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Rock and Roll is Alive! Part 1 – An Alive Records Natural Sound’s Round-Up

Let me tell you, I get a decent bit of music in the mail thanks to this gig right here and although every day brings a package with a little bit of melodic lovin’ inside, there are days where the bounty is just so fucking cool it makes me glad I decided to become a music writer. The day I received this fat package of music from the Alive label was one of those great days.

Alive is one of the few labels left which is dedicated to keeping rock and roll…ahem…alive in many ways, but most importantly in spirit. The label is a throwback to the days when substance meant more than anything else and sticking by your bands while they grew and matured was more important than milking them for one monster hit. I mean, while I am sure Alive would love to sell a ton of records and have a huge fat hit on their hands, they seem incredibly loyal to their bands and are nurturing their roster as each band builds their own reps and fan-bases which will eventually help the label as a whole. As it is, the label has one of the best young rosters out there and will soon be able to compete with any other label out there is the discs contained in this package is any clue. Since they sent me so many wonderful releases, I am splitting this article into two parts so I don’t hit you with too much good stuff at one time.


July For Kings Reunite, Release ‘Monochrome’ and Get Real on the Flaws of Major Labels

JFKIt’s been a long wait for July For Kings (JFK) fans, but the band’s new album has finally arrived! Monochrome, their first CD since reuniting in late 2007, is a return to the band’s signature hard rock sound, which made their 2001 debut, Swim, such a success.

After a break that allowed time for singer Joe Hedges to release a solo effort, Curvature, and some member changes, JFK is now a quartet rounded off by John McGuire (Guitar), Brian Ives (Bass) and Dan McQuinn (Drums).

Recently, Brian and Joe gave The Rock and Roll Report their undivided attention to talk about their reunion, hometown of Cincinnati, OH, disappointment with major labels and the future of JFK.

Q:  As a fan of the first two albums, Swim and Nostalgia, you can imagine my disappointment when it appeared that JFK had broken up. It was great to hear about the reunion – how did it come about after Joe’s solo record, Curvature?

A. JOE: I put out Curvature, the solo album, at a time when I was really uncertain about where JFK was heading musically. I had a lot of songs that were very different from what we were doing with Nostalgia and I needed an outlet for them. After Curvature’s release I had a lot of conversations with Dan McQuinn [and] the more we talked, the more we just felt that we had jumped the gun a little. There was something unfinished or missing from the JFK catalog and we needed to keep going. After Curvature, a lot of my writing became more upbeat and had more energy again and at that point I decided it was best to revive JFK and keep making solo albums concurrently.

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