Ladyhawk discouraged by U.S. audiences

“That’s the way it is all through the States,” says Duffy Driediger, vocalist/guitarist of Ladyhawk, his irritation only slightly tempered by resignation after playing to an audience of around a dozen at Washington’s DC9 on May 11.

Dutifully, the four-piece had gone in front of the nearly empty room and laid down a rock solid barrage of gritty yet hook-filled numbers from their second full-length on Jagjaguwar, Shots, capped with the anthemic “The Dugout” from their self-titled debut, which the band (and they’re right) seems to hold out as a striking gem inexplicably languishing in the gravel bed of modern rock. A lot like Ladyhawk itself.

“Every band has to have an angle—something weird and quirky,” Driediger complains by way of explaining the band’s lack of drawing power. “There’s not a lot of bands that just play songs.”

This simplistic approach is Ladyhawk’s palpable strength as much as it may be their commercial pitfall. Just about every song is a visceral experience, whether it pummels you from beginning to end like album opener “I Don’t Always Know What You’re Saying” or “You Ran” or crawls painfully to the crescendo of a searing solo on “Faces of Death.” But Shots is simultaneously looser than the debut while still containing amazing pop hooks in nearly every track. Some new textures like (gasp!) the occasional keyboard or the girl-group backing vocals on “Night You’re Beautiful” were added to the mix since “We had a little bit more money and two weeks to work,” Driediger says.

“No one’s gonna like it the first time,” he says, and while Shots does lack the immediacy of the debut there is great reward in subsequent spins. This new depth amid Ladyhawk’s outward austerity strongly suggests the indie stalwarts of yesteryear who they cite as influences—Silkworm, Pavement, Sebadoh, Dinosaur Jr.—bands that all combined challenging elements with a deep debt to straight up rock’n’roll.

As for today’s buzzworthy acts: “We don’t listen to them,” says drummer Ryan Peters. “We don’t know anything that’s going on nowadays.”

Aside from what they have gathered from anecdotal evidence on tour, that is. “Guitar-driven rock bands aren’t that popular right now. It’s just not paying off. We’re lost in all the other noise,” Driediger says. “In Canada, people are really supportive of it,” he says, and the band hopes to try their luck in Europe soon. “I guess we’ll just try to play in the places where people like us more.”

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Ladyhawk – S.T.H.D.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Ladyhawk – I Don’t Always Know

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Ladyhawk – War

Related posts

  1. Wye Oak-Live at the G-Spot (Merge CD Release Party)Wye Oak played a phenomenal set at their CD (re)release...
  2. Sound Off!: These New Puritans (BYT Edition)I’m not gonna lie, These New Puritans are scratching an...
  3. Livewire: Solar Powered Sun Destroyer @ The Red & The Black (2010.01.08)Photo: David Carter Solar Powered Sun Destroyer is a DC...
  4. Deer Tick-Live at the G-Spot (Wye Oak CD Release Party)Find the audio from Deer Tick’s set as MP3s after...
  5. 4(artists)-for-1 Mostly Metal MondayDream Theater – Fatal Tragedy Dream Theater – Master of...

5 Responses to “Ladyhawk discouraged by U.S. audiences”

  1. This headline should read ‘U.S. Audiences Discouraged by Ladyhawk.’

  2. Anonymous says:

    To blackmailismylife – the headline is correct as written. The article is about Ladyhawk and how they have been “discouraged” by their inability to garner a following in the U.S., and not, as your title suggests, on how Ladyhawk purposefully discourages U.S. audiences from attending their shows.

  3. With all due respect to the author, couldn’t this sort of ‘criticism’ apply to any band that fails to attract a following?

    That the band thinks people don’t get them is also a bit silly. They sound like almost every band on their label!

    You could probably replace ‘Ladyhawk’ with ‘Parts & Labor’ without issue.

  4. Becky C says:

    After reading the article, Lou, I disagree with your above comment.

    I can’t blame you for Duffy’s responses, so I’m just going to preface this a little by saying that he sucks in an interview. I stumbled upon Ladyhawk ONLY because I thought Ladyhawk(E) was playing at a particular venue. And I’m not totally out of the new music loop; I’m all over the music blogs. So if I don’t know who they are, maybe they should hire a better PR firm.

    Picking what seem like the most negative quotes from the interview does not help the band: “No one’s gonna like it the first time.” Well then I have no desire to listen at all. And the part about them not listening to any current bands… are they kidding? That’s a whole article in itself. And to say folks aren’t going for guitar-driven bands is just ridonkulous. Maybe if they listened to any current music, they’d get it. I understand Duffy needs a lesson in “How to Get People to Like You 101,” but I’m not sure the point of this article is to explain what’s not to like about this band. I’ve heard their tunes, and I like the music, but based on this article, I’d think they’re pretentious, naive, and as my grandmother would say, “too big for their britches.” To me, it says, “Ladyhawk thinks their hot shit but Americans are too dense to get it.” Not cool.

    Listen, I think you’re a great writer, Lou. Your style and diction is great. But I think Duffy needs to grow some balls when talking to the public about his band, and I think this article could use some more positive spin. It sounds like you’re a fan, and so am I, but the end result just reads like bad news.

    Best regards!

  5. emay says:

    Nice writing, Lou! Keep it up.

Leave a Reply