FROM: Los Angeles, CA
Multi-instrumentalist and composer Chris Hatfield (not the astronaut....though they have met) escaped the Michigan peninsula after getting his master’s in music and hauled cross-country to Oakland, California, where he lived on an old commune site, complete with an abandoned bomb shelter. He’d left his former band (Mt. Pleasant’s Those Transatlantics) to focus on Love Axe in earnest. At first obsessively writing and recording thirty-some songs amid the Redwoods by himself, he soon grouped up with guitarist Erik Cline, bassist Joelle Barrios (Pagan Saints), and drummer Mike Ambs (Burning Brides, Marah), which is the current and permanent lineup for Love Axe, now based in Los Angeles.
The character of Love Axe resides in a pop-music space with melodies and transitions that ring with a composer’s artistry—these songs are too advanced to be pop, yet they are, and they’re really catchy. And throughout, there’s a scratch at the darker side, like a charmingly apocalyptic OKCupid profile. Their second full-length release, South Dakota, is the culmination of pop, psych, and golden-era indie influences. Beginning with tracks like “Only Gonna Tear You Apart” and “Such a Waste of a Good Thing,” hooks and riffs reflect influences from Spoon and Sloan. “Please” and “All That’s Gold Will Turn to Black (Part 2)” turn to a gravediggers chorus of Ween-worthy funeral-folk, while, later, softly anthemic love songs declare, “The past is full of strange, evil things that can’t be blamed for your deeds.” Setting South Dakota apart is its focus on the artistry, instrumentation, and production, a painstaking process that yields an album to dance to on your big romantic date at the apocalypse.
- BIO: A Wolfe; PIC: Melissa Clark
"Many songs just stick your head for days.Highly Recommended"
"A collection of hook-laden tracks that could inspire melodic envy in the likes of Sloan and Fountains Of Wayne."
- The AV Club
"The guitars crunch in all the right places, the harmonies kick in quick, raising the hair on the back of your neck and the hooks stick in your brain for days; couldn't ask for very much more."
- Raven Sings The Blues
Chris Hatfield (vocals, guitar)
Joelle Barrios (bass, vocals)
Erik Cline (guitar)
Mike Ambs (drums)