Tabs Out | HAWN – For a Ride

HAWN – For a Ride

2.13.19 by Ryan Masteller

What did we do to deserve this? We weren’t that good, were we? We’ve grumbled a lot, acted pretty cynical, didn’t do a good job with voting for government, called each other some names that are gonna be pretty hard to take back (in fact, you should see my Twitter PM thread with TO HQ). And yet here we are with HAWN (no relation), and their latest tape “For a Ride.” See, HAWN not only released their tape on one of the coolest tape labels going at the moment (Strategic Tape Reserve, both a personal and Tabs Out–wide favorite), the duo also features vocalist Michael Jeffrey Lee, who also happens to be half of Budokan Boys, whose “That’s How You Become a Clown” tape on Tymbal last year landed HIGH AS HECK on my 2018 personal lists and also HIGH AS HECK on Tabs Out’s Top 200 Tapes list. You don’t take that lightly – we’re tastemakers around here.

Hopefully all this Budokan love doesn’t detract from Lee’s partner in crime in HAWN, the illustrious John Craun, who not only has a name that rhymes with HAWN but also has the synth game DAWN … er, DOWN, in this crew, “crossing hot wires in the cold mortuary of tradition since 2010.” I wish I had written that, but I didn’t. I WILL write something along the lines of, “HAWN done good on tapes today,” but … no, that description doesn’t hold a candle. Still, when we compile our 2019 lists, we should remember to look all the way back to January to ensure we accurately capture “For a Ride” in our archives for posterity, ’cause we’d be fools not to.

“For a Ride” is definitely a tale of two personalities vying for attention but instead weaving around one another’s contributions, sharing the songwriting spotlight like well-behaved musicians who don’t complain every time somebody crams their awesome vocal take with like a million tracks of backing vocals. (Sorry, that one was on me. Personal experience.) Here, Craun prepares the foundation of sometimes delicate, sometimes swerve-y electronics, heavy, glitchy, fully textured, creating the mood, laying the groundwork. Lee arrives in all his Joel RL Phelps-meets-Craig Wedren glory, undaunted, telling tale after NOLA tale in the heat and the haze. Is there a story about the legend of Tommylee Lewis and that devil Nickell Robey-Coleman? Shh, shh. Time will tell.

Speaking of stories, there’s also this little nugget: “The album is dedicated to Alex Chilton, who, in the last decade of his life, would occasionally appear at the Thai restaurant where Craun and Lee worked to order a Pad Thai, with beef” … which of course is a WAY BETTER story than me running into Annie Lennox at the grocery store that one time. See? Look at me, still grumbling. For no reason.

“For a Ride” is available in an edition of 70 from STR – be sure to just buy, like, everything that’s still available on the Bandcamp page.

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