The Mohawk Lodge Rare Birds

Vancouver’s Ryder Havdale is the brains behind the Mohawk Lodge and has just released a gem of a record in Rare Birds. As the first release on White Whale records — a collective spearheaded by Havdale — Rare Birds is an auspicious way for the label to introduce both itself and Havdale’s remarkable scope as a songwriter to the world. While Havdale is also a member of pop-rockers, Kids These Days, it’s obvious that his sensibility as a songwriter is somewhat limited in that configuration. Drawing from the dark and twisted folk of Will Oldham and Bill Callahan, the Mohawk Lodge could most easily be confused for Hayden by the casual indie rock listener. Perhaps those who are even more astute will also pick out the influence of alt-folk hero David Berman in Havdale’s phrasing, particularly on the intro to the title track. Once one overcomes such serious similarities, the joy of hearing Havdale’s music is left unfettered. Jaunty numbers like "Making Music” and "Sister” are convincing enough but then there are pleasant surprises like "TV Above” and "This Is What It’s For.” It’s dark, it’s light, and it’s everything that a great hangdog folk record should be. Rare Birds truly is a treasure trove of an album that grows on you with repeated listens. (White Whale)