Friday, December 19, 2008

The BAcksliders: You're Welcome. Texas Rock 'n' Roll

The BAckliders

You're Welcome

Texas has a long history as a home for rock 'n' roll that dates back all the way to Buddy Holly. Although it's not always easy to pin down, a lot of bands from The Lonestar State sound uniquely Texan, no matter what genre they or others choose to categorize them in. In many cases I can think of, the "Texas Sound" has to do with adding key elements of genres together. Buddy Holly could be the primary example of playing rock 'n' roll that had a country base to it. Dallas band The BAcksliders are a good case in point: Powerpop, but still Texan. Their new release You're Welcome is a good showcase of Powerpop mixed with classic rock and blues elements. It's not too much of a stretch for powerpop since a lot of it is rooted in what can be generally termed as American Music, so it's not a confusing mix of elements, but a very cohesive one. The BAcksliders came to existence out of vocalist Kim Pendleton from Vibrolux, her husband Chris Bonner from Sons of Sound, and backed with a solid rhythm section made up of Nolan Theis on bass from Little Black Dress and Taylor Young on drums from Young Heart Attack and Polyphonic Spree. The resulting The BAcksliders is a band that has a solid sound that lacks rawness due to the professional experience of their members, but it also results in a solid approach to powerpop that shares elements of new wave, British Invasion, and just a hint of blues. The opening "You're Gonna Miss Me" falls somewhere between Elvis Costello's once controversial "Radio Radio", but with a catchy, repetitive chorus in the vein of "Dreaming" by Blondie. Kim's voice veers from smoothness to a rock 'n' roller's seasoned slight scratchiness, but the background vocals create a fun, new wave feel. "Typically I Don't Mind" takes Chrissy Hynde's style of a strong, faster beat and keeping the guitar as secondary to everything else. That style is perhaps one of the basic styles that defined new wave by re-emphasizing the beat and rhythm that cause many to consider certain new wave bands as making rock 'n' roll fun again. You're Welcome sticks to that basic approach mostly on songs like "I Got Mine". Other offerings such as "Under The Moonlight" take a Smiths take hear and there with a deeper guitar intro and powerchords, but it's a little bit refreshing in steering clear of MOrissey's self loathing. One thing noticable about You're Welcome is how the songs don't have gaps, which results in a certain continuity and given that the songs are so short and keep a basic approach, it's hard sometimes to make out where the songs end until the tempos change. One of the results is that "Under The Moonlight" goes right into "Now They Know", but the initial impression is that it's a melody change and chorus as an end to the previous song.

"Pass On All Your Fears", the first slow song, is a modern rock/blues tome that sounds like it was meant for everyone's moments of post breakup self loathing and solo drinking in a dark and smokey bar. Another surprise is "Fat Girls", with a hint of southern swagger that beats along to "Jumpin' Jack Flash" that's sure to please. The following "Disguise" is a strong, pumping song with flashes of The Gift era Jam, but a bass melody that's a little deeper and took a while to pin down and reminiscent of "Don't Go Back To Rockville". The material is pretty basic and familiar, but it's solid and fun. Despite strongly reconized formulas for You're Welcome, it doesn't mean that The BAcksliders lack originality. We all know how music styles have their basic formulas, so when one has a group of seasoned veterans doing a particular style, it's likely to end up sounding a lot like well known influences, which results in no big surprises, but a guarantee of good rock 'n' roll, nonetheless. The Texan in The BAcksliders comes straight through on the acoustic/country of "someone Has Broken". It's a little of a diversion, but a good one.

You're Welcome is full of strong rock songs that continue with "Serves You Right", which stands out a little more than other songs on the album in that it cannot be placed anywhere, but if there's one thing that many agree on, it's just fun rock 'n' roll with plenty of hooks and a beat you can dance to. One even catches Memphis Blues and echoes of Roy Orbison on "Cry" that is familiar and great. If one loves rock 'n' roll, one just "gets it" and doesn't pay much attention to something being punk, classic, new wave, garage, or whatever. There comes a time just to let it go, see some rock 'n' roll, and have fun. The BAcksliders don't fit into anything but rock 'n' roll. They're powerpop, classic rock, and hints of blues. Not earth shaking, but it will definitely catch you with your guard down and dancing along. They're playing December 19th at Austin's legendary Hole In The Wall, a dive that lives up to its name in size and atmosphere, which has seen everyone from Mojo Nixon, Drive By Truckers, Sons of Hercules, and even Laika and The Cosmonautspass through their doors. It's a place where the college crowd mixes with the old townies and all types. Nobody really cares about distinctions there. They want to hear some rock 'n' roll and kick back a few pitchers. The BAcksliders will fit in perfectly.

Fat Girls

CDs available at


Dec 19 2008 10:00P Hole in the Wall Austin, Texas
Dec 20 2008 10:00P Double Wide with Hello Lover and White Drugs (Denton) Dallas, Texas
Dec 31 2008 9:00P New Years Eve at Lee Harvey’s Dallas, Texas
Mar 7 2009 9:00P VZD’s Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

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