Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Pride of Algoma, WI

Let us now praise Hue Blanc's Joyless Ones, purveyors of a unique brand of bleak Americana. A gang of unlikely rock heroes from the equally unlikely location of Algoma, WI (pop.: 4000 or less), a lakefront resort town home mostly to weekend cottage-dwellers, retirees, and not another single rock band that I can think of. They share not only a French-Canadian-Wisconsin heritage with Pink Reason, but similar chord progressions, songwriting styles, and a taste for cheap beer and dark lyrical subject matter. Kevin Pink Reason has told me before that when he and the Hue Blanc guys met, they were all shocked to find that despite having never heard one another's music before, the music they wrote and played sounded stunningly familiar to both parties.

Hue Blanc's second LP, Arriere Garde (which, incidentally, has one of my favorite record covers in recent history), released a few months back on SS Records, is both haunted- and elated-sounding. They revel, by way of garage-y organ and the trebley crash of multiple guitars, in the muck of failed relationships and failed dreams. It sounds depressing, and it is, but it doesn't drag you down; in fact, I find their music oddly uplifting. When they're not being pensive and dark they're being blunt and funny: Ted laughs audibly as he delivers the lines "For all my words/I'm just trying to fuck you." In Hue Blanc's perpetually autumnal world (one of their many artfully titled songs is, in fact, called "A Frolicked Walk Through Autumnal Bliss"), there's too much decay all around to worry about coming up with a smooth line. Better to just swill some more beer and find someone to keep the cold and loneliness at bay, even if just for tonight.


Hue Blanc's Joyless Ones will appear tomorrow night at Carabar here in Columbus along with Pink Reason, Grave Blankets, and Michael Zink's Nuggets Fancy (MZ currently being a Joyless One, as well). Come on down and get your soul dirty.

28 comments:

LauraB said...

A rumor was spread that Hue Blanc will have a new 7" for sale ... not true. But you should still come to the show.

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