Saturday, 25 June 2016

Festival news and Future States

So here we are, rolling into the final round of events for this month's festival. Tomorrow afternoon a family block party BBQ is being held on Manilla avenue behind the old Princess theatre. Pay what you want burgers, sausages, and cold lemonade, games, crafts, live music and more from noon to 4pm.

So that's Sunday. Keep your fingers crossed for sunny skies. On Monday at 7 there is a quartet from Toronto (Valued Customer) playing jazzy out-there hip hop, and a quintet from Montreal (Avec le Soleil sortant de sa Bouche) playing psychedelic out-there funk vibes. Tunes will be on point and dancing is encouraged. A bargain at 5$.

So that's Monday. On Tuesday me and VuCu are gonna cook up some jams for the open mic, hosted by yours truly, after which a band called Future States will perform a pay what you want set in the laundromat.

On Wednesday the last show of the Fortnight Festival features Winnipeg jazz-math rock band Fox Who Slept the Day Away and local post-punk prophet Christopher Shoust's project Telephone and Address. 7 pm, also 5$. 

Please remember that shows at the Gore Street Café are alcohol-free and all-ages. There's a lot of talk going around about giving youth something to do downtown, and we're pleased to offer a regular, affordable option for anyone interested in getting out and checking out some independent canadian music.

Here's a little chat with Future State's Chuck Bronson about their band's current tour:

who's in this band and what do they play?

Dan Gélinas (Drums/Bells), Nick Hyatt (Synths/Vocals), Brodie Conley (Guitar/Synths/Vocals), David Lacalamita (Bass/Vocals), Chuck Bronson (Guitar/Vocals/Sampler)

is this your first time playing in the Soo?

Yes : ) 

is this your first time performing in a laundromat?

Yes : ) 

how long has this band been together?

~ 3 years

how far are you travelling on this tour?

MTL--> Gimli Manitoba = 2,346.9 km / 25h

what's been the best show so far?

That is like asking Leonardo da Vinci to pick his best painting.

what do you like to eat on the road?

McDonald's Fries

what do you listen to when you travel? 

Check out their music at

Friday, 17 June 2016

Day of the big show

Months, a year in the making,
Tonight's set brought together a fantastic foursome of musical acts

Dream pop hot rockers Ida.maidstone and the hush puppies are returning to trade smooth music for warm hospitality and cultural exchange


Dude, watch the movie snow cake

Everybody stop what you're doing

The whole thing takes place in Wawa.

Those in the know on tonight's big headliner, the sly and stoic Rae Spoon, had seen them pass through the Sault before 

Donna Hopper came to film a chat with Rae for Tuned outside the venue, and Michael Burtch and Rihkee Strapp bobbed heads to Rae's beats as nineties folk grunge, german electro and proper country drawl were channeled by the champ. Laundromat concert highlight by far, especially since tonight also featured HUSH PUP, Hearts Right In, and Rihkee Strapp singing their song-styles as well. Almost overwhelming!

Rae has rocked Lops, and Reggie's karaoke as well, and spent the evening tonight meeting and sharing music with a sampling of veteran laundromat artists and collaborators. I beleive they said " Gore Street is beautiful".

Rae today was welcomed into a circle drawn from St Catharines to Victoria, Manitoba and Toronto. Gore Street almost seemed like it was ours, traffic dulled by construction to a backwards drip, measured in memories of friends from Winnipeg and America, Parkdale and Quenn Street East. 

Is anybody camping in my backyard tonight?

Michelle's partner Doug and I finally tuned into the fact that we'd probably already met at Not My Dog about ten years ago. Paul Yendell rolled through to chat with Michael Burtch after the opening acts and wondered whether anybody else was going to show up.

Did they?

Where were you?


Dizzy Gillespie played?

The Rolling Stones came to town?

The Clash?

The Cure?

De Courcey?

The pulse of indie Canadian music is literally flowing through the highways of this very town. Ground the lightning! Tap into the Power of Valued Customer, June 27th, Telephone and Address, June 29th, and other festival fun from now till then. Check out the sounds of the summer, buy a pass and tell your friends that Gore Street is fun.

I got a Hush Pup tape for my sister, and some locals were lured by Le Stack's Hearts Right In on Gore Street, stopping what foot traffic there was with their scrappy smarts and hopeful snarl. Check them out with Sonny Vibe$, Michael Burtch, Andrea Pinheiro, Teddy Syrette, via Skype, and films by Isabelle Michaud, Hayet Coughlan and Theresa Braun at tonight's Talk Show 7-10pm. Make a living making art. Catch your breath tomorrow and come back crying on Monday.

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Rock n roll dishpit

Day two of the Fortnight festival snuck up on me at 9am. Today we served latkes with side mixed greens and sour cream. And from six to nine we served chickpea masala and potato curry with rice and naan bread. Special guest chef and all. As the heat rolled in, new friends rolled west, and we made up new freestyle games and baked Rhubarb Oat and Apple muffins. Hangovers are hard, but festival life provides. I refused to let Johnny De buy produce from Walmart, and he brought me back RJs potatoes, which became potato pancakes and curry as the sun beat down.

Johnny from Painted Fruit has been under the weather for a couple days, and their gig in Thunder Bay may be cancelled. But touring bands don't have time to get waylaid or woebegotten. Yesterday's junket was something inspirational, de Courcey is the real deal, and Painted Fruit owe Pat a crop top;-) We're listening to the tapes now. Blessed played with Shoust last month at the American, and I like the glammy grunge and proggy punk rock coming from the west coast these days.

And so in Mikey's basement suite and into the wee hours we did (somewhat) quietly jam with local rappers Kowgli and Osiris. Compliment battles allow us to channel the energy and wit of hip hop into something less aggressive, more transgressive, and just plain more fun. We got our Soo Jersey on. Shout out to anybody who doesn't like crowds. Anxiety keeps us apart, but it also brings us together. Hence the sketchy punk rock environs.

Our west coast friends enjoyed the hospitality of our dank apartment, traded freestyles, foods and libations, and told tales of superhuman vision, Victorian decadence, and positive manifestation. The children of the nineties are coming into their big kid dreams. What comes after a baby boom? Chosen family and sister cults. It was pretty sweet to run junket with Johnny, drop rhymes with the festival crew, and sing Bowie/Reed's Satellite of Love as a duet with Mr de Courcey, which I'm told was enjoyable. 

Tonight is a special night. Tempestuous. Laundry Rock has birthed. Five dish ninjas. Dad salad. We've got a new junket coming in tonight from st Catharine's Canary Love Collective. Rae Spoon, HUSH PUP, Rihkee Strapp, and Hearts Right In are playing at the laundromat. Doors at 7, 15$ at the door, 25$ festival pass gets you into almost two weeks of shows, a fortnight, say, I tarry, yay, come fly away, to a place where the ditch goes underground. Summer is here, Gore Street is ours, and there's a bunch of bands coming to your town;-)

Here's a simple curried sweet potato soup that the Painted Fruit boys enjoyed underneath the festival tent

3-4 lbs peeled sweet potato
One medium onion
Four cloves minced garlic
White pepper
Garam masala
Curry powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Lemon to.finish

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Festival kickoff

The boys of Painted Fruit are out skateboarding or inside keeping up with the euro cup. In the morning they'll start mixing some new recordings made in Montreal. All afternoon they're on a promo junket, touring downtown Sault from Station Mall To Mill square, postering Albert and Gore, putting out the signal to promote business, community, and arts in this town for the next two weeks.

Festival Season is upon us.

Who knows what time it is? What day? Make more posters, need more time. Around two pm Michael Burtch honks at me from his van, pulls over and hands me a small jar of birtch syrup, sweet and precious. Hold onto a festival pass for me, he says, and drives away.

Here we go!

By three pm we are soggy, though Johnny de Courcey shows no sign of ever running out of steam. He gets lost talking to locals at the food court, and pages the junket over the intercom. He makes friends at the market and postcards for his mom. He vlogs intermittently and improvises arias, sings love songs to the Sault in the rain.

The flyers for tonight won't be ready till 430. After an accident took out a pole opposite one we'd postered less than an hour earlier, and the rain dampened a roof dog garbage run, Patrick picks us up at the mall and runs us over to the mill market to pick up supplies for Thursday's community dinner and night market.

At the market, Rihkee Strapp gives Johney, and Evan from Painted Fruit a quick look at their artwork on the market wall. We grab a slice of pizza and rip some promo. 

Come out tonight and these  fellows will play their hearts out for you. Come through in the next two weeks and well always have something going on. 

Screw June Gloom. Let the festival begin!


Thursday, 9 June 2016

Open during construction

My upstairs neighbour is caterwauling at 9:45 am. He is singing "the house of the rising sun" I have seen a grown man in white jungle gear perform the tune on Toronto's Quenn Street East. I have had my fill. Apparently Mr Zimmerman wrote this classic before the motorcycle crash.

Low n Slow, until June 23rd located at 113 Gore Street, is next to a large hole in the soft dirt and sewage soil. The bartender tells me tales of city workers and restaurant employees who have already tumbled into the  dank abyss. I fear for when the summer chaos moves north of Albert.

The same metaphor appears twice in Douglas Adams' 'Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy'; the spaceship that has lost its sensor which detects meteors to a meteor strike, and the man whose name is scribbled across the flesh of his brain  in His Own Handwriting.

These things float through my brain as i gaze into the quiet weekend pit. Gore Street is halfway consumed with sewer reconstruction now, and it is more common to see trucks and cars driving the wrong way, southwards, than to see them come up from Quenn or Albert. All the lights flash red, all the time.

And yet, today was a good day for brunch. And tonight there's some pretty sharp acts playing a show in the old sunsnine 'mat:

Smoke Eaters, touring east from Victoria, will be headlining. Their catchy brand of psyched out garage rock will soothe the damage done to my nervous system by the past couple weeks of truck-and-crane.

Opening up are local acts Great Chamberlain and Shit Creek Survivor, both slanging a grimy folk style that's straight-up Soo. The show is pay what you can, and doors are at 7.

One last shout out to the LnS crew, who are moving in a couple of weeks into the old Verdi Hall at 480 Albert West. I toast several "last pints" to you underneath the ceiling mirror, beneath Chad's old fun-pad. I've lived in the neighborhood almost two years now, and I've seen some changes. Is it fated that yoga, brunch, and tapas will all be available in the heart of what was once downtown Sault? 

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Mayhemingways June 22nd

Had a rough time entertaining our new friends the Smoke Eaters this weekend. They played a little garage rock set in the laundromat two nights back, on their way westward with Petey at the wheel.

Everybody knows my cousin Mischa from Surprise Party, now check out Misha, Davie and Leigh, (on vox/bass, guitar/vox and drums) next time they roll up to rock a sweaty sud-shop near you.

Our mood was too dancey for Coch's, Lops was apparently at capacity at 1am, (great turnout for My Son The Hurricane) and the band at Reggie's played their last number at 1:30. These young musicians just wanted to go out dancing on a Saturday night, but Top Hat is guarded by a robot that only accepts photo ID.

And now the news:

Our latest experiment in community arts and culture is called the Fortnight Festival, and it runs for most of the second half of June. There will be about ten live music events, community dinners, a street party,  Dj Seith's Refind dance night, a live talk show featuring local arts and culture makers: see fb and search #fortnightfestival and #openduringconstruction for more news.

The focus this summer is on increasing traffic to Gore Street during the sewage and street repairs. Come support local businesses like Toni's Cakery, Vixens Couture, Mr M's Furniture, Darcy's Clearance shop, Algoma inkjet, and IM Interested in Old Things. Food, entertainment, vintage shopping, pet care, yoga, and the only 24 hour convenience in downtown Sault. It's a happening block:-)

And now a short talk with Benj, singer/guitarist/ banjoer and pedal bassist of the Mayhemingways, who first stopped into the Gore Street Café for some brunch last summer after a gig at 180



Sam: This isn't your first time playing the Soo, or even playing on Gore Street, is it?

Benj: no, we've played here before quite a few times. Last time was at 180 projects. We've played loplops in the past as well.

Sam: is it your first laundromat gig?

Benj: (For myself) personally, I can say it's not my first time playing in a laundromat. Some friends and I played a show at the villa auto wash in peterborough, A couple years ago. It's the kind of laundromat that always seems vacant, so we didn't ask the owners. We just put up posters and played a show. And washed some clothes. There may be a video on YouTube if I can find it...
( this is that laundromat show)

Sam: What do you prefer to eat when you're on the road?

Benj: I don't know yet. For a while I tried to eat made-up salads from grocery stores. But now the thought of those things is gross.

Sam: How long have the Mayhemingways been active?

Benj: This band has been together 4 years roughly.

Sam: How far are you travelling on this tour?

Benj: We're traveling between st John's nl. And Revelstoke is as far west as we get this time

Sam: Thanks for taking the time to chat! Looking forward to seeing you play next week, it's gonna be great!

The Mayhemingways are playing next Wednesday, June 22nd at Gore Street Café, with Blue Moon Marquee.

Friday, 3 June 2016

dangers of urban shamanism

It's almost midnight on Friday,

June 3rd, 2016

when I finally get the chance to eat a butter tart, drink a cold pbr, and give the brand-new Ugggy mixtape,

Legends of the SmoKe

(available online at 

a good once-over.

Here's the first video, for the song Vines


This mixtape features original lyrical performances and productions by Toronto artists PCK, Timmy No heart, Cosmo Doris, PineappleGland, VELODRONES, Fuzzcoil, King Calm, Sly Why, L.B.F., Chris Love, Uncle P,
some kind of meme or bot called +x÷=

... and of course the titular Ugggy, who grows more geez with every release, although very quickly this music has won me over with its smooth, stylish flows and forward-looking eclectic synthesis.

The solo-artist mixtape format affords Ugggs and his studio crew the ability to go to the really far out and come back down again, maintaining an air of anticipation and almost complete abandon, all within the formal constraints of a hip pop song.

Balanced and various variations on the two-to- three verse jam leave one guessing, and allows listeners to suspend their sonic disbelief with regards to the freeform, full-spectrum canvases into which the valued customers, PCK and UGggY, tend to polish their productions.

I am happy to hear the old pig rapping, missed it on Byugecup. Although that word bitch has to come up...

What are the dangers of urban shamanism? What should you look for as warning signs in your friends and loved ones who may have a taste for hype anthems and esoteric cyphers?

In all honesty, many of these tracks on first listen come off a bit bro-y. Then again, the harmonies on Not too in my Feelings are as earnestly sweet as anything on VuCu's offering Kalpa... With the testosterone rush of '16 in the 6' vocal stylings come capable, shiny club-ready mixes and thoughtful, lurking dance music throughout. 

Every time though, that thuggish thrum is swiftly ornamented, counterbalanced, or superseded by noise-jazz riffery, sound collage, and UGggYs hypnotic, panting, breathless, effortless, endlessly wending wordplay, thought swaying in outward-expanding spirals.

But here's the troubling part, and a moment for speculation on what Hugecup is actually going to sound like.

Valued Customer's 2015 release byugecup achieved a proper jazz structure via late sixties Miles gracia the hornwork of Dave"the thunder of" Baldry, which meant song lengths were at least four minutes and at most nine.

This uggy essay in early nineties album forms brings song lengths down to two, three, max five minutes, with an interlude here and there...this trend could lead to something almost completely abstract like They Might Be Giants, thirty second snippets smashed together like Abbey Road. Who is this +x÷=, and who/what do they think they are?

What is the danger? Why do I hate on that word bitch? Though it often accompanies misogyny, my first objection is to the patriarchal hierarchy implied in the dom/sub duality, which implies that those not vying to get on top are weak, and I don't hear the term being flipped on those who currently profit from the subjugation of women, children, racialized peoples, and troublesome minorities the world over.

Stop dropping that language/ power stance and this music could take off into a truly transcendent postmodern genre.
Check Pat's riffs in the outro of this here banger, Purple Caps:

Sounds like/ for fans of:

Kool Keith
The dirty version of 36 chambers
Kendrick Lamar
Pierre Henry
Sun Ra
The weekend
Garlic flavour
Massive attack

Leash Kids make their debut, etc

At BGP tapes, we're getting very excited about our upcoming releases and musical projects. Here's a rundown of what's on tap(e), and how you can stay tuned to the most tastefully irreverant garbage going down in the Soo this summer.

Mescaline Ditch have finished recording their belated Drone Day side, and will be releasing it this summer, paired with unreleased minimalist productions by the unfamous Sam Mdwara Decter.

Telephone and Address has agreed to have his latest album, Are you or have you Ever Been, released by BGP tapes, and we are so excited. But whatever will that B side be?

Leash Kids, who are playing their first show at Redneck's this Saturday

have also got something in the can all ready to plop on your stoop. And it will be paired with:

Straight B-sydes, the first collection of original tracks by hip hop artists JPK and Osiris, hitting  streets, sidewalks, and parking lots this summer.

And once Toronto's Valued Customer has dropped the Byugecup, left hook to the right jab that Ugggy's mixtape Legends of the Smoke just hit me with, we're gonna chew up their back catalogue and spit it back out just for giggles.

Roof Dogs, Face Medleys, Soogaze, DJ Miley, political songs about traffic lights and public art, Space Jams with Michael/Jordan, something mega normal like Morgan does, lots more underground and highly concious hip hop and spoken word, synth jams and soundscapes, all laid down on magnetic tape and wrapped up in biohazard bag.

But despite all this manic summer buzz, BGP tapes makes no claims to have the market cornered on cool music in the Soo. Because we know that there's only one person who can say that, and it's YOU

YOU are any age and interested in live music downtown. We have dozens of all ages shows planned this summer at the café, check us out on fb and insta @gorestreetcafe

YOU are an independent or emerging artist looking for help recording, releasing, booking and promoting YOUR music. Please contact us ( about playing shows, merch, releases, and recording projects. Especially, but not exclusively, if the music YOU make is weird, dark, trippy, spacey, anachronistic, experimental, avant-garde, just plain odd, or chillwave. Freaks stick together.

YOU play an instrument and have originals or covers YOU want to try out in public: Tuesday's Gore Street Open Mic is where YOU want to be! Friendly bohemian vibes and pay-what-YOU-can food and beverages. All ages, all styles, no cover. Every Tuesday 6-10 pm at 164 Gore Street #openduringconstruction.

YOU are a non-musician, who loves discovering new artists and making playlists. In a perfect world, there'd be a college radio station for YOU to host a show on, but in this garbage world, all you've got is us, and we need YOU to make mixtapes and zines, share new fave tunes via handmade charms, and bring some life to the indie scene. Never oversaturated, there's always room in the underworld;-)

I would be remiss if not shouting out to some new friends who've passed through to play the café in the past week. We hosted top-notch acoustic performances and equally lovely visits from Graham Nicholas (Toronto), Logan McKillop (wpg) and the Roger twins, Madeline and Lucas, also from the peg, who have just released their first album as dynamic duo Roger Roger. It was also nice to meet Dave Giulietti, who performs as Cage Bird Free. Catch him hosting an open mic soon.