Late Show


Raccoon Fighter, Caddywhompus

Sat, September 1, 2012

Doors: 9:30 pm

Mercury Lounge

New York, NY


This event is 21 and over

There is something to get excited about in south-central Texas. In fact the buzz surrounding San Antonio's Hacienda may signal a rebirth of young Rock n' Roll to the country's landscape. Its rock n' roll with emphasis on the Roll when it comes to the music on their debut album Loud is the Night.

The band has always been a family affair with cousins Abraham Villanueva and Dante Schwebel planting the musical seeds that would become the Hacienda sound. The two had modest musical goals but were unable to secure additional members that were on the same page musically and personally in 2004. Meanwhile the two remaining Villanueva brothers were playing together in a band at bars and house parties outside of San Antonio. The fate of their band was short lived, and as luck would have it, the timing could not have been more perfect. Jaime and Rene completed the lineup and Hacienda was now in full swing. The four began playing together for no other reason than to make a complete sound. "It's strange, but at the time, we had no intentions of doing anything more than putting a cd in the car and trying to trick our friends into to thinking it was some professional band," recalls Dante, Hacienda's guitar wielding cousin. "We all liked playing instruments and were just excited to play a tune that we liked and make it sound as good or close to the original version, that's it!" It was not until late 2005 that the band purchased a small digital recorder and began tracking demos. As a matter of fate, a demo of 6 songs made it to the hands of Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys and since then, the band's future would be changed indefinitely. Hacienda made quite a buzz in the music world when their 6 song demo was passed around from musicians to record execs, managers, and the like.

After hearing the demo, Auerbach championed the band to continue recording. Jaime, the youngest member, adds "To hear words of encouragement from someone you respect and admire is all you need to focus and work hard."

The band would write and arrange more than twenty songs for the new record, sending homemade demos to Auerbach periodically. After a guest spot opening for The Black Keys as well as Dr. Dog when their tour rolled through Austin, Auerbach invited the band to Akron, Ohio to complete the album. In Akron Analog studios, Hacienda would work hard to record their new catalog in just two weekends. A key to this was recording as much music live in a room as possible. They received a helping hand from new friends Dr. Dog; and together, they worked on existing harmonies, and created brand new ones, that embellish the album from start to finish.

Recorded in 2008, Loud is the Night combines the creative arrangements of the Beatles and the Beach Boys, with the personality of The Band all rolled into one. Rene Villanueva, the band's bass player says, "We play what we like, and we never stop learning how to make the sounds we want to make. Whether it's the Memphis sound, or Bakersfield, we try to learn from those sounds, and then incorporate those sensibilities to the songs we wrote."

The sound is fresh and uncompromising. No finger-tapping solos or narcissistic vocals. Just great songs played by four great, young musicians.
Raccoon Fighter
Raccoon Fighter
"Raccoon Fighter have always been confident: quietly so. Which comes as a blatant departure from their music, which is not – quiet that is. It can only be described as a three part, tumultuous rock ‘n’ roll/ blues assault on the senses. Their sound consists of a gritty, cathartic blend of musical bravado and camaraderie that propels you forward. The gravely, enigmatic vocal offerings of Sean Gavigan combine and compete with those of Gabe Wilhelm and his hypnotic and visionary basslines, while Zac Ciancaglini adds a sharpness and drive rhythmically. With three stellar songwriting talents under one roof, the result is a frenetic and infectious powerhouse.

It is a far cry from a couple of years ago, when lead singer and guitarist Sean and close friend Zac began a casual recording project based out of Southern New Jersey. While alternating instruments, songs, arrangements and personnel, they built a project recording studio and started writing and recording songs together. As the number of songs grew, so did the band and as a 7 piece indie-folk-big band they played in and around Philadelphia for a while, making a name for themselves. That band splintered and Sean and Zac relocated to Brooklyn. More songs and writing ensued, a four piece band was tentatively formed and the Terrified EP was recorded, however as Zac recalls, “During the process of recording the Terrified EP our bass player and drummer sort of fell out of the picture so Sean and I said fuck it and began playing as a duo with guitar and drums, switching off between the two instruments.” Then a small, but significant incident occurred; a mutual friend put them in touch with Gabe Wilhelm, who bizarrely enough came from the same small South Jersey town. He had been playing and singing a variety of notable bands around New York city; not least of which was adding bass parts to some of Ryan Adams “Easy Tiger” record. Gabe was in, the songs followed and as fortune usually dictates; it worked, but not only worked, it worked extremely well.

Whether is be the raucous “No Lover”, the metronomic “South Parlourita” or the heraldic and boundless three part harmony acappella at the opening of “The Upbeat”; the consistent and exceptional Raccoon Fighter sound was obvious to all. The musical elements were now in place and people began to take notice, further shows were booked culminating in October 2010 in a tour of Mexico, opening up for Elis Paprika.

Early 2011 meant more writing and recording and then by late summer the 7″ vinyl “Butcherette” b/w “I’m and Animal, You’re an Animal.” was released. Its brazen tale of abortion, lost love and general relationship skullduggery, only served to galvanize the bands dark, frenetic nature. Since the release, Raccoon Fighter have been refining their live sound and playing shows whenever possible, a fact that for them has always be a crucial aspect of the bands continued success. They recorded a second EP, “Liars Feet”, in four manic days, which was subsequently released through independent record label, Mother West, on November 13, 2012.

Off stage, these razor witted, soft spoken guys are quietly understated and refreshingly amiable; a fact that perhaps only amplifies their unbound musical vision. Much of 2012 was spent grafting away in the dignified solitude of their rehearsal space, recording and shaping new material. It is paying dividends; which is no surprise when you take into account the combined musical talent these three Southern New Jersey individuals possess. Their scything music has recently been called an “infectious form of dirty rock ‘n’ roll/ blues” and “nothing else but good, hard rock ‘n roll and all its implications of drugs, sex, and sweat”.

Their new album, ZIL, which WNYC Soundcheck called “a swaggering debut”, was released October 1, 2013 and continues on this raucous path, but has evolved into a more expansive sound. Recorded in Upstate New York and mixed at the renowned Magic Shop in NYC; their dirty, gritty auditory diatribe is still apparent, but is now matched with colorful harmonies and pulsing melodies; Marc Bolan would be licking his lips with envy. Nylon magazine recently tipped ZIL, saying it “should really be the soundtrack to the final season of “Breaking Bad”. Brooklyn Vegan sang its praises, a point FILTER magazine echoed saying it was ‘reminiscent of the Black Lips and Diamond Rugs”. Raccoon Fighters new record will not only set a new bar, it will snap it in two and then set it on fire, just for fun. As the taste makers at Brooklyn Ski Club wrote, “Mark my words, you hear it here first, etc: You will be a fan of this band in the very near future”
New Orleans duo that classifies itself as “noisy technical pop rock.”
Venue Information:
Mercury Lounge
217 E Houston St.
New York, NY, 10002