“This is great, great rock and roll, told with honesty, energy and skill. ” It’s really friggin’ good”
-Marc Phillips, The Vinyl Anachronist
”Packed with reflective lyrics and subtle, introspective arrangements, this record is a masterful work of honest, gimmicks-free rock & rollfrom the heart of it all.”
-Jennifer Farmer, The Agit Reader
“Damndest, elicits comparisons with the most venerated Americana…unforced and energized like the work of barroom virtuosos”- Matthew Lindsay, Vulture Hound UK
“Songs that make you feel glad to be alive and makes you realize how lucky we are to be listening to music as good as this” - Steve Tay, AMP Magazine
“The Album really has a timeless quality, something that’s hard to achieve, but The Ready Stance manages to pull of naturally”- Mike Breen, CityBeat
"Great guitar sounds and really nice songwriting"
-Stan Demeski, The Feelies
In rock ’n’ roll some tales are just too perfect to make up. And the back story of The Ready Stance is definitely one of them. A truly perfect storm that unfolded within one square block of the historic district in Newport, Kentucky, just across the Ohio from Cincinnati.
“I hadn’t been in a band in years but was still writing songs and jamming with friends on weekends; really just a therapeutic thing after running a manufacturing business and having a family,” recalls guitarist Wes Pence, the creative force of 1990s outfit Middlemarch. “I was walking home one night and happened to glance in the open window of a house on my block. Inside were a couple guitars and fliers for shows by the Replacements and other bands I loved—really out of place for the neighborhood. Then this guy walked out on the porch…”
That guy was lead vocalist and guitarist Chase Johnston, an Ohio native and alumni of the Athens, Georgia, music scene who’d recently moved back to the area. An animated conversation between the two revealed an uncannily simpatico musical vision and still more shared touchstones: Big Star, Television, VU, The Band. They recruited a bassist and old Middlemarch bandmate, drummer Eric Moreton and started working up Pence’s backlog of tunes. Before even playing a show, they began recording Damndest, The Ready Stance’s astonishingly solid debut, in the basement of Pence’s 1880s house. Mixing was completed on the same block, at Audiogrotto, a newly converted church housing a world-class studio.
Much like the saga of the band’s formation, the yarns in the album’s 11 tracks—all set to sweeping, melody-rich hooks, raw, ringing guitars, and driving rhythms—are rooted in fact and stranger than fiction; literate, image-laden observations with a penchant for classic, bent Midwestern arcana. There’s “Steamship Moselle,” the calliope-infused account of an 1838 maritime explosion catapulting an ill-fated minister to the riverbank; and “Marathon,” an amusing local legend of a confused fistfight between a speech-impaired gas station attendant and a customer with a similar affliction. More timely themes include “Real America,” a chord-crunching, poetic look at divisive political punditry, or “Longarm”, a poignant reproach of U.S. foreign policy leading to the Iraq War.
Soon after recording, the group added bassist Randy Cheek, an old friend and veteran of seminal Ohio bands the Ass Ponys and the Libertines, whose famously solid bass work melds perfectly into their sound and feel. With Damndest hitting the shelves this spring, the new lineup is already at work on their more collaborative follow-up release, which thus far promises to be a masterwork.
In these days of gimmicky indie projects, the Ready Stance’s time-honored sound is rare: just four guys in a room knocking out earnest, urgent rock, much as it could’ve been done in any decade. “We all can tell after one take if it’s any good—we don’t even really talk about it,” says Johnston. Such timeless stuff has already drawn praise from some legendary names.“When I was a kid growing up in Kentucky,” recalls Talking Heads a
Chase Johnston - Vocals and Guitar.
Wesley Pence - guitar and vocals
Randy Cheek - Bass and Vocals
Eric Moreton - Drums
Full length debut album, Damndest, coming Early 2012
" a masterful work of honest, gimmicks-free rock & roll from the heart of it all.”
[+ Show ]
The Ready Stance is a foursome that call the Queen City, or more accurately, Newport, Kentucky, home...The Ready Stance is a foursome that call the Queen City, or more accurately, Newport, Kentucky, home. (If you’re from Southern Ohio, you know it’s basically one in the same, being a literal walk across the bridge from downtown.) The band, formed by Wes Pence and Chase Johnston, was an idea borne one fortuitous evening from a mutual love of music ranging from ’70s power-pop outlet Big Star to post-punk pioneers Television. After recruiting Pence’s former Middlemarch bandmate Eric Moreton, the creative sessions began. The fruits of these labors is Damndest, a solid, wonderfully refreshing, 1990s throwback that, fitting of the band’s Ohio River roots, pays homage to the steamboat culture of yesteryear.
Perhaps the most surprising aspect of this record is how quickly it was written and recorded. Though Pence had amassed an arsenal of songs in the years since Middelmarch’s demise, The Ready Stance sounds like these guys have been playing together for years and years, not months and months. Damndest’s catalyst is a track that could very well have been a college rock anthem 15 years ago, the literate, guitar-driven “Rancho Cristo.” A charming energy propels the album, and songs like the buoyant, enlightened “Long Arm” and the Replacements-esque “Very Necessary” really shine. Rather than relying on inane hooks and obvious choruses, the songs are intricate and thoughtful, hearkening back to an era of perceptive, pre-grunge alternative rock, even on the Americana-tinged “Little Carmel.”
Damndest showcases The Ready Stance’s inherent musical prowess and heavy ’90s influence. (Added bonus: since recording the album, the group has gained bassist Randy Cheek of innovative Ohio-based indie bands the Ass Ponys and The Libertines). Packed with reflective lyrics and subtle, introspective arrangements, this record is a masterful work of honest, gimmicks-free rock & roll from the heart of it all.
Elicits comparisons with the most venerated Americana
[+ Show ]
The Ready Stance’s Wrecking Ball rolls through the vast plains of vintage American rock while remain...The Ready Stance’s Wrecking Ball rolls through the vast plains of vintage American rock while remaining a freshly-minted proposition. With its sloppy elegance and ragged glory, the second track on the Cincinnati band’s debut album, Damndest, elicits comparisons with the most venerated Americana. From the Rickenbacker arpeggios and plangent harmonies of The Byrds to the scuffed, anthemic alt-rock of The Replacements, Wrecking Ball contains multitudes while never being slavishly deferential to this illustrious canon. The radio friendly melody and fusillade of guitars, chiming and overdriven, all seem instantly familiar but unforced and energized like the work of barroom virtuosos. A shared love of The Band, Big Star, Television and VU is what brought guitarists Wes Pence (ex-Middlemarch) and Chase Johnston together and Wrecking Ball neatly distils these myriad influences; organic power-pop with crackling electricity coursing through its veins.
It sounds warm and fuzzy but the lyrics with their ‘diamonds and pearls in a trailer park world’ and running ‘canyon facial cream’ suggest an elegy of wasted potential and faded grandeur. This is the slow decline of those American lives without second acts that Fitzgerald warned of, hence the reference to long-forgotten teen star Jan Vincent. The song’s compassion and contempt for its subject recalls the poetic complexities of Warren Zevon’s The French Inhaler and Dylan’s Like A Rolling Stone. Hyperbolic praise? Perhaps but The Ready Stance are already attracting the attention of such luminaries as The Feelies’ Stan Demeski and Talking Heads’ Chris Frantz and Wrecking Ball’s classicist ‘retro glow’ feels like it has always been with us.
"...as debut albums go ‘Damndest’ is sure to be one of the finest "
[+ Show ]
Following the announcement last year that REM were calling it a day, many of you may have been left ...Following the announcement last year that REM were calling it a day, many of you may have been left with a big void in your life. Well that void is now about to be filled with the release of ‘Damndest’ the debut album from Cincinnati band The Ready Stance.
‘Damndest’ is an album consisting of 11 tracks that are overflowing with melodies, hooks and rhythms that create anthemic songs each of which provides the perfect soundtrack for a long drive on a summers day.
‘Rancho Cristo’ opens the album with a dark and pounding rhythm, the song continues to build into an infectious chorus that makes you want to sing at the top of your voice. ‘Wrecking Ball’ contains a summery pop melody that gives the song a big fat radio friendly stamp all over it. ‘Long Arm‘ continues to build on the anthemic quality of the album and showcases how great this band are in creating uplifting songs that you want to play as loud as you can. The harmonies in ‘Disgruntled‘ leave you with a warm glow inside.
From this point on the album continues with one anthem after another, ‘Smiley’, ‘Very Necessary’, ‘Marathon’ ‘Real America’ ‘Steamship Moselle’ are all songs that make you feel glad to be alive and makes you realise how lucky we are to be listening to music as good as this. The final two tracks on the album ‘Little Carmel’ and ‘Glow’ give this album the beautiful and perfect ending that it truly deserves. The guitar riff on the 2 minute mark in ‘Little Carmel’ will send you into a state of pure happiness. ‘Glow’ is the ultimate ending for this album, combining acoustics, electrics, drums and harmonies to leave you wondering how you ever survived without The Ready Stance.
As far as debut albums go ‘Damndest’ is sure to be one of the finest and I hope this is the start of great things for The Ready Stance.
"Fans of Life's Rich Pageant R.E.M. and The Long Ryders, take note."
[+ Show ]
"the sound of the wheat-land Midwest transmogrified into working class, clean rock n' roll....Fans o..."the sound of the wheat-land Midwest transmogrified into working class, clean rock n' roll....Fans of Life's Rich Pageant R.E.M. and The Long Ryders, take note." - Jack Rabid
The Ready Stance: Get Ready
[+ Show ]
This band is excellent. I ought to stop there, provide a link to their new album, Damndest, and get ...This band is excellent. I ought to stop there, provide a link to their new album, Damndest, and get out of the way. But I won’t, because I want to parse their excellence. So keep reading!
Damndest, which you can listen to at SoundCloud and buy at Amazon and iTunes, hits pretty much all of the thousand points of darkness that comprise modern America: Fired worker goes postal; aging high school looker decays in trailer park; courtesy of the Asses of Evil (Rumsfeld, Bush & Cheney), the Patriot Act shadows everything; and no one can escape the four horsemen of the Foxpocalypse (Hannity, O’Reilly, Limbaugh & Beck).
Maybe place has something to do with it. The Ready Stance comes from the border of Ohio and Kentucky – coal country meets rust belt. Perhaps the fly ash and the acid rain strip away the pretentious gloss that drips over everything along both coasts. In any case, this four-piece band is unvarnished, in a good way. I would say that geezers fond of The Dead and/or Tom Petty will like them a lot, and younger music fans will like them too. Personally, I think if they played at the White Eagle, nobody would even know they weren’t from Portland.
I’ve never been to Cincinnati or Newport, Kentucky, its partner across the river, but apparently this twin city metropolis is a great live music region, and this is evident on Damndest. The band’s photo page has some snaps of a gig they did in a music store, cramped between the racks with acoustic guitars and a small trap set and making it look fun. I wish I had been there.
All the songs are written by Wesley Pence. Many of his lyrics are documentary, as in “Little Carmel,” about the Melungeons, a small group of Americans of mixed European, African, and perhaps Native American descent; “Marathon,” based on a local tale about two guys, both with cleft palates, who got into a row at a gas station; and “Steamship Moselle,” about an 1838 boiler explosion that tossed a preacher clear to the riverbank, his Bible still clutched in his cold, dead hand.
But Pence is not merely selling nostalgic Americana, although the band’s wonderful posters, on show at their website, recall everything from baggy turn-of-the-20th-century baseball uniforms to 1950s pulp fiction covers featuring chesty women and motorcycles. In “Rancho Cristo,” Pence limns a born-again drug dealer (along with the famous 62-foot “Touchdown Jesus” that burned in Monroe, Ohio in 2010):
Where the sprawl meets the suburbs
Subdivisions meet the farms
Build a hacienda
In the style of Escobar
Launder in the Caymans
Through Geneva, Panama
Retire after scrapes with death
His partners and the law
“Rancho Cristo” also features a refreshing approach to rock drumming courtesy of Eric Moreton. While I love the backbeat more than just about anything, I really took to the deft rolling snare mixed with the classic Fender bass sound and chimy guitar on this tune. The backbeat shows up on the chorus anyway, so one doesn’t actually go into withdrawal.
Pence’s songs certainly take on dark subjects, nowhere more evident than in “Wrecking Ball,” about the consequences to women of a wild youth that can’t even be concealed, let alone repaired, by the miracle of cosmetics. I am glad I’m not quite Mrs. Galantro, is all I can say. (She lives in a trailer park, and I think that’s probably the main difference.) But The Ready Stance delivers the darkness cheerfully, with none of that morose introspective whining in which many singer-songwriters (including me) indulge.
The darkest subject of all may be the one addressed in “Long Arm”:
Rile up the rabble with more patriotic prattle
Platform any indecency
Vilify objection for the sake of our protection
Shout down dissension to ensure democracy
Should have thought it through
Before they left it up to you
The lyrics page at the band’s website also provides images to help listeners catch the impo
The Ready Stance do their 'Damndest'
[+ Show ]
Cincinnati Rock quartet The Ready Stance will be giving local audiences a special chance to pick up ...Cincinnati Rock quartet The Ready Stance will be giving local audiences a special chance to pick up its debut full-length, Damndest, this Friday at MOTR Pub in Over-the-Rhine. The group hosts the locals-only release party two months before the album is made available (digitally and on CD and vinyl) nationally. Local Indie Pop crew Darlene opens the 10 p.m. show.
The Ready Stance was formed by guitarist/songwriter Wes Pence, who was a member of popular local ’90s band Middlemarch (with drummer Eric Moreton, also in The Ready Stance), after some neighborhood jam sessions with returning expat Chase Johnson, a singer/guitarist who had been living and playing music in Athens, Ga. The band was complete once bassist Paolo Conti (another jam pal) signed on. (Ex Ass Ponys/current Fairmount Girls member Randy Cheek is now holding down the bottom end for the band.)
Advanced tracks have been making the rounds and earned nods of approval by some impressive fellow musicians, including The Feelies’ Stan Demeski, Talking Heads/Tom Tom Club’s Chris Frantz and Cincinnati’s own Chuck Cleaver (Ass Ponys, Wussy), who also makes a brief cameo on the quirky Damndest track “Steamship Moselle.”
Some of the early accolades for Damndest have noted a “retro” vibe to the songs, but the album really has a timeless quality, something that’s hard to achieve, but The Ready Stance manages to pull off naturally. There’s some of the jingle-jangle of The Feelies, early R.E.M. and the “Paisley Underground” set, but the band doesn’t sound time-capsuled in from the early ’80s. They could have been born in 1968, 1978, 1985, 1993 or 2012.
Damndest is loaded with strong melodies, some classic Pop/Rock harmonies, a sturdy rhythm section and some crafty but never flashy guitar interplay, while Pence’s lyrics are so clever and smart (dealing out stories, humor, social commentary and insight in equal measure), it’s almost as entertaining to just sit down and read the lyrics in the album’s insert.
Cincinnati’s presence is felt throughout Damndest, from the Cleaver walk-on and the rootsy twang that creeps up on occasion to the heartland Pop vibe of certain songs (I found myself often reminded of Chris Arduser’s Graveblankets albums while listening) and several lyrical references.
SHARE PRINT COMMENT FONT SIZE RATE
The Ready StanceGet Ready, Get Se...‘I’ on the PrizeThe Shins' Port o...
Related to:MOTRThe Ready StanceWes PenceEric MoretonChase JohnsonPaolo ContiDamndestAlbumRelease
Among the highlights is “Real America,” which has a killer chorus hook and seems to be a barely-veiled dismantling of locally based radio rabble-rouser Bill Cunningham. (readystance.com)
"A classic in the making? Could well be."
[+ Show ]
"Refreshingly open-hearted rock 'n' roll songs - literate, urgent, determined, earnest and totally ... "Refreshingly open-hearted rock 'n' roll songs - literate, urgent, determined, earnest and totally unafraid to sweat...
classic in the making? Could well be." - Nick Churchill, Fatea Magazine (UK)
There are no upcoming dates at this time.