Friday, March 24, 2006
Download: Hazard County Girls -- "Insect" (from Divine Armor)
I lived in New Orleans. I escaped the hurricane through a combination of many things: First, I had friends who were more aware then I of the dangers of a category 5 hurricane crash-landing in a bowl (which in retrospect is painfully obvious). Second, money forwarded from my mom to pay for gas to leave the city. Third, the luck of the well-timed gas run which involved hunting through the city for any gas station that still had gas (that was the scariest part; everyone in the city was filling up and the gas stations were emptying out; gas had quickly become the most valuable commodity). All these things combined for a successful exit from New Orleans hours before the storm struck, followed by sitting in the comfort of my mother’s house in SC watching on tv the developing chaos while some of my good friends waded through the cityscape of post-Katrina, post-apocalyptic New Orleans.
We worked on Magazine St. and even hung out late nights at the Saint (Sean Yseult from White Zombie’s bar, which of a couple of the Hazard County Girls worked at). During this time period there were legends circulating around nocturnal New Orleans about a motorcycle gang of all girls in true Fellini style. I was told that it was the Hazard County Girls. So on my late nights driving from the CBD to uptown and back I was on the lookout. A couple of times it happened—I would be sitting patiently at an incredibly long red light debating secretly scooting on through and out of nowhere a fleet of Vespas would shoot by and ride off into the distant quiet on some secret all-girl rock and roll mission that I would never understand. What were they rebelling against?
So many years later the ex-roller derby knockouts Hazard County Girls have surfaced again in my life. What was their story? The girls were on tour when the hurr. How did the album fare despite all the hardships? I’ll tell you…
Divine Armor is doom. Now I don’t know much about doom but I do know a little about impending doom, which isn’t necessarily a musical genre, but rock-n-roll nonetheless. Divine Armor is thick with riffs and chug; the vocals are dark, brooding, and haunting. The album’s starter is “red light” a full somber piece with that ironic sinking feeling stapled to its tapestry and echoed in its lyrics:
“Sick as it seems/I had a dream of water/ with you beneath/ with bricks for teeth”
Yes, that would suck.
“Leyes” is a rocker in true L7 fashion with a hint of pop laced chant punished with muddy guitar kicks to the head. Oh, and I love the way Christy Kane sings/spells; its shadowy melodica brings a new take on “Now I know my abc’s.” My vote for a revamp of that song definitely goes to Hazard County Girls.
The chorus of “Fine Lines” is so good: “with a heavy heart and two weary eyes/run away, run and hide.” Christy’s vocal delivery is so sultry and smooth. Anyone who knows New Orleans well appreciates its haunted, cultural diversity and Hazard County Girls clearly spring from that heritage. Their music is the perfect soundtrack for any rainy day in New Orleans spent fighting off vampires, voodoo charms, and alligator attacks, while dissecting the French-cajun-creole small talk at the crawfish broil, or lurking through the swamps with fire-eaters, snake charmers, and Hollywood movie execs filming the latest thriller. Expect the Hazard County Girls to spread their infectious sounds your way soon.