Sunday, February 24, 2008

Empire State Troopers | Upstate Again

Photo Credit: mikey

My child rearing days did not take place in VT. Only a mere 2.5 hr drive away, I grew up in a very different place - upstate New York. Every drive back to the homeland is met with a bleakness that seems to permeate the less populas lands north of NYC, a heavy weight compared to the Green Mtn State. This is a perspective I've gained from living outside of NY, but it is entirely real on every occasion and in every sense.

Perhaps this is central to my connection to the Empire State Troopers' 6 song EP Upstate Again. The four piece plays straight forward rock with an edge and immediacy that I remember from my youth, notably 70s metal and hard-rock bands like Black Sabbath and Blue Öyster Cult. The songs are deliberate and conger up images of "pit parties" - drunken distractions from the alienation and frustration that comes with living in a forgotten mill town.

One of the most obvious elements to EST is the powerful chick singing of Kelley Murphy. A force to be reckoned with, Murphy seems to be on a tear in every song. If the band is a '71 Challenger, she's the bottle of Super 104 Octane Boost.

Given that we at F45 are primarily an indie site, I find it appropriate to share the following quote by ex-Sebadoh drummer jason Loewenstein: EST are not an indie rock band, but the rhythm section carries forward some of the best aesthetics of the harder bands that came from Chicago in the 1990s, which is paired with classic, heavy ’70s ‘highway rock’ and punk songwriting topped off with great vocals (ref).

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