Elvis Club by The Del Lords on Apple Music

12 Songs

EDITORS’ NOTES

In the ‘80s, New York’s Del-Lords epitomized the kind of rough-hewn roots-rock that had its heyday before the early-‘90s rise of grunge. The Del-Lords included members of punk pioneers The Dictators and Joan Jett’s Blackhearts, but they tempered their garage rock tendencies with a lyrical Americana touch. Despite achieving cult-hero status, The Del-Lords broke up in 1990 after releasing their fourth album. Here, on their first album in 23 years, the spirit seems largely unchanged—though there’s perhaps just a tad more roots in the band’s roots-rock rumble. Guitarist Eric Ambel (now a successful producer) manages to lend sonic clarity and concision to the production even while getting greasy and gritty with his axe as the situation demands. Speaking of grease, frontman Scott Kempner still comes off more like a guy fixing your used car than a rock star (that’s a good thing). He's got a touch of the street poet and an abundance of visceral passion, whether he’s putting across the openhearted optimism of “Everyday” or the caustic cautionary tale “When the Drugs Kick In.”

EDITORS’ NOTES

In the ‘80s, New York’s Del-Lords epitomized the kind of rough-hewn roots-rock that had its heyday before the early-‘90s rise of grunge. The Del-Lords included members of punk pioneers The Dictators and Joan Jett’s Blackhearts, but they tempered their garage rock tendencies with a lyrical Americana touch. Despite achieving cult-hero status, The Del-Lords broke up in 1990 after releasing their fourth album. Here, on their first album in 23 years, the spirit seems largely unchanged—though there’s perhaps just a tad more roots in the band’s roots-rock rumble. Guitarist Eric Ambel (now a successful producer) manages to lend sonic clarity and concision to the production even while getting greasy and gritty with his axe as the situation demands. Speaking of grease, frontman Scott Kempner still comes off more like a guy fixing your used car than a rock star (that’s a good thing). He's got a touch of the street poet and an abundance of visceral passion, whether he’s putting across the openhearted optimism of “Everyday” or the caustic cautionary tale “When the Drugs Kick In.”

TITLE TIME
4:17
3:48
3:47
5:15
5:20
3:23
3:50
4:04
3:52
4:54
3:52
5:55

About The Del Lords

Formed in the early '80s by ex-Dictators guitarist Scott Kempner, the Del Lords combined elements of '60s garage rock with country, blues, and folk influences to become one of the initial progenitors of roots rock. Kempner recruited former Joan Jett guitarist Eric "Roscoe" Ambel, bassist Manny Caiati, and drummer Frank Funaro, and the Del Lords released their first disc, Frontier Days, on Enigma/EMI in 1984. The album was noted for its guts, street smarts, and twangy guitars, a balanced blend of Springsteen meets Johnny Thunders. Their follow-up Enigma/EMI release, Johnny Comes Marching Home, found Pat Benatar producer Neil Geraldo at the helm. While the band had become tighter, Geraldo applied a poppy gloss that seemingly toned down the grittier aspects of their debut. All the right elements fell into place by the time their album Based on a True Story was released in 1988, with Geraldo commendably pulling back his slicker production technique, allowing the louder aspects of the band to break through. The album is also notable for the support of guest vocalists Pat Benatar, Syd Straw, Kim Shattuck, and Mojo Nixon.

The raucous EP Howlin' at the Halloween Moon captured the band in its live element, performing five tracks from the first three albums along with spirited covers of the Flamin' Groovies' "Jumpin' in the Night" and Freddy "Boom Boom" Cannon's "Tallahassee Lassie." In 1990, the Del Lords recorded their final album, Lovers Who Wander, and although some of the rough edges were smoothed out, the graceful emotional conviction made their swan song just as appealing as any of their previous studio releases. Eric "Roscoe" Ambel officially quit the Del Lords in 1991, as he had already released a solo album, Roscoe's Gang. Eight years later, the Restless label finally got around to releasing Get Tough: The Best of the Del-Lords. The band reunited in late 2012 and released their first album of new material in 22 years, Elvis Club, in May of 2013 on MRI. ~ Al Campbell

  • FORMED
    1984

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