HOODED FANG with BLONDE ELVIS, PLANET CREATURE and WEAVES at the Horseshoe (370 Queen West), Friday (May 31), 9 pm. $15. HS, RT, SS, TF. See listing.
Right before I turn on my recorder, Hooded Fang's Daniel Lee offers a warning:
"This might be a boring interview."
Not typically something a journalist likes to hear, but in this case it's a relief, at least to my fact-checkers. Prepping to speak to Lee and guitarist Lane Halley, I've noticed their tendency to bullshit interviewers who don't catch local-ish references like the Honest Ed's sign font on their debut or their Mordecai Richler-referencing moniker. (The latter, Lee says, confuses even Quebecers.)
But I've been following them since their early days as local scene stalwarts organizing all-ages Daps Duo shows, releasing music for Toronto bands on their Daps label and playing festivals like NXNE and SummerWorks. Now they're making inroads in the UK and the U.S., aided by their international label, Full Time Hobby, as well as Lee and bassist April Aliermo's buzzy electro-pop side project, Phèdre.
Hooded Fang's just-released third album, Gravez, will push them further. Expanding on the sunny surf rock with elements of garage, punk, psych and Kraut groove of Tosta Mista, their last album, it's a much fuller record in sound but still brief in length (just over a half-hour).
"That's how we like our shows to be, too...I don't like watching many bands for more than about 30 minutes, or if they're really good, 40 tops. Fast, energetic, good songs, and then get the fuck off the stage," says Lee.
"Some of these songs are longer than anything this band has done," adds Halley, who's currently finishing a jazz composition master's at York. "But we made sure they all had a certain energy and personality."
Gravez is the first album Hooded Fang has recorded since slimming down from seven members to four. It's also the first for which many of the songs were recorded by all of them in the same room - live off the floor - so it brims with the tightness and chemistry of a well-oiled touring band.
"We wanted to make an album that was fun to play live night after night," Lee admits. "If I had my way, we'd only play Gravez."
I'll take him at his word.