BeatRoute Magazine ON Edition - December 2019

beatroute

BeatRoute Magazine is a music monthly and website that also covers: fashion, film, travel, liquor and cannabis all through the lens of a music fan. Distributed in British Columbia and Alberta, Ontario edition coming Thursday, October 4, 2019. BeatRoute’s Alberta edition is distributed in Calgary, Edmonton, Banff and Canmore. The BC edition is distributed in Vancouver, Victoria and Nanaimo. BeatRoute (AB) Mission PO 23045 Calgary, AB T2S 3A8 E. editor@beatroute.ca BeatRoute (BC) #202 – 2405 E Hastings Vancouver, BC V5K 1Y8 P. 778-888-1120

THE YEAR (AND DECADE) IN REVIEW

SPECIAL

ISSUE

DECEMBER 2019 • FREE

Top 10

Artists

of the

Decade

Best

Albums

of 2019

Artist Of

The Decade

Kendrick

Lamar

Featuring

Dave

Orville

Peck

Purple

Mountains

Tyler The

Creator

Fontaines D.C.

Idles

FKA twigs

Adele

Rihanna

Helado

Negro

Summer

Walker

Big

Freedia

Drake

Arcade

Fire


DRAKE UNDERGROUND

DEC 26 PRACTICE

DEC 27 JERK

DEC 28 Feed the Birds Presents Villain Park

DEC 29 Dead Poet

DEC 30 Serious Betty Presents Night Fight Showcase

THE DRAKE HOTEL LOUNGE

DEC 26 All Vinyl Everything

DEC 27 JERK

DEC 28 Ear2Much Presents DJ Nana

DEC 29 Gxrls Need Love: Toronto Edition

DRAKE GENERAL STORE

DEC 28–30 On The Rise

What’s in Box Music Festival (WITB) is where the plethora of

Canadian talent—from DJs, to singer-songwriters, to cultural

producers—get to showcase their music, their ideas, their

visions, for all of us to relish over. It’s where the flourishing

club culture we’ve witnessed within our four walls continues

to push the boundaries and gain momentum across the city.

This the year’s WITB, is about the community of Toronto

working hard to create the infrastructure for artists of tomorrow

to thrive. It’s about creating a space where new ideas not

only come to fruition but survive and grow. The arts and

culture scene of Toronto is not the same as it once was, and

we’re throwing a five-day music festival to illustrate just how

much it’s evolved.


Contents

BEATROUTE

BEATROUTE

BEAT

ROUTE

BR

BRLIVE

BRYYZ

Our review of

City and Colour’s

A Pill For Loneliness

Tour and more are

online now at

beatroute.ca

Music

4

18

19

20

22

Up Front

Haviah Mighty shares her

Best of 2019 picks with us.

The Year Of Yeehaw!

The outlaws of country are

stealing the spotlight and

we couldn’t be more excited

to walk down that “Old

Town Road” with them.

The Playlist

All the singles we can’t stop

listening to this month.

EDM 4 EVR

From Grimes and Skrillex

to Diplo and TOKiMONSTA,

the last decade of electronic

music provided the beats

that bind.

Best of 2019

There’s no one sound to a

year but we highlight our

favourite albums from 2019

that gave us all the feels.

Cover Story

6

THE YEAR (AND DECADE) IN REVIEW

SPECIAL

ISSUE

Artist Of

The Decade

Kendrick

Lamar

Artists Of The Decade

Digging into the last 10 years

like it was yesterday. We

hit rewind and reminisce

with Kendrick Lamar, Drake,

Rihanna, Arcade Fire and

more.

DECEMBER 2019 • FREE

Top 10

Artists

of the

Decade

Best

Albums

of 2019

Featuring

Dave

Orville

Peck

Purple

Mountains

Tyler The

Creator

Fontaines D.C.

Idles

FKA Twigs

Adele

Rihanna

Helado

Negro

Summer

Walker

Big

Freedia

Drake

Arcade

Fire

26

34

31

Best of Toronto

BeatRoute’s Top 10 favourite

releases from homegrown

artists making noise in and out

of our local music circles. .

Beck measures the weight

of the world on new album,

Hyperspace

Screen Time

28 Best Music Docs

It’s been a massive year for music

on screen. From Beyonce’s

Homecoming to Bob Dylan’s

Rolling Thunder Revue, we hit

rewind on some of the instant

classics.

LifeStyle

Fashion Icons

of the Decade

A lot can change in 10 years,

especially in fashion. We check

in with some of the top style

icons who have continually

turned our heads.

Janelle Monae

has been turning

heads in the

fashion world

with her uniform

style, page 31.

YYZ

35

36

37

38

YYZ Agenda

AGO’s Ways Of Caring Polaroid

exhibition examines what it

means to be seen through multiple

lenses.

The Paradise Theatre reopens

its doors, Festival of Cool takes

us on a trek through Artic art and

culture

K-Pop convention makes history

in Toronto while the Long Winter

inter-art series gives us a reason

to leave the house and brave the

cold weather.

Cheat Sheet

BeatRoute brings you the

essential shows for December

in Toronto.

LUKAS HOLT

DECEMBER 2019 BEATROUTE 3


MATT BARNES

DECEMBER

Haviah Mighty’s

Very Big Year!

I

f you haven’t heard the name

Haviah Mighty, you are missing an

outstanding icon in Canadian hiphop

history-in-the-making.

Mighty is one of the hardest working

artists in the genre—a bonafide

hustler—and clearly living up to

her name. At 27, she’s already been

producing music for twelve years. Her

talent is hard-hitting and feels rooted

in a self-efficacy built from the ground

up. She deservedly and unsurprisingly

snagged the 2019 Polaris Music Prize.

Haviah Mighty had a great year and is

teetering on the brink of something

bigger. We can’t wait to see what’s

next.

What is your favourite album of 2019?

Haviah Mighty - 13th Floor. I haven’t

listened to too many albums top to

bottom, more than once

What is the best show you saw?

Duckwrth in London

Favourite discovery of 2019?

Life as a full-time musician

What is your biggest accomplishment

of 2019?

My album, 13th Floor

What is your goal for 2020?

Take my music/messages to the US/

Europe/other regions of the world.

By GLENN ALDERSON

SPECIAL

ISSUE

THE YEAR

& DECADE

IN REVIEW

Follow us on

via @beatroutemedia to

see clips of

Haviah Mighty

and other artists

we love weighing in

with their favourite

albums of 2019!

BEATROUTE

Publisher

Julia Rambeau Smith

@beatroutemedia

Editor in Chief

Glenn Alderson

Creative Director

Troy Beyer

Managing Editors

Josephine Cruz

Melissa Vincent

Contributing Editors

Sebastian Buzzalino

Dayna Mahannah

Contributors

Ben Boddez • Emily Corley

Jessica D’Angelo • Aiden D’oust

Lauren Donnelly • Mira El Hussain

Natalie Harmsen • Kathryn Helmore

Chayne Japal • Brendan Lee

Christine Leonard

Maggie McPhee • Max Mertens

Max Mohenu • Sofia Montebello

Isaac Nikolai Fox • Luke Ottonhof

Erin Pehlivan • Michael Rancic

James Rathbone

Yasmine Shemesh

Andrew Wedderburn

Graeme Wiggins • Drew Yorke

Veronica Zaretski • Aurora Zboch

Contributing Photographers

Tom Bagley • DC Berman

Elyse Bouvier • Sebastian Buzzalino

Patrick Chan • Charles Cousins

Mat Dunlop • Michael Fulton

Lukas Holt • Joe Magowan

Mert & Marcus • Lindsay Melbourne

Darrole Palmer • Sam Phelps

Heather Saitz • Mark Surridge

John Taylor Sweet • Tim Walker

Coordinator (Live Music)

Darrole Palmer

Advertising Inquiries

Glenn Alderson

glenn@beatroute.ca

778-888-1120

Distribution

BeatRoute is distributed in

Vancouver, Victoria, Calgary,

Edmonton, Winnipeg,

Saskatoon and Toronto

Contact Us

26 Duncan Street,

Suite 500, Toronto ON,

M5V 2B9

e-mail: editor@beatroute.ca

@beatroutemedia

beatroutemedia

beatroute.ca



BEATROUTE

TOP

I

N THE LAST TEN YEARS WE’VE SEEN A RADICAL

TRANSFORMATION IN THE WAY WE CONSUME

MUSIC—YOUTUBE AND SPOTIFY TRANSFORMED

THE LANDSCAPE AND HAVE OFFICIALLY BECOME

A FACTOR IN CHART PLACEMENT. YOUNG MILLENNIAL

MEGA STARS, LIKE FRANK OCEAN AND ED SHEERAN,

BILLIE EILISH AND FKA TWIGS, MATERIALIZED FROM

INTERNET PHANTASMAGORIA TO FLESH-AND-BLOOD

WUNDERKINDS. VIRTUOSOS FROM THE AUGHTS

SPILLED OVER, PROVING CHAMPIONESQUE ENDUR-

ANCE. HERE, WE GIVE YOU A RUN-DOWN OF THIS

UNFORGETTABLE TIME IN MUSIC HISTORY WITH OUR

TOP 10 ARTISTS FROM THE LAST DECADE.

10

2010 – 2019

artists

of

the

decade

6 BEATROUTE DECEMBER 2019


1Nº

Kendrick

Lamar

ARTIST

OF THE

DECADE

D

uality has always been a

facet of the overarching

narrative of hip-hop. At its

core, the music is woven

together, with every

rapper contributing a different

part of the same anthology of

stories. Every release adds to a sort

of invisible balance that gives the

audience a temperature check on the

overall health of hip-hop at any given

time. Throughout the 2010s, Kendrick

Lamar single-handedly kept this gauge

balanced.

Without discrediting the host of

other incredible MCs that emerged

during the decade, Kendrick’s role in

moving the genre forward was bigger,

and bolder. Through a near-perfect

run of releases, his music built a new

environment for contemporary hip-hop

to live in, and recast the ambition of the

rappers attempting to play in his house.

As brilliant and as “conscious” as he is,

Kendrick Lamar, very early in his career,

understood the importance of amplifying

dynamics—morality alongside

pleasure, exasperation in tandem with

hope, pain as a catalyst for redemption—

to give us a front row seat into

his ever-changing emotions, ideas,

and feelings that led him to produce

the most consistently inspiring

work of the 2010s.

On December 31, 2009, the

artist formerly known as K-Dot

reintroduced himself as Kendrick

Lamar with a self-titled EP that ran

over an hour long—so, not an EP at

all—and offered a clear indication that

Kendrick, and his camp, might not be all

that interested in playing by the rules. To

follow up, he released a companion piece

to the full-length EP, Overly Dedicated. The

project ended up outshining its parent, garnering

Kendrick accolades on the blogs of the time

with personal songs about childhood, family, and

relationships like “Cut You Off (To Grow Closer)”

and “Average Joe” alongside a Lex Luger-esque,

Schoolboy Q-introducing knucklehead banger

“Michael Jordan” and a beautifully introspective

manifesto with “The Heart Pt. 2”.

It wasn’t just his versatility that stood out, but

also the distance between his subject matter and

how comfortably he was able to shift between

them. By the end of the year, he’d effectively

carved out a niche for himself, building up a following

of fans, peers, and critics alike, including his

Compton, California hometown hero, Dr. Dre.

While a bigger deal between Dre and Kendrick’s

label owner Anthony “Top Dawg” Tiffith was

brewing, he readied the pivotal Section.80. On “The

Spiteful Chant”, Kendrick says “Everybody heard

that I fuck with Dre and they want to tell me I made

it / Nigga, I ain’t made shit, if he gave me a handout,

I’ma take his wrist and break it.” As he was about

to venture off into super stardom, partly off the impending

Dre backing, it was a point for Kendrick to

establish that he has made it on his own merit. He

went extra hard on Section.80 to prove he could

make a classic before the big budgets and official

co-signs were involved. It will always be part of

Kendrick Lamar’s legacy that he laid a foundation

as a successful independent artist, before taking

off, and Section.80 exemplifies that.

A year later, it didn’t take much to unearth the

dichotomies in good kid, M.A.A.D. city. For the

hyped Kendrick Lamar—at that point, hip-hop’s

next chosen messiah—to speak so candidly about

navigating feelings of ostracisation in his own

neighbourhood, saw him immediately cash in on

that hype as audiences who might’ve initially come

for the bars were able to connect and relate to

Kendrick on a deeper level. For an artist as young

as Kendrick to be so vulnerable was a breath of

fresh air.

Kendrick lays out his options in “Money Trees”

picking between “Halle Berry or hallelujah,” using

references to sexual attraction and religion to symbolize

instant gratification and doing the right thing.

It’s something Kendrick has had to balance as an

artist as well; delivering hit songs—leaning on current

trends to help attain radio play—or aiming for

CONTINUED ON PG. 9 k

SECTION.80 / 2011

GOOD KID, M.A.A.D CITY / 2012

TO PIMP A BUTTERFLY / 2015

DAMN / 2017

k


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BEATROUTE

TOP 10 ARTISTS OF THE DECADE

IMAGE PRESS AGENCY / ALAMY STOCK PHOTO

Most Popular Artist of the Decade

Drake

T

here’s

a stat floating around

the Internet right now that

neatly ties up Drake’s dominance

with a little owl-embroidered

bow. According

to someone who pays for

Nielsen chart data, Aubrey

Graham has maintained a

2Nº

position in the Billboard Top 10 during

476 of the decade’s 520 weeks. For

context, that’s over 80,000 hours worth

of OVO-approved music — which we

are pretty sure is the actual runtime of

Scorpion.

But how did the man who somehow

broke social media by lint-rolling his

pants at a Raps game, become the

biggest pop star in the world? Well for

one, you can credit the music itself. Drake

was rap’s first post-bling era superstar,

the first to blur the lines between rap and

R&B seamlessly, and that penchant for

genre smashing carries on to this day.

Championing new sounds has been a major

play to continuously remain relevant

and exciting to both new and old ears.

After the success of his first few projects,

Drake leveled up even further and

took cues from the diaspora he grew up

around in North York. With 2016’s Views

— arguably Drake at his most commercially

and culturally relevant — he championed

and collaborated with dancehall and

Afrobeat artists to bring the global sound

to North American audiences. Unsurprisingly,

the tunes that followed became

some of his biggest to-date.

Tracks like “One Dance” and “Controlla”

set him apart from American rappers and

pop stars regurgitating the same sonic

elements we’ve been accustomed to this

past decade. Drake allowed his once signature

sound to become more malleable,

incorporating and borrowing elements

from global genres. It’s this slight, but

noticeable, reinvention that kept us going

back for more.

Drake’s stranglehold on Internet culture

is another big key to his incredible

success. As far as global megastars go,

Aubrey was an early adopter of internet

culture. It’s been a skill that has set him

apart from his peers and one used continuously

throughout the decade to further

his dominance.

From his early days on MySpace, to

his current Twitter memedom, Drake

embraced and leveraged the internet to

become a lovable, larger than life media

darling, someone even your grandma can

get behind.

Back in 2015, in the midst of his

high-profile beef with Meek Mill, Drake’s

team took to social media and culled a

truck full of memes pointed against the

Philadelphia emcee. When he hit the OVO

Fest stage a few weeks after dropping his

club-banging diss track, “Back to Back,”

Drake augmented his performance of

the song by projecting those jokes on a

screen for all to see. It was like a show

set designed by Fuck Jerry and it was all

anyone was talking about for days.

It’s plays like these that catapult Drake

and his music to the top of the charts

every few months, and it’s why he’s been

able to muscle his way (shout out OVO

Jonny Roxx) to the top of the industry

mountain. His ability to stay top of mind

is unparalleled. He’s the biggest pop star

of the decade because there’s always

something Drake-related to talk about...

hell we’re doing that right now. ,

By AIDEN D’OUST

Kendrick

Lamar

k CONTINUED FROM PG. 7

individualism and originality in timeless albums.

When the 2014 Grammys chose to bestow

Macklemore with all of Kendrick Lamar’s awards

for good kid while also asking him to share the

stage with Imagine Dragons for his performance

at the ceremony—which, arguably, actually

wasn’t that bad—it seemed like Kendrick had

finally taken a loss. But there was triumph in this

defeat: It further galvanized hip-hop fans around

Kendrick Lamar.

In 2016, he went on to win six Grammys for

the critically-lauded To Pimp A Butterfly, a rich,

sprawling album that saw Kendrick’s sound move

deeper into jazz and funk while speaking about

the Black experience in America on a broader

level. The record’s rallying cry, “Alright,” became

immortalized as an unofficial anthem during

Black Lives Matter protests.

DAMN. saw Kendrick Lamar winning five more

Grammys in 2017, and a Pulitzer Prize in Music.

The album was Kendrick Lamar hitting on all

cylinders; covering themes of family, Blackness,

and destiny through tight, melodic, catchy bursts.

The absolute slapper “HUMBLE.”, featuring

production from Mike WiLL Made-It was still an

unapologetically “Kendrick” song, landed at #1

on the Hot 100. He put together a soundtrack for

Black Panther in 2018 and continues to turn in

jaw-dropping guest spots for everyone from Beyoncé

to Taylor Swift (his other #1, “Bad Blood”

in 2015)—not that he’ll ever do one that could

garner more response than his name-naming

verse on Big Sean’s “Control” in 2013—to keep

his catalog varied and relevant.

It matters to listify Kendrick’s decade in

chronological order because at the tailend of

2019, recognizing his accomplishments provides

an opportunity to remember his growth. It’s not

only that he comfortably straddles the line between

pop classics and backpack rap, or that he

effortlessly bounces from sage wisdom to brash

ignorance, it’s the fact that Lamar has structured

his career to reject sonic and thematic binaries

at every juncture. Alongside his undeniable talent,

it’s the secret to his accessibility, relatability, and

impact. And it’s one of the reasons why he was

so captivating during a decade that ultimately

became his. ,

By CHAYNE JAPAL

DECEMBER 2019 BEATROUTE 9


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BEATROUTE

TOP 10 ARTISTS OF THE DECADE

3Nº

Vanguard of the Decade

Rihanna

R

ihanna began the decade with the vibrant

and vivacious Loud (2010), her fifth album,

and one that’s filled with the bright, fierce

energy we’ve come to associate with its

creator. Loud was a departure from its predecessor,

Rated R, where Rihanna probed

darker themes and found release through

artistic self-expression.

Yet the start of this decade showed us

only a glimpse of Rihanna’s capacity to transcend

and transform through her own unique creative

vision. As we near the end of the 2010s, we’ve come to

know Rihanna as an ever-evolving, multi-hyphenated talent,

an icon as bright and distinct as her music, whose

artistic aptitudes and business savvy has allowed her to

build her legacy.

She’s an adept collaborator, an inimitable artist (think

of the broad emotional palette of 2016’s Anti), and a

tenacious businesswoman.

She’s collaborated with a wide-ranging group of

artists, from Jay Z and Shakira, to Paul McCartney and

Kevin Parker. On the same album, sometimes on the

same song, she can wrap together an even blend of

soulful, powerful and raunchy.

As the founder of beauty company Fenty Beauty,

lingerie line FENTY X SAVAGE, and a new fashion brand

that launched this spring under luxury fashion group

LVMH, Rihanna proved her creativity and persistent

work ethic know no bounds. She quickly soared to the

top as a fashion designer, beauty mogul and business

owner, while also redefining the landscape of beauty

and fashion: her range of foundations and concealers,

for example, is available in more skin tones than even

the most established beauty brands.

Nine Grammy Awards, 12 Billboard Music Awards and

even six Guinness World Records? Check. An artistic

and business drive that accumulated in more than 250

million records sold and a reported $600 million fortune

(Forbes named her the world’s wealthiest woman in

music in 2019)? Check. A Harvard Humanitarian of the

Year award? Check. Roles in top-billing films, like her

character Nine Ball in Ocean’s 8? Check. The woman

even has her own holiday — February 22 is known as

national “Rihanna Day” in Barbados.

For Rihanna, however, the portrait of a renaissance

woman, and a self-made one at that, the iconography

of a goddess, the larger-than-life picture of creative

success, co-exist peacefully with a more intimate self

(the shy, goofy, and funny Rihanna that she has shared

with us, graciously, over the past 10 years).

Throughout the past decade, the word trailblazer and

Rihanna have become synonymous. Most significantly,

Rihanna’s decade-long journey to create and reinvent

herself—the persona, the artist, the icon, the businesswoman—culminated

in a complex and self-realized

woman who redefines what it means to own power and

success, on her own terms. One-name celebrities and

cultural powerhouses are gradually etched in our collective

cultural consciousness through private and public

feats of reinvention and perseverance. No one proved

that more than Rihanna over the last decade. ,

By VERONICA ZARETSKI

4

Most Famous Underdog

BIG FREEDIA

I

n 1996, Freddie Ross was a gay teenager graduating high

school — the same year he first sang as a backup vocalist for

his friend Katey Red, the prolific gay rapper from New Orleans’

Third Ward. Back then, Ross could not know that, twenty years

later, Beyoncé would be calling in hopes that Ross would record

vocals for her new song.

It wasn’t long after that first performance with Katey Red

that Ross found footing centre stage in New Orleans’ thriving

bounce music scene. He became, on stage and in everyday life,

Big Freedia Queen Diva.

Undisputedly credited for launching an entire subgenre of underground,

region-specific hip-hop to the front of international pop music, Freedia

has, in the past decade, appeared in the media’s most revered outlets. Lil

Wayne referenced her on “Back To You.” Her raps are sampled in two of

Drake’s singles, “Nice For What” and “In My Feelings.” Lizzo is featured on

Freedia’s hit “Karaoke.” You’ll recognize Freedia’s deep voice hollering “I

came to slay, bitch” between refrains on Beyoncé’s “Formation,” as well as

singing alongside RuPaul, Charli XCX, and Kesha.

The challenges Freedia has faced throughout her career are a testament

to her incredible resilience and hard work. She was displaced after

Hurricane Katrina wiped out much of her neighbourhood in 2005. Relocating

to Houston, Texas, Freedia continued to perform, giving bounce music

exposure in a new state. Tragedy struck multiple times in a short span

of years: a boyfriend was lost to gun violence, her mother succumbed to

cancer, and her brother was killed in a shooting. Big Freedia herself has a

bullet lodged in her forearm from an unprovoked attack years ago.

Yet, what defines Freedia is her energy and her willingness to share it.

Through a successful docu-series that aired for six seasons, her autobiography,

and organizing and setting a Guinness World Record for Most

People Twerking Simultaneously (2013, 358 people between the ages of

eight and 80, New York City), Freedia expresses a homegrown sentiment:

positivity is catching.

In 10 years, the Queen Diva has infused mainstream music with the

sounds, and the moves, of New Orleans bounce. But it’s the tip of the

iceberg: the groundwork that Freddie Ross laid out in clubs around the

Melpomene Housing Projects all those years ago have truly paid off.

There’s only one question left: what’s next for Big Freedia? ,

By DAYNA MAHANNAH

DECEMBER 2019 BEATROUTE 11


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BEATROUTE

TOP 10 ARTISTS OF THE DECADE

Arcade

Top Band of the Decade

Fire

I

n many ways, Arcade Fire could be

5Nº

considered the first mature Internet

band. They grew up together through

the early days of web 2.0 when they

debuted with Funeral in 2004 — and

the Internet was coming into its own

— positively blossomed alongside

social media during the first half of this

decade, and suffered their own share of

missteps as the bubble got too big around them in 2017 with

Everything Now.

Arguably their biggest shared moment came in 2010, when Arcade

Fire teamed up with Google for “We Used To Wait,” which cleverly

dovetailed listeners’ own personal histories with an interactive music

video, bringing their fan’s childhood homes and neighbourhoods to a

viral social media experience. It felt so fresh at the time, the promise

of the Internet come true: there was an optimism at the last turn of the

decade, that we could individually matter in a vast, infinite ocean of

consciousness, knowledge, advertising, communication, and sharing.

Arcade Fire is one of this decade’s most important bands not necessarily

because their songs are good (though some are undeniably

great), but because of how they’ve positioned themselves at the intersection

of indie rock and arena rock; at the intersection of nostalgia for

an extremely recent past and looking ahead to the near future; at the

intersection of music, technology and our place among it all.

As the 2010s come to a close, the world seems like it’s burning more

than ever. Among it all, Arcade Fire continue to stand as an optimist’s

band where love, community, art and pure technology can triumph. ,

By SEBASTIAN BUZZALINO

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DECEMBER 2019 BEATROUTE 13


BEATROUTE

TOP 10 ARTISTS OF THE DECADE

Queer Icon of the Decade

6Nº

FRANK

OCEAN

W

hen Frank Ocean’s heartfelt letter surfaced on Tumblr in 2012, the mainstream

media’s expectations for a Black queer revolution were heavily misguided.

The act of saying “I’m gay” for any black person is packed with nuance and an

inherent fear that looms within our history and cultural norms. Some of the hardest

lessons and personal milestones that come with Black queerness are achieved in a

state of deep reflection and solace, not in the limelight for everyone to critique.

Seven years on, Ocean’s queer awakening is still a beautiful act of self-care. His

journey has taught us that as we continue to navigate queerness in the real world,

we need to explore the ideas around the traditional “coming out” story and ask why

this is still the most coveted form of disclosure.

Frank teased about unrequited love on his debut album, Channel Orange, without giving that love a

face. His approach allowed him to freely explore artistry without the toxic pressures of Black masculinity.

The announcement of his first love with a man was an act of power and liberation in the wake

of the album’s success. Le1f and Mykki Blanco were beginning to cement their legacy, while fighting

the painfully reductive label of “gay rapper.” It’s a blessing and a curse to be recognized solely based

on your identity, especially as a Black person.

Knowing the soft, elusive nature of Ocean’s music made it no shock to me that after his Tumblr

post he retreated back to his other first love and kept his secrets in his songs. Moving in silence is

transcendent and deeply inspiring when looking at Ocean’s accomplishments. Blonde arrived as we

watched Ocean become more comfortable in his skin. He sings “Here’s to the gay bar you took me

to” on “Good Guy”—a nod to those mementos in life that shape your queerness.

The label doesn’t add value to the struggle; the visibility doesn’t validate the journey. Black queerness

is entering a new era where folks get to steer their own ships without labels and without fear.

We’re learning that self-love is the best medicine, and that our glow-up doesn’t need to be fodder for

an inclusivity contest. Ocean’s model for queer awakening has been a great tool to reference. I feel

lucky to live in a time where I can learn what version of “out and proud” works for me.

To quote a recent meme, when we talk about “coming out” in the next 20 years, I’ll look to Frank

Ocean’s journey and I’m gonna tell the kids THIS was the Black queer revolution. ,

By MAX MOHENU

7Nº

Biggest First-Week Sales

Adele

T

he music industry underwent huge changes this decade.

Pop artists repackaged themselves to suit marketing

campaigns in hopes that it would keep album sales from

tanking further. And then there was Adele and her her

own, bold strategy: she let the music speak for itself.

Her 2008 debut album, 19, earned her two Grammy Awards and, in 2011,

Adele secured her legendary status when her sophomore LP, 21, became a

runaway hit.

An album of heartsick ballads like “Someone Like You,” and breakup songs

like “Rolling in the Deep,” 21 won Adele numerous awards including six Grammys

and made Billboard chart history as the first solo female artist to have

three singles simultaneously in the Top 10.

The accolades are staggering, even more so when you consider that her

albums’ numbers correspond with her age at the time she recorded them.

Three years after the release of 21, at 24-years-old, Adele Adkins became

the mononymous Adele, and one of the world’s highest-paid celebrities under

30.

There’s a timelessness to Adele. In many ways, she is a throwback to another

era, from her stripped down live performances, to her vintage-inspired

style. Her singing voice is sometimes bluegrassy, sometimes soulful, but

always powerful.

By 2014, she had added Oscar winner to her resume for her Bond film

anthem, “Skyfall.” But, in 2015, four years after 21’s release, she worried the

world might have moved on in her absence.

On its first day, 25 sold over a million copies in the U.S. By the end of its

first week it had broken sales records worldwide. 25 cleaned up at the Grammys

and Brit Awards and broke chart records, surpassing Madonna. Most

notably, in the age of streaming, people were buying CDs and LPs.

In a time of difference and disconnect, Adele’s contributions to music this

decade are undeniable: she brought feelings back into the equation. ,

By LAUREN DONNELLY

14 BEATROUTE DECEMBER 2019


MERT & MARCUS

The Decade's Most Influential Artist

8

KANYE WEST

O

ver the course of the

2010s, Kanye West’s

rise and fall from grace

embodies much of the

collective highs and lows,

anxieties and fears, and

fixations and obsessions

in a way few individuals

ever have.

For Kanye, the 2010s

started at a low point. His 808s and

Heartbreaks album had divided his

fanbase during the autotune wars.

Beyond the burgeoning trap scene

in Atlanta, the state of rap was at an

all-time low point as the ascendant

stars of tomorrow had yet to fully

rise. In the fall of that year, after

a string of excitement building

G.O.O.D. Fridays, he released My

Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy,

an album of maximalist sentiment,

packed with features, samples,

overt emotions, and dense soundscapes.

The next year Kanye followed this

success with the Jay-Z collaboration,

Watch the Throne. Recorded

in the suites of some of the world’s

most expensive hotels, while

there are certainly some poignant

ruminations on what it means to be

black in America, Watch the Throne

serves mostly as a canticle for the

successful merger of hip-hop and

the mythology of capitalism.

In 2012, he continued his reign

with Cruel Summer, a G.O.O.D.

music album. Like most label

compilations it was a mixed bag,

but notable for its inclusion of Travis

Scott as a regular collaborator and

future family member. That same

year, Kanye started dating Kim

Kardashian, creating a nucleolus

of public attention for the rest of

the decade. Around this time he

also became a mainstay of Twitter,

which, in all seriousness, he was

very good at, especially when

tweeting about water bottles.

During this time, Kanye signaled

a transition towards fashion. His

infamous leather jogging pants

line aside, he spoke continually

about the industry gatekeeping he

and his partner Virgil Abloh faced,

turning his discontent to outright

hostility on the aggressive, industrial

inspired Yeezus.

In 2015, Kanye launched his

fashion line, Yeezy, climbing to the

top of the streetwear pile. With

Kanye however, this merchandise

transcended his fanbase.

Suddenly the chain was complete.

The ever-rising importance of

celebrity had reached a new level:

Kanye could tweet when he felt

like it, or disappear; and the Yeezys

created their own global mania of

have and have nots. Kanye and

Kim essentially became brands

personified.

The next year, Kanye released

The Life of Pablo, coinciding with his

second Yeezy collection’s fashion

show. Pablo became notable as one

of the first releases to get edited

after it was released, like a piece

of software, with different mixes,

verses, and even songs. It features

Kanye at his best with touch points

from his whole career.

That fall he started the Life of

Pablo Tour, which fairly quickly

derailed itself with particularly long

onstage rants and cancellations,

resulting in Kanye’s hospitalization

for exhaustion-related psychosis in

November 2016. Shortly after this,

he appeared at Trump Tower, meeting

with the new president-elect.

After this, he mostly disappeared

from public life for the next year.

After re-emerging in the spring

of 2018, donning a MAGA hat and

making an appearance on TMZ

that confirmed many Kanye fans’

worst fears, as he made strange

and ill-advised comments about

the role of slavery in contemporary

black mentality, he released several

albums from his Wyoming Sessions

to mixed reviews.

While his Kids See Ghosts collab

with Kid Cudi was mostly praised,

Ye, was largely panned. Kanye had

quite quickly gone from the most

beloved of rap’s stars to a target of

the woke generation’s ire.

Kanye has always been a

provocateur, though seemingly he

had picked the wrong side at this

point. In some ways, it seemed just

another casualty of the Trump presidency,

and its taint upon western

culture.

This fall, Kanye started a new

project, Sunday Sermons, where he

performed classic songs with a gospel

choir. Seemingly the vitriol had

inspired him to find God through

music, producing sometimes truly

beautiful renditions of his classic

songs. It wasn’t long until Kanye officially

found Jesus, released a middlingly

gospel record, and moved to

Wyoming, as if completing the latest

step of rockstar passage.

While many are skeptical and

see this as his latest scam, it’s in

some ways easy to identify with his

motivations. The last decade has

been amongst the most plugged

in, noisiest, and politically volatile.

Kanye is not alone in feeling a bit

spiritually bankrupt. Yet, despite his

many recent missteps, his intuition

is correct. Maybe what we all need

is some time in nature, and to let the

music save us. ,

By JAMES RATHBONE

DECEMBER 2019 BEATROUTE 15



BEATROUTE

TOP 10 ARTISTS OF THE DECADE

The Decade's Tour Slayer

ED SHEERAN

9Nº

At some point in the late 20th century,

there was a shift in concert culture

as shows across the board became

less about performing songs and

more about producing spectacles.

Multi-million dollar budgets, pyrotechnics,

hydraulics, special effects, LEDs,

flying cars and whatever else you can

imagine are just a regular part of artists’

stage shows these days—which is

MARK SURRIDGE

exactly why the top touring act of the

decade might surprise you.

Ed Sheeran incorporated none of the above

into his Divide tour, but still managed to gross an

insane $740 million USD across the tour’s twoyear

run. And while two years is undoubtedly a

long time to be on tour, Ed managed to rake in the

big bucks while charging a modest $89 average

ticket price, far less than many other artists. For

comparison, Jay Z and Beyoncé’s On The Run tour

tickets clocked in at $150 a pop on average.

There’s a few other factors to Sheeran’s profitability,

including his dependability. Out of the 260

dates, he only canceled a handful—four of which

were when he broke his arm during a biking accident,

making the central part of his stage show

(playing the guitar) impossible.

To top it all off, Sheeran’s commitment to his

fans throughout the Divide run was palpable. His

team were diligent about canceling tickets purchased

by bots in an attempt to curb scalping or

resale, and for a number of shows they purposely

didn’t sell front row tickets—which would have

fetched a higher price—in order to surprise fans

who purchased nosebleed seats with a nice upgrade.

,

By JOSEPHINE CRUZ

10

Putting Punk Back

in the Conversation

IDLESP

erhaps the most obvious reason for Idles’ importance

in the current punk rock landscape can be

found in the title of their most recent album, Joy As

An Act of Resistance (2018).

The highly touted album is a 12-track monster

that fuses the moody dissonance of post-punk

with the fury and energy of hardcore, and enough

hooks to satisfy a full festival field. They’ve got all

the classic punk fixings: gruff, aggressive vocals,

jagged guitars and high octane drums. But underneath the surface there’s an ethos of

compassion that undercuts well-worn punk and post-punk tropes.

In the last few years, there’s been a resurgence of the post punk genre, with bands

like Savages, Shame, and Tropical Fuck Storm bringing the genre back to the surface.

Moody, angular and dark, post-punk isn’t known for it’s joyfulness. Idles play with that:

they use the aggression of punk rock as a Trojan horse of sorts to smuggle in a sense

of caring to the listener.

Their debut, Brutalism, was a little closer to traditional post-punk, a humongous

sounding record that was pure, raw fury. Underneath it all, though, there was a seed

that made Idles so distinctive: honesty. With Joy As An Act of Resistance, they’ve taken

that initial sound and refined it, added hooks and filled out the emotional spectrum, creating

a space for themselves that’s at once filled with the punk rock spirit of resistance

and a positivity and sense of caring that leaves them all on their own. It’s this ethic of

caring that has resulted in a fervent, devoted international fanbase.

Joy… is filled with moments of traditional punk rock and masculinity, but they turn it

on its head each time. From raw confessionals like “Samaritan,” where frontman Joe

Talbot screams, “I’m a real boy and I cry/I love myself and I want to try,” which comes

from his experiences surrounding the stillbirth of his child; or the violent compassion

“Colossus,” where he rages, “I put homophobes in coffins,” Idles take tired expectations

and make them fresh again.

In multiple interviews, Talbot has stated that he doesn’t think of Idles as a punk band

despite their sound. It’s not hard to see where he’s coming from, given the way the

band plays with subverting the essential tropes of their touch point genres, but, in some

sense, that subversion is what makes them that much more punk. ,

By GRAEME WIGGINS

DECEMBER 2019 BEATROUTE 17

LINDSAY MELBOURNE


BEATROUTE

2019:THE YEAR IN REVIEW

THE YEAR OF YEEHAW!

LIL NAS X - SHUTTERSTOCK

rom the moment I was

exposed to country music in

the halls of my high school,

all I could see was people

whose lives were so greatly

different from my own, and

not in a way that was interesting

or intriguing, but in a

way that only amplified the

isolation I felt as a queer,

immigrant woman. I, like

many others, felt the genre

was distant enough from my

life that listening to country

music made me feel like a bit

of an alien.

If you asked me a year ago

what I thought my relationship

with country music would

look like in 2019, I would probably

tell you that there wouldn’t

be a relationship at all. Luckily,

2019 is the year that country music

progressed beyond the same

handful of stories. It’s the year that

country music was reclaimed by

the outlaws; ones who are marginalized,

isolated, and excluded by

the very industry that they are now

dominating. From the origins of the

cowboy, to questions of who and

what country looks and sounds

like, the country music scene experienced

the most intense identity

crisis of the year, coming second

only to the climate crisis.

It’s difficult to talk about the

genre’s evolution without acknowledging

the impact of Lil Nas X and

his song, “Old Town Road.” The

song blew up when he posted it

on TikTok, a popular video-sharing

app similar to the late Vine, in December

of 2018. In March of 2019,

the song was re-released under

Columbia Records. This is also

Fwhen it broke into the Billboard

Hot 100 and got to number 19 in

the Hot Country Songs chart, only

to be disqualified because it just

wasn’t “country enough.” By August

of 2019 Lil Nas X’s “Old Town

Road” had re-entered the Hot 100

and broke records by becoming the

longest-running number-one single

in Billboard’s history: 17 consecutive

weeks at number one. He later

became the first openly gay Black

male artist to ever win a Country

Music Award, even though in many

ways the award was a snub.

Despite his burgeoning and ongoing

success Lil Nas X still faces

scrutiny in terms of whether or not

his music really qualifies as country,

which begs the question: why are

we so intent on limiting country

music’s potential? Why not look beyond

an antiquated conception of

Lil Nas X

the genre that relies on exclusion

and erasure to make its mark?

Kacey Musgraves has proven

that country doesn’t need to be so

stuck in its ways. Her music sounds

relatively traditional, but her lyrical

wordplay challenges a pervasive

attitude of indifference at best, and

bigotry at worst. In “Rainbow” she

examines the impacts of climate

change. In “Follow Your Arrow” off

her 2013 album Same Trailer, Different

Park, she voices her support

for the LGBTQ+ community and

encourages her fans to be empowered

and autonomous, which is

something country radio wasn’t always

on board with. Musgraves’ insistence

on creating space

and disrupting traditional,

normative notions of

respectability is paving

the way for the future

of country.

Like Musgraves,

Donovan Woods, a

Canadian country

musician, has

been putting

in the work to

Kacey Musgraves

dismantle the oppressive

nature of country

music. in an interview

with A.Side earlier this

year, he described the

role of accountability

in his music: “I want to

make sure I’m making

music that isn’t just the status

quo, or a tool for the oppressors.”

What Woods says is particularly

important because the responsibility

of transforming country should

be a shared ambition, versus the

exclusive role of artists on the

margins.

And in the year that Lil Nas X

forced open narratives for who can

be a cowboy, Orville Peck has

made waves as an openly

gay country music star.

Shrouded in mystery,

sensuality, and pride,

Peck has created

a space where his

Johnny Cash-esque

vocals dissect his

male suitors, and his

live shows are accompanied

by drag

performers. Peck has discussed

how the concept

of the lone cowboy is one

he identifies with as an

outsider, and he’s not the

only one. Artists like Mitski

and Solange, whose lived

experiences, like Peck’s, have

rendered them invisible outlaws,

have embraced the imagery of the

cowboy and have started using it

to tell their own stories of lives that

have been overlooked by more “traditional”

country mainstays. Even

Meghan Thee Stallion spent most

of 2019 adorned in a bedazzled

cowboy hat.

If the end of this decade has

proven anything, it’s that music is

adaptable. It’s flexible, it evolves,

and it is dynamic beyond our

wildest dreams. It’s easy to think of

country as a thing of the past; an

outdated set of attitudes that are

wholly detached from the lives of

real people, but with artists like Lil

Nas X and Orville Peck demanding

the spotlight, I have high hopes for

its future.

By MIRA EL HUSSAIN

Orville Peck

KACEY MUSGRAVES - DPA PICTURE ALLIANCE / ALAMY STOCK PHOTO

18 BEATROUTE DECEMBER 2019


The Playlist

BEATROUTE

RIGHT

BEATROUTE

BEAT

ROUTE

BR

BRLIVE

BRYYZ

10 SONGS IN

HEAVY ROTATION

AT THE BR OFFICES

NOW

CHECK OUT

BEATROUTE.CA

FOR MORE HOT

TRACKS ON

OUR ROTATING

PLAYLIST

+ VIDEOS,

ARTIST

INTERVIEWS

AND MORE!

Billie Eilish

Everything I

Wanted

The breakout

star finally addresses

her rise

to fame in song,

unable to decide

if all her success

is a dream or a

nightmare. Her

brother Finneas

has mastered

the layering of

her whispery

vocals, and

the harmonies

here are pretty

stunning - the

track is adorably

dedicated to him

as the person

who is always

there for her.

Lil Baby

Woah

Ever the marketing

mastermind,

Lil Baby is clearly

aiming at the

TikTok crowd

with this one. It’s

just begging for a

viral dance challenge.

Previewing

his upcoming

sophomore project,

Baby speeds

up his flow over

a trap-piano

instrumental

before delivering

a melodic chorus

taunting the

haters.

Beck

Dark Places

“Dark Places” is

what happens

when you put

Beck and Pharrell

Williams in a

room together.

Beck’s usual

folk-pop stylings

are enhanced

with some of

Williams’ weirder

quirks, futuristic

synths echoing

around in the

background.

The lyrics are

sparse and

relaxing - this is

one to zone out

and contemplate

existence to.

Tennis

Runner

Frontwoman

Alaina Moore

called this track

“The most

challenging

song we’ve ever

written,” her

perfectionist tendencies

longing

for the best possible

vocal line

to complement

the intoxicating

guitar riff it’s

built around.

The band keeps

up their 70s

throwback pop

style, dropping

some Biblical

references over

an undeniable

groove.

DVSN

No Cryin

(Ft. Future)

This is surprisingly

the first

collaboration

between the

smooth-voiced

alt-R&B duo and

the king of styrofoam

cups and

Auto-crooned

raps. Main

vocalist Daniel

Daley sounds

eerily like Drake,

right down to

the emotionally

distant flexes, as

he trades verses

with Future over

a slow-jam beat

from producer

Nineteen85.

21 Savage

Immortal

A track that originally

debuted

in the Mortal

Kombat 11 trailer,

the ever-menacing

Savage slices

up his opponents

like Liu Kang in

the full version.

Dropping quite a

few references

to the gaming

franchise

amongst his

usual deadpan

humour and

quotables, this

is over four minutes

of straight

bars.

Ralph

Looking For You

Fresh off a spot

opening for the

Canadian Queen

of Pop herself,

Carly Rae

Jepsen, the Toronto

disco-pop

revivalist has

dropped a new

EP. This standout

track plays out

like a PG-13 version

of a classic

Jepsen narrative,

the lonely Ralph

as an outside

observer longing

for a whirlwind

romance.

Miguel

Funeral

Opening with

some cascading

harmonies to

remind everyone

he’s still

one of the best

technical singers

out there, Miguel

switches up his

style to a pounding

electro-bass

groove and a

half-rapped delivery.

The song

barely cracks

two minutes in

length, but it certainly

leaves an

impression with

some downright

debaucherous

lyrics.

Khalid

Up All Night

Khalid recently

tweeted out a

text message exchange

with his

mom where she

said this track

made her want

to do the running

man. Enhancing

his laid-back

pop-R&B chords

with some

uncharacteristically

bouncy

percussion, Khalid

reminisces on

his high-speed

lifestyle while

staring out the

window of a

plane taking him

to his next gig.

Dua Lipa

Don’t Start Now

Linking up with

the same team

that created the

global smash

hit “New Rules,”

Lipa kicks off

another album

cycle with this

funk-pop banger

offering some

dismissive and

confident jabs at

exes who keep

crawling back

after the fact.

She references

“I Will Survive”

in the lyrics, and

this one has the

same energy.

.

DECEMBER 2019 BEATROUTE 19


BEATROUTE

2010-2019:THE DECADE IN REVIEW

THE

BEAT

POETS

A DECADE OF ELECTRONIC MUSIC PROVIDES

THE BEATS THAT BINDS By MAX MERTENS

I

n the summer of 2012,

Skrillex organized the

Full Flex Express tour, a

cross-Canada, multi-city

performance expedition.

Inspired by a similar 1970

train tour featuring rock

heavyweights Janis Jopin,

the Grateful Dead, and The Band—

the stacked lineup included Diplo,

Grimes, Pretty Lights, and OWSLA

signees TOKiMONSTA and Hundred

Waters.

Grimes’ 2012 album Visions had

transformed the Canadian avantpop

auteur into critical darling, but

she was still a year and a half away

from signing a management deal

with JAY-Z’s Roc Nation. Diplo and

Skrillex had yet to form EDM Voltron,

Jack Ü, or create one of the

decade’s defining anthems, “Where

Are Ü Now,” with some help from

Justin Bieber.

Though this music-centric train

Skrillex and Diplo

tour was more successful than its

predecessor, they shared an ethos

of creating an intimate experience

for the audience.

For the first half of the 2010s,

brash, rib cage-rattling songs ruled

the Top 40 airwaves, creating a

multi-billion dollar global industry.

A generation of North American

producers put down their guitars in

favour of watching YouTube tutorials

and downloading Ableton production

software to offer up their

own aggressive interpretations of

what was popular in Europe.

Corporate organizers, promoters,

and brands quickly capitalized

on EDM’s popularity amongst

young audiences, much to the

horror of mainstream media, law

enforcement, and parents. From

Las Vegas’ Electric Daisy Carnival

to Miami’s Ultra to Toronto’s VELD,

the festival market exploded. The

scene’s biggest stars were predominantly

white, straight males,

many of whom concealed their

identities with masks and elaborate

stage setups.

Despite criticism ranging from

these performers’ artistic legitimacy

and the on-site safety at these

multi-day events, the disruption

of EDM’s reign didn’t arrive until

halfway through the decade.

Concurrent to these happenings,

a diverse, boundary-pushing

underground electronic scene was

thriving worldwide. In Chicago, led

by the late DJ Rashad and Teklife

crew, the frenetic, dancer-driven

genre known as Footwork rose

to prominence and many of those

artists would release albums on

pioneering UK electronic label,

Hyperdub.

In Glasgow, taste-making labels

Numbers and LuckyMe put out the

earliest releases from international

artists who would become

household names and work with

the decade’s biggest rappers and

pop stars, including Bauuer, Jamie

xx, Hudson Mohawke, Rustie, and

SOPHIE. Closer to home, a whole

crop of producers including A-Trak,

Jacques Greene, Kaytranada,

Lunice, and Tim Hecker showed

there was more to Montréal music

than big band indie rock.

NON Worldwide, started by

Chino Amobi, Nkisi, and Angel-Ho,

sought to highlight black diasporic

artists worldwide and bring

attention to “visible and invisible

structures that create binaries

in society, and in turn distribute

power.” Although its founders are

based in New York City, collective

and DJ booking agency Discwoman

represents many international

female, female-indentifying and

genderqueer acts, and continues

to challenge sexism and racism in

the music industry.

The original Full Flex Express

tour artists are still putting out

records, though many have moved

away from the sounds that first

brought them commercial

success: Hundred Waters

launched the “anti-music

festival” FORM Arcosanti, with

performances from artists

like Chance The Rapper

and Solange; after surviving

multiple brain surgeries, Los

Angeles-based producer TOKi-

MONSTA returned in 2017 with

her album Lune Rouge; Skrillex

picked up his 13th Grammy

nomination for his 2019 collaboration

“Midnight Hour”

with Boys Noize and Ty

Dolla $ign. Diplo headlined

this year’s Stagecoach

(Coachella’s country sister

festival) where he

brought out rap star

de jour, Lil Nas X.

The most interesting

trajectory belongs

to Grimes, who

began 2019 making

headlines for her relationship

with Elon

Musk and ended it

by announcing that

her heavily-anticipated

fifth album,

Miss Anthropocene,

would be out

in February 2020.

The future of EDM

is unknown, but holds

hope of attracting

artists with a mind to

bring our fractured world

together. ,

MICHAEL FULTON

TOKiMONSTA

20 BEATROUTE DECEMBER 2019


RALPH

MORE INFO AT: BEATROUTE.CA/BEATROUTE-EVENTS

DECEMBER 2019 BEATROUTE 21


TOP 10

ALBUMS

OF 2019

N O 1 DAVE

Psychodrama

Neighbour

T

he first time South London

artist Dave toured

Canada, he passed

through Toronto with his

counterpart AJ Tracey,

both of whom were just

starting to break out of the South

London music scene.

This fall, coming off the back of

his Mercury Prize-winning debut

album Psychodrama, playing to a

sold-out audience at the Phoenix

Concert Theatre in Toronto,

he balanced older high-energy

tracks with his more introspective

staples. Moving effortlessly

from piano ballads like “Black”

and “Hangman” to an acapella

cover of his J Hus collaboration,

“Disaster,” without a beat, he had

no trouble engaging the crowd

with his passionately-delivered

confessional lyrics.

With hits under his belt, Dave

could have easily reached for

chart dominance on his debut,

but instead he turned inwards.

Psychodrama is insular, brooding,

and deeply introspective; it demands

to be listened to through

headphones, all in one go. Dave

weaves vivid stories about

growing up in the South London

ward of Streatham, navigating

family life after his brother’s life

sentence, and tells vivid cautionary

tales inspired by his family

members, former classmates and

his formative years.

Psychodrama opens with

the stripped-down “Psycho,”

where Dave sets up the therapy

concept that runs throughout

the album and bares his

emotional scars, quiet bravado

and neighbourhood pride. The


instrumental is a slow burn that

never stops evolving. “Psycho”

begins with twinkling piano keys

and spacey, Enya like-vocals that

get chopped to bits mid-track

as Dave talks about “wanting to

take a pretty woman for a test

drive,” before the top end

falls out entirely, leaving only

a raw sub-bass and a piano

as he opens up about the

“manic depression” he struggles

with when the cameras

are off.

The sonic and emotional

tones Dave establishes in

the opener are consistent

throughout much

of the rest of the album.

“Streatham” begins with

eerie, reversed vocals, which

get washed out as Dave

paints a vivid picture of his

South London neighbourhood,

where “[he] used to roll ‘round

all stupid, Mitcham Lane, that’s

Streatham and Tooting.”

On “Screwface Capital,”

Dave breaks down how London

eats its own alive, and how his

“location changes quicker than

gears on a brand new

Porsche Cayman.”

His therapist’s

recorded voice

flits in and out throughout the album,

affirming Dave’s reflections

and the lessons he’s absorbed

from those around him.

Psychodrama’s emotional

centerpiece is the eleven-minute

“Leslie,” on which Dave uses the

sweeping orchestral backtrack

to tell a cautionary tale about

a pregnant woman’s attempts

to escape her abusive, violent

relationship. Revelatory as ever,

Dave later mentions on the outro

– “Drama” – that the story in

“Leslie” is based on the real-life

experiences of his close family

members.

Although Dave’s reached popstar

status in the U.K., he’s not

tempering his voice to be more

palatable to the island state’s

masses. Take the lead single

“Black,” for example, which

features the lyrics: “The blacker

the berry the sweeter the juice/ A

kid dies, the blacker the killer, the

sweeter the news.” Dave uses

the slow-moving piano ballad to

speak about universal traumas

inflicted on black youth across

the diaspora, while celebrating

the unyielding solidarity and

community forged by those

shared experiences.

Isaac Nikolai Fox

JOE MAGOWAN

N O 2 PURPLE

MOUNTAINS

Purple Mountains

Drag City

“The end of all wanting / is all I’ve

been wanting,” David Berman sings

in the chorus of “That’s Just the

Way I Feel,” the opening cut on

Purple Mountains.

It’s a gut-wrenching, perfectly

constructed line, delivered halftime

for emphasis; one of hundreds

of perfectly-constructed lines

across the 10 gorgeous, heartbreaking

songs on this album.

Even if you’d never heard of

David Berman and came to Purple

Mountains devoid of context, the

ache and struggle in his songwriting

are unmissable. You don’t

need a long relationship with

the artist to fall for the charm

of these bitterly funny tunes,

smartly balanced by the bouncy,

energetic lo-fi rock that his

band — comprised of members

from Brooklyn folk rock outfit,

Woods — is cooking out behind

the singer.

But people aren’t coming

to Purple Mountains devoid of

context. And the real ache and

struggle, the real-life outcome,

undercuts the set in a painful

way that you can’t get away from.

Berman died by suicide in August

of 2019, just a few months after

this album came out.

“Honk if you’re lonely tonight

/ if you need a friend to get

through the night,” Berman sang

on American Water in 1998. For a

lot of people he was that friend—

someone with an unmatched gift

to articulate complex internal

pain in great songs, someone

who was there when you needed

to hear that you weren’t feeling

these things alone.

Purple Mountains is his last

honk: an incredible addition to a

one-of-a-kind songbook, but one

that will always be haunted by the

wanting—and the end—in that

opening cut chorus.

Andrew Wedderburn

DC BERMAN

N O 3 TYLER

THE CREATOR

IGOR

Columbia

In case you have been living under

a rock, it is Tyler, the Creator’s

world and we are just living in it.

The Los Angeles rapper’s dynamic,

genre-breaking fifth studio album

IGOR was one of the most highly

regarded projects of the year and

once again raised the bar for what

is possible for a solo artist. Entirely

written and produced by himself,

the 12-track project is a carefully

crafted yet revealing exploration

of his identity, queerness and

unnamed romantic love interest -

but things take a turn for the worse

when the guy’s ex-girlfriend gets

involved. Donning a blond wig and

dark glasses, Tyler once again

invents a new alter-ego (this time

heavily influenced by the Gothic lab

assistant archetype of “Igor”) and

takes the listener on an immersive

trip through the perfect mess of

rap, funk and R&B that inhabits

his mind. Narrated by American

comedian Jerrod Carmichael and

backed by a slew of contributors

like Kanye West, Playboi Carti, Solange,

Pharrell and more, IGOR is

simply put Tyler’s most impressive

work to date and it is a pleasure to

witness his artistry. Drew Yorke

DARROLE PALMER


N O 4 FONTAINES DC

Dogrel

Partisan Records

N O 5 HELADO NEGRO

This Is How You Smile

RVNG Intl.

N O 6 FKA TWIGS

MAGDALENE

Young Turkss

N O 7 SUMMER WALKER

Over It

LVRN/Interscope

N O 8 BIG THIEF

Two Hands

4AD

When BeatRoute caught up with

Dublin, Ireland’s Fontaines D.C. in

September they were adamant

about their quest to become one of

the biggest bands in the world.

While they may not have

achieved U2 or Rolling Stones status

yet, their debut album, Dogrel,

packs equal bark and bite, connecting

their socio political views

to the rest of the world through a

tightly wound collection of post

punk poetry.

The album was nominated for

the 2019 Mercury Prize, the UK’s

most coveted music award, and

pushed the band into working even

harder towards their goal of greatness,

spending most of the year on

the road. At one point, they even

had to cancel a significant string of

tour dates due to exhaustion.

Fontaines possess a unique

shuffle and swagger to their

delivery and when frontman

Grian Chatten cycles through his

rolodex of influences that include

Ian Curtis, Gang of Four and Wire

crossed with their post punk

contemporaries like Girl Band and

Shame, there’s something special

that happens and you can actually

feel a beating heart at the core of

each track.

From the the anthemic “Boys In

The Better Land,” to the sensitive

and hypnotic “Television Screens,”

and the barroom ballad closer,

“Dublin City Sky,” the young quintet

have created a powerful bridge

from their discontent in Dublin to

music fans all over and they’ve got

everyone dancing in the process.

Glenn Alderson

Roberto Carlos Lange pulls from

his boundlessly creative arsenal

and presents us with This Is How

You Smile, a mingle of lo-fi audio experimentals,

swervy electro-synth,

and the hypnotics of his own sweet

voice, signed off under the moniker

Helado Negro.

There are harsh truths in Lange’s

sixth album; born to Ecuadorian

parents and living in the socio-political

turmoil of present-day America,

the stories he weaves through Smile

bear witness to the everyday tragedies

and psychological anguish

around immigration and displacement.

But this musical masterpiece—and

that it is—utilizes hope

as an axis from which to gently, daringly

subvert such matters. Visibility.

Identity. Self-love. Kindness.

The sensorial journey begins with

the tender “Please Won’t Please;”

Lange’s sleepy voice ruminates

on brown skin, bittersweet. He

cocoons you in warm guitar strums

and reminds you that it’s okay.

Lange’s love of experimenting with

sound—he records constantly with

his iPhone and infuses his music

with everyday sounds—comes to

life in collages such as the closing

track “My Name Is for My Friends,”

which incorporates recordings of an

Abolish ICE march and kids playing

in his friend’s living room.

Smile is bilingual, like Lange. The

ambling “País Nublado,” features

both English and Spanish, with

dreamy backup vocals providing

relief to fears of a politically “cloudy

country.” The melodic, recursive

“Running” urges slowing down for

its simple beauty.

An ambient, spectral quality reverberates

throughout Smile. It is a

lifeboat in a stormy sea, a synth-induced

meditation for, as Lange

croons in “Seen My Aura,” “sitting

with the sky.” Dayna Mahannah

Her first full length album since LP1

(2014) and the first release of any

kind since the incredible M3LL155X

EP (2015), FKA twigs’ MAGDA-

LENE was a long-awaited release

that bears the weight of our society

in these uncertain times.

By placing herself in direct lineage

with a complex Biblical figure,

twigs demonstrates the pressure,

erasure and demonization of

women throughout history. And

although a somewhat typical figure

for an avant-garde artist, the long

misrepresented Magdalene acts as

a vessel to speak on current truths:

the difficulty of keeping ourselves

afloat amid society’s seething

pressures.

Continuing on the experimental

R&B wave she first charted in 2014,

MAGDALENE is a perfectly crafted

story arc. Opening with “Thousand

Eyes,” twigs’ vocals cascade like a

holy choir of archangels; “Sad Day”

builds omnisciently, mimicking the

rise and fall of a battle. The album

peaks with “Fallen Alien” and slowly

crumbles into a quiet demise, with

“Daybed” acting as the comedown.

The final track “Cellophane” leaves

listeners hanging in the balance

with haunting vocals and sharp

vulnerability.

MAGDALENE is FKA twigs at her

best, delivering a cinematic narrative

of love, loneliness, pain, illness,

and recovery, with an underlying

sense of hope.

Jessica D’Angelo

Playful yet introspective, the

opening lyrics of “Over It” sets the

tone for the debut album of the

same name that has taken Atlanta

native Summer Walker from exotic

dancing and cleaning houses to the

top of the Billboard charts in less

than two years.

While Over It has all the accolades

to prove just how great of an

album it is—including the biggest

debut album for an R&B female

artist in over 10 years, and the

largest-ever streaming week for a

female R&B artist—this is an album

that represents one of the rare

moments that the mainstream and

“the culture” are in agreeance at

the exact same time.

While the “fell in love with a

stripper” trope in rap and R&B is

nothing new, Walker is perhaps the

first artist to give the other side

of the story. Aided by productions

from lauded trap producer and

current boyfriend, London on Da

Track, Over It is a masterful sonic

mix of 90s R&B nostalgia with

Southern strip club vibes—the perfect

canvas for Walker’s laments on

love, heartbreak and womanhood.

And in case you were wondering,

the two met at a strip club Walker

was working at over four years ago,

naturally.

Summer Walker has hinted that

she might retire from music soon

as a result of her social anxiety

and painful shyness, but here’s to

hoping that she’s not Over It and

this is just the beginning.

Josephine Cruz

Big Thief stole the spotlight in

2019 by releasing two albums that,

rooted by the band’s philosophical

inquiries, branch off into distinct

sonic realms.

Where U.F.O.F. (Unidentified

Flying Object Friend) leans on lush

production and eerie samples to

invoke the cosmos, Two Hands

relies on few takes and minimal

overdubs to strip their sound to its

barest bones. The two projects,

nicknamed “The Celestial Twin”

and “The Earth Twin” span the

reaches of outer space and upturn

every rock on Earth to wonder

about human connectedness and

consciousness in complicated

times.

Two Hands is more than its music.

“Most of what we are as a band

isn’t music, it’s our relationships

and our friendships,” guitarist and

lead singer Adrianne Lenker told

BeatRoute. “The music is an expression

of that—so the music only

becomes what it does because of

our relationships with each other.”

The album embodies the

quartet’s ethos of raw vulnerability

and radical coexistence. Lenker’s

vocals quiver with intimacy and

the live takes prioritize passion

over perfection. On emotional

centrepiece “Not,” Lenker has said

they played as if their hair was

on fire. Invoking the desert clime

of the El Paso studio where they

recorded, the whole album feels

burnt to a crisp.

Big Thief masterfully conflate the

personal with the political without

ever pandering or pontificating.

Lenker’s lyrics blur the internal and

external, peppering her stories with

enough personal details as to invite

listeners into a sense of shared

experience. It’s an album to be lost

and found in.

Maggie McPhee


N O 9 SUNN O))

Life Metal

Southern Lord

Sunn O))) have always been a band

that’s existed in multitudes. For

nearly two decades, the prolific experimental

metal band from Seattle

have depended on the magnitude

of a single tone, of a single note, to

do the heavy-lifting of scaffolding

the thematic complexity of a track.

The songs on the band’s eighth

studio album, Life Metal, unfold

glacially, where the apex of rising

action arrives at the speed of a

slow-moving hurricane, unreachable,

but vividly identifiable in the

distance. It’s this devotion to embodying

an unwavering and immovable

foundation that’s made their

work ripe for collaboration, and on

Life Metal they’ve enlisted the help

of an all-star cast of collaborators

like Silkworm’s Tim Midyett and

T.O.S. Nieuwenhuizen.

On album opener, “Between

Sleipnir’s Breaths” Icelandic composer

and cellist Hildur Guðnadóttir,

provides vocals— tight, breathy,

and firm—that unfurl prehistoric

Aztec poems. Elsewhere, miscorophic

and unmistakable chimes

appear fleetingly in the opening

notes of “Troubled Air,” before

rose-toned organs float to the top

of an immaculate drone.

It’s evidence of their ability to

balance seismic power with a remarkable

ear for levity. In moments

like this, moments where they wrap

a dense environment in a sliver of

delicacy, they display a different articulation

of force; this time through

unaltered vulnerability, rather than

the magnitude of noise.

They’ve cited Alice Coltrane as

influence, which offers an easy

throughline to decipher why bearing

witness to Life Metal feels almost

doctrinal in nature; something

akin to an opaque pilgrimage that

examines space, speed, and time

as a powerful discursive tool.

Melissa Vincent

N O 10 BILLIE EILISH

When We All Fall Asleep,

Where Do We Go?

Darkroom/Interscope

When Billie Eilish debuted, we

were met with a blonde, blueeyed

teen songstress who looked

like an angel in gangster clothing.

Since then, her sound has gotten

darker and more defined, and

both the critics and the masses

can’t seem to get enough.

In the follow-up to 2017’s Don’t

Smile At Me EP, Eilish shows off

the range in her voice and musical

influences with her first album

When We All Fall Asleep, Where

Do We Go?—a somber pop effort

with ballads, bass, trap and electronic

beats.

During the week of August 24,

2019 the single “bad guy” hit the

#1 spot on the charts, ending the

19-week streak of Lil Nas X’s “Old

Town Road.” This also made Eilish

the first artist born in the 2000s

to top the Billboard Hot 100. Other

standout tracks include “when

the party’s over,” “bury a friend,”

and “my strange addiction.”

In a rarity for pop music in

2019, all of Eilish’s songs are written

and produced by herself and

her brother Finneas O’Connell.

The pair have since transcended

their Soundcloud roots to incorporate

acoustic elements into

their music: ominous vocal processing,

field recordings, synths,

whispers and close breathiness

trigger an almost sensory (ASMR)

experience. Eilish is tough-talking

but soft sung, delivering nightmarish

lyrics floating on dreamy

harmonies.

Early in her career, Eilish has

realized a balance between critical

and commercial success, a

dream for any artist. Enough has

been said about her youthful edge

but she truly channels the digital

zeitgeist with this album. As she

takes us deeper into the shadowy

expanse of her mind, her star will

surely only burn brighter.

Aurora Zboch

camila cabello

12/06/2019

Romance

DECEMBER 2019 BEATROUTE 25


TOP 10

TORONTOALBUMS

OF 2019

By JOSEPHINE CRUZ,

NATALIE HARMSEN,

MICHAEL RANCIC and

MELISSA VINCENT

N O 1 ORVILLE PECK

Pony

Royal Mountain/ Sub Pop

Orville Peck is an enigma — and so

is his debut album, Pony.

With his delicately hollow voice,

sans country twang, the mysterious

masked singer—who keeps his

identity and real name a secret—

has crafted a record that sounds

like a transplant from a Western

movie, defying both time and

space.

Peck himself seems otherworldly

too. At times, his voice is so ethereal

that when it quakes with pain,

as he bemoans his isolation, it’s

impossible not to empathize. From

his lonely cocoon he wallows, like

on the beautiful and heartbreaking,“Hope

to Die.”

Peck may have a penchant

for some big ballads, which are

definite standouts on Pony. He

proves he’s got the pipes to belt

when he needs to, evoking passion,

longing and despair all at once. But

sonically he also succeeds when

he grasps at the small details,

making every whistle or steel guitar

strum count as he allows some

notes to fizzle out for emphasis.

It’s minimalistic, and yet, overflows

with fullness, carried largely by the

richness of his voice.

In another life, Peck’s smooth vocals

could pass for Roy Orbison’s,

only more sad. There are glimmers

of Johnny Cash’s signature drawl

also peeking through, but Peck

goes into a much dreamier realm

as he broods and processes his

thoughts on Pony. He’s the epitome

of what the modern-day cowboy

should be: mysterious and sleek,

yet never dulling on sparkle. If you

need any convincing, his extravagant

vocals on “Turn to Hate” say

it all.

There are moments that Peck

savours to create a sense of

danger, but he never fully ventures

into rootin’ tootin’ outlaw territory.

It works in his favour. The tension

generated affords him moments of

reflection and openness, where he

playfully references his sexuality.

Being openly gay in a genre

that brings to mind gun-slinging

conservatives in middle America

is dangerous. Yet when he croons

“See the boys as they walk on by,”

the less-than-subtle lyricism only

reinforces Peck’s stance as a real

cowboy; he is someone unafraid to

forge his own path.

Pony isn’t a breakup album or

a love album. It’s one focused on

looking inwards at oneself against

a backdrop of love and loneliness.

And as he sings mournfully to himself,

it’s not so hard to picture him

sitting tall, even as he rides off into

the sunset alone. (NH)


JAY LOPEZ

N O 5 HAVIAH MIGHTY

13th Floor

Independent

N O 7 TANIKA CHARLES

The Gumption

Record Kicks

N O 9 YVES JARVIS

The Same But By Different Means

Flemish Eye

N O 2 TOBI

STILL

Same Plate Entertainment/Sony

On STILL’s opening track, TOBi compares

himself to a hurricane, a force

of nature. As much as it’s a boast,

it’s also on point, seeing as how this

record is easily one of the strongest

debuts of the year.

What sets STILL apart is the way

TOBi navigates both soul and hiphop,

blending the two effortlessly.

“City Blues” is so smooth it feels as

though TOBi’s words roll right off the

cuff, and that strong knack for wordplay

extends throughout the record,

dropping terms like “tachycardia”

unfazed. The contemporary thrills

of “Locked In” sounds right at home

alongside the cool keys and laid back

snares of “FEEL,” as TOBi deftly

finesses a style that’s all his ow. (MR)

At first listen, Haviah Mighty’s debut

appears to be a catchy old-school

hip-hop album laced with Caribbean-flavoured

beats. But it’s clear on the

Polaris Music Prize-winning 13 th Floor

she’s examining the world for what it

is: a place steeped in inequality, yet

brimming with hope.

Her bars have a fierce bite, and

she’s abundantly versatile, from her

buttery vocals on “Wishy Washy” to her

heavy-hitting rap prowess on “Fugazi.”

Beneath the trap-heavy surface, her

lyrics flow with ease — it’s evident that

the Brampton-MC has a vision to paint

the story of her life for listeners with a

reimagination of rap that’s as classic as

it is experimental. (NH)

Don’t let anyone tell you that artists

mining a vintage sound are bereft of

ideas. Tanika Charles’ The Gumption is

a perfect example of how artists can

coax plenty of new out of sounds of

the past.

Charles plays the part of studious

soul siren with absolute nerves of steel.

Her voice commands over the cool,

confident R&B, while her band oscillate

between testing the limits of the sound

and sending it up.

Album highlight “Look At Us Now”

artfully interpolates David Bowie’s

“Right” and The Isley Brothers’

“Summer Breeze”-- all the range and

possibilities of 70s soul contained in a

riff. (MR)

There is a tenderness and fragility to

every song on Jean-Sebastian Audet’s

first album under his new moniker, Yves

Jarvis.

On TSBBDM he churns out something

that feels new, and familiar. Echoing guitar

mixed with bluesy falsetto pop, and

trippy, jittery electronic splices of sound,

recall the DIY-feel of his previous albums.

But Jarvis also tosses some soul,

jazz, and a dash of “je ne sais quois” into

his musical blender. Despite clocking in

at 22 songs, Jarvis proves he is still a

self-recording virtuoso. On the album,

time passes freely, and it’s easy to lose

track of it until the last second of “The

Truth” — a peaceful comedown, that

sputters out and fades away. (NH)

N O 3 CLAIRMONT

THE SECOND

Do You Drive?

Self-Released

Continuing his prolific release schedule,

Clairmont The Second returned

this year with Do You Drive?, a slick,

stylish set of self-reflection. Despite

what the song titles may have you

believe, Clairmont’s flow is far from

monosyllabic, as he airs out his grievances

against CityTV, Toronto Police,

and people whose words don’t match

their actions.

The album’s moodiness is maintained

by the dazed bass and bleary

synths that weave their way through

each production. It’s been a treat

watching Clairmont grow into the artist

he is today, and Do You Drive? finds

him in prime condition. (MR)

N O 4 SANDRO PERRI

Soft Landing

Constellation Records

2018’s In Another Life found Sandro

Perri experimenting with form, stretching

ideas out in ways that always felt

in service of the song. In his hands,

those songs were ripe for exploration,

and he made each journey compelling.

The music on Soft Landing feels just

as patient, curious and playful. The

endlessly unspooling “Time (You Got

Me)” opens the record with its dreamy,

contemplative melody, its lyrics sweetly

suggesting a sort of surrender. The

songs that follow, brought to life with

an all-star cast of players, don’t beg for

your attention so much as they invite

listeners to be enveloped and carried

away along with them. (MR)

N O 6 TRE MISSION

Orphan Black

Last Gang

An album five years in the making, Tre

Mission’s Orphan Black was worth the

wait.

Mission made his name as one of

the very first grime emcees to exist

outside of the genre’s homeland of England,

but on his fourth studio project

he flexes his artistic muscles across a

plethora of styles and moods.

To find an artist who is as proficient

a producer as they are a vocalist

is rare—especially in the 2019 rap

landscape where songs often have

multiple producers and writers—but

Tre Mission wears both hats comfortably

and with ease.

Whether you like grime, rap, wavy

beats or sluggishly sung autotune,

there’s something for everyone on

Orphan Black. (JC)

N O 8TOMB MOLD

Planetary Clairvoyance

20 Buck Spin

What makes Tomb Mold’s third album,

Planetary Clairvoyance, impressive is

not just the fact that its conceptual

magnitude overthrows the mesmerizing

muscle show of their past work, or that

the album is a relentless homage to a

melange of genres and eras, all held

together by the unyielding precision of

drummer and vocalist Max Klebanoff

— it’s their ability to buck their own

trademark through a skull-splitting,

sword-wielding ambition to reimagine

the relationship between form and function,

executed to near-perfection.

At times, stuffing the inexhaustible

stamina of speed metal into a iron-laced

funnell of old-school death metal,

Planetary Clairvoyance is as pretty as

it is eccentric — balancing a show of

terrific force with an incredible devotion

to beauty. (MV)

N O 10 PUP

Morbid Stuff

Little Dipper/Universal

PUP is angry and they want you to

know it. Morbid Stuff is the band’s

way of yelling into the void, loudly but

purposefully. It’s a form of catharsis

that shows the band is still punk, still

progressing, and still figuring out what

it means to do both at once.

There is a swirling pool of anxiousness

that PUP uses to aptly push

listeners to question their existence,

and the result is an anthemic record

permeating with doom and gloom.

Frontman Stefan Babcock stays

afloat the guitar-powered, bass-heavy

chaos as he deftly declares “I don’t

care about nothing.” Even though the

world may be on fire, PUP is determined

to wake everyone up as they

rock as hard as they can. (NH)


TOP10

MUSIC DOCS OF 2019

We are hitting rewind on the past 12 months to reflect on the highs of 2019

and this past year was a massive year for music on screen. Remember back

in January when that Leonard Cohen doc hit you like a mack truck right

in the feels? Or that sweaty summer night when you happened upon the

Beyonce epic that had you humming “Lemonade” for a whole damn week?

From documentaries shining a light on the past, transporting us directly

into the lives of some of the greatest artists of our lifetime, to soaring

biopics that transcended our expectations, 2019 was firing on all cylinders

for music fans.

This list sums up all those good times with the top ten best music-related

documentaries of 2019.

By BRENDAN LEE

N O 1

ROLLING THUNDER

REVUE

Directed by Martin Scorsese

Martin Scorsese

and Bob Dylan are a

match made on some

long, dusty road

that certainly leads

nowhere near heaven.

In this acid trip

down memory lane,

the wacky 1975-76

cross-America tour

is resuscitated at a

time when the world

could use a little dose

of Dylan’s peace and

love.

N O 2 MARIANNE

AND LEONARD

Directed by Nick Broomfield

Be sure to stuff your

pockets full of tissues

because if this doesn’t

activate those tear

ducts, nothing will. It’s

a longing look back

at the life of Leonard

Cohen and his lifelong

muse, Marianne Ihlen,

a relationship that

started on the magical

island of Hydra in the

60s.

28 BEATROUTE DECEMBER 2019


N O 3

TRAVIS SCOTT –

LOOK MOM I CAN FLY

Directed by White Trash Tyler

This is undoubtedly the most ‘2019’

film on the list, and it just might be

the purest specimen representing

today’s face-tat trap movement.

It’s a behind-closed-doors look

at Scott’s last two years, and his

rise from a little boy that misses

Astroworld to a diamond-toothed

demigod.

N O 8

AMAZING GRACE

Directed by Sydney Pollack and

finally realized by Producer Alan Elliott

In 1972, Aretha Franklin recorded

a live album in a small Baptist

Church, but due to both technical

and legal reasons, the documentary

is only now being released.

Franklin had a voice that registered

on a religious level, so put on your

Sunday best and prepare for a

soul-rockin’ performance like never

before because this sermon is one

you need to hear.

N O 9

DAVID CROSBY:

REMEMBER MY NAME

Directed by A.J. Eaton

He’s a crusty old bugger that’s

lost nearly all his friends on

the journey of life, but he feels

there’s still a chapter or two

yet to be told. David Crosby,

from Crosby Stills and Nash

(amongst others), reflects in

this poignant reminiscence on

life, love, regret, and what’s left

when each day really might be

the last.

N O 4

LEAVING NEVERLAND

Directed by Dan Reed

Leaving Neverland extends beyond

the bounds of music. While the

black cloud that’s followed the

‘King of Pop’ for years has been

common knowledge, in this HBO

documentary we get the bare

bones perspective from the victims

— now men — behind that black

cloud. Take a deep breath, watch

both parts, and make up your own

mind once the dust has settled.

N O 5

ANIMA - THOM YORKE

SHORT Directed by PTA

Music videos are more relevant

today than ever, but this

collaboration results in an other-wordly

15-minute long visual

art piece that tells the story of

a sleep deprived passenger

and his solemn search for connection

through the uniquely

feverish cinematic language of

Thom Yorke.

N O 6

COUNTRY MUSIC

Directed by Ken Burns

If all that comes to mind when you

hear the words ‘country music’ is

Taylor Swift and an urge to light

something on fire, then this docuseries

is probably perfect for you.

In the 8-part series, legend Ken

Burns gives us all a lasting lesson

on why the genre is so much more

than what they play on the radio.

N O 7

ECHO IN THE CANYON

Directed by Andrew Slater

It’s Dylan again, but this time,

Dylan Junior. Jakob Dylan

revives what was a meteoric

flash in the music world,

when some of the most influential

musicians — from the

Mamas and the Papas to the

Byrds and the Beachboys

— were creating all amongst

one another in the Los Angeles’

Laurel Canyon area.

N O 10 HOMECOMING

Directed by Beyoncé

and Ed Burke

No music-related list would be

complete without some form of

reference to the Queen herself,

and this one comes as an all-out

nod to what’s being called one

of the best concert docs, not

just this year, but of all-time. It’s

a celebration of black culture

and the countless painstaking

hours it took to prepare for Beyonce’s

performance as the first

ever black woman to headline

Coachella. There’s an enigmatic

presence that surrounds her, and

the documentary serves to peel

back the curtain ever so slightly

through the intersection of brilliantly

filmed and edited concert

footage with candid backstage

and preparatory snippets painting

hints of personality that come

in the form of voice memos and

voiceovers, only adding to Bey’s

allure. Where the film truly thrives

is the ways in which it transcends

the present moment, reflecting

not only on the colossal accomplishment

of the performance

itself, but speaking to its place in

history. Quotes from great black

thinkers and creatives are interspersed

throughout the film, with

no one line better summing the

piece up than actress Danai Gurira’s

thoughts on what it means to

be the guiding light for a world of

so many faithful dreamers: “The

youth need to see greatness

reflected in our eyes. Go forth, let

them know it’s real.”

DECEMBER 2019 BEATROUTE 29



BEATROUTE

2010-2019:THE DECADE IN REVIEW

5

I DRESS HOW I

FEEL. I JUST GO

OFF EMOTION.

I CAN'T PREPARE

MY OUTFIT A

DAY BEFORE.

EVERYTHING I

WEAR IS

SPONTANEOUS.”

FA

SH

ION

ICONS

OF THE DECADE

Another decade bites the dust. It may

not be the longest stretch of time, but in

10 years, a lot can change, especially in

fashion. From the birth of skinny jeans and

athleisure, to the now-popular 90s redux

featuring slinky dresses and chunky shoes,

the 2010s rejected a single, era-defining

fashion trend.

What we do know is that some of our

most beloved musical artists have been

shining in the sartorial spotlight, from Lady

Gaga, Yeezy, and Solange to Rihanna and

Beyonce with their scroll-stopping Instagram

uploads. Here’s a look at a few more

of the decade’s most in-vogue musicians.

By ERIN PEHLIVAN

N o 1 A$AP Rocky

Since the launch of his hit song “Fashion Killa” in 2013,

which name-dropped too many high fashion brands

to list here (but shout out for rhyming Oliver Peoples

with Ann Demeulemeester), A$AP Rocky’s style has

only continued to flourish with confidence.

His pioneering outfits and fresh silhouettes

change faster than you can say all the Comme Des

Garçons diffusion labels in one go, evolving overtime

from sleek streetwear by Rick Owens and

Calvin Klein to a more European vibe featuring

pieces by Dior and Balenciaga.

Hip-hop culture has always looked up to

luxury fashion, but A$AP flawlessly flexes his

personal style for a new generation of fans

who are just as enamoured by the music as

the designer swag.

A$AP falls perfectly into that category as

an influencer who collabed with JW Anderson in

2016, and has been the face of Dior Homme, and even

turned “Babushka Boi” into a fashion moment, all while

sticking to his Harlem roots, showing up in vibrant

colours, clashing prints, and Vans sneakers whenever

he wants to.

With his effortless ability to grace numerous bestdressed

lists, we’ll continue to see A$AP Rocky make

himself at home in the next decade at shows at Milan

Fashion Week and beyond.

SHUTTERSTOCK

DECEMBER 2019 BEATROUTE 31


BEATROUTE

2010-2019:THE DECADE IN REVIEW

5

FA

SH

ION

ICONS

OF THE DECADE

SHUTTERSTOCK

N o 2

Janelle

Monae

Ever since the launch of her

futuristic album Metropolis in

2007, Janelle Monae has been

turning heads with her androgynous

style.

Playing off her love of uniforms

inspired by her family’s

working class background, she

splashed onto the scene with

her iconic monochrome tux,

her pompadour hairstyle, and a

bold red lip.

Since then, she’s taken

black and white suiting to a

new level, adding sharp pops

of colour, glitter, ruffles, and

minimalist prints to her look

whenever it suits her mood. It

wasn’t until the video for “PYNK”

(featuring Grimes) in 2018 when

we realized that Monae is having

more fun with fashion than the

rest of us. Wearing a pair of

fluttering vagina trousers imitating

female genitalia, the video was a

much-needed sex-positive celebration

of pussy power.

Her Met Gala dress in 2019 further

exemplified her avant-garde streak: she

wore a half-black-and-white, half-hot

pink full skirt, with a large eye covering

one of her breasts, as she donned a

toppling collection of hats on her head.

Teeming with abrupt, sensational

asymmetry, she’s been spotted at Paris

Fashion Week repping Valentino, Thom

Browne, Giambattista Valli, and more,

and has made her name as a queer

style icon that honours a future that’s

fluid.

32 BEATROUTE DECEMBER 2019

DARROLE PALMER

N o 3 Bradford Cox

Picking up where David Byrne left off in the oversized

suit category, Bradford Cox of art-garage band

Deerhunter might just be the indie fashion icon of our

times.

In the past, indie style was synonymous with

thrifting retro wares, but in the 2010s, things have

changed: Cox is shamelessly fusing indie rock with

luxury fashion to create a covetable look, and we’re

definitely okay with it.

This year, the Atlanta-born singer-songwriter

walked the Gucci Cruise 2020 runway show in Rome

wearing a forest green wool pea coat, oversized

yellow-tinted sunglasses, and an ornately fringed

golden necklace. He wasn’t the only musician at the

Capitoline Museums that night; both A$AP Rocky

and Elton John were notable audience members, and

the after party at the Palazzo Brancaccio featured a

set performed by Harry Styles and Stevie Nicks.

Often spotted in an earth-tone uniform comprising

Ralph Lauren painter’s pants and a linen shirt from

Kyoto, Japan, he’s not the only indie rocker in the

scene with a connection to fashion: St. Vincent has

modeled for Marc Jacobs, Ariel Pink has his own

fashion line, and Father John Misty has been profiled

in GQ.


N o 4

Harry

Styles

The headlines have confirmed it: Harry

Styles is the future of fashion.

The former One Direction frontman

capped off 2019 on a high note with his

appearance on Saturday Night Live in

November, where he performed “Lights

Out” in a deep-cut black glittery jumpsuit,

and later, “Watermelon Sugar” in

a two-piece suit that channelled the

flesh of the tropical fruit itself.

Earlier in the year, he showed up at

the Met Gala wearing a sheer black

tulle jumpsuit and a single dangling

pearl earring. (He made headlines

then, too.) Electric, charismatic, and

lovable, the UK style export has

grown to become a beloved pop

icon that’s been years in the making,

even before striking a modelling

deal with Gucci in 2018.

\Making appearances in floral

prints, pussybow blouses, and

flares inspired by Elton John,

David Bowie, and Elvis, he’s stated

in interviews that fashion is an

essential part of his performance.

Not only is he comfortable in

gender-fluid styles, but he’s not

afraid to mix high-end designers

like Saint Laurent with emerging

independents, like Harris Reed

of Central Saint Martins, for a

curated look.

The 25-year-old brings joy,

light, and eccentricity all at

once into the public eye — he

isn’t afraid to embrace his

dramatic, feminine side, and

he looks damn good doing it.

N o 5

Grimes

With a style that’s hard to pin

down in the very best way,

Montreal electro-pop musician

Grimes (Claire Boucher) has

made a name for herself in

fashion, appearing at haute

couture shows by Chanel, and

collaborating with the industry’s

top tastemakers like Hedi

Slimane, Ricardo Tisci, and

Alexander Wang.

Mercurial and courageously

future-forward, Grimes has

been blurring the line between punk

alt-fantasy and cyber goth raver with

a questionable dose of Harajuku, even

prior to her big launch of Visions in 2012,

when she became one to watch in the

mainstream.

In 2018, she appeared at the Met Gala with

Elon Musk, who supposedly designed her

outfit featuring a white-marbled corset, a

feathered skirt with a long black train,

and knee-length goth-black stompers.

Forever shape-shifting and endlessly

unconventional, she’s ending the

decade on an impressive note

as the new face of adidas by

Stella McCartney’s autumn/

winter 2019 collection.

It’s not an unlikely combination,

since McCartney

prioritizes eco-conscious

design, and Grimes is

outspoken about the

climate crisis, naming

her fifth album Miss_

Anthropocene due

to launch in 2020.

TIM WALKER

IMAGE PRESS AGENCY / ALAMY STOCK PHOTO

DECEMBER 2019 BEATROUTE 33


MIKAL KARL

THE

ZEN OF

BECK

Beck measures the

weight of the world

and finds happiness

in surrender on

Hyperspace

By LUKE OTTONHOF

O

n the cover of Beck

Hansen’s new record,

Hyperspace, the California

artist known

mononymously as

Beck stands in the

foreground in a dazzling

white suit, shielding his face

from an impossibly bright light. The

backdrop looks like a half-finished

jawbreaker with its layers of gauzy

pink and blue. Behind him sits a

candy-red 1980s Toyota Celica.

The effect is almost comical:

the title suggests speed, precision,

even perfection, but here Hansen

is, towering in front of a gaudy,

boxy car that now populates scrap

yards across the world.

“It was a cheap car,” Hansen

recalls of the mid-80s Celica

models. Speaking over the phone

from Los Angeles, his voice is light

but authoritative in a way that feels

distinctly Californian. “It’s the kind

of car your friend’s mom had, it

was probably used, and they didn’t

have air conditioning in it. But at

the same time, it was this sort of

spaceship: if you had the right song

on the stereo, it could transport

you to another dimension and

transcend the everyday.”

This is Hansen’s vision on Hyperspace:

the clunky, unglamorous,

pretenseless escapism we all

require to function in a cruel world.

These activities are our Hyperspace.

“These ways we engage are

our escape from the fact that the

world is kind of a big and overwhelming

and oftentimes scary

place,” says Hansen. “We’re running

from it, we’re running towards

it, we’re trying to fix it, we’re trying

to destroy it. For better or worse,

we’re doing the best we can in our

deeply flawed, human way.”

True to form (or lack thereof),

Hyperspace is another aesthetic

dogleg in a career defined by them.

2017’s bold, uncritically happy

Colors was a deliberate attempt at

joyous pop songwriting, a marked

shift from 2014’s Grammy-winning

acoustic record Morning Phase.

Hyperspace sits between these

two releases. Compared to Colors,

it’s austere, in part thanks to

co-writer Pharrell Williams’ minimalist

tendencies. (Hansen says that

on the first day of writing, Williams

told him, “We need to make a singer-songwriter

record.”) It’s scrappy,

too, with the brash twang of “Saw

Lightning” and the raspy, distorted

We don’t get

to leave with

status or anything

that we’ve acquired.

We will all be in

the same

place.

fog of opener “Hyperlife” paired

with corresponding mid-album cut,

“Hyperspace.”

Strangely, Hansen says that

closer “Everlasting Nothing,” an

acoustic-forward meditation on

death and what follows, was the

first song written. It’s a revealing

springboard: start from the factual,

inescapable endpoint, and work

backwards. Hyperspace is in some

ways each moment between birth

and death. “Ultimately, at the end,

we are reduced to our selves

without anything,” says Hansen.

“We don’t get to leave with status

or anything that we’ve acquired. We

will all be in the same place.”

These observations are startling in

part because one would hardly expect

a multi-Grammy-winning star

to work with a cast including noted

“Happy” person Pharrell, Coldplay’s

Chris Martin, and Sky Ferreira, then

come out with a relatively sparse

mid-tempo record that feels at

times nihilistic. Hansen’s reject-anthem

“Loser” could be played out as

tongue-in-cheek nihilism, but it was

sardonic and cheeky.

Hyperspace is decidedly more serious,

maybe because 2019 and the

years preceding it in North America

and abroad demand it. Colors was

shelved for a year after the election

of Donald Trump, and now, as wildfires

tear through Hansen’s home

state (when we speak, he groans

that Los Angeles is about to enter a

heatwave) and late-capitalism continues

its extractive patterns while

commodifying clean air amid global

alarm bells, Hyperspace’s fretful

tone is apt. (Sometimes, it’s too on

the nose: “Some days, I go dark

places in my soul,” Hansen croons

on “Dark Places.”)

Hansen doesn’t intend the record

to be miserable. He explains that it’s

“a record of wanting to find shelter

and safety, something that gives

you a sense of, ‘Things are going

to be okay.’” These things can be

hard to come by. Hansen rattles off

a list of possibilities: religion, drugs,

sex, interior decorating, jogging,

restoring old cars, “or, god forbid,

firearms,” all ways to deal with what

he describes as the magnitude of

the world. “How do we navigate

our own past?” Hansen wonders

rhetorically. “And the tools, the lack

of tools, that we were given to deal

with this world?”

When asked if he relates to the

desire to escape from this world,

Hansen replies lightly, “I think this

is all escape, y’know? And I’m not

saying that in a negative way. It’s a

natural instinct we all share. It’s not

about the game, it’s not even about

the athletes, it’s about something

bigger. It’s about surrender. I think

surrender is where we find happiness.”

Hansen seems at peace with this

reality, and Hyperspace reflects

this: it isn’t anxious, but resigned

and cool. In the final moments of

“Everlasting Nothing,” Hansen offers

encouragement: “Nowhere child,

keep on running/In your time you’ll

find something in the everlasting

nothing.”

The imagery is profound, bordering

on apocalyptic. At the tail end

of a song about mortality, it feels

off-key to offer advice on how to

live, but Hansen sees it as a useful

acceptance.

“It’s not a bleak idea,” he says

bluntly. “It’s just sort of a truth, a

statement as it is. This nothingness

that’s always been there, and always

will.” ,

34 BEATROUTE DECEMBER 2019


YYZ

12.19

SHAWN ROLLER

AGO TALKS:

WAYS OF

CARING

By JOSEPHINE CRUZ

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then

the Fade Resistance collection is truly priceless.

This comprehensive group of Polaroids

was acquired by the AGO in 2018, and in

anticipation of the photos’ exhibition in 2021,

the Gallery will be hosting a series of events

to help activate the exhibit, the first of which

is “Ways of Caring.”

This extraordinary group of Polaroids

document African American family life from

the 1970s to the early 2000s, and have

been carefully assembled by award-winning

Canadian photographer, physician and

educator Dr. Zun Lee. “Since its inception,

photographic technology has been used to

dehumanize and surveil Black bodies,” Lee

says. “At the same time, Black communities

have used the same technology to document

and create genuine stories that do not

center outsiders. For me, this collection is a

testament to such homegrown practices of

resistance which I place alongside many other

past and contemporary visual strategies

to control Black narratives.”

“Ways of Caring” will see Lee will lead

a round-table conversation that examines

what it means to hold this collection in our

city in today’s current social climate, and

the wider place of institutions in caring for

collections of personal photographs. “I’d like

for us to think through how we might afford

more attention and intention to the ways we

engage with everyday images, particularly in

this moment of rapid digital consumption,”

Lee shares of the title choice for the discussion.

Participants include Deanna Bowen,

Michèle Pearson Clark, Dr. Stefano Harney,

Dr. Fred Moten and Dr. Christina Sharpe.

“I’m grateful that this collection has found

a committed custodian in the AGO, preserving

images that offer a testament to Black

visual self-representation,” says Lee. “I look

forward to working with the AGO to engage

old and new audiences in offering their own

take on what it means to be seen.”

AGO Talks: Ways of Caring // Wednesday,

Dec. 18 // www.ago.ca

TORONTO’S ESSENTIAL DECEMBER HAPPENINGSk

DECEMBER 2019 BEATROUTE 35


12.19YYZAGENDA

PARADISE

OPENING

After it first opened its doors over 80 years ago,

the Art Deco/Art Moderne marvel formerly known

as the Paradise Theatre will reopen again as Paradise,

Toronto’s latest home for theatre, live music,

comedy, talk series’ and multi-arts events.

Paradise Theatre was first born in 1937 under

the direction of one of Toronto’s earliest practising

Jewish architects, Benjamin Brown. It changed

hands a number of times over the 20th century

before shuttering for good 13 years ago. However,

the stunning building is back and better than ever,

in part thanks to an impressive exterior renovation—which

included restoring the curved parapet

and historic ticket booth.

The building will be made up of Paradise

YYZAgenda

Theatre—which will house both cinema and live

performance and be outfitted with leading audio-visual

systems—as well as a new Italian restaurant,

Osteria Rialto, and Bar Biltmore, a cocktail and raw

bar (both opening at a later date)

While film is Paradi se’s primary focus, the

programming will have something for everyone. In

December, music lovers will want to check out indie

singer/songwriter Jason Collett hosting his 13th

annual music and literary salon, Basement Revue,

each Thursday. Or if art pop/rock is your thing then

don’t miss the Kate Bush tribute entitled “December

Will Be Magic Again,” curated by Venus Fest

founder Aerin Fogel.

Paradise // Opening December 5 // 1006 Bloor St W.

Festival of Cool:

The Artic

The explanation behind Festival of Cool: The Artic begins

with a harrowing narrative: “In these times, this part of the

world is often seen only through the lens of international

climate talks — as it is melting away overnight.” As a direct

response to this often popularized, overly reductive, way of

understanding a part of the world that’s been inhabited for

over 20,000 years, the Festival of Cool, which describes its

ambition as a “trek through Artic art and culture,” encourages

an updated perception of region.

Now in its second year, and over five days of programming,

the festival seeks to educate and excite through a dynamic

range of programming events. From talks from climatologist

Michael Byer alerting us to the race for untapped oil and gas

deposits, to a showing of traditional first nations dog blankets

made by the women who are part of the Kwanlin Dün Cultural

Centre Sewing Group in Whitehorse, Yukon, this year the

festival comes on the heels of the United Nations naming

2019 the International Year of Indigenous Languages. Perhaps

the most illuminating exhibit of the festival is Nicholas

Galanin’s Fair Warning: A Sacred Place, where audio loops

will play audio recordings of contemporary auctions of Native

American art.

The Harbourfront Centre // Tuesday, Dec. 10 - Dec. 15//

harbourfrontcentre.com

Melancholiac:

The Music Of Scott Walker

When Scott Walker—the visionary avant-garde, American-born, British

multihyphenate—passed away earlier this year, his departure left a palpable

void as not only an apt and innovative cultural force, but as an ardent collaborator

who during his life, had worked with artists as varied as Sunn O)))

and Pulp. Billed as “part concert, part spectacle, part existential

talk-show,” Melancholiac: The Music of Scott Walker invites

attendees to pay homage to the innovative spirit of Walker’s

always-curious life.

The Music Gallery// Friday, Dec 6. - 7// www.showclix.com

Sole Exchange:

The Ultimate

Sneaker Show

As we near the end of the decade, in

the post-Yeezy, post-Off White era, the

concept of the hypebeast, and the

nebulous culture that it informs has

allowed the relationship between an

immaculate drip, and immeasurable

social capital reign supreme. Enter

the Ultimate Sneaker Show. Fostered

around growing a community from the

inside out, expect vendors, a trading

pit and sporting zone to find your

next lineup buddy.

Enercare Centre // Sat, Dec. 15 //

eventbrite.ca

36 BEATROUTE DECEMBER 2019


New Chance

TRANSMIT PRESENTS

UPCOMING

SHOWS

12.05 DUCKS UNLIMITED

THE BABY G

KARD

KPOP North

It’s hard to deny the explosion of K-pop on the world music scene over the past

few years. Whether you’re a new fan, longtime lover or straight up skeptic of the

hi-definition, super-polished, and so-perfectly manufactured music that’s putting

South Korea on the global map, you might want to keep the upcoming KPOP North

event on your radar.

The full-day convention is the first of its kind in Canada and will be serving up an

authentic Korean experience in four areas—music, culture, beauty and food.

At the centre of the con is an impressive music lineup that showcases some of

the different stylings coming out of South Korea at the moment including pop group

KARD, boy band VERIVERY, rapper Zion.T, and rock band The Rose.

But if the music isn’t of interest, there will still be a lot to take in at the Metro

Toronto Convention Centre. A marketplace will feature some leading Korean beauty

and accessory brands, and an interactive YouTube corner will be hosted by some

of the popular creators from the K-pop scene. There will also be workshops, panels

and of course, delicious Korean food from a variety of restaurant vendors.

KPOP North // Saturday, Dec. 21 // Tix: $99+ // kpopnorth.com

In the Pink

Since its inception in 2015, Pink Market has been giving queer creators from Toronto

and across Canada a platform for their work, while at the same time fostering a thriving

community of LGBTQ artists and makers.

The Markets are held twice a year, once during the early summer to coincide with Pride

and again during the holiday season, and have seen over 10,000 visitors across the

four years.

This year’s Pink Xmas is happening the first week of December, and is perhaps the

only place you’ll find witty handmade greeting cards alongside body harnesses and

other sex-positive items.

Pink Xmas 2019 // December 6 and 7 // 519 Church St. // PWYC ($5 suggested)

LONG

WINTER

We’re in the early stages of a long winter, but

if you live in the Greater Toronto Area then the

inter-arts series of the same name is back for

its eighth year to help ease the pain of shorter

days, lower temperatures, and impending mass

hibernation.

Held annually between November and March,

Long Winter brings together more than 200

local artists/collectives and welcomes nearly

5,000 participants each season. The featured

works include performance art, theatre and

dance, large-scale sculptural installations,

projections (single and dual screen videos,

still images), visual installations (print, painting,

photography collage) and interactive presentations

including original video games by local

programmers.

After kicking off this season at Tranzac, the

next installment on Dec. 13 at the Harbourfront

Centre will feature musical performances by

ANAMAI, Joanne Pollock, Casey MQ, Small

Time Giants, and Digawolf. Making a brief departure

from its residency at The Beaver, Tago

Mago will bring their acclaimed Bands & Drag!

series to the event, courtesy of Group Hug,

Dalia Dargazli, Allysin Chaynes, and Alexandher

Brandy.

As always, Kulture Kontrol host Vish Khanna

will be setting up shop with a rotating group

of guests, and with a firm ambition to remain

accessible, tickets are PWYC with a suggested

donation of $12 and are available in advance.

Long Winter // Friday, Dec. 13 //

my.harbourfrontcentre.com

SHANE PARENT

12.09 STREET SECTS

THE BABY G

12.14 FRIGS

VELVET UNDERGROUND

12.14 ORGAN MOOD

THE BABY G

02.01 POSSUM

HORSESHOE TAVERN

02.15 GHOSTLY KISSES

THE BABY G

02.22 ELEPHANT STONE

THE GARRISON

02.25 BAMBARA

THE GARRISON

04.06 ALGIERS

THE BABY G

09.16 LEBANON HANOVER

THE GARRISON

DECEMBER 2019 BEATROUTE 37


12.19YYZMUSIC

The Cheat Sheet BR PICKS THE 5 ESSENTIAL LIVE MUSIC SHOWS

ROCK

HEAVY

HIPHOP

R&B

DANCE

ALT

1 BATTLES

Sat, Dec. 7 at Lee’s Palace

The kaleidoscopic art-rock, delightfully

agitated glitch-pop group from

New York are proof that moving

your limbs, in some warped articulation

of dancing, is a universal salve.

2

MOUNT EERIE AND

JULIE DORION

Wed, Dec. 11 at The Great Hall

low-up to 2008’s Lost Wisdom, expert

songwriters Elverum and Dorion

team up as a reminder that healing

is redemptive, complex, and far from

linear.

3 PIXIES

Thur, Dec. 12. at The Phoenix

“I will meet you over there/ I am

going to meet you over there”...Well,

what are you waiting for??

4

MADISON MCFERRIN

Sun, Dec. 15 at The Drake Hotel

Resident wielder of one of music’s

most compelling and dexterous

new voices, McFerrin barely needs

a melody, but paired with the right

one conjures sepia-toned magic.

5

JENNIFER CASTLE

Sat, Dec. 21 at Longboat Hall

Few manage to articulate the

inexplicable beauty of life’s most

mundane moments into pristinely-crafted

songs quite like the Polaris

Prize-nominated, Toronto-based

artist.

1 LUNGBUTTER

Fri, Dec. 6 at The Baby G

Submerged in a web of metallic reverb,

the Constellation Records band

bridge the gap between irreverent

no wave, and harsh noise, bound

together with a clear ear for melody.

1 OESOPHAGE

Sat, Dec. 7 at Tail of the

Junction Music Lounge

Raw and heinous iterations of grind

converge and are excavated from

the pits of your nearest garbage

receptacle. Come with your demons,

and don’t wash your hands.

LIQUID ASSETS

AND COKE JAW

2

Sun, Dec.15 at Houndstooth

Straight from the nation’s capital,

Ottawa’s Liquid Assets deliver an

impressive rework of 70s punk,

dialed to warp speed and served

with the soothing warmth of classic

proto-metal.

4

IMMORTAL BIRD

Mon, Dec. 16 at The Bovine Sex Club

Whether they’re taking a deliberate

nose dive into the sunless depths

of thunderous 90s death metal, or

letting an affinity for thrash take

centrestage, Immortal Bird reject

single-genre nesting.

5 EXCITER

Tue, Dec. 31 at Hard Luck

Canadian speed metal overlords

drape maximum voltage riffs over

a relentless devotion to shoutalong

lyrics that to remind us that the last

pogo never ended..

1

SKI MASK THE SLUMP GOD

Sun, Dec. 1 at Rebel

Tues, Oct. 15 at Rivoli

Inspired by MCs such as Lil Wayne

and Busta Rhymes, the Florida

rapper is known for his fast, playful

flow, and a cartoonish persona that

edges slightly toward the morbid.

2

JADEN SMITH AND

WILLOW SMITH

Wed, Nov. 20 at The Phoenix

The famous siblings have managed

to evade claims of nepotism

with their undeniable work ethic

and creative output which leans

towards ethereal pop R&B (for

Willow) and emo rap/trap/punk

(Jaden)..

3 DABABY

Tue, Dec. 10 at Rebel

Tue, Dec. 10 at Rebel

2019’s breakout star comes to Toronto

for the first time with his rapid

raps and big personality in tow.

4

CARTEL MADRAS

Sat, Dec. 14 at Drake Underground

The sister duo from Calgary has

been making waves on the festival

circuit this year with their brand of

brash hip-hop they call “Goonda

rap,” a play on South Asian term

meaning “thug.”

5

A$AP FERG

Tue, Dec. 17 at Rebel

The Harlem native is one of the

more successful graduates from

the A$AP Mob and effortlessly

balances a hard rap style with light,

borderline-comedic rhymes.

POP

1 BERHANA

Fri, Dec. 6 at Velvet Underground

The Atlanta native was a former

screenwriter and actor before turning

to music as a form of creative

expression with tantalizing results

in the form of casual, breezy R&B.

2

OMAR APOLLO

Sat, Dec. 7 at The Danforth Music Hall

A thoughtful pop auteur whose

Midwest roots help define him,

Apollo fuses the sultry sounds of

classic R&B with Mexican soul.

3 MOTHICA

Mon, Dec. 16 at Drake Underground

The Brooklyn-based musician’s

music has the catchy choruses

and sweet harmonizations you’d

expect from pop music, with a

deeper message

4

LOUD LUXURY

Fri, Dec. 20 at Rebel

The Juno-winning pop-dance duo

returns for a hometown show after

a year of touring and playing the

biggest stages globally.

5

WANNABE: A SPICE

GIRLS TRIBUTE

Sat, Dec. 21 at The Opera House

With 90’s nostalgia in full swing,

satisfy your craving for spice with

the ultimate nostalgic dance party.

1 KINK

Thurs, Dec. 5 at CODA

The Bulgarian techno producer’s

hypnotic DJ sets saw him voted

Resident Advisor’s favourite live

electronic artist in 2016.

2

HYPHEN HYPHEN

Sat, Dec. 7 at Drake Underground

The French trio is carrying on their

country’s tradition of producing

only the most excellently danceable

pop-rock acts.

3

BOILER ROOM

TORONTO: FLOORPLAN

Fri, Dec. 13 at TBA

The famed live-stream party returns

to Toronto for a one-off rave

in a secret church location. Expect

the duos anthemic gospel take on

techno alongside some of the cities

best rising talent.

4

CARL CRAIG, STACEY

PULLEN, WAAJEED

Fri, Dec. 13 at CODA

Detroit’s best in techno, house and

soul all under one roof. That’s it;

that’s the tweet.

5

BEN KLOCK

Fri, Dec. 20 at CODA

Klockworks label head and Berghain

resident since 2005, Ben

Klock is one of Berlin’s modern

techno movement figureheads.

38 BEATROUTE DECEMBER 2019


DINE ALONE RECORDS

2019 WRAPPED

CITY AND COLOUR

A Pill for Loneliness

LITTLE SCREAM

Speed Queen

BLACK MOUNTAIN

Destroyer

FIDLAR

Almost Free

THE DREW THOMSON FOUNDATION

The Drew Thomson Foundation

WINTERSLEEP

In The Land Of

CHASTITY

Home Made Satan

THE GET UP KIDS

Problems

DAVE MONKS

On a Wave

THE DANDY WARHOLS

Why You So Crazy

SAY ANYTHING

Oliver Appropriate

PKEW PKEW PKEW

Optimal Lifestyles

Use code WRAPPED for 15% off all 2019 releases

at dinealonestore.com

DINEALONERECORDS.COM

Listen to our complete

2019 Wrapped

playlist on Spotify


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