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.
ZEBRA PULSE ten years on and not a single “song” has been written Weirdo noise crew probably no longer welcome at MacEwan. Since their inception, Zebra Pulse has been straight-out wacky. Looping vibrator drones, mic-ing a cooking fish in a microwave, vacuums, popcorn makers, Game Boys, typewriter percussion among others; Zebra Pulse will use anything that makes a sound as a tool for experimentation. Their first appearance as a three-piece was at the West Grant MacEwan Community College campus cafeteria on Valentine’s Day. “Owen (Strasky) was organizing this open mic noise performance to kind of fuck with the music students,” recalls multi-instrumentalist Parker Thiessen. “There was one point where the company that runs the cafeteria tried to shut us down, but the guitar teacher came and defended the whole thing like, ‘this is an art school, deal with it!’” After establishing themselves as Edmonton’s favourite weirdos during their first four years as a three-piece, bleep blooper Strasky describes the change after adding drum guru Sean MacIntosh. “When Sean joined he increased the flavour so much,” says Strasky. “It was like adding Montreal steak spice or something. It just brought it all together ‘cause lots of times before we would have these long nebulouss jams. Sean really brings a more solid rhythm to everything.” Nebulous jams aside; there have of course been ups and downs throughout the group’s kooky career. Take for example a venue’s decision to drop them off a bill so a hockey-viewing crowd wouldn’t be scared away. “What’s really funny though,” reveals Thiessen, “is that eventually I had a weekly DJ set there and they would come talk about Zebra BY KENNEDY PAWLUK PHOTO: PEARL GREY Pulse to me unknowingly, being like ‘Those guys are never allowed in here.’ I just wanted to like rip a mask off and be like, ‘It was me the whole time!’” “I kept thinking about this nude calendar release for MacEwan where we stripped down to our underwear while we played,” explains third founding member Dave Schaefer. “That show was full of people who definitely did not like our music and it was probably super weird that we stripped throughout the set. It’s funny this punk and metal bar couldn’t handle it. We went in thinking it’s a nude calendar release, so it’ll be a bunch of art students but instead it ended up being people in gowns and suits, rich donors to MacEwan They still stayed and tolerated the whole thing. We played for two hours.” Over their ten years Zebra Pulse have played hundreds of shows. Gigs including opening for noise legend Merzbow and ‘70s psych rockets Nick Turner, a child’s first birthday, an LRT station, and a set at Wunderbar in diapers. They’ve performed in oversized blow up suits and are even sometimes nearly naked, leaving fans weirded out but satisfied. The band’s ultimate advice: start a bullshit band with your buds, don’t take it too seriously, don’t plan too hard, hangout as much as you can outside of the band, watch Flea’s instructional bass video from the ‘90s and never write a song. Zebra Pulse celebrate their 10th anniversary on Thursday, Feb. 15 at the Sewing Machine Factory (Edmonton) with Boothman and Limina. The show will also feature the reease of Boothman’s new cassette ‘Boothman vs. Time’ and the THE ORDER OF CHAOS metal band writes for passion, not profit Perfectionism is an element of most creative minds, but even the most particular of musicians can find peace with their creations. Thrash metal four piece The Order of Chaos are releasing their new EP Night Terror and it’s the first time John Simon Fallon, founder and guitarist, has been truly pleased with the final product. The band has been an important part of the metal scene in the greater Edmonton area for somewhere between 12 and 14 years. Like most bands, they’ve had their fair share of line-up changes and challenges, but the passion to make music outweighs all else. Fallon spoke of the band’s humble beginnings in the all-ages punk and metal scene of Stony Plain, chronicling their transformation all the way to playing a headlining slot at Midi Festival in China. “I’ve been fortunate enough to be surrounded with great people the whole ride,” says Fallon. “The labels in Europe that helped us out, the local promoters who gave us a chance to play some bigger shows and learn the ropes. It’s testament to the Alberta music community.” Over a decade deep into the band’s career, they’ve released three full-length albums and two EPs once Night Terror is out this month. While some may say their sound is indefinable, one thing is for sure: they can shred. Their instrumentals feature wild chord progressions and dexterous speed picking, while vocalist Amanda Kiernan eases in and out of melodic purrs, harsh growls and soaring howls. “We don’t have the elaborate music education as a lot of the bands in Finland,” explains Fallon. “Kids over there are trained at a conservatory level by the age of six, playing incredible arrangements. For us, we all developed our The Order of Chaos release ‘Night Demon’ in February. BY BRITTANY RUDYCK own style by not having a frame of reference to what was happening outside our community at the time. We’re pretty isolated here. So we just practiced and created something we thought was special. When we did get into the international scene, we realized how important that isolation was to our sound.” Despite being okay with having an unconventional sound in the metal world (2011’s ‘Burn These Dreams’ includes a self described bluesy rock track, “Guns ’n’ Order“), Fallon insists the band will always write what appeals to them over writing to appease the marketing overlords. Although with Night Terror, they may have found a happy medium. “I’m generally not happy with anything we put out. I’m the worst critic of course,” Fallon admits. “I think that’s why music has always appealed to me; you can never perfect it. But with this EP, there was a sense of accomplishment. We finally developed into the sound we wanted and we didn’t have to force it.” Fallon’s understanding and acceptance of the creative journey being rife with imperfection and sometimes difficult growth lends itself to a career worth witnessing. “I don’t know if anything is going to sound like Night Terror going forward. But I’m happy with it. We learned a lot while making this EP; we became more conscious of who we are as a band and I think that’s why I feel so proud of it.” Join The Order of Chaos at the Mercury Room on Friday, Feb. 23 (Edmonton) for their EP release featuring Dahlmers Realm, Wolfrik and Sins of Sorrow. They’re also headlining Femme Fatale at Distortion on Saturday, Feb. 24 (Calgary) with Caveat, Tessitura, Traer and more! PHOTO: BARRETT KLESKO 30 | FEBRUARY 2018 • BEATROUTE ROCKPILE
ANZU adoring and paying homage to disco Edmonton electronic duo ANZU don’t waste any time launching into a nostalgic dance party on the opening track of their new EP Without Love Vol. 1. “Cry, Cry, Cry” is soaked in disco vibes with an up-tempo modern feel. The new EP is out Valentine’s Day, which is symbolically irrelevant. “The date just conveniently worked out that way. Which is sweet; it definitely fits the vibe,” says Jesse Silkie with a laugh. “It’s a more cohesive and focused sound. It’s what we were really looking for.” Silkie and his cohort Simon Belanger spent most of 2017 incubating this EP, drawing the spotlight away from live shows to focus on creating music. The pair recorded, produced and mixed the EP and with help from Sam John (Justice, Robyn, Chemical Brothers) for their masters. “I’m happy because we really invested a lot of time into the production of these EPs. I want people to enjoy the music the way they want to enjoy it, that’s more important to me than performing the songs live. As long as people are enjoying the music, that is number one.” The result is a five-song anthology to pump up the fun. The infusion of ‘70s and ‘80s disco soul spawn a groovy, ADULT CARTOON PARTY wild cartoons to tickle your fancy Throughout their tenure, Metro Cinema Society has always featured strong programming, largely thanks to the passion oozing from its curators. Night Gallery is one of the most recent additions to their programming, seeking to “give Edmonton’s film and video nerds a home.” Inspired by Montreal’s video lounges and the campy midnight movie phenomena of the early ‘70s, the project was curated by Metro Cinema Facilities Manager Allan Mulholland. He wants to test if the secondary screening space he engineered in the lobby of the Garneau Theatre is a feasible way to show content to an audience. Maggie Hardy, a long time contributor to the programming department at Metro Cinema, is assisting Mulholland in sourcing content for their upcoming event dubbed Adult Cartoon Party. ROCKPILE What is best in life? Conan doom, of course. energized album one can easily turn to for uplifting times. When asked about potential dates out of town, Silkie let us down gently. “It’s tricky to tour when you DJ. We learned that the hard way; you can’t really play rave music on a weeknight, especially in a town you haven’t played before.” Fair enough. However, 2018 is looking up to be a big year for the duo, with hopes to release the second and third The duo has been working hard on their visual mix tape sourcing material from Super 8mm, LaserDisc, Betamax, VHS and web rips. “It’s incredible what was out there,” explains Mulholland. “The collection will go through the history of X-Rated adult cartoons. The first film we are starting off with is a short from the 1920s, which was a surprise to me. It will be all over the map. Things that I find interesting will colour it, but I’m trying to keep it open. And it all depends… The mix tape has to go through the class board first!” Without revealing too much Hardy adds, “It will mostly be sexy, fun and light-hearted. It is a party after all!” The lounge atmosphere is an intentional call back to early midnight movie screenings encouraging social interaction, as Mulholland clarifies. BY CAROLINE REYNOLDS PHOTO: NEAL MERRELL installments of the series by the end of the year. “It’s escapism. That’s what dance music is, you want to get into it, dance and think about nothing but the music.” Check out ANZU live at the EP release party on Friday, Feb. 16 at Church of John (Edmonton) with Odd Child, Joses Martin, Polyesterday and Kusch. Tickets are $10 at the door. BY NICOLE BOYCHUK “You can sit or stand where you want, as long as everyone is still able to see – we set chairs out, but it seems naturally people like to form rows and that’s fine! It should be whatever the audience wants it to be,” informs Mulholland. “We are providing it for their enjoyment. We don’t have a strict ‘no talking rule.’ As long as you’re not interrupting someone’s enjoyment, it’s all yours.” In vein of the experimental cinema and video lounges, the bar is open late and admission is inexpensive. “Let’s just all be friends, and enjoy the late night!” Night Gallery’s sixth installment ‘Adult Cartoon Party’ screens on Saturday, Feb. 17 at 11:59 pm at Metro Cinema (Edmonton). Advance passes are recommended. finger on the pulse of Dirt City E ven the most angsty cynic could get behind some of the lovey-dovey crap comin’ up in February for Valentine’s Day. Cynics aside, there are more than just sentimentally inspired events taking place to warm up your cold, dead heart. We can all rejoice now the Aviary is finally up and running! Check out Jordan Norman & the Wisdom Teeth Feb. 3 for their While They’re Still Hungry album release. Denim Daddies are also releasing their single “Road Runner” on the same night. All the twang. Celebrate Black History Month for free at Metro Cinema on the 4th at noon. They’re screening a group of short films presented by the National Film Board of Canada. The screening runs 87 minutes and features a selection to simply scratch the surface of Canada’s rich and thriving black community. Join the McLuhan House Artists-in-Residence Black Girl Collective Feb. 7 for a discussion circle entitled: Entangling Black Identity. The discussion will offer insight into the experience of black people in Canada, predominantly Alberta related to their hair. Hear from barbers, hair dressers and more about the history of black hair care, misconceptions, self-perceptions and transferring knowledge to the next generation. Suggested $5 donation. The Dream Machine Zine #4 release party Feb. 9 includes queer & feminist poetry, a discussion on sexual harassment in the workplace as well as a chance to experiment with making your own zine! The Nook will be host to an art display by Jen Lee, a presentation by Simone Alaine Polo and an open discussion facilitated by Tab CA of the Sewing Machine Factory. All genders are welcome. $10 at the door. Mercy Funk’s annual Love Fest takes place two nights this year at the Aviary. The fun-loving party crew will be playing some of their beloved originals as well as their fave covers. Buy your advance tickets for Feb. 9 or 10 and dance your face off in the spirit of love. And then there’s Valentine’s Day. February 14th there’s no need to be lonely… if you care about that kind of thing. Just go to 9910 where everyone is lovely and beautiful all the time. For $15 go see Major Love and Amy van Keeken tear up the stage. For $40 have a meal upstairs at the Common before the show. Yum. • BRITTANY RUDYCK BEATROUTE • FEBRUARY 2018 | 31