BeatRoute Magazine Alberta print e-edition - July 2017

beatroute

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

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

Calgary Stampede Shows • Crystal Eyes • Echo & The Bunnymen • Downway • One Love Festival • Melvins


FIXED

Pulse 4

Bedroom Eyes 7

Book Of Bridge 23

Edmonton Extra 26

Letters From Winnipeg 27

Savage Love 46

FEATURES

Calgary Folk Fest 28-30

CITY 8

FILM 11-12

Top Summer Films, Independence Day,

Vidiot

Whitehorse - page 15

TABLE OF CONTENTS

MUSIC

rockpile 15-22

Stampede Shows, Crystal Eyes, Brett

McCrady, Echo & The Bunnymen, Look

Vibrant, North By North, Terminus,

MXPX, Darsombra, BIG Slam, Downway,

Free the Cynics

roots 33-35

Summer Folk Festival Roundup, BluesFest,

Wine Soaked Preachers, Banff Centre

jucy 37-39

One Love, Breach, Jodie B, Electronic

Rodeo

shrapnel 40-41

Melvins, Unleash The Archers

REVIEWS

music 42-44

Broken Social Scene and much more ...

live 45

Ryan Adams, Bison

BEATROUTE

Publisher/Editor-in-Chief

Brad Simm

Marketing Manager

Glenn Alderson

Editor

Colin Gallant

Managing Editor

Sarah Kitteringham

Production Coordinator

Hayley Muir

Web Producer

Masha Scheele

Social Media Coordinator

Amber McLinden

Section Editors

City :: Brad Simm

Film :: Jonathan Lawrence

Calgary Beat :: Willow Grier

Rockpile :: Jodi Brak

Edmonton Extra :: Brittany Rudyck

Book of (Leth)Bridge :: Courtney Faulkner

Letters From Winnipeg :: Julijana Capone

Jucy :: Paul Rodgers

Roots :: Liam Prost

Shrapnel :: Sarah Kitteringham

Reviews :: Jamie McNamara

Contributing Writers

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

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

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

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

Shane Sellar • Kaje Annihilatrix • Dan Savage

Contributing Photographers & Illustrators

Hayley Pukanski • Jim Agaptio • My-An Nguyen • Taryn Garrett

Advertising

Ron Goldberger

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

Distribution

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

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

e-mail: editor@beatroute.ca

website: www.beatroute.ca

E-Edition

Yumpu.com/BeatRoute

Connect with BeatRoute.ca

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Copyright © BEATROUTE Magazine 2017

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

BEATROUTE • JULY 2017 | 3


PULSE

Saddle up for Bell Live at the King Eddy

July 7

July 8

July 9

July 10

July 11

July 12

July 13-14

July 15

July 16

Leeroy Stagger

Lindi Ortega

Roots Revue

Nice Horse

Mariel Buckley

Blake Reid

Fred Eaglesmith

JJ Shiplett

HighKicks

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


CITY

Grandslammin’ grace

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

immobilizes.

The author of Baseball Life Advice was confined to

a couch in her basement feeling nothing, caring for

nobody.

“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

the spotlight?

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

2011World Series.

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

Adam Lind.

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.”

Amen.

Stacey May Fowles

WHAT SHAKES

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

throughout Bridgeland/Riverside,

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

Jazz Danceworks.

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

many more.

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.

Kari Watson

Editor, writer, events listings curator

theYYSCENE.ca

The Chainsmokers

Lindi Ortega

8 | JULY 2017 • BEATROUTE CITY


FILM

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

July.

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

Academy Award.

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

FILM

Baby Driver

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.

Spider-Man: Homecoming

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

INDEPENDENCE DAY

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.

Dunkirk

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.

Atomic Blonde

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

the universe.

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

you will.

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

patriotic glory.

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

T2 Trainspotting

Wilson

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

behind bars.

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

items.

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

for her.

Unfortunately, the success of this fable could

spark bestiality trends among young people.

CHIPS

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

addiction.

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

than tribute.

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

more brainless.

Besides, the best way to kill a retired hitman

is to poison their early-bird dinner special.

Power Rangers

The most important lesson Powers Rangers

taught children was which colour represents

which race.

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

unimaginable powers.

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

bird spikes.

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

Manor.

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

banish Batman.

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.

Life

The best part of finding new forms of life is

getting to name them after overrated ‘70s rock

bands.

However, the scientists in this sci-fi movie

won’t have time to name their deadly discovery

The Eagles.

While en route back home, crewmembers

aboard an international space station (Jake

Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson, Ryan Reynolds)

uncover a latent organism in some Martian

topsoil.

THE VIDIOT

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

far superior.

Incidentally, you do have to declare all alien

life you purchased on your customs form.

T2 Trainspotting

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

while.

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)

first.

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

21-century cynicism.

Ironically, with today’s safe injection sites,

heroin use is practically encouraged.

Wilson

The reason they don’t launch average folks into

space is because they’d just complain the whole

time.

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

shrewder.

Moreover, people who confront strangers can

probably recommend the best pepper-spray.

He’s a Man of Codependent Means. He’s the…

Vidiot

12 | JULY 2017 • BEATROUTE FILM


ROCKPILE

STAMPEDE SHOWS

indie rock descends on the Wild West

by Jodi Brak

USS

THE STRUMBELLAS

WHITEHORSE

JULY TALK

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.

USS

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

ROCKPILE

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.

THE STRUMBELLAS

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

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.

JULY TALK

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


CRYSTAL EYES

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

previously departed.

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

feel.

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,”

Jenkins muses.

“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

says, smiling.

“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

upcoming.

by Brittany Rudyck

Rotating band members boost the ethereal pop vision of Erin Jenkins.

photo: Francis Wiley

BRETT MCCRADY

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

poetic terms.

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

ROCKPILE

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

going for.”

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

Theatre (Winnipeg).

BEATROUTE • JULY 2017 | 17


LOOK VIBRANT

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

Murphy.

“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

(Lethbridge)

photo: Ryan Scott Solava

ALDOUS HARDING

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

contemplation.

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

universal way.

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

tour.

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


TERMINUS: IMPACT

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

an impact.

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

people.

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.

ROCKPILE

BEATROUTE • JULY 2017 | 19


MXPX

emotion is their middle name

by Danni Bauer

DARSOMBRA

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,

inspired melodies.

“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

Daniloski.

“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

(THUG) days.

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

music communities.

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

Slam.

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

DOWNWAY

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

hurts

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

a weapon!”

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

written.”

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 [2008]. 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).

ROCKPILE

BEATROUTE • JULY 2017 | 23


EDMONTON EXTRA

MARLA MARIA

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.”

BRUNCH CLUB

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

six months.

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

Delamere.

“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

terminally chill

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

open fields.”

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

to Carroll.

“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,

among others.

Carroll also mentions Winnipeg locals like poppunks

Mulligrub; newly formed Winnipeg psych-rock

ROCKPILE

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

the weekend.

“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,”

he says.

“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

BETTY BONIFASSI

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

rara music.”

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

compelling sound.”

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

Western audiences.”

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.”

MICHAEL KIWANUKA

Photo: Phil Sharp

Photo: KarineBaudot

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

Underground’s Loaded.

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’

gospel.

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


DAWES

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

yet.

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

drum kit.

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

Twilight Stage

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

latter.

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

Award

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.”

LUCY DACUS

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

furnished orientation.

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


ROOTS

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

ArtsWells

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

Mannequin.

Tiny Lights

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

Alaska.

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

featuring locals.

ROOTS

BEATROUTE • JULY 2017 | 33


BLUESFEST

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

rhythm around.

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.

Sugar Brown

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.

The Claudettes

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

by B.Simm

Sarah Hamer

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

creative time.”

ROOTS

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

Brooks, Alberta.

“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

fancy fretwork.

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,

tearjerker ballad.

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


JUCY

ONE LOVE

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.

BREACH

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

musical horizon.

“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

says, laughing.

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

that box.”

“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 track.

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

Club (Calgary).

“I don’t want to be pigeon-holed.”

photo: Tanya Blum

JUCY

BEATROUTE • JULY 2017 | 37


JODIE B

continually integrating into her craft by Paul Rodgers

LET’S

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,”

says Bruce.

“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

by 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,”

she describes.

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

lifestyle.”

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).

GET JUCY

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


ELECTRO RODEO

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

electro rodeo!”

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

the Stampede.”

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

country music.

“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

JUCY

BEATROUTE • JULY 2017 | 39


SHRAPNEL

MELVINS

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,”

Buzzo admits.

“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

you like.”

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

This Month

In METAL

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

in advance.

“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

Buchanan.

“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

SHRAPNEL

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

their usage.

“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

the protagonist.

“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

him again.”

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.

loudashell.com.

• Sarah Kitteringham

BEATROUTE • JULY 2017 | 41


musicreviews

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

indie powerhouse.

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

Boris

Dear

Sargent House

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

9

Interscope Records

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

soundscapes.

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

head on.

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

electronic’s future.

• Cole Parker

EX EYE

EX EYE

Relapse Records

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

The Guaranteed EP

Independent

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

James Murdoch.

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

Ho99o9

United States of Horror

Caroline Records

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

Rise Records

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

might enjoy.

• Bailey Barnson

Melvins

A Walk With Love and Death

Ipecac Recordings

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

Jessica Moss

Pools of Light

Constellation Records

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

clear direction.

Nonetheless, Pools of Light can leave you

drowning in its undercurrent of dark neo-classical.

• Cole Parker

BEATROUTE • JULY 2017 | 43


Tom Russell

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

generation past.

• Terry Field

Ron Samworth

Dogs Do Dream

Drip Audio

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

Toybox

Deathbomb Arc

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

breakcore-adjacent bridges.

“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 Silkstones

The World Began With A Yes

Independent

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


livereviews

Ryan Adams

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


SAVAGE LOVE

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

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