BeatRoute Magazine ON Edition - February 2020

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 Columbiam Alberta, and Ontario. 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

Green Day

Destroyer

Ralph

Odario

& More

ON • FEBRUARY 2020 • FREE


UPCOMING

EVENTS

THIS MONTH @ THE REC ROOM

FEB 9

FEB 13 & 20

FEB 14

FEB 16

FEB 22

FEB 29

RED CARPET TRIVIA

& AWARDS PARTY

GOOD ENOUGH LIVE KARAOKE

Live Band with YOU as the star!

TINDER TALES: A NOT-SO

VALENTINE’S SHOW

Comedians sharing their own real

dating stories live on stage!

MYSTERY & MAGIC

w/ Beyond Mental Borders

FADED

Hip Hop, Dancehall, R&B

All Night Long presents

BEATLES VS. STONES LIVE


Contents

Music

4n UP FRONT

Canadian musician, broadcaster,

and the host of the evening

program Afterdark on CBC

Music, Odario Williams makes

our hearts skip a beat with his

Valentine’s Day playlist.

6n Artist Features

Green Day, Destroyer, The

Beaches, Louis CZA the Black

Greek God, $NOT, Andy Shauf

and more.

13n STYLE

Toronto’s rising pop star RALPH

shows BeatRoute her bedroom

closet and shines a light on her

uncompromising career that’s

taken her from opening for Carly

Rae Jepsen to dazzling new

heights.

23nMonthly Playlist

All the singles we can’t stop

listening to this month.

25nAlbum Reviews

Grimes, Mac Miller, Halsey,

Tennis, Cindy Lee, Soccer

Mommy, and more.

BC

Cover Story

Green Day

Destroyer

Ralph

Odario

& More

20 Tame Impala

The unassailable empathy of

Australian psych-everything

mastermind, Kevin Parker.

BC • FEBRUARY 2020 • FREE

LifeStyle

28nPhoto Essay

Photographer Annie

Forrest goes on the road

with Orville Peck and gets

an intimate inside scoop on

today’s hottest stars from

behind the lens.

30nTravel

Mexico City: Explore the

sprawling metropolis where

tradition and cutting edge

converge.

32nThat's Dope

Laze and level out in

Canada’s best sesh suits.

33nScreen

The next playlist of couldbe

timeless classics, we

shine a light on 2020

Academy Awards’ Best

Song Nominees.

YYC

35nThe Power Plant

Sunday Scene

Toronto multidisciplinary

artist Jacquie Comrie discusses

Rashid Johnson's

exhibition "Anxious Audiences

as part of the Power

Plant’s ongoing interpretive

series.

36nYYZ Agenda

The Winter Light Exhibition

lights up Lakeshore, hot

wax makes a comeback at

Vinyl Show & Tell, Native

Women in the Arts host a

powerful Indigenous Round

Dance, and more!

38nThe Cheat Sheet

BeatRoute’s Essential List

— the must-see shows this

month in Toronto.

Khruangbin & Leon Bridges’

collaborative EP Texas Sun,

read our review on page 23.

Photographer Annie Forrest goes on

the road with psychedelic country

crooner Orville Peck. Page 28.

FEBRUARY 2020 BEATROUTE 3

ANNIE FORREST

POONEH GHANA


READ OUR FULL PROFILE WITH ODARIO WILLIAMS

UpFront

FEBRUARY

JASON CIPPARRONE

ODARIO WILLIAMS'

VALENTINE'S DAY

PLAYLIST

M

usic plays a central part in

everything Odario Williams

does. This modern day

Renaissance man is an actor, songwriter,

producer, journalist, poet, and rapper,

and is the current host of “Afterdark”

on CBC Music. He’s put together an

unconventional Valentine’s Day playlist full

of classic bangers and underrated gems.

VISIT

BEATROUTE.CA

Etta James - "I'd Rather Go Blind"

A perfect blues song to soundtrack a

bruised heart. Kills me every time. I love

this tune.

D'Angelo - "Send It On"

Voodoo is one of my favourite albums of

all time. It's a sexy record, and “Send It

On” is the sexiest track on that record.

Dionne Warwick - "You're Gonna Need Me"

Dionne's vocal delivery is simply dirty, with

extra sass. I didn't know sweet Dionne

had it in her.

George Michael - "Kissing A Fool"

This is one of the best jazz-pop songs

ever written. This song solidified George

Michael as a fantastic songwriter.

Prince - "Adore"

Make sure you listen to the extended

6-minute version; you'll hear Prince

practically make love to his own song.

By CHAYNE JAPAL

Erykah Badu - "Green Eyes"

I love this song. It's so long (10 minutes),

but it ain't long enough!

Sade - "Nothing Can Come Between Us"

My playlists about love will always have

Sade involved. Sade IS love.

Jennifer Lara - "I Am In Love"

I tend to keep a few reggae tunes in my

playlists because reggae is in my DNA.

This song is perfect for hot sticky summer

nights.

Marvin Gaye - "After The Dance"

This song is basically four and a half

minutes of foreplay.

Eric B & Rakim - "What's On Your Mind"

At a time when rap songs were not

allowed to be romantic, Rakim penned a

perfect scenario of meeting his soulmate

one day in Brooklyn.

Publisher

Julia Rambeau Smith

@beatroutemedia

Editor in Chief

Glenn Alderson

Layout/Production Manager

Rachel Teresa Park

Managing Editors

Josephine Cruz

Melissa Vincent

Contributing Editors

Sebastian Buzzalino

Dayna Mahannah

Contributors

Ben Boddez • Corinna Burford

Reeghan Carroll • Jaime Eisen

Fraser Hamilton • Natalie Harmsen

Chayne Japal • Kate Killet

Brendan Lee • Katherine McFarlane

Maggie McPhee • Isaac Nikolai Fox

Luke Ottenhof • Shania Perera

Michael Rancic • Drew Yorke

Aurora Zboch

Contributing Photographers

Lindsey Blane • Sebastian Buzzalino

Harry Chan • Jason Cipparrone

Nathan Denette • George Fok

Annie Forrest • Toni Hafkenscheid

Megan Hill-Carroll • Neil Krug

Pamela Littky • Kira Locke

Colin Medley • Nabeel Pervaiz

Angela Ricciardi • Kelly Schovanek

Jason Tipton • Felice Trinidad

Hector Vasquez

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

editor@beatroute.ca

@beatroutemedia

beatroutemedia

beatroute.ca


SHOES AS

UNIQUE AS A

QUIET VEGAN

(THESE ARE FOR LOUDISH VEGANS BTW)

JOHNFLUEVOGTORONTOTRINITYST··QUEENSTW··

JOHNFLUEVOGOTTAWAWILLIAMST··

FLUEVOGCOM


MUSiC ARTIST INTERVIEW

SAY HELLO TO A

NEW, OLDER, AND

LESS MATURE

GREEN DAY

THE POP PUNK FOREBEARS

COME OF AGE, AGAIN.

PAMELA LITTKY

It’s mid-January, and Tre Cool is looking forward to

the National Hockey League’s All-Star Weekend in St.

Louis, Missouri. The Green Day drummer is hoping to

drive a zamboni at some point during the weekend.

“It’s like a fancy lawnmower that squirts water, and I’m

driving the motherfucker,” he says. I ask if he needs

a special license to drive one. “Just a license to fuck shit

up,” he fires back.

Cool and his long-time Green Day bandmates—hyper,

pointy-haired frontman Billie Joe Armstrong and stoic,

always-sleeveless bassist Mike Dirnt—are prepping for

a whirlwind year. They’re co-headlining with Weezer and

Fall Out Boy on this summer’s high-profile Hella Mega

Tour, but first they’ll release their 13th studio album,

Father Of All Motherfuckers. Gone are Green Day’s earlyoughts

days of nine-minute medley epics, hour-plus album

runtimes, and sobering sociopolitical narratives.

With 10 tracks that run just over 26 minutes, Father is

a frantic coke binge, a glammed-up garage-rock record

that’s committed more to revelry than revolution. I wonder

if, at this stage in their career, it’s hard to tap into that

shithead-teenager mindset. “We’re still in our high school

band,” laughs Cool. “What you’re hearing is a new, older,

less mature Green Day.”

Father marks the first record for which the band worked

with producer Butch Walker, who scaled back their

tendencies for the grandiose and nudged them towards

something that felt more intuitive. “It was very freeing,”

says Cool. “[Walker] is no-nonsense. You lock in a sound

and go. You don’t chase your tail looking for that perfect

sound.”

The approach is somewhat surprising. Walker’s work

with acts like Fall Out Boy, P!nk, and Avril Lavigne has

carved space for their records in the sweet spot between

pop and punk. He helmed Taylor Swift’s prescient

country-to-pop shift with 2012’s Red and catapulted

English rock band The Struts to international fame with

their dancey rock jam “Body Talks.” Father borrows

sonically from that 2018 Struts single, especially on the

titular opening track with Armstrong’s overdriven falsetto

vocals and dirty-sleek guitars.

Green Day have zig-zagged from basement punks

to acoustic balladeers to pop punk trend-setters, but

pressed for a high-water mark, there are two obvious

answers: 1994’s slacker-hymnal Dookie and 2004’s

anti-American treatise American Idiot. The latter remains

their most influential and memorable, not least of all for

its accompanying red-white-and-black aesthetic. It was

6 BEATROUTE FEBRUARY 2020


By LUKE OTTENHOF

clear, scathing, and distinctly repulsed by George Bush’s

jingoism and American imperialism.

But while the band has repeatedly shared their disdain

for the current American president, Father doesn’t waste

breath on him.

There are two frames of mind on art post-Trump: it

either absolutely should, or absolutely shouldn’t, be

informed by his presidency. Green Day circa-2004 might

have opted for the former. In 2020, they’re opting for the

latter. “The last thing we wanted to do was make a record

about that idiot,” says Cool. “Just because we have a

tyrant, fascist asshole in the White House doesn’t mean

that we have to sacrifice our art.”

He admits, though, that things are bad. Really bad.

“The pendulum swings, and it swings a little higher,” he

says. “I think it goes back and forth, and right now, it’s at

the height of the bad side of history. Right now, the racist

rhetoric and all that stuff that was hiding under the rocks,

now they’re emboldened and they’re out there. They feel

like it’s their moment. But the pendulum’s gotta swing

back the other way. Hopefully it’ll swing a little bit harder,

and people will be even more aware and more conscious

of their environment, their society, and the place where

they live.”

For Cool, it’s important in the meantime to focus on

amplifying the things that make us feel good, even for a

moment. The drummer rhymes off his strategies: listening

to records, time with his family, being around water. “Oh,

and hard, hard drugs,” he chuckles. “There’s certain drugs

I think should be mandatory. Everybody should drop acid

at least once, and take mushrooms a couple times.

“When things are this bad, you want to just party. It’s

like dancing through the apocalypse. This might just be it

for this planet, so who knows. Let’s go out with a bang.”

This approach is understandable. If you committed your

band’s entire existence to very visibly raging against the

American machine and 16 years later, things had gotten

worse, you too might be resigned to defeat. But Cool

caveats that this isn’t a total withdrawal; Nazis still need to

be punched. But they can’t steal away our records and our

families and the ocean and drugs.

“They can’t take those away from us,” Cool says. “They

cannot take away your joy. They cannot take away your

heart, as long as you just wear it on your sleeve. As a

wise man, Bill S. Preston once said, ‘Be excellent to each

other.’”

STAR

Green Day’s thirteenth studio album Father Of All

Motherfuckers… will be released February 7th 2020.

FEBRUARY 2020 BEATROUTE 7


NHL and the NHL Shield are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. © NHL 2020. All Rights Reserved.


ANGELA RICCIARDI

TOTALLY LIT

Hoodie-clad rapper $NOT goes beyond Soundcloud.

W

hen $not was in high school,

he started exclusively

wearing hoodies and

it just stuck. Later on, he landed on

his stage name, $not, under similar

circumstances. His “why not?” ethos

bleeds over into his music, which

borrows enthusiastically from a

kaleidoscopic range of genres while

remaining grounded in the bass-heavy,

blown-out sound that has dominated the

last few years of underground rap.

Most notable of all is his 2018

breakout hit, “Gosha.” On it, $NOT

layers his raspy vocals over a haze of

nostalgic, wailed vocal samples and

a slow-rolling 808 pulse. It’s simple,

but quietly hypnotic, and the track

has racked up millions of plays and

propelled him to a new place: as one of

the post-Soundcloud scene’s leading

torchbearers.

The hoodie-clad rapper’s corner of

the music industry has seen a swath of

deaths in the last few years, and $NOT

is acutely aware that it’s up to him,

and those who remain, to push their

subgenre forwards. Over the phone

in mid-January, he likens posthumous

albums to somewhat of a mixed bag,

particularly when label involvement

distorts the artist’s original vision.

“I don’t really like when labels drop

albums after an artist dies,” he says.

“I get it — they’re supposed to make

their money back, fans want to hear

something — but it’s still weird because

they’re not around to have their say.”

He’s not overly concerned with his

own legacy, or at least, not just yet.

“Tragedy + is kind of a sad album, but

it’s also kind of lit,” he continues. “Most

of the album is just me singing, and it’s

heartfelt. It’s something that the kids

can listen to and get whatever they want

from, you know. People missed my old,

rawer sound, from 2017, where I’d just

start singing in the middle of songs. I’m

bringing that back this year.” STAR

$NOT’s debut album - Tragedy + will be

released March 6, 2020.

By ISAAC NIKOLAI FOX

FEBRUARY 2020 BEATROUTE 9


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FELICE TRINIDAD

THE BEACHES

ARE PAVING THEIR

OWN PATH

Guitarist Kylie Miller

breaks down their plan

for world domination.

n a cold January night, Kylie

Miller, The Beaches’ esteemed

Oguitarist, calls after a tiresome

rehearsal ahead of her band’s debut

Canadian headlining tour. For anyone

accustomed to a traditional 9-5, it’s the

stuff of rock folklore.

Named after the neighborhood in

Toronto’s east end, the band channels

both the warm languidness of 70s

rock, with the earnest, bold and biting

attention to detail of PJ Harvey and Kim

Gordon. On their most recent EP, The

Professional (2019), Miller utters a retort

that feels built for the age of internet

dating: “Stop sending me all your dick

pics/ they are boring me to pieces.”

Miller is candid about what it felt

like to navigate the industry at a young

age: “At the beginning it was a bit of an

unknown territory. We didn’t exactly

know what we were getting into, but

luckily we had each other.”

She notes the type of microaggressions

she and her fellow

band members encountered in the

early stages of their career, like

concertgoers assuming they were fans

when they’d appear at a gig. “Obviously

the music industry, especially the rock

industry, is very male-dominated,” she

says, “I think being a force in the rise of

female rock artists is really cool. I think

we’ve been able to grow and help be

a part of this movement that hopefully

By SHANIA PERERA

becomes way more accessible.”

And now in a position to bring up

a new generation of rock stars, The

Beaches are excited to put on rising

bands in Toronto’s rock scene. Miller

name-drops the teen folk duo Moscow

Apartment, who attend her former high

school: “They are so tight, they are so

badass. They’re literally as tight as we

are, and much younger.”

Now, The Beaches are driven by

their devoted fanbase. “We love

performing. As long as we continue

to do that, and it also inspires other

women to get involved, that’s really

awesome for us.”

STAR

The Beaches will embark on their first

national tour on February 6th, starting in

Victoria, British Columbia.

FEBRUARY 2020 BEATROUTE 11


THE NEON SKYLINE

IS ANDY SHAUF'S

SMALL WORLD AFTERALL

The Canadian singer-songwriter's sixth album is an homage to small moments.

"

I

like to keep my world small,” Andy

Shauf laughs. Why? “Maybe I don’t

have the capacity for a lot.”

In this case, he’s referring to the couple

block radius of the city that helped

inspire his new album, The Neon Skyline,

CLOUD RAT LOOK PAST

AGGRESSION TO THE RADICAL

A decade into their

career the hardcore

trio are staying vital

by branching out.

By MICHAEL RANCIC

a romantic homage to a beloved diner in

a rapidly gentrifying Parkdale. It makes

sense that Shauf likes to keep his focus

on the micro: Small moments are the

singer-songwriter’s specialty as his lyrics

often find magnificence in the mundane,

focusing on tiny memorable moments

versus broader themes.

“The Skyline reopened right when I

moved to Toronto and I ended up going

there a lot,” Shauf says of the inspiration.

It’s close to his home in Parkdale and he

quickly became a regular, making friends

with the owners and staff and falling for

the diner’s little community.

The Neon Skyline indeed reflects the

inner narratives we project and how

the characters we portray intermingle

within our community. For Shauf, these

exchanges act as lyrical inspiration.

Relationships with acquaintances—and

the outcome of those relationships—has

always been something that Shauf’s found

or Michigan-based three-piece

FCloud Rat, a decade into their career

they’re not just enduring—they’re thriving.

What’s their secret? “Maybe it’s [because]

we’re trying to not stagnate,” guitarist

Rorik Brooks suggests during a Skype

conversation in mid-January, not entirely

sure of the answer himself. Cloud Rat

are in uncharted waters, learning how

to configure the future of the band one

album at a time. It’s a liminal space that

excites Brooks creatively. Their latest

album, 2019’s Pollinator is certainly a

testament to the notion that they’re

resisting any form of sitting still.

While still firmly rooted in the breakneck

intriguing: "I think it’s interesting in that

sort of scenario when you are getting

to know someone just by the small little

pieces of themselves that they’ll give up

every once in a while. There’s no real

reason why you know them, but you can

get a little glimpse into their life.

Compared to Shauf’s Polaris Prize

short-listed record The Party, the mood of

The Neon Skyline is slightly more subdued

and vulnerable, with the record’s narrator

remarking, “Sometimes I feel like I should

never speak again.”

With the release of this very personal

piece of work, Shauf hopes that his

small world stays small—despite letting

everyone in on a section of it. “I’m a little

scared,” he admits. “That’s my quiet bar. I

hope that people go there but I also hope

that I can still go there.”

STAR

The Neon Skyline out now

via Arts & Crafts.

By KATE KILLETT

tempos and torrential assault of their

grindcore roots, Brooks, along with vocalist

Madison Marshall and percussionist

Brandon Hill, temper that aesthetic with

an enthralling sense of melodicism and an

ear for songwriting, making each song as

memorable as it is devastating.

Now, on their third album, Cloud Rat are

questioning what it means to be a political

band when their listeners are being

bombarded with politics daily online. “With

social media you’re constantly barraged

with that kind of information, often

muddying the waters of what is real or

true,” Brooks explains. “It used to be [being

in a band meant] you have this microphone,

and you need to use this platform to

spread and support an idea. Now it just

seems like a lot of people are probably a lot

more informed than a lot of people with a

microphone,” he says.

Pollinator highlight “Luminescent Cellar”

addresses this issue head on, likening being

on the internet to an enveloping darkness,

which only obscures and neatly contains

marginalized people’s pain and identities.

“Take up space” Marshall urges in the final

seconds of the song in a direct appeal to

listeners. It may as well be a mantra for

the band itself, as they actively stretch

themselves and their sound in places that

are conventionally off-limits.

STAR

COLIN MEDLEY JASON TIPTON

12 BEATROUTE FEBRUARY 2020


ARTIST INTERVIEW MUSiC

THE WORLD

By JAIME EISEN

Photography by

NABEEL PERVAIZ

Clothing provided by

HAYLEY ELSAESSE

ACCORDING

TO RALPH

THE BEACHES

THE CANADIAN

DISCO-POP PRINCESS

TALKS VULNERABILITY

IN POP MUSIC, LETTING GO,

AND KEEPING IT REAL.

FEBRUARY 2020 BEATROUTE 13


Stepping into RALPH’s bedroom feels

like gaining access to her brain.

Sitting on a bed made with hotel

corners, RALPH looks perfectly at

home. “When I’m in my room, I feel

a sense of peace and joy,” she says.

“It’s chaotic, but in my own way it’s organized.”

This comfort extends to RALPH’s unique

live shows, where she punctuates colourful

costume changes with special guests like altrock

girl band The Beaches and supermodel

drag performer Tynomi Banks. RALPH’s

shows are light, fun, and seemingly carefree.

But “nothing happens without me creating it,

or being a huge part of it,” she says. “I work

fucking hard.”

Since the debut of her self-titled EP in

2017, RALPH has cultivated a loyal following

hungry for more fresh, disco-infused synthpop.

She has honed her nostalgic pop sound

on earworm tracks like the Electric Circusinspired

“Gravity” and 80s throwback “Tease,”

while claiming her spot on charts, streaming

playlists, and fashion “best” lists.

Now, following the release of her latest EP

Flashbacks and Fantasies, and fresh off a tour

with Canadian pop icon Carly Rae Jepsen,

RALPH is ready to try something new.

“The beauty of being an artist is that you

get to evolve,” she says. Referencing Billie

Eilish, Normani, Maggie Rogers, and Lizzo,

she feels this moment in pop music should be

viewed through a kaleidoscope—as a hybrid

genre with endless possibilities.

For RALPH, impact comes with taking risks

and maintaining authenticity. “I think people

appreciate me creating moments that are

real and honest and interesting. I’d prefer to

do that than just be someone contrived that

people can’t access.”

Born into a large, tight-knit family of

creatives, RALPH knows that swimming

against the tide can sometimes feel futile,

but has “learned there’s no harm in

continuing to grab everything by the horns

and building a community.” She admires

artists like Orville Peck and Jessie Reyez

who are carving out unique spaces for

Canadian pop on their own terms.

RALPH’s own music community is built on

specific values: “If each show is a place that

I’ve created, then I want to make sure that

everyone here feels safe and welcomed and

loved and celebrated.”

Despite the care she puts into every detail,

it’s clear that RALPH is not a traditional

perfectionist. She has learned to let go and

embrace the (organized) chaos: “You know

when you’re baking cookies with someone?

There are people whose icing tends to be

perfect and stunning. My cookie is fine. It’s

okay. That doesn’t mean that I don’t work

fucking hard and put a lot of thought into

things. But I also can accept when something

isn’t perfect and I don’t beat myself up about

it forever.”

She smiles: “I always just want to eat the

fucking cookie.”

STAR

14 BEATROUTE FEBRUARY 2020


Photography by

NABEEL PERVAIZ

FEBRUARY 2020 BEATROUTE 15


MUSiC ARTIST INTERVIEW

DESTROYER

TAKES THE MIC

DAN BEJAR

EMBRACES HIS

ROLE AS A SINGER

CRAFTING AN

ALBUM FROM HIS

KITCHEN

MEGAN HILL-CARROLL

By GLENN ALDERSON

16 BEATROUTE FEBRUARY 2020


Dan Bejar steps out of the rain

into Vancouver’s Pat’s Pub on

a typically dreary winter day

wearing an old brown jacket

and a grey toque with side

flaps. When he walks up to the

table he takes off his hat, unleashing his

large frazzled mane.

Pat’s Pub is somewhat of an historic

musical landmark in the city’s Downtown

Eastside, a jazz club in the 1920s once

home to famous American jazz pianist

Jelly Roll Morten who lived and played in

the building for a stint of time. The pub is

a few blocks away from JC/DC Studios,

run by producers John Collins of the New

Pornographers and Dave Carswell, where

the majority of Bejar’s life’s work has

been set to tape.

He looks down at the original wooden

flooring etched with decades of memories

and pauses for a moment before he

speaks. “I knew a lot of the old big band

bands would come through but I didn’t

realize this was one of those places.”

His pensive and calculated demeanor

is comforting. It’s the same demeanor

he’s carried with him throughout his

compelling career as Destroyer. Even

his facial expression on the cover of

his new album, Have We Met, seems

purposefully detached, but his apathy

is overshadowed by the magnificent

microphone he’s posing with: the

Sennheiser 441 — the same retro mic

Stevie Nicks used on Tusk.

True to the signature wit and cynicism

that he exudes both in life and his

songwriting, the mic is both an accessory

and extension of himself.

“I wanted the record to be like an

action shot. And an action shot of my

world means me singing. That’s what I do.

It’s literally the only thing I ever do now,”

Bejar says, taking a sip from his pint.

“I wanted it to be kind of generic

as well but in a visually nice way,” he

continues. “Just like, ‘There’s Neil

Diamond, holding a microphone and

singing his songs.’ Which is kind of my

world at this point — like Neil Diamond

but in bars instead of stadiums.”

For more than 20 years, the 47-yearold

Bejar has worn multiple hats as both

the patron saint of lo-fi indie folk, building

rock and roll spectacles out of ballads

recorded on a four-track; and as the

modest on-again-off-again member of

pop rock outfit, the New Pornographers.

With 13 Destroyer albums now under

his belt, 2011’s smooth, suave and

undeniably sophisticated Kaputt signaled

a creative breakthrough for Bejar, who

morphed into an elegant lounge singer,

which garnered international acclaim and

helped set the pace for indie music in the

decade to come.

It was around then Bejar set his career

on a new path by putting down his guitar.

“I think that’s the biggest thing that ever

happened to me, when I decided to put the

guitar down forever, in the band at least,

and focus on being a singer,” he says.

Bejar opted instead for whatever

midi keyboard he could get his hands

on. This is what brought the world the

brash and bold Poison Season (2015),

the dark and brooding ken (2017) and

now, Have We Met, an ominous album

that he recorded on a laptop from the

kitchen of his Strathcona home in the late

hours of the night and from hotel rooms

while on the road performing a string of

solo dates supporting his former New

Pornographers bandmate, Neko Case.

“Technically they’re really poor

recordings, done in my kitchen, singing

really quiet because it’s late and I don’t

want to wake anyone up. I thought for

sure once we had a better idea of how

the music would go I would redo them,

but there’s kind of an alone sounding but

also very comfortable sounding quality

to them for me that I haven’t been able

to get on other records and it became

something to really anchor the songs. I

thought we could make the music as wild

as we wanted once that was in place.”

When asked how he’s going to bring

Have We Met to life when he takes it on the

road, he cracks a rare but welcomed grin.

“With a seven-piece band playing

loud rock music,” he says, pausing for

a moment, as if to imply there’s simply

no other way. “That’s one thing about

Vancouver: I’m pretty attached to my

band. I feel like musicians here are kind of

smarter than other places. They’re also

kind of negative, which I like. When you

play in Vancouver your back is against

the wall and I like that. It’s not the most

positive but it’s creative. Music here is not

congratulatory. It’s more like, ‘oh... fuck…’”

Bejar trails off and stops again to

collect his thoughts.

“No slight to Toronto or Montreal or

places like that, but it feels like in Toronto

you could just get by being a band in

Toronto and have a Toronto based career,

but here that’s just like an insane idea or

fantasy. You pretty much need to be Jelly

Roll Morton to make that work.” STAR

26 DUNCAN ST, TORONTO

WWW.PARTEEPUTT.COM | @PARTEEPUTT

FEBRUARY 2020 BEATROUTE 17


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Have We Met

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ARTIST INTERVIEW MUSiC

THE EVOLUTION

OF OH WONDER

By NATALIE HARMSEN

On a rainy day in mid-

November, Oh Wonder is full

of energy.

Winding our way through a

maze of colourful walls in the

Funhouse, an experimental,

interactive series of art installations in

downtown Toronto, the dreary weather

hasn’t affected the spirits of the Londonbased

indie-pop duo consisting of

Anthony West and Josephine Vander

Gucht, who West tenderly calls “Josie.”

They smile and laugh a lot; both of

them are warm and bubbly. Positivity

seems to radiate off of them, which

is fitting considering it’s one of the

main themes on No One Else Can Wear

Your Crown. The upbeat album takes

its name from the opening lyric of the

record: “When people try to get you

down, remember, I'm here for you.

No one else can wear your crown. It's

yours, just yours.”

Simply put, the crowns symbolize selfempowerment.

“[It’s] a craving just to

be in charge of yourself,” Vander Gucht

explains. “To respect your own voice,

and use your own voice, and be entirely

who you want to be.”

This sentiment shines on the album’s

euphoric lead single “Hallelujah” which

depicts a crown as a metaphor for being

in control: “Cause there's a crown,

covered in glitter and gold, I'm gonna

wear it, whether you like it or not.” The

pulsating track shimmers with hope,

bouncing along with a triumphant melody.

The formation of Oh Wonder has been

a slow burn, as West and Vander Gucht

met back in 2010. The world didn’t

discover them until 2014 when they

recorded and released one song per

month for a year on Soundcloud—which

eventually became their self-titled debut

album. Their online popularity soared as

the songs received thousands of listens

and their cloud of anonymity dissipated.

Their fanbase blossomed, all without

a single concert. They didn’t play their

first live show together until 2015, the

year their debut album dropped.

Two years later in 2017, rapper Lil Uzi

Vert sampled their ethereal, snap-heavy

song “Landslide” on his track “The Way

Life Goes” which became a hit—amassing

over 80 million views on Youtube, and

going 4x platinum in the U.S.

As their star has risen, they’ve had

each other to lean on. Their relationship

has evolved from songwriting buddies,

to friends, to bandmates and now, to

romantic partners. Though they’ve

spent years avoiding confirming if they

were together, now their not-so-secret

secret is out.

“You have to constantly be aware of

the person. Your actions always affect

the other person. So whatever you can

do to make it easier for each other,”

West says.

“Hundred percent,” Vander Gucht

agrees. “I almost now feel like we're a

unit. That sounds really intense, but I

think it's the only way I can deal with

it —is to not see you as a different

person,” she says looking at him.

In 2017, they toured nonstop for

three months. This year when they

embark on a world tour, they are firm

about planning breaks on the road. Part

of it has to do with creating a healthy

balance, but also because last year the

couple became a family of three—with

the addition of their dog, Margot.

“I think one of the main reasons that

we got a dog was because having that

responsibility encourages a little bit

more self-care in a quite selfish way,

because you can't be away for six

weeks on a tour,” Vander Gucht

explains. “You spend the whole tour

being so introspective and it's all

about you and your show, having to

look after someone else is so good

for us,” she continues.

Without this sense of reflection

and self-love, No One Else Can

Wear Your Crown wouldn’t be

the collection of uplifting songs

that it is. Many of them carry a

feeling of stepping into sunshine

and embracing everything the

world has to offer; there’s an air

of effortless elation. In a way,

the new album is their way of

embracing the future while also

remembering their roots. STAR

FEBRUARY 2020 BEATROUTE 19


MUSiC ARTIST INTERVIEW

NEIL KRUG

20 BEATROUTE FEBRUARY 2020


THE UNASSAILABLE EMPATHY

OF KEVIN PARKER

By MELISSA VINCENT

A

year and a half ago,

I made the trip from

Toronto to Moreno

Beach, Lake Perris

in Ontario, California

for Desert Daze, the

always impressive psychedelic rock

festival. It marked the festival’s first

year in a new home after previously

being held at the mythical Joshua

Tree Park. Tame Impala were the

festival’s opening night headliner,

followed by King Gizzard and the

Lizard Wizard, and My Bloody

Valentine. It was supposed to be a

slam dunk.

But the festival grounds,

stationed deep in the mountains of

a region experiencing a multi-year

drought, was overcome by an

extreme electric storm with near

torrential downpour to match. Less

than half an hour into Tame Impala’s

set, the show was cut off citing

safety concerns. Piling onto the

gargantuan task of attempting to

evacuate thousands of people was

the added challenge of relieving

an equally gargantuan traffic jam,

estimated at six hours, that caused

a particular logistical nightmare for

the festival.

Groups of teenagers resorted

to huddling under trees, blasting

“Let It Happen” out of muddy

phone speakers and singing along

desperately. It was extremely corny,

and just as beautiful, because for

legions of kids, this was their band,

and the show will always go on.

It’s a cheesy example, but a vivid

one—a single case, and one of

many, that illustrates exactly how

popular the Australian psycheverything

band from Perth had

actually become. Because since

releasing a string of singles to

MySpace in 2007, Kevin Parker’s

solo project has become big.

Not popular, but properly big: As

in, Rihanna-sampling; top tier-

Coachella headlining; Grammy

Award-nominating; platinum

record-selling; Lady Gaga and

Kanye West-collaborating; GQ

Magazine cover star-featuring big.

And at the core of Tame Impala’s

success is an ongoing question:

why now, does this music resonate

so broadly? Somehow—everyone

from purists of genre and taste,

and expats from the hyperprecious

era of audio exclusivity

and microblogging; to a newer

generation of fans who are frequent

participants of Big Experiential

Music Moments®, raised on a diet

of precisely-formed algorithms

capable of generating endless

Tik Tok memes—have all been

indoctrinated into the ecosystem

that Parker has built around himself.

For the better part of the last

decade, Parker has been on the

frontlines of psychdelia’s most

recent elevation to the top of the

cultural forefront, which, historically,

has been a reoccurring and resilient

salve during eras of aggregate

social and political uncertainty.

And often superficially pegged as

music made for private people and

introverts searching for like-minded

flock, Parker’s music has always

gotten at something slightly more

complicated and arresting.

Instead, he’s remained invested

in exploring the limits of emotional

intelligence, directed at the self

and then utilized as a tool to

understand an ever-confusing

outside world. Starved for

answers, Parker generously offers

a reminder that answering big

questions starts with addressing

smaller, human-sized ones. By

design, his music casts a wide net.

“I wouldn't write a song that I feel

is only applicable to me,” he muses

over a Skype call from Australia.

Resisting the urge to speak

superfluously, but undertaking

a comprehensive analysis of

legitimate facts, Tame Impala are

an unusual success story in a genre

that’s long battled an identity crisis.

Though bona fide “rock star” might

not have been in the initial blueprint,

it’s Parker’s reality now. After years

spent gracing festival stages with

his eyes fixed on the ground, now

he looks up and out.

“I used to have a massive

imposter complex and it's funny,

I didn't really cure my imposter

complex until I realized it was a

‘thing.’ I heard this word ‘imposter

complex’ and I was like ‘holy shit. I

have that.’”

“It was a real turning point for

me. I still see a tour poster, or see a

festival poster, and it's like: “Tame

Impala headlining” with a picture

of my face, and I'm like, ‘What are

you doing? Why are you getting

this fucking idiot to headline your

festival, that doesn’t make sense.’

I still think that, but I’m trying to

outsmart it—I’m trying to push back

equally as hard and counsel myself

into believing that I do deserve it,

you know?”

Over the phone Parker is warmly

conversational and comfortably

adept at catching a question

that’s morphed into a sprawling

FEBRUARY 2020 BEATROUTE 21


MUSiC ARTIST INTERVIEW

statement, then releasing an answer that

goes even further, capable of really going

there. It’s a useful skill, evidence of an

understated confidence necessary for

trusting the outcome of one’s curiosity

that’s become foundational to his music.

Innerspeaker, the band’s 2010 critical

breakthrough, utilized the weight of

climactic, soaring riffs to sympathize with

the rigors of merely slogging your way

through ordinary life. His sophomore effort,

Lonerism (2012), saw Parker nudging his

aspirations larger, exhuming the textures of

70s synths to take a stab at pop splendor.

And 2015’s Currents refined his interest in

sanding down any lingering, discernable grit

from the project to produce a near-pristine,

airtight container of hyper-lush psych-pop.

Parker’s newest album, The Slow Rush,

is a sprawling inquisition into a sonic

environment Parker has been hinting

at for years, and has now finally given

himself the license to execute. “When I

actually felt like I wanted to make another

Tame Impala album, I had gotten so many

new perspectives on music that I realized

how much more I could be doing with

Tame Impala.”

“Everything I did was eyeopening,

so the goal

was to

kind of blow it open and embody a lot of

the qualities of people that I've worked

with in myself,” he remembers. “[Working

with] Travis Scott, I learned not to sweat

the small stuff, which helped me realize

that self-doubt doesn't get you anywhere,

[and] doesn't help anything or anyone.”

As a result, The Slow Rush is largely

ambitious—weirder, compelling, and frayed

at the edges. And still, specially crafted

for both the airwaves and the dancefloor.

Album opener “One More Year” finds

Parker gripping a mic stand with both

hands while dealing in a heady Baleric

melody—Parker’s own decadent take on

Screademelcia-era Madchester—that, inch

by inch, superimposes a metallic, galactic

melody towards an unhurried revelation,

declaring a short-term strategy for longlasting

love.

“Breathe Deeper” is a bouncy support

anthem, drenched in the, now, nostalgic,

spirit of peak chillwave, before collapsing

into an industrial, IDM-adjacent breakdown;

“Tomorrow’s Dust” plants a deliberately

disordered rhythm over a propulsive Latin

guitar riff; “It Is True” grinds its hips into

both a slice of dancehall and an identifiable

homage to 80s funk that even Prince might

appreciate; and “Glimmer” wraps itself

around the irresistibly pulsating panache

of shiny 90s euro-house, complete with a

spoken word intro.

Throughout all of it, Parker sounds welltravelled

because he is. Yet, still capable

of remembering to drop his anchor on the

shores of the clearly defined vista he’s built

around himself. But, as always, the album

reaches a little further.

Responding to a world that often feels

consumed by micro and macro fires, too

insurmountable to easily locate a site of

relief, there’s a new urgency to Parker’s

lyricism. It’s almost as if he’s working

double time, and against mounting

external forces, to validate the fact that

the seemingly mundane parts of life—bitesized

aspirations that often feel not only

unreachable, but unimportant; like trying

to atone with your parents (“Posthumous

Forgiveness”), or really and truly believing in

yourself (“Breathe Deeper”)—are worthy of

the time necessary to figure out.

It’s possible to imagine that when these

songs are heard under spindly, neon strobe

lights, or under a sea of confetti cannons

rivalling Beyoncé, that they might exist as

an affirmation that investigating the root of

the small stuff is mutually exclusive with all

the big stuff; that you can concurrently try

to save the world, while figuring out how to

save yourself in the process.

Speaking slowly and thinking carefully, he

pinpoints the foundation of this ethos with

a clear-headed self-description: “I’d like to

think that I’m one of the most empathetic

people I know. But I’m pretty sure that

there are people I know that think I have no

empathy. Which is kind of weird.”

He continues, acutely observant of his

own limitations. “I think to some people I can

come across quite cold because I've always

been quite a withdrawn person. Music is the

thing that I channel my emotions into the

world with, because I've never really been

good at doing it personally.”

“I enjoy the idea of seeing things from

other people's perspective because there’s

no more valuable trait than to see that the

way that you see things isn’t objective.”

Perhaps purposefully, the lines of his

protagonists are almost always undefined,

capable of taking on a character profile

selected solely by the listener. It’s possible

that this is the root of his empathy: In the

face of unrestricted and unusual levels of

success, removing yourself from the center

of your own party feels like an enduringly

selfless act.

“I want the best for Tame Impala.

It's bigger than me now. I just...feel

a sense of responsibility; not to

make it as big as it can be, but

to make it as whole as I can.

That's kind of my job.”

STAR

22 BEATROUTE FEBRUARY 2020


The Playlist

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TRACKS ON

OUR ROTATING

PLAYLIST

+ VIDEOS,

ARTIST

INTERVIEWS

AND MORE!

Porches

Do You Wanna

Porches new

track sounds

like an all-out

celebration on

the surface

but there’s

something

unsettling

lurking

underneath.

Synth-pop

mastermind

Aaron Maine

plays a repetitive

and jubilant ode

to the joys of

losing yourself

to dance.

U.S. Girls

Overtime

(Ft. James Baley &

Jake Clemons)

An update of a

track from their

2013 EP that

adds some more

funk flavour and

a sax solo from

Jake Clemons

of the legendary

E Street Band,

U.S. Girls turn

the discovery of

a partner’s lies

into a soulful

and cathartic

call-andresponse

jam

session that

only grows more

chaotic as it

progresses.

Jessie Reyez

LOVE IN THE DARK

Released

alongside an

announcement

that her debut

album is finally

on its way, one

of Canada’s

most promising

songwriters

drops a lovelorn

and cinematic

orchestral

ballad. Reyez

emphasizes the

astral power

of her love

through a variety

of galactic

metaphors,

heavily layering

her vocals

for the most

grandiose effect.

Megan Thee

Stallion

Diamonds

(Ft. Normani)

From the

soundtrack of

the upcoming

Birds of

Prey movie,

one of rap’s

biggest new

personalities

recruits the

effortlessly cool

Normani for a

confident and

bass-heavy trap

banger. Normani

tries out some

raps of her own

on the hook, but

this is Megan’s

comfort zone

to excel as

she steps into

the unhinged

persona of

Harley Quinn.

Kehlani

All Me

(Ft. Keyshia Cole)

R&B star Kehlani

drops a smooth

track where

she dials up

the harmonies

as she thanks

her partner

for embracing

her flaws, but

it’s Keyshia

Cole making

her grand

return from

somewhere

deep in the

mid-2000s that

really elevates

things. Taking

over the second

verse, her vocal

range is still as

impressive as

ever.

TOPS

I Feel Alive

The Montreal

retro-pop

quartet kick off

a new era with

an upbeat and

cheerful track

destined to be

played over the

swaying arms

and floating

beach balls

of a summer

music festival.

Driven by a

catchy rhythmic

guitar hook, the

track captures

the overjoyed

feeling of new

love. To add

to that, the

video sees the

band playing

with adorable

bunnies. What

else do you

need?

Peach Pit

Shampoo Bottles

Peach Pit

frontman Neil

Smith believes

“coping with a

loss can make

you do weird

things.” The

empty shampoo

bottles that

once belonged

to his exgirlfriend

pile up

in the corners

of Smith’s

bathroom as he

runs through

a list of all

the items she

left behind in

a mournful

falsetto.

The 1975

Me & You Together

Song

The English rock

band drop the

artsy surrealism

of their last few

projects and

return to their

old pop-rock

sound complete

with the bouncy

percussion and

wall-of-sound

guitars that

characterized

their breakout

hit singles.

Frontman Matty

Healy tries

to convince

a friend to

take the next

step in their

relationship.

Joel Plaskett

Head Over Heels

Into Heaven

The Haligonian

indie-rock hero

unleashes the

first taste of

his upcoming

QUADRUPLE

album 44

with a driving

acoustic track

accompanied by

a big band-style

horn section

hook. The track

will belong to

the first stage

of the project

documenting

his life’s journey

of the past four

years, and sees

him getting

ready to follow

someone to

the ends of the

earth.

Alec

Benjamin

Demons

Rising singersongwriter

Alec Benjamin

continues to

exorcise his

own personal

demons

through his

highly personal

songwriting

depicting the

darkest, most

anxiety-riddled

corners of his

mind. In a more

hopeful turn

than usual,

Benjamin

instead thanks

his sister for

being there for

him and keeping

him alive in his

trademark airy

falsetto.

FEBRUARY 2020 BEATROUTE 23


24 BEATROUTE FEBRUARY 2020


Reviews

ALBUM

GRIMES

Miss Anthropocene

Grimes Creative Corporation under

exclusive license to Crystal Math Music

Climate change may just kill us all, so

Claire Elise Boucher, famously known

as Grimes, wanted to make an album

dedicated to a fictional goddess who

personifies the disaster. Thus, Miss

Anthropocene was born.

After many delays, false starts and

lack of information, Grimes’ first album

in almost five years is finally here.

Overall, it was well worth the wait.

Melding the poppy and accessible

sounds of 2015’s Art Angels alongside

the more experimental tunes of

Visions, Miss Anthropocene tackles

a more villainous mindset, with songs

about Boucher’s dissatisfaction and

weariness with humanity.

Some of the high points of the

album involve sides to the artist we’ve

never seen before. “Delete Forever”

is a beautiful elven ballad about loss

backed up by an acoustic guitar, an

instrument that seems alien in Grimes’

world. On “My Name Is Dark,” Grimes

goes full rock god, vengeful and cynical

in the best way possible.

Miss Anthropocene is a chaotic

album, revelling in its messiness and

reminding us that Grimes is still here

making music unlike anybody else.

It’s best to just sit back and enjoy the

show.

Best Track: Delete Forever

Fraser Hamilton

FEBRUARY 2020 BEATROUTE 25


MUSiC ALBUM REVIEWS

CHRISTIAN WEBER

CINDY LEE

What’s Tonight

to Eternity

W.25TH/Superior Viaduct

Cindy Lee’s journey to the

deepest depths of beauty

continues on What’s Tonight

to Eternity.

Eclipsed only by 2015’s

shattering Act of Tenderness,

What’s Tonight continues to

refine songwriter Patrick Flegel’s

explorations in harsh noise,

oldies pop, guitar witchery and

recording experimentation.

The album’s most breathtaking

moments can be found on

“I Want You to Suffer”. In seven

and a half minutes, the song

exquisitely encapsulates all that

Cindy Lee has shown us since

2012’s Tatlashea and solidifies

the fact that Flegel is one of

this generation’s most gifted,

smartest and exciting artists.

Best Track: I Want You To Suffer

John Divney

MAC MILLER

Circles

Warner

Quite a few recent posthumous releases

have been handled haphazardly,

often forgoing artistic integrity

in favour of name recognition.

Mac Miller’s final album Circles

is far from one of those releases.

Nearly finished by the time of his

passing and lovingly completed by

legendary producer Jon Brion, it’s

clear just how much Circles was

meant to be a companion piece

- “swimming in circles” being the

ultimate takeaway.

Circles mostly touches on the

same topics of isolation, heartbreak,

depression and unhealthy

coping mechanisms, but this time

with a much-needed injection of

hope that he could beat it and

come out thriving on the other side

– which only makes it all the more

heartbreaking.

Miller was one to push himself

further out of his musical comfort

zone with every release - he barely

raps on this project. Instead, his

jazzy, mumbling singing voice is

applied to soft and dreamy reverberating

tones that verge on 70s

psychedelic rock. He even covers

a 1972 hit from Arthur Lee, which,

chillingly, centers on accepting

one’s eventual death and living in

the moment.

Miller notes that he spends a lot

of time in his head on the lead single,

“Good News,” and most of this

plays out like Miller acknowledging

the critical inner monologues we

all have, wondering if we’re on the

right path. It’s a shame we never

got to see where he was going.

Best Track: Blue World

Ben Boddez

SARAH HARMER

Are You Gone

Arts & Crafts

If it took a decade for anger to

morph into the exquisite, love to

become a roar, and evocation

to magnify, then Sarah Harmer’s

new album, Are You Gone, has

been worth the wait.

Exploring climate change,

loss, and love through folksy

indie rock ballads, Harmer

wields her intricately dynamic

voice with restraint, such as

on “St. Peter’s Bay” and “The

Lookout,” while “New Low”

and “Take Me Out” punch up the

pace.

Harmer guides us with

grace and a gentle kick in the

gut. Are You Gone is a tender

warning that we aren’t—yet—and

reminds us that the pursuit of art

remedies nihilism.

Best Track: Wildlife

Dayna Mahannah

TENNIS

Swimmer

Mutually Detrimental

The husband-and-wife duo Tennis’

Swimmer is an ode to their pictureperfect

relationship and standing

strong together in the face of tragedy.

Full of starry-eyed declarations

of admiration for her husband,

frontwoman Alaina Moore sings of how

she’d be completely lost if not for his

support. She even jokes that they’re

so eternally intertwined that she’ll likely

end up haunting him as a ghost.

Tennis has always sounded directly

out of another time with their replication

of the glossy sheen of 70s pop, but they

play around with experimental rhythmic

switch-ups and modern percussion

quirks more than ever before.

The album’s title draws reference to

a feeling of uncomfortable suspension,

fighting to keep yourself upright. It’s a

good thing Moore has someone to hold

onto, keeping her afloat.

Best Track: Need Your Love

Ben Boddez

SOCCER MOMMY

color theory

Loma Vista Recordings

Coming off her successful debut,

Clean (2018), Soccer Mommy aka

Sophie Allison dives into deeper and

darker material with color theory,

playing with the concept of nostalgia

and how it warps our perception

of memories, all while assisted by a

throwback alt rock sound similar to

the likes of Liz Phair or Sheryl Crow.

The gorgeous track, “night swimming,”

features Allison’s wavering

vocals about a lost relationship,

weaving through distorted sounds

of a chattering crowd. Many of

color theory’s songs melt into a

somewhat sunny disposition, while

revealing a much darker undercurrent

within its lyrics that’s not

completely explained. It’s a deep

and engrossing album that pushes

the artist known as Soccer Mommy

into fascinating territory.

Best Track: night swimming

Fraser Hamilton

26 BEATROUTE FEBRUARY 2020


DRIVE-BY

TRUCKERS

The Unraveling

ATO Records

KHRUANGBIN &

LEON BRIDGES

Texas Sun EP

Dead Oceans

Perhaps no other rock band can

write so frankly and so accurately

about the American tragedy than

the Drive-by Truckers. After a

three-year absence where lead

songwriters Mike Cooley and

Patterson Hood suffered from

a severe case of writer’s block,

the DBT’s lock, stock and two

smoking barrels are back taking

aim at the good ol’ US of A and its

perilous journey.

Cooley and Patterson simply

do not mince words. In the

sludgy, funk-grunge driven

“Heroin Again” they pose

the question, “why?” and try

slapping some sense into a new

generation of users condemned

to their brain orgasms.

“21st Century USA” recounts

a drive though any beat-up

town filled with fast food joints

and crappy retail outlets where

salvation is finally found in a

“good-time bar to get your bad

swerve on.” But this isn’t a game

of pitching us against them,

it’s a cultural demise that has

everyone trapped in its dead-soul,

commercialized landslide.

Although sometimes the line is

clearly drawn and blame comes

tumbling through. “Thoughts

and Prayers” echoes politicians’

overused expression after another

senseless outburst of domestic

gun violence takes its lethal toll. In

protest with that empty do-nothing

rhetoric comes the chorus, “You

can stick it up your ass, with your

useless thoughts and prayers.”

The Unraveling is the Drive-by

Truckers’ rebel yell — angry, fierce

and all too real.

Best Track: Awaiting

Resurrection

Brad Simm

Khruangbin & Leon Bridges’

collaborative EP Texas Sun

marks the first time the exotic

funk band has written with

a vocalist. The collaboration

finds their colourful rhythm

section masterfully crowned

with Bridges’ bright and soulful

melodies that transport the

listener to the dry heat of the

title track. Tasty basslines and

perfectly pocketed drumming

provide Khruangbin’s classic

hypnotic effect, allowing

listeners to float in and out

for hours on end, catching a

different fruitful lick with

each listen.

A sense of déjà vu from this

collaboration is owed to a joint

North American tour where

their paths converged for the

first time. The EP is an ode to

the “big sky country” of Texas.

Although the artists ride in very

different stylistic lanes, their

origins embody a common

musical vanguard. Speer and

Johnson met at St. John’s United

Methodist Church in Houston –

more commonly referenced as

the house of worship Beyoncé

grew up singing in. Bridges, who

discovered his sound listening

to Texas blues, gospel and R&B,

was a natural detour from their

instrumental norm.

Although this creative side-trip

confirms depth from the trio,

Khruangbin fans still eagerly

await a third album, showcasing

unrestrained flamenco-style

strums, bass-lead melodies,

and dialled in drumming without

accommodations.

Best Track: Texas Sun

Reeghan Carroll

SELENA GOMEZ

Rare

Interscope

Going through trauma can’t be

easy when you’re one of the most

followed people on Instagram.

After some highly-publicized health

struggles – both physical and mental

– and a lengthy breakup with a

certain Canadian pop heartthrob,

Selena Gomez uses her new album

as an opportunity to move past

the pain with upbeat dance-pop

production from the industry’s

most reliable hitmakers and lyrics

centered around self-love.

With her trademark whispery, vulnerable

vocal delivery, she casually

drops references to her medication

in the context of fun pop songs.

There are more than a few less-thansubtle

shots at The Biebs.

Linking up with a kindred spirit in

Kid Cudi, who has had his own fair

share of mental health problems,

on the album’s closing track is

another very powerful moment.

Rare, at its core, is about finally

being able to go out and have fun

once again without everything

weighing on her. Gomez is back,

and “Look At Her Now.”

Best Track: Vulnerable

Ben Boddez

HALSEY

Manic

Capitol Records

The pop landscape can be disorientating,

but on Manic, Halsey’s

third studio album, she works effortlessly

to control that pressure

from within.

The title is a reflection of her

feelings about the loneliness

and euphoria fame brings, while

also accurately representing the

album’s overall sound, which, according

to a recent interview she

did with Rolling Stone, is “literally

just, like, whatever the fuck I felt

like making.”

Manic is far from cohesive, but

that’s likely the point. It still brings

whiplash when you go from a

bitter, country-tinged bop about a

toxic relationship (“You should be

sad”), to angsty pop-rock (the undeniably

fun “3am”), followed by

a smooth hip-hop track featuring

Korean rapper SUGA of boyband

BTS (“SUGA’s Interlude”).

Halsey deserves credit for her

ability to jump in and adapt to

multiple genres within the pop

spectrum. Pop music may be in

a state of disarray, but it’s nice to

Halsey is out there working hard

to evolve, adapt and bare it all.

Best Track: You should be sad

Fraser Hamilton

FEBRUARY 2020 BEATROUTE 27


ON THE ROAD

WITH PHOTOGRAPHER ANNIE FORREST

By CORINNA BURFORD

Ever wanted to go on tour with a band and

see what really goes on behind the scenes?

Vancouver born-and-raised photographer

Annie Forrest jumped at the chance to get

on the bus with rising star Orville Peck this

year and through her latest project, Giddyup,

you can get an inside glimpse at life on the road.

Forrest has a keen eye – and ear – for rising

music talent, having captured images of artists

including Peck, along with avant-garde electronic

musician and performer Arca and the soulful

singer Zsela before they gained global recognition.

Now based in New York, Forrest’s work has also

appeared in publications including Vogue, Paper,

Subbacultcha, and Vice.

With a knack for highlighting the theatrical and the

absurd, her subjects span a diverse range of genres,

but have a certain spirit or aesthetic in common.

“I’m interested in exploring how we tell our own

stories and construct our own identities,” she says.

“I gravitate towards bold characters and storytellers

who have a strong point of view — whether it’s

a musician or a regular person who questions

standards of beauty, fashion, gender or sexuality.”

Forrest began her career in music and events,

working for companies including South By

Southwest in Austin and Reading Festival in the UK.

Always taking photos, she started creating intimate,

behind-the-scenes portraits of musicians that

crossed her path, including ASAP Rocky, Mish Way

of White Lung, and now Orville Peck.

Peck was the subject of Forrest’s most recent

project, a solo exhibition titled Giddyup, which

debuted at the prestigious Leslie-Lohman Museum’s

Project Space, a fixture of NYC’s LGBTQ+ art scene,

in the fall of 2019. The show gave a never before seen

view of Peck’s early 2019 tour and was accompanied

by an 80-page photo book of the same name.

“Orville is a fascinating subject,” she says. “He

has created a truly authentic character that people

connect with, all while wearing a mask and being

relatively anonymous – which is not an easy feat.”

In 2019, Forrest also began working closely with

Arca, the Venezuelan producer, electronic musician

and performance artist recently named “Artist of the

Decade” by Vice. Forrest has photographed her on

multiple occasions, including at the premiere of the

DAU institute in Paris, at her home in Barcelona and

at several live performances.

“Working with Arca is unlike anything else. Her

capacity for experimentation and improvisation

is genius level, spilling out and touching everyone

around her,” Forrest says. “I would love to continue

shooting her as she evolves, and who knows? maybe

it will be the material for another exhibition.”

This year Forrest plans to continue exploring

this intersection of music, style and identity during

a three-month residency in Mexico City. She is

showing new work next at Leap Year 2020, a group

show at 22 Ludlow Gallery in New York, and hopes to

bring Giddyup to a city near you.

STAR

1 Orville Peck’s mask, on the cover of Annie

Forrest’s book, Giddyup.

2 Zsela for BeatRoute Magazine

3 Duncan Hay Jennings (left) and Kris

Bowering, Giddyup Exhibition

4 A$AP Rocky, 2017 me Convention

5 Arca at DAU Institute 2019

6 A$AP Rocky, 2017 me Convention

7 Orville Peck, Giddyup Exhibition

8 Giddyup Exhibition

1

2

28 BEATROUTE FEBRUARY 2020


3

7

4

5 6

8

FEBRUARY 2020 BEATROUTE 29


TRAVEL

MEXICO CITY

EXPLORE THE

SPRAWLING METROPOLIS

WHERE TRADITION AND

CUTTING EDGE CONVERGE

By KATHERINE MCFARLANE

Mexico City, the seventh largest city in the

world, is almost impossible to get to know

in one lifetime. A city deserving of multiple

visits, its rich cultural history permeates every

aspect of life; the cuisine, the architecture,

and the sounds; all distinctively Mexican, yet

welcoming to anyone open to discovery.

The city has evolved into a vibrant cultural travel

destination thanks in large part to its dedication to urbanism

and an abundance of thoughtful public spaces, an inventive

and modern culinary scene and a long tradition of influential

contemporary art that will satisfy travelers looking for

something beyond a typical resort vacation.

Music is an ever-present part of daily life in the city.

Traditional Mariachi music is ubiquitous in any tourist area and

you will hear modern Latin pop and rock on the radio, spilling

into the streets from every car, store and bus you pass.

The city is a major touring market for artists and has

become home to a number or large-scale music festivals

such as The Corona Capital and the newest addition of

Ceremonia Festival, last year, drawing top tier international

artists such as Rosalia, Kaytranada, and Massive Attack

alongside local talent. Toronto label Arts & Crafts, ahead of

the curve, even set up an outpost in the city in 2008.

DESTINATIONS

Frida Kahlo Museum

The Blue House

Calle Londres 247,

Colonia Del Carmen

The house where the world’s most

famous Mexican artist was born

and died is an essential experience

for any fan of contemporary

culture and anyone who ever

went to art school. Located in the

historic Coyoacán neighbourhood

and close to the amazing artisanal

Mercado de Coyoacan (Ignacio

Allende, between Malintzin and

Xicoténcatl), the museum is one

most popular places to visit in the

city. Book your tickets in advance

online, you’ll still have to wait, just

not as long!

Canals of Xochimilco

Calle del Mercado 133, San Jerónimo

Xochimilco, the Venice of Mexico,

is a truly unique experience. Rent a

boat by the hour, be serenaded by

live Mariachi bands and order freshmade

food and drinks from boats

floating right beside you. Equal parts

relaxing and floating party!

Parque Mexico

Av. Mexico, Cuauhtemoc,

Colonia Hipódromo

Speaking of thoughtful public

spaces, this park is one of the most

beautiful and relaxing refuges from

the hustle and bustle of the city.

Situated in La Condesa, a charming

and walkable neighborhood with

many Art Deco buildings. Take a loop

around lush Amsterdam Avenue and

imagine your potential new life as a

resident of Mexico City!

Casa Luis Barragan

Calle General Francisco Ramirez 14

It’s impossible not to be moved

by this masterpiece of modernist

architect and pioneer of emotional

architecture, Luis Barragan’s

house and studio. A UNESCO

World Heritage Site, it’s extremely

popular and limited spots are available

for the English tour, so book

online ahead of time.

Museo Jumex

Avenida Miguel de Cervantes

Saavedra 303, Miguel Hidalgo

One of the largest private collections

of contemporary art in Latin

America, Museo Jumex features

some of the heaviest hitters in the

contemporary art world. Housed

in a striking building designed by

British architect David Chipperfield,

it is a work of art itself.

30 BEATROUTE FEBRUARY 2020


EATS & DRINKS

Hotel Condesa

Avenida Veracruz 102,

Colonia Condesa, Hipódromo

Even if you don’t stay in this luxury boutique

hotel, head up to the rooftop bar for

a relaxing day-time drink (tequila!) and a

fantastic view of the tree-lined streets of

Condesa. Bonus: they have a fantastic

sushi menu!

Tortas Al Fuego

Avenida Sonora 205,

Colonia Condesa,

Hipódromo

Cheap, casual hole in the wall with delicious

tacos, tortas (Mexico's version of

the Italian sandwich) and open all day. A

local spot (so brush up on some Spanish

ordering skills) and definitely try the al

pastor tacos.

Rosetta

Calle Colima 166, Roma

One of the most beautiful restaurants in the

city, Rosetta is located within a renovated

colonial-era townhouse in the Roma neighborhood.

The menu is Italian with a Mexican

sensibility and it changes seasonally. For a

special occasion, or just to live your best life,

give yourself the gift of this magical dining

experience!

NIGHTLIFE

Patrick Miller

Merida 17, Colonia Roma

Hidden behind an unassuming warehouse

façade, every Friday night (the only night

it is open) the space becomes a wild disco

party, complete with dance-off style battles.

Drawing a diverse, mixed crowd, the

dancers who take up the spotlight do not

come to mess around.

El Plaza Condesa

Calle Juan Escutia 4,

Colonia Condesa,

Hipódromo

A 1600-capacity concert venue right in

the heart of Condesa, El Plaza plays host

to buzzy international acts that you likely

wouldn’t get to see in such an intimate

space anywhere else, as well as regional

artists about to hit it big.

Sunday Sunday

facebook.com/sundaysundaymx

Local party collective who throw dance

parties with a rotating lineup of DJs and

special guests, both local and international.

Location and guestlist are somewhat of a

secret, you have to RSVP to the Facebook

page with a message to get in, so don’t

forget to download Google translate!

SHOPPING

Tianguis Cultural del Chopo

Cuauhtemoc Buenavista 06350

Mexico has a well-documented love for

all rock subcultures, up to and including

The Smiths. These aesthetic choices

culminate here at the city’s goth-punkmetal-etc

themed flea market. Only open

on Saturdays, you’ll find some definitively

underground live music, vinyl and band

t-shirts galore.

Retroactivo Records

Jalapa 125, Colonia Roma

A comprehensive and well-priced selection

of used vinyl in every genre, located in Roma.

Be prepared to dig! If the thrill of the hunt

isn’t your thing and you’re already in the

neighborhood, head over to Roma Records

(Álvaro Obregón 200 Bis 1, Col. Roma) for

the latest releases and reissues. STAR

FEBRUARY 2020 BEATROUTE 31


That’s Dope

W

ith the industry rising above

and beyond its smoke cloud

of regulations, Canadian

cannabis brands want you to sit back,

relax, and consume kush in comfort.

Sackville & Co., Burb, and Superette

have each designed cozy loungewear

pieces for any kind of session. “Comfort

is key [to] BC bud culture,” says Margot

Zimmerman of the inspiration behind

Vancouver-based Burb’s apparel. The

Burb x Tantalus Sky Pilot Sherpa Jacket

is a dreamy outerwear cloud, perfect

for watching a movie on the couch or

adventuring in the great outdoors.

Sackville & Co. founders Hayley

Dineen and Lana Van Brunt agree

that “the perfect sesh outfit” can be

whatever makes you comfortable. Sold

separately, the duo’s Sackville Crewneck

and Sackville Shorts are made of a

breathable, cozy cotton. The suit comes

in three retro washes and features

cheeky iconography to celebrate the

brand’s design-forward style — without

compromising utility. This is a key part

of Sackville’s mission, say Van Brunt

and Dineen. With the goal of adjusting

the stigma cannabis use has held in the

past, they aim to create products that

fit into your lifestyle “without having to

stash them away in a drawer.” Sackville’s

cannabis accessories beg to be

displayed, on your nightstand or body.

Superette’s apparel also shows

off the brand’s low key but impactful

aesthetic. From dad hats to hoodies,

long sleeves to socks, the Ontarioborn

cannabis company uses organic

materials and their now-iconic rose logo

to brand comfy clothes that encourage

the wearer to simply have fun. Thaomy

Lam, who works in Events & PR at

Superette, says the clothes were made

with “the potential for ash to stain or a

rogue roach to burn a hole” in mind. At

Superette, she adds, “we think those

add character.”

STAR

THIS MONTH IN CANNABIS NEWS AND VIEWS

LAZE AND LEVEL OUT IN

CANADA’S BEST SESH SUITS

By JAIME EISEN

EVA ZAR

JOMAR VICTORIA

LEEOR WILD

Burb x Tantalus Sky Pilot Sherpa Jacket available at shopburb.com

Superette apparel available at superetteshop.com

Sackville apparel available at sackvilleandco.com

32 BEATROUTE FEBRUARY 2020


Screen Time

A CLOSER LOOK AT THE

2020 ACADEMY AWARDS’

BEST SONG NOMINEES

By BRENDAN LEE

S

omething magical happens

when a musician is asked to

write a song for a movie.

The jumping off point of the film acts

as a perfect catalyst for what ends in

lasting hits, sometimes even eclipsing

the film itself.

A song can only be nominated for the

‘Best Song’ category at the Oscars if

it was written specifically for the film.

Past winners, such as “Raindrops Keep

Falling on My Head” and “I Just Called

to Say I Love You” have been played so

much out of the context from the films

they were written for that it can be a

struggle to remember their exact origin

story. That’s what makes the category

so interesting, and why we’re taking a

closer look at this year’s nominees, the

next set of could-be timeless classics.

Into the Unknown (Frozen II)

Kristian Anderson-Lopez & Robert

Lopez, performed by Idina Menzel

The husband-wife duo, Kristian

Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez,

catapulted themselves to the

international stage with their first ‘Best

Song’ Oscar in 2013 for ‘Let it Go’

(Frozen) and followed that up with a

second win in 2017 for ‘Remember Me’

(Coco). There’s an argument to be made

that ‘Into the Unknown’ might be the

most impressive of all three. While maybe

not an instant hit with the kids like ‘Let it

Go’, the song has a maturity that begins

chilling and timid but grows to a point of

uncontainable energy, utilizing the vast

range of Idina Menzel’s powerful voice.

I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away

(Toy Story 4)

Randy Newman

It’s a bit of a tradition for Randy

Newman and the Toy Story team to get

nominated for the category, and with

this little diddy, the man himself goes

four-for-four. It’s a repetitive yet cheery

piano tune that manages to invoke a

glimmer of what the original film and

soundtrack captured all those years ago.

While nowhere near the level of “You’ve

Got a Friend in Me,” Newman proves his

ever-enduring superpower to at the very

least put a smile on your face.

Stand Up (Harriet)

Joshuah Brian Campbell & Cynthia Erivo,

performed by Cynthia Erivo

This song boasts the heaviest weight

of all five nominees, telling the story of

slavery in America in such a way that

truly shines through the music. Cynthia

Erivo officially arrives, playing the lead

role of Harriet Tubman and is staggering

in this five-minute-long gospel-inspired

ascent to the heavens. It’s less of a song

and more of a movement in the direction

of brighter and better times.

I’m Standing With You (Breakthrough)

Dianne Warren

If there’s one thing that Dianne

Warren knows how to do, it’s get

Academy Award nominations. Eleven

nods deep, Warren’s still searching for

that ever elusive win. “I’m Standing With

You” is performed by actress Chrissy

Metz, who also plays the lead in the

Christian-drama, Breakthrough, about a

boy who tragically plunges into an iced

over lake. It’s the weakest of this year’s

five entries but the simplistic ballad still

pulls a few heart strings here and there.

(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again

(Rocketman)

Elton John & Bernie Taupin, performed

by Elton John and Taron Egerton

When they inevitably perform this one

on the night of the show, Taron Egerton

and Elton John may very well bring down

the house. There’s few more decorated

musicians in the biz than Elton, and

combined with Egerton’s sensational

vocal performance they’ve gifted us

with a jam-packed feel good tune that’s

already won big at the Golden Globes.

Even if this one manages to miss out on

the ultimate prize, we’ll be hearing those

raspy piano-backed vocals on the radio

for years to come.

STAR

FEBRUARY 2020 BEATROUTE 33



TONI HAFKENSCHEID

YYZ

THE POWER PLANT

SUNDAY SCENE

By JOSEPHINE CRUZ

T

here’s perhaps nothing more fascinating than hearing one

great artist’s interpretation of another great artist’s work,

which is what makes the Power Plant’s Sunday Scene series so

captivating. This ongoing series features an artist offering their

responses to a current exhibition at the gallery, and this month

features none other than Toronto multidisciplinary artist Jacquie

Comrie discussing Rashid Johnson's exhibition "Anxious Audiences."

Jacquie Comrie’s work is comprised of large-scale structures such

as murals and canvases, and often explores the universal language of

human emotion. The themes of mental health, elevation and reset are

prevalent throughout her work, which means she will surely have an

interesting perspective on the work of Rashid Johnson.

Johnson’s debut solo presentation in Canada features nearly a

hundred scratched faces he has dubbed “Anxious Audiences.” The

exhibit was born from a desire to transmit Johnson’s personal

experience with anxiety, which has been especially heightened by a

political climate of increasing division in his home country, the

United States.

“Anxious Audiences” has been on view at the Power

Plant since September, occupying a space in the narrow

halls of the gallery's clerestory. However, this month’s

Sunday Scene will be the first special discussion

spotlighting the exhibit. It all goes down February 16 at

2:00pm, and admission is free subject to capacity.

Be sure toheck out The Power Plant's official

website for more information and details about

upcoming Sunday Scenes.

The Power Plant Sunday Scene

Feb. 16 // thepowerplant.org

02.20

TORONTO’S ESSENTIAL FEBRUARY HAPPENINGS

FEBRUARY 2020 BEATROUTE 35


02.20YYZAGENDA

HECTOR VASQUEZ

NATIVE WOMEN IN THE

ARTS ROUND DANCE

NWIA Second Annual Round Dance

Saturday, February 8 // nwia.ca

Join the the second annual Round

Dance at Mattamy Athletic Centre on the

evening of February 8, hosted by Native

Women in the Arts alongside the Ryerson

Aboriginal Student Services.

Traditionally held during the winter,

Indigenous round dances are a set of

ceremonial and social activities performed

for the purpose of lamenting lost

loved ones while meeting new members

of the community. Attendees join in a circle

and hold hands around singers, dancers,

pipe and stick men and drummers.

The evening begins with a pipe ceremony

and feast at 6PM, and follows with

a late night lunch, raffles and giveaways.

The round dance works to honour, heal

and celebrate women and non-binary

people in the First Nations community.

This event is open to the public, free

and all cultures are welcome to be part

of the circle. For anyone with a cause

to celebrate, or those missing someone

they wish to pay tribute, this can be an

enlightening experience.

WINTER LIGHT

EXHIBITION

Ontario Place’s Winter Light Exhibition

2020

Feb. 8 - Mar. 29 // ontarioplace.com

The Winter Light Exhibition is set to light

Lakeshore up for yet another season.

Back at Ontario Place for a third year, the

theme is “cocoon,” with artists planning

to evoke it—through light—in many clever

ways.

Some reasons to visit the island

include Chris Foster’s Beacon Silos,

which uses a lighthouse effect and disco

ball inside the totemic Ontario Place silos

to project dynamic changes from day to

night. Buried Echoes by Jungle Ling features

glowing papier-mâché mammoths

with a keyboard for audiences to play

in-sync with chromatic lights against the

softly lit sculptures.

Follow The Good Path, Bekah Brown’s

work which reflects on Indigenous teachings

through an interactive installation

equipped with motion sensors. In Hearth,

Caterina Stambolic uses film, ink, wire and

light fixtures to create a symbolic gathering

place for regeneration.

Bonfires are ablaze and snack bars

are open on weekends. You can enjoy

the Winter Light Exhibition until the end

of March, so be sure to make your way to

Ontario Place between now and then.

VINYL SHOW & TELL

Vinyl Show & Tell

Feb. 5; first Wednesdays every month

128A Sterling Rd.

Vinyl has made a big comeback over the

last decade or so, and if you’ve been building

up your collection and live in the GTA

you might want to check this out. The first

Wednesday of each month, Henderson

Brewing Company plays host to a special

event strictly for the wax heads—Vinyl

Show & Tell.

Here's how it works: bring in your

favourite record, tell the story of why you

love it for the crowd and you get a prize

from the swag bag. It's totally free; CiCi's

provides complimentary pizza, you'll be

surrounded by some of the finest Toronto

craft beer in the heart of the industrial

Junction Triangle, and best of all you’ll get

to connect with plenty of other vinyl lovers.

If that wasn’t enough to entice you,

Dead Dog Records also sets up shop with

a curated selection of the finest new and

used vinyl for sale. In case you wanted

to add to that collection, and have more

stories to tell, of course.

36 BEATROUTE FEBRUARY 2020


NATHAN DENETTE

#PROGRESSTO

Progress Festival // Jan. 30 - Feb 15.

progressfestival.org

#ProgressTO presents both performance

art and progressive ideas in the fifth edition

of this two-week festival. It brings works

from across the country and globe, with

events curated and performed by local

collectives such as SummerWorks, Why Not

Theatre and Theatre Centre.

Café Sarajevo mixes virtual reality

with music, dance and podcasting for an

all-encompassing exploration of nationalism

and war. It tells the story of a young

woman traveling to her father’s native

Bosnia, and coming to terms with divided

cities and nations.

For a treat for the eyes and ears, check

out Los Angeles artist Miwa Matreyek’s dual

This World Made Itself and Infinitely Yours,

which are both sonically and visually rich

multimedia works. Infinitely Yours delves into

the current Anthropocene era to unearth

how humans have affected the environment,

while In This World Made Itself sees

Matreyek using shadows and silhouettes to

tell a history of humanity. The latter features

music by Flying Lotus, Mileece, and Careful.

If you prefer something more interactive,

then Affioramenti (Surfacing) may be

for you. Antonella Bersani invites festivalgoers

to join a collective choir and create their

own unique soundscapes.

WAVELENGTH MUSIC

WINTER FESTIVAL 2020

Wavelength Music Winter Festival

Feb. 13 to 16 // wavelengthmusic.ca

Winter blues got you down and can’t wait

for festival season? You're in luck because

Wavelength Music is celebrating their 20th

anniversary with the winter edition of the

not-for-profit festival running February

13-16.

Support local art and catch a wide variety

of Toronto talent including electronic

duo LAL, rapper Haviah Mighty, singer

Notifi, indie pop group Hidden Cameras

and no wave band New Fries at spots like

Longboat Hall, The Garrison and Sonic

Boom.

Single day tickets or weekend passes

are available now from the official Wavelength

website—where you can also check

out the full lineup of over 20 acts—or in

Toronto at shops including Rotate This and

Soundscapes.

HARRY CHAN

FEBRUARY 2020 BEATROUTE 37


02.20YYZMUSIC

The Cheat Sheet BR PICKS THE 5 ESSENTIAL LIVE MUSIC SHOWS

1 WHITNEY

Fri, Feb. 14 at The Phoenix

Concert Hall

One reminder when you come see

the always-exquisite, honey-soaked

indie rock outfit: make sure you

bring your friend, and make sure you

hold their hand.

2

U.S. GIRLS

Sat, Feb. 15 at Paradise

Two years ago Meg Ryan put her

universally, critically-acclaimed, nearperfect

Canadian disco on the map.

Now, she has her sights set on the

rest of the world.

3

BAT FOR LASHES

Sat, Feb. 22 at The Phoenix

Concert Hall

Back by popular demand, Natasha

Khan makes a break for bold

fluorescent 80s pop, held together

by her haunting vocals.

4

BLACK LIPS

Sat, Feb. 29 at Lee’s Palace

With over 2 decades in the game

(what?!) Atlanta’s very own southern

art punks have still got it. Duh!

5 DESTROYER

Wed, Mar. 4 at The Opera House

Already receiving widespread

critical acclaim, Dan Bejar’s eagerlyanticipated

return is it’s own selling

point. Don’t forget your beret!

1 GOROD

Sun, Feb, 9 at Hard Luck

Ah! Nothing quite like taking a big,

sloppy bite of some wild, wanky,

progressive technical death metal

(delivered at breakneck speed) to

warm the winter heart.

2 WARKRUSHER

AND ABSOLUT

Sat, Feb, 15 at See-Scape

Very good, very new, baked, boiled,

and burned Montreal crust punk with

some local boys on support.

3

OPETH AND

GRAVEYARD

Wed, Feb. 19 at REBEL

Thirty years later, a generational

collision pretty enough for a bouquet

of flowers, but frightening enough to

want to sever them at the root.

4

GOTH GIRL

Fri, Feb.21 at Sneaky Dee’s

Massive, acetic, anti-music, and

relentlessly grating, electronic

power violence from Scarbourough

executed without prisoners. Batter

down the hatches!

5

CULT OF LUNA &

EMMA RUTH RUNDLE

Tue, Mar. 3 at The Opera House

The big, beautiful, prolific Swedish

post-metal band are only made more

powerful with support from Emma

Ruth Rundle, the most arresting

loaded gun.

1

TOVE LO

Sun, Feb. 16 at Queen

Elizabeth Theatre

One of the most underrated

songwriters in the world

(responsible for hits from Lorde and

Ellie Goulding) presents her dark

yet catching Scandinavian pop with

guest ALMA.

2

TORY LANEZ

Sun, Feb. 23 at Coca-Cola

Coliseum

The hometown hero is back in

Toronto to perform his smash-hit, 90’s

and 2000’s sample extravaganza

Chixtape 5 in its entirety.

3

EMILY KING

Mon and Tues, Feb. 17 and 18

at The Drake Underground

This rising R&B star was just

nominated for two Grammys, and

now brings her emotive vocals to

Toronto for two, back-to-back, sold

out shows.

4 ILE

Sun, Feb. 9 at Adelaide Hall

Grammy-award winning singer/

songwriter known for her addictive

brand of boleros and folk-inspired

retro-pop.

5

TAYLA PARX

Sat, Feb. 8 at The Baby G

A co-writer on some of the biggest

pop hits of the last few years

(including Ariana Grande’s “Thank U

Next”) is now forging her own path

of irresistible pop-leaning R&B and

hip-hop.

1 TCHAMI

Fri, Feb. 28 at Rebel

Future house pioneer brings his

“Confession” tour to Toronto as a

means to promote his new label of

the same name.

2

COM TRUISE

Fri, Feb. 14 at Velvet Underground

This American electronic musician

draws influence from synth-heavy

1980s musical styles, so you can

expect the same of this DJ set.

Dancing shoes are a must.

3

SETH TROXLER

Sat, Feb. 8 at CODA

CODA is celebrating their sixth

birthday in style with Troxler—who

cut his teeth in Detroit before moving

to Berlin in the mid-2000s—on the

decks delivering everything from

minimal techno to classic Chicago

house.

4

TELEFON TEL AVIV

Sat, Feb. 22 at The Drake

Underground

Experimental electronic duo whose

music filters a wide variety of intense

emotions through highly advanced

sound design.

5 MIJA

Wed, Mar. 4 at The Drake

Underground

She made her name as an EDM

producer and festival DJ but her

latest EP, How To Measure The

Distance Between Lovers, proves

her artistic depth runs deep.

1

RODDY RICCH

Thurs, Feb. 6 at The Phoenix

The Grammy-winning and oft-

Tiktok’d rapper has taken the

world—and the charts—by storm

in the past year, and now comes to

Toronto for the first time.

2

KOJEY RADICAL

Fri, Feb. 21 at The Drake

Underground

Ghanain-British rapper who started

his creative career as a spoken

word artist before expanding into

Afroswing hip-hop that is fast

becoming the definitive sound of

contemporary Black Britain.

3 RAPSODY

Thurs, Feb. 13 at TOYBOX

One of Roc Nation’s finest hip-hop

acts brings her talents to Toronto,

so get ready to be wowed by her

intricate rhyme patterns, metaphors,

and wordplay.

4

JASIAH & $NOT

Sun, Feb. 16 at Velvet Underground

These tourmates represent the

new crop of SoundCloud artists

who blend elements of punk, emo,

hip-hop and trap for a high-octane

sound—and stage show that

reflects it.

5 CAM’RON

Fri, Feb. 28 at Velvet Underground

Calling all early-2000’s rap

enthusiasts! Dipset head honcho is

celebrating 15 years of his classic,

Purple Haze, with a very special tour.

38 BEATROUTE FEBRUARY 2020


Loving

“..a mix of pop, folk and

lo-fi with a hint of nostalgia

that Paul McCartney

in his heyday wouldn’t

have refused.”

“Mellow, folky indie rock

with a twist of psychedelica.”

“They strive when it comes

to making beautiful,

indie rock lullabies.”

“Reminiscent of a

slightly darker Whitney.

Nostalgic and lovely”

C 2020 L AST GANG RECORDS INC.

If I am only

my thoughts

THE DEBUT ALBUM FROM VICTORIA, BRITISH COLUMBIA GROUP LOVING

AVAIL ABLE NOW ON ALL STREAMING SERVICES, AND IN RECORD SHOPS.

EXCLUSIVELY FROM L AST GANG RECORDS, WORLD WIDE.


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