I recently got in contact with a rock band called STÄNG. I love discovering new music, and wanted to make sure to help out my fellow musicians by giving them a fair, and honest review.
Most albums that come out today are either overly produced or trying to get at something that can never be recreated. If you guys want to hear some really cool, new rock and roll, then make sure to keep reading.
San Francisco has always been a hot bed of art, music and life. Rock and roll claimed its foothold in the hey days of Haight / Ashbury and seems to have become a little more tame in recent history.
Rock and Roll is in low supply these days. With music shifting from organic to digital and people’s tastes shifting from classic to modern it seems that the increased popularity of EDM and synth-pop are pushing raw rock and roll out. We’re constantly looking for something real, and the Bay Area might just have it in STÄNG, a San Francisco collective that screams classic rock.
San Francisco outfit STÄNG has released an album that brings back the ’70’s mentality of chaos, style and loud guitars. Boasting five members, including an organist, they’re the 2016 equivalent of a rock and roll super-group, but you don’t have to pay hundreds of dollars to see them...yet. If you’re looking for high octane metal infused with the tenacity of today you won’t miss it on their self titled available at www.bandcamp.com/thestangband and their official website, thestangband.com.
The lead single “Burnin’ Through My Soul”conjures up images of an open highway, the kind you’d see in the Northern California drama Sons of Anarchy. Motorcycles, sunset highs, mountains paved with wine grapes and dirt roads. It calls back to a time when people listened to music for pleasure rather than streams. You can immediately sense that this band has ownership of their instruments. Each song is carefully crafted, but not overproduced in any way, a delicate balance that is not often achieved today.
This is the kind of music you play when the sun is hot and high in the sky. There are no deadlines and no social media accounts to update. Everything is freedom.
Throughout the record the guitars are really what drives the sound through the speakers, of course every great band’s rhythm section keeps time, and the same is true for STÄNG. The long lead in on“Let Me Bleed”is a perfect example of the classic Zeppelin-inspired song structure the band has become known for. Musicianship is key in classic rock, and their brand of California Freedom Rock is the new equivalent.
A true stand out on the record is“Blues that STÄNG”a sultry tune that could only feel at home in a crowded, steamed out club in downtown New Orleans or even San Juan. The voice of vocalist Dave Combs hovers on top of the dreamy base line of Zak Mandel-Romann and intricate guitar work of Drew Southern. It’s Prince and Slash on steroids if they were in a band with Sebastian Bach from Skid Row. The swinging phrasing of lyrics and the subtle builds within the chorus are masterful.
The album processes in a diverse way, marrying huge hooks and sing along choruses a la Cheap Trick with the passion and edge of Guns N’Roses. The upbeat attitude of“Gettin’ My Act Together”would be perfect for a Friday night bender at a roadside bar. It’s quintessential Americana with a guitar solo at the end that could kick the ass of even the oldest rock and rollers. With the addition of Evan Carlyle Rees’ keys the later half of the album feels incredibly modern.
“Freedom Ride”is yet another track to blast windows down on a hot day. The vocals are at their height here, as they accent the right-ear guitar work and tasteful drum fills of XXXX. As the last notes of“It’s Your Soul (Long Live Rock and Roll)”ring out, it’s clear that this band is going to be something. The feel good, classic mentality isn’t even the reason.
The reason is because there’s passion in every note, and there’s a genuine desire to communicate the incredible gift of music. Yes, San Francisco is home to a lot of bands and musicians who want to get their message across, but this seems different. It seems earnest, like somewhere out there the guys who used to scream to hair metal in their bedrooms in the ’80’s have gotten over the hump, and are embracing the new age.
“San Francisco, it’s your soul, long live rock and roll”.
The beauty of rock and roll is that it’s honestly a celebration of life, and STÄNG proves that even in the most digital of eras rock and roll can persevere...especially if it’s done this well.