Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Frank Turner Likes Rock & Roll

Frank TurnerFrank Turner was an angry young man. You wouldn't think that at a glance. He went to Eton College alongside another notable — Prince William — and studied history at the London School of Economics.

But instead of researching history, he made history as a singer/songwriter and front man of the U.K.’s post-punk Million Dead. The band was as anti-establishment, anti-posh, and anti-everything as a band could get.

In 2005, however, Turner changed. The band split and he opted to take a different, less expected road. He was tired of being anti-everything (because, as he has said, nobody cared) and instead opted for a solo career as a punk/folk singer.

It took three years but things ignited.

In 2008, he appeared on the Lock Up Stage at Reading and Leeds. At the show, like an odd pied piper, Turner led the masses in a sing-along. It not only inspired them, but also the press. Supportive radio DJs took to playing his music.

Then Turner embarked on a hugely successful U.K. headline tour. His single, Reasons Not To Be An Idiot, became an iTunes Single of the Week.

People took notice, even Bad Religion’s Brett Gurewitz, who also happens to be the CEO of Epitaph Records. He signed Turner to a global deal, but respected Turner’s desire to stay loyal to Xtra Mile Recordings for any U.K./Ireland releases.

“Frank Turner’s music is a revelation to me,” said Gurewitz. “I can’t stop listening to it. It’s a real privilege to get out there and help Xtra Mile spread the Frank Turner gospel.”

Turner’s third studio album, Poetry of the Deed, was released in 2009 and found a place on the U.K. Top 40, thanks to the strength of the single The Road. He also spent most of 2010 touring. He did, however, find some time to record the EP Rock & Roll — a December 2010 release that still has feet.

Consider it a solid stepping stone of sorts. It's also a great introduction for anyone who hasn't heard of this socially conscious troubadour from Meonstoke, Winchester.

The five-song EP includes I Still Believe, a hopeful anthem that builds slowly, starting with Turner’s voice before being joined by a guitar and then more instruments. The addition of the voices from a live audience (from Turner’s festival performances) works to good effect. The song will find a place on Turner’s next album, England Keep My Bones, which is due out in June 2011.

The next track, Pass It Along, pays homage to Bob Dylan. Rock & Roll Romance is an acoustic love song/ballad about love gone wrong. And the upbeat To Absent Friends picks up the pace and nicely showcases Turner’s seriously strong voice.

The EP wraps up with The Next Round, because no matter how rotten things seem, the night ain’t over until the last round. And you know what that means — a drink-induced sing-along. The EP is a taste of what’s to come and provides a good introduction to Turner’s still freewheeling spirit.

Frank Turner’s Rock & Roll EP Skips In With A 7.7 On the Liquid Hip Richter Scale.

This year will be busy for Turner. He’ll finish work on England Keep My Bones and also hit the road, with a tour starting in Germany this April and wrapping up July 4 in Paris. Turner writes a blog, where he shares is experiences. It’s well worth the read.

You can find Rock & Roll by Frank Turner on iTunes. Rock & Roll can also be downloaded from Amazon. Both links, and Barnes & Noble, can also lead you to Poetry of the Deed. Both the EP and LP are must-own additions for folk punk fans.
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