Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Filligar: The Voice of Rock's Next Generation

Filligar's Stray Dogs Tour, live from The Red &The Black Bar in Washington, D.C., October 2009.
Pictured (left to right): Teddy Mathias, Johnny Mathias, Pete Mathias, Rachel Levitin, Casey Gibson.

It's nice to know I wasn't alone in having to contain myself upon receiving an advanced copy of Filligar's 2010 release "The Nerve." I popped the record into my television/DVD combo (it has stellar speakers, I kid you not) and blasted the volume to a decibel that wouldn't get me kicked out of my apartment complex. It was then it dawned on me -- Filligar has the potential to be the Rolling Stones and Beatles of our generation just as long as people start to take notice of their evolving sound after nearly a decade of song-crafting.

Instead of rambling on about why I love these guys (we did go to high school together and have shared a stage together more times than we can count), I'll share my initial takes on some of the standout tracks of their new album.

Please note, these are all simply my opinion. You're left to your own devices if you disagree:
Guilty Good Intentions – Gentlemen, I present you with your break-out single. If it’s not then please feel free to call my bluff at our Five Year High School Reunion. Can’t you hear it now? “Would you believe me if I say the boy who cried is innocent,” being sung by every down and low fella out with the guys to get back from a soured romance at the top of his lungs? How about those mid-20’s dudes out at Happy Hour after a long day at the office busting a tune to this latest jam on The Mix and Kiss FM. And those high school girls who are looking for the next young man on the charts to obsess over? Oh they’re ALL over this. Can you blame them? 3 brothers and a pianist who sings with a keyboard? You better believe there’s a Teen People cover story spread in Filligar's future. This song gets everyone on their side. It convinces the listener that they couldn’t possibly NOT like all of you. You’re the good guys.

Robbery (Shocking Love) – Catchy, happy, great way to start off a record. Seal of approval granted in this case. Which reminds me, Slow Night at the Red Sea end’s this baby right where it should, on an uplifting note that highlights more is to come from the fine lovable goofs that comprise Filligar at its best.

Mumbling Girl – Catchy, has the potential to be heard as one of those “songs of summer” guys get excited about when rocking out with friends in the car. I can totally see a guy hearing the opening lick and be like “Sweet, Filligar’s on the radio dial” and then start serenading his buddies piano bar style.

Early Riser - Johnny's vocals and acoustic playing on this track are beautiful, haunting, and pure. I could see this being used in a film, can't you? I see it set to black and white, completely classic in every way.

New & Old – Who thought of adding harmonica to this? Whoever it is, can I have your babies? But no really, awesome touch that I wasn’t expecting AT ALL. It makes me feel like I’m the female version of whatever a combination of Bob Dylan and Jack Keroac would be if the main character in a song. Definitely a nod to that slight cowboy, folk mentality of hitting the road by foot with the sole intention of just moving on. Love it. Well said.

Ticket Line - Won’t lie. Love this track. It goes way back to our high school days. The melody is memorable, the heavy guitar is a tribute to rock, which differs from the rest of this album (in a good way). Which leads to my next point …

Why I Love This Album - The reason this album works is two-fold: Filligar knows how to craft an undeniably good song after years and years of practice (it shows) and they continue to highlight one of their band’s greatest strengths – Casey’s classical piano training (boy, you’ve got mad chops, never stop playing). Filligar goes from college rock to classic rock, from grunged out to classy in what feels like a zero to sixty fashion giving fans what they want to hear while leaving them unable to guess what’s coming next. Each record, but this one in particular, is a musical riddle waiting to be solved and is worth every moment spent trying to figure it out.

All in all, my summary is simple: If I could request who would be the next memorable name in Rock History text books, I would pray on bended knee that Filligar become The Rolling Stones of the next generation.

Filligar is now on a U.S. summer tour to support "The Nerve" and has numerous stops in all sorts of major cities and small towns across the country. For the latest Filligar updates visit their website.

"The Nerve" is available on iTunes and in hard-copy form.

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