the Harlots

the Harlots

BandRockAlternative

The new face of old school: rock done the way it was intended to be, with a mixture of passion and precision, devastating melodic hooks and skilled songwriting; sharp-edged three-part harmonies and rock-solid rhythm; powerfully energetic live show and devoted fan base.

Biography

More often than not, five little syllables is all it takes.

Renegades Of Funk is a classic hip-hop track, originally recorded by urban music pioneer Afrika Bambaataa and resurrected rather brilliantly by the four fierce men of Rage Against The Machine.

Satellite Of Love is a classic Lou Reed song, originally recorded in the heroin daze of the early ’70s and resurrected almost lovingly by the fulsome foursome known as U2.

The Harlots don’t claim to be a classic anything, but that hasn’t stopped this straight-up Canadian band from taking a page from the vintage rock ’n’ roll playbook and using five little syllables to resurrect their own true selves.

Connoisseur Of Ruin, the third album by the Winnipeg quartet, brings the hard-working Harlots back into a happy place where music is made for the sake of making music and the sheer love of playing it resonates with every chord.

Maybe “happy” isn’t the best word, as The Harlots would rather be fierce than fulsome and their brand-new album is fraught with themes of disappointment, adversity and regret.

But it’s impossible to listen to the Winnipeg band’s latest creation and not be struck by the sense of exuberance that can only infect a record made exactly the way a band wanted it to be made, with no interference from above, below or beyond.

The Harlots, assuming you’ve never heard of the guys, have been around since 1998 and are one of the premiere live acts in the gorgeous expanse of wide-open space Canadians call the Prairies.

Two earlier albums, The Harlots (1998) and Crawl Spaces (2003) tried to capture the essence of a close-knit band comprised of three songwriting brothers — Buck, Lane Bradley and Lee Charles Garinger — and one non-familial drummer, Mark Sawatzky, who may as well be a sibling despite his dissonant DNA.

But only Connoisseur Of Ruin presents the band in the studio as it sounds on stage, with three different voices behind the microphone presenting a unified vocal front.

In the past, the band succumbed to pressures to present Buck, the youngest Garinger, as the lead singer. While he is indeed the band’s most prolific songwriter, he just didn’t feel right singing songs by Charles and Brad and trying to convey his brothers’ emotions.

“Earlier experiences have taught us to be true to ourselves and uncompromising,” says singer-guitarist Brad. Buck also sings and plays guitar, while Charles plays bass against Sawatzky’s kit-pounding.

The three Garinger brothers started playing together as teens in tiny Kelvington, Sask., a town better known for producing hockey players — Wendel Clark and Joey Kocur come from the hamlet — than rock ’n’ roll.

The Garingers wound up in small-town Saskatchewan following the death of their globe-trotting father, a civil engineer who worked in exotic kingdoms such Nepal, in the Himalayas and Swaziland, near the southern tip of Africa.

One by one, the brothers migrated to larger Winnipeg, a veritable metropolis of 700,000, to work as hairdressers by day and play rock ’n’ roll at night.

The Harlots were actually born out of the ashes of an earlier band, the much more glammy Ballroom Zombies, which featured Brad, Charles, Mark and a flamboyant vocalist from tiny Pinawa, Man. by the name of Robin Black.

When Black moved to Toronto and the Zombies broke up in ’98, the Garingers enlisted little brother Buck to join the fledgling Harlots. Despite a couple of hiccups, bumps and bruises— most notably an ill-advised 2001 name change to Raised By Ghost, which reflected the Garinger brothers’ fatherless teenage years — the quartet has managed to survive a tumultuous time in rock ’n’ roll.

This isn’t hyperbole: Boy bands, the moral panic over downloading and now Canadian Idol all come and gone over the past eight years. OK, so maybe that last statement was just wishful thinking, but you get the point.

In 2005, The Harlots began recording what became Connoisseur Of Ruin with producer Brandon Friesen, a Winnipeg knob-twiddler well-regarded for his treatment of guitar sounds.

The Harlots and Friesen made the album on their own, with no record-label people looming in the background. The result is melodic but unforced — and easily digestible, too, at 39 economical minutes, just like an old vinyl album.

“This is probably the most honest CD we’ve ever put out,” says Sawatzky, whose use of “probably,” in this case, is superfluous. Connoisseur Of Ruin is clearly the best album the band has ever made.

But The Harlots are a little less dark than their latest title, five syllables notwithstanding. Connoiseur Of Ruin, as it turns out, has nothing to do with nihilism. It’s actually a not-so-oblique reference to the way rock bands persevere despite getting smacked upside the head with disappointment.

They could have called it Gluttons For Punishment and conveyed the same meaning.

But then they wouldn’t have appeared on the same page as classics like U2, Lou Reed, Rage Against Th

Lyrics

Magistrate

Written By: Buck Garinger

MAGISTRATE

Safety in numbers praise we are human beings
Caught up in moments waiting for wedding rings
We're purposely sinister like a swarm of killer bees
A frenzied devotion to eradicate everything
In the commotion we trample the roses
To get to the magistrate

Safety in numbers in mob mentality
Devour your neighbors destroy your enemies
In the commotion we trample the roses
To get to the magistrate

At the safer side of the fence
We place bets on who will win
This conflict is suspicious
This contest has no winners

Safety in numbers bound in hypocrisy
Conditioned to follow don't question anything
An end to the turmoil
An end to the powers
An end to the magistrate

Inside a culvert
At the end of the interstate
I built a fortress
And I am the magistrate

Tired and Twisted

Written By: Lane Bradley Garinger

Tired and Twisted

Who’s this, she says, you’re mine
It’s nothing I’ll forget
Too late to change your mind
Don’t measure what you miss

And all I ever wanted
A place to rest my head
When I’m tired and twisted
Try some tenderness

It’s fate you blame but you’re blind
Nothing’s happened yet
In time you’ll find you’re all right
It’s nothing you’ll regret

And all I ever wanted
A place to rest my head
When I’m tired and twisted
Try some tenderness

How is this over
Can I stay until I’m sober
Why can’t you try
Why won’t you smile

Slaves

Written By: Buck Garinger

SLAVES

You're infringing on the cinema
Does media make life glamorous
Is it better to be penniless
Than guilty of embellishment

Embellishment
Veiled Disorder
Will We rest

Morals mesh with etiquette
Consumers are so passionate
It's best you run for president
During blatant mass hysteria

Hysteria
Veiled disorder
Will we rest
When we're older
Heaven sends
But hell orders
Will we rest

Are you buying what we're selling

Discography

1999 - The Harlots - Independent - Full length Cd
2003 - Crawl Spaces - Gift Shop/Universal - Full length Cd.
Singles: Alien (Charted for several weeks on Winnipeg's Power97). Video saw light rotation on Much Music.
"Afraid of Mice" (featured video on "the Wedge", Much Music).
"The Crawl Spaces" ( Regular rotation on Much Music and Much Loud)
2006 - Connoisseur of Ruin - Trust Fund/Curve Music/ Universal - Full lenght cd.
First single - "Magistrate" Added to rotation on Winnipeg's Frek 107, Hot 103, and Yorkton's CFGW Fox fm.

Set List

Harlots songs:
Magistrate
Slaves
Connoisseur of Ruin
Tired and Twisted
Oceans of the Emotionless
Solace
Bluejay
Laugh Track
Separated Generation
It Falls Apart
Alien
Josie
Afraid of Mice
The Moment you go
The Crawl Spaces
Up on the Rooftop
Hyptnotized
Below
Inertia
The Family Pet
Stop

We have done everything from a 20 min set to a 2 hr set. Typically, on a headlining show, we will play for an hour and a half plus encores. The set list varies depending on the function and the crowd.