Under The Radar: Lions In The Street

Old souls in young musicians

Old souls in young musicians

I’ve been sitting on this one for a short time and was going to hold off on writing about them until their debut album came out (in the can and hopefully out very soon). But I listened to these songs again this weekend and I can’t keep this secret any longer. (Credit where credit is due…kudos to my fellow scribe Michael Toland and his blurb in The Big Takeover for turning me on to this one – thanks buddy, I owe you!)

You need to get on this bandwagon and do it right now.

These guys breathe the masters, old and new. Their southern gospel/blues and swamp rock fever features slide guitar, swirling organ and the heartbeat of a steam train. There are many young bands reaching back to the past for inspiration, like Rose Hill Drive and Wolfmother with Led Zeppelin and Cream, and The Darkness with Queen. But this band ranks among the best, and I’m as excited about them as I was when I stumbled upon Shuggie ten years ago (and yes, grab that before it disappears forever!). The Pacific Northwest strikes again; Shuggie was from Seattle, Lions In The Street are from Vancouver. But their sound defies locale and time.

It took me about four beats of “Shangri-La” to conjure up an image of Steve Marriott fronting The Black Crowes, and when the song changed tempo, Derek and the Dominoes. These are not compliments given lightly, folks – I revere those bands. “Ruthless Baby” is pure sweet soul; and just how do Canadians nail that sound of the American South filtered through a British Band’s ears? “Already Gone” recalls The Faces in their Nod era, as does “Mine Ain’t Yours”, which blatantly swipes the riff from “Stay With Me”. And “You’re Gonna Lose” is that irresistible greasy guitar blues that the Stones spat out with abandon when blessed with Mick Taylor as their lead player.

“Feels Like A Long Time” has a pretty standard chord structure (think “Can’t You See” by The Marshall Tucker Band), lifted by a yearning vocal – not unlike Jagger circa Flowers – and a brilliantly emotional guitar solo.  Not to mention anytime you have a Hammond adding flavor to the stew, the stew tastes much, much better. The slow burn and build of “Still The Same” has Adam Duritz written all over it.

But listen to the jewel in this collection, “Oh Carolina”, and tell me you’re not channeling the first Rod Stewart albums with Ron Wood and Martin Quittenton trading leads above Mickey Waller‘s pulse. I can play that song ten times in a row and get goosebumps every time – it’s among my favorite tracks of the year.

I cannot wait for this album to drop; if the rest of it is as good as these tracks we’re talking “best of” list for certain. Keep your eyes open, folks.

little lions

Clips of new songs and downloads of the ep Mixtape on the website are available for free (or you can donate if you want to). The details on that free EP – and the band’s perseverance – are here.

If you need Cat Got Your Tongue, try here, but hurry.

More sounds and info on their MySpace site.

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6 Comments

Filed under Features and Interviews, Music, Reviews

6 responses to “Under The Radar: Lions In The Street

  1. Actually, the band’s relationship with TVT disintegrated rather acrimoniously a while back. They’re looking for a good indie label for the new one (which I’ve heard, and which is fantastic).

    And you’re welcome. Credit where credit is due: I was turned on to these guys by ex-Lazy Cowgirls guitarist Michael Leigh, who extolled their virtues in a MySpace bulletin. Based solely on his word (since I assume he knows what great rock & roll is all about), I checked ’em out in Austin at a small club, and fell in love. Glad to know the disease is spreading.

  2. drbristol

    Oops! Good catch on the TVT reference, Michael (I realized that TVT was out when I read more on their website but neglected to fix my draft – now it is).

    And as to “spreading the disease”, yours is another great example of why we do this in the first place.

  3. Speaking of spreading the disease, tell me about Shuggie.

  4. drbristol

    Defunct Seattle supergroup of sorts with Mike Musburger and Phil Hurley…Andrew McKeag was the singer/guitarist and I did not know much about him at the time but he’s now in The Presidents Of The United States of America (PUSA). Very 70s sounding, immediately accessible, a group that digests the influences and regurgitates them with their own twist so they sound more like a peer than a copycat. Probably easier to comprehend when you hear the clips from the first one:

    http://www.amazon.com/Shuggie/dp/B0000254V4/ref=sr_1_14?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1246981499&sr=1-14

    No clips on the second album (link below) but at 45 cents it’s a no brainer. I like the first one better, but I like both.

    http://www.amazon.com/What-How-Get-Shuggie/dp/B00006G9ZQ/ref=sr_1_13?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1246981499&sr=1-13

    UPDATE!
    The song that first Shuggied me was “Get The Message” – Andrew has it on his MySpace page:
    http://www.myspace.com/andrewmckeag

  5. russ d

    nice find billy…been enjoying their newer stuff, though “everyone knows this is nowhere” is fun. especially fond of “lady blue”…

  6. I just made the connection that Shuggie was led by one of the guys from Uncle Joe’s Big Ol’ Driver, who I always kinda liked.

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