BeatRoute Magazine AB Edition February 2019

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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.

Currently BeatRoute’s AB edition is distributed in Calgary, Edmonton (by S*A*R*G*E), Banff and Canmore. The BC edition is distributed in Vancouver, Victoria and Nanaimo. BeatRoute (AB) Mission PO 23045 Calgary, AB T2S 3A8 E. BeatRoute (BC) #202 – 2405 E Hastings Vancouver, BC V5K 1Y8 P. 778-888-1120
























COVER 20-22


ARTS 6-11

Exposure Fest, Glenbow, Weird Valentine’s




rockpile 15-18

Monster Truck, The Varmoors, Slowcoaster,

Mindseed, Summerfallow, Sellout

edmonton extra 27

jucy 29-31

Shad, Vanic, Kyle Watson, Let’s Get Jucy

roots 32-34

Dan Mangan, Freak Motif, Block Heater

shrapnel 36-37

CONAN, Clutch, Month in Metal


Homeshake and much more ...

live reviews BIG WINTER CLASSIC 43

sex toys! 45

savage love 46

Sex toys for valentinos - pg. 45

Christian Dior’s famous perfume, Diorssima,

introduced in 1956. On display at the

Glenbow from Feb. 3 - June 2.




Brad Simm


Glenn Alderson


Colin Gallant


Hayley Muir


Masha Scheele


Miguel Morales


Arts/Film :: Brad Simm

Rockpile :: Christine Leonard

Edmonton Extra :: Stephan Boissonneault

Jucy :: Paul Rodgers

Roots:: Mike Dunn

Shrapnel :: Christine Leonard

Reviews :: Glenn Alderson


Alix Bruch • Emilie Charette • Sarah Mac •

Michael Grondin • Gareth Jones • Mathew Silver

• Kevin Bailey • Hayley Pukanski • Nicholas

Laugher • Arnaud Sparks • Brittney Rousten •

Breanna Whipple • Alex Meyer • Jay King • Mike

Dunn • Shane Sellar • Kaje Annihilatrix • Dan

Savage • Sarah Allen • William Leurer • Jessie

Foster • Jamie Campbell • Trevor Hatter • Brenna

Whipple • Trevor Morelli • Logan Peters • Fredy

Belland • Stepan Soroka •

Art Direction: Jennie Big Kitty

Cover Photo: Sebastian Buzzalino

Cover Design: Troy Beyer


Ron Goldberger

(403) 607-4948 •


We distribute in Calgary, Edmonton,

Banff, Canmore and Lethbridge.

Greenline Distribution in Edmonton

Mike Garth

(780) 707-0476




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Copyright © BEATROUTE Magazine 2019

All rights reserved. Reproduction of the contents

is prohibited without permission.



$10 Date Night returns to Studio Bell

The National Music Centre (NMC) is pleased bring back its

popular $10 Date Night at Studio Bell presented by East Village,

starting on February 12, 2019. Visitors to Studio Bell can

enjoy extended hours and discounted admission rates once

per month from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm on February 12, March

12, April 10, May 14, June 11, July 9, August 13, September 10,

October 8, and November 12.

Studio Bell is the perfect after work date night destination

with five floors of exhibitions to explore, interactive activities,

memorabilia from four Canadian music halls of fame, and new

temporary exhibitions celebrating iconic Canadians. Studio

Bell’s new and improved public tours will also be available

during $10 Date Night events.

Advanced tickets can be purchased at

Public tours are available at an added cost of $7 for adults,

$5 for students/seniors, and are free for youth and children

(12 years of age and under). All public tours can be booked in

person at Studio Bell during $10 Date Night.

glow: Downtown Calgary’s Winter Light


glow: Downtown Winter Light Festival is an annual family-friendly

light and music festival in the heart of downtown

Calgary happening from Thursday, February. 14 - Monday,

February. 18. This free, all-ages event welcomes everyone to

warm up winter’s darkest days and experience one-of-a-kind

interactive light displays, art, entertainment, food trucks and


Some of the events include Nightlight presented by

Bassbus, in which Olympic Plaza will be transformed into a

bioluminescent world of glowing jellyfish and pulsing waves of

light, with a musicial backdrop curated by cutting edge DJs and

stage performers. On February 17th, glow will also be joined

by local performers: Michael Bernard Fitzgerald, JJ Shiplett, The

Static Shift and Brad Saunders at Olympic Plaza. Visit www. for more information!

Soundoff Summit

Entering the fourth edition of SoundOff Summit Music Conference,

since first launching in 2012 as part of Calgary 2012 celebrations,

SoundOff has showcased a diversity of export-ready

Calgary artists to national and international industry delegates.

In 2016, the three-day festival was an official JUNO host

committee event that brought in 11 industry members from

across Canada and UK, and showcased 16 artists. Now entering

the 4th edition of SoundOff Summit Music Calgary is pleased

to be showcasing 44 local Calgary artists, to a diverse group

of national and international music professionals. Artists will

be playing at venues around the city, and tickets can be found

on eventbrite. For more information on SoundOff visit: www.

Mark Mills, one of 40 colourful

artists performing at

Soundoff Summit.

Esette (aka Isis Graham) one of several

DJs featured during Nightlight presented

by Bassbus.

Arts Commons Presents: Black History Month

with UNGANISHA and We Gon Be Alright

On February 22 & 23, the margins of the Black community move to

the front and center in the Engineered Air Theatre. We Gon Be Alright

is a cabaret experience highlighting the resilience of Black women and

Queer Black folks in tumultuous and uncertain times. Through the

challenging and provocative visions of five Black artists, including host

and local spoken word poet Mel Vee, we reimagine the past and look

to the future. For tickets, call 403-294-9494 or visit




rethinking extreme boardsports with art

Not many people think about the origins of skateboarding, surfing, or snowboarding—

boardsports that now each have multi-million-dollar businesses behind them in the

form of gear, clothing, and other culture oddities—but they are actually very Indigenous.

A recent interdisciplinary art exhibition at the Art Gallery of Alberta (AGA) called Boarder

X aims to demonstrate how board sports have a powerful relationship to the land and all

stem from Indigenous heritage. Boardsports actually all began with surfing which was an

ancient part of Indigenous Polynesian and Samoan cultures.

“Surfing was then adapted into land surfing with skateboarding and then snowboarding,”

says the exhibition’s curator Jaimie Issac. “It [the exhibition] really celebrates that culture arts

and boarding practices intersect in many of the artists’ work and it really embodies how the

artists interact to their environments, politics, and cultural landscapes that they occupy.”

Boarder X had its beginnings as a smaller exhibit at the Winnipeg Art Gallery in 2016. This

current iteration has artwork from more than 10 artists including Jordan Bennett, Meghann

O’Brien, Amanda Strong, Mark Igloliorte, and more.

“I also have this background of being a snowboarder, skateboarding and surfing, so I have

that kind of connection to the show,” says Issac. “I was really interested to do the research of

other Indigenous contemporary artists across Canada that had a practice of skateboarding,

snowboarding, or surfing and channelled that practice within their artwork. So, all of the

artists continue that practice.”

The exhibition has close to every type of artistic medium within it including, but not limited

to: painting, sculpture, video installation, photography, puppetry, and 3D monitoring.

“One [artist] that I knew about years before the exhibition opening was Mark Igloliorte

who uses two videos in the show to think about his Inuit heritage by doing the Eskimo

roll with the kayak and in the other video, doing a kickflip. It’s actually the same gesture of

rotational spin,” says Issac. “Jordan Bennett has also brought in skateboarding as a way to

mobilize traditional knowledge and heritage of the land.”

Ultimately, Boarder X is about rethinking the notions of extreme sports as more of a way

to connect with the land around you.

“As a skateboarder in the urban context, you’re skating in these urban spaces,” says Issac.

“Snowboarding is the same. Meghann O’Brien—who used to be a professional snowboarder—thinks

about her weaving practice with the mountain goat wool that she also shares the

mountain with. So really, extreme sports a really a way of life.”

Boarder X also has a sister exhibition that is being presented along with it called cantchant,

by multimedia Australian artist Vernon Ah Kee. It’s a massive installation of surfboards decorated

with traditional shield designs and colours of the Aboriginal flag.

“On the flipside of the boards are portraits of Vernon Ah Kee’s ancestors and relatives,”

says Issac. “The installation is surrounded by text paintings that talk about the race riots

in Sydney Australia. It’s really talking about territorialism within surfing culture but also an

erasure of the Aboriginal people that had origins to surfing and their relationship to the land.

It’s a really strong work and it pairs really nicely with the Boarder X exhibition.”

By Amanda Strong, Maashchii (to move), 2018.

Border X runs from Jan. 26 - May 19, 2019 at the Art Gallery of Alberta (Edmonton)


By Bracken Hanuse Corlett,

Potlach or Die, 2018.

Acrylic on wood, horse hair.




By Micheal Langan / Colonialism Skateboards Collaboration with Kent Monkman, The Four Continents, 2018.




February’s fantastic photo fest

With over 40 photography exhibitions located in Calgary, Canmore, Banff, Medicine Hat, and Longview,

in addition to 60 plus events taking place throughout Alberta, Exposure is one of the most diverse and

intriguing photo fests that comes alive all through the month of February. Now in it’s 15th year, here’s a

few highlights waiting to be discovered.


Glenbow Museum Feb. 3 - June 2, 2019

In February of 1947, a 42-year-old fashion designer named Christian

Dior unveiled his debut haute couture collection in Paris. Casting

aside the plain pragmatism of apparel introduced during the Second

World War, Dior’s designs revived the glamour of bygone eras

and focused on exaggerated, elegant silhouettes– long skirts and

accentuated bosoms with a cinched waist – and reveled in masses of

fabric and intricate embroidery. It was dubbed “the New Look” and

was an immediate sensation. Dior’s contemporary vision extended to

what he called the “complete look,” a holistic design philosophy that

dressed a woman from the smallest of details outwards, including her

perfume, handbag, shoes and jewelry. Dior revolutionized the French

fashion industry by creating multiple ways for women to achieve the

highly desirable Dior style.

The Little Gallery

Title: Translife in Asia. Artist: Kloie Picot

Framed on Fifth

Title: Returning Home. Artist: Kristofer Schofield

Christine Klassen Gallery

Title: Sanctuary. Artist: Lori Andrews

Jarvis Hall Gallery

Title: Clarahan Portals. Artist: Susan Clarahan

THE FENCE is a large-scale traveling photography exhibition reaching over four million visitors

annually through open-air exhibitions in seven cities across the United States: Brooklyn, Boston,

Atlanta, Houston, Santa Fe, Durham, Denver, and now returns to Exposure for 2019.

Presenting work by photographers of all levels across seven thematic categories: Home, Streets,

People, Creatures, Nature, Play, and Food, this upcoming exhibition will also feature a portion

exclusive to Calgary: The Western Regional. This portion features eight Western Canadian photographers.

From Feb.1 - 28, The FENCE will be located on MacLeod Trail, 13th Ave SE & 12th Ave SE,

installed on pre-existing construction fencing. This location is courtesy of ONE Properties Ltd.


The Fence, Exposure 2018

FESTIVAL HQ From Feb, 5 - 28 the Exposure Festival HQ will be held in the historic Pioneer Building

(117 8th Ave SW), located on Stephen Ave. Featuring three stories of gallery space, this building will

host multiple exhibitions (the annual Emerging Photographers Showcase, the Open Call - showcasing

work of international artists, and the 2018 Emerging Photographers Showcase Winners solos show)

along with several special events throughout the month. The HQ is the essential hub full of festival

information and activity. Also visit for more details.

Drawn largely from the extensive fashion and textile collection of the

Royal Ontario Museum, the exhibition includes exquisite gowns and

smart daytime apparel, perfumes and accessories - all from the first

ten years of the House of Dior (1947 – 1957), when Christian Dior

himself designed the pieces. It explores the construction of Dior’s designs

to understand how the House reinvented modern dressmaking

by reviving forgotten historical skills and fusing them with unprecedented

designs, cuts, and materials. It highlights the artisans, designers

and manufacturers who pioneered new luxury products and the

business models that help explain how, in ten short years and only

22 collections, Christian Dior accounted for over five percent of all

French exports and created a new ideal of femininity that appealed to

fashionable women around the world.


Messages from the Stars: a look into the cycles and cosmic details of an unfolding forevermore,

along with the lovers playlist for February


To quote the great Linda Goodman,

“sometimes, it seems that the problems of

two people who love each other are hopeless,

the wall that separates them too high to ever

surmount. But their problems would all dissolve,

simply disappear, if they would only touch hands

or hearts or minds—or even touch noses—and

whisper just one word: ‘magic!’ For love is magic,

the secret power all who love possess without realizing

it. No matter how great the injury, or how

bitter the words, love will erase it all as if it had

never been. But not without the desire and effort

to do so on the part of the one who has inflicted

the pain—not without the quality of forgiveness

on the part of the one who’s been deeply hurt.

Desire, effort and forgiveness, intermingled, are

necessary to release love’s force and power.”

Love is the theme for this month’s astrological

forecast, as we all strive to deepen and grow in

our capacity to love, feel and exchange. It feels as

if we are all going through something sometimes

and, really, shouldn’t we all strive to love each

other more? Love can be full of odd contradictions

and paradoxical insights yet, may I dare

to say, without it life would not be worth living.


Love can be the balm for the wound or the razors

edge. May you love all those in your life with love

that’s soft, fierce, sensual and calming. May we all

learn to love each other right in this lifetime.

Mercury transits Aquarius this next month the

day after St. Valentine’s and themes of communication,

community and relationship pierce like

cupid’s arrow. It is a time to speak your truth and

see where it lands. Aquarius, being the rebel and

the visionary, asks you to expand your horizons

of perception and look at reality from a place beyond

your current edges. Be willing and open to

see things that may shake up the tapestry of your

life. Mercury as the messenger will bring about

clarifications and wisdom. Be mindful of overtalking

and step outside of yourself to see others.

If freedom is love and love is freedom, perhaps

we must look at new definitions of freedom if we

are to find love.

This transit will affect each sign uniquely, here

is a look at how:

ARIES (March 21–April 20) Diversification

of your personal connections and a boost in

the way silver laces your palm. That’s right

baby, get ready for a little income boost or

a lucky gift. Check in with those you hold in

your heart and be open to understanding


TAURUS (April 21–May 21) New plans,

new dreams and new horizons. This is a

redefining period that sees you being seen

more within a professional realm. How are

you reinventing yourself? Your efforts will

be noticed, so check in with where to place

them. Let the light shine in and gravitate

towards peace.

GEMINI (May 22–June 21) A fruitful time

for little fortunes and a confusing one for

big decisions. This is a time to manage the

micro so you can expand into the macro.

Luck and abundance are at your fingertips

if you reach for it. So reach and thank with

deep gratitude. Many hands will present

pieces to your dreams this cycle.

CANCER (June 22–July 23) A dive into the

seas of the mystic and a return to the waters

of the occult sound like due course. A

pull towards study and the spiritual, whatever

that may mean to you. This is a time to

return to yourself and step away from the

world and its sensory input.

LEO (July 24–Aug. 23) Partnerships both

professional and romantic grow stronger

during this transit for you. This period sees

you rising and rising. Newness abounds

and opportunity continues to create new

doorways to pass through. Stay humble

and hold your head high, sovereign one.

VIRGO (Aug. 24–Sept. 23) Watch your

health baby, this could be a tricky cycle for

you. Elevate yourself by taking the time

to care for yourself and your emotional

needs. On the career front, this may be an

illuminating one as you are seen for all the

work you put in. You are a hardworking

one and this cycle would care to see you

rise in status due to this quality.

LIBRA (Sept. 24–Oct. 23) Expansion of

the mind and intellectual pursuits gain

increasing importance during this transit.

This may be a time of planning future

visions that take you further from home

than expected. This is a time of flourishing

love life, tap into the erotic and allow the

sensual pleasures to infuse you and those

you care for.

SCORPIO (Oct. 24–Nov. 22) Minor irritations

on the home front may show face,

counteract this with beautification of your

space and nourishing alone-time. Chances

are you will receive encouraging correspondence

and a new opportunity or two.

Feel inspired to ask for what you want and

receive what you deserve.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 23–Dec. 21) Feeling

ambitious and kinda confused will share

space this cycle for you, ever-expanding

babe. Feel unity of all kind as you explore

social dynamics. Learn which situations

are most fruitful for you and endure the

challenges that may come your way. This

cycle will send concentric circles through

the realm of clear speech. You will be a

stronger communicator on the other side

of this.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22 –Jan. 20) A cycle of

gains and strides, be ready to feel greater

inspiration and clarity. You may receive

communication from an old friend or past

lover at this time. Be open to communicating

in a new way from a greater space

of healing.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 21–Feb. 19) Surprises and

support are keywords this cycle. It is an

auspicious one for you that may see you

traveling near and far. Trust in the support

structures you have around you and continue

to build up the community that holds

you. Check-ins with partnerships come up

so you may respect each other for who you

each are.

PISCES (Feb. 20–March 20) Choices, options

and considerations: get right with you,

so that you may get right with your life. You

may be considering a change of residence

during this cycle. Remember that you take

yourself wherever you go. What is it you

really feel called to change? Take the time

to trust your feelings but test them too.

Maintain calm as you create the new.

Astrological Lovers Playlist

for February:

1. “Show Me How” – Men I Trust

2. “Break for Lovers (Feat.Helena)” – Men I

Trust, Helena

3. “Dead to Me” – Kali Uchis

4. “Lay Me Down” – Carla dal Forno

5. “The Feeling When You Walk Away” –

Yves Tumor

6. “Farewell American Primitive” – Ariel


7. “Soon-to-be Innocent Fun/Let’s See” –

Arthur Russell

8. “Sex Music” – Beak>

9. “Beautiful People” – Mark Pritchard,

Thom Yorke

10. “Everyone Alive Wants Answers” –


11. “I Am Curious, I Care” – Kaitlyn Aurelia


12. “In Gardens’ Muteness” – Julia Holter

13. “Good Intentions Paving Company –

Joanna Newsom

14. “The Great Undressing” – Jenny Hval

15. “Intern” – Angel Olsen

16. “Freedom” – Amen Dunes

17. “Brighter!” – Cass McCombs

18. “Sun’s Out” – Hoops

19. “So Many Details” – Toro y Moi

20. “Eyes So Bright” – Cate le Bon

21. “Times Is Weird” – John Maus



delightfully weird Valentines

Valentine cards were produced by the millions

throughout the 20th century for the sharing of

affection between lovers and friends alike. c’s collection

is comprised mostly of children’s valentines designed

by artists working for publishing companies. With their

bright colours and shapely die-cut edges, they were

cheaply bought and widely passed between kids at school

around Valentine’s day. Today they make a fun and cheap


Most of Kipling’s strange collection are commercially-produced

valentines, and she’s especially fond of mechanical

cards with movable parts. For her; the stranger

the better. As a commercial illustrator herself, Kipling

knows very well that artists have long been subversive and

like to sneak sublime messages into their work through

suggestive artwork and double entendre. Her collection

certainly shows that.

Common themes include animals, ghosts, robots,

clowns, food, outer space, nurses and doctors. The interplay

of text and images are usually innocent but can also

include outrageous references to sex, bondage, murder,

suicide and more.

What do you collect and why do you collect them?

Weird vintage valentines! Some of them are little works of

art. Some of them are just stupid. I’m happy to walk that line.

What got you started?

Well, at first I just wanted to find some images of skunk

valentines for a blog post, back around 13 years ago. So I

fell down the rabbit hole of eBay and valentine collectors

pretty fast, and started finding valentines a lot weirder

than skunks.

How many do you have?

Good question. Four or five shoeboxes full?

What makes a good one for you?

My favorites are from the ‘30s to ’50. Before that they’re mostly too

precious and sweet, and after that the art gets sloppy. After the mid-

70s they all seem to be tied in with movies or TV shows and I’m just

not interested. My favorites are the ones that are beautifully painted

and also have a sentiment that makes you say WTF out loud. There

are a lot of guns and weaponry and sexism in those old valentines,

stuff that hopefully wouldn’t pass today. There’s a whole other genre

I don’t collect, which is the racist valentines. Some of those are really


Where do you get them?

eBay, mostly. Sometimes people find them and give them to me.

Tell me about the one that got away.

A beautifully rendered hinge, with something like, “My love hinges

on you, Valentine”. So dumb. I keep looking for that one on eBay but

haven’t found another yet.

Advice or pointers for other collectors?

Buy what makes you laugh.

Kipling is an artist and illustrator responsible for such creations as a

Halloween Tarot Card set and offbeat toys like Sparkzilla and Glowing

Maggots. After meeting her and discussing her collection, I’m

reminded of how a collector’s uniqueness and creativity can often

be seen in their collecting interests. Why not see what themes

and inferences you can find? A selection of Kipling’s strange and

wonderful valentines can be found on her flickr page at www.





geek theatre goes noir

Scorpio Theatre, the community theatre company that prides

itself on being “theatre for people who don’t like theatre,”

is marking a milestone with Blood Of The Red Queen: Citizen

Smee. “This is our 50th play,” notes playwright Dan Gibbins, who

wrote Scorpio’s first play in 2000 and proudly cites the company’s

geek roots in their partnerships with Calgary Comic and

Entertainment Expo.

For Citizen Smee, a sequel to Scorpio’s Blood Of The Red Queen,

Gibbins ventures into a neo-noir take on classic literary characters

including Alice (of Alice in Wonderland), Peter Pan, and Jim

Hawkins (of Treasure Island).

“The origins go back to 2012,” Gibbins says. “I’d just directed this

super-dark version of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and I came

out of it thinking, ‘How would that experience affect Alice? Or how

would Oz affect Dorothy? Or Neverland affect Wendy? What if we

put them all in ‘40s Los Angeles, and also there was a murder?’”

Working with Gibbins, director Chelsea Millard is fired up

about taking familiar characters in unfamiliar directions. “It is

a twist, but when you take a step back, the twists make sense.”

She adds that kind of mashup is part of the theatre company’s

longevity and success. “Scorpio has found the formula to bring in

an audience that wouldn’t necessarily come to see a musical or a

Shakespeare show.”


Shandra McQueen and Stephanie Morris. PHOTO: IAN POND

Blood Of The Red Queen: Citizen Smee is playing Feb. 22 - Mar. 2

at the Pumphouse Theatre, for more info visit

Bring It On Home: Peter Grant, Led Zeppelin, and

Beyond — The Story of Rock's Greatest Manager

by Mark Blake

Da Capo Press

There’s a woman doing cartwheels “without any knickers on”

down the aisle of Led Zeppelin’s chartered jet, there’s Jimmy

Page sauntering dark and sexy across the stage wearing his Nazi SS

hat, there’s plastic bags full of “Peruvian marching powder” slit open

and offered up on the tip of a blade, there’s duffle bags stuffed with

cash whisked off in a fleet of limousines led by police escort, and

there’s the bodyguards, the road crew, the thugs unleashing their

menace and backstage violence.

It’s all there in Bring It On Home, the recent biography of Led

Zeppelin’s influential but notorious manager Peter Grant. Zeppelin’s

American tours in the ‘70s were overflowing with excitement, soldout

shows, sex, scandal, recklessness, booze, drugs, gangster love and

millions of dollars. While author Mark Blake (Pink Floyd biographer)

doesn’t go into great detail on every occasion (except the infamous

Oakland incident), his cross-section of recollections and tidbits of

stories is staggering, revealing that the depth and breadth of Zeppelin’s

rock ‘n’ roll pillaging of the U.S. was indeed an explosive, albeit

disturbing, fantasy in the flesh.

At the helm of its business operations was Grant, a former

bouncer, bit-part actor who graduated to management during the

mid-60s British Invasion of pop bands. Grant knew Jimmy Page,

helped him forge ahead with Led Zeppelin and secure a significant

deal with Atlantic Records. When touring America, where the band

skyrocketed, Grant became the “godfather” of music managers.

A large, intimidating man with underworld connections in the

East End of London, Grant was a fearless and feared leader who set

out to provide and protect his boys as they roamed through the


land of opportunity. For promoters bidding on Zeppelin, he set the

bar high where an unprecedented 90 percent of ticket sales went to

the band. An absurd demand at the time, but Grant got it up front

before the stage lights went on — thousands in cash taken right at

the till by handlers not unaccustomed to strong-arm tactics. With

bank accounts busting at the seams , like no band had seen before,

Zeppelin dove deep into their hedonistic hearts.

The sexapades are only touched upon — Blake saves us from rehashing

the sordid shark tale, the mythical groupies and fascinations

with leather, feathers, whips and ropes. Substance abuse, however,

another story.

By the mid-70s Page, Bonham and inside crew members segued

into heroin. During Zeppelin’s last conquest of American in 1977

the guitarist spiraled down, often close to comatose before and

after shows. Cocaine was rampant on and off the road turning the

band’s business office, where Grant held court on the fashionable

Kings Road, into a nasty drug den frequented by shady dealers. And

Bonham, sadly, would die from an all night booze-up in 1980.

Even before his death, the mighty Zeppelin was rapidly imploding

largely because Page and Grant, who once drove the band with

their creative brilliance and fierce financial force, were consumed

by addiction. After the formal break-up, Grant, with no band to

manage on the scale of Zeppelin, slipped further into the perils of

cocaine becoming a paranoid recluse locked away in the bedroom

of his country estate surrounded by, yes, a moat.

Making matters worse, the ugly beating of a stage hand in

Oakland during the ‘77 tour by Grant and body-guard John Bindon,

a seasoned criminal, would come further into light seriously damaging

Grant’s reputation. While he would eventually overcome his

craving for coke and largely repair his stature as the manager who

made millions for musicians, Zeppelin’s crash landing took a heavy

toll on Grant.

In the book, band members witnessing the escalating success of

their fandom and extravagance, wondered, “Just how much bigger

could it get?” At their peak the question they neglected, of course,

was, “How far will it come tumbling down?” Bring It On Home is a

sobering glimpse into Led Zeppelin’s demise.




the art of seeing different degrees

Bruce Horak’s journey to create his show Assassinating

Thompson dates back to 2013 and

the Vancouver Fringe. But his personal journey

as an artist extends to his childhood. “I was diagnosed

with what’s called bilateral retinoblastoma,

which is cancer of the eye, when I was eighteen

months old,” Horak says. Treating this condition

resulted in the loss of over 90% of his vision,

including complete blindness in one eye, tunnel

vision, and light sensitivity.

Early on, however, Horak was determined that

he not be judged by his condition. “As soon as I

got my first contact lens in grade 11, and got rid

of my big coke-bottle glasses, I figured out pretty

quickly how to look like a sighted person. I didn’t

want to be pigeonholed as a visually impaired or

blind actor. I wanted to be judged on the merit of

my work, instead of like a caveat, ‘He’s okay for a

blind guy.’ That was a big fear of mine.”

Over the years, Horak’s art guided him to

overcome that fear and to embrace his own

unique perspective. “Trying to interpret my visual

impairment in visual art meant coming to an understanding

of how I see. Instead of trying to look

like a sighted person, I was able to look through

my own eye, and appreciate it.”

It was in the process of visual art that

Horak’s idea for Assassinating Thompson, his

semi-biographical account of Tom Thomson,

crystallized. “Over the course of the year that

I was developing it, I was kind of stymied as to

what I was going to do with the show. At the


same time, I was working on a portrait series.

Inevitably, in a portrait sitting, there would be

the questions of, ‘How did you get started?’,

‘What’s this all about?’ and I would explain about

my eyesight and tell the story of my cancer. I was

sitting with a friend, doing her portrait, and over

the course of that, the show just kind of came

out of my mouth.”

From there, Horak realized he could weave

a narrative back and forth between painting a

portrait while telling the story of Tom Thomson,

the celebrated Canadian painter and member of

the Group of Seven who mysteriously died at the

age of 39. “There’s lots of theories about it,” Horak

says. “But nobody has published or written the

theory that I put forward.”

Alongside presenting that theory, Horak

creates a painting of the audience, over the

approximately 55 minute runtime. The portraits

are then live-auctioned off at the end of the show,

with proceeds from the Lunchbox run going to

the Alzheimer’s Society.

Horak’s dual narrative in Assassinating

Thompson is something he wants people to

enjoy on multiple levels as well. “I hope that there

are opportunities for blocked creatives to start, to

unblock. For me, it certainly took a long time, to

have the courage, to just go for it.”

Assassinating Thompson is playing at Lunchbox

Theatre from Feb. 11 - Mar. 2. For tickets and more

information visit


same-sex confrontation

Chantal Han

With the world premiere of Elena Eli Belyea’s

Smoke, Downstage is definitely living

up to its tagline: “Canadian plays that crweate

meaningful conversation.”

In Smoke, the conversation on stage is

between Aiden, and her ex, Jordan, about the

allegation that Jordan sexually assaulted Aiden

two years ago. Off stage, the conversation

among the cast and crew, which will undoubtedly

be echoed by audiences, is about gender

roles, memory and consent.

The real twist, though, is that while Aiden

is consistently played by actor Chantal Han in

every performance, on alternating nights Jordan

is played by either a female or a male perform-


er. Han sees a lot more depth in that decision

beyond a simple gimmick.

“There’s so many different implications,”

Han says. “What does it mean when a woman

does that to another woman? What kind of

expectations do we have when a man does that

to a woman?”

With the still-recent events of #MeToo,

Smoke has a lot of contextual issues to operate

in. Han suggests that a play like this is indicative

of changing attitudes. “I wonder if in a different

era this would never come to light,” she says,

but also adds that there’s still room for growth.

“In general we haven’t made space in our

minds...for two women in a loving couple, and

one of them [committing sexual assault] agains

the other. What is rape between women?”

But regardless of which night audiences

attend - with Han opposite a male or female

costar - she hopes people are open to all

possibilities. “My hope is that in a time of

polarization and extremes, the audience will

make room in their heart for nuance and

complexity,” she says.

Smoke is presented by Downstage Feb. 13-23 at

the Big Secret Theatre, for tickets visit downstage.

ca or call 403.294.9494.






First Man

Bad Times at the El Royale

Bird Box



rewind to the future

Hunter Killer

The upside to being a submarine captain is

your crew has no choice but to go down with

the ship too. However, the commander in this

thriller hopes to keep his tub leak-free.

Unorthodox officer Joe (Gerard Butler)

is assigned to helm the USS Arkansas on an

investigation in to the disappearance of the

USS Tampa Bay. When Joe locates the missing

sub he also uncovers a plot by the Russian

defense minister to overthrow his government

by orchestrating WWIII. As his admiral (Gary

Oldman) negotiates with the usurper, Joe and

his Russian counterpart (Michael Nyqvist) try

to thwart the coup.

While the unlikely alliance between the

two super powers is timely and the action is

intense at times, this badly acted underwater

white-knuckler is eerily similar to many other

naval tales of its ilk.

Nevertheless, submarine battles remain the

best form of warfare because you don’t see the


First Man

The best thing about being the first man on

the moon is finally getting to take a dump in

peace. Fortunately, this drama doesn’t depict

any astronauts popping squats in craters.

Following the death of his daughter, test

pilot Neil Armstrong (Ryan Gosling) joins

NASA’s mission to put a man on the moon

before the Russians. Along with Deke Slayton

(Kyle Chandler) and Buzz Aldrin (Corey Stoll),

Neil trains his body for the suicide mission.

Meanwhile his wife (Claire Foy) worries about

her husband’s coldhearted approach to never

seeing his family again.

Beautifully shot with a haunting score and

stoic acting from Gosling, this meditation on

the first man on the moon may be a fine character

study of the no-nonsense astronaut but

it is also a very slow moving one at that.

Incidentally, Vladimir Putin wants to put

the first women on the moon by imprisoning

Pussy Riot there.

Bad Times at the El Royale

The best thing about living on the Nevada/

California border is that after sinning you

can go straight to rehab. Mind you, the hotel

guests in this thriller tend to favour the immoral

side of the boundary marker.

A priest (Jeff Bridges), a singer (Cynthia

Erivo) and a salesman (Jon Hamm) walk into

the lobby of a hotel that rests on the border

between the two states and check-in with

their baggage. The trio is later joined by a

kidnapper (Dakota Johnson) and a cult leader

(Chris Hemsworth). Each visitor has a secret

they’re running from or towards. And it comes

to a head one-night at the El Royale.

While the multiple narratives are somewhat

engaging, the assortment of oddball

characters intriguing and the direction stylish,

the overall production falls short thanks to

its laborious pacing and less than snappy


Moreover, the only conversation hotel

guests ever have together concerns the location

of the ice machine.

The Old Man & the Gun

It’s important to keep handguns away from

the elderly as they may mistake then for blow

dryers. Surprisingly, the septuagenarian in this

heist picture is more astute than most his age.

Career criminal Forrest Tucker (Robert

Redford) finally escapes custody in the 1970s

and goes on a successful crime spree while

in his seventies. Thanks to his charisma and

creativity, Tucker wins over bank patrons and

his long-time love (Sissy Spacek). He also uses

said attributes to evade the detective (Casey

Affleck) sent to apprehend him for a number

of years.

The incredible true story of one of history’s

greatest prison escape artists as well as actor

Robert Redford’s final film performance, this

endearing cat-and-mouse caper is a superlative

send-off for the latter and a heartfelt

tribute to the deceased former.

However, it’s hard to believe that any senior

citizen can be in-and-out of a bank in under

an hour.

Bird Box

Although the athletes are heavily mutated,

post-apocalyptic Olympic games are a sight to

behold. Regrettably, the blindfolded resistance

in this horror movie will never be able to

observe one.

When an unseen entity begins manipulating

humans to kill themselves, expectant mother

Malorie (Sandra Bullock) must cover her eyes

to avoid the creature’s suicidal influence. Eventually,

she finds shelter with other survivors

(John Malkovich, Trevante Rhodes, BD Wong)

and gives birth. With word of a superior sanctuary

downstream, Malorie braves the torrents

blindfolded in order to get her brood there.

Although the dialogue is exceptionally

corny, the accomplished cast works wonders

with the material provided. And while the idea

of a sightless struggle for survival is certainly


nerve-racking and ingeniously depicted, this

Netflix adaptation of the dystopian bestseller

is too ambition for its 2-hour confines.

Moreover, everyone knows the only way to

tackle rapids blind is inside of a wooden barrel.


The biggest threat to nineties teenagers was

having their baggy clothing sucked in to

machinery. However, this dramedy depicts a

number of other dangerous situations that

generation tackled.

Drawn to the rebellious fun of skateboarding,

13-year-old Stevie (Sunny Suljic) aligns

himself with a rambunctious crew. Thanks to

his daring nature, he quickly works his way up

the ranks, drawing disdain from other skaters.

Meanwhile, Stevie’s new friends have become

a point of concern for his mother (Katherine

Waterston) and older brother (Lucas Hedges).

Extremely similar to a number of coming-of-age

dramas released in the 1990s

themselves, first-time director Jonah Hill does

a commendable job of bringing the era, its attitudes

and its soundtrack to life. Meanwhile,

the underage cast fit the slacker image to a tee

and deliver the crude slang with legitimacy.

And while there was wireless back then you

only had coverage to the end of your driveway.

Johnny English Strikes Again

The best thing about being a spy is that you

don’t have to save anything for retirement.

Sadly, the agent in this comedy was not tortured

to death before leaving the agency.

When his former employer MI7 is hacked by

a cyber-terrorist and the names of every active

field agent is revealed, geography teacher

Johnny English (Rowan Atkinson) is reinstated

and tasked with tracking down those behind

the hack. But as English attempts to outwit

his Russian counterpart (Olga Kurylenko), the

real perpetrator makes a deal with the British

Prime Minister (Emma Thompson) for access

to sensitive government material.

Stained by sight gags and pratfalls that

have been seen in previous installments of the

British franchise, this pointless sequel sinks

even lower with a hackneyed cyber-hacking

storyline that’s pretty much standard across

the espionage genre.

Moreover, when retired spies come back to

work they bring their woodworking projects

with them.

He has a banana split personality. He’s the…





baking a big batch of thunder

Unflinchingly obvious, Monster Truck are larger than they appear. (photo: Mathew Guido)

Big, bad and mean, Monster Truck is day of building the dough and then letting

a Hamilton phenomenon with the it sit overnight, and baking it the next day

multi-dimensional clout of a rock ‘n’ roll to have it turn out like shit,” Wilderman

juggernaut. Since the four-piece released says of his efforts that he also tries to pass

their third studio LP, True Rockers, last off to his bands member. “It really was like

September, Monster Truck has been riding two or three months of not getting great

high on the momentum along with the results for me before I started getting some

testosterone-fueled lead single "Evolution,"

featuring Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider. if people have enough time to wanna put

loaves I was satisfied with. So, I don’t know

Racking up tens of dozens of live shows into learning how to make bread. For me it

since their previous album Sittin’ Heavy ended up being worth it. But I’m not sure

(2016), the close-knit band has come to that’s something everyone wants to dive

appreciate the simple pleasures of life. headfirst into.”

Who knew that making a homemade meal For a hot minute there we thought Widerman

was talking about making an album

could compete with opening for Deep

Purple? Monster Truck, that’s who.

instead of baking a loaf.

“I like to do a lot of culinary stuff. I put a “You could say that,” he observes. “In the

fair amount of time into making sourdough studio it’s a lot harder actually than in the

bread in addition to doing a lot of Thai kitchen with the sourdough. The sourdough

cooking. Basically, just enjoying being in the kind of ends up being a thing where you

kitchen and trying to find new recipes to know it’s good by looking at it the second you

make and to liven up the ol’ dinner time at cut into it. You can see it from the outside, it's

home,” reports guitarist Jeremy Widerman. got an exterior element to it that is crucial to

Along with breaking out ear-grabbing knowing whether or not you did a good job.

rock anthems at the drop of a checkered In the studio you don’t know if you’re happy

flag, Widerman is also a self-professed sometimes until after the fact. There’s even

sourdough dealer to the stars. Or, at least, an element to some of the songs on the new

he’s trying to be.

album where I didn't’ realize I was happy with

“No one really wants it. It’s such an investment

of time to get through the entire you second guess, or are worried about

them until the album was out. Sometimes



or that, it’s really tough. I think some of the

hardest things we’ve had to deal with as a

band is knowing when an album is done. And

it’s been a struggle every time.”

Well beyond the too-many-mechanics in

the garage stage of their creative relationship,

the foursome made sure to pack

True Rockers with a crowd-pleasing array

of heavy blues and hard rock tracks that

showcase Monster Truck’s affinity for all

things loud and greasy. You can hear it in

the bouncing boogie of “Devil Don’t Care”,

the electric urbanity of “Young City Hearts”

and the Sunset Strip hustle of “Hurricane.”

And if that doesn’t convince you, the iconic

album cover most certainly will.

“That’s exactly what we’ve been going

for,” Widerman says of the van-worthy portraits.

“That was a very intentional move

on our behalf with the cover art in that we

wanted something big and boisterous and

unapologetic. Kind of unflinching in its obviousness.

And that’s what we did. We used

a tattoo artist named Tony Sklepic (Sanitarium

Studios) out of Edmonton. He dowwes

comic book style for the most part, but

he’s tattooed a couple of members of the

band. We asked him to do this cover and

he knocked it out of the park for us!”

The other essential component of

Monster Truck’s success lies in their unified

vision for a putting on a riveting live show

that will have fans reaching for their wallets

and their beers.

“That’s definitely a fundamental aspect

of trying to figure out whether or not

a song is good. And that’s what I most

envision when I’m working on a song, a

transition, a part or a vocal hook with the

band. I always try to put my mindset of

how it's going to feel to play live.”

If you believe the signals, it looks like

Monster Truck has a long career of selling

the edge of seats ahead of them.

“This is something that we’ve done over

10 years, but we’re the same band as when

we started. There are people who are just

getting onboard now who are bummed that

they missed out eight years ago. They’re like,

‘Where have you been my whole life?’ and

we’re like, ‘We’re right here!’”

Start your engines with Monster Truck at

The Palace Theatre (Calgary), Feb. 15 and 16

at Station on Jasper (Edmonton), Feb. 17 at

Louis (Saskatoon), and Feb. 19 at Pyramid



beers ‘n’ sunshiny buds

According to their bio, The Varmoors hail from

“tropical Calgary,” have beach boy hearts and

approach their music with an optimistic glass halffull,

nonchalant mentality that puts the listener at

ease in their presence. That they’re a circle of close

friends also adds to their sunny disposition.

“We started the band a couple years ago, but we

go back to elementary school. We were all friends

through skiing and ended up partying together

and becoming a tight crew. We all lived in the

Varmoor House,” explains Nick Styles, the band’s

vocalist and guitarist. The clubhouse, located on

Varmoor Road in the suburbs of Varsity Acres, is

where the band is loud and proud to be from.

“Some of us played instruments, some of us

didn’t. We figured we would start a band and have

some fun!” says Cam Duncan, one three guitarists

in The Valmoors who possess a camaraderie that

manifests into a democratic crew of songwriters.

“It’s a collective process. Someone may write a riff

and someone else will come in with lyrics. We jam

our ideas out and everyone is involved.”

Sharing a love for legendary rock artists like

Jimi Hendrix and The Rolling Stones, the sounds

of yesteryear are evident in The Varmoor’s music.

Flowing off their new album, These Days, they

interweave summery, surf vibes with that wild

‘60s-era energy which embraces an exciting but

loose, feel-good message. One listen and you’ll

find yourself whisked away by sound that’s as

welcome as a chinook breeze on cold winter day.

All that’s missing is the slice of lime in your bottle

of Corona.

“It’s insane how much fun we have,” Styles affirms.

“Every time I come home from a show I feel

like I’ve done every drug under the sun. The high is

insane after a show!”

The Varmoors album release with Ashley Hundred and

In Search Of Sasquatch takes place on Feb. 23 at The

Palomino (Calgary).




raking in the right stuff from all over

Imagine taking a trip to the moon, floating through all the space

junk and stars. But instead of silence, there’s smooth, melodic

music slowly growing louder, spinning faster as guitars kick in and

drums begin so that this trip beyond the stratosphere isn’t some

calm, serene far-out flight anymore — it’s an exploding velvet-soft,

rowdy, angsty rocket-ride all at once.

While the Moon Runners refer to themselves as “musical

astronauts” guitarist/vocalist Stacy Tinan says his guess is as good as

yours to what exactly that means.

“Good question, I’m still figuring it out,” laughs Tinan. “I guess

it just means taking risks and trying to reach something new. If

you want to become one, just turn on a couple delay pedals and a

whammy pedal, that seems to always work.”

Hailing from good ol’ Swift Current, SK where metal and country

music rule, the type of prog-rock, trippy jazz-psych stuff that the

Moon Runners make they might as well be from another planet.

How does a band like that emerge from the prairies against the

prevailing musical forces?

“I think there is certainly a hole in the market for bands such as

ours,” says Tinan. “It’s tough to find bands that are exactly in our

niche to play shows with, but it’s kind of nice to be the ‘black sheep’

so to speak.”

While Swift Current may be a musical output, there’s no lack of

support and enthusiasm for all walks of genre.

“Swift Current is interesting,” says Tinan. “For the most part, the

people that you see at a show are at almost every show. It doesn’t

really matter. The same people that come see us in a makeshift,

thrashy, loud, noisy show will be the same people at The Lyric

Theatre watching Leeroy Stagger. I think people just want to get out

of the house and hear music. We’ve managed to find a couple spots

to play shows in town, there aren’t many options. There isn’t much

for loud, frantic, emo-flavoured prog in our area, but it’s always nice

to share the stage with acts that are out of our genre. Variety is the

spice of life, or whatever.”


Variety is a defining element of the Moon Runners, no

doubt. While the members are self-taught, except bassist/

vocalist Brady Frank who has a music degree, Tinan reveals

he’s not constrained by stylistics and has an “everything

but the kitchen sink” philosophy when he and the band


“We certainly draw inspiration from classic stuff like The

Mars Volta, The Fall of Troy, Coheed and Cambria (early

albums), Mastodon. I’m a sucker for early Fall Out Boy

and My Chemical Romance. That stuff is so ingrained in

my DNA that I will probably forever write music that has

those flavours in it. I try to draw inspiration from pop, R&B,

electronic, hip-hop, ambient music to add those colours to

my already prog-emo writing style. I also find it inspiring

listening to Saskatchewan bands like Blue Youth, Bears In

Hazenmore, Ponteix, Close Talker, Nick Faye and The Deputies

because they remind me that good music exists no

matter where you are.”

Tinan also says video games and video game soundtracks

are a big influence and that “there’s something about freezing

cold winters and long periods of dark days” that make

him want to write and create.

The Moon Runners play the Palomino Feb. 15 (Calgary), the

Owl Acoustic on Feb. 16 (Lethbridge), the Storm Cellar Feb. 21

(Banff), the Vat Pub Feb. 22 (Red Deer) and the Almanac Feb.

23 (Edmonton).




bring your helmets

e were standing right next to a tech, and he

“W came up and he started fucking ripping on

this tech about some problem with his mic stand. Like

ripping on this guy, like so mad!” laughs Slowcoaster

frontman Steven MacDougall about his encounter

with Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler at Cape Fest back in

2014. MacDougall adds, “Did you ever see that Homer

meme where he like melts back into the bushes?

That’s what we did.”

Since the release of their 2010 debut album Darkest

of Discos, Sydney, Nova Scotia’s Slowcoaster has been

determined to keep the East Coast party going. They

released an online EP simply titled Track 1 last summer

and they’re already working on more new tunes

that will hopefully be released later this year.

“We just did a summer kind of project. We started

it last spring, then we released it over the summer,

and now it’s kind of wound down so we’re pre-producing

our next project,” explains MacDougall. “I like

what we’re doing right now. We’ll probably put out

another five-song kind of collective. We’ve come out

of that ‘chase the dragon’ phase.”

Elaborating further, MacDougall says the band

struggled with the balance between making honest

music and radio “hits” for a few years. After some

initial success with Darkest, there was a definite temptation

for Slowcoaster to keep making earworms, to

chase the dragon, whether they felt moved by the

music or not.

“We recorded an entire record and we threw it out,

and we were just like, ‘This is garbage.’” MacDougall


“Darkest of Discos did really well on the radio, and

it gives you that little glimpse into, ‘Oh, now my gigs

have gone from a thousand dollars to six thousand

dollars!’ and you just start to kind of want to chase

that dragon. It’s just like a natural thing to want to


He adds, “We realized it’s like, ‘Fuck, we started

thinking.’ When you start thinking is when the art

starts to suffer. We’re getting some pretty positive

feedback for the new stuff. It’s been working amazing.

I haven’t been this happy writing in the band in a long


With only one West Coast show on the books right

now, MacDougall says Slowcoaster is stoked to be

playing their annual show at Dickens Pub this month.

“It’s crazy every time. It’s never ceased to be amazing.

I guarantee you, you will have a good time. I don’t

know if you’ve spent that much time in a room with

400 East Coasters before. Bring your helmet.”

Slowcoaster plays The Annual Show With Nova Scotia’s

Best! on Feb. 8 at Dickens Pub (Calgary)

East Coast party rock without the Toys in the Attic ego. (photo: Duane Kelly)




not all nightmares are bad

It’s been a long time coming, but Septembryo is finally

ready to unleash Nightmares, the electro-rock sophomore

release from local musician Michael 8. Recorded at

Audiohouse Recording Studio in Calgary with producer

Grant Howarth, Michael 8 has been working on and

off the alluring Nightmares for nearly three years and

believes the trials and tribulations of the journey made

the record that much better.

“There’s been a lot of delays but there’s also been a

lot of really interesting, cool things that happened that I

think wouldn’t have happened, things you can’t plan for

that have been beneficial to it."

As the title suggests, Micahel 8 explains Nightmares

is a concept album “about the dark side of the law of

attraction,” adding that the process was one of the

“biggest epiphanies” of his life. “It was written during one

of my lowest points, at a time when I started looking at

everything going wrong and realizing it was my own creation.

When people think of the law of attraction they're

usually thinking about manifesting a new car, or lover

or anything else they want. It never occurs to them they

could be attracting all the stuff they don't want.”

Of the new tracks, Michael 8 feels the first single,

“Professor Pain,” is his strongest work yet with the song

building up atmospheric soundscapes before breaking into

a big, harmonic chorus. He adds, a video will soon follow.

“’Professor Pain’ is definitely one of my favorites. It’s

the song that made it clear that this was going to be an

album. It’s kind of about having bad experiences but

recognizing the gift that those painful experiences have

in that they change you and they teach you something.”

While the songs featured on Nightmares challenge the

purely, positive narrative surrounding the law of attraction,

Michael 8 emphasizes it's not all doom and gloom

either. He’s already working on a second part, Daydreams,

which finds light at the end of the tunnel.

“Just having the realization that I had created my own

lowest point gave me the power and focus that had directly

lead to my highest point shortly after. Which is why there

are two parts to this story — nightmares and daydreams.”

Septembryo drops Nightmares March 2 and the release party

with Lisette Xavier March 2 at The Rec Room (Calgary).




alt-rockers stoked to showcase fresh renos

Mindseed’s tough, pop-punk vibe earned them YYC Music

Award nominations in the last two years, a streak

they'd like to build on going into 2019. Following the trio’s

debut LP, Households (2016), which explored personal struggles,

their new EP, Renovations, sees the band rip off the old

wall paper, throw out the dated design and bring in different

mindset that deals in world issues and political themes.

Along with switching up the subject matter, they also

wanted a more diverse array of sonic textures on the new

release. Guitarist/vocalist Alex Labbe explains they aimed to,


it’s okay to feel!

year and a half ago Summer Abney was a singer-songwriter embarking

on modest interprovincial tours. Meanwhile, Chris Tuijtel


(drums), John Hanes (bass/synths/effects) and Nathan Peebles (guitar)

were jamming heavy rock together. While their unified sound had coalesced

over years of companionship, the threesome were looking for

a new project to expand their horizons. When Abney joined the trio,

Summerfallow was born offering lion-hearted poetry, sombre-tempoed

arrangements and a soulful presence in Abney.

“People have said it’s a cross between Pink Floyd and Bruce Cockburn.”

That they are compared to the Canadian folk icon elates Abney,

who reveals her excitement over with five Cockburn LPs passed down

from her mother.

“expand the sound to something beyond just

a three-piece." That led to introducing bass

synths into the band's flow of consciousness,

producing a sound that reflects a more noticeable

hip-hop influence.

Labbe says, “When I want complex lyrics,

I go to hip-hop. Sure, rock and hip-hop have

been done together by bands like Limp Bizkit

and Run-DMC, but to take that and put it in

more of a progressive musical context. I felt

that would be interesting to explore.”

While many bands have succeeded in

combining these two mammoth musical

forces, there's also been a crazy percentage of

those who miserably fail leaving a “Just don’t

go there!” attitude that lingers in any conversation

related to the topic. So, is it worth the


“Fuck yeah! Bring on the challenge!’, says Labbe talking a

solid stand. “That taboo probably helped to inspire us to attempt

it more. Without going cheesy though. We just want

people to get amped and pumped up! Push through that

obstacle in your way!”

You can explore Mindseed’s new album Renovations in its entirety Feb.22.


“We have a classic

songwriting sound with

a little bit of psychedelic

edge,” say the

vocalist, adding that

band creates a listening

experience that contains

a conduit of emotional


“It’s okay to feel!” the

siren songstress exclaims.

A connection that

Summerfallow fills with

dynamic surges, mellow

grooves, iron, wine and

just a dash of danceability.

They aim to let improvisation

flow freely while

still leaving space for each member to express themselves. It is

a rare enterprise.

“People can expect to be tripped-out, have a good time,

look around warmly at their friends and smile, maybe cry a

little,” she remarks laughing, stating that the band’s mission is

to deliver a beautiful, moving occasion.

Summerfallow performs with Salt Horse, Lucid 44 and Cold Water

Feb. 16 at The Palomino Smokehouse (Calgary)





4th or 5th




Words and photos by


Daniel Romano is wildly prolific, bursting bold and bound to no

one but himself — an artist equally comfortable kicking out the

jams before 300 mad girls in Madrid with his free-wheelin’ rock

‘n’ roll group, The Outfit, as he is nestled in a cabin deep, far-off

in the solitude of a waning Swedish summer. Such is the panorama

life he loves.

Romano made his name fronting the seminal Attack in Black

before striking out on his own, releasing an insatiable 10 fulllength

albums (including his recent Ancient Shapes LPs) since

2011. And when he’s not writing or recording music, his Instagram

feed features him filling canvas after canvas

with dreamlike and imperfect characters. Among

all this output, in pursuit of music, poetry and

painting aimed towards discovering a sort of truth

in art, he ends up confronting the notion that perhaps

truth isn’t the right question to ask.

“I don’t think the truth of a song matters at all,”

says Romano. “I never listen to music and think,

‘Is that true?’ I get uncomfortable with very literal

language in song, it makes me feel uneasy. Outside

of the personal relationship of trust, I think the truth doesn’t

matter so much.”

For Romano, there is no truth in rock ‘n’ roll, no fixed horizon,


with special guests

Thursday, Feb 28


Bar & Stage

731 10 Ave SW, Calgary

Friday, Mar 1

The Starlite Room

10030 102 St NW,


no centre from where we can get our bearings. Our

heroes are dead, the gods are long gone and, the

only thing that is left is an exploration of the human

condition as it unfolds alongside us. His lyrics,

penned somewhere between Dylan and Rimbaud,

exist in a paradise populated by Greek myth and

take on the mantle of a soft resistance, a call for


On his recent album, Finally Free, this is particularly

true. The songs slip in and out of feverish

dreamscapes littered with alabaster bodies and weeping angels,

characters trying to get out from under the machinations

Continued on pg. 22p










pContinued from pg. 21

of their own thumbs. It’s an apolitical warning

where freedom from corruption moves towards

freedom in love and expression. There’s

honesty in his lyrics, but not necessarily truth

— at least none that you or I could access. Not

that it would matter anyway, we make our own

truths as much as he has his.

“The song changes as soon as it’s written,”

claims Romano. “You write a song with a purpose,

with somewhat of a meaning in mind,

or, more interestingly to me, a mood. But then

you can’t replicate that mood once it’s done.

I mean, you’re singing the words in so many

different circumstances and playing the song in

so many different places for people, and people

are always going to feel differently, that I

wouldn’t want to try and replicate that original

mood. That would be so exhausting.” He adds,

“A show is, ‘Take these [songs], I made them

and maybe they’ll do something for you as they

did for me.”

Indeed, the live show is an arena of transformation,

of connection for Romano. His

songs span countless genres on album, where

he mostly plays and records everything himself.

But, on stage with his band and audience

sprawled in front of him, they are condensed

down to tightly wound rock ‘n’ roll performances,

relentless ceremonies that bring everyone

together, if even just for the duration of the

show. His live shows feel urgent and important

in a way that highlights the power and potential

of an electrified togetherness. As restless as

he is releasing new material on a yearly basis,

he is more so on stage, where he takes the distance

between recorded and live, between audience

and artist, and condenses it down until

it becomes a singular moment of freedom just

waiting to burst out in every direction.

This postmodern approach to songwriting

makes Romano one of the most enigmatic

and exciting songwriters in Canada. He understands

he is dead as an author but alive as an

artist, and that the intersection between him

and us is where we create instant meaning in

the moments we share.

“You can find anything in anything, if you

want to. I used to worry that things were too in

the moment and not exact and concise, as far

as whatever the process is for getting thought

into word in my songs. But it’s really more to do

with the mood than anything.”

With the mood of the song as his guiding

principle, Romano is a chameleon, a Renaissance

man, a dandy and a punk. His career is

built, in part, on his ever-shifting moods and

the songs that emerge from those shifts. He

can put on a Nudie suit and sing heartfelt songs

over weeping slide guitars just as easily as he

can step straight into the ‘70s and go toe-totoe

with anything Pete Townsend wrote for his


On the track, “Between the Blades of Grass,”

Romano shifts into singing about the “liberating

in the language of love.” It’s a common

thread throughout his work that clarifies what,

if anything, can fill the void — a deep, empathetic,

spiritual sort of love that binds us together,

a nucleic bond between artist and audience.

To illustrate his point, he mentions a new

poetic project he’s wrapping up with long-time

friend and artist, Ian Daniel Kehoe.

“We started a poetic correspondence. We

send each other poems in dedication to each

other. Interestingly, 2019 is the year of eros,

the origin of erotic nature. We had decided,

previous to knowing that, that it was going to

be a sort of erotic, in the early Greek meaning

of the word, exchange. As our correspondence

continued, the poems became tributes to each

other, more so than how we think of it as modern

eroticism… you can sense this kind of symbiotic

and drastic metamorphosis of almost

two people becoming one. There’s a unification

of thought and feeling.”

This unification, this becoming of one, can

be read as a blooming process that, again, resists

the easy packaging and distribution of a

singular sense of being. Romano and Kehoe’s

bodies move towards each other into one and,

in the cosmic collapse, an impassioned universe

of love emanates, entire constellations

tracing out nostalgic histories and emergent

presents. The same applies to Romano’s art,

musical or visual: it’s a tense, symbiotic relationship

between art and audience, between

creation and consumption, a crucial link in the

survival of both.

Thus here we stand, at our own brink of collapse

together — Romano and his audience,

Romano and Kehoe, Romano and his own

shifting identities — the ground already crumbling

at our feet in anticipation of emancipation.

Will 2019 be the year of eros, a complex

metamorphosis? What becomes the meaning

of love? Are our spirits truth? And are our bodies

free? ,



edmonton extra

Petunia Duo w/ Nathan Godfrey

The Aviary

Feb. 16, 7 pm

Hank Williams on acid, avant-country night clubbing music,

hillbilly ragtime music; these are just a few identifiers for

the modern day Canadian enigma that is Petunia. Petunia

sometimes plays with a full band as Petunia and the Vipers or

as a duo with which ever musician he can get his hands on. His

most recent accolade is the supernatural Americana musical

called The Musicianer where he plays an immortal, but not

famous musician in the 1920s. The real Petunia may not be

immortal, but the sounds he produces are pretty damn close.

Moontricks w/ Frase

Starlite Room

Feb. 15, 9 pm

The Kootenays bluegrass/EDM duo Moontricks combines

the banjo with liquefying vocals, psychedelic guitar lines, and

heavy dance rhythms. Being heavily inspired by the great

outdoors, Sean Rodman’s lyrics are easy going and almost

therapeutic. Production, bass, and harmonica come from

Nathan Gurleym aka Nog Osiris. The duo is flying hot off of

their release of their new single “Wood For The Trees,” a simple

and catchy beat that makes you nostalgic for those roaring

campfires in the forest mountains.

Basia Bulat

Festival Place, Sherwood Park

Feb. 24, 7:30 pm

Basia Bulat has an uncanny ability to perform powerful and

haunting solo folk with an autoharp or high energy indie

pop—as heard on her 2016 release Good Advice. She’s won

over droves of fans by her charming personality, stomping feet,

and dynamic lungs while also making a name for herself in

the pop world. According to her social media accounts, she’s

working on new music, so she will most likely debut a few new

tunes at this show.





the revolution will be energized


Kenya-born, Canada-raised rapper Shad has been through

a lot since he dropped Flying Colours, his third consecutive

Polaris Prize short listed album, in 2013. He became

a positive face for CBC’s q after Jian Ghomeshi was fired in

disgrace, hosted the award-winning documentary series

Hip-Hop Evolution, and most recently became a husband

and father. If you think parenthood is going to make him

soft, you’ll be dead wrong.

“I thought that maybe it would make me feel more

conservative, just in terms of wanting to be stable,” Shad

says over the phone. “But it’s actually made me feel like I

have to live out my values even more, like there’s somebody

watching. I assumed it would make me get more pragmatic

and sensible, but it’s kind of done the opposite. Made me

think even more about what it looks like to live out my

values every day.”

Returning to hip-hop production after a five year gap,

A Short Story about a War is arguably his most ambitious

work yet. It’s a complex concept album set on a desert

planet waging a seemingly ceaseless world war. The album is

a staggering, insightful examination of humanity’s attempt

to survive the drawn out effects of a desperate capitalist


“This album is really anti-capitalist, more than I think I

even realized when I was making it,” Shad says. “Do I think

we’ll survive? I want to say yes, but there are a lot of challenges.

I think the biggest challenge is how quickly things

change, and it’s difficult for us to get our heads around

what to do, frankly. Our institutions are big and slow. Our

governments are big and slow. Meanwhile, technology is

shaping us really quickly. I don’t know how we are supposed

to contend with that. There is something energizing about

having a problem to solve, and our generation has a lot of

big problems to solve, everything from the environment to

inequality. I don’t know if we’ll figure it out, but I do feel energized

that we have a task at hand and we have something

to do. There’s potential there.”

From a purely sonic standpoint, A Short Story about a

War is the most aggressive and forward-thinking album

Shad has produced, compared to the warmer throwback

De La Soul vibes of Flying Colours. With guest appearances

from Kaytranada, Lido Pimienta, Eternia and Yukon Blonde,

there is as much going on aurally as lyrically, requiring multiple

listens to fully appreciate all of its many flavours.

“I wanted it to carry the feelings I wanted people to feel

with the album, which to me felt imaginative, apocalyptic,

intense, exciting, anxious,” Shad desired. “All that means,

for the most part, getting away from the soul samples that

I still love, but, for this project, weren’t right... Part of the

fun trying to put this together was the task of making it

listenable, approachable and manageable somehow, even

though it’s dense and intense by nature. I had that idea of

interludes going back to the classic hip-hop thing of interludes

that feel almost live, like you’re hearing a poet or a

storyteller in a room stitching the thing together.”

Hitting the road for his first real tour in years, Shad is

excited to reconnect with his fans across the country, to

see how his challenging new tunes have resonated. It’s not

going to be all doom and gloom, though. He’s going to mix

it up.

“This lineup, as far as the musicians and sounds, is kinda

why I went away from live bass and live drums because I

wanted to at least make everything sonically consistent

with the darker sounds that are on the [new] album,” Shad

muses, “So that’s why there’s the synth bass and programmed

drums. The tricky thing has been incorporating

some of this stuff in with the old stuff, and have it make

sense altogether… Some of this stuff is going to a different

place emotionally, and then I have to make a turn to some

of the other material that I want to do, especially live, because

people like it. And it’s fun and that’s the energy I want

to give people in a live setting, but it can be a hard turn.”

Pushing the aesthetic boundaries of his music and taking

the structure and meaning of his lyrics to new heights, A

Short Story about a War deserves to be the one to finally

claim the Polaris Prize more than anything else he has yet

released. In any case, it’s sure to resonate deeply across

Canada and beyond.

Shad performs Feb. 18 at the Starlite Room (Edmonton) and

Feb. 19 at Commonwealth (Calgary).



new sensation comes this way


melodic trap master hits the road

Vancouver-based electronic producer Jesse Hughes, better

known as Vanic, has made a name for himself with spellbinding

remixes and distinctive originals. Known for his signature

blend of milky vocals with a hypnotizing combination of trappy

beats and melodies, Hughes has a built himself quite the enamored

fan-base. His extraordinary ability to turn dulcet indie tunes

into haunting electronic compositions has helped Hughes build

his own unique identity in an otherwise crowded scene.

South African DJ and producer, Kyle Watson is back with his

highly anticipated album, Into the Morning, which showcases

a wide sonic spectrum and an array of musical influences.

Released on the label This Ain’t Bristol, he experiments with

hip-hop, low-driven bass, raw house basslines and captivating


“I pulled inspiration from the different music I like to listen

to. It’s such a diverse project and I wanted the fact it was electronic

to be the only thread running through it.”

At the same time Watson says, “The focus right now is 100

percent on house music as I gear up for another year of touring,

but I’m not saying that I won’t explore those other avenues

again in the near future.”

Last year, Watson had an explosive introduction touring

the U.S. for the first time playing and dominating illustrious

festivals like Lollapalooza, Shambhala Music Festival, CRSSD

Fest, and Dirtybird Campout. This year, he’s back in the again

studio cooking up new music, which he hints will also focus on

dynamic vocals, then back out on the circuit.

“I’ve got a few festivals I’d love to get the opportunity to play

at. Other than that I just want to write the best music I can to

make sure the parties are even better than last year.”

Watson is set to swing through Western Canada playing Feb. 13 at

Maxx Fish (Whistler), Feb. 14 The HiFi Club (Calgary), and Feb. 15 at

Chvrch of John (Edmonton).


While Hughes parents started him with piano lesson at age

three, it wasn’t until later in his high school years however

that he developed an interest in electronic music.

“The music part has always kind of come naturally, but it’s

all the other stuff — the mixing, mashing, sound design all

that — that’s the hard stuff. You can learn everything online,

but it’s a lot different than music itself. It’s a lot of the science

and math and geek stuff… watching videos after videos and

you just keep trying things until eventually something sounds

good,” he explains.

The melodic trap producer is now embarking on his third

Canada-wide tour over January and February, finishing with

two back-to-back hometown shows in Vancouver at Celebrities

Nightclub, branding him the first local act to ever play

two shows in a row at the venue.

Hughes acknowledges that his favorite part of touring are

the shows themselves, adding, “It’s really cool connecting with

people in different size rooms and just, you know, meeting


Fans can expect to hear a mix of his classic melodic tracks

as well as some of his newer harder mixes such as his recent

G-Easy remixes during this tour. Hughes also plans on playing

some of his newer unreleased tracks, expected to drop following

the conclusion of the tour.

Vanic plays Feb. 7 at the Dancing Sasquatch (Banff), Feb. 8 the

Palace (Calgary), and Feb. 9 at Union Hall (Edmonton).





Well hello again Calgary, and how are

you this fine winter day? If you don’t

take any joy from the frosty winter months

by conventional means like skiing, snowboarding,

or snow angel making, you can at

least take solace in the many excellent shows

February has to offer. Just dress warm for

those bar lines!

I’m going to start things off with Chris Lake,

who will be making his return to Calgary at

the Commonwealth on Feb. 7. This guy has a

far-reaching history in house music and continues

to up his game and consistently push

out quality music and put on good shows, and

what's even better is you can check the show

out for free with an RSVP.

The Marquee is hosting Um.. on Feb. 8 with

support from Post Humans. This will be a night

of mind-bending music — sounds to induce

your most impressed, yet bewildered bass faces.

Monster Energy’s 7” of Pleasure Tour is back

at the HiFi Club on Feb.15 and this year the

tour features DJ Jazzy Jeff and Brooklyn’s DJ

Scratch. The former you may know best from

the quintessential ‘90s classic Fresh Prince of Bel

Air, but his career and extraordinary skills as a DJ

extend well beyond that. The latter is a legend

in his own right, with a career stretching back

to the mid-eighties. DJ Scratch has worked as a

producer with heavyweight artists such as Busta

Rhymes, Talib Kweli, LL Cool J, 50 Cent and

DMX, just to name a few. In addition, some of

Canada’s finest turntablists Mat The Alien, DJ

Pump and DJ Illo will be getting things fired up.

Felix Da Housecat put on one of the greatest

exhibitions of house music I’ve personally

ever witnessed when he performed at Shambhala

a few years back, and it would certainly

be a treat to catch the Chicago master in the

warm, intimate setting that is Habitat Living

Sound. This goes down as part of the venue’s

ten year anniversary celebrations on Feb. 16.

Now the lineup for this one hasn’t been

released at the time of writing, but BassBus always

puts on great events and they have a new

one called Nightlight coming up on the 16th

at Olympic Plaza. The Facebook page says that

they will have both international headlining

DJs and local selectors, plus stage performers.

The event is in partnership with Glowfestyyc

and Downtown Calgary and will be a free

event. Watch for more details on this one.

Vancouver’s Humans are touring their new

album Going Late, and will be making a stop at

the HiFi on Sunday, February 17. Always a treat

seeing these talented, JUNO-nominated artists

do their thing, so definitely a worthwhile stop

for a long-weekend Sunday night. Smalltown

DJs will be opening things up, alongside some

other special guests.

There is plenty of great hip-hop shows happening

this month, one of which is courtesy

of Commonwealth, who will be hosting one of

Canada’s finest rappers Shad on Feb. 19.

The Saddledome is going to get a hot-boxing

the likes of which it may never have experienced

before, as the Snoop Dogg and Friends

Tour rolls through on Feb. 21. The legendary

West-coast rapper, successful actor, businessman,

podcaster, and infamous chronic Snoop

Dogg will be accompanied by a stunning

roster: Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Warren G,

Kurupt and Luniz. This is without a doubt one

of the most impressive hip-hop lineups I’ve

seen on a bill in Calgary for a long while, and

will no doubt be a memorable experience.

If you didn’t get tickets to the previous hiphop

bonanza, or perhaps Snoop Dogg just ain’t

your thing, there’s another great hip-hop show

over at The Gateway that same night, featuring

Chali 2na alongside The Gaff, AYE and Dragon

Fli Empire.

On Feb. 22 check out Benny Benassi, the

Italian producer behind monster electronic

anthems like “Satisfaction” at The Palace

Theatre. A curiosity-induced cursory listen

through of a recent mix of his shows a blend

of big room house, trance, bass house, classic

rave anthems like Daft Punk and Fatboy Slim,

and of course a hyper-extended uber mix of

“Satisfaction”. I would definitely be intrigued

to catch this guy live.

I hope a few of these pique your interest and

as always I will be back again next month. Have

a great February!





every morning’s a resurrection

Dan Mangan pivots from time off as a father into time well spent on more or less

Dan Mangan is one of those artists that always seems When Mangan decided he was finally ready to step back

to be challenging and pushing himself with each new into it he contacted producer Drew Brown and the wheels

record he produces. You can always tell when an artist is were in motion. “Took us nearly two years to get all of the people

together that he (Drew Brown) wanted. During this time

truly living life or just going through the motions. In the six

years Mangan took off from touring, he lived a lot of life. A Drew encouraged me to keep writing, by the time we hit the

year of rest turned into two kids, a marriage, multiple film studio I had all these new songs that weren’t in the demos.”

and television scores and plenty of time for reflection. All of Was it worth the wait?

the above have changed the man and the artist. “It just took Mangan seems in awe as he states, “I had the same

a lot of time. Back in 2012 the phone wouldn’t stop ringing; rhythm section, playing through the same microphones,

we were stuck in this positive feedback loop.”

in the same studio, with the same hardware and the same

Years of childrearing and domestication presented a steep engineer as Sea Change (Beck 2002 Geffen).” Their influence

learning curve for a man who had spent years on the road. on More or Less is apparent right away. Upon first listen, the

“Your kids don’t care about all this cool stuff you do. They album evokes a sense of gentle reflection; it’s much more

just care about how you are as a dad.” Rock stars aren’t rock stripped-down than Club Meds (2015 Arts & Crafts). It’s not

stars when they’re at home; they’re just dads. During this exactly a return to his roots, but more of an acknowledgment

and transformation he’s gone through. This is still very

time, Mangan wrote the experimental Club Meds with Blacksmith

and scored the incredible Hector and the Search for much a Dan Mangan record, but this a new Dan Mangan.

Happiness, as well as a number of other films and TV shows. “We all have our heroes. Joey (Waronker)’s cases said ‘Roger

On his latest release, More or Less (2018 Art & Crafts), Waters’. Jason (Falkner)’s cases said ‘Beck’. These guys work

Mangan remains himself, but with a greater sense of focus. with the best of the best. When I first got to LA and went

“I came to the realization I wasn’t done. I had more songs into the studio I was nervous, like, ‘What are they going

in me, I had more I wanted to accomplish,” he says of his return

to the business of making music. “That whole process Drew. They were so nice and really gave themselves to the

to think of me?’” Mangan confesses. “But they just trusted

took years.”

material. By the end, they were saying, ‘Great songs, man!’



None of us is impervious to flattery. Having this affirmation

from people that I admire so much, I felt like I was getting

my groove back.”

Mangan’s groove is definitely back on this album. The

subtlety and vulnerability in the vocals bring the listener

into a very personal space, one filled with stillness and the

musical equivalent of sitting and staring. “You need to reserve

space in your mind that’s just for you.” Mangan says, “I

don’t meditate, but I try and be bored for a couple minutes

a day. If you can be peacefully okay with yourself just sitting

it will make you better prepared to deal with the never-ending

stream of bullshit.”

There was a full on stream of bullshit when he first

started recording More or Less. While out for dinner his

first night in LA, his car was robbed of everything except

his guitar. Laptops, hard drives full of the demos he was

about to track, his passport. Everything. “I spent the whole

next morning trying to find my stuff and get my passport

reinstated. So, I went into the studio, do one take of “Lay

Low” and Paul McCartney pops his head into the studio!”

Mangan continues sarcastically, “Of course, when Paul

McCartney hears my music it’s not the finished product,

it’s the first take of the first song I’m doing with my new

band. He gave me some suggestions, but then we scrapped

everything he heard. My Mom was devastated when I said

we didn’t use any of Paul’s suggestions.”

“What the hell is wrong with everyone now?” a line from

his song, “Troubled Mind” is fitting on days such as that (and

in the grander context of humanity as a whole). “People are

an equal amount of fucked up, always. There’s so much to

take in now, so much information, so much pain, so much

going on all the time.” Mangan says of society, “It’s up to us to

be informed citizens, so we’re not just passively distracted.”

There are lessons being taught everywhere, every day.

You just need to pay attention and take risks.

The day Mangan decided to take a break from touring

he got a call from a producer to score a film. “Every time

I’ve scored something I’ve learned about a deficiency in my

musicality that I’ve overcome,” he says of the experience.

“And you come out the other end and go, ‘Aw, man, I didn’t

know I could do that.’ It’s a beautiful thing when you know

you can still surprise yourself.”

When it came time to prep for the tour, Mangan enlisted

Don Kerr (Rheostatics), Jason Haberman and Michael Brian.

With an all-new gathering of people behind him, Mangan

took a couple weeks to rehearse in Toronto. He found

that time and this new group gave a breath of fresh air to

his previous work. “It was injecting all this new personality

into the old material. We started to think, ‘What’s the best

way we can deliver these existing melodies and songs in a

live context?’”

Reinventing yourself in the tireless pursuit of relevancy

is daunting and exhausting. While no doubt an intimidating

endeavor, it’s a good thing Dan Mangan keeps trying

because we missed him. Welcome back, Dan.

Dan Mangan performs February 9 at the Palace Theatre (Calgary)

and February 12 at the Vogue Theatre (Vancouver).



prairie funk parade — for the people

We are family, hot off the presses.

Are you ready to be wrapped in tentacles

of bold and brassy sound? Freak Motif

is a funky leviathan with eight heads and

one enormous, funk-powered heart. Praised

for serving up big-band, dance parties with

a flair for the nostalgic, the ensemble first

stepped into the spotlight with the appearance

of their self-released LP, La Casa Blanca,

in December 2012. That album was later remixed

and re-released in 2014, the same year

the band introduced their second full-length

record, Across the Nation. A limited edition

7” called Killing Me followed in 2016 and two

years later Freak Motif was back and ready to

leave a groovy impression with a radiant new

release, Hot Plate (available on sizzling red

vinyl and other formats).

“I’m glad you dig it,” says guitarist Stu

Wershof. “We released it online in October

and then we had a show with Antibalas that

same week. That was kind of a soft release

and now for the real album release party

we’re putting on this show on as a weekend

run. We’ll be playing these new tracks live,

which is the first time we’ve done that as a

band. So, we’ll keep the arrangements as they

are and then we have a big open space in

the middle of the track to take it into outer

space and back.”

Bringing a cosmic modern flavour to their

melting pot of musical ingredients, Freak

Motif knows how to heat up the room and

then brings things down to a sultry simmer.

It’s the culmination of years of refining a style

that is as loose and laid back as it is precision-timed

and tightly orchestrated.

“When we started there was no composition,

everything was 100% improvised.

If we were lucky, we’d tell each other

what key we were playing in, but for the

most part it was about letting the music

meander. That was the excitement of it!”

Wershof explains.

“There is still some of that element, with



these tracks. We try to have an anchor point

and melody that hits hard and heavy and still

has that feeling of spontaneity and feeding

off the energy of the audience. Knowing

where you’re going to land at the end of it

gives you more license to experiment.”

Adept in the art of being intentionally

spontaneous, the eight (sometimes ten or

more) member group takes its cues from

some of the greatest afrobeat, disco, salsa,

cumbia, hip-hop, funk and soul artists on the

planet. But it's always their terrestrial home

turf in Calgary that brings them back to their

mothership connection.

“I’m not originally from Calgary, but it was

through this band that I learned how special

Calgary is as a city, and about all the cool and

talented artistic people, and how there’s a lot

of electricity happening in the arts scene,”

Wershof relates.

“The genre we used at the beginning was

‘prairie funk!’ At that time we were just joking

around. Now it’s easy to listen to music

from all over the world and different time

periods. But I think that music is influenced

by your immediate surroundings — your


Not an entirely surprising sentiment coming

from a band who’s known for encouraging

conga lines and once leading a celebratory

parade through the center of town in

honour of the 2016 Juno Awards.

“I think one of the really special things

about this band is the community that has

formed around it. Different artists, singers,

rappers, break-dancers — all these people

that we’ve collaborated with and gotten to

know over the years through this project.

Bringing different people on stage and working

with different combinations of people is a

big part of what we do.”

Freak Motif performs for the people Feb. 21 at

The King Eddy (Calgary)


precise craftsmanship

Once again, Dustin Bentall masters the art

of keeping things simple. His two new

songs, “Not Been Sleeping” and “High in the

Satellite” will make up nearly half of his new

EP, set to release on Feb. 22. “They’re very

unique from one another, but there is a thread

there…all the songs on the EP have a common

thread, but they really didn’t have a home on

a full album,” Bentall explains.

Bentall’s work is about careful craftsmanship

and curated decision making, evidenced

not only in his songwriting, but also in his

other full-time venture – Dust Leather. “I’ve

opened up a new shop in Toronto and it’s

been full on. I’ve been making shoes one at

a time, and it’s been rewarding and fun.” Fun

fact: John Prine sports one of Bentall’s custom

guitar straps on his beloved Martin guitar.

The first song released from the upcoming

EP is “Not Been Sleeping” and was recorded

during a difficult time for Bentall. His grandfather

had just passed away. He had been

touring extensively and finished the song just

days before the passing of his good friend, Jay


“Subconsciously, a lot of things crept into

that song,” he admits. “It’s about re-evaluating…also

about how you need to help yourself


and others.” The song is powerful in its slow

melodic repetition, with lyrics that don’t pepper

the issue of simply not being ok. The gentle

questioning, emphasized by the layering

of Kendel Carson’s hypnotic harmony, adds

optimism and hope to the song. The result is

relatable and profound at the same time.

“High in the Satellite” takes on a lighter,

almost hypnotic vibe reminiscent of classic

cosmic ballads like “Across the Universe.”

Bentall gives credit to engineer Colin Stewart

for the unique sound on the track. “He added

in that psychedelic element and brought it

all together.” Here, Bentall’s trademark sound

departs into both the unexpected and the

familiar, with distortion and Carson’s fiddle

mixed in respectively. It’s trippy and fun, but

hauntingly melodic.

Bental’s time on the road has also made

Calgary a preferred destination. “Calgary’s

always been the best to me. I’ll be playing with

a different band - Albertan musicians. I’ll start

the show solo, with some new songs and different

takes on a few and then bring the band

in to do the second set.”

Dustin Bentall plays the Ironwood Stage & Grill

on Feb. 23.



building bridges of colour

Yung Trybez and Young D.


Snotty Nose Rez Kids, the energetic, banger-heavy, hip-hop duo from

Haisla Nation in Kitamaat, BC, move fast and furious forging their own

path. Charting their course for 2019, the group is already working on new

a new album after last summer’s mixtape Rez Bangers & KoolaPops.

“That’s going to be out in probably a couple months. We kind of

switched up the whole look of the album. Rez Bangers & KoolaPops was

kind of like a summer mixtape for us that we were putting together and

hoping to get out before the festival season, and something that we could

just perform at festivals,” notes Quinton “Yung Trybez” Nyce, one half of

the dynamic duo.

“But this new album, we kind went another direction with it and there’s

a lot more to it than a mixtape. I would definitely say the album itself is

building bridges between us and other people of colour. And it’s kind of

showing that we’re not so different in a sense.”

In just over three years, SNRK has grown their fanbase across the country

that included making the Polaris Music Prize short list last year for their

2017 album The Average Savage. What started as a post-music school

project has taken on an exciting life of its own.

“It was about the end of 2015, I decided to take this audio engineering

and music production program, that was like a nine month program. I

learned how to work ProTools, I learned how to set up and work in the

studio and I started recording from there,” says the group’s other half,

Darren “Young D” Metz.

Young D says it was a natural transition to keep things going once the

class was done.

“I recorded a mixtape for a school project, and then that’s when I

first moved out of Vancouver and Q was the only guy that I knew, so he

became like my go-to feature. So that project right there was like a preview

of SNRK before SNRK.”

With just a few Western Canada shows on the current run, SNRK are sure to

bring the party loud and hard to this year’s Block Heater festival later this month.

“If it’s anything like Sled Island, I’m looking forward to a really hype

crowd that gets really involved in the sets. And I’m also looking forward to

linking up with Cartel Madras and maybe getting a song in with them as

well,” gleams Yung Trybez.

Snotty Nose Rez Kids perform Thursday, Feb. 21 during Block Heater at

Festival Hall.




a multi-mythical experience

Intent on weaving narratives through their music,

The Mariachi Ghost began in Winnipeg as an art

project in 2009 that explored the titular phantom

from which the band took their name. Mexican tradition

is the jumping off point from where they venture

into a contemporary world full of sight, sound and

exotic tales.

“We’ve always thought of larger concepts with the music

we’re making,” explains vocalist/jurana player Gabriel

Fields. “The first album tells the story of the Mariachi

Ghost, and the new one we’re finishing up now is based

on a Mexican novel called Pedro Páramo.”


hears it the way he sees it

kinda paint the picture as I see it,” says DJ Logic, aka

“I Jason Kibler, over the phone from The Bronx, his

hometown and home base in NYC. Reflecting on his artistic

evolution that established the turntablist as musician,

Kibler says, “The mix of jazz and beats, that was about being

creative with music and adding a different vibe. We’d

be digging through vinyl, and you always gonna come up

with something that’s unusual. It might catch your eye as

well as your ear.”

That novel, considered one of the most important

Mexican literary works in the second half of the 20th

century, draws on a number of universal myths using

Mexican characters looking for identity in love, familial

origins and interpersonal relationships.

“The story kind of grew from the novel, while Jorge (Requena,

vocals/guitar) added elements from his own life

into the songs,” explains Fields. “It deals with a number

of archetypes, and Páramo who’s travelling to the town

of the father he’s never met. We stage it as a play as well,

backing the music to the theatre production.”

The Mariachi Ghost’s live show, with the band clad in

black and white charro suits with half their faces painted

as Day Of The Dead skulls, is vigourous and alive.

“Jorge’s is a very visual person, working in film as much

as he has,” says Fields. “His vision is always bigger than

what we can maybe pull off at the time, but it gives us a

great direction to move in. He and Raphael (Reyes, guitar)

grew up in Mexico and El Salvador respectively, so they

have this ear for the traditional sounds, and we all bring

some contemporary style into the mix. It’s always been a

show, an experience, rather than just a concert.”

The Mariachi Ghost perform during Block Heater on Friday,

Feb. 22 on the Gelato Stage at Studio Bell.


Mixing records with jam bands and dipping deep into

in hip-hop, soul and acid jazz, the search for something

different led Kibler down paths that was further out than his


“It could have been sounds from Africa, or Indian music,

Chinese, or Eastern Europe, there were always unique

sounds and voices, and I just gravitated toward that to

create my own thing. Then I’d bring in some jazz players

to layer over certain things, or talk to them about the idea

that I was feeling, and they’d do an improv session, and

then I’d pull and sample from that.”

Kibler’s still on that path, working on a lot of collaborations

including The Yohimbe Brothers with long-friend friend guitarist

Vernon Reid, as well as a number of other contributions

some of which feature revisions of the late and great.

“I did a remix of ‘Glad To Be Unhappy’ for a compilation

called Billie Holiday: Remixed & Reimagined, as well as Nina

Simone’s ‘Old Day Woman,’” says Kibler. “And I did some stuff

for Weather Report, and have some other music coming out

with some guys from Wu-Tang, with 9th Wonder, Young Dirty

Bastard, and Master Ace.”

DJ Logic will perform at Block Heater on Saturday, Feb. 23,

on the ATB Stage at Studio Bell.










in the mood matters

With over twenty records in his catalogue, Melbourne,

Australia’s Jeff Lang has been consistently prolific over his

30-year recording career, all the while finding new sources of inspiration

in other instruments, and trying to bring those voicings into

his playing.

“The key is staying interested,” says Lang. “Whether it’s a new

batch of songs you’re working on, or pushing yourself into a

situation that stimulates you when you’re collaborating with

someone. If there’s any kind of goal that I’ve had in my career,

it’s to stay inwwterested. You know, keen to express something,

and excited by what the possibilities are. Sometimes it’s as simple

as finding things that are exciting to you, and things that

a really stimulating tend to make their way into what you’re

doing somehow.”

Lang adds, “There are definitely things in my playing where

someone might say, ‘Oh, that sounds like Indian music,’ or maybe

like Miles Davis’s trumpet or Aretha Franklin’s singing. It might not

be immediately discernible, because I’m playing it on slide guitar,

but I know where I found the things that excited me.”

Even with the ability to blaze riffs on guitar, Lang remains focused

on what a song needs, rather than have music be an avenue

for his instrumental dexterity.

“I’m far more interested in playing music than I am in playing

guitar,” states Lang. “Though that’s my particular avenue into

music and I love the sound of guitars. But I’m not interested in

guitar playing for guitar’s sake. It matters whether a piece of music

fits the song. So I’ll look to someone like Richard Thompson,

who’s breathtakingly proficient on the instrument, but it’s always

in service of great songwriting. I’m interested in moods. If I can

put the mood across musically, because sometimes people don’t

catch every lyric the first time through, then that’s part of telling

the story.”


Jeff Lang will perform as part of Block Heater on Saturday, Feb. 23 on

the Stand And Command Stage at the Central Library.


Fresh off the recording of

their fourth full-length, and

second with Wilco frontman

Jeff Tweedy producing, Kacy

& Clayton bring consistently

deliver hauntingly beautiful

melodies backed by outstanding



Country noir from Albuquerque,

New Mexico. The Handsome

Family’s “Far From

Any Road” was the theme

song on the HBO hit series

True Detective. A very cool

mix of country and Mexican



Eclectic rock ‘n’ roll from

Dallas, Texas. Combs has a

hushed, smoky timbre that

draws you in with elements

of classic pop, country and a

spacey back beat.


Ethereal folk-pop with a hint

of ’80s new wave. Morgan

MacIntyre and Gemma

Doherty’s vocals weave together,

almost visible as they

float on the air.


If the rumours are true,

Kwenders is a consummate

showman, with grooves that

entangle wildly disparate

elements as new wave, jazz,

and Afro-Cuban rhythms.




total conquest city


Liverpool, England, may be nicknamed

“the Pool of Life,” but it was the primordial

ooze of a million down-tuned guitars

that gave birth to the grinding sludge metal

band Conan. Emerging from the estuaries

of Merseyside in 2006, the stone-shattering

three-piece has grown to become one of the

most revered and recognizable artists on the

Napalm Death record label.

Most recently, the lumbering fuzz giant

unleashed its fourth studio LP, Existential

Void Guardian. A melodic yet bludgeoning

answer to 2016’s Revengeance, Conan’s latest

onslaught continues to benefit from the

grounding presence of bassist/vocalist Chris

Fielding. The producer of several of the band’s

previous recordings, Fielding has been adding

his gravitas to the sonic frenzy generated by

guitarist/vocalist Jon Davis and drummer

Johnny King. As Davis confirms, the complex

riffs and vexing grooves of Existential Void

Guardian foretell a new epoch in the history

of Conan.

“I think the main thing was how heavy it

came out and how the songs took shape in an

almost effortless manner. We had quite a disjointed

12 months leading up to the recording

of the album and there was a risk the album

would suffer, but I’m very happy that we put

out a cool recording in spite of it all.”

Rising above the din, Conan's first recording

featuring drummer Johnny King (Dread Sovereign,

Malthusian) stands out from the crowd

with Davis delivering his bloodstained lyrics

with a poetic passion that runs hot and cold.

“I think my lyrics have usually been kind

of concise and I think it works, because it

doesn’t give too much away,” says Davis. “It

helps the listener use their imagination, which

is absolutely what we want them to do while

listening to the music. I ‘defo’ use colloquialisms

in normal conversations but try not to

do it in the lyrics. I find that would be a bit

limiting for the tracks and I’d hate to make

myself cringe further down the line!”

One thing Existential Void Guardian has

in common with the trio’s earlier works is a

strong sense of altered reality, if not all-out

fantasy. After hours of exhaustive research,

Davis concludes that Conan’s back catalogue

is best paired with the following video games:

“Horseback Battle Hammer (2010 Throne

Records)–Rastan (Commodore 64 version),

Monnos (2012 Burning World Records)–

Quake (PC version), Blood Eagle (2014

Napalm Records)–Skyrim (PS4 version), Revengeance

(2016 Napalm Records)–Renegade

(Amiga version), Existential Void Guardian

(2018 Napalm Records)–Karateka (C64


It’s only a matter of time before the industry

comes knocking, especially now that Robert

E. Howard’s beloved Conan character has

returned to Marvel Comics and the public eye.


“Hold on, I’m just about to put a down

payment on our new tour bus,” Davis jests,

predicting an upsurge of interest in the necromancer-smashing

barbarian and the band’s

namesake. But seriously, you just never know

where the group’s doomy Cimmerian sounds

are going to turn up.

“I remember being stood at Islington MIll

in Salford in 2010. I had just watched Earth

play and I walked back into the live room to

watch them pack down. As I stood near the

exit, Laurie Goldston starts talking to me—

just said hi really—and we got chatting about

Nirvana. Laurie played cello with Nirvana. As

we did that, the DJ starts playing “Satsumo”

off Horseback Battle Hammer. It was pretty

weird, but I told her it was my band and it

was cool timing. I hear Conan in some places,

I guess a cool place to hear us would be over

the PA at a huge venue but other people pay

for that privilege.”

Prepared to set sail from the safe haven of

SkyHammer Studio in the Cheshire countryside,

Conan is primed for a run of tour dates

that will bring the terror and triumph of

Existential Void Guardian to thresholds from

Vancouver, BC to Austin, TX. So, it’s time to

get your fur loincloth out of storage.

Experience the might of Conan Feb. 25 at Temple

(Edmonton) and Feb. 26 at The Palomino Smokehouse

and Social Club (Calgary).


from Beale Street to oblivion

Putting their own stamp on America’s

rock-metal soundscape since 1991,

Clutch is a four-man wrecking crew with

a cultish international fanbase and a

reputation for waging psychic warfare on

their foes. Armed with their blistering new

album Book of Bad Decisions as a roadmap,

vocalist/guitarist Neil Fallon, bassist Dan

Maines, guitarist Tim Sult and drummer

Jean-Paul Gaster are emerging from the humid

subtropics of the state of Maryland for

a mid-winter tour that threatens to break

the ice and melt the poles. Blast tyrants

who rock the Earth with a barrage of whiskey-fueled

anthems, their nefarious live

shows recall the golden age of gate-breaking

icons like Thin Lizzy and Motörhead.

Combining classic trappings of hard rock,

blues-rock and heavy metal with their own

modern worldview, the quartet projects a

bravado that is entirely genuine and utterly

well earned. Megastars of the fuzz rock universe,

Clutch makes no apologies for their

sinful southern style. Better to give offense

than sit on the fence!

Catch the power and spunk of Clutch’s ‘Book of

Bad Decisions Tour’ March 3 at MacEwan Hall

(Calgary), March 4 at The Ranch Roadhouse

(Edmonton) and March 6 at Burton Cummings

Theatre (Winnipeg)


After a slow start to the year for touring acts,

February brings the heat! The most depressing

month? Not if you are a fan of live metal!

Friday, Feb. 1 delivers an all-ages party

night at Tubby Dog with the Kataplexis

CD release featuring Gorgos, Feeding and

Sawlung! The following night, Dickens Pub

is throwing a sizzling EP release party for

Sadistic Embodiment, who will be backed by

a diverse mix of bands; Citizen Rage, Quietus

and T.H.C.

One of the first big tours of year rolls

through Western Canada in the dead of

winter. Brave souls from the southern U.S.

(the Carolinas and Louisiana) have decided to

sample our weather. The fools!

Corrosion of Conformity, Crowbar,

Weedeater, and Mothership will be at The

Starlite Room in Edmonton on Feb. 4 and The

Marquee Beer Market in Calgary on Feb. 5.

Good luck, dudes! Keep your eyes on the road

and your hands upon the wheel!

Speaking of big wheels, diesel-fueled rockers

Monster Truck rumble into The Palace on

Wednesday, Feb. 13.. Valentine’s Day will soon

be upon us and what better way to say, “I love

This Month In METAL

you!” than with a Feb14. date night at The

Blind Beggar Pub for the Classic Rock Metal

Jam? Your charming hosts Sharkskin will keep

the spirit of romance alive all evening long!

On Friday, Feb. 15, Big Nate Productions, in

conjunction with the Calgary Beer Core, presents

Metal for a Cause: A Show for Melanie

Sinneave. This fundraiser features the talents

of Blackest Sin, Caveat and Greybeard.

Admission is a mere $10 donation at the door

and you could be taking home silent auction

items, cool prizes, warm fuzzies and more!

Saturday, Feb, 16, the Brass Monkey presents

arguably the heaviest show of the month

with death metal pundits Path to Extinction,

Detherous, Animosity and Skalds of Surt

slated to put on a scathing mid-winter show.

Can’t get enough of that heavy metal lovin’?

Grab yer black cowboy hat and drop by the

County Line Saloon on Feb, 16 for Valentines

Schmalentines... more like METALTines! Staged

by Voxx Promotions this metalcore giggity-gig

stars Metavore, For a Life Unburdened, Born

For Tomorrow, Syryn and Liandra.

Embrace your inner Viking with Heavy

Metal Axe throwing at BATL on Feb. 17. This

all-ages event combines metal music and adult

beverages and axe throwing…a winning recipe

in our books! What could possibly go wrong?

The annual Wacken Metal Battle will continue

all across Western Canada this month

with bouts planned for Feb. 7 and 21 at The

Starlite Room–Temple in Edmonton, Feb. 9 at

The Black Cat Tavern in Saskatoon and Feb.

20 at Dickens Pub in Calgary. Check www. for full lineups and

schedules as they become available.

Feeling lucky, punk? Throw your hat in

the ring for The Mosh Lotto on Feb. 22 at the

County Line Saloon. This raffle-and-riff combo

welcomes a huge line-up of hardcore talents

including Chaos Being, No More Moments,

After the Prophet, Chained by Mind, Iron

Tusk, Dystonic Waves, Snakepit, Vexterity,

Father Moon and Sicks. All ticket holders and,

more importantly the bands, have a chance to

win $649 cash by the end of the night!

On Feb. 23, The Red Room in Vancouver

will be hosting the World Premier gig of

Imonolith, the Western Canadian all-star

band featuring members of Threat Signal,

Devin Townsend Band and Fear Factory (to

name a few). Watch for them to visit Calgary

on March 1 at Dickens Pub and Edmonton at

The Starlite Room–Temple on March 2, for

their second and third-ever shows!

Gird your loins in fur and prepare your

soul for battle—Liverpool, England’s CONAN

is about to thunder across the west. After

plundering The Starlite Room–Temple in

Edmonton on Feb. 25, they will head down

to Calgary where BeatRoute Magazine will

present them on Feb. 26 at The Palomino

Smokehouse and Social Club alongside Culled

and Gone Cosmic!

All you classic rock snowbirds can flock to

The Grey Eagle Casino on Feb. 27 to warm up

to the familiar sounds of Foreigner and their

nostalgic Cold As Ice Tour.

Treading that fine line between Feb. and

March, American rock-metal gods Clutch

are bringing their grand Book of Bad Decisions

Tour to Canada. Catch them with Big

Business and Inspector Cluzo in Calgary

on March 3 and The Ranch Roadhouse in

Edmonton on March 4.

Stay frosty, everyone!






Sinderlyn Records

It’s ironic that in this day and age, when the ability to

produce high-quality recordings is just a local studio

booking away, DIY music continues to grow in popularity.

Rather than spotlighting the technicalities,

“lo-fi” musicians embrace human imperfection and

put an emphasis on pure emotion and artistry. Their

subdued approach creates a distinct vibe and overall

earnestness, resulting in music that sounds, thinks

and feels like the people actually listening to it.

Montreal-based Peter Sagar is one of the best examples

today of a lo-fi musician who creates art with

a pulse. Formerly known as the touring guitarist for

Mac DeMarco, Sagar has since made a name for himself

with his dreamy, synth-pop project, Homeshake.

His fourth release, aptly entitled Helium, is perhaps

his most honest work to date; unlike his previous

work, Helium was recorded and mixed by Sagar alone

in his apartment. Making music without worrying

about external factors allowed Sagar to proceed with

a much clearer mental state.

Helium is a continuation of the buoyant synth

lines, tranquil guitar riffs and hypnotic tones that

were last heard on 2017’s Fresh Air. But whereas the

previous record adhered to the formalities of notes

and chords, Helium gives precedence to rich textures,

timbre, and atmosphere. Sagar trades in the accessibility

of conventionalism for the accessibility of emotion,

resulting in an intimate record that encapsulates

Homeshake’s unique brand of R&B-infused, lo-fi pop.

The definitive song of the album is “Like Mariah,” a

surprisingly charming ode to one of Sagar’s favourite

musicians. Like the R&B songstress, Sagar stretches

the limits of his vocal range and sings in the upper

registers. Although he impresses with his best Mariah

Carey-lite notes, Sagar admits to having insecurities

about his voice. In his lyrics he wistfully imagines

what it would be like to be a musician of Carey’s caliber,

fantasizing about possessing her talent and fame.

His quivering voice expresses a mixture of yearning

and disappointment when he realizes that this

scenario would only increase his loneliness. Layered

between silky synths and a full-bodied bassline, the

song sounds both relaxing and eerie, exposing a very

human vulnerability that contrasts the glamorous

image his idol projects.

The R&B influence continues to flow throughout

the rest of Helium, but it crops up in unexpected

ways. Unlike the typical, virile crooner, Sagar isn’t

writing party anthems or songs that promote his

sexual prowess. Instead, he reworks the conventions

of the R&B genre to reflect his own thoughtful

meditations. On the track “Just Like My,” a crunching,

Nineties boom-bap maintains a dominant presence

and is juxtaposed with Sagar’s lofty voice. And from

the frantic and fragmented lyrics, it’s clear that Sagar

isn’t concerned with crafting a perfect image of

himself: he separates himself from the outside world

to the point at which he isn’t sure whether or not

it’s a Sunday. This then prompts him to compare his

fading memory to that of his 98-year-old grandma.

It’s an interesting inversion that underscores just how

far removed Sagar is from accepted norms.

One song that isn’t as weighed down by heavy

synths or themes is “Nothing Could Be Better,” a

romantic ballad sung in a falsetto quaver. With its

memorable hook, the track stands out as the one

that most closely resembles a conventional pop song.

Sagar employs an accessible set of lyrics and croons

about ditching a social function to be with the one

he loves. With each verse he grows increasingly

honest, even hoping that he’ll never blink so that

he could stare into his lover’s eyes forever. The sense

of isolation that permeates the rest of the album is

gone, and the tone is self-assured and blithe. Once

he’s alone with his sweetheart, Sagar unshackles

himself from his uneasy feelings and proclaims, “Got

me smiling finally / Got no reason to be sad.”

Which isn’t to say that the rest of the album is

morose or lacking in confidence. Woven into the

14-song tracklist is a series of instrumental interludes,

including “Early,” “Heartburn,” “Trudi and Lou” and

“Couch Cushion.” Here Sagar seems to take cues from

Japanese ambient composer Haruomi Hosono, crafting

songs that could easily fit into the soundtrack of

a MUJI store. They may not stand out on their own,

but the tracks add to the album’s overall meditative

soundscape. Their woozy, slow-churning grooves

move at an unhurried pace and reinforce the dreamlike

state that Sagar inhabits. Sentient and sincere,

the songs reflect Sagar’s desire to build his own world

amidst the confusion and overstimulation of the

present. And this is exactly what Homeshake sets out

to do with Helium: Sagar is responding to his shifting,

existing environment by creating spaces of serenity or

stillness. His reality may be cold and often alienating,

but there is a comforting repose that accompanies

his solitude.

Helium’s brooding yet tender ambient pop is a

worthy addition to Sagar’s body of work.

Whether you’re mellowing out alone in your room

or roaming around in a crowded city, Homeshake’s

music is the type to lose yourself in.


• Illustration by Michael Markowsky


The Claypool Lennon Delirium

South of Reality

ATO Records

Picking up where Monolith of Phobos (2016

Rancho Relaxo), Sean Lennon and daddy long

legs Les Claypool are once again voyaging

beyond the horizon to an realm of pure lyrical

and melodious delights. A playful “Within You

Without You” vibe pervades throughout the

psych-rock duo’s second collaboration. The

watery fairytale “Little Fishes” with its loping bass

lines opens the scene with a silliness that combines

Claypool’s Wonka-esque showmanship

with scaly geometric progressions. It’s a bubble

that refuses to burst as he muses, “Gone are the

days when your gender tells you where to piss.”

Pastel shades of John inevitably seep through

Sean’s lackadaisical, and at times lonely, vocals

on “Love and Rockets,” and reaping strawberry

hued fields with the metallic edge of a sharpened

chord. Determined to set the world on fire, or

at least to get the New Gen up on their hind

legs, title track ignites with a ‘60s tambourine

shakedown and electric organ boogie. Deep

waters and whale songs beckon on the menacing

“Boriska;” a vortex of warped, nasally vocals

and punkish guitar gales that conjures the story

of Forrest Gump. The quirky biopics keep on

truckin’ with the cinematic “Toadyman Hour”

and the sultry grooves of the Bukowski-inspired

“Easily Charmed by Fools.” Debatably, the most

compelling and seductive daytrip of the lot,

“Cricket Chronicles Revisited” is a magic carpet

ride of sitar synths, ponderous fret paddling and

multilayered reverb piloted by the Maharishi

Mahesh Yogi. This hand-clapping raga on ‘roids

distends and transcends before it ends - with a

warning list of utterly bizarre side-effects that

(almost) put big pharma to shame.

• Christine Leonard

Dream Theater

Distance Over Time

Inside Out Music / Sony Music

Time and again, Dream Theater have brought

complex musical ideas to the table and made

them sound both interesting and effortless. Few

bands are able to match their technical expertise,

making them a highly respected band, especially

among musicians. Whether it’s John Petrucci’s

guitar virtuosity or Mike Mangini’s double time

kick drums, the Long Island, NY quintet has built

a dedicated following around its methodical

wizardry and inspired legions of Guitar Hero

wannabes since 1985.

With Distance Over Time, the band displays

a confident, sonic power that resonates more

with every listen. Attacking hard from the outset

with “Untethered Angel,” Dream Theater brings

an all-hands-on-deck approach to their latest

effort. Canadian James LaBrie’s vocals soar on

“Paralyzed,” Petrucci’s furious shredding shines

on “At Wit’s End,” and Mangini’s pulse-pounding

drums dominate the Rush-esq opus “Barstool



Warrior.” Hardcore fans might argue that it’s not

as epic or influential as their previous efforts, but

Distance Over Time is a worthy mind-bending

journey nonetheless.

If Dream Theater is burning out after 14 albums

and nearly 25 years as a band, they certainly

don’t show it on Distance Over Time. Instead,

they’ve given us another collection of beautiful,

thought-provoking, and hard-hitting prog-metal

tunes that challenges us to think about how we

hear music. After you listen to a band like Dream

Theater, conventional songs sound half-baked

and oversimplified.

• Trevor Morelli

Le Butcherettes


Rise Records

Who doesn’t have complicated feelings about

their family? For El Paso-based garage punk

group, Le Butcherettes, family drama is a source

of inspiration. bi/MENTAL, their first full-length

album with Rise Records, is a deep dive into the

relationship between family and self-perception.

With Teri Gender Bender on vocals, guitar and

piano, Alejandra Robles Luna on drums, Rikardo

Rodriguez-Lopez on guitars and synth, and

Marfred Rodriguez-Lopez on bass, each of the

13 tracks are diverse, sonically challenging, and


The lead single off the album, spider/WAVES

features punk legend Jello Biafra and explores

internal strife with religious -- often blasphemous

-- imagery. Teri Gender Bender’s vocals shift

between Gwen Stefani, Portishead, Heart, and

Kate Bush’s falsetto lilt. “nothing/BUT TROU-

BLE” features an industrial groove, sinister chord

progression, and indie rock vocals. “in/THE END”

slows things down and lightens up with layers of

synthy strings, lumbering tom groove, patches of

psychedelic dissonance and huskier vocals.

Produced by Talking Heads member Jerry Harrison,

the album is a mixed bag and an intricate

listen. “I’ve never been to a therapist before,” says

Gender Bender. “I don’t talk to my friends about

this stuff. Music keeps me away from trouble. It

keeps my mind free.” This album’s an artistic investigation,

and there’s a lot to unpack. With bi/

MENTAL The band defies generic expectations

and challenges perceptions of identity, family,

and what it all even means.

• Lauren Donnelly

Lee Harvey Osmond


Latent Recordings

Hamilton, Ontario’s Tom Wilson has a storied

and well-deserved place in the canon of Canadian

rock ‘n’ roll history. He’s the dynamic leader of

alt-rock mainstays Blackie and the Rodeo Kings

and prior to that, he cut his teeth in the ‘90s

blues funk outfit Junkhouse. Wilson certainly

pours his heart and soul into every release,

and his solo work as Lee Harvey Osmond is no

On Mohawk, Wilson continues his intriguing

and surprising journey of self-reflection after discovering

his true lineage in his 50s. Wilson was actually

adopted and recently learned his biological

parents were from the Kahnawake reserve outside

of Montreal. He is, therefore, Mohawk by heritage

and it’s led him to reconsider many of the things

he once thought he knew about himself.

Catchy first single “Forty Light Years,” lays

down a groovy beat that’s contrasted nicely by

angst-ridden acoustic protest songs like “Whole

Damn World.” “A Common Disaster” employs

fuzzy Beatles guitar tones, while closer “What I

Loved About You” tells a seductive story about

the highs and lows of love. Although the story

behind it is a little more interesting on paper,

Mohawk is still an eclectic mix of sultry, poppy

and folk-inspired jams crafted by an expert


• Trevor Morelli

The Lemonheads

Varshons 2

Fire Records

Yes, The Lemonheads are back. Far gone from

the ’90s heyday, and even ten years gone from

their last offering of covers with Varshons (2009),

leader Evan Dando is back with a crazy focused

collection of cover songs with Varshons 2. Like

a 21st century Joe Cocker, Dando lends his pop

sensibilities and distinct vocal style to such artists

as John Prine, Nick Cave, Lucinda Williams, Yo La

Tengo, and yes, even the Eagles. These are deep

cuts, and the songs are treated with pure heart.

Dando has a rare talent to see to the soul of a

track, and his voice is stronger than ever, but this

is no solo effort. The “Lemonheads” that he has

assembled are no stranger to lovely harmonies,

ripping guitar solos and a killer rhythm section,

and that’s no easy feat. Check the stomping

drums and face melting organ and guitar displayed

on “Old Man Blank” (The Bevis Frond). It

seems Dando has been meticulously assembling

songs to express himself, as well as the people he

wants to tackle that task with. Listen to his version

of the Jayhawks’ “Settled Down Like Rain”

and tell me Dando isn’t living happy ever after.

• Chad Martin

Malibu Ken

Malibu Ken


In some ways it seems like this would be a match

made in heaven. Rapper Aesop Rock’s lyrics

push the boundaries of language in novel and

abstract ways, while Tobacco’s hallucinogenic

sounds can move the listener into new worlds of

sound. The concern might be that it would be

too much; dense lyrics with psychedelic music

might just be too much going on to enjoy either.

With this new album that concern turns out

to unfounded. Tobacco’s beats are subtle and

woozy, providing a consistent sonic palate for

Aesop Rock to work from. While in some sense,

Tobacco takes a little bit of back seat to Aesop

Rock’s complex wordplay; the subtle touches

and mood really complement the rapper. This

comes across strongest on the body-horror

invoking “Tuesday,” which Tobacco infuses with

disorienting, sea-sick synths, as well as album

highlight “Acid King,” a song detailing the story of

a supposed satanic murder set to an almost ’70s

or ’80s horror movie soundtrack. Aesop Rock,

for his part, is on the top of his game here, with

off-putting stories, anecdotes and wordplay so

dense one finds something new on every listen.

It says something of the collaboration that this

never gets too heavy. It takes a light touch and

chemistry, which these two have in spades.

• Graeme Wiggins

Cass McCombs

Tip Of The Sphere


On his ninth album, Cass McCombs doubles

down on what makes his dream-like musical

prose so appealing, sending listeners on an

introspective trip that proves to be as relaxing

as it is thought provoking. Settling back into an

armchair, it’s very easy to get carried away by

the soothing Eastern influences of “Real Life,”

the moody outro of “Rounder,” or the wistful

guitars on “I Followed The River South To What.”

But beneath it are all lyrics that are observant

and contemporary, lyrics that croon laments to

the human condition and sling poetic condemnations

to larger political bodies. The effect

is engrossing, and the music is given identity

through dusty Americana flavours, mixed neatly

with folk and indie sensibilities. The underlying

anxiety culminates on “American Canyon Sutra,”

an outlying track with synthetic percussion and

bleakly spoken lyrics, before breaking back into

melancholic and folksy familiarity on the album’s

closers. It's a reminder of the inherent cycle of all

things, and few capture this meditative sensation

better than McCombs.

• Brendan Reid




Lean and mean. That’s how Millencolin plays it

on their latest studio album, SOS. The Swedish

pop-punks were born out of the ‘90s skate punk

power chord boom, and their formula hasn’t

changed much since then. That’s not to say SOS

is a bad record. It’s a loud, speedy effort with

enough rough edges to turn some heads. After

all, if it ain’t broke … keep milking it for years to


With few songs running past the three minute

mark – and none over four – SOS is a raging,

sharp and well-polished album. Front loaded

with rocket launchers like “For Yesterday” and

“Sour Days,” it’s clear the quartet is aware of

their age but more interested in rocking on than

pining for the past. Their lyrics are always interesting,

letting a little cheekiness to shine though

without being downright silly.

Later, the band touches on relationships on

“Do You Want War” and politics on the amusingly

titled “Trumpets & Poutine.” SOS doesn’t

veer much from Millencolin’s last album True

Brew (2015, Epitaph) – or any of their other

albums for that matter – but at least they

bring the distortion pedals every time. Even

in 2019, Millencolin prove that a little dose of

pop-punk can be good for the nostalgic part

of your soul.

• Trevor Morelli

Panda Bear


Domino Records

Noah Lennox, a.k.a. Panda Bear, has put out

a wide collection of music in the past two

decades, both as a solo artist and as a member

of famed and acclaimed psychedelic pop

group, Animal Collective. His music has mostly

stayed within the reverb-laden wheelhouse

he's familiar with, but the experimental nature

of the genre has allowed his music to remain

fresh through the years.

Buoys is his sixth solo album and it’s incredibly

stripped back compared to previous

releases, with Lennox’s voice and acoustic

guitar serving as the meat and potatoes of

each track. Sampling, feedback and other miscellaneous

noises garnish rather than serve as

main attractions. Lennox's voice sounds bland

and flat fairly often and the songwriting only

sometimes justify this focus on the barebones.

On album standout, “Inner Monologue,” the

percussive sound of Lennox’s sliding fingers on

the neck of the guitar and heavy breathing bake

in a bevy of effects while his voice bounces

between dipping into a lower register and remarkably

harmonized shocks of a higher range

that punctuate the track’s hook.

On other tracks, Lennox flirts with an interesting

textural idea before quickly abandoning

it, only to return to his frequently repetitive

vocal melodies. Most of Buoys is restricted

rather than liberated by his minimalistic


• Cole Parker




From the mountainous stronghold of Kimberley

B.C., Phaeton charges forth with their first

full length album offering an epic progressive

metal listening experience. This self-titled

album showcases an instrumental endeavour

that doses the imagination with scenes of

shiny sci-fi fantasy, grave adventure and the

impending interference of an unknown mystical

power. Inventive throughout, Phaeton tells

its story by swapping between bright, technical

arrangements, ominous battle riffs and

foreboding war drums. Each song playing like

a chapter of a novel, the listener gains further

omniscient perspective into the universe Phaeton

has created, watching the events unfold

from above. The album creates a sense of good

versus evil taking place in a futuristic world

with the fate of humankind hanging in the

balance. Blasting the listener with layers of intense

progressive metal over dreamy operatic

chants, piano pieces and sounds of the ocean,

Phaeton churns out a heart pounding, head

banging album that brings the audience on a

journey deep into a world not of this realm.

• Trevor Hatter

Said the Whale


Arts & Crafts

Vancouver based indie trio Said the Whale

continue to outline their West Coast sound

with the aptly titled Cascadia. The JUNO

award-winning band consisting of Tyler

Bancroft, Ben Worcester and Jaycelyn Brown

bring together more than a decade of musical

talent, following up their 2017 album, As Long

as Your Eyes are Wide.

A piano riff, a strum on an acoustic guitar

and eclectic keyboard sounds introduce

Cascadia. It begins with “Wake up,” a satisfying

beat complemented by twinkling piano notes,

followed by “UnAmerican,” a head-banging

electric guitar rhythm. The songs cascade into

ten tracks that showcase the band’s broad

indie music capabilities; an excellent introduction

for any person unfamiliar with Said the


Cascadia hits its stride with songs “Moonlight”

and “Love Always,” graced with music

and poetic lyrics relatable to anyone experiencing

love’s mixed blessings. “Gambier Island

Green” closes off Cascadia with a nostalgic

ambience and beautiful composure, ideal for

any romantics pining for a past love.

• Lauren Edwards


Vol. 6

Artoffact Records

Vol. 6 is Seer’s most fully realized work to date.

The Vancouver-based doomster’s signature

elements can still be picked out – bluesy

stoner riffs, moody Americana, eerie ambience

and, of course, doom, baby, doom. All those

bits have had time to simmer and ferment,

the flavours intermingling and complementing

one another, swirling and bubbling into a

thick, satisfying stew. The stoner repetition is

more selective and, thus, more effective. The

ritualistic, ambient mood-setters are more

pronounced, more powerful.

Bronson Lee Norton’s commanding vocals

exude confidence and charisma, perfectly

giving voice to the heavy metal doom swagger

of the music. The decidedly more menacing

vibe introduced on Vol. 5 is maintained in

this latest chapter, and is improved upon, in

and of itself, and by its enmeshing with the

existing sonic pillars outlined above. Best of

all, the darker approach does not sacrifice

any of the stomping, headbanging fun, it just

means there’s more of it now. As great as this

latest offering is, there’s a sense that Seer’s

masterpiece still lies ahead. In the meantime,

Vol. 6 is the latest and weightiest step in what

is proving to be a consistently impressive and

adventurous musical pilgrimage.

• Daniel Robichaud


Highway Hypnosis

Merge Records

For their third full length release, Eva Moolchan

packs up her minimal post-punk solo

project and takes it in a new direction. Sneaks’

previous LP’s are comprised of mostly brief,

bass-driven songs with a whole lot of (s)punk.

But on Highway Hypnosis, Moolchan lets the

drum machine take the wheel. The result is

a set of energetic and playful bangers that

could be played in your bedroom or at the

after-hours club.

The title track starts things off with a

sample of someone laughing and repeating

“Highway hypnosis” under a beat, aptly

introducing the listener to the sample rich,

experimental tracklist ahead. As the songs ensue,

so do the rapid fire hi hats and thudding

kick drums, pulling from trap, grime, even

darkwave during “And We’re Off”. Though

Eva’s new stylings draw from very established

and recognizable genres, the record is far from

formulaic, experimenting with creative vocal

samples and off the wall synth garnishes.

With Highway Hypnosis Sneaks takes us on

a scenic detour with a fresh, inventive fusion

of pop, trap and post-punk.

• Judah Schulte

David Storey and the

Side Road Scholars

Made In Canada


David Storey has travelled the world, but

there’s only one place he fits in. This sense

of home is celebrated with his latest release

Made In Canada, and through it the romantic,

somber and nostalgic charms of our nation are

explored with a country-folk flair.

Storey and his backing band, the Side Road

Scholars effortlessly bring the boot-stomping,

sing-along energy when the time is right, but

also know how to settle into more pensive

moments, reflecting on the wholesome

aspects of Canadian life. These emotions are

coupled with strong storytelling sensibilities,

and Storey easily transports you to the minds

of dreamy-eyed hockey players, small time bar

bands, and remorseful murderers alike.

Storey proudly carries the torch of Canadiana

folk-rock, and does so with the confidence

of a man who has fallen deeply in love with his

home. The effect is heartwarming and honest,

inspiring one to raise their stick in appreciation.


The Northern South Vol.2

Six Shooter

When the Polaris Prize-nominated duo Whitehorse

released The Northern South Vol. 1 EP

back in 2016 it added a new layer to the bluesy

glam folk rock sound Luke Doucet and Melissa

McClelland had become known for.

Now with Vol 2., Whitehorse is still showing

how sinister, sexy and striking the blues can

really be. Made up of fiery traditional blues

gospel tracks and jams, Vol. 2 doesn’t stray

too far away from the original compositions

and sounds, but adds just the right pinch of

Whitehorse flavour.

Beginning with Howlin Wolf’s “Who’s Been

Talkin,” a song about a lover being less than faithful,

Doucet and McClelland utilize the Wurlitzer,

melodica, and of course some foreboding lead

guitar to reanimate the 1957 track.

Next comes a take on Jimmy Reed’s classic

“Baby What You Want Me To Do,” which stays

pretty true to the blues minimalism Reed

portrayed. Still, the jittery Gretsch squeals

enhance the track and keep it groovin.

“John the Revelator” finds its way onto the

album except with some more up to date

lyrics about the sorry state the United States

finds it in, global warming, consumerism, and

of course, religion. It might be the most experimental

and interesting track on Vol. 2.

“Baby Scratch My Back,”—Slim Harpo’s classic

sexist ditty—is morphed into a track of female

empowerment with McClelland on lead

vocals. To cap the album off is Whitehorse’s

take on “St. James Infirmary,” an American jazz

blues standard with unknown origins made famous

by Cab Calloway, Louis Armstrong, and

more recently, The White Stripes. Whitehorse’s

version is a great take on ethereal blues that

brings the album to a blissful halt, leaving the

listener wanting more.

• Stephan Boissonneault

• Brendan Reid




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Can I still be considered sex-positive if I personally do not have sex? I’ve

never had sex or masturbated—all my life, any type of sexual stimulation

has been very painful and I’ve been unable to experience orgasm.

I simply get a migraine and feel mildly nauseated instead. I am not

looking for a possible solution, as I long ago accepted my fate and consequently

avoid sex, such as by maintaining only sexless relationships.

My question is simply whether I can still be considered sex-positive if I

do not enjoy or engage in sexual activity?

—Personally Loathes Unpleasant Sex

I consider myself cunnilingus-positive, PLUS, despite the fact that

I could not personally enjoy (and therefore have never engaged

in) that particular sexual activity. While I don’t think it would

cause me physical pain, I would not be able to experience orgasm

myself (through simultaneous self-stimulation) while performing

cunnilingus, and my cunnilingus partner would be highly unlikely to

experience orgasm, either (due to my ineptness). If I can nevertheless

consider myself cunnilingus-positive under the circumstances—if

I can consider myself a cunnilingus advocate—you can consider

yourself sex-positive.

About twice a week, my wife gets up from the dinner table to have a

shit. She won’t make the smallest effort to adjust the timing so we can

finish our dinner conversation. She can’t even wait for a natural break

in the conversation. She will stand up and leave the room when I am

making a point. Am I rightfully upset or do I just have to get over it?

When I say something, she tells me it’s unavoidable.

—Decidedly Upset Man Petitions Savage

“Let her have her poop,” said Zach Noe Towers, a comedian in Los

Angeles who just walked into the cafe where I was writing this week’s

column. “His Miss Pooper isn’t going to change her ways.” I would

only add this: Absent some other evidence—aural or olfactory—you

can’t know for sure that your wife actually left the room to take

a shit. She could be in the bathroom scrolling through Twitter or

checking her Instagram DMs. In other words: taking a break from

your shit, DUMPS, not shitting herself.

My boyfriend goes to pieces whenever I am the least bit critical. I’m

not a scold, and small things don’t bother me. But when he does

something thoughtless and I bring it to his attention, he starts beating

up on himself and insists that I hate him and I’m going to leave him.

He makes a scene that’s out of proportion to the topic at hand, and

I wind up having to comfort and reassure him. I’m not sure how to

handle this.

—Boyfriend Always Wailing Loudly

Someone who leaps to YOU HATE ME! YOU HATE ME! when

their partner wants to constructively process the tiniest conflict

is being a manipulative shit, BAWL. Your boyfriend goes

right to the self-lacerating (and fake) meltdown so that you’ll

hesitate to initiate a discussion about a conflict or—god forbid—really

confront him about some selfish, shitty, or inconsiderate

thing he’s done. He’s having a tantrum, BAWL, because he

doesn’t want to be held accountable for his actions. And as the

parent of any toddler can tell you, tantrums continue so long as

tantrums work.

I’m a well-adjusted gay man in my early 40s, but I’ve never found a

way to openly enjoy my fetish. I love white socks and sneakers. The

most erotic thing I’ve ever seen is a cute guy at a party asking if he

could take his high-tops off to relax in his socks. I’ve been in a couple

of long-term relationships, but I’ve never been honest about this fetish

with anyone. I’ve thought a lot about why stocking feet turn me on so

much, and I think it must have something to do with the fact that if

you are close to someone and they want to spend time with you, they

are more likely to take their shoes off to relax around you. I’m not sure

what to do.

—Loves Socks And Sneaks

I have to assume you’re out of the closet—you can’t be a “well-adjusted

gay man” and a closet case—which means at some point in

your life, LSAS, you sat your mom down and told her you put dicks

in your mouth. Telling your next boyfriend you have a thing for

socks and sneakers can’t be anywhere near as scary, can it? (There

are tons of kinky guys all over Twitter and Instagram who are very

open about their fetishes, LSAS. Create an anonymous, kink-specific

account for yourself and follow a bunch of kinksters. You need some

role/sole models!)

Santorum, DTMFA, pegging, GGG, the Campsite Rule, monogamish—

you’ve coined a lot of interesting and useful terms over the years, Dan,


but it’s been a while since you rolled out a new one. You can consider

this a challenge.

—Neo-Neologisms, Please!

I’ve got two for you, NNP. Harnies (pronounced like “carnies”):

Vanilla guys who attend big gay leather/rubber/fetish events like

International Mr. Leather or Folsom Street Fair in harnesses. A harnie

owns just one piece of fetish gear—his harness, usually purchased on

the day of the event, often in a neon color, never to be worn during

sex—and pairs his harness with booty shorts and sneakers. Kinky

guys old enough to remember when vanilla guys wouldn’t be caught

dead at fetish events prefer having harnies around to the kink-shaming

that used to be rampant even in the gay community. And most

kinky guys are too polite to tell harnies that harnesses aren’t merely

decorative. Someone should be able to hold on to your harness

while they’re fucking you or add ropes if they want to tie you down.

So if your harness is made out of stretchy fabric—like lime-green

Lycra—then it’s not a harness, it’s a sports bra. Kinky guys are also

too polite to tell harnies when they’re wearing their harnesses upside

down or backward.

With Extra Lobster: There are food carts in Iceland that sell delicious

lobster stew, lobster rolls, and lobster sandwiches. The menu at the

cart my husband and I kept returning to when we visited Reykjavík

included this item: “With Extra Lobster.” You could order your

lobster with extra lobster! Lobster is a luxurious and decadent treat,

and getting extra lobster with your lobster kicks the luxury and

decadence up a big notch. “With extra lobster” struck me as the

perfect dirty euphemism for something. It could be something very

specific—say, someone sticks their tongue out and licks your balls

while they’re deep-throating your cock. We could describe that as

a blowjob with extra lobster. Or it could be a general expression

meaning more of whatever hot thing gets you off. I’m open to your

suggested definitions of “with extra lobster.” Send them to mail@!

On the Lovecast, Dr. Zhana on squirting:

Follow Dan on Twitter @fakedansavage



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