Summer Festival Guide • Tiger Army • Blitzen Trapper • Jesse Rose • Twin Peaks • Bison • Fleet Foxes
Bedroom Eyes 7
Edmonton Extra 22-23
Book Of Bridge 24
Letters From Winnipeg 25
Savage Love 58
Sled Island 27-39
Summer Festival Guide
Mental Film Festival, The Living Dead At
Manchester Morgue, Dear Kate, Vidiot
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Off With Their Heads, Tiger Army,
Blitzen Trapper, Glauz, AM Static
Jesse Rose, Troo Knot, The M Machine
North Of Here, Robbie Bankes,
Twin Peaks, Jerry Leger
Fleet Foxes, Big Thief, King Gizzard & The
Lizard Wizard, Tops and more!
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Orton • Michael Grondin • Mathew Silver • Kevin Bailey • Jackie Klapak •
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Shane Sellar • Kaje Annihilatrix • Dan Savage
Ash Koosha - page 36
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photo: Ozge Cone
BEATROUTE • JUNE 2017 | 3
ROCK ‘N’ ROLLER DERBY
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
“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
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
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
NERD ROLLER SKATES
and MAJOR MINOR
Skate Tech, IT Wizard, Nerd
Nerd Number One
Mr. Major Minor
BEATROUTE • JUNE 2017 | 7
Louise Casemore explores the perils and chasms of
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.
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
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
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
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 +
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.
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.
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.
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
that you are part of
and guest curator
is the out-of-thisworld
wiz, Flying Lotus,
of artists which
some serious head
bopping and head
big names include
Weyes Blood and
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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,
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
“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
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
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
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
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
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
“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 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
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
To The Mountain premieres this month at the Oakville Film and Arts Festival.
16 | JUNE 2017 • BEATROUTE FILM
rewind to the future
by Shane Sellar
Fifty Shades Darker
Underworld: Blood Wars
xXx: The Return Of Xander Cage
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
Incidentally, extreme sports spies take their martinis
with Mountain Dew in them.
He’s an Off-Colour Commentator. He’s the…
BEATROUTE • JUNE 2017 | 17
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
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
in the undying light
Army never dies!”
A catchphrase indelible in the minds
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
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
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
JUNO Nominees Rise & Shine to greet the world
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
“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
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
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.
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
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
Bassist Giddings echoes the statement,
saying she also is better at “figuring out her
“Her bass-lines have gotten sick,” gushes
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
Glaux plays Sled Island on June 23 at the Royal
Canadian Legion #1 (upstairs) and on June 24
in the Nite Owl Library.
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
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
“She brings a really fun energy to the
band,” Judd says about Sharma. “Having a
BEATROUTE • JUNE 2017 | 21
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
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
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,”
He concludes, “But it’s time to kick it up a
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
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
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).
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,”
“We did this big tour, and everyday I was
preaching this negativity. After a while it got me
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.
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
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
“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
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
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
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
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
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
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
“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
BEATROUTE • JUNE 2017 | 25
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
“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
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
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,
“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
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
“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…”
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
“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
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
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
“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.
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
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
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
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
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
taking a bow on their own terms
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
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
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.
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
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
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
• by Juliana Rock and Colin Gallant
BEATROUTE • JUNE 2017 | 31
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
BEATROUTE • JUNE 2017 | 35
FLYING LOTUS AND HIS PICKS
your cheat-sheet to attending Sled Island
DJ Orange Julius
by Colin Gallant
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
Performing on Wednesday, June 21, the UK club
visionary will be the introduction of curator picks
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
36 | JUNE 2017 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
BEATROUTE • JUNE 2017 | 37
honey & pearls
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
by Colin Gallant
late night movies
$5 pints, $1 oysters
$1/2 off wine
$7 beer flights
$5 draft pints
$3 jack daniels
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
38 | JUNE 2017 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE
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
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
Sled Island’s comedy lineup comes from across the continent while maintaining a focus on home.
BEATROUTE • JUNE 2017 | 39
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,”
“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
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
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).
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
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
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,”
“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
“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
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
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
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
Bankes is currently living a double life, traversing
often between Canada and Norway. He is studying
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
“We could have made a cool record in Norway,”
“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
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
BEATROUTE • JUNE 2017 | 45
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
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,
“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).
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
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
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
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,”
“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
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,”
“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
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
BEATROUTE • JUNE 2017 | 49
thrash icons are hardcore metal fans at heart
by Jason Lefebvre
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
“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,
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
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
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
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
“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
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
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
Sugar At The Gate
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
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
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
12 SONGS TO HAUNT YOU
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
• Mike Dunn
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
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
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
• Colin Gallant
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
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 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
• Colin Gallant
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
• Mike Dunn
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
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
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 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
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
• Greg Grose
Sufjan Stevens, Bryce Dessner, Nico Muhly,
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
Beyond the Sun
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
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
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
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
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
Email Dan at
@fakedansavage on Twitter
58 | JUNE 2017 • BEATROUTE