We moved Victoria and our cat Lucy up to Ottawa from Toronto, as well as the majority of my stuff, at the end of July 2001. I remained in Toronto to close up the rental store I was running at the time and moved up at the end of August. Pretty much right away, I started in at my new job with Enbridge gas and Victoria started her master’s studies. Victoria had a few friends but I didn’t really know anyone. She was almost immediately immersed and busy in her studies so I was left to my own devices quite a bit. And since we weren’t exactly rich either, I stuck around the house quite a bit, reading or surfing the Internet, searching for new music. And I spent hours doing this last.
It was during these hours of searching and surfing that I came across Lupine Howl. It probably won’t surprise you that it was the fact that the band was formed by ex-members of Spiritualized that first attracted my attention. There are plenty of stories about how it went down but apparently Jason Pierce sacked bassist Sean Cook, guitarist Mike Mooney, and drummer Damon Reece after the gruelling tour in support of “Ladies and gentlemen we are floating in space”. (You might remember that this was my number one album in my best albums of 1997 list.) The trio quickly formed a new band and got right to work writing new material.
“Vaporizer” was released as a single in 2000 but appeared on their debut album, “The carnivorous lunar activities of Lupine Howl”, in 2001. It is also the first song I heard by the band and caught my ear right away. Partially because it actually sounded nothing like Spiritualized but also because it is catchy as all get out. The sound is psych rock but not spacey. Instead, they look back in time, manifesting a funk and jive. It’s got a grooving bass line and funky guitar flourishes. It’s a song for sunglasses and cruising the mean streets real slow, the windows open and the volume cranked.
It’s one of those songs that begs repeat listens so I have played it and continue to play it in bunches. Enjoy.
For the rest of the Best tunes of 2001 list, click here.