THE AMERICANS

‘I’LL BE YOURS’

7 JULY 2017

ROUGH TRADE ALBUMS OF THE MONTH – JULY 2017

“The LA-based musicians draw on early rock’n’roll for their sound and songs, looking wicked-cool while they’re at it. The whiskey-soaked rockers and gritty ballads of their debut LP roil with hell-bent immediacy, as frontman Patrick Ferris straddles primal ferocity and haunted vulnerability.” 8/10
UNCUT

“From the first rolling guitar notes, carrying sadness and defiance like dust, this sweeps me up: I want to know everything about where that feeling came from, and where it’s going. You’re not surprised when the singer comes in, telling you about how the right stuff is what he doesn’t have, how the place he bet his life on is blowing him out, and as the song careens toward its end he sings louder, the band pushes harder, and what he’s lost seems to cost more with every measure. The Americans are four guys from Los Angeles: This is a tale, somehow steeped in the past, a story that retraces the history of the once ever-advancing, then ever-retreating frontier every time it’s told, that lives up to their name.”
GREIL MARCUS | PITCHFORK

“Genius twenty-first century musicians that are reinventing American heritage music for this century. And it sounds even better this century.”
T BONE BURNETT

“Guitarist Patrick Ferris, looking like James Dean but even better, and an on-stage persona, as he belts a song and plays guitar, that is like a knife slicing butter on a sunny day.”
RON WRAY | NO DEPRESSION

“They draw from the great American tradition, with echoes of Springsteen, Guthrie and Chuck Berry. Overall, solid songwriting and top-notch musicianship should get The Americans some much-deserved attention.”
FOLK RADIO

“Frontman Patrick Ferris has that Chris Isaak slick-cool look about him, but their sounds has a little edge to it that songs from that era perhaps didn’t have.”
★★★★
SCOTTISH EXPRESS

“Their primal rock’n’roll roots ground this album and vocalist Patrick Ferris’s voice bleeds, pleads and yearns… a refreshing spin on heartland music as beloved by fans of Creedence, Tom Petty and Springsteen”
★★★★
DAILY MIRROR

“The Americans are such a magnificent proposition that they might have to get used to being a huge rock n roll band.” 8.5/10
MAXIMUM VOLUME MUSIC

“so damn good”
★★★★
ROCKFARBROR

“They’ve shape-shifted back into the modern-day rock and roll band, writing contemporary music of their time, incorporating the kernel of their traditional roots, enhancing their rock and roll credentials with the emotional quality of music made generations earlier.”
CARA GIBNEY | NO DEPRESSION

“The Americans have released a truly rock and roll masterpiece”
PUNK ONLINE

“This is 21st Century Americana as it should be and, it appears, they have their vision in place.” 9/10
SOUNDBLAB

“The Americans eschew formal plans and genre conventions in favour of forging their own path, with this new single lurching into sunny realms to live as symphonic beaut full of twinkles, sparks, cinematic brass, and Beirut-level emotion.”
THE LINE OF BEST FIT

“Patrick Ferris’s voice has a rueful catch, reminiscent of Maverick’s leader Raul Malo, while The Right Stuff and Long Way From Home make a fair fist of Springsteen-style blue-collar rue.”
Q

THE RIGHT STUFF EP (2017)

“the four tracks are dripping with authenticity and are genuinely superb slices of American heartland rock n roll in the great tradition. Like the title says, it is fair to say The Americans have the right stuff and expect to see a lot more of them.” 8.5/10
MAXIMUM VOLUME

From the first rolling guitar notes, carrying sadness and defiance like dust, this sweeps me up: I want to know everything about where that feeling came from, and where it’s going.” – Greil Marcus, Pitchfork

 

Genius twenty-first century musicians that are reinventing American heritage music for this century. And it sounds even better this century.” – T Bone Burnett

 

Sometime in the 1970s, a decade before frontman Patrick Ferris and bassist Jake Faulkner were born, their mothers met on a train to Woodstock. Patrick and Jake met as children but lived in different cities and saw little of one another before they reconnected in high school when they got along immediately through their joy for busking (street performing), and pre-war American country and blues. “Nobody I knew liked the same music,” recalls Patrick. Jake came from Los Angeles to visit, bringing his guitar and baskets of recording gear. They spent that summer recording homeless street musicians with a mobile unit they lugged around San Francisco, making copies of the recordings for the performers to sell.

 

Guitarist Zac Sokolow had dropped out of high school and was busking on the street and working construction in Los Angeles when Jake saw him playing guitar, and convinced him to move in with them and start a band. Spurring one another on, they spent years digging through obscure records and arcane field recordings. They taught themselves banjo, fiddle, mandolin, and slide guitar.

 

Patrick calls his long immersion, during which he created and hosted a radio show, a “purist” phase. “We were suspicious of modern rock music,” he says. “When we got together and formed a band, we had to make everything from scratch. We had no template. There was no band we wanted to be like.” “A band influenced by old blues is nothing new,” Patrick adds. “There was a time when practically every rock and roll band worshipped that stuff. And there are bands today who share that nostalgia, incorporating jazz and folk instruments, or old chord progressions. I think we were all curious whether we could summon the spirit of old blues and country through what we’d learned firsthand, and create something brand new, leaving behind the nostalgia and musical aesthetics.”

 

The Americans’ debut album, released through Loose in Europe on July 7,2017, seems to have achieved just that. “They’ve shape-shifted back into the modern-day rock and roll band,” writes Cara Gibney ( No Depression ), “writing contemporary music of their time, incorporating the kernel of their traditional roots, enhancing their rock and roll credentials with the emotional quality of music made generations earlier.” Greg Vandy ( American Standard Time ) calls it “distinctly American rock ‘n’ roll. Throaty, firin’ on all cylinders, road trip rock, charged with intense composition choices that call to mind the history of roots music, from Chuck Berry and Tom Waits to The War On Drugs.”

 

The Americans’ transition to an original rock band didn’t happen overnight. Struggling to finish songs in time for their recording session, Patrick drove around late at night looking for hourly motels where he would check in to write. “I wrote a lot of the album in those rooms,” he recalls. “Not necessarily for inspiration, but for the sense of urgency they provided.” Sitting on the edge of a giant, heart-shaped bed, singing softly into a recording machine, he was sometimes interrupted by fights in the hallway, romantic couples in a neighboring room, or loud knockings on his door. “We write our songs inside-out,” says Patrick. “We grab hold of something minuscule and primitive—a simple turn of phrase or an unusual beat—and try to build a song around it. It can be inefficient, and hard to write words over, but it’s magical when it works.”

 

The farther The Americans get from their Los Angeles home, the less often they’re asked about their name. “Where we come from, people want to know why we’re called The Americans,” Patrick explains. “Is it patriotic? Is it ironic? By the time we get to Texas or Tennessee, all we hear is, ‘Oh that’s a lovely name!'” In reality the band got its name from a Robert Frank photo series first published in 1958. Like Frank’s photos, The Americans’ songs are miniature biographies, intimate and empathic portraits of individuals that leave much unsaid. Grammy and Oscar winner Ryan Bingham calls it “some of the best songwriting I’ve heard in years.”

 

Their live show, honed over many hundreds of performances, is something to behold. Ron Wray ( No Depression ) writes, “They’re led by lead singer, guitarist Patrick Ferris, looking like James Dean but even better…. Jake Faulkner, with his dark black beard and jaunty hat, dances across stage, lifting his stand-up bass like a dancing partner.” Chris Griffy ( AXS ) calls them “straight up blue-collar rock and roll in the style of Bruce Springsteen and John Mellencamp.” Steve Wildsmith ( Daily Times ) admires their “anthemic guitar hooks and a heartland sense of urgency that’s tailor made for road trips and late-night parties beneath a field of brilliant stars.”

 

The band’s first tour was different from most. Their friend—the photographer who’d introduced them to Robert Frank’s work —was appointed drummer but was allowed to play only a plywood suitcase, which he beat with a soup spoon. The band set off on a meandering, quixotic odyssey that found them playing honky tonks, rural bars, a Navajo radio station, and a wine cellar in an abandoned Coca-Cola bottling plant. Some of the venues hadn’t hosted a live band since the 1980s. “We had a passport to the hidden heartland of our country,” recounts Jake. Nowadays their tours are more structured, but the guys still seek out the road less travelled. “What you learn exploring the nooks and crannies of any place, but especially this country, is that there’s no type of person,” Patrick explains. Zac adds that “stereotypes break down at the individual level. What makes American music great is the same thing that makes America great—people who come from all over the world, each with a story, each with something to contribute.”

Click individual images to download hi-res version

MANAGEMENT: Anna Axster


LABEL: Loose


PRESS
UK: Lucy Hurst | But i Like You
EUR: Tom Bridgewater | Loose
GSA: Miriam Barzynski | Rough Trade
Scandinavia: Håkan Olsson | Rootsy
USA: Jim Merlis| Big Hassle


RADIO
UK/IRE: Sean Newsham | Mutante
GSA: Miriam Barzynski | Rough Trade Germany


BOOKING
EUR: Rupert Orton | Punk Rock Blues