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January 25, 2006

Three for one and one for three

The Trust, Gillis and The Hawk offer new albums all at once

It is a relatively rare event when three Louisville bands release records during the same week. Not that there’s any way to know the last time this happened, or if it ever has, other than a perversely sensitive memory (which mine is not), or hours wasted poring through obscure, semi-accurate historical minutiae with no central location — I don’t know, don’t remember, don’t care and am just self-assured enough to say in print that this is an exceptional thing. In fact, if someone can identify the last time this happened, with proof, come by my office and take a box of CDs. I have tons.

So here we are — The Trust, Gillis and The Hawk have readied new albums and EPs, and are throwing a party this weekend to put them into your hands. Here are 13 lucky reasons you should go:

  • All three of these bands and their new records — The Hawk’s Tied With Tiny Strings, Gillis’ If It Wasn’t For Gravity and The Trust’s self-titled full-length — have considerably different sounds, disparate for a single show or grouped listen.
  • The Hawk’s sound could be considered this way: the Mars Volta is having sex with Cerberus Shoal in a car headed to a carnival when an accident occurs, perhaps an icy bridge or something else that’s rarely unexpected, yet perhaps surprising enough to knock your head off balance for a brief time.
  • Gillis could’ve been on the radio a decade ago, when the Goo Goo Dolls were remotely relevant, though that’s not meant as a shot.* His brand of tune is the quiet, introspective singer-songwriter thing, which is a blessing — if done well — and a curse. Gillis (formerly of Waterproof Blonde) is breathy and whispered in delivery, typical in verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus structure but has a pretty original take on the standard break-up record, which is the record’s saving grace.
  • The Trust (nee the Herbie Hinkle Ensemble), on the other hand, is a weird mixed bag of influences that’s imminently listenable, even if you claim to dislike white boys playing funky, bluesy tunes. There’s prominent riding of the funk log, though singer-songwriter Jon Beazlie’s (disclosure: he’s a LEO employee) smooth, polished voice and raw, slightly distorted guitar command most of the attention. He plays with a pick while fingerpicking with the free digits. Guitar players: geek out!
  • Josh Hawkins, The Hawk’s singer-songwriter extraordinaire, is a poor man’s Johnny Depp. Look at him. Really. It’s uncanny.
  • The purpose of this show being to announce/sell new albums, it is guaranteed each band will play “something off the new record,” which in this case, having listened to and enjoyed on some level all three, is fantastic.
  • This will surely include The Trust’s “Mid City Life,” a tune inspired by the late and loved Highlands bum Danimal, with a wholly righteous swampy stomp ’n’ sway the way CCR taught us to dig.
  • This will also surely include The Hawk’s “Don’t Fly Away,” a raucous jam with gang vocals that — the last time I saw the band at the Rud a few months ago — had the whole place swingin’ and noddin’ and tryin’ to sing along. It was a nice, immutably hum-able moment.
  • Likewise, this should include Gillis’ “Weapons,” the most inspired lyrical choice from the debut EP, with a nicely extended metaphor about the harm that words can inflict.
  • Jon Beazlie, The Trust’s singer-songwriter extraordinaire, is a poor man’s David Gilmour, Dark Side era. Look at him. Really. It’s uncanny.
  • Hawkins, Beazlie and Gillis are equally clever in lyric, but require that different levels of attention to be paid to catch it all. Repetition is at times a friendly thing. You’ll see.
  • Gillis is a poor man’s David Draiman, the dude singer for Disturbed. Look at him. Really. It’s uncanny.

*Note: However, there is a very real Goo Goo Dolls conspiracy that exists, perpetrated by record executives, wherein an easy bullshit kind of band like GGD would be dribbled into the mainstream slowly, like an I.V., and any number of cheap ripoffs allowed entry based on precedent, invariably lowering standards to such an awful level as to beget such things as “American Idol” and other syrupy forms of musical laxative. This is not why Gillis would’ve been on the radio 10 years ago. He would’ve preceded GGD, not humped its wings.