shortly.

Night three features Mighty Mike McGee, America slam poetry

superstar who’s no stranger to the world of rock ‘n’ roll. Calgary native

Andre Prefontaine (now based in Toronto) and Edmontonian Mary

Pinkoski will deliver and delight with their individual brand of hip, rich,

colourful and contemporary Canadian storytelling. The evening at

Festival Hall will heat up with rock-a-billy flair thanks to performances by

the Sadlier-Brown Band.

Wrapping up the festival is Spoken Word’s tradition of community

building with the open-mic poetry slam at the Unicorn Super

Pub, downstairs in the Celtic Cellar. Wilson encourages festival-goers,

curiousity seekers and literary fans to come share their poetry, inspire

and forge ahead to the following year. Even though it’s fresh, progressive

and pushing boundaries, Wilson assures the festival is accessible for the

general public: “Poetry is by the people for the people” done loud and

proud with a musical mash-up.

The Calgary Spoken Word Festival runs from April 22-25. Fror more details

on performers, events and venues visit

• B. Simm



this town really is your town

Nicky Speer: Personalized service is key in this industry.

Shimmering in a cozy corner of the downstairs level of Calgary’s

Fashion Central, a spot of bright teal tempts enchantresses of all

walks to step inside the sparkly cosmos of WorldTown Cosmetics.

Established in the latter part of 2015, shop owner and makeup artist

Nicky Speer had diversity through individuality in mind as she opened

her doors to a new class of celebrities: Everybody. Whether she is on-set

at an off-site fashion shoot, creating your look for a special event, or

ringing through an item you need but never knew existed, Nicky’s characteristic

effervescence is the personal touch we can all appreciate.


gallery goodness


Utopia Factory

Until July 30

Made up of three components, curated respectively by Noa

Bronstein, Lisa Baldissera & Nate McLeod, and Marco Polo & Colin

Ripley, Utopia Factory is an examination of state- and community-building

in Canada. Involving architecture, research, finished and

developing works, this exhibition asks “What is the political life of a

building, place or historic marker?”



Until May 7

Sculptor Shary Boyle has organized a group exhibition that explores

the political and personal implications of space and how it

is occupied. With a multitude of mediums showcased by artists,

Boyle sourced her co-exhibitors based on their intimate, personal,

and physical connections to their subject matter. Having been a

popular exhibition since January, time is quickly running out to

see Earthlings for yourself.

by Lisa Marklinger

“I feature eight product lines, and I know

almost everything there is to know about them.

Personalized service is key in this industry,”

Nicky smiles, fluttering her faux lashes. “I want

everyone who walks into my store to feel at

home. I love welcoming people, and I love making

people feel beautiful.”

With ten years of experience in make-up, she’s

done it all, from stage make-up to weddings and

everything in between. You want a day of the dead,

alien-inspired, slightly gothic, pin-up girl look? Call

Nicky. Maybe you want something flawless yet

totally natural? Wonderful! That’s her favourite.

“It takes a lot more technique than you’d think

(to look seamless and convincing). Runways usually

dictate what’s going to be trendy, and spring is a

pretty predictable season in terms of fashion looks:

clean, dewy, radiant skin, shiny lips, pastels. Spring is

change! It doesn’t like to be complicated, and your

face shouldn’t be either!” she says, laughing.

When she’s not busy working her magic on

people at her headquarters, or adding inspiring

ideas to showcase what’s new and now

on her social media platforms, Nicky stays

tirelessly occupied researching the newest

and best of what WorldTown’s hand-picked

brands have to offer.

“Everything I carry has to be operating under an

independent label, that is a huge deal to me. I can

look at their ethics in manufacturing, experience

first-hand how they treat their customers, they

take my feedback seriously.... There’s a lot of personal

and product credibility on the line because

my store is so exclusive. No other store in Calgary

carries any of the merchandise I sell here.

Celebrity sponsors and expensive packaging are great marketing

tools, but so is value, integrity, and accountability. People

are always going to ‘vote with their wallets’. By making these

items more easily accessible, especially with many of them being

organic, sustainable, vegan, and cruelty-free, I feel I really can cater

to anyone.”

Find WorldTown cosmetics on Instagram and Facebook @worldtown_

cosmetics Online store and blog:

Life on Mars

Until April 27

In supplement to Earthlings, Esker Foundation curator Shauna

Thompson will offer a transparent look into the exhibition’s

curatorial process and themes. This will include detailed precedent

exhibitions, studio co-operatives in Canada’s North, plus a look at the

complex relationships between the works showcased.


Cathy Daley

Until wMay 6

Longstanding national treasure Cathy Daley is exhibiting a series of

post-feminist drawings at Newzones from March to May. Using oil pastel

on vellum, Daley examines how fashion and society consider certain

aesthetics of femininity acceptable and others not. It’s a complex

musing that walks the line between interrogation and appreciation.


The Future Behind Us

Until May 13

An international collaboration initiated by Guatemalan-Canadian

artist Romeo Gongora, The Future Behind Us documents the pairing

of Gongora with a host of Congolese artists for a work that looks at

themes in Congolese history and culture via a dystopian lens (the

short sci-fi work Perinium).


the handmade revolution is alive and thriving

The Makies’ queen bee, Jenna Herbut, with her kitty Phoebe.

After a five year absence, Make It: The Handmade Revolution arts

and crafts fair is back. The origins of this wildly successful roving

event date back to when Make It co-founder, Jenna Herbut, first

came up with a business plan for a marketing class 10 years ago at the University

of Alberta. Herbut’s idea was to develop a business for one of her

handmade creations, a fabric sash belt that she affectionately called the

“Booty Belt.” Her booty plan took off and in short while she was selling

them at over 120 fashion boutiques across Canada.

The upswing in sales and popularity opened a lot of doors, one of

which was selling Booty Beltz as a street vendor at music festivals and

other fun outdoor events. Herbut enjoyed selling direct to customers so

much that she and her brother decided to stage their own festival of fun

by rounding up other creative producers, setting them up with a DJ and

beer garden and unveiling the arts and crafts fair that became Make It.

Their first show in Edmonton only had 30 booths in a community hall. Six

years later, 250 exhibitors where featured at the PNE Forum in Vancouver

attracting over 18,000 happy shoppers. Wildly successful. Yeah.

Herbut cites a number of factors why Make It has been so well received.

One is loyalty of the participants. “There’s an genuine, thriving interest in

the whole handmade world,” explains Herbut. “It’s really amazing to see how

small the production is for these artists, and how big the following actually

is. They have a strong identity that’s shaped by connecting and sharing in a

feel-good DIY community.” The loving bond and between artist and consumer

has evolved into a devoted patronage known as “The Makies.”

In addition to countering the generic, mass production of the digital age,

Herbut feels part of what makes The Makies is a “millennial trend in which

there’s not a lot of opportunity in a broken job market, and this offers new

ways to find employment.” She adds social media, YouTube, online promotion

and stores like Etsy and Shopify are all part of the handmade revolution

“There’s nothing that limits creativity, and no limit to access a large audience.

You can make something and sell it within two hours.”

Online promotion by artists directly involved with Make It also contributes

to its success. In the connected community of The Makies, when

someone pushes their new product online, word gets out quickly and the

buzz is on to see the real thing when it comes to town. “What’s appealing

about craft fairs, is they close the gap between making and selling something

that’s tactile and tangible,” says Herbut. “It just feels good at the end

of the day.”

Make It, Calgary’s Handmade Market is in the Big Four Bldg. at the Stampede

Park from April 7-9.


B. Simm


theatre fun


Newfoundland Mary

April 24-May13

Newfoundland Mary is the tale of Mary McCarthy Gomez Cueto, a real

Newfoundlander who married a wealthy Spanish business and left The

Rock behind for Cuba. When her husband passes and Castro rises to power,

Mary finds herself back in squalor but comforted by aspiring jazz singer Luis

Gonzalez. This is a story filled with music, class struggle and perseverance.


The Adventures of Alvin Sputnik: Deep Sea Explorer

April 21-23

Blending puppetry, animation and live action, this tender one-man-show

about dealing with grief in a not-too-distant future where sea levels have

risen has captured audiences’ hearts around the globe. The Australian work

has sold out runs in New York, Sydney and Auckland, and will be in Calgary

for three nights only.


Crazy For You

April 18-May 20

Also referred to as “The New Gershwin Musical,” Crazy For You was first produced

in 1992 on Broadway (for which it won a Tony) and is based on the legendary

Gershwins’ Girl Crazy. The romantic musical features some of the best

Gershwin songs from across their career with favourites like “I Got Rhythm”

and “Someone to Watch Over Me” anchoring the emotional journey.



April 25-30

Another Tony winning classic with music by an iconic duo (this time Rodgers

& Hammerstein), Cinderella is sure to be one of the biggest productions

in April, if not all of 2017. While the classic tale has the music and grandeur

you’d expect (a full symphony orchestra will perform its score live), the

Jubilee has promised a few suprise tweaks.


Rock of Ages

April 21-June 25

The classic dilemma: Shall we have dinner before or after the show? Well,

why not during? Stage West is bringing back the big, bad rock ‘n’ roll of the

‘80s with their production of Rock of Ages. Set on the Sunset Strip in the

time of big hair and bigger riffs, the show depicts the fight to save the Strip

from demolition and a young janitor’s desires to become a rockstar and get

the girl of his dreams.


Exploder April 25-28

The daring Ghost River Theatre are back with a collaboration between their

company and the students of Western Canada High School. Using their

audio-visual technical skills, radical storytelling methods and teen angst

plucked right from the source, Exploder is a tale of teenage intensity told

through visual poetry.



April 4-22

1979 is a work of Canadian political history theatre ripe with satirical humour.

Characters like Prime Ministers Joe Clark, Brian Mulroney, Pierre Trudeau and

Stephen Harper use their wits to duke out the path to power. This hilarious,

mature content from the notoriously immature world of politics.



May 12-27

One of Shakespeare’s most iconic works, MacBeth returns to The Shakespeare

Company after receiving rave reviews in 2016. Exploring ambition,

power, evil and the supernatural, this is one of The Bard’s most enduring

works for a reason. 2016 reviews called it deeply frightening and specifically

noted the masterful fight choreography. If you’ve never seen MacBeth or

simply appreciate fresh life blown into a classic, this is the show for you.




gender dynamics in dance theatre

by Jennifer Thompson

photo: Citrus Photography

Ah, that agonizing hard on!

Feminism is a hot topic these days, especially in

the context of what it means to men. Stories

about bullying women are still making headlines,

perpetuating male stereotypes. Trump’s “nasty woman”

or “grabbing” comments are popular examples,

but closer to home, the rhetoric of Robin Camp and

accusations of Sandra Jansen reminds us that sexism

is still alive and well. Where most of us want to turn

the other cheek when faced with these cringe-worthy

tales, one local artist, Mark Kunji Ikeda, is asking his

audience to take a close look at the concept of the

domineering male and the gender power struggle, in

an attempt to keep the conversation going.

Ikeda is the creator of The Golden Penis, a “highly

physical” dance performance showing April 12 – 16

at the West Village Theatre and is the debut piece

of the Cloudsway Dance Theatre. Ikeda recognized

that there’s a risk in debuting with such a sensitive

and polarizing subject, but feels that theatre is place

to explore the uncomfortable. “I’m interested in triggering

the audience and emotional entertainment,”

says Ikeda. “[The Golden Penis] is about seeing how

women are treated and looking at those dark truths.

I’m hoping the performance will evoke an emotional


Ikeda was inspired by what masculinity means

when suddenly taking a hard look at his own male

instincts. “I was dropping a girl off on a date and when

she ended it, my first instinct was to keep asking, ‘Are

you sure?’ I suddenly realized that instinct to push was

wrong, and wondered why would I do that?” Ikeda

spent his drive home thinking about that moment,

which are what he and the cast aim to explore in The

Golden Penis.

In addition to the ten male performers and four

female performers, Ikeda has brought on a stellar

artistic team of local visionaries including dramaturg

Christopher Duthie (writer of n00b and Of Fighting

Age) as well as the Calgary Sexual Health Society’s

WiseGuyz program leader (and Calgary theatre mainstay)

Stafford Perry.

The Golden Penis sets out more than anything to

inspire men to become active in the feminist movement.

“To be healthy in your masculinity means to

be healthy in your femininity,” says Ikeda when asked

what he hopes to portray with the performance.

“The interpretation is left up to the audience, and my

biggest fear is that we come off ignorant or insensitive

some how.” Be for warned, this show is not for the

light of heart, expect to be triggered one way or another.

Ikeda describes it as “a game-changing theatrical

performance exploring male privilege, patriarchy, and

gender roles.”

The Golden Penis runs April 12-16 at the West Village

Theatre. Created by One Yellow Rabbit protege Mark

Kunji Ikeda, who was named Calgary Arts Development

Emerging Artist of 2015.




the proud and the few

Descendents have announced a Canadian

tour and it’s tearing-up bucket lists across

the country.

Hailing from Manhattan Beach, California, the

Descendents’ first full-length album, Milo Goes

to College, was released back in ‘82. Over 35

years later, it remains one of the greatest, most

innovative, and influential punk albums to date.

Descendents are creators of fast and melodic

hardcore punk lyrically revolving around girls,

heartbreak, and coffee – but that shit is never decaf.

Since 1986, they’ve consisted of Bill Stevenson

on drums, Milo Aukerman on vocals and mascot

duties, Karl Alvarez on bass, and Stephen Egerton

on guitar.

Hypercaffium Spazzinate is their latest offering,

released on Epitaph Records in 2016. It came 12 years

after their last, Cool to Be You. To learn more, we

chatted with drummer Bill Stevenson about all things


“We were fortunate with Hyper Spazz, because

people kind of loved it. We were hoping for, ‘oh cool,

new Descendents and it’s not so bad,’ and that would

have been enough for us,” Stevenson explains.

“But the fact that everyone loved it, that was great.

Because when we put a record out it’s definitely

because we want to.”

Despite the 34-year long span in-between the

two albums, Hyper Spazz resonates with long time

listeners, who saw it as as a nod to College.

“You’re not the first person to tell me it reminds

them of Milo Goes to College,” Stevenson reflects.

The only and only Descendents are performing near you in May.

photo: Kevin Scanlon

“It wasn’t intentional, but there isn’t quite as much

overdrive on the guitar, so it sounds a little cleaner,

like on College. And Egerton is playing a lot more

parts where he’s using all six strings and that’s how

[original guitarist] Frank [Navetta] used to play. But, if

anything that’s just respect towards Frank.”

He continues, “He passed away a several years ago

and he’s been on our mind a lot, so maybe there’s

a little bit of Frank’s spirit on there and that’s what

people are picking up on.”

Stevenson pauses.

“And for whatever reason, we ended up with a

handful of songs that were really short. And that’s

one of the identifying factors of early Descendents.”

He chuckles.

“We’re definitely known for the short songs. “I like

Food” and “Wienerschnitzel” are 11 seconds. “My

Dad Sucks” and “I Wanna Be a Bear” are like 35 seconds.

“Victim of Me” is 45 seconds. But at the same

time, “Without Love,” “Get the Time,” and “Clean

by Sarah Mac

Sheets,” those are all over three minutes.”

Concentrating on the upcoming tour and

almost 40 years of recordings, the big question

on everyone’s mind is what the set list looks like.

“We’re practicing about 39 to 42 songs. It’s a good

random sampling of what we think are the better

songs on each record. Some albums will have more

songs played than other albums and about 11 off the

new album.”

This new album and tour has given hope for a Descendents-filled

future. Adding fuel to the fire, front

man Milo Aukerman departed from his full-time gig

as a Biochemist. It seems the stars are aligning for

long-time fans.

Stevenson laughs at the observation.

“Well, yeah. We’re going to be quite a bit

more active than we have been in the last 15 to

20 years. But we’re not going that hard. We want

this to remain fun for us. We’re going medium.

We’re doing it in a marathon way, not in a 50-

yard dash kinda way.”

He finishes, “We really appreciate the support

though and we don’t take any of it for granted. We

know we’re just one step away from being that band

that can’t sell out the telephone booth. We’re all too

aware of that.”

Don’t miss your chance to catch your favourite punk

band’s favourite punk band on May 3 in Edmonton

at Union Hall, on May 6 at MacEwan Hall in Calgary,

and on August 25th in Vancouver at the Commodore



crafting an authentic symbiosis of message and sound

In 2015, more than 20 years after the band was

formed, Jimmy Eat World returned to the studio

from a one-year break to record their ninth

studio album Integrity Blues. Drummer Zach Lind,

who started off playing the saxophone before

switching to drums at age 10, explains the effect

the break had on the recording while spending

some quality time with his family in Arizona prior

to the band’s upcoming tour.

“I think it made a big difference. I think it was the

first time we’d ever done anything like that where we

really just truly took a break and everyone was just

sort of absolved of any Jimmy Eat World responsibilities.

Yeah, I mean it really gave us a lot of new energy

for making Integrity Blues that we wouldn’t have had

had we not taken that break.”

The band, whose line-up has remained unchanged

since 1995, had high ambitions for the new record.

“The previous album Damage [2013] kind of

sounds like we made it sort of over a weekend at a

friend’s house or something like that. It’s definitely

more casual and a little bit rawer, almost sort of more

like garage band rock. Integrity Blues is like the opposite

of that where we really wanted to make it sound

like a big studio album, like something that was more

intricate, something that has more layers.”

To realize this, Jimmy Eat World went “all out,” as

Lind describes it.

“We did everything in LA. It was the first time


Are you listening? Jimmy Eat World is playing a town near you in April!

since Futures [released in 2004 and given Gold Status

by the RIAA] that we booked like really classic, great

studio rooms to work in. We hired a producer, Justin

Meldal-Johnsen [Paramore, M83], who was incredible

to work with and really helped us achieve what we

were hoping to achieve with this album.”

The mission seems accomplished with Pitchfork

describing the record as “perhaps Jimmy Eat World’s

best record since Bleed American,” their 2001 album

that was certified platinum. The record combines

variety and the desired big sound with emotionally

matured lyrics. In tracks like “Get it right”, the

restlessness described in the chorus (“I’m destination

addicted, I just gotta be someplace else, never good

time never feel the space to get it right”) is reflected

in the unforgiving beat and a hammering guitar riff

continuing throughout the song, which is only occasionally

interrupted by a synthesizer that adds even

by Christina Zimmer

more tension to the track. “Sure and Certain” only

compares to this in terms of the felicitous interaction

of music and lyrics: the guitars are warmer, the melody

uplifting yet a bit melancholic. Only the rhythmic

drums remain forceful as ever and are stepped up

a beat later on in the harmonious and encouraging

“You are Free.”

Lyrically, the record is encouraging a different

perspective on life, to shift from focusing on a desired

outcome to appreciating the present moment.

“The general sort of theme throughout the record

is about really trying to have a perspective on your

own life and seeing things for what they really are,

appreciating those things for what they are, and maybe

not necessarily some sort of outcome that you’re

searching for,” concurs Lind.

“On the one hand it’s good to have goals.”

Concludes Lind, “it’s good to strive for something

but on the other hand, by being so fixated on

whatever outcome we’re looking for, we can miss the

present moment. We fail to appreciate what we have


Jimmy Eat World performs at the Commodore Ballroom

in Vancouver on April 26th, The Palace Theatre

in Calgary on April 28th, The Startlite Room in Edmonton

on April 29th, O’Brian’s Event Centre in Saskatoon

on April 30th and the Garrick Centre in Winnipeg on

May 1st.



Vancouver’s Mod Squad — a sharp, smart, break out

Fashionism? Fashion fascists? Fashionistas? Some people might tag you as a Mod revival band, but any smart

Mod will tell you that their lock down on style never went out of fashion... Mod is the future for evermore!

What’s your take on that?

JOSH: Sharp dressing is never out of style and the Mod style lasted for a reason. As far as our band style we

were just looking at all these old bands that had a specific look that was tied to their subculture. Like when

punks were punks and Two-Tone was an actual thing with history and rules and not just a tag to sell Fred

Perrys and Shermans. Subculture gave an identity and a space to people that were disenfranchised or looking

for some sense of belonging. It had strict rules because it had to. These days it costs a lot of money to pay

attention to those rules. It’s one of the many reasons we’ll be elbowing our way past you in the thrift stores as

well as the record stores. It’s not just a game to us. We were kicking around names that would help define an

aesthetic rather than just be a throwaway name. Jeff was studying history in College and working as a tailor at

the time and we all joked about how the name was really cheeky sounding. Like we didn’t want to be thought

of as lazy, thrown together kind of group, we try to pay attention to detail and wear our influences proudly. I

think the people that are searching for that stuff can pick it out and appreciate it.

Indeed, there’s a lot going in the band’s sound, a lot of deep roots... Caribbean dancehall, ska, punk, the

Specials, the Jam, Northern Soul, Brill Building., even Mott the Hoople. Not anything in particular, but a

melting pot of style, sound and ideas. How would you describe Fashionism’s music here and now?

JOSH: I never thought the first thing to come out as far as comparisons would be dancehall and ska but I’ll

take it. When we first started we had a definitive approach to play early ‘70s Glam and ‘60s Bubblegum. It

didn’t work out. Our record collections are way too apparent in our playing and though we have lots of Mud,

Sweet and 1910 Fruitgum Company records but we also have thousands of punk singles from ‘76 to ’83. The

glory years of the “new wave” in all of its forms straight through to hardcore punk. It’s what we learned to play

our instruments to and anything that we do is going to be influenced by the same. We’re all big record idiots

so delving into the sounds that influenced that stuff is a big part of it as well. I think that we come across as an

apprehensive, 2017 powerpop band that is critical of the trade off that relates to quality and sincerity for the

immediacy of modern convenience and throwaway culture.

This band is about having fun, seizing the moment, breaking out, bending the rules, and defiance. Mods

may conform to a certain look, but they don’t play the game. Songs like “We Got It Wrong,” “Smash the

State,” “Subculture Suicide,” “Where Have All The Rock ‘n’ Roll Girls Gone”... all your songs throw down the

gauntlet, present a challenge the sterility of gentrification. I’d say Fashionism is radicalism.

JOSH: Yeah, I don’t know that we’re the most political band, but we try not to have the most vacant lyrics

ALL of the time. I think we are a rock ‘n’ roll band that is in extremely scary times and it all relates back to what

we’re playing. Some bands have a really severe political approach, especially when it relates to punk. One of the

most amazing things to me is the Northern Ireland punk scene in the ‘70s and ‘80s. Civil unrest everywhere and

it’s all so totally fractured, yet a bunch of teenagers come out playing pop music influenced by the New Wave

and record some of the most timeless love songs ever. Like five kids record “Teenage Kicks” and meanwhile

there are car bombs exploding on their streets and very real battle lines are being drawn everywhere. If we’re

doing this properly, and I hope that we are, we can ride the balance between writing songs that are critical of

the world around us while still taking into account that it is very important to make out with someone at the

gig, to fall in love, to live for rock ‘n’ roll and play music that is based in desperation without being negative and

foreboding. Sincerity is everything. Without it, what’s the point?

Fashionism, a super group from Vancouver featuring members of Tranzmitors, The Jolts, New Town Animals, and

the Orange Kyte, play the Palomino Friday, April 28.



alchemical live performances and a twice-mastered record

Close Talker’s newest album Lens comes out April 21st.

photo: Dylan McAmmond

On the cusp of their third release Lens, Canadian trio Close Talker

are fully geared up to ensure listeners get the full picture of who

they are in 2017. Lens features songs that emulate the -40 degree

Saskatoon environment they wrote the LP in, pushing that home grown

feel while creating a healthy balance between upbeat tracks and a song

you wouldn’t mind cozying up inside with. From the raw energy in “All

of Us” and the rhythmic “OK Hollywood,” to the album closer “Seasonal

Friends,” there is an overall sense of growth displayed personally and within

the band’s dynamics. Released on April 21st, the album’s 10 songs are

an emotive balance of indie electronica rock and pop dynamics, with soft

vocals, unusual signatures in the drums, and angular riffs.

“We made it a bit more drum heavy,” explains vocalist and guitarist Will

by Jamie Goyman

Quiring, who is bolstered by second guitarist and vocalist Matthew Kopperud,

and drummer Christopher Morien. Former bassist Jeremy “Jerms”

Olson is no longer part of the band, so Close Talker decided to fill in for

him. We were “wanting to fill the bass out that way, incorporated more

synths; the album is a snapshot of where we were in our lives really so the

title Lens plays a role in setting the album in place.”

With the entire band heavily playing a part in songwriting, the creative

influence and diversity shared between the three becomes more apparent

with each album produced, specifically hearing the camaraderie they share

and growth they’ve experienced throughout their 10+ year friendship.

“I think that’s what makes us the band we are, when we play together

live we know how to play off of each other’s creativity and know where the

other guys want to take the song before it even happens,” tells Quiring.

Their continuous adaptation of group dynamics and progression through

each album shows Close Talker has found their identity as a band, always

ensuring to expand creatively with each project they work on.

Coming off of their third round at SXSW, the guys of Close Talker are

focused on ensuring that quality is what they are giving to audiences when

they hit their North American and European tours.

“There’s two keyboards, two guitars, bass pedals, drums, a drum pad

and only three of us,” Quiring explains.

“I think we are very intentional with everything we record, with Lens we

had the whole album mastered twice because we were thinking about the

order so much that we had to spend the extra cash to redo it. We are really

passionate about what we create and put out and want to put our best

foot forward.”

With that amount of care put into their music it’s easy to see why Close

Talker has become a favorite of many.

Close Talker’s Western Canada tour includes dates like April 28th at Commonwealth

in Calgary, April 29th at The Needle in Edmonton, and April 30th at Bo’s

in Red Deer. They will be performing with Yes We Mystic and Lost Cousins.


taking disco to the jungle on latest LP

Tommy Grimes can be described in a variety of ways. The Edmonton artist

comes across as interesting, eccentric, or in his own words, “sexy.” His latest

album, King of the Jungle, definitely reflects this.

“There’s lots of sexual elements in the music,” says Grimes. He laughs, acknowledging

how titillating his shtick is.

“It’s an exciting album, there’s a lot of energy, sexual energy going on.”

Producer Robert Burkosky played a major influence on its style, says Grimes.

Burkosky drew from different musical influences including [British post punk band]

Scritti Politti, [American dance music artist] Bobby Orlando and [freestyle R&B husband

and wife duo] Nu Shooz. Personally, Grimes finds vocal influence in other artists

like The B-52’s, Blondie, and David Bowie.

The album was completed in only a few short months, and Grimes believes it speaks

for itself. There are eight tracks in total, ranging from title “King of the Jungle” to one of

Grimes’ favourites, “Choke Chain.”

“There’s a special place in my heart for all the songs,” he clarifies.

The disco approach and unique soundscape makes for a stand-alone album that’s

highly unusual when placed in its 2017 context.

“I feel like there’s not a lot of that going on right now,” says Grimes. “That was what

made me excited about working on the sound was that I didn’t hear anything like this

going on or being released recently, so that made it a lot of fun.”

It’s not just his disco sound that makes Grimes interesting, but also his wildly sexually

live persona and bright neon outfits. When asked about his style, Grimes just laughs.

“I do get asked about this, and I never know what to say.”

“Something unexpected always happens at the shows. Last show was really fun, I

did a few costume changes and there was a gorilla on stage, there were bananas flying,”

says Grimes, laughing.

“I played a show in Calgary before where everybody was taking their clothes off,” he

recalls. A gorilla, backup dancers in the form of The Night Sweats, and more might also

make an appearance… Trust me, you won’t want to miss it.

“You never know what’s going to happen.”

Tommy Grimes performs at Local 510 in Calgary on April 13.


Expect gorillas, backup dancers, and nudity, OH MY!

by Amber McLinden

photo: Veronica McGinnins


SUM 41

deryck whibley learns to live again

After realizing “I was probably an alcoholic”, Derek Whibley gets his life back.

About a year into Deryck Whibley’s recovery

from kidney and liver failure, an alcohol-related

collapse that put him in a medically

induced coma and left him unable to walk, the

Sum 41 frontman reached a tipping point. The

process was at a halt — hours of daily physiotherapy

didn’t seem to be working and he could barely

stand without excruciating pain. Neither Whibley

nor his doctors knew if he was ever going to get

better. It was no way to live; death by drink was

even a more appealing fate. Then, one night, at

four in the morning, amidst swirling thoughts, a

photo: JW Hopeless

lyric suddenly surfaced.

“What am I fighting for? Everything back and


He wrote it down. Then another.

“Some days it just gets so hard.”

The lines kept coming, flowing. He had a song —

something to work towards. Words to live up to.

“And then that moment, it sort of gave me that

realization of what it means to actually have faith in

something,” Whibley reflects. “To believe that you

will get better. You don’t know how, you don’t know

why, you don’t know when; as long as you push and

you fight harder — if you think you’ve been fighting

hard already, you gotta fight even harder and you just

gotta believe. And that’s what I told myself. And a

year later, I was finally able to step out onstage and go

out on tour, and now here I am.”

Today, Whibley is happy and healthy — a state he

credits to his journey to sobriety.

“Even if I would have quit drinking before, it

wouldn’t be what it is now,” he maintains. Booze had

simply become part of his lifestyle, reaching its most

excessive after Sum 41 wrapped a three year long

tour in support of 2011’s Screaming Bloody Murder.

Whibley then decided to detach — no music, no

responsibilities. And therein lay the problem.

“I mean, obviously this band has always been

heavy drinkers, heavy partiers, and, you know, I was

probably an alcoholic a long time ago, but really

functioning,” he continues.

“It’s when I lost the function was when I had no

more work to do.”

The aforementioned lyrics would make up the

song “War,” a hopeful track off Sum 41’s newest

album, 13 Voices. The project, the pop punks’ first in

five years, proved to be the key for Whibley to push

forward as he determinedly re-learned how to play

guitar, while slowly becoming comfortable in his own

skin again. As a result, his songwriting is reflective of a

man piecing his life back together. The title track, for

example, refers to the constant noise that blared in

Whibley’s head.

“I actually felt like I was going crazy for a while and

I thought I’d done some serious brain damage that,

like, this is it — this is how I end up like one of those

guys on the street, screaming at nobody,” he says. Cinematic

moments that appear throughout the record

by Sarah Mac

indicate the way Whibley regained his guitar fingering

— playing along to muted Quentin Tarantino and

Tim Burton movies.

Musically, 13 Voices administers a tremendous

punch, which partly comes from the reemergence of

original guitarist Dave “Brownsound” Baksh. Baksh,

who left the band a decade ago, reconnected with

Whibley before his hospitalization and stayed with

his old friend after he returned home. It felt odd

not to play together again, so they did, with Baksh’s

official return also marking Whibley’s to the stage

at the 2015 Alternative Press Music Awards. Baksh’s

presence now adds three guitarists to the lineup,

alongside Tom Thacker and Whibley.

“You really notice it live,” Whibley says of the

dynamic, which also includes bassist Cone McCaslin

and drummer Frank Zummo.

“I think that’s where we sound different than we’ve

ever been able to sound before, because we can play

a lot of stuff that is on the record that we couldn’t

do before. It’s a much bigger sound…it’s just a really

full sound. Just being a five piece, it’s so fun. I never

thought I’d like being a five piece, but now I couldn’t

imagine it any other way.”

Indeed, it’s certainly scary, Whibley admits, to

release music that was written from such a vulnerable

place — but getting personal isn’t something new.

He’s always written from his soul and 13 Voices is just,

in many ways, a new chapter. The past may have been

great — but now, Whibley says, “it’s time to take it

into a whole other world.”

Sum 41 performs at the Shaw Conference Centre in

Edmonton on April 13th and at Grey Eagle Casino in

Calgary on April 14th with Papa Roach.


U.K. punk act make Western Canada debut

Legendary UK punk act Menace formed in 1976 and is making

their first ever Western Canada appearances this month,

thanks to a Facebook cold call placed by Chris Schwartz

from Calgary’s Streetlight Saints. A few exchanges later, Menace

was booked for dates across the region with Schwartz and

company in tow. Given their passion for the U.K. group, we had

Streetlight Saints’ member Glen Murdoch chat with Noel Martin

to check in.

NM: We have a real problem with rehearsals in that we live hours

away from each other... In fact I am the only original member and

the only one still living in London. As we have played for a number of

years, we don’t need to rehearse as much as we used to, although we

still do new songs in the set. Generally what we do is rehearse the day

before or the day of the show, which is generally enough for us. When

we are writing for albums, we get together over a long weekend either

in Bournemouth or in London and just play non-stop 12 hours a day.

by Glen Murdoch

Beatroute: How do you feel about modern punk rock as

opposed to how it was way-back-when?

Noel Martin: When we started to play punk there were many good

bands and some bad ones. However, even the bad ones played it from

their heart and really enjoyed themselves. I think today is also really

good and there are lots of really good bands, obviously some of those

bands are still the ones that were around in the ‘70s, [like] U.K. Subs,

999, The Vibrators.

BR: What do you think of the whole Brexit thing? Will that

make it harder to tour around Europe?

NM: It’s very hard to say what Brexit will mean in the future, but if

it’s the same as it was in the past, it will be harder for bands to play

in Europe. All of your equipment, guitars, and amps will need to be

logged with a copy of the list for each border control. There may be a

limit on how much money or how much duty-free (Jägermeister) we

can bring back home.

BR: What are your rehearsals generally like? For instance,

do you have a set time each week in which you practice or

are rehearsals more geared towards prepping for gigs?

BR: You were last in Canada in 2014, in Montreal for a St.

Patrick’s Day gig, correct? What are you expecting in Canada

this time around regarding scenery, people, how the

shows will go?

NM: Yes, we played St. Patrick’s Day in Montréal in 2014. I didn’t

think it was so long ago but I’ve just checked and I’ve got the

glass to prove it... We are looking forward [to] playing in Canada

this time because we will get to see some of the country. I think

apart from the shows, a real highlight for us will be driving over

the Rocky Mountains…. [It] sounds like a bucket list thing to me. I

may even try to stay sober for that.

To finish off, I would just like to say from myself and the entire

band, as I know they feel the same: the fact that we are still playing

after 40 years is, for us, a privilege that we don’t take lightly. We really

appreciate all our fans, all the promoters out there, and all the other

bands that play with us or let us play with them. I wanna say a big

thanks, from all of us, because you make us feel brilliant!

Menace perform in Edmonton at DV8 on April 5, in Calgary at Vern’s

on April 6, in Victoria at Logan’s Pub on April 7, and in Vancouver at

Pat’s Pub on April 8.

Noel Martin talks history, gratitude, and good old-fashioned drinking.



an Old Fashioned talk about the deadly serious

The Cat and Fiddle Pub is an old funeral home,

fitting for a Forbidden Dimension interview.

But, alas, not the chosen interview location.

The Spicy Hut, a fun favourite of foodies was also an

option, mainly because they have a nice selection of

good but not overly priced bourbons.

In an exchange of emails, PT Bonham, FD’s masked

man behind the drums declined. “No, that is insane!

It is a restaurant. You come to our house and we will

give you alcohol. Not a lot, mind you, but some.”

At the home and FD’s practice space that PT

shares with bassist Virginia Dentata (google vagina

dentata about the folk lore of a “toothed vagina”), I’m

meet with warm smiles, guided to the living room

where a charcuterie board full of meat, cheese and

bread sits on the coffee table along with promised

alcoholic beverage — an Old Fashioned, the crown

glory of bourbon whisky cocktails.

Jackson Phibes, FD’s creative director, is waiting as

well as we begin the topic of conversation, the band’s

eighth full-length recording, It’s A Morbid, Morbid,

Morbid World. PT says it’s a tip of the hat to the 1963

slapstick comedy It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World,

“But don’t go looking for any Buddy Hacket bits here,

this serious rock!”

Although framed in FD’s legendary comic book

tradition, Morbid World, along with the first track

played during the listening party, “Blood Drained

Peasants,” evokes some uneasy, even queasy sentiment,

hinting that maybe this record might be a

tad serious, reflecting on the miserable state of the

world. When discussing the track, Jersey Kosinksi,

who wrote The Painted Bird, the disturbing story

of a gypsy boy wandering lost in eastern regions of

Poland at the end of World War II is mentioned.

PT looks at Phibes, chuckles then says, “You should

tell him the real inspiration.”

“Do you remember Speak?” asks Phibes. “The

Hungarian rapper with that video “Stop The War?”

PT and Phibes break into a sing-a-long mocking

the song’s lyrics and melody in very an unflattering

manner. Poor Speak, the video is horrendous. “And

those back-up singers doing the chorus.” adds Phibes.

“They’re so pale, they’re blue! These peasant, stock,

back-up singers with red hair are pale blue, like skim

milk. That’s what their skin was like.”

No, it’s unlikely FD has any serious intention of

wrestling with the woes of the world. Unless, of

course, that involves the lighter side of absurdity and,

or, the darker side of clowning around. Another film

classic enters the conversation: Around The World In

80 Days, a goofy star-studded action farce made in

the ‘50s. PT abruptly says, “Around the morbid world

in 80 graves.” The remark sets off Phibes who laughs,

blurting out, “Yeah, there’s your title!”

But roaming the globe is certainly part of the FD

experience. One of Phibes’ recent musical forays is

writing vigorous rock riffs and flowing melodies that

have a distinctive Eastern European flair: a combination

of playful gypsy-folk and sweeping operatics

fused with the onslaught of duo Iron Maiden guitar

solos. FD puts a gloomy spin on prog-rock. Phibes

mulls over that particular analysis, stokes his beard,

squints his eyes, then poises the question: “So, do you

mean prog-rock or Prague rock?” Ah, there’s no way

out of this funhouse!

One of several instrumental tracks on the record

is a gate-crasher called “Cobraballs,” that begins with

the tribal pounding of floor toms before thundering

down the speedway. The introduction, says PT, is

taken from “the war drums of the Navajo.” Smirking

he adds, “I was trying to get out of Europe and take

it back to North America.” Mission accomplished.

Phibes explains that the idea of cobra balls comes

from old hot rods stickers designed in the ‘60s that

looked like snakes with big wheels attached to them.

“We just changed the wheels into a pair of balls.” PT

pipes in, “Testicles,” to clarify.

Another exotic instrumental is “The Devil Came

Down To The Kanaloa,” a swanky psychedelic surf

number made to swig back spicy, tiki bar cocktails then

sashay out on the dance floor or down to the beach

for a midnight stroll. FD dips into dreamy waters.

Switching it up, “Time Of The Superdruids” opens

with Virginia’s pulsing bassline, reminiscent of those

hypnotic Manchester pill-popping bands from

the ’80s and ‘90s and continues with an infectious,

trippy groove and mood throughout. Shy and sweet,

Virginia’s the rose between two thorns in FD. Yet her

punchy bass playing is a potent driving force giving

the band a newfound, buoyant enthusiasm. Phibes

agrees, “I love the last record we did (Every Twisted

Tree Watches You), but there was such a cloud of

neglect hanging over it. One person was phoning in

their parts when we recorded, and the label we had

sort of lost its distribution when we put it out. ”

Better days ahead. Back to the Prague, er progrock.

“Devil’s Night Park” is a true testament to the

eclectic genius of FD. It starts off with an eerie, piercing

swell of electric guitar sounding like a killer drone

zooming in for the attack, while the bass growls and

rumbles below. PT then slams hard into a militant

burst of stop ‘n’ start rolls before they all crash head

long into a rip-roaring tear down the drag strip. Midway

through Phibes shifts into prog-mode and out

of nowhere slips in a short and sweet, but ambitious

Blackmoresque solo before floating back down into

a surf serenade. “My favourite part,” sighs Virginia.

Around the world in 80 graves indeed! That’s helluva

lot of territory to cover in 3:30 minutes.

And it’s not over yet…

When “Festering Violet” is cued up, PT

interjects, “I like this one. It’s got horns in it.”

No doubt a bit of a deviation for FD. Even more

so as the song builds into a big, brassy movie

theme with its showy production. Similarly, while

“Werewolf Bongo Party” isn’t a radical departure

with its B-movie overtones, the slow, meandering,

beatnik trance certainly has an inviting, unexpected

romantic glow. PT’s breathy werewolf

groans and moans at the end, bring the charming

love fest to a collapse.

Last but not least (including seven songs not

discussed here), “Morbid World” the record’s title

track is begins and the question about “Is this serious

commentary?” comes up again. Before getting

into any of that, PT’s points out, “There’s a real

R&B rave-up going on here,” as the song blasts out

of the sound system. “Yeah, Phibes nods and says,

“A garage rock attempt at R&B. Like white skinny

guys in Cleveland who…” PT interrupts, “Sound

like black skinny guys in New York.”

And the lyrics? Are they about the end of the

world? “No,” says Phibes, “Not the end of the

world. Each verse tells a different story, about

various morbid worlds. Sure, it’s gross, but if

you can see the humour in it, you can get by.

There’s one part about the prehistoric ocean

that once covered this area and all the dead

sea creatures left behind. The idea is nothing

lasts forever, we’re all going to be dead at some

point,” chuckles Phibes.

PT cracks his fablous wide smile, “And the R&B

rave-up will live on.”

Forbidden Dimension is issuing It’s A Morbid, Morbid,

Morbid, Morbid World in CD format, which they feel is

“way ahead of curve these days.” See them live and pick

up the CD on Sat., April 22 at the Oak Tree Tavern.

It’s A Morbid,




by B. Simm

FD gig poster for Morid World CD release show.


live music

Ap 1:

sean hamilton

Ap 8:

sadlier-brown duo

ap 15:

The Frontiers

ap 22:

aaron pollock

ap 29:

jay bowcott

saturday nights


marking new territory with booze, love, and rock ‘n’ roll

You’ve likely already heard the

spellbinding sounds of Calgary’s Bad

Animal on the streets of downtown.

Their mesmerizing indie rock riffs conjoin

with heart and hip captivating bass,

anchored by rhythmic drums. Fronted by

a forceful frontman with lively vocals, they

create the soundtrack to your perfectly

sweaty night out. Time spent with the band

generally ends the same way: with a room

is full of people blissfully drenched in beer

and sweat.

Bad Animal has left their mark in Calgary

but they are hungry for more. With the goal

of meeting new faces and creating a fan

base that stretches from coast-to-coast, the

five guys are heading east.

“The goal is to be more hung over than I

am now,” jokes frontman Ben Painter.

“We just want to have a blast and make

[each] city ours.”

“We’ve been told it’s a bad idea,” mentions

drummer Trevor Stoddart.

“But, if we want to become a touring band

we need go to the next step,” adds Painter.

The aim is to melt faces, surprise the

unsuspecting, and pull an assortment of

untouched crowds into the riot that is a Bad

Animal show.

“I want people to stop caring and just

have fun,” says Stoddart.

He jokes, “I want people to feel how I feel,

but not look how I look.”

The Bad Animal fanbase has grown

significantly since their inception. After

recording their debut full-length Tonight at

local studio OCL and releasing it to much

acclaim, the band embarked on a tour with

Vancouver garage pop acts JPNSGRLS.

They’ve headlined the Listen Up! benefit

for the Calgary Distress Centre, and were

granted an opening slot for SWMRS and

Blink-182 in Calgary. Now, they’re hitting

venues near you once more to both deliver

and nail new material.

Trying out new songs in familiar places, the

fresh tracks are getting an amazing response.

“People seem to be liking it better than

our old stuff,” says the band, laughing.

“We’re getting better and the new songs

seem to be a good addition,” says guitarist

Marek Skiba.

With new demos to be released in May,

plans to tour twice more this year, and the

potential release of new album, the boys

from Bad Animal won’t be slowing down

any time soon.

Bad Animal’s tour kickoff show is April 5th at

Commonwealth in Calgary with Cowpuncher,

Crooked Spies, and guests. Check

for more upcoming tour dates.

Bad Animal want to spread their love around.

by Jackie Klapak

photo: Alix Au

weekly specials

late night movies

$5 pints, $1 oysters

$1/2 off wine

$2.50 tacos

$7 beer flights

$5 draft pints

$3 jack daniels


it takes two to torch the place

Local sultry rock duo Dane release “Burning Man” in April.

It starts with a tiny spark, a crackle as the heat

turns to flame…. And finally, there is a roaring

blaze. The fires of frustration sweeping through

the body start from the tips of the ears, burrowing

into the pit of a stomach, eventually turning it into

a molten rage.

“Burning Man,” the latest single from Calgary’s

precocious low-end duo Dane, takes the listener on

this heated journey. It’s a song they say was born of a

sombre time, that became so much more.

photo: Justin Quaintance

“Even for a sadder song, it still has a punch

and a dance-y vibe to it,” describes drummer

Ethan Muzychka.

This punchy, vibrant intensity has become Dane’s

signature sound. Known for their fuzzed out and

groovy jams, the band especially began taking a hold

on the Calgary music scene after several appearances

at community building weekly Rockin 4 $. With

an appearance at BIG Winter Classic and an album

release under their belts, the band is gearing up to

by Willow Grier

take their sound to greater heights, following up with

a music video and second record release to come later

in the year.

Upon listening to their self-titled debut, it’s easy

to note the attention to detail and strong musical

backgrounds both musicians have. For bassist/vocalist

Trenton Fawcett, who attended Selkirk College to

study Contemporary Music and Composition, there

is a unique challenge to only having two members in

the project.

“We’re trying to bring a different sort of innovation

when it comes to having a two-piece rock band,” he

explains. “It can be seen as limiting, but it’s an interesting

challenge for us to push outside of the boundaries

and create a fuller sound. When people hear us before

they see us live, they tend to think we’re a full band.”

To get a taste for Dane’s chops, they recommend

“Astriction of Inclination,” one of the “first songs

[they] jammed together,” as Muzychka recalls.

“It’s about sexual tension so it really spices up the

vibe when we play it live,” laughs Fawcett.

The track is a slow burn that winds and grooves

through a fuzzed out, sultry build up and well encapsulates

what the duo is capable of. But the true magic

of Dane lies within that live jam.

“With the recorded songs there is a certain level of

amplitude,” says Fawcett. “But when we get to play

the songs live they are so much more explosive.”

The fiery tunes of Dane continue as they release

“Burning Man” on April 7th in digital format. Stay

tuned for their music video release in months to

come and catch them live at Getto Boys Bar and Grill

in Calgary April 29th.



photo: Zach Hertzman


April 14 at Commonwealth

Scooting away from her jaunt opening for Local Natives, Little Scream drops into Calgary almost exactly a

year since the release of her LP Cult Following. That record saw her expand her indie folk-rock into something

decidedly fresher, thanks in part to contributions by members of The National and TV On The Radio, along with

Sufjan Stevens and Sharon Van Etten.


May 6 at Broken City

This is not a drill. An honest-to-God Ramone is playing the intimate stage at Broken City. Whether or not

you’re on team Dee Dee, there’s no denying that this is a rare opportunity to catch a member of music

history’s elite in a face-to-face setting.


April 13 at the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium

The Pet Sounds 50th anniversary tour rolls on with Brian Wilson playing the record in its entirely as well as

some choice cuts from both the Beach Boys’ and his own catalogue. If you need context on the importance

of that record, you’re reading the wrong magazine. Go get your tickets right now, this second, by any

means necessary.





screamo quartet enjoying their meteoric rise

I Hate Sex release World of Grief in April.

There were no topics left off the table when

BeatRoute interviewed I Hate Sex vocalist

Nicole Boychuk at the Art Gallery of Alberta.

We sat on the brightly lit third floor during

Boychuk’s lunch break one afternoon, enjoying an

honest and frank conversation.

Since 2014, the socio-politically inclined

screamo/powerviolence band has thrived on a

fast paced and DIY work ethic that’s allowed for

multiple updates and changes based on what has

(and hasn’t) worked. Boychuk admitted she hadn’t

attempted her unique growl until the very first

photo: Chantal Piat

band practice.

“I thought I could do it and I just went for it,”

she explained casually. “I went to a voice workshop

led by Not Enough Fest and it was awesome to

learn breathing techniques and how to warm up

from people I admired like [bassist] Stacy [Burnett]

and [vocalist] Corby [Burnett] of Mahria. I

can’t sing. That’s why I scream. I’m awful at singing.

I can’t hit notes and I sound like a dying whale.

People ask me questions about screaming and I

have no answers. It’s weird. I just know I can do it.”

The group’s 2015 release Circle Thinking set the

tone for their characteristically abrasive, angular

sound. On the new record, World of Grief, the

shrieked vocals still cut like knives and it’s clear

the band has had time to think about what they

were laying down. The result is a tighter and more

empowering sound.

“When we first released Circle Thinking, we

didn’t think anyone was going to listen to it,”

offered Boychuk, smiling bashfully.

“We just wanted the experience of being a local

band and playing a few shows. I guess now, having

two new band members, it gave us a chance to be

more self-conscious about our sound. There was a

lot more thought about the album as a whole. The

first album we made songs and put them together,

but World of Grief we spent more time talking

about the songs and how we wanted the album to

be. It’s also more me. It’s about my life and immediate


Between Circle Thinking and World of Grief, I

Hate Sex added Matt Wayne on bass and Byron

Mayor on drums. As he has since their inception,

Ashton Burns plays guitar. The line-up change

came swiftly last spring, shortly before the band

set out on a nine-day tour of Japan planned by a

super fan.

“We got a message from someone saying he

loved our band and he set it all up! He drove us

around and we stayed at his house,” explains


She adds, “It was just the best experience!”

Despite already touring Japan and soon

embarking on a tour of Europe, Boychuk remains

by Brittany Rudyck

somewhat skeptical of the attention I Hate Sex has

received. The band is metaphorically exploding in

popularity, and it’s left the members somewhat


“I don’t know why we became so successful. It’s

weird. It’s wild,” she says.

“I like it, but I just don’t get it.”

With the support of U.K. based Dog Knights

Productions, the all-ages and safe space advocating

band will be picking up 500 vinyl copies of the new

album just in time for their tour in Europe, which

begins in late April and continues into early May.

“We’re gunna pick them up at a festival we’re

playing so we have to pack around the records and

we’re hoping for the best!”

Massive supporters of the scene as both showgoers

and band members, Boychuk believes in

inclusivity, advocating for the safety and involvement

of all. She seemed optimistic about the hardcore

and heavier scenes moving in that direction,

which perhaps explains why she stepped into a

mosh pit for the first time this past December.

“It was Cold Lungs’ final show. It was such a

beautiful moment,” she reminisced.

“I think it’s a chain reaction of feeling welcome,

feeling comfortable and making friends. I’ve been

going to these shows for a few years now and in

December I was finally brave enough to get in

there. I was wearing a dress, too!”

The new I Hate Sex album World of Grief will be

released April 20th. The band will have vinyl, cassette,

and digital versions for sale soon.


classic punk transmitted through a veil of Pink Jazz

It was in 2013 that vocalist Logan Turner noticed there was a lack

of an older punk sound in the Edmonton music scene. In response,

he created the band Suicide Helpline that year as a recorded solo

project, releasing his first album Ready To Die on December 25, 2013.

“It got a lot of people interested in that ’77 punk sound, as opposed to

that modern punk sound that we largely see in the city,” says Turner.

Fast-forward four years and Suicide Helpline has transitioned into a

high energy, four-piece group. Kevin Maimann, Stu Chell, Adam Orange,

and Turner all knew each other through Edmonton’s music scene, but

it wasn’t until a year ago that the boys decided to turn Suicide Helpline

into a live project. Due to their unique sound, Suicide Helpline has

been able to play at least once a month at a variety of different shows

in Edmonton. Time between performances has been spent working on

Suicide Helpline’s debut full-length Pink Jazz, out April 29.

Pink Jazz was recorded in Turner’s basement studio and put together

almost entirely independently. The title reflects the juxtaposition of

gritty punk and the smooth, neon lights of glam that Turner has always

been fascinated by. It’s the diverse musical backgrounds of each band

member that helps give Pink Jazz its unique sound.

“We all bring our own influences in some small way and it gives [the

album] this strange flavour that you can’t quite put your finger on,” says

guitarist Maimann.

Despite their varied musical history, it was the immediate energy and

rawness of punk music that attracted the group to the genre.

“I comically know very little about punk. But rather than getting into

it through listening to other people’s music, I really got into it by writing,”

says Turner.

The inspiration behind many of the songs holds a deeper meaning

for Turner. With the lyrical focus centering on suicide and depression,

Suicide Hotline releases their debut full-length April 29th.

they reflect on what music has become for him both psychologically

and creatively.

“Music is very much like a crisis line: something that you turn to in

times of internal struggle and it has been that for me throughout my

youth and hard times,” explains Turner. He adds, “The name Suicide

Helpline means a lot to me.”

Since the release of their self-titled EP last year, the group has worked

on expanding their sound and musicianship. The year has been full of

live shows and testing their boundaries, a process full of musical surprises

that has resulted in songs they originally never thought would work.

“Playing together for the past year has helped us figure out where we

by Jessica Robb

all should be,” reflects drummer Chell. “It’s cool ‘cause we’ve just grown


All told, Pink Jazz contains 14 tracks of catchy pop hooks run through

a punk filter, which sums up Suicide Helpline as a band.

“It’s full of songs that you can share with your parents, but still be

offensive to teenagers,” says Turner.

“Take everything you just heard with the title Pink Jazz and let’s

start over.”

Suicide Helpline will perform at the release show for Pink Jazz on April

29th in Edmonton with Fashionism.




lo-fi post-punk trio expels new releases

WINT has released two new albums thus far in 2017.

Brandon Saucier is the mad scientist behind

Lethbridge’s new lo-fi post-punk band, WINT.

Anchored by a forceful, sturdy rhythm section,

the band utilizes an ultra-harsh layer of melodic

guitar tones that’ll have you dishing with your music-nerd

friends for days after attending their show.

The trio currently has three EP’s available on

cassette and Bandcamp. Their self-titled debut was

released in April 2015; two years later we received

Revelation and New Content in rapid succession.

“The whole crux of the operation is just to be recording

all the time. So, I try and record songs every

day. At least one,” explains Saucier.

“Most of it’s stuff I’d never want to use but doing

it so often, gems just come out. Then, when there’s a

string of gems, I’ll just put them together and release


Saucier writes and records alone and has been

experimenting with oddball music equipment since

his teen years. His bandmates, bassist Hope Madison

and drummer Rebecca McHugh, say they usually

don’t learn the songs until they’ve already been

recorded and are up on Bandcamp.

The trio are a collection of friends with similar

likes in sound.

“My roommate/partner [Madison] wanted to

be in the band – I was like, ‘yep!’ Rebecca is just the

drummer in Lethbridge that I like and am friends

with. I played with her in another band [Participation]

that was great. So, it was just super easy.”

After performing vocals and noise in different

versions of the group during 2016, Madison suggested,

“Maybe I should just learn to play bass because

we don’t have a bass player.” Two weeks later, WINT

played their first show with the current incarnation.

January release Revelation gained attention from

local show-goers just as the new year rolled in. The

recordings are a firm balance between aggressively

by Curtis Windover

photo: Courtney Faulkner

lo-fi and GET-OUT-OF-MY-HEAD-catchy (refer to

track six, suitably dubbed “soft spoken”). Although

Saucier’s vocals sit low and his lyrics can be tricky

to decipher, a handful of poetic images jump out

in each song. The EP critiques modern life vaguely

enough to invite listeners to form their own interpretations,

and therefore to ponder their own place

in the modern world.

“I tend to just have these inspiration bursts that

last for weeks where I’m writing every day. Then I

have it all written down in a big binder full of lyrics.

If I’m recording a song I just pull something out and

use that,” says Saucier of his lyric writing process.

Creative bursts were pertinent to the March

release, New Content, but Saucier admits they

won’t be performing a couple of the new tracks live

anytime soon.

“Some songs from the new one were written only

month or two ago,” says Saucier. “And now we’re trying

to learn them but I forgot a bunch of the stuff.”

His focus shifts quickly forward, which gives

one more reason to get your hands on the

cassette before the tracks become lost artifacts.

The simplistic (yet bouncy and industrial) drum

fill in the opening song “Movement” will launch

you into the WINT experience without restraint.

The aesthetic is cohesive, bare bones, and

shouldn’t leave you with many questions, save

one: is there anything the world should know

about WINT?

“All I want them to know is that it’s all about the

music,” says Saucier.

That’s it?

“That’s it.”

Catch WINT live at Vangelis Tavern in Saskatoon on

April 15th. Visit for their latest

releases and future tour dates.


words and photo by Courtney Faulkner

creating accessible space for yoga

The foundation of Pop Up Yoga Lethbridge

is a collaboration between music and

movement, practice, and community. The

organization makes yoga accessible outside of the

traditional studio setting.

“There is no need for a studio,” explains founder

Fabiola Petre in her mission statement for the organization,

which has grown and flourished over the past

three years.

“We believe in yoga as a lifestyle; it´s about taking

yoga into urban spaces, parks, art galleries, retail

stores, coffee shops to hair salons and bars, there is

no limit!”

“Fabiola, the founder, she’s done some work in the

community with bringing live music, like live drumming

and that, to some of the classes,” says Shonna

Lamb, the yogi who has taken on the role of guiding

the organization since Petre moved to Vancouver

this past fall.

“We’ve got a series going on right now, it’s

our second round, and we tie it in with music,

so it takes place at SAAG [Southern Alberta Art

Gallery], so this series is called Vinyasa to the

Visionaries, so vinyasa is a type of yoga, you link

your breath to your movement, you flow, feels a

bit dancey.”

“I’m a product of music for sure, there was always

music going on in my house growing up, so my taste

is super diverse,” says Lamb. “I dreamt this up a long

time ago, but it took a while to get the courage to

put it out there.”

“Now we’re on week eight, and we’ve rolled

through Beastie Boys, Sublime, Nirvana, Pearl Jam,

Black Keys, Florence and the Machine, Led Zeppelin

and we wrap it [up] with [the Red Hot Chili Peppers]

Shonna Lamb and company offer Pop Up Yoga by donation in Lethbridge.

tomorrow. And the group’s grown. We cap out the

hallways at SAAG at about 36 people.”

“It’s this niche that I’ve never really seen before.

There’s a lot of art, you can just tell these are art

folk, it’s like they’ve got their soul on their sleeve,

you know you could just tell. Music, right on,

open-minded, kind. I mean, generally people you

meet on the mat do share those characteristics, but

you can tell these folks have some art to them.”

A part of creating community is also giving back

to that community, which the non-profit organization

consistently strives to do.

“What’s beautiful is that half the proceeds go

to the art gallery,” says Lamb of her Vinyasa to the

Visionaries series.

“Which is fantastic because I don’t know if much

of Lethbridge knows how highly regarded our

contemporary art museum is in Canada, we’ve got a

gem in our midst.”

“Things like this [Pop Up Yoga] help pull people

out of that studio setting and realize there’s so much

more in the community than just the conventional

sense of taking a yoga class,” says Lauren Hart, a Pop

Up Yoga teacher and founder of Lauren Hart Yoga as

well as Hawk + Harvest Market.

“It’s a discipline, but it’s also a community, and

I think that when people start seeing those same

people around it’s going to create this little family. It

already has. It’s amazing. It’s beautiful.”

Classes from Pop Up Yoga are offered weekly and

entry is by donation. They occur on Sunday mornings

at 10:00 a.m. at Casa, the Community Arts Centre

in downtown Lethbridge, as well as Wednesday evenings

at 5:30 p.m. at Southminster United Church.


letters from winnipeg


turning discontent into lemonade

Mobina Galore are taking their punk ambitions to the max.

Punk-rock road warriors Mobina Galore

have been building a rep as one of the ‘Peg’s

hardest-working acts, and now it all seems to

be paying off with the release of their sophomore

full-length, Feeling Disconnected.

After putting out their 2014 debut LP, Cities

Away, the power duo of Jenna Priestner (guitar/

photo: Dwayne Larson

vocals) and Marcia Hanson (drums/vocals) inked

a deal with European label Gunner Records, and

more recently joined the roster of New Damage

Records (Silverstein, Cancer Bats, Biblical) for North

American distribution.

Feeling Disconnected, as the title suggests, is informed

by a sense of detachment, spurred on by the

amount of touring they’ve been doing over the last

few years. “We’re always missing things like birthday

parties and celebrations and family stuff,” says Priestner

on the road from Ajax, Ontario.

“But when we’re home, we’re constantly missing

being on the road.”

That push and pull is further chronicled on track

“Suffer,” where Priestner’s anguished shouts tell of

career hardship, and the call of the road over going to

school and finding a regular job.

“I was constantly in this place where I felt like I

didn’t belong,” Priestner says of when she decided

to take a course and explore different career options

outside of music.

“You’re going through the motions of what’s

expected of you—go to school, graduate, get a

job—but I just didn’t want to live that life. I just felt

so empty.”

Reuniting with producer John Paul Peters

(Propagandhi, KEN mode, Comeback Kid) for

their second proper effort, much of the record’s

10 songs are punchy hard-and-fast blasts (hear:

“Going Out Alone”) that run around the two

and three-minute mark. There are fists-in-the-air

anthems (hear: “Vancouver”) that ring of big ambitions,

and the trials and tribulations endured in

order to get to where they are now. Indeed, these

are poppy punk tracks for feeling empowered

and chasing your dreams.

Speaking of which, they just wrapped a tour as

by Julijana Capone

support for Florida-bred punks Against Me! After a

stint through Europe with the band, the girls were

invited to hop on even more dates through the U.S.

and Canada. It’s icing on the cake for a year that

continues to look up.

“Laura [Jane Grace] was like ‘Oh my god, I love

your voice. You have the most amazing voice,’” says

Priestner, recalling her first run-in with the band’s

inspiring frontperson.

“I was like, ‘Oh shit. That was cool.’”

“We’ve both been Against Me! fans for years,”

Priestner continues. “It’s one of those things that you

don’t think will ever happen, and then all of the sudden

you’re on tour with them and they’re the nicest

people ever. It’s just been a dream come true.”

With another round of European dates planned

throughout April and May, and some major punk

festivals booked, including Punk Rock Bowling in Las

Vegas, everything seems to be falling into place for

the duo.

“Right now, this is success—being on the road and

playing with bands that we love and admire,” says


“But at the end of the day, success is just continuing

to do what we love.”

Mobina Galore perform on April 7 at the Good Will

Social Club in Winnipeg. Feeling Disconnected is out

now via New Damage Records. To purchase it, head to


dance it out with the big other

“To be in a room full of people, if you can make them

dance as a musician, I feel like there’s nothing more

satisfying—watching people connecting in a physical

way,” says Greg MacPherson, one half of Figure Walking, about the

danceability of his latest record, The Big Other.

MacPherson is riding his bike, heading to the inner-city not-for-profit

organization where he acts as director, when he answers the phone for

our interview. The last time we spoke with the singer-songwriter and

socially engaged Winnipegger, he had just released The Big Other’s contagious

first single, “Submarines,” which alluded to an artier direction.

While the album is a debut under the new Figure Walking

banner, Greg MacPherson and ace drummer Rob Gardiner have

technically been performing together since 2011 under the Greg

MacPherson Band moniker. As MacPherson explains, the name

change was an attempt “to hit restart and to take a bit more control

over what we’re saying and how we’re approaching our messaging,

our performances, everything.”

Drawing on dub-oriented grooves and flashes of serrated post-punk

guitar stutters, there’s an exchange of wiry and rhythmic, which works

to console the tension of political and social commentary, deliberately

setting the tone for you to get up and move.

Opener “Sounds” is a response to what MacPherson describes as a

skewed celebration of militarism that is used for “disappointing political

gains,” infused with steady drum hits and frenetic, zigzagging chords.

Elsewhere, vocalist Hailey Primrose, who appeared on MacPherson’s

2013 release Fireball, takes the lead on track “Singapore,” and supplies

backing accompaniment to closer “Funeral,” whose echoing refrain

urges you to “dance until it all makes sense.”

While the songwriter’s lyrics have addressed political and social justice

topics in the past, The Big Other presents issues in more intentional

ways to the backbeat of movement-rousing rock ‘n’ roll.

“There’s so much wrong and unjust and disturbing in our world, and


I feel very sensitive to that reality,” says MacPherson. “I’m not the kind

of artist that likes to hit people over the head, but I feel an important

part of my writing is to talk about things that really matter.”

The lingering rally cry “Victorious,” for instance, was written over

several years and revolves around different themes of inequality.

MacPherson says he started to perform the song live shortly after

Tina Fontaine, a 15-year-old girl from the Sagkeeng First Nation, was

found murdered.

“I think a lot of historically calloused local people actually started

to feel something on the surface when Tina Fontaine died,” he says.

“That’s the hopeful side of the song, hoping to maintain a sense of

collective responsibility.

“Winnipeg’s a complicated city, and a great city, but it’s not as great

for some people as it is for others,” he adds. “I really feel like we’re in an

interesting time in this city where we’ve potentially turned a corner.”

He notes the Truth and Reconciliation Report, the election of Manitoba’s

fist female Indigenous MLA, the Idle No More movement, a federal

inquiry being called into murder and missing Indigenous women

and girls, and the Dakota Access Pipeline as examples of long-awaited

changes and powerful shifts in a better direction.

If dancing can be a path to conversation and catharsis, The Big Other

seeks to do just that.

“I think people connect with music when they dance,” says


“If you have politics or issues on the mind, and you can present it in

a way that makes people feel alive, people are more connected…I think

that’s what good music can do for people. I love listening to music that

makes me want to dance.”

Figure Walking perform on April 16 at the Good Will Social Club in Winnipeg.

To purchase The Big Other, out via Disintegration Records, head to

by Julijana Capone

Figure Walking aim for political and social connectivity with their music.

photo: Kristian Jordan




by Jonathan Lawrence

comedy, animation, horror, E.T.s, cereal and more

Wild and weird meets fun and fantasy at this year’s CUFF.

The Calgary Underground Film Festival, now in its

fourteenth year, will be returning this April to shock,

startle and surprise local film lovers. Each year, the

team behind the festival somehow manages to round up a

few dozen of the most esoteric, thrilling, thought-provoking,

funny, and downright weird films you’ll ever see, and this year

is no different. Programming Director Brenda Lieberman was

able to tell us all about it.

“I love the lineup this year,” says Lieberman, positive as

ever. Her unwavering optimism towards her festivals, including

the Calgary International Film Festival, is the hard-earned

product of endless hours screening and narrowing down the

exponentially growing number of independent films submitted

each year. Selecting the films that make the final lineup

isn’t as simple as choosing names out of a hat, or by seeing

what other festivals are playing. Calgary’s film festivals are truly

crafted with the city’s audiences in mind.

“We’re always looking for a broad mix of films so we can

appeal to everybody,” she says. “There’s some that are very edgy

or provocative or challenging in different ways, but not for the

sake of it,” acknowledging the simplistic and inaccurate view

that these are films with all style and no substance. “We feel

really passionately about the films [and] connected with them

in different ways. There’s different styles for everybody. We

wanted to make sure we had an animation film this year (My

Entire High School is Sinking Into the Sea). They’re all accessibly

weird, they all have something uniquely amazing about them.”

One such film was a documentary called “Love and Saucers,”

which tells the story about an elderly man who believes

he’s had extraterrestrial communication throughout his entire

life, including having interspecies romance with one. You can’t

make this stuff up, folks, but damn if it isn’t fascinating.

“I love that film,” chimed in Lieberman.

Calgary’s art scene has been growing every year, though it’s

hard to explain why. Perhaps the demographics have shifted,

or social media has improved the exposure to these events,

but regardless, the Calgary Underground Film Festival is seeing

record attendances each year. Lieberman says if last year’s

success is any indication of this year, then they’re in business.

“[It was] the best year we had and that’s what people feel

about this year. If we keep the numbers up we can potentially

expand next year.”

Interestingly, although other underground film festivals

around North America draw bigger audiences, such as the

Chicago Underground Film Festival, Calgary’s version shows

more films and runs longer. “You’re programming to fit your

audience but you’re also having to program a little bit in a

bit of an ebb and flow and with an eye open what is going

on in your city.”

It seems though at this rate that Calgary’s may join the

ranks of Chicago or Boston. Lieberman states that each festival

works closely with one another, which she says “keeps [them]

on their toes.”

Although each film in the lineup looks promising, we asked

Lieberman which ones most excited her, a question which

proved to be as difficult to answer as the dreaded “What

kind of music do you listen to?” After some careful thought,

she conceded that the Israeli film, People That Are Not Me,

and the other world films were particularly worth seeing.

“[They’re] all outstanding. I love all of them.”

That said, she expressed how excited the festival programmers

were to obtain The Little Hours after seeing it at

Sundance, a comedy about a group of emotionally unstable

nuns starring Alison Brie, Aubrey Plaza, Nick Offerman and

Fred Armisen, to name some of the comedic cast. “The second

I saw it, I said this is perfect for our opening,’ she says. “We’re

looking for something that’s going to be really fun to kick off

the festival.” She assures that it’s still going to be accessible,

despite being quirky and edgy. “Having a religious comedy on

Easter Monday we thought was perfect,” she joked.

Despite the growing success of film festivals in Calgary,

it’s not without its challenges. Digital streaming trends have

presented problems for all forms of media, and film festivals

are no exception. Lieberman explains the pace in which

things are moving to Netflix means that film distributors are

not necessarily planning festivals as part of their strategy.

She suggests that the festival might have to consider picking

up films faster than they come out or that they might have

to consider down the road what it means to show a film

that’s already been released. She stresses though that the experience

is far better with an audience. “The point of all this

is that it is more fun to come out to be part of a festival,” she

says. “It encourages conversation.”

One the best aspects of the Calgary Underground Film Festival

is the Saturday Morning All-You-Can-Eat Cereal Cartoon

Party, which is as fun as it is wordy - so, a lot. Each year, the

festival celebrates retro cartoons and cereal for a day of pure

nostalgia and has grown in popularity immensely. “For years,

we were just in one theatre and we were selling it out and then

we expanded to two theatres,” Lieberman said. “This year’s

Saturday is Earth Day and we’re gonna be switching a lot of

our stuff to biodegradable and compostable. It’s really fun and

crazy and people can bring their kids, people wear pyjamas

and dress up.”

Equal parts fun, odd, and bold, the Calgary Underground

Film Festival has something for everyone. This year, they created

a new online system where if people choose to buy more

than five tickets at a time, they’ll get a much more efficient

price. So max out that dollar and spend some time underground

this April. See you down there.

CUFF will run from April 17-23 at the Globe Cinema.


by Mathew Silver

turning down the suck a decade and a half later

The cult-classic FUBAR will be

screened as part of The Calgary

Underground Film Festival (CUFF)

at the Globe Cinema from April 17-23,

almost 15 years after the indie flick earned

a spot at Sundance and established itself

in local film lore.

At its core, FUBAR is a tragicomedy

about two emotionally ill-equipped friends,

Terry and Dean, trying to confront the

ugly literalness of death. It’s a lo-fi portrait

of Canadiana, littered with bits of cultural

realism that continues to resonate with fans

a decade and a half later.

Director Michael Dowse said he could

have never known that the mockumentary

would have such a cultural impact: “Our

goal was to make a good film, and to make

a funny film… but we didn’t expect it to hit

the way it did.”

Dowse, who went on to direct Goon,

said that a mockumentary was the perfect

platform for the film, because the modest

production quality suits the tone of the

film. After spending about twenty thousand

dollars, he knew that he had a decent final

cut of the film and an invitation to the Sundance

Film Festival. What he didn’t know is

that FUBAR would land on the short list of

iconic Canadian films. In fact, a sequel was

released by popular demand in 2010 and a

TV run has been ordered by Rogers Media

and VICE Studios.

The impact is obvious. FUBAR made

a popular house-party beer, glamorized

the mullet, and spawned several quotes

like, “Turn up the good, turn down the

suck” and “Tron funkin blow.” The film

has stayed relevant by preserving itself

in our vernacular and by evoking the

high school experience – even if it’s told

through the lens of two adult males

clinging desperately to their youth.

For me, the appeal is familiar images:

banal white suburban houses with

bottle-strewn lawns, a Canadian flag hung

tastelessly but by necessity in the living

room, and the revelry of a party barely

Relive the nostalgia of this Canadian classic at CUFF.

visible from the sidewalk through a tiny gap

in the curtains; a Stamps’ game, floating

down the Elbow River, and a fence outside

of Western Canada High School (my Alma

Mater, go Redbirds!).

Re-watching the film is an exercise in

waxing nostalgic.

We learn from the title card that the

documentary is “fictional,” with apologies to

all the people who appeared in the movie

thinking it was real. Dowse said this was

done with complete sincerity, but despite

the warning many people still can’t discern

what was pre-ordained by the filmmakers

and what might very well be real people

who stumbled into the scene. In effect, it

blurs the line between mockumentary and

reality and creates a surreal experience for

the viewer.

There’s a scene where two guys fistfight in

High River, and it’s brutally authentic. Which

is to suggest that neither of the guys can

fight for shit but still gave it the good old

college try. It’s scenes like this than lend the

film a raw authenticity.

A decade ago, when I first watched the

movie, I couldn’t tell whether Farrel Mitchner

actually died after taking that seemingly

innocuous dive into the river. It’s only now

that I can appreciate the irony of Terry

showing up to the wake in sweatpants and

a cowboy shirt, and telling the now-cringeworthy

“bin der dun dat” joke. Or even the

fact that Terry and Deaner showed up at all.

And that’s one of the small pleasures

of reliving these things 15 years later. Even

Dowse said that he still gets gratification

from knowing that the movie had a

longstanding impact on people. “I think the

thing I’m most proud of is that people really

hold it close to their hearts. They like it as

much as I cared about it when I made it.

Even 15 years later it’s extremely satisfying.”

FUBAR will be shown on April 20th at the

Globe Cinema as part of CUFF. Director

Michael Dowse and star Dave Lawrence will

be in attendance.


April 17-23,2017

Any film marked 18+ identifies a film where liquor will be served.

This means no minors will be allowed to attend those screenings.

Please bring valid ID. This is not a film classification rating.





United States, 2017, 91 min

Philippines / Germany, 2016, 88 min

United States, 2016, 78 min

United States, 2017, 73 min

A look at the shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s

A group of 10-year-olds rob pedestrians and kill

The strange but tender story of a man who attempts

Adah and Aaron are the biggest assholes in New

PSYCHO, a screen murder that changed the course

without mercy in the underbelly of the Philippines.

to restart his life, but is sidetracked when he meets

York City. The poppers make them worse.

of cinema.

THURSDAY, APRIL 20 - 9:15 PM (18+)

TUESDAY, APRIL 18 - 9:45 PM (18+)

a woman who shares his unorthodox habit – a

proclivity for eating hair.

SATURDAY, APRIL 22 - 6:30 PM (18+)

SATURDAY, APRIL 22 - 11:59 PM (18+)





United States, 2017, 94 min

Australia / Germany, 2017, 73 min

Canada, 2017, 87 min

United States / Canada, 2016, 100 min

A couple who can’t stop fighting embark on a

last-ditch effort to save their marriage: turning their

fights into songs and starting a band.

A passionate holiday romance leads to an obsessive

relationship when an Australian photojournalist

wakes one morning in a Berlin apartment and is

Three mountain bikers embark toward Blood

Mountain. The disappearance of one leads to a

deadly encounter in this gritty thriller.

After losing her job and boyfriend, Gloria soon

becomes connected to a far-off phenomenon

involving a giant monster destroying Seoul, Korea.

SATURDAY, APRIL 22 - 7:00 PM (18+)

unable to leave.

SATURDAY, APRIL 22 - 9:45 PM (18+)

FRIDAY, APRIL 21 - 9:45 PM (18+)

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 19 - 9:30 PM (18+)





Ireland, 2016, 99 min

United States, 2017, 80 min

United States, 2016, 90 min

United Kingdom, 2016, 90 min

A determined young woman and a damaged

occultist risk their lives and souls to perform a

dangerous ritual.

THURSDAY, APRIL 20 - 11:45 PM (18+)

SUNDAY, APRIL 23 - 2:15 PM

Dave builds a fort in his living room out of pure

frustration, only to wind up trapped by the

fantastical pitfalls, booby traps, and critters of his

own creation.

SATURDAY, APRIL 22 - 9:00 PM (18+)

SUNDAY, APRIL 23 - 9:45 PM (18+)

One of cinema’s most enigmatic directors takes us

on an intimate journey through the formative years

of his life, the events that shape his work and shines

a light into the dark corners of his unique world.

SATURDAY, APRIL 22 - 4:00 PM (18+)

Set in Boston in 1978, a meeting in a deserted

warehouse between two gangs turns into a shootout

and a game of survival.

TUESDAY, APRIL 18 - 7:30 PM (18+)


Canada, 2002, 76 min


United States, 2017, 83 min


Croatia, 2016, 86 min


Australia, 2016, 108 min

A special 15th Anniversary screening of the Calgaryshot

cult classic.

THURSDAY, APRIL 20 - 6:45 PM (18+)

This documentary explores the impact of G Funk, a

style of hip-hop that emerged from Los Angeles in

the ‘90s, combining elements of Motown, Funk, and

R&B with socially-aware gangsta rap.

FRIDAY, APRIL 21 - 7:15 PM (18+)

In a cold mountain region, lives and lies are exposed,

slowly bringing a carefree taxi driver to a disturbing


SUNDAY, APRIL 23 - 6:30 PM (18+)

In suburban Perth during the mid-1980s, people are

unaware that women are disappearing at the hands

of serial killers.

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 19 - 9:45 PM (18+)


Finland / Estonia, 2016, 85 min

A gang of Finnish teens visit an infamous crime

scene hoping to solve the murder by reconstructing

it minute by minute in this evocative homage to the

1980s campsite slasher.

FRIDAY, APRIL 21 - 11:59 PM (18+)

SUNDAY, APRIL 23 - 11:30 AM



United States, 2017, 90 min

A young servant takes refuge at a convent full

of emotionally unstable medieval nuns after he

cuckolds his master in this star-studded romp.

MONDAY, APRIL 17 - 7:00 PM (18+)


Canada, 2016, 106 min

A young psychopath takes a new brand of ecstasy,

launching a mind-bending trip that causes him to feel

and question his morality for the first time in his life.

THURSDAY, APRIL 20 - 9:30 PM (18+)


Canada / United States, 2017, 66 min

David Huggins claims to have had a lifetime of

encounters with otherworldly beings, including

an interspecies romance with an extra-terrestrial

woman. He captures his vivid memories in his art.

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 19 - 7:15 PM (18+)

SUNDAY, APRIL 23 - 4:00 PM (18+)


United States, 2016, 77 min

From acclaimed cartoonist Dash Shaw comes an

audacious debut that is equal parts disaster cinema,

high school comedy and blockbuster satire.

TUESDAY, APRIL 18 - 7:00 PM (18+)

SUNDAY, APRIL 23 - 11:00 AM


Israel, 2016, 77 min

Joy can’t let go of her ex, can’t fall in love with

the new guy, and can’t stop sleeping around with


THURSDAY, APRIL 20 - 7:15 PM (18+)



Canada, 2008, 93 min

A shock radio DJ and his small crew try to make

sense of disturbing reports of a strange virus

affecting victims’ ability to communicate.





1960s-1980s, 180 min

A 3-hour trip into the weird and wonderful world of

yesteryear’s animated antics accompanied by an

all-you-can eat buffet of cereal!






Various Countries, 2016/17, 84 min

Various Countries, 2016/17, 81 min

United States, 2016, 97 min

Canada, 2016, 90 min

They are good people (and animals), they just don’t

always act that way.

SUNDAY, APRIL 23 - 4:45 PM (18+)

Roads paved with good intentions can lead to crazy



A charming romance between a boy with one eye

and an overweight girl shatters as they confront who

they were, who they are, and who everyone thinks

they’re supposed to be.

TUESDAY, APRIL 18 - 9:15 PM (18+)

A new father discovers his child is not his own and

sets out on a journey to find answers.

FRIDAY, APRIL 21 - 6:45 PM (18+)

Only at

Calgary’s first independent video game arcade.

Play games created by indie developers, completely free of charge!


United States, 2016, 96 min

An examination of the pioneering life and works of

artist, musician, and educator, Tony Conrad.

SUNDAY, APRIL 23 - 9:15 PM (18+)


Mexico / Denmark / France, 2016, 100 min

A parable about a young woman raising two boys

in a small Mexican city. Something not of this world

could answer their problems or bring suffering.

FRIDAY, APRIL 21 - 9:15 PM (18+)


United States, 2017, 89 min

A documentary about the creator of Tales Of The

City, a gay rights pioneer whose novels have

inspired millions.

SUNDAY, APRIL 23 - 7:00 PM (18+)




Each year CUFFcade showcases A dungeon crawler a newly where your friends control the

monsters! Battle through and power up your hero.

curated selection of the best in new independent

videogames. We have five custom DOWNWELL made cabinets


located on the mezzanine level Venture of down the a well Globe in search Cinema. of untold

treasures with only your Gunboots to protect you.

CUFFcade runs throughout the festival, and is free

and open to the public.



An old-fashioned beat ‘em up with big

doses of adrenaline and trippiness.


April 17-23,2017


7:00 PM



United States, 2017, 90 min


7:00 PM



United States, 2016, 77 min

7:30 PM


United Kingdom, 2016, 90 min

9:15 PM


United States, 2016, 97 min

9:45 PM



Philippines / Germany, 2016,

88 min


6:45 PM




Canada, 2008, 93 min

7:15 PM


United States, 2017, 62 min

9:30 PM


United States / Canada, 2016,

100 min

9:45 PM


Australia, 2016, 108 min


6:45 PM



Canada, 2002, 76 min

7:15 PM


Israel, 2016, 77 min

9:15 PM


United States, 2017, 91 min

9:30 PM


Canada, 2016, 106 min

11:45 PM


Ireland, 2016, 99 min


6:45 PM


Canada, 2016, 90 min

7:15 PM


United States, 2017, 83 min

9:15 PM


Mexico / Denmark / France

2016, 100 min

9:45 PM


Canada, 2017, 87 min

11:59 PM


Finland / Estonia, 2016, 85 min


10:00 AM




1960s-1980s, 180 min

1:45 PM


Various Countries, 2016/17, 81 min

3:30 PM




120 min

4:00 PM


United States, 2016, 90 min

6:30 PM


United States, 2016, 78 min

7:00 PM


United States, 2017, 94 min


11:00 AM



United States, 2016, 77 min

11:30 AM


Finland / Estonia, 2016, 85 min

1:30 PM


Mexico / Denmark / France

2016, 100 min

2:15 PM


Ireland, 2016, 99 min

4:00 PM


Canada / United States, 2017,

62 min

4:45 PM


Various Countries, 2016/17,

84 min



9:00 PM


United States, 2017, 80 min

9:45 PM


Australia / Germany, 2017, 116


11:59 PM


United States, 2017, 73 min

6:30 PM


Croatia, 2016, 86 min

7:00 PM



United States, 2017, 89 min

9:15 PM



United States, 2016, 96 min

9:45 PM


United States, 2017, 80 min

Tickets and more infoRmation at

licensed event-18+evenings-matinees all ages

$10 regular screenings - $8 cuff members / students / seniors |5 Film Multi-Pack $40 / $120 festival pass


difficult thriller doesn’t stray from under-discussed, troubling issues

To put her parent’s current separation as far

out of her mind as possible, young Vicki

Maloney (Ashleigh Cummings) sneaks out

of her mom’s house late one night. All she wants

to do is let loose at a raucous party for a couple

of hours to forget her daily troubles. Her night

of intended drinking is interrupted when she’s

picked up by a seemingly kind couple driving

down the very same road. Evelyn (Emma Booth)

and John (Stephen Curry) appear to be normal

folk at first, but they carry an uneasy darkness

with them wherever they go. Their offer of

marijuana and an empty booster seat in the back

of their car convinces Vicki that they’re relatively

untrustworthy people.

After drinking a glass of water that’s been drugged,

Vicki is subsequently chained up to one of their

beds. It’s clear that Evelyn and John have done this

kind of thing before. Vicki’s quickly degraded, as she

becomes the victim of a horrifying game of sexual

control. While her freedom is visibly right through

the front door, taunting her at every single moment,

Vicki’s mind begins to race and turn for a way out.

She becomes privy to not only the horrors of her situation,

but also the inner workings of her kidnappers’

collectively deranged psyche.

On the surface, Hounds of Love may at first appear

to be just another run-of-the-mill Australian crime

film. Underneath the basic set-up is a small-scale

character-focused chamber piece. The performances

of the three leads are what truly make the film


director Amy Jo Johnson makes her touching feature film debut

Don’t miss this all-Canadian indie dramedy at CUFF.

Mitch (Michael Cram) is a pretty insecure

middle-aged guy. He has an unambitious

job at a go-kart track (yet has a

surprisingly nice home for such a career path) and

seems to wallow in self-pity. So when he receives

a letter explaining that his red-haired newborn is

not his, he does not take the news well. Angry and

betrayed, he sets out to find the baby’s true father

and to exact his revenge. Mitch’s plans are tenuous

at best, however. He doesn’t even know what the


Best bring a blanket to this intense, dark thriller.

work. They’re faultless and feel genuinely authentic

throughout. We feel completely awful for Vicki as she

goes through the trauma of being kidnapped, raped

and tortured. We entirely loathe John for being the

most despicable human being imaginable. Our hearts

absolutely break for Evelyn because she’s also a victim

in her own right. We condemn them and hate them

real father looks like.

Meanwhile, his wife, Jackie, (Sonya Salomaa) regrets

her actions, so she piles her dysfunctional group

of family and friends into a limousine to stop Mitch

and try to save their marriage. Mitch, however, not

the vengeful type, meets an unusual and adorable girl

named Emily (Julia Sarah Stone), and forms a strange

yet humanizing relationship with her.

It’s a quirky, funny, and emotional film, and we

were able to speak with writer/director Amy Jo

for their actions, but also unfortunately understand

why they do what they do.

First-time feature writer/director Ben Young wisely

keeps the film focused on the victim and her kidnappers.

The audience fully understands the perverse

and complex power struggle at work here. Young also

smartly eschews the stock rape revenge tropes that

Johnson about it, which also happens to be her first

feature-length film.

“I was super lucky with that cast,” she said. “Michael

Ironside was amazing. Jayne Eastwood is such

a legend.”

The film’s characters feel real; they are all eccentric,

of course, yet entirely believable. “For the characters…

I definitely pull from people in my life,” she

admitted. “Emilia’s dad, Nick, I wrote sort of based on

my own father, but when Michael Ironside showed

up on set he was no longer Nick. That’s what so great

about seeing things come to life, the actors bring

their own thing.”

The teenage girl Emily is the emotional heart of

the film, hiding deep-rooted pain behind an air of

cheeriness. Complementing the emotional Mitch,

a wonderful father-daughter relationship emerges.

Johnson stresses that Emily needed to look innocent

so that there could be no mistaken romantic relationship.

“Mitch’s journey is to really figure out that

he can be a good father, so we really needed whoever

to play [Emily] to not have a sexy thing that they give

off, and that’s hard to find. But when Julia sent in her

tape I was like, ‘Oh, that’s perfect.’”

Themes are what give a story depth, and the recurring

notion throughout the film is that pain creates

passion. “Ultimately the main theme throughout

the movie is acceptance and forgiveness,” Johnson

explained. “Each character has to go through their

journey to find love in a way. To do that, everybody

had to let go from what they were holding onto.”

We asked Johnson if this theme was close to her.

She stated that it wasn’t the initial intention in early

by Philip Clarke

audiences are most likely expecting to unfold in the

last act. So many films of its ilk all go down the same

path, by giving both the victim and the audience the

instant gratification of a fantastically hyper-violent

finale. The ending, while certainly violent, is never

taken to over-the-top or unnecessarily stylized


The film never shies away from any of the ugliness

that the real world has to offer, without ever becoming

overly gratuitous. Young leaves the scenes of

sexual assault up the viewer’s imagination by having

very little of the acts ever shown on screen. Most of

the atrocities are just heard though Vicki’s terrified

screams. The film is undoubtedly a difficult watch

from the very beginning.

Not only does the film discuss the horrific nature

of sexual assault, but it also delves into a deconstruction

of toxic relationships. Evelyn utterly worships

John when she clearly shouldn’t. On top of being a

serial rapist and kidnapper, John’s also an alcoholic

who’s prone to violent outbursts towards animals and

treating his wife like his own personal slave.

Hounds of Love is not a film to be casually

watched on a lazy Sunday afternoon. However, it is

definitely an important film to watch and discuss

afterwards. That way we can help educate and create

awareness on real mature themes that are sadly all

too real in the world today.

Hounds of Love screens at the Globe Cinema on April

19th as part of CUFF.

by Jonathan Lawrence

drafts of the script, but that by the end of the writing

process, it suddenly became very apparent. “I figured

out that that was everybody’s journey, and I think in

life that’s probably the hardest lesson and the biggest

thing we all have to do is figure out how to let go and

accept where were at or what’s happening and not

try to control everything.”

One of the film’s strong points is its comedic

undertones, which nicely balance out the film’s

dramatic moments. “The heavy subject matter that I

was dealing with, I try to find the levity within it, [to]

be able to laugh at the situations.”

To bring levity to the script, Johnson knew that the

film’s lead needed to have an understated comedic

side. “I wrote the movie for Michael [Cram], I worked

with him on Flashpoint. I think he is just the funniest

guy, but he doesn’t even know how funny he is. He

is Mitch, but I think more sophisticated. I remember

being on set and he’d be like, ‘I don’t understand

what you’re saying.’ He’d get a bit insecure. ‘What do

you want?’ he’d say.” Johnson affects a panicky voice

for Cram.

“There he is, that’s him,” she joked. “One day

he just showed up really confident and a whole

different Mitch and I was like ‘who is this confident

guy on my set?’”

“What are you talking about?” he responded


“There you go, there he is,” Johnson said, laughing.

The Space Between will be shown on April 21st at the

Globe Cinema as part of CUFF. Star Michael Ironside

will be in attendance.



rewind to the future

Assassin’s Creed

The upside to being an assassin is that one-day you might actually

get to kill your boss.

And who would know better than the inherent assassin in this

action movie?

Alan (Jeremy Irons) and his daughter (Marion Cotillard) are

scientists with a clandestine organization out to prevent the

modern-day Templar from enslaving the human race.

To help them locate an artifact that can decode human free

will, the pair abducts a death row inmate, Callum (Michael Fassbender),

with ties to an ancient assassins guild.

Thrust through time into his ancestor’s tunic, Callum learns the

article’s location as well as his captor’s true intentions with it.

Although it is a higher caliber video game movie than most,

this live-action version of the Ubisoft franchise suffers the same

pitfalls as its gaming ilk, namely, bad acting and script.

Furthermore, sending convicts to the 1400s is a smart way to

ease prison overpopulation.

Collateral Beauty

Losing someone is very difficult, especially when they didn’t tell

you any of their online passwords.

Fortunately, the deceased in this drama was too young to have

that many PINs.

Spiraling into depression after losing his daughter, ad executive

Howard (Will Smith) starts penning angry letters to Love, Death

and Time.

When his business partners (Edward Norton, Kate Winslet, Michael

Peña) discover this they hire actors (Keira Knightley, Helen

Mirren, Jacob Latimore) to portray those concepts and confront

Howard publically.

However, their scheme to get him deemed insane makes them

reevaluate their own feelings towards those intangibles.

A failed attempt at an uplifting ensemble, the hokey premise

gets more pathetic and laughable as it limps towards to its

over-emotional ending. Not even its credible cast can save it from

the sentimental scrapheap.

Besides, the only letters you should be sending after losing

someone are those addressed to mail-order bride websites.


The upside to being a garbage man in the 1950s was that households

only had one garbage can.

But even that can’t keep the trash collector in this drama from


Relegated to the back of the dumpster - alongside the other

black sanitation worker Bono (Stephen Henderson) - failed baseball

star Troy (Denzel Washington) shares his resentment with his

co-worker, his wife (Viola Davis) and his two sons on a daily basis.

Over the years his anger, drinking and his adultery drives

further wedges between his loved ones. Meanwhile he wages a

personal war against the Grim Reaper.

Directed by Denzel Washington and featuring an Oscar-winning

performance from Davis, this minimalistic film adaptation

of the Pulitzer Prize-winning stage play is a powerful, albeit long

winded, portrayal of a multifaceted but ultimately unlikable


Incidentally, movies are better than plays because you aren’t hit

by any of the actors spit.

by Shane Sellar


The first thing a First Lady should do after her husband’s been

assassinated is pack the White House silverware.

Mind you, the mourner in this drama has ample time to steal

before removal.

Shortly after his assassination, John F. Kennedy’s revered wife

Jacqueline (Natalie Portman) arranges an elaborate state funeral

for him that is construed as controversial by his brother Robert

(Peter Sarsgaard) and his voters.

She further confounds the public by conducting a Life magazine

interview where she explains to a reporter (Billy Crudup)

that her and husband’s legacy was akin to John’s favourite

musical Camelot.

An artistic take on Jackie’s mental decline following the traumatic

events in Dallas, this beautifully shot biography offers up

an unseen glimpse into the grieving process of the world’s most

beloved widow, masterfully performed by Portman.

And the Kennedys were just like Arthurian legend if JFK was

Guinevere and Marilyn Monroe was Lancelot.

Live By Night

The biggest difference between the Irish mob and the Italian mob

is their choice of starch.

Obviously, the Irish gangster in this drama is partial to tubers.

Run out of Boston after he is caught kissing on the Irish mob

boss’ girl (Sienna Miller), ex-soldier Joe Coughlin (Ben Affleck)

ends up in Florida working enforcement for the Italian mafia’s rum

running business.

While he finds love with a local (Zoe Saldana), Coughlin’s

problems aren’t over yet as the local sheriff (Chris Cooper), his

aspiring actress daughter (Elle Fanning) and the local chapter of

the Ku Klux Klan make his transition into the Tampa markets a

bloody one.

Starring, directed and adapted from the novel by Affleck, this

epic length vanity project brings nothing new to the gangster

genre besides ludicrous dialogue, ill-fated white suits and marginal


Besides, bootlegging isn’t as secure a career in Florida as say

smuggling in Cubans is.


The best thing about growing up on an island is that it prepares

you for if ever you get deserted on one.

However, the princess in this animated-musical sees no benefit

to island living.

The daughter of a domineering chieftain, Moana (Auli’i Cravalho)

yearns to stray beyond the coral borders of her Polynesian

community, but her father forbids voyages abroad for fear of


When she uncovers the real reason behind the leviathans and

of her tribe’s seafaring legacy, Moana and her pet rooster set

sail to capture a shapeshifting demigod (Dwayne Johnson) and

liberate an island deity from captivity.

Although it does not stray far from the proven Disney princess

story standards – an animal sidekick, an overprotective father

and a bevy of songs - it does however do a commendable job

incorporating those criteria in an amusing fashion.

Incidentally, shapeshifting is most useful when you can’t find

a washroom.


The downside to hypersleep is lying in your own nocturnal emissions

for 100 years.

Smartly, the cyrosleeper in this sci-fi film wakes up to get his

rocks off.

When an asteroid strikes a spacecraft carrying thousands of

hibernating colonists to their new home, slumbering passenger,

Jim (Chris Pratt), is woken 90 years too soon.

Unable to get back to sleep, or commandeer the controls, Jim’s

desperation results in him rousing a female passenger (Jennifer

Lawrence) to keep him company. But when she learns the truth,

his plans for love are jeopardized.

Meanwhile, damage to the ship’s reactor threatens all life


With mediocre effects, dull performances and a stalker-like narrative

masquerading as a love story, this ill-fated voyage distracts

from its creepiness with a boilerplate climax that adds further

insult to the viewer’s intelligence.

Besides, intercourse in space is the same as intercourse on

Earth, just way more expensive.




dBridge reflects on his quarter-century musical journey

by Max Foley

Influential producer and Exit Records boss continues to explore.

Love it or hate it, drum and bass is one of the

most historically significant parts of electronic

music. Consistently overshadowed by more

approachable and popular genres, the veritable

ecosystem that is 174 b.p.m. nevertheless continues

to strive, taking identity-shifting curveballs in

stride and enduring through decade after decade.

Darren White, a.k.a. dBridge, has been there since

the very beginning.

“I’m really proud to call myself a part of the

D’N’B scene, and I’m really glad that it’s sticking

around — as much as some people wish it

wasn’t,” White says, chuckling.

In 1996, White joined forces with [Jason] Maldini

to create grassroots jungle project Future Forces, Inc.,

releasing on guerilla imprint Renegade Hardware.

From there, Future Forces connected with Vegas and

influential modern-day hit-maker DJ Fresh to birth

one of the genre’s séminal collectives — Bad Company

UK. White then set about establishing a label

named EXIT Records, which exists today as a bastion

of tastemakers influencing drum and bass and its

various far-reaching tendrils.

Notoriously versatile and prolific, dBridge has operated

under so many different solo and collaborative

monikers that it’s liable to make even the most hardcore

fans’ heads spin. Even in the last five years, White

has released under aliases like Heart Drive and Velvit

as well as the ever-increasingly nebulous dBridge title

— the latter of which will likely be commanding the

bulk of his attention this year.

“I’m planning on having a selfish year. I want to


write and finish an album this year. It’s about time

— it’s been 10 years since my last,” White explains,

referencing the future-facing The Gemini Principle

LP released in 2008. It sounds like a long time, but

White is modest to a fault, failing to clarify that

he’s released a borderline unreasonable amount

of material in those last ten years. The bulk of this

material consists of literally dozens of solo and

collaborative releases.

Patched in from his home in Antwerp via

Skype, White’s meditations on almost 25 years

of activity are humbling and understated, yet

disproportionately inspiring.

“When you say that, a quarter of a century plus, I

mean... fuck me! It’s something to be proud of, to be

able to stick around this long and (hopefully) stay

relevant in some way,” White says wistfully.

“I recognize that I’m getting to that point in my

life where I want to take a step back and change

things slightly.”

“People used to tell me like, “Oh, [jungle anthems]

“Dead By Dawn, “The Nine,” “True Romance” was

the reason I got into music. And that gives me pause

because they’re not really citing me anymore, they’re

citing people like fucking [redacted], or bloody

[redacted]. So, yeah. Now I’m feeling old.”

“But I wanna be careful not to come across as a

grumpy old junglist,” White clarifies. A little bit of

jadedness is acceptable when you wrote a good portion

of the drum and bass textbook. And he comes

across as anything but when he talks about his own

body of work.

Believe it or not, after 25 years, the anxiety of releasing

creative work hasn’t gone away. Darren White,

then, is the quintessential creative.

“When I DJ, I’m really bad at playing my own music.

I struggle to play it. I’d almost prefer if I wasn’t in a

position where I had to. I’d prefer having other people

play it.” You’d think that after all these years, I’d just

have the balls to get on with it.”

“Even though I’ve been involved with DnB for so

long, there are times where I hate it, and I have to

explore other avenues.” White continues, citing his

growing passion for photography. “But I have this

weird sort of self-doubt. And that probably has to do

with the fact that when you put something out that’s

really personal to you, you don’t really want to hear

what other people think. I don’t really want people to

pass judgment because that’s not why I’ve made it.”

Over time, however, White clearly started to settle

down and own his shit, going through a minor but

palpable transformation. Existential angst and creative

second-guessing aside –- traps every artist ever

has fallen into — White’s contemplative enthusiasm

was contagious.

“After 25 years, I think I still know how to rock a

party.” he finishes.

Those of us eager to put that latent but rock-solid

confidence to the test will have ample opportunities

to this summer. Never change, dBridge.

Catch dBridge at the HiFi Club in Calgary alongside

the Librarian on April 15th, and this summer at Bass

Coast Electronic Music and Art Festival.



rising Calgary duo shares their story

Calgary duo Chuurch reveal exclusive secrets within this article.

This isn’t the first time we’ve written

about Calgary’s illusive duo Chuurch,

comprised of Jeff Wilson (a.k.a Makemdef)

and Justin MacLean (a.k.a EviCtion). It’s

not even the first time we’ve found ourselves

sitting on a couch together.

When whispers of their name first emerged on

the scene early in 2016, it caught the attention of

many. Their debut performance at the Sled Island

Block Party saw the mysterious duo materialize out

of a murky cloud of intrigue, establishing themselves

as forerunners in the scene.

The two officially met outside Habitat Living

Sound in 2014. MacLean recognized Wilson’s

university ring for St. Francis Xavier; it was from his

hometown school in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. They

began talking, realizing they shared a mutual friend

and mentor who pushed them to pursue music seriously.

They actually had unknowingly both attended

his wake, but it wasn’t until that chance meeting

that they connected, and thus began making music.

Thus far, it’s been an ambiguous, creative, and highly

danceable mix of electronica, house, and hip-hop

that’s dark, sexual, and heavy.

While Wilson attempts to tell the full story,

MacLean fills in the blanks with his drawling,

baritone voice.

“It was fate, it was crazy.”

Fast-forward from their chance meeting to November

18. They’ve converged: MacLean brings his

prolific hip-hop background to the equation; Wilson

brings his university-jazz-guitar-schooling-turned-DJ

background. The result was an unstoppable flow of

original material. Around that time, Dubstep artist

Skream came to Calgary to play a five-hour set. Wilson

brought the DJ back to his house after the show.

“So we had five or six people back and we had

one person that was very, very, very important,”

says Wilson.

Eventually, Skream asked Wilson to put on music.

Wilson obliged, opportunistically vouching to play

Chuurch material for someone he admired. It was

by Paul Rodgers

photo: Michael Benz

kismet: Skream dug it.

“I challenged him to e-mail people, and he

e-mailed [British producer] Switch, and that was the

turning point for not just me quitting my job, but

Justin quitting his job. And that’s what led us a year

later to get down to L.A.”

The duo had not previously been able to

disclose the fact that it was this encounter that

led them to Los Angeles. The relationship formed

with the legendary producer whose clients

include M.I.A. Christina Aguilera, and Major Lazer

opened serious doors.

“He’s the legend, he’s the OG, he’s a huge

supporter of us, he’s our big homie… being around

that guy is honestly like hanging around Jay Z,”

reminisces MacLean.

After an initial five-day excursion to meet Switch

and show him they were real, Chuurch received

some financial backing from friends. They returned

for a three month trip which turned into a tumultuous

but productive two months. The music created

during that period is to be announced; in the meantime,

upcoming live performances are abundant.

“Making music down there was awesome, the

thing is, every time we were making something really

dope, I would get the familiar feeling of us just being

at home.”

Like with all other challenges they have faced

together, they made it work and turned that struggle

into something positive. They returned to Calgary

enriched, having sparked the interest of a larger

international community. Despite finding something

special in L.A., the duo gives serious credit and

respect to the groundwork laid Smalltown DJs, the

Hifi Club staff, and people at PK Sound that helped

Chuurch get established.

Keep watch on what this black-clad, lean bass

hustlers will churn out next, it’s guaranteed to be

something big.

Chuurch perform on April 20th at the Commonwealth

Bar in Calgary with Amine Edge and Dance.


a multi-cultural clash master

There’s a term used when describing opposites:

“worlds apart.” The term indicates

those that are defined by radically different

paradigms. In music, the term is infrequently used,

yet applicable to the fusion of unusual genres

or sounds into a cohesive whole. In the case of

South London’s TroyBoi, and his knack for fusing a

miasma of unique sounds and styles into his own

signature pastiche, it’s perfectly suited.

Signature tracks “Mantra” and “Do You?” exhibit

the varying cultural influences that permeate his catalogue.

Thanks to a mix of Nigerian, Chinese, Indian

and Portuguese ethnicities, there is a kaleidoscope of

sounds that appear in his music.

“From being a baby it’s been imbedded in me,”

begins TroyBoi, who resides in London and goes by

Troy Henry when not on stage.

“My mom, she used to love watching Indian movies.

She would watch them all day, every day. And in

Hindi movies there are so many songs and it’s like

a three or four hour movie. My mom would watch

like two movies a day, that’s like eight hours. Can you

imagine how many songs I was listening to as a kid?”

His father equally gifted him with a love for disco

and funk, and now the sky seems to be the limit with

where he can go with his Trap oriented sound.

After finishing up the last leg of his North American

tour, appropriately dubbed Mantra, TroyBoi has

humbly embraced his highly acclaimed, new found

solo success over the last couple of years.

“It’s been amazing, really, being from London, and

to be able to come all the way out here, to meet and

greet my fans, it’s just really nice,” Troyboi explains.

TroyBoi fuses a miasma of unique styles into a pastiche all his own.

by Jay King

While he’s been involved with the collaborative

project SoundSnobz (with best friend and fellow

producer, icekream), being in great demand solo is

something he’s humbled by and has been cultivating

since the early 2010’s when he began producing,

remixing, and releasing.

“This tour is specifically for the fans. For anyone

who’s maybe never heard the music, this is the one

for them.”

Even though he’s collaborated with the likes of

Flosstradamus and Diplo, having another fellow

producer be such a close friend has really meant a lot

to Troyboi, and he is forthright in expressing so.

“He’s like my brother, right there. We have a whole

bunch of tracks already, and we’re going to be doing

a lot more. It’s been kind of hard to juggle everything,

cause I’ve been away, and he’s been doing his own

thing, as well. But once all the touring is over, and I’m

making more music, that’s when we’re really gonna

come with SoundSnobz, full scene.”

With an obvious appreciation for his humble beginnings

and for clear vision of where he would like

to go, TroyBoi’s ambition is sincere and focused.

“There’s so many things that are motivating me,”

he says.

“From my actual goals, to the fans, there’s a lot

that goes behind the drive and force to get me to

these places, for sure.”

TroyBoi is performing in Edmonton during the Northern

Lights Music Festival. It runs April 14th and 15th;

tickets can be purchased at

photo: Mitch Schneider



Oscillate and undulate to the good-ass vibes

Many electronic music acts from deadmau5 to marshmello have made

masks their calling card. After failing to find fans that were willing to

do their face paint on Twitter, U.K. producer duo Snakehips decided

to join the ranks. It was October 31, 2014 at the Hifi Club and it was Oliver

“Ollie” Lee and James Carter’s first, and to date only, performance in Alberta.

“We went in these horrible masks that we bought from this weird costume

shop,” Lee recalls. Carter wore a vaguely unsettling Geisha mask; Lee opted to wear

the face of a smiling grandpa.

Masks aren’t Snakehips gimmick though. It’d be hard to argue that Snakehips

have anything closely resembling a gimmick at all. Their brand of boom-bap, soul,

and new-era wonky influenced electropop is varied, and most importantly, fun.

Lee even has a tough time nailing down what makes Snakehips so ‘Snakehips-y.’

“Everything’s always like in a different style. We never really do the same thing

twice. It’s difficult for us to even say what (our sound) is.”

Whatever that sound is, it’s working. Despite their scene being oversaturated

with producers, and despite the fact that they’ve never released an album, the

duo is causing a rumble. Their breakout, “All My Friends” is a slightly depressive

anthemic ode to wasted nights featuring the sultry singing of Tinashe alongside a

nuanced, drug-themed Chance the Rapper verse.

Up until “All My Friends,” the duo’s biggest claim to fame was an official remix of

a deep-cut by sultry R&B singer Banks.

“It was a pretty wild idea,” says Lee, describing the initial attempt to contact the

rising star. To their surprise, that’s all it took.

“It’s still kind of crazy for us.”

From there, James and Ollie have been releasing hit single after hit single via

collaborations with Tory Lanez, Anderson .Paak, and Zayn. Even their BBC Live

Lounge session, a popular cover segment on the radio station, was a collaboration

with Norwegian star MØ. They’ve also released a single with her dubbed “Don’t

Leave” that’s currently climbing the Spotify charts.

This rapid-fire single output is par for the course with electronic artists, as hype

is fleeting in our digital world. Building up enough material for an album while

attaching your name to big name collaborators has kept Snakehips in the spotlight.


the otherworldliness of Fleetmac Wood’s remix

From the moment Rumours was released in 1977, the world’s great love

affair with Fleetwood Mac’s Buckingham-Nicks line-up spiraled beyond

the stratosphere and has continued to burn brightly, lighting up the

rock ‘n’ roll heavens. Taking it yet to another level, Alex Oxley and Lisa Jelliffe,

a pair of English DJs, created Fleetmac Wood in a “sweaty East London basement”

as a remix project and traveling rave party dedicated to the music of

their favourite band.

by Cole Parker

They haven’t totally ruled out more traditional music release strategies though.

“We’re just kind of working out whether we want to do an album or whether it’s

cool to just keep the music going. We’re sitting on a whole bunch of material.”

However they choose to release their music, they’re returning to Calgary soon

to play it. This time, however, they’re not opening; the venue will be bigger and

they won’t be wearing grandpa masks. Their goal remains the same.

“It’s just fun, good-ass vibes,” Lee boasts.

“We try and play as much cool shit as possible. It’s what we want to hear in the


If you’re a fan of upbeat, punchy and diverse electronic pop, it’s probably what

you’ll want to hear in the club too.

Catch Snakehips at the Palace Theatre in Calgary on April 6th.

by B. Simm

Other than celebrating Rumours’ 40th year, why does it make for a

good project to transition into dance music?

LISA: We feel that Rumours is the gateway drug to all of Fleetwood Mac’s

music from the early bluesy stuff with Peter Green, to years after Rumours.

You can’t cannot deny that that album is just full to the brim of incredible

songs, that are extremely varied, and so many talents in the band with

three vocalist. All members are big contributors, they could all be solo

artists themselves. People have so many connections to all those songs,

and such a wide range of different tracks to work with. You have the

driving up-tempo of “Go Your Own Way,” the whimsical and the hypnotic

sounds of “Dreams,” which actually has a loop drum beat in it. Dance has

always borrowed from music before it, which we’re doing the reserve of.

I also think it’s really great to hear some analogue sounds in a night club.

People have this emotion connection, but aren’t used to hearing it in a

club environment where it becomes a new experience.

What can party-goers expect?

LISA: Something that we seen a lot is that the style of Stevie Nicks is not a

gender, it’s a state of mind. We get lot of men, gay and straight, who love

to work a shawl (laughs). Other than the music, there’s this slightly more

romantic visual aesthetic that we encourage and also bring into our set...

this otherworldliness that some of their music evokes.

Rumours Rave descends upon Broken City Friday, April 14.





creepin’ in real freaky with a political new record

Timber Timbre releases their sixth studio album in April.

Timber Timbre’s music is sexy, swampy, and

makes one want to take off their clothes

and sweat a little. The lyrics drip and ache

with longing and cinematic restraint, in no small

part due to frontman Taylor Kirk starting on the

path of filmmaking over a decade ago.

“I had the idea that I might like to make music for

films and I was serious about making recording,” Kirk

tells BeatRoute.


new album Love Versus is a lyrical and musical tapestry

15 years in, Leeroy Stagger is releasing his ninth album and is finally

hitting his stride artistically and professionally. Love Versus

is a new collection of songs, written and recorded by Stagger at

his new studio, which he built after winning the Peak Performance

Project in 2015. This marks his first full-length to be recorded at the

new digs.

Stagger is an accomplished producer in his own right, but this time he

teamed up with Colin Stewart (Dan Mangan, New Pornographers), and

is releasing the record on Edmonton’s True North Records.

“I had been in a pretty fog the last couple of years,” Stagger tells


“Depression, anxiety, uncertainty. This really seems the first creative

emergence coming out of that fog of the last couple of years. It seems

like a perfect storm, I think people are connecting to the truth of it, the

love in it, and it’s uplifting but not watered down.”

Stagger broke down the impending record for us track-by-track,

giving us revealing insights into his artistic process and decade of musical

experience. It gave us revealing and evocative insight into the album,

and is best read in conjunction with listening to the album.

Opener “I Want It All” is a song about “trying to embrace how grateful

I am for what I have as opposed to worrying about the things I don’t

have, or want. It’s an observation on how simple life can be, how beautiful

it can be, if we really look at it.”

The title track, “Love Versus,” comes from when Stagger “was going

through a lot of personal turmoil,” and it’s centred on “whether, or not,

love, in its essence, is all we need. If it is enough.”

The heart of the third track, “Enemy Inside,” “came from the Peak

Performance competition” and was co-written with Mike Edel. Stagger

“brought that song to the producer, he didn’t really like it, he wanted me

to continue writing it, so I put more meat on it and it became “Enemy


photo: Caroline Desilets

“By the time I finished (school) I had made a few

art films, and realized I was making the films so that I

could make the music for the films.”

So, Kirk started Timber Timbre.

“I never even had any idea that I would even share

it with anybody, that I would even play it for my

friends or anyone I knew. I didn’t have any particular


Six albums, two JUNO nominations, and two

Polaris Music Prize shortlists later, things are a lot


It “seems that each time I go to start over to make

something, the whole process is sort of infected with

the idea that it is going to be presented or consumed

or that it has a life that I ought to be concerned about

beyond the basic idea of making it,” explains Kirk.

Timber Timbre’s last three albums has recorded in

a myriad of magical places like the renamed Grand

Lodge No. 24, the studio formerly owned by Arcade

Fire. Other locations have included the National

Music Center in Calgary and the Banff Centre for

Performing Arts, which was a “real dream.” Perhaps

trying to top their previous locations, the recording

sessions for their upcoming sixth full-length Sincerely,

Future Pollution, took them to La Frette chateau, a

studio outside Paris.

“The guy who owns (and runs) the place is living

in Montreal part time and has a relationship with the

music scene here,” explains Kirk of who the album

came to be.

“Leslie Feist had been there, [José] González, Patrick

Watson… so I’d heard about it forever. Then we

had a show in Paris and we came to visit the studio,

to have a look around and they were so hospitable

and the studio itself just had a weird vibe.”

Doubt, at one time or another can seep into artistic

endeavors, no matter the success one achieves.

“The kind of doubt that I had with this recording I

have never had before”.

The writing and recording came during a time

Stagger gives us a track-by-track breakdown of his new record.

photo: David Guenther

Inside,” which is now intended to be the second single. The song is about

coming home to the ghosts of my youth.” The song is a throwback rocker

in the vein of Bruce Springsteen; harkening to Stagger’s 2006 album

Depression River.

“Crooked Old World” features Haligonian raconteur Joel Plaskett,

which came about after Stagger “started opening for him on the coast

by Naddine Madell-Morgan

where Timber Timbre was restructuring as an act and

an entity. All their infrastructure “had to also be reassembled.”

The spooky vibe of La Frette, the political

landscape, and the lingering doubt Kirk felt seeped

into the recordings themselves.

“For the most part people found it weird,” Kirk

states. “Suspicious or something.”

“In the past, we’ve always put out the songs that

we’ve liked or felt were the most interesting. This

time, because we started working with this European

label called City Slang, and the project has more

traction and interest in Europe, they had a stronger

opinion and they felt that [the album’s lead single, the

morose and lo-fi] “Sewer Blues” was a better bridge

sonically between the back catalog and what the new

record sounds like.”

Accordingly, Sincerely, Future Pollution is pure

heartache, and despite the restructuring, just as

freaky and provocative as anything you’ve heard from

Timber Timbre. Anchored by Kirk’s provocative baritone,

it’s bluesy and bleak with swirling arrangements

and melancholic guitars. Be sure to pick up a copy

when it’s revealed to the world on April 7th.

Timber Timbre performs at the Starlite Room in

Edmonton on May 2, Commonwealth Bar & Stage

in Calgary on May 3, and The Vogue Theatre in

Vancouver on May 5. Sincerely, Future Pollution will

be released on Friday, April 7th, and can be ordered

from Arts & Crafts at


by Graham Mackenzie

and the two became friends.”

“Little Brother” is a song that Stagger describes as having never “really

done anything like it. I like the vibe, the groove; it reminds me of something

like ‘60s Parisian pop mixed with something like The Clash. I like

the juxtaposition of the guitar against that laidback groove; it’s kinda like

a storm. It highlights the story of the song, the restlessness.”

“Run Rabbit Run” is based on a story Stagger’s grandfather told him

about “a man named ‘Dirty Bill.’ I never set out to write any particular

type of song but this came to me, most of my songs are just cobbled

together pieces of my life and my observations at the time. They all have

some sort of theme, I am really quite proud of this song actually, it’s

kind of a nod to ‘Lily, Rosemary, and the Jack of Hearts’ on [Bob Dylan’s]

Blood on the Tracks [1975]. It’s also a kind of a stoner’s trip.”

The end of the record features several nods to Stagger’s musical


“Joe Strummer and Joey Ramone” was a way for Stagger to “dip [his]

toe into the waters of punk rock here a little bit,” while ‘Living in the

Future’ carries a “Travelling Wilburys vibe” and ‘$1500 a day’ is a “song for

Elliot Smith.” The record ends with “Until the End of Time,” a “love song

for [his] family.”

All told, it’s an ambitious record with a staggeringly detailed story,

made alive by Stagger’s characteristic richness.

“At the end of the day I’m trying to inspire people to make the world a

better place,” he says.

“That’s the goal; sometimes it doesn’t always feel like that. But I’m

trying to do good work.”

Love Versus is released on April 7th and will be available from True North

Records. Leeroy Stagger plays the Gateway in Calgary on April 28th, and

the Almanac in Edmonton on April 29th.



On writing, performing, recording, and everything in-between

Authenticity serves as the most important

vessel for any musician. Listeners can

smell a fake from miles away, particularly

in the world of folk and roots music; connecting

with your audience and creating an intimate

atmosphere is essential. Enter Matt Patershuk,

who’s skillfully managed to do both.

The low rumble of Patershuk’s husky,

pitch-perfect voice matched with his heartfelt

and smartly penned songs has charmed listeners

across Canada and beyond. His appeal is

unmistakable. The written material ranges in

emotional focus and message. Albums will contain

endearing messages to those closest to him

and heartbreaking ballads; elsewhere lyrics will

contain a strong focus on history and storytelling.

Later, upbeat numbers perfect for two-stepping

and whiskey-drinkin’ will appear.

His Western Canadian Music Award nominated

debut album Outside The Lights Of Town pays

homage to traditional country and roots music

with a distinct small-town charm. I Was So Fond

of You (2016) opens with a raunchy fiddle and

guitar combo with a do-or-die narrative about

working tirelessly for those you love. It ends with

the somber title track, a heartbreakingly beautiful

waltz penned for his late sister Claire, who was

killed by a drunk driver.

Stripped down and intimate, the first two

albums were recorded almost completely live off

the floor by super producer Steve Dawson, whose

history includes working with Old Man Luedecke,

Matt Patershuk is hard at work on his third studio album.

The Deep Dark Woods, and numerous others.

This raw approach perfectly exemplifies Matt’s

affinity for stark honesty and subdued irony,

bringing to light an old soul with a sharp eye for

detail. His sound is not unlike Willie Nelson and

John Prine’s early works.

photo: Peter Patershuk

Just under a year has passed since his most recent

release, and with the help of Dawson’s label

Black Hen Music, Patershuk is hard at work on his

third studio album, to be released in the fall.

“It’s definitely different,” Patershuk tells BeatRoute.

“We tracked some things separately in

by Moira Billington

isolation booths as opposed to live off the floor.

There are some hints of early rock and roll and

blues, a bit of a bigger sound.”

There’s an impressive roster of musicians

rounding out the sound, including Dawson

himself, Jay Bellerose, and the alt-country singer-songwriter

Anna Egge.

“I’m very inspired by her music and her singing,

and so glad she’s all over this one,” says Patershuk

with aplomb.

The endless cycle of touring and marketing is

no easy task. Even with label and management

support, it remains daunting at the best of times.

Somehow, with a demanding full-time job and a

family, Patershuk finds peace residing in Grand

Prairie. The fervor of everyday life serves as a

great reminder and disciplinary tool for Matt

to find time for practice and his songwriting.

When teased of this reality where musicians

all need full-time work to support their other

very full-time job of music, Patershuk becomes


“I think it’s important to have songwriting as

an outlet. Writing songs is the definition of navel

gazing, and I think it can be dangerous to always

be in that frame of mind. I think it’s good for me

to have that work-life balance.”

Matt Patershuk will perform on March 31st at Geomatic

Attic in Lethbridge, April 1st at The Ironwood

Stage and Grill in Calgary, and April 7th at The

Almanac in Edmonton.



doing dishes and makin’ wishes

There’s a wide-skied, blue-eyed optimism in the

words of Braden Gates. His quick witted, fast-picked,

friend-folk songs start from the heart and work their

way to the sleeve in a trail of family anecdotes and street

corner romances.

Gates himself is a soft-spoken, clean-cut Edmonton boy,

with a keen ear for the quirks of the everyday. At the tender

age of 24-years-old, he’s releasing his third full-length studio

album, Much Rather Be Sleeping. But more about that later.

Gates is a prolific live performer, playing around Edmonton

and Western Canada, recently springing to Calgary

for a few sets at Wide Cut Weekend. He often sits with his

audience, swapping between guitar and fiddle, cracking

jokes as he plays. There’s a polish and wisdom to his words

that fit well beyond his years, likely due to his heavy catalogue

that puts most songwriters to shame. In addition to

studio albums, Gates often records on his home computer

webcam, throwing new and familiar songs to his friends

and admirers. This past year, he put out six volumes of

material via the Edmontone Demo Series, so named after

studios where they were recorded.

Gates self-describes the series as “demo-y, weird, eccentric

things.” In his effort to hone his craft, the series found

Gates “playing around with the creative process a little bit,”

a result of “[becoming] a little bit obsessive with songwriting

last year.”

Playing and writing often has helped polish his work,

but he still finds value in the studio process.

“There’s a lot more that can be said in a better way if

you spend more time with it,” Braden attests. “There’s a lot

to be said for audio engineering and production.”

That said, Much Rather Be Sleeping is a rather sparse

offering, “recorded live off the floor with a bass and fiddle”

and only a few overdubs. Written before the Edmontone

sessions, and recorded in 2015, the collection of songs

developed while Gates “was living on Whyte Avenue in

Edmonton and indulging in the scene.”

The record is humble, centred on small sentiments,

built around family and the practise of the everyday.

Gates doesn’t shy away from the big ideas, most notably

the ‘L word,’ but he manages to handle these movements

and moments with a casual friendliness, like a letter from

a friend. It’s a quick and rewarding listen, with a level of

completeness that’s not immediately apparent.

Braden isn’t done yet, and is headed back into the

studio, “recording in November” for a new album due next

year with a mix of songs from the Edmontone sessions

as well as a few new ones. He’s got a few more ideas up

his sleeve as well. Taking a break from being a full-time

musician, Gates has taken to washing dishes, a job which

offers “lots of space to think” and write songs in his head.

This has led to some charming and humorous blue-collar

anthems about the greasy porcelain.

“I am actually working on a ‘Songs from the Dish Pit’

album,’” he says. “[It’s] not even close to being done.”

You can catch a few of these tracks on the Edmontone

sessions, but the truth of the matter is that the work of

Braden Gates is not collapsible into a song, an album, or a

movement. Gates is a hard-working, fast-fingered, songwriter-next-door,

and we can’t wait to see what he brings next.

Braden Gates performs April 21 at Jeans Joint in Red Deer,

April 23 at Culinary Funk in Canmore, and at the Blue Chair

Café in Edmonton on April 28th.

Braden Gates bright third album Much Rather Be Sleeping thinks small.

by Liam Prost

photo: Tyler Sirman






pipe dreams do come true by Chrystyn Lynryd

Proof that pipe dreams can come true, Calgary’s inaugural

420 Music & Arts Festival is more than a celebration of

Mother Nature’s bounty, it’s a gathering of some of the

finest stoner rock bands in the land. Branching off of a history

of hosting their own internet show and presenting live bands

under the auspices of the Metalheads United Network, Festival

coordinators CC Getty and Celestia Scarlett, along with co-organizer

Patrick Saulnier, had some inkling of what they were getting

into when they set about orchestrating what has grown into a

four-evening event.

“It was really hard to do,” admits Getty. “We started organizing

and reaching out to bands to see if they were interested. This

music doesn’t get a lot of played a lot a Distortion, so we’re kind of

breaking the mould there. But, we ran through a bunch of names of

bands we love like Wo Fat and reached out to them, thinking that

they’d never message us back. Within minutes we had a reply from

Wo Fat. They were in!”

Once the RSVPs from bands started flowing it quickly became apparent

that there were bigger obstacles to be overcome in establishing

a groundbreaking tradition from the grassroots level.

“We were working with Distortion’s booker when we started getting

push-back on the name of the Festival,” he recalls. “There are many

stereotypes associated with stoner rock and stoner metal, but just

because you listen to it doesn’t mean you’re into marijuana. We really

wanted to take away the stereotypes.”

Incorporating an “expo” of artistic and educational displays for

attendees to explore, the Festival aims to compliment the fun elements

common to 420 celebrations held across the planet with timely

socio-political considerations.

“We’ve found about 30 or 40 vendors, so far,” confirms Scarlett.

“It’s great because Calgary has a tonne of talented craftspersons

and designers. We wanted to create a showcase for people and put

that together with some of your medical marijuana activists and other

interesting vendors from Calgary.”

Medicine for the soul will be in abundance throughout the event

as Getty and company have harvested an epic line-up of bands that

will have audiences returning to Distortion’s doorstep night after night.

Thank the Goddess for onsite food trucks!

“Within the stoner rock canon there are so many different styles

that we wanted to represent,” Scarlett explains.

“We started looking around at bands in Western Canada that

were in the genre and there were so many possibilities for line-ups.

Enough to keep us going well into the future, in fact. So, we tried

to pick a lot of bands that don’t usually play here and layered them

in with Calgary’s favourite bands. It’s an interesting and diverse mix

that offers a unique experience every night for people who are doing

three shows back to back.”

Call it stoner, desert, sludge, doom or swamp rock, those rolling

organic grooves with a hardcore concrete center are a custom fit for

the city’s heavy hitters.

“One of the bands we have playing, Hypnopilot, are probably Calgary’s

original stoner rock band. They played the Distortion anniversary

party and were so fired up for this festival they switched up their set

list,” Getty reports.

“We have over 20 bands playing the festival, but we’re actually

putting together more to play a free show on the 19th. We’re

inviting people to come down and pick up their wristbands and

tickets a day early and to get first shot at some of the merchandise.

We figured we might as well have some bands play while we

get everything set up!”

The 420 Music & Arts Festival features live music, art, food trucks, vendors,

beard contests and more. Head to the festival website or Facebook

for more information.



“Texas Sized” band delivers the swampadelic grooves

The 420 Music and Arts Festival brings stoner rockers Wo Fat to the fold!

There are few things more enjoyable than digging into some

salty, smoky barbeque and that’s exactly the kind of pure

chewing satisfaction that meaty Dallas-based swamp rockers

Wo Fat have on their proverbial grill. Turning raw blues rhythms and

uncluttered doom grooves into sweet psych-rock sustenance for over

a decade, this well-seasoned trio has hung in together through thick

and thin. From the formative rumblings of their 2006 debut The

Gathering Dark, to the fulsome darkness of last year’s full-length release

Midnight Cometh, Wo Fat’s lead guitarist/vocalist Kurt Stump,

bassist Tim Wilson and drummer Michael Walter have consistently

brought home the bacon.

“The good thing about Texas is that it’s got a strong scene for our kind

of music,” says jam-master Stump.

“There’s a bunch of good bands here and a number of excellent

venues to play close by, so you can do a short weekend jaunt and hit a

few places.”

Of course, the group who brought forth molten LPs Psychedelonaut

(2009) and Noche del Chupacabra (2011) had little choice but to

catch fire around the globe. As welcome as the sound of fat sizzling on

mesquite embers, Wo Fat’s heavy fuzz-laden emanations attracted riff

worshiping legions to any stage that was willing to “Book ‘em, Danno!”

“We’ve built a fairly good following worldwide within that genre

with fans of that type of music. We’ve played Desertfest in Berlin

and London, and we’ve done Hellfest in France. Those are really

amazing genre-specific festivals that feature a bunch of bands we

know, so there’s always a reunion kind of vibe. It’s always fun to

hang-out and we find a lot of comradery playing with bands that

are similar to us stylistically.”

The perfect opportunity to do just that, while enjoying some Albertan

hospitality, April’s 420 Music & Arts Festival will surprisingly mark

the well-travelled Wo Fat’s first trip to up to The Great White North.

“It’s our first time to play in Canada, so I’m excited about that! We try

by Christine Leonard

to be strategic about the out-of-town gigs we play – like coming to Calgary.

We’re just flying up there and coming back home, but that’s what

we want to be able to do. To pick and choose cool gigs and do those.

Cuz were not making our living off the band - we’re making our living off

the recording studio.”

A Wo Fat run studio you say? We should have known that the proverbial

enemy of the Hawaii Five-O task force was the one pushing the

buttons all along.

“The drummer, Michael, and I run a recording studio together,” he


“It’s called Crystal Clear Sound and it’s actually one of the oldest

studios in Dallas. I’ve been working there for about 20 years. About

four years ago, we bought the place from the previous owners. Yup, we

bought the company. Now we run it ourselves!”

He continues, “That’s where all of the Wo Fat albums have been recorded.

I’ve been recording professionally for a long time, so experience

has taught me the dangers of becoming myopic and going down the

rabbit hole too far.”

It’s not only anchored the band, but given them confidence in their

jams: after all, when you’re making all the decisions, you’ve got to know

when to pull the proverbial plug on a song, album, or jam session. It’s

made Wo Fat the groovy juggernaut they are today.

“Having spent a lot of time in the studio, I know that you just have to

make decisions and stick to them at some point. I would rather do that

commit and go on than leave something open-ended and never finish it.

I think we’re different from some people in having that attitude.”

Wo Fat are headlining the 420 Music and Arts Festival, which goes down

on April 20th until April 22nd at Distortion. They are headlining day three

of the festival on April 22nd alongside Wo Fat, Chron Goblin, Cowpuncher,

Mammoth Grove, and more. Line-up and ticket information are available




Edmonton crust punks are battle scarred

Languid, we play hardcore



So begins Edmonton entity

Languid. The band has no Facebook page; they

don’t offer names. When your Bandcamp is

populated with music, who needs a biography?

Rather than pontificate, they record. Rather

than develop a presence online or take pictures

that represent them as some sort of ‘entity,’ they

head into venues and level the crowd with short

bursts of gruff and powerful songs.

“We’re not reinventing the wheel by any

means, we’re playing punk influenced by

Discharge, and bands that were influenced by

Discharge. We make music that we in turn would

want to listen to, paying respect to those that

have inspired us.”

They continue, “We started in the winter

of 2014 and have been constantly gigging and

writing songs since. Our first actual release was

the Demo 2015. There was a litany of delays in

between then and now in terms of releases, but

meanwhile [we] have been very active.”

On their upcoming full length Resist Mental

Slaughter, the band delivers 12 songs. Captured

by Derek Orthner of Begrime Exemious fame, the

record is bare bones. Like their previous recordings,

the vocals are skillfully placed in the mix,

giving the music a live-off-the-floor feel.

The whole package is heavy and gruff, with

skillful integrations. Take the jarring, high neck

guitar solo in “Total Death,” which veers between


shread-aholics do what they do best

Striker released their fifth studio album in February. Come celebrate!

hardcore punk and metal. It’s comparable to

Battle Ruins, with a hefty dollop of attitude and

weirdness. The album cover also veers into punkis-friends-with-metal

territory with its axe-wielding

warrior, reminiscent of the artwork for Bolt

Thrower’s War Master [1991], as if designed by

Voivod’s Michel Langevin.

“Andy from Darkwood Design in Portland has

been churning out some really insane artwork

so we asked him to do it,” says the band. A quick

perusal of his portfolio reveals artwork that is

consistently strong and stark, featuring exclusively

black and white line work and shading.

“The initial idea was to have a single striking

character like the later Anti Cimex records, we figured

the only way to make it better was to splice

it with the first two Iron Maiden records as well.”

Meanwhile, the lyrics encourage you to damn

the man, resist, and fight.

“Everything we write essentially just has to do

with living day to day dealing with the bullshit life

has to offer, the title track is basically just about

not letting the bastards grind you down.”



Languid will perform at the Edmonton release

party for Resist Mental Slaughter on April 15th at

the Sewing Machine Factory. Falsehood, Demise,

and Paroxysm will also perform. To purchase a

copy of the album, contact Languid on Bandcamp

or head to your local record store.

This band doesn’t have a goddamn picture, so we used their album cover instead.

photo: Dana Zuk

“We had some time off between tours and had some

great opportunities come our way so we decided

putting out a new album was our best option!”

Thus begins guitarist Tim Brown of Edmonton thrash metal institution


The band has released two albums in two years. They’ve done tours,

music videos, won “Metal Artist of the Year” at the 2016 Western Canadian

Music Awards, and performed on the 70,000 tons of Metal Cruise.

The Striker machine has just kept barreling forward, record label or no.

“Well, since we’ve gone independent it’s a night and day difference,

we’ve had so many amazing opportunities come our way since we made

the switch. In the span just over the last year we’ve played more shows

than we had done in the previous three years combined,” says Brown.

Striker was previously signed to Napalm Records but since the contract

by Sarah Kitteringham

by Jason Lefebvre

ended, they’ve been busier than ever and just independently released

their fifth full-length, the eponymously dubbed Striker.

The album demonstrates musically growth from their youthful,

enthusiastic, pure speed metal approach to a much more refined

modern metal sound. The band has grown to include vocal

harmonies, progressive guitar shredding, and complex rhythms.

The overall flow remains true to the ‘80s traditional heavy metal

sound that the band has become known and loved for, but as time

goes on with Striker, they’ve placed a stronger emphasis on more

empowering lyrics and musical diversity. A strong example of what

Striker has become stands with the song “Former Glory,” which

kicks off the album. It’s loaded with dual guitar shredding and an

anthemic chorus that encourages the listener to “do what it takes/

leave the past behind.”

“It’s just a good song all around and we made sure it was loaded with

shred from front to back. The nice thing about being independent is that

we can do whatever the hell we want,” says Brown.

“There’s no label to tell us they don’t like our direction or that they

want different sounds. So in that sense it’s a very creative space to be in.”

It’s also a triumphant space to be in, made evident by the fact that

the band is answering these questions while on a massive European tour

with power metal act Sonata Arctica. They arrive home in mid April,

and then play three CD release parties in their home province. It’s nice to

know that nothing will hold them back.

“My amp exploded tonight so that’s about as close as we get,” counters

Brown, laughing.

“We are all really excited to do what we do and nothing is going to

hold us back.”

Striker will perform on April 13th at Dickens with Ravenous: Eternal

Hunger and In/Vertigo. They also perform April 14th in Edmonton at the

Starlite Room with the Tylor Dory Trio, and on April 15th in Red Deer with

Wraith Risen and Bodies Burn Black.



beneath the wheel and under the sun

by Christine Leonard

This Month


The Dirty Rotten Imbeciles are invading a venue near you!!!


at the airport getting ready to get on a

plane to Puerto Rico to do a show. I had to


get up at 3:30 a.m. and I’m a little sleepy,”

confesses D.R.I. (Dirty Rotten Imbeciles) vocalist

Kurt Brecht.

“I’m excited cuz we only have one show, but we’re

there for four days. I’ve been there once before in

2012, but didn’t get to go to the beach, we just got

abandoned in some suburb. This time I want to go

snorkeling or something; I’m all over that.”

And, yes, to answer your question, D.R.I. are those

guys dressed in black T-shirts on the beach.

“All pasty and sickly looking. That’s us.”

Soaking up a little R ‘n’ R has taken on new

significance for the legendary hardcore thrash punk

outfit, who emerged from Houston, TX in 1982.

First introduced to the world via the Dirty Rotten

LP a year later, D.R.I.’s fanbase swelled thanks to a

string of blistering releases including Dealing with

It! (1985), Crossover (1987), 4 of a Kind (1988) and

Thrash Zone (1989), with Definition and Full Speed

Ahead following in the '90s. A D.I.Y. punk pioneer,

Brecht and founding guitarist Spike Cassidy scraped

together a following of likeminded hardcore and

metal lovers and, in the process, went on to become

a genre-defining band.

“As kids growing up we didn’t know if there was

an underground music scene. There wasn’t that type

of music then. Only hard rock. We just went to rock

concerts and stadium shows and stuff. And, I was

into the harder, heavier bands. Then, once we discovered

punk rock, it was all over. We were like 'Yeah,

this is way better. Way more aggressive!' and we just

kind of mixed the two together. Hardcore. Hardcore

punk rock. That’s what we wanted.”

Akin to speed metal crossover acts such as Corrosion

of Conformity and Suicidal Tendencies, D.R.I.

is accustomed to being at the eye of a human hurricane

that feeds off acerbic wails, high-velocity guitar

work and breakneck percussion. The self-made

quartet, including bassist Harald Oimoen and recent

addition Walter "Monsta" Ryan on drums, harnesses

the energy of the crowd to generate an frenetic

energy that must been witness to be believed.

“I think it’s the music that’s full-throttle,” says

Brecht. “Our performance is just us playing the

songs, we don’t have a big stage show or anything.

The audience is usually the show. I’ve seen some brutal

stuff. I think if you’re at a thrash show you’d just

better expect that you might get walked on or dove

on to. You can always try and stand in the back,

or whatever, but good luck there too. Sometimes

I just see it go wall to wall. No safe places to stand.

Ah, well. Nothing you can do about something like

that; can’t start writing rules. Then it’s just going to

be lame.”

Still packing those venues and generating new

material like 2016’s surprise EP But Wait...There's

More!, D.R.I. is enthusiastic about their Western

and Eastern Canadian tours. According to Brecht,

dividing the nation into two runs of performance

dates in 2017 is the ideal scenario, as it allows him

the flexibility to pursue his non-musical passions.

“It does give you more time for sure. I’m heavily

into gardening. And, I travel a lot, too,” he says.

“We’re super excited about Canada, because we

never get to play there, and a now we get to do two

tours of Canada! We’re getting special shirts made

up! I’m usually out there selling the merchandise all

the time, so I’m talking to everybody.”

D.R.I. are performing in Winnipeg on April 21 at the

Park Theatre, on April 22nd in Saskatoon at the University

of Saskatchewan, on April 23rd in Edmonton

at Union Hall, and in Calgary on April 24th at the

Marquee Beer Market & Stage.

April is the best, because it’s when shows

start happening so frequently you can’t

keep up with them all. So here weeeeee


Head to the Nite Owl in Calgary for the second

annual Extreme Metal Radio festival. It runs April

6th until the 9th. Bands like Display of Decay,

Planet Eater, Path To Extinction, Vile Insignia,

Graveyard Nemesis, W.M.D, Train Bigger Monkeys,

and more are performing. Shows are $20 each

night at the door, and there will be loots for prizes

and giveaways.

That same weekend in Edmonton, the third

round of the Stabmonton D.I.Y. Fest will be going

down. Los Angeles grindcore acts Vulva Essers and

Zaklocic will be performing, as will Archagathus,

Messiahlator, Tekarra, and many more. If you

dig your music filthy, crusty, political, and fucking

ferocious, this is the fest for you.

If you live in Calgary, there are several shows to

steal your attention on Thursday, April 13th. You

could to head to the Striker album release party at

Dickens (just make sure you read our feature on the

band first); you could also head to the Palomino

Smokehouse and Social Cub for Monolith AB,

Snake Pit, Regress, and Mortality Rate. Either way,

you’re going to have a blast.

If you’re not heading to the 420 Music and

Arts Festival in Calgary (which, let’s face it, is a

rather ridiculous decision on your part), then

there are several great gig options in Edmonton

Power metal legends Hammerfall perform at Dickens on May 4th!

that weekend. On Saturday, April 22nd, Vancouver

sludge mongers Anciients are playing at the

Mercury Room with Dead Quiet, Tekarra, and

Solarcoven. That same evening over at the Forge,

Aggression is playing with Quietus, Skepsis,

and Tessitura.

The stoner gigs are coming hard and fast this

month! On Tuesday, April 25th, sludge legends

Weedeater will perform at Distortion with Primitive

Man, Nosis, and Rebuild/Repair. If you dig

your bands getting sister fucking wasted on couch

syrup and delivering a wall of sound, this gig will

deliver yer fix.

Near the end of the month, Blind Beggar Pub

in Calgary has a metal gig going down. On Friday,

April 28th, DTR performs with Red Cain and Sage


With publication dates being the precarious

beasts that they are, there was no way to fit in this

gig for a story, which is a real shame. Nevertheless,

power metal legends Hammerfall are playing

with Delain and Ravenous: Eternal Hunger on

Thursday, May 4th at Dickens. Two days later on

Saturday, May 6th, metal spoof band Okilly Dokilly

will be playing at the same venue. Perhaps then

people will figure out how truly awful they are

musically, rather than marveling at their Simpsonsworship-Ned-Flanders-aping-shtick.

The band will

also be performing in Edmonton on May 7th at the

International Beer Haus & Stage.

• Sarah Kitteringham

photo: Tallee Savage



Father John Misty

Pure Comedy

Sub Pop

Father John Misty is worth listening to because of the

work his listeners must put forth in order to understand

him. There’s nothing he does that can be taken at face

value, whether it’s a song, album, interview, or short film,

because, as he admits himself, it’s all for show. He admits

this in many ways: he smirks at whatever camera happens

to be trained on him, he over-exaggerates already

melodramatic stage antics.

FJM gets away with this because he is an acknowledged

character; a moniker with which former somber

songwriter Josh Tillman can (ironically) express a

different, truer side of himself. Father John Misty is an

exuberant, attention-seeking, self-serious singer – one

who takes pleasure in what sometimes feels like performance

art. In all of his music, it’s clear Misty’s usually

making fun of someone, but on Pure Comedy, the

third album he’s released as Father John Misty, Tillman

sets his sardonic sights on making fun of humanity and

existence in general.

In 2011, Tillman released his first album as Father

John Misty, the wandering, folk-rocking Fear Fun,

which may be the piece of art most clearly related to

the Misty character to date. It leans heavily on aesthetics

and musical styles established in the early ‘60s and

‘70s by Kris Kristofferson and Neil Young, the latter of

whom Misty name checks on the album’s free-reeling

riff on life in Laurel Canyon, “I’m Writing a Novel.” In

2014, he released I Love You, Honeybear, where he continued

to keep his audience at arm’s length, but draws

back the curtain ever so slightly, bridging the gap in

some ways between the man and the character, even

though his performances then became more stylized

(read: more ridiculous). On “Chateau Lobby #4” he

sings, “Dating for 20 years just feels pretty civilian / I’ve

never thought that / Ever thought that once in my

whole life / You are my first time.” Knowing that as he

wrote Honeybear he married his girlfriend turns his

lyrics from interesting character-wise to touching in a

more tangible, appreciable way.

Now, on Pure Comedy, an album filled to the brim

with references to Misty himself, his past albums and

their obsessions with romancing L.A. life, and pointed attacks

on politics, love, and humanity’s exceptional ability

to absorb and recycle these things, he’s his least funny

– but it suits the present. Another smirking comedian,

arms-crossed wearing a know-it-all persona isn’t what

we need, we need someone known for jokes to revisit his

old seriousness and use how big a deal that switch is to

emphasize his point.

On “Leaving L.A.,” the crux of the album, it feels as

though he’s pointedly acknowledging it’s time to hang

up many of Misty’s most enigmatic qualities in pursuit

of a more personally fulfilling, open relationship with his

audience; a method that, based on the way the songs

come across, and the tone with which he delivers them,

makes it easier for him to comment on the present without

the trouble of framing everything within the context

of this other Self. Still, Tillman displays his relentless

self-awareness; he’s always known exactly how he’s come

across (“‘These L.A. phonies and their bullshit bands /

that sound like dollar signs and Amy Grant’ / So reads

the pull quote from my last cover piece / titled, ‘The

Oldest Man in Folk Rock Speaks’”).

The irony of the album’s first track “Pure Comedy,”

which gives the album its name, is that for the first

time this isn’t in reference to his own kind of comedy, it

seems like it’s a reference to everybody else’s. The song’s

accompanying music video depicts (amid a chaotic

swirl of crude cartoons) memes, viral Youtube clips, and

political sound bites, all of which were cited and used

again and again throughout the presidential campaign

and for a time afterwards. For the first time Misty seems

comfortable not only creating something for his fans to

look at, but something he can look at too, next to them,

with them, instead of across from them at a vantage

point where he can take their temperature and adjust


There is slight disappointment with Pure Comedy being

made of the same (or similar) ingredients found on I

Love You, Honeybear. However, there are some inspired

arrangements from in-demand composers Gavin Bryars

and Nico Muhly, like on the album’s penultimate track,

“So I’m Growing Old on Magic Mountain,” a song where

Misty sounds tired, resigned to the fact that he’s spent

too much time running from adulthood, and is therefore

destined to become lost, unable to use his latent

self-awareness for anything other than perspective, or at

best to help others. Really, it’s gorgeous. It is reminiscent

of Neil Young in style, and once that becomes clear,

there’s little investigative work necessary to draw it to

one of Young’s similarly themed tracks, “Sugar Mountain.”

Another bright spot on an otherwise musically satisfactory

album comes in the form of the Bowie, “Young

Americans”-esque, “Total Entertainment Forever,” the

only song that balances lyrics and music as perfectly as

anything on Honeybear, where the inclusion of buzzing

horns successfully distracts from the increasingly foreboding

song lyrics – a method of delivery which suits

them perfectly, as throughout the song Misty warns that

although we’re living in the greatest age, where we seem

to be our happiest, it’s all superficial happiness.

The rest of the smartest arrangements on the album

should be considered as such not because they do

anything splashy, but quite the opposite: they leave

large space for the lyrics and Misty’s unmistakable voice

(which has never sounded better).

Even with its similarities to Honeybear, the music is

intoxicating, immersive, and satisfying. Still, Misty has

always been a more gifted lyricist (able to translate and

articulate humanity’s worst, modern insecurities) than

he is a musician, which he acknowledges in a way on

“Leaving L.A.” “So I never learned to play the lead guitar /

I always more preferred the speaking part.”

He bookends the album with the message that none

of this really matters – no matter how good or bad it

all may seem. “We’re hurtling through space,” he sings

on “In Twenty Years or So.” This message, which he

delivers like it’s his ultimate point, contradicts a lot of

what he says throughout the album’s second act. It’s

an indication Misty’s as confused as we are. As he puts

forth a variety of argumentative theses that tackle why

the country is the way it is, where it’s headed, and why

it’s headed there, it’s a comforting notion that he, too,

is unable to make reasoning the present seem like it’s

anything other than a method of throwing everything at

the wall and seeing what sticks.

• Alex Southey

illustration: Cristian Fowlie


Do Make Say Think

Stubborn Persistent Illusions

Constellation Records

While Canada has a rich and diverse history of musical expression,

few genres are so indebted to our cold, northern climate as

post-rock, and Montreal’s Constellation Records have been at the

forefront of the often scoffed-at niche for so long that no other

label even really comes close.

Sure, there are other ‘big’ instrumental groups, ones that have

managed to grace film scores and art installations alike, but none

are so deserving of their due as Do Make Say Think, and Stubborn

Persistent Illusions — the collective’s first record in eight years —

isn’t so much another fitting transplant into the swell of Canada’s

post-rock repertoire as it is a life-affirming appreciation of the

expressive power of sound in its purest form.

As though brimming with energy from their almost-decade

away, Do Make Say Think open up Stubborn Persistent Illusions

with “War on Torpor,” a five-and-a-half minute anthem of panicked

percussion, fired off with a frenetic urgency reminiscent of

the crescendoing buildups of 2000’s Goodbye Enemy Airship the

Landlord is Dead.

From there, “Horripilation” slips in as the Yin to “Torpor’s”

Yang, showcasing the archetypal Do Make Say Think: sliding bass

lines as addictive as any earworm, brief reposes of crystalline flittering

held together by the puncture of drum-strikes, and enough

turns to keep from dragging out its emotional stay, before slipping

in ceaselessly to the shuddering “A Murder of Thoughts.”

But the tides of Stubborn Persistent Illusions find no break

on the shores of a lacklustre middle ground, instead only being

amplified on “Bound” (along with its sister-track “And Boundless”)

resulting in a bombastic expression of ephemera, pent-up

emotion, left-field signature-switches and sheer rhythm as it rushes

ahead undeterred.

The first two tracks released from Stubborn Persistent Illusions,

“Bound” and “And Boundless,” represent some of the strongest,

most rhythmically jarring, and downright exciting sound-shifts

since “Mladic,” from fellow Constellation label-mate Godspeed

You! Black Emperor’s Polaris-prize winning album ‘Allelujah! Don’t

Bend! Ascend! in 2012 (another track forged from extended

hiatus and triumphant return).

The latter half of the album finds the instrumental group

honing their introspective skills, and from the placid “Her Eyes

on the Horizon” through to the hopefully melancholic “Return,

Return Again,” the group further explores the swelling, humming

fragility found across many of the records from Constellation’s

stellar roster.

In their eight year absence, Do Make Say Think have managed

to reinforce their sound without stagnation, returned to familiar

rhythms without relying on tropes, and Stubborn Persistent Illusions

strikes down the notion that instrumentalists offer nothing

but lackadaisical ambiance.

• Alec Warkentin



More Life

Universal Music Canada

Drake’s newest album, More Life, is stylized as a “playlist” by

the rapper for a good reason. While the track listing is 22 songs

long, it feels like he’s unable to get a coherent message across to

listeners. With a few catchy tunes that are both like and unlike

Drake’s usual style, the overall theme of the album seems like

something we’ve heard before.

Solo tracks make rare appearances on this album, with most

songs including features from a variety of artists like grime

dons Skepta and Giggs, to South African house mainstay Black

Coffee, to a cast of many including Jorja Smith, Sampha, Quavo,

Travis Scott, 2 Chainz, Young Thug, Kanye West, and PartyNextDoor.

It’s not surprising that Drake’s OVO label mate PartyNext-

Door is featured on the album either, continuing a long trend

of Drake hooks carrying the Toronto auto-crooner’s career. It’s

these lacklustre coincidences that make the playlist less than

perfect. It doesn’t help that Drake’s lyrical content covers well

worn territory. Drake’s celebration of success, word of warning

to the haters, and pining for women, are all themes that have

been heavily overdone by him already.

What’s new on this album? Its sound is disconnected, from a

relatively interesting, house-influenced “Passionfruit” to what

sounds like Drake’s attempt at a club hit, the Black Coffee sampling

“Get It Together.” “Portland” sounds like a beat he’s used

in previous albums, with added panflute. While grime features

like Giggs and Skepta definitely add value to the “playlist,”

their lyricism sometimes end up standing out and being simply

laughable, finishing off “KMT” with the lyric, “Batman/da-na-nada-na.”

Looking past what’s not working on this album, some tracks

do have some saving elements. The aforementioned “Passionfruit”

sounds like Drake has finally realized that making things

sound less like Drake means they’re commercially successful. In

the same way “One Dance” infected, or rather still infects, top

40 radio stations, so can we expect “Passionfruit” to follow a

similar path.

It’s no surprise that the Kanye West-featuring “Glow” is a

playlist highlight. “Watch out for me/I’m bound to glow” won’t

go down as one of Kanye’s most lyrically complex hooks, but it

has that signature Kanye infectiousness that adds to an otherwise

mediocre track.

Overall, it seems like the album was a lot of tracks that Drake

had nothing to do with anymore, which explains the “playlist”

stylization of the album. Individually, the songs are decent to

listen to, and it’s the Drake fans are used to and that’s about it.

Fans of Drake don’t expect revolutionary music from the rapper,

but rarely does his music feel like this much of a grab bag.

• Amber McLinden



A1/ Freebandz / Epic

The king of trap and mumble rap returns to the ad-lib battle with

something to prove, releasing two chart-topping albums in two

consecutive weeks. Unfortunately for Future, this is now a post-Migos

kingdom that is difficult to conquer without a Quavo feature. There’s

no denying Future’s tireless work ethic, but it’s also his biggest downfall.

Instead of creating one great album, Future took the time to create two

bloated albums with practically no features or variety.

FUTURE, the first of the two projects, showcases the Atlanta

rapper’s shallow and generic lifestyle that comes with fame. The lines

about money, drugs, and broads in Atlanta dominate every track, but

they are largely forgettable and uncreative.

On “Might as Well,” Future sounds particularly unconvincing despite

his ad-libs suggesting otherwise: “Either way it goes/We buyin’ out the

stores (for real)/We ain’t never runnin’ out of lean (never).”

Future does his best to heat up the frozen dish he’s serving even

though it would simply taste better if it were fresh.

Although Southside dominates the production credits on this

album, you wouldn’t be able to tell without looking it up. Every trap

beat fulfills its purpose well enough, but only a few tracks stand out

from the rest of the pack. The same could be said for Future’s rapping

on this project: it just does enough to be marketable and enjoyable, but

it turns stale after a few listens.

While there’s no track on FUTURE that compares to “Xanny Family”

off EVOL, songs like “Scrape” and “Zoom” feature varied production and

elite ad-libs that will impress all connoisseurs of hip-hop. There are a few

other standout tracks, but the album would really benefit from a feature.

Anyone - hell, even Yo Gotti - would help break up the Future fatigue.

HNDRXX, the second album, is reminiscent of Future’s R&B days.

Fans of 2014’s Honest will likely prefer this album to the first, but it

suffers from the exact same problems, heightened by the two main

features on the album. Predictably, two of the best songs are “Coming

Out Strong” featuring The Weeknd and “Selfish” featuring Rihanna.

These two singers break up the Future fatigue perfectly, both for the

listener and for Future himself. It seems like Future is at his best when

he is riding off the energy of other artists, so it’s disappointing he didn’t

borrow the talents of his peers for these two projects. Future can hold

it down without help on a few tracks, but he’s not offering enough

individually for two 17-track albums.

Almost as to apologize for the two overly long albums, Future drops

the mic with “Sorry.” This track showcases what Future can do when

he’s possessed by a beat, exorcising record sales and dollar signs from

his mind for over seven minutes. The keys on this track are simple,

evoking Kanye’s “Runaway,” but they are memorable and expressive.

Switching up his flow constantly, Future balances his showboating

with refreshing bars about fame scaring him. If every solo Future track

sounded this inspired, he would have no competition. Unfortunately,

that won’t happen until he realizes less is more. Until then, he’s constantly

sabotaged by his own ambition.

• Paul McAleer


Mount Eerie

had to move my own inflection…” while her

voice maneuvers various rhythms, powerfully,

before reaching a long drawl and celebratory,

LOUD, horns. This crescendo brings the song

home and demonstrates the artist’s prowess for


Now at eight albums, Amelia Curran is a

Canadian musical institution showing no signs

of relenting. She’s willing, still, to share more

with her audience, but it’s got to be a trade-off.

If we’re going to get more from her, we’ve got

to start trying a little harder, as she sings on the

second last song “Try,” in our own way, to make

this country a little more loving.

• Trent Warner

Fucked Up

Year of the Snake


“Shadows” is one of the finest Future Islands

tracks of all time, largely due to a surprise

Debbie Harry feature. Harry and Herring compliment

each other in a way that demands a

full-length duet album.

Herring’s songwriting and vocals on this

album are its biggest strengths, but that’s not

to say the instrumentation is lacking. Each track

features memorable bass, drums, and synths,

but it’s hard to imagine how the album would

hold up without Herring. Other synth-pop and

indie rock groups spew interchangeable lyrics

without believing in them. With Herring driving

the boat, every song feels genuine and unique.

While “Seasons” remains undefeated as a

single, The Far Field showcases the band at their

best, offering a handful of songs that come close

to taking the crown.

• Paul McAleer



XL Recordings

Arca is an artist that exists between worlds.

Intermittently, his beats might attract fanfare

from ravers, art aficionados, or even up and

coming pop stars. If you’re familiar with his experimental

sound, you’ll know to expect dissonant

kick drums, howling synths, or iconoclastic

machine music. His first album Xen was clearly

influenced by classical sounds and melodies, but

by 2014’s Mutant he was forcing a new musicality

unlike anything before it. On his self-titled

third album, he brings his own voice, his own

history, and his own language to the juncture of

these ideas.

While working on the album he was inspired

by his Venezuelan heritage, and walks through

a Victorian Burial Ground (and popular cruising

spot for gay men) in London. As he says, “…so

much poetry: Life. Death. Gayness.”

And there’s a certain melodrama - a certain

pain - that gay men, historically, have evoked so

well. Think Oscar Wilde, think Pedro Almodóvar.

Arca is no exception. Of the eight songs

where his vocals are present (thirteen make up

the album), all are in Spanish, and act in direct

obstruction to their instrumental counterparts.

“Coraje,” a beautiful choral arrangement will

stretch your heart strings and fill you with hope,

before it erodes into “Whip,” a spastic interlude,

which syncopates obtusely and assaults

the listener, catching its stride and shifting to a

rhythmic hip-hop beat in the final counts.

Though his music may not be everything to

everyone at a given time, he offers a labyrinth of

sounds a listener can get lost in, finding harmony

in the edges of musicality.

• Trent Warner

Jom Comyn

I Need Love


Listening to the new Jom Comyn record, I Need

Love, feels exactly like shaking off the dusty,

dirty snow of winter and sprinting into the sun

while wearing sparkly hot pants. Or being able

to fondly look back on a relationship once it’s

over. That good feeling.

The 28-track record features several Edmontonian

all-star appearances including Marlaena

Moore, Jesse Northey, Renny Wilson, Mitch

Holtby and more. It’s broken up into bite size

lovelorn morsels, from tender and earnest to

twangy and sassy. The quality of the album

is in no way surprising, but the sudden shifts

between jangly country on the track “All or

Nothing,” to cavernous and somber tones on

“Echo Chamber,” do offer wide variety. The first

single, “Why Do You Love Me?” has a danceable,

Motown vibe and perks up some of the sadder

tones on the rest of the record.

Each full listen through offers up a new set of

emotions to comb through. Sometimes while

sitting quietly alone in the dark, or up on your

feet shakin’ it. The many layers and flavours

present on this album have already cemented

it as one of the best in 2017 thus far. I think we

have plenty of reasons to love you, Jom Comyn.


• Brittany Rudyck

Amelia Curran


Six Shooter Records

After seven albums, it seems a strange shift for

Amelia Curran to be at her most vehemently

political on her latest album Watershed. However,

it’s a welcome change, as her sharp wit has

been present throughout her whole career, and

the political undertones of this album especially

are complemented by the grit in her voice.

Lyrically, she’s always been open, if you’ve

been paying attention and reading between

the lines. On Watershed, she’s more direct and

more readily available – something that can be

attributed to her work as a mental health advocate

in Canada over the past few years.

At her softest and most tender on “Act of

Human Kindness,” Curran calls for empathy and

love to ensure that humanity makes it out of

her perceived darkness. Shortly after, she’s at her

hardest. On “No More Quiet,” she is backed by

Canadian blues artist Shakura S’aida for a feminist

anthem against the patriarchal status-quo

often found in the music industry. She sings, “…

the river has changed its direction, while I’ve

Sitting atop a pedestal that few post-millennium

hardcore bands can even begin to fathom,

Canadian punk outfit Fucked Up have been

downright prolific since winning the prestigious

Polaris Prize almost a decade ago for The Chemistry

of Common Life.

Year of the Snake, the latest 12” in their

acclaimed Zodiac Series, further emboldens the

crew as quasi-art-hardcore forerunners, finding

them mixing methodical, diegetic noise with

vocalist Damian Abraham’s telltale growl over

two new tracks: the 25-minute epic “Year of

the Snake,” and “Passacaglia,” which finds the

group exploring a more introspective, nuanced

approach to heavy and relentless.

While Fucked Up are no strangers to bending

the formula of what constitutes a solid-whilestill-brutal

album, the beauty of Year of the

Snake lies in its ability to avoid common hardcore

tropes: There’s no egregious noise for its

own sake, no shriek or howl that’s not uncalled

for or unwarranted, and even the experimentalism,

something usually frowned upon in hardcore’s

dedicated niche, is done immaculately

and dystopian instrumentals occupy more space

on the album than anything else.

In short,Year of the Snake is a strong release

from a band who obviously knows what they’re

doing, and the only gripe, really, is when the

fuck is the next full length?

• Alec Warkentin

Future Islands

The Far Field


Around 12 seasons ago, Future Islands danced

their way into the mainstream spotlight with

a career-changing performance. Other than

leaving David Letterman elated and confused,

“Seasons (Waiting on You)” from 2014’s Singles,

landed a spot on nearly every song of the year

list. We’ve been eagerly waiting for new material

ever since.

“Ran” is the lead single from The Far Field

tasked with going toe-to-toe with “Seasons.”

Lyrically, “Ran” is slightly less memorable, but

Samuel T. Herring’s vocal performance carries

the track in a way that few musicians can. A love

song that features the line, “Nobody seems to

me so perfect and so sweet,” sounds like it came

from a fifth grader’s crayon-covered Valentine’s

Day card when read out loud. When Herring

delivers a line like this, it is truly so perfect and

so sweet.

Mobina Galore

Feeling Disconnected

New Damage Records

Hailing from Winnipeg, Manitoba, punk rockers

Mobina Galore have returned with their second

full-length album, Feeling Disconnected.

As a duo, Mobina Galore only have a guitar

and drums in their arsenal, which seems not to

matter since they’re totally fucking killing it.

Comprised of two fierce females, Mobina Galore

are proving to be a force to be reckoned with,

while completely kicking ass in a scene monopolized

by men.

These ladies are dominating the fast, hard

hitting and melodic punk rock style. The vocals

are heavy but belted-out gently when required.

Vocalist and guitarist, Jenna Priestner possesses

a vocal range that many dream of, destroying

both melodious and scratchy stylings at will.

The guitar is fierce and Priestner executes addictive

hooks with ease and at a comparable class

to veteran punk bands. The thunderous beats

are courtesy of drummer, Marcia Hanson, who

also provides the perfectly harmonized backing

vocals. Their sound is an anthemic punk-style;

fast, catchy riffs and aggressive tempos. Tracks

“Nervous Wreck,” “Start All Over,” and “Going

Out Alone” are all stellar examples of the overall

sentiment of Feeling Disconnected. And despite

the title of the record and the underlying lyrical

content, Feeling Disconnected is sure to resonate

with many listeners.

• Sarah Mac

Leeroy Stagger

Love Versus

True North Records

Too often, an artist focuses on using as many

parts of their musical vocabulary on a record,

without concentrating on defining their sound.

Leeroy Stagger’s latest, Love Versus, shows his

uncanny ability to meld disparate elements into

his own, rough hewn roots rock sound. The

result is an album that hits high notes in both

songwriting and production throughout.

Kicking off with “I Want It All,” Stagger uses

a friendly, “Hey Jude”-like chant to examine the

dichotomy of want versus need. It’s interesting to

set this question to a feel that has currency in the

folk-punk style, as though it’s an advance answer

to a possible critique, Stagger cleverly using a bit

of the pop formula to skewer notions of commercialism

while making motions to “tear down


eligion,” and in the end, seek balance in life and

career. That’s a tight rope to walk, and Stagger

pulls it off deftly. The title track follows up, with a

slight, chiming chorus riff as a rhythmic counterpoint

to the gently picked acoustic riff, not unlike

a cut from The War On Drugs, before Stagger lays

down a series of questions about the nature of

power, and it’s influence in what we’re brought

up to loathe and fear. The chorus, with its ascending

melody and massive harmony, quickly sets a

standard for the rest of the record.

On Love Versus, Stagger, along with producer

Colin Stewart, and the crack band of

Tyson Maiko, Pete Thomas, Paul Rigby, and

Geoff Hilhorst have dropped an album that is

immediately catchy and rollicking, but Stagger’s

willingness to be unflinchingly honest with

himself never loses sight of the bigger picture;

our care for those close to us, and caring for

the world around us are inextricably linked, and

have more effect on us than maybe some of us

are willing to admit.

• Mike Dunn

Mount Eerie

A Crow Looked at Me

P.W. Elverum & Sun

It’s reductive to try and encapsulate A Crow

Looked at Me purely in its context. This is an

album about the death of Phil Elverum’s wife,

recorded in the room she died in, using her

instruments. Yes, the record is just as dreary as it

sounds, but it’s hardly as simple. Elverum’s work

as Mount Eerie, as well as The Microphones, and

his own name, share a collective downtrodden

temperament, but nothing this forward.

The true genius of A Crow… comes from its

detachment; melodramatic it is not. From the

first line of the first track, Elverum introduces

his own discomfort with the act of grieving

through song. “When real death enters the

house all poetry is dumb,” Elverum whimpers

on “Real Death.” The record is stark, bare, and

strikingly direct. Elverum refuses to entertain

fanciful notions of death

and dying, only it’s unflinching, dark impenetrability.

This groundedness provides a realism

that reinforces the emotionality of the record.

Elverum reveals his grief like an old friend over

coffee: honestly, and with pause, with emotion

welling up in the breaks between the lines. We

know he’s grieving because he tells us he is, but

we feel it because he doesn’t want us to.

• Liam Prost


Forever 1999

Lefthook Entertainment

There’s something to be said about the movement

going on in the last few years; that whole

resurgence of somewhat popular bands from

the early-to-mid-‘90s, throwing an album down

like “yes! We’re still here! And it’s not just for the

royalty cheques!” Except, IT IS JUST FOR THE


It seems we’re living in an era where people

seldom hear the word “no” anymore. Maybe their

label agreed, and said of course the fans want to

hear more, even if the duo has been inactive for

twelve of their nineteen years in the business.

What’s to say, then? You could look at

Prozzäk’s Forever 1999 with the same sort of

wonder and amazement a toddler would look

at anything. Those words don’t always have to

imply a positive connotation, by the way, but for

fairness sake, uptempo, bubble-gummy, radio

electro-pop appeals to some people because it’s

catchy, uncomplicated, relatively easy to ignore,

and won’t cause allergies or homicides.

To this reviewer, it’s like deliberately causing

someone to suffer anaphylactic shock. “Love me

Tinder?” No, stick with “Sucks to be You.” I know,

I know. Be nice. Unfortunately, numbers don’t

lie, and if we can go ahead and compare this to

prescription anti-depressants (big reach there)

it’s safe to bet that out of 100 people, at least 65%

will suffer an adverse reaction to this album.

• Lisa Marklinger

The Real McKenzies

Two Devils Will Talk

Stomp/Fat Wreck Chords

Canadian rebels The Real McKenzies have

returned with a brand-new album, Two Devils

Will Talk.

This latest album is a stellar example of the

McKenzies’ style and sound, which after 25 years

hasn’t slowed down or sold-out. Two Devils

Will Talk is the tenth full-length release from

these rowdy Scottish-Canadians, and the follow

up to 2015’s Rats in the Burlap. Two Devils

features the raw, thundering vocals of founding

member and frontman Paul McKenzie, as well

as his bandmates’ perfected harmonies. Both

accompanied by the classic melodic tempos we

all love raising a glass and singing along to. The

album is reminiscent of early punk-rock scene,

slightly gritty with dark undertones. As always,

the McKenzies combine this with old-fashioned,

Celtic-hymn-style bones, giving the album a

cozy pub feel we’re all familiar with.

And who could forget the bagpipes? A staple

in the McKenzies’ sound, bagpipes can be heard

throughout Two Devils, which is something

their fans look forward to.

2017 marks the 25th anniversary of the Real

McKenzies and Two Devils Will Talk is a perfect

way to celebrate such a momentous achievement.

An album which pays tribute to both

their Canadian and Scottish roots, as well as the

journey that got them here.

• Sarah Mac

The Shins



To be honest, when I first listened to this album

it sort of irritated me. Coming from the camp

that listened to The Shins for emotional reprieve

when going through sweetly powerful and sad

times, this album often feels too happy. Perhaps

it was my own foolhardy intent of listening

while lying morosely in a dark bedroom. The

sounds just clashed.

Upon second listen, walking in a bright, sunny

and warm day, everything clicked into place.

The title track of the album, “Heartworms,”

manages to capture that impetuously squirmy

feeling of being unable to shake a crush, a love,

a feeling. There are moments that feel overtly


Beatles-y (the complex mysticism and elation of

“Fantasy Island”), moments that feel like a humble

southern country throwback (“Mildenhall”),

and moments that do touch upon that old Shins

vibe of being somber and saccharine at the

same time (“The Fear,” “So Now What”). With a

perfectly balanced production, this album slowly

scratched and crawled its way into my heart,

like its own little Heartworm. It’s burrowed its

way in and is there to stay.

• Willow Grier

Suicide Silence

Suicide Silence

Nuclear Blast

Trying to improve on deathcore by making it

into nu-metal is like trying to improve a pool of

cold vomit by eating it and turning it into shit.

That’s what California’s Suicide Silence have

done on their fifth and definitively worst album.

Self-titling an album is a bold statement: this

is us, pure Suicide Silence, the closest you’ll

get to a best-of. It’s probably not a good move

on SS’s part to abandon their sound (more or

less prototypical deathcore; death metal and

metalcore mixed without a single good element

of either) in favor of toned-down baggy-shortscore

with a reliance on clean singing that inflicts

every one of vocalist Hernan “Eddie” Hermida’s

inane lyrics on you.

They’ve not only gone nu-metal for no particular

reason but released a bad nu-metal record.

Nowhere do they match KoRn’s groove or Deftones’

soulful slow burn: all that’s left is a band

that could be on the 2006 Family Values Tour,

scheduled mid-afternoon between 10 Years and

Deadsy then forgotten.

• Gareth Watkins

Surf Dads

All Day Breakfast

Grind Central Records

While it is doubtful that Regina duo Chris Dimas

and Gage McGuire are fathers, they are the

talent behind the Surf Dads. After releasing three

EPs, they come at us with their first full-length

album, All Day Breakfast. While it might be a

little bold to call them the fathers of surf, this

album is warm and breezy and encapsulates the

young energy that summer brings. The first of 12

tracks, “Up All Night,” is reminiscent of bands like

Weezer and Alvvays, with the fast guitars, nimble

drums and starry-eyed vocals. It speaks to the

mistakes we make and the remorse that often

follows. It’s like doing the walk of shame in your

head. Beyond the catchy hooks and shimmery

riffs, there is substance in the lyrics. On one hand

you have the track “Pinpoint,” where “dig your

own hole / I’ll pass you a shovel” is hollered out,

only to have Beach Boys like harmonies in “Apologies”

two tracks later. Yet the album flows well,

the energy is wired and to resist the urge to dance

like a maniac would be futile.

• Aja Cadman


Yours Conditionally

Mutually Detrimental

Staring at the cover of Tennis’ new album Yours

Conditionally, I can’t help but feel that I’m staring

at a sun-bleached portrait of my parents in

the mid to late ‘70s, shortly after they would

have met. The album harkens to that period,

where my parents were falling in love; my mom

had the same tight curly hair, and my dad had

a hilarious, if not ironic, Gregg Allman-esque

mustache, both like Tennis’ Alaina Moore and

Patrick Riley.

Through its softness, opener “In the Morning

I’ll Be Better,” reminds the listener that your

physical or mental exhaustion can be cured

by morning. Atop Moore’s soft falsetto, the

reminder is bittersweet, like ice cream melting

down the cone and into your hand on a brazen

summer day.

Like a long-term relationship or a particularly

scorching summer, the album kind of

moves in and out of a haze; there are moments

of heartache and grandeur. Besides the above,

“Modern Woman” and “Ladies Don’t Play

Guitar” are two standouts. The first is a heartbreaking

lament for friendships lost, which

uses musical repetition and haze as a means to

an end. The second is a sarcastic take on the

instances where females have been (and still

are) treated as muses, not musicians, in music

journalism. The sting of its wit and of its guitar

don’t go unnoticed.

Unfortunately for Tennis, I don’t think this

album will stand the test of time quite like my

parents (29 years and counting!). It’s enjoyable,

light, airy, and sweet, but fades from mind too


• Trent Warner

Western Addiction


Fat Wreck Chords

For fans of San Francisco based hardcore band,

Western Addiction, it is time to rejoice! The

band has finally released their very long-awaited

follow-up record, entitled Tremulous.

Released 12 years after their debut album,

Cognicide, Tremulous was worth the wait. To

produce this record, many of the band’s founding

members were called upon, which rooted

Tremulous with the same aggressive feeling as

their past recordings. The difference from past

releases is the distinctive melodic sound, which

gives the album a twist that both fans and firsttime

listeners will appreciate.

Tremulous is a dark and heavy album featuring

deep, brooding lyrics, but unlike most

hardcore releases, Tremulous features frontman

Jason Hall’s finest attempt at singing. Not the

hoarse, scathing vocals normally heard in the

genre. Songs like, “Righteous Lightning,” will

have you chanting along, while “Honeycreeper,”

will have you yearning for a circle pit. Although

the overall feel of Tremulous is dark, the rhythm

has its highs and lows; upbeat and melodic to a

steady downtempo.

The guys in Western Addiction haven’t lost

their edge in the decade that’s passed, they’ve

fine-tuned their sound and perfected their style

to produce a record worthy of waiting 12 years

for and absolutely one to be proud of.

• Sarah Mac


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$20.00 General admission ticket

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curious minds...

I recently spoke at Curious Minds Weekend in Toronto at the Hot

Docs Ted Rogers Cinema. Audience members submitted questions

on cards before the show—anonymously—but the moderator, Lisan

Jutras of the Globe and Mail, and I were having so much fun talking

with each other that we didn’t get to many cards. So I’m going to

quickly answer as many of the questions from the audience at Curious

Minds as I can this week.

My husband and I have been seeking a third for a threesome. After a very

palpable night of flirtation, I asked a mutual friend (as we shared a cab)

if he would be down for a threesome. He said yes, but I was not about to

spring him on my husband that night. So I texted him later about it, and

he has ignored me. What should I take from this?

The hint.

A friend’s BF won’t go down on her no matter how much she asks. She still

won’t break up with him, even though she told me that oral is the only way

she has ever had an orgasm. How do I get her to realize her sexual pleasure

is a priority?

If your friend’s BF doesn’t know oral is the only way she can orgasm, she

should tell him. If she told him and he doesn’t care, she should dump

him. If she told him and he doesn’t care and she won’t dump him, you’re

not obligated to listen to her complain about the orgasms she’s not


I’m a bisexual 42-year-old female with an extremely high sex drive who

squirts with every orgasm. How do I deal with friends—even people at a

sex club—who think you’re a freak because “women aren’t supposed to be

horny all the time.”

If your friends—presumably people you aren’t fucking—complain

that you’re horny all the time, maybe it’s because you don’t talk about

anything other than the sex you just had or the sex you hope to have

soon. If people at sex clubs (!) are complaining about how horny you

are… either you’ve accidentally wandered into a yacht club or even

people at a sex club wanna talk about something other than sex every

once in a while.

My very Christian friend is about to get married. Though she is socially very

liberal, she is pretty sexually repressed. I want to do something to encourage

her to explore her sexuality a bit before she takes a try at partnered

sex. How weird would it be to buy her a vibrator as a shower present?

Don’t give your friend a vibrator at her shower—gifts are opened in

front of guests at showers—but go ahead and send her one. Tell her it’s a

pre-bachelorette-party gift.

Two guys divorced in order to bring a third man into their relationship on

equal terms, and they now plan to start a family with their sisters acting as

surrogates. Thoughts?

Mazel tov?

I am 31. My husband (newly married) is 46, almost 47. He takes FOREVER

to come, no matter what I do. How do we speed up this process? My jaw,

fingers, etc., are all very sore.

Your husband speeds up the process by incorporating self-stimulation

breaks into the blowjobs, handjobs, etcetera-jobs you’re giving him. He

strokes himself while you take a quick breather and/or an Advil, he gets

himself closer, you get back to work.

I’m 47 and my wife is 31. I take a lot longer to come and recover than she

would like. Could you please explain to her that it’s normal for a man my

age to “slow down” and it’s not her?

Happy birthday. And, yes, it’s normal for a man to slow down as he

ages—it’s not her—and there are younger men who take a long time

to come. But such men need to take their partners’ physical limitations

into consideration. To avoid wearing out their partners’ jaws, fingers, etc.,

they need to take matters into their own hands. They should enjoy that

blowjob, handjob, twatjob, or assjob, take breaks to stroke their own dicks,

eventually bring themselves to the point of orgasmic inevitability, and end

by plunging back into that mouth, fist, twat, or ass to blow their load.

I have been reading your column since the early 1990s. Since that time,

what has struck you in the kind of problems people write you about?

People don’t ask me about butt plugs anymore. I used to get a letter

once or twice a week from someone who needed to have butt plugs

explained to them. But butt plugs have their own Wiki page now, so no

one needs me to explain them anymore. But for old times’ sake: They

look like lava lamps, they go in your butt, they feel awesome, and they

typically don’t induce gay panic in butt-play-curious straight boys.

Would you share your thoughts on our prime minister, Justin Trudeau?

I think Justin needs to stop fucking around and legalize weed already, like

he promised.

When are you going to move to Canada already?

See above.

Polyamory after marriage—is it okay?

For some.

by Dan Savage

I’m a submissive gay boy. I saw you walk into the theater tonight wearing

combat boots. Is there any way I could lick your boots clean after the


Sadly, I didn’t see your question until after I got back to my hotel.

Straight male here. My best male friend of 20 years transitioned to female.

I’ve been super supportive since day one, but her transitioning is all she ever

talks about, and it’s getting tiresome. I miss our discussions of bicycle repair

and Swedish pop music. How can I tell her to give it a rest while remaining


If she began transitioning last week, then of course it’s all she can talk

about. If she transitioned five years ago and it’s still all she ever talks

about, then you’ll need to (gently) be the change you want to see in the

conversation. Listen supportively when she discusses trans issues and

seize opportunities (when they arise) to change the subject (“So how do

you think Sweden will do in Eurovision this year?”).

Why are so many lesbians into astrology?

All the lesbians I know are strict empiricists. So the more pertinent question

would be this: Whose sample is skewed—mine or yours?

My male partner never masturbates and we have sex only once a week.

We’ve been together four years. I’m a woman. I would like to have sex just

a little more, but he isn’t into it. Is there something weird about me masturbating

a bunch during the week and just having weekend sex?


Dude? Trump? WTF?


@fakedansavage on Twitter


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