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,”
18 Stylus Magazine Dec / Jan 2018-19
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
Featuring styxcitycult, HAVs, Rob Knaggs, Sophie Stevens, Best of 2018, and more! Cover art by Emma Mayer.