Vancouver based band The Harpoonist & the Axe Murderer are on a mission to make dirty blues that “gets you in the crotch”. It’s a noble mission which they carry out with aplomb. Their music draws obvious comparisons to other modern blues revivalist duos like The Black Keys and The White Stripes.
You can hear the real roots of the blues bleeding through their music though. The “Harpoonist” Shawn Hall has got a snarling whiskey laced voice. He also plays the hell out of the harmonica, channelling the spirit of Little Walter. Matthew Rogers is the “axe murderer” and like Hall is a multi-instrumentalist.
Their album Checkered Past, released last year, is one long groove filled with throbbing drums and raw guitar licks. It makes me want to dance in a blue-lit basement on a hot summer night.
Here’s their newest video for the song Roll with the Punches. It was directed by Mike Southworth and offers a quite literal interpretation of the song. Although Hall and Rogers are not so much rolling with the punches as getting their asses handed to them.
If you yearn to watch grown men get taken down in the boxing ring by men in animal costumes then you are in for a rare treat. Recalling the great boxing films from Raging Bull to Rocky III this video has all the classic boxing tropes from the coach’s pep talk to the post first round smoke. Roll with the Punches is a sinuous tune that, like all good blues songs, finds the boys down on their luck and feeling world weary.
It is difficult to feel optimistic when a fluffy children’s entertainer chases you around the ring and rains down their pugilist fury upon you. But hey that’s life people!