For those of you who don’t know, Melbourne, Australia’s Whiskey Go Go’s have moved to Brooklyn and changed their name to our mountain. This band, led by Matthew Hutchinson, plays a rare sort of dirty Americana rock ‘n roll that has the subtlety of Young and a passion pickled in the brine of booze induced love. The man cannot sit still, his legs strike the awkward pose, his best attempt at repressing the kicks and jumps, while his hands, when not furiously striking his guitar strings, are thrust into the air, an exclamation that what he sings and what he pleads is nothing short of a matter of life and death. Indeed he could be rock ‘n roll’s next great evangelist. Lucky for us our mountain will be playing Zebulon in Brooklyn Friday, January 8th and will be accompanied by Woos & Woes. For those of you who do know the band, I hear new material will be played.
Archive for the ‘Australia’ Category
Whiskey Go Go’s
In recent memory there has not been a band that has so succinctly captured the deep meaning and purpose of voyaging toward something unknown as the Whiskey Go Go’s. This is not only represented in their music, but also in their recent movement through New York City and LA. As the industrial malaise suffocates the broad sea of creativity and talent, some have made it their mission to ensure that their extraordinary presence in independent music is still felt. Vocalist/guitarist Matt Hutchinson and drummer Michael Noonan have exhibited their affinity for Brooklyn, playing multiple venues over the past two months. After their stints at The Trash Bar, the Whiskey Go Go’s played a set at Union Pool with Parlor Grand whose MySpace quote says it all, “There are some Indians, There are some Whites.” Parlor Grand had a Crazy Horse aesthetic and a joy for performance that made their set entirely worth showing up for. Of course Union Pool’s delicious outdoor Taquito stand and wood burning fire pit didn’t hurt.
The audience at Union Pool was markedly different from that of The Trash Bar. I am not sure if this resulted from the particular type of punter each venue attracts, or from the high volume of random sophisticates and eager girls that decided to attend Union Pool that night. In any case, Union Pool’s show was somewhat more subdued. This is not to say the show as any less impressive; Hutchinson still had that same dramatic intensity. His eyes began tightly shut and his hands spoke with subtle movements. As the show continued he became ravenously wide-eyed and his hands seemed to reach out and extend past the crowd. He abused the whammy bar and scrapped the strings of his guitar along everything he could find, from the microphone mesh to the cymbal’s edge.
Mr. Noonan also played exquisitely. He is a disciplined drummer with excellent chops, which is important being that there are limited permanent members touring the U.S. There would be no room on this tour for an impressive front stage presence hampered by the dulling baggage of mediocrity. It was a privilege to get to see a second showcase of their new project Whiskey Rain, which is the title of their yet-to-be-released record. While unmastered, I have had the opportunity to listen to the new record. Though the record is largely influenced by various strains of Americana, it contains an authentic voice of its own. That voice contemplates love, loss, and ways to pacify the clutter of an unkempt mind…namely drinking…a lot.
The record is assembled with precision. The opening track, titled Whiskey Rain, is a collage of barely comprehendible exhortations, a wish list of affection set over amazing pop guitar. It is easily one of the most well written songs released this year. The following track, Wooden Hearts, is a bass driven, distorted soliloquy, narrating events with descriptions of natural elements and of violence, erupting into the refrain:
“You are the lady that I love…You are women that I adore”
This marks a defining feature of the Whiskey Go Go’s work. Hutchinson has written phrases that when heard are nearly impossible to suppress from being repeated over and over again in your head. Bang Shot is another incredibly well written track that begins with a simple and soft guitar melody joined by a perfect hum from the band. The song builds as Noonan’s snare pop makes the song onomatopoeic. The crescendo has all instruments at fever pitch as Hutchinson croons a new take on the old adage that it takes two…
“I held the gun, but she pulled the trigger.”
As a whole, the record succeeds almost immaculately, with only a few subjective missteps occurring. Every track is creative—undeniably a product of a band that benefits from the momentum of charisma and determination. Songs like Devil’s Banquet and Love Song round out the record, ensuring that it has balance and weight. Even White Angel and Yours Sincerely, the record’s most problematic tracks, have moments of stunning beauty and imperfect charm. The Whiskey Go Go’s have made a nice addendum to 2007’s Proud Tale to Them of Us, which itself boasted plenty of great songs like Rodeo and True Love. Hutchinson’s hollering madness and rustic sophistication is impressive. It is only a matter of time before they receive wider recognition. We are glad to have seen them when we did.
Proud Tales to Them of Us- 2007
March 15th 2009- The Echo, LA
March 26th 2009- The Bell House, Brooklyn
March 29th 2009- Death by Audio