I Love Rock & Roll: Current Bands Worthy of Attention Part 4: The Raconteurs
I hear the phrase uttered often, "There are no good Rock & Roll Bands anymore" and there has been recent talk about the death of mainstream rock and roll. Over the next few weeks I will highlight 4 modern day groups that deserve attention from young and old fans of mainstream Rock and Roll.
If there were still great rock and roll radio channels for free out there these bands would be getting much bigger recognition then they already have. These aren't indie acts, they aren't no-names, they are just a reminder that there is some really great rock and roll music being produced and you will be able to grab all of it from our catalog.
Next up: The Raconteurs
We end this series with a look at perhaps the most well known of this month's groups, The Raconteurs who have headlined festivals, played surprise shows, been nominated for Grammys and still could use even more love as the band's albums and live shows are that damn good. Jack White was already a superstar by the time the band formed in 2005 having cemented his career in Rock and Roll with The White Stripes, but this is far from a mega-stars side project. What has developed over 2 albums and multiple live outings is a tour-de-force outfit that can go toe to toe with the best around.
White may have brought the biggest name recognition and star power to the group, but this outfit starts with their rock-solid low end of Patrick Keeler on drums and Jack Lawrence on bass both from the Detroit based retro rock band, The Greenhornes. Their thump and motor allows White and songwriting partner in crime Brendan Benson to flourish in the updated Lennon/McCartney roles.
Sure comparing these two to the greatest rock/pop songwriters is high praise but the duo works wonders. Benson has the charm and pop sensibilities, but on his solo albums come across as too saccharine sweet. White adds the weirdness to the outfit, but has a softer counterpart to bounce things off of. The combo is a fantastic one that breathes life into arena rock sized vamps or tender acoustic moments with equal ease.
While it is true that the group has been sidelined by other projects from the various other bands (Benson has recently released an album as have The Greenhornes and White seems to release a new project every few months) they did keep the dream alive for a third album with recent shows in New Orleans, Florida and Atlanta this past fall. Hopefully new material is ready to go as it would be a welcomed addition to the land of mainstream rock and roll, until that day though we can check out the groups past efforts:
First: Consolers of the Lonely (2008, Warner Brothers)
Perhaps the best rock and roll record released in the first decade of the 2000's Consolers of the Lonely begins with thunder, ends with drama and in-between takes a listener on an amazing voyage that touches everything from Broadway pomp and circumstance to punk rock grit and grime. Tracks like "Salute Your Solution" and "Five on the Five" blaze high octane riffs while "Old Enough" brings in down home ease and biting lyrical work. "Top Yourself" is a track Led Zeppelin wish they wrote while the cover of Terry Reid's "Rich Kid Blues" shakes the walls with each listen. In a year end wrap up of 2008 Brian Stoltz (a smoking guitar player in his own right) praised the album saying: "This album slams. I can’t find one note on this record to criticize — nothing out there this innovative. In the land of noodles and white gravy, these guys are the saviors of rock ‘n roll." Amen to that.
Next: Broken Boy Soldiers (2006, Third Man Records)
The group's first release together has flashes of brilliance if it is a bit uneven in overall structure. The highlights far outshine the misses here though as the disk closing "Blue Veins" is dripping with blues while the first single "Steady as She Goes" bounces along light and free. "Intimate Secretary" has the force of an atom bomb behind it while "Together" is as nuanced and delicate as can be; these two are the perfect juxtaposition of White and Benson's talents. The sparseness that is here sounds a touch dated now as to how the band has grown into these songs in the live setting but it still is a good place to start for new fans of the band.
Thanks for checking out this series, here is part 1 part 2 and part 3, did we miss someone? Have another band that deserves some love? Feel free to comment below and Keep On Rockin' In The Free World.