Calgary Stampede Shows • Crystal Eyes • Echo & The Bunnymen • Downway • One Love Festival • Melvins
Bedroom Eyes 7
Book Of Bridge 23
Edmonton Extra 26
Letters From Winnipeg 27
Savage Love 46
Calgary Folk Fest 28-30
Top Summer Films, Independence Day,
Whitehorse - page 15
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Stampede Shows, Crystal Eyes, Brett
McCrady, Echo & The Bunnymen, Look
Vibrant, North By North, Terminus,
MXPX, Darsombra, BIG Slam, Downway,
Free the Cynics
Summer Folk Festival Roundup, BluesFest,
Wine Soaked Preachers, Banff Centre
One Love, Breach, Jodie B, Electronic
Melvins, Unleash The Archers
Broken Social Scene and much more ...
Ryan Adams, Bison
Social Media Coordinator
City :: Brad Simm
Film :: Jonathan Lawrence
Calgary Beat :: Willow Grier
Rockpile :: Jodi Brak
Edmonton Extra :: Brittany Rudyck
Book of (Leth)Bridge :: Courtney Faulkner
Letters From Winnipeg :: Julijana Capone
Jucy :: Paul Rodgers
Roots :: Liam Prost
Shrapnel :: Sarah Kitteringham
Reviews :: Jamie McNamara
Christine Leonard • Arielle Lessard • Sarah Mac • Amber McLinden • Kennedy Enns • Jennie
Orton • Michael Grondin • Mathew Silver • Kevin Bailey • Jackie Klapak •
Hayley Pukanski • Nicholas Laugher • Arnaud Sparks • Brittney Rousten •
Breanna Whipple • Alex Meyer • Jay King • Alec Warkentin • Paul McAleer • Mike Dunn •
Shane Sellar • Kaje Annihilatrix • Dan Savage
Contributing Photographers & Illustrators
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BEATROUTE • JULY 2017 | 3
Saddle up for Bell Live at the King Eddy
SHAME AND PREJUDICE
at the Glenbow Museum
Wrangle up your posse for the resurrection of the Bell Live Series at
the King Eddy, featuring 10 days of foot-stompin’ roots and country
tunes from a roster of all-Canadian talent. From July 7 to 16, the
King Eddy will be transformed into a pop-up country saloon with
a revolving roster of western-style acts to provide daytime and
evening shows, during Bell Live. NMC is partnering with the Alberta
Small Brewers Association to provide a wide selection of local craft
brews from Big Rock, Wild Rose, Grizzly Paw, Half Hitch, Village
Brewery, Tool Shed Brewing, Common Crown Brewing Co., and
Canmore Brewing Company.
The Bell Live at the King Eddy will run daily from July 7-16, 11:30 am
to 2:00 am. A $20 cover will be in place after 7:00 pm until close for
all headliner shows. Visitors can also enjoy the sunshine on the King
Eddy Rooftop patio, opened exclusively during Stampede Week.
Stop by before hitting the grounds or end your evening on the terrace
with some of the best views of the Stampede’s closing fireworks.
The King Eddy Rooftop will be open daily from 12:00 pm to 11:00
pm. Rooftop access will be weather dependent. Check studiobell.ca/
bell-live-series for daily updates.
Kent Monkman’s Shame and Prejudice: A Story of Resilience was created
as a response to Canada 150 sesquicentennial celebrations. Kent
Monkman’s gender bending, time travelling alter-ego, Miss Chief Eagle
Testickle is the guide on a journey through Canada’s history that starts
in the present and takes us back to a hundred and fifty years before
Confederation. Miss Chief leads us through the harsh urban environment
of Winnipeg’s north end and contemporary life on the reserve,
and all the way back to the period of New France and the fur trade, addressing
some of the darkest chapters of Canada’s past and narrating a
story of Canada through the lens of First Nations’ resilience.
As both artist and curator of the exhibition, Monkman places his
own paintings, drawings and sculptural works in dialogue with
historical artifacts and artworks borrowed from museum and private
collections from across the country. A Canadian artist of Cree ancestry
who works with a variety of mediums, including painting, film/
video, performance, and installation.
BEER! BACON!! BOOBS!!!
4 | JULY 2017 • BEATROUTE
This monthly Burlesque Brunch show is now held the second Sunday
of every month at Mikeys On 12th Ave. The shows are community
based with a variety of diverse performances, not just burlesque. The
doors open at 11:00am and the show starts at noon. Tickets are $15
and are available at the door only. No minors allowed.
MIKEY’S BIG BOY BAR
...the new roadhouse on 12 Ave. SW
Formerly the Bind Monk near the corner of 8 St.
and 12 Ave. SW, the venue is now the second location
for Mikey’s Juke Joint, know as Mikey’s on 12th.
Equipped with a stage that can easily hold a 10 piece
band along with a fresh sound system Mikey is proud
of his new “big boy bar.”
“The Saturday afternoon jams at the original Mikey’s
started to fill up and people couldn’t find a place
to sit or get in. So we needed a bigger place. Some
bands have out grown us at the old location as well.
They started there, then out grew the place. I
also thought it would be cool to do some bigger
shows on the weekends. Some big, fun shows!
That what it’s all about!”
BEATROUTE • JULY 2017 | 7
BASEBALL LIFE ADVICE:
Loving the Game That Saved Me
By Stacey May Fowles
Published by McClelland and Stewart
In the fall of 2011 Stacey May Fowles was suffering
from a bout a depression. Not just the blues but
the kind of deep, dark downer that paralyzes and
The author of Baseball Life Advice was confined to
a couch in her basement feeling nothing, caring for
“I had had bouts of anxiety before but this time I
was surprised by how little I wanted to do, how nothing
moved me, how little I felt.”
Six years later Fowles is a going concern – a successful
novelist, essayist, frequent television and radio
guest. Her newsletter Baseball Life Advice (available
by subscription online here tinyletter.com/staceymayfowles)
has grown from an initital 111 subscribers to
more than 3,000.
She’s now on a cross-Canada book tour which included
a stopover as a guest of Calgary’s Wordfest. She
read from her book at Central Memorial Library June
21 in a double header with Mark Kingwell, University
of Toronto philosophy professornd author of another
baseball book (Fail Better) which takes a philosophical
approach to aspects of the popular summer pastime.
In an interview that day in Calgary Fowles explained
how she was able to move off the couch and into a
successful career in social and mainstream media.
What brought her from the depths of darkness to
In a word – baseball.
“I’m not spiritual but the 2011 post season felt like
that to me,” she said.
The central figure in this dramatic turnaround was
Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Justin Verlander.
“It was his year (Verlander won both the top pitching
award (Cy Young) as well as the MVP for his work
in the American League).
On the couch Fowles was listlessly channel surfing
when she tuned into the Tigers’ playoff run and Verlander’s
virtuoso pitching performance.
by Robert Bragg
“ I felt like he couldn’t fail and I was failing,” she said.
Verlander was, as the sports cliches have it, ‘carrying
his team’ at the time. Unknown to him he was also
carrying Stacey May Fowles out of her depression.
Detroit – powered by Verlander’s pitching – beat
Oakland Athletics and New York Yankees in playoffs
only to succomb to the San Francisco Giants in the
For Fowles all this happened “just when I needed it”.
But why baseball?
Growing up in Toronto Fowles was a sometimes fan,
brought to games as a child by her father, (the book
is dedicated to her dad) but never an all-consuming
fan-atic, until Verlander.
“It could have been anything but for me, it was
baseball. I don’t dislike other games or the arts but I
just love baseball more.”
“I feel safe and at home in the ball stadium. I love
the slow pace and I love a game where you always feel
there’s another chance.”
Out of the chance she got that fall Fowles found a
way to connect her calling with a way to make a living.
“I talked it over with some friends and family asking
how would they respond to a newsletter talking about
baseball from a life-shaping perspective.”
I didn’t want stats but to focus instead on how
people respond to players, what players think and say
about the game and what pets they might have.
Interest was immediate. More than 100 people
subscribed initially in 2015. Now more than 3000 pay
to be e-mailed Fowles’ newletter/advice column.
For non-subscribers , or those yet to subscribe,
Fowles’ book offers a selection of her work ranging
from the frankly intimate – “thoughts on Baseball and
Recovery” to the more critical “Cheating, Empathy, and
Making Sense of a PED Suspension”.
She offers positive takes of “Big Bad Bautista” and
insights into lesser lights such as Dionner Navarro and
She does not like the male chauvinism of the sports
world but is all for people jumping on the band wagon
late in the season to support a playoff run.
As former Jays pitcher R. A. Dickey says in the
foreward Fowles “challenges us to look beyond the stat
sheet in order to drink deeply from a game that is so
much more than the players who play it.”
Stacey May Fowles
YYSCENE’s quick scan go-to-guide for July
July is a busy month in Calgary, with the Stampede taking up a chunk of people’s schedules
on the midway and with the varied entertainment they have lined up. This year? Ben
Harper? Seriously? It’s end days, people. Nevertheless, here is a look at what else you are
in for this month, and it’s a lot.
Embrace your artsy side — you
can avoid the crowds on the midway
and take in some alternative
Stampede culture with The Painted
Windows Exhibition July 1-15
Victoria Park and East Village. The I
Am Western group exhibition takes
place at cSPACE King Edward until
October as well.
There are so many great bands
to see off the Stampede Grounds
during these 10 days, with The Bell
Live Series at the King Eddy featuring
such great roots acts as Leeroy
Stagger, Lindi Ortega, Nice Horse, Mariel Buckley, Blake Reid, Fred Eaglesmith and JJ
Shiplett with local faves HighKicks thrown in for good measure. Over at the Wildhorse
Saloon you can see some great shows including Sam Roberts Band July 9, Elliott Brood
July 11 and BC/DC July 11, and at the Cowboys Stampede Tent they have such acts as
EDM giants The Chainsmokers on July 9 and Diplo on July 12, with The Offspring and
Sublime with Rome on July 10.
On July 6 you’ll want to be at the Palace for Tiger Army & Murder By Death with Tim
Barry, then on July 8 head to the Palomino for The Matinee with The North Sound and
guests. Local giants Preoccupations will perform July 12 at Commonwealth, The Varmoors
with North by North, Night Committee and Brendan Russel are at Nite Owl on July 14, and
on July 15 you can take in Questlove at Commonwealth or Cash Cash at Marquee. Locals
Ethan Cole and Ella Jean will have their double album launch July 16 at Ironwood, and July
18 sees legends The Melvins with guests Spotlights at Marquee.
Into dance? Metamorphosis —
Dance Action Lab 2017 is presented
by Dancers’ Studio West and
takes place July 20-22 at Decidedly
July 22 check out the Mobina
Galore Album Release Party with
Miesha & the Spanks and Heart
Attack Kids at Palomino, then take
a bit of a breather to prepare for
the Calgary Folk Music Festival,
which runs July 27-30 at Prince’s
Island Park and features such great
acts as Coeur de Pirate, Billy Bragg
& Joe Henry, Badbadnotgood, City
and Colour, Michael Kiwanuka and
End the month at Dickens Pub July 28-31 for the 6th Annual Terminus Festival featuring
electronic, goth, industrial and synth music, or The Calgary International Blues Fest
which starts July 31 and runs into August.
There. That’s your month sorted. For complete listings head to theyyscene.ca.
Editor, writer, events listings curator
8 | JULY 2017 • BEATROUTE CITY
THE BEST FILMS TO SEE THIS JULY
cool visuals and cooler characters
Baby Driver is one of this summer’s must-see flicks.
Summer is always the best time to catch a
blockbuster film, at least according to the
studios. Here’s a few worth checking out this
Remember the good old days when a movie starring Will Smith
actually meant something? Or when special effects involved
more than just CGI and aliens were made of what appeared
to be rubber and goo? And when wannabe astronauts could marry
strippers and still be somebody? That, my friends, is just some of the
forgotten epic features of the original Independence Day, thankfully
coming back to the big screen at the Globe Theatre, put on by the
good people at Fifth Reel this July 4.
For those of us who remember, Independence Day was one of those
incredible summer blockbusters that embodied everything great in a
summer release, big stars, big effects and air conditioned theatres. The
movie is most famous for the scene where the aliens blow up everything
sacred to America, including the White House; imagery that nowadays
could earn a person jail time but ironically won the filmmakers an
The movie takes audiences through a hostile alien takeover, focusing
of course on the epicentre for all drama both onscreen and off – the
United States. The planet, as predicted, waits for the Americans to
save the day. As the story unfolds, Independence Day leaves no
action film cliché unturned. Jeff Goldblum once again plays a nerdy
‘90s hipster-sciencey-genius (um, Jurassic Park anyone?) who has the
technical answers to solve all of the world’s alien problems. As the
aliens continue to decimate Earth, the planet’s only hope is the lowly
Randy Quaid, an old fighter pilot. Randy’s only mission in life is to have
revenge on the aliens who at one point had previously kidnapped him,
causing him to slip into a life of alcoholism and poor parenting choices.
The real star of the show, however, is Will Smith, the aspiring astronaut
who joins the cause by bringing the brawn, as well as alien face-punching
and a host of incredible one-liners. It’s important to note that like
every good movie, the women in the film are built to accessorize, such
as Vivica A. Fox, Will Smith’s love interest and the sassy exotic dancer
You can’t go wrong with Edgar Wright, whose newest
flick purports to be a musical-action-comedy hybrid
about a young getaway driver named Baby (any
relation to the equally vague Driver from Drive?)
who tries to escape the criminal lifestyle. Of course,
inevitable obstacles will ensure that there’s not an
easy way out, despite Baby having a professional reputation
for getting away from things. With Wright’s
propensity for creating visually stunning films such as
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and Shaun of the Dead,
Baby Driver looks to be quite promising.
Some people seem to think that Spider-Man 3 set the
bar low for superhero films (I don’t care what anyone
says, that dance scene is great. And I know I’m alone
there). I’m curious, then, what those same people
thought of The Amazing Spider-Man 1 and 2, which
both set the bar low not only for superhero films, but
film in general. Hopefully we’ll see some redemption
The Fifth Reel brings back the glory days of patriotic action films
for the nerdy kid from Queens in Homecoming, in
which he moves back in with his beloved Aunt May
–until the Vulture appears that is. Why the studio
insists on casting exclusively British dudes as Peter
Parker I’ll never know, but here’s hoping Spidey’s next
adventure flies as high as his webs will take him.
Christopher Nolan is apparently trying his hand at
a more realistic film this year—not that Matthew
McConaughey altering space and time in Interstellar
wasn’t realistic—but I digress. This film is about
the evacuation of Allied soldiers from Dunkirk,
France following a German invasion during World
War 2. It’s a story that hasn’t really been told on
screen before, so it should be interesting. Staying
true to his unique storytelling methods, Nolan
plans to tell the story from an air, land and sea perspective.
The film also has an amazing cast from
Mark Rylance to Tom Hardy to, err, Harry Styles.
The young pop star was reportedly cast after auditioning
amongst thousands of other young men. I
guess, realistically, some soldiers probably did have
boyish looks and wore tight jeans.
Remember when the White House being blown up onscreen
felt farfetched? Independence Day does.
Charlize Theron has proven in films such as Monster
or Mad Max: Fury Road that she is a badass, even
while looking less-than-flattering. In Atomic Blonde,
however, she looks great and will assuredly kick a lot
of butt. In fact, the trailer for the film is almost entire-
by Jonathan Lawrence
ly of Theron mercilessly beating the living daylights
out of thugs and other bad guys. Set in Berlin during
the Cold War, the film has a spectacular neo-noir
visual style; part Blade Runner, part John Wick. This is
director David Leitch’s second film, the first being, unsurprisingly,
2014’s John Wick. Fans of Keanu’s violent
action-thriller will certainly need to see this one.
The Emoji Movie
The only emoji that would sufficiently summarize
this film is the sad one. Yes, those highly expressive
yellow faces from your smartphone keyboard now
have their own film. Hollywood is reaching, kids; time
to start working on those screenplays.
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
Speaking of long-winded titles, Valerian and the City
of a Thousand Planets promises to be another hit this
July. Based on a French graphic novel series, the film
sees two government workers named Valerian (Dane
DeHaan) and Laureline (Cara Delevingne) tasked
with the tall order of maintaining order throughout
When the densely rich city of Alpha is threatened
by a menacing force, the two characters must
investigate the problem. To make matters worse,
Valerian has a crush on his co-worker – never a good
thing. With such a rich universe, sci-fi nerds are going
to have a blast with this one. It also looks like the love
child of Avatar and The Fifth Element, so take that as
with a heart of gold. And who can forget the president’s wife, Mary
McDonnell, a sad casualty who ultimately leaves a lasting impression
on everyone (sort of).
So why should Canadians care about watching a film about aliens
taking over ‘Merica right now? It seems a little sacrilegious to be watching
something other than a recording of a Céline Dion concert or reruns
of Anne of Green Gables on Canada’s sesquicentennial birthday (that is,
150). Alonso Melgar of The Fifth Reel thinks that Independence Day is
just the right amount of ridiculousness that we need this summer. “[Independence
Day] fits the bill when it comes to the kind of out-of-the-
by Jennifer Thompson
box screenings we like to explore at Fifth Reel,” says Melgar. “Of course
a Canadian-centric screening would make more sense, and we love
Canadian film. But Independence Day is so out of the norm, we thought
it would be perfect.”
He goes on to describe that what makes Independence Day so
spectacular is the way it encompasses the essence of all ‘90s films:
superficiality and ass-kicking. “My favourite part of the film is that
its tone embraces everything that makes ‘90s film great, but not in
a dated way,” he says. “When you think back to the time the movie
was made, everything was on the upswing. You can see that reflected
in the film. Even though everyone is positioned to die, and there are
aliens threatening the entire planet, the characters are still having fun
and appear not to have a care in the world.” Alonso points out that
this is in great contrast to last year’s release of the sequel, Independence
Day: Resurgence, which is darker and involves less cheese than
its predecessor. Thankfully we can continue to covet the original in
an attempt to relive the golden years when Will Smith was adorable
and Jeff Goldblum was still relevant.
If you’ve not had the opportunity to see a film put on by The Fifth
Reel, the experience is typically coupled with some sort of live music
performance to open the show. For Independence Day, the crew has
hired Eric Andrews, local guitar hero of bands like Ghost Factory to belt
out a Hendrix-type rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” The idea
was inspired by preludes to hockey games, as described by Melgar.
After you sleep off your Canada 150 hangover, head over to the
Globe on July 4 and take a moment to once again chuckle at our
neighbours to the south by taking in Independence Day in all of its
Relive the golden era of ‘90s action cheese at the Globe Cinema (Calgary)
on July 4.
BEATROUTE • JULY 2017 | 11
Beauty and the Beast
John Wick: Chapter 2
The Lego Batman Movie
Beauty and the Beast
The upside to marrying a beast is you can forgo
getting a family pet.
Mind you, the opposite species in this musical
may not even make it that far.
When the mysterious owner of an abandoned
castle imprisons her father (Kevin Kline)
for theft, independent adolescent Belle (Emma
Watson) embarks on a journey to take his place
On arrival she discovers her father’s captor is
an anthropomorphic beast (Dan Stevens) that
was cursed by a witch, along with his staff (Ian
McKellen, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Emma
Thompson), who are now sentient household
Disney’s semi-live-action adaptation of their
own animated version of the French fairy tale,
this shot-for-shot remake is a visual feast for the
eyes and fun for all ages – even if the beast does
look strange and Belle’s suitors are too mature
Unfortunately, the success of this fable could
spark bestiality trends among young people.
Escaping from a motorcycle cop is as easy as
jumping off the back of the bike at a red light.
Mind you, the officers in this comedy would
be lucky just to make an arrest.
FBI agent Ponch (Michael Peña) goes undercover
to expose corruption inside of California
Highway Patrol after a rash of armoured car
heists have gone unsolved by the department’s
lieutenant (Vincent D’Onofrio). Unfortunately,
Ponch’s new partner (Dax Shepard) is a retired
competition dirt bike racer with a serious painkiller
However, Ponch’s own secret sex addiction is
also keeping him from concluding the investigation.
Based on the 1980s cop drama, this boilerplate
buddy-comedy written and directed by
Shepard falls far short of its intrepid inspiration.
Marred by unfunny jokes, an obvious villain and
over-the-top bike chases, CHIPS is more trash
Unfortunately, funerals for cops who ride
motorcycles do require more than one coffin.
John Wick: Chapter 2
Usually, the second chapter of a retired hitman’s
biography never gets completed.
Surprisingly, the ex-assassin in this action
movie still has his brains inside his head.
Out of obligation to guild rules, former
button-man John Wick (Keanu Reeves) must
liquidate the sister of a notorious kingpin when
he calls in an old mark to keep her from ascending
to the high council of crime. Things go awry
for John when his employer places a bounty on
his head for killing his sister.
To get revenge, John will need help from
another crime czar (Laurence Fishburne).
Picking up after the first movie, this slick
sequel doesn’t waste any time getting down to
highly choreographed fistfights and shoot-outs
that defy physics. But unlike the original, the
story this time around is less emotional and
Besides, the best way to kill a retired hitman
is to poison their early-bird dinner special.
The most important lesson Powers Rangers
taught children was which colour represents
Sadly, that useful education tool has been
omitted from this fantasy.
When a disgraced quarterback (Dacre
Montgomery), a troubled cheerleader (Naomi
Scott), an autistic nerd (RJ Cyler), a lesbian
loner (Becky G) and a momma’s boy (Ludi Lin)
unearth ancient colour-coded coins, they gain
Aided by their new mentor (Bryan Cranston),
his android (Bill Hader) and their vehicles that
can morph into a mega mecha, the quintet sets
out to stop a former ranger (Elizabeth Banks)
from finding the all-powerful Zeo Crystal.
While this update of the superhero kids’
show manages to represent all races and special
interests, its inconstant tone keeps it from telling
an engaging story. The lack of mega-sized
monsters is also concerning.
Incidentally, the best way to keep colossal
combatants off your building is to install massive
The Lego Batman Movie
The upside to Lego Batman is when he runs out
of batarangs he can become a choking hazard.
Fortunately, the Caped Crusader in this animated-comedy
is well equipped.
Batman’s (Will Arnett) plan to banish The
Joker (Zach Galifianakis) to the Phantom Zone
backfires when he escapes—along with an array
of other villains—and wreaks havoc on Wayne
To stop him, the notorious loner must rely
on his new ward (Michael Cera) and his butler
(Ralph Fiennes) for assistance.
Meanwhile, the new police commissioner
(Rosario Dawson) moves forward with plans to
A direct descendant of The Lego Movie, this
silly spin-off featuring the Batman character
brings levity to the Bat-franchise—especially
self-awareness—but not all of the jokes are
winners. In fact, this movie’s frenzied pace does
the comedy a disservice.
Incidentally, the Lego Batmobile retails for
about the same price as the real one.
The best part of finding new forms of life is
getting to name them after overrated ‘70s rock
However, the scientists in this sci-fi movie
won’t have time to name their deadly discovery
While en route back home, crewmembers
aboard an international space station (Jake
Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson, Ryan Reynolds)
uncover a latent organism in some Martian
rewind to the future
by Shane Sellar
When the entity is roused, everyone is
ecstatic. When it begins to feed off them for
sustenance, they become panicked. Meanwhile,
the ship has lost all communications and has
started displacing fuel, threatening their safe
reentry to Earth.
With its painfully mundane title, its derivative
space alien script, and the astronauts’
scant character development, Life comes off
as a pointless and unexciting voyage that is
reminiscent of similar interstellar tales that are
Incidentally, you do have to declare all alien
life you purchased on your customs form.
You can always tell someone is an ex-junkie by
the way they always chew on a hypodermic.
Not as easy as quitting smoking, the former
users in this comedy did quit heroin… for a
Returning to Edinburgh 20 years after fleeing
with cash he and his mates scored in a heroin
deal, Renton (Ewan McGregor) reconnects with
the one least likely to kill him (Ewen Bremner)
Violent encounters with Sick Boy (Jonny Lee
Miller) and Begbie (Robert Carlyle) come afterwards.
Following the reunion, the foursome
work on a plan to secure a business loan for a
brothel. But some seek to settle old debits.
This sequel to the 1996 cult classic finds the
same cast and director, Danny Boyle, returning
for a second hit. Unfortunately, that entails
removing everything pleasurable about the
first and injecting the characters with boring
Ironically, with today’s safe injection sites,
heroin use is practically encouraged.
The reason they don’t launch average folks into
space is because they’d just complain the whole
In fact, the squeaky wheel in this comedy
wouldn’t even make it past the interview.
Wilson (Woody Harrelson) is a misanthropic,
middle-aged curmudgeon with a lack of social
grace who spends the bulk of his day antagonizing
passersby about their life choices.
When he learns he has a daughter he has
never met, Wilson decides to track her (Isabella
Amara) and her mother (Laura Dern) down for
an impromptu reunion.
But things go awry when Wilson is imprisoned
for kidnapping his offspring.
Based on the graphic novel by underground
artist Daniel Clowes, Wilson’s sardonic script
was also adapted by its creator, with good and
bad results. While Harrelson embodies the
titular grump, Clowes’ acerbic script insults
viewers’ intelligence while not proving it’s any
Moreover, people who confront strangers can
probably recommend the best pepper-spray.
He’s a Man of Codependent Means. He’s the…
12 | JULY 2017 • BEATROUTE FILM
indie rock descends on the Wild West
by Jodi Brak
THE HARPOONIST AND
THE AXE MURDERER
Well, it’s that time of year again. Whether
it’s an excuse to brush off the dust that’s
been collecting on your cowboy boots
and big, ridiculous hats, or you’re just looking to
join in on one of Calgary’s biggest summer parties,
the Stampede is here again. Outside of the rodeo,
the rides, the decadent midway food and the
(many) beer gardens, Stampede also brings a full
week of music. The 2017 concert lineup brings Canadian
acts to Calgary, along with a host of others
who have made the journey across borders to get
rowdy in our little home on the Canadian prairie.
Here are a few picks from the Rockpile editor
for concerts to check out at Stampede, whether
you’re already a fan or just looking for some new
acts to obsess over.
Hailing from the GTA (that’s Toronto, for the
uneducated), USS is a duo whose music ranges from
lighthearted affirmations of life’s comical hypocrisy
to perhaps-too-honest admissions of the insecurities
that can creep up on you all too unexpectedly. They
combine lo-fi, at times grungy, guitar riffs with the
driving force of drum and bass beat, pairing the song
structure of a rock tune with the sonic capabilities
of electronic music to create music that falls on so
many sides of the genre spectrum it is difficult to
pin down. The variety in their songs alone makes it a
good chance they’ll play something you’ll like, but at
the very least it’s hard to not appreciate the poetry
of their lyrics, whether it be for the biting cynicism,
colorful metaphor or simply the honesty displayed in
some of their more toned down tracks. Oh, they also
call themselves Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker (try saying
that five times fast). They will be playing the Coke
Stage on Friday, July 7 at 9:00 p.m.
Another group out of Toronto, The Strumbellas
shot to the forefront of Canadian folk music in 2016
with the release of their first single, “Spirits,” which
supported their latest offering Hope. They bring
to the stage a familiar folk sound punctuated with
techniques of the modern era. With huge buildups,
drums augmented by clapping and subtle tambourine,
rhythmic electric guitar, gang harmonies that
will be sure to have you singing along with your
friends, and lyrics that leave you uplifted even though
they tackle demons, The Strumbellas put it all out
there on stage. In the midst of the Springsteen-meets-
Dylan soundscape are clear influences from modern
pop music, some beat drops here and a few catchy
hooks there, but they act as an accent to the folk
songwriting, not as a crutch to carry the song ahead.
The group is no stranger to Calgary, playing here a few
times in 2016 as part of JUNOfest and the Calgary
Folk Fest, and you can catch them on the Coke Stage
Wednesday, July 12 at 9:00 p.m.
Whitehorse began as something of a folk duo, but as
the story goes with most, if not all, prolific Canadian
rock acts, they quickly outgrew that box and proved
that genre is just a box record stores like to put music
in. They are one of those rare bands whose musicianship
and creativity are both cranked to 10, who thrive
on a resistance of expectations and a willingness to
believe that art still has a place in the rock music of
2017. Whitehorse is equal parts space cowboy twang,
electric blues, high velocity rock ‘n’ roll, airy folk-pop
and toned-down singer songwriter. With their new
single, “Boys Like You,” Whitehorse is mixing things
up again, adding hip-hop producers and processed
beats, expanding their studio sound with samplers,
vintage drum-machines and more. The result is a
song that fuses ‘90s guitar rock riffs and Brit pop-inspired
swells with a cinematic production. With lethal
riffs, high-voltage guitar solos and songwriting skills
that rival the legends, Whitehorse is not a band to
miss. They will be playing the Coke Stage on Saturday,
July 15 at 9:15 p.m.
Whether you’re experiencing it in a dingy basement
dive or a massive festival field, a July Talk show provides
a special kind of feeling, equal parts like being at
a prohibition-era speakeasy, or in the midst of some
kind of exclusive cult gathering. Their music evokes
something primal, through both their lyrics and the
way they are presented in the music. The deep growls
of Peter Dreimanis speak to the animal instincts all
humans share, his loud and ragged voice the perfect
contrast to the hushed whispers that are Leah Fay’s
vocals. A full-hearted cry to embrace what makes
us human, presented alongside a soft and sensual
admission of the insecurities that prevent us from
doing so. Just as their lyrics and vocals offer a stark
contrast, the music provided as a backdrop ranges
from soft, stripped-down melodies laced with some
of the trappings of pop music, to mile-a-minute,
heavily distorted rock anthems that pound through
to the very heart of you. For such a fresh-faced group
of artists, their music truly has an old soul with its
focus on low-key melodies, simple, driving rhythms,
and a healthy dose of criticism about the information
technology that has become ubiquitous in the
modern day. They will be playing the Coke Stage on
Sunday, July 16 at 9:00 p.m.
THE HARPOONIST AND THE AXE MURDERER
Framed by psychedelic landscapes and play-it-likethe-world-is-ending
mid concert jam sessions, The
Harpoonist & The Axe Murderer ignite the gritty,
blues-rock grooves that sent dance halls across
the world into a frenzy once upon a time. They are
relentless touring artists known for high-energy,
sweaty, dance-floor-boogying music, which makes
them a great fit for the glorified week-long party
that is Stampede season. You can hear a desire
for togetherness in the very core of their music, a
longing for every single person on the dancefloor
to turn to the one next to them and acknowledge
their existence. Their lyrics are less fraught with
cynicism about the world around us, and more
simply acknowledging that connection is somewhat
of a rare commodity, something that should
be cherished and cultivated. This thoughtful lyrical
style is delivered alongside uplifting and up-tempo
music, warm acoustic guitars, breezy keyboard
melodies and transcendental guitar solos which
seem to tear right out of the song and become an
experience all their own. This group are some true
up and comers in the Canadian music scene, and
you can catch them on the Coke Stage on Saturday,
July 15 at 7:00 p.m.
BEATROUTE • JULY 2017 | 15
formless band dynamic takes shape on new record
To describe the homegrown Crystal Eyes as a one-woman
outfit would be accurate, but only to a degree. Erin
Jenkins began the project to serve herself creatively,
enlisting the help of her partner and other musically minded
folks to bring her songs to life. Over the last few years, the band
has materialized in several forms, welcoming various musicians
to the project who would ultimately aid the construction of an
album or play an odd show, filling whatever gap was left by the
Even Jenkins, who plays guitar and does vocals, was careful
to say the current line up in her band has been consistent for
the last few months, explaining, “It’s a polyamorous relationship,
for sure. It’s really complicated and convoluted. Even I
don’t know the chronology of the band, so it’s hard to explain
what this is sometimes.”
Despite the lapse in a conclusive timeline, Jenkins has put
together a second full length through the Crystal Eyes guise. The
Female Imagination continues to draw from her affinity for nature
through a melancholy pop lens. Musically the album doesn’t
deviate far from the band’s first offering, still capturing a smoke-acigarette-in-the-bathtub-with-a-glitter-bath-bomb-erupting
The album was recorded with the same players as the first, No
Man is an Island, utilizing the talents of Mathieu Blanchard, Chris
Dadge, Samantha Savage Smith and Kenny Murdoch to round out
the recording crew. The list of musicians involved is collectively
and partially responsible for the sugary pop of Samantha Savage
Smith, the bizarre, abrasive noise of Bug Incision, and the LARP
worshipping joy of Outlaws of Ravenhurst. On their first album,
themes of loneliness and isolation where explored in via sad,
breathy wisps of guitar alongside droning vocals.
The Female Imagination simply ads another layer, guiding some
of the songs into a more definitive sound, keeping a sense of fluidity
and femininity at the forefront.
“I’m about juxtaposing happiness and sadness together,”
“There is light in sadness and something heavy in happiness.
They exist because of each other and are balanced in the
background of everything. So the songs have evolved a bit but
there’s still that dichotomy. The record strives to be somewhere
in the middle.”
With the release of the record, the band will amalgamate in
some form to head out on an extensive month-long tour to the
maritimes with Marlaena Moore. Andy Flegel will fill in on drums
with Will Johnson on bass. When BeatRoute asked about tour
essentials, Jenkins thought very carefully about her answer.
“Nothing is going to make a tour super comfortable,” she
“It’s always that balance between not bringing too much and
not bringing enough. There are so many unknowns. I do think it’s
important to bring something to sleep on. If you can get some
sort of rest on tour, I think that’s a success.”
Jenkins spoke proudly of The Female Imagination, but also gave
the sense she’s prepared to begin work on something new.
“We’re all really proud of the album and we’re glad it’s coming
out,” she shares.
“But it’s a weird delay. I sort of feel like I’ve been done with
these songs for awhile. I basically have an entire new album ready
to start recording, so when we get back, it’ll definitely be time to
record again. We have no idea when that one will be out, but I’m
looking forward to it. Recording is really fun.”
Catch Crystal Eyes on July 14 with Marlaena Moore, We Knew
and Polly Dactic (Calgary). A cross-country tour with dates TBA is
by Brittany Rudyck
Rotating band members boost the ethereal pop vision of Erin Jenkins.
photo: Francis Wiley
folk-pop songwriter reveals new album
Drifting Through the Ordinary comes out on July 28.
After nearly a year of working with the
newly minted organization The Prophets
of Music, a non-profit artist mentorship
program in Calgary, Brett McCrady is set to release
his newest EP. Drifting Through the Ordinary is
released on July 28.
McCrady has been working on the EP for close
to two years, doing much of the writing and
musical creation. Beginning in January 2017, he got
to work with producer Scott Henderson, recording
the five tracks at OCL Studios in the Prairies just
outside of Calgary.
The result is a mixture of folk and pop that leans
more heavily toward the folk side of things. Rich,
full acoustic chords mix with biting blues guitar
solos, punctuated by the distinct timbre of keys and
saxophone, an instrument that’s a relatively rare
and welcome sight in modern music. McCrady uses
hooks and catchy melodies for that ‘catch,’ giving
the songs an accessible pop element. By juxtaposing
the upbeat feel with the slower, moodier, and more
deliberate folk stylings, the solo artist has created a
broad depth of tone.
Of the upcoming EP, McCrady says, “I want to take
listeners on a musical journey complete with musical
interludes to glue the songs together. A lot of the
record was tracked live off the floor, so I collaborated
with my musicians to give the songs room to breathe.
I want to show listeners that pop music doesn’t have
to be a guilty pleasure.”
He adds, “My goal is to write catchy pop tunes that
have musical and lyrical substance.”
Keeping with the traditions of folk music, McCrady
includes a strong narrative element in many of
his songs, telling a story or recreating a memory in
He explains, “Through the album, there’s a subtle
overarching narrative that I always had in the back
of my mind. Of course, a lot of my writing is based
around relationships. The record serves to take
listeners on a journey through a relationship. The
track “Wherever I Go” is an ode to my grandma who
passed away in 2015, but it could also be interpreted
in the context of a relationship. My grandma was an
amazing pianist, so I wrote “Wherever I Go” to say
by Jodi Brak
that, wherever I go, her musical spirit lives on when I
play my music.”
Though McCrady mostly wrote the material
on the album, over the past year he has received
enormous support from the Calgary based emerging
artist program The Prophets of Music. The organization
evolved from Zackariah and the Non-Profits,
a tribute charity to honour the lives of Zackariah
Rathwell and Josh Hunter (of Zackariah and the
Prophets), and carry their love for music forward. In
its seminal year in this interpretation, the organization
selected three Alberta artists to provide support
in the form of mentorship, artistic direction and,
perhaps most importantly, time in the studio with acclaimed
Canadian producers to record an EP. The first
three artists to participate in the program were Brett
McCrady, High Love, and The Ashley Hundred. As the
organization goes into its second year, the search is
on for the next three Alberta groups or artists to take
part in their program.
“I feel so grateful to be a part of the Prophets of
Music family,” says McCrady.
“The organization propelled my music to new
heights and I gained a great amount of knowledge
throughout the process.”
He finishes, “I know that regardless of where my
musical journey takes me, they will have my back and
support my endeavours.”
Brett McCrady releases his new EP Drifting Through
the Ordinary on July 28. The release party show will
take place August 4 at The Palomino Smokehouse &
Bar (Calgary). Also check out our online premiere of
16 | JULY 2017 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE
ECHO AND THE BUNNYMEN
keeps on creating timeless music
by Gareth Watkins
While Echo and the Bunnymen helped define the sounds of the ‘80s, their far-reaching sound never got pinned down into just one sub-genre.
There’s really only two things that you need
to know about Echo And The Bunnymen:
Fact #1: The lead singer isn’t named Echo
and his band isn’t “The Bunnymen.” The singer is Ian
“Mac” McCulloch, his band has one stable member,
guitarist Will Sergeant, and a rotating cast of bassists,
keyboardists and drummers. The name was grasped
at in a fit of panic after the two Liverpool boys found
themselves with a gig they were unprepared for.
Fact #2: They have songs that aren’t “The Killing
Moon.” I know what you’re thinking, but hear me out:
a band that was been around for since November
1978 has recorded songs that aren’t the one from the
opening sequence of Donnie Darko, and which stand
up better over time than everybody’s favorite film
when they were fifteen. In fact, unlike Donnie Darko’s
director, they’re still out there doing their thing,
and their most recent songs are pretty damn good.
Like a lot of bands that emerged from mid-tonorthern
United Kingdom in the ‘80s, boredom
and the desire to escape grim industrial towns
seems to have played a factor in their formation:
“There was nothing to do except be into music,”
Sergeant says. “It was football, music or motorbikes,
you know? There wasn’t much to have as a
hobby, so the music scene was important—and a
lot of it was trying to pose or look cool or know
about the next band, that sort of stuff.”
Their band was born, as so many British things are,
down the pub:
“There was this pub in Liverpool called Eric’s where
everybody played—the Damned, the (Sex) Pistols,
the Clash, Devo, Pere Ubu, Talking Heads—everybody
played there in the early days of punk,” Sergeant says.
“Punk sort of inspired everybody to think that they
could be in a band. I didn’t have any sort of musical
ability… I bought a guitar off me friend, learnt a few
chords, and I just said to Mac, who I’d seen just floating
around, ‘do you want to come to my house and
start writing songs?’”
Sergeant bought a drum machine into the mix and
they became, functionally, a band. They were listening
to “a lot of Velvet Underground, The Doors, Bowie,
Lou Reed.” Sergeant mentions a particular fondness
for Wire, the angular art-school punks who made
a significant contribution to the sound that would
come to be called post-punk. It’s a label often applied
to Echo, and is definitely applicable to songs like “The
Cutter,” from their third album, 1983’s Porcupine, but
it doesn’t capture much about the band except that
they emerged and evolved from the late ‘70s punk
scene. They’re a band with broad enough appeal but
big enough scope that “rock” is really all you can do
so far as genre is concerned.
Although they were relatively unknown in the
Americas, in the UK they were huge for a dark,
complex rock band on a small label (Warner Music
subsidiary Korova, who also put out albums by Airhead,
Dalek I Love You and Strawberry Switchblade.)
The music press loved them: Rolling Stone awarded
their debut album five stars out of five and a writer
in the NME, up until very recently the taste-making
magazine in the UK, called Crocodiles “probably the
best album this year by a British band.”
“The Killing Moon” was on their fourth studio
album, Ocean Rain, and was released as a single in
January of 1984. Its chorus (“Fate up against your will/
Through the thick and thin/He will wait until you give
yourself to him”) appeared to McCulloch in a dream;
the chord progression is David Bowie’s Space Oddity
played backwards with the peculiar inflections of
the Russian balalaika music that Sergeant and bassist
Les Pattinson heard on a vacation. It was a great song,
one that Sergeant and McCulloch are rightly proud of,
but it was one great song amongst many in the band’s
repertoire until it was played over Jake Gyllenhaal
cycling in a film that was initially supposed to go
straight to DVD, but wound up becoming one of the
best performing independent films of all time.
“It’s a great song, don’t get me wrong,” says Sergeant,
“but now its got its own special charisma now,
and back when we were doing gigs it was more “The
Cutter” and “Over the Wall” that the crowd were
Despite their success, McCulloch left the band in
1988 to pursue a solo career. Sergeant and Pattinson
tried to keep the band working, but the death of
long-time drummer Pete de Freitas in 1989 and the
critical savaging their McCulloch-less album Reverberation
got caused the group to fold in 1993.
Then McCulloch and Sergeant got talking again and
formed the new band Electrafixion. When Pattinson
joined up with them in 1997 they had all of the
surviving members of the band’s original lineup, and
Echo and the Bunnymen officially reformed. Sergeant
says now that Electrafixion was a “stepping stone back
to where we should have stayed.”
Twelve albums into their career, they have released
just as many albums post-reformation as they had
before they broke up, with more coming. Pretty soon
the band whose music is used as musical shorthand
for the nineteen-eighties will have done the majority
of its work in the 2000s. Their most recent album, Meteorites,
didn’t chart as highly as their ‘80s records,
but it was reviewed as well. As a band they are still
capable of great things, and songs like the album’s
title track just need to be marinated for a few decades
until people feel the same way about them as “Bring
On The Dancing Horses.”
Echo are currently touring and recording, doing
the work of a working band and still sounding like
themselves and nobody else: “We never followed
current trends, ever. We were always trying to make
records that were timeless, so we wouldn’t try and
do some of the sounds that were going around in the
eighties—that horrible synthesizer sound—we never
used any of that, we always kept it real.”
Echo and the Bunnymen perform on August 3 at the
PNE Amphitheatre (Vancouver), on August 5 at Union
Hall (Edmonton), on August 6 at the MacEwan Hall
Ballroom and on August 8 at the Burton Cummings
BEATROUTE • JULY 2017 | 17
the welcoming sounds of art-pop
photo: Max Taeuschel
Look Vibrant is a Montréal act chock full of enthusiasm,
dancing, weird sounds, and lots of smiles. The five-piece
noise pop band delivers an earnest performance and a sound
desperately needed in our chaotic political and cultural climate.
Starting as a naïve outlet for joy, making music quickly evolved
into a necessity for all the members.
Inspired by living in the now and having fun, the band encourages
everyone in the room to never dwell on mistakes and
regrets, and instead enjoy everything while it lasts.
NORTH BY NORTH
from mundane to music and magic
Quitting their jobs and leaving home, North by North
is the Chicago born riff and grit band travelling coast
to coast following their hearts. Starting just after high
school, frontman and riff master Nate Girard paired with keys
and bass expert Kendra Blank to form a band a bit like The White
Stripes or Queens of the Stone Age, but with more chomp and
pop. Driven by their need to create and express, the two-piece
put music in the driver seat and let it take them wherever the
next show is.
“[The best part about playing live] is the immediate connection
you make with people,” says keys queen Blank. “Music creates this
unique opportunity to bring people together.”
After putting music on the backburner for too long in Chicago,
the two piece claims they have no regrets about making it their
first priority and letting themselves be pushed by the spontaneous
power of music. Venturing into new cities and new bars almost every
night, the audience affirmation given through the connection and
enjoyment is enough to keep them creating and performing. Playing
loudly, filled with fire and ecstasy, the crunch rock duo continues to
surprise audiences along the improvised North American tour.
While continuing to write and create new sounds, North by
North’s most recent album entitled Last Days of Magic presents a
fitting showcase of its members’ talents. The two construct songs
with guitar and keys while experimenting with whatever sounds they
can add into the mix. The two progressively build each song with
magnetic drums, anchoring bass, and at times even cello or trumpet
just to add more fire to the explosive sounds of North by North.
Desiring to be on tour until October, the two have only a few
desires to guide them along their way. Wanting to pass through each
town three or four times a year, the goal is to create a name for themselves
and have more people come out every time. Alongside the
by Jackie Klapak
“We like to present something fun, loving, and naive. One
that shouldn’t be taken too seriously,” says member Matt
“It’s important to wear your heart on your sleeve.”
Trying to steer clear of genres, Murphy encourages people to
come out to the shows and watch it for what it is.
“Genres typically sell bands short. We’ve been described as
noise pop, explosive pop, and tinsel pop, but we don’t like to
narrow ourselves,” he states.
“[Our shows] are a pretty intense experience. If you’re not into
intense, it’s probably not for you. There’s a lot of stage energy and
that’s how we like it.”
Creating and performing as a therapeutic need to emotionally
satisfy themselves, the boys of Look Vibrant use music as a
positive outlet. Taking in everything around them, externally and
internally, the five of them have designed a sound representative
of letting go and enjoying the sounds life has to offer. Engaging
anyone in the room, whether it’s four people or a packed house,
Murphy says there’s no greater joy than connecting and vibeing
with those around them.
While preparing for Sled Island, the band played for anyone
and everyone who came out. Wanting to discover more of their
own country and experience what each scene has to offer, they
sought to connect with other musicians and the show-goers in
each town, taking in what they’re crafting as well.
“It’s good to tour as a band because you bond and benefit
musically,” says Murphy.
Hoping to release a new single by the beginning of the August,
the band is busy creating new tracks since their last release in October
2016 in preparation for their first full-length album release
later in the year.
Listen to Look Vibrant at lookvibrant.bandcamp.com. Check their
Facebook page for upcoming tour dates.
by Jackie Klapak
ambition to continue touring coast to coast, the goal is to continue
making new sounds and playing them for audiences to experience.
Not to mention a music video at some point along the way.
Eager to see where they go next, North by North aims to project
an attitude and a sound that inspires everyone to make some noise.
“Music exposes the most vulnerable parts of you on a physical and
spiritual level,” says Blank. “It’s great getting to create life long friends
from a 20 to 45 minute set.”
North by North perform on July 14 at Nite Owl (Calgary), July 15
at Sewing Machine Factory (Edmonton) and July 17 at The Slice
photo: Ryan Scott Solava
captivating New Zealand folk artist descends
An artist of rare calibre, Aldous Harding does more than sing
with her voice; it is an instrument, a part of the music in more
ways than simply delivering her lyrics. She evokes something
indefinable not only when her voice it present, but also in the moments
in between, the moments of thoughtful deliberation or quiet
The music behind her ranges from sparse, haunting piano melodies
to lightly plucked acoustic guitars backed by muted drums and subtle
touches of the saxophone, but it is simply a vehicle for her vocals.
The scope of her singing abilities is impressive to say the least, from
hushed and high pitched whispers, to low-key baritones, impassioned
shouts and melodic falsetto crooning. It all comes together to make
a performance that sounds like it would be completely at home in a
plush, smoky blues hall or jazz club from a different time. She even nails
a pretty convincing Celtic tune on the track ‘Stop Your Tears,’ sounding
more like a traditional folk song than anything from the 2000’s.
She writes from true life experience, though hopes listeners bring
their own narrative to her music. Rather than telling a story, she
conjures an emotional journey with a singular intensity, and emotions
are universal. Whether they be professions of hope, of honest,
unfiltered love, or admissions of insecurities which leave us breathless,
or decisions that keep us up at night, she seems to capture them in a
The daughter of Canadian folk singer Linda Harding, Aldous
Harding came to the scene with her debut album just two years ago,
quickly becoming known for a combination of talent, tenacity and
wit. The album drew attention and accolades from some of the most
illustrious corners of the music industry, and with the 2017 release of
her latest album, ‘Party,’ Aldous Harding is in the midst of a Canada-US
Renowned for the captivating state of possession she occupies in
live performance, Aldous Harding has won crowds the world over, and
the chance to see her up close and personal at a small, intimate venue
will likely not be long of this world. Prepare to be enraptured by a
performer who can leave an entire room breathless with but a few
words and an intense stare.
18 | JULY 2017 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE
Aldous Harding will be playing the Biltmore Cabaret in Vancouver on July 31,
before making the trip to Calgary for a show at The Palomino on August 2.
• Jodi Brak
Spooky, sexy and rare - a dark electronic destination festival
Terminus’ sixth edition will feature both legacy and rising talent from the spectrum of dark tunes.
Dickens’ Terminus Festival returns in 2017
for round six—Impact edition. Terminus
is one of very few festivals of its kind in
the world, especially a rare commodity here in
North America. BeatRoute staff attended last
year’s festival and met industrial/goth/coldwave/dark
electronic fans from locals like Texas
and Montreal, the latter of which has seen similarly
curated events shutter their doors in the
last few years. In this festival round-up piece,
we’ll go over some of the highlights to be found
at the festival and offer our own take on what
makes this year’s theme of “Impact” is all about.
Let’s start with PIG (sometimes styled as
), a perfect example of both the glorious
horror b-movie aesthetic so common in dark
electronic acts as well as the Impact theme.
PIG is solely made up of Raymond Watts (aka
Nainz, aka Nainz Watts, aka Ray Scaballero)
from KM-motherfucking-DM. You know, one of
the most influential industrial acts of all time?
Watts has toured with Nine Inch Nails and
Einstürzende Neubauten, and composed runway
music for fashion designer Alexander McQueen,
among other notable works. Talk about having
A little more in the rock vein, The Birthday
Massacre are another influential industrial
act on the lineup. With seven studio albums
from 2002 to 2011 (though they made music
as Imagica starting in 1999, TBM have a robust
oeuvre of heavy hits their fans can look forward.
One interesting tidbit about TBM is that they’ve
been long-time manipulators of web platforms
to express themselves beyond music; they were
making “viral” flash sites and releasing music on
niche music forums in order to offer their far
flung fans another layer of experience.
The headliner with the youngest career of the
bunch is 3TEETH (pronounced “three teeth”).
That’s not to say they have made a splash of
their own—the industrial quartet apparently
got Memelord James Keenan’s attention, having
been asked to open Tool’s 2016 North American
tour recently. Also of note, 3TEETH is signed to
by Colin Gallant
Artoffact Records, a Torontonian tastemaking
label for dark-tinged bands of all kids for the last
two decades. While their name may not precede
them, they are certainly impressing the right
Part of having an impact means offering the
same platforms to established acts as you do
to developing ones. Terminus’ organizers know
this, and will be showcasing promising young
acts from the Western Canada region. Kevin
Stebner (Cold Water, Heavy Mountain) will be
representing Calgary with his 8-bit intensive
Greyscreen project, while Edmonton is on display
with several Champion City champions on
the bill. STRVNGERS, who have a lone track on
their Bandcamp page—a spine-tingling version
of Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”—
are joining long-running Edmonton/Vancouver
act Comaduster. That band will appear as a
new three-piece incarnation, with commander-in-chief
Réal Cardinal (who has scored massive
games like Gears of War and Mass Effect)
joined by fellow BioWare sound designers David
Murphy and Arron Connelly.
In addition to three nights of goth, industrial
and dark electronic tuneage at Dickens, Terminus
is also offering out-of-towners (or inclined
locals) a special day trip out to Banff (additional
charges apply). Just picture it: goths from
around the world, enjoying the sunshine of the
Rockies. If we had just one thing to say about
this festival, it’s that there’s truly nothing like it.
Terminus: Impact takes place at Dickens Pub
(Calgary) July 28-30.
BEATROUTE • JULY 2017 | 19
emotion is their middle name
by Danni Bauer
epic instrumentalists fuse visual art with soundscapes
Prepare to be swept away on a journey narrated by anthemic
prog-rock instrumentals, punctuated by a unique visual
experience. A fusion of Brian Daniloski’s 30-plus years of
psych-rock guitar playing and the reality-bending video art of
Ann Everton, the pair known as Darsombra strike at the senses of
sight and sound in unison.
Their 2017 release, Polyvision, features two epically long tracks,
clocking in at 20 minutes plus apiece. They progress from little
more than idle droning to a crescendo of sights and sounds. Subtle
synth rhythms and droning chords provide the backdrop for
Daniloski’s lead guitar, which cuts through the ambience to push
the music along. The tone is often anthemic with triumphant,
“I just want people to come and share in this weird journey,”
begins Daniloski, whose Discogs artist page lists his involvement
by Jodi Brak
on no fewer than 43 recordings as a vocalist and instrumentalist.
“I don’t have a specific place I’m trying to take people, they
bring their own things to the experience,”
Darsombra’s first release came in 2006, initially a solo project
created and performed by Daniloski, who has spent his lifetime
amassing an impressive discography in obscure aggressive music.
In 2012, the pair ended up sharing a stage for the first time, courtesy
of a chance encounter.
“At first we never even thought about combining forces,” says
“I did my art and she did her art, and a friend of ours was curating
an event and suggested we collaborate, that I do the music
while she put together some visuals. We immediately saw the
potential and thought… wow, why don’t we just do it this way?”
Everton explains, “That performance was kind of the beginning
of my musical career, my background was just in visual art and
specifically in video art. I had never really had a call to learn an
instrument, until the ripe young age of 32, but I’ve spent the last
four years learning both the language of the synthesizer and the
language of music.”
The visuals that accompany Darsombra’s performance are
often abstractions, colors and patterns that are meant to invoke
a feeling or sensation more than telling a story. Despite the
captivating visual accompaniment, Everton notes that Darsombra
is, first and foremost, a musical project. Accordingly, Everton is
continuously striving to achieve an appropriate middle ground
between her visual and sonic responsibilities, while simultaneously
working with a musical partner.
She concludes, “The challenge of creative collaboration in general
is that you have to learn to appreciate that less is more.”
Darsombra perform on July 20 at Handsome Daughter (Winnipeg),
July 21 at Cloud 9 (Regina), July 22 at Amigos (Saskatoon), July 23 at
Bohemia (Edmonton), and July 27 at Nite Owl (Calgary).
Twenty five years is a long time. A good percentage of marriages
and friendships don’t last that long. Mike Herrera must
be a committed man, as MxPx (originally Maginified Plaid) is
celebrating their 25th anniversary this year. The band was formed in
Bremerton, Washington all the way back in 1992 by Herrera, Yuri Ruley
and Andy Husted when they were just young pups in high school.
What better way to celebrate than play a bunch of punk rawk
shows, including two shows at Dickens. “Calgary has always felt like
an oasis for us,” Herrera explained over the phone last month. “We
used to rent our tour buses from a guy there, and he would take us all
around Calgary, so we are really excited to play there again. Plus it’s
Stampede, so MxPx is just a nice cherry on the cake.”
Herrera, now in his early forties, has managed to take on the change
in media formats to keep MxPx current on all platforms. He manages
both a YouTube series called “Best Life with Mike Herrera,” as well as a
podcast called “Herrera Hour.” He has taken on touring with alternative
band members to fill in for Yuri Ruley and Tom Wisniewski, who
still play with the band but due to full-time life commitments are only
able to do weekends. “Yuri and Tom will be playing the two back to
back shows in Calgary,” Herrera tells me, clearly excited about playing
Dickens Pub once again.
Over the last couple years Dickens has channeled the nostalgic
feel that fans of skate punk get when they are able to see the bands
that held their heart in middle and high school. They have brought
in Propagandhi, Millencolin and just announced a September show
with Mad Caddies. You can close your eyes in Dickens to any of those
shows and be teleported to your younger days on Race City Speedway
at Vans Warped Tour.
If you ain’t got no place to go on the 14th or 15th of July, make sure
you go to this. Hopefully you bought your tickets, because it will be
sold out by the time you read this.
MxPx perform at Dickens (Calgary) on July 14 and July 15.
THE BIG SLAM
taking it to the rooftops
If you grew up playing Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, you may agree
that skateboarding on rooftops while bumping “Blitzkrieg Bop”
is one of the coolest virtual realities known to man. Well, the
BIG crew has teamed up with Quicksilver and Surf Anywhere to
make your dreams come true. This July 15, on the rooftop patio
of National on 8th Street in Calgary, you may notice considerable
“disturbance of the peace” taking place.
Do not be alarmed. This is likely due to the rooftop party of
the summer, something you won’t want to miss. A winner-takesall
S-K-A-T-E competition will kick the evening off. Over the
month of June, Slam Festival, a first-of-its-kind Alberta skate/
surf/music/art festival, has been reviewing submissions from local
skaters, narrowing down the top six contestants. The winner will
take home some sweet prizes including two weekend passes to
the 2018 BIG Winter Classic. Check out #bigslamSKATE on Instagram
if you want a sneak peek at Calgary’s gnarly submissions.
Following the skate competition is a five-band lineup for your
listening pleasure. Chixdiggit, High Kicks, Napalmpom, Chron
Goblin, and All Hands on Jane will take care of your auditory
desires, fulfilling your need to let loose this July (and to escape
the Stampede). Each band brings a thrashed out energy that
will leave you wanting to relive your Tony Hawk’s Underground
On the heels of the third annual BIG Winter Classic, the BIG
squad, led by Adrian Urlacher, is “enlightened, refreshed, and
ready to bring it,” to the Calgary summer scene. This is their first
collaboration with Slam Festival, which promises to be a unique
approach to bridging the gap between the skateboarding and live
Calgary’s music culture has seen significant growth in recent
years, driven by a throng of passionate musicians who live and
by Taylor Odishaw-Dyck
breathe music. Now, a handful of the city’s industry leaders are
branching out to cross-pollinate with YYC’s extreme sports scene,
opening their doors and rooftop floors to any skaters looking
to bust a move in front of a fun-loving audience at the 2017 BIG
Head to the National on July 15 (Calgary) for the kick-off to BIG Slam
Fest. Tickets are available online.
photo: Derek Podlubny
20 | JULY 2017 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE
FREE THE CYNICS
unchained at last by B. Simm the return of pop-punk supreme
When Rich Paxton sails high singing the
chorus line to “High At Work,” the first
single released off Free The Cynics’
second EP, Post-Iconica, he does it with such conviction,
without a trace of irony or sarcasm, that
he’s really got you going — this man loves his job!
That’s until you listen to the rest of the lyrics a little
more closely, which then changes everything.
Snakes stare from my screen
Send a surgeon or a priest…
Mirror tells me what I don’t, what I don’t wanna see
I’m a cacophony of scumbaggery
Nothing's easy, nothing works, time slows down 'til it
Only way I can deal
I'm high at work
I'm high at work…
It took Paxton, originally from Edinburgh, 22
months to secure a work visa in Canada. During the
wait he made good use of his time, started a rock ‘n’
roll band and enjoyed the lifestyle. When he did land
his first job, the transition to routine was tough.
“I started working for this lawyer’s office, it was
awful, horrible. I had to wear this uniform and was
photocopying all day, everyday. ‘How would you
like it? Collated, doubled-sized?’ All that shit. It was
making me so upset,” recalls Paxton speaking in a
smooth brogue Scottish accent, shaking his head,
still feeling the bad vibes.
“But I was also partying quite a bit at that time,
and caring less about that job than I probably should
have. There was a few times I went to work, altered.
Definitely more altered than I should have been,”
shrugs Paxton, with a sheepish grin.
Certainly not the first time a bit of bad behaviour
made for a great song. In fact, Paxton’s trials and
tribulations keeping the Cynics alive is probably why
their latest release bursts with blazing energy and
artful precision. The revamped line-up featuring
Erik Juergens (guitar), Brad Vedekind (bass) and
Joey DeCosse (drums) blends tough, up-beat jazzy
melodies, romping dance floor rhythms and smart
arrangements that echo the pop brilliance of Bowie
and Manchester in the ‘80s. Mentioning Morrisey
puts a bright smile on Paxton’s face.
Collectively, each member of Free The Cynics
own a share of the band. Juergens, who Paxton says
was a shy boy when he first joined, turns out fiery
riffs and dazzling solos forceful as a missile attack
then lyrical as falling fireworks. Vedekind, a deep
groove progressive R&B ace, locks on to DeCosse’s
rock steady beats that can drop down, change up
and turn on a dime. And Paxton, definitely not the
whimsical type, boasts an impressive range, a flying
Scotsman in his own right.
An angry Scotsman too. The rumble of drums
that leads off “Vessel” sets the tone to the Cynics’
political perspective without “going all Bono.” And
when Paxton hits the chorus, he doesn’t hold back,
fiercely spewing out a call to arms, “Don’t just stand
there, don’t just stand there. Pick, pick, pick. Pick up
Paxton explains the song’s impetus: “What are we
doing about Trump? Or any other maniac? What are
we doing about it? Fuck all. So start a riot. Do it! If
there’s two million people in motion, who’s going to
stop that? Nobody. Just fucking do it!”
Produced by Kirill Telichev, Post-Iconica is a stark
but bold recording. By emphasizing the strength of
each musician coated with Paxton’s emotive power,
Telichev masterfully cultivates the band’s readyset-go
impulse alongside its won’t-get-fooled-again
stance — the Cynics unchained.
Free The Cynics’ release show for Post-Iconica, on Zen
Palace Records, is Friday, July 21 at the Nite Owl.
Downway’s printed Est. 1995 on their first
run of t-shirts — the year the band recorded
their first full-length in Jeff Burns’
legendary basement located in Woodlands. An
outlying community in SW Calgary, Woodlands
full of suburban tranquility but very little punk
rock, except for the occasional teenaged skater
rolling up to 7-11.
Despite the odds, in the mid-90s Burns
produced a sprawling number of local bands
in his shoebox studio that created the buzz
about town during that decade. Some bands
who recorded with Burns, including Placebo,
the Primrods and Wagbeard, propelled Calgary
into a new era of punkmania. While others, like
Chixdiggit and Downway, who also got their start
in the basement, went on to roam the globe.
Their debut, Downway Is As Downway Does,
was put out on a local label, Hourglass, run by
their skate band buddies, Belvedere. Throughout
1996 and ’97 Downway was gathering
momentum, getting good opening slots for
top-notch bands coming through Calgary. In
1996 they released their second full length,
Kacknacker, shared the stage with the likes of
Good Riddance, Face To Face and Guttermouth,
and much to their surprise, a very homemade
video of “Jack That Tastes Like Rye” started
getting video rotation on Much Music. From
1999 to 2002 they appeared on various editions
of the Vans Warped Tour, headlined their own
shows across Canada and the US (including Hawaii),
and were signed to the burgeoning label
Sessions Records out of California, whose roster
included an impressive list of 7” vinyl releases
from Zeke, Supersuckers, the Descendents,
Swervedriver and Fu Manchu.
And then, just when things looked to be
really taking off, the band called it quits.
“We shut it down in 2003,” says Dave Pedersen,
Downway’s lead vocalist, guitarist and
Local pop punk institution Downway are back and better than ever.
by B. Simm
songwriter. “We tried everything we could to
get temporary work visas in California, where a
pretty big punk label was interested in us. Once
that failed, it’s like any other band. You tour
six, seven months of the year, you have jobs to
juggle, then marriages and kids to look after. It
gets pretty hard to sustain. When someone says
‘maybe we should break up or take a break’, it
starts to sound like a good idea.”
In the past 14 years Pedersen built up his
sales company in the oil and gas sector, while
bassist-vocalist Dave Holmes continued working
as a physiotherapist. Downway played a couple
of shows during that time, but a full-blown
reunion was never in the cards. Pedersen says
that now he’s 40, has a couple of kids, and is
comfortable in his career, the time feels right to
once again hit the stage.
“I didn’t want to be saying no to all these
emails asking us to play again. I wanted the
answer to be, YES, for once! The band got together
and talked about it.,” says Pedersen.
One thing the band wanted to ensure was
that if they were going to do this again, they
had to do it right.
“We didn’t want to do just one-off shows.
This time its, ‘Let’s play Western Canada, let’s go
to Europe, let’s put out a new record. Let’s do it!’
And that’s what we’re going to do.”
So how will the new Downway be the like
old Downway? Has the music changed or been
altered? “We still want to be a pop-punk band,
because that’s what we are. But it’s surprising
how you can take this amount of time off, come
back and realize you’ve matured so much as a
musician. We write better songs, we play them
better. It feels like this is the best music we’ve
Downway plays the Ship and Anchor’s 27th birthday
on Weds., July 26.
22 | JULY 2017 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE
BOOK OF BRIDGE
WIDE SKIES MUSIC AND ARTS FESTIVAL
intimate venue hosting mid-week summer festival
By day Mike Spencer is the man in charge at
Mike Spencer Geometrics Ltd., a surveying
company based in Lethbridge, but when
the office doors close, he turns his focus onto
something a little more musical.
From humble beginnings to becoming a staple
in the Lethbridge music scene, the Geomatic
Attic is gearing up for its biggest venture yet.
Acts like Dave McCann, Fred Eaglesmith and
Po’Girl are the foundation for the Geomatic Attic,
and still make regular appearances in Lethbridge
today. These high-caliber talents lay the
groundwork for bigger and more diverse shows
as time went on, including performances from
JUNO-award winning acts like The Strumbellas,
Whitehorse, and MonkeyJunk.
“Those performers are performers that really
gave us credibility. I think when people look at
a venue they often want to look at the history
and see who has played there, and say, ‘Well if
it’s good enough for Fred Eaglesmith and Dave
McCann, it’s good enough for me,’” says Spencer.
“We did a show with Fred Eaglesmith, it was in
early August . It was absolutely roasting in
the space, we had no air conditioning, and it was
like 40 degrees Celsius. I brought my trailer and I
parked it in the parking lot and he used that for
the green room and he set up his merchandise
outside, and we had a burger stand. It was mostly
friends but it absolutely tons of fun.”
Come July, the Geomatic Attic is taking
on something entirely new, in the form of an
outdoor festival, dubbed the Wide Skies Music
Alex Cuba headlines Lethbridge’s first Wide Skies Music and Arts Festival.
and Arts Festival. Partnering with the City of
Lethbridge, Spencer received a grant from the
Heart of Our City fund, which invests in events to
revitalize the city’s downtown core.
“We’ve applied for a closure of 11th street
south right beside Southminster [United]
Church. We’re going to set up a stage there and
have an art market, food trucks and a beer garden.
So we’ll have an outdoor show on Wednesday,
July 26, and we’ll have an indoor show on
Thursday, July 27, in the church. It’s kind of like a
mini, mid-week festival. We’re trying not to compete
with other festivals,” says Spencer.
This event squeezes itself between South
Country Fair and the Calgary Folk Festival. Spencer
says he wanted his festival to be in the middle
to “take advantage of some of the performers
who may play at the other festivals.”
The festival will host singer-songwriter Lindi
Ortega, Alex Cuba, Dave and Phil Alvin with
the Guilty Ones, the Juno nominates known as
the 24th Street Wailers, Mariel Buckley, Saskatoon-based
The Deep Dark Woods, and Lethbridge
locals Shaela Miller and Ryland Moranz.
by Monica Lockett
“The Wide Skies idea is that it’s supposed to be
inclusive, all-welcoming. The outdoor show is a
free event and there’s going to be a ticketed event
the next night,” says Spencer.
“We’re really trying to key in on it being an environmentally
friendly festival, so the food trucks
will have compostable plates and areas to dispose
of your waste. There will be little incentives for
people to ride their bikes to the event or keep
parking to a minimum.”
What makes this festival unique can be traced
back to the core ideology behind Spencer’s
formation of the Geomatic Attic – one with the
community in mind.
“I knew it could never be a moneymaker, but
I knew it could possibly be something like a notfor-profit
organization. Make sure we break even,
and any money we made we would put it back
into improvements and things like that,” he says.
Previous shows have been fundraisers for local
organizations such as the YWCA Harbour House,
the Lethbridge Food Bank, Woman Space and the
Lethbridge Public Library.
“I’ve lived in Lethbridge for 36 years and I feel
like this city has been really good to me and my
company. So if we could, through the Geomatic
Attic, we could do a fundraiser or we could
support another organization that’s doing really
great things, we’d like to do that.”
Go to www.geomaticattic.ca for more information
about upcoming shows. Wide Skies Music and Arts
Festival takes place July 26 and July 27 (Lethbridge).
BEATROUTE • JULY 2017 | 23
Southern hardcore with a groove
Hodge-podge hardcore band battle floods & Kijiji trolls to release first EP.
The guys in hardcore band Marla Maria credit their current line-up to a
series of bizarre Kijiji encounters, even if vocalist Chris Delamere and
drummer Andrew Creguer-Norgate grew up together. The duo cut their
teeth in pop-punk bands, eventually working their way up to “dad rock cover
bands who played in shitty bars.”
easygoing pop pals hit the road
photo: Stephanie Rivet
Ellen Reade, a bassist with a passion for jangle pop, wanted nothing more
than to start her own band. After begging her friend with a penchant for
guitar to join and enlisting the help of a would-be drummer, Reade got
her wish. Thus Brunch Club was formed.
The band’s self-titled EP was released in March, and is chock full of tasty
bass and guitar licks written by Reade and supported by a peppy cymbal heavy
drumline care of Clay Francis. Patrick Earles adds a kick to Reade’s guitar parts,
making for an impressive first offering. The six-song debut is youthful: memorable
with lovely and assured vocals. It skirts between garage, surf, psychedelic and indie
sounds effortlessly, conjuring shared milkshakes on laminated countertops on
breezy summer days.
Since incorporating a new drummer in the form of Red Hot Gospel’s Owen
Lukawesky, the trio has planned tours both east and west for this summer. To learn
more, BeatRoute sat down with the band to get a sense of their fun-loving nature.
by Brittany Rudyck
“The whole band was basically formed using Kijiji,” says Delamere, laughing.
“Before Nolan joined the band, I met some guy for drinks and immediately
got a sketchy vibe. We went to pay for our beers and he didn’t have his wallet so I
had to pay for it. That was weird. Needless to say we didn’t invite him for a jam.”
He adds, “We had tried out a few guys, but then Nolan and [drummer]
Andrew just clicked.”
Guitarist Nolan LePage joined in 2015, in time to record a rough demo that
would eventually become the basis for the bands’ first self-titled EP on Pinebox
Records. Released in May, the EP sees the trio experimenting with groovy riffs
but maintaining cutting vocals and husky bass lines.
In the last two years, Delamere estimates the band went through about 15
potential bandmates before landing on the current line up. Rhythm guitarist
Steven J. Lagrange joined around a year ago; bassist Sean Hoff joined in the last
When it came time to record (much like their search for reliable band
mates), not everything went as smoothly as planned.
“We worked really hard on this EP; the songs have changed a lot since our
first demo. But, our jam space flooded and that was a whole thing,” explains
“It was in-between recording drums and guitar or something. So the jam
space flooded and everyone had to move out. We stayed and had all this time
to record without any other noise coming in.”
In their damp and dank recording conditions, Marla Maria have put together
songs with riffs reminiscent of Every Time I Die and Stray From the Path.
An edgy outer layer masks unassuming innards, deconstructing politics and
depression through vocals that shred…. And it’s all thanks to a thrifty website.
Delamere cracked up when asked about their imaginary rating on Kijiji,
hypothesizing about the website’s potential to do such a thing.
“There are a lot of people who would have given us one star!”
Marla Maria releases their debut EP on July 23 at the Mercury Room (Edmonton).
by Keeghan Rouleau
PE: We’re doing Sled Island, we have a weekend in Calgary/Lethbridge, a weekend
out in Saskatoon/Regina and Winnipeg, and then we’re doing a weeklong [British
Columbia] tour in August.
BR: Do you have anything you want to say to the audience of BeatRoute?
PE: Not that I can think of other than to come to our shows on our upcoming tour,
which you can find out more about on our Facebook page!
OL: And that I’m a generous lover.
Pal around with Brunch Club on July 6 at Mill Creek Cafe (Edmonton) and at the
Nite Owl on July 7 (Calgary).
BeatRoute: Can you define the genre ‘jangle pop?’
Patrick Earles: Jangly pop, dude. It’s pop that’s jangly!
BR: What is your writing process like?
Ellen Reade: They’re all my songs; I write a song on guitar, then I give it to Patrick
and he makes it spicy. Then I write bass and Owen does drums.
Owen Lukawesky: I’m usually the last one to come in; the songs are already done
when I get there.
ER: Patrick and I will meet up and work on a song together and then add Owen.
He’ll play through the song like twice and then have it perfectly.
BR: What were you guys listening to while you created this EP?
ER: I’m super inspired by bands like The Vaselines, The Pastels, Heavenly, Black
Tambourine and anything on [American indie label] Slumberland Records.
BR: What are your plans for the summer?
Jangle geeks spread joy to all with their youthful sounds.
photo: Jesse Ladd
26 | JULY 2017 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE
letters from winnipeg
REAL LOVE SUMMER FEST
by Julijana Capone
Mellow rockers Widowspeak top the bill for 2017’s Real Love Summer Fest.
Real Love Summer Fest might be one of the
younger, smaller, and lesser-known stops on
the Manitoba festival circuit, but its distinctly
chill curation and idyllic new locale for 2017 are
worthy of your attention this summer.
Held on several acres of private forestland in Teulon,
Manitoba (about a 30-minute drive north of
Winnipeg)—a site ordinarily used for life-coaching
retreats—it’s a more fitting backdrop for the fouryear-old
festival, and an excellent place to watch
the sun set with some cold beers in tow and blissful
tunes on blast.
“You’re surrounded only by trees and the beautiful
prairie sky,” says festival organizer Gil Carroll, who also
plays in dream-pop band Living Hour.
“The natural atmosphere is just a million times
better than what we were dealing with [at the old
festival site in Gimli, Manitoba], which was just two
With a tendency towards booking the dreamier-sounding
melody-makers, Captured Tracks act
Widowspeak appropriately tops the bill for 2017.
Their sound—a blend of nostalgic rock ‘n’ roll and
atmospheric guitar work—was a perfect fit, according
“We’ve been fans of them for awhile,” says Carroll.
“We’re really stoked to be bringing them here. A
lot of bands never really get to Winnipeg if they’re
on a smaller level of touring; they often skip it over.
We feel really excited to be able to bring in—in our
opinion—a top-tier touring act from the States to this
random small town in Manitoba.”
Also joining the lineup are Saskatoon space-rockers
The Radiation Flowers, Calgary’s Fox Who Slept
The Day Away, and Toronto soul-gazers Beds,
Carroll also mentions Winnipeg locals like poppunks
Mulligrub; newly formed Winnipeg psych-rock
supergroup Juniper Bush, consisting of members
from Basic Nature, Black Cloud and Holy Void; and
melancholic-pop newcomer FLOOR CRY (a.k.a. Felicia
Sekundiak) as ones to watch at this year’s festival.
“[FLOOR CRY] kind of came out of left field a year
or so ago, and she’s making some of my favourite
music in the city right now,” says Carroll.
While attendee numbers have fluctuated over the
years, Carroll says they’ve seen anywhere between
250-400 people in the past. Offering both weekend
camping passes and individual day passes; he’s
anticipating the new site will draw a similarly intimate
crowd with camping passes being capped at 350 for
“We’re hopeful that we’ll be able to sell out, and
hopefully it just continues to grow,” he says.
Aside from its laid-back lineup, a big part of what
separates Real Love from other festivals around the
province is, in part, the connections organizers have to
the local Manitoba community.
Carroll and others also run a bi-monthly showcase
in Winnipeg under the Real Love banner at
music venue The Handsome Daughter. Over the
years, the night has put a spotlight on emerging
local talent, and has also served as an opportunity
to discover new acts to put on the Real Love
Summer Fest stage.
“We’ve been putting on shows in the city for five
years now, and we play in bands and we really take the
time to get to know the musicians that are performing,”
“There’s definitely a cohesive community vibe to
what Real Love does.”
Real Love Summer Fest runs from July 28 until July 30
on private forestland (Teulon, Manitoba). For more
information and to purchase weekend camping or individual
day passes, visit reallovesummerfest.com.
BEATROUTE • JULY 2017 | 27
CHANGING THE COVERSATION
by Mike Dunn
Too often people resort to the simplest defining characteristic what you expect it to sound like. Here and there I’d have to push them “When you’re working in the Bristol scene, and making a name for
of a person before they get to know who they are. They are into what I wanted it to sound like, with the downfall in the delivery, that yourself, it’s almost like eventually you’ll get the call… Those records that
marked by birth, rather than what they’ve come to be. And kind of Levon Helm, heavy left hand in the backbeat.”
Massive Attack and Portishead made back in the day were largely done
in the marketplace of artistic expression, they attempt to put Carter’s career in production began in London when she was around with Bristol players. Like, Robert Del Naja and Andrew Vowles aren’t bass
someone in an easy to categorize, uncomplicated box to make them 23. There producers would attempt to commodify her race and gender players or drummers per se, they’re artists with a vision, so if you’re in the
more saleable. Yola Carter, of Bristol, England, sees such artistic definitions
into a saleable package, which precipitated a move home to Bristol and Bristol scene, there’s a chance you may get called upon, and I did.”
as stultifying, and while she’s not afraid to address those issues its smaller, more unified community of musicians. “There’s a strength in Carter’s ability to blend classic soul with the “Americana” mélange of
of race and gender that define part of who she is, her broader focus is being ‘about a place’, do you know what I mean?” says Carter. “The Beatles
folk, country, and older rock ‘n’ roll is wholly natural and fully realized
predominately on her growth as a professional musician, a producer and
being about Liverpool, or like Oasis being about Manchester, being throughout Orphan Offering. “What You Do” is a rollicking, barroom jam
on the music that came naturally to her.
able to make part of your identity the place you’re from. It’s easier to not with Ronnie Wood guitar underneath a spirited, gospel harmony. Then
“I was always musical from a young age. I always sang, and we were blend in, and to not be forgettable.”
with “Dead And Gone” Carter is keenly aware of her place in the industry
poor so I couldn’t afford to buy records, but my mum had these older
and ups the ante. As a stylistic rebel in a male-dominated machine that
records from when she was growing up and that’s what I sang to,”
prizes the ease of marketability, she takes aims point blank: “There was
Carter tells BeatRoute over the phone from her garden. “My access
a time when my people were product to you, if we can’t supersede that
to those records showed me where I wanted to go. But everything I
There was a time when my people
now, where on earth am I heading to?” Carter understands that her position
as a woman of colour singing country is unique, yet she hopes that
heard in music of those years in the UK, it felt like it wasn’t made for were product to you, if we can’t
me. Things that were made in the UK at that time were very commercialized
versions of blackness, even in the ‘90s, when there was more supersede that now, where on
“Even in my early 20s, record labels were trying to ‘white-ify’ my voice
someday it won’t always be the topic of conversation.
gospel in urban music than there is now. Those songs were churchy,
and it was unnatural to me. I don’t know if they were even aware they were
but they weren’t close enough.”
earth am I heading to?
doing that, it’s so institutionalized. Even recently, one person was like, ‘It’s a
This gospel feel is evident on the lead cut of Carter’s debut EP, Orphan
little too gravelly.’ And I said, ‘Well it’s a gravelly day.’ They want me to sing
Offering. “Home” starts with a gradual build in the classic singer-songwriter
like Sade, which is the opposite of what I want to do. As a person of colour,
style, before an invisible beat drops and the tempo shifts ever up-
Being back in Bristol led Carter into one of that city’s great musical you have to realize that your white peers will not be having to have this
ward, that fervent devotion inherent to the soulful church sound rising exports, the heavily influential electronic group Massive Attack, putting
conversation, they’ll get to talk about their record, their ideas, philosophy.
higher over an orchestral string harmony. Yet the groove feels heavy, as
her on a long and heavy list of the group’s collaborators, including It would be easy for a lot of my time to be taken up talking about what
Carter puts it, because of a “sense of downfall.”
Beth Orton, Tricky, Tracy Thorn from Everything but The Girl, The it’s like to be a black woman in music, and to get a strong message across
“When you’re producing a session, it’s up to you to bring in the Dandy Warhols and even David Bowie. Her own tenure in the group of what people need to be aware of. It’s important for me to do that, but
players with the best feel for the music you’re making. And because I’ve included a spot on The Other Stage at Glastonbury, and while it was that’s not the main focus of what I do. If that becomes the focus, then
spent so much time in the music community here in Bristol, I had this musically beneficial, Carter needed to leave to continue finding her we become part of the problem, and we diminish the things that black
great network of really excellent British folk players. You go in knowing own voice and style.
people are ‘allowed’ to do.”
828 | APRIL | JULY 2017 2017 • BEATROUTE • BEATROUTE ROOTS CITY
Digging up the Roots
by Mike Dunn
Ears to the ground, eyes to sky
Kerry Clarke’s guide to stamp your musical passport
BeatRoute asked Calgary Folk Music Festival’s Artistic Director and
music-loving globetrotter Kerry Clarke to navigate through top
international acts who will be bringing their grassroots artistry to
Prince’s Island this year.
“Haiti is in the house with Chouk Bwa Libète who play mizik rasin,
which is Haitian Creole for ‘roots music,’” Clarke says of the rhythm-centric
band. “It comes from vodou ritual and is really percussive, with
dance, call-and- response singing, work songs, vodou and Holy Week
Let’s face it, summer trekkin’ to Timbuktu so much easier when
Sub-Saharan Africa comes to you.
“We’ve had several Tuareg artists over the years,’ says Clarke, “and I
never get tired of the sound, of which Tinariwen are the best known proponents.
FARIS brings a unique twist to this North African desert blues,
as he brings early rural, sharecropping, Delta blues songs and repatriates
them by translating lyrics into Tamasheq.”
Impressively, FARIS accompanies himself with an improvised technique
that combines the loping Assouf guitar-style with the quavering
semi-distortion of a bottleneck slide.
Closer to home, Turkwaz reveals a rich history of song-making that
draws from multiple traditions, including Balkan, Albanian, Bulgarian
and Macedonian influences in their repertoire.
“I saw Turkwaz perform at a conference in the fall,” Clarke elaborates.
“We’ve had Maryem Toller (vocalist for Little Mosque on the Prairie) and
Brenna MacCrimmon perform in different Turkish and other Middle
Eastern bands. There’s lots of acoustic percussion and harmonies. Sufi
devotional songs, Greek sounds and Thracian music are all part of their
Speaking of compelling, there are few blues, folk or R&B singers alive
today who can compete with the soulful spirit of England’s Michael Kiwanuka,
whose emotionally laden new album holds just the right tracks
for your tears.
“If Michael Kiwanuka wasn’t such a household name, he might
be considered a ‘world music’ artist, as his parents are Ugandan.
But he’s based in the UK and has a soul sound that is familiar to
by Christine Leonard
Not to be overlooked, the brilliantly innovative Congolese clash of
Mbongwana Star will put you into orbit with a blend of hypnotic beats
and alternator-magnet-microphone genius.
“Check out Mbongwana Star, featuring two founding members of the
lauded band Staff Benda Bilili. They bring a uniquely Kinshasa sound that
people’s ears were opened to by their compatriots Konono No. 1. It’s a
garbage-to-art creativity in that they use stylish and inventive ways to
create trans-global barrier-busting sounds with a stripped-down combination
of beats, samples, guitar and vocals.”
Photo: Phil Sharp
Going into a festival like this one, you probably have a sense of what
headliners to catch, but the close-eyed walk in the trees still rings
best when hearing something new to you. Spin around, hang by
the river, get a beer with new buds, you know how to do it. Let’s go.
Betty Bonifassi’s voice is huge, leading a chaingang shuffle with some
massive early Zeppelin-style trio riffs and twists, and a gospel choir trio for
the full electric Delta sound. Benjamin Longman writes spare electric guitar-based
songs with steel and strings rising in exactly the right harmonies
and moods for the songs, while his album cut “Letters” features some cool
electric and acoustic riffs with Longman’s lilting high timbre honing a Jeff
Buckley feel that really works.
Dave Alvin and Phil Alvin were the songwriters in The Blasters, a seminal
LA punk mainstay built on blues, twang, rock n’ roll with a big country
swing. They’re currently touring behind their most recent release Lost
Time, a record with cool barroom jump containing the harmonica and
piano driven “Rattlesnakin’ Daddy,” and a dead ringer of James Browns’s ’56
classic R&B hit “Please Please Please”.
Jason Collett’s sold out show at Festival Hall was a highlight of 2016,
his backing band Zeus brought bouncing ‘60s folk-pop groove, and the
veteran Broken Social Scene member’s sardonic lyrics under cheerful
melodies that capture the strutty, middle-finger swagger of The Velvet
Charlotte Cornfield’s conversational voice belies the romance and
heartache in her songs, with elements of intimate folk country and Carole
King’s knack for a bouncing hook. Cornfield’s music feels like a sarcastic
Fiona Apple ripping quick quips while crying on your shoulder.
Langhorne Slim’s energetic feel has a New York Dolls in The South
kick, with Slim’s twangy, punk rock scratch a commanding call, the band’s
rowdy shuffles swinging like a messy high-five pint cheers on “The Way We
Move,” and excellent Lucero punk rock singalong choruses with sharp and
catchy lines over the melodies.
Sean Rowe’s low baritone is reminiscent of Bill Callahan or Edmonton
indie-rocker Jom Comyn. The upstate New Yorker’s songs take their time,
ascending gradually to feature stately piano, with subtle Hammond keys
beneath, while other numbers catch a John Prine folk rhythm, or Temptations’
The Sumner Brothers have been on a cold road across Canada for the
past decade, playing, clubs, pubs, and house concerts and gradually building
on that intimate sound to Crazy Horse riffs and a Deep Dark Woods
feel in their quieter spaces with abstract lyric narratives throughout their
five records. One of Western Canada’s best underground roots bands.
The Iguanas have a tight MG’s groove with a cool, chillin’ vocal style,
low sassy horns and greasy call-and-response guitar riffs with strains of
zydeco, Cajun and Tex-Mex that illustrate the breadth of their hometown
New Orleans. A Cabana party with hip bumps of classic Stax.
The late ‘50s pop perfection of the Everly Brothers is beautifully interpreted
by The Cactus Blossoms, so Californian in tone and Minnesota
born. It’s fitting that their brilliant take on white picket-fence pop landed
on David Lynch’s Twin Peaks where something very sweet plays through
the strangest of visuals.
CITY ROOTS BEATROUTE BEATROUTE • JULY • APRIL 2017 2017 | | 299
doing everything at once because you have to
by Liam Prost
Earlier this year, LA roots rock prodigies Dawes released We’re
All Gonna Die. Their fifth full length in eight years, it might
well be one of their best. They worked with infamous producer
Blake Mills, in a hazy, methodical recording session, that produced
by far the strangest and most indescribable thing they have made
We caught up with Griffin Goldsmith, the drummer and occasional
lead vocalist, also the brother of frontman Taylor Goldsmith,
shortly after a sound check for a show in Austin, Texas. Working
with Blake Mills was an extremely methodical process, much of
which is captured in the recording documentary Alternative Theories
of Physics, available for free on YouTube.
“He (Mills) forced us as a band to set up and learn a lot of the
stuff we had done on the record,” Goldsmith attests. Even though so
much of what happened in the recording studio involved separating
the members from each other, and streamlining and honing each
piece, they were able to “figure out how to translate all of that
stuff in a way that still sounded like us live.” In doing so, Griffin says
they’ve become “better as a band.” Stretching themselves in the
recording studio has put “a couple extra pieces into the arsenal.”
Sometimes literally, Goldsmith now plays with a sample pad on his
In addition to drumming, Goldsmith also sings, mostly backup,
but occasionally lead on tracks like “Roll Tide.” “I’ve been singing
forever” Goldsmith confides, being able to sing and play at the same
time came about simply as “just having done it.” He started playing
drums in Dawes out of necessity, and when it was suggested he
sing on certain tracks, it just made sense for him to play drums at
At the end of the night at CFMF song from her oeuvre. The Friday bill is lead
you have the choice between by Toronto electronic noise pop act Holy
downing a couple final beers at Fuck, whose wall of sound set destroyed
the beer garden, crawling back to your tarp Dickens at BIG this year, and is sure to blow
spot to soak up the sultry sounds of the some eardrums in the outdoors.
mainstage, or getting down to the glorious Tanya Tagaq brings Inuit throat singing
counter programming of the National to dreamy indie soundscapes, and even
Twilight Stage. Fair reader of BeatRoute hip-hop= style beats. There’s a guest rapper
Magazine, I hope you always choose the or two on her records, and her live set is
sure to be a visual and auditory feast as well
From the danceable to the confounding,
Twilight Stage has you covered. representation.
as a sharp political lesson in proper culture
Thursday opens up with the dry relatability BADBADNOTGOOD leads the Saturday
of Lucy Dacus, whose self-deprecating night. This probably the only jazz trio that
rawness and subtle sense of humour is sure you will find yourself crowd surfing to this
to draw smiles. Son Little keeps things or any other weekend. Their expert musicianship
brings to life recognizable hip hop
introspective with a smooth heterogenous
mixture of rock, soul, and R&B from a live melodies as well as original compositions.
band with hip hop clarity.
Last year they put out an album with Wu
You can see Basia Bulat tear up the Tang alum Ghostface Killah, and their career
mainstage in sequins, but you also catch trajectory is only up, appearing in the most
her at the Free Key Friday workshop, she’s prestigious of hip hop liner notes.
a savant, so she’s always good for an old Elsewhere at the fest you’ll find tremendous
indie talent like the local Juno jazz cover or two, or just a bombastic pop
the same time. Goldsmith is a professed fan of the late great Levon
Helm, perhaps the most famous singing drummer (or drumming
singer), even getting a chance to close one of Helm’s legendary late
night rambles before he went gently off into the night. But the
choice to sing and drum was perfectly incidental, and has stuck. “I
sing better if I’m playing drums,” says Goldsmith.
They’ve come out with a vengeance, going on a massive tour,
releasing the live record, and already planning on doing more.
The experience with Blake Mills was a powerful one for the band,
and while they plan to experiment further, they are still interest
in collaborating with him again. “Part of the reason you bring in a
guy like that is because you want to collaborate and bring out their
expertise” Goldsmith says of Mills, “we all love Blake dearly.”
The band has recently been touring in “an evening with…”
format, playing two and a half hours every night without an opener.
This particular style of show has now been captured and is listenable
as the perfectly titled We’re All Gonna Live. It’s a strong mix of new
and old, but coming off of the misty and deliberate new record, it
wasn’t entirely clear how these songs would fit in live.
“It’s been great,” Goldsmith says the new songs have “assimilated
nicely” and they “try to incorporate all five albums” into the live
set. The band has spent so much time honing and touring over
the last several years that songs recorded years ago have taken on a
different dimension, becoming whole new incarnations sitting next
to tracks off We’re All Gonna Die in a set list. The live album is a way
for Dawes to offer listeners an “insight into what they are doing live,”
and it’s a strong value proposition in service of a “body of work” that
Dawes can be “proud of.”
by Liam Prost
nominees AM Static, whose chilled-out
electronic pop has recently found a home
in a live band format. Helena Deland was
in Calgary recently supporting Whitney,
and her dreamy debut EP is already
commanding a wider audience. Local
favorites Sergeant & Comrade wowed
Block Heater audiences earlier this year with
their new rhythm section, propelling their
beat soaked hip-hop and R&B into a fully
THE CACTUS BLOSSOMS
dreaming a new past for the present
by Jackie Klapak
In less than a year since releasing their debut album, You’re Dreaming, The Cactus
Blossoms have been spanning the globe travelling everywhere from Europe to
Australia while landing a cameo on the revival of David Lynch’s seminal Twin Peaks:
The Return. It’s a big jump for Minneapolis brothers, Page Burkum and Jack Torrey,
who under the mentorship of producer JD McPherson have crafted tradition into
something all together fresh and new.
Flip-flopping between getting the crowd dancing and inducing an trance, The Cactus
Blossoms bring a swing to old-time country and dreamy quality to contemporary
folk. “We write with different emotions,” says Burkum. “You don’t really get to choose
what happens with your life.”
With an ear to the emotions of the moment, The Cactus Blossoms set out to create
art that meditates on the human condition. Soaring highs, and sultry lows, the album
brings to life a raw component of the two songwriters as individuals and as brothers.
“When we started out playing we got interested in old country and folk,” says
Burkum. In developing their music, he notes that while he and his brother are different
people, they have similar instincts. “When creating rhythm and sounds, I think we flow
in a way only people who are really close to each other can.”
Enabling their musical compatibility, The Cactus Blossoms bare a strong resemblance
to the Everly Brothers’ seductive vocal harmonies wrapped in a stark but
dreamy American, small town serenade. While drenched in pre-60s stylistics, the
purity of their performance is like a crack into an alternative universe where they bring
beautiful and strange ideas to life. Rather than a trip down memory lane, The Cactus
Blossoms take you on a journey where the past has yet to be discovered.
30 10 | | APRIL JULY 2017 2017 • BEATROUTE • ROOTS CITY
2017 SUMMER FOLK FEST GUIDE
folk em if ya got em
South Country Fair
It’s a festival with camping so sought after, folks
volunteer half hours AND pay for a ticket, just for
the privilege of priority camping. If you’ve got bug
spray in hand and some dry shampoo, you can
make this a weekend to remember. It’s as much a
community event as a music festival, so in addition
to artists like Winnipeg raconteur William Prince,
Edmonton blues kid Joe Nolan & the Dogs, and
Calgary’s Wonder Woman Mariel Buckley, there’s
circus acts, artisans, and spoken word.
Edmonton Folk Music Festival
It’s all about the main stage. With a natural amphitheatre
in the heart of Edmonton, their folk fest
fits quite a few more than Calgary’s. Tarp culture is
strong, and their convoluted-but-charming baseball
diamond ticket sale proves it. It’s a beautiful
site with tons of sun, friends, and opportunities
to see music. The site is so big, you have to plan
ahead, but there are tons of amazing artists this
year including Leon Bridges, Valerie June, The Decemberists,
Shakey Graves, and Rhiannon Giddens,
and that’s just the mainstage.
Winnipeg Folk Music Festival
You must leave Winnipeg a bit to get to this one,
but the bus trip is well worth it, and you might
make some friends along the way. Like Winnipeg
itself, it’s a little freaky. Indies like The Shins and
Feist share the mainstage with the folkies like
Bruce Cockburn, and because they aren’t worried
about ticking off urban neighbors, they go late
with dance acts at the end of the night like DakhaBrakha
and Mbongwana Star. Daytime stages
are a beautiful tree-lined walk from each other, and
the food is pretty special. There’s so much space at
WFMF, it’s the perfect festival for the introvert in
all of us.
Wild Mountain Festival
Wild Mountain is small but mighty. Taking place
at the Entrance Ranch north of Hinton, Alberta,
it sits in the part of the foothills that’s mostly
only frequented by Edmontonians. It’s a camping
festival much akin to its northerly neighbor North
Country Fair. What sets it apart is its loudness. This
year it features some of the biggest guitarists north
of the 49th parallel including blues legend David
Wilcox, Can-Rock veterans 54-40, the man with
the voice Matt Andersen, and The Guess Who’s
own Randy Bachman.
words and photo: Liam Prost
Somehow, they turn a small town into a bustling
hub of art and music. Everyone is involved, and
I mean everyone. Wells B.C. becomes a hippie
haven, hosting music, visual, and artisanal
offerings from across Canada. People’s houses
and public squares become stages for artists like
Corin Raymond, Oh Susanna, Rae Spoon, and Wax
You might know the area better by its association
with the beat-fueled party-fest Shambhala. Tiny
Lights is a vastly under represented community
festival in a beautiful space full of amazing artists,
a lot of which you won’t see at other folk fests this
summer. Check out husband and wife troubadours
Pharis and Jason Romero, as well as full bands
like Edmonton’s Post Script and Scenic Route to
Canmore Folk Music Festival
There’s no alcohol on site, except at the notorious
pub stage, so this festival is all about the music.
Downtown Canmore is a perfect host, any songwriter
gains gravitas with Mount Rundle looming
in the background. This year sees folkie favorites
like Whitehorse and Blackie and the Rodeo Kings
next to crowd pleasers like The Steel Wheels and
Birds of Chicago. It’s the most relaxing Folk Fest
of them all, and there’s some great community
support, including some unofficial house concerts
BEATROUTE • JULY 2017 | 33
July 31 to August 6, Shaw Millennium Park
The Calgary International Blues Festival kicks off July 31st,
the weeklong run featuring a number of workshops and
special events leading up to the three day concert series
featuring acclaimed acts putting their own spin on that
most formative element of American music.
You can’t much closer to the source of the Chicago Blues than Big
Bill Morganfield, his low and smooth voice as immediately familiar
as his father: the man who invented electricity, the legendary Muddy
Waters. Morganfield’s groove goes back to the electrified cottonfield
music, the origins of the jump Chicago feel, with that instantly recognizable
vocal, and a more gruff take on the uptempo urban swing of
the modern style.
by Mike Dunn
Ghost Town Blues Band, from Memphis, Tennessee, are
purveyors of sky high soul music reminiscent of the Allmans,
gritty vocals and and tight Southern rock harmony riffs sitting
in beautifully composed soul numbers that hit stratospheric
heights in their deeper jams with the added punctuation of
funky trombone blasts and some of the hippest bouncing pocket
The Delta Sonics swing with the jazzy jump of the early Chicago
sound and the sophistication of Birdland jazz, their clean and
classy tones always deep in a hip-shaking ‘50s Rhythm & Blues
sway with Sonny Boy harp and cool, mellow-yet-funky guitar.
The Claudettes bring a fresh
energy in their mix of classic
Rhythm & Blues and the Yé-Yé
style of French pop, cool piano
bar jazz striking interesting
dischords over their low key
sound, with a sultry vocal style
and a focus on songwriting in
the classic Brill Building or Tin
Pan Alley styles, straight out of
the Windy City with an inventive
and invigorating direction.
“Brother” Ray Lemelin’s ability
to play it all is evident as soon
as he slings his guitar. Whether
sharp, tight songs in the classic
Memphis soul vibe, the deep
burn of blazing Texas slow
blues, or the intricate thumb
rhythm and fingerpicking of
the Delta acoustic style with
elements of ragtime, Lemelin’s
smooth tenor and tasteful riffs
are snappy, bang on time, and
hot on the shots.
Big Bill Morganfield
Toronto-based Sugar Brown keeps tight to the gritty street of early
Chicago, that uptempo mourn of Little Walter harp and the strutting
rhythm guitar sounding off a groove that sets a lowdown and swinging
jive, while Brown’s overdriven vocals come blasting through the
harp amp, an authentic and classic sound that recreates the greasy
necessity of early juke joint amplification.
McComb, Mississippi’s Mr. Sipp moves effortlessly from the sonically
reverent duck-walking rock n’ roll of Chess-era Chuck Berry, into
ripping fuzzed out Hendrix wah wails and Cream-y riffs, his churchy
vocal reaching both intense heights and the down-to-the-field soul
of the Delta, run through with a fired up driving intensity, presence
and energy to spare and share.
Ghost Town Blues Band
34 | JULY 2017 • BEATROUTE ROOTS
Banff Centre Summer
by Mike Dunn
WINE SOAKED PREACHERS
a bunch of stories and beautiful, honky-tonk soul
The July calendar at The Banff Centre for The Arts is packed
with performances from a number of iconic Canadian artists
this month and into August, and few venues in Alberta can
match the magnificent Rocky Mountain setting of the Centre’s Shaw
Amphitheatre, with sweeping 360-degree views of the Bow Valley from
its perch on Tunnel Mountain.
While not exactly weekly or bi-weekly, the Centre’s Director of Presenting
Kurt Bagnell says the busy summer touring season opens up
opportunities for Canadian headliners to play in between larger cities
and the summer festivals. “Often it’s a question of crew availability and
space in the artists’ schedules, we try to space them out, but fitting
with the tour itineraries requires some flexibility. So, we’ve got a very
busy July coming up.”
July’s outdoor concert series kicks off on Friday, July 7th with
Toronto country rock legends Blue Rodeo, once again making their
way out west in support of their most recent record, 2016’s 1000 Arms.
On Saturday, July 15th, Corb Lund & The Hurtin’ Albertans bring their
distinct farm boy charm to the Shaw, with Lethbridge roots rocker Leeroy
Stagger opening. Ontario folk-pop singer-songwriter Sarah Hamer
plays a special afternoon show on Sunday, July 23rd at 1PM, and A
Tribe Called Red will lay down their emphatic brand of high energy
First Nations hip hop on Sunday, August 6th.
In addition to the Amphitheatre programming Bagnell says there
are always creative events happening throughout the Centre, including
lecture series, multi-disciplinary performances in dance, visual media,
and music, as well as the Centre’s ongoing artist residencies.
“At any given time of the year there are different programs and
residencies ongoing,” says Bagnell. “An artist will approach us to come
into the artist colony to work on different projects. We have writers,
visual artists, musicians, and all of that continues throughout the
summer. We try to combine the residencies with other programs so
the artists get a chance to interact, not only with others working in
their own medium, but with artists working outside of their discipline,
to have an exchange of ideas, and some amazing work can come out
of that creative process. It’s hard to estimate, but there might be twice
as many artists here in the summer as there are in the fall, so it’s a very
Originally conceived as a tribute band in 2010, the Wine
Soaked Preachers took their name from a Corb Lund
song and broke into the business as a two-piece in
“Corb’s from Taber and used to play the Brooks Hotel, thee
country bar in town, a couple times a year,” says Jay Bilyk, the
Preachers’ lead vocalist, six-string strummer and tunesmith. “Mark
and I grew up there and were so used to seeing him, loved his
music, followed him around until he got too big and wouldn’t play
there anymore. So we said, ‘Hey let’s play his stuff, everyone listens
to it, we could fill the bar up.”
Teaming up with Mark Alberts on drums and “prison vocals,”
the two learned more than 50 Corb Lund songs and set off to light
a few prairie fires. In their travels, they became pals with Calgary’s
Bitterweed Draw, whose upright bass player at the time joined the
band filling out the sound. Miles Cantafio now holds that position
and provides the “psychobilly pluckin’ and howls.” Wayne Garrett,
also from Bitterweed, joined the Preachers as well earning the title
of “guitar wizard…who talks a different language” because of his
Bilyk, who’s been playing and writing songs since he was 14,
decided to explore opportunities beyond the tribute experience
and began composing new country material to fit the band. In 2012,
they recorded demos that eventually became their first CD release,
Tales Of Western Noir. Last year a second recording, Same Old Town,
came out featuring the Preachers’ four man, full sound band.
From the early ‘60s until the mid ‘70s, country records made in
Bakersfield had a distinct sonic quality. While instruments filled
up the songs, there was still a lot of breathing space rendering
a natural, organic feel that was lost when Nashville overdosed
on pop, rock and orchestration moving into the dreaded era of
overproduction which still dominates and defines slick, commercialized
markets. The Wine Soaked Preachers know nothing about
slick, overproduced country. Rather, their creative values are firmly
attached to the beauty and honky-tonk soul of the Bakersfield barroom
sound while delivering the heartache warmth of a steel-pedal,
While the Preachers embrace and channel tradition, their songs
and stories are a little more complex than just crying about good
love gone bad. “Rough Love,” off Same Old Town, muses about the
mysteries and seduction of bondage and S&M. “That song,” says
Bilyk, “was probably influenced by Fifty Shades Of Grey or some shit
like that. When I was writing it out, playing around with the lyrics, I
left some notes on the table that my fiancée read and asked, ‘Is there
any thing that we need to talk about?’ No, no, no. Very little of what
I write about is personal, don’t take what I sing about too seriously.
I’m just looking for stories.”
“Dead Man Flats,” also off the last recording, reveals Bilyk’s intrigue
with history and spinning tales with all sorts of twist and turns. “I
always thought the name was weird and cool when you drive out to
Banff and see that sign (Dead Man Flats is a stretch along the Trans
Canada Highway just east of the Rocky Mountains). So I did some
research and found there’s three different stories where it might have
come from, which made for three different verses in the song. One is
about a dairy farmer who’s accused of killing his brother, whose body
can’t be found. Another is about a group of Natives, who were poaching
beavers and afraid they’d be caught by the Mounties. They covered
themselves in blood, pretending to be dead and scared the shit out of
the police when they arrived. And the last is another murder, about a
trespasser that was shot and killed. A bunch of bloody stories!”
The title track of Same Old Town, the slow “waltz” on the record,
is one of the few songs that wanders into Bilyk’s personal world.
“It’s about growing up in Brooks. Being 17 or 18 and wanting to get
the fuck out of there. In 2001 I came here to snowboard and go to
university. I told people I was from Calgary for a long time. But then
I’d go back to Brooks visit, started to appreciate the wide-open landscape,
big skies, and began to understand more about the reasons
why my friends stayed and the shit they struggle with. I wrote it
around that. You want to get out, and then realize that when you do,
it wasn’t so bad.”
Wine Soaked Preachers play Mikey’s on 12th July11, Local 510 on July 13
and Oak Tree Tavern on August 3 for their video release of “Nevermore.”
BEATROUTE • JULY 2017 | 35
halving its run dates, doubling the oomph
by Colin Gallant
It really isn’t a stretch to say that this is One Love
Music Festival’s best lineup to date. In three years,
the festival has battled adverse weather conditions
at two different sites and had one huge, giant, major
cancellation (Lil Wayne last year). Perhaps the third
time will be the clichéd charm, as Western Canada’s
only hip-hop festival moves to the Max Bell grounds,
shares site related duties with Chasing Summer, and
resizes to a one-day affair.
Miss Lauryn Hill, of The Fugees and a stacked
solo career that has likely soundtracked hundreds
of conceptions, is at the top of the list for obvious
reasons. Having gone into a self-imposed “exile” in the
early 2000s and facing jail time for tax offences back in
2013, many of us feared we had lost Miss Hill for good.
While Hill has had her hardships and controversies
over the years, it’s what we overcome that defines us,
no? In any case, it seems fair to assume that One Love
organizers are confident they won’t get burned two
years in a row.
Next we come to America’s traphouse sweethearts,
Migos. The trio dominated the charts earlier this
year with their smash hit “Bad and Boujee,” which
in addition to going to 4x platinum also marked the
moment the slang term “Boujee” hit peak saturation
in pop culture. Migos worked hard to get here, having
guested (and stolen the show) on dozens of hits from
other rappers in the past few years. It ought to be
mentioned that rumours circulated that the trio had
been denied entry for their recent scheduled opening
slot for Future in Edmonton, but that the problem
seemed to have been resolved when they arrived on
stage in Vancouver the following night. One Love,
we’re counting on you.
Bridging the gap between iconic soul star status
and wholly millennial turn-up tunes is the one and
only god Anderson. Paak. If you’re not already on this
train it’s safe to say you probably don’t even know
what a train is. The rapper-singer-multi-instrumentalist
put out one of last year’s best albums with the
stellar Malibu. He followed that up with a ‘70s street
life concept record with Knxledge under the moniker
NxWorries. Perhaps the easiest primer for his music
is to say that it’s like if Bruno Mars was actually good
and had a rapping voice a bit like Kendrick Lamar.
Paak is especially known for his stage presence, even
playing drums with the Free Nationals as he delivers
his elastic vocal melodies. This one is our bet for
show-stopper of the day.
Rounding out the lineup are acts like the RZA of
the Wu-Tang Clan (as his hedonistic alter ego Bobby
Digital), Christian-tinged rapper Lecrae (who made
history in 2014 by having an album top both the
Billboard 200 and gospel charts simultaneously),
returning fave Wale, plus Justin Bieber and Jame Blake
collaborator blackbear. The lineup also includes locals
Seven, Chedda Cheese and Bugsy Brown.
One Love Music Festival takes place at the Max Bell Arena
grounds (Calgary) on August 4.
From Anderson. Paak (pictured) to Lauryn Hill, One Love delivers its strongest lineup yet.
you don’t know “Jack”
by Catalina Briceno
British DJ and producer Ben Westbeech,
who goes by the moniker
Breach, is much more than his 2013
sexually charged (and insanely hairy) chart
topping hit, “Jack.” In addition to being
an electronic musician, he’s a classically
trained jazz singer and cellist; he also owns
the label Naked Naked.
Reminiscing on what sparked his interest to
pursue DJing at such a young age, Westbeech
attributes record shops for expanding his
“I was not the kind of kid that went to the
candy shop to buy sweets, but rather collect
records,” he says.
“I started to DJ when I was 12-years-old and
that world always meant a lot to me, it was a
kind of natural progression for me.”
Westbeech studied music in his formative
years, later deciding to drop out during
university. Despite leaving school, he continued
performing as a singer and at the young age of
24-years-old, he was granted the opportunity
to perform alongside former Beatle and musical
legend Paul McCartney and Icelandic icon Björk
on BBC Two’s Later… with Jools Holland.
“I was super early into my career. I was pretty
nervous, he says, laughing about the experience
which a decade ago.
“It was like a surreal 24 hours of your life,
where you’re just never going to be ready for
[it]. It was cool; Paul said he really liked the
structure of my songs,” he says.
Evidently British songstress Adele performed
on the show that same night.
“Obviously I haven’t been quite as successful
as Adele, but it was pretty dope,” Westbeech
After relentless touring for his debut album,
Welcome to the Best Years of Your Life, Westbeech
decided to shift his attention, instead
pursuing and producing electronic music
under the alias Breach. The project signifies “the
breach of two styles.” His first track “Fatherless”
was unveiled in 2010, and is heavy on bass-driven
sounds, meshing techno and dub-step beats.
Three years after “Fatherless,” Westbeech
approached DIRTYBIRD, a label spearheaded
by Claude VonStroke with the track “Let’s Get
Hot.” The track fit seamlessly with Dirtybird’s
signature provocative undertones, leading
straight into the release of “Jack.” The latter
became an instantaneous anthem, soaring to
number nine on the UK singles charts, and
catapulting him to commercial success.
Although “Jack” helped Breach attain household
status, it also presented challenges.
“People only wanted to hear two or three
records of me. You have people shouting tunes,
people can get quite aggressive.”
Westbeech adds, “Those records didn’t come
out of that place, I’ve never made music to
make money, [if] it’s not from the heart and I
can’t do that.”
He explains, “I don’t want to be pigeon-holed,
it’s taken me a while to get out of
“Musically I’m in a different place, I’m
making slightly different Breach records at the
moment, but I would not rule out working
with Dirtybird again.”
Originating from London, Westbeech has
since relocated to Amsterdam, gathering inspiration
for his art.
“I’m surrounded by people who I think are at
the top of their game. We’ve got a really amazing
record stores here like Red Light Records,
Rush Hour, and Waxwell. I live within walking
distance to three really amazing record shops.
So, I’m listening to a wider variety of stuff.”
Disinterested in standing still for long,
Westbeech does live shows for Red Light Radio,
which can be streamed on his Facebook page.
He also works on the program The Wrong
Planet, where he plays strictly psychedelic style
records and rock. Also watch for new releases
from Naked Naked soon, including the next
Breach performs at Bass Coast Music and Arts
Festival, which runs from July 7 to July 10 (British
Columbia). He also performs July 8 at the Hifi
“I don’t want to be pigeon-holed.”
photo: Tanya Blum
BEATROUTE • JULY 2017 | 37
continually integrating into her craft by Paul Rodgers
Jodie B. will spend her festival bringing electro indie to the masses.
Jodie Bruce, who goes by the artist name of Jodie
B., is a lifelong musician.
At the precocious age of three, her father started
both her and her older sister Nicque on music, at first
via the harmonica. Though she’s only been creating
music under her solo alias for two and half years, she
has been busking and playing in a family band as long
as she can remember. She’s spent her life playing accordion,
mandolin, violin, trumpet, piano, guitar, bass,
harmonica, and singing.
As a solo artist who incorporates elements of blues,
hip-hop, EDM, indie, and folk rock into a sexy, groovy
package, Bruce’s setup and approach to writing has
been in a state of constant evolution since she began
writing her own songs and performing live.
“I think every time I perform I learn something,”
“Honest to God, I think every time I perform something
slightly changes in my performance, so whether
it’s a crowd in front of nobody or a few hundred
people or even bigger, I’m always learning something
especially when I meet other artists and I’m collaborating
and picking their brains apart.”
She describes starting out with just a loop pedal
and then playing all her instruments through that,
performing as a one-woman band.
“Since then I’ve just been trying to tweak it step
She moved from an acoustic guitar to an
electric and added a cajón for percussion (it’s
a Peruvian box-shaped percussive instrument).
She has since moved on to a drum rack from
Ableton Live. She says she is still learning all the
idiosyncrasies of the Ableton software but is very
captivated by it and plans to record and produce
with it in the near future.
“Ideally my goal is to keep live production with live
entertainment,” Bruce explains.
“So produce and make all my own music and produce
and make all the drums in Ableton but then also
perform live on top of it with my guitar, bass, violin,
harmonica, sing, and play keys and sounds, whatnot
through a MIDI controller through Ableton.”
Bruce has numerous shows impending, including
photo: Nique Bruce
some festival stops. For those performances, she will be
keeping her current setup, and then post-summer she
will begin the reinvention process once more.
As well as Astral Harvest, she will also be performing
for the second time at Shambhala Music Festival this
August. She has attended the festival as a ticket-holder
since 2009 and was “absolutely ecstatic” to get the
chance to play it.
“It was still one of the best moments of my life so
far,” she says, gushing.
Playing the festival gave her a big push to take her
songwriting to the next level.
“I think in the beginning, I was just writing songs as
a form of release, ever since I was a child, at times when
things got tough I would just write and write and write,
and so I started shaping them into songs and basically
Shambhala in 2015 was my deadline of like ‘okay, I
need 45 minutes of original material.’”
She says this year she is more focused on critiquing
her sound and trying to take her audience for more of
a journey and developing herself as a live entertainer, as
well as a songwriter.
She had a huge moment of inspiration recently in
May when she was in Los Angeles to play the art, car,
and music oriented festival known as Boogaloo.
“Everyone that we were camped with and everyone
I met, they were just incredible musicians and people
that just want to create and share the same passion,”
In addition to her busy music schedule, Bruce makes
time to give guitar lessons. She’s also a journeyman
Scaffolder, but says she is definitely shooting to making
music her full-time career, and seeing others doing the
same at the festival was hugely motivating.
“That definitely inspires me when I see people like
that just giving it their all,” she says. “Following their
dreams and not being stuck in a mundane kind of
Jodie B. plays at Vagabond on July 6, 8, 9, and 10
(Calgary). She performs at Astral Harvest Music & Arts
Festival on July 15 (near Driftpile, Alberta) and at Shambhala
Music Festival, which runs August 11 to August
14 (near Nelson, British Columbia).
Ahoy hoy! So it has come to pass that I
am writing my column from abroad.
I’ve been to one rave since moving to
the East Kootenay Region. It started at 7:00 and
ended at 11:00 p.m. There were children present.
So you better believe that A) I am going to
be dancing vicariously through you all during
this supremely dank July programming and B) I
will be cramming about six months of partying
into three days at Bass Coast this month. Hold
tight YYC massive…
Returning for their fourth straight year at Eau
Claire, BassBus will be holding down their epic
annual Canada Day party, this year featuring The
Gaff. These events are always super fun; the Bass-
Bus gang makes party and they make it well.
Chali 2na seems to really like Western Canada.
He is making multiple festival appearances every
summer, and he was just here a few months ago
with the Funk Hunters and he is back July 5 with
The House of Vibe at Commonwealth.
The Hifi Club and 403DNB only collaborate
sporadically but when they do the results are
always legendary. On July 6 catch the absolute
legend himself Roni Size, one of the true pioneers
of drum and bass and jungle.
It’s happening in British Columbia, but I would
say 75 per cent of my friends and associates in
Calgary are going, so I’m going to just quickly
mention here that BASS COAST happens on July
7 and I could not be more excited. Numerous
Calgary cats like OAKK, DEEPONE, Sinistarr and
Homesick are peppered into a lineup that is, in
my humble opinion, the festival’s best yet.
Brooklyn’s Ill Bill performs at Dickens Pub on
Freaking Usher performs with The Roots on July 15. GO GO GO!
July 7 alongside Non Phixion celebrating 250 True
Rhythm shows. Quite a milestone indeed and
definitely something to be proud of and celebrate.
So I guess Diplo’s show at Cowboys Dance
Hall early bird tickets sold out. They were priced
at $40, which is reasonable if you’re a fan of the
celeb-status, globetrotting electro producer,
but tier two tickets are $70 and tier three are a
whopping $79.99. That is excessive. No other way
to put it.
On July 15 at The Hifi Club, catch three of
Canada’s most innovative bass music producers
Greazus, Little Snake and Half Normal.
Also on July 15, one of R&B’s biggest names is
performing at the Saddledome. That big name
is one of the world’s best choreographers and
dancers. Freaking Usher is performing alongside
none other than The Roots. I can only imagine
this will be an absolutely fantastic concert and
would snatch tickets up in a heartbeat were I still
in Calgary. Please go and report back to me all the
wonders you see there.
July 16 at Cowboys catch Big Sean and Fetty
Wap. I honestly don’t know much about the
former’s music, but that name makes me giggle.
Does Darude still have any relevance or any
notable songs other than “Sandstorm?” He was
probably responsible for introducing many, many
young people to the sounds of electronic music
and he plays Marquee on July 21, so go and find
out for yourself if you’re keen.
Have double the fun for me, stay safe and
dance a lot. Hope to see lots of you Calgary ravers
at Bass Coast in two weeks. Until next time!
• Paul Rogers
38 | JULY 2017 • BEATROUTE JUCY
the new hoedown, a secret party...
Steve Seibel was “playing scrabble and
smoking a joint” with a friend trying to
come up with an idea for a festival. They
jammed on a few different things, something
weird, something different during Stampede
that wasn’t full drunk yahoos and crappy
country music when suddenly Seibel’s scrabble
partner blurted out “an electric rodeo, the
That was a “wow” moment for Seibel.
“I could actually see a barn rise up, a barn
stage, a circus tent, and all these possibilities.”
The vision stuck with him and when he had
the opportunity make it happen, Seibel got
in touch with his high school buddy, Alex
Carlson and put he plan in motion.
“I knew Alex had been spinning and had a
successful career going and approached him
with the idea. I also heard that the Legion had
an opening with this rave party during Stampede
last year that did OK, and thought this
was a golden opportunity to advantage of.
Alex was on board, the Legion party went off
well, but it was a rainy night, so bad that the
trains shut down, and that kept the numbers
down. It was the worst year in ten years for
This year, Seibel and Carlson went location
hunting and found the barn rising up out of
the mist that they wanted. Somewhere just
south of the city limits on an acreage whose
location won’t be disclosed until a few hours
before the party begins, the second annual
Electro Rodeo takes place on Saturday, July 15.
“We connected with this art collective
called Artical,” says Carlson, “whose goal is to
have a skateable art park, and built this giant
ramp and half pipe on this old farm. Inside
the barn, there’s a custom paneled wooden
roof, a custom wood salon, a big wooden
stage, stairs leading up to the green room
where everything’s all decked out in art. Lots
of wild graffiti art.”
In the afternoon there will be food trucks
and skaters having fun, in the evening it the
party moves into the barn and the Electro
Rodeo begins. Seibel expects a “golden sunset
with sheer yellow” rays of the vanishing sun to
kick things off. It’s a Stampede party without
“Yeah, confirms Carlson who wont be
mixing Dolly Parton into disco grooves. “No,
nothing like that. I might sample a couple of
yee-haws into my set, but I primarily focus
on house music and break beats. It’s mostly
electronic party music. We brought Marten
Horger in from Germany as the headliner. It
will be uptempo all night long.”
For more information about the DJ line-up,
location and tickets go to electrodeo.com
Carlson and Seibel usher in the electric age of Stampeding.
by B. Simm
BEATROUTE • JULY 2017 | 39
King Buzzo doubles-down on new album
by Christine Leonard
“I don’t know what you’re used to, but we had a good time making it!”
photo: Chris Casella
If memory serves, the last time yours truly spoke
with Roger “King Buzzo” Osborne of the legendary
sludge rock outfit The Melvins, it was 2010
and the Godfather of Grunge was contemplating
the merits of finally having made the Billboard
Magazine’s list of the 200 top-selling albums. The
actual number of records sold on that effort was
nominal (say 3000 units), but the implications of
the hardcore punk act traversing the lamestream
and gaining commercial appeal was far greater. At
the time, Buzzo estimated that such an achievement
could only be a prelude to the end of the
world as we know it.
“I don’t think music’s any worse or better than it
ever was. I like music as much as I ever have. I don’t’
think that there was ever a ‘Golden Era.’ But there’s
very few band that I actually really endorse. There
never was,” Buzzo confirms.
“I like all kinds of new stuff, but I also like the same
stuff I liked when I was 13. I never quit liking a band I
really liked. I never grew out of stuff. Now there’s this
huge expanse of stuff that I like, but I’m not afraid of
liking new music or old music. Not at all. It’s either
good or bad it’s not anything other than that. If it was
good, to me, and it came from 1965 that’s great, or
1985, or 2015 it makes little or no difference to me.”
Seven years on, The Melvins are still pumping out
obtuse yet intense albums with remarkable frequency.
Remarkable because group that originally arose
in Montesano, Washington back in 1983 is showing
no signs of slowing down in their old age, if anything
they’re picking up speed in their old age.
“Yes, that’s kind of the point,” Buzzo agrees.
“I feel like we are afforded the opportunity to
make music for a living and with that, to me, comes
a responsibility of holding up my end of the bargain.
Which is that I will continue to work and make
music as long as I can. We’ve done a lot of work, and
it’s difficult because you don’t want to do the same
thing over, and over, and over again. So, we try to
work differently, as well. Sometimes that’s exciting
and sometimes it’s not. Essentially, I like doing what
I’m doing. I’m going to continue what I’m doing, but
beyond that. I don’t’ really need motivation. I mean,
it’s nice to have records where you listen to them
and it makes you want to make your own records,
but it doesn’t always happen. You never know where
inspiration is going to come from.”
Hedging away from the everyday, The Melvins recognize
the inherent value of stepping outside of one’s
comfort zone. Lately that’s meant taking on monumental
challenges that have drawn the exuberantly
heavy band into the locus of an album/soundtrack/
filmmaking enterprise that has been as demanding
as it has rewarding. But despite the inherent risks of
going out on an artistic limb, Buzzo remains steadfast
in his convictions and comportment when it comes
to boldly going where no band has gone before.
“We’re not afraid. No, no, no. What’s the worst that
could happen? I’m only really trying to please myself,”
“People take that as meaning I don’t’ care what
the audience thinks and that’s not true. I care what
they think, but I make music that I like figuring that
other people will like it too. I would never make
something that I intentionally wouldn’t like. I have
to like it. If I stand behind it, I think other people will
stand behind it and I don’t see anything wrong with
that. I figure that’s really the key: making music that
Using that skeleton key to unlock the next chapter
in his discography, Buzzo doubled his efforts and his
output to produce The Melvins’ latest, a dramatic
dual-release titled A Walk With Love And Death. A
multifaceted release, the album consists of a dark
stand-alone LP called Death and a moody film score
LP called Love.
“It’s an album, as well as a soundtrack, and it’s all
called A Walk With Love And Death, which is a little
confusing for people, but we’re used to that,” he
muses. For what is this life, if not a walk with both
love and death?
“Fair enough. I guess you could stroll with love and
death. The two halves are very different and there’s
something on there for everyone. Maybe. Depending
on what you’re used to. I don’t know what you’re
used to, but we had a good time making it. It was
a huge undertaking and we put a lot of work into
it. The film is getting made right now as we speak.
It’ll be out at some point and time with a different
edited-version of the soundtrack.”
Surprisingly, this release marks the first double-album
from the 34-year old band that has
brought us such headnodding classics as Ozma
(1989), Bullhead (1991), Houdini (1993), Stoner
Witch (1994), and more recently The Bride
Screamed Murder (2010) and Basses Loaded
(2016). All along the road, the collective work ethic
of long-time friends and band members; drummer/vocalist
Dale Crover (who performed and
recorded with Acid King, Nirvana, Hank Williams
III), bassist/vocalist Jared Warren (Big Business, The
Whip, Karp) and drummer/vocalist Coady Willis
(Murder City Devils, Dead Low Tide, Big Business)
has allowed King Buzzo free reign to surmount the
trivial and fully explore his artistic intentions.
“It’s always interesting to me when people say
things like ‘I don’t like your new material.’ Well, it’s not
necessarily new. Some of the stuff on the soundtrack
album we’ve had for a while and there’s one song on
the other album (“Yuthanagia/Euthanasia”), which
is a song that we’ve had since the early ‘90s that just
never made it on to an album. It was on a 7-inch, it
was on a flexi-disc, back then, so it’s the first time we
put it on the record.”
Having finished the album and awaiting the imminent
completion of the accompanying short film,
directed by Jesse Nieminen, which shares its name
with the twinned albums, Buzzo is eager to progress
to his next benchmark assignment. Motivated and
interested in the business of making music, Buzzo’s
ability to overcome procrastination, forego the trappings
of fame (he’s notoriously private), and remain
true to his vision has set Melvins apart, and above,
for decades. And while some musicians tend to
look back on their storied professions with a certain
degree of misty-eyed nostalgia, Buzzo isn’t one for
dwelling on the past.
“We’re going to play some material off our new
album, but we have a lot of records. You can’t play
everything, so we had to kind of pick and choose
what’s going to fit into the set and we’re working
that out right now. So, who knows? Some songs
I like more than others, but I don’t’ listen to my
own music. We make the albums, like A Walk With
Love And Death, and by the time it comes out I’m
done with it. I’ll have moved on to the next thing,
whatever that may be, ‘cuz we finished it months
and months ago. When you finish a project, you’ve
just gotta let it go out into the world and let someone
else have it.”
The Melvins perform July 17 at Union Hall (Edmonton)
and July 18 at The Marquee (Calgary).
40 | JULY 2017 • BEATROUTE SHRAPNEL
UNLEASH THE ARCHERS
Vancouver power metallers reach their Apex
by Sarah Kitteringham
Apex was released on June 2 via Napalm Records.
It’s damn near unanimous: Vancouver power
metallers Unleash the Archers have made
their best album yet, in the form of their
fourth offering Apex. The ten-track offering is
not only one of the strongest Canadian offerings
this year; it’s one of the best of 2017 thus
far. How allegorically fitting that its name is
utterly relevant to its quality.
Centering on the protagonist dubbed the
Immortal, the concept carries throughout the
entirety of the record, which has musically tied
up many of UtA’s loose ends. While previous
offerings hinted at greatness with slick guitar
work and vocalist Brittney Slayes soaring voice,
the band’s penchant for frequently integrating
awkward deathcore style vocals was an unnecessary
hindrance; their production was similarly
dissatisfying and often thin. On Apex, they’ve
achieved a slicker European style of power
metal, courtesy of Jacob Hansen (Týr, Soilwork,
Amaranthe), who the band hired thanks to his
“his heavy yet crystal clear mastering style.”
Emotionally, the music shifts according to the
subject matter. Evidently, it’s because the band
mapped out the feelings they wanted to inspire
“Our main goals on this record were production
and cohesiveness,” begins vocalist Brittney
Slayes, who formed the band in November
2007 in Vancouver alongside drummer Scott
“The story behind the album was the first
thing that was sorted. I wrote out a track-bytrack
explaining each song and what part of the
story it would tell,” she reveals.
“I also included how I wanted the song to
sound (heavy, airy, fast and driving, [et cetera])
and how it should make the listener feel. We
used that as a guideline and I think it really
helped to keep us all in the same headspace.”
Resultantly, the album features no fat to
trim, instead shifting from banger to banger
effortlessly. Opener “Awakening” kicks off the
proceedings, with atmospheric synth establishing
a malevolent backdrop. Driving guitar lines
and double kicks lead into Slayes stentorian
wail. Running an hour that feels far shorter than
it should, the album features occasional growls,
often emoted by characters in the complex story
line. This time around, they feel purposeful in
“The story follows the Immortal, our main
character, who is cursed to serve whoever awakens
him with complete loyalty,” explains Slayes,
who cites Wolf from the ‘East of West’ monthly
comic book series as one of the inspirations for
“He has no control over his own life and has
lived for thousands of years serving as the hand
of evil. He is awakened by The Matriarch, who
tasks him with finding her sons and bringing
them to her so she can kill them in a ritual to
achieve immortality. Of course, she promises
that if he does what she asks that she will free
him from the curse, and then betrays him.
After finishing his task, The Immortal returns
to his mountain (Apex) to sleep for another
thousand years until The Matriarch awakens
This final betrayal is depicted on the album’s
stunning cover, featuring the Immortal entombed
in his mountainous prison. He won’t remain
there long: the story will continue in part
two, which the band plans to record next year.
First, they’ll take a much needed summer break
before departing on tour in Europe, followed
by North and South America. Don’t miss your
opportunity to see them in Alberta before the
entire world catches on. Unleash the Archers
have grown into an utterly stunning sound.
Unleash the Archers perform on Friday, July 7 at Distortion
(Calgary) with WMD, HROM, and Detherous.
They also perform on July 8 at the Starlite Room (Edmonton)
with WMD and Skepsis. Apex is available
from online at www.unleashthearchers.com
Kick off your month with raunchy punk and
grindcore as the stage at the GasPump
Night Club & bar is broken in. Hosted on
Treaty 6 territory, Punx at the Pump presents a
double feature with Feeding and Feminal Fluids
on Friday, July 7 (Edmonton). The former plays
vicious hardcore; the latter specializes in feminist
riot girl ass kicking punk.
Armstrong Metal Fest goes down on July
14 to July 15 in Armstrong, British Columbia
(it’s about halfway between Vancouver and
Calgary). With a line-up chock-full of Western
Canadian bands, the event will host performances
by Exit Strategy, WMD, Planet Eater,
Golers, Gatekeeper, Dahmers Realm, and many
more. Of course, the annual Thrash Wrestling
event will also go down. Head over to https://
armstrongmetalfest.ca/ for more details!
Regina’s thrashy/sludgy/deathcore project
Planet Eater will release their much-anticipated
album Blackness from the Stars on Friday, July
14 at Distortion (Calgary). They’ll be performing
alongside their pals in World War Waiting, who
are also releasing a full-length. Formerly known
as Sentient, World War Waiting performs heavy
thrash. Rounding out the line-up is Burning Effigy,
Concrete Funeral, and Erebos.
One of the best doom/sludge line-ups of the
month is happening on Thursday, July 20 at the
Palomino Smokehouse and Bar (Calgary). There,
you’ll see stellar Squamish act and Noctis luminaries
Hoopsnake perform with Calgary’s own
Chieftain, who’ve been laying low for quite some
time. They’ll be joined by Mind Mold, who are
making their live debut following the release of
their self-titled debut (out April 28 via Sentient
Ruin). Don’t miss this gig!
If you weren’t able to catch Hoopsnake in
Sludge sweeties Chieftain return to the Palomino
Calgary, head over to the Sewing Machine
Factory (Edmonton) on Friday, July 21 for the
band. They’ll be performing alongside Begrime
Exemious, Tekarra, and Falsehood. The show is
also Begrime’s tour kick off show before they
depart to the Midwest United States; plus tickets
are only $10 at the door!
On Friday, July 28, head to Distortion (Calgary)
for Stab.twist.pull, Burning Effigy, World Class
White Trash, Meggido, and Bazaraba. Tickets are
only $10, and this will be Calgary’s first chance to
see Stab’s newest member, also known as James
Arsenian (Exes for Eyes). Don’t miss it!
Your other best stoner doom offering of the
month goes down on Saturday, July 29 at Distortion
(Calgary). There, you’ll see brand new project
Cycolith, which features members of Mendozza,
Terminal Sequence, and Sewer Rat playing a heavier,
more death metal oriented style of doom. Also
appearing on the line-up is Vancouver sludge band
Heron, Calgary’s own Hypnopilot, and Siksika’s Iron
Tusk. Tickets are $10 in advance, or $15 at the door.
Fresh off their European tour, Calgary’s own
BlackRat are performing on Saturday, July 29 at Nite
Owl (Calgary). Considering the band are one of
Alberta’s strongest these days, you’d be foolish to
miss the gig if you dig all things blackened, thrashy,
and battering, be sure to be in attendance.
Now celebrating their sixth year, Loud as Hell
festival will be going down from August 3 to
August 6 [Drumheller, Alberta]. With 41 bands
performing, clinics, vendors, and freak shows, the
event promises to be a blast. Head down to see
Battlecross, Bison, Aggression, Black Wizard, All
Else Fails, Sentient, Neck of the Woods, and MANY
more; you can find more details at http://www.
• Sarah Kitteringham
BEATROUTE • JULY 2017 | 41
Broken Social Scene
Hug of Thunder
Arts & Crafts
Broken Social Scene is perhaps the most striking
exemplar of the notion that there are only two
categories of music, live, and recorded. Not that the
elaborate rock and roll soundscape of a track like
“Halfway Home” couldn’t be replicated on a big stage
with enough Fender Jaguars and Micro Korgs, but
rather that a collection of musicians with this level of
individual success are rarely seen at award shows, let
alone in the same band.
In its inception, Broken Social Scene was a microcosm
of the Toronto indie rock scene. The band
began through the slow merging of two bands, Kevin
Drew and Charles Spearin’s KC Accidental (which
became the title of one of Broken Social Scene’s
best known songs), and Kevin Drew and Brendan
Canning’s Broken Social Scene. Both bands were decidedly
post-rock, with paced moments of lowercase
in between slow guitar jams, glitch synth drones,
and sound effects. An early KC Accidental track even
features audio of Charles Spearin flipping through his
voicemail, a strong contrast to the indie rock anthems
of the Broken Social Scene of Hug of Thunder. But
even in these early releases, soon-to-be-huge names
started popping up in the liner notes.
The mostly instrumental and reserved Feel Good
Lost (2001) was the first full-length release with the
BSS name, but the indie rock supergroup we see
today truly emerged with You Forgot it in People
(2002). It’s a truly frenetic piece of work, with perfectly
strange song titles (“Late Nineties Bedroom Rock
for the Missionaries”), slippery post-rock grooves
(“Pacific Theme”), and moments of incendiary
rhythm (“Almost Crimes”). Vocals are hardly the
centre of the devoutly art-rock record, but alongside
the streamlining of the band into a rock format,
frontman Kevin Drew could be heard on most of the
tracks. What were formerly backing singers became
features, and thus the interplay between Drew and
vocal leads from Amy Milan, Emily Haines, and Leslie
Feist started to define the band. This also marked the
creation of Arts & Crafts which go on to become an
Between You Forgot it in People (2002) and Broken
Social Scene (2005) a lot would happen paratextually
with the band members. Amy Milan and Evan
Cranley’s Stars would release the career-defining Set
Yourself on Fire (2004), Emily Haines and James Shaw
would record three records as Metric and release two
of them on Last Gang records, and Feist would begin
to soundtrack every wedding since with the release
of Let It Die (2004), to say nothing of other tangential
bands like Apostle of Hustle and Do Make Say
42 | JULY 2017 • BEATROUTE
Think. These successes would compound from here,
and all the disparate styles of each member began
to seep into their own projects and bands, even into
solo work from Brendan Canning and Kevin Drew as
Broken Social Scene Presents.
By 2010’s Forgiveness Rock Record, the band was
defined by its star-studded cast and its massive and
bombastic indie rock anthems. The live sets became
a guessing game of who was available to tour in front
of a raucous horn section. Seven years later, Hug of
Thunder feels like a musical high school reunion, and
not in the sassy Zac Efron kind of way.
It opens like most Broken Social Scene releases,
with a tempered and drone-like build into an
explosive crescendo. “Halfway Home” is an inviting
reminder of the biggest moments on Forgiveness
Rock. This leads cleanly into the Emily Haines lead
“Protest Song,” which maintains a similar level of
major key note density, with several layers of roaring
guitars played by Andrew Whiteman among others
and synths by players like Lisa Lobsinger. The cavernous
acoustic opening of “Skyline” teases a change of
pace, before drummer Justin Peroff kicks the song
back into the same rhythmic space as the opening
two. The record occasionally slows itself down in
this way, but rarely turns down the volume for long.
That’s not to say that every track is Forgiveness
Rock’s “Meet Me in the Basement,” but it doesn’t
contain that much negative space. Every track arcs
strongly, and contains a truly dense mix, but with
a strong bias towards traditional rock instrumentation;
fewer woodwinds, less present horns. The
vocals are often doubled and offset between left
and right. Thus, the mixes are hazier and less crisp
than on previous releases. The headphone listening
experience benefits strongly from this, although the
clarity of the vocals is less, and thus the impact of
the canted lyricism is mitigated somewhat. A track
like the Feist-centred “Hug of Thunder” stands out
in this regard, especially in conversation with her
new, intensely raw, solo release, Pleasure (2017).
There are a few new faces here too, most notably a
transcendent vocal feature from AroarA’s Ariel Engle
on “Gonna Get Better.”
What was once a compendium of disparate ideas
has solidified into an identity: a respite for weary
songwriters, a chance to play big songs in a big band,
singing in front of a cacophony of expert musicianship,
for audiences that might actually be smaller
than they get from their day job bands. For us, it’s an
extremely large and impressive piece of indie rock
canon, a high water mark for how beautiful and successful
a musical community can become, and how
important it is that it stay together.
• Liam Prost
illustration: Taryn Garrett
88 Fingers Louie
Thank You for Being a Friend
Bird Attack Records
It’s been 19 years since Chicago-based punk
rockers 88 Fingers Louie, have released a new album,
but the wait is finally over and our begging
and pleading has paid off.
While 88 Fingers’ early career may have been
short lived, they quickly became a staple in the
‘90s hardcore-punk scene. Forming in 1993, they
released a couple full-length records during
their quick stint. Their last, Back on the Streets,
was released on Hopeless Records in 1998.
Fast-forward 19 years and Thank You for Being
a Friend fits seamlessly into 88 Fingers’ small,
but stellar discography. Slightly more polished
than previous albums, Thank You showcases
the band’s growth—something that is expected
after 19 years—but it also refines the band’s
signature style that fans adore. Hard-hitting bass
lines, progressive, catchy and up-tempo riffs and
drums and, of course, the heavy, melodic vocals
of Denis Buckley. “Meds,” the first track on
Thank You, displays these characteristics flawlessly.
Songs like “Advice Column” and “2810”
will remind listeners of past 88 albums, while
“Our Tired Voices” and “Knock It Off” are great
examples of what the band has become.
Thank You for Being a Friend will not disappoint
fans or first-time listeners and will surely
become an album in your regular rotation. We
might have waited 19 years, but it was worth it.
• Sarah Mac
Dear was supposed to be, if not the end of
Atsuo, Takeshi and Wata’s 25-year career, then
at least the end of an era – a Dear John letter
firing their audience. Then, at some point in the
recording process, they changed their tripartite
mind, reaffirmed their commitment to all-caps
ROCK and made… a Boris record. Not as good
as their breakthrough Pink, maybe a little better
than Noise; not a self-conscious (or maybe not)
pop pastiche like New Album and Attention
Please and also not a four-part drone saga like
The Thing Which Solomon Overlooked. It is
at times ethereal, at other times like the final
strung-out moments of The Stooges’ “L.A Blues.”
It’s post-everything all of the time, but not
totally inaccessible, and if you want to jump
onboard with one of the consistently least annoying
experimental rock bands then start here
and circle back to Pink.
• Gareth Watkins
Cashmere Cat (née Magnus Høiberg) is a
Norwegian producer who has specialized in
weird sounds in pop music. On his debut album,
9, Høiberg recruits all his big name friends
and collaborators (MØ, Ariana Grande, The
Weeknd). Only one track is instrumental. Unlike
most producer-billed output though, 9 is not a
curated showcase of pop stars over the producer’s
music. Instead, Cashmere Cat succeeds in
turning these Billboard Top 40 mainstays into
instruments and extensions of his own wonky
This is not the only he breaks away from the
mold with 9. He frequently baits his listener
with tense builds, of rapid-fire beats and increasing
key shifts, leading the listener to expect
a clichéd “drop.” Instead, he forgoes it and builds
towards a soft cloud of blissful melody and
strange percussive sounds you can rest your
That relaxed atmosphere runs through the
whole record, and the few exceptions are abrasive
rather than poppy pandering.
9 is not an EDM album because you can’t
dance to it. It isn’t a pop album; its song structure,
sounds and style are too off kilter for that.
It’s also not experimental, as these are the same
sounds Cashmere Cat and his imitators have
been playing with since his Mirror Maru EP in
2012, just refined through experience and the
star quality of his collaborators. What 9 is, is an
excellent debut album from a producer who will
continue to be at the centre of pop and mainstream
• Cole Parker
I’m calling it: saxophones do not belong in metal
music. I know that somebody is going to jump
right into the comments section to defend John
Zorn or Candiria, but c’mon. Maybe a dozen musicians
(all of whom are now dead) can turn them
into fonts of transcendent brilliance, but mostly
they’re shiny tubes that make fart sounds.
EX EYE, is Colin Stetson, low-key indie rock’s
go-to guy for some sax; a guy from forgettable
experimental rock concern Secret Chiefs 3 and
the drummer from perennial hipster-metal
punchline Liturgy. If you’ve heard post-rock
and post-metal recently then you’ve heard this,
but better or, in Liturgy’s case, pretty much the
same but with vocals instead of an overgrown
and overcomplicated kazoo. Yes, Greg Fox is
a skilled drummer, but skill is not soul, and if
you’re fucking with the sax, even in the context
of blackened post-metal you’re inviting comparisons
to John Coltrane, who had both.
• Gareth Watkins
The Guaranteed EP
As a fixture in the Edmonton roots scene for
two decades, Darrek Anderson of The Guaranteed
has been the pedal steel player of choice
for some of the city’s most influential underground
acts. Having spent time with Old Reliable,
The Swiftys, The City Streets, and Eamon
McGrath, Anderson’s steel playing has featured
on countless releases and tours. Now a member
of The Dungarees, Anderson has put together
an excellent EP of alt-country songs, his first
release since 2007’s Places You Used To Go.
The Guaranteed forgoes the currently common
expressive masculinity of modern country
for a more laidback feel, trekking to the higher
emotional ground of acts like Jason Isbell, expressively
honest in Anderson’s softly sung tenor
with a plaintive Jeff Tweedy feel. “Rest Easy”
leads off with a classic roadhouse guitar riff
from Nathan McMurdo over a Waylon-phased
rhythm guitar, and rather than aim for explosive
choruses, Anderson and the band settle
into an easy groove driven by the chill touch
of drummer Bradford Tebble that suggests
wizened confidence; more content to sit back
and play together than to show you any or all of
their cards at once. The steel and electric guitar
interplay on “Hear From You” is classy in its
understatement, and the harmony vocal on the
hook is a high point of country melody on the
album. There’s a lengthy swell over a well-placed
“Duck” Dunn bass riff from Tom Murray that
begs for just a bit more instrumental harmony,
though it would sound less like a live group with
that kitchen sink thrown in. Anderson wisely resists
the urge to inflect a vocal drawl suggesting
he’s from anywhere but where he is, and the EP’s
high water mark for writing, “Sinew & Bone,”
lays back into Nebraska territory with only
Anderson’s acoustic and a hummed melody line
in a sympathetic harmony with Dungarees mate
The Guaranteed’s honesty is revealed more
through ambiguity than just a black-and-white
reading of heartache, going for gravitas over
grandeur. Its spare production is the work of a
confident group of players who know exactly
what needs to be played, and that filling every
empty space often removes emphasis from what
needs to be heard.
• Mike Dunn
United States of Horror
Punk and hip-hop have a lot of similarities
in the ethos of their respective subcultures.
Anti-authority, and a DIY attitude are central
values to each, and they’re both channeled by
New Jersey duo Ho99o9 (pronounced “Horror”)
in their mish-mash of the two genres.
On United States of Horror, their debut
album, members Eaddy and theOGM package
their influences together with pure adrenaline.
Their live show is infamous, and the crackle
and buzz of their lo-fi recording process make
it evident they’re trying to bring some of that
energy into the studio. United States of Horror
sounds better played out of blown out speakers
in your basement than it does out of audiophile
headphones and that’s not a bad thing.
For Ho99o9, the scale between their hardcore
and hip-hop influences isn’t always entirely
balanced. Siren backed banger “Splash” tips very
hard to the hip-hop side, while “City Rejects”
smashes it back like something off a Black
Flag record. Both are highlights, but this rapid
flip-flop and the occasional jeering high-fidelity
intro or interlude can take a listener out of
Ho99o9’s carefully cultivated carnival of chaos.
The over-the-top lyrical content can also make a
listener pause their head-banging for a chuckle.
Despite its flaws, United States of Ho99o9
mostly feels as raw as a fresh wound in a garage
show moshpit, and 2017 needs more of that.
• Cole Parker
In Hearts Wake
Ark is the fourth studio release from Aussie metalcore
band, In Hearts Wake. While this album is still
a decent depiction of what the band stands for—
Mother Earth and self-love—it isn’t a great follow
up to their previous release, Skydancer.
It does however, follow a specific formula
coined by the Aussies, opening and closing
with a sleep and psychedelic cuts and with one
slower song in the middle. This album is lacking
musically, there aren’t many riffs or beats that
stick with the listener, however, the lyrics compensate
by pushing along a message to believe
in yourself and the Earth you live on. These boys
usually have a pretty decent balance of clean
vocals, sung by Kyle Erich, with screaming by
Jake Taylor, but Erich’s vocals aren’t showcased
as well as on their previous releases and Taylor’s
screams are lacking the raw power that we
know he has. This album is worth a listen to at
least once though; you may find something you
• Bailey Barnson
A Walk With Love and Death
This is a double album. Or it isn’t. But it might
be. Or it’s a Melvins album, their twenty-fifth,
that is packaged with their twenth-sixth recording,
the soundtrack for the film A Walk With
Love & Death. They are not a band that makes it
easy for you.
Their music, however, goes down smooth:
although they, literally, have no peers in the
avant-sludge-americana-punk genre there is
something comfortingly American in their
reverb-drenched solos and guitar tones so clear
that they could be pianos. The riffs are huge,
particularly on early track Euthanasia, and
there’s darkness there, but it’s accessible. AM
rock-radio accessible at times- until the second
half of the album swings into view and it’s all
howling electronics and kitschy samples, all
of which is unbearably annoying and nowhere
near what noise music can be. So, not so much
a double album as a very decent Melvins release
that comes with a coffee coaster that looks an
awful lot like a CD.
• Gareth Watkins
Pools of Light
Jessica Moss is the violinist and composer that
has been a member of the Montreal post-rock
behemoth Thee Silver Mt. Zion Orchestra since
their second release, Born into Trouble as the
Sparks Fly Upwards (2001). Since the band’s
hiatus, she’s been working diligently touring and
writing her own solo material. First, with Under
Plastic Island, an independant release in 2015
and now with her label debut, Pools of Light.
For fans of Silver Mt. Zion, the violin-centered
Pools of Light will be a treat. Moss’ knack for
swelling orchestral layers of sound persists in
her solo work but it is more strongly influenced
by drone and folk. Rather than aiming to build
emotion on top of itself, Pools of Light instead
focuses on crafting atmosphere.
It has the capability to teleport you into its
lush world. You can get lost in it, but so too can
Moss and the improvisational tone of the record
can sometimes leave it to meander without
Nonetheless, Pools of Light can leave you
drowning in its undercurrent of dark neo-classical.
• Cole Parker
BEATROUTE • JULY 2017 | 43
Play One More: The Songs of Ian and Sylvia
True North Records
American songwriter Tom Russell routinely explores
and celebrates the cultural context of folk music and
its roots. In Play One More Russell focuses on the
work of the iconic Canadian folk duo of the 1960s
and early 1970s – Ian and Sylvia. Calgarians know Alberta
based Ian Tyson well for his country influenced
cowboy songs, and Sylvia Tyson for her work with
the folk group Quartette. Old folkies will recall the
records the Tysons recorded together during the era
when folk music became both more introspective
and more concerned with social issues and change.
Russell has known the Tyson’s for several decades
and has co-authored and produced songs and
albums with them. Play One More features 12 tunes
drawn from Ian and Sylvia’s body of work, which
Russell sings with the support of Cindy Church,
herself a longtime collaborator of Sylvia Tyson. It
also includes two previously unreleased Ian and
Sylvia demo tracks that serve to remind us how they
sounded some 40 years ago.
Missing from the disc are Ian and Sylvia’s better-known
songs such as “Four Strong Winds,” “You
Were Always On My Mind” and “Someday Soon.” As
a true music ethnographer Russell has instead chosen
songs covering an eclectic range of themes that have
had the most impact on him personally. There’s an
ode to the beauty of the prairies, laments of love lost,
and even a rodeo song, but at the same time there
are a number of evocative and edgier story-driven
songs reminiscent of Russell’s own recent work.
With its guitar only arrangements Play One
More is designed to allow Ian and Sylvia’s lyrics
to take centre stage again for older music lovers,
and to introduce others to the timeless songs of a
• Terry Field
Dogs Do Dream
Composer/guitarist Ron Samworth has created
something unique on his latest release Dogs Do
Dream. Inspired by scientific studies indicating
that some mammals, namely dogs, do dream while
sleeping, the veteran jazz musician has crafted a
suite of imagined dog dreams. Combining spoken
word narration and freeform jazz compositions,
Dogs Do Dream is a suitably bizarre listening experience.
The narration provided by Barbara Adler
is vivid and at points uncompromising. The text
covers a range of sensations and experiences in the
life of a dog ranging from the affectionate (chasing a
frisbee) to the unseemly (sniffing through garbage).
The largely improvised interplay between Samworth
and long time collaborators including Peggy Lee
(cello) and Dylan van der Schyff (drums/marimba)
is commendably cohesive in terms of creating a
mood and atmosphere to accompany the narration.
Dogs Do Dream is a willfully difficult album but its
creative premise is undeniably avant-garde.
• James Olson
Signor Benedick the Moor
Signor Benedick the Moor has always been
defined by an unwillingness to be defined. In the
broadest of terms he’s an experimental rapper,
producer and multi-instrumentalist, but even
that feels reductionist.
In past releases, he’s danced from orchestral
compositions, to acoustic guitar arrangements,
to ‘80s new wave, and even to more traditional
sample-based hip-hop production on tracks
that run for as long as twelve minutes.
Toybox is an extremely apt name for his new
project. It’s varied, inventive and filled with
child-like enthusiasm. A new sonic palette is Signor
Benedick’s newest toy. It’s a pop-rap album,
but one you’d never dare call poppy.
Opening track and highlight “Pillows,” would
be the closest thing to a traditional pop song. It
has a triumphant baseball-themed chorus and
auto-tuned sing-rapped verses, but also abrasive
“Srsly” is backed by an 808 and Heartbreaks-style
solo bass beat while Signor Benedick
does his best Lil Yachty impression. “Home
@ Nite” and “W/O U” have very strong pop
punk influences, with Signor Benedick approximating
the vocal styles of the genre. “Scratchnsniff”
sees him adopting every single Lil Uzi Vert
ad-lib he’s ever mumbled and a hook that is
literally a video game cheat code.
The entirety of the album’s vibrant vibe is
contrasted harshly by the angst of its lyricism.
Toybox sounds like what Uzi might sound like
if he committed to the nerd-emo aesthetic in his
music like he does in his off-record persona and
then dialed up the experimentation to 11.
And in 22 minutes, it works.
• Cole Parker
The World Began With A Yes
As I close my eyes and dream of summer road
trips, the perfect playlist to accompany the
long stretches of road is being curated. Thanks
to The Silkstones latest release, The World
Began With A Yes, my search for the quintessential
summer album may be over.
Described as a departure from the Lethbridge-based
group’s previous releases, the
album relies on moody beats and dream-like
vocals to create a visual that makes me want
to jump in a convertible and cruise down the
coast, while at the same time lay down on a
sunny patch of grass and contemplate this big
adventure we call life.
Taking inspiration from surf-rock legends
The Beach Boys, indie-rocker Owen, George
Harrison, Radiohead and U2, The World Began
With A Yes is meant to pull us out of our headspace
and realize just how precious a gift life
is. The ambient underlying melodies act as a
vessel, carrying us to the understanding of why
we are the way we are. Everything happens for
a reason, and this album aims to show us why.
Overall, The Silkstones have created an
album that distinctly draws a line in the sand
between it and their initial releases. I suspect
this will become a daydreamer’s go-to album
of the summer, as one may find it’s easy to
get lost in the atmospheric dream-scape The
Silkstones have built.
• Monica Lockett
44 | JULY 2017 • BEATROUTE
Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium
June 22, 2017
While some buds were out Sledding, a lot of people saw one of
the best songwriters of our era. With a catalogue that extends
over two decades, Ryan Adams burned on stage, letting loose
with the one-two-woohoo of “To Be Young” off Heartbreaker,
flailing away on crunchy Les Paul guitars while riding the “Oh one
day when you’re looking back” chorus then getting high on the
beautiful “All the days the rains they fell your way.”
“Let It Ride” is the kind of song all sunshine highway numbers
are based on. A 60 mile-an-hour acoustic Western Ennio that then
cut hard into the swaying lace of “Magnolia Mountain,” with its
odd beat turnarounds and a breakdown a Hendrix change, the
band tuned on a dime, playing an extended instrumental that was
as intuitive as it was musical.
After the magnolia climb, the atomic explosions, garage rock
blast and chime of “Gimme Something Good” showed just how
sharp a songwriter and performer Adams is — going from densely
composed melancholia into a straight ahead rock ‘n’ roll number
that shared the Cars and Petty vibe of his self-titled record. The
cuts from 2016’s Prisoner scaled back in the production and had a
lowlight barroom feel, a cool touch amongst the sparkle and visuals
of used TVs and 25-year old monitors set up as stage props.
Adams was having a good time, turning to play with his mates,
kidding and joking around, asking for gas in the dentist’s office.
That cheery humour belies the fact that Adams is one of the most
prolific songwriters and players of his time and genre. That he also
has the rock n’ roll and acoustic chops to lead a band and play
brilliant lead lines with great tone that always land on the right
note was clearly evident.
From the hummable melody of “My love we can do better than
this, how can you complicate a kiss,” to the rocket ship “Cold Roses,”
which moved from upbeat melancholy into orbital jams that
only a band who knows every inch of that tape and has played
it together 1000 times can bring back from the edge, and then
pushed it further into the mournful Jacksonville City Nights of
“Dear John,” before embracing the spinning Milky Way, wedding
gown, merry-go-around of “When The Stars Go Blue” with its sad,
dreamy “Where do you go when you’re lonely?,” Adams and the
band rode the slow arpeggio build, then took over with full throat
and blazed a pulsing guitar break that quaked the legs.
Opening the night, Karen Elson played a dreamy, hypnotic
Mazzy Star vibe over jangled rhythm guitar to open the show,
Spaghetti Western Tele and rippling pearl steel riffs with violin
and harp providing the soft harmonic landing. Beautiful,
unexpected vocal harmony tones, Mick Ronson fuzz lines and a
refined chaos near the end that may have torn the floors up with
an equally anarchic beat, Elson wanted for nothing and left an
ethereal ambience in her path.
• Mike Dunn
Buffalo Bud Buster, The Weir, Bison
The Palomino Smokehouse
June 9, 2017
A meaty heap of smoky stoner rock was on offer at The Palomino
on this warm June evening as the TFIF crowd descended upon the
nosh-n-mosh hub in anticipation of a ripper of a show. The unfashionably
late were welcomed by the prescient rumble and fuzz
of long-in-the-beard Buffalo Bud Buster. A drunk uncle of a band,
the weighty foursome raised a cloud of mountain dust with its
bellicose alliteration and casual malevolence. Anything but subtle,
The Weir pursued that meteor strike with signature black on black
soundscapes that recall the Bow River’s nightmarish “drowning
machine.” Twin guitar surges and heroic vocal-blasts scoured the
brick-and-mortar cellar as the unquiet quartet plunged through a
tempestuous set of rapids leaving witnesses drenched and heaving
upon the shore. Grappling with an aquatic obsession of its own,
Bison’s reappearance in Calgary was rendered all the more potent
thanks to a dose of the prodigal metal band’s latest release, You
Are Not the Ocean You Are the Patient (due to be released July 7
on Pelagic Records). Evidence of not only the natural progression
of the Vancouver-based group’s musicianship, but of a revitalized
sense of focus, Bison’s forceful performance was as reassuring as it
was gratifying. Presenting a unified front, guitarist-vocalists James
Farwell and Dan And expounded on previous accomplishments
while displaying an elevated sense of self-awareness and emotional
contentment. Pulled from the fathoms and anointed with white
lightning, each sweltering song built upon the next until the climactic
rendering of the (by now obligatory) Canadian tuxedo anthem,
“These Are My Dress Clothes,” left the congregation wrapped
in a furry postcoital afterglow.
• Christine Leonard
BEATROUTE • JULY 2017 | 45
straight women and the crook in the road
I’m a 29-year-old straight woman facing a dilemma. I dated this guy about
a year ago, and in many ways he was exactly the guy I was looking for. The
main hitch was sexual. Our sex was good, but he had a fetish where he wanted
me to sleep with other guys. Basically, he gets off on a girl being a “slut.” He
was also into threesomes or swapping with another couple. I experimented
with all of that for a few months, and in a way I had fun with it, but I finally
realized that this lifestyle is not for me. I want a more traditional, monogamous
relationship. I broke it off with him. We reconnected recently, and he
wants to get back together. He says that he wants to be with me, even if it
means a more traditional sex life. I’m interested, but suspicious. If he decides
to forego his fetish in order to be with me, can he ever feel truly fulfilled with
our sex life? I don’t want to be with someone I can’t completely satisfy. I also
worry that down the road he might change his mind and try to convince me
to experiment with nonmonogamy again, which would make me feel pressured.
I’m looking for someone to settle down with, and I’m scared to waste
more time on this guy, even though in many ways he’s a great fit. Do you
think it’s possible for us to be happy together in a traditional arrangement
when deep down he wants more?
– Interested Despite Kink
Every partnered person on earth is with someone they “can’t completely
satisfy.” No one person can be all things to another person—
sexually or in any other way. So don’t waste too much time stressing
out about that.
That said, IDK, this guy gets off when girls—his girl in particular—are
“sluts.” That doesn’t mean he can’t/won’t/doesn’t get off when you’re not
being slutty. (In this situation, “being slutty” refers to you sleeping with
other people, which is only subjectively slutty.) He likes it when you’re a
slut, but I bet he also likes it when you ___, ___, or ___. (I don’t know your
sex life. Fill in the blanks.) Are you focusing too much on one of the things
he’s into (you fucking other people) and not enough on all the other
things he’s into (things like ___, ___, and ___)? If those other things are
enough for him to have a great sex life with you without getting to enjoy
this particular kink, you can make this work.
In other words, IDK: If giving up his hotwife/cuckold fantasies is the
price of admission he’s willing to pay to be with you, maybe you should
let him pay that price. If being with someone who fantasizes about
sexual scenarios you would rather not participate in (and who may be
fantasizing about them while you’re having sex) is the price of admission
you’re willing to pay to be with him, maybe you should pay that price.
Another maybe: Are there accommodations that would allow him to
have his fetish/fantasies without having to stifle them and allow you
to have your monogamous commitment? No fucking other guys, but
sometimes sharing stories of past exploits? Or making up dirty stories
you can share while you’re fucking?
Kinky people sometimes place a few of their kinks on the shelf for years,
decades, or all their lives because they love their partner, but their partner
doesn’t love their proclivity for ball-busting/piss-pigging/whatever-evering.
And, yes, sometimes a person says they’re willing to let go of a kink
and then changes their mind and starts pressuring their partner years or
decades later—often when it’s much harder for the non-kinky partner to
end things, i.e., after marrying, having kids, etc., which renders the pressure
coercive and corrosive. Another thing that sometimes happens: People
who never thought they’d be into X and married someone with the understanding
that X was forever off the table suddenly find themselves curious
about X and wanting to give X a try years or decades later. Who we are and
what we want at 39 or 49 can look very different than who we were and
what we wanted at 29.
I am a 34-year-old straight woman. I’m monogamous and have an avoidant
attachment style. I’ve been seeing a guy I really like. He’s just my type, the kind
of person I’ve been looking for my whole life. Thing is, he’s in an open relationship
with someone he’s been with for most of his adult life. He was sneaky—
he didn’t reveal he was in an open relationship until the second date, but
by then I was infatuated and felt like I wasn’t in control of my actions. So
what I’ve learned is that poly couples often seek out others to create NRE or
“new relationship energy,” which may help save their relationship in the long
run. I was deeply hurt to learn about NRE. What about the people who are
dragged into a situation by some charmer in an attempt to breathe new life
into a stale relationship? I feel like no one cares about the people on the side,
the ones who might be perceived to be cheating with someone’s partner, as
some sort of competitor, a hussy. How can I reconcile the fact that I’ve fallen
for someone who sees me as a tool to be discarded once the excitement
wears off? I know we all have a choice, but we also know what it’s like to be
infatuated by someone who seems perfect. I feel like such a loser.
– Sobbing Here And Making Errors
“One of life’s hardest lessons is this: Two people can be absolutely crazy in
love with each other and still not be good partners,” said Franklin Veaux,
coauthor of More Than Two: A Practical Guide to Ethical Polyamory
(morethantwo.com). “If you’re monogamous and you meet someone
you’re completely smitten with who isn’t, the best thing to do is acknowledge
that you’re incompatible and go your separate ways. It hurts and it
sucks, but there it is.”
This perfect, sneaky guy who makes you feel like a loser and a hussy? He
told you he was in an open relationship on your second date. You knew
he wasn’t “your type” or “perfect” for you the second time you laid eyes
on him, SHAME, and you needed to go your separate ways at that point.
And I’m not buying your excuse (“I was too infatuated!”). What if he had
by Dan Savage
revealed that he was a recreational bed wetter? Or a serial killer? Or Jeffrey
Lord? Or all of the above? Surely you would’ve dumped him then.
Veaux advocates ethical polyamory—it’s right there in the title of his
book—and he thinks this guy did you wrong by not disclosing his partner’s
existence right away. “Making a nonmonogamous relationship work requires
a commitment to communication, honesty, and transparency,” said
Veaux. “Concealing the fact that you’re in a relationship is a big violation of
all three, and no good will come of it.”
I have a slightly different take. Straight women in open relationships
have an easier time finding men willing to fuck and/or date them; their
straight male counterparts have a much more difficult time. Stigma and
double standards are at work here—she’s sexually adventurous; he’s a
cheating bastard—and waiting to disclose the fact that you’re poly (or
kinky or HIV-positive or a cammer) is a reaction to/work-around for that.
It’s also a violation of poly best practices, like Veaux says, but the stigma
is a violation, too. Waiting to disclose your partner, kink, HIV status, etc.,
can prompt the other person to weigh their assumptions and prejudices
about poly/kinky/poz people against the living, breathing person they’ve
come to know. Still, disclosure needs to come early—within a date or two,
certainly before anyone gets fucked—so the other person can bail if poly/
kinky/poz is a deal breaker.
As for that new relationship energy stuff…
“There are, in truth, polyamorous people who are NRE junkies,” said
Veaux. “Men and women who chase new relationships in pursuit of that
emotional fix. They’re not very common, but they do exist, and alas they
tend to leave a lot of destruction in their wake.”
But your assumptions about how NRE works are wrong, SHAME.
Seeing your partner in the throes of NRE doesn’t bring the primary couple
closer together; it often places a strain on the relationship. Opening up
a relationship can certainly save it (if openness is a better fit for both
partners), but NRE isn’t a log the primary couple tosses on the emotional/
erotic fire. It’s something a poly person experiences with a new partner, not
something a poly person enjoys with an established one.
And there are lots of examples of long-term poly relationships out
there—established triads, quads, quints—so your assumption about being
discarded once NRE wears off is also off, SHAME. There are no guarantees,
however. If this guy were single and looking for a monogamous relationship,
you could nevertheless discover you’re not right for each other and
wind up being discarded or doing the discarding yourself.
I’m going to give the final word to our guest expert…
“Having an avoidant attachment style complicates things, because
one of the things that can go along with avoidant attachment is idealizing
partners who are inaccessible or unavailable,” said Veaux. “That can make
it harder to let go. But if you’re radically incompatible with the person you
love, letting go is likely your only healthy choice. Good luck!”
46 | JULY 2017 • BEATROUTE