Ghost Culture – Ghost Culture
Signed to a record deal on the basis of one single track (“How”), London electronic producer James Greenwood delivers on the hype and has released a debut album that croons darkly like vintage Depeche Mode and has a bottom end capable of filling most any dancefloor you can name. This is house music for people who grew up on Eighties synth ballads and Bat Cave goth-retro sounds, which means it fills a specific niche in my heart. “How”, strangely enough, is not that floor-filler; it’s a sighing, burbling kind of track that builds into an eventual shuddering peak. Greenwood’s vocals are oddly reminiscent of Strokes leader Julian Casablancas, if Casablancas put his voice through filters and grew up on a steady diet of Dave Gahan. This is dark disco, not the party music that Todd Terje spent last year spinning, but music capable of soundtracking a certain kind of party – the distinction is subtle, but it’s there.
Caught these guys live in St. Catharines at the Mansion House last night. They combine a classic Ontario hardcore sound with vocal elements that strongly remind me of the Hold Steady. Their show is sweaty and bruising, and Drew the vocalist throws himself into the crowd at any opportunity. His teeth (“she didn’t seem to mind my busted ass smile”) are mute evidence to the dangers of this sort of practice – the pit last night was brutal and I was sure someone was going to get knocked right out at any moment. The show is short – the band only has seven recorded songs to their name and two more they’ve been trying out live – but the intensity makes it well worth it, if you can catch them. This is most evident when they bust out ragers like “Christian Girls” or “Baby” but the singalong chorus nature of “Winter Coats” (my favourite track of theirs and possibly one of my favourite tracks period) makes the intimate crowd setting even more of a “us-against-the-world” vibe. Drew spouted at one point that they had come to “keep the spirit of punk rock alive in St. Catharines” and in this they succeeded wildly.