I’ve been listening to hard rock since I was seven years old. Heavy Metal, such as it is, was a natural progression for me. And I’m not ashamed to say it. I get nostalgic. I can drop the needle on a 30-year-old KISS record, dim the lights and instantly be taken back to the time I first discovered the arousal of “Detroit Rock City”. A flashback to the most important part in any passion. Discovery.
As much as I enjoy a musical time warp. That journey back cannot match the crotch padding moment of discovery. The first time you heard something that made the hair on your arms dance. The arenas may be filled with tours meant for #FBF Instagram posts, the early stages of festivals are filled with the future of rock. Don’t listen to the Gene Simmons of the world. ROCK AIN’T DEAD.
I turn your attention to Greta Van Fleet. The pride of Frankenmuth Michigan is a rock band so fresh some of them aren’t old enough to vote. But when you listen to their debut EP Black Smoke Rising (out April 21st) you’ll swear they are the ones taking you on a time warp. Led Zeppelin is the obvious correlation you come to on first hark. While, thanks to the pipes of lead singer Josh Kiszka, is a fair association, it fails to properly assess how badass this band is. If you’ve ever been in a band and made a go of it, there’s a chance that Greta Van Fleet will make you hate them because they are that good. And at an age that going on tour means missing prom.
The opening track “Highway Song” starts with a standard rock riff then kicks in with a vocal straight out of “Communication Breakdown” (I told you they riff Zeppelin) but then rolls with a retro/fresh sound that is everything that is great about Rock N’ Roll. “Safari Song” continues with that first four albums Zeppelin sound. “Flower Power” has a “Battle of Evermore” vibe. The last song “Black Smoke Rising” may be the best track on a way too short first offering. More please.
Greta Van Fleet is comprised of the three Kiszka brothers; Josh, Jake and Sam, and drummer Danny Wagner. These young assholes from Michigan should probably piss you off for being so good so young. But your time would be better spent taking their music in. They bottle that whole Cream/Yardbirds/Zeppelin British invasion sound in a bottle of good ole’ USA so perfectly you just want to stop wearing a bra.
Buy this record. Roll down the windows. Crank it as you drive around a lake or something to do with nature on a sunny afternoon. Then thank me. I’ll pass those thanks onto Frankenmuth Michigan’s proudest sons.