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

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

Feel Alright • Monolith AB • No Problem • Elderbrook • Mo Kenney • Uli John Roth • Neko Case


TABLE OF CONTENTS

COVER 28-39

SLED ISLAND

ARTS 7-9

FILM 10-11

Naddine Madell-Morgan, Vidiot

MUSIC

rockpile 13-21

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

jazz 27

jucy 41-43

Silkq, Elderbrook, Let’s Get Jucy

roots 44-47

Mo Kenney, John Butler Trio, Sweet Barry Wine,

North Country Fair, Cousin Harley

shrapnel 49-50

Uli John Roth, Rivers of Nihil, Month in Metal

REVIEWS

music 53-56

live 58-60

Preoccupations, Queens of the Stone Age, Vanta,

Cancer Bats, MGMT, East Town Get Down

horoscopes 61

savage love 62

Thundercat brings his

electrifying soul, jazz,

space-age fusion to

Sled Island.

BEATROUTE

Publisher/Editor-in-Chief

Brad Simm

Marketing Manager

Glenn Alderson

Production Coordinator

Hayley Muir

Web Producer

Masha Scheele

Social Media Coordinator

Amber McLinden

Events

Colin Gallant

Section Editors

City :: Brad Simm

Film :: Morgan Cairns

Rockpile :: Christine Leonard

Edmonton Extra :: Brittany Rudyck

Jucy :: Paul Rodgers

Roots :: Andrew Bardsley

Shrapnel :: Sarah Kitteringham

Reviews :: Jamie McNamara

Contributing Writers

Christine Leonard • Amber McLinden • Michael

Grondin • Tory Rosso • Jessie Foster •Trevor

Morelli • Matty Hume • Jonathan Crane • Ferdy

Belland • Will Cowan • Breanna Whipple • Alec

Warkentin • Paul McAleer • Mike Dunn • Shane

Sellar • Kaje Annihilatrix • Dan Savage

Cover Art

Sam Bagley

Advertising

Ron Goldberger

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

Distribution

We distribute our publication in

Calgary, Edmonton,

Banff, Canmore, and Lethbridge.

SARGE Distribution in Edmonton

Shane Bennett

(780) 953-8423

e-mail: editor@beatroute.ca

website: www.beatroute.ca

E-Edition

Yumpu.com/BeatRoute

Connect with BeatRoute.ca

Facebook.com/BeatRouteAB

Twitter.com/BeatRouteAB

Instagram.com/BeatRouteAB

Copyright © BEATROUTE Magazine 2017

All rights reserved. Reproduction of the contents

is prohibited without permission.

BEATROUTE • JUNE 2018 | 3


PULSE

PINK FLAMINGO

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

second Wednesday.

For event information, follow @pinkflamingoyyc on Facebook and

Instagram.

BARENAKED LADIES

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.

AWFUL CINEMA

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 you.

For the full movie schedule visit: www.fifthreel.ca

4 | JUNE 2018 • BEATROUTE


ARTS

POETROLOGY

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.”

AUNTY DONNA

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

Aunty Donna!

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

called Poetrology.

“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

available.

“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

great thing.”

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,”

expresses Wilson.

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


JOANNE MACDONALD

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

useless keys.

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://

www.instagram.com/soultonicstudio/

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

Twinbat?

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

and collaborations?

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

designers.

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

new digs?

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’

via email.

What’s your advice for bands or businesses that

are looking to get the best promotional bang for

their buck?

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: twinbatinfo@gmail.com

Visit: www.TwinbatStickerCo.com

Instagram: @twinbatstickerco

Twitter: @TwinbatSticker

Facebook: TwinbatStickerCo

ARTS


WHAT SHAKES

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 kari@theyyscene.ca.

Camping Included. Gates Open 6pm Wednesday June 20th.

No Pets. No Canned Music.

ARTS BEATROUTE • JUNE 2018 | 9


FILM

NADDINE MADELL-MORGAN

exploring the uncomfort zone

NADDINE MADELL-MORGAN

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

conversations.”

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

FILM


THE VIDIOT

rewind to the future

BY SHANE SELLAR

Annihilation

Black Panther

Fifty Shades Freed

Annihilation

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.

Black Panther

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

resources.

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

punishment.

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

it together.

Incidentally, the best wedding gift to get a

brooding billionaire in to bondage is a bat suit.

Game Night

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.

Red Sparrow

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

and unsettling.

Incidentally, suave male spies also have to

sleep with fat, old politicians.

Winchester

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.

Early Man

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…

Red Sparrow

of rabbit hunters dream of one day taking art. Consistently funny, this breezy R-rated

Vidiot

FILM BEATROUTE • JUNE 2018 | 11


ROCKPILE

FEEL ALRIGHT

vital signs

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

music community.”

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

URINALS

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

legitimacy.

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

feelalrightpleasence.bandcamp.com

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


LASHES

extension chords

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

about?

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$

Calgary.

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

female-oriented artists.

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

sound like.

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

proud of.

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

ROCKPILE


THE SWORD

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


WARES

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

her bandmates.

“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

together.”

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

ROCKPILE


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

would expect.”

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

full bar!”

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

SUBHUMANS

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

alive.

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

years ago.”

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

administration.

“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,

MONOLITH AB

positively heavy vibes only

The secret ingredient in sludge metal

is friendship.

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

we go.”

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

thrash-about.

“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

sanctuary.”

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

Club (Calgary).

ROCKPILE


DES ARCS

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

industrial world.

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

universes!

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

intense.

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

all about?

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

Edmund Fitzgerald?

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

little island.

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.

ROCKPILE


FROGFEST 2018

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

warm welcome.

SLOW

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

boogie!

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

was born.

“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

sorts.”

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

projects.

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

and transform.

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

beautiful ways.”

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

they’ve done.

“I felt very welcomed by the Edmonton arts

community as a result of this residency,” says

Robinson. “This has been a very demystifying

experience.”

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

near future.

“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,”

explains Robinson.

“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,”

says Boos.

“The themes she’s working with are about

difficult issues that we’re interested in creating

dialogue around.”

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

backgrounds too.”

During her yearlong residency, Crazybull

hopes to collaborate with other Indigenous

artists and continue to engage within her

community.

“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

in Canada.

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

http://artshab.com/spaces/mcluhan-house/ to

learn more about upcoming events

ROCKPILE


NO PROBLEM

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

political.

“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

PHOTO:KEITH MARLOWE

MacKinnon.

“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.

bandcamp.com/

ROCKPILE BEATROUTE • JUNE 2018 | 23


REAL SICKIES

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

material.”

BORSCHT

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

capture it.”

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

and candy.

“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

songwriting.

“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

borscht.bandcamp.com

ROCKPILE


THE NIELSENS

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

highway.

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

making art!

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

of L-O-V-E.

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

be served!

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


YYCJAZZ

DEANNE MATLEY

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

Calgary.

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

your heart.”

KODI HUTCHINSON

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

SHELDON ZANDBOER

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

another.”

BEATROUTE • JUNE 2018 | 27


June 20 - 24

Something wonderful comes your way...


DEERHOOF

ALEC WARKENTIN

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

in Baltimore.

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

Family Tines

BY

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

their discography.

“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

artist selections

Deerhoof’s festival picks include nine musical acts,

one comedian and one short film

CHERRY GLAZERR

“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.”

EMPATH

“Garrett [Koloski],

the drummer,

“If

we

was playing drums

were

in Perfect Pussy, who

going

to

we really loved and had

toured with. And then when

try and

they stopped playing and moved to

represent

Philadelphia …the next thing we knew

Deerhoof’s

he had formed this other band! And, like, it’s

taste on a

as if half of what was going on in empath was

curated festival,

we were

straight from the textbook of Perfect Pussy. It’s so

aggressive, so loud. And then, the other half of it

definitely going

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

less controlled.”

BECKY JAMES

“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

“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.”

WYE OAK

“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

singer.”

30 | JUNE 2018 • BEATROUTE

ROCKPILE


EUCADEMIX

“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.

SOLID FREEX

“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

completely amazing.”

PRISSY WHIP

“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

want.”

GUERILLA TOSS

“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.”

TYONDAI BRAXTON

“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

enveloped

in the beauty of

the sound, and

follow the way

it changes.”

SHABAZZ PALACES

“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


JOHN MAUS

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

mysterious artist.

“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

next show.”

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

explains.

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

works.

“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?

ROCKPILE


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

expect.

“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

the music.”

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


CHERRY GLAZERR

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,

Cherry Glazerr.

36 | JUNE 2018 • BEATROUTE

ROCKPILE


WYE OAK

tuning to a new frequency, yet again

BY PAUL MCALEER

Andy Stack and

Jenn Wasner creating

dream-pop wizardy

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 —

for granted.

“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

gets easier.


MOUNT KIMBIE

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


SLEDMONTON

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

Cantoo.”

“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

excited!!”

“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.”

“Real Sickies.”

“We are Counterfeit Jeans from Edmonton.”

“Mustafa Rafiq preforming as Family Injera.”

“Marlaena Moore.”

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

hosted on?

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.

JUCY BEATROUTE

• JUNE 2018 | 39


JUCY

ELDERBROOK

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.

his notoriety.

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

folky music.”

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

hastily.”

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

heights.

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.


SILKQ

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

soliloquy.

“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

into play.”

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

and Dash.

“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

JUSTIN MARTIN

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

month:

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

too bulky.

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

PHOTO: BEEDEE

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.

JUCY


ROOTS

MO KENNEY

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

Kenney.

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

helpful.”

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

really doing?”

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).

ROOTS


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

of that.”

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

(Winnipeg).

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.

ROOTS


COUSIN HARLEY

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

something else.”

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


SHRAPNEL

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

country!”

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,”

Roth admits.

“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

musical scope.

“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

musical expression.”

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

you that.

“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

Ray Vaughan.

“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

your mind.

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)

This Month

In METAL

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

SHRAPNEL


musicreviews

Neko Case

Hell On

Epitaph Records

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

Baptists

Beacon of Faith

Southern Lord

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

Sub Pop

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

Dumb

Seeing Green

Mint Records

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

Ghost

Prequelle

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

right reasons.

• Trevor Morelli

Little Snake

ENTER EP

Brainfeeder

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

Mademoiselle

Choke

Independent

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

punk rock.

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

Eamon McGrath

Tantramar

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

subsequent listen.

• Mike Dunn

Oxlip

“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

BARNBURNER

CONCERT

LEEROY STAGGER & GUESTS @ BIG ROCK BREWERY 09\15\18

BIG ROCK BREWERY | 5555 76 AVE SE, CALGARY AB

Peach Kelli Pop

Gentle Leaders

Mint Records

• 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

Leon Vynehall

Nothing Is Still

Ninja Tune

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

enjoying them.

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

Yob

Our Raw Heart

Profound Lore

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.


livereviews

Queens of the Stone Age, Royal Blood

Scotiabank Saddledome, Calgary

May 17

Preoccupations, Freak

Heat Wave

The Palomino, Calgary

May 4

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:

Keeghan Rouleau

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,

Mdemoiselle

Nite Owl, Calgary

May 19

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:

Michael Grondin


MGMT

Big Four Roadhouse, Calgary

May 9

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

gothic organs.

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

May 26

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

volunteer welcoming

committee outside the

Border Crossing.

60 | JUNE 2018 • BEATROUTE


JUNE HOROSCOPES

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

formed.

Song suggestion for the month: “Hug of Thunder” - Broken

Social Scene

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


SAVAGE LOVE

What Works

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.

mail@savagelove.net

@fakedansavage on Twitter

ITMFA.org

BY DAN SAVAGE

62 | JUNE 2018 • BEATROUTE

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