It happens way too often that I am pitched a song which, by description alone, promises to Bring The Rock. Then, what happens next is I play the clip and find that it is either hopelessly whiny emo masquerading as pseudo-rock, or it features the genre of eardrum excoriating vocals (i.e. makes Jonathan Davis sound like Freddie Mercury) that pass for “aggressive” these day. Barf. Please stop trying to fool me with your deceptive pitches. I have ears.
And then there are songs like “Thread (I Am)” from powerhouse trio RadioBlack, a band that has earned the right to call itself Rock by knowing how to mix melodicism with a full-on aural attack. Kudos: you get to be in this week’s column. “Thread” starts out with a tease of the grunge classic “Today” by Smashing Pumpkins before it immediately finds its own groove, becoming wildly anthemic and angsty without falling victim to fatal emo trappings or being so angry that it forgets to “do the song.” I also love that front man/guitartist TJ Courtney looks like a pirate version of party-rock icon, Andrew WK. Did you ever think that could be a thing? It is, and Courtney completely owns it.
Visually, this a live performance piece (shot in an empty industrial loft) with the look of being captured on scratchy 16mm, and some lyrics thrown in for the kids who like that sort of thing. TJ explains, “We shot the ‘Thread’ video in just a couple of hours. We wanted to find a way to capture the energy that drives our live show and we thought this video was a good opportunity to do that. Sometimes in a video shoot setting you can lose that energy and intensity, so when we started the shoot we decided to just lay it all out there the way we do live. I think that came across.” I think so, too. These guys deserve to be stars.
Courtney’s band mates in RadioBlack are drummer Derek Gledhill (founding member of Smile Empty Soul, who is fucking flawless behind the kit) and bassist Hayato Takano, a seasoned touring player. “Thread (I Am)” comes from the band’s eponymous debut album, which was released on May 12th, 2017. Like them on the FaceBook at This Link. Enjoy!