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SHOW: BLEEP IN THE DARK (11/16)

Take a nice deep breath, hold it close to your heart and let it go, quietly, as if it were a whisper. Gently let your eyelids fall over your eyes and with each deep breath shift your intentions and focus to your ears. Listen hard and inquisitively to your surroundings, these noises are a symphony. Or at least a goofy rag-tag jug band.

Listening is an exercise of patience, of discovery, of curiosity, and sometimes we need a special place to listen where there are few distractions and whole soundscapes, worlds, and journeys to hear.

Danielle Jakubiak, an accredited music therapist with Masters degrees in Music Therapy and Ethnomusicology and one of the four organizers of Bleep in the Dark, understands the importance of creating these special spaces to listen intently. not your boys club sat down with Danielle to talk all things noise, darkness, and the importance of uplifting femme+non-binary noisemakers.

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Danielle Jakubiak
Photo by Alex Pearson

Bleep in the Dark is a live experimental music event experienced in darkness that graces the foggy shore of K’jipuktuk but three times a year. This upcoming event, their final event for the year, will be featuring solely femme and non-binary performers. Danielle highlighted why she thinks this is important through anecdote and ambition.

Danielle was a live sound engineer in Montreal where she often experienced men talking down to her and discrediting her vast knowledge and skills on the basis of her gender – going so far as to blame the mistakes of others on her. In response to this, Danielle wants to create and give space to femme+non-binary people to access, learn, and play with electronics, sound, and noise and take a more comfortable step into performing experimental music of all kinds. Empowering new musicians who experience marginalization is one thing Danielle is always keeping on her mind.

~ A space for anyone to test the water ~

And test the water they do! Bleep in the Dark has provided a platform for many people to not only play their experimental noises for a crowd, but a crowd that they do not even need to look at or be seen by. The darkness creates a shroud that lies gently over and eases the worries of being seen when performing and gives a bolstered sense of importance to the sounds and textures created.

The range of sounds at the upcoming Bleep in the Dark features performances from some new, and some returning, musicians all varying in their scope of experimentation; Layia (Alyson Randles) combines personal field recordings with ambient layers of live vocals and instruments; Possible Williams (Jess Talbot) focuses on ethereal synth loops, sad teenage poetry and ASMR lightness smooshed into sound; Multiples (Anne-Sophie Vallée) constructs lyrical disquieting pop soundscapes through saturated cycles of rhythmic vocals; Amy Brandon who has written award winning contemporary choral, chamber, orchestral and acousmatic works; and finally, Hosta (Kayla Stevens), a noise/drone project that uses electronics and samples from the world around her. While the darkness is intimidating to many – worry not! The darkness will be punctuated by Jess Lewis (visuals) and DJ OS who will be providing tunes to snack, mingle, stretch, and decompress to in between the performances.

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This event is held to raise funds for CKDU 88.1 FM, and is supported by Obsolete Records, Bromoc Printing, and Glitter Bean Cafe. Make sure to support these local businesses that are helping to incubate experimental art in K’jipuktuk.


Contribution by: Kelly

PREMIERE: JUICE GIRLS

While working at a juice bar together in Halifax, Kirsten Todd (guitar/vocals) and Michelle Moraitis (lead vocals/harmonica) bonded over their love for shoegaze, the diy-ness of the riot grrrl movement, and their lived experiences of misogyny in their music community. At first, singing out their frustrations while chopping fruit was just their emotional outlet, but this inevitably planted the seed for the all-femme band, Juice Girls.

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Michelle Moraitis, Kirsten Todd, Kelsey Crewson, Lauren Randles, Robin Fraser
Photo by Scott Randles

They rejected gate-keeping in their music community and encouraged each other to learn, create, and take up space. After playing as a two-piece for a while, they later invited femmes, Lauren Randles (keyboard), Kelsey Crewson (bass), and Robin Fraser (drums), who shared their frustrations to nurture and water this baby seedling with them.

Their first full length album, Juice Girls, is a shoe-gazy, slacker-pop, dreamscape. Each song creates a sort of uncertainty with it’s direction through the way they play with tempo, dynamics, space, and emotion. Like the tides, the drum parts pull you in and push you back. This album lulls you – it can pass you by, blurry and unaware. The jangly guitar, harmonica melodies, and delicate vocals offer listeners the opportunity to be introspective, yet it would be a shame to miss what they are saying.

Michelle and Kirsten’s songwriting is poetic and tender while playful and empowering – the imagery they create is both vague and dream-like while vivid and relatable. In ghoul gal, fish eye, and my baby, you’re offered stories about cute, maybe frightening, and potentially heroic creatures. milk me tall and castor soap are love songs for femmes while grapefruit is about disappointing boy-crushes. blueberry, watermelon, and when she comes offer insight into appreciating the duality of things, anxiety, and pivotal spaces that can be both difficult and exciting. They use gentle, affirming, and welcoming language in their songwriting to describe these mundane, idealistic, and even magical themes.

Juice Girls is a product of sweetness, femme resilience, and ripened friendship. While their tenderness is their greatest strength, they aren’t waiting for an invite into spaces dominated by men – they are taking up the space that they need.


Contribution by: Nikki A Basset

ALBUM REVIEW: “MERCURY RETROGRADE” BY YEE GRLZ

This August was busy for yee grlz as they released their EP mercury retrograde right before playing Out of Earshot and going on tour. A quick google search tells me that mercury will be in retrograde again on November 17th – a time when intuitions are high, coincidences are likely, and reflection is encouraged.

Deviating from their typical sound, s.a.d. starts the EP at a slower pace with more pronounced vocals. Vocalist Catherine Roberge sounds pissed off, sad, and aloof at the same time. The track ends with the lyrics, “night falls and light falls and so does everything”, making you feel like you won’t be able to pick yourself back up from sadness… until you switch to the next song thrift store treasure. I could be wrong but I think thrift store treasure is a love-lost song about a troll doll, which couldn’t be more on brand for yee grlz. I mean, “light pink hair! big brown eyes!” sound like admiration lyrics to me. The third song troll addresses an internet troll. Troll is my favorite track because the drums absolutely command the song. From the build up in the intro to the cymbals in the outro, drummer Jess Barry masters punk time (signatures) – the only punk time I don’t want abolished. The lyrics “you think you’re the authority / you think you are the shit / you make me wanna cry / you make me wanna quit” kind of gives you the idea that yee grlz feel defeated by this troll despite calling them out. However, the final track, authority, is the powerful response to troll. Authority makes no apologies – the killer riffs between sisters Becky Gibson (guitar) and Jess Gibson (bass) feel symbiotic. Authority finishes the way all good punk songs do – with a sick breakdown and one final riff that says “I don’t fucking care!”.

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Photo by Isobel McKenna

Contribution by: Stephanie Muise (“smuise”)

ALBUM REVIEW: “BODIESOFWATER” BY RAE SPOON

Rae Spoon, a non-binary musician and writer who centres their own lived experiences within their work, recently released an album called bodiesofwater (09/07) – an electropop-rock album that articulates their intimate relationship with water.

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Photo by Dave Todon

This relationship is an exploration of the ways in which they feel connected to, and responsible for, water. The first track, I Held My Breath, gives the album an opening that feels delicate and hopeful while setting a precedent of uncertainty.

One recurring facet of this relationship is the parallels they draw between the way trans bodies and water are treated by our society: commodified and regulated. While It’s Not in My Body negates this harmful commodification and regulation, the pop-hit Do Whatever the Heck You Wantis an anthem to empower trans and non-binary folks to reject the boxes and binaries that others impose on them and to instead do, well, whatever the heck they want.

Rae Spoon’s relationship to water is also one of advocacy and reconciliation. They are calling us in, and calling higher power structures out, to protect and take care of the unceded lands stolen from Indigenous people. It’s Getting Close rejects climate denialism by reflecting on the anxieties we can no longer ignore as we are confronted with the effects of climate change (“It’s getting close and I can feel it / The sky is orange and my throat is burning / Where is the line between saving what we have and our lives“) where the dark and sludgy track, You Don’t Do Anything, sheds their frustration with the current Canadian government and their false promises of reconciliation (“How am I supposed to believe / That you really care when you don’t do anything?“).

They also acknowledge, and are grateful for, the healing potential of water. In Seascape, they explicitly sing “Meet me by the water / When I’m feeling low, that’s where I go / I will try to lift you / So that you can float” which offers insight into their coping, as well as their capacity to offer emotional support when others around them are sinking. In My Town, while less directly speaks to water, contributes to an important conversation of keeping survivors safe in music communities. While many may argue that it is possible to “remove art from the artist”, Spoon thoughtfully negates this in their lyrics, “If you think there’s still a question / Look into the crowd / Which person has lost nothing / And which one is not around?“. Until we stop supporting rapists and abusers in our communities, the survivors of their harm and violence will feel unsafe and isolated. This song resolves by using a drenching wave as a metaphor for a catalyst that results in a community-wide demand for safer spaces.

The album closes with Beach of Bones, a song that pulls this album together by encouraging, and being certain of, a sense of optimism. While the lyric “Put it back together now” speaks directly to the settlers relationship to the land, water, and Indigenous communities, it seems likely that Rae Spoon is also speaking towards the injustices and discrimination towards trans and non-binary people.

Rae Spoon will be playing the new RadStorm space (2177 Gottingen St, Halifax, NS) on October 6th with supporting guests respectfulchild (敬兒) (SK) and local two-piece Holy Crow.


Contribution by: Nikki A Basset

OUT OF EARSHOT: DAY 3

Day three of Out of Earshot started mid-afternoon with an outdoor show. I arrived at Bannerman park with a dog named Soda and a rootbeer cherry slushee; it was a beautiful day to sit in the grass with pals and listen to music.

Sandwiched between Neil Conway and Dormitories was Renders (ON) – Kelly McMichael’s feminist electro pop project. Joined by her pal Maria Peddle (and later Claire Whitehead), they harmonized their vocals and had a captivatingly silly stage dynamic. Through dancing and high-fives, it was apparent how much fun they had playing music together, and through the lyrics of she’s badass, it was clear how meaningful Kelly’s friendships with non-men are to her.

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Photo by Krystal Morgan

Post-outdoor show, I walked downtown to get a coffee from an Out of Earshot sponser and partner, Fixed Coffee & Baking. With americano in hand, I made my way to the Eastern Edge gallery for a talk by Chris Murdoch (NS) called “Black Dots” about the history and experiences of African-Canadians/Americans in punk and hardcore music communities.

While the talk was informative as Chris traced the history of African-Canadian/American musicians in punk and hardcore, he also shared his lived experience as an African Nova Scotian listening to punk and participating in his respective community. He spoke about having to do what he called, “the racism check”, where he would have to ask whether the music he likes, likes him. He spoke about the ways in which seeing other African-Canadian/Americans participating in punk scenes encouraged him to do the same. He spoke about the alienation he felt from within both the (predominately white) punk scene and the African Nova Scotian community when he started playing in bands.

Throughout his talk he drew parallels to how womxn and trans people might also experience discrimination and alienation in music communities. Instead of the racism check, we do the sexism, misogyny, and transphobia check. We feel safer going to shows and playing on bills where other femme and gender non-conforming people have been booked. We often experience imposter syndrome participating in music communities where space is predominately taken up by cis-men.

It is so important to support local musicians in your community that are BIPoC, femme/non-binary, or identify as LGBTQIA2S+. Show up, buy their merch, book them at your shows – the more space they are given and visibility they receive, the more other marginalized folx who want to participate in music communities will feel safer to do so.

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Photo by Isobel McKenna

Meanwhile, in an alleyway nearby, a generator buzzed loudly as they set up for a sneaky punk/hardcore show – there is something special about the excitment you get for a show you anticipate will get shut down.

Worst Lay (NL) played the alleyway first. Renee Sharpe is an incredible front person; when I spoke with her for the Out of Earshot interview series, she shared with me that she’s always creating what she needs in the moment, and right now, she’s healing. Worst Lay, for her, is punk therapy. Although I was deeply impressed by her ability to repeatedly scream “destruction! love!” without breaking, I think that there was more to this performance than vocal stamina – it’s about surviving.

worst lay

Photo by Isobel McKenna

DOXX (ON) followed their set and as I was disappointed to have missed their set the previous night, I was thrilled to have a second chance to see their set. Stephanie Muise (“smuise”) wrote about their set the night before, “this was the first time DOXX played in Newfoundland and you can tell that it won’t be their last – they were the talk of the town”. She wasn’t wrong – Newfoundland loves DOXX. Everyone showed up again with a kind of excitement as if they hadn’t seen them the night before. They delivered what I assume was a set just as loud and fast as the night before; twice (maybe three times) Jess Barry (yee grlz) had to run in to pick up the crash cymbal that made it off of its stand.

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Photo by Isobel McKenna

The generator powered down and everyone in the alleyway started to clear out; the late and final Out of Earshot show was up the street at Republic. Here we saw Conditioner, Hard Ticket, Doffing, and Surveillance.

Hard Ticket (NL) received a lot of warmth and support during their set as beloved member Meg Harnum (drums) is moving to Montreal and they won’t be playing a show together for awhile. While the support largely came from the crowd (you should have seen the bootleg Hard Ticket shirts Nicole’s (vocals/bass) parents made for themselves!!), much of the support was internal. This is a band that very obviously cares for and supports each other unconditionally.

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Photo by Isobel McKenna

As the final show of the festival came to a close there were many big feelings being tossed around. The organizers (Jess Barry, Sarah Harris, Nicole Boggan, Pepa Chan, Robin Follett, Riley Pike (they/them), Nicole Squires, Becky Gibson, and Maria Peddle) were celebrating an inaugural festival that went beyond just going well logistically. Between sharing and eating food together, supplying water bottles and phone chargers, having naloxone kits on hand, never turning anyone away for lack of funds, having both all ages and bar shows, providing accessibility information, and being some of the kindest folx I’ve ever met, they successfully created a positive, safe, inclusive, and supportive environment for artists and attendees.

❤ ❤ ❤


STAFF CONTRIBUTION: Nikki A. Basset

OUT OF EARSHOT: DAY 2

I woke up on Friday morning and knew something was wrong. Despite my intention of making it out to every show, reading, and dinner, a stomach flu kept me home that day. Although I regrettably missed Amery Sandford and Pepa Chans zine making workshop, readings by Heather Nolan and Violet Drake, and sets by Emo Pope, Syngja, Blunt Chunks, Eastern Owl, Ritual Frames, Doxx, Frail Hands, and Yee Grlz, I was lucky enough to have some kind pals write about and photograph some of them for me.

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Violet Drake took cool command of the room at Broken Books. Though she tackled difficult topics such as violence, sexual assault, alienation, and dysphoria, she addressed the crowd with a certain gentleness. Her poetry was heavy, impactful, important. You could feel the weight of it in the room. For me, the most powerful aspect was how she brought her characters to life with their accented Newfoundland voices. These voices drew soft giggles from the crowd, yet they spoke harsh realities of judgement and ignorance, reminding me of every “it’s only a joke b’y” I’ve ever heard. Violet’s poetry is rooted firmly in Newfoundland soil, but it is not afraid to dig up a little dirt.


GUEST CONTRIBUTION: Samantha Fitzpatrick

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After hiking up Signal Hill and eating tacos at the Eastern Edge gallery, I headed to The Republic to see the late show for Out of Earshot day 2.

Yee Grlz (NFLD) started their set with my absolute favourite track who’s protecting who. They played all the songs from their new EP mercury retrograde, which should be added to your end of summer playlist immediately. Catherine Roberge also introduced their song imposter syndrome by saying “This song is about thinking and worrying you won’t be good at something but then doing it anyways – it’s about saying fuck it and having fun with your friends!”, a sentiment Chris Murdoch later echoed during his presentation Black Dots on Day 3.

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Photo by Isobel McKenna

Frail Hands (HFX) played next – opening up with the song image of you from their newest split with Ghost Spirit (CA). This was the tightest set I’ve ever seen Frail Hands play. It’s rare to see a skramz band playing a punk festival but this is the perfect example of the inclusive and diverse nature of Out of Earshot. My favorite part of the set was at the end when vocalist Dawn parted the crowd like a sea and took up the space she needed for their final and most emotional track every volatile thing.

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Photo by Isobel McKenna

DOXX (OTT) closed the show and played the absolute ripper of a song STAB RISK from their most recent EP. At this point all the dominion beer was sold out at the bar which could possibly explain why I don’t remember the exact order of their setlist. This was the first time DOXX played in Newfoundland and you can tell that it won’t be their last – they were the talk of the town. Their set left me wondering how music so mean (see: chain) can come from the sweetest people you’ll ever meet.

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Photo by Isobel McKenna

VOLUNTEER CONTRIBUTION: Stephanie Muise (“smuise”)

OUT OF EARSHOT: DAY 1

I arrived in St. John’s on Thursday afternoon with a few hours to spare before the first events for Out of Earshot. It wasn’t supposed to rain, but it started to drizzle as I made my way to Eastern Edge Gallery for the artist dinner and first show of the festival.

I met so many kind and wonderful organizers, performers, artists, and friends of friends as I ate my (delicious) tofu burger. It was quickly obvious that the organizers of Out of Earshot were attentive to creating a supportive, comfortable, inclusive, and safe environment.

Nicole, from Hard Ticket, was hosting the first event. With Amery Sandford’s (BBQT/Baby Bunny) installation behind her, she took the stage to acknowledge the land, review the code of conduct, thank everyone involved, and introduce the first act of the first show – Hopscotch.

Hopscotch (NL) is a trumpet, bass, and drum trio that captured my attention because of the way they play with volume and space. Many of their songs started quiet with a lot of empty space, and as the song progressed they filled that space through dynamics and added percussion pieces. It was dramatic in a way that inspired me.

Claire Whitehead (TO) followed Hopscotch and gave another dramatic performance. Half of her set was her solo project, called Claire de la Loopa, where she used her loop pedal to build up her songs using violin and guitar. I felt lucky, in a way, to be there and bear witness to the way she creates music.

Closing the Eastern Edge show was Baby Bunny (NL), also known as BBQT (QC), but with members Sarah and Noah. Although it was so sweet seeing Amery bounce around with her art installation behind her while wearing the custom guitar strap she made for herself, my favourite part of any Baby Bunny/BBQT set is the way Allison sings along while playing drums.

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Photo by Krystal Morgan

Following Eastern Edge, I walked up to Water St. to get to The Ship for the late show with Lo Siento (NL), Property (NL), Rabies (NS), and Laps (QC).

Lo Siento started as soon as I had arrived. Pepa Chan, a musician and artist, was playing between two of her installations of soft plushy toys strung up to the ceiling from the floor. My favourite part of this set was when everyone shouted “no! no! no! no!” along with Pepa during No Tengo Remedio.

Following Lo Siento was another local band, Property. It was during this set, specifically during a song about St. John’s, that I recognized how supportive St. John’s is of their local music scene. They showed up, wearing Property shirts, and stood as close to the stage as possible to sing along with Sarah Harris.

Rabies, from Halifax, played next. I was able to interview Rachel (guitar/vocals) prior to the festival and in this interview she explores the feelings she had before she started playing music. She wrote, “it’s so easy to feel embarrassed”, yet at this show she took the center of the stage and played with confidence that assured us she belonged there.

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Photo by Krystal Morgan

The first day of Out of Earshot came to a close with Laps (QC). Although, quite honestly, I couldn’t make it to the end of the night because I was coming down with a flu, I was able to see Laps earlier this week in Halifax. Stephanie Muise (“smuise”), who was at their show at The Ship said, “their sharp tone and chaotic riffs reminded me of North of America; they proved that math rock is very much alive and well“.


STAFF CONTRIBUTION: Nikki A. Basset