HoquiamWhen: Thursday, May 8Where: NectarIf I were the captain of a tag

HoquiamWhen: Thursday, May 8Where: NectarIf I were the captain of a tag football team, I’d pick Damien Jurado over his brother Drake any day. It’s been stated previously that Damien is built like a linebacker (the only reason this is interesting is because most musicians are not, Danzig included). Damien’s torso is like a 50-gallon drum, whereas his younger brother looks as spindly as a stack of Tinker Toys. Side by side on stage, the contrast is pretty compelling. Last night’s show at Nectar was, I think, the duo’s fifth performance as Hoquiam. Damien explained to our own Aja Pecknold that he “originally started (Hoquiam) because I needed an outlet for the less conventional songs I was writing. It differs in that it is less polished and more abstract.” Having been exposed to the songs only twice, I did notice that they stick in the memory for different reasons from Damien’s other songs. I normally walk away from his shows with snippets of lyrics stuck in my head; his language is always matter-of-fact, but when he sings, its like an Exacto blade to the lyric sheet, carving out choice phrases that demand attention. Hoquiam is different in that I didn’t remember the words so much as the mood of the songs. This is owed to Drake’s command of the keyboard. His chords are all ashen, drawn out and dramatic, evoking Puget Sound’s ominous cloud formations, while Damien’s voice and acoustic plucks maintain their woodstove intimacy. These songs reach back to the years the brothers Jurado spent growing up in Grays Harbor, so its fitting that mood and scenery seem to come before poetry in Hoquiam’s songs. This, I believe, gets to the root of the duo’s mission. Their Myspace page has a handful of tracks available, which will soothe over the hardcore fans until a tangible copy is available (rumor has it Secretly Canadian is set to release it soon). One thing I can say about the songs, after listening to them via Myspace, is they feel more akin to those sparse, moody early Jurado songs circa Rehearsals for Departure. Great stuff full of cracked melodies and dusty strumming.

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