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


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

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

Spoon • AJJ • Ashley Hundred • Jedi Mind Tricks • Blind Pilot • Fringe Festival • Zaum • Arcade Fire


Pulse 4

Bedroom Eyes 7

Book Of Bridge 24

Edmonton Extra 32-34

Letters From Winnipeg 35

Month in Metal 45

Savage Love 54


Circle The Wagons 26-31

CITY 9-11

Fringe Fest, Skiffle, YYCscene

FILM 13-15

Tarantino Double Feature, CIFF Preview,

The Mutilator, Things To See In August


Reggae Fest August 17-19

Etana’s name means “The Strong One” in

Swahili. Since debuting in 2006 the Jamaican-born

singer has established herself as

one of the most powerful and distinctive

voices in Reggae, blazing a new trail in a

genre that has long been male-dominated.

Etana will take the Reggae Fest stage

by storm on Saturday, August 19.



rockpile 17-35

Spoon, AJJ, Julius Sumner Miller,

The Ashley Hundred, Slut Prophet,

Dri-Hiev, Shooting Guns, Little Lamb,

Blake Unruly, Reggae Fest, White Reaper

jucy 37-39

Jedi Mind Tricks, Beastie Boys Tribute,


roots 41-43

Edmonton Folk Fest, Blind Pilot,

Sam Weber, Susto

shrapnel 44-45

Zaum, Pervcore, Phyllactery


music 46-49

Arcade Fire, Kacy &Clayton, Grizzly

Bear, Sheer Mag and much more ...

live 51-53

Calgary Folk Fest, The Melvins and more



Brad Simm

Marketing Manager

Glenn Alderson


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 • Jodi Brak •

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

Shane Sellar • Kaje Annihilatrix • Dan Savage


Ron Goldberger

Tel: (403) 607-4948 • e-mail:


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

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




Connect with

Copyright © BEATROUTE Magazine 2017

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




A Calgary-based cocktail event committed to supporting, promoting and

growing the cocktail industry in Calgary and sharing its stories around

the world will take place in August 12-14. Over the course of three days,

the ticket price affords venue passort that allows you to roam around

some of Calgary’s finest lounge’s were you can mingle with bartenders,

industry folks and lovers of good tasting spirits. In addition, there’s some

enticing seminars and workshops that will pull you deeper into the magic

of making beautiful cocktails. For detailed information on PEELED, go to


Dale DeGroff, a.k.a. King Cocktail, is a defining figure in the art of

the cocktail. His book “The Craft of the Cocktail,” published in 2002,

is an essential bartending guide. He is the founding president of the

Museum of the American Cocktail in New Orleans. In the late 1980s

he rose to prominence in the New York Rockefeller Center’s Rainbow

Room, where he pioneered a gourmet approach to recreating classic

cocktails. As chief drinkslinger in the heart of one of New York City’s

most prestigious bars, his exposure to the weird and wonderful core

of Western culture means his stories, experiences and knowledge

may be stranger than fiction.


This little black book is more than your festival guide, it’s your Passport

to a world of cocktails waiting to be explored across 14 of the best drinking

establishments in Calgary.


Held at the Bank and Baron, intrepid attendees have been touring the

city, stamping their Peeled Passport and brushing up on the finer points

of the cocktail art at workshops and seminars. Come together for the

main event of the weekend and witness high flying aerials, burlesque

performers, daring fire acts, and live music.

The Calgary Underground Film Festival have confirmed the details of our summer

movie series, and once again we’re presenting FIELD TRIPS OF TERROR this August.

MATINEE (1993, Dir. Joe Dante) – Thursday Aug. 17

Location: Eau Claire Distillery

Ticket includes BassBus transportation to Eau Claire Distillery, popcorn and a tour

& tasting at Distillery before film.

THE BLOB (1988, Dir. Chuck Russell) – Saturday Aug. 26

Location: Lukes Drug Mart (Bridgeland)

Free Entrance, All Ages



Circus fun for everyone... Currie Park Sept. 9th

• Three stages by BassBus including 22 Artists

• Three bars by Village Brewery. Site Wide Liquor License!

• 13+ Food Trucks by YYCFoodTrucks

• The Fast ‘n’ Furriest Weiner Dog Race

• NEW Carnival Market featuring over 30 unique vendors

• Main Stage Circus Acts and Roaming Circus Performers

• NEW Kids Stage

• Circus School for kids

• Lego Land

• NEW Hammock Lounge in the forest

• Bubble Soccer

• 30 foot inflatable climbing wall

• Giant Inflatable obstacle course










THE 427'S





SEPT. 14












Photo: Parallel Imaging

124 10 STREET NW • CALGARY ALBERTA 403.270.3347

@OakTreeTavern @Oak_treeYYC




uncensored, unexpected, unforgettable theatre

Now entering its second decade,

Michele Gallant, Festival Director and

Producer of the Calgary Fringe Festival,

explains what Calgary’s Fringe is all about

and why there’s a riot going on...

Over 32 local, national, and international

indoor performance artists!

“They come from all over,” says Gallant,

“from our own city all the way to the Land

Down Under!”

All the acts are selected by lottery draw, or first come, first serve!

“Some of the artists are seasoned performance professionals, some are brand new novices who’ve always

wanted to be on stage. This selection process levels the playing field. Everyone has just as equal a chance of

getting in. We don’t segregate or discriminate. The performances range anywhere from physical theatre to

sketch comedy, improv to drama, storytelling to puppetry, monologues to musicals, kids’ theatre to poetry.

Any type of performance can be found here. This is ‘Anything Goes Theatre’ and there’s something for

everyone. I always encourage patrons to take a chance and go see a show they would not normally choose for

themselves. Stretch outside your box a little, you just might surprise yourself!”

Uncensored Theatre Festival

“Uncensored means we do not restrict what the artists want to present on stage, or how they want to do that.

I have only two rules for the artists: (1) give plain disclosure as to what your show is about so the patron can

make an informed decision on whether or not it’s appropriate for them to see, and (2) don’t break the law.

Otherwise, whatever you want to throw up on stage, you just go right ahead!”

No ticket price over $15!

“The artists get to select from a ticket range of $10 as a minimum to $15 as a maximum per ticket. The goal is

to make it affordable and accessible for audiences of all ages to come out and attend. One hundred percent of

the artist set ticket price goes directly back to the artist. We don’t hold any money back, other than the GST

and ticketing surcharges. Another thing that is truly, uniquely Fringe!”

Most shows are only an hour in length, and most venues located in Inglewood within easy walking distance!

“It’s a really great opportunity to see back-to-back shows, and so handily. One regular theatre show could be

over 2.5 hours. In that time, you could see two to three different Fringe shows and for typically cheaper than

what you would normally pay for one regular theatrical show ticket. Really great value for your money.”

Calgary Fringe Festival runs for nine days!

“You won’t believe how many people think we are just a weekend festival. But we are not . We run for nine

full days, starting the Friday of the August long

weekend, all through to the following Saturday,

Aug. 12. So you’ll have lots of opportunity to see

shows without missing out!”

It’s all about the Hugs!

“There’s a saying at the Calgary Fringe... ‘There are

no handshakes, only hugs!’ It’s about community

and inclusitivty, not exclusivity. We see ourselves

as all one big happy family!”


Victoria, Australia

“Listen, I’m ok. I have a pesky cancer tumour in

my left jug, but I’m not dying and I’m the luckiest

person in the entire world. Cos f*ck cancer, man.

F*ck cancer.”

For a complete schedule and artists’ bios go to


YYSCENE’s quick scan go-to-guide for August...

After a quick scan of what’s

coming up this month, I see

that August is, clearly, festival month

in and around Calgary. How so, you

ask? Well get a load of this vast array

of festival action that’s sure to have

something for everyone:

Loud as Hell Fest at the Drumheller

Stampede Grounds. Yes, I know, it’s

not in Calgary, but Drumheller’s not

that far – it’s an hour-and-a-half drive.

They have a giant dinosaur, they have

a great Greek restaurant, and from

Good ol’ Shakey Graves Aug. 11 at The Palace

Aug. 4-6 they’ll have Loud as Hell Fest

featuring Battlecross, Black Wizard, Bison & Aggression and many, many more rock/metal

acts that I’m sure the majority of the residents of that fine town would cringe at.

One Love Music Festival takes place at the Max Bell Festival Grounds Aug. 4 with

headliners Ms. Lauryn Hill (LAURYN HILL!), Migos, Anderson Paak & The Free Nationals,

RZA as Bobby Digital featuring Stone Mecca, Wale and a bunch of other fine performers.

Lauryn. Hill. (*ladyswoon*)

Chasing Summer Festival will take place hot on One Love’s heels Aug. 5-6, also at Max

Bell Festival Grounds. Who’s playing, you ask? Tiësto, W&W, Infected Mushroom, Tritonal,

Illennium, What So Not, Kill The Noise, Grandtheft, Daijo,Zedd, Jauz, Slushii, Rezz,

Delta Heavy, Spag Heddy, Bleep Bloop, Smalltown Djs ... Tons o’ acts. Bleep Bloop.

Blues Fest at Shaw Millennium Park will run until Aug. 6 and will feature Big Bill Morganfield,

Bob Hall and Lil’ Jimmy Reed, Paul DeLauriers Band, Angel Forrest Band, Amos

Garrett and the Eh! Team, Dale Spalding and more. Always more.

Calgary Fringe Festival is a celebration of some amazing theatre/performances taking

place Aug. 4-12 throughout Inglewood. Go get some culture! Wow. Bossy.

Aug. 10-13 you’ll want to head down to Eau Claire Market for the Taste of Calgary food

extravaganza. Buy some tickets, try some food, find a new favourite restaurant. Done!

Dear god, the festivals never end ... Tour de Bowness Street Festival is happening along

Mainstreet Bowness on Aug. 7, with the actual Tour de Bowness featuring a road race,

hill climb and criterium (that’s cycling, people) happening over three days, Aug. 5-7.

Not a festival! Echo & the Bunnymen will be thrilling aging scenesters on Aug. 6 at

MacEwan Ballroom, while The Decemberists will perform for all of the scenesters Aug. 9

at MacEwan Hall.

Aug. 11 you’ll want to check out Shakey Graves with David Ramirez at The Palace Theatre,

on the 18th head to the Palomino for Ringwalds with Julius Sumner Miller, Unban

Jance and Cheap Beer, and the month ends with Die Antwoord being the show to catch

on Aug. 30 at BMO Centre.

Kari Watson is a writer and former Listings Editor of FFWD Weekly, and has continued

to bring event listings to Calgary through theYYSCENE and her event listings page, The

Culture Cycle. Contact her at

Kari Watson

Editor, writer, events listings curator

Jokes, truths and poignant bits from a comic

who survived breast cancer... Hilariously honest,

uproariously funny, devastating, heartfelt.

WINNER: Most Outstanding Solo Show

(Ottawa 2016), Adelaide Fringe Award

(Theatre 2017), Best Theatre (Dunedin

2016), F*ck the Patriarchy Award

(Winnipeg 2016)



In Fine Style

Wilfred Limonious, the king of Jamacian dancehall album art, immortalized in new book

Few artists could

create a sense

of scene like

Wilfred Limonious: big

booties wind down

low, rudeboy rats

swagger beneath bassy

sound systems that

ooze island dub and

soar sky high, while a

cartoon donkey tears

off into the sunset on

a motorbike. It sounds

like a rum drenched,

hallucinogenic trip but

it was all just a typical

day in the lysergic life of


A master architect

of album art, Jamacian-born


(1949-1999) single- handedly created some of the most memorable reggae

and dancehall LP covers of all time. His highly recognizable style, quick wit

and bold saccharine characters gave life to the music inside the sleeves.

Inspiring countless artists in the ‘80s and ‘90s, jacket designers today and

Major Lazer’s entire visual aesthetic for starters.

Despite Limonious’ enormous output and legendary impact on the

scene, when he passed away nearly two decades ago, his identity as an

artist somehow slipped under the radar.

That was until Christopher Bateman, a white dude from Edmonton,

hooked up with Al ‘Fingers’ Newman, a DJ and cultural historian in London

UK, to properly pay homage to the roots of one of Jamaica’s finest export.

Fusing together their shared love and respect for Limonious with a

shitload of trips to JA, and years of serious crate digging to produce a mega

slick coffee table book, In Fine Style, the first ever compilation of Limonious’

vast repertoire and his rarest, never seen before work.

Original Stalag 17–18 and 19 LP by Various Artistes (c. 1985).

BeatRoute caught up with Chris & Al to find out how it all went down.

How difficult was it tracking down all the artwork for the book?

Christopher Bateman: I first became familiar with Limonious’ work while

on tour with a ska/reggae band I played in back in 2003. We would always

hit up this one record store on St. Clare in Toronto. It was on one of those

visits that I saw the riddim compilation LP Original Stalag 17, 18 and 19

which has Limonious’ iconic prison scene. The cover was too exciting to

pass up on. I started collecting a lot of reggae LPs and I kept coming across

sleeves designed by Limonious. I couldn’t believe no one

had put out a book on someone with his talent

and ability to set a scene in such a vibrant way.

Eventually, I became so interested that I

found myself looking into the possibility

of compiling this book myself!

I wasn’t a published writer, I wasn’t

a curator. I was just excited about

Limonious’ work.

I sent out a bunch of emails and

phone calls trying to track down

anyone that knew Limonious and

booked a flight to Jamaica. When I got

back to Toronto I bought Al’s book,

Greensleeves: The First 100 Covers,

from the Stussy store and loved it so

much. It was exactly what I was trying

to accomplish with the Limonious project,

but without having any experience.

It turned out Al was also a massive

Limonious fan and had checked out

a wordpress I’d set up expressing my

interest in putting a book together and

wanted to do the same. After numerous

failed attempts we finally got in touch

and the rest is pretty much history!

Al Newman: Material for the book has

come from collectors all around

Center-label for Don Sutton King’s Don King label, featuring

Limonious’ signature dots.

the world..some harder to find and

photograph than others. In the last

few years, we came in contact with a

collector in Japan who had a lot later

pieces by Limonious which are really

different to his other stuff.

Limonious was a busy man. He was

a cartoonist, designed 7” labels, put

out two singles of his own, and by

a long shot the hottest dancehall

sleeve artist on the scene. Who all

was he producing artwork for?

CB: So many artists... Michael

Palmer, Frankie Paul, Jah Thomas,

Early B, Prince Jazzbo’s Ujama label,

Coxsone Dodd’s Studio One label,

Little John…

AN: Leroy Smart, Barrington Levy,

Prince Jammy, Ossie Thomas, Winston

Riley’s Techniques label, the list

goes on for a very long time.

How did he keep up?

AL: Limonious could draw portraits

super quick. If you were coming up

the hill by his house, he would have

a portrait waiting when you reached

the top. The same goes when he was

putting out sleeves. Often he would

get a concept from a producer in

the morning and come back with a

finished piece the same day!

by Tracy Kawalik

His characters became one of his strongest standout trademarks.

AL: Limonious is the undisputed king of dancehall art. He had a lot of

trademarks that made him unique. The typography and signature lettering

he created and developed, his use of dots and chequerboard grids, and

super bright colours, like 100 percent yellow, 100 percent magenta, etc. But

in terms of his characters, Limonious was a master of the human form. His

work was done with an incredible amount of flavour. The ease and fluidity

with which he drew his characters is unmatched.

CB: Limonious’ covers came to be a mark of a really great album. People

were buying his albums off the strength of

his cover alone. The angles of things like

elbows and knees, or a quivering lip

on Limonious’ characters were both

realistic and impossible and something

that no other artists were doing.

They’re on another level.

He was a master of the booty as


AN: Ha! Limonious loved to draw

fluffy women! There is a quote in

the book from Jamaican designer,

Jethro ‘Paco’ Dennis, who said that

when artists in the studio got requests

for LP covers featuring ladies

with big bottoms, they would be

like, “No man, this one is directly a

Limonious job!”

What was your first Limonious


CB: One of my earliest Limonious

purchases was the LP for

Original Stalag 17-18 And 19.

It was a must-buy based on the

cover alone.

AN: It’s the Stalag LP for me, too. It’s one of Limonious’ most wellknown

covers, set in a prison-yard-turned-dancehall with inmates

and guards dancing and a pair of ragga rats grinding in the corner.

One of the rats is proposing marriage. The scribbled commentary

is classic Limonious: “Bubble under it bredah rat”, “A dem rat yah

nyam up man ina prison” and,“This rat tail will bore coconut.” That

one gets me every time.

What surprised you most about Limonious’ of everything you


AN: What I found fascinating was that although his artwork is often

loud and outrageous, people who knew him described him as

a quiet and sensitive man who generally kept himself to himself.

CB: The biggest surprise for me was his work as an established

cartoonist. His first ever published work was in 1970, for The Star

in a comic section called Laugh With Us. Followed up in the ‘80s

and early ‘90s with Chicken his most popular strip, Shane and

Shawn which featured his own sons, and Earth Runnings, a comic

where he name checks many of his friends, producers and artists

from the industry.

Being so notorious how the hell did he remain so unknown?

AN: Before word got out and artists went direct to Limonious for

sleeves, producers in Jamaica back then handled everything in

house. Those early Limonious album’s were so fresh and so insanely

popular that the producers kept Limonious’ identity a secret, so

that way you had to go through them if you wanted his work.

On an international scale it’s true that the name Wilfred Limonious

is virtually unknown, particularly in the art world. Which is

crazy when cover designers from other genres like jazz and rock

have been much more widely celebrated. I’d like to think we’ve

thankfully changed that and finally put Limonious on the map.

In Fine Style is available to order from

Stacey May Fowles






The Fifth Reel presents Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction

Close out the summer movie seasons with bloody style.

As much as we hate to admit it,

summer is coming to an end.

Pretty soon, we will all be back

to wearing long pants and drinking our

beer indoors. But don’t fret; lucky for us,

the Fifth Reel is closing out their summer

programming in really the only acceptable

way: a Quentin Tarantino double

feature. They will be screening Tarantino’s

first two flicks, Reservoir Dogs (1992)

and Pulp Fiction (1994), so put on your

black suits and ties, grab a pre-show

Royale with Cheese, and get ready for a

blood-splattered good time.

A heist film where you never actually

see the heist, Reservoir Dogs is a first of

its kind. In Tarantino’s directorial debut,

we see the events leading up to, and the

inevitable aftermath, of a diamond heist

gone wrong. Presented in Tarantino’s signature

nonlinear style, the film opens on

the morning of the heist in a diner where

one of the robbers, codenamed Mr. Brown

(played by none other than Mr. Tarantino

himself), tries to convince the rest of the

colourful band of thieves that Madonna’s

1984 pop classic “Like a Virgin” is really just

a “metaphor for big dicks.” After mob boss

and planner of the heist, Joe Cabot (Lawrence

Tierney), pays the bill (with Mr.Pink

[Steve Buscemi] having paid his “fair share”

of the tip), the ramblers get ramblin’, and

in an opening credit sequence for the ages,


the gang takes a slow-motion walk out the

diner set to the George Baker Selection’s

ditty, “Little Green Bag.”

As the opening scene suggests, you can

expect punchy dialogue with a generous

helping of profanity, and a soundtrack chock

full of seventies gems delivered to you via the

fictional radio show “K-Billy’s Super Sounds

of the Seventies” (voiced by comedian

Stephen Wright). An indie-lover’s wet dream,

Reservoir Dogs is easily one of the 20th

century’s best directorial debuts (Take that,

Citizen Kane!).

While Reservoir Dogs was the film that

got Tarantino’s name out there, it was Pulp

Fiction that cemented his name in cult

status. Frequently regarded as Tarantino’s

masterpiece, this neo-noir serves as a touchstone

of nineties culture and can be found

on every film-bro’s top ten list.

Equal parts crime and comedy, Pulp

Fiction intertwines the stories of some of

Los Angeles’ seediest residents through

(another) nonlinear series of episodic events,

sprinkled with a healthy dose of Tarantino’s

signature witty dialogue, nonsensical blood

splatter, and liberal use of the word “fuck.”

Mirroring the opening scene of Reservoir

Dogs, we drop in on a pair of criminals in an

all-American diner preparing for their heist.

A couple of small-time crooks, Pumpkin

(Tim Roth) suggests to his girlfriend and

partner in crime, Honey Bunny (Amanda

by Morgan Cairns

Plummer), that restaurants would be a safer

and more lucrative option to rob than the

liquor stores and gas stations they usually

stick-up. Just then, Honey Bunny jumps on

the table and says, “Any of you fucking pricks

move, and I’ll execute every motherfucking

last one of ya.” Cue the opening credits and

Dick Dales and the Del-Tones’ “Miserlou.”

By the end of the film, we come around

full circle and see just how that heist went

down, along with three other interconnecting

stories, including Vincent Vega (John

Travolta) and Mia Wallace’s (Uma Thurman)

wild night out and Butch (Bruce Willis)’s

run in with mob boss Marcellus Wallace

(Ving Rhames), all in an effort to recover his

father’s watch. And, of course, we see the

fate of poor mob informant Marvin. Poor,

poor Marvin.

Echoing Reservoir Dogs in structure, style,

quirk, and cast (with repeat performances

from Tim Roth, Harvey Keitel, and Steve

Buscemi), Pulp Fiction is best viewed in

immediate succession of its predecessor.

With Calgary’s favourite new-wave duo,

Aiwass, serving as the night’s musical guest

and improv group The Kinkonauts taking on

hosting duties, this isn’t your average Friday

night at the movies. And thank fucking god

for that.

The Tarantino double-feature can be seen on

August 18 at 9 p.m. at the Globe Cinema.


Calgary’s biggest film fest returns

by Jonathan Lawrence

It’s hard to believe, folks, but the great Calgary International Film

Festival (no longer shortened as CIFF, but Calgary Film) is only a month

away from its 18th iteration.

There have been some recent announcements from the Calgary Film

programmers in regards to ticket sales and other updates. Tickets will go on

sale online a week earlier this year (August 30), coinciding with their festival

launch that details their full lineup and schedule. The staff at Calgary Film

hopes that this will allow people to plan their festival experience further in

advance, as there are so many films to see and planning your schedule as an

attendee can be time-consuming.

They will also be announcing their headliner films and showing off their

updated logo at their first press conference on August 2, which will be

streamed on Facebook live for those unable to attend.

Details regarding the opening gala are still undisclosed, but Telefilm’s Movie

Nights Across Canada series is reported to play a large role. According to

their Twitter bio, it’s a cross-country tour that brings together “government,

media, and the arts to celebrate past, present and emerging Canadian TV and

film talent” - both in front of and behind the camera. The year-long tour of

screenings will happen in conjunction with Canada’s 150 celebrations.

Furthermore, they will make be making a wave of announcements

each week in August. After that will be the second annual Trailer Party in

early September.

Last but not least, there will be a free screening of the film Feast at the Ship

& Anchor on August 20 to coincide with the announcement of the festival’s

late night series. The Calgary Film website describes Feast as a “disgustingly

funny horror flick that will leave you chuckling and cringing all the same.”

They will be serving Big Rock beverages and free popcorn at this event.

Offscreen, Calgary Film is taking great strides to reduce their environmental

footprint this year by eliminating printed program guides. This will allow

them to do updates in a more accessible and environmentally conscious way.

If you’d like to volunteer for Calgary Film this year, you can visit their website

for details. There will be orientations on August 19 at Eau Claire Market,

and on August 23 at the Globe Cinema. It’s a great way to meet fellow film

lovers and to attend some of the screenings and events.

The Calgary International Film Festival will be held from September 20-October

1. Stay tuned for next month’s issue for more information.

We have your first look at pre-festival announcements and events.



Night Terrors Film Society present schlocky gore-fuelled slasher

If you could summarize the months of summer as a freshly

blended piña colada, you could pluck any slasher film

falling between the late ‘70s to early ‘80s and use it as the

perfect metaphorical accentuating umbrella. Drenched not

only in deliciously candied apple plasma, a beloved staple of

the aforementioned sub-genre is the excessive promiscuity

and abuse of intoxicants. Wild in every sense of the word

are the seemingly mindless teens out to have nothing but a

good time – and whom without fail allow themselves to be

relentlessly slaughtered at a quickened pace. Paralleling the

unwritten law of heavy metal music, slasher films are quick

and sleazy. They are the dirty rock and roll of horror films,

and they ignite an insatiable lust for blood in those who have

fallen head over stiletto heels for them.

Falling at the tail end of the golden age of slasher films, The

Mutilator (1984) is often overlooked due to the over-saturation

of the genre by the year of its release. Wasting no time selling

heavily on the gore ticket, the movie poster cannot be described

as anything but a beautifully grotesque display of a scantily clad

woman suspended by rope next to three corpses as a bloodied

meat hook menacingly awaits her. Already horrifyingly gruesome,

this illustrated image only scratches the surface of the nastiness

awaiting viewers in the 86 minute runtime.

The film kicks off on a tragic note, as a sweet young boy

accidentally kills his mother while cleaning his father’s gun.

Fast-forward several years and that young boy becomes the

protagonist of the film -- a loveable college student whom

upon being contacted by his estranged father decides to visit

the old family beach house with a group of his closest friends.

Like many slash-tastic video nasties that came both before

and after, the early warning sides of imminent danger are

ignored by the oblivious teens. A home adorned with animal

carcasses, a strange photo of a mangled man, and weaponry

adorning the walls is followed by a simple explanation.

“He’s hunted everything but man,” our protagonist says of

his father. Later on when alarm is expressed upon discovering

that his father’s battle-axe is missing, it is met with immediate

laughter and dismissal. As to be expected of any vacationing

party animals, another can of beer is cracked and all is momentarily


“We’re the only ones on the island!”

The line is expressed several times foolishly throughout

the film.

Remarkably cheap and nasty, The Mutilator is unique in its

utilization in weapon variants. While Jason is known for his

machete, Freddy for his glove, Michael Myers for his kitchen

knife, victims in The Mutilator fall ‘By sword, by pick, by axe, bye

bye!’ Paying homage to more serious slashers such as The Texas

Chain Saw Massacre (1974) and Black Christmas (1974), the film

provides an equal balance of schlock and horror. Having been

released in the final year of the golden age of slashers, it exemplifies

the progression of the sub-genre and ultimately why the era

came to a close.

Undoubtedly more focused on carnage above all, it serves as

a wonderful illustration of simplistic, fun, fast-burning horror.

Despite the comedic relief provided by laughable acting, what

makes slashers so eerily effective is their undeniable anchor in realism.

Unlike ghost stories and creature features, the murderers in

these films are average people just like us. They are our friends...

Our family members... Our neighbours... They’re everywhere, and

that summates the true definition of horror in human nature.

Catch The Mutilator at a midnight screening August 25 at the

Globe Cinema (Calgary).

by Breanna Whipple


animation, art-house and a double-feature

coincidence play a role in everyday human experience.

Deep stuff!

The film combines reality with fiction, using

selected works by Friðfinnsson as a basis for the

narrative. There are several stories within the film

to emphasize this theme, one of which entails a

pair of twins who were separated at birth. The

film’s bio reads as such, according to the Esker

Foundation website: “One twin was brought up in

the mountains of Iceland and the other below sea

level in Amsterdam. Despite their shared genetics

and birth date, the different forces of gravity in

their environments have caused them to age

differently. Equally occupied with exploring the

nature of time, the twins are in fact one and the

same person, Hreinn Friðfinnsson, in present and

past.” This one is sure to cause some headaches,

in a good way of course.

Time and Time and Again will be shown at the

Esker Foundation on August 25 at 7:00 p.m.

by Jonathan Lawrence

also responsible for renowned worldwide successes,

such as Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro and

Howl’s Moving Castle. The screening will be put on

by Quickdraw Animation Society, and an animated

short film will precede each of the two screenings.

Previous screenings included Ponyo, From Up on

Poppy Hill, and future screenings will include Kiki’s

Delivery Service and Castle in the Sky.

The Secret World of Arrietty can be seen at

the Globe Cinema on August 19 for a 12 p.m.

and 7 p.m. showing.

Dave Made a Maze

There is really no film like Dave Made a Maze.

Combining quirky comedy, innovative practical

effects, and stunningly inventive visuals, this film is an

absolute must see. Why did Dave make a maze, you

ask? Frustrated by a lack of doing anything significant

in his career, Dave builds a seemingly innocent,

childlike fort constructed of duct tape and cardboard

boxes - only to be trapped within its labyrinthian

walls. “It’s much bigger on the inside,” Dave explains

to his girlfriend, who assembles a rescue squad to

save him only to be met with supernatural elements

and the wrath of an angry Minotaur. If you haven’t

seen this film yet, at least watch the trailer. It alone is

vastly entertaining.

Originally seen at the Calgary Underground Film

Festival (where it won Best Narrative Feature), Dave

Made a Maze is back for two nights in Calgary on

August 11 and 12. Don’t miss it!

Dave Made a Maze will be shown at the Globe

Cinema on August 11-12 at 7 p.m.

The Secret World of Arrietty

The Secret World of Arrietty at first glance seems

strangely familiar. Isn’t this the same plot as 1997’s

The Borrowers, starring John Goodman? Well, yes,

but more specifically, its roots go back to a series

of children’s stories from the 1950s (also called The

Borrowers) about a family of four-inch-tall people

Time and Time and Again

is about the life of Icelandic artist Hreinn Friðfinnsson, who live in the walls of a normal sized English house

Courtesy of the Esker Foundation, a rather obscure, whose stark, yet poetic imagery has been exhibited and steal little things here and there. It sounds like

yet fascinating Icelandic film will be screening at their all over the world. He is notable for transcending the having roommates.

Inglewood location on August 25.

mundane into the exciting and evocative - a primary Arrietty took this idea and was turned into a beautifully

This brief 45-minute film, Time and Time and Again, theme throughout the film, along with how time and

animated film by Studio Ghibli, a Japanese studio


Avoid the summer blockbusters and catch some cool indie films instead.


rewind to the future

by Shane Sellar

The Boss Baby

The Fate of the Furious

Ghost in the Shell

Kong: Skull Island

Shin Godzilla


The Boss Baby

The best time to ask your newborn boss for a raise

is when you’re changing their diaper.

Unfortunately, the CEO in this animated family

movie always has the advantage.

Tim’s (Tobey Maguire, Miles Bakshi) perfect life

is disrupted when his parents (Lisa Kudrow, Jimmy

Kimmel) have another child, Boss Baby (Alec

Baldwin). Sharply dressed and keenly acute, the

husky-voiced youngster informs Tim that he has

been sent from elsewhere to turn the tide in the

babies’ battle against puppy popularity.

But if Tim doesn’t help stop the release of an

everlasting puppy, Boss Baby will become his

brother forever.

An unsettling blend of low fertility rate propaganda,

Loony Tune-esque sex education and smart

mouthed infants, DreamWorks’ latest offering borrows

too heavily from funnier sources. Although

Baldwin’s voice work is exceptional as always,

nothing much else in this bizarre cartoon works.

Besides, kids already know that all babies come

from China.

The Fate of the Furious

The worst part of street racing in the summertime

is you have to slow down in construction zones.

Fortunately, the motorists in this action movie

can afford the double fines incurred.

While on a mission to retrieve an electromagnetic

pulse device for agent Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson),

former street-racer turned secret agent Dom

(Vin Diesel) betrays his crew (Michelle Rodriguez,

Chris Bridges, Tyrese Gibson, Nathalie) and gives

the EMP to a terrorist, Cipher (Charlize Theron).

Backed by black ops (Kurt Russell, Scott Eastwood),

Hobbs and Dom’s crew track their former

comrade to Russia, where he and Cipher have

commandeered a nuclear submarine.

Equipped with over-the-top sports car chases,

boastful banter and buckets of machismo, this

eighth installment in the Fast and Furious franchise

maintains those touchstones. However, its interpretation

of those mainstays is more cartoonish

than its predecessors.

Furthermore, due to the extreme depths they

achieve, submarines are the ultimate low-rider.

Free Fire

The key to conducting a successful arms deal is not

loading any of the weapons before hand.

Regretfully, the merchants in this action movie

included ammo in the exchange.

A Boston arbitrator (Brie Larson) gets embroiled

in an arms deal between IRA members (Cillian

Murphy, Sam Riley, Enzo Cilenti) and a South African

supplier (Sharlto Copley) and his go-between

(Armie Hammer) that results in a standoff.

Trapped inside of a warehouse and armed to

the teeth, each party attempts to oust the other

and escape with the cash intended for the now

botched transaction.

Although it comes off as gritty 1970s throwback,

this claustrophobic shootout misfires more

than it hits. While the international cast is certainly

capable, the plot, the dialogue and the characters

are surprisingly weak and one-dimensional. Even

the non-stop shootouts are too pedestrian to

bother mentioning.

Moreover, arms deals should take place somewhere

public, like at a children’s festival.

Ghost in the Shell

Cybernetic implants will make it hard for women

to say their vibrating breasts are natural.

Thankfully, the enhanced lady in this sci-fi flick is

comfortable in her synthetic skin.

The mind of Section 9 assassin Major (Scarlett

Johansson) is the only part from her original

body occupying her new metal shell. But when a

cyber-terrorist (Michael Carmen Pitt) targets her

benefactor, what little memories she retained may

now be as artificial as her.

With help from her partner (Pilou Asbæk) and

designer (Juliette Binoche), Major unravels her

origins, which later leads her to a showdown with

an eight-legged mecha.

While it is pretty to look at its Neo Tokyo

aesthetic, this whitewashed and ultimately Americanized

live-action adaptation of the beloved

cyberpunk anime over-explains the narrative with

dumbed down meditations on the mind, social

unrest and future shock.

Fortunately, once your body is robotic you can

eat cured meats again.


The key to raising a gifted child is selling them to

science before you get too attached.

Unfortunately, the mother in this dramedy died

before getting her payday.

Frank (Chris Evans) gallantly accepts guardianship

of his niece Mary (Mckenna Grace) after her

mother’s death. Like her mathematician mother,

Mary has no trouble solving her first grade teacher’s

(Jenny Slate) rudimentary math problems –

and she let’s her know it.

Mary’s air of superiority soon lands her in

trouble. Luckily her talent with formulas finds her

grandmother (Lindsay Duncan) taking an invested

interest in her. So much so, she sues Frank for


A paints-by-numbers prodigy anecdote that

strokes its brush well within the lines, this charming

but predictable squabble only succeeds thanks

to its leads who bring humanity to this glorified

custody battle.

Incidentally, the best way to knock a know-it-all

math genius down a few pegs is with gym.

Kong: Skull Island

The most exciting aspect of finding a giant monkey

is all the cosmetic testing you can conduct on it.

Fortunately, the simian in this adventure picture

isn’t wearing any mascara yet.

Dispatched by the military to map out Skull

Island, Lt. Colonel Packard (Samuel L. Jackson), a

mercenary tracker (Tom Hiddleston), a photojournalist

(Brie Larson) and a government official

(John Goodman) arrive to find a 50-foot gorilla

protecting the natives from subterranean creatures

that roam the atoll.

Conflict erupts when half of the party wants to

kill Kong and the other half wants to save him.

The most dynamic incarnation of the 80-year

old ape, this fast-paced update set in 1973 doesn’t

waste time with exposition or character development.

Instead it gets right down to eye-popping

creature clashes that excite much more than they


Incidentally, the only way to pacify an enormous

primate is with a gigantic tire swing.

The Promise

Dating during wartime is hard since most of the

restaurants and theaters are rubble.

However, the couples in this drama have been

able to find love amid a holocaust.

On the eve of WWI an Armenian medical

student (Oscar Isaac) studying in Constantinople

manages to evade conscription in the Ottoman

army long enough to fall in love with a Paris-raised

Armenian (Charlotte Le Bon). Unfortunately, she

is betrothed to an American newsman (Christian

Bale) and he is promised to a neighbour’s daughter.

All four lives collide in the aftermath of the

Great War, during Turkey’s systematic slaughter of

the Armenian people.

The Promise is a well-acted piece of historical

storytelling that doesn’t manipulate the facts of

the Armenian Genocide for the sake of fiction.

Unfortunately, the awkward love triangle only

distracts from the enormity of the massacre.

Fortunately with post-war breakups, you have

your wife stateside to console you.

Shin Godzilla

The most exciting aspect of discovering a giant

lizard is waiting for its ossified bones to become oil.

However, the Japan depicted in this sci-fi feature

will be rubble by that point.

Cabinet Secretary Rando’s (Hiroki Hasegawa)

suspicion of a substantial sea creature living off

the Japanese coast is confirmed when a news

camera captures images of a massive unidentified


Panic doesn’t set in until the entity makes

landfall. Excelled evolution soon allows it to stand

upright and emit blasts of radiation.

A strategy to cool the creature’s internal fusion

is put into place.

The 31st installment in the reptilian franchise,

Godzilla Resurgence returns the character to its

nuclear roots, alluding to recent atomic disasters

that have tested Japan’s mettle. While the damage

done is on par with most kaiju movies, it’s the film’s

urgency that makes it memorable.

Incidentally, Godzilla always dresses funny after

trampling Tokyo’s Harajuku district. ​

He’s an Overgrown-up. He’s the…





Austin rockers keep their hot streak

by James Olson

Spoon have been on an upward trajectory

during their quarter century long career. The

last four records released by the Austin based

indie/art rock unit have been critical and commercial

successes with Spoon’s fan base steadily

increasing since the release of 2007’s Ga Ga Ga Ga

Ga. Speaking with drummer and core member Jim

Eno on the phone in his hotel room on a tour stop

in Toronto, the band’s latest album Hot Thoughts

served as the centerpiece of our conversation.

Willfully experimental with an emphasis on synth

and keyboard driven songwriting, Hot Thoughts

can be viewed as a microcosm for everything that

has allowed Spoon to flourish creatively, maintain

longevity, and succeed on their own terms.

The distinctively different and varied sound of

Hot Thoughts is tightly connected to Spoon’s previous

album They Want My Soul (2014) in a number

of ways. Eno identifies They Want My Soul highlight

track “Inside Out” as a throughline to the sounds

and ideas that the band would explore in greater

depth on Hot Thoughts. On what is an otherwise

streamlined and precise pop/rock record punctuated

by crisp guitar work and restrained percussion,

“Inside Out” stands out as a keyboard and effects

heavy cosmic ballad. “You can kind of hear us

building from there, building from that song” Eno

says “You can hear that in songs like ‘I Ain’t the One,’

‘Pink Up,’ and a little bit on ‘First Caress.’ While it

wasn’t really conscious you can look at it now and

see it was a sort of progression.”

Eno emphasizes that Spoon is always trying to

“discover new, stylized approaches that make the


song stand on their own,” with the greater goal to

never repeat themselves; especially after releasing

nine albums. The addition of keyboardist/guitarist

Alex Fischel in 2013 has opened up the band to a

greater number of opportunities as songwriters and

performers. Fischel’s influence can be felt throughout

Hot Thoughts. “He’s a great keyboard player and

he opens up a whole new sonic palette for us” Eno

explains “It used to be that Britt would come up and

have to play the keyboard part for us, now Alex is

like a hook generator. He generates great ideas and

great melodic parts to the songs.” “I Ain’t the One”

morphed from an acoustic number into a dark pop

number with a haunting synth lead thanks to collaboration

between Fischel and vocalist/guitarist Britt

Daniel. Elsewhere, Fischel wrote the entirety of the

music for the bouncing, groove leaden “First Caress.”

Spoon joined forces with producer Dave Fridmann

(Flaming Lips, Mercury Rev, Sleater-Kinney) for a

second time to Hot Thoughts to life. Fridmann has

been not only an excellent producer and engineer for

the band, Eno identifies him as a valued collaborator.

Eno vividly recalls Fridmann’s input on the track

“WhisperI’lllistentohearit” as a prime example of the

producer’s innovative and at times peculiar recording

techniques. “That song [has] two major sections and

we knew we needed some sound to bridge section

one and section two” Eno explains “So Dave told us

to go out and grab any pedal that we thought would

be exciting and to make sure that we got ten of them.

We brought in ten and Dave hooked them all up

and somehow came up with that crazy sound that

bridges the two sections together.”

Eno has described Spoon’s music as psychedelic

on a number occasions, a term that Eno

is inclined to use in a very broad sense when

it comes to the band’s body of work. Studio

effects, reverb, guitar effects, and experimental

song structures all makeup Eno’s qualification

for Spoon’s off kilter sound. “ I feel when you

listen to something like The Soft Bulletin [by

the Flaming Lips] you hear so many different

sounds and otherworldly sonic events. That’s

sort of what I’m talking about as a listener when

you’re listening to a 3 minute song you want

things to keep your interest” says Eno “That’s

one thing Dave [Fridmann] is really great at in

a studio is creating certain moments that keep

you interested and keep things surprising and


Spoon’s music has been used in a variety of TV

shows and movies, most recently an instrumental

version of “The Underdog” can be heard in the superhero

blockbuster Spider-Man: Homecoming. There is

indeed a cinematic quality to the band’s music that

Eno says comes from a need for dramatic moments

within their songs. “When you’re making music for a

record you have to figure out a way to get a listener’s

attention. Often someone is listening to your stuff

with earbuds on a subway for example. It’s obviously

different from playing a live show where you have

the energy of the crowd and the four walls of the

venue” says Eno. Eno name drops “Can I Sit Next You”

as a specific example of the band’s desire to create

surprises and unexpected moments for the listener.

This standout track off of Hot Thoughts features an

instantly memorable and ethereal string solo halfway

through the song that Eno calls a real moment of

payoff for the song and for the listener.

Reflecting on the band’s 25 year long career, Eno

emphasizes that the band has learned to never take

anything for granted and to always be pushing themselves

in new and exciting directions as musicians

and songwriters. “Everything that we’ve done we’ve

worked really hard to achieve and we get fans slowly

but we keep getting more fans. That being said we

would like to have more people hear our music. We

would like to hear more of our songs on the radio,

we’re not opposed to that. We’re constantly trying

to find new ways to get new fans and get people to

hear our music because we believe in it and we only

put stuff out that we think is great. Hopefully more

people will check us out” says Eno. Eno agrees that

the band’s last two records are likely their strongest

to date and expresses excitement at what the future

holds for their tenth record.

Eno and Daniels have been the only core members

of Spoon. While Eno can’t specify what exactly has

allowed the band to last for so long he expresses

tremendous gratitude at the opportunities that

this creative partnership with Daniel has afforded

him. “For me I’m just happy to be in a band that has

amazing songs that’s putting out great records. That’s

all I can really hope for. I’m honored to play on Britt’s

songs. They’re exciting to me. I think a band works

when it has great songs. That’s what I feel this band

is about.”

Spoon perform at MacEwan Hall on August 31.



“because band names don’t matter”

AJJ will be releasing a new EP in the near future.


Calgary’s professional party punks

Like a walking Pabst can, carrying balloons and

giving out high-fives, Julius Sumner Miller is

Calgary’s dream team party machine that’s

been charming audiences across the city since

2013. Now set to release their second album Rock

Around the Radius, the boisterous band founded

by jokes, friendship, and the pursuit of the party

has spent the past two years maturing their sound

without maturing themselves.

“If you don’t like fun, you won’t like us. Simple as

that,” states drummer John Byskal.

From onstage, to the studio, and even Monday

night jam sessions, the easy-going and amiable

members remain unflinchingly positive. Aiming to

make the most of every moment, the group displays

an undying juvenile naivety and passion that’s easy to

fall in love with.

Separating themselves from other acts in town,

the boys go on to every stage with only one goal:

to entertain.

“There’s a lot of bands that are good, but are

boring to see live. We don’t want to be that. We want

to be the opposite of that,” says newest addition and

guitarist, Monty Montebon.

“And it’s not fake either,” adds powerhouse vocalist

and local music staple, Darren Ollinger.

“It’s easy for us to get caught in the romance of the

party we’re offering.”

With honest and ridiculous onstage chemistry, the

“We put out every record hoping to lose a couple fans.”

So begins vocalist and acoustic guitarist Sean Bonnette

of AJJ, formerly known as the Andrew Jackson

Jihad. You’ll read more on that later.

Coinciding with their fan alienation scheme, AJJ’s latest album The

Bible 2, adds multiple new elements to their music, including pianos and

synthesizers on several tracks. At the core of their sound is folk punk that

has morphed substantially across six records.

“With everything we record and with every release we do, I think one

thing we strive for is to not sound like we did on the previous record,”

offers Bonnette, who formed the band in 2004.

“It just keeps it fun it seems like we are being truer to ourselves.”

He adds, “Hopefully that is kind of temporary for those people who

drop off, but it is better if it’s a shocking thing that people can’t understand

at first, and hopefully it grows on the listener.”

AJJ is a band with a cult following that step out from the shadows

whenever they pass through town. It’s unlikely that you’ll hear many

people talking about them; yet you’ll find that tickets to their show soldout

almost immediately. They are known for a very minimalist approach

that is mostly made up of fast-paced acoustic rhythms and frantic vocals.

While they are only playing a small handful of Canadian dates on their

upcoming tour, Calgary is thankfully one of them. Bonnette has fond

memories of the city.

He says, “the city of Calgary is awesome! It has a really interesting

downtown, super fun to walk around in. it has a big city feel and has this

really awesome western element… big trucks and cowboy hats. It’s a

really cool culture.”

Now, back to the name change that occurred last year. Despite their

Julius Sumner Miller has made being the life of the party a science.

atmosphere of any room can change to purely smiles

and laughter within seconds of a JSM show.

Since the release of their debut, the band claims

to have only gotten better and “more handsome.”

Creating a solid sound, advancing songs structures,

and adding “more crafty wordsmithing,” the growing

confidence as a collective has elevated the live antics

performed both on the stage and in the crowd

during their live shows.

“We were always pretty awesome on stage,” boasts

Ollinger, “But now there’s more confidence. It’s tighter

and it flows better.”

After adding new fuel to the fire with a new

guitarist, and becoming more structured and

committed, the band decided it was time to

release their second album. Claiming it to be

“one of the best albums ever,” the forever young

punks of JSM have every right to brag. With a

by Chase Key

history as a social justice oriented band, the quartet realized its usage was

problematic and wasn’t worth fighting for.

“If I felt strongly about the name I would defend it, but I don’t

care about it anymore. I use to argue my way to feel I was convinced

I was in the right and I can’t do that anymore so I am not going to,”

explains Bonnette.

“When we first started and named the band, we didn’t think we

would be a band for very long. We thought it was going to be a three

month kind of thing… but then it turns out we have good chemistry

and enjoyed playing together. We never found a cause to break up

the band and start a new one with a better name.”

Currently, AJJ is on tour for the decade anniversary of their album

People Who Can Eat People Are the Luckiest People in the World.

Certainly, it says something that their fan base still rabidly appreciates

the album 10 years after its release.

“It’s pretty great I think,” Bonnette offers.

“I am reconnecting to a lot of the songs that we haven’t been

playing as much for the past 10 years... I have to say relearning those

songs is super fun because I haven’t played guitar like that in a very

long time. The songs are way faster than anything I have written in

quite a while. That’s been really awesome and confidence boosting.

I am old now, but I can still play it and sing it better because I don’t

smoke cigarettes anymore.”

As to what the future holds for AJJ, “our next little thing will be a total

180 from The Bible 2, it will probably be out in early August, a little five

song EP that will be put out under the name ‘The AJJ’ because band

names don’t matter.”

He continues, “The sound is mostly softer, there is one song that

kind of rocks, it is a slow rocker, and then there are two acoustic

songs that are sad, and a jingle I wrote for a 3D organ printing shop

that I drew a cartoon of. After that I feel the band is about to enter

a pretty productive period… It is time to start on a new thing.”

photo: Richard MacFarlane

AJJ will be playing at the Biltmore Ballroom on August 31 (Vancouver),

and will also be playing two shows, including one all-ages performance, at

The Palomino on September 2 (Calgary).

by Jackie Klapak

fuller sound and style, the newest addition of

songs presents a true sound replicating the image

of their onstage carefree aire. Still keeping some

classically punk timed songs, which play under

a minute, the album entirely complements the

skills of every individual. While creating songs

dedicated to inside jokes, last Saturday’s crazy

night, or something that literally just happened

that needs to be immortalized, every member

puts in a piece of comical creativity between

beers to build a zany repertoire of fast paced, funpunk

tracks. Every miniature guitar solo, burst of

double-kicks and blissful gang vocal chant builds

a carnival of songs, all exciting and inviting listeners

for another go around.

On track to release a new album yearly, the goal is

to create something much like an auditory memory

book; one where you can listen back and laugh at the

drunken mistakes of the past year while continuing

to create new ones.

Exclaims Byskal, “We’re just going to: tell funny

jokes, be best friends, drink a lot, play cool shows, and

make everyone think that’s the best band they’ve

ever seen.”

Julius Sumner Miller releases Rock Around The Radius

on August 12 at Vern’s Pub (Calgary) for the second

annual Weekend at Vernie’s event also featuring All

Hands On Jane, Klusterfunk (YEG), and Hedks (YVR).



swept away by a lonely love

The Ashley Hundred release their long-anticipated debut in September.

Somewhere between folk, rock and pop lies The

Ashley Hundred. A mingling of rock guitar and

psychedelic keyboard rhythms, laced with the

subtle twang of banjo and driven home by powerful

front-and-centre drums, their music is inherently

danceable and surprisingly philosophical. The combination

fits a festival stage as well as it does a rainy

drive through a windswept mountain pass.

The Ashley Hundred is about to release their first

full-length album, Lonely Love, the product of 18

months of hard work. It was recorded throughout

fall and winter 2016 at OCL Studios in Calgary, and

is the first album the group has recorded, mixed and

mastered entirely in a professional setting.

“We were all kind of trying to be on our A game.

Don’t get me wrong… it’s a great experience, but we

went there to work,” says vocalist and guitar / keyboard

player Andrew Franks.

“I feel like that’s kind of what the experience was like,

we had this time in this state of the art studio and we

made the most of it while still having a good time.”

What came out at the end of the day is a mix of

sounds and emotions that in their own way capture

the journey The Ashley Hundred has been a part of

over the past few years.

Guitarist Carson Stewart says, “I think this record is

basically a snapshot of that progression.”

Their open-ended writing process really shows

through in the variety of tracks on the album. Genre

is not ignored so much as it is assimilated. It’s hard

to place their music into a box when lap-steel guitar

mixes with dance beats in the same moment.

“Really everyone on this record has a little piece of

it they can call their own, which is really cool to be

able to say,” says Brett Cassidy, who plays banjo and


by Jodi Brak

lap-steel guitar.

“Some of it is very introspective, a couple of songs

are just more playful. That’s who we are as people…

Emotion is a huge spectrum and I think we try and

capture as much of the human experience as we can.”

Franks adds, “There is no one specific way that we

write songs. Somebody will come with pretty much

an entire song written and everybody just adds their

flavor onto it.”

Lonely Love was, in many ways, made possible by

The Ashley Hundred’s participation in the Prophets

of Music Emerging Artist Scholarship Program. Over

the past year they have worked closely with mentors

in the Canadian music scene to grow as songwriters,

and to better understand what it takes to pursue

music as a career.

As Stewart says, “Man, they just blew our expectations

out of the water for the amount of help that they

gave us. We couldn’t have done half of what we did this

last year without their help.”

Key to their efforts was the recording time provided

by OCL Studios, where they worked with Josh Gwilliam,

the wizard behind the OCL soundboard.

“I think one of the biggest things for us is we were

working with both Josh Gwilliam and Chris Sandvoss

on really crafting our songs and our dynamics,” says

Jordan Moe.

“We were looking at our songs completely differently

after this process. We’re already writing new stuff

after this and we have these things in our head right

from the beginning which is a really cool thing.”

The Lonely Love record release party is at Dickens with

Fox Who Slept the Day Away and The Archaics on

September 1 (Calgary).


precocious prophecies

Audrey Niksic, a.k.a. Slut Prophet, has had

a busy year. In addition to playing her

first Sled Island alongside a slew of other

shows, she is releasing her first split EP. This all

comes before she’s old enough to vote.

The June release was co-created with New Jersey

rapper Blunt Prophet. Prophecies is one half bedroom

hip-hop, one half lo-fi feminist punk.

“My boyfriend is super into hip-hop and rap,

mostly Soundcloud rappers and that kind of thing,”

explains Niksic.

“We were just talking about random stuff, and

he remembered reading about Blunt Prophet in a

blog, and I just thought it would be so funny if we

made a split together, just joking around because

the names worked so well together. So just I shot

him a Facebook message.”

The rest, as they say, is history.

“It was funny, I did not expect him to answer,

but that’s really how it came about. He was so on

board with it, and I’m really happy it happened.”

Taking up the “Slut” side of the cassette, you’ll

find a quartet of tunes including a lament of

haircuts gone awry (“Accidental Terf Bangs”), a

Karen O cover (“Rapt”), and a track on everyone’s

favorite movie trope, the Manic Pixie Dream Girl

(“Annie Hall”).

“I really didn’t know anything about [Woody

Allen],” says Niksic in reference to the track. “I’d

only watched Annie Hall (1977) recently, right

before I wrote the song, and I was like, what the

fuck is this?”

She continues, “I think the theme of the song

came after, but I wanted to write a song that was

contrasting ‘this is how you want me to be’ and

‘this is what I am,’ so the idea of ‘Manic Pixie Dream

Girl’ came after.”

And it’s this unapologetically-feminist perspective

that has become a Slut Prophet trademark.

“I don’t know when I got so angry, but I

think it was mostly just experiences that I

think every female-identifying person has on

Slut Prophet is one half bedroom hip-hop, one half lo-fi feminist punk.

by Morgan Cairns

a daily basis,” says Niksic. “I also worked at a

bar at a very young age. I was 15 and it just

kinda freaked me out the amount the waitresses

got hit on, me getting hit on so young.

I just got angry.”

And soon after, she turned to music as an outlet.

“It’s everything I want to do and say, but I’m too

shy to say in real life situations because men are

scary. It’s a way to express the anger.”

Forming Slut Prophet at the age of 16, Niksic is

all too familiar with trials of being a minor in the

music scene.

“It’s hard sometimes. I get very frustrated just

being so young,” she says. But a recent change in

AGLC laws that allows underage musicians to play

in licensed bars, has proven to be a bright spot.

“I’m really thankful that the new law came

in place that minors are allowed to play bars,”

she says.

“The all-ages scene is really good here, but it’s

also more of a tight knit group so you’re always

playing to the same people. So the bars are nice to

get a new experience with that. It’s a little unfortunate

I have to leave right after my set… But I’m just

doing what I have to do until I’m 18.”

And lucky for us, Audrey officially turns 18 in

August, and she plans on celebrating her birthday

in style.

“I’ll be going to Local 510 the night before for the

BeatRoute issue release party!” she says, laughing.

Playing alongside Calgary’s Aiwass and Edmonton’s

Preston, it will be a birthday for the ages.

“It’s honestly the best way. I was hoping that

there would be a cool show happening, and if there

wasn’t I was just going to make my own show, and

then this happened. It’s perfect.”

Catch Slut Prophet alongside Aiwass and Preston

at Local 510 on August 10 (Calgary) for BeatRoute’s

August Issue Release Party! Her split album with

Blunt Prophet is available on Bandcamp and in

physical format.

photo: Willow Grier



jarring rockers are dripping with metaphor


welcome to flavour country

photo: Mike Tan

Since their inception in 2013, DRI HIEV has been consistently

releasing music that is emotionally disarming. It’s

ugly, jarring, and unusual: a mixture of early industrial and

post-punk, channeling the weirdness of Kraut rock. Across their

four recordings, the band has cemented their status in Alberta’s

burgeoning noise scene, rubbing elbows with Melted Mirror,

Rhythm of Cruelty and PMMA while blasting eardrums and

curling toes.

“You’ve seem to have accurately described our sound for us!

We’ve never been 100 per cent sure which genres we fit with,”

begins vocalist Carter Crough, who formed the band in 2013 in

Grande Prairie. Guitarist and programmer Dan Auger, and bassist

Born out of the icy boredom of a typically “brutal” Saskatchewan

winter, Saskatoon’s Shooting Guns had no illusions

of doing anything but keeping themselves amused

(and warm) when they first started their heavy, psychedelic

instrumental rock group.

“It was still four original members, myself, Chris Laramie (Switching

Yard), Keith Doepker and Jay Loos and that was what got us

through that first winter in 2009,” recalls percussionist Jim Ginther.

“The following spring Steve Reed joined us on synth and that was

the line-up for our next four releases: our debut album, Born to Deal

Magic (1952-1976), two split 7-inches in 2012 and 2013, and our

sophomore LP, Brotherhood of the Ram, later that same year.”

Spurred into action by an invitation to record the score for the

2014 Canadian cult-horror-comedy film WolfCop, Shooting Guns

quickly outfitted their aptly named Pre-Rock Record Label and

Studios in order to complete the project within a narrow six-month

timeframe. They succeeded, discovering a great deal about their own

resourcefulness in the process.

“In early 2014 Steve had moved away and we were approached

with the prospect of doing the WolfCop soundtrack, so we brought

Toby Bond on board cuz he’s a synth-wizard and classical trained

piano and viola player. He actually used to play in the Saskatoon

Symphony; it really gave us a whole new set of tools to work with.

Being an instrumental band there are only so many avenues you have

and top-40 radio isn’t really one of them. The idea of soundtrack

work had always appealed to us. This was a gift-wrapped opportunity,

so we used that panicked enthusiasm to get it done in time.”

Invited to repeat this feat for the sequel to WolfCop creatively

dubbed Another WolfCop (which premiered at Fantasia Film Festival

in Montreal just last month), amidst an active touring schedule,

Shooting Guns has expanded their artistic horizons while earning

accolades and fans along the road to Hollyweird. Most recently, the

Polaris-nominated band has turned their headlights back toward

by Sarah Kitteringham

Kyle Crough join him. The trio relocated to Calgary shortly after

their formation, striving for the fellowship of a stronger scene.

“When we moved, it took us a while to find the scene. Dan

and I are fairly anxious people so it was difficult to approach

other artists. Luckily, Kyle is much more socially confident and

dived straight into the scene, introducing us to groups we were

initially intimidated by. Now we know there’s a home here for

us. We couldn’t be more grateful to the freaky people that

support DRI HIEV.”

The band has cultivated a unique following based on their

early-Ministry-meets-Bauhaus-meets-ear shredding-feedback

sound. On the musically and metaphorically loaded DRIP,

they’ve played up their Big Black worship to extreme effect.

Indeed, the title could be interpreted many ways. It seems this

release was recorded in a dripping basement, the ugly snare

sound reminiscent of the monstrous one found on Songs about

Fucking (1987). The song titles are also allegorically related to

being a “drip”— as in, a weak and ineffectual person.

“DRIP, at first, was an inside joke about us. Referring to our

slow writing process and short releases,” admits Crough.

“But once again, you’re observations are correct, drip also is

implying to being a weakling. Most of the lyrics are ambiguously

(and selfishly) written about myself. Referencing themes of

pulpy science fiction and true crime to my personal experiences.

It’s always been an outlet for frustration. I usually feel way

better about myself after writing a silly song, poking fun and

shedding light on my emotions.”

See DRI HIEV on tour across Canada. The band plays Heck Haus

on July 27 (Lethbridge), Handsome Daughter on July 29 (Winnipeg),

Vangelis Tavern on August 10 (Saskatoon), Captain’s Cabin on August

11 (Medicine Hat), and the Brixx on August 12 (Edmonton).

by Christine Leonard

home, focusing on the launch of their new album, Flavour Country.

Mastered by longtime friend and trusted producer John McBain

(ex-Monster Magnet), the vorpal tones invoked on Flavour Country

conjure a post-prog prairie dust storm that will have you running.

Not for the root cellar, but for your black leather jacket.

“We have Pre-Rock Studios set up in such a way that we just

record the whole time whenever we jam. Having everybody playing

together captures a bit of that live energy,” reflects Ginther.

“I think a good take goes farther than the best sounding remix.

Flavour Country starts hard and heavy and then releases into a relaxation

at the end, whereas the side-b is these two gritty eight-minute,

one-off jams (the title track and “Black Leather Jacket”) and takes you

on a psych-metal journey. You’re shifting gears on one side and going

on a sojourn on the other side. It’s just one of the things that makes

this album unique.”

Shooting Guns release Flavour Country on August 11 via RidingEasy

Records. You can pre-order or buy the album at


little lamb, big plan

by Taylor Odishaw-Dyck

photo: Carly Haynes

I was a teenager, I dove into the ‘90s rock sound, and

fell in love with it.”


So begins Tad Hynes of Little Lamb. He’s sitting on the back

patio, sipping summer beverages while we chat.

“As I started playing with Mammoth Grove, I got into more psychedelic

bands, and I always loved classic rock… But I wanted to take a step back from

being so heavy all the time, and just let there be more space.”

This summer, Tad went out on a limb, and started his own project, producing

an entire album out of his home studio on Logic 10. As the bassist and

back up vocalist for psychedelic grunge-rockers Mammoth Grove, he knew

he was capable of fronting a band, so he put his best foot forward. The result

is an immaculate 11-track album with strong Alice in Chains undertones.

Hynes was previously the frontman of hard rock band Dumbstruckt, but

in his time playing with Mammoth Grove, he recalls learning, “to listen to

what the other members are doing, not so much focus on yourself, but to

listen to it all.”

It appears Hynes has implemented his observations in his new project,

Little Lamb’s debut Cool Moon maintains a certain instrumental coherence,

while winding through a variety of unique styles.

There are many notable tracks on Little Lamb’s full-length, but an obvious

standout is the title track. The song starts with an extended fade in on a

simple, open-tuning acoustic guitar riff, and drops smoothly at the 45-second

mark into a full shoegaze sound. It’s accentuated by a fresh live drum kit, a

mind-melting lead guitar slide, and a sultry bass line.

The song was inspired by his outstanding experience at the rural Alberta

music festival North Country Fair, which will celebrate its 40th anniversary

next June. While enjoying the annual festival, Hyness recalls “just hanging by

the river, with my sisters and my bros.”

Music is just one form of self-expression that Hynes has delved into; he

also started his own embroidery company called Little Lamb Needle Work a

few years ago. He describes using this art-form to “get creative, make my own

style, and sell my stuff.” This summer, his needle-and-thread skills came in

handy, as he created his own cover art, via the mode of embroidery. When

asked about why he does this increasingly unusual artform, he responds,

“because I love it.”

The very physical, DIY nature of this art form reflects in the music of the

earthy project, pulling listeners passionately in to explore new sonic worlds.

Catch Little Lamb’s album release party alongside Slim Hawley and The Varmoors

at the Nite Owl on August 19 (Calgary).



some more things to put in your daytimers


building community through folk

by Chase Key

Dent May plays Calgary on August 29 at The Palomino.


Oakville, Ontario’s prog titans Saga regretfully announced their retirement

after 40 years of making prog-rock music in Canada and touring the globe.

With 22 albums to their name since the group’s inception in 1977, they are

no slacker in the Canadian music scene. Fans have one final chance to catch

the trippy, laser-and-light filled experience of their live show before the group

hangs up their instruments and moves on to new things. Saga will playing the

Grey Eagle Event Centre in Calgary on August 12.


Ever wondered what it would sound like if somebody started a punk rock

band with a 12-string acoustic guitar and an electric violin? Wonder no more!

Vancouver’s AK-747s will fill that void in your life with their raw, live-off-thefloor

energy. Their sound isn’t what you’d expect, and it is definitely worth a

listen for fans of more stripped-down punk. AK-747s perform at the Nite Owl

in Calgary on August 26.

Dent May

Looking for some Animal Collective backed, weird art-pop infused rock

music to round out your weekend? Let Dent May fill that void. Originally

from Mississippi but now operating out of Los Angeles, Dent May’s music lays

in that middle ground between socially relevant rock music and purely fun

pop. For every synth rhythm, there is an easily distinguishable guitar line in

the background, giving the music a sort of duality. Dent May will playing at

The Palomino on August 29, just 11 days after his newest album Across the

Multiverse drops via Carpark Records.

Against Me!

Against Me! Is a punk band that has undergone a myriad of changes over the

years, gaining the spotlight with a string of hits and remaining there as lead

vocalist Laura Jane Grace underwent a gender transition in the early 2000’s.

The group has continued to pump out emotionally honest punk tunes,

focusing recently on issues of transphobia and the struggles of the transgender

community. Against Me! will be playing the Marquee stage in Calgary on

September 6.

• Jodi Brak

Blake Unruly is touring his folk tunes east of the rockies.

sense, I’m just a dude making music, as we are all global citizens now

but I have a passion for being Canadian that I didn’t foster myself,” begins

“In a

Blake Unruh, who goes by the stage name Blake Unruly.

“Road tripping across the country was part of my childhood… I am just grateful

for what it is and what it gives to me. It is better as people to focus on small areas like

the cities we live in. I don’t always think about it but Canada is rad.”

Blake’s sound changes depending on the season, or the musicians backing him

up, but an acoustic guitar and soulful folk singing are his staples. He writes strippeddown

folk music that is centred on clean, rhythmic guitar playing and witty lyricism

that is both inspired and cynical in its own way.

“Sometimes it is difficult when someone’s energy doesn’t fit with the song, it is not

always about skill with an instrument, it is about getting the feel or vibe of a song.

Sometimes great things come out of it or sometimes the energy just isn’t there…

Right now I am mostly solo, I have a kit drum and pedals… my feet and limbs become

the obstacles. But all I want is just for something true to happen… I just want it

to be genuine.”

He describes himself as a community minded musician, saying, “I have lived

in several different places… I have learned how to get into scenes. Some groups

become too into their own scenes, but I enjoy playing for new people. I have

started open mic nights near my home and just enjoy getting to know my local

community. I also studied music therapy and want people to feel when they

leave that they had a good connection not only with me but others there as

well. People are all looking for community. We are all so close to other people

but we don’t know our neighbors.”

As far as what he hopes the future holds, Blake says “the dream is being a music

therapist and touring with a band across Canada, maybe other places… Just end up

doing positive things with music… But honestly I am living the dream right now.”

Blake Unruly will be playing at Nite Owl on August 11 (Calgary) and a second “secret”

show on August 12 (Calgary).



keeping rock ‘n’ roll sweet and simple

When we are younger, we tend to be

much more impressionable - there are

certain things we come across that

can set us on a particular path. For Tony Esposito,

lead singer of White Reaper, it was as simple as

watching music videos from the likes of Judas

Priest and Accept; two influences very prevalent

in the band’s guitar-heavy sound. The young

Louisville, KY, native would eventually take some

of that inspiration and charisma to create “The

World’s Best American Band,” or so White Reaper

have deemed themselves with their latest release

of the same name.

It was around the age of 13 that Esposito, the

lead vocalist and guitarist of the group, would

rally the troops to start playing together. Esposito

recalls playing at Skull Alley, an-all ages venue in

his hometown that allowed his band to perform.

The band consisted of Esposito, Ryan Hater (guitar),

and Sam (bass) and Nick (drums) Wilkerson,

and honed their skills at the Alley. Through high

school, the guys would grind through the local

scene, hitting the road nationally only once they

could ditch the books.

White Reaper’s sound has certainly evolved

over the years, but it’s always been loud. The

quartet seem to fit in a variety of genres within

the indie rock world, they bring elements of classic

’60s garage rock and the rock revival of the late

’90s to early ’00s. The product is a library of lo-fi,

melodic, poppy rock ‘n’ roll songs. That being

said, their new album, The World’s Best American

Band, released in April via Polyvinyl, incorporates

a healthy dose of arena rock which is felt through

the heavy, driving guitar riffs.

Obviously the new project’s title is supposed

to be taken in jest, the band has displayed their

sense of humor with earlier releases as well, like

2015’s, White Reaper Does It Again. The band is

obviously confident, and maybe that’s because

they are obsessive. After their four month North

American tour, Esposito bluntly proclaims that

he and his band mates are “just going to keep

making records and putting them out,” without

pause. A method defined by their choice to book

studio time without having any material to work

with for their newest project; Esposito calls it,

“Let’s just make a record.” A bold strategy, but

one that has led to a very good album this time


The future for White Reaper is bright, and

it’s certainly nice to see a band penetrating the

ever-expanding indie rock scene with a more

traditional power pop sound. Esposito even admits

that modern rock ‘n’ roll seems to be a little bit

softer than it used to be, but denies any credibility

to anyone’s opinion on such a massive and diverse

category of music. Things are much less complicated

with White Reaper; they’ll either be on the road

or in the studio; always making a racket.

White Reaper perform on August 30 at the Winspear

Centre (Edmonton) and August 31 at MacEwan Hall


White Reaper pronounces itself The World’s Best American Band on latest release.

by Max Asper

photo: Jesse De Florio





Lethbridge’s first femme and gender-non-conforming music and arts festival

I started in the punk scene there was a lot of

uneasiness when I would go out,” says Brittany


Griffiths, bassist for Lethbridge’s flagship punk

garage band Fist City (who are currently on hold).

“I would get anxiety cause I would think, ‘Okay, I’m the only black

woman here at this punk show full of white dudes... are some of

these guys sexist, are some of these guys racist, am I welcome here, is

somebody going to say something?’

“There was this moment of realization when I was in my early

20’s that I realized that no matter what I do, people are going to

have certain assumptions based on the way that I look.”

Griffiths, who has taken a step back from her music to focus

on school, is part of the group of people organizing FLIP Fest,

Lethbridge’s first femme and gender-non conforming music and

arts festival, which will take place August 18-20 across multiple

venues in the city. Their aim is to make attendees feel welcome,

safe, and celebrated.

“As members of both the Lethbridge and larger Canadian

music communities, we have seen and experienced the various

struggles and injustices women and gender-non-conforming

artists face while trying to participate in local music,” says FLIP

Fest on their Facebook page.

“The acronym FLIP, standing for Femmes Love Intersectional

Politics, broadly represents our goal of creating an encouraging,

inclusive, and safer music community in Lethbridge and beyond.

The festival itself aims to celebrate the amazing and diverse talent of

female and gender-non-conforming artists, while also educating the

larger community on anti-oppression and safer spaces within music.”

FLIP Fest will showcase a variety of local and out-of-town talent at

multiple venues, including the Owl, The Slice, Blueprint, and more.

The bands range from the angry feminist punk rock of the Shiverettes

and Slut Prophet; to the ethereal experimental soundscapes of


a space for the ‘weird’ artists

Cassettes, shows, safe spaces, and friends.

“I already.”

just don’t want to put out anything normal,

because everything normal has a platform

So begins Cory Fischer, initial co-founder of Terrific

Kids Artist Collective, when speaking of the cassette

tapes they’ve released. They include such titles as l.n.

baba’s experimental offering no man is an internet

Foonyap, respectfulchild and Feverfew; to the country folk magic of

Shaela Miller and the Mary-Lee Bird Band; to the dreamy alternative

pop of Brenna Lowrie and Maggy France.

The festival also offers an Anti-Oppression Workshop facilitated

by CKXU 88.3 FM’s Social Justice Advocacy Committee, a roundtable

discussion on Women of Colour in Music facilitated by Manuela

Zarzuela, Saturday brunch hosted by the University of Lethbridge

Caribbean Association, yoga from Pop Up Yoga Lethbridge and a

Handmade Market at the Southern Alberta Art Gallery.

“If you’re in a space and all men are performers and women

are in the audience, it just creates an imbalance. It’s much more

inspiring for women to see other women perform, ‘Yeah actually,

anybody can do this.’ It doesn’t matter what your gender is, your

skin colour, your sexual orientation,” says Griffiths of the inspiration

behind the event.

“I’m much more inclined to go to a show if it showcases female,

queer or people of colour,” she says. “And not to say that there’s not

talented bands comprised of white dudes, I don’t hate white dudes,

that’s not the point, it’s just the representation. And it’s just the

imbalance of representation that I’m really quite fed up with.”

The festival, which is entirely coordinated by volunteers, is by

donation, with a suggested donation of five to 10 dollars for each

show, in hopes that financial resources will be less of a barrier to


“Festivals like Femme Wave in Calgary and Not Enough Fest in

Edmonton, Black Brown and Fierce, these festivals that focus on the

talent of queer, women and people of colour [are important]. We

need more of this to happen so this can be more of the mainstream.”

FLIP Fest runs from August 18-20 in Lethbridge. Find a full list of

artists and events on Facebook (/flipmusicfest) and Instagram


and WINT’s jagged rock album Memory/Paranoia,

“Some of the bands that we’re all interested in, as a

community, don’t necessarily have a home as much

as they might have… a basement. And the same for a

label, they might not have a home on another label,

so releasing it here is to bring all that weird together

into one.”

The Shiverettes play Flip Fest on August 18.

Formed in 2011 by Cory Fischer and Chris Kessler,

the Terrific Kids Artist Collective has taken an active

role in the Lethbridge music and arts community in

the past year and half as the collective attained more

members. Collectively, they chose to pursue the collective

as a more serious venture in regards to events,

show promotion, and tape releases.

Now seven members strong, with an orbiting

population of what they like to call ‘Terrific Kids’ who

contribute to the organization in valuable ways, the

collective consists of Cory Fischer, Mechaela Marr,

Arnaud Sparks, Jackson Tiefenbach, Curtis Windover,

Rebecca McHugh, and Brittany Ruston.

“We get to be a unified landmark for Lethbridge,

and I think that’s the most important

part. I think the tapes are a physical manifestation

of our unified Lethbridge that we’re trying to

form,” says Fischer.

“What we do is a section of what is happening in

Lethbridge,” says TK member Jackson Tiefenbach.

“And I think it’s well defined, and I think it’s

important, and it’s a scene that exists as a component

of the larger Lethbridge arts community... it’s the arty

weird ones.”

“We operate entirely as a little collective, we make

all of our decisions together, and it’s not this solo

adventure anymore of everyone doing their own

thing,” says Fischer.

“We meet every Tuesday, which we call ‘Terrific

Tuesday’, and we get together, we have fun, and it gets

by Courtney Faulkner

photo:Jarrett Edmund

by Courtney Faulkner

serious sometimes, and we book shows for bands

coming from out of town.”

“It’s also just very DIY,” offers member Mechaela


“Like with The Farm [a local practice space and

private venue], there’s the silk screening out there, a

lot of the art for the comps are made locally, it’s a lot

more artist involvement than I think other things. It’s

a lot of do-it-yourself, figure it out as a group.”

The collective is currently working on developing

a safer spaces policy that is inclusive, anti-oppressive

and promotes a culture of care, openness, and learning.

They are looking for input from the community

to ensure that a diverse spectrum of voices are heard

and are a part of the organization’s vision moving forward

as a responsible facilitator for Lethbridge events.

“People are always welcome to come sit in, and if

they want to add something I think that’s awesome,”

says Arnaud Sparks.

“Basically anyone who’s attending show, and being

a good part of the music community, like is making

the music community better, I like to think they’re a

Terrific Kid,” says Fischer. “Like we’re all kind of these

Terrific Kids - “

“-Doing terrific things,” finishes Sparks.

Terrific Kids host the J Blissette tour kickoff with Marlena

Moore and Birch Barks August 5 at the Slice Bar

and Grill (Lethbridge). You can listen to and purchase

their cassettes online at



BassBus founder pulls out all the stops for a12 hour marathon of fun

Year four of one of Calgary’s most unique

events is fast approaching and once again

it has evolved and built upon its previous

years to become something even more grand and


Circle the Wagons and BassBus founder Baran

Faber spoke with BeatRoute in a rare free window of

time amidst an extraordinary hectic schedule. Faber

recently returned from Bass Coast Festival where the

BassBus team is responsible for building the Pirate

Radio stage. No easy feat, especially when you’ve got

CTW right around the corner.

“It’s absolutely insane. I don’t think I could put it

into words what I go through,” says Faber, who says

he’s been working 18 hour days since he’s been back

in Calgary. He said at Bass Coast this year he had to

develop and structure a strong leadership team to

step up and make sure the crew was meeting deadlines

and having the vision that he normally has to

ensure that the job was done, while he was working

from a mobile office on the bus itself, getting the

pieces together for CTW.

“I had to really kind of learn how to delegate and

just make sure that I cover all bases while all of this

stuff was going on. That being said there’s no easy

way to do it, it’s just a shit-ton of hard work. I believe

in, it I love it, I love seeing it come to life and that’s

what it takes to make it happen.”

This year Faber has really pulled out all the stops to

make this event even more sensational than years past.

In addition to the beautiful new site at Currie, there

are 30 new vendors, up from seven or eight last year.

There is a 30 foot inflatable climbing wall that actually

requires belaying, as well as 90 foot inflatable obstacle

course, the largest you can get in Canada. The line up

has also been carefully curated, with electronic acts

and bands interspersed throughout, to give the diverse

crowd a taste of both worlds and a well-rounded

festival experience.

“Over time it develops and we see what people like

and new areas to focus on and highlight and increase,”

explains Faber.

He says that while sometimes the workload seems

like almost too much to handle, getting to stand back

and take in his work when it’s finally complete and the

crowds are enjoying it reminds him why he does it and

“sends shivers up [his] spine.”

“That is the payment for me because it’s definitely

not monetary — it’s out of pure passion and the

love for it. And if it got to the point where I was just

working the entire festival and didn’t actually get to

experience the festival I’d come out of it and be like,

‘Okay why did I do that?’ So I always make sure I refuel

my tank by taking it all in as much as I can.”

• Paul Rodgers

HEADLINERS EXPLORE A DIVERSIFIED MUSICAL LANDSCAPE AT THREE DIFFERENT STAGES//////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

OPIUO from New Zealand rides the glitch-hop wave

and characterizes his DJ sets to be full of “brokenfrog-stomping-funkadelic-hippo-hop-monkey-crunkchunky-bouncy-stomach-morphing-bassdollopingscrumptious-bowl-of-glitchy-bass-love.”


HUMANS, the electronic-pop duo from Vancouver

can be described as well-rounded and fully engaged.

Not only have they developed an exciting live show by

intergrating their audience into their sound, but fans

love their music just chilling at home and “having sex.”


York City’s ‘brass house’ trio

and subway busking warriors,

rose to fame after a video of

them playing at Union Square

went viral and racked up over

four million views. Energized

by a baritone sax, a sizzling

trumpet and the “King of

Sludge” on drums, this urban

tribal mix of jazz, funk, groove

and avant-garde stomp is the

new-fangled, untamed shake,

shake, shake yr booty.

THE BOOM BOOMs, straight

outta Vancouver’s East Side, are

adored by fans who love their

beach party vibe, soul, surf, R&B

and funk. They live for the road,

busking and touring through

Europe, the States and down to

South America where they are

embraced and endorsed by Brazil.

Fun-lovin’ troubadours that

wax the Al Green silky smooth

and get down tight stealing

Prince back from Bruno Mars.

Ladies love them, and men want

to be like them.



DJs GOLDCAP and SABO will play

a four hour back to back set. Of Armenian

blood based in LA, Goldcap

mixes tradition with modern beats.

Inspired by the mystical sounds of his

native country he peppers his music

with organic instrument samples that

cannot be replicated by software,

“They’re slightly imperfect, and that

makes them human.” While Sabo,

also an au natural enthusiast heavily

influenced by world cultures, channels

his live sets with “mixtures of a

meditative desert oasis and tropical

poly-rhythms featuring lush, tribal

vocal samples and smooth, organic




maintaining that subway stylin’ New York City groove

by Paul Rodgers


rock ‘n’ roll to take some of the stress off

by Jamie McNamara

Outta the subway and off to Barcelona, but it’s still “guerrilla warfare”.


Perhaps Too Many Zooz is a name that you’re

familiar with, fond of and might recognize, but

haven’t quite connected their name to a sound.

In 2014, a video recorded of the energetic three-piece

playing one of their countless performances in the

New York City subway went viral, drawing millions

of views. Since then the group has demonstrated

than they are substantially more worthwhile than a

one-viral-video pony by releasing several EPs, a fulllength

album and have taken their music from the

cavernous depths of the subway to audiences around

the world.

“It’s a pretty unforgiving place to perform music,”

says Matt Doe of the subway system in NYC as a venue.

“I think some of the really definite characteristics

are just the heat and the natural reverb that’s created

down there. It’s just a really sweaty, cavernous place

that all of these different kinds of people walk through.”

Too Many Zooz consists of Doe on trumpet, David

“King of Sludge” King their roaming percussionist,

and Leo Pellegrino, perhaps best known as the front

man of the band for the energetic dance moves he

manages to pull off while playing the monstrous

baritone sax. Although, the word “playing” doesn’t

justly describe what he does with that instrument.

Pellegrino makes noises that can only be described as

animalistic — a running theme in the band’s songs.

The group as a whole creates a huge collective

sound, oftentimes belying that there is only three of

them. They draw influence from jazz, afrobeat, rock

and EDM and have dubbed their genre as “brass

house.” Their first full-length LP entitled Subway Gawds

both encapsulates the minimalist nature of the group

as a three-piece, but also demonstrates what the trio is

capable of when collaborating with others.

“There was really no plan or grand master scheme

to create what we created it just happened spontaneously.

And as we grew together, I think our collective

goals grew with that,” says Doe, speaking from

Manchester, England after the band was stranded for

10 hours in Barcelona due to an airline workers’ strike

that resulted in having to cancel a gig for the second

time ever.

As a kid Doe dreamed of touring the world as a

musician, and now that his dream has been actualized

both his and the band’s goals have grown and

matured. Despite their rigorous schedule and the

allure of partying and indulging while on the road,

Doe feels the group remains focused and have been

working on a new material in “guerrilla warfare” style

whenever they get a chance.

“I think at this point for us we feel at home when

we’re on the road now. For me, getting to my hotel

room and working on a track for three, four hours

after the gig, that’s way more satisfying to me than

getting home and watching a movie or playing a

video game or something.”

Although the band has found their touring groove,

and love being able to connect to crowds in different

ways than they were used to in NYC, they miss the

simplicity of performing in the subway to the thousands

of wildly diverse and unique characters who

commute every day.

“There’s a simplistic nature to the subway that we

all appreciated, but as things change we like to try

and keep ourselves, and the way that we operate, the

same or at least in the sense that everything’s grounded,”

he explains. “Even though we’re trying new things

and doing different musical collaborations and stuff

like that, I think a lot of it for us is just maintaining

what we did and keeping that original kind of spirit

and energy.”

See Too Many Zooz perform at Circle the Wagons

on September 9.

Musical collaboration

can be a very

strange thing to try

and understand. There are the

easy collaborations where two

artists seem to be speaking the

same language from the get-go,

but often, the more interesting

collaborations are the artists

who seem to be speaking two

different languages and still

manage to be completely in


For Faith Healer’s Jessica

Jalbert and the band’s newest

official member, producer Renny

Wilson, their collaboration

style is the latter of the two. On

the phone from Edmonton,

Jalbert describes the process

of working with Wilson on Try

; - ), the follow-up album to

her critically acclaimed debut,

2015’s Cosmic Troubles.

“Well, we’re talking about

the same exact thing, but were

using different words,” says

Jalbert as she describes one of

the record’s quirkier moments,

the end of album-highlight

“Such a Gemini.” Jalbert and

Wilson engage in a nonsensical

discussion, mishearing each

other say “waiting” and “rating,”

both acting as if they are in

complete understanding.

“The thing I gather from that is something that

happens all the time between Renny and I, where

we’re talking about the exact same thing, but we

think we’re talking about something different because

we’re using different language,” explains Jalbert.

“We actually understand each other, but we’re

spending so much time on the fact that we think

don’t understand each other. It’s very funny for him

and me to work together because we’re so incredibly

different, but I think we usually get each other completely.

We just don’t realize it sometimes.”

By now, Jalbert and Wilson have a creative rapport

built up since Jalbert played in Renny Wilson Punk

Explosion before working together to record Cosmic

Troubles. The pair reconnected to record Try ; - ) in

September of 2016 when Jalbert rented a room in

Wilson’s Montreal home for a month.

The two spent nights jamming for hours and

listening to bargain bin rock records, while days were

spent in Wilson’s personal studio. It was during this

process that Jalbert and Wilson decided that it made

sense for Wilson to become a full-time member of

Faith Healer.

So, what’s changed now that Faith Healer is no

longer a solo project? According to Jalbert, not all

that much.

“The process was quite similar to [Cosmic Troubles],

but we just kind of made the decision part way

through the record that we were going to put [Try

; - )] out as Faith Healer being Renny Wilson and me.

Just, for a number of reasons, but primarily it was

easier to work on it coming from the position of both

of us being really invested in it.”

photo: Levi Manchuk

Edmonton’s Jessica Jalbert and Renny Wilson return with Try ; - )

That mutual investment was already clear on

Cosmic Troubles, but even more so on Try ; - ). The

result is an album that is a step forward from Cosmic

Troubles in just about every way imaginable, combining

Jalbert’s knack for ‘60s-indebtted psych pop with

Wilson’s sprawling-yet-intimate sonic flourishes that

make the album one of the most headphone-worthy

psychedelic pop albums in recent memory. Jalbert’s

trademark Faith Healer fuzz is still one of the best

things about these new songs, but it’s often the new

elements like crusty clavinets (“&Waiting”) or washes

of synths (“Sterling Silver”) that steal the show.

The latter track is an outlier in Faith Healer’s

catalog, leaving out guitars and opting instead

for an ethereal sound that is oddly reminiscent

of Enya. When the Enya comparison comes up in

conversation, Jalbert laughs as if she expected it

to happen.

“Renny actually introduced me to “Orinoco Flow”,

which Enya had as a big hit, and that’s a fuckin’ good

song. I really like that song. That wasn’t specifically

what we were trying to reference, and actually, we

have three different recorded versions of “Sterling Silver”

before we landed on that one. So, it was kind of a

fluke that it took the Enya direction, but I like it. This

is definitely my contribution to new age,” she jokes.

“People could use it, life is so fucking stressful nowadays.

I believe in rock n’ roll to take some of the stress

off, but I also believe in that total new age bent.”

You can catch Faith Healer’s Record Release Show at

99ten in Edmonton on September 8th, or in Calgary for

Circle the Wagons Festival on September 9th




synthy sci-fi pop duo release first EP

Le Plaisir’s debut is available now on cassette.

Although it was requested of BeatRoute to make Amelia

Aspen and Doug Organ sound cooler than they are, we didn’t

have to try very hard to fulfill the responsibility. The husband

and wife duo have been transient the past couple of years living in

Paris while curating an artists residency called Break’ Art Mix. There,

Organ spent time in the South of France, studying with the infamous

Steve Albini; the duo aims to follow-up on their European tenure by

eventually hunkering down in Los Angeles. They’re pretty cool.

Before moving to Paris, Aspen was part of the lovable Edmonton

psych-pop group the Lad Mags. Evidently, the project may truly be

finished; a fact Aspen seems at peace with. Organ also pitched in to

the scuzzy garage soul project’s success, having recorded the band (he

runs Edmontone Studio), giving Aspen and Organ the opportunity to

work together. While the official timeline might be slightly blurry, this


chanteuse conjures music in the moment


few months ago, Ella Coyes ran into a

friend at a show. The friend promptly

exclaimed, “I have a gift for you!”

“Why?” Coyes replied.

“That was the worst thing I could have said,” Coyes

thought to herself, as her friend handed over a freshly

dubbed cassette. It was the first copy of Coyes debut

album for her improvised folk alter ego, Sister Ray.

Later that evening after her own performance,

Coyes settled down at a friend’s place to listen to

her own album for the first time. Recorded at a live

show at Edmonton’s Sewing Machine Factory, every

song was improvised. So while she’d technically heard

everything within, it still took the musician aback.

“Sister Ray is 80 per cent improvised,” Coyes


“I’ll come into a show with a thing I like on guitar

or a lyric I like but that’s it. I’ll do max 20 per cent of

the writing before I go into a show.”

It’s a surprising revelation given the cohesive structure

and inherent ‘songiness’ of each track on the

eponymous, nine-song release. Coyes elaborated that

she was inspired after experiencing the power and

intensity of celebrated aboriginal throat singer Tanya

Tagaq, who performed at Interstellar Rodeo in 2015.

“I hadn’t seen her before and I just started

crying and I didn’t know why. I couldn’t stop. I

knew how amazing it was to see something that’s

was around the time Le Plaisir was born. Sharing the same name as a

1952 French dramatic comedy film, it translates to “the pleasure.”

“We had both played very different styles of music up until that

point, so it was mostly just really fun,” explains Aspen through sips of

black coffee.

“We found a synthesizer on the street in Paris. The same one that

Roxette uses! But we don’t sound like Roxette, to be clear,” she says,


The two easily found common ground between their varying

backgrounds and musical tastes, creating a sound not unlike the Lad

Mags, albeit with flickers of sci-fi and what Organ coins “synth and

drum machine nerdery.” Their lyrics veer towards post-apocalyptic

themes, capturing some of the harrowing experiences the city collectively

experienced two years ago.

Improvisational solo act captures raw emotion.

just happening; that wasn’t pre-meditated and was

really emotional.”

Coyes’ confidence to perform as the improvisational

act Sister Ray belies the deep vulnerability in

her songs. As Sister Ray, the only filter that Coyes’

photo: Fish Griwkowsky

purest thoughts and feelings are put through is

the audience. This creates a reciprocal experience

between her and those at the show.

“I can’t do it without a live audience. I have

to feel the feelings of everyone in the room,

by Brittany Rudyck

“We moved to Paris right before the 2015 attacks happened, and

lived on one of the streets where people were killed on a restaurant

patio by machine gunfire,” recalls Aspen, referencing the devastating

six target attack that tragically resulted in 130 deaths, including

89 concert goers at the Bataclan theatre during an Eagles of Death

Metal show.

“It was a really weird time and we ended up staying basically

locked down in our tiny apartment for a few days reading the endless,

grim news on our phones and barely talking,” he recalls.

“It really felt like the world was ending and that we were totally

alone. That sounds really melodramatic in retrospect, but that was

really how it felt at the time.”

Drawing from this tragedy, Aspen and Organ began writing more

as a unit, finding both ease and discomfort from working together so


“I find co-writing a little bit difficult,” Organ acknowledges.

“It’s kind of like taking turns saying words and putting a sentence

together. And we’ve had a couple of false starts. Thinking a song was

cool but then having no inspiration to keep going with it.”

“It was so utterly recreational. The stakes felt kind of low,” adds


Even though they enjoyed working on their own, the duo utilized

a Paris connection, Julia Houdin of the band Lemon Lake. She

provides a few handclaps and generally provided emotional support

during the sessions. You can use the whirling psychedelics of the

Lad Mags to guide our ears into future familiarity; another reference

point is one that we promised wouldn’t be mentioned by us in this


“Somebody explained to me once the difference between what

inspires you and what actually influences your sound,” Organ offers.

“I don’t think a lot of people make that distinction. We like to say

we’re parked outside the arena Moon Duo are playing.”

Le Plaisir released their self-titled EP at 9910 on July 28 [Edmonton]. They

have a run of tapes available for your listening pleasure.

photo: Haley Pukanski

by Levi Manchak

that’s how the songs are guided, directed and

how they move,” she says. At a Sister Ray show,

it’s not unlikely to witness middle-aged rock

dudes tear up alongside show-goers closer to

Coyes’ considerably younger age. Her emotionality

is striking and authentic, and that intensity

resonates through the recording. It’s easy to

understand how Coyes is able to bring a room

to tears every time her voice pushes just a little

past its limit and breaks.

The downside to simultaneously creating and

performing songs in real time is that it can be counter-productive

to building an audience. Coyes points

out, “I’ll play a show and someone will come up after

and ask ‘what was that song where you said THIS’

and I’ll have no fucking clue. How am I ever going to

know that? Sister Ray doesn’t work that way.”

The talent and sensitivity Coyes uses to hone

an ephemeral thought or feeling into a shared

experience takes a certain amount of bravery to even

attempt. It’s probably not useful to ask “Why?” when

confronted with her gift. It may just be better to just

lean into the moment and share it along with her.

Sister Ray’s debut drops on August 18 via Double

Lunch Productions. Pick up a copy of the cassette

that evening during her release show at the Sewing

Machine Factory (Edmonton).



the image and sound of Generation Z

Like an unstoppable freight train running

through the middle of the night, Preston

is the (not-emo) emo band expelling

anti-authoritarian sounds wrapped up in a

meme-loving shell. Architecturally and visually

inspired, the Edmonton post-punk band aims

to create the DIY sounds no one else is making

while exciting themselves and those around in

the process.

Mixed with varying time signatures, jazz

punk drums and drone guitar, the identifiable

Preston sound is inspired by things found in

everyday life.

“A lot of what I write is inspired by visual art

and I try to base my guitar work on architecture,”

explains riff curator and vocalist, Ezra Stanielson.

He is joined by his bandmates Cormac,

Brittany, and Zane.

“I think songs should be like buildings and

have a structure. Art transfers easily into music

because you can create a sound off of how

something looks.”

Alongside transcribing the imagery of

everyday life, the dynamic crew of lo-fi punks

contrast their doomsday sounds with personable,

affable attitudes in hopes to separate

themselves from the negativity in the world.

“I want to be exciting,” exclaims Stanielson.

“I want people to be excited!”

Throughout genre hopping and a few

line-up changes, the goal has always remained

consistent: to be confrontational in their sound

and fun in their nature. While facing a common

struggle of minimal spaces for youth bands

to play, the group continues to progress their

sound and craft.

The goal is to have Preston be the best in

Edmonton, then Alberta, then Canada, then the

world,” says Stanielson. While frequently denied

spaces to play due to being just shy of the freeing

age of 18, Preston pays homage to the other

DIY acts creating inclusive spaces.

“People who are pushing culture forward

are young people but it’s so hard to get youth

involved,” claims Stanielson.

Away from the onstage angst and antics,

by Jackie Klapak

Preston has been busy recording new tracks and

dedicating time into solidifying a sound they

can truly call their own. After releasing multiple

tapes since the beginning of the year, including

There is a Wrong Way in June, the goal is to take

time creating tracks to release a whole record

by the end of the year. On track to play more

shows and opening for Screaming Females in

October, Preston is a stark and aggressive force

moving fast and stealing hearts and inspiring

many along the way.

Preston released There Is a Wrong Way on cassette

in June. You can stream or buy the release at


long time collaborators release debut

photo: Jay Procktor

The musical ‘duo’ holds an underrated

place in rock and pop history. It’s a

unique and distinct interchange in

songwriting and performance, set apart from

a solo artist or band. But, you protest! Simon &

Garfunkel, Hall & Oates, Wham!... so perhaps

their relative underrated feel is debatable, but

if you fast forward to 2017, you’ll see very few

duos entering the market. This makes the first

full-length release by Edmonton’s Goldtop all

the more interesting.

Goldtop is the Edmonton electro-rock duo

comprised of indie veteran Everett LaRoi and

Alice Kos. Commonly mistaken for a couple,

LaRoi admits, “we have a little fun with that fact

with the crowd sometimes.”

Both are happily married; Kos notably to


Mark Davis, co-founder of Old Reliable, a band

responsible for carving out the alt-country

genre in this province. Davis played a major

influence in the making of the duo’s first official

release, if only due to his large vintage synth and

drum machine collection falling into the hands

of Kos and LaRoi. Aided by this collection, the

band has found true musical harmony on their

debut album, You Possess Me. Although formed

in 2012, it has been a journey of songwriting,

performing, and gathering their influences to

arrive at this collection of nine songs.

“We stumbled into the duo-with-drummachine/sampler

format while playing some

Eastern Canadian tour dates with the great

unknown American songwriter Marvin Etzioni,”

LaRoi explains.

by Glen Erickson

“This first album shows us exploring sonic

ideas within that format.”

The laundry list of influences for this recording

is fascinating. LaRoi traces his roots back to

Idyl Tea, one of the few indie-pop hopefuls out

of Edmonton in the ‘80s. Kos cites a range of

everything from the Everly Brothers, Psychedelic

Furs and Split Enz, to more recent works by the

Raveonettes. There is an inescapable presence

of lo-fi pioneers Low, a comparison they hear

often and are very comfortable with, due to the

sparse arrangements and the echoing timbre of

LaRoi’s vocals.

The duo has created a seriously cohesive

record, effortlessly blending light, echoed vocals,

layered over persistent guitar riffs and simple,

effective keypads and beats.

“All of our collaboration on this album has

been about instrumentation and arrangements.

We’ve only recently started co-writing, and I

think that makes sense,” clarifies Kos. On You

Possess Me, the duo wrote all but the title track,

which was an offering by their friend Etzioni.

That track was penned by their pal Etzioni in

1993 in honour of American singer-songwriter

Maria McKee, who famously penned the song

“If Love Was a Red Dress (Hang Me in Rags). So

why use his song for the band’s own uses?

LaRoi joyously quips, McKee was “my secret

imaginary girlfriend.”

You Possess Me was released on July 21. The release

party will be hold at The Needle Vinyl Tavern on

August 6 (Edmonton) with guests Marvin Etzioni.




DIY vagabond reveals duality on new release

Vancouver’s Jesse LeBourdais has been a

staple in the Canadian acoustic punk scene

since he began performing in 2012. Over

the last five years, Jesse has zigzagged his way

across the country, playing hundreds of shows and

multiple festivals armed only with his acoustic

guitar, energetic live performance and commanding

voice. As Jesse begins the cycle of releasing his

fourth full-length, his music has begun to evolve

with the addition of a full band, which in turn has

altered the way he records his music.

“Most of the other albums were written only partially,

with the rest of the details being added while I

was in the studio,” explains LeBourdais.

“This is the first album where we had the music,

drum parts, everything done and rehearsed before

entering the studio.”

The new album Grief, Intensity, Friendship is a

slight departure from LeBourdais previous albums

sonically and conceptually, but the anthemic vocal

hooks, acoustic songwriting and painfully honest

lyrics found in his earlier work remains. The reason for

the changes in production style came from working

with the legendary Vancouver based engineer/producer

Jesse Gander at Rain City Studios.

“Working with Gander was really great,” LeBourdais


“He’s very easy to work with and had some great

suggestions and ideas, which I was worried about

Grief, Intensity, Friendship is Jesse LeBourdais’ fourth studio album.

at first because I can be really opinionated about

details as well.”

Thematically the album stays true to its title. The

12 songs are born of the pain of loss, the strength of

photo: Luc Frost

friendship and the excitement of things to come.

“Last year was tough in a lot of ways, I lost some

good friends and the songs are informed by grief in

that aspect.”

by Kevin Klemp

Lyrically, the new songs explore the grief and loss

through experience, but also explore some self-deprecating

topics such uncertainty and self-doubt. For

those who have met Jesse, these topics might seem

antithetical to his open and inviting personality.

LeBourdais opened up about the duality, revealing,

“I’m not sure why I write songs like that. I tend to

punish myself for my mistakes and blame myself. I

also find it strange to be promoting myself as a product.

I’ve never been good at that side of the industry,

schmoozing with the

right people and networking.”

For many years, LeBourdais insecurities surrounding

the music industry have manifested into a strong

DIY ethic regarding the production and sale of art.

“I’ve always thought people pass onto other people

so much that they are able to do themselves.”

This attitude not only bleeds into his music but

also into Falter Farms, his coffee roasting company he

started last year that can be found at his merch table.

“I’ve gone too long without a boss,” Jesse explains.

“I’ve gone too far to turn back now.”

Grief, Intensity, Friendship was released online on July

10. You can listen to the release at

Physical copies will be available

at the Buckingham on August 31 (Edmonton), a

location TBA on September 1 (Calgary), and at the

Silver Buckle on September 2 (Medicine Hat).


letters from winnipeg


life through the rearview

Grant Davidson is the driving force and heart behind Slow Leaves.

kind of obsessed with thinking about the

past and thinking about time,” says singer-songwriter

Grant Davidson (a.k.a. Slow “I’m

Leaves), ruminating about the songs featured on his

latest release, Enough About Me, out independently

on August 11.

With his third album, Davidson returns to what

he knows best, finding poetry in ordinary things and

his own deep introspections. As the artist confesses,

he likes to live, and write about, his life as though he’s

looking back on it through a rearview mirror.

“It’s sort of like reverse nostalgia,” he explains. “I’m

always thinking about the end of my life. Not in a

morbid way, I’m just conscious of my own mortality…I’d

love to be lucky enough to be an old person and

to have warm, nostalgic thoughts when I look back on

my life and not have regrets…I don’t really live in the

moment…I’m always living in a different time.”

On Enough About Me, Slow Leaves’ inward lyricism

is backed by subtle arrangements—pared down but

never sleepy—and ‘70s country-folk signatures interspersed

with moments of straightforward humanity

(hear: “Love and Honesty and Kindness”). Indeed, these

tunes are as soothing and relaxed as they are personal

and heartfelt.

Further adding to that sense of intimacy is the video

for “Enough About Me,” filmed in collaboration with

his seven-year-old son, Eaton.

The self-referential title track is an easy-going opener

about Davidson’s “inherent selfishness,” featuring a

rich, percussive bass tone that permeates much of the

record. It’s a vintage quality that Davidson says he was

definitely chasing.

“One of my favourite albums is a Lee Hazlewood

record called Requiem for an Almost Lady,” he says

of the 1971 release. “It’s very simple production,


by Julijana Capone

photo: Christopher Dyck

and the whole thing is kind of driven by this bass. I

was after that.”

While the album was born primarily out of

demos made by Davidson in his basement, some

frequent collaborators make contributions to

the final product, including Jason Tait (Bahamas,

Weakerthans), Julie Penner (Broken Social Scene,

Do Make Say Think), Rej Ricard (The Telepathic

Butterflies, The Wind-Ups), and Rusty Matyas

(Imaginary Cities, Sheepdogs).

Fans of Slow Leaves’ 2014 critically acclaimed record,

Beauty is So Common may recall Matyas’ involvement

as producer on that effort, though this time around

Davidson took on production duties for the first time.

“A lot of the ideas came from me just sitting in my

basement trying things out,” he says. “For good or for

ill, a lot of it was created in isolation.”

Davidson acknowledges his collaborators for helping

to bring a different energy and forward-momentum to

his patient tunes. Yet at their core, his songs remain a

very insular affair.

“I write from an interior place,” he notes.

“I’m always trying to dig deeper into myself—to

a fault—and it’s not something I’m proud of. It sort

of makes me a little self-absorbed…I tend to be very

inward-focused, rather than writing about the things

I see around me. I guess it’s about how I see myself

within all of that.”

Slow Leaves performs on August 30 at the Needle Vinyl

Tavern (Edmonton), September 1 at the Ironwood

Stage and Grill (Calgary), September 2 at Waynestock

(Wayne, AB), September 15-16 at Harvest Moon Festival

(Clearwater, MB), and September 28 at the West End

Cultural Centre (Winnipeg). To purchase Enough About

Me, head to


journey into the abyss

Always the chameleons, Holy Void have

journeyed into hypnotic, experimental

depths over the years, much like their

psychedelic/shoegaze-leaning origins.

But the Holy Void of two years ago is not what

it was last year or even today. With their next, yetto-be-titled

album, expect Holy Void’s latest sonic

incarnation to take the form of a rough-edged,

no-frills garage band.

“Every album kind of has its own feel,” says

guitarist Grant Trippel.

“With our new record, we want to give it more

of an old garage-rock sort of feel…In the past, when

producing our records, there’s been lots of layering,

lots of atmospheric overdubs, and we wanted

to make this next record very honest, raw with a

live-off-the-floor sound. We’re recording this thing

entirely onto tape.”

The four-piece includes guitarists Trippel and

Michael Henderson-Castle (both of instrumental

surf-rock group The Catamounts), and bassist

Danny Hacking and drummer Kyle Loewen (of the

now defunct Surprise Party), with the later two

also finding time to contribute to other burgeoning

musical projects in Winnipeg, such as shoegaze

supergroup Juniper Bush with Lizzy Burt (of Basic

Nature), and stoner rock act TV Static.

“There’s a lot of cross-pollination going on,” says

Trippel. “Our jam space is always usually active with

some band rehearsing for a show.”

The band released their moody self-tilted EP

in 2015, featuring a collection of melancholic,

reverb-swathed tracks. Fast forward to 2016’s For

Everything Else EP released via the Transistor 66

record label, and the band’s kaleidoscopic palette

starts to come into greater focus.

Songs like “Matte Plastic” shed the doom and

gloom for some psychedelia with an unusually

Holy Void bring their ever-evolving tunes westward this summer.

by Julijana Capone

jaunty vibe, while the eerie “Red River” harkens

the darkness of earlier work. Creeping bass lines

swirl around echoing guitar riffs and Henderson-Castle’s

wobbly vocals. Given the immense—and

often tragic—history of the murky

waters (read: Drag the Red), the foreboding atmosphere

seems worthy of the band’s self-styled

“nightmare-pop” tag.

“We were in a bit of a transitional phase with the

last EP,” says Trippel. “We don’t want to be dark all

the time. We enjoy playing music of all styles.”

With all of the members of the band amalgamating

their collective influences into the project,

it’s easy to hear why they can’t settle on a singular

sound. But that’s just part of the Holy Void journey.

With a few EPs under their belts and a debut

full-length on the horizon, the band is ready to get

in the van and hit the highway for a nine-date stint

across Western Canada.

For those eager to hear Holy Void’s next effort,

Trippel mentions that a new single will be out

via their Bandcamp by the time they get out on

the road.

Aside from crushing beers in a bathtub, and

managing rotting fruit and fast-food debris in a hot

van, Trippel says they’ve yet to experience anything

too wild and crazy while on tour.

“We haven’t been robbed, we’ve managed

to break even and even make a bit of cash,” says


“Being with these guys it’s just always an


Holy Void perform on August 3 at Vangelis (Saskatoon),

August 4 at Mill Creek Café and Catering

(Edmonton), August 5 at the Palomino Smokehouse

(Calgary), August 12 at the Astoria (Vancouver),

and August 15 at the Slice (Lethbridge).




motivated by clarity, and a powerful mother figure

Vinnie Paz is on a writing tear, aided by a newfound sense of clarity.

Philadelphia in the early ‘90s was a hub

for counterculture. Revolving around

the thriving skateboarding scene were

polar opposite scenes emerging from metal,

hardcore, punk and hip-hop. From that

came a massively influential duo who are

now releasing their ninth album, The Bridge

and the Abyss. It comes 20 years after their

first full-length record and more than two

decades since their first EP, the infamous

Amber Probe (1996). Jedi Mind Trick’s main

spitter Vinnie Paz spoke with BeatRoute

on the phone from Philly, apologizing for

missing the first call. He was out for sushi

with his mom.

“There’s some freedom in not knowing

what the fuck you’re doing when you’re young

and that’s kind of what it was,” Paz says of

JMT’s origin story. He explains that in those

early days, their influences still shined through

too much, and that by taking the time to find

out exactly who they were, they were better

received in the long run.

“When you don’t know the rules, then

they’re not there to be abided by,” he says.

Their first full-length record came out in ’97,

and is wordily dubbed The Psycho-Social,

Chemical, Biological & Electro-Magnetic

Manipulation of Human Consciousness.

Stuffed full of analytical, grand scheme lyrics,

it features blazing rhymes over lo-fi, ponderous

beats. Released when Paz was only

19-years-old and doing a lot of drugs, it set

the standard musically and literally for JMT’s

lengthy career. Consciously, Paz got sober just

a year ago after being a “full-blown alcoholic”

who drank two bottles of Grey Goose a day.

He has now found clarity. In this sober year, he

said he has probably written more than in the

entire previous decade.

“There’s a method to the madness now

that I’m not sure was there before. Which isn’t

a bad thing, some cool things are born out of

chaos… It’s a little bit less chaotic [now] and a

little more regimented and thought out and


there’s more respect for the craft than there

was earlier.”

Paz reflected on making records in the

pre-digital music industry and explained how

Jedi’s “bugged-out, trippy, drug-induced psychosis

type shit” painted the act into a corner

they had to dig themselves out of.

“A thing [is] only really a mistake to me if

you don’t correct something or learn from it,”

offers Paz on the lessons learnt from musical


He said their second album, 2000’s legendary

Violent by Design, was partially made

in response to their first album’s perceived

strangeness. The album featured a more

hardcore style both vocally and lyrically, and

is infused with potent ferocity. It gained the

group a huge following.

“This is the shit that we’re on, but I mean,

I’m just one of those people that feels blessed

that people were interested on any level, and

appreciated what we did so I’ve never looked

back on things.”

When talking about releasing their latest

album The Bridge and the Abyss amidst the

current musical climate for hip-hop where

many are divided over what constitutes “real,”

Paz weighed in. He discussed it from the perspective

of growing up in Philly with two older

metal-head brothers, and the multiple subcultures

that were attracted to skateboarding.

“Let’s say you’re at the show, and then you

and I are hanging out at the show in Calgary

right, and some kid comes in and he’s like, ‘yo

underground hip-hop all day man, yadayadayada.’

That would somehow imply to me

that all other underground hip-hop is good

and a lot of it sucks.”

He continues, “I mean in 1990 was MC

Hammer and Vanilla Ice any better than Lil

Yachty? Alright, Lil Yachty’s out now, so what I

had to listen to [was] Vanilla Ice. There’s been

whack shit and good since the beginning of

the old shit [in] 1972.”

Paz has some pointed advice for aspiring

by Paul Rodgers

rappers which is split between what he calls a

“real answer” and a “politically correct, I don’t

want to sound like a dick answer.”

“My real answer is get your degree and

don’t rap. Because there’s not enough room

and you’re not as good as you think you are.

But that’s my real answer.”

Conversely, his politically correct answer

is to essentially take his mother’s advice, who

would “slap [him] upside the head if he was

ever rude to fan.”

“That’s why I’ve been able to sustain this

is. Because of what was instilled in me by my

mother and that is to always treat people the

way you want to be treated and be polite to

everybody because they’ve seen it all.”

In interviews and in lyrics, Paz comfortably

tackles politics, history, science, religion

and more, but he says conventional school

failed him and he never considered post

secondary after leaving high school. Rather,

he has always been independently driven to

consume knowledge and is an avid reader.

He also pointed to world travel, reiterating

that witnessing how governments do things

differently in countries around the globe has

impacted him.

“Man, I think travelling changed me more

than I ever thought that it would because I’m

kind of like a South Philly, dago, grease ball,

Italian kid and pretty stuck in my ways and

didn’t really think that anything would change

how I saw things.”

The wisdom he imparted over the phone

was simply too vast to be contained to a

limited word count, but with a new album

recorded with more passion and clarity than

ever, in addition to their already outstanding

back catalog, there are nearly endless channels

through which to tap into his psyche.

Don’t miss Jedi Mind Tricks when they perform

at the Commodore Ballroom on August 26

(Vancouver) and Marquee Beer Market &

Stage on August 28 (Calgary).


August certainly seems to be pulling out all the stops before

the autumn months come creeping up on us like the

orange-bellied, lukewarm prick that it is. For those of you

unable to attend festivals outside of Calgary, know that there is no

short supply of amazing artists coming through the city this month

to slake your cravings for music-induced euphoria.

As my esteemed associate Colin did an excellent preview on the festival

last month I won’t dwell long upon it, but I need to at least mention

once more that you can catch Ms. Lauryn Hill, Migos, Anderson .Paak

and RZA performing as Bobby Digital at One Love Music Festival on

August 4 at Max Bell. Absolutely mental.

With Shambhala right around the corner, news of pre and post Sham

parties are popping up all over the map. On August 5 at the HiFi definitely

try and catch LA’s Crywolf. A relatively new producer and multi-instrumentalist,

his music weaves multiple sounds into a remarkably cohesive

and fresh sound. And of course, as with many up and coming artists, as

he is sure to find a great deal of success, it’s always a good bet to catch

them in as intimate a setting as the Hifi. Vibes!

Chasing Summer Music Festival takes place once again on August 5

and 6 at Max Bell Centre and features some titans in the EDM realm including

Tiesto, Zedd, Infected Mushroom and What So Not. There are a

few names peppered throughout that should appeal to those less wowed

by the big-room names such as Rezz, The Funk Hunters, Delta Heavy and

Bleep Bloop.

One of the founding member’s of hip-hop collective Doomtree, P.O.S.

performs at Dickens with Transit22 and Brom, who is releasing his new

album, opening things up. This goes down August 11.

Another instalment of New Wave takes place at the HiFi on August

17 featuring locals OAKK, Preacher Please and Metafloor as well as

blooming Berlin bass music artist Mad Zach. He performed at this year’s

Coachella and has been on a music-producing spree.

On August 25 at Habitat, UK’s Fixate performs. He has only been

around since 2014 but he has been making sizeable waves both with his

cutting-edge solo music, which circumnavigates a jungle-type terrain

while straying into other uncharted regions, but also as one seventh of

supergroup Richie Brains. Get your gun fingers prepped and ready.

Perhaps the most anticipated and intriguing of concerts on this list has

to be South Africa’s freakiest export, Die Antwoord. They are performing

at the BMO Centre on August 30 and it is sure to be a memorable

spectacle to say the least. From their haunting music videos, their work

on major films like Chappie, their cryptic interviews and social media

presence, claims that they are breaking up, to of course their raucous

music itself, which is a hybrid of hip-hop and rave music, they are one of

the most captivating acts around.

One of the best parties of the year is back once again closing out the

month on August 31, the HiFi Alley Party, this year featuring Montreal’s

Project Pablo. He delivered one of the standout house sets at this summer’s

Bass Coast festival and is guaranteed to deliver the goods to that

always memorable alley rave.

As per usual, please don’t hesitate to contact me at

if there have been some egregious lapses in coverage or if you have some

hot-ticket item that warrants mentioning. Have fun, do all the things that

I would do.

• Paul Rodgers




from flowery mind paintings to flexing sound systems

Roberto Villar has been making

mid-tempo, futuristic hip-hop styled

music under the alias Preacher Please,

but he is pressing pause on that this month

to focus on a new project, simply named

Ting. With this moniker he will return to his

roots and make the bass-driven music he’s

always wanted to.

“I’m not fully giving up on Preacher Please,

I still like to write super flowery tracks that

are less on the bass side of it, where as this

whole new Ting … Ting is just really sub-driven

stuff, dancefloor bass music,” says Villar.

When he first began producing music

he was captivated by and drawn towards

dubstep, which shepherded him into the

world of bass music. As a self-taught music

producer he explains that he didn’t feel like

his early efforts were good enough. Over

time he ventured further into genres like

hip-hop and had more fun experimenting

with those sounds.

Now that he has learned from those early

trials and errors he feels confident enough

with his skills that he wants to go back

to creating music driven by those earlier

influences. He also developed as a producer

through his work in the grime music collective

Society Black.

“With Society Black that’s where I wanted

to go with production, but there was a lot of

different tastes in that, so the vision of the

sound was similar to what I was going for.

Now I’m more focused on Ting, because it’s

just me, and I can make all the decisions and

the vision [is] a lot clearer.”

The aesthetic for the marketing and

design aspect of the music also differs

drastically from Preacher Please. That was

centered around Kawaii, which exemplifies

cuteness in Japanese culture. In contrast,

Ting is more robotic and influenced by

the new era of jungle and drum and bass,

exemplified in the press photos snapped by

photographer BEEDEE.

He has an EP ready to unveil and a single

that will be released on Calgary-based Noctilux

Collective. The progression he has made

as an artist is immediately evident; the music

is cutting edge: experimental and complex

enough to be impressive while still being

definitely danceable. Akin to the sounds

of artists like Shades and Ivy Lab who have

been dominating festivals around the world

in the past couple of years.

With the confidence in the bold new

aesthetic and sonic approach he has found,

and a carefully calculated marketing strategy,

Ting seeks to find new audiences and is sure

to do so in the immediate future.

See Preacher Please’s final show (at least for

now) at the HFi on August 17 (Calgary). Watch

for Ting material in the near future.

New sound, new aesthetic, new Ting.

by Paul Rodgers

photo: BEEDEE





there’s something for everyone on the hill

by Mike Dunn


Hailing from Memphis, Tennessee, Valerie June’s unique blend of

classic soul and traditional American music is delightfully fresh,

adding atmospheric soundscapes which brilliantly complement

the soulful, childlike wonder present in her vocal timbre. Having recorded

with Dan Auerbach and Old Crow Medicine Show, and toured with

Jake Bugg, Valerie June’s ability to cross genre styles positions her as an

artist to watch.

The charisma and stage presence of Shovels & Rope can’t be understated.

Relying on the strength of their songs and sparse instrumentation,

Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent have been at the forefront of

underground Americana since their self-titled debut dropped in 2008.

Hearst’s voice in instantly recognizable; if you’ve heard it once, it sticks

with you, and Trent’s harmonies and lead vocals recall Vic Chestnutt,

while their instrumental approach is the both the standard and template

for minimalism in contemporary folk music.

Andy Shauf should require little introduction at this point. Since his

2012 debut, Bearer Of Bad News, Shauf has shown an savvy knack for

pop composition and arrangement, his hooks are immediately catchy,

but not in the clap-on-three—everyone-sing-whoa way of modern folk

pop. Painstakingly producing his lush and meticulously crafted albums

on his own, and playing every instrument on his records, Shauf’s style is

reminiscent of Summerteeth-era Wilco, with the hushed ambience of

Elliot Smith.

Named for the patron saint of musicians, Los Angeles-based La

Santa Cecilia marries classic pop song structure to their laid back

traditional Latin sound. Driven by their Pan-American rhythms and

powerful and passionate voice of Gloria Estrada, La Santa Cecilia draws

musically on their Latino heritage while updating their sound with

elements of R&B, rock, and jazz, an intriguing mix which has found

them on stages worldwide opening for such artists as Stevie Wonder,

and Elvis Costello.

Anais Mitchell’s style has long been rooted in the socially conscious

traditional American folk music of Dylan, Van Ronk, Guthrie, and Baez,

while her precocious vocal style and bouncing fingerpicked guitar playing

maintains a very contemporary vibe, while juxtaposing against her

stark lyrical portrayals of the hardest elements of life and the upheavals


that political machinations have on regular people. Mitchell’s songs feel

like novellas, her narratives a constant reminder of the passed down

traditions of storytelling in folk music.

Rhiannon Giddens is no stranger to Edmonton, having appeared at

the festival previously in in 2014, and in 2007 with The Carolina Chocolate

Drops, as well as at the inaugural Interstellar Rodeo. Giddens is a deft

multi-instrumentalist and bandleader whose style is an amalgamation of

traditional African-American styles, including Appalachian folk, country

and blues, and early New Orleans jazz, while crossing into classic soul

grooves. Giddens is as socially conscious as she is musically dextrous, and

was invited to The White House in 2015 to perform for then-President

Barack Obama as part of the “In Performance at The White House” series.

For Martin Kerr, making his mark in the Edmonton folk scene has

seen him rise from a busking regular on the streets downtown, to a

sold-out performance at The Winspear Centre in 2016. His debut album,

Better Than Brand New, shows a songwriter developing his voice, with

wholesome and homespun songs of hope and love.

The woody and atmospheric sound of Northumberland, England’s

The Unthanks is exactly what one would expect upon hearing

something described as “contemporary British folk music”. The lilting

harmonies of sisters Rachel and Becky Unthank conjure an image of

seaside towns bordered by lush forests, and it’s near impossible to hear

them without feeling like you’re being transported to some Dickensian

space in history, while their atmospheric instrumental backing provides a

contemporary ambience.

Mokoomba brings a fresh energy with their AfroBeat sound, using

digital samples and an upbeat fusion of traditional rhythms, as well

as ska, funk and soukous, a Congolese fingerpicked guitar style. From

Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, Mokoomba has been entrancing dance floors

throughout the world with the their infectious, celebratory style.

Leon Bridges is another name everyone at the festival should be excited

about. His throwback Rhythm n’ Blues sound conjures the ghosts

of Sam Cooke, early James Brown, and Otis Redding at his most tender.

Bridges garnered huge buzz at SXSW in 2015, and dropped his debut

record, Coming Home, later that June. Bridges’ classic soul sound might

remind some festival goers on the hill of the show-stopping performances

of James Hunter several years ago, with the added measure of Bridges’

own youthful energy.

Edmonton Folk Music Festival takes place August 10 -13 at Gallagher Park.





rushing, wise and uplifting rumble

Blind Pilot calls lyrics the “most painful, aggravating” part of song writing.

Blind Pilot has a rich, candid sound and has

seamlessly expand from two pieces to six, and

is getting a little bigger still with the addition

of a young child. Frontman, singer, and songwriter

Israel Nebeker tells BeatRoute this came about after

he received a phone call from bandmates Luke

Ydstie and Kati Claborn’s 3-year-old daughter. She

was asking why they don’t have a saxophone in the

band, and, after struggling to find and answer, was

met with a determined, “Well, I’ll play saxophone.”

Their third album, 2016’s And Then Like Lions, was

created five years after their last. It’s deeply felt and

glimmers resoundingly with wisdom, a soft focus on

vulnerability and the artful use of symbols. Recollecting

the loss of a parent after a two-year journey of care,

the end of a 13 year-long relationship and the courage

that’s forged in time with growth, Nebeker produced

the album with long time collaborator Tucker Martine

(The Decemberists, Neko Case, My Morning Jacket).

“I’ve been really enjoying people being willing to

share their personal stories and telling me about

their life. At first I was a little overwhelmed and then

I realized that’s what I was asking for with this album”

he says. Despite the unavoidable hiatus and reasonable

fears that it would be detrimental to the band,

Nebeker is humbled that their most recent release has

seen many loving responses over the last year.

The album is well thought-out and sensibly passionate,

but it didn’t come without work. “Everyone’s style

comes naturally but words are always the thing that

are the most painful, aggravating, frustrating part of

the process of song writing for me.”

While being able to pick from melodies and

song ideas is an easier part of the process, Nebeker

continues, “Lyrics are so revealing that my inner

censor kicks into overdrive as soon as I’m in that

part of the process.”

He plainly labours, “To let whatever is at the core of

the issue be spoken” but has tricks to stay above water.

“I’ll write a line in a song and maybe it’s particularly

vulnerable or really addressing a wound,” he says. He

by Arielle Lessard

continues, “Maybe in that moment it’s pessimistic,

and then I’ll think about the idea that maybe I could

be singing that line on stage for years down the line,

which makes you double check yourself, do I really

mean this sentiment?”

Nebeker is no stranger to the astonishing, shocking

and sometimes incomprehensible pull of circumstance

itself and talks brightly about life’s shaky ground. He

addresses this especially keenly in “Packed Powder,”

which builds around repacking fireworks with different

insides, and working various jobs in the hopes that it

will foster certain things within.

“That song is kind of funny to me because I’m

writing about all the different directions I’ve thought

about going in my life, and how they seem like dead

ends, and the general notion that you have to wait

and see who you are and life is full of these ‘surprise!

That’s not really the direction you’re meant to keep

going in!’ moments.”

Looking back he realizes, “It makes me feel a little

spoilt but I can’t imagine doing another thing besides

this and truly loving my life doing something else. [...]

It’s been pretty amazing actually… it’s kind of remarkable

how well we do get along, and the times there’s

been bad blood, we’ve all grown enough to make

things even stronger between us so I’m pretty lucky

with the band members I’ve had.”

Nebeker explains, “That’s my goal of writing and

performing is to have those moments of deep connections

that are maybe not quite explainable.”

In fortitude, Blind Pilot continues to make decisions

mindfully all the way from their early days of bike

touring to hold down both grand and difficult paths.

Maintaining a sensitive spirit, Nebeker’s unhurried,

accepting approach hopes to nurture some growth

into another album after this tour is completed.

Blind Pilot performs with Anna Tivel at Good Will

(Winnipeg) on August 4th, The Starlite Room (Edmonton)

on August 6th, and Commonwealth Bar and Stage

(Calgary) on August 7th.


where simple folk and elaborate rock anthems converge

The stage has called alluringly to Sam

Weber his entire life. Raised in a family

of musicians, he has been jamming since

he can remember anything. His band’s first live

show was at one a.m. on a Tuesday morning

at a bar in Victoria; everyone performing was

definitely underage. Thanks to this deeply embedded

experience, it’s been a steady upwards

climb for Weber and his compatriots, Marshall

Wildman and Esme John. They released their

second offering Valentina Nevada in 2016.

The group writes folk music from an honest

place, with just enough rock influence to necessitate

the use of electric guitars. Weber’s guitar

prowess is definitely a selling point of the group,

with salty little licks filling the breaths between

verses. Grandiose solos punctuate the climax of

many tunes. Despite the grandiosity, at its core, the

group’s music is centred on minimalist folk.

“We don’t really like music that is too crowded,

so we tend to strip it down,” Weber tells BeatRoute.

“It’s just a game of trying to find what fits, trying

to make the songs work with the least moving

parts possible. You want all those elements to have

a voice within the context of the song.”

At times, their music is somehow simultaneously

a simple folk song, and at others, an

elaborate rock anthem. The subtle fuzz and twang

of electric folk is ever present, accompanied by

keys that drift from holding down quiet rhythms

to plaintive lilting melodies. Each part to their

composition is distinct yet sits together cohesively,

with one piece rising to prominence at carefully

selected moments. When the keys quiet down, a

guitar solo rises to fill the space; as the screaming

guitar falls silent, a melody narrates the hook back

into the chorus.

Sam Weber and company hail from Victoria.

by Jodi Brak

This structure “just comes from being really true

to the song, not overproducing and just representing

the song really well without having one thing

overshadowing what the essence of the song is,”

Weber says.

“So we went into the Valentina Nevada record

trying to do that, and I think we did.”

Valentina Nevada is the second LP released by

the trio; following the 2014 release Shadows in the

Road. Both projects were largely self-produced, and

although the trio feel proud to have accomplished

this much, they feel it’s time to bring some fresh

ears into their future process.

“Something we learned from that project is I

think we’ve gotten as much mileage as we can get

out of self-producing,” Weber states.

“Now that we’ve really established what we’re

all about, we want to find somebody that can help

elevate it.”

Currently, Sam Weber is in the midst of a tour

through Western Canada and the northern United

States, still riding on the waves of their 2016 release.

However, word is the end of this tour marks the

beginning of serious work on their next project.

“The Valentina record, the songs that ended

up working better were the ones that used a little

bigger concepts, they were a little bit easier to walk

around in. This one that I’m working on right now

is very microscopic by comparison, smaller stories.

It’s just stuff about how life just kind of keeps happening

no matter what you are doing. It took me a

while to find a way to articulate those things.”

Sam Weber will be playing at Tractorgrease on August

10 (Chilliwack), The Ironwood Stage and Grill

on August 11 (Calgary), and at the Wapiti Music

Festival on August 12 and 13 (Fernie).



staying honest when folks don’t get the message

Charleston’s SUSTO are a band with a lot going

on, both musically and career-wise. The band is

approaching road warrior status, making their way

back to Canada for the second time in a year, riding the

wave of their layered and complex second full-length album

& I’m Fine Today. The record continues the roots-rock fever

dream that began with their self-titled debut SUSTO (2014),

but with a newfound investment in perception and the

doors thereof. In a Wilco-esque turn-of-effects, the band

brought slimey synths, symphonic strings, and other new

types of tonality to their roots-rock framework. The flanger

guitar on and keyboard work might ring psychedelic next

to song titles like “Wasted Mind” and “Far Out Feeling,” but

the effect is gentle, accenting the careful and considered

lyricism which centres the record.

BeatRoute caught up with Justin Osborne on the road

in Texas. Somewhat ironically, he was with his fiancé on

vacation instead of trapped in a sweaty tour van. Part of

the reason Osborne wanted to play music was because he

“wanted to travel,” and even if the experience of doing it is

rote, eventually the rhythm became manageable, allowing

the band to relax and reflect on how “fortunate” they are to

be touring artists. It’s become so comfortable that Osborne

can even stand to take road trips as vacations.

Having toured so much in the last few years, the effect

of being a lyric-forward band is becoming more apparent,

especially in the distinction between “exposing [themselves]

to other people’s audiences” and headlining slots

with audiences they have already “won over.” Their most

contentious musical outing is likely the fun-loving anthem

“Chilling on the Beach with my Best Friend Jesus Christ.” It’s

a light-hearted song to be sure, but Osborne thinks about

it optimistically, as a song that was intended to “bring

attention to religion in general” such that people who are

religious, or have divergent relationships to religion can

“relate to and have fun with [it].”

In the song Osborne sings about “going out for beers, but

not too many beers with Jesus Christ,” a way of playing off the

inherent humour of bringing the figure of Jesus into a particular

cultural moment, but still incorporating the message of

moderation that Jesus espoused. But with audiences that are

not familiar with it, it has sometimes been met with a “weird

reception.” Even Osborne’s mom was initially “hurt” after

seeing the music video, but has since “come around.” In a

testament to both the potency of the song and the success of

the band, they starting noticing it being requested and thus

they “have been playing it at almost every show now.”

This religious deference is also present in “Jah Werx,” so

named after a Rastafarian epithet, and even though the

song is not about the flying spaghetti monster as their

“Susto Stories” video series would make you believe, it is

similarly an exercise in introspection built out of a moment

of levity. The song was started in a party as a “chant or

mantra” and once they put it to a beat produced by close

friend Wolfgang Zimmerman, Osborne freestyled the lyrics

into a full song.

“It’s important to approach lyrics and songs with a light

heart,” Osborne offers.

“I love the feeling when music feels new and familiar at

the same time.”

SUSTO performs at Commonwealth Bar & Stage on August 8

(Calgary), The Needle Vinyl Tavern on August 9 (Edmonton),

and the Park Theatre on August 12 (Winnipeg).

“It’s important to approach lyrics and songs with a light heart.”

by Liam Prost

photo: Paul Chelmis





vinyl destination for a slow revolution

“There’s delays all over that thing as far as you can reach.”

Drawing a straight line between two points is usually the fastest

way chart a course,

but when it comes to Moncton, New Brunswick’s resident

psychedelic doom band, Zaum,

“It’s about the journey not the destination.”

Or, so says bassist/vocalist/synth/sitar player Kyle Alexander McDonald,

who along with bandmate drummer/percussionist Christopher

Lewis has been painting black vinyl overtures for the soul since forming

Zaum back in 2013. Named for the linguistic experiments of Russian

poets Velimir Khlebnikov and Aleksei Kruchenykh, Zaum’s string theory

seeks to decelerate the rhythms of life until vibrational escape routes

appear between the notes.

photo: Matteo Bassoli

“It’s funny, we never intentionally set out to make a song long, it’s just

the way things turn out,” says McDonald.

“Most of our tempos are just so unbelievably slow that when you take

the structure of a normal four-minute-long song it can quickly turn into

a 16-minute song. When you watch the band it probably feels like we

have to have more of a memory, but surprisingly being in the band itself

it doesn’t really feel that way at all.”

Touring heavily throughout Europe (where audiences are more

likely to seek out bands that they’re unfamiliar with, in McDonald’s

estimation), the band made a name for themselves by laying down

heavy atmospheric sets that established a hypnotic state of mind for

the audience.

by Christine Leonard

“We’ve been so busy touring overseas that we haven’t had the chance

to play in Canada maybe as much as people would like, but I almost

feel that you’re better off doing it that way than over saturating,” says


An imaginative amalgam of exotic Eastern and progress Western

ingredients, Zaum’s latest release Eidolon appeared in October of

2016 via underground curators I Hate Records. Crafted for vinyl,

the vine-draped Eidolon follows the vine-draped path of their 2014

debut, Oracles, and their impressive 2015 split 7-inch with fellow

stoner rockers Shooting Guns, dubbed Himalaya to Mesopotamia.

Consisting entirely of a pair of sprawling tracks, including “Influence

of the Magi” and “The Enlightenment,” Eidolon’s enthralling

emanations take the listener on a deep-listening voyage through

caverns measureless to man, to quote Coleridge. Fans of Sleep, Om

and Yob would be well advised to experience Zaum’s sonic sherpa

sessions for themselves.

“It is a trip. There’s no way around that it’s psychedelic-based. I mean,

there’s delays all over that thing as far as you can reach.”

Prepared to astral project themselves across Canada after a lengthy

absence, the Music NB award-winning duo is looking forward to road

tripping across Canada with supporting act Flying Fortress. To make

things even more interesting, Flying Fortress’s drummer, Steelrider, is

tied-up so McDonald will be pulling double-duty and filling in for him.

“I feel like it’s the first time I’m going to bite this much off. So, it might

be more than I can chew!”

Concludes McDonald, “But I’m coming in really prepared and I know

that band very well and I’m super familiar with the material. I’m looking

forward to playing with our old friends, and new ones in the future, it’s

just such a crazy deep pool of up and coming bands out there.”

ZAUM perform with Flying Fortress at the Brixx on August 12 (Edmonton)

and at Distortion on August 18 (Calgary).


as raunchy as they wanna be

You don’t have to be Tammy Wynette to

know that sometimes it’s hard to be a

woman, but that doesn’t mean you have

to whine about it. Not when you can yell it at the

top of your lungs while strange men guzzle draft

beer from your cleavage. But, I’m getting ahead

of myself. Meet Pervcore, the most inappropriate

band at your friendly neighbourhood BBQ. Good

thing they’re usually the ones hosting.

“The band obviously likes to have fun and is a

sleaze-thrash party band and that reputation is still

intact, but everybody realizes that we’re trying to put

on a performance and equality counts,” says guitarist

Mike Davies (2/3 of Nothing).

“I think of this band as being akin to something

like Nashville Pussy; we’re all about entertainment

and empowerment. The musical content

has evolved to the point where you can’t really

perform properly with 15 beers in your system.

Everybody’s still having a good time, but it’s more

about putting on a great show.”

Since being formed four years ago by co-vocalists

TerraLee Doolittle and Emi Van Der Pol, Pervcore

has become a genre-defining band that puts female

talent up front without pulling any punches.

“It’s how I get my anger out,” says newlywed Doolittle.

“For example, the song “Get Fucked” is based on

a true story. Some guy hit me with a bat, so I got up

and hit him right back. Take that!”

Backed up by the instrumental support of Davies,

Pervcore: a weighty yet agile six-piece raunchcore ensemble.

along with Emi’s bassist/spouse, Kuba Van Der Pol

(he took her name, how cool is that?) and TerraLee’s

husband/percussionist Dallas Lobb (Electric Revival),

photo: Linda Cheong

and founding guitarist Craig Kubitzki, the band began

generating some seriously vitriolic material.

“Craig makes up the metal contingent and I would

by Christine Leonard

be the punk rock component,” veteran string-slinger

Davies elaborates.

“Like any good thrash band, we’re a punk-metal

crossover. Most of the songwriting is done

from the punk rock side of things and then it gets

spiced up with some Iron Maiden-esque split

guitar solos. We take the three-chord punk thing

and put a really big melodic spin on it. Then you

throw in the two female powerhouses and the

dynamic of the two works together really well.

They’re both tremendously vocally talented and

have huge range and presence.”

Romancing audiences as a weighty yet agile

six-piece raunchcore ensemble, Pervcore thrives

on blurring that fine line between the provocative

and the profane. Stepping off the curb on

their forthcoming release, Tales from the Gutter

Volume I, the sextet is primed to seduce new

fans and reward the old with a combination of

guile and gusto that has to be seen, heard and

perhaps even tasted live to be truly appreciated.

“I get a lot of feedback from girls about how

they love what we say and the way we say it,”

reports vocalist Van Der Pol. “A lot of the lyrics

and song content are based on things that a lot

of girls want to say, but don’t normally get to,

because of politeness.”

Pervcore releases Tales from the Gutter Volume I will

be released at Distortion on August 5 (Calgary).



Edmonton death thrashers unleash their debut offering

by Sarah Kitteringham

This Month


Head to for a full album stream of Necromancy Enthroned!

On a humid night in July of 2016, Edmonton’s

premiere malevolent black

death act Dire Omen came to Calgary,

performing on a bill with the legendary Rites of

Thy Degringolade, Vaalt, and the newly formed

Cultist. (Full disclosure: the author of this piece

booked that bill). After the performance, DO guitarist

T.G. sheepishly pushed a rather rudimentary

demo into our hands, requesting we check it

out “if you want.”

Containing three very raw extreme thrash

tracks, Demo 2016 was a strong indicator that

Phylactery had rock solid foundations. Dubbed

after an amulet or charm that is worn for its

supernatural powers, the band remained largely

silent until they were announced for Vancouver’s

taste-making Covenant Festival, performing

alongside Revenge, Bölzer, and Blood Incantation.

It was also announced that Dark Descent sub-label

Unspeakable Axe Records (responsible for releases

by Besieged, Encyrcle, Infiltrator, Nucleus, and Sabbatory),

had picked them up. Clearly, we weren’t

the only ones impressed by the blazing guitars,

anguished shrieks, and rudimentary sound.

The amateurism is no longer present on the fulllength,

Necromancy Enthroned. Indeed, it sounds

like the band spent most of the last year jamming

repeatedly, resulting in a cohesive blend of death

thrash that far supersedes the demo. Conceptually,

the album is unified, casting morbid tales of necromancy

and lich (undead creatures popularized by

fantasy fiction).

“I think there are two aspects to the lyrical choices

made on the record, the aesthetic side and the conceptual

side. Speaking aesthetically, I grew up playing

and pouring over the rulebooks for Dungeons and

Dragons and other similar games, so I have a strong

connection to the tropes and characters of that

type of fantasy,” explains drummer and vocalist K.T.,

also of Dire Omen. He and T.G. are joined by on the

record by bassist J.M., also of Edmonton brutal death

metal act Display of Decay.

“You combine that with metal, which has had


photo: Dana Zuk

morbid imagery from day one, and the obvious result

is talking about the undead,” furthers K.T.

“This also fits us on a conceptual level because we

are a band that very deliberately attempts to skew

our sound and influences towards an old-school

style. It seems only fitting that the lyrics on an album

trying to revive a past era of death thrash is focused

on coming back from the dead.”

Reminiscent of classic American death thrash like

Morbid Saint and Demolition Hammer, the record

also conjures up comparisons to Calgary’s own

BLACKRAT with its reliance on a spooky ambiance

and frequent feedback.

“If we’ve done our job right then that act of necromancy,

of bringing that sound back to life, should

be enthroned as something new and our own. Hence

the name.”

Speaking further to the cohesion, the album artwork

was created by celebrated Italian painter Paolo

Girardi. Recently, you’ve seen his work on offerings

by Temple of Void, Manilla Road, Vastum, Inquisition

and many more.

“The album is a narrative running across all 11

songs and the piece which Paolo Girardi did for

us shows the two main characters of the story,”

offers K.T.

“On the cover is the main antagonist, this half bug,

half goat creature known as the Plaguelord, with the

Lich character on the opposite side… The Plaguelord

character came to me in a dream while on tour and

by the end of the day everything about the story fell

into place.”

He finishes, “Because this album is a story about

hubris and conflict, it made sense to have the

antagonist on the cover. So rather than it being a

conceptual piece of art it is more of an emblematic

piece of art for the narrative we’re trying to tell.”

And the result of all this is?

Necromancy Enthroned is one of the strongest

offerings emerging from Alberta in 2017.

Phylactery’s full-length debut Necromancy Enthroned

comes out on August 18 via Unspeakable Axe Records.

Although there are multiple great metal

shows coming through Alberta in

August, we decided that Canadian metal

never gets quite enough love. That’s why this

month, every single band featured in the Shrapnel

section hails from the true north strong and

free. Canadian metal, just obey! On your weak

sounds, WE WILL PREY!

To kick it off, head over to for our

album premiere of Edmonton death thrashers Phylactery.

The band runs in the vein of Morbid Saint

and Demolition Hammer, and their newest offering

Necromancy Enthroned RIPS.

Meanwhile, wordsmith Christine Leonard spoke

with East Coast doom masters Zaum about crafting

transcendental hymns to far away lands; read

her article in the section before heading to their gig.

The band is touring across Canada this August with

the fantastic Flying Fortress. If you don’t know the

latter yet, it’s about damn time you checked them

out. The duo is made up of the two thirds of now

defunct classic metal/doom trio Goat Horn. The

sonic shift from their previous act is noticeable;

while Goat Horn channeled early Cathedral, Flying

Fortress goes for a bastardized, alt-indie version of

Inepsy. Their newest offering BITCHWIND comes

out on October 10 via Uncle D Records, and is

available for streaming now over at

Get in on the brilliance

at Distortion on Friday, August 18 (Calgary);

don’t be surprised if you see ZAUM drummer Kyle

McDonald behind the kit for the show rather than

Steel Rider (AKA Jason Mellish).

Speaking of Canadian metal, the gals and

guys behind a ton of what goes on in Calgary

See Hazzerd on August 11 at Distortion’s 13th Anniversary Party!

are celebrating their 13th anniversary this August.

Head to Distortion on August 10, 11, and

12 for the Calgary Beer Core’s annual birthday

bash. This year, they’ll be showcasing a monster

load of Canuck bands, including Golers, Path

to Extinction, Concrete Funeral, Glare, Train

Bigger Monkeys, Hazzerd, Citizen Rage,

and Rebuild/Repair. Of note: two bands will

be releasing albums at these parties. First up,

Hazzerd! They’ll be releasing their CD Misleading

Evil on Friday, August 11. The band plays an

energetic style of classic thrash with vocals reminiscent

of Megadeth, and their album spans

eight tracks. Be sure to pick up a copy at the

show. Second up: Citizen Rage! The band will be

releasing their fifth EP Pink on Saturday, August

12. The hardcore punk band contains several

of the hardest working musicians in Calgary, so

make sure you pick up a copy!

On August 24, check out one of the strongest offerings

of the month when Halifax crust punk band

Napalm Raid performs at the Palomino Smokehouse

& Bar. The band is touring in support of their

newest offering Wheel of War, and will be playing

alongside Enemies, Erector Set (new hardcore act

featuring members of PMMA, Empty Heads), and

Full Choke (new punk act featuring members of

Chieftain and Savage Streets).

At the end of the month, Vancouver’s proggy

sludge metal aficionados Anciients will be performing

at the Palomino Smokehouse & Bar. Head

to the bar on Wednesday, August 30 to see the

Season of Mist signees perform with Dead Quiet

and Denim Machine.

• Sarah Kitteringham

photo: Brett Olson



Arcade Fire

Everything Now


It’s hard to think of an album in recent memory that

has garnered as much hatred before its release as

Arcade Fire’s Everything Now. Granted, the post-ironic

content skewering and self-aware media campaign

hasn’t been particularly enjoyable, but the band has

managed to enter a new level of internet infamy

located above Father John Misty, but below Azealia

Banks. While it may be en vogue to hate Arcade Fire’s

unaltered pretension, it’s hard to hear any reason for

such rage in the music alone.

With an oddly-indicative album cover that displays

a billboard of a neon-hued, desert mountain range

blocking the view of an actual mountain range,

Everything Now is a perfectly competent indie-pop

album that has been covered in a shroud of marketing

cynicism and content nausea. Luckily, if you can

manage to look past the billboards, you’ll find an

album that demonstrates that, even at their worst,

Arcade Fire are still capable of greatness.

Everything Now builds on Reflektor’s cold, synthheavy

sonic interiors, but opts to knock down the

warehouse walls, revealing wide open landscapes of

the American south. From New Orleans-style horn

stomps (“Chemistry”), to gritty, chugging synth pop

(“Creature Comfort” and “Electric Blue”), the band

has managed to cover a wide range of contemporary

pop sounds while still making them sound exactly

like Arcade Fire. Everything Now is an album that

sits alongside the anthemic bombast of The Suburbs,

the gothic dread of Neon Bible, and the slinky dance

punk disco of Reflektor.

Throughout its 45-minute runtime, Everything

Now shows a band that has a remarkable sense of

sonic identity, while simultaneously presenting themselves

as completely out of touch with broader pop

culture in 2017.

The result is an album that is often textbook Arcade

Fire: Anthemic, slightly cloying, and ultimately a little

heavy handed. Yet, where Everything Now feels different

than the band’s earlier work is that when the band

indulges its schmaltziest self, it pays off significantly

less than it used to. Credit it to the quality of their past

work that Everything Now feels like the least important

album in the band’s discography, even when they

seem to try and make it feel like the most.

That kind of self-reverence results in Win Butler

indulging some of his most groan-inducing lyrical

tendencies. On the twin tracks “Infinite Content” and

“Infinite_Content,” Butler’s subtle-as-a-hammer message

of internet content making everyone (content)

ed (see what he did there?) and bored doesn’t add

much to a discussion that has been going on since

the start of Facebook.

Elsewhere, “Creature Comfort” is marred by

awkward vocal cadences and ham-fisted self-mythology

(Assisted suicide / she dreams of dying all the

time / she told me she came so close / filled up the

bathtub and put on our first record), but is saved by

the fact that it’s flat out the best instrumental on the

record. Credit that to Portishead’s Geoff Barrow, who

co-produced the track alongside Pulp’s Steve Mackey

(who worked as producer on much of the album). It’s

an amazing instrumental that sounds like a chugging,

electro pop “Keep the Car Running.”

It’s telling that instead of coming off as a grand

treatise on internet culture and media saturation, the

lyrics of Everything Now end up sounding like the

mindless content the band presumably set out to

critique in the first place.

Luckily, the album sounds a lot better than it

reads. “Signs of Life” sounds like an Oingo Boingo

classic produced by Soulwax. The latter comparison

being especially apt for much of the album; a

hodgepodge of chintz reworked through kaleidoscopic

electronica. Blaring horns and the same disco-indebted

drums that appeared all over Reflektor

anchor the track in a way that conjures the image

of Oingo Boingo frontman Danny Elfman flashing a

trademark deranged smile.

“Chemistry” starts with a King Tubby-esque reggae

stomp before morphing into a Billy Squier guitar

track akin to “The Stroke” at the chorus. It’s among

the best tracks on the album, and instantly earns a

place alongside “Month of May” as one of Arcade

Fire’s most rock-centric moments.

The track also marks a shift in the album overall,

the computer-centric gloss of the first half of the

album fades away to reveal desert-folk landscapes

complete with an Americana twang that is a refreshing

look for the band.

Fortunately, for all its misgivings, Everything Now

does deliver with one of the most flat-out affecting

songs of Arcade Fire’s decade-plus career. Late-album

stunner, “We Don’t Deserve Love” is a gorgeous,

electro-twanging ballad that somehow combines a

Roland CR-78 drum machine with an Owen Pallett

string arrangement and lush, swelling pedal steel

courtesy Daniel Lanois. It’s a bright spot on an album

that has plenty of them, but still ends up feeling


• Jamie McNamara

illustration by Dylan Smith


Grizzly Bear

Painted Ruins

RCA Records

2017 appears to be the year that all of the indie rock heavy

hitters of the late aughts came back to the table. Painted Ruins

is Grizzly Bear’s fifth release, and in the five years since Shields

(2012), the band’s success has morphed into individual successes

for its members. As such, this new record feels like a reunion,

even if much of it was recorded without the band in the same

room as each other.

Since 2006’s Yellow House, Grizzly Bear has been a band

of competing frontmen, with Ed Droste’s languid moan and

backroom longings tying up half the songs, and Daniel Rossen’s

high-register ruminations rounding out the rest. Rossen’s work in

Department of Eagles is more restrained and affected than what

he does with Grizzly Bear, especially in his guitar playing, which is

less washed out in this record than in the last; sharply picked jazz

voicings in some tracks, acoustic guitar picking in others.

The two voices mesh best on “Mourning Sound,” where Ed

Droste’s beautifully pitched backing vocals can mope through

the verses and carry Rossen’s unsettled and haunting vocals in

the chorus. The rhythm here is simple, but pulsing, punctuated

by producer Chris Taylor’s ruthless bass guitar. The soaring synth

melody is the oddity of the song, but it’s wavering pitch is just

weird enough to keep it from being too strong of a hook.

The record features some beautiful instrumental interludes on

tracks like “Wasted Acres” and “Neighbors,” where strings and

woodwinds set a scene with a film-score inspired measure, but

this mostly only serves to space out the verse-chorus structure of

the songs. As a result, the record is a strong front to back listen,

with anticipation for the next built effectively into each song.

The most divergent moment comes on “Systole” where there is

a foray into falsetto on top of a thick synth drone and a clicky,

808-sounding acoustic drum pattern.

Despite their indie credibility and swath of imitators, Grizzly

Bear has never sounded contemporary. Their success is largely

attributable to their uniqueness and sheer virtuosity. This isn’t

psychedelic pop at its most complex, but almost certainly at its

most dignified. There is no wall of sound here, no undefinable

pitch effects or kilometers of reverb. Even the vocals are remarkably

clean on most tracks. This is indie music for people who

listen to jazz and classical, it doesn’t veer too far out of genre

to be inaccessible, but it’s musicianship and song-writing are

timeless and striking.

• Liam Prost

Kacy & Clayton

The Siren’s Song

New West Records

Following up an album which saw your band ascend to some

truly rarified air for a Western Canadian group might be daunting

for some, but Kacy & Clayton’s latest, The Siren’s Song, finds the

southwestern Saskatchewan duo not only meeting the promise

shown by 2015’s Strange Country, but exceeding it. Produced by

legendary Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy, The Siren’s Song sees Kacy

Lee Anderson and Clayton Linthicum continuing to expand their

sound, deftly combining the many strains of traditional acoustic

folk music with the sunny feel of ‘60s California folk and the lean

edge of ‘70s country rock. While Anderson and Linthicum have

often worked with sepia-painted vignettes of the past with cleverly

cloaked references to more modern times, The Siren’s Song

tends to do so a little more clearly, with a welcome transparency.

The first single, “The Light Of Day,” kicks off the record with a

gentle pull in the beat and a tasty, twanging riff from Linthicum.

Anderson sweeps in, recounting the narrative of a woman finding

an old photo of happier times in the bottom of a drawer, before

the chorus drops with a timeless lament in which it’s often “proper”

to keep quiet and not be misrepresented by other people’s

perceptions of what they have to say. It would be easy to miss that

conclusion, as catchy as the hook is and in Anderson’s melodic

dexterity, bathing her lines with an upbeat melancholy that underscores

the graceful notion of “keep your thoughts to yourself and

you’ll be fine.” Linthicum lays down a slick fingerpicked acoustic

lead over the electric rhythm guitar, a unique arrangement choice

that complements the number with assured subtlety.

“Just Like A Summer Cloud” leads off in a similar fashion,

further establishing the ensemble-based direction and sonic vibe

of the record. Linthicum’s slinky bends swirl with tremolo and

a subtle piano chording low notes through the changes, while

Anderson’s pining tale of a relationship of convenience hinges on

lines like, “miles they lie between our love, it’s my worst enemy,

but I think it sets you free to make the rounds and do the girls

you please.”

The acoustic folk of the set is a persistent reminder of the

duo’s beginnings, and of their near encyclopedic knowledge of

traditional styles; often, cuts like “Cannery Row,” “Go On And

Leave Me,” feel like they could have been passed down over

Appalachian generations, updated with the locked-in-yet-relaxed

rhythm section work of Shuyler Jansen and Mike Silverman.

Tweedy wisely resists throwing all the bells and whistles onto the

production and arrangements of The Siren’s Song, giving the band

a lean, live sound, with Anderson and Linthicum adding their own

fiddle and pedal steel parts sparingly. The Siren’s Song crackles with

smart vocal and instrumental hooks and the classic warmth of its

influences, firmly establishing Kacy & Clayton as one of Canada’s

most tuneful and musically engaging folk rock groups.

• Mike Dunn

Sheer Mag

Need to Feel Your Love

Wilsuns Recording Company

After three noteworthy EPs (Compilation I, II, III), Sheer Mag’s

first official full-length has been unleashed on the world. It

lacks the grittiness and DIY ethic that made their earlier work

so enthralling, but is chock full of ‘70s power pop and political

overtones that the band’s fans have come to love. Each song

maintains that the personal is political, making for a worthwhile

listen from start to finish.

Singer Tina Halladay’s voice is equal parts Poly Styrene, Tina

Turner, and Cherie Currie. It is gritty, commanding, and takes

no shit. Unfortunately, she isn’t able to polish the rough edges

enough to garner more widespread attention. When she emotes

too personally, such as on slow burner “Milk and Honey,” it can

come across disingenuous or even hokey. She and the rest of

Sheer Mag aren’t afraid of their feelings, though. Each song feels

punk and radical because of their body and sex-positive themes.

This is also kind of brilliant, considering the rampant misogyny,

homophobia, and racism of acts who might have loosely

inspired their protometal sound (Think Kiss or Black Sabbath).

The juxtaposition is unexpected and makes the album refreshing,

where most new releases from the aforementioned bands can

feel contrived. Midway through the album, “Suffer Me” offers an

inspired-account of the 1969 Stonewall Riots, where black and

Latina trans women dared to fight back against police brutality.

After the riot is over, Halladay laments, “…And there was one less

boot, pressing down on one less throat.” Despite reflecting on

the past, with Trump’s Ban on trans people in the military and

continued cuts to healthcare, it feels particularly relevant.

Throughout the album, Sheer Mag are most successful when

they’re subverting the protometal/power pop genre they draw

inspiration from. Whether that’s employing ooey-gooey, funk-infused

guitars (as on “Need to Feel Your Love”), or inciting a hard

rock disco rampage (as on “Just Can’t Get Enough). Halladay

sings with such admiration on the latter that you can’t help

but want to get up, jump around, and shout your love from a

mountain top.

But, for all of the album’s highs, there are lows and they often

entertain the genre’s past clichés, leading to songs that border

on cringe worthy. “Meet me on the Streets,” is a call to action

against police brutality, but the reliance on a too-long and

too-repetitious lick makes the song teeter with familiarity and

platitude. Overall, there’s not enough variance from the band’s

earlier work to make for a thrilling full-length, but there are noteworthy

singles that shine through.

• Trent Warner


Blake Berglund



There’s a sense of ambition and experimentation

rarely heard in Canadian commercial country on

Blake Berglund’s fifth full-length release, Realms.

Keying in on the spaced-out psychedelia of Sturgill

Simpson’s Metamodern Sounds in Country Music

as a touchstone, Berglund has crafted an album,

rather than yet another collection of “potential radio

singles.” Its tone is in lock step with the punchiness

of commercial radio, with a tip of the chapeau

to ‘90s artists like George Strait, Alan Jackson, and

Vince Gill, while the steel and organ arrangements

lead to more interstellar reaches.

The album leads with an introduction of the

title track, a sweeping piano-based ballad bathed

in lowdown Telecaster licks and church-y steel.

From his first line, “Behold the draping cosmic veil,

cloaking which we cannot see,” Berglund’s intent to

change the conversation is clear. “Pretty Good Guy”

is a straight up, four-on-the-floor country rocker,

driven by Bryce Lewis’ flashing Tele boogie riff and

the driving rhythm section of drummer Steve Leidal

and bass player Shawn Patton. That vibe continues

on “Moose Mountain;” its West Texas disco groove

nodding to the ever-looming influence of Waylon

Jennings, while the lyrics do away with the traditional

cowboy tropes of whiskey and coffee in favour of

well-rolled doobie on horseback.

Too often, Canadian country music that has the

potential to see the light above the underground

is devoid of experimentation, relying on tried-andtrue

staples of currency in the genre. Berglund’s

Realms is better than that; it is absolutely current

country music, though the constraints of genre

classification might give it a different label. The

album is imbued with heart, musicianship, and a

fearlessness that deserves to have an impact on

the national stage.

In short, it’s the most ambitious Canadian

country record of 2017, and should certainly be

regarded as one of the best. The true belief in

country music itself, and the scope and experimentation

of Realms ought to be a step forward

for a style that has too long been content to

peddle the easiest possible formula to its audience,

and help in bringing this important popular music

form back up from the depths of depravity and

mere commodification.

• Mike Dunn

Lana Del Rey

Lust for Life

Interscope Records

On a fourth studio album, most artists would

reinvent themselves in some small, noticeable way;

reveal a new look, change up their sound, or work

with a new team. With Lust for Life, Lana Del Rey is

back with more of the same, though decidedly. She

knows herself and for her, that’s enough.

Her output is constant – always pushing her

exploration of the gloomy glamour of California

dreaming and the dredges of American melancholia.

Oddly, on the album’s cover she is sunny-eyed

and smiling, with daffodils in her hair, embodying

the eponymous ‘60s flower-child. In the 1967 essay,

Slouching Towards Bethlehem, writer Joan Didion

integrated herself within a group of San Francisco’s

‘hippies,’ (the people Lana often embodies) finding a

generation lost and in search of something greater,

though none could really define ‘what.’ Lana finds

herself in a similar position throughout Lust for Life.

Standouts include “Summer Bummer” featuring

A$AP Rocky and Playboy Carti, where Lana is

at her most Lana – “wrapping you up in [her]

daisy chains” atop a trap beat and her signature

withdrawn coos. As an antithesis to her hip-hop

lenience, she offers “Beautiful People Beautiful

Problems,” featuring Stevie Nicks, which is an

inspired-‘60s girl group song for two artists that

could not offer better synthesis. The song is setting

aside one’s own day-to-day distractions and seeing

your larger connection to the world. Sadly, Lana

offers no solutions, just the lamentation “We gotta

try every day and night.”

Lust for Life is an album to make one feel less

alone, though it doesn’t bring any strong realizations

about life itself, just more questions.

• Trent Warner




It’s rare that you see a debut LP so ambitious.

Sharing a label with Bon Iver, S. Carey, and Volcano

Choir, Australian songwriter Sophie Payten shares

many a production quirk with her label-mates.

Ample use of auto-tune, soft horns and quirky

samples that sound almost directly lifted from the

most recent Bon Iver release layer Gordi’s effervescent

singer-songwriter pop.

Every song is treated very specifically, without

a coherent set of instrumentation or production

style linking the tracks. Even Payten’s rippling

and raw vocal delivery, which sits at the centre

of the mix on almost every song, varies heavily in

terms of production effect, sometimes pitched,

sometimes doubled, often with a hefty dose of

reverb. It hits violently on tracks like “Aeon,” and

gently on moments like the closer, “Something Like

This.” This is a studio record through and through,

with very little indication of how it might present

live. Tracks like the single “Heaven I Know” and

opener “Long Way” present strongly as headphone

experiences, rewardingly close listens with tiny

auditory ticks.

The highlight here is the sparse “I’m Done,”

featuring a subtle guest appearance by S. Carey.

Led with a simple guitar pattern, her songwriting

comes through most strongly, concisely laying out

an optimistic narrative about clearly bookmarking

a relationship.

Reservoir is dense and of-the-moment, a layered

and temperate piece of work that will probably

not be reproduced in either her live performances

or future recordings. That said, it’s a tremendously

well put together and impressive debut work.

• Liam Prost



Roc Nation

is not, producing some of the best material in his

vast discography.

At first, the conversational style of rapping on

this album seems like a questionable choice for

someone who gave us classics like “Dead Presidents”

and “Empire State of Mind,” but after a few

listens everything clicks. No I.D. handles production

duties, providing Carter with the soulful backdrop

he needs at this point in his career. There are

no forced attempts of trying to copy the trap-infused

hip-hop dominating radio waves, opting for

timeless samples and originality instead.

Lyrically, JAY-Z seasons his rhymes with fresh

references of events that occurred a few days before

the album dropped. Whether he recorded this

whole thing recently, or if it was only a few bars, is

irrelevant because the quality speaks for itself. 4:44

deals with themes of betrayal, family, lust and, of

course, wealth, but this time around it feels genuine.

Every song delivers an important message that

doesn’t diminish in value with each consecutive

listen. Killing JAY-Z might be the smartest business

move Shawn Carter has made in recent memory,

paving the way for many more to come. After all,

he’s not a businessman, he’s a business, man.

• Paul McAleer

Mark Kozelek & Sean Yeaton

Yellow Kitchen

Caldo Verde

For a well-known grump, Mark Kozelek (Red House

Painters, Sun Kil Moon) certainly collaborates a lot.

The man is nothing if not prolific, his solo records

and under the Sun Kil Moon moniker are often

seriously long and verbose, and so it makes sense

that he would want to put out some spoken word.

Don’t mistake this, Yellow Kitchen, his first collaboration

with Parquet Courts’ bassist Sean Yeaton,

is not music. Kozelek does “sing” on a few tracks

overtop of some light woodwinds, or quietly mixed

guitars and drums, but it’s hardly in a conventionally

musical manner. The music is somewhat sparse, but

experimental, and often goes in several different

directions over the course of a single track.

The tracks themselves and extremely honest

and gruff, which is roughly on par for Kozelek,

but in this context the humour comes out more

strongly than in his otherwise beautiful folk songs.

On “Somebody’s Favorite Song,” Kozelek describes

a totally innocuous and awkward conversation

about buying vitamin D at a drug store and having

to explain to the clerk why he needs it.

This record is required listening for the Mark Kozelek

completionist, but it’s mostly just a strange

distraction, a fun thing to smile about on the bus

on your way to serve our corporate overlords.

• Liam Prost

Catherine MacLellan

If It’s Alright with You – The Songs of Gene MacLellan

True North Records

JAY-Z announced 4:44 with clarification on how

his rapper alias is stylised, but by the end of the

opening track, it is clear this new album is about

dissecting what the name represents. The name

has brought him unparalleled success and, at

times, misfortune. 4:44 is a study of what makes

JAY-Z one of rap’s legendary figures, but it is perhaps

the first album told through the perspective

of Shawn Carter, a human no different from the

rest of us. It is everything Magna Carta Holy Grail

Catherine MacLellan has been overfilling her father’s

shoes for a long time now, but that doesn’t stop every

bio and review written about her from referencing

her lineage. Gene MacLellan is Canadian royalty,

having written songs recorded by Elvis, Joan Baez,

and Bing Crosby. His daughter is every bit as good a

songwriter, having picked up a JUNO for her most

recent full-length The Raven’s Sun (2014).

Gene’s songwriting is decidedly more traditional

than Catherine’s, and she effectively softens songs like

“Biding My Time” with a clean and unaccented de-


livery. The record is nicely paced with mostly heartfelt

numbers, but plenty of driving moments with drums

and electric guitars to keep the listening experience

consistently entertaining.

The centrepiece of the record is undoubtedly

Gene’s most famous song, “Snowbird” as made

famous by Anne Murray. Catherine’s version is

reserved, softly performed solo on electric piano,

elongated with a verse only ever recorded by Gene. It’s

immediate and resonant, heartbreaking even, with the

allegory of the winter snowbird as the forever-feeling

periods of grief, of untrue love, or of loss.

At 13 tracks it’s a good value record, and as a tribute

album, it’s a reverent and polished effort.

• Liam Prost

Rainer Maria


Polyvinyl Records

When bands reunite for a “comeback” album, the

end result is often shallow compared to their earlier

work, grasping at former greatness to no avail. Life

will take unused passion and ruin it, chewing it up

and regurgitating an uninspired mess in its place.

The new Rainer Maria record proves otherwise,

establishing the urgency of an origin story, a youthful

rock band with genuine enthusiasm and emotion

frothing from the mouth.

Rainer Maria started out in 1995, becoming an

influential emo band until their hiatus in 2006. With

dual vocalists singing their hearts out over pounding,

guitar-driven melodies, the band’s earlier work is raw

in every sense of the word. Although the production

and mixing of S/T sounds refined and clean compared

to what we’re used to, Rainer Maria is still jagged and

imperfect, bleeding beauty louder than ever before.

Caithlin De Marrais handles the majority of vocal

duties, howling out resentful lyrics over slower and

frantic moments alike. The three band members are

synched up throughout the entire project, combining

for an explosive sound ready for a stadium. Tonally,

the album is cohesive, leaving a small desire for the

band to branch out, but it is also dense with intricacy

demanding more than one or two listens.

S/T feels like a natural progression of Rainer Maria’s

2006 Catastrophe Keeps Us Together, erasing the time

between and preparing us for whatever comes next.

• Paul McAleer



Coax Records

respectfulchild is the instrumental violin project of

Gan from Saskatoon’s Treaty 6 Territory. Their music

is electronic in nature, through the use of loop pedals

and abstract sounds, while being acoustically created,

building experimental ambient soundscapes that are

as hallucinatory as they are heavenly.

::searching:: is respectfulchild’s debut full-length

album, meticulously crafted with feelings of curiosity,

discomfort, contemplation, relief, and tension,

that has the ability to invoke these feelings in the

listener. It’s an exploration into the thoughts and

anxieties that Gan toys with daily, opening more

questions than it can answer, falling somewhere

between searching and finding.

The album says so much, without a single word.

Layers and loops overlap and intertwine, all one

humble human’s intricate creation, to crescendo at

peaks with the power to remind us of emotions we

thought we’d forgotten. Their utilization of a minimal

set-up focuses attention on the ebb and flow of their

bubbling rhythms and hypnotic textures, imbued

with little details that seem to come from outside of

the album itself.

respectfulchild’s classical training, which is evident

through the complexity of each song, is paired with

a freedom to explore new sounds foreign to even the

trained ear, that ignite a fire of curiosity and mystery.

With a sound that has been likened to artists such

as Brian Eno, Nils Frahm, and Owen Pallett, one can

also not resist the comparison to fellow rising star and

violinist FOONYAP.

• Courtney Faulkner

Shooting Guns

Flavour Country

RidingEasy Records

It’s refreshing to hear the added depth on Shooting

Guns’ latest, Flavour Country. Their sound has

expanded somewhat, featuring more complex

arrangements than those on Born To Deal In Magic:

1952-1976, and 2013’s Brotherhood Of The Ram. Both

were marked by their ability to hypnotize through singular

riffs, with massive harmonic swells of keyboard,

synth, and guitar, over repeated grooves that often

lulled their listeners into a trance.

“Ride Free” is the kind of hot rod, barreling down

the 3AM highway hard rock that fans have come to

expect, that unison chaos of the massive riffs, augmented

by waves of synth swells and a Keith Moon

free-for-all driving the beat. The lead single, “French

Safe” drops in next, its proto-punk mayhem like a

rocket ship from the downbeat. “Simian Shelf” is classic

Shooting Guns at a slower, cleaner pace, the kind of

psych that might compel someone to stare into a fire

for a prolonged period.

Overall, Flavour Country sees Shooting Guns growing

their dynamic reach while never abandoning their

distinctive, cinematic heavy-psych sound.

• Mike Dunn


Dead Reflection

New Damage Records

Silverstein is a rare example of a Canadian hardcore

band that has never seemed to stop their momentum.

While others peaked and faded, Silverstein

continues to release solid albums quite regularly.

Dead Reflection is the latest in their long line of releases,

and it certainly delivers their brand of melodic

hardcore tunes. Silverstein is defined largely by the

way they switch from heavy-as-hell riffage to light-asa-feather

crooning, and that duality is again present

on Dead Reflection. This record seems to lean more

heavily to the cleaner side of things, though, with a

clear majority of toned-down ballads.

Longtime fans will find Dead Reflection feeling very

familiar. The record is not a reinvention of their sound

or a concept album in the way 2009’s A Shipwreck in

the Sand might be considered. This is sort of a positive

and negative of the release. It certainly does not alienate

their core audience. But, at the same time, perhaps

a little more experimentation could have given the

release a few more “wow” moments as new sounds

unfolded from a familiar name.

Lyrically, the album focuses relationships… mostly

failed ones. While there are potentially limitless ways

to frame this topic through music, it’s been explored

so deeply by the group that some fresh songwriting

ground would have really been welcome on this

record. This is not to say the songs are written poorly:

they are very tight, well produced, and well written.

It’s just that thematically they are eerily similar to so

much of their previous music.

• Jodi Brak

Avey Tare



Three years removed from his last solo release,

2014’s Enter the Slasher House, Animal Collective’s

Avey Tare has returned with Eucalyptus, a sunset

dreamscape that sounds like a hallucinogenic trip

put to wax. While this may be an Avey Tare solo

album, he’s enlisted the help of an 11-member

band, featuring Angel Deradoorian (who also played

in Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks), Jessika Kenney, and

Eyvind Kang. The massive band results in an album

full of seemingly-infinitely sustaining guitar strings,

sampled sounds and machinery that can be hard to

identify. Altogether, Eucalyptus yanks you deeper

into its haunting lull.

Lyrically, Tare fills the album with his perspectives

on the day-to-day, and the societal constructs we all

live in. Yet, Avey Tare’s music is about much more

than the lyrics, his vocal talent is bolstered by layered

production. Eucalyptus displays Tare’s ability to confuse,

yet still sooth the listener by anchoring his calm

voice with digital percussion.

Eucalyptus plays like a cold margarita in your hand

while sizzling warm sand nests between your toes. It’s

sweet and relaxing in a way that few modern albums

achieve. This is an album for a long drive in the sun, an

afternoon spent in a hammock, or whatever relaxes

you in times of confusion and stress.

• Keeghan Rouleau



Round 4 Records

If folks like Drake, the Weeknd, and PartyNextDoor

harkened the beginning of the ‘alternative R&B’

sound as it would become known out of Toronto,

there’s a new generation currently active, boiling to

the surface. One of these acts, Jessie Reyez, is already

making waves wider than herself, but perhaps the

most interesting of them all is Unbuttoned. On their

latest, Liquid, they take experimental electronic

R&B as far as it can go, drawing from elements as far

reaching as shoegaze.

Moments of jazz-style improvisation appear

throughout the album, most notably on “Catch Me

I’m Falling” and “Serene.” It’s clear that the musicians

behind Unbuttoned know exactly what they’re doing,

and experimentation is a part of their creative process.

On the flip side, they sound just as at-ease with a

Smiths-style guitar riff, as on “Soft Thing.”

Although she’s not always obviously present, colead

vocalist Kamila Apong’s influence comes through

– whether she’s singing a chorus or solely providing a

harmonic answer to other vocalist Casey MQ’s folkier

drawl. Their balance is best displayed on “Oceans,

Cliffs, & Green Hills,” an adventurous rock song, while

she shines alone on “Womxn Cry,” a song she has

described as “what it sounds like to fall back in love

with myself.”

“Womxn Cry” is also the most electronic and highly

conceptual song on the album— one should watch

the music video for a larger understanding. Apong’s

voice is omnipresent, stretching itself and showcasing

its strength, though the words are often distorted or

unintelligible, only coming through the dissonance

enough to highlight key phrases, such as “when your

back is weary/ I will lie you down.”

The entire album acts as a reflection on self-care,

vulnerability, and outward displays of softness. They

employ concepts from nature, biology, and religion to

explore and define these themes.

• Trent Warner





For outsiders, the general consensus with folk music is kind of a singer-songwriter

vibe. A sole musician with an acoustic guitar or banjo

playing pleasing but not altogether challenging music. Calgary Folk

Music Festival has returned for another year of turning that preconceived

notion on its head, really getting to the heart of what the term

“folk” encompasses, with all its rich cultural and community building


•Willow Grier


The sign, normally announcing how much time a band has left,

just read, “PLAY AS LONG AS YOU WANT” in bold lettering. Holy

Fuck prevented a riot by extending their show by a half hour, and

shepherded the audience through power outages, an impromptu

workshop and hot frenzied dancing, breaking only for fear of killing

us all. The inexhaustible Brian Borcherdt at one point stuck a whole

microphone in his mouth to hit some synths with both hands,

building up walls of sound and mincing up everyone’s energy


• Arielle Lessard

Photo: Jodi Brak


Leif Vollebekk received a sweaty standing ovation after his serene performance.

The synesthete worked a steady hand on ballads and songs for a

tranquil crowd to reflect on. Humble lyrics explored personal tales as he

demonstrated a zigzagging control of both keys and guitar. Accompanied

by bass and drums, the set produced speckles of contrast and created

a space that seemed just right at National Stage for the first evening

of a long weekend. He thinks he did alright, modestly commenting that

“there were a lot of chords in that song, I think we got most of them.”

• Arielle Lessard


Montreal act Coeur de Pirate playfully took the Folk Fest stage in a

charming storm of lovely melodies and honest vulnerability. Beatrice

Martin, the French-Canadian songwriter, enraptured the crowd with

her petite yet powerful voice and masterful piano playing, taking full

advantage of the spotlight she was under and switching fluidly between

French and English while backed by a five-piece band. Coeur de Pirate’s

playful yet emotional songs maintained a balanced arrangement of poppy

folk, complete with hooks and and choruses, as well as a passionate

performance that will stick out in Folk Festers’ minds for the weekend to


•Michael Grondin

Photo: Jarrett Edmund

Photo: Michael Grondin


Witty Billy Bragg elicited a laugh from the Main Stage on Thursday when

he cracked that it is always a good thing to play the first night of the

Calgary Folk Music Festival. “The toilets are so clean,” he joked. That might

have been the only bit of levity during an evening that saw Bragg and Joe

Henry burrow into a trove of American songs forged on the road, along

railway tracks and in old train stations. The earnest duo shared acoustic

guitar duties, and Henry tickled a piano at one point, as their strong voices

painted images of hard workin’ folks just trying to get ahead. It was a

concert light on musical bombast but big on rhetorical flourish. Perhaps

Henry set the stage for the weekend when he noted, “The folk tradition is

not a dead language.”

• Ian Tennant



“My mom would like this band.” So said a friend about The Cactus Blossoms

as we departed the Rigstar Stage around happy hour on Friday. Not

that moms don’t have good taste, she was just continuing a discussion.

While the harmonies of Bros. Jack Torrey and Page Burkum were delicious

and the five-piece band was on point, the overall tempo lacked a little,

well, caliente. They perfectly executed a country shuffle, a loping folk blues

ride and dark tones echoing their Twin Peaks fame. Yet a cover of one of

their fave “brother bands” — likely

a cheeky reference to always being

compared to the Everly Brothers — was

The Kinks’ “Who’ll Be The Last In Line,”

an inspiring choice but the execution

lacked bite. Then again, another friend,

also musically inclined, absolutely loved

The Cactus Blossoms. ​

• Ian Tennant


Rhythmic beats, soulful blues guitar,

subtle hints of keys and a voice to rival

the best blues singers out there: Michael

Kiwanuka and his band packed the Folk

Fest Main Stage with a crowd of eager

dancers swaying along to the melodies

ringing out across Prince’s Island. Their

tunes ranged from huge, big-band style

tracks with twin drummers pounding

away to far more subtle, slow paced

melodies leading along soft vocals.

Definitely one for the dancers, as the

band features two drummers and they

make full use of both of them.

•Jodi Brak



Betty Bonifassi put on a meaningful, integrative show with an

attention to detail that shined hard. Having paid close attention

to slang, accent and pronunciation in her most recent work, she

brought this with fire to the stage. She’s a master at filling her voice

with intonation and passion, matched only by her personality’s

vivaciousness. She dug in her heels and drove the resiliency of slave

songs forward with a tincture of electro and rock solos. Her contralto

could be heard all the way to the fence, where people lined

in the shade to hear her set. A breath in from her alone set a strong

tone – stirring, on her breaths out, strings of dancers.

• Arielle Lessard


Dave Alvin, Phil Alvin and The Guilty Ones had this tired camper

at hello. The crowd gathered before the Main Stage and appeared

to need a jolt after a long, hot day. The Alvins and their crackerjack

band delivered in spades. Backed by the incomparable Lisa Pankratz

on drums, Canadian Brad Fordham on bass and Chris “All killer,

no filler” Miller on the telecaster, the Alvins cruised through Big Bill

Broonzy covers and hits from the brothers’ days as The Blasters like

“Border Radio,” “Jubilee Train” and “Marie, Marie” – an absolute

rocker of a closer that brought the tarpists to their feet. While it

seemed concerning that Phil, who nearly died in 2012, stood still

throughout the entire set, he nonetheless delivered crisp, strong

vocals and sweet harmonica on time and with punch, especially on

a cover of James Brown’s “Please, Please, Please.” That sent chills up

and down the spine. A tight and epic version of Dave Alvin’s solo

effort “Dry River” also hit the sweet spot, showing once again that

a sure-fire way to get a Folk Fest crowd jumping is to unleash roots

rockers extraordinaire like the Alvin brothers and The Guilty Ones.

• Ian Tennant

Photo: Jodi Brak


Photo: Christine Leonard

The BIG Slam

Chixdiggit, High Kicks, Napalmpom, Chron Goblin,

All Hands On Jane

National on 8th

July 15, 2017

Making good on their promise to celebrate the Calgary’s music scene

all year-round, the crew behind the BIG Winter Classic shed their fur

coats in favour of white tank-tops and Daisy-Duke shorts on this hot

Stampede Saturday to present The BIG Slam. Who knew that the old

Scotia Centre you used to gravitate towards as a teenager now has a

whole new reason to loiter in The Core after dark? The National on

8th may have a bustling third floor bar and restaurant, but it’s the

decked-out patio, yet another floor above, that was the place to be.

Brimming to capacity and overflowing with that famous spirit of

western hospitality, the speakeasy rooftop party was lit for a skate and

surf-themed rock ‘n’ roll rodeo of its own. Rip curl riders rolled on the

mercifully-sportsball-free flatscreens about the venue, as the multiple

bars serviced a lively mishmash of patrons (including a scene-stealing

streaker). Lured by the bellicose whiskey-primed blues of All Hands on

Jane, the crowd tripped hard on sonic graffiti of resident delinquents

Chron Goblin, who demonstrated that you don’t require drifting surf

or snow to execute a supreme frontside carve. Scooping up the well-lubricated

(read: turbo-drunk) audience’s attention, Danny Vacon’s

HighKicks delivered a roundhouse to the head that left the room

quaking and blissfully disoriented. Enter Chixdiggit, who dumped a

whole backpack of memories onto the stage; Ally Sheedy style. Suds

and silly songs flowed freely into the night air over Stephen Avenue,

as the outfit’s rambunctious pop-punk rhythms provided a display of

quintessentially Calgarian fireworks.

You can check out the weekly mixtapes of tunage from the folks at

BIG here:

• Christine Leonard



The Marquee Beer Market & Stage- Calgary, AB

July 18 , 2017

Living proof that fans of the legendary hardcore punk act the

Melvins are not easily deterred, a milling mass of avid Ozmatics,

braved a TSA-calibre search and seizure line to bask in the trio’s

radioactive glow on a sluggish weeknight. Robed in Snuggie-like

splendor, King Buzzo took to the reddened stage, along with

fur-vested bassist Steven Shane McDonald (known for his contributions

to of Redd Kross, Tenacious D, Off!, Green and Yellow

TV, and The SMG) and, of course, celebrated percussionist

Dale Crover (Acid King, Altamont, Hank Williams III, Fantômas,

Shrinebuilder, Crystal Fairy, et al.).

Presiding over the congregation in his Illuminati “dress”,

Buzz powered through a battery of broad-shouldered songs,

occasionally throwing off beads of sweat and loose wires from his

salt-&-pepper Brillo-fro. According to the cromulent frontman,

his seamstress, Rebecca Sevrin of the feminist punk band Frightwig,

followed a specific request that his live performance garb be

“Something that looks relatively not normal.”

Athletic as ever, a camera-shy Crover crouched behind his

drumkit, peering out at the crowd between syncopated surges.

Meanwhile, McDonald was riding easy, landing heavy and generally

getting in the mood. His brunette locks flew like a freakflag,

as he channeled a heady amalgam of Geddy Lee and Lorax. It was

evident that three-piece was still building on the chemistry they

began to formulate while recording four songs for the Melvins’

War Pussy EP (which later surfaced on the album Basses Loaded).

Justifiably, confident in their refurbished line-up the Melvins,

who’d just released their first double-album, A Walk with Love

& Death, earlier in the month offered up an impressive body of

sludgy yet sophisticated material. The veteran’s Tuesday-night

stroll with destiny introduced new passages through road-tested

staples in order to devise a rock solid set that rarely rested and

never deviated from its prescribed course. Although, those who

were intelligent enough to make the pilgrimage to Edmonton for

the previous night’s mission reported that Shelbyville-North was

treated to an extra 14-minutes of the Melvins’ holy porch-treatments.

Not that we’re counting. Much.

• Christine Leonard

Photo: Christine Leonard

The Who

Festival d’ete , Quebec City

July 13, 2017

A sea of sparkling little red lights radiated from LED

badges of 120,000 strong spread across the mighty

Plains of Abraham and up around the hills that

enclosed the enormous amphitheater. When Pete

Townshend’s chord-crunching volley kicks off “I Can’t

Explain”, The Who’s blissful embrace of teenage love,

the stage exploded in its own blaze of red light and

white heat surging with the same joyous rush as it did

in 1965, or when you first heard it.

That’s the beauty of The Who: incredibly great

songs that you can’t explain how they endure the test

of time, generations and massive audiences without

losing one shred of intimacy and meaningfulness.

Then again, The Who pioneered taking three ferocious

chords that created chaos in a 100 seat pub, unleashed

the same onslaught at Woodstock then went to conquer

America’s sports arenas and stadiums.

As they marched through hit after hit, Quebec City

willfully succumbed to Townsend’s windmill blows and

Daltrey’s clenched-fist wails. No one expects them to

be the fierce force they once were 50 years in, but The

Who’s command is uncompromising — they play it

like they mean it, and they meant it, absolutely. A large

part of their impressive delivery is Zak Starkey, who’s

tenure over the last decade has propelled him into

a well-deserved, star-studded member of the band.

Starkey’s style doesn’t resemble Keith Moon’s staggered

assaults, his playing flows with far more finesse and

stylized rhythms but with the same, if not greater,

intensity. Starkey is The Who’s bombastic blast.

What’s not so bombastic, but a bit of a nosedive

is when they introduce “Eminence Front” right after

“Love, Reign O’er Me”. It would be better to include

material from one of Townshend’s solo albums than to

get bogged down in The Who’s nowhereland. Fortunately

it doesn’t last long as they pull out of the tailspin

and head soaring across the Plains of Abraham with

“Pinball Wizard”, “See Me, Feel Me”, Baba O’Reily” and

then the grand finale, “Won’t Get Fooled Again”, that

felt like an invading army, the British coming all over

again... Quebec City happily surrendered.

• B. Simm



crossed dressers

My wife has been seriously ill for three years, and I have been her sole

caregiver. The doctors here weren’t getting the job done, so we made the

difficult decision for her to move 2,000 miles away to start over and be

near her family. Our sex life has been nonexistent since she became ill.

She offered me a “hall pass” with two rules: (1) It couldn’t be anyone I

worked with and (2) she didn’t want to know about it. She offered multiple

times, but I was taking care of her 24/7 and never used it. I started to

consider using it after she moved. But I didn’t want to just find some random

person on Tinder. You see, I am a cross-dresser. My wife knows. She’s

never seen me dressed and isn’t interested in knowing more about it. So

instead of paying for a traditional escort, I found someone who would

dress me, do my makeup, go out to dinner with me, but no sex. We met

three times. However, one time I did hire a trans woman who dressed

me and we did have sex. Obviously, I had to lie at times about where I

was when I was using my hall pass, but I considered it a white lie to meet

Rule #2. But my wife flew home unannounced to get her things (with

her ex-husband along to help) and found my clothes out and quickly got

out of me what I had done. She was beyond pissed. She says I had a hall

pass for sex but not cross-dressing. She belittled me for the cross-dressing

and said the sex was supposed to be a one-and-done thing. She knew I

was a cross-dresser, and I derived more pleasure from this cross-dressing

experience than having anonymous sex with an escort. My questions: Did

I violate the hall pass? Was I wrong to cross-dress?

— Dude Relishing Erotic Sexcapades Suddenly Entertaining Divorce

P.S. I am quite convincing when dressed and blend well in public.

Your wife went home to get well and “start over.” And it sounds like

she got well—at least well enough to fly—and started over with her


I don’t think you were wrong to cross-dress, DRESSED, and if you

violated that hall pass, it was only because your soon-to-be-ex-wife

didn’t share all the rules with you until after you used it. It looks like

a setup to me. Your soon-to-be-ex-wife gave you permission to fuck

someone else—permission that came with rules that were disclosed

and secret bylaws and codicils that were not—because, consciously or

subconsciously, she wanted to catch you doing it wrong (in your case,

DRESSED, doing it more than once, cross-dressing when you did it,

etc.). Because now she can divorce you with a clear conscience, since

she’s not to blame for the split—you and your dick and your dresses

are to blame.

You might want to brace yourself for some hardcore blaming and

kink-shaming, DRESSED, and for the very real possibility she’ll out

you as a cheat and a cross-dresser to family and friends. But however

the divorce plays out—and here’s hoping it doesn’t get ugly—at

least you’ll soon be free to find a partner you don’t have to hide your

cross-dressing from.

I’m a 22-year-old nonbinary person and I’m debating whether to come

out to my father as nonbinary. Complicating things is the fact that

I tried to come out to him at 18 back when I thought I was “only” a

hetero-leaning bi cross-dresser. He did not take the news well. Today

we don’t talk about it, and I think he pretends it never happened. I’m

wanting to move toward living in a less-gender-conforming way—including

changing my name—and am considering making a second

attempt. Pros: not feeling I like I’m hiding who I am, maybe I get him off

my back about kids, being able to be out on Facebook. Cons: screaming

matches, strong possibility of being disowned and losing the modest

amount of financial support I get from him, small possibility of him

telling my mom (they’re divorced). Any advice?

— One Foot Out

What’s more important to you, OFO, living authentically or living off

your dad? If being your authentic self means giving up the money

he sends you and you don’t desperately need his money, the choice

is obvious. But if his money is all that stands between you and gender-nonconforming

homelessness, you might want to think through

your options, the risks and the rewards, before going nonbinary

official on Facebook.

I’m a 25-year-old man who is mostly interested in women but I like to

mess around with men sometimes. I also love wearing high heels and

makeup—not to “pass,” but just because I love it. Most women seem

to be instantly turned off by these two things. I usually do very well

with women, but they bolt when I tell them, and some have been quite

hurtful. My family is very understanding about the high heels and my

sexuality—even my father—but the average woman doesn’t seem to

like it when I do something that they deem “theirs.” Which is so unfair.

Women can do anything they please—wear pants if they like, have

same-sex experiences—but I must submit or face the life of an outcast.

Any advice on how to deal with this while also dealing with the bitterness

and envy I feel?

— Enraging Gender And Double Standards

Let’s start with those feelings of envy, shall we? While it’s true that

women can wear pantsuits without causing alarm (or winning the

White House), and while it’s also true that women can have same-sex

experiences without freaking out the men in their lives (because

straight men are likelier to be aroused than repulsed), women’s

choices and their bodies are subjected to much more scrutiny, control,

and violence than our male bodies are, EGADS. Until politicians

legislate against your right to control your own body (and wear your

own heels), you can note the few areas where women enjoy more

latitude than men, but you aren’t allowed to bitch about them.

And this should put your pain in perspective: According to a new

report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more

than half the women murdered in the United States every year—55

percent—are killed by their husbands, boyfriends, or exes. It sucks to

be dumped for your sexual orientation or gender expression, I know.

And people kink-shaming is more painful than non-kinksters realize.

But none of your exes have stalked and murdered you.

Now the good news: There are women out there who dig men

in high heels, there are women out there into bi guys, and there is

a significant overlap between those two groups of women. If you

succumb to bitterness at your young age because you’ve been

dumped a few times—if you despise all women because you were

dumped by women you wouldn’t want to be with anyway—you’re

going to scare off the women who are genuinely attracted to guys

like you. The women who bolted did you a painful favor, and you

should be grateful. Because with those average women out of your

life, EGADS, you’re free to go find an above-average woman who

wants an above-average guy like you. Pro-tip: You’re likelier to find

those women at a fetish party or club, or via a kink social-media site

or dating website. Good luck.

Listen to Dan at

Email Dan at

Follow Dan

@fakedansavage on Twitter

by Dan Savage


More magazines by this user
Similar magazines