NXNE Review: Boxer The Horse, Elk, June 14, El Mocambo

I know I’m not the first one to make this comparison(and I won’t be the last) but Charlottetown’s Boxer The Horse sound an awful lot like Pavement. ‘Wowee Zowee’, ‘Crooked Rain Crooked Rain’-era Pavement in both music and vocal-style. They’re the first to admit that they are fans though so at least there’s no denial and with Pavement being one of my favourite bands through my university days and beyond, it’s nice to see that young bands are still being inspired and taking something from ’90s indie heroes like Built to Spill, Yo La Tengo, and Pavement. Another east coast band, North of America, who recently did a reunion tour in 2010 and had numerous well received releases, did their own version of a similar sound more than ten years ago. Fuzzed out harmonies layered over lazy, effortlessly sung lyrics is the main commonality between these three bands. For an early 8pm showtime the upstairs at the El Mo was quite packed and despite having a bass issue early on BTH played on and acted like pros, even showing their range by doing a cover of Blondie’s “Hangingon the Telephone”. It was clear that they’ve already built a strong following as the new generation of slacker-rock continues to live on.

Down the stairs I was fortunate enough to catch local surfy power-pop band Elk play a tight set full of distorted powerchords. No pauses between songs, just straight ahead, full-on rock and roll. The four-piece band shared vocal duties, including their drummer (also in Beliefs)getting in on the action. Foot-tapping harmonies up the wazoo. Elk are back in Toronto playing the Horseshoe on July 7th.

Posted on by Brent in North By Northeast