Page 1

Oct/Nov 2012

Volume23 Issue5

Published by the University of Winnipeg Students' Association

Delhi 2 Dublin // Nova // JohNNy SiZZle // The Pack A.D. www.stylusmagazine.ca PROGRAM GUIDE INSIDE

Oct/Nov 2012 Stylus Magazine

01


S

02 Stylus Magazine Oct/Nov 2012


Stylus

Oct/Nov Volu5e23 Issue5

On the Cover

Editor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Sheldon Birnie

GRACE MOYER is a freelance graphic designer/illustrator living in Winnipeg, MB. She’s a graduate from Red River College for graphic design and has studied traditional illustration and printmaking at SRISA (Santa Reparata International School of Art) in Florence.

Art Director . . . . . . . . . . . . Andrew Mazurak

You can get at her at grace.m.moyer@gmail.com.

Production Team Assistant Editor . . . . . . . . . . . . . Darcy Penner Advertising Manager . . . . . . . . . . Ted Turner

204-786-9779, outreach@theuwsa.ca

Distributor . . . . . . . . . . . Patrick Michalishyn Cover Art . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Grace Moyer Printed by Copy Plus Inc. . . . . . 204-232-3558

Contributors Michael Elves Victoria King Shanell Dupras Harrison Samphir Kyra Leib Devin King Shanell Dupras Scott Wolfe Jesse Blackman Matthew Dyck Janel Chau Kevin Mozdzen D. Moore Ryan Reyes Matt Austman David Van Den Bossche Khammy Phanthavong Matt Perrin

Stylus is published bi-monthly by the University of Winnipeg Students’ Association, with a circulation of 2,500. Stylus serves as the program guide to 95.9FM CKUW and will reflect the many musical communities it supports within Winnipeg and beyond. Stylus strives to provide coverage of music that is not normally written about in the mainstream media. Stylus acts as a vehicle for the work of new writers, photographers and artists, including members of the University of Winnipeg, of CKUW and of the Winnipeg community at large. Stylus reserves the right to refuse to print material, specifically, that of a racist, homophobic or sexist nature. All submissions may be edited and become the property of Stylus. All opinions expressed in Stylus are those of the contributors and do not necessarily reflect those of the editors. Contributions in the form of articles, reviews, letters, photos and graphics are welcome and should be sent with contact information to:

Stylus Magazine Bulman Student Centre, University of Winnipeg 515 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg, MB, R3B 2E9 Phone: 204-786-9785, Fax: 204-783-7080 editor@stylusmagazine.ca www.stylusmagazine.ca Contributions will be accepted in the body of an email. No attachments please. All submissions may be edited and become the property of Stylus. Unauthorized reproduction of any portion of Stylus is strongly discouraged without the express written consent of the editors.

www.stylusmagazine.ca

TableofContents Blah, Blah, Blah Events around town . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Live Bait . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 CKUWho Only Cowards Sing at Night with Shannel Dupras + Ginaya Jesmer . . 16 CKUW Program Guide . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Label Profile Eat Em Up Records . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Fear of Music Music and the Language of the Unheard . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Local Spotlight Merch Table Delight // The Manic Shakes // GT. Dane . . 21 Iconoclast Testament // Die Mannequin // Shooting Guns/Krang . . . . . . . . . . 22 Root Cellar The Be Good Tanyas // Carolyn Mark // Corb Lund . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Mental Notes Madchild // Radio Radio . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Around The World Curumin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Under the Needle Cold Specks // Mother Mother // Passenger . . . . . . . . 25 Turn The Page First Prairie Grass Fire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 NonStopHipHop The Evolution of Nasty . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 Feat. How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Cage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28

Features The Pack A.D. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Nova . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 The Rural Alberta Advantage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 JohNNy SiZZle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Delhi 2 Dublin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12

Oct/Nov 2012 Stylus Magazine

03


COLD SPECKS WILL MAKE CANADA NOTICE AT THE PARK THEATRE ON NOV. TWENTY-SIXTH SINCE AMASSING SUCCESS IN THE U.K.

Blah, Blah, Blah Well shoot, pals! It’s getting a tit bit nippy outside! Head on inside one of your favourite (remaining) venues in Winnipeg for a couple bevies and some dang good tunes (before you’re locked out in the cold)! *** Every Wednesday at the Rose N Bee check out Andrew Neville & The Poor Choices *** Thursdays are Rock N Roll Draft Night at the Windsor *** Every Sunday, Bad Country are playing at the Bella Vista, and Big Dave McLean hosts the Blues Jam at the Times Change(d) High & Lonesome Club *** October 5 Bob Dylan & His Band share the stage with Mark Knoepfler at the MTS Centre. Will we hear anything off Infidels? “Sweetheart Like You,” perhaps? *** Saturday October 6 JohNNy SiZZle releases his new album Home Sweet Home at the Rose N Bee with fellow No Label mates Kato Destroy and the Manic Shakes. Dragonette and Young Empires play the West End *** Motherfucking Coolio is up in the Pyramid October 8 *** Sunparlour Players and Kalle Mattson play at West End, while Weird Al is in town at the MTS October 11. Could get weird? *** Regina’s These Estates and Cheering for the Bad Guy play the Rose N Bee October 12, while the same night and the following CR Avery plays the Times Change(d) *** Departures and Slow Dancers play at Ace Art on the 13th *** Matt Mays and The Meds pop pills at the Pyramid on the 14th *** Old Man Luedecke shuffles into town October 17 for an intimate gig at the Park Theatre *** October 19 Cadence Weapon is at the Park with The Lytics, while Propagandhi, Head Hits Concrete (!!!), and This Hisses rock the WECC’s 25th Anniversary (too fucking bad, though, that shit is sold the fuck OUT!). *** Polaris shortlistee Grimes plays the Pyramid with Elite Gymnastics and Myths October 21 *** October 23 sees Joshua Radin play the Garrick and Adam Cohen play WECC *** Juno award winning headbangers

KENmode play the Zoo October 24, with Revocation and A Life Once Lost *** Oct 26, the fun continues at the WECC with a wild night including performances by Greg Macpherson, JD Edwards, Nathan Rogers, Scott Nolan, Keri Latimer, and many, many more *** October 25 Pilsner shotgunning FUBAR heart-throb Deaner’s band Nightseeker bring the noise to the Pyramid, the Zoo is gonna be punk as fuck when Agnostic Front returns to Winnipeg to get greasy as hell with Death by Stereo, West of Hell, and Zero Cause, while the Magnificent 7s and JohNNy SiZZle show the Times how it’s done *** Del Barber celebrates the release of Headwaters Oct 27 at the WECC. Meanwhile, Black Label Society rips the tits off the Burt, Ridley Bent rocks the Times, and Aidan Knight & pals get cosey at the Park *** Whoa! Noel Gallagher is still alive? Looks like he and Snow Patrol are up in the Centennial Concert Hall Oct 30. Who knew? More importantly, Bahamas and Jason Collett will be at the WECC that night, and Big John Bates gets all rock-a-billy and shit at the Pyramid *** Here comes Hallo-fucking-Ween! Lots going on this Wednesday night! The Pack A.D. are at the West End, Crystal Castles at the Burt, Men Without Hats play the Pyramid, Lazyhorse are releasing their LP at the Windsor with the Accosters, and Wiz Khalifa and Juicy J are at the MTS Centre *** Thursdays in November check out Cheering for the Bad Guy at the Rose N Bee Pub *** November 1 thru 3 the Pyramid hosts Aboriginal Music Week with a variety of performances lined up *** All Saints Day brings indie heart-throb Dan Mangan and The Rural Alberta Advantage to the Curton Bummings Theatre *** AC Newman takes to the WECC stage November 2 *** Creepshow are in town November 3 *** Make sure to wear a diaper November 5 if you’re planning to go see Napalm Death, Municipal Waste, Exhumed and the

PHOTO BY AUTUMN DE WILDE

Dayglo Abortions at the Zoo, cuz you will fucking need it! Holy shit! *** Folk Fest enthusiasts will be happy to hear Delhi 2 Dublin are back in town November 6 at the WECC, while Wintersleep and Elliot BROOD play the Garrick *** Plants & Animals and Rah Rah get all funky and shit at the Park Theatre November 9 *** Crooked Brothers get friendly at the WECC November 10 *** CunninLynguists will ignite minds at the Pyramid on November 14 *** November 16 Neil Young & Crazy Horse bring their Psychedlic Pill to the MTS. Don’t forget yours! Gallows and Barnburner storm the Pyramid later that night. Can’t get enough Neil? Fuck, you’re in luck! The Times Change(d) hosts its annual Neil Fest November 15 thru 17! *** Metric and Stars make the indie kids swoon November 17 at the MTS, while Gwar gets gory at the Garrick *** Blackie & The Rodeo Kings, Matt Andersen, and Amy Helm are at the Burt November 18 *** Mark Sultan (aka BBQ) hits Rock N Roll draft night at the Windsor, with the Electrics and Rock Lake *** Diamond Rings returns on November 23 at the Pyramid *** Wolseley’s lover boy Xavier Rudd hits up the Burt and Benjamin Francis Leftwich gobbles up his leftovers at Park Theatre on November 24 *** The doom soul Queen a.k.a. Cold Specks is playing the Park November 26 as the Frusciante-less Red Hot Chili Peppers get neked at MTS Centre *** November 27 the Wooden Sky return to the WECC *** Willy Porter then visits the WECC on November 30 *** Corb Lund brings his Cabin Fever tour to Winnipeg on December 3 at the Burt, Mother Mother fuck the place up December 4 *** December 6, the new issue of Stylus hits the streets like a box of books. Come celebrate with us at the Rose N Bee for a night of Rock N Roll mayhem, laughter, and prizes *** See you on the other side, friends!

GOOD THINGS, BAD PEOPLE October 18-28 @ The Rudolf Rocker Centre

PRESENTS:

NOVA CD RELEASE Friday Oct 19th @ Ace Art YVES ENGLER Sunday October 28 @ U of W 2012: BEGINNINGS & JOHN MAJOR JENKINS PRESENTATION Sunday October 28 Convocation Hall U of W THE PACK A.D. Wednesday October 31 @ WECC WINNIPEG IF... IMPROV FESTIVAL November 6-11 @ Various Venues ART FROM THE HEART November 16 & 17 @ Magnus Eliason Recreation Centre LITE WILD BLUEBERRY PANCAKE BREAKFAST November 23 @ Indian and Metis Friendship Centre

www.stylusmagazine.ca

Oct/Nov 2012 Stylus Magazine

05


ILLUSTRATION BY JANEL CHAU

By Victoria King The Pack A.D. will be coming through Winnipeg on October 31. That’s right folks. You read it right: Hallofucking-ween. So obviously we talked about costumes, weirdos in costumes, and Xena, Warrior Princess. Stylus: You guys have been very successful in getting airtime on campus/community stations all over the place, but how do you guys look at success? Becky Black: Hard to say. I mean, how can you say when you’ve made it or when you haven’t made it? Ideally, I wanna make money and so far we haven’t broken even. I mean we’ve broken even but we haven’t made any profit. I guess . . . for me, it might sound silly, but I’d actually like to make money in my career. Stylus: [Laughs] That’s not necessarily a bad thing I don’t think. BB: No, I guess not. I mean, it sounds like “all I want is money” but obviously if I just wanted money I would not be a musician, because that’s not very lucrative. Stylus: If you weren’t a musician, what would you be doing? BB: I don’t know, I’d probably just be working . . . just some other job. I think I would make a pretty good travel agent. I like getting deals . . . Although, I don’t know if there’s much work in that now because of the Internet. People can just look stuff up online, and I don’t know how much more a travel agent would get. Stylus: Speaking creatively - in your playing and in your songwriting - what have you done to challenge yourself in the last little while? BB: We’re getting more complicated than we used to be, even though we’re still pretty simple . . . We used to play more blues-based rock and we’ve kind of gotten out of that just because, basically it’s the same every time. We’ve branched out into playing more choruses, whereas before it was more like “here’s a verse” and then we just jam out. We’ve come together in our songwriting. Stylus: You’ve mentioned before the limitations of only having two people. Has that ever become frustrating to the point where you’ve considered adding other members to the band? www.stylusmagazine.ca

BB: We’ve actually considered not adding another member to the band but if we really needed it, we could hire someone to come along and play with us on tour. We don’t want to turn into the Black Keys or anything [laughs] I can see why a duo would want to expand though. It really is kind of limiting after a while. For the first few years you think, “this is awesome cuz there’s just the two of us and we can write material really easily,” but now I imagine songs and it’s hard to really do them with just guitar and drums . . . On the upcoming ‘Halloween in Winnipeg’ show . . . Stylus: Are you guys going to be wearing costumes? BB: I think I definitely will, that’s most of the fun of Halloween. Stylus: What’s the best costume that you’ve had? BB: I don’t know . . . The best costume that I haven’t had yet and I still have to make is a Xena costume. I really want that, but I need lots of leather and I’m not really that good at sewing so I think it would be really hard to make that costume, but it’s pretty sweet when I think about it. I’ve never had that good of costumes, it’s always a last minute thing like “oh no, it’s Halloween,” and then it’s too late. Stylus: How do you like to get your costumes? Thrifting, Value Village, or just buying it? BB: I think a combination of the first two. It’s like, I won’t sew together a costume but I’ll put something together. I don’t like the ones that come in a package that are like “Sexy Pirate” or something, that’s kind of boring. I like to put together my own. Stylus: The only thing is, I’m sure [a store] would have “Sexy Xena.” BB: No actually, I don’t think they do! I mean, I found some online but I couldn’t find any in any stores. They were really expensive, and they were really crappily made too. I want like a really legitimate looking costume too. It would have to be real leather. Stylus: And then at that point it’s really an investment. If you’re going to buy real leather for a costume, you gotta wear that thing for a long

time. BB: No kidding, I gotta wear that thing like everyday and not just Halloween. And then I’ll just be one of those people - every city has a few weirdos who just dress up as something weird all the time. I think Seattle has somebody who dresses up like Link [from Zelda]. Like, he just wears a Link costume everyday . . . Yeah, I might be that person. Stylus: A reviewer in Vancouver describes you as a “one woman wrecking crew” and “snarling ferociously” during a show . . . Obviously there’s something going through your head that’s more than just the lyrics if there’s that kind of intensity when your singing. What are you thinking of and feeling as you’re doing that? BB: Ugh, I dunno. Sometimes I have to think of the lyrics because I forget them frequently. And that’s really funny when you’re playing a show and people are watching, and they’re singing along and then I screw up and then they look confused, because they probably had it right in the first place and I didn’t. Anyways, that makes me laugh all the time . . . Actually, I don’t even know what I’m thinking about. Maybe I’m just thinking about lyrics, or just like “the moment” . . . One time I was playing and I was thinking about shopping, but that was unrelated, and I think I wasn’t really into it at the time. Stylus: Has [forgetting lyrics] lessened or increased since you guys started? BB: It has probably always been the same. Maybe it increases because we’re always writing more songs so there’s always more stuff to remember. There’s only so much capacity, at least in my brain, for remembering lyrics. And sometimes its like I know them but they just don’t come, so I just make up gibberish. Stylus: You make up gibberish? BB: Yeah, I don’t think I’m the only singer who does that either. Like . . I just make sounds that sound like they could be words. But maybe they’re not, that kind of screwing up. You can check out The Pack AD w/ Topanga on October 31 at the WECC. Tickets are $17 in advance and $23 at the door. Doors open at 7:15, show starts at 8. Wear a costume. Oct/Nov 2012 Stylus Magazine

07


midnight, midnight and the beauty and frustration of winnipeg By Darcy Penner

Of the many ways one usually expects a band to

form (from the ashes of previous bands, high school friends jamming with beer stolen from their parents, the side-project that was only supposed to be about fun, etc.), Nova’s inception has a unique flare to it: a release for workaholics bonded by their love of, and commitment to, Winnipeg. That, and two-thirds of the band didn’t really play their instruments. “We all think about in the future leaving this town on bad days,” explains vocalist and guitarist Greg Macpherson, “but most of the time… we’re committed to trying with all of our hearts to make Winnipeg a better place. And so that’s how we sort of found commonality.” In 2008, Jackie Hogue wasn’t in a band, and was not a drummer. However, when Macpherson’s solo tour schedule slowed down, he called her up to play some music based on a belief in Hogue’s instinct for the instrument. After playing some tunes Macpherson had written but didn’t have the proper outlet to perform, they decided keyboards would fill the songs out best. “Jackie knew I played the piano and they asked me to join,” explains keyboardist Molly McCracken. “As Jackie and I were somewhat new to our instruments we grew slowly, learning together.” Macpherson chuckles when he thinks back to asking McCracken to join Nova. “She laughed, ‘Well yeah I guess so. I don’t have a keyboard,’” he recalls. “But I had one, and so she came and she started playing.” Obviously things went well, as the three piece releases its debut full-length, Midnight Midnight, on October 9th. The initial intention for the project was simple enough. “There were no thoughts of playing shows or recording. It was more just, ‘Let’s get together, we’ll work on some songs, and learn to play,’” says Macpherson. But the insatiable drive and energy of Nova’s members led the band to far greater lengths. “We all really like playing music together, and it was a natural progression,” explains McCracken. Commenting on both his band mate’s and his own energy level, Macpherson says, “Molly is very similar [to me] – lots of energy, ready to go. Jackie’s incredibly smart and organized, so things get done and they are just really focused and organized. They

www.stylusmagazine.ca

show up to practice with beer and cookies!” Finding time to finish a full length is a difficult thing to do, especially when your band is comprised of exceptionally busy individuals, all of whom hold what students refer to as “important, real jobs,” and are involved in various other community initiatives. Hogue is the executive director of the West Central Women’s Resource Centre. Macpherson is the executive director of the West Broadway Development Corporation. McCracken is the former executive director of the West Broadway Development Corporation, and is currently an analyst for Manitoba Health. Within the bunch you will also find a record label, articles for the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, nominations for food security initiatives, and membership within the Harvest Moon Festival organizing committee (for starters – we’ve only got so much print space). Midnight, Midnight was recorded over two years at various locations, including Mid-Ocean School of Media Arts and Prairie Recording, where Macpherson’s label-mate Cam Loeppky mixed the album (Disintegration Records). “He’s really exceptional,” boasts Macpherson. “He’s at a place in his life where I’ve recorded and done stuff with a dozen different engineers now and he’s the best by a long shot. He’s really world class.” The album will be released by Disintegration Records on October 9th, with a release show at Ace Art Inc. on October 19th. Venue choice was important and specific, explains Macpherson; “I think that rock n’ roll is better suited to… dirty, run down places where the ceiling might fall down. I really appreciate music that doesn’t have all the angles covered… I like rock n’ roll when you don’t know the possibilities – [it] could go right off the rail at any time. Venues lend a lot to that experience. We wanted to try a place a little smaller—we have control over it and it’s an art space.” Nova says that the themes of the record reflect the group’s commitment to Winnipeg, and explore the balance of both beautiful and deeply difficult experiences that consume their lives and work. “Life is hard for lots of people in our city and living here you can’t help but see the struggles people face

everyday to get by,” says McCracken. “We all want good things for our friends, family and community but it can be so hard to realize these. The music is a place to put these feelings and that energy.” Macpherson sees this as a bonding point for the group; “The thing that sort of got us all together is a sense of justice. Kind of working on our community. We’re really invested here in Winnipeg, and have been for a long time. We’re committed with all our hearts to make Winnipeg a better place.” “Winnipeg has this crazy juxtaposition of frustration and ugliness,” continues Macpherson, “but it is a beautiful ugliness. It’s a very special place, because of these, you know, failures. The foundation it’s built on is so shitty in some ways, like genocide, and colonization, racism, classism, conflict. That’s our foundation. And so I think that speaks a lot through the music everyone makes in this city, somehow.” We at Stylus have had the album for a few weeks now, and can attest to its quality. Its anthemic choruses are interlaced with catchy keyboard hooks, all resting on top of driving, straight-ahead drums and the haunting guitar work Macpherson delivers so well. When asked what drives them to commit what precious free time they have to the project, the band members almost describe it as a need. “Playing together makes us sane and sometimes a little insane! It helps us channel our energy into something that’s ours, is healing and we have a great time in the process,” explains McCracken. “I love being busy, and I have no problem making time for anything,” says Macpherson, as the question reminds him to flip over his phone to check the time. “I’ll squeeze in a half hour right now, even though I have a board meeting in an hour. Actually, I do gotta go.” Be sure to check out Nova’s CD Release show on October 19th at Ace Art, 290 McDermot. Doors are at 9 PM and music at 10 PM for $10. Keep your eyes peeled for copies of Midnight, Midnight in local music stores.

Oct/Nov 2012 Stylus Magazine

09


Part of the WaG’s Centennial CeleBrations See full listing of exhibitions, events and programs at wag100.ca

Winnipeg Art Gallery 300 Memorial Boulevard • Winnipeg, MB, Canada • 204.786.6641 Presenting Centennial sPonsor:

suPPorted by:

Media sPonsors: Black

MaJor Centennial sPonsors: CMYK

Michael Dudeck. Messiah (untainted) (detail), 2012. Inkjet print on ragpaper. Image: Elaine Stocki, courtesy Winnipeg Art Gallery.

Sept 29–Dec 30


By Michael Elves

When Nils Edenloff and the rest of Rural Alberta

Advantage take to the stage of the Burton Cummings Theatre on Thursday November 1, 2012 don’t expect a set list composed of the heavy-hitters from their first two records, Hometowns and Departing. Instead – as Edenloff revealed in an interview with Stylus – the members of RAA will take advantage of a prime spot opening for indie-darling Dan Mangan to try out some new material on an unsuspecting audience in advance of recording their third album. “Definitely what our goal is with this next tour is to try to be playing some of the new songs because I feel like that’s sort of the best test for us as to whether a song is working or not – actually playing it live in front of people, sort of like this ‘test by fire,’” Edenloff laughingly noted of a practice the band is no stranger to: “It’s the way we worked on the last two records – trying our best to road tour new songs – and that’s our goal with this. Once we get back we’ll assess where we are with the new songs that we’ve been touring, hopefully try to get those done and keep on with that process.” When the question is put to him as to whether the main test is with the audience reaction to new material or to gauging how well a song works within the band, Edenloff hedged by noting that “[i]t’s definitely a mix of both,” before he explained further: “[S]ometimes you can get wrapped up in that sort of headspace and be like ‘oh man, this is gonna be amazing, there’s gonna be a twenty-minute solo, everyone’s gonna love it’ and then you play it and ‘oh man that’s just not working for me.’ You can really gauge whether or not something is grabbing someone from the gate in terms of new songs or whether it’s ‘yeah y’know maybe we need to make a couple changes here so it’s more engaging for the audience.” Edenloff does view the tour with Mangan as a great opportunity for a ‘tabula rasa’ type crowd who are rela-

www.stylusmagazine.ca

ILLUSTRATION BY KEVIN MOZDZEN

tively free of expectations from the opener allowing the band greater latitude to experiment with the set-list than they would have if the bill had “Rural Alberta Advantage” at the top. “[Opening] is one of those things where it is definitely about finding that balance because you don’t want to completely lose people but it’s a matter of switching it up and finding the right pacing.” Opening for Mangan is not without its challenges, as Edenloff noted that “[t]hese are also going to be in a different sort of environment for us – all the dates across Canada are sort-of theatres so it’s definitely going to be a learning process in trying to work out the pacing, because you know we’re used

to doing well over an hour when we’re headlining and we have the pacing figured out for our sets, we know what works and what doesn’t work so it’s a matter of finding those right sorts of things – you’re giving and taking as much as you can.” The trio of musicians in Rural Alberta Advantage (Edenloff on lead vocals and guitar, Amy Cole on backing vocals and keyboard, and Paul Banwatt on drums) are ultimately all open enough as musicians and performers to read the cues audiences give them and make changes as need arises. “Definitely after running songs a couple times you can tell ‘yeah that’s not a good transition from that song to that song’ and those are things you end up working out on the road – figuring out with the new songs: what are their strengths?’” Edenloff revealed, before adding that he approaches songwriting with a similar “rear-view mirror” approach: “I never tend to bog myself down on ‘what am I trying to say about this?’ It’s more after; once you’re all said and done you sort of realize ‘this is the things I was going through and this is how they all link together.’ At the end of the day we’re writing music that is personal and moving to us so it’s not like trying to craft a record full of hits or something – not ‘no, this is only going to be a massive song’ and only focusing on singles or something. I believe that we’re always trying to focus on ‘how does this fit in with the larger body of work that we’re doing?’ and it’s looking back at it after to see how it ties in.” We’ll have to wait and see how the forthcoming record ties into the RAA songbook, but Winnipeg audiences will get a sneak preview and a chance to influence what makes the cut when the band takes to the stage on November 1st. Rural Alberta Advantage opens for Dan Mangan on Thursday November 1, 2012 at the Burton Cummings Theatre. Tickets are available now at all Ticketmaster locations for $30 + service fees. For more information on Rural Alberta Advantage, visit www.theraa.com

Oct/Nov 2012 Stylus Magazine

011


JohNNy SiZZle still shaking after 20 years the tree

By Sheldon Birnie

PHOTO BY DAVID VAN DEN BOSSCHE

“A funny thing has happened on the way to the

stage,” says Winnipeg’s JohNNy SiZZle as we chat in the Stylus office (“It’s not as glamorous as I imagined it,” says SiZZle). “They could still see that I’m very influenced by underground hardcore punk, but I think that underground hardcore punk has seeped so much into the mainstream culture, that it’s not like ten or 20 years ago where I had to make a full explanation of myself, of what I’m doing with an acoustic guitar. They can clearly get it, that ‘Oh, acoustic guitar playing heavy hardcore punk. I get it.’” This newfound understanding of SiZZle’s “outsider music,” is certainly welcome, but SiZZle himself is still puzzled by it, as he prepares to release Home Sweet Home, his first album in over eight years with the help of the No Label Collective. SiZZle has been an infamous figure in Winnipeg’s underground music scene for over 20 years. Inspired by punk and hardcore music of the late 1980s, SiZZle, who performs his brand of acoustic punk solo, first attempted to put a band together in 1991. “I realized then and there after about three of them that I don’t have the personality traits to keep a band together,” SiZZle admits. Choosing instead to play aggressive, hardcore music on a nylon string classical guitar, SiZZle got his start performing open stages at the Blue Note Cafe on Main Street in Winnipeg in 1992. “Even though I’m acoustic, I still didn’t want to be a folk singer. I still want to play punk and hardcore...I sometimes feel like a bluesman. I just don’t know how to play guitar.” Since then, SiZZle has spent time in New York, Montreal, and Vancouver, has battled addiction, lived on the streets, been diagnosed with schizophrenic psychosis and Asperger’s syndrome. In the end, he’s always found music to be a positive and therapeutic release. “I’ve been doing this for plus 20 years now,” he says. “Sometimes I feel like I haven’t gotten anywhere, really. Sometimes I feel like that people easily forget me just as much as I easily forget my own

www.stylusmagazine.ca

songs.” Indeed, SiZZle has written hundreds of songs over the years, many of which have (luckily) been captured on CD, as JohNNy will readily admit that he has forgotten many of his earlier works. “People who follow my music, I guess they slowly realize that if they really like the song that I did some years ago, it’s quite possible that if they ask for it again, four or five years later, that I’ve completely forgotten. I’m not being an asshole for not playing it. I’ve completely forgotten about it, because I’m not thinking about it anymore.” “12 years ago I was playing shows where I would play an hour and a half, two hours a night,” explains SiZZle. “I don’t think I remember any of those songs.” At that time, SiZZle was living in Vancouver, playing shows at punk bars like the Cobalt and making a name for himself in the city’s underground community. It was at that time that SiZZle began to suspect that he was not entirely well. “I always got a sense from close friends that something wasn’t quite right,” he admits. “I was showing erratic signs in Vancouver, so I wasn’t really enjoying myself.” When his mother became ill, he decided to return to Winnipeg to spend more time with her. At the same time, he was diagnosed with “severe mental illness” and began treatment. However, it was at this point that SiZZle began losing interest in music. “I tried to have at least one gig a year,” says SiZZle. “It’d be very hard for me to get that one show a year. I don’t know really why...” After working a series of jobs, including janitor, hotel keeper, SiZZle saved up some money and bought an open ended ticket on the Greyhound. “I went on what I would like to call a search for America.” On that search, he made an inspiring visit to the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio. “I went late in the day, they were about to close in a good 30 minutes,” he explains. “I went down this one hallway in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,

and at the end of this hallway was a quote from Jimi Hendrix. It said, like, right up on the wall it said something to the effect of ‘The songs are in your head. They’re only in your head. It’s up to you to put them out. No one else will put them out for you. It’s all on you.’ At that point, it was like right, the museum was just closing at that point when I got out of the museum and I sat on the grass in the little park that they have outside of the Hall of Fame, I thought that I’ve got to get together all the songs that I have written, or that I can remember, and put out a CD.” Fast forward a few years, and now SiZZle is performing regularly again, and set to release his first collection of material in over eight years. “It’s going to be really strange,” muses SiZZle. “Putting this CD out. I think people still, some people still remember me, but at the same time there’s a lot of who have never heard of me before, too. It will be odd. It’ll be kind of like saying, ‘Hi, how are you again? Hi, I’ve never met you before!’” At over 40 years of age and a veteran of the underground, JohNNy SiZZle is still a punk rocker at heart. “I have one song [on the new CD] called ‘Dale Hawerchuk Drunk in a Strip Bar,’” says SiZZle. “[And another] song called ‘Kick Cindy Klassen in the Face’ … I’m trying to make a classic Canadian punk song. Do I mean harm to Cindy Klassen? No, no I don’t. I think she’s fine just the way she is!” “I’m quite a bit of a tree shaker still,” he explains with a mischievous smile. “I’m still trying to shake peoples’ apples out of their tree.” Check out JohNNy SiZZle’s CD release party at the Rose N’ Bee Pub on Saturday October 6 to get your hands on a copy of Home Sweet Home. SiZZle is also host of the all-night radio variety show, Winnipeg Arena’s On Fire, on CKUW 95.9FM Mondays from Midnight until 6am. Editor’s Note: SiZZle was last profiled in Stylus in July 1997, Vol 8, No 5.

Oct/Nov 2012 Stylus Magazine

13


2

DELHI

ILLUSTRATION BY MATT PERRIN

DUBLIN

IN

EVOLUTION

SOUND

By Jesse Blackman

Vancouver’s Delhi 2 Dublin has found success com-

bining Punjabi and Celtic instruments to create an incredibly catchy high-energy sound. With the release of their third LP, Turn Up The Stereo, D2D brings new dimensions to their music. Stylus spoke briefly with the band’s electronic master, Tabla player, and co-producer Tarun Nayar about the new album and what it means for D2D. D2D’s new album has grown naturally out of many elements, from New York musician and producer Dave Sharma, to travel music and a retreat to Bali. As a result some songs on the new LP have been played in concert in some form or another for a couple of years, but there is a lot of rehearsing left to do before the entire album is concert ready. The biggest obstacle is that it’s “a bit of a challenge to move something from the studio to the live show,” Nayar admits. “For example, on a bunch of the tracks Andrew Kim, our guitar player, is also playing sitar or is playing like three guitar lines at the same time in the studio version.” Figuring out who plays what has become a challenge. “Does the violin pick up one of those lines [. . .] or if he plays guitar and sitar in the same track does he play guitar but without the sitar part or what?” Nayar explained that “in the studio you have no limits, right, you can just do whatever you want and when you play it live it’s like ‘well, okay, how do we actually do this?’” Regardless of real world limitations, once those adjustments are made Delhi 2 Dublin will be ready to yet again hit the road and bring audiences their newest works. With so many hours on the road, the band realized that there are songs “that sound just as good

14 Stylus Magazine Oct/Nov 2012

when played acoustically as they do when played electronically” and that became a goal: “to make an album that we would listen to over and over again.” With that goal in mind and some rough material, D2D retreated to a house they had rented for a week in Bali, “way far away from all the stresses of our lives,” explained Nayar. There they jammed and hashed out the songs that would become the new album. Nayar recounted that during a Skype call on the second last night in Bali, Sharma told them not to “lose sight of the goal,” so the next day the band played all of their songs with just an acoustic guitar. They had covered up “some of the song writing flaws with production,” Nayar admits, “and you could really hear that when all of a sudden you pull the production away.” The acoustic session helped D2D fine tune the smaller details and strengthen the sound of their now more polished songs. As for the sound of the album, “it’s slightly different” — an evolution in D2D sound. As Nayar eloquently put it, “this album is a natural part of our evolution—where we had to take it.” There is a feeling of growth from D2D, and Nayar thinks that “the live shows have gotten better and more interesting.” Although the new album “might be too different” for some people who loved past D2D tracks, Nayar believes that’s alright because he’s “sure a lot of people will like Turn Up The Stereo more.” Beyond that Nayar says “it’s really about writing music that we (Delhi 2 Dublin) like” and from what D2D has already done, I think we can trust them to keep pushing the boundaries of their unique sound. Now, five years after D2D first met Sharma (Canada Day 2007, in front of 100,000 and an national TV audience), he’s on the verge of taking a

much bigger role in D2D. Recently he has played as a guest for a couple of songs during a recent show in New York. “He knows the songs inside-out; so he doesn’t need much rehearsal and he’s a kick ass drummer,” Nayar said emphatically, concluding that it is “so fun to have him play.” This has lead D2D to start “talking about having him on part of the fall tour to do some of these bigger shows especially in Western Canada to just step it up again.” Obviously, Delhi 2 Dublin is “always looking to make things better and make things more interesting” and that truly shows contrasting early D2D performances to more recent appearances. On that note, Winnipeggers should be really excited as we have been privileged with Delhi 2 Dublin at the Winnipeg Folk Festival and several other shows here over the years, most recently last winter with Oka. Speaking on behalf of the whole band, Nayar said that the Oka show at the Garrick was “one of our favorite shows last year.” Nayar sounded very excited about when D2D comes through Winnipeg in October because it will also be “the first show on that leg of the tour” which will take them further West into territory where they have their strongest fan base. With all the time, effort, and thought that has gone into Turn Up The Stereo, it’s definitely an album to check out. Delhi 2 Dublin, Ravi Binning, Andrew Kim, Sanjay Seran, Sara Fitzpatrick, and Tarun Nayar, will be returning to Winnipeg on November 6 with a new set-list and a big impressive sound and contagious energy—get ready for D2D like you’ve never seen them before.


send receive

a festival of sound v14

OcTOBer 17–20, 2012

sendandreceive.org www.stylusmagazine.ca

Oct/Nov 2012 Stylus Magazine

015


PURI TY PHOTO BY ANDR RING @ WECC EW MAZURAK

RE AT K HE RA K T ZU AR MA EP W TH RE @ ND NE Y A N9 O B CH T TE PHO

016 Stylus Magazine Oct/Nov 2012

A PH CTIO OT O B N BR Y K ONS HA ON MM @ Y P GRE HA EN NT RO HA OM VO NG

ID AM PYRZURAK HE @ T MA IST REW RAC AND DAS O BY T PHO

Live Bait


www.stylusmagazine.ca

Oct/Nov 2012 Stylus Magazine

017


Only Cowards Sing at Night with Shanell Dupras + Ginaya Jesmer Sundays, 5:00p.m. to 6:30p.m. on CKUW 95.9 FM or streaming online at www.ckuw.ca

GINAYA JESMER

If you’re a student at the University of Winnipeg,

and you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to host your own show on CKUW 95.9FM, you’re certainly not alone. When Shanell Duprass first got involved with the station, she was a first year student who signed up for the broadcasting workshop during O-Week. She has been involved ever since, and now has her own show, which she cohosts every Sunday evening with her friend Ginaya Jesmer. “I became a co-host when Kara Copenance was there,” Dupras explains. “Jocelyn [McLean] originally founded the show, but she was going on a tour of Mexico or something like that, and Kara was looking for a co-host.” After completing the workshops and training (which any interested student is encouraged to take part in) Dupras was on the air. About a year later, Copenance left the show, and Dupras began hosting on her own, with occasional guest hosts and co-hosts, which is where Ginaya fits into the picture. “I heard that Shanell needed a co-host and thought it was a really cool idea,” she says, “so I went through talking with Kent [Davies, volunteer coordinator] and went through all the workshops to be able to do so.” “I’ve always really liked music but never was that involved until Shanell would rave about the station,” continues Jesmer. “I started going to more concerts and knew I wanted to have music in my life, doing something small like sound technician or something like that. Then this came along, which was a good opportunity.” Between attending classes, working jobs, and maintaining social lives, Dupras and Jesmer find time to plan and put together the hour and a half of content they provide listeners each 018 Stylus Magazine Oct/Nov 2012

week. Despite the extra time commitment involved, both believe it is well worth it. Dupras and Jesmer explain that the content has changed somewhat over the years since Dupras became involved, a reflection of their own interests and changing musical tastes. “I know when Jocelyn did it she was very much

SHANELL DUPRAS

into ska,” Dupras recalls. “Kara brought in more of a mixture. She really liked stuff from Transistor 66, The Vibrating Beds and stuff like that. [...] I started to get mainly into [the] Transistor 66 scene -- that was the stuff I really liked. Garage rock, ska type stuff. When I took over the show, I kind of steered it more that direction. Now that Ginaya has come along, it’s going through another change.” “I bring in more electronic stuff,” says Jesmer. “More of that laid back kind of thing. Rather than the rock n roll.” Dupras believes that her time with CKUW improved not only her on-campus experience, but also her appreciation of Winnipeg’s cultural activities. “It helps to be in touch with what’s going on on campus,” explains Dupras, who also volunteers with Stylus magazine. “Before CKUW and Stylus, I thought Winnipeg was just some rotting hole, that all we had was the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and the Jets that were no longer around at that point. I thought it was just a cultural wasteland at that point. It has opened my eyes for sure.” Since 1963 CKUW 95.9 FM, the on-campus radio station at the University of Winnipeg, has offered students a unique opportunity to gain experience in all aspects of broadcasting. Tune in October 16, where a full 24 hours will be dedicated to radio programming by and for students at the Collegiate and the U of W. Become involved, volunteer today! Tune in to hear Shanell and Ginaya every Sunday evening from 5:00p.m. to 6:30p.m.


By Sheldon Birnie

“I

t’s been a bunk summer for venues and shows,” said Brandon Ackerman over a couple beers and smokes in Wolseley recently. “But this fall is looking promising.” Ackerman makes up half of Eat Em Up Records, and we are discussing upcoming projects the label has coming down the pipe. “I’ve been a fan of Eat Em Up Records since it’s inception in the early 2000s,” Ackerman told Stylus. Rounded out by Jan Quakenbush, founder of Eat Em Up Records, the two have some big plans for the little label. “We’re stepping it up, putting things out faster. Really pushing to put out vinyl,” Ackerman said. Founded by Quakenbush in 2004 to release the Squareheads first album, Persona Non Grata, Eat Em Up was initially just a label to slap on his various projects’ releases. “We tried to shop it around to some labels, and we didn’t really get any response,” explained Quakenbush. “So we figured we’d put it out ourselves. Anthony Bueno’s uncle snuck into one of our shows one time under the pretext of being from ‘Eat Em Up Records,’ so we just picked it up from there.” Apart from the Squareheads releases, Quakenbush explains that Eat Em Up released a couple “novelty rap” albums in the early years, and more recently released the self-titled Nervous Lugers and Rock Lake albums. “I’m working on the Lazyhorse album right now,” says Quakenbush. “Another Rock Lake one coming down the pipe. I’m starting to produce now, so it’s getting easier to crank these things out…” “Quagmire release is coming up in the next couple months,” adds Ackerman. “That’ll be on Eat Em Up.” “Kyle Dubois, who’s the singer www.stylusmagazine.ca

and guitarist for Lazyhorse, he’s got an album of country songs that he recorded with his family,” says Quakenbush of another upcoming release. “It’s a great album, we’ve always wanted to put that out.” The Lazyhorse album will be released on Halloween at the Windsor, with the High Thunderers and the Accosters opening the night, while Quagmire’s release will be later in the year. Memorial Fund’s EP will also be released by Eat Em Up, which was Anthony Bueno (founding member of Squareheads)’s final project before he passed away

earlier this year. A partnership with the Windsor is also something Eat Em Up has been working on. “We’re working with Wayne Townes who owns the Windsor now, formerly of the Royal Albert Arms for 17 years,” says Ackerman. “[Our] favourite guy to run a dive bar. He does it right, really takes care of the people who live there and stay there as well as treating bands fairly. He knows what he likes and he knows what works. He’s the easiest person to work with by far of any venue in the city. He’s given us the opportunity to book a rock n roll draft night every Thursday. There’ll be two bands and rock n roll DJs every Thursday.” A weekly rock n roll night is certainly something beer drinkers and rock n rollers in Winnipeg can look forward to. Apart from showcasing the label’s own bands, Eat Em Up is also working to bring quality rock acts into the city again. “We’re bringing in Mark Sultan [aka BBQ, ex-Spaceshits, Les Sexareenos, Mind Controls] on his world tour,” says Ackerman, “making a stop in Winnipeg at the Windsor with Rock Lake and the Electrics.” With a regular night to curate and a number of projects on the horizon, Quakenbush and Ackerman certainly have their work cut out for them as they expand Eat Em Up Records. Luckily, they’ve got a little help from their pals. “Eat Em Up itself is really a collective of a lot of us,” Ackerman explained. “Jan and I are spearheading everything right now, but we incorporate the work of a lot of our friends. There’s kind of a place for all of us in it.” Check out Eat Em Up Records’ Lazyhorse CD Release at the Windsor Wednesday, October 31, Mark Sultan (aka BBQ) on Thursday, November 22nd, and regular rock n roll draft nights every Thursday.

Oct/Nov 2012 Stylus Magazine

21 19


ILLUSTRATION BY ANDREW MAZURAK

Music and the Language of the Unheard By Devin King In March this year, the members of Russian punk band Pussy Riot were arrested after performing “Punk Prayer” at Cathedral of Christ the Saviour of the Russian Orthodox Church. The song, critical of the re-election of Vladimir Putin, was enough to land the band with a charge of hooliganism, a charge which hasn’t been used since 1957. By mid-August, shortly before and up to the conviction of the band, coverage of this topic had reached a fever pitch. It was a rare case when everyone, regardless of politics, agreed that freedom of speech should be protected, especially in the case of being critical of governments. It was fascinating how the universal declaration against the Putin government manifested in the news. This was the story, trumping other events. In fact, August 17th – the day of the Pussy Riot conviction – was also the day that 34 miners were killed by police during a protest for higher wages in South Africa. This savage news made headlines, but not as prominently as the Pussy Riot story. The Globe and Mail website posted the Pussy Riot story higher, and the story had 1200 comments versus the 200 on the South African miners story. The National Post website had the Pussy Riot story higher on the page, in a bigger font, and with a picture.

22 Stylus Magazine Oct/Nov 2012 20

The Winnipeg Free Press bucked all the trends and featured a story about how the Stanley Cup came to Winkler. Good on you, Freep! Kathleen Hanna, member of Bikini Kill and trailblazer of the Riot Grrl movement, wonders if this is the new rallying cry for change – that is, if the phrase Pussy Riot will become divorced from the band it originated with and become the new “Occupy.” She imagines Pussy Riot concerts in cities across the world, all culminating with a mass Pussy Riot Protest Concert in Moscow. Occupy was a large force that inhabited the collective consciousness for some time. It’s mostly burned out now, but it might be that the avenue for a national, even global, dialogue might be through music. If the Pussy Riot trial is any indication, it might be that encoding a message in music allows us to get our defenses down and internalize a message. This makes sense when you think of multimodality – the idea of learning or acting that uses multiple “modes” such as speaking, moving, seeing, etc. Music is multimodal because it uses speech but also sounds; so if you aren’t immediately willing to hear the lyrics, the music itself might hook you in. In fact, this is probably the key to much of mainstream radio, as many youth will attest to not knowing the music because they “only listen to the beat.” Music is a great avenue of communicating a message. “Imagine” would have just been a little piano number if it hadn’t been for its message of peace. So could the key to a mass change

– Occupy or Tea Party, for example – rest on an effective use of music? It probably depends on where you live. In Russia, we saw that music didn’t help to find sympathy with Pussy Riot. Polls showed that “44 per cent of Russians believed that the [Pussy Riot] trial was ‘fair and impartial’ while 17 per cent believed it was not. 36 per cent believed that the verdict would be based on the evidence and 18 per cent believed that the verdict would be influenced by the state. Six per cent sympathised with Pussy Riot, while 41 per cent felt antipathy towards them.” Nitsuh Abebe points out that “even in an American political context, you can imagine the ease with which a group like Pussy Riot might be painted as cosmopolitan elites whose quote-unquote ‘art’ provokes hard-working everyday people; even in a nation that’s profoundly internalized freedom of expression, such arguments remain a familiar rejoinder to protest.” So perhaps the case of Pussy Riot in the West was a quick and easy short-term rally around the notion of freedom of speech. Perhaps more importantly, it didn’t happen in our own backyard; it’s much easier to condemn someone else than to reflect on our own actions. Canada too – or at least, our own government – has similar concerns regarding music as the Russian government. It’s not uncommon to hear stories like that of Manu Militari, who released a music video that many claimed was pro-Taliban. The video had been funded through the Depart-

ment of Canadian Heritage, and after complaints from the Prime Minister’s Office, the video was pulled. Even if we do have many examples in a Western context of governments and citizens being critical of artists, their message, and even their right to express that message, it’s safe to say that the arts, as a multimodal expression that usually has some message, are an easier avenue with which to communicate those ideas. More often, we hear of the dissenting opinions that are embedded in artistic contents, rather than, say, those who are wrongly imprisoned and identified by Amnesty International. It’s overly simplistic and naïve to say that you can change the world if you just play a song. However, what Pussy Riot experienced was a groundswell of support whereas others did not get similar recognition. It’s safe to assume that the arts – or at least, peoples’ collective respect of the arts – had a part to play in that. Multimodality is certainly a key to lasting change. It might not be that you’re able to cognitively follow a speech easily, but if you put it to a video it might make more of an impact; even more so if you add music to it, and so on. These layers allow multiple entry points for the audience to experience, interact and join in – key elements to any successful mass change, which may well mean that we’ll be talking about this again at Pussy Riot 2013 in Moscow.


Local Spotlight

PROPAGANDHI Failed States It’s tough to write an unbiased review about an album that you’ve been eagerly anticipating for years; harder even still when the album lives up to and surpasses the expectations you’ve built up in your brain over that time. So fuck it. Propagandhi’s sixth fulllength studio release, Failed States, is a goddamn barn-burner that hits all the right spots. The band is in fine form here: drums pounding an unholy tattoo, bass rumbling with impending doom, and guitar blazing throughout. Guitar player Chris Hannah and bass-master Todd Kowalski (rounded out by Jord Samoleski on the skins and David Guillas on second guitar) exchange vocal duties more than any release since Today’s Empires, Tomorrow’s Ashes. Lyrically, Hannah tackles childhood isolation (“Devil’s Creek”), family and fatherhood (“Unscripted Moments”), and the little things that make life bearable (“Things I Like”), while Kowalski hits on the perils of winter cycling (“Haddron Collision”), transphobia (“Cognitive Suicide”) and child prostitution (“Dark Matters”). Clocking in at just under 40 minutes, the pace moves from epic slow-burning headbanger to raging thrash to contemplative introspection and back again, like a full-out ten-speed commute through heavy traffic, complete with close calls, fast stops, and the (occasional) soothing respite of underused bike routes. After the wild, often breathless ride, the album ends with “Duplicate Keys Icaro (An Interim Report),” an ode to the majesty of the universe and the ultimate transitory nature of our little lives here on Earth. Exciting, exhilarating, downright fucking enjoyable. Crank this shit up to 11 and raise both middle fingers in the air. This album rocks. Fuckin’ rights reserved. (Epitaph, propagandhi.com) Sheldon Birnie

www.stylusmagazine.ca www.stylusmagazine.ca

GT.DANE Yer Welcome, Gt.Dane Press releases and promo photos all describe this as a pop noir murder mystery, which is an apt description for what we hear, but sussing that out of the lyrics is a difficult task. The description of the music implies a David Lynch affair, which isn’t accurate – it feels warmer, and more like a story, than anything Lynch has ever created. The lyrics, intentionally obtuse according to frontman Dana Moore, are sometimes overpowered by the music itself. This is the major feature of the album – lyrics that aim to say something, but are both literally and metaphorically over shadowed by the music. This is not necessarily a bad thing here. With characteristically breathy vocals, we get tracks like “Lost Dauphins” with a gorgeous piano melody that guides the track and “Seaboys,” which is a surprisingly fast paced semi-acoustic number anchored by the refrain “my boy’s gonna grow up strong, my boy’s gonna grow up right.” But what does it all mean? It’s hard not to labour on this point when all signs seem to point that deciphering the story here is important. Otherwise, why is one of the five tracks here an 18 second long track with an increasingly speedy guitar and the sound of turning pages? WHAT DOES IT MEAN?! You might be forced to conclude that not much is going on, but with music this powerful, it’s easy to enjoy this EP without a comprehensive knowledge of the story. Yer Welcome is indeed a mystery, in many ways, but it’s a captivating one meant for close listens on dark, quiet evenings. (The Calm Before the Music, gtdane.com) Devin King THE MANIC SHAKES The Manic Shakes 7” The debut, self-titled 7” from No Label Collective’s The Manic Shakes is a great little platter of gritty, angsty

rock n roll. Lead track “Batshit Crazy” has a mean groove to it, while the Aside’s other offering, “Fire Hazard,” is a balls-to-the-wall rocker, both with aggressive, pained vocals by David Skene. The B-side’s “Fall” eases up on the throttle a little but still delivers the goods. Vocals on this one are handled by David Van Den Bossche, which provides some variation over the short-but-sweet three tracks on this disc, though the tone and the vibe remains cohesive throughout. Guitars sound full, the bass solid and propulsive, the drums large and in charge when they need to be, but knowing when to cool it down. Overall, this is an impressive debut from the local group. The artwork is great too, and the vinyl is a beauty shade of green! With luck they’ll pump out another EP, or even a full-length, early in 2013. Until then, make sure to check out their intense live show soon. (No Label, themanicshakes.bandcamp. com) Sheldon Birnie

MERCH TABLE DELIGHT Back to Lo-Fi (2007-2012) Remember the times when you’d hang out in your friend’s basement for hours fiddling around with guitars and recording your ideas on a cheap computer mic - then add sound bites from your favorite movies or tv shows and share it with your friends? No? Then Back to Lo-Fi (2007-2012) isn’t going to give you the nostalgic experience it gave me. What it does deliver is the lo-fi basement sound that you really have to be a part of to appreciate. Comprised of eighteen tracks and most clocking in at less than three minutes, you would expect something more energetic from Back to Lo-Fi, but only a couple of tracks really stand out. Merch Table offers some Courtney Taylor-Taylor style vocals

on tracks like “Do It For The Money,” giving it a Dandy Warhols feel - or maybe a Brian Jonestown Massacre mockery of Dandy Warhols. The way the vocal hovers over the music brings Thurston Moore to mind, while “Kate Winslet and the American Accent” is a pretty good noise track that could pass for old Sonic Youth. But wait! Things get more interesting over the course of five hidden tracks. One of them is a recording of someone, whom I imagine is the singer, crashing the MuchMusic VJ search. The last and best track is a much better recording of a previous song called “All the Way With Stephanie Kaye” (a must listen for all of you Degrassi Junior High fans). If you like lo-fi tracks then I would sooner recommend Merch Table Delite’s UMFM Sessions EP. It has the energy of a full band that this disc is lacking. When it comes to a project like this one, a rough sound is what you aim for, a basement is your studio, and your fans are your friends. That’s worth bringing back. (No Label, myspace. com/merchtabledelite) Matthew Dyck

MAHOGANY FROG Senna Local instrumental weirdoes Mahogany Frog’s sixth release, Senna, is an exciting, rollicking ride through both intensely expansive and introvertedly exploratory soundscapes. Recorded last September in Winnipeg at Private Ear by John Paul Peters, Senna propels the listener forward on waves of lush synths, blazing guitars, clouds of found and field recordings (listen for beluga whales recorded in Churchill, MB on “Aqua Love Ice Cream Delivery Service”), tape collage and experimental analogue sounds. With two suites beginning each side of the LP (“Houndstooth Part 1 & 2” on the A

Oct/Nov 2012 Stylus Magazine Dec 2011/Jan

21 25


side, “Message from Uncle Stan: Grey Shirt & Green House” on the B side), this record definitely has the feel of an old school psychedelic experience captured on vinyl, stored in your burnt out uncle (Stan, perhaps?)’s garage, while at the same time sounding fresh and crisp. Certainly a feather in the cap for these local boys, I suggest you pick up Senna on record for yourself, track down some perception altering substances, pop open a bottle of wine, lay down on a nice shag carpet and slip on a good pair of headphones. Drop the needle, and enjoy. See you on the other side, friend. (MoonJune Records, MahoganyFrog. com) Sheldon Birnie

STEVE GATES A Bee In Her Mouth In my humble opinion, cooler weather requires some cooler music. The beauty of red and orange leaves, the chilly wind, and the dropping tem-

perature all serve as an appropriate background for music that is equally more mellow and modest. Steve Gates’ A Bee In Her Mouth is exactly one of those slower-tempo albums, well suited for approaching October and November. There’s something so honest about this album - whether it’s Gates’ vocals, lyrics, guitar, or some magical combination of the three, this album is striking in how genuine all of its parts work together in producing music so true and homey. Like a warm sweater, this album wraps you up in gentle acoustics. Steve’s voice is soothing and strong, especially proven on opening track “Proud Conveys It,” as it swells from simple acoustic fin-

ger-picking to a full band crescendo with accompanying vocals. Most of the songs on this album are small narratives, telling stories of a land full of lost balloons, a little girl’s wishes, and a hilarious romp about hypocritical politicians and exclusivity in heaven. This album was one of those gems that just sort of fell into my lap while in the CKUW studio. Romantic at times, wistful at others, unrepentant almost always, A Bee In Her Mouth is one of the better acoustic releases I’ve heard in the past while. (Independent, stevegates.ca) Victoria King

brought my excitement level down. Also, why are these songs so long? My favorite thrash metal songs are always pretty short (Hirax anyone?). I lost interest halfway through this album and started watching King Of The Ring ‘93. The main event where Bret Hart farts on Bam Bam’s head. Classic. (Nuclear Blast, nuclearblast. de) James Korba

Choke Hits EP - left off. If you’re into heavy music and electric lettuce, get this split and crank it loud. (Psychic Handshake, psychichandshake.com) Sheldon Birnie

Iconoclast Overall, the record is a good length, and has a unique and powerful vibe to it. Danceland is definitely worth the purchase for those interested in melodic rock with dashes of punk and dance. (eOne Music, diemannequin. net) Matt Austman

DIE MANNEQUIN Danceland Creepy, catchy, disgusting, uplifting – 30 seconds into the record and it’s clear that Die Mannequin still has the same magic that they possessed in their debut. The cool thing is that Danceland could work great at a dance club, or for those lonely angry nights spent with a bottle of whiskey after a break-up. That it achieves this potential in listening pleasure is part of what makes it so interesting. Danceland’s strength springs from simultaneous pop simplicity and unique sounds – Care Failure’s vocals are particularly well-suited in this regard. Her best performance ends up being “The Other Tiffany,” the record’s first track. At times a growl, at times a scream, and at others a beautiful falsetto, her vocal melodies are the album’s greatest strength. The songs are very eccentric, at times sounding like a hard rock version of Mother Mother. However, not all the songs are equal in strength – the record starts off great, but limps during the mid section. Also, the band’s choice of guitar tone is questionable – although mostly fitting, the thick distortion periodically distracts away from the songs melodies and flirts with tiresome cliches.

24 Stylus Magazine Oct/Nov 2012 22

TESTAMENT Dark Roots of the Earth I was hoping that this Testament album would be either one of two things: either a horrible mess that I could easily tear into or a terrific return to form for these thrash legends. Sadly, it is neither. The riffs are there. “Rise Up,” the albums’ opener is catchy enough, though maybe it’s just my love of wrestling montage music. You know the big build up videos before that big main event. “Goood Gawd Stone Cold! Stone Cold!” would be yelled as Chuck Billy tells me “When I say rise up... You say War!!” Actually this entire album could be used to score your entire pay per view. Chuck Billy’s return to Testament has been great for some but on this album his vocals are merely meh. Which could pretty much sum up this album. Some tracks have decent enough parts (see solo on “Native Blood”) but again, Billy’s vocals

SHOOTING GUNS / KRANG split 7” This little split from Saskatoon’s Shooting Guns and Edmonton’s Krang is fucking tasty. Purveyors both of heady instrumental intensity, I’ve been digging on their respective recent releases to the point of mania lately, so to have them both on one slab of vinyl is a goddamn treat. Shooting Guns’ “Sky High and Blind” is a building march into some ill-lit cavern where naught but impending doom awaits the listener. Krang’s “Shake Joint” is a fuzzed out ride into the stratosphere on a rickety home made rocket and the blissed out drifting back to the Earth below. Both tunes pick up where the bands’ respective releases - Shooting Guns’ Polaris long-listed Born to Deal in Magic 1952 - 1976 LP and Krang’s

CRUCIFIED BARBARA The Midnight Chase Ughhh. Why oh why must the production on some of these Nuclear Blast releases be so goddamn clean. This all female band from Sweden takes their cues from Motörhead and Joan Jett but the production really hides that. I need raw dirty guitars, gross vocals, and dry sounding drums. I’m thinking Diamond Head or early Priest recordings -- more rock and roll. This all feels too arranged, rehearsed and digitally enhanced. I could barely hear the bass. The sad thing is the songs are pretty catchy. Lee Aaron’s “Metal Queen” came to mind on more than one occasion. The heart is there, it’s just the execution isn’t. So disappointing. Fuck. (Nuclear Blast, crucifiedbarbara.com) James Korba


Roots Cellar

CAROLYN MARK The Queen of Vancouver That Mark doesn’t have more acclaim is a shock, as her wordplay and tone are unique tools that she uses to employ character and mood better than most Canadian songwriters. Mark’s sense of humour permeates many of the songs, giving her more definition than your typical singer-songwriter. At times, it does verge on being a little too clever, as in the track “Nobody(‘s Perfect),” which describes the virtues of being alone: “after nobody makes me dinner, nobody is waiting for me in bed…nobody’s perfect for me.” Despite this, even tracks like this are a fun listen, even if it does make you somewhat conscious of the fact that someone wrote this song. There’s a lot of reflection in those roles as Mark filters them through the lens of a performer in these songs. “Poor Farmers” itself is a mis-hear of “performers.” “The Queen of Vancouver Island” details part of the writing process, and how “everyone just wants to sing along!” She writes in “The Cereal is the Prize” of how “maybe tomorrow I’ll sit down and write the third verse and it’ll sell a million copies and I’ll buy a house with insulation.” The two concluding songs – “Old Whores” and “You’re Not a Whore (if no one’s paying)” are reflective tracks, with the first noting that “we started out with dreams of perfection and no compromises (we weren’t always old whores).” The final track seems to be about prostitution, or working in the music business, which may or may not be the same thing in her eyes. We start with a queen and end with a whore. Through these characters, Carolyn Mark is able to craft a thoughtful, funny, touching album that is simultaneously contemplative and fun. This is folk music done right, by one of Canada’s best, most unsung talents. (Mint Records, mintrecs. com) Devin King

www.stylusmagazine.ca

CORB LUND Cabin Fever Corb Lund’s sixth solo release is his strongest since 2007’s Horse Soldier! Horse Soldier! and likely his most accessible. Lyrically, Lund has never been better. With classic tunes of heartbreak (“September,” “One Left in the Chamber”), drinking (“Pour ‘Em Kinda Strong,” “Drink It Like You Mean It”) and ranching (“Cows Around”) mixed with tunes about guns (“Priceless Antique Pistol Shoots Startled Owner”), motor bikes (“Mein Deutsches Motorrad”) and survival (“Gettin’ Down on the Mountain”), Lund’s songwriting prowess is on full display here. “Bible on the Dash” is a knee-slapping buddy tune (featuring Hayes Carll) about cruising the highway with your pals, singing country music and dodging the cops that makes me want to hit the road with a case of Bud and my Gideon’s. Did I mention the band is hot? Well, pal, they’re hot as hell on this one, changing from metal-inspired licks to country swing, tear-inyour-beer weepers to kick-up-yourheels stompers. Really a well rounded effort for all parties. If you like country music, you probably already have this one on high rotation. If you don’t, you’re burning daylight. (New West, corblund.com) Sheldon Birnie GLEN HANSARD Rhythm and Repose Academy Award winner Glen Hansard has put out the type of record the Academy is primarily preoccupied with. It runs in the same vein as adult contemporary kings Damien Rice and David Gray. Yet Rhythm and Repose is still a solid hand in a sensitive genre; it’s a full house in a poker game. With 80 per cent folk pop, and 20 per cent wildcards, it’s confident and comparatively unique. That it achieves this is what makes it a stand out in a middleof-the-road genre.

Rhythm and Repose is a love-making album. Smooth and slow, it will keep you going throughout its duration, never making a sudden move that will catch the listener off guard. But it builds, it builds, and ever so patiently it will bring you to “High Hope” (track four), which will have you climaxing to a sing-a-long. That lasts a while, and then he brings it down, ever so smooth and sexy... Hansard pulls it off almost too well. The record is a glorious crescendo – you’ll come up and down, and enjoy the ride. Even if you are dismissive of acoustic/piano love/heartbreak ballads, you’ll want to make sure your next make out session is to this album. Hansard is a frustratingly good singer, and his lyrics are designed around that. In other words, his lyrics aren’t really the focus. His voice is comforting, and his lyrics revolve around that – that is something really good singers that know they’re really damn good do. Overall, this record is more impressive than the album art or genre classification suggest. It throws curve balls in just when it becomes too consistent, and it’s plenty powerful enough to show off to your friends. (Anti-, anti.com) Matt Austman

THE BE GOOD TANYAS A Collection This new career spanning collection from Vancouver’s The Be Good Tanyas is a nice overview of the ladies’ work from 2000 through 2006, and also includes four previously unreleased tunes for the diehard fans. Included are beauty originals like “Draft Daughter’s Blues,” “Little Black Bear,” and “Junkie Song,” as well as tasteful covers of Townes Van Zandt’s classic “Waiting Around to Die,” Neil Young’s “For the Turnstiles” and Geoff Berner’s “Light Enough to Travel.” A couple traditionals - “In My Time of Dying” and “Oh Susanna” - get the Tanya touch, the latter much more favourably than Neil & Crazy Horses’

most recent arrangement. For folks who aren’t familiar with the Tanyas, or for casual listeners who don’t have the band’s three classic albums, this is a good disc to pick up. For long time listeners, though, there’s not much point; the unreleased tracks are likely not worth the dollars. (Nettwerk, nettwerk.com) Sheldon Birnie

LINDI ORTEGA Cigarettes & Truckstops From the first tune through the final cut of Cigarettes & Truckstops, Lindi Ortega’s voice cuts through Colin Linden’s thoughtful and bucolic production like a shot of 151. Vocal and production take centre stage on Ortega’s sophomore release, giving nods to country music’s blues roots while placing the characters in Ortega’s tunes somewhere between then and now, at times with one foot in each camp. Ortega’s songwriting is strong throughout. Opening title track is one of those hard travelling ballads, followed up by the fed-up lover’s last fuck-offs of “The Day You Die” and “Lead Me On.” “Demons Don’t Get Me Down” is a great booze and dope track, the chorus of which rings “I don’t feel good, but I feel alright / I ain’t gonna cry myself to sleep tonight,” while “Use Me” goes even further, straddling the line between dope tune and sexy-times tune. “Murder of Crows” is as contemporary a murder ballad as Fred Eaglesmith’s “Katie.” Colin Linden’s contribution should also be mentioned, as the veteran producer and blues player gives the album a consistent, backwoods feel throughout, with top notch players highlighting Ortega’s mean pipes. Worth picking up if you’re into roots, or just into great female vocalists performing at the top of their game. (Last Gang Entertainment, lindiortega.ca) Sheldon Birnie

Oct/Nov 2012 Stylus Magazine

23


Mental Notes

MAD CHILD Dopesick Shane Bunting, aka Madchild, has been through some difficult times these past five years. The heavily autobiographical 16 track solo LP Dope Sick largely chronicles his battle with drug addiction. After hitting rock bottom and nearly dying from his addiction he secluded himself in his home studio and focused on making music. Dope Sick starts off with the gloomy and eerie sounding “Devil’s Rejects.” Right off the bat we have a standout track filled with Madchild’s captivating and aggressive flow along with DJ Revolution’s tight cuts and scratches. Madchild is back folks! The tone of the album is set. “Grenade Launcher” sees him team up with fel-

low Swollen Member Prevail and Slaine. Producer C Lance provides a melodic b-boy-friendly soundscape. “Monster” is a brass heavy standout track where Madchild enthusiastically states his love of the underground: “Fuck a mainstream rapper, that’s my hashtag.” (On that note, follow him on Twitter @MadChild57.) “Wake Up” chronicles the first time he popped Percocet. On this reflective track he raps over the mellow and jazzy production of Rob The Viking. “Dickhead” (which has been available online for a few years) is a self-deprecating, lewd, yet hilariously funny track “As a kid I wasn’t making any sense. Screaming out her name, standing naked on a fence”. The lyrics in the closing song “Wanted” are very introspective and touch upon the frequent subject of his challenge with drug addiction: “It’s pretty crazy when your dreams were so close. You can touch ‘em, now they seem like old ghosts.” Dope Sick is a hard-hitting album from Madchild that has many standout tracks. It’s one of the very few hip hop albums this year that I can listen to without pressing skip… and that is dope sick! (Suburban

Noize Records, suburbannoizerecords.com) Ryan Reyes

RADIO RADIO Havre De Grave Coming out of the bottom corner of quaint Nova Scotia, Radio Radio has a big sound that says to everyone, “Hey! Listen to us. You won’t regret it.” And believe me, you won’t. Radio Radio’s third full-length album Havre De Grave is most definitely not something just to skim over. With each song offering something utterly different from the last. All of the tracks may have the traditional upbeat drum beats of an electro hiphop track, but are laced with dark piano darks that leave you with a

Around The World CURUMIN Arrocha Folklorama may be over but it’s not too late to enjoy some diversity! If you missed the Brazilian pavilion this year, Curumin (KOO-roo-min) can show what happens when samba hosts a party! If Curumin is the standard to go by, your ears might just rub elbows with reggae, jive with funk, kick back with hip-hop, and munch on cocktail weenies with electronica! With Curumin’s soft and smoky Portuguese lyrics, there is no need for ice breakers with his sensual music -- all the guests have got a great thing going! If a lack of Portuguese might pose a problem, fear not, the lyrics are just as catchy, the sounds just as danceable, the feeling just as upbeat – let the party roll on into the early hours! Trumpets were sounded, as

24 Stylus Magazine Oct/Nov 2012

they are in “Tupanzinho Guerreiro,” by Blackalicious when on a South American tour in 2005 they “discovered” the artist Curumin’s distinct skills, and the rest is history. Curumin’s previous works have been used by Natalie Portman in a compilation and Nike in a commercial during the most recent FIFA world cup; he has played live at many major festivals throughout Brazil and America. Arrocha, meaning “to hold with a lot of pressure,” Cururmin told Six Degree Records in a promotional interview, “is a way of dancing where you hold your girl very close” – who knows this kinda thing might just happen too when the record’s playing and the party has started! (Six Degrees Records, sixdegreesrecords.com) Jesse Blackman

CURUMIN

slight chill, jazz influences involving the flute, saxophone, and jazzy bass lines, and even world infused drums, synths made to sound like an accordion, and some vocals as understandable as Sean Paul. The lyrics in many of the songs are what really caught my attention; I’ve seen many artists integrate French and English lyrics into their songs, but never in such a mixed up fashion. A verse in the first track, “Sunrise / All Inclusive War Tour” reads: “Fireworks à tous les soirs/ Personne à la job va t’croire/ J’su un changed man/ Sur le band stand du lemonade stand…” These songs were not intended to be sung along to easily, clearly. Unfortunately this album wasn’t entirely wonderful; one problem I had appeared in three songs: autotune. Ever since the Kanye West and T-Pain’s of the world began using this technique, it has simply become a cliché and almost lazy, something I otherwise didn’t associate with this rap trio. This album is easily being added to my collection, I would highly advise you to do so as well. (Bon Sound, laradioradio.com) Shanell Dupras


Under The Needle

MOTHER MOTHER Sticks More introspective, the subject matter on Sticks matches the sounds, with tracks that alternately dwell on aggressive (“Cry Forum”), menacing (“The Sticks”), anxious (“Little Pistol,” “Dread in my Heart”), and emptiness (“Happy”). For those who still crave the odd harmonies and vocal jumps, tracks like “Infinitetessimal” and “Business Man” fit into the album’s sound while still retaining some of that style. “Let’s Fall in Love” utilizes the more uptempo rock song the band perfected on O My Heart but lacks some of the creative innovation we’ve seen from the band in the past, which leaves this track as something more appealing for rock radio listeners. The album is bookended by a similar piano track and the voice of a young boy. “Omen” seems to suggest an escape into death, and conclusion “To the Wild,” finds the narrator finding something new in the wild, escaping what has come in the preceding tracks, often destroying it. In some way Sticks seems like an attempt to escape the preconceived notions of the band. This is the sound of a band trying to forge a new path for themselves. The biggest flaw is that there is too much reliance on tried and true mainstream rock sounds, as on “Latter Days,” when we know that the band can be more creative sonically. It’s a consistent, cohesive album that tries to balance the quirky nature of the band with their more mainstream ambitions. (Last Gang Records, lastgangentertainment.com) Devin King POOR MOON Poor Moon When I think of the word “moon,” I think of the childhood lullaby Goodnight Moon. From the opening bars of “Clouds Below,” the sounds of a music box welcomes listeners to a peaceful dreamscape. Along the path of folklore, the lyrics throughout Poor

www.stylusmagazine.ca

Moon’s debut release are also calming, poetic, whimsically rhyming, and pleasantly vague, all intertwined and woven with elements of mystery and enchantment. The team out from Seattle of Ian and Peter Murray, along with Christian Wargo and Casey Wescott of the Fleet Foxes, seems to have found a fairly unique sound. Soft voices that blend into the well thought out arrangements of various instruments – of which none sound to be out of place. Poor Moon was built around Wargo’s song and compositions; his material might just have added yet another hit group to Sub Pop’s already stunning line-up of successful and up-and-coming artists. In particular “Clouds Below,” “Phantom Light,” “Heaven’s Door,” “Come Home,” and “Birds” have a strong sense of fairy tale and childhood storytelling. Doesn’t it make a couple cookies, some warm milk, and a warm bed seem like a pleasant situation? (Sub Pop, subpop.com) Jesse Blackman

THE FOLK Say It Again In a niche and popular genre, The Folk have managed to write memorable, catchy songs, on this short, three-song EP. If The Folk continue their course, there is little doubt that they will become rabidly popular in the North American indie rock scene. Say It Again kicks off with “Rules of Youth,” a beautiful indie pop gem that is reminiscent of Death in Vegas’ Scorpio Rising. That is followed by a change of lead vocalists on “When I Go Away,” a quick turn to a more aggressive, sing-a-long type of indie pop. The EP ends off with a quirky duet-ballad, which displays the band’s songwriting diversity. Combined with its intermittent drums, it’s clear that The Folk are informed songwriters, and possess a serious potential in the Canadian indie rock scene. (Independent, thefolk.bandcamp.com) Matt Austman

back to with a glass of wine, and sway along to at times. It’s a good song, it’s a cautious song, and it’s a good companion for mellow hang-outs. (Ninja Tune, ninjatune.net) Matt Austman

LISA BOZIKOVIC This Is How We Swim Let the swimming lessons begin! Or at the very least we can celebrate water in all of its forms and qualities as they percolate through the poetic lyrics of Lisa Bozikovic’s second full release. Upon emerging from this album there is a sense of being cleansed. Wind, rain, waves, rip tides, currents, ice, waterfalls, and many more natural phenomena allow Bozikovic’s story of love, mortality, and life to flow and transcend her notes and melodies. Beyond these themes, there is something essentially cool and crisp about Bozikovic’s light voice; a voice that is so well paired with the atmospheric and gentle yet sensual music that feels like misting rain or the ocean’s salty spray. Even though the power of the ocean does not translate to This Is How We Swim, Lisa Bozikovic’s second album will surely earn further critical acclaim beyond that of her 2009 release, Lost August. After her first release the Toronto singer-songwriter spent much of the last couple years opening for Ohbijou. Bozikovic recorded with Sandro Perri and members of Ohbijou, Fond of Tigers, and Timbre Timber to add a diversity of arrangement to her piano and guitar; all in all a wonderfully soft and sparkling sound to enjoy. (Independent, lisabozikovic.ca) Jesse Blackman THE INVISIBLE Wings The latest single from The Invisible, entitled Wings, is not attention grabbing, but succeeds at what it tries to do. The disk contains four different versions of the same track, none of which are really any more interesting than the other. It rests on electronic drums and spacey vocals, crisscrossing lounge music and shoegaze. This single is a worthy listen not so much for the melodies, but for the atmosphere it creates. But that’s what The Invisible is trying to be – something you can lay

PASSENGER All the Little Lights For the past couple of years, the music I listen to most often has been the kind that grows on you slowly but steadily, eventually turning into a long love affair that rewards with every listen. But there’s something to be said for instant gratification. And that’s what you’ll get with Passenger’s All the Little Lights. Singer/songwriter Mike Rosenberg is a UK born singer that has found major success in Australia and has gone from busking to selling out concerts with his simple and endearing style. At first, I was turned off by Rosenberg’s thick British accent but that quickly wore off and his lighthearted folk-pop became quite charming. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if Passenger became a big success in North America. What fourteen-yearold girl wouldn’t want a poster of a cute Brit with an acoustic guitar staring at them as they hug their pillow? If he writes a song about how “you” are beautiful or amazing despite being physically repulsive, he could be the next James Blunt or Bruno Mars. But I digress. All the Little Lights certainly has its moments but the disc is cohesive at the expense of being homogenous. “Things That Stop You Dreaming” has subtle synths and strings that help the song to resonate. “Let Her Go” has a melody guaranteed to make you sing along. The single, “The Wrong Direction,” is sweet and playful with some nice Beirut-sounding trumpet. It’s too bad that after six or seven tracks I knew where he was going with the rest of the album. Rosenberg is a talented lyricist and he has a good ear for melody but it’s a clean cut and predict-

Oct/Nov 2012 Stylus Magazine

27 25


able album that will find its audience among those who haven’t discovered Kathleen Edwards yet. (Nettwerk, passengermusic.com) Matthew Dyck

PAINT Where We Are Today It’s been not quite three years since Toronto social activist Robb Johannes founded Paint, bringing Mandy Dunbar, Marcus Warren, and Andre Dey into the group, and they have already released one full album Can You Hear Me? Since that 2009 debut, only a dozen or so of their more than one hundred live shows have been played outside of Ontario, but it should be hoped that further travels are looming in the near future. Paint is a band full of fight and passion – in an upbeat non-aggressive sense. The standard composition in how songs build up does not take too much away from the crisp and confident feel. Plus, when the singer has a style to match the punk style, the music can’t go too far astray! As Johannes is an activist the lyrics reflect with a nice leftist politi-

cal flare, not overwhelmingly noticeable, but a tinge that is easy to catch if it’s searched out; “Lack of foresight, lack of insight” or “‘I’m not afraid of change’ he said,” for example. My personal favorite of all the pointed word combinations was the rhyming of “scoundrel love affairs” with “police with trigger fingers” in “If The Walls Could Talk.” These attempts at inspirational lyrics, which aim for meaning rather than how they roll off the tongue, are where Paint’s second LP could set them apart from other bands. (Independent, PaintBand. com) Jesse Blackman

COLD SPECKS I Predict a Graceful Explosion When I first put this album on, I liked it . . . but that’s about all. I thought to myself “Ok, another brooding band singing another brooding song - not too shabby, think I can dig it.” But after doing a little bit more research it was brought to my attention that Cold Specks is actually a pseudonym for a single person, Al Spx. That’s when

Turn The Page RAE SPOON First Prairie Grass Fire First Prairie Grass Fire provides an honest look at growing up in Calgary and experiencing Hell from all sides. Difference is publicly ridiculed and at home considered sinful, there is no safe place but in song. Rae Spoon’s first work of fiction is more than just another book about being lesbian and trans in a heteronormative culture where the concept of transphobia is not even on the radar. Layers of childhood build up throughout the manuscript via short yet powerful stories. Without being specific to their own life, Spoon tries to write about what they know best. The result is an Earth shaking collision of evangelical Christianity, mental illness, abuse, a desire to belong, a fear of being recognised as not being like

28 Stylus Magazine Oct/Nov 2012 26

the others girls, and that dream to play music. Spoon’s plain language and subtle style allows every word to count making the emotion driving through these pages palpable. Although it may be short, and the directness of the writing leaves a lot to the imagination, First Prairie Grass Fire creates a collage from bits of a childhood weaving them together and leaving a beautiful and powerful tapestry of pain, alienation, and triumph. When reaching the end of the book, the raw power of Spoon’s story can be fully understood with the context of their life. Rae Spoon will be doing a book reading at McNally Robinson, 1120 Grant Ave., on October 20th. (Arsenal Pulp Press, arsenalpulp.com) Jesse Blackman

my opinion of this album changed slightly: I’m more impressed, more interested and more willing to listen, given the talent that seems to reside within one person. This 24-year-old Canadian singer-songwriter, who’s been “rescued” from the depths of Toronto suburb Etobicoke, released I Predict a Graceful Explosion on Arts & Crafts in May, and has since earned recognition both at home and abroad for her “goth soul” melange. I Predict a Graceful Explosion is pretty true to name: a fluid meltdown of emotion, genres, and voice. Expressing so many emotions, a deep-set mourning, a great relief, an anticipated welcome, a willingness into the depths (to name a few), this album sounds like it’s constantly on the verge of climaxing to an emotional revelation. Cold Specks is beautiful and comforting in its darkness. The vocals on this album pull the instrumental accompaniment and serve as an engine that keeps each song going. (Arts and Crafts, artscrafts.ca) Victoria King THE KESTRELS A Ghost History In many ways The Kestrels’ are the quintessential indie garage band. Riding the line between overdriven garage rock and shoegaze, A Ghost History is a formulated album based upon fuzzguitars, melancholic vocals/lyrics, and lo-fi drum sounds. The Kestrels come

out strong with “Drowning Girl,” an upbeat rocker with feedback ridden guitar riffs and washy vocals. It sets a strong tone for the remainder of the album, which recycles many of the songs’ melodic tricks – quick pauses, thick guitars solos, and intermittent sing along sections. “There All The Time Without You” is one of the album’s strongest tracks – a catchy chorus intertwined with unexpected twists helps bring the album out of its haze and into uplifting territory. Meanwhile, “Lose,” the album’s most unique track, is a touching ballad that appropriately preludes the album’s epic closer, “The Past Rests.” Unfortunately, A Ghost History is weakened by its length and mix. The fuzz-guitar and feedback drones are worn thin by the halfway mark, and tend to bury and distract from Chad Peck’s vocal melodies, most of which are very clever and catchy. Although this is a common trick used in this genre, it ends up hindering the songs’ potential at times. A Ghost History is a solid record, but the band seems to have purposely hidden some of its greatest strengths. It’s well worth checking out -- it has plenty of depth that can grow on a listener -- but is difficult to listen from start to finish. I hear they have a wicked live show, and I believe it; I’m hoping to see them live before forming a final opinion. (No Yes Records, noyesrecords.com) Matt Austman


The Evolution of Nasty: A Retrospective Look at one of Hip-Hop’s Brave and Eternal Ambassadors By Harrison Samphir Nasir Bin Olu Dara Jones, otherwise known by his pseudonym Nas, began performing in 1991 on hip hop group Main Source’s debut record Breaking Atoms. On the now- classic track “Live at the Barbeque,” a young Nas raps with fiery conviction, presenting himself emphatically as the “street’s disciple… shooting slugs from [his] brain just like a rifle.” An early-90s lyrical composition, to be sure, but a decisive one. This single verse would mark the starting point for one of the most celebrated and outstanding hip hop careers of all time. Evidently, Nas’ ascension to rap supremacy did not end with that aforementioned appearance on Breaking Atoms. By 1994, the 20-year-old had penned and completed his first LP, Illmatic, with the help of other living legends Pete Rock, Large Professor, and the eminent DJ Premier. At once a reflection of desolate urban poverty in the wake of New York’s crack epidemic, and again a lyrically innovative masterpiece that greatly restored the popularity of east coast hip hop, Illmatic was etched in stone as one of the genre’s best records ever. In the words of music journalist Chris Ryan, it was a seminal “portrait of an artist as a hood, loner, tortured soul, juvenile delinquent, and fledging social critic… one of rap’s crowning achievements.” Yet gritty street poetics and “trife life” subject matter weren’t Nas’ only qualities. Beneath his hardcore image lay a burgeoning philosopher guided by the desperate fight for survival in an unforgiving setting: Queensbridge, the largest public housing development in North America. Frequently a site of gang violence

www.stylusmagazine.ca

and drug trafficking, Nas is among a sizeable list of emcees to spring from that setting into lucrative recording contracts throughout the 1990s. But, unlike most, he continued his success for an astonishing 12 discs, despite some profound obstacles along the way. It would be absurd to claim that, between Illmatic and this year’s Life Is Good, Nas made nothing but pristine and listenable records. While it is true that his second effort, 1996’s It Was Written, successfully reestablished much of the lyrical and sonic prowess of his first, many of Nas’ transitionary efforts became hampered by external

pressures and the ubiquitous, creeping allure of celebrity. As was the case on multiple occasions, his persona alone was insufficient to shield the street’s disciple from criticism, and detractors who claimed the gangster realism was fading. Who can forget his highly-publicized and attention-seeking beef with Jay-Z, prolonged by a callow fight for self-gratification and the exorbitant label of “King of New York?” Or what about the rapper’s recent split with R&B star Kelis, an ordeal that further vaulted Nas into public view and under the unwanted gaze of critics and fans? Such trying circumstances

stretch most musicians and recording artists thin, yet even despite his immersion--sometimes haphazardly-- in the fast life, Nas has emerged an intrepid figure, able to reflexively adapt to a changing industry that looks nothing like it did in 1994. Today, in 2012, Nas is 38-yearsold. A multi-platinum recording artist with feuds and divorce behind him, attempting to reclaim the inner-”Nasty” that fuelled his earliest material, and made a resurgence on 2008’s Untitled. From the onset, Life Is Good, establishes its own aesthetic, bringing forward themes and musical stylings that are not unlike his previous records, but comprehensively updated. On “Loco-Motive,” which features friend and fellow Main Source compatriot Large Professor, the distant screeching of subway trains punctuates a raucous beat that seems to augment the narrative of Illmatic’s “N.Y. State of Mind” with the brand of rapid-fire abandon listeners have come to expect from contemporary Nas albums. As the record spins, it soon becomes clear that aggrandizement is the trademark of Nas’ evolution; a broadening of thematic scope which partly forgoes the militant impulse and spontaneity of his younger years, placating that uninhibitedness with carefully calculated reflection and introspective thought. On the sombre “Daughters,” he unabashedly acknowledges the balancing-act of fatherhood, and the concomitant difficulties of teaching lessons he never received: “They say the coolest playas and the foulest heartbreakers in the world / God gets us back, he makes us have precious little girls.” It would be a stretch to claim Life Is Good has resurrected Nas. Truth is, he never disappeared from the hip hop world or ceased to be a part of it. His latest effort is simply a convalescence, a recovery through which the artist has again found his rightful spot among rap royalty; a throne I am sure he will never relinquish.

Oct/Nov 2012 Stylus Magazine

29 27


(feat.) How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Cage (monologue for out-loud reading by outloud readers only) By D.Moore

John, did they follow the host’s assertion that you were a comedy act and laugh – all while your performance said otherwise? Was it not because they sought context in genre and image and, appeased by the hosts introduction, let it engulf all future perception of you? Did you perform differently than We know that more people than just music journalists you would have if introduced as ‘experimental musihave insights into the music we all love. Music is a part cian, John Cage’, or simply ‘musician, John Cage,’ or of everyday life, and not everyone has the chance to simply ‘John Cage’? When they didn’t know how to talk about issues and ideas that emerge when thinking react otherwise, they let – no, needed – someone about music. (Feat.) seeks out non-traditional points else to tell them. The genres they use aren’t even adof view from our community and beyond. jectives, John! Is their ‘Pop’ your ‘Pop’? Is their ‘Folk’ your ‘Folk’? I’ve heard a lot of ‘Classic Rock’ that acTo mark John Cage’s 100th birthday in early tually just sounds like ‘Misogyny’ and a lot of ‘Post September, I was celebrating over hours of YouIronic Humor’ that actually sounds like ‘racism’ and Tube videos (read: doing nothing out of the ordi‘homophobia,’ so I’d hesitate to trust other peoples’ nary) when one particular clip from January, 1960 opinions on art forthright, John! To reduce a work piqued my interest. In the segment, Cage is perto a genre is to lose granularity, uniqueness, vision!” forming his instrumental Water Walk on the game Now…Mr. Cage is nobody’s fool and so usually show I’ve Got a Secret while the in-studio audience wouldn’t oblige this nonsense but, seeing me flusis skewering him with laughter – and I mean absotered, rests his educated hand on my shoulder, tells lutely skewering him. me to breathe, and satisfies me that it is up to each The breakdown begins with the insufferable individual to decide – be it artist or audience memhost incorrectly presenting Cage as a comedy act ber – on whether or not they want to benefit from with “…a bathtub, a mechanical fish, five radios, a being aware of media as existing for a reason other boiling kettle…” It continues, unabated, throughout than entertainment capital and whether or not that the segment – peals of laughter ringing through to reason is to experience something new. He’d remind the end of his interview and drowning out his stage me that, juxtaposed on his legend 50 years later, the performance… nine minutes later! comedic reaction of the game show audience proves Nine minutes of watching a game show audience the point. Their choice to view his performance laugh through a rare live performance of a contemthrough a contextual paradigm ultimately limited porary musical masterpiece is what is known as a reit to no more than what ally long time. Regardless of they were expecting. whether their reaction was 95.9 FM CKUW CAMPUS/COMMUNITY RADIO With John Cage’s due to a misconstrued muTOP 30 ALBUMS (July 25, 2012 – Sept 23, 2012) ghost and an oath to sical “genre,” or because they !=LOCAL CONTENT * =CANADIAN CONTENT re=RE-ENTRY TO CHART “stop taking things so fundamentally didn’t know seriously” lingering in how to engage with art on the room, I decide to their own, nine minutes is ARTIST RECORDING LABEL let the fantasy end with a really long time. While en1 ! Propagandhi Failed States Epitaph Cage’s echoing response joying this really long time 2 ! The Electrics Erotic Magazine Issue #001 Self-Released to the host of I’ve Got 3 ! Mahogany Frog Senna MoonJune with my best friend, the In4 ! Del Barber Headwaters Six Shooter a Secret’s warning, “Internet, my mind pondered 5 * Metric Synthetica Crystal Math evitably, Mr. Cage, these the strength of Cage’s work 6 * Purity Ring Shrines Last Gang are nice people…but in the face of such adverse 7 ! Mise En Scene Desire’s Despair Pipe & Hat some of them are going and short-sighted expec8 * Mother Mother The Sticks Last Gang to laugh. Is that alright?” tation and then naturally 9 * Yukon Blonde Tiger Talk Dine Alone “Well of course…I consettled in the divot chipped 10 * Japandroids Celebration Rock Polyvinyl sider laughter preferable out of my brain by my fa11 Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffitti Mature Themes 4AD to tears.” vorite interview question of 12 * Fist City It’s 1983 Grow Up Black Tent Press “Well of course…I conall time; “…and what type of 13 Animal Collective Centipede Hz Domino sider laughter preferable music do you play?” 14 ! Various Artists No Label Collective Volume One No Label Collective to tears.” 15 ! Last Step Sleep Planet Mu This “genre” question 16 The Young Dub Egg Matador “Well of course…I conis tough; a failsafe review 17 Redd Kross Researching The Blues Merge sider laughter preferable method ulteriorly demand18 Loga Ramin Torkian Mehraab Six Degrees to tears.” ing, “Tell me why I should 19 * Bloc Party Four French Kiss (repeated in perpetuity like this, relate it to what 20 Foxygen Take The Kids Off Broadway Jagjaguwar by the narrator to proI’m comfortable with, and 21 Bailterspace Strobosphere Fire duce echo effect) evoke a curiosity in me that 22 Micachu and The Shapes Never Rough Trade is both familiar and boldly 23 The Limiñanas Crystal Anis HoZac D. Moore is/was a daring.” As a songwriter, re24 Grizzly Bear Shields Warp member of sociopop colsponding to the genre query 25 * Hannah Georgas Hannah Georgas Dine Alone lective ALL OF YOUR can feel like volunteered 26 Mission Of Burma Unsound Fire 27 Amadou & Mariam Folila Because Music FRIENDS and is/was consent that the intended 28 Shonen Knife Pop Tune Good Charamel curator of pop-noir act work of art is, in fact, an 29 * Saturday Saints Hand Me Downs Self-Released Gt.DANE. ephemeral product manu30 ! Mary Jane Stole My Girl Welcome To The Cassette Tape Nation No Label Collective factured to appease the aesthetic deemed most ap-

30 Stylus Magazine Oct/Nov 2012 28

pealing to the “target audience” and conscientiously designed to be enjoyed – nay, consumed – as such. The resulting required, predictable series of tiny self-advertisements of the serious musician – each masquerading as artistic content while diluting the canon of actual works – are delivered in concise and digestible portions; the pithy genre selection, tacked-on music videos, pseudo-bohemian promo stills, rehearsed live banter, etc. I think aloud, “Silly John Cage, this whole I’ve Got a Secret debacle could have been avoided if, instead of focusing on challenging yourself and the limits of contemporary musical composition, you’d just thought about your image for a minute; assumed the pose of the artist, mastered quippy interviewing techniques, and reduced your incomparable vision to a palatable genre for accessibility! For you see, genre is a powerful tool – it is the extension of your brand that allows an audience to know your work without ever having to go through the tiresome exercise of experiencing it themselves! Imagine that, John – summarizing the entirety of your artistic philosophy into a reductive phrase that IS you, or can at least proxy you with the next closest thing! What better way to explain what it is that you’re trying to say and/or why it should be cared about to an audience who can’t grasp the intention of what you are trying to say and/or do not care about it?” Of course John Cage tolerates none of this cheeky tomfoolery, to which I counter, “Why then,


winnipeg folk festival ConCeRts royal wooD

Del BarBer headwaters album release

ocTober 15 // WesT eNd culTural ceNTre

ocTober 26 // co-presented with WesT eNd culTural ceNTre

hawksley workMan

BahaMas with special guest Jason collett

so oUlD t

ocTober 29 // WesT eNd culTural ceNTre

ocTober 30 // WesT eNd culTural ceNTre

co-presented with Jcl Productions

Dan Mangan

the rural alBerta aDvantage

November 1 // burToN cummiNgs TheaTre

a.c. newMan with special guest The mynabirds November 2 // WesT eNd culTural ceNTre

Delhi 2 DuBlin shane koyczan November 5 // WesT eNd culTural ceNTre

November 6 // WesT eNd culTural ceNTre kings and Queens Tour with appearances by matt andersen, amy helm and more

the toM fun orchestra November 17 // Park TheaTre

Blackie anD the roDeo kings with special guest harlan Pepper

November 18 // burToN cummiNgs TheaTre

co-presented with salt X and side one dummy records

xavier ruDD with special guest good old War

kiM churchill

November 24 // burToN cummiNgs TheaTre

december 11 // WesT eNd culTural ceNTre

live @ The Folk eXchaNge: Oct 12 - Katelyn Dawn • Oct 20 - carly DOw all shoWs doors 7:15Pm // shoW 8Pm TickeTs – Winnipeg Folk Festival Music Store (211 Bannatyne at Albert) or visit ticketmaster.ca www.stylusmagazine.ca winn ipegfol kfe stival.ca

Oct/Nov 2012 Stylus Magazine

031


servings servings

33 56 147

servings

from from

from

LITRES LITRES

11.3 19.0 50.0

LITRES

Choose from our popular St. James Pale Ale, Bulldog Amber Ale, Little Scrapper IPA, Stir Stick Stout or our current seasonal beer.

Prices include taP. taxes & dePosit extra. servings based on 341 ml. Price subject to change.

Kegs in stock Check out our retail store for t-shirts, glassware, gift certificates & more. FREE bREwERy touRs EvERy satuRday at 1 pm —  no REsERvations nEEdEd! Visit us at 550 roseberry st., Winnipeg, Mb, Canada. | tel: 204–832–pint www.halfpintsbrewing.com

032 Stylus Magazine Oct/Nov 2012


Stylus Magazine -- Oct/Nov 2012  

This issue features interviews with The Rural Alberta Advantage, Delhi 2 Dublin, The Pack A.D. and Winnipeg's Nova and JohNNy SiZZle // Feat...

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you