One of the turning points for me being involved in the local music scene was a one-off night at a rock show in Oxford, Miss., more than 10 years ago. A band from Memphis, Tenn., The Lost Sounds, were headlining a bill with one of my friend's bands.
I didn't know too much about them, but everyone there said they were pretty amazing. And that was proved that night.
The biggest impression was made by the girl in the band, Alicja Trout.
I've come to learn over the years that pretty much everything that Trout does is amazing. She's been creating and producing music for more than 15 years, with such bands as Mouse Rocket, Destruction Unit and Black Sunday, as well as the revered Lost Sounds, and putting out other great bands on her label Contaminated Records. I can honestly say she's been a big influence on my own music, and music I like to hear.
Most recently she's recorded a new album, "Coast To Coast," with rock trio River City Tanlines on the Big Legal Mess label , scheduled to be released July 31. A juggernaut of power pop and garage, "Coast To Coast" speaks straight to their musical maturity, only adding to their credibility as one of the tightest rock machines below the Mason-Dixon line.
Alicja, the main lyricist for the band, writes with early punk sensibilities at the core but with quite a bit more depth than The Runaways – which they've been compared to – ever had going for them.
Trout's lyrics are not only intelligent, but are also emotional and quite real. Great hooks make great songs, for the most part, and Trout doesn't fail to get the listener hooked right away.
Honesty seems to be at the heart of Trout's lyrics. She says out loud what her head and her heart are feeling, which is more than I can say for the majority of us.
And that's part of the Tanlines experience, pure honest rock and roll.
Behind Trout's ripping guitar leads and punchy lyrics is the well-seasoned rhythm section of Terrence Bishop and John "Bubba" Bonds. Drawing from their experiences playing with revered rock musicians and bluesmen – R.L. Burnside, Black Oak Arkansas and Jack Oblivian come to mind – Bishop and Bonds round out this genre-breaking trio. They never miss a beat.
The new album is a testament for how this trio has evolved since their beginnings in 2004. Their precision and musicianship is showcased throughout, delightfully without any remnants of over-production.
"I Don't Get It," one of the standout tracks on the album, quickly goes through Trout's feelings that seem to me to wrangle with reality and subconscious thought at the same time with some deep, deep philosophical soul-searching.
And even though I wanted try and interpret it in several other ways, I kept coming back to the thought Trout was asking and answering the questions all mothers do about the mystery that is their own child. If I'm right in any way whatsoever, that just took this rock to whole other level altogether.
With a small tour scheduled surrounding the release of "Coast To Coast" at the end of July, I recommend to do your best to catch this band live. Although the Tanlines' albums rock hard, there is no way to describe the energy and raw power of one of their live shows. It should definitely be put on any To-Do list post-haste.
1. "I'm Your Negative" - River City Tanlines
2. "I Feel So Nervous" - Black Sunday
3. "All Been Broken" - Mouserocket
4. "Romantic Me" - Black Sunday
5. "In My Mode Rollin'" - River City Tanlines
6. "Against It" - The Clears
7. "Beautiful Tomorrow" - Black Sundays
8. "My Reflection" - River City Tanlines
9. "I Can't Keep My Hands Off Of You" - Mouserocket
10. "Space Guitar" - Black Sundays
11. "Hanging On A String" - The Clears
12. "Alone Again Or..." - Mouserocket
13. "Black Knight" - River City Tanlines
14. "There's Nothing" - Lost Sounds
15. "Don't Say No" Black Sundays
16. "Trails/Fears" Lost Sounds
17. "Place In Your Heart" - Mouserocket
18. "Frozen Fun" - The Clears
19. "Energy Drink & The Long Walk Home" - Lost Sounds
20. "Gli Amanti D'oltretomba" - Black Sundays
Twinkle VanWinkle ponders, creates and discovers cool stuff about music, movies, food, fashion and so forth. Her thoughtful writings and interactives give great advice about healthy food, cooking tips, DIY projects, fashion and more. She'll teach you a thing or two about music as well. Along with producing dynamic entertainment content for LIN Media, she is a mother, musician and social media fanatic.
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