After spending the better part of two months writing a land entitlement document—yes, I thought I was retired, too—I decided to treat myself to some new music. Although their individual sounds are unique, the three bands—The Bots, Cherry Glazerr, and the Strypes—are distinguished by their members’ ages. All, with the exception of one, are high school age, which makes this old fart really feel like grandpa on an acid trip. That said these kids would have blown me away way back when … well … I was their age.
First, up a band my son Brian recommended, The Bots, composed of guitarist and lead vocalist, Mikaiah Lei (21), and his 17-year old brother and percussionist, Anaiah Lei. Their music, which they began performing when they were preteens, has been called a mash-up of White Stripes meets Hendrix. I also hear the punk/blues narrative in their sound. Despite their youth, they have released three albums, did two Warped tours, and played a number of European festivals.
Three 17-year-olds head up a band, Cherry Glazerr, featured in this morning’s LA Times’ Calendar section. The Times considers them edgy pop without the cutesy, while the band likes the punk moniker. I also hear some of the sixties girl group sound that has been popular the last few years. The group consists of Clementine Creevy, lead vocalist, writer, and spokesperson; bassist Sean Redman and drummer Hannah Uribe.
That brings us to a band I really love and have been digging for several months, the Strypes. This is what David Fricke of Rolling Stone had to say, in part, about singer-harpist Ross Farrelly, guitarist-singer Josh McClorey, bassist Pete O’Hanlon, and drummer Evan Walsh:
“In 1964, the Who coined the term “Maximum R&B,” summing up the brawn, blues and ecstasy in their pop art. A full 50 years later, on March 18th, the Strypes – a quartet of hard looks, long drive and tender years, founded in 2011 in Cavan, Ireland, and still 18 and under – skidded into New York’s Bowery Ballroom sounding like “My Generation” and Five Live Yardbirds only came out yesterday and anyone muttering the words “boy band” would be skinned alive … As songwriters, the Strypes value concision – the right stuff in this music – and have a precocious knack for hooks (“What the People Don’t See”) and retro wit (the line about spaghetti-western villain Lee Van Cleef in “Angel Eyes”). There is the issue of vision – what comes after you’ve found and mastered your roots – and the thin line between passion and pastiche. But the Strypes are still at an age of discovery, with the chops to apply their learning. They can’t be the new ’65 Kinks, Rolling Stones or Yardbirds – that’s been done to perfection – but they’re at the right starting line, making an impressive entrance.”
Listen up and, if you’re my age, turn up the hearing aids.