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

beatroute

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

YYComedy • Calgary Cinematheque • Japandroids • Alt-J • Heather Rankin • Deicha & the Voodoos • Gwar


FIXED

Editor’s Note/Pulse 4

Bedroom Eyes 7

Vidiot 23

Edmonton Extra 38-42

Book Of Bridge 43

Let’s Get Jucy! 46

This Month in Metal

FEATURES

Major Minor 36-37

CITY 8-17

Evan Wooley, Thus Spoke, CJSW, Banff

Centre, YYComedy, Wordfest, Horseshow

Tavern, YYCScene, Backyard Party, Tattoo

Fest, King Lizard

FILM 19-23

Suspiria, Wizards, Calgary Cinematheque,

CUFF Halloween

TABLE OF CONTENTS

MUSIC

rockpile 25-43

Japandroids, Alt-J, Everytime I Die,

Screaming Females, Pagans of Northumberland,

David Gogo, Heather Rankin,

Dextress, Silversun Pickups, Rosetta,

North, Osyron

jucy 45-46

Eazy Mac, Walker & Royce, Heist

roots 48-51

Deicha & The Voodoos, Todd Stewart,

Wide Cut Weekend, Little Miss Higgins,

Dana Wylie, Mike Mac

shrapnel 53-55

GWAR, Necrot, Days Of The Dead

Festival, Cattle Decapitation

REVIEWS

cds 58-63

Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile and much

more ...

live 65

BEATROUTE

Publisher/Editor-in-Chief

Brad Simm

Marketing Manager

Glenn Alderson

Managing Editor

Sarah Kitteringham

Production Coordinator

Hayley Muir

Web Producer

Masha Scheele

Social Media Coordinator

Amber McLinden

Party Planner

Colin Gallant

Section Editors

City :: Brad Simm

Film :: Morgan Cairns

Rockpile :: Jodi Brak

Edmonton Extra :: Brittany Rudyck

Book of (Leth)Bridge :: Courtney Faulkner

Jucy :: Paul Rodgers

Roots :: Liam Prost

Shrapnel :: Sarah Kitteringham

Reviews :: Jamie McNamara

Contributing Writers

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

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

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

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

Shane Sellar • Kaje Annihilatrix • Dan Savage

Cover Art

Tom Bagely

Advertising

Ron Goldberger

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

Distribution

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

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

e-mail: editor@beatroute.ca

website: www.beatroute.ca

E-Edition

Yumpu.com/BeatRoute

Connect with BeatRoute.ca

Facebook.com/BeatRouteAB

Twitter.com/BeatRouteAB

Instagram.com/BeatRouteAB

Copyright © BEATROUTE Magazine 2017

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

TOMBIN’ AROUND AT PARADISE LANES

BEATROUTE • OCTOBER 2017 | 3


pulse

SPRINGBOARD

FLUID FEST

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

and scheduling.

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

at yycomedy.ca

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

GHOST STORY

Max operates out of his Ramsay

apartment building that dates

back to the late 1800s, and

happily haunted...

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


CITY

EVAN

WOOLLEY

what the city

needs now

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

neighbourhoods?”

Neighbourhoods First

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

Cuban sandwiches.”

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

he envisions.

“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.”

Regressive Conservatives

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

your neighbourhood.”

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


LISTEN UP!

Calgary Distress Centre Fundraiser

by B. Simm

WHAT SHAKES

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

year $10,000

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

there?).

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 kari@theyyscene.ca.

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.

CITY

BEATROUTE • OCTOBER 2017 | 9


CALGARY TATTOO & ARTS

FESTIVAL

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

year!

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


HERE COMES

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).

Tanner James

BIG J

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

very often.

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

communicate with.

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

chicken dance.

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

CITY

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

modified cucumber.

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

live music

OCTOBER 7

AMGK

“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

manager.”

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

OCTOBER 14

CRYSTAL MCGRATH

OCTOBER 21

hONEY & pEARLS

OCTOBER 28

LONG LON LEV

saturday nights

weekly specials

late night movies

$5 pints, $1 oysters

$1/2 off wine

$2.50 tacos

$7 beer flights

$5 draft pints

$3 Wild Turkey

midtownkitchen.ca

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

artistic limits.

“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.

CITY

BEATROUTE • OCTOBER 2017 | 15


FASHION HUSTLE

big girl Halloween... flashing your floozy on another level

by Apryl Dawn

body-body by

debut cassette release available

sept 15 at all fine local record shops

body-body by

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

more insatiable.

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


FILM

SUSPIRIA

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


CALGARY EUROPEAN

FILM FESTIVAL

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

subtitles.

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.

FILM

BEATROUTE • OCTOBER 2017 | 19


CALGARY CINEMATHEQUE

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

accepted.

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!

FILM

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

Strange Brew

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.

Sexmission

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

“The

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

at Eventbrite.

22 | OCTOBER 2017 • BEATROUTE FILM


THE VIDIOT

rewind to the future

All Eyez On Me

The Big Sick

It Comes At Night

Rough NIght

Wonder Woman

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

a terrorist.

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

recurring nightmare.

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.

Death Note

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

of others.

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

visitors.

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

bedbugs.

The Mummy

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.

Rough Night

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

matter.

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

chastity belts.

Wonder Woman

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

this action-adventure.

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

bras.

He’s a Bee’s Wax Museum. He’s the…

Vidiot

FILM

BEATROUTE • OCTOBER 2017 | 23


ROCKPILE

JAPANDROIDS

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

recent events.

“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

they’re lucky.”

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

layaway?

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).

ALT-J

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

ROCKPILE

Westminster, London.

“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

really unparalleled.”

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

the record.

“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


SCREAMING FEMALES

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

live performance.

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

less alone.”

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).

Buckley.

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

elaborates.

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

related activities.

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

Murray.”

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

Northumberland!

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.

bandcamp.com

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

along nicely.

“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

I die.”

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


DAVID GOGO

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

singer/songwriter soloist.

“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).

HEATHER RANKIN

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

divulges.

“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


DEXTRESS

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

perfectly aligned.

“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

ROCKPILE

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

haired quartet.

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


SILVERSUN PICKUPS

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.’”

ROSETTA

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

America.

“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

sound like.

“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

so wild.”

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

isotopic nature.

“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


NORTH

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

ironclad trio.

“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).

Mike MacKenzie

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


OSYRON

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

Kingsbane.

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

and refining.

“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

live setting.”

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

ROCKPILE

BEATROUTE • OCTOBER 2017 | 33


HEATHER ADAM

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,

rural upbringing.

“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

I

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

cancer.”

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

the soul.

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

rhythm section.

“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


MAJOR MINOR’s

EXPANDING GLOBE

one event at a time, Graham MacKenzie builds a bigger universe for Calgary’s youth and immigrant groups

“A

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

found country.

“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


PARADISE LANES

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

per cent.”

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-

ROCKPILE

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

hand.”

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

exist within.

BEATROUTE • OCTOBER 2017 | 37


EDMONTON EXTRA

DEDFEST X

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

volunteers.

“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

Strangler.

“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

confirmed.

“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


WARES

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

promotions.

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

ROCKPILE

photo: Haley Pukanski

because of the sheer number of positive adjectives

thrown around.

However the esteem is warranted and the proof

is in the way Wares’ music has exploded over the

last year-and-a-half.

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

showcasing.

“The first album was the first folk songs I had ever

written,” elaborates Jared, identifying the first album as the

actual anomaly.

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.

EDMONTON EXTRA

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

album’s sound.

“I have a complicated relationship with [Edmonton]

and the stolen land it’s built on,” explains

Hardy.

“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,

developed composer.

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

announced (Edmonton).

by Glen Erikson

BEATROUTE • OCTOBER 2017 | 39


EDMONTON EXTRA

LINDSEY WALKER

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,

sensual mood.

“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

Alberta Museum.

“It will be more of a visual element than just

bare stage. I have these big ideas, almost illusions

of grandeur.”

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

relationships.

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,”

she explains.

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

situations.

“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?’”

she recalls.

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

Slavic roots.

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


EDMONTON EXTRA

MOLLYS REACH

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

respiratory therapist.

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.

ROCKPILE

BEATROUTE • OCTOBER 2017 | 41


EDMONTON EXTRA

MYSTICETI

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

name Mysticeti.

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

emerald water.”

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.

BACKCURRENTS

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

SUFFER ME

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

the record.

“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

one minute.

“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

momentum going.”

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

vocals.

“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

headed songwriting-wise.”

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

“Our

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

Sean Beaver.

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

history.

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,”

continues Blackwater.

“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

really bloomed.”

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

to collaborate.

“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

Blackwater.

“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/

bloodrezcrew/.

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.

ROCKPILE

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

that sound.

“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

Martin.

“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

transforming emotions.”

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


JUCY

EAZY MAC

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

vocal tone.

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

Barrett.

“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.

JUCY

BEATROUTE • OCTOBER 2017 | 45


HEIST

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

city streets.

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

a decade.

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

whole night.

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


ROOTS

TODD STEWART

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

tells BeatRoute.

“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

Northern Beauties.

“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

through.

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

(Frazey Ford).

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.

THE RUMBLE

Rock ‘n’ Roll

The Ship Oct. 11

Palomino Nov. 3

ROOTS

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

skinny tires.

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,

Richard Inman.

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

[female]-fronted acts.”

Highlights include Kayla Luky and Little Miss Higgins (see our full preview in

this section).

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

heavier topic.”

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


DANA WYLIE

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

League (Edmonton).

ROOTS

BEATROUTE • OCTOBER 2017 | 51


SHRAPNEL

GWAR

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

songs.”

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.

“Hello?”

“Hi. This is Pustulus Maximus, formerly of GWAR.”

Wait, what?

“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),

SHRAPNEL

BEATROUTE • OCTOBER 2017 | 53


This

Month

In METAL

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

some money!

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

Revenge.

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

MARY CHAIN.

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

meatheads!

• Sarah Kitteringham

NECROT

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

“It’s

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

hardcore fan.

“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

heavy metal.

“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

very strong.

“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


CATTLE DECAPITATION

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

NSFW video.

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).

SHRAPNEL

BEATROUTE • OCTOBER 2017 | 55


musicreviews

Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile

Lotta Sea Lice

Matador

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

participate.

“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

common friends.

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


Margo Price

All-American Made

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

Protomartyr

Relatives in Descent

Domino

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

Liam Gallagher

As You Were

Warner Music

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

real screamer!

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

Grateful Dead.”

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

Blue Hawaii

Tenderness

Arbutus Records

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

their framework.

• Colin Gallant

Bully

Losing

Sub Pop

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

Citizen Jane

In The Storm

Independent

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

darker elements.

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

Yarrow

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

lyrical style.

“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

Anderson duet.

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

a snowstorm.

• Mike Dunn

Destroyer

ken

Merge Records

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

unabashed melodrama.

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

of wine.

• Maya-Roisin Slater

Skinny Dyck & Friends

Twenty One-Nighters

Independent

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

Luciferian Towers

Constellation Records

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

1997-2001 run.

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

means perfect.

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

Hollywood Undead

Five

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

The Killers

Wonderful, Wonderful

Island Records

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

King Krule

The Ooz

XL / True Panther Sounds

King Krule

From Donny Hathaway to Talking Heads to The

BEATROUTE • OCTOBER 2017 | 61


St. Vincent

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

St. Vincent

MASSEDUCTION

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

Matt Mays

Once Upon a Hell of a Time…

Sonic Records

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

settling.

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 &

roll bangers.

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

David Myles

Real Love

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

Propagandhi

Victory Lap

Epitaph Records

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

Failed States.

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

and bass.

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

Stars

There Is No Love In Fluorescent Light

Last Gang

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

Chelsea Wolfe

Hiss Spun

Sargent House

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

the throne.

• Alec Warkentin

Wolves in the Throne Room

Thrice Woven

Artemesia

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

Always Foreign

Epitaph

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

Dana Wylie

The Earth That You’re Made Of

Independent

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

instrumental heroics.

“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

Yellow Eyes

Immersion Trench Reverie

Independent

Yellow Eyes is a special band due to one key trait:

Subtlety.

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

fathoming.

• Greg Grose

BEATROUTE • OCTOBER 2017 | 63


livereviews

photo: Christine Leoanrd

photo: Christine Leoanrd

GAYTHEIST, SOLID BROWN, 2/3 OF NOTHING

Palomino Smokehouse

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


SAVAGE LOVE

’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

she craves**).

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

limits, too.

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.

STEVED’s boyfriend

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

again?”

mail@savagelove.net

@fakedansavage

on Twitter

ITMFA.org

by Dan Savage

66 | OCTOBER 2017 • BEATROUTE

More magazines by this user
Similar magazines