The Blackboard Nails
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The Blackboard Nails

Boston, Massachusetts, United States

Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Rock Indie

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"Rock ‘n’ roll hasn’t sounded this good in 15 years"

Rock ‘n’ roll hasn’t sounded this good in 15 years – with swaggering hooks, big melodies, the spirit of the greats, but their own sound, Boston 4-piece The Blackboard Nails hit Trash Bar in New York for the CMJ Festival this Friday 19 October and if you’re in town, you should really try to be there.

With that in mind, Vents thought it would be a good time to belatedly review their 3 singles given to the world throughout the year. And that’s given to the world literally; having had a free copy thrust upon me by an enthusiastic British street-teamer outside an Arctic Monkeys show, the CD I have has them in this order…

‘Kiss Me’ smacks you in the face with a genuine rock ‘n’ roll attitude sadly lacking in a lot of recent bands. A driving intro leads into an urgent, catchy verse with a hint of the psychedelic about the lyrics. But it wastes no time at all before kicking into a chorus of “kiss me like you mean it” that you’ll have stuck in your head all day. There’s a slightly spaced out breakdown with lashings of gorgeous vocals swimming around it, before some slick drums from Ryan Ennis signal the arrival of the last, triumphant chorus.

Next is ‘Slow Down’, which starts with vocals, some deep, heavy drums and a creeping, sleazy bass intro. A kind of dirty love song in tone and lyrics, Eric Deneen’s voice is unique, retaining the attitude through what could almost have been a ballad-like verse. The song flows perfectly through the yearning choruses, more lavish backing vocals weaving all around, and drives home with a final, massive chorus.

Finally, ‘She Wants’ starts with a rocking guitar, before being joined by a dance-like beat, bass and guitar riff, as well as the first chorus. Made of three succinct parts that could all be choruses in their own right, it’s a neat sing-a-long that ends this superb trio of tracks in style. (Nice DIY video to this one too on their website)

Their songs are precise, single-length and full of melody. It’s a 60s pop sensibility applied to 90s inspired British rock, played like it’s tomorrow.

There’s a hint of the great tunes of the 60s throughout, a swaggering, Stones-like quality to the songs without actually sounding like them. You can hear elements of a lot of bands, like BRMC and Oasis, The Black Keys and Jet, but also with a splash of pop appreciation like The Killers – but they’re not like any one of those bands, there are no contemporary references that work. This is partly down to the delicious backing vocals and harmonies provided throughout by bass player Rosie Huntress and guitarist Mark McCarthy, and partly down to genuine originality, obvious influences without a trace of mimicry.

To match their influences, they’ve been quietly getting on with things in an old-fashioned way; working hard, playing the East Coast circuit, visiting Vegas and Canada, as well as touring the UK a few times, putting in hours of travel and gaining precious new admirers each time to build a genuine fan base. They’ve more than paid their dues. A band of pedigree, the members all had some success in previous acts, but there’s every reason that should be far surpassed in the very near future. With songs of this quality, The Blackboard Nails are the real rock ‘n’ roll deal.
Rating: 5/5
- Vents Magazine


"10 Massachusetts Bands You Should Listen to Now"

The Blackboard Nails lie somewhere in the gray space between reverb-heavy rock and pop punk. Pairing seriously danceable hooks with ever-so-slightly dirty lyrics, the three-piece creates tunes reminiscent of early Jet, tugging on your heartstrings and conjuring images of a time just barely lost. - Paste Magazine


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

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Bio

"The Blackboard Nails are The Blackboard Nails, and the only thing you can do about it is get into them now before everybody else does."

On the strength of their sound alone -- a sound powered by Stones grooves, Jet rock hooks and harmonies all their own -- The Blackboard Nails have toured the United Kingdom twice, including a stint at Liverpool's renowned Sound City Festival, and they've recorded with producer Kato Khandwala (The Pretty Reckless, Paramore, Blondie). That session yielded the band's first single, "Slow Down," a midtempo romp whose first line says it all: "You need another minute in bed/like a hole in the head/so we always end up on the floor."

With recent appearances at Irving Plaza and The Rockwood Music Hall, and several festivals including the Canadian Music Festival the attention is high. The reviews are raving. The fans are multiplying. The Blackboard Nails are here.