Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Trent Fox and the Tenants on Kind Turkey Records

Bobby was nice enough to send me another couple singles off his label, Kind Turkey Records including this one from Trent Fox and the Tenants. Trent & the boys are Milwaukee natives and Trent even runs a local venue, the Vault, and I like this idea that this band formed around playing together, maybe even meeting at the shows Trent was putting on, and they were the guys that were always there...and the tenants stopped paying rent.

The entire single is recorded extra clean sounding, not even necessarily garage to me in the end. Jangly '50s rhythm guitar, jukebox era jams. Trent is definitely driving this disc from the very first track with a maniac laugh in 'Mess Around' over the backup harmonies and his offbeat lyric choices, that definitely bring this forward into today, but essentially this is working in that early garage period that Hunx or Shannon and the Clams are recreating with a contemporary angle.

Take A-Sides, 'Otta My Mind'... it has a clean reverb based guitar style, I almost get a Dead Milkmen overall feel from the vocals to that deceptively simple guitar, they all turn into familiar sing-a-long choruses, and Trent has a knack for lyrically turning the track in a ridiculous direction, that makes it a little punk, a little bit funny. No one but friends could get into this Natural Child, or Liquor Store, just in's not material anyone would put together with producers, at a piano with 3 comes from hours in the rehearsal space fucking around or drunk at home one night with your shitty guitar. Granted Trent and the Tenants have craft on their side, these guys can work in this sound faithfully, as much as it isn't taking itself too seriously, they execute the tracks with skill, like a really elaborate prank. They care.
Trent's vocals are always bordering Frank Black-esque, he has that theatrical energy with a story talking delivery especially on 'Jokes!'. The band sets him up with a catchy simple verse melody for Trent to go through a bunch of examples of his girlfriend not being able to take a joke...but obviously in a clever way. When you just sit down to describe this, it's not going to translate....same goes for this musically. They keep it simple with lots of harmonies, chuck berry solos packing in 5 tracks to a lowly single. It's an accomplishment to get this variety and range of joke jams into the single format. You're going to get your money's worth.

The B-side, 'Sounds fine to me' is essentially an ode to listening to records, and then going next door to the liquor I getting punk'd? It's like some kind of twilight zone episode where the record is playing exactly what I'm about to do? Freaky. Of course any band that sings about listening to records is alright by me, it's almost too easy're impossible to hate.

Get this single from the Kind Turkey who says:

Trent Fox & The Tenants are Milwaukee's latest and greatest Up-N-Comers. Taking note from their peers (Midwest Beat, Goodnight Loving, Jaill, etc.), Trent Fox honed their skills in the seedy basement scene of Riverwest. Shit, Trent Fox even runs one of the longest-standing and most beloved basement venue of the neighborhood, The Vault. Kind Turkey favorites like Black Time, Bare Wires, Nobunny, Wax Museums, and plenty more have bashed brains in at the Vault. Trent Fox's brand of garage-punk-twang is definitely a fresh breath of air in a constantly evolving scene. This new EP features 5 tracks of instantly catchy garage/punk/rock n roll anthems. Songs about drinking, fights, girls, tomfoolery, drinking, Mario 3, old ladies and working class life in Milwaukee. Required listening for anyone who spends their summers drinking beer and soaking up the sun on their porch right after the Winter frost has thawed. This will make you bump 'n boogie.

500 copies - First 100 on color vinyl - All copies hand-numbered. Screen printed art by Zabby of Big Action Records. Art concept by Mikey, designed by Bobby.

Side A:
1. Mess Around
2. Outta My Mind
3. Jokes!

Side B:
4. Old Lady
5. Sounds Fine To Me

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