Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Steady, As They Go...The Raconteurs Story and Show # 189

The Raconteurs were formed in 2005 by Jack White and Brendan Benson in Detroit. Being friends White assisted Benson in a song that he was working on. The song would be known as "Steady, As She Goes". White and Benson recruited fellow musicians Jack Lawrence (Bass), and Patrick Keeler (drums); They are both from a band called The Greenhornes. White would become a vocalist, guitarist and Benson would be a vocalist, guitarist, and keyboardist. Since various members were already involved in other groups Jack White being in the White Stripes, Brendan Benson a solo artist, and Lawrence and Keeler in the Greenhornes, the band would record whenever they had the time to do so. The band would record their first album, which would be called Broken boy Soldiers over the course of the year of 2005 in Brendan Benson's East Grand Studio.

The band first released the single "Steady, As She Goes" with "Store Bought Bones" as the B-side on vinyl in January of 2006; It was released on CD in April of 2006. The band then unleashed Broken Boy Soldier onto the world in May of 2006. The album debuted at #7 on the US Charts and #2 in the UK. The album was not like a White Stripes album, which I'm sure some Jack White fans were expecting. Instead it was a mix of 60's rock and pop, that came off sounding like a classic rock album, it has the feel of Led Zeppelin III, but elements from so many other bands such as The Beatles (Rubber Soul-era/Revolver), The Rolling Stones (Aftermath), and The Kinks. The album mixed together the styles of Jack White and Brendan Benson, which created a unique and interesting record.

The album starts off with the bands first single and the song that brought the band together "Steady, As She Goes". A short stop and go song with roaring choruses. "Hands" is the next track. It is a song with heavy ringing rock chords, melodies, and a pop chorus sung by Mr. Brendan Benson. The title track "Broken Boy Soldier" sounds just as the title describes broken, the song sounds like something off of a Led Zeppelin album, it has a strange eerie vibe while Jack White howls over the strange descending chords. "Level" is another interesting song, it has loud choruses featuring odd sounding keyboards during the verses. "Store Bought Bones" is a jagged rocker, that actually started out as an outtake from the White Stripes album Get Behind Me Satan. "Yellow Sun" is a 60's style pop song sung by Benson. "Call it a Day" is another slow, but catchy Benson sung number that drags and scrapes its way through your head with slow verses and heavy attacking choruses. The album ends with "Blue Veins" a song featuring backwards guitar effects ala-The Beatles, while the song is a slow and blues drenched. The album is a short ten track album, that has qualities of, as mentioned earlier classic rock.

The bands second album Consolers of the Lonely was released everywhere in all formats (download, CD, Vinyl) on March 25th, 2008. Prior to the release of the album, the band released a press statement out of the blue that the album would be released to everyone on March 25th, 2008 so that everyone could get the album as quickly as possible. Some have compared this move similar to what Radiohead did with the release of their album In Rainbows. I personally love the fact that the band finished the album and just released it as soon as possible, leaving the fans to make up their minds of how it is, not the critics. Despite the statement the band was trying to make, the album leaked onto the Internet on March 19th, days before its official release from a most unlikely source, i-tunes.

The actual album Consolers of the Lonely contains 14 tracks. The album still has a classic rock feel, but also brings in more elements, at times its difficult to tell who's singing Jack White or Brendan Benson. The album is a mix of loud rock numbers, balanced out with slower pop ballads. The album opens with "Consoler of the Lonely" it is a loud crashing rock song with Benson and White Sharing vocal duties. The first single "Salute Your Solution" is a song that sounds like a sped up AC/DC track, featuring fuzzy bass, and a fuzzy garage rock style ending. "You Don't Understand Me" is a slow piano doused number, while "Old Enough" is an upbeat song featuring organ and and crunchy guitar parts. "Hold Up" shows the band turning up the volume even louder, the song sounds heavily influenced by 70's style Ramones punk. "Many Shades of Black" brings orchestral horn sections into the Raconteurs fold, in the chorus Brendan Benson sings similar to Paul McCartney. "Five on Five' is a dirty twisted rocker, with stop and start riffs, heavy hitting drums, while "Attention" is another loud rock number with catchy keyboards, an excellent track. The album ends with "Carolina Drama" a song that lyrically reflects Bob Dylan, musically it is an acoustic, bluesy song. Overall, the album rocks as much as it pops, it brings in horn sections, more keyboards, synths, and violins.

Some would label the group another "supergroup", but the truth is that The Raconteurs are just a group of friends and music lovers that came together and formed an excellent group. Another interesting fact is that the band called The Saboteurs in Australia. The reason for this is that the band named Raconteurs, in Queensland in Australia refused the offer that was proposed for the use of their name, in hopes of getting more money.

Once again I have to mention the Jammies. Voting is done on April 4th, 2008 so get your votes in by voting here (Hint: Revolution Rock is the name of my show).

Songs Played:

1. Carbon/Silicon - The Global War on Culture
2. Joe Strummer - Island Hopping
3. Marble Index - I Believe
4. Mark Inside - Lost Your Appetite (Demo)
5. Easy Targets - If You're a Planet
6. Misfits - Where Eagles Dare
7. Black Sabbath - Lord of this World
8. The Subways - Girls and Boys
9. Frustrations - Overrated
10. Velvet Underground - The Gift
11. Dead 60's - Last Train Home
12. Ride Theory - Reflecting on a Foggy Day
13. The Government - Flat Tire
14. Neil Young - Dirty Old Man
15. The Horrors - She is the New Thing
16. The Strollers - Let Me Come On In
17. The Wipers - Let's Go Away
18. Greenhornes - Pattern Skies
19. Hentchmen - Carry Me Home
20. White Stripes - Aluminum
21. Raconteurs - Hold Up
22. Raconteurs - Many Shades of Black

Related Raconteur Videos:

Steady, As She Goes (Jim Jarmusch Version)
Steady, As She Goes (Version 2)Broken Boy Soldier
Level (Live Music Video)
Salute Your Solution
Broken Boy Soldier (Live Jools Holland)
Store Bought Bones (Live Jools Holland)
Blue Veins (Live)
Five on the Five (Live)
Bang Bang (Live Nancy Sinatra Cover)
Crazy (Live Gnarls Barkley Cover)
It Ain't Easy (Live David Bowie Cover)
Teenage Kicks (Live Undertones Cover)
White Light/White Heat (Live With Lou Reed)
The Seeker (With Pete Townshend)

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