Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Try these Laces on

Express Staff Writer

My mother should be an agent, not like CIA, although, she could, but a music agent. And after attempting to resist her influence, I've finally reached that age where I have to give her credit for some things.

One thing she has always had a sixth sense about from her years as features editor was knowing at first listen, read, or glance even, whether something was worth hearing, reading or headed into a trend.

I was all news. Facts begat a fact-based story. As long as I was fair and accurate, it worked out. Having an opinion was not something I was comfortable with lest I appear biased.

And critiquing things, in my mind, spoiled my entertainment outlet.

But this job has put me in the awkward position of having to take on an area of life—the arts, music, books—that I see as intensely personal choices. And, as eager band managers drop off new releases and venues around town press to have their stories told to sell tickets, I have had to find a balance.

Still, my job, as I see it, is not to critique or predict, but to share with you an interpretation of what I am being inundated with and leave it to you, to decide to investigate it further, or not.

The latest example is the Brooklyn rock trio, Breaking Laces.

Their press kit had the standard promotional jargon, but didn't tell me a lot, so I put it on their new CD called "When You Find Out."

I let it play while writing. For me, that's a good sign, if I can listen and work. I recognize it as the kind of music my mom would predict bigger things for.

Lead singer Willem Hartong has a nice voice. And there's some lines in all of the songs that make them candidates to put on when needing to fuel a broken heart, a little angsty. Probably would have been on the television show Scrubs if Zach Braff had heard of them.

Apparently, I'm not so far off because when I do get around to reading about them, I see that Hartong says two songs were influenced by his by-proxy addiction to his wife's favorite show, Gossip Girl.

"That's what happens when you have a wife living a secret life and one TV," he joked when I caught up with him as he and the band headed from Amarillo to Vail in a rented Dodge Durango.

He said he started out solo a few years back, but one album in and a hookup with drummer Seth Masarsky and bass and keyboardist Rob Chojnacki, later, Breaking Laces was launched. The name came from a club doorman who denied Hartong access because he was wearing banned shoelaces preferred by break dancers.

"I figured if that's what is not allowed at an uptight dance club, it might not be a bad thing to name my band after."

Proud of the polished effort of the new CD, Hartong promises the show is a louder, dirtier, danceable version.

Fans of Death Cab for Cutie, Toad the Wet Sprocket or Snow Patrol will want to go see Breaking Laces.

Reviewers like this from Boston say, "These guys are going to be huge, and there is absolutely nothing within the realm of human comprehension that could possibly prevent that from happening," something my mom would confidently declare and I feel completely unqualified to say. But, I can offer this: and support this review from "I love this record and think you will, too."

Breaking Laces

Friday, Oct. 7 at 8:30 p.m.

Sun Valley Brewery, Hailey. $12.

Jennifer Liebrum:

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