Wednesday, April 9, 2008

L is for Ladyhawk

Alright, it's been out for over a month now, but in addition to allowing me to stick to my alphabetical-guns, talking about Ladyhawk's great new album Shots also gives me the opportunity to mention that the 'Hawk will be returning to Winnipeg on June 18th, opening for the Constantines (whose new album Kensington Heights is kickass in its own right). UMFM will be presenting that show at the Pyramid and I can hardly wait - these are two of the best live bands I have ever seen and they'll be sharing the same bill! While I missed Ladyhawk when they opened for Black Mountain a couple weeks ago for family reasons, I did catch them shortly after they released Shots, at The Aquarium down in Fargo, ND. [This entry's photo is from that show.]

The new material is just as good on the record as it is live, and credit for that goes to the way in which the band recorded the album: it took place at an abandoned farmhouse behind a shopping mall in Kelowna.

"We'd booked some time with Colin [Stewart], the recording engineer, but the studio that we usually record at – The Hive in Vancouver – it was booked up during the only time that we could record so we were looking for another place to just set up all our stuff but we couldn't find anything good in Vancouver," Driediger recalled in our interview "Then we had the idea of going to Kelowna 'cause we're all from there (not Colin, but all of us in the band) and then the place, which was called the White House, and it was sort of like an 'art space,' some friends of ours were running it and they offered it to us and we just said 'sure,' paid them a bit of money and spent two weeks recording there." [See the April/May issue of Stylus for more of my interview with Driediger].

With plenty of sangria on hand and a batch of new songs that were road-tested while touring their self-titled debut on Jagjaguwar, Ladyhawk came up with a rocking album that listeners of all ages can enjoy [more on that in a moment]. The band is as tight as ever with Driediger and lead guitarist Darcy Hancock trading scorching guitar parts atop the tectonic-plate rhythm section of Sean Hawryluk (bass) and Ryan Peters (drums). Driediger's vocals run from gentle to impassioned, delivered with a ringing clarity throughout and the lyrical content touches on anguish, urban decay and miscommunication though Shots can be enjoyed whether or not you can make out the lyrics - this is after all rock music and sometimes it's loud enough that you can't hear Driediger's words for the ringing in your ears.

Back to the comment about listeners of all ages - one of the best things I've seen on Youtube of late (apart from some great Minnesota Twins commercials) is this video of a baby rocking out to Ladyhawk's "I Don't Always Know What You're Saying."

You can check out that track for yourself here.
And be sure to check out Ladyhawk's website and Myspace page.

Thanks for reading, now start listening...

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