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.
THE MOTHERCRAFT fresh EP and guitarist for groovy metal group Stoner metal flies high. About two years ago, a Google search for “Edmonton Stoner Metal” would have led to Grizz Penner’s ad on the networking site for musicians, BandMix. This is how guitarist and vocalist Jordan LeMoine and Penner originally connected to form The Mothercraft. After jamming killer riffs in the basement, they asked Geoff Keller to join on drums. Now a regular staple of the Edmonton metal scene, The Mothercraft released their debut five track EP Pillars on January 5 via Bandcamp and will celebrate the release with two gigs in March. Self-described as a vehicle designed for travel in space, delivering righteous riffs to the reaches of the universe, the opening track “Cosmic Nod” does just that. Early Black Sabbath inspired vocals and sharp riffs wind around a heavy hitting, steady beat. The EP is just under 25 minutes of atomic face melting riffs, keeping true to the tradition of bands such as the Sword. Pillars is a package that can hold its own among the best the stoner genre has to offer, using the success of several singles to formulate their ultimate sound for the EP. “Recording was a relatively new experience for all of us. We learned a lot about what we wanted to sound like,” explains Penner. It took two studios and several noise complaints to get it done; the band is now bringing that raucous vigor to the stage. 32 | MARCH 2018 • BEATROUTE BY JOHNNY JAGAJIVAN photo: Aaron Kurmey “Our shows are pretty high energy,” says LeMoine excitedly. “We try to get everyone involved in the fun we have on stage and off!” With no intentions of slowing down, the Mothercraft have tours, festivals and a fulllength album in the works. “We are constantly writing and jamming new riffs,” says Keller. Recently the Mothercraft brought in second guitarist Riley Quinlan to complete their line-up, adding harmonies, blends of tones and a general thickening of their sound. The band describes their new and upcoming songs as being even heavier than the EP. Whether this will change the direction to their approach to the stoner metal genre that remains to be seen. With so much on the go, the Mothercraft embodies what it means to be a hardworking band, truly driven by the energy given to them by their local brigade of metal fans. Pillars demonstrates where hard work and dedication will get you. Join the Mothercraft at their EP release show at the Starlite Room on March 23 [Edmonton]. They will be joined by Chron Goblin, Sparrow Blue and Fear the Mammoth. They also perform at the Palomino Smokehouse and Social Club on March 24 [Calgary] with Iron Tusk, Electric Revival, Sparrow Blue and Buffalo Bud Buster. CRUCIFEROUS hardcore action and reaction Cruciferous are a vegan hardcore band set to release their five track EP Samsara. Rooted in Hare Krishna spirituality (a Hindu sect following a strict vegetarian lifestyle with a belief in karmic laws of reincarnation), this band exists to make more than heavy music. “Do you know what a Cruciferous is?” vocalist and guitarist Johnny Jagajivan inquires. “It sounds bad ass as hell. It’s a vegetable family that kale and broccoli belong to.” Appropriately, the cover of the impending EP features a Saṃsāra wheel composed of broccoli barring teeth. Musically, the band stays true to the traditions of early hardcore, their music features throaty, intense vocals and lo-fi, severe instrumentals that crash and urgently compete. When asked to pick between militant vegan hardcore band Earth Crisis or metaphysical punks Shelter, Jagajivan chooses New York Hardcore band “Cro-Mags. Everything that band does is based in Krishna consciousness, but they’re making music that people love. Shelter was this really niche band, and that’s cool, but we are making music for people to hear it.” And while Edmonton loves heavy music, the message Cruciferous represent through lyrics and action may be considered somewhat of a rarity. “If people choose to read the lyrics, there’s definitely that message. I’m not trying to be preachy, but this is stuff that’s close to my heart,” explains Jagajivan. “We recorded everything ourselves. The lyrics really mean a lot to me because it represents a lot of growth in my personal self. I’ve been exploring my spiritual side while staying positive and keeping it real.” Krishna hardcore is deeply embedded in Vegan punks serving the community. BY DREW MCINTOSH the ‘90s punk world, but Jagajivan is content doing his own thing within the broad framework of a fading movement. “I’m just doing what I feel is right for me,” he says. “I have been playing in bands since I was 15; I’m almost 34 now. A lot of times I didn’t really have a creative input [in former projects]. This time around everything music-wise has been directed by me, with the assistance of the rest of the band. I’m not really thinking about anything else, because I’m just playing music with my friends. I’m not thinking about what came before us or what will come after us.” “There’s a lot going on in the scene in Edmonton these days,” Jagajivan adds. “We’re bringing something different, but there are a lot of messages out there and that’s really important. I want to hear what other people are saying.” Delivering not just words, but action, Cruciferous is involved with Food for Life, which brings members of the hardcore scene together to serve the community. “We’re raising money and helping feed people down at Boyle Street,” he says. The project serves up to 175 vegan meals per month via volunteer contributions. “We’re trying to bring in that positive energy. It would be great if everyone was spiritual, but that’s not the world we live in. What is important is that people are conscious, that they are helping each other. We’re trying to use our time as a band to show that we’re all connected.” Cruciferous release their five-song cassette Samsara on April 6 at the Sewing Machine Factory [Edmonton]. They will perform with Drown in Ashes (Vancouver), Old Crows and Ghost Cell. photo: Matt Bandrychuk ROCKPILE
DEAD FRIENDS Evil, sunny garage psych debut BY KENNEDY PAWLUK I Rebellious youth anything but dead. Edmonton’s hazy garage four piece Dead Friends is largely an act of rebellion. “I had a kindergarten class with Carter Mackie (bassist), we were just walking around and decided to knock over this huge pile of blocks,” says guitarist Jesse Ladd in a reminiscent tone. “It made a ton of noise, made a huge mess and we got in a bunch of trouble and we’ve been hanging ever since.” It’s relatively minor acts of unruly fun like these that are evoked sonically by the band’s self titled debut, Dead Friends. With a quip of daunting psych inspired organ to kick off the proceedings, Dead Friends is quick to push forward into the catchy as all hell garage punk track “Can’t Sleep.” “’Can’t Sleep’ is about my dog who sleeps all day,” claims Ladd. “Due to my insomnia, I can’t sleep at all at night.” Lyrically the track conveys the general experience of anxiety and absolute restlessness; a feeling that you can never really just chill out. Marking the mid point on the record, “Friends are Dead” bears memories of being stoned, blinded by the sun, and melting on a hot summer’s day. The blend of keyboardist Callum Harvey’s signature organ tones with the guitar workings of Ladd formulates a lush magnificence. Enhanced by Ladd’s deep, haunting vocals and drummer Ellen Reade’s high harmonies, “Friends are Dead” sets a high point on the record. photo: Logan Ladouceur Despite the macabre namesake of the project, the members are very close and their music is the result of complete collaboration and growth in unison. “We’re all best friends,” says Ladd. “Of course, we get into little fights and things just over bullshit always. At the end of the day we all still love each other.” “In Dead Friends I’ve learned I really just love working with a band and doing as much as possible with a band. Getting along and seeing how far you can go, working away at goals,” adds Harvey. “Musically I’ve learned little things like paying attention to other people more, almost like not listening to yourself but more so everyone else. This band is a very collaborative effort. So I’ve learned a lot about arrangements and how things work collaborating. I’ve also learned a lot about opening yourself up and just going for it really. I just love oiling the gears of rock ‘n’ roll. Just keep the machine going, keep working on it, moving forward.” For those who would think to claim the idea that garage rock is “passé,” Dead Friends’ debut is an ultimate rebuttal. Dead Friends release their self-titled debut at the Sewing Machine Factory on March 16th [Edmonton]. They will be performing with Jock Tears, True Branch and the Slight Brains. ROCKPILE BEATROUTE • MARCH 2018 | 33