|The 71s at the Stafford in Bryan April 29.|
For The 71s, the moment of charm came in April when I saw them play in Bryan at the Stafford. The band launched into a cover of Tom Petty's "American Girl." Their version was solid, but what charmed me was when the main mic cut out and lead singer Keeton Coffman simply frowned mid-lyric, stepped away and kept singing right into the crowd and encouraged us to make up the difference by singing along too. The rest of the band didn't miss a beat.
After all the hard work that goes into writing original songs, it's not easy to get up on a stage in a semi-receptive room and play only to have a mishap. That's a make or break moment.
And the 71s made it.
Video from that evening taken by the lovely Lori (rev. 7/9):
Since that night, The 71s and I discovered we had a mutual friend in the brains behind Vivogig and bonded over the Beach Boys. Though Keeton is a hard core Mike Love fan and I am a Brian Wilson girl through and through, it's just semantics. I'm a fan of anyone who shares my Beach Boys love.
Through our bond, I got to preview the 71s new record, which they will officially release this Saturday, titled Rock and Roll Reaction Volume 2. It's part two of a trilogy of EPs the band intended to record within the span of one year. You can grab a copy of Volume 1 right here.
The thing I love about this record? It kind of brought me back to life. Over the last 8 months or so, I've been sailing in a sea of uber-melodic tunes, blissfully drifting from one band to the next. From Mumford & Sons and Freelance Whales to Fitz & the Tantrums, I've been living in a dream world of harmonies, gentle guitars and heavenly percussion.
The 71s punched a hole through my chest, grabbed my spine and rattled this girl out of her musical coma.
I'll be honest, my first impression of Volume 2 was, "Um, I'm not sure if I'm going to like this." It's much rougher than most of what I've been listening to lately. Heavy, ever-present bass mixed with rocked out guitar and gritty vocals. But the longer I listened, the more I began to love it. The 71s play straight-forward rock with that defiant punk-rock 'take it or leave it' vibe - a concept that dovetails beautifully with their video for "Get Up and Dance." (Read why here.) But don't take my word for it. I think the entire music editorial department over at the Houston Press is in love with these guys too. (Scroll to the bottom for links.)
I might be slightly more drawn to the melodic tones of "Diamond Heart" and "In Two," but "Get Up and Dance" dares you not to do just that and I haven't been able to get "Ain't Givin Up" out of my head all week. It might not be what I typically listen to, but sometimes you need that one band to shake things up and remind you there's so much more music out there than what you listen to - so much more to discover.
Sometimes you need that rock and roll reaction. Thank you, 71s, for delivering that to me in the form of six songs.
The 71s host their CD release party tomorrow night at Warehouse Live. Set times & tickets here. Can't make the show? Order "Rock and Roll Reaction Volume 2" right here.
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