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.
of its final act — The Up Here Place’s greatest virtue is that it never demands your comfort, only ever your attention. The bold entrance of “Sweater In The Lake” and the understated finish of “Easier,” only make sense once the parachute straps have been removed at the end of the skydive. Sure, you had doubts, but it was never an option to exit along the way. • Colin Gallant Lucy Dacus Historian Matador Records Since being signed to Matador Records, Lucy Dacus has honed her craft as a talented storyteller. Moving away from her more folksy roots that were heard on No Burden, Historian is a beautiful sophomore album. The opening track “Night Shift” takes the listener on a heartbreaking journey through a particularly heinous break up, that ends with her praying that she’ll never see her ex again if she can help it. You can sense her growth on this album and while not fully polished yet, this album is the start of a promising future. • Kennedy Enns Miesha and the Spanks Girls Girls Girls Independent Calgary duo Miesha & The Spanks deliver the party in their newest record Girls Girls Girls, a pop-rock feast for the ears that never slows down once you hit the play button. The first thing that comes to mind when you listen to this album is the sheer production value it has, probably thanks to The Buzzcocks’ Danny Farrants producing. The usual issue with bands that are duos is that recordings can feel empty with a lot of over-blown guitar to fill out the mid-range, but thankfully this whole album is dynamic enough to feel full, even when there are just vocals and drums. The song writing is very hook-heavy, which plays to the bands strength to get your feet moving. However, this does make it a little bit difficult to tell the songs apart. While the high-energy rock n’ roll never becomes tedious, the album does tread familiar water throughout. Nevertheless, Girls Girls Girls is a party-anthem dinger that will get feet moving and keep the drinks flowing. • Will Cowan Scenic Route to Alaska Tough Luck popTrip Records Since dropping their successful third album, 2016’s Long Walk Home, Scenic Route to Alaska has grown in popularity and accolades in their hometown of Edmonton and across 50 | MARCH 2018 • BEATROUTE Lucy Dacus the world. The trio set up shop in Vancouver to work with the notable Howard Redekopp (Tegan & Sara, The New Pornographers) on their fourth record, Tough Luck, just as they did with Long Walk Home. Although their indie-folk rock sound didn’t evolve much between Tough Luck and their prior LPs, listeners remain unbothered because, well, why change something that doesn’t need to be fixed? What did shift, however, were the lyrics. Long Walk Home touches on the difficult parts of love and how life can get complicated, through catchy vocals and indelible melodies. Tough Luck on the other hand, has a lot more depth to it. “Lonely Nights” and lead single “Slow Down” tackles life on the road and the self-inflicted loneliness and short-lived relationships that come along with jumping from city to city. Despite the fact that the topics can seem bleak or desolate, there is a sense of hope and prosperity in Trevor Mann’s (lead singer) voice in every single song. Tough Luck goes from ballads to resonant anthems leaving something for everyone to cling to, reeling you in again and again. ª Mackenzie Mason Ed Schrader’s Music Beat Riddles Carpark Records Ed Schrader has always walked a fine between surrealism and punk. His vocal and percussive savagery always threaten to overwhelm, but a contingent of demure minimalism has always kept the levee intact. That bait-and-switch approach is replaced by a mutated melding of Schrader extremes on Riddles. The best example may be “Seagulls,” where his brooding baritone is underlaid by finger-snaps before devolving into an electronic collage, then corroding into a blitz of yelps and distortion. Schrader’s journey with co-hort Devlin Rice has been patient, making this new chapter a logical evolution, but it would be a mistake not to note that fellow Baltimorean Dan Deacon co-wrote and produced this new batch of tracks. Deacon’s under-recognized versatility can be heard throughout, but especially on singles “Dunce” (an almost QOTSA dose of seared swagger) and “Riddles” (where Schrader humours anthemic vocals atop a meteor shower of piano). The best thing about Riddles is that Schrader and Rice have reassembled the best parts of themselves while taking on a new dimension. New fan or old, now is the right time to pay close attention to the Music Beat. • Colin Gallant Yo La Tengo There’s a Riot Going On Matador Records It’s a bold call on the part of Yo La Tengo to name their latest album after Sly and the Family Stone’s seminal 1971 masterwork, but not entirely unfounded. Much like the era in which its predecessor was recorded, There’s a Riot Going On exists in a time rife with hyper-political criticism. But rather than release a collection of soul-infused jams, Yo La Tengo have opted for a much more plaintive approach. Musically, There’s a Riot Going On is an extension of the sound that the Hoboken three-piece have curated over their almost 35 years in the business. Singer-guitarist Ira Kaplan and drummer Georgia Hubley leapfrog vocal duties, with the former taking the helm on “She May, She Might” and “For You Too,” and Hubley on the melancholic “Shades of Blue” and “Ashes.” But perhaps the biggest change with Riot is their foray into mostly ambient tracks (“You Are Here,” “Short Wave”) which finds the band at their most patient, comfortably letting themselves drift into almost six-minute pieces of drone and diegesis. It’s safe to say that with this album Yo La Tengo transcend genre in a very distinct way, ebbing closer into the ethos of feeling rather than form. Much like the American societal dissonance that’s threatening to tear a country apart, There’s A Riot Going On has a power running underneath its surface; a decades-old build-up mirrored now in a band with fifteen albums under their belt. They feel something big is happening. Don’t you? • Alec Warkentin Soccer Mommy Clean Fat Possum As the brainchild of rising indie act Soccer Mommy, 20-year-old Sophie Allison writes about youthful relationships like a fire marshal examining the aftermath of a five-alarm blaze. Clean, first full album of new material since 2017’s Collection, finds the Nashville band moving from the bedroom to the studio without leaving any rawness behind. Clean retains Allison’s ability to write introspective lyrics that are couched inside of full-blown anthems like she does on lead single “Your Dog.” The song features some of Allison’s best lyricism as she asserts “I don’t wanna be your fucking dog, that you drag around/A collar round my neck, leave me in the freezing cold.” It’s just one of many times Allison asserts her autonomy on Clean and like much of the album, it feels like a willful backlash against male indie rock tropes. • Jamie McNamara Superorganism Superorganism Domino Records When Orono Noguchi (lead singer of Superorganism) discovered “The Eversons” via her Youtube recommendations, neither her nor the Kiwi group could have imagined that 2 years later they would form a band and grow to be labelled as “2017’s buzziest new band.” Superorganism introduces their debut album Superorganism on March 2nd, featuring viral singles such as “Everybody Wants To Be Famous” and “Something For Your M.I.N.D.” This psychedelic supergroup consisting of eight band members from Japan, Australia, New Zealand, London and South Korea take anything they can get their hands on and transform it into music. Things as simple as eating an apple, snoring or the fizz from a soda can can be heard in the trippy featured tracks “Relax” and “It’s All Good” creating a unique and bizarre sound unlike anything else you’ve ever heard. The record explores contrasting volumes and sounds integrating multiple genres into one style, ensuring there will be something for everyone. Guitar, drums and lots of synth mixed with sounds from your everyday life is what makes up Superorganism and is what makes it so enticing. • Mackenzie Maso
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