show preview: these united states & the henry clay people

the henry clay people @ local 506

These United States headline the 506 tonight, in support of their new self-titled record, supported by the Henry Clay People, in support of their new record, Twenty-Five For The Rest Of Our Lives. 9PM, $11. You can make this show and still catch Slingshot Cash at the Nightlight later on; that’s what I’m doing.

These United States — These United States: This is These United States’ fifth album, but my first experience with them, and their self-titled album is a summer paradise, a grooving drum heavy record that’s just twang enough to be alt.country and just danceable enough to be indie pop. “Born Young”, with frontman Jesse Elliott’s bouncing claim that we were born young, is a suitable theme for an album that takes the band’s name and encompasses a huge territory. The record pulls influences from all over the history of music, the shimmer of Motown on “Let The River In” and the bounce of New York pop on “Born Young” — it’s an album that’s traveled, much like its band, and that makes it all the better.

The Henry Clay People — Twenty-Five For The Rest Of Our Lives: The Henry Clay People, fronted by brothers Andy and Joey Milia (who I photographed in 2010), make wave-crashing California pop-rock, and their third album, Somewhere on the Golden Coast, was a favorite of mine in that year, with its shouty choruses and deliciously hooky guitar lines. Twenty-Five For The Rest of Our Lives is no different, just a little more grown-up, despite the title; it’s a record about facing your mid-twenties, something we’ve all struggled with, and the songwriting is a gorgeous storyline of fear and hope and fierceness. Right off with the title track it’s a more driven album; cleaner vocals but guitars and drumming that rattle forward with fuzz and clang in a more punk way than SOTGC does. That’s what it is, in fact: there’s still the sharp songwriting of the Milia brothers, but the music has graduated from their pop-rock to something that’s more a cross between the Hold Steady and the Clash, the music more punk and full of shouted Hold Steady choruses. It’s a startling and gorgeous, anthemically noisy pop punk record, and knowing the energy that the band performs their previous material, I cannot wait to see them take to the stage to rip it up with this record.

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