The Mohawk Lodge
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The Mohawk Lodge


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"Exclaim Magazine"

Vancouver's Ryder Havdale is the brains behind the Mohawk Lodge and has just released a gem of a record in Rare Birds. As the first release on White Whale records -- a collective spearheaded by Havdale -- Rare Birds is an auspicious way for the label to introduce both itself and Havdale's remarkable scope as a songwriter to the world. While Havdale is also a member of pop-rockers Kids These Days, it's obvious that his sensibility as a songwriter is somewhat limited in that configuration. Drawing from the dark and twisted folk of Will Oldham and Smog's Bill Callahan, the Mohawk Lodge could most easily be confused for Hayden by the casual indie rock listener. Perhaps those who are even more astute will also pick out the influence of alt-folk hero David Berman's Silver Jews in Havdale's phrasing, particularly on the intro to the title track. Once one overcomes such serious similarities, the joy of hearing Havdale's music is left unfettered. Jaunty numbers like "Making Music" and "Sister" are convincing enough but then there are pleasant surprises like "TV Above" and "This Is What It's For". It's dark, it's light, and it's everything that a great hangdog folk record should be. Rare Birds truly is a treasure trove of an album that grows on you with repeated listens. - Exclaim!

"UK's Daily Mirror - Jan. 2013"

"short sharp and blistering punk salvos from the mercurial Ryder Havdale–led band. Mesh the grunge fried sound of Neil Young with Nick Cave at his most feral and tempestuous and you have an indication of the sonic territory this group alights on. Prepare for scorch marks on the soul at every listen" - UK's Daily Mirror - Jan '13

"UNCUT Magazine- 2009"

Vancouver quitet get wiggy on second LP. Whereas 2004's Rare Birds was a rustic, drowsy record reminiscent of Damien Jurado or Smog, the Lodge seemed to have discovered their inner Crazy Horse with this hugely impressive follow-up. Indeed, as an example of churning, quasi-cosmic rock, it's as endearing as recent Uncut faves Alberta Cross. There are horns and the odd dop into '80's new-wave pop, but, leader Ryder Havdale excels on the tattered, mid-tempo "Tinber", with the nagging guitar of the title track and epic road song "Rising Sun" providing a tankful of roaring thrills. - Uncut Magazine

"UNCUT Magazine - Jan 2013 - Feature on Covermount CD and Review"

Now residing in Berlin, Ryder Havdale and his ever-shifting Canadian collective headily mix a splash of Springsteen with Gun Club rage and the vigour of the Hold Steady" - UNCUT Magazine

"The Mohawk Lodge - Rare Birds"

When this record is good, it approaches greatness. Mellow, wistful folk music with a decidedly lo-fi production ethic firmly in place, the Mohawk Lodge is a soft bed to lie upon for an hour or so. If there is any weakness it is in Havdale’s unfortunate sonic similarities to Toronto’s Hayden – both in production values and vocal fragility. This isn’t just a casual comparison – fans of Hayden will likely feel Mohawk Lodge to be a bit too close for comfort. Which is a shame, since so much of this record deserves to be heard by just that demographic. For where Hayden can sometimes come off a bit too precious in his sad, sleepy dirges, Havdale’s record is fueled by a sweetness and light that lifts it above his doppelganger’s recent stuff.

Havdale’s lazy, off the cuff performances fit just right on tunes such as “Traitors and Knives” and the quirky “A Discovery” (in both of which I hear overtones of the Silver Jews and mid-90s Pavement). Likewise for the largely acoustic, sparse arrangements.

Overall, this may not be the record to break Mohawk Lodge out of quiet indie footnote status, but it sure makes a case for following his future trajectory.

Rating: 8 - Umbrella Music

"Whale Music"

Indie label founder Ryder Havdale finds comfort in The Mohawk Lodge

So there you are, late 20s, sitting not so pretty at a job you don't remember applying for, and you're trying to shut down that nagging voice telling you that this - this job, this life, this ethic - was not the plan.

Ryder Havdale used to know all about the gonna-be-30-soon jitters, but one auspicious day, soon after seeing the exceptional Will Oldham perform and thinking to himself, "Man, that's the way to do it," a little gift known as the layoff was blessedly delivered. Havdale knew what he had to do.

A musician already involved in Vancouver's Kids These Days and Second Narrows, Havdale (who also used to play with Montreal's The Marato) loaded his creative headspace with one of indie rock's finest, Smog, gave himself a hard kick and got knee-deep in summer songwriting. A couple of seasons later he recorded the solo work he'd long dreamt of, Rare Birds.

"I had to do it. My 'song' songs didn't fit in either of the projects I was in... But it was crazy. I basically ended up recording it all on an eight-track at this cabin in the middle of the winter - in full winter gear! It was freezing and I just sat there hitting record, stop, record, stop," says Havdale.

"Since releasing the record, I've been looking at the whole thing as a bonus. I've been working with the Kids for some years and with this album, I mean, to see the reviews and that... I guess I wasn't expecting much."

The lush and lulling Mohawk Lodge is, for all intents and purposes, Havdale's solo project ("the focus

will always be on my songs"), but minimal it ain't. With seven players, a couple acoustic guitars, a lap steel and more, this modest execution of "dirty folk, "as Havdale's friends like to refer to it, is slowly growing into a well-padded collective.

Of course, Havdale's not short on Canadian indie rock connections. Not only does he play in Kids These Days, he now runs a label that houses the band. White Whale Records (after "the elusive quality of the white whale," not to be confused with the now-defunct Californian label by the same name best known for its release of music by The Turtles) came about soon after the fateful day-job collapse. So far it hosts, in addition to his own bands, other Canadian initiatives like Poorfolk (ex-Marato) and Octoberman. The plan is to load it up with a healthy variety of sounds.

"It wasn't just created to put out The Lodge. There's gonna be some electro. There are tons of projects that I'd like to put out," he says.

"Everyone tells me, 'Ooh, labels are a hard business,' but every time I hear that it makes me more dedicated to it. I'll be honest, the money is, well... But I'm sticking through it. The challenge is what inspires me." - The Hour

"The Mohawk Lodge - Rare Birds"

Two words: road music. Ryder Havdale et al. patiently weave together 10 acoustic opuses that snap a photograph of the feeling of wandering aimlessly along winding, sunny country roads with a buddy and a full tank of gas. Like taking the long way home from a road trip, Rare Birds is the bitter-sweet contradiction of feeling like you have all the time in the world and knowing that it's going to end in a few too-short hours. - Imprint


Damaged Goods //
2013 - First Love Records (Australia)
2012 - White Whale Records (Canada)

Crimes //
2010 White Whale Records
- features Dan Mangan, Eamon McGrath, Darryl Neudorf

Wildfires //
2007 White Whale Records
- features Dan Boeckner (Wolf Parade), JP Carter, Darryl Neudorf (Neko Case, Sadies) & more!

Rare Birds //
2004 White Whale Records



The Mohawk Lodge have played 120 shows in the past 12 months in 15 different countries. They've just returned from Australia supporting their 4th release Damaged Goods which was released on Melbourne's First Love Records.

It’s their take on punk, and at 30 minutes even, is their rawest, shortest and wildest recording to date. Previous records included their Smog-tinged Rare Birds-’04, Wildfires-’07 (featuring Dan Boeckner Wolf Parade/Handsome Furs), and Crimes ‘10 (featuring Dan Mangan).

Recording was done live off the floor in a sweltering Toronto heatwave with the same Euro-touring band that helped inspire and create the tunes: Eamon McGrath (Julie Doiron), Peter Dreimanis (July Talk), Danny Miles (July Talk), Clay Jones (Huddle) and Scott Freeman (Poorfolk). Finally, it was back across the country to mix with Jordan Koop (of Emergency Room fame) at his new Noise Floor studio located in an old Ladysmith music hall.

A blurry mix of Springsteen, a teenage Swervedriver, a Repeater-era Fugazi and Neil Young circa Ragged Glory all come together in Damaged Goods, along with the raw, urgent atmosphere of early-nineties lo-fi rock and roll. This is the music of one man’s disjointed route on planet earth, and when focused into music, it becomes one cathartic, epic voyage.

With a record in the can, Havdale packed up and moved to Berlin. He currently resides at the infamous Schokoladen punk venue/artists squat.

“short sharp and blistering punk salvos from the mercurial Ryder Havdale–led band. Mesh the grunge fried sound of Neil Young with Nick Cave at his most feral and tempestuous and you have an indication of the sonic territory this group alights on. Prepare for scorch marks on the soul at every listen” UK’s Daily Mirror