May 24, 2010

Review: The Henry Clay People | Somewhere On The Golden Coast [MP3]

Making rock music about making rock music is a dangerous game, and a band that attempts it best have the goods lest they be relegated to dung heaps still piled high with '70s cock rock and the output of faceless '80s metaltards. Fortunately the young and exuberant Los Angeles-based rock concern The Henry Clay People has the right amount of hooks, attitude and self-awareness to succeed brilliantly, and -- despite songs about selling guitars to pay rent; about crashing on couches; about Saturday night -- the quartet's forthcoming sophomore full-length Somewhere On The Golden Coast just might save rock 'n' roll from itself for a little while longer (as the similarly 'Mats-inspired The Hold Steady's earth-shaking Separation Sunday did five years ago).

The Henry Clay People's precedent full-length, EP and single hinted at great things, but Somewhere On The Golden Coast exceeds expectations by showing the band, fronted by the wonderfully shouty Joey and Andy Siara, can shift gears and offer more than boozy mid- and uptempo rockers. The opening prologue "Nobody Taught Us To Quit" skips rhythm tracks altogether while aggrandizing the sort of foot-shooting favored by Paul Westerberg. The ballad "A Temporary Fix" similarily ditches the drums in the first verse, and Mr. Siara's aching murmur floats among hair-raising feedback and noise and tremeloed organ. It's a surprising turn for an act best known for foot-stomping bar anthems, which, of course, Somewhere On The Golden Coast touts in spades. In addition to the ace single and EP cuts "This Ain't A Scene" and "Working Part Time," the red-hot "Your Famous Friends" and "Keep Your Eyes Closed" memorably rock with abandon.

To borrow a phrase, the greatest bands create their own mythologies, and The Henry Clay People's Somewhere On The Golden Coast boasts neccessarily short-handed tales whose genesis may or may not be founded in fact. The emphatic expostulation "we got drunk and called in sick whenever we felt like it!" tidily sums up a glory of slackerdom; "If your fancy school put you back in debt, I'd sell my favorite guitar so you can pay your rent" romanticizes trials of the rocker class. By our (unscientific) calculations, the last cool band to come out of Los Angeles was Jane's Addiction, so The Henry Clay People actually aren't only saving rock 'n' roll, but they are also restoring legitimacy to a town whose contributions to indie rock grow ever more remote. Somewhere On The Golden Coast will be issued by TBD Records June 8.

The Henry Clay People -- "Your Famous Friends" -- Somewhere On The Golden Coast
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[pre-order Somewhere On The Golden Coast from Amazon right here]

06.08 -- Spaceland -- Los Angeles, CA
06.15 -- Hard Rock Live -- Orlando, FL
06.16 -- Sunset Cove Amphitheater -- Boca Raton, FL
06.18 -- Ritz -- Tampa, FL
06.19 -- The Tabernacle -- Atlanta, GA
06.20 -- The Ritz Theatre -- Raleigh, NC
06.21 -- The National -- Richmond, VA
06.23 -- DAR Constitution Hall -- Washington, DC
06.24 -- Wellmont Theatre -- Montclair, NJ
06.25 -- Williamsburg Waterfront -- Brooklyn, NY
06.27 -- House Of Blues -- Boston, MA
06.28 -- Penn's Landing -- Philadelphia, PA
06.29 -- The Sound Academy -- Toronto, Ontario
07.02 -- The Fillmore Detroit -- Detroit, MI
07.03 -- Aragon Ballroom -- Chicago, IL
07.04 -- Summerfest -- Milwaukee, WI
07.16 -- Hard Rock Hotel -- Las Vegas, NV
07.17 -- Marquee Theater -- Tempe, AZ
07.19 -- Stubb's -- Austin, TX
07.20 -- Warehouse Live -- Houston, TX
07.21 -- Palladium Ballroom -- Dallas, TX
07.24 -- Live on the Levee -- St. Louis, MO
07.26 -- The Fillmore Auditorium -- Denver, CO
07.27 -- The Rail -- Salt Lake City, UT
07.29 -- Crystal Ballroom -- Portland, OR
07.31 -- The Paramount Theatre -- Seattle, WA
08.07 -- Soma -- San Diego, CA
10.09 -- Austin City Limits -- Austin, TX

The Henry Clay People: Internerds | MySpace | YouTube | Flickr

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