BeatRoute Magazine ON Edition - March 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

MARCH 2020 • FREE

KENNY

+

CARIBOU

U.S. GIRLS

KESHA

THUNDERCAT

& MORE

UNLOCKED & LOADED:

HOW HIP-HOP’S

DUO OF THE

MOMENT MADE

AN ALBUM IN

THREE DAYS



Contents

Parisian photographer Inés Ziouane goes into

the night with Black Honey (pictured) and

others, documenting international stars on the

rise. Page 28.

INÉS ZIOUANE

Music

4n UP FRONT

Looking forward to the 2020

Juno Awards, we check in to

host city Saskatoon, SK to find

out why it’s called the Paris of

the Prairies.

6n Artist Features

Thundercat, Kesha, U.S. Girls,

Caribou, Basia Bulat, and more.

20nMonthly Playlist

All the singles we can’t stop

listening to this month.

21n Album Reviews

Little Dragon, Phantogram, The

Garden, Jessie Reyez, D.O.A.,

Porches, and more.

+

CARIBOU

U.S. GIRLS

KESHA

THUNDERCAT

& MORE

UNLOCKED & LOADED:

Cover Story

KENNY

HOW HIP-HOP’S

DUO OF THE

MOMENT MADE

AN ALBUM IN

THREE DAYS

16 Denzel Curry

& Kenny Beats

A hip-hop match made

in heaven, Kenny Beats

and Denzel Curry channel

their manic chemistry into

Super Bowl-level energy on

Unlocked.

MARCH 2020 • FREE

LifeStyle

24nFashion

Beyoncé’s Ivy Park x adidas

collab is gender-neutral

and features a stunning

orange and maroon colour

palette borrowed from her

signature bold style.

28nBehind the Lens

Photographer Inés Ziouane

gives us a peek through her

lens as she follows some of

the biggest stars in music

today including Billie Eilish

and Yungblud.

30nTravel

Boise, Idaho: Spuds, buds,

and destinationless

exploration in the City of Trees.

YYV

33nLex Leosis

The former Sorority emcee

takes flight, channeling a

new goddess flow on her

solo endeavour.

35nYYZ Agenda

Sound of Data Symposium

makes waves in Toronto’s

experimental music community.

36nYVR Music

Jon Vinyl is taking the quality

over quantity approach

with a string of smooth and

sophisticated EPs that are

making waves in Toronto’s

R&B music community.

37n Astrology: Venus

Forecast

Pisces season marks the

end of the year if you speak

astrology and our cosmic

advisor has a map to your

new beginnings.

38nThe Cheat Sheet

BeatRoute’s Essential List

— the must-see shows this

month in Toronto.

Jessie Reyez turns pain into beauty on Before

Love Came To Kill Us. Page 23

MARCH 2020 BEATROUTE 3


UpFront

MARCH

Publisher

Julia Rambeau Smith

Editor in Chief

Glenn Alderson

Lead Designer

Alex Kidd

Layout/Production Manager

Rachel Teresa Park

Managing Editors

Josephine Cruz

Melissa Vincent

Contributing Editors

Sebastian Buzzalino

Dayna Mahannah

Contributors

Ben Boddez • Marvin Chan

Jordan Currie • John Divney

Aerin Fogel • Isaac Nikolai Fox

Fraser Hamilton • Natalie Harmsen

Christian Kindrachuk • Brendan Lee

Christine Leonard • Sarah Macdonald

Kayla MacInnis • Max Mertens

Yasmine Shemesh • Matt Williams

Sumiko Wilson • Aurora Zboch

THE 2020 JUNO AWARDS

SASKATOON MUSIC SCENE SECRETS

VENUES:

ndearingly known as the “Paris of the

EPrairies” or “Bridge City”, Saskatoon

is this year’s host city for the Juno

Awards. Known for its disproportionate

number of bridges over water (weird flex),

here are five Saskatoon music scene

gems to

watch for on the ground at this year’s

Juno Awards.

Amigos

Earning its place at Canada’s National

Music Centre, Amigos has been a

cornerstone venue for over 20 years,

known for its undefeated artist hospitality

and Tex-Mex food.

Broadway Theatre

Originally a heritage theatre, this

non-profit and promoter now presents

countless shows across Saskatoon,

bringing in diverse acts spanning from

GZA to Godspeed You! Black Emperor.

Hip-Hop House Party

at The Common Room

DJs Mikey Dubz & Kidalgo’s Hip-Hop

House Party is Saskatoon’s longest

running hip-hop night. Hosted at

The Common Room by Coors Event

Centre, it offers free entry, pool tables,

and popcorn.

Tefrondon & Trifecta Sound Co.

Tefrondon, Saskatoon’s current DJ boywonder,

has hosted two of the city’s most

packed party nights, Lituations and Soiree.

He also runs shows with his crew Trifecta

Sound Co. Keep an eye out for anything

Tefrondon-related, as well as other Trifecta

Sound Co. artists in the JUNOfest lineup.

The Bassment

This original Saskatoon jazz venue holds

the vibes of LA’s 70s-era supper clubs.

LOCAL MUSIC:

lthough largely known for folk and

Arock acts like The Sheepdogs and

The Dead South, Saskatchewan and

Saskatoon are also home to electronic

and urban artists gaining international

acclaim. Catch some of these artists also

performing at JUNOfest.

Alex Bent + The Emptiness* - "Coolin"

If Frank Ocean, Post Malone, and Our

Lady Peace had a baby, this is that baby

(from his album, “Baby”).

Denise Valle* - "Repeat Affections"

Saskatoon’s own El Salvadorian “Queen

of Soul”.

respectfulchild - "Glitter"

Non-binary, classically trained Malaysian-

Chinese violinist finds a loop pedal.

Toria Summerfield - "Kiss Me Lean"

Introverted Myspace bedroom-pop with

the heart of a Soundcloud rapper.

VBND & Katie Tupper - "Name

(On My Tongue)"

Charlotte Day Wilson had better watch

her back! Keep an eye out for Tupper’s

solo work in 2021.

Samurai Champs* - "Still Mine"

The Southeast Asian hip-hop boy band

from the middle of nowhere.

VBRTR & Sienna Lee - "Want You"

Future-R&B Filipino DJ-producer duo.

*performing at JUNOfest

By MARVIN CHAN

The Juno Awards air on CBC, Sunday,

March 15 at 5 p.m. PST/8 p.m. EST.

Samurai Champs

Contributing Photographers

Johan Bergmark • Jeff Berk

Sebastian Buzzalino • Aris Chatman

Parker Day • Christine Do

Christopher Good • Phillip Harris

Max Hirschberger • Richmond Lam

Shervin Lanez • Jerris Madison

Colin Medley • Thomas Neukum

Ines Ziouane

Coordinator (Live Music)

Darrole Palmer

Advertising Inquiries

Glenn Alderson

glenn@beatroute.ca

778-888-1120

@beatroutemedia

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


UNIQUE

50LES

FOR

UNIQUE

50ULS

JOHNFLUEVOGTORONTOTRINITYST··QUEENSTW··

JOHNFLUEVOGOTTAWAWILLIAMST··

FLUEVOGCOM


THUNDERCAT IS LOOKING

ON THE BRIGHT SIDE OF LIFE

LA’S MOST IN-DEMAND BASSIST AND SINGER

LOOKS FOR LIGHT AND LAUGHTER IN DARK TIMES.

By MAX MERTENS

Over the course of his prolific career, Los

Angeles bassist and singer Thundercat

(born Stephen Bruner) has never stopped

moving.

In the past decade, he’s released three

critically-acclaimed albums, collaborated

with the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Pharrell Williams,

and Kenny Loggins (winning a Grammy for his work

on 2015’s To Pimp a Butterfly), and toured around

the world. He had no immediate plans of slowing

down, until a tragic death in late 2018 forced him to

reconsider. Bruner was scheduled to open for frequent

collaborator and close friend Mac Miller on his North

American tour shortly before the Pittsburgh rapper

died of an accidental drug overdose.

“That was my best friend,” Bruner says over the

phone from his home in Los Angeles. “It was one of

those moments that was hard for me to process. I had

to sit down and let that in — that was nobody else’s

weight to carry, it was mine. As much as I wanted to

try and push through and go wherever I wanted to go

mentally about it life took precedent.”

It Is What It Is, his fourth album on Brainfeeder

Records, finds Bruner waxing philosophical about love

(“At this point, I’m definitely starting to feel more like

Future than Drake,” he jokes), loss, and navigating life’s

many ups and downs. The 15 songs on the album are

honest, sometimes heartbreaking, and frequently very,

very hilarious. There’s a song about wearing a Dragon

Ball Z durag (“Dragonball Durag”) and another about

joining the mile-high club featuring comedian (and

occasional rapper) Zack Fox (“Overseas”).

This tongue-in-cheek humour is nothing less than

what you’d expect from the man who describes

himself as an “internet troll,” and who shared his North

American tour dates in a short video showing him

“working out” in Uma Thurman’s Kill Bill outfit, eating

cat food, and pretending to hump a stuffed Pokemon.

“I prefer to laugh at most things, I guess,” he admits,

when asked if comedy helps him process these

personal experiences that feel like being stuck in a

never-ending dark tunnel. “There’s always the old

saying: ‘Every musician wants to be a comedian and

every comedian wants to be a musician.’”

Similar to his 2017 album, Drunk, It Is What It Is brings

a laundry list of collaborators into Bruner’s intergalactic

world. But rather than falling victim to the streaming

era’s tendency to encourage overstuffed, feature-heavy

albums, It Is What It Is weaves in its supporting cast —

like saxophonist and bandleader Kamasi Washington,

Canadian jazz outfit BADBADNOTGOOD, and

enigmatic rapper Lil B (“He’s got a really big heart and

he really wants stuff to be dope, but he’s also about his

business, and I fuck with that”) — naturally.

“Black Qualls,” which he’s described as a meditation

on what it means to be a young black American, sees

him trading vocals with Steve Lacey, Childish Gambino,

and Steve Arrington of 70s funk group, Slave.

For Bruner, whose upbringing in an incredibly

musical family (both of his brothers are musicians, and

his father was a drummer who played with Diana Ross,

the Temptations, and Gladys Knight) gave him the

chance to meet many LA jazz greats, he welcomes the

opportunity to learn from his forebears and give them

their flowers while they’re able to smell them.

“If you get a chance to connect those dots on any

level, it’s amazing, because you don’t always get to

do that,” he says. “Having Steve Arrington and Steve

Lacey and Donald Glover on a track, I feel like if we

would’ve been a band back when the Ohio Players was

popping, they would have had some competition.”

Now at 35 years old, Bruner’s armed himself with

collected wisdom, like recognizing the pitfalls of social

media. There’s a

repeated line on

Thundercat

Wed. March 18

Queen Elizabeth Theatre

Tix: $20, ticketmaster.ca

“Black Qualls,” where

he’s embroiled in

conflict: “Wanna post

this on the 'gram, but

don't think I should.”

It’s a statement that reads like a 21st century parable.

Though Bruner insists that he doesn’t take his internet

presence too seriously, he’s still self-aware. “I don’t want

to be the guy that’s oblivious to where they’re at. I still

pay attention.”

He's not alone in his ability to split his attention

between a cheeky remark and a sincere response. Is

there another way to navigate timelines where we can

expect to be fed a dank meme right before a eulogy?

Bruner’s quick to point out that while the mediums

may have changed, outrage and grief are not new

phenomena to humankind. In the past year, Los

Angeles abruptly and shockingly lost two cultural

icons, rapper Nipsey Hussle and NBA player Kobe

Bryant. “I think what was surprising was that Nipsey

got killed in broad daylight, and the disregard for him

not just as a rising star, but as a person,” he says.

Bruner also paid tribute to Bryant by sharing a photo

on Twitter of his cat wearing a #24 purple and gold

Lakers jersey. “You can feel the broken heart of

Los Angeles right now,” he says. “It put things into

perspective, I think, for everybody out here, how

important the time is you have with each other, and

how fragile life is.”

“My music teacher — he was kind of like a

second dad to me — he always said things like

‘Prepare for the worst and hope for the best,’”

Bruner continues. “Those moments when

he said stuff like that to me have never

meant more than they do right now, in

these moments

when we’re

experiencing

some of the

gnarliest stuff in our

generation. You just

try to find the good in

these moments, that’s all

you can do.” STAR

6 BEATROUTE MARCH 2020


MARCH 2020 BEATROUTE 7

PHOTOS BY PARKER DAY


KESHA’S

RECLAMATION OF JOY

In late January, the day before the

release of her fourth full-length album,

High Road, I’m on the phone with

Kesha telling her about my bad father.

I didn’t intend on it. It sort of spilled

out. High Road includes a ballad called

“Father Daughter Dance,” a track I took to

immediately. The song, about Kesha never

knowing her father, opens with “Oh, I wish

my heart wasn’t broken from the start / I

never stood a chance.” I surprised myself

by crying to those first lines. Because of

my soft Scorpio heart, I tell Kesha this. I

tell her all about it.

“Oh my goodness, I have chills,” she

says slowly.

I’ve written about the estranged

relationship I have with my father before.

By being so public about a private pain,

it’s too often a vain pursuit of mine to seek

out a loose camaraderie. Maybe I’m not

so alone. Maybe someone in my small

corner of the Internet will relate and tell

me that we’ll be okay. Kesha echoes this

thought back to me with far more precise

articulation.

“I really never intended on talking about

that side of my life publicly just because it

kind of seemed off limits.” But she pushed

herself to examine why she felt compelled

to—for such an honest person—leave

this portion of her life untouched. “It was

nothing I ever thought I would discuss

publicly, especially in the form of a song.

To hear somebody say that they relate to

[the song] is why I put it out, even though

it makes me incredibly uncomfortable and

feel emotions that I haven't even quite

worked out yet.”

For more than a decade, Kesha has

given us permission to feel but also to

have a really good fucking time. The pop

star, formerly Ke$ha, defined the 2010s

with her vivacious, youthful, and trashy

songs like “TiK ToK,” which spent nine

weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot

100, and became one of the best selling

digital singles of all time, collecting over

$25 million in sales. Her debut record,

2010’s Animal, was a revelatory, partypraising,

unpretentious pop record. And

despite profiles at the time that attempted

to reduce her work to superficial club

bangers, Kesha spoke assuredly about

her future as a pop singer with enduring

talent.

It feels foreign now to tap into that

particular category of sizzling, temporary

fun. This concept of fun seems restricted

to a certain age range; that when you

age out and leave your early 20s or begin

“adulting,” that fun is lost to that moment

of time.

And this is what Kesha, now 33, is

trying to do still for herself: reclaim a

familiar, but more honest, joy that’s

entirely on her own terms.

High Road is Kesha fully formed. It

takes all the best parts of her career and

firmly places them in her own hands,

moulding a fun, thoughtful, prickly and

sweet record. Kesha executive produced

it — a task she enthusiastically took to.

“I like being able to control the narrative

of what this record is because it will live

far beyond my lifespan,” she explains.

“I wanted to represent myself in a really

honest, authentic way.”

High Road runs through pop, hip-hop,

and country. It even finds Kesha rapping

again. All emphasize her I-don’t-give-ashit

attitude (so enviously formed on the

biting “Honey”) and her propensity to fuck

all the way off into whatever experience

she’s in. Both Sturgill Simpson and Beach

Boys legend Brian Wilson join her on

“Resentment;” cruisemate and legend

herself Big Freedia features on the single

“Raising Hell.”

On “Shadow,” Kesha’s exultation is

more a deft proclamation as she sings,

“I’m so happy and you hate that, I love

love, I love life” and “get your shadow

out of my sunshine.” Here, she sounds

liberated. I asked Kesha how she

managed to find happiness. It’s a daunting

task for an everyday person, but for a pop

star? It seems mountainous.

“To maintain your sense of self and,

at the same time, entertain and provide

people with what they want — I feel like

I've earned my happiness.

“I put a lot of work into reclaiming my

voice, reclaiming the right to be happy and

joyful. I have no reason to be ashamed or

to shy away from talking about going out

and having a wild party night or having an

amazing sex life. These are all things that

are realistic in my life and part of living as

a human being.”

It invites a moment of pause, and an

opportunity to investigate how we treat

women who have been generous with

us by publicly coming forward with the

most difficult moments of their life. Should

that trauma remain integral to their art or

person and define them going forward? At

what point do we say, yes, you deserve to

be happy again in whatever way that takes

shape?

It should go without saying that Kesha

deserves to feel joy. That for everything

the pop star has sung about or gone

through in the most public way imaginable,

at the end of the day, she has more than

earned to feel normal and content with

her life.

“When people see me for who I really

am, I think that's one of the things that

guide me,” she says. STAR

By SARAH MACDONALD

8 BEATROUTE MARCH 2020


MUSIC BC

MERGE

MARCH 2020 BEATROUTE 9


CARIBOU

REFLECTING ON MORTALITY WITH LOVE AND OPTIMISM

It happens to nearly everyone at some

point in life. We reach a certain age or

something takes place that grabs hold of

our world and rattles it so hard we feel it in

the depths of our soul. Relatively ordinary

life events, like birth and death, can cause

these seismic changes within. Whatever the

catalyst, it encourages a different perspective

and we begin to reassess the meaning of

everything around us.

This shift has been happening to Dan

Snaith, the London-based, Ontario-born

composer and musician, over the last

five years. One of the most significant

contributors was the shocking sudden death

of a loved one not much older than Snaith

that ricocheted through his extended family.

Then, both of his parents experienced health

crises that they, fortunately, overcame. But

tragedy, and the threat of more, prompted a

stark awareness of mortality.

“I feel like I've been very lucky in my life,”

says Snaith, over Skype from the basement

studio of his home in London, England. “I’ve

been, just by good fortune, insulated from

those things. Or maybe, my parents provided

me with a very stable life. But I'm 41 years

old. None of us are going to be immune from

those circumstances forever.”

Alongside those personal challenges,

there have been happy moments that

have impacted Snaith just as dramatically,

such as the birth of his second child—who

arrived in the back of a car, no less. This past

Christmas was profound, too: It was the first

Snaith and his wife hosted at their house.

“It was the kind of holiday that I pictured

from my childhood,” Snaith smiles. “[And]

it’s shifted from being about going to see

my parents to my children's experience and

building those memories for them.”

These formative moments—Snaith’s life

experiences—often inform the content of

his music. His last release under the Caribou

moniker, 2014’s Grammy-nominated Our

Love, played with both austere and bright

arrangements to delicately reflect on the intricate

emotions that accompany new fatherhood,

as well as complexities existing in his personal

relationships with family and friends.

It makes sense that a contemplation on the

asymmetry between the gradual way we age,

grow, our perceptions of the person that we

are becoming, and the unanticipated thwack of

something completely reshaping that outlook

would follow on Caribou’s latest effort.

Snaith’s new album, Suddenly, is aptly

named. His record labels (Merge in North

America and City Slang in Europe) were

hesitant at first, concerned that the more

obvious subject matter might not appeal to

the listeners who championed the subtleties

of Our Love. But for it to thematically be

“The kinds of things that are resonating

in my life right now are maybe not what a

21-year-old expects to hear in the music

that they're listening to...”

about anything else would have been an

evasion. It was unavoidable.

“The kinds of things that are resonating

in my life right now are maybe not what a

21-year-old expects to hear in the music

that they're listening to,” Snaith muses. “I

don't know. I feel like there was a real sense

of purpose [on this album]. My music has

always documented, to some degree, my

life and where it's at, but much more so with

this.”

Snaith sourced from over 900 song ideas

for Suddenly. A mind-boggling number, but

not so much when considering he makes

music every single day. It is a ritual as much

as it is his creative process, and, as such, the

tracks intrinsically reflect his thoughts and,

inevitably, his truth. “I never listen to them as

an album together until the album's done.”

“And that’s always an eerie experience to

me, because I listen to [the songs] and I'm

like, ’It fits together. It's somehow a story. It's

somehow a narrative,’ which is what I want.

But I don't have the foresight to be able to

put that together while I'm working on it. It

happens, somehow, by accident, except that

it's not by accident. I think that's part of the

thrill for me—there's this kind of chase, even

after 20 years or more of making music.”

Similar to, and a deeper exploration than

its predecessor, Suddenly is anchored in

the complex concept of love. And during

a cultural moment so defined by urgent,

polarizing politics, it almost feels like a

brave thing to investigate. Snaith is far from

immune to it all. “I had this idea of progress,

that we would learn more and, as we learn

more as a society, society progresses and

gets better,” he deliberates. “And that's been

shaken by all sorts of things.”

The #MeToo movement is certainly one

of them. And something that hit close to

home when two industry acquaintances

were accused of sexual assault. “You meet

somebody and you think, ‘This is somebody

who has, it seems, the same values as

me. They talk about progressive issues in

a progressive way,’” Snaith says. “And it

undermined this assumption that I had. They

seem nice and you think, ‘Well, they probably

are nice.’ And it made me realize, ‘No, that's

not reliable.’ You can't trust that.

“In the same way that those major life

changes just shifted the lens on everything,

the world all of a sudden looks different after

you hear some kind of cataclysmic news.”

That is why, for Snaith, ruminating on love

is requisite. It is a reflection of his underlying

optimism—a natural inclination that is evident

in the way he responds to the rocky terrain

of life (and the world at large) in the gentle

electronic textures of his work.

A significant influence on Suddenly’s

empathetic sonic approach was Beverly

Glenn-Copeland, particularly the ambient

musician’s glimmering 1986 album Keyboard

Fantasies. “It's something that you listen to

and it's a big hug that makes you feel like

things are okay—but not in a facile way,”

Snaith enthuses. “His music is something that

really engages with difficulty and challenges.”

“Cloud Song” is the most obviously

Glenn-Copeland inspired, with its warm,

rippling synthesizers. But the dreaminess is

very much present throughout, whether in

Caribou

March 16-19, 2020

Danforth Music Hall

Tix: $26-$31

collectiveconcerts.com

shimmers

underneath

drum-driven

beats, like on

“Home,” which

also samples

soul singer Gloria

Barnes; or as a

delicate ramble that

unexpectedly hurtles

towards screaming

guitar, as it does on “You

and I.” Together, it makes

for a nuanced, intimate,

and meditative listen that

coats the soul in familiarity and

then turns it into unanticipated

shapes.

As someone who pays careful

attention to details, Snaith thinks

often—and deeply— about the

complicated state of our current

reality. Its knots are something he,

being somewhat of an idealist, is unsure

he has entirely untangled within himself.

But then, there is the music. It helps

make sense of things and it allows him

to engage in the most powerful way

he can.

“I’ve always felt that it was a failing

of my music to relate to the political

dynamics in our world,” Snaith adds.

“And I thought: ‘Why am I not making an

album explicitly about climate change

or explicitly about unfortunate political

circumstances?’

Then I talked to somebody who is

very wise in my life and often gives me

good advice, a photographer friend of

mine named Jason Evans, who does

the covers for all of my records. And

he was like, ‘To make music that aims

to unite’—and hopefully not in a kind of

vacuous way, hopefully in a way that's

somewhat meaningful—‘is actually a

political statement.’ I think a kind of

open-armed embrace is the closest thing

that I can come to reaching out to people

in that way.” STAR

By YASMINE SHEMESH

10 BEATROUTE MARCH 2020


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MARCH 2020 BEATROUTE 11


SHINE

A LIGHT

ALLOW U.S. GIRLS TO

REINTRODUCE HERSELF

If Heavy Light, the eighth and latest studio album by

U.S. Girls, had a thesis, it would be that you can’t move

forward without first looking behind. The 13-track LP by

Meg Remy’s acclaimed experimental post-pop project

plays like a shifting gaze between the person Remy

was on past records, and who she’s evolved into on her

newest release.

The nostalgia infused in the sounds and messages of

each track is refreshing. More often than not, the swift

emergence of adulthood sweeps in before you even realize

that your adolescence has been left behind. Instead, Heavy

Light chronicles Meg Remy taking the time to share a fond

goodbye with earlier iterations of herself, all while stepping

into a new era of her artistry.

“A lot of the record is about looking back,” Remy explains

at a Bloor West coffee shop on a chilly February afternoon

in Toronto. “People always say, ‘If I could go back, I would

do this,’ or ‘if I knew what I know now, here’s what I would

do.’ I don’t think that’s really true.” While peeking from

beneath her shaggy, flaxen bangs, she speaks softly, but

with comfortable conviction.

But despite acknowledging that you can’t go back, she

spends much of her new album looking back.

If Remy’s last project, In a Poem Unlimited (2018), was her

meditation on anger, then Heavy Light is her reckoning with

the past–before her abbreviation and her alias were born.

Before she was U.S. Girls, she was Meg Remy, and

before Meg Remy, she was Meghan Ann Uremovich. “I

come from a really specific (background),” she says of

her upbringing. “I’m American and I’m white. I was raised

Catholic and went to private school.” Having recognized

that elements of her identity afford certain privileges, her

storytelling has changed. “I can’t speak to anybody else’s

experience. All I can do is present mine and listen when

others present theirs.”

In 2011, Artforum’s Andrew Hultkran concluded that

Remy was “a woman who clearly spends a lot of time in her

apartment with the shades drawn.” But a decade later, this

assertion is less true than ever. “I wouldn’t have finished the

record if I was alone,” Remy admits. During our chat Remy

explained that she chose to record the album live with a full

band and backing vocalists. She even tapped her husband,

musician Max Turnbull, to do the mixing and mastering.

The collaborative spirit on Heavy Light is a true sign of

how Remy’s approach to her craft has shifted. “To make

something with 15 amazing people, to hear what they want

and incorporate it into my thing so that it’s not just about

me, is so different from being alone in a bedroom.” Though

her creative process still “always starts there,” over a

decade into her career as a solo artist she’s comfortable

letting other people in. “Now I can turn away from [the

bedroom], or let other people be reflected in there.”

Other voices are reflected on the album too — literally.

Tracks on Heavy Light are woven together by interludes

that Remy likens to sonic collages, where she and her

collaborators answer deeply personal questions. Between

tracks, they serve as palette cleansers, where Remy’s

personal narrative is interjected by voices sharing advice

that they would give to their teenage selves, the most

hurtful thing that they have been told, and the colour of

their childhood bedrooms.

The revelations on the interludes and the tracks were

intentionally cathartic. The writing and recording of Heavy

Light aligned with Remy’s introduction to somatic therapy,

which she describes as “a body-based therapy that is all

about clearing the nervous system of trauma.”

Her eyes widen as she explains that “in nature when an

animal gets scared, they freeze, flee or fight. Once they’re

safe, they shake and shimmy to get the tail ends of that

traumatic energy out of their system,” In contrast, Remy

says that “human beings store it.” On Heavy Light, we hear

the release. “The kind of therapy that I was doing opens

you up to pull that out. It helps you so that you don’t store

things going forward.”

One of the things she held onto was “Red Ford Radio,”

one of Remy’s hallmark singles. To close the album, Remy

chose to re-record a reprise of the song and, ironically, it’s

one of the most vivid markers of her metamorphosis.

“My voice has changed,” she reflects. “I have control

over my voice but I don’t have control over the emotion. It’s

about figuring out how to sing these songs without crying

but knowing that it’s ok if I do cry.”

In spite of this, ending her new album with a rerecording

of an early hit was Remy challenging herself. “After working

on this project for 13 years, to go back to these songs that

I wrote and see if they’re sturdy or not; to see if I relate to

them. I wrote that song when I was 22 and I’m 34 now. Do I

still relate to it? Can I stand behind it?” She can.

While the message is the same, her relationship to that

song has grown. “I think I was hiding behind that song

then,” she says. “Now I’m saying, ‘No. This is me.’” STAR

By SUMIKO WILSON

12 BEATROUTE MARCH 2020


OUT NOW

JEFF BIERK

AVAILABLE

NOW

THE BRAND NEW ALBUM

FEATURING THE SINGLES UNDER THE GRAVEYARD,

STRAIGHT TO HELL AND ORDINARY MAN

MARCH 2020 BEATROUTE 13


BASIA BULAT

GOES WITH THE

FLOW ON ARE

YOU IN LOVE?

Basia Bulat is not in control. She

knows it. There’s even a song on

her lush new record — the gently

psychedelic Are You In Love? —

that addresses it straight up. “I

keep trying to hold on, to my love

with no control,” she sings on the dramatic

“No Control,” which is both bouncy and brash.

Midway through, her lyrics descend into a

repetitive spiral of the title phrase, bringing on

a feeling of vertigo that forces one to realize

they are losing control, and swiftly.

On Are You In Love? Bulat has come to

terms with the very real fact that none of us

are in control of much, if anything, ever. That

epiphany doesn’t come across on the record

as fraught; on the contrary, the Montrealbased

artist sounds deeply at peace. As

dense arrangements swirl around her growing

and shrinking, and pushing and pulling, Bulat

allows herself to go with the flow.

Maybe it’s because, as she mentions over

the phone from a rehearsal break, she’s been

reading Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching.

“It’s had a big influence on me,” Bulat says.

“I think it really helped me a lot with those

kinds of feelings that don't don't help in your

journey at all. So you have to just accept a lack

of control.”

Bulat’s lack of control was thrown into

sharp relief by a number of circumstances

that happened around the album’s creation:

her father died, she fell in love, and she got

married. She headed to the desert in Joshua

Tree, California to make the record and had

written a lot of it before any of those lifealtering

events had happened. She says it’s

come to feel akin to fortune-telling. “It was like

I was writing it preparing myself for what I was

going to go through,” Bulat says.

Before starting work on the album, Bulat

emailed friend and producer Jim James (of My

Morning Jacket, who also produced her last

record, Good Advice) to tell him she wanted

to make a record about compassion, “And try

to find this way that talks about all the scarier

stuff that comes along with it,” Bulat explains.

“When I went back and looked at those

emails, it was kind of stunning because I

went through these periods of feeling like I

had no clarity. Grief takes a lot out of your

sense of self and you feel like you can't quite

see straight. Your perspective shifts multiple

times, and there's no right or wrong way to go

through that process and maybe you never

change. It just always evolves. Maybe it never

really goes away.”

As heavy as the themes of the record

are, the songs never feel burdened. Instead,

they’re open to possibility, and they often

blossom gently and in no rush, allowing the

listener to slip into them like dreams. They

reflect the scene Bulat paints of her time

with her co-conspirators at Joshua Tree—a

relaxed one filled with laughter, fires, dust

devils, and a commitment to bearing witness

to glorious sunsets. But they are also of the

world, not seeking escape from it. “Light

Years,” for example, shimmers with a spacey

softness, but its message is grounded: “No

matter how long you lost track of time, when

you’re out of your mind, in the loneliest night

you still belong, no matter how far you’ve

gone.”

“The compulsion to measure, to compare,

to look negatively on your own journey by

always looking outside to the journey of

someone else—in the grand scheme of time,

that takes away from where you are and

where you're going,” Bulat says. “Things

take the time that they're meant to.”

Given the enlightened sentiments on Are

You In Love?, I’m compelled to ask Bulat if

she feels as wise as she sounds. She laughs

off the idea and turns to a line from “My

Back Pages”—“I was so much older then,

I’m younger than that now”—by Bob Dylan.

“With every passing day, that’s the feeling

that I have,” Bulat says.

“I'm always trying to get better spiritually,

musically, personally,” Bulat says. “I'm

always trying to grow. As an artist, it's really

fun because the deeper you go or the more

layers of the onion you peel—like, 'What's

under here?'—you kind of get excited

about what's underneath. There's a joy in

experimenting for me where before I would

have had some trepidation or fear. Now I

don't fear as much. I used to just let things

stop me in my tracks. And now I think I'm a

lot stronger.” STAR

Are You In Love?

By MATT WILLIAMS

14 BEATROUTE MARCH 2020


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MARCH 2020 BEATROUTE 15


THE FRENETIC CHEMISTRY OF DENZEL CURRY AND KENNY BEATS

By ISAAC NIKOLAI FOX

Denzel Curry is all energy.

Live in concert, this means

mosh pits and only mosh

pits. The centrepoint of all

of the Carol City rapper’s

live shows is “Ultimate,” the

viral 2015 breakout single

that’s become his signature

song. When the drums kick

in over top of producer Ronny J’s mangled

piano loop, limbs and bodies careen together

as he screams into the chaos, completely in

command.

For the better part of a decade now, Curry

has been one of the most explosive, passionate

voices to have emerged from South Florida.

Psychedelic, politically-charged, guttural, loud,

and undeniably catchy all at once, he has carved

out a lane for himself with his rapid-fire stories

of life growing up in Miami Gardens’ Zone 3

neighborhood. Plus, he’s part of a rare group of

artists, like Henry Rollins or JPEGMAFIA, who

can completely thrash their vocal chords for the

sake of a song without coming off as preening

or self-indulgent.

Curry’s uncontainable energy is part of what

drew Kenny Beats, one of rap’s most chameleonic

and charismatic producers of the moment,

to collaborate with him on UNLOCKED, their

newly-released joint project which dropped

in early February. Over the phone from Los

Angeles, he’s still in awe of Curry’s magnetism,

both in-studio and on stage. “I’ve known about

Denzel since he was 17 years old, and once I

saw him at Bonnaroo, I couldn’t fucking believe

what a live performer he was.”

“A lot of artists will rap or scream over their

studio recordings, and you don’t really get the

full performance experience, but Curry has the

crowd control of a rock band at Woodstock.”

UNLOCKED opens with a blast of Madvillain-esque

punk energy, as the vintage

supervillian dialogue implodes, giving way

to a throbbing boom-bap pulse and another

layer of scratched vocals. Effectively, this is

the mood throughout the entire 20-minute

project: the raucous energy of the new South

Florida ragers mixed with a sleek revitalization

of New York’s sample-heavy underground

rap.

16 24 BEATROUTE MARCH 2020


According to Curry, UNLOCKED was based

around their shared joy in exploring the outer

boundaries of their capabilities as musicians.

“We needed to challenge ourselves—but it was

still no challenge for us. It was just a fun, new

thing to do. Creating keeps me going, you know,

and I think it does for Kenny too.”

UNLOCKED’s nu-retro sonic direction is a

major pivot for both artist and producer. Curry’s

most recent projects Zuu and TA13OO were

classic Florida records, loaded front-to-back

with the frantic, syncopated flows and distorted

instrumentals that brought him to fame in the

middle of the 2010s.

Kenny Beats spent most of the past decade

as half of the now-defunct EDM duo Loudpvck.

When that project folded, he locked himself

in the studio and reemerged with progressive,

floor-filling trap instrumentals for everyone

from Rico Nasty (Anger Management), to Key

(777), to FKA Twigs and Future (“Holy Terrain”),

and even Ed Sheeran (“Take Me Back to

London”). Most recently, he’s become the most

popular producer on YouTube with his series

The Cave, where his extended universe of famous

collaborators will often drop by to record

impromptu, high-octane freestyles.

On paper, the two would have seemed like

an obvious combination, but in practice, they

found that the overlap between their trademark

sounds drained their early, unreleased collaborations

of their urgency. Plus, Curry needed time

to move past his (understandable) frustration

with Beats giving another artist a beat he

thought he had claimed for his own. Now, Curry

laughs when asked about the long-dead conflict.

“I was mad as fuck and didn’t want to deal

with him for a while. But time passed and my

cousin showed me The Cave and told me I had

to do an episode of my own. I did, and that got

us back together in the studio last summer.”

The more diplomatic of the two, Beats never

brought up this disagreement, but he did

agree that the UNLOCKED sessions were a

break from their previous experiences working

together. “Our whole conversation that first

day in November was about the new Wu-Tang

documentary on HBO. We started with a drum

break, I pulled up weird old movie samples

for the intro, and we made “Lay_Up.m4a” and

“Pyro (leak 2019)” that first day. When I played

them back the next day, I thought: ‘what the

fuck is this?’ I had two sessions that day with

other people, and I cancelled them both and

told Curry he needed to come back so we

could do more.”

Curry was equally enthusiastic about the new

direction: “Kenny was like ‘bruh, keep coming

back, keep coming back.’ I’d go to his studio,

come back with two more tracks, play them for

my girl, she’d say ‘oh shit, this is fire,’ and then I’d

go back to Kenny’s the next day to do it again.

After three days, we had the project done.”

"DENZEL’S PERSONALITY

IS LIKE HE’S IN THE MIDDLE

OF THE SUPERBOWL AT ALL

TIMES. HE’S SO HYPE, HE’S

GOT SO MUCH PASSION AND

ENERGY, AND HE’LL PUT

ANYTHING ON THE LINE

TO GET HIS POINT ACROSS"

KENNY

Curry isn’t lying about the remarkable speed

of the duo’s recording process allowing them

to enter, almost effortlessly, an entirely new

sonic territory. On “DIET_”, he slides seamlessly

into DMX’s raspy-voice lane, growling into the

microphone as Beats pitch-shifts his voice

to fit the lurching beat. “So.Incredible.pkg” is

the most quintessential New York track on

UNLOCKED, and wouldn’t sound out of place on

a Busta Rhymes or Nas album. Beats builds the

instrumental off of punchy, sampled drums and

washed-out Rhodes lines, giving Curry plenty of

space to combine interpolations of glossy Puff

Daddy hits with straightforward death threats.

Carrying over the nostalgic groove from

“So.Incredible.pkg,” “Track07” combines

the filtered low-end groove of A Tribe Called

Quest’s early albums with the crisp horns

that permeated so many of Pete Rock and DJ

Premier’s classics. Here, Curry plays the party

host, as his warped vocals wash in and out of

the mix. It’s the soundtrack to a mid-1990s

BBQ, composed by two men who were barely

out of infancy at the time.

“Pyro (leak 2019)” is another clear standout

– it might be the closest we ever get to a Kenny

Beats-chipmunk soul crossover episode. A

spectral choir that sounds like it’s being played

underwater washes throughout the background,

while the slow-crawling drums reinforce

Curry’s every lyric. The Floridan pours his

rhymebook out as if his life depended on it, and

delivers hands-down the best opening line on

the entire project: “My bitch bad like battle rappers

that make albums with no [Alchemist]”

Beats laughs when I bring this line up—it’s

one of his favorites, too. He’s clearly proud of

how Curry’s lyrics bring energy to a room.

MARCH 2020 BEATROUTE 25 17


UNLOCKED

is out now

via PH

Recordings

“No matter who I played the album for,

Rick Rubin, Madlib, Ski Mask the Slump

God—that line made EVERYBODY laugh.

I’m playing this for people in their mid-50s

and people in their early 20s, and everyone

is having the same reaction. That’s how you

can tell Curry is really striking a chord.”

Their frenetic recording speed was helped

by the fact that both Curry and Beats are

magnetic, energetic extroverts, permanently

dialed up to 11. “Denzel’s personality is like

he’s in the middle of the Superbowl at all

times. He’s so hype, he’s got so much passion

and energy, and he’ll put anything on the

line to get his point across,” Beats explains

excitedly when talking about the younger

rapper. Curry says the exact same about his

counterpart: “Kenny’s just as animated as I

am. We’ll goof off in the studio, but when we

get to work, we get to work and we get shit

done. That’s how it was, and why we were

able to do this whole project in three days.”

The track titles on UNLOCKED are a sly

nod to the mid-’00s piracy era of the music

industry. Before streaming and Soundcloud

swallowed the music industry whole, The

Pirate Bay and its sketchier predecessor

LimeWire were must-haves for any industrious

young person looking to reload their

iPods with brand-new MP3s. More often

than not, the downloads would come with

unpolished name like “Take_it_Back_v2,”

“Pyro (leak 2019),” and “So.Incredible.pkg”

– to name just a few of the many memorable

track titles on UNLOCKED.

According to Curry, this naming scheme

was a premature middle finger to critics.

“We made this project in three days, and we

knew critics were going to say ‘oh, it doesn’t

sound finished, blah, blah, blah.’ We

wanted to say ‘shut the fuck up’

before they even had the chance to

say it, so we made our track names

look like our session file names or

some shit you’d get when you pirate

music.” They got their point across:

on repeated listens, UNLOCKED’s

deliberate rawness feels like a

feature, not a drawback.

Despite the multi-faceted rollout,

which included the pair getting into a fake

spat, leaking their project, and then releasing

a short movie slash music video where

the two transmogrify themselves inside a

series of animated cartoons, UNLOCKED

avoids gimmick entirely. Made at breakneck

pace and stripped of any excess, it’s a pure

exercise in experimentation by two technicians

who are at the peak of their abilities

and know it.

Curry’s main takeaway from the collaboration

is that while there’s value in honing his

work to perfection, his first instinct is usually

the right and most exciting one. “I knew

me and Kenny were good, but I didn’t know

that we were good enough to make an album

in three days. We didn’t plan it, it was just

on the fly. We figured out the sound, how we

wanted to package it, everything all at once.”

For Beats, UNLOCKED symbolizes the

way that creative discomfort and uncertainty

can be channeled into urgent, immediate

art. “The number one selling-solo piano

album of all time is Keith’s Jarrett’s Köln

Concert, and that was played on a broken,

detuned piano,” he muses. “The greatest

piano album of all time is on a broken instrument,

you see what I’m saying? Sometimes

it takes that discomfort to break through.

When you don’t know where you’re going,

where you can end up is boundless.”

By ISAAC NIKOLAI FOX

ARIS CHATMAN

“I KNEW ME AND KENNY WERE

GOOD, BUT I DIDN’T KNOW

THAT WE WERE GOOD ENOUGH

TO MAKE AN ALBUM IN THREE

DAYS. WE DIDN’T PLAN IT, IT

WAS JUST ON THE FLY. WE

FIGURED OUT THE SOUND”

DENZEL

18 26 BEATROUTE MARCH 2020


LONG & McQUADE

FREE CLINICS

DURING MARCH

A series of free career-enhancing clinics specifically

tailored to the needs of musicians, songwriters, producers

and home studio enthusiasts.

At all Long & McQuade locations, including:

925 Bloor Street W ∙ (416) 588-7886

toronto@long-mcquade.com

1133 Markham Road ∙ (416) 439-8001

scarborough@long-mcquade.com

2777 Steeles Avenue W ∙ (416) 663-8612

steeles@long-mcquade.com

MARCH 2020 BEATROUTE 19


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!

NOBRO

Don’t Want To Talk

About It

The all-female

Montreal punk

quartet dubbed

this track “as

close to a love

song as we’re

going to get.”

Frontwoman

Kathryn

McCaughey

screams out the

joys of finding

someone new

over crunchy

guitar chords,

but the entire

track is quickly

taken over by

an absolutely

virtuosic drum

solo in the

middle before

the final chorus

roars back in.

Phoebe

Bridgers

Garden Song

Bridgers often

performs

while wearing

a skeleton

bodysuit, which

also appears

on the album

artwork of this

new single. It’s

appropriate

for just how

vulnerable many

of her songs

get. Singing over

a quietly plucked

acoustic pattern

with her paperthin

vocals, she

reflects upon

the passage of

time and the

little moments

that matter.

Kelly Lee

Owens

Melt!

The Welsh

electronic

producer

creates a

slick piece of

environmentalist

techno that

actually samples

the sounds

of glaciers

melting. A voice

repeatedly

whispers “ice”

over a heavy

deep houseinspired

beat

that’s meant to

act as a frantic

call to action,

punctuated

with the more

pleasant sounds

of shimmering

icicles and skate

blades slicing up

a rink.

King Krule

Cellular

On the opening

track of his

latest album,

Man Alive!,

the jazzy

superproducer

gets lost in

his mind in an

interconnected

world that feels

so isolated at

the same time.

With a weary

voice and halfrapped

lyrics,

King Krule links

the divisive

headlines

he reads to

a personal

romantic fallingout,

giving in and

calling her back

in search of

connection.

Billie Eilish

No Time To Die

On paper,

someone

with the quiet

eeriness of

Eilish didn’t

seem like a

natural choice

to record

something with

the dramatic

gravitas of a

Bond theme,

but the teenage

wunderkind

steps

comfortably

into a long line

of legends. Her

aching vocals

soundtrack the

suited superspy

dealing with a

betrayal as the

classic string

patterns swirl

behind her.

PARTYNEXTDOOR

Loyal (Remix)

(Ft. Drake & Bad

Bunny)

This remix of the

latest hit from

the two Toronto

titans adds

some Spanish

flair as Bad

Bunny, the king

of Latin trap,

hops onto the

track, speeding

up the rhythms

of the laid-back

alt-R&B cut with

his extended

verses closing

out the track.

Though there’s

still not much

that can beat

Drake, firmly

in his feelings,

softly crooning

“you’re my best

friend.”

Allie X

Susie Save Your

Love (Ft. Mitski)

Two of indiepop’s

most

celebrated

female artists

finally team

up on a track

to swoop in

together and

rescue poor

Susie from an

undesirable guy;

of course, with

the implication

that she should

be involved with

someone like

them instead.

Featuring a

funky synthpop

explosion

of a chorus,

the two softspoken

sad girls

blend together

beautifully.

The Weeknd

After Hours

The Weeknd’s

fans have been

clamouring for

him to return

to the sleazy

and mysterious

figure with dark

and unsettling

lyrics that he

burst onto the

scene with, and

this six-minute

slow burner

is about as

close as we’re

going to get.

Except this time,

he’s really in

love, perfectly

blending the

rumbling bass

and vocal reverb

of his past with

his upbeat pop

present.

Big Freedia

Chasing Rainbows

(Ft. Kesha)

Two of pop

music’s most

notorious

party people

link up once

again, this time

for Freedia’s

single, on a truly

triumphant track

where they ride

away from all

the haters on

a rainbow. The

Queen of New

Orleans Bounce

mixes up the

track to better

resemble her

signature sound

with some

rapid-fire flows

and calls to the

dancefloor.

Dizzy

Sunflower

The Junowinning

indie

band returns

with a summery

and upbeat pop

track where

they remind

themselves

to snap out

of the cycle

of mundane

everyday life and

start facing the

sun. Sampling

a choir the

band overheard

rehearsing at

an Oshawa

rec centre and

containing

a delightful

synth-keyboard

solo, this one

is a feel-good

anthem to

help usher in

springtime vibes.

20 BEATROUTE MARCH 2020


Reviews

ALBUM

ELLEN EDMAR.

LITTLE DRAGON

New Me, Same Us

Ninja Tune

Little Dragon’s sixth studio album,

New Me, Same Us, revels in its dreamy

mood. The Swedish quartet has

claimed that this album is their most

collaborative yet, as if promising that

this time they’ve finally found a perfect

groove and communication between

members. Thankfully, it’s true for the

most part.

The band excels at finding a cozy

niche between pop, R&B, jazz and electronica,

gliding through what makes for

an easy listening experience. It’s never

challenging, but perhaps that’s the

point, as lead singer Yukimi Nagano’s

unique and absolutely gorgeous voice

envelops you, providing comfort and an

immediate sense of ease as opening

track, “Hold On,” rolls out.

While the album never has a bad

moment, Nagano’s voice is constantly

searching to push the album into true

excellence.

On their Ninja Tune debut, the title New

Me, Same Us rings true in many ways,

which feels like a positive step forward

for the band in terms of both their

sound and originality.

Best Track: “Every Rain”

Fraser Hamilton


MUSiC ALBUM REVIEWS

JOHAN BERGMARK

PETER BJORN

AND JOHN

Endless Dream

INGRID

Peter Bjorn and John celebrate their

20th anniversary with the release

of their ninth studio album, Endless

Dream. The trio strip things back to

their pop dreamscape roots with a

focus on bright, colourful beats and

playful folk-tinged vocals — sorry,

no whistling this time.

Every song is hooky with funky

grooves, full of new wave and

80s-pop influence, a turnaround

from their previous moody album

Darker Days. Endless Dream might

just brighten your day, leaving you

unaware of your tapping feet and

sudden positive outlook on life.

Best Track: “On The Brink”

Kayla MacInnis

MAX HIRSCHBERGER

D.O.A.

Treason

Sudden Death

NAP EYES

Snapshot of a Beginner

Jagjaguwar

THE GARDEN

Kiss My Super Bowl Ring

Epitaph

PORCHES

Ricky Music

Domino Recording Co.

Porches returns with Ricky Music,

a further refinement in Aaron

Maine’s dedication to making 80s

synth inspired indie pop on his

computer.

The album is less broken than

2018’s uneven but excellent The

House and more experimental than

2016’s pretty much perfect Pool.

Porches’ most alluring asset

continues to be Maine’s melancholy

croon, always sounding like

the saddest guy in the room.

I can’t think of anyone that

can sell a line like “do you wanna

cry? I boo hoo”, but I bought it on

“Hair.” The same song contains a

certified gem that is hard not to

relate to: “I’m kinda pretty, kinda

busted too.”

Best Track: “Do U Wanna”

John Divney

With a raging fire of political

contempt burning, Vancouver’s

original hardcore punks, D.O.A.,

ring in the decade with a manifesto

for the modern age.

Over 40 years since founding

member, Joey “Shithead” Keithley

started the band, Treason is a

tight eight-track offering that

highlights Keithley’s unique ability

to knit catchy lyrics, blazing guitar

solos, and breakneck punk rock

into one single entity that stays

perpetually fresh right up until

the very last slightly off-kilter

note. Treason lives up to D.O.A.’s

storied history, proving that as the

world continues to get weirder,

they seem to only get more

pissed off and poignant.

Best Track: “My My, Hey Hey”

Brendan Lee

Nap Eyes have a superpower of

stretching time like playdough.

Every song on the Halifax natives’

fourth album, Snapshot of a Beginner,

should be printed in a pop-up

book of poetry. Their sound is

effortlessly low-key but especially

hi-fi, creating a polished, ambling

landscape for frontman Nigel

Chapman’s pragmatism.

Get strung out on “Real

Thoughts” before tapping into the

nuanced Puff The Magic Dragon

vibes of “Dark Link.” There is a

dichotomy here; it digs at the lazy-hustle-lazy

orbit of the zeitgeist.

The cohesiveness of Snapshot

peeks at the sixth dimension

through windows of daily banalities.

This is their magic.

Best Track: “Fool Thinking Ways”

Dayna Mahannah

The Garden conveys the idle dissatisfaction

of life in a clash of sounds

on their punchy fourth studio album,

Kiss My Super Bowl Ring.

Brothers Wyatt and Fletcher

Shears never adhere to one

narrow sound. Their DIY spirit

incorporates electronic and punk,

switching from minimalistic to

bombastic in an instant on tracks

like “Clench To Stay Awake” and

“A Struggle.” The ennui in the lyrical

content of “Sneaky Devil” and

“Hit Eject” express being fed up

with corrupt institutions and their

injustices.

The record wastes no time catapulting

listeners into its chaotic

world. Frustration and boredom

have never sounded so enlivening.

Best Track: “Sneaky Devil”

Jordan Currie

22 24 BEATROUTE MARCH 2020


NECK OF THE

WOODS

The Annex of Ire

Pelagic Records

PHILIP HARRIS

SHERVIN LAINEZ

The newest dispatch from thorny

Vancouver metal arbour Neck of

the Woods finds its rhythm method

in the midst of madness.

Chromatic technical prowess

gleams on “Ambivalence” while

the miopic soul-seeking of “Vision

Loser’’ levels the landscape like an

atomic blast. Jeff Radomsky’s voice

rises above the fray of “Strange

Consolation” before he finds solace

in the guitar wire spires that pierce

the celestial vault on “The Tower.”

Built on a slicker-than-wet-asphalt

foundation,the entire album

PHANTOGRAM

Ceremony

Republic Records

Phantogram has never been

known to confront things quietly.

The electronic rock duo made up

of Sarah Barthel and Josh Carter

present their fourth album, Ceremony,

with a different approach.

Following the loss of her

sister, Barthel looks deep into

the concept of death, grieving,

and moving forward. It can get

overwhelming at times, but there’s

an occasional oasis of calm, like

on the standout track, “Glowing,”

where we get to appreciate

Barthel’s impressive, controlled

hangs together with palpable cohesion

and clarity of purpose. From

the door-kick introduction provided

by the title track, it’s apparent that

Neck of the Woods aren’t giving up

any ground when it comes to the

gritty gains they’ve made.

Best Track: “The Tower”

Christine Leonard

vocals and hear the emotion

behind the lyrics.

Ceremony isn’t perfect, but its

urgency in confronting unspoken

feelings is what makes it interesting

and emotionally investing.

Best Track: “Glowing”

Fraser Hamilton

WAXAHATCHEE

Saint Cloud

Merge Records

Getting sober often involves a moment

of self-reckoning, discovering

what’s left after the hangovers

subside for good.

Waxahatchee devotes Saint

Cloud to exploring that idea, coming

to terms with herself through

her trademark moving and romantic

poetry, set against a musical

backdrop as sparse and delicate

as the wispy rural environs of her

native Alabama. Honest and unflinching,

her fifth full-length turns

inward in an attempt to connect

outward. In doing so, she emerges

with a deeper love for those around

her by learning to love herself first.

“I take it for granted/If I could love

you unconditionally/I could iron out

the edges of the darkest sky,” she

sings on album standout, “Fire.”

With Saint Cloud, it’s clear Waxahatchee

is entering a new age with

her head held high and a newfound

appreciation for the beautiful

details that surround her.

Best Track: “Fire”

CHRISTOPHER GOOD

Sebastian Buzzalino

JESSIE REYEZ

Before Love

Came To Kill Us

Island Records

Jessie Reyez is one of the most

refreshing and unlikely pop stars

working in music right now.

Dropping back the hip-hop and

R&B production of her previous

material for a new orchestral and

cinematic sound, Reyez paints

a series of beautifully tragic pictures

of unattainable or doomed

romances.

Featuring quite a few classic-sounding

doo-wop inspired

tracks, the album is packed with

twistedly morbid metaphors for

love, as if they were designed to

waltz to at a funeral.

DANA GAVANSKI

Yesterday is Gone

Flemish Eye Records

Introspection is the common

thread that cuts through Dana

Gavanski’s lo-fi breakup album,

Yesterday is Gone. Folk and pop

collide to produce hazy musings on

personal growth.

Gavanski reflects delicately on

all the pain and loss that comes

with losing a lover. Her honeyed

vocals tiptoe around whimsical

lyricism about the changing of the

seasons and the slow burn of ti me.

Sorrow transforms into a thriving

heartbreak paradise as ethereal

The album’s title refers to

a friendship that was “killed”

because he jumped in before

Reyez was ready. Adding some

heart-wrenching personal twists,

everything Reyez says here hu rts,

but it sounds so beautiful.

Best Track: “Coffin”

Ben Boddez

melodies infuse the record to highlight

the essentials: stripped-down

vocals, guitar and a pitter patter of

drums and piano.

Best Track: “Yesterday Is Gone”

Natalie Harmsen

MARCH 2020 BEATROUTE 23 25


Style

RUN THE

SHE’S CONQUERED

MUSIC AND NOW

BEYONCÉ IS SETTING

HER SIGHTS ON

SPORTSWEAR

24 BEATROUTE MARCH 2020


WORLD

By JOSEPHINE CRUZ

Photos by CHRISTINE DO

Model/Styling: DIANE J LOUIS

As soon as the news came that Beyoncé’s

IVY PARK brand was dropping a

collaboration with storied sportswear

giant adidas, one thing was absolutely

guaranteed: it was going to sell out.

Before anyone had seen a lookbook, a

product shot or even a design sketch,

the collection was destined—like so

many of Beyoncé’s other creative

endeavours—for dominance.

When it dropped on Friday, January

17, the first season of Beyoncé IVY

PARK x adidas fulfilled that destiny

with ease, much to the delight of her

faithful Beyhive who were able to nab

some of the coveted pieces, and the

chagrin of others who missed the

drop and caught (what hypebeast

culture calls) the dreaded “L.”

Because this is Beyoncé we’re

talking about, Mrs. Knowles-Carter

didn’t release her collection like

everyone else. In the days leading up

to the launch, she seeded pieces to

her A-list friends like Reese Witherspoon,

Zendaya, Cardi B, Laverne

Cox, Janelle Monáe and Hailey Bieber,

all packaged up in luxurious PR boxes

shaped like orange rolling racks.

And if that wasn’t enough, for her

biggest marketing tactic, Beyoncé

used a trick she herself perfected

back in December 2013 when she

unleashed her acclaimed self-titled

album on the world by complete

surprise. The IVY PARK x adidas

collection released a full day earlier

than originally planned, setting social

media—and hopeful buyers—into a

frenzy as everyone tried to get their

hands on the pieces.

The capsule collection was

completely gender neutral and was

comprised of apparel, accessories

and four sneaker styles. The collection

featured a stunning orange and

maroon colour palette and borrowed

from Beyoncé’s signature bold style

with asymmetric dresses and jackets,

shrugs, cargo skirts, and jumpsuits

alongside elevated staples such

as hoodies, biker shorts, tees, and

sports bras. While this season may

have sold out, this isn’t the end of the

partnership between Ivy Park and

adidas, so keep your eyes peeled for

future releases.

MARCH 2020 BEATROUTE 25


Style

Love on top

Four pillars of the adidas x IVY PARK Collab

1 .ORANGE

adidas x IVY PARK

Halter Bra, Solar

Orange, $45 USD

2. UNISEX CUTS

adidas x IVY

PARK Mock Neck

Sweatshirt, Ecrtin/

Maroon, $90 USD

3. ELEVATED BASICS

adidas x IVY PARK

Cargo Sweatpants,

Maroon/Solar

Orange, $85 USD

4. STATEMENT SHOES

adidas x IVY

PARK Nite Jogger,

Maroon/Solar

Orange, $160 USD

26 BEATROUTE MARCH 2020


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

MARCH 2020 BEATROUTE 27


Behind The Lens

INTO THE

NIGHT

WITH PHOTOGRAPHER

INÉS ZIOUANE

By DAYNA MAHANNAH

I

wasn’t meant to do what I do today,”

Inés Ziouane’s French accent crackles

over the phone from Paris. She just

returned from a weekend in Lyon photographing

indie duo Terrenoire. Though

Ziouane moonlights—ironically—in the

daytime as a music journalist, her passion

and profession are rooted in the career

she has built taking pictures of musicians.

A bonafide hustler by every millennial

standard (she hasn’t had a day off in

a month), Ziouane’s attitude sparkles

amongst the status quo. “Now that I can

do stuff, I always want to do more,” she

gushes. “I’m so grateful for everything.”

Ziouane’s photos exude energy and

emotion that transcend their two-dimensionality.

Through juxtaposition and curation,

the collages she pieces together

on her Instagram share an experience,

not just a moment. Her eye captures

disco ball glimmer on a pulsing crowd, the

effervescence of an overwhelmed fan, an

exalted band halfway ready in a mirror.

Before stacking her repertoire of

photography subjects with artists like Billie

Eilish, Kristina Bazan, and YUNGBLUD,

Ziouane was confined to her bed for a

year in 2014 due to a rare genetic disease.

Forced to drop out of university where

she was studying medicine, she began

blogging about music. Ziouane got a call

to do an in-person interview—her first—

when her health was on the upswing. “This

is when things happened for real.”

Ziouane picked up a camera and practiced

her craft every night in the caverns

of Parisian live music venues. Immersing

herself amongst people in the music community,

it was music that “saved” her after

a year at home. Then, she met UK psych

rock band Black Honey, who invited her on

tour. “This is when I felt part of something

so much bigger than just myself for the

first time in a very long time,” she says.

But the journalist-cum-photographer

isn’t used to sharing her side of things.

When she dropped out of uni, she didn’t

tell her friends it was because she was

sick. Six years on, the thought that her

story may inspire others to pick up a

camera is appealing. She’s a glass-halffull

kind of person. “It’s the way to go,”

she giggles. “You know?”

1 BANKS in London, June 2019

(promo day at Universal UK for a day)

2 Yungblud in Paris, November 2019

(promo at his hotel)

3 Black Honey at Molotow in Hamburg,

Germany, November 2018

4 Billie Eilish in Paris (“It was June 2018,

and I was the photographer for the

meeting of Billie with her fans during an

afternoon at Universal Music France.”)

5 Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes at

Rockhal in Luxembourg, March

6 Bagarre at L'Olympia de Paris,

November 2019

1

28 24 BEATROUTE MARCH 2020


2

4

5

3

6

MARCH 2020 BEATROUTE 29 25


TRAVEL

BOISE, IDAHO:

TREEFORT MUSIC

FESTIVAL

SPUDS, BUDS AND

DESTINATIONLESS

EXPLORATION IN THE

CITY OF TREES

By MELISSA VINCENT

ALDEN SKEIE

In 2019, Forbes named Boise, Idaho the

fastest-growing American city, and last

year, The City of Trees took the top spot

for overall livability when it was ranked the

best place to live for millennials. But looking

beyond the weight of impressive accolades,

a casual visit to Boise quickly reveals a city

whose spirit tells its own narrative.

With the easy-going charm of Canada’s west coast, and the “come as

you are" tolerance of the Mountain states, all jammed into the ever-evolving

bustle of a budding metropolis attempting to carve out a new identity, there’s

something familiar, compelling, and, if you give in, undeniably irresistible

about Boise. Because below a sprawling mountain backdrop, and adjacent to

Boise State University’s famously blue football field, the city’s wide sidewalks,

bike-friendly streets, and noticeable street culture invites destinationless

exploration.

Due to this, it’s difficult to imagine a festival like Treefort Festival — the

city’s exceptional multi-genre, multidisciplinary music festival, now in its ninth

year—serving as a better representation of the very best of the city come

to life. And because of its ability to capture the life-sized humility of a small

town with world class musicians, internationally renowned artists and writers,

and a remarkably curious approach to programing rooted in inclusion and

representation; it’s similarly difficult to imagine Treefort happening in another

American city.

With past headliners including Vince Staples, Toro Y Moi, and Parliament

Funkadelic, 2020 welcomes silken-pop revisionist Omar Apollo, electroniceverything

innovators Chromatics, sun-baked desert rockers Calexico, and,

as always, local boys Built to Spill, a clear example that the festival continues

to offer a slice of something for everyone.

30 BEATROUTE MARCH 2020

Treefort Festival

Mar. 25 - Mar. 29, 2020

treefortmusicfest.com

Tix: $125-$210

DESTINATIONS

Idaho State Museum

610 Julia Davis Dr

Originally built in 1950, the Idaho State Museum

celebrated its grand reopening two years ago

with an ambition to accurately tell the story

of the state, through the story of its people.

During Treefort festival, the museum morphs

into the landing site of a diverse range of talks

on subjects like exploring the human diaspora,

and understanding the benchmarks of activism,

alongside more eclectic talks like a deep dive

(pun intended) into the the state’s river systems.

Rhodes Skatepark (4)

1555 W Front St.

Stretching across 1.2 acres under Interstate 184,

Rhodes skatepark is impressive due to its sheer

size. Since its construction, the world-class

skatepark has served as a crucial community

hub and support for at-risk youth, but those

with a flair for adventure might come looking for

something more. For the last three years, the

park has hosted the X Games Qualifier, offering

the opportunity to see pros at the top of their

game.

EATS & DRINKS

Petite 4

4 N. Latah St.

Sarah Kelly cut her teeth as a self-taught chef

at both grocery stores and fine dining restaurants

before opening the beloved Bleubird

sandwich shop, which she shuttered with

partner David to open Petite 4. Serving a wide

range of French bistro-inspired dishes, expect

staff in pinstriped aprons, a rotating dessert

menu, or if you’re in luck, a Friday night oyster

cart announced 24 hours in advance via Instagram.

Madre

1034 S La Pointe St.

It’s very likely that even the most devoted taco

aficionados have never had a taco quite like

Madre’s non-traditional upscale tacos. James

Beard House is devoted to using sustainably-sourced

ingredients. Ever had an Idaho

spud and chorizo taco? Or a vegetarian pineapple

al pastor taco? Now’s your chance.


1 3

ALLIE SMITH

2

CHRISTINA BIRKINBINE

4 5

AARON RODRIGUEZ

AMY RUSSELL

Mai Thai (2)

750 W Idaho St.

For Chef Josh Maciolek, pretty good doesn’t

cut it. The Thai restaurant sets its sights on

the cosmos with an approach to Southeast

Asian fusion that blends both classic and contemporary

styles of regional cuisine through

an always innovative menu. A beloved local

favourite, if they’re pad thai doesn’t convince

you, their 12 year streak of being voted the

city’s best Thai restaurant will.

Guru Donuts (1)

928 W Main St.

Stationed in the historic Idanha Building,

Guru Donuts does away with artifice to

create a uniquely crafted donut experience

made fresh daily, from scratch, and with local

ingredients. This month for Treefort Fest,

the storefront wears a new coat. While you

munch on a “Hipster Berry,” “Funfetti,” or

“Girl Scout,” you can also take in a writing

workshop or panel discussion.

NIGHTLIFE

Neurolux

111 N. 11th St.

Think of Neurolox as a glorious combination

of the best parts of your local dive, the likely

spot where a wildly buzzed-about out of

town band will probably play, or the place

you might catch a set of eyes from across

the hall, and make an unsuspected new

friend. The best part? The giant luminescent

clam in the background, acting as a mascot,

chaperone, and cheerleader to a raucous

night.

The Balcony

150N 8th St.

From the moment you take the outdoor elevator

up to the the top floor of The Balcony

and turn the corner, you know what kind of

night you’re in for. Spectacularly sprawling,

you’re just as likely to sink into the crowd (or

decide to take centre stage). Think of this as

the city’s go-to destination for both a sweaty

night of dancing, or the crowning site where

the city’s next best drag queens perform.

The Funky Taco (5)

801 W Bannock St.

Imagine a beautiful place where life’s two

delicacies of live music and tacos meet.

Welcome to The Funky Taco. An even blend

of Asian, Indian, Mexican, and Americana

cuisine? Check. An unreal balcony performance

space with sightlines around the

restaurant? Check. A robust live music and

DJ schedule? Check. A pivot from “farm to

table” towards “farm to funk.” You’re sold.

The Olympic Hotel

1009 Main St.

Perched above Mulligans Pub & Eatery,

Boise’s newest venue in the heart of the city

hosts a wide range of programming most

nights of the week, including rising local

bands and international acts on a stage with

a delightful wraparound balcony. During

Treefort, the venue morphs into an important

landing site, running full steam nearly all

night long.

SHOPPING

The Record Exchange (3)

1105 West Idaho St.

To call The Record Exchange an institution

would be an understatement. For the last 40

years Idaho’s largest independent record

store has sold vinyl, books, candy bars, collectibles,

and everything in between. Keep

an ear out for their always free, all-ages,

in-store events which might include a meet

and greet, album signing, or concert.

Maven

928 W. Main St.

Maven opened in the basement of the

Idanha Building after the closure of the Garden

City Projects pilot program that created

a dynamic multi-use DIY space that cradled

art shows, live performances, and poetry

readings. Now in its new home, a recent

testimonial describes the space best: “A

cool collective / mini art museum / gift go-to

place. The best Boise has to offer in funky

little wares crafted by local creatives. Prints,

jewelry, vintage clothes, crafted candles and

so much more."

STAR

MARCH 2020 BEATROUTE 31



TONI HAFKENSCHEID

YYZ

NEW GODDESS FLOW:

LEX LEOSIS TAKES FLIGHT

By JOSEPHINE CRUZ

03.20

T

he first time I saw Lex Leosis perform was

back in 2017 at House of PainT, a day-long

festival in Ottawa celebrating hip-hop’s four

elements. She was there to perform with

her group The Sorority; they had an earlier

time slot, and people were just starting to trickle in

to the unorthodox festival site—an abandoned lot

underneath a bridge—by the time the foursome was

taking the stage.

It’s a familiar scenario for rising artists, and even

though performing earlier in the day to smaller

crowds is all part of gaining show experience, it

can be a challenge even for the most dynamic

performers. Two songs into the set, I was enjoying

The Sorority so much that I didn’t care if there were

20 or 2,000 people joining me as I head-bobbed

and cheered them on from the side of the stage. The

still-sparse crowd inched closer to the stage as the

performance continued, as if the group created a

gravitational pull people couldn’t resist.

All of the members were nailing their

performances, but it was Lex who surprised me the

most that day. We use the idiom “take up space”

when talking about women commanding arenas

they weren’t traditionally welcome in; what I saw that

day was Lex quite literally taking up space on that

stage, moving from left to right, using her long limbs

as an extension and expression of her aggressive

emceeing style. She attacked every verse with ease

and never skipped a beat, and as the performance

went on I saw faces in the crowd express surprise,

delight and joy whenever Lex touched the mic.

A lot has happened in the years since then. The

Sorority released a critically-acclaimed album, The

Pledge, and went on to tour the country many times,

playing some of the biggest festivals around to

crowds of thousands. They also broke up last year,

a development that came as a surprise to some

(myself included) and while it had all the makings

of a scandal, it was just simply time. For Lex, it

represented the final step in a plan that had been

underways for years.

Three years to be exact. Lex shared some of

the details of her hard work and personal journey

in a recent Instagram post: “I changed almost

everything. I lost 40 pounds, changed my style and

eating habits, got my mental health right, i started

writing every day, working with new producers,

singing lessons, music theory, learning Greek,

travelling more, working out, developing live shows,

routing tours, studied, read, listened....I mean BIG

changes that take 3 years.”

The fruits of her labour are due to arrive in the

form of Mythologies, Lex Leosis’ first solo project.

The ten tracks are a tight yet comprehensive

offering that speak to the different

pillars of Lex’s personal artistic lore.

There’s the tough-talking bangers

like the already-released “Mind

Your Business” and “Se Miso,” an

energetic, boastful treat primed

for viral dance challenge success.

There’s the smooth “Ouzo,” which

takes the form of a 90s summer

jam and probably sounds best

played from a ghetto blaster sitting

on a porch on a 30° day. And

there’s the introspective “Atropos

Interlude,” where she reflects on

times her soul felt “defeated.”

The album is inspired by Lex’s

Greek heritage and more specifically

the Moirai or the Fates—a group of

three goddesses, often depicted as

weavers of a tapestry or loom. The word

“moira” means to share something; by

extension “moirai” refers to those who

assign individual destinies to mortals

at birth. It’s a fitting metaphor for Lex

Leosis as she fashions the next stage

in her career, weaving pieces of herself

into the fabric—with care of course but

also the same determination that made

me a fan that first day.

The only thing left for her to do is

share it with the world. “This process has tested

my patience,” Lex shared on her Instagram. “I

watched all my homies put out amazing projects,

while everyone asked me where mine was....but still I

waited and I worked til it felt right.”

Lex Leosis’ Mythologies releases March 27

TORONTO’S ESSENTIAL

MARCH HAPPENINGS

FEBRUARY 2020 BEATROUTE 33



03.20YYZAGENDA

Sound of Data Symposium

makes waves in Toronto’s

experimental music

community

There’s no question that Toronto is

abundant with musicians and producers,

from clubs and nightlife to local artists

releasing work. Yet when it comes to

getting started, resources can seem few

and far between. Enter the Sound of Data

Symposium at Ryerson University.

Gathering a handful of the finest minds in

electronic, analog, and experimental music

for a full day of workshops, the event is

aimed at lowering the barrier of entry

for aspiring music producers, while also

exploring data, visuals and sounds.

The Symposium will present various

modules on music synthesis including

“data sonification” with the visualization

software TouchDesigner, made by

Toronto-based company Derivative. The

sessions are designed as introductions on

specialized aspects of making electronic

music, and are accessible for all skill levels.

“Visuals play a huge part in elevating the

experience of performance,” says Sofie

Mikhaylova, also known by her DJ moniker

Sonja. She is the event facilitator and the

busy founder of Biblioteka Records, a local

electronic and experimental label.

An expert herself when it comes to

analog synthesis, Mikhaylova says,

“People are realizing that, especially in

electronic music, it is really boring to just

sit and watch someone DJ or play their

instrument. When you’re an electronic

performer, there’s not a whole lot of

movement involved in that.”

John Shiga, a Ryerson Professional

Communications professor, explains

the event is a part of Ryerson’s overall

strategy of creating spaces for artists

beyond the classroom. He is excited for

this collaboration and the people it will

bring together, including the rich body of

expertise on show. The presenters include

Karl Skene, well known in Toronto’s club

community for his incredible interactive

visuals that pull in elements of audio,

video and 3D geometry, often triggered

by sensors; and Tom Auger, CTO of

digital agency Art & Science, who will

demonstrate data sonification with an

interactive art installation named the

Orpheum.

“People want to touch things,” Mikhaylova

says, adding that the Symposium is meant

to be interactive, inexpensive and focused

on the powerful potentials of musical

technology. It’s for audio nerds who want

to meet a lively community outside of

parties and shows.

Ryerson Music Den coordinator Cormac

McGee says that it’s as simple as providing

a spot for these unique communities

to gather, as price can be a barrier for

organizers and attendees of events of this

kind. He explains, “It’s all about helping

people create sustainable careers in

music. Collaborations often come up. What

we try to do is offer a place and program

where people can build and grow.”

Mikhaylova says, “Nobody’s just an artist

anymore. Everyone does their own video,

their own marketing, things crossover very

easily. I feel this event is a really great way

to unite these things.”

And many people seem to agree, as the

Sound of Data Symposium is sold out. Be

sure to follow Biblioteka for highlights from

the event and to keep informed on future

workshops.

Sound of Data Symposium // Sat, Mar. 14

biblioteka.world

By Aurora Zboch

DEBUT ALBUM

OUT MARCH 27TH, 2020

FLEMISHEYE.COM

MARCH 2020 BEATROUTE 35


03.20YYZAGENDA

Rising Star: Jon Vinyl

The sheer amount of music released

every day is staggering, but Jon Vinyl

is taking the quality over quantity

approach.

He’s released nine songs over the last

year, but instead of grouping them all

together for a longer EP he’s slowly

trickled them out, as singles or small

batches (his October EP Dangerous

was just three tracks). It’s working for

the Pickering native, who has managed

to perfect the balance of releasing

material that strikes a chord with the

masses while taking care not to show

all his cards at once—and he has the

millions of streams to prove it.

Toronto’s dominant R&B sound has

been shaped into many iterations

over the past decade, from dark and

experimental (think The Weeknd’s

House of Balloons era), to synth-heavy

(Majid Jordan, Prince Innocence), to

emotive and intense (Daniel Caesar,

Adria Kain, Charlotte Day Wilson).

There’s also been a wave of R&B artists

inspired by the old school greats; artists

like dvsn and Rochelle Jordan have

been crafting their own unique, smooth

takes on a classic, sophisticated style

of love song. This is the pocket that Jon

Vinyl fits comfortably into, inspired by

the music he heard around his house

as a young child in a single mother

household that often included Luther

Vandross, Jodeci, Maxwell and more.

Jon Vinyl’s latest loosie is “Moments”

which was co-written by GOVI and

released at the end of January. The

modern-day pop serenade features

upbeat yet minimal production that

allows Vinyl’s vocals to shine as he

describes his love interest and the

independence he sees in her that only

makes her more appealing.

If his track record is anything to go on,

chances are we’ll be seeing at least

a few more Jon Vinyl singles, maybe

another EP or even a full-length project

before 2020 is done, so now is the time

to get hip to this rising talent.

By Josephine Cruz

David James

With special guest

DOORS: 7PM | SHOW: 8PM

T I C K E T S AVA I L A B L E AT E V E N T B R I T E . C O M

36 BEATROUTE MARCH 2020


Venus Forecast

By AERIN FOGEL

Pisces season

Notable Pisces

Millie

Bobby

Brown

02.19

WELCOME TO PISCES

SEASON! According to

astrologers, it’s the end of the

year, because the astrological

wheel resets when we enter

Aries season and the first

day of spring. So if it feels like

things are ending, perhaps

unraveling and drifting away,

there’s nothing to worry about

– you’re right in line with the

season.

Pisces is ultimately about

recognizing what connects

us all. Going through our day

to day lives can be intense,

personal, and even isolating.

But this sign speaks to the

intangible and powerful reality

that we are part of a vast

collective. As a result, we learn

how to be more sensitive to

what we (and others around

us are feeling). Life is tough

sometimes, and through our

own struggles we become

more empathetic. Pisces

teaches us how to act more

compassionately as a result.

Aerin Fogel is a spiritual

counsellor and the creator of

Venus Fest, a future oriented

Toronto music festival.

Important dates:

March 9

Mercury stations direct.

Yes that’s right, we’re in the middle

of a Mercury Retrograde. Mercury

traveling backwards through

sensitive Pisces gives us reason to

pause, go inwards, spend time alone

dreaming and wondering and feeling

it all. When Mercury goes direct

again it’s time to move forward on

decisions you’ve been putting off,

and revisit some hard conversations,

this time speaking from the heart.

March 9

Full Moon in Virgo.

The Full Moon helps us see

where we need to pick up the

pieces from Mercury Retrograde

– we may need to

reorganize our drawers, our

commitments, or our social

priorities. How are we doing on

the goals we set during “back to

school” season? Some can be

redefined now, as we take time

to integrate the last few weeks.

March 24

New Moon in Aries

The first New Moon of the astrological

year is the most powerful

moon to set an intention. This

is an opportunity to start a new

endeavor, new relationship,

new approach to something

already existing, and infuse

it with fresh energy. Think of

where in your life you want

something to begin or emerge

more fully. Now is the time.

Rihanna

02.20

Erykah

Badu

02.26

Kesha

03.01

Tyler,

The

Creator

03.06

Steph

Curry

03.14

Albert

Einstein!

03.14

Visit us online at beatroute.ca to check out our Pisces mood songs playlist!

MARCH 2020 BEATROUTE 37


03.20YYZMUSIC

The Cheat Sheet BR PICKS THE 5 ESSENTIAL LIVE MUSIC SHOWS

1

SUDAN ARCHIVES

Fri, Mar 6 at Longboat Hall

The L.A.-based self-taught violinist

utilizes neo-soul and looping

downtempo R&B to launch a

mesmerizing commentary on the

aesthetics of the human body and

desire.

2

LOWER DENS

Thur, Mar 12 at the Velvet

Underground

This darkly electrifying Baltimore

band has been able to oscillate from

gothy electronica to bright, aromatic

pop by the anchoring voice of their

alluring frontman, Jana Hunter.

3

MDOU MOCTAR

Sun, Mar 15 at The Garrison

The Tuareg guitar wielder’s

impressive debut gave every era of

American rock a heady retreatment

with a style of guitar picking called

assouf. File next to both Tinariwen

and Hendrix.

4

STURGILL SIMPSON

Wed, Mar 18 at Coca-Cola Coliseum

Country’s beloved crossover

experimentalist has made a dash to

the big leagues, armed with brass

strings, flaming cars, and a fascination

with the shocking and surreal.

5 SHOPPING

Tues, Mar 31 at The Monarch Tavern

Few bands have puffed more oxygen

into the crevices of post-punk than the

Glasgow trio who craft riffs designed

to trace with your finger, and serve

them up with a side of synths.

1 SULACO

Fri, Mar 13 at Sneaky Dee’s

The Rochester band eschew easy

categorization by blending the

foundations of relentless grindcore

with a curiosity for progressive rock,

and a flair for chugging doom.

2

CONTROL TOP

Wed, Mar 11 at The Monarch Tavern

Frantic, skittering, and heartstoppingly

irresistible metallic punk

that bleeds the kinetic energy of the

B-52s with the lyrical bite of Bikini Kill.

3

UNIFORM AND THE

BODY

Sun, Mar 22 at The Garrison

A mammoth double bill of the

industrial New York noise rock

group, and the perpetually sunless

doom duo from Rhode Island. Bring

earplugs and a big, bleeding heart.

4 DEAFHEAVEN

Fri, Mar 27 at Lee’s Palace

After spinning together a collection of

the most majestic elements of heavy

music, their newest music finds the

band coating a penchant for death

metal under their nails.

5 ANXIOUS

Sat, Mar 28 at Sneaky Dee’s

Connecticut group makes an

updated case for why jagged,

scrappy, and grating pop-punk, with

a desire to pick apart the world,

always makes the bad stuff go down

a little easier.

1 AMAAL

Sat, Mar 7 at The Great Hall

Catch this rare opportunity to see

one of Toronto’s rising R&B stars

play her first headline show in her

hometown.

2

AUDREY MIKA

Thurs, Mar 12 at Jasper Dandy

One of YouTube’s biggest success

stories, this talented teen has sprung

her social media savvy and sizeable

following into a buzzing career.

3 HUNNY

Fri, Mar 20 at Rivoli

Blending bright pop hooks with

arrangements influenced by '80s

alternative rock, this California-based

foursome put an upbeat spin on

heartache.

4

DOJA CAT

Fri, Mar 27 at The Phoenix

Concert Theatre

She rose to prominence with her

viral ode to cows "Mooo!" but Doja

Cat has since proved she’s legit with

irresistible radio hits like “Juicy.”

5

SAMPA THE GREAT

Tue, Mar 31 at Velvet Underground

This Zambian-Australian singersongwriter-rapper

lives up to her

name with her powerful melange

of funk, soul, R&B, hip-hop and

spoken word that also incorporates

traditional folk chants.

1

MAYA JANE COLES

Sat, Mar 7 at Coda

One of the UK’s greatest musical

multitalents, Coles has been

producing and releasing music

since she was 15 years old and

her experience shows in both

her original productions and DJ

pedigree.

2

AC SLATER

Fri, Mar 14 at The Mod Club

Renowned for this “Night Bass”

sound that fuses elements of house

music with the dirty basslines of UK

garage.

3

HORSE MEAT DISCO

Fri, Mar 27 at Nest

London’s iconic queer dance party is

often credited with the resurgence of

disco nights in England’s capital.

4 ANDY C

Sat, Mar 28 at The Opera House

Head of RAM Records and one of

the most iconic figures in global

dance music culture is back in

Toronto with a cast of all-star locals

for a night of drum and bass.

5

REALITY CHECK

Sat, Mar 28 at Club 120

Boy Pussy, Jules Bangsworth, Sonja,

Tim Shannon. A night of dancing

and debauchery to celebrate the

aesthetic and insanity of the early

naughts.

1

TAY MONEY

Thurs, Mar 5 at Toybox

They say everything is bigger in

Texas and the saying couldn’t be

more true when it comes to the

charisma and energy of this rapper

known for her Southern accent and

cartoonish style.

2

FREE NATIONALS

Fri, Mar 6 at Velvet Underground

More a funky soul band than

anything, we slotted the Free

Nationals in hip-hop as they rose

to prominence for their work with

rapper Anderson .Paak

3 BBNO$

Tue, Mar 10 at The Mod Club

He went viral in China thanks to a

dance challenge, and now BBNO$

is looking to build notoriety in North

America for his turnt up trap beats

and wild shows.

4 GASHI

Wed, Mar 11 at The Mod Club

The son of Kosovo Refugees, the

self-styled “Trap Phil Collins” went

from a janitor to a major labelsigned

rapper in a matter of years.

5

LIL MOSEY

Thurs, Mar 26 at Rebel

At barely 18, Lil Mosey already has a

Billboard hit and a rabid fan base. He

sold out a smaller venue in Toronto

last year and returns to take on

Rebel.

38 BEATROUTE MARCH 2020



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