The White Wires: "Girly Girly Girly"
By Calum Marsh | 24 April 2009
While Ottawa’s indie mainstays the Acorn and HILOTRONS begin to finally reach iPods and ears outside the Capital region, some revelatory shit’s going down at the local level. In the past year and a half, a concentrated garage rock scene established around a handful of small venues and an ever-expanding number of upstart bands has burgeoned and thrived. A modest iteration of the Los Angeles noise rock scene centered around The Smell or the electro-rock Wham City community, Ottawa’s garage revivalism is a No Age or Dan Deacon-level success story away from getting the attention people in this city have known it deserves from the start.
Every Thursday night hipsters city-wide congregate at the Rock N Roll Pizza Party, which is pretty much what it sounds like: DJs spinning Joy Division and Undertones records in a crowded dive-bar, with free pizza for all. It’s organized by and often plays host to shows of the best new garage rock groups, so it’s as close to a centralized “hub” as any scene’s ever likely to get. But it’s only one element of a surprisingly multi-faceted and well-organized community, along with three locally-operated record labels (Going Gaga, Bruised Tongue, and Telephone Explosion), a mostly-monthly music zine called Standard Issue (primarily comprised of interviews with and reviews of new Ottawa garage rock bands), and, of course, a shitload of awesome new bands.
I’m not a dedicated follower of the developing scene, but of the handful of the bands I’ve seen, none stands out more than the White Wires. “Girly Girly Girly,” an unabashedly forthright foray into power pop and garage rock, is such a requisite Pizza Party jam that it might as well be the scene’s theme song. Like similar genre-revivalists King Khan and the Shrines, to whom the band might most accurately be compared, the White Wires play the only kind of rock n roll that might actually be described as “rock n roll” in a somewhat meaningful way. “Girly”‘s catchy in a way that shows off the Wires’ penchant for pop hooks, a quality that, as you might imagine, makes it a hometown favorite. These guys aren’t interested in cribbing from Springsteen or Joy Division or the Jesus and Mary Chain; instead you get the Buzzcocks and the Jam, who’ve had significantly less appropriation in contemporary indie than one might expect considering their legacy. And with guys like Jay Reatard and Nobunny and King Khan bringing garage rock back (again!), the White Wires shouldn’t have a problem winning fans beyond the city’s borders. Especially if they promise pizza.