Cover Story: Turn up the sound

Brooklyn duo Hank & Cupcakes pumps out tight, minimalist and upbeat funky indie pop

There’s not many bands like Hank & Cupcakes. The Israeli-bred, New York-based outfit consists of only two people à la The White Stripes, but instead of guitar and drums, Ariel Scherbacovsky (Hank) and Sagit Shir (Cupcakes) play bass and drums respectively. Furthermore, the high-energy duo takes its name from characters created by beat novelist and poet Charles Bukowski. Not your average rock & roll band, whether in Manhattan or Tel Aviv.
And according to a recent performance review in a New York fanzine, their shows are anything but average. “Cupcakes, the band’s drummer/lead-singer who proves you neither need kick triplets nor a drum throne to make a phat beat, clad in glittering purple spandex tights, utters between songs, ‘well, so much for the foreplay.’ Just what must have been on everybody’s mind. The next several songs continued on with the same sensual, erotic fervor. Smack in the middle of the set is a brilliant cover of Joy Division’s “She’s Lost Control.” Hank, the bass player extraordinaire, who surrounds himself with an arsenal of pedals and triggers fit for a space shuttle pilot, and hammers out intensely intricate melodies. At times it seems as though there are 10 people on stage all playing rare, exotic synthesizers, when in fact, of course, there are only two.”
Taking a Pessah break from building a small but growing following out of their Williamsburg base, Hank & Cupcakes, who are married in real life, are back home for a visit and two shows next week at the Ozen Club in Tel Aviv – on April 12 and 15. In addition, the duo will be opening up for old friend Tamar Eisenman (Scherbacovsky played with her for five years) on April 16 at the Barby Club.
“When I come back to Israel, I feel like an Israeli but with a verydifferent perspective,” Shir said this week during a phone conversationfrom her temporary digs in Tel Aviv. “Every time you leave home, andhave experiences and see different cultures, it broadens your horizons,and helps you to see things that maybe you don’t understand or can’tsee when you’re at home.”
Shir and Scherbacovsky must have experienced a lot, because Hank &Cupcakes’ wildly invigorating music is full of danger, mystery, noise,and sex, not necessarily in that order. Catch them in a small venue intheir home country while you have the chance.