I first came across Indian Handcrafts through a recommendation from a friend of mine some years ago. At the time, they had not yet released their first full-length album, Civil Disobedience For Losers, and were just on the verge of breaking into the musical bubble that is Toronto. Rarely do you attend a show for a band you’ve never heard of, only for that band to become one of your absolute favourites. Warning – this may happen to you if you ever see Indian Handcrafts.
Since that first show, I have made a point of seeing these guys wherever and whenever I get the chance, now going on ten times; inside, outside, in the middle of nowhere, in the city, for Halloween, drunk on Bacardi 151, and everything in between. I managed to break my ankle at their most recent Toronto show the day before my birthday, and on a lighter note, won drummer Brandyn Aikins’ drumstick that was thrown into the crowd via a game of rock, paper, scissors at Kempenfest (the guy who caught the other end of the stick and lost our hand duel was pretty pissed).
Originally from Barrie, Ontario, guitarist Daniel Brandon Allen and drummer Brandyn James Aikins make up one of the heaviest two-piece groups out there. The first person to describe them to me sold them on the fact that they are an unsuspecting blend of Funkadelic and The Melvins – a comparison that they live up, to despite it being a massive shoe to fill.
Civil Disobedience For Losers was released back in 2012 after the band signed with label Sargent House, and features a slightly revised version of their self-titled demo with a few additional tracks thrown in to make one hell of a groovy debut album. From the sole instrumental track “Truck Mouth” to “Centauri Teenage Riot,” the album is a perfect mix of funky, heavy, and creatively weird sounds. Between Allen’s riffs and Aikins’ ear-splitting drumming, the two expel an unbelievable amount of well-honed energy that most five-piece bands couldn’t replicate.
Not only is their music consistently brilliant, it seems they have remained super humble and approachable guys, even as they’ve grown out of the tiny GTA bar scene into an act that has made the roster of both Riotfest in Toronto and the Heavy Montreal festival. They continue to deal with the pre- and post-show ramblings of fans such as myself with graciousness.
As heads began to turn while the two toured North America with the likes of Red Fang and Deafheaven, new and old fans now have an entire album full of new material to feast their ears on. Released last October, Creeps maintains the sheer song writing genius that results from these two. It is undeniably closer to the metal side of the stoner metal genre that is often applied to the band, and tracks like “Maelstrom” from the new release Creeps prove that Aikins and Allen are just getting started.
Written by Jordan Hodgins
*edited by Kate Erickson