Friday, April 14, 2006


As I said, I might be on some sort of mid-90s nostalgia kick. I’ve been dusting off a few old Pavement records recently and deciding that I hadn’t moved on to the next phase after all. I even found myself enjoying a Silverchair video not too long ago. So much for adulthood. All that might explain why I’m obsessed with the forthcoming self-titled debut from East Vancouver’s Ladyhawk. The vocals have that catch-in-your throat quality, breaking just as they reach emotional rubbed-rawness. It’s just drums-bass-guitar rock. If it didn’t sound so dumb, one might call it grunge. Dumb to call it that I mean. But whereas grunge always seemed sort of callow, there’s a definite depth and maturity to Ladyhawk, especially to the vocals, which sound a lot like Richard Thompson or even Husker Du. Rage tempered by world-weariness, or maybe the other way round. Labelmates Okkervil River come to mind. Ladyhawk evidently has something to do with fellow Vancouver-izers, the kraut-rock stoner geniuses of Black Mountain. They're also all onto this whole zoological naming convention (you know, horses, tigers, wolves, bears). And there's a Neil Young thing going on, too. You know how Neil sometimes drops in a weird, I-didn't-know-that-was-a-chord chord. Close inspection of the CD art reveals a cover of Neil's futuristic-roboto masterwork Trans, tucked in amongst the distintinctly Pacific Northwestern flora and undergrowth. So the Canadians are still showing us how it's done.

Unfortunately, I'm not sure if this song packs the same play-it-a-thousand-times-in-a-row punch when it's pulled away from the record.

Ladyhawk - "Dugout"

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