By: Emily Zemler
Once upon a time (that time being 2003), five boys from the Denver area got into a van and trekked cross-country to New York City, land of too-good-to-be-true record deals. Though they were arrested, impoverished, and desperate, the boys — who dubbed themselves the Blackout Pact — prevailed, plucked from the gutter (or, in this case, an East Village hot dog shop) by a guardian angel that chose the earthly form of Thursday singer Geoff Rickly. Armed with record deal on Rickly’s Astromagnetics, TBOP set out to write a debut album, Hello Sailor, in a practice space in New Jersey that doubled as their home during the writing process.
The resulting 10-song set, produced by Rickly, is raw and visceral, a reminder that sometimes, upon rare and wondrous occasion, bands play music purely for the sake of playing music. Hinged on singer Mike Herrera’s coarse, smoke-toasted vocals, songs on Hello Sailor maintain enough melodic swing to encourage even the shyest listener to sing along. Sonically, their tearing guitar riffs and charging beats ring with reminders of seminal groups like the Refused, Hot Water Music, and Jawbox. On the first single, “We Drink So You Don’t Have To,” Herrera howls, “Broken limbs are all I have to hold me now,” a deeply honest (and instantly anthemic) line that hearkens back to their desolate early days in New York. Those times seem to have imbued a hunger in the band, one that forces them through each track like it’s the last song they will ever play.
The Blackout Pact is breaking ground in another arena: Along with Vaux and Fear Before the March of Flames (and indie popsters like Dressy Bessy and Matson Jones), TBOP is directing attention to Colorado as a hot bed for new music. If Hello Sailor is any indication of the talent buried in the Rockies, it may soon become safe to say that Jersey ain’t got nothin’ on Colorado.
The Blackout Pact tour dates:
10/21, Wilmington, DE (The Harmony Grange) 10/22, Darien, CT (The Darien Depot)10/27, Saylor Park, OH (Parkland Theatre)10/28, Lima, OH (Stage Right)10/29, Buffalo, NY (Showplace Theatre)10/30, Carnegie, PA (St. Ignatius Church)10/31, Bethlehem, PA (Lehigh Unversity) 11/2, Glens Falls, NY (Halfpipe Thrills South)11/3, New York, NY (Knitting Factory Tap Bar)11/4, Danbury, CT (The Empress Ballroom)11/5, Montclair, NJ (Bloomfield Ave. Cafï¿½)11/6, Springfield, MA (Cabbage St. Pub)11/7, Centereach, NY (Centereach VFW Hall)11/8, Virginia Beach, VA (Sweet Caroline’s)11/11, Augusta, GA (Sector 7G)11/12, Miami, FL (The Roxy Theatre)11/13, Orlando, FL (Will’s Pub)11/14, Tallahassee, FL (Big Daddy’s)11/15, Ybor City, FL (Masquerade Infinity Room)11/17, Wilkes-Barre, PA (Cafe Metropolis)11/18, Portland, ME (The Station)11/19, Poughkeepsie, NY (The Loft @ Club Crannel)11/20, Rochester, NY (Steel Music Hall)11/21, Akron, OH (Orange St.)11/23, Terre Haute, IN (The Legacy)12/9, Denver, CO (The Fillmore)