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

beatroute

BeatRoute Magazine is a monthly arts and entertainment paper with a predominant focus on music – local, independent or otherwise. The paper started in June 2004 and continues to provide a healthy dose of perversity while exercising rock ‘n’ roll ethics.

FairyTales Film Fest • Sheer Mag • The Allovers • Crystal Method • Hammerfall • Jill Barber


TABLE OF CONTENTS

COVER 30-35

EAST TOWN GET DOWN

ARTS 8-13

Skate Club, Skateboard Furniture, Collecting Detective,

Graphic Novel, YYC Scene, Horoscopes

FILM 15-18

FairyTales Film Festival, Mike Hooves, Vidiot

MUSIC

rockpile 21-37

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

Wolves, Stueyed

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 Palomino

jucy 43-45

The Crystal Method, Pictureplane, Let’s Get Jucy

roots 47-49

Jill Barber, Kensington Sinfonia, Rosie & The Riveters,

Astral Swans

shrapnel 51-53

Brujeira, Power Trip, Hammerfall, Month in Metal

REVIEWS

music 54-61

Courtney Barnett, Arctic Monkeys, Mariel Buckley,

Iceage, and more

live 61-62

King Woman, Yamantaka//Sonic Titan, PVRIS,

The Wrecks

savage love 63

BEATROUTE

Publisher/Editor-in-Chief

Brad Simm

Marketing Manager

Glenn Alderson

General Manager

Colin Gallant

Production Coordinator

Hayley Muir

Web Producer

Masha Scheele

Social Media Coordinator

Amber McLinden

Section Editors

City :: Brad Simm

Film :: Morgan Cairns

Rockpile :: Christine Leonard

Edmonton Extra :: Brittany Rudyck

Jucy :: Paul Rodgers

Roots :: Liam Prost

Shrapnel :: Sarah Kitteringham

Reviews :: Jamie McNamara

Contributing Writers

Christine Leonard • Arielle Lessard • Sarah

Mac • Amber McLinden • Kennedy Enns •

Jennie Orton • Michael Grondin • Mathew

Silver • Kevin Bailey • Jackie Klapak • Hayley

Pukanski • Nicholas Laugher • Arnaud Sparks •

Brittney Rousten • Jodi Brak •Breanna Whipple

• Alex Meyer • Jay King • Alec Warkentin • Paul

McAleer • Mike Dunn • Shane Sellar • Kaje

Annihilatrix • Dan Savage • Miguel Morales •

Sarah Allen

Cover Art

Aron Diaz

Advertising

Ron Goldberger

Tel: (403) 607-4948 • e-mail: ron@beatroute.ca

Distribution

We distribute our publication in

Calgary, Edmonton,

Banff, Canmore, and Lethbridge.

SARGE Distribution in Edmonton

Shane Bennett

(780) 953-8423

photo: Paul Chirka

e-mail: editor@beatroute.ca

website: www.beatroute.ca

E-Edition

Yumpu.com/BeatRoute

Connect with BeatRoute.ca

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Copyright © BEATROUTE Magazine 2017

All rights reserved. Reproduction of the contents

is prohibited without permission.

BEATROUTE • MAY 2018 | 3


PULSE

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.

Tanya Harnett

April 28 – November 11, 2018

Cold Lake

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

lot more.

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

May, 2018

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

Get Down.

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

musicians.

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

International Avenue

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.

Sincerely,

Naheed K. Nenshi

MAYOR

8 | MAY 2018 • BEATROUTE

ARTS


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

Skate Club.

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.”

skateboarding locally.

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

WHAT SHAKES

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

specifics...

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 kari@theyyscene.ca.

ARTS


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

today.

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


HORROSCOPES

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”

-Buffy Sainte-Marie

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

Aurelia Smith

... the unfolding forevermore paired with a song specifically curated for your sign

CANCER

(JUNE 22 - JULY 23) photo: Jessica Wittman

Communicate, articulate,

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

beauty.

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” -

Saada Bonaire

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

ARTS


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


FILM

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

practical sense.”

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

Demers.

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.”

FAIRYTALES 2018

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,

Fairy Tales!

DISOBEDIENCE

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)

sex scene.

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.

SIGNATURE MOVE

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

early 2000s.

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.

MIKE HOOVES

local filmmaker strives for a naturalistic

queer perspective

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

lot more.”

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

animations.

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.

FILM


Proud Mary

All The Money In The World

Molly’ Game

THE VIDIOT

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.

​MOLLY’S GAME

Poker is one activity where the facially deformed

can really clean up. Unfortunately, the

action in this drama is only open to handsome

Hollywood actors.

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

blockbuster.

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.

PROUD MARY

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

condolence cards.

He’s the Burnt Toast of the Town. He’s

the…. Vidiot

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

death.

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

9 p.m.

• CHLOE LAWSON

FILM


ROCKPILE

THE ALLOVERS

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

psychotic racket.

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.

Sandman.

“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

track?

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

yourself.

“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

bro-nite out?

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

Shondells 101.

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

reference to?

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


SHEER MAG

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

down.

“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

Halladay.

“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

of April.

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

human condition.

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

cathartic.

“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

my favorite.”

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

restraint.”

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

introspection.

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

Dickens (Calgary)

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)

ROCKPILE


PRE NUP

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

inducing package.

Over many, many laughs, we examined

the long process of creation and

SCRATCH BUFFALO

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

process.

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).

CHRIS REIMER

Hello, people

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,

Hello People.

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

gentle greeting.

“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).

ROCKPILE


MOMENTSFEST

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

great day.”

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

for this.”

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,”

White says.

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

guaranteed.

Catch No More Moments, Black Mastiff, Plaguebringer

and many more on May 12 at Moments-

Fest (Siksika - Calgary).

FROG EYES

hothouse wallflowers

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

got creative.

“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

(Vancouver).

photo: Lauren Ray

ROCKPILE


PALOVERSARY

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

brick walls.

return of The Palomino Smokehouse

compilation record!

“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


SUPERSUCKERS

hold the phone

BY TREVOR MORELLI

CANCER BATS

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

Spaghetti.

“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

Supersuckers shows.

“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

immediate manner.

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

friend.”

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

amazing.”

“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

Cabaret (Winnipeg).

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

Skull Records.

“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,

actually.”

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

the release.

“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

three months.”

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

blend.

“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

show.”

“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.”

ROCKPILE


SHOOTING GUNS

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

more music.”

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

Saskatchewan horizon.

Shooting Guns perform May 19 at May Bong

Weekend Party at Distortion (Calgary), May 20 at

Temple (Edmonton).

ROCKPILE BEATROUTE • MAY 2018 | 29


photo: Aron Diaz

CARTEL

MADRAS

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

lyrical core.

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

moving fast.

Finally, where do you want to take Cartel Madras next? Tours,

features, videos? What’s on the menu for Cartel Madras in the

future?

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.

ROCKPILE


A Get Down sampler

photo: Michael Grondin

BAZARABA

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.

KLUSTERFUNK

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.

SHARK WEAK

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.

HOLLY CLARK

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

FUSE33 MAKERSPACE

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

3D printers.

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

ROCKPILE


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

admirers afterwards.

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

melody.”

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

rocket ride.

Peter and the Wolves will be howlin’ and prowlin’ at the Nite Owl

on Fri., May 25.

photo: Aron Diaz

ROCKPILE


STUYEDEYED

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

voice.

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

coming down.

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

when needed.

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!

Wait, who?

“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

says, laughing.

“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/.

WHISPER SUITE

melancholic dream pop debut

Remember MySpace?

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

ROCKPILE


THE HEARTS

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

overthinking it.”

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

release show.

“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,”

Renton says.

“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

recording.”

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

within.”

The Hearts release Sunshine on May 26 at the

Aviary (Edmonton).

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

https://firenexttime.bandcamp.com/.

ROCKPILE BEATROUTE • MAY 2018 | 39


NORTHWEST FEST

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

atmosphere.

“We open our doors and minds to everyone,”

explains Lavallee.

“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.

ARTISAN LOYALIST

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

the festival.

“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

The Square.

BY BRITTANY RUDYCK

authority in anything. I’m there to support their goals in

creating music.

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.

ROCKPILE


MERCY FUNK

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

Edmonton.

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

Eventbrite.

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


JUCY

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,

Jordan’s retirement.

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

says Kirkland.

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


PICTUREPLANE

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

years since.

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

Degenerate.

“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

Denver.

“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

summer.

44 | MAY 2018 • BEATROUTE

JUCY


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


ROOTS

JILL BARBER

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

and audience.

“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

viewed simultaneously.

“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

Darren Young.

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

to represent.”

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

everyday lives.”

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

ROOTS


ASTRAL SWANS

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

amongst misfortune.

“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

states.”

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

the world.”

Strange Prison will be released on May 18. Astral

Swans will perform at Massy Book on Sat., June 9

in Vancouver.

ROOTS BEATROUTE • MAY 2018 | 49


SHRAPNEL

BRUJERIA

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,

Pocho Aztlan.

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,

open! Congratulations!’”

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-

presidental election.

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

album.”

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

Interesting Times.”

He laughs.

“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


HAMMERFALL

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

the ‘80s.

“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

Dronjak.

“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

well.”

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

possible.

“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

together.”

For Dronjak, Calgary is an extra special

stop thanks to power metal’s cousin, the

power bomb.

“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

Theatre (Vancouver).

SHRAPNEL


This Month

In METAL

The quantity of shows is amping up, and

the weather is no longer trying to kill us!

Let’s celebrate.

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

SYRYN.

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

City (Calgary).

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

her craniotomy.”

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

Alberta.

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

https://www.showpass.com/decimate-metalfest-2018/.

• Sarah Kitteringham

photo: Simon Karmel

POWER TRIP

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

deliberate messaging.

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

schedule.

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.”

(Calgary).

SHRAPNEL BEATROUTE • MAY 2018 | 53


musicreviews

Courtney Barnett

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

first album.

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

sing-alongs.

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

musical export.

• Shauna Sheppard

illustration: Carole Mathys


Arctic Monkeys

Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino

Domino

“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

Cardi B

Invasion of Privacy

Atlantic Records

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

love.

• Jordan Stricker

Black Moth Super Rainbow

Panic Blooms

Rad Cult

Cardi B

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

and simplicity.

• Jamila Pomeroy

Mariel Buckley

Driving In The Dark

Independent

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

The Damned

Evil Spirits

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

ten years.

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

tunes.

• Trevor Morelli

Fire Next Time

Knives

Stomp Records

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

to date.

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

Singularity

Domino

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

Iceage

Beyondless

Matador Records

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

record yet.

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,

punk-blues experimentation,

setting it against a lush, gothic backdrop,

complete with buoyant strings and horns

throughout.

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

punk bands.

• Willem Thomas

Kississippi

Sunset Blush

SideOneDummy

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

writing is.

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

to another.

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

Mark Kozelek

Mark Kozelek

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

mark.

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

Kozelek.

• Alex Harrison

Parquet Courts

Wide Awake!

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

tracks.

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

Michael Rault

It’s a New Day Tonight

Wick Records

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

vocals.

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

Jack Stauber

HiLo

Independent

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

general.

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

once again.

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

smooth harmony.

• Keeghan Rouleau

The Voidz

Virtue

Cult/RCA Records

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

from Casablancas.

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

in two.

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

to experiment.

• Gareth Jones

BEATROUTE • MAY 2018 | 59


livereviews

King Woman, Russian Circles

Dickens Pub (Calgary)

April 4

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

HIEV, Ghostkeeper

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

speed-varied licks.

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

any time.

• Matty Hume

photo: Michael Grondin


PRVIS, Slenderbodies

The Palace (Calgary)

April 26

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

Travelled.

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

photo: jedmund

The Wrecks, The Maine, The Technicolors

The Den (Calgary)

April 10

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

along.

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

slump.

• review and photo: Mackenzie Mason

BEATROUTE • MAY 2018 | 61


SAVAGE LOVE

quickies

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?

–Curious Nonparticipant

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

concerned about.

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.

mail@savagelove.net

@fakedansavage on Twitter

ITMFA.org

62 | MAY 2018 • BEATROUTE

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