Rose Hill Drive hosts listening party for its new album, Americana, this Monday at the Sundown

Categories: This Just In

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Rose Hill Drive fans bemoaning the fact that the band has been mostly dormant for the past few years, rejoice! The indefinite, self-imposed hiatus has come to an end, and your heroes have returned -- with new music. The former power trio (now a quartet, with the addition of bassist Jimmy Stofer) has completed work on a new album, Americana, which it plans to release locally on its own imprint, Slow and Shirley Records, later this summer.

In honor of the occasion, the Boulder-based outfit is hosting a listening party for Americana this Monday, June 13, at the Sundown Saloon in Boulder; fans can listen to the new platter -- which the band recorded and co-produced at Coupe Studios -- in its entirety beginning at 8:30 p.m. As if that weren't incentive enough to make it out, the group, which is getting ready to join Stone Temple Pilots on tour for a series of dates, will be giving away five pairs of tickets to its show next Friday, June 17, at the Bluebird Theater.



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Sundown Saloon

1136 Pearl St., Boulder, CO

Category: Music

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Fridaynight and I’m listening to Rose Hill Drive’s new release “Americana”. Ah, thetaste of fresh RHD. I’ve had to call off my other plans for the evening. The lady was not happy either, but she’ll cheer up once I cue “SpeedDial” on our next outing.

 

RHD’sfirst two records are probably the rock albums I have listened to most in thelast decade. Killers, Arcade Fire, Phoenix, Jet, the multiple Jack Whitejoints, all put out great albums, to name a few, but seems like no matter whatI find along the way, I return to the Sproul brothers for their raw, drivingrhythms, crafty lyrics, ballsy vocals and bravura guitar.

 

Theirsecond disk, “Moon is the New Earth,” jumped the curb of the electric blues andjamb band cred that they had built their reputation on, burning up broaderavenues of musical reference while maintaining the signature drive that makesthem one of the most fascinating and daring bands on the rock scene. The keyingredients are Jake’s acerbic vocals, his diamond cut lyrics, and Daniel’s agilefretwork and the rampaging drums of Nathan Barnes.

 

Ideclare a strong buy recommendation on “Americana” to all my friends. It’shilarious, both musically and lyrically, full of gags and jokes and deadserious at the same time. The tunes are about the day-to-day grind, thepolitics of sex, individual freedom and cultural decay. Take one simple linefrom the title track. “Americana” – “If it’s real I don’t care if it’splastic.” What arrangement of words could define a culture ofconsume-and-discard more ironically or succinctly? Daniel’s fretwork, on thisbarn-burner opening track, is the most off-the-chain of anything recorded todate.

 

Applauseto the production team as well.  Quantum leaps took place not only in themusic this time, but in the studio. Everyone is having a good time and It’s infectious. Congratulations toall. The record offers a tip to digital musicians of the future, “analog.”

 

Iwould caution first time listeners. If you think you have a song on “Americana”pegged in the opening minute, prepare for a surprise, or two. Often as not, theSproul boys toy with expectations. Their lovingly laid grooves are boobytrapped with twists and turns on strange bridges and blazing after burns.

 

Fansfamiliar with the band when it was a trio, you want to hear what the 4th wheelof the new four-wheel Drive model sounds like?  Check"Telepathic"  Thisstripped down, low-slung, trance makes use of debut cat, Jimmy Stofer’scultured seasonings, chipping in low-end jam that sets the eardrums on edge.When Daniel’s solo finally springs from it, the itchy, restless groove glowslike a secret, psychic signal suddenly exposed.

 

“BabyDon’t You Know You’re Man – I listened to it a few times. Though it’s playedwith impressive energy, the song was actually a turn off for me. I don’t knowwhy? It cranks into hyper-drive like good Foo Fighters.  To these rickety old ear bones though,it seems forced, cliché. But, what do I know? Watch it be the one that gets themost play.

 

“Picturesof You” – A four-minute opera of high stakes love jinx.  Morbid two keyorgan into. Dreary one-string guitar accompaniment. Drum beat drags feet likethe trudge of Frankenstein. Now, split it down the middle with a breezy, surferboy chorus and you’re not going to believe your ears. You will ask yourself,how can this be RHD?  Then sit back and be blown away while they pull itoff. Sound whack?  Sorry, but to quote Jake’s beast, “I can not argue withhow I feel now.”

 

 “Speed Dial” is my favorite song with atongue-in-cheek busy signal intro and Jake camping up his voice by screwing itdown, actually, until it sounds like we’re tuned to the tiny speaker of aphone. His chick’s on the other end pressing for where she stands. He confessesto the squeeze, “I have nine.”   Fellow music lovers, I assure you, nosong by David Byrne or even Bowie was delivered with a more theatrical flair.  Wish I could see your face when you hear it. I can’t wait to see thiscut live.

 

Fastforward to my next favorite song on the record “Your Mother’s Jam”. I’ll say itagain, what’s most contagious about it is how much fun everybody is having.Just when you think you’re going to settle in to a funky retro-folk/bluesconfection, the tempo triples. Nate’s cymbals start to shimy and quake.  With a rush, we accelerate onto deluxeRHD jam turf. Jake pays respects to Jagger, Plant, Bowie , Byrne,  in the way his modulations are chosenfor maximum comic and dramatic effect. Daniel slams the works home with animpeccably polished blues progression, thick as molasses, stirred with sickflourishes from insane finger tips. This song sneaks up.

 

Eightsongs in, “Birds Against the Glass” provides a drop tempo in the playlist. Thetrack features RHD unplugged at a new peak of excellence, accomplishing waymore than just giving us a place to rest our ears. The song exhibits theirrange with elegance and simplicity. It is the most meaningful, artistic and accomplished of all the quietertunes RHD has recorded. I look forward to a whole lot more like this from theseguys.

 

Thisbrand shiny new, four-piece gizmo is slicker in some respects, trashier inothers, and filled with lovely novelty and surprise. I’m going back on what Isaid before. This final tune is my number one favorite on the album. “Birthday’s and Breakups” revs along as a power pop lament with a Top 40chorus. A false ending echoes and rolls to punk climax like muzak from JoeyRamon’s heaven, then magically expands into a rapturous anthem before throwingthe switch. Abrupt is not the word. Here. Right here, all that lush productionfalls off the front porch swing of some solemn folk guitar picking with changesthat would normally belong to a different record altogether but, surprise! It’sthe same tune. Ha-ha! I thought I had accidentally jumped to something else onmy pod library, but the album is called Americana after all.  Before Icould figure this out, these wizards managed to cross the bridge and did it sosoulfully as to rinse out all kinds of dung and cobwebs from my ears that Ididn’t know they were clogged with. You forget how good a good record canbe.  Know what I mean? “Americana”is one of those records to me.

 

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