MP3 King of Spain - Normalized
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12 MP3 Songs
ROCK: Modern Rock, ROCK: 90's Rock
Steady, solid, sonic and textured in perfect, ph-balance with the edgy, barbed needs of penetrating modern rock, King of Spain, absorbing and integrating an assortment of influences from the Meat Puppets to Wilco and Spoon, slices through silence with contrapuntal, multi-personality guitar work that both grinds and spirals, light but interlocking percussion backing and zingy vocals that cut through the soul-happy harmonies like a good, grease-cutting gin. Share a moment in the sun with the King.
-Derek Sivers, CD https://www.tradebit.com
"...a good 'n' growly album of snarled guitars and bleeding-heart vocals reminiscent of classic midwestern punk.
From: "Willamette Week" 2/5/03
King Of Spain emerges from exile with nonconforming "Normalized"
By Jenny Tatone
The attic was packed. Its belongings-stuck together like jelly beans-threatened to break apart and burst out. The annual clean-out was past due.
For the members of Portland band King Of Spain, two or so years on hiatus meant those tunes spun endlessly in their heads, jammed upstairs like a pack rat's stash.
After spending some time with sonic reinvention and easing into the wet ways of stumptown, The punkish indie-rock goup was ready to let it all out.
Digging through sentimental mess of stuff, the band came out with one heck of a, er, neatly organized album, which they aptly named "Normalized." Out of 22 songs, 12 were kept for the new record. Though extracted from the bunch for containing the most pop-like "normalcy" (fitting title, indeed), the songs hardly sound standard.
Formed in Jacksonville, FL in 1998 and having released one prior full-length recording, the band-Ben Kihnel(guitar/vocals), Sean Bartley(bass/vocals), and Tim Snyder(drums) relocated to Portland in the Fall of 1999. Frank Freeman(guitar/vocals) joined up early in 2001. They've dabbled in the droning, spacey side of psychedelic, the grating and erratic sides of punk, post-punk and art-rock, and the melancholy sutleties of inde rock.
Rather than adhering to the black-and-white confines of one box or another, King Of Spain instead rummaged through its past and delivered a fresh concoction. Th catchy pop hooks on "Normalized" may classify the record as "normal," but its venturing into multiple musical terrains is anything but plain.
Whether grinding and spiraling ("Get Some Sleep"), melodically infectious ("Holy Moly") or dark and subdued ("I'm Doin Fine"), Normalized" reveals a band exploring the gray middles, discovering its past and present and finding out what happens when the lines between the two are blurred.
Consistent throughout is a willingness to explore, lyrically and musically, the ups and downs that no one lives without. Kind of like junky closets.
From: "The Oregonian-Arts and Entertainment" 2/7/03
It's so nice to get a CD from El Mako that I don't need to trash. Here's four guys from Portland doing the 80's Midwest punk thing with a some hooks dug in so deep you'll need a pair of needle nose pliers, some Hood River Vodka, and your vinyl copy of No Pocky For Kitty' (yeah, I know that came out in the 90's. Shut up.) to remove them from your head. It's reminiscent of Soul Asylum, Replacements, Hüsker Dü, etc., but it's not a slavish imitation, it's not retro, and besides, I think they're the only band in town doing this. Better than that tex-mex reggae it seems like you can't throw a rock in this town without hitting a tex-mex reggae band. That's so played out.
It actually took me a couple of listens to start really liking this album. The main turnoff at the beginning is that the distortion pedals for the guitars are turned up to 52, so that a kind of saminess begins to settle on the songs. When the distortion gets turned down, the results are much nicer. It's like these guys are playing their live set and are worried about hecklers so they turn it up like it's Freedom Rock. It makes finding those hooks a little harder but in the end it's definitely worth it. And I do believe they have crafted a power pop classic with Holy Moly even with a treated vocal part on it.
They do lose some points for their unfortunate "boogie" song (I Have No Doubt), a flanger popping up on another song (Hot Rat), and rhyming "girl" with "world" (Curious Earthling). Three violations of the L. S. Walker Code of Ethical Music-Making. And I'm tough: I told Lennon I wasn't going to give him a pass on the flanger, so I'm not going to let it slide with these guys either. Otherwise, this is a fine addition to my growing collection of music for Spring/Summer 2003. Thanks, El Mako, I'm keeping this one.
-- L.S. Walker
A few words....
King of Spain was born out of necessity in Jacksonville, Florida during the summer of 1997. Formerly called the Rayburns, King of Spain already developed a healthy local following and was soon in the studio recording their first demo with local engineer and long time friend Peter Thornton. One of these early recordings would be the bands first single Jonser/never eventually, which received rave reviews and sold out with haste.
After a few trips to New York and many local and regional shows, the band geared themselves up for another trip into the studio with a batch of new songs and again, Mr. Thornton at the controls. During this recording session, guitarist Rayburn Edwards would leave the band marking the end of the Rayburns and the birth of the King of Spain. The boys decided to continue as a three piece and finish what would become its first album, Floating on the Bottom.
After releasing the album the band spent a short time playing local clubs in Jax and taking short trips to Chapel Hill or Tallahassee, becoming more dynamic and aggressive as they looked to define themselves as a three man band. King of Spain wanted a change of scenery and after visiting friends in Portland, Oregon they decided they would make it their home.
Many shows later they collaborated with Frank Freeman and added him to the lineup. King of Spain is now Ben Kihnel, Sean Bartley, Tim Snyder and Frank Freeman. Look for King of Spain in your neck of the woods in 2003
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