The problem with playing out of continent – aside from increased border patrol and visa restrictions – is that bands often don’t get to travel with much of their own gear. Meeting up with London’s Let’s Wrestle was just this way – they were alongside Man Man at Hawthorne Theater for the Friday of MusicfestNW but only had their electrics.What we needed was two acoustics in a half hour or the whole thing would be for not.
It seemed daunting for a pack of out-of-towners to do; after being spurned by a steep rental fee at our first music shop, morale took the back burner. Luckily enough, we tapped on the window of Artichoke Music just as Richard was closing up. He let us borrow an instrument based on our word we’d come right back with it. Moments later we ambushed a long-haired dude walking through a field with his guitar in tow. His name was Micah from Boulder, Colorado and everywhere else. He hopped into the car and we were in business, catching the band right as they were leaving to fetch some embroidered Nike jackets. Now with the first British contribution under the West’s belt – the commonwealth is alive and well in the states.
Some of Portland’s finest coffee can be sipped at the Albina Press, which is exactly what resident psych rock outfit, Old Light decided to treat us to before this wood shop sesh went down. Garth Steel Klippert was hard at work grinding some custom steel railing when we arrived at his shop, for good measure. Here he plays the auto harp – that’s thirty-six strings of raw carnage (six guitars in one). This, in hand, practically makes him six times the guitarist. The band is eagerly anticipating the fall release of their new LP, the Dirty Future.
You don't wanna play cards with Makeout Videotape because they'll cheat. You wanna play 21 they got 22. You wanna play black jack they got two of those too. You want aces and eights well they got two many of those too. The bottom line is do not gamble with Makeout Videotape.
This song title is not only perfectly phrased for one of those guilty instances where you've reverted back to taking down your ex, as suggested by singer, Jason Couse.The Darcys are one of Toronto's most sonic soundscapes and necessary in the progression in stylish, Canadian - they've created a fortress of peddles, organs, upside down and sideways power chords and (now) omnichords. The band also has a road warrior method while on tour; when their original van peaced out in Cowtown it forced them to temporarily reside here when this video was shot...
There is a quiet mutual respect between Cowpuncher and the West. It begins with the appreciation for cheap cans of beer, public nudity and zombie movies, middles with the turmoil from us forgetting the camera battery the first time we tried to do this shoot, and ends with this do-over (and perhaps us stealing their zombie movie idea).
The band is a honky tonk amalgamation from singer and internet criminal, Matt Olah, and they tend to earn their keep hustling by train throughout western Canada and gigging smokehouses and general stores. They are the sturdiest, dirtiest western sound on Alberta soil and an unabashed middle finger to all cowboy hipsters.
Here is a recent excerpt from the road by Tynan Groves, seen playing mandolin.
White Knuckle and Rosey-cheek
My lips have gone dry with the sullen fury of the road, the endless clamor of the engine, or the fog drifting in along the yellow plain, just for a brief glimpse of what should be a dream but lingers so lightly on the tip of the tongue like a snow flake trapped by a hostile child. The road is the renegade. A savage beast that if walked would take hundreds of hours to travel. Why am I here? There is one reason. Love. There is no other explanation except for the hope that one day this will have made a difference. There can be no other explanation.
Canada, you dirty bitch of a landmass. Why do I fear the rest of the world so much that I cannot leave you? I hold tight to your promises. On the eve of many of us leaving let’s look at the road; the vast expanses that stretch beyond the imagination. Why do I love your people so much? The dirty farmers that smell of diesel and tobacco. The too fat waitress that 20 years ago was beautiful. The young oil engineer that thinks he is so smart. The drunks, meth-heads, grease balls, lawyers, construction workers, garbage collectors, gentle lovers, comedians, hookers, preachers, leftists and rightists, the east and the west, north and south.
The road is a sultry witch, she looks good from the lens of distance, but once in her grasp she has nothing but harsh words and even colder actions. She says with a kind voice “meet me in another city and play for me.” Then, she makes you wait in foreign ports and languish there with little or no escape, no chance of intimacy with the culture of the place. I have looked out with love and got nothing back. I have held the hand of the crowd and tried to egg them on, all I got was a vase full of cat piss and wilted orchids. She wants to love us, there was none to give. The road is the boy or the girl that you loved as a child/ teenager that never loved you back, you held that hand on the bus so many times just to have a teasing at school; that doesn’t stop you from coming back. A wink in the hall and then a glass of milk in the face in the lunchroom.
Still, the road is the brother of a musician. Without the road how would a musician ever get taken seriously? We are the prophets of old, where the hometown would try and stone us for our message of hope. So, we leave. Look at all Canadian bands, where do they go? We move to the States? We become heroes. We are the sullen, sick, traitorous heroes. We all love Neil Young. How much does it nag in your mind that he is just another snowbird retiring in Florida? We are tied to the road in blood, and when weakness takes us we stop and give up, write that hit, make it. If any musician says that the road (and that means planes and trains and boats and motorbikes and ferries and tractors) is nothing is a liar, a dirty stupid liar. It makes us what we are.