“We’re going to make records because that’s what we want to do – make records. No clunkers, no fillers. Records where you almost die making them.” So says vocalist/guitarist Danny Carney, of Los Angeles rock band Roll The Tanks. A refreshing sentiment, especially in 2014 when the majority of our radio fed diets consist of high fat, high sugar content that’s not only bad for you, but sounds as if it were created by machines incapable of error. Processed music. Can it cause cancer? Obesity? Let’s hope not. Luckily for us though there are healthier, more heart friendly options out there to choose from. Organically made and produced music by people who aren’t afraid of missing a note or fudging a lyric. This is the kind of music that can add years to your life expectancy. But don’t take my word for it. As Joe Strummer so eloquently and staunchly proclaimed in ‘The Future is Unknown’ before hammering into a rousing rendition of The Clampdown, “roll the tanks”. Roll the tanks and discover rock music. Pure, sharp, catchy as hell. It will tap your toes, bop your noggin until you look like a life-size bobble head and may even cause involuntary fist pumping (ensure you’re standing away from people and standing straight up to avoid injury). And soon enough you’ll find yourself singing your summer away. You’ll sing of the romanticism of pursuing the local record store ‘spending your change on wax’ and ‘dropping the needle’ (24th & Buckets). You’ll sing of making your own way and living free (Waiting On A Storm); you’ll call out the ‘trolls’ of the world wide web who seem to exist only to berate and belittle (Computer Money), sing of hornets, soapboxes and pistoleros. And you’ll bid a fine farewell to Jimmy Lee, for weeks and weeks because the song really is that catchy and addictive.
‘Broke Till Midnight’ is all of this and gleefully stomps, croons and rips its way through decades of rock n’ roll, paying tribute to the band’s biggest influences (The Clash, The Pixies, The Heartbreakers) while creating a fresh sound and maintaining the excitement that comes from new discoveries. Danny Carney sings with unbridled passion and his authenticity is alluring. Joe Sirois and Mike Wakeham keep a sexy rhythm with smooth bass lines and poppy beats. Sirois is himself already a respected skin tickler, thumping it out in beloved Boston-area bands Street Dogs and Mighty Mighty Bosstones. And Aaron Stuart rounds out the sound and harmony with his sonic guitar attack, which compliments Carney’s swirling riffage nicely.
‘Broke Till Midnight’ is a natural progression from the band’s 2009 debut ‘Suffer City’. The songs are catchier, the music is tighter. The band sounds as though they’ve found their voice and are off on a run with it. It’s the kind of music you know upon hearing would translate nicely to the stage or light up a high school dance hall. Causing the greasers and the bobby sox to lose their inhibitions and go off on a tear that would surely horrify the local townsfolk. It’s this devilish 50’s spirit that contributes to what makes this music so hard to classify. Not that everything needs a label, mind you. But Roll The Tanks seem to have no intention of sliding comfortably into any one genre. Part punk, part arena rock, part indie. You can even hear some R&B in there. 50’s R&B though. The wild, frantic kind. Not the bubble gum, Versace sponsored pop you hear on top 40’s radio today. The kind of records that people make because that’s what they want to do. Organic music for healthy living. No clunkers, no fillers. Records where you almost die making them.