Beakerhead • Comeback Kid • Yes • A Bomb • Nosaj Thing • Kacy & Clayton • Divinity • Chad VanGaalen
ground beef, jalapeño cheddar
cheese sauce, sour cream topped
with tomatoes and green onions.
ROLLING OUT ALL SEPTEMBER!
To Book the Big Cheese Food Truck call:
Featured Hot Dog:
all beef wiener topped with onion
rings, sour cream, bacon and
shredded cheddar cheese
This Month’s Milkshake is..
Visit our Kensington location
and enjoy 12 flavours
of ice cream!
738B 17TH AVE. S.W. I 207 10TH ST. N.W. I FACEBOOK.COM/MYBIGCHEESE. I MYBIGCHEESE.COM
Editor’s Note/Pulse 4
Bedroom Eyes 7
Edmonton Extra 30-31
Book Of Bridge 32
Letters From Winnipeg 33
This Month in Metal 47
Calgary Film 15-17
CIFF roundup, Return To Nuke Em High
Volume 2, The Vidiot
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Comeback Kid, Yes, The New Pornographers,
The Mad Caddies, The Voodoo
Glow Skulls, A-Bomb, Mister & Mystic,
2/3 Of Nothing, Mammoth Grove, UP +
Nosaj Thing, Billy Kenny, Caspa
Kacy & Clayton, Amy Helm, Ayla Brook
Divinty, Yawning Man, Maglor
Chad VanGaalen, Alvvays, Faith Healer,
The National and much more ...
Social Media Coordinator
City :: Brad Simm
Film :: Jonathan Lawrence
Rockpile :: Jodi Brak
Edmonton Extra :: Brittany Rudyck
Book of (Leth)Bridge :: Courtney Faulkner
Letters From Winnipeg :: Julijana Capone
Jucy :: Paul Rodgers
Roots :: Liam Prost
Shrapnel :: Sarah Kitteringham
Reviews :: Jamie McNamara
Christine Leonard • Arielle Lessard • Sarah Mac • Amber McLinden • Kennedy Enns •
Jennie Orton • Michael Grondin • Mathew Silver • Kevin Bailey • Jackie Klapak •
Hayley Pukanski • Nicholas Laugher • Arnaud Sparks • Brittney Rousten • Jodi Brak •
Breanna Whipple • Alex Meyer • Jay King • Alec Warkentin • Paul McAleer • Mike Dunn •
Shane Sellar • Kaje Annihilatrix • Dan Savage
Tel: (403) 607-4948 • e-mail: email@example.com
We distribute our publication in Calgary, Edmonton, Banff, Canmore, and Lethbridge.
SARGE Distribution in Edmonton – Shane Bennett (780) 953-8423
Connect with BeatRoute.ca
Copyright © BEATROUTE Magazine 2017
All rights reserved. Reproduction of the contents is prohibited without permission.
Dave Drebit, in the newly-formed The Night Terrors, lets loose at Dickens on a hot August night.
BEATROUTE • SEPTEMBER 2017 | 3
Friday Sept 22 – Sunday Sept 24
Friday Sept 28 – Sunday Oct 1
Beers, bands and tacos in the
parking lot. Record sale
I am The Mountain
Fox Who Slept The Day away
AFTER HOURS WITH BRAIDS
Following a successful spring season, Studio Bell
After Hours is back with more to offer late night
guests on Friday, September 22 from 7:00 pm to
11:00 pm. The fall season will kick-off with JUNO
Award-winning three-piece Braids headlining in
Studio Bell’s Performance Hall, while beat-makers
Kloves (techno) and Miss Hazard (house and techno)
spin selections on multiple levels.
Due to public demand, the fourth installment of
the series will also include a later start time, giving
attendees more time to dance and mingle after they’ve
gotten warmed up.
Duane Hostland is a 40 year old father of three, a
loving husband and an avid obstacle course racing
competitor. During a routine procedure, Duane was
diagnosed with stage 3B terminal stomach cancer.
His first thoughts were not of himself, but of his two
daughters, his son, and the love of his life, Rosalie.
Duane is determined to overcome his illness. His
biggest fear is not being able to provide for his family
while undergoing aggressive treatment.
On Saturday, Sept. 30, CALGARY BEER CORE will host
a fundraiser for the Hostland family, bringing together health,
wellness, art, and music at The Stetson between 3pm and
12am. A silent auction will be held, showcasing products
and services donated by Calgary businesses dedicated to
health, wellness, art, culture, music, and community. Local
bands and musicians are slated to play throughout the event
to celebrate the Hostland family. All proceeds will go to the
4 | SEPTEMBER 2017 • BEATROUTE
SOARING EAGLE RECORDS
It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s....
Matt Olah was the founder and frontman of Cowpuncher, a
Calgary band that had a good run over several years, playing
across Canada, making records, having a devout following.
All good things must pass, Olah took a job with the Calgary
Folk Music Festival and hung up his microphone (for the now,
anyway) and is now pitching his new venture, Soaring Eagle
Where does the name come from?
When we were filling out grant applications for Cowpuncher
there was always a field on the form for record labels. As a joke
we would fill in Soaring Eagle Records. We even made a Facebook
page. And now it’s for real!
Any specific focus or kind of music or artist?
No. With the Folk Fest I’m programmed to work with a diverse list
of artists. I want colour, female representation and people I like!
What does it mean these days when you get signed to a label?
What do you have to offer?
Artist development. I work at a large music festival that also has
a venue with shows year round. I think I’m good at knowing how
to book and promote artists and shows. I was also an artist for 12
years and had some real successes. I’m happy to share that knowledge
For more Matt go to... www.facebook.com/soaringeaglerecords
BEATROUTE • SEPTEMBER 2017 | 7
a fun-filled history of human innovation at your fingertips!
CITY AT NITE, CITY OF LIGHT
Beakerhead’s photowalk workshop
Torch night with Serpent Mother and her flame lovin’ fans.
Now in its fifth year, Beakerhead’s stimulating, visual, hands-on,
art meets science, street walk experience ups the ante with
more than 60 events and exhibitions designed to inform, entertain,
excite and tweak your imagination. On account this extravaganza
is so massive, we decided to let Jasmine Palardy, Beakerhead’s communication
pro, do the talking and touch upon this year’s theme
and a just a few of the fun rides to look forward to.
SNAKES AND LADDERS
This is Canada’s 150th year birthday, although the land certainly
has a history that extends well beyond that as does human ingenuity.
This year we decided on a snakes and ladders theme. It’s not
a typical board game, not in the literal sense you roll the dice and
see what happens. Rather, with 14 engineered art installations we
constructed a snakes and ladders story. Innovation and invention
is a bumpy road. For anyone going from innovation to execution
there’s a lot of failures and successes along the way.
And what we’ve often heard about Beakerhead is that because
it’s so massive, where do I go next? You can choose your adventure
and self-discover, or walk up to a site and read about the snakes
and ladders story which offers another direction to go in. It’s our
way of bread-crumbing people through this story of history and
human ingenuity and innovation.
Now the most literal of snakes is the Serpent Mother which is a
mechanically articulated snake more than 160 foot long staged at
Fort Calgary. She shoots 20-30 feet columns of fire from multiple
points along her body. And there’s buttons you can push!
get your pack on and up to the space station and prepare for space
travel. It delightfully pokes fun at the bureaucracy of public transit.
We may think the future will be glitzy and smooth, but public
transit will always come with its glorious red tape.
INKED: THE SCIENCE OF DEEP SKIN
One interesting workshops is Inked, and the science of tattooing.
You’ll walk into a tattoo parlour, sit down with a tattoo artist and
dermatologist and learn about tattoo augmentation and the affect
it has on your body. Then you get to pick up the machine and
actually make a tattoo… on an orange peel!
SCIENCE OF CATS AND DOG
Co-founder Jay Ingram is hosting a stage show at MRU’s
Bella Concert Hall that looks at everything from cat and dog
behaviorists to detective dogs to robot cats and dogs.
THAT’S SOUNDS DIFFERENT
Deaf and Hear Alberta is having a listening party at the Grace
Presbyterian Church where you can bring a CD or piece of vinyl,
they will play it and will remove or add certain frequencies so you
understand what people with different auditory perceptions hear.
Beakerhead’s complete schedule of events can be found at
Last year, one of Beakerhead’s main
attractions were the giant white,
luminous bunnies who lite up the night.
Everyone loved the bunnies, and everyone
wanted to take photos of them trying to
capture that fabulous glow-in-the-dark
experience, which is not so easy to do. No,
the bunnies didn’t scamper off, but night
photography can be tricky business if
you’re not exactly sure how it works.
This year Beakerhead offers a new indepth
hands-on experience with a refine
your skills workshop led by local photographer
and visual storyteller Rob Brown.
Growing up, Brown developed a passion
for film cameras and went shooting
when and wherever he could to snag the
world through his lens. As the digital age
unfolded so did Brown’s photo adventures,
roaming the planet taking him to exotic
territories including New Zealand, Cambodia,
Cuba and Turkey where he indulged in
landscape, street and night photography.
“The photos I most enjoy taking involve
emotional storytelling, usually with people
in them, but not always... Beakerhead is so
unique, because so many of the exhibits
have a light component to them. The big
bunnies and octopus in previous years
were all lite up and dramatic allowing for
Brown will be carrying his Panasonic
Lumix GX8, a street camera supreme, but
he’ll show how you can make your own
hand-held capture all the glory at night.
For more info go to www.beakerhead.com
Night Photography Workshop
SAIT LOVES ACAD
Anyone who has gone to SAIT or ACAD know the technical world
is siloed away from the arts world, and that extends way beyond
school. So this year SAIT and ACAD are playing with each other
with giant inflatables, kind of a love story between those two
institutions. SAIT will have a hug paint brush on its rooftop, while
ACAD will have a rocketship on top of there’s.
CALGARY MUNICIPAL SPACE STATION
There’s a local group called Humble Wonder who will be turning
the Calgary Tower into its first municipal space station. To envision
an extension of public transit, we have to think about a municipal
space station that will connect to galaxies beyond. They’re converting
the elevator and at least half of the top of the tower into a
space station that’s a fully inclusive experience and includes some
virtual reality. It’s guided experience, you’ll be with a fellow space
traveler to get some ground training like any other astronaut, then
Calgary’s Major Tong gazing down from the tower.
Rob Brown: viewing the world through a storytelling lens.
8 | SEPTEMBER 2017 • BEATROUTE CITY
game board delight in Kensignton
The afternoon sun pours into the fresh, bright,
clean, contemporary interior of the Hexagon
Board Game Cafe. It’s truly a warm delight looking
out from a second story window as people wander
up and down Kensington Road, enjoying their
summer’s day. That the cafe has such an exquisite and
inviting design is no surprise considering the owners,
Kellie Ho and Randy Wong, both graduated with
degrees in architecture.
But the Hexagon is more than just a place to chitchat
and enjoy the view over a cup of coffee or a beer,
if you prefer. It’s where board-gamers congregate and
delve deep into their obsession. The idea came to Ho
and Wong when they couldn’t find work as designers
and traveled to Korea.
“Boarding cafes are really popular there with people
from all over the world,” say Ho. “And we thought
to bring the concept back home.” Three years ago
they opened their first cafe in Edmonton, Ho’s hometown,
on Whyte Ave. And then the location here in
Calgary, where Wong’s from, last year.
Kellie says that while they do cater to gamers they
also get a lot of professionals, students and those out
on date nights that crack open the board. “It’s a good
ice-breaker, and you get to see the other’s personality
quite easily,” she laughs. For those who haven’t yet taken
the plunge into the parallel universe of gameland,
you’re missing out on a wonderful experience in a
On Thursday, Oct. 5. ACAD Student Night takes
place at Hexagon, #200 -1140 Kensington Rd. NW.
Inglewood’s new comfort cafe has many splendors
Community-minded whiz kids Pieter and Jared
Co-owner, Pieter Boekhoff, says that he and
his partner, Jared Salekin, designed their
boutique nacho bar with women in mind. “It’s
meant to be female-centric. A place were women
can come, enjoy a glass of wine, have good
conversation,” says Boekhoff. And clearly the
elegance of Madison’s with its wood paneling,
white tiling, a modern flair for furniture and
golden rays of sun filling the room, distinguishes
and distances itself from the dingy,
bottom-rung sports bar full of men chugging
back beers. Although you can order beer at
Madison’s, they have lots of local craft brew on
tap that they rotate regularly.
Boekhoff adds, “We also wanted to make it
the most comfortable coffee shop you’ve every
worked out of.” He notes the design of the
tables, chairs and positioning of power outlets,
all for the convenience of using a laptop.
Speaking of comfort and style, Madison’s
Let’s go boarding now, everyone is learning how!
may have the best patio in
Inglewood, facing south,
back off the street and
partly shaded by mature
trees and building walls
on each side. There’s both
sun and protection, a real
The nacho menu is their
food specialty. Served on a
8 x12 inch aluminum tray,
they offer five different
selections that include the
Angry Hawaiian, Mexican,
Korean, Poke and Wild
Mushroom & Truffle with
none of the typical pub grub ingredients you’d
get in a bar. Fresh, filling and fantastic is a
deserving description. You’d be hard-pressed
to go back to that ole plate piled high with its
shredded monza-cheddar mix.
The name Madison’s is tip of the hat to New
York where both Salekin and Boekhoff went
for inspiration. And what did they come back
with? A delicious Old Fashioned cocktail priced
at TEN DOLLARS! Thank you very much!!
Both graduates of the entrepreneur program
at MRU and pro-community, Boekhoff and
Salekin set up Madison’s to give people a stake
in the firm. “For $5,000,” says Boekhoff, “you
get an order of nachos per week. And it’s also
an investment in the company where you get a
profit share as a non-voting member.”
Chips Ahoy! On so many levels. Madison’s is
located at 1212 - 9 Ave. SE.
YYSCENE’s quick scan go-to-guide for September...
Everything, and I mean EVERY-
THING is happening this month.
Music? Check. Dance? Check. Food
from trucks? Check. Film? Hells yes,
check. Science and art, together
again? Check check.
Are you a fan of Jay Arner? Well, he’s
playing with Heavydive and Carbolizer
on Sept. 7 at the Nite Owl.
More into dance? The 36th Annual
Alberta Dance Festival presented
by Dancers’ Studio West runs at the
Pumphouse Theatres Sept. 7-16. Go,
Food! On Saturday, Sept. 9 head to Currie Park (by Wild Rose Brewery if that’s a better
marker for you) for this year’s Circle the Wagons traveling carnival, featuring YYC Food
Trucks, beer, music, art and performers from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.Head off to MacEwan Hall
after you’ve eaten your body weight in tacos to check out Oh Wonder’s Ultralife Tour.
Beakerhead: Your art is in my science! Your science is in my art! From Sept. 13-17 you can
take in some amazing exhibits – both interactive and not – around downtown Calgary
and just revel in Beakerhead’s awesomeness. A giant, fire-y serpent, fun down Kensington
Alley, the art of butchery. .. well that sounds weird, but you get the idea. Much to see!
The Ballantynes with Hard Pressed and Letters to Lions play the Palomino on Sept. 14,
with Fiver and Saltwater Hank at the Hillhurst United Church Sept. 15. Market Collective
– more than just a market – brings us the Market Collective Bike Scavenger Hunt on
Sept. 17 from 12-4 p.m.
Film! So much film from Sept. 20 - Oct. 1 with the 2017 Calgary International Film Festival,
featuring documentaries, shorts, local films, international films ... you name it, they’ve
got it. Buy a pass and start planning your month. That’s a lot of films ...
Studio Bell After Hours will feature former locals Braids with Kloves and Miss Hazard on
Sept. 22 from 7-11 p.m. Sept. 23sees Elliott Brood headlining at The Gateway, and The
Commonwealth will be busy with Kacy & Clayton on Sept. 24 and Austra (so excited!) on
Ending the month you have Feist at the Bella Concert Hall for a three-night stand, Sept
27-29, The New Pornographers with Born Ruffians on Oct. 3 at MacEwan Hall, and why
not head to the Ship & Anchor on Oct. 4 to check out Adictox with Canibales & No
There — start planning your month.
The Ballantynes, Vancouver’s premier soul-rockers
Sept. 14 at The Palomino
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editor, writer, events listings curator
BEATROUTE • SEPTEMBER 2017 | 9
Billy Bragg reveals the roots of Britain’s rock ‘n’ roll revolution
At the height of its popularity in 1957 skiffle
in Britain was enormous. Nothing less than a
massive skiffle attack with an estimated 400
groups in London and literally thousands more scattered
across the country playing school gymnasiums,
cafes and church basements, prompting an insane
surge in annual guitar sales that also soared into the
thousands. Top hits on the radio, smash records, crazed
skiffle contests and packed coffee houses... Skifflemania
was in full swing! And then in a flash it was gone,
just as a one scruffy skiffle outfit from Liverpool, The
Quarrymen, made their first demo recording a Buddy
Holly song. Soon after, rock ‘n’ roll was here to stay.
Skiffle was a major influence, the segue to stardom
and a new universe for many of great British pop and
rock artists including The Beatles, The Who, David
Bowie and Jimmy Page. Yet very little is known about
this fertile period from ‘56 to ’58 which hasn’t garnered
much more than a footnote in the history books. This
is precisely why Billy Bragg, the political folk-punk troubadour,
took to writing a fine piece of smart, articulate
and often witty historical research with Roots, Radicals
And Rockers: How Skiffle Changed The World.
Its beginnings hinge on Ken Colyers, whose unwavering
purist love for New Orleans jazz led to the
formation of a “trad jazz” band that included Lonnie
Donegan, a lively Scot who also cherished country
swing and the blues. In 1954 Ken Colyer’s Jazzmen
recorded a reeved-up version of Leadbelly’s “Rock
Island Line” as a B-side with Donegan taking lead
vocals. What was essentially a near throwaway track
would launch the skiffle craze two years later and vault
Donegan into orbit.
In terms of Donegan’s talent, Bragg claims, “He was
undoubtedly the best blues singer in Britain. Head and
shoulders above anyone else as a white blues singer. He
was a good all ‘round entertainer, who had that ability
to engage an audience. A very gregarious personality. I
meet him in his later years, he was the life and soul of
the party kind of guy. And a real fan of the music. He
had a real a love for it, which he wanted to communicate
to the people. That’s what I got out of him.”
It wasn’t just Donegan’s skill, fire and enthusiasm
that created the skiffle boom, it was also its accessibility.
Bragg notes that post-war youth in Britain had
gown up with rationing. Music was scarce, record
stores weren’t in abundance, many teenagers had to
sign records out of the public library to hear jazz, blues
and country. And there was a long standing a feud
in the ‘50s between the British and American music
unions that prevented artists to tour in the others’
country. On top of it, the BBC put the squeeze on.
“They rationed rock ‘n’ roll,” says Bragg. “And these kids
said, ‘Fuck em! We’re going to make our own music.
We don’t care about the BBC. We’re going to take the
guitar and make our own music.’”
And that they did. Bragg claims upward of 50,000
skiffle bands existed in Britain with guitars in hand.
“You got to remember these are teenagers, and they
used the guitar as way of defining themselves as not
adults and not children. The guitar is the tool by which
they do that. And I do think if you were a 15 year old
in 1957, and you saw a sign that said, Tonight Skiffle,
you wouldn’t expect to hear just Lonnie Donegan type
of songs. You would expect to hear music played on a
guitar. It could be blues, it could be jazz or calypso. Just
picking up the guitar was a symbol of something new.
That’s what these people were trying to do. Paradoxically
by going back to Lead Belly they were trying to
build a bridge to the future and make it happen. And
the guitar is the means but which they defined themselves
as being a completely new generation.”
Indeed it did. Ten years later “My Generation”
was fiercely punctuated by Pete Townshend’s
spectacle of violent windmills and smashed guitars
that then would pave the way for yet another
DIY generation led by a feisty, street fightin’ man
named Stummer who, armed with a battered
black Telecaster, threw down the gauntlet: This is a
public service announcement… WITH GUITARS!
Roots, Radicals And Rockers: How Skiffle Changed The
World is publishsed by Faber & Faber.
10 | SEPTEMBER 2017 • BEATROUTE CITY
PIECE ON PEACE
a small boutique forging ahead with a flair for fashion and health
After working as a skin care specialist
for several years, Barb MacKenzie
shifted her focus to fashion
while continuing to maintain her interests
in healthy and sustainable products. The
result is Piece on Peace, a small boutique
located in Southwest Calgary. Essentially
MacKenzie runs a mini-department store
that carries a variety of designer clothes,
handbags, jewelry, footwear and bedding
along with full line of eco-friendly cleaning
and skin care products.
“I’ve always been about the piece,” she
say when discussing her shop’s name that
she runs with her husband. “What got us
accepted into the Farmers’ Market years
ago was making capes and using the most
beautiful fabrics. None of them were
exactly the same, so that became your
‘piece’, it’s individual and has your name
on it as you walk around the city.”
MacKenzie adds that as an artisan-based
company, they didn’t want to
carry any “manufacturing”— materials
or products that made from industrialized
processes. “We want to support
textiles in a green way. For instance, is
that piece, that product, going to be
sitting in a landfill forever? So the other
part, the other ‘peace’ is about sustainability.
Textiles are becoming a dirty
business. The dyes can be very toxic, as
are the chemicals in permanent-press
products. Everything from the clothing
you’re wearing to what you’re sleeping
in, it concerns autoimmune systems,
your health, your lifestyle.”
To get a better idea of what Piece on
Peace is about, MacKenzie talks specifically
about some of the products she carries
and the benefits they have.
“They aren’t necessarily organic, but we
don’t want any fillers, any petroleum
by-products, or parabens which are
preservatives, we frown against dyes, and
don’t like artificial scents. We are looking
at the most natural product that you can
wear on your skin and thinking that they
can be absorbed into your system. Think
of it as food!”
Barb MacKenzie owner of
Piece On Peace, located at 5 Spruce
Center in Spruce Clif f in SW Calgary
“Most cleaners are filled with abrasive
chemicals to do the job, but you don’t
need that. A lot of our cleaning products
are from Clean Conscious, a small
company out St. Alberta who make their
cleaners from natural ingredients (e.g.,
baking soda, vinegar, alcohol, cornstarch,
lemon) that are really effective. They also
source out all their ingredients based on
fair-trade practices, so no low-pay, child
labour. It’s important to know that story,
and we want to tell it.”
“One of our jewelry designers works
with stones and their meanings. Stones
have stories behind then, certain
energies too and they work differently
on everyone. Another is a metal jeweler
who takes a lots of recycled materials,
like copper tubing used for plumbing.
And she also finds old broken jewelry at
markets and thrift shops, then breaks it
down to make something new.”
“Stockings, leggings, tights and nylons
make textiles the second largest pollutting
industry because they’re only
worn a few times, if that, then thrown
away filling up landfills. And most dyes
used are bad for you pressed against
your body all day... This company is
about women making products for
women. The two Swedes who started
it use recycled yarns, dyes that aren’t
harmful, they taken the comfort level
miles beyond, and all their products
are made in a solar power plant in Italy.
The company has grown from a baby to
giant in the last couple years.”
“We have some stylish boots similar to
Wellies, Wellington rainboots, but you
sweat in those. The ones we have come
from Denmark although made in Portugal
called Lemon Jelly. They have this
technology that smells fresh like lemons
but uses anti-bacterial material so your
feet don’t sweat or smell.”
“Real Egyptian cotton is really the best
way to sleep. The quality of cotton is
not based on thread count, it’s based
on how durable the fibre and how long
it. This cotton comes from Italy, which
is the hub for all your manufactured
green materials. It comes into Canada
as an unfinished good then sewn here
saving a huge cost on all the duty.
Sleeping in Egyptian is like a dream, it
allows you to have a far better sleep
and that improves your health. Never
underestimate your bedding.”
BEATROUTE • SEPTEMBER 2017 | 11
PUNK MEETS FASHION
a runway makeover with street style
debut cassette release available
sept 15 at all fine local record shops
After creating a jewelry line based on “wearing
your spirituality” which has grown substantially
and now has national distribution, local designer and
yoga instructor, Apryl Dawn, is embarking on another
venture bringing underground street style to the
refined, high-flyin’ world of runway fashion.
The idea of a punk rock fashion show with bands
that provide a runway soundtrack, has that idea
been done before somewhere?
There’s a fashion week in Toronto that mixes music
with fashion, but locally, definitely not. This was
brainchild of Dave (Pederson, vocalist/guitarist in
Downway) and I bouncing ideas off each other, and
my frustration with not seeing more alternative
fashion and looks on the main runway.
Not seeing more alternative fashion on the runway,
what does that mean specifically?
I’m not a pastels and floral kind of girl, or a cut and
structured wearables type of person. I’ve been to lots
of fashion shows and for the big ones, that what it’s
about — What is the average 30 to 40 year woman
wearing? I suppose I’m not average or interested in
average, nor are the people I work with. I don’t see alternative
fashion out there on the level it should be.
We have a lot of freedom to dress the way we want,
and express our authentic self. Our fashion is our
inner self, it’s our authentic being which we should
be able to express. More and more we’re moving
towards that point, but I still think we need to break
down some walls.
But you have punk street fashion, a DIY culture that
creates their own style from clothes bought at thrift
shops. When or how does that street style crossover
and spill onto the runway?
Honestly, I love the person on the street that found
a whole bunch of shit for five bucks and looks totally
rockin’, opposed to someone who just went out and
spent 500 dollars on a t-shirt. And I think it blends
from one world to the other because there is no structure
in place yet. There is this deep, grungy, grindy underworld
of punk and rock that’s actually feeding the
high side of fashion. Couture is definitely not shaping
that. It’s coming off the street, from the bottom up.
We’re feeding off something that’s been underground
for decades and decades, and stealing little bits of
pieces — chains, leathers, belts and buckles — and
that’s all being becoming one for me.
The PUNK MEETS FASHION showcase takes place
Thursday, Sept. 21 at Commonwealth.
12 | SEPTEMBER 2017 • BEATROUTE CITY
Indigenous Beauty, Fashion and Design Week
Rebecca Merasty models new fashion by one of Otahpiaaki’s
feature designers, Brenda Lee Asp, who named the cape
“Honouring Raven - My Mother’s People”.
Photos taken at Tsuu T’ina on the banks of the river called they
call Kootsisáw, the Blackfoot refer to as Moh kínstsis, and the
Stoney Nakoda call Wincheesh pah.
PHOTOS: JASON ENG
these designers are building their brands. In some cases, our students
have collaborated on eCommerce sites, graphic design and the design
of lookbooks for designers who do not have these tools.
One of our founding students Spirit River Striped Wolf (MRU Policy
Studies) developed an international costing export tool for any designer
to use if they’re thinking of selling in the EU. Another student, Taryn
Hamilton (MRU Justice Studies) is engaged in developing new Canadian
law designed to protect the industrial designs of Indigenous creatives. It
matters who is at the front of the room too. Each of these designers have
successful ventures. So, having thought leaders like Justin Louis present and
inspire others is critical to growth that we anticipate could be upwards of
19.6M in our province alone.
The Truth and Reconciliation Showcases go beyond the flair of a fashion
show. Could you elaborate on these two showcases?
We kick off the week with a performance by Grammy nominated artists,
the Northern Cree Singers on September 18, and are very excited to be
screening Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World on Tuesday, Sept.
19 both at the Bella Concert Hall.
The Truth Showcase has been curated to include designers whose work
inspires questioning, commitment, action, impact and change through designs.
The evening opens with opens with champion hoop dancer Dallas
Arcand who warms up our runway.
The Reconciliation Showcase has been assembled from designers’
collections that are more couture and avant-garde, similar to a luxury
runway from New York or Paris – many of our designers have been invited
to both. Our featured guest is Brenda Lee Asp from the Northern
Tutchine First Nation in the Yukon. The final piece in the showcase
is a reconciliation cape project organized by Brenda that will be built
collaboratively over the week.
For all details about the seminars, runaway shows, music, film, scheduling
and tickets for Otahpiaaki 2017, go to otahpiaakifashionweek.com
Based out of Mount Royal University, Otahpiaaki is
an annual week long event that showcases Indigenous
beauty, fashion and design featuring a wealth
of local and regional Indigenous artists and designers
with their inspiring creatives. Patti Derbyshire – Chair
of Entrepreneurship, Marketing and Social Innovation
in the Bissett School of Business at MRU – talks indepth
about what Otahpiaak 2017 has to offer and
what it hopes to achieve with this bold and exciting
Overall the focus of the event draws on a rich Indigenous past, but then
places it into a very contemporary context. In fact, that seems to be
a statement made: while its roots are deep in tradition, this is a very
progressive exhibition, this is Indigenous fashion design here and now.
I think this is a good read of Otahpiaaki 2017 and the designers with
whom who we’ve started to build relationships. At our first showcase
last November, Justin Louis and Tishna Marlowe informed the direction
of this project. There were three things that are important to convey.
First, that our student teams understand that Indigenous creatives are
carriers of vibrant cultural knowledge and a voice that has always been
strong, resilient and diverse.
Also, the design and craft of Indigenous apparel, fashion, music, film
and arts has always been a critical component of identity in Indigenous
communities – an underappreciated hallmark of Canada’s fashion
identity. Our students completed research in this area earlier this year
and we discovered that iconic fashion and apparel in Canada, in fact, is
Indigenous. Finally, there is an immense creative and economic engine,
by Indigenous designers and for Indigenous designers, where global
impact and presence is inevitable.
Looking at cross-section of the seminars and workshops offered, it
seems like every stone is overturned, is there anything in Indigenous
fashion and and design that isn’t covered?
There are 760+ First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities within
Canada, so there is much to discover yet. This is a Seven Generations
project that we intend to co-create over the next seven years, so
we’re just infants really. There’s no question that the strength of the
program comes from the advice of our Elder, Jeannie Smith Davis,
recommendations from our founder-designers, as well as Otahpiaaki
student teams. Fashion and creativity are powerful platforms for
discussion and healing.
What we’ve developed is what worked last year – using fashion,
sewing, creative studios, social innovation, and entrepreneurial thinking
as opportunities to build relationships and knowledge of difficult
and compelling topics. Those who participate in workshops with this
year’s Indigenous designers, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous receive
new knowledge. It is not formalized but we found when people
work creatively with their hands, they will listen and speak with one
another, with time to reflect on what is being shared.
One might learn about a craft technique and its lineage, but
honestly last year participants learned as much about deep beauty
–intellectual, spiritual, cultural, emotional and physical, the diversity
of Nations, Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Men, the
intergenerational trauma of residential schools, the Indian Act, and
about the TRC Calls to Action. Discussion and action are embedded
in each of the workshops and will be shown over and over on the
runway events .
There’s a strong entrepreneurial, a business component. How is
that weaved into the event?
Economic reconciliation is a pillar of the greater Otahpiaaki project
and incorporates new venture thinking, marketing, and social innovation.
We are based at the Bissett School of Business so it’s valuable
and a natural fit to hear the stories and methods of how each of
BEATROUTE • SEPTEMBER 2017 | 13
CALGARY FILM 2017
200 films, 40 counties, Alberta galore
by Jonathan Lawrence
SUCK IT UP
Grief and friendship meet in Invermere-shot film
by Morgan Cairns
try not to talk your ear off,” says Steve Schroeder jokingly. As
executive director of the Calgary International Film Festival, he
talks vigorously about this year’s new films and events, espousing
the level of originality and local pride that they aspire to each year.
With over two thousand submissions, the team at Calgary Film (no
longer abbreviated as CIFF) had their work cut out for them. What they
ended up with is “200 different, remarkable perspectives, visions of the
world that come through every genre from 40 countries or more and of
every type of film,” says Schroeder. It’s a passion Calgary Film has both for
film and organizing a community is palpable. “It’s what we love, it’s what
motivates us,” he adds.
Schroeder himself is no stranger to festivals or films. “I’ve always been
a film buff. I’ve been now 20 plus years working in the arts community in
Calgary. I started as a live theatre producer, where I developed a love of
festivals in general…I love when a city has a deep festival-based culture
because nothing makes a city liveable, vibrant and fun and civilized like a
Calgary Film isn’t merely a series of screenings at different theatres,
however. People are encouraged to come out to the Q&As and other special
events that will be happening during the festival week, particularly the
Opening Gala which includes walking the red carpet, live entertainment
and a post-screening after party. Then the Closing Gala, which follows the
Alberta-made film presentation, Suck It Up, will be an all-inclusive awards
celebration, free to the public that provides a great opportunity for “fans
to mingle with filmmakers,” says Schroeder.
Calgary Film has a growing dedication to Alberta-produced film and
TV, which has been expanding rapidly for the past several years. In 2016,
they began a feature called Showcase Alberta to champion Alberta talent.
In fact, about a quarter of their Canadian content has ties with Alberta.
“We’re definitely an international film fest.” states Schroeder. “But the
percentage of local content that we show is significantly higher than [other
film festivals].” Calgarians, in specific, are really excited by this industry
that they know is growing.” Schroeder also notes that often the best
attendances during the festival are films with Alberta content, particularly
where the local filmmakers are present.
This year’s festival will have an event focused on the new television
show, Wynnona Earp¸ produced in Alberta. It will be a “big cast and
creator event,” says Schroeder, which includes a Q & A session. He adds
that tickets to the event are selling fast, and that people are flying in from
all over to see it, “If people’s Facebook posts are to be believed,” he jokes.
Attendees can expect a wide range in tone and genre from the lineup
this year. Schroeder says if you’re unsure which film to see, his best advice
is to “find a local film and just check it out, you’re likely to have a very
good time. Pick one blind, and have a random experience. People are
always surprised happily so.”
Calagry Film runs from September 20 to October 1, 2017. See www.calgaryfilm.com
for film sch edules and to purchase tickets.
Albertan pride – not pretending to be anything else.
After her feature film debut at TIFF in 2014, director Jordan
Canning’s much-anticipated sophomore feature is set to
make its Alberta debut at this year’s Calgary International
Film Festival. Programmed as the coveted Closing Gala selection, this
locally shot film is finally ready for its homecoming.
Initially premiering at the Slamdance Film Festival in January, Suck
It Up follows the impromptu trip of two friends, Faye and Ronnie, in
an attempt to cope with the sudden death of Ronnie’s brother and
Faye’s ex-boyfriend Garrett. Spending the week in Ronnie’s family
cabin in Invermere, the two girls, in their own very different ways
(Ronnie through drugs and drinking, and Faye through crafting and
micromanaging) attempt to reconcile their loss whilst humorously
engaging in typical vacation trysts, in what Canning aptly describes
as a “joyride through grief.”
“It was much more of a comedy when I first got [the script]. There
was less of the grieving, emotional weight, and that was something I
really thought was important to bring into the story,” says Canning.
“I can’t call the film a comedy, I can’t call it a drama, and I hate the
term dramedy, but that’s really where it sits - a mix of both. I call it
the salty and the sweet. It has that emotional through line that really
grounds the characters, and the comedy is there, and some of it is
quite dark, because when you go through heavy shit your humor can
get quite dark.”
Joining the project after reading the first script, Canning recounts
how the film’s two leads, Erin Carter and Grace Glowicki, who had
already made a short together, initially fueled the passion project.
“[They] wanted to take on something bigger. They wanted to write
great roles for themselves that they weren’t necessarily getting in auditions,”
explains Canning. “So they approached [screenwriter] Julia
Hoff and said, ‘Hey, do you maybe want to write us a feature that we
can shoot for $10,000?’”
With Glowicki’s family cabin serving as the starting point, the
actresses tapped Los Angeles-based Hoff to create a script around
the BC Rockies locale. “Julia had never been to Invermere,” explains
Canning, “but Grace and Erin had spent their childhoods there, so
they sent her this list saying there’s a bowling alley, there’s a candy
store, there’s these great lookouts. So Julia created this story, and the
three of them developed these characters, and wrote this script.”
Their search for a female director led them to Canning, who was
immediately attracted to the project. “I was going through some
stuff in my own life and Faye just kinda grabbed hold of me and I saw
myself in her and I felt that I really could bring something to the table
with a story about grief, and losing someone to cancer,” she said.
“The script that I originally read was very different from the script we
eventually shot, but what was always clear was Julia’s voice. She is so
good with dialogue and emotional truth.”
And while the script may have gone through numerous rewrites,
the Invermere shooting location remained a steady presence through
the entire process. “Right from the get-go it was written for Invermere,”
says Canning. “We wanted to use everything we could about
the town and showcase it well.”
With most of the cast and crew returning for the film’s Calgary
premiere, Canning couldn’t be happier to see the film come full
circle. “We’re making films in Canada, and we’re not pretending this
is anything but Canada,” she states. “I hope that there can be some
pride in seeing Calgary and seeing Invermere for what it is and being
like, fuck yeah, we don’t need to pretend it’s anything else.”
Suck It Up will be the Closing Gala event of the Calgary International Film
Festival on September 30 at 7:30pm, followed by the awards ceremony.
Jordan Canning and Erin Carter will be in attendance.
14 | SEPTEMBER 2017 • BEATROUTE FILM
SMALL TOWN CRIME
modern film noir is conventional, yet intriguing
Another small town meets mystery in this edgy detective film.
creepy urban legend delves into dream sequences
Buckout Road is an intense throwback to 70s horror films.
by Philip Clarke
by Philip Clarke
When alcoholic cop Mike Kendall (John
Hawkes) is let go from the police force
due to an incident involving the death
of his partner, he inevitably hits rock bottom.
A year and a half goes by without him ever
getting a new job. Mike learns that being branded
as an “alcoholic cop-killer” tends to not bode well
when trying to meet new people in any kind of
social circle. Either way, Mike does what he can by
going to interview after interview, but he never
gets the job. The fact that he tells interviewers that
he has a serious drinking problem, however, might
have something to do with it.
In the meantime, Mike is busy collecting unemployment
checks and using them at the bar to
get wasted. If he’s numb to the pain, then the pain
won’t hurt so badly. All his sister Kelly (Octavia
Spencer) wants for him is to get sober. That and
for him to get a job and pay her and her husband
(Anthony Anderson) back all the money that he
Old habits die hard when John discovers an
unconscious, bloody and bruised woman lying on
the side of the highway. This inciting incident will
take Mike down an insidious rabbit hole of sex
and violence. What follows is an incredibly tense
series of events that never lags or feel tiresome; the
pacing is on point.
Small Town Crime is a lean, mean and expertly-made
modern day film noir. Written and directed
by Eshom and Ian Nelms, the film has all the
elements of a classically made noir, but maintains
a modern sensibility to it. A hard-edged private
eye, femme fatales, and over-the-top gangsters are
just a few of the wonderful ingredients thrown in.
The film has a very balanced blend of gruesome
violence and incredibly subtle pitch-black humour
that takes the story over the edge to be exceptional.
While many elements of the film work incredibly
well overall, the film rests squarely on Hawkes’
shoulders. As the broken, snarky and charming
lead, Hawkes is purely magnetic from beginning
to end. Mike is onscreen for almost every single
scene in the film, and deservedly so. He’s so utterly
compelling that you simply can’t take your eyes off
him. You’re on his side throughout the length of
Small Town Crime follows all the beats of your
typical crime film, so nothing in the story is particularly
shocking or surprising. That said, it’s still
incredibly well made all the same. You don’t always
have to reinvent the wheel. You just need to find
an interesting way to spin it. That interesting spin is
named John Hawkes.
Small Town Crime will be shown during the Calgary
International Film Festival. For more info and times
go to www.calgaryfilm.com/films
NO ROADS IN
Directed by Calgary-based Josh Wong, NO ROADS IN follows singer-songwriter Blake Reid, sound
engineer Adam Naugler, and the Blake Reid Band on a musical journey as they challenge industry
convention and set out to create an analog record.
An abandoned house in the middle of an endless Alberta wheat field is transformed into a
recording studio, as the group comes together to capture the love, laughter and raw energy of
13 songs recorded live off-the-floor over five days in the summer of 2016. Showcasing the vast
Alberta prairie landscape and the uniquely haunting isolation that foments creativity, the beautifully
shot documentary celebrates music’s imperfections and explores what is really important in
music, and in life.
Following the film, the Blake Reid Band will perform songs from the film. Both the film screening
and live performance will take place at Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre.
When Aaron Powell (Evan Ross) returns home
to his small town after several years away
in the military, he’s disappointingly correct
in his assumption that his psychologist grandfather Dr.
Powell (Danny Glover) wasn’t there to pick him up from
the bus station. It turns out that Dr. Powell had shirked
his familial responsibilities in favour of working with Detective
Harris (Henry Czerny) to try and stop the strange
happenings that are afoot in their town.
The townsfolk have been haunted for several years by
the many urban legends about the titular Buckout Road.
Some believe in them, while others simply pretend
that none of it is real. “Out of sight, out of mind” is the
general mantra that many of them seem to live by.
However, the legends begin to seep into the real world
when members of the town begin to sleepwalk their
way in the middle of the night to Buckout Road. That is,
before they ultimately kill themselves in both awful and
downright disturbing ways.
With the help of fraternal stoner twins Erik (Kyle
Mac) and Derek (Jim Watson) as well as Detective Harris’
daughter Cleo (Dominique Provost-Chalkley), Aaron
attempts to figure out the mystery of these troubling
legends before it’s too late.
What works best about Buckout Road are the dream
sequences, which go back and forth between a 1970s’
zombie exploitation film, and witches being burned at
the stake, to name just a few of the scenes. The dreams
are both creepy and unnerving in equal measure. The
moments of shock and gore generally work to great
effect, shown over and over again to the point of numbing
Buckout Road plays at the Calgary International
Film Festival. For more info and times go to www.
Wednesday, Sept. 27
Studio Bell • NMC 7:30 pm
Friday, Sept. 29
Globe Cinema 9:30 pm
Van Gogh Award
16 | SEPTEMBER 2017 • BEATROUTE FILM
TURN IT AROUND: the story of East Bay punk
love letter to San Fran music scene
Green Day at Gilman circa 1990.
Turn It Around: The Story of East Bay Punk is a purely unadulterated
love letter to punk rock and everything it stands for.
Co-writer/director/producer Corbett Redford has flawlessly
crafted a documentary about the punk rock scene in the San Francisco
Bay Area over the course of over thirty years. It began in the late
1970s where punk was a counterculture response to the Vietnam
War. Contrary to popular belief, however, true punk rock is not about
being loud and angry for the sake of being loud and angry, as many
critics of the genre so often prematurely point out. Like all good
art, punk rock is a form of self expression and Turn It Around is an
informative, inspiring and entertaining lens with which to showcase
We’re treated to lots of footage, photos and interviews from several
key players in the punk scene spanning many years. Redford’s documentary
is incredibly broad in its scope, yet remains an intimate character
study with many different personalities. Billie Joe Armstrong, Noah
Landis, Tre Cool, Robert Eggplant, Anna Joy Springer, Tim Armstrong and
Kathleen Hanna are just a few titans of their industry that Redford interviews.
The film very easily could have been a painfully biased slant on
the genre. However, Redford wisely captures several different influential
voices to give the film an incredibly well-rounded point of view overall.
Being 155 minutes in length, Redford makes sure that every single
possible aspect about punk rock is covered. Several different forms of
the genre are discussed, such as hardcore punk, pop punk, ska, queer
by Philip Clarke
punk and feminist punk, just to name a handful. The beauty of punk
rock is just how incredibly inclusive and communal it can all be.
The heart and soul of Turn It Around is where much of the film’s
running time takes place, at 924 Gilman Street. The venue was a
well-regarded Shangri-La for every race, gender and orientation of punk
rocker. Gilman was, and still is, a place all to its own. The club was home
to many different shows over the decades where every kind of person
could go to be themselves as free spirits. That said, Gilman did unfortunately
experience some trouble from time to time. Like with anything
popular, the more positive attention something gets, the more detractors
and contrarians will come crawling out of the grass like serpents. As
punk became continually popular throughout the years, skinheads and
Neo-Nazis subsequently also joined shows at the Gilman, where they
would often spout their repugnant hate-speech and/or incite brutal acts
It’s these moments of tension and conflict that Redford carefully documents
that elevate the film to another level. The punks and skinheads
conflict is ripe for several different films on their own. If you think about
it, Green Room would be a perfect film to have as a double bill with Turn
It Around. The very fact that these conflicts are still going on today make
the hatred and intolerance showcased all the more visceral and disturbing
to watch. As hard as those moments in the film are to experience,
they are equally important to be aware of and discuss at length.
Turn It Around: The Story of East Bay Punk is unquestionably a film
worth watching for punk rockers of all ages. Even if you’re not a fan
of punk rock, the film is still worth seeing to understand why both its
music and lifestyle have been so beloved for many years. If you’re still not
convinced however, it’s narrated by Iggy Pop and executively produced
by Green Day. And who doesn’t want to hear Iggy Pop narrate?
Turn It Around will be shown during the Calgary International Film Festival.
For more info and times go to www.calgaryfilm.com/films
SOME OTHER GUYS
fascinating documentary about Merseybeat’s forgotten rockin’ rollers
that was the Big Three.”
The above quotation is frequently heard throughout
Some Other Guys, often used to punctuate a story
from witnesses and fans of the reckless, hard-partying loud 1960s
Liverpool band, The Big Three. The band members, Johnny
Hutchinson (Hutch), Johnny Gustafson (Gus), and Brian Griffiths
(Griff), were punk before there was punk, and caused rock-androll
mayhem long before anyone else.
That said, they were a Merseybeat band, who sounded – and
looked – much like The Beatles and other acts of that time
and place. They packed music venues and played to hordes of
screaming girls (which sounded like a “bomb going off.”) They
were lauded for their musical talents, both then and today. They
were called the “greatest, ass-kicking band that ever came out of
Liverpool” by one musician. They were the “original power trio,”
So why then has no one ever heard of them?
Beatroute spoke with Todd Kipp, director of the film, to shed
light on that question, although he himself could not explain why
they’ve been essentially reduced to a footnote in music history,
despite their talent.
“[The Big Three] were praised by everyone in Liverpool,” said Kipp.
While planning the film, Kipp met with guitarist Brian Griffiths
- who now resides in Calgary - and listened to some of his stories.
Kipp soon realized that this was “more than just another band
who were one of the hundreds on the Mersey Beat scene in the
early 1960s.” Clearly, there was a story here worth telling.
The documentary shares a fascinating, yet poignant story of
how the band “could have and should have been huge,” Kipp
said, “but were too self destructive and ahead of their time and
ultimately imploded before the British Invasion.”
Many argue that the Big Three should’ve been even bigger.
Despite their clean image, The Big Three answered to no one,
least of all their manager, Brian Epstein, who also managed The
Beatles. Epstein, or “Epi,” was trying to turn them into his other
rising stars, donning the three in matching suits and encouraging
them to write poppy love songs. The Big Three weren’t having any
of it though; they were violent, rowdy, tough-talking Brits - and
by Jonathan Lawrence
“They loved being on stage,” Kipp added, “but didn’t care for
the rest of the business and it was to be their downfall.”
Fans of The Beatles who are interested in extra lore will find
some lesser known tales here. The Big Three played gigs with
them, they hung out together, and even lived together. The
Beatles were even fans. Yet The Big Three were essentially the
“I wouldn’t join the Beatles for a gold clock,” said Hutch, the drummer.
Kipp, an admitted huge fan of the Merseybeat era, shared his
enthusiasm for making this film, which is evident throughout.
“These are all first-hand stories,” he wrote, “and despite the fifty
plus years and everyone’s memories, it’s essentially the truth.”
Some Other Guys is a fascinating examination of a band that
voluntarily cut their career short because they didn’t want to play
by the rules. A band that had the potential to reach Beatles-like
heights, but refused to because they didn’t want to wear suits. To
be fair, there’s a sense of admiration and heroism in that sentiment.
The film is told through a colorful, dynamic mix of interviews,
archival photos, animation, and even a modern enactment of the
band in action.
Kipp summarizes it with this quote: “The Story of The Big
Three is the ultimate story of every band with talent and potential,
but who just didn’t make it. These guys were signed with
Brian Epstein, Decca Records, played The Cavern Club countless
times, all the TV shows and are still considered the best band to
miss the British Invasion.”
And that was The Big Three.
Some Other Guys will be shown during the Calgary International Film
Festival. For more info and times go to www.calgaryfilm.com/films
BEATROUTE • SEPTEMBER 2017 | 17
RETURN TO NUKE EM HIGH: VOL. 2
Lloyd Kaufman reveals political message hidden in slimy satire by Breanna Whipple
RUMBLE: THE INDIANS WHO ROCKED THE WORLD
Tuesday, Sept. 19 Bella Concert Hall
More than the Who, the Rolling Stones or Elvis Presley, it was Link Wray’s distorted guitar that
forever changed the sound of rock ‘n’ roll. His 1958 track “Rumble” was described by Bob Dylan
as “the best instrumental ever”—yet it was banned by many American radio stations. As a Native
American, Wray’s music posed a threat to the establishment, as did the blues, jazz and pop of
so many other Indigenous musicians over the years. Artists like Charlie Patton, Mildred Bailey
and Jimi Hendrix couldn’t be open about their native identities as attempts to erase Indigenous
cultures persisted across the continent. Blending audio archives, concert footage and interviews
with industry icons Robbie Robertson, Buffy St. Marie, Taboo (Black Eyed Peas) and many others,
this Sundance award-winner is an unforgettable and political exploration of a musical history that
was silenced for too long.
— Hot Docs 2017, Toronto
With a nuclear power-plant seeping toxic
sludge into the veins of slapsticky nerds
as they wage war against a gang of punky
sadists, to describe Class of Nuke ‘Em High as anything
but a subversive work of art would be a cardinal
sin. Released in 1986, a historical time in which
high school exploitation films swept the nation,
Lloyd Kaufman’s brainchild is set apart by its meaningful
message hidden by the outlandishly lavish
chaos that erupts on screen. Placing hot coals to the
feet of the American educational system was the
goal since inception, and much of the reason why
Kaufman called for a reboot of the franchise in 2013
with Return to Nuke ‘Em High: Volume 1 (2013).
Doused heavily enough in biting social commentary
to warrant two films, Return to Return to Nuke ‘Em
High: Volume 2 (2017) is set to premiere in Calgary
at The Globe on September 9.
“Young people are the people that change the
world and they’re usually in high school, so I’m
fascinated with that age group. Its the most interesting
and certainly, in my opinion, the most important...
and they’re the people that want to make the world
a better place,” explains Kaufman of his favored age
group to represent on film.
“When it comes to issues like toxic nuclear waste
from back in 1983, I didn’t think it made sense to
appeal to middle aged, bourgeois people. I wanted
to appeal to young punks who might actually
learn something from this very entertaining movie
called The Toxic Avenger (1984)... and indeed, The
Toxic Avenger has been a huge influence on everybody
from the directors of Deadpool (2016) to the
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA in
both Canada and the US have used Toxic Avenger as a
way to appeal to young people.”
Kaufman says social commentary is deeply and
intentionally embedded throughout his filmography,
and the Nuke ‘Em High series is no different.
“Class of Nuke ‘Em High is all about high schools
and there’s lots of themes therein, especially in the
United States where the junk food is being foisted on
the high school students... We know about the bullying,
we know about the fact that they learn nothing
in the American educational system and that’s kind of
what we’re dealing with here. It’s the satirical view of
the horrors of the American educational system, and
that is exactly the reason that we had this unpleasantness
in Charlottesville, Virginia.”
Sadness envelops his voice.
“We’ve let the American educational system deteriorate...
So that is kind of what interests me -- get young
American people to realize that they’ve been totally
Much of this message is overshadowed by Troma
Film’s notoriety for bizarre scenes and cartoonish gore,
making censorship a regularly faced issue.
“Serious blood, guts, dismemberment... Die Hard,
that’s okay – but the Troma goofy cartoon violence
is not okay... This is a thing called fascism, when they
apply different rules to the elite and other rules for
you. It’s fascism, and it’s on the rise in your country and
Social issues aside, Return to Return to Nuke ‘Em
High: Volume 2 is promised to continue and upscale
the madness propagated in the first volume. Sure to
pique the interest of Motörhead-bangers everywhere,
Lemmy Kilmister returns as the President.
“We dedicated the movie to Lemmy and to Joe
Fleishaker, who was our 500 pound action star.”
Fleishaker was a regular fixture in the Troma film
universe, appearing in such films as Zombiegeddon
(2003), Tromeo and Juliet (1996), and the second and
third renditions of The Toxic Avenger. Both figures
passed away within six months of each other.
In summation, if one were to look past the giant
penis monsters and slimy green ooze dripping from
every orifice in the Nuke ‘Em High films, a couple
things become clear – We are the youth of today, and
Lloyd Kaufman wants us to pay attention so we pave
the way for our tomorrow.
Catch Return To Nuke ‘Em High: Volume 2 at The Globe
Cinema September 9 (Calgary).
18 | SEPTEMBER 2017 • BEATROUTE FILM
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
The key to colonizing a new planet is bringing
enough weapons to subjugate the current
Unfortunately, the colonists in this sci-fi thriller
only brought American flags.
When a settlement ship on its way to its new
home world breaks down, the onboard android
(Michael Fassbender) wakes the crew (Katherine
Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride) from stasis
so they can mend the ship on a nearby planet.
Luckily, that planet is home to a lost crewmember
of an earlier Earth expedition. Unluckily, it’s
infested with body-imbedding aliens created by
the previous party’s experiments with locale DNA.
Although this sequel to Prometheus finds director
Ridley Scott returning to his horror roots, this
Alien prequel resembles too many other entries in
the anthology to be revolutionary. This is particularly
true when it comes to the heroine.
Besides, if mankind wanted to create new life it
would just legalize marriage with space bacteria.
The most important thing to remember when
lifeguarding is to not rely on dolphins to save
Thankfully, the lifeguards in this comedy are
keeping the beach safe themselves.
When esteemed lifeguard Mitch (Dwayne Johnson)
is forced to add hotshot Olympian Brody (Zac
Efron) to his summer roster, he shows his distain by
training the cocksure rookie himself. After enduring
Mitch’s grueling feats of strength, Brody is filled
in on the Baywatch team’s (Alexandra Daddario,
Kelly Rohrbach) extracurricular activity: surveilling
a suspected drug smuggler (Priyanka Chopra).
A raunchier version of the already exploitive
television series, this poorly written feature film
adaptation brings the show’s best assets to the
forefront, but at the expensive of a decent story
and capable acting. Terrible T&A humour aside,
this quasi-tribute plays more like an insult to the
show and its fans.
Incidentally, the only explosions lifeguards see
are the beached whale kind.
BORN IN CHINA
Girls born in China know that they will grow up in
a safe, white American suburb.
Unfortunately, as this documentary verifies,
the same doesn’t apply to every female species
A single-mother snow leopard struggles to find
nourishment for her young in China’s merciless
mountain region. Meanwhile in the jungle, the
birth of a female golden snub-nosed monkey forces
a neglected male to venture out on his own. Also
leaving the nest is a giant panda whose mother is
having a hard time letting her go.
Narrated by John Krasinski, Disney’s latest
nature documentary once again does an excellent
job of capturing rare fauna in their native environments.
Unfortunately, like the others in the
eco-series, this maternal endeavour is also heavily
edited to fit a desired narrative while the animals
are given human characteristics.
By making the pandas human, however, just
makes eating ginger beef that much more difficult.
The downside to working for an innovative tech
company is being the first killed by sentient
Luckily, the gadgets in this thriller are not nearly
as nefarious as their creators.
As the newest hire at tech giant, The Circle, Mae
(Emma Watson) makes quite the impression on
the company’s co-founders (Tom Hanks, Patton
Oswalt) by becoming a lab rat for their latest spycam
technology. Being online all the time, however,
takes its toll on Mae, her family (Bill Paxton,
Glenne Headly) and her friends (Karen Gillan, Ellar
Coltrane), as each of their lives are also televised for
While it is a timely piece on the loss of privacy,
the power of online mob mentality and the digitization
of our data, this paranoid Orwellian analogy
is tactlessly encrypted with bad acting, outdated
discoveries and stock villains.
Moreover, facial recognition cameras can’t find
you if you’re wearing a Burqa.
GOING IN STYLE
The most stylish way for an old man to depart this
world is in a pinstriped zoot suit.
The chaps in this comedy, however, chose to
wear Halloween masks instead.
After losing his house and pension to the bank,
Joe (Michael Caine) must find a way to support his
granddaughter (Joey King), so he proposes that he
and his friends (Morgan Freeman, Alan Arkin) rob
the aforementioned bank.
With help from some neighbourhood crooks,
the trio gleans enough knowledge to stage a
successful stickup, but not enough to evade the FBI
A tepid remake of the 1979 heist spoof starring
George Burns, this Zach Braff-directed ensemble
does have some outstanding chemistry between
its elderly leads, but little in the way of big laughs.
The sappy script and predictable outcome don’t
Besides, retirees would have more money if
they’d stopped giving out their credit card numbers.
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2
The worst thing about summer in space is that all
the garage sales just float away.
Fortunately, the starship in this sci-fi adventure
has found a planet able to regulate its own gravity.
When Rocket (Bradley Cooper) pockets a
powerful battery, the alien race he stole it from
hires Yondu (Michael Rooker) to bring it and the
Guardians of the Galaxy – Star-Lord (Chris Pratt),
Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Baby
Groot (Vin Diesel) – back to them.
While his surrogate father stalks him, Star-Lord’s
real father Ego (Kurt Russell) offers him and his
crew asylum on a sentient planet.
A surprisingly emotional sequel to the 2014
sleeper hit, this complex follow-up focuses on
the fluidity of fatherhood and the burden of loss.
Thankfully, it also amps up the action and layers on
Incidentally, if planet Earth was sentient then
she could tell us where to drill for oil.
rewind to the future
by Shane Sellar
HOW TO BE A LATIN LOVER
To be a successful Latin lover you must consummate
your sham marriage in 90-days or be
Smartly, the lothario in this comedy has sex in
the first 90 minutes. Securing a sugar mama at the
old of 21, Maximo (Eugenio Derbez) has spent the
last 25 years leeching off his wealthy, older wife. But
that all changed when she left him for a younger
model (Michael Cera).
Single for the first time in ages and living with
his estranged sister (Salma Hayek) and her son,
who is training to be a Latin lover, Maximo seeks
help from a fellow gigolo (Rob Lowe).
With a plethora of Hollywood cameos to
compensate for its unknown lead, those brief
star-studded appearances are the only highlight in
this predictable comedy’s endless parade of sexist,
racist and humorless jokes.
Incidentally, sex with a senior citizen is actually a
threesome with the Grim Reaper.
When the world runs out of food the starving
masses will have no choice but to eat at Arby’s.
Thankfully, the scientists in this fantasy are
devising new food sources.
A greedy CEO (Tilda Swinton) creates and disperses
a race of super-pigs across the globe that she
hopes will someday feed the multitudes and make
her millions. Ten years later, Okja, the super-sized
swine adopted by a South Korean girl (Ahn
Seo-hyun), grabs headlines when she becomes embroiled
in a battle between the company’s crazed
zoologist (Jake Gyllenhaal) and animal rights
activists (Paul Dano, Lily Collins) trying to liberate
her from slaughter.
An eclectic parable of the meat industry marinated
in oddball performances, this quirky Korean
import pads its vegetarian agenda with twee
moments between pig and owner that are brutally
punctuated by the grim reality of the food chain.
Besides, wouldn’t it just be easier to start eating
The upside to vacationing with your parents is
that they wake early enough to get good poolside
Nonetheless, the party girl in this comedy tried
her hardest to find anyone else to take.
Stuck with an extra ticket to Ecuador after her
boyfriend dumps her, recently unemployed Emily
(Amy Schumer) has no other option but to offer it
to her overly mistrusting mother (Goldie Hawn).
Their retreat takes a turn for the worse when
they’re kidnapped by a crime lord (Óscar Jaenada)
and accidentally kill his nephew. On the run, they
must make it to the US consulate before he catches
them. With scant character development between
the bickering mother and daughter duo before,
during, and after their experience, this poorly
structured romp relies too heavily on its humorous
leads to offset its lack of story.
Fortunately, when you travel with family there’s
always someone to identify your body.
He’s a Tornado Alley Cat. He’s the…
BEATROUTE • SEPTEMBER 2017 | 19
heavy as hell and holding steady
by Jodi Brak
Winnipeg hardcore veterans drop their new album on September 8.
From their humble beginnings as a side project
through their rise to one of the biggest bands
in Canadian hardcore, Comeback Kid has
rolled with the punches like the best of them. They
embody an aggressive style in their music that,
much like the group itself, presses forward with a
“Hardcore music is something that took me on a
path in life that I would never have gone on without
this certain genre of music, I’m still inspired by it,” says
vocalist Andrew Neufeld.
“I think the aggression and the tempos are just a
healthy release. To get some of that stuff out, some of
those feelings you couldn’t get out any other way.”
Beginning as a side project by Neufeld and fellow
Figure Four member Jeremy Hiebert, Comeback Kid
quickly found traction after their 2003 debut Turn it
Around, and began touring full time. It wasn’t long
before they had broken through their home turf in
Winnipeg and were embarking on coast-to-coast
North American tours, then beyond. Now closing
in on 20 years as a band, Comeback Kid has become
iconic, built upon musicianship and dedication.
It’s seen them grow from the community centre,
all-ages scene to international headliners.
Powerful drums and heavy, high-strung guitar riffs
are front and centre to their sound, setting the pace
for ferocious vocals that cut through the cacophony.
Melodic leads rise through the distortion, adding a
sense of sonic emotion to supplement the meaningful
lyrics. The consistency of their sound has been
impressive, and their seventh studio album Outsider
shows that they remain as focused as ever. It’s their
fifth album featuring Neufeld as lead vocalist. His
original role as co-founder was guitar; Scott Wade
provided vocals. Wade then departed in 2006, which
shook the band for but a brief moment, but hardly
caused a hiccup in their touring schedule.
“We were in between an Australian and American
end of a tour when he told me, so I had some time
to think about it. Actually we organized for him to
do his last show, and then get dropped off, and then
the guy who dropped him off drove the other guy
up from Minneapolis to play guitar so I could sing,”
“Obviously in the beginning taking his style and
trying to do the songs sort of like him was hard.
But slowly we just kind of merged that into where
we are today.”
Their 2007 release, Broadcasting was the first
Comeback Kid album entirely featuring Neufeld
“We just really have kind of rolled with the punches,”
“Me and Jeremy [Hiebert, lead guitarist], two original
members, we’ve been with each other through
thick and thin, we’ve also had a lot of really great
members who have contributed quite a bit of their
lives to this project. And we’re just able to somehow
keep it going, and it always works out. Right now we
feel pretty over the moon about the new record and
the new tour we have lined up. And it’s never any bad
blood with anybody… our old singer Scott is at our
house right now.”
That new record is Outsider. Featuring 13
tracks of fast and furiously melodic hardcore music,
the music only slows down to catch its breath
before launching into another intense salvo. From
the first self-titled track, it digs in and continually
gains momentum with a string of heavy rippers
one after another. For the most part, the album
keeps up the hard and heavy pace for the entire
record. Around the halfway point there is a bit of
a change in tone; it’s still aggressive, but somehow
on a lighter note. Towards the end of the
album the music feels almost reflective, with a
more somber track “Moment in Time” (featuring
Northcote) to close it all off.
“I think we’re writing more complete songs.”
Neufeld says of the new album.
“We just tried to be a little more up front on this
record with our themes and really make the features
of each song actually be features and not sometimes
letting those things slide.”
One track in particular, “Consumed the Vision”
(which features Chris Cresswell from The Flatliners
on guest vocals) stands out as one of the small
handful of songs Comeback Kid has written that
uses major-key notes to create a lighter feel. Rest
assured, though, the song is just as heavy as the
rest of the album.
Neufeld says, “I just think it creates a different
mood, and that definitely separates itself. With
that song, I think it was kind of directly in response
to everything we were writing that week.
I remember Jeremy (lead guitar) and Stu (Ross,
rhythm guitar) had all these fast songs with
double picking, just fast riffs and heavy drums. I
like that kind of stuff and that definitely always
has a part on Comeback Kid records, but I kind of
wanted to write something lighter in mood.”
After the September 8 release, Comeback Kid hits
the road from coast to coast across Canada and the
U.S.A. After that, they’ll hop across the pond for a
European leg of the tour.
Outsider is another milestone in a storied
career. Looking back on what Comeback Kid
has become, what has been made of the blood,
sweat and tears of many dedicated musicians,
Neufeld can’t help but reflect on how the band
evolved to become more than simply the sum
of its parts.
“I mean honestly it’s a dream come true for
us. When we were kids this is what we wanted to
do, and we were able to fulfill that. We were able
to play in places we never thought we would go
and stay busy as a band for this long and that’s all
we ever wanted,” Neufeld says. “Comeback Kid is
bigger than us, and that’s crazy to think about.
We’re kind of just along for the ride and hopefully
we can stay on this train for a while because we
really enjoy it.”
Comeback Kid plays the Park Theatre on September
26 (Winnipeg), The Exchange on Septeber 27 (Regina),
The Needle Vinyl Tavern on September 28 (Edmonton)
and The Gateway September 30 (Calgary). Outsider
comes out via New Damage Records on September 8.
BEATROUTE • SEPTEMBER 2017 | 21
days of future past
There are few things progressive rock and roll pioneer Gary
Downes hasn’t attempted in his storied career. As the sole
member of the legendary band Yes to possess a musical degree,
his expertise on the keyboards has opened the doors (or gates
of delirium, if you will) to some remarkable adventures. Opportunities
that the innovative synth-player has embraced time and again, as
further evidenced by his work with The Buggles and Asia.
“I look at all of the different bands I’ve been in as books, or films,
really,” begins Downes.
“I think that certain events happen throughout a band’s history.
Talking about Yes, it’s an amazing series of chapters that have happened
over the years. And I think that every musician has contributed at some
stage when they’ve come into the band. I consider myself to be present
in a few chapters of the band at least, which is nice.”
Taking a page from his own book of life, Downes’ current collaboration
with Yes members; singer Jon Davison, guitarist Steve Howe,
drummer Alan White and bassist Billy Sherwood, is focused on bringing
that joy of discovery to a new demographic of prog-rock listeners. And,
when it comes to condensing the band’s half-century run of 21 albums
into a single concert event, Downes’ is definitely a fan of the divide and
“On this particular tour we’re doing a chronological review of the first
10 albums, plus some extra tracks. And it’s been very successful in terms
of the fans getting to hear a couple of cuts they’ve never heard before.
We put it together like that in a way that’s interesting from a musicology
standpoint in that you see how the band progressed and how the influences
moved on. By connecting one song from each album to the next,
you see the progression of the group through the years.”
Appreciation for Yes’s time-dissolving long-distance opuses has
gained an almost religious quality over the decades, as their popularity
has grown despite a persistent disregard for the commercial viability of
10-minute long songs.
Given the cult of followers who have embraced the group’s
attention surplus disorder, Downes’ hasn’t really moved that far
from his roots as the son of a church organist and choirmaster in
life imitates art
“You make a record and then you have to learn how to play it!”
Orchestrating the polyphonic activities of the Vancouver-spawned supergroup known as The New
Pornographers for over a decade and a half has given singer-songwriter/guitarist A.C. Newman a
certain knack for capturing a musical snapshot of a moment in time and preserving its essence like an
insect suspended in amber. Recently, when tasked with pulling together a cohesive sting on compositions for
the band’s ongoing tour, Newman discovered that skimming through a scrapbook of past recordings unlocked
the sweetest of memories. Those that have yet to be made.
“We always try and mix it up, it’s just about the math of how we’re going to split up songs, which takes a
while cuz at the beginning of a tour because you’re just sort of guessing what the set will be,” says Newman.
Celebrating five decades of music with an uplifted spiritual outlook.
“The music is quite dynamic, and at times dark in parts, but the
end result when you listen to Yes music is one of an uplifted spiritual
outlook. The name of the band is positivity. I’ve come across a
lot of young musicians like Taylor Hawkins of Foo Fighters who’ve
decided Yes is one of their favourite bands of all time.
“So, you can tell that the music isn’t just the domain of progressive
rock fans, it’s spread right across a number of generations
He laughs knowingly at the mention of fellow progressive groundbreakers
“When Yes was getting inducted this year at the Rock and Roll
Hall of Fame, the presenters were Alex and Geddy from Rush. They
both said that they were hugely influenced by Yes from the very beginning.
There are whole eras of different bands and styles of music
by Christine Leonard
photo: Glenn Gottlieb
that appreciated what Yes has had to offer over the years. And I
think a lot of that comes down to the individual musicianship being
to the fore, as well as composition. You could probably say that
we’re the ultimate modern-day musician’s band.”
A bonafide musicians’ musician himself, Downes was reputedly
entered into the Guinness Book of World Records for the most
keyboards played in a live performance That’s a record only one with
his prowess at tickling the ivories and pushing the envelope of music
can hope to achieve.
Catch Yes in performance with Todd Rundgren at the Queen Elizabeth
Theatre September 5 (Vancouver), the Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium
on September 7 (Edmonton) and the Southern Alberta Jubilee
Auditorium on September 8 (Calgary).
by Christine Leonard
“I feel like these days, we’re trying harder, especially on this record and Brill Bruisers (2014). It was
the first time where we said, ‘Let’s go out there on stage and just try to be as close to our albums as
possible.’ Whereas before that I think we were a little more lackadaisical about it, now we’re slightly
more disciplined and it’s cool to go out there and go like, ‘Okay what you hear on the record, we’re
going to try to do that live.’”
Thus far the popular response to conductor Newman’s dynamic, high-fidelity approach with Whiteout
Conditions has been overwhelmingly positive. After all, what better way to secure affections of a new
generation of listeners than by fulfilling every frustrated delinquent’s wildest fantasy and running amok in the
hallowed halls of education? John Hughes would applaud the scorching adolescent angst vented in The New
Pornographers’ video for their latest runaway single “High Ticket Attractions.”
“We were just talking to directors and Dan Huiting said ‘Okay, I know of a high school that’s slated for demolition
and I think I could destroy it.’ And I said, ‘Let’s do that.’ The cool thing is that what makes that video look
so high budget. It was real, filmed destruction! I made a couple of contributions to the video; I wanted the kids
to have medieval weapons and I wanted a flaming motorcycle and after that I was just, ‘Do what you want!’”
Ordering up battle-axes and stuntmen on a whim may seem out of character for a thoughtful alt-rock
troubadour who has coaxed so many to crash on the floor, or psychiatrist’s couch, of his well-appointed artist’s
studio. But truth be told, Newman has always had his eye on the prize, it’s just that the prize in question has
gradually gotten a lot more impressive.
“We just did The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and every time I’m in those situations there’s always
that feeling of, ‘Holy shit. How did I get here?’ It’s almost like the nightmare where somebody throws you
into a situation that you’re not ready for. But before we ever did TV I use to think, ‘Can you imagine?
What else it there? That’d be the coolest thing in the world to ever experience that – to be a band that
performs on a late-night TV show!’ And then it just becomes this weird thing where it becomes our reality.
And it’s always surreal, and it’s fun, but there is an element of that nightmare scenario where you’re
like ‘Oh my God. I’ve got to go play my song in front of a million people and I can’t fuck it up!’ It’s like
child is the father of the man.
The New Pornographers perform with Born Ruffians at MacEwan Hall in Calgary on Monday, Oct. 2, then
Winspear Centre in Edmonton on Wednesday, Oct. 4 and at Burton Cummings Theatre on Saturday, Oct. 7.
22 | SEPTEMBER 2017 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE
BEATROUTE • AUGUST 2017 | 23
THE MAD CADDIES
hustling horns on the Prairies
California Ska punks The Mad Caddies tease new self-produced album.
The Mad Caddies have been tooting their ska
horns over the world since their inception
The Caddies’ sound is a feast for the ears; it’s thirdwave
ska influenced by their punk predecessors with
dominating guitar riffs. Infused with a mix of reggae
and calypso beats, the band tops it off with jazzy
horns and heavier vocals on a pop-backbone. Combining
these styles gave The Caddies their own brand
of madness, which they’ve maintained and delivered
across numerous releases and tours worldwide.
The Mad Caddies’ last album, Dirty Rice, was
released in 2014 and although new music is in the
works, the guys are keeping the details tightly under
wraps. Vocalist and guitarist Chuck Robertson, who
helped form the band while in high school, reveals
what he can.
“We are recording it on our own, we love our
family at Fat [Wreck Chords] but have decided
to try something different this time around.
Todd [Rosenberg, drums] handles a lot of the
by Sarah Mac
production aspect, and we’ve recently built
a studio in our hometown in the Santa Ynez
Valley in California.”
This may come as a surprise to some since The
Caddies have released all their records, except for
their debut, on Fat Wreck Chords.
“As for musical style, we think our fans will
be very pleased! We’re experimenting with
some new sounds, but it’s definitely still very
Caddies-esque. The creative process is still what
we love about our jobs. And it’s been pretty
collaborative the past few years. One of us may
have an idea, sometimes complete, sometimes
in the early stages and we’ll finish and arrange it
together as a band.”
But, as for the release date, “it’s sort of a surprise.”
Fortunately for us Albertans, we’ve been
graced with a second set of shows from The Caddies;
the first set was during a small tour in July
with the Offspring.
“Well, The Offspring tour came up last minute
and we were happy to be a part of it,” says Robertson,
the concludes, “But we’ve always felt a strong connection
with our Canadian fans. So, we love heading
up North for shows. Plus, we are all still really good
friends. So, it’s fun to get out on the road together
whenever we can.”
Don’t miss The Mad Caddies at The Needle Vinyl
Tavern on September 14 (Edmonton) and at Dicken’s
Pub on September 15 (Calgary).
THE VOODOO GLOW SKULLS
packing in the California street music
This past summer, the news coming from the camp
of legendary ska-core band The Voodoo Glow Skulls
was hard to swallow.
But first, some context. Hailing from Riverside, California
and formed by brothers Frank, Eddie and Jorge Casillas in ‘88,
The Voodoo Glow Skulls combine the elements of ska with
traditional punk and hardcore style, and douse it with Mexican
flare and rhythm; they’ve released nine full-length albums,
around a half-dozen EPs and have contributed to well over 30
different compilations. The Glow Skulls’ rowdy and rambunctious
feel, alongside blazing horns and bi-lingual lyrics, have
hooked a legion of fans and given them a distinctive sound
that couldn’t be matched.
Recently though, the Glow Skulls have fallen on hard
times. This past June, lead singer and eldest brother Frank
unexpectedly announced that he was leaving the band,
leaving the remaining Glow Skulls shocked and shaken.
Heartbroken, we chatted with Eddie to discuss the future.
“In hindsight, we might have seen it coming over
the course of a few years, but it wasn’t so clear or evident.
Really, this has a lot to do with personal family business rather
than the band not getting along, there’s a lot more to it that I
won’t get into. But, he [Frank] moved away, to Arizona, about
15 years or so ago and that was the beginning of him distancing
himself from the band. It took a while for things to really
change, but apparently, they did. So, it’s still shocking.”
Pausing for a moment, he resumes.
“And now, we’re about to do a full tour without our
older brother and lead singer of the band. So, it’s an uphill
battle and it’s hard. When you’re used to one guy being the
front man and he’s not there and worse, he’s not coming -
it’s weird. So, we’re in a weird place, but we’re working our
way through it and we’re still thinking positive. So, we just
want to play well and make it a rad show; hopefully people
will respect that.”
There’s a deep appreciation for the members of the Glow
Skulls who are continuing this tour for their fans. Efrem Martinez
Shulz of Manic Hispanic and Death By Stereo fame has
stepped up to front the Glow Skulls for their upcoming tour.
“He’s a hardcore singer in a great band of his own. So, we’re
just glad he can tour, he can help us save face and not cancel
on our fans, which is the most important thing. And also, not
cancel on us. But, he isn’t a permeant member of the band.”
Solemnly, Casillas continues, “we’ve had a career for 29
years now and we’re not sure if we want to stop, but we want
the option. But, to be fair with you, we’re really close to not
doing this again and we might just stop. It’s hard, but we’re
trying not to bum anyone out and fulfill these commitments
to our fans.”
He pauses, and continues.
“The fact that I still get to go on stage and perform these
songs I wrote over the last almost 30 years, that’s a big deal
and I wouldn’t take it for granted. Because it’s all about the
band and all about the music, we’re gonna be at these shows
with a band that’s still functioning 100 per cent. And we’re
not taking it lightly. We’re practicing more than ever, which
makes us tighter than ever.”
So, come ‘on Canada, let’s do Voodoo (hopefully not) one
Come celebrate 29 years of music with the Voodoo Glow
Skulls at the Windsor Tavern on September 20 (Winnipeg),
at the Exchange on September 21 (Regina), at Dicken’s Pub
on September 22 (Calgary), at the Needle Vinyl Tavern on
September 23 (Edmonton), and at the International Beer Haus
on September 24 (Red Deer).
Wherein we hear sombre news from the long-running ska band.
by Sarah Mac
24 | SEPTEMBER 2017 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE
an explosive break-out
A-Bomb’s debut Break Through The Static is unleashed September 1.
A-Bomb has come crashing into Calgary,
rising in the ranks of the local music scene
over the past two years since the band first
performance on fateful night at Tubby Dog. After
the release of several online singles, A-Bomb has
compiled their debut EP, Break through the Static.
MISTER & MYSTIC
philosophers in love
When sitting down with Kat Westermann and Matthew Spreen,
two key members of Calgary’s psych-rock outfit The Heirlooms,
you’lll quickly find a refreshing outlook towards music. As the duo
expounded upon their future goals, it’s clear a big part of this vision came to
be in their new project Mister & Mystic, a romantic indie rock vision by two
philosophers deeply in love.
Westermann and Spreen are on the brink of releasing their debut self-titled
EP, which was recorded in Vancouver at Blue Light Studios with producer Kaj
Falch-Neilson. The album opens with an upbeat, percussion-filled rendition
of “Walk Me Home,” which incorporates Spreen’s loop pedal for the multiple
guitar layers. In the second track, “All the Way,” Kat sings “I missed you before
I met you…”
She admits the song is unabashadely “directly [about] Matt.”
One notable characteristic of this YYC duo is their personal bond. It reaches
all the way from their romantic and musical partnership, to their philosophical
beliefs, to everything in-between. You can even see it in their perpetually fresh
wardrobe and naturally abounding kindness.
In the aforementioned track, Westermann captures the sentiment of “missing
something… Where you know what it’s going to feel like, but you don’t quite have
it yet… Then you finally get it and it’s a thousand times better than you would
So what is the big plan for the record and the couple?
“Album release September 8. Wedding September 9.”
Simple enough! Their album follows the same vein: something simple and sweet
with a vibrant authenticity. Some reoccurring themes woven into their mystical
tapestry are hints of desolation after a collapse. Don’t worry, Spreen can explain.
“There’s this lingering thing in society involving apocalyptic expectations, and
people kind of feel anxious, and maybe that’s a bit far, but we are living in a city
where the main industry has collapsed.”
Westermann happens to indulge this dark fantasy in their track “Caves In,” as
photo: Trevor Hatter
The band itself is named after the raunchy hot dog
combo of chips, cheese sauce, and ketchup, and
the three-piece band is living up to their name with
explosive synergy, edgy ballads, and classic rock ‘n’
Lead vocalist and guitarist Faith Schadlich has
by Kaeleigh Phillips
stellar vocal range, and is reminiscent of the great Lita
Ford who rose to stardom in the ‘80s hair metal scene,
along with Canadian female-led bands Diemonds and
The Pack A.D. With newest addition Jenny Brisebois
on the bass and Nicole Niewinski on drums, A-Bomb
makes for an all-force, no-fluff power trio, and their
four-track EP is a tightly wound and energetic example
of great music arising from the ashes of the hair
“We got a free recording with [celebrated local
musician] Lorrie Matheson and found we wanted to
record more, so we decided to do the EP,” Schadlich
Each member of the trio has a different favourite
song, with Schadlich preferring “Rocker Roller” due
to its stylistic integrity as a classic ‘70s inspired tune.
Brisebois is a fan of “Queen of the Night” because of
the sing-along ballads in the song, and Niewinski loves
“Breaking through the Static” because it is fun to play.
When the band is taking a break from rocking on
stage, they can be found “drinking cold ones with the
boys” according to Brisebois.
These rock-n-roll women are excited to release
their EP on September 1 and are passionate about
their future in the Alberta music scene. “
You are jamming on stage with your friends and
you meet people with a similar interest who love your
shows. It is a love of playing and sharing my music,”
Schadlich says of the Calgary experience.
“I get to live my dream.”
A-Bomb releases Break Through The Static at The Palomino
Smokehouse & Bar on September 1 (Calgary)
with support from Electric Revival and Dane. Check
them out online at https://aa-bomb.bandcamp.com
Mister & Mystic is finding harmony in all avenues of life.
by Taylor Odishaw-Dyck
photo: Kevin Kirkpatrick
she sings “I love you when the world caves in.”
There are eight tracks on the short album, although one of these is a brief spoken
word interlude, which contains thought-provoking poetry laden with heavy
Additional instrumentation on the album was provided by two studio musicians,
including Peter Robinson on percussion and Brian Chan on cello. The recording
took two days, which was a pleasant surprise, because that lined up perfectly
with their budget. They had nothing but good to say about Falch-Neilson, who
struck a balance between assertive and flexible production.
For Westermann and Spreen, this release is the next step towards making their
music more intimate both for their audience and for each other.
Catch Mister & Mystic’s EP release as a part of We Are The Wind - A Soaring Eagles
Record Showcase alongside Todd Stewart, Jason Famous & Le Fame, and Sinzere.
The show takes place at Festival Hall September 8 (Calgary).
BEATROUTE • SEPTEMBER 2017 | 25
2/3 OF NOTHING
please enjoy responsibly!
2/3 of Nothing celebrate the release of The High Cost of Low Living.
Hindsight maybe 20/20, but that doesn’t
mean you don’t gain a lot of clarity by going
through that shit the first time around.
For Calgary-based hardcore rock outfit 2/3 of
Nothing the gravelly road to rock ‘n’ roll notoriety
represented a tough age for the band who spent
four years slogging it out in the pit before hanging
up their gloves.
“Back in 1997, the jam space smelled like beer,
cigarettes and pee. We didn’t take ourselves or our
music seriously. It was more about hanging out and
having an excuse to party. All of the songs were written
under the influence so they could be played under the
influence,” confirms guitarist Mike Davies.
That pattern of self-immolation started to take its
toll and Davies was ready to take a step back from the
proverbial canvas at that point. And he wasn’t alone.
“With so many conflicting drugs-of-choice, ego
being one of them, infighting and addiction shortened
the life of the band and we broke up in 2001,” fellow
founding guitarist Trevor Lagler explains.
“Fast-forward to 2015, with several years of recovery
under our belts, and Davies and I rekindled our
friendship, which inevitably lead to a discussion about
putting the band back together. We wanted to go into
the studio and record our lost songs.”
Recovery is a loaded term for 2/3 of Nothing, as the
group may have distanced themselves from those negative
habits and attitudes, but the goal of writing and
performing riveting punk and metal-tinged tunes continues
to be a shared obsession. Salvaging their friendships
was the easiest part of the equation, according to
Lagler; he credits the band’s comradery and willingness
to laugh at themselves as being essential to the process
of going back to the drawing board and drafting the
plans for the future. Fortunately, the passage of time
had not diminished their instrumental or songwriting
talents, and only served to amplify them.
“Dave (Countryman) is one of the most solid
and under-rated bassists playing in the local scene,”
“He and Mike Davies go all the way back to the
mid-80s; they co-wrote and arranged all of the band’s
by Christine Leonard
original songs. Mike is considered to be one of the
best punk rock guitar players in Calgary and his level
of experience, sense of humor, and personality help to
keep things in the band light, and fun, which is one of
the main focuses of this project.”
With that promise of keeping things pleasant and
clearheaded, Lagler and Davies had little trouble roping
Countryman and (recently retired) drummer Rich
Johnson into their idea for a proper 2/3 of Nothing
“When the four of us got back together we discovered
a different energy and perspective,” recalls
“We were playing together again because we love
each other and we enjoy playing as a band. Total
180-degree turn. This time we had an opportunity to
grow the music as a brand and put some pride into it.
We’re now coming from a place of humility, and just
having fun. This album, we’ve created together, is called
The High Cost of Low Living. It’s a historical record of
the band and it is everything that has come before,
with our new perspective stamped on it.”
There’s nothing more empowering that an unclouded
mind and a fresh mouth. For these Calgary rock
vets that’s just two thirds of the big picture.
“My lyrics range from taking the piss out of everyday
mundane situations (from a very tongue and cheek
perspective), to the more serious subject like life
and addiction. Basically, we have serious songs and
seriously silly songs. It’s all about maintaining balance,”
“Recording this album means finally tying up loose
ends that are decades old. We are intensely proud of
this accomplishment, because this was the reason we
got back together. People can expect us to be loud,
tight, make jokes at our own expense and play some
kick-ass punk rock ‘n’ roll music!”
2/3 of Nothing celebrate their album release with
headliners Gaytheist and Solid Brown at The Palomino
Smokehouse & Bar on September 16 (Calgary). You
can listen to the record online at https://twothirdsofnothing.bandcamp.com
street hearts hits the bricks
September’s back-to-school regime is a
questionably welcome event, but for Calgary
students-of-life Mammoth Grove the
requisite first essay question of ‘How I spent my
summer vacation?’ is one worth crowing about.
While others spent their dog days mowing lawns
and painting fences, Mammoth Grove has been
growing its fuzzy beard, working on its psychedelic
moontan and observing the migratory
behaviour of the Cowtown concertgoer.
“In my experience music has been one of the
most consistent, most enjoyable, most beneficial
ways to make a living,” extolls lead singer-guitarist
Devan Forrester of his summer employment of
choice. “I have a pretty hard time sticking through
things I don’t care about, don’t believe in and don’t
want to be a part of, which how I’ve felt about
most jobs in the past. So music has been great, especially
recently I’ve been jamming a lot. I’ve been
downtown playing gigs, solo shows, open mics and
just being out there and it’s working really well.”
Catching the waves of humanity that wash
across the core throughout July and August,
Forrester (who also performs solo under the name
Silver Moss) has had ample opportunity to exercise
his mind, polish his craft and gain a more fulsome
understanding of the relationship between performer
“I was out a lot for Stampede which is
great, of course. Happy, smiley, drunk people
everywhere. I was playing outside of the gates
of the [Calgary International] Blues Festival as
everyone filtered out and middle-aged crowd
was having a lot of fun. I’ve never been offered
more joints, roaches, doobies, piece of hash,
one-hitters. Mom and Dad like to have a good
time out! On the train ride home afterwards
I had the entire car singing along to “I Won’t
Back Down” on the Green Line. What can I say?
Tom Petty’s been a gold nugget for me.”
Sure he gets plenty of requests for CCR, Neil
Young and Steve Miller, but it’s Petty who’s
illuminated Forrester’s quest for authenticity and
Sidewalk citizen. Mammoth Grove takes it to the street.
by Christine Leonard
self-awareness. By his estimation, it’s not just looking
the part and delivering the goods, but bridging
the gap between generations while exuding a
signature sound that is entirely unique.
“I play very few covers, I don’t really know many
at all,” explains Forrester.
“Right now the point of busking for me is to try
out all these new songs I’ve been writing. And I’ve
been writing lots! Mammoth Grove has this massive
back catalog that we want to record and do
stuff with, but we’re just kind of relaxing right now.
After we went toured out to B.C. in May we figured
let’s do our own things and enjoy the summer
by soaking it up on the coast and playing on the
streets back home.”
Although this post-tour summer hiatus has
been the longest of their collaboration, Mammoth
Grove has been busily cultivating all of the
elements necessary to flourish throughout the
dark, cold winter months. Bound with wood, wire
and an unquenchable thirst for beauty, Forrester’s
methods and approach have only grown stronger
thanks to weeks spent pounding the pavement
during his 21st century troubadour bootcamp.
“The biggest thing for me was just getting over
that initial fear of busking. I was scared and I was
nervous, but now I’m really into being able to
rely on my voice and a guitar. Mammoth Grove
is always electric, but this summer I’ve been really
only playing acoustic, because it’s lighter to carry
around. So, that definitely changes the sound
and dynamic and everything about it. I’m really
focusing on simple songwriting. I’ve noticed while
busking that people connect with your voice way
more than your guitar. I’ve been working on my
vocal technique and range and it feels great to be
confident in just what I am right here and now.
‘Blam!’ Until recently I felt like I had to be the singer,
now I feel like I get to be.”
Mammoth Grove performs with Yawning Man
and Alex Perrez & The Rising Tide at The Palomino
Smokehouse & Bar on September 21 (Calgary).
26 | SEPTEMBER 2017 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE
bring on the dance floor bangers!
by B. Simm
what’s happening around Calgary in September
by Jodi Brak
photo: Arif Ansari
The Menzingers hit Marquee Beer Market & Stage on October 3.
photo: Charles Wrzesniewski
After three decades in the business of making conceptual punk, Kamil Krulis is no stranger, and certainly no
wallflower, when it comes to reivention and making a statement. In his newest project he’s rechristened
himself DJkkay and teamed up with an electro-beat specialist, Antoine, to produce a new dance floor (in the
works) sensation called Body-Body. What’s the concept, what’s the statement? Well, as always, it’s a pleasure
sparing with good ole KK and not too difficult for him to simply lay it on the line, or rather, the dance floor.
Briefly, what’s the concept behind your new project?
Basing a dance group on the Italo drive sound of the early ‘80s and deconstructing it.
There’s definitely a lot of overt sexual referencing. Let’s start with the track “I Want Your Body”, which has
the unlikely combination of Rod Stewart’s “Do You Think I’m Sexy” and Olivia Newton John’s “Let’s Get
Physical” dubbed in with some slo-mo, German robotic techno. There’s no real mincing of words here with
a line like, “I want your body”. A rather blunt come on, don’t you think?
Well, in reality that song is the beginning of working with the Italo bass sound. How Antoine works it warps
genres. I was interested in simple anthemic lyrics, as if English was my second language. Oh wait, English is my
second language! But the pleasure of hedonism is a call to hit the dance floor.
“Maschine” another sexified track. What are you talking about when you say, “When you turn me on,
I’ll turn you on”? One of those extended mechanical devices with a dildo attached to it seen in porn
videos, a fuck machine? Or is the person here a sexual machine themself, a get-up-stay-on-the-scene
sort of character?
Haha! Is it man-made? Is it human? In Body-Body we are living in a Phillip K. Dickian future.
“Sexbooth”, interesting title. Do you remember the Orgasmatron in Woody Allen’s Sleeper from
the early ‘70s? A sci-fi sex capsule that someone steps into for climatic pleasure. Is that what the
sexbooth here is about?
Oooooh Brad. “Sexbooth” is about what is affectionately known as booth number one at Pizza Bob’s, the one
you might have passed out in. It has been the subject of a number of rumoured make-out scenes over the
passage of time. The track itself is another hedonistic dance floor banger.
For the record, it’s booth number three at Bob’s I had a “little nap” in on one occasion. Back to the Body-
Body EP. This is a six-song recording that starts out with the suggestive “Get Down On The Beat” and ends
with the kiss-off “You Don’t Know Me”. A journey, an adventure seems to take place during the songs in
between. Is this some story about a sexual romp? It seems all very promiscuous, a lot of body, body and
very little soul going, which perhaps is the idea. While lust and sex are the dominating themes, there’s an
A big part of the conceptual aspect of Body-Body is to reinvent a time when Reagan was president and nuclear
war truly a fear with the zeitgeist, not unlike Trump now. So perhaps the journey is one where pleasure and
the bacchanalian coincide on the dance floor with the regular mundaneness of being alive in a meaningless
middle-class world. The dance floor is the ultimate other-world escape.
Who’s the master programmer working the keyboards and computer? Who’s the other Body? And where
do you draw your inspiration for this kind of get your electro-pop groove on? Just Italo disco?
Antoine is the other Body. He is heavy into hip-hop beats. He is both a savant and very knowledgeable, so I
think there is that element. I made him figure out the Italo drive, ha! One of my stipulations was that it had to
sound pre-house Chicago. I think it’s working.
body-body is having a tape “dance-floor” release party Saturday, Sept. 30 at Local 510.
Marquee Beer Market & Stage, October 3
Armed with music that looks into the depths
of sadness and cynicism to pull out something
positive, The Menzingers are a group of
Pennsylvania punk rockers who understand
that inspiration can be found in the face of
darkness. Their music is highly melodic and
surprisingly progressive, swinging back and
forth between clean, lightly picked chords and
heavy, high-gain crescendos. Top it off with a
witty, irreverent sort of poetry to their lyricism
and you have songs that will loop endlessly in
your head for weeks.
Marquee Beer Market & Stage, September 23
These guys most assuredly bring the pop
to pop-punk. Hailing from New York, State
Champs songs always seem to fall on a lighter
note – at least musically. With an infectious,
head-bobbing beats, their songs are played in
keys that leave a smile on the face and a warm
feeling in the gut. They’re bringing their tunes
quite a ways west on their latest tour; check
them out while you actually have the chance.
Palomino Smokehouse & Bar, October 4
Unleashing classic hardcore that leans towards
the metal side, this five-piece act out of Philly
deliver moshpit tunes like the best of them.
They mix the beat of hardcore with the deep
growls and incessant background calamity of
metalcore, and are known for their ability to
spin crowds into a delirious frenzy at the drop
of a chorus hook. Their Calgary show is sure to
be one for the books.
CHANGE OF HEART
Palomino Smokehouse & Bar, October 6
Once thought to be a spark that flickered in the
‘80s and quickly faded away, Change of Heart
pulled off a successful reunion in 2009 and has
been bringing their weird brand of Tragically
Hip meets The Clash indie-punk back to the
stage ever since. Vocalist Ian Blurton is known
for his work with other Canadian indie projects
such as beloved Napalmpom pals Bad Animal;
he also worked with C’mon and Cowboy Junkies,
conjuring a much deserved cult following.
BEATROUTE • SEPTEMBER 2017 | 27
exploring new modes of music making
Big changes are underway in the U.S. Girls world.
The music of U.S. Girls, the moniker of American expat Meg
Remy, is always sentimental, socially aware and elusive.
Remy, the Toronto based songwriter and producer, is known
for her obscure samples, produced by old tapes and recordings that are
stretched and dismantled as well as fuzzy beats. Her Illinois tinged voice
tells stories of despairing sadness through a glowing voice. Though challenging,
her experimental singer/songwriting is hopeful and vibrant.
U.S. Girls has not released an album since 2015’s Half Free, a vivid,
by Michael Grondin
dreamlike collection of anecdotes that also dive deep into Remy’s
imagination, partnered with music videos that complement its
In a phone interview with Remy while on set for a new music video in
Kingston, Ontario, she explains that a brand new album is in the works.
“I just finished a record. It’ll come out early 2018,” she says, not giving
away too many details.
“I don’t know if I can tell you what it’s called.”
Making a turn from her minimalist beats, Remy says she wanted to
explore new ways to approach writing an album.
“It’s a record like I’ve never made before with lots and lots of musicians.
Like 20. So it’s very elaborate but not ornate at all,” she explains.
“It features a band, and from now on I’ll be playing with a band.”
Indeed, her upcoming tour features a full band.
“There’ll be drums, bass, guitar, keyboards, vocals, saxophone,” she
explains with a laugh.
Without getting too political, Remy discussed the ways in which the
current social climate seeped into her new work.
“A lot of this album was written during the course of the U.S. presidential
election. So, there is a lot of that in there,” she says, again without
going into detail.
“It’s like asking for an opinion on the bible or something. I’m just sad,
but also not surprised unfortunately. I don’t know what else to say.”
She says that even if not directly, any we can asks bigger questions is
important regardless of the medium.
“Any platform or vehicle to address social issues can be good. If it’s a
poster on a wall, or a conversation two people have, or a film or a song, it
works. Music is as good as any other,” she says.
U.S. Girls perform as part of Up + Downtown Fest at the Vinyl Needle Tavern
on October 6 (Edmonton). They’ll be playing with Tei Shi, GGOOLLDD,
and Lyra Brown. They perform with Crystal Eyes and Child Actress at The
Palomino Smokehouse & Bar on October 7 (Calgary).
bringing 41 years of experience to the stage
Sister Nancy is the original mumma and the mistress of ceremonies.
She may be best known for her hit “Bam Bam,” but her legacy
and influence extends vast stretches beyond that. The classic
reggae tune, a cut from her ‘82 album One, Two, did not experience
immediate success. However, it experienced a resurgence courtesy of
sampling in songs by Lauryn Hill and Kanye West, who used it on the
new offering “Famous.”
Finally, 35 years after recording, people have begun to learn who the
woman is behind the timeless tune. Born Ophlin Russell in Kingston,
Jamaica in 1962 to a conservative Christian family, Sister Nancy first got
into music through her brother, legendary reggae/dancehall DJ Brigadier
Jerry. She soon decided she wanted to start DJing and MCing herself, and
became known as the first female dancehall DJ.
“I was the first woman who was there, now I’m looking 41 years after
all the ladies who come, they come after me,” she says over the phone
from her home in New Jersey.
“I of course I am very pleased with what I have accomplished and how
I have set the pace for other females.”
She never let the fact that the music scene in Jamaica, and around the
world for that matter, was male dominated, saying simply, “I said if they
can do that, I think I can do that.”
She has also worked as an auto mechanic, another industry dominated
by men. The experience served as the basis for her song “Transport
Last year, Nancy retired from her job as a bank accountant, and now
enjoys her time relaxing at home, because when she hits the road to
perform, she is hard at work. In the 41 years of her musical career, she
says that her performance has changed for the better, and she is working
harder now than she ever has, even when she was in her 20’s.
by Paul Rodgers
“The more you work, the more you gain more experience, the more
you know. You know how to operate on the stage and how to perform
and how to deliver to people. And I like it, I love it because now I know
exactly what to do.”
Though she hasn’t been in the studio to record her own music recently,
she hasn’t ruled it out as a possibility in the future, saying “I’m still
“I was born like this, this is not something I put on, or something that I
can take off, I was born to do what I do and I know that.”
Sister Nancy performs on October 6 at the Freemason Hall (Edmonton)
during Up + Downtown Fest.
28 | SEPTEMBER 2017 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE
pop musician moves beyond the bedroom to the studio
Colombian-born, Vancouver raised artist comes into her own.
photo: JJ Medina
The hypnotic grooves and bombastic beats of New York based
Canadian singer Tei Shi are showcased on her debut full-length
Crawl Space, what she calls a vessel for her emotions and fears
expressed through warm melodies and a liquid-smooth voice.
“Crawl Space is the closing of a chapter and the beginning of
something new in my life,” says Valerie Teicher in a phone call from her
Chinatown apartment in Manhattan. The album came out in April, and
has received rave reviews.
The Colombian-born, Vancouver raised writer/producer claimed
some fame after self-producing and self-releasing two EPs, showcasing
by Michael Grondin
her charming yet minimal approach to electronic bedroom-pop, layering
her vocals over experimental, pop-infused beats.
“The journey of my experiences after having jumped into all of this
made me feel like I wanted my first album to push both personal boundaries
and re-introduce myself musically,” she says. “A crawl space seemed
like this metaphorical space where I could hide to work through fears
She explained that in the two-year process of writing and producing
Crawl Space, her life went through many changes.
“I was dealing with a lot of the eternal conflicts and pressures you feel
when you are starting to put together something you love — something
that is very precious to you,” she says.
“When I was really working on the bulk of the album and finishing
it, I was experiencing the end of many important relationships in my
life as well.”
This forced her to reexamine things.
“I re-inserted this period of my life and revisited my childhood life. I
looked at things now the way I would have as a kid,” she says. “I wanted
to rediscover the roots of why I loved singing and performing. There was
a lot of tying back a lot of my current emotions as I tried to stay true to
that young part of myself.”
Crawl Space is a mature, fleshed out, 15 song musical effort that
pushes far beyond what Teicher released in the past, moving beyond the
bedroom and into a studio.
“I was able to bring many musicians in, so there’s a different role you
have to play where you have to guide the process but also let things
unfold in their own way,” she concludes.
Tei Shi perform as part of Up + Downtown Fest at the Vinyl Needle
Tavern on October 6 (Edmonton). They’ll be playing with U.S. Girls,
GGOOLLDD, and Lyra Brown. They also perform at the Commonwealth
Bar & Stage on October 7 (Calgary).
bringing mistreatment of those with mental illness to light in song
With increasing numbers of people in Canada being aware
of and accepting of those with mental illness, and those
who suffer from them learning to cope with the challenges
those illnesses present, Toronto-based artist Fiver has explored some
of the darkest historical elements of those afflictions on her new
record, Audible Songs From Rockwood. The album finds singer-songwriter
Simone Schmidt inhabiting the psyches, in field recording
style, of a number of fictional patients at the Rockwood Asylum For
The Criminally Insane, as gathered from case files dated between
1854 and 1881.
Schmidt, who also works with Toronto psych-country group The
Highest Order, and was in underground country group One Hundred
Dollars, took two years to research the case histories of patients, and the
album has an immediacy, a subtle yearning easily at home in the classic
Appalachia of the arrangements.
“I read an article about women who were incarcerated at the
Rockwood Asylum before the asylum was built, this period of 12 years
when prison labourers from the Kingston Penitentiary constructed the
asylum,” says Schmidt. “They had nowhere to put people who were designated
criminally insane, those being people who had plead criminally
insane at trial, or even those who were in jail but weren’t adhering to the
social order of the institutions. The ‘social order’ of the Kingston Penitentiary
in particular was one of silence and work. If you couldn’t be quiet all
day and work, they deemed you criminally insane. Because Rockwood
Asylum took 12 years to build, they need to do something with the people
who couldn’t live in the other institutions so they sent the women to
live on the Cartwright Estate, where the asylum was being built, housing
them in the horses’ stables. I wrote a song from that almost immediately,
and wanted to explore the history further. It took me into the roots of
our institutions in settler and colonial society.”
Two years of research brought on Fiver’s latest album.
by Mike Dunn
While those methods for diagnosing mental illness in the past might
seem very dubious now, Schmidt doesn’t feel we’re that far removed
from the antiquated methods of history. “I don’t think that the DSM
(Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) is that much
more of a precise science, and I would argue that I think that people who
can’t conform to the dominant notions of what it is to be a productive
person, or to fit into the economy, are often incarcerated, whether that’s
in a mental institution or a prison, quite often their freedom is withheld.”
Fiver performs at Hillhurst United Church on September 15 (Calgary) and
at McDougall United Church as part of Up + Downtown Fest on October
7 (Edmonton). Schmidt’s other band, The Highest Order, will also perform
at Up + Downtown.
BEATROUTE • SEPTEMBER 2017 | 29
Edmonton crust punks unleash sociopolitical debut
photo: Dustin Ekman
Paroxysm will release their self-titled EP on September 22.
by Sarah Kitteringham
late night movies
$5 pints, $1 oysters
$1/2 off wine
$7 beer flights
$5 draft pints
$3 jack daniels
Emerging from Edmonton, Paroxysm expels
a d-beat laden, blackened style of hardcore
punk. The socio-politically oriented band
is on the cusp of releasing their self-titled EP, a
25-minute crossover rager. The multi-label release
will be available on vinyl, and features blazing riffs
and a crusty howl excellently lain over top the
mix. Paroxysm has improved quickly since their
March 2016 offering, the Open Wounds Demo.
Despite its rudimentary recording quality, the
50-cassette edition sold out.
“I believe that musically the aim has been for
a d-beat, blackened-crust type sound. At least,
this is where I think a lot of our influences are
coming from. Each member of our band seems
to feed off of a variety of metal and punk,” explains
Holly Blake, the lyrics and vocalist for the
act. She discussed the release with BeatRoute
alongside drummer Chris.
“The demo was recorded in one take, live-offthe-floor
in a matter of hours with equipment
that none of us knew how to use. By the time we
recorded the EP, we were tighter as a band and
playing much faster. We also took our time while
recording the EP. There are more layers of guitar.
The sound is altogether cleaner.”
It’d be foolish to mistake cleanliness for meekness,
as the EP is anything but. The oscillating
groovy riff in “White Picket Fence” is overlain
with unnerving shrieks; “Sickness Remains”
opens with crushing, swelling instrumentation
then transforms into something bordering on
grindcore. The obvious difference here is the improved
production, courtesy of Derek Orthner
(Begrime Exemious). Thematically, the release
has many commonalities with their demo,
whose cover depicted the St. Bernard Residential
School located in Grouard, Alberta. Paroxysm’s
Bandcamp page includes a strong statement
regarding the release.
“Paroxysm is a platform for me to bring to
light the rampant human indignities that have
been caused by colonialism,” explains Chris.
Extreme racism, poverty, unusually high
rates of illness, low life expectancy, inconsistent
access to clean drinking water and suicide rates
that are double the national average are all deep
seated, ongoing issues for Aboriginal communities
“Be it the cover of our demo, which depicts
the Residential School my mother and her siblings
attended, the cover of our [new self-titled]
album that shows an ominous view of the tar
sands that have destroyed a vast landscape, or
in the music which I use as a release for inner
turmoil caused by the struggles of daily racism.”
He continues, “My family along with EVERY
indigenous family on Turtle Island [the ingenious
name for North America] have deep
wounds that we are trying to deal with. It’s very
true that not a lot of people know or acknowledge
the atrocities committed on Indigenous
peoples. By telling a part of my story in that
write up it puts a face to the white supremacist
laws created by the Canadian government.”
Blake is adamant that Paroxysm will continue
to focus on social issues as a means of addressing
and combating injustice. In the current
antagonistic political climate where extreme
right wing ideologies are being normalized, it’s
a message Paroxysm places deep importance in,
both from within and in their day-to-day lives.
“I don’t just think it’s important to make a
statement about this with our band, I think it’s
important to make this statement in every life situation
where it needs to be heard,” explains Blake.
“It’s about speaking out against ‘socially
acceptable’ racism which includes anti-refugee
and Islamophobic sentiments, spitting on
or standing in solidarity with workers in every
industry being exploited for their labour.”
She concludes, “It’s about acknowledging that
the land we inhabit is stolen, and this nation
continues to exploit and victimize indigenous
communities to date. We must all work toward
reconciliation and indigenous liberation. I
believe it starts with educating folks on Canada’s
treacherous history, and addressing the racism
that has been passed down through generations
and dismantling it.”
Paroxysm will release their self-titled EP on vinyl at the
Brixx on September 22 (Edmonton). They’ll be performing
alongside Begrime Exemious and WAKE. You can
hear the band at paroxysmofficial.bandcamp.com
30 | SEPTEMBER 2017 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE
Punks stand up for safe partying
by Jessica Robb
There’s no doubt there’s a greatly romanticized
cultural depiction of hard partying, one that
is particularly celebrated and exacerbated by
those within the music scene. It’s become as easy
to find hard drugs as it is to find marijuana, and the
timing could not be worse. Canada in the depths of
an opioid crisis that has claimed at least 2458 people
last year alone, making the tragic line between euphoria
and fatal overdose so thin that two grains the
size of salt can kill even the healthiest adult.
This is fentanyl: a powerful synthetic opioid that is
similar to morphine, but is 50 to 100 times more potent.
Today it is found mixed with street drugs to enhance
the associated effects of heroin and cocaine.
The high potency of fentanyl greatly increases the
risk of an overdose, especially as bootleg versions of
the drug become more attainable and variations of
the drug (carfentanil) grow even more toxic.
“It’s not the fear of getting addicted anymore… It’s
the fear of immediately dying that should be scaring
people,” says Abby Blackburn of the band Ripperhead.
Blackburn saw a need to educate the Edmonton
punk community on the realities of the fentanyl crisis
after witnessing some friends come fatally close
to an overdose first hand. As such, she’s organized
a presentation and gig at DV8 in September to help
folks become better educated on the crisis.
“I don’t want it to be a D.A.R.E. program. People
want to party, it’s their life and they’re in control of
it… I just want them to be safe about it. And that’s
where the naloxone kits come in,” explains Blackburn.
Naloxone kits are now available at pharmacies
across Alberta, and contain a drug that can reverse
an opioid overdose by pushing opioids off the receptors
in the brain to restore normal breathing. The
effects only last 20 to 90 minutes, which is enough
time to call 9-1-1 and seek professional medical
“It’s basically the rule of three: don’t party alone,
make sure you have this kit and know where your
supplier is coming from,” Blackburn encourages.
The kits are free to pick up at most pharmacies
and will also be provided at the event for attendees
to take home as part of the presentation by Alberta
Health Services. If you’re unable to attend, Alberta
Health Services website also features a lengthy list of
locations where they are available.
Blackburn has brought together four local punk
bands to provide the music for the night, to scream
in the face of fentanyl and even open up with their
own personal struggles. While punk rock may be the
lens to view the issue through on this particular occasion,
the event isn’t specific to the punk community.
Blackburn welcomes anyone who wants to get
educated, regardless of genre preference.
“I just want everyone to know that there’s a lot
of love and heart in everything that [the punk
community] does, and even though our music may
be aggressive at times… We’re still happy about it,”
affirms Blackburn. “That’s the number one thing:
just always be happy about it, because you only get
Fuck Fentanyl will be taking place at DV8 Tavern on
September 8 (Edmonton). The event includes a presentation
by an Alberta Health Services representative as
well as a potluck. SASS, Whiskey Wagon, The Unreliables,
and NME will perform after the presentation. For
a list of pharmacies where naloxone Kits are available,
Overdose prevention gets loud.
photo: Nadja Banky
new venue fills gap in the Edmonton scene
While larger venues thrive and purvey
booze to the legal music loving crowds,
the question in the Edmonton music
scene remains: where will the all-ages scene
flourish? This is something Ryan Walraven has
been considering for years, whether it was putting
on all ages shows at the now defunct Avenue
Theatre or with his new project, Industry House.
The new venue will provide a much-needed stage
for under-age bands as well as house a safe space
for younger show goers. Walraven has partnered
with his friend Phil Short of Corvus the Crow as
well as Sabian Ryan, who will help handle booking
and marketing. The venue’s manifestation appears
rather spontaneous, coming together in three
months at most.
Thankfully, each member of the venue team has a
background in the trades, which made the renovation
process not only cost effective, but speedy.
Walraven, Short and Sabian put in countless hours
sanding, woodwork and so much more to get the
room in quick operational condition.
“I’ve worked in trades my whole life,” explains
Short. “This is my first adventure into this side of
the music scene. I’m in a band and I do wanna be
involved in other parts of music. My brother has the
silkscreen connections and after finding and putting
this place together, I realize my new job now is making
merch,” he says, his smile clear over the phone.
“We tried to make it so that we considered what
All ages and all genres are welcome at new Edmonton venue Industry House!
bands really want in a stage,” Walraven adds. “People
don’t have to stare face to face with the artist and
you’re also not taco-necking yourself because the
stage is so high. We wanted to build the best intimate
venue in the city.”
The silkscreen connection Short spoke of is part
of the three-pronged business plan Industry House
has been implementing. Combining the silkscreen
shop with L.T.D. Talent Services and Industry House,
the venue can more easily manage running all-ages
shows. BeatRoute asked about the common issue
with all-ages venues lacking the liquor sales to be
sustainable, and how Industry House plans on combatting
“I think it’s going to take some time establishing
the all-ages shows,” explains Walraven. “After about a
year and a half, I found a handful of bands who were
hungry and motivated. The high school networks are
so tight knit that word of mouth was how we were
able to get everyone out. We would have 250+ local
by Brittany Rudyck
kids coming out. It was insane.”
While not every show at the venue will be an
all-ages event, the trio looks forward to a frequent
array of genres, which perhaps has not been the case
in other DIY all-ages shows.
“I think over the last few years the motivation
to start a band at a young age wasn’t really there
because there weren’t many places to play publicly,”
muses Walraven. “You couldn’t rent halls anymore,
and the Armoury was doing a few shows but it
seemed mostly secluded to hardcore. There [are] a
lot of other underage rock bands and genres that
need places to play too.”
The goal is to put on six shows with liquor licenses
a month to ensure all-ages shows remain the priority
and the youth community can be served. That said,
their first performance is for an 18+ crowd.
To sweeten the deal, a local food truck the Cranky
Ape (owned by Walraven’s partner at L.T.D. Talent
Services) will be on site most event nights to sling
their carb heavy delights.
“I swear he has the best fries in the city,” claims
Walraven. “Hand cut, made day of - you’ll never meet
a dude more proud of his food truck.”
Corvus the Crow, Bring Us Your Dead and From the
Wolves perform at the grand opening of Industry
House on September 1 (Edmonton). For more
information on upcoming shows, visit their website at
BEATROUTE • SEPTEMBER 2017 | 31
BOOK OF BRIDGE
showcasing the arts in Lethbridge
by Courtney Faulkner
Youth create chalk art outside of Casa for Family Affair on the Square.
Claire Lint busks on the street as a tap dancer for Art Walk 2016.
photos: Henriette Plas
Lethbridge celebrates their seventh annual
Arts Days from September 23 through October
1, with a plethora of activities for all-ages
and interests. The event showcases the work
of talented local artists through performances,
workshops, artist talks, and artisan markets, connecting
the community through creativity.
Claire Lint, a local dance artist and co-founder
of the non-profit organization the Lethbridge Society
of Independent Dance Artists (LSIDA), is one
of the city’s young artists who has chosen to invest
her talent locally. Lint, who grew up Lethbridge,
and whose dance has taken her to perform in the
likes of places like the northern artist community
of Dawson City, Yukon, has proudly watched the
city grow and develop its talent pool.
“I think we’re starting to really blossom and
come into our own as an arts community,” says
Lint. “I think it’s time that we’re put on the map,
especially in Alberta, but I think in Western
Canada, as a community that has a lot to say,
and has a lot to contribute, in all art forms.”
“As we continue to band together, it’s going to
start happening. I feel like there’s a pulse, where
the more people that get involved, the bigger the
pulse is going to become, and then I think people
will just have to come here, they’ll need to come
here to access festivals, and residencies, and however
you access the community as an artist.”
Lint first became involved with Arts Days as
a busker for Art Walk, an annual event that has
taken place in Lethbridge coming on its 14th
year. This collaboration between businesses
and artists will showcase over 40 exhibitions installed
in local businesses and venues throughout
downtown. Lint remembers the first Art
Walk she attended in 2009.
“I have a very vivid memory of walking
around, and I think there was only 10 venues, it
was very, very small, but I just remember going
around and thinking that it was just the coolest
thing. For shops to open up their doors, and
bring art in.”
Five years later, Lint found herself compelled
to participate. Buskers had primarily been musicians
up until that point, however Lint had an
alternative idea with her dancing shoes.
“I found a piece of plywood in my parent’s
garage and I painted it white, and I found a
top hat, and I threw out a suitcase and I tap
danced,” says Lint.
“I would be like a living statue, and you know,
get the coin and then tap. It was really great
to see the kids engage with that, and to have
that live performance art theatre feeling, while
cross-pollinating into this art world, where people
are moving around and they’re looking at
different visual art, like ceramics and paintings,
fabrics and textiles, then to be a part of the
busking and the music was really cool.”
Last year LSIDA put out a call for dancers, and
the performance of busking dance artists grew to
eight different dancers performing 17 times in 17
different locations throughout the community.
“Now, nearly a decade later, I’m able to reach
out and connect with other people and bring
those opportunities to them, which to me is
really incredible,” says Lint. “Something that always
stuck in my gut was creating opportunities
for others, that was always something that I felt
really passionate about.”
The artists participating in Arts Days spans all
generations. Karen Brownlee, a local painter and
fine artist who has been creating work focused on
the landscape and people of southern Alberta for
over 40 years, has been involved with Art Walk
since its inception. She’s been showcasing her
work permanently in Tompkins Jewelers, and in
the past offering on-site painting demonstrations.
“The concept is that you take the art to the
people. Rather than the people having to search
it out,” says Brownlee.
“My life has been devoted to my family, and
the creation of my own art,” she continues.
“When you get down to the heart of the arts
practice, in the visual arts, it’s me in the studio.
There is no exhibit, there is no book, unless you
guard your studio time.”
Brownlee has devoted herself to interpreting
the everyday sights around her, such as the
mapping out scenes of farming towns, grain
elevators, community members, flowers and
horses, in her colourful water colour creations.
She jokingly says that as she ages and grays, her
paintings subsequently become more colourful.
“One of my first art professors, Pauline
McGeorge, told me ‘True artists find inspiration
in their backyard,’ so I really took that to heart.
When I see something happening on the piece
of paper that’s exciting, I go with it.”
“I really feel it’s been my calling, and in a lot
of ways I feel it’s been art therapy. Just don’t give
up. You’ve just got to do it.”
Arts Days takes place September 23 through October
1 in Lethbridge, with the Art Walk on September
29 and 30. Visit artsdayslethbridge.org for a full
list of events and times.
32 | SEPTEMBER 2017 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE
letters from winnipeg
maestros of mercurial pop
Since their emergence on the Winnipeg music scene,
self-described “genre-immune” five-piece Slow Spirit
have opted to follow their creative whims rather than
meet any predetermined expectations.
The band’s seven-song debut studio album, Unnatured,
arrives independently on September 23. Recorded and mixed
by Paul Yee at Stereobus Recording, it strikes a seamless balance
between multi-instrumental precision and compositional
spontaneity. The band’s five members—all skilled musicians
who met while studying at the University of Brandon’s School of
Music—draw from the worlds of jazz, punk, post-rock, pop and
singer/bassist Natalie Bohrn’s lyrical prose to concoct something
all their own.
“People are still really taking us for our jazz influence,
which is something I think we kind of run from in our own
artistic identities,” says guitarist Eric Roberts. “We try to think
of ourselves as making loose pop music.”
Call it what you will. With aesthetics and influences
abounding, the album shows the group’s mastery of
bringing intricate ideas together. Lead tracks “Human” and
“Legendary Mistake” are powerful, rhythmically complex
numbers that reveal the group’s versatility. Elsewhere, “Last
Night,” a portrait of the members’ time in Brandon, Manitoba
and their interactions with the colourful characters that
lived outside of their downtown apartment, bring their
post-rock ambitions to light.
“Creatively, going to jazz school helped us be more
equipped to understand some fundamental concepts about
music,” says Bohrn.
Between the five members of the band, which also includes
Justin Alcock (drums), Julian Beutel (keyboards), and Brady Allard
(guitar), they now count at least four other bands that they
contribute to between them. Noise troupe tunic, dream-popsters
Living Hour, electro-pop act ATLAAS, and a cinematic
instrumental project called Palm Trees are among them.
pass the mic
The spawn of ‘90s backpack hip hop and
underground Prairie rap legends, 3PEAT’s
infectious beats swirl to the laid back loops
of the ones that set the groundwork.
During their short time on the scene, the
emerging group—which includes MCs Steve, E.GG
and Dill the Giant, as well as DJ/manager Anthony
Carvalho—has found a place on bills alongside
punk and indie-rock acts as easily as they would a
“I think that’s what Winnipeg’s about,” says
E.GG. “They just support everything.”
The group’s triad of MCs started rapping outside
of Grippin’ Grain shows, a long-standing rap-centric
club night, and before long they were rocking
stages at festivals and opening for some of their
own microphone heroes, like Blackalicious and T.I.
In 2016, 3PEAT released their stellar debut
self-titled EP, a top to bottom fresh collection of
cuts that flow to a golden-era sample base.
The record features members trading verses
as part of their self-styled “triangle offensive” or
tackling tracks solo.
“All of those songs we did together,” says Steve
of the EP. “We wanted to kind of build that model
with our EP. Half of it is 3PEAT songs and the other
half is solo songs from each of us. It’s kind of like
“It’s hard for us to schedule rehearsals, because we’re all so
busy and have so many projects,” says Bohrn. “We’re always
giving our time to other bands.”
It’s because of this that their first proper release feels more like
a finale than it does a birth. After years of performing, refining,
and adapting the songs on the album, Roberts and Bohrn both
seem ready to write Slow Spirit’s next chapter.
“[Unnatured] captures what we’ve been able to accumulate
in the last four years,” says Roberts. “Those songs
we’ve reshaped a number of times, because often we don’t
have the energy between our other projects to write new
songs… Rearranging was always a way that we could keep
things fresh and kind of grow as a band and as musicians.”
As a result, some of the songs on the album are unrecognizable
live. Like living entities, they can transform depending
on the situation. The song “Unknown,” a quieter piece on the
record, for example, has been entirely altered into a full-blown
rock tune for festival appearances, according to Roberts.
“It’s hard to know when inspiration is going to strike and
you’re going to want to change a song completely,” he continues.
“Sometimes we’re inspired by a certain performance
It remains to be seen what the future will hold for the purveyors
of mercurial pop. What they are certain of, however, is their
commitment to following whatever new creative pursuit may
come their way.
“It has been such a long process to get this album out, and we
kind of just want to be creative again,” says Roberts.
“We’re not exactly sure what we’re going to do next…
We’ve never been very good at the industry standard way of
Slow Spirit perform at The Good Will Social Club on September
23 (Winnipeg). To pre-order their new album, Unnatured, visit
3PEAT are a Winnipeg hip-hop group on the rise.
Much like other rap supergroup marketing
models (read: Wu-Tang), 3PEAT will operate as a
rap trifecta and each individual MC will also be
propped up with their own solo output.
“It’s kind of like everyone brings their own little
flavour into the big pot of jambalaya,” says Steve.
More releases have already emerged. E.GG
followed up 3PEAT’s group debut with his own
Slow Spirit’s Unnatured will be released on hi-fidelity format.
photo: Tommy Illfiger
solo Alverstone record in 2016. Since then, Steve
has offered up the soulful “Oh Yeah,” and Dill the
Giant dropped the track “Emails” featuring ARI IQ
earlier this year.
With a consistent stream of tracks, appearances
at industry conferences, live shows galore, and a
2017 Western Canadian Music Award (WCMA)
nomination for Rap/Hip Hop Artist of the Year to
by Julijana Capone
photos: Eric Roberts
by Julijana Capone
add to their list of accomplishments, the past year
for the group has been fruitful.
“We were actually in Toronto at a conference—
Canadian Music Week—and we were on the street
when we got the email [about the WCMA nod],”
says Carvalho. “We were like, ‘Holy shit!’”
“I think it’s dope that things like the Western
Canadian Music Awards are kind of shining a light
on artists from that area of Canada,” says Steve.
Indeed, it hasn’t always been easy for Canadian
Prairie rap to get its due, but a new generation of
hip hop artists are emerging from the ‘Peg—namely,
3PEAT, Super Duty Tough Work, The Lytics, and
more—to pick up where others left off, following
in the footsteps of nationally-underrated Manitobans
like Shadez, Mood Ruff, Frek Sho, pioneering
rap label Peanuts & Corn, and Winnipeg’s Most,
“They’ve laid the stepping stones for us to be
here and do what we do,” says Steve.
“It’s gonna be dope in another decade when
you’re gonna see a lot more [Winnipeg] names,”
3PEAT perform at Freemasons’ Hall on September
15 (Edmonton) and on September 16 at the Mercury
Room (Edmonton) as part of BreakOut West. To hear
more of 3PEAT’s tunes, head to threepeatmusic.com
BEATROUTE • SEPTEMBER 2017 | 33
Presents Com Truise+ NOSAJ THING
10@10: A HIP-HOP SHOWCASE OF BEATS AND RHYMES
Live Nation Presents:
the Cave Singers w/ Chris Cheveyo
Live Nation Presents:
Allan Rayman WITH GUESTS
PRESENTS:Kacy & Clayton WITH GUESTS
AUSTRA WITH ELA MINUS
what a time wednesdays • world famous fridays • modern vintage saturdays
403-247-4663 731 10 TH AVE SW COMMONWELATHBAR.CA COMMONWEALTHYYC COMMONWEALTHBAR
shining a light on music
photo: Innovative Leisure
Mastering the connection between audio and visual.
Nosaj Thing, who is colloquially known
as electronic producer/composer/
performer Jason Chung, has released
his fourth full-length studio LP Parallels. To
celebrate, he is taking the release out on a two
month North American tour.
Chung’s previous full-length LP tour
(Fated) travelled through Houston, where
the theft of all of his equipment and digital
archives occurred, triggering an opportunity
to reassess. In a crushing state of deep loss,
Chung resiliently pushed forward with the
support of his fans and friends to acquire a
fresh set of equipment and a clean slate to
start over with. Heading into that fateful tour,
Chung had been heavily focused on collaboration
in the visual realm to create an immersive
experience; with his rebound production EP,
No Reality, he did just that, stringing together
a cohesive set of five tracks and visuals that
left concert goers awestruck.
With Parallels, Chung has created an album
that takes the listener on a dark journey,
replete with oscillating emotions and sonic
reflections. While Steve Spacek, Kazu Makino
and Zuri Marley’s vocal contributions to the
record helped push Chung’s experimentations
further in the instrumental aspects of the
music, there are to be no collaborations when
Chung takes the music visual.
“Actually, for this tour, it’s going to be the first
time that I’m performing solo, even with the
visual aspect of it,” Chung says.
“You know in the past I worked with graphic
designers, animators and programmers and this
time around I’m going to be experimenting more
with light and space.”
This statement may come as a bit of a
surprise to anyone who’s experienced a live
Nosaj Thing performance recently, but the
illuminating aspect of it is that the reset and
rebound of Chung’s career have helped him
by Andrew R. Mott
to take full personal control of the concert
experience on this tour.
“I’m programming lasers and lights and seeing
where I can take it. Pretty much just experimenting
with the space of the venue… I’m trying to
program in non-traditional ways that I haven’t
seen before and program to movements in a way
that I kind of envision to my music. I’m going to
be programming the lights with each song and
getting really detailed with it.”
This move away from collaborating with visual
artists to venture into the creation and marriage
of music with light is really born from the
combination of aspiration and discontentment in
a creative minimalist seeking to enter the trance
“I think I’m feeling just a little bit exhausted
from how we consume everything, like news,
basically, social media and our phones and
everything. It’s just so stressful. Sometimes I want
to throw my phone out the window, like, once a
week or something. I just want to sit at home and
make ambient music and channel out?”
So Chung’s immersed himself in the task of
creating a flexible multi-sensory set, pushing his
skill set further and reaching deeper into the process
to push his influence fully across the venue.
“I’m a little bit frustrated, and actually it feels
weird for me as a performer playing electronic
music, when everyone’s just facing the stage.
You know, I’m not up there singing or playing
guitar like a traditional band or whatever. I’m
used to just working in the studio or in a room.
That’s kind of the reason that I started doing
visuals in the first place. ‘Cause I just didn’t
like the idea of everyone paying attention to
what I’m doing on stage. I don’t think it’s that
interesting with a midi controller and drum
machine up there. It’s kind of distracting (me)
from being able to perform. You know, sometimes
electronic music isn’t designed to be performed
on stage with a whole crowd watching,
so I thought it would go hand in hand bringing
a visual element in [to] play, because light has
some distance, some range to it, it’s something
you can kind of feel. With a laser you can feel it,
it has an energy that it sends, cause it reaches
to the end of the room.”
This desire to personally create the visual experience
of his music on stage has helped Chung
find a greater sense of reward as a performing artist,
shifting his focus from just playing his music to
that of helping people to see what he envisions.
“I’m actually just really excited about it,
because I feel that it’s going to be more of an
output of what I have in my head. I love collaborating
cause things come out that I’d never
even imagined, but it’s also interesting to make
things visually that you have in your head that
you can share, especially if you’re also making
music too. I think that’s kind of rare.”
Nosaj Thing performs at the Commonwealth Bar
& Stage on September 11 (Calgary), at Amigos
Catina on September 13 (Saskatoon), and at
the West End Cultural Centre on September 14
LET’S GET JUCY!
Good god it’s autumn again. This is an interesting
September for yours truly, in that it is the first in
four years that I am not returning to school. Feels
good man! Here’s hoping that you all had summers rich
with dancing, partially regrettable decisions and drained
your bank accounts on festival, shows and various intoxicants.
Anyways, here’s a bunch of shows I can’t go to:
Justin Martin returns to the HiFi September 2. One of
those just long-standing favourites, Dirtybird’s poster boy
definitely seems to like it out here, making multiple stops in
Calgary a year and performing at Bass Coast and Shambhala
annually. It’s for good reason, his productions and live shows
I was really, really hoping to lock down an interview with
this artist, as he is a personal favourite of mine but it didn’t end
up panning out. However, you should all know Bonobo well.
The multi-instrumentalist is one of the single best producers
within the realms of downtempo and melodic electronic
music. He brings his riveting live show to the Palace Theatre on
This right here is one outrageous lineup if I’ve ever seen one:
Vanilla Ice, Salt-N-Pepa, Rob Base and Biz Markie play at
Winsport Arena at Canada Olympic Park on September 13.
Don some neon, maybe some gigantic pants and a fanny-pack
and get your nostalgic groove on!
Masked and leather-clad dubstep trio Black Tiger Sex
Machine perform at the Marquee on September 15. A tad too
heavy on the screech and wonkiness for my cynical, decrepit
old ears, but hey, if that’s your thing it should be one heck of
a party, seems like they were pretty well received at this year’s
Another festival favourite, Skiitour brings the winter early
to the Palace theatre on September 16. Another good one for
neon, but maybe sub out the fanny pack for some ski goggles.
DON’T EAT THE SNOW!
Australian hip-hop duo Bliss N Eso perform at Wild Bill’s on
September 25 (Banff), the Forge on September 27 (Edmonton)
and the Gateway on the 28 (Calgary). Though their career has
been marred in recent years by some unfortunate occurrences,
like having their music barred from Triple J, or a stuntman
getting shot in the gut while filming one of their videos, their
music is actually really sunny and enjoyable for the most part.
Rap giant Tech N9ne performs with his frequent collaborator
Krizz Kaliko play the Marquee September 29.
I shall personally be making the commute for Billy Kenny
at the end of the month so I hope to see some familiar faces
there, and will be covering Calgary artists at Fozzy Fest as well!
Enjoy the month, see ya in October.
• Paul Rodgers
Bliss N Eso
BEATROUTE • SEPTEMBER 2017 | 35
multi-faceted DJ and musician is a man of many faces
Billy Kenny has cemented his footing within the electronic dance
music industry and is making waves with his solo work and his
Hannover-based imprint, This Ain’t Bristol.
Kenny’s passion for music stems from an early age. At 16-yearsold,
Kenny was already booking venues and showcasing his vinyl
“I got into grime music really early and it was a huge thing at the time.
I DJed for a lot of grime MCs and moved from that to speed garage. I
went into bassline and tiny bit of dub, then to jacking house, into what I
do now,” Kenny says.
Transitioning from heavy bass drops to rubbery basslines, Kenny was
set to dominate dance floors and was presented an opportunity do so
by starting a label through the This Ain’t Bristol event imprint in 2014.
photo: Ollie Simcock
“This Ain’t Bristol was This Ain’t Bristol before I became to be a part of
it. I was the first international artist that they booked at the event. It was
just a party…. I became really good friends with the crew and I moved
over four months later and we collectively decided to start this record
label,” Kenny clarifies.
Everyone involved with the label is from Germany, with the exception
of Kenny, who hails from Leeds and Nick Hill, from Bristol.
Despite having international status now, it was a challenge to get
people on board with their first project, a compilation featuring an
impressive list of names including Ardalan, Abby Jane and Kyle Watson.
That same year, Kenny decided to chase after Dirtybird Records,
where he immediately caught the attention of Barclay Crenshaw, also
known as Claude VonStroke.
by Catalina Briceno
“The debut was April 2015, but [in] December 2014 I sent [Barclay]
seven demos and he liked them all and maybe a month later he said,
‘Look I can definitely tell you’re going send me something that we’re
going to go with, but I think these aren’t the ones.’ A week later, I wrote “I
Operate,”” says Kenny.
It is no doubt that This Ain’t Bristol is influenced and inspired by
Dirtybird. Kenny says the challenge is keeping the labels separate
from his own work. The key to attaining that distinction is doing
“I’m trying very hard at the moment to do everything myself. I’m not
sampling anything, the vocals are my own, whether it sounds like me or
not, it’s always my voice.”
His vocals can be heard in various tracks like “I Operate,” “Hula Hoop,”
and “Das Ist Sick.” Kenny also reveals he has start to delve into singing
and will experiment with that in the future. Currently, he just wrapped
up the tracks, “The Trip Report,” “Hood Girl,” and an official remix of
Claude VonStroke’s pounding, anthemic track “Barrump,” which will be
released on the Dirtybird Campout compilation in October.
Although there is no word on a release date for his collaboration with
Mija, Kenny reveals plans to accompany the track with a music video. He
is also back in the studio with Motez, testing out possible tracks.
A plethora of those unreleased tracks were exhibited during his set
at Shambhala Music Festival this year, which left attendees thirsting for
more. Many on the popular event’s group page declared his set as the
highlight of the weekend.
Although it won the hearts of many, Kenny has decided not to post
the entirety of his set on SoundCloud, he will soon release a recap.
“We’re also talking about [doing something similar to Dirtybird
Campout],” explains Kenny, referencing the three-day electronic festival
He concludes thoughtfully, “I think first, we need to make sure that
we have a nice stamp in the market to attack something like that.”
Catch a special five-hour-long set from Billy Kenny on September 30 at the
HiFi Club (Calgary).
doing what he wants when he wants
Dubstep giant Caspa has been hard at work
in the studio, churning out tunes more
akin to the roots of the genre than the hyper-produced,
mainstream “brostep” that’s come
to dominate the cyber airwaves and festival bills.
Perhaps best known for his pivotal FabricLive mix
with Rusko, that arguably did more to shape the
genre of dubstep than any one other release, West
London’s Gary McCann is now setting out on a
tour that hits only Canadian locations, in order to
“show that dubstep is still popping in Canada.”
“I just feel like there’s a lot of love in Canada,”
“And they love bass music. And it’s got a lot of
He said with this tour he wants to “make a statement”
that the original sound of dubstep still has
the ability to get bass-heads to flock to dance floors.
McCann has played numerous shows across North
America, and spent a four-month stretch of time
living in Denver, Colorado. He got perhaps the best
taste of North American bass culture when he played
Shambhala alongside Rusko last summer.
“It was interesting,” relays Caspa.
“We had so many people in our career asking us,
‘When you playing Shambhala’ and it was like fuck it,
was finally good to say, ‘We’ve played it, if you wasn’t
there, too bad.’”
McCann is mindful of the stress put on an artist
Dubstep icon embarks on a cross-Canada tour.
by the cycle of excessive touring and partying, then
returning home to record more music and repeating.
“You need to find that balance of enjoying writing
the music to go and enjoy it playing it out, not just
too much in the studio or too much live. You need
to get that balance right and I think that’s what keeps
the energy flowing.”
He said in the early days of his touring career,
nearly 15 years ago, he would try bringing a small
photo: On The Rise Music
studio set up with him everywhere he went on
tour, but would only succeed in creating ideas,
never full tracks.
“When you go back to basics and you start writing
music and enjoying writing music and not in a hotel
room on the lobby floor doing a bloody remix, for
me that’s not fun and that’s not why I do it. You need
to be in the studio being creative, enjoying what
by Paul Rodgers
In terms of the music he has been creating from
the home-front, it is an absolute return to form. His
Vibrations series thus far consists of five songs that
highlight his origin story in music: stripped back
tracks with deep bass wobbles and minimal, effective
““Deja Vu,”” he says, “that’s the last track I released.
When I made that, that’s why it’s called “Deja Vu” I
wanted to make a 2007, 2005 sounding kinda tune
but on steroids, with 2017 production.”
McCann is also the founder of imprint Dub Police,
but in recent years he has decided to step back in
order to slow down and focus on putting his time,
energy and money into his own project.
“There’s only so much that you can put into
music and keep pumping it in and pumping it in and
pumping it in,” McCann explains.
His philosophy on touring, recording and the future
is quite simple: keep things consistent, and more
importantly enjoyable. He has been putting quality
time into his recording process, releasing one single at
a time, in an “old school” fashion and touring where,
when and how he sees fit.
Caspa performs at OV Club on September 3
(Winnipeg), at the Starlite Room on September 8
(Edmonton), at Marquee Beer Market on September 9
(Calgary), and at the Pump Roadhouse on September
36 | SEPTEMBER 2017 • BEATROUTE JUCY
KACY & CLAYTON
from Saskatoon to Chicago
Kacy & Clayton were all set to record in Saskatoon when Jeff Tweedy approached them.
It’s been a whirlwind year for Kacy & Clayton.
It saw them sign to New West Records, earn
a Juno nomination for their debut album
Strange Country (2015), open for Wilco at San
Francisco’s legendary Fillmore Auditorium,
and have their latest album, The Siren’s Song,
produced by Jeff Tweedy. Throughout it all,
the Wood Mountain, Saskatchewan duo have
maintained their very laid back vibe and very
dry sense of humour.
“Well, [Jeff Tweedy] had [Strange Country]
in a frame in the bathroom at the studio in
Chicago,” says vocalist Kacy Lee Anderson. “If
not Jeff, then someone went out of their way to
hang it up in there. I mean, I wouldn’t do that,
you know, to stroke someone’s ego when they’re
Adds her second cousin, Clayton Linthicum,
“‘Oh they’re coming over, better hang their
record up in the bathroom.’”
Jokes aside, the transition from playing
smaller clubs and festivals to touring with one of
alt-country’s pioneering acts was a smooth one
for the band, having toured throughout Canada
for several years, the band did not feel much
“It’s really not so different from playing a
festival,” says Linthicum. “The Wilco shows were
in amphitheaters, so they had a festival feel, but
going from those venues to the smaller shows
we did in clubs was a real change. We felt this
push to play the best show we could, and it’s
nice to get that feeling, you feel a good kind of
tense, it keeps you on the ball.”
photo: Dane Roy
The Siren’s Song finds Kacy & Clayton
expanding on Strange Country’s ‘60s folk-rock
sound, with the influences of Fairport Convention,
Sandy Denny, The Byrds, and The Grateful
Dead running through the mix.
Having Tweedy sign on to produce the album
had a bigger impact on their schedule than it
did on the music however. Anderson notes that
Tweedy was genuinely excited and easy to work
We wanted to have everything put together
in case Jeff wanted to change things up,” Anderson
attests, “and when we listened to demos, he
said, ‘It all sounds great, let’s just do it.’ He really
just made us feel so relaxed and let us do the
work. He’d bring us soda waters, with caffeine
by Michael Dunn
“Kacy and I had been planning the album for
awhile,” Linthicum explains.
“We wanted to make one with our live band,
with Mike [Silverman] and Shuyler [Jansen]. and
we had the material almost all together,” says
Linthicum. “We’d already booked the studio in
Saskatoon, but when the opportunity to record
in Chicago came up we had to rearrange some
things. Tweedy’s a really kind guy. He knew a lot
about our last album, it blew me away that he
knew so much about what we’d already done.
He really let us do our thing, and he’d step in
here and there, if there was a moment of doubt
or he had some idea he thought was cool.”
The run up to the release of the album has
seen the band drop videos for “The Light Of
Day” and “Just Like a Summer Cloud,” both shot
in the pair’s absence. The clips are short films
that feel connected to the content of the songs,
as opposed to the live or performance footage
that’s become de rigueur. As with the move to
New West, Linthicum and Anderson are seeing
the need to let go of the day-to-day promotion
of their work.
“Kacy and I used to do all of that stuff, like most
bands, just do it yourself,” says Linthicum. “And now
there are a lot more people around, with smart
ideas, chiming in on everything. Having a good
manager like Shuyler really helps, we can leave a lot
of those things up to him, and having a good agent
to book the shows. It’s hard to keep that control at a
certain point, so you have to let things go and trust
the people you’re working with.”
“We have to constantly check on what’s being
promoted, and make sure things are going out
that reflect the way we want to represent the
music we’re making,” says Anderson. “With the
videos, it’s about acting, it doesn’t have much to
do with playing music. I hope we never have to
act in another video again, maybe we could just
make a slide show, or a Powerpoint maybe?”
Kacy & Clayton perform at Amigo’s Tavern on
September 21 (Saskatoon), at the Commonwealth
Bar & Stage on September 24 (Calgary), and at the
Needle Vinyl Tavern on September 25 (Edmonton).
38 | SEPTEMBER 2017 • BEATROUTE ROOTS
rambling into the limelight
Preaching love and community through folk and gospel.
by Brendan Morley
photo: Jana Leon
AYLA BROOK & THE SOUND MEN
selling yourself, then and now
by Michael Dunn
musician finds ways to keep themselves “A lot of the time people hear my name and
busy in between recording projects. think I’m a woman, so I thought the fellas in the
For veteran Edmonton songwriter Ayla band might think it was funny being called The
Brook, a number of life events and factors led to Brookettes,” says Brook. “Well, they didn’t. Most of
him taking a long break between the Danny Michel-produced
the best sound techs I know are women, but being
After The Morning After (2008) that we’re all techs, and very reasonable, or “sound”
and his latest, (I Don’t Wanna Hear Your) Break people, if you will, we became The Sound Men.”
Up Songs, released earlier this spring.
As the time passes between releases, Brook
“I’d been living off music for about eight years, notices the difference between releasing records
taking every gig, doing everything I could to make then and now.
a living by playing, and I was pretty burned out,” “Well, there aren’t as many record stores, so you
Brook tells BeatRoute.
don’t have as much on-the-ground curation or the
“Saved By Radio sort of ceased being a thing, suggestions to fit people’s tastes or expand them
so we couldn’t work with them to put out the that you might have once before,” says Brook, who
record when it was finished, and we sort of shelved worked in legendary and now defunct Whyte Avenue
it for a while. Brent [Oliver, bass player] moved to
record store Megatunes for a number of years.
Winnipeg for three years, and so there was no real “The whole branding thing is a little new to me.
rush to put the album out. I kept doing what I had The old ideal was that you weren’t supposed to be
been, doing the side player thing with Bombchan, seen as trying to sell yourself, where now, it takes a
and working as a sound tech, until it felt like it was massive amount of engagement to do so. You have
time to put out the record.”
to be on social media as much as being out playing,
(I Don’t Wanna Her Your) Break Up Songs finds always putting your best face on things, and
Brook and his Sound Men rollicking in a sort of maybe that’s tough for some artists. But it levels
early Wilco via Sticky Fingers style, with dashes of the playing field a bit, like how are you gonna hear
Lou Reed and Marc Bolan present in Brook’s laid about some band form Saskatoon without that
back vocal delivery. That relaxed vibe is countered engagement? It’s a learning curve, but writing songs
by the drive of the band, a full-throat throwback and playing music is still as fun as it’s always been.”
rock n’ roll unit featuring veteran Edmonton players
Brent Oliver, Sean Brewer, Chris Sturwold and Ayla Brook & The Sound Men perform at the Ship &
Anchor Pub on September 23 (Calgary).
Music has always been a part of life for
Amy Helm. In fact, it runs deep in her
blood. Growing up as the daughter of
acclaimed singer/songwriter Libby Titus and legendary
rock and roll pioneer Levon Helm, a career
in music might seem like an inescapable fate. Yet
for Helm the decision to follow on this path was
not always obvious.
“I’m not sure that I had a vision of a career in music.”
Helm tells BeatRoute,
“I just enjoyed singing. So that’s what I always
gravitated towards. Then at some point in my
late 20’s I think that I really decided that this was
a better career than waitressing. And the money
wasn’t that much better, but certainly the reward
was, and the heart and spirit was much stronger,
so I jumped in.”
For nearly 20 years the singer and multi-instrumentalist
has been sharpening her skills and honing
her sound as a key player in several groups, including
the celebrated alt-country outfit Ollabelle and in the
Grammy-winning band led by her late father, Levon
Helm of The Band fame. So when Amy Helm finally
stepped into the spotlight as a solo artist with the
release of her debut album Didn’t It Rain (2015), she
was already well equipped.
“It was a huge transition. It’s one that I’m still
discovering,” Helm modestly admits about the shift
“As I watch others who’ve done it much longer than
I have, and who do it much stronger than I do, I realize
that you could spend a lifetime crafting it.”
This deep respect and gratitude for older gospel,
blues, and folk artists (particularly strong women), is
prominently displayed on Helm’s record. The album’s
title track, a soulful rendition of the classic gospel
hymn, is a nod to Mahalia Jackson; an artist that Amy
confesses she once went months listening to exclusively.
The gospel spirit that resonates on the album has
been with Amy since she was a child.
“My grandmother, when I was a kid, would sing
those songs to me. In church, it is stuff that I would
hear. Then when I was in my 20’s, I was just so drawn
to singing it.”
Since the album’s release, Helm and her backing
band the Handsome Strangers, have toured extensively,
most recently playing a string of shows with Elvis
Costello. In the true spirit of the gospel music she was
raised on, Amy’s live performances aim to create a
powerful and emotional atmosphere rooted in community
“I try to keep politics off the stage because I
think that going to hear music is a relief for people.
Especially when there is a political climate as fraught
as it is now in the States. But, I also believe that when
you have an administration that is silently and now
actively allowing white supremacy to be alive and vibrant
in the United States, you have to do something
because people need to be reminded that we’ve got
to come together.”
Helm is currently finishing up a brand new album,
tentatively slated for release in early 2018, with Grammy
award winning producer Joe Henry.
“It’s not even 12 hours old!” says Helm excitedly
from a Los Angeles studio.
“We did four days of tracking and today I go in and
do a little editing and that’s about it! It feels strong.”
With lots of voices and instruments filling the
room in a live off-the-floor approach, Amy Helm’s
new album is aiming to capture the togetherness and
community of her spirited live shows.
Amy Helm performs at the WISE Hall on September 17
(Vancouver), the Hume Hotel on September 20 (Nelson),
Festival Hall on September 21 (Calgary), and the
New Moon Folk Club on September 22 (Edmonton).
There’s a learning curve to marketing yourself, especially when you started before the Internet.
photo: Chris Sturwold
BEATROUTE • SEPTEMBER 2017 | 39
longstanding Calgary act unveils full-length offering
by Sarah Kitteringham
Calgary’s longest running metal band is Divinity.
photo: Kirk Duncan
In terms of longevity, Calgary has no longer
living metal act than Divinity (though
props go out to Forbidden Dimension,
who hold that title in punk realms). Formed
in the summer of 1997, they’ve outlasted
every act to emerge from the city with their
technically proficient, emotive melodic
death metal. Created by vocalist Sean
Jenkins and guitarist James Duncan, they’ve
endured the rigmarole of the music industry
to emerge as proudly independent, and
that’s just fine by them.
“Since we’ve been pushing the same band
for 20 years now, there has been all kinds of
ups and downs and everything in between,”
begins Sean Jenkins, the vocalist and designer
for the band (the band also contains
a second vocalist, their former bassist Jeff
Waite). Jenkins formed the project with
Duncan just out of high school; both have
been part of the project ever since.
“In the first 15 years of it, we were very
hungry for success. Honestly it was never
‘full-time’ because we’ve always had day jobs
and other commitments but we did manage
to put in a full-time effort. We would practice
three to four times a week for three to
four hours a time for years and years and
this was a major reason why we were able to
achieve the things we did. We released our
first full-length album [2007’s Allegory] in
2006 independently and within six months
of that release we were signed to Nuclear
Blast. This wasn’t by chance!”
The band followed up the release with a
slot on 2008’s Summer Slaughter. Candlelight
Records later picked up the band for
their second offering, 2010’s The Singularity.
“The thing with getting signed is… is it’s
extremely hard staying signed. We found
that there [was] all kinds of opportunities
coming about once [we were] signed, but it
didn’t mean all the expenses and costs were
easily taken care of. We simply could not
sustain that kind of a situation and it created
all kinds of turmoil within the band.”
Rather than remain on the industry
wheel, Divinity struck out on their own to
get back to doing what they enjoy: making
tunes at an unrushed pace. The result was a
series of EPs, including The Immortalist - Pt.
1 - Awestruck (2013), The Immortalist - Pt.
2 - Momentum (2016) and The Immortalist
- Pt. 3 - Conqueror (2017), earlier this year.
Now those three releases are compiled into
a full-length dubbed The Immortalist, which
is available on CD and digital download. Despite
each EP being a stand-alone piece, as a
whole they make a cohesive statement.
“The trilogy EP concept was something
we came up with in 2011 after things fizzled
out with Candlelight Records in 2010. We
thought it would be a good way to release
new music more often than a creating a
full-length album all in one shot,” explains
Jenkins of the unusual release strategy.
“This was also because we decided at that
time to no longer pursue major labels or any
labels for that matter… We realized that being
independent was what worked best for us.”
Their style of very technical melodic
death metal is extremely clean and organized,
and has changed little in the past
decade – with the exception of how it’s
“We have definitely gone on a huge musical
journey creating these EPs and the final
all-in-one full-length. Each EP would exponentially
improve upon the last in regards to
song writing and recording production, because
we had decided to take on more and
more aspects of production, except the final
mixing and mastering,” explains Jenkins.
“However, we would also make sure there
was cohesion between the EPs because we
knew it would all come together as a fulllength.
The biggest connection between it
all is the lyrics are all built around a sci-fi
concept story of a character who figures out
how to become immortal. So each song talks
about a specific part of the concept story.”
Musically, the album highlight just might
be “Hallowed Earth,” as it slows down the
onslaught and features a substantial dose
of melody. Reminiscent of Strapping Young
Lad’s opus “Love?”, it showcases a different
side of Divinity.
“I’m glad you hear the Strapping Young
Lad influence! [They] and Soilwork are
our biggest influences for sure. I am going
back and forth on the songs “D.M.T.” and
“Conqueror” as to which one best showcases
our new album. I have to say “D.M.T.”
is something very special to us because we
managed to get guest vocals from Björn
“Speed” Strid of Soilwork on that song,
along with Jeff and I doing vocals too. It was
all recorded in different stages but to hear
the final song with all of us playing along
with Bjorn is just fucking awesome!”
Now on the cusp of their Calgary release
party, the unit known as Divinity is better
“Five years ago or so, we decided that we
were happiest as an independent band doing
our thing completely on our own terms.
This brought out our original love of simply
playing heavy metal.”
Divinity will perform at their album release
party at Mercury Room with Expain, Immunize,
and Skepsis on September 22 (Edmonton)
and at Distortion on September 23 (Calgary)
alongside Expain, Plaguebringer, and Sonder.
You can listen to their album online at www.
Kick off your month with some heavy metal! On Saturday,
September 2, head to Vern’s in Calgary for Vancouver
based techy grind/deathcore act Angelmaker,
who are performing alongside citymates Torrefy. Also on the
bill is Edmonton act Protosequence and Calgary acts Train
Bigger Monkeys and ChaosBeing.
On Sunday, September 10, head to Broken City in Calgary to
see another Vancouver based act. This time around it’s Neck of
the Woods, who are touring their newest album The Passenger.
They’ll be performing with grindsters Exit Strategy, deathcore
act Plaguebringer, and Chained by Mind.
The following weekend, Vern’s in Calgary will be hosting
a black metal show featuring Edmonton’s own Idolatry,
Vile Insignia, Scythra, Arctos, and Black Sacrament. Tickets
are only $13 at the door, bring your ID and don’t forget
Edmonton’s finest Canadian gig goes down on Friday,
September 22 when Calgary’s own WAKE heads North to play
with their pals in Begrime Exemious and Paroxysm, who are
celebrating their album release party (read about the crust
album in the Edmonton Extra section). Show is at the Starlite
Room, tickets are $10 in advance.
Check out a fantastic bill at month end when Scandinavian
melodic death metal warriors Dark Tranquility
touch down at Dickens Pub in Calgary on September 25
with their buds in Warbringer and Striker. That same
bill hits Park Theatre on September 23 (Winnipeg), The
Exchange on September 24 (Regina), The Starlite Room on
September 26 (Edmonton), and the Rickshaw Theatre on
September 28 (Vancouver). Unfortunately, despite many
attempts, we couldn’t get the band on the horn to discuss
it in further detail, but rest assured you’ll have a neck
• Sarah Kitteringham
BEATROUTE • SEPTEMBER 2017 | 41
and the never-ending battle with boredom
Conjuring epic multihued shamanic yarns.
Waging a never-ending war on
boredom, the lumbering Californian
desert rock entity known as
Yawning Man dates back to the golden era
of the psych-rock fringe when the likes of
Brant Bjork, John Garcia and Josh Homme
caught wind of their free-wheeling space
rock ways. From pulling off clandestine generator
parties for a few friends the desert
back in the mid-80s to performing in front
of thousands of devoted fans at venues
around the globe, founding guitarist Gary
Arce has never forgotten the desolate internal
and external landscapes that informed
his early years.
“I actually lived at the Salton Sea, and believe
me, the Salton Sea is not that romantic!”
Arce recalls with a chuckle.
“I used to live near there, I grew up in the
Palm Desert also known as the Low Desert.
The place is a running joke with locals; cuz
tourists would go there and find just a toxic
puddle with dead fish on the shore everywhere.
I just remember going there and
walking along the shore thousands of dead
fish and meth heads walking streets like the
walking dead. In between where I lived and
Mexican border there was this weird culture
of illegal immigrants mixed with meth heads
mixed with dead fish.”
These days Arce is looking forward to
hopping the border together with the band’s
original bassist Mario Lalli and their 2014
addition known as drummer Bill Stinson, as
Yawning Man prepares to bring their ponderous
machinations to Canada for the second
time in recent memory. Having fallen under
the thrall of the land of ice and snow at last
April’s 420 Music and Arts Festival in Calgary,
the sidewinding trio is set for autumnal return,
but this time as headliners.
“I’ve toured all over the world and I love
Canada. It’s so beautiful and breathtaking
and the people are super sweet and it’s just
a rad place. This tour we really wanted to
go back there, so we asked the agency for
that to happen. This time we’re going as a
headlining band and it’s our first time going
out on our own!”
Hard to believe for a band that’s had such a
lengthy and influential run. Although admittedly
inconsistent, Yawning Man’s discography
has attracted ample attention and garnered
them many comparisons to other so-called
stoner rock acts, although he understandably
shirks that unimaginative label.
“I’m excited and I’m just hoping that people
come out to see us, because we get type-cast
into this weird metal-desert-rock thing like Kyuss
and all those bands. And yeah, we’re from
the same town as Kyuss and we’re friends with
all those bands, but we are nothing like Kyuss.
And I think hopefully people will start to
realize that we are our own band.
We’ve never followed trends. Never tried to
be metal or this or that. We’ve just done our
Sighting the work-ethic and nonconformity
of his favourite punk acts for a point of reference
amidst the ever-shifting sands of public
opinion, construction-worker-by-day Arce’s
primal howl dredges up the heart of darkness
from the bottom of the Salton Sea.
“Music for me is like another job; I do have
a hardcore job. I do concrete and construction
and I have to have a side of me where I’m
mellow and I do love ambient dark music. I’ve
always found something in it that’s mysterious
and innocent. I’ve always been into that kind
by Christine Leonard
Known for his ability to take a simple
musical phrase and spin it out into an epic
multihued shamanic yarn, Arce has come
to realize the importance of channeling his
creative impulses into increasingly defined
forms. Edging away from amorphous compositions
like those found on their foundational
albums Rock Formations (2005) and
Vista Point (2007), the threesome’s newest
constructs refer to a predetermined set of
“I started all these projects,” Arce explains.
“I’d call up all these friends and go ‘Hey,
dudes let’s drink beer and jam!’ We’d take
best of improvised jams and make a record.
It got to the point where all of the recordings
I was doing were all fuckin’ jammie with
no song structure and that started to get
boring for me. I was under the gun and I just
stopped. I told myself Yawning Man was one
band where I couldn’t afford that attitude of
just working off-the-cuff. Mario has moved
and now he lives right near me, so we have
closed the distance. We’re starting to get
focused and write more structured songs,
coming up with riffs and going back and
forth and playing it until we both think it’s
cool enough to keep.”
He concludes honestly, “I’m kind of a dick
about the beats being a certain way. I always
tell our drummer ‘Don’t play a silly four-four
beat. Give me something different that fits,
don’t play a dumbass rock beat over again!’
cuz I’ll get bored and once I get bored I get
lazy and lose interest.”
Yawning Man performs at the Palomino
Smokehouse & Bar on September 21 (Calgary)
and at the Starlite Room September 23
answers the call of the forest by Sarah Kitteringham
After two of three members relocated to Canmore, it took
former Calgary act Maglor an ungodly amount of time to
release their second album Asunder. Not that it’s out of the
ordinary for the atmospheric black metal trio: everything they’ve
done has taken an ungodly amount of time, but the result is always
worth the wait.
“We do often have a difficult time trying to decide exactly what style
our music is. We’ve never really tried to specifically fit into any one
particular genre,” explains multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Beren Tol
Galen. Every member of the band uses a pseudonym; all members are
“That said, we definitely draw inspiration from metal projects such as
Moonsorrow, Summoning, Enslaved, Wardruna... to name a few. Alongside
this, we are often heavily influenced by many soundtrack composers
as well: [American film, game and television composer] Jeremy Soule,
[American film score composer] James Horner, and [Japanese video
game composer] Nobuo Uematsu, among others. We’ve had our music
described as heathen folk metal, atmospheric black metal, and even
blackened folk metal.”
After forming in 2002 and functioning under the name Haven, the
band reassessed and renamed after “one of the seven sons of Fëanor,”
within J.R.R Tolkien’s collection The Silmarillion. They eventually released
2012’s Call of the Forest, delivering a layered and expansive sound
marked by cold tremolo picking, battering drums, hypnotic crooning
and chanting then shrieking vocals, alongside floating keyboard lines.
This approach is continued on Asunder.
“We tried to write the album with the idea that it is one, singular tale;
separated into chapters, each with a different sense or feel,” says Tol
Galen. “We try to create a sound born from realms unknown; of ages
The album spans five tracks, taking the listener on an eerie, varied
journey that sounds best when blasted loud on its gorgeous 12-inch
format. The package visually utilizes a mountainous theme that spreads
across the cover and insert.
“For Asunder we decided to press vinyl as well as again releasing CDs.
We are all avid record collectors and really enjoy having an album on
vinyl format. The sound and feel, as well as full art and jacket is a really
nice package to have as far as physical formats go,” explains Tol Galen.
Both editions are available now.
Asunder is now available on vinyl from Sounds of the Land Records. Visit
https://maglor.bandcamp.com/ to purchase a copy or stream the album.
42 | SEPTEMBER 2017 • BEATROUTE SHRAPNEL
Flemish Eye Records
Without a doubt, alienation and disassociation are at the core of Chad VanGaalen’s bizarre and beautiful indie rock.
Since his early days as a street busker in Calgary’s core, VanGaalen has been nebulous and moody, effortlessly shape
shifting between genres and styles. While previous works have always retained his singularly odd and utterly ramshackle
style, they’ve also flirted with country (Shrink Dust), blipping electronica (Diaper Island and Soft Airplane),
alternative folk (Infiniheart and Skelliconnection) and experimental techno (his 2015 collaboration with Seth Smith,
Seed of Dorozon). Albums are further heightened with the bizarre bleeps and bonks of homemade instruments,
delightful contraptions that are best enjoyed when witnessed in a live setting alongside VanGaalen’s disarming animations.
On sixth solo studio album Light Information, VanGaalen has somewhat reverted to the stylistic proceedings of his
earlier days. The result is a record that’s startlingly in line with both 2006’s Skelliconnection and 2008’s follow-up Soft
Airplane. The result is an album that’s startlingly in line with both 2006’s Skelliconnection and 2008’s follow-up Soft
Airplane. Opener “Mind Hijackers Curse” kicks off the proceedings, with Chad’s slightly layered, reverberating vocals
making an almost immediate appearance. The drums are clattering and understated, and the vague and hard-to-pinpoint
background instrumentation evokes a plinking, plunking sound that wouldn’t be out of place in a sci-fi movie.
Of course, this is right in line with his previous output: he has long been fascinated by the subject, most notably materializing
in his 2015 short film ‘Tarboz,’ which tells the story of an intergalactic space traveller. If you’ve yet to witness it,
think the animation style of Adult Swim’s disturbing Superjail!, as utilized by Wes Anderson. It’s a wonder to behold.
“Prep Piano and 770” is the first jarring track of the record, flirting with the same noise that made his side project
Black Mold damn near unlistenable for anyone disinterested in the genre. While menacing keys bleep and bop, cascading
keys set the tone for follow-up track “Host Body.” The lyrics are the strongest of the release, as Chad forebodingly
croons, “I’ll be the host body yes, for the parasitic demons. They can eat me from the inside out, I already hear
them chewing.” Herein, the similarity to Soft Airplane’s “Poisonous Heads” is obvious: the song is stark, and slightly
bouncy, spinning foreboding tales of the future.
Later on, “Old Heads” is upbeat and joyous jangly pop. In particular, the chorus is infectious and sung high– “WHO
IS THE OPERATOR, KEEPING ALL MY CELLS TOGETHER?!” – and is sure to incite a future sing-along at gigs. Later on,
“Faces Lit” has a similar vibe with its a sway inducing style. “Pine And Clover” evokes the yowl of Neil Young with its
layered style and lazy, folkish guitars.
After nearly two decades of making music, VanGaalen’s ruminations have grown more contemplative, yet remain
consistently dark. Long associated with the archetype of a man-child (a moniker Chad himself has used) for his
forays into implausible fantasy territory, his lyrics skirt between out-of-this-world and highly relatable. “Broken Bell”
I sit and do a drawing
A portrait of my dad
I should really visit him
Before he is dead
Cause we are getting old
Our cells just won’t divide like their told
I’m not really good
At this kind of thing
Should I take the advice of the graffiti on the wall, telling me to go suck it?
Or should I listen to the voices ringing in my head, like a broken bell?
Family is a recurrent theme, particularly now that VanGaalen is a proud father. Relevant to that point, it sounds
like there is a distorted, childish croon in opener “Mind Hijacker’s Curse” (though on the former, it might just be the
Korg 770 monosynth he fixed up for the release). Childish sounds appear again, but this time much clearer, in closer
“Static Shape.” Evidently, the backing vocals are provided by his daughter Pip and Ezzy. In the closing song, the effect of
modulated childish noise is pleasant, particularly in conjunction with the jaunty keyboards.
Although it’s not out of character, when the last 30 seconds or so of “Static Shape” end in noise territory that is
unpleasantly jarring and squealing, it does not benefit the album. It’s likely the intention to be confrontational this
way directly after the album’s sweetest moments, but it seems unnecessary. Fittingly, Soft Airplane ended in a similar
fashion with a full noise track dubbed “Frozen Energon,” though that track was far longer with a better sonic arc.
All told, Light Information offers nothing particularly new in the Chad VanGaalen universe; it remains a wonderful
addition to his catalog that’s likely to dominate the earshot! charts for months and be nominated for a Polaris Prize.
In short, VanGaalen is well on his way to being the type of musician we remember in decades to come, courtesy of his
bizarre bent on Canadiana.
• Sarah Kitteringham
Illustration by Emile Compion
BEATROUTE • SEPTEMBER 2017 | 45
Polyvinyl Record Co.
When Alvvays burst onto the scene, it was a perfect conduit between
stadium pop-rock and the grimey and brittle toned indie
darlings of the mid-10’s. Equal parts Beach House, Mac Demarco,
and Tegan and Sara, rounded off with a refined coat of ‘80s
synth shimmer. They had a lot going for them, even outside of
the fact that frontwoman Molly Rankin is one of those Rankins,
and is thus East Coast royalty. After a disappointing, but necessary,
relocation from PEI to Toronto, their self-titled debut
pushed about as far as a Canadian indie could. The record is an
absolute single machine, with catchy pop hook after catchy pop
hook. The guitars are brittle, the reverb is dense, the synths are
smooth, and Rankin’s electric silver hair sparkles almost as much
as her luminous vocals. This band was the full package.
It’s only been three years, but those songs are burnt into the
speakers of every coffee house in Canada, thus, it’s about time
for a few new ones. Hence, Antisocialites: an extremely polished
sophomore release that hits fast, but arcs strongly.
It’s a much stronger front-to-back listen than its forebear, but
the trade-off is that there are markedly fewer shimmering hooks.
For each fluttery and beautiful pop anthem like “Dreams Tonite”
there is a stuttering and unfamiliar indie exercise like “Hey.” The
rougher tracks are by no means inaccessible, but rather just
divergent enough to add shape to the album.
The least comfortable songs are the most interesting on the
record. Things slow down in the second half, with the sparkly
clean tonality giving way to some careful grit in the low end of
the mix. Of note is the beautiful and restrained closer “Forget
About Life,” with its rolling percussion, off-time guitar chords,
and intermittent discordant noises, echoing the lifestyle of disarray
the song half-heartedly celebrates. “Already Gone” is perhaps
the most melancholic tracks on the record, a starry-eyed song
with a slowly building wall of noisy harmony.
The second half is tremendous, but is made all the stronger
in conversation with the whopping one-two-three punch of “In
Undertow,” “Dreams Tonite,” and “Plimsoll Punks,” the brightest
and biggest songs on the record, not coincidentally the first
three songs released. It’s hard to say that the biggest moments
on Antisocialites top the pop genius of their debut, but they
certainly come close, and the album experience is strong enough
to keep neo-millenials running in slow motion through urban
sidestreets to these songs for years to come.
• Liam Prost
46 | SEPTEMBER 2017 • BEATROUTE
Sleep Well Beast
For all intents and purposes, the ever-growing acclaim surrounding Cincinnati
commiserators The National can be attested to anything but a
brimming and constant need for experimentation — but their latest
album, Sleep Well Beast, finds the group revelling more outwardly than
Following the success of their last release Trouble Will Find Me,
the past four years have found each respective member of the band
focusing primarily on side-projects, individually fracturing into various
collaborations with other artists such as Sufjan Stevens, Jonny Greenwood,
and Brent Knopf.
But the burning question for one of the biggest bands in indie-rock,
a group known for their overt dedication to grandiose subtlety, latent
slow-burn tracks that bleed familiarity with permeating emotional
dread, and wickedly-talented composition that grows in the mind like
ivy, is always How? How could they possibly continue their consistent
stream of quality albums, each more acclaimed than the last?
The answer to this question is found in Sleep Well Beast, an album
constructed with familiar framework—down-tempo malaise and
rollicking percussion—a house built on a tried-and-true foundation,
rooms filled with self-referential lyrics and sad-sack moroseness, but
this time decorated with left-turn flair: bristling guitar solos (“The
System Only Dreams in Total Darkness”), oscillating synth-work (“Walk
It Back”), and unbridled urgency (“Turtleneck”).
Sleep Well Beast also marks one of the most sonically-rich albums
in The National’s near-impeccable discography, with each moment
featuring minute sounds and ambience in an aural experience that only
serves to compliment the honeyed baritone of vocalist Matt Berninger.
Drummer Bryan Devendorf’s percussion is, as always, on point (“Day
I Die”), and the influence from guitarist/keyboardist Bryce Dessner’s
work on the solar-system-inspired album Planetarium shines through
the glitchy keys on tracks like “Empire Line” and “I’ll Still Destroy You.”
There is also a structural contrast from the The National’s previous
two releases Trouble Will Find Me (2013) and High Violet (2010),
which were carried on a fluid wave of emotional resonance, each track
flowing into one another very simply and delicately. Sleep Well Beast,
while retaining some fluidity, is more of a callback to the shifting tonal
structures of Alligator (2005) and Boxer (2007), and manages to do so
without seeming regressive in its execution.
While Sleep Well Beast may not probe any new territory thematically,
primarily focusing on the dissolution of relationships and friendships,
ruminating in the melancholic way that only Berninger’s lyricism can,
the album still manages to hit the emotional high-points that the longtime
National fans hunger for (“Nobody Else Will Be There,” “Carin at
the Liquor Store”).
If anything, Sleep Well Beast can be considered the first album by
The National that isn’t a grower — it comes out full force, showcasing
the best parts of a band full of talented performers who know their
strengths, playing music together in utter synergy.
• Alec Warkentin
Jessica Jalbert, indie paladin of acid dream-in-denim psych pop,
has been writing so many pleasant earworms over the years it’s
really quite exciting to think about what the future holds: not
just for her personally, but the crew of Edmonton musicians
who tour and perform with her. Looking back since her first
proper solo LP over half a decade ago, fans and those in the
know should see that the humbly talented songwriter/guitarist
can craft a damn good pop song. “Paris Green” from her solo release,
Brother Loyola, “I Wish That I” from art-punk supergroup
Tee-Tahs and “Acid” or “Universe (Whatever ‘Till You’re Dead)”
from the lauded 2015 Faith Healer release Cosmic Troubles:
there’s a reason why these songs could be the soundtrack to
you and your pals making all the right questionable late-night
A big part of this is Jalbert’s kismet partnership with producer
Rene “Renny” Wilson, a virtuosic multi-instrumentalist and
sentient crushed velvet suit playing a vintage Hammond. Try
;-) is their second Faith Healer release, and sonically there’s a
pretty linear connection between this new record and Cosmic
Troubles: pleasantly washed-out production, delicate layers of
‘60s and ‘70s keys and guitars and effortless vocals that question
While the album is a tight nine tracks, you can still hear the
evolution and experimentation sprinkled in every new song. A
piano fill or third guitar lick may only be a few bars long, but
it’s in those moments you can really hear Jalbert and Wilson’s
cosmic growth (the fading outro to the title track is a great
example). “Light of Loving,” an absolute journey that starts off
with a subtle 13th Floor Elevators riff, slow burns into over five
minutes of percussive cruise, fuzz and speaking-panning organ.
The starts, stops tones and changes on “Might As Well” sounds
like Ardent Records in ‘70s Memphis. “2nd Time” vibes like an
outdoor folk music festival, especially with those downhome
piano tickles and rare acoustic guitar (!) solo, while “Sufferin’
Creature” probably wouldn’t sound too out of place on Velvet
Try ;-) feels like self-exploration and reflection on expectation
versus reality. Whether it’s for fun, for love or for reasons
unknown, we all sometimes do crazy, inexplicable shit. And
you know what, that’s fine. As French writer Sidonie-Gabrielle
Colette once said, “You will do foolish things, but do them with
• Jared Maleski
Arts & Crafts
offer the listener a powerful album that never
suffocates or remains static.
• Nathan Kunz
Through sonic walls of booming rhythms and
strung-out synth lines, Vancouver crush pop
group Belle Game create a unique and dynamic
experience throughout their sophomore LP, Fear
Led by vocalist Andrea Lo, the band manages
to pack the 10-song album with full and precise
arrangements from track to track. Subtle guitar
lines and acoustic drums scattered amongst
songs create natural elements without taking
away from the pop sensibilities put in place by
wavering synthesizers and striking keys. Though
rarely sparse or static in arrangement, Belle
Game does a great job of never suffocating the
listener with sound, as instrumentals remain
Performances by Lo on Fear Nothing are
consistently tasteful, often acting as a strong
addition to the regimented tirade of instrumentation,
though at times punching through
to become a focal point. As synths sizzle and
steady bass drum hits gallop into existence on
the opening track “Shine,” Lo’s vocals seem to
command the soundscape as they appear before
the wall of sound. On the standout track “Bring
Me,” Lo belts the opening lines as keys punch
her performance home with striking effectiveness.
Fear Nothing remains consistently strong
thanks to precise walls of instrumentation and
captivating vocal performances by Lo. By blending
natural and electronic elements, Belle Game
Procrastinate! Music Traitors
For the first time in eight years, Brand New has
finally released a new album. The band rose to
superstar status in the world of nostalgic emo
bands, dominating the minds of high school
kids through a formidable mix of melodramatic
lyrics and vengeful guitars. Brand New fans are
extremely passionate and patient for good reason,
as the band always delivers on songs with
the potential to become immortal and sacred.
However, the band’s past three albums have set
the bar high and Science Fiction falls short for
the amount of time it took to create.
When fans say they love the album, but
believe another album is on the way, something
is wrong. Science Fiction is a solid offering
with some of the best tracks the band has ever
recorded, but there are too many flaws for an
album that’s taken this long. In fact, a few songs
suffer from a stretched out length like album
opener “Lit Me Up“ and “Batter Up,” two tracks
with underwhelming song progression compared
to other longer tracks like “Same Logic/
Teeth.” The worst song “Could Never Be Heaven”
features an acoustic melody that doesn’t suit
Jesse Lacey’s vocals, failing to rival other softer
Brand New classics. Even then, the album’s lows
aren’t much to complain about. From Nirvana
to Modest Mouse, the band does justice to their
influences without ever compromising their
own identity. It’s hard not to wish for more of
The Devil and God Raging Inside Me on this
album, but Science Fiction offers a satisfying
conclusion to a legacy that has affected thousands
and will affect generations to come.
• Paul McAleer
Death From Above
Outrage! Is Now
Dine Alone Records
In the current music industry landscape, three
years can feel like a damn long time.
It’s hard to say that Death From Above (1979)
BEATROUTE • SEPTEMBER 2017 | 47
Julie & The Wrong Guys
are a legacy act, but Outrage! Is Now does its
damndest to make the case, ultimately feeling
less like DFA and more DOA.
The Torontonian duo once known for deftly
blending hard rock with proto-EDM return on
the scene feeling like stale egalitarians preaching
a “both sides are just as bad” apathetic message
full of year-old cliché and rote, riff-rocky
tunes. Instead of offering any semblance of
thought-provoking lyrics, Outrage! stays on
the sideline, instead pointing out the painfully
obvious trends that anyone with an internet
connection already knew.
The most egregious lyric lies in “Freeze Me,”
with Sebastien Grainger pondering “are we
outside the safe spaces of love?” It reads like a
cynical mockery of safe space initiatives that
help minorities feel at home in scenes that often
feel hostile to their very existence.
Overall, Outrage! is a special kind of middling.
Not outright terrible, but so mediocre
that it makes you question if the band has always
been this ok. Fond memories of the band’s
past albums dissipate, leaving only a cloudy
image of a band that once felt revolutionary
dirtying that air with a gaseous explosion of
radio rock gone awry.
• Jamie McNamara
A Fever Dream
A Fever Dream is the fourth album from
Everything Everything, a four-piece band from
Manchester who derived their name from the
first words on Radiohead’s Kid A. They stretch
and pull at the fabric of pop with each release,
seeing how far they can go before the whole
thing tears apart. No matter how indiscernible
the end results are from the source material,
the music commands the senses like a puppeteer
changing your mood with the pull of a
finger. That’s what Radiohead and Everything
Everything have in common despite heading in
different sonic directions.
Each of the band’s past releases have been
well received by both fans and critics, but A
Fever Dream is easily their most complete full
length yet. The album embraces simplicity in
the eye of an electronic hurricane. The storm
is full of noise – trees crashing into houses,
power lines exploding, and rain flooding the
streets, but there’s always a sliver of a blue sky
the distance. The simple melodies provide the
backbone and the storm is whatever the band
decides to break it with, including the erratic
and emotionally crushing nature of Jonathan
Higgs’ vocals. The energy is unlike any album
released this year.
From the crashing cymbals in the latter
half of the title track to the urgent chorus of
“Good Shot, Good Soldier,” the album is full of
euphoric moments surrounded by meaning.
A Fever Dream is made for dancing, created in
the same vein as “Idioteque” off Kid A, but the
subject matter speaks about modern injustices.
The record can fall on both sides of the spectrum,
helplessly disengaged and unrealistically
optimistic, but the band knows unity is the only
solution. In that regard, dancing is one way of
achieving Everything Everything’s goal.
• Paul McAleer
You Possess Me
Too often, indie pop tends toward the simple,
with the “millennial whoop” standing in for actual
lyrical content in the choruses of otherwise
catchy and infectious tunes.
Thus the relief in hearing You Possess Me, by
Edmonton duo Goldtop. Alice Kos and Everett
LeRoi are crafting thoughtful, well-arranged
songs with lyrical and melodic choruses that
refuse to dumb down emotion to mere wailing
over simple changes. The title track leads off
with a beat that has a similar tone to The
Ronettes’ classic “Be My Baby,” buoying the
wobbling tremolo rhythm guitar, while Kos and
LeRoi harmonize throughout the length of the
number, which is rare and lends the song a laid
back Everly Brothers vibe. “Even Tonight” is a
warm classic pop ballad reminiscent of Jackson
Browne, with some mid-’60s Beatles shining
through in the arrangement, before Kos takes
the lead on the licorice power pop of “Rip It
Off.” You Possess Me makes solid use of programmed
beats in a number of songs, but still
feels natural and intimate.
Goldtop are working with a lot of space and
taste on You Possess Me, although they veer in
a number of stylistic directions, including some
interesting atmospheric alt-country cuts, never
quite settling on one particular sound. Those
turns are a good thing over the course of an album,
but the most interesting moments on You
Possess Me touch on the Brill Building/power
pop/indie rock combination, a unique synthesis
of styles that bring out the best in Goldtop’s
catchy hooks and melodies.
• Mike Dunn
Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton
Choir of the Mind
Last Gang Records
Over 10 years after releasing her first solo
endeavour, Knives Don’t Have Your Back, Emily
Haines is back with Choir of The Mind. The album
once again centers around her piano playing
and poetic prose style, but here her vocals
are used to create venerable layers of instrumentation.
Where Haines’ project previously focused
on the misery that comes with loss, she’s more
hopeful here, exploring the inner recesses of her
mind and the strengths of femininity.
For Haines, feminine strength comes from
softness. On “Strangle All Romance” she is
ghostly and rough; vocal reverberations through
a mountain valley. It’s deeply personal, her
equivalent of flexing a muscle. She sings: “Love
is my labour of life/ we’ll tear it up.” The song
transitions into “Wounded,” where she acknowledges
the repercussions of her open heart.
“Statuette” galvanizes on these themes
further, examining the traditional hierarchy
between men and women in relation to social
power. Haines replicates these roles to place
her at the feet of a male contemporary, who
has the creed and material possessions to “buy
any girl in the world.” The backing beat mimics
the worst type of elevator music, adding to the
sleaze of her counterpart.
The standout is the title track, “Choir of the
Mind.” It’s as if the artist has voiced all of the
concurrent thoughts within her head to create a
deconstructed monologue atop her own meditative
lullaby. It’s poetic, melodic, and painfully
Haines has a way of evoking drama through
her pace, which is often her biggest asset. Some
may be turned off by the downtempo scenes
she creates, but for a reflective listener, it’s an
exercise in meditation.
• Trent Warner
Julie & The Wrong Guys
Julie & The Wrong Guys
By masterfully creating a union of delicacy and
aggression, Julie & The Wrong Guys concoct
a powerfully potent mixture on their debut
Over the distorted riffs of Eamon McGrath
and a thumping rhythm section courtesy of
Mike Schwarzer and Mike Peters of Cancer Bats,
Canadian indie legend Julie Doiron (formerly
of Sub Pop heroes Eric’s Trip) delivers vocal
performances tuned to each track individually.
On lead single “You Wanted What I Wanted,”
Doiron strikes with urgently strained lines
between screeching guitar licks at the chorus,
then drops into a laid back tone as notes are
softly and precisely picked through the verses.
Later, on “Tracing my own Lines,” Doiron sings
with a soft fragility over an open, breathing
instrumental track of steady bass drum strikes
and chugging guitar, accented occasionally with
shaking thunderous strums.
The band’s power throughout the 10-track LP
lays not in an expected display of volume, but
rather their keen sense of effective strikes and
heavy tones. McGrath’s twisting western-tinged
guitar lines on “Farther from You” beautifully
contrast a darker driving rhythm section,
eventually tying together at the refrain with
Acting as a modern day odd couple, Julie &
The Wrong Guys blend elements from across the
spectrum beautifully and to great effect, making
their debut powerfully raw and unpredictable
from start to finish.
• Nathan Kunz
With Lascar’s sophomore outing, there has been
a very noteworthy development on the sonic
tone that made the Chilean band popular with
their first release, 2016’s Absence. Lascar makes
atmospheric black metal that is full of melancholy
and longing, and the tone of the album is
nothing short of beautiful.
There is a lot to like about this band, but the
unfortunate news is that what is being evoked
is nothing that hasn’t been said before by other
bands. The melodies played are beautiful in
their own right, but the songs stagnate towards
the end as the ideas are not varied or developed
upon to justify the long track lengths. Even
when the band is playing a beautiful melody or
adding a new idea, it doesn’t seem as honed or
well executed as successful bands in this style of
music such as Alcest or Coldworld. On Saudade,
Lascar has still yet to show a sound or style that
is uniquely its own, and sets itself apart from the
other bands who have succeeded at this style
of music. Even when the album is at its best
moments, it’s unfortunately something that has
been heard and done before, and therefore becomes
hard to recommend to anyone who isn’t
an avid fan of this style of music. It’s certainly
not a bad release, but the project still has yet to
come into its own and therefore it becomes an
easy album to forget about after a listen or two.
• Greg Grose
Who Told You to Think??!!?!?!?!
Ruby Yacht / The Order Label
Milo (née Roy Ferreira) has been a bubbling
name in the art rap scene for a while. Formerly
of the now defunct Hellfyre Club, the Wisconsin-bred
rapper learned the ropes from artists
like Busdriver (who guests with a freestyle),
Nocando and Open Mike Eagle.
Following up 2015’s very solid So The Flies
Don’t Come is Milo’s latest release, the exceptionally
punctuated Who Told You to Think??!!?!?
!?!. It’s by far his most cohesive work yet, starting
life as a cloudy, jazzy beat tape reminiscent of
Madlib. It’s a new approach for Milo, considering
he’s most known for his Wikipedia-required
reference-heavy verses. Like he says on track
“the young man has a point (nurture),” his
vocabulary pays his rent.
48 | SEPTEMBER 2017 • BEATROUTE
That vocabulary consists of references to beat
poets, role playing games, cartoons, philosophy,
and everything in between. He uses these to
comment on the state of rap, love, society or
mortality. A lesser artist, including the Milo of
the past, may have struggled to pull these seemingly
disparate ideas together into a structured
whole, but Who Told You To Think??!!?!?!?! marks
a definite evolution for him, one which serves as
a frequent source of pride for him on the record.
And he should be proud. Who Told You To
Think??!!?!?!?! is the beautiful and flowing piece
of artistry that we’ve all been waiting for.
• Cole Parker
Two years after having his gear and archives stolen
while touring through Houston, Nosaj Thing
has released his fourth studio album, Parallels.
The 10-track album opens up with “Nowhere,” a
song that starts with the sense of the confusing
echo of reboot and then launches into melodic
waves a la Philip Glass; tense, shifting in tonality,
and laced with a strange undercurrent. Shocked
by a muffled vocal sample that states the album’s
title, the track breaks tack and drifts to its
finale. Awakened by a warm and grimy bass line
“All Points Back To U,” featuring Steve Spacek,
folds the listener into layers of sound that
reverberate back to the roots of Nosaj Thing’s
style on 2009’s Drift, but with an elevated sense
of space. Spacek’s vocals provide a sense of
forced reflection that Nosaj Thing’s usual pure
instrumentation simply cannot. “Get Like”
glaringly defines the oscillating conceptual line
of emotional flux that has now fully permeated
Nosaj Thing’s evolving musical style. Deep in
the warm, heavy bass there’s a spirit of courage
and aspiration pushing to overcome the pull
of depression. “Way We Were” featuring Zuri
Marley picks the record back up and infuses
an air of R&B that’s soothes with the desire of
possibility. Marley’s resonant colour uplifts just
enough to shine some light without breaking
the album’s dark through line. “IGYC” pulls the
listener back into a refractory cave atmosphere,
a chamber of reflected sound, glittering, strange
and fading without consideration. “Sister” finds
the end of the record with swells of hope and a
rough hewn bass drum that drive with strength
out of a valley of confused darkness, and yet the
very last sound is still jilted.
• Andrew R. Mott
No Use For A Name
Rarities Vol. 1: The Covers
Fat Wreck Chords
For fans of the skate punk quartet, No Use For
A Name, the last five years have been difficult.
The unexpected passing of frontman Tony Sly
in 2012 brought the band to halt and left fans
wondering what the future would hold for
Rarities Vol. 1: The Covers is the first new release
since 2008’s final studio album, Feel Good
Record of the Year. Although these tracks aren’t
originals, they still manage to fill a void left by
Throughout their 20-year career, NUFAN lent
their talents to many compilations; including
both covers and original hits. Fat Wreck Chords
combed through countless recordings and compiled
a compilation of only non-album covers,
combining a wide variety of unreleased gems
from NUFAN’s time at the label. Included on
Rarities Vol. 1 are songs ranging from punk rock
legends D.I. and The Pogues, to more classic
artists like Depeche Mode and Cheap Trick.
Queens of the Stone Age
Their take on each track is as No Use as you’re
going to get; each song performed in perfect
NUFAN style with Sly’s distinctive vocals echoing
alongside. And because it’s NUFAN, a couple
of your favourite T.V. theme songs too – you’ll
In respect to the five-year anniversary of Sly’s
passing just this past July, many fans will be embracing
this record as soon as they get the chance.
• Sarah Mac
BEATROUTE • SEPTEMBER 2017 | 49
Queens of the Stone Age
Perhaps Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh
Homme’s most underrated talent is his ability
to make anything that he works on sound like
a QOTSA record, no matter the personnel involved.
That’s been true for the past six QOTSA
albums, and even with pop producer Mark
Ronson, it’s true for Villains.
While bringing Ronson, whose past credits include
Amy Winehouse and Bruno Mars, aboard
may seem like a leftfield move, the results are
almost disappointingly similar to 2015’s …Like
Clockwork, because, after all, to quote Josh
Homme himself on “Make It Wit Chu,” “Sometimes
the same is different, but mostly it’s the
Villains explodes out of the gate with “Feet
Don’t Fail Me,” a desert-noir foot stomper that
blends Ronson’s penchant for pop-funk with
QOTSA’s bong-ripping stoner rock. It’s not the
last time that blend of influences pays off well:
“The Evil Has Landed,” “Hideaway,” and “Un-Reborn
Again” all exude pomp and swagger while
still sounding like textbook QOTSA.
Album highlight “Domesticated Animals” is a
chugging, mixed-meter melee that builds to one
of the best rock choruses in recent memory and
a thrilling conclusion that finds bassist Michael
Schuman unleashing a bloodcurdling yell not
heard on a QOSTA album since Songs for the
It doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but throughout
its runtime, Villains serves to cement QOSTA’s
reputation as one of the most consistently enjoyable
bands in modern rock music.
• Jamie McNamara
RALEIGH kind of rips. Powerhouse Bloom opens
with a short hit of percussion, followed by a
glimmering guitar voicing. What follows is a
meditative intro, a slow drum pattern, a bubbling
bass line, and a warm cello set the scene.
It isn’t until the first chorus, where a legitimate
guitar riff cuts through the bustling mix, where
it becomes clear that this is a bigger and more
mature RALEIGH than Sun Grenades and Grenadine
It’s their third full-length release of bumpy
dream pop, but this time with sharper edges,
and a keen ear for pacing. RALEIGH has always
played with quick starts and stops, and stabbing
transitions, but mostly within the spectrum of
playfulness. Powerhouse Bloom cuts parts in
and out with precision, and with a completeness
of vision. The experimental but deliberate
studio production work here invites a tonal and
musical cohesiveness, filling in dead space with
ambient sounds and long reverb trails, and adding
texture with a grimey compression or phaser
on the vocals.
There is so much viscera and effect to
Powerhouse Bloom, it reeks of deliberation and
experimentation like we’ve come to expect from
RALEIGH, but with a force and dynamism that
transcends anything that’s come before.
• Liam Prost
the record to all-night dance party proportion.
The production is crisp, layered, full of tight,
hard hitting drums, unique sonic samples and
never ending drive. It’s easy to imagine that in a
decade or two from now that any track on this
album will push the volume up and soak a sun
filled drive with joyful nostalgia.
• Andrew R. Mott
I, Voidhanger Records
The murky, churning waters of the debut Tchornobog
album are not waters to be traversed
lightly. The riffs and production are clouded
in a thick haze, where the music can be heard,
but the delivery of the riffs sounds booming,
cavernous and epic. The listening experience
of the album is one that feels akin to being lost
in a vast underground cavern, hearing sounds
moving through the blackness but not quite
being able to parse where they are coming from.
The album sounds dissonant, hostile, and full of
Even as far as simple metal structure goes,
the guitar playing is always strong and always
driving but never flashy; things drift from
moving at breakneck speeds to crunching to a
halt and moving into slower, heavier passages.
The way the songs are structured allows for a
huge wealth of ideas to be displayed over the
course of their epic runtimes, featuring both
heavy, memorable riffs and quieter moments
featuring saxophone and piano from time to
time as well. One negative that the album has is
that there seems to be little consistency through
any of the its four tracks. Although the album is
very consistent in tone, once the band finishes
playing a riff, they seem more or less done with
it. The album cycles ideas so many times over
the course of any of its songs that there seems
to be little reason the album couldn’t have been
one giant piece of music. That being said, all the
ideas presented on the album work very well,
and Tchornobog’s debut is easily one of the
strongest and most memorably alternative pieces
of extreme metal to be released this year.
• Greg Grose
The Royal Foundry
Lost in Your Head
False Idols/!k7 Music
After putting out numerous singles and getting
heavy rotation on the terrestrial airwaves, the
quartet known as The Royal Foundry has finally
released its breakout album, Lost In Your Head.
First coming onto the Edmonton music scene
in 2013 as a newly-married alternative folk
duo, Jared Salte and Bethany Schumacher have
completely reinvented themselves with a solid
and well-defined electro-pop sound. Drawing
inspiration from the latest trends as well as
movements from ‘90s Brit pop and ‘70s progressive
rock, Salte and Schumacher dive deep into
the exploration of love and relationship on a
13-track explosion of youthful expression and
Salte’s vocals hold the consistent lead on
the record while Schumacher provides a subtle
harmonic reinforcement that sits just right
in the mix. Sprinkled like candy throughout
the LP, Schumacher’s timbre takes the fore in
anthemic elements that elevate the intensity of
I wonder, when you’re a dozen albums into a
storied career in the trip-hop game, is there still
enough creative gas in the tank? Apparently so,
if your name is Adrian Thaws.
The iconoclastic beat-maker and producer
still has a lot of issues to get off his chest and
he has some top-notch talent to help him out.
Biding his time between grime-swathed and
trap-infused tracks such as “Same As It Ever
Was, “It’s Your Day,” and “Bang Boogie” (with
Russian hip hop homie Scriptonite), the master
of melancholy plays it cool. Elsewhere, Tricky
glides around genres from some signature R&B
sultriness from the likes of labelmate Francesca
Belmonte (“New Stole”), to the slashing guitar
fuelled electro-banger of “Dark Days” (featuring
rising dub-pop princess Mina Rose), to a breathy
and sparse cover of Hole’s “Doll Parts” (from
avant-garde artist and former AA-model Avalon
Lurks). Of course, no Tricky oeuvre is complete
without a contribution from his most influen-
50 | SEPTEMBER 2017 • BEATROUTE
tial muse Martina Topley-Bird; her smoky haze
of a voice blankets the last track on the album
“When We Die,” while the brooding Dark Prince
spits out bars asking all the important questions
about where we go when the afterlife is upon us.
Thirteen appears to be a lucky number after all
and for fans of the genre this is your good luck
• Bryce Dunn
Drag City Records
California’s Wand comes from a different time,
staying true to their classic rock influences with
each release through avoiding the cheap tricks
the modern age offers. Plum marks a shift for
Wand as it’s their first album featuring new
guitarist Robbie Cody and keyboardist Sofia
Arreguin, adding to the existing three members.
Instead of frontman Cody Hanson bringing most
of the material to the table, the songwriting
process transformed into a collaborative environment
relying on chemistry and improvisation
from each member of the group.
The end result isn’t a shocking or sudden
departure from Wand’s earlier work, but that’s
fine because the music stays true to the type
of record that’s timeless. Without the internet,
it would be hard to say if Plum came out
four years ago or 40. The record opens with
“Setting,” beginning with a high-pitched drone
like a time machine ready to go off. The title
track follows with a focus on keys even though
the rest of the album puts guitar riffs and solos
at the forefront. The vocals from Hanson are
reserved and soothing even at points when
the instrumentation demands more. It works
for the most part, but it’s hard not to want
Hanson to unleash emotions that derail the
The album is full of standout tracks, including
closer “Driving,” a song featuring Hanson at his
most versatile, and “The Trap,” a slow burning
heartbreaker reminiscent of Wilco’s Summerteeth
in tone. Plum explores a handful of
ideas throughout the album, offering something
for every type of rock fan to enjoy, while solidifying
each member as equally important to the
band’s overarching success.
• Paul McAleer
The Forest Seasons
Nuclear Blast Records
2017 has been a big year for Jari Mäenpää.
With Wintersun’s late July release The Forest
Seasons, something has shifted in the tone of
the band. The album still channels the epic fantasy
bombast of their earlier works, but the musicianship
and songwriting displays a maturity
not shown in earlier work. Rather than starting
out at the speed of sound, the compositions on
The Forest Seasons begin with a simple idea, and
continue to slowly and gradually develop upon
it over the course of 10 minutes until the track
draws to a close. Songs move steadily and progress
in a way that manages to fit plenty of ideas
without feeling crowded, muddled, or overcomplicated.
Melodies and motifs drift in and out of
the composition, taking you from quiet acoustic
moments to thunderous crescendos without
disconnecting from each other.
Considering the album only features four
songs, The Forest Seasons is an incredibly varied
record, as each song feels separate and different
from one another, but all intensely varied and
containing an entire world of detail within their
10 minute spans. In this way, the album strongly
succeeds. Wintersun set out to convey an entire
season with each track on this album, and the
album follows through with this vision. The
compositions are well thought out and excellently
executed, and because of this, the album
becomes a must listen for any power metal fan
who wants excellent songwriting with a little
high fantasy cheese on the side.
• Greg Grose
BEATROUTE • SEPTEMBER 2017 | 51
Momentous allusions to a disastrous outcome. Predictions have come and gone,
the end is almost here. Welcome to CIRCUS OF THE STRANGELY BEAUTIFUL:
FERAL APOCALYPSE. Tribes from all walks of performance and across Alberta are
making the journey to the last standing building, the Distortion, in what was the city of
Calgary. The annual show is the best kept underground secret in the province.
Producer Harley Page started the event to help local performers, artist, and vendors
network, connect and showcase their amazing talents all in one night.
Atmosphere is the core of the show, and in one day the cast and crew change Distortion
into the apocalypse. Guests are strongly encouraged to dress up for their chance
to win great prizes in the costume contest such as a Big Rock Brewery Tour, and at the
always free carny games. Take pictures with old and new friends in the life size bird cage
photo booth complete with a swing and carcasses. Sample the customized food menu
and drinks and of course check out all the stage show craziness.
This year Edmonton’s Waking Mayhem brings their trash-metal to town, and as usual
local clothing designer, Sheppish Contour, brings her magic. Also featuring Alberta’s
outstanding talents: Circus of Hell, Visha Loo, Fatt Matt, Lindsay Marie and Chelsea
Nightingale. Along with tribe leaders: Tiffany Tailfeathers, Elizabeth Kay, Bitch Sassidy, Dani
Spades, Rica Shae, Tannus Betzler, Lady O, Emcee Mr. Adelaide and DJ Clay Stitches.
Can they all come to a revelation? Which tribe will stand tall and which will fall? You are
all invited to come and witness the Strangely Beautiful. Friday, Sept. 22 doors at 8:30,
$13 presale/ $18 door/ $20 no costume. Distortion Nightclub on Macleod Trail.
BEATROUTE • SEPTEMBER 2017 | 53
I’m a lady considering taking on a foot fetishist as a slave. He would do
chores around my house, including cleaning and laundry, and give foot
rubs and pedicures in exchange for getting to worship and jack off to my
model-perfect feet when I’ve decided he’s earned it. Am I morally obligated
to tell my roommates? Technically the guy would be in their common
space too. I will fully vet him with references and meet him in a neutral
location at least once—and anything else you might suggest I do for security’s
sake. Though my roommates are not what you would call conservative,
I’m not sure they’d understand this kind of arrangement. I would have my
slave come over when no one is around, and then my roommates could
come home to a sparkly clean common area! My slave would never have
access to their personal spaces, nor would I leave him alone in any area of
our home until a strong bond of trust had been established. No harm, no
foul? Or am I crossing a line?
–Man Into Cleaning A Shared Apartment
A friend in Berlin has a similar arrangement. This guy comes over to
clean his apartment once a week and—if my friend thinks he’s done
a good enough job—my friend rewards him with a knee to the balls.
It’s a good deal for both parties: My vanilla-but-kink-adjacent friend
gets a sparkly clean apartment (which he loves but doesn’t want to
do himself), this guy gets his balls busted on a regular basis (which he
loves but can’t do himself). But my friend lives alone, MICASA, and
that makes all the difference. Or does it?
Time for some playing-games-with-foot-fetishists theory: If you
were having sex with a boyfriend in the common areas of your
apartment when your roommates weren’t home—let’s say your
boyfriend (or even some rando) wanted to fuck you on the kitchen
floor—you wouldn’t be morally obligated to text your roommates
and ask their permission. But we’re not talking about a normal guy
here or normal sex—we’re talking about a fetishist who wants to
be your slave. Does that make a difference? It might to people who
regard kinksters as dangerous sex maniacs, MICASA, but a kinky
guy isn’t any more or less dangerous than a vanilla guy. And a kinky
guy you’ve gone to the trouble to vet—by getting his real name and
contact info, by meeting in public at least once, by asking for and
following up with references—presents less of a threat to you and
your roommates than some presumed-to-be-vanilla rando one of
you brought home from a bar at 2 a.m.
Strip away the sensational elements—his thing for feet, his desire
to be your chore slave, the mental image of him jacking off all over
your toes—and what are we left with? A friends-with-benefits
arrangement. A sparkly clean apartment benefits you (and your
roommates); the opportunity to worship your feet benefits him. This
guy would be a semi-regular sex partner of yours, MICASA, and while
the sex you’re having may not be conventional, the sex you have in
your apartment—including the sex you might have in the common
areas when no one is at home—is ultimately none of your roommates’
That said, MICASA, unless or until all your roommates know what’s up,
I don’t think you should ever allow this guy to be alone in your apartment.
My girlfriend drunkenly confessed to me that she used to pee on her ex. I’m
not sure what to do with this info.
–Dude’s Relationship In Peril
Did she ask you to do something with this info? Did your girlfriend say,
“Hey, I used to pee on my ex—now go make me a dream-catcher with
that news, would you?” Your GF got a little kinky with an ex, most likely
at the ex’s request, and so what? If piss isn’t something you’re into, DRIP,
don’t obsess on the distressing-to-you details and focus instead on the big
picture: You’ve got an adventurous GF. Congrats. If she doesn’t have an
equally adventurous BF, here’s hoping she finds one.
My 7-year-old son started getting really into gauze, splints, and bandages
when he was 3, and by the time he was 4, it became clearly sexualized.
He gets a boner when he plays “broken bone” or just looks at bandages,
and he has expressed how much he loves to touch his penis when he
does this. My husband and I (both happily vanilla) have been accepting
and casual about this. We’ve provided him with a stash of “supplies,”
taught him the concept of privacy and alone time, and frequently remind
him to never wrap bandages around his head or neck. Is it normal to be
so kinky at such a young age? I know kinks generally develop from childhood
associations. When he was 2, he had surgery to correct a common
issue on his groin. Might that have sparked this? I want my son to grow
up with a healthy and positive sexuality. Are we doing him a favor or
a disservice by supplying him with materials, freedom, and privacy to
engage in a kink so young?
–Boy Always Needing “Doctoring” And Getting Edgier
Your son’s behavior isn’t that abnormal, BANDAGE. It’s standard for kids,
even very young kids, to touch their genitals—in public, where it can
be a problem, or in private, where it should never be a problem. And
lord knows kids obsess about the strangest shit. (What is the deal with
dinosaurs, anyway?) Right now your son is obsessed with bandages and
splints and gauze, his interests aren’t purely intellectual, and it’s easy to
see a possible link between his experience with bandages and gauze in his
swimsuit area and his obsession.
None of this means your son is definitely going to be kinky when he
grows up, BANDAGE—not that there’s anything wrong with being kinky
when you grow up. There are lots of happy, healthy kinksters out there,
and your kid could be one of them when he grows up. But it’s too early to
tell, and so long as his interests aren’t complicating his life (he’s not behaving
inappropriately with friends or at school), your son’s whatever-this-is
will become less of your concern over time and ultimately it will be none of
In the meantime, you don’t wanna slap a “so kinky” label on a 7-yearold.
(If he were to overhear you using that term to describe him, does he
have the computer skills to google it himself?) But you’re doing everything
right otherwise. You aren’t shaming your son, you aren’t making bandages
and gauze and splints more alluring by denying him access to them, you
are teaching him important lessons about privacy and what needs to be
reserved for “alone time.”
You ask if it’s normal to be “so kinky” (a phrase we shall both retire, at
least when referring to your son, after today) at such a young age. Probably
not—but so what? According to science, most adults have paraphilias, aka
“non-normative sexual desires and interests.” That means kinks are normal—at
least for grown-ups—so even if your son isn’t normal now, BAN-
DAGE, he’ll be normal someday. Most happy, healthy, well-adjusted adult
kinksters can point to things in their childhood that seemed to foreshadow
their adult interests in bandages/bondage/balloons/whatever. Author,
journalist, and spanking fetishist Jillian Keenan (Sex with Shakespeare) was
fascinated by spanking when she was your son’s age; Keenan likes to say
she was conscious of her kink orientation before she knew anything about
her sexual orientation. So while your son’s behavior may not be “normal”
for a kid who grows up to be vanilla, it would be “normal” for someone
who grows up to be kinky.
On the Lovecast,
Dan and Jesse Bering chat
about your father’s penis:
@fakedansavage on Twitter
by Dan Savage
54 | SEPTEMBER 2017 • BEATROUTE