Living With Lions play Music Trader in-store!

By Janet Adamana

Fresh off the European EastPak Antidote Tour with metal-core heavy weights, A Day To Remember and August Burns Red, is ’90s-esque punk rock Vancouverites, Living With Lions. After playing their biggest crowds to date, to sold out shows of up to 4000 people, the boys are back on home soil. They’re crossing the country on the five-city Canadian Hangover Tour, starting in Toronto.
Continue reading “Living With Lions play Music Trader in-store!”

The Once // 11-16-11 // Winnipeg Folk Exchange

Wednesday night at the Winnipeg Folk Exchange, the renowned folk trio from Newfoundland, The Once, took the stage in the corner of the small brightly coloured room, and went on to perform yet another magical show.  This was their fourth such show on their current tour of Pop Up shows, promoting their second album Row Upon Row To The People They Know, in smaller more intimate venues across Western Canada, and it was simply incredible.  No other stage could be more suitable for the power and honesty, the poise and wholesomeness produced by The Once.
A near twenty song set with ten songs played without amplification made this unlike any normal concert, but more of a family gathering in the host’s kitchen; Newfie hospitality is unmatched. True to their roots, The Once played several of their own compositions, half a dozen or so traditional songs from the Maritimes and the British Isles like “By The Glow Of The Kerosene Light,” and of course their own priceless covers of Leonard Cohen’s “Coming Back To You” and “Anthem,” Bob Dylan’s “I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight”, Queen’s “You’re My Best Friend” (which they originally took on for a wedding), and Al Pittman’s “Cradle Hill” and “Nell’s Song.”
The stories they told about the history of the songs ranged from the truly heart wrenching tales of Geraldine Hollett’s father’s brushes with death as a fisherman which were retold in “Three Fishers” and “Charlie’s” to Phil Churchill’s playing his first shows in St. John’s pubs and ordering a beer from the beautiful bartender in “A Round Again,” and Andrew Dale’s explanations about the Feast of Cohen which lead to The Once performing two great Cohen songs.
Artistically I have no doubt that The Once could take any song and produce a cover that combines warming ingenuity and strong resemblance to the original; likewise for their own creations.  Individually any member could have a strong career as a musician, but together their voices and instrumental abilities create remarkable sounds that are crisp and thoughtfully cultivated to bring audiences to a dead silence practically begging for yet another note to be struck.  Beyond the impeccable musical and vocal abilities of the trio they have the stage presence to make any show memorable with casual banter, Andrew’s especially witty remarks, and personal conversations with young audience members.  The best moment from this particular evening was when a young man with an infectious laugh was invited to the front of the room so he could have a better seat.  There is one negative thing, however, that I must say about this show and the limitations of The Once in general: they’re only in Winnipeg for two shows—so disappointing! Jesse Blackman

INCITE, Journal of Experimental Media

With a week left to go in INCITE‘s Kickstarter campaign, we emailed Brett Kashmere, editor of the Pittsburgh film zine which has strong ties to our own reputable Winnipeg film scene. The image above, if you haven’t recognized it, is from Jaimz Asmundson‘s The Magus which is discussed in the upcoming issue which is going to be printed. There’s still plenty of time to become a backer for the mag, like I have, and have an opportunity to get physical copies of the zine that straddles the line between a serious journal and an art zine, as well as receive plenty of other rare incentives, which are also discussed below.

Stylus: The theme of the new issue is New Ages. What parallels have you drawn between today’s use of New Age symbolism and its origins?
The theme, “New Ages” is meant to provoke a range of interpretations and readings.  Most obvious is the reference to the “New Age” spiritual movement that developed in the second half of the 20th century, and which gained mainstream awareness during the height of self-absorbed Reaganomics and the rise of corporate power. While it’s easy to ridicule New Age-ism for being a wishy-washy brand of quasi-religious mysticism, it is also rooted in the concepts of self-improvement, physical and mental health, and environmental responsibility. This duality—of alternative spirituality based in holistic health, environmentalism, meditation, and simple living, and its pop commercialization (i.e. whale music CDs sold in strip malls)—produced a values-based sociopolitical phenomenon that was hard to take seriously.

Over the past decade, there has been a clear renewal of interest in New Age symbolism. How do we account for the current fascination with New Age ideas and aesthetics among many of media artists, many of whom grew up in “New Age” households? As ironic appropriation? As a desire to reconnect with some of the original core principles of the movement, such as non-Western medicine, environmental causes, organic farming, etc? As ’80s-era nostalgia? This is one of the questions that permeate through the issue. The Web 2.0, via services such as YouTube, has made it possible to instantly re-experience the media memories of our recent past or stoke a younger generation’s enchantment with a past not their own.  In an era marked by both religious and political fervor and cynicism, it’s hard not to see the positive in reclaiming an inclusive, optimistic, if naive, spiritual movement. Continue reading “INCITE, Journal of Experimental Media”

Zombie Walk // 10-14-11 // Pampanga Banquet Hall

By DJ Stone
Mmmmm brains, brains nom nom nom nom!!

On October 14, thousands of bloody, rotting zombies were seen limping and crawling towards the Pampanga Banquet Hall (old skool rave location) after the Winnipeg Zombie Walk. There were zombie cheerleaders, business zombies, rabbit zombies, and some lady in a blood soaked wedding dress holding her aborted fetus still attached with the umbilical cord :-/
The location of this nine p.m. ’til six a.m. rave was TBA (oooo, secretive) until tickets went on sale, brought to you buy DV8 Audio Visual Productions and Jsquared Entertainmynt. It was a 16+ event; however, they did have a licensed area upstairs for the rest of us who wanted to get our drink on.
This was a two-room event, with the legend himself Dieselboy, as well as ill.Gates, Johnny Narcotic and a slew of  local “zombie” DJs as well. Well, it was what everyone came to see, a lot of loud, heavy, bass-blasting, dubstep with a touch of drum-n-bass. I was kinda hoping Dieselboy would have played some of his older drum-n-bass stuff, but I guess dubstep is what the kids want to hear these days.
Who knew the dead could dance so well?!  It was pretty packed on the dance floor, rotting bodies flailing around, an overall good party. I give it eight out 10 zombies.

Coupla Qs: The Ripperz

Winnipeg’s The Ripperz (Chris Sawatzsky, Mark Wiebe, and Travis Warkentin) can largely attribute their amazing live act to their die hard fans. Their new album You Are the Moon comes out tomorrow when they play the West End Cultural Centre, doors opening at 7 p.m. Here’s a recent interview they did on Peg City Groove.

Kent Davies: You’ve been playing for ten years but it’s really been in the last few years that you’ve managed to put out a couple albums and get a huge following. What happened?
Mark Wiebe: Basically the lack of absence. Chris went to Vancouver for a couple years so we couldn’t do much with out him.
Chris Sawatzsky: Then I moved home and had a band to come home to. It energized us to take the band to another level.
KD: Basically your show has become one big rock-sing-a-long. Do you keep that in mind when you’re writing music?
CS: Yes I do. When I’m writing I always think this parts going to be awesome when the crowd sings it.
Darryl Reilly: Do you have a Ripperz Hymn book that you hand out before the show starts?
CS: We were joking about choir robes last show but there’s no lyric sheets. I don’t know if we’ve ever wrote up our lyrics. I’ve seen some people type them up and they’re quite wrong.
KD: Have you changed lyrics because people keep getting them wrong?
CS: No but we encourage our fans to just sing what you think is there.
MW: Whatever feels right for them.

Kram Ran – The Idiot Prince

(Disclaimer) by KRAM RAN

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 straight-up 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, Taylor Burgess

Angels in America / Weyes Blood – Split Cassette

Angels in America – The Corpse by Northern-Spy Records

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 lo-fi 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, Kristel Jax

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, Scott Wolfe

In Tents! // 10-22-11 // The Warehouse

Photo of SoHoly HeadCase by Taylor Burgess.

More or less, as typed into Taylor Benjamin Burgess‘ CrackBerry throughout the night:

In tents! Some people have brought tents to sleep over for this night, the last show of Absent Sound, as Rob Menard is relocating to Montreal. It seems to be a pretty low-key artsy thing, with film loops being projected on the bands. The ten dollar cover definitely is going to weed some people out—but the motley lineup and the legacy of Absent Sound is sure to make an interesting night, if nothing else. Continue reading “In Tents! // 10-22-11 // The Warehouse”

Napalm Death – Brutalizing

Photo via
By Kevin Strang
Napalm Death to brutal music is the equivalent of your parents’ genitals to your existence: absolutely essential. Since the release of Scum in 1987, the name Napalm Death has been synonymous with brutal music. When disillusioned teenagers turn their heads away in disgust of the mainstream they are greeted by Napalm Death. The band has consistently and abrasively has been pounding the message that shit is fucked into people’s heads for over 20 years now. I got the privilege to ask vocalist Barney Greenway a few questions via email regarding the band and their upcoming Canadian tour. Be sure to see them play at the Zoo on October 17 and if you can, make it to Brandon to see them on the 18th.

Stylus: 1) Greetings! You are embarking on a Canadian tour on which you are being very thorough with the places you play.
a) Any anticipations or reflections on how it will go?

Barney Greenway: I’m always open-minded about places the band plays and I just roll with it– which is probably one of the reasons why we get to cover more of the globe than most. Speaking from the position of not having started the tour yet, I’m pretty positive it will go well. I believe we were one of few bands to do an ultra-comprehensive tour of Canada back in the early nineties, so we have a little bit of past form there.

Stylus: b) What are thoughts on playing in Canada?

BG: Like anywhere, generally looking forward to it and will take whatever comes. We’ll just give it 100% playing-wise of course and we won’t be making that tired old joke of saying “ay” after every sentence. Continue reading “Napalm Death – Brutalizing”