♫♪  Ghostkeeper - “People of the Pines”

“Happy Canada Day; one hundred and fifty great years of colonial achievement!” - Sarah Houle

The rest of the world may not have noticed, but Canada turns 150 years old on July 1, 2017. Everyone here knows it. We are being bombarded with the obligatory nostalgic foofaraw one would expect for such an anniversary; colonial celebrations abound, our spare change now glows in the dark, and so many media outlets are counting down lists of influential people and events as our nation reflects on the most important moments in its comparatively brief history. Typically, these lists are patriotically smoothed over to illuminate the brighter times, rather than poke at the scars in our past that equally shaped our character like the AVRO Arrow scandal, residential schools, and the hanging of Louis Riel.

Riel once said, “My people will sleep for one hundred years, but when they awake, it will be the artists who give them their spirit back.” Indeed, Ghostkeeper is one such awakening presence, the Alberta-based lo-fi psych collective co-helmed by Shane Ghostkeeper and Sarah Houle enhanced by known Chad VanGaalen associates Eric Hamelin (drums) and Ryan Bourne (bass). Their fourth album dropped independently this year, titled Sheer Blouse Buffalo Knocks. Its avant-folk sound goes down easy, an addictively challenging melange of ’90s bluesy, psychedelic slacker experimentation and ’60s country-pop and girl-groups, but the themes are grounded in earthly struggles.

In the words of their one-sheet:
“Sheer Blouse Buffalo Knocks expands on the narrative laid out on last year’s Sheer Buffalo seven-inch, continuing the dystopian story of Sheer Blouse, spiritualist/explorer of realms, and Buffalo Knocks, benevolent warrior. The ten-song album chronicles their fearless battle against environmental destruction and the burden it places on their home lands in Northern Alberta.”

These prairie weirdos recently put out a video for “People of the Pines,” which is arguably one of the boldest statements on the album. Inspiration for the track and its accompanying Joshua Whitford-directed video were drawn from the Oka Crisis, a highly publicized, violent dispute in the early ’90s between the Mohawk people and a small town in Quebec over the expansion of a golf course onto sacred burial grounds. It’s important to know our failures as well as our triumphs, for that is the only way we can grow together, and Ghostkeeper’s sweetness helps makes this bitter pill easier to swallow. Stay woke, Canada.

Chocolate Grinder

CHOCOLATE GRINDER is our audio/visual section, with an emphasis on the lesser heard and lesser known. We aim to dig deep, but we’ll post any song or video we find interesting, big or small.

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