The Ragadors
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The Ragadors

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States | SELF

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States | SELF
Band Rock


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"Bluesy rock in the vein of the Black Keys, White Stripes, and Kings of Leon. Excellent stuff!" - Jack DeVoss WWCD-FM/ -

“Don’t hide your love,” sings Ragadors front man Ben Hall on the band’s slugger blues-rock opener “Grave Baby,” a combustion of ferociously memorable melodies and raging guitars. Hall’s guttural delivery harkens back to many a blues legend.

The Milwaukee quartet released their self-titled EP to a receptive crowd at the Up & Under (1216 E. Brady St.) Saturday night.

The EP was recorded live with no overdubbing—it is no accident or trick that these gentlemen sound good.

Fans of an honest quarter-note dance groove will have no quarrel with “Trapped in Big Ben,” with its stadium rock sensibility, foot stomping rhythm and contagious groove. “Got to keep these hands working baby year after year/ Making the same damn rounds baby still out of fear/ …I’ve spent enough time trapped…” Hall proclaims with over-driven vocals.

What Hall’s lyrics lack in philosophical determination, they makes up for in honest subject matter basted in soul gravy. “Sick of Love,” brings the business in a Blind Faith-esque half time groove that intermittently breaks out in a raucous dynamo of grisly rock-and-rolling.

Drummer Josh Harper creates a pocket for his melodic counter parts to deliver a groove worthy of eager ears. Harper, like great drummers Danny Carey and Neil Peart, pulls out the tone of his drums with aggressive precision.

Bassist Dan Weber rounds out the tight rhythm section with his powerful, yet restrained attack.

The Ragadors have an uncanny ear for creating tension, and there is no shortage on this dynamic highlight. “Run You Down,” dives right into a cunning dance number that combines cheeky guitar hooks with major dude sweat. Satisfyingly, the EP ends on a deep-rooted blues number titled “Turn Me Over.”

Lead guitarist Russell Leary is not afraid of challenging the solo as a rock-and-roll taboo with a few tasty licks tactfully placed throughout. It’s exciting to see a band willing to take risks in their live performance.

While their songs have observed boundaries, the Ragadors are fearless in their pursuit of improvised energy. So many self-proclaimed Indie bands have lost sight of the power live variation offers—no one wants to pay money to hear a band mirror their studio recordings verbatim. You might as well get some life-size cut-outs of your favorite band, turn the surround sound speakers in your room up to ear damaging levels and dance the night away in a state of perpetual delirium.

“We play rock songs, bluesy enough to be familiar, with just enough grit to make your grandmother nervous,” proclaims the Milwaukee quartet.

For a young band, the Ragadors have an extended range, moving from melodic grooves laid down by their classic rock forefathers to straight-ahead blistering rock-and-roll, all of which is firmly grounded in an obvious love for the blues. From the first note to the last, this is roots music. - UWM Post

"In the spirit of true musicianship, Milwaukee's The Ragadors are a refreshing kick in the ass... This hard hitting quartet pounds out jams that reverberate from the floor right into your soul."
- Lane Kozier

"With their bluesy approach and ragged tones... The Ragadors are not to be missed!"
- 91.7 FM WMSE //


"blackinkyswells" (2010)
->'Bottom Line Babe" - Regular airplay on college and independent radio across the midwest

"The Ragadors EP" (2009)
->'Grave baby' featured on college and independent radio



The Milwaukee based quartet create a raucous brand of straight-ahead, blistering rock-and-roll, grounded in a an obvious love for the blues. What began as a casual song swap between drummer Joshua Harper and lead singer Benjamin Hall has grown through two years of touring and recording into a band of friends who play with undeniable guts. With wildly diverse musical backgrounds, from touring through the deep south in a gospel rock band, to studying jazz percussion, these four gentlemen combine to create foot-stomping tunes and frenetic live performances.

In 2009, the Ragadors debut, self-titled EP was pressed from a live studio session with J. Christopher Hughes at Posthistoric in Milwaukee, WI. After more than a year of touring, backed by unwavering support from their listeners, the group began sessions on their first full-length record in spring 2010. Blackinkyswells, a subversive affirmation of the possibilities that flow between the down beat and silence, is a recorded interaction between The Ragadors and a cavernous room on Milwaukee’s south side. Ben’s desperate, pleading lyrics, in stark contrast to a satisfyingly confident delivery, unearth stories soaked in the complication of humanity.

The Ragadors pay homage to the mothers and fathers of their muse with a sound nurtured in the wood-paneled basements of the midwest. With songs that harken the honest spirit of the blues, this record attempts to realize life’s perennial struggle between dissonance and harmony. This is roots music through and through.

Today, their debut full-length album, blackinkyswells, is available now on iTunes, Amazon mp3 and more.

Having already carved out a significant place for themselves, The Ragadors venture forth to new territory. Look for them in your city in 2011 touring in support of their new record, blackinkyswells.