Hawks
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Hawks

Atlanta, Georgia, United States | INDIE

Atlanta, Georgia, United States | INDIE
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05. Hawks - Barnburner (Army of Bad Luck)

Another bunch of Amphetamine Reptile addicts, Atlanta's Hawks have crafted a gleefully malicious LP in Barnburner. The bass dominates here, thick as tar and heavy as lead, it stomps the dominant thrust of Hawks' songs, as the guitars lacerate jagged swaths above it. Vocalist Michael Keenan issues threats with a garbled voice as though he's spitting his epithets with a mouthful of razors. But in the midst of the band's sonic attack, there are deep, undeniable grooves that make this musical miscarriage into a work of twisted beauty. - Blurt Online


Future of the Left; Hawks; Predator @ 529, 10/26/09 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Glen Sarvady
529 was dreadfully quiet at 10 p.m., implying a drawn out, late night – it's remarkable how often these prove to be the most rewarding. Kudos to Tight Bros. for enlisting simpatico locals for such a compatible triple bill. The music room filled in nicely the moment Predator pounded out their opening notes. The trio was primitive and austere, sounding a bit like a 1980 LA punk band covering Pink Flag. I doubt any of their songs cracked 90 seconds, and the set clocked in under 20 minutes, an ideal length to wring the max from their barebones intensity.

Hawks pushed the boundaries even further. Vocalist Michael Keenan started the set shirtless and was writhing his way through the audience from the get-go. The man ought to be sending David Yow rent checks; his crew supports him with a low-end sludge rock assault that's three parts Jesus Lizard to one part GG Allin, but more meat and potatoes than the former and more proficient than the latter. The band was filming the show and despite the frenzy it eventually felt like Keenan was playing to the camera more than the crowd, straining to up the outrageous ante. A little of this goes a long way, and about 30 minutes in I decided to give my senses a respite and hit the head. No sooner had I left the room than I looked up at the bar's video monitor to discover dude has shed his pants. Story of my life.

Any fears that Future of the Left might prove to be the night's tamest act melted away seconds into opener "Arming Eritrea." Andy Falkous quickly exposed the preceding histrionics as a parlor trick – he hunkered down, sweated, winced, shrieked (Falco's ability to shred his vocal cords and bounce back nightly is worthy of medical journal analysis) and generated enough intensity to fell cattle. Falkous looked somewhere between the puffy miscreant who hit Smith's Olde Bar in his Mclusky days and the buff, tanned gent who graced the Masquerade last fall. The Welsh trio seemed like fish out of water opening a three-band bill on a larger stage at said autumn stop, but were firmly in their element this night. The band's legendary stage banter was in fine form, and the well-schooled audience matched them quip for quip. FotL focused on 2009's excellent Travels with Myself and Another but drove selections from last year's Curses to new levels of mania as well – mellowing with age is clearly not part of the battle plan. Somehow they dialed up every aspect of their abrasive yet jovial sound without any loss of clarity across an hour-long full-throttle attack. No eardrums were left unabused in the making of this mayhem, and unlike the Wavves show noted below, I doubt anyone begrudged the daylong case of tinnitus that followed.
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It’s not often that I come home from a show so emotionally ragged and worn, so cathartically drained, that I find myself slipping in and out of consciousness on my walk home. Not from excessive drinking, mind you, but from the kind of physical and mental exhaustion that comes from witnessing four bands deliver powerful, blistering performances and getting completely pummeled in the process. (View photos from the show here).

But such was my welcome fate last night at the Star Bar in L5P as local noise mongers Hawks and Whores took the stage along with Canadian experimentalists, DD/MM/YYYY, and Seattle-based bruise rockers, These Arms Are Snakes. It was a night of bludgeoning music, and certainly not for the meek or faint of heart.

First up was Hawks, who have been developing something of a reputation as a live juggernaut, an explosively unpredictable act capable of putting on dizzying, vicious shows where no one and nothing—especially the audience—is safe. But the Hawks that showed up last night where a much more controlled and subdued outfit, a band content to put their antics to the side and allow their fierce—and at times fearsome—rock to do the talking. Actually, screaming is more like it. When these guys drop the hammer and uncoil their ribbons of razor-sharp, angular guitars spraying out like so many flying daggers, it’s a quite a thing of chaotic, destructive beauty. Despite some technical complications, their set was tight and riveting in its almost single-minded tenacity. If you haven’t discovered these dudes yet, do so immediately.

Next to the stage was Whores, who—I’ll just come out and say it—are the best band in Atlanta right now. Don’t argue with me; just accept it. The trio’s mix of raw power, jaw-dropping technical precision, and rhythmic melodicism is just too ferocious, too talented, too goddamn awesome to be denied. And they were in fine form last night. Despite his obsessive stick twirling and other trickery, drummer Travis Owen showed once again he knows how to lead the band’s relentless charge, pounding his way over, under, around, and through the steady onslaught of face-melting riffs. It’s breathtaking just how loud and epically primal these guys are. On three separate occasions I tried to capture their performance on video, only to have my camera shut itself down because the microphone just couldn’t handle the abuse. That, my friends, is rock ‘n roll, for realz.

After Whores annihilated their set and left the stage for dead, came Toronto’s DD/MM/YYYY, an interesting experimental five-piece from Toronto who seem to specialize in abstract melodies and polyrhythmic wizadry. While I was certainly impressed, I could have done without the band members constantly shuffling positions and rotating instruments. Yeah, they were one of those bands, the kind loaded with talent and musicians so easily bored with their primary instrument that they can’t help but switch around as often as possible. While it’s extraordinary to display that much gifted musicianship in one band, I kept wishing that they would stick with their initial lineup—the one that kicked off their set—because they were by far the most incendiary of their various incarnations. Still, they put on a good show, and their less aggressive, more sinisterly deranged style helped break up the savage tone of the night.

Finally, late into the night, came These Arms Are Snakes, a seething, writhing instrument of sheer, guitar-driven rage and visceral intensity. Years of playing and performing have molded these guys into a white-hot lightning bolt, a self-ignited powder keg of manic energy and raw emotion that destroys everything in its vicinity. With vocalist Steve Snere relentlessly throwing himself into the small but frantic crowd and swinging from the lights above the stage, the rest of the band delivered their searing, panicked post-hardcore anthems with scathing urgency. Songs like “Woolen Heirs” and “Red Line Season” were not only hard, heavy, and ferociously tight, but they sounded genuinely dangerous, cloaked in aura of tumult and agitated fury. By the time the band finished us off with the feverish 10-minute closer, “Ethric Double,” I was soaked in sweat, depleted, and beaten to a pulp. An easy pick for one of the best shows of the year. - Latest Disgrace


Posted by Brian Cook on Wed, Dec 30, 2009 at 12:37 PM

I’m not sure what it was about 2009, but I actually found it pretty difficult to think of very many new records that really stuck with me this year. Whereas I felt overwhelmed by options when I was constructing a Top Ten list at the end of 2008, I realized in the past few weeks that my favorite musical acquisitions and discoveries of the last year were a bit dated. I guess 2009 was more of a year of discovering great oldies (where have Udu Wudu and Apollo Atmospheres and Soundtracks been all my life?) than relishing new artists. Nonetheless, I’ve posted my favorite 10 albums that came out this year after the jump.

Hawks — Barnburner

“Pigfuck” is surely the worst genre tag ever invented; yet I understand the demand for some sort of shorthand for that ugly and angular style of punk that Touch & Go and Amphetamine Reptile peddled through the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. So “pigfuck” it is, but now a few bloggers have adopted “nu-pigfuck” to describe the recent slew of bands—Pissed Jeans, Young Widows, and Clockcleaner to name a few—that have brought Jesus Lizard and Big Black back in vogue, and that’s an even worse handle. Well, you can add Atlanta’s Hawks to the list. Barnburner is an appropriately rowdy and dirty record, with the signature prominent distorted bass, scratchy guitars, and drunken shirtless singer. But man, these guys do it so damn well that I’m glad to see this micro-scene go through a renaissance. I just wish the shit they’re doing had a better name.

Gun Outfit — Dim Light

Speaking of Touch & Go, an employee dumped a stack of promo CDs on me shortly after the massive indie company announced it was ceasing operation of their distribution branch. “Take ‘em, they’ll be tossed into a dumpster in a couple of weeks.” Among all the popular titles, my soon-to-be-unemployed friend specifically referenced one album. “Be sure to check out that Gun Outfit CD.” And so I did. I was instantly charmed by the David Berman-esque baritone vocals, and further impressed that the ramshackle performances on the album birthed some truly catchy and endearing melodies. “The Valley” may be my pick for song of the year.

jj — jj NËš 2

I’m convinced that jj is really just a hoax created by a couple of old crusty and cynical Swedes. Imagine Enya with reggaeton beats, cheesy synth strings, steel drums, and whatever other absurdly ironic instrument they can throw into the mix. It’s like someone purposely made something embarrassingly awful to prove how vacuous contemporary “hipster” culture is, and inadvertently created the catchiest guilty pleasure of 2009.

Dd/mm/yyyy — Black Square

Dd/mm/yyyy (pronounced “Day Month Year”) cite Melt Banana and Frank Zappa as their primary inspirations. Truth be told, I hear little of either in their work. Granted, the playful energy of this Toronto quintet must have some sort of reference point, but these lads make a gloriously nuanced racket all their own. I’m honestly at a loss for words for an appropriate comparison.

Khanate — Clean Hands Go Foul

I’ve already discussed this album at length here on Line Out, but Clean Hands Go Foul remains one of my favorites of 2009. It’s a grim, barren record. It’s messy, morbid, and lacking in almost any sort of coherent structure. Yet it’s a fascinating and engaging work of art, a bold and brave attempt at syncing the disharmonious and chaotic emotional content with the musical form. Not a record for the faint of heart or those demanding anything resembling a verse or chorus.

My Disco — Paradise

Okay, exception #1: this was originally released in 2008. Considering that the Australian band’s sophomore album was only released in their native country, it was pretty hard to track down stateside until 300 copies of the LP were released on a small label out of Louisville earlier this year. I first heard about the band back in 2008 while hanging out with the Aussie punks of Scul Hazzards in a squat in Leipzig, Germany. To this day, their assessment of Paradise is probably the most spot-on summation of their sound: “they’re so minimal they’re in danger of disappearing up their own asses.” If you’re a fan of Shellac, envision Terraform’s sparse 12-minute two-note opus “Didn’t We Deserve a Look at You the Way You Really Are.” My Disco built an entire album on that principle: one or two bass note riffs, awesome drumming, and tension-release in the form of brief bouts of abrasive guitar noise. I promise it’s more engaging than my description implies.

The Thermals — Now We Can See

The latest from the Portland trio maintains their solid track record. Every song is a short, wry nugget of pop brilliance. What else is there to say?

Fang Island — Daisy

Another exception to the 2009 rule: this record isn’t out yet, though a few tracks are up on the band’s MySpace page, several of the songs have wound up on tour-only CDs, and Pitchfork promoted their video for the albu - The Stranger


Posted by Brian Cook on Wed, Dec 30, 2009 at 12:37 PM

I’m not sure what it was about 2009, but I actually found it pretty difficult to think of very many new records that really stuck with me this year. Whereas I felt overwhelmed by options when I was constructing a Top Ten list at the end of 2008, I realized in the past few weeks that my favorite musical acquisitions and discoveries of the last year were a bit dated. I guess 2009 was more of a year of discovering great oldies (where have Udu Wudu and Apollo Atmospheres and Soundtracks been all my life?) than relishing new artists. Nonetheless, I’ve posted my favorite 10 albums that came out this year after the jump.

Hawks — Barnburner

“Pigfuck” is surely the worst genre tag ever invented; yet I understand the demand for some sort of shorthand for that ugly and angular style of punk that Touch & Go and Amphetamine Reptile peddled through the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. So “pigfuck” it is, but now a few bloggers have adopted “nu-pigfuck” to describe the recent slew of bands—Pissed Jeans, Young Widows, and Clockcleaner to name a few—that have brought Jesus Lizard and Big Black back in vogue, and that’s an even worse handle. Well, you can add Atlanta’s Hawks to the list. Barnburner is an appropriately rowdy and dirty record, with the signature prominent distorted bass, scratchy guitars, and drunken shirtless singer. But man, these guys do it so damn well that I’m glad to see this micro-scene go through a renaissance. I just wish the shit they’re doing had a better name.

Gun Outfit — Dim Light

Speaking of Touch & Go, an employee dumped a stack of promo CDs on me shortly after the massive indie company announced it was ceasing operation of their distribution branch. “Take ‘em, they’ll be tossed into a dumpster in a couple of weeks.” Among all the popular titles, my soon-to-be-unemployed friend specifically referenced one album. “Be sure to check out that Gun Outfit CD.” And so I did. I was instantly charmed by the David Berman-esque baritone vocals, and further impressed that the ramshackle performances on the album birthed some truly catchy and endearing melodies. “The Valley” may be my pick for song of the year.

jj — jj NËš 2

I’m convinced that jj is really just a hoax created by a couple of old crusty and cynical Swedes. Imagine Enya with reggaeton beats, cheesy synth strings, steel drums, and whatever other absurdly ironic instrument they can throw into the mix. It’s like someone purposely made something embarrassingly awful to prove how vacuous contemporary “hipster” culture is, and inadvertently created the catchiest guilty pleasure of 2009.

Dd/mm/yyyy — Black Square

Dd/mm/yyyy (pronounced “Day Month Year”) cite Melt Banana and Frank Zappa as their primary inspirations. Truth be told, I hear little of either in their work. Granted, the playful energy of this Toronto quintet must have some sort of reference point, but these lads make a gloriously nuanced racket all their own. I’m honestly at a loss for words for an appropriate comparison.

Khanate — Clean Hands Go Foul

I’ve already discussed this album at length here on Line Out, but Clean Hands Go Foul remains one of my favorites of 2009. It’s a grim, barren record. It’s messy, morbid, and lacking in almost any sort of coherent structure. Yet it’s a fascinating and engaging work of art, a bold and brave attempt at syncing the disharmonious and chaotic emotional content with the musical form. Not a record for the faint of heart or those demanding anything resembling a verse or chorus.

My Disco — Paradise

Okay, exception #1: this was originally released in 2008. Considering that the Australian band’s sophomore album was only released in their native country, it was pretty hard to track down stateside until 300 copies of the LP were released on a small label out of Louisville earlier this year. I first heard about the band back in 2008 while hanging out with the Aussie punks of Scul Hazzards in a squat in Leipzig, Germany. To this day, their assessment of Paradise is probably the most spot-on summation of their sound: “they’re so minimal they’re in danger of disappearing up their own asses.” If you’re a fan of Shellac, envision Terraform’s sparse 12-minute two-note opus “Didn’t We Deserve a Look at You the Way You Really Are.” My Disco built an entire album on that principle: one or two bass note riffs, awesome drumming, and tension-release in the form of brief bouts of abrasive guitar noise. I promise it’s more engaging than my description implies.

The Thermals — Now We Can See

The latest from the Portland trio maintains their solid track record. Every song is a short, wry nugget of pop brilliance. What else is there to say?

Fang Island — Daisy

Another exception to the 2009 rule: this record isn’t out yet, though a few tracks are up on the band’s MySpace page, several of the songs have wound up on tour-only CDs, and Pitchfork promoted their video for the albu - The Stranger


Label: Army Of Bad Luck
Year: 2009

I was driving home from a trip to Target whereupon my son agonized for well over thirty minutes as to what he could buy with the eight dollars he had saved up (turned out to be some sort of Transformer, which [surprise] is frustrating the shit out of both of us), when I passed the singer of this very band walking up Moreland Avenue (most likely heading to the venue they are playing this evening). It reminded me that I wanted to post some type of preview or sampler of this record so that you guys (and dolls?) could go buy it, as opposed to me posting the full album so that you can pirate it and literally...I say LITERALLY take food out of their babies mouths. Can't do it. I suppose therein lies the strange limits of my "blogging scruples", not real sure how to explain it other than, this record is super good, and if you like 75% of what gets posted here, you will like (nee, love) it too. This band is currently out there (metaphorically speaking I suppose) going for it, touring, releasing music, all that shit, so instead of pilfering it for once, I figured you could give a little back and buy it. Novel idea right?
If you need musical signposts prior to even downloading these tracks because you don't trust my endorsement on face value, well then; how's about, The Jesus Lizard (I know the band cringes at this one, but hey, The Jesus Lizard casted a mighty big shadow), Colossamite, Big'N, Birthday Party, Shorty, I mean, do I need to go on? Shouldn't that paint a vivid enough picture of the pummeling you will receive upon listening? How about this phone call i intercepted:
Hawks - "Hello"
Mid-nineties Noise Rock - "Hi, is this Hawks?"
Hawks - "Yes it is, how can I help you?"
Mid-Nineties Noise Rock - "This is mid nineties noise rock calling and..."
Hawks - "Say no more, I was expecting your call"

So anyway, listen to these few songs, and know that there are a grip more on the record that are just as good. Then go here: Insound or MySpace to buy the record (it's vinyl with a cd inside, so you get both formats), I promise you won't regret it.

The songs I posted are:
Borne Of Wasps
Chocolate Vultures
Shallow Wounds

DL
Posted by Gray at 7:39 PM
- shiny grey monotone


Label: Army Of Bad Luck
Year: 2009

I was driving home from a trip to Target whereupon my son agonized for well over thirty minutes as to what he could buy with the eight dollars he had saved up (turned out to be some sort of Transformer, which [surprise] is frustrating the shit out of both of us), when I passed the singer of this very band walking up Moreland Avenue (most likely heading to the venue they are playing this evening). It reminded me that I wanted to post some type of preview or sampler of this record so that you guys (and dolls?) could go buy it, as opposed to me posting the full album so that you can pirate it and literally...I say LITERALLY take food out of their babies mouths. Can't do it. I suppose therein lies the strange limits of my "blogging scruples", not real sure how to explain it other than, this record is super good, and if you like 75% of what gets posted here, you will like (nee, love) it too. This band is currently out there (metaphorically speaking I suppose) going for it, touring, releasing music, all that shit, so instead of pilfering it for once, I figured you could give a little back and buy it. Novel idea right?
If you need musical signposts prior to even downloading these tracks because you don't trust my endorsement on face value, well then; how's about, The Jesus Lizard (I know the band cringes at this one, but hey, The Jesus Lizard casted a mighty big shadow), Colossamite, Big'N, Birthday Party, Shorty, I mean, do I need to go on? Shouldn't that paint a vivid enough picture of the pummeling you will receive upon listening? How about this phone call i intercepted:
Hawks - "Hello"
Mid-nineties Noise Rock - "Hi, is this Hawks?"
Hawks - "Yes it is, how can I help you?"
Mid-Nineties Noise Rock - "This is mid nineties noise rock calling and..."
Hawks - "Say no more, I was expecting your call"

So anyway, listen to these few songs, and know that there are a grip more on the record that are just as good. Then go here: Insound or MySpace to buy the record (it's vinyl with a cd inside, so you get both formats), I promise you won't regret it.

The songs I posted are:
Borne Of Wasps
Chocolate Vultures
Shallow Wounds

DL
Posted by Gray at 7:39 PM
- shiny grey monotone


Atlanta, GA
Recorded and engineered by Hawks on an 8-track Tascam 1/4-inch tape machine
Produced by Josh Fauver and Gavin Fredricks

Hawks are four boys from Atlanta who play frantic noise rock that somehow gets stuck in your head despite all its cacophony and perversion. It also lends itself to high-energy, pants-optional live shows.

Listening to Hawk’s debut LP, Barnburner, is like being chased by an F4 tornado. Andrew Wiggins’ guitar riffs are like sirens. Bass player Sean Fitzgerald and drummer Shane Patrick create rhythms that are sometimes raucous and at other times deliberate and foreboding. The exasperated vocals bring a sense of futility to Barnburner and, basically, the record is your antidote to the whole hope, change and optimism trend.

Lyrically, Barnburner smirks and begs you to feel awkward. Songs like “Shitfist” and “The Thrust That Missed” are as exaggerated and vomit-inducing as they sound. While Barnburner has aptly been described as “sleazy” and “shower-inspiring,” Hawks slip a catchiness into their grimy chaos that makes showering futile in the face of tracks like “Sex on Beta.”

The track “Maritime Scarring,” however, provides a welcome break from the chaos by beginning in a psychedelic crawl. A creaky child’s voice comes in and says, “I’m not frightened. I’m not frightened.” Then the song explodes back into Barnburner’s default franticness.

The second half of the record is interspersed with fist-pumpingly epic movie quotes – dense, haunting soundbites from movies like Oldboy and The Good, The Bad and the Ugly. But they’re gritty, apocalyptic and almost impossible to live up to – well-chosen, but too ambitious. Ultimately, they just distract from the music (which is saying a lot considering Hawks aptly list “Melodramatic” as one of their genres on MySpace).
Barnburner certainly succeeds in being melodramatic. It’s a fast-paced, painful and pessimistic record that’ll make you want to avoid eye-contact and get your rage on. (Army of Bad Luck/Vagina Flambe)
-Kristen Fox - Performer Magazine


Discography

Barnburner LP (2009) – Army of Bad Luck
Hawks/Café Flesh (2010) – Trans Ruin
Hawks/The Grasshopper Lies Heavy (2010) –Trans Ruin
RUB LP (2011) – Trans Ruin

Upcoming Releases:

RUB LP – repress (2012) – Army Of Bad Luck
Hawks/Wizard Smoke LP (2012) – Trans Ruin
S/T LP (2012) – Learning Curve

Photos

Bio

Hawks have made a respected art of designed carelessness, all rusted strings and chugging groove, honing what has become a finely out-of-tuned craft following in the traditions of labels like Touch and Go, Amrep and Trans Syndicate. Forming in mid November 2007, their raw guttural tone and menacing live performances have since given rise to a strong local and regional following.

The band has 2 full lengths under its belt: Barnburner (2009, Army of Bad Luck) and RUB (2011, Trans Ruin / Army of Bad Luck). While working with Harvey Milk drummer Kyle Spence to record and mix RUB, the band began hone their tasteful noise-layered sound pushing every song into the red.

Poised to release their third full length in 2012 on ex-Amrep alum Learning Curve, also being recorded and mixed by Spence, the band looks back to the first thing ever written about them as catharsis “What the fuck is that ungodly racket?”

Indeed friends, indeed.

Hawks are:
Andrew S. Wiggins - Guitar
Sean P. Fitzgerald -Bass
Shane D. Patrick - Drums
Michael P. Keenan Jr. – Vocals