The Roosevelts & Frontier Ruckus at Volcanic
Tue, May 23, 2017 at 8pm
- ALL AGES
We are The Roosevelts: America's Own Indie-Rock Act The Roosevelts lead singer James Mason muses on the birth of their name: “It was Presidents’ Day. It was our first day in the studio. We had the songs, but we didn’t have a name. There were two of them, and two of us. – I like to think they would have been fans of our music.” As one half of the electric duo along with lead guitarist Jason Kloess, the two brothers – in song, not blood (though maybe beards) – carved a distinctive niche on the renowned live music scene of Austin, Texas, before their recent move to the music industry’s “third coast” – Nashville, Tennessee. Together, the songsmiths cultivated a sound that's a little bluesy, a little bit folky, and a little bit rock 'n' roll. Sure, there's some mandolin in there, but most importantly, it's just heartfelt, genuine music that belongs to them alone, not any genre. When forced to give it a name, the boys will tell you it’s “harmony-driven American rock with a 70s sensibility.”
In the ongoing collapse of our collective attention span, the modern indie band at the 5th-album mark draws closer to endangered species status. Rarer still are bands who have managed to maintain the same integrity of creative purpose as Frontier Ruckus.
Enter the Kingdom, their 5th and most lush record to date, serves as an almost desperate invitation into the band’s most recurrent setting: the suburban American household. It is immediately apparent, however, that the emphasis this time is not so much on idyllic nostalgia but the very real and present tense disintegration of a personal kingdom once thought permanent.
We are thrust into stained living rooms where dads search for work on Craigslist, carports prowled by drunken ex-spouses returning with dubious motives, megachurch rec rooms marked by lust and disrepair.
Songwriter Matthew Milia has explained the album as a rather literal depiction of his father losing his job and relying on disability checks to retain a tenuous grasp on his childhood home. The specificity with which this is conveyed to the listener is harrowing at times, though never in full abandonment of a dark and balancing sense of humour.