Radar Band Of The Week No:80 – ‘Hooded Fang’

They brawl! They get bored! And back home in Canada? They rival Arcade Fire…

Toronto-based Hooded Fang may just be starting to cause ripples on these shores, but across the Atlantic they’ve racked up enough notches on the creative bedpost to make even Dev Hynes look like a total slacker. Having formed back in 2007 when Daniel Lee (vocals/guitar) and April Aliermo (bass) roped in some roommates to have a crack at some initial songwriting forays, the band started as a kind of Canadian Los Campesinos! – a seven-strong troupe playing glockenspiel-infused orchestral pop.

They released an album called, er, ‘Album’ which was nominated alongside Arcade Fire for the Polaris Prize – the Canadian equivalent of a Mercury – and then… well, then they got bored. Losing three members in as many years (“Every year we have a big brawl and see who’s the weakest,” drummer D Alex Meeks states bluntly), they twiddled collective thumbs and – somehow – ended up with new album ‘Tosta Mista’ (due out March 12). It’s a total 180 on their previous material, being a gem of a garage-rock record that brings to mind The Coral, if they were into joyriding with Black Lips.

“This is an evolving thing,” shrugs Lee of the new direction. “We all like so many different genres of music and I find it really strange when someone DJs only drum’n’bass or something for, like, 25 years. I mean, don’t they get bored?” But Hooded Fang like to keep things interesting. Aside from their main band duties they also play in numerous side-projects, run a label (Daps Records) and work at April’s artist-led play school, giving kids music lessons as well as putting on a host of all-ages shows.

They’re even helping out with Toronto’s artistic unemployment levels: “A couple of the kids who started volunteering help run the shows now, so one’s our bookkeeper,” enthuses Aliermo. As if all that wasn’t enough, there’s the small matter of the next Hooded Fang record – already almost complete and shaping up to be a “further expansion” on the ramshackle bent of ‘Tosta Mista’ – that’s set to hit shelves before 2012 is out. Britain, you’d better start catching up quick, because this lot certainly aren’t going to hang about.

Lisa Wright

Need To Know:
Based: Toronto
For Fans Of: Black Lips, Fair Ohs
Hear It: ‘Tosta Mista’ is released on March 12 via Full Time Hobby
See Them Live: When they return to the UK in May
Believe It Or Not: D Alex Meeks is a trained watchmaker. He was also raised on a zoo in South Carolina

This article originally appeared in the March 3rd issue of NME

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