Oaklander Vice Cooler makes confessional music with straight-ahead energy
PREVIEW When I think of Hawnay Troof after listening to approximately one-half of his first full-length, Islands of Ayle (Southern/Retard Disco), the cover of the Geto Boys' We Can't Be Stopped (Rap-A-Lot, 1991) comes to mind. I might have found out about the image Bushwick Bill just forced his girlfriend to shoot him, and he's in a gurney that the other dudes in the group are pushing down a hospital corridor from Vice magazine. Does that mean it's not a legit memory? I struggle with this sometimes, but listening to Islands of Ayle renders it moot. It's bursting with a sort of straight-ahead energy that only has room for the present moment.
The man behind Hawnay Troof is Oaklander Vice Cooler. He was in this band called XBXRX, which was notorious for a lot of reasons, including originally being from Mobile, Ala., and being initially mostly high-school age. If you've followed the group's career, you're probably not surprised that Hawnay Troof makes the kind of confessional, but not self-pitying, music he does. The backdrop to Cooler's stream-of-feeling flows is a suitably hyperactive strain of Casio-crunk, punctuated with brief, looping interludes that sound something like Nurse with Wound producing for Peaches.
The positivity that makes me happy when I hear Hawnay Troof seems to acknowledge shitty stuff maybe not shot-in-the-eye bad, but pretty demolishing personally yet manifests an even stronger will to improve, a reaching out. This seems to proceed directly from Cooler's experiences: on the southwest leg of his current tour, for example, Cooler and his roadie were pulled over in their Enterprise rental car by Arizona police en route to a show. The vehicle was searched without a warrant, and when the cop discovered the roadie's license was suspended, he impounded the car, leaving Cooler to finish his dates by U-Haul. Apparently there's no stopping the performer, though as one of the harder-working men in show business, I'm sure Cooler would appreciate a few more open ears at this show, his last stateside before he heads to the United Kingdom.
HAWNAY TROOF With High Places and Ponytail. Wed/8, 9 p.m., $10. Bottom of the Hill, 1233 17th St., SF. (415) 621-4455, www.bottomofthehill.com