If I said "power trio," would you automatically think of the classic guitar-bass-drums triad?
If I then asked you to replace the guitar with a synthesizer, would you think I'm nuts? Or would you just write me off as some time-warped new-wave throwback?
Have you heard Falconhawk? They don't need no stinkin' guitars. And they sure the heck ain't new wave.Granted, their largely synthesizer-based, but it's not the bland, soulless synth-pop you remember from the '80s. It's deeper, more personal, more intriguing. Sure, you can dance to it – but you can also laugh to it, cry to it, wonder about your life to it, or make love to it.
The woman behind the keyboards? That's Kara Keith. Listening to her sing, watching her move onstage, you might be tempted to call her a diva. Her vocals evoke memories of Marianne Faithfull, Nico, Gale Garnett – they're exotic and sexy, but also playful. And then you realize that she isn't just ham-fistedly pounding out chords on those keys – she's playing them with the consummate skill of the lifelong instrumentalist. She's as comfortable with the works of Schubert as she is with those of the Stranglers or Spoon.
By the way, those are Kara's lyrics you're hearing. "Nine Things That Are True"? She counted 'em. "Living In My Bones"? One listen and you're hooked – because she's singing all those thoughts you've had so often (even the ones you weren't sure you had).
And that rhythm section - you can tell they've been rocking out since they were just young fellows jamming in suburban Calgary basements. Steve Elaschuck's basslines are alternately driving and melodic. Whatever needs doing on that low end, he'll do it. And Dave Alcock – he's a rock behind that kit. He's got an unparalleled ear for sound, one that's been formed not just by his drumming past, but by his extensive and varied work as a recording engineer and producer.
Skilled? No doubt. Unique? Hell yeah. Guitars? Don't think so.
Falconhawk has been recorded live by CBC Radio3, has appeared on CBC Television’s ZeD, and made friends across Canada on their summer 2004 tour.
Falconhawk’s second album, Here’s Your Ghost, packages serious thoughts in a cozy pop context. Its eight songs are spun from catchy riffs and upbeat tempos about death, dying, losing, and trying. The “morning after” to Hotmouth’s “night before”, Here’s Your Ghost explores the self-confessional, self-searching questions we all encounter in our existence as a ghost inside a shell. The resulting imagery is both ephemeral and ethereal, lingering long after the audible music has faded.
The Here’s Your Ghost Details
Track listings for Here's Your Ghost :
Here’s Your Ghost was written by Kara Keith, produced and engineered by Dave Alcock (assisted by Al Irving), and recorded at Sundae Sound Studios in Calgary in the fall of 2004. Bass on “Gay Man Pants” by Mark Rudd. Strings by Lillian Penner. Photos by Carl Ayling. Artwork and layout by Ryan Statz.
Here's Your Ghost Stories (Press)
Christa O'Keefe chats with Kara Keith for See Magazine, April 21, 2005
Fish Griwkowsky's review in the Edmonton Sun, April 3, 2005
Mike Bell is mesmerized by FH's new maturity, March 18, 2005
Mark Hamilton talks kicking ass with FH in Fast Forward, March 17, 2005
Falconhawk’s debut album, Hotmouth hit the shelves and the airwaves in February 2004.This unique take on synthesizer-based pop music spent 10 consecutive weeks on the National campus/community radio Top 50, and also got airplay on Definitely Not The Opera on CBC Radio One, on the Saturday night programming on CBC Radio Two/Three, and CKUA in Alberta. The video for “Olympia” has been shown on MuchMusic and was in medium rotation on MTVCanada.
The Hotmouth Details
Track listings for Hotmouth:
Recorded by Dave Alcock (with Al Irving) in the fall of 2003 at Sundae Sound Studios, Calgary. Mastered by Dave Horrocks at Infinite Wave, Calgary.
Hotmouth was released jointly by Saved By Radio and Catch And Release Records.
Hot Mouth Buzz, Hot Off The Press!
Here's what the critics have been saying about Falconhawk and Hot Mouth:
Exclaim's Helen Spitzer looks at the Calgary music scene, with special mention of SBR and Falconhawk, April 30, 2004
Helen Spitzer of Exclaim talks to Kara Keith about music, April 14, 2004
Whitey Houston's five-star review from Vue Weekly, February 26, 2004
Mike Bell's column in the Calgary Sun, February 13, 2004
Another love letter from Derek McEwen on ChartAttack.com, February 13, 2004
Heath McCoy's review in the Calgary Herald, February 12, 2004
Derek McEwen's column on ChartAttack.com, January 16, 2004
Christine Leonard examines the band in FFWD Weekly, October 23, 2003
Before Falconhawk, there was The Love Years, Kara Keith’s debut solo recording. It’s a precursor to FH’s work – you’ll recognize many of the songs from their later Hotmouth versions - but is also unique in its own ways. Released in 2002, The Love Years had instrumental help from Bob Keelaghan, Dan Vacon and Bob Quashnick, and was one again produced by the inimitable Dave Alcock. ChartAttack.com says that the songs on The Love Years prove Kara Keith to be one of Calgary’s “finest songwriters”.
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