In a city like Los Angeles, crowds have gotten used to fist-pumping and body jerking to sounds from onstage DJ’s and sample-heavy ‘dance outfits.’ Mechanized loops, button-pushed ease and laptop portability have all aided in the influx of these acts touring under their beat-laden releases. Toronto’s electronic shape-shifters, Holy Fuck, make it a point to avoid the usage of anything that’s been pre-programmed, looped or synced prior to taking the stage and it results in something close to pure, dizzying brilliance.
The quartet stopped by West Hollywood’s Troubadour last Thursday night (June 10) touring in support of their latest long player “Latin” (May 7th via XL/Young Turks). Portland duo Nice Nice played a fluid, tribal instrumental-driven flow to open the night. Their debut, “Extra Wow” was released by UK label Warp back in April.
Holy Fuck’s latest “Latin” marks a transformation of the band into a much fuller, focused and athletic sound. While sophomore release “LP” plays with a sort of pleasant and roving slushy thump, this new effort wholly embraces the full-featured growing mentality of a true ‘band’ album and finds the toy-keyboard-obsessed Canadians now soaring high above the clouds. Tracks like “Stilettos” and the near-acid frenzied roll of “Lucky” are some of the bands grandest efforts yet. It’s probably no surprise that I feel they’ve made this year’s best.
As a live outfit, the band possessed a weighty, kraut-loaded dance bob that was as hefty a compliment one could want compared to their on-album material. Playing with a suitcase-full of plastic keyboards, a (modded?) film synchronizer, effects pedals tangled and piled atop two facing trays and the traditional bass, guitar and drum set-up, few kinks were heard under the Troubadour lights. Overall the in-person sprawl of the band was characterized by a throbbing, delicate melding of their key influences: kraut and it’s motorik drive, post rock soar, mathy tech and some funky-as-hell bass action (“Red Lights”) that allowed most; from rock-obsessed bros, purists and critical crate-diggers to ride along to something that Holy Fuck was spewing from its stage.
Words & Photos: Matt Draper/Hollow Eyed photos