Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.
Here on the Independent Spotlight last July, I delved deep into ‘Little Johnny,’ a single from Billy Roberts and the Rough Riders, an Australian rock group with a fresh take on country, blues, and rock. I lauded the single, and argued it was a tune very much worth including in one’s indie music collection. The song was an early glimpse into ‘Greenbah,’ the band’s upcoming album. Now, the outfit has released ‘Blood and Bones,’ another track due out on ‘Greenbah’ when it’s released.
As I noted this last summer, Billy Roberts and the Rough Riders is fronted, of course, by Billy Roberts - a unique vocalist that boasts a very dark, gravelly voice. This is very becoming of the kind of music he’s fronting, and ‘Blood and Bones’ is no exception. Roberts is certainly the personality of the single, something that’s beautifully accented by an excellent production and performance on behalf of the Rough Riders.
‘Blood and Bones’ carefully balances several genres and styles. There’s a borderline British Invasion sound to the single, as if it’s a track you’d hear on a Byrds record. The verses in particular have a very bright, infectious feel to them. At the same time, however, it has the grit and intensity of Americana music. That more grizzly style is embodied by both Roberts' vocal performance and the distorted, searing electric guitar lead.
I’d recommend listening to ‘Blood and Bones’ on a decent speaker system or set of headphones. The production is riddled with interesting intricacies, something that’s especially refreshing since the indie scene is inundated with awful production. I adore the key sections on the tune - they sound like either an organ or a wurlitzer. They’re also baked deep into the back of ‘Blood and Bones.’ so you may miss them on a poor setup.
‘Blood and Bones’ is a great single. Just like its predecessor, it’s indicative of a record very much worth picking up. ‘Greenbah’ has been quite a long time in the making; I was introduced to it about half a year ago. When it does drop, you’ll want it on your radar.