Featuring more of the robust and experimental dance-rock that originally got the band signed to Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney's Audio Eagle Records (and here to Glassnote), the Royal Bangs' third studio effort, Flux Outside, is a sprawling, frenetic battering ram of psychedelic indie rock. Produced by former Sparklehorse member Scott Minor and mixed by longtime Flaming Lips knob twiddler Dave Fridmann, Flux Outside doesn't so much rethink the approach as expand and codify the band's already impressive sonic palette. Previously, each of the band's tracks would exist within its own artistic space like a series of separate but not dissimilar installations, but here tracks seem to bulge into each other like giant mixed-media pieces barely contained by one gymnasium show.
ROYAL BANGS Flux Outside (Glassnote/Universal) Royal Bangs hit the Drake Monday (April 11). See listing. Rating: NNNN It's easy to forget how unbearably precious and navel-gazing rock has become over the last decade - until you hear a band as joyously visceral as Royal Bangs. The Knoxville trio take bits of every contemporary trend (as well as some classic rock) and cram them into one song, but that sonic overload takes a back seat to their unrestrained energy and memorable melodies.
Halfway through “Bad News, Strange Luck”, track six on Royal Bangs’s third full-length release, Flux Outside, the band performs an on-the-dime transition from reflective indie balladry to hyperactive electro rock. Gentle synth tones and crooning background vocals are interrupted on the downbeat by bright, rapid loops and a rushed, surging chorus. Three verses later, they’re on different ground altogether.
Flux Outside, the third LP from hyperkinetic Knoxvillians Royal Bangs, goes off like a wind-up toy, rattling through 50 genre-eradicating minutes before collapsing into a heap. Matching the spastic rush of math rock with the heft of 1970s arena-fillers and a bit of Tennessee-born Southern boogie, the Bangs' shapeshifting whiplash-prog certainly gets the blood going. And this surging LP is their most spirited, sense-assaulting work to date.
When did Dave Fridmann’s name become a brand, a cluster of moods and techniques, of fave performers and intended audiences, no less coherent than Tim Burton’s? Probably long enough ago that I’m revealing my age by even bringing it up, but either way, what the man’s doing clearly works: he merely mixes Flux Outside (the producer is Scott Minor of Sparklehorse, connect those dots), but the results are as reliably likable as, say, The Corpse Bride. In his smooth, powdery hands, generously funded by Glassnote Records, Knoxville trio Royal Bangs are a resolved paradox. Frontman Ryan Schaefer — a sort of cathartic, adolescent Bono (or what-anthemist-have-you) venting a freshly broke heart — and his buddies began as a frenetic bar band; were spotted/endorsed/signed by The Black Keys’ Paul Carney; ‘discovered’ synthesizers and studio tomfoolery to make a taut and cheeky record in 2009’s Let It Beep; and have now tied a bow around themselves via tinkerer-by-trade Fridmann.
Schema are cognitive structures that allow us to interpret and act in the world around us, with past experience and social norms dictating the scripts. We know movie theater etiquette. We know how going to a restaurant works. We know how to introduce ourselves to each other. Genre is a type of ….
Matraca Berg Despite all the country hits she has written — for Trisha Yearwood, Deana Carter and Reba McEntire among others — Matraca Berg has kept her distance from the upbeat complacency of the Nashville mainstream. A pensive streak runs through her songs, and she embraces and honors it on .