The A.K.A.’s – by stacy brandt
I like rock ‘n’ roll that induces ass shaking. Whether this is intrinsically a strength or a weakness, I’m not quite sure; it’s just a fact of life. Booty shaking tunes, for a sad while last decade, seemed to be facing eternity in limbo, but a decent handful of great albums have been made recently in this joyous vein. “White Doves and Smoking Guns” is one of these groovin’ throwbacks to the future of combining ass kicking with ass shaking.
The A.K.A.s rock in a early ’70s Rolling Stones way, and that’s a good thing in my book. Sure there are a lot of bands out there right now ripping off the Stones, but The A.K.A.s carve their own refreshingly modern-sounding niche instead of just revamping the past. The tunes are catchy and pop-savvy, but the album is the antithesis of typical pop dreck.
Former Brothers Keeper vocalist Mike Ski formed the band to rival the band he’d always heard in his head, according to the band’s bio. He snatched up Lukas Previs (guitar), Chad Bowser (bass), Bob Williams (drums) and Nina Aron (farfisa) to complete his vision. The New-York-City-based band put out their first EP, “The A.K.A.s Are Everywhere,” themselves and got mouths to movin’ with their live shows. Their performance at Austin’s SXSW festival piqued the interest of Florida-based independent label Fueled by Ramen and they quickly recorded their debut long player, “White Doves and Smoking Guns,” with producer Tim O’Heir.
The lyrics are uncommonly intelligent for an album that manages to rock and boogie this successfully. If you actually take the time to read the lyrics sheet, you’ll find some poignant, thought-provoking themes in a decidedly political vein. The heavy themes never take away from the joyous sound of the songs themselves, though. If I didn’t bother to read the lyrics sheet, I might think they were actually singing about chicks and drugs, but instead the sing-along choruses are about revolution, war, peace, apathy and more revolution. Don’t worry though, it doesn’t detract from the ass-shaking one bit.