SHOW: CHARLOTTETOWN PUNK – WOMEN TO THE FRONT

Though infamous, it’s undeniable that Charlottetown has always produced some of the Maritimes’ greatest punk and hardcore bands – but let’s be honest, male anger is boring in 2019. This is why I knew I had to make the trip to Baba’s Lounge on April 13 when I saw two femme fronted punk bands on the same bill. Warsh dropped a demo and soon enough it was everywhere. At first listen I knew I couldn’t get enough of this band and had to see them live asap.

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Clay Fraser had already been a band for about a year, and though they joke a lot about the bands existence, when it comes down to playing live it’s the real deal. “All women to the front” Gillian Oakley yells into the mic, already setting the tone for the performance to follow. Clay Fraser’s noise show will take you on a journey (whether you want it to or not) but all eyes are on Gillian as she moves and takes up space. Although recently they’ve disbanded (RIP CLAY FRASER 2019), I’m excited to see what Gillian is going to produce next.

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While this was only Warsh’s second show,it was definitely one to remember. Baba’s was packed with people wanting to see this new band, and they didn’t leave disappointed. The riffs are heavy and fast, but Sophia Tweel brings the lenergy. With a smile on her face, she crashes into the crowd bringing life and movement while making herself heard. Rosanna’s bass riffs keeps you grounded through a heavy noisy tone that you can feel.

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Hardcore isn’t just a boys game. Bands like these are shifting the scene for future generations of femme island punks to come.


Contribution and photography by: Amanda Gaul (she/her)

 

SHOW: CUTIE (RIP) AT RADSTORM

Last night at Radstorm, punk heroes cutie said goodbye to their fans with a final show. It was both awesome and emotional and worthy of a poem so here we go:

Goodbye cutie, it’s been real
I love the way your music makes me feel

Halifax hardcore sure will miss you
I’m crying and I need a tissue

Matty, Johnny, B and Jess
cutie is just the best

Your energy is like no other
when I need a boost I listen to “brother”

In my eardrums you left a path of destruction
and a desire to seize the means of production

Ripping fast with strong aggression
you taught Halifax a lesson

Seeing you live was always fun
thanks so much for all you’ve done

This city won’t forget your name
this scene will never be the same

Thank you cutie!
Love, Stephanie Johns and Chris Murdoch

xoxo

PREMIERE: LO SIENTO’S “BRUJAS”

Sometimes isolation and social withdrawal isn’t conducive to healing from our cumulated hardships. Building up communities that share pain, frustrations, and disappointments is an act of reslience.

The latest release from Lo Siento, Brujas (translation: witches), is a narrative of finding strength and solidarity through femme friendship during times of distress. Based in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Lo Siento is Pepa Chan (guitar/vocals), Andrea Mcguire (bass/backing vocals), Allison Graves (drums), and newest member Jake Nicoll (keys/synth).

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Lo Siento: Pepa Chan, Allison Graves, Andrea McGuire
Photo by Knoah Bender

Brujas delivers the same spanish naive punk as their first release, Bingo Bango, but with the addition of pop melodies from Nicoll on keys and synth.

While Brujas delivers a sound that is light, enthusiastic, and cheerful, a deeper look into Chan’s lyrics will reveal that Lo Siento is a very political project that isn’t afraid to talk about all the hard things with all their complexities. Her voice, scrappy yet sweet, sings to us about coping, grieving, and resisting.

Brujas offers consistency. Together, Chan, McGuire, Graves, and Nicoll have developed song-writing that is cohesive and specific to Lo Siento. A standout track, for me, would be Despierta-aahhh, a song about struggling with insomnia (“si me acuesto me desvelo” translation: if I go to bed I wake up). The guitar walk-down that is punctuated by three snare hits really mirrors the way that restlessness can feel.

I think it’s okay to name that Lo Siento is an outlet, and a place of refuge, for when everything you are living is becoming too tough to manage alone.


See Lo Siento live:

March 15th – Brujas release w/ Pillowcount, Black Market Hard-Tack, and Hay Carbon! @ Peter Easton Pub, St. Johns, NFLD.

March 16th – Brujas release @ Fred’s Records, St. John’s, NFLD.

April 13th – Kazoo! Fest, Guelph, ON.

April 15th – w/ Property @ Burdock, Toronto, ON.

April 17th – w/ Property @ TBD, Kitchener, ON.

April 19th – w/ Property @ Black Squirrel Books, Ottawa, ON.

April 20th – Presented by Out of Earshot w/ Property @ La Plante, Montreal, QC.


Contribution by: Nikki A Basset

DEMO REVIEW: “BURY ME/IMPOSTER” BY COY

Coy’s two song demo “Bury Me/Imposter” (released December 14) has elements of pop, elements of punk, and most immediately, a perfect 90s grunge vibe with mellow harmonies that remind me of That Dog.

It’s a well blended good music smoothie. Story Sheidow (guitar and lead vocals) and Jesara Sinclair Friesen (bass and backing vocals) bring institutional punk knowledge (Sheidow drums in Uncle) to Emilee Sorrey’s (drums and backing vocals) pop experience (Sorrey is the front person in Sorrey) and these catchy songs are our reward.

Bury Me’s fuzzy jangle leads to a cool call and response bridge and ends with a brief but crashing finale. Lyrically it’s heavy too, but pleasantly foggy to decipher. I’m applying this song to any falling out I’ve ever had.

Blasting Imposter would do the trick when imposter syndrome creeps in and threatens to ruin a good thing. The driving chorus is a pump up and catchy as hell so get out the way, anyone/thing that’s holding you back.

The demo is like a little taste of what’s to come—the PEI band will record an EP in January, to be released in the spring, which will also mark a year of Coy playing together.

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Contribution by: Stephanie Johns (she/her). Stephanie plays guitar in Not You and bass in Moon and has been writing about music for 20 years. She made two cute people that she spends a lot of time with these days.

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”)

OUT OF EARSHOT: INTERVIEW #6 – SOF FROM DOXX

As part of the media coverage for Out of Earshot’s inaugural festival on the weekend of August 23-25, 2018, not your boys club will be showcasing some of the truly wonderful people organizing, playing, and performing at the festival in the weeks leading up to it.

For the final interview in this series, I spoke with Sof (she/her) who does vocals for the hardcore band DOXX. She’s a student, bartender, and musician born in Irkutsk, Russia and based out of Ottawa, ON.

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Photo by Aidan Thatcher

How long has DOXX been making music music and how did everyone meet each other?

DOXX has been making music for about 2.5 years now. I met Britt (guitar) early 2014 when she was a TA in one of my first year gender studies classes at the University of Ottawa and we would see each other at shows in Ottawa here and there. Kieran (drums) and Britt are partners and they formed what was supposed to be a one-off show hardcore band with Jeff (bass) for a show Jeff was booking in I believe March 2016. Originally Britt was gonna be doing guitar and vocals but then it was like, no, this music is too fast to do both – who should we ask to front this band? Britt reached out to me because i would go off in the front row of the audience at every show but had never been in a band. We didn’t know each other super well at that point but I’m so glad they did because now Britt is my #1 ride or die. And I guess it was just too fun to let it go after one show. The rest of my bandmates are pretty much born and raised in Ottawa and so have known each other for much longer than they’ve known me. But we’re tight. I’m the baby of the band.

Were the issues that you sing about (capitalism, white supremacy, heteronormativity, etc.) what inspired the formation of this band?

I would say a heavy love of hardcore punk is what inspired the formation of DOXX, but these issues you mention are important to me/us generally, so naturally that’s what I end up writing lyrics about. I think it’s sick both if someone starts into doxx because they like our sound and then later get something from the lyrics, or vice versa if they’re really into our “”message”” initially and maybe later get more into hardcore and punk because it’s like, oh i actually really like this style of music and it’s not just all angry violent men yelling about “brotherhood” – maybe this music can be for me? The conversation about representation and politicization is interesting and definitely complicated. I put “”message”” in those quotes above because I don’t really think there’s one distinct message I’m aiming to convey with my lyrics…much like, you know, humans in general, there’s a lot going on in my brain and heart…some of it is contradictory, some of it is political, some of it is about my relationships, some of it is sarcastic, some of it is real serious and affecting, but for sure it is still very personal. Sometimes I feel my lyrics are over-analyzed, almost scrutinized, because of how my identity is perceived. It has made me more hesitant to define myself or our music in explicit ways. We’ve been criticized in the past for not being “queer enough” to call ourselves queer punk(s)…I don’t really know what to say to that. Ask my girlfriend. Actually, don’t. I don’t owe nobody shit, leave us alone (lol). Ultimately, I have some shit to say but also ya girl just loves a breakdown, you know? A decent amount of my favourite punk and hardcore bands maybe weren’t intended to resonate with me and my particular experience of life as a young woman…but somehow they do…but maybe if I went to see one of those bands live I wouldn’t feel totally welcome in the space. Like I said, it’s complicated. I guess the best thing about being in doxx is that i’m able to just say fuck it and take that space for myself and others like me, and I think that was definitely at the heart of the formation of the band.

Do you feel like there is a shift in which bands/individuals are given space in the Ottawa music community?

Yes absolutely! I like to think of this kind of growth as a tension between “being given” space and “taking” space – a mix of personal agency and community support that facilitates the status quo being challenged and shifted. There are many older and more established community members in Ottawa (even some cis white men, lol) who are unfailingly encouraging and helpful and recognize that making active efforts for the inclusion of marginalized folks not only makes our community more vibrant and fun but is just like…the right thing to do. For example, my bandmates, who reached out to me to front DOXX even though I had never been in a band before. There are also hella young/queer/trans/POC folks pushing more established community members to complicate how they understand the world and the scene. Both groups are valuable and sick as fuck and strengthen community. At the same time, there will always be those shitheads who are more about their own egos than community building and helping others learn – that’s fine. It’s obvious to me that that kind of attitude comes from a place of bitterness and insecurity and they will eventually become irrelevant and for damn sure aren’t having as much fun as we are.

Empowering femme and non-binary people to participate and take up space in their respective music communities is really important to not your boys club and so I was thrilled to read in an interview that you put out a zine with Britt for femme and queer youth on how to start a band. What would you say was the most important (or the overarching) message you were trying to communicate?

Most important message: starting a band is probably easier than you think! Just do it! If you have questions about resources reach out to us!

Are there any femme and queer folx in your community making music that you would like to give a shout out to?

Yessssss:

TORPOR

TIGHTLIP

SAILOR JUPITER

Sailor jupiter sadly doesn’t exist anymore but are probably my favourite Ottawa band ever.

OMERTA

BONNIE DOON

OUT OF EARSHOT: INTERVIEW #5 – MEG HARNUM

As part of the media coverage for Out of Earshot’s inaugural festival on the weekend of August 23-25, 2018, not your boys club will be showcasing some of the truly wonderful people organizing, playing, and performing at the festival in the weeks leading up to it.

For the fifth installment in this interview series, I spoke with Meg Harnum (she/her), a musician/artist from St. John’s, NL. Meg has been playing drums in bands for over ten years (The Mudflowers, Punch Table, Hard Ticket, Thelma and Louise to name a few) and has been a drum instructor and band coach at Girls Rock NL for the past three years. In July, Meg was invited to Ojai, California where she was a drum instructor and band coach at Girls Rock Santa Barbara. Meg along with her partner and her two cats, Nanny and Poppy, will be temporarily relocating to Montreal for school at the end of August.

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Photo by Shabnam Ferdowsi

Hard Ticket recently put out Same Pal – an EP about friends with shared lived experiences that can relate and offer support during personal hardship and struggle. As it’s an album about friendship, I first want to ask you about when you met Nicole and Mopey, and how the members of Hard Ticket offer each other the kind of support and friendship that this album is about.

I don’t remember exactly when or where I met Nicole and Mopey; St. John’s is a very small city and often living here you know of people long before you really ~know~ them but I am so eternally grateful that I did (meet them). Hard Ticket is like a family, we all offer each other a ton of support and love one another unconditionally and without judgement.

The year or so leading up to the time that Hard Ticket was formed, I was in a bit of a musical slump, full of self-doubt and unsure of my place in the music community. Then along came my Tickies, so upbeat, so posi, so full of love and light and encouragement and it made me feel so much better about everything. It lifted my spirits in a way that only they could.

In April, you put out a two-song EP under your solo project scrambled meggz. One of these songs, 2 little lazy eyes, is a song about friendship with Pepa Chan (of Lo Siento and Ribbon Tied). You sing about how she inspires you – I’m wondering if you can share a little bit more about this and more broadly how other women/non-binary people in the St. John’s music community inspire, support, and empower you.

Pepa Chan is one of my favorite people on earth. She is so unbelievably kind and talented. And strange. A true freak. In the best possible way. She is bursting with creativity. Everything she does is just so distinctly ~Pepa~. She is strong and resilient and a wonderful friend. I love Pepa.

St. John’s is full of amazing women & non binary folx doing incredible things, making beautiful music/art and just, like, making shit happen. All of the board members at Girls Rock NL, SWIM, The Out of Earshot committee. I feel inspired all the time by the initiative taken by all of these rad folx to create such an inclusive community for us all to exist in. I am so thankful to be given so many opportunities to play, teach and contribute. Everyone is so supportive of everyone else’s endeavors, it is a beautiful thing.

During your time working for Girls Rock Santa Barbara and Girls Rock NL, did you experience and build similarly supportive friendships, and furthermore, did you witness these friendships being built among the girls attending the camp?

Holy heck, yes, absolutely. Teaching and band coaching at Girls Rock NL/Santa Barbara has been, at the risk of sounding totally cliche, life changing. It really has. The level of support and understanding  that each and every person I have worked with at camp provides is unbelievable, to the campers and to each other. Watching the kids at camp get to know each other and encourage each other is so absolutely heartwarming and inspiring.

On a final note, I was wondering if you would be comfortable sharing what friendships with womxn and people with other marginalized gender identities means to you.

I have been so lucky in my life to always find myself surrounded by the most bad-ass, powerful, talented women/non-binary friends and I think there is something very special about that. The constant encouragement and love from my bandmates and friends and girls rock family has made me a much stronger and more confident person. I am truly very blessed.


STAFF CONTRIBUTION: Nikki A Basset