LIVING EVERY MINUTE LIKE IT'S OVERTIME P.K. SUBBAN MONTREAL DEFENSEMAN
VOLUME 9 NUMBER 7 ISSUE 76
26. Focus: Caitlin Cronenberg
34. Fashion: Photography by Jimmi Francoeur and styling by Toyo Tsuchiya
42. M83 and the infinite sadness.
20. Malcom Levy Better than Barrington.
46. Big Troubles Guys from Jersey who aren’t obsessed with tanning or house music.
22. Johnny Taylor *not the guy from Duran Duran.
54. Pterodactyl The best part of Jurassic Park III. 58. Caitlin Rose A volunteer of America.
48. NewVillager It takes a village to raise the roof. 60. Album Reviews 52. Burd & Keyz The Burd is the word. 61. SelectION: Christmas funerals.
REGULARS 14. Editor’s Letter Holiday Rap with MC Miker G & DJ Sven.
18. ION Style
62. ION The Web Filmdrunk 2: The Squeakquel.
16. Of The Month Starship Troopers and Bowie’s Earthling. More 90s than Winona.
19. ION Prize
63. Horoscopes: Ernold Sane makes it rain pain. 64. Comics
Publisher/Fashion Director Editor in Chief/Music Editor Creative Director Arts Editor Office Manager Stylist at Large
Vanessa Leigh email@example.com Trevor Risk firstname.lastname@example.org Tyler Quarles email@example.com Rachel Zottenberg firstname.lastname@example.org Natasha Neale email@example.com Toyo Tsuchiya firstname.lastname@example.org
Web Editor Douglas Haddow email@example.com Design Intern Andrew Palmquist Writers Kristi Alexandra, Jordan Ardanaz, Kate Armstrong, JJ Brewis, Jay Brown, Phil David, Peter Marrack, Adrienne Pady, Laura Phillips, Kellen Powell, Ernold Sane, Ian Urbanski, Mike Wardlaw Photographers and Artists Matt Atkinstall, Jess Baumung, Eric Cairns, Neil Champagne, Alan Chan, JoHanne Doyon, Shannon Elliot, Owen Ellis, Emir Eralp, Jimmi Francoeur, Scott Loudoun, Jan Snarski, Andrea Tiller ION is printed 10 times a year by the ION Publishing Group. No parts of ION Magazine may be reproduced in any form by any means without prior written consent from the publisher. ION welcomes submissions but accepts no responsibility for the return of unsolicited materials. All content © Copyright ION Magazine 2011 Hey PR people, publicists, brand managers and label friends, send us stuff. Youtube album art teasers are making too much e-waste, time-waste, and brain-waste. We prefer getting actual stuff. Butter our biscuits with: band t-shirts, powerful magic, the Criterion collection edition of Panique Au Village, CDs, vinyl, waterproof Diora Baird cardboard cutouts, proof of Tim Tebow’s sex change, Blu-Rays, video games, pride, and iPads can be sent to the address below. #303, 505 Hamilton Street. Vancouver, BC, Canada. V6B 2R1 Office 604.696.9466 Fax: 604.696.9411 firstname.lastname@example.org www.ionmagazine.ca | www.facebook.com/ionmagazine @ionmagazine | www.issuu.com/ionmagazine Advertising enquiries can be directed to email@example.com COVER: M83 [shot exclusively for ION Magazine] Photography: Jess Baumung
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CONTRIBUTORS WRITER [Jay brown]
PHOTOGRAPHER [JAN SNarski]
WRITER [mike wardlaw]
Jay Brown interviewed Pterodactyl for this issue. A musical matador, Jay Brown can make you swoon with his magic, sensual synth. He’s worked for City TV, MTV Canada and ZeD on the CBC. He’s interviewed a lot of bands (maybe yours?) and is also half of the electro-rock duo Latenite Automatic and fronts The Sunday Service.
Emir Eralp shot Pterodactyl for this issue. Emir grew up in Istanbul, Turkey, regularly cutting school, listening to the Smiths on the Euro-Asian ferry, and getting drunk on cheap wine on the side streets of a city bustling with life. The tendencies that got him in trouble in high school made him well suited for film school at Northwestern, where he directed, and DP’ed movies, while developing an unhealthy obsession with post war European cinema. Upon moving to New York City, with a film degree under his arm, he started assisting some of the most exciting fashion, portrait and beauty photographers. He's been living in Brooklyn, traveling the world, and photographing equal parts beauty and madness, wherever they may appear.
Australian born, now residing in North Vancouver, Jan's images can be found scattered through the pages of ION and other publications. His experience has led him to believe that every project should be approached with a unique perspective. His outlook on photography is inspired by the people he interacts with daily. Jan's images rarely take on a particular look, but instead are constantly changing and adapting to the particular situations he finds himself in. As a lover of Vancouver, his creativity thrives in this great city.
Mike has recently spent his time between Vancouver and Toronto, writing whenever the opportunity presents itself and shamelessly reaching for the next rung of the proverbial ladder. He eats way too much instant pasta, and on weekends likes to stand behind the DJ table pretending he knows what’s going on. After graduating from the University of Toronto with absolutely no distinction, Mike looks to the future with an increasing sense of trepidation which was only slightly suppressed by interviewing Big Troubles for this issue.
nnually around this time we’re reminded by every media outlet, store clerk, and jewelry ad that the holidays are for families. Now, I adore my family as much as the next guy. My father’s attrition humour is unmatched. I’ve been hearing him tell me that guinea pigs’ eyes fall out when picked up by their tails for the majority of my life (tip: they don’t have tails). However, if you challenge this age old idea, the benefits may outweigh the costs. First off, any amount of travel past the 6th of December (Sinterklass Day for my Dutchies) is a miserable nightmare. Traveling to Salmon Arm or North Battleford via trains, planes, or automobiles will drive you around the bend as it did Steve Martin. Secondly, it seems
unreasonable to pay the high prices that this country places on its travelers to spend a week indoors, wishing it wasn’t minus 40 degrees, hiding a pack and a half a day smoking habit from one’s parents. You just ate a delicious meal and have drank your weight in Drambuie? Sounds like a terrible time to enjoy a relaxing cigarette. A few years ago, three friends and I decided to have an “orphans” Christmas; a title that painted our lives with pity from our contemporaries. Little did they know that they were the ones in need of a belly rub of empathy by the day’s end. We had a plan; to wake up early, watch Die Hard and Home Alone and get rowdy drunk. To achieve champion levels of
inebriation, we had a drinking game. Every time we received a text message or telephone call from a buddy moaning about their family, we did a shot. By the third time an uncle placed furious queries about post secondary education on a faraway friend, and Bruce Willis Ho Ho Ho had a machine gun, we were nice and toasted. I mean, wouldn’t you rather have a beer with your old man, outdoors on his porch while you both surveyed his kingdom, explaining his latest landscaping endeavours rather than deal with the inevitable grimace you receive from your kid sister when she unwraps that DVD box set of Doctor Who you somehow thought she’d enjoy so much? Summertime is just a better family time, and nobody likes a roadtrip through Sault
Ste. Marie in late December, unless you’re a serial killer or a major junior hockey fan (of course the two are not mutually exclusive). I want to make certain again that I’m not anti-family (a title usually only reserved for democratic presidential candidates), I just want you to know there are options. Maybe pour yourself a fireball and eggnog (no baby boomers means no need for rum!), put on Devon Williams new album Euphoria (no silent generation means no need for “Silent Night”!) and curl up with the ION holiday issue. We don’t care that you dropped out of university. -Trevor Risk Editor in Chief
When you have a serious food allergy, birthday cake is just one more thing you canâ€™t have. Visit anaphylaxis.ca
OF THE MONTH
THE LUDVICO TREATMENT EARTHLING COVER ALBUM When Adam Veenendaal of The Ludvico Treatment was a little guy in 1997, he discovered David Bowie’s jungle album Earthling, and realized that electronic music could be more than just 2 Unlimited or C&C Music Factory. Today, making his living as a slick record producer, he decided to pay homage to the album that changed his life by covering the entire record. “I guess it’s interesting that it was mostly recorded in the woods using unorthodox methods”, he says of the labour of love. Check it out in its entirety at youtube. com/user/theludvicotreatment
INTUNE STEREO EARPHONES [by fuse] Whatever happened to being an audiophile? Well, being that more people listen to ultracompressed, low fi (and not in a cool Sebadoh way) youtube videos than they do practice zen and the art of turntable maintenance, it should be no surprise that our collective expectations are lowering when it comes to sound quality. The ambitious people at fuse are attempting to keep our ears above the waterline by introducing their new line of earphones. The pitch is that each set are available for four different listening experiences – Pop, Jazz/ Classical, Rock/Blues/Country, and Rap. They’re fantastic for experiencing your favourite style, unless you’re listening to all the genres in random order and in that case you should stop listening to/being Girl Talk.
BLACKBOARDS IN PORN Some bored/asexual people in cyberspace decided to evaluate the mathematics on the ever-present blackboards we all ignore while watching the classic “professor” scenario throughout the history of pornography. Turns out that certain pornographers go the extra mile and work out high level calculus to bring authenticity to a scene. We can’t wait for the spin-off Is There Actually Sausage On That Pizza? [blackboardsinporn.blogspot.com]
STARSHIP TROOPERS: INVASION Paul Verhoeven was accused of making a fascist movie when Robocop took the world over, so he thought "Okay, you want a fascist movie? I’ll give you a fascist movie!" and in 1997 we were treated with the tongue-in-cheek thriller Starship Troopers. Fourteen years and two tripe-churning sequels later, word of a new, fully animated CGI sequel is in production. There’s a production blog on Tumblr for the fourth installment, and word is Casper Van Dien will be voicing Johnny Rico. Maybe this time they’ll teach us how to be apes that live forever.
OF THE MONTH
FROGBOX Moving is a giant pain in the keester. You’ve got to beg local businesses to let you rummage through their cardboard box collection, only to have those exact boxes fall apart in the rain, spilling your pristine collection of comic books all over the front steps of your new apartment. Luckily, a company like Frogbox has your best interests in mind. This company is exploding all over the continent with a near flawless business plan. For cheaper than buying cardboard boxes, Frogbox shows up at your old apartment with waterproof, easy-to-carry, reusable friendly boxes, and picks them up after you’re finished with the move. Their slogan “From One Pad To Another” sums it up, although we’d also like to propose “It’s Easy Being Green.”
BEN SHERMAN STORE OPENING On November 4th Ben Sherman officially opened its first Canadian flagship store at 734 Queen Street West in Toronto. The 2 600 square foot store carries the full lifestyle collection from Ben Sherman including shoes, boots, bags, belts, hats and more. The centerpiece of the new Toronto store is "The Shirt Bar" - a counter dedicated to shirting, and designed to make the task of finding the perfect shirt both easy and enjoyable.
CHER TO GET HER OWN COMIC BOOK Well, this was inevitable. Apparently Cher’s fans have devoured so many of her biographies that the only option left was to immortalize her life story in the comic medium. Official tagline: “Female Force: Cher turns back time and tells how this platinum selling signer became an award winning actress and a performer for the ages.” Now that she's in cartoon form, and Beavis and Butthead are back on the air, they can finally have that virtual reality three-way.
RADIO SOULWAX VIMEO CHANNEL To coincide with their Radio Soulwax App, the hardest working musicians on the planet have recently created a Vimeo channel to overwhelm you. The videos are all hour long adventures through sight, sound and their record collections. The stand out around the ION office is “Librarian Girl” a journey through both the Soulwax collection of library records and the mind of a foxy librarian working overtime. [vimeo.com/channels/radiosoulwax]
ION STYLE Photography: Alan Chan Styling: Toyo Tsuchiya @ Judy Inc. Makeup and Hair: Andrea Tiller using TRESemmĂŠ Haircare @ NOBUSURA Models: Lisa B @ Lizbell Shoes - Aldo Pants - Mavi Bag - Pointer/Porter collaboration Shirt - Lifetime Collective Necklace - dace/mono collaboration Jacket - dace Fur - dace Sweater - Lifetime Collective
ION THE PRIZE THE STOWE
Photography: Tyler Quarles
The holidays are a special time, so we are giving away a special prize; a hand crafted piece from designer, Molly Spittal. With an affinity for leather and heavy fabrics, Molly has grown her label, The Stowe, from her signature hand crafted belts, to totes and backpacks. Each one is made by hand and is one of a kind. The piece that we are giving away is her Roll-Top Rucksack and was inspired by the functional Dry-Sac that is used by kayakers. All of her pieces are made with 100% natural leather, natural cotton and brass hardware. Visit us at ionmagazine.ca and comment under this post for your chance to win.
CULTURE MALCOLM LEVY
WHEN THE LEVY BREAKS Words: Jordan Ardanaz
You know that whole, “Dude, what if the red I’m seeing isn’t the same red you’re seeing?” conversation you have? It’s actually a completely valid, sober thought too. If you think about it, everything you see is just what your brain decides is important out of a few flickers of light, and since everybody’s a unique and beautiful snowflake, it’s pretty likely that we’re all living in our own personal realities (some more than others). Now take that thought and look at your digital camera. What colour of red does it see? Is it a truer, more honest-to-goodness red? Does it see the world more accurately through the lens? Our lives are basically a mixed bag of biases and distractions anyway, so given that the camera definitely doesn’t think about the puppy you’re photographing for your Facebook album, it’s reasonable to assume that it just sees it for what it is (adorable), and goes on about its business. So then, what’s going on around us that we overlook in our day-to-day experience? To photographer/videographer Malcolm Levy, the world is a place full of unknowns hidden in plain sight, and experiences often taken for granted, but full of meaning. Working exclusively with digital equipment, Levy frames images from fractures of
moments so brief, that in order to get them he first has to give his camera the digital equivalent of an existential crisis. By either filming landscapes in motion, or filming a location while moving the camera around constantly, Levy’s work comes to life in the way he pushes his equipment past its ability to make sense of what it’s actually seeing. To do this, he breaks his footage down to its most basic time scale, creating what he calls “Other Frames” that are captured in the moments between when the camera seems to – for lack of a better word - blink. “I continually slow [video] down way beyond any kind of normal frame rate. It’s so beyond even just normally slow. About six minutes [of video] is maybe about one second of movement. I’m able to sort of deconstruct digital technology so it has to sort of think for itself.” And at frame rates as slow as 0.05 fps, the camera itself starts to become his medium. “What [the digital camera] is actually doing is sending a signal constantly that’s creating the information, but it’s built to create only so much information. Digital technology isn’t made to be slowed down past a certain extent; it’s trying to mimic film. What it does then, is create ‘Other Frames’ that are not a part of
any normal reality,” he explains. The ideas around "Other Frames" have been presented by Levy in part over the past few years in Hungary, Germany, China, Toronto and Vancouver. Speaking recently at the 17th International Symposium on Electronic Art in Istanbul, he discussed the importance of abstract photography, while having the opportunity to gather new inspiration from the environments around him. The work is presented on large-format stills that feel like you could dive into them, or in videos that are like mental massages: entrancing, meditative and spiritual. Levy brings the viewer into the mood of the places he films, capturing the soul of moments that would normally get lost in brain’s translation of light beams into thoughts. In this sense, Malcolm Levy’s camera is like an extension of our human situation, with the lens as the eyeball and the sensor chip as the brain. It’s easy to become lost in the moment when looking at his work. It feels like you’re seeing the soul of the place he’s filmed. Sitting inside his studio, in front of a huge monitor playing a series of entrancing videos from his most recent trip, Levy tells
me about the importance of mood. “Often what I find really interesting about the work, is looking at the different notions of how the feeling is in a certain time and space. So that even though [the work] is abstract, it’s really speaking to the overall emotion of that time, or sort of how one might feel in that space.” More a wandering Yogi than a studio shut-in, Levy has found his locations all over the world, filming places that are loaded with emotion and character: a graffiti wall in Sao Paulo, a palace in Istanbul, a model of the future city of Shanghai or a train ride through rural India. He captures their vibe while completely abstracting the image from the subject. “There’s a real surrealism to taking the train in India,” he tells me, “you
travel day and night - often overnight, and it doesn’t go that fast. So you just sort of carry on.” It seems too, that the bigger and more modernized the world is becoming, the harder it is to see through the hodgepodge of culture that we’re creating everywhere. In this sense, Levy’s ideas have plenty of potential to peer through the cultural veil of a place better than most, by abstracting it to the point where it becomes all just a sensation. And depending on the location, his work can be just as warm and inviting, as brooding and foreboding. “What I’m working on now is looking how images of architecture can relate around the world…intertwining
and juxtaposing images from the model of the future city of Shanghai, with images from the slums of Bombay, creating hybrid landscapes.” He explains that it all comes down to, “What do we really know about a place, how do we really see it?” There’s a certain gentle flow to it all that’s transfixing, more like the moods of textural synth music than your run of the mill photography. And just like how synthesizers make sound out of electrical signals, Malcolm Levy makes music with his cameras using the ghost in the machine. It seems like this suits him well, as he tells me, “I see visuals as being very musical.” Malcolm Levy will culminate his work on "Other Frames" in New York in Spring 2012.
CULTURE JOHNNY TAYLOR
TAYLOR MADE Words: Rachel Zottenberg Photographer: Matthew Atkinstall & Eric Cairns
What makes someone an artist? Totally a cheesy question, right? But honestly, if you’re willing to forget the bullshit and just think about that, what is it that makes someone an artist? When have you “made it” as a painter? It’s not an easy question to answer. I've wondered for many years just what defines an artist. We have degrees and exams to designate doctors or lawyers, but even those armed with an MFA do not think it necessarily gives them the right to claim the title of artist. There seems to be some immeasurable or mysterious test. We the viewer/ consumer (and therefore the judge and jury) require more of them. We need them to capture us. We expect artists to try to do or make something exceptional, to produce out-of-the-ordinary reactions in themselves, and in us. There are few people who can create such a reaction. However, when a painter puts in the time and effort and is able to create art that moves people, it’s
worth taking notice. Johnny Taylor is a self-taught abstract impressionist painter. He refuses to work from sketches, photos or reference points. His paintings, which evoke elements of architecture, have an instantly recognizable language and pattern that play with the past, the present, and the future. His compositions incorporate distillations of visual phenomena – the city, structures, patterns of trees and nature. “I do not seek to represent specific subjects.” He says "I am responding to the energies, forces and indefinite aspects of an active matrix." Johnny first introduced himself to Vancouver’s art scene when he put together a solo show in a nondescript film studio and featured six large works that had cumulatively taken him five years to create. The audience was treated to prodigious raw canvases covered in oil paint that had been worked into
watercolor like delicateness. The grandiose scale and confidence were enough to take your breath away. The buzz about Johnny began. In a city with the best of intentions but famous for inaction, Johnny soon found himself in a conundrum: one successful show under his belt and a gallery promising him a big future. Contract negotiations began and expectations were built up and unfulfilled. Johnny realized that at the end of the day he was the one who could best present himself as the artist he wanted people to see. Within three years Johnny moved forward with a blockbuster solo exhibition that showcased twelve large works – 12 by 14 foot compositions. He defied expectations and created work using wood, plaster and glass. This show was a challenge to the viewer as much as Johnny was challenged to create it. Pieces
demanded that you reach out and touch them to even begin to figure out how, and of what, they had been created. The work was transfixing. But space to create and show art in an expensive city was becoming more difficult to find. Cuts to government investment in arts and culture had a devastating ripple effect throughout the community. Lucky for Johnny, while out on a walk with his dad one day, a serendipitous encounter with Mark Brand, one of Vancouver’s most accomplished young entrepreneurs, turned into the opportunity of a lifetime. Brand had just reopened one of Vancouver’s most beloved buildings in the heart of Downtown: Save-On Meats, a four story building with 100 year old hardwood hallways, brick walls, two empty meat lockers, heritage style windows and the infamous Pinky the Pig sign. The top floor was vacant and prime space for an artist to use. Brand offered it
to Johnny and without hesitation Johnny put his good fortune to use. Within a year he’d opened with his best show to date. Hundreds of people hiked the four flights of stairs for the chance to view Johnny’s most recent work. Quite possibly the jumpstart to his international career, this show opened the door to a plethora of opportunities worldwide including a upcoming show at the beautiful 6500 square foot Melissa Morgan Fine Art Gallery in California. True artists are inventors. They create something new rather than simply copying what's there. Their art prompts new ways of thinking. They push the boundaries beyond what was thought to be possible. It's not the materials, or the gear. It's what they create with them and within us. If you seek out Johnny’s work, it will create a reaction in you. You will see something evocative and yet unique. In his work, surface is as important
as the paint. Finger swipes of thick paint, smudges of oil sticks, washes, scratches and dents; filled in with wax, layered up, scraped away, and built up again. The process is complex, yet compositionally, the pieces are focused and restrained. Parts are left untouched and empty, drawing the viewer in with sharp perspective lines towards deeper hushed activity. What materializes appears like a floating city suspended in the atmosphere. “Like cities having a dream”, he says. So what’s makes someone a true artist? Ask Johnny.
CULTURE JOHNNY TAYLOR
FOCUS CAITLIN CRONENBERG CHECK OUT MORE AT [CAITLINCRONENBERG.COM]
After graduating from Ryerson University with a degree in Fashion Design, Toronto-born Caitlin Cronenberg decided to forgo the design world to pursue a career in photography, a field she has had a passion for since childhood. Starting out shooting for a local community newsmagazine as well as doing freelance work, she has since been published in an assortment of publications including Fashion, German Vanity Fair, and Hello! Magazine as well as many major Canadian publications, including ION Magazine in 2009. Last year she completed and self-published her first book of photography, POSER, and she is currently working on her second book, The Endings.
FOCUS CAITLIN CRONENBERG
FOCUS CAITLIN CRONENBERG
FOCUS CAITLIN CRONENBERG
FOCUS CAITLIN CRONENBERG
FOCUS CAITLIN CRONENBERG
FOCUS CAITLIN CRONENBERG
THIS BRIGHT FLASH Words: JJ Brewis Photography: Jess Baumung
A film can tell a story effectively because of its use of audio and visuals. For a musician to pull off a work that fully emotes that of the silver screen, the artist must connect to its audience based on the quality of the journey. For M83's Anthony Gonzalez, this is the case with his albums, part of a body of work that feels cinematic in its truest essence. On his newest, Hurry Up I'm Dreaming, Gonzalez builds off the ouevre of a career heavily steeped in a chaotic medley of sharp twists of a severe emotional overdrive. The blend feels entirely visual, altogether highlighted in the group's live show: Gonzalez now dons a folklore-ready beast mask at the beginning of the set, triumphantly raising his paws in the air before his band joins him onstage for the actual musical component of the set. It's all very disconnected, a strange melee of uncharted samples,
wailing guitars, somber synths, and chamber-ready percussion. The combinations sound jarring, and they certainly can be in any other context. But it's also undoubtedly the sound that is inexplicably soundtracking the film of many of our lives. When "Kim & Jessie" comes on, I'm taken back to my friends' house parties and the specific moments within countless nights. The tracks hold true for some of the wildest nights of my life, but equally equate those times I've spent laying in my bed for hours. Gonzalez moved to Los Angeles from his homeland of France with big dreams to score Hollywood films. He ended up in a musical project that is now into its sixth record, and embarking into its second decade. Clearly he's done something right, and despite never moving into actual films, one could argue that listening to an M83 record is a performance that
engages all the scenes, colours, and feelings that you'd have during a movie theatre screening. What's actually laid down in a track and what's read by the listener are completely unrelated, but generally certain threads carry an artist through, and are universally interpreted. The childlike wonder found within these songs is intriguing, from the images of youth laid into the album jackets, to the distorted John Hughes-era sounding voices buried into the albums' choruses. The entire project wafts of distorted childhood, whether a missed opportunity, or a chance at never growing old, like a musical voyage over London and straight on to Neverland. The neo-gothisms are cleaned up with neon lights and down-tempo synths, but the dark side in all of us looks to music like M83 to release us. If misery loves company, then the answer is clear. "I want to be part of it, invisible even to the night," says "Graveyard Girl", a relatively new but now classic M83 track, paced in today's standards. The young blood in all of us will always keep searching, and as long as Anthony Gonzalez keeps supplying the musical backdrop for life's moments, both rare and banal, we'll all be just fine.
MUSIC BIG TROUBLES
POP-O-MATIC TROUBLES Words: Mike Wardlaw Photography: Jan Snarski
Eleven nights into their first touring experience I met with the band before their final Canadian show. We talked Mitch Easter, discussed “urban nut” –whatever the fuck that means – brushed upon purchasing pornography, and delved into the band’s tongue-in-cheek fantasies of working with one Brian Setzer, during which I learned to keep personal observations to myself and enjoy the aloof idiosyncrasies of a young band. Big Troubles are up-and-coming, catchy, and purposefully hard to gauge. Recently signed to Slumberland Records, their second full-length Romantic Comedy came out this fall to mixed reactions. And in Van, in a van with Jersey plates I got to know the stranger side of what has become an increasingly polarizing act. How would you describe your sound to someone who’d never heard a Big Troubles song? Sam Franklin: Pop-Rock. Alex Craig: That’s what we’ve finally settled on. At first we would just say rock, or alternative; sometimes even indie-rock. But now we just say pop-rock. That makes the most sense to people. After your first Canadian shows – Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton, and soon to be Vancouver – what’s the initial opinion of the Great White North? S: It’s better than the American Midwest. A: We really liked Calgary, because we found that it was kind of stuck culturally. It seemed like we had walked into some sort of time machine and popped up in 1999. S: Actually, I take it back; it’s on par with the American Midwest
Luka Usmiani: But Vancouver’s been fantastic. Nicest of the four. The drive in was nice; long, but nice. So you bought a porno today? Tell us about that. A: Yeah, we went to Fantasy Factory just down the street. I was a little disappointed with my purchase. It was wrapped in shrink wrap, so I couldn’t really check it out. I was going off of the cover picture alone, which the rest of the issue didn’t really live up to. It was pretty raunchy though. Ian Drennan: We can show it to you later. I look forward to that. What are you guys most proud of on Romantic Comedy? I: I think just the experience of working with Mitch Easter. And how was it working with a guy who has produced bands like REM and Pavement? S: He was down to earth, a very nice guy. Eventually it got to the point where we were all very much speaking the same language. As in, we were speaking nonsense and he had learned how to speak it as well. A: We do speak nonsense, and we weren’t sure if he thought that was funny at all. But by the end, he was chiming in with our jokes. L: We started calling guitar takes 'urban nut'; describing them as 'urban nut.' Urban Nut? A: Yeah, the concept of 'urban nut' was really big for the album. L: It flows throughout the entire album, we think. A: We’d be doing takes and saying, 'Oh yeah, that’s urban nut.'
And I was thinking Mitch probably just thinks we’re retarded. But then there was this moment where someone was tracking, and he turns to the other three members of the band and goes, 'You think that was urban nut?' L: Things would also be 'Hollywood' or 'boyfriend'. A: If we thought we were singing our vocals too effeminately we’d ask if that was too 'boyfriend'. L: We may have gone too 'boyfriend'. A: And 'Hollywood' is if it sounded appropriately slick. I: 'Hollywood' approved. A: When we wanted all the takes to be really slick - if it achieved that high slickness - then it was 'Hollywood.' Overall, it was pretty 'Hollywood'; and 'boyfriend', but not too 'boyfriend'. L: Almost all the time though, Mitch knew exactly what we wanted. It was a real pleasure. On initial listens I couldn’t help but note similarities to The Jesus and Mary Chain. Do you guys get that a lot? And how much do you appreciate being compared to a seminal act like that? S: We got it a lot, especially early in the Big Troubles career, and after about the fifth comparison to the Jesus and Mary Chain I just kind of wanted to rip my own head off. And I’m not sure that any of us ever really listened to them. A: When you start, some people pick up on some older things that influenced you and you think, 'Yeah, that’s great. They hear that.' But the novelty of that wears off really quickly, and eventually it’s just obnoxious. But, more recently there have been some really unwarranted comparisons to contemporary bands,
and that made me realize that I’d take a comparison to an older band over that any day. Awesome. Thanks, guys. Have a great show and enjoy the rest of the tour. A: I think we should just riff for a minute. We could talk about some of the future plans for Big Troubles moving forwards. L: I think it should be a secret. A: No, the fake ones. L: Oh, the fake future, yeah.
A: The swing revival revival. I’m not sure I should say this; I don’t know if it’s really ready to be printed. But I’ve had some emails back and forth with Brian Setzer, of the Brian Setzer Orchestra, and he seems pretty interested in working with us on our next record. Okay. Thanks guys, really. How about one final thought? A: We’ve made sort of an alienating record with our second record, because people wanted to hear the lo-fi shoegaze of
Worry and they’re disappointed with this new album. L: But the third time around we’re not going to give them a record, we’re going to give them a swing revival restaurant. A: We’re changing mediums altogether. Every LP comes with a download card to open your own restaurant. Our third record will come with a meal coupon to the Brian Setzer Restaurant by Big Troubles.
MACHO MEN Words: Trevor Risk Photography: Owen Ellis
NewVillager is reaching to blend their brand from the pop world into the art world and back again. Historically, this rarely sits well with music critics, and is ignored by art critics. Tell this to NewVillager and they’ll ignore you; not because they’re deflecting criticism, but because they’re too busy sitting under their emblematic wigwam, plotting their next extravagant display. As evidenced by seeing fans in homemade t-shirts while the band is on tour supporting Metronomy, NewVillager mean a tonne to the special few, and in the end isn’t cult status more satisfying than fame? What's NewVillager's relationship between digital and analog sounds? Ross Simonini: We love what happens when acoustic sounds and digital sounds are married. If you take, say, an electronic kick and fuse it with a real kick, or an orchestral tom, you can get that isolated power of digital while getting the nice inconsistencies of acoustic. A digital snare repeated over and over can be good sometimes, but other times, the repetitive quality can make the ear get a tired, whereas, with an acoustic snare, every hit is just a little different - different force, angle, etc. - so the ear hears something subtly different each time. We do this combo live and on recordings. We try to maintain
a balance all the time. Live, Collin (our drummer) pretty much always hits a real drum with a sample. It's funny, people consider acoustic sounds to be more 'human,' but really, cats can walk on pianos, wind can blow through chimes, so it's digital sounds, with all the complexities behind their creation that are the most human. Humans are the only ones who'd ever think of making those sounds. Is there a certain mythological or spiritual element to your music? ‘Mythological,’ yes. We have read about mythologies throughout history and tried to model a lot of our ideas and structures around them. We think of the word ‘mythology’ like the word ‘art’ as a fundamental undercurrent in everything we make. Mythology is one of the most international, commonplace methods of communication on earth, so it just seemed to go hand in hand with pop music, which is all about mass communication. It's not about self-expression, it's more about trying to get at the basic human ideas. ‘Spiritual,’ on the other hand, is a word I don't fully understand. I mean, I understand all its uses and I know the words that generally surround that word, but I'm not sure what it really means. I've always thought that ‘spiritual’ was a bit of a negative word, in the sense that it only points to the things that it's not.
It's not physical. It's not scientific. It's not anything, really. It points away, not toward. It's the ‘other.’ All religions and newage ideas all fall under the spirituality umbrella, because they all try to convey something ineffable. It's something that needs to be conveyed, but, to me that word ‘spirituality’ has always felt like a reductive way for describing the least reductive aspects of human experience. Your website has photos of what looks like Inuksuks that you put up around the country in places like hotel lobbies. What do they signify? Through all our installations and shows, and studio time, we've built up a collection of materials. As much as possible, we bring them with us on tour, usually in a big bin. We make different things with them every day - on stage, in hotels, in galleries, in fields, on the side of the road. At shows, sometimes we have a fourth member, Eric Lister, who uses them as a sort of ritual garb and moves around the room with them. Sometimes it's more of an installation. Sometimes we throw them into the audience. Whenever we use them, we're always trying to express some aspect of the mythology. There are different postures and shapes for different stages in the mythology. Part of your tour merchandise is a series of symbols on separate buttons. What do they each signify? Each one is a stage in the mythology. There are ten of them. Ten songs. Ten roles. Ten rooms. You recently holed up in an art gallery in Los Angeles for an installation entitled Temporary Culture. What is Temporary Culture and how was it performed? Temporary Culture was a 10 day installation in the Human Resources Gallery. We built a shanty town with materials we gathered from the area and we brought 10 artists to live and sleep in the space. The idea was to get at that word ‘culture.’ Mythologies come out of culture. Get a bunch of people together, set up a township, and mythologies just start to emerge. We had a radio station. We built beds. We held parties. Different musicians performed every night, and we performed on the final night, tearing the whole thing down during the final song of our set. When NewVillager performs, there is no backing tracks or canned samples. Is it important to you to perform every sound and
percussive stroke when in front of an audience? This comes back to the digital/analog ideas. If we're using a sample or digital sound, we like to infuse that sound with a more organic performance, both on recordings and live. So we play all digital sounds or samples. We like people to be able to see a movement - a drum hit, a key stroke - for every sound they hear. There are two distinct voices on your songs; one falsetto and one deep and earthy. What does this create for your listener or for NewVillager? Partly, it's just the way that we sing. But that low/high duality is definitely something we thought about. We recorded the album as a duo and that sort of binary talk (low/high, analog/ digital, etc) was pretty essential to us in the writing process. Ben has a natural falsetto and I naturally sing a little deeper. But we also both switch it up. Ben goes low. I go high. On the record we came up with a full cast of voices that we'd use. They all connected to the mythos. Different ones expressed different ideas about masculinity or femininity or neutrality, just like the symbols and roles do. NewVillager is not only a musical endeavor, but also a feast for the eyes. Artists like Leonard Cohen have blended visual art with words and music before, but do you find it any more difficult to appeal on such a prolific output? Is the most difficult aspect the time it requires, the vision, dealing with crossover critics, or is it natural? On the one hand, It's pretty natural. We started blending all the art and music because that's what naturally happened when we wrote music. We drew and talked about videos. We imagined fictional people singing the songs, like Bob Dylan or Tom Waits does. We thought about the lyrics as something other than personal emoting, as a way of telling timeless stories. So the creative side was all pretty obvious for us. The other side of things - the press, etc. - can get more complicated. We talk a lot about ideas and history, and while art critics are pretty interested in that, some rock critics can be allergic to this sort of discursive thinking. ‘Pretentious’ is a word that I don't think art critics would ever use. They like work that tries to go deep with concept, or work that pushes against boundaries, and I think, if anything, shallowness would be a more common criticism in the art world. But pop music has
a history of being more intuitive and from-the-gut, so, if an artist has interest in bigger ideas, that word ‘pretentious’ gets whipped out pretty quickly. It's good, though. Checks and balances are always needed. But ultimately, we like art and ideas, and we also like big candycoated pop music with simple chord progressions. Maybe it's a contradiction, but it's just the way we are. I know there are other people who feel the same way, but for those that don't, maybe they can still enjoy one aspect of what we're doing. Ultimately, I hope the songs stand on their own as good songs. Do people find your music surprising (or surprisingly catchy) when they've read about you before they've heard you? When people hear about the ideas first, they tend to think we're some wildly experimental sounding noise group. Or black metal. These sorts of genres have been linked to ideas and art-making. But we really like the way pop music and mythology seems to have a tension. In some ways they don't go together at all. But, like I was saying above, they do go together in other ways. In my mind, I still can't imagine any more mythological artists than Michael Jackson or The Beatles. In a weird way, they occupy the same spot in my brain as Robin Hood and Kali. Just listening to NewVillager's songs make a listener feel like you are very collaborative people. How does collaboration affect your art? Almost everything we do is collaborative. Initially, there were just two of us, so trying to do anything on our own was pretty difficult. Our shows used to involve using all four limbs simultaneously. It was too much. So we've added a drummer and brought on a fourth member to help with art. In order to make the videos and installations and such we've needed to bring people into what we're doing and let them get deeply involved. The mythology has been a useful tool for that. It allows everyone to get on the same page and to go deep into ideas, to get specific, very quickly. A lot of the basic structure and context is already laid out in the mythos, so a director or a costume designer can get creative quickly. It's the same with live shows. If we just provide the right scenario, people get involved in all sorts of ways. Recently, audiences have jumped on stage, worn our mask, swiped gloves from the stage, and interacted with our human sculpture in ways we never expected.
MUSIC BURD & KEYZ
THE BURDZ AND THE KEYZ Words: Peter Marrack Photography: Neil Champagne
The only other thug I know who got expelled from elementary school is my cousin Andrea. She got busted for bullying some of the girls in her kindergarten class, which brings me to Toronto, ahem, Markham-based hip-hop producer, Burd & Keyz. Burd, real name Andrew Liburd, was persuaded to abandon elementary school while he was still in Grade 7, along with co-conspirator and childhood friend, Durty Keyz. It speaks volumes about an education system which systemically abandons it students, uprooting and displacing them into foreign environments. Hell, my cousin never did recover, nor did she learn to leave her snubnose back at the crib. Burd & Keyz intend to drop their (well, his, since Keyz is now deceased) premiere anthology of hip-hop-influenced jams in mid-November. I write "hip-hop-influenced" because Burd handles all genres of production, from R&B and reggae to dance and SouthSide-esque (note, SouthSide reigns over Lex Luger, according to Burd) trap n**** beats. Keyz of Life, a sixteenrecord mixtape/album, to be distributed for free via Burd’s blog, includes collaborations with established Canadian emcees like Kardinal Offishall, as well as with younger T.O. cats, T-Minus, Luu Breeze, and Rich Kidd, among others. You’re releasing Keyz of Life in November. What’s the exact date? We’re still trying to fine-tune the date. We’re trying to make the promo on-point, so when we release it everyone knows about it. But it’ll probably be in the middle of November, like the 20th or something like that. What does the project mean to you? What’s its significance? It’s something [Keyz and I] promised each other a long time ago. One day we were riding in a car together, coming home
from work at Enterprise. We worked at the same place. We were talking about our game and we were like, ‘We got to put out our own project before we go,’ because no one knows how talented you are until you put something out, you know? Keyz agreed, but we were too busy making singles for other people, working on other people’s projects, that we couldn’t really focus on our own shit. Now and then, we’d stash away a couple beats for our own shit though. Like, ‘Yo, that was a special one.’ What were some of the projects you were working on? We were working closely with Luu Breeze, making sure his shit was coming out good, trying to get him established. He was already doing big things. I was mostly working on my own music too, trying to get records placed, market myself. And the album, Keyz of Life, it’s like a tribute, right? Yeah, for sure. Some songs are a tribute, some songs are just in the spirit of what we’re trying to convey on the whole album, which is overcoming situations, reminiscing, trying to stay positive and move forward. Not all of them are mushy, there’s many different vibes. There’s some unexpected genres. Like what, reggae? There’s reggae influences, there’s dance influences. I know there’s R&B and hip-hop. R&B, some East Coast influenced hip-hop records, and some Southern beats too. The beats are pretty diverse. On one hand you’re sampling J Dilla, and then you’ve got records that sound like Lex Luger. Where are you trying to take your sound? I’m definitely trying to tap into different categories. R&B smashes, dance smashes, everything. I guess that makes you available to a lot of different artists.
Exactly, spread the network. Can you share a classic Keyz story with us? Umm, well, we both got kicked out of elementary school. [laughs] We were in school together from kindergarten to grade 7, and then he got kicked out. Me and him were just causing too much ruckus in the school. The teachers were complaining so much. What grade was this in? Grade 6 or 7. Going into grade 7, Keyz just disappeared. He didn’t even tell me when he was dipping. I ended up looking for him, like, ‘Where the fuck is this guy?’ [laughs] Three weeks go by and I still don’t see him. Then I see him at church, and I’m like, ‘Yo, bro, where you been, bro?’ He’s like, ‘I transferred to this school at Bathurst and Finch.’ So then one day in class I threw an eraser and hit some girl in the eye, the girl started crying, I get kicked out like Dennis Rodman. [laughs] Straight ejected out the fucking classroom. I didn’t know it was permitted to get kicked out of elementary school. The school came to my parents with a suggestion, like, ‘Maybe you should think about transferring and get out of here... because your kid’s retarded.’ [laughs] That’s hilarious. So then I got transferred to the same school Keyz did. Our parents’ goal was to separate us, but they didn’t communicate that with each other, and they sent me to the same school. When I got there, I’m getting introduced as a new guy in class, I walk in the classroom and I see Keyz right there, looking at me like, ‘What the fuck?’ [laughs] He’s sitting there wearing a cardigan and a turtleneck. I was like, ‘What the fuck?’ He was wearing like a church band insignia. The colors of the uniform were so gay;
burgundy, gray, and white. And so we used to watch wrestling a lot, and there was this kid who always wanted to be our guinea pig and get experimented on. One time we gave him a 3D, you know what a 3D is? No. One guy lifts him up, and the other guy gives him like a ‘Stone Cold Stunner’ up top, and slams him on the ground. We did it to the kid and he wasn’t moving. They had to call the ambulance. At school? Yeah. The new one? [laughs] Yeah, I got suspended for like a day. [laughs] That school went into high school. I was like, 'There’s no way I’m going to keep going to this school in high school.' I was like, ‘There’s too many honeys up in Markham.’ Which school in Markham? Father Michael McGivney. Is that in the same area you grew up? Yeah, like 14th and Macauley. Back to the mixtape for a minute. You got Kardinal, Luu Breeze, who worked with Game, Rich Kidd, T-Minus. These are big names in Canada, as well as in the States. How did you develop these contacts? Through mutual respect. We see each other out at different events. We try to link up with each other, collaborate. Over time you build contacts, you know? So when the time came to do a project, I just asked Rich Kidd and he was like, ‘Send me the beat.’ I sent him the beat, and he banged it out. T-Minus, same thing. I hollered at him. Everyone was down for the cause, what it was I was trying to do. They all understood. Did I miss anyone with those names? A-Game, Divine Brown, she’s amazing, Nickelus F. There’s a lot of good people, man. I was trying to get Andreena Mill on there last minute, see if she can make the cut. What’s your favorite record on the project?
I think my favorite one is this song called ‘Losing My Best Friend’. ‘R.N.T.’ too. It’s gangster. It’s so hood. Raekwon needs to jump on there. [laughs] He’s got the Canadian connection now. I know, only a phone call away. How many tracks on the project?
Sixteen, with the interludes and all that. It’s grande. Will there be a hard copy? Yeah, we’ll print some hard copies for sure. Test the streets with like 2000 or something. And you wrote the hook on, ‘Keyz of Life’, the record. Did you do any other writing, or perform any other roles on the project, rapping, or even writing for other people? Writing for other people a little bit. I need to try doing that more. I’m just too busy working on my beat game right now. I feel like I’m going to do that when I get more millions. [laughs] When I have more time, you know? Sit back and just Babyface the game. Were you classically trained? Do you play any instruments? Most of the time I get session players. I direct them on how I want it to sound like. Or I’ll do some of it, then invite someone in
to fill in the gaps, explain to them how I want it. I was trained in music for like a year or two. I can read piano, but when I’m on Fruityloops I can make it look like I play, just by the notes. Keyz was like a level 7 classical piano player. How many levels are there? I don’t, between 8 and 12 maybe. Yeah, one more and Keyz could have been teaching. Where do you work, a studio, or what? I work out of the crib. My setup is sick now. I’m happy with it. I’m about to go in. What’s your equipment? Fruityloops 9. Yorkville Monitors, 12”. Can you tell us about The Stockyards restaurant? Your friend was raving about it. [laughs] I didn’t get to try it myself. We were on a mission to find it but we got lost. You’ve never been there? My boy was talking about it. He was going off about it. He said it’s like the illest sandwich ever. What’s the plan for releasing the project, any more videos, listening events, concerts, etc.? Yeah, we’re planning a concert right now for the winter, probably in December, like 16th or 19th. We’re booking the date now. We still need to confirm it. We’re collaborating with Tika Simone on that, making it for charity. Keyz’ parents have different charities they’re affiliated with. We’re going to have performances by some of the people on the album, maybe some other surprises. And what about after the project? Pushing the project, and then I have my own project. My version of Keyz of Life called Burd’s Eye View. Great titles. Will ever you become just Burd, rather than Burd & Keyz? I don’t know. I think it’s ride or die with it. Burd & Keyz is pretty smooth.
WELCOME TO THE PTERO DOME
Words: Jay Brown Photography: Emir Eralp
Apparently in the dinosaur “scene” there's no such creature as a "pterodactyl." Paleontologists prefer the term "pterosaur" to described the various species of prehistoric winged reptiles. In the Brooklyn rock scene however, Pterodactyl is very real. As fantastic as a flying thunder lizard, the New York three piece (guitarist/vocalist Joe Kremer, bassist/vocalist Jesse Hodges and drummer/vocalist Matt Marlin) are known for kicking out sweaty, squealing art rock stomps that are equal parts virtuoso playing and punk rock fury. On their new album Spills Out, they expand their sound adding experiments with Wurlitzers, ukuleles and a bevy of guest musicians. It’s an ambitious effort to say the least and with few (if any) of their contemporaries creating this exact rock blend, one might even say ahead of it’s time.
MUSIC With a forward thinking band such as Pterodactyl, what better way to start off the interview than by talking about the future. The future is now. I’m driving a flying car actually right now. (Laughs) The thing that always bothered me the most about Back to the Future 2 was that they could foresee flying cars but they couldn’t imagine cell phones. Marty McFly gets fired by fax! Yeah. Their vision of holographic entertainment also hasn’t come to fruition. What do you think about the future that we’re in? I’m pretty into it. But I have to say there are many moments when I would appreciate not living in a world of constant communication. We’re preparing for this tour and we have so much shit going on, it would be really nice to have an excuse like, ‘Oh I was away from home so I didn’t get your phone call or email.’ It’s not always good to have the capabilities that we have. We don’t have as good excuses! Before and during your time in Pterodactyl you were a high school physics teacher? Yeah, that’s right. We’ll see about that. Physics pop quiz! Do heavier objects fall faster than lighter objects? In the absence of air resistance definitely, but it
becomes more complicated with objects of different size and different mass. If you drop a big Styrofoam ball with the same mass as a tiny ball bearing the ball bearing will definitely hit first. Question 2. Do heavier songs rock harder than lighter songs? (Laughs) I’m not so sure actually. Five years ago I would have said definitely but these days I fell like Pterodactyl is all about this juxtaposition of hard and light. There’s way more power in shifts and contrast than there is in just BAM BAM BAM BAM BAM! What was it like quitting your day job for rock?! In the beginning, I quit to spend less time on any one thing in particular; to read some books, to go on some nice long bike rides and camping trips. About a year ago that totally flew out the window because this record became the sole focus of our lives, which is great and really a struggle. Like, it can’t be really good without being really challenging some of the time. It was like coming face to face with the reality of doing music for a living which was definitely not paying the bills. At least not yet. Maybe you guys [ION] can help with that! (Laughs) On your new album Spills Out, I hear a little Chavez (amazing Matador band) mixed with lots of lo-fi fun and sixties psychedelic pop... and a whole lot of something I can’t relate to any other act!
We would like to think so! I don’t think that’s of much value in today’s market but we wouldn’t know how to do it any other way. This album seems a little darker than anything you’ve done before. Definitely. I feel like Worldwild (Pterodactyl’s 2009 release) has this kind of constructed optimism to it like it’s trying really hard to be sunny all the time, which I think was good for that time but this one is way more honest. We leave for tour in less than a week and there are still songs that we plan to play live that we still haven’t figured out yet so it’s still a very fresh experience. In the same way that many have tried to sync Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon up with The Wizard of Oz, have you ever tried to sync one of your albums up to the 2005 movie Pterodactyl starring Coolio? (Laughs) I wouldn’t try to suggest that our music holds a candle artistically to that film. It falls in a long and proud tradition of crappy almost horror movies. Okay, what movie WOULD you try to sync your new album with? We have a music video that we’re working on where we remade the first scene from the first Superman movie; the scene where Marlon Brando is putting these three villains on trial. I guess that’s as good an answer as any: the first Superman movie!
MUSIC CAITLIN ROSE
Words: Kristi Alexandra Photography: Jan Snarski
When you’re a touring musician, you have to accept that some nights are going to be worse than others. Such was the case for Caitlin Rose and her band when they showed up in Vancouver on Oct. 8 on tour with Americana icon, Justin Townes Earle, at the Rio Theatre. Visibly worn from travelling, Rose is makeup-less, donning a pair of blue jeans and some tattered TOMS shoes. She speaks in a soft, low voice and her big eyes seem as though they’re about to fill up with tears at any moment. Leaving behind a pedal-steel guitarist at the border, the southern belle has been in the country for just a few hours and already "The Great White North" hasn’t been great to her. The petite songstress is answering to an angered show-promoter, her band, and a crew of ION magazine staff demanding of her time, as she frenziedly runs around the Broadway Street theatre. “We’re kind of haphazard and stressed right now,” Rose says. “It’s a visa thing. He probably could have gotten in but it was just the risk of having someone be deported in the middle of a tour run. I think he was stressed, and I don’t want anyone to be stressed.” A tall, lanky, gristly man firmly tells her she has less than 20 minutes to interview and photo-shoot before soundcheck, and he’s already pissed that one-fifth of the band is missing. Rose couldn’t be more gracious about the immediate stress of the situation, but the tension is exhausting. And it’s wearing on her. “I’ve been travelling for two years now. We signed a deal with Names a while ago, and then I started going over there a lot,” she says of the European record label. “Then I think the record got released here in September, and now there’s a re-release so we’re doing a couple more tours on that and then we’re chilling for a minute.” While Rose might seem overwhelmed and as if she’s about to break into almost-certain tears, she maintains that touring is second-nature to her.
“The only overwhelming part is watching two years of your life go by and not really remembering where you were,” she says in her lilting southern accent. “I don’t feel overwhelmed. When you’re on the move, you’re on the move and when you’re home you just have to take it for what it is.” Like all things music, she seems to come by it naturally. Being the offspring of country singer-songwriter Liz Rose—whose writing can be credited to penning several of country-pop star Taylor Swift’s songs—and Johnny B Rose, VP for sales and Marketing at Capitol Records Nashville, it seems Rose was born into talent. But she doesn’t quite see it that way. “My parents work in the mainstream, Nashville Music Row kind of field,” she says, rejecting any idea that her success in part to them. “I would say I avoided country music until I was about 17. It’s a newer thing for me.” Her initial musical induction was singing and writing in the Nashville indie band Save Macaulay—often mislabelled as a punk band. The misinformed idea that she was in a “punk band” makes the country starlet chuckle. “It wasn’t a real punk band,” Rose interjects, laughing. “We just called it a punk band so we could open for other punk bands in Nashville that I liked. It was more of an anti-folk thing, which is based in country and folk for the most part.” The band’s limited catalogue of songs draw a likeness to anti-folk heroes The Moldy Peaches—like “One Speed Confessional,” a quickpaced acoustic ditty with quirky lyrics about stalking crushes. It’s been about six years since her days in Save Macaulay, and the 24-year-old singer recently released her second album, Own Side Now, on Sept. 27 in North America. The 11-track record is a sombre and genuine approach to traditional American music, with an abundance of pedal-steel guitar slides, simple chord progressions and minimal,
rhythmic percussion. There’s no mistaking that the songs on Own Side Now are starkly neater and more polished than on her previous solo EP Dead Flowers. Rose humbly agrees that her songwriting has tightened up over the course of the album. “It’s more… not a pop-style thing, but more of a structured song idea. When I used to write, it was a little more haphazard, more fun. I think I started to get a little more concentrated with my writing,” she reveals, noting that she writes the bulk of her songs alone. “I do a little writing with Jeremy and Spencer on the road,” she admits. “We’ve been on tour for so long now, though, we haven’t finished anything because we get so distracted.” Speaking of distractions, an increasingly ticked show promoter looms around Rose, putting pressure on her to wrap up the interview and photo shoot. The singing sweetheart apologetically spits out, “If the show sucks, the next one will be better!” and runs off to “do a little cleaning up.” When Rose hits the stage in a leather mini-dress and black heels later in the evening, she is stoic—unlike the frazzled girl in the tour-van duds just an hour earlier. The southern chanteuse has got a set of pipes so loud and country-clear that one would hardly assume that her lungs have an infamous love affair with nicotine, even as she deftly croons through “Shanghai Cigarettes”. Her perfected western purr and heartbreaking lyrics suggest that her several comparisons to a certain coalminer’s daughter are welldeserved. Rose ends with an emotional version of “For The Rabbits” to an entranced audience, proving that she’s the kind of chick that can captivate a room with her voice—no steel guitar needed.
 Cass McCombs - Humor Risk Known for taking anarchy to his own terms, Cass McCombs’ newest album Humor Risk is the storytelling after the storm. His lyrically driven style ascends with an airy, streamlined musicality to reveal the artist in a state of well-found retrospect. In comparison to McCombs earlier 2011 release, Wit’s End, the album takes a rosier disposition: the dusty strums of “Robin Egg Blue” or the moveable rhythms in “The Same Thing”. Slow haunts of tracks like “Every Man His Chimera” and “Mariah” provide a detached dose of tragic narrative. A collection of songs that, perhaps, takes McCombs to a more mainstream terrain, Humor Risk is an honest rendering by a voice comparable to some of music history’s best storytellers. - Laura Phillips  Devon Williams - Euphoria Devon Williams couldn’t have titled his latest full length with any more accuracy. From the first track “Revelations”, the listener is immediately swept into a world where raindrops are glockenspiel notes and the rainbows that follow sweep overhead with three part string
sections. Devon Williams has been receiving that blessed kiss of approval from not only critics, but several noteworthy artists. If your name is on the lips of fans, critics, and fellow musicians, you’d better pucker up and be prepared to get mono. - Trevor Risk  Justice - Audio, Video, Disco In a recent interview Xavier de Rosnay stated "We don't feel like we are making rock and roll anyway, or what rock and roll is in 2011." Hey guys, have you listened to your record? The song "Canon" is essentially classic metal riffs smothered in every electronic gadget they have collected over the last eight years. It was like they were crushing beers listening to Maiden as they were writing the ascending, epic, and triumphant scales. A cameo by a nutless Deaner of Fubar would have been the perfect soprano vocal topper. The majority of the record is filler that sounds like a “no guts no glory” movie score with a couple killer harmonies. I think Justice has insane talent when it comes to re-mixing and may just be one of the best of this decade. That said, this record comes off like it was created to prove that these two can make their own music rather than just
supe up tracks by other artists. The problem with that is there are teenagers logging twelve hour days in front of their Macs, using every plug-in they could hack to create music of the same caliber. - Adrienne Pady  Shiny Disco Club - Millenium Disco Vol. 2 It’s pretty cool when you can refer to a record label in the same way you anticipate a release from your favorite band. I was expecting Shiny Disco Club’s Millenium Disco Vol. 1 to be a one-off but jumped at the news of Vol. 2. This compilation gleams with artists like nu-disco wonder-kid Louis La Roche, Go Go Bizkitt, and Kartell. La Roche’s “Fake Tan” splashes into a bright guitar, rolling bass, and congas that tease you to throw a beach party in the middle of autumn. Cherokee’s “Do It Again” laces a wicked horn section and a clever vocal sample sent with a kick drum through your chest. Shiny Disco Club compiles the best of soul, disco, funk, and house and if you tried to make it any shinier, you’d burn your retinas out and set your iPod and ears on fire. - Phil David
MOVIES Christmas movies are an institution. They’ve been teaching us the true meaning of Christmas for decades. One thing they’ve never been good at, however, is teaching us realistic limits of the human body. Of course this isn’t limited to movies about the holidays; clearly I know that Indiana Jones should have died in that fridge.* However, for some reason, Christmas movies are the most egregious offenders for portraying the human body as nigh invincible in late-December.
Now of course there are the Christmas movies that, by their basic premise, put their protagonists in life threatening situations: Die Hard 1 and 2, Gremlins and, obviously, any Christmas horror movies. However, what the following list compiles are the life-threatening situations in family movies that would kill mortal men at any other time of year. - Ian Urbanski
Illustration: Shannon Elliott
 Jingle All The Way My favorite 90s Sinbad Christmas vehicle features a number of life-threatening situations, not the least of which include a bomb exploding in a man’s face and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character jetpacking through two windows at a (roughly estimated) speed of too-fast-to-live. Now, surviving that sort of impact can be attributed to the fact that Arnold is no mere mortal, but the laws of physics dictate that even Conan himself would be reduced to a Tiny Tim-like cripple at best and a Jacob Marley-like ghost at worst. Merry Christmas, everyone!  Elf Now, I can forgive Elf for not showing an actual death on screen, but some flags should have been raised about this film with regard to the American diet. With diabetes rampaging its way across our fair continent, this movie had the audacity to show Will Ferrell slathering his spaghetti with maple syrup and M&Ms. This may be the worst offender of downplaying potentially lethal situations as harmless because, in all honesty,
a meal like that should have come with a coupon for a free foot amputation.  Christmas Vacation It’s easy to focus on Chevy Chase’s long career of falling over and the sheer number of instances Clark Griswold hits the ground in this movie. It’s tough to really calculate whether or not any serious injuries would result from such repeated trauma, so instead let’s look at a scene towards the end of the movie. Uncle Lewis, while informing the rest of the Griswold clan that the “Christmas Star” they’ve all been admiring is actually sewer gas, lights up a cigar. The sewer gas explodes, firing a septuagenarian metres in the air and badly burning him. He survives, as best as I can tell. It must have been a Christmas miracle!  Home Alone This is the Casablanca of movies that should have featured multiple homicides that instead get played off as
near-harmless. I don’t even know where to begin. There’s the blowtorch to the head that should have resulted in third degree burns. There’s an iron falling multiple stories onto Daniel Stern’s face. There’s also multiple falls that could have easily resulted in paralysis. But the scene I’d like to focus on is the iconic paint-can-to-the-face scene, which, let’s be honest, is hilarious. However, Kevin McCallister should have gone to juvie (or at least years of therapy) for committing double homicide after two robbers had their faces smashed in his home. Thank Christmas that they survive long enough for the sequel and a whole new round of paint cans to the face. None of these blows seem to cause so much as a move to a lower reading group. Keep the change, you filthy animal. *Editor’s Note: Surviving a nuked fridge is possible if you’re Indiana Jones.
ION THE WEB FILMDRUNK
Last issue we had Vince Mancini of Filmdrunk.com go over what he anticipated to be some of the best and worst movies of the year. For those of you who are just joining us, Filmdrunk is a movie blog with a healthy dose of Steven Segal photoshops and dogs wearing party hats. - Kellen Powell It seems like a huge number of movies underperformed at the box office this summer season. Do you have any thoughts as to why that might be? I think because every studio's strategy was to make big ‘tentpole movies’ thus the market was over saturated with tentpoles; most of them not very good. They keep trying to make movies that are everything to everyone, and that strategy usually leads to shrug-worthy movies that people tolerate but no one really loves, which gradually erodes people's love of movies as a whole. I think movies as a form of entertainment are on the decline and it makes me sad, but it's easy to see why it's happening. Everything is an over-hyped commercial explosion-y thing, with too much focus-grouping, committee-writing, and trying to give the audience what studio execs think they already like. That's not good enough. You have to create something new, that people didn't even know they liked. Mainstream movies are creating less new markets than they ever have. Do you think after such poor showing this summer Hollywood will smarten up? As much as Green Lantern was a big flop, the rebooted X-Men and Planet of the Apes were wildly successful (and much to
my surprise, the movies were actually pretty good too). What I hope they take away is that hey, maybe people are tired of movies about explosions, aliens, and the military. Of course that's never going to happen. What we maybe CAN hope for is that if they're going to spend $100 million plus on a remake/reboot/ superhero/alien invasion movie, they’ll at least hire a director like Matthew Vaughn who can make chicken salad out of a chicken fart, and not, say Marcus Nispel, who I hear is a competent table tennis player. Has doing Filmdrunk caused you to like movies more or less? Both. Seeing so many movies definitely numbs you, and I'm afraid of going insane like every older film critic. Seeing 80 movies a year probably keeps you from maybe forming the emotional attachments you might if you were only seeing 15, but it also forces you to watch a lot of movies you end up liking that you would've dismissed out of hand or not even heard about if it wasn't your job. Did you work in the film industry or go to film school before starting the site? I did do some film work, and I got my undergraduate degree in film from UCSD. I didn't like this kind of work for a few reasons: 1. When you carry sandbags for a living, no matter how smart and good at it you think you are, you can always get replaced by someone’s recovering heroin-addict nephew.
2. A lot of that work doesn't last long. 3. Most of the people are assholes who are less interested in their own jobs than in proving all the other things they're capable of (every actor wants to direct, every grip wants to be a DP, and so on). 4. I'm not great at schmoozing, or at making work for myself when there isn't work to do. (Every production set has at least 10 more people than it has actual job duties). Do you think what you write has any affect on the people who make or market movies? On a mass level, no, not at all. On a smaller level, I know a ton of people who work in entertainment do read my site, so I'm sure it's happened that I've written something critical that someone knows is true and hits a little too close to home and ends up altering whatever they're working on. I know for a fact that there were some big-time screenwriters working on a major script who said they changed the intro after I wrote something to the effect of ‘In action movies, having a crappy desk job means you're destined for greatness.’ Hopefully I help people recognize something is a cliché and get them to avoid it on occasion. So it happens on a small scale, but I'm probably invisible to the people making the BIG decisions. Usually people just leave shitty comments, which happens at least once a day. - Kellen Powell
THIS MONTH: ERNOLD SANE
Photo: Scott Loudoun
Ernold Sane is a happy person, he just has little to no patience for humans. He will break a nose to defend his friends, but will look the other way if you're beating a child and possibly give you words of encouragement. [@ ernoldsane] [myspace.com/ernoldsane] [reverbnation.com/ernoldsane] [waxdj.com/djs/5314/music]
Capricorn: Your grandma secretly wears fake balls and a moustache. She wants to be a spokesperson for sodomites. Her vagina is so old it looks like a Muppet. After wasting her pension on cigarettes, donuts, and bingo it's time to put her back in the force and have her carry her load. Get her out of the wheelchair and put her in front of a car wash with a sign that says "Dentures out $20 / Diaper off $15." Aquarius: This year you've had a harder time making friends than Shia LaBeouf. This Christmas give everyone the gift of absence so we can truly rejoice in peace and joyous harmony. Holidays always remind you that you were adopted: the original re-gift. Buy yourself a onesie with a dumpflap, stay home and masturbate to Die Hard 2. Pisces: The year of begging for intercourse is just around the corner. Dung beetles and maggots have filled fuller lives than you, and they eat shit to live. Thanks for posting your 'artsy' FOOD photos on Instagram. Now we know what your bowel movement looks like. How depressing and pathetic is your life that the highlight of your day is to take a photo of your nasty meatballs?
Aries: Over the Christmas month, Mercury is moving into your sign, but also your water source, hence the small cock, red eyes, bloated scrotum and narrow thoughts. You see yourself as quirky and eccentric, but no one else sees you at all, except maybe as a cruel hoax. A PHD in dissecting insect shit doesn't make you smarter than a downy. Taurus: Too bad the Taurus bull couldn't stop you from posting pictures online of over priced food on square white plates. No one cares how much wallet reduction sauce you put in your body. Uranus is happily moving into your face region this month, with a side of "you can't be a pretentious stuck up douche when you only make $9 an hour and work 20 hours a week."
Cancer: As the year winds down, your body has become so tired and haggard you make age look like a disease. You're a poster model for shitty crack. Your eyebrows are more over-groomed than a contestant on Ru Paul's Drag Race. If you're gonna pluck anything you need to pluck off, and take a couple of those sluts you call your "besties" with you.
Libra: You've traded in your "spirit wolf" sweatshirt for an owl necklace but you're still the same old carp, always lurking in the background picking up the scraps. You also picked up a nasty STD, known as "your old friend". Good luck with that one. Your life is filled with stormy romances you will have everyday, in the bathroom, by yourself. Even after death they will not mourn you.
Leo: Merry Christmas! You're the real O.G: Over Groomed. You're a reminder to us all that even a shower can't clean the laziness off your body, but that doesn't stop you from spending 45 minutes in there anyway. It's ironic that you spend so much time on personal grooming when nobody can stand to look at you. Your personality matches your face: desperate.
Scorpio: Another year has passed and from the look of your face it seems like you spent most of it drinking homo milk and eating lard. It looks like your dreams of becoming a model have been covered in gravy, placed in a baguette, and stuffed down your throat. Keep drinking your way to happiness but stay away from mirrors until you get there.
Gemini: You're so pathetic that making fun of you is like kicking a baby on the ground. At least the baby would be getting some sort of physical contact, something you haven't had since your repeated prostate exams. It's okay to have a second opinion on your prostate but people are raising their eyebrows after the 6th and 7th check up.
Virgo: From feeling useless you decided to jump on #TheOccupy parades bandwagon, and they have been the only thing to occupy your useless life. You couldn't occupy a fucking toilet. You're a human brain hemorrhage with a 50/50 chance of testing positive for incurable deadbeat. Your mother is crossing her fingers right now. Too bad she didn't cross her legs when some random stranger (your father) was blowing up in her.
Sagittarius: Lately your life is like a Chinese baby hit and run; no one is paying attention. You'd think that after hundreds of unliked posts that you'd see the truth. You try to get by on your looks but something is lacking. Zoolander had "Blue Steel", but all you've got is blue balls. You're like eggnog; you rear your nasty nut milk once a year, make us all sick, and then pass your expiry date (unnoticed).
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