Cool Show Alert: Beat Cops + Black Thunder + Herb And The Humans


So, just following up with my strong suggestion in (newly resuscitated? occasional?) Sound Check column to go see some excellent psychedelic garage rock tonight at The German Club. Montreal’s Beat Cops (members of Priestess, UBT, Trigger Effect and The Stills) are rolling through and local bands Black Thunder and Herb and The Humans will also be on hand to provide some rock and roll. Show up before 9pm and pay $5, show up after and it hikes up to $10. Yeah!

Tonight: SUUNS + Jerusalem In My Heart at The Artful Dodger


The title says it all: don’t let hail storms, Friday night programming at MoSoFest, the Agribition, O’Hanlon’s (ahem, Steve) or anything else distract you from what YOU REALLY SHOULD BE DOING TONIGHT, which is going to see two fucking excellent bands tear it up at The Artful Dodger.

SUUNS + Jerusalem In My Heart have released a self-titled album together and they’re on tour to support it. Both bands have monstrously cool sounds and deliver unforgettable live performances.

So. Tonight. At The Artful Dodger. 8pm. Not. To. Miss.

Herb &The Humans, Switches, The Florals, The Lad Mags

The Lad Mags
The Lad Mags

If you’re looking for something to do this weekend that isn’t brunch or a craft fair, please consider Rock And Roll.

I’ve got just the thing for ya: two rad bands from our fair city, The Florals and Herb & The Humans, playing with another couple of rad bands from Edmonton, Switches (Romantic Soul’d Out Punk Rock n’ Roll) and The Lad Mags (Bizarro Garage-Soul Transmissions). Best of all, the Edmonton groups have lots of ladies playing in ’em.

So yeah, the show is tomorrow the 8th at The German Club (1727 St. John St.). $5 will get you in before 9pm and $10 after. Turn it up!


On The Fear Of Gender-Based Violence

Video still from Mozart's Sister via cocostereo
Video still from Mozart’s Sister via cocostereo

Thought I’d share a line of thinking I hadn’t followed in a while because I haven’t gone out much in the evenings since the birth of my daughter.

Last night I was pulling out some clean clothes to wear and putting a few things together by the front door so that I could quickly slip out of the house to check out a rock show at the Exchange, the first I’d been to in a while. “Ha ha, you’ve really gotta plan three moves in advance with this parent thing,” I thought, “I’ll have to leave just after the first band is done, I guess.”

Then I paused as it occurred to me that I’ll have to walk alone to my car in the warehouse district, which has a few bars nearby and not a lot of foot traffic on a night when people are likely partying after a Roughriders victory and at the show itself. It would more than suck to have to deal with any kind of assault, perhaps especially at this time of my life when my body has only just healed after birth and is responsible for the nourishment of a baby.

Next I had two quick reactions: maybe it wasn’t worth it and maybe I shouldn’t bother dressing nicely at all. How fucked up is that? Self-blaming, fearful thoughts. Anyway, thought I’d share what it’s like for many of us out there (and not just for privileged white women like me): we’re always planning three steps ahead and hoping for the best.

Take Back The Night


In light of the sexual assault that took place last week in the downtown core, some citizens have organized a Take Back The Night-style candle light vigil, which will take place this evening at 10pm in the City Hall courtyard (McIntyre & Victoria). There will be free parking in the government lot behind the Balfour apartments, behind the SaskPower building, City Hall parking lot and the west side of 21 block Scarth St.

Take Back the Night gatherings, and those similar in spirit, are community actions made in solidarity with sexual assualt survivors as well as to bring attention to gender-based sexual violence and to reclaim spaces for people of all genders to feel safe in.

For a personal reaction to the recent sexual assault incident, feel free to read this blog post over on Stranger Than Fiction (heads up: trigger warnings).

National Drone Day!

czech horn 2a

“for too long the drone has been hidden by the tyrants of melody and rhythm. weird canada calls upon all drones to come together as one massive drone. spend this day listening entirely to drone music”

– Weird Canada, initiators of the first annual National Drone Day

Regina has an embarrassment of riches in terms of drone and experimental musicians and today some of them will be celebrating the newly inaugurated National Drone Day by performing at Neutral Ground (1856 Scarth St.) from 2-6pm. Swing by the gallery to take in the sooooouuuuunndddzzz created by the like of Guidewire, Pulsewidth, Trace Horizon and Whiskey Bear. More info over on the Facebook event page!

*Photo above is of a Czech acoustic locator and is not necessarily related to drones, but looks pretty cool…

Ladies + Local Music

The Raincoats
The Raincoats

Just want to steer your attention to my current Sound Check column where I bemoan the dearth of ladies in rock / alt / weird /indie / underground bands here in YQR and…everywhere else. There’s a healthy comment thread growing that you might wanna read or contribute to, too!

  • Read the column!
  • Fun, related content: ALIEN SHE, a touring exhibition about riot girl, curated by Astria Suparak and Ceci Moss
  • Fun, related content: Venus Radio, an excellent Montreal-based lady-led and focused music radio show you can listen to on-line
  • Fun, related content: Gender Talk, a local spoken word show about gender over on CJTR 91.3FM or
  • Fun, related content: Rock Camp for Girls Montreal / Ottawa / Peterborough / Toronto / Vancouver

Weird Canada Imprint – extended interview

WC Logo New lettering Illustrator

Hey, if you’re a geek like me, you wanna gobble up all the dirt on independent music. With that in mind, here’s the extended version of my Sound Check interview with Weird Canada about their latest and greatest happenings. – AG

Weird Canada says “we are northernly”. The popular website is a northernly force of nature.

Weird Canada ( is essentially a music blog championing underground, “weird” music. It’s got wonderfully hyperbolic reviews written by clever and musically adventurous musicians and music lovers. It also has reviews of underground publications, essays on underground culture, podcasts, and real live, human events — mainly music shows, of course.

Weird Canada’s latest feat of strength is bound to be a game changer: with the help of a $50,000 FACTOR grant they (amazingly) received last year, the website will now become an underground music distributor under the moniker Wyrd Distro. This makes it an invaluable resource for bedroom record labels and underground musicians looking to connect with audiences in a day and age when music distribution and promotion has become increasingly expensive and barrier-laden. Musicians and labels will also benefit from Weird Canada’s significant built-in readership.

For music fans, the one-stop-shop distro the distro will offer means that listeners can order albums from obscure musicians from all over Canada from one very awesome place.

As an added dimension, the website is launching the Weird Canada Imprint feature, a monthly blog series which will profile micro-independent record labels from across the country, some of whom will be represented by Wyrd Distro. I spoke with the Weird Canada Imprint editor, Josh Robinson, about his new gig. Josh, conveniently, also lives in Saskatoon, and he had a few Sask. label suggestions to share.

Continue reading “Weird Canada Imprint – extended interview”

Get Dressed: Don’t Dress Your Age


Thought I’d share this wonderful and inspiring British TV documentary about six mature fashionistas. The doc explores these women’s convention-defying sartorial choices as well as their anti-ageist lifestyles. It’s a pretty delightful watch no matter what age or gender you are. Enjoy, and enjoy getting dressed!

More info can be found right over here on Senior Planet.

Get Dressed: Business Casual

Gothic lolita meets business casual (via PheonixPinion)
Gothic lolita meets business casual (via PheonixPinion)

Dressing appropriately business casual for professional activities makes me want to let a boob hang out. However, the impulse is lessened by a) pretending that it’s a costume! and b) that I’ve got all kinds of pseudo-dressed up bits and bobs in my closet that are pretty easy to adapt to the look. Lately, I’ve been gravitating toward the buttoned down, armour-like elements that I own anyway, and they work pretty well in business contexts – but holy man do I abhor total and complete submission to tastefulness.

Continue reading “Get Dressed: Business Casual”



In keeping with my suggestion in the latest Sound Check column, do check out German avant-garde post-rock outfit Jealousy Mountain Duo tonight at The Club. Not-to-miss!

  • TERRASCOPE UK: De-constructing jazz and post-rock with avante garde intent, German band Jealousy Mountain Duo create complex yet very listenable music on their second album “No 02”, (no prizes for guessing what the first one was called). Overloading on percussion and featuring some inventive guitar lines “Home of Easy Credit” sets out their stall early, with “leaf Kickers” layering some Beefheart style riffs over the top of the rattling drums. Keeping to this sonic equation throughout , even on the slower vibe of “Ubertriebene Harte” gives the album great cohesiveness, something that suits the music, giving the listener to become totally absorbed, although the appearance of some very fluid and Doorsian guitar lines on “Latino Heaven” are very welcome. Finally “Don’t Ask Me About Dresden” rounds of a rich and engaging album with a final flourish and a more sombre tone. — Simon Lewis

Get Dressed: Pagan Style

Screen Shot 2013-09-19 at 12.15.22 PM

Can we skip this whole end of summer thing, jump past autumn, do not pass Go/ do not collect $200, and head straight over to winter please? Because this photo series over on Bad Panda is giving me a serious case of wintery fashion inspiration. From the website:

  • “For two years, French photographer Charles Fréger has been traveling throughout 19 European countries and trying to capture the spirit of what he calls “tribal Europe” in his “Wilder Mann” series. What he found was a huge array of pagan rituals, mainly related to the winter solstice and spring renewal, focusing on the common myth of the “wild man.” Read more/ogle amazing photos here!

*They’ve some how super protected the photos from downloading (with pagan powers??), so forgive the shoddy screen cap above.

Are You Cliterate?

Artist Sophia Wallace
Artist Sophia Wallace

Continuing on the subject of the female body’s pleasure centre, a.k.a. the clitoris: here’s an interesting article over on the Huffington Post about artist Sophia Wallace’s clever campaign to raise the profile of this diminuitive and powerful organ. From the article:

  • “It is a curious dilemma to observe the paradox that on the one hand the female body is the primary metaphor for sexuality, its use saturates advertising, art and the mainstream erotic imaginary. Yet, the clitoris, the true female sexual organ, is virtually invisible,” Wallace told Creem magazine earlier this year.


  • “I wanted to talk about female genitals in a way that I felt wasn’t really being talked about,” Wallace said. “For me, this word ‘cliteracy’ perfectly breaks down the idea of the project. It’s this pithy, wonderful little word that encapsulates so much so quickly and so simply. It illuminates this idea of total illiteracy and incompetence when it comes to the female body.”

Check out Wallace’s sex-positive initiative, complete with a clit rodeo and t-shirt series, in full right here.




You’re No Rock N Roll Fun: New Regulations Hurt Clubs And Venues

UPDATE: Whitworth here. There’s now a petition on  Back to Amber’s original post…


So, my ‘Facebook feed’ exploded with rage today after this article in the Calgary Herald shed light on some super un-cool employment regulations that went into effect on July 31st which would make it pretty much unfeasible for small venues and clubs to bring in out-of-country bands. Venues now have to pay an application of $250 for each touring member in a band, including managers and the like, on top of the $150 work permit that also needs to be secured for each individual.

Spencer Brown who books for the Palomino Smokehouse in Calgary explained it thusly:

“If I have a one four-member American band at the Palomino, I’m looking at $1,700 Canadian just to get them on the bill — and that’s on top of paying out a sound tech, paying for posters, gear rental, paying the other bands, staffing,” Brown says, explaining there have been tweaks to the LMO in the past, but nothing this drastic or, in his eyes, damaging.

“Concert promotion at this level is, in itself, a high-risk occupation. So this has just put it through the roof. There’s no way to start already $1,700 in the hole and break even. It’s impossible.”

Brown goes on to call the new regulations “anti arts and culture” and “anti small business”. Minister of Employment, Social Development & Multiculturalism Jason Kenney says that the decision was made after advance consultation with stakeholders across the country. Read the rest of the article here. 

Today Is A Sex-Positive Kinda Day


Two good reads out there today in the wash and tide of the internet for the ladies who need a little sex positive reinforcement. Behold!

  • Nobody knew how the clitoris really worked until four years ago: “Picture a clitoris in your mind. Got it? Now, what if I told you that what you’re imagining is just the tip of a much larger, internal clitoral iceberg — that the clitoris is actually much, much larger than what this sensitive bundle of nerve endings would lead you to believe?” (Read the rest here)
  •  Dear Daughter, I Hope You Have Awesome Fucking Sex: A blog post in which the father wants the best for his daughter, but not in a misguided, protectionist way ala Liam Neeson in the movie Taken: “Because consensual sex isn’t something that men take from you; it’s something you give. It doesn’t lessen you to give someone else pleasure. It doesn’t degrade you to have some of your own. And anyone who implies otherwise is a man who probably thinks very poorly of women underneath the surface.” (Read the rest here)

More On The Debates Surrounding Our Female Bodies

S., who was turned away from an abortion clinic because she was too far along in her pregnancy, with her daughter, born in May 2012. Photo by Michele Asselin for The New York Times.
“S., who was turned away from an abortion clinic because she was too far along in her pregnancy, with her daughter, born in May 2012.” Photo by Michele Asselin for The New York Times.

Our bodies, our choices, right? I’m always amazed when people try to sanction what women do with their bodies and lives, especially when it comes to the life-altering decision as to whether or not to birth another human being. Here’s an interesting article recently published by The New York Times about the effects of being denied an abortion:

  •  “Foster saw that most abortion studies failed to acknowledge that women seeking abortions are likely to have mixed emotions — regret, anger, happiness, relief. They also often failed to separate the reaction to pregnancy from the reaction to the abortion. She has designed her study to do both, relying on a series of questions and periodic interviews, and initial results, to be published in the fall, show that the emotion that predominates right after an abortion is relief.” (What Happens To Women Who Were Denied Abortions? New York Times)

…And here’s another published by The Atlantic about the pressure to have kids during ones (supposed?) peak childbearing years:

  • “The widely cited statistic that one in three women ages 35 to 39 will not be pregnant after a year of trying, for instance, is based on an article published in 2004 in the journal Human Reproduction. Rarely mentioned is the source of the data: French birth records from 1670 to 1830. The chance of remaining childless—30 percent—was also calculated based on historical populations. In other words, millions of women are being told when to get pregnant based on statistics from a time before electricity, antibiotics, or fertility treatment. Most people assume these numbers are based on large, well-conducted studies of modern women, but they are not. When I mention this to friends and associates, by far the most common reaction is: “No … No way. Really?” ” (How Long Can You Wait To Have  A Baby? The Atlantic)

Tonight: Supermoon Choir Processional!

Moon (tarot) card from the Visconti-Sforza Tarot deck. C. 1450
Moon (tarot) card from the Visconti-Sforza Tarot deck. C. 1450

If howling at the supermoon is your kinda thing, do check out the processional choir performance that’s happening tonight in conjunction with Kathleen Irwin and Jeff Morton’s PLAY exhibition at the Dunlop. Between 9 and 10pm this evening, artist Amber Phelps Bondaroff and Knowhere Productions will be leading a processional community choir in response to PLAY’s outdoor piano installation. Be sure to show up on time at City Square Plaza to get your share of the witchy, celebratory action!

Get Dressed: QCC Steeze (Day 2)


Hurrah, Queer City Cinema is still on today and the festival is definitely cause to get dressed with fun and intention. The programming theme this year is ‘Whatchulookinat?!’, which urges viewers to use a critical lens when gazing and interpreting representations of gender and sexuality.

A few years ago the queer community seemed lit up with excitement about reviving/reinterpreting the old school “hanky code”, a covert sartorial system where one would wear hankies of different colours in one’s left or righ back pocket, signaling the wearer’s sexual preferences. Nowadays the hanky code has become more elaborate. Have a look at the attached charts and pics to see if there’s a hanky code in there for you. Enjoy, and enjoy getting dressed!

Continue reading “Get Dressed: QCC Steeze (Day 2)”

Get Dressed: QCC Steeze (Day 1)

Vintage Chinese actress Ting Hao
Vintage Chinese actress Ting Hao

Hurrah, Queer City Cinema starts today! And as with even lesser calendar dates (like Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday), this festival is cause to get dressed with fun and intention. The programming theme this year is ‘Whatchulookinat?!’, which urges viewers to use a critical lens when gazing and interpreting representations of gender and sexuality.

Interestingly, two pieces came out about the changing reality of butch-dom in the media this week: “The Disappearing Butch?” on CBC Radio One’s The Current and “Suit Up: The Boom In Butch Fashion” by Keph Senett for Bitch Magazine. I’d recently been thinking about what it means to present as butch in times when ‘transmasculine’ is an increasingly popular term for queer gender performance, especially since it doesn’t reinforce the gender binary. Fascinating reads/listens! Now, let’s have a look at some glorious vintage (and vinatge inspired) butches and get inspired; enjoy, and enjoy getting dressed.

Continue reading “Get Dressed: QCC Steeze (Day 1)”

I Have No Love For The Junos


I made my way to the front of The Exchange Saturday night, eager to check out Saskatoon’s Shooting Guns, and settled in with the leather jackets and long hairs in front of the stage. My drying contact lenses itched and my beer was warming in my hand, but I felt that all-too-infrequent electrical excitement beginning to crackle in my body.

After the relentless bore of the Saturday night Juno Gala media room, I arrived tired from the string of industry-manufactured award winners filing in for questions, crystal trophies glittering heavily in hand. The beer was cut off early and the winners’ list handed out immediately, so if there was any zing to be had, it was quickly depleted. Also, my spiritual horse in the race Montreal’s epic Ratchet Orchestra, didn’t win for best Instrumental Album of the Year. I expected most of this, of course.

Continue reading “I Have No Love For The Junos”