LADYHAWK at Yonge-Dundas Square, Friday, 6 pm. Free. And at the Horseshoe (370 Queen West), Saturday (June 14), 2 am. $20, free w/ NXNE wristband (see page 62). 416-598-4226. Rating: NNNNN
The Vancouver music scene appears to be in some kind of bearded, psyched-out stoner rock phase right now, and judging by its front-runners – Black Mountain and Ladyhawk – we should be damn grateful for it.
While Stephen McBean and his rogue squad of thrashing Mountain hippies basked in the critical glory In The Future has earned, Ladyhawk followed suit mere months later with the equally impressive Shots, both on Indiana’s Jagjaguwar Records. But to be fair, Ladyhawk can’t be charged with riding the crest of BM’s wave.
In fact, Shots displays songwriting sophistication that’s lacking in Black Mountain’s Pink Floyd zone-out style. Songs like I Don’t Always Know What You’re Saying have the woodsy quality you’d expected from these BC interior boys (they’re originally from Kelowna), but also bear traces of 90s alternative bands like Pavement and Dinosaur Jr. that tend to keep the jam tendencies in check and make good on a memorable hook. In fact, the gloriously robust S.T.H.D. is closer to Wolf Parade’s best songs than the bong-hitting free-form of their earlier self-titled album or The Mushroom Sessions.
Bring it on, Vancouver!