Kids these days just don’t rock like they used to. Dave Davies, guitarist for the Kinks, was only 17 when he played the solo on “You Really Got Me.” The year was 1964 and rock’n’roll was made almost exclusively by the young. Not in 2005, though. As today’s teenagers are increasingly distracted by video games and soccer practice, bands are getting older. Members of Franz Ferdinand and the Bravery celebrated their 30th birthdays before landing a record deal. Fortunately, King Elementary didn’t have to wait that long.
This rock combo from Jackson, Mississippi features not one member over the age of 18. They’ve only just graduated high school, but they play with a confidence and musicality that eludes most bands until they’ve dropped out of college. King Elementary’s debut LP, Kudzu, is loaded with loud, noisy, fully realized rock songs. Their sound is a dirty fusion of grunge and 1960s garage pop, with some traces of mid-’90s Brit rock. Standouts “Rebecca” and “Kiss from the Stone” are equal parts Dave Grohl and Ray Davies. And just like their precocious ancestors, singer Morgan Jones’ vocal pyrotechnics and Jeremy Upton’s impressive lead guitar work do nothing to give away their young age.
Whenever the quality of American public schools is assessed, Mississippi’s are consistently ranked somewhere near the bottom. In spite of this, King Elementary have managed to pick up one very important lesson: Teenage angst sounds best when it’s coming from teenagers.
Kudzu is out today on Sweet Tea Records. Catch King Elementary on tour with the 22-20s:
7/27, Philadelphia, PA (Khyber) 7/28, Pittsburgh, PA (Club Cafe)7/29, Detroit, MI (The Magic Stick)7/30, Cleveland, OH (Beachland Ballroom)8/2, Milwaukee, WI (Rave Bar)8/3, Chicago, IL (Schubas)8/4, St. Louis, MO (Duck Room)8/5, Madison, WI (Annex)