9/28/11 10:32:53 AM
On the Cover CHUCK LABOSSIERE is a self taught musician/graphic artist. Stylistically, he likes to work with photography, shooting multiple components then amalgamating them into one piece. He likes the concept of creating images of bio-mechanical hybrid beings, vehicles or just anything original. Chuck takes the arts very seriously and has a lot of pride in his skills and his work. He also claims to be pretty darn good at photo restoration. Chuck Labossiere can be found on Facebook or can be reached at: email@example.com
Production Team Editor . . . . . . . . . . . Taylor Benjamin Burgess Assistant Editor . . . . . . . . . . . . Sheldon Birnie Art Director . . . . . . . . . . . . Andrew Mazurak Distributor . . . . . . . . . . . Patrick Michalishyn Advertising Manager . . . . . . . . . . Ted Turner 204-786-9779, firstname.lastname@example.org Cover Art . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Chuck Labossiere Printed by Copy Plus Inc. . . . . . 204-232-3558
Contributors Kent Davies Kyra Leib Victoria King Patrick Michalishyn Scott Wolfe Adrienne Yeung Dallas Kitchen Devin King Lara Violet c.frsn Kristel Jax
Stylus is published bi-monthly by the University of Winnipeg Studentsâ€™ 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:
Wild P Cave Stylus Oct 2011.indd1 1
Stylus Magazine Bulman Student Centre, University of Winnipeg 515 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg, MB, R3B 2E9 Phone: 204-786-9785, Fax: 204-783-7080 email@example.com 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.
TableofContents Blah, Blah, Blah Events around town . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 CKUWho CineFlyer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 CKUW Program Guide . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Live Bait Untitled, Breath Grenades and Richard Altman . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Local Spotlight Tim Hoover // This Hisses // Smoky Tiger . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 Root Cellar Chuck Prophet // The Head and the Heart . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Mental Notes Son Lux // Alias . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 Iconoclast Sepultura // Social Distortion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 Ulteriors Kram Ran // Alpha Couple // Weyes Blood . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Under the Needle Unison // Bon Iver // Taking Medication . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 Fear of Music Whatâ€™s Signified By Campaign Music? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 Weird Shit with Kent Davies Go Cheese Go! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
Features Mogley and the Woodland Creatures . . . 5
Bog River . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Tim Hoover . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Microdot . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Eyam . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 D.O.A. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Camp Radio . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 White Dog . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Week Thus Far . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
Oct/Nov 2011 Stylus Magazine
Junior Boys showcase bits of It’s All True at the WECC on Thursday, September 8
Blah, Blah, Blah
Socalled is Canadian rapper Josh Dolgin, infusing hip hop with klezmer, and actually started making beats by sampling 1930s Jewish music. His latest release is full of partying and grooving, tall tales and lessons to be learned. Currently sitting at #1 on UMFM’s hiphop charts, this is some straight Canadianna not to be missed, like Buck 65 backed by the Barmitzvah Brothers. Taylor Burgess (Editor) www.stylusmagazine.ca
PHOTO BY JOSH LOWE
Exchange on November 4. If that don’t tickle your pickle, Cheering for the Bad Guy and the Upsides will be ripping the tits off the Standard later that evening, and Ozzy’s is going to be a sloppy drunken mess, with Legion of Liquor, Evil Survives and Skullfist fucking shit up. *** Saturday, November 5, local roots darlings Oh My Darling release their sophomore CD, Sweet Nostalgia, at the WECC. *** Like fishing? You’ll love Boats, who are rocking the ship at the Lo Pub Nov 5. *** Back at the ranch (WECC) on November 9 is Canadian legend Tom Wilson. Yeah. Tom Wilson, bucko. Be there. *** Or be at the Lo Pub, for Honheehonhee. Say that five times fast, partner! *** Good-looking Crooked Brothers and better-looking Bog River make for a rootsy orgy of awesomeness at the Times Change(d) November 10. *** On November 11, the Weber Brothers (no sisters?) and Attica Riots descend upon the Park Theatre, and the Lonely Vulcans release their surfy new platter at the Times. *** Dig pretty indie-pop? Wish you lived in Toronto? Better be at the WECC on November 12 for Ohbijou, or you’re full of it on that front, bubba. *** Larry & His Flask bring the debauchery to the Pyramid November 14, and tUnE-yArDs bring the “what the F? this is amazing!” to the WECC. *** November 16, Ox and Al Tuck will help you get lowed at the Lo Pub. Whoooeeee! *** Critical big-wigs Hey Rosetta! are getting all up in it at Garrick on November 17. That’s right, the Garrick. Big time, boys! *** November 17 – 19, the Times Change(d) pays homage to Neil Young at the annual Neil Fest. *** November 19 indie rockers the Arkells rock out at the Pyramid, and Lucy Wainright Roche roche’s out at the Park Theatre. *** November 25 sees CR Avery bust a musical nut all over the WECC. *** Finally, the Folk Exchange hosts Winnipeg’s songwriter extraordinaire Scott Nolan November 26. You can also see him play at the Standard most Sunday nights, if you’re some sort of heathen who drinks on a Sunday. ***
Stylus Picks Yr Noise PHOTO BY ELIZABETH GILMORE
open ice hit from Scott fucking Stevens, while Big John Bates busts up the Pyramid like Tie goddamn Domi. *** Cuff the Duke and Hooded Fang strut their sexy stuff at the Park Theatre Friday, October 21. *** Guitar god Johnny Winter plays the Pyramid with his band for two nights, Oct 21 & 22. If you don’t already have tickets, good luck getting in. Those puppies are going like hot cakes. *** Skinny half-arsed English country singer Frank Turner graces the WECC with his brand of protest tunes Saturday the 22, but if you’re missing the musky dance party that is Folk Fest, head to the Garrick for Dehli 2 Dublin and OKA instead. *** Zombie’d out yet? Too bad, bud! Brains invade the Pyramid October 24. *** October 27, the Times hosts Woodshed Havoc and Byrne Fiddler, while the Pyramid hosts fucking D.O.A!!! *** CKUW faves the Crooked Brothers play the Folk Exchange on Friday, October 28, while the WECC hosts Skalloween XI, and the Park Theatre rocks with an ungodly line up of This Hisses, Les Sexy, The Vibrating Beds and the Thrashers. *** Get ready for a million dollar bash at the WECC with everyone’s favourite death country combos Elliot BROOD and One Hundred Dollars while across (down) town DJ Hunnicutt & Co-op are shaking the bejesus out of the Pyramid Saturday, October 29.*** November 1 – 6 sees a handful of venues hosting Winnipeg’s Aboriginal Music Week, with over 31 Aboriginal Acts from across Turtle Island, including hip hop sensations Winnipeg’s Most, Canadian Idol vet Sherry St. Germain, Juno Award winner Derek Miller, and Ottawa based DJ crew A Tribe Called Red. Check aboriginalmusicweek.ca for details. *** November 1, bearded, plaid wearing indie songwriting guy Dan Mangan plays the Garrick. Swoon. *** Miss the Hummers much? Well, shit, November 3, they reunite for a show at the Lo Pub. Sub City returns to the High & Lonesome Club that same night, while the Times hosts two nights of Valerie June (7pm) and the Perpetrators CD release party (10pm) on the 4th and 5th. *** Red Moon Road will be serenading folks at the Folk
Fall is here, friends, so let’s get weird already. *** October 8, B.A. Jonston gets hot, sweaty and (probably) naked at the Lo-Pub, with Babysitter, Phlegm Fatale and Drugs. *** Kelowna’s HippieCritz rip up the Death Trap on October 9. *** Get funky when Jazz Winnipeg presents DamFunk & Master Blazter at the Pyramid Oct 10. *** Wednesday the 12th sees B.C.’s UnFun fuck up the Death Trap with the Thrashers and Brain Attracts Flies. *** Thursday, October 13 sees the boys and babe in Bog River release Hands in the Ground at the WECC, and the Liptonians get pretty with the Zolas at the Lo Pub. *** Holy shit! Zombies! Oct 14 is Zombie Walk time, ghouls! The Pyramid hosts the Zombie Rock afterparty with the Wind Ups, the Rockdoras, Les Sexy and the Noble Thiefs! Not to be outdone on the undead front, the Zoo’s got the Filthy Animals, Zombie Assault, Laika, and Igor & the Skindiggers. Don’t like zombies? Get pissed drunk with Cheering for the Bad Guy at the Cavern instead, or go to the MTS Centre and watch mega-babe Avril Lavigne make a few thousand fans hot & horny. Had enough of Friday? Too bad! Ultra Mega and Terra Lightfoot are partying at the Lo Pub, too! *** Saturday, October 15, the WECC plays host to the legendary NOMEANSNO. Mosey on over to the Times Change(d) after for Rob Wrigley and the beautiful Bushtits. Half Pints Brewerys is also celebrating its 5th Anniversary at the Lo Pub! Pop by for a Stirstick to keep your night going strong! ***October 16, Wake, Scab Smoker and Egyptian Air Strike destroy the Death Trap with some all ages fun. *** October just gets sicker and sicker as Napalm Death, Putrescence, Tu Sufres and Mass Grave defile the Zoo on Monday the 17th. *** If that wasn’t enough intensity for you, head down to the Park Theatre on Tuesday the 18th for Decapitated, Decrepit Birth, Fleshgod Apocolypse, Rings of Saturn and the Haarp Machines. *** Mark Berube & the Patriotic Few do the WECC on the 19th. *** October 20 sees hockey loving country troubadour Tim Hus hit the Times Change(d) like an
Oct 12 @ WECC
More photos at stylusmagazine.ca
Oct 17 @ The Zoo
Nov 14 @ WECC
Napalm Death were the undisputed originators of the grindcore genre, which, if you had been paying any attention at all since the late ‘80s, has taken over many punk scenes, Winnipeg included. These politicos have nothing to hide, and rampant masculinity to tear down and a whole stage to do it on. Stay tuned to stylusmagazine.ca for an interview with the band.
tUnE-yArDs is a one woman machine clutching a ukulele in one hand and summoning additive vocal chords with the other. Much like Owen Pallett and Andrew Bird, Merill Garbus layers elegant melodies to compose brilliant live performances before gawking audience members like The Roots’ Questlove: “some of the GREATEST ish I’ve seen in a minute!!!!” “omfg!!!!!” is right Quest... “omfg!!!!!” is right. Andrew Mazurak (Art Director)
Sheldon Birnie (Assistant Editor)
Oct/Nov 2011 Stylus Magazine
Stylus: You guys played as the house band on Week Thus Far (WTF) season finale back in June, how did that come about and what was that like? AR: I got an e-mail one night saying they needed a band to play for the finale on June 27. So we went and did the show and the stage was packed. Actually, they didn’t have enough electrical energy to power all of our instruments that night. There was seven of us on stage for that gig. Tyson Eidse: It was a lot of fun. It was great to play on the show and support the local comedians and other local talent. Stylus: I was at that gig, I noticed jamming is very much a part of your show. Holly Stratton: Yes, we always feed off each other at gigs. Grant Trippel: Songs will extend sometimes to... thirty minutes! [laughs] Some songs we just jam to. TE: Improvisation just kinda happens, it’s all about communication on stage. Stylus: I understand you have a CD coming out soon? AR: In October. It’s easy to get out in the summer, so why put our CD out there when it’s warm outside and they can come see our show? Not everybody wants to come out in the winter, so we’re going to make sure you have something to listen to when you’re sitting inside all cozy. FA: The majority of production is done within the band. Me and Grant have started producing most of it. Stylus: Is there a name for the album? Any ideas? GT: As it stands, it’s self-titled. HS: Symptoms Of A Wet Guitar? FA: That could be a funk album!
ogley and the Woodland Creatures are a rock/funk/ blues/soul band based out of Winnipeg. With a CD set for release this fall, a western Canadian tour at the end of August and loads of gigs coming at them all over town, I had to sit the group down and ask questions. I managed to catch up with them in a house that none of us had ever been in before. Mogley and all the Woodland Creatures are comprised of Aidan Ritchie (frontman), Finley Allison (multi-instrumentalist), Holly Stratton (keyboardist/vocals), Grant Trippel (guitar/synth) and Tyson Eidse (drums). Stylus: How did you guys come up with the name Mogley and the Woodland Creatures? Aidan Ritchie: We’re a concept band. The character Mogley is travelling to a new place where he has met a bunch of characters to help him find the woman he is in love with. The creatures tell him if he sings a song so loud and beautiful, that she will come back. Every member tells a different story which creates the feeling of the beat. Finley Allison: Each member in the band has their own character. Stylus: How would you describe your music? FA: Entertaining and progressive. We play different genres depending on the venue. If it’s late at night and people want to get funky then we’re going to get funky, sweat on stage and Aidan is going to dance. It grows and matures. Stylus: But don’t most bands grow and mature? AR: But we take you somewhere. Stylus: Where do you take us? FA: Where clothing is optional. [laughs] AR: We take you from your safe haven where your parents give you a teddy bear to hold onto and slowly we wake you up and show
WHREERMEOVTINHGE TWIHELIDR TCHLIONTGHSINARG E by dal as kitchen wejustdontwantwantto maktoe loveattactok thepeoiprle,arwes.
you that not all bears are nice and your teddy bear turns into a grizzly bear, y’know? Then it gets funky and dirty but people aren’t afraid, because
what’s primitive and natural is always sexual. We don’t want to attack people, we just want to make love to their ears.
Mogley and the Woodland Creatures were on a Western Canadian tour through the end of August finished up at Vancouver in September. Be sure to catch them playing around Winnipeg this winter and catch up with the current escapades at myspace.com/KitchiManitou.
Oct/Nov 2011 Stylus Magazine
bog river muddy &simple By Victoria King
PHOTO BY BRENDAN MCGUIRE
t’s a near perfect August evening – hot without being sweltering, vanilla ice cream in a cup and conversation about music, travel and inspiration with one of the city’s newest and arguably most talented groups, Bog River. “In the ninth grade, I had a really awesome band teacher who just made me want to go to band camp every year. He just made me love music,” Ben Hadaller of the local folk trio tells me at a Sub Zero Ice Cream picnic table. Carly Dow, lead vocalist of the group, jokes that the extent of her family’s influence in her musicality came from the occasional inebriated family member banging on a piano at parties. On her left, Dave Barchyn, former associate at a music store, explains that, “If you work at a music store long enough, you end up owning a music store.” While Carly, Ben and Dave may have found their own paths to musicianship independently, as Bog River these three young musicians have created a sound that seems to flow amongst them effortlessly, one that is unique while retaining a traditional folksy quality. “Less musicians means more practice,” Dave says. “No matter what, it’ll still come out as a ‘Bog River’ sound and style,” Ben explains, “since it’s only the three of us.” Similar to their backwoods sound, the band’s name came from a river near the cabin where they choose to do the majority of their recording. “I just drove by that sign so many times and always wanted to call a band Bog River, regardless of the genre. Now we have this muddy folk trio,” Ben recalls. Their debut EP, Lost in the Woods, was recorded in a single day and is described by the group as a “bare bones approach to recording.” “I specifically remember having a set of headwww.stylusmagazine.ca
phones on and bangin’ on a cabinet to try and get a drum track down,” Ben laughs. “We opted to record at the cabin because, (a) we couldn’t afford studio time and (b) it’s just such a nice environment to be in,” Dave explains. “You’re not worried about spending too much time on a certain track. If you feel like taking a break, take a break. Make dinner, or if you feel really brave, you can go cut a hole though the ice and jump into the lake!” “It’s perfect for what we’re doing. It’s just relaxed,” Carly later adds. She reflects on their upcoming first full-length release, Hands in the Ground; “This one was a couple weekends over a couple months, and it’s a lot more polished than our first.” “From the beginning to the end of the album, you definitely do feel that happier side go to that darker side. The bog and the mud,” Ben comments. Looking at the inner slide of the new album, the instrument list includes banjo, upright bass, mandolin, kazoo and “wood yard percussion.” “On ‘Mountains for Sale,’ Ben wanted a more percussive sound . . . We daisy-chained a bunch of mics and Ben went and chopped some wood, and started banging on rocks,” Dave recalls as Carly and Ben laugh. Jokes aside, the band is motivated. “We have little goals that we set for ourselves. We’d really love to play the Winnipeg Folk Fest someday, that’s a big one for us. That’s a stepping stone that we’d really like to reach, and someday soon,” Carly asserts. Another such goal has been their then-upcoming tour. The band left in late August and was on the road for three weeks, kicking off in Clear Lake. Afterwards, they headed west to Regina and Maple Creek in
Saskatchewan, then Calgary, Kamloops and the BC islands. “This tour itself is one of those next steps that we’ve been working really hard to get to, so we’ll see how it goes. We’re really excited about it,” Carly tells me. “We won’t know a lot of people in most of these towns, so it will be a really good experiment to see how people like our stuff.” I’m waiting to hear some wildly long to-do list from one of the members, but I’m assured that everything is in place for the tour. “It has to be,” she replies simply. “As a tourist, I want to see some giant trees on the islands,” Ben claims, only half jokingly. As a band, Carly notes that they’re most looking foreword to a gig at iconic folk venue, the Ironwood Stage & Grill in Calgary. When asked who’ll have the biggest suitcase, the questions is barely out of my mouth before both Ben and Carly affirm that it’ll be Carly. “She’ll have more dresses than we do instruments” Ben jokes. “I have to perform in nice dresses. That’s my excuse for buying new ones all the time,” she reasons. “I think of us [referring to himself and Ben] as the table cloth and napkins and Carly as the centerpiece,” Dave kindly offers. The West End Cultural Center will be the site of the big release on October 13, where they’ll be performing with locals Red Moon Road and Dan Frechette. The band explains to me that ultimately, this album should give the sound and feeling as their live show. Ben adds, “We want people to hear the smiles on our faces when we’re playing. It’s fun. It’s really, really fun.”
Oct/Nov 2011 Stylus Magazine
PHOTO BY TYLER SNEESBY
grabbed more napkins
By Adrienne Yeung know you’ve heard/seen DJ Co-op around town sometime, somewhere – perhaps DJing at Grippin’ Grain, or as half of the Co-op/Hunnicutt duo. But less ubiquitous is the name of the man behind the turntable. Meet Tim Hoover and his most recent project, which is a huge departure from hip-hop beats you might hear him spinning on any other night. He’s created 60 minutes of richly layered instrumental music, stirring together lost-and-found samples with his own compositions. The day after his album listening party at the Planetarium, we got away from the heat and the traffic at Bar Italia to talk about recording under his own name this time to produce this totally different sounding album, More Napkins. Stylus: You said the “real” title of the album at the show last night. What’s that? Tim Hoover: It’s I Should Have Grabbed More Napkins. It’s just a thing that I’ve been saying for years. It should be on my tombstone. But it seemed a bit clunky for a full album title. I love napkins, but I never have enough of them! [Stylus hands Tim a napkin. Tim says thanks.] Stylus: What went through your head when you created the songs? TH: I suppose for the most part it was built around the samples that I took. I’d take a little snippet of a song that I wanted to sample, and then build music of my own on top of it, inspired by the sample, and which would go along with that sample. Stylus: So all in all, how much of this is actually your own music that you’ve composed and played yourself? TH: Probably around 90 percent. Stylus: What exactly were you doing on your laptop at the Planetarium show? TH: Well, I played the music as I composed it, except at certain parts I took pieces out of the recording and played those parts live. I was playing the section with the guitar, and then the keyboard, and the www.stylusmagazine.ca
violin. Really, I composed the album almost by trial and error: like, “These notes sound good, now I’m gonna record on top of them.” I made it and then went, “Oh, crap, now I’ve gotta perform this.” I think in a perfect world I would have made the music and then got a whole bunch of really talented musicians to just play it with me. Maybe someday! Stylus: I was listening to some of your Yahoo Serious (an earlier venture under the Co-op title) music from 2007, and I noticed how even that is distinctly hip-hop and funky, whereas under Tim Hoover, your sound is entirely different – down-tempo, almost classical. For how long have you been thinking of making something like More Napkins? TH: It’s almost like a logical progression, the Yahoo Serious, and after it, the Ayo Technology. On Yahoo Serious I was taking the songs, looping them up, and then adding acapellas, so it wasn’t straight DJing – there was more of a production element. And then on this one I just took it one step farther in that there were songs, but just little parts of songs and then I built music around them. Obviously it’s a huge departure from funky, rappy things to time signatures and violins. And that’s why I released it under the name Tim Hoover and not DJ Co-op, because if you went to see DJ Co-op at the Pyramid... or if you listened to this and went to see DJ Co-op at a party, you’d think, “What?! This is nothing like that!” Stylus: But why did you decide to record this under Tim Hoover as opposed to another pseudonym? TH: I always have trouble explaining why I chose DJ Co-op. [Tim now explains, but that’s probably already in another interview somewhere.] So if I had to make up another name, I would have to explain that... This is music that I’m really happy with. It’s not like trying to market myself as a DJ or anything with this. This is just my music. This is what I want
to put out – so why not just put it out under my own name? Stylus: What was the thinking behind the decision to make each track so long, at about 12 minutes each? TH: The album is designed to be listened to in one go. I almost wanted to make it just one long 60 minute track on your iPod, but that’s kind of annoying for people because you have to either listen to it all the way through, or skip. So I picked natural breaking points. I thought that was a good compromise between one gigantic long track and a bunch of short tracks. Because it doesn’t really make sense for me to cut it up any smaller. Stylus: In pretty much every piece of info I’ve seen about More Napkins on the Internet, there’s a reference to this being a “headphone album.” What does that mean to you, and do you agree? TH: I pulled that term out while writing out the release details for the album. To me it just means an album where if you were just hanging out at a party and it was playing through some MacBook speakers, you wouldn’t really get the full appreciation of what’s going on with it. Or at a loud bar. It’s the sort of album that I think is best appreciated on a pair of headphones. Stylus: What do you like about cassette versus other formats? TH: Aesthetically, I love the fact that it’s on cassette. I know it’s not that practical, but it’s so goddamn cool that I couldn’t resist – the fact that I grew up listening to all these tapes and now I’ve got a tape of my own music! More Napkins was released on September 13th on the label Woven Records in digital format, and on cassette with Dub Ditch Records.
Oct/Nov 2011 Stylus Magazine
Smurfs and 8 Tracks:
Microdot By Kyra Leib
Microdot is easily the most jovial and fun band that I’ve ever interviewed. I sat down with the whole band: Bill Northcott, Rob Nay, Jen Alexander and Janus Field. During our conversation we digressed on the silliest tangents (see the bit about shrunken heads and tiny instruments) but also discussed the Winnipeg music scene and band dynamic. This is how it all went down. Stylus: How did Microdot form? Rob Nay: Bill and I have been playing together since 1993…Jen and Jan are engaged so… Janus Field: It just made sense that I should join the band. Jen Alexander: [laughs] We were playing in YOUR house! JF: Yeah, they were playing in my basement. I
12 Stylus Magazine Oct/Nov 2011
was going to be at most of the shows anyway… RN: We started officially as Microdot in February or March of 2009. At that time it was just Bill and I. We were playing some older music from bands of the past and then we started writing more songs. Bill Northcott: We would just get together and play a lot of old stuff and write, then Rob started asking around for a drummer and then we got to know Brendan Ehinger from War Elephant? RN: Yeah, Brendan played in a bunch of bands, like The Vagiants. He started playing drums with us in March 2009 but he got too busy with other bands so he bowed out. After this Bill asked Jen to come play the drums. JA: I thought I could secretly figure out how to play the drums! [laughs] Bill and I had been play-
ing together in The Angry Dragons. BN: Then I said “Okay she knows how to keep a beat, she knows where to stop and start.” It evolved into me asking her if she wanted to play drums. JA: And I was like: SURE. I’d been playing guitar for seventeen years, so I’ve just been pretending to play the drums. Stylus: What are some things that you’ve noticed change in the Winnipeg music scene? RN: I feel like there were more music venues in the ’90s. JF: [sadly] There’s no Albert any more. Stylus: Yeah, what do you guys think about that? JF: It was kind of funny that the day the rapture was supposed to happen the Albert closed down instead. JA: [laughs]
Stylus: Die hard Albert fans probably thought “THIS IS WHAT THEY WERE TALKING ABOUT, THE END IS NIGH!” RN: Yeah, some of our earlier shows were at the Albert. It does definitely impact things but there are new venues opening. A few weeks ago we played a show at that new venue on Princess [Negative Space]. The whole dynamic of being able to hear bands has fundamentally changed with being able to listen to bands online. The CBC Radio shows Brave New Waves and Nightlines were invaluable in the 1990s for exposing us to a lot of incredible music. We also picked up on underground stuff through Much Music’s City Limits and Winnipeg public access VPW shows like Alternative Rockstand. But I think that now there are definitely a lot more avenues to discover music. Stylus: Are you a pro digital or vinyl/ hard copy band? BN: Sort of half and half, especially since records are available for download on things like FLAC files now so there are higher quality options. Sometimes you can’t afford the forty dollar, special import record so instead you can get it online for ten bucks. JF: You can always buy a t-shirt from the band’s website so they’ll still get your twenty bucks that way. At least they get twenty bucks rather than a quarter of the profit they might get if you buy their stuff at HMV. RN: Sometimes when you download say ten albums you forget what you have. When you have the hard copy it reminds you that “Oh yeah, I should listen to this.” JF: And you’re actually connected to it physically so there’s more interaction. RN: I think because Bill and I are a lot olderJA: [laughs] RN:We really appreciate how hard it is to find music; it’s a lot more easily accessible now. We still mail order stuff to track down records that you can’t find in the city. JF: Microdot has just been releasing on tape. RN: We have one for you. JF: Do you have a tape player? Stylus: In my dad’s truck, it’s about a million and a half years old. Are you planning on continuing to release on tape? BN: For Lamps Not Amps, yes. Chris Jacques did a great job; he knows how to master a tape really well. Stylus: What was it like recording Lamps Not Amps? Any stories? RN: It was pretty laid back. JA: They were recorded at band practice. RN: We recorded everything live over the course of a few weeks and used the best versions. It was super simple. We’re doing more recording tomorrow. BN: We’re going to record in a secret laboratory. Stylus: What’s it like working with Dub Ditch Picnic? RN: It’s super easy because I’ve known Chris for ages.
BN: I used to play in a band with him called The Incinerators in the ’90s. He then decided that he was going to start the Dub Ditch Picnic label. He asked me to send him some F.P. Tranquilizer stuff, so I sent him some Microdot stuff as well. RN: Chris is doing a really good job of sending tapes out to different areas as well. He sent out a copy to WFMU radio station in New Jersey and they ended up picking us as an artist of the day. We were pretty excited about that. Chris has put out a lot weird noisy stuff, a real eclectic mix of artists. JF: I’ve actually been really pissed off that Greg MacPherson is on the cover of the Uniter and Uptown. Good for him, but he’s been on the cover before. Tim Hoover is a man about town, he’s a fantastic gentlemen and a great DJ. We’ve all had a good night while he was spinning. He should have been on the cover. RN: Yeah, Mammoth Cave is doing a 7” compilation called Bloodstains. He’s done a few already, splitting up each geographical region in Canada. Each band contributes a minute long song so they can as much bands possible on a 7”. Microdot and The Angry Dragons are on the prairie edition. Also, Atomic Don and the Black Sunrise which is the band that these three play in [indicates his Microdot counterparts] are also on it. JA: And F.P. Tranquilizer! RN: And F.P. Tranquilizer which is Bill’s solo project. JF: Speaking of that, have you heard “Crispy Big Ones” by F.P. Tranquilizer? Stylus: No I haven’t yet. JF: Not only is it a good song, but it’s possibly one of the greatest songs EVER written! Stylus: Oh My gosh, I’ll give it a listen. What do you guys to for kicks? Microdot: Band practice. [all laugh] Stylus: Are all your band practices productive? JF: Just the other day Atomic Don ended up playing about an hour and a half of Ramones and Misfits covers. Stylus: That’s what you guys do for kicks? That’s awesome. JF: With Atomic Don it’s either that or we play Hawkwind except we’re on less drugs maybe. But with Microdot, it’s all about the fuckin’ Space Smurfs. Stylus: Space Smurfs? RN: Yeah. Stylus: The vocals on the first four tracks of Lamps Not Amps kind of remind me of Shane McGowan. RN: Well Bill and I do the singing. The first four tracks are a mixture of us singing, we’ve never thought of that! JA: Maybe there’s a leprechaun living in the first four tracks of Lamps Not Amps! Stylus: So would you describe your sound as Space Smurf/ Leprechauns? JA: [laughs] Yeah!
JF: And old technology. RN: Yeah. JF: I’d like to see us all dress up as Smurf characters. JA: We should dress up as Smurfs for our next show. BN: We should consult a witch doctor and get ourselves shrunken. Stylus: And play tiny instruments? RN: Yeah, we could do that. Stylus: The song “Tepee in the Forest,” what’s that about? BN: Well that’s a whole other story. JA: [laughs] BN: My girlfriend’s mom wrote out three song titles and she told me to write songs about them. “Tepee in the Forest” was one of them. That one was inspired by these coasters that she had with trees on them, that’s how she thought of it. One of her other suggestions was “Groovy Good Times.” Those songs are all available online. Stylus: Would you guys be open to having a suggestion box for names of songs? BN: Sure! Stylus: What’s your songwriting dynamic like? RN: Bill does about two thirds of the stuff and I do about a third. We come up with stuff on our own and then bring it into practice then everybody adds their own individual parts. In this process the music becomes generally much louder which is a quality we like. We make, to a certain extent, pop songs and we like layering effects. We have an affinity for very noisy pop. BN: I used to think that there had to be some kind of meaning behind lyrics but I realized that lyrics don’t have to make sense at all. So I started writing more and more nonsense. Stylus: Have you noticed any fads or trends in the Winnipeg music scene? JF: I have nothing positive to say about this, I don’t want to make enemies. JA: [laughs] JF: Certainly a lot of people are going in the same direction and make reference to the same points. But I don’t really appreciate that especially if I don’t like what they’re referencing. When I’m playing with Microdot no one ever says, “This is supposed to sound like a Hüsker Dü song.” It’s just like writing a tag on a video, something like, “If you enjoy this then you should also enjoy THIS.” I just think to myself “YOU WISH!” I find it more interesting when bands say they DON’T want to sound like another band. For example, I’m glad we don’t sound like the Hold Steady! Microdot: [laughs] Stylus: Please feel free to talk about any of your pet peeves with Stylus! JA: Where is Kevin the Duck!? Microdot’s latest release Lamps Not Amps is available on Dub Ditch Picnic.
Oct/Nov 2011 Stylus Magazine
THE PLAGUE FIRE CAN’T CURE is brutal black metal played to perfection. Since 2007 the local metal act has emerged as one of the front-runners in Winnipeg’s vibrant metal scene. Already, the band has been featured in many media publications and has even appeared on French CBC television in an effort to share their debut self-titled EP, an album that some thought wouldn’t ever come out. Their dedication to their craft and their band despite facing life threatening set-backs, and juggling between other bands is a reflection of their enduring respect for the genre. The foursome headed by local metal veteran Chuck Labossière (Psychotic Gardening) features Mike Janssen and AJ Schmid on guitar, Tomi Stangl on drums and Kevin Focht on bass. In recent interviews with Stylus and CKUW 95.9 FM Labossière and Focht spoke about the trials and tribulations of Eyam. Stylus: It was a long process to get your EP off the ground. What happened? Kevin Focht: Bascially in January our guitarist AJ Schmid had just moved into a new apartment with his girlfriend. Long story short we were holding all the band’s money and our merchandise there and three nights after moving in, the apartment went up in flames. They lost everything and all the band money burned along with the merch. So we had a pretty big loss and our EP release show became a benefit show to recover some of the money. Stylus: So the initial Eyam EP didn’t end up getting pressed? KF: We basically had to scrape up as much money as we could after the fire to do a small pressing and work our way back again. It was tough but we did it. Stylus: Did you think it may never come out? KF: No, but we were committed. It wasn’t the best of circumstances but we knew we could do it. Stylus: What was the recording process like? KF: It was really, really, really black singing. It set the tone. Len Milne was the producer and he’s a really great guy to work with. He’s very laid back. The whole process in creating the album was pretty fun. The whole process getting it out was not so great. Stylus: Was it worth it when you got the first copy and listened to it the first time? KF: Totally. It was. Stylus: Have you regained some financial stability since the EP release show?
KF: It was a very successful show. We made enough money to cover the costs of a new shirt design, catch up on jam spot rent, and drive out to Regina to play with Into Eternity and Digital Doomzday. Since then we’ve upgraded some of our equipment and have been sending our EP out everywhere, which has basically eaten up the rest of our funds. Stylus: Are you planning on recording any new material? KF: We are always writing new material. Sometimes too much. We have about an hour of music yet to be recorded, and we just keep on writing. It’s nice to have a few in the bag, but now the time has come to decide what material will be recorded, whether we are doing a full length or EP, which producer/ studio to use and what medium we wish to release it on. Aside from recording our next release, we are currently making plans for a music video. So far we are leaning towards a video for “The Architects of Starvation,” although nothing is set in stone yet. Andrew Wiens (Psychotic Gardening) will be heavily involved in the production of this video. Stylus: Can you take us back to how Eyam got started? KF: Originally, the idea started as a side project. We all had been playing in other bands except for our guitarist AJ. We basically all wanted to form a more technical death metal band. We got together and started playing some riffs and basically formed the band. We asked Chuck (Psychotic Gardening) to sing for us. We didn’t even think he would because he’s such a veteran in the scene and busy with his own band but he was stoked and over time it has become a main project instead of a side project. Chuck Labossière: I was aware that they were doing stuff and I was listening to their Myspace links and the songs were all instrumental at the time. I listened to it and noticed there was a posting on another website that said they were looking for a singer. I heard a few people were trying out and I heard the music and I was like this stuff is really good so they better get a good singer because it wouldn’t be justified if they didn’t. I wasn’t about to ask them because I’m already committed to Psychotic Gardening and doing other stuff but in the back of my head I was thinking if they ask me, I’m in. So they finally asked me. I was instantly, “Yep! For sure.” It’s good too because I don’t have to play guitar. I can
just sing and focus on that. Stylus: How do you balance the two bands? CL: I can make it work. Both bands have been on tour together. We play the same show often. So I play two sets back to back. Mike and I would play two sets in a row. We were wondering if we could do it, especially on tour. Would it be possible psychically to do two sets a night for a long period of time? But as long as I don’t drink too much and just control myself I’m good. Stylus: I know a lot goes into the mythology of any metal band let alone death metal. What is the story behind the name Eyam? KF: We decided when we formed the band to do something a little different. There are a lot of satanic metal bands out there with tons of different themes. You’ve got the zombie metal bands, cannibal metal bands. We wanted to go with something that’s not completely original but in our music we like to address the bad side of the world the politics of devastation, plagues, pestilence and disease. Eyam itself is a town in the United Kingdom, it had one of the worst cases of the black plague in history. They had situations of self quarantine and I think the town was wiped out. We related our music to the theme of disease and explore how mankind are their own worst plague. Stylus: Chuck, did you do the artwork for Eyam as well? CL: I’m always doing artwork. I did the album cover for Digital Doomzday, they’re kind of a hardcorerap-metal hybrid. The new art for the Psychotic Gardening full-length and of course I did it for Eyam too. Stylus: I’ve been checking out Chuck’s series of comedic videos on YouTube. One of the videos has Chuck asking the public for boots. Does Chuck still need boots? KF: Yeah, Chuck does collect boots. He can never have enough boots. He is currently looking for a pair of Glen Benton spiked shin boots. So if you come see us, bring Chuck some boots. EYAM is planning on infecting metal heads with death metal destruction at an up coming Halloween show. For more info check out myspace.com/eyammetal. PHOTO BY CAITLIN SCHLAMB
Named after England’s infamous plague village, Eyam
BY KENT DAVIES
Oct/Nov 2011 Stylus Magazine
Photo by Bev Davies
TALK-ACTION=0 canadian punk legends
hit the road again by sheldon birnie
Over 30 years after forming Canadian political hardcore pioneers D.O.A., band leader Joe “Shithead” Keithley is back on the road with a retrospective, Talk – Action = 0. Unflinchingly political, D.O.A. have played thousands of shows, and well over 200 benefit concerts for causes such as anti-racism, women’s rights, anti-globalization and the environment. The book contains extensive rare photographs, show posters, handwritten notes and lyrics, as well as a detailed history of the band and their activism. Preparing for the next leg of their tour, Joe took time out to speak to Stylus about the book, the band and the state of activism today. Stylus: You’ve already written an autobiography [I, Shithead], so why did you decide to do a book like Talk – Action = 0 at this time? Joe Keithley: Cuz there was a lot to tell, that’s why. I think D.O.A. is a unique band, and I think it still is, and this covers from Year One to Year 33. What Talk – Action = 0 does is gives you a lot of funny stories, but more importantly, it’s like a template for activism. What you can see is how a bunch of guys from the ‘burbs who didn’t have a lot of schooling, didn’t have any musical training, didn’t have any business sense, figured out how to get out there and convey a really strong message to the world. Stylus: Beauty. Can you speak on how you see the punk, anarchist kind of response to the conservative climate that we find ourselves in today? Do you see a lack of action, or do you see it still going strong? JK: I don’t think it’s going strong… It’s not dead, far from it. There’s people doing a lot in the ecological movement, and in political movements. I don’t really care about the “isms,” “anarchism” or any of that. What I’m for is more populist politics, you know, if you can enable more freedom for people that’s a great thing. So I think it’s alive and well, but for sure it’s not
as big as it could be. We’ll see how the next few years go, particularly in Canada with a Conservative government. I know I’m really involved, and will be more, in the arts community because there will be less and less funding for the arts as time goes by. They [conservatives] only want a remake of Little House on the Prairie, you know, anything that represents their “Canadian” values. That’s the sort of thing I’m working on. Stylus: What do you think can be done to change that, to engage people more in activism? JK: Change starts at a local level. Some people think it starts with the politicians, but it doesn’t. They’re just poll readers, they react to what
people want. So if you have a good idea, I just tell people, “Get out there and talk to your neighbours. Convince them that it’s a good idea, or that something needs to be changed.” I thought a wonderful action recently was in Toronto. A bunch of authors [including Margaret Atwood] got together to stop cutting the funds for libraries. They’ve got a real conservative mayor there in Rob Ford, endorsed by the supreme hockey idiot Don Cherry. Little things like that. If you can get people on board with ideas, you can change things. Stylus: Back to the book. In putting it together, were there any parts that were hard, emotionally, to revisit? JK: Yeah, I mean, of course the main
part was the death of friends. Guys like Dimwit, Ken Jensen, Simon Wilde, and other people along the way. Specifically band members or friends who worked with the band. I mean, when you look at stuff like that you kind of have to look at those people’s lives, say for a guy like Dimwit who was one of my best friends, I think about him everyday… He had so many funny, stupid and talented things that he did, you just have to look at that as opposed to like, “He’s dead.” Stylus: What keeps you going after over 30 years of hard rocking? JK: Well, the band broke up in the beginning of the ’90s, and then we got back together [in ’92]. At the time, I didn’t think there was anybody else at the time that combined the loud activism with blatant sloganeering, obnoxiously loud guitar and lots of humour. I still think that’s our trick that we do, and I don’t think anyone does it quite like us. The main thing is you can enable change through music. Every musician strives to entertain, but I’d say only about 10 per cent strive to entertain and make people think. I think I fall into that small category. You look at a guy like Pete Seeger, who I’ve met a couple times, that guy’s still doing it at 82 or 83. If there’s a struggle going on, or a demonstration, a picket line, Pete Seeger will go in and try to pick people up with his songs. That’s a really great thing. Stylus: What can fans be expecting from this tour? JK: A good lineup, Dirty Dan Yaremko on bass. He’s been with me on and off for 8 years, an excellent bass player, crazy on stage too, which is important. The drummer is a real firecracker: Jesse “The Kid” Pinner, he’s like 23, a great hardcore drummer. As far as songs go, we’ll definitely play some old, some new, and a smattering of everything in between. D.O.A. will be rocking the Pyramid, on Thursday, October 27.
CineFlyer with Ryan Simmons
Mondays, 1:30-2:00 p.m. on CKUW 95.9 FM or streaming online at www.ckuw.ca
Photo by Carleen Bezdek Stylus: So how long have you had this show and why did you start it? Ryan Simmons: I’ve had it for about half a year now, and it came out of a need for the community voice for the film scene. I mean there was Matthew Etches’ program [titled focus, the predecessor to CineFlyer], but that was so specific because it was tied to bios. I like to try to tie the show into weekly events, and get two people to come on air who don’t normally work together but have something in common. And I also like to focus on things that aren’t just directors or the working actors. Like people who do camerawork, or who like to edit. Or [in the future] what part filmmaking can take in education. Those are shows that have been planned for a long time. And in Winnipeg, we have a surprising amount of outside artists coming into the city, so I try to get them on the phone and talk to them about their work, and ask about what their community is like. They have a nice conception that Winnipeg is a good town for screening things.
Stylus: There is also the Cineflyer blog—what is the connection between the blog and this radio show? RS: The blog has been run for a few years now by Clint Enns, who just moved to Toronoto. It’s to let people know what’s going on, but give it an artist’s slant. It’s focused around screenings that aren’t happening at the Globe. It’s about installations and other things like that. When I was asked to do the show, I loved the blog, and I figured I’d do the same content. And it’d get a good tie-in, because the blog gets a lot of hits, even from outside the city, which is really flattering. Stylus: Winnipeg has a pretty reputable film scene—how far does its reputation reach? RS: After I graduated and after going to Toronto, I felt rejected there. Then I read the Globe and Mail, which had this piece on the Winnipeg Film scene. There was this guy named [Cinematheque’s] Dave Barber. So I moved back, and it proved to be everything that the article claimed to be. It’s really nice
Comic by Colton Balske // coltonbalske.com
that we have established filmmakers who are being as productive as they’ve ever been, like Guy Maddin and Noam Gonick, and they’re working here. And on another level, there are kids fresh out of university are making a really interesting work. And a strong a community is needed so that those two points can meet and everyone can feel inspired and creative. Stylus: Beyond CineFlyer, what’s your role in the film world? RS: I work on tons of films for friends, who all make films, like Aaron or Noam. I have trouble saying no to anyone who asks to help. But when you don’t say no, it’s hard to find time for your own stuff. It’s just great to be out there supporting everyone. It’s never boring, because everyone’s doing really different things. One day you might be in the middle of a quarry, blowing up pig heads, and the next day you might be in a freezer animating printouts of a yodeller.
E OCK TH L E N N Y KE TO B PHO
CAMP RADIO BY PATRICK MICHALISHYN
’ve had Chris Page singing to me for the last ten years, solo and with Glengarry-legends The Stand GT. I’ve scoured the ’net for those rare tapes and 7”s just so I could hear everything he’s released. So a few years back, when Kelp Records announced that Chris was in a new band called Camp Radio, I went a little mental with happy (just a li’l!). So with the flurry of activity surrounding their just-released second album Campista Socialista, Chris was kind enough to grant Stylus this interview. Stylus: Hey Chris! You’ve been wearing the rock ’n’ roll pants for a while now. How long have you been “keeping it real?” Chris Page: That’s a tough one. I’ve been writing songs for as long as I can remember. The early days were spent collaborating with Doug and Wally from The Stand GT. Our early songs were pretty rough around the edges both in lyrical content and recording. But that’s part of the growing process. Some milestones for me include writing “I’d Tell You” and “As Cool As Me” with those guys. The latter ended up on It Came From Canada Vol. 5 on OG records... which totally blew my mind and I still consider to be a very proud moment along this crazy path. I remember sitting outside Cheap Thrills in Montreal holding a copy that I had just bought and feeling like I was on top of the world. There have been so many moments like that I feel lucky to have experienced...and I’d say that was when I started to “keep it real.” Stylus: Could you give everybody a brief rundown of Camp Radio from inception to now. CP: Camp Radio exists because of Scott Terry. He’s the catalyst behind the entire thing, which is remarkable considering how many varied bands he plays in. After playing solo with my electric guitar for a few years, I started to miss the rocking fun of being in a power pop band. I started to get comments after shows that went something like “I really dig your stuff... it would be so cool to hear it with
drums and bass.” It was kind of annoying, really. [laughs] Scott started to pester me in the same way but for some reason his approach was much less flippant. After discussing it a few times in bars we decided to test the waters. I brought some new songs to his rehearsal space and it went from there. We started writing the first album. Our pal Dave Draves heard about this going on and said that he would be interested in playing bass. Dave is owner of famed Ottawa music studio Little Bullhorn Prods and has played in many bands... but bass wasn’t his first instrument. When it came time to record the songs, we discovered a real amazing chemistry that has been flourishing ever since. We all have other priorities, though. Camp Radio is a great passion that we all share and we feel we’ve created something pretty special. But it’s not something we live and die by. We have lives. We have families. We have other bands and music projects that keep us crazy busy. And I think that part-time approach is what keeps Camp Radio special and what keeps our energy and enthusiasm cranked up for when it comes time for the next Campista Socialista! Stylus: How do you decide what’s a “Camp Radio” song and what you’re gonna keep for yourself as a “Chris Page” song? CP: It’s both timing and gut feeling. The last few years have been going in cycles where I would be writing for one project while recording and releasing another. As this Camp Radio record is being released, I’m working away on the next solo record stuff. That said, sometimes Scott will intercept a song and change my mind into doing a tune destined for my solo record and make it full on Camp Radio. I also have songs that are left over from The Stand GT days as well... “Reinventing the Laugh Track” is one of them. Who knows though... maybe the rock ’n’ roll planets
will line up and I’ll be forced to get going on the third Camp Radio record right away. Stylus: You recently played Sled Island in Calgary and released an interesting item when you got there. Who in their right mind would think of doing a flexi-disc in 2011? CP: I am ALWAYS wanting to do something different, something that true music fans will enjoy. I got super disillusioned in recent years with how easy it became to put out CDs. Everyone and their mutt-dogs were putting out crappy looking CDs with even crappier artwork. It depressed me. When we started down the path of the first Camp Radio record I wanted to be sure we took our time with the overall package... and spared no costs. Hence the heavy vinyl, heavy card stock gatefold vinyl release with a CD inside. When Dawn from Saved by Vinyl approached us about a flexi, we jumped at the idea. We also took it a step further to ensure it had wicked-cool artwork. The new Camp Radio logo, with skull and burning crossed marshmallows, is the handy work of our talented artistic director, Leila Younis. Stylus: Alright... fair enough. Now, one thing I can’t forgive: I bug you that you miss Winnipeg (you play west and east of us all the time). What’s your beef with Winnipeg? CP: I’ve played Winnipeg more than 10 times, so you have to go easy on me. There’s no beef. Honestly. It’s all about logistics, I’m afraid. Would Camp Radio come to Winnipeg and play this coming weekend? YOU BET! Would we love to fly out and play an area festival sometime in the future? FOR SURE. So, someone, please: help hook us up and we’ll be on the next flight out. Camp Radio’s second album was released on Kelp/ Saved By Vinyl in mid-September, and it’s a scorcher! If you hit them up now, you might even get some bonus goodies. And the more you buy, the more likely Camp Radio will come to Winnipeg and sign your flexi.
Oct/Nov 2011 Stylus Magazine
White Dog nthoeiswebaellolw RGESS
OR BU BY TAYL
PHOTO BY COLE PETERS
Prairie Fire Tapes’ inception, Jacques has made seven albums under the name White Dog—some really cool and psychedelic, but most others approach horrifying parts of your brain. Since he’s going to be a performer at this year’s send + receive festival, both of his tape labels are releasing killer stuff, and his own music is taking wild turns, Jacques welcomed me up to his “East Berlin” office space which he shares with No List Records so we could discuss shit. Mostly, I just wanted to know why his music is usually such a head-trip. “It’s not meant to be creepy or dark or anything,” he said. It’s because of being a guidance councilor at Grant Park High School that he internalizes a lot of the darker side of the human nature. “I deal with people every day in their psychological needs and hear lots of crazy shit from kids and then their parents about what’s going on in their lives. My teaching has always dealt with people who are marginalized, or downtrodden, abused, and all that kinds of crazy shit. I’m a history student, so a lot of that stuff—things about rebellions and resistance come through as themes in my stuff a lot of time.” For example, Resistance has audio tracks from the FLQ manifesto, and Retribution has tracks from a documentary on the MOVE organization—a black-liberation group that was essentially shot up by the police. But for Jacques, he aims his music to be as cathartic as possible—not bleak or nihilistic. Referencing the usually overbearing genre named harsh noise wall (which, if you can imagine, is pretty much like taking white noise and distorting that as much
as possible), he said, “I don’t like ‘harsh’ noise. I mean there are elements that happen, and I use them, but I like the drones, I find them very calming, and really good for me. I’m taking what I’ve absorbed of the human experience, and I’ve probably absorbed a lot of the darker side of the human experience, and then just pushing it through these pedals and making sounds that calm me down, and which hopefully people enjoy.” One thing that has been influencing his music as of late, most notably Escape the Mystery II, has been his eight-year-old son, Magnus. “A lot of the song titles, of recent, have been things that my son says,” says Jacques with a laugh. “‘Escape the Mystery II’ was his, ‘Beloved Hostage’ was his. He just comes up with this string of words. And I think, ‘This is so awesome.’ Because there’s no irony in it, there’s nothing behind it, he’s just stringing words, and it’s like, ‘Yeah, this is great, absolutely fantastic.’” On the cassette, Magnus just says crazy shit and Chris has delayed it feverishly, making it sound like some childhood madhouse. Magnus has played live with Chris a couple of times, though he won’t be for the send + receive show. “He’s had fun in the couple times that he’s done it, and that’s pretty much what it’s all about, him having fun. If he really comes and says, ‘I want to pick up a synth and make stupid noise with you,’ I’m like, ‘Yup! Let’s do it!’” During the interview, Jacques made an aside comment of being stuck in a noise genre, and I thought it interesting, considering that’s how to easily classify most of his releases—and I wondered what genres he wanted to reach for beyond that. “I guess it’s always going to be stuck in this drone/drift/noise genre, whatever, underground
music. But, there’s always elements of psychedelic stuff, of that krautrock repetition, of Balinese music that I strive to incorporate because I love the sound of it so much.” Those distinctive elements mostly sum up what Jacques releases under his label offshoot Dub Ditch Picnic, over which he has complete artistic control. On it, he’s released Microdot and Tim Hoover, but also Fletcher Pratt, Auntie Dada, Germany’s Krautheim, B.C.’s No UFO’s and a bunch of other wildly psychedelic treats. Of both his tape labels, he said, “For me, it’s just a really good way to force myself to listen to music, and to be a part of things. Where I could easily just sit in my house, listen to, you know, ’90s music like a lot of my friends do. It’s easier to be a consumer and expect X, Y, Z of bands. But I knew, when I revived White Dog after not doing anything for a while—okay, I’m sitting here, in my bedroom, making noise. I can’t be the only one in this city. Or this country, for that matter. And that’s totally proven to be the fact of the matter.” Definitely, I find his output admirable (and his radio show Dub Ditch Radio on UMFM from 1-3 a.m. on Monday nights mind-blowing). But how is it that he originally came to acquire all these pedals and start playing this kind of music in the first place? “Basically, it’s my severe lack of being able to play an instrument.” I asked back, “But didn’t you play in the Incinerators with Bill Northcott?” “Well, I was the singer. I just stood up and yelled, spit at people. People spit back, flicked cigarettes. It was a total train wreck.”
Cole Peters and Chris Jacques two years ago, it Fallorbegan as an outlet to release their music but since
I like the drones, I find them very calming www.stylusmagazine.ca
Oct/Nov 2011 Stylus Magazine
WEEK THUS FAR GOES FURTHER
WITH SEASON 2!
f you are still channel surfing, you may have caught wave of local Shaw TV comedy Week Thus Far, styled after late night talk shows with the host/ guest/live band paradigm, but enjoying the zany liberties allotted to public access programming. If you have decided to take your television viewing habits into your own double-clicking hands online, you may be missing out on the bizarre beauty of local DIY TV. Development of Week Thus Far began when producer Craig Ward got the job of “Master Controller” at Shaw, and approached future WTF host Dan Huen about starting a talk show. With various burgeoning ambitions to start a sketch comedy group, the fruition of rounding up hilarious talent was almost instantaneous, even though the vision was uncertain. “Nobody knew what this was or was going to be. We knew we wanted jokes, a guest and a band,” writer/producer Tim Gray explained. “Beyond that we had nothing pre-conceived. The meetings began to be about whether or not we could actually provide the content.” Between the intro, of host Dan Huen and couched companion Ben “Old Ball Coach” Walker engaging in improvised banter, to the outro live band performance, WTFers seem to have no problem filling the half hour program with free-wheeling entertainment. The fake news reports have all the quick cutting deadpan of The Daily Show, covering stories that range from global significance to Winnipeg-centric. They approach their guests with the same love of incendiary chaos as the Muppets, evident when host Dan Huen challenges CJOB traffic reporter Brian Barkley to navigate a hypothetical journey across town, throwing in obstacles such as a spontaneous flock of sheep, followed by a train. Barkley negotiates the imaginary detours with a sincere sense of duty, a fitting reaction for a city whose artistic community is known for entangling dreams and reality.
By Lara Violet It is clear that WTF writers and guests alike have grown tired of the predictable “cold” and “mosquito” mythologies that plague our city, constantly conjuring new ones ready for circulation. When Huen asked city councillor Gord Steeves if mayor Sam Katz can breathe underwater, Steeves responded, “No, I don’t think he can. Just the other day I had him at the YMCA and I held him underneath [makes hair-grasping gesture with hand] and he looked uncomfortable!” One illusion of a superhuman mayor is replaced by lore of bullying amidst city council. These jokes of undermining power in iconic local settings and cyclical myth-making is what is at the core of Week Thus Far’s sense of humour. While you do not have to be fluent in Winnipegoise to get the jokes (For example, “The children’s museum turned 25 today and oddly enough is still hanging around the children’s museum”), a familiarity with the city’s landmarks will garner a greater appreciation for how deep the writers will dig for a laugh, exemplified by a gag in which archaeologists uncover fossilized SAAN stores. “We are lovers of Winnipeg and want to honour it every night by making fun of it,” writer/producer William O’Donnell declared. Many of this city’s comedic gems (Matthew Nightingale, Cathy Herbert, Michael Green, Ryan Ash, and Jordan Welwood, just to name a few) have volunteered their time and funny to create a show that contributes to the future of public access TV in Winnipeg, while honouring its rich history by having Rockin’ Ron Pollock (of late ’80s fun-loving and frenzied Pollock and Pollock Gossip Show) as their
second-ever guest. Back then, the audience for public access TV was regionally restricted due to the limitations of analog transmission, Week Thus Far benefits from the accessibility of the internet, so that locals, ex-patriates and distant international voyeurs may make themselves delirious with Winnipeg comedy and mythology via video archives and online “news” content. When asked what we can expect from WTF this year, O’Donnell said, “We’ve been told that comedy shows should be funny, so we’ll try for that in Season 2.” The first show of the season featured Free Press stalwart Bartley Kives as well as fiery country vixens Oh My Darling as musical guests, followed by prolific improv titans Crumbs the following week. To be part of the live audience, head down to Finn McCue’s Pub in the Johnston Terminal, in the very lap of the Forks, on almost any given Monday. The show airs on Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on Shaw 9, or 24 hours a day, anywhere in the world, on their website: weekthusfar.com.
Oct/Nov 2011 Stylus Magazine
Braids resonating from every wall of Lo Pub on Friday, September 16
Live Bait UNTILTED, BREATH GRENADES AND A VIDEO BY RICHARD ALTMAN @ The Ellice Theatre Saturday, Aug 20, 2011 By Victoria King On Saturday, August 20, Breath Grenades blew the shit out of the Ellice alongside UntiLted, along with a video piece focusing on the sociological themes pioneered by Marshall McLuhan. The best way I can describe BG’s space rawk is punk alongside an unapologetic kaleidoscopic tribute to all things scifi. My little sci-fi heart loved it. While I’m not about to vouch for Breath Grenades as the best band in the ’Peg, I will give them this: they sure do know how to put on a pretty badass show. Within the first couple minutes of taking a seat in the darkened depths of the Ellice, I was positive that my complete and utter inability to understand the video in front of me was due to my 15-minute tardiness, and I would be sure to better understand it later, at home and with a little YouTube searching. It went completely over my head, and I was squinting at the screen not out of poor eyesight, but simply
PHOTO BY MICHAEL CHIASSON
because I was trying to figure out what I was seeing. It was later explained to me that the video focused on Marshall Mcluhan and his sociological perspective and take on the media. After a short intermission, untiLted took the stage. Overall, they sounded pretty good. The band’s set list was a narrative of sorts to yet another video playing in the background. The plot was pretty straightforward: girl loses keys, boy finds keys, boy and girl correspond via an e-mail (which was conveniently attached to the key ring), boy and girl agree to meet at the Ellice Café for the Breath Grenades/ untiLted show, boy returns keys to girl, end of story. Pat Ross played the hero boy, while an unnamed girl played the moron who dropped her keys in the grass. The video lasted for the entirety of the set at the expense of a dizzying number of loops, fades and twists that repeated certain frames at least twenty times over. The big climax of the performance was when Ross leaps offstage into the crowd to returned the keys to the girl who was (miraculously!) at the show to pick up her keys. Breath Grenades took the stage after another slight intermission. Unbeknownst to me before research, Breath Grenades have inhabited the un-
More photos at stylusmagazine.ca derbelly of the Winnipeg punk/hardcore scene for more than 20 years. Each member had their faces painted in red and black paint, which, for three full grown men, was quite a sight in and of itself. All I can say is that by the end of their set, I was near fully reclined in the cushioned seats of the Ellice and exhausted by audio. While the first few songs were totally compelling and an awesome example of rowdy punk, the set was too long. It should have been about eight songs shorter, and by the handful of people who left before the end of the set, I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who thought so. Now I’m sorta thinking that that was the point – instill in the audience the same rage and restlessness that their music conveys. Or perhaps they’re just self-righteous bastards who knew they were overstaying their welcome and just didn’t care. Either way, it seems to have fit somehow. It’s unfortunate that the show had such a poor attendance, as the three pieces were a bit of a mismatch but still worked together in an interesting way. I’d recommend checking them out if this kind of show comes up in the future, if nothing else than for bragging rights.
UWSA FREESTYLE V Oct 3 – 8th @ U of W & Graffiti Gallery
BLANK CITY Oct 6 – Oct 8 and a screening on Oct 12 @ Cinematheque D.O.A. Thursday Oct 27th @ The Pyramid LITE PANCAKE BREAKFAST Friday Nov 4th @ the Indian & Métis Friendship Centre CHAD VANGAALEN Friday Nov 18th @ WECC MONTREAL MAIN Saturday Nov 19th @ Ace Art HOLIDAZE CRAFT SHOW Saturday Dec 3rd @ The Exchange Community Church
24 Stylus Magazine Oct/Nov 2011
BURNT WITCH SURVIVORS GROUP
Support EP rock and roll. this is dirty, distorted and extremely unslick. i can hear traces of the cows, jon spencer and a little hot snakes. uncomplicated and joyously so. this is rock and roll in its truest form. nice to see it coming from a local act. do yourself a favour track this record down and crank it out of your car stereo driving through the suburbs. then go see them, raise a bottle of standard and bask in the sounds. “party with ghosts” and “come out! get in!” are standouts. (Independent, myspace.com/bwsgmusic) c.frsn
TIM HOOVER More Napkins Known as the beloved DJ Co-op, Tim Hoover is making a new reputation for himself, if that’s possible. This tape/digi-download heads into trip-hop and post rock territory over a span of 60 minutes, which is like a total 180 considering his use of party hip-hop and indie samples for his Cooperation mashup albums. So, rather than matching Fugazi to M.I.A. (which was four whole years before Wugazi, mind you), Hoover’s flexing his melodic muscles, which are in full force, in alternation with his beat
programming, which here lies somewhere between glitch and hip hop. I was actually taken aback at how much of this music is original, and the samples, used sparingly, usually add such depth to the mix. The melodies, reminiscent of Godspeed (his comparison, though an apt one) sing colourfully and even more brilliantly once they’re up against electronic beats and hiphop samples. I have to agree that this is headphone music—but once you’re in that world with your ’buds in, every little twitch and glitch stands out, and you’re in quite for the meditative ride. (Woven//Dub Ditch Picnic, wovenrecords.ca//dubditchpicnicrecords. blogspot.com) Taylor Burgess
THIS HISSES Surf Noir The local trio released their debut album this summer and even with the massive amount of hype surrounding the band and this release, This Hisses deliver! Everyone has probably seen this band perform live at one point or another and therefore is surely aware of the incredible energy this act brings to the stage. Amazingly, on the record this energy transitions quite well. “Lycanthrope” starts of the album nicely with a haunting howl and shredding guitar followed by the equally exciting “Bad Vacation” – the latter song, by the way, has a pretty awesome backstory behind it evolving a sketchy motel in Regina. The listener is brought right back down to ground state with a couple of nicely slowed down tracks, especially the stellar “Keep What’s Good In Your Heart” which smooths things over before the listener is shot right back into a circle pit of intensity with the upbeat and catchy “Swagger” and “Silver Dagger.” My only problem
with Surf Noir is that I feel like the bass is drowned out by the guitar a lot of the time. I personally love the fat bass lines captured in the live show but it seems at times on the album the guitar steals the show. Not that that’s a bad thing but as a bass player I am totally biased on that issue. Oh yeah and one more fucking problem… it’s over to soon. Eight beefy songs is nothing to complain about but I for one am going to need more in the near future. (Transistor 66, transistor66. com) Scott Wolfe
BOG RIVER Hands in the Ground It’s probably your best bet to take your hands out of the ground and get them on this album. Hands in the Ground is the first full-length release from local trio Bog River. Comprised of Carly Dow, Ben Hadaller and Dave Barchyn, the band released Lost in the Woods in 2010, a rough yet valiant five part EP recorded at Hadaller’s cabin in one day. The EP was a glimpse into the promise possesses – a passion that drives the three of them to work intensely together on a fokly sound that is not only unique but tight and arousing. This time around, the band is doing it right, having recorded this album over the course of a couple weekends while still choosing to record back at the cabin. They dabble in a wide variety of genres and instruments, from pure folk, to Dixieland and gospel on this album. James McKee of the F-Holes makes a trumpet and trombone contribution on tracks four and five, with Alex Campbell is at the piano on track five. Vocalist Carly Dow’s vocals on the album are raw, while Dave and Ben offer silkier alternatives. Hands
in the Ground is muddy and simple contemporary folk, and delves into deep themes of family, love and roots. If you’re not already familiar with the band, stop by the WECC on October 13 to celebrate their album release party. (Independent, myspace.com/ bogriver) Victoria King
SMOKY TIGER Greathitz2011 Smoky Tiger handed this disc to me, noting that, Burton bless him, he’s released seven fucking albums this year. If you missed our interview with him, he’s one unique spirit, engaged in celebrating local folklore and unkempt positivity, and this disc captures his self-selected best moments from the first three quarters of the year. Greathitz2011 ranges from the Egyptian groove of “Titania” to the disco funk of “SmokestackLightning” to the lazyslow folk of “Slopoke” to the weirdo bossa nova of every other track. The Tiger tackles much—chasing a faerie for her love, witnessing someone walk on water, and someone so happy, she hands out rainbows. Every track is so radically different that it prompted a mental “WTF” from me with each new track, followed by a prompt “FTW” and me cranking it up, bobbing my head, shimmying or groaning along, or whatever action appropriate. So, to hell with what you know and what you think is right, the Smoky Tiger’s music is waiting, pretty much a whole universe unto itself. And how better to make the interstellar leap and get acquainted than this disc? (Independent, myspace.com/thesmokytiger) Taylor Burgess
Oct/Nov 2011 Stylus Magazine
CHUCK PROPHET Let Freedom Ring What kind of artist would go to Mexico during the height of the bird flu to record an album in a vintage Mexican recording studio? Fucking Chuck Prophet, that’s who. This album is absolutely fantastic and I feel honored to review it, even though it was released in 2009. For all of you Folk Fest goers, you know what a show this man can put on as he absolutely killed the Little Stage on the Prairie this year. The two opening tracks are great and draw you in, nicely paving the way for the punk driven “Where the Hell is Henry?” and the unreal title track. Let Freedom Ring has a perfect mix of up-tempo tracks and slower rock jams reminiscent and on par with all the great Americana artists such as Petty, Dylan and Springsteen. The music is amazing but the real strength lies in Prophet’s amazing ability to song write, these songs have some strong lyrics. His ability to have a sense of humor while being political, yet still being able to tell a story forms an orgy of awesomeness that make Prophets music fun and timeless. How is this man not one of the big names in rock?! (Yep Roc Records, yeproc.com) Scott Wolfe
THE HEAD AND THE HEART The Head and the Heart Lackluster name aside, the self-titled debut release from Seattle folk band The Head and the Heart is endearing and thoroughly enjoyable. In regards to their name, I will give them this – it is an accurate reflection in terms of their music. Lyrically driven by the all-too-well-known struggle between desire and intellect, it focuses on themes of travel and journey (literally and figuratively), moving on, coming home and choosing courses of action. Stylistically, they have a similar ascending and uplifting folk essence to Mumford & Sons, the soft female twinge of Belle & Sebastian with a bit of Hey Rosetta! thrown in the mix. The songs on this album also have a tendency of building and morphing from simple and comforting melodies to loud high soaring anthems. The Head and the Heart is actually a re-release of the original recording from June 2010. After gaining notable recognition in the Seattle
music scene, The Head and the Heart signed to major indie label Sub Pop records in November of 2010, did a bit of re-recording and re-released The Head and the Heart earlier this year. Suggested tracks off this album are “Coeur d’Alene,” “Honey Come Home” and “Lost in my Mind.” (Sub Pop, subpop.com/) Victoria King DAVE ALVIN Eleven Eleven Roots-rock artist Dave Alvin releases a grooving blues number for us with Eleven Eleven. Tapping into that rural-blues sound makes it a perfect listener for the backyard or in the truck blowing down our prairie roads. Alvin, a California native, has a long career of blues and roots music, all of which culminates in this release. For a roots-rock album, it does come off slightly polished on the production side, but this is made up for in the musicianship. Gritty guitar licks laced throughout and some deep soulful vocals get you moving. Timing is per-
DAVE ALVIN (FAR RIGHT) WITH THE CRAMPS‘ LUX INTERIOR, POISON IVY AND PHAST PHREDDIE PATERSON
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fect as Alvin brings you down to the mellow side midway through, while keeping in touch with that rural vibe, and finishes off the album with “Two Lucky Bums” – a duet with Chris Gaffney – that livens your mood just in time to send you packing. Inside and out, it’s a respectable release. Dave Alvin looks exactly how he sounds and that’s how it should be. Good honest blues, and there’s no lack of it here. (Yep Rock, yeproc.com/) Dallas Kitchen
CC TRUBIAK They Say I’m Different cc trubiak’s album they say i’m different is not what i expected. upon blindly picking it up at the stylus meeting and believing it to be some sort of rhymesayers or break bread style of hiphop, imagine my surprise at it being an acoustic singer-songwriter affair. names like montreal’s patrick watson and groups like beirut come to mind in terms of contemporary artists. trubiak has a subtle voice that really carries these tracks about love (lost and found). this record is highly advised, not only for fans of the aforementioned patrick watson and beirut but for fans of james taylor as well. (Independent, myspace.com/cctrubiak) c.frsn
SON LUX We Are Rising The world seems to expand like breath in a bubble with the first note of Son Lux’s sophomore album. The nine songs on here have a frenetic back story – We Are Rising was conceived as a response to the RPM Challenge to produce an album in a mere 28 days – but in fact, it couldn’t sound any more polished. On the first track “Flickers,” gates creak open into a huge expanse of crystal music notes and a
voice fluttering like a flag. Ryan Lott’s classical training and clear voice make this sound like an unsentimental walk to the altar – if there ever was one. It’s bare, measured, yet unbelievably passionate in the intricacy of its details. I could take a stab at labelling this... classical witch house? But really, Son Lux’s sound is something completely of its own. Trumpets and waving sighs accompany “All the Right Things” hiphop throb. “Claws” is excellently fuzzy and heavy. So yes, Lott’s got range, but through this there’s a distinct peacefulness on every track that stems not from lack of sound but from the feeling that he definitely knows where he’s going and is getting there at the right pace. And even though the lyrics of “Let Go” consist of the same two words repeated 120 times, it’s far from boring: it’s hypnotic, with a curiously heart-pumping mixture of club-like beats and forest piping. All this sound rushes into a peak that makes you feel
like a kitten being picked up by the skin of its neck and paralyzed by pleasure. Is there anything else you could ask for? (Anticon, www.anticon.com) Adrienne Yeung
ALIAS Fever Dream Alias’ Fever Dream hits you like a stab and then a surge of something heavy and thick in your veins. Track by track, Brendon Whitney’s trip hop makes murky your blood. It seizes your brain and you’re conscious of be-
ing enraptured in its pulsating rhythm of rainbow hues. While 2008’s Resurgam featured actual instruments, this time the sounds that you hear are all samples. Whitney’s baritone grumblings slide under sparkling zips, zaps and huge echoes on “Goinswimmin,” while his high layered vocals tremble and shimmer on “Talk in Technicolor.” And “Dahorses” is amazingly upbeat with whistles and kicking percussion. Far from being simply an aimless but beautiful drive through delirium, Fever Dream sounds like it knows where this trip is going. Each song is crafted around a stable core that keeps it from being too abstract. As interesting a piece of art as it is, Fever Dream isn’t a complex thing that you appreciate and analyze in your head – it’s wam and lively and engaging for your whole person. (Anticon, www.anticon.com) Adrienne Yeung
SEPULTURA Kairos Brazilian metal legends are back in a big way with their 12th studio album. Kairos has a huge sound, the buzzsaw guitars start off immediately with the opener, “Spectrum,” and does not slow down until the final tracks. One of the final songs being a cover of Prodigy’s “Firestarter” – you remember, that UK electro band that was hot shit for a while back in the day. Although, through Sepultura’s career they have had many line up changes and more notably a switch in lead singer/screamer, which may have turned some people off and caused a little bit of a rift in the band. When lead vocalist Derrick Green joined the band it took a couple of albums for the band to find their stride, but with Kairos they have found their mark. “Relentless” and “Dialog” are www.stylusmagazine.ca www.stylusmagazine.ca
my personal favorites, the latter with segments of creepy spoken vocals that morph into heavy blasts and the former with drill sergeant-like urgency. The album is uniquely broken up into titled sections of two to three songs each that all correspond to a random year. This allows the listener to catch their breathe on the short interval tracks such as “2011,” “1433,” “5772” and “4648,” before the band then continues with its ruthless heavy metal onslaught. These metal legends have still got it because Kairos is an absolute victory. (Nuclear Blast Records, nuclearblast.de) Scott Wolfe SOCIAL DISTORTION Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes It has been seven years since Social D’s last album, Sex, Love and Rock & Roll, and considering the time gap and the band’s tendency to evolve their sound, no one knew what the hell to expect on Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes. The album starts off with a nice, short and heavy instrumental, “Road Zombie,” which features some fancy guitar work and shows that the punk rock influence is still in lead singer Mike Ness, though sadly the opening track is the heaviest and fastest on this album. Not to say the album declines in any way, it just sort of gets you revved
up initially and then cools its jets. The songs are great rock tunes and will without a doubt please any Social D fan. However, the more polished sound of this album does not suit Ness’s voice like the rough production of previous albums did. It’s kind of like a guy slamming whiskey at a wine tasting: he just doesn’t quite fit in, though the situation sounds kind of fun! One advantage of the extra production is the ample array of backup vocals, from both female vocalists to the gang harmonies of the entire
band. I don’t mind it, but clearly some other people at this wine tasting prefer whiskey. “California (Hustle and Flow)” and “Machine Gun Blues” are the album highlights and “Bakersfield” is an absolute snoozer – who the hell wants to hear a song about some lame ass town in the middle of nowhere? These dudes have been making music for over thirty years and although the lineup has changed several times, given seven years, I think a better album was possible. (Epitaph, epitaph. com) Scott Wolfe
PHOTO BY EDWARD COLVER
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ALPHA COUPLE WHNZ:27:NJNYC After their departure from Winnipeg, Alpha Couple conceived this album on the road. Driving/touring/ vacationing/living/playing somewhat directionless, Jax and Wohlgemuth eventually ended up in Toronto, where they have both called home together before—when they created their Alpha Couple concept, living in their titular apartment Stalingrad. Coincidentally, I didn’t listen to this album until I was on a road trip myself, entering the California border around witching hour. Gone are Stalingrad’s pop sensibilities, and (through oddly emphatic associations) it seems like there is no destination to these songs either—samples and vocals drift or wave or fly by, anchored around some loop, acoustic guitar, or piano riff. And in the exchange, AC have honed in on the haunting beauty that has been the driving force behind them all along. Most powerful is the behemoth-length album opener “A Walk Through Central Park” at nearly 15 minutes. Consisting of reverbed vocals, only three acoustic chords (if that), and samples from the radio and answering machines, the song is a testament to their self-prescribed label “tweenoise.” Two songs of reconstructed Stalingrad tracks marks Wohlgemuth and Jax (who, for full disclosure, is a Stylus writer) heading headfirst into noise/ambient territory. All in all, this is an eerier, darker release than their full-length—and up for grabs through the Free Music Archive. Worth the download for anyone wanting to get out of their comfort zone and experience some freshly charted areas of music. (We Have No Zen, wehavenozen.blogspot.com) Taylor Burgess KRAM RAN The Idiot Prince Mark Wohlgemuth has been releasing albums under the Kram Ran name for many years now, long before this whole Alpha Couple thing came
about. And now, signed to Steak Au Zoo Records, with his album The Idiot Prince, it seems like Kram Ran’s balance between noise and fine art is finally coming to a head. Opener “Prepare to Qualify” (the title being a reference to a Clint Enns video/ installation of the same name that is about the self-conscious nature of making art and being validated) starts with a simple enough acoustic guitar strum and delayed static, but quickly launches into some straightup HNW shit, and pulls back into a mélange of sound clips. Or there’s the beat of “(Disclaimer),” which is driven by a drum machine and what seems like white noise sequenced on and off, to an almost R & B vibe. No doubt that Wohlgemuth has packed this release full of references that could be pulled apart and identified for years, but even on the surface, he’s made something noisy yet enjoyable. (Xiu Xiu is the first and easiest comparison that comes to mind). But The Idiot Prince is in it for the long haul. (Kram Ran for the Polaris!) Check him out this fall, on an album release tour, when he’ll definitely be returning to Winnipeg, his home town. (Steak Au Zoo, steakauzoorecords.com) Taylor Burgess
PIERROT LUNAIRE Exercise in Futility Pierrot Lunaire – lone New Jersey slash California bedroom artist John DeNizio, not the ’70s Italian experimental band – had a Myspace page for a while but deleted it because he “felt vain.” As modesty – perceivably devastating – becomes extinct in an age where artists have more online real estate than they can keep track of, DeNizio’s restraint mirrors his careful music. Through saxophone, tape loops, samples and vocals, Pierrot Lunaire crafts moving lo-fi recordings that are majestic yet never overwhelming; ambiguous yet deeply emotional. This is noise for listeners who find noise aggravating, and drone for those who find drone tedious. Ex-
030 Stylus 28 Stylus Magazine Magazine Oct/NovDecember/January 2011 2009
ercise in Futility, like Pierrot’s namesake clown, channels a playfulness, melancholy, and reclusive wisdom which so many of its perma-stoned, redundant psych cassette-contemporaries lack. Pierrot’s originality shimmers in the seamless slices of audio samples that he chooses, and the biotic pacing of his compositions as they flit between noise and ambiance. DeNizio’s voice sounds a lot like Jad Fair locked in a dream, and he’s playing a saxophone, so I can’t help but indulge and imagine to myself that this is a Half Japanese record from some other dimension. Detail oriented and strongly cohesive, Exercise in Futility is one of many mysterious tapes and records Pierrot will quietly release this year. (Semata Productions, semataproductions.com) Kristel Jax
ANGELS IN AMERICA Narrow Road To The Interior Close follow-up to their split cassette on Northern Spy, Narrow Road takes Angels to a place that’s almost minimal. Moppy and Merv sing and chant slowly, like a pair of wanderers lost in a desert who, far from looking for civilization, are hard at work building a house of bones. I love AiA’s old lo-fi recordings, but I’m guessing this gothic roadtrip is a good entry point for the unconverted. “In Spades” is a play by play chronicle of ambiguous witchcraft, which – between the lyrics, Moppy’s tense, almost growled vocals, and the endless doom of Merv’s underlying pulsations – claims honours as Narrow Road’s creepiest track, while “Highway E-12”s bleak euphoria and crunching, speaker-clipping static bass is the album’s stand out moment. I can’t stress enough that there is no band out there making music like this right now. Moppy’s gorgeous, trance-like live show demeanor comes through perfectly on the recordings, and the pair manage to make music that emits Total Cool yet still feels like something of substance – black and oozy as that substance may be. Angels in America
are Sonic Youth locked in a basement forever. Pre-apocalypse, this album is a good excuse to buy a pack of cloves and chain-smoke them all in your bedroom. Like you even needed one. (Ehse Records, ehserecords.com) Kristel Jax ANGELS IN AMERICA / WEYES BLOOD Split Cassette Angels in America are Baltimore based duo Moppy and Merv, who make sex crush music that is too smart, and too aggressive, to be called spaced out and too real life to be associated with the words witch or house. Past Angels releases (including 2009’s EP on Ecstatic Peace) have been moody, terribly recorded, barely decipherable noise hymns flirting with melody in a very special lofi heroin daze. In comparison, these three tracks, though equally knee weakening, make up a sludgier, more mature gothic masterpiece. It’s exciting to see where this band is at now. The gems found on Split Cassette are all the more precious in that they’re cut short so soon – the release’s climax, the final minute of “The Corpse,” is also the final 60 seconds of the Angels side. Taking a song that clocks in at almost seven minutes and keeping things loose and droney for over five before erupting into some kind of bass heavy, weird synth-infused murder anthem (accented by Angel’s long time signature ambient whistling and the rare treat of Merv’s snarled vocals) is definition tweenoise. I’m addicted. Weyes Blood begins the reverse side with two tracks that, ignoring whatever underground neo-folk mystique Natalie Mering might have achieved, read as lost-on-purpose Joan Baez b-sides, after which the third and final song apexes with vocals played backwards over some synths and random noise, which as a whole isn’t very interesting. Side B is a lot like what I’ve seen of Mering’s live show – sometimes hypnotic and atmospheric, sometimes tedious. I don’t get making psych music in 2011 that could pass for forgettable music from 50 years ago – the effort seems pointless and even regressive. I’m not giving up on Weyes, but for now I’ll stick to Angels. Speaking of, check out Merv of AiA’s PLEASURE Editions and newsletter The Gorgon, a small press project, which just reached its Kickstarter start-up goal. (Northern Spy, northern-spy.com) Kristel Jax
Under The Needle
BON IVER Bon Iver He has collaborated with Kanye West and made an ambitious EP that dabbled into new territory by experimenting with an auto-tune effect on his voice. It appeared as though Bon Iver’s next album could go in any direction. Although his new self titled release is very different from his debut, For Emma, Forever Ago, Justin Vernon manages to evolve his sound while still staying firmly in the territory that got him his fan base. The album has interesting effects all over it, such an example of this can be found in “Minnesota, WI” with a distorted bass effect in the back end of the song, as well as in opener “Perth” that teeters on rock when the drums come into full swing. Each song comes off as a sort of living, breathing piece of art. Each track changes pace and builds on itself by constantly adding and removing elements, making each track more exciting as you listen. As an album, this is immaculate, the unique construction of the songs leads the album to not only flow well but also prevents any sort of redundancy from setting in. The strange “Hinnom, TX” and “Beth/Rest” are both very interesting, the latter sounding extremely cheesy upon first listen but somehow still catchy and a nice way to finish the album. ( Jagjaguwar, jagjaguwar.com) Scott Wolfe CAMP RADIO Campista Socialista Once a while there comes a band that never puts enough songs on an album, and takes too long in between them. Camp Radio is one of these bands. Their debut came out back in ’08, ten tight, power pop, sing-alongable songs that hooked in and sounded better louder. Three years – THREE YEARS! – later, one song per year,
Camp Radio have finally come around with a killer album #2. “The Girl Who Stole My Motorbike” sets the table with what you can expect over the course of half an hour: big guitars, vocal harmonies, nice ’n’ thick bass riffs, hooks hooks hooks, and Scott Terry’s big, beardy drum-fills. “I Have Designs” kicks into a steady chug, an “early ’90s” punk-rock anthem that would stand out on a Lookout! comp. It’s not all go-go-go, as proven with “I’ve Got You Up My Sleeves,” which takes it into sweetheart territory. Don’t take that as weakling rock; these guys can steep it in sweet without the eyerolling-sickeningness of a pop-ballad. That’s skill. “Slack,” “Cosmic Fair,” “Reinventing The Laugh Track”... really, there’s not a lame song in the pack. The album wraps up with the flexi-disc single “Turn Up The Radio,” marrying the geek-in-the-corner crushiness of a Weezer song with the loud-quiet-loud dynamic of the Pixies in what happens to be one of the best album-closers in recent memory. Why Camp Radio aren’t spoken in the same breath as Sloan when it comes to great Canadian rock bands, I don’t know. What I do know is that I’m gonna try and change it. Hopefully I don’t have to wait another three years for more proof. Or maybe I’m just greedy. (Kelp, kelprecords.com) Patrick Michalishyn UNISON Unison Unison is a French dark electro duo who are still far under the radar in Canada. Though they’ve had some singles and an EP floating around for a long time (“Outside” has been around for a couple of years), this is their first full length. Unison is polished and feels like the result of a long time’s work – there’s nothing lo-fi about this. It’s a deliciously dark album you can get away with putting on in almost any situation, and is a throwback to when music was produced with care (it freaks me out to compare Slowdive’s most majestic tracks with a lot of music I’m listening to now – where is the love?), without being redundant. A Unison review might be the perfect time to examine 2010’s witch house – Unison is one of the last good bands to still openly claim to be part of the genre. Many of the fundamentals are
here: haunting feminine reverb vocals, trance elements, dubstep beats, total atmosphere, and foggy, ambiguous lyrics – missing only are the screw, the drag, and the digital tape hiss. Fans of White Ring and Salem’s shoegaze-ier tracks will find a new love here. Yet Unison go their own way, too, incorporating minimal interludes, Glass Candy coquette-try, and M83 / My Bloody Valentine worthy drama. “Outside” is still a fascinating track after all this time, and “Brothers and Sisters” is a magic pop song that any artist, from Britney to Swans, would be proud to put out. The album is long, but never lags – “Arp Quad Rollerskate” is a light and unexpected intermission, while second to last track “First Degree,” 50 minutes into the album, demonstrates the kind of emotive power Unison are wielding. Unison are easy to compare to other acts, both past and contemporary, but that doesn’t mean they don’t hold their own ground and build something genuine on it. These are artists to give your heart to. (Lentonia Records, lentonia.com) Kristel Jax
THE BRIAN JONESTOWN MASSACRE
The Singles Collection 1992-2011 Now here’s a release that I’ve been waiting YEARS for! As a fan of the BJM, buying up every album and EP I could find was a fairly easy (albeit expensive) undertaking. The 7” and 12” singles, however, were another story. Copies of their early releases (with alternate versions, of course) reach up into the hundreds on eBay, etc. Recently, Anton Newcombe has acquired the rights to these early releases and has been reissuing them on his ‘a’ recordings label (previous rare reissues include the This Is Why You Love Me and Love 12”s on CD). This 2 CD set essentially fills in the rest of the gaps. The early singles from
’92-’95 show the band in baby form, finding a sound while paying respect to garage bands of the ’60s and guitar bands like Ride and Swervedriver of the ’90s. Also included is the band’s most recent single, the 12” Illuminomi b/w There’s A War Going On, released just this year but sounding less like their last two albums (which left fans who wanted another ...And This Is Our Music asking themselves if Anton’s really just mental) and more like the modern psychedelia they’ve been heralded for. As a bonus, two songs by Acid (a BJM pseudonym from 1993) see their first CD release here, along with 12 others that have been wax-only releases. A real treat for the fans, even more for completists. Just awesome, really. (a recordings, cargorecords.co.uk) Patrick Michalishyn SAY HI Um, Uh Oh It was initially difficult to phrase how I feel about Say Hi’s seventh album. This was surprising, because my immediate reaction to the first track was “Oh, this song! Where have I heard this before?” Perhaps it’s just that: Eric Elbogen (formerly Say Hi To You Mom)’s low-key guitar-driven indie rock’s strongest point is its familiarity. This is easy to listen to and easy to like; there aren’t any big risks here, but the tracks are no less friendly and you’ll be no less ready to get down. Lyrics are where the songs are given that little bit of extra polish. “We’ve played our only record back to front infinity / When it’s dark, all I can see is the whites / Of her green eyes,” sings Elbogen on “Dots on Maps,” a song about waning passion. Things take a finger-snappin’ turn on “Devils” where there’s a great sarcastic chorus: “Woe is me indeed!” Although moody at times, this never fails to feel warm and approachable: “Trees Are A-Swayin’” is so good-natured that I can practically see a crowd strolling and singing through a sunlit city PG-13 rom-com style. Hints of minimalist blues, sunny pop, and soulful indie-rock reflection keep things interesting. The finished product feels very full, thoughtful, and unaffected – and there’s nothing wrong with that. (Barsuk Records, www.barsuk.com) Adrienne Yeung
December/January 2009 Stylus Magazine Oct/Nov 2011
AMEN DUNES Through Donkey Jaw Arriving to the party a tad late, I’ve since become a member of the church of Amen Dunes. Damon McMahon’s latest seems a little less improv than his debut D.I.A., and a tad more “poppy” and structured. “Baba Yaga” starts off the album with some beautiful meander and almost unintelligible lyrics (English, yeah, but the phrasing is odd). But whenever he sings the refrain, “You know that I, I lie,” each time more soaring than the last, the goosebumps start to pop up. Same with “Swim Up Behind Me,” the lyrics are always in English but are treated as another instrument, twisted and tangled and sounding unconventional. “Good Bad Dreams” sounds like a late ’60s Stones-on-mescaline trip, Satanic Majesties-style and “Not A Slave” sounds a little Eastern, like something you’d hear coming from the closed
tent of a night-time bazaar. The whole listen is completely ethereal and a tad spooky, demanding repeated listens to peel back its many layers. Oh yeah, if you buy the CD version of Donkey Jaw, you get two exclusive bonus tracks, “Gem Head,” a shimmering jungle-beat jangly ’60s trip-out and the 10+ minute freakout “Tomorrow Never Knows” that sounds like Nine Inch Nails meets 23 Skidoo. Essential, if ya know what’s good for ya! (Sacred Bones, sacredbonesrecords. com) Patrick Michalishyn TAKING MEDICATION Prescribed Nonsense if the rheostatics, primus, the residents, ween, grateful dead, frank zappa, new model army, mahogany frog, pink floyd (early era), king crimson, servotron, devo and wall of voodoo all got together and had a bastard son. then if that bastard son started a band. taking medication is that band. this album has something in it that fans of all those would find something to enjoy here. it is all over the map musically. from acoustic numbers to slightly extended drones. odd vocals, mentions of time machines, robots, archaeology; this is a quirky record for quirky people. (Oak Apple Records, oakapplerecords.com) c.frsn
t programs ess employmen Support homel off the streets. le and help peop ed at boxeS locat collection town buSineSSeS. n variouS dow
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30 Stylus Magazine Oct/Nov 2011
W RE ND A Y OB OT H P
AK UR Z MA
IMAGINARY CITIES VS. LMFAO FOLK FEST VS. MTS CENTRE NDP VS. CONSERVATIVE
FEAR of MUSIC WHAT’S SIGNIFIED BY CAMPAIGN MUSIC?
By Devin King Like youth, middle class families or derelict/inspirational buildings, music in a political campaign boils down to being little more than a prop. Consider it in the context of Saussere’s signifier and signified – it’s not so much what it is, but what it means. So any song is the signifier, but the mental image created by the mood or lyrics of the song is what is signified. Songs, in this context, are an oblique way of signifying a particular feeling – excitement, success, preparation for change, a desire to rise up. Reagan would try to appropriate the message of a Springsteen song (“Born in the USA”) but quickly demonstrated a lack of understanding of what the song itself even meant. He misinterpreted the signified message as a patriotic anthem (particularly based on the chorus) when it was almost the opposite. PC leader Hugh McFadyen recently fell afoul of this as well, when his party was wrapped in short-lived controversy over their use of “Party Rock Anthem” by LMFAO. The song was near the top of the charts and must have seemed like a good-time-vibe-inducing song to play at a political rally. For the Tories, it signified excitement, relevance and vitality. However, the band’s own name seems to run contrary to the sensibilities of Conservatives, and the lyrics run contrary to the general idea of respect. I do think this demonstrates that the PCs, and indeed many people, don’t think very much about or listen critically to the music they enjoy. While I did inquire on three
separate occasions what the official song of the campaign was for them, the Conservatives never returned my calls. (The Liberals and Greens, on the other hand, had officially not yet selected specific songs when I contacted them.) The NDP campaign theme songs seemed intentionally local – BTO’s “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet” and
“Hummingbird” by Imaginary Cities. The BTO song is a pretty obvious pick for an incumbent who wants to try to convince you to vote for them an unprecedented fourth time. The chorus is one of the few that says, “Yes, we’ve been good but it’s only going to get better.” But most of the song signifies of what could come next. That said, the rest of the song is about
meeting a woman, so really the chorus is the only part that applies. In fact, one lyric reads, “Any love is good love / So I took what I could get.” If I were the NDP, I might pick something that seems less blasé about the person you pick, whether a partner or elected representative. “Hummingbird” on the other hand contains the lyric “Tell me that you’ll break away / Say that it’s all gone, ” which is a pretty puzzling choice for someone who wants people to vote for them again. What’s signified here seems to be a desire for change, which the NDP would want to avoid. I’m not so cynical to think that politicians are all philistines who only see the world as a massive prop. Let’s be honest, music is hardly the most important part about an election. But the use of music as a prop can tell us about the parties. It seems as though the NDP were trying to appeal to two groups of voters here, with an established rock track and a new indie hit both being used. While “Hummingbird” and “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet” are both catchy and sure to create a positive atmosphere in a room (one of the signified intents), similar to the use of LMFAO, both don’t completely reflect the campaign itself. The NDP are trying to signify local as well, as a means to show that they care and value Manitoba. If the NDP wins this election, attention to a detail such as this might be indicative of their success and what Manitobans value. If the Tories win this election, it may mean that they have recognized that voters are Top 40 kinds of people; ones who aren’t necessarily focused on what is signified by a song anyway.
December/January Oct/Nov2009 2011 Stylus StylusMagazine Magazine 033 31
Weird Shit KEnt DAviEs with
GO CHEESE GO!
Aside from paying tribute to Winnipeg’s European stars, the album is also chalk full of Big Dave McLean songs where he laments the end of a glorious era that never saw the third round of the playoffs. There is even some sort of randomly placed reggae track in the mix. Much like your father playing airguitar to Zeppelin in public after one too many cocktails, you should have a soft spot for this tape. It’s kind of lame, kind of embarrassing, and kind of really awesome. It’s the kind of over-the top concept album that truly captures the power of the Jets. The kind of pride that comes from having a losing team, the worst looking mascot, gimmicky merchandise and some weird guy dancing instead of professional cheerleaders. I have a feeling that the new Jets may not have these qualities. So the tape like the team is destined not to be repeated. You can pick up a tape copy of Hockey Rock: Winnipeg Style!
It’s happening. The Jets are back. No, I’m not going to use this article to speculate on the possible prospects and drawbacks to having an NHL team again. Nor am I going to comment on the military style logo. And I’m certainly not paying you people who I drunkenly bet it would never happen. Instead I want you to remember (if you can) the final year of the first incarnation of the Winnipeg Jets. In the wake of the Jets’ failed dreams of cup glory and the devastating news that team would be moving to Phoenix, a charity album was made that has become legend. Hockey Rock: Winnipeg Style! is a Manitoba-made, star-studded, cheese-fest of epic proportions. Upon the announcement of the Jets’ return I recently unearthed this little gem from my collection of childhood memorabilia and put it on. What I heard still can’t be believed. Members of Streetheart and Harlequin, along with Colin James and Randy Bachman, reworking their commercial friendly lyrics to create crazy, cheesy ballads about Jets players for the Goals For Kids program. Highlights include lyric switching Harlequin’s “Innocence” for Finnish blue-liner Numminen. Randy Bachman changes up “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet,” for “That’s One Hot Russian Jet,” a song about Alexei Zhamnov.
on Used Winnipeg for a whopping 6 bucks. Get it here before I decide to get two; www.usedwinnipeg. com/classified-ad/Winnipeg-Jets-Hockey-RockTape_8115909.
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1 ! This Hisses 2 ! The Crooked Brothers 3 ! Greg MacPherson 4 ! Ingrid Gatin 5 * The Pack A.D. 6 ! Greg Rekus 7 ! Various Artists 8 ! Greg Arcade 9 Ilaiyaraaja 10 ! Oh My Darling 11 * Various Artists 12 ! The Details 13 ! Trio Bembe 14 ! The Thrashers 15 * Fucked Up 16 * Austra 17 Michael Yonkers Band 18 Bass Drum Of Death 19 * Handsome Furs 20 Battles 21 TV on The Radio 22 Trombone Shorty 23 Gardens 24 * Junior Boys 25 Various Artists 26 * Maikotron Unit 27 ! Romi Mayes 28 ! Hip Shakin Mama & The Leg Men 29 Washed Out 30 The Stepkids
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