Do you play drums? The four of them left the party as a band.In 1995, the lo-fi label Chunk Records released Push Kings first 7”. A 4-song lo-fi release called Slow Down, This Is Not Monte Carlo in 1000 copies. Nothing happened so they recorded an LP which they planned to release on their own. But in the meantime people all around the world started to contact them and wanted to release their stuff. One of them was Eric Masunaga who bought a tape from them after a concert.
He released their Macy Macy 7” on his recordlabel Sealed Fate Records. The swedish label Slowball Recordings released a 7” called The Park and Double Agent Records (run by Peter Green from Class) released the Florida 7”. They also appeard on several cassette and album compilations (for more info on this, check out the discography). All this during 1996! Then it was time for their first album to be released.
With their upbeat melodies, razor-sharp vocal harmonies and the catchiest songs around, Boston’s Push Kings float effortlessly above the current din of rock-n-roll clamor and punk rehash. Their manner might remind us of the best elements of early 60’s rock (back when it was still exciting), yet the style remains fresh, stubbornly original, their own. The first album, entitled Push Kings, was released on Sealed Fate Records in November 1996 on vinyl-only. During spring of 1997 it was released on CD as well. It includes 14 songs - Carrick sings the odd ones, Finn the even.
The opener is Nine Straight Lines, a song which came to Carrick in a dream. The stirring Mrs. McKean is about the late painter Margarett Sargent McKean (also the brothers’ great-grandmother) and Jenny G is a Prince-inspired number about a 12-year-old getting with his babysitter. Listen to the wash of strings and patter of handclaps on Raincoat Renegade and you’ll soon be singing along: I never felt so free before! Let the record buyer be assured this is no lo-fi release.
The LP was co-produced by Eric Masunaga (of The Dambuilders) who’s worked in the studio with Sebadoh, Helium and The Super Friendz to name a few. It was recorded utilizing the latest in modern technology and manufactured under the strictest standards of quality control. 1997 became 1998, Push Kings changed their name to The Push Kings and returned with a superb double a-sided 7”, Blowin’ Up! on Sealed Fate Records. A few months later, in April, their second album Far Places was released. With their 1996/1997 eponymous debut album, The Push Kings single-handedly revealed how sorely misguided the rock scene had been up to that point. It is possible, their gorgeous sounds loudly declared, to sound like The Beatles without sounding like The Counting Crows.
With their second effort, Far Places, these four young men from Boston have expanded their repertoire to such a huge degree, in such a short span of time, that it seems grossly unfair to compare them to almost any of their contemporaries. If Far Places has an overriding theme, it is that you can dream and experience fantastic and foreign things while staying right at home. Home for them is the Fort Knox of rock and roll: wonderfully wrought pop songs, in which the bridge usually has a better hook than anything on Top 40 radio, and chorus lifts you right off your feet with joy - all sung by two brothers with million-dollar voices. But Far Places isn’t content to stay in the safe haven of Paul McCartney and Brian Wilson. Instead it ventures out into 70’s soul, pays an extend visit to disco and New Wave, and looks toward the future with some scratching and break-beats. Far Places will give hope to everyone out there who is gloomy about the grim crap that passes for rock in the “fin de siecle”, but is terrified of the barbarian turntablists beating at the door.
The album’s final cut, 3012, says it all: over a looped break-beat (the furure), a gorgeous vocal melody (the past) announces In the year 3012/Remember me/I’m melody/I won’t leave/I won’t leave you. As the verse ends, we hear a scratch: but instead of any hip-hop posturing, it solidifies into soaring Pet Sounds-like harmony. As 3012 demonstrates, The Push Kings are aware of the weight that hangs on their shoulders: only they can bridge the gap between the sullen and traditional indie-teens and the radical techno-sound boys and girls. It is their singular gift to make such a task seem so effortless and blissful. Read more on Last.fm.
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