Tag Archives: A Tribe Called Red

A Tribe Called Red’s Bear Witness On The Expanding Halluci Nation

A Tribe Called Red's Bear Witness

A Tribe Called Red’s Bear Witness

Genre and culture expanding electronic act A Tribe Called Red have been hard at work converting their We Are The Halluci Nation album into an actual nation of a sort.

If not a “nation” in the traditional geo-political sense, it’s certainly taking shape in the art and music world.

I spoke to band member Bear Witness about this evolution in advance of the X Avant festival this fall.

To read the interview head over to Samaritanmag by clicking here.

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The Official 2014 Risky Fuel Holiday Gift Guide

The 2014 Risky Fuel gift guide

The 2014 Risky Fuel gift guide

Something changed deep inside of me when Blake Lively launched her lifestyle brand, Preserve, this past summer.

Instead of ignoring – or, perhaps, idly mocking – the whole experiment as I’d done with Gwyneth Paltrow’s GOOP and other out of touch brands run by hopelessly beautiful and privileged blonde stars, I became oddly jealous. It wasn’t fair that Blake Lively, star of Gossip Girl and the Traveling Pants movies, could have a lifestyle brand when I, writer of some articles that some people maybe read sometimes, did not.

Since then, I’ve occasionally threatened to turn Risky Fuel into a lifestyle blog, telling Aaron that I was going to start rhapsodically writing about the importance of owning Rod Stewart hot pants and Cancer Bats t-shirts with the sleeves cut off (and the brilliance of wearing both items at once).

With the holiday gift guide season upon us, and with Aaron arguably already dipping Team Risky Fuel’s toe into the lifestyle blogging world with a post about furniture, now seems as good a time as any to do this.

Here is Risky Fuel’s first (maybe) annual Gift Guide, full of stuff that you should buy for your loved ones/me.

For Stinky People (And People Who Like To Engage In Activities That Cause Stink)

Apera Duffel Pack


Apera duffel bag

I discovered Apera Bags at the Las Vegas Rock n Roll Marathon’s expo this year and was immediately impressed with the amount of thought and detail that had gone into the design and construction of their various gym bags. Each one is outfitted with a logically-placed series of compartments that will allow you to actually find your shit when you’re looking for it, and contains a number of ventilated areas and wipeable surfaces that will keep your shit from smelling like it’s been languishing in the festering hell hole that is your average gym bag. As someone who’s spent a fair amount of time working in fitness and training in martial arts, I can assure you that anyone who tries to make fitness accessories smell less is doing the lord’s work.

Las Vegas Rock n Roll Half Marathon Entrance Fee

No, really! This is fun. I swear.

No, really! This is fun. I swear.

If a loved one expresses some interest in this race and/or a trip to Las Vegas, paying for their entrance fee is a great way to say “I love you and I would love for you to experience all of the magic of standing in the middle of a totally shut off Las Vegas Blvd, watching Doors tribute acts, and getting free chocolate milk… and running 13.1 miles.”

Or maybe it’s the best way for your subconscious to say “I enjoy your company and want to guilt you into coming with me even though you’re ambivalent at best about this running thing.”

Either way, I did this for my dear friend Rachel last year and I’m sure she’ll forgive me eventually.

The Entire Knixwear Line



Knixwear is a Canadian female-run company that actually bothers to think about things like periods, crotch sweat, and wonky pelvic floors and makes comfortable, attractive underwear that addresses these issues. Their athletic line, which is moisture-wicking, anti-odor, absorbent, and leak resistant, is particularly brilliant. As a former Spinning instructor who has heard (and experienced) a number of athletic undergarment-related horror stories, I cannot overestimate the importance of these things.

All of the Things From The Perth Soap Co.

Perth Soap Company

Perth Soap Company

I was predisposed to liking The Perth Soap Co. because it’s manufactured in a plant in Perth, Ontario that’s been making soap for over a hundred years and, as someone who comes from a post-industrial wasteland of a hometown, I loved the idea of a plant of any kind adapting to the times and continuing to thrive in a changing marketplace. Then I was given a couple of “Cleansing Bars,” in the parlance of Perth, to sample and I turned into a full-blown fanatic. The bars smell wonderful. They make my whole bathroom smell wonderful after I’ve used one. And they make me stink less. This is quite an accomplishment.

At $10 a pop, the bars aren’t cheap, but they’re fairly large (170g) and, in my personal experience, last forever. As far as I can tell, the cost per wash isn’t significantly higher than what you’d pay for an OK-smelling glycerin soap. And a Perth bar, particularly a Moroccan Spice one, will de-stinkify you for so much longer.

For Jewelry Fans Whose Interest In Tiffany’s Does Not Extend Beyond Truman Capote Novellas

Toronto Custom Order Bracelet

Toronto bracelet

Toronto bracelet

 Aaron gave me one of L.A. Jones’s whimsical Toronto-themed charm bracelets for Christmas two years ago and it’s easily one of the best gifts I’ve ever received. You can customize your bracelet from a selection of Toronto-centric beads that include the CBC, Sam The Record Man, Maple Leafs, Blue Jays, Eaton’s, The Bay, Porter, and more. My piece has Fran’s and Mars Diner beads next to each other, because those two institutions are at least 78 per cent of what I love about the city.

Missy Industry Einstein Necklace


Einstein necklace

Montreal’s Missy Industry has been making gothic and industrial influenced jewelry since 2003 and it’s all uniformly brilliant, from the Snake Bite ring to the Spine earrings to the Serpent necklace. My personal favourite, as a giant nerd who once boasted the nomme de guerre Sarah Bellum, though, is the Einstein, a handmade sterling silver brain on an 18-inch chain. Rachel gave this to me for Christmas last year and it’s easily earned more compliments than any other thing I’ve ever worn.

I, of course, reciprocated by making her run 13.1 miles. Which is probably further proof that I’m the type of person who should have a brain necklace as opposed to, say, a heart one.

Winky Slap Band Watches

UnknownWinky Slap Band watches

Winky Slap Band watches

Las Vegas casinos are designed to rob you of your senses and rational thought and do dumb things that you’ll probably regret later. I came out of my gambling experience on my last Vegas trip with a fairly intact bank roll, but I do have one regret: I was so sleep deprived by the time I made it to the Winky store at downtown’s Container Park that I could not put the following thought together: “I need a new watch. I really like this stuff. It’s aesthetically pleasing and functional. The slap band watch strap appeals to my ’90s nostalgia without being a garish and uninspired recreation of the old trend. Winky seems like a lovely human. I should buy a watch.” So I walked out of the store without a watch, ate a bunch of $3 meatballs at Pizza Rock and bought multiple pairs of Las Vegas-themed leggings. I don’t regret the meatballs or leggings, but I do wish that I’d added a watch to my bounty that day. There’s even a digital version, which is great for those of us who can’t read an analog clock to save their lives.

Luckily, shipping to Canada is only $7.95, so I can rectify this mistake long before I return to Vegas for the 2015 half marathon. Which Rachel won’t be running.

A Dimitri Gagnon Morris Commission

Screen Shot 2014-12-10 at 7.45.23 PM

My friend and occasional MMA t-shirt art expert won’t be officially kicking off his jewelry line until 2015, but you can contact him to commission one of his stunning designs in the mean time.

For People Who Like Good Art, Activism, And Being On The Right Side of History

Seal Cuffs

Tagaq approved seal cuffs

Tagaq approved seal cuffs

If you want to look as cool as the Polaris Music Prize-winning throat singer and dream interview subject Tanya Tagaq, well… you can’t. No one’s as cool as Tanya Tagaq. But you can be as cool as any non-Tagaq person can be in a pair of seal fur cuffs just like the ones she wore during her mesmerizing performance at the Polaris Music Prize Gala. As Exclaim pointed out in their gift guide, you can buy the cuffs, made by Cheryl Fennell, in grey, black, cranberry, or arctic blue at SnowFly.

If you know anyone who still doesn’t have her epic Animism album, you should definitely give them a copy of that as well.

A Tribe Called Red Nation II Nation Hoodie

A Tribe Called Red hoodie

A Tribe Called Red hoodie

There are few things that the Risky Fuel household love more than the music of A Tribe Called Red and hoodies (or at least few things I love more – Aaron once tried to impose a hoodie moratorium on the household and I will never let him forget it). Here you can mix these two brilliant things in one perfect made-in-Mexico and printed-in-Canada hoodie.

I suggest accessorizing with a copy of Nation II Nation and a Caucasians t-shirt, as seen on DJ NDN.

Rhymes For Young Ghouls Poster

Rhymes For Young Ghouls

Rhymes For Young Ghouls

Jeff Barnaby’s debut feature length film Rhymes For Young Ghouls was one of the best offerings at TIFF in 2013 and is one of the most exciting and important films that Canada has ever produced. Aaron and I are both a little obsessed with it. This beautiful poster is worthy of film it promotes, and would make a great film for anyone with any taste.

Handmade Louis Riel Cowichan Sweater

Louis Riel sweater

Louis Riel sweater

The various “Keep It Riel” t-shirts and whatnots that I’ve seen floating around the internet and various independent stores in Toronto are cute, but if you really want to sartorially celebrate Métis pride, you’ve got to go with this incredible handmade sweater by Laura Kapp.

For Metalheads

Screaming For Vengeance Leggings

Screaming For Vengeance leggings

Screaming For Vengeance leggings

Looking at handmade metal-themed products on Etsy is one of my most beloved methods of procrastination, and Hell Couture consistently impresses me/sings a siren song to my wallet their mix of metal leggings and repurposed t-shirts. I believe that this pair would look particularly good upon my person.

DIO > OZZY Letterpress Print

Dio forever

Dio forever

And this is the second greatest metal related thing that I’ve ever seen on Etsy. If you know someone who doesn’t want this beautifully designed heap of indisputable truth on their wall, you should probably stop talking to them. If you know someone who doesn’t agree, you should burn them as the heretics they are.

Screaming For Vengeance Tapestry Blanket

Screaming For Vengeance blanket

Screaming For Vengeance blanket

Up until I visited Judas Priest’s North American online store a couple of months ago, it had never occurred to me that one of the greatest metal bands of all time would produce any linen-related merchandise whatsoever. But now that I’ve sent this beautifully woven throw, I realize that I’ve never wanted anything more in life. I imagine that other Priest obsessives will feel the same.

Metalhead DVD



Metalhead was another TIFF 2013 highlight for me. The Icelandic film about a young woman who turns to metal for solace after the brutal death of her brother is remarkable because it manages to understand both heavy metal culture and the workings of the human mind and heart with perfect clarity and enthusiasm. The film’s director and producer are currently raising funds for the film’s DVD and BluRay release. For a pledge of €20 (currently about $29 Canadian), you can get yourself a DVD copy of this brilliant movie. For €75 ($107), you can also get a poster and a personalized message from the director, Ragnar Bragason, and the lead actress, Thora Bjorg Helga. I had the pleasure of interviewing both of them at TIFF, and I can guarantee a message from the pair is worth at least twice that much.


Filed under Art, Culture, Films

A Tribe Called Red’s Social Media Musical Revolution

A Tribe Called Red

A Tribe Called Red

When dance DJ crew A Tribe Called Red bring their electric pow wow to the Field Trip festival this weekend they’ll also be bringing with them a certain air of social change.

That’s because the First Nations musicians have been on the forefront of a social media movement to grow, connect and empower indigenous citizens.

The band’s Ian Campeau talked to me about this, the Washington Redskins, The Flaming Lips and more for Huffington Post Music Canada.

To read the story go here.


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Kajan Johnson, A Tribe Called Red, The Ultimate Fighter And First Nations Rights In Canada

A Tribe Called Red

A Tribe Called Red

A little while ago on Twitter Ultimate Fighter contender Kajan Johnson tweeted how psyched he is about A Tribe Called Red‘s music.

This, being a perfect marriage of Sarah’s interests, prompted her to reach out to both of them for an interview about fighting and First Nations rights and issues.

To read that interview head over to Fightland by going here.


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Filed under Jock Stuff, Music, Shameless Promotion, Television

Polaris People For The Week Of August 9 (Young Galaxy! A Tribe Called Red! Braids!)

Young Galaxy

Young Galaxy

The latest edition of my Polaris People column is online over at the Polaris Music Prize website.

In this one we learn about the origins of Young Galaxy‘s name, examine A Tribe Called Red‘s connection to Idle No More and contemplate Braids‘ new song.

To read the column go here.



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Polaris People For The Week Of June 14 (Long List Reaction)

Owen Pallett

Owen Pallett

The latest edition of my Polaris People column is online over at the Polaris Music Prize website.

This week Polaris announced the 40 albums that made the 2013 Long List. It’s kinda a big deal, so this week’s Polaris People column was dedicated to reaction to that list.

To read the column, and find out what people like A Tribe Called Red, Rhye, Anciients and Jim Guthrie had to say, go here.

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Dirty Ghosts Tops Aaron’s Top 10 Albums Of 2012

Dirty Ghosts

Dirty Ghosts

This is my official Top 10 album list for 2012:

1. Dirty Ghosts Metal Moon

Most conventional modern “rock” music is horrible. This is not, and Metal Moon reminds me of all the best moments of gal-fronted rock from the last 30 years (Hole, The Pretenders, Toronto, Pat Benatar, PJ Harvey, etc) and some dudely bands like Thin Lizzy, too.

2. Lee Fields Faithful Man

There’ve been some great moments in this post-Amy Winehouse, post-Sharon Jones old soul revival, but few match the ascension of an actual old soul guy, Lee Fields. You know how when you hear a classic, like say James Brown’s “It’s A Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World” and you go, “Damn, I wish there was more music like that”? This, is that music.

3. Lana Del Rey Born To Die

People hate on Lana for her live performance and lips and gimmick-ness, but damn if this isn’t a conceptually perfect album with its broken Lolita lounge singer vibe.

4. Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats Blood Lust

There are many bands — mostly really bad metal bands — who claim they’re making really evil sounding music. Unfortunately, most of the time what they’re making isn’t evil so much as it’s extreme noise poop with unintelligible vocals. Uncle Acid, though, he’s one bad dude and you can tell straight away when you hear him.

5. D-Sisive Jonestown 3: The Dream Is Over

It took me awhile to give in and admit I really liked this album. Mostly this was because I’m friends with D-Sisive and didn’t want to appear too homer. But the truth is it’s a brilliant, moving album and the bummer singalong “When We Die We Die Together” is one of the hardest hitting songs I’ve ever heard.

6. Hooded Fang Tosta Mista

Imagine a bunch of Weezer nerds trying to pretend they’re a Cramps cover band. That’s what this is and it’s great.

7. Christopher Douglas Smith Earning Keep

Every year I seem to have one unexpected late-year creeper that slowly makes its way into my life and this year it’s Earning Keep. This is a subtle, haunting record that yields new finds with each listen.

8. The Flaming Lips And Heady Fwends

I generally have low expectations for weird collaborative projects like this, but there’s something so perfectly off-kilter about this album that it won me over. The combination of Ke$ha, Biz Markie and Flaming Lips on the opening track can’t be underestimated in helping turn the tide.

9. Neil Young Psychedelic Pill

Psychedelic Pill isn’t so much an amazing Neil Young album so much as it’s an amazing Neil Young echo. This record, anchored by three mega-guitar jams, reminds me of all the things I really like about Neil Young records and that’s why it makes this list.

10. A Tribe Called Red A Tribe Called Red

I love the idea of this album, but I’m just a touch less hot on the actual record. That’s not meant to be a backhand compliment so much as it’s the expression of some sort of cosmic desire to see ATCR’s electric powwow vibe get articulated in some perfect world-conquering way. This album isn’t quite there, but it’s close enough to make the list.

Other album lists…

2015 Top Ten — SUUNS + Jerusalem In My Heart SUUNS + Jerusalem In My Heart is #1
2014 Top Ten — Sharon Van Etten’s Are We There is #1
2013 Top Ten — M.I.A.’s Matangi is #1
2012 Top Ten — Dirty Ghosts’ Metal Moon is #1
2011 Top Ten — Timber Timbre’s Creep On Creepin’ On is #1
2010 Top Ten — The Black Angels’ Phosphene Dream is #1
2009 Top Ten — Gallows’ Grey Britain is #1
2008 Top Ten — Portishead’s Third is #1
2007 Top Ten — Joel Plaskett Emergency’s Ashtray Rock is #1
2006 Top Ten — My Brightest Diamond’s Bring Me The Workhorse is #1
2005 Top Ten — Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s Howl is #1
2004 Top Ten — Morrissey’s You Are The Quarry is #1
2003 Top Ten — The Dears’ No Cities Left is #1
2002 Top Ten — Archive’s You All Look The Same To Me is #1
2001 Top Ten — Gord Downie’s Coke Machine Glow is #1
2000 Top Ten — Songs: Ohia’s The Lioness is #1
1999 Top Ten — The Boo Radleys’ Kingsize is #1
1998 Top Ten — Baxter’s Baxter is #1
1996 Top Ten — Tricky’s Maxinquaye is #1


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