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Why Leanne Betasamosake Simpson Rules by Damian Rogers

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson

As a renowned Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg scholar, writer, artist, activist, thinker, and mother, Leanne Simpson models a life in which all of one’s energies is applied to work that matters.

I’ve had the extraordinary privilege of working with Leanne Simpson over the last few years, both as the editor of her forthcoming book of stories and songs, This Accident of Being Lost (House of Anansi Press, April 2017), and through the performance series The Basement Revue. She is an artist who has introduced me to an entirely new dimension of commitment. She is a living example of what self-determination and integrity within the cultural and literary world looks like.

The first time I saw Leanne Simpson perform her work was at the book launch for Islands of Decolonial Love where she read poems and stories from the book backed by musicians such as Nick Ferrio and Tara Williamson. As a poet who often works with musicians, I was amazed at how seamless and natural she made this blend of genres appear; I had never seen anything like it before. She is her own genre. Onstage she radiates all of the qualities you find in her writing: she is magnetic, incisive, brilliant, fierce, and hilarious.

But this is only one piece of why Leanne Simpson rules. When I’m speaking to US American poets and the conversation turns to the crisis of the environment, or pipelines, or #NODAPL, I tell them to read Leanne Simpson. I send them to this extraordinary interview she granted to Naomi Klein about the Idle No More movement. It’s a few years old now and yet it speaks directly to the immediate moment. And then I direct them to her books. They are always blown away.

Confronting colonialism isn’t comfortable, especially for those of us who benefit from its structures in ways that some would rather not dwell on. I’m a white settler — that language alienates some of my fellow white people, but it’s a pretty straightforward description of how I got here. I moved to Toronto from the US in 2002. Reading Leanne Simpson’s Dancing on Our Turtles Back and Islands of Decolonial Love provided a window into how much I don’t — and in some cases, can’t — know about the territory where I now live. She protects Indigenous knowledge while at the same time providing important context for non-Indigenous audiences who choose to do the labour to challenge their own teachings and to evolve in their own thinking. She has already amassed a remarkable body of work across multiple genres and forms, and she is just hitting her stride.

In the blurb for her new story and song collection, Naomi Klein hits it on the head when she says that Leanne Simpson “writes irresistible love stories in the jaws of genocide.” She makes me want to be a better human in all that she does. She shows me how to be a better mother by her refusal of dominant expectations that women with children will hide their role as a mother if they want to be taken seriously. Her work inspires me to take more risks in more own writing and to push my own perceptions. And when it comes to setting one’s own rules as an artists, she sets the bar.

Damian Rogers is the author of two poetry collections, Paper Radio and Dear Leader. She is currently working on a memoir about mothers and daughters, dementia, and art, among other things, called An Alphabet for Joanna. She lives in Toronto, where she works as the co-artistic director and co-host of the performance series, The Basement Revue.

Catch Leanne Betasamosake Simpson at Kazoo! Fest 2017 on Wednesday April 5th with Luyos MC @ Silence.

leannesimpson.ca

Why Weaves Rule by Emily Johnston

Weaves

When I was asked to do a write up for Weaves, I was having a few beers at a friends house. I was convinced I was asked as a joke, was terrified at the thought, but I could not stop talking about them – pretty much all night. My friend Alli eventually started taking notes, knowing I wouldn’t be able to place everything that was pouring out of me.
..

Here are some of those notes:
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Her voice makes me want to sing

Learn every word

Belt it out

In the summer

With all the windows open

Yell. Every. Fucking. Word.

 

All the weirdness is front and centre

Without any inhibitions

She is encouraging and strong

And a fucking weirdo

She just fucking does it

 

And I find her empowering
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Emily Johnston is the volunteer coordinator for Kazoo! Fest 2017.

Weaves play Kazoo! Fest 2017 on Saturday April 8th with Constantines and Girls Rock Camp Guelph Band, Violet Ice @ Mitchell Hall.

weavesband.com
weaves.bandcamp.com

Kazoo! Fest 2017 – Podcast #4

Hymns57, host of CFRU‘s Aural Tethers chats with Roarke Menzies for this installment of Kazoo Fest Podcast. They chat about Roarke’s semi nomadic upbringing, musical evolution, and discography. Menzies opens up about his unique and ethereal take on live vocal performance. Also, Hymns57 takes 4 brand new tracks from Roarke Menzies, Hexzuul, Xuan Ye and Brigette Bardon’t and offers a 30 minute mix, showcasing the tracks that will be available on a limited edition cassette that will be for sale at the show Saturday April 8th at the Kazoo Fest HQ, which is co-presented with CHANNEL and Ed Video. Here’s what to expect…

Hexzuul – Pleistocene Drift
Xuan Ye – Dawns Upon Me In The Snow, Becoming Ravens
Roarke Menzies – Prosthetic Memory
Brigette Bardon’t – b4 + after (sexy bitch demo)

Download
Thanks to our friends at CFRU 93.3 FM!

Why Eyeballs Rules by Brandon Lim

Eyeballs

What the hell was Kazoo! thinking asking me to write a blurb about Eyeballs? I have only seen them once and I may never see them again — but if you asked me how good that one time was on a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being Not Satisfying at All and 10 being Extremely Satisfying) I definitely left that show Extremely Satisfied. I can’t say I love Eyeballs yet as that’s the kind of bond between band and fan that takes time to grow but after hearing their 2016 LP Bad Art, I have a feeling they will continue to grow on me like a weird rash (Full disclosure: I have eczema).

Eyeballs make pro-nonsense dance punk music with a healthy dose of freaky deaky. There’s a naughty krautiness to the (song) vibes highlighted with occasional bouts of noise punk fussiness. Gnarly distorted bass lines and heavy organ, glitchy blippity bloop sounding synthesizers, pummeling percussion, there’s nothing this band has that you don’t want. We’re talking Triple AAA battery charged TURBO PUNK.

They are a duology made up of 1 part Jenn Kitigawa, 1 part Britt Prioulx, who are equal parts bad ass. They both share active duty on many traditional cool band instruments like guitar, bass, drums, synth, and vocals. The math on that makes no sense but somehow they pull it off. Word on the street has it that they may have added a third member into the mix though so if you haven’t seen this mysterious new line up, I would get on that.

Go see Eyeballs play at Kazoo! or anytime in the future but specifically at Kazoo! fest because it’ll be their best show ever. Every show after could get diminishingly worse you never know, see them while they’re in their prime!

Brandon Lim is 34 years old and publishes a macrobiotic vegan food zine called the Healthy Ninja, hosts a monthly VHS movie night called Tapewurm Tuesdaze, and runs a Thai restaurant with his family called Mengrai Thai where he met Jackie Chan once. He also plays bass guitar in sludge-punk band HSY, “noh-wave” collective YAMANTAKA // Sonic Titan, and “other” band SIGIL.

Eyeballs play Kazoo! Fest 2017 on Friday April 7th with Century Egg, Badminton Racquet and LAPS @ eBar.

eyeballsmusic.bandcamp.com

Why Ice Cream Rules by Simone Tisshaw-Baril

Ice Cream

Ice Cream are one of those bands that can cradle the feeling of cold seriousness and beauty and weave it into a haunting song. Their multi-instrumentalism as well as their looming “chimp box” playing their backing beats make their live shows permanently engaging, with there always being something to take in. There is also an added quality that they carry of impending chaos, with just two people in control of multiple musical elements. At any given time, Carlyn Bezic and Amanda Crist could be controlling chilling oscillations, ripping a flame fingered guitar solo, delivering a strong haunting vocal, asserting the bass as a lead melodic instrument, playing a spine tingling synth line – It’s hard to keep up. Vocal delivery pierces ears with its seriousness, no matter whose mouth it is coming from. Ice Cream are not a band that dials it in, making their live shows memorable and unique with combinations of costume, set design and lighting. Two of the sweetest people I’ve ever known have created their own world with their own sound to go in it. Every time I am able to enter that world I am thrilled. Attitude, inventiveness, commitment and execution are why I love Ice Cream.

Simone Tisshaw-Baril is a Toronto-based musician that plays in tons of great bands such as The Highest Order, Fake Palms, Darlene Shrugg, Tropics, The Seams and more.

Catch Ice Cream at Kazoo! Fest 2017 on Friday April 7th with Persons, LA Timpa and YlangYlang @ ANAF.

icecreamband.com