I've been on the road for the better part of a week now, zig zagging my way across the highways and interstates of the Southeastern part of the U.S. As I sit here typing this, I'm in an interesting little town called Englewood, FL in a house with walls that are the color of Ralph Macchio's car in "My Cousin Vinny." That's right, boys and girls. These walls are a gorgeous shade of sea foam green and some of the furniture even matches the walls. It's almost like Ben & Jerry threw up mint chocolate chip ice cream all over this place. BUT, even though I'm staring at these walls, battling an undeniable urge for ice cream, I'm in Florida. FLORIDA. . .where the sun is shining and the beach is right over there (you can't see me, but I'm pointing to a place that I would walk to from here).
On my way to Englewood, I passed through the Florida panhandle to visit one of my oldest and best friends in the world, Teeka. Over a three day, two night period in Pensacola, FL we drank. Then we drank some more. Then way played darts and drank. Then we did shots, played darts and drank. Then we drank more. Then we ate sushi and walked around a mall only to head back to her place to drink some more. Then it was rinse and repeat for the Braves/Phillies game and the Cubs/Brewers game where my Cubs commenced to taking the opening game of the three game set (but dropped the next two) and my pal Chad and I drank and got loud. At some point during the game, we were so desperate to get rid of some guy that we simply heard his comments, nodded, shotgunned a beer and split for more. The weird thing was that this Raiders fan was arguing about the 80's rollerblading movie, "Airborn." If you don't know it, look it up. Jack Black and Seth Green have small parts in it, but this guy was quoting the movie and bets were made. Yeah, it was that kind of moment in the night where you ask yourself if drinking at this particular spot is actually worth it.
We thought it was worth it, so we I decided that I would stand up, kick the raiders fan in the junk and yell, "THIS IS SPARTA." He dropped to his knees, gasping for air and Chad said, "Holy Cow," in the vocal styling of Harry Carey. He high fived me and I shouted "Cubs win, Cubs win!" and we ordered another pitcher of beer. Ok, maybe the simple assault I described above didn't really happen, but the longer this douche nozzle talked, the more it was slowly becoming a reality. Luckily, no assaults were perpetuated that night, but the Cubs won and we drank enough to make Charlie Sheen and Nick Nolte proud.
So, I told you all of that because it occurred to me that roadtrips and music have an inherent symbiosis. Each makes the other more fun because, let's be honest, blasting MMJ's "At Dawn" while you doing 75 down Interstate 10 makes life worth living. A roadtrip without music is like flying British Airways sober. Each is impossible, so you belt out the lyrics to each song that comes on as you navigate the highway and your iPod. You sing along with Jim James, then you sing along with Dan Auerbach, then you sing along with Howlin' Wolf as loud as you can and the task of getting to a destination that's six hours away by car seems to be nothing more than a mobile sing-a-long with the musicians that you love.
The Boom Bang. I say finally because I've been sort of sitting on this band for a few weeks now. "Why?" you might ask. . .I have no idea really. I've just been trying to get to all the music that crosses my path, and I'm finally getting to this band. They sound like a tornado of surf music that gets played in some guy's garage, mixed with a hint of punk sentimentality. Pause for a second and wrap your head around that combination of sounds. . .
Welcome back. So, now you have an idea of what James Smith (vocals), Tommie McKenzie (guitar), Weston Lawrence (bass), and Charles Whetstone (drums) throw at you on their debut, World War Fun. The Oklahoma foursome defy any single genre to make music that sounds like a garage band that plays loudly on the beach, then drinks more beer than you only to play more in the sand. If the Beach Boys had a head on collision with Death From Above 1979, the resulting carnage would be The Boom Bang. From the opening fuzz of "Ahh . . .Fresh Monsters," you realize that you're going to be riding along with a the sound of uncontrollable fun and there isn't a single disappointing song on the album. Knowing that these guys are from the Oklahoma City area makes them the absolute best thing to come out of OKC since Wayne Coyne and his circus of The Flaming Lips. Is that compliment too generous? Nope. Not a bit. The album standouts are, "Skateboard Devito," "Tobacular," and the Dick Dale'esque "Drive Inn."
Check the boys out above and if you're in Pensacola any time soon, find the bar, The Ticket No. 2 and stop in for a drink or ten. Ask for Teeka and tell her that I sent you. She'll smile because she has good taste in friends.
Until next weeks boys and girls . . ..