Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Black Mascara Glam - The Black Halos


If you were posed the following question how would you answer? You've been asked to go out to see some local new bands and you've got two choices. When you ask who do they sound like you're told one of them sounds like Blink-182 and the other one sounds like the New York Dolls cross dressing with the Dead Boys. Which band would you go see? If you don't even know who the New York Dolls or the Dead Boys are I suggest you go shopping at your local Gap for the duration of this review. If you said there is no choice in the question you're right. Only a pubescent acne machine would even harbor thoughts of wasting an hour or more of a lifespan to see some group aping Blink-182. Hell, life's probably too precious to waste on a group worshipping at the altar of Stiv Bators and Johnny Thunders too, but unless you're after some grand epistemological journey you might as well indulge yourself and have some fun being terminally pissed off. That's where Billy Hopeless and the glitter glam and black mascara leather of The Black Halos come into the picture.

The Black Halos are back after a brief hiatus that saw two members replaced and they are as glammed out and punked up as ever. They have a new disc out titled Alive Without Control produced by expert volume knob twister Jack Endino who has managed to escape the long shadow of the Seattle grunge rock he is most famous for producing. This album is, and I hesitate to think it, almost too loud. Which means it takes a few listens to let the subtleties seep in - okay I'm bullshitting you since this is about the most straight ahead punk raucous beer party rock I've heard in a long time, but it did take a few plays before I could decipher Billy Hopeless's whiskey soaked vocals. Maybe I'm just a little slow at interpreting Canadian, eh. The Black Halos definitely hold onto their title as the best Vancouver export on Alive Without Control.

"Three Sheets To The Wind" explodes from the speakers and sets the tone for the anthemic odes to follow as they announce that they "don't know a single hymn". They borrow a guitar intro from Dramarama for "Last Call At The Toothless Saloon" before leading us into a rousing chorus that sidesteps Stiv Bators and heads for Dee Dee Ramone vocal territory. "Darkest Corners" we're told are the only places that The Black Halos are home and that's good to know since you need to go see them play live to fully appreciate their Dolls/Dead Boys homage transcending rock and roll. Other choice nuggets: "Tight" which speeds along with hydrochloric intensity, the anti-love song "Broken", and a cover of Tom Petty's "I Need To Know" which demonstrates what a sturdy songwriter Petty is as the song is a fitting end for an album's worth of songs where the politics are personal alienation.

Alive Without Control is available through Liquor And Poker Music. If you're tired of being an American idiot, then grab yourself a couple of toofers (a toofer is a case of beer in Canadian speak), then get this album for an evening of drunken rock and roll. I notice the people who had never heard of the New York Dolls or the Dead Boys have returned from the Gap so I guess this review is through. But thanks to The Black Halos I'm sure there will be fewer customers for the Gap the next time around.


Stella said...

I'm intrigued.

122272 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

'Alive Without Control' West Coast 2006 Tour

Vancouver's notorious punks The Black Halos are proud to announce their 'Alive Without Control' West Coast Tour. In January, the monochrome rockers will blast their way down to California. Highlights include joining forces with the legendary Social Distortion(January 6) then pushing onward to Los Angeles where they/'ll be joined by the Ladykillers and finally heading back north to headline a string of shows in Washington and British Columbia.

This west coast stint is in support of their critically acclaimed 3rd release "Alive Without Control"(Century Media/Liquor & Poker Records). Their newly released video "Three Sheets to the Wind" has found love on such stations as MuchMusic and MuchLoud.

Thurs. Jan 5 - SF, CA @Grant & Green
w/American Heartbreak
Fri. Jan 6 - Anaheim, CA @House of Blues
Sat. Jan 7 - Huntington Beach @The Brigg w/Lady Killers
Sun. Jan 8 - Hollywood @Knitting Factory w/Lady Killers
Mon. Jan 9- Sacremento, CA TDB
Tues. Jan 10 - Olympia, WA @The Manium (All Ages)
Wed. Jan 11 - Bellingham, WA @Up N Up Tavern
Fri. Jan 13 - Vancouver, BC @Media Club
Sat. Jan 14 - Kelowna, BC @OKM Hall
Sun. Jan 15 - Whistler, BC @Boot Pub
Wed. Jan 18 - Nanaimo, BC @Queens
Thurs. Jan 19 - Victoria, BC @Logans
Sat . Jan 21st - Seattle, WA @El Corazon
w/ Hollowpoints and Problem Child

Hot off the press is the new Warcon Christmas compilation "A Taste of Christmas" with the Black Halos sneering holiday track "Homeless for Christmas". This compilation includes

other seasonal favorites from: Street Drum Corps feat: Bert McCracken, The Used, From First to Last, Emery, Bleed the Dream, Funeral For a Friend and many more.

Continuing the highly successful Metal For The Masses series, the Century Family unseals Metal For The Masses Volume Four, once again exclusive to Hot Topic locations nationwide. The 2-disc compilation contains 40 tracks totaling over 2 hours of music including the Black Halos track "Three Sheets to the Wind". Volume Four comes housed in a deluxe double Digipak and is available now at all Hot Topic locations nationwide.

This past year saw the Halos sharing the stage with The Queers, The New York Dolls, The Die Hunns(feat. Duane Peters & Corey Parks)The River City Rebels, The Bones(Sweden), Kings of Nuthin, Angel City Outcasts, The Avengers, and the Illuminati.

Other frenzied activity has the boys in black writing new material and planning their Spring 2006 European tour which will have them playing 40 shows in 7 weeks.

"They got all the hooks and they're master baiters, so come on down to your
local watering hole and catch the Black Halos !"

For interview requests please email publicity@blackhalos.net


European Tour in March/April 2006