napalmpom and public animal

Party starters Napalmpom and Public Animal wax poetic on blood, touring, the MC5 and pizza

CALGARY — Shawn Petsche of Napalmpom on Public Animal: “Oh, it’s the kind of rock and roll I love. There are huge riffs and it’s heavy and (Public Animal guitarist and vocalist) Ian Blurton’s guitar tone is just thick and musical, so it’s not just muddy and distorted. There are trade-off vocals, male and female that make every other rock band a little jealous.”

Ian Blurton of Public Animal on Napalmpom: it’s “HOT SHIT ROCK AND ROLL!”

Blurton has been playing alternative, independent music since the members of Napalmpom were infants. The flagship alternative/genre-melding act Change of Heart kickstarted his musical career in the ‘80s. The bands he has since played in and produced (far more than can be listed here) have influenced contemporary Canadian music in a thousand ways. He currently fronts and plays guitar for Toronto quartet Public Animal, a kind of meta-rock ‘n’ roll, omni-genre act that swirls together stoner-glam guitars, gospel church organs and Sabbathian levels of heaviness.

 

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Catholic Girls

Calgary’s Catholic Girls are dirty, spooky, soulful synth-punk personified

CALGARY — “Being in a band is like being in a marriage,” says Erin Jenkins, guitarist and vocalist in Catholic Girls.

“The first part is all fun and puppy-dog love, eventually you move out of that phase and have to work at keeping the magic alive.”

“The magic” being dirty, spooky, soulful synth-punk with a heavy debt to goth and waves both new and dark. Calgary’s very own Catholic Girls, three quarters of whom are boys, might be too young to remember much of the ‘80s, but they’ve got the decade’s queasy mix of populism and idiosyncrasy down. Since forming two years ago from members of just about every Calgary band that wasn’t Tegan and Sara, they have released two EPs of first rate synth-punk: 2014’s Sheila Joined a Cult, which was heavy on the punk, and the excellent April release Psychic Woman, in which the synths come to the forefront.

 

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Detached Objectives

Calgary post-punk duo Detached Objectives gears up for the ‘Shuttle Launch’

CALGARY — After punk, there was post-punk. Maybe. Post seems to be a prefix used when things are happening that are so eclectic that it’s easier to describe them by what they’re not (see Postmodernism if you want to give yourself a nosebleed.)

Colin Christopher and Slava Nartakhov are Detached Objectives, a name Christopher chose to indicate the pair’s no-nonsense approach, as this project was a departure from both players’ current bands. Long-time fixtures on the Calgary scene (Nartakhov play(ed/s) in the Reckless Heroes, Tekhnotron and others; Christopher runs Dreaming of the Past records, has played in numerous metal bands and regularly plays live with local artists), their origins are more prosaic than their dark, pummeling music would suggest.
“I had a couple of electronic, industrial music projects running but at the time I had started having more interest in this indie-influence, darker post-punk scene and I was just looking for somebody to start a side-project with. Colin and I met up, chatted about music and it turned out that we had a lot in common,” says Nartakhov.

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False Flag does everything but suffer in silence

The cover of False Flag’s 2013 debut EP Orobas sums these four Calgarians up nicely: there are skulls, horns, guns and an occult design that readers who spell magic as ‘Magick’ might recognize as the seal with which King Solomon allegedly bound the demon Orabas. Orabas, as False Flag’s vocalist and guitarist Russ Gauthier notes, is something of a anomaly for one of Satan’s minions: he is incapable of telling lies or betraying whoever summons him and can tell you whatever you want to know about the past and future.

“He seemed like a more positive demon, and I really liked that because demons are seen as bad things, but there are different kinds of demons with different traits.”

Occultism has been with metal since the beginning, but so has politics. False Flag’s name refers to the act of fabricating an attack on your own country in order to justify an attack on one’s enemies. There are real examples of false flag operations in history, but Google the term and, as Gauthier says, “you’re going to find a lot of weird shit,” mostly from the fringes of the American right, who use it to describe every terrorist attack, school shooting and dangerous weather condition that happens; literally, every single one.

 

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