Monday, July 24th, 2006
My Old Jacknife
We are awash in a sea of hyphen-rock. Alt-rock, indie-rock, math-rock, punk-rock, classic-rock, you name it. Which is all well and good – as loathe as some are to buy into labels and pigeonholes, it helps making navigating the musical oceans just a little bit easier. So when I call Vancouver’s Ladyhawk simply a “rock” band, no adjectives or descriptors, what does that mean? Good question.
Based on Friday night’s show at the Rivoli, it means irony-free, soulful, tear-it-up and burn-it-down know-it-when-you-see-it rock. Plain and simple. It’s hard not to like Ladyhawk for all the reasons stated above – their set was raw, tight and blue-collar perfect with a wilder delivery than their self-titled debut captured. And the record is a pretty rocking document in and of itself, so when I say their live show brings a little something extra… well dang. They continue to tour through July and August, so check them out if you are seeking some rock. Check the genre at the door.
Openers on Friday night were twofold. First was The D’Urbervilles from Guelph, and even if I didn’t know they were local I’d have guessed it within a second of their opening song, which began with the two guitarists in the middle of the club yelling at the top of their lungs before running onstage to continue the song. See, that’s what bands in this town do. Act out. Their sound was also pretty in-line with what I’d expect – high-energy, kinda shouty and more than a little post-punky. Zen question – if a bunch of bands are eccentric and quirky in the same way, are they still eccentric and quirky?
The middle slot went to Now Yr Taken, a sometimes one-man band (one Mikey Crichton) based largely around the effective and inspired use of guitar looping. These sorts of acts are becoming more and more common as the equipment to do so becomes more accessible, but when it’s done right and well – as Now Yr Taken did – the results can be spectacular. Pity about the singing, though. Crichton’s rasp isn’t anything to write home about for good or ill, but his talents definitely lie with the guitar orchestration and not in lyrics-writing. Thankfully, there was a lot more guitarplay than singing in the set but Crichton may want to consider handing off the mic to someone else in the future.
That remix album of Stars’ Set Yourself On Fire that no one’s said boo about for months? It’s still happening – BrooklynVegan has some info, including the title – Do You Trust Your Friends. It’s out this Fall sometime. They’ve also got a new video up:
Rolling Stone delves into Yo La Tengo’s I Am Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your Ass, out September 12, and it sounds like as eclectic a set as their magnificent I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One, which is surely good news for everyone who’s been waiting for the Hobokenites to break out of the mostly narcoleptic groove they’ve been in for the last couple records. And based on the ten-minute guitar freak of “Pass the Hatchet, I Think I’m Goodkind”, which Stereogum has as an exclusive right now, Ira’s found his distortion pedals. Hallelujah.
Craig Finn of The Hold Steady discusses their new album Boys And Girls In America with Billboard. The album is out October 3 and they’re at Lee’s next Monday. I’m a latecomer to the Hold Steady party but I am really looking forward to this show. I hear they bring it live. Whatever it may be.
And oh yeah, I’m looking for a new band/musical project in the Toronto area. I play guitar. I like Coverdale/Page, Enuff Z’Nuff, Ugly Kid Joe and Toto. I’ve got a bitching doubleneck SG and leather pants. I want to rock (dramatic pause) with you.
But seriously, I am.
np – Six By Seven / The Things We Make