Saturday, March 13, 2010

Giant Drag - Swan Song (Roar Scratch 2010)

The brainchild of singer/guitarist/songwriter Annie Hardy and drummer/synth bassist Micah Calabrese, Giant Drag made a minor splash on the indie scene back in 2006 with Hearts and Unicorns (Interscope 2006) based primarily on their, granted, stupendous cover of Chris Isaac's "Wicked Game". That the single from the record, "This Isn't It", was pretty damn catchy and ingeniously clever lyrically didn't hurt it's standing as a fine little record.

What did was the endless, and to my mind fair, comparisons to Last Splash era Breeders, something which apparently threw Annie Hardy into Courtney Love-esque spasms of rage. Unfortunately, The Breeders comparisons weren't to stop with the music. Dropped from Interscope, conflicting rumors began floating around about Annie going solo, a new record in the works being held up by drug abuse, Micah Calabrese fired for drug abuse, Micah Calabrese fired and in rehab, Annie Hardy putting together a full band, etc. The fact that no product was forthcoming, not even a single, for four years seemed to indicate that this band was done.

Well, it's 2010 and we have a new four song EP from Giant Drag. For those counting, that's a song a year. Band personnel: Annie Hardy and Micah Calabrese. Is it any good? Yeah, it's a nice listen. There's nothing here as strong as "This Isn't It" (or, for that matter, "Wicked Game"), but the songs are solid. Any of the first three could have easily fit on Hearts and Unicorns without seeming out of place. Hell, maybe they're out takes.

Personally, I'm glad to see Giant Drag is still around. Breeders sounding or not, I like 'em. And frankly, Annie Hardy has more balls, so to speak, than Kim Deal has for a long time. Yes, I know - I'm going to Indie Rock Hell for saying that.

For all the noise this band can make, especially considering there's only two of them, the strongest track here is the final one, "Heart Carl", a melancholy love song featuring only acoustic guitar, Annie Hardy's amazing voice, and a nice, very recognizably themed lyric.

I'm not sure if the EP title Swan Song means what it implies, but the rumor mill has it that Annie and Micah are busy banging out another full length as I write this.

Go pick it up. It's cheap, it's a good listen, and I'd like Giant Drag to think enough people care to make it worth sticking around.

2 Hearts and 1 Unicorn for this one

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