About four or five years ago, I discovered a really great band called The Rock*A*Teens. As soon as I started digging on their music, they broke up. This happens to me all the time. I don't know if I just jinx bands, or what, but it's happened more times than I care to count, and it's always pretty disappointing.
The Rock*A*Teens played what I can only describe as melodic, drunken pop noise, and they did so very loudly. That may not sound like the best endorsement ever, but trust me, their sound was incredibly unique, and always wonderful to listen too. The almost always tragic nature of the lyrics combined with arrangements and singing that sounded like a man who had lost everything, made for what I think was a kind of blues for modern times. The first time I heard The Arcade Fire, I couldn't help but think that they had to be big fans of Rock*A*Teens.
All is not lost, however. I was really happy to find out that the frontman and songwriter for the band, Chris Lopez, released an album with his new band, Tenement Halls, a couple weeks ago. I was even happier when I found out it was available on iTunes. Yay!
The music on this debut, "Knitting Needles & Bicycle Bells", is not dissimilar to the Rock*A*Teens. Lopez's leadership of both bands is evident. Tenement Halls is, however, a much more mature endeavor. The arrangements are more tight, the singing less belting, but powerful none the less. Any given song on this album would satisfy me on it's own. They are intelligent, passionate, rich, and... epic. If I were a drinkin' man, "Knitting Needles & Bicycle Bells" would definitely be my drinking buddy.
The album is now available for download at the iTunes Music Store, or you can purchase the CD from Amazon.
And the best part of this all, is that download.com has put up a free download from the album.
Tenement Halls: Plenty Is Never Enough
I also thought you might like to hear some Rock*A*Teens, and found two free tracks from their final album at Epitonic:
More info about Tenement Halls can be found on their artist page at Merge Records
Also, if you live in the Chicago area, Tenement Halls will be playing with Portastatic and Mary Timony tonight (September 9th, 2005) at the Empty Bottle. More info about the show can be found at Upcoming.org. Sorry about such late notice, but I just found out, myself... and am wishing I lived up there.