BeatRoute Magazine [AB] print e-edition - [April 2018]


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.

Preoccupations • Uriah Heep • Record Store Day • Hey Ocean! • 420 Fest • SXSW Coverage


Friday April 6th

Yamantaka // Sonic Titan



Saturday April 7th

Escape-Ism (feat: Ian Svenonius)

Physical Copies

Janitor Scum


Friday April 13th



Lion Pride


Saturday April 14th


Hit the Streets and guests

Tuesday April 17th

B Rich

Steve & Dinky (The Bros. Snarfwell)

Friday April 20th

The Prowlers (Montreal)

The Borderguards

Bats Out (Regina)

The Enforcers and Steelhead

Friday April 20th

free! upstairs!

Record Store Day afterparty presented

by Phillips Brewery and Sloth Records!

Featuring bands downstairs and the

Sloth All Star DJs

Saturday April 21st

Crooked Spies


Strawberry Jam

Jason Delisle & The Tone Hounds

Friday April 27th

Pink Mexico (Burger Records, LA)

Dopey’s Robe


Saturday April 28th

Mandible Klaw

Chernobyl Wolves

Unwashed and Paint the Damage


Friday May 4th


Freak Heat Waves

Saturday May 5th


Melted Mirror

Saturday May 5th upstairs!

Another FREE Pabst Blue Ribbon

event with Johnny 2 Fingers

Scratch Buffalo

Buffalo Bud Buster

Tuesday May 15th



The Foul English

Friday May 18th

Red City Radio

Worst Days Down

Ghost Factory

Bring the Storm

Saturday May 19th

Fat Possum Records presents

Bob Log III

Forbidden Dimension

KV Raucous

Friday May 25th

Kristian North (Montreal)

GG Love (Montreal)

Polly Dactic



COVER 13-23



ARTS 8-12

Badlands, Hip Ballet, YYC Scene, 420 Fest, Record

Collectors Show

FILM 13-23

CUFF, Vidiot


rockpile 24-33

Uriah Heep, 88 Fingers Louie, Beaver Squadron,

Pink Mexico, Nothing More, Preoccupations,

Born Ruffians, Body Lens, Record Store Day

edmonton extra 35-39

Edmonton Poetry Fest, Eye On Edmonton, Scenic

Route To Alaska, #YEGMAN, Ethno Fashion Gala,

Grizzlar, Re-Form, Sugarwash

jucy 41-42

Magic Mountain, Let’s Get Jucy, Dr. Space

roots 44-47

Hey Ocean!, Veronica Welbs, Slow Leaves, Abigail

Lapell, Donovan Woods

shrapnel 49-52

Brant Bjork, Electric Owl, La Chinga, Sasquatch,

Month in Metal, Buffalo Bud Buster


music 55-59

Amen Dunes, The Melvins, Lindi Ortega

live 34


savage love 54



Brad Simm

Marketing Manager

Glenn Alderson

General Manager

Colin Gallant

Production Coordinator

Hayley Muir

Web Producer

Masha Scheele

Social Media Coordinator

Amber McLinden

Section Editors

City :: Brad Simm

Film :: Morgan Cairns

Rockpile :: Christine Leonard

Edmonton Extra :: Brittany Rudyck

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 • Miguel Morales •

Sarah Allen • Kevin Klemp • Glen Erickson •

Elizabeth Eaton • Michael Podgurney •

Kennedy Pawluk

Cover Art

Found Footage Film Festival


Ron Goldberger

Tel: (403) 607-4948 • e-mail:


We distribute our publication in

Calgary, Edmonton,

Banff, Canmore, and Lethbridge.

SARGE Distribution in Edmonton

Shane Bennett

(780) 953-8423




Connect with

Stormtrooper CalgaryExpo17 Parade.

photo: Paul Chirka


Copyright © BEATROUTE Magazine 2017

All rights reserved. Reproduction of the contents

is prohibited without permission.



DJD and the OLD TROUTS present


An exciting new collaboration with Peter

Balkwill of the Old Trout Puppet Workshop,

MIMIC fuses two highly physical wordless forms,

performed with a percussive score by the Nick

Fraser Ensemble.

Co-created by Kimberley Cooper and Peter


Performed by the DJD Dancers with live music.

Musical Director – Nick Fraser

APRIL 19 – MAY 5, 2018







Embark on a passionate journey into the fiery,

exotic world of flamenco with this stunning

display of emotion, sound, and colour. The

raw energy and rhythms of professional

dancers from the acclaimed Campania Azul

are dynamically paired with symphonic

arrangements, creating an exciting union of

movement and orchestra.

Jack Singer

Fri., May 4 and Sat. May, 5.


APRIL 26 – 6:30PM

The Gala will include Cocktails, Hors d’oeuvres

and many other fun surprises. All Gala ticket




Project WILD just announced that submissions

are now opened for it’s third year. Administered

through Alberta Music and changing the careers

of Albertan artists, I’d love to arrange for you

to speak with an organizer about the program

and the impact its had on the Alberta music


Project WILD is an artist development

program designed to educate, promote, develop

and launch the careers of Alberta’s most up and

coming country and roots artists. The twelve

selected finalists will spend five months completing

challenges, honing their skills at a week

long intensive bootcamp and performing public

showcases to earn a spot in the Top 3. The top

finalist will win a prize of $100,953, with 2nd

place earning $75,000 and third $50,000.

Participants of Project Wild’s 2017 work hard, party harder boot camp located in Princeton, BC.





Big Four Building Hosts Pop-Up Event

The renown skate, snow and surf

retailer Vans has announced

that their world-renowned House

of Vans event will be rolling into

Calgary for April 13-15, at the Big

Four Building.

The pop-up style event will

include live music, an art show, live

mural painting, photography workshops,

food vendors, a community

market and an indoor skate park

available to Calgary’s skateboarders.

The always highly anticipated

House of Vans is truly an epicentre

for creativity and for everything

that makes Vans “Off The Wall”.

With permanent locations

around the world, the House of

Vans events are described as “a

place were imagination lets loose

over concrete bowls, art installations,

workshops and concert

stages, inspiring every person who

runs, rolls, or stomps through its


Guest can expect live performances

from local Calgary artists,

Monolith AB, Port Juvee, Crystal

Eyes and Melted Mirror, with

shows starting at 8:00 p.m. Friday,

April 13.

Admission for the event is free

and anyone is welcome to skate the

indoor park, although, helmets are

required if patrons are under 18.

Another big focus for this event

will be with Get On Board: A Celebration

of Women’s Skateboarding,

which will feature board building

workshops, film screenings and

a panel session with professional

skaters Lizzie Armanto and Nina


With Calgary’s past skate park

additions and the recent unveiling

of the Ninetimes Skateshop

Calgary location, the House of Vans

Pop-Up event is looking like another

big win for Calgary’s skateboard


Events will kick off at 4:00 p.m.

on Friday, April 13. Visit

houseofvans for more info and



Get On Board: A Celebration of Women’s Skateboarding

is the highlight event at House of Vans.

Lizzie Amanto, American champion pro-skater.




August 3, 1961 - March 23, 2018

Kevin Herring unexpectedly passed away

while relaxing at home on a Friday night.

He died from an aortic dissection. In addition

to being a tremendous, highly-respected

musician, he was a wonderful family man,

a gentleman of gentlemen, who didn’t have

a vain or mean bone in his body. He will be

sadly missed by his wife, two daughters and

a multitude of friends throughout Calgary’s

music community.

Born in High River, he moved to Calgary at

an early age and developed a deep fascination

for The Beatles, Led Zeppelin and many of the

guitar greats – Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and B.B.

King. Kelly Alliston, who was Kevin’s bandmate

and best friend for 34 years, recalls when

they first crossed paths.

“I met Kev playing on the road in 1984 doing

the cover tune, bar band thing. Sistor Cruz,

Dillinger – cue all the Spinal Tap references.

We were in some small town and needed a

guitar player quick. The singer knew Kev and

he showed up at the next gig with his Telly

and Les Paul, dragging a Marshall stack.”

Kevin and Petra Herring.


Over the years, Alliston and Herring would

play and record in different rockabilly and blues

bands, which, in turn, influenced other players

and the local scene. Alliston says, “He gave his

unique guitar prowess to so many musicians and

bands, always positive and ready to go.”

That Herring was, absolutley – positive and

ready to go. The short list of bands he played

with include The King Rats, Handsome Devils,

Jane West Band, Loaded Dice which morphed

into Dice Deluxe, Hurricane Felix and the

Southern Twisters, The Ronny Hayward Trio and

The Lovebullies. Well known for his rock-solid

commitment, never-ending support and genuine

enthusiasm, Herring was both a pleasure to

play with and often the most-valuable member

on the team in that he championed everyone

else in the bands he played in. His selfless

nature brought the best out in those who were

fortunate to have shared the stage with him.

Moreover, it’s also what made him a fantastic

husband and father.

For a guy who played in plenty of bands,

was out in plenty of clubs, had plenty of charm

and knew exactly what the playing field was all

about, his heart was completely sown into his relationship

and family. Wife and kids first, guitars

and bands second, while holding down a steady

job laying carpet. In 1986, Herring meet his true

love, Petra, who recalls their first encounter and

early years together.

“I was a waitress at Smitty’s and Kevin would

come in for breakfast with his friends. Then

he started to come in on his own and I would

tell all the girls that I don’t care whose section

he’s sitting in, he’s mine! I got off early one day

and asked if I could join him for a coffee. I was

smitten. I do remember my heart sunk a little

bit when he told me he was a guitar player in a

band. The stereotypical musician came forefront

to my mind, but he soon proved

me wrong just by being himself.

“Just a short three months

later he told me he was moving

to Abbotsford with the band

(Renz Ibarra, they played original

music). I went out for a visit with

his brother, Alan, and ended up

moving out there shortly after.

We lived with the band on a

raspberry farm for a few months

before finding an apartment on

our own. (The band played) the

lower mainland circuit, I went

to most of the gigs, and when I

didn’t, I had total trust in him. He

never gave me reason to think

otherwise. The band was not

together anymore and we ended

up moving back to Calgary and

getting married in 1989.”

Shortly thereafter Herring joined The King

Rats, along with Alliston and Mike Fury. It was

his foray into rockabilly – a new experience that

he embraced and worked hard to be part of. He

stayed with the band for five years releasing two

CDs with Alliston and Fury. Fury, who started

the project, remembers the beginnings of their


“He had shoulder length, fluffy red hair. He

looked all-wrong for the King Rats, but he could

play and was really into it. He was already a gifted

rock guitarist when he started playing rockabilly.

His experience was intimidating, but he was also

eager to learn about ‘50s rock and roll.”

Fury adds that when Herring moved on to The

Ronnie Hayward Trio, which lingered into the early

to mid-2000s, they were responsible for helping

to establish the “veteran jam crowd” at the Ship

and Anchor on Saturday afternoons, which the

pub is now well-known for.

At that time, Herring also developed a musical

relationship with Caroline Connolly who fronted

the roots–based Jane West Band. They would

continue to work with each other up until his

death. As the lead guitarist for The Lovebullies,

Calgary’s swanky, lounge-pop act featuring

Connolly, Joni Brent, Chantal Vitalis and Paul Jahn,

Herring was an integral member of a band that

had a very strong female presence and perspective.

While Herring wasn’t prone to politicize or

lather a philosophical angle about his own feminist

beliefs, it was definitely implied and the proof

in the pudding… he had a feminist heart. Vitalis

agrees wholeheartedly.

“Kevin, to me, was

indeed a feminist, but we

actually never talked about

that. It was just something

I/we felt. He always talked

to us Lovebully gals as

equals and treated us

with the utmost respect.

I see that same respect in

his relationships with the

other women in his life,

as well. I think he valued

hard work and common

decency. He got us to try

new things, to put in the

work, to play as hard as

anyone else he shared the

stage with. He saw us as

‘fellow’ musicians.”

Connolly adds, “I think

that his mother was a

powerful feminine force in

his life early on. His father

was a small town doctor,

likely making house calls all

hours of the day and night.

Eileen raised four boys and

Herring rippin’ it up with Dice Deluxe.


a daughter. She raised Kevin to be a fine man who

respected everyone he encountered.”

Along with Herring’s passion playing and

recording music, he was an avid collector and

connoisseur of guitars and amplifiers searching

for that perfect tone to suit the style and sound

of the band he was playing with. Herring was

meticulous at documenting his findings in

detail, ranging from the amps and guitars he

experimented with, right down to the picks, pick

angles and string gauges he used. A thorough and

disciplined researcher.

And yet, he had another talent, which he kept

close to home. Going back to his school days, Herring

started drawing cartoons which he collected

and archived. “He was a true artist,’ says Petra. “His

cartoons are great. In fact, I always told him he

should put the carpet tools away and get back to

drawing. The girls and I would always get handdrawn

cards for Valentine’s Day. Best present ever.”

In addition to Petra, Herring is survived by two

daughters. Alyssa (22) is finishing a BA with a major

in Liberal studies at St. Mary’s University , while

Caitlin (19) is following her father’s footsteps performing

on stage acting, dancing and singing. She

has worked with the Young Canadians, Theatre

Calgary and now has her own band that played

at her father’s Celebration of Life, which drew

hundreds of musicians and friends to the Royal

Canadian Legion No. 1. Caitlin took the stage

and sang The Beatles’ “Don’t Let Me Down”…

something Kevin Herring would never do.



Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo


game of clones

Originally assembled in 2004, southern Alberta’s contingent

of the 501st Legion of Vader’s Fist, a battalion of Star

Wars Stormtroopers who perform charitable acts, started

out as a Troop, grew to a Squad (10+ members) within the

greater Canadian Garrison, and eventually became their own

Badlands Garrison (25+ members) in 2005. Since that time,

the union of hobbyists and humanitarians has expanded to

include groups throughout western Canada. According to

Badlands Garrison Alberta Public Relations Officer, Teresa

Nuthall (a.k.a. TK-41307 SoulArt), the Badlands Garrison

continues its mission to mentor those members in their aspirations

of achieving Squad and Garrison status.

From granting special visits to hospitals to providing

back-up dancers for Weird Al Yankovic concerts, Alberta is

fortunate to have such a devoted division of Star Wars fans

standing by to save the day. Or, at least make it a lot more

visually interesting!

BeatRoute: How many people do you estimate are involved

with the 501st on an ongoing basis?

501st Badlands Garrison: The Legion has a presence in 61

countries and currently claims almost 20,000 members, of

which 12,428 are actively out Trooping worldwide, while here

in Alberta our own Garrison has 126 members.

BR: What makes the 501st a great organization to be a part of?

501st BG: The ability to make people smile and help people

forget their pain, if even just for a second. There’s something

magical, unique and recognizable about being able to see and

interact with characters from Star Wars. It touches the inner-child

of adults, because it’s been around for decades. It’s volunteerism

done in an extremely cool way, as it combines hobbies, creativity,

superb costuming and giving of oneself.

BR: How are you coordinated and governed as an organization?

501st BG: We have a Legion Charter and Operations Protocol

that governs our activity. Commanding and Executive Officers

from Outposts and Garrisons all over the world make up the

governing Legion Council. We hold annual elections where

members vote for our Commanding Officers at the Legion level,

Detachment level, as well as leaders within our own Garrisons,

Outposts and Squads.

BR: How did you arrive at your Legion identity?

501st BG: As a new member, you select a series of numbers that

mean something to you and this becomes your Legion ID for

eternity. You also choose a forum name/call sign, which is a name

that others know you by. I’m TK 41307/ SoulArt (TK is prefix for a

Stormtrooper). I’m an original Stormtrooper, Captain Phasma, from

The Force Awakens and Director of Intelligence, Ysanne Isard.

BR: How do people decide what kind of costume they are

going to wear?

501st BG: It’s a personal choice, really. Try searching the official

Costume Reference Library (CRL) and seeing which costume

resonates with you. Often, an interested member has an idea

of what they’d like though, sometimes, they have several. There

really is very minimal customization involved, as each costume is

created to be as seen in each of the Star Wars universe. We try to

honour the original costumes by following its set guidelines and

replicating them as closely as we can. Generally speaking, each

costume has different levels of approval: 1 through 3. A member

can join at the basic approval, then decide if they wish to carry it

further to the higher echelons of costume accuracy.

BR: What are the basic building blocks required to begin

constructing a costume?

501st BG: That depends on how hands-on you want to be.

There’s more accessible product available these days, one can

purchase a pretty much ready-made costume. Of course, there

are steps people can take to find a builder, or costumer, to create

a custom outfit for them. Or, they can buy kits and construct

on their own. Although, a lot of the scratch stuff is hard to get

approved. Again, it’s entirely dependent on the costume you

choose to create.

BR: How do you come together to work on costumes and

share your knowledge?

501st BG: Each costume has a designated Detachment that is

responsible for overseeing those specific costumes. They have all

of the ‘How To’ information, and CRL specifications, anyone


would need for that particular costume. Our forums are

another wonderful resource, as they support and encourage

members to log ‘build threads’ of their costumes online for

all members, or their respective Detachments, to read. These

threads allow members to share their expertise, ask questions

and conduct research. Wherever you may be in the world,

there’s someone to help you. We also host ‘Armour Parties,’

where members in each Garrison get together and physically

build their projects and exchange tips and advice.

BR: What are some of the charitable activities the 501st

Badlands Garrison has been involved in over the years?

501st BG: We enjoy, and are extremely proud of, any and all

contact with the Make a Wish Foundation. As well as, helping

Jedi Addison within his own fundraising success. Other highlights

include, Alberta Children’s and Stollery Hospital visits,

Kids with Cancer visits, inducting our younglings Declan

and Lucas into the Garrison as honourary members, Ronald

McDonald House in-house visits and block parties. And,

don’t forget the Canada Day 150 parade. Looking at dollars

donated, this past year alone, we have directly raised $23,341

and indirectly raised $258,983. I’m very proud of our Garrison

and all the good these ‘bad guys’ do.

BR: Speaking of parades. How does the 501st Badlands

Garrison prepare for their tour de Force at the Calgary

Comic and Entertainment Expo’s annual Parade of Wonders?

501st BG: We’ve been a part of the POW right from the very

start. It’s SO exciting getting ready! Emotions are already high,

and we’re full of energy, when we begin meeting up. All of

us change into costumes at once, usually at the Expo, and

then make our way together to the parade site. I’ve gotta say,

walking to and riding the C-Train as a Garrison, with our sister

groups (Rebels, Mercs), is a sight to behold. Once lined-up in

our groups by order, the excitement builds as we wait for the

POW to start. You’d better believe that we are grinning from

ear-to-ear inside our helmets as we strut our stuff for the

spectators. Then we make our way back to Expo to prepare

for the rest of our weekend and shifts at our booth.

BR: That does sound amazing. But can anyone do it? What

about that old height restriction?

501st BG: Bahahaha! You mean, “Aren’t you a little short for

a Stormtrooper?” It’s a great joke that surfaces always. Along

with remarks on our ability to miss everything we shoot at…

Anyone over the age of 18 can be a member, regardless of

gender, race, religion, shape, size... the Legion has no room

for discrimination. Upon joining, you very soon discover that

you have a huge, loving, accepting, new family.

See the 501st Badlands Garrison on the march at the Calgary

Comic and Entertainment Expo’s annual Parade of Wonders at

10:30am on April 27 (downtown Calgary). Calgary Expo runs

April 26-29 at Stampede Park (Calgary)




AB Ballet’s tribute to the Hip

Insights, reviews and interviews about collecting, collectors and collections

Even if they don’t know it, everyone collects something.

Whether it’s records, oil paintings, racy paperbacks

or funky kitchenware, everybody’s got a thing. Or, more

often than not, things. I’ve been on the mean streets of

the collectibles world for a long time, buddy. I’ve seen

a lot, things that would give a faint wagon driver the

shakes, and I don’t shock easily. Stick with me and you’ll

get the low-down on what’s happening in the world of

cool collectible stuff, the seedy underbelly of the resale

world and the hole-y trinity of thrift store, flea market

and antique shop. I’ll help you find Cracker Jack deals and

avoid getting jiggered like a rube.

The biannual First Canadian Collectors Club Antique and

Collectibles show at the Thorncliffe-Greenview Community

Hall is one of Calgary’s largest gatherings of its kind. There

was a wide variety of wares on hand including plenty of vinyl

awaiting the discerning eyes and ears of the record collectors

in attendance. They say the early bird gets the worm but

even though I rolled in late, I came away with some worthy

keepers. It often takes time and legwork to find what you’re

after, but there’s always some silver in the silt at this shindig

and the keen hunter is often rewarded by rolling up their

sleeves and getting down and dirty.


This particular sale always hosts three collection displays

competing for popular approval and prize money. The 1970s

racetrack collection was popular, but the most interesting

of the tryptic had to be the colourful, and undeniably

well-cared-for, 40th anniversary display by the Calgary Doll

Club. Exhibiting everything from a talking Chatty Cathy

to a mid-Victorian porcelain doll in period clothing, the

collection surveyed the history of the beloved children’s

companion toy and keepsake. The display also drew attention

to the Doll Club’s 40th upcoming Anniversary Show and

Sale featuring dolls, toys, miniatures and more, which is just

around the corner on April 14.

Putting aside the cutsie kewpies, yours truly scored big

with two 14 x 22-inch slasher-horror movie window cards,

that I simply couldn’t resist. Window cards were pre-release

promo material distributed to the cinemas and posted

before the reels rolled out. Now mind you, these particular

examples of relics from the silver screen don’t have a National

Screen Service Number in the bottom corner, or a space

at the top where the local theatres could add show time

information, so they’re likely either a rare variety or 1970s

black market reproductions. But don’t worry, I’ve gotta pal of

mine (who knows movie posters) checking with his contacts

to help solve this case for me. Next month I’ll tell ya more

about this groovy and highly-collectible screen art, which

any mug can get into collecting.

Another highlight of the show was a Victorian glass-plate

ambrotype photograph in a metal frame priced at a mere

five clams. Back in the day some maroon covered one of the

people in the photo up with tape. Terrible, right? Whoa –

not so fast! Photo collectors actually go ape for images where

someone’s face has been removed, folded back or scratchedout.

I call ‘em “I hate you” photos. Sometimes you can tell, by

the oval hole left over a face, that it was cut out to go into a

locket, a sure sign of love, which can be easily confused with

pictures wrecked in vengeance. Sometimes you just can’t tell

if it was love or hate- this kind of memorabilia keeps their

secrets and asks more questions than they offer up.

Calgary Doll Club Show and Sale takes place April 14 at the

Acadia Recreation Complex (Calgary) https://www.facebook.


First Canadian Collectors Club one-day show runs October 13

from at the Thorncliffe-Greenview Community Hall (Calgary)

The Calgary Music Collector’s show happens May 6 at the

Acadia Recreation Complex (Calgary) https://www.facebook.


Using music as a canvas, the Alberta Ballet has emerged with a new performance

designed after the musical legacy of The Tragically Hip. Since

2006, Artistic Director Jean Grand-Maître has worked with prominent artists

such as Elton John (Love Lies Bleeding), Gordon Lightfoot (Our Canada), and

Sarah McLachlan (Fumbling Towards Ecstasy) to create a unique portrait

ballet series. This year, All of Us combines the energetic and creative music of

The Tragically Hip with a contemporary ballet styled after the themes that

encompass the band’s discography. All of Us is a pairing between musician

and choreographer, and as Grand-Maître notes, it features “the humanistic

aspects of what they were about”.

All of Us is presented just seven months after Gord Downie’s untimely

passing from brain cancer, and comes at a timely moment for fans mourning

the loss of the prominent singer and songwriter. Yet, the ballet is crafted as a

tribute to the entire band and their body of work. Grand-Maître embarked

on the creative process by immersing himself in the history of the songs,

every recording, then interviews – all before Downie’s terminal diagnosis. The

ballet was conceived in “two different worlds…as far away from what was

going on as could be”. While The Tragically Hip announced the final tour and

performed their final show in Kingston, ON, Alberta Ballet prepared for All of

Us and chose to focus on the music, rather than the unfortunate circumstances.

As Grand-Maître describes, All of Us is about hope – a fitting theme

for fans still grieving the loss of the Canadian icon.

The ballet features a post-apocalyptic tale where descendants of mankind

fight to inherit the earth. The story explores the dichotomy between two

clans: one good, compassionate, and connected to nature, and the other an

embodiment of greed and intolerance. Otherworldly set design reflects a

future desolate world mirrored in recent films such as Blade Runner 2049,

and dancers are styled in doomsday inspired costumes. Designers sought to

create strong characters, comparable to Rey, played by actress Daisy Ridley

in the recent Star Wars series. Alberta Ballet’s unique approach displays two

versions of the theme, with “one [clan] as more decrepit, the other pure spirit”.

Songs from every Tragically Hip album are featured, from acoustic melodies

to electric guitar emphasizing the “dread and evil” of the piece. Grand-

Maître and the team of designers envisioned the style using rock music as a

medium, creating a unique and original theatrical dance performance.

Over the last three decades The Tragically Hip has inspired generations of

music lovers, a passion that permeates the essence of All of Us. The band’s

vision lives on through the ballet created by the renowned choreographer

Grand-Maître, who describes the late Gord Downie as “a courageous hero”.

He credits the band collectively for their influence in writing the imaginative

story about humanity. Expressed through dance, All of Us is about a dangerous,

uncertain future – with hope and compassion at the center.


All of Us plays May 2-6 in Calgary, and May 10-12 in Edmonton.



4.20 questions with the heads of Calgary’s annual green party



fter we caught wind of the 420 Music

and Arts Festival’s immanent return,

we were compelled to track down organizers

of the annual psych-rock smoke

show, CC Getty and Celestia Scarlett. The

Metalheads United promoters gave us

the 411 on Calgary’s three-day long and

two-dozen band strong celebration of

cannabis culture.

BeatRoute: What are you most looking forward

to about this year’s three-day event?

420Fest: Dopethrone, for sure! It took

having one festival under our belt to show

them we knew what we were doing. Having

desert rock legend Brant Bjork in to disc

jockey live on 4/20 will be rad! He’ll be

bringing up a crate of wicked ‘vinyls’ that

he’s picked out specifically for that night.

We’re also stoked to welcome Californian’s

Sasquatch (Los Angeles) and The

Great Electric Quest (San Diego), who will

be performing Canada for the first time.

We’ve had so many requests to bring back,

highlight of the 2017 installment, La Chinga

(Vancouver, BC), that we simply had to

invite them to return and play an even

longer set. And, be sure to check out the

great Derek Mendozza and his influential

[British Columbia]-based bands Mendozza

and Chunkasaurus!

BR: What homegrown selections will you

be showcasing?

420Fest: Local (Calgary, AB) bands Buffalo

Bud Buster, The Electric Revival, Bazaraba

and Set & Stoned will be returning to our

stage. Meanwhile, the likes of Electric Owl,

Haaze, Solid Brown, Raw, & Pelican Death

Squad will all be making their 420 Festival

debuts this year. And, we are thrilled to be

introducing Gin Lahey, a potent-but-sweet

hybrid featuring members from Chron

Goblin and Witchstone, who will be making

their first appearance (anywhere) at our

Festival. Calgary’s original hemp store the

Hemporium will be there again this year

and handsome Mammoth Beard Co. will be

sponsoring the 420 Beard Contest. Last but

not least, The Perogy Boyz and Waffles &

Chix food trucks will be onsite to satiate of

any munchies that may arise.

BR: Words of wisdom on how to best

approach and enjoy the Fest?

420Fest: Get your passes or tickets in

advance from Distortion, Sloth Records or

Deadly Tattoos to save on service fees and

get through the line a little faster. Be sure

to arrive early to see all the bands. There

are always special rewards for those that

do show up in advance. And don’t forget,

to hit the bank machine before you come

as Distortion is a cash only bar (and so are

most of our vendors). Take advantage of

the Festival’s convenient location and get a

room at the Days Inn, so you can party all

weekend long!

BR: Lessons learned and new improvements?

420Fest: We decided to have our ‘420

Expo’ with all kinds of artists and craftspeople

set up during the Festival evenings, instead

of separately, to give attendees even

more to enjoy during the musical performances.

The biggest lesson we’ve learned is

that we can’t take any time off. We’ve come

to realize that, in order to build something

bigger and better, we’ve got to approach

this Festival as a full-time job and a yearround

operation. In fact, we’ve already

begun booking acts for 2019!

420 Music and Arts Festival runs from April 19

until April 21 at Distortion (Calgary). For more

information on the line-up and to purchase



YYSCENE’s quick scan go-to-guide for April

And here we are into April – there’s a

lot going on, so let’s dive right into it

because, well, we can.

Start the month off on April 5

taking in some great vintage film at

Lougheed House with Charlie Chaplin’s

Modern Times. On April 8 you can

catch HOLY HUM with Hermitess and

Deep Covers at Nite Owl, and for the

poetry slam lovers out there, you’re in

luck! Can You Hear Me Now? All Ages

Poetry Slam will take place at Shelf

Life Books on April 10. Also on April

10 you can take in The Maine with

The Wrecks & The Technicolors at The

Den, U of C. Then on April 11 head

over to Studio Bell again for Passport:

Music Export Summit Showcase with

Ahi, Nuela Charles, Samurai Champs,

JEFF GOLDBLUM at the Comic Expo.

Sate & Port Cities.

Danger! Danger! Yes it’s true, Electric Six will be at the Gateway on April 12 (see

what I did there?) and then on April 14 head over to Ironwood for Petunia & the

Vipers. All fun, all the time.

The Calgary Underground Film Festival (CUFF) will take place in our fair city

from April 16-21, specifically at the Globe Theatre. Great films, the Found Footage

Festival, Saturday morning cartoons complete with cereal ... check out their online

schedule for all of the goodness.

Literary types! Wordfest presents Sane Takes on an Insane World Festival April

16 - 23 at various venues around town, and then on April 18 you’ll be wanting

to hit the Ship & Anchor Pub to see Night Committee with Des Arcs and Less


More into dance? Sure you are! DJD presents Mimic April 19-May 5 at their

amazing theatre, and over at Studio Bell (they clearly have a truckload of stuff

going on down there) their Alberta Spotlight features nêhiyawak with FOON-

YAP on April 19. On April 21 head to the Gateway for Fever Feel with The Ashley

Hundred, and then on April 25 The Commons will host Aimee-Jo Benoit and Trio

Velocity in their Parlour Room.

Wait for it! The 13th Annual Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo will take

place at the BMO Centre April 26-29, featuring the POW! Parade of Wonders

downtown on April 27. The cast of Back to the Future, Lou Ferrigno, JEFF GOLD-

BLUM? Come ON!

You can catch the PVRIS North American Tour with guests at The Palace April

26 and then what better way to end the month than over at Distortion on April 30

taking in 2 Shadows-Feed the Obscure Tour? I have no counter to that one.

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





Joe Pickett and Nick Prueher bring their hilarious show to CUFF


Nick Prueher: There’s something very endearing to us about these

sort of analog weirdos. In the YouTube era, everyone knows that

they are broadcasting to the world and goes into it with far more

media savvy than even the most sophisticated media professionals

had in the 80s and 90s. There sort of a wide-eyed innocence about

their endeavors that’s really appealing. I mean, Jack Rebney was

having a bad few days shooting an RV commercial, Frank Pacholski

made two episodes of little-seen public access show, and Larry

Pierce was recording dirty country songs in a garage and sending

them to a truck stop comedy label. They weren’t doing it to get

famous or anything. YouTube is great but everyone on there is self

aware and that takes the fun out of it for us.

Chop and Steele doing their fake strongmen early morning TV routine that garnered a lot of laughs and lousy lawsuit.

THE FOUND FOOTAGE FESTIVAL is a one-of-a-kind event that

showcases footage from videos that were found at garage sales

and thrift stores and in warehouses and dumpsters across the

country. Curators Nick and Joe take audiences on a guided tour

of their latest and greatest VHS finds, providing live commentary

and where-are-they-now updates on the people in these

videotaped obscurities.

You have been doing the Found Footage Festival since 2004,

close to 15 years. Did you ever think it would go this long?

Joe Pickett: No. Not at all. After the first few years of touring, we

thought we’d run out of video tapes or people would lose interest.

But we’re continually surprised (and grateful) that so many weird

videos have been produced on this planet. And based on the stacks

of videos in our office, we’ll be doing this until the day we die (or go


What makes a good find? What is the criteria for making the cut

for your FFF tours and DVDs?

Joe Pickett: We have a few rules: 1. Nothing off the internet. The

videos we show must be an actual, physical copy. 2. The video must

be unintentionally funny. In other words, whatever the producer set

out to do, whether it’s a training video about flipping burgers or an

instructional tape about singing like Elvis, they had to be earnest in

their intentions. And 3. Puppets, corporate rapping and ridiculous

exercise videos always have a home in our show.

members encouraged to bring tapes and if so, what are you

currently looking for?

Joe Pickett: It’s a needle in a haystack to find a video that’s good in

the right way, but when you find it, it’s an absolute rush. Thrift stores

don’t carry VHS like they used to, so we always ask people to bring

us their tapes. In fact, last year, after David Letterman retired from

the Late Show, a writer gave us the show’s entire VHS collection,

which turned out to be pure gold. As for a tape we want to track

down, we’d love to find the Donald Trump piss video, but we currently

don’t have any leads.

VHS is a media that is disappearing. What makes a clip captured

“today” (on VHS or not) special? Does the Internet “water

down” or mask the real/honest people genuinely trying to

present an idea?

Joe Pickett: People were much more sincere back in the ‘80s/’90s

and you really don’t see that level of sincerity these days. Everyone

is extremely self-aware now, but back then people would express

themselves on video no matter how terrible the idea. Maybe it’s

because comment sections hadn’t been invented yet. Whatever the

reason is, we find it refreshing to watch earnestness on screen even if

it is a little cringe-inducing.

Tell us about Chop and Steele. What triggered Gray TV to begin

legal proceedings? What will the new show incorporate from

this episode of your lives?

Nick Prueher: While on tour with the Found Footage Festival, Joe

and I found ourselves going on these local morning news shows

across the U.S. and Canada to promote the show and very early on

we realized no one was paying attention. They’d get the name of

our show wrong, they had no idea what we did, and they made us

come in at like 5:30 am. We hated doing them, so as an experiment

with our friend Mark [Proksch] we sent out an obviously bogus

press release about an “environmental yo-yo expert” around Earth

Day to some of these same stations. They totally ate it up, so Mark

came along on tour with us and played the yo-yo expert on TV,

despite the fact that he couldn’t yo-yo at all. It was so ridiculous

that tried it again a few years later with me playing a dumb celebrity

chef who taught you how to spruce up your holiday leftovers,

essentially by blending them all together and pouring them on corn.

It was so dumb but it didn’t matter. Chef Keith got on a half dozen

news shows, no questions asked. So last year, we decided to see

just how stupid we could be and pitched ourselves as a strongman

duo called Chop & Steele, unifying a divided country by chopping

cinder blocks. Again, we got booked a ton of these shows. They just

never learn their lesson. And I guess Gray TV, which owns about 90

stations in the U.S., got embarrassed and sued us! Instead of training

their reporters to be better, they paid tens of thousands of dollars

to hire a law firm and make our lives a living hell for a year. We’ll be

showing the hotly contested footage and telling the full story at the

show at CUFF. Don’t tell Gray TV.

How hard is it to be media pranksters? What is next with the

Chop and Steele lawsuit behind you?

Nick Prueher: Please don’t call us media pranksters. To me, that

phrase conjures up snickering YouTube morons like Logan Paul who

think it’s funny to mess with the poor lady in the drive-thru. We’re

more like comedy writers with too much time on our hands. That

said, we’ve got some other ideas to see if news stations are finally doing

their homework. Could two incompetent cat trainers be touring

through Alberta later this year for Cat Awareness Month? We’ll see.

Tips to get on TV? How does one become the next GG Allin of

Cookingon morning television?

Nick Prueher: Send literally any press release to a news station on a

letterhead. You’ll get on.

You have introduced the world to Jack Rembey aka Winnebago

Man, Frank Pacholski (US flag speedo wearing public access

“star”), Larry Pierce (Dirty Country singer) and more. What

makes these folk heroes stand out in a instant-celebrity world

What makes the hunt for the next best VHS tape still exciting? of the Internet? What is different about being a VHS star over

Found Footage Film Festival: Vol. 8 takes place April 21, 9:15 pm at the Globe

Is there a tape that you still need to track down? Are audience being a YouTube sensation?




some prime picks

CUFF loves docs. They love them so

much, in fact, that they put on a

second festival every November devoted

exclusively to documentaires. And while

there will be more on the menu than just

docs for this years full-fledged fest, we all

know that CUFF’s affinity for documentaries

is ever present, and you can expect

some real gems on this year’s program.

KUSAMA-INFINITY You may recognize Yayoi

Kusama’s work as the polka-dot infused infinity

rooms all over your instagram feed, but this

world-renowned artist has been making waves

since the 1960’s. The feature length debut from

documentarian Heather Lenz, Infinity delves into

world of Kusama as she faces industry sexism, a

rivalry with Andy Warhol, and lifelong battle with

mental health, all while creating some of the most

recognizable and jubilant art of her time.


While the show may have only lasted one

season, it’s impact has lasted a lifetime in

souls of former (and current) angsty teenagers

everywhere. Comprised of interviews from the

beloved show’s cast and crew, whether you

identified as a freak or a geek, get ready for that

familiar flood of early 80’s nostalgia (whether

you lived it or not.)

JACK OF ALL TRADES If you ever think ‘Why

don’t we collect baseball cards anymore?’

(hey, it could happen) then this is the doc for

you. Exploring the rise and fall of America’s

(former) favorite past-time, Jack of all Trades

follows former child actor Stu Stone as he tries

and figures out where it all went wrong-with

baseball cards, that is-and discovers that maybe

the card’s true value lies in the memories, not

the money.

SLAVE TO THE GRIND What is grindcore? I’m

not sure, but this documentary is going to tell

you. “Harder than hardcore, faster than thrash,

and heavier than just about anything you can

imagine,” self-describes the films synopsis, this

gritty doc mixes live footage, band interviews,


and even a little animation thrown in for good

measure to probe one of music’s most extreme

genres. Gearing up for its world premiere at

CUFF, Slave to the Grind even features Calgary’s

own grindcore heavyweights, Wake.



recognize his name, or even his face, but stick a

hockey mask on him and you know him as Friday

the 13th’s infamous machete wielding madman,

Jason Voorhees. Getting to know the man

behind the mask, this doc touches on Hodder’s

tumultuous past, and how he overcame the

odds to become America’s favourite murderer

next door.

ROLLER DREAMS Roller skating is synonymous

with Venice Beach circa 1984, and you can expect

to see a lot of neon spandex, big hair, and slick

moves. But Roller Dreams goes beyond the tricks

and the tans, and touches on the racism and

gentrification that encapsulates the film’s tagline:

The dream didn’t fade, it was taken.

The Calgary Underground Film Festival runs April

16-22 at The Globe Cinema. Visit calgaryunder-




shoot local, thrill global

Mike Peterson (the grown-up) provides direction on the set of Knuckleball.

Calgarian filmmaker Mike Peterson grew doesn’t know that well. The grandfather

up without a television, in a home with a passes away suddenly in the night, and

family of five kids. But the absence of something

some of us can’t live without meant there’s dangerous forces from outside that

Henry’s left to his own. He’s alone, and

Peterson went to the movies with his family are trying to harm him while his parents are

at least once a week, and those family memories

turned into a life-long passion for film. on. There’s no communication between

racing home to try to find out what’s going

Fast forward to 2018 – Peterson has directed them – his phone is dead, he doesn’t have

TV commercials, music videos, short films, a charger, and there’s no service. He’s got to

documentaries and feature films.

fend for himself over the twelve or eighteen

“Cinema in the late ‘60s, on through the hours that his parents are racing back to find

‘70s, and then a little bit into the ‘80s is probably

where I’d naturally draw the most in-

like Home Alone meets the Shining, with no

out what the heck has happened. It’s kinda

spiration from,” muses Peterson. “But, in the comedy for adults.”

same breath, every project will have its own During the Calgary Underground Film

voice, and its own demands. Knuckleball (his Festival, Knuckleball will see its Canadian

second feature film as a director, writer, and premiere in Peterson’s home town.

producer) to me felt like it required a lot of “It first premiered in a film festival called

formalism. Recently at a Q&A, someone was Cinequest in the States (San Jose, California)

like: ‘Oh, were you inspired by Hitchcock?’ on March 3, which was great,” notes Peterson.

“You could see people kinda shrink away

And I: ‘Not specifically. No I wasn’t. But I

think I can see why you say that’. Knuckleball from some of the more violent moments,

has a very controlled, a formal sort of visual and people were really concerned for the kid,

approach. But I think I drew more so from which is, you know, emotionally what you’re

films like Let The Right One In, the original hoping for. We got a lot of compliments on

Swedish one, and the Shining.”

the acting, the story, and the score.”

Shot around Fort Saskatchewan and

The film also has a bone-chilling, dronedrenched

score composed by Toronto-based

Edmonton during the winter months with

snow, nippy air, and hoarfrost bitten earth musicians Michelle Osis and David Arcus.

establish a chilly setting for the thriller. In his “Musically, we talked about trying to keep

own words, Peterson describes what Knuckleball

is all about:

all organic, and it was a small selection of in-

everything organic. The instrumentation was

“Twelve year old Henry gets dropped off struments. I didn’t want it to be a busy score.

at his grandfather’s country home, who he We ended up using a lot of home-made


sounds like drum-sticks on pieces of tin for

the rhythm sections, and we made this circular

boat instrument thing. They killed it on

the score, and it was a real pleasure to work

with those guys.”

Peterson met Osis and Arcus through his

connection with the Canadian Film Centre

in Toronto, where Peterson took a six month

intensive film program called The Director’s

Lab in 2013.

“I learnt a lot in that program, and it positioned

me in the industry because not many

people have done it, and it’s got a decent

amount of credibility.”

Besides the program, Peterson hasn’t

taken any other forms of film school, most of

his studies were actually in other academic

fi e l d s .

“I went to York University and did a double

major in Humanities and Communication

Studies. Then I went to graduate school

at the University of North Carolina, and did

Communication Studies there, and I consider

that a big part of my ‘film education’. In grad

school, I started making documentaries,

and then also I’d watch two three movies

a day because I had access to the libraries

and stuff. I could follow these crazy strings,

and just watch Polish cinema for a month or

two, then find, you know, one of those guys

that worked in France with some other guys,

and then I’d start following these different

threads, different lines, and just found an

amazing amount of cool, interesting, sometimes

bad, films from all over the world. And

I did that for six years, probably.”

This self-taught process has shaped the

filmmaking philosophies that drive Peterson.

As a film enthusiast who enjoys films from

all corners of the world, he is determined to

create films that international audiences will


“Canada doesn’t watch a lot of its own

movies, right? So if you’re making films to

only be seen here, you’re probably wasting

your time. I mean, you can still be talking

about local, personal things, but I would

imagine your hope would be that it’s got

international appeal. Having a film be pretty

good for a local project is a fine way to look

at something, but at some point I’d assume

you’re making it for world-wide fans of whatever

kind of movie you made. It’s an international

art-form, it’s an international language.

I hope Knuckleball lives up to that.”

Knuckleball has sold in the Middle East,

China, the U.K., and the U.S., and will be

screened internationally come September.

Knuckleball plays April 17, 6:30 pm at The Globe

Cinema during CUFF.

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124 10 STREET NW • CALGARY ALBERTA 403.270.3347

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a wild ride mind transporter

Nick Luzietti is the Secret Poppo, an eccentric

artist who uncovers a mysterious

conspiracy while trying to find his missing

granddaughter. Through twists and turns,

introspection and detection, this quirky

and colourful production showcases the wild

mind of Jonald Byron (Luzietti) as he picks up

clues and goes on a quest in a bizarre mystery.

The Secret Poppo was co-directed by Sean


Pierce, Zach Harris and Nevi Cline and produced

by Karen Schmitz of Chicago’s Punctuation

Productions. It’s second film produced by

this crew of friends following Meathead Goes

Hog Wild, which also showcased Luzietti and

screened at CUFF 2015.

“It’s a film we made because we love

Nick Luzietti, and basically we wanted a movie

that celebrated how awesome he is and showcases

who he is,” explains Sean Pierce during a

phone call from Chicago.

The Secret Poppo is versatile and dynamic,

with rich colours and quick camera movements

that take you inside Jonald’s mind with

interludes on green screen reminiscent of old

spy films.

“Nick is larger than life, and we wanted

the colours to pop off the screen and follow

his thoughts. He improvised almost all of his

lines and he brought tons of energy to the

project,” says Pierce. “It’s a starring vehicle for

Nick Luzietti the person.”

Luzietti, an architect and designer from

Chicago, says he had a blast transporting himself

into a new reality within his own spaces.

“These guys are pirates. They just know

how to steal… you, and who you are. They

had a cool story,” he says. “But who am I going

to play? ‘Me,’ they said. I’m picking out my

clothes in the closet, I’m walking around my

house, looking at my art, my accordion. But,

we really went to new places because we were

so immersed.”

Luzietti says the initial ideas of the film

went through a lot of evolution, given the free

interpretation he was given to the story.


delightful Can-Con horror

You’ve likely heard of Joel Schumacher’s

The Lost Boys (1987), and digging a little

deeper in the same vein you’re sure to strike

its cinematic sibling, Near Dark (1987). Setting

this duo apart from their vampiric predecessors

is the avid use of realism — the portrayal

of simple human-beings enslaved to a parsitic

disease. Existing within a sub-genre formerly

lavished with gothic romanticism and classical

flair since Bram Stoker’s novel, Dracula (1897),

fresh blood was due to modernize the world

of blood sucking hellions a century after their

conceptual birth.

As well-versed as one may be within the

universe of independent horror, an unfortunate

reality is that Canada’s own contribution

to the aforementioned sub-genre has

seemingly fallen under the radar – a blissfully

crimson fringe horror/comedy, cheekily entitled

Blood and Donuts (1995).

The film follows a shaggy-hair bloodsucker

with the unique name of Boya, who has been

accidentally awoken by a golf ball since his

initial slumber in 1969, 25 years prior. As he

traipses the gritty landscapes of mid-90s Toronto,

he becomes involved with a couple of

mortals, in turn involuntarily accepting their

issues with shady criminals as his own. Deeply

hammering down the Canadiana roots of the


“This film changed and grew and flipped

over and did a couple somersaults, and

tripped over itself and turned into a few

different things before it got to the end,” he

explains. “What’s beautiful about this movie:

it’s layered. Some movies are very chronological,

and that’s not what this is. There’s

one story, the one where the Secret Poppo is

searching for his granddaughter, and then

there’s the other story of what he’s thinking,

what’s happening in his head.”

Luzietti, who will be in attendance at this

year’s CUFF along with some crew and cast,

says small independent films such as The

Secret Poppo give way to ideas you can’t find

anywhere else.

“It’s kinda like a jazz band in which each

one of these instruments talk to each other,

and the story in Poppo, and the images, and

the voiceover, and the crew and the cast are

like all of these different instruments playing

the same song, but the horn never sounds like

the piano, you know.”

The Secret Popo will screen as part of CUFF April

20, 9:45 pm at The Globe Cinema


film, world-renowned Canadian director and

body horror icon, David Cronenberg, cameos

as the primary antagonist throughout the

duration of the film.

Though comparable in tone to genre films

of the same decade, for example Leprechaun

(1993), Blood and Donuts offers a unique

viewing experience as it juxtaposes uncomfortable,

grim visuals alongside a soundtrack

chock-full of feel-good ‘50s rock ‘n’ rool. Aside

from appearing in the festival circuit in the

mid-90s and a video release in 1996, the film

is criminally under-seen. For those of you that

maintain a penchant for cool, fun, vampire-horror,

you’re in for a delectable treat.

Blood and Donuts screens during CUFF on April

18, 9:45 pm at the Globe Cinema.




insecurity in adolescence



claymation horror and humour

Sôichi Umezawa has made himself a career

in special makeup effects, and his directorial

debut is a chance for him to showcase that

skill with a unique premise: a blood-thirsty clay


Set at a small, rural Japanese art school, the

story is centered on a handful of students who

are eagerly learning how to sculpt. When their

instructor uncovers a mysterious box of clay

that had been buried in the yard, she brings it

into the classroom for the students. The clay

soon proves to be quite abnormal as it begins

to move by itself when no one is looking, and

it seems to have a malicious intent to harm the

students. Once it is able to absorb a few drops

of blood, its hunger and power grows, and it

becomes strong enough to murder.

Seeing this clay monster in action is quite

a spectacle. Just by touching its victims it can

mutate and absorb their flesh into its own

muddy, blob-like body. Once a student gets

devoured into its gaping mouth, the monster

can then mold itself into the shape of a human,

acting as a disguise to get closer to the other

students. The special effects are all done with

practical methods of makeup, prosthetics and

some claymation. Watching this artistry bring

the monster to life is really the movie’s biggest




Although there is a creepy atmosphere to

appreciate, Vampire Clay focuses on violent

body-horror instead of psychological horror,

and luckily, a carnivorous clay monster is as

absurd as it sounds, and that generates memorable

scenes of ridiculous carnage. While Umezawa

may not have overtly tried to make a

horror-comedy, because of the serious tone

he establishes, there’s no denying the inherent

dark humour of anthropomorphic shape-shifting

clay trying to strangle people with its tentacles.

A fitting addition for CUFF’s late night screenings,

fans of gore will be rewarded with some

outrageous entertainment as copious amounts of

blood, slime and clay splatter across the screen.

Vampire Clay will screen as part of CUFF on April 20,

11:59 pm and April 22, 11:00 am at The Globe Cinema

“Did you ever go to high school? Yeah? Okay, then it’s about you.”


bout 20 years ago, Paul Feig and of Joan Jett’s “Bad Reputation,” the song

Judd Apatow poured their hearts that opened the every episode of the

into the birth of TV’s anti-hero dramady

classic single-camera sitcom. Over the

spotlight on a dark movement


— a coming-of-age opus that next 70 minutes, the doc outlines the life

necessarily been kind to, pause to reflect on the fac-

foreshadowed the stardom of James of Freaks and Geeks, from Feig’s initial

tors that unite and divide the volatile musical scene.

Franco, Seth Rogen, Linda Cardellini, pitch to Apatow at a comedian party

It’s not inconceivable that the next great grind

Jason Segel, Samm Levine, Martin house to the cast and crew’s sentimental

lyric might come from the list of hard-to-swallow

Starr, John Francis Daley and on and prom-themed, wrap-up party following

band names that grace this chronological survey:

on. Freaks and Geeks made its awkward,

the show’s cancellation.

Repulsion, Cretin, Discordance Axis, Fuck The Facts,

dorky and candid debut on NBC Even if you have no intention to con-

Anal Cunt, Vermin Wound, Warsore, Rotten Sound,

on September 25, 1999. Now, in 2018, sume Freaks and Geeks in all its glory (although

Morbid Angel and so on.

you should), make this documen-

Witness as metal nerds around the globe flock to

the story of that program is chronicled

in the long overdue Freaks and Geeks: tary a priority. What allows Freaks and Documenting the rise, crest and eventual this caustic chapter of outsider art at its loudest. Behold

the fervorous fans of machine gun percussion

The Documentary. If you cheered on Geeks to remain iconic is it’s authentic

denouement of the heavy metal genre

your favourite losers during the year it portrayal of many a high school student commonly referred to as ‘grindcore,’ Slave to the and demonic vocals, best-achieved through gargling

was on air or crunched through the 18 in mid-western North America. The documentary

Grind dutifully retraces the elemental progression Drano and Fireball, and, as the multi-biographical

episodes on Netflix this side of 2012,

allows viewers to see a room of of the offshoot from guerrilla rock to gore grind film details, the infamous grindcore “cheat beat,”

you’ll be a puddle of emotions within writers throw their most embarrassing, and all of the nasty, guttural, chainsaw-revving which involves hitting the high-hat every second

two minutes of this doc.

heart wrenching and formative moments cacophony in between. Somewhat akin to Anvil:

beat, as rapidly as possible. Thus, delivering that bru-

The Documentary exists as an

at a wall and seeing it all stick.

The Story of Anvil in its music historian’s tal and blistering “blast beat” by which drummers

accessible one-hour distillation of the Freaks and Geeks: The Documentary, approach and enduring affection for an underdog came to define the core of the grind. The musicians

success, insecurity, failures and survival

like the original show, will connect with subject matter, director Doug Robert Brown’s film themselves hold little back, spilling the goods on

of failures through the support of any audience that walked in a high school relies heavily on first-hand accounts to build his personal rivalries, grave robbing and mid-show

others in adolescence that the original foyer. Don’t sleep through your alarm for case for the fastest, most aggressive music of its fisticuffs with skinheads. As a bonus, some of these

show put forward — but for a brand this one.

time, and, possibly of any time.

exploits are cleverly animated to better convey their

new audience. It opens with a genuine

Proof that an English accent elevates the timber often hilarious absurdity.

reflection of high school experiences Freaks and Geeks: The Documentary will of any story, no matter how debauched, members

from the familiar voices of Freaks and screen during CUFF on Sunday April 22, 6:30 of Napalm Death weigh-in on what went right with Patch up your denim vests, Slave to the Grind screens

Geeks stars, followed by a title sequence pm at The Globe Cinema

their career arc. Meanwhile, other grindcore influencers,

as part of CUFF on April 21, 6:30 pm at The Globe

backed by a washed-out, adagio cover

the majority of whom years have not Cinema.



rewind to the future


The Disaster Artist

I, Tonya

Lady BIrd

Thor: Ragnarok


The Disaster Artist

If making movies were easy the Hollywood

elite would have no one to sexually assault.

Fortunately, the filmmaker in this dramedy

is able to finance his feature sans studio.

Greg Sestero (Dave Franco) has a hard time

coming out of his shell in acting class until

he partners with nonconformist classmate,

Tommy Wiseau (James Franco). The independently

wealthy Wiseau invites Greg to LA

to peruse their acting dreams. When neither is

successful, Wiseau writes a script for Greg, that

he produces and directs. What Wiseau creates

is considered to be one of the worst movies

ever made.

Based on Greg’s book about the making of

The Room, director James Franco takes a stellar

treatment and turns it into a touching and

comical recreation of the unbelievable events.

Franco also does an uncanny job of portraying

Wiseau. Fortunately, nowadays when a

movie is bad they just release it in 3-D.

I, Tonya

Watching girls perform vertical splits in their

panties is only allowed during Olympic figure

skating. Sadly, the skater in this dramedy has

been banned from ever flashing audiences


From an early age, Tonya Harding (Margot

Robbie) had been pushed by her abusive

mother (Allison Janney) to be the best on

the ice. Despite the cruelty, she grew into

a talented skater. Her abusive boyfriend

Jeff Gillooly (Sebastian Stan) sees that Olympic

potential, but also a threat in her main rival, so

he hires Tonya’s bungling bodyguard and his

dimwitted crew to assault Nancy Kerrigan at

the ice rink.

A bizarre true story made even stranger by

turning the violent event and its participants

into a comical situation executed by white

trash caricatures. While the cast is impeccable,

the directing, especially the green-screen work,

is terrible. And while the Winter Olympics

frowns on clubbing competitor’s kneecaps,

Disney On Ice doesn’t.

​ Lady Bird

The best thing about Catholic school is that it

accepts pregnant virgins as students. However,

it’ll be awhile before the pupil in this dramedy

even gets a miraculous kiss.

Quirky Catholic high school senior Lady

Bird (Saoirse Ronan) struggles to find her place

amongst her straight-laced peers as she waits

to live out her Ivy League College fantasy far

away from her overbearing mother (Laurie

Metcalf). It’s not until she joins the school

play that she finds her calling, and her new

boyfriend. But her affluent new friends begin

to affect how Ladybird perceives her status,

her family and her old friends.

Although it comes with all the angst, awkwardness

and senseless rebellion you’d expect,

it’s the hilarious and touching mother-daughter

dynamic that elevates writer/director Greta

Gerwig’s vision, and sets it apart from your

standard coming-of-age account. Moreover,

teenage girls hate their mothers up until they

need them to babysit.

Pitch Perfect 3

Sadly, if you want to sabotage an a cappella

group you have to slit a member’s throat. Or,

you can do what the rivals in this musical

comedy do and play instruments.

Three years after their last performance,

the dismantled Bellas (Brittany Snow, Anna

Camp, Hailee Steinfeld) are reunified for a

chance to perform in a USO show alongside

DJ Khaled. But when he only wants Beca (Anna

Kendrick) for his opening act, it divides the


Meanwhile, Fat Amy’s (Rebel Wilson) excon

father (John Lithgow) lands the girls in hot


With its reunion plotline dependent yet

again on a singing competition, this third

entry in the pointless musical pageant is the

absolute worst in the series, and unwatchable.

This claim is exemplified by the inclusion

of organized crime, military adverts and

DJ Khaled’s acting to the mix.

Moreover, singing without a guitar is like

fighting without an M16.

The Shape of Water

The upside to a having a fish-man on your

superhero squad is they can unclog any toilet.

Surprisingly, the hybrid in this fantasy isn’t

affiliated with any sequential art.

When a military colonel (Michael Shannon)

arrives at a top-secret aquarium with a

mysterious sea-creature in tow, mute cleaning

lady Elisa (Sally Hawkins) is inexplicably drawn

to the cryptic convict.

While she and her co-worker (Octavia

Spencer) are warned not to interact with the

army’s asset (Doug Jones), Elisa lunches with

it anyways. When she learns of its imminent

dissection, she enlists her neighbor (Richard

Jenkins) and a scientist (Michael Stuhlbarg) to

help free her new friend.

Steeped in classic monster movie ethos,

writer/director Guillermo del Toro crafts beautifully

shot fan-fiction of the Creature from the

Black Lagoon and, in the process, manages to

make his crossover masterpiece. The downside

to dating a fish-man, however, is permanent


Star Wars: The Last Jedi

The upside to being the last Jedi is that you

longer have to use the brown lightsaber. Sadly,

the final hope found in this sci-fi film doesn’t

even know how to wield her weapon…yet.

While her friends in the Resistance (Carrie

Fisher, Oscar Isaac, John Boyega, Laura Dern)

attempt to deactivate a First Order device

that can track their diminutive fleet through

hyperspace, neophyte Rey (Daisy Ridley)

seeks out exiled Jedi master Luke Skywalker

(Mark Hamill) for training. Her path eventually

leads to her rival Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and

his master (Andy Serkis).

Although it comes embedded with embarrassing

one-liners, questionable character arcs

and a number of absurd scenes, this divisive

– yet action-packed and expansive – installment

in the space opera franchise is still far

superior to its predecessor, The Force Awakens.

Incidentally, like all endangered species, the

last Jedi should be in a space zoo.

Thor: Ragnarok

Norse gods only answer prays containing key

words, like, mead, wench or beheading. But if

this action movie is to be believed, there may

not be many deities left to worship.

Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and his adopted

brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) must prevent

their newly freed sister Hela (Cate Blanchett)

from destroying the Nine Realms. In the process

Thor is captured by an intergalactic slave

trader (Tessa Thompson) and sold to the ruler

(Jeff Goldblum) of a battle planet for gladiatorial

games. Powerless without his hammer, the

god of thunder must learn to rely on others,

including Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), if he hopes to

save Asgard.

Better than both of its predecessors by

leaps and bounds, especially in terms of action,

acting and humour, director Taika Waititi

manages to bring levity to what is essentially

Thor’s darkest saga yet. Incidentally, the only

people who’d mourn Asgard’s ruin are white


He’s Amorally Superior.

He’s the… Vidiot



runway to the screen


Fashion Film is a medium exploring the fashion industry in

innovative and experimental ways, and the Canadian International

Fashion Film Festival (CANIFFF) is showcasing the latest in

the genre. Aimed at featuring fresh, creative, and unique content,

the festival is presenting a new and exciting lineup of short films

this year. “The vision has stayed pretty true since the beginning”,

comments Katrina Olson-Mottahed, Director and Co-Founder.

“Three years later, we are receiving more Canadian films and can

see the fruits of our labor. It’s so rewarding.” One featured Canadian

submission is Radical Nature from She Said Films, in which three

diverse women move through the city streets of Toronto, embracing

their natural beauty and strength.

Twelve judges are set to crown a series of awards, from categories

such as best score, best content, and best styling. The best

score nominees include Sweet Aubergine, a Romanian film pairing

strong and confident women with a spaghetti western soundtrack,

Blow, about a daredevil driver driving blindfolded with an Indian

composer, and Not(e) for a Dreamer, that uses only natural light

from Greve, Italy. The festival highlights a diverse range of filmmakers,

and as Olson-Mottahed notes, “there are several of these

filmmakers flying to Calgary to attend the festival. We love that we

can host them in our city and show them how strongly we believe

and support what they are doing.”

In addition to the film screenings are presentations by celebrated

artists, including a talk about inspiration from Italian filmmaker

Luca Finotti, who won Best Fashion Film in 2017 at CANIFFF

for We Believe in the Power of Love. Olson-Mottahed describes

Finotti as “an incredibly fascinating individual and very talented

filmmaker”, who has worked with brands such as Giorgio Armani

and Versace, and with stars such as singer Lady Gaga and actress

S o fi aVerg a r a .

The festival launches on May 5 in Calgary, with tickets available

on CANIFFF’s official website. The event includes screenings of

selected and nominated films, a pink carpet reception at the

Glenbow Theatre before the awards ceremony, and an after party

on the second floor of Le Germain Hotel.

APRIL 19 – MAY 5, 2018



A collusion of dance, puppets and live music

By Kimberley Cooper, Peter Balkwill and the Nick Fraser Ensemble

For tickets visit




For more info visit




rock titans celebrate five decades of livin’ the dream

They’d go in and put a bomb in the light switch. BANG!

In their five decades as an active band, Uriah Heep has left a

colossal mark on rock ‘n’ roll. Infused with a Tolkien leaning

mysticism at their onset, and musically marked by wah-wah

pedal suffused guitar, soaring quasi-operatic vocals, jaunty

keyboards and an unmistakably positive vibe, the band’s survival

was hard earned and is cherished by both its members and fans.

After numerous studio albums, over 40 million album sales

and the cycling through of over 20 members, band leader and

guitarist Mick Box is still going strong with a stable line-up

that is currently on a world tour celebrating those fruitful early

years. Subsequently, this current tour is primarily focused on

the 1970-1973 period when the band produced six full-length

records and a cache of timeless hits. This whirlwind was kicked

off when Box formed the band that would become Uriah Heep

as a 19-year-old in Brentwood, Essex. He was eventually joined

by keyboardist, synth player, guitarist and vocalist Ken Hensley

(writer or co-writer of many of the bands hits) and lead vocalist

David Byron.

“It was a really interesting time because in those days, you

signed an album deal for four, five, six albums. And you grew

with the label; the label grew with you, which is very much unlike

today!” begins Box, an affable Brit with a charming accent.

“Because of that, it nurtured the music and allowed the music

to speak its own voice,” he says. “I think that’s why we were able

to make good songs that stood the test of time and people love

hearing them in a live arena.”

Indeed, the Toronto show where the interview was

conducted was packed with a devoted cross-generational

crowd that included one middle-aged American mother and

20-year-old son; the rabid fan had named her child Uriah.

They were only two amidst a raucous audience that collectively

belted out every word to classic hits like “July Morning,”

“Easy Livin,’” “Look At Yourself,” “The Magician’s Birthday,”

“Rainbow Demon,” and more.

These early discography songs are notably marked by their

infusion of J.R.R Tolkien [of Lord of the Rings fame] themes, a


focus that quickly evaporated as more bands took up the same

mantle. This changed coincided with the tumultuous ‘Heep

being concerned about their own relevancy.

“I think because The Magician’s Birthday (1972) was recorded

very quickly and we almost exhausted ourselves doing it within one

year. We felt going to our next album, we should probably leave it

behind, simply because of that: we were exhausted by it,” explains

Box. This occurred after the prolific period that saw five albums

released in three years, including their 1970 debut …Very ‘Eavy

… Very ‘Umble, 1971 albums Salisbury and Look at Yourself, then

1972’s Demons and Wizards, which was followed by The Magician’s

Birthday. The shift came with 1973’s Sweet Freedom.

“If you continue with it, you can end up being quite cliché as

well, because the inspiration for those things was from Lord of the

Rings… and we didn’t want to fall into that trap.”

He continues, “Many bands went on and copied us. [Power

metal band] Blind Guardian in Germany, and they’re quite honest

and heart on their sleeve about that, but we kind of kickstarted

them in that way of thinking… We found a mystical way of doing it

that captured the imagination.”

It’s hardly surprising that Heep’s experience in the ‘70s was

marked by struggle: critical reception buoyed and plunged as the

band released a total of 12 studio albums that shifted with musical

trends. Coupled with high turnover and tumultuousness as the

members dealt with infighting over royalties, car crashes, and a

heroin overdose, it’s a miracle that they emerged from the decade

in any form. Sadly, vocalist Byron was fired from the band in 1976

due to alcoholism; he passed away in 1985. Hensley left the band in

1980 due to their differing musical direction; the relationship was a

business one that never quite fit, according to Box.

“In terms of writing, Ken would bring along the barest bones

things on acoustic guitar, and the band would make it epic. It was a

lot of debt to the band to make those songs big classic songs everyone

loves and shouts for,” says Box during a serious moment.

Uriah Heep’s songwriting credits have long been a subject of

discussion given their turnover rate.


“As a person, he was never a team player. He was always out for

Ken. It’s the only way I can explain it to be honest.”

Box continues, “Ken almost created his own situations… There

would be a dressing room just for him. But then he’d come into our

dressing room and be one of the boys, but imagine how that went

down. So there was many stories where you get into a bit of fun

with him….”

The remainder of the members would end up playing pranks on

their bandmate.

“We had sewn up the bottom of his trousers. So he’s hopping

around the room trying to pull up his trousers. So he set himself up.

Even the crew. Two of the members would come in and ‘where’s

Ken’s room!?’

“‘It’s over there!’”

“And then they’d go in and put a bomb in the light switch.


Despite the trauma (and the hijinks), Uriah Heep endured

throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s and continues well on to current day

with a prolific release schedule. It begs the question of whether

they’ve grown bored of those early hits that define them.

“It’s easy to get bored with any of those songs, but the short term

answer is that the audience keeps you alive every time,” counters


“The minute you start the intro, and the fists go in the air, you’re

energized, and you’re in that moment again. And the great thing is

you get people saying that about “Gypsy” [the band’s debut single

from 1970] and the song is twice as old as the guy yelling it!”

The most striking element of “Gypsy” is its variance: funky guitar

rhythms, pounding synchronization, jazzy drums, and jarring

keyboards transition effortlessly alongside striking vocals. It’s

representative of a band that seamlessly integrates rock, progressive,

psychedelic and classical elements.

“In school, that’s what you’re taught,” recalls Box.

“You weren’t taught pop or rock songs, you were taught classical

so you tend to get an appreciation for it. I think the most things I get

out of classical music is the dynamics of it all. One moment you’ve

got your headphones on and you’re drifting off this beautiful bit and

then the timpani and cymbal comes in and makes you jump.”


He shouts the word, laughing.

“Oh yeah, yeah. That’s what we try and do with our music.”

The band has maintained that style in recent releases; live, they

sound strikingly energetic and utterly fantastic. Now composed of

Box and longtime band members Bernie Shaw on vocals and Phil

Lanzon of keyboards, the old-timers are joined by Russell Gilbrook

on drums and bassist Davey Rimmer. Their last studio offering was

2014’s Outsider; it will be followed up this year with the band’s 25th

full-length offering that is appropriately titled Living the Dream.

“We recorded the whole thing in 19 days…. It’ll be released in

September. It’s very rock, and very up-tempo, with some ballads,”

reveals Box.

“We just got the trademarks right way back in 1970 and we apply

them to every song we write. Sometimes we have an alright song

and when Heep get hold of it and apply the trademarks, it becomes

Heep in two seconds!”

Uriah Heep perform on April 30 at Union Hall (Edmonton) and on

May 1 at the Palace Theatre (Calgary).


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stay golden




Back on the streets of Western Canada.

Spring is just around the corner; sprouting

new life and new beginnings. Here in Western

Canada, we can’t help but think of the rejuvenation

and the inevitable return of perennial punk rock

favourite 88 Fingers Louie.

Hailing from Chicago, 88 Fingers Louie (a.k.a. the

88s) came together in 1993, during the confused

daze of skate-punk. From the onset, the band’s

hard-hitting bass lines, up-tempo riffs, catchy

drums and melodic vocals made them a stand-out

amongst their mumble-core peers. Two and half decades

later, the 88s are still defined by their earliest

releases, Behind Bars (1995) and a spate of 7-inch

singles with Fat Wreck Chords. Those formative

works cemented the band’s sound into the brains of

an impressionable decade of fans. They still resonate

after all of the inner turmoil of fragmentations and


“In the early days, breakups weren’t always necessarily

because of tempers flaring, it was because

of a lot of things. We were young, and I guess we

eventually had to grow up though,” explains lead

vocalist Denis Buckley. He’s found a winning formula

in the company of guitarist Dan Wlekinski (formerly

of Rise Against), drummer John Carroll (Paper Mice)

and bassist Nat Wright (Shot Baker).

“We were together, ’93 to ‘96, ’98 to ’99 and 2009

to 2010. I look at it very fondly, but it was starting

to become clear, the same stuff that sorta split us

up in years past, it was starting to show those same

cracks. So, I felt that we should just walk away from

the band and have no one pissed-off at each other.”

There’s nothing more pop-punk than a good

make-up session, so in 2013 88 Fingers Louie celebrated

their 20th anniversary with a commemorative

boogie call so scorching it sparked the rebirth of

the band we have today.

“It was only supposed to be a 20-year reunion and

we were just going to play one show. Then, I don’t

think a month went by and we were asked to play a

festival. Things picked up rather quickly after that, to

the surprise of everyone. So, we decided to keep doing

it until we hate each other again. And really, for

the first time in our band’s history, we’re all on the

same page. We all know what this band is capable

of, but now, we know when too much is too much.

And here we are, we’re entering our fifth year back

together. It’s the longest this band has been together

in one sitting.”

Buckley says, laughing,

“So, I guess it’s better late than never.”

Hard proof they’ve patched things over, the group

released their long awaited follow-up Thank You for

Being a Friend in 2017 and seamlessly closed a 19-

year gap in their discography.

“I think Thank You is a good blueprint for what

we’re going to do in the future. We didn’t want to

sound like the exact same band, but we didn’t want

to be nothing like we used to be. I don’t know if

we’ll release new music at the same pace as we did

back then, but we want to continue doing it. It was

such a cathartic release for us to put out this new

album and I think it was necessary to write these

new songs.”

88 Fingers Louie’s Canadian Catastrophe Tour arrives

April 12 at the Venue Nightclub (Vancouver), April 13

at the Starlite Room (Edmonton), April 14 at Dicken’s

Pub (Calgary) and April 15 at the Handsome Daughter



in pursuit of the perfect noise

The cover art for Beaver Squadron’s new

release is a tell-tale story when the band

prefers to have their kids front and center

while they take a back seat and do what parents

do, let the youngins have the spotlight.

More specifically, the members of Beaver

Squadron are veterans of Calgary’s music

scene dating way back to the ‘80s, which

also means they’ve been around the block

at least once. But don’t think for a moment

this is typical, complacent mom and dad

rock designed to keep playing in a band for

the sake of playing in a band. No, Beaver

Squadron have a purpose... they make some

damn, good rock ‘n’ roll.

Drawing on both their experience and

different musical background and tastes,

their self-titled eight-track record packs a

solid punch whether the songs are racing

full-tilt, or they veer off into more of an

introspective territory (which isn’t that

often... there’s six rockers compared to a

couple of ballad-like tracks).

Style-wise it’s definitely rooted in psychedelic

desert-twang and West Coast cowpunk,

which is largely the genre lead vocalist

Brent Crosson comes from. But Graham

Evan’s guitar riffs, rhythm and soloing crank

up the energy and volume making sure the

primordial rush of American rock ‘n’ roll that

came out of Detroit, New York and Texas in

the ‘70s is not forgotten. Kenna Burima, who

also sings lead vocals, just not as many songs,

adds a variety of keyboard sounds and styles

ranging from psychedelic and ‘60s garage

to soulful blasts straight from church while


maintaining the interplay in-between the

song’s arrangements. Bass and drums lock in

with both vigor and finesse, making this one

cohesive unit.

Crosson is a clever songwriter, witty but

cynical. “Oblivion” is a rowdy little number

that Crosson says was inspired by the irreverent

Lester Bangs who sneered at a music

biz person for sipping wine while at a dinner

party... certainly there’s more to life than that.

Reaching for oblivion was Bang’s sincere but

sarcastic comeback.

A track called “ Perfect Noise” builds into

a brooding mix with swirling reverb and

feedback that erupts into a apocalyptic fire

storm. But it’s not about nuclear proliferation.

Rather, when Crosson was at a Black

Mountain show absorbing the experience

it’s “when you’re just the right amount of

messed up and the sound does the rest.”

Similarly, “Co-op Gold”, a breakneck raveup,

is also about indulging... this time cheap

beer from the grocery store and waking up

wondering WTF then do it all over again.

With a remarkable resemblance to Lou

Reed and Nick Cave, Crosson’s vocals carry

an authority that commands your attention

throughout. One of the band’s compelling


Just as convincing is Burima’s voice.

Persuasive and always in the right mood

whether she’s warm and heartfelt or belting

it, (and that she can do!), her singing rounds

out the band in fine fashion. And her version

of the Mekon’s “Millionaire”, a triumph, as is

the whole record. Perfect noise indeed.



darkness is their sherbert

Grunge fashionistas crush it at Costco.

If you’ve ever wondered what it would

sound like to toss Ty Segall, Mudhoney

and Wavves in a deep fryer and plug an


amp into whatever came out, the result

would be Pink Mexico. The Robert Preston

solo-project-gone-trio is making a stop in

Calgary on their ‘Buck Weiland’ tour, named

after the late Stone Temple Pilots frontman

Scott Weiland. Why?

“Because we’re gonna go buck-Weiland

on this tour, man!” Preston says.

“Scott Weiland’s my hero. He went

buck-Weiland to the grave.”

Bassist Ian Everall and drummer Grady

Walker now join Preston, who handles

anthemic vocals and garage rock guitar

duties. According to Everall, joining the Pink

Mexico project was a no-brainer.

“Because we were already best buds and

we all dress the same.”

Legend has it the coordinated trio met

quite by accident while all standing in front

of the same mirror at Costco. Noticing they

were all rocking the same style, they took

turns yelling ‘YOU PLAY THE SKINS?’ at

one another. Forming a tight friendship and

a touring garage-punk band was the only

logical step forward.

The resultant Brooklyn trio, who

bounced back to New York after a sojourn

in sunny Los Angeles, California, now

have two albums under their belts, with

their most recent full-length cassette Fool

(2016) being passed around on Burger Re-


cords. It’s easy to list their menu of sounds

as falling somewhere between modern

garage-rock and surf-influenced grunge,

but Pink Mexico prefers to use their own


“I would describe it as grunge Kenny

Loggins,” Preston says.

“We played in San Diego and there was

a dude there and he was like, ‘Maaaan, you

know what you sound like? Grunge Kenny

Loggins, bro.’ I was like ‘That’s pretty fuckin’

amazing! I don’t really know what that

means, but I’m gonna roll with that!’”

Rolling with the punches and finding a

home within the beefy arms of Burger Records

came naturally to the band, especially

Everall, who originally hails from Edmonton,

Alberta. Never one to miss an opportunity

to showcase Pink Mexico’s flare for riding

dirty down Sunset Boulevard, Walker vows

to deliver a real whopper of a show when

they hit his bandmate’s hometown.

“We crush-out. We’re a three-piece


Pink Mexico perform April 26 at 99ten (Edmonton)

and on April 27 at The Palomino

Smokehouse and Social Club (Calgary).

The Order of Chaos release ‘Night Demon’ in February.




heavy-hitters tell furious stories

Texas has a long history of producing

ear-splitting, heavy hitting

rock acts. From Pantera to At the

Drive In, the hot, sweaty nights seem

to bring out sickest riffs and deepest

basslines from the depths of the desert

sand and San Antonio’s Nothing

More is no exception.

Last year, Nothing More broke

through in a big way with The Stories

We Tell Ourselves (2017), a modern

prog-rock classic that not only

earned the band critical acclaim,

but also landed them three Grammy

nominations including Best Rock

Album, Best Rock Performance, and

Best Rock Song for the single “Go to


“That one’s definitely personal,”

reflects singer Jonny Hawkins on the

hit song, which acted as the album’s

first single.

“It was written at the end of an

eight year relationship where the

end of that relationship got real fiery,

and very confusing, and just kind of

devolved, even though six to seven

years of it was pretty peaceful.”

Moving through the opening

blasts of the unification anthem “Do

You Really Want It?” and eventually

arriving at the final melodic phrases

of “Fadein/Fadeout,” Stories is a conceptually

and lyrically rich affair filled

with deafening drums, razor-sharp

guitar riffs and passionate vocals.

By Hawkins’ account, his bandmates,

guitarist Mark Vollelunga,

bassist Daniel Oliver and drummer



Ben Anderson are just as eager as

he is to bring Stories to Canada for

a chain of springtime engagements

with Papa Roach and Escape the


“I’m always pumped to go out with

some friends,” he proclaims about

Papa Roach, whose lead singer Jacoby

Shaddix appeared in the video for

Nothing More’s track “Don’t Stop.”

“I usually don’t get very excited

until the day of the first show. I’m

usually a little bummed-out to leave

home, because I start getting used

to it. Then I get that adrenaline kick

the first time and I’m like, ‘Alright.

I’m back!’”

Always a spectacle to behold,

Nothing More has been known to

incorporate epic theatrics like a metal

scorpion tail and sound machines

made from scrap car parts into their

live shows. Hawkins says many of

those elements will be present at the

outfit’s upcoming Calgary stop and

that his band will bring their all to

the stage.

“If you come out and see us,

we’ll be swinging for the fences,” he

declares. “We always give it 110 per

cent every night.”

Nothing More perform with Papa

Roach and Escape the Fate on May 2 at

Grey Eagle Resort & Casino (Calgary),

April 29 at Burton Cummings Theatre

(Winnipeg), and on May 1 at Conexus

Arts Centre (Regina).

110 per cent and nothing less. PHOTO: ALYSSE GAFKJEN


sonically entangled in fear, guilt, and anxiety

New Material is released via Flemish Eye on March 23.

Preoccupations’ latest offering New Material is

thematically and sonically entangled in fear, guilt,

and anxiety.

Opening track “Espionage” sets the post-punk

tone with isolating drum rhythms determined to

trap the listener in a cavern of sound. Just as the

discomfort of the echoing percussion reaches its

breaking point, a Joy Division-esque synth blasts

through to the foreground, quickly followed by

vocalist and bassist Matt Flegel’s drawling, spoken-style


From that jumping-off point, the album showcases

an array of textures and moods, changing

rapidly from get-up-and-dance tunes that’ll shake ya

bones, to raw and exhausting trips. It’s a challenging,

emotional recording inspired by the tulmutlousness

that has long followed the band, who has spent

the last several years touring the world and gaining

international acclaim.

“We started [recording] February 2017, we

were still touring around until September 2017, so

we recorded this album in maybe seven or eight

different sessions over that year, and our studio

was pretty much whichever room we had our

stuff in. We were recording vocal tapes in hotel

rooms and shit on the road. So, it was totally all

over the place,” begins Flegel.

“The songs are physically different, because the

rooms that we recorded them in were physically different.

We’d borrow equipment that we don’t own

from our friends, so we would tinker around with as

much of that as we possibly could. It’s a very good

kind of representation of a studio record. We didn’t

have a shape of a record in mind when we went into

making it.”

At its core, New Material is a collection of

jam-sessions; the approach to recording was radically

different than what Preoccupations did on their



2016 self-titled release, which was planned out from

the beginning.

“I’d say if anything, this record is a product of

studio experimentation. We didn’t have songs going

into the studio. For the first two albums we went

into a studio, and set our shit up, and played our

songs live off the floor, and that’s how you hear

them. We couldn’t do very much of that with this


The band’s history is complicated. After releasing

a tape and critically acclaimed full-length as part

of the band Women, the original quartet went on

hiatus and then experienced tragedy when guitarist

Chris Reimer passed away. Two members of Women

then went on to form Viet Cong, who released a Polaris

prize nominated self-titled album that evoked

Talking Heads and Birthday Party with its cold reverberating

drums and poppy inclinations. Following

the controversy that came with that bellicose name,

Viet Cong were finally rechristened in 2016 as Preoccupations,

nearly a year after their announcement.

Determined to turn their continuous strife into a

source of inspiration, the band released a self-titled

record rich with tense adrenaline and mind-meltingly

thick with grimy riffs that recalled new wave

greats like Echo & the Bunnymen.

Following that record’s success, Flegel, drummer

Mike Wallace, synth player and guitarist Scott

Munro, and second guitarist Daniel Christiansen

immediately put themselves to work on their next

compulsively addictive record. New Material, a

headphone-worthy album that demands close

listening and repeated spins to catch all the tiny

details, scratches that sonic itch.

Get up close and personal with Preoccupations when

they perform on May 4 and 5 at The Palomino Smokehouse

and Social Club (Calgary).



new album marks a return to form

Like falling off a bike. PHOTO: MATT BARNES

After tearing a chunk out of 2015 with

their last album Ruff, Born Ruffians are

back to it on their latest foot-stomping indie

rock record, Uncle, Duke & The Chief. A sunny

collection of folk rock shakers, the album

brings the outfit closer to their roots with the

return of drummer Steve Hamelin. The band

recently hit the road to promote the record,

embarking on a global tour that will start in

North America before reaching the United

Kingdom this summer.

A definitively Canadian band, the international

success Born Ruffians have enjoyed


is taken with a large slice of humble pie by

vocalist Luke Lalonde.

“It’s not something you can do for a lot of

Canadian bands -- that you can actually tour

for so long. And we’re lucky to be able to do it,”

Lalonde says.

It’s also safe to say that, all of their extensive

touring hasn’t diminished Born Ruffians love

of small-town Ontario. The band now calls Toronto

their home, but they still frequently look

for inspiration outside of the big city. In fact,

Lalonde started conceptualizing the new album

in 2016, writing some parts in a converted

chapel in Kincardine, Ontario.

“There’s a lot of lines in the sand that you can

draw with rock bands and how you record your

sound,” Lalonde says. “You can break it down in

two ways — you can record live off the floor, or

take things one step at a time and build tracks.

We just realized that our band sounds best

when we do things live.”

Uncle, Duke & The Chief was released on February

16. The Born Ruffians will perform on April

29 at the Park Theatre (Winnipeg), on May 1 at

the Starlite Room (Edmonton), and on May 2 at

the Gateway (Calgary).


new EP as grey as springtime in Alberta

new chapter in the history of southern

A Alberta post punk is written with the

release of Body Lens’ new self-titled EP. Upon

first listen, the Lethbridge band’s love of ‘80s

new wave is palpable. The signature groovy

rhythms of drummer Rebecca McHugh and

bassist Brittney Ruston are synonymous to

the original new wave era. These rhythms

shine through while guitarists Benny Roy

and Quinn Lee’s textural jangles harken

more closely to their Canadian post punk

contemporaries. Their sound comes full circle

with singer Brandon Wynnychuk’s inimitable

chanting yelps.

The EP opens with “Value,” arguably the

album’s most upbeat number. The EP grows


more cold and dissonant with track two,

“Fixing,” but comes to a head at the end of

side one with “Empty Space;” a lethargic slow

whirr resembling stoned days where all you

seek is a melancholy waste of time. Despite

the track’s slow pace and drag, the track

bears a tension reminding us of the bleak

nature of the vast prairies.

Ruston describes the degree of influence

the starkness of the prairies has on their


“The prairies have a totally different way of

making you feel small. It gives you this feeling

of emptiness,” says Ruston.

“I think it comes from this place of trying

to be a beacon in this vast plain of nothingness.

Trying to get these feelings out. I

think there’s such an expanse to the prairies

and there’s all this space. You can pretty

much always here everything, even way off

in the distance; you often hear the crashing

of trains. I feel like that’s where a lot of this

music comes from.”

Body Lens’ self-titled EP is streaming now on

Bandcamp and is out on cassette via Terrific

Kids on May 5 at The Slice (Lethbridge).


Count Down To RSD

Record Shop Talk: All Things Record Store Day

It’s true that the world of music is forever changing in this rapidly, advancing digital era, but

while digital formats are becoming more popular one thing thankfully remains constant:

privately owned record stores. Since the ‘50s vinyl records have refused to die out and in recent

years they have even made a comeback with labels, big and small, pressing new records. In

light of this year’s annual Record Store Day, on April 21, 2018, BeatRoute sought out Calgary’s

independent record stores to talk business, music and of course, records.




Chris Dadge (33) Store Manager for 15 years.

What does it take for a record shop to survive


I guess it’s just trying to keep the stuff that people are

looking for in the stores. We’ve shifted from being

a store that dealt mainly with used CDs, then we

did vinyl and new release vinyl, but mostly it’s just

keeping a well-priced selection of used LPs, catering

to what people are looking for and trying to bring it

in as much as possible.

The majority of what we sell is rock and pop from

the “60s to ‘80s. When we get other stuff like metal

and hip-hop it does tend to sell really well, but it’s

not something that comes into the store often. We

are a bit of a meat and potatoes store in terms of the

overall scope of what we’re selling.”

What is your favourite record you’re listening to

right now?

My favourite record at the moment, let’s say R.E.M-

Life’s Rich Pageant. I’ve been listening to that a lot

lately, so we’ll call that the favourite for right now.

What is your favourite record coming out on


My favourite RSD release this year is Richard Young’s


LP that’s being recorded for Glass Records Redux.

I don’t know if we’ll be getting it in here, but I’ll be

trying to track it down any way possible.

What do you think is unique about your store’s


Well we’ve been here for quite a long time, so there’s

a lot of stuff that dates back well into the early ‘90s

and late ‘80s. There’s quite a bit of history and there’s

some decent local stuff that’s been here for a really

long time. It is one of the only record stores on the

north side of the river and we’ve been in this location

for 40 years this year.

Why is Record Store Day important?

Well for any store having a day centered around

the very thing you’re selling is a positive thing to get

involved with, If there was a shoe day for shoe stores

I’m sure that they would be stoked too. The idea

behind RSD is that labels are specifically supporting

independent stores. Any event meant to support

your area of commerce is a good thing.

Top 3-5 recommendations on what to buy

on RSD?

I don’t know, I haven’t studied the list closely enough

yet and we don’t know what well be ordering. So I

can’t really answer that question.




Jeff Kynoch (27) spent the past five years as

store manager of the Blackbyrd Edmonton

location, but transferred to the Calgary

location in Nov. 2017.

What does it take for a record shop to

survive today?

It definitely takes getting to know your

customers and knowing what people are

looking for. You can order all kinds of stuff

if you want, but if the people coming in

looking for things aren’t into what you’ve

got, you’re not going to sell anything. So

you kind of have to gauge your customers

and your market.

It’s a lot easier these days because there

are so many more reissues coming out,

people would come in looking for Led

Zeppelin albums and we used to have to

turn them away and tell them to go look

at a used shop, but now we can sell them

because they’re coming in brand new.

What is one of your favourite records?

Anything from Jeff Parker records to old

Beach Boys records

What is your most anticipated record

for RSD?

This year I’m pretty excited about Pink

Floyd – The Piper at the Gates of Dawn

What do you think is unique about your

store’s selection?

I guess just the variety of what we have, we

try to have a little bit of everything whether

it be interesting world music or avant-garde

jazz or classic rock, to bluegrass and folk,

just trying to keep a wide selection. We also

stock lots of audio file reissues.

Why is Record Store Day important?

Well it definitely brings people in, especially

the collectors, let’s say there hasn’t been

a whole lot coming out that they’re

interested in lately, or they already have an

original copy at home. With a lot of reissues

releasing there will be some rarities that

bring people out who might not normally

come out.

Top 3-5 recommendations on what to

buy on RSD?

Definitely Pink Floyd- The Piper at the

Gates of Dawn, there’s also a Mac Demarco

Demos record that’s probably going to be

really big, and Sufjan Stevens is always big.

Mac Demarco will be releasing “This Old

Dog” Demo with a “Beat Happening” cover

for RSD 2018.

We are also going to be doing giveaways,

like concert giveaways, coffee, donuts,

hopefully some beer tastings with a couple

different craft breweries here in town and

we are having a sale as well, all regular stock

is 20% off including gear, turntables, speakers

and accessories.




Jerry Keogh (63) has been in the business

for 50 years, owner of Heritage for

15 years.

What does it take for a record shop to

survive today?

Well for me, I cater to a lot of the roots

and classic rock crowds as well as jazz,

folk and stuff I grew up with in the ‘60s

really. We are really proud of our jazz and

blues vinyl collections and we are unique

because we also track down stuff for


What is your favourite record right


What I’ve been listening to just recently

is a blues guy out of San Francisco by

the name of Tommy Castro his newest

album Stomping Ground.”

What is your favourite record coming

out on RSD?

There’s a compilation that’s coming out

and I think it’s a two-album set from

the Monterey Pop festival in 1967. It’s

never been out on vinyl and they’re

only printing 1,000 copies. Also, there’s

a four-album box set of the Allman

Brothers I’m interested in.”

What do you think is unique about

your store’s selections?

Definitely our store’s knowledge,

between all of our staff we have over

125 years of experience and it’s all about

finding your niche genre, which for us is

jazz and blues. Also, we sell posters, we

have all the concert tour posters and

other stuff you don’t tend to see.”

Why is Record Store Day important?

I like to say that Record Store Day is bigger

than Christmas. It’s a good flag-waving

day for sure. You know people are

out to support the record stores, but the

bad part about it is that there are some

people out there who just try to buy out

RSD releases and then they sell them on

eBay or Amazon or whatever because

they are limited runs.

Top 3-5 recommendations on what to

buy on RSD?

Reissues of Bob Dylan and the Grateful

Dead are cool also, they’re doing The

National- Boxer Live album. We also get

Record Store Day stuff shipped in from

England that you usually won’t find here.




“Not your average drug store”

Daniel Tatterton (31) pas three years as

record manager.

What does it take for a record shop to

survive today?

Well I think we are in a bit of a unique

situation because we also get sales from

the pharmacy and grocery section of

the store. We do have people coming

into buy just records, but it’s nice to

have that extra leverage.

What is your favourite record right


I’ve been pretty excited about a new

Thunder Cat release, their new album

called Drunk.

What is your favourite record coming

out on RSD?

For RSD I’m excited to see Wu-tang

back on cassette and the Sheep Dogs

on Vinyl.

What do you think is unique about

your store’s selections?

We keep it pretty current with a lot

of top sellers. But we try our best just

to keep a good selection of back titles

and reissues and sort of all the popular

and sought after records, as well as box

sets. It’s important to cover all the bases

between pop, jazz and R&B.

Why is Record Store Day important?

I think that people are still talking about

the death of vinyl and just physical

formats in general. So I think that RSD

kind of throws a wrench into the theory

that record stores are dying. It’s kind of

showing people why we should still care

about collecting vinyl and its just one

day a year we can celebrate vinyl.

Top 3-5 recommendations on what

to buy on RSD?

Ty Segal - Freedom Goblin. There’s some

soul jazz records coming this RSD that

are pretty cool, and the new MGMT

album Little Dark Age”


Eddie Dalrymple (29) Store Manager since 2010.

What does it take for a record shop to survive today?

It requires keeping a loyal customer base and being sensitive to

changing prices. Right now for us it’s kind of just trying to find

quality cheaper items or used stuff to balance out or pair with

crazy expensive items or big box stuff. Just making sure there’s

something for everyone really, a variety.

What is your favourite record right now?

I mostly listen to a lot of Afrobeat stuff, Fela Kuti – Confusion.

What is your favourite record coming out on RSD?

CzarFace meets Metal Face – is an upcoming collaborative album

by American hip-hop super-group Czarface and MF Doom and

set to be released on March 30 through Get On Down, a Boston-based

record label. The album will feature guest appearances

by Vinnie Paz, Open Mike Eagle and Kendra Morris.

What do you think is unique about your store’s selections?

We have a lot of the “stranger” reissues that we get in, but really I

just want to have something for everyone. Also, we have one of

the best metal selections in the city.

Why is Record Store Day important?

It’s become the biggest day of the year for us, it’s bigger than Boxing

Day and it’s important for getting people out. Often times the

RSD crowds aren’t your regular customers, it’s important because

it’s now essential for our yearly revenue.

Top 3-5 recommendations on what to buy on RSD?

I always just say buy something you truly want, don’t try to

choose something you think will be worth money down the road

just buy something you want and go out and support the stores.

Most of the stores will have sales so if you’ve seen something

expensive that you’ve had your eye on and it’s on sale, get it.




Dave Muir (50), 19 years as store manager.

What does it take for a record shop to survive today?

It takes sales. That’s the easy answer. The deeper answer is that

you need to find your focus, your niche, and you need to do it

well. For us, that means metal, punk and hip-hop music. Find

what you’re good at and set yourself apart from other stores.

What is your favourite record right now, and what is your

favourite record coming out on RSD?

I’ll give you three favourites all different genres, Childish Gambino

– Awaken my Love, The Jesus and Merry Chain – Damage and

Joy, and Nightmare Logic – Power Trip, which I think was the best

thrash album of 2017.

What do you think is unique about your store’s selections?

A lot of things. The one thing that we constantly hear from out

of town record buyers is that we have the best metal selection in

Western Canada if not Canada. It’s a testament to our buyer who

is also a punk rock and hard-core specialist.

Why is Record Store Day important?

RSD crowds are split down the middle. Certain people will come

just to check out what we have, and then you have the die-hard

collectors who are after a specific item. It’s important because

it get’s people in the store and it’s one of the biggest days of the

year for us.

Top 3-5 recommendations on what to buy on RSD?

There’s a David Bowie triple LP live album that’s never been

released and extremely sought after, a Mac Demarco LP that’s

very limited, and there’s also a Led Zeppelin 7 inch that people

are talking about.

NOTE: Led Zeppelin is set to release a limited edition 7” single

featuring two previously unheard mixes produced by Jimmy

Page: the Sunset Sound Mix of “Rock And Roll” and the Olympic

Studios Mix of Friends.”



Al Cohen (43) a.ka. “Big Al” has

been collecting since since 1978.

Long-time store manager.

What does it take for a record

shop to survive today?

Just knowing what people want. I

mean records are so popular nowadays

that they sell themselves, so

if you are a record store going out

of business you’re doing something

extremely wrong. Records have

always been our top priority, we

have so many records that there are

some albums in the back that we’ll

never run out of.

What is your favourite record

you’re listening to right now?

The Upsetters – Black Board Jungle


What do you think is unique

about your store’s selections?

Biggest selection in Canada, without

a doubt. We have every single

genre and just sheer numbers really.

We have over one million records

in the back and 300,000,000 up

front. I like to have the cheapest

prices in town, and I like to keep

people happy.

Why is Record Store Day


RSD is important because for years

and decades, really the last century,

record stores have been trying to

bleed customers dry by taking as

much as they can from them. And

now I feel that RSD is an actual give

back to the customer where the

record companies don’t seem as

greedy and they release things just

for independent record stores.

Top 3-5 recommendations on

what to buy on RSD?

Pink Floyd – Piper at the Gates of

Dawn, Creation Rebel – From a

Creation, Def Leppard – Live from

Abbey Road, and Prince – 1999 is

for sure going to be good.





Monday started off with a perfect introduction to

SXSW, for both good and bad reasons.

Max Richter’s stunning Sleep was a truly oncein-a-lifetime

opportunity that only a fest like SXSW

could provide, even if it felt like a branded experience.

Spending the night on one of 150 mattresses

inside of University of Texas’ Bass Concert Hall

while Richter and six musicians played through the

night was a treat. Yet, when 8 AM rolled around,

the CEO of BeautyRestTM (the sponsor of the

event) was there, eager to greet all the sleepers

with a premiere of a new 30-second ad for their

mattresses. It was a cynical wake up to say the

least. You’ve got to love capitalism.

Tuesday found us heading out to East Austin

for an unofficial She Shreds showcase that was

prematurely shut down by the cops, it was time

to head back to Rainey Street for more branded

goodness. #TwitterHouse was promoting Australia

and feminism in tandem with a mostly-women

lineup of up-and-comers from down under.

18-year-old rapper Mallrat, singer-songwriter Stella

Donnelly, and sudden synth-pop star to be G Flip

(playing her first ever show) all managed to show

of their immense talent, even when the “heaps”

annoying Australian emcees tested the limits of the

free liquor.

That night, the melting pot nature of SXSW

shined brightest, with a showcase featuring

everyone from Montreal’s post-punk posterboys

Ought, to the New York synth pop of Porches.

The highlight of the night (and really of the week)

was South London standout Shame, who blew the

lid off Barracuda’s outside stage with one of their

marathon nine sets in three days. The five-piece

fronted by Charlie Steen is fully ready to play

massive stages, even if they work so much better

on small ones.


Some of the best things about Wednesday and

Thursday were the moments that made you forget

you were at SXSW in the first place. There were

transformative highlights that obfuscated the

omnipresent corporate activations and buzz band

hysteria. On Wednesday at Hotel Vegas, both Thor

& Friends and Yonatan Gat & the Eastern Medicine

Singers offered just such an escape. Thor Harris’

(Swans, Ben Frost, etc) seven-piece marimba-centred

ensemble performed interlocked percussion

that traced techno, contemporary classical and

drone. Outside on the dusty ground floor, Yonatan

Gat’s improvisational fusion of tropical and

rock-reverent guitar stylings made for a jaw-dropping

combination when mixed with the traditional

rhythms and chants of the Eastern Medicine Singer,

an Algonquin drum group from Providence. Both

sets sucked the audience right out of the heat and


hustle and into exploratory performance techniques

that rewarded the patient and curious.

As for Thursday, Shopping provided a different

kind of antidote from SX’s overstimulation. The

dance-punk power-trio took the stage at Cheer

Up Charlie’s just after having opened for forebears

ESG. They played loud, tight and with the kind of

abandon that implies they’re having even more

than you are on the dancefloor. Shopping wouldn’t

seem out of place either at CBGB’s in 1982 or on

the cover of NME in 2005, but everything about

their energy locks you firmly into the present—not

something you could say about every era-worshipping

band at the festival.

Elsewhere on Thursday night, Louisville, KY rock

revivalists White Reaper were probably the only

band of the week to get Platinum badge holders

crowd surfing. The band were an ideal opener for

the pseudo-surprise headliner of the night Jeff Rosenstock.

The New Jersian pop-punk hero was the

perfect act to take the piss out of SXSW’s corporate

activations, eschewing his usual witty stage banter

to blow through the entirety of POST-, his fantastic

new album from January. On songs like “USA,” the

crowd dynamic worked brilliantly, with baked-in

sing-a-longs like “we’re tired and poor, we’re tired

and poor” acting as perfect communal catharsis as

mist started to fall on the crowd.


The most noticeable feeling at SXSW is just how

daunting it can be to navigate. Unending FOMO

and the search for the next hype band worth

seeing can take its toll quickly. By the end of the

week, it was easy to justify skipping the search for

the next big things for some musical comfort food.

Luckily, the amount of Canadians at the festival

made it easy for us to find something that felt just

like home.

When Montreal’s Common Holly played last

year’s Sled Island, it was an understated solo set,

but with a cellist and drummer in tow, Brigitte

Naggar’s folk project became even more captivating

than before. Fellow Montrealer’s Corridor

brought a francophone charm that won over even

the staunchest anglos. Armed with tracks from last

years amazing Supermercado, the four-piece got

heads bobbing to their serpentine guitar work and

XTC-indebted pop. Even the overcast day couldn’t

stop the sunny melodies of “Coup d’épée” from

shining through.

Overall, it quickly became clear how much

amazing “rock” music is coming out of Canada

right now, with Faith Healer, FRIGS and Partner all

bringing a different, equally endearing brand of

guitar music to the fest.

Canadian electronic music also made itself

known as Montreal’s minimal wave icons Essaie

Pas destroyed a dank, sweltering room of riled up

goths, with an obliterating rendition of their new

record, New Path, on the eve of its release.


Stella Donnelly


G FLip




12 years celebrating poetry in all forms BY ELIZABETH EATON

According to poet, spoken word artist, and

teacher of poetic writing Brandon Wint, the

Edmonton Poetry Festival (EPF) is an uplifting

experience for performers and audiences

alike. During a lengthy conversation, the EFP

board member stunningly described the magic

invoked by Edmonton’s poetry community and

conveyed the reality that poetry is for everyone.

“In 2018, if you want to create world-class poetic

events, it naturally entails raising the public

consciousness around how life-changing and

life-affirming poetry can be,” he explains.

“It feels like poetry in its living, breathing, contemporary

form, is understood to be mostly a

niche thing, something tucked away or reserved

for a special sort of person… Poetry is for the

people. Poetry is so, so sublimely human. However,

people have been educated around poetry

in such a way as to feel alienated from it.”

EPF’s numerous projects and initiatives

emphasize poetry’s universality, including

the “Poetry Moves on Transit” project. Three

times a year, four short poems are selected

to appear on 800 Edmonton Transit Service

buses, showing that poetry can materialize

and colour one’s world, in what are typically

the most ordinary places.

Festivalgoers can expect that and more when

attending the festival. For example, the opening

evening event “Drone & Words” sees spoken

word artists collaborate with experimental

musicians to create mind-blowing soundscapes.

At “nêhiyawêtân,” four of Canada’s leading

indigenous poets gather to share voices and

stories alongside students from the Poetry

Moves Indigenous Youth Poetry Program and

Métis artist Amy Malbeuf. At “French Twist,”

host Pierrette Requier (who is Edmonton’s sixth

Poet Laureate) invites audiences into a unique

bilingual experience of poetry. These are just

three of the 30-plus events that are offered

during the festival. There is an abundance of

imaginative and engaging performances; the

festival also offers workshops, master classes,

cinema showcases and meet-ups.

“This year’s festival seems really hopeful to

me because it feels like the festival is diverse in a

genuine way,” shares Wint.

“I think the sensibilities of the board members

have grown in that there is a recognition of the

deep need to imagine the festival in a way that

embraces the multiplicity of poetic perspectives

that exists. That means inviting poets who are

able to speak from different subjectivities and

political positions in a way that deepens Edmonton’s

understanding of what being alive, being

present, being salient and poetic means right

now. I can say that I am excited about the fact

that this year’s festival seems able to welcome

Genuine diversity through raw, accessible art.

poets who represent a lovely diversity of race,

age, sexuality and gender expression. Of course,

that balance could always be improved and the

humanity of each poet could be met with more

intellectual and political rigour, always. Generally,

though, I am excited about the fact that

Edmonton’s creative and public consciousness

has reached a point where a festival this diverse

seems commonplace.”

It would seem, Edmonton is unique in this

regard. The city’s residents have known, for a

long time, that Edmonton breathes and delivers

a spirit that cannot be found anywhere else. And

when it comes to the Edmonton Poetry Festival,

this is a most apparent truth.

Originally from Ontario, Brandon arrived on

the Edmonton scene less than three years ago.

However, having discovered the city with fresh

eyes, he can attest to the curious and remarkable

ethos embedded in Edmonton’s veins.

“I think I joined the board in 2016, though

I don’t remember when. I wanted to join the

board because, at the time I was invited to do so,

I was so new to Edmonton and it felt like a marvelous

opportunity to learn about Edmonton’s

arts culture and the way the city views itself. It

has been a journey, yes, but one I still feel very,

very much at the beginning of,” says Wint.

“What I appreciate about being on the board

and what I feel I bring to the table is an outsider’s

perspective. I relish, in some ways, the fact that

I am not from Edmonton and haven’t grown

up with a particularly Albertan way of understanding

what is possible. It’s not that I think

my Ontario-bred perspectives make me wiser

than others, it’s that I have almost no sense of

‘the way things have been’…I find artists and

organizers here are very willing to work together.

People are quite willing to help you build the

dream, so long as you have a dream that you can

articulate in a cogent way. I think I am very much

a dreamer, and so helping to build and augment

poetic dreams in the context of this festival is

something that feels mostly natural.”

Wint’s DIY attitude, willingness to embrace

risk and collaborative energy has certainly been

embraced by Edmonton Poetry Festival culture.

As such, he is performing at two events during


the festival: “Drone & Words” and “Alchemy: Our

Annual Poetry Party.”

It seems that the communal effect of poetry

– of language itself – is universally visible. EPF is

no different; in fact, this communality stands out

in a distinct and meaningful way. Whether you

are a seasoned beat poetry veteran or a newbie

to the scene, there is room for you. You are

welcome at the festival and you’ll feel it.

“The difference between Edmonton and

other places can be boiled down to this: if you

have a creative dream in Edmonton, people are

very likely to gather around it,” concludes Wint.

“Friends and strangers are likely to tell you who

can help build the dream with you. That sort of

support doesn’t exist as readily in other places.

It’s a hard thing to describe but having grown up

between the suburbs of Toronto and the heart

of Ottawa, I can feel the difference in my bones.”

The Edmonton Poetry Festival runs from April 22

to 29 at various venues (Edmonton). Learn more




the finger on the pulse of dirt city

Preparing this column at the end of March

doesn’t make one feel any closer to April

or spring. It’s snowing right now and while

that comes as a shock to no one, the hardy

folks of Edmonton are ready to splash in

some puddles and soak in some damn sunshine.

Until then, head indoors for these fun,

predominantly 420 oriented events.

Tallest to Shortest are releasing an EP and

music video April 7 at the Aviary (Edmonton)

with Boosh, Street League and Machines

Like These. Prairie Pirates Music is releasing

the EP and it looks like it’ll be a killer show

with humour, ruckus and good people. $10

advance tickets; 9 p.m. start, and it’s 18+.

Rockin’ 4 Dollars happens every Monday

night at the Buckingham (Edmonton) for a

cool three dollars. April 9 is a special treat for

those of us who remember seeing Avril Lavigne’s

music video for “Complicated” debut

on MuchMusic. It’s Avril Lavigne appreciation

day featuring songs from Let Go.

Clean Up Your Act Productions has an all

ages show on April 20 at the Aviary (Edmonton)

if you’re into grunge and heavy drone.

Siksika Nation stoner rock crew Iron Tusk,

Calgary’s Pill Crusher, Edmonton’s Dead

Fibres, Faith Crisis and ambient post rockers

Tyle from Regina will share the stage and

make you feel things. $12 at the door!

Quickly becoming the spot for out of this

world electronic events, 9910 (Edmonton) is

hosting Residents with Neighbor, Essette

and Phatcat on Friday, April 20. Residents is

a unique, somewhat regular event that live

streams each performance to shout out the



incredible talent in the Canadian dance scene.

Starts at 9 p.m., goes late.

The Sewing Machine Factory is also hosting

a great 420 show with Boosh, The Faps,

Milhouse and Pot Cop. Lovers of weird noise,

bright lights (epilepsy warning for this show),

buckle up. This is 18+ and $10 at the door.

What else would you be doing on Sunday,

April 22 other than saying “wow” like Owen

Wilson in Churchill Square? It is Earth Day, so

maybe pick up some garbage to and from this

spectacle. Please and thanks.

Head to Temple in Edmonton (which

shares the same entrance to the Starlite

Room) on April 27 for the Aepoch (Ontario)

album release supported by Bloodshot Dawn

(UK) and Edmonton’s Valyria. This is for fans

of death metal but with a little bit of groove.

Fashion Revolution Week runs from April

23 through till April 29 with a Change of

Clothes Swap & panel on April 29 at Ritchie

Hall from 12 – 4 p.m. The aim is to bring

awareness to the fast fashion industry and

be a champion for ethical, sustainable and

responsible fashion. Volunteers will repair

gently warn items at the swap and panelists

will discuss what transparent fashion looks

like. Suggested donation of $10 please!

The Edmonton Music Collectors Spring

show takes place on April 29 at the Central

Lions Recreation Hall. It’s one of the best

places to buy and trade vinyl and the cost is

$10 at the door between 10 and 11 a.m. for

the super serious collectors and $5 for the

rest of the day. This is a family friendly event,

so bring the kids.


prairie indie trio take on fifth album

Thanks to the birth of the MP3, iPod, and

Napster, the success of an independent

band has hinged on distinction. Where the

Internet gave us access to an entire ocean

of new bands, it also made them small fish

among millions. If you are Scenic Route To

Alaska, a three-piece indie rock band, what

sets you apart from the other thousand

three-piece rock bands on Bandcamp? It’s

clearly the distinction they’ve established

since the start of their career.

With the release of Tough Luck, their fifth

self-released album and second with producer

Howard Redekopp (Tegan and Sara, The New

Pornographers) the band has delivered distinction

in spades. At the core, it is guitar, drums, bass and

vocals – a.k.a a rock band. Yet, with all distinctly

important rock bands it is the sum of the influences,

lingering without prejudice, which create their

sound. Scenic Route To Alaska (SRTA) has taken

their genre-mash to the next level.

SRTA is made up of Trevor Mann (guitars,

vocals), Murray Wood (bass) and Shea Connor

(drums). No songwriter loves the ‘what genre?’ line

of questions but Mann handles it like a pro. “Shea

studied jazz, Murray and I grew up jamming more

blues and R&B, but essentially we’re a rock band.

Rock is more about attitude than anything these

days. Considering where we are from, and all the

influences of country, folk, and roots, I like to think

we are more ‘prairie indie.’”

And a new sub-genre is born.

Influences are themselves a double-edged

sword. These days you could show up to The

Voice and nail your audition, but get left behind

for having no definable identity.

Indie fan favourites play their first dates in the states.


“There is a large mix of things always creeping

in, but we don’t write trying to emulate anything,”

elaborates Mann. “I grew up listening to a lot of

Beatles, and even during this last album cycle, so

maybe I hear it sometimes. We listen to a bit of

everything in the van together while on the roa,

but when we write we just play what we want,

what feels right to us.”

These three guys have grown up together as a


“Boys to men,” Mann chirps.

So what changes with getting older?

“We can’t pull off the late nights and early

mornings as easily,” he says, chuckling.

“I guess the experience and time together is

the biggest evolution. The only consistent thing is

the songs we play on stage each night. That does

something to you.”

Embracing adulthood within the band life has

a taste of its own as shown in the transparency on

tracks such as “Find My Footing” and “Ghost of

Love,” tongue-in-cheek narratives on “first-world

problems” of trying to build relationships while

being on the road for months at a time.

With the new album release, SRTA are

embarking on a three month, 38 date tour which

concludes in Europe, but includes first-ever dates

in the US and showcases at the iconic SXSW

festival in Austin, TX. Mann is excited to see new

places, reach new fans, and spread some distinct

“prairie indie” to more of the world.

Scenic Route To Alaska play April 6 at The Den

(Calgary), a sold-out show on April 7 at the

Starlite Room (Edmonton) and on April 12 at

Bo’s Bar & Grill (Red Deer).




vigilante justice propels new fantasy crime novel

Edmonton’s night life has its fair share of cops

and thugs. There was a time when a typical

night out would almost certainly involve an encounter

with either one. Boom and bust Edmonton

produced some of our most rambunctious

citizens and Konn Lavery’s new novel #Yegman

captures the zeitgeist of this era with clarity.

Lavery has been writing novels with a fantastically

criminal twist since his youth, but began his

professional pursuit once he completed college.

He is also the author of the Mental Damnation

series, the second book of which, Dream, made

the Edmonton Journal’s top five selling fictional

books list.

#Yegman is a novel that plays out in the streets,

alleyways and nightclubs of Edmonton’s downtown.

The theme plays on vigilante justice and

distrust of the establishment through the experience

of a disenfranchised cop, a keen journalism

student, and a gang of lowlifes. Structured like a

detective novel, it’s filled with tension and a narrative

not unlike Mickey Spillane’s post WWII pulp

crime fiction. Resultingly, #Yegman excites like a

mouthful of whiskey at the end of a long day.

Lavery was inspired to write the novel in 2014

while working on an industrial music project

that has become an integral part of the narrative.

Throughout the plot, electronic and industrial

music play a big part in setting the atmosphere

and building character and as a result, an album

of industrial music will be released alongside the

novel as a companion piece.

“The companion album’s purpose is to cross

bridges with the music and literary worlds,”

explains Lavery.

“By expanding on the novel through audio, the

goal is to create a more immersive experience.”

In addition to the album, Lavery has also included

movie poster illustrations of the characters,

which are shown at the end of each chapter.

They provide the reader with a direct visual representation

of the characters and rely on archetypes

to lend a familiarity to the heroes and villains.

Pairing the novel with illustrations and music

might perhaps create a stronger incentive to

live the fictitious dream that the author tries to

create, but the avid reader might prefer to find

their own way into the plot. Either method works

for the author.

“These extra pieces of media are there for those

that want more beyond the novel,” he concludes.


Catch Lavery on April 18 at Audrey’s Books (Edmonton)

for a reading and book signing. Edmonton is a seductively seedy in a new novel. PHOTO: NATASSJA BRINKER



supporting sustainable, ethical fashion

Local fashion designers given a chance to shine

Edmonton may not be the first place that and fashion designer Daniel Muthui.

springs to mind when it comes to high “I wanted to do a show that was diverse

fashion. The small pockets of designers, models,

make-up and hair stylists who contribute ferent parts of the world in terms of culture,

and reflected the talents and skillsets from dif-

to the scene want to change that perception. ethnicity, styles and ideas. The overall theme

The Ethno Fashion Gala not only prides itself of this show is the celebration of culture,

on celebrating diversity within Edmonton’s beauty and diversity through fashion, music

fashion community, but promoting an environmentally

sustainable approach to style. Muthui began his career in fashion design

and the arts.”

“I felt a bit of a gap with some of the shows in Nairobi, Kenya after going through a few

that do exist around town,” explains founder challenges in his pursuit of education.


bridging the non-existent gap

“I never planned on getting into fashion,”

Muthui admits.

“It sort of happened by default. I became a

designer in Nairobi for several years and when

I moved to Canada in 2009 I went to school to

study politics, history and economics, which is

the exact opposite of fashion and creativity. I

got back into it in 2015 when I made my wife

a dress from some fabric I had from Kenya.

She sent a picture to her friends and I began

building a client base from there.”

After a successful first year, the gala has

expanded to the Boyle Street Plaza to accommodate

a growing team and interest in what

the event has to offer. The two day event

boasts 20 local designers including hair and

make up artists contributing hair pieces and

more to each clothing designer’s interpretation

of the overall theme. Muthui’s vision

for the show is to go beyond simply profiling

clothing. At the time of our interview, there

was still work to be done in deciding which

musicians would be performing at the show,

but he wants hip-hop, Bollywood dance,

traditional African drumming and more to be

represented. His passion for supporting local

art is the biggest centrepiece of the gala.


“I want this show to encourage the public

to consume locally,” he says.

“To buy clothing from local designers as

a form of resistance against fast fashion and

fashion being made elsewhere in the world.

We want to change the view of fashion. Localize

it and make it more of a celebration of art.”

With the support of local MC College,

Muthui seems optimistic about where this

event could potentially grow in coming years.

As long as the designers are happy, he feels

this could become a staple in Edmonton.

“We have tremendous talent in this city,”

Muthui says, beaming.

“Really gifted people. But many are hidden.

It seems a lot of existing platforms are out

of reach for the marginalized performers or

designers. I want this to work for them; I want

them to have a platform so people know their


The Ethno Fashion Gala takes place May

4 and 5 at Boyle Street Plaza (Edmonton).

Tickets are available via Eventbrite. (https://

Quality coffee and record distro though a punk lens.


After years of travelling to Mexico City, and trained as a coffee roaster in Florence for

Guadalajara, Cuba, Italy and more, Drew a little while. I learned coffee has a lot to do

McIntosh is preparing to open the Grizzlar with philosophy and culture. It reflects how

Coffee and Records, a café and record label. we show up in the process.”

“I’ve had coffee in a lot of different places Drinking coffee at one of the oldest coffee

and I think you can learn a lot about people shops in Europe, Caffe Quadri overlooking St.

by doing that,” says McIntosh. “I went to Italy Mark’s Square in Venice, was a pivotal experi-


ence for McIntosh when it came to deciding

the feel of Grizzlar. He wanted to keep the

tradition alive but infuse it with an element he

knows extremely well.

“There’s a lot of ways to do coffee with a

punk rock ethos,” explains McIntosh.

“Especially when you consider sourcing

and how everyone is being treated as you go

through the entire process. I’ve seen cafes that

speak to me and feel inviting to me. I want to

put all of it together and become a place that

values the quality of the coffee but also art

and music.”

The idea behind the Grizzlar (aside from a

deep love of coffee, of course) is based on the

evolution of the polar bear and grizzly bear

as their territories blend in Northern Canada.

This new bear is evolving, much like the way

we consume culture and music.

McIntosh has been heavily involved in the

international punk rock community for some

time, working with the Solidarity Rock Project

in Cuba for eight years and travelling there

24 times during that stint. As a result, he has

evolved like his beloved namesake.

The Grizzlar Coffee & Records is a way to

use that experience to publish quality art on

an international scale. At press time, McIntosh

was in Guadalajara, Mexico facilitating a re-


cording by Ontario noise rock group Whoop-

Szo at Rockweiler Studio.

“There’s room for a lot of other experiences

in the punk scene in Western

Canada,” he says. “In places like Montreal

or Toronto there’s a much more international

element to the punk scenes. One

of the things I can do with this business

is promote artists from around the world.

It would be easy to fall into the trap of

putting out my buddy’s records, but if what

we’re releasing is sort of a rarity, we’ll more

easily establish ourselves as unique distributors

in Western Canada.”

Once the shop storefront is open, it will

serve as a base for whatever McIntosh dreams

up next.

“I wanna sell the punks in Canada coffee,”

he says with a grin. “I wanna make a bunch

of records and do something that isn’t being

done: highlighting the quality of this coffee

with DIY art and music. There’s room for

something like this and I want to be the one

who does it well.”

Keep your eyes on @thegrizzlar (Facebook &

Instagram) for official opening date, location and

upcoming releases.



the medium is the message



Edmonton needs more riot grrrl

Sugarwash is the epitome of riot grrrl.

Bloody period. Four women struggling

with personal demons have formed a band

that sticks together through anything and

everything. Although their music details their

personal, often gendered struggles, the upbeat

high energy songs explore universally relatable

themes. Reminiscent of L7, Bikini Kill and

Babes in Toyland, the band provides a fresh

outlook on ‘90s era feminist punk music.

“You can be whoever the fuck you want,”

states vocalist and co-founder Alyssa Kasha.

“While being respectful of course!” adds

guitarist Rina Keichinger (also known as ‘Ribs’).

“Whenever anyone’s going through shit it’s

like ‘hey, how can we help?’ What can we be

doing together to fix this?”

Keichinger’s reference to the band’s cohesion

within non-conformity exemplifies the

spirit of Sugarwash and the ethos of punk

music overall.

Their first EP Daddy Issues boldly showcases

their empowering message in tracks like “Wild

Girl,” encouraging everyone to stand up for

their rights. The raucous, aggressive song was

written about surviving an abusive relationship.

“Always stand up for what you believe in and

don’t be molded by society into something

you’re not,” asserts Kasha.

“I’ve been there a couple times and I just

remember how alone I felt…when you’re in

it, you can’t really see the picture for what it

is, so I wrote that song because I want to help

other men and women get through that, and

let them know that they’re not alone in that


The response to their unknowingly anticipated

arrival in the Edmonton scene provided


everything they needed to be able to create

Daddy Issues.

“Everyone knows someone,” says Keichinger.

“If you go to a couple shows and support other

bands you’re going to make connections. I need

someone to record us: I know this person. I

need someone to make us merch: I know this


Through the support of punk bands from

Edmonton and Calgary such as 5¢ Freakshow,

the band has bolstered their visibility enormously

in the past year. It’s not hard to see

why – Sugarwash’s stage presence is powerful,

passionate, and charismatic – and the Edmonton

punk scene is eating it up.

“It kind of took me by surprise,” says

Sugarwash’s newest member and drummer,

Karlie Kray. “Each show they go a little bit more

nuts and I’m like, taken aback by it. People are

responding well and we respond well to that.”

The release of the debut EP coincides

with the start of their first tour taking them

through Alberta, Saskatchewan and British

Columbia. Perhaps their most notable date is

the Metalocalypstick Fest, which is a festival

dedicated to supporting heavy genre bands

with female-identifying members.

“I play these songs proud,” explains Kray,


“It’s just, I was an outsider and all these songs

speak to me in a different way. That’s heavy because

I know they’ll speak to other people too.”

Rooted in punk ethics, Re-form release first album.


Over the past five years, Graham Strach, Re-form’s current line-up includes Strach

along with a handful of others, have been on rhythm guitar and vocals, Reddy on lead,

honing their writing and performing skills Brett Coles on drums and Marr Guiton on

under the guise Reform-Punk. Now simply bass. Strach and Coles are the longest standing

known as Re-form, the Leduc based political

members, witnessing members come and

punk group are finally ready to release their go for a number of reasons: people moving,

first album Can We All Really Be Happy. people being unavailable and differences of

Strach began the band long before he could creative vision.

legally play in a lot of recognized venues

Their politically driven punk rock music

around Edmonton, but it seems as though it and attitude also became the root of some

was worth the wait.

member disagreement.

“The night that I turned 18 we played a “We changed the name to ‘Re-form’ to

Rage with Sugarwash on April 13 at Vern’s Tavern

(Calgary), April 14 at The Vat Pub (Red Deer)

show and like three more the next week. We shorten it up but keeping the root word

really wanted to hit the ground running,” ‘Re-form’ was important to us. We believe in

and April 15 at The Forge (Edmonton). They’ll

Strach explains.

reforming societal norms and society itself;

also perform at Metalocalypstick Fest, which

Strach and lead guitarist Ash Reddy sat fighting for a better world.”

runs from June 30 until July 1 (Lone Butte, B.C.)

down for an interview at Rockin’ 4 Dollars, This vision and political views manifest

where the group often hangs out to show themselves in the form of a series of questions

their support for the local music community. Strach asks every possible new member of

Not only do they show up to support the the band.

community that quickly embraced them, but “We explain that Re-form is an anti-sexist,

they play, ravenously seeking improvement anti-racist, anti-Islamophobic, anti-fascist

and further connections.

band, and then we ask the possible candidate

“Rockin’ 4 Dollars works really well for if they have any problem with that.”

us and other new bands,” says Strach. “It’s a Unsurprisingly, there had been a few who

great chance for people and promoters to weren’t on board with that direction.

see a new act before doing a full set at a show “We had one guy during an audition who


just said he wasn’t interested because of

Their first album Can We All Really Be that. There was another person who said

Happy is an analysis of cultural expectations he was on board with it, but as we played

of happiness and contentment coupled with together his actions and some of the things

a personal look at introversion and depression.

he said kind of showed to us he wasn’t, so he

It’s told through the lens of emotionally had to leave.”

charged songwriting and the actions to back Kudos to these punk rockers for practicing

up everything they’re saying. Instrumentally what they preach and building a better world.

and thematically based on some of their

favourite bands growing up (think Rise See Re-form at their album release show on April

Against, Anti-Flag), the album is a promising 14 at Bohemia (Edmonton) with fellow political

glimpse of what’s to come for the young but punks A New Rhetoric, Rebuild/Repair and Me

motivated group.

the Guts.

Empowering everyone on debut EP.





Mountain Magic artists share tales from the road


The annual Mountain Magic Tour

is presently meandering its way

through various mountain, and even

some prairie towns across Western

Canada. Spearheaded by Smalltown DJs

and supported this year by other festival

favourites like Neon Steve, Skiitour

and then a few Dirtybirds Justin and

Christian Martin and Ardalan, the tour

brings serious multi-headliner raves to

smaller centres.

“It’s been amazing so far,” says Pete

Emes of Smalltown DJs in a conference

call with Be-atRoute and Justin Martin.

“The way we’ve done it in the past, like

Justin hasn’t been on any of the shows

yet, but he al-ways kind of comes in like a

hurricane, or like a mountain snowstorm

after a few shows …”

“Like a wild yeti,” Martin suggests.

“Like a wild yeti,” agrees Emes, “and

he turns it on its head. So we’re looking

forward to getting Justin on his shows.

But so far we’ve had some great ones.”

Some of their highlights include gigs in

Vancouver, Saskatoon, and Edmonton.

The guys try and sneak in some skiing

amongst their hectic touring schedule,

which seems fit-ting as they stop in places

like Revelstoke and Fernie, but as they

add more dates to the tour each year it

becomes tricky.

“It’s sometimes difficult because we’re

travelling in-between but we always get

a couple great days on the hill during the

tour. And that’s part of the reason why we

put the whole thing togeth-er was for us

and our friends to be able to go to these

towns,” Emes says, adding that some of

the smaller venues may not be able to afford

triple-headliner bills, so it’s cool that

they are able to make that happen.

“For me, my favourite part is always

the journey of the whole thing and

spending time with the Smalltown guys

and my brother, cruising from town to

town,” Martin says.

“Last year we had a pretty hectic drive

schedule, so we just thought of creative

ways to pass the time and we made this

silly movie one of the days.”

The video Martin speaks of, is indeed

quite silly — silly, awesome, hilarious —

the product of four friends with a lot of

time on their hands, musical talent, and

the stunningly adept video shooting and

editing skills of Martin.

“We were like, ‘is this even going to

work?’” says Emes.

“And Justin was like, ‘Yeah, give me a

few days and I’ll see what I can do’ and

then he sends it back and it’s like this

hilarious, creative construction and I was

like right away ‘oh it’s a master-piece.’”

In fact, Emes laughingly added that he

was so excited about it he felt like they

should, “instead of everything else we do,

DJing and all this other bullshit …” the

four of them should just start a company

where they sit around in a room making

ridiculous videos.

“Totally,” responds Martin, laughing. He

adds that he always says that this tour is

“such a great thing for our souls to spend

time together, it’s like a yearly tradition

that we just get to hang out and catch up

and just have a really, really good time.

And I couldn’t imagine being stuck in a car

with a better group of guys.”

Both artists in this interview have

played to countless enormous festival

crowds throughout their lengthy careers,

and indeed their summers are already

stacking up with numerous such bookings,

but they both agreed that they love

the energy the crowds in these smaller

towns have to offer.

“You have a whole new energy and

vibe and people are stoked because I

feel like ski town win-ters is like people’s

summer,” Martin says.

“People are there just looking for

something fun to do at nighttime and we

get to come to town and kind of enjoy

that energy.”

“I feel like the cool thing that is in

Western Canada because the festivals

like Bass Coast and Shambhala have

such a big influence that you can get a

really awesome crowd in some of the-se

smaller towns that you wouldn’t normally

get in other parts of the world where

they don’t have that kind of like festival

culture as established,” Emes adds.

This tour culminates with performances

from Smalltown DJs and both Martin

brothers alongside numerous other international

headliners including Odesza,

Gorgon City, Billy Kenny at Snow-bombing

Canada, which takes place during the

first weekend of April in Sun Peaks B.C.

“Last year was a blast and this year also

looks like it’s going to be fun too so hats

off to Snow-bombing,” says Emes, with

Martin adding:

“Toques off to Snowbombing!”

Justin Martin and Smalltown DJs perform

at Snowbombing Canada on April 5 to 9 in

Sun Peaks.



Sam Binga performs April 5 at the HiFi (Calgary)


Spring has sprung and April is looking crafting hybrid sounds with hints of jungle,

real fine with a heap of international D’N’B and footwork, his sets are extremely

talent and multi-headliner raves to get your enjoyable as well as technically astounding.

dancing muscles primed and ready for the 20/20 LDN is a music label at the forefront

summer months ahead.

of bass music today and on April 6 at Distortion

(Calgary), its creators and two other

New Wave, the HiFi based residency

started by local producer OAKK has a couple label artists will demonstrate what they

great shows in April. Sam Binga, of lofty are all about. Alongside Ivy Lab, the music

drum and bass imprint Critical Recordings collective behind the label, you can also see

performs on April 5 (Calgary). An expert in Paint, the mind-melting collaboration of


brings the funk back to Calgary

“I realized it was necessary to play out just by seeing people’s reactions to it.”’


fter a brief sabbatical in Vancouver, Dr. house and techno and gravitating towards

Space, a.k.a. Ben Pearson has returned downtempo, hip-hop, soul, boogie and

to Calgary, and brought with him the return ultimately funk. As he was exploring the

of his other-worldly residency Galactic roots of his favourite genres he noticed


there were was some sounds that were not

Pearson began his foray into DJing

widely represented in Calgary, namely funk

playing a variety of sounds starting with and groove-based music.


Tsuruda and Huxley Anne and Deft, another

harbinger of the future sounds of bass. With

local support from two of Calgary’s finest

Metafloor and KR Dub, I am confident in saying

this will be one of the high water marks

of the year.

A.Skillz really needs no introduction;

he’s by no means a stranger to Calgary or

West Coast festival circuits. An alumni of

Shambhala and general festival-favourite, his

lighthearted, party-rocking sets are always a

good time. Catch this turntable scientist on

April 12 at The HiFi (Calgary).

Catch rising Canadian rap and R&B artist

Roy Woods plays at Commonwealth on April

15 (Calgary).

The second installment of New Wave

takes place on April 19 and features two of

Portland’s hottest producers Barisone and

PRSN. Expect a huge variety of dancehall,

hip-hop and plenty of bass.

Hannah Wants of Birmingham plays at

Commonwealth on April 19 (Calgary). In

2016 she came under scrutiny for allegedly

plagiarizing Boddika’s track “Mercy (VIP)”

with her tune “Found the Ground.” That

has since blown over, and at the end of the

day, she is an extremely prolific artist with

an impressive track record and impeccable

DJ skills and her performance in Calgary will

“I think I kind of took it as a sign that

maybe it was an opportunity to step forward

and have that as my contribution to

the city,” Pearson says.

Formerly referring to his DJ persona as Archivist,

Pearson adapted a live quote from Kool

Keith: ’They call me Mr. Space’ into his new alias,

and through a network of mutual friends, landed

on Cafe Koi as a venue for Galactic Funk.

“I think for a lot of people that come to

the night for the first time, they generally

feel a very welcoming atmosphere. And

because the focus is so much on the music,

the groove, being light and not taking yourself

to seriously, it helps allow people to be

themselves and be comfortable in a public

space, which isn’t always the case.”

Since then there has been around 15

installations of Galactic Funk, beginning in

March 2016, and featuring numerous other

selectors from around town who are given

the opportunity to delve into sounds that

they may not be known for. For example,

footwork and drum and bass artist Sinistarr

performed as Funk Nasty.

Upon returning to Calgary, Pearson

felt that the night was ready to grow and


aptly demonstrate that.

New Zealand’s new talent Montell2099

plays at the HiFi on April 21 (Calgary),

providing us an opportunity to witness this

budding artist in his infancy. Having only

really been around for the past year, he has

been making waves with his eclectic tastes

and ability to weave them together into an

exciting take on trap music.

With a massive back catalog of releases

and over 20 years experience, Montreal born,

San Francisco-based Fred Everything plays

at Habitat on April 21 (Calgary), and will

undoubtedly be equipped with an extensive

arsenal of deep house and techno.

On April 28 the Bass Coast 10 year anniversary

North American tour rolls through

the HiFi (Calgary) and features the versatile

Doctor Jeep, whose set was a highlight of

last year’s festival, and Max Elis, who has

long been behind the scenes and behind

the decks of the festival. Start feeling those

sweet, sweet festival feels early!

This is but a mere smattering of events,

and there are countless more that I had to

leave out but I blame that on the tsunami

of incredible bookings this month. It’s

outrageous and wonderful. Thoughts and

prayers for prosperous a prosperous April

rave season!


expand, and to potentially become a more

city-wide installation and so he landed on

Nite Owl as a new base of operations.

“With maintaining balance in any endeavour

you need direction and momentum,”

Pearson says.

“I feel like there’s more direction now

with Galactic Funk than there’s ever been

and more momentum than there’s ever

been. So I feel like the balance will be maintained

as long as the groove is going.”

Pearson says Galactic Funk has allowed him

to focus his passion on certain aspects of music

that were driving him the most, old groovebased

music and new adaptations of them.

“I think the more that I was getting hooked

by that stuff the more I wanted to play it out

and the more I realized it was necessary to

play out just by seeing people’s reactions to it.”

He hopes to continue with this momentum

and continue to build up the Galactic

family, creating a solid foundation in the

city, and then use that platform to step out

and expand into other areas.

Dr. Space performs on CJSW on April 6 at 10:00

p.m. and on April 14 at Nite Owl (Calgary).



young management assistant chronicles her career


“There’s not a day that I’m like ‘I don’t want to go to work today.’”

At just 25-years-old, Veronica Weibsstück says Weibsstück.

of admin stuff,” recalls Weibsstück.

has turned her dreams into a reality, “Some people say being female is really At Shambhala Music Festival, Jeff Abel,

courtesy of her industrious nature.

hard in the industry, I haven’t had that issue who goes by the moniker Excision expressed

At the early age of 18, her love for music to be quite honest. My biggest thing was my serious interest to work alongside her for

propelled her to new heights, eventually age, I was worried that nobody would take his festival Lost Lands, held in Ohio, as management

resulting in her becoming Excision and Dion me seriously because I was 18.”


Timmer’s management assistant.

After her brief hiatus, Weibsstück dove This past year, Weibsstück left Blueprint

According to Weibsstück, it was attending

right into work again in 2015 after her when to become a full-time tour assistant for the

shows and seeing her friends become her boss at the time, Dan Wurtele offered Paradox Tour and as management assistant

involved in the community as promoters her a role as production manager running for Abel and Dion Timmer.

for Connected Entertainment, a promotion event logistics and bookings at Blueprint, “There’s not a day that I’m like ‘I don’t

company for electronic music in Edmonton, after the company bought Connected. want to go to work today.’ I’ve never felt

that incited her to participate.

Moments of synchronicity and winks so in place and accepted and confident in

“I just saw how stoked people would get from the universe indicated that Weibsstück what I’m doing than I have with this,’” she

from the events that they were doing, and was on the right path. A defining moment enthuses.

wanted to bring that excitement to other for her at Blueprint was Northern Lights “Working with someone like Jeff, you


2013, the event was hit quickly selling out. learn so much. It’s insane, [he’s on the go],

Weibsstück says it was because of her The standout roster consisted of a wide and he’s always working on something. His

enthusiasm at meetings that made Seelo selection of impressive talent from Calvin work ethic is unmatched, it shows by where

Mondo, Nestor Delano, Mikey Wong, Dusty Harris, Nicky Romero, R3hab to Krewella, he is and how far he’s gotten.”

Wright, head honchos at Connected bring Flux Pavillion, and Bassnectar catering to Hard work produces results. Weibsstück

her onboard.

different tastes - ranging from electro house is set to dominate the festival circuit

Weibsstück went from promoter to to dubstep.

working behind the scenes working artist

helping make executive decisions for bookings,

Her time at Blueprint allowed her to blos-

relations for Valhalla Sound Circus in

as an assistant manager, and later as a som professionally and fulfill her dream of Montreal July 19 to 13 and Bass Cannon, a

production manager.

becoming part of the dubstep heavyweight festival held at the Gorge Amphitheatre in

“I loved [making suggestions] and bringing

Excision and young gun protégé, Dion Tim-

Washington that runs from August 24 to 26

in talent that nobody else was [thinkmer’s

management team.

where headliners, Excision and Nightmare

ing of] and always putting myself in the

“Right before Northern Lights 2017, Brett will go back-to-back. You can also catch

position to do more work. I wanted to do [Excision’s] brother who is also his tour Dion Timmer at the Marquee Beer Market

the admin stuff, I wanted to help with the manager [asked me]: “Hey do you want to & Stage on April 21 (Calgary).

contracts, I wanted to do the advancing,” work on some stuff for Dion we have a lot




drop anchor with comeback record


You’ve probably heard Hey Ocean!’s 2011

single “Big Blue Wave”, a quintessentially

west-coast pop hit featured on rotation with

CBC Radio 3 and 102.7 The Peak. The band is

one part of the collection that make up some

of Vancouver’s biggest indie starlets — Mother

Mother, Said the Whale and The Zolas. But

until this year, they’ve been on hiatus, stepping

away from the studio after the height of

their success with 2012’s IS to replenish their

creative energies.

Between now and then, each of Hey

Ocean!’s diversely talented members have

released albums of their own. In 2017 frontwoman

Ashleigh Ball’s Gold in You was a dynamic

collective of electronic-influenced pop

tracks, a well-received foray from her indie

roots. Vocalist/guitarist David Beckingham released

Just When the Light in 2016, a moving

record that navigates his tumultuous time as

a solo musician following Hey Ocean!’s hiatus.

And bassist David Vertesi threw his hat in the

ring with 2016’s Sad Dad Cruise Ship, while

also founding and directing Vancouver Mural

Festival, set to celebrate its third anniversary

this summer.

To say Hey Ocean!’s members have been

busy since their hiatus would be an understatement.

But it took the band three years to

coordinate their individual moving parts and

focus back in on their studio dynamic— something

that Ashleigh Ball explains was necessary

to replenish the band’s passion for performing.

“We’ve always been this quintessential West

Coast pop band from Vancouver with happy

music,” Ball said. “[In 2011] it got to the point

where we were kind of miserable, and we were

really struggling interpersonally and in the

music industry. We were feeling really worn

down and we needed a break, but we kind

of had to put on our happy face and keep on

pumping out the music.”

The struggle to perform while facing creative

and emotional difficulties was where the

inspiration for the band’s upcoming release,

The Hurt of Happiness, came from.

“That period was kind of painful in itself,

and that was what ‘the hurt of happiness’

meant to us — how you have to fake it

through your job and keep smiling. I think all

of us went through some pretty bad depression

and anxiety and it means different things

for each one of us, but we all related to the

title in some way.”

Although the record’s title track reflects

upon some melancholy tones, long-time

fans of the indie pop collective will be

pleased to discover that the new album is

top-heavy with boppy surf hits. The album

begins with Amsterdam, a light-hearted

tribute to the colour of the European city

and what it feels like to fall in love with a

new place. The record brings on the nautical-inspired

tones fast and furious, heading

into “Can’t Let Go”, a fast-paced radio-ready

jam that echoes the carefree attitude of

2011’s Big Blue Wave.

But dive a little deeper into the album

and you’ll find that the surface-level pop

tone doesn’t match the intensity of the

songwriting. On “Can’t Let Go”, Ashleigh

Ball’s saccharine voice coos, “You can cut

me with a thousand knives / Just the way

you’ve done a thousand times / If it keeps

you close then I will gladly let you take my

life”. Hey Ocean! may have settled into their

indie pop sound, but that veneer conceals

a deeper struggle to establish themselves as

creative individuals.

“We’re a lot more solid in ourselves and stylistically

being on a bit more of a cohesive path,”

Ball said. “The three of us are obviously very

different, but we’ve found the magic ‘thing’ that

makes our songs distinctly Hey Ocean!”

That ‘thing’ is especially apparent on the

album’s sixth track, ‘Mama Said’, a hand-clapping

Canadian pop hit that picks up where

Hey Ocean! left off. The album then meanders

into more unfamiliar territory, with

the titular track “The Heart of Happiness”

providing a synth-dominant transition into

the more melodic “Soul of My Heart” and

“To the Sea”.

More than anything, the band has had

to learn how to love the music again. Ball

describes the time spent in the studio putting

the album together as a “joyful experience”.

After parting way with their record labels and

getting more hands-on with producing and

editing, Hey Ocean! have returned to their

roots and rediscovered how they work together

as a cohesive unit.

“We wanted to take away all of those label

pressures,” she said. “We wanted to do it

ourselves and go back to square one, back to

our roots, because that’s where we were most

comfortable working from.”

As for finding inspiration, Ball only has to

look beyond her front door.

“I’m sitting on my couch looking at the

ocean right now,” she said. “It’s very much a

part of our life here. You kind of just write

what you know, and it’s hard to avoid. I feel

crazy if I’m not on the coast.”

The Hurt of Happiness will be released independently

on April 6. Hey Ocean! will kick off their

summer tour on April 5 at Wild Bill’s in Banff.




not afraid of the tough stuff

just love good lyrics,” says Grant Davidson,

the man behind the musical venture


known as Slow Leaves.

Sung against a pleasant backdrop of

nostalgic country-folk, Davidson’s words are

sincere and honest. But if you are looking

for a happy tune, the Winnipeg Native is not

going to give it to you. Though sprinkled

with optimistic undertones, Davidson’s song

writing leans into ideas of impermanence

and imperfection. Listeners are lead into the

depths of vulnerability, stripping humanity to

its bare bones.

“I’m getting older and time’s passing by and

someday I’m going to die. Hate to be blunt, but

that’s a thought that has really dominated my

writing process. And so with almost every song,

I’m sort of trying to put a context around what

it’s like to be alive and in my body – that’s what

I’m after. I’m just trying to write something that

makes sense about what I’m feeling, and distilling

those thoughts into something that I can

look at and be like ‘yeah that’s honest’. I don’t

write a lot of happy songs.”

Even though we are speaking over the phone,

it isn’t difficult to imagine Davidson smirking as

he states the obvious about his music. Known

for his dry sense of humour and banter on stage,

Davidson will have you laughing moments after

he had you reaching for the tissue box. It is not

entirely uncommon to leave one of his shows

confused as to whether you had a great time or

if you need to go straight home and question

the intricacies of life. He will be the first to admit

that not everyone will connect with his music.

“I think in very broad terms there are two

different types of art and entertainment seekers.

A lot of people want distraction, and I think

that’s totally fine, but then there are people who

want to look at things face on. The books I read,



the movies I watch, the music I listen to, and the

stuff I’m interested in is that kind of stuff – the

people who take it head on. And I understand

that lots of people don’t want to think about

that stuff. Anybody that thinks about their own

mortality, like actively thinks about it, will get

something out of my music. If they don’t want

to think about it, then they might not like it.”

Davidson’s latest record, Enough About

Me, marks his fifth studio album and second

under the moniker Slow Leaves. It was also

the first album he produced himself, offering a

glimpse into what comes out when no one else

is around. Davidson emphasizes he is proud of

his work, but remains self-conscious and hyper-aware

of every detail in the music he creates.

The soft-spoken wordsmith confesses it never

really gets easier.

“Every album I make has a certain compromise,

and I think that’s just the nature of taking

an idea which has infinite possibilities and constricting

it into a finished product. I definitely

notice a pattern. With each album, I naively feel

like I’ve finally got it…and then of course the

nature of life is that you get older and you realize

no, I didn’t get it. I think I can hopefully just

pretend to be wise enough to know that you

can’t always trust that feeling.”

Although profusely insisting he is not a poet,

it is difficult to find another noun for someone

who loves words as much as Davidson does.

But perhaps it is his reluctance to be identified

as anything but himself that contributes to the

candor of his music.

“I don’t think I’d still be writing songs if I

wasn’t confident that I was writing good lyrics,”

says Davidson. “I wouldn’t be able to sing them.”

Slow Leaves will be performing at the Ironwood

Stage and Grill on April 26.


moved by the melody

Abigail Lapell is no stranger to the open

road, having lived semi-nomadically

for much of her adult life. “I didn’t really

have a fixed address” Lapell said in a phone

interview from her home in Toronto.

Currently working on her third studio

album in between a whirlwind touring

schedule which brings her across Canada,

Lapell describes herself as ‘folk noir Canadiana’.

“I think my music has a darkness

to it, but in a playful way and that is

something that really appeals to me as a

listener. So that is something I am always

conscious of, having a little bit of an edge

but still trying to keep it pretty earnest

and sincere.”

Much of her 2017 album Hide Nor Hair

was inspired by her travels, which brought

the young folk singer to Israel and Jordan.

“There are some obtuse references to that

trip on the album” confirms Lapell.

She also brings a quiet intensity with her

lyrics and a warmth with her haunting delivery.

Having won the 2017 Canadian Folk

Music Award for Contemporary Album


of the Year, Lapell’s music transcends her

age – her voice has a timeless quality that

entrances fans and new comers alike with

smooth and smoky lyrics while often dark.

Hoping to release new music in late

2018, Lapell hopes that her yet to be

named album will be a welcome sound

for fans. “Much of the production was the

same and it has a lot of the same sounds,”

Said Lapell.

Different from traditional singer

songwriters with her writing style, she

chases the melody first then writes lyrics

afterwards. “I am just more focused on the

melody and most of my songs are not narrative

driven so it is more like, ‘This syllable

sounds good in this part, or this mood

would be good here.’ It is not like I write

the A,B,C of what happened. It is much

more than that.”

Abigail Lapell will be performing at the Cornerstone

Music Cafe (14919 Deer Ridge Dr. SE,

Calgary) on April 27.



on moving forward

On his upcoming fifth release, Both

Ways, singer-songwriter Donovan

Woods has expanded his sound to include

some more atmospheric elements in the

instrumentation, a move he admits comes

from trying to fill larger venues with

sound, while still getting the songs across.

“I’m always trying to move forward.

When you make an intimate folk record

and you end up in a larger theatre, there

are songs that you can’t really play, because

they don’t fill up the space. You end

up changing the arrangements, and you’re

not playing the stuff that’s on the record,

so I wanted to have songs that’d fill the

spaces I’m playing in.”

Woods has developed a more distinct

voice over the course of his career, moving

from an abstract lyrical approach in his

younger years to a more refined, straightforward

course more recently.

“I was a kid, I didn’t know what the I was

doing. People still tell me they like those

songs, but it’s like looking at a picture of

yourself and going, ‘Is that what I look like?’

and everyone else who knew you just goes,

‘Yeah, that’s what you look like.’ I think I’m

more clear now. When I was a kid I didn’t

think it was cool to make sense, like, ever. I

was so resistant to anything that sounded

like a straightforward lyric that I would just

erase anything that made sense.”

Along the way though, Woods found a

bit more of himself in the traditions of the

style. “I didn’t think it was cool to be a folk

storyteller, you know? I just wanted to be

misunderstood and mysterious, which at

the time feels like the cool thing to do, but

as you get older it just feels like a cop out,

because writing songs that are specifically

about something is really fucking hard.”

Woods has spent the last few years living


between his Ontario and Nashville, where

he spent some time in the Music Row

writing rooms, with other writers bouncing

ideas back and forth and trying, as he puts

it, “to just write good songs.”

“I’m mostly working as an artist now, but

in the beginning, I was mostly with other

writers,” explains Woods.

“When I started out, you listen to the

other writer, and get a sense as an artist

of what they do, but then you just get in

there and just try to write the best song

possible, because what they do is them,

and it’ll come out. I thought it’d be two

separate jobs, that I would write for other

people, and then I’d have my own thing

that I’d protect, but as I’ve gone along it’s

become the same thing. I don’t approach

it any differently now. Any time I go into

a session with someone else, we’ll just

write a song, and maybe they’ll want it,

or maybe I’ll keep it. In any style, a good

melody is a good melody, a good song is a

good song.”

Donovan Woods plays the Starlite (Edmonton)

on April 26, and the Gateway at SAIT

(Calgary) on April 28.




stoner-rock legend plays rare solo DJ set

Try telling any greasy, weed-stinking stoner rocker that the

one and only Brant Bjork will be spinning records on day

two of the upcoming 420 Music and Arts Festival at Calgary’s

Distortion Nightclub, well... they might just flip out of their

sleeveless denim jacket. Brant Bjork... A goddamn DJ???


high-wattage bird of prey

Electric Owl fly at night ‘til they’re satisfied.

nocturnal animal taken as totem by Calgary’s

sons, Electric Owl will be spreading


its mighty desert rock wings and joining a

sultan’s parade of bands performing at the 420

Music and Arts Festival.

“I don’t often perform DJ sets,” says Bjork. “I

used to do it quite a bit back in the late ‘90s,

and then various times over the years. I’ve

always enjoyed it, and wanted to do more of.

So the offer to play the 420 Festival was very

easy to get excited about!”

As one of the most towering giants striding

forth from SoCal’s Palm Desert Scene, Brant

Bjork’s name would forever be nailed in the

pages of stoner rock history just for manhandling

the drums of the legendary Kyuss.

Brant’s post-Kyuss rock ‘n’roll odyssey shows

him refusing to rest on his early laurels; a

formidable multi-instrumentalist, he served

with brethren stoner-rock titans Fu Manchu

(drums), hardcore punkers LAB (guitar), fellow

ex-Kyuss alumnus Nick Olivieri’s Mondo

Generator (drums), desert-rockers Fatso

Jetson (guitar), stoner-rock one-shot Che

(guitar, vocals), and the Kyuss reunion band

Vista Chino (drums).

If that wasn’t an impressive-enough CV,

Brant’s dedicated solo career (either as Brant

Bjork, Brant Bjork and the Operators, Brant

Bjork and the Bros, Brant Bjork and the Low Desert Punk

Band, and Christ knows what else) now spans 20 years and

shows no signs of slowing down... Except perhaps in terms

of distorted riff tempos. And in spite of ALL that, the guy


Flirting with the eyeliner rock era of Sunset

Blvd., Electric Owl’s groovy sound channels

the flare of glam metal while still serving the

murky spirits of the psychedelic forest. A welcome

addition to a traditionally heavy card,

the velvet winged trio’s melodic harmonies,

prodding percussion and noodling guitar

leads soar above the battlefield and make for

the clouds in perfect unison.

“There’s no star on vocals,” says drummer

and vocalist Shibby, describing the Owl’s

method of “ganging-up on the chorus” while

each singing their own bridges and verses.

“We might be the only three-piece in the city

where we all sing, all the time. I think that is

something that sets us apart.”

“We are heavily influenced by bands with

multiple vocalists,” bassist and vocalist Keegan

Costella notes, listing Mastodon as a significant


Guitarist and vocalist Cam Thomas is

quick to comment that a sense of fluidity is

a major factor when it comes to modulating

the band’s often-vitriolic chemistry. Thus, they

encourage each other to sing at any point,

effectively giving over to the persuasions of

the muse and the heat of the moment.

“It gives us creative license to do whatever

we want,” he acknowledges.

“It’s a great project.”

Not exactly newcomers to Calgary’s 420


stands tall behind the Wheels of Steel, time and again. Go


As for his DJ equipment, Bjork doesn’t possess dizzying

stacks of digital equipment with thousands of blinking


“I’ve only ever used turntables. Vinyl’s the only way I’ve

ever spun. I’m assuming that’s the system waiting for me

in Calgary! That’s the only way I know how to do it, so

here’s hoping! When I’m loading up cases of records before

heading out to DJ, I’ll decide beforehand if I want to build

a specific theme or if I want to keep the music really

general...and I haven’t made that decision yet for Calgary.

It’s more me being a ‘Selector.’ I believe that’s the proper


As for the actual music Brant chooses to spin? You eager

stoner-rockers shouldn’t expect a long string of Budgie

or Leafhound or Captain Beyond or Cactus.

“The obscure stuff is fun for me,” Brant explains, “but I

like to spin a lot of classics that might be kinda neglected,

or not super-celebrated at the moment. I like to throw

curveballs like that. B-sides from popular bands and such.

I don’t wanna go so deep that people don’t know what it

is. I like to spin stuff they might hear for the first time, but

also stuff they know that keeps the party fun.”

Brant Bjork will be DJing in-between bands at day two of the 420

Music and Arts Festival, which takes place April 20 at Distortion



Music and Art Festival, the band attended

the 2017 installment. This year they cross the

invisible threshold and take to the stageboards

as part of the official line-up. It’s the realization

of a goal that drove the hard-rocking

threesome to produce a self-titled EP, which

was unleashed a year ago.

“We were a little apprehensive about the

whole do-it-yourself thing. But, we have some

recording knowledge, so we got Brad Taylor

(Taylor Sound Recording & Mix Studios) to

help us out,” Thomas recalls.

“We recorded the songs and he mixed

and mastered everything for us. We are really

happy with the end product.”

Motivated by the positive feedback, Electric

Owl is already crafting their next album.

This time they’ll be flying west to the pacific,

taking residence in a cabin, blocking out all

distractions and getting down to the work.

Electric Owl performs with Sasquatch, Great

Electric Quest, Solid Brown, Gin Lahey, Haaze

and Set & Stoned on day one of the 420 Music

and Arts Festival, which takes place April 19 at

Distortion (Calgary).



the lowrider is a little higher

La Chinga... Get Some!!!

It’s been a respectable reign for Vancouver’s

La Chinga since the trio was originally

crowned Georgia Straight’s ‘Band of the Year’

back in 2013. The five year interim has seen

‘the champagne of rock bands’ celebrate

the release of their arm-out-the-window

soundtrack LP, Free Wheelin’ (2016) and the

arrival of lead vocalist/guitarist Ben Yardley’s

firstborn son. Both events were critical turning

points for Yardley, bassist Carl Spackler and

drummer Jason “Jay” Solyom, who style their

low-riding and high-flying sounds after Thin

Lizzy and Plymouth Dusters with personalized

license plates that read “GET SOME.”

Prized for their forest-flattening power and

inherently groovy melodies, it was La Chinga’s

pursuit of heavy, but unhindered, riffs that

brought them to the attention of the organizers

of Calgary’s 420 Music and Arts Festival.

Thrust into the glowing green limelight of

the burgeoning annual event, La Chinga laid

down their signature spellbinding cuts with

an effortless grace that left festivalgoers craving

more of that magical mojo.

“It was a great gig and the highlight of the

whole year for us; it’s really flattering that

we’ve been invited again. We’re absolutely

floored and happy to come out a play,”

reports Yardley.

“In fact, my son, Townes (like Townes Van

Zandt), just turned one. So, it’s easier to make

the trip. Incidentally, our plane touches down

at 4:20!”

Making up for the time they lost over the

course of tumultuous year, La Chinga is in

the process of mastering the tracks for their

next great opus. Titled Beyond the Sky, their

forthcoming album on the Small Stone record

label may have taken longer than anticipated

to complete, but the results, Yardley assures,




are well worth waiting for.

“Jay left the band for a while, so we were

working with a drummer named Jonas,”

Yardley explains.

“But, then Jay came back on the scene right

before we went back into the studio, so we

just wrote the majority of it on the spot in

the studio which was really awesome. We just

fuckin went for it and it turned out great! We

were just going for it everyday there and just

feeling it. We tried to capture the creative

spirit and it suits the band to do it that way,

because our style of music is more open-ended

and isn’t rigidly arranged. We want that

sound of freedom, ‘cuz that’s what it’s like to

play in the band. It’s freeing, power trio music;

where we are all doing our own things, but

still playing together.”

Anticipating a May release for Beyond

the Sky, La Chinga is keen to share fresh

material and insights with their audiences

while still holding true to the other worldly

psychedelic themes that have long been

their calling a card.

“The new album is still La Chinga, but the

songwriting is better, in my opinion. Every

song is really strong and the production value

is totally killer. We haven’t suddenly turned

into an emo band. We don’t feel the need to

change what we’re doing. We’re just making

a better song, making a better record, making

the best music we can at the time. It always

has to be fun. If it’s not fun why bother? At

this point, if we don’t’ get that rush we don’t

want to do it. But luckily we get that.”

La Chinga performs with Buffalo Bud Buster,

Mendozza, Bazaraba and more on day two of

the 420 Music and Arts Festival, which takes

place April 20 at Distortion (Calgary).


walk softly and carry a big stick

There’s no need to trek into the mountains

for your cryptozoology getaway this

year because Sasquatch will be delivering its

heavy, fuzzy and beer-soaked rock rampage

right to Calgary’s doorstep.

This rare sighting comes hot off the

release of the stealthy sludge metal outfit’s

fifth studio album, Maneuvers. Formed in

2001, Sasquatch’s first grainy appearance

was back recorded in 2004. Since that debut

on the Small Stone record label, Sasquatch’s

lineup has settled into Keith Gibbs on guitar

and vocals, Jason “Cas” Casanova on the

bass and Craig Riggs behind the drum kit.

Between hearty laughs and banter, the band

says their fifth studio album, Maneuvers,

benefits from the effortless cohesion of the

current trio.

“It’s just really fun to be in the band right

now,” Gibbs says. “When Riggs joined the

band (in 2017), it just made everything so

much easier. Everything’s just fallen into place

when we write songs.”

“When I first joined the band I heard they

followed the Zeppelin style,” adds Cas.

Shy but cheeky, Sasquatch describes Maneuvers

as a meat and potatoes effort that

required trimming any unnecessary jamming

L.A.’s Sasquatch put the hairy back in metal.


to make room for clean riffs. The hirsute

threesome’s aim? To keep those giant feet

moving with a steady forward momentum

and to waste no time in putting together the

beast’s next omnivorous opus.

“We recorded six songs last night in like,

three hours,” says an enthusiastic Riggs. He

goes on to explain that Sasquatch’s recording

goes down in Riggs’ own Mad Oak Studios,

which shares its moniker with Riggs’ coffee

brewing company. According to Gibbs, Riggs

keeps a damn good cold brew on tap at all

times when recording.

That jolt of hair-raising energy will come in

handy as Sasquatch prepares to headline the

Thursday, April 19 line-up of the 420 Music

and Arts Festival at Distortion in Calgary.

“We’re gonna lay it all on the line that night,”

promises a well-caffeinated Gibbs. “Especially,

because it’s just one gig, so we can just

exhaust ourselves and not worry about the

next day.”

Sasquatch performs with Electric Owl, Great

Electric Quest, Solid Brown, Gin Lahey, Haaze

and Set & Stoned on day one of the 420 Music

and Arts Festival, which takes place April 19 at

Distortion (Calgary).




louder than the herd

Just east of the Rocky Mountains, a fourstrong

herd of sage shreddin’ bison are

turning the rolling Foothills of Alberta into

a desert rock wonderland. Roger “Captain

Red Beard” Reuser, Deano Robertson, Jake

Rogers and Danny Freeze are Buffalo Bud

Buster -- a distortion-heavy quartet that’s

every bit as loud and hazy as the name


“Just get a buffalo, an Orange stack and

a guitar and just let ‘em rip! That’s what we

sound like,” laughs Robertson, who lends the

band his bass skills when he’s not hammering

out award-winning tattoos.

Bashing away at the hides and cymbals

is Shirtless Jake, whose late arrival offers a

unique perspective to Buffalo Bud Buster’s,

solid yet molten, sludge metal effusions.

“I got to see Buffalo Bud Buster play a

couple of times before I joined,” the concussive

percussionist vividly recalls. “I remember

being blown away, because they were so loud

and so fuzzy! They had this larger-than-life

kind of vibe.”

Butting into Calgary’s local scene, Buffalo

Bud Buster first ran wild a decade and a half

ago on their rock crushing 2003 debut, The


Fur And The Fuzz. Despite a few long winters

since that cathartic release, the band is far

from extinct.

“We’re probably looking at recording real

soon, but like buffalo we move at our own

pace,” gruffs Reuser.

“And, we don’t play any of the old songs.”

So, don’t even bother asking. Truth be told,

the foursome maintains some pretty high

standards, including having a brand new song

ready for every live show. Reuser promises at

least a few freshly inked tunes, the product

of weekly head-smashing jam sessions, will

emerge before Buffalo Bud Buster return

appearance at the upcoming 420 Music and

Arts Festival.

With shows planned well-into the summer

including stops at the Okanagan Tattoo Show

and Brewfest, Buffalo Bud Buster’s journey is

just getting started. Armed with a fistful of

riffs and spliffs, BBB are ready to reclaim their

natural habitat – the stage.

Buffalo Bud Buster performs with La Chinga,

Mendozza, Bazaraba and more on day two of

the 420 Music and Arts Festival, which takes

place April 20 at Distortion (Calgary).

This Month


Stabmonton DIY Fest Round 4, the

best show offering of the month,

goes down on April 6 and April

7 at Bohemia (Edmonton). The grind/

powerviolence/hardcore oriented fest

will feature performances from Houston

based grindcore icons P.L.F., along with

Falsehood, Grimace, Sulfuric Cautery,

Sixbrew Bantha, and numerous others.

After being rescheduled from their initial

venue that shut down, the event is now

18+. The first evening is $10; tickets for

the second evening are $20.

The excellent dark hardcore/death

metal hybrid act band Feeding will perform

on April 8 at Bohemia (Edmonton).

The band released their new EP In Hell

on February 2; the four-track release is

available at https://feeding.bandcamp.

com/. The band will be performing with

Endless Chaos and Demise.

Head over to Dickens (Calgary) on

Friday, April 20 for epic symphonic

Norwegian act Sirenia, who channel

in gothic themes and juxtapose growls

against soaring wails. Columbia’s Valinor

Excelsior, alongside Threat Signal and

Dire Peril, will join them. Tickets are

$18 in advance. Sirenia will also perform

on April 22 at the Handsome Daughter


Calgary death metal band Widow’s

Peak will release their new EP Graceless

on April 27 at Distortion (Calgary). The

band is playing alongside Path to Extinction,

Protosequence, Meggido and

Anti-Pattern. Tickets are $10 in advance

and $15 at the door.

Now for a band who’s not metal, but

helped shape the face of it: the almighty

prog/psych/rock icons Uriah Heep are

performing on April 30 at the Vogue

Theatre (Edmonton) and on May 1 at

the Palace Theater (Calgary). Head to the

RockPile section to read our feature on

the band, and revel in their ‘70s oriented

set list full of classic tracks.

Finally, head to Dickens (Calgary) on

May 2 to check out psychedelic technical

metallers GIGAN. They’ll be performing

with Minneapolis based progressive

death metallers Sunless, alongside local

acts Train Bigger Monkeys and Dethgod.

GIGAN will also perform on May 4 at the

Handsome Daughter (Winnipeg).

• Sarah Kitteringham

Sirenia perform at Dickens (Calgary) on April 20.



MAY 26









































Jack White

Boarding House Reach

Third Man/Columbia

Jack White has been called a lot of things

– minimalist, revivalist, madman, genius,

protagonist, antagonist, lover, fighter –

probably all true, or true enough. One thing’s

for sure, Jack’s a creator who loves making art.

Now suppose for a moment we suspend

our belief that pop music, any and all of that

stuff made to be marketed for immediate

consumption, did not have a hit factor

assigned to it. In other words, we didn’t rate

or predict how much radio play, units moved

or YouTube views a song or album got or was

worthy of. Rather we assessed music only

for its art value, not for its potential to chart

and sell.

It’s still hard for those familiar with Jack to

remove his association with the White Stripes.

He’s constantly compared to the success of his

musical debut. Such is the nature of the biz:

you’re only as good as your last record. And

in Jack’s case, for many it’s still those records

he made with Meg. But Jack doesn’t roam in

that world anymore. He lives in the land of art

for art’s sake, which is the starting point for

Boarding House Reach.

As the pulsating vibe of the album’s opener

“Connected By Love” continues to build, the

mid-section of the song suddenly bursts into a

frenzy of weird guitar loops and crazy keyboard

soloing. Then, just as suddenly, it drops down

to near silence with only a soft piano and warm

bassline playing while Jack pleads and cries

out, “Forgive me, and save me from myself!”

Sisters Ann and Regina McCrary soon follow

and lend their powerful voices pushing the

chorus into a climatic spin of strange, vibrating

electronics and full gospel sounds. When it

finally settles, it’s easy to image Jack the madscientist

running around his lab tweaking dials

and fiddling with gadgets moreso than Jack

the musician headphones on bellowing into a

studio mic.

Jack the scientist is not such a peculiar

analogy given his first career he flourished as

a tradesman in his upholstery shop. Boarding

House Reach has that sound and feel all over

it – the studio is Jack’s laboratory, his new shop,

and his trade is mixing weird science with rock

‘n’ roll producing strange musical concoctions.

Jack also loves gospel. On “Why Walk A

Dog” a church organ forcefully pumps out

two chords swaying back and forth as if

someone was standing on the keys instead

pressing down on them with their hands.

It’s a big churchy blast that gives away to

a brooding guitar solo that’s more akin to

motorized output signal that grinds up

and down as it’s put through an electronic

oscillator. Weird, yes. Wonderful as well.

The marriage of soul and sci-fi sonics works

quite well.

Moving into funk and R&B, “Ice Station

Zebra” is chopped and sliced with jazzy

breaks and machine-gun breakdowns with

some fine multi-layered rappin’ by Jack that’s

right up there with the Beasties. Taking a

sharp turn and heading into very different

territory, “Abulia and Akrasia” showcases

the talents of Australian blues singer C.W.

Stoneking, who does a spoken-word sermon

over a sad, spiritualized Middle Eastern

violin and tinkering piano. While the manic

pace of “Over and Over and Over” with its

fuzzed-out electro-romp and haunting, alien

chants, parallels the eerie universe of Bowie’s

“Black Star”. Staying in a strangeland, Hal’s

omnipresent mechanical voice from 2001: A

Space Odyssey is filtered through a cheesy TV

commercial that leads off “Everything You’ve

Ever Learned”. The track then proceeds to ramp

up into a harrowing garage-jazz-psychedelic

freakout that cuts right into a late ’60s B-movie,

biker soundtrack.

There’s A LOT going on in Jack’s lab. His

experiments dabble in 10cc’s quirky pop and

Roxy Music’s avant-garde art rock, then travel

through the Beatles’ playground on the White

Album before pulling into the carnival factoryworks

of latter-day Tom Waits. Boarding House

Reach is an endless experimentation, fused

with sci-fi creations that are, yes, wonderfully

weird. Will any of these tracks chart? Who

cares. It may not be commercial, but it’s

art. Good art where Jack takes on a new

classification by transforming himself into a

complex futurist.

• B. Simm

Illustration: Danielle Jette


Amen Dunes


Sacred Bones

Amen Dunes, a.k.a. sound-shifting rock artist Damon

McMahon, has dedicated a lifetime to exploring selfdom

through sound. If the past ten years have been a dark

wood of introspective, sometimes alienating incantations,

then the project’s newest release is the long-awaited

clearing. Freedom, rough and rhythmic, will revive

listeners with fresh air and sweet sun.

Freedom took three years to make, with help from

band mainstays Jordi Wheeler and Parker Kindred,

newcomers Delicate Steve, electronic musician Panoram,

and producer Chris Coady (Beach House, TV on the


Despite these decorative changes, Freedom remains

a continuation of McMahon’s personal examinations of

the self. Each track is a character vignette that represents

McMahon, his turbulent past, and masculine identity;

from the fallen surf hero of psych-pop “Miki Dora” to

the rock bent “Blue Rose” about his father. McMahon

tackles his mother’s recent death on “Believe,” a song

of propulsive percussion upon which he warbles lyrics

like “You said you lived out on the wrong side/You said

that’s half the fun.”

Although each song charts new sonic territory,

McMahon houses them under his distinct style and

unwavering quest to answer the life-long question: Why

am I? With Freedom, McMahon delivers an answer of

the musical proportions we dreamed, and now know, he

is capable of.

• Maggie McPhee


The Melvins

Pinkus Abortion Technician


Human cannonballs The Melvins are back, less than a year after

taking a contemplative Walk With Love & Death, King Buzzo

Osborne and company are ready to present their latest album,

Pinkus Abortion Technician.

Dueling dual bassists are the backbone of this eight-track

lysergic flashback, thanks to the twinned talents of The Melvins’

current bass player, Steven McDonald (Redd Kross, OFF!), and

part-time Melvin, Jeff Pinkus, who is best known for his work

with experimental psych-punks Butthole Surfers.

Indeed, a languid hat-tip to the Butthole Surfers’ 1987 album

Locust Abortion Technician is built into the title and fabric of

this new work which comes some 30 dirty years after its namesake

appeared on the Touch and Go label. A much smoother,

more capable and sophisticated vision of the guerrilla recording

sessions that landed Locust on Kurt Cobain’s Top 50 Albums of

All Time, Pinkus Abortion Technician is an immaculate conception

of the rock and roll mind.

The band’s affection for big red ‘70s rock amperage shines

through on “Break Bread,” which commands a stadium-worth

of power cords and ballsy lyrics. Add to this a jubilant, and

nearly over-the-top, cover of “I Want to Hold Your Hand” (by

some unknowns), which continues the party even as it dissolves

into a glorious silly string, backbeat freakout. Dipping below

the waterline the quartet enjoys a good wallow in the slippery

passages of “Prenup Butter,” an oily track that lopes along at a

heavy but woosy stride, constantly shoulder-checking for the

impending sucker punch.

Capping things off, a spirited, delinquent rehearsal of

Butthole Surfers’ lugubrious face-melter “Graveyard” flicks

the switch to maximum underdrive. Spasmodic riffs, battered

percussion, flagrant basslines and most-welcome Melvins’

group-shout choruses rekindle the energy that emerged from

that rented Austin, TX home-studio three decades ago. Loud,

glamourous and chock-fulla listenable tunes, Pinkus Abortion

Technician is the ideal foundation for The Melvins’ upcoming

chain of live engagements.

• Christine Leonard

Lindi Ortega



Lindi Ortega finds some new inspiration on her fifth release,

Liberty, drawing from the film scores of spaghetti maestro Ennio

Morricone, as well as the compilation soundtracks from Quentin

Tarantino films. Indeed, on that second note, you can imagine

much of Liberty’s sound running through the background of

some deep monologue between Thurman and Buscemi on the

nature of filmmaking interspersed with all the “fucks”, “fuckins”,

and “motherfuckers” that a Tarantino dialogue would entail.

Leading off with a motif that comes back around a few times

through the record, the desert pasta of “Through The Dust”,

Ortega and producer Skylar Wilson deftly handle Morricone’s

sound of horns and reverb-soaked guitars, along with the

signature harmonica from his masterpiece, “Once Upon A Time

In The West,” while adding an eerie, haunted house feel that

floats its way through the record as well. “You Ain’t Foolin’ Me”

does a nice job of mixing Americana instrumentation with a

melodramatic mid-80s arena vibe, bookended by “Afraid Of The

Dark” and “Till My Dyin’ Day,” on which the instrumental feel

of both Nancy Sinatra’s “Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down),”

and the classic TexMex jazz of Santo & Johnny turn up in equal

measure, though the influence of the former is most present on

“Nothing’s Impossible.”

“Pablo” is a churchy lament for a bullet-riddled outlaw on

horseback, the chorus sung as a Spanish torch ballad, loosely

translated to “Pablo, he’s my love, he’s my fire, he’s my heart”,

and whether it’s the melody, or the passion with which Ortega

delivers the lines, it’s the biggest, most affecting chorus

on the record.

Ortega’s had some some struggles in the past few years, but

Liberty’s an excellent start at returning to form. Her voice is a

signature, smouldering with the kind of pathos and heartache

that’s essential to the genre. If Ortega matches arrangement

and production as tight as Liberty to a set of tunes with the

personal gravity and weight of 2017’s ’Til The Goin’ Gets Gone,

the comeback will be complete, and she’ll likely have a classic

on her hands.

• Mike Dunn

Taylor Ackerman’s Global Acid Reset

Ruin Lust


Having relocated to Halifax a few years ago,

former Lethbridge guitar player Taylor Ackerman

(Treeline, Shaela Miller) has kept himself

busy working up a set of energetic tunes. The

resulting EP, Ruin Lust, has a bit of a late ‘60s,

early ‘70s sound, with boogie rock elements

coming up head-to-head with Detroit fuzz.

The opener, “Sideman,” kicks off a bit like a

Creedence tape, before Ackerman starts laying

down the boogie, at which point his tone

and feel get a little closer to Winnipeg’s The

Perpetrators – in essence it’s like a stream of

consciousness J.J. Cale groove with muscular

guitars. There’s an outdoor vibe up next on “Bangladeshi

T-Shirt,” the kind of dust kicker that’s

dialed to the shiny, happy vibe of the summer

fests. It features Ackerman laying some greasy

Billy F. Gibbons electric bottleneck riffs over

the acoustic jam. “Half A Man” is a standout, a

Motor City monster with a hypnotic pogoing

riff and a massive wall of fuzz guitar feeding back

and forth. Ackerman’s voice on “Half A Man”

cuts through a little more; he shows off a bit of

a baritone similar to Jim Morrison, or “Lust For

Life”-era Iggy Pop.

Ackerman has plans on moving back to Lethbridge

this spring, and with his knockout guitar

playing, Global Acid Reset should have a cool

sound to kickoff with, which will certainly make

for a nice homecoming.

• Mike Dunn

A Place To Bury Strangers


Dead Oceans

Adversity has long been the driving force

inspiring sonic chemists to one up themselves.

On this fifth full-length by the decade old

noise-rock trio, the struggles of life are real but

they also come with a big pay off. The opener,

“Never Coming Back,” brims with anxiety

whether it’s brought on by the changes all

around or a consistent streak of personal

bad luck matters less and less as the trance

inducing back beat helps give the sensation

of exiting this world for clouds of noise up


Otherworldly guitar sounds and copious

amounts of forlorn blasts of sonic chaos have always

been the rule but this release has a notable

addition with the inclusion of he/she vocals. The

hellish buzz-saw guitar riffs on “Frustrated Operator”

benefit greatly from a female presence

widening the dynamic with soft Nico-inspired

singing which is truly shiver inducing.

Weary voices give searing meditations on

personal truth revealing a side to the band that

usually hides beneath layers and layers of postrock


• Dan Potter

Goat Girl

Goat Girl

Rough Trade

Goat Girl

Adding to the grand tradition of DIY basement

recordings (if London had any basements),

Goat Girl’s sprawling 19-track, self-titled

debut marks a significant achievement

in grimy, lo-fi storytelling. Emerging from the

fragmented South London indie scene, the

album serves as a collection of fast-paced

urban observations with lead singer Clottie

Cream’s morose drawl as the centerpiece.

Elements of punk, psychedelia, and even experimental

country spiral and twist their way

around Cream’s sharp cultural criticism. Never

far removed from the volatile socio-political

context of their city, album highlights “Scum,”


J Blissette

“Cracker Drool,” and “Country Sleaze’’ serve

up tongue-in-cheek critiques of masculinity,

humanity, and greater society as a whole.

“Creep on the train/I really want to smash

your head in” groans Cream on “Creep.” Goat

Girl’s self-titled debut is a fast-paced slap in

the face, clocking in around 40 minutes they

waste no time making a lasting impression.

• Jarrett Edmund

Guided by Voices

Space Gun

Rockathon Records

The ludicrously prolific Robert Pollard keeps it

100 with a record that maintains the warmth

and eclectic energy of his back catalogue as it

enters three figures. Tirelessly inventive, the

band blazes through a track-list which takes

the best of their lo-fi early years and fuses it

with Pollard’s arena-sized ambitions and ear

for catchy choruses.

The opening riffs of the title track sound as

clean as anything the band has produced, the

DIY grunge of their early years replaced by slick

sharpness in instrumentation and singing alike.

Warmer cuts such as “Ark Technician” let Pollard

slip into nostalgic reverie, a marked contrast

from the tight production of the album’s opener.

“Blink Blank” has the ragged charm of Zevon

later in his life; grizzled vocals and growling

guitars coalescing into an energetic cut, its lyrics

and tone funny, frank and foreboding all at once.

Shades of Earthquake Glue’s glossy, Townsendscale

catchiness show up in the album’s penultimate

track “Flight Advantage,” with its bizarre,

irresistibly memorable refrain of “Spiders will


The echoing “Got to keep moving” of “Evolution

Circus,” along with its scratchy faraway

chorus vocals, is indicative of the album’s mood,

a largely successful attempt to cut and paste the

scale of classics like Alien Lanes with the banter

and inimitable character of GBV’s many underrated,

inconsistent obscurities. With over 2,000


recordings, Pollard shows no signs of slowing

down, but rather doubles down with an album

which is both a reminder of his extensive years of

practice and his zeal for lovable spontaneity.

• Cathal Gunning

Holy Wave

Adult Fear

The Reverberation Appreciation Society

Following up on the heels of Holy Wave’s

Freaks Of Nurture, their 2016 release, Adult

Fear is the Austin band’s fifth official release

and third full-length album. Sticking with

their signature, hazy psych-garage sound, Holy

Wave has managed to release yet another

captivating collection of tracks.

With each new album, they seem to mature

towards new levels of experimentation and layering

lush instrumentation, amid tracks gliding

effortlessly between different grooves and tempos.

This does not so much startle, but rather

takes one on a trip reminiscent of groups such as

The Zombies, Pink Floyd (a la Syd Barrett), and

more recently, Ariel Pink. Layered in abundant

organ/synth tones and track lengths reaching

above eight minutes, Holy Wave drenches classic

psych sounds on a blotter of fresh composition.

• Tory Rosso

J Blissette

Until I Go Blind

Pleasance Records

J Blissette is the creative moniker and artistic

love child of Jackson Tiefenbach. Based out

of Lethbridge, Until I Go Blind is the bands

debut, full-length release. The album explores

a plethora of sounds ranging from jangly

post punk, ‘60s garage, power pop, and even

touches on a soulful palette. One example of

these merging tones is on the track “Nellcote,”

where it’s as if Al Green and Twin Peaks got

together to co-write a song.

Carefully crafted, mid-fi production accurately

surfaces on the lead single, “A Series Of Observations.”

This particular piece is accompanied by

saxophone solos, which serves to complement

and enhance the joyful energy already present in

the track. Listening to the 12-track LP evokes a

myriad of altering emotions: angst, elation, and


In the company of all of these sonic shades

and mental sensations, Until I Go Blind fashions

itself as a cohesive unit, manufactured by J


• Tory Rosso


Zionic Mud

Dine Alone Records

LA psych rock band JJUUJJUU’s debut album,

Zionic Mud, opens strong with “Camo,” firing

you into a hypnotic trance of funky basslines,

accented by raucously squawking lo-fi guitars.

This album conjures images of bohemian

Californians dancing barefoot. Drawing you in

with its siren song before sending your mind’s

eye skyward, beyond Earthship.

Zionic Mud maintains high energy through

the title track with fantastic build-ups transitioning

into wild crescendos. Bookended by “Bleck,”

a straight ahead psych track, the first third of

the album is funky, spaced out, and danceable.

A tempo switch, leading to a gentle outro

dove-tailing the short interlude of atmospheric

space travel in “Level.” This first instrumental has

a softness that only lasts a moment before your

consciousness is transported to witness storms

on a outlier planet, amping you up and passing

you down the line of tales to come.

JJUUJJUU maintains this build up, fade away

presence loyally throughout Zionic Mud. The

variation of tempo and structure build an excellent

album. The layered, airy psych, paired with

thunderous drums, moody, post-punk guitars

and vocals that don’t take center stage creates

something accessible.

• Trevor Hatter



Rocket Recordings

In the current rock n’ roll landscape, it’s becoming

a bit facile to slap the description “psych”

on nearly anything that features any spacey

atmospherics, repetitive chord progressions

designed to induce a trance-like state, and

affected vocals. Yet it’s even more rare to hear

those elements used to such solid effect as they

are on MIEN’s self-titled debut, along with classic

flavours that reflect the early development

of the style (most notably the use of sitar),

which caused many a baby boomer to fall into

the abyss of their black lights looking for “the

bigger meaning of it all, man.”

Featuring members of The Black Angels, The

Horror, Elephant Stone, and The Earlies, MIEN is

a twisting constellation of electronic and organic

tones that feel like being backlit, staring into the

woods in 8-bit.

That presence brings MIEN to life immediately

on “Earth Moon” which runs on a steady

Rhodes piano groove with sitar flourishes over

the top, driven by an uptempo hi-hat groove

that stays consistent through the refrains,

where a synth drops in with a flute-over-string

section sound that easily conjures the instrumental

sections in Zeppelin’s “Kashmir.” The

vocals are pleasantly languid and subtle, bathed

in echo, and the cascading build of “Hocus

Pocus” rises over an overdriven bass riff under

the beat drops in taking the chords in a more

minor-key-than-expected direction. The payoff

in the cut comes a minute in when spazzing

synths hit fever pitches and blast in all different

directions, making the simplicity in the song’s

constant refrain, “I feel so high,” more an actual

feeling than a statement. Elements of industrial

rock are noticeable in some of the choices for

drum and synth sounds, especially on “(I’m Tired

Of) Western Shouting,” that hangs on a droning

overdriven bassline with the chord changes

implied by the instruments around it. It’s a cool

move, and with the rounds of vocals coming in

and out of it, before an acoustic break that drops

back into the original feel.

MIEN has succeeded where so many bands

are merely trying lately: crafting a record that

requires being heard from beginning to end,

full of wild freakouts. It’s the kind of music that

ought to accompany the big, weird party where

everyone’s maybe pretty sure they know where

they are, swaying with the treetops in a zapping

telescope of exploding stars.

• Mike Dunn

The Penske File


Stomp Records

The Penske File’s new album, Salvation, is a

power-poppy blend of various punk rock

styles. The opening track “Kamikaze Kids,”

explodes from the picking pattern of a brightly-toned

guitar to a folk-infused, chorus-y

punk song reminiscent of new-era Green Day

meeting old-school Against Me!

Salvation’s fourth track “Spin My History,” is

an emotionally driven rock-song with enough

catchiness to fit on radio airwaves, and enough

grit to catch your attention. “Last Chance” is a

smack-your-face tune that mixes elements of

‘50s rock n’ roll with heavy, melodic skate-punk.

Overall, Salvation feels like a well-executed

power-pop tribute to punk music of the early

2000s. Sounds on Salvation are comparable to

the likes of Blink-182, Sum41, NOFX, Yellowcard,

and other similar artists from that era. The record’s

diversity touches on punk’s many niches,

leaving something catchy and enjoyable for fans

from all walks of the genre.

• Johnny Papan

The Switching Yard

Yet Again

Cardinal Fuzz/Pre Rock Records

Teeming with fuzzed out, buzzsaw guitars,

Yet Again, the debut LP from Saskatoon’s The

Switching Yard, wears the gritty influence of

the earliest punk rock like patches on a worn,

cracked leather jacket. However, not content

to merely ride the style of Funhouse-era

Stooges through the LP’s 35-odd-minute

runtime, Yet Again is shot through with nods

to a number of other classic rock n’ roll acts,

while its lo-fi aesthetic keeps it current with

DIY energy and charm.

“Champagne Action” bangs off the get go

with a mid-tempo snarl, not quite the pace of

the MC5 or Funhouse, but the Iggy Pop sneer

will be immediately noticeable, as will the Fred

Smith rhythm guitars, or the wound up Scott

Asheton wah pedal freakouts in the lead guitars.

“Hard Luck” has a vibe that mashes up the early

‘90s alternative/punk explosions of Sonic Youth

and Mudhoney, leading into the nine-minute,

drifting galaxy brain stew of “Behind The Gates.”

The MC5/Sabbath burner “Hank It’s Midnight,”

is a ripping, revved-up, muscle car tear-assing

through the woods in the dark, with doomy

guitars pushing along on a repetitive riff while

other riffs circle the waters underneath like

sharks around a flesh wound.

If some of the tone of Yet Again sounds familiar,

it should. Formed by Brennan Barclay and

Steve Novakowski, along with Peter Henderson,

The Switching Yard also features Chris Laramee

and Jay Loos of Shooting Guns (Barclay also

plays with Shooting Guns). There’s some of that

local familiarity at work on Yet Again, but the

presence of dual vocals, especially the caustic

Iggy Pop sass, gives The Switching Yard a slightly

different aesthetic from their Saskatoon pals.

• Mike Dunn

Yamantaka//Sonic Titan


Paper Bag Records

After a five year wait, Yamantaka//Sonic Titan

are back with a vengeance. Toronto’s distinctively

pan-cultural experimental music and

performance collective have released their

most ambitious, yet also their most cohesive,

record yet with Dirt, an album conceived as the

soundtrack to an unreleased 1987 anime with

Buddhist and Iroquois influences. “Someplace”

and “Dark Waters” set the stage in suitably

dramatic fashion with charging, prog-rock

rhythms and sweeping, melodic passages. “The

Decay” unfolds as the album’s true centerpiece,

an operatic dreamscape lead by deliberate

doom metal riffage and uplifting, airy vocals.

Dirt is a phantasmagorical journey.

• James Olson



Relapse Records

After a hellishly long wait, Zeke are back

with their first album in 14 years. The punk

legends known for mixing the gritty might

of Motorhead with the cartoon fun of The

Ramones sound in great form right off the top

of the album as “On the Road” kicks out some

seriously caffeinated guitar solos. Thankfully,

each song continues to snuff out boredom

with an all-killer-no-filler approach.

“Burn” literally sounds like the band is

Yamantaka/Sonic Titan

about to spontaneously combust as the

snarling vocals spat out over the whip-crack

of the one-hundred-mile-an-hour snare

drum will leave any punk extremist dizzy.

The fun continues on “AR-15,” with the refrain

“Blow it away/Blow it away” whilst the

misanthropic anthem is taken even higher

with New York Dolls-like guitar leads sped up

to an un-godly tempo.

The inhuman speed that these short but

damaging blitzkriegs are belted out is truly

frightening and definitely makes this Zeke’s

fastest recording to date.

• Dan Potter



Rhythm of Cruelty

Rhythm of Cruelty, Sunglaciers, Paradise and

Local Singles

The Palomino Smokehouse and Social Club

Friday, March 16

From pop to punk to shoegaze and post-punky darkwave,

Alberta’s really got great musical talent. Freshly

debuted weirdo-pop, two tape releases and young

veterans from Edmonton; Friday night at The Palomino

showcased such ripping skills that you should go buy

their tapes now!

Calgary’s Local Singles, a brand new five-piece (with

members from Dri Hiev, Postnamers and more), showed us

what happens when you infuse ambient pop with heavy

synths and catchy melodies, the results are somewhat hard

to describe, but sonically so much fun to groove to.


Paradise, which also has a membership loaded with

hometown main-stays, issued their tape release blasting

ears with a grungy, lo-fi, three-guitar sound that possesses

all the gravity you need out of quintessential punk rock.

Sunglaciers, another shining example of a band that still

believes in shoegazey goodness, unveiled their new tape

and secured a solid seating within the Calgary music scene

with an explosion of psychedelia that displayed impressive


Edmonton’s Rhythm of Cruelty, a duo that pumps out

monstrous post-punk, should instantly be considered

Albertan punk rock royalty. Drenched in the filthiest, yet

smoothest of verb and delay and brain splitting synthetic

drums, their masterful and melancholic sludge kept had

the crowd’s hearts racing in time.

• Michael Grondin

John Garcia, Chron Goblin and Hypnopilot


Saturday, March 10

Who better to introduce a desert rock legend John Garcia on his midlife

tour-de-force than one of Calgary’s original fuzz bands, Hypnopilot?

The somnambulistic power-chord trippin’ three-piece certainly warmed

things up, but there’s no amount of hot yoga that can prepare one for the

knee-buckling acid rock of Chron Goblin. Unfurling the red rolling papers

for the King of Kyuss, the hair-ruffling quartet marched out a procession

of foundational favs that showed off some healthy winter weight gain. The

swelling crowd gratefully gobbled up the few tasty appetizers the local guitar

heroes teased from their yet to be released new album. Chum in the water

for an audience that was well primed from Saturday of day drinking and listening

to John Garcia’s back catalogue pulled from gritty glove compartment

treasure chests. The revered showman, solo artist and former vocalist of Kyuss,

Vista Chino, Slo Burn, Unida, and Hermano - John Garcia looked pretty

damn good for a 47-year-old Arizonan. Palming his microphone like a tango

partner, the pompadoured maestro and his backing band of studio ringers

immediately kicked into gear with a luscious rendering of “Gardenia.” That

backseat, make-out anthem set the map for a slick detour through deep and

mysterious psych-rock canyons. Warping time and space, Garcia covered 25

years over the course of two solid hours of sweat, smoke and sweet Blues for

the Red Sun breakdowns that left faces aglow and ears abuzz.

• Christine Leonard

OUGHT with Flasher and

Slut Prophet

The Palomino

Monday, March 26

Ought, the post-punk powerhouses from

Montreal, ripped up the Palomino, calling all

the rock and roll kids out from the Monday

night woodwork.

Let’s all give a special mention to Slut

Prophet, the night’s first act, and a shining

example of Calgary’s very own ripping feminist

punk rock. These young talents deliver a

witchy fix with their jangly, disjointed guitar,


blasts of gritty synth, and freaky shrieks,

cutting deep to everyone’s primal angsty punk

rock urges.

Shoegazey jangle-punks Flasher are a must

see. This D.C. trio were relentless in their musical

attack, a Venn diagram where precision,

haziness, and melodic simplicity meet.

Now, Ought is a band that comes with a little

bit of mystery in their own right. Their melange

of avant-rock styles have truly developed

throughout the course of their three album

career, starting off as angular experimentalists

and now showing a refined expertise in melodic,

baroque-esque new wave sounds.

And when showcasing such talent on-stage,

Ought are truly no joke. They’ve got great

synths, a crunchy bassline that never ceases,

and of course, Tim Darcy’s idiosyncratic,

nervous singing. The combination of those

three things had the fully packed Palomino

basement bopping along.

And other than that one uncomfortable

moment when Mr. Darcy complained about

audience chatter, they killed it. Having seen

them for the third time, each show brings with

it a new energy and a new approach to their

sound and ideas.

• Michael Grondin

photo: Keeghan Rouleau

Martini time with the Rev.

Reverend Horton Heat, Igor & The Red

Elvises and Unknown Hinson

Dickens Pub

Friday, March 16

Reverend Horton Heat returned to Dickens

Pub for two nights of psychobilly freakouts.

Friday’s show was crisper than the Reverend’s

collar – a testament to his swagger

after 30 years of teachin’ us how to eat.

Igor & The Red Elvises brought Serbian

surf rock with oversized instruments,

democracy-defying drum solos, and a

kaleidoscope of fantastically fun, danceable


Freshly-gelled slicks of dudes and dames

kicked-up their heels as Reverend Horton

Heat fired things up with “Big Sky”, “Baddest

of the Bad”, and “Psychobilly Freakout.” The

Rev regaled his whiskey-tinged congregation

with songs and stories of tour life, adventures

in a cowboy gay bar and a memorable

fistfight behind a fancier-than-thou restaurant

with stand-up bass player Jimbo.

Unknown Hinson served the rockabilicious

“Silver Platter” and a cover of The


Cricket’s, “I Fought the Law.” The Rev returned

with hard-hitters “Let Me Teach You

How to Eat” and “400 bucks”, swinging into

Lemmy’s philosophy of audience interaction:

“You don’t give them what they want,

you give them what they need!”

Reverend Horton Heat then epically

executed a rendition of “Ace of Spades,”

rounding out the night with a four-song

encore and a jaw-dropping drum solo.

Snow-dusted Calgary got the heat it needed

to kick-start spring.

• Amber J. Hedges

The Real McKenzies, The Pagans of Northumberland

and Raygun Cowboys

Dickens Pub

March 17 St. Patrick’s Day Show

The Real McKenzies brought kilts and green to the punk rock scene

on Saturday night at Dickens Pub. Calgarians lucky enough to snag

tickets to this sold-out annual event came in their greenest divebar

couture to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and 26 years of rock ‘n roll


The Pagans of Northumberland rustled up the crowd with Oi!-infused

power chords and sing-alongable songs of suburban dissent.

Edmonton’s Raygun Cowboys followed in a blaze of giddy-up, hold

onto your horns (section) ska-poke cowpunk.

The Real McKenzies possed up in full Gaelic-regalia, loch’d and loaded

with an impressive seven-piece line-up. Front-man Paul McKenzie

pushed off with new(ish) tracks “Fool’s Road”, “Weyburn” and One

Day”, brewing an emerald hurricane that culminated into crowd-surfing

mayhem, complete with beer-soaked debris and lost shoes. Papa

McKenzie lamented those lost to the fentanyl crisis and urged us to

“choose a safe legal drug,” recommending his favourite: alcohol.

Old favourites “Pour Decisions,” “Drink Some More,” and “Droppin’

Like Flies” balanced the 90-minute set, tied up in a tartan bow with

“Scots Wha’ Ha’e” a reminder to eat our haggis and “Fuck the Real


• Amber J. Hedges

Raygun Cowboys’ red hot, rockin’ horn section.




what is love?

I’m a 33-year-old woman from Melbourne, Australia, dating a 24-yearold

man. We’ve been dating for about eight months; it is exclusive and

official. He’s kind and sweet, caring and giving, and his penis is divine.

The thing is, he confessed to me recently that he doesn’t really “feel.”

The way he explained it is, the only emotions he feels are fear and

anxiousness that he’ll disappoint the people he cares about. He says

he’s never been in love. He said his dad is the same way. The only time

I see him really “feel” are when he’s high, which he is semi-frequently.

He uses MDMA and he comes alive. He seems the way a “normal”

person does when they’re in love, but when he’s sober, it’s like he’s

trying to mimic the things a person in love would say or do. I confessed

I am falling in love with him recently and told him I wasn’t saying this

with any expectation of him feeling the same; I just wanted him to

know. He responded that he cares for me a lot—but that’s it. I’m now

worried that he’ll never love me. I don’t want kids, so time isn’t critical

for me, but I don’t want to be with someone who won’t ever love me.

–Lacking One Vaunted Emotion

You didn’t use the P-word (psychopath) or the S-word (sociopath),

LOVE, but both came to mind as I was reading your letter. Someone

who isn’t capable of feeling? Isn’t that textbook P-word/S-word stuff?

“The fear with someone who doesn’t ‘feel’ is that they may be a

psychopath or a sociopath, terms that are used interchangeably,”

said Jon Ronson, author of The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through

the Madness Industry. “And lots of the items on the psychopath

checklist relate to an inability to experience deep emotions—like

Shallow Affect, Lack of Empathy and Lack of Remorse. However, I

have good news for LOVE! This line: ‘The only emotions he really

feels are fear and anxiousness that he’ll disappoint the people he

cares about’ is the critical one. Psychopaths do not feel anxiety. In

fact, my favorite thing a psychologist said to me about this was:

‘If you’re worried you may be psychopath, that means you aren’t

one.’ Also, psychopaths don’t care about disappointing loved-ones!

All those emotions that relate to an overactive amygdala—fear,

remorse, guilt, regret, empathy—psychopaths don’t feel them.”

So your boyfriend’s not a psychopath. Not that you asked. But,

you know, just in case you were worried. Anyway…

My hunch is that your boyfriend’s problem isn’t an inability to

feel love, LOVE, but an inability to recognize the feelings he’s having

as love. (Or potentially love, as it’s only been eight months.) What

is romantic love but a strong desire to be with someone? The urge

to be sweet to them, to take care of them, to do for them? Maybe

he’s just going through the motions with you—a conscious mimicit-till-you-make

it strategy—or maybe the double whammy of a

damaged dad and that toxic masculinity stuff sloshing around out

there left him blocked, LOVE, or emotionally constipated. And while

MDMA can definitely be abused—moderation in all things, kids,

including moderation—the effect it has on him is a hopeful sign.

MDMA is not an emotional hallucinogen; the drug has been used

in couples counseling and to treat PTSD, not because it makes us

feel things that aren’t there (in the way a hallucinogen makes us see

things that aren’t there), but because it allows genuine feelings to

surface and, for a few hours, to be felt intensely. So he can feel love—

he just has to learn how to tap into those feelings and/or recognize

them without an assist from MDMA Jon Ronson had one last bit of

advice for you, LOVE: “Marry him and his divine penis!

I agree with Jon, of course, but a long, leisurely engagement is

definitely in order. You’ve only been seeing this guy and his divinity

dick for eight months—don’t propose to him for at least another

year, LOVE, and make marriage conditional upon him seeing a

shrink four times as often as he sees his MDMA dealer.

Follow Jon Ronson on Twitter @jonronson, read all of his books

(So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed? is urgently required reading

for anyone who spends time online), and check out his amazing

podcast, The Butterfly Effect. To access all things Jon Ronson, go to

My boyfriend of 1.5 years shared (several months into dating) that

he has a fantasy of having a threesome. I shared that I had also

fantasized about this but I never took my fantasies seriously. Right

away, he started sending me Craigslist posts from women and couples

looking for casual sex partners. I told him I wasn’t interested in doing

anything for real. A few months later, we went on vacation and I said I

wanted to get a massage. He found a place that did “sensual” couples

massage. I wanted nothing to do with this. During sex, he talks about

the idea of someone else being around. This does turn me on and I

like thinking about it when we are messing around. But I don’t want

to have any other partners. I’m like a mashup of Jessica Day, Leslie

Knope, and Liz Lemon if that gives you an idea of how not-for-me

this all is. When I say no to one idea, he comes up with another one. I

would truly appreciate some advice.

–Boyfriend Into Group Sex I’m Not

Short answer: Sexual compatibility is important. It’s particularly

important in a sexually-exclusive relationship. You want a sexually-exclusive

relationship; your boyfriend doesn’t want a sexually-exclusive

relationship—so you two aren’t sexually compatible, BIGSIN,

and you should break up.


Slightly longer answer: Your boyfriend did the right thing by

laying his kink cards on the table early in the relationship—he’s into

threesomes, group sex, and public sex—and you copped to having

fantasies about threesomes, BIGSIN, but not a desire to experience

one. He took that as an opening: maybe if he could find the

right person/couple/scenario/club, you would change your mind.

Further fueling his false hopes: you get turned on when he talks

about having “someone else around” when you two have sex. Now

lots of people who very much enjoy threesomes and/or group sex

were unsure or hesitant at first, but gave in to please (or shut up)

a partner, and wound up being glad they did. If you’re certain you

could never be one of those people—reluctant at first but happy

your partner pressed the issue—you need to shut this shit down, Liz

Lemon style. Tell him no more dirty talking about this shit during

sex, no more entertaining the idea at all. Being with you means giving

up this fantasy, BIGSIN, and if he’s not willing to give it up—and

to shut up about it—then you’ll have to break up.

I’m an 18-year-old woman who has been with my current

boyfriend for a year, but this has been an issue across all of my

sexual relationships. In order to reach climax, I have to fantasize

about kinky role-play-type situations. I don’t think I want to

actually act out the situations/roles because of the degrading/

shameful feelings they dredge up, but the idea of other people

doing them is so hot. This frustrates me because it takes me out

of the moment with my partner. I’m literally thinking about other

people during sex when I should be thinking about him! What

can I do to be more in the moment?

–Distracted Earnest Girlfriend Requires A Different Excitement

Actually, doing the kinky role-play-type things you “have to” fantasize

about in order to come would help you feel more connected

to your boyfriend—but to do that, DEGRADE, you need to stop

kink-shaming yourself. So instead of thinking of those kinky roleplay-type

things as degrading or shameful, think of them as exciting

and playful. Exciting because they excite you (duh), and playful

because that’s literally what kinky role-play-type things are: play.

It’s cops and robbers for grownups with your pants off, DEGRADE,

but this game doesn’t end when mom calls you in for dinner, it

ends when you come. So long as you suppress your kinks—so

long as you’re in flight from the stuff that really arouses you—your

boyfriend will never truly know you and you’ll never feel truly

connected to him.


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