Black Hat Brigade, a band long championed by Frederick Foxtrott, has just released a live session with AUX TV in part with Audio Recording Academy of Toronto (TARA). It offers a little more of an intimate look at who they are and where they’ll be going.
Black Hat Brigade
May 29th 2009
Black Hat Brigade- Zombie City Shake
Far from the cavernous sprawl expressed by earlier recordings, Black Hat Brigade has recorded an EP that will be described as one of the best releases of 2009. Their Fathers EP kicks so much ass, they aren’t permitted to tour in America for fear that their presence will make the heads of residents in Williamsburg, Greenpoint, and Bushwick explode. This really is a national security thing. It is worth noting that the religious right and Billboard magazine have rigorously lobbied INS to approve visas for the band—clearly an attempt to silence northern Brooklyn’s pesky music scene. You know what I say? Fuck it’s worth it! Get your asses to NYC! Sure Robert Haughey’s vocals might remind some of fellow Canadian Dan Boeckner, but who really gives a damn?
Like the morose joy of Eagle Seagull, Black Hat Brigade’s music is entirely different and in many ways better than Wolf Parade. Fathers is defined by a paradox. Dark lyrics that speak of blood, guts, and zombies are cradles inside of some of the brightest and most expansive dance music written for the small club stage. Or maybe it is just that I can dance to anything, but we all know this to be untrue. While there is not a bad track on the 7 song + 1 reprise EP, there are certainly a few standouts. Zombie City Shake, Castlevania, and Vera are all exceptional. These songs not only have the pop sensibilities that provoke inebriated jigs, but they throw back to the epic layers common on their first EP. Here, the voluminous multifaceted interplay is harnessed to produce ridiculous crescendos, the heights of which truly press the limits of grandeur.
Perhaps it is mere proximity that has me talking about Canada as if it were the hydroponic greenhouse of good music. Whatever the case, Black Hat Brigade, from somewhere-or-another Ontario, has penetrated into New York, prompting me to tell you how great they are. They are like a nine-headed hydra, with each viperous head representing an enduring tradition of independent spirited stylistic wisdom. What the fuck does that even mean? It has been said that these guys are post-rock, which can be deduced from the lyricless sprawls, cavernous reverberations, and extended buildups, as in the song epically titled Swords. But the outfit has no problem shifting to into an indie dance beat that approaches the realm of Eagle Seagullor Talking Heads; the specter of late seventies Mancunian music appearing throughout.
No matter what their slightly schizophrenic style choice is for any particular moment, Black Hat Brigade makes great music. They are asking for donations to self-release their newest EP Fathers due out May 29th. Of course a donation of $10 or more gets you a copy of their EP. This sounds to me an awful lot like they are selling the thing for $10 (or more if you really like it). With the industry as saturated and volatile as it is, it seems everyone is finding creative ways to fund their projects. But I say if they want to be bums, it is time they travel to New York and pander in the clubs of Brooklyn.