Monday, February 28, 2011

Rival Schools Wrings It Out For Pedals

Rival SchoolsWhen a group of post-hardcore New Yorkers first released a series of EPs based on the idea that multiple groups could form a single band out of a passion for side project in the late 1990s, they were arguably ahead of their time. So far ahead the idea was only good for one album.

Almost a decade later, with the concept of a collaboration commonplace, Rival Schools reformed for a German rock music festival in 2008. Any new work, however, would have to wait until the who's who of the New York post-hardcore scene perfected the sound. Their first full-length album, Pedals, drops on March 8.

The first single, Wring It Out and its B-side, You Should Have Hung Out, was released last week as a brilliant reintroduction. Walter Schreifels (guitar, vocals) from Quicksand and Walking Concert, Ian Love off his solo career (guitar), Cache Tolman (bass) from Institute, and Sammy Siegler (drums) from Limp Bizkit and Nightmare of You have come full circle. Reforming the band that made all four sound their best does better than just work.

Wring It Out sets the stage for Pedals and another shot at rock milestone.

Released by Photo Finish Records, Pedals has all the promise of four artists who never lost their edge. And much like the band set a milestone for heavy rock in the late 90s — punk-like abandon infused with rock discipline and lead by Schreifels’ crisply sharp vocals — they set a great direction without any of the album sounding like it is stuck in the past.

Having heard five yet to be released tracks, the live performance of 69 Guns (a clip captured in Austin), and Wring It Out (along with its B-side), it's painfully clear that Pedals deserves some attention and heavy rotation. With all the angst of metal, brutal rhythms of rock, and biting alternative vocals, every stitch brings in some badly needed vitality.

Rival Schools is the real deal and Photo Finish Records — an undercard for Atlantic, where many Island Records vets fled — is the perfect starting point for a band that almost reformed as an independent. Rivals Schools will benefit from the best of both worlds: independent fan bases brought together by a label that knows how to form a community.

Rival Schools"This is about shedding the bad and bringing in the good — wringing it out," Sammy Siegler recently told Spinner. "It's sort of a breath of fresh air for us, a new beginning and all that. I think it speaks to anyone who is looking to purge any negative elements in their life."

Everybody would be lucky if the the band sticks this time, given they were credited with helping break up the monopoly of faux rock the first time. This time around, there is plenty enough abrasiveness to cut through anything mediocre and restore some dignity to the sound.

Rival Schools Wrings Out A 9.6 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale.

Rival Schools is hitting the first leg of its U.S. tour heavy with concerts in Chicago; Allston, Mass.; Washington D.C., Philadelphia, and New York ... starting March 2 and leading up to the release on March 8. Catch them live if you can. There is no question Pedals gives the band a sense of purpose from out of their respective experiences apart.

Wring It Out by Rival Schools is ready on iTunes. Pedals is available for pre-order. (The deluxe version has three bonus tracks and includes the Shot After Shot video.) Pedals is available on Amazon, including a vinyl edition, and the album will also be available at Barnes & Noble.
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