By Brian Tucker
Local rock and roll band Street Clones has been working on new material, following up on last year’s great debut Cloned for Your Pleasure. The band has a number of shows through the summer, beginning this weekend at Reggie’s 42nd Street Tavern as one of the opening bands for the return of legendary N.C. punk band ANTiSEEN. Expect to hear some great new songs Saturday from the band, especially one called “Overtime.”
The band recorded five new songs on mobile recording equipment at their practice space. The material will be released in a variety of ways over the next year. Lead singer John Baptist let me hear rough mixes for them, and as he told me beforehand, they’re quite different from the band’s debut. The results are different, fiery, and a lot of fun.
They find the band exploring some or expanding on a gritty punk-meets-rock and roll sound. “Black Cypress Grove” has a Black Sabbath meets haunted southern rock vibe – great winding guitar riffs and popping bass lines.
“It’s a little fictional story about a swamp dwellings bootlegger,” Baptist said. “Heavily influenced story-wise by songs like “The Legend of Wooly Swamp” by Charlie Daniels Band.
The instrumental “Funk 7476” is a lot of fun – funky, with searing guitar riffs and off-on-its-own playing bass and drums. It’s a song the band played in rehearsals and turned into a new track, one that could allow for exploring during the live show. Baptist said that two songs (“more brash driving rockers”) are expected to be released later in the year as one side of a split 7-inch vinyl with Australian band Thrillkillers.
“Another one is called ‘”Still Alive.” It’s our most serious song so far written about friends and old pals and drinking buddies that have passed away and how you never expect to lose your friends when you are young.”
With a knack for writing tongue-in-cheek or pointedly frank songs (see “Extinction a-Go-Go” or “Revenge of the F**kwits” from their debut) Street Clones nails everyday sentiments on the head. They do it again with “Overtime,” an explosive, all-systems-go quick lament on punching the clock.
Baptist keeps lyrics short and to the point, making for a song anyone who’s worked an hourly job and check to check will identify with. He sings, “I am working overtime, I am working overtime/All this life of mine/Working hard, but drinking harder/Living fast but living smarter/Punch card, the clock is ticking, but I’m alive and kicking!”
The band nails it on this track, definitely going to be a lot of fun as a live staple. Another song will likely end up on a compilation that someone in Germany is putting together and remaining material may end up as another split or Street Clones 7-inch single.
“All five of the new songs are stylistically fairly different from one another,” Baptist added. “It’s all still in the broader punk and rock vein, but Street Clones really value the freedom we have given ourselves to play any style and go any direction we want and still sound like Street Clones.”
There’s no scheduled release for any of the new material, possibly as far as a year away. Hopefully the band will post a song here and there, even the rough mixes I heard are exciting.
Street Clones will perform again locally on June 12th, a free show at Morning Glory Coffee House and at Reggie’s again June 25th, a Mystery School Records album release show.