The Greenhornes were on a steady climb since their mid-’90s formation. By the early-’00s, the band’s recordings were being reviewed in major magazines worldwide and the trio was touring with pals The White Stripes. But in 2004, Jack White formed The Raconteurs with drummer Patrick Keeler and bassist Jack Lawrence (both also appeared with White on Loretta Lynn’s Van Lear Rose and Lawrence is a member of another successful White project, The Dead Weather) and The Greenhornes — with a full-length reportedly ready for release — were put on hold. Singer/guitarist Craig Fox — whose sharp songwriting fueled the band’s tight, soulful take on vintage Rock & Roll — kept busy locally, playing in bands like The Cincinnati Suds and, most recently, Oxford Cotton (which also has a new release that’ll now likely be put on hold).
Lawrence recently told Billboard.com that a new album will be out in October, making it the first Greenhornes full-length with new material since 2002. The band also has a smattering of tour dates lined up, including an appearance at the Jim Jarmusch-curated All Tomorrow’s Parties fest in New York.
Catch ’em while you can — Lawrence said further work with The Dead Weather is probable and his Raconteurs bandmate Brendan Benson told NME that The Raconteurs will likely reconvene at some point after The Greenhornes’ run.
New EP Releases
• Though it can occasionally seem like all “Punk Rock” has gone the polished Pop direction, bands like Situation Red are reminders that the spirit of American Punk’s pioneers lives. The foursome unleashes its Three Locks on Every Door EP Saturday with a show at the Southgate House’s Parlour also featuring The Frankl Project and Duppy A Jamba. Three Locks is a raucous, rousing collection of rapid-fire Punk that shares an anthemic intensity with ’80s “Hardcore” (another word that has changed meanings over time) crews like 7 Seconds and other SoCal bands associated with the BYO label. The lyrics are thoughtful and positive — instead of debauchery or nihilism, Situation Red sings about self-sufficiency and rising above life’s bullshit — and the shout-along choruses are so infectious and potent, it’s hard not to get sucked into the inspirational buzz. There are moments of sloppiness, but Punk Rock wasn’t designed to be pretty. There are a million Emo-haircut bands that can fill your need for note perfection and angsty introspection, but they’ll never come close to matching the enlivening spirit and energy of Situation Red. (www.myspace.com/situationred)
• “Rock & Soul” quartet Zebras in Public celebrates its new six-song EP, Scars & Stripes, Saturday at downtown’s Mainstay Rock Bar. The Zebras’ sound is reminiscent of Fishbone’s Rock/Soul moments (right down to the chorus-effected guitars), shifting between soaring Hard Rock and a mellower sway. The musicianship is flawless and singer Zebediah has a strong, emotive and precise voice, but the EP is uneven and, strangely, front-loaded with the weakest tracks. Songs like the Lenny Kravitz-covers-AC/DC-sounding “One Great Day” have insipid “let’s party!” lyrics that are cringe-worthy, and by the third track, “Ladies Rock,” and its repeated “If you’re body is a Rock star/Let me be your guitar” refrain, it’s hard not to hit the stop button. But the band finishes strong — the dreamy “My Name Is John” floats on a Reggae cloud and “All the Way” is the kind of uplifting power ballad an American Idol contestant might pick to sing. Both tracks give the members some room to flex their talents and feature pensive, big-picture lyrics that have a more poetic, social-commentary spin. Scars & Stripes shows promise (and suggests an entertaining live show), but sounds like a band still trying to find its true stripes. (zebrasinpublic.com)
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