New Driven Radio confidently proclaimed that “The women of indie rock are so balls out, in your face AWESOME! It’s like a generation of Joan Jett!” I couldn’t agree more. The modern style and attitude of female fronted bands today is on par, if not challenging what it was nearly thirty years ago.
The Memphis based River City Tanlines is the perfect example. But don’t be fooled, Alicja Trout, Terrence Bishop and John Bonds are not new to the music scene; having been together since 2004, with an array of previous releases and several other band projects prior to that, the trio come with experience as they set to release Coast to Coast.
Like the Go-Go’s after a night of life changing whisky induced deep conversations, Trout’s fresh, deceptive vocals confidently front Bishop’s addicting beats and Bond’s rocking bass licks on their forthcoming release. In all fairness, where the Go-Go’s go school yard pop, River City Tanlines goes skate park rock. So much so, Coast to Coast should be high on the list for pop punk/rock summer playlists everywhere.
Lifting off with the seemingly dumbed down “I don’t get it,” you’d look like a real fool if you thought this was run-of-the-mill rock. It is ten tracks of highly infectious rock laid down with experienced precision and tight grooves. On “I don’t get it,” the intricate, slightly Bonanza-like bass licks add flare and a smug hidden expertise that is an instant hook under the already catchy track. This underlying musicianship remains consistent and precise throughout adding a level of appreciable talent that has me listening to it again and again. Never too heavy or crass, although lyrics like “I’m such a retarded fool/around you” (“Stop My Heart) and “When I became you/I had to kill myself” (“When I became You”) are common, there is the appearance of pop on an honestly vintage punk/rock foundation. Capping off the other nine tracks the best was certainly saved for last. “Waiting for Nothing” is an almost six minute jam of all out brilliance in a can. Slick echoing vocals, emotion driving riffs and a swaggering drum make an instant association to Sonic Youth and a lasting memory of River City Tanlines.
Having never really learned of River City Tanlines before now, they will be instilled in my memory for a long time to come. They have found that fine line between honest dirty rock and clean lines. They balance on the border of pop while flipping the finger at over-production with one hand and throwing a high-five to punk fans with the other. This Memphis trio is proof positive that we are indeed at a great time in female led rock.