colin blunt

Album review: Thunderclaps - Cookin' Up A Good Time

Before listening to the new Thunderclaps’ Cookin’ Up a Good Time EP, I had never actually heard the band. I knew a little bit about them—mostly that they’re a two-piece comprised of cousins Bryce Jones (guitar and vocals) and Colin Blunt (drums). As a bass player, I must admit that I tend to lose interest when I find out a band is sans bass. This probably isn’t fair. The first of the record’s three tracks, “So Lonesome,” begins with isolated laughter. I wondered why, until I heard the rest of the EP. Now I get it…the joke’s on me. This is great stuff.
“So Lonesome” is a song your grandparents wish they could have heard at the sock hop. A true throwback to the ‘50s, when rock and roll was still being defined, it is full-throttle rockabilly that has a simply irresistible energy. Jones’ guitar and vocals share a gritty but warm distorted twang. Blunt’s tenacious yet tight drumming is on the mark and fills the sound. You’ll be tapping your toes—if not dancing—to this ditty.
The closing track, “Shake It,” shares the verve and vigor of “So Lonesome,” but the driving beat and even gooier guitar tone gives it an almost surf sound. This may be the most potent tune on the record, thanks to the drums and guitar quieting to a whisper while Jones chants, “Oh ah a whoppa bam boom mama,” leading into a crescendo consisting only of sticky, reverb-dripping vocals. Despite sounding like it came from an old album purchased at an estate sale, “Shake It” could easily create an impromptu mosh pit in a live setting. It’s fun. It’s fast. It’s cool, daddy-o.
Between these two offerings is the slow dance number, “You Got a Hold On Me.” It’s a love song and a breath of fresh air strategically placed inside of two powerhouses. Jones softly sings about love from afar with someone he can’t have—or who won’t have him. “You got a hold on me / But I never held you.” Much more than a filler, the music is nicely crafted with a gentle pulse and smooth guitar punctuated with full ringing chords. It is literally and figuratively the heart of the EP.
Cookin’ Up a Good Time will appeal to multiple generations. It will be a blast from the past to some, and something totally new to others. At the end of the day it’s just good music—and good music is timeless. Pablo Picasso said, “Good artists copy, great artists steal.” Maybe one could argue that the best artists inspire others. Thunderclaps have clearly been inspired by past artists, and have borrowed from them to create something very relevant today.
--Brad Scott
Brad loves music, Boulevard beer, and his family. Not necessarily in that order.

Shake it with Thunderclaps this Saturday at Jackpot Saloon in Lawrence. They’ll be there with The Quivers and Old Grey Dog. Facebook event page 


September Artist of the Month: The Thunderclaps

The Thunderclaps are our September artist of the month!
Though the two have been making music for a number of years, Bryce Jones and Colin Blunt formed The Thunderclaps just at the beginning of 2014. A grimy garage rock guitar/drums duo influenced by the surf leanings of The Gories and the psychedelic offerings of Thee Oh Sees, the band delivers an undeniable lo-fi rock ‘n roll edge.
Along with being our artist of the month, the band will be playing on INK’s stage at the Plaza Art Fair next weekend. We talked with Jones and Blunt to get a little more insight on what The Thunderclaps are all about.
The Deli: Down and dirty: one sentence to describe your music.
Bryce: It’s like a fried egg sandwich: nothing fancy, but it'll stick to your ribs.
The Deli: The Thunderclaps is a relatively new band. How long have you been together? How did it all come to be?
Bryce: We've made quite a bit of noise together over the years, but most of it has been for our own enjoyment and edification. The Thunderclaps got going when Colin tracked down a drum set and we tried our hand at thumpin' out tunes and filling them out as best as we could as a duo. We played to the living room for a long while before we decided to gig for a friend's New Year's gathering. Folks were dancing and having a good time, so we settled into the idea of trying to get out and play as often as we can.
The Deli: The Thunderclaps are a guitar/drums duo. Was this a conscious effort to conceive a certain type of sound, or have you wanted to add other instrumentation?
Bryce: The configuration was bred out of necessity in a way. I don't live in KC, so it streamlines the process a bit when I can make it to town. We can buckle down, get things moving, and flesh out ideas. From a songwriting angle it does provide interesting parameters within which to work. Certain ideas just aren't going to play, but other options that otherwise wouldn't even come up rear their head. We’ve kind of toyed with the idea of adding a bass player, but for right now it's enough of a good time that I think we'll roll with this instrumentation for a bit.
The Deli: What have been your greatest accomplishments as a band?
Colin: Honestly, being interviewed is pretty sweet. Being asked to play the Plaza Art Fair is a huge step forward as well. Then there was the time when we were asked to play at someone's wedding reception. That was real fun. The bride lived near where we practice, heard us from up the street, and the next thing we know, we're playing for a dancing bride and groom.
The Deli: You released an EP, Not Bad, August. What can we expect from it?
Colin: “Not Bad” is actually just kind of a placeholder name for the tracks we recorded on a cassette player a while back. And we didn’t really “release” them as much as we “put them on the internet.” But to answer your question, you can expect some lo-fi rumblings and a crocodile on the telephone.
The Deli: You guys are playing the Plaza Art Fair in a couple weeks. Who are you most looking forward to seeing there?
Colin: You know, to be honest, I haven’t heard a lot of the bands that are playing this year, which is really exciting actually. I like going to shows where you don’t really know what to expect and being pleasantly surprised. I anticipate I’ll have a few new favorite local bands after that weekend, but for now, I’ve heard a lot of good things about My Brothers & Sisters and Katy Guillen & the Girls, so that’ll be fun.
The Deli: What does supporting local music mean to you?
Colin: Hangin’ with good people who appreciate making and enjoying music.
The Deli: Who are your favorite local musicians right now?
Colin: Cadillac Flambe, Rooms Without Windows, and Making Movies are all amazing, but I’d say our new favorite is The Garage Kings—they make great music for ordering a hamburger, and even better music for eating a hamburger.
The Deli: Who are your favorite non-local musicians right now?
Colin: Oh man, where to begin. As far as classic stuff, Bo Diddley is the alpha and omega of rock and roll music as far as we’re concerned. Besides that, we also really like Thee Oh Sees, The Gories, JD McPherson, Thee Headcoats, The Oblivians, Reigning Sound, etc. Basically anyone who just brings the rock and roll and never looks back.
The Deli: What is your ultimate fantasy concert bill to play on?
The Thunderclaps: Realistically, any of the happenin’ flashback bands right now would be fun to open for. But ultimately, maybe we bring Phil Lynott back from the dead so we can open up for Thin Lizzy?
The Deli: A music-themed Mount Rushmore. What four faces are you putting up there and why?
The Thunderclaps: Bo Diddley (because he’s a gunslinger), Fats Domino (because he’s the man), Link Wray (because louder is better), and Elmore James (just because). Can Teddy still hang around to class up the place?
The Deli: What other goals do The Thunderclaps have for 2014?
The Thunderclaps: We just want to keep on rockin’ and rollin’.
The Deli: Where can we find you on the web?
The Deli: Always go out on a high note. Any last words of wisdom for the Deli audience?
Bryce: If your toes start tappin’, tap ‘em. If your knees start shakin’, shake ‘em. And if your hips start movin’, by all means, groove ‘em.
The Thunderclaps will be playing on INK’s stage at Plaza Art Fair on Sunday, September 21 at 1:00 p.m. The stage is located at Ward Parkway and Pennsylvania Avenue, next to Gram & Dun and Plaza III. Facebook event page.
--Michelle Bacon
Michelle Bacon is editor of The Deli KC and plays in bands.

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