the bangkok five
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the bangkok five


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The best kept secret in music


"SXSW 06'"

Mike Savage wrote- "Each year, someone mentions to us that they'ed stumbled into a venue and caught a random act that became one of their faves of the conference. This year, KHBZ Oklahoma City's Corbin Pierce, his girlfriend and I shared that experience together; we stumbled upon an L.A. act called The Bangkok Five. UNBELIEVABLE rock band. Bug your local Universal rep about this group and if you hear that they're coming through your town, SEE THEM!" - A & R Worldwide Newsletter

"Neufutur Review"

The Bangkok Five "Who's Gonna Take Us Alive?"

The Bangkok Five "Who's Gonna Take Us Alive / 2006 Universal / 12 Tracks / / M / Reviewed 20 March 2006

"Damaged Good's" seems to be as good of a starting point for The Bangkok Five as anything else on their "Who's Gonna Take Us Alive?" The track is a smart brand of indie rock that ties together dominant styles, whether it be the angular rock of Franz Ferdinand or sexy vocals of The Killers into one hard-hitting and fun type of track. This high-energy sound is not something that The Bangkok Five abandon easily during "Who's Gonna Take Us Alive?"?, as the radio-friendly title track should show to anyone who is listening in. The breakdown, which mixes Frost's emotive vocals with a guitar line thrown down by Holcomb Ks that would make a hair band blast, shows that the band is ready to play on all tracks of this album.

Where a song like "Karmakazi" seems to be a little bit off from the style of music that The Bangkok Five are already known for, what really makes individuals focus in on the track is a smart set of arrangements that will get under one's skin soon after listening into the disc. The band goes back to the straight-forward rock sound of previous tracks during their "Starting Me Up Again". It is not as if The Bangkok Five intend to make their entire disc a set of radio hits, but the sexy style of music that issues forth is really amenable to assumption by radio and video stations alike. What style of music does The Bangkok Five even play? At some sense, it is rock, but during tracks like "Spread Eagle"?, there is enough in the way of indie influence to keep the band's cred meter full.

"Tiara" is the only track that is on "Who's Gonna Take Us Alive?"? that sounds influenced to a major degree by another band. The track seems to be an extension of the musical styles that were dominated on Weezer's "Green Album"?, even if Frost's vocal style is a sea change from anything that Rivers could come up with. This is one of the most hard-hitting debut discs to come out in this new millennium, and the fact that each song on "Who's Gonna Take Us Alive?" is something that individuals will be singing for long after the disc ends means that The Bangkok Five will be an act that will be in the common purview for a long period of time. Pick this up before the band breaks it big.

Top Tracks: Damaged Goods, Karmakazi

- Neufutur

"In The Garage"

The Bangkok Five - Who's Gonna Take Us Alive? Review

The problem that dogs a lot of new Garage music is the fact that it's mostly terrible. Most of these bands, like the Strokes and the White Stripes latch onto the wrong notions of Garage rock and completely miss the point. Not so with LA's The Bangkok Five. On their new album, Who's Gonna Take Us Alive, these Hollywood gutter Garage punks kick the door in and ransack the place. Keeping the energy and not worrying about the cooler-than-thou posturing, the band fuses style and substance in a rollicking major-label debut. Forget trends or style, whether they have any or not, The Bangkok Five rock in that most satisfying of ways, completely.

The more radio-friendly version of neo-Garage is glutted with minimalist bands that rely more on winks and giggles than on any sort of substance. The Bangkok Five waltz right in and stomp all over that minimalist philosophy. This record is about balls out Rock and Roll, not haircuts or who the singer is dating. Who's Gonna Take Us Alive comes complete with huge riffs, well-placed solos, and enough hooks to fill your tackle box. All the same, the band doesn't rely solely catchy convention. Some of the music here recalls Queens of the Stone Age as much as the MC5 or Guns N Roses. Not surprising since The Bangkok Five have previously worked with Stoner Rock stalwart, Chris Goss. The record sounds like what an Eagles of Death Metal record could sound like if Josh Homme took them a little more seriously and added some of his other band's monster riffs to the equation. That's not to say that WGTUA feels staid, buttoned-down, or mechanical in any way. Down and dirty Rock and Roll never sounded so loose and fun.

The sound on the entire records bears mentioning. From the gigantic tone on the riffs, to the responsible use of electronic elements and samples, the band has nailed the production on this record thanks to Sean E and Ryan Boesch. The guitars jump right out into the front of the mix, as they should, and everything else falls into place around them. Add to that well-balanced song-writing that features paint-peeling guitar in just the right ratio to more spacious arrangements and you've got a killer album. Leather jackets and guitars transcend any kind of trend if the music backs it up. A bled-together mix ensures that chaos reigns supreme, but the individual instrumentation is still solid. Little guitar and drum fills pepper the recording and keep things interesting on repeated listens. Finally, a record that never gets boring or overdone.

Attitude often dominates Rock and Roll, too often without anything to back it up. The Bangkok Five have attitude in spades, and they deliver with songs from the heart that club you over the head with diamond-studded swagger. More than just Buckcherry without the coke-fueled energy or the Strokes without the "I just had a Stroke" laziness, the Bangkok Five throw their own brand of straight-forward Garage rocking punk into the ring. It might as well be the towel for some of those other bands. - Travis Becker

"From Lowfive to Bangkok Five"

Now that Travis has done his usual excellent job at reviewing this disc it makes my job that much harder to offer a different take on this album. Since he covered a lot of the same things I would have (and much better than I could have) I have decided to take my review in a slightly different direction and to be honest there is no way I can offer an objective review of this band. The reasons will become apparent as you read on. Thus, that is why you are reading this as an addendum to Travis' review instead of a Tag Team.

I've had the privilege to watch this band from its infancy grow to the group that has earned Travis' praise. That being said I was duly impressed the first time I saw them a few years back. The band was called Lowfive at the time and Coates had just joined the group. I'd known him from one of his previous bands and I've have written about his insane bass talent on several occasions. He really is one the best bass players I have ever seen. At the time the group featured Nick Lucero of Queens of the Stone Age fame and Peter Perdichizzi of the Flies on guitar. So they had some heavyweights in their corner but the secret weapon was their frontman Frost, who came out and took command of the audience from the first chord and didn't relinquish it until the last note of their sweat soaked encore. Musically at that point, I would describe them at Tool meets The Cult and like many in the audience this was my first exposure to the group and they made an easy convert to the cause.

A few weeks later I saw them again and in that short time they had already evolved musically. The one thing that impressed me early off was that every time you saw them they were that much better and a little different as if you were watching the sonic evolution unfold. One big highlight for me and a show I'll never forget is when this incarnation of the band headlined the second night of antiFEST 02 and blew everyone away. Watching them up on that stage that night I knew in the back on my head that this was a band destined for greatness if they got the proper breaks in this insane business.

Since I'm throwing all of the standard reviewing rules out the window in this self-indulgent write up, I have to relay a story that to me showcases exactly what is wrong with the music business but in the end talent does rule the day in some rare cases. The band was playing an amazing set at a Hollywood club and they were really on that night. In walks a major label A&R guy and minor celebrity that we'll call Pinhead. I will say that it's probably pretty much impossible to watch this band perform and not be impressed and get caught up in it and Pinhead was totally into the show and was quick with the much deserved praise afterwards. I'm thinking in the back of my head that I'll have a cool new story about being there when this band was discovered but of course Pinhead dropped the ball. In fact, he was bragging about snapping up a crap emo band that was dropped by another label and went no where on Pinhead's label. Great call Pinhead!

In a way it may have been a blessing in disguise because obviously an A&R guy at a competing label saw the potential in this group and we now have their major label debut with a stronger label behind it. But it also gave them the chance to get that much better, solidify an impressive lineup and evolve that much more before they recording the album we are supposed to be talking about today. But this story just goes to show that most major labels are run by Pinheads. Then again the stupidity and unwillingness to put quality over trendiness makes a standout album like this one stand out that much more!

Now to that major label debut, Who's Gonna Take Us Alive?. I'm obviously biased when it comes to this band but I have to tell you that the first time I heard it, this album blew me away. I knew how great they were but I expected an album of this quality a few albums down the line from them. Full throttled riffs, fist pounding grooves and infectious hooks are the order of the day here and just when you think they can't push it any further the next track comes on to take it way past 11! To be honest, I expected to know most of the songs on this album but much to my pleasant surprise, 90% of the songs were totally new to me so I got to appreciate this album with virgin ears and it far surpassed my expectations.

It wouldn't be fair to compare it to say Appetite for Destruction because that is apples and oranges but this album hit me in the similar way the first time I heard it and solidified my belief that this band is indeed destined for greatness. The quality is definitely there and if the stars align properly we may all look back in ten years at this album as just the beginning for a superstar group. They definitely have it in them to achieve those lofty heights and the next biggest thing in their favor is their willingness to branch out and evolve. This isn't a stale by the numbers group that will keep retreading the same songs over and over. As I said earlier, each time you see these guys they are that much better and that much further down the road and while Who’s Gonna Take Us Alive? is an amazing debut, I have the feeling that we 'ain't seen nothing yet!'

Who knows what the future holds for this band? The sky is the limit. They've outdone their part, now it's up to you dear reader to take a chance on a band that has it in them not only to go the distance but also be one of the few bands that can change road rock in on (with hundreds of broken mic stands along the way).

For those that have made it this far, thank you for sticking around. I only have two requests for you. 1) go back and read Travis' review again for a far better critical take on this album 2) go buy this CD at once! A couple years from now you may be able to tell people you caught on rather early and better yet when you suddenly hear random people proclaim "I love Kok!" you'll know what the hell they are talking about. - By Keavin Wiggins


EP- "10 The Hard Way" 2005- Aeronaut/Execution Style
LP- "Who's Gonna Take Us Alive?"" 2006- Universal/Execution Style


Feeling a bit camera shy


Here's Our Story, It's Sad But True...

When was the last time some indie phenom didn't leave you feeling cheated? When a band’s sense of urgency paled in comparison to the impact and vibe of their infectious songs? When the swagger and delivery of a front man was actually a byproduct of inspiration and charisma instead of a substitute for it? On their upcoming Execution Style/Universal release, Who's Gonna Take Us Alive?, THE BANGKOK FIVE prove that they are more than mere contenders along for the ride. Dropping in early 2006, the performances on Who’s Gonna Take Us Alive? are blistering and sure to play on the insecurities of haters everywhere. Hailing from America’s favorite cesspool--Hollywood, California, THE BANGKOK FIVE learned early on to ditch the white belt ethos of their Silver Lake siblings- The whole; “Look at me, I’m not trying, I’m so ironic” thing… Armed with this deep reverence for their D.I.Y. predecessors and willingness to embrace current technologies, tB5 [THE BANGKOK FIVE] released their “10 the Hard Way” EP in the spring of 05. “The best thing about doing it yourself is you don’t have to apologize for it. People either vibe it or they don’t.” says Holcolm Ks. The Bangkok Five backed up their self release a solid five month tour of which they booked themselves on My Space: “This band is all we have, we gave up apartments, cars and every other responsibility that got in the way of us doing this full time. There was no tour support Every night was a fight to eat, pay for gas and find a place to crash… Intrinsically, the people who came to our gigs felt this. Nightly we would hear how touched they felt by our performance’s and our death or glory commitment,” says vocalist Frost. State after state, night after night like Woody Guthrie or Bad Brains before them, tB5 powered on against common sense and Katrina gas prices.

Their religious diet of every kind of shit sandwich the road was capable of handing them is evident in the explosive performances and contagious tracks of Who’s Gonna Take Us Alive?. If one thing’s for sure, they mean it. Lead guitarist Holcomb Ks. riffs are the sonic equivalent of candy flipping. Don’t ask, just say: “Thank you sir; may I have another?” And did we mention vocalist Frost? Witnessing him, is seeing James Brown and Tina Turner’s bastard love child hopped up on Spanish flies. Frost’s soaring vocals paired with the mighty tB5 rhythm section’s throbbing floor tom beats and distorted baselines is sure to cement Who’s Gonna Take Us Alive? as a permanent staple in strip clubs nationwide. Singer Frost’s DJ background is evident on songs like “Karmakazi” and “Spread Eagle.” “I found that more and more the kids I was spinning for wanted hip shake’n rock jams instead of the tried and true electronic stuff I grew up with,” says Frost. “I had had a lot of experience with early punk and garage rock through my older brother and sister so serving it up wasn’t a problem. Besides, bands like Interpol and Yeah Yeah Yeahs were clearing the way for a new type of dance music…this revitalized the dance floor, my DJ performances and brought me to fully comprehend this band’s relevance,” says Frost.

In the last year THE BANGKOK FIVE have shared stages with Peaches, Hot Hot Heat, Mooney Suzuki, (International) Noise Conspiracy, River City Rebels, Zeke, The Bronx, Danko Jones, Young Heart Attack and had the honor of playing the U.K.'s Download Festival with The Stooges, Linkin Park and Metallica. When asked why they are doing this, the band will tell you they want to address the new electronic generation. “We’re all stars now in our own personal galaxies, notes ????. “From personal blogs to online diaries, our worlds expand and converge every second of every day.” They quote the title song of Who’s Gonna take Us Alive?: “We got MySpace chicks in all their favorite positions; each one’s a star in her own indiscretions; we got Suicide Girls from all 50 states; who know the teaches of Peaches and the bangs of Betty Page...”

“We wanna be the soundtrack of the ‘Rainbow Field Party’ generation.” What’s that you ask? The answer’s at the fingertips of anyone who wants to know. And speaking of the field parties, tB5’s “Rainbow Field Party 2005-2006” national tour in support of their self-released 10 the hard way EP and their upcoming Who’s Gonna Take Us Alive? full-length CD will continue throughout 2006.