Dec / Jan 2018-19 Stylus Magazine
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DEC/JAN 2018/19 VOL 29 NO. 6
Production Team Editor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Gil Carroll Assistant Editor . . . . . . . . . . . . Jen Doerksen Art Director . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Kelly Campbell
On the Cover EMMA MAYER is an emerging interdisciplinary artist from Winnipeg, Manitoba. She recently received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Manitoba and is currently participating in the Cartae Open School program at aceart. Presently, she works across a variety of media including video, drawing, sculpture, and photography.
Cover Art . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Emma Mayer Advertising Contact . . . . . . . . . Rob Schmidt firstname.lastname@example.org Print by JRS Print Services . . . 204-232-3558
Contributors ZoĂŤ Lebrun Nina Zigic Chris Bryson Grace Hrabi Ryan Haughey Daniel Kussy Nigel Webber Margaret Banka Graeme Houssin Jesse Warkentin Kaelen Bell Matt Harrison Ryan Sorensen Louise Wagret Jesse Popeski Alexander Aguilar Miguel McKenna
Stylus is published biâ€“monthly by CKUW 95.9 FM, with a circulation of 2,500. Stylus serves as the program guide to 95.9FM CKUW and will reflect the many musical communities it supports within Winnipeg and beyond. Stylus strives to provide coverage of music that is not normally written about in the mainstream media. Stylus acts as a vehicle for the work of new writers, photographers and artists, including members of the University of Winnipeg, of CKUW and of the Winnipeg community at large. Stylus reserves the right to refuse to print material, specifically, that of a racist, homophobic or sexist nature. All submissions may be edited and become the property of Stylus. All opinions expressed in Stylus are those of the contributors and do not necessarily reflect those of the editors. Contributions in the form of articles, reviews, letters, photos and graphics are welcome and should be sent with contact information to:
Stylus Magazine Bulman Student Centre, University of Winnipeg 515 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg, MB, R3B 2E9 Phone: 204-786-9785, Fax: 204-783-7080 Writing submissions: email@example.com Graphics submissions: firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Table of Contents Blah, Blah, Blah Events Around Town . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Winnipeg State of Mind HAVS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Space Jam Lev Snowe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . CKUW Program Guide . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . CKUWho New Program Director: Sam Doucet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Album Reviews Satanic Rights // Carly Dow // + more . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . CKUW Bimonthly Chart . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
03 06 08 13 16 18 20
Features Best of 2018 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . On the Foreshore of Something Awesome: Rob Knaggs . . . . . . . . Juniper Bush . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Bridging the Styx: styxcitycult . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Sophie Stevens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Peoples Republic of Amsterdam . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Rob Knaggs // Tansy: Live Show Review . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Hip Hop Evolution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Corolla // Dumb Angel // + more: Live Show Review . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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Dec / Jan 2018-19 Stylus Magazine
RAYANNAH AT THE GOOD WILL SOCIAL CLUB FOR JAZZ WINNIPEGâ€™S NUSOUNDS SERIES ON NOVEMBER 25, 2018.
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PHOTO: BNB STUDIOS
BLAHBLAHBLAH Stay warm and be good to each other this winter with some live music***Saturday December 1 at the Times Change(d) catch Slow Leaves and Sophie Stephens share a bill***Thursday December 6 at the Handsome Daughter catch Sports Club opoening up for Vancouver’s Yung Heazy***Wilco Tribute Night at the Good Will on December 7 featuring a reunited The Liptonians, with Sophie Stevens and Animal Teeth***On December 8, say goodbye to Rob Knaggs at his farewell
show with support from Two Crows for Comfort at the Handsome Daughter***Catch Joshua Hyslop and prairie songwriter Jacob Brodovsky at The Good Will Social Club on December 9***Get funky and have a great time at the Good Will on December 13 with The Retro Rhythm Review, or head to The Handsome Daughter for the indie stylings of Matthew Gervais, Baseball Hero and Notme***Get heavy at the Manitoba Metalfest Fundraiser at the Good Will on De-
cember 14 or have a dance party at Forth Fridays with Anthony OKS, Chairman Au and Louie Lovebird or over at the Handsome Daughter, a for sure good time with Smoky Tiger, The Remedies and Grey Jays***Get ready to rock on December 22 with Novillero and Duotang at the Good Will Social Club***New Years Eve at the Handsome Daughter is hosted by Real Love Winnipeg with Odd Outfit, Atlaas, Mise en Scene and a free glass of champagne***3Peat takes over the Good Will on New
Ye a r s Eve***January 4 at Forth is the wonderful sounds of Slow Dancers with guests***On January 18, Terra Lightfoot lights up the West End Cultural Centre***NuSounds returns for another on January 27 with Sean Irvine performing***See you in 2019***
AMI CHEON AT THE TIMES CHANGED FOR THE PAQUIN “PAACKIN’ BEATS” SHOWCASE ON NOVEMBER 22, 2018.
PHOTO: BNB STUDIOS
Dec / Jan 2018-19 Stylus Magazine
Stylus Best Of 2018
STYLUS CONTRIBUTORS SHARE THEIR HIGHLIGHTS OF A WONDERFUL YEAR IN MUSIC ILLUSTRATION: MIGUEL MCKENNA Kaelen Bell’s Top 5 Albums of the Year Mitski - Be the Cowboy U.S. Girls - In a Poem Unlimited Yves Tumor - Safe in the Hands of Love Robyn - Honey Amen Dunes - Freedom Ryan Haughey’s Top 5 Albums of the Year Songs of Praise by Shame: This record is really cool, often throughout it hedges between post-punk and indie rock, and both styles are done extremely well. I love the energy that is kept up all the way through the record and I can’t wait to hear more from Shame. Joy as an Act of Resistance by IDLES: I was blown away by this group’s first full length record, Brutalism, and I couldn’t be more satisfied with this sophomore release. The singles on this record stick out as some of the band’s best songs to date, and the rest of the record just reinforces the amazingness of IDLES. Beyondless by Iceage: Nothing really compares to Iceage’s unique style, and I would hesitate to try and put a label on it. But if I was absolutely forced to, I might call it folk-punk. This record brings you in and out of the deep dark crevasses of the band’s themes and tones. Consolation E.P. by Protomartyr: These four songs are some of the most enthralling tracks I’ve heard all
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year. The full throttle punch that starts off the E.P. never fails to excite me, and the slower tempo tunes pull me in with just as much intensity. Wide Awake! by Parquet Courts: This record can be listened to casually in the background, but it would be just as entertaining as listening ear-to-thespeaker. Picking out every musical part to even one of the songs, you would find endlessly genius invention from every member of the group. Ryan Haughey’s Top Live Shows of 2018 Woolworm // Human Music // Honey: This was my first time seeing Woolworm, a band whose has stuck with me. If they don’t come back to Winnipeg soon, I’ll have to make a trip out to Vancouver for one of their shows. Advance Bass // Friendship // Iansucks: Not only did these three acts stir up three separate and equally emotional sets, they did it in utmost perfect style. Friendship backing Advance Base on some of his songs was unforgettable. Christine Fellows // John K Samson: A wholesome evening indeed, John and Christine brought familiar and beloved songs to a proud hometown crowd. Yes We Mystic // Merin: Although three very different acts, the theme of homespun musical talent crossed over throughout a very fun evening. For me, this was an introduction to Merin’s introspective and catchy tunes. METZ // Tunic // Viva Non: The breakneck pace of both Tunic and METZ drew me in for an energy
blasting night. It was a BigFun 2018 standout moment that has me excited for BigFun 2019. Zoë Lebrun’s Top Albums of the Year 1. Which Witch by Peach Kelli Pop This short album by Peach Kelli Pop is by far my favourite release of this year for so many reasons. First of all, their music is eternally summary and always vibrant with energy, which I love. You’re also able to listen to the entirety of Which Witch in ten minutes, which was my introduction to PKP and is the album that hooked me in. On top of this, PKP paid a visit to the Handsome Daughter and played an absolutely awesome show with Xertz and The Sorels this past July, which was one of my favourite shows this past summer. 2. Vicious by Halestorm Halestorm’s latest release Vicious is truly unapologetic and honest, which is part of what drew me to it in the first place. Halestorm has an unmistakable energy and sound, and while some bands move away from their original vibe as they become more popular, this band has stayed rooted in what makes them who they are. With their classic screaming guitars and pounding drum beats, the band delves even deeper into their own backstories, consistently putting out content that is diverse and honest. Frontwoman Lzzy Hale’s vocals bring a fire and unashamed attitude into the music unlike any other modern hard rock band. Some highlight tracks off this album for me are “Skulls”, “Do Not Disturb”, and “Buzz”.
3. 1981 Extended Play by I DON’T KNOW HOW BUT THEY FOUND ME This recent release from relatively new band I DON’T KNOW HOW BUT THEY FOUND ME (often stylized as iDKHOW) blew me away. Frontman of the band, Dallon Weekes, has said that the band’s electro pop-rock sound is greatly inspired by artists such as David Bowie, Elvis Costello, and The Ink Spots; this is evident in the band’s timeless, upbeat, 80’s new wave sound. However, something that sets 1981 Extended Play apart from the majority of mainstream pop-rock at the moment is their lyrical complexity both in form and subject matter, seen particularly in their song “Choke”. 4. Bought to Rot by Laura Jane Grace and the Devouring Mothers If you’re a fan of popular rock band Against Me! then you’ll love Bought to Rot, the debut album from Laura Jane Grace and the Devouring Mothers. Laura Jane Grace, who is Against Me!’s frontwoman as well, has seemingly put her very essence into every song, each of which is packed with loads of energy, wit, and emotion. I’m never disappointed when I hear new music from Laura Jane Grace and any group she is a part of, and Bought to Rot was no exception. 5. Pray for the Wicked by Panic! At the Disco While some might say that Pray for the Wicked was a departure from Panic! At the Disco’s original sound, I really felt like Brendon Urie was hitting his stride with this album. With this release, Urie mixes modern pop with a Sinatra-like blend of jazz and swing music, adding in his own unique quirks along the way as well. And like many other Panic! At the Disco albums, the entire album has both beautiful ballads that are great for singing your heart out to and songs that are perfect for dancing. All in all, this once-was emo band found a way into my heart this past year—as well as into my top five albums of 2018. Margaret Banka’s Top Live Shows of the year 1. Destroyer @ The Pyramid I drove to Minneapolis in January to see Destroyer, my all-time favourite band, so seeing Dan Bejar do a solo run at the Pyramid in July was a pretty indescribable experience! 2. Nnamdi Ogbonnaya @ Real Love Summer Fest I was lucky enough to meet Nnamdi himself before he performed and I suppose you could say that he was very kind and soft-spoken. I’d never listened to their music before and was absolutely blown away later on by his performance and stage presence - it was wild, and definitely not what I expected! Although it’s not music I would normally listen to, this show was the most memorable part of Real Love for me.
Well, this was a lovely combination of bands. To tell you the truth I was more excited for Veneer (those co-ordinated black and white outfits!), but I walked away with great appreciation for Braids’ live performance as well. 5. Fox Lake @ Club St. B You might think me a little bit biased in this one as I’m friends with these guys, but this show is etched in my mind because of how absurd it was; the show happened to coincide with the death of the mother of one of the Club’s regulars, who decided to hold an Irish wake for her there at the same time. There was a tinge of sadness but, hell, it was a great wake - picture a man shotgunning beers in honour of his dead mother on stage in between math punk sets - a cliche that wrote itself, truly. Daniel Kussy’s Top Albums of the year 1. Mourn - Sorpresa Familia Favourite record of 2018. The energetic, melodic feminist punk quartet from Barcelona put out what is without a doubt their best LP in 2018. Ladled with hard hitting drums and as much vocal harmony as blatant shouting. I look forward to what this young group brings us in the future. 2. Flasher - Constant Image The Olympia, WA trio pack a strong New-Wave punch that blends with a hard punk beat. Best listened to on a cool summer evening. 3. Kandekt - History As It Is Happening A bittersweet final album from Winnipeg band Kandekt (fka Conduct). Though a lot of the material has been exercised live in years past this is the first time it has been put on the figurative wax. With Rob Gardiners manic drums and Nick Liangs terrifying vocals, Kandekt’s hostile, cutting-edge style of post-punk creates a tense atmosphere wherever their music is played. This album is available on Bandcamp and Soundcloud. 4. Boygenius - S/T EP The Boygenius EP is more than a powerful collection of reflective and ultimately sad songs. It is also a successful showcase of the artistic styles of the artists that make up this supergroup; Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus. 5. Margret - The Most Fun That Two People Can Have Together A beautifully monotone collection of songs. Yet, in its goal of being anxiously quiet, manages to fill a room with its politely ambient synths and blossoming guitars.
3. Alvvays @ the Garrick
Daniel Kussy’s Top shows of 2018
This was a very sweet and bubbly show. Even if she weren’t Canadian, I’m sure Molly Rankin could charm the socks off a snake (or sock, I guess they would just wear one).
1. Radiohead w/Junun @ Scotiabank Arena (Toronto) - July 19th It’s one thing to see Radiohead perform live, it’s another to see Radiohead perform in Toronto for the first time in 8 years since the horrific stage accident that took the life of there drum technician. It was an emotional show for all parties involved. Attendees
4. Veneer/Braids @ WECC
were anxious to see if frontman Thom Yorke would acknowledge the accident, which he did at the end of the show to no avail as the crowd heckled and yelled through an intended moment of silence. Though a rough ending, the entire show was outstanding. 2. Japanese Breakfast w/Mothers @ Phoenix Theatre (Toronto) - July 18th Sold out show. So many people in one space, but it was worth it. This was my introduction to Mothers, and it led to a healthy obsession of this band, and they were just the opener! While it wasn’t my first time seeing Japanese Breakfast perform live it was the first time seeing them headline. Michelle Zauner is a stellar, engaging frontwoman and her stage presence is remarkable. 3. Courtney Barnett @ Winnipeg Folk Festival July 6th This was my first time ever actually watching Courtney Barnett perform live, I hadn’t researched how her and her band would sound during a performance, so I was surprised by how heavy they are live. Barnett is aggressive on stage, as if trying to bring out her inner-Courtney Love under the crimsonred lights that beamed on her throughout her set. On top of that, this was on the Folk Fest main stage, of all places! 4. Dashboard Confessional w/The Elwins & Gabrielle Shonk @ Burton Cummings Theatre - March 3rd An unfortunate mishap on the road to Winnipeg left the band without any of their gear for this show, so frontman Chris Carrabba had to perform the show by himself. What proceeded was an incredibly intimate set that stripped the show to Carrabba, his guitar, and his powerful voice (not to mention an entire room of people singing back to him). Requests were taken on the fly; shout a song title and he immediately started playing it. The Winnipeg Folk Festival organized this show, and I’m sure they’ll be itching to have him come back to play their festival. 5. Virtual Self w/Mat Zo and Raito @ The Armory (Minneapolis) - September 8th Virtual Self is the trance/DDR-inspired project from EDM artist Porter Robinson. I am not at all an EDM fan, but I’ve always enjoyed Robinson’s music since his Worlds LP. The Virtual Self live set is a blast of late 90’s/early 00’s sound and aesthetic. Paired with the trance/techno vibe is a screen featuring graphics that look like we’re made with a SEGA Dreamcast. The video game inspiration is so strong that Robinson even plays “Simple & Clean” from the Kingdom Hearts soundtrack.
Dec / Jan 2018-19 Stylus Magazine
NIGEL WEBBER “My album will manifest many things that I saw, did or heard about” - OC
“Ok I guess I’m really doing this,” HAVS thought after her February 2018 opening set for SonReal at the Garrick Centre. Only about a year into recording music seriously at that point, HAVS opener for SonReal was only her second live show with her as a promoted act. At the time she was one half of the duo Pesh x HAVS but since has chosen to branch out and go solo. A debut solo album, Distortion, came out early September followed by a release show mid-October. However, tragedy struck the day Distortion was released, as one of HAVS favourite artists, rapper Mac Miller, passed away unexpectedly. The news hit HAVS particularly hard
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PHOTO: ONSITE and she says “it just didn’t feel right to advertise,” her new record after his death. Despite the initial delay, HAVS has been seeing a positive response to the album, both at the release show and through online reactions. Distortion’s recording process is an increasingly common story in the age of interconnectedness and social media. The primary producer on the project is Dreyze, who is based in Pittsburgh. Their process is simple having worked together for a while: Dreyze produces a beat for HAVS, knowing her style and what she likes, and sends it to her. HAVS writes her lyrics listening to the beat and records her vocals here in Winnipeg. HAVS does admit that the long distance collaborative process isn’t as rewarding as being together in a studio. Dreyze was able to come to Winnipeg for a visit, during which time they produced the track “Dreams.” Although it was the first time they had worked together in person, the chemistry they had developed over the internet makes “Dreams” the best song on the project. It also received a music video, directed by Dillan Lavallee. HAVS had wanted to work with frequent Fourth Quarter Records collaborator Lavallee for a while and they finally had the opportunity for “Dreams.” Lavallee’s shallow focus camera work and rapid fire editing match the kinetic yet soothing vibe of the track. On “Dreams,” as well as multiple other tracks on Distortion, HAVS writes poignantly about relationships. The stark nature of her writing has left people in her life asking whether they have become a subject in her music, “especially if I’m with someone at the time, they’ll always ask me who certain songs are about.” HAVS prefers to leave the true nature of lyrics to each respective listener, saying “I like to leave all my songs up for interpretation like all art I think should be.” HAVS also points out that her songs are never about just one person, the lyrics can create an amalgam of numerous people in her everyday life. Four of the album’s seven tracks have featured artists, all people HAVS describes as being “people
in my circle of influence.” HAVS credits spending time at the former Exchange District studio of local artist collective REC as introducing her to other artists whose work she admires. One of those artists is STMBLZ, who produced and raps on the opening track “Options.” HAVS is looking towards more collaborations with STMBLZ, she recently joined EZ Clique of which STMBLZ is a member. While HAVS describes EZ Clique as more of a collective than a group, Clique members STMBLZ and DIEmond are featured on Distortion. HAVS characterizes her new Clique-mates as being “already on each others phones,” and calls them “some of the most hardworking people I know.” Even at her solo shows, HAVS brings up her fellow EZ Clique members because “it’s cool performing with your friends, doing what you love with your friends.” As hard as it can be, Winnipeg provides the opportunity for musicians to do what they love with their friends. HAVS, like many young people who grew up in Winnipeg, had that wanderlust, the urge to go West. She made a reconnaissance trip there this summer, only to be let down by the lack of viable performance spaces that match her vibe. The following day upon returning to this desolate prairie town, HAVS had the chance to attend STMBLZ’s album release show. The positive response left her speechless because “the energy there was just so crazy, it was totally amazing [seeing] the love of a hip-hop community.” While the West still looms large, for the time being, Winnipeg is home for HAVS. A big part of that is the community of like minded artists and musicians she has around her. Winnipeg might have more than it’s share of issues but undoubtedly the communities that are built around music scenes are not found everywhere, “I feel like there’s not a lot of places that can say they have that.”
ON THE FORESHORE OF SOMETHING AWESOME Viral beluga-charming cellist Rob Knaggs talks playing for whales, returning to Australia, and his upcoming EP
BACKGROUND: RYAN HAUGHEY
PHOTO: VIVID ARCTIC PHOTOGRAPHY In a music scene as diverse as Winnipeg’s, crossing genres is no rare phenomenon – but few have mastered the art of transcending music communities as well as Rob Knaggs. The Australian cellist and composer has become infamous across Manitoba for his cinematic soundscapes, bringing his distinct style – created by combining a classical cello sound with striking tones, merged together live with a looping pedal – to spaces both conventional and unexpected. But although his name has become synonymous with the string instrument most commonly found in an orchestra, it wasn’t always Knaggs’ instrument of choice. “I always played cello, but it never occurred to me that cello was kind of different and interesting and [something] people would be interested in until very much later in my career,” said Knaggs. Instead, Knaggs found his heart playing in punk bands back in Australia, on guitar and vocals. “Punk and metal was kind of my first introduction to music, except for cello,” said Knaggs. “Cello was my first instrument, but punk was my first passion.” After a backpacking tour across Europe and North America, he took a job as an in-house musician at
a hotel in Churchill, Manitoba, hosting an open mic and playing weekly as a vocalist and guitarist through 2014. While up north, Knaggs realized an old pipe dream of his was within his reach: playing cello on the open water for beluga whales. It was an idea he’d toyed with since his university days, when he busked in a museum under two humpback whale replicas, mimicking the creatures’ sounds with his instrument. In 2015, he had his chance. Knaggs and tour guide Hayley Shepherd, a New Zealander herself, ventured out into open water in an inflatable Zodiac boat. Surely enough, just as Knaggs began readying his cello, the belugas emerged. “Within seconds of me tuning up, these belugas were just chasing the boat,” Knaggs said. “They were singing, they were vocalizing at me. It was an amazing experience.” The whales followed the boat for hours, harmonizing with Knagg’s cello. Partway through, they recorded the phenomenon. The video went viral. Reaching over 3.3 million views on Facebook and thousands on YouTube was never something Knaggs expected (nor benefited from – his name wasn’t listed in the video description). “I was stoked to have like five hundred people view those videos. I never accounted for like, three million,” Knaggs said. “That felt weird.” Even though the viral video didn’t include his name, it led Knaggs to another opportunity: partnering with Sea Shepherd, an ocean conservation society in Australia, to play cello alongside migrating humpback whales and promote the preservation of ocean life. “It just felt right,” Knaggs said of the opportunity. “It felt like that’s what I could do to help these organizations and give my part to the world.” Knaggs’ first EP, Up the Middle, included both Sea Shepherd and the “town, people and wildlife of Churchill, Manitoba” in its acknowledgements. The four-track album, written as a tribute to the Beluga Capital of the World and its four seasons, was re-
leased in January of 2017. Since then, Knaggs has toured North America and played shows across the province, sharing bills with the likes of ambient shoegaze musician Tansy, folk artist Noah Derksen, singer-songwriter Sophie Stevens and rock band Second Age. He’s also performed at a number of open mics, breaking up the typical guitar-and-vocals standard – but playing cello for an unsuspecting crowd has never bothered Knaggs. “I tend to shut people up when they’re in a noisy bar,” he said. “I want to give people something different.” His second EP, Foreshore, is set to release this month. Unlike Up the Middle, which is a testament to the town Knaggs fell in love with, Foreshore is more personal; it’s a reflection of his growth in the north, the friendships he’s made in Canada and the connections he’s made with both humans and animals. Even the title is both a wink at Manitoban inflection and a self-reflective prophecy. “It was a total jab at the Canadian “for sure,” but I was thinking about it recently, and I’m on the foreshore of doing something awesome,” said Knaggs. Foreshore also marks the end of Knaggs’ end in Canada, to his chagrin. Shortly after releasing the album and hosting a farewell show at the Handsome Daughter, Knaggs will be returning to his hometown of Brisbane, to his disappointment. Although the album was recorded back in February, it was important for Knaggs to release it before he returned to his home continent. “I want to give this release to Winnipeg before I go back to Australia,” said Knaggs.
Dec / Jan 2018-19 Stylus Magazine
Space Jam: L e v S n o w e WORDS & PHOTOS: MARGARET BANKA
As I walk down Wellington Crescent on a snowy November afternoon, my imagination is armed only with the elusive description of a jam space supplied by Lev. For me, a two-word answer of “parents’ basement” invokes standard imagery of the ever-enduring home jam space: a steep and narrow staircase (watch your head) leading down to an ancient shag rug and wood-panelled walls, which inevitably feature outdated and dejected wall art, banished down a floor level with each ascent up the career ladder. A dusty VCR (did I bring allergy medication?), a forgettable floor lamp, and a litter box, perhaps, would not be out of place. So of course, you can imagine my surprise when instead I am greeted by Lev in the foyer of a beautifully modern home. No sooner do I have my coat hung than I am brought a glass of citrus-infused water by Lev’s mother - no small gesture when one expects to talk themselves dry as a desert in Hell within the hour. We head downstairs to an area devoid of any shag rug and walk past a pile of instruments and other touring paraphernalia (such as horse masks) to enter a small room that serves as the Lev Snowe jam space. Immediately, Lev apologizes and begins to clear the floor of its serpentine coils. “Usually this place is a lot more tame-looking”, he begins to explain. The band leaves the next morning, at 8 AM, he explains, for a tour of the US Midwest - their first in America. In fact, the band had just finished their final jam shortly before I arrived, explaining the snake’s den of cords and cables, and a lingering presence of the band as expressed in the warm air. The space, which also serves as Lev’s recording studio, is transformed from modern basement annex to a cozy, subterranean musician’s delight by means of metaphysical elements and other charming absurdities. There are wall tapestries, lights, Lev Snowe show posters, and an indispensable bottle of Advil nestled amongst a half dozen glasses of water on the desk - all of the necessities required for the process of invoking the Muses: “This is my life, is what this room is. I don’t leave here, and I don’t want to.” (Photo 1) The trusty, ubiquitous salt rock lamp. “It’s a must. All the positive ions! We actually just broke one.
We had one that we took on tour and set up with our merch, and we would tell people, ‘just follow the positive energy’. Somebody followed it a little too closely and it’s no longer positive. It’s gone.” (Photo 2) Quirkiness is staring me in the face, hung crookedly near the entrance. I ask if this malalignment is intentional, to which Lev replies: “It’s definitely a reflection of the kind of chaos that goes into this room. It was given to me as a gift and I was like, hell yeah. It’s been here the entire time that I’ve been doing this music project. The goat’s always there, smiling back, when I need the support.” Very tender. (Photo 3) Next to the door, so small that I almost miss it, is another sweet - if somewhat apprehensive - gaze, that of an adolescent looking back at me from a guitar pick. “That is one of my oldest friends. The picks I use are all old credit cards, I have a little punch that makes them into picks and that one was his student ID. His name is Zane. I have a few of people’s faces - they don’t actually work as picks because the student ID’s are so flimsy but they’re pretty comedic. But I don’t want to lose the faces - they’re priceless.” (Photo 4) Soon I spot a shooting target plastered to the wall, decorated with bull’s eye shots and Cyrillic lettering. Is there someone in the band who is part of the KGB? Lev confirms that there isn’t (or so he says): “It’s actually from the Russian Olympics a couple of years ago. A family friend was filming there and brought it back for me. It was up for a while before I realized, ‘wait a minute, they’re nailing it.’ It’s not my sport though.” Sure, Lev, sure. (Photo 5) Who can ever forget the first time they pissed off their siblings by blowing every cubic millimetre of air from their lungs into a recorder positioned directly into the aforementioned victim’s ear? I was quite warmed by the sight of the humble recorder in a room otherwise filled with, amongst other instruments, a vintage Juno 6 synth and Fender Jaguar. “It’s funny because we were just messing around with it this morning, as a joke we we’re going to use it on tour as our bit between songs.” (Photo 6) “I used to light a lot of incense when I discovered what they were; I would put them in there to let them burn and always use matches - it’s kind of like a beautiful garbage. It should be on display, maybe I should put some lights in it.”
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J uniper B ush KAELEN BELL
PHOTO: JESSE WARKENTIN
Lizzy Burt is busy. After spending the summer playing shows across Canada, the Juniper Bush front person (and solo artist, under the name elizabeth) recently dove head first into an entirely new passion, one that’s consumed her time for the past several months – a framing shop. Bevvey Teyems Custom Picture Framing is the latest in a long list of creative ventures for Burt, but it’s something else too: a potential source of creatively fulfilling, steady income – something that can be hard to come by for creatives trying to make a living through art. “It’s just another artistic outlet for me. It’s very meditative, it allows me to practice a certain meticulousness I have within me,” she says. “Even with recording, I’m somewhat of a perfectionist, and that can drive me and other people crazy. But with framing I can just exercise my perfection to myself, and it’s really blissful.” Even with a new business to run, recording has been on Burt’s mind as of late; the members of Juniper Bush have been navigating their busy schedules in an attempt to record, and eventually release, their debut record. It’ll be the first piece of recorded music released by the band. “We actually went into the studio last November, and laid down our initial tracks. And then a couple months later, and a couple months later. It’s just been a really slow progression,” she says. And while the band didn’t necessarily plan on such a long gestation period, Burt says they’re proud of what they’ve done and are anxious to finally release it, though it may take some time still. “I am so excited about this record. I’m so effing proud of it, and it was really, really well done. But it might be a little while before it’s out,” she says. Such is the struggle faced by artists working in
fields besides their music. Often, the schedule becomes busy as they work to keep their heads above water, and the music needs to take a brief backseat. However, at the moment Burt doesn’t see her love of music and love of framing as competing forces in her life – sometimes, one just takes momentary precedence over the other. “I have made a conscious decision that I want them both to be at the forefront of my life, but each one will take the reins at different times,” she says. “Music is another primary source of food for my soul that I absolutely need to indulge myself in, it’s a necessary part of my being. The goal is to take both as far as possible.” Burt was introduced to framing after a bout of depression. She had quit her restaurant job and was scouring Kijiji for work when she saw a placement for a framing shop in the city. “I just thought, ‘hmm, that seems like something I could do.’ And I went in for the interview, got the job, and it just snowballed from there,” she says. The act of framing a piece is perhaps more crucial than many would expect; Burt describes it as an extension of the work itself – a way of outlining that, when done right, can change your perspective on a piece of art. “There’s something magical about the space created around art [through framing]. It helps enhance communications from the artist’s heart to ours,” she says. “It’s like a support system of colours and shapes and hues.” Burt says she feels fortunate that she’s found a way
to support herself both creatively and financially, exploring her passions for framing and music in a way that feels sustainable and healthy. It’s something not all working artists can claim. “I think there’s a lot of soul searching that’s really necessary to do when making art and having art support you in life. I feel really lucky that I found another art form that I feel confident I can lean onto,” she says. Recognizing that her love of music could be soured by an overly ambitious performing schedule, Burt says she needs other artistic avenues to feel fulfilled. “I guess I’m just a little too cautious when it comes to music, because I know if I overdo it in a way that isn’t suitable for me, I won’t be happy,” she says. As Bevvey Teyems grows and Juniper Bush set their debut album in motion, it’s unlikely that Burt will be less busy any time soon. However, like many creatives on the journey for self-sufficiency and selfexpression, it seems she wouldn’t have it any other way.
Dec / Jan 2018-19 Stylus Magazine
STYXCITYCULT. FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: 10KAY, DIEMOND, PHRE$H PRINCE, LILNAPPYBOI, STMBLZ, IVAN SILK, YUNG ROMELLO, DRINKBLEACHH, JESSE MEUSH, SPAGHKING, THATCHER ROBINSON AND YUNG EMERALD. NOT PICTURED: POSTWAR, SHEA AND TRRM.
BRIDGING THE STYX Music collective Styx City Cult talk Greek mythology, supporting local artists, and creating a platform for the weird kids GRAEME HOUSSIN When rapper SpaghKing entered the Winnipeg scene, he found a city divided. Harsh lines separated genres, and “old hip hop heads” dominated the rap scene as arbiters of taste, only booking artists that conformed to their ideas of what rap could and must be. But following conventions was never SpaghKing and his friends’ style. “You have to be on their wave, and they don’t really fuck with it,” said SpaghKing. “So I just kind of said fuck that.” Enter styxcitycult, a collective of artists devoted to pushing the boundaries of genre, supporting one another and creating a platform for musicians who otherwise couldn’t find an outlet. “We’re a punk vibe,” said SpaghKing. “Fuck constructs and shit. Let’s just have fun.” styxcitycult’s current roster of 14 is predominantly made up of hip hop artists, and includes SpaghKing, drinkbleachh, Ivan Silk, Phre$h Prince, Postwar, Shea, Thatcher Robinson, TRRM, Yung
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PHOTO: GRAEME HOUSSIN Emerald, Yung Romello, 10kay, and DIEmond, lilnappyboi and STMBLZ of EZ Clique. However, the collective is hoping to expand and include artists of all genres. “It just so happens that the people we hang out with make rap music and similar styles,” said Jesse Meush, an affiliate of the collective, “so inevitably that’s what’s performed.” Despite a shared genre, each artist brings their individual influences and musical past to their work. Ivan Silk was inspired by the distinct New York style of rap, while drinkbleachh’s punk and dream pop backgrounds leak into his current sound. Thatcher Robinson merged a variety of influences, including Blink-182 and the surge of Florida rappers, to inform his punk rap style. The group’s name was adopted from the River Styx, the border between the mythological Greek Hades and the world of the living, and inspired by Winnipeg’s notoriety as Canada’s violent crime capital. “We live in hell, sort of,” said SpaghKing. “It’s Tar-
tarus, right?” Although many configurations of the styxcitycult artists often collaborate – for example, Postwar’s recent single “Destroy the City” was produced by drinkbleachh and features SpaghKing – the collective is less of a performing group and more of a support system. The members support each other’s music, promote each other’s shows, and inspire one another. “[styxcitycult] gives me a lot of motivation, seeing what everyone’s doing all the time,” said Phre$h Prince. “It’s hella dope. Everyone as an individual has their own thing going on and their own dope art going on. You learn from what they’re doing.” While the collective says they are open to artists from all backgrounds, they maintain an “inclusive, but exclusive” code. The support aspect of the group is one of the few requirements to including one’s name on their roster; even if a member isn’t on the bill of a show, or isn’t featured on another member’s track, it’s their responsibility to help promote and
uplift the other’s art, no matter what. “If you’re not with it, if you’re on that old head shit, you’re not a part of it,” said SpaghKing. “If you want to be weird, if you want to put your gain above anyone else’s – we’re all here to help each other grow – then you’re not included.” styxcitycult’s ideology can also be separated from the norm by their willingness to accept people outside of what Postwar considers the “mold of how a rapper is ‘supposed to act.’” Postwar began identifying as pansexual when he started working on music, and found styxcitycult welcomed him no matter what his sexuality. “I have no need to hide who I am and the entirety of the collective, however diverse in age, lifestyle or socioeconomic background, have all been nothing but accepting of who I am,” said Postwar. “There isn’t really a place in any other scene for any of us, and we don’t really need anything to do with that,” said 10kay, another collective member who identifies as queer. “I
L TO R: YUNG EMERALD, SPAGHKING, AND YUNG ROMELLO. feel like we’re all here because of that.” SpaghKing says the plan for styxcitycult is to continue growing the collective, making music, putting on shows in both venues and alternative spaces, and keep creating a platform for musicians who haven’t found a place to fit in. “We’re all trying to start a community and build together,” said SpaghKing, “and all that old shit is dead. Yung Romello is set for three releases within the next year: December’s My Shitty Summer EP, January’s Romello and Juliet and March’s Spacegating in Neon Colours. Postwar’s debut LP, SIMP, is scheduled for release on January 25. March heralds the release of Ivan Silk’s debut LP, Sincerely Ivan, while April brings drinkbleachh’s first LP, Amygdala. Yung Emerald’s self-titled EP has no concrete release date, but is set to land soon.
DRINKBLEACHH AND IVAN SILK.
EZ CLIQUE. L TO R: LILNAPPYBOI, STMBLZ AND DIEMOND. 10KAY.
Dec / Jan 2018-19 Stylus Magazine
Sophie Stevens MATT HARRISON It was a humid June evening teetering on the edge of rainfall when I first met singer/songwriter Sophie Stevens for what was intended to be a piece about the space she wrote her music in. As we sat and talked, the flower of this artists mind blossomed to explain the method behind her songwriting. Playing piano from the age of 10 and guitar for the last five or so years, Sophie has been something of a musician for much of her life. The leap to writing her own songs was first made last summer after attending Shine On music festival. It was there she first had the realization that music is a viable avenue for her to steer her life into. Until that festival, where she encountered local artists who helped to inspire her, she had never considered music as something she could actually focus her time and energy on with real fervor. “You know,” she went on to tell me,” you can have big dreams, but most of the time Good Old Capitalism kind of [says] ‘Nope, your dreams aren’t going to happen.’” Since taking time away from her studies to pursue this idea that was once only a dream, Sophie’s found the move to songwriting to be comfortable and resoundingly positive. She recognizes, too, that there now exists the potential for her to begin resenting the music process due to the fact that she has now made it her primary duty. Thus far, her shimmering optimism prevails and her love for music and songwriting remains unwavering.
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PHOTO: LOUISE WAGRET Something Sophie has come to find is that the songwriting process is very much a skill. This skill, as is the case with any other, requires dedication, time, and focus. Sometimes she will be struck with a bolt of inspiration straight from “the heart, or the soul, or wherever it is that music comes from.” Other times she’ll sit down with her guitar or piano and create music and lyrics off the top of her head. Regardless of the whether or not inspiration strikes, Sophie is continually working to practice and improve her song writing. One aspect that helps her to draw the motivation to regularly sit down and work on her music is the obligation she’s created for herself to post a video of a song -one she’s written or otherwise- to her Facebook page on a weekly basis. She uses this self imposed contract as motivation to sit down and dive into the thoughts that come dancing through her mind to one melody or another. Typically she’ll find the time to sit down and work on a song when she has a melody in the heart of her mind, or a chord progression that she’s particularly fond of. As is the case with any poet, Sophie acts as biographer of life’s glory and pain, continually on the prowl for a new way to project what can either be a euphoric dance or a sordid trudge through this world. Sometimes she’ll write on the bus, while other times her writing comes from being in the throes of a “good old emotional breakdown” in which she’ll think “oh, those are some sweet lyrics right there.”
One particular attribute of songwriting Sophie has the greatest appreciation for is the aspect of having the attention of the crowd. Whether or not the listener wants to hear the words that are being sung is secondary to the reality that they are listening to the music Sophie has written. “I find that conversationally people aren’t always listening,” she explained to me some two months later, in the basement of some place with a pinball machine drawn from the background of a Stranger Things episode. “I find that most times people are just waiting to say what they’re going to say next.” Moving forward, Sophie hopes to be able to compile the work she’s created to release an album. She has taken to performing with full bands with interchanging people and instruments which is a step in a new direction creatively as her performances have until now been primarily by herself on the piano or with an acoustic guitar. “It’s really cool to be able to write songs by myself but to be able to collaborate with people and hear what they have to say about my music, or their music. It’s just a lot of fun.” A smidgen over a year ago, Sophie took to this project with the hope of making the most of her greatest passion. Today, as she continues to write and perform, meet new musicians, and expand her artistic horizons, Sophie Stevens has turned her dream to a plan, and each day that plan comes closer to becoming a reality.
Dec / Jan 2018-19 Stylus Magazine
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12 SPOKEN WORD
CHRIS BRYSON Emerging onto the Winnipeg scene with a new wave/ post-punk sound with an edge of volatility, People’s Republic of Amsterdam are aiming to make some waves. Stylus caught up with Andrew Viflanzoff to talk about the band’s fledgling start and their aspirations for the future. Stylus: What’s the story behind People’s Republic of Amsterdam and how everyone got together? Andrew Viflanzoff: People’s Republic of Amsterdam formed in April 2017. We had met at Super Smash Bros. tournaments, held at the time at the University of Manitoba. Everyone was big into music; we would discuss new releases between tournament matches. I would often joke that we should form a band, the “joke” being that everyone but me had little music experience, at least no band experience. Ryan Okano, our bassist, called my bluff and said he would buy a bass guitar on Kijiji. Nick Young, our guitarist, rediscovered his guitar, and we contacted Ryan Luke, our vocalist, to sing. Ryan seemed like the best fit to be the frontman; he had theatre experience and a distinct style. We opted to have my Macbook act as drummer, and I would play synthesizers. Posting an imposing picture of Ryan on a music forum and asking what our band should be named, a commenter suggested “People’s Republic on Amsterdam.” S: Were any members in bands before this one?
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Amsterdam PHOTO: ALEXANDER AGUILAR
AV: Both Ryans and Nick had never been in a band before. I had performed in an indie pop/rock band called Burning Kettles. After that band retired, I fronted a shoegaze/emo outfit called Mammoth Graveyard, also retired. S: From what I’ve seen on your Instagram People’s Republic of Amsterdam has a darker, moody vibe with vocals sometimes reminiscent of Nick Cave and a new wave/post-punk mix that dips into some heavier territory. What are some of the band’s inspirations and what has it been going for with its sound? AV: The prior summer, I had bought a vintage synthesizer at a garage sale, and had been listening to Depeche Mode non-stop. It was inevitable that we would form a new wave band. Ryan Luke had been listening to Death Grips, and that set a foundation for Ryan’s often-aggressive vocals. We had never associated Winnipeg with synthesizer-oriented music, and it was tempting to occupy that niche. We know better now that there are plenty of confident electronic acts in Winnipeg, and we’re looking forward to playing with as many as we’re allowed to! S: You recently played a Real Love show opening for locals Ghost Twin and Toronto’s Odonis Odonis. How was that experience? AV: Playing with Ghost Twin and Odonis Odonis was great, but it was also intimidating! If you compare us to Odonis Odonis or Ghost Twin, we’ll get blown out of the water: We did at the show! Af-
ter Odonis Odonis’s set, I talked with one of their members and suggested that when our band grows up, I want to be their band. Also, Real Love is fantastic. We had expected that acquiring shows would be difficult without having recordings, but people like Real Love and Yes Wave are putting us on bills and we’re grateful. S: Does People’s Republic of Amsterdam have any releases, more shows planned, or anything else in the works? AV: At the time of writing this, we have no shows booked. Prior to this show, we took a break from shows (not that we had performed many times before) to write new material and record for the first time. Our first single “BRUTE” will be made available later this month. S: What do you enjoy most about making music and performing live? AV: Being in a band is great, writing music and performing are too, but at the end of practice, we’re doing this because we’re friends. It’s an excuse to hang out, and when all the fellas come together to work on something, it elevates that friendship. Plus, it’s exciting to be doing something that we wouldn’t otherwise be doing. There is a timeline where we didn’t form this band and we wouldn’t be in bands. It’s empowering to be living in the unlikely timeline. Keep an eye out for People’s Republic of Amsterdam and give them a follow on their Facebook and Instagram. – @peoplesrepublicofamsterdam
ROB KNAGGS :: TANSY :: Live at the Video Pool Media Arts Centre, October 20, 2018 RYAN HAUGHEY
PHOTOS: RYAN HAUGHEY
Australian born cellist Rob Knaggs has spent the past four years living far from home in Churchill, MB, taking inspiration from the community, the landscape, and the wildlife in the far northern reaches of Manitoba. At his live performance in Winnipeg’s Exchange District, Knaggs - along with Winnipeg’s Tansy – shared that inspiration through music and experimental film. The stage was bathed in low blue lighting with a projector shining images pertaining to each musician onto a screen behind them. With wires and pedals spread across the floor, it was clear that both Knaggs and Tansy were set to make minimalist performances sound large. Kathryn Kerr, known as Tansy, created a feeling using sound, with musical choices that found exactly what sounded right. Each note, chord, and melody followed through with another that complimented the last and resonated with listeners. Cyclical finger picking on an electric guitar floated through unique song structure and haunting vocal melodies left a lasting impression. Behind Tansy, footage of natural scenes played along to her music. Relaxing images of trees blowing in the wind and the tide coming in on an empty beach accompanied her along with low, subtle synth tones. Lyrics on songs such as “Sleep” added to the already strong audio-aesthetic to convey the clear vision Tansy seems to have for her music. The refrain “I just want to go to sleep” is repeated until that precise moment where ending would create the most impact – then the song continued with the next section. Tansy used a drum track to boost the energy of
some songs, but even without the percussion, each song was able to build on energy created by intensifying vocal lines of lyrics delivered with passion. Effective use was made of effects pedals, whether to make a guitar solo shine over looped chords, or to provide multiple vocal parts for Tansy to sing over. For one transition between songs, Tansy used distorted guitar tones that dripped with reverb to fade from one idea to the next. Tansy’s performance was minimalist but opportunistic; choosing exactly when to strike at the hearts of the audience with her dynamic melodies. Rob Knaggs followed up with his own unique performance. His cello echoed looped rhythms that provide a basis for melody exploration. Rolling through parts on the strings and hitting his bow on the wood, Knaggs used every part of his instrument and then some, with the help of his effects board. He showed how many different possibilities there are with just a cello and a load of inspiration. Footage shot by Knaggs in and around Churchill
was playing – a small inflatable motor boat made wakes between icebergs, dogs lounged about outside, birds flew, and seals swam above his head as he passionately drew his bow along the strings. Throughout the performance, this footage would convey imagery with environmental importance. Though each song had many looping and repeating parts, the music always had a clear direction. Knaggs not only experimented with sound, but with frequency as well, playing two notes or sets of notes over each other to create a third, new tone. Perhaps the most powerful song, entitled “Whales”, was accompanied by moving images of belugas both under and out of the water. Low, long tones reflect the images with wailing echoes created by reverberated feedback. Harmonious over-tonal frequencies emerge, sounding like a choir of whales moaning playfully along with each other. Along with the footage, Knaggs’ intense melody reprisals captivated the audience, imitating the wailing belugas’ song till the end of the performance.
Dec / Jan 2018-19 Stylus Magazine
New Program Director: Sam Doucet
Stylus: What was your progression from volunteer to now Program Director? Sam Doucet: It’s been a progression more than a decade in the making. I started out at CJSR in Edmonton when I was sixteen. Fast forward a few years, I live in Winnipeg now, and I poke my head in the door at CKUW. I started producing a grindcore show on Wednesday nights called Blast or Bust, which I kept up for a few years. During that time, I began co-hosting a show on Mondays from 6-8am called Morning Breath, which recently marked three years on the air. Still yet during that time, I was invited to join the Programming Committee, serving as an advisor to the Program Director. I’d like to say I was putting in my time at the station. The job posting came up some time around mid-late August, and the timing was nothing short of perfect for my recently-graduated and running-low-on-money self. I threw my name in the hat, and a little while later, it was chosen. Stylus: How has CKUW developed since you first started out as a volunteer? SD: CKUW, like all community radio stations, reflects the people involved with it. Thus, it’s a subtly-but constantly--evolving landscape. Programmers come and go based on how their lives evolve. As staff, you have to roll with the punches and embrace the relative instability of a hundred or so people with different pasts, presents, and futures. Where CKUW was when I started out as a volunteer and where CKUW is now are just two of our bajillion iterations. Stylus: What sets CKUW apart from other radio stations in Winnipeg? SD: This is something we repeat to ourselves so often that it’s hard not to feel clichéd about, but it really comes down to personality and personal investment in programming. Commercial stations often have hilarious and knowledgeable hosts, but when people get on the airwaves here, they don’t come in with dollar signs in their eyes and they don’t come in with someone breathing down their neck about
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what to broadcast. They come to us with a pure passion for something, and they put their heart and soul into the transmission of that passion. No two shows on our schedule are alike. Stylus: What is the split between music focused shows and talk focused shows on CKUW? SD: We have a mandate to air a certain amount of spoken-word programming. Though most people seeking to get on air are music-oriented, we’ve always been able to organically maintain a good mix of both, which usually hovers around 30% talk and 70% music. Stylus: How do you decide what programs make it onto the airwaves? SD: Myself and the Programming Committee receive program proposals and we go over them usually asking, among other things: “Does this show provide something we don’t already offer?” and “Does this show continue to set us apart from other stations?”. We rarely turn down proposals outright, but rather we work with potential programmers to tailor their proposals into something that will really pop. Stylus: What is your favourite thing about CKUW? SD: The people, the exchange of ideas, yadda yadda yadda. More specifically, I love our overnight pro-
grams. After midnight, that’s when DJs can really get weird. Stylus: Any memorable stories from FUNDRIVE? SD: I feel like I should have a bunch of wacky stories, but honestly Fundrive is more of a constant grind. But there was one time a really drunk guy called in and asked if there was a maximum donation amount. We looked at each other in the lobby and were like “Uhhhh, no. There is no maximum”. So he threw down something like 500 bucks, and he followed through on his pledge, too! People should follow his example (and pledge responsibly of course). Stylus: What are your hopes and dreams for CKUW? SD: It’s been a hope and dream come true for me to be hired as Program Director, and I’m still on a high from that. Do I really have to start coming up with new hopes and dreams already? I don’t need much. If our programmers are enjoying themselves and our listeners are too, then let’s keep that up.
NIGEL WEBBER “If you don’t know me by now, I doubt you’ll ever know me.” - KRS-One The Canadian produced Hip-Hop Evolution originally came out in 2016 but the full eight episode mini series is now available on Netflix. Hosted by Canadian rapper and former CBC Radio Host Shad, Hip-Hop Evolution takes the viewer from the very beginning of hip-hop at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue and Kool Herc’s park jams through to the expansion of the art form and “Rapper’s Delight.” The first three episodes explore the origins of the culture in the Bronx and its growth through New York City and into other major East Coast centres, notably Philadelphia with Schoolly D. The early episodes also tell the story of Run-DMC and the cosmic cultural shift they caused, from the sequined jumpsuits of the Furious 5 to Run-DMC’s black leather and rope gold chains. Alongside the high energy party style of Run DMC and the Beastie Boys came the more introspective and lyrics orientated Rakim. Eric B & Rakim’s debut album Paid in Full marked a noticeable shift towards lyricism with artists like Big Daddy Kane and Kool G Rap also taking up the challenge. The series moves away from New York for the next three episodes to explore regional hip-hop sounds. The middle episodes focus on Los Angeles, the
South and the Bay Area, respectively. While each of these presents some implications for the future of hip-hop, such as the profile on Tupac Shakur’s early years in the Bay Area episode, the most relevant to today is the segment on Houston in the episode about the South. Today’s hip-hop is dominated by Southern artists and all of them owe some debt to the seminal Houston group UGK. Bun B and Pimp C of UGK created the sound, known as dirty south and morphed into trap, that has spread across the South and the world. Hip-Hop Evolution really hits a stride in the final two episodes. The penultimate instalment in the series deals with New York City in the period considered by many to be hip-hop’s golden era, the late 1980s. Starting the story with hip-hop’s most important nightclub, the Latin Quarter, provides the opportunity to branch off with every act that frequented the venue. Dubbed the “Studio 54 of hip-hop,” Latin Quarter was in Times Square but attracted rappers and MC’s from across the five boroughs. A cross borough feud, between Queens and the Bronx, lead to hip-hop’s first and possibly still most famous beef. In 1986, MC Shan and the Queens based Juice Crew were rap royalty. In the Bronx, KRS-One and Scott La Rock of Boogie Down Productions had been slighted by Marley Marl and Mr. Magic, the de facto heads of the
Juice Crew, and so they put their grievance on wax as an anthem for their home, South Bronx. Going straight to the source, New York’s number one club DJ Red Alert, proved a fateful move as South Bronx took off and brought them to fame. These sections of the series are some of the best, KRS-One is a magnificent story teller and it is clear that Shad, as on-camera host, is truly in awe of KRS. Being able to punctuate KRS’s not always accurate version of the past with other voices from the time is a testament to the quality of the interviews. The final episode brings the story of hip-hop to the early to mid 90s, another classic era in New York City hip-hop. Hip-Hop Evolution accurately shows the under appreciated influence of Large Professor on this era. His production was on all the most classic albums and, of course, he introduced the world to Nas on his track “Live at the Barbecue”. Along with Wu-Tang Clan, Mobb Deep, Notorious BIG and others, Nas helped define this era and it’s sound. The series ends with part way through the story, in 1996, before the murders of Tupac and BIG changed the genre and it’s public perception forever. With another eight episodes taking the story up to current day, Hip- Hop Evolution could be a very good crash course in hip-hop history.
COROLLA :: DUMB ANGEL :: SKYE CALLOW :: C H R I S S L E I G H T H O L M : : Live at the Handsome Daughter, November 1, 2018 RYAN HAUGHEY One of the first chilly evenings of 2018 brought Winnipeg a fascinating collection of musicians in the form of this Real Love Thursday at The Handsome Daughter. Saskatoon band Dumb Angel stopped in town on their tour with Regina’s Chris Sleightholm to team up with two Winnipeg groups to deliver a good ol’ evening of tunes. Sleightholm and his band started the evening with sharp, trebly guitars, clear cut bass riffs, and complementing drums. Each song delivered simple vocal lines that were spotted with harmonies. The band presented traditional song forms with catchy hooks and resonating licks; verby, chorused guitar solos in between. The solid bassline on every song linked well timed boom-baps on the drums. Using alternative percussion instruments, like maracas, to team up with guitars brought buildups that paid off in driving, yet laid back grooves. The cool calmness of the band paired with its tight togetherness gave off an 80s alt-rock (almost pop-ish) vibe while bringing a new sound to each tune. With an almost bare stage, Skye Callow played guitar backed only by low volume, constant drum beats. Themes of grief and sorrow knifed through with heartfelt lyrics, accompanied by low-end guitar tones. The breathy vocal performance was ever so slightly
dynamic, drawing listeners in to Callow’s comfortable, perpetual jam. At times they played near-metal guitar progressions, keeping that minimal tone. The absence of bass guitar created a unique style that showed off song-writing skills. The low key setup allowed for quick, unexpected stops that catch the audience to make sure they’re enthralled. Though based in Saskatchewan, Dumb Angel stated that its members are from all over. The band filled the stage back up with piano, two guitars, bass, and drums; a full sound with unique parts beaming with togetherness. Dumb Angel showed specialization in slow to midtempo jams. The piano provided a classic rock tone in addition to the warm vocal harmonies. On the drums, a quiet ride cymbal allowed for a dynamic blast through on choruses with hi-hat and crash, which fell back to a quiet groove. A breakout moment in the set was a dueling guitar sequence with fret slides and rolling piano arpeggios over an active bass and drums rhythm. The final song started off with vocals accompanied only by a guitar part for a long intro that broke into an emotional blast from the full band, every member putting acute emotion into every bit of their instrument. Finally, Corolla finished off the lineup. Members
from Winnipeg band Mahogany Frog fronted this group, but took on a wholly alternative sound to their other projects. Blasting off like a rocket, their sound was psychedelic from the get-go. It was as if a pair of floodgates had opened, spilling out whammy bar bending distortion. A second guitar emulated a rotary organ, using a smorgasbord of effects pedals. Corolla was fast when they needed to be, and always ready to pounce. Alternating vocalists performed with concentrated power, experimenting with guitar feedback that clashed with distortion. These explorative breakdowns are not indulgent, they last exactly a perfect amount of time. The group was obviously having fun, and so was the audience. Corolla did a great job of going from holding nothing back to shrinking their aperture, pinholing exactly where the pest part of the electricity lay. They let the distortion take over, riding the feedback for a split second, but never breaking the beat. As the set came to a close, the group left the audience with ringing ears and no regrets.
Dec / Jan 2018-19 Stylus Magazine
Local Spotlight and “Steinbach Runner” will surely resonate within the province. Blues Druid draws inspiration from a variety of great bands in the genre, from Iggy Pop and The Clash to Bad Religion. Also extra style points goes to the creative talk radio show-inspired outro of “One Outta the Way.” If you are a fan of lo-fi genre, this is an album you’re going to want to be sure to conjure up. Ryan Sorensen SATANIC RIGHTS BLUES DRUID Blues Druid is the debut LP from Satanic Rights, a lo-fi, garage/punk rock band from Winnipeg. Released by the indie Transistor 66 Records, the album follows up on the heels of their 2015 self-titled EP release. After three years, I am happy to say this collection of songs was a devilishly good time, and well worth the wait. It’s a fast and furious ride, with the nine tracks coming in just under the twenty-two minute mark. It kicks off with “En Route,” a 63-second song that perfectly sets the tone for the rest of the album; it’s fast, fun, a little bit silly, but contains an underlying intelligence behind the wall of sound. “Alleged Antichrist” comes next and features some of the best vocal work from singer Karl Warkentin. In a genre not necessarily known for great vocals, Warkentin gives a passionate performance that skillfully switches between octaves as he impressively screams in key. The track also has a standout outro solo by guitarist Ian Ediger. His guitar work throughout the album is very effective, alternating between the driving punk power chords that you would expect mixed with catchy riffs. There is a charm to listening to this that immediately takes hold of you from the opening riff starts. The lineup change from Satanic Right’s original configuration has worked out well for the group. By switching to one guitarist instead of two, the songwriting seems sharper and more effective. Like a lot of albums in this genre, the less-is-more approach really pays off as the record progresses. Blues Druid is its best when the band focuses in on an idea and attacks it with their raw energy. The songs are all a lot of fun, and blends some of the demonic imagery alluded by their band name with local references which makes it feel like a made in Manitoba record. Song titles include “Portage Ave to Hell,”
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Recommended if you like Winnipeg Arena Is on Fire! Tuesdays at 3:00 pm on CKUW 95.9 FM.
CARLY DOW COMET Carly Dow’s 2015 debut Ingrained introduced a bold and ambitious folk artist to the Canadian music scene. Her sophomore album Comet (October 19th, 2018) reveals a self-assured artist abandoning the need to prove herself and allowing an unpolished rawness to come through. Musically, Dow embellishes her voice and banjo with a large palette of instruments, including a rhythm section of drums and bass, a small string section, electric and acoustic guitars, and pedal steel, which add a cinematic quality to the opening track “Brightest Time of Year.” Overall, the vibe of the band is more laid back than her previous record, with the guitars settling into a deep, Neil Young inspired groove on the first single “Sunlight Remembers.” The influence of Gillian Welch is still prominent on tracks like “Tiger’s Eye,” but the drum-centric arrangement makes the song distinct, rocking harder than anything Welch has produced. Interesting musical choices add variety to the album, such as the string section weaving thoughtfully around Dow’s voice on “Something Lost,” or the guest appearance of an accordion that enhances the optimistic tone of “Cut and Run.”
Confidence and nature are two themes Dow explores in the album’s lyrics. “I’m not the woman you thought I was / turn off the lights ‘cause I’m burning too bright,” she asserts in the refrain of “Too Bright.” While nature imagery was prevalent on her first recording, it takes on a mysterious role in the lyrics on Comet. Dow is often deliberately vague if the relationship she is singing about is with a human or with some aspect of nature, like on the album’s catchiest song “Dreaming of You” (which features a surprising, 80’s-New Wave-inspired guitar hook). This vagueness makes the rare moments where Dow does sing of romantic love more compelling: “I wanna watch light fill the scoop of your collar bone in the morning sun,” she pleads on “Cut and Run.” The most recognizable image of Carly Dow is with her banjo, and amongst all the instrumentation on the album the banjo is central, a rhythmically grounding anchor. The album closer “Constellation” encapsulates the artist’s newfound self-assuredness, as she sings accompanied solely by her banjo the affirmation “I am a builder, I am a lover / I am enough.” Jesse Popeski Recommended if you like Sunnyroad, Fridays at 10:00 am on CKUW 95.9 FM.
seems like a stepping stone bringing her closer and closer to the polished sounds and styles presented on If & When, where Winterhalt is undoubtedly the most at home with her voice and thoughts. Throughout the album Winterhalt imparts little gems of lyrical wisdom. Reflecting on a high school romance that she remembers fondly in Nice For a While, Winterhalt freely admits all of the beautiful and positive things that she loved about that relationship and how it made her feel while also stating “You weren’t the one, and we weren’t in love but you gave me what I needed, for a little while.” Her lyrics reveal an acceptance of the fact that our needs change as we mature, and that our definition of love evolves our whole lives. On “Rich White Kids,” Winterhalt touches on so many relatable yet hard to explain trains of thought, ranging from the humorous “I think I’m going to quit my job, even though I like it” to the more confessional “You ask me how I’m doing, I don’t want to scare you.” Lana Winterhalt’s evolution from the EPs to If & When is reminiscent of Feist’s growth between 2007’s The Reminder to her 2017 release Pleasure. Although Winterhalt’s previous EPs make use of some of the same vocal effects and textures, on her current album the electronic and organic elements coalesce effortlessly, creating a full, vibrant, and warm soundscape. Grace Hrabi Recommended if you like Boots and Saddle, Tuesdays at 11:00 am on CKUW 95.9 FM.
LANA WINTERHALT IF & WHEN On her latest release, If & When, indie-pop artist Lana Winterhalt showcases her exceptional instinct for melody and texture. The ten tracks are honest and personal, giving listeners a glimpse into the artist’s hopes and anxieties. Leading up to the release of her first full-length album, Winterhalt released three EPs, most recently Return to Sender this past July. Listening through the full catalogue, each EP
STEVE BASHAM THE NIGHTBUG In this experimental-pop, storytelling album, local artist Steve Basham shows us what goes on in his mind with a mix of electric guitar, electronic
music aspects, and his own voice. He goes into detail about his dreams and there’s never a dull moment listening to this album. From the song “Snack Chickens” that consists of Basham singing, or yelling rather, about how much the Snack Chickens love them snacks, to “Wedding Presence,” where he goes into detail about a very strange and almost twisted series of dreams he had after a wedding where he ends
up going for a walk in his boxers and decides to walk into a strange and spooky worn down, rusty bathroom, with a scary old lady who pees on a roll of toilet paper and continues to throw it at him. Then he has a dream where he is trying to tell his friend about the encounter with the strange woman but he’s struggling to stay awake that pairs with “Dino Park After Dark.” Basham also tells us about
a dream he had, this time in a Jurassic Park-like theme park. Listening to these songs, I couldn’t stop laughing. It’s very humorous, nothing like anything I’ve ever heard before, and leaves you wondering what Bashams dreams could possibly mean! Maybe he’s a psychic. If so, watch out for strange men in the exchange, like Basham talks about seeing in the track “I Don’t Like Where This Is Going.” It’s kind
of chilling, especially followed up by the colourful instrumental titled “Overworld.” Nina Zigic
epic minor chords resolve themselves sounding like something heard at a high noon showdown. The second is more carefree, as if the “Two-Faced Gunslinger” is now riding their horse away from the showdown in success. Two other songs which present massive skill are “Bungee Chord Substitution” (which is a clever word play gag changing CORD to CHORD) and “Double Crush”. Each piece is complex in structure and melody. “Double Crush” is named after a carpal tunnellike syndrome that Finnigan has suffered from while playing through the extremely fast and challenging song. Out in the Wild is a masterful collection of intricate and imaginative compositions that show that Les Finnigan is not only an extremely talented musician, but a passionate and proficient composer as well. Ryan Haughey
of a blue Honda Civic waiting outside a hot yoga studio. Instead, it’s a compilation of two live performances played on guitar, mandolin, fiddle, and banjo, all in perfect harmony with the one of a kind voice of Tyler Childers. An East Kentucky Man of Constant Sorrow, Childers voice harbours a distinct streak of pain and a generous splash of whiskey. The songs on this album are the sum of hard times and hard truths. They each contain heartfelt and honest lyrics about loss, love, and the haunting mistress of strong drink. Tyler Childers writes and performs with the disturbing poeticism and power of Townes Van Zandt mixed with Kurt Cobain, offering listeners a raw, unashamed look into the core of himself and his miseries. The standout track on this album is titled “Whitehouse Road”. The lines “Rotgut whiskey gonna ease my pain/ And all this runnin’s gonna keep me sane” flow into the chorus like a torch stream into the Lake of Fire. “We’ve been sniffin’ that cocaine/ Ain’t nothin’ better when the wind cuts cold,” Childers wails with a distant harmony sung by the Devil sat atop his shoulder. “Lord, it’s a mighty hard livin’/ But a damn good feelin’ to run these roads.” A chilling and honest ballad to the renegade life and that which Childers has found in the granulated embrace of the long white line. Found at the end of the album, “Follow You to Virgie”, puts the breadth and complexity of Childers songwriting on full display in a piece dedicated to the memory of the “Mountain Beauty” he had once known. “Yeah, I reckon we were heathens/ But in her eyes we were saints” he sings, referring to the grandmother of a high school
friend who had, in a sense, become a part of his own family. This song shares the moments spent “making sense of all these strings” with her as the sole audience member. “I can see her in the corner/ Singin’ along to all our crazy dreams” Childers sings, surely finding solace in those unshakeable memories. This concert album rolls with the rhythm of a man on the run from himself. From “Deadman’s Curve” to “Whitehouse Road”, listeners are taken on a journey through Hell and most of the way back. Though this self proclaimed heathen leans on the Faith of his upbringing in his songwriting, this is by no means the sort of music to share around the fire at Bible Camp. These are the type of songs written by a man with good reason to fear his God. Matt Harrison
Recommended if you like What’s Up Winnipeg, Fridays at 2:00 pm on CKUW 95.9 FM.
LES FINNIGAN OUT IN THE WILD Acoustic guitarist Les Finnigan’s latest collection of songs covers a wide array of musical styles while remaining true to the composer’s soul. With solely acoustic guitar, Out in the Wild shows skill, passion, and true musicianship. An array of guitar tunings are used throughout this album to provide varied scale and mode structures. Finnigan is obviously well versed in the theory of music, as his songs are filled with the exploration of acute concepts in scale arrangement. Rhythmically the record is filled with overlapping time changes and signatures, as well. The complexity of each composition does not take away from the beauty and themes presented. Though the songs are without lyrics, the CD case provides a description or explanation of each song’s origin, giving reason for the song titles. Finnigan shows expertise in composing songs of varied genres such as classical, rock, blues, ragtime, as well as including a few ballads. One song that stood out was “Two-Faced Gunslinger”. The song switches back and forth between two thematic melodies. The first is a cowboy like theme;
Recommended if you like Barking Dog, Thursdays at 2:00 pm on CKUW 95.9 FM.
LIVE ON RED BARN RADIO I & II TYLER CHILDERS Live on Red Barn Radio l & ll isn’t the sort of country music album you’ll hear billowing from the open sunroof
Dec / Jan 2018-19 Stylus Magazine
Rock ‘N’ Roll THE DIRTY NIL MASTER VOLUME The Dirty Nil’s newest full length release, Master Volume, is just as blistering and headbang-inducing as the Dundas rock veterans preceding catalogue of music. Where Higher Power, their Juno Award-winning debut, and Minimum R&B, the followup consisting of b-sides and singles, made for the perfect culmination of almost a decades-worth of music – molding a What-if-Ace Frehley-wasin-Fugazi-AND-Hüsker Dü sound – Master Volume revs its engine and doubles down on the Hard Rock side of The Dirty Nil. Think Star-studded outfits, Gibson Guitars and giant Marshall Amplifiers; Rock n’ Roll. The instrumental mix is noticeably different, with more emphasis on guitar, rather than the guitar and fuzzy bass battling each other to be heard on High Power. This time around, Ross Miller (alumni of Single Mothers, Daniel Romano) takes over bass duties. Vocalist Luke Bentham howls just as loud and shreds just as fast on the guitar, and he brought a guitar case of juicy, nostalgic riffs. The first quarter of Master Volume alone is prime for turning up to 11 in your car and, in the most appropriate fashion for this album, jamming the heck out. Only a few tracks on this album have a slower tempo, those being “Auf Wiedersehen” and “Evil Side.” The Dirty Nil have a bold ethos about Rock n’ Roll. A few tracks off the album tackle issues and stereotypes within Rock music; mainly substance abuse. “Always High” and “I Don’t Want That Phone Call” are written as letters to friends, past and current, who find themselves in the vice of addiction. The Dirty Nil are the bright stars in the sky we point to when people celebrate or mourn the death of Rock Music. As the band says themselves, “God is dead, long live the Nil.” For Fans of: Thin Lizzy, Weezer, Hüsker Dü, Cheap Trick. Daniel Kussy Recommended if you like The Gashlycrumb Tinies, Sundays at 9:00 pm on CKUW 95.9 FM.
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APOLLO SUNS AT THE PARK THEATRE ON NOVEMBER 26, 2018 PERFORMERS RIGHT TO LEFT: PHIL COLLINS , ANTHONY BRYSON, EAMON SHEIL, ANNA BLACKMORE, AARON BARTEL
PHOTO: BNB STUDIOS
95.9 FM CKUW CAMPUS/COMMUNITY RADIO TOP 30 ALBUMS ( September 21- December 3, 2018) !=LOCAL CONTENT * =CANADIAN CONTENT re=RE-ENTRY TO CHART #
1 * Sarazino Mama Funny Day Cumbancha 2 ! Bartley Knives Lone Goose New Wild 3 * Fucked Up Dose Your Dreams Arts & Crafts 4 Red Baraat Sound The People Rhyme & Reason 5 * Jeremy Dutcher Wolastoqiyik Linuwakonawa Self-Released 6 ! Ken Mode Loved New Damage 7 * Les Stroud Bittern Lake Monster Earth 8 ! Madeline Roger Cottonwood Self-Released 9 * Dilly Dally Heaven Dine Alone 10 ! Christine Fellows Roses On The Vine Vivat Virtute 11 ! Human Music Human Music Self Released 12 * Kat Danser Goin’ Gone Black Hen 13 ! Jesse Matas Tamarock Self-Released 14 * Myriad3 Vera Alma 15 ! ADiethylamide This Is A Secret Self-Released 16 Orquesta Akokan Orquesta Akokan Daptone 17 * Jerusalem In My Heart Daqa’iq Tudaiq Constellation 18 * The Dirty Nil Master Volume Dine Alone 19 Sarah Brightman Hymn Decca 20 * The Cluttertones With Lee Pui Ming Leeways Snailbongbong 21 * Hard Rubber Orchestra Kenny Wheeler: Suite For Hard Rubber Orchestra Justin Time 22 * Colin James Miles To Go True North 23 ! The Lytics Float On Haldern Pop 24 * Forbidden Dimension Muchas Moscas Self-Released 25 * Various Artists Signal Tracer Vol 1 CJSW 90.9 fm 26 * Basement Revolver Heavy Eyes Sonic Unyon 27 Cecile Mclorin Salvant The Window Mack Avenue 28 Aaron Goldberg At The Edge Of The World Sunnyside 29 Qluster Elemente Bureau B 30 ! Satanic Rights Blues Druid Transistor 66
Dec / Jan 2018-19 Stylus Magazine
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BUY NOW AND SAVE! 22 Stylus Magazine Dec / Jan 2018-19
Featuring styxcitycult, HAVs, Rob Knaggs, Sophie Stevens, Best of 2018, and more! Cover art by Emma Mayer.