My roommate is a fanatic. He just might be one of the only people that could keep up with my obsession of music. Whether it’s live shows and lyrics or an undiscovered band that we both feel is the next big thing, we are on the same page when it comes to this magnificent art.
He actually told me recently that he was bored with music. He was bored with everything in his iTunes account. He was bored with his overwhelming CD collection. He was bored with the top artists on MySpace. He had just simply listened to everything that he could get his hands on. And he said to me one day, “Ricky, you know, I just want to find a new band. I want to find a good ole fashioned rock band that does more to me than just play the guitar. I want to find one that I can play as loud as I can and just get my blood pumping.”
In those next few weeks I actually forwarded him a few bands that I felt might match his current drought. There were a few he had heard of already, a few he liked, but nothing just grabbed his attention long enough to make it through a complete CD.
That is when I discovered the debut album from Indianapolis based band The Last Good Year. Their first album, recorded at The Smoking Gun Recording Studio in Nashville, Tennessee might be just the album that my roommate is looking for.
The Last Good Year was formed in 2007 and it did not take them very long to make a name for themselves here in the Indianapolis area. Playing boatloads of shows with bands like Records Record Records and Win With Willard, TLGY has created a niche market that is hard to surpass. In their first year together they captured the 2007 Battle of Birdy’s and were selected as one of Nuvo Magazine’s ‘Best of 2007’. With their immediate success and local fan base coupled with an album from famed Augustana producer Jon King, TLGY was ready to launch what was a no holds barred attempt at this extremely competitive market.
When you first put the album in you are immediately hit with polished guitar parts mixed with a punch you in your face drumbeat. The voice kicks in and you are taken to the front row. You have a Budweiser in your hand. You have a cigarette in your mouth. And you have your fist pumping to the band as he screams “I found my soul in rock and roll.” For a band that has only been around since last year it is extremely impressing that this album came together in only 12 days. If you pay attention to the lyrics, all of which were written by TLGY, you will find a whole new appreciation for the album. The great thing is; you are only one track in.
By the time you make it to the second track, if you are not already dancing the way it is, you will be soon. When you hear this song there is nowhere you want to see this video but on MTV. I honestly feel that this track will be their signature single when this album reaches its next level.
Let me take a moment to discuss their image before I go on. In my experiences in the music industry, when a band hits the scene for the first time, it is hard for them to get off the ground until they have created an image for themselves. I could name several local examples but will save my face by saving their names. But that is something that TLGY has nailed right on the head. From their album cover to their MySpace page to the tattoos on their arms this band looks exactly like what you hear on this self entitled debut album.
I have had the chance to see TLGY play numerous times in the past few months and their stage presence and sound is damn near exactly what you hear in your headphones. Indyconcerts.com has actually scheduled TLGY to perform as a featured artist in their Indyconcets.com presents: R.O.C.K. showcase on January 3rd, 2009.
By the time you are half way through the album you begin to forget that these guys are from Indianapolis. You forget that they just played a show last night in Broad Ripple and then drank beer with you after the show. And this is what makes a band like this so special. They are the kind of band that very well a year from now may be bigger than ever imagined.
When listening to this album, or any like it, you tend to try and compare it to something. You want that comfortability with your music. You think of the bands you can see opening up for them at the Vogue. And I suffer these same issues. The first time I heard the album I tried to have an open mind and let the lyrics and the music take me over. I was not two tracks into this album and I was already comparing his voice to that of The Darkness, The Wedding, and Soundgarden. But there is a little bit more in it for me. When you push his voice next to the music behind him I get a sense of early Led Zeppelin and some sophomore Rolling Stones.
This album is a mix of incredible instrumental work, polished vocals, and pure genius from the production. The Last Good Year has created what, as their first album, will be a staple in their career. To whatever is next for this band I wish them the best of luck. It is rare that an album of this genre can come along and take me over just like this one did. Not only did I put this album in my iTunes library, it is all I can talk about. I am singing, “I wanna be a race car driver,” over and over again. This album is simply a great package of incredible music.