Can’t fake the real Fang

Hooded Fang readies for Alberta

WWWH-at? doesn’t ask the difficult questions. Actually it asks the simplest — the who what why where and how requisite for any story. This week we catch up with Hooded Fang leader Daniel Lee whose tour guide to Rose Country is — who else? — current tourmate The Rural Alberta Advantage.

Really. Who the hell chooses a Mordecai Richler children’s title as a band name? Hooded Fang that’s who. But despite the reference — and the fact that keyboardist Nick Hune-Brown writes for The Walrus Eye and Toronto Life — the chamber-pop troupe’s goal is strictly musical not literary. Timeless pop is its modus operandi.

“I love the songs that go on the radio” says Lee. “Like my friend posted a video of b4-4 on Facebook. Remember that band? They were all brothers — they looked like trolls! Skin tone and everything.”

“There’s this one line that was like [singing] ‘I’m gonna make you c-o-o-ome!’ And then his brother goes ‘Over to us!’ Hearing it I was like ‘This is a real pop tune!’”

What? Surely they don’t sound like b4-4. Well no. Its two releases Album and the aptly titled EP showcase after-school band arrangements — see the carpet-rolling trumpets piano-lesson keys and wonderful glee-inducing glock — treated with the patchwork charm of a 3 a.m. bedroom jam session. But if it’s twee that’s unintentional.

“Oh God it drives me kind of crazy. I didn’t even know twee was a genre until last week. But it came up in every single review!” Lee laughs. “So we looked it up hey some of these bands were pretty good. If this is twee then I don’t really mind.”

Alright. Now why does Album’s artwork look so familiar? That’s the work of Dougie Kerr whose hand-painted signs adorn Honest Ed’s a neon-lit discount-store fixture in Toronto’s Annex neighbourhood. “We grew up with Honest Ed’s around us" says Lee. "Every sign even if it’s ‘Peas: 99 cents’ and hand painted. We usually just do work with people around us in our community and he was really flattered that we even asked him to do it! He’s been getting some good press — someone even did an art show of the Honest Ed’s stuff.”

Some of us have worn out Album . When’s the new shit coming? Soon. Lee says Hooded Fang will release a few singles and the Tosta Mista EP named for grilled Portuguese cheese sandwiches ubiquitous in the band’s native neighbourhood by late summer. “The next release will be a lot more spontaneous…. Like old R&B soul garage punk — the kind of songs you can play on guitar with the same emotion that you can with a full band with horns.”

How have I never heard of — What Lee and co-member April Aliermo’s bass-and-drums punk rock project Tonka & Puma? Or Phedre their side-project with Toronto electronic artist Doldrums? Neither had we until now. Go do some diggin’!