Friday, December 14, 2012

Record review: Kids These Days - 'Traphouse Rock'

By Melissa Bordeau

What do you call a band with a rapper, a keyboardist, a trombonist, a trumpeter, a bass guitarist, a drummer, and a lead guitarist with their songs ranging from blues, jazz, soul, hip hop, and R&B?

Well, you’d call that Kids These Days. This 7-piece Chicago band is made up of recent high school graduates and former Merit School of Music students.

KTD are comparable to a Chicago style hot dog. A Chicago dog is more than your typical hot dog. KTD are more than your typical band. They have the perfect blend of musical instruments and influences to create a delicious album.

The band just self released their debut album Traphouse Rock on October 30th, with production help from Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy and mixing by Mario C. (best known for his work with the Beastie Boys). KTD got the inspiration for their debut album, back in 2009; they were tired of trying to explain their music genre to people, so they came up with one all their own, Traphouse Rock. The rapid rap verses, blaring trumpet and trombone, bluesy guitar riffs, fanatical drums, passionate piano riffs, sultry and beautiful vocals; the combination of jazz, hip hop, rock and roll, blues, and soul; the live sampling, the energy--that is Traphouse Rock.

A great introduction to the sound is "Bud Billiken," which is easily the strongest song on the album. This song was the inspiration for the record, and you can tell. The song is Traphouse Rock in its entirety, and does an exceptional job expressing how each member is equally fundamental to the musical experience as a whole.

Another key track is "Ghetto," which song starts off blending Vic Mensa’s smooth raps and the live sampling guitar riffs of Nirvana's "Teen Spirit"--a beautiful combination of rock and hip hop. As the song progresses, it takes you on a musical journey, the trumpet and trombone begin to blare, the drum set builds and the energy remains vibrant throughout.

Traphouse Rock has a unique and vigorous sound with a lot to offer in terms of musical genres--each song takes you in a different direction. KTD have been praised for their live performances, for their distinctive and energetic vibe they bring to a venue. You may have seen them already at Lincoln Hall, Metro, Subterranean, Hideout, Reggies, or Lollapalooza. They have also played at South by Southwest, Summerfest, various venues around the U.S., and performed on "Conan."

KTD just finished the national tour supporting Traphouse Rock, but I am sure you will be able to catch them in Chicago soon enough! In the meantime, listen to "Bud Billiken" below and download the entire album for free off the band's website.

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