Feel Alright • Monolith AB • No Problem • Elderbrook • Mo Kenney • Uli John Roth • Neko Case
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Naddine Madell-Morgan, Vidiot
Feel Alright, Urinals, Lashes, The Sword, Wares,
Subhumans, Monolith AB, Solid Gold Beaver
edmonton extra 22-25
McLuhan House Artist In Residence,
No Problem, Real Sickies, Borscht,
The Nielsens, Eye On Edmonton
Silkq, Elderbrook, Let’s Get Jucy
Mo Kenney, John Butler Trio, Sweet Barry Wine,
North Country Fair, Cousin Harley
Uli John Roth, Rivers of Nihil, Month in Metal
Preoccupations, Queens of the Stone Age, Vanta,
Cancer Bats, MGMT, East Town Get Down
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BEATROUTE • JUNE 2018 | 3
The nostalgic sound of the old-school arcade favourite, pinball machines,
blow-up pink flamingos adding as decorative centerpieces and
all-night food and drink specials; Pink Flamingo is an inclusive bi-weekly
LGBTQQIP2SAA+ pinball party hosted at the latest 17th Avenue
hipster haven, Pinbar. Initially inspired by a need for an LGBTQ pinball
league, Founders Allison Dunne, and Colin Gallant meshed a brand
concept that had been in the works for a year, Pink Flamingo, into the
initial brainstorming phase. Pinbar, (located at 501 17th Avenue S.W)
has gained recognition and praise for their “everyone is welcome”
attitude which made it the perfect host venue for a queer-friendly
event. Tapping into a niche that hasn’t been filled yet, Pink Flamingo
aims to add an accessible, queer-focused hang-out to Calgary, and
work side-by-side the already established queer organizations. The $10
cover price gets you a night of unlimited pinball playing, and entries
into the raffle (last week they gave away Van and Coal prizing - well
worth the 10 bucks). To fit the “pink flamingo” theme, drink specials
include a fluorescent concoction of vodka, grenadine, soda and
lime for $5.50 and $5.50 Village, and come with an appetite because
there’s 15 per cent off food (highly recommend the beyond burger).
A night focused on accessibility with an open-door policy, from the
gender-neutral washrooms, staff that are trained on gender-neutral
pronouns, Pink Flamingo has created a conscious space to play every
For event information, follow @pinkflamingoyyc on Facebook and
The National Music Centre (NMC) is pleased to launch a new temporary
exhibition at Studio Bell in partnership with The Canadian Academy of
Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS), honouring 2018 Canadian Music Hall of
Fame inductees Barenaked Ladies, alongside former member Steven Page. This
new exhibition, called Milestones: Barenaked Ladies, will capture the band’s
career trajectory—from their first concert as teenagers at Toronto City Hall, to
making history as the best-selling independent artists in Canadian history, their
international breakthrough in the U.S., to the present day with their induction
into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.
This Summer The Fifth Reel and Broken City
bring you some AWFUL CINEMA. Admission is
free, so be sure to arrive early to get prime seats.
Each event will feature drink specials, themed
food courtesy of the Broken City Kitchen and
stick around after the film for karaoke. The Fifth
Reel believes every tangent of film should be
celebrated, so if you love the bizarre, obscure
and hilariously awful side of movies, then this is
For the full movie schedule visit: www.fifthreel.ca
4 | JUNE 2018 • BEATROUTE
goin’ wild with Sherr-D
BY JESSIE FOSTER
“We live in a polarity that I find really disturbing.
I want to respond with something joyous and inclusive.”
torment, tears and terribily good
And now for something completely different,
bizarre, well just plain absurd. Aunty Donna is a
comedy trio from Melbourne, Australia that like to do
nothing more than mess around and mess with your
mind. For writers and performers Mark Samual Bonanno,
Broden Kelly and Zachary Ruane breaking rules isn’t
really the issue... there are no rules to break.
Have you every tried to have a conversation with
a crackhead? Yes, it’s an unfortunate situation, a nasty
rabbit hole to fall into, and to witness it’s all too weird
and uncomfortable. But if there wasn’t a real tragedy
at hand, and the stories told by the an unhinged mind
were funny, ridonculous and rude, well… say hello to
Known as the “Donnas”, Bonanno and Ruane come
to the interview as a tag team, prepared to answer
BY B. SIMM
your questions, by not exactly as you expect. When
asked where the origins of the name, Aunty Donna,
originated, I suggest perhaps it’s a British reference to
the aunty down in the pub, tossing back a few cocktails
mid-afternoon, flirting with like it was foreplay.
Ruane: Well, even though some people in this group
don’t think I have a right to speak, I will tell you how
that came about. Mark, while I’m not speaking to Mark,
but Mark, the asshole, has an aunty called Donna.
Bonanno: That’s right. She’s quite young for an aunty
and Broden asked her out. But she turned him down
because he was a colleague of mine, which is inappropriate
and Broden couldn’t get that into his thick skull.
So we named the group Aunty Donna to torment him
of his rejection.
And so the show begins...
Sheri-D Wilson is a nonstop monsoon of
creativity emitting from every stem of her
poetic physique. This internationally known and
celebrated poet has been busy pioneering the
spoken word genre for 30 years and now with the
title of Calgary’s Poet Laureate added to her belt,
shows no sign of dwindling her Canadian presence.
Wilson has written 11 books, won countless
awards for poetry, started the very first spoken
word program at the Banff Centre and generally
been an idol for women and artists everywhere.
She has created this all new inclusive poetic event
“Instead of you as an audience member coming
to an event and hearing a poet and clapping
and walking away, wouldn’t it be cool if I created
an event that stimulated the audience into
writing, drawing pictures, taking pictures, so they
become a part of the event,” says Sheri-D Wilson.
Poetrology is a series of events throughout her
two-year Poet Laureate that will ignite June 29
& 30 with performances, poetry hacking, plays,
sounds and music at Calgary’s acclaimed national
historical site, the Memorial Park Library.
This performance will be for “anybody who
wants to come and play,” and Wilson focuses
heavily on the inclusive aspect of the experience.
The two-day event will be free of charge, with
audience members signing up online beforehand
for a shot at one of the limited 100 tickets that are
“It’s for everyone to recognize that this is a
really important space that they want to be part
of so they get that ticket ahead of time. It’s a really
Poets and guests will enter through the back
door and in every room of the venue, named
“rooms of interest,” there will be something quirky
happening, whether this means witnessing someone
playing a saw, reading a poem or maybe slides
of a surrealist’s journey.
“People will come in and not be encouraged
to do anything. They’ll be encouraged to explore
their own experience. I’m hoping that people will
just wander and get into their own poetry heads,
take it into their bodies and see what happens
and explore their own creativity, their own imaginations,”
Poetry hacking, for those who aren’t familiar, is
quite literally how it sounds. As part of Poetrology,
participants will be given an envelope containing
chopped up lines of poetry, it is up to them
to paste the words in the order they feel they
should be. One of the four past Poet Laureates
in attendance will then read these poems aloud,
and repeat the process themselves. This will create
new works of art and showcase how differently
everyone can interpret poetry.
“It’s about how does that make you feel, what
does that make you think, how does that move
you. We live in a polarity that I find really disturbing,
and I want to respond with something joyous
and inclusive. It really becomes about listening.”
Wilson reiterated that this is not about liking
or disliking any certain element of the poetry. It’s
about giving people the space to respond with
creativity and understanding instead of a yes and
no, which is a mindset in which she thinks we
should begin to separate from.
“I believe in living life to the fullest and the
grandest and the biggest and the boldest at every
moment, I really mean that. I don’t just lip service
it, I believe in going wild.”
Expect to see many more events such as this
one popping up over the next couple years.
Sheri-D Wilson has big plans for Calgary’s poetry
scene and is running with the bulls to open people’s
minds and obliterate preconceived notions
of our literate world.
Poetrology takes place June 29 & 30.
Go to calgaryspokenwordfestival.com to sign up.
Aunty Donna will turn you into a
puddle of tears Tuesday, June 26
at Theatre Junction
BEATROUTE • JUNE 2018 | 7
collecting like an artist
Calgary-based artist and sculptor Joanne Mac-
Donald uses a lot of fire to create her steel
sculptures, so it makes sense that she has a collection
of matchbooks on hand to light her torches.
MacDonald started her building her trove back in
1978, her Dad smoked back in those days and she
would steal his matches to, you know, start fires.
“I’m a pyro!” she says, “But it’s not a bad thing.
I’ve always liked playing with fire.”
Now she uses her incendiary tendencies to
forge metal into exquisite works of art within the
realms of her Soul Tonic Studio. As a child, her
father would often travel and MacDonald would
ask him to bring her back matchbooks from the
locales he visited. Thus, her interest extended beyond
mere collector’s curiosity and was a heartfelt
reminder of her father, and her connection to him
when he was away. And, she has kept these special
mementos close ever since.
MacDonald’s not alone in her passion for finding
and preserving these ephemeral treasures that
were never meant to be retained for any great
length of time. Contemporary “Phillumenists”
acquire and prize matchbooks for their historic
subject matter and colourful graphic designs.
The arrival of 20th century flexography printing
allowed for cheap mass-production of the convenient
booklets that no smoker could be without.
In a time when many people lit up on the regs,
the sulphur-scented books acted as flashy little
pocket-ads and were an easy way for businesses,
like bars, to get their name out. There’s a lot of
laughable camp in those vintage ads, many of
8 | JUNE 2018 • BEATROUTE
which promise tremendous success in your career
as an artist or in radio repair. You might just strike
it rich there, fella! Individual collectors tend to
seek out matchbooks from certain geographic
regions or according to specific topics, such as
night clubs. Once “shucked” of their flammable
contents and flattened out for display, matchbooks
are a pleasure to sort through and smart
way to build a strong (and compact) collection of
vintage logos, design styles and colour schemes.
MacDonald’s matchcover collection in particular
was featured in visual artist Jayda Karsten’s
exhibition at Contemporary Calgary, which
highlighted the personal collections of artists.
Turning the latch on another impressive grouping
of objects, MacDonald recently invited Calgarians
to “loop” their disused keys to the growing
collection of donated keys in her public outdoor
art installation: UNLOCK. This public key display
explores themes such as accessibility, ownership,
opportunity and privilege by gathering otherwise
While still inspired by sentimental souvenirs,
MacDonald acknowledges that she doesn’t get
attached to things like she used to. Her Dad
doesn’t smoke or bring home matches anymore,
so collecting them just isn’t the same. These days,
she prefers the transitory nature of collecting materials
for her art installations over sorting gutted
matchbook covers into acid-free albums.
UNLOCK a temporary art installation is located
dangling over the sidewalk on 17th Avenue between 1
Street SE and Centre Street. (Calgary)
See more of Joanne MacDonald’s artwork: https://
TWINBAT STICKER CO.
rock ‘n’ roll merchandise paradise
T-shirt weather has arrived and festival
season is officially upon us. In the interest
of personalizing our fleet of motorcycles,
boogie vans and watercraft with kick-ass
vinyl lettering, BeatRoute spoke with Twinbat
Sticker Company’s owner/operator and “El
Presidente” Cory Martens to get the lowdown
on Cowtown’s hottest merch factory. Freshly
relocated and ready to slap a die cut decal
across summer’s bumper, the independent
shop has made a name for itself by making
local artists look like true professionals and
making Calgary-area corporations look as cool
as rock bands.
How did you come up with the idea for forming
Well, being in the print world for years and years,
coupled with playing in bands over half of my life,
I decided to smash my two passions together. I
was hearing horror stories about how bands were
getting financially soaked having promotional
stuff produced and it made me sick. I decided to
start Twinbat Sticker Co., a print shop in Calgary
that chiefly caters to bands and musicians to
provide quality merch at a fair price.
What kinds of promotional items are Twinbat
typically asked to “do up” for customers?
A better question is “What don’t we do?!” We
custom print everything from shirts and stickers
to banners and vehicle wraps! Patches, buttons,
lighters, hats, license plates pretty much anything
you can lay ink on…. Challenge me!
Okay! What are your specialties?
I’ve been doing quite a few kick drum heads for
bands lately. Those are cool, cuz they stick around
for a while and end up being in a tonne of photos.
What are some of your favourite Twinbat projects
I’ve had the pleasure of working with so many
radical local businesses! Twinbat did up a load of
signage, decals and clothing for Pinbar and I’m
really proud of the window treatments we did for
legendary Calgary business Don’s Hobby Shop. A
few weeks ago we had a cool opportunity to wrap
a giant truck and trailer for Calgary Harley Davidson.
It’s very rewarding when awesome people
trust you with their brand.
Tell us about your work with local artists and
Sometimes I get to make an artist’s incredible
work come to life. And, it’s always a thrill when a
piece of Tom Bagley or Tank Standing Buffalo’s art
comes into the shop.
What about that life-size decal of Frank Zappa
on the toilet?
Oh, the Zappa thing was for me. Just something
I wanted in the bathroom at the old shop. Wall
BY MR. SLATE
murals are the new wallpaper! It’s durable and
can be fully customized. Want a collage of angry
unicorns smoking stogies and pooping rainbows?
I can do that for you.
You recently moved into a more central location
at #9, 700-33 St N.E. Can you tell us about your
The new space is great! I’ve got a lovely lounge
area to discuss your project or just hangout in.
Pinball, music and the darkest of coffee (we roast
our own brand at Twinbat)! I also have a huge
showroom now where clients can actually see and
handle examples of what they want, instead of me
trying to explain how a particular garment ‘feels’
What’s your advice for bands or businesses that
are looking to get the best promotional bang for
For bands? People love it when you go the extra
mile and print on nice T-shirts. And, koozies!
Getcher koozies right here! What a fun and
inexpensive way to let everyone know how much
you like cold drinks and hot bands! Amiright? For
businesses? Put your logo on your car. For a onetime
investment, you’ve got a rolling billboard
wherever you go!
Email inquiries to: email@example.com
YYSCENE’s quick scan go-to guide for JUNE
Festival season is upon us! It’s
all happening in Calgary this
month (did somebody say Sled
Island?) beginning with the
2018 IGNITE! Festival of Emerging
Artists presented by Sage
Theatre running June 5-9.
On June 6 Ocean Alley
perform at The Gateway. Or,
Let’s get arty, shall we? D.talks
presents Let’s talk about... Public
Art on June 7 at the Victoria
Pavilion, Stampede Grounds.
Discuss the role of public art in
our city — hot topic alert!
June 8 will be a big day, people.
Michael Bernard Fitzgerald
is at the Bella Concert Hall,
Mother Mother at The Gateway,
and Illenium with guests
are over at the Marquee Beer
Market and Stage. Think you
can rest the next day? No! June
Cherry Glazerr play Sled Island June 23.
9 sees the 30th Anniversary
screening of Akira at The Globe,
Paquita & Other Works presented by School of Alberta Ballet at the Jubilee, and Wares with
Feel Alright (album release), Lashes & Slut Prophet at the Palomino.
If you have a thing for SoCal punk and guys in eyeliner like myself (what?), Social Distortion
will be at MacEwan Hall on June 12. From June 14-17 the JazzYYC Summer Festival will take
place at various venues around town, and June 14 Xavier Rudd will bring his Storm Boy Tour
to Mac Hall. June 15 we are graced with two shows by Trevor Noah at the Jubilee, and June 16
you can catch We Are All Treaty People curated by the artists of Treaty 7 over at cSpace King
Edward, followed by Cousin Harley with the Ramblin’ Ambassadors at Nite Owl.
M. Ward will be at the Bella Concert Hall (with guests!) on June 18, and, get ready everyone,
Sled Island takes over the city and all of our lives from June 20-24 and features so many
great bands, including Dirty Projectors, Deerhoof, Wye Oak, Shabazz Palaces, John Maus,
Cherry Glazerr, Mount Eerie, Blue Odeur and so many more. So. Many.
If you’re needing to take a break from music (what??) then head to Theatre Junction June
21 to see Premium Content by the Major Matt Mason Collective, running until June 24. Dick
Lit’s Trivia Night #12 presented by Wordfest takes place June 21 as well at Memorial Park
Library, and of course, The Flaming Lips will be at MacEwan Hall on June 21 as part of Sled.
Go. They put on an amazing show.
On June 26 Kaleo with guests will be at the Jubilee, on June 28 Vance Joy will be at the
Saddledome, and the Canada Day festivities start June 30 with June 30 Deadbeats Canada
Day featuring Zeds Dead, Rezz, Yehme2, Chuurch, Smalltown DJs at Grey Eagle and continue,
obvs, July 1, with the 5th Annual Canada Day Block Party hosted by BassBus and MarketSpot
YYC, Max Bell Centre.
Kari Watson is a writer and former Listings Editor of FFWD Weekly, and has
continued to bring event listings to Calgary through theYYSCENE and her event
listings page, The Culture Cycle. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Camping Included. Gates Open 6pm Wednesday June 20th.
No Pets. No Canned Music.
ARTS BEATROUTE • JUNE 2018 | 9
exploring the uncomfort zone
PHOTO: LIAM PROST
Naddine Madell-Morgan, an actress, writer, producer and independent
filmmaker based in Calgary shows her audience the
benefit of hope if one can keep it. While raised in Alberta, Madell-Morgan
felt the lifestyle of the typical Calgarian was cut down
the middle, black and white, conventional. Trying to understand
why individuals feel obliged to follow societal limitations is what
inspired Madell-Morgan to find a platform to be heard.
Growing up she describes herself as “sensitive and introverted”,
spending her days journaling and performing. Her performances,
she notes, were purely for herself – the mirror and Naddine
Madell-Morgan made up the entire show. She took an acting class
and had her own show in CJSW. The body of work which makes
up Naddine Madell-Morgan holds her values of overcoming
struggle. What makes this a universal experience for the audience
is that the characters may defeat their challenges but that doesn’t
necessarily mean a happy ending will be achieved.
While in the Nevada desert she read an informative piece on
sex work in the Sunday New York Times. The result of this is her
current project, a documentary from the point of view of a Fem-
Dom which she hopes to release by 2020. Madell-Morgan aims to
inspire the audiences to take a pause – a pause to ask themselves
why they think the way they do, just like she did herself. “If I can
change and influence one person to pause and understand their
preconceived judgements I would be happy.” Working on this
particular project hasn’t hardened Madell-Morgan but “has made
me less forgiving and demanding more of people.” She further
explains the importance of understanding that sex-work involves
real people “who provide a service which deserves the same
respect as other jobs such as being a cop, teacher, etc.”
Additionally, she is both directing and producing a documentary
on the only Calgary-based feminist music/art festival.
BY CHLOE LAWSON
Femme Wave creates a safe space for women and non-binary
individuals to express their art and themselves. “Being badass
feminist bitches” is included on the list of values on the official
website, this unorthodox way of thinking is what Madell-Morgan
thrives in. “The more subversive the story is, the better
it is,” she says. With news almost everyday about scandals in
Hollywood, the courageous women coming forward has motivated
her to speak out louder. Madell-Morgan states that she is
“constantly in awe of the bravery of both women and femmes
who built themselves up to fight” and describes the importance
of being involved even if you don’t fight but instead are
in the back cheering them on. “I’m so excited for the young
people who grew up with so much to use the internet to force
Describing herself as an individual who “sees the glass half full,
but with the tap perpetually running. The only problem is that the
glass unfortunately has a hole in it”. Madell-Morgan expresses her
anxiety about what an audience may think, but realizes the hangup
is something she must let go of. “Art reflects life and we all have
a responsibility in our lives. Why bother to pursue if there isn’t any
purpose to it?”
For more information on Naddine, her current projects, or her production
company, Quirkgirl Productions, visit www.quirkgirl.com
10 | JUNE 2018 • BEATROUTE
rewind to the future
BY SHANE SELLAR
Fifty Shades Freed
The best use of animal hybridization is a
dung-beetle/dog that rolls its own poop to
the garbage. Unfortunately, the soldiers in this
sci-fi film face much fiercer fauna fusions.
When her missing husband (Oscar Isaac)
inexplicably returns from a failed mission in
the swamps a year ago, Lena (Natalie Portman)
is solicited by a military doctor (Jennifer
Jason Leigh) to join her new team (Tessa
Thompson, Gina Rodriguez) as they return to
the event to study the strange animals there
and search for more survivors. Inside the
affected area, the group becomes susceptible
to the Shimmer and turn against each other.
While the hybrids are horrifying and the
biologically based plot is food for thought
with eye-popping visuals to facilitate the more
complex ideas, the overall story is confused
between genres while the body-snatcher angle
is just lazy.
Besides, most mutations in the bayou are
not extraterrestrial but married siblings.
The worst part of being a black superhero is
when you turn supervillains over to authorities
you get arrested. Thankfully, the African-American
protector in this action movie
runs his own country.
Sworn to defend the clandestine nation of
Wakanda, the mantle of Black Panther has
been passed down through the ages where
it – as well as the title of king – has now been
bestowed on T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman).
But not everyone supports that royal appointment,
namely the outsider Killmonger
(Michael B. Jordan) and his arms dealing
ally (Andy Serkis) who is after Wakandan
With a culturally rich narrative that transcends
race and sex, Marvel’s most complex
Avenger takes center stage. Backed by a stellar
supporting cast as multifaceted as him, Black
Panther’s first solo outing is not only a milestone
for the genre but the industry.
Now, let’s work towards a day when T’Challa
can simply be called: Panther.
down a mammoth, but instead they have the
chance to dethrone a vile despot (Tom Hiddleston)
in a game of soccer. If they win they
get their hunting grounds in the valley back.
But if they lose they will all be become slaves
working in the mines.
The latest from the English Claymation
studio behind Wallace and Gromit, Aardman
Animations really drops the football with this
sports themed offering. The jokes are lackluster,
the characters forgettable and the football
fervor may be lost on western audiences.
Incidentally, cavemen football players
would be terrified of the jumbotron.
Fifty Shades Freed
A hidden benefit to BDSM relationships is
the spanking prepares both participants for
parenthood. This romantic drama, however,
occurs subsequent to the embargo on corporal
After he ties the matrimonial knot,
Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) ties his new
bride Anastasia Steele-Grey (Dakota Johnson)
to their wedding bed and dominates her. But
the newlywed’s hedonistic honeymoon is
cut short when Ana’s old boss turned crazed
stalker (Eric Johnson) escapes from custody
and kidnaps Christian’s adopted sister (Rita
Ora). While the taciturn tycoon is willing to
accept the kidnapper’s terms, he is hesitant to
acknowledge the child growing inside of Ana.
Comprised predominantly of montages
of clips from the previous two films, this
final installment in the erotic journey limps
towards the finish line with an undeveloped
plot and insipid performances barely holding
Incidentally, the best wedding gift to get a
brooding billionaire in to bondage is a bat suit.
The best thing about game night at a friend’s
house is rooting through their medicine cabinet.
Unfortunately, the players in this comedy
are too involved to sample meds.
Max (Jason Bateman) and Annie’s (Rachel
McAdams) weekly game night with their
friends is upended when Max’s older brother
Brooks (Kyle Chandler) shows up and involves
them all in a game of kidnapping.
Determined to finally show up his sibling,
the competitive couple go to extremes to
locate the missing person only to find out
that they are all part of a deadlier game that
Brook’s is caught up in involving black market
romp has the confident vibe of a long-running
sit-com thanks to its scene-stealing neighbour,
talented cast and amusing subplots that feed
into the more violent extortion narrative.
Moreover, game nights are a great way of
warming your friends up to having an orgy.
The only difference between female spy and
prostitute is one gets to garrote their client
afterwards. For more on the sexual exploits of
espionage look no further than this thriller.
Dominika’s (Jennifer Lawrence) uncle recruits
her to join Russian Intelligence after she
injures herself at ballet and is unable to support
her ailing mother. In spy school, she and
other students are taught the art of seduction
in its most brutal forms. Obstinate through
the entire process, Dom eventually graduates
to Sparrow status and is assigned to the US to
beguile a CIA agent (Joel Edgerton) for Intel.
Slow, convoluted and graphically violent,
both physically and sexually, this tepid adaptation
of the bestseller also lacks chemistry
between leads and spends an inordinate
amount of time on rape and potential rape
situations. Meanwhile the action is limited
Incidentally, suave male spies also have to
sleep with fat, old politicians.
The upside to being a rich senior citizen is the
ability to afford the best abusive retirement
home. Fortunately, the dowager in this horror
movie also has the means to stay in her home.
Following her husband’s death in 1906 the
Winchester Rifle Company dispatches Dr.
Price (Jason Clarke) to evaluate the mental
state of their new owner, Sarah Winchester
(Helen Mirren), who is proposing they manufacture
toys instead of weapons. Inside the
Winchester mansion, Price learns of Sarah’s
obsession with building new rooms onto the
manor to appease the spirits of those killed by
her family’s firearm.
While the Winchester Mystery House, its
eccentric owner and her occult leanings are all
based on fact, what transpires in this haunted
house however is an absolute insult to the
more fascinating biography laying dormant
underneath this jump-scare schlock-fest.
Besides, nowadays every company is haunted
by the specter of bad online reviews.
The upside to being around at the beginning of
time was enjoying that new Earth smell. Mind
you, the bipeds in this stop-motion comedy are
to busy inventing sports to enjoy it.
At the dawn of civilization, a dimwitted
caveman (Eddie Redmayne) and his daft tribe
He’s a Wild Dogma. He’s the…
of rabbit hunters dream of one day taking art. Consistently funny, this breezy R-rated
FILM BEATROUTE • JUNE 2018 | 11
Feel Alright, the jangle-power-pop masters
of DIY and devotees to Calgary’s diverse
and committed music community, are
releasing their second full-length album In
Bad Faith. It’s a harmonious testament to
collaboration in our flourishing scene.
According to Feel Alright’s main mind
Craig Fahner, who started the project while
living in Pittsburgh in 2008, In Bad Faith is a
reflection of “the kinds of people who work
tirelessly to contribute something vital to the
And it does so through catchy, catchy melancholy,
confessionals and rock and roll clichés that
leave you feeling all gooey inside.
“I left Calgary originally in 2008, and I think
I left with this chip on my shoulder about
Calgary not being a very hospitable place for
the arts,” explains Fahner. “After I left I realized
how much I missed the kinds of people who
are involved in Calgary’s art community,
they’re so committed in spite of what can be
perceived as hurdles, in terms of the dominant
conservative culture in Calgary, the economic
situation in its oil booms and busts.”
At the time, Fahner was bouncing between
Pittsburgh and Montreal, and was recording
songs in more of a “scrappy” fashion with a
mixed bag of pals. Their first album, hahahahahahaha
(initially released summer 2011 on
Planet of the Tapes and reissued summer 2012
on Kinnta Records), an explosive, shimmering
L.A. punk fixtures take the piss
With a career spanning over four decades, John Talley-Jones has
seen a lot change on the scene but has spent the majority of that
time playing music with minimalist punk pioneers the Urinals. The Los
Angeles-based band will touch down in Calgary in June.
and fuzzy collection of tracks was a lot more lofi,
and reflective of his time of transition.
“It was barebones and I was just trying to
get things done in the most quick and efficient
way possible,” says Fahner, adding that all these
experiences are fuel for Feel Alright’s songs.
“After moving away, you see a much different
social and cultural landscapes where similar
struggles are not as clearly pronounced, and the
quality of the conversations didn’t have that
BeatRoute: So, when you started the band in 1978 in the University
of California, Los Angeles Dykstra Hall dormitory, you were
performing as a five-piece parody of punk rock?
John Talley-Jones: Well, none of us really knew how to play. We couldn’t
really take it seriously and yet we discovered that we had a talent for it,
or an approach that was quite unique. That seemed to lend us an air of
BR: How have the changes in the general musical climate impacted
you over the course of your 40-year career?
JTJ: I think what you have to do is look at each time frame as a different
era. When we started in the ‘70s we were responding against a culture of
easy listening and highly technical music. Originally we were recording
and releasing 7-inch singles. When we got back together in 1996 our
stature had grown, people were reading about us and, of course, when
the Internet happened, everything sort of exploded.
Feel Alright seals the deal with In Bad Faith
PHOTO: NOELLE SAWCHUK
same level of vitality that I would experience
with my friends at home,” says Fahner.
Currently, Fahner records many local bands
in his homemade studio, adding, “Access to recording
is a really important part of participating
in the music community, and getting people’s
music heard. It became a great way of connecting
with other bands and other musicians.”
In Bad Faith, released through Toronto’s Pleasance
Records, was a collaborative process which
BR: Given that volatile history, what kind of audiences have you
been seeing at your recent shows?
JTJ: I would say it’s more young kids than people who were listening back
then. It depends on where were playing; in Los Angeles it’s typically an
older demographic. When we played Paris a few years ago it was a mix of
young and old. People who have been listening to us forever now have
kids and they bring their kids to shows. It’s really cool. I like that a lot!
BR: How do you account for your professional longevity in such a
rapidly shifting scene?
JTJ: What has kept me interested is the constant sense of discovery.
I’m still learning about song writing and song expression and as long
as I can surprise myself by coming up with something unexpected,
then it keeps me interested and involved. So, I think the song writing
is really what does it for me. From my perspective, my advice to
young musicians would be to do it because you’re passionate about
it, don’t do it because you think you’re gonna make a career out of it
or make money from it!
BY MICHAEL GRONDIN
also featured a variety of guest artists on its
recording roster. Their main live line-up consists
of band mainstay Brady Kirchener on guitar as
well as Joey Mooney and Dallin Ursenbach.
“In Bad Faith was a very slow process. I think
the songwriting reflects a longer, more thoughtful
approach,” he says.
“I’ve been really focused in building up a studio,
and even just the process of accumulating
and building the space was a huge part of how
the music sounds now.”
Feel Alright have loaded their plates at the
project buffet, they got a new music video
in the works co-directed by visual artist Mat
Lindenberg, and they’ll be hitting the road this
spring after their album release party on June 9
at The Palomino Smokehouse and Social Club
alongside Edmonton’s Wares and YYC locals Slut
Prophet and Lashes. Surveying a familiar landscape,
Fahner is optimistic about the fruitfulness
of future collaborations.
“I have a lot of admiration for people who are
committed to their practice and how hard you
have to work to make something vital in Calgary,
but that’s what makes it a city worth living in.”
Check out the Feel Alright album release party
with Wares, Lashes and Slut Prophet June 9
at The Palomino Smokehouse and Social Club
(Calgary), and at Sled Island June 23 at Broken
City (Calgary). The album is available online at
BY TORY ROSSO
Urinals showcase their minimalist punk aesthetic with Leather Jacuzzi and
guests on June 29 at The Palomino Smokehouse and Social Club [Calgary] Sanitized for your protection. PHOTO: KAT
ROCKPILE BEATROUTE • JUNE 2018 | 13
BY TORY ROSSO
14 | JUNE 2018 • BEATROUTE
Lashes take the reflexive approach.
Lashes are an emerging dream-rock meets
indie-pop entity that calls Calgary, Alberta
home. Currently comprised of keyboardist/
vocalist Katie Hillson and percussionist Honor
Charlton, the band self-released the January
2018 digital offering My Haunted Basement,
and took a moment to reflect on their experimental
roots and promising future.
BeatRoute: How did Lashes originally come
Katie Hillson: It definitely started in high
school. The original members of the band
were all friends and we decided to start jamming
together and play at Rockin’ 4 Dollar$
BR: Was that the band’s first introduction to
performing in front of a live audience?
Honor Charlton: Yes! And then BJ (Downey,
promoter) approached us and asked we if we
wanted to play Big Winter Classic!
BR: What spurred you to pursue your musical
aspirations at that time?
HC: When I first started listening to music it
was a lot of classic rock, like everything from
Iggy and The Stooges to Hole and Nirvana.
And, of course, The Ramones, The Stones,
The Beatles… and now it’s changed to a lot of
KH: One of the first songs we all played
together was “Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac.
I’ve always been a huge Stevie Nicks fan. I also
really like the Cranberries.
BeatRoute: Tell us about your approach to
composing new material.
KH: It changes, sometimes we each bring in
our own lyrics and work on the songs, but
then sometimes me and Honor will have a
writing session. I’d say for me, listening to
other artists that I’m inspired by is really
important to my song writing process, to get
the creative juices flowing.
HC: The roles aren’t concrete, everybody can
bring a piece of a song and we’ll all contribute
to it, or somebody may bring an entire
song and have the idea of what we want it to
KH: And, we’re both super into witchcraft!
HC: That’s part of the song writing process, too.
BeatRoute: What is the next phase of
growth for Lashes?
KH: We want to take a little break while
we’re working to tighten the set and record.
We want to put something out that we’re
HC: We will have new members for the show
with Wares, but we don’t wanna announce
it before hand. It will be a surprise! Once we
feel comfortable with the set, we want to be
playing as many shows as we can, because we
really enjoy it and it’s fun!
Lashes perform with Wares, Feel Alright
(album release) and Slut Prophet on June 9 at
The Palomino Smokehouse and Social Club
[Calgary]. You can hear the band at lashestheband.bandcamp.com
blade runner’s high
BY CHRISTINE LEONARD
Don’t give them no hand-me-down world.
Heavy metal-throwback and pride of
Austin, TX, retro-rockers The Sword
have been striking heroic poses and feeling
the wind in their hair since first mounting
the stage in 2003. Blasting off doomy Black
Sabbath anthems with a Southern blues bent,
the four-piece has racked up an impressive
eight LPs over the past decade and a half. The
Sword’s latest project, Used Future (2018),
found lead singer/guitarist John “J.D.” Cronise,
guitarist Kyle Shutt, bassist Bryan Richie and
drummer Santiago “Jimmy” Vela III working
with producer Tucker Martine (who has
produced albums for the likes of My Morning
Jacket and The Decemberists) to forge what is
perhaps their most personal album to date.
“We went into the studio kind of loose,
without having everything fully composed, and
did a lot of writing and working things out there
on the spot,” Cronise explains. ““Tucker is a very
talented, experienced guy and we had a really
good time working with him. He brought a lot
to the table.”
According to Cronise, the title of The Sword’s
latest album, Used Future, is less about predicting
what is to come than it is about living in the
moment. For better or for worse.
“That title just caught on, but thematically
the rest of the record is not really that different
from High Country (2015 Razor & Tie). There’s
still references to nature and that sort of thing;
it’s really just the title-track that’s a departure.
The lyrics use the term ‘future’ for referencing
the present day, because for a lot of us our
current time is seen as rather futuristic from
the time we grew up in. The days of The Sword
writing science fiction inspired epics are in the
past, our songs are just rock-and-roll songs.
They’re inspired by things that happen to us
and that happen in the world.”
Summing up modern existence as the equivalent
of being wedged somewhere between a
PHOTO: JACK THOMPSON
rock and a hard place, The Sword knows that it
takes more than chainmail and comet-tails to
put a positive spin on real dark matter.
“While it’s never really an intention to make a
lot of social commentary or anything like that, it
can’t help but come creeping through a little bit.”
“It’s pretty dystopian at this point,” Cronise
continues, speaking of his general outlook on
things. “And, it went from being optimistic
to being dystopian pretty quickly, too. That’s
the remarkable thing. A couple of years ago it
seemed like everything was slowly getting better,
and moving in a positive direction, and now we
find ourselves in this insane world that seems to
make no sense on a daily basis. So, yeah — we’ll
see what happens. Good luck to everybody!”
Rolling the dice, but not necessarily looking to
cash-in on Used Future, Cronise and company
have no regrets when it comes to being one step
ahead of the competition. The competition, of
course, being their future selves.
“We feel like the genre we started in has
become very well-populated, whereas when we
started there weren’t that many bands doing
that. My natural inclination is that any time anything
I’m into gets too popular it’s time to move
on to the next thing and find something else to
do. That’s why we’re constantly changing our
sound. That’s me, I can’t keep doing the same
thing over again. To some people’s disappointment.
Yes, there are those fans who miss the old
days, where it was just balls-to-the-wall volume
and intensity all the time. But I have to say to
them, ‘There’s this thing called time and it moves
on. And you gotta learn to move with it, my
friend.’ Let’s see you keep it up at age 40!”
The Sword performs June 13 at Venue Nightclub
(Vancouver), June 15 at Marquee Beer Market
(Calgary), June 16 at Union Hall (Edmonton),
June 17 at The Exchange (Regina) and June 18 at
Pyramid Cabaret (Winnipeg)
ROCKPILE BEATROUTE • JUNE 2018 | 15
happy accidents create emotional songs
Edmonton’s Wares is the brainchild of Cassia
J. Hardy and until now, it’s been mostly a
solo endeavour. The band’s self-titled debut
(2017, Double Lunch Records) however, is
more of a true collaboration.
“This is the first full band effort. There are
one or two solo songs on the record, but it’s
mostly a band,” Hardy notes.
“It sounds like a band in a room. It’s
really important to me not to sweep any of
the mistakes or little happy accidents that
pop up under the rug. It’s not a polished
sound and that’s one of my favourite
things about it.”
Released last October and produced by
songwriter and musician Lorrie Matheson,
Wares’ debut ebbs and flows with quiet,
reflective verses juxtaposed against walls of
distorted guitars. By all accounts, working
with Matheson was pure joy for Hardy and
“It was wonderful. He’s the best. It was six
days in this studio he built. You just hunker
down in there. There are no windows or
anything. We got there bright and early at
the crack of 10 in the morning and left when
we were done for the day, often 10 plus hour
Wares embraces imperfection.
days. He was a total champ about it, worked
really hard just to get the best sounds. There
was a feeling of mutual excitement working
Getting Wares off the ground hasn’t been
easy. One ugly and incredibly frustrating truth
PHOTO LEVI MANCHAK
is that some artists in Canada still find themselves
battling transphobia, homophobia and
bigotry when performing at certain establishments.
Hardy – who is transgender – knows
this first hand and has worked hard to change
attitudes. Although she feels like there’s been
BY TREVOR MORELLI
progress, there’s certainly more work to do
across the country.
“I’d say there’s been less. It’s certainly not
gone. There’s certainly work to do, absolutely.
And that’s for Canada. That’s everywhere;
really, we are combating systemic and deep
rooted sexism and other forms of oppression
that are preventing women from not only
performing music, but also taking on more
technical and managerial roles.”
All in all, Hardy is proud of venues like
The Sewing Machine Factory in Edmonton
for leading the charge with its “no bullshit”
approach to prejudice. She’s excited to take
Wares’ debut on the road this summer and
bring the songs to life.
“I’m very happy with my record. I think it’s
the closest I’ve come in my discography to the
sound that’s in my head,” she affirms.
“If you like the songs, that’s important to
me. Imagine them louder and faster and that’s
what you’ll get for the live show.”
Wares plays June 8 at The Aviary (Edmonton),
June 9 at The Palomino Smokehouse (Calgary),
June 10 at T+A Vinyl and Fashion (Regina), and
June 30 at The Handsome Daughter (Winnipeg)
16 | JUNE 2018 • BEATROUTE
CRAIG EVANS’ SOLID GOLD BEAVER
daytime suds to salute true patriot love
BY TREVOR MORELLI
Wildlife in Canada. Solid Gold Beaver celebrates Hinterland’s Greatest Hit.
Cold brews and CanCon jams go hand in
hand at Craig Evans’ Solid Gold Beaver, a
Canada Day tradition. It’s an off-the-cuff affair
where local musicians come together and pull
out their best – or worst – versions of Canadian
classics. Everything from Céline Dion to
The Tragically Hip, to Broken Social Scene and
Shania Twain, is tackled.
“Some people just knock it out of the park
with jaw dropping takes on stuff, or it’s a
completely unrehearsed shit show,” says event
orchestrator and MC Craig Evans, laughing.
“But both are entertaining for the reasons you
With eight to 12 bands (some preexisting and
others under-rehearsed) playing a minimum of
three songs each, you never quite know what to
expect. It’s an event that Evans has been running
for five or six years to great fanfare.
“It’s bands, or people put bands together
to celebrate Canadian music. Celebrate or
mock, I guess, it depends on how you want
to look at it.”
Notably, this year’s afternoon gig takes
place a day earlier, on Saturday, June 30 at The
Palomino Smokehouse with some quintessentially
Canuck brews courtesy of Victoria, B.C.’s
Phillips Brewing and Malting Co. providing
some liquid encouragement.
According to Evans, the fete’s whimsical
name was spawned by the jests he shared
with his buddies back when he played in local
horror-rock outfit Forbidden Dimension.
“I think there was double entendre around
Canada Day and we just added our juvenile
humour to it,” Evans explains. “Like most
things, it’s usually bad jokes that motivate me
to get stuff going.”
Gags aside, there actually was a practical
reason for staging the annual gig back when
Evans worked at Calgary’s legendary defunct
rock club The Night Gallery.
“It was also kind of loosely based on a thing
I used to do a long time ago at The Night
Gallery called Moustache Rock. It was on the
May long weekend of every year and that
always seemed to be the time of year that
there would be a mass exodus of people leaving
town to go camping. Shows were always
poorly attended that weekend so, rather than
try to book anything, I just decided to throw
a charity show and get every band that wasn’t
going camping to come play. And we’d have a
Who needs glamping? Whether you love or
loathe the state of popular Canadian music,
Solid Gold Beaver is one historic hometown
hootenanny you won’t want to miss out on.
“It’s all very casual for the most part. It’s a
good reason to get together and have fun.”
Celebrate Craig Evans’ Solid Gold Beaver, A Canada
Day Tradition featuring various performers on
June 30 at The Palomino Smokehouse [Calgary]
ROCKPILE BEATROUTE • JUNE 2018 | 17
18 | JUNE 2018 • BEATROUTE
too much T.V., too little punk
Debating whether or not punk is a dying
genre is a favourite topic in music circles.
While punk festivals like Vans Warped are
ramping down operations and guitar companies
like Gibson are filing for Chapter 11, it’s
the bands themselves that are keeping punk
Take Subhumans, for example. It’s been
11 years since the U.K. anarcho-punk band
released Internal Riot (2007, Bluurg Records)
but their live presence endures and continues
to fuel their popularity.
“Some of the best shows we do are in the
States and Canada,” explains vocalist Dick Lucas.
“30 years ago, we were riding high on Sex
Pistols and The Clash. There’s an undercurrent
going on and there’s lots of anger going on, but
there’s still not as many shows as there was 30
Part of the reason why Subhumans has
endured for almost four decades is because
they still have something to say. As you can
imagine, Lucas isn’t fond of the current American
“To say that this is the worst government ever
is a massive understatement,” he confirms.
“I wrote 26 song verses the week after Trump
was elected. It’s completely fucked! The Republican
Party, and even the Democratic Party,
positively heavy vibes only
The secret ingredient in sludge metal
PHOTO: JIM MADDEN
towering giant with a soul-warming smile.
A A three-tonne hammer with a “Have a
Nice Day!” sticker on the hilt. It’s time to meet
your friendly neighbourhood doom machines.
Vocalist/guitarist Daniel Kneeshaw, bassist
Mike “Mulder” Sharp and drummer Nick Temple
are the three sludgy amigos that solidify
into Monolith AB, a doom metal outfit and
Calgary staple that has graced stages from
the shores Sled Island to halls of the House
of Vans. The members of this lumbering trio
It’s an undercurrent affair as Subhumans ride the political tide.
to some extent, has become full of nepotism,
corruption and lying. Fake news and alternate
truths have become the norm.”
Always informed and outspoken on social
issues, Lucas doesn’t think social media does
anyone any favours.
“All that you ever want is there on the
Internet. Those who feel lost can be re-connected.
But it’s a lot of wasted time and
energy,” he continues.
“The whole social structure is different. People
will forget how to read and write. The computer
screen flat lines your imagination. It’s still no
good for you.”
For every action, there is an equal and opposite
reaction. For Subhumans - which is rounded
out by Bruce Treasure (guitar/vocals), Phil Bryant
(bass), and Trotsky (drums), the reaction is to get
grew up in the same hardcore scene while
contributing to a variety of projects, but they
came to agree that Monolith AB was their
ominous destiny and communal home; a
creative refuge built on the rock-solid foundations
of mutual respect, trust and friendship.
“I don’t want to make music with anyone
else. It just makes sense,” Sharp confirms.
“When I write stuff it’s a lot of blues influence,
and with Mike I find a lot of stuff that he
writes is grindy,” adds Kneeshaw. “He comes
up with these beautiful, amazing chords. So, I
just tell people it’s heavy music. It’s heavy, it’s
loud! Fucking try it you might like it!”
With a colossal stack of shows already in
the rear-view, the band is finally gearing up for
a full-length album release at The Palomino
on June 8, following years of delays due to a
nightmare situation that involved a complete
loss of all digital recordings. The record,
fittingly titled Sanctuary, is the culmination
of years of hard work in Monolith AB’s
single-lightbulb-lit jam space. It’s all the more
impressive that from such a humble environment
emerges Monolith AB’s prescient rolling
thunder and mind-blowing gales of promethean
black metal. Rest assured, there’s no
BY TREVOR MORELLI
PHOTO: CLAIRE CALLAGHAN
out and still perform killer shows. Punk is alive
and well in Lucas’ mind.
“We want to stay alive and have people turn
us up. We want to be relevant in whatever way
possible. We never had concrete goals,” he says.
Despite the ocean between the U.K. and
North America and the obstacles the band
faces in getting here, Subhumans will be ready
to rip it up for a trio of Western Canada dates
later this month.
“We’re looking forward to it. It’s an enormous
amount of work to get over there and everything
but we always have great adventures when
Subhumans perform June 7 at The Rickshaw
Theatre (Vancouver), June 9 at The Starlite Room
(Edmonton) and June 10 at Dickens Pub (Calgary).
BY MATTY HUME
shortage of power when Monolith AB gathers
for their traditional Thursday rehearsal and
“I literally remember every single show. I
think I speak for all of us when I say we’ve never
been in a band like this where the chemistry
is so good,” echoes Temple. “Thursdays are
my favourite days ever. Our jam space is our
Armouring themselves mentally and
emotionally to debut their long-time-coming
album, they won’t hesitate to ensure that
their audience is absorbing all doom and no
gloom. And for Monolith AB, going that extra
mile means gifting a free download code for
Sanctuary with every paid admission to their
album release party.
“I’m definitely going to cry. We’re going to
give it everything we got,” Kneeshaw pledges.
“What I want and expect is for people to feel
welcome, to feel safe and to have fun!”
Catch the Monolith AB album release with
Trench, Feeding, and everythingyoueverloved on
June 8 at The Palomino Smokehouse and Social
gateway to the center of your skull...
Traveling west on the Trans Canada, there’s a
particular spot where the foothills abruptly
end and the Rookies begin. Lac Des Arc, a
picture perfect lake nestled beside a large limestone
plant carved into the landscape, is the
geographical gateway into and out the mountains.
Travis Davies, one of two singer-songwriters
who front the band Des Arcs says that the
location – an intersection in the wilderness, a
clash and weird juxtaposition of natural and
industrial elements – is a good metaphorical fit
for the band.
Des Arcs is a punchy, four piece, no-holdsbarred
rock ‘n’ roll outfit with a impressive
pedigree in Calgary’s history that extends back
to the city’s golden explosion of punk bands in
the ‘90s that flowed into the 2000s. Drummer
Dave Alcock, a recording engineer and producer
who ran Sundae Sound during that period
not only played with several top-notch bands,
including Chixdiggit, but also opened the door
for numerous artists giving them solid recordings
to ride on. Along with Davies, bassist Mark
Rudd and Dave Anderson on lead guitar, Des
Arcs recently released their debut album, Take
Me To Your Island, full of colourful characters,
outer limits and amplification that loves it loud.
The yin and yang between Davies and Rudd,
as songwriters and performers, where Davies
is a storyteller of stranger things and Rudd far
more direct, ripping with an extra surge of raw
power. Davies will delve into the history long
lost shipwrecks; Rudd feels robotic bursting at
the seams exploding from anxiety and alienation
– the sharp contrast clearly illustrates
Des Arcs’ metaphorical clash of the natural and
CHAINED BY MIND
young metal take the stage at Sled
20 | JUNE 2018 • BEATROUTE
Big adventures and big guitars.
Mark and you live in different sonic and lyrical
Davies: Little bit. Keeps folks on their toes. He’s
in a different psychic universe to. We’re all pretty
different people who bring different tools and
personality to the band and the music. Mark’s
tunes ground mine. Mine lift his. It’s that balance
of how much to rather and how much drift to
allow that builds creative tension and keeps the
record, or a live set interesting.
You’re a writer of adventures past and present.
Marks songs are almost visceral, like he’s
conveying immediate impact, emotion, all very
Davies: For sure. He’s participating. It’s a crazy
outlet for him, he’s emotionally even and low in
everyday life, nothing gets him riled.
Back in 2014 a 13 year old dreamt of having his own metal band. Now this month after loads of
shows, a couple personnel changes, and some serious musical talent, enthusiasm and dedication,
Chained by Mind are about to step onto their biggest stage yet and play Sled Island. Drummer Griffin
Klapak’s passion for music, especially local music, is infectious.
One only has to spend moments with the young man to be able to feel the reverence in how he
talks about local musicians and shows. When asked to describe Chained by Mind’s sound, Klapak
points to a mix of progressive metal, stoner, sludge and a pinch of extreme metal.
“We started more of an emo-grindcore thing, and now are developing as a band.” Klapak adds
that he personally is influenced by long line of great metal drummers including Chris Adler (Lamb of
God), Inferno (Behemoth), Gene Hoglan (Testament, ex Death, Dethklok), Namtar (Carach Angren),
Brann Dailor (Mastodon), and Dan Presland (Ne Obliviscaris).
“When writing our songs, Chained By Mind go for a collaborative approach. ‘Shane (guitarist and
vocalist) brings us parts and then we work out to see what fits in or not.”
Preparing for Sled the band is also mapping out some more shows this summer. One of which has
them supporting fellow young upstarts, Flashback, for their album release. Chained by Mind is just
beginning to make some noise.
• GRAHAM MACKENZIE
PHOTO: LEE REED
Seems riled in his songs though!
Davies: Hell yes. That’s what I mean, he must save
it up! Gives the band a big emotional lift and me
a rest during sets.
The song “Paper Tiger.” Sounds like one hell of
fishing story, but what’s the paper and the tiger
Davies: Fevered fit of post-modernism. Country
meets city, layers over each other. Trout fishing
and time spent on the east slopes of the Rockies
where the water is clear and the air is pure, juxtaposed
with city life and vacuous young thuggery.
With some great fucking pile-on guitar riffs at the
end. Anderson came up with some cool shit.
What about the Shipwreck of The Utile, is that
your version of Gordon Lightfoot’s Sinking of the
BY B. SIMM
Davies: I guess, but hotter, sweatier and more
desperate. True story of a ship full of slaves Europe-bound
from Madagascar that ran into this
barren island leaving 200 or so people dead.
A make shift boat was built by the slaves and
the ship’s crew sailed out of there, promising
to return for the slaves. They did, but 15 years
later. Children had been born, and the people
had built a kind of community on this rocky
And the title song, “Take Me To Your Island”?
Davies: It set the tone for the record. Lots of
sonic contrast, blistering chorus, best guitar
solos on the record. The verses bring you in,
focus on the trip, getting to where you want
to be (“your Island”). Not escapism as much
as augmentation of what’s already there. The
chorus highlights that place is not exclusive,
it’s just as available to kings as to paupers. It is
what you make it, and highlights that your riches
come from getting down and dirty. “Where
there’s muck, you will find brass” is an old
English saying for money is made in the slopes,
the mines, the quarry.
Finally, is “Cool Your Bones” your summer
breeze, running down a dream that ends with
a car crash, twisted metal, blood and broken
bones at the bottom of Lac Des Arcs?
Davies: Complete fiction, of course. No basis
in a real event. Although seems like such a
thing could go down on those two big corners,
especially if one was distracted and moving too
fast. It’s a gateway story. The place between two
worlds, which I see Des Arcs, the physical place,
as a kind of profaned gateway.
Chained By Mind play McHugh House
Friday, June 22 during Sled Isand.
surfin’ the treelines
Thirteen years ago FrogFest wasn’t a festival and didn’t have a name, it was just a community hall
hootenanny with a circle of close friends who love music and love living life. Even though the
hootenanny now has a home out in the wilds near Rocky Mountain House with its crazy, homemade
cosmic stages designed for a weekend of weird and wonderful, FrogFest, one of Alberta’s super-fun
secret getaways, still remains a tight knit circle of close friends. It’s just that the circle is much larger
now. Jamey Lougheed, the festival’s spiritual light, provides a glimpse into this year’s magic with a big
against the glass again
BY CHRISTINE LEONARD
What are some bands playing FrogFest this year that Calgarians aren’t familiar with but would
be excited about?
Tropic Harbour is a rad, dream-pop band out of Edmonton. The Tequila Moquingbird Orchestra are
an amazing group of travelling musicians with influences from all over the world. The Garrys are a
super sweet garage surf band out of Saskatoon. Surf Kitties are a rare Calgary treat, surf's up!
Are there any new stages, fresh attractions or changes to this year’s programming besides the
line-up we should know about?
This year's theme is Surfin' Safari, we're catchin’ a wave through the jungle. There is an epic new stage
design, and we have another secret surprise headliner that will have the entire festival in a full-tilt
What stands out in particular as a great FrogFest experience for you in past years?
It is incredible to see what this community can accomplish, all of us working towards the same
greater thing that is FrogFest. That's what brings us out, that's why bands perform their best sets,
that's why it keeps hopping along, and that is why some new-comers and old-comers alike say that it
is their favourite weekend of the year.
What can a newbie FrogFester expect, look forward to?
A first-timer at FrogFest, or tadpole, should expect to feel welcome, connected and amazed by the
production. Come prepared to camp, dance, laugh and immerse yourself in all of the art that surrounds
you. It truly is a magical time.
• B. SIMM
Vancouver’s danger boys are back.
PHOTO: REBECCA BLISSETT
It may be the last name you expected to see
crop up on the summer festival docket, but
Vancouver, BC’s prodigal punk rock act Slow has
finally emerged from their (arguably self-imposed)
30-year hiatus — just in time to soak up
some rays. Apparently, the controversy-sparking
quartet that got its start back 1985, only to
dissolve on bad terms in 1987, didn’t see the
shadow of their former sins. Thus, one of the
most unlikely reunions in Canadian rock history
“I’m just not a nostalgic person. I never sit
there and go, ‘It would be really cool to do those
things I used to do.’ I’m just not interested in that
kind of thing, but we were offered quite a lot of
money,” Anselmi reports of the initial rumblings
about getting Slow back together again in 2017.
“We ended up turning it down, but that money
wound up actually being a catalyst. We kind of
analyzed it and it showed us a new approach
when it comes having ethics in the music
business. We had a conversation about doing a
reenactment of what we’ve already done versus
seeing what we can do. Everyone had the same
sense that this could be a new beginning of
Slow’s original line-up of singer Tom Anselmi,
guitarist Ziggy Sigmund, bassist Stephen Hamm,
guitarist Christian Thorvaldson and drummer
Terry Russell has covered a lot of ground since
Slow debuted with a spicy 7-inch I Broke the Circle
in 1985 and subsequent EP Against the Glass
in 1986. Originally released on Zulu Records,
the pair of iconic recordings have recently been
remastered and reissued together by Artoffact
Records. Still as relevant and sought after as ever,
Slow’s forthright tribute to ripped-up blue collar
indignation, with its standout single “Have Not
Been the Same,” helped define the early sounds
of grunge. The first ripples of a plaid-flannel
wave that would eventually sweep through the
west coast and across the continent.
“It’s a strong brand. And I guess I thought
early on that there was an opportunity to do
something really fresh and do like a rock-and-roll
review that wasn’t being done,” Anselmi recalls.
“Rock had turned into this dour and very not
sexy thing. And, what we do is not dour and not
a bummer and, at the same time, it’s got some
danger to it and it’s fun!”
It was the dangerous mid-80s and a young
and ambitious Slow was on a career upswing
when their big-time sensuality nearly incited a
riot. Celebrating his 19th birthday, legal drinking
age in British Columbia, a spirited Anselmi
dropped trou on stage during Slow’s performance
at the Festival of Independent Recording
Artists at Expo 86. Finished off by an ill-fated
cross-country tour, the band parted ways soon
after with the individual members going on to
work on some very different, yet equally innovative
But like demolition rock salmon returning to
their gravelly spawning grounds, the lusty undercurrents
that Slow had stirred three decades
earlier would inevitably bring them back to their
first love, celebratory expressions of musical
creativity. Also referred to as the rock out with
your cock out approach!
“I’ve always continued to make music. What
I think was interesting is that the band was together
for such a short time in the grand scheme
of things. [When Slow started playing as a group
again], it wasn’t something that I expected to
feel alive. So, I was pretty surprised actually,
and I think everybody in the band was pretty
surprised, to just feel what it felt like, which was
not like new venture. That was really noticeable.
And when that happens to you — you take note
and face it.”
Witness the rebirth of ‘80s icons Slow at Dickens Pub
as part of Sled Island on June 22
ROCKPILE BEATROUTE • JUNE 2018 | 21
EDM ONTON EXTR A
MCLUHAN HOUSE STUDIO RESIDENCY
arts space in Highlands celebrates diversity
Indigenous advocate and artist Lauren Crazybull takes residency at McLuhan House.
PHOTO: CONOR MCNALLY
Artists who choose to have important
conversations about race, gender or the
social practice their work is imbued with often
struggle to find a consistent home in artistic
spaces, which are historically difficult to
maintain and often inaccessible. To counteract
this issue, McLuhan House in Edmonton’s
Highlands opened itself up to be a space for
emerging artists and their experiences to work
The McLuhan House Studio Residency
program began in 2016, when the home of
celebrated intellectual Marshall McLuhan
became an interpretive space and historic
resource within the city.
“We had an empty garage and decided to
activate it,” says Chelsea Boos, the Community
Programmer for McLuhan House.
“We did an open call and received a great
response. Now we’re entering our third year.
We want to be a springboard for emerging
artists to get their work out there. We want
to help activate community and be a another
space for people to showcase their voice.”
The very first artists to activate the garage
behind McLuhan House were a group called
Tennis Club. As a metaphorical sports team,
they explored themes of femininity, sport, leisure
and suburbia’s views of those issues. Their
lasting legacy is a mural on the garage door,
painted during their final weeks in residency.
Black Girl Magic were the next collective to
22 | JUNE 2018 • BEATROUTE
occupy the space, examining the experiences
of black women in Edmonton through poetry,
dance, song and other various mediums.
Spoken word poet Shima Robinson (Dwennimmen)
reveals her experience within the
collective, as well as the studio residency, to
be immersive, challenging and overall great.
“It’s been a process of discovery breaking
down some of the isolation that we experience
as black femmes. We were working
toward a more well rounded understanding
of who we are as people, whether that’s
through our preferred pronouns or the
colour of an outfit we wear to a photo shoot.
And artistically we balance each other out in
Black Girl Magic has performed as part of
Black Arts Matter, SkirtsAFire (a multidisciplinary
women’s art festival) as well as workshops
based out of McLuhan House. While
the collective is fluid and members swap out
depending on their degree of activity, the
members who began the residency included
Nasra Adem, Medgine Mathurin, Mpoe
Mogale, Ashanti (Karimah) Marshall, Effy
Adar, and Lebogang Disele. In the true spirit of
a collective, they have embraced various guest
collaborations, including an ASL (American
Sign Language) interpreter at every performance
“I felt very welcomed by the Edmonton arts
community as a result of this residency,” says
Robinson. “This has been a very demystifying
They’re currently working on a documentary
to create a dialogue around cross-cultural
similarities with Indigenous women, which
they are hoping to release sometime in the
“Our main focus for the documentary is to
be collaborative and create dialogue. There
are gaps in the discourse between people of
Turtle Island and people immigrating here,”
“We rep those people as black women
necessarily because of the way history has
gone. It’s interesting and beneficial to create a
discernible and visceral sense of the dialogue
that’s going on between us. This documentary
will show where we’re at, at this point in the
conversation, as a key turning point.”
Extending the conversation at McLuhan
House as the new Artist in Residence is Lauren
Crazybull. Her work with portraiture seeks
to veer away from the white gaze to create
an honest depiction of her experience as a
Blackfoot, Dene person.
Boos is excited to give Crazybull a platform
for her active role as an Indigenous Advocate
and artist whose visual range is expressed in
various forms such as portraiture, comics, line
drawings and more.
“She’s a community engaged artist whose
work and social practice go hand in hand,”
“The themes she’s working with are about
difficult issues that we’re interested in creating
Crazybull is a self-taught artist whose work
is informed by her Indignity and the shared
experience of colonialism.
“When it comes to my own painting practice,
I am sharing a part of myself and my own
experiences,” says Crazybull.
“Although it is deeply personal, it is also
inherently political because of the history and
current impact of colonialism. I’m not trying
to tell anyone else’s story, but my own experience
is so ingrained in colonialism. Of course
that would resonate with people with similar
During her yearlong residency, Crazybull
hopes to collaborate with other Indigenous
artists and continue to engage within her
“I have heavily dedicated a lot of my time
to fighting for justice for my late aunt Jackie
Crazybull,” she says. Jackie, a mother of nine,
was tragically stabbed to death on 17th Ave
in Calgary in a murder that is still unsolved.
BY BRITTANY RUDYCK
Four other people were stabbed that evening
in similar attacks, yet charges were never laid.
To mourn their loss, the family has organized
annual events dubbed the Justice Walk for
Jackie, in honour of Jackie and the thousands
of missing and murdered Indigenous Women
Crazybull continues, saying she is “Working
on issues of loss, reclamation and survival
through organizing work, radio and the youth
work I did for the past few years. The collaboration
and work in communities born out of
defying colonialism has definitely informed
my work in a big way.”
Crazybull has been an outspoken activist
on the issue of Missing and Murdered
Indigenous Women for over a decade, which
has evolved from hosting rallies to working
directly with youth, decolonizing the way she
shows up for her community.
“I want to gain the courage to really be
able to pull what’s inside my head and put it
out there. I’d like to carve some space out for
collaboration with Indigenous artists in this
community. The work I’m surrounded by is so
exciting and refreshing and I’m honoured to
be able to witness so many incredible artists.”
The McLuhan House Residency offers not
only space for artists to focus on their craft,
but administrative and moral support.
Having the space to create and exist is a
huge component, as Robinson points out.
“Artist space in this city has been at a premium
for years. The city keeps shutting down
spaces and we wonder where we’ll go. Having
a separate space for creation is so important
so we can just show up. The benefits have
been deeply intrinsic.”
Crazybull affirms the inherently valuable
aspects of this program.
“Up to now, I’ve done all this work in my
spare time - on evenings and weekends. It’s
very exciting to me that I’ll be able to work
full-time and really dedicate myself to creative
practice,” she says.
“I made a promise to myself that I would
always try to create work that excites me in
the same way my favourite artists excite me.
I have to keep moving forward with my art
despite where I may find myself in life. There’s
a Blackfoot phrase, “Iikaakiimaat” - it means
persevere or keep trying and I take that with
me wherever I go.”
McLuhan House is located at 11342 64 Street
Northwest (Edmonton). Visit them online at
learn more about upcoming events
anxiety for everyone
It took only one listen to the new No Problem
album to understand what vocalist
Graeme MacKinnon meant about some of the
songs being “strange.” Let God Sort ‘Em Out
follows in a similar vein of the knife-to-the-gut
hardcore post-punk the band is admired for,
but sonically they’ve grown darker and more
“We wanted to create a sense of anxiety and
nervousness,” explains MacKinnon. “It feels like
the world is on a ledge with so much uncertainty
and madness and a lot of music coming out
seems to be missing that. We wanted to make
something with a messed up outlook. Maybe
things will get better someday, but for now I
figure we might as well go down with the ship.”
The kind of anxiousness the four-piece
intended creeps in during the “Intro,” full of
clamorous sound effects, vocal samples, severe
slices of guitar and a punctuating horn section.
No Problem wastes no time diving into their
catchy, riff driven style of punk rock, forcefully
powered by lead guitarist Steve Lewis.
But that’s not all you’ll find on the album.
MacKinnon asserts they were more intentional
with the kind of songs they laid down
for the release.
“We made some songs on the last album like
“Different Shades of Grey” that were out of our
comfort zone and I realized the songs I like the
Punk vets challenge boundaries of hardcore.
best now or people responded to the best were
the ones we had to challenge ourselves to write.
We attacked this album with that mentality.”
“Let it Bleed Pt. II” is one such example. It’s a
song that would give the pit a bit of a break (a
bit), with what sound like faze effects and an
almost new wave vocal approach.
“There’s an Ice-T song called “Peel Their
Caps Back” and it’s got the same vibe,” explains
“It’s got a lot of tough meat to it. I have a lot of
friends who work on the front lines of addiction
and they see a lot of stuff. They take a lot and
they have to know how to let it go. It’s about
quelling PTSD and knowing it’s okay to live with
it and humanize it. The lyrics worked better
when we slowed it down a bit and gave the song
an honest treatment.”
BY BRITTANY RUDYCK
Let God Sort ‘Em Out was recorded at
Audio Department with Nick Kozub, another
first for the band. Their first time recording
in a studio allowed them to explore, adding
new dynamics and sounds that skulk around
the edges of the tracks. Kozub also pushed
them to create something with a more visual
component, resulting in their first true music
video (the recycled footage video for “Never
See the Sun” notwithstanding). Parker
Thiessen directed the video for “Eyes of a
Killer,” which is a post punk satanic dance
party with a sense of humour. The video is an
unsettling black and white affair depicting a
robed ritual to the soundtrack of reverberating,
cold guitars and shouted lyrics.
“I didn’t want to have an intellectual record.
But I wanted to make a record that has something
for everyone,” reveals MacKinnon.
“I wanted a sense of violence, but I also wanted
to make songs that I could listen to by myself
in my headphones when everyone’s gone. With
our sense of humour, I felt like we had something
to say in our own bizarre way.”
Let God Sort ‘Em Out is out June 25 via Deranged
Records. See No Problem with Sister Suzie and
Languid on June 29 at 9910 (Edmonton). You
can hear the LP at https://noproblempunk.
ROCKPILE BEATROUTE • JUNE 2018 | 23
new album cures punks of what ails ‘em
Punk rock is a flame that refuses to go
out. Leading that charge in Edmonton
is Real Sickies, a born and bred classic
punk band in the same vein as Ramones or
Teenage Head. Real Sickies is set to release
two albums this year and sees no end in
sight. From humble beginnings, the band
really came together when Ben Disaster
(Thick Lines, Ben Disaster) joined.
“I was the first singer of the band for
a few songs, it didn’t go that great,” says
guitarist Rob Lawless. “Me being a die-hard
Ramones fan, it wasn’t happening as plain
and simple and I wasn’t singing as well as
I wanted. I called Ben and it all just came
together. I wrote a lot of the songs and Ben
came with an open mind.”
Real Sickies got comfortable with the
new line-up and the tunes began to shape
up. But comfort isn’t what punk is about.
“Ben had a spinal chord pinch so we
took some time off,” explains Lawless. “He
had surgery to the front of his throat. He
was becoming paralyzed and couldn’t sing
for a year, so there was this build up of
the biggest serving of borscht
Spunky pop crew release two joyous tapes.
Borscht is the fun-loving, psychedelic brain/
heart-child of Maria Elena Martire, a student
of Grant MacEwan who has been writing,
performing and teaching music in Edmonton
for over nine years. Her music is paradoxical;
as Martire says, “it’s poppy, it’s catchy, and it’s
about the darkest shit.”
Like many musicians, Martire uses music
as a conduit to channel the most difficult
circumstances in life - trauma, abuse and
mental illness - into an experience that can
be shared, and even celebrated, with friends.
24 | JUNE 2018 • BEATROUTE
Thankfully Disaster recovered and the
two albums slated for release this summer
are ready to “get people dancing.” Get Well
Soon is a fun ode that captures ‘70s New
York punk club music that has inspired
them since they were children.
“Since the beginning, I’ve just loved the
punk sound. And Ben’s of that time; he
really captures that essence.”
Punk has defined not only the band, but
also Lawless’ character.
“Punk was my first love. In a lot of ways
it defined me. I always come back to it,
especially when I write music.”
And while Punk is often seen as a
throwback – a canon of youth and rebellion
– Lawless ages gracefully alongside it.
“My kids influence my lifestyle a lot
now. That’s getting old. There’s a younger
crowd that do what we did, and we’ll be
there for them, as well as the older punks.
This is definitely the music that draws
the picture of my life and still manages to
It’s this attitude that inspired Lawless
and Disaster to start a record label, This is
PHOTO: TEGAN B
Musically, it’s rawly produced tragic-comedy-grunge-pop,
best celebrated with confetti
“If I’m stuck in my head, stuck in my heartbreak
and stuck in sorrow, I can’t really move
easily away from it,” says Martire. “But even
when everyone comes over to jam it helps me
move past it. We’re technically performing
songs all about stuff that’s hard to deal with in
life, but we make it fun.”
Anyone who’s been to a Borscht show in the
last year that features the seven-piece band
POP! Records, which is a characteristically
punk move itself.
“We teetered back and forth trying to
put out these albums, but it just wasn’t
working out. So we said ‘fuck it’ and
decided to start our own label where we
could put out our music, but also show
people bands they have no idea about.”
Despite varying trials and tribulations,
hustling through the grunt work
has been a philosophy Real Sickies
have stuck to, by making and releasing
their own music videos and music. The
power is in their hands, despite a sense
of powerlessness early on.
“It feels fantastic to have the albums
coming out. We’ll have a few good months
here. We’re always buzzing to do more.
We’re all very creative and relate to each
other well, so it comes naturally.”
Real Sickies play Sled Island on June 22 at
Ship & Anchor (Calgary). Their new album
Get Well Soon comes out June 1on This is Pop!
Records. You can order the album on vinyl
and digitally at realsickies.bandcamp.com
backing Martire knows that Borscht is an experience,
quite like a psychedelic trip. The lyrics
often hit close to the heart. The performances
are honest, relatable and self-aware while the
vocals, costumes and theatrics put a spotlight
on the reality of Martire’s inner world.
In the past year, Martire has recorded two
albums to follow 2014’s Dazer: Frumpy Space
Adventure and Dog’s Breakfast.
Frumpy Space Adventure includes songs
that didn’t make it onto Dazer and features
Martire playing all instruments, with the
exception of violin. Dog’s Breakfast includes
re-recorded songs from Dazer in addition to
new music, all written by Martire. Both recordings
approach Martire’s vision for Borscht
differently, but Dog’s Breakfast especially
represents a completion of her vision.
“I feel like we captured the energy of the
performance in the recordings, so that’s
very exciting,” she explains. “Performing
solo, I can sing them and perform them
beautifully. But with the seven-piece, it’s
been a really special experience. It’s all the
parts I want to do, together. Because I can’t
divide myself into seven different Marias
if I could. Dazer was part of the picture.
Frumpy Space Adventure, it’s a full album,
but it’s part of the picture. And then with
the seven-piece, it is the full picture.”
BY RYAN HOOK
Edmonton ain’t New York, but the punks get it.
PHOTO: LYLE BELL
BY ELIZABETH EATON
Martire acknowledges that joy and laughter
onstage is the most important thing for
Borscht members. The message of “just have
fun” gets across so clearly, precisely because
Martire is onstage performing with her best
friends. Martire specifically chose members
of the band that share her vision and love her
“Always try. Just try,” says Martire.
“Cause I never thought I would be able to
play as many instruments as I do now. And I
never thought I would have the dream band
that I have now. I never thought I’d play Sled
[Island] before. I never thought my songwriting
was good enough before. I never thought
people would be interested in being in my
band and loving my songwriting. And then I
just tried. I would love to see more and more
people trying and getting involved in the
scene, but especially people that aren’t just
dudes. Non-binary and trans folk, women,
queer people and every kind of person.”
Borscht is playing Sled Island June 21 at Ship &
Anchor (Calgary), an all-ages show on June 23 at
McHugh House (Calgary). Borscht’s Double-Tape
Release (with digital download) is at The Works
Festival in Churchill Square on June 30 (Edmonton).
Digital copies of the albums are available at
questionably conceptual three chord punk rock
The Nielsens may write about their fave
sci-fi flicks and get gory on a few tracks,
but their new album, Blurry Photos, hopes
to be more than that. If Parks and Recreation
jokes count, that is. Born of a punk
rock super group/solo project several years
ago that included SLATES, the Blame-It’s
and Old Wives, the Nielsens now have a
secure line-up based on the vision of Ryley
Conroy, though it’s hardly just his way or the
On their official debut, Blurry Photos,
the Nielsens borrow several tracks from the
original demo that came out over two years
ago, injecting them with extra punch.
“I write songs constantly,” explains Conroy.
“So we had too many songs to begin with
for this album. Some of the newer songs
were written around the same time as the
demo, so it’s more cohesive. And we had
Jesse Gander of Rain City Recorders work
on it for us, so the sound is a lot better than
what I recorded.”
The first track, “Casserole,” is what you
might expect from the Nielsens, who have
come to be known for the macabre themes
in their music. It’s a shade over two minutes
of pop punk similar to the Riverdales
or the Lillingtons.
“And they say that a woman’s dead. The
killer cleanly removed her head,” are lyrics
that don’t seem like they should be catchy
and fun, but upon a listen or two, it’s hard
The correct blend of horror and poop jokes.
BY BRITTANY RUDYCK
not to nod along in willful agreement.
“I haven’t been around murder or decapitations,”
says Conroy, laughing.
“But I am a big movie nerd. Chrispy
Workun (former guitarist) and I originally
bonded over dumb conspiracies and horror
movies, which lead me to write what is now
the demo from a few years ago. It’s kind of
cool it’s expected now. I’m obsessed with that
stuff but I might have pigeonholed myself in
a sense. Everything is so high concept that if
I just write a song from the heart, something
emotional, it feels like I’m not allowed to.”
Not that any of the tracks will ever be too
serious or emotional. “Hot Snakes” refers to
an infamous Chris Pratt poop joke from Parks
and Recreation. There’s also a song about
eating too much Taco Bell and throwing it up.
The band may be based on inside jokes
and pop culture references, but there’s room
to grow now that the band is a a team effort.
They’ve all ready been writing new material
together and plan to take it easy this summer
in preparation for a potential fall tour.
“The demo is what it sounds like when it’s
pretty much all my input,” explains Conroy.
“I still wrote all the songs for the new album
but the other guys added so much to it. If it
were just me it would be a way lamer album.”
The Nielsens will perform with Norell, Sleeping
in Traffic, and Grizzly Trail and release Blurry
Photos on June 8 at Temple (Edmonton)
PHOTO: MILO KNAUER
EYE ON EDMONTON
the finger on the pulse of dirt city
It’s feeling hot hot hot (finally) and there’s
no shortage of quirky events to trot along to
with your pals this month. Strap on your bike
helmet, get out and support your fave locals
It may sound odd to encourage you to
do math on the weekend, but the Aviary
is hosting the first Mystery Science Salon
on June 2 and it actually sounds fun! The
theme of this free afternoon event is Infinity
and Beyond. Your host Matt will discuss
how big infinity really is among other brain
benders. Stop in after brunch! The fun
starts at 1 p.m.
Clean-Up-Your-Act Productions is hosting
their second VHS and Pop Culture Oddities
Fair on Sunday, June 3 from 6 p.m. until
9:30pm. If you’re a “tapehead” go check it out.
In addition to picking up some fresh finds,
enjoy a screening of the 1956 classic, Invasion
of the Body Snatchers!
Saturday, June 9 kicks off with the Pride
Parade at 11 a.m. sharp! Go shake it in celebration
Later that night, go to the Aviary to see the
Worst release an album! Presented by Sweaty
Palms, this show is all-ages and features Wine
Lips, Mosfett and Dead Fibres. Lots of noise,
some surf and the most fun.
June 15 at 8 p.m. you’ll want to be at
Evolution Wonderlounge for a very special
performance of Quicker Kitty Cat! Die!
Die! This theatrical drag event stars Chelsea
Horrendous, Lillith Fair, Lourdes the Merry
BY BRITTANY RUDYCK
Virgin, Goblynn Dixxx, Trey Le Park Trash, Kat
Marlowe Minorah and Voula Callas. Tickets
are $10 at the door.
Another fun all-ages show at the Aviary is
on Sunday, June 17 when Girls of Salzburg
release their album before Ashleigh moves
away. Since it’s all-ages and on a Sunday,
doors are at 6:30 p.m. Bonus: vegan tacos will
If you’re not going to Sled Island, please
attend Edmonton’s Indigenous People’s
Festival on June 21 from 11:30 a.m. to 8
p.m. at Victoria Park. The day will begin
with a traditional powwow demonstration
and continue with live music, food, cultural
demonstrations, art and more. This event is
completely free and open to anyone!
Edmonton Ex-Pat Eamon McGrath is
releasing his new album Tantramar at the
Empress June 23. There’s no cover and it goes
from noon to about 6 p.m. Go say hello!
Later that day, support SACE (Sexual
Assault Centre of Edmonton) with a show
at King Edward Hall. Feeding, Nothing
Gold, Stalagmites, Cavity, Wraith, It All
Gave Way, Rising Sun and Rob Naugle are
performing! It’s $10 at the door and it starts
at 6 p.m.!
Just in time for summer festival season,
Friends Against Fentanyl 5 is happening
Sunday, June 24 at Hudson’s on Whyte Ave.
Receive life saving training and a free naloxone
kit by RSVP-ing to the FB event page. This
event begins at 4 p.m.
ROCKPILE BEATROUTE • JUNE 2018 | 25
on not being afraid to tuck and roll
Deanne Matley knows a lot about
love. After all, her new record
Because I Loved takes listeners through
the gambit of love, loss, intimacy, and
lust in hopes that they come out the
other side being able to understand
not only her experience with love
but also their own. Matley, an award
winning jazz vocalist has travelled
the world representing Canada and
Matley has been a fixture of the Calgary
jazz scene for several years, having
hosted jazz nights around the city and
performing with the Primetime Big
Band out of the Ironwood Stage and
Grill. “A lot of people don’t realize just
how much jazz is in Calgary, we have
a tap dancing culture, a swing dance
culture and a big band culture, all of
which are jazz.”
“Calgary has such a thriving scene, it
is becoming more accessible and more
people are realizing they like jazz.”
Said Matley from her Calgary home.
Although Matley has recorded several
albums before Because I Loved, this
BY ANDREW BARDSLEY
album was the hardest for her but also
the most transformative. “After my
marriage ended in 2016, I realized that
now I finally have that to sing about. I
have that experience.”
Travelling to Montreal to record
much of the album, Matley felt out
of her comfort zone, an experience
which she credits as having helped her
produce such a raw, emotional and
honest album. “It was an uncomfortable
experience, it was giving up a lot
of control and allowing myself to be
open to receiving help.”
Much of Because I Loved was made
possible through Indiegogo, a crowd
funding platform. “That was really uncomfortable,
you feel like the expectations
in giving back are so high.”
Matley is headed back into the
recording studio and experience
she used to dislike, “I love singing,
performing in front of people is where
I am the happiest. “I don’t like the
mixing process because its all in your
head but the recording part is all in
there’s always A Time For Jazz
When you think of the Calgary music scene you
may think of the singer songwriter, the folk
artist, the rap scene or any number of other scenes
that Calgary has to offer. However, you may not
think of the small but mighty jazz scene that Calgary
has on offer.
“This is their craft, this is what they have decided
to devote their lives to,” said Kodi Hutchinson, host
of CKUA’s A Time For Jazz and Artistic producer of
the Calgary Jazz Festival. Hutchinson has been active
in the Calgary jazz scene for a number of years and
runs the jazz centric record label Chronograph
Records with his wife, Stephanie.
“Calgary has a very entrepreneurial spirit in a lot of
things, and jazz is no different. A lot of musicians have
decided to just go do it themselves instead of waiting
around for someone else to do it.” Hutchinson said,
referring to the recent rise of a large amount “free
enterprising” jazz sessions around the city. “You have
Cafe Koi, the Cliff Bungalow-Mission Jazz Concert
Series, Lolita’s and so many others.” He added.
Hutchinson wants to serve as a jazz educator, he
does so in his roles at CKUA and as the provider of
Jazz Appreciation 101, an educational experience
Hutchinson recently hosted in Calgary.
In Hutchinson’s other role as artistic producer
for the Calgary Jazz Festival, a yearly festival hosted
around the city on June 14-17, he has carefully
balance the line up. “I have to find the flavours that
making music like you’re the only one who knows how
BY ANDREW BARDSLEY
people like. I am trusted to do a good job and I
appreciate good art,” he added.
In his role at Chronograph Records, founded in
2004, Hutchinson prides himself on representing
western Canada. A label focused entirely on blues,
jazz and acoustic artists, Chronograph has had the
opportunity to represent artists out of New York
but has turned them down. “We are proud of who
we represent and I believe that if we start representing
artists from other parts of the world it kind of
goes against what we want to be.”
Sheldon Zandboer puts his mark on the jazz scene
with the release of Tipping Velvet, his first album
of entirely original work. Zandboer, a fixture of the
Canadian jazz scene has always found he made his
best music when he wasn’t trying to emulate either
Calgary jazz or other Canadian scenes such as Toronto,
where his musical abilities greatly expanded.
“I never tried to be part of any scene, once you start
emulating other artists you like you lose your voice, you
have to do what sounds good to you,” said Zandboer.
Zandboer in his debut album was chasing a 1970’s
analog sound and set out to find musicians that shared
his vision. “you have to be a certain type of musician
to make that type of sound.” In a sense, this made the
album a bit of a daunting experience. “you need to
work with people who give you wings and don’t hold
you back but it has to be a bit of a symbiotic relationship.”
He later added.
Zandboer has been a fixture of the Calgary jazz
scene and he has scene the rise and fall of storied jazz
joints such as the Beatnik, the scene is much different
from Toronto, “people don’t go to each others shows. It
is a very corporate environment.”
Zandboer also works as a jazz instructor and uses his
self published self-help book The Tao of Jazz Improvi-
BY ANDREW BARDSLEY
sation, a book that Zandboer devotes to his method of
improvisation which is based of Bruce Lee and martial
arts. “he taught it for your body and so I figured you
could do it for your brain too. It is all about speeding
up your brain to the point of breaking down and thats
when you build ‘brain muscle’.
Zandboer has been a fixture of the Calgary jazz
scene and he has scene the rise and fall of storied jazz
joints such as the Beatnik, the scene is much different
from Toronto, “people don’t go to each others shows. It
is a very corporate environment.”
“This is what jazz is! It is a conversation where you
don’t need to think. I remember one time I was part of
a improv session and we just went for four hours, not
a single plan on how it would go. You just play off one
BEATROUTE • JUNE 2018 | 27
June 20 - 24
Something wonderful comes your way...
Deerhoof curate the 12th edition of Sled Island in their
25th year as a band.
The first thing one notices about Greg Saunier,
drummer for experimental rock group and 2018
Sled Island guest curators Deerhoof, is that he is
in surprisingly good spirits for a man stuck in an airport
He’s not supposed to be here. He’s supposed to be in
Philadelphia, on the third of six layovers while heading to
Vienna, with Deerhoof kicking off a brief European tour
which will find them playing Brighton, Luxembourg and
Paris before making their way back to the States.
“Crazy day, so far,” laughs Saunier. “I’m in Baltimore
still, and once I get to Philadelphia they’ve totally
changed my routing.”
But Deerhoof are no strangers to dealing with distance,
or delayed flights. Each of the four members of
the wildly prolific outfit live in separate cities, leading to
a recording process that finds each person working on
new Deerhoof material solo, and in their own homes.
Such was the case for Mountain Moves, their latest
record, produced under a tight deadline yet still managing
to be one of the most feature-heavy of the bands
massive discography released over the past 25 years.
“We felt it was time to bring some friends and heroes
in, it fit the theme of the record,” says Saunier. “But
every one of the collaborators did so much more work
on it than we expected. Like we just sent simple scratch
vocals for them to sing, but they’d be sending back harmonies
and countermelodies and production ideas.”
Mountain Moves, the groups 14th studio album,
features collaborations from rapper Awkwafina, singer
Xenia Rubinos and Wye Oak’s Jenn Wasner (whose band
was chosen to perform at Sled Island this year). It is also
the band’s first return to the festival since playing in
2010, an experience Saunier remembers fondly.
“You can’t really imagine our shock, showing up to,
you know, what we had been told was a major rock
music festival, and our show was in a church,” says
Saunier. “We start playing, we start doing soundcheck,
and as a drummer it is incredibly rare to have the experience
I had there… [being] quite literally incapable of
making an ugly sound.”
“Every single thing that I played, and that any of us
played, sounded so beautiful… Put it this way, if we had
rehearsed and performed in that venue, every day, we
would probably turn into a really bad band … It literally
makes you sound good no matter what you’re doing.”
Saunier says Deerhoof jumped at the chance to be
guest curators for the 12th year of the annual festival.
Previous curators have included such heavy-hitters as
electronic mastermind Flying Lotus (2017), iconoclastic
performance artist Peaches (2016), and post-rock pioneers
Godspeed You! Black Emperor (2015).
“There was no mitigating. Nothing but pure pleasure
and joy at the prospect,” says Saunier. “We had been
asked to curate one other festival in our career, and it
was already many years ago… in Belgium. The process
was really fun, but the actual weekend of the festival was
one of the highlights of my life, for sure.”
“[With Sled Island], we came up with a list of acts that
we wanted to invite so quickly. It was like, in a couple
days we just had this list that you couldn’t believe,” says
Saunier, noting that the funny thing about Deerhoof is
that each of the four members never agree on anything.
While the bands own background finds each person
playing in an array of different side-projects, Saunier
explains there was a calculated decision-making process
in regards to the thematic intention of their picks.
“If we were going to try and represent Deerhoof’s
taste on a curated festival, we were definitely going to be
choosing the artists that, you know, that we think of as
being more in our family tree. A bit more kind of aggressive,
and less controlled,” says Saunier.
The result is a lineup of big names mixed with some
of the more obscure, from garage-rockers Cherry Glazerr
to hip-hop powerhouses Shabazz Palaces. Apart from
those directly chosen by Deerhoof, however, Saunier says
many of the acts he’s excited to see include The Body,
Dirty Projectors and Flaming Lips.
“I mean, these are all friends of ours who we’ve toured
with, which is an incredible coincidence that we’re on the
same festival,” explains Saunier. “The list is so insane.
Like, this has gotta be one of… the craziest artist lists I’ve
ever seen on any music festival.”
“We had to organize with Sled Island some bicycles
so we could make sure that we were going to make it to
everything… we want to get the whole experience, and
see absolutely as much of it as we can possibly can, and
we’ll sleep some other time.”
Another draw with Sled Island, says Saunier, is how
it differs from other more “corporate and annoying”
festivals such as Coachella, which he explains are run by
major media moguls who “make the bulk of the money.”
“Sled Island doesn’t have that, you know, unsavoury
association with it, and seems very just about the fun of
the artists and the audience,” says Saunier. “When that
kind of situation miraculously comes together… I mean,
you still get tired, seeing act after act, day after day, but
it also becomes a kind of beautiful musical intoxication
of its own.”
While the increased corporatization of the music
industry continues to harm artists, says Saunier, there
are also larger more political problems that Deerhoof
attempts to address with Mountain Moves, and throughout
“Even though they have little incentive to listen, we
wanted to discourage the people with the power to do
so from terminating the human race, but also express
gratitude for being alive, just in case the end is in fact on
its way,” reflects Saunier later, in an email.
Back in Baltimore, Saunier stops briefly, listening
to the news that his delayed flight to Philadelphia has
finally arrived at the terminal. Time left for one last
thought, an attempt to sum up a Deerhoof live show in
one or two words.
“I couldn’t even sum it up in two thousand words,”
Saunier chuckles. Perhaps an obvious answer, but a fitting
one for a band with Deerhoof’s legacy and influence.
Deerhoof play at the #1 Legion on June 22.
ROCKPILE BEATROUTE • JUNE 2018 | 29
Deerhoof’s festival picks include nine musical acts,
one comedian and one short film
“I think we first became aware of them because they kept posting
Instagram photos of themselves with Deerhoof t-shirts [laughs]. So,
it was actually like them reaching out to us, and then us realizing that
we really loved their music. It’s bold, and like, brave. And it’s also kind of
garage-rocky, power-rocky… and we felt like we really
had a lot in common.”
was playing drums
in Perfect Pussy, who
we really loved and had
toured with. And then when
they stopped playing and moved to
Philadelphia …the next thing we knew
he had formed this other band! And, like, it’s
taste on a
as if half of what was going on in empath was
straight from the textbook of Perfect Pussy. It’s so
aggressive, so loud. And then, the other half of it
couldn’t have been more different… almost like
to be choosing
a quaint approach to songwriting [with] little
the artists that, you
musical surprises that were about notes and
know, that we think
rhythms and weren’t just about noise and
of as being more in our
destruction, you know.”
family tree. A bit more
kind of aggressive, and
“She’s an animator with whom we’re
very well acquainted, and just really huge fans of
her. Visually, sometimes very crude and simple looking, but kind
of philosophically and conceptually very neat. Sometimes complicated,
often troubled, and I think, ultimately, very emotional… we
felt aesthetically in common with her work, using really simple
materials to attempt to create something that’s still
very rich with possible meanings.”
“George Chen is someone we’ve
known really since the beginning of
Deerhoof, in the mid-nineties. He was a fixture
in the San Francisco Bay Area scene, and it seemed
like for every show, he was often the organizer of that show.
But he was always so funny, and could just make everybody laugh
all the time. [Deerhoof guitarist] John Dieterich takes credit for suggesting
to George that he should try stand-up, and like, I think a year
or two later John happened to bump into him on the sidewalk, and
George said he was on his way to try his first open mic.”
“We were like really
vaguely acquainted with
Jenn [Wasner] for years.. we
asked her to sing on our record,
which she graciously did and made the
song so much better than it was. There was
a show last year in Baltimore… and she joined
us on stage. We did the song live, with her, which
we had never tried before, and it was tremendous. So,
we definitely had to see if Wye Oak was gonna be available
because we just really wanted to do the song again [laughs].
I mean, she’s great. She’s just an absolute master. Such a good
30 | JUNE 2018 • BEATROUTE
“Yuka Honda was the keyboard player, one half of Cibo Matto, who we were just
fans of in the nineties, and then, to our own amazement, became acquainted with in
the 2000’s because she was always coming to our shows. Then she got married to
Nels Cline, who was an old friend of ours as well, and [with whom] we’d collaborated
a bunch of times, and played shows with various bands of his over the
years. Yuka was very much suddenly a part of the family. Like, every time
Yuka or someone else goes out of, Satomi [Deerhoof vocalist/bassist]
takes care of their dog, Buttercup. I’ve never actually heard
Eucademix, but I just know it’s her solo and I’m
really into everything she does.
“The drummer of Solid
Freex is a really old friend of ours.
He usually plays in a one-man band called Trin Tran that, every time we played in Wisconsin,
we’d invite to be on the bill with us. But so many years had passed where we were
doing this, that finally he had actually formed a band with his own children… and
last time we went through Madison we had them open instead. They were just
“That was [Deerhoof guitarist] Ed’s
choice. Ed met them in Los Angeles, and it was like… I
was saying earlier we never agree on anything, but one thing that we have
in common is a love of bands that have a lot of energy on stage, and
that aren’t too shy, or conservative, about performing… We sometimes
feel surprised how often bands will take that opportunity, and sort
of squander it by still playing some kind of weird game where they
try to impress higher-ups… they can’t act like they’re not towing
the line. Prissy Whip is partly a band that is not interested
in that at all, and they’re totally free and just do what they
“Guerilla Toss was
just another kind of band
that was friends of friends,
that we had been trying to play
with for a long time and it never
worked out, and this just seemed like the
perfect opportunity, and Sled Island was really
enthusiastic about bringing them. I don’t know, I’ve
never actually seen them live, I’ve watched a bunch of
live videos of them playing and thought it was really awesome.
It will be my first time actually meeting them.”
“We knew him from Battles. Satomi
was like his neighbour, and would
see him around in the neighbourhood
all the time. She might have
taken care of his dog too [laughs].
Most of the bands on this festival
have been curated only because
Satomi takes care of their dog. Personally,
I think it’s quite difficult to
pull off live electronic music because
there’s often not much to look at.
But Ty’s thing really is one of the
few that I’ve ever seen that really
encouraged me to want to just
close my eyes. Just get lost
in the sound. It’s sort of a
rare chance to see him
play live, and get completely
in the beauty of
the sound, and
follow the way
“We actually have played on
a festival with them before, but
didn’t know them beforehand. But
we heard it like coming through the
walls when we started playing, and
when we were on our way out… and suddenly
we heard this music coming through
the wall. It was so insane, and we were like:
“Wait! We don’t care if we’re late for the plane,
we have to see what’s going on here!” Quite a
few years later, we bumped into them randomly on
the street in Sao Paolo, of all places. We were both at
the same soccer game, we were both on tour in Brazil
at the same time, and ran into them, and just kind of
re-acquainted ourselves and told them what fans we were
of their music. [We] sort of expressed to each other that next
time there was a good opportunity that we might be able to do
something together, that we should do it. And [Sled] was
the perfect chance.”
Deerhoof’s picks play at multiple venues throughout
the duration of Sled Island. The festival takes
place June 20 – 24 in Calgary
ROCKPILE BEATROUTE • JUNE 2018 | 31
finding sublime purpose among memories
There is no easy way to describe John Maus. Behind
his trademark baritone, and underneath layers of
synthesized melodies often produced in his bedroom,
the Minnesotan goth-pop enigma is often reduced to
the fact that he put his music career on hold to work
on a PhD (a distinction he ultimately received from the
University of Hawaii).
Prior to the release of his acclaimed third album We
Must Become Pitiless Censors of Ourselves in 2011,
Maus was seen as a sort of a pariah critically, with his
first two releases falling by the wayside. But with his
latest album Addendum, a collection of extra material
left over from the recording of 2017’s Screen Memories,
he is a reaping a new appreciation for his deceptively
straightforward approach to outsider pop music.
“That’s what’s really strange, because I gloried in the
hatred at the first record,” explains Maus. “Ten years
ago, as a much younger person… I was so convinced of
its, for lack of a better word, perfection.”
During the lead-up to Screen Memories, after a
few years in academia, Maus admits to feeling pressure
to once again begin to release new music. The
result is a newfound prolific-ness from the generally
“I’m waking up to new challenges, challenges I don’t
think anybody anticipates, relating to middle age,” says
Maus. “Things like this: How much the machinations
through which we share our work, by way of which it
becomes visible, changes so radically.”
He adds, “Are you better off if you’re just insanely prolific?
If you’re just writing [albums] one after another, and
then you just sift through the rubble? Maybe that’s the
way to go,” ponders Maus. “But I have to like, set-up the
whole ballpark. Put everything in place, and then grind at
it. It’s hard to do that when you’re in a van, going to the
However, Maus admits that the shift in music to
release more records, even with his work on Screen
Memories and Addendum, may mean a decline in quality
for the sake of quantity.
“There’s only so many tracks on those albums that I’d
be prepared to swear by,” says Maus.
Still, and possibly a testament to his background
in philosophy, the intent with an album like Screen
Memories, says Maus, was for the “many levels [he] was
operating on to be picked up and taken further.”
“That’s the great thing in music, for me at least. That
moment when you hear a work that recalls you to that
sublime purpose in what you yourself like doing,” he
In a recent Reddit AMA, Maus acknowledges his
attitude towards making music as changing, referencing
a line from Stephen King’s memoir On Writing.
“I remember he says in it somewhere something like,
‘I don’t care why you write. If you’re doing it for fame, for
fortune. If you’re doing it because it is about the supreme
truth of art and you’re wrestling with the impossible. I
don’t care, just don’t ever come to the page lightly.’”
34 | JUNE 2018 • BEATROUTE
Similarly, Maus explains that music may be losing
some of its punk attitudes as the trend shifts towards
more mainstream, Top 40 production and that there
should be a different approach to assessing different
“When I was a teenager, there was very much a
profound line between sides. The people that were the
‘good guys,’ and the people that were the Chuck E.
Cheese animatronic hoe-down band. The robots that
just sing about how great Pepsi-Cola is,” says Maus.
“But that’s gone now, isn’t it?
“You talk about Screen Memories. It’s just me in my
room with a bunch of cheap, widely-available things,
doing the best I can. And it’s going to be appraised using
the same metric as Kendrick Lamar, or something.
Isn’t that wildly inappropriate?”
John Maus will play the #1 Legion on June 21.
John Maus: making outsider pop music.
BY ALEC WARKENTIN
When I was a teenager, there
was very much a profound line
between sides. The people that
were the ‘good guys,’ and the
people that were the Chuck E.
Cheese animatronic hoe-down
band. The robots that just sing
about how great Pepsi-Cola is.
But that’s gone now, isn’t it?
40 WATT SUN
atmospheric rockers prepare new album
Notoriously reclusive, 40 Watt Sun mastermind Patrick Walker grants
minimal interviews. An avid music fan with a palpable aptitude for
creating polarizing, emotionally evocative slow music, he prickles when
being associated with doom metal, despite formerly being at the helm of the
emotionally devastating project Warning.
Now nearly a decade into 40 Watt Sun, Walker focuses on music with
space and dynamics. Using exclusively low-register clean singing, it would
almost be in folksy singer-songwriter tradition, if it weren’t for the expansive
backing instrumentation and deep melancholy.
Despite Warning disagreeably dissolving, Walker has spent the past year
touring their classic record Watching from a Distance (2006), in addition to
sporadic 40 Watt Sun shows in support of 2016’s Wider than the Sky. Now
preparing for a Sled Island performance, Walker is relieved to have finally had
the opportunity to play the highly regarded record, but resolutely will not be
reviving the project.
“I’ve no interest in continuing with that as a working project. In a way your
question implies that I have a choice in the matter and I don’t - that’s not the
kind of music I could or would want to write now,” begins Walker.
“Honestly, both projects are completely exclusive of one another. I’ve
BY SARAH KITTERINGHAM
about two albums’ worth of new music written for
myself/40 Watt Sun and, as with anything I do, it
comes from the here-and-now,” he writes.
“But things such as travel, people and places
always find their way in to my music and so in some
respect you could say that one thing might have fed
in to another.”
Currently working on the follow-up to Wider Than
The Sky, Walker is customarily vague about what to
“As always it’s just a progression from what I’ve
done before. It’ll likely sound quite different and
yet, perhaps, quite unsurprising for most people I
imagine. I think they still sound like my songs.”
Given the subtle shift between 40 Watt Sun’s lauded
debut The Inside Room and its follow-up, it’s likely
that we will be treated to more slow, sad atmospheric
rock. That said, if the five-year gap between those
two albums is any indication, it may be several years
before we hear it. For now, it begs the question of
whether more collaboration is on the horizon, such
as when Walker appeared as a guest musician on
Kimi Kärki of Reverend Bizarre fame’s September
2017 neo-folk masterpiece Eye for an Eye. “Beyond
Distance” features gorgeously cascading strummed
acoustic guitar alongside drawn-out vocals in a
fashion entirely reminiscent of Leonard Cohen. It’s
not the first time the duo has worked together:
Warning and Reverend Bizarre have history.
“Kimi sent me a song he’d written and asked if I’d sing it for his new
record. I said ‘no,’ largely because I have no real interest in singing somebody
else’s songs but also because it sounded dangerously close to “Love Calls
You By Your Name,”” reveals Walker, referencing the Leonard Cohen track
from 1971’s Songs of Love and Hate. “But I said that, if he’d consider it, I’d
write my own vocal parts and lyrics to his instrumentation and maybe we
could do something that way. He quite generously said ‘yes.’”
He continues, “I’ve been asked about two-dozen times to appear on other
projects and I’ve always politely said ‘no.’” He adds, “Often I simply don’t like
An artist with a singularly unique vision, Walker plans to perform 40 Watt
Sun tracks exclusively at his impending Sled Island date.
“It’ll likely be a mixture of electric and acoustic stuff. Hopefully I’ll be able
to perform a few new songs too if people want to hear them. And yes, it’ll be
only 40 Watt Sun’s music I’ll be playing, whether with full band or alone.”
40 Watt Sun performs at the Palomino Smokehouse & Social Club on June 20.
It’ll likely be a mixture of electric and acoustic stuff.
Hopefully I’ll be able to perform a few new songs too if
people want to hear them. And yes, it’ll be only 40 Watt
Sun’s music I’ll be playing, whether with full band or alone.
ROCKPILE BEATROUTE • JUNE 2018 | 35
statements in rock from the Haxel Princess
After having seen Cherry Glazerr perform in all their unruly and captivating loudness
last year, I was surprised to have a rather soft-spoken voice on the phone from
Los Angeles. 21-year old frontwoman Clementine Creevy, or Clem in short, is a force of
nature on stage, yet her voice can alter from high-pitched and forceful screams to the
almost innocent-sounding, wispy chant that is predominant in the band’s new single,
“Juicy Socks.” The dreamy song with a catchy and melodic refrain was released just
ahead of the band’s performance at this year’s Coachella festival in April.
Since the singer, songwriter and guitarist single-handedly founded the band in 2013,
Cherry Glazerr’s sound has evolved from lo-fi, garage rock songs such as “Haxel Princess”
from their namesake first full-length album (2014) to the more complex songs
of the 2017 album Apocalipstick. The psychedelic and synthesizer-heavy “Told You
I’d Be With The Guys” was the first release from this record and in it, Creevy vocalizes
her feeling the need to unite with other women to combat sexism. In contrast to this,
the recently released single is “exclusively an anti-Trump song”, according to the lead
singer, therewith making clear at whom the opening verse “I don’t want nobody hurt/
But I made an exception with him” is directed.
When asked about how “Juicy Socks” differs from the last album, the singer says she
does not feel it’s very dissimilar at all. “I know that I’ve inherently grown as a songwriter
but as far as the intent behind the music goes, I’ve always been political and I’ve
always been writing songs about feeling like I need to get past something within myself
in order to speak.” Cherry Glazerr is currently recording a new album in L.A. but the
singer remains secretive about the release date and theme of this new record. “You’ll
find out”, she says light-heartedly while giving out a cheerful giggle that makes her
BY CHRISTINA ZIMMER
sound even younger than she is.
One thing she is willing to share is that the band took a different technical approach
to recording their next album. Diversity has always been key for Creevy, who wrote her
first song aged five and picked up the guitar when she was eleven. “My mum played
me a lot of music growing up and you know, I grew up in the early 2000s where I had
access to pretty much all the music I could possibly get my hands on, which is in a way
I think what influences my style.” Punk and garage rock, as well as listening to bands
such as The Melvins, inspired the songwriter to set up her own band. “The way I saw
punk was this invigorating way of making music and making art, so I was really attracted
to that. It suited my aggressiveness and my ‘angstiness.’”
Creevy still writes all the songs herself, but drummer Tabor Allen and bassist Devin
O’Brien contribute during the process. “I write the songs, but everybody puts in a lot of
their own charisma behind the music.”
For the upcoming gigs in Calgary and Vancouver, Creevy has promised to introduce
a handful of the new songs, which she says are her “favorite parts of the set.” Once the
new record is out, the band plans extensive touring according to the frontwoman. “If it
was up to me I would go everywhere all the time, I’m such a road dog. But unfortunately
our booking agents and managers don’t think that it’s best idea for our mental health
and I think they’re probably right.”
Cherry Glazerr perform at Sled Island Festival in Calgary on June 23 and at the
Vancouver International Jazz Festival on June 24.
From lo-fi to psych-syth heavies,
36 | JUNE 2018 • BEATROUTE
tuning to a new frequency, yet again
BY PAUL MCALEER
Andy Stack and
Jenn Wasner creating
Hailing from Baltimore, Maryland, Andy Stack and Jenn Wasner have been performing
as Wye Oak for over a decade. The duo explored many facets of indie
rock throughout their career before embracing electronic and dream-pop wizardry
with 2014’s Shriek, marking a new beginning and serving to revitalize the pair. Wye
Oak’s latest record, The Louder I Call, The Faster It Runs, is being hailed by critics
as the band’s best record yet and it’s certainly their most complex.
“This record is very natural,” says Wasner, who primarily handles the songwriting,
vocals, and guitars. “I feel like it’s sort of the pinnacle of what we’ve been trying to
do as far as the very maximal approach.”
The album begins with 40 seconds of tuning different keys, eventually taking
shape as the backbone of the euphoric opening track, “The Instrument.”
Over a layered arrangement of booming drums, wailing synths and ceaseless
guitars, the song analyzes the relationship between body and mind — the danger
of separating the two and sacrificing fulfilment of the soul for external validation.
Like the rest of the album, the opening track is stuffed with lyrical gems and
instrumental complexity, showcasing how both Wasner and Stack are tuned to the
same, sonically jubilant frequency. However, writing the songs on the album was as
challenging as earlier works for Wasner.
“Songwriting is one of the few things I can think of where it doesn’t matter how
much you’ve done, it doesn’t matter how much experience you have, it never really
gets easier,” she says. “The things you get better at are things that are supplemental
to songwriting. I consider myself to be a better singer and better instrumentalist
and better producer, I’m better at different things. I’m better at putting myself in a
position to be inspired.”
Wye Oak isn’t Wasner and Stack’s sole creative outlet anymore. Wasner started a
new group called Dungeonesse in 2012 with Jon Ehrens of White Life and released
a solo record in 2016 as Flock of Dimes. Whereas Stack is a touring member of EL
VY and has also toured with historic Nashville rockers Lambchop. Their experiences
apart relieved the unsustainable pressure they once put on Wye Oak’s success and
solidified their unique bond as collaborators.
The technical prowess behind the album would have been impossible to recreate
with two sets of hands live, so the band enlisted bassist Will Hackney for their
latest tour, which will bring them to Sled Island.
“[Having an extra set of hands] allows for so much more humanity in it. When
we made this record we weren’t thinking very much about how we’re going to be
performing as a two-piece, we were just going to make the record we wanted to
make,” says Wasner. “[The performance] feels more alive and that kind of energy
is something that you feel as much as you can hear.”
Wye Oak was one of the bands selected by Sled Island’s guest curator Deerhoof.
“They’ve been actually one of my favourite bands for as long as I can remember
liking and paying attention to music,” Wasner says of Deerhoof. “I love what they
do and I’ve admired them for so, so long since Reveille and Apple O’.”
Deerhoof guitarist John Dieterich was going to play on a few of Wasner’s solo
tracks, but the band got in a car accident on tour and those plans fell through.
“A couple months after that, they asked me if I would sing on their new record,
which was a really cool email to receive!” She lends her lustrous voice to “I Will
Spite Survive” on Deerhoof’s latest album Mountain Moves. She doesn’t take the
experience of being a fan turned collaborator — or any of Wye Oak’s success —
“Teenage me is pretty blown away that any of this has actually happened.”
Wye Oak play Central United Church on June 21.
Songwriting is one
of the few things I
can think of where it
doesn’t matter how
much you’ve done, it
doesn’t matter how
much experience you
have, it never really
blending digital past with analogue future
When computer software can replicate any sound and be as believable as
Google’s new personal assistant, mimicking subtle nuances like “Oh’s” and
“Ah’s,” it’s hard to decipher what is real and what is mechanical. With Mount Kimbie’s
music, the weight and coarseness of real instruments are felt with every wobbly
synth and ferociously strummed bassline.
Kai Campos and Dominic Maker formed Mount Kimbie in 2008, quickly establishing
themselves as pioneers of the rapidly evolving electronic music scene. Often
labelled as post-dubstep, the pair’s first two albums featured sample-heavy production
with down-tempo beats — more befitting of a hazy club after dark than an EDM
festival in the middle of the afternoon.
Mount Kimbie’s latest record, Love What Survives, marks a new direction in the
duo’s discography, embracing live instrumentation at greater lengths than ever
before. The push for analog instrumentation extends to both recorded material
and live performances.
“It’s all sounds you can’t really emulate with software,” Maker notes. “Whereas
before, we were using stuff that was very much software-based. Now that we’ve
been writing with a lot more hardware, it’s good to have it with us [on the road].”
With all the new gear, Mount Kimbie needed to add some new faces to their
ranks for live shows. In addition to drummer Marc Pell, the band enlisted keyboardist
and vocalist Andrea Balency, who is featured on the track “You Look
Certain (I’m Not So Sure).”
“It feels like a really good unit. We’re always trying to progress the live sound as
much as we do with the recorded material,” says Maker. “It’s always about trying
to figure out how to do things in a slightly different way and present it in the most
powerful form possible.”
With songs like “Blue Train Lines,” featuring collaborator and friend King Krule
on the recorded version, and the cannonball of a track “Delta,” crowds have
formed mosh pits for the first time in Mount Kimbie’s career.
“When you hear some of these tracks live, they really seem to come to life in
a different way,” remarks Maker. “We’ve had like a couple of mosh pits at our
shows, which is fucking mad and that has never happened before.”
The instruments the band use on tour are very specific to the tracks on Love
What Survives, so factoring in older material to the setlist was challenging.
“It’s weird, we’ve started playing ‘Maybes’ again, which is the first song we’ve
ever made together and it’s just, I don’t know, it has sort of this weird feel to it
where somehow it fits in with the more driving stuff from the latest album,” Maker
says. “It’s a nostalgic change of pace. It’s just really fun figuring out how to do
things, and we’re always trying to progress things.”
With Maker in L.A. and Campos in London, the two founders of Mount Kimbie
live on opposite sides of the world now, but the distance has actually improved
their workflow rather than hinder it.
Maker explains: “The main thing is that it’s focused the way that we work.
Because obviously there’s a certain time limit on me being over in London or Kai
being over in L.A., there’s a more focused approach. And you just get to sit with
the music in different scenarios. Listening to where Kai’s at in his mind when I’m
hearing it Los Angeles is a very different thing.”
The consistently hectic working environment of living in L.A. is also inspiring
Maker to explore new ideas and keep his schedule full. While delivering on live
performances is the first priority, touring together and with two other creative
minds is also getting the gears turning for Mount Kimbie.
“Whenever we’re on tour, it’s always very focused on how we’re going to play
things tonight. More recently, it makes me just want to write new stuff and keep
creating basically. We’ve got a lot of time in soundchecks and stuff to play around
with new ideas.”
However that creative energy manifests itself in the band’s future music, there’s
no doubting the refreshing and human authenticity they carry in a digital age.
Mount Kimbie play Commonwealth on June 20.
BY PAUL MCALEER
When you hear some of these tracks
live, they really seem to come to life in a
different way. We’ve had like a couple of
mosh pits at our shows, which is fucking
mad and that has never happened before.
Kai Campos and Dominic Maker,
a pair of post-dubsteppers
talking ‘bout Sleddin’
BY LEVI MANCHAK
AND BRITTANY RUDYCK
Sled Island is a rite of passage for Edmonton's artists and bands. It's like a
summer camp as some projects will get their first taste of independence,
meet new friends and learn new skills. To learn more, we asked a sassy
contingent of bands to fill us in on the fun.
BR: What’s the first thing you’re going to do when you get to Sled Island?
Sister Ray: Drink a coffee, try to figure out what the heck is going on.
Counterfeit Jeans: Likely give Spencer CPR. He arrives a few days before Jed and
I (Tyler) and if it’s like it was in 2016, he’ll probably be mostly dead by the time the
two of us get to Sled.
Le Plaisir: think we are pretty much going to get off the plane from L.A. and immediately
start a full-on campaign to become super buds with Deerhoof. Skywriting,
Edible Arrangements, shyly standing really close by and acting weird... we’re
prepare to do whatever it takes. Super. Buds.
BeatRoute: Please introduce yourself to the audience, round-table style!
“I am Matthew Cardinal, I do my best to make pretty music. I also sing/play
guitar in Slow Girl Walking, do bass/synths in nêhiyawak, and play bass in
“We are K-Riz and the HonorRoll from Edmonton, Alberta. Our sound is a
refreshing blend of hip-hop and ‘90s R&B.”
“Heyyy Sled Island-er qt pies! How’s it going? My name is Selah, a.k.a.
Hales. It’s my name spelled backwards, it means healthy. My real name,
Selah, means song and contemplation though.”
“Hello, my name is Hannah and I make synth pop under the name Symfan!
I’m playing as well as attending Sled Island for the first time, and I’m very
“Hey! I'm Ella, but sometimes Sister Ray for 30 to 45 minute periods. I sing,
mostly, sad songs.”
“HJ! Beat maker + DJ.”
“My name's Nickelas Johnson. My nickname is Smokey and my band is the
Feeelings (three E’s).”
“Le Plaisir! We are from Edmonton, currently camped out in L.A., and we
make kind of spooky 'n' psychedelic space-pop.”
“We are Counterfeit Jeans from Edmonton.”
“Mustafa Rafiq preforming as Family Injera.”
BR: To celebrate Deerhoof's 20th anniversary, there was a documentary
"Checking in at 20" made to commemorate the milestone. If someone were
to make a documentary about your band, what would it be called?
Counterfeit Jeans: A Fridge Too Far.
Marlaena Moore: Moore to Come.
Smokey & the Feeelings: Brilliantly Floundering for 17.
Real Sickies: THE THRILL OF ILL.
Sister Ray: She’s Really Not That Sad.
BR: The Guest Curator this year is Deerhoof. They've done a bunch of remixes for
various artists like Sufjan Stevens, the Megaphonic Thrift, and Blonde Redhead. If
you could remix another Edmonton band playing Sled, who would it be and why?
Hood Joplin: Text Chunk, but we’re frequent collaborators!
Marlaena Moore: Borscht because they are the best.
Symfam: I think it would be really fun to remix one of Marlaena Moore’s songs.
She’s an incredible vocalist and I think I’d have a lot of fun electro-pop-ifying one
of her tracks. Heck, I should get on that!
K-Riz: I would remix a joint by Cartel Madras because they are two females that
are edgy with that raw hip-hop touch that would make for great music.
BR: If you were writing a very short letter to someone from Sled Island, what
would it say?
Marlaena Moore: Can’t write, brain hurt. Music good though.
Real Sickies: Hello, is it me your looking for?
Sister Ray: Hey, thank you so much for doing your job, this is really exciting. It's my
first year, so I don't know much about what it's like, but pre and post Sled week in
Edmonton has been super inspiring, and helped me realize that people in Canada
are making incredible, diverse, exploratory music that I wouldn't have known
about otherwise. You rule.
Hood Joplin: Dear Real Hip-Hop and Dilla, my cats: I wish you two could have
joined but the ride was about three hours longer than you would’ve been able to
handle. I hope that Alberta builds the train between YYC and YEG so you can join
me next year. Love, HJ.
BR: If you were to curate a knock-off festival, what kind of island would it be
Counterfeit Jeans: Devil Stix Island.
Le Plaisir: There is a band in L.A. called Slut Island and every time I see their name
around I get homesick for June in Alberta. I also wish they would play this festival.
Hood Joplin: Shotgunning-Pilsner-in-the-Alley Island.
Head to sledisland.com to see show times for the many Edmonton bands performing at Sled Island.
• JUNE 2018 | 39
a surprise that keeps on surprising
Five years ago Londoner Alexander Kotz, the Then, in the midst of his first year, he uploaded
the song “Rewinding” to Soundcloud.
singer, songwriter, and producer known as
Elderbrook, was a university student self-releasing
“I think I uploaded it to Soundcloud when I
downtempo acoustic music online.
had 153 followers thinking basically nothing was
Now, thanks to artistic ingenuity, a decisive going to come of it,” he says.
gamble, and the power of the internet, he’s
Instead, it became a life-changing catalyst
become one of house music’s most recognizable seemingly overnight.
new voices, a platinum selling artist, a Grammy “All of a sudden it got 200,000 plays, and I
nominee, and an opening act for Bonobo on think I was as surprised as anyone else because
select tour dates this summer.
off the back of that Black Butter [Records] got
“Honestly it’s so amazing just to be associated
in contact,” says Kotz. “I started working with
with someone like that, I actually love him them, released an EP, and I think that was the
and everything he’s done, just to be chosen to moment I decided to leave university.”
support him really it’s amazing,” says Kotz.
Although Kotz sees the decision to leave
He’s currently on the phone from a train university as the best decision of his educational
somewhere in London. Just a few hours prior he
career, he also acknowledges that it was
was atop the London Eye alongside production definitely a gamble as he now had to navigate
duo Camelphat being presented with a platinum the complex world major-label music with only
plaque for “Cola,” the song that shot to the number-one
the experience of an indie artist. Thankfully the
spot on the Billboard dance chart last success of the first EP Simmer Down and the
year and earned them the Grammy nomination major label recognition continued to snowball
for best dance recording.
The journey to this point began when
A year after the release of his first single, German
Kotz, who played in indie bands as a teenager,
production duo Andhim remixed his song
purchased the audio software program Logic to “How Many Times.” It soon became a hit in Ibiza
record and release what he describes as “acoustic and clubs worldwide, and currently has almost
two million plays on Soundcloud alone.
“I learned how to record the guitar and vocals, More importantly it became a stylistic turning
then after that I started pressing buttons and figuring
point for Kotz, inspiring him to take his down-
out you can do so much more,” says Kotz. tempo, folk-inspired sound in a dancier, more
“And that kind of developed and developed until house music driven direction.
there was no more guitar, it was just me pressing “Those kinds of songs really made me want
buttons and making funny sounds I guess.” to make more music like that, it just made for a
Hoping to eventually make music a career, much more fun evening, a more energetic environment
Kotz decided to major in music at University.
that I just love performing in,” he says.
He soon discovered, however, that the academic House music was always an influence in his
study of music wasn’t what he expected.
music, however being in close proximity to some
“To be honest I wasn’t doing too well at it, a of the genre’s mainstays gave him new insight
lot of it is knowing music theory and knowing into that realm of sound.
the real ins and outs of classical music,” he says. “I think [the first EP] was me as a folk musi-
JUCY BEATROUTE • JUNE 2018 | 41
cian trying to find my way around a computer,
trying to make house music and not quite succeeding,
and ending up with a 90 bpm hip-hop
kind of thing really.”
Kotz also believes that it was this single’s
success that caught the attention of CamelPhat,
who unexpectedly booked him for a studio
session in London early last year despite having
no previous correspondence.
“Honestly I’ve never been in more of a spur of
the moment writing scenario,” says Kotz.
“When they came to the studio I met them
for the first time, and they said ‘okay this is the
instrumental that we want you to write over’
— and I was like okay, give me a minute, so
they were just sitting there looking at me, I sat
down on the floor and wrote some words quite
According to Kotz he then got up, sung the
lines that would eventually become “Cola,” and
left the studio not knowing what would come
of the session. A month later he received a text
saying that Defected Records, a giant in the
house music world, wanted to sign it.
“We really weren’t expecting anything to
BY JONATHAN CRANE
come from it at all, we were surprised that they
wanted to sign it in the first place,” says Kotz.
“But they did, they released it, and it’s been
surprising us ever since that initial surprise.”
A surprise that keeps surprising is an apt
metaphor for Kotz’s career on the whole.
From the runaway success of his first single, to
being discovered by Black Butter, to becoming
a Grammy nominee, Kotz’s story is that of an
artist who was plucked from relative obscurity
and swept along on a ride to unimaginable
However, as his most recent single “Sleepwalking”
indicates, behind the surprises is an artist
who has honed in on the formula for creating
house music that can cross over from the club to
a wider audience by morphing it into something
new. This is precisely why Kotz ultimately doesn’t
see himself as a house artist
“I love the music, but I personally as an artist
don’t see myself in that world [of house music],
I’m more of an, I guess obviously because I
came from a folky background, more of a signer
songwriter background with an electronic house
twist,” says Kotz.
motion, energy, rhythm – and collaboration
It’s a gorgeous Thursday afternoon in Calgary,
and Harrison Neef, a.k.a. Silkq, is waxing
poetic about the struggles of being a club DJ
in 2018. Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon
drones along in the background, and every
so often, an espresso machine interrupts his
“It’s harder than you think to find a 320 of
[Britney Spears’ hit] Toxic,” he laments, staring
off into the distance. Neef lets the absurdity of
the situation sink in for a moment, and then
loses his composure, letting out a laugh.
That same penchant for the atypical and
tongue-in-cheek bleeds into everything Neef
has been doing as of late. “For the past few years
I was writing about how I was feeling, and at
some point I just stopped feeling that way, like
weird and isolated,” he explains.
“I’m getting more comfortable with being
uncomfortable. I’m working on stuff that’s a
little more dancey and less lying-in-bed-crying.”
His authenticity is as disarming as it is hilarious.
Neef’s musical history weaves a twisted
web. After a brief stint in band camp, he
found himself hooked. “I started messing
with Garageband and recording songs on my
laptop microphone, using MIDI drums, just
to get ideas down. And that’s where my love
of eurodance and West Coast hip hop came
He goes on to quote Enya, Nora Jones, everything
neo-Gothic, and gravewave as influences
in the same breath. Neef’s capacity for organizing
chaos proves fascinating.
“I’ll always have this vision of music being
structured like a rock song — verse chorus
verse chorus bridge chorus out,” he describes, a
leftover paradigm from his years of listening to
42 | JUNE 2018 • BEATROUTE
BY MAX FOLEY
bands. “I treat all the components as pieces of
a puzzle that fit into that structure.” Currently,
those puzzle pieces sound like iconic fragments
of genres such as punk, garage and two-step.
Neef’s attitude towards music is palpably
nonconformist. An exploration of his Soundcloud
page yields an incredibly diverse sonic palette,
as well as some comically self-aware tagging
–“‘Trapical,” “Witching Hour,” “Sad Dancehall”
being a few examples.
A series of fateful encounters in studio spaces
catalyzed this development. “Everyone’s sessions
kind of blended together. I’d be working on
something and then [Detroit transplant/drum
and bass veteran] Sinistarr would come by and
give me a bassline,” Neef describes.
These transient exchanges of musicianship
eventually led to one of Neef’s most fruitful
new partnerships with budding Calgarian
disco talent Liam Mackenzie, a.k.a. DJ Dine
“Liam came into the studio as I was about
to step out and showed me some cool
samples. Then I walked over to the CZ1 in the
studio and just riffed for about 20 minutes,
but at some point I guess he had hit record.
Collaboration has had a tangible impact
on Neef. “I’m the happiest I’ve ever been with
my music right now. Everyone just wants to
do stuff, and I was kind of tired of feeling like
I was at a job interview every time I ever met
someone. Right now, I’m just doing what I like
and sharing it with people.”
You can bask in Neef’s newest inspirations when
him and Dine and Dash join forces for Sled Island.
They’re playing the basement of Commonwealth
on Wednesday, June 20.
LET’S GET JUCY
Sled Island is, for good reason, a focal point
of the month of June and these past few
years they seem to have been booking more
and more great hip hop and electronic shows,
which I really love to see. In addition to all
those amazing shows, here are a few choice
bookings that caught my eye coming up this
Lots of trap and future bass type things this
month, particularly at the Palace it would seem.
First off, Ekali’s Canadian tour touches down at
the Palace on June 7.
Next up we have Boombox Cartel, a duo
that has skyrocketed from their home in Mexico,
transplanted themselves to L.A. and into the
global bass music and EDM spotlights, garnering
attention from heavyweights like Diplo and
Skrillex, and attained bookings at festivals like
Shambhala, where they will appear this summer.
Catch their hard-hitting, genre-melding trap
stylings alongside Krane and Eclipse on June 8
at the Palace.
One of the more mind-melting bass music
producers going right now, the good Reverend
himself, coming straight outta outer
space, Bleep Bloop will rupture eardrums
and cripple sanities simultaneously at the
Palace on June 9.
Also on June 9 is future trap artist Ghastly,
over at the Marquee. I was always more into the
Haunter evolution of that particular Pokémon,
but that’s just cause I thought he looked cooler
and I could draw him easier, and Gengar was
Hold Your Colour, the 2005 album from
Australia’s Pendulum, especially its tracks like
“Slam” and “Tarantula” were some of the first
drum and bass tracks that yours truly heard and
that, for better or worse, catapulted me on a
BY PAUL RODGERS
trek into the jungle from which I’ve never really
returned. Catch these absolute, bloody legends
at Commonwealth on June 14.
Each summer, the 403DNB crew take a brief
sabbatical to rest up for the following season.
Before they do, however, they tend to put on
one final show and go out with a bang, and this
year, they’ve outdone themselves. On June 15
they have secured Dom and Roland. His career
stretches back to the late ‘80s West London
rave scene and since then he has pioneered the
dark and punishing tech-step style of drum and
bass, released seven studio albums and created
the infamous “tramen” breakbeat. Catch this
timeless innovator at the Nite Owl.
Rusko had a pretty crazy year last year. One
of the most important names in dubstep,
having co-created the globally influential FabricLive.37
alongside Caspa, Rusko announced
that he was battling stomach cancer just over
one year ago and would be unable to make
his scheduled shows for the remainder of that
summer. Then in late 2017, he announced that
he had beaten it, which makes his performance
at The Palace on July 1 all the more reason to
celebrate and get your “Woo Boost” on.
One more for Canada Day celebrations,
if dubstep ain’t your bag, comes courtesy of
those fine BassBus folks, who are putting on
a free party alongside MarketSpot YYC in
the parking lot of the Max Bell Centre with
house music sensation and longtime pizza
aficionado Justin Martin.
Many thanks as always for sucking my
words up into your eye holes. Here’s hoping
that through that process of ocular osmosis,
some ideas begin to gestate that then give
birth to wonderful dance floor experiences.
It’s just science.
mo’ problems make the world a better place
BY EMILIE CHARETTE
44 | JUNE 2018 • BEATROUTE
For singer-songwriter Mo Kenney,
music is all about communication,
and she’s eager to share her stories with
listeners. Kenney, born in Halifax, began
playing the guitar at 11 then writing
and recording songs in her teens was
inspired by both classic and alternative
rock. She caught the attention of Joel
Plaskett, with whom she eventually produced
her debut album released in 2012.
“I started songwriting to work through
things that were going on in my life,” states
Her third, most recent album, The
Details, spares none. An intensely
personal and introspective album, it
chronicles Kenney’s journey through
the depression that she has struggled
with since her teens, as well as her
struggles with alcoholism.
“I tend to write from a pretty personal
perspective,” she reveals. “Before I
started going to therapy, I would write
about that a lot, which was extremely
Adding that her “experiences have
a huge impact” on her songwriting,
listeners are allowed a glimpse into
Kenney’s life as she confronts herself
and works through her problems,
emerging from darkness with a new
capacity for endurance and hope for
the future. Her favourite track from
the album is “I Can’t Wait.” While the
song states that she can’t wait to get
out of her head, it’s clear that Kenney’s
self-reflection has allowed her to
channel pain into something relatable
and, ultimately, hopeful. She says, “I still
find it really helpful to write it down to
make sense of it.”
Despite the serious subject matter,
Kenney feels that creating The Details
was the most enjoyable she’s had
writing a record. “I was recording a ton
of demos in my apartment and doing a
lot of weird electric guitar stuff, which
was really fun.”
Although the music industry tends to
be male-dominated, Kenney’s experiences
within it have, by and large, been
positive. “I haven’t experienced any
discrimination based on my gender. I’ve
had it pretty good, but I can’t speak for
other women in the industry.”
However, says Kenney, the industry
is undergoing a change. “Music has a
wave of badass female musicians lately.
It’s really refreshing and nice to see
women playing electric guitars and
fronting rock bands.’” Recently she saw
The Beaches, an all-female alternative
rock band from Toronto, and raved
about their performance: “They fucking
ruled. They were so, so good.”
While she acknowledges that more
could be done to increase the inclusiveness
of the industry,
Kenney feel that things are looking
pretty good from her perspective and are
only likely to improve. “We’re heading in
the right direction.”
Placing a lot of importance on growing
as an artist, Kenney’s music has grown
and changed just as she herself has. An increase
in confidence has allowed her to be
more vulnerable in her songwriting, and
she’s glad that each of her three albums so
far have sounded different.
“I think it’s important as an artist to
keep evolving and changing and trying
new things. Otherwise, what are you
For her, music is ultimately about taking
what was created in the solitary act of
song-writing and using it to connect with
other people, something she hopes to do
for the rest of her life. “Writing music is
a way to communicate myself to others.
I think that music is a really good way of
connecting people.” Adding that, “It’s one
of those things that makes you feel like
the world isn’t such a bad place after all.”
See Mo Kenney on Thursday, June 28 at the
Commonwealth Bar and Stage (Calgary).
JOHN BUTLER TRIO
home has some new additions
Anyone who’s seen John Butler Trio
perform live knows their shows are a
rowdy, passionate, and inclusive affair. “Not
to kiss your ass, but the last time we played in
Calgary was at the Calgary Folk Festival, and
we had a ball!” exclaims Butler over the phone
from his home country of Australia.
For Butler, home is more of a relative yet
personal concept. Not only is it the title of his
new album, but it’s more of a mindset of peace,
love, and family rather than any particular
geographical location.“I don’t look at Australia
as my people,” he explains. “I look at the world
as my people and I see you guys as an extension
It’s been four long years since the band last
dropped Flesh and Blood (2014, Jarrah/MGM
Records), and Butler says the new studio record
is nearly done. He’s in the process of mixing it
and expects it to drop in August or September.
Musically, Home is a jambalaya of sorts. It’s the
roots, world and acoustic styles that fans of John
Butler Trio know and love, with some exciting
experimental parts thrown in for fun.
“It’s hard to say what it sounds like,” Butler
notes. “I’m experimenting with some electronic
beats. There’s a lot more rhythm, some programmed
sounds, and lots of synthesizers. But
then lots of guitar and lots of finger picking. It’s
all based around the song. These songs wanted a
certain treatment. The way they came to me, the
way I was hearing them was this cross between
programmed kinds of electronic sound crossed
with this live acoustic band sound.”
Lyrically, Home merges themes of love and
family with introspective questions of self-discovery
and the need to recharge. “The biggest
theme would probably be love, and I guess
BY TREVOR MORELLI
a kind of self-discovery,” Butler remarks. “It’s
classic that people my age get to a certain point
in life where like they kind of do a reboot. You
just realize that there’s old ways of going about
things that don’t work for you anymore, whether
that’s being angry about something, or realizing
that you have some anxiety about something,
and realizing that its anxiety and not the things
that trigger it.”
A surprise in store for those checking out
John Butler Trio on tour in Western Canada later
this month, is that the group is actually now a
five-piece. With his good buddies Byron Luiters
on bass and Grant Gerathy on drums, Butler
thought it was time to add a couple more players
to really round out the trio’s sound. “You’re
not reinventing the songs. You’re actually just
kind of bringing them to life on the way that you
did on the album,” Butler comments. “That’s nice
to do live. So yeah, it’s pretty fun!”
John Butler Trio play June 27 at The Orpheum
(Vancouver), June 29 at Winspear Centre
(Edmonton), June 30 at MacEwan Hall (Calgary)
and July 1 at Sasktel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival
(Saskatoon), and July 5 at Winnipeg Folk Festival
ROOTS BEATROUTE • JUNE 2018 | 45
NORTH COUNTRY FAIR
40 years of illumination and weird fun under the Slave Lake sun BY MIKE DUNN
46 | JUNE 2018 • BEATROUTE
Most of us festival humans have a personal
affection for one festival or another, and
that’s natural – our formative experiences in
those settings, surrounded by like-minded
friends getting wild and seeing really cool
bands while free and slightly crazy, is an experience
that hangs with you awhile. As always, I
was late to damn near every party I ever went
to, and only first attended the North Country
Fair in 2010. As happens with magical places,
we somehow found our way, unguided and
in the twilight, to the exact spot I’d camp for
the next seven years along with my pals, who’d
made my mind up to go in the first place.
The thing about the Fair is that unofficially
it’s a weeklong event for a lot of people, although
formally held over the solstice weekend
from Thursday night to Sunday. While I’ve never
spent the week out there, it’s where I learned
the first rule of festival partying – It’s only
Thursday, bud. When the chains of cars and
trucks and phones and houses and jobs get cut
loose, it’s the easiest thing in the world to get
just as loose and see exactly how far you can
ride that train. You find yourself kicking up the
dust and still in the dusk at midnight. By the
time the bands finish, around 4 a.m. nightly, the
campfire jams are in full swing, friends singing
along to each other’s songs, and laughing as the
sun makes its quick pass over Lesser Slave Lake
and then high up back over the trees.
The artist lineups have always tended to
move from easygoing and laid back in the daylight,
to full-scale, trip-out weirdness stretching
into the wee hours. It wouldn’t surprise me
this year to see the tightly-arranged folk of
Tequila Mockingbird Orchestra, the theatrical
indie rock of The Mariachi Ghost, the sweatsoaked
dance party of Five Alarm Funk, and the
Indigenous electronic blast of DJ Shub within a
three-hour span. And as an Edmonton-based
artist, there’s always been a special feeling
when you get the opportunity to play the Fair,
whether it’s the first time or the fortieth time.
It’s a feeling you’re going to get to play for your
whole community at once, a sentiment likely
shared by both veterans Scott Cook & The
Second Chances, Boogie Patrol, and Dana Wylie,
and first-timers Bad Buddy.
It’s a hard thing to put into words the effect
the festival has blowing minds wide-open to the
vast possibilities of live music, performance and
community. I attended the Fair for seven years
in a row, and five of those years I got the opportunity
to play, whether as backup for my pals or
with my own music for a musical community
that gave me more than I ever gave it. I haven’t
been there since I moved to Calgary, and I miss
it. The camaraderie, the wild-eyed insanity,
the schedule that veers from traditional folk,
juke-joint blues and honky-tonk into absurdity
and mayhem. I miss all the late-night fireside
jams and solutions to the problems of the world
that float by the river, to the inability to get
any self-induced sleep whatsoever, or the pals I
made that I might never have met - none of it is
a blur to me. Well, there’s one exception – that
one night I got lost as a result of overconsumption
and had to be dragged, in the friendliest
of ways, off the roadside where I’d decided that
sleep was inevitable. Definitely looking to avoid
such kind-hearted drunken rescues this time,
but sometimes that’s where the most memorable
stories (of sorts) come from. Once you get
to The Land, Fair Time becomes reality, and it
really is the best time.
The 40th annual North Country Fair runs from June
22-24. Go to lslncca.ca for all the details.
flipside to the atomic explosion show
For an artist with a versatile palette as Paul
Pigat has, it’s easy to veer off course when
recording and throw as many styles into the
mix as possible. A veteran player with enviable
chops, Pigat can easily drop references to
country, rockabilly, blues, jazz, and Western
swing into a single phrase. It’s a matter of focus
that keeps him from going off the rails, whether
it’s his main project, the rockabilly-based Cousin
Harley with longtime bandmates Keith Picot
and Jesse Cahill, or some of his other work
including the soon-to-be-released Jimmie Rodgers-influenced
Boxcar Campfire record.
“I find it really difficult, because I’m a bit like
a magpie,” says Pigat over the phone from Vancouver.
“Something shiny gets my attention, so
I have to reel myself in, you know, one project
at a time. I have a whole record of open-tuned,
modern fingerstyle guitar playing I haven’t put
out yet in addition to the Merle Travis tribute
with Cousin Harley, and these Boxcar Campfire
records. There’s always going to be bleed
between them, which is a good thing for me, it
keeps things interesting. It’s good to be able to
work on something for two months, and then
I can put it out, or shelve it, and go work on
Pigat’s first Boxcar Campfire recording was
released ten years ago and included a full band.
For the upcoming second LP, however, he
opted to hone in on a more classic, trouba-
BY MIKE DUNN
dour sound. “I’ve been doing solo gigs for a
long time, and you have to if you’re planning
on making a living as a musician. But I never
really enjoyed it until the last four or five years
when I figured out the freedom of playing by
yourself,” reveals Pigat. “You can really do anything
you want. So I thought doing this record
by myself gives me a chance to think about
all the aspects of the song. I love chords, I’m
a jazz guy, so I love all the little voicings that
can kind of trick the ear. And finding ways to
write counter-melodies, and ways to make one
guitar and one voice sound like a band. This is
kind of like Jimmie Rodgers meets the Devil.”
For Cousin Harley’s upcoming run through
Alberta, Pigat says there will be a special
“Cousin Harley Lite” set that differs from the
“full Cousin Harley atomic explosion show” in
that it reins in the volume and features a little
more breadth of the band’s capability.
“The Cousin Harley Lite show will be totally
different. It’s more of the Western swing side
of the band. I’ll probably be playing acoustic
guitar for the most part, and we’re gonna
pare it down and play some Bob Wills tunes,
and of course some Merle Travis tunes from
the new record.”
Cousin Harley plays the Geomatic Attic (Lethbridge)
on Friday, June 15, and the Nite Owl
(Calgary) on Saturday, June 16.
ROOTS BEATROUTE • JUNE 2018 | 47
ULI JON ROTH
guitar wizard embarks on first Western Canada tour
e’ve played Canada almost every
“Wyear, lately,” begins guitar god Uli
Jon Roth. “But only Toronto, Montreal,
Ottawa, Quebec City: that was it. When
approached with the chance to play places
like Calgary, I immediately said ‘YES!’ I’d always
wanted to play there. Let’s go for it! It wasn’t
a commercial decision. The big money is in
the big cities, but it’s such a big, beautiful
Uli Jon Roth ignited his virtuoso career in the
early ‘70s as the lead guitarist of the incendiary
Scorpions, replacing Michael Schenker,
later of UFO and Ratt. Roth was immediately
worshipped as a burning Hendrixy flame in the
European rock scene, combining flashy melodic
and intricate harmonic elements of psychedelia,
jazz-fusion, progressive rock, and neo-classical
influences into his hypnotic style. After
the release of the band’s masterpiece Taken By
Force (1977), he left over creative differences to
form the prototype prog-metal band Electric
Sun with Jethro Tull drummer Clive Bunker.
They released three albums before Roth decided
on the solo path.
“It’s a very diverse program,” says Roth, with
joyous exuberance that defies his 63 years. He’s
referring to the set list for the upcoming tour.
“We’re playing a ‘Best of Electric Sun’
for the first time in 40 years. That’s the
main bulk of the show, along with some of
the Tokyo Tapes (Scorpions 1978 double
live album). [That includes] my favorites,
like “Sails of Charon” and “Fly to the
Rainbow.” And for those who like my more
virtuoso playing, there’s a pre-show VIP
event. We play “Metamorphosis,” which is
based on Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons.” I like playing
that. It’s not music normally played in a
rock club. We’re performing it in a private
setting. It’s different. It’s very exciting!”
As one consumed by music all his life, it’s
startling to learn that Roth’s approach to
music is somewhat insular.
“I stopped listening to music 30 years ago,”
“Don’t ask me why! I just prefer the silence.
I love to think a lot, and you can’t think with
music running. I’m not a consumer-type with
music. There’s certainly a lot of talented younger
players out there. I know that for a fact.
Nowadays, I’m not interested in guitar playing
as such. If someone plays really well, I don’t
get too excited about it. I’m more interested
in music as a whole. If something’s musically
outstanding, then yes: that gets to me.”
Roth elaborates, “I was driving back to my
home in Wales from Germany. I had a lot of
“It’s true: the less I play, the better I get.”
guitars on board: I don’t like to fly them. It
was a long drive. The car has a good stereo, so
I listened to a lot of really nice classical music
pieces. But I can’t listen to music for a long
time. I hear two or three pieces and that’s
enough. It’s a very intense experience. I’m
taking everything in. It’s almost like work! It
takes a lot out of me.”
Despite his listening habits (or lack thereof),
Uli Jon Roth remains a prolific composer.
“I’ve written a new Electric Sun song for the
first time in decades! I started it way back in
1983. A strong idea, but I never did anything
with it. For this tour, I thought it’d be nice
to complete it. I have far more unfinished
pieces than finished pieces; cupboards full of
stuff that haven’t been recorded yet. I’m hard
to please when it comes to my own music.
Before I record it, I have to be satisfied.”
As a much-respected fretboard wizard
with a longstanding global following, Roth’s
creative process might appear somewhat laissez-faire;
but that’s simply not true.
“I don’t have a musical regimen. I dropped
that 40 years ago. I do occasionally play piano
in the morning. When we have a tour, we’ll rehearse,
so I’ll play then. Or if I have to brush
up on some tricky piece. I used to practice a
lot when I was a kid, but that was then. I don’t
need to practice anymore. It’s all in the system.
It’s true: the less I play, the better I get.”
Roth’s refusal to be locked within a sixstring
prison only illuminates his broad-ranging
“The piano’s perhaps my favorite instrument
to write on. Some of the best
ideas come while driving, or on an airplane,
and it just pops into your mind and you start
working. Or you sit down with a guitar and
you strike a chord, and suddenly that chord
starts telling you a story and lures you into
something. And lo and behold, you’ve got a
chord progression and a melody.”
He continues, “I’m trying to never do
the same thing twice. I’m always striving
to cover new ground, or integrate aspects I
BY FERDY BELLAND
haven’t delved into before. That’s what’s
interesting to me: the process of discovery,
and manifesting new ideas, in ways that
others relate to.”
Roth concludes, “I think like a composer. I
think like a guitarist, but I also know how to
think like a pianist, or a violinist, and that’s important
when writing for certain instruments
- knowing the strengths and weaknesses of the
instrument and finding the center point. Then
the music will sound really good. Sometimes
there’s a certain cross-pollination going on. I
learned a lot on the guitar by thinking like a
pianist, or like a violinist. Sometimes I’ll bring
guitar mannerisms or guitar language into
the piano. That’s how you find new forms of
Uli Jon Roth’s Western Canadian leg of his Triple
Anniversary World Tour hits Distortion on June
20 (Calgary), the Starlite Room on June 21 (Edmonton),
the Exchange on June 22 (Regina), and
the Park Theatre on June 23 (Winnipeg)
SHRAPNEL BEATROUTE • JUNE 2018 | 49
RIVERS OF NIHIL
apex darkened experimentation
The future of metal is nigh and Nihil.
Pay attention, because if you’re not already
familiar with the wealth of talent known
as Rivers of Nihil, you’re about to enter the
ground floor of the next formative wave of
technical death metal. That being said, you’d be
remiss to lop the Pennsylvania goliaths into a
standard genre box, and the band’s bass player
and vocalist Adam Biggs will be the first to tell
“It’s like, do you like Cannibal Corpse, and
then also Pink Floyd? And do you want to listen
to them at the same time? Then go ahead,” he
says with way too much modesty.
Biggs is joined by Jake Dieffenbach on
vocals, Jared Klein on drums, and Jon Topore
and Brody Uttley both working magic on six
strings. Hot of the success of the straightahead
second death metal album Monarchy
(2015, Metal Blade Records), Rivers of Nihil
are keeping the headbangers and vibers on
their toes with their latest feat of alchemy,
Where Owls Know My Name (2018, Metal
Blade Records). The critically acclaimed album
is awash with saxphone, cello, and other
unusual integrations, shifting seamlessly from
technical death metal to something otherworldly.
It’s a hugely unexpected divergence
from the genre norm, and has propelled the
band from opening set status to headliners
since its release in March.
“I think that all the elements that all the
people wanted to hear from us are still present
in the record in pretty hefty supply,” Biggs says.
50 | JUNE 2018 • BEATROUTE
BY MATTY HUME
PHOTO: LOGAN TILLEY
“I just feel like we’ve added more nuance and
musicality to it to make it feel more flushed
out. I think it’s honestly the best representation
of not only what we can do but what we
wanted to sound like.”
That representation includes digital soundscapes
crossing with soft vocals and speech
samples, followed by viciously relentless guitar
licks and double kick-drum heaven (or hell,
whatever floats your boat). And before you
can lose yourself in thunderous distortion,
blues-reminiscent breakdowns usher in the
saxophone solos and tempo changes you never
knew you craved. It’s John Coltrane meets Belial,
or a mutual friend of Deafheaven and Stevie
“Previously, you could wrap our sound up
like, ‘Oh, it’s a death metal band.’ Which is fine,
but we enjoy much more music than death
metal,” Biggs says. “And we like playing different
music than death metal. So we figured why not
make Rivers of Nihil a more fulfilling experience
in that way.”
Fulfilling is a fitting word, because chances
are, Where Owls Know My Name will satisfy
your whole ethos from your patch-riddled
jacket to the forgotten psychedelic corners of
It’s real good, folks.
Catch Rivers of Nihil with Alter Beast and Inferi at
on July 10 at the Starlight Room (Edmonton) and
on July 11 at Dickens Pub (Calgary)
As per usual, June is our Sled Island
issue…. Which means there’s less
space in the section for articles and
more space for all the killer metal appearing
at Sled. In that vein, check out our festival
section for features on Italian psychedelic
doomsters Ufomammut, terrifying emerging
prog/experimental act Lingua Ignota
(whose album All Bitches Die was recently
picked up for a vinyl press by Profound
Lore Records) and the heart melting and
gorgeous 40 Watt Sun. As for the rest, we’ll
fill you in on the best here.
Decimate Metalfest kicks off the month,
running from Thursday, June 7 until Sunday,
June 10 at Distortion (Calgary). That same
weekend, Hammerfall is playing at Dickens
on Thursday, June 7 (Calgary) and at the
Starlite Room on Friday, June 8 (Edmonton).
Brujeria plays Dickens on Friday, June 8
(Calgary); Calgary based sludge metallers
Monolith AB are releasing their album at
the Palomino on Friday, June 8 (Calgary).
Check out www.beatroute.ca for features
on most of the above from the May issue;
meanwhile, you can find the Monolith AB
article in the RockPile section.
Head to Rendezvous Pub on Friday, June
8 (Edmonton) for the Tessitura EP release
party. The band will be unveiling the album
Unearth the Underworld; they will perform
alongside Nylithia, Blackwater Burial, and
Breaking the Silent.
On June 8, sludge metallers YOB release
their eighth studio album Our Raw Heart
via Relapse Records. Shockingly, it’s their
best offering yet and rivals their breakthrough
The Great Cessation in its musical
Black metal act UADA return to Alberta in June.
variation. That same day, Toronto death
metallers Tomb Mold unleash their debut
for new label 20 Buck Spin. Manor of Infinite
Forms is crushing.
Head to the Palomino Smokehouse on
Saturday, June 16 (Calgary) for a stoner pysch
bill featuring Dead Quiet and Electric
OWL alongside Hashteroid.
The annual Covenant Festival will be
running from Thursday, June 21 until Saturday,
June 23 at Rickshaw Theatre (Vancouver).
If you like your metal visceral and
challenging, the festival has lots to offer.
Bands performing include Profanatica, Incantation,
Witches Hammer, Blasphemy,
and Hacavitz. To get your advance tickets,
head to http://www.covenantfestival.com/
American black metallers UADA are
returning to Alberta on the heels of the
release of their second full-length, Cult of a
Dying Sun. Following in a similarly relentless
vein of their apocalyptic debut, the album
sees them moving away from straight-up
MGLA worship and exploring further
deviations in the melodic black metal realm.
The band will be performing at the Starlite
Room on Wednesday, June 27 (Edmonton)
and at Distortion on Thursday, June 28
(Calgary) with Wolvhammer.
On Friday, June 29, Edmonton’s own
excellent post-punk act No Problem will
release their new album Let God Sort ‘Em
Out via Deranged Records. Check the Edmonton
Extra section for an article on the
band; they’ll be playing at 9910 (Edmonton)
alongside Languid and Sister Suzie.
• Sarah Kitteringham
PHOTO: PETER BESTE
It’s refreshing to see an artist so comfortable in
their earned position of critical relevance take
risks that others in more commercial situations
aren’t able to. The cost of doing business for
the big earners is that they’re continuously
required to feed the machine, and do so by
maintaining the status quo in their work, leading
to the inevitable exodus of listeners who
complain, “they’re just doing the same thing
over and over again.” That Neko Case is one of
the most respected songwriters and vocalists
to emerge from the vanguard of the late 90s
alt-country movement should be no surprise.
Establishing her bona fides with now-classic
alt-country records like The Virginian and
Fox Confessor Brings The Flood, as well as her
indie rock cred during her time with The New
Pornographers, Case has always remained
iconoclastic. A working artist and musician
with the daring to experiment and take risks
musically, with the mutual benefit of challenging
her always-growing audiences.
Case’s latest, Hell On, is largely free of
alt-country constraints, an avant-pop record
with hints toward baroque noir that begins
with the tool shed oddity of the title track;
the clave and drum intro feels like the rusty
drip of water from steel walking through a
darkened, steamy boiler room, morphing into
the steady build of a waltz, while Case eases
into an Eastern European pre-war melody, a
black-and-white film reel from a time long past
living memory. Case veers quickly back to more
familiar territory on “Last Lion Of Albion;” its
darker pop production buoys a cut with such a
strong chorus that Case could pull it off easily
as a solo cut, and with its subversive-yet-poetic
commentary on consumerism, it could be a
classic Greenwich Village-era folk tune.
Case produced Hell On largely on her own,
and split a number of writing credits with
longtime collaborator Paul Rigby, including
some of the most outstanding songs on
the record, like the aforementioned “Last
Lion Of Albion” and the infectious “Bad
Luck,” which gets more fun each time you
spin it. Its layered harmonies flouts its pop
sensibility with an oddball bridge that leads
into a separate section before returning to
the original motif, and its sassy closing line,
“So I died and went to work.” Their peak on
the record together, though, comes on “The
Curse Of The I-5 Corridor.” Epic, piano-driven
changes that reveal Case’s most vulnerable
vocal on the record, which may be a product
of the subdued acappella verses with former
Screaming Trees vocalist Mark Lanegan. As a
result of its length, and the prevalent piano
in the mix, it feels like something from Father
John Misty’s Pure Comedy, if only that record
had been emotionally raw rather than cynical.
Case is as open and honest on “I-5 Corridor”
as any listener could expect, and doesn’t shy
away from cynicism either. Case’s honesty
leaves a smear of blood on every song on
the record, harsh and brutal in lines like,
“Sometimes I feel so ugly I’m afraid, worry
nesting in my hair, shedding like a Christmas
tree, surely there’s a real woman coming to
erase me,” from the outstanding “Oracle Of
The Maritime.” The pop production softens
the hardness on some cuts, and Case’s voice
is as it’s always been, the kind of instrument
that breaks through everything around it, but
there’s no denying Case lays down dome hard,
honest reality on Hell On.
While it’s undeniably a pop record in style,
Hell On is challenging to hear, and Case is
unsparing in her honesty. It may not be an
immediate fan favourite, but over the long run,
Hell On may be a touchstone record for an
artist who’s never shown any fear in creating
something that reflected exactly who she was
at the time.
• Mike Dunn
illustration: Taylor Bourque
BEATROUTE • JUNE 2018 | 53
54 | JUNE 2018 • BEATROUTE
Beacon of Faith
From the dank recesses of Vancouver
crawls the new album by Baptists, Bacon
of Faith. Recorded in Salem Massachusetts
with Converge guitarist Kurt Ballou
(GodCity Studio), Baptists builds a crusty
atmosphere, dripping with indignation.
Its hardcore vocals shouting over bluesy,
squealing guitars are loyal to previous
albums 2014’s Bloodmines and 2013’s
Bushcraft while still finding room to experiment
and break new ground. Beacon
of Faith paces frantically with thunderous
drums, smashing through the first four
songs with an average time of under two
minutes each. Lyrically touching on images
of a broken society, Baptists draw ire
for a multitude of subjects; the failure to
deliver justice in the Canadian court system,
substance abuse, and the dangerous
apathy of the privileged. Clocking in at
39 minutes the album is crammed with
venomous vitriol, prodding relentlessly
with minimal slowing in tempo.
• Trevor Hatter
Father John Misty
God’s Favorite Customer
After last year’s divisive masterpiece
Pure Comedy, it makes sense that
God’s Favorite Customer is Father John
Misty’s most concise, and perhaps best,
full-length yet. GFC is a sonic return to
the rambling pop of 2012’s Fear Fun,
with the piano balladry that Josh Tillman
honed on his breakout, I Love You,
Honeybear, and Pure Comedy. Written
during a six week breakdown where
Tillman lived in a hotel suffering from
delusions and thoughts of suicide, GFC
functions as the anti-Pure Comedy.
Instead of the existentialist macro lens,
Tillman’s songwriting returns inward
with an album of personal observations
written from the brink.
This is Tillman’s least overtly pretentious
album and it’s not a coincidence
that it feels like his most personal.
Where I Love You, Honeybear saw
Tillman telling everyone how honest he
could be with his songwriting, GFC is
him showing it. On penultimate track
“The Songwriter,” Tillman seemingly
eviscerates himself with a critique of
the difficult male artist stereotype.
“What would it sound like if you were
the songwriter, And you did your living
around me?” He asks his wife hypothetically
in the songs second verse,
“Would you undress me repeatedly in
public, To show how very noble and
naked you can be?” It’s a scathing observation
in an album full of them, but
it’s also indicative of Tillman’s ability to
turn his own neuroses into something
that feels universal.
• Jamie McNamara
Vancouver post-punk outfit Dumb are set
to release their new album, Seeing Green, at
the end of June. A tidy package, the LP’s 14
songs all fall under four minutes in length,
making for a quick listen from beginning to
end. Roast beef Romeo, frontman Franco
Rossino uses an aggressive spoken word
vocal style to channel angsty lyrics along
with the band’s impatient attitude. Seeing
Green certainly has enough rhythm to
dance along to, but if you are looking for
a riot, Dumb’s newest offering isn’t typical
punk rock music, with perhaps the exception
of the song “Power Trip.” The album
as a whole is a sonic boom of raucous
contemporary references from indie pop to
garage rock that blast throughout without
really ever pushing the envelope or offering
anything different. In truth, the album’s
real appeal lies in its boisterous songwriting
approach. Any one of these buoyant, but
hard-angled tunes, about youth chasing
an unaffordable lifestyle, would work as a
soundtrack for a night out on the town or
spent partying at home late into the night.
• Daniel Jaramillo
Loma Vista Recordings
Is Ghost a scary band? They certainly
want you to think so.
Ironically, the Swedish metal outfit’s
fourth album, Prequelle, downplays
the shtick and lets the streamlined,
infectious grooves speak for themselves.
Sure, Ghost still perform in
spooky costumes and spout gloomy
lyrics about Medieval black plagues or
whatever, but Prequelle is definitely
a mainstream rock record – scoring a
Billboard hit (2016’s “Square Hammer”)
will often do that to a band. Thankfully,
it’s a good rock record driven by plenty
more ear-pleasing tunes.
Crunchy, distorted guitars propel
highlights like lead single “Rats,”
“Faith,” and “Witch Image.” ‘80s aficionados
will appreciate the harmonic
guitar riffs and serene keyboard fills
present throughout the album. Standout
instrumental “Miasma” is a brilliant
display of musicianship that allows
Ghost to channel their inner Scorpions,
proof that power ballads can still be a
thing in 2018.
Let Ghost play dress-up all they
want. As long as the music remains this
solid, they’ll be remembered for the
• Trevor Morelli
The anonymous Calgary producer
known only as Little Snake may seem
like an unlikely signee to Flying Lotus’s
Brainfeeder, all doubts dissipate within
just a few moments of ENTER. “HXD,”
the first of just three songs on the release,
answers the question: what if you
took acid and then listen to salsa and
breakcore at the same time? Sure, maybe
no one asked, but the face-vaporizing
bass and rollercoaster time shifts
will inspire your strangest curiosities.
Follow-up track “YOU ARE IT”
sounds a bit like if labelmate IGLOOG-
HOST were stripped of his neon hues
and covered in corrosive, jet-black ink.
It’s a series of bass crashes and sound
malfunction that keeps just a stark,
hip-hop adjacent beat as a foundation.
Finally, “ISTHISREAL.MP3” (featuring
.KAGE) starts off with a merciless gabber
throb before grinding off the rails
in keeping with the rest of the release.
The main feeling you’ll take away
from from the nine-minute release is a
mixture of excitement, confusion and
fear. ENTER is extreme music camouflaging
itself in the language of dance
music, like an unstable faultline hidden
under the floor of a nightclub. Little
Snake is cultivating a sound words
have yet to catch up with. Its freshness,
while sometimes maddening, is worth
the price of admission alone.
• Colin Gallant
Femme punk doesn’t get much better
than Calgary’s Mademoiselle. The relatively
fresh duo have emerged as unlikely
superstars in the Calgary punk rock
scene, developing a pretty loyal fanbase
in the process thanks to their devil-maycare
attitudes and hooky song writing
Choke is, in every essence, very
representative of what you will hear at
a live show, and that, for the most part,
is a very good thing.
The first thing to listen for in Choke
is the simple and straightforward type of
song writing the band is able to produce.
It doesn’t pretend to be anything else than
what it needs to be: no holds barred, grabyou-by-the-ear
If there is something nitpick, it would be
the overall production. While the songs still
hold the energy of a live performance, the
recordings would benefit from cranking the
low end up to really feel the bass parts. That
said, this is a really solid debut from a very
young and very promising act.
• Will Cowan
Saved By Records
On Tantramar, his first full-length LP since
2014’s Exile, Toronto-based singer/songwriter
Eamon McGrath once again demonstrates
his unique ability to meld a number
of styles into a cohesive whole. While Exile
was largely stripped bare, full of driving rock
n’ roll songs kicked up by a tight combo,
Tantramar is closer to McGrath’s 2012
effort, Young Canadians, in its combination
of experimental atmosphere and folk-based,
hook-filled punk rock.
“Chlorine” leads the record off with a series
of head fakes, with an atonal drone that
never quite leaves the mix before a chunky
rhythm guitar riff kicks in. McGrath sings
low in the mix over a bass groove picked
up by piano, a constant drama rising by the
time the chorus arrives, where he deftly
hangs on a new melody on the same groove.
The lead single “Power” may be as close as
McGrath gets to pop music, not unlike a
late ‘70s Bowie cut, funky chord stabs and
avant-garde horns in full brass freakout.
McGrath has an innate ability to cage a
heavy and personal lyric in a hook full of
depth and melancholy, while still remaining
memorable and catchy. Tantramar shares
those elements with his previous work, but
the added sonic elements in the production
are a step forward, the meld of noise
and symphonic synths is a cool move for
McGrath to make, and coupled with the
strength of the songs, makes Tantramar
a record with a new surprise upon every
• Mike Dunn
“Wolves!” Cried The Maid
World Peach Records
Ethereal and haunting, the second Oxlip
LP from Ireland-born, Saskatoon-based
singer-songwriter Jayne Trimble casts classic
British folk against a tapestry of fresh tones.
The result is a take on the style in the vein
Peach Kelli Pop
of later-era Marianne Faithfull, though Trimble’s
rich vocal tone is all her own.
“Wolves!” Cried The Maid is opened vocally
on “Garden of Roses”, Trimble leading on
banjo and self-harmonizing a classic-sounding
Irish melody over a swell of Hammond
organ. A swinging shuffle picks up the beat
on subtle shots later on, a leading an easy,
swinging waltz. “This Dark Hour” stands out,
Trimble’s voice drifting effortlessly over a
two chord part that sits in the ‘50s ballad
vibe, though the left turn it takes by hanging
on its second chord is a cool touch. Having
enlisted a Western Canadian wrecking crew,
including Geoff Hilhorst on Hammond and
piano, Chris Mason on bass, Kendel Carson
on violin, Shuyler Jansen on guitar, and Evan
Dunlop on drums, it’s easy to see how the
arrangements are so tight and forward-thinking.
Trimble self-produced the record, with
Dunlop engineering, and “Wolves!” Cried The
Maid comes out feeling like a walk through
the woods, sun glinting on leaves, and a
seaside breeze nearby.
BEATROUTE • JUNE 2018 | 55
56 | JUNE 2018 • BEATROUTE
LEEROY STAGGER & GUESTS @ BIG ROCK BREWERY 09\15\18
BIG ROCK BREWERY | 5555 76 AVE SE, CALGARY AB
Peach Kelli Pop
• Mike Dunn
Peach Kelli Pop’s fifth and fully collaborative
album, Gentle Leader, is a wham bam thank
you ma’am ensemble of fruity flavours, best
paired with an afternoon of lounging around
an outdoor pool. With lyrics kicking off the
album like, “Baby blue black eye, lookin’ up at
the sky, pink and extra crispy, red and yellow
yoshi,” you instantly feel their playful and fundamentally
colorful vibes. However, it’s not all
rainbows and sugar coated donuts; they dive
a bit deeper into some more somber topics,
such as being nothing but a speck of dust and
that “the human race is a disease” in the final
song of the album, “Skylight.”
Peach Kelli Pop’s sunny disposition brings
a high level of energy to the underrated
genre of sunshine punk. Gentle Leader is
reminiscent of crop tops, boob tubes, long
island ice teas and little pet purse dogs
wrapped up at the beach. It’s everything
happy and cute all rammed into one with
its roots planted in post-punk straight outta
both the ’80s and ’90s.
It’s been a while since Peach Kelli Pop
have released an album, three years to be
exact, which means teenyboppers everywhere
will be strutting to the store for
this softcore lighthearted ladies night out
release. Founder Allie Hanlon has previously
written, recorded as well as produced their
other albums. They focus heavily on the
collaborative essence of Gentle Leader with
songs ranging from the heavy-duty sunshine
tonalities in “Hello Kitty Knife” to the softer
and more spongy tracks like “Parasomnia.”
All around, Gentle Leader explores relationships,
love and the subtle sport of not
giving a darn. We’ll follow that.
• Jessie Foster
Nothing Is Still
Leon Vynehall’s Ninja Tune debut is meant
to be digested as a multi-media work
including a novella and series of videos.
Unfortunately, when considered on its own,
the near-beatless sketchpad of strings and
drones will disappoint fans of Vynehall’s
previously robust audio works.
There’s not really an outright bad song
on Nothing Is Still, and if you’re looking for
a timid cousin of a Floating Points record,
you’ll be satisfied by Nothing’s 10 songs.
Each song is pretty and ornate, though
around half of them seem inconclusive.
Some truly gorgeous strings, piano and
horns are employed, but taper off too
soon, even before the listener can opt in to
To be fair, the highlights of the work really
hold their own. “Trouble” and “English Oak”
both possess more clarity of intention and
form than others. The former uses erratic
bass patterns with the texture of bombed
out hearing damage and sharp inhalations
of breath as rhythm, while the latter winds
layers of quavering strings into a knot before
hitting one of his signature house strides.
Unlike many other of the album’s songs,
it proves Vynehall is gifted with both bold
vision and startlingly original execution.
The artist’s intention for his music to be
a component of a wider media experience
is neither realistic nor relevant, given the
album will mostly be streamed and access
to the novella is behind a deluxe-edition
paywall. Perhaps it’s cynical to say, but if he
wanted the public to engage with a physical
life for this work, he should have brought
stronger songs to the table.
• Colin Gallant
Our Raw Heart
Our human vessel contains two opposite, equally
important entities within its confines of meat
and bone. One, a rich biome of gut flora creating
the framework required for our digestive system,
breaking down food to nourish our bodies. The
second, a sterile vacuum surrounding all internal
organs, ensuring an unadulterated supply of
blood, enriched with nourishment delivered
from the digestive tract. To breach one into the
other, most often, is certain death. Yob’s lead
singer Mike Sheidt is a rare survivor of this very
scenario. After six hours of surgery and months
of recovery, he joined his brothers in Yob, setting
out to record Our Raw Heart with no guarantee
he would live long enough to finish it. Amongst
this drama, they created a doom metal masterpiece
that explores the dangerous dance powers
of equal opposites can impose.
The album sets its tone with “Ablaze,”
a melodic and heavy track, hinting at the
anguish the three members experienced
over the last year. Moving onto the powerful
snarl of Yob’s latest single “The Screen”
sets the listener on collision course with
a truly existential experience. The album
trades blows between crunchy, slow and
low tracks to soaring, balladesque metal
that crests with the power of an angry
ocean. “Beauty in Falling Leaves’” delicate
nature and pained vocals paint a picture of
grave circumstances. Alluring in it’s tragedy,
reflecting the heartache we face in our own
impermanence while conjuring appreciation
for the beauty of life as a setting sun.
Yob has created an album that is wrought
with pain and pleasure, urgent but not
desperate. It’s building, destroying, fighting,
loving essence understands the draw to
metal and builds a space for our raw hearts.
Queens of the Stone Age, Royal Blood
Scotiabank Saddledome, Calgary
The Palomino, Calgary
A highly anticipated performance,
Preoccupations spring show did
not disappoint the capacity crowd
at The Palomino Smokehouse and
Social Club on a warm Friday night,
nor did their openers, Freak Heat
Waves. The four shaggy kids took
their place on stage just before
10pm and wasted no time launching
into their set of bass dominant rock
’n’ roll. And when I say “bass dominant”
I mean that even the smokers
still lingering outside could feel their
stomachs churning along with Freak
Heat Waves’ powerful undulations.
During the break between bands,
people crammed themselves as
close to the stage as possible; the
front row losing all sense of personal
space and replacing it with pure excitement
for the preparations taking
place in front of them.
Wristbands shining among the
raised hands of the audience, Preoccupations
finally made their way
to the dais. Wasting no time, with a
simple “Hello!” from frontman Matt
Flegel, the Calgary act ripped right
into every one of the 294 eardrums
in front of them. It didn’t take long
for each member to become doused
in sweat. Just one song in, the band’s
momentum was already taking its
toll, causing the beads of moisture to
form upon Flegel’s forehead.
When BeatRoute spoke with
Preoccupations earlier this year, they
told us about the outfit’s preference
for compact venues and personal
shows. On the 4th and 5th of May,
we saw why. Having witnessed the
anguish on the vocalist’s faces, and
the cramping muscles of Mike Wallace’s
drumstick wielding arms, the
reason both nights of this show sold
out weeks in advance is anything
but a mystery.
• review and photo:
It’s an odd feeling entering into a rock show while the
sun is still high in the sky, but a dusky set from Brighton,
UK’s top two-piece, Royal Blood, quickly put any dismay
to bed without supper. Tripping the switch, the energetic
duo launched directly into the recognizable “Lights Out”
to start the evening off with a bang. Vocalist/bassist Mike
Kerr was in fine form, looking svelte, muscular and adorably
curly-haired, as he prowled the stage, rarely pausing
in front of the microphone stand. Belting out “Come
On Over” and “I Only Lie When I Love You,” Kerr’s James
Dean-esque physicality combined with the tightened-up
stage set created an immediate sense of intimacy that is
not easily achieved at the Saddledoom.
Kerr’s departing promise to the crowd that we were
about to witness the best concert of our entire lives
seemed a tall order given that the volume and substance
Royal Blood was able to generate made all in attendance
question why you’d ever need more than drums and bass
to play rock ‘n’ roll. A bass with a wall of Fender Supersonic
amps behind it, that is.
LED stripper poles that pivoted, plopped over and
bounced back upright, like old school clown punching
bags, were the sole enhancements to Queens of the Stone
Age stage show. From “(If I Had a) Tail” to “(A Song for
the) Dead” the line-up of radio-friendly hits just kept on
coming as Homme wove his way through a checklist of
signature songs. Sadly, some fans found that their feet
did indeed fail them as the crowd attempted to ‘mosh’ to
songs that were unapologetically too groovy for a good
ol’ bro-dude smash ‘n’ grab. The rest were left to dance
like no one was watching. Broad-shouldered bravado and
58 | JUNE 2018 • BEATROUTE
melancholic romance was on the menu as QotSA manoeuvred
through ultramodern hipshakers and retrorock
headnodders, including “The Way You Used to Do” and
“No One Knows.” Eyes closed and mouth open, Homme
stayed close to centre-stage and well away from the
photographers’ pit throughout the eighteen-track performance.
At one point, the Ginger Godhead talked about
the importance of individuality citing his band members
as an example. Bad example. All but the extraordinarily
talented percussionist Jon Theodore were sporting almost
identical haircuts (bowl parted in the middle) and sharply
fitted jackets. That unity served them well as the band
dove deep into the back-catalogue to deliver a smooth
but spirited show that went with the flow right down to
the last drop of magic potion.
• Christine Leonard
photo: Mario Montes
Vanta, Feminal Fluids,
Nite Owl, Calgary
Alberta’s fast and frisky punk-rock
acts are as diverse, inclusive and
crunchy as h\hell! And, last Friday
night at Nite Owl, four heavy-hitting,
diverse and ripping crews
showed us exactly what was what.
First out of the gate, Mademoiselle,
Calgary’s new and
young femme-fuzz duo rattled
brains with freakishly crunchy
bass tones, enthusiastic shrieks
and lightning-fast songs that
came and went like a whirling
grrrlwind. Next up and straight
from the ‘90s was the grungy,
sludge-pop punking of Pill Crusher,
who filled the room with a
nostalgic yet gooey ‘n’ gloomy
wall of technicolour grit.
They were followed hard upon
by Edmonton’s patriarchy-smashing
Feminal Fluids, a no-fucks-given
kinda quartet, whose ball-blasting
agenda keeps them furious. Their
brazen theatrics and brutal stories
of patriarchal trash give them a
truly riotous punk-rock approach.
Capping off the evening was the
absolutely filthy sounds of local
hardcore punks Vanta. Their corrosive
guitar shrills, chest-shredding
bass explosions and splintering
drum attacks transport you back
in time to a some random hardcore
show set in a D.C. warehouse
in the ‘80s, except Vanta pulls it all
off with cutting edge precision.
• review and photo:
Big Four Roadhouse, Calgary
An intimate performance from 2009 indie
darling Molly Nilsson to a still crowd
opened the night for MGMT’s recent Calgary
performance at the Big Four Building.
But when Nilsson left the stage, suddenly a
canopy of overhead fairy lights flickered to
life. It was a dreamy backdrop to a surreal
and nostalgic performance from psychedelia
duet MGMT, who performed to a
bloated crowd on May 9.
It’s difficult to think of a band more
emblematic of late aughts hipster culture
than MGMT. Their trifecta of synth-heavy
bangers — ‘Time to Pretend’, ‘Kids’ and
‘Electric Feel’ — from 2007’s album Oracular
Spectacular were essentials to every
cafe playlist in the era of manic pixies and
bespectacled lumberjacks. And despite
the release of a new album this year, it was
these song that proved to be crowd pleasers
at their Calgary show.
The atmosphere was surreal as fans
echoed each line of ‘Kids’ — including the
song’s organ choral crescendo — back at
Ben Goldwasser and Andrew VanWyngarden.
It’s been over ten years since the
overwhelming success of Oracular Spectacular,
and MGMT is aware of the astounding
popularity of these three songs. Yet as the
opening notes to ‘Time to Pretend’ washed
over the audience, you couldn’t help but
notice how worn out Wyngarden and
Goldwasser seemed by their seminal hits. As
a band who was defined by their very early
success — and has continually attempted to
shed their early pop identity with meanders
into psychedelia and experimental electronica
— the enduring nature of their 2007
work seemed uninspiring to VanWyngarden
and Goldwasser, and at times even tedious.
But the energy picked up significantly as
the band weaved through 2018’s Little Dark
Age. Performances of ‘Me and Michael’ and
‘When You Die’ were high points of the
night. VanWyngarden straddled a stationary
bike as he performed ‘She Works Out
to Much’, and the introductory ‘Little Dark
Age’ was accompanied by Castlevania-esque
The band chose to close out the night
with the final song from their latest release,
‘Hand It Over’, a ballad that evokes a bittersweet
sadness regarding the band’s rampant
fame. VanWyngarden cood, “the smart ones
exit early / And the rest hope for a shoulder”
in a poignant juncture that was utterly
self-deferential. As the crowd echoed the
chorus line “hand it over” back to MGMT,
it was an astute moment from a band that
seemed to be saying their final farewells.
• Emilie Medland-Marchen
photo: Jarrett Edmund
BEATROUTE • JUNE 2018 | 59
East Town Get Down
International Ave. SE, Calgary
The first annual East Town Get Down got it down right off the bat with seventy plus bands,
eight venues, a six block radius and 1000 sold out tickets. The take over of International
Avenue on a warm Saturday evening was full of a joyous cast of fresh and familiar faces
defining the possibilities of not only a new fest in town, but the rebirth of a fantastic neighbourhood.
Reign on Forest Lawn!
Jason Famous and Le Flame fill Fassil’s Restaurant
with their special brand of synth-pop ear candy.
Ride the Sky bask in a glow of purple light at TJ Juice.
East Town Get Down’s
committee outside the
60 | JUNE 2018 • BEATROUTE
A look into the cycles and cosmic details of an unfolding forevermore paired with a song suggestion specifically curated for your sign
BY WILLOW HERZOG
and trust the strength of the deep connections that have
Song suggestion for the month: “Hug of Thunder” - Broken
Aries (March 21 - April 20)
Finishing details being pulled together and lessons being
finally learned. The solid work you have done with your lessons
will have you reconfiguring your sense of self and your
livelihood. What changes have you made to support yourself?
Those aspects are being integrated to a foundation that will
hold space for your next seven years. Your abilities and gifts
are being accessed more naturally and skills that perhaps
weren’t clear to you before are now coming out of the woodwork.
Enjoy your renewed sense of self and the talents you
were meant to work with, Aries.
Song suggestion for the month: “Mean Dream” - La Luz
Taurus (April 21 - May 21)
The psyche has been loud in waking and dreaming. This has
revealed parts of your energy that asks to be healed and blockages
that would benefit from being unearthed for your renewal. Look
into your ancestry to find some clues around dreams that may be
speaking to you. Your creative work is stabilizing, and innovation
is pouring into your journey in ways that are being seen and
supported. Keep your focus clear as some chaos is in the forecast.
You got this, Taurus!
Song suggestion for the month: “Conceptual Romance” - Jenny Hval
Gemini (May 22 - June 21)
There is some restructuring around your collaboration and
placement within friendship, family and community. There may
be some social structures you have outgrown, let them go, new
connections are meant to flow into this space. Right now is a time
to invest in the energy of the present. Explore the hidden wounds
and outpouring creative energy that accompanies them. You are
being asked to look at the internal structures and peel off old
systems of grief, pain and liberate your being. Clear out the psychic
debris and take a deep breath Gemini.
Song suggestion for the month: “Sugar for the Pill” - Slowdive
Cancer (June 22 - July 23)
What have you set out to do and where have you ended up? Look
at the responses that come up for you when mirrored with an
energy that is different than your own. Your ability to adapt and
connect to others is a super power, one that surrounds you with
PHOTO: KAILA TONAI
a number of unique communities. The ability to integrate and
blend with others allows acceptance and collaborative experience
but check in that your integrity isn’t compromised as you play the
role of social chameleon. Your uniqueness is your strength, Cancer,
and will lead to divine rewards.
Song suggestion for the month: “Time Is The Enemy” - Quantic
Leo (July 24 - Aug. 23)
Go with the flow, Leo, the river doesn’t flow when pushed. At
this time you are being asked to keep a flexible lense on long
term plans as some unexpected circumstances are taking shape
behind the scenes. You are an innovator and being asked to
bridge vision with reality. How is your career life serving your
vision? This may be a place of refresh for you as you keep the
components that have served and continue to serve while
directing your eyes to a new horizon.
Song suggestion for the month: “Maggot Brain” - Funkadelic
Virgo (Aug. 24 - Sept. 23)
You are intuitive, Virgo, and when something doesn’t seem to fit
you are aware of it. This cycle is about you falling into greater alignment
with your intuition, so you can have clarity in your choice
making. There are some big decisions to be made so honour what
feels blocked and what feels like the next right step. You are being
confronted with realities of finding what feels right and letting go
of what doesn’t. Taking the time to listen to your intuition brings
about greater alignment in your life, work and home situation.
New opportunities are taking shape behind the scenes, so make
room for them.
Song suggestion for the month: “Sterling Silver”- Faith Healer
Libra (Sept. 24 - Oct. 23)
Your relationships are being illuminated to create the leaps
of growth that are required for you to realign your life and
purpose. Self-care is a radical act, Libra, and you are being
asked to care for yourself like you do others. Relationship
dynamics are shifting with those soulmates close to you.
This is necessary, so all parties can grow. Trust the space, revisions
and shifts that are taking place. These relationships
will take on more evolved forms if they are meant to last.
Allow your relationships the freedom they need to flourish
Scorpio (Oct. 24 - Nov. 22)
Scorpio you are retooling the inner workings of your heart.
Who you let in, your value, your energetic worth. There are
shifts and initiations within partnerships important to your
life. These relationships are going through necessary integration
periods. Allow those close to you to go through the
change they need to discover their authenticity. Talk it out if
your boundaries aren’t being respected. Allow your freak flag
to fly loudly and proudly, if you please. Make room for eccentricities
in your daily connections, this will hit a refresh buttonboosting
your joy levels.
Song suggestion for the month: “No One Like You” - Blue Hawaii
Sagittarius (Nov. 23 - Dec. 21)
What are you feeling creatively moved by? What projects seem to
be flowing through you naturally that just require a bit more time
and focus to complete? Commit yourself 100% to the innovations
that come to you from the eternal muse. You are being asked to
reinvent your work life and trust the unique situations you have
cultivated. Sagittarius, let go of the stagnant and new opportunities
will pour in out of the unknown.
Song suggestion for the month: “In the Beginning” - Weyes Blood
Capricorn (Dec. 22 - Jan. 20)
You have reformatted your homelife and deepened your understanding
of energy dynamics in relationships. This has opened old
wounds to another layer of healing. There is some destabilizing as
much has come unearthed and shifted. On the other side of this
is a breakthrough, a recreating and a greater empowerment of
Self. Creative energy is potent in you, Capricorn, clear the pathway
and don’t judge what it creates. Trust yourself and the creative
endeavours that have meaning for you.
Song suggestion for the month: “Black Car”- Beach House
Aquarius (Jan. 21 - Feb. 19)
Patterns of the past are being disrupted to bring in new growth
and fresh ways of relating. You are being asked to connect to
what you stand up for, what you believe in and to share what is
important to you. Communicate with compassion, clarity and
wisdom. Relationships are aligning in a way that allows you to
work on radical honesty and healing. Show up for the lessons that
are shaking out the cobwebs, Aquarius.
Song suggestion for the month: “Petals” - TOPS
Pisces (Feb. 20 - Mar. 20)
The ways in which you support yourself, relate to Self and others
are shifting. You have been deconstructing and reclaiming parts
of your life that are writing a new story. Your intuition is your
navigation, so pay attention to the messages that you are giving
and receiving. Your volume is turning up this cycle, Pisces, as it
becomes increasingly important to communicate. You are coming
into contact with greater truth in your interactions. This is a time
of accelerated tempos and changes, so find time for daily routine,
rest and creativity.
Song suggestion for the month: “To Earth And Back” - Sam Gellaitry
BEATROUTE • JUNE 2018 | 61
I am a 38-year-old gay man with a serious problem. My boyfriend
of five years has developed a strange fascination. We’ve always
watched porn together, but now he has been looking at straight porn
and even lesbian porn (!!!) more and more often. More than once he
has expressed an interest in having a MMF threesome—and he’s a
self-proclaimed gold-star gay! This week, I discovered he had hidden
a Fleshlight from me. I could tell he had used it. What is going on with
him? On the other hand, we still have sex pretty frequently. He really
gets off when I call his ass a “pussy,” which I’ll do to turn him on, but I
find it pretty weird. He also tells me he gets off on the thought of the
two of us fucking a woman together. This really seems bizarre! Could
my beautiful bottom boy be turning bi? If he is, I don’t know how we
can handle it.
–Guy Alarmed, Yeah, By Younger Boyfriend’s Interest
Turning bi? Unlikely. Always was bi and only just realized it? Likelier.
Always was bi but identified as gay because (1) he prefers men as
romantic partners and (2) the biphobia he encountered in gay male
spaces/bedrooms/buttholes convinced him to stay closeted but
he doesn’t want to live a lie anymore and he’s done hiding from the
man he loves but instead of using his words and coming out to you
like a grown-up, GAYBYBI, your boyfriend is letting you know he’s
bi with his porn choices and a big push to make a MMF threesome
sound like a sexy adventure you would both enjoy? Likeliest.
As for how to handle it, GAYBYBI, you’ll have to use your words:
Ask your boyfriend if he’s bi. (Spoiler: He’s bi, bicurious, or so homoflexible
he could tour with Cirque du Soleil.) If you’re not interested
in having sex with women, tell him so. If being with you means he
can never have sex with a woman, tell him so. And if you would
never knowingly date a bi guy, tell him he deserves better.
A relationship question that doesn’t involve sex: Occasionally when
two people live together, they bump into each other or one may get in
the way of the other. Is it reasonable to be put off if rather than simply
hearing “Excuse me” when you are inadvertently in someone’s way, the
person trying to gain access says, “Do you have to stand there?”
–Just Seems Rude
People who are courteous to strangers (“Excuse me, can I squeeze
past you?”) and contemptuous with intimate partners (“Do you
have to stand there, you fucking dumbass?”) don’t value their
partners and don’t deserve intimacy. People who are assholes to everyone
don’t deserve intimacy either, of course, but they get points
for being consistent.
I recently posted an online ad for a jack-off buddy. I got a response
from a man who turned out to be a gorgeous, young Sri Lankan
dude with a huge, beautiful uncut cock. Anyway, I was really looking
forward to him jacking me off and vice versa. But when I arrived, he
said he was only interested in me giving him a massage and then a
handjob. Apparently, he’s a straight guy who wanted to experiment
with men in a very limited way. Like I said, SUPER HOT, so I happily
obliged. But after he came, I was really aching for release myself. But as
I stated earlier, he made it clear he did not want to reciprocate. After
we were finished, he indicated that he might hit me up again. Do you
think I should continue with the massage and “happy ending” in hopes
he will someday feel comfortable enough to reciprocate? Or should I
just go ahead and find myself another jack-off buddy?
–Craving Uncut Masculine Sri Lankan
Another jack-off buddy? No, no. Additional jack-off buddy.
I recently spent a wonderful weekend with a young woman from out
of town who identifies as queer and poly. Being the curious guy I am,
I had her explain what these things meant to her. She went on to say
that she is considering changing from poly to nonmonogamous. I find
this confusing. I’m certainly nonmonogamous, but I’ve never thought
of myself as poly. What is the difference?
–Confused Over Lines Inside Names
I would describe the difference as googleable, COLIN. But since
you asked: A nonmonogamous person has sex with their partner
and others; a poly person has or is open to having committed and
concurrent romantic relationships. For one example: An ethically
nonmonogamous woman fucks the boyfriend/husband she loves
and other guys she doesn’t; a poly woman has two (or more) guys
she both loves and fucks.
I have two complaints: one with the world and one with you. My problem
with the world is that it seems to think it is possible to embrace the
rights of sex workers and still stigmatize the men who employ them.
I am in a happy monogamish marriage, and I enjoy a very good, vanilla-but-bordering-on-tantric
sex life with my wife. Early on, when we
discussed how open our marriage should be, we decided it would be
all right for me to see escorts several times a year. This gives me some
sexual variety and keeps her from feeling threatened by my becoming
emotionally involved with a third party. She is very mono and has no
interest in going outside the marriage for sex. My quarrel with you has
to do with your oft-repeated advice that people should break things
off with partners who don’t perform oral sex. My wife doesn’t like to
give head—and I really don’t like getting it from her, since she doesn’t
like doing it. It is, however, one of the things on my list for my quarterly
pro session. So I go down on her, she doesn’t go down on me, and I see
escorts who do. And…
–It Works For Us
In regards to your first complaint, IWFU, there are sex workers out
there fighting for their rights and fighting the stigma against sex
work—along with fighting prohibition, the Nordic Model, and
SESTA (google it)—but you don’t see the men who employ them
stepping up and joining the fight.
“[It’s time for] all of you clients out there [to] get off your duffs
and fight,” as sex worker and sex-worker-rights advocate Maggie
McNeill wrote on her blog. “Regular clients outnumber full-time
whores by at least 60 to 1. Gentlemen, I suggest you rethink your
current silence, unless you want to be the next one with your name
and picture splashed across newspapers, TV screens, and websites.”
In regards to your second complaint, IWFU, it is true that I’ve
said—on one or two occasions—that oral comes standard and
any model that arrives without oral should be returned to the lot.
I’ve also said that you can’t be in an LTR without paying the price of
admission, and I’ve said that a lot more often. If not getting oral at
home is the price of admission you’re willing to pay to be with your
wife, and if allowing you to get oral elsewhere is the price of admission
she’s willing to pay to be with you, then Godspeed, IWFU, and
tip the sex workers you patronize and speak up to fight the stigma
against doing sex work and hiring sex workers.
On the Lovecast, “Ask a Fuck-Up!”: savagelovecast.com.
Porn that makes consent SEXY: savagelovecast.com.
@fakedansavage on Twitter
BY DAN SAVAGE
62 | JUNE 2018 • BEATROUTE