London, Ontario’s WHOOP-Szo is a blazing force of DIY rock. Fronted by Anishinaabe-Canadian community leader Adam Sturgeon, the band has spent nearly a decade carving out a reputation for themselves in Canada’s crowded DIY scene, rising on the strength of their musicianship, songwriting, and tireless touring.

A WHOOP-Szo show is a heavy and meditative experience that tends to leave audiences reeling — and raving. The opposite of a buzz band, WHOOP-Szo have played over 500 shows together, which gives their performances a cohesion that borders on the telepathic. With thick, sludgy guitar fills, drum solos that actually make you wish they were longer, and vocals that range from sweet to unhinged, audiences will recall 90’s grunge, rock, and psychedelia. Sturgeon’s onstage banter, however, is decidedly 21st-century: employing caustic humour while addressing the poisonous legacies of colonialism, he is a truth-teller using his platform to effect change in the wider Canadian music and arts community.

The band, which includes founding members Sturgeon and Kirsten Kurvink Palm, along with Eric Lourenço, Joe Thorner, and Andrew Lennox, released their debut full-length, double album Qallunaat / Odemin, in 2014. It was recorded in the Inuit village of Salluit, Quebec, near the Arctic Circle. 2015 saw the release of Niizhwaaswo, which was accompanied by an 8mm video showcasing life in Canada’s far north. WHOOP-Szo’s most recent LP was 2016’s Citizen’s Ban(ne)d Radio, which was covered by press outlets including Alan Cross’s A Journal of Musical Things, and the CBC’s In the Key of C.

All of WHOOP-Szo’s past albums have charted nationally on Earshot’s Top 50, leading to multiple cross-Canada tours and numerous festival appearances including Sled Island, Halifax Pop Explosion, NXNE, Hillside, Sappy Fest, Pop Montreal, Megaphono, and
CMW, among many others. The band has shared stages with Deerhoof, Metz, Jennifer Castle, Cancer Bats, and Ought. WHOOP-Szo has also toured as direct support for the Constantines, Julie Doiron, And You’ll Know Us By The Trail of Dead and most recently performed alongside Broken Social Scene.

Releases

Warrior Down Album Cover
WHOOP-Szo
Warrior Down
YC-041
November 1, 2019
LP/CD/Digital
$10.00$14.00 Select options

Blog Posts

Music Video: WHOOP-Szo – Gerry

Music Video: WHOOP-Szo – Gerry

October 10, 2019 | Posted in: WHOOP-Szo 0
Warrior Down in Saskatchewan town

Some background on this song and video from Adam of WHOOP-Szo:
“My cousin Gerry was shot by a cop. Murdered. In his own home. While the circumstances surrounding his death are unclear, there has only ever been one side to the story, that of the RCMP. No external investigations took place and our family is left without answers.

It is my preference to discuss Gerry through the video. The footage is all 8mm family film recaptured and archived by Travis Welowszky and projectionist Sebastian Di Trolio. It’s interesting coming from a mixed background because these films are that of a privileged experience; family vacations, golf trips, happy go lucky parties from the 60s and 70s set to the backdrop of an emotional firestorm and intense subject matter that has only just begun to reveal itself in our cultural history. History innocently projects itself back on the modern era.

I remember getting a call from Gerry shortly before he died. He was angry about a broken system, slurring his words through the distant telephone line from his home in Saskatchewan. He had taken to calling our house, connecting with my Mom for some much needed love and comfort, my Dad to address his issues with alcohol, and to converse with me about music and art… and to question my passions for my ‘Dad’s culture’. I’d change the subject, letting him know that the guitar he had given me, my first guitar in fact, was the passion and release that he had offered me and that I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I’d be late for work or some other engagement and have to let him know several times that I needed to hang up the phone. He’d get angry again and start ranting on and I’d have to remind him there were places to be. He called me a sell out and I’d tell him I loved him. I promised I’d visit on tour sometime. I’d tell him he could teach me some more chords.

I’ve driven through the town he died in, but Gerry isn’t there. Where are our protectors when we need them? Why did an officer force his way into Gerry’s home? Why was Gerry shot 4 times and why have these circumstances been justified by a system that leaves the vulnerable under fire?”

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WHOOP-Szo
Warrior Down – YC-041
LP/CD/Digital
November 1, 2019

New Release: WHOOP-Szo – Warrior Down

New Release: WHOOP-Szo – Warrior Down

September 10, 2019 | Posted in: Artists, Blog, WHOOP-Szo 0
Listen to "Amaruq" now!

London, Ontario’s WHOOP-Szo is a blazing force of DIY rock. Fronted by Anishinaabe-Canadian community leader Adam Sturgeon, the band has spent nearly a decade carving out a reputation for themselves in Canada’s crowded DIY scene, rising on the strength of their musicianship, songwriting, and tireless touring.

We are thrilled to welcome WHOOP-Szo to You’ve Changed Records with the release of Warrior Down on November 1, 2019. Warrior Down is thunderous and ground-breaking, harmonious and generative, a concise, focused 35 minutes that dances conscientiously between anger and discipline, frustration and hope. Calling out both specific instances of injustice in Canadian history — such as the murder of bandleader Adam Sturgeon’s cousin by a Saskatchewan RCMP officer (“Gerry”) , or recalling Sturgeon’s grandfather’s experience at a Residential School(“Cut Your Hair”) — and broader, wider-reaching ones such as the experience of having race and culture assigned to you by a government that doesn’t represent you (“6.1/6.2”), Warrior Down depicts the unfolding of a cultural big bang, in which eruptions of truth activate a succession of healthy confrontations.

Read more about Warrior Down and pre-order the LP or CD an the album page, and listen to the album opener Amaruq below.

Amaruq is an Inuktituk word meaning “wolf”. It’s also the name of a school in Nunavik where WHOOP-Szo leaders Adam Sturgeon and Kirsten Palm worked during 2012. “Amaruq” is an entry point into discussions of the Inuktituk language and multilingualism in Canada, and serves as a dedication to the community that welcomed the band. “As much as we try, we cannot always control the feelings that enter our lives. They can come in unexpectedly, like a wild animal appearing just when you thought yourself along. Have you ever crossed paths with a wolf? In the North, where we lived and worked for many years, they call them Amaruq. We dedicate this song to Larry Tamusai and all the other young people who have suffered, are suffering and will suffer the effects of inadequate mental health resources in Indigenous communities across Turtle Island.”

WHOOP-Szo TOUR DATES
Sep 10 – Calgary, AB – The Palomino
Sep 12 – Winnipeg, MB – The Royal Albert Hotel
Sep 13 – Thunder Bay, ON – The Apollo
Sep 14 – Sault Ste. Marie, ON – Dryer Fire
Sep 15 – Sudbury, ON – Townehouse
Nov 01 – London, ON – Rec Room
Nov 02 – Toronto, ON – The Round House
Nov 06 – St. Catharines, ON – The Warehouse
Nov 07 – Guelph, ON – Ebar
Nov 08 – Hamilton, ON – This Ain’t Hollywood
Nov 09 – Windsor, ON – Green Bean Cafe
Nov 21 – Peterborough, ON – Sadleir House
Nov 22 – Ottawa, ON – Cinqhole
Nov 23 – Montreal, QC – La Sala Rossa | M For Montreal
Nov 26 – Moncton, NB – Caveau
Nov 27 – Saint John, NB – Taco Pica
Nov 28 – Halifax, NS – Gus’ Pub
Nov 29 – Fredericton, NB – The Capital
Nov 30 – Quebec City, QC – Scanner

Tour Dates

Date City Venue Country
11/21/19 Peterborough, ON Sadleir House Canada
Time: 8:00pm.
11/22/19 Ottawa, ON Cinqhole Canada
Time: 8:00pm.
11/23/19 Montreal La Sala Rosa Canada
Time: 8:00pm. M for Montreal: M for Mothland, w. Odonis Odonis, Atsuko Chiba Buy Tickets More information
11/26/19 Moncton, NB Caveau Canada
Time: 8:00pm.
11/27/19 Saint John, NB Taco Pico Canada
Time: 8:00pm.
11/28/19 Halifax, NS Gus’s Pub Canada
Time: 8:00pm.
11/29/19 Fredericton, NB The Capital Canada
Time: 8:00pm.
11/30/19 Quebec City, QC Scanner Canada
Time: 8:00pm.

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