The Record Company
Sat, June 10
Doors: 7:00 pm
The Record Company
The Record Company arrived right when they were needed most, their raw and righteous rock ‘n’ roll ideal for a world that desperately needs to scream and shout. The Los Angeles-based trio – Chris Vos (guitar, lead vocals, harmonica), Alex Stiff (bass, guitar, vocals) and Marc Cazorla (drums, piano, vocals) – unleashed its Concord Records debut album, Give It Back to You, on February 12, 2016 and has been nominated for a GRAMMY Award in the category of Best Contemporary Blues Album. “Off The Ground,” the album’s first single, proved a sensation, spending two consecutive weeks as the #1 track at Triple A radio outlets nationwide – topping new songs from such superstars as The Lumineers, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and The Avett Brothers. Their single “Rita Mae Young” is the album’s second consecutive Triple A smash which has recently cracked into the Top Ten.
The Record Company’s popular success was matched with enthusiastic critical acclaim. “Caught halfway between the stomp of mid-century rock & roll and the soulful kick of Delta blues, The Record Company kick up a raw, rootsy racket,” raved Rolling Stone. “The scuzzy, 10-track set meshes the group’s biggest influences,” wrote Entertainment Weekly of Give It Back to You, “the early electric blues rock n’ roll of John Lee Hooker, staccato lyrical delivery akin to The Stooges frontman Iggy Pop, and Rolling Stones-style grooves.”
The band formed in LA after a late night of hanging out as friends listening to records on their bass player Alex’s back porch with drinks in hand and speakers in the window. The spinning of a crackling vinyl copy of John Lee Hooker’s album “Hooker N’ Heat” at about 2am - coupled with singer Chris Vos’s stories of a trip to see Iggy & The Stooges at The Palladium in LA - inspired the three to get together the next day and jam together. That following afternoon they decided to hang some mic’s up in Alex’s living room and start recording.
“We listened to the playback that first day of recording,” Vos says, “and decided right then and there that we had to be a band.”
Give It Back to You is powerful and authentic, its electric fusion of classic influences, personal songwriting, and contemporary energy feels designed to break hearts and shake the dance floor. Both intimate and intense, songs like “Off The Ground” and “Rita Mae Young” are marked by The Record Company’s ambidextrous instrumentation, built upon guitar, bass, and drums but also deftly incorporating harmonica, dobro slide, lap slide, pedal steel, piano, and anything else that might serve the music. The album was written, recorded, and mixed by the band in the same living room in Los Angeles that they formed in and did their first recordings, retaining the raw and untouched sound they strive to make.
“When recording we trust early takes, love soulful mistakes, and record much of the song together live so we can keep the vibe of the recording feeling natural and still mix it with an aim to make the speakers move” says Vos.
Long known for their incendiary live sets, the band has toured nearly non-stop in the months following the release of Give It Back to You. They proved favorites at this year’s Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, prompting Rolling Stone Country to name the trio’s set among the event’s “5 Best Country and Americana Moments” while declaring it “a wildly energetic show and one of the most communal experiences of the festival.”
They embarked on their first ever headline tour in the fall of 2016, selling out 32 out of the 41 shows they played – including the Bowery Ballroom in NYC, the El Rey Theater in LA, World Café Live in Philadelphia, Turner Hall in Milwaukee, and Antone’s in Austin amongst others.
What’s more, The Record Company have rocked the airwaves with a series of high profile TV appearances, including CBS’ Late Show with Stephen Colbert and TBS’ Conan, not to mention countless radio sessions and live concert broadcasts on SiriusXM, NPR’s World Café Live, and Chicago, IL’s WXRT.
The Record Company has also found themselves supporting and playing alongside a series of national and international tours and shows with a diverse group of legends and like-minded artists they admire including Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats, Dawes, BB King, Kurt Vile, Mavis Staples, Social Distortion, and Blackberry Smoke.
“It’s about making the right choices for the songs,” says Vos, “keeping things as engaging as possible without compromising the integrity of the song. Everything we do comes from our desire to write the best songs we can and make the most honest music that we can.”
“I always think of any performance as one less time, not one more time.” says Vos, “Nobody can say how many shows you get to play in your life. So we try to play our guts out, leave it all on the table, and have fun doing it”.
World-weary and road-wise, the debut full-length from Washington, DC’s The Deadmen gazes into the sunset with a furrowed brow. Full of painterly lyrics and profoundly captivating melody, The Deadmen is both a snapshot of a moment in time and a timeless portrait of the struggle between temptation and righteousness that simmers just beneath the surface of our shared humanity, wrought with a masterful economy of language. For what is ostensibly the band’s first proper release, The Deadmen is a bracingly complete work, polished and deeply arresting.
Before The Deadmen, Justin Jones and Josh Read had built independent careers and forged a friendship as singer-songwriters in DC. Jones was raised on a diet of Otis Redding and The Band in a small town in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia. He picked up the guitar at an early age and eventually moved to Washington because, in his mind, that was the biggest music town in the region. He got a job bartending at the famous 9:30 Club and on his off nights put out a succession of self-released records. Jones went on to release two records through Thirty Tigers, and toured North America extensively.
Read came to DC by way of South Africa. Immersing himself in the DC music scene, he founded the now defunct Gypsy Eyes label, releasing records from Vandaveer, Brandon Butler (ex-Canyon and Boy's Life), John Bustine and his own band, Revival. After a few years and a dozen releases, the label folded and the members of Revival left Read to join Son Volt... leaving Read without a band.
Fate had more in store for the duo. One day, as their kids played in the yard, the seeds for The Deadmen were planted. While the children ran rampant the two talked about music and the business thereof, and eventually shared some songs they had each been writing. Soon enough, they agreed to take it to the stage. As a four-piece, The Deadmen became fast favorites in their adopted home town. They recorded a five-song EP, only to shelve it when Jones took to the road in support of his latest solo record.
Justin Hoben is a native of New England who bounced around the United States working odd jobs until settling into Washington, DC, working as a bar back at the 9:30 Club. A singer/songwriter in his own right, Hoben took the name John Bustine and performed his punk-inspired folk songs as a solo artist. He released one record through Gypsy Eyes and received rave reviews. And time passed.
When Jones came back from tour, Read had joined Hoben in a new band. So when talk turned to The Deadmen, it was only logical to bring Hoben into the fold. They had already become good friends through their time in the home town scene, and fans of each other's songwriting – and, first and foremost, they were all fathers.
The Deadmen released their debut EP through 8 Gang Switch in 2014 and promptly became one of the most talked about acts in DC; their record garnering praise from press both home and abroad, their shows selling out in advance. Energized, they decamped to Lavabed studios with producer Mike Faneule to record what would become their debut full-length record. And then Read and his family moved to a small island in Maine. Jones released another record. More time passed.
Yet The Deadmen is, to be blunt, too damn good to rot in a warehouse like some sonic Ark, its shining beauty hidden within an anonymous crate. Since its production the nation and the world have changed - though in some way, it feels like The Deadmen has been sleeping, biding its time, until now. The Deadmen is a record of frustration and paranoia. Of hope and loss. Of addiction, despair and infidelity. And in the end it's about love. In times like these, what could be more American - and rock and roll - than that?
815 V St. NW
Washington, DC, 20001
815 V St. NW
Washington, DC, 20001