Monday, September 19, 2005
Holy Microphone, Batman, I've found a great band and album.
Holy Microphone is a Toronto combo formerly known as Hannah featuring Mark Gabriel, Debbie Lillico (Cool Trout Basement) and Kirk Hudson (Wayne Omaha) -- all alumni members of Knockout Pill -- with guitarist Fred Robinson of The Chickens/U.I.C. and bassist/guitarist/producer Duncan Blair from The Mummers. The group had the release party for its Goodbye Television Girl debut album last Tuesday at the Horseshoe Tavern, and everyone I talked to in attendance was as enthusiastic
about it as I was.
Gabriel handles the majority of the vocals, while Lillico trades off with him at times and Robinson takes a very rare vocal turn on All The Leaves, which features a wall of guitars. Live, Gabriel's voice sounds a lot like David Lowery of Cracker/Camper Van Beethoven. But the resemblance isn't as noticeable on the disc, which was recorded at Peter Hudson's Hallamusic studio.
Album opener Illuminate The Girl reminds me of the pop parts of the Velvet Underground's debut album, while the slower The Weekend Tomorrow has hints of VU acolyte Dean Wareham's Galaxie 500 and Luna. The disc-ending Sally's On Fire has a big drum introduction and I heard elements of Television (yet another New York band that owes a debt to VU) when the band opened its show with it.
Somewhat jangly and rootsy power pop sounds shine through on Lesley, Sister Song, Feathers and Beatle Bob, a song dedicated to the odball St. Louis scenester who travels across North America to do some bad dancing at the front of the stage for bands he likes. I know a lot of people hate Bob, but there's no way that you can hate this song, and I'm sure that the mop-topped, '60s-suited one would enjoy cutting a rug to it.
For what it's worth, I was captured on film talking to Beatle Bob on a bus in Austin this past March at South By Southwest. A crew is making a documentary on him, so I could be appearing at a low-budget film festival near you sometime.
Quite simply, Goodbye Television Girl is one of the best albums that I've heard this year.
Unfortunately, the www.holymicrophone.com web site isn't operational at the moment. But that should hopefully change soon. In the meantime, if you're interested in buying the album, it was just released in Canada by Maple/Universal-distributed Rubber Road Records, which can be contacted at email@example.com.