FairyTales Film Fest • Sheer Mag • The Allovers • Crystal Method • Hammerfall • Jill Barber
TABLE OF CONTENTS
EAST TOWN GET DOWN
Skate Club, Skateboard Furniture, Collecting Detective,
Graphic Novel, YYC Scene, Horoscopes
FairyTales Film Festival, Mike Hooves, Vidiot
The Allovers, Sheer Mag, Cancer Bats, Wonder
Years, Pre Nup, Chris Reimer, Scratch Buffalo,
MomentsFest, Frog Eyes, Palomino Anniversary,
Supersuckers, Shooting Guns, Peter and the
edmonton extra 38-41
Double Lunch Anniversary, Whisper Suite, The
Hearts, Fire Next Time, Northwest Fest, Artisan
Loyalist, Mercy Funk, Eye On Edmonton
BOB LOG III
Women, whiskey and good, ol’ Bob
Saturday, May 19
The Crystal Method, Pictureplane, Let’s Get Jucy
Jill Barber, Kensington Sinfonia, Rosie & The Riveters,
Brujeira, Power Trip, Hammerfall, Month in Metal
Courtney Barnett, Arctic Monkeys, Mariel Buckley,
Iceage, and more
King Woman, Yamantaka//Sonic Titan, PVRIS,
savage love 63
Social Media Coordinator
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
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 •
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BEATROUTE • MAY 2018 | 3
Art Gallery of Alberta
LandMark: A New Chapter Acquisition Project
The exhibition, LandMark, features new works by Alberta Indigenous artists: Brenda Draney, Tanya
Harnett and Terrance Houle. For each of these artists, the land and landscape of their home territory
in Alberta has provided inspiration for the creation of works that address time and ancestry, nature
and the environment, community and story-telling. Working in painting, photography and video,
the work of these three artists present the land, not as geography or vista, but as intimate and person
places that are marked by lived experience.
LandMark is the second in a series of exhibitions supported by a Canada Council for the Arts “New
Chapter” grant, that showcase new acquisitions to the AGA’s permanent collection of work by Indigenous,
Métis and Inuit artists.This is one of the 200 exceptional projects funded through the Canada
Council for the Arts’ New Chapter program.
April 28 – November 11, 2018
Camping Included. Gates Open 6pm Wednesday June 20th.
No Pets. No Canned Music.
4 | MAY 2018 • BEATROUTE
DOLLY WIGGLER CABARET
WHAT’S WITH THE DOLLS?
A raucous night of puppetry for adult audiences, produced by a bunch of wild
and weird theatre types who aptly named themselves, CAOS – Calgary Animated
Objects Society. Cabaret director Xstine Cook stole the Dolly Wiggler
term from famous marionette virtuoso Ronnie Burkett, who uses it to describe
the art form of puppetry.
WHO’S THE COMPÈRE?
A fancy word for emcee, famous Cirque du Soleil clown Mooky Cornish is
a legendary compère with a closet to rival Liberace. Working with New York
vaudevillian Shane Baker, “a nice Jewish goy,” Mooky will unveil some new tricks
up her sleeveless dress.
WHERE’S THE BEER?
Calgary’s #1 Legion is the perfect cabaret venue, inspiring rapture previously
only experienced in 1920s Paris. Okay so there’s no absinthe on tap, but the
Wiggler is a licensed, 18+ event. VIP tickets get you special front row seats.
WHEN DO PUPPETS HAVE POWER?
WP Puppet Theatre’s inspiring Puppet Power runs the same weekend, and
the Dolly Wiggler showcases brilliant artists from that conference, including
Ireland’s Beyond the Bark, Puppet Mongers, Bighetty Brothers from Manitoba,
and Mulat Puppet Theatre from the Phillipines.
WHY DO PUPPETS SLAM?
The Dolly Wiggler is supported by the Puppet Slam Network, a brainchild of
Jim Henson’s daughter Heather. Catch the latest brilliance from Calgary’s own
puppet greats Long Grass Studio, Alice Nelson, Elaine Weryshko and a whole
HOW THE HELL?
CAOS founder Xstine Cook was inspired to start the annual Dolly Wiggler at
a cabaret run by a group of performer friends in a squat across from a police
station in Amsterdam’s Red Light District. Coz Calgary deserves the best.
photo: Sean Dennie
Dolly Wiggler Cabaret: Friday, June 1 and Saturday, June 2
Royal Canadian Legion No. 1, 116 7th Ave. S.E. 8 p.m.
Tix$25 – $40. 403-266-1503
For more info go to animatedobjects.ca/dolly-wiggler-cabaret
photo: Sean Dennie
photo: Doug Wong
BEATROUTE • MAY 2018 | 7
INTERNATIONAL AVENUE COMES ALIVE!!
70 great bands, 8 great rooms
May 26 – see p.30
International Avenue is an area full of pride. We
are proud of our people, we are proud of our
food, we are proud of our art, and our multiculturalism.
We are resilient, with some of our
local businesses being around more than 50
years to attest. And we are dynamic, with new
businesses, activities and artworks arriving in the
neighbourhood with each passing year.
And now, we are proud to be host to Calgary’s
newest independent music festival – East Town
This festival represents the strength of International
Avenue: the unique intimacy and cultural
flare of our venues. It also highlights us as a
destination within Calgary. When music lovers
arrive to attend East Town Get Down, they will
undoubtedly discover a treasure they hadn’t
known previously. It may be a delicious new
cuisine enjoyed at Ensira, having their eye caught
by the extensive workshop behind the stage
at FUSE33 Makerspace, or a conversation with
someone who calls Greater Forest Lawn home...
All augmented by the incredible variety and
amazing talent of so many Calgary bands and
Please, accept our invitation to East Town Get
Down, get your wristband now, and come find
out all the wonderful things that International
Avenue has to offer.
• Alison Karim-McSwiney
Business Revitalization Zone (BRZ)
A MESSAGE FROM MAYOR NENSHI
On behalf of my City Council colleagues and the citizens of Calgary, it is my pleasure to welcome you to
the inaugural East Town Get Down Music Festival 2018!
This exciting festival is a result of the collaboration between the International Avenue BRZ and the Major
Minor Music Project whose intention is to expose Calgary music lovers to all that International Avenue
and East Calgary have to offer. East Calgary holds a special place in my heart. I love the diversity and
tremendous vibrant energy that it encapsulates. A music festival such as this will undoubtedly add even
more flair to this already wonderfully colorful community.
I commend all who have made this festival possible and extend a warm welcome to all of the amazing
artists and neighbours, alike. I hope you have the most amazing day celebrating together.
Naheed K. Nenshi
8 | MAY 2018 • BEATROUTE
100 % SKATE CLUB
takes on a fashionable future
BY KYLE WOOLMAN
Newbie skaters getting some experienced insight during the House of Vans pop-up event.
Among the live music, art installations and fact, girls out there skateboarding and now there’s
local independent vendors, there was one this vibrant, awesome community where everybody
thing that uniquely stood out during last month’s
can meet each other and learn together.”
House of Vans pop-up event, which attracted
Vans Canada and %100 Skate Club successfully
10,000 music fans, young skate enthusiasts and
teamed up promoting the future is now for
whole lot of parents to Stampede Park. If you were women’s skateboarding by demonstrating that
hanging around the Big Four building between big players in the industry are now putting female
April 14-15 you probably noticed the Get Onboard riders on their teams.
all-girls skate clinic hosted by Calgary’s own %100 Jacobs says, “These young girls that are skating at
age eight can think, maybe I can skate for Vans one
The %100 Skate Club, set up specifically for day, or maybe I can skate for Blind or Element one
female riders, is the brainchild of founder Erica day. It’s great that they now have these role models
Jacobs whose growing organization over the past and thank heavens for those women who pushed
four years has been a real push forward for women’s
through all those barriers to become pro.”
With more young women stepping out on the
“Last year we had 80 girls sign up to participate, ramp, a change is also taking place in skate apparel
so I’m hoping this year to break 100 for %100 designed for females. For years if a girl wanted
Skate,” chuckles Jacob optimistically.
to wear skate gear it usually meant a men’s small
The main goal for %100 Skate is to encourage t-shirt and men’s skate shoes, but now they are
and help break down barriers for girl skaters, giving able to buy skate apparel that not only fits but also
them a safe place where they have friends, get is fashionable.
support and learn skateboarding skills. The name “Take snowboarding for example,” explains
%100 was to make the club sound more inclusive Jacob. “Women’s snowboard clothing wasn’t really
and catchy, but not too girly, trying to steer away a thing. But now you can get brand name quality
from frivolous names like the “Sparkle Skate stuff like Burton.
Club”. Jacobs explains her motive to start the club She adds, “I think women in general just like
stemmed from her own personal experience that fashion. As a woman skateboarder I want to look
historically has been seen as a “man’s sport”. fashionable for sure. I would say that women’s
“When I started to skate there really weren’t any skateboard fashion will take off similarly to snowboarding,
girl skateboarders, so right now it’s really new and
at least I hope so.”
exploratory. I think every year %100 Skate Club will
keep unfolding into whatever it’s supposed to be. I More info about 100% Skate Club is on Facebook
wanted to see by creating the club if there were, in www.facebook.com/pg/100percentskateclub/
10 | MAY 2018 • BEATROUTE
YYSCENE’s quick scan go-to guide for MAY
So much going on in May!
And what better way to start
the month than with the
Calgary International Beerfest
taking place May 4 & 5 at
the BMO Centre. More into
ballet? Who isn’t? All of Us
featuring the music of The
Tragically Hip presented by
Alberta Ballet takes place
May 4 & 5 also (don’t do one
then the other — you know
what I’m saying). Dance! Go
see Karl Nimeni is Not Dead -
I Killed Karl Nimeni presented
by Dancing Monkey Laboratories
May 4-6 at Theatre
Junction GRAND. Now, to the
May 4 sees Infected Mushroom
with guests at The Palace,
and Preoccupations does a
two-night stint at The Palomino,
May 4 & 5. On May 5, Chris
Reimer: Posthumous LP Release
Dolly Wiggler Cabaret – Royal Canadian Legion #1
of Hello People at The Palomino
(early show). The 2018 Calgary
Music Collector’s Show takes place at Acadia Rec Centre May 6, and then later that evening
head to MacEwan Hall to check out Hollywood Babble-On: Kevin Smith & Ralph Garman at
MacEwan Hall. On the 9th? MGMT is at the Big Four Building. Go.
More stuff? Sure! On May 12 The Glitch Mob will be at the Marquee Beer Market &
Stage with Elohim & Anomalie and May 15 you can check out David Sedaris at the Jubilee!
Or, maybe you’re more of a Supersuckers fan, in which case you’ll want to see them
with A-Bomb and The Foul English at The Palomino. May 17 is Queens of the Stone Age
at the Saddledome, and for some LOL action, head to the Jack Singer on May 18 for
British comedian Jimmy Carr (two shows! Pick one!).
Slayer. Yes, Slayer with Lamb of God, Anthrax (chickens in my head! wait ...), Behemoth
and Testament will be at the Big Four — AA, go early! May 21 finds everyone’s fave
Talking Head, David Byrne and his America Utopia Tour at the Jubilee, on May 25 we see
Audien with guests at The Palace, and on May 26 the East Town Get Down featuring a
multitude — MULTITUDE! — of local bands celebrating the amazingness that is International
Avenue. May 29 we’ve got An Evening with Bon Iver at the Corral, and on May 31
it’s the one and only Weird Al Yankovic: Ill-Advised Vanity Tour with guest Emo Philips at
Grey Eagle Event Centre.
Into June we have the Dolly Wiggler Cabaret (short form puppetry for adults!) at the
Royal Canadian Legion #1 on June 1 & 2, or Tritonal at The Palace June 1. Your call.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
THE COLLECTING DETECTIVE
Movie collectibles: Here’s lookin’ at you, kid!
BY DAVID DALEY
The Gamblers cinema slide 1919.
Moving-picture shows have captivated advertisements that came in sets of four, or
the buying public since they first started eight, and were displayed in, you guessed it,
squeezing out vaudeville stage acts and filling theatre lobbies.
local theatres in the early 1900s. These “photo Cinema slides were popular from about
plays” were silent, of course, but the piano (or 1905 to the mid-1920s, when “talkies”
organ) was there to fill the air with music and began to take over. These 3¼ x 4” glass-plate
help the viewers get into the spirit of the film. photographs were loaded into lantern-style
Most of those movies are now lost to the ages, projectors that cast images and text onto
but the lively sheet music scores with their the screen before and after shows and during
decorative covers remain for collectors to seek intermissions. Slides showcased coming
features, told jokes or tried to peddle Shinola
Movie collectibles are now a massive consumer
to a captive audience. Examples can be found
industry with some items going for mil-
in colour, or beautiful black white, and often
lions of dollars, but you don’t have to be Richie have a space on them for the projectionist’s
Rich to take some of the silver screen magic own notes. Starting at about $15 per plate
home with you. Here’s the skinny, there’s all on eBay, these glassy images are lot of fun to
kinds of really cool stuff you can snag for a song collect and learn about.
— if you’ve got your wits about you. I mean Ephemera such as ticket stubs are considered
serious film collectibles, not the mass-produced desirable to some, while others worship celebrity
commercial crud. I’m talking about fascinating
autographs. Naturally, there’s no shortage
historical relics that you can sink your teeth into of demand for vintage “stag” reels and unique
— the meaty, seedy underbelly of Hollywood film-associated toys.
Babylon, not the glut of mainstream dreck that More specialized collecting interests are best
the chumps lick up these days. Whether it’s explored through online markets and forums,
storyboards, soundtrack records, 8 x 10” photo but there’s also a fair amount of late 20th century
stills or the hard-copy movies in their various
movie swag that turns up at garage sales and
media formats, a trove of nifty knick-knacks flea markets. Collectors groups on social media
awaits the discerning collector.
are also an asset when hunting down merchandise
Visual art has long been trying to sell show
and connecting with likeminded curators
tickets and movie posters, and are the seat-fillers
of cinema memorabilia. Cinememorablia?
of the film collectibles world. Sought for Anyway, The Calgary VHS Tape Swap group
their genre categories, artistic quality and star on Facebook regularly posts the latest delectable
appeal, these enduringly, hot what-nots range
movie camp — buying, selling and trading
widely in price and availability. Few examples among members. Word to the wise, their swapmeet
survived the scrap paper drives of World War II,
hoards are a rich source of horror titles for
but you can still acquire some remarkably cool those looking to feed their analog addiction.
movie posters without losing your shirt.
Collectors go gaga for the oversized prints Visit the Calgary VHS Tape Swap here:
destined for billboard paste-jobs at drive-ins. www.facebook.com/groups/CalgaryVHS/
Meanwhile, lobby cards were smaller movie
ARTS BEATROUTE • MAY 2018 | 11
ARIES (MARCH 21 - APRIL 20)
Uranus has been in Aries for the past 7 years and is ready
to transit. Uranus seems to indicate behaviour patterns, if it
had an affirmation it would be “I behave..” Transits of Uranus
allow us to break free from old patterns in life and re-evaluate
anything from our style and purpose to our relationships and
long-term goals. It may feel as though the energy inside of
you is heating up ready to release and break through. With an
invigorating horizon on the other side of this breakthrough
check in with your motivations, versions of self that are
crumbling and forming and allow sincerity to emerge. Mercury
stations direct in your sign this cycle and Mercury is a strong
influencer of communication. Check in with what you say, how
much, how little and your quality. Consider tone as you deliver
what’s important to you. The sound of your own vibration can
and will heal yourself and others. Remember Aries, Magic is
alive and it’s in you.
Song suggestion for the month: “God is Alive, Magic is Afoot”
TAURUS (APRIL 21 - MAY 21)
Changes and challenges are the tapestry that surrounds your
life currently. Are you going to get on board and allow the
changes to transform you? You can pretend that they aren’t
happening, but really what will that do for your overall life
momentum? To quote Leonard Cohen “There is a crack in
everything, that’s how the light gets in.” Right now, it may
feel as if some large foundational cracks are happening, trust
that these are happening to allow you to heal and rejuvenate
the energy of your life. Self-sabotage may step in as a form of
self-protection, so keep your awareness on what is breaking
and what you are making. Like a shark in the water keep on
swimming forward no matter what the currents bring. You
have gone into some challenging corners of your subconscious
and with that an unlock of creative energy. Allow this level up
to bring you up and let your charm shine on.
Song suggestion for the month: “Armida” - Lust for Youth
GEMINI (MAY 22 - JUNE 21)
Good fortune, community, hopes and dreams- the energy of
your 11th house, which is in Aries, is a flurry of activity this
cycle. Did you just find a four-leaf clover alongside quicksand?
Because life may start to feel like it! Unpacking communication
with those close to you in an honest way is highlighted to set
up relationships that hold weight for your future. Look around
you to those that may not be your inner circle but that hold
messages for you in your social life. There are some messages
that you need to communicate, a sense of a communication
issue is bubbling up in the communities that you are in and
around. What do you need to communicate? Why are you
choosing not to communicate it? Boundaries, structure, rules
that can be bent versus those that need to hold their weight
and integrity. These are all aspects that come up, as you share
your energy with many. The timeframe of May 8th to 11th
holds essential information about what’s taking shape behind
the scenes for you. As this integrates it charges you up, so be
aware of the power of your words at this time. Use your words
wisely; they are spells that you are casting.
Song suggestion for the month: “Rare Things Grow” -Kaitlyn
... the unfolding forevermore paired with a song specifically curated for your sign
(JUNE 22 - JULY 23) photo: Jessica Wittman
clarify and repeat. Thoughtful
integrity shines through you
as you communicate your
deeper heart truths this cycle.
Water symbolizes the changing
nature of the Universe. Being
the fluid and ever-feeling water
sign that you are the changes
that you are going through
are in turn changing the environments
you find yourself
in. Look at how your internal
Universe is being mirrored by
your daily experience. Uranus
has been hanging out in your
10th house since 2011 and is
about to shift. The 10th house
deals with public roles and
career so take time to review
at what has changed in your
responsibilities to community,
innovations and unique role as
a leader. Your independence on the career-front is growing increasingly
important. Take note of how you can grow in your freedom
and reach out to those who share helping hands and hearts to
support this unfolding with you. There is an upgrade in your party
signals this month, so let the good times roll and feel the abundance
of love and friendship in your life.
Song suggestion for the month: “Thor’s Stone” - Forest Swords
LEO (JULY 24 - AUG. 23)
Shake, shake, shake it up this month! The energy of this cycle is
allowing you to receive transmissions of innovative and direction
altering information. There may be some uncomfortable experiences
as you try on some new opportunities. Like your new favourite
shoes, sometimes it just takes a little time to break things in. You
have been seeking, discovering and forging a dream-inspired path
for a while now. Trust your journey and plan for unforeseen opportunities
that may set you in a different direction. Uranus is moving
into your 10th house of career and there is now a seven-year period
you are transitioning into that creates a new major theme within
your profession. Invisible accomplishments and visible accomplishments
are swelling allowing you to feel a sunny disposition.
Remember to keep your feet on the ground as you continue to soar
higher towards the sun. You are expanding and have worked hard
for this expansion. Keep mind of those who have helped you build
your heights and offer them the same power and support.
Song suggestion for the month: “Ms. Secret” - Avey Tare
VIRGO (AUG. 24 - SEPT. 23)
8th, 5th and 9th house is where your astrology themes are popping
this cycle. 8th house being collaborative efforts and resources
alongside mental forces. Have you had time to check in with deeper
emotions? Big decisions to make? The information you need is
waiting in the wings; it may be a bit further of a reach then usual
to gather it this month though. Be patient with choices, a few may
seem right until one feels fully clear. Give yourself the time you
BY WILLOW HERZOG
need for ultimate clarity. The creativity of the 5th and 9th houses
are highlighting your creative power this cycle, keep on creating like
the dynamic powerhouse that you are. Take your strength seriously
and focus on daily rituals. May 7th a professional relation will need
a little clarity so be ready to clarify and talk it out. Allow space for
new experience this cycle that connects you to the energy of Earth,
collecting sunlight and fresh air will do wonders for your sense of
Song suggestion for the month: “See Me”- Tei Shi
LIBRA (SEPT. 24 - OCT. 23)
Who has come into your life this month in a new way? Take a
retrospective glance at the relationships that are forming, forged
and teaching you about peering down a new reality tunnel. Don’t
overindulge this month as it will be a fun-filled one in which you
may want to throw caution to the wind and burn through your
bank book. Little luxuries will be key. Share the abundance (material
or not) that you have obtained with the greater community in
unexpected and creative ways. This gratitude offering will create
vibes of wellbeing for the collective. Patch up the missing pieces of
your foundation that are tying you to your past in a way you no
longer need to be connected to it. This may be in the realm of heartbreak
or family issues, look at your inner life and figure out what
allows you to feel safe and transformative. Business and personal
relationships are helping you to understand boundaries this month,
remember it’s okay to be both the incredible host and lover but also
say “No” and feel okay about it. Shine bright like the diamond you
are this cycle and save room for self-love.
Song suggestion for the month: “You Could Be More As You Are” -
SCORPIO (OCT. 24 - NOV. 22)
Uranus is moving into your 7th house of committed relationships
bringing with it new partners and opportunities. Energy is shifting,
moving, cleansing and an update of important relationships is
merging with new beginnings. Uranus is creating an influence of
freedom and creativity as relationships in your life nourish and blos-
12 | MAY 2018 • BEATROUTE
som. Watch how many energetic influences are around you as the
connections you have and make create intoxication on an energetic
level. This can be incredibly transformative as long as you give yourself
the time and space to process all the experience. You are feeling
motivated to direct your creative energy in a tangible way this
cycle, especially through the poetics of your communication. Tap
into your messages and share with others wholeheartedly. Saturn is
stationing retrograde in your 3rd house of communication and your
intelligence is asking you to step into greater discipline with your
daily routine. Saturn is pulling into focus a review of how you have
been building your future lives on the road to your dreams. Feel
empowered by the courage you have been cultivating and use that
to expand boldly and intentionally.
Song suggestion for the month: “Maria También” - Khruangbin
SAGITTARIUS (NOV. 23 - DEC. 21)
The Universe is smiling on you and you may not even know it. Just
beyond the doorway of your current frame of reference lay forces,
opportunities and contacts that have taken notice of your work.
The next few months will start to illustrate those who will connect
you further to your purpose as unknown and foreshadowed
potential starts to emerge from an ever-unfolding woodwork. This
cycle is about your creativity, vision, career and how you set up the
foundations of your life. Checking back in with your motivations
for how and why you operate in the way you do will create some
crystal-clear clarity. There are some relationships in your life right
now that may seem confusing, that’s okay just be at peace with that
and allow the confusion to live itself out until dynamics become
clear. Clarity Baby, there is whole reality tunnel of it waiting for you
once you make it through this cycle.
Song suggestion for the month: “Black Willow”- Loma
CAPRICORN (DEC. 22 - JAN. 20)
Perhaps things have been a little like in-flight turbulence this
cycle. Soon you will be smooth sailing through the cosmos, so
hold on, peace is on the rise.
You have been transitioning into new roles within relationships
and alongside that you have been breaking the norm of
outdated structures of how you see yourself. Uranus is moving
into your 5th house of creative energy and there is a bubbling
potency for your creative potential. Astrologically it feels as
if a blindfold has come off and is staying off as you excavated
the honesty within your relationships and a deep transformation
has taken place. It’s time for some bliss and celebration
regarding personal breakthroughs. Saturn, your ruling planet,
is stationing retrograde for the next five months asking you to
take a look at the structures, daily rituals and commitments
you have formed and are forming. What are you going to make
with this blank canvas in your creative life right now? A little
structure + a little creativity = magic. Know whatever beautiful
creation you dream into being at this time is very supported
by the stars.
Song suggestion for the month: “Water People”- Grouper
AQUARIUS (JAN. 21 - FEB. 19)
Intimate and close relationships take center stage this cycle.
Your forms of communication are awakening as you create
new channels for the dynamics in which you exist. It may feel
as if you have been craving routine as much as you love change
in your day to day travel. There is an intense creative energy
that is changing the way in which you structure your time.
Mercury stationing direct is creating a release of energy that
embodies a greater sense of freedom in that way in which you
earn your living. Stay with the opportunities that feel aligned
with your expansion and wellbeing even if they require a level
of sacrifice and challenge your self-doubt. Deconstruct the
habits that have created self-destructive loops and put in the
time for your inner self work. If feelings of ungroundedness
come up for you this cycle find ways to stay present and connected
to your current reality. Don’t go building castles in the
sky until you have built your castle on the ground first.
Song suggestion for the month: “Wayward Son” - Zachary Cale
PISCES (FEB. 20 - MAR. 20)
Communication, projects, community and siblings are the
places of change for you this cycle. Experimentation of how to
support yourself while looking at your resources and talents
in an organized way will allow you to build a strong structure.
There is a major refresh that’s awakening new shapes and
structures that feed the parts of your life for you and your
community. There is a strong desire to be among innovators
of change within the community. You may be asked to look
at your leadership role within your social circles and how you
can hold space for others. There is a stabilization and deeper
connection happening with the energy of new friends and
new relationships in your life at this time. As Saturn stations
retrograde there is a spotlight that shines on you and asks you
to show up with the greater integrity you know you are capable
of. It’s time to get out your crystal ball Pisces and look into
your future. Create a map of how your short-term plans and
long-term plans can line up and create nourishing expansion.
Your future self will thank you.
Song suggestion for the month: “Shine a Light (feat. Thaddillac)”
- Shabazz Palaces
ARTS BEATROUTE • MAY 2018 | 13
The little fest that grew and grew
despite threats to cut funds and plant bombs
This years festival will mark the 20th anniversary
of Fairy Tales Film Festival’s opening. Over
the past 20 years, Fairy Tales has shown great
resilience and grown into a non-profit organization
focused on supporting LGBTQ voices. If that’s
not enough to wow you, they even made their
own movie this year.
Festival Director, James Demers, says, “I think
it’s really significant that Calgary has maintained
a steady and well organized and kind of forward
thinking queer film festival in a city that doesn’t,
hasn’t always been a bastion for visibility. I think
that was really interesting and I think we’ve
started to see people coming to the festival who
are starting to be interested in stories that don’t
personally relate to their experience, which I think
has inherent value.”
According to Demers this is particularly
important because, “Queer spaces are becoming
fewer and farther in between. We’re losing bars.
So, a place where the community can gather is
actually vanishingly rare. We provide one of those
spaces, and I think there’s real value in that.”
Yet, that doesn’t mean Fairy Tales went unnoticed.
Before the festival was established they held
an event at the Glenbow Museum. Demers says,
“There was a precursor to Fairy Tales called The
Fire Within, that was a short three film series held
at the Glenbow. There were massive protests for
the Glenbow partnering with that. They had their
funding very seriously threatened by a bunch of
private donors and chose to support the festival
anyway. So we, the organizers at the time, made
what they call the elevator pitch of the season and
ran down there to change that.”
But, the threats didn’t stop there.
In the early years, Fairy Tales received “bomb
BY GREGORY BALANKO-DICKSON
threats.” Although none of the threats were credible.
“All you need to do is call in a bomb threat to
try and call off a festival,” says Demers.
Despite the protests, Fairy Tales grew in
popularity. “It was so popular,” says Demers, “that
we eventually ended up in a situation where
Fairy Tales really needed to be its own thing. The
interest was really high and the critical discussions
around the films and the way that the films were
selected was taking a lot more time, and so developing
it into its own organization made the most
Other programs are being developed at Fairy
Tales, including an “artists in residence” program,
and a “transgendered education” program that
will be some of the “first curriculum specific”
courses that teach medical students how to
“address the concerns of trans patients.”
“Our programs have a lot of opportunities
for community members and allies alike,” says
And while creating these opportunities isn’t
always an easy task, Demers and his team are
always up for the challenge.
“Trying to create opportunities for you to be
represented in media is a complicated task. It
takes a lot of work and forethought and critical
self reflection to create an event that is authentic
to experiences that are so rarely shown,” says
Demers, “there’s a lot of experimentation and
creative work and I think that adds to the pool of
queer films to be totally honest.”
Demers believes that these films give the
LGBTQ community the opportunity to see
“self-representation” and “teaches you that there
is something beyond your struggle to strive for,
and that you deserve that.”
flims to be seen and experienced
As the largest queer film festival in Canada
outside of Vancouver and Toronto, the Fairy
Tales Film Festival has attracting over 35,000 patrons
since 1999 featuring dozens of entertaining
and thought-provoking films each year.
When you’ve spent the last 20 years as a pillar
in the arts community, the expectation to deliver
new and exciting programming can be daunting.
Fairy Tales, however, does this with ease and has
curated the best of the best in queer cinema for
their week long festival in May. Here are some
of BeatRoute’s picks for what we think are your
best bets for this year’s fest. Congrats on 20 years,
Based on the book of the same name, Disobedience
stars your two favourite Rachels (Weisz
and McAdams) as Ronit and Esti, two women
who rekindle their teenage romance when Ronit
(Weisz) returns home to their Orthodox Jewish
community. A heavy drama that touches on
religion, desire, and sexuality (and the repression
of all three), Disobedience has earned critical
acclaim for Weisz’s and McAdam’s performances,
as well as it’s subversion of the ever present malegaze
in the film’s lustful (and much talked about)
A MOMENT IN THE REEDS
Nothing is more tender and nostalgic than a
sweet summer romance, and this Finnish drama
is no exception. Leevi, a university student in Paris
who returns home to Finland over the summer
break to help renovate his estranged families
lakehouse, and Tareq, an architect who has fled
his native Syria and has been hired by Leevi’s
father to help with the renovation, kindle a
romance during their shared summer. With Leevi
anxious to leave Finland behind and start a life in
France, and Tareq still adjusting to his new life in
Finland, both men find struggle with the concept
of “home” and what it means to find acceptance.
BY MORGAN CAIRNS
Signature Move – a wrestling romance.
tell his mother that Brooke is a transwoman.
Challenging the traditions of the American
workplace and family, Woman on Fire is the
uplifting story of a true badass babe that you
won’t want to miss.
REBELS ON POINTE
Like a dream come true, Rebels on Pointe is
the documentary story of Les Ballets Trockadero
de Monte Carlo-an all male drag ballet
troupe. Gaining a cult following in their 40+
years as a company, Les Ballets Trockadero
mixes camp and high art in a way that makes
for delightful documentary subject matter.
Following both the troupe as a whole and the
individual dancers, this playful doc took four
years to film, and is worth every second.
Zaynab is a thirty-something Pakistani lawyer
who spends her days taking care of her TV
obsessed mother, and her nights training
in Lucha wrestling. Having yet to come
out to her mother, Zaynab seems content
to keep her two worlds separate from her
mother; that is, until she meets Alba. While
free-spirited Alba is at first hesitant to form a
relationship with the closeted Zaynab, their
relationship blossoms and they find they both
have something to learn from each other.
While the struggling romance may be at the
centre of this film, Zaynab’s mother, watching
Pakistnai soap operas and peering through
her apartment window with binoculars trying
to find her daughter a husband, is the comic
relief that really steals the show.
WOMAN ON FIRE
One half of May 27’s Gender Warrior double
feature, Woman on Fire is the story of
Brooke Guinan, the first openly transgender
firefighter in New York City. Following Brooke
through her transition, this inspiring doc not
only touches on Brooke’s career as a third
generation FDNY firefighter, but also on her
life outside the firehouse, and how the two
intertwine. Named “New York’s Bravest” by
the Village Voice, Brooke faces the challenges
Go to www.calgaryqueerartssociety.com for the
of being a woman in a typically male profession,
while simultaneously trying to build a
full lineup and schedule.
life with her boyfriend, Jim, who has yet to
FILM BEATROUTE • MAY 2018 | 15
Double down the depths of hell
The Excorcist and The Devil and Father Amorth
hat an excellent day for an exorcism”
“W – the croaking words slither between
cracked, lifeless lips caked with the noxious vile
which proceeded them. Two entities are scarcely
visible in a room devoid of light – an exorcist,
and the shell of what was once a vivacious
12-year-old girl named Regan MacNeil. Digging
into the days proceeding this moment in cinematic
history would strike a collection of images
revealing a third, commanding entity which
could only be described as terrifying. Regan,
once a picturesque vision of a perfect daughter,
suddenly transformed into a shocking display
spitting unspeakable profanities and projectile
vomiting impossible amounts of soupy bile, furthermore,
morbidly engaging in masturbation
with a crucifix resulting in bloodied lacerations.
The Exorcist (1973) boasts not only a high rank
in horror history books, but also longevity as it
still shakes contemporary audiences in a way
they surely have not felt before despite having
traipsed through the obnoxious gore of the
torture porn sub-genre that dominated the
The Exorcist was not the first religious horror
film by any means – after all, Mia Farrow birthed
her little devil spawn only a handful of years
earlier in Rosemary’s Baby (1968). Though not
the first to tap into arguably the most haunting
sub-genre of horror, it was the first nominated
for an Academy Award. Given that cinema-goers
were graced with a film that literally had
paramedics called on site to treat viewers from
fainting, I’d consider this a stunning feat for the
under-appreciated genre, and viable proof that
some of us genre fans actually like being scared.
Look Ma, no strings attached! Linda Blair’s levitation scene in The Exorcist.
16 | MAY 2018 • BEATROUTE
BY BREANNA WHIPPLE
But what made The Exorcist so damn scary?
Extending beyond the obviously unsettling
visuals dominating the 122 minute run-time, it
tapped into an frightening area etched in reality.
William Peter Blatty, author of both the novel
predating the film and the screenplay, derived
inspiration from an actual exorcism of an anonymous
young boy from Maryland that occurred
in 1949. From what is known, the boy underwent
numerous exorcisms, and several elements
between the fictitious tale of Regan MacNeil is
linear with the boy upon comparison.
Blatty’s tale is, however, just that – fictitious.
Despite this, it‘s reported that 500,000 Italian
people alone see an exorcist every year. Though
mastering the craft of lavishly presenting the
horrors of demonic possession on film, it would
not be until May of 2016 that director William
Friedkin would witness one in real life.
His latest feature, The Devil and Father Amorth
(2018), is an experience offering a glimpse
into the non-fictitious side of a spiritual practice
he brought to light 45 years ago. Praising the
work of renowned exorcist Father Amorth,
Friedkin witnesses a woman’s ninth exorcism. As
if that were not enticing enough, the documentary
also includes interviews with Friedkin
himself, Blatty, multiple doctors, and a woman
successfully exorcised by Father Amorth. Very
thorough and gripping, The Devil and Father
Amorth is a wonderful addition to the legacy of
the world’s greatest horror film.
Catch The Exorcist and The Devil and Father Amorth
at The Globe Cinema on Fri., May 18.
local filmmaker strives for a naturalistic
Growing up, Calgarian artist Mike Hooves
fed their fascination for animation by
spending hours playing Mario Paint on their
Super Nintendo. Now at 25, Hooves is an
artist, animator, illustrator, and filmmaker
whose work is playful, whimsical and gestural.
“Not completely polished, either,” says
Hooves, “I like it to be a little rough.”
Creating art largely from a queer,
feminine perspective, Hooves also pulls
influence from nature, which they attribute
to their upbringing. “My Dad actually lives
and works in a provincial park, so when I
was younger he took me on a lot of hikes,”
says Hooves. “I still go on hikes, but doing
that when I was younger shaped my art a
This past December, Hooves painted a
winter mountain landscape on the +15
windows in Bankers Hall for the Bud of
Bud Artist Collectives Augmented Reality
Art Show. “I like the mountain-scapes that
are just beyond Calgary that you’re always
seeing when you’re in the city,” expresses
Hooves. “When you see them, there’s that
lingering thought of ‘there’s freedom, it’s so
close to us!’ But it’s outside of Calgary. That
influences my work a lot – that wilderness.”
Continuously building off their naturalistic,
queer, feminine perspective, Hooves
has been shifting their focus from drawing
and design to filmmaking. “I like filmmakers
who work with small budgets,” says Hooves.
“It makes their work more honest in all
aspects of their films.” Over the past year,
they’ve filmed and premiered two of their
own small budget short films; POLYMORH,
which is about Hooves’ gender identity,
BY HANNAH MANY GUNS
and G.E.M., a collaborative documentary
that focuses on Good Life Community
Bike Shop’s weekly Gender Empowerment
Mechanics (G.E.M.) program.
“I actually made these two films at the
same time,” informs Hooves. “I didn’t really
know what I was doing. A day of filming
for me was just trying to pool my experiences
together with the other people who
I had to help me on set, and figuring things
out. I liked to make it so I was working in
spaces where it didn’t feel like I had to rush,
so there was no malice or anything, and
everyone was kind so we’d figure things out
together. It was very collaborative, it was
all about shared knowledge. Nobody really
knew what we were doing overall, but we all
knew how to do little pieces.” For these two
shorts, Hooves’ counts John Waters, Maya
Deren, and Norman McLaren as her inspirations,
along with countless underground
Presently, Hooves is working on a project
with Fairy Tales, Calgary’s Queer Film Festival.
“They’re going into their 20th anniversary
this year, so they’ve commissioned a
short documentary about Calgary’s queer
history,” says Hooves. “I’m on the project
with my partner, and I’m helping mostly
with animation and info-graphics, like animating
a map that shows the locations of
where all our old gay bars used to be.” The
film, Outliers: Calgary’s Queer History, will
premiere at the Plaza Theatre.
For more info on Mike Hooves and their work,
follow them on Instagram at @mikehooves.
All The Money In The World
fresh and funny
THE GREATEST SHOWMAN
Being the ringmaster of a circus means that
you get your pick of the freaks to marry.However,
that rule doesn’t apply to the host in this
musical because he’s already wed.
Following a string of dead-end ventures, entrepreneur
P. T. Barnum (Hugh Jackman) finally
finds his calling under the big top. After trading
in his curio exhibit for the real-thing, adding
a trapeze artist (Zendaya) and a songbird
(Rebecca Ferguson) to his menagerie, Barnum
then partners with an eminent dramatist (Zac
Efron) to bring his show to the masses. Seduced
by his success, Barnum now risks losing his wife
(Michelle Williams) and his performers.
While this socially conscience reinterpretation
of Barnum’s real life has a number of toe
tapping tunes and dance numbers to its credit,
as well as a dynamic performance from Jackman,
it is completely fictional and misleading.
Incidentally, circus sideshows still exist;
they’re just called Walmarts now.
ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD
You know you’ve made it when strangers
kidnap your children for ransom.
So, for the industrialist in this drama, payoffs
are just part of everyday life.
When her son is taken hostage Gail Harris
(Michelle Williams) asks her father-in-law J.
Paul Getty (Christopher Plummer) for the
$17M ransom to free him, but the oil magnate
flatly refuses for fear it will encourage copycats.
He does, however, hire ex-CIA agent Fletcher
Chase (Mark Wahlberg) to look into his grandson’s
release. But when the payment is delayed,
the kidnappers send the heir’s ear in the mail.
Based on the real-life events of 1973 that
brought the reclusive miser into the media
spotlight, exposing his cruelty and stinginess to
the world, director Ridley Scott and cast tell a
compelling and complex tale of the failings of
fortune and family.
Incidentally, avoid kidnapping middle children
as they yield the least amount of ransom.
Poker is one activity where the facially deformed
can really clean up. Unfortunately, the
action in this drama is only open to handsome
From slinging suds in a nightclub to hosting
an underground poker match for her boss that
included celebrity players to eventually running
her own game, Molly Bloom (Jessica Chastain)
was on top of the world by 26. But when an
unspecified celebrity (Michael Cera), doesn’t
get a cut of the take he forces Molly out of LA.
Things go better in NYC, until the mafia and
FBI reshuffle her deck.
The Greatest Showman
Written and directed by Aaron Sorkin, this
18 | MAY 2018 • BEATROUTE
BY SHANE SELLAR
adaptation of Bloom’s own book is reinterpreted
through the acerbic scribe’s witticisms and
rapid-pace repartee. Thankfully, his writing skills
translate to behind the camera, where he gets a
powerhouse performance from Chastain.
Fortunately, you can make up gambling
losses to a movie star by pirating their next
INSIDIOUS: THE LAST KEY
Scientists have concluded that monsters live
underneath beds because they drink kid pee.
Fortunately, the fiend in this horror movie feeds
off of fear, not tinkle.
When medium Elise (Lin Shaye) agrees to
help the new owner of her ancestral home
get rid of the evil spirits within, she takes the
opportunity to reconnect with her estranged
brother (Bruce Davison) and family. But when a
creature called Key Face captures Elise’s niece’s
soul to feed upon, she must travel to the astral
plane to reclaim it, and destroy the entity that
has hounded her family for years.
While this prequel, and fourth installment
in the metaphysical franchise, ties nicely into
the original movie, the mystical realm concept
has definitely run its course. What’s more, the
key-centric villain is utterly laughable, while the
scares are predictable.
Besides, this lady should just be thankful that
her childhood home hasn’t become an infill.
You don’t see many hitwomen around because
they refuse to kill anyone who is cute.
Luckily, the button lady in this action movie
only has ugly marks to eliminate.
When contract killer Mary (Taraji P.
Henson) takes in an underage hustler, she
is forced to kill his connected boss in order
to gain his freedom. But when Mary’s boss
(Danny Glover) is blamed for the hit, it
sets off a turf war with Mary and her ward
caught in the middle. Meanwhile, Mary’s
unexplained guilt towards the child becomes
clearer as the bodies pile up.
Although it harkens back to the violence
of the 1970s Blaxploitation genre, this
modernization of those urban actioneers
lacks their social conscience. Instead, this is
just a muddled mess with highly improbable
action scenes, lackluster dialogue and a
clawless performance from Henson.
Incidentally, female assassins would be
more successful if they stopped sending
He’s the Burnt Toast of the Town. He’s
Four Films in May
April (snow) showers bring May films. Can you think of a better
place to usher in spring than a cool, dark theatre or a hip coffee
shop after dark? Neither can we.
Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives is an universal
experience which every creature must endure. Boonmee (Thanapat
Saisaymar) has led a tumultuous life and now is facing death
due to a kidney disease. Sister-in-law Jen (Jenjira Pongpas) and
caretakers help for Boonmee in his home in the jungle. Over the
course of the film the ghost of Boonmee’s wife appears to him as
help, his son returns as a type of yeti, and additional otherworldly
creatures appear. With firm subject matter, Director Apichatpong
Weerasethakul uses surrealist themes for the subject of
Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives plays at the Globe
Cinema on May 5 at 7 p.m.
The Great Silence is a spaghetti-western directed by Italian director
Sergio Corbucci. Silence (Jean-Louis Trintignant) is a mute
due to bounty-hunters slicing his vocal cords. Silence joins a
team of outlaws and a widow (Vonetta McGee) in a showdown
between corrupt bounty hunters. A star of many Herzog films,
Klaus Kinski plays Loco, the leader of the blood thirsty bounty
hunters. This film shows the extents taken for survival, disregarding
whether the audience will find the choices favourable or not.
Corbucci was influenced by the deaths of both Malcolm X and
Che Guevara. With this he intertwines politically-driven themes
within the film.
The Great Silence Screens at the Globe Cinema on May 12 at 7 p.m.
Lowlife is separated into four vignettes showing pieces of each
character. Crystal (Nicki Micheaux) is a motel owner who houses
undocumented immigrants. One night she is raided due to
Teddy (Mark Burnham), a man of many trades who sells organs
taken from these workers or forces them into prostitution. El
Monstruo (Ricardo Adam Zarate), is a Mexican wrestler with
simmering anger issues working for Teddy. We meet the ex-convict
Randy (Jon Oswald) fresh out of prison with a swastika
tattooed on his face. Regardless of the raid, Crystal comes to
Teddy asking for a kidney for her husband who soon may die.
This strange crew of individuals come together in a messy plan
of getting an kidney for Crystal’s husband. Lowlife is brought to
the screen by Ryan Prows who provides a journey of adrenaline
rushes, tender moments, and dark humour at its finest.
Lowlife opens May 4 at the Globe Cinema
The Big Sleep stars the seductive couple of 1940s Hollywood,
Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, with Bogart playing
detective Philip Marlowe. General Sternwood (Charles Waldron)
hires Marlowe to handle a blackmailer out to get his daughter,
Carmen (Martha Vickers) and meets her husky-voiced sibling,
Vivian (Bacall). As the case goes on Marlowe becomes entangled
in murders of porn dealers and gambling houses in which Vivian
spends most nights. Director Howard Hawks delivers the classic
Raymond Chandler tale as a film noir showing the seedy underbelly
of life and the consequences of being witness to it.
EspressoKino presents The Big Sleep at The Roasterie on May 10 at
• CHLOE LAWSON
a tale of two cities and three guys’s
This whacky power-trio is literally and artistically
all over the map. Guitarist/vocalist and
wordplay specialist, Matt Pahl, resides in Calgary,
while the rhythm section, Garret Kruger (drums)
and Paul Arnusch (bass/vocals) live in Edmonton.
With 300 kilometers in between, they write songs
separately, not too seriously, seldom practice but
still play and produce bona-fide, primo garagey
pop-punk. Recently signed to Chicago’s Anxious
and Angry Records that invests heavily into its
DIY community, Matt Pahl discusses The Allovers’
own crafty, collective spirit and their debut
release, Yer Guises.
The Allovers have a fun mix of style and genres
— surf, old school garage, post-punkish Britpop
vocals and jazzy, prog-like guitar solos.
A real eclectic bag of tricks. Is that how it just
came out, or is the songwriting like adding a
little dash of this, a little dash of that?
Yes, we’re “allover” the place. Sometimes on the
more conventional bubblegum side, sometimes
on the weird, abrasively noisy, or experimental
side. That’s where we try to strike a balance that’s
hopefully appealing. We live in different cities so
we never jam or practice. I give the other guys
demos to work on and they make up their own
out parts on their own. By the time we play something
live we usually have a good idea of what we
want to do and we’ll play the thing a couple of
times together before a show. We tend to agree
on most musical things, so luckily we don’t have
to screw around for hours arguing or figuring
things out together. Paul brings in song demos
the same way too. We dig melody and harmony,
as much as we do riffy parts or whacky, blasts of
Your songs are hilarious with snippets of
adventures, weird and sometimes nonsensical,
let’s talk a little bit about them. “Blue Kangaroo”
invloves drinking champagne in a birch
canoe, running aground, might as well drink
shampoo. What’s going on there?
That was the first ever Allovers’ song and it sort of
established the general motif of the band. Lyrically
it’s just sharing half-baked thoughts and observations
about coping with other people on this
whacky planet. It’s also a sort of playful resignation
from a world preferring Enter Sandman over Mr.
“Dog Team Cooperation” sounds like a proposal
trying to get any organization to work
together. From small rag-tag operations, to
large-scale corporate and bureaucratic frustrations,
to trying to bridge the polarized gap of
everything USA. What’s it really about?
You nailed it. Collaboration, compromise, cooperation
for the greater good. On some levels, we
BY B. SIMM
humanoids are just smelly ol’ dogs sniffing and
strutting around, marking our territory, barking
nonsensically at each other from afar. The song
is just an encouragement piece for the human
race to get together and work as a team, however
idiotic and naive that might sound.
Is “Tub Time” a variation of “splish-splash I
was taking a bath,” a fun throw-your-kid-inthe-bath
Bobby Darin. Nice! Tub Time figuratively refers
to those times when I’m muttering to myself,
sort of like Taxi Driver’s misanthropic voice-over
narration as DeNiro drives through Times Square
at night. That’s the gist of that song. I guess the
message is: In spite of everything, try to look after
“Sugar Shed” reminds me of building a shed in
your back yard, with an observation deck to
drink on. Something along those lines?
Sounds like my kind of DIY, 21st century design
innovation. This song is just about goofing around
with strangers in an abandoned industrial area. I
felt a song about drinking moonshine and dancing
around an old outhouse by moonlight might
be somehow romantic. Add coyotes, owls and
other night critters hanging around. Who knows?
“When Freddie’s Back In Town” is that simply a
Yeah, basically a Thin Lizzy “The Boys are Back in
Town” sort of thing. I always got a kick out of that
song. Like you (the listener) were being let in with
this friendly gang who were “back” and they’re
gonna be “down at Dino’s” so you’d better go and
hang with them. However, the good times in our
version hinge solely on this one charismatic dude
named Fred. He barbeques, buys all the rounds,
they twist, shout and paint the town.
With “Kitty Kat Girl” I can’t decide if this is
about a rockabilly infatuation or a seven year
old hugging her kitty in a stranglehold.
Yeah. The former and the latter works too. This
song was written on the spot in an improv sort of
moment as I was putting my little baby girl to bed
trying to think of something sweet to whisper in
her ear to ease her nerves and calm her down. It’s
also another ten word illustration of how hard a
task I find lyric memorization to be.
“I Remember Beaver Lumber” is obviously a
lament for all the fun things that have now
disappeared, and quite good!
Thanks. This song only mentions products and
brands, but the sentiment is about old friends I
don’t really know anymore. I was kind of going
for a Ray Davies “Do You Remember Walter” sort
of vibe with this number. Times change, all sorts
of things vanish and so do people. I really don’t
photo: Arif Ansari
know where a lot people I used to hang with
ended up, another side of me doesn’t really care
to know. Like, I’d rather remember my elementary
and Jr. high pals as they were, along with Prostars
Wayne Gretzky cereal and Jelly Tots.
Less is more. Especially when you can spew out
a storyline in less than 1:22. Reminds me of
the one-page novelists. But that is the essence
of good pop – Iggy Pop’s Soupy Sales’ formula
of getting the message across in “25 words or
less” that the Ramones reinstated.
I wish my stuff was as good, but yes, I also
subscribe to the KISS principle. Keep it stupid,
simpleton! It’s practical too. There’s usually some
fast guitar chord changes where I’m having to
simultaneously sing. It’s a pat head, rub tummy
situation. So when writing lyrics, I’ll ask myself, if
Joni Mitchell was a bit of a moron, what would
she write in this section? Keep it stupid. Same
thing on the guitar. If Jimmy Page had recently
suffered an aneurysm, would my choppy solo
suffice? Keep it to a few repetitive chops. I also try
to limit the songs to four to seven chords, tops.
Maybe the odd ascending key change if I get to
it before Paul thinks of it. Tommy James and the
The guitars, the solos and sonic layering is
quite clever all the while having fun with it.
Not being too serious even though some of
what’s going on is sophisticated rock ‘n’ roll.
What are some of the bands, players, records
that influenced your own playing and how did
you incorporate that into particular tracks?
I have fairly common tastes. I am obsessed with
hundreds of AM radio golden oldies from the
1950s to the ‘70s, including just about all the old
CanCon stuff. I must say, W1440 AM out Wetaskiwin
is the greatest radio station on Earth. They
play Paul Anka tunes and stuff like “Julia Get Up”
by the Stampeders. That sort of melodic charm
just floors me every time. When writing and
playing I more consciously look to the Ramones,
Misfits, Black Flag, and the Buzzcocks. From there
I usually try to throw on some Burt Bacharach,
Andy Williams, or doo-wop sort of croony
melodies. After that, The Mary Chain, Dino Jr.
and Sonic Youth are inspiration for the noisy bits.
I dunno, anything goes! These days I totally love
Ariel Pink. He’s my fav newer artist by a mile.
The album title, Yer Guises, what that in
We went back and forth on this quite a bit. I
recently wrote a tune called Yer Guises and we
thought it’d be cool to have our album named
after this song, even though it’ll be on the next
album, not this one! Like how the tune “Houses
of the Holy” ended up on Physical Graffiti, not
Houses of the Holy. Haha! Anyway, Yer Guises has
some wordplay, stupidity and enough ambiguity
to satisfy, stump and maybe even annoy all sorts
of people. For me, I always crack up a bit whenever
I hear someone say something is “your guys’s.”
There’s something awkward and clumsy about
that. This sort of thing fits right in Alloverland.
Anxious and Angry Records. How did that
relationship come about? What do you think
that might result in for the The Allovers?
A & A is a label out of Chicago that offered to
put the album out after our drummer Garrett
dropped them a demo. They actually friggen liked
it! Lucky for us, we are very grateful. Who knows
what might result. We are not counting chickens,
but in Garrett’s words we are “turbo stoked”.
Anxious and Angry Records will releaseYer Guises
on May 28. The Allovers play on Sat., June 2 at the
Starlight Room in Edmonton and then scheduled for
Sled Island in Calgary.
ROCKPILE BEATROUTE • MAY 2018 | 21
the politics of being hip
Few bands have as much buzz around their
debut album as Philadelphia’s Sheer Mag did
last summer when Need To Feel Your Love was
dropped. According to lead singer Tina Halladay,
the constant pressure to be the ‘it’ band can be
overwhelming at times.
“It’s just the fact that we have all these
logistical things that most bands of our size don’t
bother with,” she explains. “But it is at the cost of
other things, it’s a give and take on both ends of
it. We’re just figuring out how to deal with it in a
way that isn’t compromising our ideals.”
In between the constant touring, rehearsing,
and promoting, Halladay still has to find time to
do the mundane tasks that drag the best of us
“Right now, I’m just trying to get some stuff
done,” she concedes. “Like, shitty stuff, like taxes.”
On the plus side, Need to Feel Your Love has
garnered nothing but praise since it was released.
Outlets like Spin, Rolling Stone and Paste have
layered on the acclaim, with the record making
numerous year-end “best of 2017” lists.
“I’m so proud of that record. I just love that
record and I want to play those songs,” beams
“I love “Turn It Up.” I laughed every time the
band did the backup vocals for the first 50 times
we played it. I love “Pure Desire,”” too. They’re
kind of the two different spectrums of that
THE WONDER YEARS
how to leave town
Philadelphia’s The Wonder Years have yearned for ages to
leave their hometown. Following an extensive itinerary
of tour dates in support of 2015’s No Closer to Heaven, the
band took to the studio to reflect upon their time on the
road, culminating in Sister Cities, released at the beginning
Working with producers Joe Chiccarelli and Carlos de la
Garza, the alt-rock band pulled inspiration from landmarks
and those contemplative moments spent observing the
To the Twitterverse, the band described the album as“the
sum total of 2 years of travel across 5 continents documented
in songs, photos, journals, poems, paintings & artifacts, 2
years witnessing the ways humanity towers above all else.”
An accurate summary as Sister Cities sees the band straying
further from their pop punk roots in favour of a darker,
more mature style. This is evident on “Raining in Kyoto,” the
album’s exhilarating opening track. Lyrically, the song is as
introspective and wistful as fans have come to expect, but
instrumentally, The Wonder Years has never sounded more
“We try to take a step forward every time we write a
record,” explains bassist Josh Martin. Guitarists Casey
Cavaliere, Matt Brasch and Nick Steinborn, drummer Mike
Kennedy and vocalist Dan “Soupy” Campbell join him.
“We want to challenge ourselves as songwriters and
22 | MAY 2018 • BEATROUTE
album. It’s hard to pick, but I think those two are
Rounding out the Sheer Mag spectrum are
Kyle Seely (guitar), his brother Hart Seely (bass)
and Matt Palmer (drums). Fueled by a DIY-ethos
and a unique sound that recalls the best of ‘80s
disco-rock, the quartet has been playing everywhere
from Coachella to Late Night with Seth
Myers since forming in 2014.
“I think that the songs I feel like I love, everyone
else does. A lot more people knew all those
songs than we even thought,” remarks Halladay.
“I guess that’s the miracle of the Internet that
everyone’s listening to your record as soon as it’s
done. They don’t have to wait to go get it.”
As tough as it is, Halladay says the band tries
not to get sucked into the hype machine, because
the web can distort your reality quite easily.
“It’s also weird, because there’s so many
platforms, so it’s kind of like driving yourself crazy
like, ‘How many Spotify steams do you have?’
It just kind of drives you insane and it’s hard to
grasp what it even means, so I try not to go too
crazy with that.”
Politics can also be a tricky line to walk, but
one positive about being in the public eye is that
it has given Sheer Mag a platform to encourage
people to speak up.
players… While writing this record, we were focusing on
Since their inception, The Wonders Years has banked
heavily on the talents of Campbell, who uses his emotional
palate to paint pictures through song. Small-town diners
thousands of miles away feel like home and lines about the
despair of growing older feel intimate and relatable. Campbell
is older now, and on Sister Cities, sings of helplessness,
regret, and distance, thus projecting a more refined sense of
The track “Flowers Where Your Face Should Be” is
photo: Marie Lin
BY TREVOR MORELLI
“Even if you’re not saying anything in your
music, I think that standing up for what you
believe is important. Not choosing a side is
choosing the side with the oppressors. I just
think that at this point, it’s pretty imperative to
stand for something.”
It’s clear that Halladay doesn’t care for the
current administration and hopes that changes
are coming soon.
“It’s hard to know. This form of government
is going to do whatever it wants, no matter
what people say and do. I hope that there is a
revolution of some kind that takes power back
for people and kind of gives power back to the
working class. Capitalism is out of control and
there are no checks.”
Back on the front lines, Sheer Mag is currently
on tour with Dallas thrash band Power Trip,
California hardcore group Fury, and Washington
punks Red Death.
“It’s going to be crazy. We’ve never really done
a tour this long with any one band, let alone
three other bands that are going to share the entire
bill with us. It’ll be a crazy, cool experience.”
Sheer Mag play May 21 at Park Theatre (Winnipeg),
May 23 at Louis’ Pub (Saskatoon), May 24
at the Starlite Room (Edmonton), and May 25 at
BY GARETH JONES
ostensibly a love song, but Campbell recollects watching
a sobbing man’s wife remain stoic to console him, drawing
a parallel with a situation shortly after his grandfather had
passed. Campbell observes that, despite different culture
and lived experience, this couple experiences love and sadness
in the same way he does.
“At the core it’s a record about connectivity and shared
experience. In a time where many leaders and people push
a divisive world view, it is important to remember that no
matter where you were born or where you live, you suffer
loss like others that suffer loss and experience love like
others experience love,” explains Martin.
Sometimes, Campbell sings of moments in time; nuances,
where he realizes that human beings are interconnected in
more ways than not. Now, The Wonder Years have toured
the globe and with that wisdom comes a new worldview.
“I think this record really tells the story about how the
world isn’t as big as a lot of people think. Or, for that matter
how big they want you to think it is. We speak different languages
and cook different foods but we can connect over
our common experiences,” says Martin.
“It’s been a privilege getting to travel the world to share
our music with other people.”
The Wonder Years play May 28 at the MacEwan Ballroom (Calgary)
and May 26 at the Vogue Theatre (Vancouver)
the devil’s in the details
While sitting down over a cup of
coffee, arts journalist and musician
Josiah Hughes talked about his band
Pre Nup’s newest album, Oh Well (Debt
Offensive/Jigsaw Records). Musically
delivering a tongue-in-cheek, slack-jawed
indie rock sound, the album wraps up
pop, punk, indie, and twee in a jerkydance
Over many, many laughs, we examined
the long process of creation and
Poltergrease hits the beach
Everyone needs to eat and everyone needs to sleep. But for
Chris Naish, the mind behind the Calgarian garage rock
trio Scratch Buffalo, songwriting is just as integral to maintaining
a healthy routine.
”I’m always writing. It’s just a thing I need to do,” Naish says. “I
need to write songs or else my body is uncomfortable.”
Aided by the physicality of drummer Mark Straub’s impressively
technical abilities and Scott Wildeman’s melodic bass
grooves, Naish channels that creative impulse into Scratch Buffalo.
The group’s upcoming self-titled debut release offers 11 cuts
of prairie surfin’ garage punk that hops around between thrashy
riffs, power pop vibes and rock ‘n’ roll psychedelia.
In Naish’s estimation, what sets Scratch Buffalo apart is the
band’s willingness and ability to convey sincere emotion.
“It’s supposed to be exciting garage rock that feels like it could
24 | MAY 2018 • BEATROUTE
how he feels about the state of the
music scene he inhabits.
After some conversation about the
obvious love and passion for the art
form, Hughes got to chatting about the
state of modern music.
“I think people take it for granted when
they have an audience,” he says in pensive
observation. “Like, there’s so much
content, so much streaming, so many live
shows and there’s so many fucking bands
everywhere. If someone’s actually paying
attention to you, you should try and
entertain them at least. Otherwise, it’s just
sort of self-indulgent in my opinion.”
With the pop-cultured Oh Well,
Hughes (who handles guitars, bass,
organ and vocals) wanted to write his
most honest record to date, while still
keeping to his celebrated satirical wit.
“This new batch of songs is probably
the most sincere, but it’s still the
framework of how I see the world and
how I communicate is still humourous.
I figure out what I want to say and then
I wrap it in a joke.”
Tongue-in-cheek nonchalance aside,
BY KEEGHAN ROULEAU
Pre Nup genuinely cares about their
audience. It’s an extra focus on lyrics,
mixing and messaging that makes the
fun and frenetic songs on Oh Well such
a fetching earful. Backed by his wife,
Sara Hughes, on drums and vocals; and
the multi-talented Chris Dadge providing
percussion, freewheelin’ harmonies
and additional keys, Hughes has spent
the last couple years recording, tuning,
re-recording and re-tuning until the
team was satisfied with what the warm
and fuzzy tones they heard.
“[Oh Well] is, I think, 21-minutes long.
10 songs and we worked on it for over a
year! So, we really painstakingly paid attention
to each second of it. Hopefully.”
Ultimately, it was this dedication to
making an album that could impress
even their harshest critic — themselves
— is what makes Oh Well so enjoyable.
Oh Well drops May 4; order a copy on
https://prenup.bandcamp.com/. Catch Pre
Nup (album release party) in performance
with Lab Coast and Bog Bodies May 12 at
Tubby Dog (Calgary)
BY MATTY HUME
explode at any minute, but doesn’t. Ideally, it sounds like a fun,
messy and exciting blast of music,” he says.
“With the lyrics, I really tried to do something that often isn’t
done in the genre, which is be very personal and honest.”
An indication of Naish’s penchant for songwriting, the tracks
that did end up making the final cut for the group’s forthcoming
self-titled album were selected from a pool of well over 40
Scratch Buffalo jams.
“I always like in movies, like That Thing You Do, when the producer
comes by and is like, ‘Oh, these are your hits, kid!’ I need
someone to tell me what connects,” Naish says of the editing
Luckily, Scratch Buffalo found that producer in Hutch Harris
of The Thermals fame, who also pushed them to make the
album itself. Naish, an artist, also opted to design the introductory
album’s zany cover. A fun cartoonish landscape featuring
a bunch of anthropomorphic sweet treats enjoying a day at
the beach, Naish’s eye candy paradise reveals more upon closer
inspection. Alas, the treats are melting in psychedelic horror. In
truth, the cover’s description couldn’t fit the album better. It’s a
joyful surfboard ride on the surface, but with a strong life-lesson
hiding in the undertow.
“Mark told me to draw what I think the music is. You look
at it and think, ‘Oh that’s fun!’ But then you look closer and it’s
actually kinda messed up.”
Scratch Buffalo’s debut album is out on May 18. Catch the release
party on May 26 as part of the East Town Get Down festival at
International Avenue #250 - 3515 17 Ave SE (Calgary).
BY MATTY HUME
Although six years have gone by, the passing of Chris Reimer
(WOMEN, Azeda Booth, The Dodos, and many, many more)
in February of 2012 feels much more recent of a memory for many
members of the arts community in his hometown of Calgary and
beyond. And while his WOMEN bandmates continue to make
waves with their post-punk project Preoccupations, Chris’s impact
continues to ripple through the scene with the posthumous double-LP,
Faithfully produced by The Chris Reimer Legacy Fund Society,
which includes Chris’s partner Rena Kozak, his sister Nikki Reimer,
his parents Jo and Tim Reimer, and his good friend Marc Rimmer,
Hello People is a testament to his role in shaping the Calgary arts
community and the influence of his friends along the way. The resultant
posthumous release is a recording that explores both Chris’s
experimental solo forays and his remarkable growth as an artist.
“It came together because I always knew that he one of his main
goals in his life was to release his music — his personal solo stuff —
even though he’d done a lot of things in his various bands he had
never managed to get things together and release it,” Kozak says.
“He was always experimenting with different genres and playing
around,” Nikki recounts.
“As a result of that, there was a lot of material. Everyone involved
with the project had the task of listening to everything [and] the
emotional journey that that becomes.”
And that journey became Hello People, which includes 15 songs
spanning from upbeat melodies to ambient and drone. One track
even includes subtle vocals from Chris himself.
“He was writing new stuff where he was singing and playing
guitar and trying to do more. And I think he was starting to get up
the courage to release something,” Kozak says.
“[For Hello People], we really tried to choose things that showed
a bit more range and it showed different ideas that he was working
with,” Nikki adds.
The title “Hello People” on the cover is Chris’s own writing, pulled
from one of his many sketchbooks by Marc, who designed the
album’s layout. Nikki describes the words as a simple gesture and
“I miss him so much. He was my best friend,” Nikki says.
“And certainly he had his flaws and his faults too, but he was just
a magical person. So I would love people to get to know him a little
bit through this record.”
“He may not have said it directly to them, but he was just always
talking about his love for everybody in the music community and
I just want to get that across to everyone,” Rena says. “If you met
Chris Reimer, he probably loved you.”
Hello People is out on May 4. A release party and listening celebration
is going down right before the Preoccupations concert on on
May 5 at the Palomino (Calgary).
friends, love and rock ‘n’ roll
Changing lives, one power chord at a time.
For the fourth year in a row, some of the
very best in Treaty 7 Territory talent gather
in Siksika for an all-ages festival to rule them
all. MomentsFest, now a two-stage, 29-band
bash at the Siksika Pow Wow Arbor, is the
passion project of the excellent lads from
the legendary Alberta punk band No More
Moments. In true DIY punk fashion, Carlin
Black Rabbit, Cory White and Emmit Maguire
created a festival from scratch that continues
to grow from its own momentum.
“The first year we ran four bands on two
stages. It was just a super DIY thing, we wanted
to keep it simple,” Black Rabbit says.
“The second year we tried 16 bands. Last
year we went extravagant, booked 28 bands,
started earlier in the daytime and we had a
This year’s festival is locked in at 29 bands
on two stages. Talent ranges from the
ravenous deathcore of Plaguebringer to the
acoustic stylings of Spencer Jo. White says
MomentsFest takes a multi-genre approach
to combine the various scenes that make up
Alberta’s music community.
“MomentsFest is about creating a good
time with friends and it’s about building
friendships,” White says. “Having a good assortment
of genres is a great thing for getting
people together as well.”
For the organizers, a massive aspect of
bringing people together is including the youth.
MomentsFest is not only all-ages, but also has a
zero tolerance policy for drugs and alcohol. For
White, MomentsFest is a great way to showcase
music as an alternative activity for Siksika youth.
“That’s why we have it out on the reserve, to
get some of the kids down there because there’s
really nothing to do on the reserve. As a cause
of there being nothing to do, people go down
[negative] paths,” White says.
“It’s important to get the youth to experience
music — to maybe encourage them to pick
up an instrument and spend a lot of their time
playing music rather than drinking or doing
26 | MAY 2018 • BEATROUTE
BY MATTY HUME
drugs and going into those paths.”
“I want to break that stereotype of the
reserve,” Black Rabbit adds. “Everything you see
on the news is always bad, so with Moments-
Fest, we just want to showcase the good. This
is community based; we started from nothing
The ultimate power of punk rock’s positive
influence comes from Black Rabbit’s personal
experience with the music he loves.
“For me, punk rock and metal — heavy
music — kept me out of trouble as a teenager,
right? So I wanted to use it as my filter and give
back to these kids,” Black Rabbit says.
“And hopefully when I’m older, I can rely on
someone to put on a show while I’m being old
and doing other things.”
Tied closely to the hope of a positive impact
on the community’s youth, MomentsFest
also champions Indigenous representation
in music. One-third of the bands playing at
MomentsFest are Indigenous and are not
limited to Siksika, with bands coming from
as far as Regina, Saskatchewan. MomentsFest
appears to be just the beginning, as its effects
are rumbling far and wide.
“I had people reaching out to me from smaller
communities, smaller reservations, wanting
us to come play,” Black Rabbit says.
“It was just the start of something. And that’s
the plan in the future, to try and get to these
small reservations, do a showcase and do workshops
for these kids.”
“We just want people to come out and
have a great time and that’s all we can ask for,”
With a line-up that includes both of Black
Rabbit’s bands (Iron Tusk and No More
Moments), Chief N’ Council, Sharkweak and
The Detractions, a headbanging good time is
Catch No More Moments, Black Mastiff, Plaguebringer
and many more on May 12 at Moments-
Fest (Siksika - Calgary).
After 17 years of collaborating and participating
in Canada’s diverse music community,
the Vancouver-based experimental pop masterminds
Frog Eyes are closing the book on a weird
and fruitful career with Violet Psalms (Paper
Bag Records), their eighth and final full-length.
It’s a carefully crafted musical collection of tension
and unease coated in hopeful melody.
According to Carey Mercer, Frog Eyes’ lead
singer and guitarist, Violet Psalms isn’t so much
a headstone, but rather an indicator of a specific
point in time.
“It seems like there’s been some kind of
demarcation line created in the past couple
years where it feels inappropriate to carry on
a project that started, in a sense, pre-climate
change, in a sense, pre-Trump. Frog Eyes was
birthed in a different time,” he says.
He explains that Violet Psalms was designed
to be disorienting and introspective, mirroring
the strange times we find ourselves in.
“Let’s just put a nice end to it, and you know,
the band comes with so much baggage, and
when I was making the record I never thought
it would be the last one, but it just feels like a
right to time to put an end to the name and its
legacy and hopefully gain a new perspective.”
Unlike their previous releases, Mercer self-recorded
Violet Psalms in a studio he built in his
Vancouver home with the help of drummer
Melanie Campbell, keyboardist Shyla Seller and
bassist Terri Upton, which gave him control
over both the sonic elements and ideas.
“From the first instant I started making music
I was very jealous of the engineer’s knowledge,
like, ‘Why do you put this mic there? These are
my songs, why do you get to determine how it
sounds?’ So much of the engineering affects the
end product,” he says with a laugh.
“We didn’t want that. We wanted this claustrophobic,
disorientating, swirl of drums.”
Thus, in an attempt to take the sonic
qualities of this record to a new level, Mercer
Frog Eyes draw the shades on Violet Psalms.
BY MICHAEL GRONDIN
“Every time you listen to a record, every instrument
and microphone is obviously placed,
and there’s a cohesive totality to the sound.
Let’s fail miserably at mimicking that, and in our
failure, let’s create something with a distinct
imprint,” he explains of his end game.
Displaying many such examples of Frog
Eyes’ outside-the-box techniques, the finished
product is “a gnashing jubilee.”
“There’s always an image, or a flickering essence
that you try and capture, and sometimes
it changes in the process, or when you listen to
the record after, or when you hear other people’s
impressions of it,” he says. “When it started,
I was thinking about shadows, and shadow
puppetry, and silhouettes. This idea of creating
depth where depth can’t exist, you know?”
Apart from the band’s last tour under their
amphibian moniker, the next developmental
stage in Frog Eyes’ evolution has yet to be
unveiled. An exciting prospect for Mercer, who
is the first to acknowledge that the only real
constant is change.
“I spent half my life building this studio in
my mind, and then after we built it for real and
made this record, I went and sold everything.
I don’t know if you have to be happy when
you make a record, but you should at least be
engaged and focused,” concludes Mercer. “It
took a very long time, and a lot of dedication
to learn how to make a record on your own,
to compile tracks, to make them fit. And a
record, in general, is a real magical thing we
take for granted.”
Frog Eyes’ new LP Violet Psalms drops May 18 on
Paper Bag Records. Frog Eyes perform May 11 at
The Office of Surrealist Investigations (Kamloops),
May 12 at Milkcrate Records (Kelowna), May 25
at Copper Owl (Victoria), May 26 at China Cloud
photo: Lauren Ray
Palomino and friends celebrate a vinyl anniversary
BY CHRISTINE LEONARD
The Palomino’s new “Smokeout 6” LP compilation will be handed out May 12th at their 14th Anniversary Party.
Ready to notch a decade and a half of “This will be our sixth. Only 500 copies
being a Calgary landmark into their are being pressed. The line-up is always
historic doorframe, The Palomino has become
a staple of the local music and food they offer, sometimes we ask — no real
‘Friends of The Palomino.’ Sometimes
scene. Simultaneously holding the title science. It seems to just happen.”
of familiar watering hole and source of Free with your paid admission, this
never-ending surprises, the well-worn and sought after 33 ⅓ rpm platter is exploding
with two hefty sides of country-fried
much-loved eatery and live music venue
has never strayed far from its mandate. rock, succulent pop, drunken hardcore
“Two floors of good times,” summarizes
general manager and talent buyer Dan ing Crystal Eyes, Allovers, Body Lens,
and blackened metal. Admirers includ-
Northfield. “Beers, bands and BBQ. We Child Actress, Forbidden Dimension,
are Calgary’s original barbeque joint! Our Whitsundays, and more, have all thrown
Smokey Bourbon Caesar has also cured down a single stand-alone track to grace
many a hangover.”
the hallowed bar and restaurant’s latest
Amen to that tender mercy!
party-mix. And, while Northfield perpetually
has his ear-to-the-ground when it
Recharging the city’s batteries after an
agonizingly long winter, The Palomino’s comes to scouting talent, it is admittedly
annual self-celebratory shindig promises difficult to play favourites within such a
to restore balance to the seasons and tightly knit scene.
one’s bodily humours. The cure for what “The Palomino is kind of like your
ails ya? Traditional anniversary gifts of Mum. She is equally ‘stoked’ for all the
meat and music, of course.
bands,” he explains. “Tom Bagley designed
“This is the Palomino’s 14th anniversary.
Jared, Arlen and I will be celebrating Rock always support us. We would never
this year’s cover and our friends at Big
our seventh here,” confirms Northfield. be able to put it all together without the
“I believe the 14th year is ivory? I think it guidance and help of our friend Todd.”
would be frowned upon if we gave away The next best thing to enjoying
anything made from elephant tusks! this variety vinyl release is having the
At The Palomino we like to think every opportunity to enjoy some live tunes,
anniversary is ‘vinyl.’”
especially when they’re performed within
That can only mean one thing; the the Smokehouse and Social Club’s brisket-scented
return of The Palomino Smokehouse
“We reached out and invited a lot of
bands to play our anniversary show and
have curated a diverse evening of music.
Presently, we have Mark Mills (Vancouver),
BRASS (Vancouver), Doug Hoyer Band
(Chicago), Hairnet (Calgary), Body Lens
(Lethbridge), Red Hot Gospel (Edmonton),
Monolith AB (Calgary), Gone Cosmic
(Calgary), Old Apartments (Calgary) confirmed
and possibly more to come.”
More to come.
That’s exactly what The Palomino has
in mind as mid-town Calgary casually
strolls into its saloon and blows out the
candles on another rafter-raising year.
“We are still open and I think people
like coming here…Honestly we just enjoy
seeing folks leave with a smile on their
face after spending some time at The
Palomino,” he continues.
“We just do our thing; good BBQ served
in a comfortable environment by friendly
peeps, keeping up an exciting live program
for interesting people and making sure
The Palomino is a venue, with a ‘No Jerk’
policy, that is welcoming for everyone. Is it
worth celebrating? Who knows? I guess we
will find out on May 12 if it is…”
The Palomino’s Anniversary Party and LP
Release with Doug Hoyer Band, Gone Cosmic,
Body Lens, BRASS, and more goes down
May 12 at The Palomino Smokehouse and
Social Club (Calgary).
ROCKPILE BEATROUTE • MAY 2018 | 27
hold the phone
BY TREVOR MORELLI
the spark that will light a fire in the darkness
BY TREVOR MORELLI
“If they’re going to spend their time on their phone, that’s up to them; it’s their experience
they’re going to miss out on.”
photo: Harmony Gerber
Touring overseas won’t stop Supersuckers
front man Eddie Spaghetti from jumping
on call. Over the line from Munich, Germany,
he is audibly excited to discuss his band’s upcoming
new album and their spring Canadian
tour, one that sees the down and dirty Tucson
trio playing a show almost every single night.
“Well, I mean, it’s kind of how you have to
do it if you want to come out ahead,” explains
“You gotta keep working. We’re like sharks.
We’ve got to keep swimming to survive.”
Always ones to fight the current, Supersuckers
have been dishing up slabs of messy guitar
rock with a big ol’ side of country, pop, and
punk since 1988. It’s hard to believe the band
has weathered the cultural changes that have affected
their profession in all that time, of which
Spaghetti says there have been many.
“Oh man, I mean, you name it. The fact that
people don’t buy records anymore. The Internet
being like it is,” he remarks.
“Cellphones! When we first started touring,
there were no cellphones, so it was like pull over
at a truck stop; you get on a payphone to advance
your show. And a lot of notebook paper
and writing shit down, and you don’t have to do
that anymore. It’s kind of nice.”
At least pen and paper won’t blind you
from the audience. Spaghetti’s chief beef with
cellphones is when fans flash-blind him during
“It’s the worst. That’s when I’ll actually say
something. I’ll put my hand out and I’ll tell the
dude, ‘I don’t know if you know or not, but your
flash is on.’ I don’t care if they’re going to spend
their time on their phone, that’s up to them; it’s
their experience they’re going to miss out on. As
long as it doesn’t bother me.”
As for the internets, Spaghetti has tangled
with both advantages and frustrations to being
able to reach fans in a faster, cheaper, and more
28 | MAY 2018 • BEATROUTE
“I don’t know, it’s tough to say. Its hurt us
in the fact that we sold very little records as
it were, even before the Internet, and now we
sell virtually no records because of it. So, it’s
definitely hurt in that regard, but it helps us in
being able to get word out about the shows and
keeping a presence in people’s faces should they
choose to follow our little operation online.”
In unaugmented reality, Supersuckers have
finished recording, mixing and mastering a
brand spanking new garage rock album that
aspires to more than commercial success. It’s
a signal to all comers that Supersuckers are as
ballsy as ever and aren’t yet ready to give up
their self-proclaimed status.
“It’ll be out this summer and it’s super awesome,
of course. They don’t call us ‘The Greatest
Rock ‘N Roll Band in the World’ for nothing, my
While Supersuckers’ last record Holdin’ the
Bag (2015) focused more on the band’s country
leaning influences, Spaghetti says the new disc is
all about finger lickin,’ greasy rock ‘n’ roll.
“It doesn’t sound much like Holdin’ the Bag
at all. It’s a full on rock record, more like Get the
Hell (2014) than Holdin’ the Bag, but it sounds
even better than Get the Hell did, which is hard
to believe because that record sounds pretty
“So yeah, we’re super happy with it. We can’t
believe that nobody’s heard it yet because we’ve
listened to it a million times and we’re just so
stoked and thrilled that we’ve recorded such a
great thing. We can’t wait for people to hear it.”
Supersuckers perform with guests A-BOMB and
The Foul English on May 15 at The Palomino
Smokehouse and Social Club (Calgary), May 16
at The Starlite Room (Edmonton), May 17 at
Capitol Music Club (Saskatoon), May 18 at The
Exchange (Regina), and on May 19 at Pyramid
Reunited in the pursuit of punk rock thrills.
The best surprises in life are the ones that
blindside you out of nowhere. On April
20, Cancer Bats surprise dropped The Spark
That Moves, their brand new, sixth ear-splitting
album that was recorded, mixed and
mastered in Winnipeg in complete secrecy.
It’s the band’s first release on their own Bat
“We’re coming out with a total bang,”
proclaims lead singer Liam Cormier on the
line from Toronto.
“I’m going to pick up the vinyl tomorrow,
We caught up with Cormier mere days
before the surprise release, a genuinely pummeling
album that’s being hailed as their best
in a decade. Despite being the provider of the
aggressive screams that anchor Cancer Bats’
hardcore sound, Cormier is a heck of a nice
guy who expresses genuine excitement about
“We’re like, ‘This would be sick!’” says
Cormier about the hush-hush nature of The
Spark That Moves.
“For us, it’s exciting. It’s rad, and I feel like
it’s something that we would want as fans.
I don’t want to wait for a pre-order for like
Clocking in at just 34 minutes, The Spark
That Moves packs a ton of meat into a short
timeframe. Longtime guitarist Scott Middleton
provides the distorted wails on highlights
like “Rattlesnake,” drummer Mike Peters adds
the machine-gun punk rhythms to songs like
“Headwound,” while bassist Jaye Schwarzer
brings deafening bass lines to stand-out track
“Winterpeg.” The band is joined on the latter
by Propagandhi’s own Chris Hannah.
“A lot of the songs are back to ripping punk
vibes. We wanted to embrace all of those
things that we love about the band,” Cormier
photo: Cindy Frey
says. Indeed, the album merges sludge, punk,
hardcore, and metal into a poignant melodic
“Obviously we’re trying to continue the
journey and evolve, but at the same time
we’re not wanting to get too far away.”
Bands with global fanbases are often
tempted to use crowd-funded campaigns to
finance their records, but Cancer Bats chose
to avoid this. Instead, they’re thankful to
those metalcore patrons, who have purchased
their music and bought tickets to their shows,
for the last 13 years of financial support.
“We were talking about this last year,”
Cormier explains. “We were like ‘Oh, we
should use a crowd-fund’ and me and Mikey
were like, ‘No, we’ve already put aside all this
money because we knew we were going to
do this.’ So, we’ve already been funded by the
crowds who have showed up to our shows.”
At present Cancer Bats are tearing up the
road on a showcase the tenth anniversary
tour of their breakthrough album Hail Destroyer
(2008). Armed with the detuned riffs
and throaty growls of favorites like “Hail Destroyer,”
“Deathsmarch,” and “Smiling Politely,”
the band is set to play the album in full, or at
least the parts they can get away with.
“We’ve done a bunch of them already
because we played Manitoba Metalfest in
Winnipeg, so we did like 80 per cent of the
record,” says Cormier, laughing.
“We were just like, ‘You know what? Let’s
just not play “PMA (‘Til I’m DOA)” and “Zed’s
Dead, Baby” and we’ll see if anybody calls us
on it.’ It kind of worked out perfect because
nobody called bullshit and we just had a great
“We’ve never played “Zed’s Dead,” so that
one’s kind of going to be interesting,” he
continues. “I think it’ll be fun.”
welcome to flavour country, population you
Rising from the heart of the prairies like a
rye-scented dust storm, Shooting Guns
have been spinning sidewinding psychedelic
tales since the dawn of their initial release, the
mollifying 7-inch Dopestrings/Harmonic Steppenwolf,
back in 2010. In the eight years since,
the Saskatoon-based band has grown in skill
and size, being nominated for a Juno and two
Polaris prizes and founding their own label,
Pre-Rock Records, amidst all the excitement
and praise. And while their compliment has
swelled in numbers, the hypnotic instrumental
entity has repeatedly declined offers to
take on a vocalist.
At the core, Shooting Guns remains an
ironically mute weapon, which may be what
attracted them to the realm of silent cinema.
Known for their work on the WolfCop film
franchise’s riveting scores, the band recently
entertained moviegoers with screenings of the
classic 1922 horror film Nosferatu, featuring
an unplugged Shooting Guns performing a
live soundtrack at the front of the theatre.
A highlight of 2017’s Sled Island lineup, the
ambitious and spellbinding project has taken
on a life of its own and will soon be released in
video format by the very band who brought it
back from the dead.
“Have a good time all the time. That’s our philosophy.”
“We’re just mixing the Nosferatu
soundtrack and getting it ready for release in
late summer or early fall on Cardinal Fuzz out
of the U.K.,” reports guitarist Chris Laramee.
“Other than that — work, life stuff, blah,
blah has kept us pretty busy as of late, but
it’ll swing around again and we’ll get back on
photo: Sidney Smith
Productivity has never been an issue for
Laramee, whose other labours of love include
playing with bands The Radiation Flowers
(formerly Powder Blue) and The Switching
Yard and a recording project called Wasted
Cathedral. Riding high on the release of their
big orange album, Flavour Country (2017), the
unfiltered sextet is looking forward to seeing
BY CHRISTINE LEONARD
how they can top their favourite LP to date.
“We have a couple things pretty developed
for the next one, but no titles or anything yet.
Excited to see where it goes! Our process is
relax, get worked up, relax, repeat,” he relates.
“We record everything at our own jam space
and studio, which is great because everyone
has full time jobs and it would be a major
bummer if this wasn’t enjoyable. We produce
and engineer it all ourselves, by which I mean
Jim (Ginther, drummer) does most of the
heavy lifting while we shoot rubber bands at
him and pull on his hair.”
Powering through slow-building, Sabbathy
tracks with patient percussionist Ginther,
along with bandmates Keith Doepker (guitar),
Jay Loos (bass), Toby Bond (synths) and
Brennan Barclay (guitar), Laramee has made
a career out of mining the fuzzy pockets of
‘70s and ‘80s rock. From the heady mystery of
Born to Deal Magic: 1952-1976, to the sludgy
latitudes of Brotherhood of the Ram, Shooting
Guns vision has remained as constant as a
Shooting Guns perform May 19 at May Bong
Weekend Party at Distortion (Calgary), May 20 at
ROCKPILE BEATROUTE • MAY 2018 | 29
photo: Aron Diaz
brave new breed
“In retaliating against the narratives expected
of us, we’re saying women can flip the script on
sexual swagger, that women can write spicy bars
and hooks, queer stories can be rapped, and that
ethnic kids don’t need to be apologetic.”
Calgary is one of those magical places where a diverse crowd
of musicians and music fans can form and impress upon one
another, fostering some of the most unique talents that can
be seen on a stage. Cartel Madras is one of those unique talents.
On the surface, Cartel Madras is a hip-hop duo featuring rappers/
singers/songwriters/sisters Contra and Eboshi Ramesh complete
with all the style and flow that can stand toe-to-toe with some of
the most seasoned rappers in the city. But once you start digging
into their material, you’ll find that there is much more to chew on
than catchy hooks and dance-y vibes.
Identity means a lot to the two Indian women, as does embracing
their heritage, specifically their Tamalian and Keralite roots.
Cartel Madras is rebellious at heart, and credits their upbringing as
immigrants in Canada as an integral experience that has inspired
them to push the envelope, to push boundaries.
This can be seen in their work ethic. In their inaugural year as a
group, they have been able to garner interest in places like Toronto
and Montreal, and even as far as India, but it can also be seen in
their music and lyrics. It is no secret that Cartel Madras spit fire not
only in their flow, but also with the words they choose. The decision
to be inflammatory is not to be shocking, but to comment and
critique their expected roles in the world.
Let’s start off with a little bit of history of you both. When was
there a decision to create Cartel Madras and why did you feel
that this was something you wanted to do?
We’ve always been looking for ourselves in the media we consume.
Das Racist and M.I.A. meant a lot to us, but they’re a part of a very
small group of brown cultural chameleons that were pushing the
envelope in music. We felt a bit culturally deprived and wanted
icons that looked and felt like us in the media we were surrounded
by. Cartel Madras is the choice we’ve made to be the people we
were looking for.
We’ve always refused to stay in our lane and always felt compelled
to excel in whatever space we are in. And that’s definitely
a cliche. Immigrant kids feel a special pressure to succeed and be
ambassadors for their community. We’ve been questioning those
pressures our whole life through music, and spent a lot of time rapping
in our bedrooms, recording it in secret and passing it along to
friends under different monikers. By mid 2017, we were like, “We’re
good at this, people fuck with us… ‘Esskeetit’ “.
30 | MAY 2018 • BEATROUTE
From listening to what you have in store on your Soundcloud,
the sound Cartel Madras has cultivated is both soothing and
aggressive at the same time, mixed with some ‘90s dance vibes
(HUNNI is a pretty good example of your dancier material,
while Area Code mixes that soothing/aggressive feel). Where
do you get most of your inspiration from for your music? Also,
do you create your own beats or do you have producers and DJs
come in and help out with the production side of things?
We’ve been curating and sharing music and DJing parties since
we were kids. In those playlists there’s everything from MF Doom,
Miyavi, Ilayaraja, Ed Banger Records, Lil Kim and Sufjan Stevens. So
our music is an erratic mix from all those influences.
We work with producers, beatmakers and DJs from all over. Contra
and Eboshi do the writing and arranging of our tracks, while DJ
EGGLAD (who slept through the 10:30 AM BeatRoute photoshoot
and missing on the May cover), handles sound engineering and
production and makes sure shit slaps. What’s on our Soundcloud
right now are more our ‘basement tapes’. The mixtape we’ve been
working on explores house and trap while still keeping a strong
From your appearance in shows and on social media, you both
seem to be very connected to your culture as Indian women.
How important is it to you both to have that identity represented
in your style and music?
We never miss an opportunity to tell people we’re from India. We
grew up surrounded by other people of colour desperately trying to
erase their identity to fit in. Representing the Tamilian and Keralite
identity (as a part of a greater South Indian context) is so important
to us. Reaching women, reaching the LGBTQ+ community, and the
POC (people of colour) community through the incendiary content
we create is crucial because we belong in these spaces, and people
noticing us, is people noticing them.
In retaliating against the narratives expected of us, we’re saying
women can flip the script on sexual swagger, that women can write
spicy bars and hooks, queer stories can be rapped, and that ethnic
kids don’t need to be apologetic.
This year is a very busy for Cartel Madras, from playing shows at
Sled Island and East Town Get Down, to being featured on the
cover of a music magazine. What do you think of the success
BY WILL COWAN
and recognition Cartel Madras has garnered so far? Has it
changed some of the original goals for you in any way?
We’re surprised and thrilled to see how much love our city has
for us. At the outset of Cartel Madras it felt like we were intruding
but were still confident that we were doing something vital, and
the rate of our growth tells us that hip-hop is the path we should
go down. We’re floored by how quickly this has all happened and
excited because we’re about to live up to all the hype. Performing
in festivals and shows with seasoned hip-hop acts is intimidating,
but it is what we want and we’re confident that we can impress
our audience. In some ways this has brought our long term goals
into the short term. But what more could an artist really ask for?
These are good problems and we’re glad that Cartel Madras is
Finally, where do you want to take Cartel Madras next? Tours,
features, videos? What’s on the menu for Cartel Madras in the
Our May and June are packed with shows that end with Sled
Island. We’re looking to show the East some love this summer, too.
Festivals and musicians have been reaching out to us from Toronto,
Montreal, and India, which we’re especially stoked on. Our first
priority is our mixtape look for that this May. We’re going to tour
and build videos on that. After that we’ll be gearing up for the LP
we’re releasing towards the end of 2018.
Our vision for Cartel Madras has always been to think big. We
are rappers who can use our music to dabble in a trap banger on
one hand and social commentary on the other. Beyond that, Cartel
Madras exists in our stylistic choices, our political stance and
wanting to put South India on the map. We love the way in which
artists like Tyler the Creator, Gambino and RIhanna have pushed
their music into fashion, television, film and activism. Cartel
Madras would jump at the chance to move in those directions as
well. Cartel Madras is an extension of everything that we are and
want to see in the world, and we will push that as far as we can.
Cartel Madras will be performing at the East Town Get Down with
Transit22 and Snotty Nose Rez Kids on May 26, and will also be
performing at Sled Island in June. Cartel Madras is also planning on
releasing their debut mixtape later this May.
A Get Down sampler
photo: Michael Grondin
What’s a music festival without some riff-heavy good ol’ fashioned
rock n’ roll? With the help of their groovy beats and impressive vocal
harmonization, Bazaraba has made a name for themselves in the
Alberta rock scene by playing some of the most popular festivals of
the past few years, including Siksika’s Moments Fest, Distortion Live
Music Venue’s 420 Music and Arts Festival, and Vantopia. The Major
Minor Music Project is proud to have Bazaraba on East Town Get
Down’s expansive line-up and to have them bring heir special blend
of head-banging goodness.
When you think of a large punk band, do you think of four members?
Maybe five? Well, Klusterfunk has 11, and they are going to
bring the good times right to your face. Mixing ska, punk rock, hip
hop, and a whole lot of energy, Klusterfunk is making a name for
themselves as one of the most electrifying acts, not only in their
hometown of Edmonton, but in Alberta as a whole. Klusterfunk tore
up the stage at Punk Rock Bowling and is ready to light it up again at
the East Town Get Down.
SNOTTY NOSE REZ KIDS (SNRK)
One of the most anticipated acts for the East Town Get Down
comes in the form of the Snotty Nose Rez Kids. Based in Vancouver,
BC, but hailing from “the Rez in Kitamaat Village” in Haisla Nation,
the hip hop-duo brings forth their Indigenous heritage in their
music, promoting and facilitating themes of identity, resistance, and
politics in a brand new wave of rap that has been taking Canada by
storm. SNRK is being brought to East Town Get Down as part of a
hip-hop music showcase thanks to the help of IRIM (Indigenous
Resilience in Music) and Drumbeat Productions, which will also
feature acts like NDN, JPB, Nite Sun, and BLKFT.
Imagine “Jaws” was not a movie
for a second, and instead a
hardcore punk rock band
hailing from High River. In
every sense, that is the recipe
for Shark Weak, whose main
aim is to take a bite out of your
ear drums while mixing their
own special blend of humour
(any band that is able to make
lots of noise and throw in an
Austin Powers reference into
their music is a-okay). Well
engrained in the Alberta music
scene, Shark Weak has shared
the stage with some of the best
talent in the province, including
No More Moments, HighKicks,
and Ghost Factory.
It’s no understatement to say that Holly Clark is one of the hardest
working musicians in Calgary. Bringing her own special brand of
grunge-era alt-rock flair to her singing and songwriting, she has
been able to not only keep up with her own solo material but also
front bands Raspberry Jam and Lashes. Her energy and talent has
led her to some of the most popular venues in the city, including
regular appearances at Rockin’ 4 Dollar$ at Broken City in all three
of her acts.
ROCKPILE BEATROUTE • MAY 2018 | 31
The places and faces of East Town
the unique venues where the Get Down happens
1720 Radisson Dr SE
Just off of International Avenue on 17th Ave.
and 33rd St. behind a Blaskin and Lane is
Calgary’s largest makerspace for artists and craft
workers, where the noise of people creating and
learning can be heard on any given day.
FUSE33 Makerspace is a large converted
repair shop with high ceilings filled with everything
a professional or amateur would need to
bring their imagination to life. In one room a giant,
purple hippo head made for Burning Man is
in a corner of a wood working area where artists
also build cutting boards and beautiful tables
made from 100 year-old oak. Just a few steps
over in another area sewing machines whizz and
whirl away along side of sculptures made using
Formed in partnership with United Way and
the Rotary Club to establish a community hub,
FUSE33 is where artists and inventors can come
hangout, connect, plan, create and host events.
Max Schlagel, the facility’s Managing Director,
takes care of the day to day operations while
helping artists hon their skills and learn a little
about basic accounting and business practices.
In turn, he’s picked up a few new tips himself.
“I’ve been learning a lot of things from people,
I shadow and help run some of our classes
like cutting boards. Which is why I can say now
I know how to make a cutting board,” notes
Schalgel happy about the skills he has gained
thanks to the community the space fosters.
The environment is focused on sharing
ideas and collaborations, and gaining new
experiences. It’s also designed for people to take
their ideas in new and exciting directions. For
instance, there’s the chainsaw sculptors who
have a hard time finding studio space, and the
oilfield welders who make metal jellyfish and
axes for renaissance fairs.
Currently renovations are taking place on
the second floor constructing offices for small
businesses to rent, as well as an open area to
hold events where artists are able to showcase
and sell their inventions.
“This place is for creativity, at its core, so many
individuals come through and with so many
things happening,” says Schlagel proudly.
• MIGUEL MORALES
Clockwise fron the top:
• Max Schalgel, Managing Director FUSE33
• 3D paper sculpture
• 3D printers
• One of the open workshop areas
all photos: Miguel Morales
34 | MAY 2018 • BEATROUTE
TG Juice: Fre Tekle
Fassil Ethiopian Restaurant: Moges Aman (sitting)
Salsa Restuarant and Bar: Andrea Hernandez and Giovanni Vazquez
Ensira Ethiopian Restaurant: Merona Asfaw
Border Crossing: Hurricane Felix and Wanda Shipman
ROCKPILE BEATROUTE • MAY 2018 | 35
PETER & THE WOLVES
today Vegas, tomorrow the road
photo: Aron Diaz
For the past 20 years Viva Las Vegas has been the world’s
premier weekend rockabilly festival that fans of the ‘50s from
all four corners of the earth make a bee line for to gather under
the hot Nevada sun. Held in The Orlean’s Hotel and Casino,
over 20,000 rock ‘n’ roll purists congregate inside the hotel’s air
conditioned lounges, ballrooms and vendor showrooms indulging
in rip-roarin’ surf, roots and rockabilly that has a lot twang, tattoos
and tantalizing Bettie Page fashion bouquets. Outside peerless,
flashy roadsters and gusty rat-rods strut their car show stuff in the
parking lot by day, while the great all-stars of rockabilly take the
stage at dusk – The Stray Cats, Jerry Lee Lewis and Duane Eddy
were the headliners this past April. ¬
Tom Ingram, originally a promoter from the UK, is also the
founder of Viva Las Vegas. In 2017 he spotted Peter and the
Wolves playing the Red, Hot and Blue festival in Brockville, ON,
introduced himself, bought a t-shirt from the band and posed for
a photo op. Ingram knew talent when he saw it. Later that year, he
signed Peter Cormier and his Wolves to a two record deal that tied
in with a show at Viva Las Vegas in one of the lounges.
The opportunity got better when a headliner scheduled to play
in the ballroom on the Saturday closer night canceled, and the
Wolves get the call taking over the 10:30 pm spotlight sweet spot
on the mainstage. No doubt Howlin’ Pete Cormier and his band
mates, Cody Voyer (drums) and Jason “Pedro” Lowe, we’re pleasantly
astonished to be riding the rockabilly rocket in Vegas.
“The day couldn’t have been better,” confides Cormier. “I waited
six hours in the parking lot for Duane Eddy, Jerry Lee and the Stray
Cats. And as soon they finished their encore, I hustled upstairs to
play to full house of at least a 1000 people. It was a such a great
rush, and so good to be welcomed amongst that crowd.”
36 | MAY 2018 • BEATROUTE
For Lowe and Voyer, the thrill was just as big. Lowe, who grew
up on the Brian Setzer Orchestra, would have been “a happy
man if he died tomorrow” after the experience. And Voyer, newly
recruited to provide the back-beat and not yet immersed into
rockabilly culture, was in a state of shock after being “thrust”
on the mainstage and then absorbing the fanfare from certain
And the ride has just begun. Cormier, Howlin’ Pete, is definitely
a fresh face in genre that is obsessed with nostalgia. While he’s
only 24 years of age, he’s not bothered whether or not the music
is rooted in 1955. Sporting a wicked ducktail hairdo, a black
leather jacket with his ’53 Pontiac parked outside and a swack
of cool guitars, Cormier isn’t trying to relive anything. Rockabilly
is here and now for him. “Yeah, I guess so,” he says chuckling.
“Mostly, I just like the rhythms and the way it moves people to
get out and dance.”
Rhythm is number one on the first album he’s done for Ingram
on VLV Records. Howlin’ and Prowlin’ not only showcases the
band’s ability to swing, but it features Cormier’s burgeoning talent
as pianist and songwriter. On the keys he easily roams from boogie-woogie
to ragtime to barrelhouse to flat out pounding them
like Jerry Lee. While subtle, there’s a lots of territory he covers. Although
Cormier feels it mainly hinges
on a couple of particular styles.
“I love the way this album turned
out. There’s no more instruments
on it than you’ll see live. It’s just old
fashioned rhythm and blues and rock
and roll, and it sounds like some of my
favourite records with Gene Vincent,
Eddie Cochran, Chuck Berry, Little
Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Fats Domino
and Buddy Holly. But I’ve lately been
listening to lots more good old
country music, and I hope that shows
in a couple of the tracks. I love to play
country songs and all, but I just always
end up getting carried away and it
turns into more rock and roll.”
With his songs Cormier is snappy
and to the point penning clear, direct
meaningful ditties that are often
funny and a bit cheeky. While he’s
a romantic, the girl topics or love
objects, in his fictional literary life, are
trouble-makers that he doesn’t mind
sparring with. In the tune “Fakin It” he
calls out one particular handful, “Who
do you do you think you’re fooling/
Lying all the time/Run your mouth off
like a child/Then blame it on a bottle
of wine.” Where in “Fool For Her Eyes”
the story unwinds with a flirty one and
her come on look while maintaining a
boyfriend on the side.
Cormier says the song is “another
one I just made up, although most
folks probably know someone just like
this chick. I probably had Little Richard
in mind when I was first writing the
Cody Voyer, Howlin’ Pete and Pedro.
BY B. SIMM
Simple, ordinary stuff, perhaps. But the case with Cormier is his
authenticity bleeds over into the songs. He’s not faking it, and we
mostly certainly all know some of the characters in his songs.
What also makes a segue into his songs is the ‘53 Pontiac,
definitely a real love in his life. Cormier reveals, “I always liked
lyrics where some lines could either be about a car or a woman.
Like, ‘Come on baby, let me turn you on. Come on baby
and let’s get gone.’w”
“Drive All Night” is the escape from bad love, however. “I’ve
been a fool of a lover/And a lover of a fool/I’ve been a fooling so
long I know exactly what I gotta do/I’m going to drive all night
away from you/I got to drive all night to lose these blues.”
“That song,” says Cormier, “is where I most like to pound those
blues scales out on the guitar. It’s the kind of tune that often drifts
into my head when I’m aching to hit the road.”
And with the second record with Ingram soon to follow,
Howlin’ Pete and the Wolves are probably looking to hit the road
to California and maybe Europe for the next stage of their rockabilly
Peter and the Wolves will be howlin’ and prowlin’ at the Nite Owl
on Fri., May 25.
photo: Aron Diaz
with love from New York’s forgotten hood
Bedford-Stuyvesant, commonly known as Bed-Stuy, is a
neighbourhood located in Brooklyn, NY that’s predominately
black and Hispanic. Nelson Hernandez-Espinal, singer-songwriter
who fronts the band Stuyedeyed (pronounced
tie-dyed with an S in front), was born, raised and still resides
in Bed-Stuy which he refers to as “lower-class”. Living on the
peripheral of New York’s affluent, Hernandez-Espinal and
all the other member of the band, who are also Latinos, are
driven by a punk ethos that embraces equality and opportunity
for those on the lower end of the economic scale – the
“disenfranchised” says Hernandez-Espinal.
Their music is a fusion of
garage, fuzz, furious rhythms
and free-flowing feedback that
subsides into trippy, ‘60s/70s
melody and a Latino mood at
times. It’s angry, forceful and
political, but also soothing and
seductive… Bed-Stuy raising its
Obviously, you’re not part of
the cocktail sippin’ hipster
scene. The goal isn’t to look
pretty and play pretty.
Stuyedeyed is a defiant statement.
Where from Bed-Stuy
does that stem from?
People telling you “no” your
entire life. Black, brown, and Indigenous
people are often made to carry the weight of their people
and fit this mold, these stereotypes are so toxic, more specifically
in America. NYC is the #1 monument to decadence. We’re trying
to sift through the noise and find a place to talk about this. That’s
always an uphill battle and that’s where the intensity in our music
and performance comes in. I’d say less angry, angst. Freak yourself
out. Be uncomfortable. Music isn’t a fucking fashion show.
You’re also very attached to Bed-Stuy. It’s your community
you’re fighting for, not running away from. What’s great about
it, what goes on there that makes you want to dig in?
BY B.S IMM
Bed-Stuy is always a home for me, but I’d say my connection is
with resilient people. Bed-Stuy was a forgotten neighbourhood
to NYC, in relationship to local government. Bed-Stuy is a very
proud neighbourhood and extremely real. The people reflect
that. There’s love in the hood, and while that has been exploited,
there ain’t nothing like it. Community is powerful when you
tend to your people.
Fuzzed-out garage rock. Yes it is! It’s got teeth and some soul
driving it. Where do you trace that back to?
As for the fuzz, it’s definitely cliche for a reason, but Black Sabbath
for sure. That’s definitely my first exposure to such ‘abrasive’
sounds like that... All local New York garage rock bands (and) I
listen to a lot of soul, R&B, tropicalia, and Latin music.
There’s also some really seductive riffs and sweet spot soloing,
the notes very round and warm within this wall of chaos
To put it simply, I think of the sounds we make as taking up a certain
amount of space. Subtly highlighting parts and instruments
with tone and dynamics in mind is what shapes the song. Chaos
can be a really good base when you give it a voice and spotlight
The vocal delivery. It roams from aggressive chanting to tender
spoken word, definitely switches up garage!
Not every story needs to be told screaming. Some perspectives
need to be shared patiently, quietly, and with love.
Stuyedyed is at the Palomino on Sat., May 26.
ROCKPILE BEATROUTE • MAY 2018 | 37
EDM ONTON EXTR A
DOUBLE LUNCH ANNIVERSARY
DIY label adds a pal, remains the most fun
Creating with fun friends.
Even if you don’t personally know Craig Martel, you’ve likely
heard his name or been to a show he’s put on. If you’re
lucky enough to have him as an acquaintance, artist or friend,
you’ll have heard a handful of stories only someone so intimately
woven into the fabric of Edmonton’s music community
would be able to share.
A few years ago the Wunderbar closed down, giving Martel
the opportunity to chase after a long time dream. The
inception of Double Lunch Productions gave him an outlet
to put on shows and still be part of the Edmonton community.
Time passed and a few failures offered opportunities
to fearlessly pursue the record label Martel had always
dreamed of creating.
“I always flirted with the idea of having a record label, and for
a thousand reasons didn’t,” he explains over a casual breakfast at
Friends & Neighbours, a beloved diner on Whyte Ave.
“But in early May of 2016, I just decided I was going to do
it. I had been discouraged by conversations with bands in
the past, but after talking to Birds Bear Arms, I knew I had
something to offer.”
Two years later, Martel has put out tapes for a plethora of
local artists in addition to fun re-releases from bands like Nipper!
“In 1996 my only way of hearing new music was a magazine
called CMJ (College Music Journal) which came with a 25
song sampler pack of bands they reviewed in the magazine,”
he says, reminiscing.
“There was one song on one CD in particular that blew me
away. It was on every mix tape my friend and I made for about
six years. In 2003 or 2004 I bought the full CD for a penny on
eBay and found the singer by messaging everyone with that
name on Facebook to ask if they would consider playing Wunderbar.
They hadn’t done music since that recording but were
38 | MAY 2018 • BEATROUTE
BY BRITTANY RUDYCK
photo: Jen Jeffs
flattered someone from Edmonton knew who Nipper! was,” he
“Fast forward to the label. I messaged this guy again and asked
if we could make a cassette copy of that album. He told me to
do whatever I want, but wonders if anyone would care seeing
as they only sold 100 copies of the original release. My reply was
that at least 100 people would care and you can’t do worse than
your first round. Over the years I’ve only known two other people
who knew about Nipper! It was my friend who I made mix
tapes with and the singer for Rural Alberta Advantage because
he bought the same CMJ magazine in the ‘90s. That was a pretty
awesome thing to release. I’m still thrilled about it.”
Recently Double Lunch added Ella Coyes of Sister Ray to the
mix, which has added a crucial element to Martel’s operation.
“Number one: Ella is one of my best friends,” states Martel.
“Number two: I find it hard to work with people and I don’t find
it hard to work with Ella. She has these plans and ideas and I will
never want to let her down.”
Since the label’s inception, they’ve released tapes by Daydreaming,
Sister Ray, CHAM, Vibes, Wares, Dead Fibres, and
more. Their first foray into vinyl of the 7-inch variety is with
Vancouver’s Sightlines; the power-punk band will be releasing
their Love Ethic EP on May 11.
As Martel explains, “We want to give everyone the best
chance possible and have a blast doing it. You never know if a
band is going to blow up, so we want to be as ready for that as
possible. We’re trying to figure out how much of a family Double
Lunch is going to be. For now, we’re having a lot of fun together.”
Celebrate Double Lunch’s second anniversary May 15 at The
Buckingham (Edmonton) with Blessed, Tunic and guests. Double
Lunch will release Love Ethic by Sightlines on May 11. Order a
copy at https://sightlines.bandcamp.com/.
melancholic dream pop debut
It was the online stomping ground for many currently involved
in a respective music scene. The website was home to quirky
screen names, low-fi self produced music and a lot of emo kids. For
some, it was their gateway to meeting their future spouse and band
member, like Nathaniel and Guylaine Sutton.
“Music has been part of our relationship for a long time,” Nathaniel
explains. “We met through MySpace in 2006 after she contacted
me about my solo project. Our relationship blossomed from there.
Over time we started experimenting with music and eventually it
turned into an album.”
We have MySpace to thank for Whisper Suite, a deliciously sleepy
synth duo born of their shared love of music and each other.
“Guylaine has experience singing because I kind of brought it into
her life,” he explains. “I got her to sing in a lot of my projects along
the way. She was featured in a lot of my songs. But this is the first
album we’ve produced together and can call our own.”
Love Notes is a ten-song romantic synth album centered on the
couple’s shared experience. Opening track “Ascend” offers emotional
and triumphant ups and downs solely through instrumentals,
making space in the listener’s heart for the following nine tunes. The
entire record is a gracious helping of radio friendly synth pop tracks
that don’t entirely lose their DIY feel.
“From the music, the mastering to the music video for “Sun,”
we did it entirely on our own,” says Nathaniel. “It’s a big jump from
when I first started as a solo artist recording in my basement. We
have so much available to us now when it comes to creating and
recording. I think the sound is cleaner than I was able to record
before and the production value is just better.”
Love Notes is an intriguing offering that sparkles, offering melancholy
and gorgeous simplicity.
Whisper Suite perform July 8 at Weayaya Solar Powered Music
Festival near Red Deer. Their album is available digitally on iTunes,
Spotify and Google Play.
BY BRITTANY RUDYCK
MySpace takes credit for bringing Whisper Suite together.
photo: Claire Bourgeois
slightly more sombre, slightly more fun
You will catch feels listening to the Hearts new EP.
photo: Adam Goudreau
There’s a noticeable dampened quality on the making of the album.
the Hearts’ new EP Sunshine. Not damp in “We happened to record this material during
a sad way, but in an intensely cerebral, slowyou-down
way. It’s a beautifully cleansing jolt points of transition in our personal lives,” says
a time when a lot of us were going through
to the heart. The five-song EP explores themes singer Jeff Stuart. “Recording this was an opportunity
to counteract some of that and allow this
of impermanence and change, which the sixpiece
experienced in varying degrees during process to be less restrictive. It was a good outlet
FIRE NEXT TIME
sophisticated punk to the gut
James Renton is one of Edmonton’s finest
punk storytellers and as any good storyteller
knows, the plot must progress. Fitting then,
that his outfit Fire Next Time has refined their
sonic onslaught on their gritty new LP, Knives.
Within, you’ll hear an increasingly sophisticated
sound pared with lyrics that communicate
the band’s “salty, old bearded” age.
If ‘sophisticated’ reads ‘commercial’ to you,
pump the brakes; the record delivers punk rock
from the gut. Knives is a different, advanced
version of the FNT you know and love.
And so, a more cohesive band emerges. If you
pared away the folk elements (the banjo, the
harmonica, the saw), the result is a straightforward
punk record. The sections are distinct even
when united. Take “Birch Wood,” where clean
electric guitar and rhythm sections lead into
imaginative, anthem like lyrics. Every single track
is high-energy and appealing without losing
FNT’s gutter-grown charm.
“It’s our first record with our drummer Garrett
(Kruger) and he’s very particular about his
drum sound. It’s way more refined and there’s a
lot more life experience in it,” explains Renton.
“Nick Kouramenos used to play in This is A
Stand Off and The Johnsons: he’s an incredible
bass player, so people I think are going to notice
that right off the top. The bass playing has
Salty old punks lighten up.
gotten much more technical and uh, just better.
[Ryan] Mick and Kevin [Klemp] are just whizzes
at guitar anyway, so I don’t know if much of that
will change, their riffs will come off more complicated.
And as for me, I’m the same old dog, I
don’t do all that much for new tricks.”
Despite Renton’s professed “salty old dog”
for all of us.”
Some changes in the line-up may have also
cemented the change in the band’s approach to
writing and recording, such as adding Alex Vissia
and keeping drummer Bradford Trebble on as
the full-time drummer.
“I’d say three quarters of the tracks are first
takes, the first crack at an idea or scratch takes,”
explains keyboardist Dwayne Martineau. “What
makes them good is that they aren’t perfect.
We kept more of the imperfections and happy
accidents that only happen when you’re not
Musically, the EP features delicate wisps of
pedal steel and patient, slightly sleepy acoustic
guitar parts on songs like “Swallowed by
the Morning Sky.” The release leans slightly
more toward folk and country than previous
effort Equal Love (2014), which had more
of an indie-pop feel. It’s almost refreshing to
hear more melancholy squeezed out of the
band, who beautifully balance a doleful tone
with the correct amount of reassuring hope.
Deeply evocative, you may need tissues at the
“I think we captured the kind of feel and
energy from a live performance we were going
photo: Matt Foster
status, the inspiration for Knives comes from a
fresh chapter in his life.
“Me especially and a couple of the other
guys are really into Dungeons & Dragons,”
“I had stumbled across this article this dude
had written about how he writes his Dungeons
BY BRITTANY RUDYCK
for on the last album,” says Martineau. “This
simply refines and focuses on those elements.”
While Stuart and Martineau didn’t get into
too much detail about the personal changes
they faced during the making of Sunshine, they
did share some insight about the album cover.
“It’s a photo Dwayne took of my dog Arlo
who I had to put down in January,” Stuart
shares. “He ended up becoming the subject of
the album artwork because the photo seemed
to capture a lot of the sentiment behind the
Whether by accident or on purpose, the
Hearts have created a small body of work everyone
needs to hear at some point in their life.
Applying subtle philosophy to heartfelt, unhindered
instrumentals do what music is supposed
to do - make you feel something.
“Dogs represent the idea of purity and remind
us how to live in the moment,” concludes Stuart.
“It’s easy to lose sight of that and rely on external
validation rather than allowing it to arise from
The Hearts release Sunshine on May 26 at the
BY ELIZABETH EATON
& Dragons campaigns, and he has something
that he coined called ‘Knife Theory.’ When
he is creating characters for his story or in his
campaigns he has this thing called ‘knives.’ So, a
knife can be something that you love, something
that you hate, or something that your character
completely depends on, so like, family and
friends; or like addictions, drugs and alcohol, or
aspirations like power. A good storyteller can
take those knives and twist them at will to drive
the story forward. We called [the album] Knives,
thinking within the phrase ‘everybody has a
knife to twist.’”
Exploring topics like addiction, suicide and
mental illness often gives FNT an intensely
serious feel. While still being respectful of the
subject matter (“I try not to romanticize it in any
way,” says Renton) the D & D references certainly
twist Knives in a lighter direction.
“We’re hoping people can see the duality
that is FNT.”
Fire Next Time play Dickens on May 11 (Calgary)
and Brixx on May 12 (Edmonton) as part of their
Canadian tour with This is a Standoff. Their new
album Knives is released on May 4 via Stomp
Records. You can order it on vinyl or digitally at
ROCKPILE BEATROUTE • MAY 2018 | 39
real life doesn’t have to be depressing
Canada’s longest running non-fiction film
festival has completely rebranded. After
a careful evaluation by festival and program
director Guy Lavallee, the NorthwestFest
team has worked hard to reach their goal of
becoming Western Canada’s premiere non-fiction
film and arts festival. Previously known
as Global Visions Film Festival, the event aims
to create an inclusive, educational and fun
“We open our doors and minds to everyone,”
“We try to program films that tackle a diverse
array of topics and reach many interests of all
types of people, groups, and communities.”
Choosing to host the festival in May
following important industry film festivals
like Sundance, Tribeca, SXSW and HotDocs
has been another big change in regards to the
type of films Edmonton will be able to see on
the big screen.
Heavy hitters at the festival include Our
New President, “The story of Donald Trump’s
election told entirely through Russian propaganda”;
On Her Shoulders, which follows
Yazidi massacre survivor, Nadia Murad; and
The Cleaners, the story of the people who
have the dirty job of removing the worst
images from the web.
power pop meets complex ambience
Third album marries stadium rock and electronic buoyancy.
photo: Seth Hardle
How can artists ever be blamed for their own natural evolution?
It’s oddly selfish to impose upon somebody’s creativity and
expect the same sound across several albums or different projects.
40 | MAY 2018 • BEATROUTE
Also playing are films like Kusama – Infinity,
which focuses on the renowned Japanese artist;
and Bad Reputation, a Joan Jett documentary,
which is a huge grab for NWF as it has only
screened at Sundance for its premiere.
Though the team is excited about creating an
opportunity for Edmontonians to see critically-acclaimed
docs before they hit the general
market, they say it’s the small independent films
that make NorthwestFest feel complete.
“Our program is made up of around 30-40 per
cent submissions,” says Lavallee.
“It’s really important as a film festival to give
these small independent filmmakers exposure so
they can go on to become veteran film makers.
[Filmmakers] can go to distributors, broadcasters
and funders and say, ‘Look, I made this movie
on my own with a tiny budget. It’s played these
festivals and won this award and this award.’
When you have that in your back pocket, it’s
easier to keep making films.”
“Screening these small independent films
and watching them become successful makes
everything worth it to us,” he adds.
NorthwestFest may be primarily video, but
in an effort to reach their goal of creating more
of a fun atmosphere there will be community
driven activities, partnerships with other local
not-for-profits, hosting panels and the creation
Adding fun to the documentary and non-fiction film genre.
of a podcast series among other events during
“Yes, we are doing documentaries that
address serious topics, but it’s okay to entertain
people as well,” asserts Lavallee.
“You can have some films that may be done
in a beautiful manner; entertaining doesn’t have
to mean it was funny or that there was song and
dance. You might find yourself enlightened and
engaged but also entertained by the way the
With Artisan Loyalist’s new album Caustics, there’s so much value
gained in letting the artist create outside of such boundaries.
If you’ve listened to either of Rob Batke’s previous offerings via
Artisan Loyalist, it’s likely you’ve noticed structural growth. From
the nearly formless synth and drone-like ambience of 2013’s You’re
Glory to the subtly more upbeat jams à la ambient musician
Tycho featured in 2015’s Lonely Ghost, his evolution is audible.
Fitting then, that Caustics is a culmination of both styles, but as
Batke points out, features more of a stadium rock feel.
BeatRoute: What have you been up to since we last spoke?
Rob Batke: A couple things! I was working on a Masters over
the last few years and I finished that. And what I’ve been
working on within that is proposing we allow kids to use
music technology to create and compose; to be more music
producers than consumers. I now teach a course based on
that principle. And I finished the new album. It was a slow
process for awhile.
BR: Within all the work you’re doing in music theorizing, how
does that feed into your own personal process?
RB: Every project I’ve been involved with kind of speaks
to the next one. What I’m realizing through my work as
a teacher and artist are the things I struggled with when
getting into electronic music after playing in bands for
many years. I’ll always be creating and making something,
but it’s in facilitating work with kids that I know I’m not the
BY NICOLE BOYCHUK
photo from When They Awake
story is told.”
“10 days of total depression is a bit much for
anyone so we try and mix things up for people!”
NorthwestFest Documentary and Media Arts
Festival takes place May 3 - 13 at Garneau Theatre
and The Art Gallery of Alberta (Edmonton).
Tickets are available online at www.northwestfest.ca,
at the door and passes available at TIX on
BY BRITTANY RUDYCK
authority in anything. I’m there to support their goals in
BR: You briefly mentioned a struggle in transitioning from
traditional rock music to electronic. Can you elaborate on
what that looked like for you?
RB: I bought a laptop in 2006 and I had no idea what I was doing.
Which was a valuable struggle. I desired to make different sounds
and felt kind of bored with the guitar. I didn’t want to get more
athletic with it. A lot of those lines have blurred over the past few
years and I find myself coming back to my guitar more and more.
I think some of the sound on Caustics is heavily influenced by ‘80s
stadium electronic rock like Tears for Fears. That’s something I’ve
been trying to marry for the last few years.
BR: How does that come out in the new record?
RB: I tried to be more intentional about stripping things back
for this record in the sense of having specific synth parts, specific
guitar parts. Limit the layers and have a certain palette to work
with. I wanted to get heavier into distortion because of my kind of
infatuation with that stadium sound. The idea of Genesis and big
power pop sounds.
Artisan Loyalist releases Caustics at the second Tim Hecker show
May 18 at 9910 (Edmonton). The album is now available on all
major streaming services.
just wants you to feel good
BY BRITTANY RUDYCK
Mercy Funk wanna share the love on new album.
photo: Leanne Eyo
Unlike the name suggests, Edmonton’s drummer, are really jelling lately. That being
Mercy Funk are so much more than a funk said, this album is simply supposed to do as
group. Their first full-length Feel Good has the title suggests, make you Feel Good. We
elements of gospel, soul, pop and even hints wrote about love, loss and all the things you
of twangy country. Mercy Funk’s lead vocalist go through in life, really. I think it has a really
Crystal Eyo happily shared glimpses into the well rounded message. We just make the kind
band’s philosophy and style.
of music we want to make.
BeatRoute: MF has been around for so many
years in the Edmonton community. Was it a
conscious thing to take your time releasing
your first full-length?
Crystal Eyo: Well we put out an EP in February
2016 and we were nominated for an Edmonton
Music Award for the song “Hey,” so that was
pretty cool for our first thing out there. Last
year we had a digital release. For this album we
wanted to make something that encompasses
our different personalities and influences. These
10 songs reflect all the little corners of MF. We
worked really hard on this.
BR: With a band like yours that seems to
be very mutable, it seems choosing a genre
would pigeonhole the creative process.
CE: Yeah! I’m biased obviously, but I really feel
that our music sounds like Mercy Funk. I lot of
times you can hear a few bands across a genre
and a lot of them sound the same. I feel like we
sound like ourselves. There aren’t many bands
that sound like us, especially in Edmonton.
BR: From an outsider perspective it seems
like the band is more of… not just a band that
puts out music and records, but a brand and
entity that interacts with the community.
CE: That is really nice of you to say! For me
personally, I want to create that brand. Like with
LoveFest, that’s something we want to do every
year for people to look forward to. We want
people to expect an experience at our shows. It’s
never going to be perfect, but we do our best
with what we have. This is my first band and
sometimes it feels like I have no idea what I’m
doing, but we keep going together and giving
it our all.
EYE ON EDMONTON
the finger on the pulse of Dirt City
Prance victoriously into spring with craft
fairs, drag shows, live music and a fundraising
gala for the Sexual Assault Centre of
Even though Earth Day was technically
last month, we can all do our part daily to
work toward restoration of the planet. Case
in point: the annual Mill Creek Clean Up on
May 6. Meet at the stairs on 77 Ave rain or
shine to tidy up our beloved river valley. Bags
and gloves are provided so you can get down
to business. Plus there’s a BBQ at noon to
reward your hard work. Score.
Evolution Wonderlounge is hosting the
continuously fab Sunday Revue May 6. This
installment celebrates drag kings like AJ
McCleantime, Harvey Steele, Greg from
Accounting and more. $5 at the door.
The spring edition of the Royal Bison craft
fair kicks off May 11 at 8426 Gateway Blvd.
Pick up a Mother’s Day gift, shop for local art
or simply wander around with a coffee. It’s
three dollars to pop in and take a peek.
If you miss out on the drag king show,
check out HOMO-CIDAL’s takeover of the
Buckingham May 13. Some of Edmonton’s
favourite drag queens like Chelsea Horrendous,
Lourdes the Merry Virgin, Science
Fair and so many more!
Cantoo is releasing a five song cassette
on May 18 at the Aviary. This release party
is more of a variety show, with friends like
Jom Comyn and Baby Jey acting as support
and playing songs with Aaron Parker
BY BRITTANY RUDYCK
of Cantoo. We’re also promised a secret
guest, so this is one night of indie pop you
won’t want to miss!
Throw some damn toast at Metro Cinema’s
bi-annual presentation of Rocky Horror
Picture Show on May 19. This almost
always sells out, so grab a ticket on Metro’s
website, plan your costume and pick up
props like noisemakers, toilet paper, rubber
gloves and party hats. You’ll be amongst
friends and sane persons at this wacky and
super fun screening.
Friends to all, the Wet Secrets are releasing
their new album The Tyranny of Objects with
Physical Copies at 9910 on May 20. Put your
dancin’ pants on for this one.
The fifth annual fundraiser gala for SACE
(Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton) is May
23 at Shaw Conference Centre featuring guest
speaker Tarana Burke, the founder of the
#metoo movement. Attend for inspiration,
community and support. Tickets available on
If you didn’t get enough crafts & local art
at the Royal Bison, check out the Zine Fair
at the Old Strathcona Library May 26. It’s
free and it’s for all ages. Go buy things and
support local artists, of course!
Start June on the right foot with a vinyl
swap at Daravara on the third. They have a
bangin’ brunch, so eat something and be the
first to sift through bins at 3pm. Three hours
of buying, swapping and chatting about
records. Always a fun time.
BR: Angela (Proulx) was quoted in another
interview as saying this album isn’t necessarily
funk. Can you speak a bit about the sound
for Feel Good and how it reflects who you are
now as a band?
CE: It’s a definite misconception that we’re a
funk band. I don’t think we’ve ever considered
ourselves that. When I first met Angela she
wanted to start a funk band, but I would say
we have more of a pop influence. I like to
think we have a really strong rhythm section;
Angela takes her bass lines very seriously Mercy Funk release Feel Good with Carter & the
and likes to be creative and innovative with Capitals June 2 at Ritchie Community League
what she does. She and Kevin (Gaudet), our (Edmonton).
ROCKPILE BEATROUTE • MAY 2018 | 41
THE CRYSTAL METHOD
back to a ‘90s future
BY JONATHAN CRANE
This spring marks the first year of Scott
They then set out finding lodging in the area put out a record in ’97, that was Vegas, and the “There’s radio stations that play nothing
Kirkland reviving The Crystal Method, just outside of L.A.
rest is history.”
but ‘90s rock now. But for the electronic scene
synonymous with the electronica boom of the “We found a little two bedroom house in La This early era, from the creation of The Bomb for the ‘90s, for people like you and I who got
‘90s, now a solo act following co-founder Ken Crescenta, California, which is up in the foothills Shelter to the release of Vegas, is what Kirkland is into Prodigy, and Massive Attack, and Portishead,
and it wasn’t much. It was the only that we hoping to recapture with TCM’s forthcoming release
and Chemical Brothers, and Daft Punk,
At the time of Jordan’s departure there were could afford. Actually, it was the only place that
The Trip Home. He compares it to a painter and Leftfield, and Orbital, and The Orb, and
no hostilities or tensions. He left Kirkland with would rent to us because we had such bad credit
going back and rediscovering old methods that Crystal Method and all these different bands,
words of empowerment, urging him to continue
because we had sort of eaten into our savings they once used.
there’s not really an outlet for us unless it’s on
their quarter-century legacy that so far has come trying to be producers,” says Kirkland.
“There’s certain [times] that you remember the internet.”
to include five studio albums and original productions
The place in question had a two car garage, how you did things. That to me was what I
Although TCM’s DJ sets contain new music,
for multiple games and film projects. and the pair set to work on drywalling it to turn wanted to get into, not remaking Vegas, but just being able to cater to this nostalgia is important
“He basically said just keep going, you love it into a studio.
remembering the ways that we made Vegas. to him. The aim isn’t to capitalize off a past era,
it and I’m proud of you,” relays Kirkland. “So it’s “We put a little storage area between the And the way those early years were ours, and but rather to expand it into the present day.
not like there’s any residual damage from some garage door and the wall that would have they were not anybody else’s,” says Kirkland. “I think there’s something magical about
fallout, something that would weigh down been the studio wall, and we put all our junk As he explains, during that period they were being a part of a scene and then being able to
my creativity or in any way sort of change the in there so the landlord wouldn’t know that able to make electronic music in the way that continue that scene forward,” says Kirkland.
narrative. The narrative is still the same. I’m now we had converted the garage into a room they saw fit.
As the conversation draws to a close Kirkland
continuing on as The Crystal Method, proud of because she would have kicked us out probably,”
“I like the idea of being able to go in and not reflects on how it’s not only TCM’s composition
all the things that we’ve done and the albums
give a shit about what’s going on right now in that’s changed, but the fans as well. In recent
that we’ve made.”
They named the space The Bomb Shelter EDM. Not that I don’t find some of it really cool, years he’s noticed a second generation of fans
To give an idea of how far the two came as a because there was an actual bomb shelter in the but there’s a perfection to some of the stuff that appearing that are just as eager for the music as
group the conversation shifts to the late 1980s. front yard that had been installed during the I think it’s a little bit too surrealistic sometimes. I their ‘90’s predecessors.
After meeting at a grocery store in Las Vegas and Cuban missile crisis.
kind of like the idea of doing things a little bit of “There are kids that are showing up that have
bonding over music, they moved to L.A. and Despite the group’s humble beginning in a different way,” says Kirkland.
been turned on to the music either by siblings
began exploring the emerging rave scene. their ramshackle studio the rest of the ‘90s was The fact that the forthcoming album is or cousins, or just the fact that the craziest thing
“We were thinking we were going to be followed by a series of sequential milestones that driven in part by nostalgia for the Vegas era is their mom or dad said, ‘Hey, you like so and
producing bands, so we started gathering gear catapulted them to the center of pop-culture. has also fueled Kirkland’s desire to return so. Maybe you’ll like the Crystal Method?” says
and going to these raves and realizing that we “We released a 12-inch in ’94, Now Is The to the road and tour. As he explains, the Kirkland.
didn’t need a singer, we didn’t have to work with Time. And then we did a version of “Keep Hope electronic music boom of the 1990s is one
a rapper, we didn’t have to be the producers, we Alive” that came out in ’95, and then we got a of that decade’s cultural pockets currently The Crystal Method performs in Calgary on May
could be the artists,” says Kirkland.
deal signed in ’96,” says Kirkland, adding. “We lacking modern nostalgic outlets.
12 at the Marquee.
JUCY BEATROUTE • MAY 2018 | 43
First discussion of new record ahead of Alberta debut
It’s been a wild ride for gothstar Travis Egedy
over the more than ten years he’s created
music and art under the name Pictureplane.
Originally from Santa Fe but germinated in
Denver, the American Egedy’s journey had
and has a serendipitous link to Canadian Alice
Glass to this day.
His first major exposure came from an officially
sanctioned re-work of the song “Airwar”
by Glass’ old band Crystal Castles, and the
sonic chaos and paranoia shared by Egedy and
Glass has come to define their music all the
Glass and Egedy recently spent time on the
road with Marilyn Manson, only for the two
to witness his horrific mangling at the mercy
of his own performance.
“A huge stage prop fell on him, we watched
it happen. It’s crazy because it could have been
way worse, he could have died,” recalls Egedy.
But a working friendship spanning over a
decade (the two met on, inevitably, Myspace
in 2007) can’t be undone so easily. Glass, Zola
Jesus and Pictureplane are touring a good
deal of the U.S. and a small part of Canada
this Spring, with Egedy debuting Pictureplane
in Alberta with a side date at 9910 in
Edmonton on May 25.
Electronic darkchild Pictureplane heads to Edmonton with new material in tow.
While Egedy is hesitant to discuss on record
his absence from the Canadian touring market,
he offers something wholly better: a first
official comment on his forthcoming album
“It’s going to be called Degenerate. That
word is sort of famous. It was used in Nazi
Germany to describe artists who were free
thinkers and were making sort of bizarre,
abstract stuff that Hitler found offensive. But
it’s still in use today... for someone who’s undesirable
or sort of an outcast of society.”
This comes as a reaction to the onslaught
of intolerance towards artists and art spaces
BY COLIN GALLANT
following the tragic deaths at the Ghost Ship
space in Oakland, and the resultant closing
of Egedy’s former home of Rhinoceropolis in
“People just don’t understand really at all.
What it means to be an artist or people who
choose to create art, and need spaces to live
in to create art… I’m more than happy to be a
degenerate in these peoples’ eyes if that’s how
they wanna see me for being an artist.
Degenerate is expected later this summer
either through Pictureplane’s current home
at Anticon or perhaps via a new venture—
Egedy’s own label. Considering his self-produced
three records, track as a visual artist
(with a recent residency at Austin’s Museum
of Human Achievement) or entrepreneurship
with the Alien Body (the name he’ll also give
his label) streetwear enterprise, it’s no stretch
to imagine Egedy manifesting Pictureplane’s
next album as a fully independent release. The
real question is: will you be among the ones
who remember him from his pivotal between
state when he takes the stage in Edmonton?
Pictureplane performs at 9910 in Edmonton on
May 25. Degenerate will be released later this
44 | MAY 2018 • BEATROUTE
LET’S GET JUCY
Let’s just get this over with – inhale – IT’S
GONNA BE MAAAAAAAAY!
Bass Turtles Productions are bringing Moontricks
to the The Still on May 5. One of the
Kootenay’s definitive acts, Moontricks combines
live banjo, harmonica, vocals with loop pedals
and electronic elements into an amazing soulful
blend that has fast tracked him to being a regular
on the stages of Western Canada’s best festivals.
Also on the fifth, over at The HiFi is London
house-music tastemaker T. Wiliiams
Molly Fi of Girls on Decks is bringing pals Isis
Graham and D’Lazy Llama to the HUMPday
House Party weekly at Nite Owl on May 9.
The New Wave residency at HiFi carries forth
with their tradition of illuminating exciting
sounds with their feature this month on OB-
SKUR:FOKUS, a techno label out of Vancouver.
On the controls representing said label is
Vancouver/Berlin artist Nomad Black. This goes
down on May 17.
One of the first interviews I did for this fine
publication that I was brimming with excitement
for was Gorgon City. In the years since then they
have continued steadily on an upwards trajectory,
not selling out their sound to align themselves
with trends or flavours of the week. Instead
they’ve continued to develop their live act, and
put out consistently stellar music, including a
new album this year. See some of London’s best
at the Marquee on May 18.
On the other end of the BPM scale and
taking place at The Palace on the 18th as well,
catch a back-to-back set with two of drum
and bass’ heaviest hitters, DJ Hype and DJ
Hazard. The two have decades of experience
between them and are arguably the most incendiary
DJs in the game. Definitely the D’N’B
event of the month.
One Tribe festival happens again at Camp
Chief Hector in Kananaskis country from May
19 to 21. This family friendly transformational
festival features Govinda and the Celtic-infused
downtempo beats of Drumspyder.
Lots of really great house music happening
this month it would seem! On May 20 at Habitat,
the globetrotting Doc Martin brings his wealth
of talent and experience collected over a career
spanning many, many years.
It MUST be spring because the YYC Bike
Rave is happening! This year is the event’s sixth
and is in conjunction with Crescent Heights
Community Festival Village Days. Happening
on May 26 it begins in Rotary Park, goes for
about two hours, and at a pub in Crescent
Heights. Have fun, be safe!
And if you’re still feeling like raving after
your invigorating cardiovascular rave activities
on May 26, head over to The Palace
for Skism, Gentlemens Club and Trolley
Snatcha. Bro-step lives on!
• Paul Rodgers
Doc Martin brings all things house to Habitat on May 20.
JUCY BEATROUTE • MAY 2018 | 45
her head and heart in the game
t’s the story of my life!” exclaims Jill Barber
“Iover the phone from the quiet nook of a
Vancouver public library. This reaction came
from discussing both the implications and
liberties of not neatly fitting in any box. The
singer-songwriter’s thoughts on the matter are
dusted with the wisdom of someone who has
unabashedly given their heart to their craft.
“At the heart of it all, I am a singer-songwriter.
I love to write songs. Across genres I am a
sucker for a hook, a strong chorus, lyrics, an
awesome bridge. I believe in the great three or
four-minute song that takes you out of where
you were before, and delivers you to a new
place at the end of it. It stirs something in you,
moves you, makes you want to dance or want
to call somebody. I think songs are amazing
vehicles for experiences. And much like my
record collection, which is not any one genre,
my body of work is reflective of different
influences and styles. I go through different
phases of exploring, but at the end of the day
I’m just writing songs. Songs that hopefully
can transcend genres.”
Overcome with a burst of creativity, Barber
injected her forthcoming album, Metaphora,
with the newfound energy and excitement she
felt pulsing through her veins. The record—to
be released in June—takes an unlikely, but
rousing turn into the realm of contemporary
pop. Her eighth solo album under her belt,
Barber continues to prove that there is no
expiry date on creative growth.
“The number one thing that was different
for me with the process of making this record
is that I worked with 100 percent new people.
Everyone that contributed to this record,
from the song writing to the production, is
BY ALIX BRUCH
someone that I’ve never worked with before.
So the spirit of new and different collaboration
was very much alive on this record. That made
things really exciting for me.”
One such collaboration was with Ryan
Guldemond, from the popular Canadian indie
band Mother, Mother. Those familiar with
each respective artist, this isn’t an obvious
pairing, but one that offered the excitement
and fresh approach Barber was craving.
“I really wanted to work with people that
were outside of my musical milieu,” explains
Barber. “In the last four years since my last
record came out, I feel the desire to be more
energetic in my music and I need it as an outlet
more than ever before. I wanted to groove
a little bit more, I wanted to dance, I wanted to
throw my body into it.”
As a result of dancing up a storm, the
spirited songstress has brought us new material
that is empowering, and well, downright
catchy. Metaphora is a marriage of the
head and the heart: a powerful combination
of strength and vulnerability. Barber has felt
a change in the winds, bringing into relief
the state of the world as pertaining to politics,
power, and sexuality.
“Over the last four years I’ve realized
there’s a lot that I want to say, and a lot of
the nature of what I wanted to say needed a
new musical vehicle. I wanted to get a little
political for the first time as a writer. Matters
of the heart have been my mainstay theme,
and as a woman living in 2018 I felt the urge
to start expressing myself and my beliefs in
my music a little bit more. I think there’s a lot
of good that can come of me just expressing
how my heart feels, but I think my head is a
little more in the game now.”
Prior to this new venture, Barber was busy
with a special project that saw her teaming
up with her older brother and fellow musical
comrade, Matthew Barber. The siblings released
The Family Album in 2016; an endeavour
that was always on the horizon and at long
last came to fruition.
“We are big fans of one another, and we
have a lot of mutual respect for one another,
so that was a good starting place. We had a lot
of fun making this record and touring together,
but I think we were also happy to return to
our own original projects as well. We’re both
creators, and at the end of the day we want to
do things our own way.”
Jill Barber performs at the Bragg Creek Community
Centre, Sat., May 5.
ROOTS BEATROUTE • MAY 2018 | 47
THE KENSINGTON SINFONIA
collaborative quintet swings both ways
Founded in 1988 by John Lowry, the
associate concert master of the Calgary
philharmonic orchestra (CPO), The Kensington
Sinfonia (which uses the Italian term
for symphony) has been around a while. The
quintet captures a classical side of Calgary
that displays a passionate, intimate environment
under musical director, Donovan Seidle.
Currently in its twenty-ninth season, the
Kensington Sinfonia began as an opportunity
to do something different. “It started as a
chance for orchestral players to play with
smaller groups. To be playing stuff that you
never get to play in an orchestra because it is
too reduced for any orchestra to program,”
explains Laura Reid, a member of sinfonia.
Reid, a violinist with the group, will be taking
over for Seidle beginning next season that
consists of three concerts per year. Reid is also
the mastermind behind the Kensington Sinfonia:
Village Sessions, which combines local
folk music with the sinfonia’s string quartet
led by Reid. The sessions create an intimate
occasion between the artist, the ensemble
“It is a reduced ensemble,” says Ried. “It
ends up being a string quintet. Donovan has
actually written for (folk and country artists)
Kris Ellestad and Amy Nelson arrangements
of their own songs that the ensemble can
play with them. We are able to expand their
48 | MAY 2018 • BEATROUTE
BY ANDREW BARDSLEY
sound, which is really cool!”
The Village Sessions offers the audience
a chance to engage with the Calgary folk
music scene and the classical scene, two established
music communities that are rarely
“We want an open door between both
sides,” says Reid. “I am not interested in crossover,
but I want these sessions to be a chance
for each side to what they would do on their
own. When I take over, what I really want to
do is expand what people think of when they
think of a classical ensemble. As a music fan
in this city, I go to a lot of shows where I see
an opportunity for fans to really enjoy an expanded
view. I want to change how audiences
are represented in this city.”
Reid adds, “People in Calgary go to shows
to support their friends, and those are the
only shows you go to. I think it is a lack of
awareness that maybe the concert goer
would like something different.”
As the sessions continue, Reid carefully
selects who the sinfonia should collaborate
with. “I want it to be a positive social interaction,
but I also want to have someone who
makes musical sense.”
The Kensington Sinfonia’s upcoming show on Fri.,
May 31 is at Hope Lutheran Church featuring
ROSIE & THE RIVETERS
building up, breaking out
Too often it’s been a “Man’s man’s man’s
world,” but that doesn’t mean Rosie &
the Riveters aren’t going to make their voices
heard. Formed in 2011, the group sprang
from Farideh Olsen’s desire to create a collaborative
space for female singer-songwriters
in a male-dominated industry. With this in
mind, the group named themselves after
feminist icon Rosie the Riveter, after finding
that their voices blended in a vintage style
reminiscent of the Andrews Sisters.
“There are a lot of strong woman in each
of our family histories,” says band member
Allyson Reigh. “My grandmother repaired
planes outside Shellbrook, Saskatchewan
during WWII, and that’s a legacy I’m proud
In keeping with the vintage theme, all three
band members present themselves in the
ultra-feminine style of the 1940s, something
that Reigh says is not contrived, but rather
genuine self-expression. “It lets us express
our personalities in a different way from our
Although they’ve been asked if their style
is counter-productive to their message, Reigh
doesn’t see the two as being mutually exclusive.
“It’s not like we can have feminist-leaning
songs or we can dress femininely. It’s a mix of
both,” she emphasizes. “We see the message
of feminism as being that you can decide your
own destiny and how you express yourself.”
Rosie & the Riveters are also firm in
their conviction to put their money where
their mouth is and support other people.
Twenty per cent of the proceeds from their
BY EMILIE CHARETTE
merchandise sales are donated to fund
the projects of women around the world
through Kiva, a microfinance initiative. To
date, the band has helped fund 200 projects,
amounting to nearly $10,000.
Guided by the belief in supporting others,
the band secluded themselves in a cabin
in Northern Saskatchewan to write the
songs for their new album, Ms. Behave. The
emphasis was on collaboration and splitting
the work equally.
“We took inspiration from the things going
on around us,” states Reigh, citing the gender
pay gap, “mansplaining” how society polices
the behaviour of women and non-binary people,
and sexual violence. “These are issues that
are current, even though they’ve been going
on for a long time.”
The new album is both hilarious and
heartbreaking, but above all, powerful. The last
track, “I Believe You,” is a poignant message
of support to survivors of sexual assault. Proceeds
from digital sales and streaming of this
track are donated to YWCAs across Canada
to help survivors of sexual assault, one of the
ways the band fulfills its goal of empowering
and uplifting others.
Reigh’s favourite track, however, is the CBC
Radio hit “Let ’Em Talk.”
“It’s really about letting people talk shit
about you and not caring, because what does
it matter? Don’t let them ruin your ambition
or your dreams.”
Rosie & the Riveters perform Sat., May 5 at the
Ironwood Stage & Grill
lifting the whole damn crowd up
In the three years since releasing his debut as
Astral Swans, Calgary’s Matthew Swann has
been busy. Touring Canada twice following
the release of 2015’s All My Favorite Singers
Are Willie Nelson, once in support of Dan
Mangan, and a second time playing a series
of more intimate shows in alternative venues,
from art galleries to microbreweries.
He has since settled into completing a
follow-up recording, Strange Prison, with co-production
by Paul Chirka a recording engineer
who’s worked with the Calgary Philharmonic
Orchestra, Juno-winning Dan Mangan and Scott
Munro of Preoccupations.
“We spent a lot of tireless nights working
after-hours in his studio space,” explains Swann.
Along the way, Swann also enlisted various
guests, including Rena Kozak (Child Actress) and
Tigerwing. Production on two of the record’s 13
tracks was handled by Mangan.
The result is a more dynamic, more
enthralling and more emotionally complex
recording than its predecessor. It’s brimming
with life, full of texture and character
while maintaining a laid-back, atmospheric
quality. Subtle details, such as the lacing of a
Theremin throughout, make the record shine
while ensuring that no two tracks are alike.
That being said, the record is cohesive and
masterfully arranged, with Swann’s vocals
tying the project together.
The stories presented are unconventional
and at times morbid, seeking to dig to the core
of the human experience and uncover beauty
“The complexities of being human is really the
message. The complex situations that inform our
behaviours and our perceptions of the world,”
explains Swann. For instance, the song Controls
finds him recalling a plane crash he read about
as a child.
“I remember reading all the awful details
of the commercial airline flight, with people
being stuck in this very confined state. And
they’re forced to deal with the complete
absence of control, and submission to this
horrible set of conditions.
“It really haunted me, maybe because it was
the first time I really became aware of the horrible
realities that can happen to human beings.”
Swann uses the ideas of confinement and loss of
BY GARETH JONES
control as a metaphor for trauma in his family
life. He finds that music serves as a vessel to
overcome difficult experiences.
“Songwriting is a way of dealing with those
things, and finding ways to overcome the shittiness
of life, and the world, and the mind.” Music,
says Swann, provides a means of self-expression
that he wouldn’t have had otherwise. “It’s a way
for me to communicate ideas in a different and
more complete way of expressing concepts,
ideas, and parts of myself, emotions and psychological
Comparisons have been made between the
work of Astral Swans and the likes of Nick Drake
and Daniel Johnston, and it’s easy to see why.
Intimate, often hushed instrumentals paired
with Swann’s ability to pull from and examine
the human condition creates a clear parallel. Despite
the morbid tone his lyrics may take, Swann
strives to find the good.
“It’s really about trying to use beauty as a
means to overcome the limitations of joy in
Strange Prison will be released on May 18. Astral
Swans will perform at Massy Book on Sat., June 9
ROOTS BEATROUTE • MAY 2018 | 49
legendary shock-metal act galvanized by politics
“It’s like you’re watching a bad comedy about a fascist dictator.”
photo: Rodrigo Fredes
Juan Brujo, the infamous frontman-bandleader of the
Popularly known as “Mextremists,” Brujeria immediately baited
extreme-metal legends Brujeria, is more than happy to talk. the wrath of square-ass mainstream critics with the shocking
After all, the current political climate is what triggered his long cover artwork of their 1993 debut album Matando Güeros, which
dormant death/grind band back into action.
depicts someone standing out of camera-shot triumphantly
“Trump getting elected sparked us off into finally pushing out a holding up a bloody severed human head (said to be a drug
new album,” begins Brujo, referring to the band’s 2016 full-length dealer). With their song lyrics dealing in narcotics, drug smuggling,
Satanism, armed uprisings, murder, revenge, illegal immigration,
“There’s a LOT of stuff about him on there. Everything was and general chaos, Brujeria have also released Raza odiada (1995)
going great in the United States, as far as I could see, and then and Brujerizmo (2000). The band maintained a steady touring
all of a sudden HE comes onto the political scene and now he’s schedule, although they did enter an especially long recording
turned the social clock back 40, 50 years! It’s, er, ‘interesting’ how hiatus due to the band members’ ongoing commitments to
he’s managed to separate and divide everybody so fast. He’s really their main projects. The band finally returned to fine form with
good at that. Somebody once asked me: what would you do if Pocho Aztlan (2016), which was pre-dated by their arguably most
you met Donald Trump alone in a windowless room? I’d say: ‘hey, nerve-striking sociopolitical single, “Viva Presidente Trump!” The
you’re really good at tearing the social fabric of the country wide 7-inch features Trump’s bleeding face, a machete through his skull,
and the phrase “fuck you puto.”
The history of Brujeria reads like some weird rock/horror story “We do get insulted on Facebook by Klansman wanna-bes,
by David J. Schow, but they are very real, very loud, and very dangerous.
Formed in Tijuana in 1989, Brujeria (Spanish for “Witch-
for sure,” says Brujo regarding the aftermath of the 2016
craft”) gave the turn-of-the-90s underground metal scene a sharp “We get stuff like: ‘You guys are haters,’ and blah blah blah...I
backhand whack across the face. They’ve delivered continuous mean, really? KLANSMEN calling us haters? We’ve gotten a lot
sonic piledrivers ever since. Clad in serapes, bandanas, and balaclavas.
waving bloody machetes around their heads, screaming all been any official-type backlash from government agencies or the
more of that. But it hasn’t actually been that bad. There hasn’t
their lyrics in guttural Spanish, projecting an effectively unsettling authorities or anything, which is sorta weird.”
stage image of crazed Satanic drug-lords on the rock-and-roll
He adds, “We never thought he would make President! But
rampage... Brujeria are brutally real in their presentation. Featuring he did...”
no less than eight musicians (often including THREE bassists; thus Brujo delves deeper.
the crushing low-end pummeling), most of Brujeria’s bandmembers
are a confusing revolving-door whirlwind of in-and-out the Trump character getting whacked in the Oval Office by the
“If you listen to the song through to the end, where you hear
anonymous moonlighters hailing from Faith No More, the Dead cholo-vigilante character with the machete... I mean, anyone with
Kennedys, Cradle of Filth, Carcass, Napalm Death, Fear Factory, a brain knows what we’re really talking about. We’re just shocked
Terrorizer, At The Gates, and Christ knows wherever else.
that he actually WON the election!”
BY FERDY BELLAND
Brujo reflects on the history of politically charged music and
how the band has responded to turmoil.
“You look back on antagonistic, politically-charged lyrics
from punk bands and metal bands from years ago, like back
when Ronald Reagan was President... and in the 1980s, everyone
was thinking, ‘Jeez, it can’t get any worse than this - can
it?’ I mean, Reagan was a model Republican. A classic. But even
worse, to us, was California Governor Pete Wilson. He ran for
President once, but he didn’t win. I met him once, face to face.
It was at this big open-air event, tons of people. He was moving
through the crowd, and I recognized him, and I thought: hey,
it’s the Governor of California! Whaddaya know! I pushed my
friends back a bit and made some room for him to walk by,
and he sneers at me and turns around and covers his wife - like,
protecting her - and all of a sudden the Secret Service guys
swarmed up and grabbed me, yelling, ‘You’re on your way out!’
Huh? What just happened? It’s as if I was the only Mexican
in the entire crowd. I was respecting him! And his wife! I was
trying to make room! And three months after that incident,
he comes out with all these anti-Mexican Immigrant laws that
were so horrible that the Supreme Court overturned them. But
when he tried pushing those laws, it was glaringly obvious that
this wasn’t some uptight suit who was trying to save the state
of California some money - he was persecuting and detaining
Mexicans! And that was the inspiration for Brujeria’s second
Wilson advocated for California Proposition 187, a state-run
citizenship screening system that intended to prevent illegal
immigrants from utilizing social services. He vetoed a bill written
to prohibit employment discrimination based on sexual
orientation, advocated for cuts to welfare, and advocated
reinstating the death penalty.
“But Trump? He’s so much more way out there… He’s been in
power for less than 18 months and already all his bullshit’s starting
to come true. It’s like you’re watching a bad comedy about a
fascist dictator. Mobilizing the National Guard to beef up security
along the Mexican border? That’s a real high-voltage thing. You
know how many Latinos serve in the U.S. Armed Forces? What’s
going to happen if a Hispanic-American soldier refuses to shoot at
unarmed Mexicans scaling a fence?”
Brujo is reminded of the apocryphal saying, “May You Live In
“The modern situation in the U.S. has just galvanized Brujeria
again,” he says.
“It made us feel as if we’re needed to push the word out. There
was a long period of time, like almost 15 years, where it seemed
there was nothing to sing about. And then along comes Donald
Trump, and he single-handedly destroyed the last four decades
of positive social change in just over one year. All the good stuff,
gone. So with this new album, we have some stuff to say.”
Juan is informed that Canadians are frothing at the mouth to
see the band, and that the upcoming gigs will be intense.
“Well, we’ll see, gringo. Bring it on!”
Brujeria perform at Dickens Pub on June 8 (Calgary), the Starlite
Room on June 9 (Edmonton), the Exchange on June 10 (Regina),
and the Park Theatre on June 11 (Winnipeg).
SHRAPNEL BEATROUTE • MAY 2018 | 51
architects of the metal age
BY MATTY HUME
52 | MAY 2018 • BEATROUTE
Power metal and power bombs.
As long as time passes, metal will
endure — a thought proven by the
decades-long success of now-legendary
champions of melodic power metal,
HammerFall. Forged in the hostile fires of a
popular demand for alternative rock in the
primeval days of old (1993) by guitarist Oscar
Dronjak, HammerFall quickly proved to
an unsure Gothenburg, Sweden, that heavy
metal is the past, present, and future.
“That’s when I started fiddling around
with the idea of forming a heavy metal
band, and in 1993 heavy metal was out of
date and unappreciated by people,” Dronjak
says, laughing. “I just wanted to play the
music that I loved to listen to because
nobody else was doing it.”
Initially, vocal duties fell to a teenage Mikael
Stanne, now of Dark Tranquility fame.
Despite his talent, HammerFall became
mighty when current vocalist Joacim Cans
took control of the mic in 1996, giving them
a vocalist with a soaring dynamic range
reminiscent of metal’s high-note bards of
“When Joacim came into the picture it
was like the whole world opened up for
me,” Dronjak says. “Most people didn’t want
to admit it or really just didn’t like heavy
metal anymore, but we were on the same
page right away.”
Undeterred by early shows where
audience disrespect for melodic metal
ran rampant, HammerFall persevered and
received a record deal after footage surfaced
of the band’s 15-minute set at a battle of
the bands in Gothenburg — and our heroes
have been gloriously triumphant ever since.
“Somebody filmed one-and-a-half songs
of our performance on video. In ‘96 you
couldn’t just pull up your phone, it was very
difficult,” Dronjak chuckles. “You had to like
rent a nuclear power plant to carry around
on your shoulder.”
Captured in the footage was a distillation
of Dronjak’s original plan for HammerFall’s
sonics, which hold true today. Across their
discography, HammerFall blends the more
extended symphonic style of heavy metal
with the uplifting optimism of modern power
metal. Quick guitar licks repeat with speed
behind Cans’ stadium-worthy high octaves,
adding further grandeur to clear, almost
theatrical choruses backed by Dronjak..
HammerFall continued to bring the best
of heavy metal this side of 2000 by developing
their famed mascot, Hector. He’s much
like Iron Maiden’s Eddie, but with a massive
hammer and a knack for slaying dragons.
Featured on most of HammerFall’s discography,
Hector has been illustrated by longtime
Blizzard Entertainment artist Samwise
Didier since 2002’s Crimson Thunder.
“His first game [for Blizzard] is one of
my favourite games of all time, The Lost
Vikings. He just wrote us mail and said ‘I’m
listening to your guys’ music when I create
my stuff and I really love it.’ We were like,
photo: Tallee Savage
‘Let’s try having him do the next album
cover.’ It was brilliant,” booms an excited
“He’s a very down to earth cool guy who’s
been with us for a long time. Our plan is for
him to do the cover for the next album as
While a release date is yet to be locked
down, Dronjak says HammerFall’s next
album may land by the end of summer
2019. Until then, the band is excited to keep
touring and bring their power to every fan
“We had a vision for what you could
expect when you saw HammerFall live. We
kept true to that since day one. It’s supposed
to be special to go on stage,” Dronjak
says proudly. “If you like heavy metal performed
with an infinite amount of love for
the music, and a show where we give you
a hundred percent, we’ll have a great time
For Dronjak, Calgary is an extra special
stop thanks to power metal’s cousin, the
“I always feel great being in Calgary
because I’m a big wrestling fan. It’s hallowed
ground basically, so it’s always fun just to be
in the city.”
See HammerFall perform on June 7 at Dickens
Pub (Calgary), on June 8 at the Starlite Room
(Edmonton) and on June 9 at the the Rickshaw
The quantity of shows is amping up, and
the weather is no longer trying to kill us!
On Friday, May 11, head to Distortion
(Calgary) for a fundraising show for Decimate
Metalfest. Toledo deathcore band the Convalescence
will perform, alongside Embers
of Empires, Quietus, Becomes Astral, and
The next day, get up early and head out for
MomentsFest IV in Pow Wow Arbor (Siksika).
Kicking off at noon, the annual one day event
features performances by No More Moments,
Plaguebringer, Black Mastiff, Protosequence,
Traer, Paroxysm, and numerous
more. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at
the door; ready Matty Hume’s piece in Rock-
Pile to learn more.
Head to the Aviary on May 17 (Edmonton)
for Storm Of Sedition, a pummeling crust act
featuring members of Iskra, Mechanical Seperration,
and Leper. They’ll be performing with
Messiahlator, Paroxysm, and Feeding.
Another excellent crust show is going down
on Saturday, May 19 at 9910 (Edmonton). Featuring
the return of Vancouver crust legends
Massgrave, the gig also features performances
by Dour, Languid, Falsehood, Paroxysm, and
Gorgos. Tickets are $15 at the door.
The following weekend on May 19 sees
Slayer perform with Lamb of God, Anthrax,
Behemoth and Testament at the Big Four
Building (Calgary). The same tour hits the
Shaw Conference Centre on may 20 (Edmonton)
and the Bell MTS Place on May 22 (Winnipeg).
Go for your “last chance” to see Slayer
before another last chance presents itself.
On May 18, head to the Vat Pub (Red
Deer) for a gig featuring Vancouver’s own
progressive death metal outfit Neck of the
Woods, alongside Planet Eater and TMHM,
The bill performs at the Starlite Room on
Neck of the Woods is on tour in Alberta in May.
May 19 (Edmonton) and on May 20 at Broken
In his widely shared feature on Neck of
the Woods, Johnny Papan gave everyone the
scoop on the band, which released their sophomore
album The Passenger in September
2017. The release was deeply affected by both
personal and artistic struggle.
“Lyrically I tend to speak of personal
struggles and development,” explains lead
vocalist Jeff Radomsky. “In The Passenger,
the bulk of the lyrics are directed towards
extending support to my sister who suffers
from brain cancer. A good chunk of the lyrics
were written in the waiting room during
You can read the remainder of the compelling
feature at bit.ly/BeatRouteNeck.
Early June is predictably crammed full of
events. First up, head to the 2018 Calgary
Beer Core Awards on June 2 (Calgary) and
give thanks for everything that group does
for the metal, punk, and hardcore scene in
Decimate Metalfest starts on June 7 and
runs until June 10 at Distortion (Calgary).
The first evening features performances by
Ninjaspy, Widow’s Peak, Nylithia, Blackwater
Burial, For a Life Unburdened, and
ChaosBeing. The second night features
performances by Citizen Rage, Insurrection,
Hazzerd, Sludgehammer, Gatekeeper, and
Accostal. The third night features performances
by The Order of Chaos, Benevolent Like
Quietus, ODINFIST, Tessitura, Illyrian, and
SYRYN. The fourth and final day features sets
by Filth, From the Wolves, Insvrgence, World
Class White Trash, Loser, and Detherous.
Daily tickets or a weekend pass are available at
• Sarah Kitteringham
photo: Simon Karmel
intolerant of those who are intolerant
BY SARAH KITTERINGHAM
“I did fire off a large electronic confetti cannon.” photo: Kevin Estrada
Evoking the feel and energy of classic hesher One such call to action is found in the
thrash emerging from the Bay Area at the rollicking “Waiting Around to Die.” Anchored
by chugging riffs and gurgling howls,
advent of the ‘80s, Power Trip has surged in
notoriety since their second full-length Nightmare
Logic (2017) was released. Damn near Townes Van Zandt track of the same name.
the song is a counterpoint to the defeatist
universally acclaimed, the 32-minute rager It’s a ‘fuck off’ to laziness and entitlement;
merges thrash, death metal, and hardcore, a call to arms, to change your life and your
garnering deserved comparisons to Morbid world.
Saint, Cro Mags, and Exodus.
“It’s frustrating to watch, what I perceive
In direct contrast to numerous recent to be, a large part of humanity giving up on
thrash acts who revel in a pizza n’ partying humanity - giving up on ourselves, or trying to
vibe with triggered production, Power Trip is make the world better,” elaborates Gale.
raw, ferocious, and politically charged with “Embracing the downward spiral. Our
political situation is a hugely complex thing, so
“I think we’re pretty clear on the point of the I wouldn’t know where to begin, but I definitely
band,” begins vocalist and frontman Riley Gale. draw from all things current in songwriting. I
“We’re intolerant of those who are intolerant.
That certainly sounds hypocritical, but imagery may reference the past, or is my view of
am always writing about the present, even if the
when it comes to things like racism, sexism, a very near future; they’re always anchored in the
homophobia, xenophobia, etc., these divisions present.”
we give ourselves to create ‘us’ versus ‘them’ Although the band messaging offers a serious
situations are trivial to us. We don’t have time critique of our shared sociopolitical universe,
for people whose ideologies have some form Power Trip is enjoying the ride. After all, their
of exclusion involved.”
huge surge in popularity means sharing the stage
Gale is responding to our questions over with some of the biggest names in metal and
e-mail somewhere in Germany (or maybe travelling the world.
France?) thanks to the band’s endless touring
secret,” offers Gale. “What happens on tour
“The most ridiculous moments will remain
“Every human life is equal and important, stays on tour. But, I did fire off a large electronic
we aren’t getting off this rock any time soon, confetti cannon in the streets of London, only for
so we should learn how to take care of it, Code Orange to be blamed for the mischief.”
and take care of each other,” he continues.
“Perspective is everything, if everyone were Power Trip perform with Sheer Mag at the Park
being able to truly empathize – understand Theatre on May 21 (Winnipeg), at Louis’ on
viewpoints outside of their own personal May 23 (Saskatoon), at the Starlite Room on
experiences, it would change the world for the May 24 (Edmonton), and at Dicken’s on May 25
better almost immediately.”
SHRAPNEL BEATROUTE • MAY 2018 | 53
Tell Me How You Really Feel
Mom + Pop/ Marathon Artists/ Milk!
Tell Me How You Really Feel is an open
invitation from Courtney Barnett as she gains
momentum with her sophomore release. Following
her 2015 debut full-length, Sometimes
I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit, and
fresh off the heels from touring with her musical
twin Kurt Vile on the collaboration Lotta
Sea Lice in late 2017, Barnett has come up with
a refreshing and edited version of herself. This
trajectory of maturity rounds out any uneasy
feelings one might have about her style of
reserved monotone melodies, lyrical ramblings
and run-on strumming that made it on her
It seems Barnett may have had similar
uneasy feelings while writing this record. The
track "Crippling Self Doubt and a General Lack
of Self-Confidence" is used as a blunt cathartic
stamp of words saying just that. In her pursuit
of being forthright with these feelings, she
has noticeably stirred up some inner anger. In
the song "Nameless, Faceless" she uses a loose
quote from Margaret Atwood: "Men are afraid
that women will laugh at them/women are
afraid that men will kill them," and then goes
on to say "I walk with my keys between my
fingers," woven into an otherwise pop-centric,
grunge tune. It’s unclear if she’s directly speaking
to the present feminist climate or possibly
just the haters online, but the sharper edge
suits the already cheeky attitude in her lyrics.
Again, in the track "I'm Not Your Mother, I'm
Not Your Bitch" she releases a pointed tone to
whatever she perceives to be that opposition
with the snarky "I hear you mutter under your
breath/Put up or shut up it's all the same/
Never change, never change." Whether Barnett
is letting off steam or not, she’s a benevolent
artist and the catharsis is personal yet easily
relatable. Better out than in.
54 | MAY 2018 • BEATROUTE
In spite of her crippling doubt, Barnett’s
vocal range on this record has progressed
into sounding more seasoned, both sweet
and savoury. Her time writing and touring the
album with Kurt Vile seems to have refined
her melodies and guitar fills relieving some
pressure from putting out a substantial second
release after the fast success of the first. In
"Need a Little Time" she presents her quiet
pretty singing voice with catchy 'eeeeees’
and 'ooooos’ that really lift her listenability in
contrast to the steady rap-like talking from
the 2015 release. It is a standout single and a
self-care anthem perfect for the shower or car
There are guitar sounds on this record that
also brings out the feels. She is known to play
guitars like a Harmony or a Telecaster, which
lends her a basic, yet rootsy-tough sound
that she manages to spread evenly over the
ten songs. There is a tempo breakdown in
the jangly Velvet Underground inspired "City
Looks Pretty" that showcases what a soulful
rock guitarist with deep pop sensibilities she
is, and only getting better. Then, going back
to "I'm Not Your Mother..." Barnett rides the
line between grunge and punk riffs. Knowing
she executes this simple but perfectly rhythmic
guitar hammering all the while playing
lefty, with no pick, gives off the feelings of
authenticity and solid musicianship. Hearing
more of that guitar flare filling space in the
songs and less words, proves she is showcasing
her natural talent more confidently and it
also makes for a more light-hearted listen.
When you have as many feelings as Courtney
Barnett, it’s hard to sum it all up without
some redundancies and repeats. But for now
her modesty and self-awareness has been
keeping her relevant and a trusted Melbourne
• Shauna Sheppard
illustration: Carole Mathys
Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino
“I used to want to be one of the Strokes, now
look at the mess you made me make” are the
opening lines of the almost pseudo-Sinatra
like, piano-laden lounge tune entitled “Star
Treatment.” The song immediately sets the
tone of Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino, jolting
you into a land of blissful unexpectation.
The album is just as much an experience as
it is a musical portrait, a dream-like offering
far different from anything Arctic Monkeys
have released prior, building upon the group’s
tendency to continually evolve with each cut.
Lyrically, the album explores themes of politics,
religion, and perspectives of the future
under the suave songwriting style of frontman
Alex Turner. In many ways, Tranquility Base
Hotel & Casino feels like a series of diary entries.
This is especially apparent in the record’s
title track, which opens with a line about
seeing Jesus at the spa. There are also references
to reflections of the past, remembering
old friends, and dancing around alone in your
underpants. “She Looks Like Fun” tells the tale
of someone living their wildest fantasies in the
digital world of virtual reality.
It’s clear that the indie-punk days of Whatever
People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not are
over. For the last decade Arctic Monkeys have
been perusing their own creative path, one far
greater than what they may have imagined in
their early days. This is a wonderful thing. The
band has grown to become one of the most
original and thought-provoking groups of
the modern era. If anything, Tranquility Base
Hotel & Casino may share some subtleties
with 2009’s Humbug, and perhaps 2011’s Suck
It and See, but even those presumptions are a
bit of a stretch.
As a whole, Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino
takes musical influence from the past and
mixes it with soundscapes and composition
techniques of the future, also discussing subjects
of the present and where it’s headed. It’s
a heavy album to ingest, but like a fine wine,
you must savour every sip. Pay attention to
every flavour, only then will you understand
its richness in quality.
• Johnny Papan
Invasion of Privacy
Cardi B finally releases her long-awaited first
studio album Invasion of Privacy and does not
disappoint. With an all-star cast of features
from Migos, to Chance the Rapper and 21
Savage, Cardi does a great job of showing she
isn’t a one trick pony. With perfectly curated
productions, the record can be played from
start to finish. With the success of singles like
“Bodak Yellow” and “Bartier Cardi,” following
up with a full-length album that reflected the
chart smashing impact of those tracks seemed
like a tough task for the industry rookie.
Yet, the Bronx’s favourite former stripper-turned-rapper
proved that she is much
more than a few hit singles. Cardi B shows
versatility through the entire project. Jumping
on beats of all kinds, experimenting with her
vocal range on tracks like “Thru Your Phone”
all the while staying true to the rugged and
ratchet Cardi B we have all come to know and
• Jordan Stricker
Black Moth Super Rainbow
Black Moth Super Rainbow blasts into light,
kaleidoscope clouds of synth-pop, indie-electronica,
and psychedelic vibrations with the
release of the 16-song album, Panic Blooms.
BEATROUTE • MAY 2018 | 55
While the album is much more spacey and
simple than upbeat albums such as Cobra
Juicey and Dandelion Gum, there is a certain
familiarity that lingers while listening. A
definite sense of nostalgia that lays within the
charming and lighthearted synth melodies,
vocals dripping with distortion, and catchy
bass-lines, like on lead single “Mr No One.”
From a direction of tone, Panic Blooms is
much more polished, stripped in complexity,
and lacks the lo-fi warmth and grit of EP’s like
SeaFu Lilac. There are no guitars, and these
songs are less vocally driven, vearing far from
any previous tones of psychedelic rock.
Members of the band have been working
on a wide array of musical side-projects,
which could be to blame for the simplicity
– should you feel like you are missing
something. To some, the simplicity and
melancholic melodies could be enough to fill
their hearts with emotion, after a nearly six
year wait, for a full-length album. In this case,
there is a beauty to be seen in sonic spaces
• Jamila Pomeroy
Driving In The Dark
Mariel Buckley’s sophomore full-length, Driving
In The Dark, is a bold step forward in the
Calgary singer-songwriter’s sound. While still
drawing from the classic country themes of
nostalgia, heartache, and the stark and honest
admissions inherent to the style, Buckley has
expanded her sound and writing style since
2014’s Motorhome. With the aid of producer
Leeroy Stagger and a stellar crew of Alberta
musicians, Buckley has fleshed out a full and
lush roots rock sound that hits on a number
of familiar touchstones, all tied together by
her laid back and conversational vocal tone
and her strengths as a songwriter.
“Wait” kicks off the record with the whole
band dropping in on big shots that lay back
just in time to give Buckley’s voice a nice
landing spot on a bed of Michael Ayotte’s
Hammond organ. Buckley’s devotion to
country music is evident from the first line,
“I shouldn’t call when I’ve had this much to
drink,” while the choruses point the finger
inward, at the one most often responsible for
most any person’s deepest struggles.
Buckley’s been compared to a lot of
high-level singer-songwriters, and for good
reason. While comparisons to Lucinda Williams
and k.d. Lang are appropriate given the
style of Buckley’s writing, there’s a case to be
made that her ability to shift styles shows a
deep understanding and influence of Gram
Parsons. Her voice isn’t the big jailbreaker, it’s
subtle and her ability to evoke tough feelings
with subtlety is commendable. Buckley and
Stagger checked nearly every box creating an
excellent roots rock record.
Driving In The Dark catches a listener’s attention,
and Mariel Buckley’s ability as a writer
alone, whether self-accompanied or with a full
complement of instrumentation, puts her in
some rare air around here.
• Mike Dunn
Search and Destroy / Spinefarm Records
Letting loose to danceable rock à la Franz
Ferdinand and Bloc Party has come and gone
as a trend in the last decade, but The Damned
governed the genre before those bands could
crawl. Often credited with being the first U.K.
band ever to release a punk rock single (“New
Rose”) in 1976, the London quintet is back
with Evil Spirits, their first kick at the can in
From the opening haunting chords of
“Standing on the Edge of Tomorrow,” to
the sardonic lyrics of “Procrastination,” The
Damned keep the pace crisp, light, and tight,
largely using clean guitars to ride a wave of
catchy melodies. Sonically, there’s enough
variation here to keep your attention, with
high-energy tracks like “Devil In Disguise”
balanced by mid-tempo jams like “Look Left.”
Evil Spirits is a little more Spinal Tap than
Sepultura, but The Damned manage to avoid
all-out wankery and instead provide us with
a memorable batch of tongue-in-cheek rock
• Trevor Morelli
Fire Next Time
If 2015’s Cold Hands proved what Fire Next
Time could do with more lavish, epic production,
their latest full-length Knives reveals a
band comfortable to let loose and rip. There’s
a ‘90s punk feel that feels built for crushing
decks and beers at the skate park, though
with their trademark attention to lyricism
and moody cuts. On Knives, the Edmonton
band has put together their most concise set
Kicking off at a breakneck tempo on
“Wanderlust,” the energy is immediate, with
a classic-sounding melodic line setting up the
second verse. The lead single, “Party Foul,” is
exactly what you’d expect in a skate video,
unison palm-muted riffs and a huge singalong
chorus hanging on the line, “You sucked
the life out of the party,” proving that even in
some darkness, there’s a laugh to be had. “Collars”
is a standout, and closed the first third of
the record with the same driving energy.
Showing an ability to seamlessly blend
BEATROUTE • MAY 2018 | 57
58 | MAY 2018 • BEATROUTE
the forms of classic folk to punk rock, “Old
Scratch” tags its choruses, while James Renton’s
lyrics are close to the bone, like Townes
Van Zandt in Chuck Taylors on lines like, “betray
our names, betray our trust, then return
us to the dust.”
Renton’s voice, Ryan Mick’s guitar, and
Kevin Klemp’s multi-instrumentation have
always defined Fire Next Time’s sound,
but on Knives, Garrett Krueger and Nick
Kouremenos have solidified a driving and
energetic rhythm section. If Cold Hands was
a defining artistic moment for the band a
few years ago, Knives shows an ass-kicking,
non-stop punk rock Fire Next Time that
hasn’t forgotten the key elements of the
sound they built.
• Mike Dunn
Jon Hopkins blurs the lines between nature
and technology in his meditative, abstract
fifth LP, Singularity. Dense, artificial beats
and echoing soundscapes intertwine with
moments of quiet, solitary piano to deliver an
entirely refreshing record.
Singularity is, funnily enough, split into
two parts. The album opens with abstract
single note soundscapes that give way to
bouncing synthesizer arpeggios, combined
with dance-like drum beats, that do all that
they can to encourage the involuntary bobbing
along of one’s head. Each track blurs
into the next and culminates in “Everything
Connected,” which marks Singularity’s halfway
point and a distinctive shift in gear. The
second half of the album opts for quieter,
more naturalistic piano moments that draw
the listener’s ear into a more intimate space.
The shift in sound on the second half of the
album perhaps reflects Hopkins’ own musings
on the role of technology in the natural
world, and vice versa.
The philosophical implications of Hopkins’
own aesthetic choices on Singularity will
probably always be up for debate. However,
underneath those interpretations lies a
beautiful, cohesive record that will delight
fans of Hopkins’ blend of expansive electronic
elements and intimate sensibilities.
• Alex Harrison
Having once been hailed by Iggy Pop as
“the only current punk band I can think of
that sounds really dangerous,” meant as a
compliment of the highest order, Denmark’s
Iceage have somehow managed to retain that
knife’s edge feeling of danger and excitement
that has defined their records and live shows
while still crafting their most approachable
Beyondless is the Copenhagen-based postpunk
(post-post punk? Iceage continually
defy the catchall genre categorization) band’s
first release since 2014’s excellent Plowing
Into the Field of Love, and their third with
Matador and producer Nis Bysted. Wellpaced,
with arrangements and production
that at times seem worlds away from their
hardcore-leaning debut New Brigade,
Beyondless takes the best of Love’s Americana-tinged,
setting it against a lush, gothic backdrop,
complete with buoyant strings and horns
Making for an enigmatic combination of
Ian Curtis, a snarling Leonard Cohen, and Mick
Jagger fronting the New York Dolls, Singer
and frontman Elias Bender Rønnenfelt is at
his dour, poetic best on Beyondless. While
still covering the requisite darker themes and
imagery found on previous releases, Rønnenfelt
and co. have crafted what is essentially a
hopeful, occasionally joyous sounding record.
Experimenting heavily, without compromising
what made them unique, and highly
buzzed-about years ago, Beyondless is another
step forward for Iceage that further cements
their position as one of the most consistent,
ambitious, and thought-provoking modern
• Willem Thomas
Frontwoman Zoe Reynolds of Philadelphia’s
indie pop band Kississippi, makes her album
debut since splitting with Colin James Kupson
in 2016 with Sunset Blush.
The record stars the bold-yet-gooey singles
“Cut Yr Teeth” and “Easier to Love,” perfectly
encapsulating Kississippi’s serene vibe with a
hint of divergence. It’s the perfect amount of
contrast between Reynold’s airy voice and the
mixture of electronic-rock that’s so perfectly
displayed in “Red Light” and “Adrift.”
Through her soft but powerful voice, Kississippi
croons on the end of relationships and
the hurt and loss that comes with it on Sunset
Blush in such an elegant way. The beautiful
lyrics “I could be better / You could be worse
/ We both said forever / But who said it first”
from “Who Said it First” prove how poetic her
In some cases female voices can tend to
sound very similar, especially in the alternative
scene, but Reynolds has a fresh twist to her
music as each songs glides with ease from one
Song by song you realize the similarities
that keep Sunset Blush a cohesive work of art,
as well as the differences in tempo, tone or
beat that keep it interesting and new.
• Mackenzie Mason
Caledo Verde Records
The ever-prolific Mark Kozelek returns with
a beautiful self-titled album that maintains
his signature quotidian lyricism, sparse instrumentation
and reflective warmth. Mark
Kozelek is sure to satisfy longtime fans,
but may alienate newcomers to Kozelek’s
particularly dense songwriting style, with
tracks that stretch out beyond the 10-minute
From the first track, we are lulled into the
hypnotic, reflective ramblings of Kozelek’s
lyrics; his ability to craft what seem like his
journal entries into a consistent lyricism is
astonishing. Kozelek writes about everything
from his relationships, to world
events, to what he had for lunch. Part of the
attraction with Kozelek’s lyrics is traversing
not only the physical spaces that Kozelek
writes about whilst on tour but also his
mental timeline, drifting through his memories
and finding moments loaded with profound
lessons in everyday empathy. These
reflections are all undercut with sparse,
gorgeous guitar melodies, and bouncing
backing vocals that are all tied together
with some superb, delicate production.
All of the above will be familiar to longtime
listeners, but the extensive lengths
of some tracks may alienate newcomers.
However, if one sticks around, they’re sure
to find some beautiful moments in Mark
• Alex Harrison
Rough Trade Records
Parquet Courts have managed to top themselves
with every release since their first studio
album, Light Up Gold, and they continue to
keep their compelling art rock/post punk
sound fresh with every release. Their brand
new album, Wide Awake! is certainly no
exception. The band strays from their usual
garage rock sound as they have teamed up
with the prevalent producer Danger Mouse
to create a masterpiece of funk/punk fusion
that keeps the listener engaged through its 13
Following 2016’s ballad-heavy album
Human Performance, Parquet Courts come
through with a punchy and exhilarated record
full of “joy, rage silliness and anger,” according
to the band’s frontman A. Savage. The opening
track “Total Football,” makes reference
to football players choice to kneel during
the national anthem as a protest to police
brutality and systemic racism. “Total Football,”
along with tracks like “Violence,” “Almost Had
to Start a Fight/In and Out of Patience,” and
“NYC Observation” are fast paced, fun, defiant
punk rock songs that will keep you coming
back time and again.
• Darren Wright
It’s a New Day Tonight
Michael Rault is a Toronto based singer, songwriter
and multi-instrumentalist. His
intricate glam/psych rock sound manages
to stand out from the numerous throwback
rock bands of the present day. Rault’s brand
new album, It’s a New Day Tonight, carries
a noticeably different sound than his 2015
album Living Daylight. It’s a New Day Tonight
explores themes of night time, sleeping and
dreaming, and those themes are clearly reflected
in the dreamy guitar riffs and smooth
In a time where music and pop culture
is dominated by mostly forgettable ‘80s
and ‘90s nostalgia, Rault stands out from
his peers through intricate instrumentals,
interesting songwriting and a mostly unique
style. On the almost title track “New Day
Tonight,” Rault opens with the lyrics “Start
to feel alright just after midnight” which
sets the tone for the rest of the album
which is full of references to sleeping and
dreaming. According to Rault, he was
“Looking for an escape from a lot of frustrating
and dissatisfying conditions in [his]
day to day life.” Although It’s a New Day Tonight
stays interesting through its intricacy,
Rault’s influences are very clear and at times
overpowering. Most songs on the album
wouldn’t feel out of place on a Beatles or
Bob Dylan record, which makes it hard not
to want something more to give the album
more of a distinct sound.
• Darren Wright
Musical fads have come and gone as long as
the art form has existed, along with a plethora
of new bands formed in the name of the fad.
Punk, pop, and lofi are all hugely popular
genres this decade, so what makes HiLo worth
your time? It’s Jack Stauber’s playfulness with
not only the oversaturated genres of the
current times, but those of the ‘90s, ‘80s, ‘70s,
etc. as well.
Coming hot off of his last release, Pop
Food, released in 2017, in which Stauber
brewed an easy-listening reflection of bandcamp-pop
artists as a whole, he decided to
go further into looking at what is popular
and how we treat pop-culture music in
Album highlight, and longest track on the
record “Leopard,” opens up like any other
song of Stauber’s. A steady drum sample and
DeMarco-core guitar anchor the intro, but
quickly shift into a ‘60s swing number with a
synth-pop twist, before suddenly transforming
into a completely different electronic-rock
song. Just picture tuning from station-to-station
on your radio, listening to 30 seconds of
each song before restlessly turning the dial
That’s what listening to this record is like,
curious, open minded, but comforting in the
idea that the musical art form is essentially
open-ended, with the usual clashes of era-toera
and genre-to-genre coming together in a
• Keeghan Rouleau
The outfit formerly known as Julian Casablancas
& the Voidz returns with a new record
that feels more streamlined and cohesive than
their last, without losing the experimental
edge that makes them compelling.
2014’s Tyranny was a massive undertaking,
blending punk with synthpop, industrial
noise with Caribbean rhythms. While Tyranny
felt messy at times, one could not shake the
feeling that the band was on to something.
That something is expanded in their latest
effort, which trades the most alienating, noisy
moments of Tyranny for infectious hooks and
a clearer, listener-friendly sound.
Opening track “Leave It In My Dreams” lies
in the uncanny valley, sounding something
akin to Casablancas’ main band The Strokes,
yet distancing itself through off-kilter instrumentation
and a warped vocal performance
The second track, “QYURRYUS,” sees the
band diverting into Eurobeat while Casablancas’
vocals are run through autotune
à la Kanye West’s 808’s and Heartbreak.
“Pyramid of Bones” flirts with the sounds of
nu-metal while the acoustic “Think Before
You Drink” serves to handily cut the record
Like Tyranny before it, Virtue is densely
political; the record’s 15 tracks see Casablancas
croon about propaganda, government
deception and historical wrongdoings.
Virtue sees The Voidz’ everything-and-thekitchen-sink
approach take a more concrete
form, resulting in an album that feels more
complete while allowing the band the leeway
• Gareth Jones
BEATROUTE • MAY 2018 | 59
King Woman, Russian Circles
Dickens Pub (Calgary)
Rolling into town (just two days after Chelsea Wolfe and Ministry
held court at The Palace), Bay Area black swans King Woman took
over the Dickens stage and served up profound cocktail of brains and
brawn. Draped in a red silk kimono, onyx-tressed chanteuse Kristina
Esfandiari launched into a battery of heart-wrenching tunes that
wandered a rocky path between pleasing and painful. Conjuring evil
spirits and primal emotions with a black-booted foot up on the monitor
and a turgid mic firmly in her grasp, Esfandiari used her voice as
a blunt weapon; her beefy wails overriding a frenetic fray of stroking
strings and striking sticks. Afterall, as their album title declares, like
human existence — this empathetic dark wave narrative was Created
in the Image of Suffering.
Flipping the script, Russian Circles glided into place with a slick
proficiency that’s come to define their mute yet highly-technical
style. Named for the hockey drill guitarist Mike Sullivan and
drummer Dave Turncrantz practiced as children, Russian Circles
immediately settled in and began building their sonic towers. Percussionist
Brian Cook, who has performed as a member of Botch,
These Arms Are Snakes and Sumac, was feeling the wind in his hair
and beneath his wings as the Chicago-based trio opened with two
tracks that share the names of their respective albums, “Station”
and “Geneva,” before moving into “Afrika” from their most recent
album, Guidance (2016 Sargent House). Another offering from that
LP, “Vorel,” popped up a few songs later. Spreading their six album
back catalogue of mathy metal across the evening in equal portions,
the instrumental three-piece presented the capacity crowd
with a blistering display of post-hardcore musical geometry that
was as captivating as it was convoluted.
• Christine Leonard
photo: Mario Montes
Yamantaka // Sonic Titan, DRI
The Palomino Smokehouse and
Social Club (Calgary)
April 6, 2018
On March 23 ears were gifted with the
official release of the third full-length LP
from Canada’s premiere experimental rock
band, Yamantaka // Sonic Titan. Having said
that, “experimental” is certainly too simplistic
a descriptor for the band’s sound, which
exists somewhere between the worlds
of anime soundtrack epics, noh-wave
psychedelia and power-metal operas. The
melange known as Dirt (Paper Bag Records)
follows two albums from YT // ST that both
secured positions on the Polaris Music Prize
shortlist for their creative genius, and this
latest offering is no exception.
The Palomino has a celebrated ability to
pair local talent with the best from beyond
the city’s limits and this evening was no
exception. DRI HIEV and Ghostkeeper
did an admirable job of setting the tone
prior to the headliner’s grand barrage. DRI
HIEV incited a heavy-as-lead dance party
60 | MAY 2018 • BEATROUTE
through industrial noise and beats. Likewise,
Ghostkeeper had the whole room swaying
their hips and headbang in unison with
This live performance was undoubtedly
a treat for those who have consumed YT
// ST’s Dirt in all its celestial glory as the
ensemble moved through the majority of
the album in chronological order. Joint
vocalists, Ange Loft and Joanna Delos
Reyes, captivated the crowd with their
awe-inspiring range. The powerful Alaska
B drove the metal epic forward with full
control of the drum kit; Brendan Swanson
delivered synth-solos from the stars while
dystopian warriors, Brandon Lim and Hiroki
Tanaka, passionately shredded away
on their electric strings.
By the end of the night, it took genuine
effort to realize you were still in downtown
Calgary’s most rockin’ basement, and not
fighting the good fight in an astral apocalypse.
Yamantaka // Sonic Titan is welcome
to transport Calgary to another dimension
• Matty Hume
photo: Michael Grondin
The Palace (Calgary)
A provocative light show at The Palace in Calgary was the perfect
pairing to monochrome goth pop band PVRIS, who performed to an
intimate crowd on April 26. They were accompanied by L.A.-based
indie pop duo Slenderbodies and local Calgary collection, The Path Less
PVRIS’ metalcore roots were on full display throughout the set
as lead vocalist Lynn Gunn belted out hits from their most recent
record drop, All We Know of Heaven, All We Need of Hell. The band’s
precise genre is a bit difficult to place, but their downplayed aesthetic
performance and haunting lyricism harkens to the likes of women-led
acts like Evanescence and Flyleaf. PVRIS’ strength come in their intimate
connection with fans, coupled with an accessible sound that conveys a
lot of depth, neatly packaged together in a performance that could best
be described as goth pop.
The all-ages show featured the expected teenage crowd, but a
surprising collection of university-age attendees, couples and hip Dads
could also be seen bobbing along to PVRIS’ singles. The diversity of the
band’s fanbase is impressive considering their first record was released
just four years ago. Since then, Gunn has been a vocal advocate for the
LGBTQ+ community and her awareness for social activism is evident in
the band’s universal lyricism.
After hovering on older hits like White Noise’s “St Patrick,” Gunn
took to the drum kit for “Walk Alone.” Gunn’s musical talent was on
display as she seamlessly transitioned between instruments, moving
from the kit to lead vocals, and later taking up guitar and keyboards.
The band opted for 2014’s My House to close out the set, but cries
for more from the dedicated crowd coaxed them back to the stage for
one final song. Gunn got the crowd to clap along as she growled to
drum-heavy “No Mercy” from All We Know of Heaven… The energy
from the crowd swelled as Gunn held out her hands to fans and drummer
Justin Nance tossed his sticks to the audience.
Their final song left the crowd begging for more, and after seeing
the quality of this comparatively new band on stage, it’s clear that they
won’t be the only ones waiting to see what PVRIS has in store.
• Emilie Medland-Marchen
The Wrecks, The Maine, The Technicolors
The Den (Calgary)
The anticipation for The Maine course to hit the stage was high
last week at The Den when The Wrecks of Los Angeles stepped
into the fluorescent blue lighting. Uniformly clad in denim and
leather, the five boys eagerly grabbed their instruments and let
it fly. Thanks to their efforts, the packed show was anything
but a freeway pile-up, as they began bouncing around the
crowded stage full of passion and energy, inciting the crowd to
join in a school’s out end-of-semester shakedown.
Lead singer Nick Anderson leapt from the stage for an
impromptu mid-pit performance of “Turn It Up.” This was
much to the delight of the few members of the Robot Army
(a.k.a. The Wrecks’ legion of followers) in attendance. One
described the moment as different and unique as compared
to other band’s sets, “It made the experience more intimate.”
The show turned into a karaoke session when Anderson
started waving a tambourine to play their cover of Jet’s “Are
You Gonna Be My Girl,” encouraging the audience follow
Dragging the reluctant spirit of springtime into the spotlight,
The Wrecks filled the room with their stage presence
and magnetic personality while priming concertgoers for a
taste of headliner The Maine’s Arizonian alt-rock musicality.
Not only did the L.A. outfit make a point of interacting with
the crowd, but also their connection with one another as
bandmates was on full display for all to witness. Just goes to
prove that, if you mix some anthemic and catchy rock music
with five good looking and talented dudes, you have the recipe
for a great Tuesday night to get away from the mid-week
• review and photo: Mackenzie Mason
BEATROUTE • MAY 2018 | 61
I wish I had a better question, but this is all I have: My friends and
I were discussing the nuances of a straight orgy (a roughly equal
number of male and female participants) versus a gang bang (one
woman, many men), and we observed that there is no proper name
for a one man, many women situation. The internet tells me it’s just
a “reverse gang bang,” which is a very disappointing name. Can we
please establish a new one?
How does “pussy riot” grab you? And while we’re on the subject of
flipping gendered expressions: A number of years ago, I was asked
to come up with a female version of “sausage fest.” Sticking with
the food theme, I proposed “clam bake.” Still mystified as to why it
didn’t catch on.
Married from 28 to 36, single the last three years, and celibate most of
the last couple years. The last two years of my marriage were sexless,
and I saw professionals until I was priced out. I could probably earn
twice what I’m making now if I moved away, but my current job gives
me the flexibility to spend afternoons with my young kids. Last year,
I had a brief relationship (that included the best sex of my life), but I
ended it because I needed more me time. So I lack the willingness or
the confidence to be in a relationship, and I don’t have the cash to see
pros. I’m not fussed by this. Should I be concerned about my celibacy?
–Absolutely Not Getting Sex Today
Seeing as your celibacy is intermittent and by your own choice
(you walked away from the best sex of your life for me time? What
kind of mid-’90s Oprah bullshit is that?), ANGST, you’re unlikely to
wind up hanging out on an “incel” forum filled with angry, violent,
socially maladapted men who blame the fact that they can’t get laid
on women and feminism. So long as you continue to take personal
responsibility for all the sex you’re not having, there’s nothing to be
My boyfriend and I have been together for two years. When we first
got together, we had sex every day. Then it dwindled. We had major
problems along the way and separated this winter. During that time,
he went to another state. We got back together long-distance, and I
received many letters from him saying how much he wanted to have
sex with me. He moved back two weeks ago, and we’ve had sex only
twice. He used to say he wanted me to make the first move. But if he
really wanted me, wouldn’t he make a move? I feel so neglected, yet he
claims he loves me. Please give me some insight.
–No Sex For Weeks
He says he wants sex (with you), but he doesn’t make a move. You
say you want sex (with him), but you don’t make a move. So how
about this: The next few times you want sex, NSFW, make a move.
If he fucks you two out of three times, maybe he was telling you the
truth when he said he’d like you to make the first move. If he rebuffs
you every time, then he doesn’t want to have sex with you—and
you’ll have to make a move to end this relationship.
I’m a youngish man who’s been in a loving relationship with an older
woman for a year. The only area where the age difference comes into
play is largely unspoken between us—she wants kids. All of her friends
are having kids, and she’s nearing the end of her childbearing years.
I’m nowhere near ready, and I sometimes question whether I want to
be monogamous to any one person for life. We never discuss it, but
I can tell how deeply this bothers her and that in her ideal world, I’d
be ready to start planning a future with her. I’m racked with guilt at
the possibility that by the time I’m ready for that level of commitment
(or, worse, by the time I realize I never will be), she’ll be biologically
incapable of having kids, which is really important to her. This is all
complicated by the fact that this is easily the most loving, trusting,
respectful relationship I’ve ever been in.
–Bond Afflicted By Years
Speak, BABY: “Look, you want kids. I’m not ready, and I’m not sure I’ll
ever be ready. Also, I’m not sure about lifelong monogamy. If we need
to part ways so you can find someone who wants the same things
you do and wants them now, I’ll be devastated but I’ll understand.”
I’m a 22-year-old woman living in Central Asia doing development
work. There are 14 other expats within an hour or two of me, but eight
of them are in relationships. I’ve always been the “single friend,” and
normally I don’t mind. But being surrounded by couples right now
has been a tax on my mental health. I know I’m young and should be
focusing on this amazing opportunity and my career, but I can’t help
but feel lonely at times, especially since I can’t speak the local language
well and these 14 other people are the only ones near me who speak
English. What should I do?
–Single Anonymous Dame
BY DAN SAVAGE
Math. Eight of the 14 nearby English-speaking expats are in relationships.
That means six nearby expats are single like you, SAD. It’s not
a lot of people to choose from in real numbers, I realize, but as a
percentage—40 percent of nearby expats are single—it’s statistically
significant, as the social scientists say. Focus on this opportunity, focus
on your career, and focus on that statistically significant number
of nearby singles.
My husband and I listen to your podcast, and we’ve become a little
more open about our wants and needs as a result. Anyway, on two
recent occasions, he shaved his pubes. Both times, I told him it was a
turnoff. Like, I literally dried up when I saw it. He said he understood,
yet now he’s about to take a trip with friends and he’s done it again.
Chest too this time. Assuming he’s telling the truth and this manscaping
effort is not about other women (eye roll), is it fair to me? Can I
ask him to stop? Shouldn’t he want to stop if it’s a turnoff for me? Do I
have to be GGG on this too?
–Not Into Bald Balls
I feel your pain—but it’s not hair removal that’s an issue in my
relationship, but hair growth. My husband would like to have a
mustache. It’s his face (those are your husband’s balls), and he can
do what he wants with his face (your husband can do what he
wants with his balls). But I can do what I want with my face, and
my face doesn’t touch his when there’s a mustache on it. Similarly,
NIBB, you’re not obligated to touch your husband and/or his junk
when he’s pubeless. When I’m out of town, my husband will grow
a mustache, and I don’t complain or temporarily unfollow him on
Instagram. So long as your husband’s balls/crotch/chest are smooth
only when they’re far from you, it shouldn’t be an issue in your marriage—unlike
the fact that you think he might be fucking another
woman (maybe one who’s into bald balls?) or thinking about fucking
other women. That’s an issue you’re going to want to address.
On the Lovecast—Finally!
Porn that makes consent SEXY: savagelovecast.com.
@fakedansavage on Twitter
62 | MAY 2018 • BEATROUTE