Playing rough-and-tumble rock n' roll in 2016 is hardly a revelation. For the most part, rockabilly/psychobilly/spookabilly is about as threatening as a Latter Day Saints revival on a Saturday night.
But so what? Who cares? Do your need your garage pop to deliver your political party line? Need to have your revolution fueled by Chuck Berry riffs, which are actually terribly exploitative and appropriative, by their very nature?
Rock n' roll is hardwired to the revolutionary energy. It is the sound (and soundtrack) of the emerging youth culture, of cars and expendable income and pre-marital sex and racial intermingling. Basically, rock n' roll laid the groundwork for the future we're living in today.
But that really overlooks what a lot of OG r'n'r SOUNDED like. Listen to Buddy Holly or The Everly Brothers - it's the epitome of skinny white boy doowop, It might be the soundtrack of youthful revolt, but it's also the sound of sock hops, drinking malts, falling in love, and necking while hardly touching. Not entirely menacing, nor as deranged as the greaseniks that would later adopt and ultimately resurrect rock n’ roll, as the first wave of punks.
Lower Town Trio is a rock n' roll trio out of the post-industrial mecca of Buffalo, NY, doleing out a stripped-down garage-y pop on their album Last of the rebels.” It's good-old, four-chord, love-strewn, blues-based guitar/bass/drums, and it's great for it!
According to front man, lead singer, and guitarist Jason Van Cleve, "We're not just dusting off the old classics and playing them like the originals. Instead, we're delving into the roots of what rockabilly is and doing them Lower Town style."
Lower Town delivers the goods, for those that still believe in rock n' roll, or just want to rock out and have a good time. The solos are tight and melodic, the drumming is tight and on-point, the vocals are just punk enough to have an interesting edge. It's a sure sign that rough, fuzzy recordings does not necessarily stand for antidisentablishmentarianism, at this point in time. While anger is an energy, as Johnny Rotten reminded us when he was still rotten, but it's not the ONLY energy. Having a laugh can get you out of bed, wanting to change the world for a better can make you play a kickass show.
While me might all be sick with experience, at this point, it doesn't mean we shouldn't aspire to innocence, or get back there. At the end of the day, having a good time with your friends, having a laugh and a kiss and a strawberry shake - that's the good stuff. When soldiers are in the foxholes, that's what they're thinking of, you can pretty much guarantee it.
While those that like their rock red in tooth and claw might do better looking elsewhere, those looking for a fun, catchy, hooky, energetic garage pop just got their next fix.
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