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The Tower of Dudes

The Tower of Dudes - Make Your Own Culture

Make Your Own Culture
Velvet Rut - 2014

Michael Panontin
The Tower of Dudes are anything but suburban poseurs. The Victoria-based gypsy punks actually got their start as a more international collective on the streets of Prague way back in 2007. "Originally, the whole band were expats," frontman and guitarist Johnny Feelings recalled. "My wife and I, the founding members, are from British Columbia, and the others were American and British. We were asked to leave Europe for a while and refile our papers - and one of the Americans ended up in solitary confinement for three months! When we got back to BC several years later, we decided to stay and got some local musicians to jump on board."

Make Your Own Culture is the band's third full-length record and the first on the Velvet Rut imprint. The current line-up (who Feelings cheekily assures "are all Canadian nationals and will not be deported") features accordion, vibraphone, mandolin and banjo in addition to the usual rock-based set-up. Much of the record captures - intentionally as it were - the frenetic energies of the group's live sets, especially the excellent title track, which manages to exhume the long-forgotten ghosts of the early, Helno-fronted, Les Negresses Vertes. And though the group are admittedly at their best when Tarah Masu's accordion is placed front and centre, there is a healthy dose of post-punk coursing through much of the disc, from the quirky intro on 'Let It Go' to the crustier 'Lower Shelf Taste', showing that the Dudes refuse to be pigeon-holed as just another beer-sodden party act.

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