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TOMBIN’ AROUND AT PARADISE LANES
BEATROUTE • OCTOBER 2017 | 3
for dance fans and
the “dance curious”
From Oct. 18-19 the Springboard Fluid Festival takes place at the DJD Dance Centre
and Theatre Junction GRAND. With over 10 innovative shows featuring a wild cast of
vibrant artists and performers from across the country, Fluid Fest promises to be a terribly
exciting explosion of contemporary dance that pushes boundaries in all regions of
feelgood. Those who haven’t yet embraced new movements, this is definitely the time to
explore your dance curiosity.
Dubbed as Calgary’s #1 Readers Festival
and Connecting Calgarians with Life-
Changing Idea, Wordfest is a week
long celebration of local, national and
international authors presenting their
stories, experiences, new works and
view points on a vast variety of topics
that are political, cultural, literary and
largely informative and entertaining. Go
to wordfest.com to view all their events
Running from Oct. 16-22 there’s more
than 50 comedian performing at 11
venues across the city. YYComedy
shouts loud and and proud... We’re on a
mission to bring more laughter to your
life! As usual, there’s lots of big names,
lots of big guns on their roster and
including a full-blown funny gala at the
Jubliee Auditorium. Check out their lineup
This year’s Fifth Annual Calgary Guitar Show is on Sunday,
October 29th from 10 am to 5 pm at Acadia Recreation
Complex. The Calgary Guitar Show is an annual
show and sale of incredible vintage, custom, and handmade
guitars, pedals, and basses. Admire, touch, try, and
buy. Boasting mind-blowing finds, Calgary Guitar Show is
the ultimate experience for enlightened gearheads.
4 | OCTOBER 2017 • BEATROUTE
Just in time for the holiday season, here come the Makies!
With stops in Calgary and Edmonton... more than 175 of
Canada’s top artists, makers, and crafters will be rockin’
the Big Four for our biggest holiday show in YYC! Make
It is a fun, upbeat shopping experience where you’ll be
sure to find gifts for everyone on your list. From clothing,
accessories, art, home decor, gourmet goodies, baby and
kid items and other unique treasures, all the gorgeous
handmade items are made with love and intention.
Located in the Acadia Rec Centre, the Calgary Music
Collectors Show boasts being... “The largest event of its
kind in Alberta! Over 80 vendors with all genres of music
product. New & Used Record LP’s, Cassettes, CDs, and
all kinds of memorabilia!” And that it is. Run by Too North
Records owner, Mark Corner, who makes this a supremo,
passion-fueled experience for record collectors and
music lovers .
RED GARTER SALON
HAIR BY MAX, come see about me... @hairbymaxyyc
Max operates out of his Ramsay
apartment building that dates
back to the late 1800s, and
Five years ago I moved into this building. On my first
night here, a woman in Victorian dress came to me
in my dreams. She identified herself as the caretaker
and she showed me what the building looked like
back in the day. After talking to the building residents,
soon I found out she was well known: a shadowy
woman in black with hair piled high, often seen going
in and out of the apartments. She would also leave
behind old style hairpins in brand new condition.
When I ripped up the floors I found even more,
though those ones had aged. After extensive renos,
the Lady in Black no longer seems to be around.
Now my apartment is haunted by hipsters in black,
drinking all my beer and getting their hair cut. Always
lots of musicians, artists, and the like, a veritable
who’s who of who’s that.
MAX and his amazing model, JESS PANTHER
BEATROUTE • OCTOBER 2017 | 7
what the city
When talking about the upcoming civic elections, Evan Woolley,
Councillor for Ward 8, uses, stresses the word “needs” over and
over. In particular, he stresses what the city needs now.
Outlining his re-election proposal, Woolley strips the situation down,
starting from how we got here, what we’re doing now and how it could
all be lost if we don’t stay on course.
Arts and Culture, Beautiful and Brave
“Our economy has been going gangbusters for over decade. Things are
awesome, then the price of oil collapses presenting us with a challenge.
Yet, at the same time, a massive opportunity exists to revision the city.
We still have everything going for us, except the price of oil.”
”What we have is this young, talented population, and we need to
support them with 10 billion dollars in capital infrastructure that we
can spend to build this next city. So are we going to build this amazing
metropolis so that international companies want to move here, are we
going to build that infrastructure that’s going to attract top talent?”
In addition to Calgary Economic Development, which is focused
on attracting foreign interest and investment, Woolley says the
opportunity to invest locally can also turn the city into a beautiful
brave new world.
“Right now there’s people developing a policy that aims to make
this a music city. We need to increase our spending enormously to
arts and culture because we can commercialize a lot of that talent.
And we need to bring ACAD, the Alberta College of Art and Design,
to downtown Calgary. They’re in an old tired building that they don’t
own, with a couple of hundred million in deferred maintenance owed.”
A situation Woolley sums up as, “a dog’s breakfast.”
He adds, “It’s not connected to any community physically. Where
your college is, it should bring the neighbourhood to life, but there’s
just no opportunity for that. What if we had the opportunity downtown
to house it in the old Science Centre (by Shaw Millennium Park),
and build hubs of arts and culture in the core that activate these
Woolley’s campaign slogan, “Neighbourhoods First”, is propelled by the
idea that the downtown and surrounding urban districts needs to be a
“super vibrant, bustling urban core”, which not only attracts people to
move there, but also sustains and spurs on the population that already
exists. Happiness is a healthy community. How do we get there?
“I want Calgary to be the easiest place in the world to do business,”
says Woolley. I was in Miami and it appears that any dude with ten
grand can open a business. You can throw up a sign and start selling
Of course there’s more to it than that; anyone who’s tried or gone
through a business start up in this city knows the red tape involved is a
living nightmare to cut through. But one of Woolley’s main objectives is to
open the door for small businesses to thrive.
“We need to create way more permissive space for people with ideas
about a small business. An art studio, for instance. You should be able to
literally paint the walls, hang a sign and you’re good to go. That’s one of
the things I’m pushing really, really hard for. We have in place what we call
the City Centre Enterprise District so that anywhere downtown or in the
Beltline you don’t need a development permit (to start a small business).
You go straight to a building permit, which saves tens of thousands of
dollars and months of time. So if you took over an old doctor’s office, you
don’t have to go through this arduous process to get a restaurant in there
up and running.”
Since elected Councillor of Ward 8 in 2013, Woolley has campaigned
against tax dollars diverted to buying news roads in outlying suburban districts
when there’s critical infrastructure needs in the inner city. As a result,
large investments (80 million) have been made to rebuild major transportation
corridors including 17 Ave. and 1 St. SW. There’s a pedestrian strategy
in place to make the downtown more walkable, and the underpasses
leading into the core have been redone resulting in far more attractive and
safer pathways. There’s been more investment and redevelopment of park
areas in Ward 8 than anywhere else in the city, and he’s championed the
difficult cycle track project to get it off the ground. Woolley has made a lot
by B. Simm
of progress in the last four years towards building the vibrant, bustling city
“It’s just not the downtown and the Beltline either,” Woolley points out.
“It’s Killarney, South Calgary, Marda Loop, Cliff Bungalow and Mission. All
these neighbourhoods are turning into incredible places. All these communities
are seeing massive investments that they have never seen before.”
Suburban sprawl plagues Calgary and takes away from the kind of attention,
effort and resources required to make the inner city a highly desirable
place to live. Woolley fully recognizes that suburban growth is going
to happen, and it’s not a bad thing allowing for affordable homes and
different community lifestyles. But a continued emphasis on the sprawl is
unhealthy and he argues for a more balanced development strategy.
“In 2010, 90 percent (of residential development) was in new communities
and 10 percent in established neighbourhoods. That number in
the last five years has switched to 70/30. Our goal is to get that to 50/50.
We’ll always build new communities, but the pace is getting smaller…
Inner city infrastructure investment drives redevelopment committees,
which drives more housing, more people and a better quality of life. My
view is the more people that live in your neighbourhood, the better
Chris Davis, Woolley’s combative opponent in Ward 8, threatens to
throw a massive wrench into the machine that’s building the future city
the youth of today deserves. Referring to Davis and his camp as “angry,
tired old conservatives”, Woolley himself is angry because the creative,
innovative ideas now in motion could all come crashing down. His agitation
with Davis spews out: “He’s opposing the BRT (Bus Rapid Transit),
he’s opposing secondary suites, he says he’s going to stop the 17 Ave.
reconstruction project, and he wants to freeze the bike lanes. This dude
and his people will take back the inner city back so many years.”
Election Day is October 16. Get out and vote. It’s good for you,
it’s good for all of us.
8 | OCTOBER 2017 • BEATROUTE CITY
Calgary Distress Centre Fundraiser
by B. Simm
YYSCENE’s quick scan go-to-guide for October
Rich and Laura Paxton, working hard to get the word out and letting the unicorn roam!!
Free The Cynics’ lead singer, Rich Paxton became a
volunteer working the phone lines at the Calgary
Distress Centre in 2013. His family history led him
towards wanting to understand and help others
who are dealing with pressing personal and mental
health issues. With the help of his wife, Laura, a year
later they organized the first annual Listen Up! fundraiser
to help support the Centre more substantially.
Now it in it’s fourth year, Rich and Laura have put
the call out once again and are gearing up for the
big event sponsored by X92.9 FM taking place on
Saturday, Nov. 4 at Dickens Pub.
Can you explain your experience working at
the Distress Centre, and how you and other
volunteers make a difference?
Rich: My experience has been pretty huge for me
personally. After my mum committed suicide in ‘07,
my brother attempted in ‘08 and I really wish we
had known about a service like the DC, which a lot
of people in our community still don’t know about.
A lot of it is trying to get the word out there that we
are on the lines for everyone, not just suicidal callers,
but we all know someone who is struggling or has
struggled. So many people could benefit hugely
by simply picking up the phone. Even if it’s family,
friends or workmates of someone struggling, learning
ways to help those people can be life-changing.
Getting young people involved, how can they be
of assistance if they have no training or background
in this area?
Rich: Many of the volunteers are young people
actually, they can apply to volunteer on the website
(they have hundreds of applicants most intakes but
lots of them are students, etc.). And if we can put on
a rad night of great music in the process then all the
better. So many young people are passionate about
the scene that they can learn about the DC through
the event. There’s also DC staff there with information
about the work the DC does. Just getting the
word out about the service itself, as well as raising
money of course (DC relies on donations) are the
main reasons for the event though
What’s the financial goal you’re looking to raise?
Rich: Last year we hit just over $8,000 (I said I’d get a
unicorn tattooed on my ass if we hit $8,000) so this
Do people still call October “Rocktober?”
If they don’t, then they should
because the month starts off with
The Highest Order, Hermitess, Apartment
and Cold Water at Nite Owl
and Julie and the Wrong Guys at the
Palomino Oct. 6. Did you miss TUNS
when they were here last? You know,
that “supergroup” featuring members
of Sloan, The Inbreds & The Super
Friendz? Well they’re playing at the
Hifi Club Oct. 7, so you’re golden.
Into the literary arts? 2017
Wordfest takes place Oct. 9-15 and
features over 80 writers around town.
It’s like the film fest, but ... books.
The Jesus and Mary Chain at the MacEwan
Ballroom on Oct. 28
I have it on good authority that the last time Jillionaire was in town it was an amazing
show. And look! He’s back! Oct. 8 at Commonwealth! This month just keeps getting better.
The weekend of Oct. 12-14 is a big one — not only is the Kronos Quartet playing at the
Jack Singer Concert Hall Oct. 12, but Festival Hall is featuring Moulettes with Thanya Iyer
also on Oct. 12. But wait! Wide Cut Weekend! Throughout Inglewood you can check out
Dustin Bentall, Scott Cook and the Second Chances, The D. Rangers, Carter Felker, Braden
Gates, Eliza Gilkyson, Lynne Hanson, Tim Hus, Little Miss Higgins... so much. So much.
Food and booze, people. Oct 13- 14 is the Rocky Mountain Wine & Food Festival at the
BMO Centre. Follow up this Bacchanal action with Japandroids at MacEwan Ballroom or,
OR take in a screening of Strange Brew at Theatre Junction GRAND at 7p.m. — both on
Oct. 13. Can you do all of it? I’d try to do all of it.
The music just keeps on coming, when on Oct. 17 Rosetta performs with North Moon
and Monolith at the Palomino, and then on Oct. 18 you have your choice of Broken Social
Scene with Dear Rouge at The Palace Theatre or An Evening with Hey Ocean! at Festival
Hall. Feel like taking in some dance? Springboard Dance’s Fluid Festival takes place Oct. 18-
28. That’ll keep you busy.
Audiophiles rejoice! The Calgary Music Collectors Show is happening Oct. 22 from 11
a.m. until 4 p.m. at the Acadia Rec Centre!
Metal fans – Special Ops with Mokomokai, GrizzlyHawk, Jab & Aces play at Distortion
Oct. 26, while Oct. 27 appeals more to the EDM fan with DJ Shub at Studio Bell After Hours
and deadmau5 at BMO Centre.
Start planning your Halloween costume, because it is all upons. On Oct. 28 The Dudes
host their Annual Halloween Party at The Gateway, and local masters of macabre, the
Forbidden Dimension, can be found at the Oak Tree Tavern (hot ticket!). Not feelin’ the
Halloween action? The Jesus and Mary Chain will bring the scenesters out of the woodwork
and straight into MacEwan Ballroom, also on Oct. 28. Just Like Honey (see what I did
The Pack A.D. brings us into November – Nov. 3 to be precise – when they play the
Commonwealth. Odesza with Sofi Tukker and Kasbo will be at the BMO Centre Nov. 6.
There’s your month, plan accordingly.
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 email@example.com.
What can we expect at the event?
Rich: The show will feature the bands (36?, FtC,
Crooked Spies, The Wild Elms and Danny Vacon)
as well as a rad silent auction including tattoo
vouchers, theme park tickets, restaurant vouchers,
snowboard, loads more. A 50/50 raffle too. All sponsored
by X92.9 FM with Matt Berry MCing.
BEATROUTE • OCTOBER 2017 | 9
CALGARY TATTOO & ARTS
revealing the skin within
by Christine Leonard
photo: Angie Anderson
Now a regular staple in Alberta’s rotation of fall attractions, the Calgary Tattoo & Arts Festival has seen a
steady rise in attendance as indulging in the, once outlawed, artform has become as popular as picking your
own pumpkin. BeatRoute caught up with Terra Connors, Managing Partner at Canwest Productions (who has
presenting the event in conjunction with Alberta Bound Productions since 2014), to get the lowdown on the
highlights of this year’s Festival.
BeatRoute: Tell us about how the Calgary Tattoo & Arts Festival has evolved into its current incarnation.
Terra Connors: Over the last five years, the tattoo industry has seen significant growth as tattoos have become
more mainstream, which has partially been due to pop culture and reality TV. The acceptance of tattoos has
opened the gates. People want to express their individuality, and their personality, ink is just one channel to do
so. As a result, we now host over 450 international and local artists. Calgary Tattoo & Arts Festival is proud to be
the largest show of its kind in Canada.
BR: How many attendees and exhibitors last year and expected this year?
Connors: We had almost 12,000 attendees over the weekend in 2016, and have since expanded the Festival to
120,000 square feet of exhibit space and artists booths, and expect an increase in the number of attendees this
BR: Size matters in tattooing, but what else sets the Calgary Festival apart from others like it?
Connors: The Calgary Tattoo & Arts Festival specifically hosts tattoo artists that are handpicked from a juried
pool; meaning all artists must receive an invitation to participate. We also have an extensive waitlist. What that
means for attendees is that they are going to see the best local and international talent all under one roof. The
talent, skill and amazing art is unparalleled. Attendees love the show and the artists appreciate our efforts to
bring in their possible clients, and give them an amazing show experience by mixing retail shops with amazing
entertainment, celebrities and more!
BR: There’s never a shortage of photo ops at the Festival. Who are some of the celebrities and artists that you are
most excited to present this year?
Connors: The stars of Spike TV’s Tattoo Nightmares Jasmine Rodriguez & Tommy Helm will be in attendance.
We’re also looking forward to welcoming Jime Litwalk, Sarah Miller, Joey Hamilton, and Big Ceeze from SPIKE
TV’s Ink Master, Billy DeCola from TLC’s NY Ink, and high-profile artist B.J. Betts.
BR: Fixing “tattastrophies” has certainly become a booming business. How can people educate themselves about
tattooing and avoid its pitfalls?
Connors: There will be demonstrations (sponsored by Bushido Tattoo) by the likes of Japanese artist Ryugen Tebori,
who practices traditional Japanese hand-tattooing and Tatau, traditional Polynesian hand tattooing (bone
and mallet) demonstrations by Polynesia Tatau. Attendees can also check out the second annual International
Tattoo Competition, where artists from all over the world will be battling it out in teams for cash, prizes and
tattooing supremacy during this three-day event.
CALGARY TATTOO & ARTS FESTIVAL
October 13-15th - BMO Centre, Stampede Park
10 | OCTOBER 2017 • BEATROUTE CITY
They needed a dose of
ecstasy, and Big J was the
prophet who would lead his
people, dancing through the
desert to the soundtrack of
the chicken dance.
Tanner James is a trained journalist, singer-songwriter and sixstring
strummer whose first novel, I Am The Lizard King, details his
fun-filled, chaotic adventures in the small, rural Southern Alberta
community he grew up in. It’s an adolescent’s tale riding out bad
behaviour but with good intentions as he and his friends delve into
the mischievous mysteries of youth not quite understanding or
caring too much how they would resurface.
What was the impetus for writing the book?
I think we’re misrepresented in the arts in Southern Alberta, the
only iconic film that makes me feel a connection to Calgary is
Fubar. So I always felt misidentified and wanted to write what that
was like. I also had this wonderful friend who did the most fucked
up things that I’ve been a part of who gave me a voice as a writer
and artist in this completely entrenched oil and agricultural setting.
It was a good story and I wanted to tell it.
In a nutshell, what’s the story?
I like to think it’s a sketchy Huckleberry Finn story, with bad drugs.
I grew up on a farm in a nameless Southern Alberta town, and I’m
doing that to give the characters in the book some anonymity. It’s
about my friend growing up and our misadventures together. It’s
about him, but I think I learned more about myself writing it.
The following excerpt is Chapter I: Drugs and Wal-Mart from I Am The Lizard King (copyright Palooza Press 2017).
was a Zen master born
in a trailer park. He was
a draft dodger raised on
a battle-field. He was a
beat generation poet in
the peak of reality TV.
Free-jazz in the formulaic
structure of pop-country.
Curiosity and childlike
wonder amongst the
bored and frightened. A cult leader without any actual leadership
skills. Big J was a walking contradiction sent to this world to go
against the grain.
One of the things he really didn’t like was working. So he didn’t do it
Big J had a problem with the actual concept of work. He understood
that it was a trans-action of time for money, he understood that you
provided a labour or service for an agreed upon hourly wage or salary.
He even understood that most people got caught up in a chain of
consumerism, traded their best years for material items and then
down-sized, just to sell the stuff they accumulated in the first place. He
realized that many people became Wal-Mart greeters during their final
years before they eventually re-turned to the earth, void of anything
but their bodies.
Big J had a problem with this system from a very young age. He put
an extremely high value on his personal time. So everything that he
purchased had to be of equal or greater value than the time that he
traded through “labour” or “service”. Almost nothing aside from the
essentials for survival met this criteria and therefore Big J didn’t really care
at all for “stuff”.
Jobs were things that Big J accepted from time to time, in order to
meet his basic survival requirements. Once Big J met these requirements
and had a tiny bit of capital set aside, he would simply leave these
jobs and return to using his time for things he considered of greater
importance; things like reading sacred texts and literature, sitting outside
and thinking, hiking, sunbathing, fishing, swimming, smoking marijuana,
and doing any of the above activities directly after smoking marijuana.
Big J began working at the deli counter of a Wal-Mart Superstore out
of simple necessity. He began selling drugs over the deli counter of a Wal-
Mart Superstore due to the wonderful conveniences established by the
giant cooperation. There was a large parking lot for both his customers
and the standard customers. His customers appreciated the fact that
they could walk into a safe and well-lit store and inconspicuously
purchase large quantities of ecstasy. It was a change from the cliche
drug house and people enjoyed the contemporary, corporate twist. His
customers also appreciated that they could pick up a few groceries while
they were at it. They could buy cheap Gatorade and coconut water in
order to replenish electrolytes after a hard night of partying, dancing and
micro-dosing chemicals. Big J liked that it was a completely original front
for him to sell drugs out in the open. He could make corporate America
work for him.
The unlikely combination of selling drugs, and working at Wal-Mart
happened through the same momentous swoop of happenstance. Big
J had returned to Alberta after living in B.C. for a few short and glorious
years. He had his first ever girlfriend in tow, taking shelter in a tiny one
bedroom apartment. They moved back to Alberta in hopes of profiting
from the oil boom, and making enough money in a year or two to use as
a down-payment on a house back in B.C. This was the most logical plan I
had ever heard from Big J. It was startling and far from his usual reality.
But back in Alberta, Big J rekindled his friendship with Rick and Elmer,
the psychedelic selling, occult preaching, Pink Floydian refugees whom
he had spent a great deal of time with over the years.
Rick once recounted how him and Elmer were driving down the
highway having just dropped acid, everything was perfectly normal until
Elmer noticed a tidal wave coming straight for them. “Shit, a tidal wave!!!”
he screamed. Rick noticed it as well. They woke up hours later in the
ditch, completely sober.
Rick wore a formerly fashionable mustache. He may have been
considered relevant or even popular at one point in time, but not
anymore. He was a full-time, left-over hippie, who worked part-time as
a caregiver to special needs adults. His vocation was studying the occult,
beer, and drugs. He worked just enough to support these habits and
often tranquilized his clients with second-hand marijuana so they could
“chill out a bit” while he read next to them in the park.
Elmer looked like a mad scientist and he may have even been one.
He prided himself on his punctuality at his work at a factory 20 km out
of town which, amazingly, he managed to hitchhike to everyday. Elmer
lived above the roughest bar in town in a type of single bachelor room
where people go to slowly kill themselves by drinking or frying their
brains on meth. He seemed to thrive in this atmosphere and spent the
bulk of his time reading. Elmer was highly intelligent and difficult to
12 | OCTOBER 2017 • BEATROUTE CITY
THE LIZARD KING
Ecstasy was the dynamic duo’s drug of choice at this particular
moment in time. They were enamoured with a different era, so it was
strange to see these two Dead Heads obsessed with a trendy drug, so
deeply affiliated with electronic music (if acid was Frank Zappa, then
ecstasy was Fatboy Slim). Big J quickly realized that ecstasy was an easy
sell due to it’s current popularity within the bar scene.
Rick and Elmer noticed this as well and began buying in bulk and
selling it wholesale to Big J. If there was anything Big J
wasn’t cut out to do in this life, it was to be a drug dealer.
He was far too curious and careless. He wasn’t at all greedy
and he didn’t have a mean bone in his body. He began
shlepping around a pocketful of ecstasy, taking it casually
and selling the odd pill, while giving away any portion of
profits he made.
Big J’s delusions of finding a good job and saving money
were never truly in the cards, especially with a pocketful
of colourful, party drugs. He found himself in the same
financial predicaments he had always been in. He was broke,
bored and unable to find a career with his shoddy resume.
Employers could see right through his bullshit, but he was
a free man and that scared people. The first thing a slave to
ambition can smell is freedom, and it can be infuriating to
someone who doesn’t posses it.
Everyone loves affordable, steroid-fed, hormone induced
chicken. This type of chicken is an easy sell, and Big J was
required by head office to promote it over the intercom
every half an hour. This was the most heinous aspect of the
job. He was instructed to hold the intercom in one hand,
while pressing the button on an animatronic chicken that
launched into song and dance. After the chicken dance,
Big J’s voice would crackle through the tinny, treble-heavy
speakers: “Attention Wal-Mart shoppers, chicken is on
special now at the deli counter.” This was a man on the
verge of retreating into the wilderness, a man who existed
on the fringes of society and who would escape it forever,
were it not for financial burdens. This was the least qualified
individual on the planet to take control of a dancing chicken
and a Wal-Mart intercom. The universe has a strange sense
of humour. Someone up there was laughing every half hour
on the hour whenever that chicken special was fumbled.
This was Big J’s personal hell. For some, hell comes from
inside, but for Big J, it came with the commencement of the
This became too much of an insult to Big J’s ego. His
manager casually reminded him at first, then began to nag at
him for not making the announcements. After a few days, Big
J was written up and forced to make the chicken cluck twice
an hour. It wore on him. He knew he couldn’t continue to
coexist with a petroleum based, robotic chicken. The ecstasy
in his pocket became heavier and heavier, and he gradually
started to lighten his own load. The first rule of drug dealing
had been broken. Sometimes your own supply can be the easiest way out.
On one particular night, he took 11 pills. It was a quiet night and the
managers had left. He was dancing, peaking, and finding the chicken
dance to be much more of a joy than an obligation. He had an epiphany
while he on that dangerous level of dirty, concocted chemicals; he
realized his co-workers were just like him. They were exploited people,
down on their luck, slaves to the corporation. They were good people
and they deserved better than this. They needed to see the light, feel the
pulsing dance party that Big J was feeling. They needed a dose of ecstasy,
and Big J was the prophet who would lead his people, dancing through
the desert to the soundtrack of the chicken dance.
That night he walked around and asked every single employee on
shift if they would like a free pill. He told them he was enjoying the
substance and then explained why he thought they would enjoy it as
well. The results were mixed, but nevertheless shocking. These were the
freaks and geeks of society: the mentally challenged and the socially
anxious; the insecure and the introverted; the single mothers and the
faulty fathers; the near dependents and the gullible; the chronically ill
and the 38-year-olds who’ve never kissed a girl. These were the people
who had never been part of the popular clique, and this was probably
the first time most of them had ever been offered a drug. Inclusion itself
is a powerful drug.
This was a particularly communal and radically accepting moment
in time for this group of fire walkers. For a few hours, they were the cool
kids and it was glorious and shining and beautiful.
Half of the staff at the West side Wal-Mart consumed ecstasy that
night. Big J fielded the frequently asked questions any first time user
might ask. He pranced around the store with a devious smile and the
smooth flamboyance of The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, dropping a
single pill into the hands of the willing.
He monitored their movements and vibes. He noticed behaviours
change as the drug took effect at slightly different times based on the
individual. Things like weight and height and heart rate and blood sugar
levels played a factor in the absorption of the chemical in the blood
flow. As the drug took hold, he felt an ethereal lightness enter the air.
Wal-Mart was higher than the moon and it was magical place to be, a
magical time in the history of mankind. One special needs man took
the drug and kept on sweeping the same general area and was totally
fulfilled with the task and vastly stimulated by the increased
sights and sounds and sensory overload. A few people were
disgusted by the idea, but they strangely never reported Big J
for it. They must have thought he was bluffing, or they were
just secretly flattered that he had even offered. Truth was
stranger than fiction that night.
A few days later investigations took place in the manager’s
office. The blinds were closed, unfamiliar faces from corporate
head office came and went, police and security staff attended.
Most of the general staff were interviewed, but Big J was
miraculously left alone. Still, paranoia crept in and Big J
suspected the cops were on to him. He needed to hide his
stash, cut his ties with his dealers and lay low for a while. He
could quit Wal-Mart, but this was a criminal investigation. He
was safer to play innocent, and, his fellow colleagues would
be less likely to narc him out if he was still present during
day-to-day operations. Paranoia can be incredibly rational
sometimes and Big J was playing it cool as a genetically
A few days later he was called into the office. He had
taken the necessary precautions: he had nothing on him,
nothing at home, and nothing at work. Still, he suspected
they had proof of him dealing at work, would throw the
book at him, then offer him a plea to sell-out his dealers.
Classic rainy day detective story. But of course, this is a story
about beautiful irony.
Big J was not at all surprised to find that he was being fired.
The reason behind his termination, however, was startling.
The manager and the head security guard explained that
they caught him ringing in a grocery purchase at the deli
counter. He had allowed a customer to skip the hefty lines at
the cashiers to pay for his $5 grocery item. This was against
store policy. Big J was dumbfounded by such stupidity. And
astonished that they were completely unaware of the real
misdemeanor at hand.
Then the manager placed the metaphorical cherry on
top of the sundae: “Another reason that contributed to
this decision was your lack of cooperation and enthusiasm
participating in the chicken dance. You really didn’t seem to
want to promote the chicken.” And with that he was let go.
It was at this very moment that Big J wished he could place
his hand underneath his deli counter smock and into the
pocket of his black slacks and fill it with a handful of coloured
ecstasy. He could then fix this situation. For these unfamiliar
faces from corporate head office felt a disconnect from their fellow man.
Like Big J, no child ever admits that they would like to grow up and work
at the head office of a Wal-Mart. These people were psychological lab
rats. They were the police officers and the jail guards in the Stanford
Prison experiment. They were drunk on power and corrupted by meager
opportunity. If Big J just had his stash with him, he could free the people
from their shackles; they could collectively trip out in that safe and
guarded office and laugh and laugh until they realized how ridiculous
their lives had become. They would carry that common bond with them
until they died. You can truly change the world with a pocket full of
the right drugs. But at this particular moment in time, he didn’t have a
pocket full of anything.
BEATROUTE • OCTOBER 2017 | 13
ADAM KAMIS CJSW’s new station manager
the Home Team plans a real ripper
by Christine Leonard
“We’re not asking for a new arena, we’re asking for modest funding drive dollars...”
Calgary’s home to campus and community radio, CJSW 90.9FM, has long
been one of the city’s most popular destinations for local and independant
radio. Considering that the venerable institution has received numerous
awards for its outstanding achievements in programming and community
outreach, it might come as a surprise to some that the station relies heavily on the
proceeds collected during their annual one-week funding drive in order to stay on
the air. It takes a village to ensure they continue to deliver the quality and quantity
of projects that listeners have come to expect from Canada’s most successful
campus and community radio station. Newly ensconced as CJSW’s Station Manager,
radio host and friend to the arts, Adam Kamis has a considerable history of
involvement with Calgary’s music scene.
“I’ve always been a very ardent fan of music as a band member, audience
member and DJ. I’ve been doing that for my entire adult life,” confirms Kamis.
“I’ve kind of cut my teeth in a bunch of bands in town, most notably Agriculture
Club, Thee Maypolers, The English Teeth, The Brenda Vaqueros, HexRay and
most recently Liquor Mountain, plus tonnes of one-off bands. I’ve been a DJ at
CJSW 90.9FM for about 18 years and spinning music in clubs, as well. I definitely
experienced bar-culture as one of my first jobs, I started as a busboy and door guy
at Three Cheers. By the time I was ready to graduate from University I had moved
on to Broken City, where I was a DJ, then a bartender, and eventually became a
After a one year respite living under Vancouver, B.C.’s “bleak grey skies,” Kamis
returned to Calgary and joined the crew at the National Music Centre in 2012.
There he strategized and implemented some of the event and volunteer management
programs that would prepare the Centre for their big move to Studio Bell,
which opened to the public opening in 2016. This background in developing operational
expertise prepared Kamis for the task of managing a bustling independent
media outlet. Even one as unique as 90.9FM
“Because CJSW is an organization that’s existed in one form or another for 35
years, and the fact that we have programmers who have been doing shows for a
couple of decades volunteering alongside with programmers who have only been
on air for a couple of weeks, we are a snapshot of all three temporal values. The
past, present and future are all represented.”
As the host of punk/rock programs dating back to the late ‘90s, Kamis is a
fixture of public radio who is as comfortable behind the microphone as he is
behind the desk. Still he’s quick to attribute the station’s reputation for excellence
to the talent and dedication of its programmers and staff, as well as being situated
in a community that values independent media. Not to mention that the station
is a not-for-profit juggernaut, with an annual drive that’s ranked as one of the city’s
top fundraising events year after year.
“The theme of this year’s Funding Drive is ‘The Home Team!’ We are CJSW the
Ninety-Point-Niners. We’re not asking for a new arena! We’re asking for modest
funding drive dollars to help us bring the message, and space, for independent
thought, and discourse, and music in town here. Which has been our strength and
always will be our strength. This year’s theme shines a spotlight on every member
of a great community here in Calgary. The Home Team is something we can all
identify, and recognize, and form a sense of solidarity with.”
Already putting the community’s investment in them to good use, CJSW has
been operating an alternative venue out of the newly established McHugh House
facility. Partnered with the Beltline Neighbourhood Association and the City of
Calgary, the non-commercial radio station has presented over 25 all-ages friendly
shows at the refurbished heritage manor since its grand opening in June.
“We’re covering that crucial aspect of providing space for emerging talents in
town. It’s been baby-steps, but McHugh House is taking the city by storm” Kamis
enthuses. “We’ve had a lot of interest from artists and promoters of all stripes and
we are really trying to foster things in the community. We are looking forward to
seeing what we can achieve together in 2018.”
Accessibility for all continues to be a priority for CJSW according to Kamis, who
advises that upgrades to the station’s physical facilities and website are the focus of
this year’s fundraising efforts.
“What we’re’ trying to do this year is improve those services that people have
come to rely on so much. CJSW has a very well-established tradition of being in
the vanguard for positive change and I think making what we do more accessible
to more people serves the listenership and the station well.”
Mutual warm and fuzzies are the name of the game, as CJSW plans to reciprocate
their supporters’ loyalty by hosting a run of special live events throughout the
week of funding drive.
“We have videogame night, a by-donation yoga session, and we also have a
40th anniversary screening of Ralph Bakshi’s masterpiece Wizards!”
Pulling back the curtain of the Oz-like machinations behind CJSW, the station’s
open-door policy takes center stage as the entire listenership is invited to join the
Home Team and share in the end of funding drive celebrations.
“Most notably, something that has really become an iconic fixture of the
Funding Drive, is our Wrap-Up Party at the No.1 Legion. We’re partnering up
with our friends at Sled Island to bring you three-levels of wild stuff. Expect a
video dance-party and a multitude of local bands paying tribute to this year’s
athletic musical theme, Jock Jams. It encompasses a broad range of music that
you’d hear at a sporting event. Plus, there are two CJSW Family Bands drawn
from our own talented membership! We have people who play with the CPO
and people who play in garage bands. I for one am super excited. I think it’s
going to be a real ripper!”
CJSW FUNDING DRIVE
October 20-27th [Calgary]
Wrap-up Jock Jams Party October 27th No. 1 Legion
photo: Christine Leoanrd
hONEY & pEARLS
LONG LON LEV
late night movies
$5 pints, $1 oysters
$1/2 off wine
$7 beer flights
$5 draft pints
$3 Wild Turkey
14 | OCTOBER 2017 • BEATROUTE CITY
THUS SPOKE… a new Nietzsche
raw, sexy and very unconventional
OOld-timey facial hair, blazers with corduroy elbow patches, and that
feeling of never really understanding anything, ever, that’s what grips
my mind when I think of the profound, raging German philosopher
extraordinaire, Friedrich Nietzsche. But now a brand new light comes shining
from the cosmos of Nietzsche as Theatre Junction GRAND takes his ideas about
God and existence and smashes them together with Jimi Hendrix and a bit of
dance music for Thus Spoke… Uncensored and Uncontradictory.
Thus Spoke… is based on Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra, an intense
exploration about “the death of God” and other deeper life questions, but told
with a modern, pop culture twist from creators Étienne Lepage and Frédérick
Gravel. Artistic Director Mark Lawes describes Lepage and Gravel as part of the
new wave of artists to come out of Montreal who are pushing performance art
to new limits.
Known for mixing performance art with unconventional themes, Theatre
Junction presented the choreographic works of Gravel back in 2015 with Usually
Beauty Fails, a musical explosion in which “dance, performance and thunderous
live concert are interwoven into a visceral experience.” In the spirit of the
Nietzsche, both Gravel and Lepage reject the status quo and push traditional
“They’re part of a new demographic of indie artists coming forward who are
doing very provocative, anti-conformist pieces of work,” says Lawes. “Although
the text focuses on what’s going on in the head, it also goes deep into the body
through the choreography.”
Thus Spoke… is nothing like a lecture on the forces of the universe at large,
rather it sprinkles in humour with dance tracks and music by Hendrix. The
movements are sensual, designed to let imaginations run wild. “We’re excited,”
says Lawes, ”to showcase something raw, sexy and very unconventional.”
• Jennifer Thompson
Thus Spoke… Uncensored and Uncontradictory runs from October 18 - 21, as part of
Springboard Performance’s Fluid Festival at Theatre Junction GRAND.
BEATROUTE • OCTOBER 2017 | 15
big girl Halloween... flashing your floozy on another level
by Apryl Dawn
debut cassette release available
sept 15 at all fine local record shops
So I am pretty sure I am still slightly hung-over
from last Halloween. The thoughts of smeared
cheap makeup and tight, non-breathable
polyester still gives me the heebie-geebies. Pillowcase
still stained, and the pictures still tagged to haunt me
on my Facebook memories. Feel me? Maybe you’ve
hit that stage in life where Halloween just might not
be your thing anymore. The hangovers are hefty, the
slutty costumes just don’t call to your inner whore
anymore, and you’re just too fucking old to be “cute” in
a fuzzie onesie. So what’s a gal to do?
You’re still a goddess on all fronts, you’re not dead
yet, but you kind of want your kiddies to be front and
center for this event…not your titties.
Sometimes we need a little guidance through transition,
and hey change is never a bad thing, the magic
of new beginnings can be exciting right?! I’d rather
absorb the decades with grace, then stay rooted in a
decade that just isn’t mine to own anymore. Don’t get
me wrong, you can rock that wonder woman costume
until it makes your party guests wonder where your
super powers went, and you can squeeze into that
genie costume until you just can’t fit into the bottle
anymore, but perhaps we should accept this turning
point shall we? Let me take you on a journey so much
Grab ahold of some Halloween inspired fashion that
will have your girlfriends talking about your witchy ass
the next day. This doesn’t mean the hangover will be
any less intense, and you won’t slam down as many
Jägerbombs as the year before… it just means you’re
going to look a lot more posh when you trip over your
five inch heels and flash your vajay to the ghouls and
ghosts of the night.
Dressing up for Halloween without an actual
costume is a fine line between vogue and trainwreck.
Keep it simple, keep it chic. Long vertical stripes, lace,
mesh, goth and vamp inspired, spikes, splashes of
orange, and black on black, and layer all of the above!
Stay away from all over Halloween prints and entirely
orange outfits in great fear of looking like you’re wearing
pajamas, or trying to emanate the Great Pumpkin
in Charlie Brown.
If your naughty girl is still roaring her head, don’t fear,
she’ll get her chance to shine. Moving on and growing
up doesn’t have to mean you’ve lost your sexy edge, it
just means your flashing your floozy on another level.
A much chicer and more advanced floozy level, because
dressing up your kitty as a cat is so 21, your soul
craves more than the skeleton housing it, and you’re a
helluva lot more creative than a clown.
Check out my inspirations for Halloween week,
Halloween at work, or hell, if you just feel Halloween
spirit on most days all around. Take Halloween on with
finesse and poise, and lets dance outside the box a
little shall we...
16 | OCTOBER 2017 • BEATROUTE CITY
Globe Cinema celebrates 40th anniversary of monumental occult horror
by Breanna Whipple
Envision being gradually lulled by the seductress of sleep, the
violet rays spewing forth from the television set being the
sole source of light. A shrill collection of tinny bells and a
soft, feminine voice awakens your senses – your hazy gaze shifts
toward the source. A woman trapped within the small screen
before you brushes her long, luscious hair as she sings. “Roses are
red... Violets are blue... The iris is a flower...”
Her delicate hand places a blossom behind her ear, her head
begins to turn... Her face nothing but a barren skull, her voice
overtaken by a deeply unsettling rage.
“And that will mean the end of you!”
A sinister whisper of a peculiar word cuts through, the eight
letters materializing in pulsating brains. For many during the summer
of 1977, this would depict their brief introduction to Dario
Argento's visceral masterpiece entitled with that same peculiar
word, Suspiria. Though it was impossible to know at the time,
truth was foretold by the narrative of that haunting late-night TV
advertisement -- “You can run from Suspiria... You can hide from
Suspiria... But you cannot escape... SUSPIRIA”
Viewers follow Suzy Bannion (Jessica Harper), an American
ballet student who has travelled overseas to attend a prestigious
dance academy in Germany. Introducing the claustrophobic
tones early on, our leading lady emerges at a seemingly deserted
school only to witness a horrific murder immediately upon
arrival. Muted reactions at the hand's of the staff become questionable,
only furthered by rumours running amuck about the
academy's past dabbling in the occult. Alarm intensifies with the
continuance of unusual murders alongside even stranger, often
inexplicable happenings, resulting in a sense of impending doom
built steadily throughout the 98 minute run-time.
Occult themes in horror were nothing new by 1977. In fact,
the first recorded witch film was a silent horror picture released
in 1922 by the name of Häxan, also known by the English title,
Witchcraft Through the Ages. Having been depicted countless
times in the 55 years before its release, witchcraft on film inevitably
traipsed through several trials and tribulations by the time
we were graced with Suspiria. Mario Bava drove nails into the
gorgeous face of witchy woman, Barbara Steele, in the 1960 Italian
gothic horror, Black Sunday. Eight years later we witnessed Mia
Farrow gruesomely raped by the devil himself before a coven of
elderly witches in Roman Polanski's, Rosemary's Baby (1968). With
the horrific marvels aforementioned having already been forced
upon occult fascinated film junkies, how could one procure a
unique experience to wow an already over-saturated subtext? The
answer undoubtedly lies within Suspiria.
Very few films can boast such a level of perfection that it
becomes difficult to truly explain with words. Widely known,
and deservingly so, for its gorgeous use of contrasting colour,
not a single frame in the picture leaves an eyeball discontented.
Funnily enough, the inspiration for the use of vibrant technicolor
was ignited in Argento by Disney's Snow White and the Seven
Dwarfs (1937). Working with such unlikely exterior influences,
the attention to detail provides a positively overwhelming treat
for those with an affectionate appreciation for visual arts, in turn
contributing to pulverizing the misconception of horror films
being mindless schlock.
Deserving every ounce of praise granted for its effectiveness as
an art-house film, Suspiria is much more than what simply meets
the eye. Breaking unwritten occult film code is the enchanting,
quickened pace rebuking the slow burn commonly associated
with the subject matter. Unraveling the mystery in such a way
that rivals classic tales such as Rosemary's Baby (1968), the story
is impenetrable and genuinely terrifying.
Unique, too, is the pronounced appeal to slasher inclined
gore-hounds. Memorable in their own merit are each of the ferociously
violent murder scenes, in which the carnage displayed on
screen leaves little left to the imagination. Due to the effectiveness
of each portrayal of death, it is no wonder why several of the
kills in Suspiria have been replicated in various other films. Referenced
in the works of revered directors including John Carpenter
and Wes Craven, Argento's Italian Giallo surpassed borders,
creating a global shift within the genre.
Lastly notable is the dominating importance of the soundtrack
provided by Italian progressive rock band, Goblin. Few movie scores
served as stand alone organisms prior to the release of Suspiria. The
haunting theme served as a sinister entity on its own, which would
become a replicated facet immediately following its release. Exemplifying
this, Don Coscarelli cited the theme as a direct influence with
his own spooky score for his horror debut, Phantasm (1979).
In summation, Suspiria offers a unique audio/visual experience
that has yet to be matched. For those wanting to experience an essential
piece of horror history as intended, brace yourself and enjoy.
Catch Suspiria on Saturday, Nov. 11 at the Globe Cinema.
18 | OCTOBER 2017 • BEATROUTE FILM
a toure de force with films from 18 countries over eight day, November 5-12,
here’s a few highlights...
THE KING’S CHOICE | KONGENS NEI (2016)
dir. Erik Poppe, 2 hr 13min
Presented in Norwegian, German, Danish,
and Swedish with English subtitles.
THE KING’S CHOICE is based on the true the
story about three dramatic days in April 1940,
where the King of Norway is presented with an
unimaginable ultimatum from the German armed
forces: surrender or die. With Nazi soldiers hunting
after them, the Royal Family is forced to flee the
capital. In the best interest of the family, the Crown
Princess Märtha leaves Norway with the children
to seek refuge in Sweden, whilst King Haakon and
the Crown Prince Olav flee to a small farming area
just outside Elverum and meet the Germans head
on. After three days of desperately trying to evade
the Germans, King Haakon makes his final decision.
He refuses to capitulate, even if it may cost him, his
family and many Norwegians their lives.
INDIVISIBLE| INDIVISIBLI (2016)
dir. Edoardo De Angelis, 1hr 40min
Presented in Italian with English subtitles.
Daisy and Violet are twin sisters on the verge of turning 18. They are blessed with beautiful voices and are sought
after to sing at weddings, communions and baptisms. Their real draw is another trait which cloaks them in fascinating
charm: they are siamese twins. They support their family with their singing like a well oiled company/entertainment
machine. This idyllic situation ends when a notable English doctor sees them at a first communion
in Casertavecchia. He sentences them to the possibility of a normal life when he states, “I can separate you.”
GRADUATION | BACALAUREAT (2016)
dir. Cristian Mungiu, 2hr 8min
Presented in Romanian with English
Romeo Aldea (49), a physician living in
a small mountain town in Transylvania,
has raised his daughter Eliza with the idea
that once she turns 18, she will leave to
study and live abroad. His plan is close to
succeeding – Eliza has won a scholarship to
study psychology in the UK. She just has to
pass her final exams – a formality for such
a good student. On the day before her first
written exam, Eliza is assaulted in an attack
that could jeopardize her entire future. Now
Romeo has to make a decision. There are
ways of solving the situation, but none of
them using the principles he, as a father, has
taught his daughter.
BEATROUTE • OCTOBER 2017 | 19
celebrating a decade of critical cinema in Calgary.
by Morgan Cairns
A young Sissy Spacek and Martin Sheen bask in the badlands’ moody sun.
“In our discussions, we were just so keen on things that were beautiful,”
says Calgary Cinematheque President, Brennan Tilley, of year’s
programming. Entering their 11th year of presenting critical cinema
culture, Calgary Cinematheque is revving up for what might be their most
stunning season yet. We sat down with Tilley for an overview of this year’s
programming, and to take a look into what the future of Calgary Cinematheque
has in store.
Opening the season is the four-film series Focus: Landscapes; and
while some might question the subject of “landscapes” as a broad topic,
this contemplation is exactly what Cinematheque intended. “What we
wanted to do was leave it a bit open ended to show just what that can
be,” says Tilley. “I think what we’re trying to say is wide and expansive
shots.” And while all of the series’ films invoke the sort of vast openness
and sweeping shots that the series title suggests, none are more synonymous
with the exploration of landscape in cinema than the third film
of the series, Terrance Malick’s 1973 crime film, Badlands. “It’s another
character, and that’s what’s so key,” explains Tilley. “Badlands is about the
badlands, it’s almost like those characters are secondary to story of them
travelling through this area.” The industrial wasteland of Michelangelo
Antonioni’s Red Desert (1964), the Australian outback of Nicholas Roeg’s
Walkabout (1971), and the urban setting of Mikhail Kalatozov’s I Am
Cuba (1964) flesh out the remainder of the cinematheque’s broad exploration
of cinematic landscapes.
The second segment of Cinematheque’s season this year, also referred
to as the Masters series, places focus on celebrated Hong Kong filmmaker,
Wong Kar-wai. “His influences are really coming to bare right now,” says
Tilley. “I think we see through a lot of films right now that his influence is
apparent and he’s still quite relevant. You don’t often see a filmmaker that
can be such an influence on the zeitgeist, and also himself be so active and
maintaining that master’s status.” Opening the series with what is arguably
the director’s most well-known film, In the Mood for Love (2000), Wong
Kar-wai’s mastery in the art of simplicity and subtlety is on full display, in
what is considered a must-see in every cinephile’s film education. Rounding
out the series are 2046 (2004), Ashes of Time (1994), and Wong’s most
recent release, The Grandmaster (2013). “He’s slowed down a little bit in
the last few years, in terms of a high-profile North American release,” notes
Tilley. “But he’s still very much active…he’s already at a level that I think
can be recognized as a master based on 20 years of solid output.”
Kicking off in the new year, this seasons Spotlight series will focus on the
works of notable cinematographers, Haskell Wexler and Gordon Willis.
Building off last year’s spotlight on actress Tilda Swinton, Cinematheque’s
aim was to focus on other renowned artists in cinema, while still retaining
the Masters series as an exploration of directors and filmmakers. Putting
their cinematic flourish on classic films such as Who’s Afraid of Virginia
Woolf? (1966) and Klute (1971), Wexler and Willis were some of the first
cinematographers to become auteurs in their own right. “We thought
both Wexler and Willis both represented a pair of cinematographers really
putting their stamp on things,” explains Tilley. “You have these 70s’ cinematographers
coming in, and so clearly making a film in their style, and we
really thought that was the way to go.” He elaborates, “We went back and
forth about whether we wanted to highlight one or the other, and just
thought a six-film series with three of each covers it off pretty well.”
In addition to a new season of programming, their 11th season will also
include a partnership with Central Public Library to present screenings of
the series most quintessential films (In the Mood for Love, Who’s Afraid of
Virginia Woolf, Badlands), followed by a more in-depth discussion of the
film with the cinematheque’s programming committee. A new edition to
the cinematheque’s programming, Tilley sees the screenings potentially
catering to two contradicting audiences, “In one way it could be a bit
more casual and not as cinephile-ish as our usual screenings because it’s a
different environment, or it could be more in depth because we actually
have more time to talk and we can take on a longer analysis,” explains
Tilley. “There’ll be one from each series there, so if someone really wanted
to do one film per series and get an introduction into what we do, I would
tell people to take a look at that.”
Looking forward, Tilley remarks that while the future of the cinematheque
has yet to be determined, their mission remains the same.
“Ultimately, we’re trying to foster a critical cinema culture,” says Tilley.
“It’s about finding other ways to react to how Calgarians want to go to
the movies and have these discussions…We’re a very member-oriented
organization, so we’ll just see where people will follow us. It’s not
so much where we want it to go, but as much as where our audience
wants to take us.”
Calgary Cinematheque’s 11th season kicks off with Red Desert on October
12 at The Plaza Theatre. The following films will be shown at the Calgary
Public Library... In the Mood for Love, Sunday, Oct. 22; Who’s Afraid of
Virginia Woolf?, Sunday, Oct. 29; Badlands, Sun, November 5. The season
will run from October 2017 to March 2018. For more info on the Season 11
go to calgarycinema.org.
20 | OCTOBER 2017 • BEATROUTE FILM
CUFF HALLOWEEN MOVIE MARATHON
by Morgan Cairns
twelve hours of freaky-film fun
For those who would rather forgo the classic Halloween
pub-crawl for a night at the movies, Calgary’s proprietor of
underground and alternative cinema, the Calgary Underground
Film Festival, has something special up their sleeve.
Screening seven horror franchise films, shown in order from
1-7, this 7pm-7am movie marathon will kick off the Halloween
weekend at The Globe Cinema. “We tried to highlight how
these were the good steps of all of these series, that these were
all high points,” says Brennan Tilley, programmer and Operations
Manager at CUFF. “We think it will really harken back to
the heyday of these franchise films, and show where the best
ones were from each of these series.”
Starting off the evening with the original Fright Night (1985),
this vampire flick saw a sequel in 1988, a Bollywood remake in
1989, and then a Hollywood remake in 2009, followed by another
direct-to-video sequel in 2013.
Following Fright Night will be none other than Texas
Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986) where everyone’s favorite chainsaw-wielding
cannibal, Leatherface, makes his triumphant
return a mere 12 years after his initial debut, in the second film
of this 8 film franchise.
Of course, this wouldn’t really be a Halloween movie
marathon without including a film from the Halloween franchise,
so the third film of the night is Halloween III: Season of
the Witch (1982). The only film of the series to not include
serial-killer Michael Meyers, the third of the ten films in the
franchise acts as a standalone film, and is just as graphic and
gory as if ol’ Mike was doing the slashing himself.
After the midnight costume contest, (because what is Halloween
without costumes,) the fourth film in the roster will feature
none other than dream-demon himself, Freddy Kruger, in A
Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988), returning
to, yet again, kill unsuspecting teenagers in their sleep.
If by 2 am you’re still ready for more horror-film action,
settle in for the fifth film of the night, and fifth film of the Final
Destination franchise, oh-so creatively titled, Final Destination
5 (2011). A standout amongst other horror film franchises, the
Final Destination franchise is the only franchise out the bunch
not to feature an actual villain or any other creature, but rather
the antagonist is death itself. Spooky.
Sliding into the sixth spot of the evening is Friday the 13th
Part VI: Jason Lives (1986), which marks the halfway-point of
the lengthy twelve film franchise, which one may argue would
seem more complete with a thirteenth film? Nevertheless,
the sixth film of the franchise marks the return of the beloved
masked-murderer, Jason Voorhees, after his much-missed
absence in the previous two films.
And last, but certainly not least, after a 5am monster cereal
buffet (Count Chocula! Frankenberry! Booberry!) will be the
brand-new release, and seventh installment of the Childs Play
franchise, Cult of Chucky (2017). One of horrors smallest, and
most feared, icons returns along with his bride Tiffany, and his
nemesis Andy, to terrorize the unsuspecting patients of the
mental asylum he is employed as a therapeutic doll.
“We had 200 people come out two years ago,” says Tilley, “and
close to 70 made it to the end.” CUFF, consider the challenge
The marathon begins Saturday, Oct. 28 7:00pm at Globe Cinema.
The Globe’s concession will be open all night long, liquor served until
2am and breakfast will be FREE for those who make it until 7am.
Tickets are $20 Regular / $18 for CUFF Members.
Halloween III: the wackiest Halloween of them all!
BEATROUTE • OCTOBER 2017 | 21
FILMS TO SEE IN OCTOBER
by Morgan Cairns
WIZARDS 40TH B-DAY
Forty years on Bakshi’s still punching Nazis in the name of Peace
by Peter Hemminger
Kicking off Theatre Junction GRAND’s new film
series, it doesn’t get much more Canadian than the
1993 comedy, Strange Brew. Starring two of SCTV’s
most iconic characters, the Mackenzie Brothers
(played by Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas),
Strange Brew takes a comedic riff on Shakespeare’s
Hamlet while remaining quintessentially Canadian
with enough plaid and toques to stuff a moose.
Strange Brew will screen at Theatre Junction
GRAND on October 15 at 8:00 p.m.
If every time you go to the movies you think, “I
don’t see nearly enough cult Polish political-satire
films!” then boy, do I have a treat for you. Seksmisja
(1984), or, Sexmission, is the 1991 Polish sci-fi film
about two male scientists who volunteer themselves
for a three-year hibernation experiment,
only to be awoken 50 years later to a world where
all the other men are extinct. Screening as part of
Espressokino’s fall series, Red Oktober-or-Komedy
in the Komintern; if allusions to the fall of communism
and themes of intergender conflict and
gender performance sound like an picture-perfect
night at the movies, you won’t be disappointed.
Seksmisja will screen at The Roasterie on October
26 at 9:00 p.m.
Log Driver’s Waltz
Another beloved Canadian classic, Log Driver’s
Waltz (1979) returns for Quickdraw Animation’s
annual outdoor screening. A short film produced
by the National Film Board as a vignette to air between
shows on CBC, this animated short quickly
became a cult favourite. Based on the Canadian
folk song of the same name, the short tells the
story of a young girl who falls in love with a log
driver, who’s occupation has made him the best
dance partner around.
Log Driver’s Waltz will screen at Sunalta Community
Centre on October 7 at 6:oo p.m.
Castle in the Sky
Part of the Globe Cinema and Quickdraw Animation’s
ongoing Studio Ghibli Showcase Series,
Hayao Miyazaki’s animated feature, Castle in the
Sky (1986), will screen later in October. The adventure
of a young girl and boy must fight off pirates
and government agents while they search for the
floating castle of Laputa. A classic Ghibli film for
both the young, and the young at heart.
Castle in the Sky can be seen at Globe Cinema on
October 21 at 12:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.
ultimate futuristic fantasy epic!”
So says the trailer to Ralph Bakshi's
1977 classic, Wizards. And while that
same year's Star Wars may have won that particular
battle, Wizards stands as a cult classic in its
own right, telling the tale of a post-apocalyptic
world where the forces of good and magic stand
up to a powerful evil who has rediscovered the
long-lost powers of propaganda, technology and
war. Calgary’s own 90.9FM CJSW's The Nocturntable
is teaming up with Twinbat Sticker Co., BeatRoute
and the Quickdraw Animation Society's
GIRAF animation festival to present a 40th anniversary
screening of this psychedelic sci-fi vision,
from a master of adult animation, Ralph Bakshi
(Fritz the Cat, Lord of the Rings, American Pop).
Even better, proceeds from the ticket sales go to
support the CJSW Funding Drive.
The WIZARDS Special 40th Anniversary Screening
takes place on October 24th (6:30pm) at Globe
Cinema as part of the CJSW Funding Drive. Presented
by CJSW's The Nocturntable, Twinbat Sticker Co.,
BeatRoute and the Quickdraw Animation Society's
GIRAF animation festival. Advance tickets are available
22 | OCTOBER 2017 • BEATROUTE FILM
rewind to the future
All Eyez On Me
The Big Sick
It Comes At Night
All Eyez on Me
After much inquiry we can safely conclude that
Tupac Shakur was killed by his own hologram.
However, this biography maintains that the rapper’s
murder is unsolved.
Raised by a mother who was a member of the
Black Panther Party, Tupac Shakur (Demetrius
Shipp Jr.) grew up with a keen sense of social
justice. He would later interpret those feelings
of unrest through rap music. After a stint with
Digital Underground, Tupac goes solo. Around the
same time he starts acting and collaborating with
Dr. Dre. Following a stint in prison, he signs with
Death Row Records. One fatal night in September,
however, changes everything.
More of a chorological account of his life than
an in-depth analysis of his persona, this slapdash
memoir does have a few good performances but
overall fails to go behind the music. Regrettably,
Tupac Shakur didn’t live long enough to see his white
detractors co-opt Hip-Hop.
The Big Sick
The best thing about being in a coma is that you
don’t have to eat hospital food. Unfortunately, as this
comedy points out, life also goes on while you sleep.
Kumail (Kumail Nanjiani) is a Muslim stand-up
comedian who starts dating a white heckler, Emily
(Zoe Kazan), to the chagrin of his mother who is
constantly arranging wives for him. When Emily is put
into a medical induced coma early in their relationship,
Kumail signs the forms. But when her parents
(Holly Hunter, Ray Romano) show up, Kumail must
convince them he is A) Emily’s boyfriend and B) Not
While it is an unconventional love story based
on Kumail’s real-life experience, this Judd Apatow
produced rom-com is long-winded and light on belly
laughs that don’t involve Kumail’s religion or Westerners
misconception of Islam.
As for the one thing that Muslim extremists and
stand-up comedians have in common: Suicide.
Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie
A super-hero who only wears underpants must be
amazing at taking final exams. Surprisingly, the seminude
saviour in this animated-comedy isn’t part of a
Created by George (Kevin Hart) and Harold
(Thomas Middleditch) to save the citizens of their
homemade comic book while only wearing a cape
and his underwear, Captain Underpants finds his
secret identity in the boys’ real-life principal Krupp
(Ed Helms).Hypnotized by the fourth-graders to
believe that he is their prized protector, Krupp wavers
between being the heroic captain and a maniacal administrator
hell-bent on separating the best friends.
While it gets points for its various animation
techniques, stellar voice-work and for embodying the
silly spirit of the long-running children’s book series
that it’s based on, unfortunately that same juvenile
essence becomes childish very quickly, while the
endless pop song montages simply nauseate. Also,
if Captain Underpants doesn’t wipe properly he can
easily become Captain Skidmarks.
If humans could instantly kill anyone they wanted
then rush hour would be a mortuary. Thankfully, only
one person in this horror movie can control the fate
Light (Nat Wolff) is a wimpy teenager who discovers
a magical book that will kill whoever’s name is
written in it and will use whatever method is detailed
by the author. This omnipotent power not only
attracts his crush (Margaret Qualley) – who wants to
help Light wipe out criminals around the world as the
antihero Kira – but also the book’s demonic owner,
the God of Death (Willem Dafoe).
Adapted from the popular Japanese manga, this
whitewashed version only hangs its poor interpretation
on the bones of the original. Ignoring the source
material, the story still feels abridged. But at least the
graphic death scenes aren’t muted.
Incidentally, things could get really ugly if an illiterate
were to ever own this book.
It Comes at Night
The scariest thing about an infectious outbreak
is being quarantined with your family. Fortunately,
the isolated brood in this psychological-horror
has just received some unrelated
Held up in the backwoods since a contagion
wiped out the cities, Paul (Joel Edgerton) has successfully
protected his wife (Carmen Ejogo) and teenage
son (Kelvin Harrison Jr.) from infection. He lets his
guard down, however, when a young couple (Christopher
Abbott, Riley Keough) with a child and livestock
comes knocking on their door. But both families turn
on each other when Paul starts to suspect that one of
their guests may be infected.
Using close quartered confinement to drive home
the paranoia, this atmospheric indie does the classic
horror setting an injustice by not delivering the
goods. The threat is weak, the tension is tepid, and
the scares non-existent. Moreover, if you don’t want
houseguests during an outbreak just say you have
Instead of wasting money on gauze, why don’t
Mummies just wear full-body casts? Luckily, this
action-horror movie reminds us that the undead
aren’t that smart.
An ancient Egyptian princess (Sofia Boutella)
renowned for murdering her family is resurrected
in modern day England and tasked with finding a
human host for the jackal headed god Set to possess.
She selects a soldier (Tom Cruise) to become her
master’s vessel. However, a clandestine monster-hunting
society headed by Dr. Jekyll (Russell Crowe) has
other plans for the princess and her god of destruction.
The latest reboot of the desert monarch that
serves as the cornerstone for Universal’s shared Dark
Universe, this muddled revival of the 1932 monster
flirts with a few interesting ideas but ultimately
unravels under the weight of its own exposition,
franchise staging and bad CGI.
Incidentally, being possessed by a god means you
can never call into work sick ever.
Women only get speeding tickets if the cop doesn’t
find their sobbing sufficient. Unfortunately for the
women in this comedy, the waterworks won’t get
them off murder.
by Shane Sellar
For her bachelorette party, Jess’ (Scarlett Johansson)
estranged friends from college (Kate McKinnon,
Zoë Kravitz, Ilana Glazer, Jillian Bell) take her to Miami
for a weekend filled with booze, drugs and dancing.
During the frivolity, however, they accidentally kill
a male-stripper. Now they must dispose of his body
before the cops arrive.
Things take a turn for the worst when the actual
stripper they hired shows up. A raunchy girls’ trip
that reduces its female leads down to obnoxious
frat boy stereotypes, this feminist comedy foolishly
believes a derivative script filled with limp dick jokes
is empowering to women, or even funny for that
Besides, real women on all-girls’ getaways spend
their time texting their boyfriends to make sure
they’re not cheating.
Transformers: The Last Knight
The worst thing about being a Transformer in the
Dark Ages was changing into a horse-drawn sports
car. However, this sci-fi smash’ em up maintains that
they actually morphed into mythical creatures.
With Optimus Prime missing and the military
(Josh Duhamel) after them, Earth’s remaining
Autobots are forced into hiding with their human
protector Cade (Mark Wahlberg). It’s not until a
robotic dragon knight from Arthurian times bestows
Cade with a powerful talisman that the fugitives are
able to fight back.
Meanwhile, the creator of the Transformers has
returned to drain Earth’s quintessence using Merlin’s
(Stanley Tucci) staff. While this fifth chapter features
some iconic cameos from the eighties animated
series, it’s not enough to make up for the convoluted
plotline, the nauseating direction and the endless fisticuffs
between warring heaps of jumbled scrap metal.
Incidentally, the only medieval mechanical devices
Transformers could conceivably shift into would be
The toughest part of an all-female society is not
having men around to blame your problems on.
Thankfully, a scapegoat has just fallen from the sky in
Fashioned from clay and raised on an Amazonian
island, Diana (Gal Gadot) yearns to be a warrior
like her aunt (Robin Wright), but is forbidden by
her mother Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen). When an
American spy (Chris Pine) crash-lands on the isle with
news the outside world is imperil, however, the naïve
demigod must enter man’s world to save it from the
God of War.
The first-ever live-action Wonder Woman movie
in the female icon’s 75-year career, this beloved DC
Comics heroine finally gets her due. Unfortunately,
this excessively long and overhyped adaptation
comes imbedded with abysmal CGI, puerile dialogue
and shoddy acting.
Incidentally, if Amazons are to live amongst us
then Victoria’s Secret will need to stock up on 1-cup
He’s a Bee’s Wax Museum. He’s the…
BEATROUTE • OCTOBER 2017 | 23
big city small world
by Christine Leonard
Taking life and music at their own pace.
One of the preeminent Canadian rock acts
to emerge in the past decade, Vancouver’s
Japandroids made a mission of taking the
world by storm, when the band started up in 2006.
By 2013 the duo, consisting of drummer/vocalist
David Prowse and guitarist/vocalist Brian King, had
racked up an impressive 500 live shows in some
44 different countries. Although they seemed to
be riding high on the success of their ear-catching
debut album Post-Nothing (2009) and its jubilant
follow-up, Celebration Rock (2012), Japandroids
was losing steam and becoming increasingly disenchanted
with their non-stop schedule.
“We covered a lot of ground and it was a blur at
times. Our jam space is full of random memorabilia
and sometimes I look at the tour posters of the shows
we’ve played and it boggles my mind,” says Prowse.
“The big thing that came from touring ourselves into
the ground, was that it took quite a bit longer to
get back into the studio and make another record.
Running ourselves ragged took quite the toll on us
mentally and physically and emotionally. Now we’re
trying to do things in more of a measured way. We
can pace ourselves and do a lot more than if we’re
just going full-tilt and then have to slam the brakes
on again when we’ve been on the road for months
and our voices are shot and our bodies are broken.”
Unfortunately, damage control has taken
center-stage for Japandroids with the unfolding of
“Timing is a funny thing,” Prowse explains.
“Things have been good overall, but things are a
bit strange at this exact moment. Brian is in Mexico
City and there was a really big earthquake there, so
things are kind of weird and fucked up. I can’t think of
a better way to say it. He’s okay, but the city’s in pretty
rough shape. Brian is in love with a really wonderful
lady who lives down there, he’s down there a lot. I’ve
talked to him briefly and it is obviously a pretty scary
moment for them, but in the grand scheme of things
Experiences like this one are exactly why Japandroids
value having the flexibility to work when and
how they want to. The pair effectively hit the pause
button on their careers four years ago in the wake of
whirlwind tours and media engagements. With the
wires having fallen silent, Prowse and King were able
to gather their senses and compose new material
at their leisure. Working remotely and meeting in
Vancouver or New Orleans to collaborate in person,
they incrementally built-up the foundations of their
third studio release, Near to the Wild Heart of Life
(2017). And though Japandroids’ latest effort may
have lifted its name from the prose of (the heeded
yet unhappy author), James Joyce, the lyrical content,
according to King’s design, is pure cross-continental
poetry in motion.
“Celebration Rock has a lot of movement to it
and songs about being on the road and travelling,
whereas this new record, Near to the Wild Heart of
Life, is about feeling rooted to these various places we
call home,” Prowse explains.
And as for their return to form after a threeyear
Don’t call it a hiatus, call it a social media cleanse.
“I don’t think either of us thought it would take
so long for the album to be finished! But I’m glad we
didn’t post photos or vague statements that we were
working on a new album, because people would be
like ‘Whatever happened to those guys? Did they
break-up? Are they dead?’ It took some time to decompress
and then Brian moved away, which slowed
things down, but also lead to a better album. I really
enjoyed being able to reflect and then jump back
into it. Being able to take that time apart was really
good for us personally and for the band, so it was all
worth it the end.”
JAPANDROIDS perform October 13 at the MacEwan
Ballroom (Calgary), October 14 at Union Hall (Edmonton),
October 16 at O’Brians Event Centre (Saskatoon)
and October 17 at Garrick Centre (Winnipeg).
all relaxing vibes
by Trevor Morelli
Back in June, alt-J dropped their excellent
third album RELAXER, one of the
most anticipated releases of the year.
The buzz-worthy alternative trio from Leeds
is hitting the ground running when it comes
to bringing the record to their ever-growing
Canadian fan base.
“It’s always a treat to come to Canada,” says
keyboardist and vocalist Gus Unger-Hamilton.
“When you’ve been in America for a while,
it always feels like you’re getting a little closer
to home when you come to Canada, culturally
speaking, I think.”
Unger-Hamilton says the title RELAXER originally
came from a song penned for the record and that
it’s a title very fitting of the mood of the album.
“It used to be a lyric from the song “Deadcrush”
on the album; we actually took it out of the song in
the end. But by that point we had just sort of fallen
for the name. It’s memorable, it’s unique, it seemed
kind of punchy and direct, kind of like the album,
rather than the first two album names which were
kind of long and maybe a bit more flowery.”
RELAXER was recorded in London with producer
Charlie Andrew, who also helmed the band’s first
two records, 2012’s An Awesome Wave and 2014’s
This Is All Yours. As part of the process, the band
also had the unbelievable opportunity to record
at The Beatles’ famous Abbey Road Studios in
“We did one day of recording there. It was certainly
a real privilege to get to go there. You know,
that place is just so full of history and to actually
work and record there was a massive privilege.”
The Beatles, Pink Floyd, and The Hollies each
recorded some of their most memorable albums at
the studio. Unger-Hamilton says the studio also has
an incredible amount of high-tech equipment.
“There’s an amazing vibe. Probably the most
famous recording studio in the world, I would
say. It’s not just that it’s full of history; it’s really a
state-of-the-art place. In terms of its facilities, it’s
Critics have compared alt-j’s brand of quirky rock
to everything from Depeche Mode to Nine Inch
Nails, but the band that alt-j identifies with the
most is Radiohead. Although they don’t directly
name-check Radiohead on RELAXER, Unger-Hamilton
believes you can hear their inspiration all over
“They’re a band who has been a big influence
on us ever since the start. They’re the band that we
look up to the most, really.”
Check out alt-J at the Doug Mitchell Sports Centre
on October 13 (Vancouver), on October 15 and 16
at the Winspear Centre (Edmonton), and on October
17 at the Big Four Building (Calgary).
Fade away to the laid-back sounds of RELAXER.
BEATROUTE • OCTOBER 2017 | 25
feminist rockers want to help you feel “less alone”
Screaming Females released their first new
single since their critically acclaimed album
Rose Mountain in 2015 titled “Black Moon”
on September 22. The thunderous and commanding
single showcased the trio on full form; it was
a sweet teaser for their impending seventh studio
album (unfortunately, the release date is yet to be
confirmed). After taking a break from touring, the
New Brusnwick, New Jersey based band is itching
to get back into the live arena, travelling with
Street Eaters across the United States with a few
stops in Canada along the way.
Their 2015 release Rose Mountain charmed
listeners and critics alike, showcasing a more polished
and sophisticated version of their raw rock
and roll onslaught. It perpetuated the high praise
for lead singer and guitarist Marissa Paternoster,
who’s dubbed one of the best in modern rock
music courtesy of what SPIN calls her “legendary
guitar solos.” With aggressive hits like “Empty
Head” and epic break-up ballads like “Hopeless,”
you can expect nothing but high energy from their
What Paternoster misses most about being on
EVERYTIME I DIE
baptizing fans in metalcore
It’s not often you get a chance to be ‘baptized’
by your favorite band, but that’s exactly what
happened earlier this summer when Buffalo,
New York based metalcore outfit Every Time I Die
played a unique show in Las Vegas.
“I definitely didn’t think I’d get chucked into the
pool like a nerd in an ‘80s movie, but once I was in, I
realized there was no going back,” recalls singer Keith
by Kennedy Enns
tour is interacting with fans.
“It doesn’t matter to me how people find our music,
I just want people to listen to music that makes
them happy,” begins the musician, who formed the
band in 2005 alongside her bassist King Mike.
“I grew up listening to Sleater-Kinney,” she says,
referencing the legendary three-piece leftist rock trio
hailing from Olympia, Washington.
“It was bands like that that [which] helped me feel
She’s happy that she can share that feeling now with
people who love Screaming Females’ music.
“I was 15 and gay and didn’t know how to deal with
it at all, I didn’t know where I could even look to find
some semblance of comfort,” she reveals.
“But then when I found out about bands like
Sleater-Kinney and [first generation riot grrrl band]
Bratmobile, I finally found some kind of media I could
take in that made me feel like I was going to be fine.”
Screaming Females are performing on October 8 at
The Club at The Exchange (Regina), on October 10 at
The Rec Room (Edmonton) and on October 11 at The
Palomino Smokehouse & Bar (Calgary).
It might not exactly be the kind of party you might
expect from a group known for their commitment
to aggressive hardcore music. The band features
foreboding guitars and double-kick drums that boom
across the mosh-pit.
“That show was very unordinary as it is,” he further
THE PAGANS OF NORTHUMBERLAND
side project ruffians turned full-time hooligans
by Sarah Mac
When the system isn’t working and
you go back to our old ways, you get
The Pagans of Northumberland.
Although these rebellious punks have only
released a handful of songs, their style and
sound is a perfect example of the punk and
oi from decades past. Gritty, raspy vocals are
backed by hard-hitting drum and bass lines
infused with a classic U.K. punk flair. Up-tempo
guitar riffs are accompanied by socially and politically
driven lyrics; it’s a perfect soundtrack
when paired with football and any other drinking
The Pagans of Northumberland consist of
four members, each hailing from well-known
and stellar bands of the past. Clayton MacNeill
from Knucklehead on guitar and vocals; Joel
Diemer from The Disruptors on guitar; Tim
Whelean from the Motherfuckers on drums
and Mike McLeod from the Mad Cowboys and
Chixdiggit! on bass.
“It started out as a side project. Then it
became the only band that all of us are in; it
took on a life of its own and slowly became
full-time,” MacNeill explains. He continues “and
at first the plan was to just put out a bunch of
seven inches. But as we started getting to it,
we kind of accumulated enough songs that we
decided, let’s just do a full-length. So, I’m not
sure when, but within the year our first fulllength
album will be released. We have it ready
to go, we’re just shopping around for labels and
getting that kind of stuff figured out.”
The Pagans have been quite casual in the
past when it comes to shows, but with a fulllength
album in the works, lately they’ve been
making more appearances.
“We’re starting to do a lot more shows
around town and getting the word out. We
haven’t done too much touring, but it’s in the
works. We’ve all played in bands for 20 years,
we know that if you go out somewhere without
anything no one really cares. You’re just a
“A hardcore band playing a pool party at a major
Vegas resort, so nothing was off limits. I mean, I
paid $38 for a margarita that afternoon, so I knew
the whole thing was going to be strange. I was really
thankful people came in after me. If no one had been
willing to risk it, I would have just been standing there
looking like a dumbass begging people to jump in.
It turned out to be a very memorable thing. People
who like Every Time I Die are the fucking coolest.”
Another reason why the band feels a special
connection to their fans is because their latest album,
2016’s Low Teens, resonated with their audience
much quicker than previous records.
“Usually it takes a few years for songs to really land
with fans,” Buckley offers.
“Nothing we’ve ever done has been an immediate
crowd favorite. The lag time is at least an entire
album cycle. With Low Teens though, it seems to be
the fastest that songs have taken and they’ve stuck.
And it’s only getting better with age, like wine or Bill
Typically, Every Time I Die aims to release a new
band that’s playing a show, unless you have a
release or something else to support it.”
He continues, “We’re hoping a lot of people
will come out to the show at the Palomino
though, the Suede Razors are a great band
from Oakland and we have a full-length coming
soon. So, it should be a great night.”
You heard them, Calgary! Come out, raise
a glass and show some love to The Pagans of
Don’t miss The Pagans of Northumberland
when they play on Saturday, October 21 at the
Palomino Smokehouse & Bar (Calgary). Listen to
the band online at thepagansofnorthumberland.
by Trevor Morelli
album every two years, but Buckley says that since
Low Teens is “just getting its legs,” fans shouldn’t hold
out for a new album in 2018.
Instead, fans can look forward to some awesome
shows on this tour, as well as a new book Buckley is
continuously working on. He released his first book
Scale: A Novel in 2015 and the follow up is coming
“I’m a little more than halfway done with my
second book,” he says.
“On tour I wake up and write until I have 5 bad
ideas in a row, then stop and clear my head, then
go back to it until we have to play a show. At home
it’s a little harder because of my kid, but I try to stay
busy writing as much as possible. It’s the only way to
become a great writer and I want to be that before
Catch Every Time I Die’s Western Canada tour on
October 10 at the Park Theatre (Winnipeg), October
12 at Louis’ (Saskatoon), October 13 at Union Hall (Edmonton),
and October 14 at MacEwan Hall (Calgary).
26 | OCTOBER 2017 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE
old soul-bender still has it going on
It’s not hard to tease a tantalizing tale out of
David Gogo. The renowned Canadian blues guitarist
has seen enough of the world from both
sides of the curtain to bend your ear for more than
an evening’s worth of fat-chewin’ entertainment.
It only makes sense that the charismatic bandleader
spreads his talents as widely as possible. It’s a chore
he makes tidy work of by dividing his time between
performing with his three geocentric bands and taking
his storytelling to the stage as the consummate
“I just had the tunes cranked. That’s what I do,”
Gogo begins. “There’s basically two things that I do.
When I play with my band, and I actually have three
different bands - a band in B.C., a band in Ottawa,
and a band in Holland - that’s the basis of what I’m
best known for, but I also do solo acoustic shows.
When lot of artists do their unplugged shows it’s basically
the same songs, but without the band. When I
do my acoustic show it’s completely different.”
Whether he’s performing his latest compositions
or paying tribute to the history of the art form, Gogo’s
reverence for the past remains a constant in his
exploration of guitar virtuosity, as demonstrated on
his most recent LP, the gritty Vicksburg Call (2015).
This balance of playful innovation and respect for
what has come before is also reflected in the way he
presents them to his audience.
“When I do the acoustic show the two instruments
I play are a 1930 National steel guitar, like a
resonator instrument, then I have an old Gibson that
was built somewhere in the late teens or early 20’s of
Gibson-a-Gogo on the rocks with a blue steel chaser.
the last century. So, that’s much more of traditional
blues and roots sound; I do a lot of storytelling during
that show,” Gogo elaborates.
“So, if I’m going to tell a story about hanging
out with Buddy Guy or B.B. King, it’s easier to do
[so] in front of a crowd that’s not distracted. But
by Christine Leonard
then when I play with my band we rock out a lot
more, and it’s all electric instruments. I think out of
the 14 albums I’ve made two of them are acoustic
and a dozen were electric. I really like to rock out
and crank up the old Les Paul guitar through the
Marshall and get that going!”
Looking back at his own road to professional
musicianship, Gogo recognizes how fortunate he was
to encounter the many personalities who encouraged
him early on in his artistic career. It’s a legacy he hopes
to perpetuate and celebrate as he prepares to bring
his electrified blues-rock back to some of his favourite
western Canadian haunts.
“I try to remember how kind a lot of the
musicians were to me when I was a young person.
People like Stevie Ray Vaughan and Albert Collins
were very encouraging to me and just were fantastic.
I think about it now, and I must have been
a real pain in the ass, but they kind of accepted
me and let me hang out with them. So, I try to
return that favour. For 14 years I was involved in
a Blues Camp that made music on Hornby Island;
there was a lot of mentoring and not just that, but
seeing people who’ve gone from being students
to becoming professional musicians, [Edmonton’s
so-called ‘Queen of the Swamp Blues’] Kat Danser
being one of them. It feels good to be able to give
back whatever you can.”
David Gogo performs (with his band) on October 5
at Ironwood (Calgary) and on October 6 and 7 at
Shakers Road House (Edmonton).
coastal to the heart
There are few surnames in Canadian culture that carry
an immediate association with musical tradition
like that of Rankin, and as a member of that line of
East Coast entertainers Heather Rankin has accumulated
a half-century of unique insights and artistic inspiration.
Gracefully applying her manifold talents, the award-winning
singer and songwriter has now struck out on her own,
simultaneously upholding her family’s multi-platinum
country-folk legacy while taking the adult contemporary
market by storm.
“My live show is a combination of the songs I did with my
family, my original material that’s on my debut solo release,
A Fine Line (2016), and then a smattering of songs written by
other people some that are familiar and some that are newer,
but traditional. So, it’s a good mix,” Rankin explains.
“I travel with a trio; acoustic guitar, piano and stand-up
bass, and we’ve really pared-down the arrangements for the
songs that I would have performed with my family.”
Although she’s certainly no stranger to the perils of a Cape
Breton winter, Rankin has plenty of reasons to feel warm and
fuzzy about the arrival of that bitter season this year. Reunited
with producer/arranger Stephen McKinnon, who produced
a handful of tracks on The Rankin Family’s 2008 album These
Are the Moments, Heather has been busily crafting her next
poetic gift to her fans.
“I’m on the back end of a second recording,” Rankin
“They’re holiday songs, but they’re not all Christmas. It’s a
very contemplative collection of songs… I think it’s somewhere
in the middle of my solo release and what I would have
done with my family. I’m really happy with it; I’m proud of the
songs and I really feel a peace with the arrangements.”
New doors continue to open for Rankin as she embraces
her role as touring solo artist and elder stateswoman of
Canada’s Celtic music heritage. Penning fresh melodies and
promoting her performances would seem like more than
enough to keep the average person fully occupied, but Rankin
somehow finds time to squeeze the distinction of ‘venue owner’
into an already impressive list of accomplishments. And,
having headlined at her fair share of establishments over the
decades, she’s confident she knows what goes into running a
successful show – from both sides of the copper rail.
“I own the Red Shoe Pub with three of my sisters and this is
our 13th season,” Rankin reports.
“It’s a great little old general store that’s been converted to a
pub. It’s smack dab in the middle of Inverness in the County of
Mabou, where I grew up. And it’s rocking and rollin’ this time
of the year. We’re open for five months and it’s just slammed.
We feature live music every day and have a fantastic menu
and a great staff in our kitchen. It’s got a wonderful vibe there
when you go you’re immersed in the kind of music that people
of Mabou have experienced for generations. People seem
to be flocking there; some to witness first-hand what we sing
about in The Rankin Family songs.”
She continues, saying “I’m always looking for an intimate
setting where it’s easy to connect with the audience, and make
eye contact, and has a nice acoustic ambience, and people are
comfortable and that’s pretty much what we offer at the Red
Shoe. It’s really cool and that’s what I look for when I’m going
to perform, those little places are the ultimate venues where
you feel the energy and there’s no separation between artist
and audience - no grand gaping hole between you.”
Heather Rankin performs on October 19 at the Ralph Klein
Trans Canada Centre (Olds) and on October 21 at the Ironwood
Stage and Grill (Calgary).
Put on your red shoes; Heather Rankin dances a fine line!
by Christine Leonard
28 | OCTOBER 2017 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE
young rockers reinvigorate adored genre
by Breanna Whipple
Calgary rockers release their debut full-length on October 6.
photo: Brett Olson
Sharing a world in which musicians such as
KISS, Van Halen, and Alice Cooper have all left
their mark poses a challenge for modern artists
– How do you create something unique enough
to stand out amongst the stars? Though the answer
remains ambiguous, the young minds behind
Dextress, Calgary’s latest rock and roll creation, are
close to cracking the code.
It has been seven years of hard work since guitarist
Mark Janz formed the band at the shockingly premature
age of 13, with beginnings extending earlier.
“I began playing guitar when I was 10-years-old,
after finding an old nylon string acoustic in my
grandfather’s basement. I tinkered with it for the
summer until my parents got me an electric for my
10th birthday. I was actually interested in drums at
first, which I began playing when I was seven. But the
guitar was much more intriguing to me personally. It
was expressive, it was versatile, and it was symbolic of
excitement to me.”
Dextress’ self-titled debut showcases Janz’s extraordinary
talent and ability to recapture the essence
of the boisterous hair bands of the ‘80s. With an
admiration for artists such as Eddie Van Halen, Nuno
Bettencourt, and Steve Stevens dominating his youth,
it is a no-brainer why the young rocker has his finger
on the pulse. When it comes to his own taste translating
within the rest of Dextress, the stars are fortunately
“All the members of Dextress come together
in the common affinity for hard rock. While each
individual loves this genre, we all also bring some
diversity outside the Dextress sound. Our lead
vocalist Eric Paulin is strongly influenced by Sebastian
Bach of Skid Row and Ray Gillen of Badlands,
and finds Elvis Presley an overall inspiration. Our
bassist Reece Runco finds inspiration from Jesse
Cook, Roy Khan, Beck, and the performance style
of Mötley Crüe, while being very influenced as a
bassist by Steve Harris, Michael League, and Geddy
Lee. Our animal behind the kit Keith Runco is
very much into death metal. He’s very passionate
about Behemoth… and Benighted. His biggest
influences as a drummer are Inferno, Jojo Mayer,
and Tommy Aldridge.”
The 10 track debut packs a memorable punch
adorned with powerful vocals, awe-inspiring solos,
and anthemic choruses. Alluding to the stylistic
semblance of artists such as Warrant and Skid Row,
Dextress also offers up a modern twist that deserves
to be the catalyst in steering contemporary rock and
roll in the right direction.
“We wrote what felt right and sounded right to us,
so the modern edge just came naturally due to our environment
and whatever we may have been listening
to at the time each song was written. The songs for
this album were all written by myself and our former
vocalist Jackson Taylor. It’s a very collaborative process,
usually starting with a riff or chorus idea from me and
some lyrics from him. All these songs were written
between the ages of 14 and 18, which I think really
gives the album a glimpse into the lives and growth of
many teens of today.”
“We see the music business as exactly what it is… a
business. In Dextress, we strive for professionalism. We
pride ourselves on our organization and reliability.”
A bright future can be expected for the feathery
Dextress performs at their album release party on
October 6 at Distortion (Calgary) and on October 7 at
The Forge (Edmonton).
BEATROUTE • OCTOBER 2017 | 29
ending the tour cycle with a bang
Silversun Pickups have been on a
whirlwind roller coaster ride ever
since their breakout single “Lazy Eye”
exploded in 2007. The band is finishing
up the tour cycle for their latest album,
2015’s Better Nature, with a short trek
through Canada scheduled for this fall.
Their minimalistic indie-rock fits the
brisk days of a Canadian autumn almost
perfectly. Their toned-down guitar and
subtle beats mix with soft, almost whisper-like
vocals to create a soundscape that
is simultaneously expansive and relaxing.
After hundreds of shows over the last
two years, one could forgive the band
for winding down the tour cycle with an
exhaustive whimper rather than a bang.
Lead singer Brian Aubert says that definitely
won’t be the case when they stop in
Calgary on Edmonton. In fact, he has fond
memories of the former city.
“I’m so happy about that,” Aubert proclaims.
“Calgary, especially. I love Calgary.
Last time when we were in Calgary, Nikki
[Monninger], my bass player, we did an
acoustic promo in the tower. When we
were there it was actually really fun.”
He says even our unpredictable weather
patterns are a welcome change from the
Californian climate he’s used to.
“Coming to Calgary in the winter versus
the summer; it’s like night and day. It’s fascinating
because it’s amazing both times.
The summers are just so lovely and the
winters are just like ‘Wow.’”
exploring the violence beneath the silence
Cosmic catharsis. Rosetta styles metal for astronauts.
One of the clear highlights for the band
during the Better Nature tour cycle was a
run of shows in quick succession in South
“All of a sudden we had this big run of
like 10 days in all these different cities with
our friends Cage the Elephant and then
the Lollapaloozas. That was insane.”
“We’ve been working on going down
there for so long,” Aubert continues. “Over
the last 10 years since we’ve been touring,
we’ve been getting messages from people
in South America and Mexico and it was
always logistically difficult. Every country
there has just a strong identity. We knew
we didn’t have a lot of time there so every
time we weren’t onstage we were just
running around. It was just so wildly lively
that when we got home, it just felt boring.”
After a bit of a break next year, Aubert
knows the band will be back in the studio
for a new record. It’s far too early to tell
what the next Silversun Pickups record will
“Right now, in my head, it’s so hard
because the world is so insane. I can’t wait
to hear what the hell our next album will
be because every day I have a different
sort of headspace. Every day things are just
Catch Silversun Pickups October 26 at the
Commodore Ballroom (Vancouver), October
28 at The Palace Theatre (Calgary), and on
October 29 at Union Hall (Edmonton).
Amalgamated in 2003, Philadelphia’s dronecore specialists Rosetta spent
a decade building the momentum required to achieve their ideal cruising
altitude. The spacegazing band reached escape velocity in 2013
when they tore away from their record label to go it alone. About that same
time the four sonic cosmonauts, guitarist Matt Weed, bassist Dave Grossman,
vocalists/synth-player Mike Armine and drummer BJ McMurtrie welcomed
guitarist Eric Jernigan to the Rosetta crew.
“I actually joined the band late, but I had been friends with the band for ten
years, so we had a rich history together,” Jernigan relates.
“I would say that my role in Rosetta has been to help distill some of the melodic
ideas that Matt or Dave will bring to the table and find the hidden hook that’s
lying in wait.”
Rosetta’s stormy compositions vacillate between mindful contemplation and
Indie icons taking a break after their upcomingtour.
by Trevor Morelli
by Christine Leonard
reckless abandon. The result is a volatile yet intriguing dark-matter meets doomrock
dynamic that is as attractive as it is indefinable.
“A lot of the early Rosetta stuff was equal parts melody and aggression, but
sometimes they would sort of feel like a wave washing over you and the catchiness
of it would only reveal itself after maybe a dozen listens,” Jernigan admits. “When I
came into the band I wanted to make the melodic movements more obvious and
still do a good job of hiding them.”
Designed as a quartered cycle of songs that stretches across hemispheres and
genres, Rosetta’s sixth album, Utopiod, is perhaps the most thematically-driven
milestone in the quintet’s discography. Components ranging from ambient synth
to hardcore sludge converge to formulate Rosetta’s atmospheric anthems and
stormy eulogies. Or, “metal for astronauts,” as they like to call it.
Jernigan says, “These days the influences are across the board. I think for all of
us, the older we get the more interested we are in avant garde and non-traditional
forays into a sort of exploration of emotion through sound rather than the typical
rock band format.”
By Jernigan’s estimation the stress-energy tension Rosetta generates in the
studio becomes exponentially magnified when presented in the flesh. Thrusting
artifice aside in favour of exposing the raw nerves beneath the façade, Rosetta
insists on letting moments unfold, and occasionally explode, according to their
“Same as any given year of our lives, we have moments of unbridled intensity
and hopefully moments of calm reflection and the record does follow sort of a
protagonist through the character’s life and we wanted to keep that in mind -
that there’s a whole breadth of experience that we all go through and we made a
conscious decision to really let some of those quiet, less aggressive moments speak
for themselves on the record.”
Rosetta performs at the Brixx on October 16 (Edmonton) and at The Palomino
Smokehouse & Bar on October 17 (Calgary) .
30 | OCTOBER 2017 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE
charting a new course
There was a time when the future of Arizona-based
sludge rock outfit North seemed
as clear as mud. Maybe that uncertainty
was okay with them at the time, but a lot has
changed since drummer Zack Hansen, guitarist
Matthew Mutterperl and bassist/vocalist Evan Leek
first started jamming together in Hansen’s Tucson
bedroom back in 2005.
“We were definitely offering an alternative. It also
didn’t help that nobody else was doing what we
were doing at the time,” says Hansen of the local
climate for their post-metal experimentations. “We
started out as an instrumental band, and this was
around the time that Explosions in the Sky and
Pelican were on the rise, and I don’t want to say we
hopped on a trend, but we certainly helped start
one, in the southwest at least. If you’re not playing
radio rock, or pop punk, or something a bit more
popular you’re going to have to establish your own
mindset and your own scene.”
Expanding on the uniquely groovy doom constructs
introduced on their self-released 2006 debut
EP Siberia, North shifted a more vocal-dominated
sound with What You Were in 2008. The band
continued to tour and write despite line-up changes
and karmic stumbling blocks. Down two members
following the release of The Great Silence in 2012,
Hansen, Mutterperl and Leek decided to recommit
and relaunch the old and improved North as an
“We talked about it as building up our arsenal
and building upon the sound. It got to a point
Post-metal trio talk importance of blurring genres.
where we started to breakdown what we really
wanted to do and we started to accomplish that
with less and less people,” Hansen recounts. “From
the moment we took the three-piece on tour
for the first time, people were astonished that
we could bring that volume and intensity with
just the three of us… That made us really happy,
because it’s what we had been envisioning for a
couple of years.”
The band has emerged from the sea of feedback
worshipers and fuzz-lords as a sleeker more
agile version of their former selves. North’s latest
offering Light the Way (2016), produced by Dana
Fehr (Digger, Mandingo, Pelican) and mastered by
Colin Marston (Genghis Tron, Kayo Dot, Gorguts),
by Christine Leonard
traverses the invisible lines drafted between
progressive and classic metal soundscapes while
foretelling that the true extent of North’s foray into
sonic devolution has yet to be charted.
“We like being a chameleon and not being
pigeon-holed into one genre, and being able to open
our arms to as broad as an underground listenership
as possible,” says Hansen. “Light the Way is our first
full-length as a three-piece and that became the
prevailing theme; figuring out the future direction of
the band going forward.”
North performs at the Brixx on October 16 (Edmonton)
and at The Palomino Smokehouse & Bar on
October 17 (Calgary).
nails down the sun
One his second full-length recording, Solstice, Mike MacKenzie has gone all
the way to create a wide-range, rich and colourful, panoramic spectrum of
textured music. But that’s not too surprising as MacKenzie, a guitar virtuoso,
is loyal to the expansive ‘70s explosion of sound spearheaded by Led Zeppelin, Deep
Purple and Jimi Hendrix.
Yet his playing surpasses blues-rock and is well trenched in the world of jazz. In addition
to Page, Blackmore and Jimi, MacKenzie’s sophisticated stylistics are easily aligned with
some of Steely Dan’s great guitarists including Walter Becker, Denny Dias and Larry Carlton,
the famed jazzman, who also played on the band’s recordings.
“Yeah,” says MacKenzie a bit reluctantly. “They (Steely Dan) aren’t quite an influence, but
they’re in there somewhere.” He also cites Edgar Winter and Chick Corea, during his Return
To Forever period, as part of the jazz and keyboards played on the record.
“My sound is a concoction of all those things and some other ones. The idea is to have
some recognizable parts and notes, I have no shame in my influences and it’s great when
people point those out. At the same time, what happens in that process, when you stir it
all up, when you get a little of your own sound and that’s what I’ve been after.”
Solstice may contain some familiar elements, but MacKenzie certainly has his own flair
and diversity all over the recording. The music is elaborate sometimes tight and concise,
other times sprawling and epic. While he‘s geared to play shows in small clubs and bars, the
cinematic quality of the music off Solstice would be completely at home in a performance
halls filled with music lovers fond of complexity and precision.
Precision is a large part of MacKenzie’s musical make-up. On Solstice there’s not only
a lot of moving parts and instrumentation, but he also swaps in and out various players,
including three different drummers.
“Yeah, this time out I really just wanted to do it right. I wanted to nail it down, and I
think I did a better job of it.”
MacKenzie showcases his new release and will play a few hits for the people at
Mikey’s On 12th on Saturday, Oct. 21.
32 | OCTOBER 2017 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE
rise and fall of monarchs
Prepare to enter the sonic equivalent of Valhalla,
where glory is won with axes in hand; axes bearing
six strings that pour forth thundering metal into the
moody skies of some long forgotten time.
Kingsbane is the latest full-length release from Calgary
based shredders Osyron, a concept album two years in the
making. It is an attempt to tell a historically themed Viking
story, to capture the imagery and emotion of battle and
glory in the form of progressive, anthem-laden metal.
Krzysztof Stalmach, one Osyron’s two guitarists
alongside Bobby Harley, says, “Bobby and I wrote all the
music, and from the get-go wanted to make this a concept
album. I had an old story laying around my head about this
unnamed, reluctant hero getting wrapped up in a journey
to save another realm through his background – sort of a
reverse William the Bastard, of ‘the Conquest of Normandy’
fame, in that he never had the ambition to go into
conquering anything – it just sort of happened to him.”
They debuted a selection of the album online and in
a recent performance at Distortion in Calgary. The songs
they have showcased strive to be epic in both scope and
scale, and are lengthy tracks that change tone and tempo
like the plot points in a story. They chart the rise and fall
of a hero not only through the prose of each verse, but
with the emotional force of metal music.
“I love music that goes on journeys and tells a tale,”
Stalmach says. “That was a huge goal for us; have a more
cohesive concept album that builds and falls like a good
novel or adventure movie. I think the main way we went
about achieving that sound is writing closely together.
Our previous album was a little more jittered, although
a concept album as well, it felt like three different mini
albums; the three chapters felt inclusive of each other
musically but exclusive of the whole.”
Kingsbane is the first album Osyron has produced
with their newest line-up, following their 2013 album
Harbinger. Stalmach and Bobby Harley are the only
founding members of Osyron still currently in the group.
After moving to Alberta to start work on Kingsbane, they
filled out their roster with some standout members of
Calgary’s thriving metal scene: Reed Alton as lead vocalist,
Tyler Corbett on bass, and Trevor Cobb on drums.
This album also marks the first time they have delved into
self-production, with Corbett working on production of
Stalmach says, “The whole process was a complete 180
from working with a third party. It was a lot more intimate
in the mixing stages, because we didn’t have to prepare
revision or markup documents to send to the engineer and
have him stick-handle through it blind; we could just yell at
Tyler (who is also our bass player) directly!”
As the group gears up for the full release of Kingsbane,
they are beyond excited to do a full live debut of
the music they have spent the past two years creating
“It feels like a gigantic leap forward for us, I think, on
the musical and performance front,” Stalmach says.
“There’s some tricky sections, and some layered and
massive sections. All of the songs translate really well to a
Osyron is kicking off the full release of Kingsbane with an album
release party on November 3 at Dicken’s Pub (Calgary)
before the official release of the album on November 7.
Riding onto Calgary’s metal scene in glorious Viking style.
by Jodi Brak
BEATROUTE • OCTOBER 2017 | 33
the beauty of imperfection
by Taylor Odishaw-Dyck
Chilly nights in warm cafes, dim-lit rooms full of haunting
melodies, Heather Adam in the midst of it all. The
21-year-old songwriter, from Bonnyville in Northern
Alberta, has been frequenting the cozy coffee shop gigs in recent
months and whipped up a tasty EP, While I’ve Been Away, for us
to enjoy this autumn.
Produced by Michael Kissinger at his home studio in Calgary, it
features stand-up bass from Mark Grosjean and percussion from
John Ferguson. The minimalist, raw-centered approach to the
production accurately represents Adam’s stripped back live performance
and writing process, which is rooted in her small-town,
“I picked up a guitar at 14 and taught myself. Being raised in
the prairies drove my music,” she explains. “Spaces where its quiet
and open lend themselves to writing and reflection.”
Soul and folk are blended smoothly on Adam’s debut release,
opening with ghostly, heart-felt melodies and swingy acoustic
licks in the opening tracks “Nicki Nicki Nine-Door” and “Reckless”.
She says all her “songs are diverse, as they were written at
different times in my life.”
Her musical aspirations include Allan Stone, the source of her
soul influence, Noah Gunderson for the folk flavors, and Andy
Shauf for everything in between.
“I try to tap into more narrative fictional writing, where my
stories are embellished by creative concepts.” She cites Andy
Shauf as an artist who implements this technique flawlessly. “Even
though he writes about fictional characters, he infuses those
characters with elements of his own experience.”
Standout track “Whisky” is a prime example of this creative
freedom, as Adam sings about the difference between heartbreak
and whisky, in a witty metaphor – though she is not much of a
whisky person. “I grab onto certain phrases, one image or line
that speaks to an audience and makes it unique.”
“Writing is a release for me, as it takes the imperfections of life
and makes them valuable to me,” say Adam and reveals, “Roadblocks
become a more positive experience… my music gives me
an element of control over how I feel about things.”
THE NORTH SOUND
not going to stop grinding
by Taylor Odishaw-Dyck
sat down with The North Sound’s frontman
Forrest Eaglespeaker on an illuminated
bench in East Village, as he unveiled his
recent personal revelations: “I started being
honest in my writing, and it spread like a
A three-track EP is the result of Eaglespeaker’s
recent writing binge, which was primarily
inspired by the recent loss of his dad and grandmother.
The lessons he learned from their lives
were pressed through his heart and interpreted
through his writing.
Eaglespeaker indulges this idea fully: “I wasn’t
aware at the time, but when I finished the album,
I realized what I had done. I taught myself
because they put these lessons in my head,
and when I started being honest with myself
creatively, I learned.”
Eaglespeaker’s passion for music is something
he wears on his sleeve. The North Sound have
been grinding it out in the Calgary music fray for
several years, and are on the brink of their most
anticipated release since conception in 2014.
The new short album will be entitled SKAB,
and will include a track about his dad, “Fine”,
a tribute to his grandma, “Living Skies”, and
a personal memoir on his pursuit of eternal
happiness “If I Sleep”.
“Fine” is a cinematic sonnet with great lyrical
depth and smooth instrumental flow. The full
band drop at 1:30 leads steadily into a harmonica
solo which portrays Eaglespeaker’s masked
desperation to come to terms with the painful
losses he has faced.
There is a certain coherence between tracks
one and two. “Living Skies” opens with the same
harmonica melody as “Fine”, but progresses
more towards a stripped back melancholic tune.
Lyrically, this song is very relatable when
describing the turbine of emotions that circulate
when intoxicated. The song is ironic because the
guitar is very uplifting, but the lyrics cut right to
Eaglespeaker empties his closet of all of
his skeletons in this short and sweet Calgary
production. “If I Sleep” reveals some of his most
honest thoughts. The track contains some
riveting guitar licks, and a consistently groovy
“My dad taught me we are not in control of
our time here; it was all borrowed. My grandma
taught me how to love, how to be selfless, how
to be tough.” I asked if he had some closing
thoughts. He took his time, and stated: “I’m not
going to stop grinding.”
34 | OCTOBER 2017 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE
one event at a time, Graham MacKenzie builds a bigger universe for Calgary’s youth and immigrant groups
lot of people come here from all over the world. And
we found that even after they’ve been here 10 years,
they didn’t even know what Prince’s Island Park was.
Never been there, no idea what it’s about.”
Graham Mackenzie is a big strapping lad,
stretching up to a least six foot, four inches. Wearing a scruffy ball cap and
donning a shaggy, red fiery beard that all match his personality — informal, full of
juice and funny! But make no mistake, Mackenzie is a focused, creative force.
Raised on Vancouver Island he earned a degree in English literature and
psychology before venturing to Calgary to complete a Masters in Education. As
a teacher at the Calgary Immigrant Educational Society, he was involved with a
project called What Makes Calgary Beautiful that was based on a similar project
in San Francisco then modified to fit a Calgary context. Mackenzie and company
wanted to help immigrants get themselves grounded a little deeper in their new
“We went out and surveyed over a thousand people asking what they think
made Calgary beautiful. Questions like where do you spend your time, where
do go, what events and what is special about them? Also, what could make
Calgary better? And one of things that came up several times over and
over again is there’s not a lot of events with music that have access for
family with children. Not enough all-ages events.”
With that information the team Mackenzie was working with
created an “action plan” with his students and hosted an event
called a Pho Down (a mini-street fest along International Ave. SE
with several participating Vietnamese restaurants). From there
the idea of Major Minor leapt forward.
by B. Simm
minorities in their purist of art and music. In particular, Mackenzie looks to build
Major Minor on the same model used for the Vera Project based in Seattle.
“What they have is a live performance space, practice space, recording
studio, graphic design and silkscreen studio, an art gallery, so it’s a one stop
hub for everyone to come in, there’s access for everyone, and to meet people,
learn and do all that.”
The next Major Minor fundraising event is Punk Rock Bowling YYC at Paradise Lanes
Saturday, Nov. 4.
MAJOR MINOR MUSIC PROJECT
Mackenzie explains the reasoning behind the name is trying
to help minors, youth, and minorities have a major impact
in their lives with cultural and artistic development.
“Classically,” says Mackenzie, “all three levels of
government, municipal, provincial and federal, have not
adequately funded the arts, music or venues and spaces
for those under 18. The same applies to minorities who
come here from all over the world. Artists and musicians
wind up working in a warehouse, or janitorial or driving
a taxi and they don’t have an in, or the contacts. It’s very
difficult to navigate that in a new country with a new
language, so we’re trying to remove that as well.“
The primary goal right now for Major Minor is to
obtain enough resources through fundraising that comes
from the multitude of events they organize, promote and
host in order to have their own arts and music facility.
Following the Pho Down, Major Minor has put on a number
of Punk Rock Bowling nights at Paradise Lanes in Forest Lawn,
shows at Tubby Dog , Halloween in January that they intend
to move around to different community associations, an Axe
Throwing Contest, a Roller Derby at Max Bell Arena during Sled
Island, a Pinball Championship at the Atlantic Trap and Gill Pub
that had the most ever pinball machines (30) in one place before in
Calgary that was a roaring success with people coming from Edmonton,
Saskatchewan and BC to play, and most recently the Culture Days weekend
at McHugh House.
Mackenzie is full of colourful ideas that he keeps under wraps releasing them
one event at a time keeping the growing Major Minor followers in suspense
waiting with anticipation for the next big party. One of his bigger initiatives
is to link up Major Minor with other all-ages organizations in Portland and
Seattle creating a network and support structure that aims to foster youths and
In a colourful league of their own,
the inner circle of Major Minor
salute you at Paradise Lanes.
36 | OCTOBER 2017 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE
Major Minor turns a Forest Lawn bowling alley into a swingin’ hot spot
In a small bowling alley that sits on 34th Street
and 17th Avenue S.E., also known as International
Avenue, something unexpected happens
every couple months.
Walking into the basement, one can immediately
understand the appeal. It’s very retro, transporting
you back to a time you may have never known,
but have seen on television. The owner of Paradise
Lanes, Greg Decksheimer, explained that representatives
of the television series Fargo once scouted
the location, but it never panned out.
It makes sense then, that one of the most unconventional
non-profit groups in the city would
seek out this space to host their event, Punk Rock
Bowling. Major Minor Music Project, a local group
that seeks to create a vibrant all-ages music scene
in Calgary, has been selling out the spot.
To be precise, it’s their fifth time selling out
tickets. The most recent one, Punk Rock Bowling
YYC “Stampede edition”, which happened on July
15, was filled to capacity.
“They have the classic neon bowling pins and it’s
a basement retro alley, and the ownership and the
manager Mark … are incredible people to work
with,” explains Graham Mackenzie, founder of
Major Minor Music Project.
The smell of your grandparent’s attic wafts
through the air, provoking a sense of nostalgia,
some carnal desire to exist in this space if you can.
If that’s not something that keeps people coming
back, it’s at least a contributing factor. Decksheimer
explains that summer is the bowling alley’s
slow month, and the rest of the year is pretty fully
booked. Yet money isn’t what motivated the bowling
alley to work with Major Minor Music Project.
“What it does for Paradise Lanes is, when you fill
the house like Graham does, you get that exposure
every two to three months and it’s usually new
people every time at the Punk Rock Bowling so it’s
quite good,” says Decksheimer.
“We have a big bowling pin on top of the roof
and we have people come downstairs and say, ‘I
live around the corner and I didn’t know you were
here.’ And the punk rock bowling is giving us more
exposure, so our walk-in bowlers, which would be
just regular people coming in, is probably up 20
If you’ve never visited International Avenue, you
aren’t alone. It’s the 17th Avenue on the wrong
side of town, or so Calgarians like to imply about
the greater Forest Lawn area.
Hosting Punk Rock Bowling on International
Avenue was a conscious choice for Major Minor
Music Project and Mackenzie. Many of the volunteers
and attendees live on that side of the city,
many being newcomers to Calgary.
“What we’re doing with the project is also trying
to reduce stigma associated with East Calgary
as well, because lots of newcomers come and
move to East Calgary, and there’s an enduring
stigma in Calgary of living east of Deerfoot, about
whether it’s crime, or whatever the cliches of
stigma are in Calgary, the jokes and the underhanded
things they say,” explains Mackenzie. “So
everything is to create a positive image, and say
that there is a lot of positive — because there is
a lot of positive — [East Calgary is] transforming
and it’s transforming fast.”
That transformation is near impossible to miss.
If you were to visit today, you can see construc-
tion everywhere. Yet it’s filled with culture and a
resilience that persists in the face of any challenge
that’s thrown at it. Paradise Lanes is a testament
to this, having been open 60 years now, changing
ownership from time to time but always staying
exactly where it is.
The transformative but enduring effect of 17th
Avenue S.E. seems to affect Major Minor Music
Project, as Mackenzie says most of their events
take place in the area. Or perhaps the non-profit
affects 17th Avenue S.E. Maybe a little bit of both.
If there is a stigma surrounding 17th Avenue
S.E., there is certainly a stigma surrounding the
all-ages music scene. Such are the stereotypes of
the “music scene,” something that has often been
intertwined with negativity, imagery of drugs,
drinking, and general debauchery.
It’s not true, especially not to Mackenzie. He
was someone who faced barriers trying to enter
the scene, and understands that it’s potentially an
isolating place to be when you don’t have the support
you need as a young musician or fan. Major
Minor Music Project is trying to change that.
“When you fill the
house like Graham
does, you get that
exposure every two to
three months and it’s
usually new people
every time at the
Punk Rock Bowling”
“Creating access, creating opportunity for
people, every genre, everything, and just trying to
get everyone on side that’s it’s a necessity to have
a vibrant music scene,” Mackenzie says on what
the project is trying to inspire. “You have to have
a place that anyone can feel that they can get
access and do stuff and have a place where people
can learn how to run shows, put on shows, create
posters, create Internet content to promote their
bands, promote their shows, and have a helping
It’s not about competition, it’s not about trying
to one up each other. It’s something that seeks to
create a solid foundation for the all-ages scene.
“When I was younger, when I was trying to do
shows and come up, there was no help and I think
that’s not an uncommon story that a lot of people
do not have that help and do not have that collaborative
spirit and so I was creating an entity, an
organization, where the whole goal is to help you
and feel that there’s people helping you and want
you to succeed and that you can have a career in
arts and music.”
Mackenzie says his efforts have been very
successful. The project was originally founded on
a survey of over a thousand Calgarians, looking to
find out what was missing from the city, what they
thought would make it better. They wanted people
to experience all quadrants of the city, and with
that goal in mind and the compiled survey data,
they realized there was a real gap in all-ages venue
access in Calgary.
“There’s lots of barriers and isolation, and so it’s
kind of a place where people can perform, practice,
and engage in the music scene here in Calgary
as much as they can, it’s just increasing access, like
a hub for arts and engagement,” says Mackenzie.
The project persists into the future, with Mackenzie
citing the possible collaboration between
other non-profits similar to Major Minor Music
Project in the United States to create something
bigger, something that involves even more connection
and the “work together” spirit that Mackenzie
tenaciously seeks out.
by Amber McLinden
“I’m always looking for those people who are like,
‘Let’s try, let’s try, let’s give it a go,” Mackenzie says of
both his international counterparts and Paradise Lanes.
“Truly I believe anything is possible then, because if you
have enough people who are just willing to try, and
you get enough of those people together, then something
is going to happen, and then it increases your
chances that something incredible is going to happen.”
While opportunity continues to flourish and
grow for Major Minor Music Project, the contribution
and steadfast support of International Avenue
is clearly intertwined with their roots. In the grand
scheme, it’s a small part of Calgary, but it’s transformative
value is beyond measurement, both for
the physical part of the city and the people who
BEATROUTE • OCTOBER 2017 | 37
genre fest maintains insatiable, nerdy passion
Started in 2008(ish), DEDfest originally
began as Deadmonton, which is a
whole ‘nother story as far as Clayton
and Martin are concerned. Since that point
in time, the duo has grown into an eight
person not for profit venture, not including
“We initially started this to get drunk with
our friends and watch movies on the big
screen,” says Clayton, laughing. “But then we
realized we had a chance to build a community
and be a little incubator for this industry.”
Beginning mainly with horror films, DEDfest
has expanded into a genre fest, screening
sci-fi, action, grindhouse and more. The
accessibility to host directors, actors and
general up-and-comers in the industry has
rounded out the experience, connecting
film geeks more closely with places like Los
Angeles or Austin.
With the festival now at a breaking point,
Clayton and Martin still seem hopeful, or at
least at peace with whatever outcome they
receive. There was no point during the interview
in which they sounded confident that this
would in fact be the last year.
“Right now the issue we’re facing with funding
is tricky,” explains Clayton. “Our costs are
going up and our funding isn’t. We’re almost
solely reliant on ticket sales. We see this as an
investment, we sacrifice work, relationships, etc.
and we’re hoping the city chooses to send us
some extra funding to keep going. The phoenix
may rise out of the ashes again.”
Despite challenges with funding, the
festival is still moving forward with quality
programming, screening films from Uganda,
Canada, Germany, the United States and
Indonesia. Included this year are documentaries
(Geek Girls, a documentary about
women who are changing and embracing
geek culture as we know it), body horror
(notably found in Replace, a story of a
woman with decaying skin who realizes the
flayed skin of others regenerates hers), dark
comedies (Tragedy Girls, a slasher film about
getting wrapped up in social media followers
that drives a pair of friends to their edge)
and sci-fi/action (Beyond Skyline, a film shot
in Indonesia, expect alien kaiju fights and
more). All of this and more is featured just in
the first wave.
Films are chosen based on what is being
offered to the fest to premiere as well as the
potential for conversation around a film. Take
for example last year’s screening of The Greasy
“When we screened The Greasy Strangler,
we warned people they would either love it or
hate it,” laughs Martin. “And it did exactly what
it was supposed to do. It’s boring if everyone
agrees. The lobby in the Garneau [Theatre] is
special like that; people are drinking beers and
discussing the movies. That’s the community
we wanted to create.”
In addition to a genre leaping first wave
of films, DEDfest is also introducing a jury
for the first time in their history. Clayton
Cheeky avant-garde festival heads into its 10th year.
makes it very clear that it’s important for
the festival to expand boundaries within the
film industry, especially when it comes to
helping make women feel welcome and valued.
Hence why the jury will be comprised
of all women, who are not yet entirely
“It’s become more and more important to
do this,” Clayton explains. “There have all ready
been naysayers asking why there aren’t men on
the jury and I’ve been using the stock answer,
‘it’s 2017.’ But in the past week I’ve come to
understand why we’re doing this and that’s the
obvious toxic bro culture in the genre. There’s
an acceptance of sexual harassment and even
assault. It’s become this thing where we know
we need to chip away at this toxicity. Let’s fuck
with the boys club.”
by Brittany Rudyck
photo: Angie Sobota
Within all of the strain and potential stress
of planning a festival, Clayton and Martin
appear to prioritize their friendship and
fandom over all, taking the time to represent
Edmonton on an international level at
various festivals when they can. Community
and friendship are obviously very important
to the two.
“When it comes to DEDfest, I always
compare us to Public Enemy. Derek is Chuck D;
he’s the brains behind it. The programmer. I’m
Flavor Flav. I’m the hype machine. Make sure
you include that,” laughs Martin.
DEDfest X: The Final Chapter runs October 17
until October 22 at the Metro Cinema (Edmonton).
Passes can be purchased online or at the
Lobby DVD Shop on Whyte Avenue.
38 | OCTOBER 2017 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE
punk attitude meets skillful composition
Solo project injected with fresh blood on new record
In the years since Cassia Hardy’s project Wares surfaced,
admiration for the 25-year-old’s music has
grown with every recording and performance.
In fact, the praise she received following the
release of her 7-inch on Sweety Pie Records in
March 2016, and the accompanying jaw-dropping
Edmonton release show at the Needle Vinyl
Tavern, could almost come across as hyperbole
THE ROYAL FOUNDRY
duo ditches folk for synth pop
How does a nice church-raised couple out of Sherwood
Park get married, form a band, then transition
from a banjo-slinging folk-pop duo to a jet-setting
synth-pop band knocking on the door of international
acclaim, all in four years? The list of milestones in the short
career of Jared and Bethany Salte’s The Royal Foundry are
enviable and inspiring to those craving hometown examples
of how to make a career in music in the blue collar north.
The August 2017 release of Lost in Your Head has been met
with critical acclaim, following a successful trajectory paved by
a handful of singles. It also follows their successful 2014 breakthrough
Wherever We Go – which iTunes lists as “traditional
folk.” Where did this sound take a turn? Why would one make
such a change?
“There were a lot of things that led to that conversion all at
once,” explains Jared, one half of the founding duo.
“My previous band had a lot of alternative, electro songs, so
it was just a natural progression, it wasn’t a big jump for me.
The first song we wrote at that time which carried that vibe
was “Running Away,” which we weren’t even sure was going to
be a Royal Foundry song.”
That song ended up in the Top 30 of Canadian Alternative
charts, and received a feature placement in TSN’s CFL
The band followed that up with the single “Dreamers,”
which was picked up for Disney’s 2017 Wedding Dress Fashion
Line, then “Start This Fire” was placed in a Purina commercial
and their latest singles “Never Have Time” and “All We Have”
are receiving airplay and charting across the country. Diving
into synth-driven electro-pop has paid off it seems, as they
photo: Haley Pukanski
because of the sheer number of positive adjectives
However the esteem is warranted and the proof
is in the way Wares’ music has exploded over the
In the first eight months of 2017 alone, a winter
tour took Hardy around the west, including stops
at Calgary’s Big Winter Classic and Winnipeg’s Big
have also secured a publishing deal with Peermusic, and find
themselves frequently in Chicago, New York or Nashville
(where BeatRoute caught up with them), writing songs and
“The first album was the first folk songs I had ever
written,” elaborates Jared, identifying the first album as the
Lost in Your Head is not a guitar album, it’s a synth album.
It fits nicely in the pocket of recent Coldplay territory, with
some eclectic Arcade Fire moments. It is melody-first writing,
wrapped in danceable, memorable beats and textures that
require volume and space. Jared also wears the producer hat
in the band, but writing this album included collaborating
with outside producers for the first time. Bethany explains the
process; “We began working with one producer who really
polished a number of our songs, which was really exciting.”
Jared continues, “Six of the songs, the dancey songs, were
co-produced by Samuel Hanson and the rest produced by us.”
The focus on consolidating and polishing these 13 tracks
has paid off. The group is a role model for how to succeed in
today’s music economy via publishing and placements and
performing. Album sales don’t pay the bills, but great songs
get placed in ads, in soundtracks and sold to other artists.
It’s a global economy and Lost in Your Head is a signpost
firmly planted in Alberta for other regional artists pointing
to new opportunities.
The Royal Foundry performs at the Needle Vinyl Tavern on
October 15 (Edmonton) for an all-ages show with guests Belle
Game and Dylan Ella.
Fun. She performed at Vancouver’s Music Waste,
Sled Island in Calgary and FLIP, a femme and
gender non-conforming festival in Lethbridge over
the summer. She was also nominated for two 2017
Edmonton Music Awards for Indie Rock Recording
of the Year and People’s Choice.
But it’s not just the music scene that’s taken
note of Wares this year. She performed at the Mayor’s
Pride Brunch in Edmonton, played Calgary’s
Fairy Tales Queer Film Festival and led workshops
at Camp fYrefly, which is Canada’s only national
leadership retreat for LGBT youth. The camp helps
youth discover themselves and their identities in
what she called, “the coolest thing I’ve ever been
asked to be a part of in my artistic life.”
Now, with Cassia’s solo endeavor turned threepiece
band’s latest self-titled album, recorded by Calgary
indie-stalwart Lorrie Matheson (Napalmpom,
Rae Spoon), it’s clear the future belongs to Wares.
BeatRoute caught up with Hardy to talk about
the new record, the inspirations guiding it and the
musicians who helped birth it.
“The songs were all written by me over the last
three or four years. Those years were very important
years for my growth,” she says. “I call this my
meteor record, because if I get smitten from the
heavens the day this album comes out, at least the
world will have a cohesive collection of songs that
express the art I want to make, tested over years of
shows and tours.”
These years clearly provided Cassia with a genuine
sense of awareness and confidence and that’s
uncovered as soon as the record begins with the
Synthy new sound, same sweet couple.
by Tyler Bedford
twang and whistle of soulful opener “City Kids.”
It’s this sense of city, her surroundings and some
local artists within it like I Hate Sex, Faith Healer
and Marlaena Moore, that helped shape the
“I have a complicated relationship with [Edmonton]
and the stolen land it’s built on,” explains
“But it’s my home and I love the people here
very much. That’s this record.”
The love she feels is palpable throughout, translating
to varied offerings. There’s the suave, jazzy
feel of “Sleepwalker,” punk-infused toe tappers like
“What You Want,” “Mission Hill,” and “Die Here”
(all of which have a New Pornographers/Superchunk
feel), acoustic ditty “Out All Night,” and
the haunting “Dirt.” This is a record of a matured,
According to Hardy, it was the addition of bass
(Matthew Gooding) and drums (Holly Greaves) by
some of Alberta’s best and busiest session musicians
that helped cultivate the songs and brought
her music to life.
“I’m excited for everyone to hear how Wares
adapts and evolves with the new rhythm section.”
Wares’ self-titled full-length is out on October 6 via
Double Lunch Productions. See the three-piece band
on October 18 at Local 510 (Calgary), October 19 at
Blueprint Productions (Lethbridge), and on October
22 at the Good Will – Social Club (Winnipeg). The “big
release show” is scheduled for October 26; details to be
by Glen Erikson
BEATROUTE • OCTOBER 2017 | 39
Theatrical new album takes centre stage
Theatre performer focuses on moody new tunes.
Since Lindsey Walker’s move to Edmonton from
Winnipeg 12 years ago, she’s shifted her focus
in the performing arts from theatre and acting
to music and songwriting. Walker’s debut album
Our Glory preceded a nomination for the “Artist to
Watch” award at the Edmonton Music Awards in
2013. Her notoriety has been snowballing ever since.
“I came to a crossroads about how I wanted to
focus my energy, whether promoting myself and being
self-directed as an actor-performer or as a musical
performer,” explains Walker. “I chose music over theatre,
not to say that I don’t think of myself as a theatre
performer, but I did choose to focus on music.”
The dramatic elements of her theatre background
are certainly apparent in the new album this desolate
bliss., which she describes as “cinematic roots rock.”
Appropriately, her music is comparable to observing
a stage production with evocative emotional
investment. One becomes swept up in the storytelling
and the development of a seemingly tragic character.
In addition to the visible heartbreak of the lyrics, the
album is pulsing and magnetically resounding with a
deep sense of vibrancy. The piano, synth, guitar, vocals,
and stripped-down percussion exhibit a haunted,
shimmering evolution in the quality of her work. She
instills hopefulness alongside gloom. This is in part
due to Walker’s resilient and earnest vocals. Picture a
melodramatic character driving 500 kilometres on a
highway, far away from a hopeless relationship, while
listening to this album; honouring the desolation while
steering toward a blissful freedom.
Walker is able to balance a complex chemistry
of rock and folk, which lends to the album’s dark,
“I love rock and roll music, but I don’t really play
rock and roll,” Walker admits.
by Elizabeth Eaton
photo: Jeff Woodward
“I was just listening to a lot of classical rock records.
They didn’t influence the album sonically but definitely
influenced me a lot as a human being, I guess. I was
just listening to a lot of atmospheric music, and I really
love the idea of the sounds accompanying something
more than just something to listen to. The music I
was creating was almost like a textural feeling with the
element of the reverb or the echo, just the space that
was created. And that’s really what I dove into when I
was looking at it.”
So, heartache is just one road to bliss. It would
also seem that distilling key elements of folk and rock
within an “apocalyptic, cinematic” vibe is a road to the
mainstream; this album could be resounding for many
types of audiences. Walker certainly does not resonate
with simply one characterization of her music.
“I am not a fan of being called a strictly roots artist
or folk artist because I don’t see myself as that, but I’m
starting to accept it a little more. I think that’s a normal
situation for contemporary artists, unless we strive
for those categorizations, we don’t usually fit in those
boxes. I’m a big fan of creating those titles and terms
like cinematic roots-rock.”
Walker has hired a set designer and is co-creating a
theatre setup for her album debut concert at the Royal
“It will be more of a visual element than just
bare stage. I have these big ideas, almost illusions
Walker’s “illusions” notwithstanding, one can expect
grandiosity in a very real way from this desolate bliss.
Lindsey Walker will debut of this desolate bliss. at the
Royal Alberta Museum on October 20 (Edmonton) with
Eliot Thomas and Jordan Norman. The album will also
be available for download on music platforms.
YOU CAN’T STAY HERE
story collection tells of emigrating from a conflict zone
As fall signals a state of change and triggers
the seasonal affective defences to go on
high alert, it’s important to remember
just how fortunate most of us are to be faced
only with cold and snow as external threats. At
such times as these, it would be an act of selflove
to warm up one’s cockles with a captivating
piece of fresh Can-Lit from a local talent. In
Jasmina Odor’s collection of stories, You Can’t
Stay Here published by Thistledown Press, she
presents a stark and honest perspective on
emigrating from a conflict zone, alongside tales
of the tribulations of navigating family and
Odor immigrated to Canada from Croatia in
1993 as a child, shortly after the outbreak of the
Bosnian war. Her stories reflect an attitude toward
the world cultivated by these experiences. Currently
a professor at Concordia University of Edmonton
as well as a finalist for the 2017 CBC Short Story
Prize, Odor continues to evolve before our eyes
and offer new glimpses into her past.
“Many of the stories are picking up on things
that I saw or heard or lived through and much
of it is about the experience of being displaced,”
Displacement is running theme, notably
approached through two perspectives: first, the
physical displacement of the body during times
of conflict; second, the internal displacement
of emotions from their origin into the moment-by-moment
reality of the character’s lives.
Often, characters are consumed by guilt for real or
perceived injustices they have endured or, in some
cases, inflicted. Much of the tension in these stories
is created by the resolution of these emotions, or
the lack of a resolution.
The stories in You Can’t Stay Here create a sense
Local author tells tales of immigration and displacement.
by Michael Podgurney
of being present, yet metaphorically somewhere
else. Odor’s characters try to piece their worlds
together and often it is youth who, with their fresh
perspectives, offer the most clarity within juxtaposing
“The war ending brought us not a return but
a chasm between past and future,” explains the
narrator of the story “Skin Like Almonds,” a young
Croatian girl embroiled in a passionate summer
holiday of flirtation on her native Adriatic coast
after the war has ended.
The stories are also reflective of life as characters
seek clarity, carve out new lives, but bring
remnants of their former lives along. Odor writes
the Edmonton setting with a perfect unfamiliarity;
fittingly, her first impressions of her move to Edmonton
after relocating from her previous city of
Toronto were, “the broadness of things, the bigness
of things. Just kind of the size of the streets.”
“And the relative absence of people. I remember
walking and driving and thinking… ‘Is there
a reason why nobody [is] on the streets today?’”
This is a typical Edmonton experience for many,
yet intimidating and initially bleak.
Jasmina Odor’s writing style is a pleasure to read.
The stories are narrated with attentive intelligence,
a voice mellifluous with bright wisdom, but not
overly decorative or ornamental. The relationships
between characters are conceived with a hand
flush with experience, and her sense of metaphor
is playful in its perceptiveness, harking back to her
You Can’t Stay Here will be available in bookstores
and online on October 7. You can visit Jasmina
Odor at Audrey’s Book Store on October 26 (Edmonton)
for the official book launch.
photo: Will Fraser
40 | OCTOBER 2017 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE
17 years later, they’re back for one more by Kennedy Pawluk
Keeping the ‘90s nostalgia train rolling.
In 1992, University of Alberta students Lyle Bell,
Steve Derpack, Randy Diachuk and Sean Rivalin
formed mollys reach. The band that would later
become one of the most successful and important
Edmonton bands throughout the ‘90s.
Known for their fuzzed out, power pop grunge
sound, mollys reach maintained their characteristically
‘90s sound somewhere between Everclear’s
“Sparkle and Fade” and Sloan’s “Twice Removed.”
Although they originally founded with a different
drummer, Derpack or “Derpy” as the band
affectionately dubbed him, recollects his recruitment
into the band.
“Their former, uncommitted drummer asked me
if I could do a sound check for them so he could
take his girlfriend to the symphony that evening.”
Derpack stepped in and the sound check turned
into a full-on jam. This trend continued at several rehearsals
and Derpack continued to step in because
he was always hanging around. Eventually he got the
full-time gig after the old drummer got the boot.
Fed up with school, Rivalin and Derpack
coincidentally both quit university on the same
day. Later that week Randy followed suit, and they
decided to make the band their focus. After several
years of performing, mollys reach released their
debut album Persephone in 1995.
The subsequent touring and positive reception
of the release gained the band some national notoriety.
This helped them get signed to a subsidiary
of BMG Music Canada for their 1996 release Hi-fi
and Stereo. Hi-fi and Stereo saw mollys reach hit
their peak, which culminated in regular airplay on
commercial radio and MuchMusic, several cross
Canada tours, a trip to Texas and an opening slot
for Savage Garden (who sound nothing like mollys
reach) at the Northlands Coliseum (RIP). In 1999,
the band released their final album Vertigogo
photo: Lyle Bell
through their own, and now defunct, Edmonton
label Green Pepper Records. Their final show went
down at the Rev Cabaret (now the Starlite Room)
and mollys reach fizzled out.
“Well, we didn’t ever quit or really play a final
show it was more like, ‘yeah we’ll take a break and
see what we do,’” recalls Derpack.
“And instead of coming back together we all just
did other things.”
Since then Derpack has grown to become a
major player within the Edmonton music scene,
having promoted at venues like The Power Plant,
The Rev Cabaret and Avenue Theatre. He runs a
production company called JCL Productions and is
the executive director of The Arts Touring Alliance
of Alberta. Bell continued playing music and has
experienced success as a member of Slow Fresh
Oil, Whitey Houston, Shout Out Out Out Out and
The Wet Secrets among others, in addition to his
successful career as a graphic designer. Meanwhile,
Diachuk works in computer tech and Rivalin as a
After years of considering getting back together
for a reunion show, the guys have finally found
time between their busy careers and family life
to make it happen. 25 years after the birth of the
band, mollys reach will play their first show in
nearly 17 years.
“We’ve had a jam already and two things start
going through my mind,” says Bell. “One, that
inter-band dynamic still exists: Derpack and Sean
still bicker and it feels like all that time disappeared
and everything is the same. Secondly: there was
no rust. I was expecting it to be way worse than it
turned out to be!”
Watch Mollys Reach at the Needle Vinyl Tavern on
November 4 (Edmonton) with guests Blasphemedia.
BEATROUTE • OCTOBER 2017 | 41
spectral trance of European mindscape
Duo create bewitching Parisian soundscapes.
by Caroline Reynolds
photo: Fish Griwkowsky
No strangers to Edmonton’s music scene, Dara Humniski (The Lad
Mags) and Amy van Keeken (The Secretaries, The AwesomeHots)
have recently released a four song EP titled Awake Asleep under the
Mysticeti has melded our favourite aspects of these respected muses to create
a hypnotizing resonance on Awake Asleep. Haunting voices, electric sonority and
ambient sounds create a nostalgic illusion for the listener to drift into.
“I think we’re both interested in capturing an honest feeling or rawness of
something, and not interested in perfection or clean sterility,” explains Humniski.
The EP derives deep inspiration from the duo’s three-week artist residency
this past summer at Break’Art Mix (BAM) in Paris. The osmosis of the Parisian
experience is clear in their title track, “Awake Asleep.”
“It’s about that murky, deep moment between sleep and reality, or that layer
of misunderstanding that comes from being hazily drunk, not knowing if you
are dreaming or awake. Like swimming in a lake and trying to look through dark
Manifesting deep atmospheric drones, the song could easily be a soundtrack
for a band of monks retreating into a monastery. This phantom essence resides
throughout the whole album.
The crashing bells from the Notre Dame Cathedral draw the curtains on the
second track. Captured on zoom recorder, Mysticeti infuses the ancient chimes
with shuffling voices of passersby, creating a natural transport into the centre of
crowded European streets.
“Dissecting the melodies of the bells, we composed this song on the beautiful
soft piano at the residency…. Dara added ambient electric guitar and Doug (Organ
of Edmonton synth pop act Le Plaisir) washed dishes in the background.”
When asked about the unusual dish filled field recording, Humniski explains,
“it made sense to keep it in and not try to ‘fix’ it by scrubbing that out. The residency
is in a small apartment and you share the space with the two lovely hosts.
There is a beautiful old piano in the space, not a ton of privacy, but it’s warm and
open and we didn’t want to erase that texture and reality.”
The final song on the album, “Night River,” binds the album together with
a groovier tune. Drawing from the “influence of ‘60s French pop,” the backing
organ creates the illusion of walking through European streets at night with a
gang of mischievous ghouls.
Awake Asleep is available now on Scorpio 76 Records. You can listen to it now at
https://mysticeti.bandcamp.com/album/awake-asleep. Watch for Mysteceti’s live
appearances and music videos throughout the fall and winter.
dream pop punks gaining momentum
photo: Josh Sahunta
Some bands come together spontaneously with the same
creative goal from the get go. Others, like Edmonton’s
Backcurrents, get a little help from Kijiji and ditching residue
from previous projects. Bassist and vocalist Dustin Rogers
and guitarist Kevin Kusiak have been playing in bands together
for a number of years on a somewhat blurry timeline as well
as a nearly undeterminable amount of incarnations. The pair
most recently played in a band called the Dropouts, a pop-punk
project that played a few shows and seemingly fizzled out.
“We decided we didn’t want to play that kind of music anymore,”
explains Rogers. “We wanted to get something new and
fresh going and started seeking band members. Kevin reached out
to Josh, who he knew from Kijiji and eventually jamming together a
new quartet seething with caustic grind
Anyone who’s dipped their toes into Edmonton’s underground
heavy scene gets the sense it’s a tight knit
community. Bands form and fall apart almost just as
quickly as members move to other cities or simply step down
from existing projects. Suffer Me is a prime example of this,
formed by Brett McKay after the dissolution of hardcore group,
Disabler. McKay’s songs began to take form with the help of
Disabler’s drummer, Justin Smith. Once the vocalist for Contention,
known as Josh Littlechilds joined, the intent was to create
a studio project. But, Littlechilds moved across the country
shortly after and it was back to square one.
A year later, Suffer Me has a full band comprised of McKay, Justin
Muscoby, Lee Zacharko and Dominic Avila Alvernaz. The result is
an amalgamation of the member’s former and current projects,
featuring a hardcore sound with sharp grind and math elements.
Their debut self-titled album is 10 short tracks ripe with technically
sharp guitar and seething vocals. With a line-up cemented and
plans to begin playing live shows, McKay pointed out to BeatRoute
that the group is all ready moving forward sonically from what’s on
“It’s completely different because a lot of the first stuff was just
me,” explains McKay. “This is way more interactive. Lee, Justin and
I have a great creative relationship and there’s a lot more development
happening with the songs now.”
Even though their artistic direction might be evolving, it won’t
be a major departure from the sound of their first single “Dissolve
and Reform,” a blistering punch to the face delivered in just over
“That song is a really good link from the first record to what
we’re doing now,” confirms McKay. “In my opinion it was one of the
by Brittany Rudyck
few years ago. Then we needed a drummer. I decided to drum and
sing at first, which was awkward.”
Guitarist Josh Mckenney chimes in with a chuckle, “we were
getting too much of a Phil Collins vibe.”
Once the trio tagged in Jeff Savage on drums (another find from
Kijiji), the group was able to settle into the early stages of their
atmospheric, dreamy pop punk sound, name dropping influences
like Thrice and Slowdive. Despite not having a full body of music
released into the world just yet, Backcurrents have been sampling
singles via their Facebook page paired with lyric videos they’ve
created. Attracted to incorporating visual arts, the band uses projections
at as many live performances as they can. The effort hasn’t
gone unnoticed by artist development company YEG Music. Voted
“Band of the Month” for September, the group has been steadily
working toward a debut EP, which they hope to have completed as
soon as possible.
“It’s all a process,” Mckenney says.
“When you get four creative minds together, it sometimes takes
time to get to a place where we’re all comfortable. As much as
we’re all artistically driven to get our own way, in a way, we’re all
understanding of what needs to get done and happen to keep
With two singles out, “The Water” and “Castles,” the band still
seems to be finding their distinctive sound, tip-toeing around some
elements of shoegaze laced with gripping guitars and emotional
“We’re all over the place trying new things and new genres,”
concludes Kusiak. “It’s all just growing pains at this point.”
Backcurrents play the Forge on Whyte on October 21 (Edmonton)
with Kane Incognito (who will be celebrating an album release), Mike
Nash and Double Double.
by Brittany Rudyck
photo: Kitrina Brodhecker
better songs on the record and it’s really indicative of where I was
When BeatRoute asked about which other projects each member
was in McKay began listing bands like Slumlord and Master
Splinter, alluding to the closeness of the heavy community.
“I’ve only lived in Edmonton for eight or so years now, but it’s
always just kind of gone like that. It’s not abnormal for people to
be in five bands simultaneously. The output is massive and it’s an
active and energetic scene, but it’s a really small group of people
doing it. More so than other genres I would say.”
Suffer Me release their self-titled album on October 11. Head to
https://www.facebook.com/suffermeband/ for future show listings.
42 | OCTOBER 2017 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE
BOOK OF BRIDGE
BLOOD REZ CREW
hip-hop reiterating the Blackfoot experience
Crewmembers Carl ‘Tukk’ Brave Rock (left) and Jessie Blackwater (second from left), with friends.
music is very heavily Blackfoot.
We talk a lot about being native. We
wear it proudly,” says Carl ‘Tukk’ Brave
Rock, one of the initial founders of Blood Rez Crew,
which first came together in 2002.
Joined by Jessie Blackwater a couple years later,
the duo are now the sole remaining members of the
crew, and are poised to released a full-length studio
album dubbed Four Stories on November 14, produced
by Aboriginal People’s Choice Award winner
Modern day First Nations story tellers from the
Kainai Nation, the pair combines their love of hiphop
with a reverence for their traditional Blackfoot
culture, sharing stories about their relationship with
their community and the reserve, tackling difficult
topics such as poverty, violence, and alcohol abuse,
that stem from the trauma of Canada’s colonial
Amid the struggle, there is strength.
“When we go back in history, our people, they
were very put under a thumb,” says Blackwater.
“Once the treaties were signed and they were put
on reserves, our freedoms and everything were kind
of taken away from us. And we were always scared,
we were always scared of the white people, we were
scared of the police, we were scared of the residential
schools, the priests, all these people. Our grandparents,
they lived in fear. And today, we are the first
generation that is coming out of colonization, and
we’re no longer scared.”
“And so now, our people, the ones that are moving
ahead, and not stuck under that depression from
the residential era, that aspect, we’re kind of moving
forward from that, and we’re just trying. That’s what
this album is like, [Brave Rock] said he wanted it to
represent that resiliency.”
“So in there we have songs about, just trying to get
by, and being able to do what we want to do now,”
“We have a song where we talk about suicide,
and that was one of the first songs that we recorded,
and was probably the hardest song for us to record,
because Carl lost his sister, who was my best friend,
[she] committed suicide 11 years ago. We’ve had to
deal with a lot of these issues. This is our outlet, to let
all of these things out. Other than that, there’s really
fun songs on there, songs about how we love hiphop,
it’s different, where it sounds real gangster kind
of, and then there’s the fun hip-hop kind of thing. It’s
In the wake of losing valuable founding member
Jared Panther Bone months into working on the
album due to creative differences, the remaining
members have welcomed members of their community
“It’s a collective. The beautiful thing about it is
putting all these different minds and personalities
together,” says Brave Rock. “We went into this process
not knowing what it’s going to be when we’re done.
Which is the way I personally enjoy working. When
by Courtney Faulkner
I’m about to do something I just want to trust that
whatever comes out of my brain is going to be something
beautiful in the end.”
The album will feature KillaCam of Savage Music
Group, Heidi Mason, who is new to the game at
17-years-old, alongside veteran rapper Amber Creighton,
HellnbacK, Chuck Bones, a local rapper from
Standoff, and Casey Weasel Head.
“Everybody that we’ve got on the album,
they’re really excited about it. And it’s cool,
because a lot of them have never had this experience
before, you know to do recordings, or to
get on stage and rap in front of people, just to
perform,” says Blackwater.
“It’s opening them up to other possibilities.”
The pair, who have a found a connection to their
communities through their music, are both in their
30’s and looking to support the next generation in
their creative expression, and their healing.
“In the communities, in Standoff, and in Moses
Lake, these communities there’s a lot of kids that
struggle with the ghettoization in that area,” says
“I find when they hear our music, they’re connected
to that, cause a lot of the things that we talk
about, they see it, they know what we’re talking
about, and they know who we are too.”
He concludes, “We see kids that want to do music,
and I think that’s something that we want to start
pushing, these kids to do that. To do music, anything
even like poetry, acting, theatre.”
Blood Rez Crew release their album Four Stories
on November 14, and plan to have a release party
in their community on the Kainai Nation. Learn
more about them at https://www.facebook.com/
THE NEW WEATHER MACHINE
flowing with the changes
Multi-instrumentalist Jon Martin’s sophomore
release Seas of Dawn is a layered alternative,
progressive rock album. Self released on September
15, it’s the introduction to a multi-part epic that
will be followed by its counterpart in early 2018.
“I realized half way through [writing this album] that I
was writing another record,” says Martin.
“But I didn’t realize it because everything new is exciting,
and so I wanted to put everything new on this record.”
The overarching theme of moving through irreversible
change is what connects this collections of songs together,
and anything outside of that Martin recognized as being
another body of work.
“Moving through perpetual change; that would be the
single concept of the album. So sometimes change is good,
and sometimes change is scary, and sometimes change just
happens, and it is exactly what it is.”
Fittingly, the album will evoke different emotional
responses in the listener with its seemingly odd genre shifts.
Effortlessly shifting from a subdued form of indie folk to
jazzy soundscapes reminiscent of Genesis style prog in a
single song, it was recorded, mixed and produced by Martin
in Lethbridge and takes the listener on an varied nine-track
journey. Heightened by a host of musicians and the mastering
of João Carvalho, it’s available now on CD and digitally.
Correspondingly, the record was influenced by an experimental
sound project, Open Doors and Parallel Windows,
which Martin exhibited at the Southern Alberta Art Gallery
(SAAG) from May through June of this year. The piece, as
a part of his master’s thesis researching music psychology
and electroacoustic composition, explores the relationship
between timbre, the perceived sound quality of a musical
note, and a person’s emotional experience and reaction to
“How does sound, and the colour of sound, and the
shape of sound, and the familiarity of sound, how does
that affect and influence emotional response?” questions
“There isn’t even really a specific narrative I was trying to
imply with that piece, nor at any point specific emotions,
because you can’t,” says Martin, perhaps intentionally drawing
parallels to his similarly sensory and varied music.
“But what you can do is you can connect those things
together in parallel and in sequence that will make you feel
like something has occurred, because you’re going through
The New Weather Machine play at Owl Acoustic Lounge on
November 11 (Lethbridge). Listen to and purchase Seas of
Dawn at https://thenewweathermachine.bandcamp.com.
Exploring sound through art and music.
by Courtney Faulkner
BEATROUTE • OCTOBER 2017 | 43
a year of breaking new ground
An absurdly dark still taken from Eazy Mac’s new video.
It was almost exactly a year ago that Eazy Mac,
whose real name is Mac Barett, performed on
the main stage at 2016’s One Love music festival,
showcasing the songs from his then newly released
Music For The Visually Impaired album.
As 2017 progressed so did the scale of his appearances,
which saw him share the stage with artists like
cate lyrics delivered
through Barett’s sedated
According to Barett
the forthcoming album
heavily follows the first
stylistically. The 40 000-
plus plays on tracks like
“Tortured Genius” and
“Problems” shows that
he’s found a formula
that works, and now he
just has to refine it.
“I think the last
album was adapting my
vibe, and this one is just
building on that,” says
“I think I’m just going
to be honest, I’m just
going to do my thing
and whatever comes
out comes out.
“I think I’m going
to get a little bit more
personal with certain
things, but not stray
too far away from what
I’ve been doing.”
What’s changed this
photo: Dele Adereti
time around, however,
is that Barett’s spent
Jazz Cartier, Rich Chigga, Kid Ink, and Merkules.
the last year taking note of what elements from
Now, as the year turns to dusk, a new video for the
his music work best in a live setting, something he
track “#itsEazy” also signals the start of a new chapter.
says will be incorporated into the new release.
It’s the first video from his forthcoming sophomore
“There’s going to be more stuff I can perform,
release, and it sets the tone for what to expect next.
and have more crowd interaction type shit going
Like the first album, the new song combines
on,” he says.
themes of drug use with hazy beats and intri-
by Jonathan Crane
The music video also represented a new approach
stylistically and production-wise for Barett and co-director
Dele “Dizzy” Adereti, who also co-directed the
first album’s short film.
“I’ve always wanted to put out a very high
end, high budget video with a lot of different
sets and a lot of different slap you in the face
type shit,” says Barett. “So it’s like a dream come
true in a way.”
The song itself was produced and recorded in Vancouver
by Adam Stanton, the producer behind many
of the tracks on the first album. After coming back to
Calgary, Barett then returned to Vancouver to work
with Adereti on the video.
“He’s really good with bringing stuff out of me,”
says Barett. “If I have an idea he helps me articulate it.”
The duo also assembled a production crew that
dwarfed the size and scope of last year’s short film.
“I rented out a couple studios at the Vancouver
Film School, Dizzy got a bunch of people together
that went to Vancouver Film School that all specialized
in different shit like make-up and building sets
and stuff like that,” says Barett of the video, which
depicts the gold grilled Eazy in a talk show about
dead beat dads.
“I walked in the first day and it was pretty serious,
there was already like 15 people doing shit. I was like
‘holy this is a real thing.’”
After the video was released on September 11 it
amassed 215 000 views on Facebook within the first
week, signaling that this could also be Barett’s first
foray into going viral.
Currently the forthcoming album is slated for
release in early 2018 at the latest.
Watch Eazy Mac’s new video on YouTube and watch
for his new album, coming soon.
BEATROUTE • OCTOBER 2017 | 45
jump-up is just what it is and doesn’t care
Halloween is a special and wildly anticipated
time for all show-going peoples; it’s a
chance to see multiple great shows at your
favourite venues that have been transformed into
essentially high-wattage haunted houses. For the
raving community, and perhaps the drum and
bass community doubly so, it is truly something to
celebrate. Promoters pull out all the stops and you
get a chance to don your freakiest festival garb and
unleash yourselves in full festival mode on to the
Fright Night is one example of a show that embodies
that amazing Halloween/rave hybrid. Now celebrating
a remarkable 22 years running, it has become the
subject of legend within the electronic community of
Calgary. The 403DNB team brought Mob Tactics and
The Prototypes for the 2016 rendition; this year they’ve
booked two heavy hitters with Dieselboy and London’s
Heist. BeatRoute caught up with the former in advance
of this massive occasion.
Drum and bass, especially in Calgary and certainly
less so in the U.K. where Heist calls home, would arguably
be viewed as less accessible than some of EDM’s
slower, less intense sub-genres. Going even further
down that rabbit hole, it could also be said that within
drum’n’bass, jump-up is the least accessible sub-genre,
with its ruthlessly high tempos and unrelenting, abrasive
bass-lines. However, Heist, a.k.a. Jim Muir, says that
simply isn’t the case.
“Less accessible isn’t really a [phrase] I’d use to describe
‘jump-up’ at all to be honest,” says Muir.
“In London, jump-up parties have some of the
biggest raves and attendances, very accessible
and really, very embraced. Not just London either:
Bristol, Birmingham, Southampton, Brighton,
Bournemouth — that’s just off the top of my head.
I love how jump-up is just what it is and doesn’t
care. The people who listen to it don’t care if you
like it or not either! It is like any sub genre, a good
track is a good track.”
And Muir knows a thing or two about good tracks.
by Paul Rodgers
photo: Chelone Wolf
In addition to being one of the most in-demand jumpup
DJs, Heist also celebrates nearly 20 years of music
production, and was a sound engineer even before
that. In fact, he worked as sound engineer for Goldie,
one of the genres most important figures, for almost
He also has his hands in three different record labels.
“Co-Lab, Calypso and Sumo Beatz all have their path
and there is plenty going on with all three,” says Muir.
“For instance in 2018 we already have nine projects
ready to go across all three labels from artists like: T>I,
Aweminus, Ceph, OZ, Spaow, Jinx, Simula, Nepo and
some other people too.”
He also mentioned a new Heist EP that is in the
works for this fall with another big name, Serum.
Despite this hefty C.V. and extensive back catalogue,
Muir says that he is continuing to learn new things
about production and anyone who says they aren’t,
“are full of shit!”
“I learn new things all the time,” he says. “I have a
very open mind about more knowledge and I know I
can always gain on it. I am always looking to improve
and make it better when it comes to my music and the
production behind it.”
In terms of preparing for his DJ sets, Muir says that
while he doesn’t necessarily practice differently for
different settings, like a Canadian Halloween gig versus
a European festival stop, he is constantly updating
his collection of music and trying to bring something
within his performance you won’t hear again for the
In terms of what you can expect from what he
deems the perfect drum’n’bass set and what you can
likely anticipate from him at Fright Night, Muir says,
“Variety, surprises, a heavy sound system and a crowd
that is really up for it!”
I’m sure the Calgary drum and bass massive can
provide the latter.
Jump-up master Heist performs at The Nite Owl for
Fright Night XXII on October 28 (Calgary).
LET’S GET JUCY!
Welcome back to another fantastic HiFi. The former has produced tunes for Kanye
edition of Let’s Get Jucy, with your West and Just Blaze. Kind of a big deal.
host with the most quotes, Paul
A true festival favourite: Neon Steve will be
Rodgers. God, what the hell was that … I hate hitting up the HiFi Club on October 21. Say what
myself. Here’s a fun pre-club drinking game: read you want about his live sets, which run the gamut
my column and drink every time I say something
of bassline house to trap to drum and bass, my
cringe-worthy! Here’s some EDM shows in personal favourite stuff he puts out are his Pleasen-
Calgary for you heathens.
sations mixes. He is both a super-talented selector
Bass sorcerer Thelem is starting off this spooktacular
as well as an accomplished producer.
month off with a thump at the Habitat on Horror-core rap pioneer Necro and former
Thursday, October 5. Fans of that real-real dubstep Swollen Member Madchild will be rocking the
shit would do well not to miss this one.
stage at Dickens Pub on October 24.
One of Major Lazer’s non-Diplo members will Grindhaüs: Samhain takes place on Friday
be appearing at Commonwealth also on October the 27, featuring B.C. based glitch-artist Organic
5: Trinidad’s Jillionaire. There likely will be heaps Mechanic. The many supporting artists, DJs and
of hip-hop mixed in amongst a selection of soca performers on this bill, and its overall thematic
and dancehall rhythms. Very summery, island-life design at this point, lead me to believe that this
kinda stuff — perfect as fall begins to yield to the might just be one of the better events going on to
icy grasps of winter.
honour All Hallows’ Eve.
Next on the docket: Mickey Avalon. Known What raver doesn’t love Halloween? You basically
for such timeless, comedy-laced pop/rap
get to don your festival-best and party your face
classics like “My Dick” and “Jane Fonda”, this off for several days. Supreme Hustle’s annual Monster
Los Angeles nutcase will bring… actually I truly
Mash returns again on October 28, this year
don’t know what one should expect from one featuring Stickybuds, Stylust Beats and Marcus
of his shows exactly, but it’s bound to be weird Visionary. Lots of ghoulish breaks, bass and beats
as hell and good for some cheap laughs at the at this one, make no mistake.
very least. Oh yeah, the time and place: this Also on October 28, Chris Lake, a legendary
monumental occasion transpires at the Marquee
house music producer who has continued to stay
on October 6.
relevant over a career spanning many years; altering
Bring some wine and some fancy crackers his sound here and there but still rocking his tech
cause there’s gonna be cheese, and heaps of it, at house style at massive clubs and festivals around
the Marquee for Morgan Page on the seventh. I the world, will bring his Lose My Mind Tour to the
know, I know, 150-plus thousand Soundcloud fans HiFi. Support from Dombresky on this one.
can’t be wrong, and I honestly don’t hold anything Okay so, this one happens in November but
against big-room house fans. Actually I do. Listen to early enough in the month that I can mention it
better shit, dummies.
here: Lil Windex is playing at Dickens on November
True Rhythm present Bizarre Ride II The
2. Not the first time a “viral-sensation” has
Pharcyde 25th Anniversary Tour at Dickens Pub graced these pages, but what in the actual fuck
on October 9. This one really caught my eye and I is this guy about? Someone please go and report
tried to line up an interview, but I learned that it’s back to me, I’m not a local anymore but I am
two of the Pharcyde’s former members Fatlip and genuinely curious.
Slimkid3. So while my interview with The Pharcyde Halloween has always been one of my favourite
was kyboshed, this is still going to be an awesome, holidays, but since getting into going to bass shows
historical show with two O.G. members performing
ten years ago, it has been amplified into a much
one of the greatest hip hop records of all time greater fondness. I hope you all share that seething
in its entirety.
passion and party your black, spooky little hearts
On October 14 Sinjn Hawke and Zora Jones out. I know I will.
bring their Fractal Fantasy Tour to the stage of the
• Paul Rodgers
Bass sorcerer Thelem plays Habitat on October 5.
photo: Michael Benz
46 | OCTOBER 2017 • BEATROUTE JUCY
half the harmony, twice the soul
by Liam Prost
photo: Keith Skrastins
In writing and recording, Stewart privileges feeling over precision.
With years spent in between Edmonton and
Calgary’s rock scene in bands like Brocade,
Todd Stewart found his calling with the
recently crowned Western Canadian Music Awards
Roots Duo/Group of the Year, Northern Beauties. The
Calgary-based six piece’s warm-hearted roots have
found comfort in musical and lyrical largeness, even if it
didn’t start that way.
Now, Todd Stewart is releasing his debut solo EP,
with an interest in the slow and the close. Stewart
wrote the songs for Northern Beauties with the eye to
maintaining harmony with singer/multi-instrumentalist
Craig Aikman. With two singers, there is a pressure to
craft sentiments general enough to apply to both, but
writing for himself has given Stewart the freedom to
sing on his own terms, stretching his range into places
a harmony singer couldn’t sing above, and speak to his
own life with a stark specificity.
“I want to say what I want to say and not worry
about what anyone’s going to feel about that,” Stewart
“I had some stuff I wanted to record,” Stewart attests,
but he didn’t wanted to keep it small, and not necessarily
get everyone involved who play an integral part in the
“Bands are like marriages,” in that you love everyone
involved, but it also develops a pattern that defines it
and prevents a single person’s identity from shining
With this solo release, Todd Stewart shaves back
the generalities, exposing the raw edges. “Everything in
the Northern Beauties album is personal and real,” for
Stewart, but to give it the kind of relatability necessary
to be able to have Craig Aikman also belt out the lyrics,
it needed to be a little bit less specific. With room for
optimism, Stewart introduces his own flaws and failings
into the new EP, broaching relatability out of directness.
“Ordinary Love” is the first single, a “mid-tempo
and fun” track about the commonality of feeling, and
”the one that people instantly forget about what they
are doing and get into” whenever Stewart busts it out
live. Most of the EP is fairly downtempo, but with a few
sprightly moments, and even a fairly psychedelic detour
on “Keep the Animals Dry.”
Texturally, the recording is mired in the aesthetic
of traditionalism, as filtered through the lens of the
everyday. A gentle shaker as the sprinkler going off
on a tart fall morning with brushed drums by Leon
Power (Frazey Ford) as the rattle of children’s footsteps
upstairs, carpeted by warm bass from Darren Paris
Stewart’s intricate fingerpicking works slowly,
working in complexity through negative space. There is
a space for silence, where his devout lyrical phrases can
percolate until washed by golden pedal steel by Matt
Kelly (City and Colour), or plaintive harmonica.
In the writing and recording, the philosophy is, “let it
feel good, and then walk away.”
Stewart privileges feeling over precision, letting the
small gaps and imperfections mirror the blemishes of
his narratives and experiences. It’s a record that’s big on
its smallness, and hits hard with its softness.
Todd Stewart’s self-titled EP is out in November.
48 | OCTOBER 2017 • BEATROUTE ROOTS
DEICHA & THE VuDUDES
six song of super fine stuff
Inspired after seeing Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings
tear up the stage, Deicha Carter decided it was time
to front her own soul-scorching band and gathered a
full line-up including horns and keyboards. Seven years
later, the VuDudes look and sound a lot different than
that original configuration.
Staz Arapoz, a classically trained keyboardist from
Siberia, writes in a “deep, dark and funky” vein; guitarist
Nathan Peebles can launch his solos into the stratosphere;
while the hard-hitting Anders Czarnecki slides
John Bonham into his Motown groove; and Carter is
still front and center with her sizzling vocal soul testimony
that gets hotter all time.
Their six-song EP is a solid reflection of the band’s
diverse approach to the blues, rock and soul. “Meet Me
In The Garden”, the opening track is familiar VuDude
territory with a slightly spooky, sexy flow that makes
a fabulous segue romping into a full-swing Amy
Winehouse mood. Following it, “Left Here” takes a
sharp turn into lush landscape, then on roars down a
psych-rock expressway. “Stoned Heart” rages with a
fresh, free-wheelin’ Philly soul, while “I Need Ya” hops
on the Stevie Wonder bus and makes its way through
some twisty, funkin’ fun that just doesn’t want to stop.
They tie it up with a fleeting indie pop number, “Start”,
that pulls them out of soulsville but leads to something
just as infectious.
Quite an impressive of array of sound and style with
some fantastic playing and singing which all begs for,
“Could I have some more, please!”
• B. Simm
Deicha and the VuDudes strut their finest hour at Dickens’
Pub on Friday, Nov. 4.
Rock ‘n’ Roll
The Ship Oct. 11
Palomino Nov. 3
BEATROUTE • OCTOBER 2017 | 49
WIDE CUT WEEKEND
third time’s the charm
by Liam Prost
LITTLE MISS HIGGINS
finding a new home in a new life
by Sarah Allen
photo: Alicia Sylvester
Reaching deep into Canadian Roots for a third year in a row, Allison
Brock and the team over at Wide Cut Weekend have a smorgasbord for
you. The multi-venue music festival hits that late fall period where the
shadows are long, the nights start early, but you can still hit the streets on
It’s like a rootsy Sled Island, with so much content that you can’t possibly see
it all, and venues stretching across the core from Inglewood to Sunalta. Bicycle
is perhaps the best way to see the fest, but given the season and the relative distance,
Wide Cut Weekend also offers a venue-to-venue buss service powered by
everyone’s favorite party wheels the BassBus. Venues include the newly minted
King Eddy spaces at the National Music Centre, as well as old favorites like the
Blues Can, The #1 Legion (it truly is #1 isn’t it?) and Mikey’s Juke Joint. This year
they’ve expanded to the new Mikey’s on 12th location as well.
If you missed any acts last year, you’ll be able to revisit favorites like Matt Patershuk,
Amy Nelson, and Tom Phillips. But there are a whole shwack of new artists
to sink your teeth into in-keeping with the roots and singer-songwriter aesthetic.
Scott Cook brings roadworn wisdom to Wide Cut Weekend for the first time,
as well as the country contrast of Saskatoon songwriter Zachary Lucky, and the
deep-voiced sad-sackery of the reincarnation of Townes Van Zandt himself,
In its inception, Wide Cut Weekend focused on Alberta Artists, and as it’s
grown, it’s reach has broadened into Western Canada, and now, it’s bringing in
acts from even further away like Eliza Gilkyson, Lynne Hanson, and Linda McRae.
Several of these artists will be getting the true Alberta experience, with a few key
Albertan players backing several artists over the course of the weekend. It’s a true
exercise in musical community building, like a conference for roots artists.
There’s also a renewed emphasis on gender representation at the festival.
“We’ve really upped the girl-power on the line-up this year,” board
member Tara Sukut tells BeatRoute, “Almost half of our programming is
Highlights include Kayla Luky and Little Miss Higgins (see our full preview in
Wide Cut Weekend takes place at multiple venues on October 12-14 (Calgary).
Major life changes have affected Saskatchewan’s
Little Miss Higgins in the past few months: a new
home in a new province, and having a baby boy.
Despite her upheaval, singer-songwriter Jolene Higgins is
putting out a new record that is aptly titled My Home, My
Heart. Even though the big move and new family member
didn’t allow for many superfluous moments of creativity,
Higgins also has an impending tour.
“It was tough to sit down and write a song because there
was no time.” Higgins tells BeatRoute, “there would be these
little fleeting moments where I would just be singing at him,
making stuff up because I just couldn’t think of any songs,
even though I know so many.”
Songs on the new album such as “Little Joe Lullaby” are
clear products of the time spent caring for her son.
While he slept, she stole moments with her ukulele, repeating
the first line of the title track, ‘My Home, My Heart,’
a song that remained a one liner for about a year. With a recording
date set and approaching quickly, Higgins knew she
had to get to work finishing some songs and writing others
completely, so she headed to Brooks, Alberta, for 14 days to
utilize her mom as a babysitter.
She wrote in a café until it closed for the evening, and
then in a Montana’s lounge where a barrage of televised
sporting events inspired her song “Full Contact Sport,” a
tongue-in-cheek number that fits in strongly with her discography.
“’Full Contact Sport’ is not about sports, but I used it as
an analogy and it’s really funny,” reveals Higgins.
“That’s what I love. Usually the funny songs for me are so
easy to write.”
There were some songs that presented her with difficulty.
“’Swept Away’ was challenging because it delves into a
Higgins states, “I’m always nervous with those ones being
a little bit political, a little bit challenging. You never know
what is going to happen or how it’s going to be received.”
After putting the track to her band and producer in
studio, Higgins witnessed the song transform with a new
groove. The bluesy melody paired with her hypnotic vocals
constructed a song that utters nostalgia.
Another song, “Top of the Mountain,” came from an unexpected
source, again during her time in Alberta. Higgins
says the song was originally a poem her aunt had written.
She was presented with it in a book at a small service held
for the purpose of burying her father’s ashes.
“I opened it up and I read it and was like ‘Huh, what a
really awesome poem.’” Higgins continues, “She let me keep
the book and I just kept thinking about it. I took it and
started singing a bit of a melody with it and then I sat down
with my guitar and I started playing this song to her poem.”
Because of the timing, the song was very emotional, even
leaving her weeping. It was then Higgins knew she had to
ask her aunt for permission to use it for the album.
This was Little Miss Higgins’ first time recording at The
Song Shop in Winnipeg, a small studio built in producer
Scott Nolan’s back yard. The album demonstrates her artistic
fluidity as she weaves in and out of genres, and ultimately
transport the listener to another time.
Little Miss Higgins performs at October 13 and 14 at Wide Cut
Weekend (Calgary), October 17 at Rooster’s Wood Fire and Smoke
(Red Deer), October 19 at Bozzini’s (Chilliwack), and October 20 at
Rogue Folk Club (Vancouver).
50 | OCTOBER 2017 • BEATROUTE ROOTS
ousting the academy
photo: Marc Chalifoux
With her master’s degree in harmony and composition complete,
Edmonton singer-songwriter Dana Wylie finally feels
like she has found a sound that suits her in the studio. Organic
and replete with the strings, horns, and bells of Motown pop, Wylie’s latest
record, The Earth That You’re Made Of conjures a chill and sunny ‘70s
singer-songwriter vibe, with melodies and composition that introduce a
note of jazz into her pop-folk.
“I feel like I’ve come to a place where all those super eclectic influences
I’ve found in the last 20 years have turned into cohesive voice inside me,”
Wylie tells BeatRoute. Her experience in school taught the extreme minutiae
of the ins and outs of music theory, but Wylie’s style of delicate songs
driven by piano and guitar still remain. “I’ve learned counterpoint, atonal
theory, 12 tone theory, all of this high-level classical theory, but even in my
first year, I knew almost immediately that that high-level thought really
wasn’t applicable to what I do as an artist.”
Wylie’s album is a gentle breeze of pop-folk that blends into the atmosphere
it’s in. Subtle and lulling, her voice is the sound you’d hear in a forest
haunted by benevolent ghosts. With provincial and municipal funding, she
by Michael Dunn
and co-producer Harry Gregg were able to expand the production, adding
the soulful components present in the strings and horns that adorn the final
product, adding wisely arranged parts that never overpower in the mix.
“The record was planned for Daniel [Stadnicki, drums], and Keith
[Remple, bass] and I to do in a low-key fashion, but when we applied and
received funding, we were able to add all of the flourishes that open up the
character of the record. I wrote and arranged the horn charts, which was
the first time I’d ever done that, and I had to ask some of my mates from
school if I was doing it right,” Wylie says with a chuckle.
With her academic experience behind her, Wylie still remembers her
live experience as the perspective that helped her through the courses.
“A lot of the early theory work was a review for me, but I found in other
settings, my experiences as a touring artist brought a different, and often
more practical benefit to some discussions,” says Wylie. “It may have
helped me more in school than it did when I was on the road.”
Dana Wylie performs October 6 at Parkdale Cromdale Community
BEATROUTE • OCTOBER 2017 | 51
reunion tour coming soon
by Trevor Morelli
was definitely a collaborative effort that came kind of
at the last minute. I feel really strongly about that one,
as far as a song that really shows our maturity. And
really the whole record sort of speaks to that. It definitely
feels more thought out and the biggest thing
we wanted to avoid was putting out something that
sounded rushed, which is why it took so damn long.”
This interview just keeps getting better and better.
But what about all of the happy and excited fans that
show up to GWAR’s live shows, Pusty?
“Yeah, and of course that’s not the intention. We
don’t really want them to be happy. We just want
their money and their drugs,” he explains.
“But you know, unfortunately there’s a trade-off
there, so if we must be labelled as entertainers, I guess
I’ll take it.”
Even though Gwar has been around for over three
decades, Pusty doesn’t think they’ll ever turn into a
legacy act that plays the casino circuit as cash grab.
“I don’t really see it happening to us because, quite
frankly, our music sucks and that’s why we just kill
shit the whole time we’re onstage. So I think as long
as we keep reinventing a good show, we won’t have
to worry about that. We start by not writing good
Now if that doesn’t sound like a good time,
then I don’t know what does.
Sitting in my dining room on an uneventful
Tuesday night, I anxiously awaited the call
from the blood spitting, costume-wearing
freak show that is Gwar.
The phone rings. It’s coming from GWAR’s hometown
of Richmond, Virginia. Five seconds in and it’s
already obvious it’s going to be a hell of a lot of fun to
talk to these guys.
“Hi. This is Pustulus Maximus, formerly of GWAR.”
“Yeah, I just quit, like 30 seconds ago. Well, we figured
if we broke up after Riot Fest, maybe they’ll pay
us more money to reunite and play again next year.”
Ah, I see where this is going. I play along and ask
more about this excellent blackmail scheme.
“We really are ‘breaking up.’ Nah, I mean, if Jawbreaker
can go from, you know, playing in a bar to
headlining Riot Fest, why can’t GWAR?”
It’s a valid and very timely plan. Gwar’s new album
The Blood of Gods is set for release on October 20
through Metal Blade Records. It’s their first album
in four years, as well as their first album without
front man Dave Brockie (aka Oderus Urungus), who
passed away in 2014 after forming the band in 1984
and spearheading them ever since. As for their sound,
GWAR performs a mixture of thrash and death metal
heavy on the shtick.
“If he could hear it, I think he’d be blown away,”
Big and bloody sounds from another planet.
Pusty says about his fallen bandmate.
“Doing a record without Oderus Urungus didn’t
come without its difficulties, of course. You know, we
had to make the record with the band that we had,
not the band that we were. And I do think that this
record reflects the band that we are, the band that
we wanted to be. I’m happy with it; it’s great.”
Since joining GWAR in 2011, Pusty has had an
increasingly larger role in the band, especially when it
comes to songwriting. There are a few tracks on The
Blood of Gods that stand out for him specifically.
“’El Presidente” stands out a lot. “I’ll Be Your Monster”
and “Phantom Limb” are some of my favorites as
well. I contributed heavily to this record, as we all did.
Beefcake and I wrote all the music for “El Presidente.”
I wrote all the music for “Monster.” “Phantom Limb”
GWAR plays the Pyramid November 8 (Winnipeg),
BEATROUTE • OCTOBER 2017 | 53
BeatRoute’s pages are filled to the brim
with heavy bands this month. Be sure to
peruse the RockPile and Edmonton Extra
section to get the full scoop on what’s going
down in October!
As for everything else…
Friday, October 6 is utterly stacked for
new releases. There is the new album by epic
doomsters Spirit Adrift called Curse of Conception.
The Black Dahlia Murder will release
Nightbringers (and will perform in Calgary this
October alongside Necrot, who we featured
in this section) and virulent sludge metallers
Primitive Man will release Caustic. Head to
your favourite local record store and spend
Head to Distortion in Calgary on Saturday,
October 7 to enjoy the spaced out grooves of
Hasteroid, Buffalo Bud Buster, Raw, Bazaraba,
and Pelican Death Squad. Bring yer
buds, the show will be made better with ‘em!
If you’re in Edmonton that eve, head to the
Mercury Room for a black metal gig starring
Idolatry, Vile Insignia, and Traer. Don’t forget
to done your corpse paint.
On Wednesday, October 11, Mexican death
metal act Evilheart will be performing with
Stab.twist.pull and Moosifix at Dickens
in Calgary. Now fronted by Adam ‘Greasy’
Benito, the vocalist for Calgary act Train Bigger
Monkeys, Evilheart will also be performing at
Rendezvous on October 13 (Edmonton), Munnin’s
Post on October 14 (Kelowna), and The
Astoria on October 15 (Vancouver).
Canadian metal icon THOR will be performing
with Tarantuja at the Starlite Room
in Edmonton on Friday, October 13. Be sure
to head out to see his rippling pectorals, sick
fashion sense, and enjoy him bringing thunder
on the tundra. LET THE BLOOD RUN RED!
On Friday, October 13, a bunch more kick
ass albums are coming out. Check out trad
metallers Savage Master, who are releasing
their brand new EP Creature of the Flames.
Meanwhile, grindy death metallers Exhumed
will unleash their eighth studio album Death
This isn’t metal, but that’s irrelevant.
Legendary Scottish alt-rockers The Jesus And
Mary Chain are performing at MacEwan Ballroom
on Saturday, October 28 (Calgary) and
at the Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium on
Sunday, October 29. Dig the cold production,
mountainous snare hits, and reverberating vocals
your favourite bands use? THEY PROBABY
DIG THE JESUS AND MARY CHAIN. REPEAT
AFTER ME: I WILL GO SEE THE JESUS AND
Running out of words, so make sure you find
your own damn Halloween plans, and be sure
to find a sober buddy to drive you around, ya
• Sarah Kitteringham
primitive death metallers offer up your blood
Necrot released the excellent Blood Offerings in June.
photo: Peyote Gutierrez
It was proudly declared on the cover of longstanding American heavy
metal magazine Decibel’s August issue: 2017 is the “Year of Death Metal.”
The central thesis of the piece was that strong releases from longstanding
powerhouses Immolation, Suffocation, Incantation, Origin and more prove
the strength of the genre and make it the raison d’être of the year. The
Internet, of course, got its collective panties in a twist, enraged that Decibel
dare engage in genre worship, WITHOUT MENTIONING EVERY NEWER
BAND CARRYING THE TORCH IN THAT PARTICULAR ISSUE.
The point was clearly missed by the enraged: death metal is enjoying an
extremely strong year in 2017, whatever direction your tastes lean. In the less
DAYS OF THE DEAD FESTIVAL IV
Red Deer event sees its fourth rendition
very simple really... We have played at a variety of ‘destination’
festivals over the years and I thought Red Deer deserved
something to call its own.”
So begins Justin Shadows of his creation of Days of the Dead Festival,
a multi-venue event that has expanded since its inception in 2014.
Shadows is a utterly invaluable promoter within the heavy music scene
in Red Deer who began booking in 2012 and has since booked around
200 concerts. The voice behind the “currently on hiatus” groove metal
band Leave the Living and ongoing owner of Shadows Productions,
Justin has long been a vital part of developing a robust music community
within the relatively small city of 100 000 people. His flagship event
is the Days of the Dead Festival, now on its fourth rendition. Featuring
37 bands over four days, there is something for every punk, metal, and
“The goal with this years fest was to provide a little something for
everyone while still maintaining a exceptionally high level of musicianship,”
he says of the festival, which runs from October 26 until October
29 at the Vat and the International Beer Haus. In addition to bands,
there will be costume competitions and a freak show. Running the
weekend directly before Halloween, the event encourages participation
in the upcoming holiday to the soundtrack of brutality.
“For bands I haven’t booked before it’s tough to play favorites
but I am very excited about [Vancouver death groove act] Without
Mercy, [Kelowna deathcore band] DropDeadFred and [Calgary based
dissonant death grind project] Spurn. None have ever played Red Deer
before and I’m excited to see what they can do,” he says. As for bands
previously scheduled that are making a repeat appearance, Shadows is
most thrilled for “[Edmonton prog rock project] Tylor Dory Trio and
[Calgary crushing death metallers] Kyoktys because they’ve destroyed
the stage when given a spot.”
A host of other bands will perform, hailing from provinces stretching
across British Columbia to Ontario.
“It was just hard to narrow down all the submissions to the final
by Sarah Kitteringham
visible (but deeply worshipped) underground, offerings by Rude, The Chasm,
Horrified, Temple of Void, Extremity, and Necrot have all been de.fucking.
lightful. And it’s not just keyboard warriors who’ve noticed and appreciated
these obscure gems: none other than Trevor Strnad, vocalist for melodic death
metallers The Black Dahlia Murder, has picked up Bay Area’s Necrot for an
upcoming cross Canada tour.
“From what I was told, Trevor asked if he could get us on the tour, which is
pretty cool! We met him in Detroit and he’s a really nice guy!”
So offers Necrot’s Chad Gailey, who plays drums for the trio. After a
stint in revered act Vastum, he formed the Oakland based band in 2011
alongside bassist and vocalist Luca Indrio. Joined by guitarist Sonny Reinhardt,
Necrot has finally released their excellent full-length Blood Offerings
via Tank Crimes. The album conjures up a classic death metal sound,
heightened by guttural production and fantastic soloing with intersections
of trad, speed, and punk in its whip fast and melodic execution. Rooted in
a tradition of (what else but?) death, necromancy, and suffering, the eighttrack
release is an incredibly strong addition to an already kick ass year for
“When I joined Necrot in 2011 we wanted to form a band that would
play death metal with punk influences and would strive to tour as much as
possible,” offers Gailey, who joined American death metal act Rude prior to
the release of January’s Remnants… He is featured on the record, which is
“I had really only been in one band before that and we didn’t really have a
chance to do much besides release a few demos. I felt that Necrot would be
the band that I put all of my energy into from that point forward. The hard
work paid off!
See Necrot with Black Dahlia Murder, Suffocation and Exhumed on October
26 at the Pyramid Cabaret (Winnipeg), October 27 at the Exchange (Regina),
October 27 at the Starlite Room (Edmonton), and October 29 at the Marquee
Beer Market & Stage (Calgary).
Ninjaspy performs as part of Days of the Dead IV.
by Sarah Kitteringham
photo: Taya Fraser
roster,” says Shadows. “There are a ton of very talented bands around
Canada and I think it’s cool we have bands from five different provinces
playing. I think the triumph is that we’ve managed to sell out for three
years so far and everyone seems to have a blast.”
Tickets for the weekend and pre-party are available now.
Tickets for Days of the Dead IV are available now online at MyShowpass.
The event runs from October 26 to October 29 at the Vat Pub and the International
Beer Haus. The final day of the festival is all-ages.
54 | OCTOBER 2017 • BEATROUTE SHRAPNEL
you asked for a longer set, just don’t get winded
Cattle Decapitation will begin album number eight soon!
Cattle Decapitation is fueled by one simple
question: “How would you like it if that was
done to you?”
For 20 years, vocalist Travis Ryan has been
belting out conceptual lyrics revolving around
photo: Zach Cordner
subjecting humans to the viciously cruel situations
that we put animals through, as well our
abuse of the environment and each other. Starting
off as a brutal goregrind band, with barely
two songs passing the one-minute mark on their
debut Human Jerky (1999), Cattle Decapitation
has evolved into one of the top extreme metal
bands. With the release of The Anthropocene
Extinction (2015), Travis showed off an extensive
singing range, mixed in with an intense blend
of blast and melody that demands attention.
Lyrically focusing on humankind’s impact on the
natural environment, it continued their legacy of
being as conceptually heavy as they are musically.
Indeed, the band has been subject to frequent
censorship over their graphic content. 2004’s
Humanure originally featured a cow defecating
bloody human remains before it was re-released
with different art; their video for “Forced Gender
Reassignment” was painfully brutal, with graphic
rape and sexual assault depicted in the extremely
Nearing the end of the traditional touring
cycle, Cattle Decapitation has been making
sure to keep busy. Touring Europe until late
September with Broken Hope, Hideous Divinity
and Gloryhole Guillotine, they are taking a short
break before hitting the stages around North
America with Revocation, for their longest and
most intense sets ever.
“We wanted do some stuff we haven’t done
before or songs we haven’t done in a while, that
we’ve heard people asking for over the years. One
song in particular we never did that people have
been clamoring for and now we are doing it. We
have a rhythm guitarist now with us and he had
to learn them all. But the rest of the guys seemed
by Jason Lefebvre
to retain the memory of the songs, which are now
at least five years old, which I find pretty damn
impressive. It’s the older ones we are bringing back
that I had to go back and reread the lyrics just to
remember them,” Ryan explains.
“It also the longest set we’ve ever done live.
We’ve never done more than 45 to 55 minutes on
any given headliner and this one has us playing
well over an hour. We try to give it some peaks
and valleys because we just don’t feel anyone truly
wants to hear more than 50 minutes of intense
music like this. They say they do but we are the
ones watching them get winded halfway through a
45 minute set,” Travis says, chuckling.
Two years after the release of their seventh
studio album, many fans wonder what is going to
be coming next.
Travis mused, “We have yet to write any new
songs but we are brimming with ideas, riffs, etc. I
have already come up with the title, concept, cover
artwork idea has already been explained to Wes
Benscoter (the band’s album cover artist) to a huge
thumbs up and even the ideas for the layout of the
album. I’ve personally never been more ready to
write! Each album seems to prepare us for the next
as we come out of each on reinvigorated by the
response of the previous album. I feel we are very
lucky in that regard.”
See Cattle Decapitation with Revocation on October
20 at the Starlite Room (Edmonton) and October 21
at Dickens Pub (Calgary).
BEATROUTE • OCTOBER 2017 | 55
Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile
Lotta Sea Lice
Especially these days, the world can feel needlessly
loud. Kurt Vile and Courtney Barnett’s new collaboration
doesn’t concern itself with blaring out
conclusions, instead they own themselves simply,
aiming only to “bend a blues riff that hangs / over
everything.” What else can you do, when you find a
correspondent to bear witness to and finesse your
whacked-out guitar charm and relatable observations?
Barnett and Vile meet unerringly in the middle
on Lotta Sea Lice. Personal recollections flit from
Vile to Barnett and back again, in what seems to be
an easy chat, coalescing into a collection of softcut
notes –guitar to guitar. The obvious kinship
between the two is palpable from the buoyant
opening song “Over Everything,” which in their accompanying
video features both in expansive black
and white scenes, playing each other’s parts and lip
synching their partners’ vocals.
Barnett and Vile seem to have met their reciprocal
match, a melodic pen pal arrangement, where
Sonic Youth, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young and other
influences run free. Both lauded artists known for
their rambling, pointedly true-to-life lyrics, they
couldn’t have better banter. Their drawl and individual
style is so keenly anchored that they build
lush, falling textures with warm fingerpicking and
chiming guitar lines without losing any gristle.
In “Let Go,” the duo gives a physicality to shimmering
guitars in a song that evangelizes letting
go like a mantra; “run the race at your own pace /
you’ll get there.” In contrast, “Fear Is Like A Forest”
(which feels like the second part to “Let Go”) is
much smokier, featuring dirtier reverb and subtly
wailing guitar, like a gritty-yet-mellow “Castles
Made of Sand.” Barnett’s signature matter-of-fact
wit and soft vocals make a promise of solace: “it
will come back to you,” after noting that love often
“touches like a tourist.”
They take the idea of collaboration even further
by covering one of each other’s songs, blending in
seamlessly with the rest of their work. Vile gives
Barnett’s grungy “Outta the Woodwork” a whirl,
the slowed tempo and Barnett’s backup vocals
allowing for some languishing vocal harmonies -
percolating an extra level of detail. A song that’s
meant to explore the bad habit of limiting desire
to avoid failure, the pair finds a vibrant sense of
balance. In contrast, Barnett takes on Vile’s ballad
“Peepin’ Tomboy” solo with a crisper, acute sound
- echoing Vile’s original inflections and tone with
a polish. The song sinks into the divisive space
between wanting only to observe and needing to
“On Script” comes on sweetly, relying on cascading
guitar, fat crunchy lines, and very sparse
vocals before going delightfully awry and relying
only on instrumentation for the last third of the
track. Though they lose some girth during the
kitschy-er, harmonica-laden “Blue Cheese,” it
doesn’t interrupt the flow and stays palatable.
A strong backbone stands behind the project,
as Mick Turner (Dirty Three), Stella Mozgawa
(Warpaint), Mick Harvey (Nick Cave and the Bad
Seeds) and Jim White all had a hand in supporting
Like a shadow lit from two different light
sources, the album brings together two powerful
songwriters, eclipsing neither. Their analogous
temperaments wind-down the album, while their
meticulous mix of skills and craft keep things from
ever being boring, instead creating moments of joy
that can only stem from a strong mutual understanding.
• Arielle Lessard
illustration: Cody Fennell
BEATROUTE • OCTOBER 2017 | 57
Third Man Records
Margo Price is at that place in a recording career where an artist
solidifies their original style, while still showing signs of taking
small, but deliberate risks.
Her second album for Third Man Records, All-American Made,
finds Price’s Opry-ready rhythm and blues tighter than 2016’s
Midwest Farmer’s Daughter. Her band’s mix of the two close relatives
is a little more lived in, where the RnB groove sets the pace
for the country songs. The songs on All-American Made buck
right out of the gate, on a three-song section that really dials in
the groove, the Stax shots into dancehall country rock of “I Don’t
Say.” Price’s vocals are the killer here, like Neko Case’s country
cuts on The Virginian. “Weakness” is country bar drink ‘em up
jitterbug, and “A Little Pain” puts some Atlantic soul bounce in
the verses and Motown showbiz in the choruses.
“Learning To Lose” is a sweet, saccharine country love song,
Price leading off in solo songwriter style before a steel brings in
the second verse with the comfort and familiarity in the voice
of Willie Nelson. Price and Nelson’s duet is a beauty, the oft-interchangeable
voices of one who knows, and one who’s learning.
“Nowhere Fast” shows Price and the band’s ability to build up to
something, and with a voice like hers, it’s as nice to be lulled in as
it is to hear the height of her range. The mid-‘70s stoner country
of “Cocaine Cowboy” is a welcome groove, with its clean phased
and wah guitars and funky Fender Rhodes piano lines.
The title cut closes the record, opening with the voices of
every American president ever recorded by audio (save for one
in particular), invoking the numerous American religions as distinctly
American made. “Raised among football and Jesus and all
the usual suspects,” foreign weapons sales under Reagan and the
bullet industry, the plea for materialistic rationality in the ownership
aside of, “I don’t want ten million, just give me one that
works.” The song’s instrumental simplicity is stark, an acoustic
guitar with a watery tremolo electric and the oratory chatter that
fills the spaces with one leader speaking over another at length, a
well-placed mess of static that makes a point that even the most
soaring rhetoric is still just a campaign promise.
Price shows excellent range vocally throughout the record,
and her band swings those soul and country grooves together
just right. A decade ago, a song like the title track may not have
found as willing a release. Price shows that personal responsibility
isn’t just a talking point, and that all things made in America, be
it the infrastructure, entertainment, and even the statements of
its leaders, have the distinction of being made by Americans.
• Mike Dunn
Relatives in Descent
Let’s get this out of the way: No, Relatives in Descent is not Protomartyr’s
Donald Trump record. For a band that is known for
having their fingers on the political pulse of a fractured America,
it would seem an easy topic to tackle for their fourth LP. Luckily,
the Detroit post-punk quartet are a smarter band than that, opting
for an album that feels no less political than their past work,
without getting caught up in a laser-focused look at our societal
race to the bottom.
Instead, Relatives in Descent plays like a 12-part anthology
documenting the wide-reaching effect poisonous politics can
have on society. It’s an incredibly dense, but entirely vital listen
that feels like a quintessential 2017 album, complete with all
the existential angst and turmoil that come with our distinctly
modern political landscape.
In interviews leading up to the release of Relatives in Descent,
frontman Joe Casey talks about his attempts to move away from
the doom and gloom that marks most of Protomartyr’s discography,
only to be dragged back by “happenings both local (the ongoing,
man-made tragedy of the Flint water crisis) and national
(just about everything).”
Relatives in Descent is often doom and gloom, but it seems
that some of the beauty that Casey envisioned survived the darkness,
resulting in some of Protomartyr’s most affecting, and often
downright catchy, work yet. On songs like “The Chuckler” and
“Night-Blooming Cereus” the band achieves Casey’s original goal
to step away from dread with melodic shades of pink and purple.
Still, it’s the heaviest moments on the album where the band
shines the brightest. “Up The Tower” reads like “Battleship Potemkin”
set inside of Trump Tower, as the masses break down an
unnamed CEO’s golden door lead by chants of “Throw him out,
throw him out, throw him out.” Like most of the album, it’s anchored
by guitarist Greg Ahee’s razor sharp fuzz tones while Scott
Davidson and Alex Leonard lock down a ferocious rhythm section.
It’s a testament to Joe Casey’s lyrical abilities that throughout
the cacophonous charge of Protomartyr’s musical core his
insights still take centre stage. Take for instance “Half-Sister,” the
album’s final track that seems to tie all of the albums disparate
themes (truth, familial strife, capitalism) with a neat bow: “In ancient
Palestine a Roman middle manager dresses down a radical
/ ‘I have a backlog of so-called prophets / You are of a multitude’
/ The offender said, ‘I witness truth’ / Perplexed and filled with
pique the jailer replied, ‘truth, what is it?’
Overall, Relatives in Descent is the best Protomartyr album
yet; a rewarding, intertextually dense album that reveals itself
more with each listen.
• Jamie McNamara
As You Were
In just three minutes and forty-four seconds Liam Gallagher
reclaims his crown as the British rebel yell of rock ‘n’ roll. “Wall
Of Glass,” the lead off single from As You Were, is Liam’s first real
burst of joy since the mid-90s when Oasis ruled Britannia and
swept the globe. The Gallagher Bros. are revered for their snarling
cynicism, and Liam sharpens the blade with an executioner’s eye
as he denounces his drug buddy’s intentions, “I don’t mean to be
unkind, but I can see what’s in your mind.” “Wall Of Glass” throbs
with a fresh fury, making it an irresistible listen. Well done Liam, a
What clearly drives As You Were is Liam’s unflinching “not
havin’ it” attitude. While the hits of Oasis were smack full of sass,
swagger, tears and glory, they were almost exclusively written
by Noel whose poetics flowed from both a romantic heart and
sneering smile. Liam isn’t quite as coy or taunting, he’s far more
prone to flicking the switchblade and sticking it in.
Weathering a divorce and wrangling with lawyers, “Greedy
Soul” launches a counter attack, drums pound and Liam’s
definitely in a street fightin’ mood… “I’m going toe to toe, with
a greedy soul. He’s going down tonight, going to be out awhile.
She got a 666, I got my crucifix. She got a spinning head, like the
Liam’s promotional campaign for As You Were was an online
barrage slamming Bono and U2 for their rock royalty positioning,
calling Mick Jagger “ol’ dinosaur hips” and tearing into brother
Noel, yet again.. All easy and predictable targets. But he didn’t
stop there, the list went on prompting the Guardian, Britain’s
vanguard of journalism, to praise Liam as an “unfiltered star that
rescues us from pop boredom.”
Unfiltered, unabashed and fierce is what largely defines As You
Were. The title itself affirming a return to the punk ethos that fuelled
Manchester’s mighty music machine. But that’s only half the
equation. The Gallagher Bros. are sentimental sods as well, and
Liam’s warming apologetic letter in “For What It’s Worth” reveals
a genuine maturity both personally and professionally. The man
has an endearing soul on all fronts - fierce and forgiving.
He himself would probably admit, As You Were isn’t
ground-breaking or revolutionary, it’s all been done before.
Shades of mid-60s Beatles’ melancholy run throughout the
record’s reflective warm and fuzzy tracks (there are several), and
the rock ‘n’ roll numbers simply go straight for the jugular. Nothing
really new under the sun, but it burns with the best kind of
Gallagher intensity, including Liam’s vocals in super fine form.
• Brad Simm
58 | OCTOBER 2017 • BEATROUTE
Blue Hawaii, the electronic pop project of duo Raphaelle
Standell-Preston (of BRAIDS) and Alex Kerby (aka
Agor), returns after three and a half years with new LP
Tenderness. A contrast to its predecessor, Untogether,
in both title theme and texture, it’s an uncharted (if
patchy) work from an act that has always remained
molten. Shedding Untogether’s dense minimalism
in favour of airier instrumentals and swapping out
mantra-like vocals for see-saw melodies, Tenderness
has a pleasing new tone with mixed results in terms
of song quality.
Sometimes an album begins strong and tapers
out, or takes a little too much time building steam
to justify a solid back half. In this case, there’s an
issue of A-quality songs peppered among non
sequitur interludes and unmemorable mid-tempo
tracks. A lack of rigor in the editing and sequencing
processes makes Tenderness more vaguely
likeable than gripping as a full listen.
Still, about the half the songs would make highlights
in any midnight electro-pop playlist. “Free
At Last” and “No One Like You” will lure you in
with giddy earnestness and perfect punctuations
of (likely synthetic) horns and strings, a wholly new
sonic touch for the duo. That rosy glee is measured
well on “Versus Game” and “Belong To Myself,”
which allow the doubts about the role of companionship
to be plainly stated without judgment.
While not a devastating or euphoric album,
Tenderness succeeds in concept despite a few
falters in focus. After all, the feeling of tenderness
in a relationship isn’t the remarkable part. It’s
not swooning or infatuation or desire. It’s the
indispensable sinew that gives loves highs and lows
• Colin Gallant
Losing is Bully’s latest release and a powerful and
emotionally raw second album. Since their critically
acclaimed debut record Feels Like in 2015, Bully have
evolved from some of their softer more indie-pop
influences and created a harsher, more mature
sophomore album reflective of the label they now
call home (Sub Pop).
Losing tackles the complexities and difficulties
that come with personal growth including the angst
of trying to find yourself and struggling with how to
navigate messy break-ups. On “Seeing It,” lead singer
Alicia Bognanno discusses the anxiety and vigilance
around personal safety that comes with navigating
the world as a woman.
Bognanno hasn’t lost her signature howl, if anything
with time it has become even more powerful.
With manic guitars and a fuzzed-out growl, Bully are
growing up and changing but their fire is still there
and it’s burning brighter than ever.
• Kennedy Enns
In The Storm
In The Storm, is queer folk-pop duo Citizen Jane’s
debut release. More folk than pop, In The Storm
brings together fiddles, violas, mandolins and cellos
to create a sweet and hopeful soundscape. Weaving
together strong harmonies with string textures and
discussing themes such as self-doubt and isolation
Citizen Jane bring an ease to the listener with an
overall message of peace.
While there are more traditional folk songs on the
album like “Stay” and “Good Fight,” songs like “In The
Storm” and “Animals/Machines” surprise with their
Overall, In The Storm is an emotionally charged
first release, that leaves you looking forward to what
Citizen Jane will create in the future.
• Kennedy Enns
The Deep Dark Woods
Six Shooter Records
With a progressing sound that welcomes its new
direction, The Deep Dark Woods’ Yarrow is a forward-looking
excursion brimming with new tones
and continuing with their haunting and cinematic
“Fallen Leaves” swoons through an early sixties
RnB ballad with a keys hook that sounds like a toy
rainbow, chord changes that pillow the flowing
delivery and harmony and lines like “the morning
light was fading, there I sat and dreamed with the
thousands and thousands of fallen leaves.” The
Deep Dark Woods have always had the loose feel
of Dylan & The Band’s Basement Tapes, and “Roll
Julia” has that jumpy energy, a big band feel on a
root five bass, guitars sitting in for horn shots and a
northern-Louisiana wedding vibe.
“The Birds Will Stop Their Singing” runs a mournful
British folk waltz through some paces, putting
an extra 6 on the high hats, which itself raises the
tempo in feel considerably, once the band picks up
the push underneath, creating room for a wilder
drum style from Mike Silverman, before the band
the band eventually drops out for a Boldt/Kacy
Ryan Boldt and Shuyler Jansen have cut a record
that updates what The Deep Dark Woods have
always done, and not by having done away with
the past. The janky, jammy, bounce of their upbeat
numbers and the plight of their melancholy have
long been defining characteristics. The Deep Dark
Woods have always made music you dance outside
to, in caps and plaid, dreaming of summer through
• Mike Dunn
Taking us from Barcelona to Rome to Wales to the
Ivory Coast in his usual style of tangled prose the latest
release, ken, from Dan Bejar’s Destroyer is a posttour
record that brings many distinct and diverse
threads of influence together under one umbrella of
Much of the charm in Destroyer is how it’s aged
with Bejar, from self recorded freak folk to its current
state as what can only be described as adult contemporary.
The charm and mild aura of pretension with
which Bejar delivered this transition from 2011’s Kaputt
onwards has possessed the ability to make what
would have been considered in most as a cheesy and
trope-laden transform to a vision of coolness.
With his divine lack of comedy and penchant for
saxophone interludes, Bejar represents the blindly
confident artist we secretly wish to be but never
could, for fear taking the role of this curmudgeonly
creative would make us laughable in the eyes of
those we love. Again with ken, Bejar’s confidence is
blinding as the lines between dark wave and cock
rock are blurred.
Tracks like “In the Morning” have him playing like
a blue blooded Bruce Springsteen, while others like
“Tinseltown Bathing in Blood” are New Order Lite.
Having committed the miracle of creating instant
classic rock, ken offers moments that are downright
poetic, political, awe-strikingly self serious, and just
outrageous enough to make you dangerously sentimental
should you listen after more than two glasses
• Maya-Roisin Slater
Skinny Dyck & Friends
Skinny Dyck’s been making music and playing steel
and guitar in Alberta country bars (and across the
country with Shaela Miller and Treeline) for years. On
his first production, Skinny cuts singles with 20 of his
best pals from home and the road, featuring Western
Canadian roots veterans like Carolyn Mark, Leeroy
Stagger, John Wort Hannam, and Dave McCann, as
well as rising artists like Mariel Buckley, Carter Felker
and Amy Nelson.
Nanton’s Lance Loree kicks off the album with
the good natured two step “Watching Daddy
Dance,” into the highway companion of Sean
Brewer’s “House of Cards,” where electric twelvestring
hangs with a baritone guitar underneath,
like the drive across fields to mountains on a half
grey sunny day.
Michael Granzow’s “My Baby’s Gone” is wellplaced
for a mournful major key waltz; a well-written
and produced, straightforward on the emotion
alt-country song. Good songs bring out the best in
the band, and the instrumental break has a couple
changes that provide some extra harmonic colour. A
pool hall neon light shines on “Lonesome Again” by
Winnipeg’s Sean Burns, with a swinging bassline driving
the shuffle. It’s the kind of tune that begs for and
receives some hip classic riffs on Skinny’s steel, with a
Roy Orbison/ Phil Everly-esque melody from Burns.
Skinny Dyck’s been working a long time in
Alberta country music, as his group of friends
demonstrates, and adding production to his skill
set is going to provide the west with another smart,
artistic voice among country and roots artists.
• Mike Dunn
Godspeed You! Black Emperor
Ever apoplectic and political, Montreal’s Godspeed
You! Black Emperor has unfortunately suffered a stagnation
of creativity following their 2012 return with
the Polaris-winning ‘Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!,
but their latest album, Luciferian Towers, marks a return
to form for the collective that seemed doomed
to a latter career of cliché.
Opening with a foreboding marching-band jaunt
through desolate city streets, Luciferian Towers
immediately promises a sense of hope-among-theruins;
an atmosphere perfected by the ever-swelling
and dissipating collective’s line-up in their initial
From there, the three-part movement “Bosses
Hang” carries the listener through GY!BE’s archetypal
swelling guitar drones into “Fam/Famine,” a
crescendo section driven by fastidious pitter-patters
of percussion, strings, and guitars before dropping off
into what is easily the album’s highpoint: the delicate
three-part lament “Anthem for No State.”
The most blissful facet of Luciferian Towers is that
it forgoes the tendency of the previous two albums
to replace the softer, more introspective sections with
bristling dissonance amped-up to a degree in which
the more contemplative ideas are lost, but it is by no
The main issue with the revival of GY!BE is their
removal of the field recordings and samples that
made their initial albums so memorable, and this
causes Luciferian Towers, along with their previous
post-revival releases, to suffer.
Overall, however, Luciferian Towers is a much
stronger release than 2015’s Asunder, Sweet and Other
Distress, which came off more as a colour-by-number
pastiché of GY!BE’s past triumphs, and if there is
still a future for the inimitable post-rock pioneers, at
least they’re moving in the right direction.
• Alec Warkentin
The Great Discord
The Rabbit Hole
The Sign Records
The Great Discord’s second release, The Rabbit Hole,
is a beautiful display of exactly what their self-described
genre (progressive death pop) is. Their instru-
60 | OCTOBER 2017 • BEATROUTE
mental work is just prog-y enough to fall under the
likes of Mastodon to a lesser extent. The music here
is slightly more generic but much more atmospheric,
with the occasional scream or growl thrown into the
mix; The Rabbit Hole could be described as Nightwish
meets Mastodon. Along with a bit of piano for
melodic relief, Fia Kempe has a gorgeously unique
alto voice to help the listener feel like they’re truly
tumbling down the rabbit hole. This is no different
from their previous release Duende. The drum beats
and poppy chants keep steady enough throughout
the album to make the listener want to march against
The Red Queen. The exception to this is the perfectly
placed “Neon Dreaming,” it gives the listener a break
with a slow-paced pseudo-lullaby as the guitars are
completely toned back with almost no drums.
• Bailey Barnson
Dove & Grenade / BMG
Sometimes when you listen to artists from your
adolescence, it’s hard to determine whether you’ve
grown out of their music or they’ve just become
terrible. With Hollywood Undead, the question is
easy to answer. The music sucks. Five is not even so
bad it’s good.
Since no member of the five-piece rap collective
is actually talented, Hollywood Undead relies on an
“alternative” take to mainstream rap, fusing it with
rock elements and the occasional shouted verse
from Charlie Scene: “Make these bad thoughts go
away/they need to stop/and if I keep sounding like a
bitch/I’ll need a mop.”
However, Five abandons the majority of rock
elements the band previously incorporated into their
music. What we’re left with is five lackluster artists
trying to be pop stars.
Compared to their breakthrough debut album
Swan Songs, the band’s latest offering is devoid of
humour and originality. Five offers enduring pain over
the course of 14 tracks. For fans of the band, it will
serve as a point of embarrassment when they return
to the album in adulthood. For Hollywood Undead, it
proves five albums might have been too many.
• Paul McAleer
As it turns out, Wonderful, Wonderful, the fifth
album by everyone’s favourite Mormon Las Vegas
rockers, is not bad, not bad. There are some
highlights across the album’s ten tracks –hell,
sometimes a highlight is an entire song and not
just a particular section.
The Killers arrived at the right time, pummeling
Guitar Hero with enough fuel to create a prestigious
legacy early on. When we were young, the band
seemed to have hit single after hit single, elevating
Hot Fuss and Sam’s Town to heights difficult for any
rock band to overcome.
How did it end up like this? Coming out of the
cage, their first two albums weren’t spectacular front
to back, but they offered a steady stream of nostalgia
made irresistible and untarnished with the passing
of time. The next two albums were largely forgettable
–which would have been acceptable if they
produced another single on the same level as a song
like “Somebody Told Me.”
Wonderful, Wonderful throws the biggest haymaker
The Killers have mustered in since Sam’s Town
with “Tyson vs. Douglas.” The song is about when
Mike Tyson lost to Buster Douglas, but it’s about so
much more than a boxing fight. It’s the best-written
Killers track in years, bottling up magic with intimate
lyrics about a formative memory for frontman Brandon
Flowers. The wistful betrayal the song captures is
universal despite its specific references.
The songwriting never quite reaches the bar
“Tyson vs. Douglas,” but the entire album is pretty
consistent. Instrumentally, all of these little tracks the
Killers have done are so inspired by their influences,
they end up sounding uninspired compared to the
real thing. Wonderful, Wonderful ultimately offers
a reason for the Killers to stick around, even if their
prime ended more than a decade ago.
• Paul McAleer
XL / True Panther Sounds
From Donny Hathaway to Talking Heads to The
BEATROUTE • OCTOBER 2017 | 61
into a playful little honky-tonk piano ending. The
short “Everybody Knows” shows the more playful
side of Myles’ musical explorations, pushing his vocals
into the realm of goofy at times. “Easy” does a great
job of capturing that old-time chorus sound with its
simple and sparse instrumentation, long note vocals
and solid overall production. “Stupid” jumps in next
like a sharp contradiction. While its cohesive refrain
elevates the songs with an honest musicianship, the
verses fall into the category of parody on all levels.
“Dreaming” is an a cappella track that dances the
line between personal poetic musings and classic
barbershop harmonies. “Crazy To Leave” closes out
the record as a soft and dreamy ballad.
• Andrew R. Mott
tener through the shifting landscape of the album,
occasionally dancing the duet of a nuanced vocal
pairing that makes the sound of Stars so unique.
Yet, while the lyrical content of the album speaks of
never getting what you want, losing your way, being
alone, hopeless love, costly love, and wandering, the
musical tapestry of the album weaves another story.
Somewhere between joy and melancholy there sits a
satisfaction in the awareness of life’s sorrows, in this
niche you’ll find Stars shining bright.
• Andrew R. Mott
Loma Vista / Universal Music Canada
Damned, the man behind King Krule refuses to limit
his influences to one genre. With a mixture of talent
and a voice as deep of the ocean, Archy Marshall
released the first two King Krule albums to positive
reception –the records were as exciting as they were
unpredictable, but only touched the surface of Marshall’s
apparent capabilities. After releasing 2015’s A
New Place 2 Drown under his own name, Marshall
left fans wondering how he would incorporate the
mystifyingly succinct and gloomy trip-hop soundscapes
into the next King Krule record.
In tone, The Ooz embraces the suffocating darkness
of his 2015 record through different means. It’s
the jazziest King Krule album yet, in both instrumentation
and spirit, but it’s also punk through its
unconventionality. The Ooz flows like water from
front to back, swimming through different facets
of the same pool of “gunk,” a word Marshall said
inspired the album. Marshall believes the gunk is
of the same importance of blood, giving humans
life under the surface of our skin and minds. He is
a master of creating imagery and atmosphere, and
the full extent of his ability is shown on The Ooz.
Whether it’s a night drive or a morning coffee, the
album is filled with overwhelming emotion capable
of matching any scene.
It’s hard to single out one song as a standout
because the anxiety, pain, heartbreak and frustration
of The Ooz is best experienced when it swallows you
whole. It’s a look into the human mind, bottling up
the ghosts of the past while the possibility of a bright
future is within reach. The album offers no resolution
to the conflicts of the human condition, but it gives
the gunk a voice every type of listener is familiar with.
• Paul McAleer
Once Upon a Hell of a Time…
There are few left of the dying breed of true rock and
rollers: inseparable from their craft, up all hours of the
night, living out of guitar cases and hotels, and never
Matt Mays is one of these people, and he confronts
that lifestyle – and the weight it carries – headon
with the release of his deeply personal album
Once Upon a Hell of a Time…
Don’t get it wrong, this is a party record. With the
help of Wintersleep’s Loel Campbell, Mays has crafted
an extensive 52-minute album of catchy, triumphant
rock & roll anthems with no filler. Seriously.
Campbell’s distinctive, weighty-yet-delicate drumming
busts open the album and chugs along as its
driving force, allowing for Mays’ slick and reverberated
riffs to cut through and dance on top of the tunes.
The album is chock-full of dynamic breakdowns
and fist-pumping choruses championed by Mays’
powerful, howling voice. In a manner on par with
Bruce Springsteen, Mays somehow takes dark themes
of heartache, grief, change, and aging, and channels
them into reflective and affirming feel-good rock &
In what can easily be held up as some of Mays’
greatest work to date, this album serves as well
turned up loud on the way to the party as it does as
the soundtrack to the next morning’s hangover.
• Brendan Morley
Little Tiny Records
Canada’s prolific and award winning David Myles is
back again with yet another full-length studio album,
Real Love. With explorations through the genres of
folk, jazz, pop, and hip-hop, Myles has now turned his
attention and talents towards rockabilly. Dropping to
the lower reaches of his register and singing through
“old sound” distortion, Myles hits hints of Elvis and
days gone by. The music exudes Myles’ distinct sound
and songwriting; his cadence and phrasing, regardless
of genre, are his alone. While the album has moments
of the classic chugging jump that rockabilly brings
from its country roots, Myles slows songs down just
as often on the record to push more of the rhythm
and blues side of the genre. Myles playful character
colours all his music. Even when he’s waxing on the
sadder side of love, there’s an effervescence that still
comes through; a joy for life and all it offers. Myles’
demonstrative disposition wends its way through a
show of variety, opening with the dance floor stylings
of “Night And Day” and “Real Love” on through a
couple of numbers that sit on the darker side of love,
“Night After Night” and “Knock Out.” “Look At Me”
pulls out from the melancholy into a jumpy chorus,
while still bringing along a bit of sorrowful horn playing
that leads nicely into the brief “Reprise,” a horn
focused instrumental that belies the claim of the
song it flows out of and sets the tone of the tender
call of the following ballad, “If You Want Tonight.”
“Cry, Cry, Cry” brings back up the pace and chugs
Canadian punk-rock legends, Propagandhi are back
with a brand-new album, entitled Victory Lap.
Victory Lap is the seventh full-length album from
the band, and the first new release since 2012’s
Victory Lap is a natural progression from Failed
States; fast, upbeat and plenty of heavy, catchy riffs;
while keeping the thrash with quick pulsating drums
Lyrically, Victory Lap tackles Propagandhi’s
thoughts on life and death; derived from recent
personal experiences, turning the album slightly
sorrowful but overall insightful. And with all Propagandhi
albums, Victory Lap covers the band’s social
and political outrage. Although, this time around –
there’s a lot to cover. Songs like, “When All Your Fears
Collide” and “Adventures In Zoochosis” reference the
chaos of the 2016 US presidential election. While,
“Comply/Resist” and “Tartuffle” cover the injustices
done to indigenous people in Canada and feminism
respectively. But throughout the album, Propagandhi
never lose their sense of humour.
Although it’s been over 20 years since Propagandhi’s
debut album, How To Clean Everything, songs
like “Failed Imagineer” and “Letter To A Young Anus”
sound like a nod to their earlier days.
Overall, Victory Lap is another stellar album from
Propagandhi and as with each release, their talent
and insight grows fiercer. Constantly stepping up
their game, Victory Lap is another leap forward.
• Sarah Mac
There Is No Love In Fluorescent Light
Canada’s ethereal, dark pop darlings Stars have
released tehir eighth studio album, There Is No
Love In Fluorescent Light. The band brought
Connecticut-based producer Peter Katis in on the
project, relinquishing elements of creative control
and letting themselves be pushed to stay focused
on their ability to shed light on the dark end of the
street. The poetry of “Real Thing” is a prime example
of the band’s exploration of the shadowy side of
society. “The party unwinds / A tipsy nod to the
door / you’re misreading the signs / crushing cups
on the floor / you follow four steps behind / you
think ‘what’s hers is mine’ / in dreams you can fly /
it isn’t real / better check yourself and back up, baby
/ we’re locking the doors / I’ve seen the play before
boy hold up / you started the war.”
Amy Millan’s companionless vocals on the track
lend further weight to the story it paints. Torquil
Campbell and Millan take turns walking the lis-
Annie Clark is horny. That’s the only possible
takeaway from MASSEDUCTION, her fifth studio
album. It’s everywhere from the album’s title to its
artwork to tracks like “Sugarboy,” which plays like a
tribute to a particularly sweet piece of arm candy,
to “Savior,” a slithering ode to costumed role play.
Clark’s liberated sexuality informs even the album’s
subtlest tracks, like the single “New York” and “Happy
Birthday Johnny,” which sees the return of Prince
Johnny from Clark’s previous record. It’s an engaging
through line that makes MASSEDUCTION sound
more organized than it is.
Clark’s songwriting here is in fine form, from the
ecstatic bounce of “Pills” to the doomed march of
“Los Ageless.” Fans of 2014’s St Vincent will appreciate
the risks she takes on the record, taking cues from
everything from Afrobeat to New Order. There’s
enough variety here to keep even the most attentional-challenged
of fans entertained, veering from the
roar and bite of “Young Lover,” to the swooning slow
dance of “Slow Disco.” Clark has described the album
as “first person,” and you get to wondering exactly
how much of the album is autobiographical and how
much is hyperbole. Either way, MASSEDUCTION is
another delightful curveball in a career full of them.
• Max Hill
While gothic rock might not pique the interest of
many outside of a few choice cliques, the talent
behind California’s Chelsea Wolfe is something to
be admired, and on Hiss Spun, her third album on
the Sargent House label, she effortlessly transcends a
genre so mired in tropes.
From the moment guitar-feedback descends into
industrial sludge during the first few seconds of Hiss
Spun, Wolfe has you by the goddamn throat, flinging
you through 12 tracks that burst with unbridled
doom (“Spun”), undulating shoegaze-adjacent haze
(“Vex”), diegetic ambience (“Strain”), and echoing
neofolk (“Two Spirit”).
But the most admirable facet of Hiss Spun is how
each moment, be it a dissonant chord or an ethereal
whisper, is complimented by the dichotomy between
the darkness of the sound and the brightness of
Wolfe’s powerful voice, at times all-encompassing
and at others paper-thin.
There’s really no qualms to be had over the album’s
48-minute runtime, with each track having its place
and purpose, and never once coming off as jarring
when Wolfe decides to switch up the presentation
from doom-and-gloom to plaintive and shimmering.
The only thing that can be said about Wolfe’s
sound is that it, seemingly, can not be replicated, and
with Zola Jesus (nom de guerre of artist Nicole Hummel)
staking her claim as the top quasi-goth act of
62 | OCTOBER 2017 • BEATROUTE
the year with the respectably solid Okovi earlier this
month, it may just be Wolfe who ultimately usurps
• Alec Warkentin
Wolves in the Throne Room
With the new Wolves in the Throne Room album,
we witness a band returning to conjuring the familiar,
epic soundscapes that put them on the map over
10 years ago. The album, Thrice Woven, marks the
first album in six years that the band has played
in the atmospheric metal stylings that won them
so many fans when they first emerged. Luckily,
the album more than stands up next to the bands
stellar back-catalog. Within moments of the album
beginning, the band summons an ethereal storm of
layered atmosphere, featuring encompassing walls
of soft guitar fuzz creating a beautiful and abrasive
wash of sound reminiscent of a spring rainstorm.
When the metal thundershowers subside, the album
drifts effortlessly into quiet, tender arrangements
of choirs, delicate chimes, synthesizers and acoustic
guitars, giving the album a very otherworldly and
ritualistic sensation. Whether the album is displaying
charging, epic riffs or dreamlike, atmospheric beauty,
the album is one of the most well thought out and
well-constructed extreme metal albums to emerge
this year. When the quiet winds and sounds of rain
swell to draw the album to a close at the end of the
final track, it feels as though the band has taken you
on a journey, and not one that will be forgotten any
time soon. Strongly Recommended.
• Greg Grose
The World is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer
Afraid to Die
Easily the most noteworthy group of emo-revivalists
to come out of the genre’s most recent resurgence,
The World is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer
Afraid to Die (TWIABP) have managed to carve quite
the niche among fans of whining-yet-urgent lyricism
and winding post-rock interludes. Their latest album,
Always Foreign, feels more like an homage to those
less-than-stellar acts in a movement that undoubtedly
has the capacity for greatness.
The main issue with Always Foreign is a problem
that accosted many of the bands that came up in
emo’s third wave — particularly those able to hang
on until the late 00’s — in which the move from a
more raw, unfiltered, and abrasive sound to something
more commercial caused the emotional edge
to be sanded down to nothingness.
While Always Foreign is still a joy to listen to, it
finds the group moving even further away from their
resonant post-rock-adjacent roots into the more
pillowed-production of latter-era Epitaph bands.
On the whole this may seem like a minor trifle
(bands change! bands grow!), but it must be mentioned
that emo as genre is as reliant on its instrumental
power as it is its lyricism, and Always Foreign
comes off more as pop-punk-lite when compared to
the resonant high-points of 2013’s Whenever, If Ever
(“Getting Sodas”) or 2015’s Harmlessness (“January
10th, 2014,” “Willie (For Howard)”).
However, the album still has its standouts,
particularly opener “I’ll Make Everything,” rousing
centrepiece “Dillon And Her Son,” and the expanding
seven-minute epic “Marine Tigers.”
In short, Always Foreign is a safe release from a
band who can get away with taking more risks, and
hopefully will next time around.
• Alec Warkentin
The Earth That You’re Made Of
Edmonton’s Dana Wylie follows up her 2014 release
The Sea And The Sky, a low-key acoustic folk record,
with a more expansive sound on The Earth That
You’re Made Of. Wylie brings in horns and jazzy pop
to her expertly composed numbers, giving the record
an immediate Carole King vibe.
The title track may be the best example of this,
mellow horn lines over a simmering rhythm, piano
and Wurlizter drifting in an out of the mix make the
cut feel like an early ‘70s Philadelphia singer-songwriter
number. “Ten Thousand Miles” is longing and
yearning, and ultimately accepting of the distance
that grows between lovers. Harry Gregg’s production
with Wylie is a subtle affair. There is some easy-going
Motown in spaces, never too brassy on the horn
parts, and Wylie’s voice lands gently on catchy smart
melodies that never sacrifice pop sing ability for
“You Are Good, You Are Kind” brings all the pieces
together in a sweetly sung churchy lift, and “When
You Are Old” features Wylie’s electric guitar style,
a hybrid folk finger picking style moving melodies
throughout notes ringing in chords.
Dana Wylie’s always been low-key and relaxed, but
in the opportunity to bring The Earth You’re Made
Of to life with a larger production, a cooler-than-average
singer-songwriter vibe meshes with delicate songs
arranged with care and class.
• Mike Dunn
Immersion Trench Reverie
Yellow Eyes is a special band due to one key trait:
To keep it brief, the new Yellow Eyes is an important
band predominantly because of the bands
extremely unique and otherworldly choices regarding
song writing and chord structures. The shrill walls of
guitars feel like storm clouds thundering ominously in
the distance and the chord choices feel rough, atonal
and contrary to most other rock and metal music.
As the songs progress, the beautiful and sharp chord
patterns weave a tapestry of abrasive and enthralling
sound that draws the listener in and evokes a strong
palate of emotion. The vocal performance has the
pained intensity of a wounded animal, as the harsh
barks evoke a sensation much more akin to pain
rather than power. Every song ends with a brief sonic
interlude, featuring muddied footsteps, dogs barking,
wooden planks creaking and wind chimes, making
the album feel otherworldly and intensely cinematic.
To sum it up, what makes Yellow Eyes a special
band is their ability to convey such a wide swath of
emotions using such a simple formula. The band
is the epitome of being “more than the sum of its
parts,” and they have taken the done-to-death
simplicity of traditional black metal and brought it
to new heights and depths few bands are capable of
• Greg Grose
BEATROUTE • OCTOBER 2017 | 63
photo: Christine Leoanrd
photo: Christine Leoanrd
GAYTHEIST, SOLID BROWN, 2/3 OF NOTHING
Sept. 16, 2017
“Why can’t they be a whole of nothing? Why just two thirds?”
declared Gaytheist frontman, Jason Rivera, as he took to the
stage clad in a smashing tweed cap and bowtie. Haberdashery
aside, it was an evening for evening the odds as 2/3 of
Nothing admitted that they had finally met their match. Officially,
the local punk-rock outfit was celebrating the release
of their long awaited album, The High Cost of Low Living,
but that accomplishment temporarily took back seat to
another emotional milestone. Having opened the show with
a bang, lead vocalist Trevor Lagler seized the day, took a knee,
and proposed to his beaming girlfriend before finishing off
the band’s ribald set. Happily, the lady said “Yes!” saving the
following band, Solid Brown, the task of playing an homage
to unrequited love. Rather the heavy hitters weighed in with
their customary double-bass/double-drum barrage. If you
haven’t had the pleasure of watching the ingenious machinations
of this Calgary-based workhorse you are missing out
on the best thing since Jello Biafra, Primus and NoMeansNo
co-hosted that Saturday morning variety show. Veering out
of their customary power-play with a couple of mind-blowing
new tracks the foursome primed the matrimonial crowd
for the crazy ‘80s punk outburst of Gaytheist. Somehow hailing
from Oregon, Washington and Florida the frenetic trio
kept things tight as they punched their way through a lively
and unexpectedly loud selection of one-minute escapades.
Applying the perfect amount of tongue to cheeky noise-rock
jaunts like “Stampede of Savings,” Gaytheist’s playful wit hit
the spot and tied the knot on a memorable night.
• Christine Leonard
ROCK ’N’ ROLL PINBALL
SILVERBALL RODEO TOURNAMENT
Atlantic Trap and Gill
Sept. 3, 2017
The perfect Sunday night distraction, September’s all-you-can-play pinball and live bands
event netted a great crowd. There was a lot of noise in the air as Calgary’s would-be pinball
wizards limbered up their fingers and downed pints of ale over the bright lights and chiming
bells of the Silverball Rodeo. More of a greasy anchor than a western arcade corral, the
Atlantic Trap and Gill provided a cozy and family-friendly venue for feeling out the 20 pinball
machines distributed throughout the establishment. Happy flipsters milled about two-floors
of assorted machines that ranged from vintage kitsch to pop culture in theme. Thankfully,
rolls of quarters weren’t required and skill-level wasn’t really an issue for those who opted for
casual free-play with admission (versus those who were primed for some hardcore tournament
action). Bumpers boinked and tables were tilted, as a parade of bands crossed the main stage
infusing the room with electrified energy of another kind. A tempting pursuit, the Stampede
City Pinball League convenes at the venue weekly to bond over their fondness for pinball and
drum up some competition. Those high-scorin’ champs rubbed elbows with giddy newcomers
on Sunday, hovering over machines based on Keanu classics Johnny Mnemonic and Dracula.
Wide-eyed children dutifully munched fish and chips while Nikki Valentine and Night Committee
opened their tiny ear canals to the sounds of the post-bedtime world. The high-score of
the night went to Woodhawk, who couldn’t hardly wait to treat the crowd to their Star Wars
inspired track “A New Hope” from their incendiary LP, Beyond the Sun. Staff clipped the festivities
short, circulating with curfew warnings 20 minutes ahead of the 9 o’clock hour. Premature
ejection, as the band’s set would’ve wrapped in a quarter-hour anyways. Honourary Calgarians,
Regina’s Black Thunder arrived in style to pour on their magic elixir of technical psych-rock.
“Cheers!” to them for the smart coffee mug on offer at the merch stand, ready to catch the
dark, rich blood of the bean. Hopefully to become an annual happening, the Labour-Day
weekend gathering abounded with visual and kinetic appeal and offered the all-ages audience
the opportunity to enjoy some trophy-worthy rock bands amidst a carnival-like atmosphere.
Button-loving gamers invading the brick and mortar world? It might just catch on.
• Christine Leonard
BEATROUTE • OCTOBER 2017 | 65
’bate and snitch
I’m a 22-year-old straight male dating a 23-year-old woman. This is by far the
most sexual relationship I’ve been in, which is great, except one part is freaking
me out: I recently “caught” my girlfriend masturbating with her roommate’s
panties. (She knew I was coming over and wanted me to catch her.)
It turns out she has a habit of sneaking her roommate’s worn underwear,
masturbating while smelling them (or putting them in her mouth), and then
sneaking them back into her roommate’s laundry basket. She has also used
her roommate’s vibrator and dry-humped her pillow to orgasm. I got turned
on hearing about all this, and she jerked me off with her roommate’s panties.
My girlfriend says she gets turned on being “naughty” and most of her fantasies
involve being her roommate’s sex slave, me fucking the roommate while
my GF is tied up, etc. Our sex life now revolves around the roommate—my
GF has stolen a few more pairs of panties and even worn them while I fucked
her, and her dirty talk is now almost entirely about her roommate. This turns
me on, so I don’t really want it to stop, but my questions are: (1) Is this bad?
(2) Is this normal? We’re conditioned to believe women are less kinky and less
sexual than men, and I don’t want to buy into that. My girlfriend says she
isn’t “that weird.” I don’t know what to think.
–There’s No Acronym For This
1. It’s bad. 2. When it comes to human sexuality, TNAFT, variance is
the norm. Which means freakiness/naughtiness/kinkiness is normal—science
backs me up on this—and, yes, lots of women have high
libidos and lots are kinky. Your e-mail came sandwiched between a
question from a woman who needs sex daily (and foolishly married
a man with a very low libido*) and a question from a woman who is
into BDSM (and wisely held out for a GGG guy who’s getting better at
bondage but can’t bring himself to inflict the erotic/consensual pain
But “variance is the norm” doesn’t get your girlfriend off the
hook—or you, TNAFT. You and your girlfriend are both violating this
poor woman’s privacy, potentially her health (unless your girlfriend is
sterilizing her roommate’s vibrator after using it), and—perhaps most
importantly—her trust. Honoring each other’s privacy and showing
mutual respect for each other’s belongings are the social norms that
make it possible for unrelated/unfucking adults to share a living space.
We trust our roommates not to steal money out of our purses, eat our
peanut butter, use our toothbrushes, etc. And even if your roommate
never catches you, it’s still not okay to use their fucking toothbrush.
It should go without saying that we trust our roommates not to
shove our dirty panties into their mouths, use our sex toys, hump our
pillows, etc. We can’t control who fantasizes about us—people can
fantasize about whomever they care to—but we have an absolute
right to control who handles our dirty underpants. (My God, think of
all the times you’ve run out of clean underwear and fished a dirty pair
out of the laundry and worn them a second time!)
Your girlfriend should make an honest, respectful, naughty pass at her
roommate. And who knows? Maybe her roommate is just as pervy as
you two are and would jump at the chance to have a sex slave and full
use of her roommate/sex slave’s boyfriend in exchange for a few dirty
panties. Or maybe she’d like to move.
* Divorce and start over.
** Keep talking, baby steps. But if he can’t, he can’t. Tops get to have
I’m a six-months-pregnant woman in a wonderful relationship. My sex
drive has skyrocketed, and I get uncomfortably horny at random times. I
work at a preschool and have gone into the one-person locked bathroom
during my break for a quick rubout. Is this wrong? It takes me one minute
to come and I’m totally silent. But I’m at a preschool and there are little
kids on the other side of that door. Thoughts?
– Knocked Up And Horny
You’re doing nothing wrong—and pretty soon you’ll be having sex in
your home while your kid sleeps or plays on the other side of your bedroom
door, KUAH, so you might as well get some practice in. And if you
don’t want a kid walking in on you at home, either (and you definitely
don’t), put a lock on your bedroom door.
I am a 29-year-old woman and getting married to my boyfriend of four
years, “Adam,” in a few months. Relationship is great, sex is fantastic, no
complaints. So why am I writing? Adam’s best friend, “Steve,” was his
roommate in college, and Adam recently revealed that he and Steve used
to masturbate together. I have no idea what to make of this. I don’t think
Adam is gay and I don’t think Steve is either. Maybe they’re heteroflexible?
But is it common for straight guys to masturbate together? Also, why is he
just telling me this now, after we’ve been together for four years? I’m not
sure how I should act around Steve. He hangs out with us a lot. Help!
– Seeking To Evaluate Very Explosive Disclosure
“Buddy-bating among straight guys is more common than people may
think,” said Trey Lyon of Fuck Yeah! Friendly Fire, the “definitive source
for straightish porn.” Lyon’s website—FYFriendlyFire.com—features porn
of the “heteroflexible/almost bi” variety, i.e., two guys who aren’t afraid
they’ll melt if their dicks touch while they’re having sex with the same
woman. Lyon’s website has more than 200,000 followers and he’s heard
from lots of straight/straightish guys who masturbate with—read: beside—their
straight/straightish male buddies. Lyon doesn’t have hard data
for you, STEVED, only anecdote, but it’s safe to say your fiancé isn’t the
only straight/straightish guy out there who’s done a little “buddy-bating.”
So why do straight/straightish guys do this?
“In her controversial 2015 book Not Gay: Sex Between Straight White
Men, author Jane Ward asserts that sexual interaction between straight
white men allows them to leverage whiteness and masculinity to authenticate
their heterosexuality in the context of sex with men,” said Lyon.
“That by understanding their same-sex sexual interaction as meaningless,
accidental, or even necessary, straight white men can homosexually
engage in heterosexual ways. As a non-white guy myself, it is my hallucination
that the same might be the case across racial lines as well.”
I’m going to break in here for a moment: I think Ward’s book is
bullshit—at least when she’s talking about men who have anal/oral sex
with other men on the regular and without a female chaperone. While I
believe a guy can have a same-sex experience without having to identify
as gay or bi—straight men should have the same latitude on this score
that straight women enjoy—straightness is so valued (and apparently
so vulnerable) that some people can look at guys who put dicks in their
mouths at regular intervals and construct book-length rationalizations
that allow these guys to avoid identifying or being labeled as bi, gay, or
queer. (And if sucking dick allows straight men to “authenticate their
heterosexuality,” wouldn’t there be gay men out there eating pussy to
“authenticate” their homosexuality?)
Back to Lyon…
“A lot of the straight guys who reach out to me mention that they
enjoy bonding in a masculine albeit sexual way with another guy, while
also still only being responsible for getting themselves off,” said Lyon.
“And sharing a moment of vulnerability in this way with another guy
strengthens their friendship.
may be mentioning this
now because it’s not
something he feels he
should be ashamed of,
it’s something well-integrated
into his sexuality
and orientation, and he
feels it is important to
be open with his fiancée.
Wait, what’s the problem
by Dan Savage
66 | OCTOBER 2017 • BEATROUTE