Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The Black Hat Brigade - The Black Hat Brigade EP

The Black Hat Brigade debut EP, in short, is outstanding. It's hard not to listen to them and immediately think of Wolf Parade, but where Wolf Parade has always seemed very dark, and a little depressing, tBHB uses the same (minor?) chords but somehow seems to come out more positive.

I wasn't sure what to make of the Wolf Parade comparisons are inevitable after listening to the EP, and so, as an experiment I created a playlist the BHB EP and Wolf Parade's Apologies to the Queen Mary. A BHB song went first, a WP song went second, and so on in that pattern and by the time I got to the third Wolf Parade song I skipped over it to get to the next BHB song. To me atleast, tracks like 'On Leave', 'Limbo' and 'Swords' are substantially better than anything on Apologies. I have a hard time believing that if you actually listen to these two songs you'll disagree. And while I imagine these guys will be rock stars someday, I hope they won't forget when they said I liked them better than Wolf Parade.

[mp3] Limbo
[mp3] Swords

Word on the street is that their EP will be available through iTunes sometime in Mid-April.

You can look for them in the SW Ontario area through out the Spring/Summer at which point I would hope there'll be a London show. As I understand it all this info will be up on their myspace page at: www.myspace.com/blackhatbrigade


Brian said...

I don't know if I would go so far as saying WP are dark and depressing. A few songs are on the darker side maybe, but they still have a fair number of up beat tracks (Grounds for Divorce, Shine a Light, Dear Sons and Daughters).

Having said that, I've been listening to these TBHB tracks for a couple days now (on your pre-post reco) and I have to say this is some pretty great stuff. I'm excited for the EP and even more curious to see how they pull it off live.

Do you think you've become a bit jaded with WP? (since Apologies has been out for the better part of three years) Would you still be skipping the WP tracks if you were listening to both of the albums for the first time? TBHB definitely sounds fresher and more listenable, but it could just be that it's new. Just curious.

PS. Any mention of a new WP album in the blogosphere?

ack said...

I have to say, Brian brings up a good point. If you had never heard Wolf Parade and then listened to Apologies and TBHB, I think you have to be off your rocker to say that the songs on this EP blow them out of the water.


That being said, I'm the guy who doesn't think they sound that similar to Wolf Parade (Swords not included) so my opinion is all off kilter anyway.

I think the TBHB is much more subdued and don't try to reach the frantic energetic peaks that WP hits. To me, the interesting point of comparison will be after they both have a record or two under their belt. Because I have a feeling the new WP will push them to a whole other level.

The R.O.B. said...

B. - there are rumblings of a new WP album 'Kissing the Beehive' June 19.

I think fair points, but I'm a much bigger Dan B. fan than I am Spencer Krug (I love - as I've mentioned before - Handsome Furs, I'm luke on Sunset Rubdown/Swan Lake/Frog Eyes at best). So, that's probably just a matter of personal preference than anything.

Acks point if I was listening to them being released at the same time is a good one... I probably wouldn't be saying tBHB blows them out of the water, but I DO like it a good deal more. Honestly, other than the first two tracks I'm not huge on AttQM - much like the Sunset Rubdown/Swan Lake/Frog Eyes albums I've liked a couple of songs but they're just a little too 'weird' or busy for me....

The R.O.B. said...

As an addendum, the comments I made to bolster the album were with the hopes that the 'review' was so strong that people were compelled to listen to them.... its an EP that really, really, ought to be heard.

Brian said...

As a follow up to my excitement to see them live..

I came across a couple videos on their facebook group.

I must say, I'm impressed. Can't wait to check out the rest of the EP.


Brian said...

Use this link instead