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New Releases

Reviews of records by Northern Gold and the Hawkeyes

Northern Gold
The Heart Was Heavy 

Jake Anderkovitch, the core figure behind this indie-folk project, has a straitlaced and straight-faced vibe akin to the similarly smooth-voiced and equally emo Rocky Votolato. Lyrics dealing with battles between good and evil, and what it means to be a man (as in the EP’s standout opening track “If You Feel”), evoke bands like Brand New in theme if not exactly in aggression. A couple of “God-or -girlfriend?” moments make me think that Anderkovitch did some time in a church youth group, but that’s not a complaint: For this youth-group alum, The Heart Was Heavy is a nice dose of high school nostalgia.  

The Hawkeyes
One Plug in the Wall

Listening to this record, I struggle to avoid unforgivably tacky descriptors like “as solid and reliable as an American-made pickup truck” — which probably means that the band should start pitching songs to car companies ASAP. (It worked for The Clarks!) One Plug in the Wall, which the band released last November, offers roots rock in the vein of Steve Earle and John Mellencamp and chronicles the struggles of the blue-collar everyman (or everyband, in the case of the title track, which asks, “Are you ever going to make it, man?”). Some listeners will find it overly earnest and sentimental, but thanks to the Hawkeyes’ radio-ready sound, the question seems to be a matter not of if they’ll “make it,” but rather when.

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