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Bloodhouse hit you hard this Wednesday at Reflections

click to enlarge Bloodhouse have a soft spot for delay pedals and wood paneling.
  • Bloodhouse have a soft spot for delay pedals and wood paneling.

Bloodhouse is a band that makes you feel good about humanity. Alex Mitchell, Brendan Neima and Gabe Wallot-Beale are three buddies more interested in hanging out together than getting uptight about the business of being a band like a bunch of nerds. They started playing together as a two-piece in a hall 20 minutes outside of the city, in Glen Haven. Neima moved back from Vancouver and rounded out the sound on bass. They collaborate musically like you and your closest friends collaborate on the best inside jokes.

They released a self-titled cassette in July of last year and quietly sold it online. Despite being denied those lusted-after grants from the government of Nova Scotia, the group steadily worked on new material. A split cassette with Bad Vibrations followed. Because of its serious dedication to making catchy songs, Bloodhouse attracted attention from Caesar Cuts Records in Philadelphia, which will soon be putting out a two-song single in mid-November. This record was supposed to be available at Bloodhouse's Wednesday night Halifax Pop Explosion show with Thee Oh Sees (Mitchell is a self-proclaimed John Dwyer worshipper), but it won't be ready.

Sitting outside of what could only be called a fixer-upper on Maynard Street (Wallot-Beale is a contractor by day) they talked about touring. "We played Montreal last May. Which was fun, and weird," says Mitchell. "We're so passive in how we approach things. But we just luck out. Like, we fall back into seven-inch singles, which is nice."

This is not to suggest they aren't hard workers. Bloodhouse prefers to lug gear across the Nova Scotian coast to perform at such map specks as Polly Cove and Duncan's Cove (both shows overlooking the ocean, the former planned by Bloodhouse and the latter planned by Dream Friends, involved a bit of a portage: "The dedication to bring a generator all the way out there was impressive," says Neima).

Hauling amps into a tiny basement or windswept locale is worth the effort; they point out how easy it is to get bored with the show circuit in Halifax. "It's kind of frustrating to think of places to play in Halifax, like, the Khyber every time?" says Mitchell.

"And you're there and at Gus' enough anyway, so it's nice to get out of the bars," says Neima. "There's a spontaneity that you don't have elsewhere," says Mitchell. "It sucks when you're playing the same places over and over with the same bands, that's why it's fun when you're on the road."

Musically, the band's love of delay and laying a thick blanket of fuzz over solid riffs pairs well with its influences. Mitchell believes a driving force is "an amateurish approach to playing our instruments. It gives us a frame of reference, it's simple. You have to think of what sounds good simply."

"I've never played with people who really knew their instruments. In my first band, the drummer was learning how to play at practice and I think that's the approach to take. You listen more maybe," says Neima.

"As long as you're grooving," says Wallot-Beale. "My favourite drummer in Halifax is Jeff Arsenault. He plays with Morgan Davis, he plays with lots of people. I have seen him play nothing and sound so good."

"I think our main compensation for lack of technical stuff is Gabe's caveman drumming," says Mitchell.

"That's something we take pride in, hitting everything hard," says Neima.


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