BeatRoute Magazine AB print e-edition - [June 2017]

beatroute

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

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.

Summer Festival Guide • Tiger Army • Blitzen Trapper • Jesse Rose • Twin Peaks • Bison • Fleet Foxes


FIXED

Pulse 4

Bedroom Eyes 7

Edmonton Extra 22-23

Book Of Bridge 24

Letters From Winnipeg 25

Savage Love 58

FEATURES

Sled Island 27-39

CITY 8-13

Summer Festival Guide

FILM 14-17

Mental Film Festival, The Living Dead At

Manchester Morgue, Dear Kate, Vidiot

TABLE OF CONTENTS

MUSIC

rockpile 19-25

Off With Their Heads, Tiger Army,

Blitzen Trapper, Glauz, AM Static

jucy 41-42

Jesse Rose, Troo Knot, The M Machine

roots 45-46

North Of Here, Robbie Bankes,

Twin Peaks, Jerry Leger

shrapnel 49-50

Bison, Annihiliator

REVIEWS

music 53-57

Fleet Foxes, Big Thief, King Gizzard & The

Lizard Wizard, Tops and more!

BEATROUTE

Publisher/Editor-in-Chief

Brad Simm

Marketing Manager

Glenn Alderson

Editor

Colin Gallant

Managing Editor

Sarah Kitteringham

Production Coordinator

Hayley Muir

Web Producer

Masha Scheele

Social Media Coordinator

Amber McLinden

Section Editors

City :: Brad Simm

Film :: Jonathan Lawrence

Calgary Beat :: Willow Grier

Rockpile :: Jodi Brak

Edmonton Extra :: Brittany Rudyck

Book of (Leth)Bridge :: Courtney Faulkner

Letters From Winnipeg :: Julijana Capone

Jucy :: Paul Rodgers

Roots :: Liam Prost

Shrapnel :: Sarah Kitteringham

Reviews :: Jamie McNamara

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

Ash Koosha - page 36

Contributing Photographers & Illustrators

Hayley Pukanski • Jim Agaptio • My-An Nguyen

Front Cover

Akria Shibata

Advertising

Ron Goldberger

Tel: (403) 607-4948 • e-mail: ron@beatroute.ca

Distribution

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

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

e-mail: editor@beatroute.ca

website: www.beatroute.ca

E-Edition

Yumpu.com/BeatRoute

Connect with BeatRoute.ca

Facebook.com/BeatRouteAB

Twitter.com/BeatRouteAB

Instagram.com/BeatRouteAB

Copyright © BEATROUTE Magazine 2017

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

photo: Ozge Cone

BEATROUTE • JUNE 2017 | 3


pulse

ROCK ‘N’ ROLLER DERBY

RENEE ROSNES

Over the course of her 30-

year career, Regina-born,

New York-based pianist Renee

Rosnes has performed

and recorded with a “who’s

who” of jazz greats. She is

a four-time JUNO award

winner including 2017, and

has released 16 albums as a

leader. The Globe and Mail

stated, “The instrument was

scarcely large enough to

contain her imagination.”

Four blistering rock ‘n’ roll bands, three bad ass roller

derbies under one big tent arena... What’s that equal?

One wild and whipped skate party. Rock ‘n’ Roller

Derby is the brain child of Graham MacKenzie, who

runs the non-profit, all-ages program Major Minor,

and is collaborating on this event with Nerd Roller

Skate shop, Chinook City Roller Derby League and

Sled Island. MacKenzie runs monthly punk rock

shows and steers all the profits towards Major

Minor’s mission to establish an arts center for youth

under 18.

“Our goal is to create an art hub similar to the

Vera Project in Seattle. That facility is an all in one

centre that includes graphic design studios, practice

spaces, performance spaces, a recording space, an art

gallery. It could be an after school program, have a

coffee shop, there could be English classes for newcomers.

Minor stands not only for those underage,

but also minority groups and getting newcomers

involved in the music scene and community.”

SUMMER JAZZ FESTIVAL June 15-18

JazzYYC has announced the lineup for the June

jazz fest and it promises to be a great four days of

jazz in Calgary.

For the first time, they will present a MainStage

concert at the Taylor Centre of MRU, featuring

multi-JUNO award-winner, pianist Renee Rosnes in

a duo with bassist Neil Swainson. That show takes

place on Saturday, June 17.

There are three series of concerts during the

festival, which will run from Thursday, June 15

through Sunday, June 18th. Most of the action

takes place in Inglewood, at the Ironwood Stage

and Grill and at Lolita’s Lounge.

On Thursday, June 17, The Ironwood Canadian

series opens with a sax summit featuring

the Joel Miller Quartet from Montreal, with the

Brett McDonald Quartet (formerly of Calgary,

now NYC). Vocalist Cheryl Fisher is featured on

Friday. Then on Saturday night, Calgary’s own

Al Muirhead’s Canada Session features guest

vocalist and pianist Laila Biali from Toronto. The

series concludes with Gypsophila from Halifax

on Sunday.

A new late night series at the Ironwood features

three show: Jim Brenan’s 10TET +1, featuring Jon

Day on Friday; Mallory Chipman’s Nocturnalize on

Saturday and a jam session and wrap party hosted

by Brett McDonald on Sunday.

The Late Night International Series at Lolita’s

Lounge will feature the Gabriel Palatchi Trio from

Argentina, Japan’s Nobuki Takamen Trio and from

Toronto and NYC, the Fraser/Davis/Malaby Trio.

ERIC’S TRIP REVISTED

A Distorted Revolution:

How Eric’s Trip changed Music,

Moncton and Me

by Jason Murray

Nimbus Publishing

A Distorted Revolution: How Eric’s Trip Changed

Music Moncton, and Me is the first and only

narrative history of the iconic band that put the

Maritimes on the map. Eric’s Trip was a band defined

as much by its DIY ethos as its low-fi, discordant

music. The four-piece formed in an early ’90s Moncton

basement and in a few short years, went from

recording themselves on a four-track and selling

cassettes at local record stores to signing on Seattle’s

Sub Pop records, opening for Sonic Youth, and

touring internationally. Eric’s Trip paved the way for

punk music across Canada and remains one of the

most influential bands of its time.Twenty years after

the band’s breakup (1996), A Distorted Revolution

is a memoir written by a fan who lived and breathed

Eric’s Trip, who grew with them, and felt the impact

as they fell. It is a book not just for readers, but for

listeners and lovers of the DIY punk scene.

4 | JUNE 2017 • BEATROUTE


ROCK ‘N’ ROLLER DERBY

SATURDAY, JUNE 24 MAX BELL ARENA

Presented by

NERD ROLLER SKATES

and MAJOR MINOR

DEV NULL

Skate Tech, IT Wizard, Nerd

ROXY ACETYLENE

Nerd Number One

GRAHAM MACKENZIE

Mr. Major Minor

BEATROUTE • JUNE 2017 | 7


CITY

FUNCTIONAL

Louise Casemore explores the perils and chasms of

low-key dependency

by Mike Dunn

Photo: Marc Chalifoux

When an artist relocates, even a distance as short as a rip down

The Deuce from Edmonton to Calgary could seem daunting. A

whole new city, community, and scene, complete with its longheld

professional relationships, hubs, and artistic tastes, and the artist’s

desire to establish themselves in the new locale can present a number of

challenges for those unprepared for the change. Playwright, director, and

actress Louise Casemore was aware of the challenges when she arrived in

Calgary just under a year ago from the City of Champs, and immediately

embraced them as a chance to evade any creeping complacency that

might come as a product of familiarity.

“There’s a fresh and curious approach in a new city,” says Casemore,

“finding the venues that are the right size and style for me, and I’ve been

exposed to a huge diversity of work here because I’m actively seeking it

out. When you’re used to walking past the poster, and just assuming you

know what’s going to happen, with a new city there’s none of that, so it’s

been really illuminating.”

Casemore’s career in Edmonton had reached a peak with her play OCD

being awarded the 2016 Sterling Award for Outstanding Fringe New Work,

and she was subsequently offered a position as an Artistic Associate with

Ghost River Theatre in Calgary. “There’s maybe a point to be made that I

left Edmonton at a high point for the work I was doing after a decade of

being there,” says Casemore, “but there’s a bit of moxie in coming to a new

city and making a place for yourself.”

Casemore will perform her play Functional in this month’s Ignite! Festival

of Emerging Artists, which she admits is “generally for younger artists,

but they’ve been super cool in allowing me a space to run as this sort of

weird side step of the festival.” In Functional, Casemore uses the format of a

support group meeting to talk about the dangers of common and low-key

substance abuse. “We set up 10 chairs in a circle, there’s a table with coffee

and cookies, and a sign that asks people to leave their phones on the table.

It’s for the countless people who maybe need help, but might never ask for

it, you know, ‘I’m not losing my job over it, but I’m not good.’”

Casemore has herself witnessed a number of friends and colleagues

struggle with dependency, as common to the relatively “normal” existence

of professionals and tradespeople as it is in creative and artistic social

circles, and through her work in Functional, she inhabits the addictive character

in a fluid piece that thrives on the participation of those present. “It’s

an immersive show, and ultimately, through talking to people and with me

navigating the emotions and struggles of the dependent experience, it can

provide the soft curiosity of support. Like the gateway drug of help.”

Louise Casemore performs Functional in Calgary as part of the Ignite!

Festival for Emerging Artists at Micromech. Show dates are Tuesday, June 6

to Saturday, June 10. Times are available at Ignite’s website.

McHUGH HOUSE

with a little help from its friends, CJSW opens an official all-ages venue

In 2014 the City of Calgary

acquired the historic HcHugh

House from the Roman Catholic

Diocese and moved the

entire structure from its original

location on 18 Ave. SW a block

over near 17 Ave and Centre

St. South. Recently the Beltline

Neighbourhoods Association

signed a lease with the city and

set up an office in the house.

In addition, president of the

association, Peter Oliver, was

looking for other non-profit

organizations who might be

interested in subletting some

of the space for arts or social

activities. Enter CJSW.

Kendra Scanlon, CJSW’s

Community Development

Coordinator, said Oliver, who’s

an active member of CJSW and

co-hosts a morning radio show,

approached the station about

using some of the vacant space

in McHugh House. CJSW seized

the opportunity and signed a

two year agreement with the

city and BNA to set up and operate

an all-ages music venue in

the house.

Scanlon says the initiative actually began last year after the station’s

funding drive when CJSW decided to assemble mobile sound equipment

for a gear loan program that they could lend out for various events at

different locations. When Oliver suggested CJSW program McHugh

House as a music venue, the station, already heading into that direction,

“just fell into it.”

“It’s a beautiful relationship to have,” says Scanlon. “They’re giving us

free reign over the space to do programing that we think is lacking and

what Calgary needs. We’re really excited to get it going.”

On Saturday, June 17 the first all-ages show will take place on what is

deemed Neighbour Day in the Beltline. Neighbour Day was something

Mayor Nenshi set up in response to the 2013 floods with everyone helping

each other out and then proposed to continue observing that act of

community support on an annual basis.

OX BAR DE TAPAS

baby got Basque

Out of the way Angela, it’s all Ox from here on in. Ox Bar de Tapas

launched this spring in Calgary as a revised version of 17th Avenue

staple Ox & Angela. Some fans of the restaurant’s Spanish cuisine worried

they’d lose a reliable spot for tapas dishes like the patatas bravas (potatoes

with red sauce and aioli), bacalao (salt cod and potato cakes) or baked

Persian dates. It turns out the transformation was more about cosmetics

and atmosphere than reinventing their selection of flavours.

The space is now much more open, allowing sound and natural light to

travel more freely. Pale pinks and natural wood shades offer a more casual

feeling. They’ve also begun to offer one serious happy hour: everyday from

4-6 p.m., enjoy the entire menu at 50% off when seated at bar, a high top

table or at a barrel.

Want to see the new look for yourself? The restaurant is throwing a party

called Baby Got Basque with unlimited tapas and beverages on Tuesday,

June 6. Tickets are $75.

• Colin Gallant

by B. Simm

“It’s kind of a perfect time to launch this event,” continues Scanlon.

“We’ll have three bands playing, and CJSW DJs playing inside and outside.

They’ll be using the park space beside the house (Humpy Hollow

Park). We’ll have small ceremony to commemorate the history of the

house, and honour our partners PK Sound because they’ve been a huge

help in getting us all the gear. The BNA, the City of Calgary will be there

as well and some local vendors supplying food and drink.”

Even though CJSW only intended to kick-start the all-ages scene with

a gear loan program, Scanlon sees things shaping up differently. “With

a house like this, it’s such a unique space and Calgary doesn’t have anything

like it. The way it’s progressing, we’re going to see a lot more than

what we thought. The possibilities at this point are kind of endless.”

The grand opening of the McHugh House takes place Saturday, June 17.

8 | JUNE 2017 • BEATROUTE CITY


FROGFEST MUSIC AND ARTS FESTIVAL 2017

a festival from the heart, for the soul

Every summer, for the past eight years,

over 300 people pilgrimage two hours

north of Calgary for their favourite

festival, FrogFest Festival. Over 100 different

bands have played on these stages, either on

the towering sky-high main stage before a

legendary bonfire, or on the lower side stage

for a more intimate experience.

Located on private land, in the Boreal Forest of

Clearwater County, FrogFest takes shape annually

over the Canada Day long weekend. Old and new

friends set up camp alongside each other where

meals and laughs are shared. For three nights and

days a curated soundscape echos on the dance

floor and between the tall trees.

To complete the full and immersive experience,

a team of visual artists work with repurposed and

natural materials that contrast and blend in with

the natural beauty of the flora. This year’s theme is

Nocturnal and will explore the dichotomy of day vs

night, along with what happens when these assumptions

are reversed. The members of the FrogFest art

team are: Nikki VonPanda, Kitty Lovenlight, Rebecca

Reid, Elaine Weryshko, Randi-Lee Ross, Alia Shahab,

Tens Only, and Jessica TheWitt.

FrogFest Festival 2017 will feature music from:

Outlaws of Ravenhurst; The Basement Paintings;

All Hands On Jane; The Torchettes; Magik Spells;

Road Waves; The Rondel Roberts Band; Brother

Octopus; Bears In Hazenmore; Windigo; The Ashley

Hundred; Let’s Tune Our Weapons; Hermitess;

The Sweets; Rotary Park; Time Boy; Jason Famous

& Le Famé; FOONYAP; The Bitterweed Draw;

Laser Cake; The Hillties; Rak & Targus; Tremoloco;

Steep Tease; Bardic Form; Respectful Child; Fox

Who Slept The Day Away; I Am The Mountain.

FrogFest Festival takes place June 30th to July

3rd, 2017 in Clearwater Alta, between Caroline,

Alta and Rocky Mountain House, Alta. All tickets

for this years event include camping and can be

found online at Ticketfly, and in stores at Luke’s

Drug Mart and Melodiya Records. Visit frogfest.ca

for more information.

All photos are courtesy of: Mike Tan and Diane +

Mike Photography.

CITY

BEATROUTE • JUNE 2017 | 9


31 flavours of summer fun stretching across Alberta

into the interior of BC

HELIOCITY MUSIC FESTIVAL

June 2-3, Medicine Hat AB

A recent and an early in the season entry focused on championing

Alberta music. This two day affair includes a number of first rate bands

this province has to offer including the High Kicks, the Ramblin Ambassadors,

Raygun Cowboys, the Ativans, The New Electric, The Frontiers

and Worst Days Down. Heliocity is held outdoors on two stages rain or

shine with an outstanding price point of only $30 for the entire weekend.

A welcome addition to The Hat’s musical landscape for sure.

VANTOPIA

June 2-4, Equity AB

Kick off the season with this van-centric hootenanny. While patrons are

encouraged to drive to this prairie campout in their four wheels of pride,

if you’re not a van owner, no worries, you can still pitch a tent. Vantopia

features 22 bands of mostly fuzzed out low-end boogie. It’s a stoner

rock paradise featuring Black Wizard, Black Thunder, Black Mastiff, Solid

Brown, 2/3 of Nothing, Chron Goblin, Iron Tusk and All Hands on Jane.

Get relaxed. One day they will have Clutch!

TINY LIGHTS FESTIVAL

June 9-11, Ymir BC

If you don’t know where Ymir is, don’t worry, you’re not alone. For the

record it is south of Nelson and north of Shambhala’s host village Salmo.

The Kootenays are a hotbed for summer music festivals and Tiny Lights

has quietly been building for the last five years. The festival bills itself

as unlike any other with seven historic venues running for three days

with over 100 performances. Tiny Lights boasts topnotch talent in small

intimate venues. Besides music the festival features spoken word, theatre,

film, and hands on workshops on diverse topics such as gold panning,

beekeeping, hula hooping and mycology (probably the only festival with

a mycology workshop, that should be a major selling point here). The

musical acts are heavy on the singer songwriter mold including Pharis

and Jason Romero, Craig Cardiff, Don Alder, Hello Moth and the Gabriel

Palatchi trio. Up and coming bands featured are Scenic Route to Alaska,

the Eisenhauers, Wooden Horsemen and Goodwood Atoms.

BEAUMONT BLUES & ROOTS FESTIVAL

June 16-18, Beaumont AB

Beaumont Blues & Roots, located just south of Edmonton, is celebrating

their aluminum anniversary this year. They boast a diverse line-up where

Fred Penner and Corb Lund share the same stage in addition to satisfying

your thirst for blues with Matt Anderson and Kirby Sewell. Beaumont is

also being charitable this year by honoring Pemberton Passes for music

fans feeling the blues after the bankruptcy. You have to submit proof of

purchase of a Pemberton pass by June 3.

STARBELLY JAM

July 21-23, Crawford Bay BC

The Goldilocks of Kootenay’s music festivals Starbelly has deliberately

steered away from getting too big or too crowded. The festival is all

about the celebration of life through music, friendship, and having fun.

Take the 40 minute free ferry ride east of Nelson to get there. This is a laid

back family love-in. The festival proudly promotes the amount of kids

that attend. Lots of people get dressed up and get groovy. The chance

of seeing fire dancing is high to guaranteed. Musical acts are an eclectic

mix including world electronic superstars Deep Forest, Five Alarm Funk,

Oka -progessive roots from Australia, the Boom Booms, local bluegrasser’s

Slocan Ramblers, and Mexican reggae Antidoping. If it gets too hot,

jump in the lake.

SLED ISLAND

June 21-25, Calgary AB

Sled Island heads into its eleventh year staying true to its roots of

eclectic programming and indie spirit. The five day arts and music fest

brings over 250 bands, comedians, filmmakers, and artists into more

than 35 venues. Sled truly transforms downtown Calgary into a hipster

paradise. If you don’t know all the bands, that’s great, come listen to

some new music and stop complaining about how routine your life

is. And if you are familiar with some artists, you’re probably excited to

see and hear what

they’re all about. Sled

is about discovery

and the electric

intangible feeling

that you are part of

something. Headliner

and guest curator

is the out-of-thisworld

experimental

wiz, Flying Lotus,

whose selection

of artists which

should provoke

some serious head

bopping and head

scratching. Other

big names include

Converge, Cloud

Nothings, Wavves,

Waxahatchee, Low,

Weyes Blood and

Mike Watt

by Graham MacKenzie

EDMONTON JAZZ FEST

June 23-July 2, Edmonton AB

This looks to be the premier jazz fest in Alberta with more than 60

shows in ten days featuring jazz masters Kenny Barron, Jane Bunnett,

Dianne Reeves, and Billy Childs, along with artists from Austria, Sweden,

UK, US, and Russia. Who was David Bowie’s final bandleader? They have

him, saxophonist Donny McCaslin. Who doesn’t think Sweden’s LSD

Trio sound interesting? And then there’s Igor Butman’s 17 piece Moscow

Jazz Orchestra that’s going be the one people talk about. In addition to

the world-class talent, there’s a healthy contingent of Canadian players

ensuring there’s enough jazz here for everyone.

FROG FEST

June 30-July 3, Rocky Mountain House AB

Heading into its sixth year Frog Fest has evolved into a magnificent

celebration of music and art. Held on a remarkable piece of land on

the footsteps of the Rockies it wonderment to behold and partake.

Come join the ever expanding friendliness with some Alberta’s finest

up and coming musicians like All Hands on Jane, The Ashley Hundred,

Bears in Hazenmore, The Bitterweed Draw, FoonYap, Hermitess,

respectfulchild, Rondel Roberts, Time Boy, the Torchettes, Windigo,

and of course international superstar Jason Famous, making his only

festival experience.

10 | JUNE 2017 • BEATROUTE CITY


Etana, the Stong One

SEVEN MUSIC FEST

July 8, St. Albert AB

Introducing the Seven Music Fest that takes place at the beautiful setting

of Seven Hills Mission Park in the heart of St. Albert. They may be small

but they’ve got a big heart featuring the Strumbellas, the Rural Alberta

Advantage, Frazey Ford along with some new bloomers that include the

Royal Foundry, the Provincial Archive and the Elwins. It’s a one-day shot

of goodness that will have you saying something you have been wanting

to say for a long time... “I’m going to St. Albert this weekend.”

ARMSTRONG METAL FEST

July 14-15, Armstrong BC

More than 30 bands descend on the small hamlet of Armstrong, BC

for a two-day monster mash. Bring your devil horns cause this is metal

stacked on metal on metal. Stick out your tongue raise those hands in

the air and get set to headbang for 48 hours straight. Even when you’re

sleeping you are still going to be headbanging. This much metal doesn’t

take a break. Breaks are for folk fests. If you like metal this is your Valhalla.

Plus they have thrash wrestling. Sounds badass doesn’t it? Sounds like

someone is definitely going to get hurt. Bands include a lot of unreadable

logos and WMD, Slagduster, Planet Eater, Exit Strategy, the Avulsion,

NinjaSpy, Citizen Rage, Dragstrip Devils and many more.

WILD MOUNTAIN MUSIC FESTIVAL

July 14-16, Hinton AB

Wild Mountain is a community event that takes place in the small town

of Hinton. Don’t let the small town fool you, this festival has a healthy

‘can do’ spirit and is quickly becoming one of the premier summer

events in the Yellowhead. Less than an hour from Jasper this promises

to be a fun road trip destination. The fest leans heavy on the Canadiana

with 54-40, Matt Anderson, the Sadies and Big Sugar, whose career has

aged like a fine gouda. And they offer morning yoga classes — a safety

harness you probably don’t need after a heavy night of festival drinking,

but it’s nice to know it’s there.

INTERSTELLAR RODEO

July 21-23, Edmonton AB

Located in the amazing Heritage Amphitheatre in William Hawrelak

Park, Interstellar Rodeo has made its mark presenting an innovative

mix of performers across genres, with a core emphasis on those making

waves in the roots and Americana world. You’ll hear country noir, epic

indie, rebel rockers and California soul. This will be the festivals sixth year

and features Broken Social Scene, Aloe Blacc, John k Samson, Basia Bulat,

Serena Ryder, Suzanne Vega and a wide range of upcoming talents.

GATEWAY FESTIVAL

July21-23, Bengough SK

Gateway is heading into their thirteenth year with a mix of classic

Canadian music including Tom Cochrane, 54-40, Shadowy Men on a

Shadowy Planet and the Sadies along with up and coming artists Basia

Bulat, Lindi Ortega, the Wooden Sky

and Northcote. The festival’s aim is

to bring Canadian artists together to

enrich community social development

in the South Saskatchewan

area of Bengough.

CALGARY FOLK FESTIVAL

July 27-30, Calgary AB

It’s nice to see a lot of summer

festivals are going heavily with Canadian

talent. Calgary Folk Fest has

a lot of the old favourites including

Blue Rodeo, Barenaked Ladies, John

K Samson, Barney Bentall, Jason

Collett, Forbidden Dimension and

a lot of the new favourites Coeur de

Pirate, Basia Bulat, City and Colour,

badbadnotgood, Ghostkeeper and

Tanya Tagaq plus wealth of seasoned

international artists. What better

way to spend a few glorious days

and evenings wondering about

Prince’s Island Park, a gem of a public

space in Calgary. Add a wonderful eclectic mix of music, blankets, close

friends and not so close friends connecting with the city and community.

And did I mention, beer gardens?

CENTRE OF GRAVITY

July 28-30, Kelowna BC

Enthusiasts of action sports, bikinis, Monster Energy, EDM and hip-hop

need not look any further than Centre of Gravity in Kelowna. Returning

to the shores of Okanagan Lake and Kelowna’s City Park this July,

the most extreme levels of live music entertainment will be reached

with artists like Snoop Dogg, Schoolboy Q, Lil Dicky, Marshmello and

Excision ready to fuel the fire.

ELEMENT MUSIC FESTIVAL

August 3-6 , Princeton BC

This a new festival emerging in

Western Canada and it looks

to be styled after the laidback

hippy happy vibe of early Bonnaroo

with a heavy emphasis

on jammy improvisational

bands and an eclectic mix of

funk, folk, jazz and psychedelia.

The big draw here being three

nights and six sets by massive

American headliner the String

Cheese Incident. SCI as they are

known consistently sell out Red

Rocks and many 20,000 capacity

venues south of the border. The

band is following in the footsteps

of other jam greats like the

Grateful Dead, and Phish having

fostered a fervent base of fans

that often follow the band from

show to show. The Element

music festival also features Garaj

Mahal, Five Alarm Funk, Steve

Kimock & friends, Genetics,

Brickhouse, and the Big Easy

Funk Ensemble.

KASLO JAZZ ETC

August 4-6 , Kaslo BC

This intimate and laidback

festival has been going for 25

years and is gaining steam as it

goes. This year boasts arguably

the biggest line up yet featuring

Los Lobos, A Tribe Called Red,

Russell deCarle

Charles Bradley, Badbadnotgood, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, the

Sheepdogs and many more. The festival showcases an array of blues,

jazz, folk, world music, and a bit of everything really. Kaslo Jazz Etc has

a unique floating main stage in Kootenay Lake, which reverberates

sound out into the natural green amphitheater of Kaslo Bay. You can

expect to enjoy world class musicians perform against a breathtaking

backdrop of mountains and sky. The festival has been selected as one

of the top ten places to get out doors and be in tune by USA today and

one of the top ten places to enjoy outdoor summer music by Reuters.

BLUEBERRY BLUEGRASS & COUNTRY MUSIC FESTIVAL

August 4-6, Stony Plain AB

Blueberry’s got it all Pancake breakfasts, outdoor arkade, children’s petting

zoo, short films, wagon rides, ukulele jams, an interactive museum, jamming

tents, and the big tent attraction a massive crop of bluegrass. You

will be able to catch Feller &Hill and the Bluegrass Buckaroos, the Spinney

Brothers, Foggy Hogtown Boys, Caleb Klauber, Calvin Vollrath, Blue Highway,

Foghorn String Band, and Old Man Luedecke. This is the bluegrass

fan’s bluegrass festival. At Blueberry there’s no messing around, it’s all

about getting down to bluegrass business. This isn’t a T-Bone Burnett flirt

with bluegrass, this is living bluegrass. Let’s meet at Blueberry!

LOUD AS HELL

Aug 4-6, Drumheller AB

Going into their sixth year, Loud as Hell is all about maximizing the

heavy at Dinosaur Downs featuring this year Battlecross, Bison, Black

Wizard, Galactic Pegasus, Shark Infested Daughters and Hammerdrone.

This is earbleeeed country, where the shred is fast, furious and

loud as hell while raising some hell in the Badlands.

CANMORE FOLK FESTIVAL

August 5-7, Canmore AB

The Canmore Folk festival boasts to be longest running folk festival

in Alberta. This is their Ruby anniversary year so put on Tonight’s

the Night by Rod Stewart and get yourself ready for this three day

party Heritage Day long weekend. Located in downtown Canmore’s

12 | JUNE 2017 • BEATROUTE CITY


Centennial Park surrounded by the majestic Rocky Mountains. Some

headliner acts appearing on their four stages are Bruce Cockburn,

Whitehorse, Blackie and the Rodeo Kings, Foy Vance, and Langhorne

Slim. Folk festivals are all about the family friendly and Canmore has a

kids area jammed packed with crafts, puppets, music, storytelling, and

a climbing wall. Canmore also features the folk festival essential ‘workshop

stage’ performances. So get your tarp/blanket/lawn chair ready

and set to relax just make sure you are not sitting in the designated

dancing zones. Local standouts Seth Anderson and Mariel Buckley are

sure to impress.

CHASING SUMMER FESTIVAL

August 5-6, Calgary AB

This is an 18+ experience for electronic music fans held at the Max

Bell Centre Grounds in East Calgary. This festival holds the distinction

of having so much bass it shook windows, plates, and just about

everything throughout the neighborhoods of Albert Park, Radisson

Heights, and Southview. And it looks like they will be doing it all again

with a line up stacked with heavyweights Tiesto, Zedd, Tritonal,c

W&W, NGHTMRE, bleep bloop and more rotating on three outdoor

stages. Remember to bring a reasonable amount of sunscreen, water

and earplugs!

ONE LOVE MUSIC FESTIVAL

August 4, Calgary AB

Since it’s beginning in 2015 One Love has quickly become Alberta’s biggest

day in hip-hop. This year the event has been moved up a month

earlier to the first week of August and is closely aligned with Chasing

Summer sharing the same location at Max Bell. Fans will be given an

option to purchase a combo ticket to enjoy both festivals and extend

the party for three days. One Love this year features headliners Ms.

Lauren Hill, Migos, Anderson Paak, RZA and the Free Nationals. This

fresh and eclectic line up is set to be the hip-hop show of the summer.

EDMONTON FOLK FESTIVAL

August 10-13, Edmonton AB

The Edmonton Folk Festival is dynamo. It sells out every year. Their lineups

are consistently topnotch. Folk fests are designed to be crowd pleasers

and Edmonton Folk Fest clearly knows how to please. Heading into

their 37th year, it’s a well-oiled machine. The festivities go down in the

inviting green valley of Gallagher Park in with headliners City and Colour,

the insanely talented Valerie June, Tift Merritt and Martyn Joseph.

CITY

Toyko Police Club

WAPITI MUSIC FESTIVAL

August 11-12, Fernie BC

This festival delivers emerging

Canadian indie artists on their

way to becoming household

names. This years line up includes

Tokyo Police Club, Royal Canoe,

Five Alarm Funk, the Dead South,

the Wilderness of Manitoba and

more. You can walk or ride a bike

to the centrally located festival

site in beautiful downtown Fernie

at a riverside park. A myriad of

activities for all ages with bonus

kids and seniors are free.

SHAMBHALA

Aug 11-14, Salmo BC

Shambhala is quite literally a

family affair in every aspect.

Independently produced by the

Bundschuh family for the past 20 Infected Mushroom

years and hosted on the family’s

working farm, Shambs has become

the longest running independent electronic music festival BC has

ever seen. A famously dry festival, the event plays host to an impressive

range of humans, each with their own preferred method for connecting

with their inner spirit.

CALGARY INTERNATIONAL REGGAE FEST

August 17-19, Calgary AB

Reggaefest is set launch into its seventeenth year and ready to unite some

of reggae’s most exciting talent, both locally and from around the globe at

Shaw Millennium Park. Taking the stage this year will be ‘the strong one’

Etana, a powerful and distinctive voice in reggae. She is blazing new trails

in a genre that has long been male dominated. Mexican reggae pioneers,

Antidoping, will be adding their Rasta flavour, plus, Madd Riddim, Natural

Fyah, Louie Culture, Lenya Wilks and many more. Calgary Reggae Fest

lasts only a few days, but being a ‘Rastagarian’ could last a lifetime.

COUNTRY THUNDER

August 18-20, Calgary AB

Hard hittin’ Bro-pop Country superstars Brad Paisley, Blake Shelton

and Thomas Rhett headline this salute to a big ol’ fun-filled Ford F-350

weekend. It goes down in Prairie Winds Park in NE Calgary. There will be

a lot of eulogizing about old trucks, new trucks, jacked up trucks, fast cars,

trips to all inclusive tropical locations, the one that got away and other

unrelenting nostalgia for the ‘good times.’ But it’s also about the good

time here and now. Keep on your Stampede hat and boots, and bring a

reusable Budweiser mug… you’ll be wanting more, more and more!

SHADY GROVE BLUEGRASS FESTIVAL

August 18-20, Nanton AB

Dig bluegrass? The Foothills Bluegrass society has got bucketfuls, no make

that a truck full. You want intimate cozy shows, instrument workshops,

slow bluegrass slow jams -done. Band scrambles, whatever that is, they

got it. Campfire jamming, of course! It aint a bluegrass festival without

campfire jamming. Genial blend of storytelling and side show humour,

do you have to ask? Studied performance of original songs, instrumentals,

and newly arranged traditional classic material? You know the answer.

The answer is get yo-self to the incredibly beautiful Broadway Farm 18 km

east of Nanton in mid August. Treat yourself right, dang it!

BEAR CREEK FOLK FESTIVAL

August 18-20, Grande Prairie

Building on their second year, Bear Creek has some incredible talent with

Frazey Ford, Basia Bulat, Hawksley Workman and Kobo Town appearing

on four stages with over 30 acts in the heart of Grande Prairie at Muskoseepi

Park. On Saturday and Sunday there’s workshop ‘sessions’ with

intimate, up close, never to be heard again performances from participating

artists. Face painting is free.

INVERMERE MUSIC FEST

August 18-19, Invermere BC

With stage and Festival grounds at the Kinsmen Beach Greenspace and

Lake Windermere as a backdrop, the Invermere Music Fest truly lives up

to being a waterfront festival that’s family, lawn chair friendly and close to

the Radium Hot Springs (bring your swimsuit). Headliners include Blackie

and the Rodeo Kings, Ridley Bent, the Wet Secrets, Soulja Fyah, and local

favourites Dandelions.

MOTION NOTION FESTIVAL

August 24-28 , Golden BC

This is an exploration of electronic music, art, nature and the infinite

in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. Motion Notion is a name with

meaning. It can be understood as the ‘Movement idea,’ the concept

that the flux of the universe is the essence of being and that ever

human, planet, solar system, and galaxy maintains this continuous flux

as long as it exists. Movement is existence. You will be moving to acts

such as Datsik, Avalon, Dirtyphonics, Koan Sound, The M machine,

Minnesota and more. Also check out the vendor village, and all the fire

dancers, belly dancers, flaggers, live painters, aerialists, contortionists

and wandering magicians.

BEATROUTE • JUNE 2017 | 13


FILM

MENTAL FILM FESTIVAL

explore mental illness in film with this important event

There are a surprisingly large number of

films involving mental health issues; some

of them classics such as A Beautiful Mind,

or One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest. But how

many of them really try to really get down and

explore these issues, rather than simply use

them as a plot point? The Mental Film Festival,

now entering its second year in Calgary, aims to

showcase the films that do explore mental illness

in an effort to reduce stigma, create conversation

and raise awareness.

We spoke with Rebecca Zahn, the director of

marketing and communications at the Mental Film

Festival, whose passion for raising awareness for

these issues and creating a community dialogue was

evident throughout our interview.

Zahn explained how the Mental Film Festival, despite

being new to Calgary, was inspired by the Rendezvous

with Madness Film Festival, a mental health

festival that has taken place in Toronto every year

since 1993. It is also the first festival of its kind in the

world and currently the largest. It was clear, though,

that something similar was needed in Calgary.

She also stated that these events are both successful

and important because, unlike other forms

of media, film can present a realistic insight into the

world of mental health in a way that other artistic

platforms can’t.

“We’ve learned that when it comes to different

kinds of art,” she explains, “to create behaviour

change and create awareness in communities and the

public, that film is actually recognized as the number

one art platform to do that.”

Despite what the name might suggest, this isn’t a

film festival in the typical sense of the word, as there

aren’t several films on display. Instead, they have

carefully chosen one film to properly examine and

discuss in great detail.

“We’re really happy with [the film], called Hollywood

Beauty Salon. It’s actually this really cool hybrid

documentary that combines everyday sequences

with… animation and fantasy [elements],” Zahn

explained. “Things like that… allow the viewer to

transport into the minds of people experiencing

mental illness to help create an understanding and to

reduce stigma.”

The director of the film reportedly spent sixteen

weeks in a facility for people dealing with mental

health, addiction and family violence, asking each

person how they wanted their story to be told.

The goal of showing this film, Zahn stressed, was

to help dispel the myths or oversimplifications about

mental illnesses that are commonly portrayed in

Hollywood. She noted that the people in the documentary

actually have a lot of hope, and rather than

having a sullen and desaturated tone, it’s “colourful

and fun and inspiring…[and] about discovering the

beauty inside each one of us regardless of whether we

have mental health issues or not.”

That said, one of the biggest components of the

Mental Film Festival is its emphasis on having a fun,

open and inspirational atmosphere, rather than a

morose and overly serious one. “We’re kicking off our

night in a really fun way. We’re going to have a DJ at

Hollywood Beauty Salon is the sole feature at Mental Film Festival.

the Globe Cinema and have [three local artists’] art

displayed on the walls.”

Furthermore, it provides an opportunity for

people to see different kinds of art and have conversations

with others that they might not ordinarily

be able to. There will be mental health professionals

giving a panel after the film and will be available to

answer any questions people have.

In order to make sure as many people as possible

by Jonathan Lawrence

can attend, there is a pay-what-you-can entrance fee

and there will be an after party held at The Derrick

across the street from the Globe Cinema afterward.

For anyone curious about mental health and wants

to end the stigma and taboo associated with it, this is

an important event to attend.

Mental Film Festival takes place at the Globe Cinema

on June 3.

THE LIVING DEAD AT MANCHESTER MORGUE

Night Terrors Film Society present ravenous video nasty

The metaphor of The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue applies to a lot more than flesh-eaing.

dead don’t walk around except in very bad paperback

novels” exclaims a handsome, long haired young man in a

“The

feeble attempt to rebuke his heroine’s seemingly unjustified

hysteria. But how else is one to explain the mysterious murders

in which the victims are savagely torn limb from limb? Sights of

the local inspector fall upon the aforementioned duo who just so

FILM

happened to be visiting the English countryside in the midst of a very

ill-fated time. Viewed as young naive Satanists, despite the bizarre

truth unravelling at an alarming rate, the couple are up against not

only the ignorance of the law, but also the insatiable clutches of the

ravenous undead.

Since the true birth of zombies with George A. Romero’s 1968 classic,

by Breanna Whipple

Night of the Living Dead, the formula for zombie films has strayed very

slightly, which usually goes like this: Government experimentation

leads to undesirable global effects. In the case of The Living Dead at

Manchester Morgue (1974), the culprit is a pesticide that ignites hostility

within the nervous system, causing mass destruction. Akin to the horrific

cinematic classic is the ‘too little, too late’ attitude granted by the true

villain in the majority of zombie films—the establishment. Having said

that, it should come as no surprise that the spreading of chaos is ignored

early on, resulting in an uncontrollable, bloody carnage that extends

throughout the film’s 95-minute runtime.

While remaining true to the aforementioned classic formula, The

Living Dead at Manchester Morgue also managed to strike inspiration

in several of Lucio Fulci’s own cinematic works, in turn propelling the

sub-genre in a different, nastier direction. Exemplifying this are the

incredibly chilling basement scenes in House by the Cemetery (1981),

which are strikingly similar to those in the mortuary at the spawn

of the third act; and the unique grisliness aesthetic and mannerisms

of the undead, which has been dutifully homaged in Fulci’s praised

gore-fest, Zombi 2 (1979).

Despite having been released over 40 years ago, the underlying

themes of the film are still ever present in modern day. Though we may

not be worrying about ultrasonic radiation re-animating the nervous

systems of the recently deceased, the metaphor can definitely be applied

elsewhere. It could be argued that the strong message promoting

societal responsibility is what sets this film aside in what has become a

very oversaturated zombie sub-genre, showcasing it as a timeless gem for

diehard horror fans.

Catch The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue at a midnight screening

June 16th at the Globe Cinema.

BEATROUTE • JUNE 2017 | 15


DEAR KATE

award-nominated local short brings a powerful reminder

Dear Kate is an intimate portrait of the distinct loneliness felt by the elderly.

by Jennifer Thompson

TO THE MOUNTAIN

local small budget film has big heart

We all know from television that islands

can have mysterious properties,

but can mountains as well? While it

avoids veering into spiritual or fantastical territory,

To the Mountain addresses the idea that

perhaps the answers we seek are found where

we least expect them. And to many of us technology-obsessed

city folks, a hike through nature

is probably where we would least expect it.

Produced on a humble budget of ten thousand

dollars, director Eric Pauls has crafted a simple, yet

profound film (his debut film, in fact) about four

main characters that have all lost something important

to them. By minor coincidence, each one

finds themselves scaling a daunting and majestic

mountain in the midst of the great Rocky Mountains

(shot outside Exshaw in the Jura Creek area).

While additional backstory would have helped

flesh out the characters, they are all relatable by

their situations and motivations: a young man and

father who have lost their mother/wife, estranged

from each other by the incident; a young woman in

search of adventure and relief from a life less lived;

and a newly retired professor who doesn’t know

what to do with her recent freedom. The mountain,

in turn, will give them what they each need:

redemption, love, hope, adventure and heroics.

Given the dramatic nature of the film, the

themes and situations seemed highly personal, so

we asked Pauls to elaborate on that. He assured us

that it was not based on any specific event in his

life. “I had heard of people scattering the ashes of

loved ones in the mountains,” he said. “I used that

idea as a launching off point. However, watching

the movie now, I realize I filled it with my own

questions and convictions about having recently

become a father, religion, aging, etc. It’s shockingly

more personal than I ever intended.”

by Jonathan Lawrence

Halfway through the film, two of the characters

remark on how quiet it is on the mountain, yet

silence can be just as impactful to a film as audio.

Speaking of which, sound is clearly an integral part

of the film, given how Pauls and his band, Young

Neighbours, (covered previously in BeatRoute)

along with Noah Michael, composed the original

soundtrack (released separately in August). The

score is somber, soft and reflective, much like the

characters and the mountain itself.

Unsurprisingly, yet thankfully, for a film about a

mountainside and nature, the vistas are breathtaking.

The Albertan countryside is beautifully

captured, and becomes a character of its own.

Likewise, for a film that deals so much with

letting go of the past, it’s one that I’ve been

thinking about days after watching. Its characters

are memorable, particularly the father,

whose flirting with the retired professor is

slightly cringe-worthy at first, but becomes more

likeable throughout the film.

“Too obvious?” he asks her. His ability to turn

his charm on and off, as we quickly learn, is how he

copes with the loss of his wife.

To the Mountain will have its world premiere

at the Oakville Film and Arts Festival in Oakville,

ON, screening on the evening of June 24 alongside

an amazing lineup of other international

films—a huge testament to the power of this super

low-budget film.

“Our budget meant the entire process of making

this film was an uphill battle,” says writer/director

Eric Pauls in a press release. “But today it feels like

we can see the top, and I’m so proud of the film

and everyone involved.”

To The Mountain premieres at the Oakville Film and

Arts Festival on June 24.

Have you ever thought about what your

grandparent or grandparents are doing

after you leave from a visit? Odds are they’re

probably not suspended in some adorable elderly

person time capsule, perpetually baking and building

wooden objects waiting for your return. In fact,

they’re likely alone, and sometimes even isolated

from society and human contact for extended time

periods. Conjuring images of segregated senior citizens

isn’t meant to spur depression, but filmmaker

Ilona Elizabeth McCrea is trying to influence how

we think about aging through her debut short film

Dear Kate.

Dear Kate is a film that focuses on Lorna, a

woman who lives in a seniors’ residence with her

husband who’s been partly segregated from her due

to Alzheimer’s disease. As Lorna is somewhat isolated

from her family, the story unfolds through her

narrative of a letter she is writing to her estranged

daughter Kate. The details of Lorna and Kate’s

estrangement aren’t the focus of the film, rather, it’s

the longing that Lorna feels for a connection with

something familiar. Lorna’s vibrant and eclectic past

is woven throughout the movie as she reaches out

to her daughter in hopes of rekindling their relationship

and seeing her granddaughter.

When asked how someone who’s so much closer to

the age of mother than a grandmother would choose

to take on such a heavy subject, McCrea expressed her

need to shed some light on how we treat people as the

age. “I am quite close with my great uncle and I have

a lot of older friends, and hear stories about how they

suddenly find themselves alone,” she said. “I think it’s a

shame how we quietly shut people away when they get

older.” Ilona shared that, according to Statistics Canada,

1.4 million elderly Canadians reported feeling lonely.

She referred to the problem as a “silent epidemic” that

society just isn’t acknowledging.

Feeling a personal connection to the subject matter

motivated McCrea to not only write the story but also

direct and play a role in the film. Wearing all three hats

for the production of the film may seem ambitious

for a first time filmmaker, however, McCrea seemed to

take it in stride. “I tried to focus on everything in the

moment. The story is about Lorna and I wanted to tell

the story as truthfully and sentimentally as possible

so that everyone has an experience when they are

watching it.” She continued to describe how she distinctly

played with colour and light in the film’s visuals

to give the audience a much different feeling between

memories and Lorna’s currently reality. Her direction

paid off as Dear Kate recently won a Rosie Award for

best Cinematography.

Although Dear Kate is currently touring the festival

circuit, McCrea is hoping to come back to Calgary for

a proper showing. But as the film makes its rounds

across the country and beyond, McCrea’s hope is that

a sudden need to connect with grandparents and

parents or even that older next-door neighbour is triggered.

When you think about all those lonely seniors

out there, it’s hard not to want to give someone a hug.

Shown at Newport Beach Film Festival, release date

pending.

To The Mountain premieres this month at the Oakville Film and Arts Festival.

16 | JUNE 2017 • BEATROUTE FILM


THE VIDIOT

rewind to the future

by Shane Sellar

Fifty Shades Darker

Get Out

Logan

Underworld: Blood Wars

xXx: The Return Of Xander Cage

FILM

A Dog’s Purpose

The main purpose of any household canine is to

ingest all the crumbs off the floor.

But according to this drama dogs have a higher

purpose beyond being fur vacuums.

1961: A teenager, Ethan (KJ Apa), is having trouble

at home with his abusive father so he adopts a golden

retriever named Bailey (Josh Gad). After saving the

family from a fire Bailey passes on.

He is later reborn in the 1970s as a female German

Shepard working on the K-9 unit. After that life, he’s

a spoiled Corgi then a neglected Saint Bernard who

sets out to find his original owner, Ethan (Dennis

Quad).

With each iteration of Bailey kicking the bucket

every 20-minutes, this manipulative drivel yanks at

your heartstrings ad nauseam with little worth to any

of the vignette’s beyond introducing a new breed.

Furthermore, everyone knows dogs have the

reincarnated souls of death row inmates.

Fifty Shades Darker

It’s a safe bet that being tied up in bed is the sexual

fetish of every escape artist.

However, the subservient in this erotic drama isn’t

exactly dislocating her shoulder.

While she is working as an assistant book editor,

Anastasia (Dakota Johnson) attends an art event

where she runs into her wealthy ex-boyfriend/dominant

Christian (Jamie Dornan), who wants her back.

She quickly agrees to rekindle their kinky relationship

but under one condition: no more punishment.

Meanwhile, Christian’s former submissive (Bella

Heathcote) and his mature mentor (Kim Basinger)

both reappear in his life to wreak havoc on his

current affair.

While it is twice as titillating as the initial soft-core

film adaptation of E. L. James’s erotic bestseller, this

superfluous sequel still lacks a semi-interesting storyline,

skilled actors to portray the flimsy characters

and dialogue that isn’t completely ridiculous.

Incidentally, BDSM paraphernalia can also be used

as a weapon against home invaders.

Get Out

The great thing about interracial relationships is you’ll

never start to look alike.

Even dressed identical, the mixed-race couple in

this horror movie would maintain their distinctiveness.

Black photographer, Chris (Daniel Kaluuya), is

nervous about spending the weekend with his white

girlfriend’s (Allison Williams) family (Bradley Whitford,

Catherine Keener, Caleb Landry Jones).

His fears are soon confirmed when he begins

having strange encounters with the few other black

people around who all warn him to get out.

Things get even stranger when Chris ends up

on the auction block for the family’s affluent white

friends to purchase for their own nefarious reasons.

More psychological horror than slasher flick

splatterfest, this socially relevant debut from comedian-cum-director

Jordan Peele deals with the racial

divide in America with a monstrous metaphor that is

frightening foremost for its high probability.

Besides, meeting white people isn’t scary as long as

you have your hands up.

Logan

You can tell a superhero is getting old when villains

start using credit-card scams on them.

Luckily, the aged protagonist in this action movie

knows to keep his PIN protected.

A weathered Wolverine/Logan (Hugh Jackman)

struggles to survive in a mutant-less future where his

healing factor is failing and his once powerful mentor

(Patrick Stewart) suffers from Alzheimer’s.

Matters worsen when a young mutant (Dafne

Keen) escapes from a laboratory and asks for his help

in reaching a mutant safe haven up north. Accepting

this, however, puts the irritable immortal’s life in

danger for the first – and possibly last – time.

Focusing more on the character himself than his

infamous claws, this final chapter of the Jackman era

may suffer from some lulls but is ultimately a fitting

tribute to the troubled Canuck with strong performances,

furious action and a moving script.

Incidentally, elderly superheroes always keep some

candy in their spandex.

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter

Just watch, the zombie apocalypse is gonna happen

right as the fad is dying out.

Luckily, this horror movie has some final pointers

to offer before it does.

Humanity’s last hope is the everlasting Alice (Milla

Jovovich) who has just been advised by a computer

program (Ever Gabo Anderson) that she must travel

to Raccoon City if she hopes to find a cure for the

world’s zombie plague.

Aided by other humans (Ali Larter, Ruby Rose,

Eoin Macken), she makes her way back to where it

all began. However, the virus’ creator (Iain Glen) and

throngs of the undead stand in her way.

The sixth installment in this video game-inspired

franchise, this concluding chapter is cluttered with

the same overly stylized fights, exceptionally bad acting

and muddled storytelling that made the original

and its successors so unmemorable.

Besides, if there really were zombies, corporations

would just cover them in ads.

Rings

In the old days when someone gave you an unlabelled

VHS tape it was pornography.

The images on the cassette in this horror movie,

regrettably, are all cursed.

A college professor (Johnny Galecki) acquires a

hexed videocassette from a plane crash. After watching

it, he receives a message telling him he has seven

days to live unless he gets someone else to watch it.

He turns this into a class project.

Meanwhile, Julia (Matilda Lutz) comes to campus

looking for her boyfriend (Alex Roe) who’s being

stalked by the creepy girl (Bonnie Morgan) from the

recording.

By rehashing plot points from the previous films

with little context in which to interpret them, this

scare less continuation of the Americanized version

of the Japanese original is not only confusing for new

audiences but also redundant for fans.

The Space Between Us

On Mars, all you ever learn about in high school is

how to invade and enslave Earth.

However, the Martian in this romantic movie

prefers to visit his enemy instead.

Born on the red planet 16 years ago, the orphaned

Gardner (Asa Butterfield) now has an urge to find

the earthling that he believes is his father. Undergoing

extensive surgery to adapt to Earth’s atmosphere, he

hopes to find him.

But when his doctor (Gary Oldman) doesn’t clear

him for the trek, Gardner escapes his custody and

locates his online friend (Britt Robertson) who helps

him navigate his new terrain and joins with him on

his quest.

A bizarre teenage love story with stranger science

backing up its implausible narrative, this sappy bythe-numbers

schlock-fest can count incompatible

leads as its foremost setback.

Moreover, guys say they’re from Mars just so they

don’t have to call a girl the next day.

Underworld: Blood Wars

The key to winning the war against vampires is cutting

off their crushed velvet supply.

Lamentably, the bloodsuckers in this action movie

also have skintight leather to wear.

Sought by her lycanthropic enemy (Tobias Menzies)

who needs her hybrid daughter so he can create

vampire/werewolf soldiers from her blood, Death

Dealer Selene (Kate Beckinsale) seeks asylum with an

upstart coven where she trains others like her.

Selene’s stay is short-lived due to her host’s (Lara

Pulver) desire to drink her blood, so she and her

student (Theo James) strike out to find her offspring

before anyone else does.

The fifth installment in this less than memorable

monster franchise, Blood Wars attempts to reinvigorate

the struggling series with millennial material

and mindless gunfights. Both of which do nothing to

distract from the muddled script and ho-hum SFX.

Lastly, werewolves leave more than explosive

landmines on the battlefield.

xXx: The Return of Xander Cage

Extreme sports are the perfect balance between

athletics and corporate sponsorship.

However, the spy in this action movie has now

incorporated work into the equation.

Ex-NSA agent and X Games enthusiast Xander

Cage (Vin Diesel) returns to active duty when his

mentor (Samuel L. Jackson) is killed and a device

capable of downing satellites disappears.

Although he’s under CIA supervision (Toni

Collette), Xander is permitted to assemble his own

team of thrill-seeking operatives (Nina Dobrev, Ruby

Rose, Rory McCann) to take down the foreign parties

(Donnie Yen, Tony Jaa) in possession of Pandora’s Box

before they unleash its powers.

While the martial arts segments of this sequel’s

numerous action sequences are engaging, the

sloppy green screen work, the script’s atrocious

dialogue and the barrage of absurd scenarios

makes Vin’s return to the character a highly

disappointing one.

Incidentally, extreme sports spies take their martinis

with Mountain Dew in them.

He’s an Off-Colour Commentator. He’s the…

Vidiot

BEATROUTE • JUNE 2017 | 17


ROCKPILE

OFF WITH THEIR HEADS

fine tuning their acoustic style

This summer, the melancholic punk

band Off With Their Heads is heading

to Canada for a run of toned-down

acoustic shows.

It’s been 15 years since Ryan Young, the

brains and ambition behind Off With Their

Heads, began delivering his emotional turmoil

to the world. The honesty of his lyrics is painful

yet beautiful. Speaking from his heart and past

experiences, Young has been praised for his

candidness on mental illness and awareness.

Musically, OWTH somehow makes heavily

distorted punk riffs into something catchy, with

Young’s distinctively powerful whiskey-soaked

voice tying their sound together.

Late last year, OWTH released Won’t

Be Missed, which features a collection of

previously released songs reimagined in an

acoustic style, without skimping on Young’s

thunderous vocals, which echoes alongside

the acoustics perfectly.

“It’s funny how that came out, we never really

wanted to do an acoustic album. I’ve never really

played an acoustic guitar before either. I don’t

write [songs] on them and actually, I just bought

one because I didn’t own one,” says Young.

Laughing, he continues, “I just wanted to

record something and I wanted to put out an

album on my label [Anxious and Angry]. It

seemed the easiest way to do that was to record

an acoustic album. Also, I wanted to tour more

in between recordings. So we rerecorded a few

TIGER ARMY

in the undying light

Army never dies!”

A catchphrase indelible in the minds

“Tiger

and hearts of fans and onlookers the

world over, shouted at the top of lungs and carved

into skin from the West Coast of the United States

to South America to Canada and beyond. For a band

that has never found a discernible niche but always

created their own, never fit into the confines of a

single genre, and had almost a decade long gap in

between albums, it’s impressive to see such a undying

devotion to the Tiger Army legacy.

In speaking with the band’s primary songwriter,

Nick 13, BeatRoute gains a little insight into where

those strong roots come from.

“I’ve always tried to be true to myself as a songwriter,”

he describes, referring to the whole of his band’s

20-year history. “I’ve never written with anything

commercial in mind or fallen into the trap of trying

to please different demographics. I just try to create

something that is true to me at the time... that means

something to me. If I can do that, it might mean

something to someone else.”

“The fans of Tiger Army are true music lovers,”

he continues. “They care about the songs and the

songwriting and they are relating to something on

a personal level, so it therefore becomes timeless

in a way.”

Over the course of five albums, Tiger Army danced

from punk to rockabilly to everything in between,

and on their latest release, the infuriatingly named

ROCKPILE

songs in an acoustic style. And I lucked out, I

didn’t have to get too creative.”

Usually Young is accompanied by an

ever-changing lineup of musicians, both in the

studio and on tour, but for his acoustic sets he

likes to keep it simple.

“For the acoustic shows, it’s just Nice John

[Polydoros] and I rolling around. We do renditions

of some of the songs, and most of it is

pretty straight-forward but some of it is a little

reworked,” Young explains.

“But, our dumb show will speak for itself.

We’re the most self-deprecating, comedy

acoustic duo you’re ever going to see,” he laughs

half-jokingly.

The last time OWTH came to Alberta it was a

straight-up punk rock show. Now, Young is looking

forward to a change of pace and a return to

our fair nation.

“I haven’t gotten out to Canada as much as I’d

like to. Hopefully it will get easier, because I love

it there. I love driving through the mountains

and I like desolate things. There’s certainly a lot

of that up in Canada.”

See Off With Their Heads at one of their many

Canadian stops, including Vancouver at the

Cobalt Cabaret on June 12, Calgary at the Ship

& Anchor on June 15, Edmonton at the Needle

Vinyl Tavern on June 16, Saskatoon at Amigos’

Cantina on June 17 or Winnipeg at Windsor

Hotel on June 18. More dates available online.

V•••-, find themselves drawing from a noir aesthetic

with heavy influence from “the second wave of rock

and roll” that took shape in late ‘50s and early ‘60s.

The album is like a grey, rainy day exploration, with

bursts of fire in between. It’s both a vintage throwback

and the shock of new life.

“I think there was something really interesting

about that time [in rock and roll] because the first

Off With Their Heads go off with their amps on recent release.

Tiger Army still going strong in a timeless, genre-bending legacy spanning more than two decades.

photo: Casey Curry

wave was done and it was a transitional period where

people didn’t know it was going to happen,” recalls

Nick. “There was a lot of experimentation and a lot

of trying to figure out what the next step was in the

sound. There was something I related to in that and

in very early punk, specifically out of New York City.

I heard a musical link between doing something

new and pushing the boundaries that punk initially

by Sarah Mac

by Willow Grier

represented, but also having sort of a direct lineage

with early rock and roll and doo-wop.”

“As a music fan and a concert-goer” himself, Nick

13 keeps a master copy of all the setlists from each

show Tiger Army has played so that fans can get the

most from every live performance, and not have to

see the same show twice.

Now about to embark on a co-headlining tour

with dark Americana group Murder by Death,

Tiger Army will have the chance to express additional

parts of their repertoire, and dig into their

discography that includes “In The Orchard,” and

other examples of sounds that found expression

in Nick 13’s solo country/Americana releases,

which he plans to work on again towards the end

of this tour.

“I would say there’s a certain musical overlap,” he

explains. “That mid century country and hillbilly music

has always been a small part of what Tiger Army is,

so the two do share that but the solo stuff was more

about honing in on that.”

Despite this connection, Nick 13 expresses that

the two projects will always remain unique for him.

“I get a different feeling when I step onstage. There’s a

completely different energy at a Tiger Army show.”

Tiger Army and Murder By Death bring play the Commodore

Ballroom in Vancouver on July 3, the Ranch

Roadhouse in Edmonton on July 5 and the Palace

Theatre in Calgary on July 6.

BEATROUTE • JUNE 2017 | 19


AM STATIC

JUNO Nominees Rise & Shine to greet the world

BLITZEN TRAPPER

Portland folk rockers are stretching in new directions

Fresh off of a string of performances of their latest musical project, Portland

based folk rockers Blitzen Trapper are setting off on a short western

tour that will see them in Alberta on June 17 and 18.

The group delivers the sort of high-energy folk rock that listeners may have

come to expect from the likes of Bruce Springsteen, full of the same fiery passion

for life, though with a touch more grit and distortion. Driving beats and soulful

guitar licks underscore crooning vocals that are punctuated by the occasional

impassioned shout or haunting harmony. Extremely melodic tracks laced with

keys and slow-picked acoustic notes round out their sound when the tempo goes

down. Over a career spanning 15 years and seven albums, Blitzen Trapper has

explored many deeply personal stories and themes with their brand of folk music,

seasoned to taste with rock influences.

Though perhaps a little different from the standard rock show, Blitzen

Trapper has been exploring a new aspect of the stage in recent months as part

of a musical theatre project called Wild and Reckless, a combination of music

and storytelling that frontman Eric Earley says has been a great experience for

the band.

“I think it stretched us in all kinds of ways for sure, the way the show was going,

the songs were deconstructed, songs would be merged together with other songs,

we had an overture that was like five songs merged into one. It was the kind of

thing you don’t usually do with a rock show unless you are queen or something,”

Early says. Though Calgary fans of Blitzen Trapper’s music may not be getting the

full experience of the Wild and Reckless musical, they will be playing many songs

written for the project during their upcoming shows, along with plans to put

several of the tracks on an album sometime in the coming year.

Earley says the group will be playing some lengthy sets filled with new material

written for the project during the upcoming tour, as well as reviving some classic

tunes from their back catalog that haven’t seen the stage in a while.

photo: Map Photography

AM Static perform at Broken City during the 2016 JUNO Awards.

by Jodi Brak

Keeping the momentum going after a 2016 JUNO Award nomination for

their 100 per cent independently produced album, A Life Well Lived,

Calgary’s indie-electronic duo AM Static is set to release their latest

album. Rise & Shine debuts June 9, and will be unveiled with a performance at

Calgary’s own Festival Hall.

Chris Austman and Nils Mikkelsen are the masterminds behind AM Static. The

band performs a folky style of chill electronica, complete with cascading vocals,

blipping keys, and a skilful merging of acoustic instrumentation with computer

produced sounds. The self-sufficient pair of musical minds has been responsible for

almost the entire production process of their music.

“We started writing this one the day after our last one came out, so we’ve been

working on this record since late November of 2014,” says Mikkelsen. Their previous

was released on November 18 of that year; its iconic artwork depicted an elderly

man adorned in a red toque, not unlike Steve Zissou. In contrast, their impending

release features psychedelic rainbow artwork of perhaps the same man, a conjoined

rainbow revealing his brain matter.

Austman explains, “Everything is pretty homegrown between the two of us. It’s

nice to have that control, but with that also comes the responsibility of making sure

it is all done correctly and on time. We can’t just make a record and wait for it to

come back from the audio guy.”

During the writing process, the pair realized that the themes they were writing

about were particularly relevant, and the idea of shifting their upcoming

release into more of a conceptual project started to take form.

“One of the things that maybe a few months ago would strike me as more

entertaining and maybe now is a little more dreadful, we began toying around

with this concept of the distortion of reality, which at the time was novel and

kind of fun,” Austman explains.

“But that was well in advance of the household recognition of such a dystopian

term as ‘alternative facts.’ We found our way from this cartoony musical

dystopia into a period where all of a sudden what we had been working on was

more timely than we ever imagined.”

Album single “Start Select” showcases this darkly metaphorical theme in fine

form. It’s subdued and tragic, with mournful vocals about “vanquishing foes” alongside

eerie percussion and relaxed electro beats.

“One of the songs on the record is called “Burn Cycle,” and we wrote that

in a very frantic three hours live at CJSW,” reveals Mikkelsen of other songs

on the record.

“The name is from this ‘90s video game where you have a disease and you have

two hours to cure yourself, so we looked at the game and we started thinking ‘well,

what are our burn cycles? What are the things that you have a limited time to

engage in before the bottom just totally drops out?’”

Mikkelsen concludes, “You see a lot of those situations, but you never really hear

the story of why. So “Burn Cycle” kind of took on a lot of meaning, but you can also

take that and apply it to politics.”

AM Static’s album release show takes place on June 9 at Festival Hall (Calgary).

by Jodi Brak

Blitzen Trapper will be playing Commonwealth on June 17 (Calgary) and The Starlite

Room on June 18 (Edmonton).

20 | JUNE 2017 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE


GLAUX

basking in that new band glow

by Morgan Cairns

COMING TO TOWN

an already busy month made busier

MOONFACE AND SIINAI

June 7 at Commonwealth

Moonface is the solo project of Spencer Krug of Wolf

Parade and Sunset Rubdown. While Moonface is known

for solo piano composition, his collaborative works and

performances with Finnish prog act Siinai lie closer to propulsive,

synth-laden krautrock. Opening the show is Dante

DeCaro, also of Wolf Parade.

TOOL WITH THE CRYSTAL METHOD

June 12 at the Pengrowth Saddledome

Get ready for Tool Time: Maynard James Keenan and co.

are returning to Calgary after an 11-year hiatus. The return

to the stage of the Grammy-winning prog metal act was

met with rapturous applause by die-hard fans, and by savage

memes from naysayers. Whatever your feelings about

Tool, they sold out their Calgary show within minutes and

are certifiably a big deal. We suggest hitting Kijiji sooner

than later.

RYAN ADAMS

June 22 at the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium

If Ryan Adams was going to attend a Sled Island show

which one would it be? The beloved multi-genre songwriter

is a noted metal fan. Maybe he’ll head to The Palomino

to see EX EYE, or even squeak his way into the Royal

Canadian Legion #1 for Converge. One thing is for sure:

the versatile roots-rocker will play a career spanning set of

hits at the Jube.

IHEARTRADIO WESTFEST

July 8 at Shaw Millennium Park

The premiere edition of iHeartRadio’s WestFest will feature

everything from pop to country, rock to… the second

most-hated white rapper in existence. Noah Cyrus (of the

infamous Billy Ray/Miley clan), Midland, Hedley and Iggy

Azalea are among the fest’s headliners.

• Colin Gallant

RYAN ADAMS

Glaux = Dream Whip all mixed up + new member, oh my!

photo: Jarrett Edmund

person to bring a new perspective to what

we’re doing is great.”

And Sharma, who’s enjoying her first-ever

band experience with Glaux, is already remarking

on how the experience has shaped

her as a musician.

“It’s been a huge learning curve,” says

Sharma. “I’m finally starting to figure out my

instrument, even though I’ve been playing

for a long time. It’s just been a really supportive

atmosphere.”

Bassist Giddings echoes the statement,

saying she also is better at “figuring out her

instrument.”

“Her bass-lines have gotten sick,” gushes

Judd.

Of course, Pridham’s transition from

drums to guitar has also ushered in changes.

“It’s really exciting to have her on guitar,”

says Judd. “She wrote a fair amount of

Dream Whip songs before, but then I’d end

up singing them, and that would obviously

take on my style a little bit, but now that

she’s on guitar, she’s taking more ownership

of the songs that she writes.”

Even though Glaux only has one show

under their belt (performing as a Vibrators

cover band at the Tubby Dog Halloween

show) they’re already making their Sled

Island debut this coming June opening for

Shonen Knife and Tyvek over two shows.

Most of the group are Sled Island veterans,

playing two sets in 2016 alone, but for

Sharma, they will be some of her first ever

shows. As to be expected from someone

cutting their teeth at one of Calgary’s

biggest festivals, Sharma expresses it is both

“nerve-wracking and exciting.”

So while Glaux may be riding the Dream

Whip wave, we can expect a legacy from

them that is all their own.

Finishes Judd, “It feels cool to have the

opportunities we’ve had, and then to just

jump right into the next thing, to have that

history behind us, and then getting to do

something new.”

Glaux plays Sled Island on June 23 at the Royal

Canadian Legion #1 (upstairs) and on June 24

in the Nite Owl Library.

TOOL

Emerging from the ashes of beloved

pop-punk group Dream Whip, new

Calgary ensemble Glaux (pronounced

“glow”) is ready to take over Calgary with

their dreamy guitar-pop sound.

Playing under a brand-new name, a lineup

switch wasn’t far behind. While Alex Judd

and Jessie Giddings maintained their roles

on guitar and bass, respectively, the change

in projects saw Dream Whip drummer

Ashley Pridham transition to guitar, and

newcomer Adrienne Sharma stepped in as

the group’s new drummer.

“Not all of us were ready to quit when

Dream Whip ended,” explains Judd. “So it’s

still very much true to what we originally

started with. The same punk influences, the

same girl-group influences, the same doowop

influences.”

While you can expect a similar sound to

the group’s former project, the addition of a

new member serves as the refresh the group

needed.

“She brings a really fun energy to the

band,” Judd says about Sharma. “Having a

ROCKPILE

BEATROUTE • JUNE 2017 | 21


EDMONTON EXTRA

CUPS N CAKES

beloved podcast expands boundaries

Every second Sunday for the past three

years, Jeff MacCallum and Carey Newton

have faithfully been churning out

episodes of their Cups N Cakes podcast,

exposing listeners new and old to the best in

Edmonton’s music scene and beyond.

The show’s ethos of music and tomfoolery

has been steadfastly followed from the

get-go, with MacCallum and Newton taking

listeners through an hour-and-a-half of music,

interviews and entertaining banter.

“It kind of changed maybe two years in.

I wanted to start taking it a little bit more

seriously,” MacCallum recalls. “I thought

Edmonton might have been lacking in music

media attention for some of the great stuff

that we have going on here, so it definitely

shifted a little more to being focused on

Edmonton.”

Cups N Cakes is now expanding its scope

with the launch of a new website (cupsncakespod.com)

and a second podcast called

Inside the Artist’s Studio, hosted by Marvin

Greensburogh. Both Inside the Artist’s Studio

and the original podcast listeners know and

love will be available on the new website,

with added bonuses like Pick of the Week

and an online store. As of June 1, not one but

three episodes of Inside the Artist’s Studio

will be available on the website, including a

never-before-heard interview with local poprock

favourite Doug Hoyer.

“[On Cups N Cakes] I typically try to make

it an hour of music and then half an hour of

talk time, so an interview is usually around

10 to 12 minutes—Carey and I need to have

some chat in there too. The interviews on

Inside the Artist’s Studio, so far, are about

half an hour long,” MacCallum explains of

the new format, adding the episodes will also

be available for download on iTunes.

“Every episode will be a whole interview,

and then at the end I get permission from

every band to play the single off their new

album.”

What started as a way for two friends to

keep in touch despite busy lives has grown

through trial and error: neither one of the

hosts has formal training. That said, slowly

but surely they are building a strident following.

They’ve never missed a show. Even as it

expands, Cups N Cakes remains dedicated

to those interested in discovering new music

and giving artists within the local scene some

much-needed airtime. Another new component

is set to launch later this year with the

debut of C&C TV, a television series aired via

YouTube that will feature a variety of music

videos in each episode.

“I think it’s been good to take it slow,”

MacCallum says.

He concludes, “But it’s time to kick it up a

notch.”

Visit the new website cupsncakespod.com. Listen

in every second Sunday via www.mixcloud.com/

cupsncakespod for new episodes; you can find

past episodes for streaming as well.

Prairie pals crank up existing podcast with a website launch & more!

by Meaghan Baxter

photo: Heather MacCallum

22 | JUNE 2017 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE


DEAD FIBRES

psych punks let go and get loud(er)

Unlocking tasty psychedelic secrets with the help of bologna sandwiches.

On a recent tour of the prairies, psych punk

trio Dead Fibres attempted to make it to

karaoke, but not before chugging back a

bottle of New Amsterdam vodka. In a video since

lost to the infinity of the Internet, bassist and

vocalist Kennedy Pawluk’s face distorts in agony as

he takes a swig from the clear bottle.

Although they ultimately missed karaoke,

Pawluk and bandmates Brandon de Gans (drums)

and Zachary Mouallem (guitars/vocals) continued

their tour with bologna sandwiches and ramen

without knowing they would be recording a new

EP shortly after their arrival home.

Dead Fibres have been together for nearly a

photo: Susana Wannacott

decade courtesy of the branches of their family

tree: Pawluk and de Gans are cousins.

They went to junior high with Mouallem,

eventually merging as the tight knit crew they

are today.

Their newest release Stashbox is a sure sign the

band is figuring out exactly where they’d like to go

with their sound. The EP is a flustered collection

of five tracks, created quickly within the span of

a few months. It captures the best of their sound,

collected from their previous releases.

The creative process is resolutely different than it

was for their self-titled debut, haphazardly put together

before the band had played a show.

by Brittany Rudyck

“We thought we couldn’t play or nobody would

care until we had these songs,” Pawluk explains.

The result echoed what garage rock should be:

unpolished, energetic and loud. Their second album,

Disgusting People With Disgusting Motives

used the garage rock base to advantageously balance

more refined elements of psychedelia. They

also chose to work with a producer and a studio, a

first for the young band.

Their latest effort witnesses the band relaxing

in the creative process, letting their instruments

communicate a driving savagery while the vocals

have become slightly more boisterous and unabashed.

After playing together for so many years,

they continue to deepen their artistic trust, as

most songs are conceived via spontaneous jams.

“For Stashbox, we worked quickly,” de Gans says.

“There’s something about the first time you jam a

song that’s always the best time you play it because it’s

fresh and you’re excited. With this release we let it be

what it is; it’s still in tune with the first moments we

made these songs.”

So what’s next for the trio?

“We wanted to buy a bunch of synths and make

long, trippy songs,” says Pawluk, smiling.

De Gans concludes with a laugh, “this was supposed

to be a synth album.”

Party with Dead Fibres at their EP release show at the

Sewing Machine Factory on June 17 (Edmonton) or at

Tubby Dog on June 23 during Sled Island (Calgary).

VIBES

uncompromising positivity in the pit

Over the last two years Vibes have grown to

be one of Edmonton’s premier hardcore

punk bands. Beloved for their high-energy

performances, it’s possible the ethics ascribed to

their empowering lyrics may get lost in the mix

during the intense atmosphere of their live show.

Their brand-new debut LP Aggressive Positivity

shoves these messages to the forefront and

reminds listeners hardcore doesn’t have to be self

deprecating or negative.

Aggressive Positivity is a series of 10 short bursts

of raw punk energy, with a focus on self-betterment,

personal motivation and escaping harmful negative

cycles. It’s all delivered via strained, hopeful screams.

“It occurred to me that maybe people getting

into hardcore now might not necessarily be interested

in the old, positive bands like I was and they

might not even be aware that positive hardcore

is an option for them,” vocalist Mattie Cuvilier explains.

Indeed, there is a massive history of positive

hardcore (posi-core, for those in the know) that includes

bands like 7 Seconds, Gorilla Biscuits, Youth

of Today, Comeback Kid, and many more.

“It doesn’t have to be about suicide, or that

violence is the only answer, it doesn’t have to be a

completely black and white message,” he continues.

“There’s room for discussion, there’s room to

spread messages, there’s room to spread ideas and I

think we want to have that diversity in our messages.”

“The band I was in before had a lot of negative

content and I felt I was just steeping in that,”

Cuvilier reveals.

“We did this big tour, and everyday I was

preaching this negativity. After a while it got me

ROCKPILE

Positive lyricism mashed into raw, cutting hardcore riffs.

thinking about what I’m putting my energy into.

If I’m going to put something out into the world

I should be trying to put my best foot forward

and instead of talking about me at my worst I

should use this music to help aspire to be better.

So, every time we do a Vibes show or when we

jam every week I’m reinforcing those messages

for myself. It’s very therapeutic. It’s very good to

get it out there and do your thing in a positive

way and it’s really helped me move forward since

we’ve started this band.”

by Kennedy Pawluk

photo: Haley Pukanski

Vibes offer up their own spin on a genre that can

be perceived as largely negative; providing refreshing

insight to a community who may seem vexing and

brashly outspoken at times.

“If we get every 20th hardcore fan to be interested

in this message, that’s wicked!”

Aggressive Positivity is out now on Double Lunch

Records and can be streamed at https://vibes780.

bandcamp.com/album/aggressive-positivity! Catch

Vibes at Tubby Dog on June 10 (Calgary).

BEATROUTE • JUNE 2017 | 23


BOOK OF BRIDGE

TAYLOR ACKERMAN’S GLOBAL ACID RESET

touring from the coast to the prairies

Taylor Ackerman built his practice as a musician through a

decade of roots, rock, and pop via Lethbridge bands like

Treeline, Hurtin’, Toques and Beards, and Juxtaposers. Now,

he’s cutting his teeth under the moniker of Taylor Ackerman’s

Global Acid Reset. His sound is profoundly impacted by a recent

move across the country to Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Ackerman moved east last August so his partner could pursue

her master’s degree in sculpture, and he is returning westward to

tour his new music in southern Alberta.

The move to the coast definitely influenced Ackerman’s music.

“The biggest thing is just not being influenced by my social circles

on a weekly basis. I was just jamming with bands, kind of being

submersed in existing projects,” says Ackerman.

“So [here] I was able to just focus on music that I wanted to

make, and I didn’t have to fit it into an existing template, and a

group of people and their playing styles. I was able to approach it

more freely.”

In 2015, Ackerman and his partner had a son, further shifting the

focus of his song writing.

“[My songs are] more personal, and just trying to understand

topics that are kind of consuming me on a daily basis. This idea of

passing forward a civilization to my young son here.”

“You see the potential in a new life,” continues Ackerman.

“There’s been a lot of realizations. I see now how much effort every

parent puts into their child.”

“So having a kid, just topically, it’s no longer just me and a partner

being in love, or me partying... [I am] really kind of focusing on

this existence idea; lessons, choices.” He continues.

“I also wanted to try and focus my writing in a way that’s a bit

more inclusive... Just trying to be more aware of what is our current

social fabric, and what are the things that we’re trying to improve

upon, as far as just allowing people to identify as whatever they

want, what are the common threads, like everyone just wants a

LETHBRIDGE JAZZ AND BLUES FESTIVAL

music for every soul

Mwansa Mwansa performs June 17 at Galt Gardens.

The Lethbridge Jazz and Blues Festival returns

to Lethbridge on June 9 and runs until the

17, boasting an impressive line-up of local

and out of town talent. Spanning across a variety

of venues, the fest offers something for everyone

to groove too in its expanded lineup.

Newfound East Coast charm infused with Albertan flavour.

happy life, and some version of a cherished existence.”

Uprooting his life has forced Ackerman to grow as a musician.

His solo act performs a style of shuffling blues-rock with recognizable

country influences. Occasionally, jazzy, clattering drums will

make an appearance alongside ‘70s prog-rock style organs.

“It’s an interesting music scene, it’s really saturated with a lot of

great players and projects,” observes Ackerman. “There’s so much

opportunity to work with different players out here.”

Although he performs with East Coast players in his new home,

Ackerman will be playing with Lethbridge musicians Cory Fischer

and Matthew Rederburg for his return tour this summer.

“I wanted to just work with musicians who I knew but I hadn’t

worked with yet, cause I think it’s just going to add like a freshness

photo: Denver Lehman

“I love that the Jazz Festival is a thing, I love that

it’s a part of Lethbridge,” says singer and songwriter

Mwansa Mwansa, who will take the stage with her

band at the free event Jazz at the Park on Saturday,

June 17 in Galt Gardens.

Mwansa will be belting out her soulful, original

songs through the flair of R&B, funk, and soul. Other

performers include Hippodrome, Papa King and the

Boogiemen, Rooster Davis Group, and Sandwich.

“Lethbridge really has a little bit of everything,

and just being a part of the festival and getting to see

other performers in the past years has been really

great,” says Mwansa.

“It’s nice to see the support too. It’s nice to see

people come out and want to listen to jazz, or listen

to music that they maybe don’t hear on the radio.”

This year’s festival is packed with stars from the

jazz and blues world. Juno nominated jazz-trumpet

musician Al Muirhead will play a Canada Sessions

series June 16, alongside jazz singer and pianist Laila

Biali and saxophonist Vern Dorge at the Sterndale

Bennett Theatre.

“He’s one of the most respected trumpet players

in Canada,” says Don Robb, Vice President of the

Lethbridge Jazz Society, the non-profit organization

that plans the festival.

“The thing with Al is he’s 81-years-old, so that

speaks to the quality of what you’re going to hear.”

Other highlights for the festival are Lethbridge

based vocalist Anna McBryan, who will lead the

Sweet Inspiration Gospel Jazz performance at Southminster

United Church June 14.

“She’s doing a lot of cruise ship stuff, dueling

pianos, she plays in Las Vegas a lot. But her first love is

gospel; she grew up in the church. So it will be Anna,

with a community choir, and there will be a six or

by Courtney Faulkner

photo: Denise Pezderic

to it,” says Ackerman. “It just felt like an opportunity to mix with

another generation.”

While Ackerman will be based in Halifax for the next couple

years, he says there is a good chance they will return to Lethbridge,

so he’s looking to learn as much as he can so he can return with

newfound knowledge and the all important connections.

“I want to be able to make a couple good connections out here

and be like, ‘Okay guys from the East Coast, if you can get to Alberta

I can help you book a dozen shows,’ and vice-versa.”

Taylor Ackerman’s Global Acid Reset plays Vern’s June 29 (Calgary),

the Owl June 30 (Lethbridge), the Slice July 1 (Lethbridge) and Soul Fest

Music Festival July 7 (Twin Butte).

by Courtney Faulkner

seven piece back-up band.”

This year the festival is celebrating the 50th

Anniversary of the Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens

with a special outdoor performance. The show will

occur under the full moon, with famed jazz guitarist

Nobuki Takamen. That performance will take place

on June 9.

Music history lovers, don’t miss the Lethbridge

Big Band’s performance of Big Bands Through the

Decades on June 15 at the Enmax Centre.

“There’s going to be music from the early 1900’s

right up until today,” says Robb. “From early Duke

Ellington, right up until one of the most popular

big bands of the day the Gordon Goodwin Big

Phat Band.”

This year’s partnership with the Enmax Centre has

also given the festival the capacity to bring in popular

Canadian blues-rock headliner Colin James for the

closing night on June 17.

There will also be a Supper Club Jazz event, where

you can enjoy live music with your meal at participating

local restaurants from June 15 to the 17. An

outdoor afternoon of free live music, food trucks and

fun for the kids at the Enmax Centre occurs on June

16. Finally, there is a free Young Lions Concert, where

student bands perform at The Gate June 9.

The Lethbridge Jazz and Blues Festival runs from June 9

through 17 at a variety of venues. For more details and

to purchase tickets go to www.lethbridgejazzblues.com

24 | JUNE 2017 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE


letters from winnipeg

JOANNE POLLOCK

the strangeness of selfhood

When Toronto transplant Joanne Pollock

moved to Winnipeg two years ago, it inspired

more than just a creative spurt of

tumultuous electronic music. It made her question

her entire sense of self.

On her debut full-length, Stranger, out this

month via Venetian Snares’ own Timesig label, the

electronic artist investigates how new environments

can affect identity.

“When I moved to Winnipeg, which is a very different

city than Toronto, I felt like I had lost a huge piece

of myself…it was almost like I was an extension of my

surroundings. When that was gone, I was completely

lost,” she says by phone during a visit to Toronto.

“Every song is kind of a different element of myself

and an examination of each of these parts of me.”

Opening track, “Carnival,” expounds upon a sense

of “Winnipeg turmoil” that Pollock started to feel

while living in the city.

“So many parts of “Carnival” are parts of conversations

that I had with someone, where I was like ‘I don’t

know if I’m depressed, or if it’s the city, or if it’s me?’

And someone was like ‘Yeah, that’s what it means to

live here,’” she says.

“Living in Winnipeg as a creative person is like

a fight. Manitoba is the most conservative place.

There are so many creative, artistic types, for sure,

but it feels like all of us are in a constant battle with

our surroundings, with the other people that live in

Manitoba—with everything!”

That anxiety resonates on some of the production

of Stranger. Panicky drum patterns are interspersed

with surges of sedating synths and Pollock’s calming

vocals, culminating into a dreamy atmosphere that’s

continually challenging.

An evolution of sounds formed on 2015 EP Optimist,

Pollock’s latest effort reveals an experimentation

that’s become more adventurous and assured.

“I still feel like I’m only beginning with production,”

by Julijana Capone

she says. “I’m always learning new things, and I’m

always learning new ways of doing things.”

Using a drum machine as a compositional

tool to map out different parts of songs, Pollock

also incorporated an array of vintage synths and

software, along with acoustic and vocal samples

for the album. In fact, some of the samples are

interwoven so adeptly they’re often difficult to

distinguish, begging for closer listening (hear or, at

least, try to hear: the disguised guitar samples on

“Expect Me”).

With more time, money, and space than Toronto

could ever allow for, Winnipeg, it would appear, has

been fertile ground for pushing Pollock’s art forward.

“It’s given me the space and time to make really

self-doubting, tumultuous music that Winnipeg tends

to nurture for some reason,” she says.

If anyone understands the complexities of living in

the isolated city, it’s Winnipeg electronic artist Venetian

Snares (a.k.a. Aaron Funk), whose own inner-battles

with the city have played out in his music, and

whom Pollock continues to work with on side project

Poemss. Their ongoing collaboration, she says, has

played an important role in her own technical and

creative development.

“Whenever you’re working with someone, you just

absorb so much of their energy,” Pollock says. “What

I learned from him was his attention to detail…he’ll

go 16 hours working on like 30 seconds of music,

and he’ll do that for five days in a row. Before I was

like ‘OK, this song is done,’ and I just let it out. But he

made me realize that you have to honour your music.

“You have to honour the songs with your time and

you have to dedicate yourself to the music.”

Joanne Pollock performs on June 15 at The Good Will

Social Club (Winnipeg), and on June 24 at The HiFi

Club as part of Sled Island (Calgary). To purchase her

new album, visit joannepollock.bandcamp.com

Pollock explores selfhood on her new LP, Stranger.

photo: Graziana Ciani

ROCKPILE

BEATROUTE • JUNE 2017 | 25


SHONEN KNIFE

rock ’n’ roll adventure forever

by Julijana Capone

photo: Vicente Rondon

The last time Naoko Yamano played in Calgary

may have been in 1994. But it’s a foggy,

distant memory at this point.

“It was a long time ago and I don’t remember so

much,” says Shonen Knife’s affable founder and lead

singer-songwriter/guitarist.

“In these few years, we have had no chance to play

in Canada and I miss it.”

After a lengthy hiatus from touring the Great

White North, she says she’s keen on seeing her Canadian

fans and “having a great moment together.”

She adds, “I’m looking forward to eating delicious

food, too.”

In Shonen Knife’s 36 years of rocking and pioneering,

what has remained unchanged is their regard for

adorable, lighthearted rock about having fun! fun!

fun! and, of course, tasty grub.

Nearly four decades after forming in Osaka,

Japan and 19 albums later, the Shonen Knife

legacy lives on, though in a new incarnation. As

the band’s members grew up, became wives and

mothers; priorities shifted and, over time, the

original lineup did as well.

Naoko’s younger sister, Atsuko, also a founding

member of the power trio, left the band in 2006 after

getting married and moving to Los Angeles. She still

plays bass on their North American dates with new

members Ritsuko Taneda and Naru Ishizuka rotating

on bass duties for dates in Japan. Risa Kawano (also

of Japanese punk band Brinky) is the group’s current

drummer.

For the Yamano sisters, rock ‘n’ roll has been both

a way of life and business. But it’s one that may not

endure another generation. Naoko’s now 16-year-old

daughter, Emma, has less interest in carrying on her

family’s musical torch. “

She is kind of shy,” says Naoko. “She doesn’t like

rock ‘n’ roll. She prefers anime and art.”

Adventure, Shonen Knife’s latest effort from 2016,

is an amalgamation of where they’ve been and where

they’re headed. Opener “Jump into the New World”

is sprinkled with characteristic hook-heavy pop-rock

sweetness, while “Wasabi” is a cutsie ode to the spicy

green paste that offers some pairing advice: “I like the

pungent taste. Good match with roast beef. I like the

pungent taste. Don’t you agree with me?”

Yes, we do.

Elsewhere, “Rock ’n’ roll T-shirt” and “Calabash”

deliver some hefty ‘70s-influneced riffage—an era

and sound that’s been of particular interest to Naoko,

of late.

“I think that ‘70s is the best era of rock ‘n’ roll

music,” she says.

“Rock was born in ‘50s, grow up in ‘60s, and

completed in ‘70s. I didn’t notice when l only listened

to punk-pop, because I was too young.”

Any favourite Canucks during that period of rock?

The Canadian kings of prog, evidently.

“I love Rush a lot,” she says. “I often listen to their

albums in our tour van.”

Nevertheless, it was American proto-punks the

Ramones that provided the biggest influence on

their own infectious, bare-bones tunes early on; they

even released a tribute album in 2011, called Osaka

Ramones, which is also the name of their cover band

side project.

In ‘98, during the Ramones’ farewell tour in Osaka,

they had a chance to meet their rock ‘n’ roll heroes. It

was an encounter Naoko still remembers clearly.

“We opened up for the Ramones two days and

covered one song per a night,” she says. “Joey said

that our cover was excellent. Ramones is my longtime

idol and I was so happy. After show, we went to

Hard Rock Cafe in Osaka with them. They were kind

and gentlemen.”

But the Ramones weren’t the only ones to be

won over by Shonen Knife’s endearing qualities.

They made adoring fans of, and formed friendships

with, the who’s who of the indie rock scene in the

‘80s and ‘90s.

The late Kurt Cobain is famously quoted as saying

that he was “transformed into a hysterical nine-yearold

girl at a Beatles concert” after seeing them live,

and asked the band to join Nirvana on tour through

the U.K. in 1991. A few years earlier, a myriad of bands

like Sonic Youth, L7, and Redd Kross covered their

tunes for the 1989 tribute album, Every Band Has A

Shonen Knife.

Despite time and distance, they still manage to

keep in touch with some of the artists that supported

them all those years ago.

“Jeff [McDonald] from Redd Kross came to our

show several times in Los Angeles, and I went to their

in-store show a few years ago,” Naoko says.

After 36 years of rock ‘n’ roll adventures, time has

flown by faster than the frontwoman cares to admit.

“I never look back and I didn’t notice such a long

time has passed,” Naoko says.

“Anyway, keep on rocking is the best!”

Shonen Knife perform at the Royal Canadian Legion

#1 on June 23 as part of Sled Island. For more information

on Shonen Knife and to purchase their latest

album, visit shonenknife.net.

ROCKPILE

BEATROUTE • JUNE 2017 | 27


JAPAN TAKES SLED ISLAND

unprecedented, coincidental surge of Nippon artists in Calgary

Pop-punk, post-rock, garage-rock, ambient and club music. That’s Japan at Sled Island.

An emerging theme of Sled Island 2017 is

Japanese artists on the lineup. Real talk:

that means at least five acts, and that’s just

the ones that BeatRoute is aware of. It’s more Japanese

bands than you’d ever see in a landlocked,

Canadian, prairie city during any other given week.

We’ll start by taking a brief look at the artists with

the longest careers and then hone in on the young,

emerging Japanese talent at Sled.

Three of these artists speak for themselves:

our cover story on Shonen Knife was a no-brainer

based on their idiosyncratic infamy, MONO

belong as high in the post-rock canon as past

performers Mogwai and Godspeed You! Black

Emperor, and Guitar Wolf are simply one of the

most caustic live bands on Earth.

Yet there’s more than an exciting listening experience

to be explored by these veteran artists. Each

of these three exemplify how Japanese artists both

respond to and deviate from genres incubated in

western countries.

Pop-punk’s angsty self-importance is skewered

by Shonen Knife’s giddy approach. MONO actually

earns a sublime atmosphere without resorting to the

primordial contrast of the quiet-loud-quiet dynamic

of post-rock. Guitar Wolf will literally light your ears

on fire with their energy rather than posture and

aestheticize destruction.

Because we were unable to interview Guitar Wolf,

here are a few key points that should let you know

what you’re in for. Guitar Wolf sit at the intersection

of garage-rock, punk and noise music, using

distortion and blistering tempos as tactile weapons

upon the senses. Self-describing as “jet rock ‘n’ roll,”

the band is celebrating three decades of existence this

year. They’ve produced 11 studio albums, with the

most recent (the amusingly titled T-Rex from a Tiny

Space Yojouhan) having been released in 2016. Their

brand of no-holds-barred rock and roll has long been

complemented by imagery like machine guns, the

roar of jet engines and the timelessly cool combination

of black sunglasses, leather jackets and motorcycles.

Perhaps that’s what led the band to one of

their most-cited pieces of trivia: they’ve starred in two

completely bonkers sci-fi B-movies. As a band that’s

notorious for brutalist simplicity, they must be doing

something right to capture this level of fascination.

As for the remaining two artists, we must pivot to

by Colin Gallant

the world of electronic composition: polar opposite

ends of it, in fact.

Maria Takeuchi is a Brooklyn-based composer of

synthaestic ambient works. Her compositions crest

upon the shores of visualization, a place where you

can hear the smell of low tide, smell the sound of

dawn breaking on sand dunes. An avant-garde, minimalist

composer with a background in playing bass,

Takeuchi is also a visual artist of note. Ambient works

are hard to put into verbiage, but a shorthand for her

stature might be her contribution to the work As•-

phyx•i•a, where she applied her multi-sensory instinct

to a piece involving music, film, choreography and 3D

rendering. With media arts (EMMEDIA, PARTICLE +

WAVE) and ambient music (Shaking Box recordings,

musicians like Valiska and Yankee Yankee) being a

focus point in Calgary, it’ll be interesting to see how

Takeuchi co-mingles during the festival.

Then there’s starRo, who definitely knows how

to turn a fucking club up. Currently based in San

Francisco, the Dirty Bird-signee is a welcome comfort

of club prowess at the Hifi Club. Dealing primarily in

the funky, bass-driven productions, he’s one of the

most party-ready acts of the festival, let alone among

the biggest club killers hailing from Japan.

Whether you’re looking for talent from the world

of rock or electronic music, there’s something available

for you at this year’s Sled Island.

Shonen Knife, MONO, Guitar Wolf, Maria Takeuchi

and starRo are performing on various dates throughout

the festival. Sled Island runs June 21 until June 25.

MONO

can’t get no satisfaction

Trade-specialists when it comes to splitting

subatomic particles of sound, Tokyo’s Mono

(stylized as MONO) is no stranger to the

polyharmonic era of post-rock dissonance. Equalparts

pleasure and art-house, the innovative commune

of musicians has been generating massive

volumes of their unique sonic philosophy since

the end of the last century. According to founding

member Takaakira “Taka” Goto (electric guitar,

glockenspiel) approaching music from a position

of humility and reflection is Mono’s gateway to

producing mindful music.

“For me, a composition is a process of going deep

inside of my heart. I pull out a bright, shining, soullike

inspiration from the dark abyss, and construct

them into songs,” explains Taka.

“It’s an important process to continue to remain

true to myself, and by getting saved by my own songs,

it assures me that it’s ok for me to continue to live

and there is a reason for me to continue to be who

I am. By writing down all those feelings into songs,

there is this definite feeling that you can sympathize

with all the people in the world through our music.”

The curiosity stirred by the spores of Mono’s early

emanations, Under the Pipal Tree (2001) and One

Step More and You Die (2002) rapidly mushroomed

under the Temporary Residence Ltd. Record label,

resulting in a heavy and heavenly run of releases;

“I think music is a gift from God. I want to portray core human natures.”

Walking Cloud and Deep Red Sky, Flag Fluttered

and the Sun Shined (2004), You Are There (2006)

and later Hymn to the Immortal Wind (2009). An

earthshaking live album, Holy Ground: NYC Live

With The Wordless Music Orchestra, followed in

2010 and in October 2016 Mono revealed their latest

(and perhaps most ambitious) creation to date, the

symphonic Requiem for Hell.

“I have always been hugely inspired by classical

photo: Mitja Kobal

music’s deep spirituality that composers like

Beethoven and Mahler had been portraying from

back in the day. It’s been my lifelong wish to make

them co-exist them with Rock music’s big energy

and destructiveness,” Taka explains. “I have actually

never learned music properly in my life. Whenever

I compared myself to some of the other great composers

in history, I have never felt truly satisfied

with my own process. But I noticed something

by Christine Leonard

one day. I think that kind of incompleteness is my

true originality. I think this kind of originality is the

most important thing.”

Interweaving metallic technicality and lyrical

humanity into one undulating flesh fractal is child’s

play compared to standing out in a city with 6,224

people per km2 . Fortunately, Taka and bandmates,

Hideki “Yoda” Suematsu (electric guitar, glockenspiel),

Tamaki Kunishi (bass guitar, electric guitar,

piano, glockenspiel), and Yasunori Takada (drum kit,

glockenspiel, synthesizer) have learned to dive below

the surface to liberate the immortal muse within the

machine.

“I’m personally more drawn towards things that

you can’t see, rather than things you can see. I think

music is a gift from God. I want to portray core human

natures, such as light and darkness, and life and

death through our music. Every time I write for an

album, I always try to do something new and grow,

instead of repeating what I have done in the past. This

is an interesting feeling. It almost feels like creating

a great cathedral over my lifetime... I want our show

to be an emotional turning point of life, almost like

gaining a new life experience through our music after

witnessing our show.”

MONO perform on Friday, June 23 at Central United

Church as a part of Sled Island.

28 | JUNE 2017 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE


WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM

out of the ashes

“We aim to create an immersive atmosphere…. The everyday ‘monkey mind’ is put aside for a while…”

ROCKPILE

by Christine Leonard

It’s been five long years since black metal shapeshifters Wolves in the

Throne Room last wrapped the stage in their dark embrace. Ending their

half-decade hiatus with a tour of Europe and the East Coast of the U.S.,

the Cascadian metal act have proven as surefooted as ever in their return

thanks to the natural healing powers of the verdant Pacific Northwest.

“All of us need a bit of time to rest and recuperate, and gather energy

and inspiration,” explains drummer/bassist/synth-player Aaron Weaver.

“For my part, that meant walking in the woods every day and go swimming

in the salt water as much as possible. I’ve come to realize that if your

life is a fire that has everything in it then music is just the leftovers. So, it’s

important to me to spend time really living life in order to really play our

music from the heart instead of just going through the motions.”

Steadfast in refusing to be driven by materialism or the need to observe

genre-prescribed iconography, Wolves in the Throne Room have traveled

many miles since the appearance of their debut album Diadem of 12 Stars

(2006). Subsequent releases on Southern Lord Records, including Two

Hunters (2007) and Black Cascade (2009), aided in winning ominous repute

for the band’s turbulent heavy metal epics. Elementally bonded through

the sacred vibrations of Washington’s wildness to his spiritual-brother

guitarist-vocalist Kody Keyworth and his biological brother (who is also the

band’s lead vocalist-guitarist, Nathan Weaver), Aaron believes in bringing

a little piece of heaven on Earth to every Wolves in the Throne Room

appearance.

“It’s super important for us that the music emanates from a place. It emanates

from our home. That the thing that first attracted me to Scandinavian

black metal. It seemed so clear to me that such music could arise from

no other landscape than a wild, and rocky, and forlorn, and cold northern

landscape. And I love music that is stamped with the imprint of the land it

comes from. It’s just a beautiful thing to me when the artists are specifically

calling upon the spirit of the landscape to animate the music,” he explains.

“When we travel, it’s our intention to bring that spirit with us, which we

do by burning cedar or sage, and by literally bringing objects from home

to carry that energy, and actively trying to conjure the sprits that inform

our music. Our music comes out of an interaction with Spirit; the spirit of

the salmon or the spirit of the cedar tree. These totemic spirits that are so

powerful here, where we live. And, it’s my hope to be able to share some of

that magic with the people who come to see our shows.”

The mystical outfit’s fifth studio album Celestial Lineage (2011) saw

the Weaver brothers drowning nascent folk and punk influences in a

soul-scouring doom undercurrent. Launched in 2014 under their own label

Artemisia Records, the follow-up album Celestite, was an ambient-synth

experiment born of the lupine clan’s desire to return to the cavernous

realms of their previous LP in drone form. Following their intuition, the

band of brothers has recently adopted two new (touring) pack members,

who share their monastic regard for yoga and vegetarianism, generating a

fresh outlook on the practice of spreading their proverbial ashes.

“The biggest change we’ve got is three guitars on stage now, which

makes a huge difference. In the past our sound has been somewhat stripeddown

and a bit raw, and we’re really excited perform a more fully-realized

live sound,” says Weaver.

“The person who’s going to be playing guitar with us is a really old friend

of ours named, Peregrine Somerville (Sadhaka). We also have an amazing

woman, Brittany McConnell, from the Idaho band Wolf Serpent, playing

keyboards and doing additional percussion.”

According to Weaver, audiences can (still) expect to join Wolves in the

Throne Room on a cathartic and exhausting journey through heartbreak

and triumph. George R.R. would certainly approve!

“We aim to create an immersive atmosphere, which means the everyday

‘monkey mind’ is put aside for a while, and we can just be fully in the present

with the music, and give ourselves space to be surprised by the what

feelings will emerge and what visions will arise. It’s a situation where space

and time are going to be torn open. People may be inspired to go wild.

There’s possession that occurs and that’s understandable and desirable.”

Wolves in the Throne Room perform at Dickens on June 23 during Sled Island.

BEATROUTE • JUNE 2017 | 29


DAUGHTERS

grind, noise, art-rock — but always a car crash

There aren’t that many bands out there that can be accused

of having a “cult” following. Bands are supposed to have

fans, as in “fanatics,” and a much larger coterie of people

who just enjoy their music, but not cults. Cults are all fanatics,

with no middle ground.

Daughters are a cult band, as much as The Shaggs or The

Residents—from the outside a queasy mix of art-grindcore and,

later in their career, noise-pop in which the pop sounds like early

Nick Cave.

Beginning life in Providence, Rhode Island after the break-up

of current members Alexis Marshall and Jon Syverson’s more

straightforward grindcore band As The Sun Sets, Daughters

released Canada Songs. It twisted the grind template while

retaining its sub one-minute song lengths. 2006’s Hell Songs was

subtler: the singing was clean and songs sometime broke the

two-minute mark. They followed this with Daughters two years

later, but by then the rot had set in.

“I got sober,” singer Alexis Marshall says, “and it just seemed that

it would be better for my life to walk away… the other three felt

that this was a temporary thing and we’ll have an indefinite hiatus,

and then there was quite a bit more fighting. It was pretty messy.”

Years later, a long-time fan and collaborator got the band back

together for a one-off show in Providence. They “more or less

picked up where (they’d) left off” and that gets us to today, when

the band are stable for the first time in a long time and working

on new material.

They hit the studio last year, but the songs they came out with

weren’t up to their standards. Marshall calls them “unfinished,”

and expects to have them and therefore a fourth Daughters

album done by the end of the year.

Daughters are accidentally still a band, and we couldn’t be more thankful.

The songs won’t return to the band’s grindcore roots, he

says, but continue the march into maturity that started on Hell

Songs and continued on Daughters, when the high-end squall

that characterizes math-rock was replaced by a fuller, less discordant

sound.

“We’re just a car-wreck made of flesh, and we’re battling each

by Gareth Watkins

other at all times,” says Marshall.

“The windshield’s smashed and the tires are shot off and we’re

at the edge of the road looking at each other and saying ‘we’re

going to make it, this is going to happen.’”

Daughters play Dickens as part of Sled Island on June 24.

UNIFORM

Sacred Bones signees navigate extreme music through The Clash and neo-classical

Uniform’s brand of ugliness is timely and tireless.

Cgsjusjjsymu6asjmuj—That’s me head-butting the

keyboard and that’s the closest I can get to summarizing

Uniform’s music in a word. It’s not that

there aren’t heavier, harder-hitting bands out there—

there’s all of grindcore, powerviolence and war-metal—but

that there’s something about the New York

duo’s pummeling industrial-hardcore that is all the more

powerful for its clarity and singular focus.

“Our music is incredibly loud and very repetitive”, says

guitarist Ben Greenberg, “we’re generally just looking

for new sounds within a very narrow framework.​ We

reconfigure our entire process every time we sit down to

make a new record, the most important thing is for us to

be challenging ourselves at every step.”

Their latest reconfiguration has produced Wake In

Fright, a record with song titles like “Night of Fear” and

“The Killing of America” (if those sound like the titles of

‘80s VHS exploitation movies, that’s because they are). It

was released on Sacred Bones, a taste-making label that’s

already hosted some goth-inflected singer-songwriters

(Zola Jesus, Marissa Nadler) and industrial-adjacent experimentalists

(Pharmakon, Blanck Mass), but for whom

Uniform are the first band that would fit as snugly at

Maryland Death Fest as they would at a Bushwick loft

show.

Over interview they’re surprisingly laid back for a band

that describe their lyrical themes as: “​Loss of friends,

loved ones, identity, self control​. Constant, unpreventable,

total loss.” They may sound like an unholy amalgam

by Gareth Watkins

of Big Black, Godflesh, Slayer, Whitehouse and Killing

Joke, but vocalist Michael Berdan, according to his bandmate

“loves The Clash.”

“It’s kinda weird. I mean I think they’re alright but he

loves ‘em.​ Walks around singing ‘Lost In The Supermarket’

everywhere he goes,” recalls Greenberg. He also cites

composer and sound artist Ellen Arkbro as a possible

future influence, so their next album may sound less

Cgsjusjjsymu6asjmuj and more aaaaaaahhhhhh.

It’s not hard to understand Greenberg’s ambivalence

to The Clash and interest in the sound art of new music:

he’s also an avant-garde player in his own right, performing

longform, often-improvised compositions under the

name Hubble (one such set will occur at Sled Island).

Where Uniform is vicious and direct, Hubble is removed

and contemplative. Greenberg’s output between the two

have little in common sonically but each balances out

the other.

Back to Uniform, Wake In Fright may be—much like

Big Black—a series of portraits of losers and loners at the

fringes of American society, but it feels timely. The video

for “The Killing of America” just syncs up a map of police

shootings with the song’s punishing drum beat; hardly

subtle, but then neither is having a shady game show

host be the American president. 2017 might not deserve

a soundtrack, but in Uniform its found one.

Uniform play at The Palomino on June 23, while Greenberg

will showcase Hubble the night before at the King Eddy.

30 | JUNE 2017 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE


CLOUD NOTHINGS

life without sound

BeatRoute BC checked in with Cloud Nothings in January of this year. We’re

re-running that story for our Albertan readers ahead of the band’s set at

Sled Island. Some time-specific questions have been adjusted to reflect the

present.

With their fifth album, Life without Sound, released a day after

the start of their tour, which has already taken the band

through North America and Europe, Cleveland-based punk

rockers Cloud Nothings have had a busy 2017. In between practicing

for the tour and doing ordinary stuff like grocery shopping, lead singer

and guitarist Dylan Baldi explained how the latest album is just another

step in the evolution of their music for the band.

“We try to purposefully change with every record, I don’t think any one

WAVVES

taking a bow on their own terms

ROCKPILE

by Christina Zimmer

of us is interested in doing the same thing twice. So we got a little heavier

for a while, then the heavy stuff started to get kind of boring, so now we’re

kind of making things that are a little more structured,” he says. “This record

was more just influenced by trying to write better songs, just trying to become

a songwriter that I would have liked to listen to on my own basically,

without thinking about other bands, just thinking about what we’d done in

the past and how to improve on it.”

It’s an ambitious goal, especially considering the fact that the previous

two albums, Here and Nowhere Else (2014) and Attack on Memory (2012)

both received “Best New Music” status on Pitchfork. However, their sound

has indeed matured and come to be more sophisticated. It’s still loud but

more melodic, which becomes especially apparent in the vocals and guitars

while the songs are underpinned by the prominent, rapid and powerful

beat of drummer Jayson Gerycz. Lyrically, Life Without Sound has a recurring

theme around ceding to be somewhat insular and isolated and trying

to open up to the world.

“I like to be alone but I do think it’s important maybe to not necessarily

rely solely on that and be a little more out and about in the world and do

positive things,” Baldi says.

The album was recorded with producer John Goodmanson (Sleater

Kinney, Death Cab for Cutie) at Sonic Ranch in El Paso, TX, where the band

got to hang out in a beautiful part of the desert eating tacos. The recording

only took three weeks, due to the fact that they showed up prepared. “We

practiced a lot in this shitty little practice space that smelled like gasoline.

We were ready.”

With the amount of records released by now, Baldi feels the band has a

good mix of numbers for them to pick and choose from for every gig. That

makes them armed and ready for their show at Sled Island.

Cloud Nothings play the Royal Canadian Legion #1 on June 21, presented

by BeatRoute.

The latest Wavves record You’re Welcome is a departure from

their garage and pop-punkish earlier work, featuring borderline

disturbing samples and constant surprises like “Come to the Valley,”

a song that evokes a carnival on an acid trip. The album still sounds

like the band we know them to be, takes more risks than a major label

would have ever allowed.

You’re Welcome is the first Wavves album released on Ghost Ramp,

frontman Nathan Williams’ record label.

Although Williams created Wavves as an individual project in 2008,

bassist Stephen Pope has been involved with the band since 2009. Pope

says the band is enjoying the freedom of being independent compared to

being signed with Warner Bros. Records.

“We didn’t have to get approved before we put it out. With Warner,

we had to submit the album and they would be like, ‘oh, I think the

tracklisting should be like this.’ It’s exactly how we wanted it to be. Had

we been on a different label, they might have been skeptical about

some of the oddball songs.”

So far, You’re Welcome is one of the band’s highest rated albums on

Metacritic. The recording process involved each band member working

individually before figuring out how to piece together the good ideas.

“We made a conscious effort to not make every song like a rock song.

We wanted to base a lot of them on loops and beats. This one was a little

more fun because we had to get out of our comfortable element and play

different styles.”

While a lot of material didn’t make the final cut, including a handful of

hardcore-influenced tracks similar to “No Shade,” Pope says we’ll get to

hear some of it eventually.

Other than turning vegans into sushi lovers in celebration of new al-

by Paul McAleer

bums, Pope says his favourite aspect of touring is the second they step out

on stage, the place he credits most of his exercise to.

“We’ve been fortunate to have really good fans, they’re really energetic.

Most of the time they’re younger than we are and have more energy. I

think we feed off each other’s energy… It’s pretty fun to watch a little kid

who’s never been to a show try to stage dive and hopefully get caught.

Sometimes they do it wrong and they go headfirst and just end up belly

flopping to the ground.”

Wavves plays The Palace Theatre on June 22 as part of Sled Island. You’re

Welcome is out now.

TISPUR

return with debut album

Samwise Carlson began playing music at age 10 and

was already doing open mics in the Boise, ID, music

scene by age 18. Perhaps fittingly, there’s a child-like

sense of fantasy and innocence in their output as Tispur.

Fresh off the release of debut album Sleepy Creature, Tispur

spoke to BeatRoute about the record and a particularly

bumpy tour.

BeatRoute: The songs on Sleepy Creature sound as if

they are set in a dream. Where did that come from?

Samwise Carlson: I was homeschooled most of my life, and just

read a lot of fantasy books and immersed myself in fantasy in

general, so I definitely drew a lot of inspiration from that while

writing all of the music. I also listen to a lot of Joanna Newsom,

and dream-folk songwriters like that. I aim to write music that’s

like a pillow and a blanket—really comfy and magical. I also

lyrically want to talk about real stuff: I’ve kind of been digging

the term magic realism lately.

I think the overall aim is just like a comfortable, sleepy creature….

Thinking about it, I actually really miss being a child,

being really enwrapped in this magical world that I was living in

where I was just reading fantasy books all of the time and the

innocence of it.

BR: Do you mainly figure out your sounds through

experimentation, or do you have a clear idea in your

head of what you want to create?

SC: Most of the accompaniment and the post mixing I just kind

of figured out on the spot through experimenting. I’ve been

recording for a few years and my favorite part is recording something

and then adding stuff to it… My recording mate Brett

[Nicholas Hawkins] toned me down a bit. We just kind of made

it minimalistic because I would’ve gone wild [making additions].

BR: What has it been like seeing your debut album

come together?

SC: It’s been awesome, I mean I feel really relieved and I feel

good to have something out there now and I can kind of

move on from it and create more music. I’ve been writing a

lot lately so I’m excited to work on another thing but I also

realize I just released it, so I do feel an obligation to continue

to play those songs.

Tispur performs on June 21 at the King Eddy and on June 23 at

The Palomino.

• by Juliana Rock and Colin Gallant

BEATROUTE • JUNE 2017 | 31


SLEDMONTON 2017

smashing the patriarchy one siren song and fart at a time

by Brittany Rudyck

Hood Joplin Feed Dogs I Hate Sex photos: Levi Manchak

Edmonton musicians are very good at carving out a space for

themselves by putting their hearts – and farts – very openly on

the line. In the spirit of caring and flatulence sharing, BeatRoute

Edmonton sat down with a cross-section of hard working (and

hilarious) bands and asked them a few lighthearted (read: ridiculous)

questions ahead of their performances at Sled Island. Among

them were indie rock act Bad Buddy, queer sludge trio Truster, punk

band Feminal Fluids, rap DJ Hood Joplin, pop-punkers Feed Dogs,

and screamo favourites I Hate Sex. Our nonsensical conversation is

reiterated below.

BeatRoute: Who are you?

Feminal Fluids: We are three vegan feminist punks out to destroy the

patriarchy through song, sweat and farts.

Bad Buddy: Bad Buddy A.K.A. The Best Band in the World.

Feed Dogs: We are Feed Dogs, a pop-punk band from Edmonton.

Hood Joplin: Millwood’s finest. I DJ and make beats.

I Hate Sex: Hi! I am Nicole Boychuk! I do vocals in and manage the band

I Hate Sex. I also book shows with Good Grief Collective amongst many,

many, many other things.

Brunch Club: I’m Ellen! I’m the bass player/vocalist for Brunch Club (a

jangle pop band) and I write the songs!

Truster: Stacy, Jade and Tanisha. We play scary doom.

BR: What is the wildest thing you’ve experienced at Sled

Island? Alternatively, if this is your first Sled experience, what

kind of story do you think you’d be telling us after the festival?

Bad Buddy: After we rescued seven baby goslings from burning in that

horrible fire and defeated the Demogorgon in the upside-down, we

celebrated by crushing a full cube of Pilsner each at the award ceremony

for our bravery.

Feed Dogs: The wildest thing I can remember happening at Sled Island is

seeing Stacy flip over her handlebars on her bicycle, breaking her finger,

then playing guitar in like a million shows the next day.

Hood Joplin: Last year we met up with Lucy at the top of the Calgary

Tower and she showed us a good time. We said what up to Cakes Da

Killa, did our thing, then saw his show at the end of the night - very full

circle. Very nice time.

I Hate Sex: The wildest thing I have experience at Sled Island was the

show we played in 2015. Pissed Jeans was a secret headliner at Tubby

Dog, and there was probably double the capacity in the venue. People,

limbs and beer were everywhere. It was the best energy, Pissed Jeans

finished their set, the band started packing up, and the vocalist remained

running around the room. I am hoping this year brings more stories.

BR: If you were to curate your own festival, what kind of artists

might we see there?

Feminal Fluids: Naturally we would curate a feminist Helloween festival

with haunted tampons and return of the drain hair - you’d likely see as

many ladies as we could get on stage playing, speaking about and doing

whatever makes them shine.

Bad Buddy: Everyone who died in 2016 and Beyoncé.

Feed Dogs: Oh gosh. Honestly, seeing King Woman & Waxahatchee this

year is pretty unreal, and previous Sled Island’s have had some real bucket

list kind of bands like Hot Snakes, Screaming Females, Chelsea Wolfe

and North of America to name a few. Our dream festival might include

New Order, basements full of queer punk all day long and Prince.

I Hate Sex: Jawbreaker, Los Campesinos!, Dangers, The National, Drake

and I Hate Sex (duh).

BR: Guest curator Flying Lotus sometimes goes by his alias,

Captain Murphy. If you had a nickname, or you do, what’s the

reason behind it or what would it be and why?

Feminal Fluids: In the fashion of good old punks of lore we do actually

have nicknames. Smellin’ Degenerates, Vulveeta Cheez and Ella Clitsgerald.

Bad Buddy: We once covered our friends’ band, The Denim Daddies,

and were known as Mom Jeans.

Brunch Club: All my dude friends call me Allen for some reason. It

started when one of my friends got really drunk and started yelling “fuck

off Allen” into my ear when I was trying to pass out drunk on the couch.

It’s just kinda caught on, and now whenever I’m in an offensively platonic

friendship I get called Allen. I haven’t got a clue why.

Truster: Something to do with bugs. Something gross.

BR: Flying Lotus got his start partially due to contributions on

Adult Swim. If your band were to star in a TV show or contribute

music to one, which one would you choose?

Feminal Fluids: Anything that comes from the deepest and darkest

parts of Tim & Eric’s brains. When our music video is released, there

might be a few spots (namely in the bathroom) where we drew inspiration

from those cute little pervs.

Bad Buddy: The Simpsons.

Feed Dogs: Jordan would like our music to be featured in Star Trek

because he thinks that Klingons would be like, “Feed Dogs are better in

the original Klingon.”

Hood Joplin: If I could star in a show it’d be Broad City (laughs)! Or my

own show: It’d be a sketch nature show like ‘HJ Thru the Woods’ and I’d

take you through the woods and we’d “run into” surprise guests to join

us on our adventure through nature. It’d be corny, breaking the fourth

wall and all that.

I Hate Sex: Oh boy, this is a great question. If Daria had a 2017 comeback,

I think Daria & Jane would be really into I Hate Sex and wouldn’t

need to go to Mystic Spiral shows anymore.

Truster: Roseanne.

BR: Tubby Dog got quite a few mentions in our Sledmonton

feature a few years back. Since Edmonton seems to love hot

dogs so much, what kind of toppings would you put on your

dog? No limitations!

Feminal Fluids: Jalapeños poached in wrung out sock bouillon, sprinkled

with our finest bed crumbs and topped with julienne tampon on

top of the world’s most mediocre veggie dog.

Bad Buddy: Take a hotdog and marinate in hot sauce. Shove it through

the centre of eight carnival-style mini donuts. Cover it in gold.

Feed Dogs: Honestly, it’s just mustard.

Hood Joplin: I’d rep the motherland and throw some chutney and ginger

slices on that. Ya. No pork on the fork though. Swine is lethal.

I Hate Sex: I’m pretty classic. My Top Dog would be mustard, ketchup,

Cheez Whiz, onions, and maybe some chili and jalapenos.

Brunch Club: I love the Captain Crunch and [peanut butter and jelly]

dog and if that’s sick and twisted then so be it.

Truster: Jade likes a clean dog. Tanisha and Stacy don’t eat meat but

Tanisha doesn’t live in Edmonton anymore and no longer feels obligated

to pretend to like hot dogs.

In addition to these performers, Edmonton will be represented at Sled

Island 2017 by TEETH, Marlaena Moore, Faith Healer, Altameda, Gender

Poutine, Pigeon Breeders and more! Visit www.sledisland.com to learn

their time slots.

32 | JUNE 2017 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE


HOMETOWN HEROES

words and photos by Jodi Brak, unless indicated

36? : A band of local boys that take a psych-pop aesthetic and turn the volume

up to 11 with their off-the-wall jams. 36? will be playing on Thursday, June 22 at 9

p.m. at The Palace Theatre and Saturday, June 24 at 1 p.m. at Broken City.

Chron Goblin: What do you get when you mix the slow burn of stoner

friendly shoegaze with the sonic fury of heavy metal? Chron Goblin,

that’s what you get. Fresh off of their European tour, Chron Goblin

brings the noise to Sled Island on Thursday, June 22 at 12:30 a.m. at The

Palomino.

Citysleep: Mixing the ethereal sounds of dreamy pop hooks with

the stark reality of modern hip hop, Citysleep will put your head

into a waking dream state, both haunting and beautiful. Catch

their ethereal mix on Wednesday, June 21 at 10 p.m. at The HiFi

Club.

Crystal Eyes: Despite tracing their roots to the East and West extremes of the

country, Crystal Eyes have crafted something distinctly Calgarian, a soundtrack to

sweltering summer days played at the same pace as a float down the Bow River.

Catch them on Wednesday, June 21 at 9 p.m. at the Royal Canadian Legion #1

and on Friday, June 23 at 9:30 p.m. at Ship & Anchor.

Dirges: Some call it noise, some call it experiential art. By using mixed

recorded sounds to create a mosaic of ambient noise, Jack Sinclaire of

Dirges patches together plenty of humming, beeping and groaning

low-grade texture to create a sonic experience. Check it out Thursday,

June 22 at 7:30 p.m. at the refurbished King Edward Hotel.

Lab Coast: Imagine a band that actually makes the kind of music

you would hear in Coke commercial. Upbeat and groovy rhythms

mix with surreal and sunny pop melodies, with a bit of melancholy

thrown into the lyrics to balance it all out. You can see them live

on Thursday, June 22 at midnight at the Nite Owl and on Friday,

June 23 at 8 p.m. in the Local 510 parking lot.

Soft Cure: Soft Cure injects elements of performance

art into the bedroom pop genre with theatrics, seeking

to provoke questions concerning gender roles and

childhood tropes. It’s a pop-friendly way to interrogate

human identity that you can check out on Tuesday, June

20 at 9 p.m. at Commonwealth. The band also performs

on Wednesday, June 21 at 6 p.m. at The Palomino

Smokehouse & Bar.

ROCKPILE

Sinzere: Where the beats meet the blues,

you’ll find Sinzere. Moving effortlessly

between 12 bar rhythms and fresh verses

with funky flow, the music of Sinzere brings

together old-timey blues fans of hip hop

aficionados under the same roof. Catch

it live on Saturday, June 24 at 5:30 p.m. at

Broken City.

FOONYAP: With classical training and no shying

away from a dramatic performance, FOO-

NYAP has captivated audiences across Canada

with her latest album, Palimpsest. Mixing inspiration

from classical music, traditional Chinese

music and the ever-growing modern pop scene,

you can see her live on Friday, June 23 at 2 p.m.

at The Palomino and on Saturday, June 24 at 7

p.m. at the Studio Bell Performance Hall.

The Shiverettes: Feminist driven punk rock that won’t quit until

the patriarchy does. The Shiverettes are a staple of the Calgary

punk rock scene, delivering up-beat, high tempo music that will

move you to moshing in a matter of minutes. See them on Thursday,

June 22 at 10 p.m. at The Good Life Community Bicycle Shop.

BEATROUTE • JUNE 2017 | 33


TYVEK

victory lap seven years in the making

Tyvek believes in the power of simplicity.

Inspired by broken gear, cold attics, friendship and a vindictive

cat, Tyvek is a Detroit born punk band that presents a new

angle on the genre. Instead of the typical angst taken from

the calamity of the world they live in, the five use the quirks of

everyday life to inspire their music. That said if you ask them, they

don’t like to classify themselves as anything.

“Genre is a made up thing, and genre boundaries are always being

pushed,” says guitarist and songwriter Kevin Boyer.

LAND OF TALK

what has percolated, what has changed, what hasn’t

by Jackie Klapak

Their live shows have been dubbed surprising and unpredictable

as the band aims to get the entire crowed absorbed in the

wild abandon of a ripping show. Driven by the natural powers of

music and a desire to empower others, Tyvek utilizes lo-fi vocals

and aggressive guitar. With garage-punk anthems reminiscent of

Parquet Courts and Jay Reatard, every track preaches ideals of

self-love and self-actualization.

“[We like to present] people living for themselves and achieving

possibilities. We want to present that in everything we do; not just

with lyrics,” says Boyer.

From starting in a cold attic, to performing on larger stages, Boyer

says it all started with just finding room and the feeling of “trying to

get something right.” Their motivation can be described as individual

creativity being collectively harnessed through the power of music.

This year marks Tyvek’s second appearance at Sled Island. Since

the first appearance back in 2010, Tyvek has released an “infinitesimal

stream of tour-only CDRs” and full-lengths like Nothing Fits (2010)

and On Triple Beams (2012) while continuing to play shows near and

far from their hometown.

“We wanted to come back for a while,” enthuses Boyer. “We met

amazing people and a lot of new friends. It’s nice to go further than

you typically do to play shows.”

With the release of their newest album Origin of What last

November and the goal to release another full-length by the end of

this year, Tyvek are busy showcasing their latest creations and love for

anyone and everyone in their path.

“We want people to have fun and be themselves…. That’s what

we’re trying to do, hopefully the crowd feels that way too.”

Tyvek play three shows at Sled Island: June 22 at the Ship & Anchor,

June 23 at the Royal Canadian Legion #1 and June 24 in the

Nite Owl Library.

by Liam Prost

You Were” on our minds Elizabeth Powell, despite

the seven years long years leading up to the release of

“Yes

Life After Youth, the fourth studio release from Land

of Talk, released on May 19. The iconic band started as a three

piece with Powell at the centre. The guitar fronted rock outfit

emerged from Montreal, and produced fuzzy, vocal driven indie

rock. Their rise and sonic improvement was quick, moving from

their lo-fi debut Applause Cheer Bo, Hiss (2007) to the sprawling

and structurally complex Cloak and Cypher (2010) in only three

years, sandwiching the perfectly balanced, career defining, Some

Are Lakes (2008).

The early style of Land of Talk came from Powell’s Robert Fripp-esque

experimentation with strange guitar tunings, a tendency that

she describes as coming from her beginnings on bass. Instead of

stretching her fingers to make the voicings she wanted, she would

tune the strings to bring the notes into reach, making vibrant and

canted chords in the process.

This new record finds Land of Talk reaching beyond the guitar,

reaching for cleaner, more resonant tones, avoiding classical

distortion. The record also reaches further towards synths and other

non-traditional rock instrumentation. Ultimately what we get is a

patient and layered release, with a respect for what came before, with

a completely new perspective.

During the seven-year release gap, Powell moved back to her

home of northern Ontario, and spent some time with her father,

showing him demos of what at the time was going to become a solo

record. Most of the ideas from this period were lost in a computer

crash, but some of them were reworked into Life After Youth. Specifically,

Powell speaks strongly to the chorus of “This Time,” the lyric “I

don’t to waste it, my life” demanding to be repeated, a treatise on the

passage of time.

Powell is excited to be back on the road performing the new and

old songs with a new ensemble assembled from new and familiar

faces as well. Last summer found Land of Talk performing a few of

these tracks at the Olympic Plaza stage, backed by a couple members

of the Besnard Lakes. The band returns this year with a fresh record

and a year of practise.

Land of Talk plays Saturday, June 24 at the King Edward Hotel as part

of Sled Island Festival.

THOR & FRIENDS

Nazis. Thor Harris hates those guys

by Gareth Watkins

Thor Harris is more than your favourite band’s favourite drummer.

I

didn’t ask if Thor Harris of Thor & Friends’ first name is really

“Thor,” as in son of Odin, heir to the throne of Asgard and so on.

Even just a brief scan of his bio or Twitter timeline could confirm

that if anyone deserves to be named after a mythical beefcake then

it’s somebody who has drummed for Swans, Ben Frost (both at Sled

Island, for example), Shearwater, Devendra Banhart, Bill Callahan and

more and still found the time to teach the world how to correctly

punch a Nazi.

Thor & Friends, which is rounded out by collaborators Peggy Ghorbani

and Sarah “Goat” Gautier, doesn’t sound like Harris’s previous

work, or indeed much else in the musical landscape.

“Thor & Friends is primarily inspired by mid 20th-century classical

minimalism and all electronic music,” Harris says.

“I love electronic music, but have zero patience with robots. I found

that my interest in vocal, blues-based music was waning. It had been

slowly replaced with a thirst for early choral music and the above

mentioned electronic, ambient, and minimalism.”

Although some analogue synths drift in and out, Thor & Friends are

more or less acoustic, instrumental, and very open to improvisation.

“When we play these songs live, we often enlist the help of local

musicians, so the live lineup is always changing. The live group can

have anywhere from three to 20 members.”

When he isn’t making strange, brilliant music or playing in all of the

cool bands, Harris is being a generally swell dude in all other aspects

of his life. Having suffered bouts of major depression during his life, he

starred in a widely-shared video for the Mental Health Channel (“Depression

had taught me not to insert my stupid ego into my work,

to be of service to a greater cause,” he says.) He also writes, practices

carpentry and made the aforementioned video on how best to clean

the figurative clocks of National Socialists, which caused super-edgy

Free Speech Warriors to tell on him for having drawings of penises on

his profile page, leading to a temporary ban from a platform that gives

verified status to neo-Nazis in the name of creating a dialogue.

For somebody who is pro-punching he’s a surprisingly chill guy,

and his music reflects his dual nature: neither dark nor light, tense or

relaxed, technical or organic. It is, like Harris himself, fascinating and

worth getting to know.

Thor & Friends perform at Studio Bell, Performance Hall on June 24 as part

of Sled Island.

34 | JUNE 2017 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE


MEATBODIES

Metal on Molly for troubling times

There's a whole host of scary people at the helm

of the careening car we call the world these days.

Repressive and ghoulish caricatures impose religious

and party-line dogma to quash human nature’s

hedonistic tendencies. Violence is wrought.

They scorch the earth with war and machinery and

leave it in ruin in place of profit. The news cycle keeps

spinning.

It's as a witness to the above that Meatbodies’ frontman,

Chad Ubovic cleverly renders his visionary pop

opus, Alice, a collection of fuzzy and powerfully gritty

glam rock that's part Roy Wood, part Bowie and most

importantly, part L.A.

Ubovic and his contemporaries like Mikal Cronin and

Ty Segall are fostering the current psych-inspired rock

scene in Southern California with a signature sound that

deftly manages to avoid typecasting.

“Metal on Molly,” Ubovic describes it.

Themes coursing throughout the album are plentiful,

encircling a desire to return to our most natural selves

without the bonds of religion. A pagan-like affinity for the

earth and nature, the sacredness of the feminine, and the

pursuit of pleasures contained in hedonism.

“On Alice, I really wanted to make a pop album but

the songs came out a bit dark. Down here in the States

and with everything going on politically in the world,

the news cycle really inspired me to write a kind of

concept album. I guess this is also kind of our political

record,” Ubovic states.

Tabbed as a “band to watch”, the band didn't let outside

pressure undo any momentum following their acclaimed

self-titled release in 2014, and after extensive touring, set

their sights upon the latest album released earlier this year.

Side project, Fuzz, with Ty Segall and Charles Moothart,

while still with beating pulse, became secondary to Meatbodies

current swell in popularity. Ubovic is now throwing

his whole weight behind it.

With the band in full swing touring the United States

and Canada in support of the album, what can fans expect

from their performance at this year's Sled Island festival?

“We've been playing these songs now for almost a year

and a half and know them really well. When we play them

live, we stretch them out a bit. They're monsters at this

point. We have some new ones too that we might bring

out,” Ubovic says.

Careening cars aside, Meatbodies plan to unleash their

own monstrous creations at Sled Island, albeit the kind

driven by ethics and dogma free.

Meatbodies perform on June 23 at the Royal Canadian

Legion #1, June 24 in the Local 510 parking lot and June 25

at The Palomino.

Ty Segall and Mikal Cronin affiliates Meatbodies will unleash monsters at Sled Island.

by Mike Ryan

ROCKPILE

BEATROUTE • JUNE 2017 | 35


FLYING LOTUS AND HIS PICKS

your cheat-sheet to attending Sled Island

Flying Lotus

DJ Orange Julius

by Colin Gallant

DJ Quick

DJ Paypal

Dedekind Cut

Yves Tumor

When people say they don’t know

what to see at Sled Island, I always

have an ace card in my back pocket

waiting to be shown. Start with scheduling a

few shows around the guest curator’s selections

and walk a few blocks (or less) to the

closest show nearby when you’ve had your

fill. There are close to 40 venues in a 20-block

radius that are taken over by the festival’s programming

during the second last week of June.

Odds are you’ll find something you like—so

long as you have an anchor of guidance to set

you on your way.

For the 11th year of the festival, Flying Lotus

is your guy. He runs Brainfeeder records and

whisks electronic music, jazz, hip-hop and

extreme bass into a pudding so sweet it’d make

Willy Wonka blush.

Show a little trust and read our calendar of curator

events to help set you on your path through

Sled Island.

ACTRESS

Performing on Wednesday, June 21, the UK club

visionary will be the introduction of curator picks

at Commonwealth.

ASH KOOSHA

Koosha is a digital composer of new music informed

by his experience in Iran, London and other parts

of the globe. He’ll showcase on Thursday, June 22 at

Commonwealth.

BUSDRIVER

Both opening for DJ Quik at The Palace Theatre on

Friday, June 23 and helping to close things out on

Sunday, June 25 at The Palomino, Busdriver lives at

the intersection of rapped poetry and the LA experimental

beat scene.

DEDEKIND CUT

Joining Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith for an ambient showcase

at Studio Bell on Thursday, June 22, Dedekind

Cut is a former rap producer (Lee Bannon) gone

transcendent cerebralist.

DJ PAYPAL & DJ ORANGE JULIUS

Footwork spanning Detroit, North Carolina, Florida,

Europe, Africa, Asian and Extraterrestrial plains is

what you can expect from this Mall Music duo. Their

vicious tempos and anything-goes-anachronism will

close out a curator showcase at Commonwealth on

Thursday, June 22.

DJ QUIK

Did you invent West Coast hip-hop? Didn’t think so.

Shut your fool mouth and check out DJ Quik at The

Palace Theatre on Friday, June 23.

IGLOOGHOST

Hand-picked by Flying Lotus as direct support

for his show at The Palace Theatre on Saturday,

June 24 (and also appearing by the late of day on

Saturday at the Sled Island Block Party), IGLOOG-

HOST is the youngest, hardest to summarize pick

by the guest curator.

ONCE AND FUTURE BAND

Were you expecting to see a prog-pop band on this

list? We weren’t. Once and Future Band live up to

their name, blurring the traditions of the past with

something yet to come. As the only strictly live band

on the lineup, there’s a lot resting on their shoulders

for their two shows—Friday, June 23 at the Ship &

Anchor and Saturday, June 24 at Broken City.

SEVEN DAVIS JR

Seven Davis Jr plays twice on Saturday, June 24: DJing

electro-funk at the Sled Island Block Party during

the day and bringing a sweet hallelujah of a live band

set to the Hifi Club that night. Pick your poison

accordingly.

TIERRA WHACK

Whack is the new black. The main attraction at the

all day, all night hip-hop party on Saturday, June 24

at Broken City, Tierra courts haters like she does her

own weirdness: proudly and without hesitation.

YVES TUMOR

While he may be many things already, Yves Tumor is

a long way off from being understood. The definition

of chill in his ambient recordings but an invasive

renegade on stage, Yves Tumor is the puzzle to solve

at Sled Island. Give it your best on Thursday, June 22

at Commonwealth.

36 | JUNE 2017 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE


REGIONAL ROUNDUP

Western Canada in the spotlight

In addition to our pages profiling Calgary and Edmonton acts

at Sled Island, BeatRoute is pleased to show off even more

Western Canadian talent visiting the festival. Whether you like

drone and ambient music or punk and metal, you needn’t look

further than the prairies to get your fix.

LETHBRIDGE

Brandon Saucier’s lo-fi post-punk band, WINT, is sure to mesmerize.

Backed by two babes of YQL , Hope Mad ison and Rebecca

McHugh, you'll have the poppy melodies that make it out of the

haze in your head for the rest of this drag year.

You know the feeling when you're laying in bed, just about to fall asleep,

and suddenly you're falling? That's An Ant and An Atom. They'll gently

rock you into a lullaby of drone and distortion, building up to crescendos

that somehow take your soul out of your body through sound.

A. Trozzo and the Electric Few are rightly named so. It's fast. It's

loud. It's aggressive. Enter the storm of rock n' roll with a contemporary

twist that will leave you electrified and wanting more.

SASKATOON

The Garrys make addictive surf rock about fun things like ice

cream sandwiches, burgers and graveyards. With a newly released

album, Surf Manitou, under their belt, this trio of sisters

is all revved up for Sled Island.

A Saskatoon band with a strong Calgary connection, The Avulsions

have a debut album for Flemish Eye records on the horizon

(and a split with Mauno recently released) the dour post-punk

band is back for another year.

Man Meat make a kind of punk rock that draws on many subgenres

and style, such as post-hardcore, noise and grunge. Basically,

it’s loud and got attitude, Man Meat can pull it off in their sleep.

Releasing a debut album for Coax Records (run by Rae Spoon) on

June 15, respectfulchild will be playing brand new tunes made

up of solo violin loops at the festival. Their compositions are created

largely acoustically, but the end result is not unlike ambient

electronic music in its soothing, layered texture.

Wanna get your drone on? Look no further than Ursa, who can

count Loscil and Drone Day as testaments to her minimal sensibility.

Few names in Western Canada are more synonymous with stoner

rock mastery than Shooting Guns. The smoked-out heavyweights

will be performing a live score to Nosferatu (1922) as part of Sled

Island’s film programming in addition to a standard set.

WINNIPEG

As one of the most respected names in Winnipeg, Greg MacPherson’s

role at the head of Figure Walking should be enough to fill a

by Courtney Faulkner and Colin Gallant

room. It doesn’t hurt that he’s making some of the most anthemic,

danceable material of his career, either. Figure Walking plays a special

all-ages show at the Ship & Anchor during the festival.

Living Hour is making heavy-hearted, contemporary shoegaze

that rivals the genre original heyday. You don’t have to take our

word for it—everyone from NPR to Stereogum is touting Living

Hour as one to watch.

It’s a great year for the heavier end of music at Sled Island, and

Wilt have the distinction of being the only strictly black metal

band on the lineup. They’ve been chosen as support for the

legendary Wolves in the Throne Room, which as about a good a

sign as they come.

Most good pop-punk comes with a strong sense of humour.

Mulligrub, stopping in Calgary during their “Teach Us How to

Skateboard” tour, have no problems in that department. They’ve

also got hooks, style and bittersweet angst—what else can you

ask for?

In consultation for this roundup, our chief Winnipeg correspondent

Julijana Capone called Kändekt (say that ten times fast) her

current favourite Winnipeg band. Intersecting vicious post-punk

with industrial and progressive styles, the band formerly known

as Conduct has become near-legendary for their live intensity.

ROCKPILE

BEATROUTE • JUNE 2017 | 37


live music

June 3

Sadlier-Brown Duo

june 10

earl stevenson

june 17

amgk

june 24

honey & pearls

saturday nights

BEATROUTE PARTIES AT SLED ISLAND

Cloud Nothings, Hangover Brunch and the best of Vancouver

This may come as a shock, but

we here at BeatRoute really,

really like to party. So much so

that we’ve teamed up with Sled Island

for three wild (and wildly different)

ragers during the festival. We hope to

see you there!

Cloud Nothings with guests on both

floors at the Royal Canadian Legion

#1 on Wednesday, June 21

Well, this one wasn’t exactly a hard

decision. Cloud Nothings (read our

feature in this issue) are one of the

most exciting contemporary indie

rock bands of the day. Contributor

Jackie Klapak said their recent album

Life Without Sound “creates the

perfect soundtrack to the modern

and mundane life,” and that it’s

a “polished and perfected piece.”

Joining the band on the main floor at

the Legion are the shred-tastic Wares,

gritty Torontonians FRIGS and the

goofy but lovable Surf Dads. Upstairs,

local dream pop pack Crystal Eyes,

the raucous Sightlines and the hazy

Late Spring.

by Colin Gallant

Wares

Needles//Pins

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

midtownkitchen.ca

BeatRoute BC Cotton Candy Party

at Local 510 on Thursday, June 22

One of our favourite annual traditions,

the Cotton Candy pairs the

sweetness of sugar with the snarl

of punk. Titanic acts BRASS and

Needles//Pins (also our B.C. issue

cover stars for June) play some of

the heaviest punk tunes in the west.

Joining them are Glad Rags, another

gnarly act with a callback to the ‘90s

Pacific Northwest sound. Finally, for

something completely different, Jen

Severtson’s dream-pop outfit Peach

Pyramid will be starting the night off.

This party is for anyone who likes to

mix the salty with the sweet.

BeatRoute Annual Hangover Brunch

at Local 510 on Saturday, June 24

By Saturday, you’re likely to feel a little

worn down from the rest of the festivities.

Well, not when we’re done with

you! Our annual Hangover Brunch returns

to Local 510 with two stages of

music. On the patio stage, Hamilton’s

legendary space-rock act SIANspheric

headline outside, and you can read

about ‘em more in this issue! Eclectic

openers Silver Dapple, Ora Cogan

and Ada Lea will also be providing

soothing sounds. Inside, things start

out calm and gradually fire up: Summering

headlines with Best Fern, hazy,

Astral Swans and Shhh opening up

the proceedings.

38 | JUNE 2017 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE

Shhh


COMEDY AT SLED ISLAND

from Calgary to Toronto to LA and back again

This year’s comedy lineup at Sled Island

includes eight comedians spread across

two shows. The first, taking place at

the NMC’s Studio Bell, Performance Hall, is

headlined by Aparna Nancherla. The New

York-based comedian comes with her fair share

of co-signs: she recently appeared on Netflix’s

Master of None (playing an anonymous ramen

critic who is obsessed with the videogame

Overwatch), released her debut album via Tig

Notaro’s label Bentzen Ball, wrote a sobering

essay for The Village Voice on the duty of

comedians to not normalize tyranny under a

bigoted president, and has performed on pretty

much every late night show and comedy festival

lineup you can name.

The other show, happening at Nite Owl, features

a homegrown headliner. Levi MacDougall

got his start at Calgary’s own Loose Moose Theatre

before making his way into the major Canadian

comedy market. His nebbish persona played

a fantastic foil for the over-the-top absurdity of

the titular character of the Jon Dore Show. Next

came a move to Los Angeles, where MacDougall

was a member of the infamous Upright Citizen’s

Brigade. His biggest breaks came in the form of

writing gigs for Important Things with Demetri

Martin and, later, the Conan show.

Other out-of-town includes Tranna Wintour

(Montreal’s camp-femme sensation), Brent

Weinbach (who writes for The Eric Andre

Show), Marty Topps (who is best understood by

watching his hilariously uncomfortable “Teen

Dream” video) and Nour Hadidi (who hosts

Toronto’s only clean comedy show and credits

his bio to T.S. Eliot).

Developing Albertan talent remains a focus

of the festival with Calgarian up-and-comer

Bobby Warrener (who likes to tweet about

rap music) performing at both shows, and

Edmonton’s Carina Morton (who runs the

Empress Comedy Night) playing host for both

engagements.

Aside from Nancherla and MacDougall, most

performers will be featured on both shows.

Whether you like your comedy in a stately

modern venue or a perfectly dank basement,

the path to funny is yours to choose.

Sled Island comedy shows take place on June 23

at Studio Bell, Performance Hall and June 24 in the

Nite Owl Library.

by Colin Gallant

Aparna Nancheria

Sled Island’s comedy lineup comes from across the continent while maintaining a focus on home.

ROCKPILE

BEATROUTE • JUNE 2017 | 39


JUCY

JESSE ROSE

taking a 20-year victory lap

Bidding farewell to a monumental career in house music.

If you’re reading this and you’re in high school,

Jesse Rose has been DJing for longer than you’ve

been alive. If you’re reading this and you’re in high

school, you’re also older than Jesse Rose was when

he started DJing.

The elder statesman of house music has been going

since the ripe age of 14.

“I always looked a bit older and in the U.K. in

those days no one asked for ID so it was pretty chill,”

Rose recalls.

“The first time I played Ministry of Sound (at that

time the most respected club in London) and you

had to be 21 to get in and I was about 19. That felt

like a win.”

Over 20 years later, he’s seen the world with

residencies at top clubs in Berlin, Paris, Zurich, Los

Angeles, and Tokyo. As he’s travelled and performed,

Rose’s auditory output has evolved, as he’s

picked up bits and pieces of divergent house music

everywhere he DJs. He cites his extended stays in

each city as growth opportunities.

“A residency lets you really expand as a DJ, you get a

lot of trust from the crowd and you know them really

well, so you can get to a lot of places you might not go

to on a guest spot,” he elaborates.

His globetrotting has landed Rose in Calgary on a

handful of occasions, with a few stories to tell.

“One time I went with this girl to try and find an

after-party and we thought we’d found it… Then

[we] realized we were at a swinger’s party. That was

pretty funny!”

He’s grateful for the many good times at the HiFi

Club, and will play the venue for the last time on

June 10 during his tour, dubbed “Thanks for Stopping

JUCY

by Cole Parker

photo: Jimmy Mould

By.” This tour is Rose’s swan song, ending a career

spanning a few decades. It includes sporadic dates

worldwide, and will conclude on November 11th

in Berlin. Despite his lengthy history, Rose appears unconcerned

with leaving a personal legacy, preferring

to spotlight the many artists he’s helped break on his

Made to Play label.

“In terms of being a DJ, producer, remixer, label owner,

I guess that’s for the public to decide what lives on.“

That same laissez-faire attitude is applied to Rose’s

latest and final album Alright Mate, released earlier

this year. The breezy, dance-inducing record has been

hailed as one of his best, and sonically represents an

ideology that is concerned with remaining timely as

opposed to being a backward-facing retrospective.

“You never know how other people hear your

music. For me, I just made an album without thinking

about how it would be perceived. I just wanted to

make something dope. I’m happy with it.”

He’s focused on the now, but has an eye towards

the future. He only offered very vague hints at his

plans during our interview, instead waxing on the

elements he’d miss.

“Pretty much everything,” he says lovingly.

“From the time you have to find new music, to the

travelling, playing your favourite music to the people

that love the same music, and sometimes playing music

to people that have never heard it before. The scene

has been very kind to me and I’ll be forever grateful.”

Catch Jesse Rose on the Thanks for Dropping By: The

Final World Tour. It hits the Cabaret on June 9 (Vancouver),

the HiFi Club on June 10 (Calgary), and The Bower

on June 16 (Edmonton).

TROO KNOT

man of many hats, styles and monkey masks

Constant evolution and expansion within

a world where technology and sounds

collide has created a global electronic

music community that is truly staggering.

There are more artists, sub-genres, festivals and

promoters involved than can be reasonably

comprehended. But yet, even in Calgary, where

the local electronic music microcosm reflecting

that far greater macrocosm is celebrating constant

growth and evolution on its own, there is

still room for new faces to emerge who are doing

something quite different and intriguing. Troo

Knot is one such emerging character.

Real name Braden Lyster, Troo Knot considers

himself to be more of an entertainer than a

musician. His approach to making sounds, and his

original foray into it, seems to go against the grain

of conventional. His live set, which he describes

as “electronic jungle-jazz sprinkled with hip-hop

and chaos” is produced on the spot using a loop

station, a wizard synth, guitar, and his voice (in

beat-boxing, singing, and rap form). He claims

a large part of what drives his performance and

music making is incorporating plenty of weirdness

in order to “stir people out of their boxes.”

“I love getting the crowd involved going on a

journey together,” Lyster explains.

“I often challenge people in the crowd to monkey-masked

dance battles. If someone is having a

special night, I’ll sing them an improv love song or

give them a lap dance. Most people are waiting for

permission to be their weird, freaky, self. My show

gives [them] that permission.”

He didn’t shy away from that freaky weirdness

when asked for an origin story via e-mail.

“When my mommy was birthing me to earth,

there was a true knot in the umbilical cord and the

cord got tied around my neck. Doctors and nurses

were freaking out and had to pull me out with a

vagina vacuum. Apparently I almost died. I think

it’s why I’m a bit crazy. Troo Knot is a paradox that

Troo Knot releases All Tied Up on June 17.

by Paul Rodgers

symbolizes the two types of knots that we’re tied

in. One being the fears, stories, and illusions that

tie us down; the other being the unconditional

connection with nature that ties us in. We are

constantly in a dance in and out of the different

knots. The album All Tied Up symbolizes different

parts of that dance.”

Lyster will be celebrating his album release at the

Hub in Mount Royal University, a centre around

which Troo Knot has performed many times. He is

a truly a man-about-town in the sense that when

he was first getting into the scene, he took whatever

opportunity came his way.

“When I first moved to Calgary, I said yes to

almost every creative opportunity and I’m super

grateful that I did,” says Lyster.

“It pulled me into relationships and experiences

that have helped me grow in unexpected ways. I’ve

also burnt out badly from playing the YES game

and have learned the hard way that balance is super

important if I want to sane and healthy on this

long journey of being a professional entertainer.”

That initial approach to always saying “yes” saw

Troo Knot performing all over the city, including

the Insane Clown Party’s Canadian Juggalo

Weekend After Party at Distortion. He says burning

out from taking to many shows has helped him

to focus on what he truly wants, exemplified by

the more selective shows he has coming up this

month, and the release of his new album.

Keep your eyes on this enigmatic producer,

entertainer, MC and comedian. After this summer,

Lyster says he will be taking off “on a musical gypsy

tour through B.C., U.S.A. and Europe. We’ll see

what happens.”

Troo Knot performs at The Big Secret Theatre in Arts

Commons from June 8 until June 11 (Calgary) as a

part of Attached. He will also perform at his album

release party at the Hub at Mount Royal University

on June 17 and at Nite Owl on June 24 (Calgary).

BEATROUTE • JUNE 2017 | 41


THE M MACHINE

constant reinvention a running theme

San Francisco-based DJ duo Ben “Swardy” Swardlick and Eric

Luttrell make up the prolific act The M Machine. After six

years as a group and multiple recordings and famous remixes,

the act is bending and pushing creative boundaries with their first

full-length, Glare.

Although former group member Andy Coenen is no longer with

the project, traces of his work are peppered throughout the album.

“We also collaborate vocally a lot. Andy, Eric, and Ben are all over

all [of] the songs. Andy sung in quite a few of them,” clarifies Swardy.

In the early days of The M Machine, Swardy says they felt the

pressure to play crowd pleasers when touring with big names. He

references Shambhala Music Festival as a turning point for the group:

their chance to go beyond industry expectations and instead produce

more melodic, vocally driven indie songs.

The M Machine first played the festival in 2014 and got booked

again in 2015.

“The first time we went it was a very freeing experience, to try

to go up there and just vibe with the crowd and figure it out,”

reveals Swardy.

“We got such a positive response from that and it really

changed things for us and I’m not just talking about this because

of Shambhala or the pre-party and stuff. That really was a significant

moment for us.”

Just as Shambhala celebrates the notion of community, as does

The M Machine. The project decided to release their album in late

February through a mobile web application called glare.fm, where

fans can share songs through face-to-face conversation.

Previous member Coenen is the mastermind behind the app, guiding

the design and look. Using geolocation to bring listeners together,

it requires interaction and participation from users to unlock music.

“That’s the kind of project we’ve been doing with Andy forever.

He was the builder, the designer, and the programmer. Even

though he’s stopped touring, it’s been nice to have that ongoing

project with him. We love getting to work with him, so it’s been

The M Machine practice perpetual sonic reinvention

nice for us,” says Swardy.

The group also released their album via Mat Zo’s label, Mad Zoo.

Mat Zo and The M Machine are no strangers: back in 2012 the two

worked alongside Porter Robinson on the Language Tour. The 32 day

tour is the subject of a mini documentary available online.

As for a follow up, Swardy and Luttrell are already back in the

studio writing new material. According to Swardy, The M Machine’s

upcoming release will sonically take yet another direction.

“I know that’s been kind of the theme for us, but I no longer feel

like I need to apologize for that. I think we’ve definitely made it

pretty clear at this point. It’s gonna be different every time,” offers

Swardy.

“I think for some innovative projects as well, it just means that

hopefully some more longevity there, and you know that you’re fans

by Catalina Briceno

photo: Donsiens

are yours and they’re not the fans of some sound or genre.”

Aside from The M Machine, Swardy and Luttrell have solo projects

that steer away from cinematic orchestration and indie dance songs,

focusing instead on house and techno.

Luttrell has released his own work under Anjunadeep, Above &

Beyond’s deep house label. The project can be heard on SoundCloud.

Swardy divulged for the first time in an interview that he will also

soon be releasing his own individual release, via the label Tea Pot.

“I haven’t really told anyone that yet, but I suppose there’s no

time like the present. Most likely the first thing that would come out

would actually be a remix of a Luttrell song,” he concludes.

The M Machine will headline the Calgary Pagoda Stage Pre Party on June

10 at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 1 (Calgary).

Celebrate the legend Richie Hawtin’s spectacular career at the NMC or the HiFi Club on June 28.

LET’S GET JUCY!

Well then folks, while this will not be my

last time writing this column, it will be

my last time writing it from this province.

I’ve found some work in Cranbrook and will

be moving to Kimberly, B.C. in June and therefore,

most of these shows I will now describe I won’t be

able to attend, sadly. So do your best to make it

out to as many of them as you can and enjoy them

on my behalf!

Starting the month of June off with a colossal

BOH! 403DNB present RELOAD!! featuring S.A.S.

which is one half of UK jump-up super-group SASA-

SAS. This incarnation features DJ Phantasy behind

the decks and Skibadee and Shabba D blessing the

microphones. If you want an idea of how this sounds,

check out their most recent mix from Rampage festival

in the U.K. Some of the most high-energy drum

and bass imaginable; replete with rowdy jump-up

sounds, technical mixing, amazing MC work and of

course, lots of RELOADS!! Get your hair blown back

on June 3 at Dickens Pub.

That same day, if neck snapping D’N’B is not your

bag, The HiFi is bringing Manila Killa and Robotaki.

These two producers both create quite lovely synth

based electronica similar to Odesza or The M Machine,

which you can read about more in this month’s

Jucy! The former also has a remix of Enya’s monumental

and groundbreaking classic hit “Only Time,” and

actually does it justice.

On June 8 Australia’s Rüfüs/Rüfüs Du Sol will

perform at The Palace Theatre. This trio plays beautiful

deep house and electronica through guitars,

keyboards and drums. This will be a great show to

catch if you’re into dance music but also appreciate

the musicality of a band playing their songs live.

Also on June 8, over at Distortion, catch Bass-

Time Continuum featuring sub-bass wizards ill.

Gates and Knight Riderz. Please note this is a

time-traveller themed party and there is going

by Paul Rodgers

to be a costume contest. Sounds pretty open

to suggestion and interpretation so, dress like a

time-traveller of any iteration, but mainly just

show up for a good time.

On June 16 the auto-tune pioneer/international

philanthropist Akon will be appearing at the

Marquee. One of the most successful solo artists, let

alone rappers of all time, with numerous hits, collaborations

with Michael Jackson, Whitney Huston

and Snoop Dogg, and a Guinness Book of World

Records mention as the number one selling artist of

ringtones in the world, he is sure to bring something

special to the stage.

And now for something completely massive, if

you haven’t already heard, Richie Hawtin (A.K.A.

Plastikman, A.K.A. one of Canada’s most prosperous

electronic musicians) is coming to town on June

28. He will first be appearing as RBC’s Master in

Residence at the National Music Centre, giving an

interview to music journalist Larry LeBlanc. He then

will be performing that night at the HiFi for their 12-

year anniversary celebration. Think of a better way to

celebrate 12 years of HiFi glory, I’ll wait!

So it looks like I’ll either be suffering perma-fomo

throughout my time living in B.C., or I will be making

frequent trips back and forth to see shows. I will be

for sure coming back on June 12 for Tool, who I just

learned has my honorary “Let’s Get Jucy” mention of

the month The Crystal Method opening for them!

Can’t be missing that one. Have fun out there people,

do everything that I would do.

42 | JUNE 2017 • BEATROUTE JUCY


ROOTS

NORTH OF HERE

Edmonton three piece ignores the standards, debuts new single “Without Windows”

The name North of Here is half a joke. Stationed in Edmonton,

Alberta, there really isn’t that much in the northerly direction

besides Slave Lake, Wood Buffalo Park, those oil sands things,

and that big ice mass we call the Northwest Territories. Rather, North

of Here is a way of passing something off you don’t know. “Where is

it?” “North of Here, probably.”

However, for the sea-folk three piece, this does them something of a

disservice because they are not to be easily dismissed.

The group formed from their high school band program around

a shared love of music, in Sherwood Park, Alberta, a suburb of

Edmonton. It’s a bit of a bedroom community, where middle class

Edmontonians go to raise families. Although suburban, it’s a space

that’s “not devoid of the arts… [it’s] just a different environment,”

bassist Luke Jansen tells BeatRoute from the band’s rehearsal space,

as they clean up leaking water from a recent rainstorm.

“We had to home-grow a little bit,” Mandolin player Ian St

Arnaud attests. The group were fortunate enough to start out

musically in a relatively supportive environment. St Arnaud had a

friend with a mandolin, so he borrowed it to take to a music class

and the band wrote a song around it. After hearing it, their music

teacher offered them encouragement and opportunities, “more

than we asked for,” St Arnaud jokes.

This was around 2012 when folk music was surging back into the

mainstream, and when the group picked up some folk instruments, Jansen

says “things made sense” Jansens. But despite their acoustic music,

the band never developed a traditionalist attitude.

“Because we didn’t grow up in the kind of community where you

are handed an instrument at a young age and taught to play the songs

of your people, you don’t learn the structures that are ingrained in folk

music,” drummer Will Holowaychuk posits.

“We didn’t grow up with the standards.”

Thus the band never developed the revivalist bent that encourages

an investment in the moves and turns of traditionalist music. Instead

the band takes thoughtful, geographically centred lyrics and puts them

ROBBIE BANKES

claiming the new sound of Nordic Canadiana

“We could have made a cool record in Norway… but it wouldn’t have sounded the same”

The mere mention of Robbie Banke’s name in

his hometown of Calgary inevitably brings

a smile to those in the know. You might

know him personally, or have a shared memory of

seeing Robbie play at one of many house shows.

Perhaps you’ve seen him at Market Collective, or

have simply shared a smile with the good-natured

folk singer.

Bankes is currently living a double life, traversing

often between Canada and Norway. He is studying

ROOTS

North of Here recorded their newest single at Leeroy Stagger’s Rebeltone Ranch

on top of rhythmic mandolin and guitar soundscapes.

BeatRoute is proud to premiere “Without Windows,” a meditative

new single from the band., that you can check out online. Luke Jansen

wrote the lyrics for the song after coming back from a trip.

“When you come back from being away for a bit you are maybe a

little more reflective, ”he attests. Accordingly, the song centers on “capturing

a feeling at the time.”

Having recently amicably lost a member, the band is becoming more

comfortable with being a three piece, with drummer Will Holowaychuk

contributing to the track melodically as well as rhythmically, which

brought a new dimension to the song-writing process. The song is “a lot

about growth” both in the sound and the song-writing, and the band

is allowing themselves to write songs with an open-endedness to them,

arguing that “if [the band] are still trying to figure out what it is… you

photo: Miriam Behman

folk music at the University of Telemark in Rauland,

Norway. Meanwhile, he is preparing for the release of

a new Alberta-recorded album, Foothills. Speaking to

BeatRoute via Skype, this writer detects Norwegian

inflections in his speech. That won’t be the only thing

he brings back to Canada when he returns in June

to perform the new record. Indeed, he identifies his

music as a merging of nationalities, dubbed “Nordic

Canadiana.” “Working with traditional music can

be really cool, and deserves more attention than it’s

getting,” says Bankes, who claims the term “Nordic

Canadiana” as a way to transcend the genre tropes

that bog down folk music all too often.

He concedes, “This is not a traditional record.”

Listening to Bankes’ songs is listening to the experiences

of a young man trained in that traditional way.

It’s steeped in the essence of this corner of the world,

where the Prairies roll into the Foothills that are the

album’s namesake.

“We could have made a cool record in Norway,”

says Bankes.

“But it wouldn’t have sounded the same.”

Bankes’ roots are firmly planted in Prairie soil.

Though only 22-years-old, Bankes has been playing

in the aforementioned houses, markets and

venues throughout Western Canada for years,

culminating in a nomination for Young Performer

of the Year at the Canadian Folk Music Awards

in 2015. His experience is immediately apparent

in the poetic lyrics of his original compositions; it

also is demonstrated by his interpretations of traditional

folk songs that speak to maturity beyond

his age. That mix of a traditional grounding in

his Norwegian education and more modern and

decidedly Canadian approach to song writing is

the key to his layered sound.

Foothills was recorded in Nanton, Alberta at Crabapple

Downs by Steve Loree, who has worked with

by Liam Prost

photo: Unfolding Creative

are going to get so much more out of performing it for an audience.”

The band recorded the single with Leeroy Stagger at his Lethbridge

Rebeltone Ranch, a studio the band describes as “the coolest clubhouse

in all of Western Canada.”

Two of the three members of the band have now migrated into

Edmonton, where there are a few more places to play and are preparing

for a busy summer of festivals, including Edmonton, Canmore,

and Winnipeg Folk Fest. The band is starting to demo some material

for a full-length album, and they anticipate hitting the studio for a

2018 release.

BeatRoute is proud to premiere the new 7-inch single by North of Here.

“Without Windows” is available to stream on beatroute.ca. Catch the

band on June 22 at Little Brick (Edmonton).

by Kevin Bruch

alt-country mainstay Corb Lund. The album features

Charlie Hase on pedal steel, Melissa McWilliams (of

Calgary act The Bitterweed Draw) on drums and

Mark Grosjean on bass guitar.

“It was a completely different experience from my

first album,” Bankes tells BeatRoute.

“I recorded that sitting in an old play house in

Mark Ellestad’s yard, it was very off the cuff.” The differences

are apparent when you listen to the new and

old recordings of audience favourite “February Snow.”

The trademark sentiment and nostalgia remain,

but there’s a grander sweep to the sound on Foothills,

with Bankes’ sparse guitar accompanied by the depth

of a bass, powerful drums, and sighing pedal steel.

This is an artist with a big heart, and even

bigger potential. If you were concerned that his

successes in Norway would rob Canada of this

young talent, fear not.

“Canada’s my home, it’s not just where the music

started, [and] it’s also where I’ll end up.”

The sublime reverence for the Prairie skies and

rolling hills of Bankes’ home that is both lyrically

and sonically present throughout Foothills is all the

evidence you need.

Robbie Banks releases Foothills on June 23 alongside

Mike Tod and Nathan M. Godfrey at Festival

Hall (Calgary).

BEATROUTE • JUNE 2017 | 45


TWIN PEAKS

stuck on the road and stuck in your head

photo: Sarah Sovereign

“We basically live in a rental car and have a sponsorship with Driving Force”

by Zach Moon

Not to be confused with the newly revived

TV show where people talk to logs, or the

emerging Chicago garage rock outfit, Twin

Peaks are a pair of ukulele sporting, joke slinging,

harmony nailing songwriters. Hailing from Fort

St. John, B.C, the band members are best friends,

road tripping partners, and semi-permanent

roommates.

You might have encountered Lindsay Pratt and

Naomi Shore blending their seriously haunting

harmonies on one of the many summer festival

stages across Canada. You might have also caught

their hilarious acceptance speech on stage at The

2015 Western Canadian Music Awards, where

their debut album Trouble (2015) won best

album by a Roots Duo/Group.

Have a listen to a few of the pairs smartly

written songs, and you’ll quickly understand

their appeal. The melodies are simple and catchy,

slipping breezily into your mind. The unforgettable

combination of their interwoven sweet and high

voices alongside the sweet strum of a ukulele make

sure the songs won’t be leaving your head anytime

soon. Their smart songs about relationships,

travelling, love, and the general hilarity of life are

soothing and catchy, but emotionally complex.

Like many folk acts, Twin Peaks have been

earning their keep the hard way, cruising this

expansive country of Canada for lengthy periods

of time. The pair tells BeatRoute that they have

been “taking their fun on the road” for the last six

years. The life of a roving minstrel may appear appealing

to the average fan, but as any road weary

musician will tell you, the life is not a glamourous

one. The one thing about scooting back and forth

across the country that many times is you’ll likely

learn a few tricks that are necessary and essential

to your very survival.

“We basically live in a rental car and have a

sponsorship with Driving Force,” explains Shore,

somewhat jokingly.

“The rental car is waiting for us in Vancouver,

and we’re taking the train back there from Toronto

to begin the western portion of our tour and

first ever U.S. gig in Seattle.”

The pair has managed to maintain their sense

of humour about the grind of the whole thing.

“You know, if anyone in Alberta has $15000

dollars lying around and wants to invest in a

constantly emerging roots duo we’ll talk you up

and put that money to good use!” jokes Pratt, the

band’s self-proclaimed public relations expert.

All joking aside, attending a Twin Peaks performance

can have a person running the entire

gamut of emotions. With heartstring tuggers such

as “For the Dogs,” to the tongue-in-cheek “Second

Hand Boyfriend,” Twin Peaks’ arsenal of songs can,

and will, take you in many different directions.

Twin Peaks perform June 14 at the Owl Acoustic

Lounge (Lethbridge), June 16 at the Rotary Performing

Arts Centre (Okotoks), June 20 at the Ironwood

Stage and Grill (Calgary), June 22 at the Fat Badger

(Regina), and June 24 at the Capitol (Saskatoon).

JERRY LEGER

presenting two sides of underrated Canadian musician

Jerry Leger is no stranger to the road. He

cut his teeth for years playing the Canadian

circuit, either dazzling late-night crowds in

taverns backed by his electric band The Situation,

or playing stripped-down folk ballads to

intimate audiences in concert halls. A musical

chameleon, Leger can cater his set to match the

atmosphere of each venue he visits. This diversity

is excellently rendered in his latest release

Nonsense and Heartache. As the title cleverly

hints, this ambitious 18-song album presents

two distinct sides of Leger.

The ‘Nonsense’ side of the record kicks open the

door with crunchy Link Wray-esque guitar tones

and hard-hitting drums on blues-soaked rock and

roll numbers. Its jangly, loose feel and confident

lyrical delivery is reminiscent of Dylan going electric

with The Hawks. Flip over to the ‘Heartache’ side

of the record and you’ll be met with warm acoustic

guitars, country fiddle, and dark bellowing piano

ballads that will remind you of your own mortality.

Together, these two halves form Leger’s most

mature and strongest album yet.

“That was a title that had been floating around

in my head for a while,” Leger recalls as he sips a

beer at his Toronto home on a brief break from his

nationwide tour. Warren Zevon is spinning on the

turntable in the background.

“Mike [Michael Timmins of the Cowboy Junkies]

called me one day and had the idea that ‘well a lot

of people still don’t know you, and over all these

records you’ve made, there are two main sides

of you where either you’re rocking and rolling or

you’re more of this singer/songwriter, folk and

root-sy artist.’ So he had the concept ‘let’s make

two different records and have one more rock and

roll and have the other more melodic, acoustic and

introspective.’ I was game.”

After collaborating on his 2014 release Early

Riser, Jerry Leger teamed up again with Timmins to

Road worn Toronto songwriter is securing his legacy in Canadian music.

by Brendan Morley

produce his new record.

“Mike has such a great ear and is so talented in

his own right as a writer and a musician. He is just

as talented in the studio and knows how to get,

you know – from the way that I record – how to

get these sounds.”

Armed with his seasoned backing band, The

Situation, and Timmins at the wheel, Jerry says

they cut the album mostly all live off the floor,

insisting “there’s a lot of magic that you can’t recreate

when you’re doing it piece-by-piece. I don’t

like doing it that way.”

Jerry Leger, not unlike the late great Townes

Van Zandt, is often bestowed with the title of

a songwriter’s songwriter. While an esteemed

title in inner circles, this accolade often suggests

that an artist is relatively unknown in the

general public sphere. And just like Townes, as

exemplified on the genre-sprawling Nonsense

and Heartache, Leger refuses to wear only one

musical hat to sell himself.

“I’ve always been a very, you know, an obscure

off-the-radar artist because I don’t have a lot of

compromises in my music, which I’ve learned over

the years it does hold you back commercially. But

it was never really a goal to be rich and famous. I

hoped that I would gain enough recognition just

based on the quality I was putting out.”

In the final line of album closer “Pawn Shop

Piano,” Jerry ends with the question “Does it make

me a fool to be playing just for you?”

Is it worth sacrificing fame and fortune to hold

on to your authenticity?

Emphatically, the answer is “yes.”

Jerry Leger is performing at the Times Change(d)

High & Lonesome Club on June 7 (Winnipeg), the

Underground Café on June 10 (Saskatoon), the

Ironwood Stage & Grill on June 11 (Calgary), and

The Needle on June 12 (Edmonton).

photo: Laura Proctor

46 | JUNE 2017 • BEATROUTE ROOTS


SHRAPNEL

BISON

iconic Canadian sludge metallers are finally anchored to the shore

by Sarah Kitteringham

Bison “want to blow your fucking head off with riffs.”

songs are still the outpouring of

hatred from my heart, trying to convert

“The

it to love.”

Thus begins Bison guitarist and vocalist James

Gnarwell, who has anchored the band since their

inception in 2006. The perennially crotchety musician

has been through every frustrating, rewarding,

agonizing, and triumphant moment with the band:

from their signing to Metal Blade Records, to their

explosion in popularity as the “party rock Mastodon,”

to the agonizing frustration of being unceremoniously

dropped, to growing up and past a caricature that

never fit.

Subjected to the wringer of the music industry,

Bison’s music has always been crushing, contemplative,

and difficult to categorize. Like their city

mates in Haggatha, they define the sound that

came to dominate Vancouver’s metal scene in the

2000’s: that is, growling sludge metal interlaced

with noise, grind, texture, and dynamics. Now, with

a decade under their belts, a relatively new back

end to their line-up, and a new record label, they

are on the precipice of releasing their fourth studio

album. Unsurprisingly, You Are Not the Ocean You

Are the Patient is an absolute triumph. Stripped of

pretense and expectation, Bison may have made

their best album yet.

“I believe there is more texture, tension and

mood setting on this record, but in the end I still

want to blow your fucking head off with riffs,”

explains Gnarwell.

“The older I get the more I want to introduce an

almost false comfort level in the music, so the listener

might be more susceptible to a jarring moment, to

introduce life for an instant.”

Uncomfortably abrupt dynamics have long played

a role in Bison’s music. On their full-length debut Quiet

Earth (2008), the band builds up a palatable dread

through a veil of drunken punk rock rage. “Wendigo

Pt. 1 (Quest for Fire)” demonstrates this juxtaposition,

incorporating a disarming wall of beautiful

violin and cello between walls of swamp thick sound.

This utilization of additional instrumentation has

endured throughout their career, appearing on both

2010’s Dark Ages and to a lesser extent with noise

integrations on 2012’s Lovelessness. It was shortly

after the latter was released that the axe came down

from their former label.

“They did teach us about the music business, and

helped me realized that I fucking hated the music

business,” explains Gnarwell.

“We parted ways knowing that we were not

meant for each other. Our ethics did not align. I

was tired of riding some fucking drunk rock and

roll fantasy crash course.”

He continues, “We were a brand, we were a fucking

machine. A drunken and stressed out machine. My

advice: don’t get labeled the party band drinking

1000 beers, cause it’s fun for a spit in time, but after

that, it’s a struggle to show people your fucking brains

and ideas and what’s really in your head.”

Thematically, Bison has always musically responded

to their surroundings. The stress of expectation

reared its head so strongly on their previous

full-length that the second track is literally named

“Anxiety Puke/Lovelessness.”

After being served their walking papers by their

label, the band took plenty of time to regroup. Both

guitarists and vocalists, including Gnarwell and Dan

And, had children. Members left. Bison soldiered on,

albeit in a limping form.

“We are a family band. We have grown together

and will be here for a while. There was never a

moment when I thought we should break up,”

offers Gnarwell.

“Why bother? [Drummer] Brad [MacKinnion] left,

so long brother!”

MacKinnon was replaced in 2011 by Haggatha’s

dynamic and engaging metronome, known colloquially

as Matt Wood.

“Masa [Anzai, bassist] left, so long brother! They

both fought the good fight. Never did we think to

cash in on the ‘final show’ shit bands do.”

Instead, they went into hibernation. They released

the two track One Thousand Needles EP in 2014;

focused on raising their children, on recovering. They

gained a new bassist, this time in the form of 3 Inches

of Blood strummer Shane Clark.

“This new record took me almost three years to

write,” offers Gnarwell of the period leading up to

You Are Not the Ocean. He reflects on how different

his life is now.

“I used to write a record in one drunken summer.

I wrote this record in between getting to know my

son, George and now my newest, Charlie. I had such

a great balance that I could truly delve into what’s in

me,” he reveals.

“I couldn’t get too lost in the darkness of the

music I write because my family was there as my

lifeline to pull me out. After a writing session for

say, Dark Ages, I would just wake up on the floor

of our foul, disgusting (though strangely beautiful)

jam spot. Now I wake up and make breakfast for

George and teach him about the world and experience

that with him.”

A renewed sense of being and utter disinterest in

the monetary logistics of releasing another record

eventually inspired the band members to consider

going a label once more. They eventually signed with

Pelagic Records, a Berlin based label that is home to

vast, contemplative bands like MONO, The Ocean,

and Cult of Luna.

“Ultimately I had no time to self-release. Nobody

in the band does,” explains Gnarwell.

“Raising my family is my priority, so why not try

and find a label to help out.”

Ultimately, the label appears to be a strong fit.

Bison’s newest record is vast. The songs feature

less structure. The track lengths are longer; there

are fewer vocal lines, and there is resolutely more

space to breathe. It’s not as if the band has gone

full ISIS (indeed, the punk howls and riffs are

featured aplenty) but following the band’s arc

and understanding their circumstances gives a

mighty weight to the whole package. As Gnarwell

explains, it’s not as “schizophrenic… It comes

from being able to map it out and really digest

the arrangements. In Squamish I now have a

space at home to record all the demos. Meaning

I can really sit with them, and get to know them,

and see where they may go.”

This time to revisit and contemplate arrangements

has made Bison grow out of the pissed-offdrunk-punk-persona.

They are now headlong into

curmudgeonly-dad-rock, which is where they could

have (and maybe should have) been all along.

“My family gives me the strength to delve deeper

into those dark places - the futility, darkness or any

repugnant nature of our world there is to explore.

They are there to pull me out and remind me of why I

am here,” articulates Gnarwell.

“I need to keep my head on right so I can teach

George and Charlie how to fucking rock and roll.”

He finishes, “Having love and a family won’t cure

you of your draw to fucked up shit, it kind of holds

onto you while you explore, which is a fucking beautiful

thing.”

SHRAPNEL

Order You Are Not the Ocean You Are The Patient

from https://pelagic-records.com/. Bison will perform

at Palomino Smokehouse and Bar on June 9 (Calgary),

at The Capital on June 10 (Saskatoon), at the Windsor

on June 11 (Winnipeg), the Exchange on June 12

(Regina), The Vat on June 13 (Red Deer), at the Brixx

on June 14 (Edmonton), and at the Rickshaw on June

16 (Vancouver).

BEATROUTE • JUNE 2017 | 49


ANNIHILATOR

thrash icons are hardcore metal fans at heart

by Jason Lefebvre

This Month

In METAL

Annihilator’s upcoming new album will have an oldschool “vibe”

“I like the Hetfield, Mustaine type singers.”

don’t want to put out another record that

is okay, the vocals sounding really much

So begins Jeff Waters, the founding member, lead

guitarist and once again, vocalist for the Canadian

thrash metal stalwarts Annihilator. Waters has been

a busy man. After returning home for Christmas

vacation, he decided to hit the studio and start

recording Annihilator’s 16th studio album, the name

for which has yet to be revealed.

“I have until they end of the summer of 2018

planned out,” says the band mastermind, who has

steered the project since their inception in ‘84.

“It is really weird being able to see what you are

going to be doing a year and a half in advance.”

But right now, Waters is working on the mixing

of the mystery album. Taking the vocal reins once

more, it is his second in a row doing so since Dave

Padden left Annihilator at the end of 2014. Waters

also sang on one of the band’s ‘90s era albums.

“The one thing I did say for the album before I

started is that I will try my BEST not to put those

singer influences that I really like, and just try to

get my own style back like I did on the King of the

Kill (1994) album,” he says, referencing the band’s

divisive fourth studio album that saw Waters work

with only one other member, which was drummer

Randy Black.

“Now that it is done it’s like ‘Whoa I did it, Right

on.’ I can only find two little Hetfield-isms in the

whole record,” he says, chuckling. Despite several

decades in the metal scene, Waters is eager to give

credit to his metal forefathers.

“It is hard for me as a metal fan to shed those

main influences. It is harder for me because I am the

main song writer for all these years.”

Annihilator has received mixed reviews

throughout their career. As is common with

thrash, the general opinion is “older material

is best material.” Astounding albums at the

beginning of their career utilized progressive and

technical benchmarks alongside thrash metal,

granting both Alice In Hell (1989), and Never,

photo: Jasmina Vrcko

Neverland (1990) classic status. As time went

on, they incorporated slicker grooves and even

a drum machine, such as on 1997’s Remains

(1997). Recent albums, like the commercial and

slick, yet authentically Annihilator sounding Suicide

Society (2015), leave big questions on where

Jeff will be taking the band next.

“I also said ‘No! Fuck this sort of format song writing.’

It’s still there. It is still choruses and the catchy

stuff. Whether it is great or not, it is catchy. In some

of our early stuff, I didn’t care about doing ‘now it

is time to change to this riff or another and go here

with it.’ It was more of a standard approach. This

time I kinda said ‘Just go where you want and forget

about the end result.’”

Consequently, Waters says the new album

will have “more of an Alice in Hell and Never,

Neverland vibe.”

As Jeff rounds the last corner to the completion

of the album, it is apparently he is excited for a

few things – and not just because his band will be

touring across Canada for the first time in decades

(their previous appearance at Calgary Metal Fest was

the band’s first show in Calgary since 1993). In fact,

he’s really excited to listen to the newest offerings by

Testament, Overkill, and Metallica.

“I swore as I was writing this album I wasn’t going

to listen to [them,” he explains. “Because the first

thing that is going to happen to me…. [is] when it is

time for me to write [the] Annihilator CD, my album

is going to be completely subconsciously a rip-off of

all of those. I intentionally shut out new bands, old

bands, and my favourite bands.”

He finishes, “The first thing I am going to do

when this is all over is get in my car, buy the physical

copies of the album and crank the shit out of

those mother fuckers!“

Annihilator perform at the Rickshaw Theatre on June

15 (Vancouver), at Dickens on June 16 (Calgary), the

Starlite Room on June 17 (Edmonton), the Saskatoon

Event Centre on June 18 (Saskatoon), and the

Exchange on June 19 (Regina).

June is packed full of excellent shows and releases

from strong Western Canadian bands.

So let’s get started!

First up: although this date was at the end

of May and has already passed, this release is

worthy of attention. Long-running Calgary

melodic death metal act Divinity released

their Immortalist EP trilogy as one full-length

album on Friday, May 26. Containing the EPs

Awestruck, Momentum, and Conqueror in one

cohesive package, the release is available on

CD and digitally. Remixed and re-mastered by

Christian Donaldson of The Grid Productions,

and featuring guest vocals by Björn Strid of

Soilwork fame, Immortalist sees the band take

their slick, groovy sound to new heights.

On Friday, June 2, Vancouver power metal

institution Unleash the Archers will release their

fourth studio album, the triumphant and driving

Apex. Unveiled via their long running label Napalm

Records, the 10-track record sees the band utilizing

their musical standards (think driving guitars,

pummeling drums, soaring vocals alongside ample

growls) to strong effect. Undoubtedly yet more

touring will follow from the band, watch these

pages for a full-length article soon!

If you’re the festival going type, I highly recommend

you get your ass out to Vancouver for the

third rendition of the mighty Covenant Festival.

Featuring performances by Swiss extreme metallers

Bölzer, American technical death act Blood Incantation,

and Canadian acts Revenge, Sortilegia, and

Phylactery, among many more; the festival runs

from Thursday, June 8 until Saturday, June 10. With

shows at the Red Room and the Rickshaw Theatre,

this will be the best festival offering in Western Canada

in 2017. With a three-day pass only setting you

back $90, it’s also close to the most affordable and

Power metal titans Unleash the Archers release Apex on June 2.

offers the most bang for your extremely discriminating

buck.

Head to the Nite Owl in Calgary on Friday, June

9 for a metal bill featuring the dizzyingly technical

and heavy Kataplexis. They’ll be performing alongside

their counterparts in Krepitus, Spurn, and Locutus.

That same evening, Vancouver sludge icons

Bison will be playing at the Palomino Smokehouse

and Bar; read our article in the section and check

online for our full album premiere of their newest

full-length, the hypnotic and crushing You Are Not

The Ocean You Are The Patient.

Calgary based technical metal band Statue

of Demur are set to “deliver an intoxicating

mind-fuck melody of tunes” on June 17 when they

release their sophomore full-length Alien Pacific.

The follow-up to 2015’s Subhuman Ataxia, the

10-track album will be available on the evening of

the band’s performance at Distortion in Calgary.

Leave the Living, Concrete Funeral, Train Bigger

Monkeys, and Without Mercy will also perform;

at the show also be sure to pick up a copy of

TBM’s newest EP offering from April, dubbed

Doomed and Repeating It. Tickets for the gig are

$20 in advance and can be purchased from local

bands or at Distortion.

Metal Blade signees and black/death/thrashers

Goatwhore will be performing at Distortion in

Calgary on Sunday, June 21 alongside Ringworm,

Black Breath, and Theories. The same bill hits the

Starlite Room on June 22 (Edmonton), the Owl

on June 23 (Regina), and the Windsor Hotel on

June 24 (Winnipeg). The tour will be in support

of Goatwhore’s newest offering, dubbed Vengeful

Ascension. The record will be released on June 23.

Head to the reviews section to read James Barager’s

thoughts on the record.

• Sarah Kitteringham

50 | JUNE 2017 • BEATROUTE SHRAPNEL


musicreviews

Fleet Foxes

Crack-Up

Nonesuch

A six year absence in any genre, especially one

that’s become as verbose and commercialized as

turn-of-the-decade indie-folk, is generally a dangerous

endeavor.

No group may know this better than Fleet Foxes,

pioneers of the last wave of that very hybrid, who

unfortunately had to witness their distinct style of

harmonious and densely packed choral indie be

curdled by near-endless imitators.

But Crack-Up, their latest release, shrugs off the

notion that indie-folk is nothing but a repetitive

drumbeat and insipid sing-along turn-of-phrase,

instead offering an album that revisits the lush

acoustic soundscapes and brimming vocal style

that has always put Fleet Foxes a cut above.

Ditching any conventional radio-ready joints,

album opener and first single “I Am All That I Need

/ Arroyo Seco / Thumbprint Scar” offers a brimming

compilation of orchestral swoons and guitar-driven

urgency. From there, the album leads into sister-tracks

“Cassius, -“ and “- Naiads, Cassadies.” The

former showcases the archetypal rising swell of Fleet

Foxes’ vocal harmonies and the latter descends into

an almost-bluesy hymnal of keys and guitar.

While neither of these tracks reinvent the Fleet

Foxes formula, they are brimming with life as though

shuddering off the years away down to minute intricacies

that aren’t immediately apparent.

They act as a build-up, almost, for “Kept

Woman,” the album’s first non-single standout. It

finds vocalist Robin Pecknold ruminating against a

simple and hypnotic turn of piano keys.

“Anna, you’re lost in a shadow there/ Cinder and

smoke hanging in the air/ Oh, and I know you’ll

be bolder than me/ I was high, I was unaware,”

Pecknold croons in the chorus. It’s a simple and

familiar story, but the minor inflection on the

words “cinder and smoke” represent the subtleties

in which Fleet Foxes thrive.

Perhaps the strongest aspect of Crack-Up is how

each track is rhythmically and melodically dense,

but is never once gaudy or overwrought in the way

that betrays the telltale sheen of overproduction.

“Third of May / Ōdaigahara” is another such

example of how Fleet Foxes have stepped up to

reclaim the crown. At almost nine minutes, the

album’s centrepiece and longest track interpolates

a masterful use of violins, winding vocal acrobatics,

and start-stop rhythm before tailing off into a

flurry of fluttering strings. It carries with it a brief

shade of the works of Joanna Newsom, though not

nearly as complex.

“If You Need to, Keep Time on Me” is another

album standout, simple and brief with it’s title

serving as the chorus plaintively proclaimed by

Pecknold. It’s shuddering, but it also marks perhaps

the turning point for Crack-Up, an album that’s

undoubtedly front-heavy.

“Mearcstapa,” “On Another Ocean (January/

June)” and “Fool’s Errand,” for all their orchestral

worth, never quite reach the highs of the album’s

first few tracks and while they share the same spirit,

they aren’t necessarily attention-grasping.

The same can be said for the downtempo and

echoing “I Should See Memphis,” a track that can

unfortunately be construed as Crack-Up’s nadir to

the rest of the albums lustful and jubilant zenith.

Amidst wistful guitar strums, Pecknold’s voice

reverberates dismally, and while it keeps with the

formula of minor instrumental inflections contributing

to the overall oeuvre of Crack-Up it sadly

feels out of place in an album that revels in its

subtle density.

The placement of the penultimate “I Should See

Memphis” may also be considered a misstep for the

album, with even the last-hurrah atmosphere of closer

and title track “Crack-Up” being unable to bring

the piece back to the heights of its beginnings.

However, apart from a meandering second half,

the only real gripe with Crack-Up stems from a

problem within the structure of the new indie/folk

movement itself, being that many have the formula

down so well that there never seems a need for

more than a little variation.

While Fleet Foxes have undoubtedly done something

to remedy this, adding vibrant orchestrals

to their well-known vocal filigree, the issue with

albums like Crack-Up is that they’re great pieces in

a genre that is suffering from exhaustion.

Arguably peaking at around the time Fleet Foxes

released their last acclaimed album Helplessness

Blues in 2011, the movement unfortunately and

regretfully umbrella’d as “indie” is now as commonplace

as anything, the ruminating and contemplative

nature of its forebearers wilfully forgotten.

Call it a bitter irony that the inspiration drawn

from groups like Fleet Foxes on imitators would

result in an oversaturation of a subculture of music

that seemed oh-so-bright and refreshing not even

a decade ago.

Either way, Crack-Up bristles with the same

subtle grandiosity found in most of Fleet Foxes

work, and as if preserved in amber for these six

long years, their sound remains perfectly preserved

and contented to live amongst the nuances that

indie-folk used to encompass.

• Alec Warkentin

illustration: Julia Iredale

BEATROUTE • JUNE 2017 | 53


Big Thief

Capacity

Saddle Creek

Swooning and swaying through a dreamlike soundscape,

Brooklyn-based indie rock band Big Thief creates a haunting and

beautiful experience throughout their sophomore LP, Capacity.

Following their acclaimed debut, 2016’s Masterpiece, Big Thief

continues to craft captivating folk-tinged songs, that allow singer

Adrianne Lenker to effectively tap into her mid-west roots

and recount stories of her dramatic youth experiences. Behind

Lenker’s lithe vocals sits a bed of evocative instrumentals, consisting

largely of softly picked guitars and stripped-down drums

which, on occasion, explode into twists and turns of volume

when the songs call for high emotional dynamics.

Through muddy mids and steady, hammering rhythms, the

namesake track “Capacity,” creates occasional windows for slides

and string swells to shine through with absolute precision. Later,

on the track “Great White Shark,” the band builds into a trampling

urgency of cacophonous cymbal ring and dueling picked

guitars, only to drop back into sparse, acoustic landscapes and

soft vocals as the song concludes.

A large part of the album’s inspiration, as Lenker explains in

an interview with Pitchfork, comes from a turbulent childhood,

which she creatively and confidently explores throughout Capacity.

That confidence allowed Lenker to be personal in her songwriting

in ways she claims she previously withheld. On “Mythological

Beauty,” the soft-waving lead single, Lenker takes an attempt to

understand the experiences of her family through the eyes of her

mother. Exploring the stresses of navigating young motherhood,

and a brush with death when a railroad spike struck Lenker in the

head at age 5, the song is effective in selflessly sympathizing with

an individual beyond the typical storyteller perspective. “You’re

all caught up inside,” she croons at the chorus, pausing before

finishing the hook with “but you know the way.”

Lenker’s delicate delivery remains a huge strength on an

album with few overt weaknesses. Her lyrics on “Haley” seem to

dance along the bars accompanied by carefully placed strikes

and fills from the rest of the group. On the standout track

“Mary,” Lenker exhibits her skillful songwriting ability, as breathtaking

couplets swing back-to-back at the refrain. The performance

remains so captivating throughout that the swelling

piano and strings that accompany her can easily go unnoticed.

Rarely dragging, and seldom losing the listener’s interest, the

album’s dancing instrumental breaks fill the gaps between tastefully

twangy vocals. The record is tactfully crafted by a band

finding their footing and flexing their abilities without over-performing

or overshadowing any one element on the finished

product of each track.

Capacity captivates throughout, delivering a sprawling collection

of modern folk songs that capture a rare spirit of adventure

and delicacy with absolute sincerity and rawness.

• Nathan Kunz

54 | JUNE 2017 • BEATROUTE

TOPS

Sugar At The Gate

Arbutus Records

The release of TOPS sophomore album Picture You Staring set a

tone for the Montreal band, and as Sugar at the Gate comes out,

it is clear that they don’t intend to fully stray from that path. Yet

that’s what makes the newest release great - TOPS has found

their niche and they’re playing to it.

While the group has previously been criticized for their simplicity,

which you can still find present in this album, it doesn’t

take away from their sound. In fact, simple works in their favour,

allowing them to experiment in the boundaries they’ve set for

themselves without trying to tread into territory too unfamiliar.

The dream pop trio have said they had more space to make

music in Sugar at the Gate than previous work, and it shows.

“Living in L.A. was living out a teenage fantasy, living with

your band and practicing in the garage,” vocalist Jane Penny said

in a statement accompanying the album. “It was also the first

time we’ve ever had that much space to make music. I took the

experience of living in L.A. as a challenge to make music that I

know is real to me, in the sense of it feeling true and containing

true feelings, but also recordings of great songs, the real thing.”

Without running too far off course, tracks like single “Dayglow

Bimbo” and “Marigold & Gray,” bring listeners into new

territory mid-album, with the former being upbeat, featuring an

intro touching on experimental elements, and the latter running

much slower and more drawling than previous work. Much like

Picture You Staring, the album is a breeze front-to-back, with

infrequent interruptions to surprise listeners with something

new. It’s not an album of daring moments, but fortunately, it

works for the best.

The album grows better with each listen, as slow understanding

reveals that the often upbeat and happy tunes are riddled

with raw emotion. Most of the LP caters to TOPS fans, with

songs like “Petals” acting as refreshing, but still familiar tunes.

With dreamy atmosphere, Jane Penny’s outstandingly strong

vocals, and instrumentals that step slightly outside of their

comfort zone, TOPS has delivered an assured album that shows

a band perfecting their trademark sound and only beginning

to explore new possibilities. Sugar at the Gate is a testament

to TOPS talent, while also presenting a band that’s skills have

grown exponentially, while still leaving listeners wanting more.

• Amber McLinden

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard

Murder of the Universe

ATO Records

Perhaps the best part about being a King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard

fan is the amount of fun it is to describe the albums they make

to people who haven’t had the pleasure of finding them yet. Known

as the Gizz to the ever-expanding fan base that greets the seven-piece

psychedelic collective at their near-legendary live shows,

the blunt-smoking, Blundstone-sporting band from Melbourne

have built their reputation on their ability to make outlandish,

consistently jaw-dropping concept albums, from just about every

sub-genre under the psychedelic rock umbrella.

Having released nine studio albums since 2012, and with plans

to release five albums this year alone, the band has enjoyed a

near-constant presence in the headphones of listeners who lust for

psychedelic, garage rock expeditions that, as of late, have sounded

like Neu!-indebted Krautrock from the bush.

Still, after a career of left-turns and over-the-top album concepts

like 2016’s Nonagon Infinity, a rollicking, garage-rock epic designed as

an infinite loop, or Microtonal Flying Banana from earlier this year, it

seems that bandleader and vocalist Stu Mackenzie is still filled with

zany ideas to put to tape. Enter Murder of the Universe, an epic,

21-track, three-part musical saga that uses multiple narrators to tell a

story that the band started back on I’m In Your Mind Fuzz in 2014.

Opening with the seven-part garage rock suite “Altered Beast,”

Murder of the Universe is the weirdest, and often most outlandish,

Gizz album thus far. Impressively, it’s also one of their most technically

proficient. Anchored by bassist Lucas Skinner and dual drummers

Eric Moore and Michael Cavanagh, the band rips through a pummeling

collection of motorik monsters that weave through so many time

signatures and polyrhythms that it often verges on math rock.

In many ways, MOTU feels like King Gizzard’s Caress of Steel, the

Rush album that found the band releasing both their most, and

least, accessible music at the same time. Beyond the similarities in

the structure of the albums, there are multiple moments where the

Gizz just sound downright prog-y in ways not heard since The Holy

Triumvirate’s golden era.

The aforementioned “Altered Beast” suite features insane, rhyming

narration like “No more consternation, no longer insalubrious,

the beast’s DNA has dug into your nucleus,” while Stu and the crew

rip through polyrhythmic riffs that would make Neil Peart giggle

like a small child.

Even though the story told on the album is somewhat hard to

follow, the band’s ability to power through the dense, brain-fried

fantasy storytelling results in a listening experience so blatantly

weird you can’t help but submit to this world of acrid monster

corpses, vomit coffins, and confused cyborgs longing to be human.

It’s not a perfect album by any means, but the highs found on

Murder of the Universe are higher than on any other album in the

band’s vast catalog. It’s a balls to the wall journey into the weed-addled

brains of one of the most entertaining bands in modern music.

• Jamie McNamara


Beach Fossils

Somersault

Bayonet

It takes all of one second into Somersault,

the first album from Beach Fossils

since 2013’s Clash The Truth, to realize

that this is a totally different band than

the one we once knew. Obviously, that

statement isn’t entirely true, Beach Fossils

are actually the exact same band that

made the hazy, lo-fi guitar pop on Clash

The Truth, but listening to “This Year,”

the lead-off track on Somersault, makes

it somewhat hard to tell. This is a record

made with supreme confidence and a

studio sheen that gives Beach Fossils

trademark sound a new life. There are

flourishes of orchestral strings, woodwinds,

and horns layered throughout

Somersault’s expertly-crafted pop song

structures that would’ve sound out of

place in their old work. Here, they seem

at home beside listless acoustic guitars

and buoyant basslines that would feel at

home in Brooklyn or the Laurel Canyon.

Appearances from Slowdive’s Rachel

Goswell, and spoken word from rapper

Cities Aviv send Beach Fossils in new directions

that never feel out of their reach.

The three-piece band makes assured

choices and bold left-turns that make

their return after four years something of

a celebration. It doesn’t hurt that songs

like “Down the Line” and “Be Nothing”

are some of the best songs Beach Fossils

have ever made. Somersault isn’t a

revolutionary album, but it’s made with

a confidence that proves it doesn’t need

to be revolutionary to be one of the best

albums of the year.

• Jamie McNamara

BETRAYERS

12 SONGS TO HAUNT YOU

Independent

Edmonton’s BETRAYERS make a point of

being concise in composition. Their latest

release, 12 SONGS TO HAUNT YOU,

clocks in quick, each cut bursting with

danceable pop energy. Sirens ablaze tight

to “THEME FROM SILKY BOYS;” a wicked

speedy driver on a Peter Gunn riff does

the twist to carnival lines of organ and

tight finishes into a classic upbeat pop of

“ONE OF YOUR FOOLS.” The song features

a cool vocal harmony between Travis

Sargent’s long and low phrasing and

the cheerful, higher-end voice of Scarlet

Welling-Yiannakoulias. Justin Zawada’s

bass is a constant energetic forward

groove, with the pace of the Misfits, and

that dark and suspenseful movie action.

Whether it’s the swaying “LES

ÉTOILES” en Francais, with tremolo guitars

and a swell of organ coming around,

or the primal drum groove and drone

of “BELONG HERE RAGGA,” every song

on 12 Songs To Haunt You is uptempo

rock n’ roll in some cool classic forms. 12

SONGS TO HAUNT YOU follows a fairly

simple formula, with a lot of energy, and

short duration songs filled with bass lines

that propel the band towards tight and

defined endings. BETRAYERS can make

a crowd dance, and their melodies and

harmonies glide over the fast moving

current underneath.

• Mike Dunn

Benjamin Booker

Witness

ATO Records

When Benjamin Booker released his first

album in 2014 to life-altering success,

he wrote about how his personal lyrics

should be left to him at live shows. He

felt that his shows are about having fun

and forgetting troubles; “Who cares what

I’m saying,” he wrote on Facebook. His

debut full-length is comparable to the

raw and explosive nature of The White

Stripes, mixed with the soulfulness of

blues greats such as Jimmy Reed. In a

world of synths and claustrophobia,

the purity of the guitar-driven instrumentation

is refreshing, especially when

coupled with dynamic song structures

designed to build atmosphere. He was

right about his lyrics back then.

With Witness, Booker’s lyrics are at

the forefront of the album. The record

is about being a witness, making a statement

on certain aspects of apathy, racism,

and self-worth. We are all witnesses

in some shape or form, but this record

calls for change, a beacon of light for

both artist and listener. Songs like the title

track and “Motivation,” deal with dark

themes lyrically, yet Booker finds a way

to inspire with his honest delivery and

mastery over song structure. Musically,

it’s as excellent as his debut, but sounds

cleaner due to the addition of orchestral

elements, crisp production and the desire

for his message to get across. When the

music is this good, it makes the short

length of Witness slightly disappointing,

but it’s the perfect sophomore release

for an artist that may be on his way to sit

with the legends.

• Paul McAleer

Crack Cloud

Anchoring Point

Independent

Anchoring Point, the new EP from Calgary

post-punk collective Crack Cloud,

is the latest release in a long line of

ferocious Calgarian post-punk that combines

artistic tendencies with dystopic,

dreary atmospheres. Yet where other

Calgarian bands like Preoccupations use

monotony to drive their point home,

Crack Cloud indulge in rhythmic art

punk and afro punk not too far removed

from the Talking Heads. The five-track

EP effectively captures a band that has

earned considerable buzz with their first

EP and frenetic live performances, but it

also solidifies Crack Cloud’s reputation as

one of the brightest talents in Calgary’s

flourishing music scene.

It’s clear when listening to the bouncing,

dub-indebted bass lines and skronking

guitars peppered throughout Anchoring

Point that Crack Cloud subscribe

to the Gang of Four, neo-Marxist school

of post-punk. On “Empty Cell” and the

standout track “Image Craft,” the band

uses pop-leaning afro-punk polyrhythms

to push a political agenda that antagonizes

Albertan power structures from a

philosophical standpoint that is all too

rare in local music these days. Drummer/

vocalist Zach Choy anchors the band

with his acidic yelps and brainy, selfaware

lyrics that avoid pretension while

still flashing some much-needed fang.

Final track “Swish Swash,” may be the

most impressive song in Crack Cloud’s

catalog, using droning atmospheres and

a relentless motorik beat to push the

band in a new direction. It’s not a new

beginning, but it feels like a new look for

a band with a long career ahead of them.

• Jamie McNamara

DJ Orange Julius

The Grove

Mall Music, Inc.

The debut album by DJ Orange Julius is

43-minute exploration of how far you

can stray from the Spartan grit of what

we conceive of as footwork. While its his

debut release, this anachronistic mélange

of style isn’t without precedent: OJ is

Mall Music certified, a label you might

know on account of the weird gloom

of fellow disrupter DJ Mastercard. More

likely still, you were directed here by DJ

Paypal, the gregarious ringleader of the

label who has co-signs from crews like

Teklife, Brainfeeder and LuckyMe.

While both Paypal and Mastercard feature

on highlights of the release—respectively

impish and downcast on cohesive,

back-to-back numbers “Unforget” and

“Finally Together”—credit is due to OJ for

not letting them steal the show.

The Grove works in highly distinct,

well-realized thirds: a goofy-grinned first

act (“Still Geekin’” is a Gucci Mane flip,

“Anuva” works from schmaltzy slap-bass,

“Skkrtt” is a cookout jam centred on one

of rap’s most meme’d adlibs), a no-fucksgiven

weird middle (previously mentioned

collabs, dystopian opera vibes on

“Muthafuk’n G”) and a final stretch made

up of cold-blooded club fare.

The Grove makes footwork feel like a

genre seeded in fertile soil, one that has

the ability to challenge its conventions

and even tell a nuanced story. It’s likely

the last Mall Music release that will occur

before the label becomes a household

name.

• Colin Gallant

Dave Depper

Emotional Freedom Technique

Tender Loving Empire

Dave Depper can usually be found

playing guitar as a part of Death Cab

for Cutie, a gig he landed after a storied

dance through a string of instruments

and positions in numerous Pacific Northwest

bands. On Emotional Freedom

Technique, Depper steps into the spotlight

on his own. Opening with an epic

BEATROUTE • JUNE 2017 | 55


synth-pop ballad, “Do You Want Love,” Depper’s

debut solo LP is all at once a self-expression of

deepest longing exposed through the lens of

loneliness’ stark self-reflection and a demonstration

of the incredible, self-assured creation

that isolation can bring. Depper’s multi-instrumentalist

musical ability must be noted, having

personally written and played every part of the

album in his Portland home studio, with the

only exception being Laura Gibson’s guest vocals

on “Your Voice on the Radio;” a pure personal

expression album, close to heart and therefore

completely self-controlled. The record has a

classic and cohesive meandering quality to it,

lending itself well to contemplative walks, or

for quiet reflection over a pot of tea. Depper’s

compositions weave together undulating musical

textures into a singular tapestry for the exhibition

of his vocal poetry—the true highlight of

the record—full of gentle honesty and a purity

found in demonstrative restraint.

• Andrew R. Mott

The Drums

Abysmal Thoughts

Anti-

It’s hard to imagine that The Drums breakout

song, the effervescent “Let’s Go Surfing,” came

out seven years ago. It’s no fault of their own,

but after two albums and the death of just about

every trend the Jonny Pierce-led band once fell

under, that first single feels like an artifact of a

twee era gone by.

Hints of that bobbing, C86-influenced band

pop up throughout Abysmal Thoughts, The

Drums first album in three years, but they’ve

been recontextualised by Pierce, who once again

has found himself as the sole member of the

band. The move by Pierce to take back the creative

reigns pays off on a mature record filled to

the brim with pop-leaning introspection.

On songs like “Mirror” and “I’ll Fight For Your

Life,” Pierce sounds like a synth-toting, new wave

version of The Smiths, combining Morrissey-esque

melancholy with bright, summer-ready

melodies that shimmer overtop restless baselines

that Pierce has perfected after four albums.

Lyrically, Abysmal Thoughts is filled with a

self-aware character assessments and relationship

miscalculations inspired by Pierce’s decision

to leave New York behind for LA. The result is a

record that is at once insular and expansive, and

a joy to listen to throughout.

• Jamie McNamara

Hooded Fang

Dynasty House

Daps Records

Hooded Fang are back with a six-track album

that’s both maddeningly brief and addictive in

its haste. Shy of 30 minutes in length, Dynasty

House would feel more like an EP were it not

for the album’s gripping, narrative pacing and

endless replayability. Further weaponizing the

instrumental interplay of figureheads April

Aliermo (bass) and Daniel Lee (guitar, vocals),

Dynasty House uses brevity and immediacy to

lure you into paying attention to the stories of

western immigration that influence their lives.

If you haven’t checked in with Hooded Fang

since their last album, Venus on Edge, you might

be expecting a quite different band. That record

was their re-introduction, a fulfilled promise

on the strengths they’d shown intermittently

on Graves and Tosta Mista. Those releases were

fun but exploratory, and not entirely focused.

Few would say that of Venus, even fewer would

dare when it comes to Dynasty House. These

albums are taught post-punk that only relents

from its razorwire, extraterrestrial guitar riffs

and tidal-while-frantic bass lines to nod at the

drawn-out paranoia of a bad trip found in the

most realistic psych-rock.

But what makes Dynasty House so vital is how

its themes are so personally explicit—everything

about the album’s lyrics and rollout scream at you

to pay attention. It would be hard not to comply.

Sonically, it’s much the same as Venus, but

using its six tracks to create individual portraits

of real people among the Asian Diaspora adds

a thematic heft to Hooded Fang that their apex

as musicians couldn’t have otherwise been

improved upon.

• Colin Gallant

Kevin Morby

City Music

Dead Oceans

Kevin Morby’s latest release City Music, a follow

up to 2016’s Singing Saw, is meant to invoke

the downtown atmosphere, and does so in its

anonymity. Morby never gets too wild even while

having some fun dance numbers, maintaining an

easy-going attitude and never getting too excited.

“Come To Me Now” is a cool opener, a nice

blend of synth and a beat that sounds programmed,

but feels human still. The repeating

chord changes are lulling and Morby’s vocals have

a Cohen/Reed vibe, with simple yet evocative

lyrics. “Crybaby” is a street strutting number that

takes its time getting to the chorus, but has some

slow pogo and a swirling spaced-out ending.

“1234” is spazzy garage rock with a repeating blues

boogie change that comes down to the hook

line, “I’d walk a mile just to die, die, die, die.” It’s

an unexpected turn ahead of a verse naming off

The Ramones, as though that mile is a parade of

humans in the “Joey, Johnny, Dee Dee, Tommy”

t-shirt. Morby seems practiced in his nonchalance,

with a vocal tone that feels like Tom Petty reading

the directions to coffee, and a willingness to add

oddball parts here and there that help to keep the

record nicely off balance.

City Music does well in the early morning,

but it only takes off in fits. Morby’s chill vibe is

recognizable and has its low-key charm. Some

cool garage-rock moments mixed with a Lou

Reed feel and some cool synth excursions. A lot

of people write about living in New York, but City

Music never goes so far as to name the place, and

that gives Morby room to find and be whatever

he wants.

• Mike Dunn

Not You

Misty

Fundog Records

Not You’s Misty often feels like a break-up mixtape.

The flow of each song traverses between

harsher, garage-punk guitar and drums, and

uplifting vocals. Nancy Urich’s (of Dog Day and

Burdocks) singing is bare and calming, adding

to the contrast of emotion and noise that one

would feel throughout the end of a relationship.

Take “LL” for example: the second track of six

on their debut. It starts off with a hypnotic wave

of sharp drums and a harmony of vocals, only to

throw you out of your trance with a dark turn

as the chorus comes. It’s dramatic and difficult,

with mirage-like images of a comfort now lost.

The Halifax band has a sound not unlike

Chastity Belt in their clinical detachment and

unexpected flare-ups, but they may suffer listeners

who don’t feel at home in the Halifax indie

tradition of lethargic ambiguity—not to mention

their misnomer as a shoegaze band. While Misty

is a varied listen in its dynamic of melody and

texture, it may well blend in with other acts

trading in the same mechanics.

• Keeghan Rouleau

Daniel Romano

Modern Pressure

New West Records

Daniel Romano has proved himself an extremely

capable musical chameleon, putting on the

turns of old time country and psychedelic ‘70s

songwriter-folk like a well-worn denim jacket. His

appropriation of mid-20th century musical stylings

is so effective and all-encompassing it often

borders on parody. It’s frankly astonishing that

he is able to produce material so diverse on such

a consistent basis, while also producing records

and leather working on the side.

His new record, Modern Pressure, is a riff on

late-’70s rock, specifically the George Harrisons

of the world. It’s fun and colourful, with

springing guitars, melodious organs and present

drums. It’s enormously authentic sounding,

even mimicking the lyrical style of the period.

Tracks like “When I Learned Your Name” carry an

anachronistic air, with the song’s lyrics observing

and waiting for a girl to come of age, a sentiment

which seems creepy now, but is strangely

in keeping with the lyrical leanings of artists like

the Beatles.

Still, it carries on something very quintessential

about Daniel Romano, his charming,

country-styled vocal affectation and vibrato, and

an acute sense of self. You’ll even catch Romano

singing about another contemporary songwriter,

Jennifer Castle, on the record.

• Liam Prost

Ruins of Beverast

Exuvia

Vàn Records

Exuvia marks the triumphant return of German

one-man black metal project Ruins of Beverast,

created by mastermind Alexander von Meilenwald.

Four years after the release of Blood Vaults

- The Blazing Gospel of Heinrich Kramer (2013),

Exuvia marks the fifth full-length from the

project. The record more than holds its own next

to the rest of the project’s stellar and acclaimed

discography.

The four year gap from the previous album

has enabled Meilenwald to distill a meditative

yet deadly deep cut worthy of the band’s back

catalogue, and it towers head and shoulders over

a majority of the other metal releases 2017 has

offered thus far. Exuvia is a must-listen not only

for metal fanatics of the current year, but also

people who appreciate evocative and progressive

songwriting, heavy in conceptual undercurrents

and burning with vision. Exuvia absolutely exudes

atmosphere – take two thirds through the

eponymous opening track. The listener will find

themself whisked away by the pounding, ritualis-

56 | JUNE 2017 • BEATROUTE


tic drums, consumed by Meilenwald’s evocative

vision that lasts for the album’s duration. Exuvia

is full to brimming with thunderous, epic lead

lines and absolutely crushing drumming, but

also features a very unique and subtle atmosphere

that slowly fills the listener with a sense

of fear and wonder. As the ancient war drums

slam and the torrential rains mar the full moon,

the listener is drawn through the dark forests

of the album’s six tracks. It will leave you with

an impression of not only what modern metal

has grown into, but what it has the potential to

become.

• Greg Grose

Sufjan Stevens, Bryce Dessner, Nico Muhly,

James McAllister

Planetarium

4AD

Easily one of the more ambitious albums of the

year, Planetarium is a result of the combined

efforts of The National’s Bryce Dessner, classical

composer Nico Muhly, critical darling Sufjan

Stevens and frequent collaborator James McAllister,

in an effort to explore the solar system.

Much like Stevens “50 States” series, the

17-track release features pieces named after

various celestial bodies, each meticulously arranged

with credit to the classical backgrounds

of Dessner and Muhly.

However, the similarities between Planetarium

and the collaborators past works, for the

most part, stop there.

Over an hour and fifteen minutes, the sordid

crew traverse the musical sounds of the galaxy

in a craft powered by buzzing ambience, silver-slick

orchestration, and Steven’s own interest

with autotune adding a pitch-modified madness

to his usually placid and ephemeral vocals.

Standout tracks “Jupiter,” “Mars,” and the fifteen-minute-long

epic “Earth,” present perhaps the

best execution of this undoubtedly strong, if not

blissfully experimental and exploratory, album.

The only real gripe about Planetarium could

possibly come about due to it’s length, but for

something inspired by the ever-expanding universe,

anything short and sweet would be an injustice.

A brief example of the scope of Planetarium

comes about on “Saturn,” the first track released

from Planetarium, which finds the group interpolates

Greek mythology and shimmering keys in an

electronically-fuelled expressionistic expanse.

In short, Planetarium forgoes formula for

ambition, classical for the future, and if any

would dare attempt to score the universe, it’s

these brave few.

• Alec Warkentin

Woodhawk

Beyond the Sun

Independent

2017’s feel good hit of the summer has toucheddown

in the form of Woodhawk’s Beyond the

Sun, a tightly-woven, yet ambitious, sophomore

outing that packs more in radioactive elements

than the Mars Rover. The would-be soundtrack

to “Easy Rider in Space” launches with a throwback

to the era of the Calgary-based outfit’s

eminently listenable self-title debut. “The High

Priest” was championed by drummer, Kevin

Daniel Romano

Nelson, who loves nothing more than watching

people sing along as he “smashes the skins.”

Priming his Pearl Masters snare with a militaristic

ratatat, Nelson dutifully marshals bandmates

guitarist-vocalist Turner Midzain and bassist

Mike Badmington through the psych-rock

canyons of “Living in the Sand.” Slowing-up for

reentry the desert-tinged “Magnetic North,”

and wildcard “Lawless,” the trio seeks enlightenment

with the compelling “Quest for Clarity.”

Nominee for Star Wars tribute song of the year,

“A New Hope” drives home the LP’s interstellar

theme with lyrical story weaving, meanwhile the

shimmering strings of “Foresee the Future” provides

ample evidence of the technical progress.

Finishing strong, the rallying cry “Chrononaut”

bursts forth in a pressure-suit of shining armour.

Destined for heavy rotation, Beyond the Sun

glows with glorious hooks, catchy lyrics and

life-supporting beats all pulled together by the

clarity of Midzain’s denim jacket vocals, which

according to one Jedi Nelson, “soar through the

air on this record like a drunken Kenny Loggins.”

• Christine Leonard

BEATROUTE • JUNE 2017 | 57


SAVAGE LOVE

transitions, transitions, transitions...

I’m a middle-aged homo trying to figure out Grindr. Is it impolite

to go on Grindr if you’re not looking for an immediate hookup? My

preferred form of sexual relationship is the friend-with-benefits situation.

I go on Grindr looking to make friends who could, at least

potentially, be sex partners, but I like to do the friend thing before

the sex. I’ve had guys call me an asshole because I exchanged messages

with them for 20 minutes and then didn’t come right over

and fuck them. Do they have a point? Does logging into a hookup

app like Grindr imply openness to an immediate sexual encounter?

—Talking Online Repulses Some Others

Always be up front about your intentions, TORSO. The best way

to do that is by creating a profile—on Grindr or elsewhere—that

clearly describes what you want and what you’re up for. Because

good partners (sexual or otherwise) communicate their wants

clearly. Adding something like this to your profile should do it:

“My preferred form of sexual relationship is the friend-with-benefits

situation. I go on Grindr looking to make friends who could,

at least potentially, be sex partners, but I like to do the friend

thing before the sex.”

Grindr is an app designed and marketed to facilitate hookups,

but some people have found friends, lovers, and husbands on

the app (usually after hooking up first). So being on a hookup

app doesn’t automatically mean you’re looking for “right now,”

and it certainly doesn’t obligate you to fuck every guy you swap

messages with. But if you’re not clear in your profile or very first

message about what you’re doing there, TORSO, guys looking

for a hookup on that hookup app will be rightly annoyed with

you. (The time and energy he sunk into you could have been

sunk into someone looking for right now.) If you are clear, guys

seeking instacock have only themselves to blame for wasting

their time on you.

Your timing could also have something to do with guys calling

you an asshole. Are you exchanging messages at two in the

morning for 20 minutes? Because most guys on Grindr at that

hour are seeking immediate sexual encounters. If you’re just

chatting in the middle of the night, then you’re probably wasting

someone’s time—if, again, you’re not being absolutely clear

about what you’re doing there. Also, TORSO, Grindr is location-based,

which means you’re going to get a different experience

based on where you’re using it. Some neighborhoods seem

to be filled with messy guys looking for chemsex, bless their

hearts. In others, you’ll find unwoke twinks who are on Grindr

to swap (highly problematic) GIFs of black women pulling faces.

And if you’re in a rural area, it’s likely you’ll message your full

cast of Grindr torsos within a few days.

Think of Grindr as a giant gay bar—most guys are there to

hook up, a few just want to hang out and chat, some dudes are

really messed up (avoid them), and no one is at their best around

closing time.

I’m a 25-year-old gay woman and I’ve been looking for a girlfriend

for the past two years. I post on dating websites, go to the lesbian

club, take part in the LGBTQ+ scene at my university, and put myself

in places where I might meet women. But I’m worried that my

persona deters women: I’m extremely analytic, a doctoral student

and university instructor. Whenever I meet a girl, our conversation

always goes in the same direction: She thinks it’s cool I work with

literature and then brings up her favorite pop-culture novel like

Harry Potter. I say something like “I’ve never read Harry Potter, but

people rave about it. What do you like about it? I took an online

Harry Potter test once for a friend, and it said I was a Slytherin.” At

this point, things change. The girl I’m speaking with gets flustered.

She says something like “Oh, I’m not good at describing things,”

seemingly feeling pressured to give me an intellectual response,

like I’m giving her a quiz. I’m not sure what to do about this. I am

having trouble maintaining casual and fun conversations despite

my intentions. I come off as intense. I think I’m a pretty attractive

person, but my dating life is starting to make me feel differently. I

work out regularly and take good care of myself. How can I find a

woman I jibe with?

—A Lesbian Obviously Needs Excitement

You’re doing all the right things—almost. You’re getting out there,

you’re not shy about initiating conversation, and you’re moving

on multiple fronts—online, club nights, LGBTQTSLFNBQGQ-

IA+++ groups. Join a women’s athletic organization—join a softball

league—and you’ll be moving on every lesbo front. That said,

ALONE, I’m surprised this hasn’t popped into your extremely analytic

head: If Y happens whenever I do X, and Y isn’t the desired outcome,

then maybe I should knock this Y shit the fuck off. Your response

to the mention of Harry Potter drips with what I trust is unintentional

condescension. (“I’ve never read it… what do you like about

it… I took an online test once for a friend…”) Don’t want women

to think you’re administering a quiz? Don’t want women to get the

impression you’re too intellectual for them? Don’t want to seem like

someone incapable of keeping things casual and fun? Don’t administer

quizzes, don’t subtly telegraph your disgust, and keep things

casual by offering a little info about yourself instead of probing. (“I

haven’t read the Harry Potter books, but I’m a huge Emma Watson

fangirl. Who isn’t, right?”) And maybe go ahead and read Harry

Potter already.

by Dan Savage

I’m a married woman whose hot, hung husband is into “beautiful

women and pretty boys” (his words—and he means boyish men of

legal age, of course). It took a dozen years to get that out of him.

I’d watched him drool over pretty male baristas and waiters, but it

wasn’t until I found twink porn on his computer that he came out

about his “narrow slice of bisexuality.” (Again, his words.) Now that

it’s out—now that he’s out—he’s anxious to have a three-way with

me and a femme guy. I’m up for it, but the pretty boys we’re finding

online who are into my husband aren’t into me. My husband says

he would feel too guilty doing it without me, which means he may

not be able to do it at all. I want him to do it. It turns me on to think

about. I don’t have to be there.

—Hubby’s Underlying Bi Biological Yearnings

Let your hot, hung husband find a pretty boy he likes, HUBBY, then

ask for the boy’s e-mail or phone number or IG handle or whatever,

and have a quick back-channel convo with him. Let him know your

hot, hung husband (HHH) wants his ass and that you’ll be there—

but only at the start. Once drinks have been served, the ice has been

broken, and a little spit has been swapped (between him and HHH),

tell him you’ll invent a reason to excuse yourself (your period, bad

clams, whatever), leaving him alone with your HHH. At that point,

HHH can decide for himself if he wishes to proceed without you but

with your blessing (which you can toss over your shoulder on your

way out of the room). Good luck!

Listen to Dan at

savagelovecast.com

Email Dan at

mail@savagelove.net

Follow Dan

@fakedansavage on Twitter

58 | JUNE 2017 • BEATROUTE

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