Armies In The Alley

from Another Risk Of The Heart by Young Antiques

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about

Young Antiques - Another Risk of the Heart


Young Antiques’ latest, their first album in nearly a decade, is a bold reaffirmation of purpose, an impassioned, hook-laden love letter from singer-guitarist Blake Rainey—to his bandmates, and to the act of making rock & roll itself. Rekindling old flames, as the Atlanta cult trio’s classic touring lineup reunites, Another Risk of the Heart asks the question, “Can cheap and dirty rock & roll, rooted in youth and a lifetime of friendship, age like wine?” The answer comes quick, delivered by the urgently melodic downstroke riff and thundering four-on-the-floor beat of opening track “Euclid Creeper,” and it’s a resounding hell yes.


“Here we go again,” Rainey says. “We’re giving this thing another shot. Getting back together, doing what we do best—having fun, making records.” Young Antiques’ roots run deep. Rainey and bassist Blake Parris—whose harmonies have always been integral to the band’s sound—grew up together in Cedartown, Ga., population 9,000, and have been making music together since the 5th grade.


“Our whole lives have been in tandem,” Rainey says. “We’re best buddies. We constantly talk recording and music. We both have outside projects, but this thing we do with the ‘Tiques is just natural. He can read me like a book. We’ve been singing together since we were kids.”


Another Risk of the Heart is the first Young Antiques album to feature drummer John Speaks (Skirt, The Jody Grind) since their 2004 sophomore LP Clockworker. “Playing with John again, we were able to tap into that original magic we had in the past. Though this time around everybody was a bit more seasoned and comfortable playing together.”


For Another Risk—which features notable guest spots from Chris Lopez (The Rock*A*Teens, Tenement Halls), Kelly Hogan (Neko Case, The Decemberists, Rock*A*Teens, The Jody Grind) and Tom Cheshire (West End Motel, All Night Drug Prowling Wolves)—Young Antiques worked with engineer Tim Delaney, bassist for pop-culture phenom Puddles Pity Party. “What stands out most to me when I think back on the sessions is how efficient and dialed-in we were as a band,” Rainey says. “We came into Tim’s studio, Electron Gardens, and knocked out all the bass and drums, plus a couple guitar parts in a day and a half.”


The rest of the record—the vocals, guitars, keys and additional percussion and flourishes—were completed at Rainey’s home studio Southern Lovers Recording Studios. “We had the best of both worlds—getting great sounds and building a strong foundation at Tim’s studio, and then being able to work off the clock and without distraction at my place. I love working at home. It gives you the time and freedom to get it right. I think that’s why the performances on this record are our best ever.”


While Young Antiques were recording with Delaney at Electron Gardens, their old pals The Rock*A*Teens were also there working with Delaney, laying down tracks for their most recent Merge Records release, Sixth House. The two bands would often run into each other coming and going. “I’ve always been a big fan,” Rainey says. “Next thing I know, Chris Lopez is over at my place with a six pack of beer, and we’re up ‘til 3 in the morning doing backing vocals. It was a blast. Chris has such a great voice, and he’s a hell of a songwriter, too. He likes to do things in an unorthodox way, which is totally cool by us. For “Euclid Creeper,” he didn’t want to sing into the nice mic we had set up, he just wanted to hold an SM57 in his hand and scream into it while he was sitting on the floor.”


Atlanta poet, barfly and rock & roller Tom Cheshire—with whom Rainey plays in All Night Drug Prowling Wolves—also added gang vocals to “Euclid Creeper,” as well as a key spoken-word part and some harmonies on post-apocalyptic political anthem “Armies in the Alley.” And Lopez’s former Rock*A*Teens bandmate Kelly Hogan—who played with Antiques drummer John Speaks in The Jody Grind decades ago—also contributed to Another Risk of the Heart, taking a break from working with Neko Case to lend her always powerful voice to jangly roots-tinged ballad “Going Home.”


Hogan recorded her vocals remotely from Chicago, and also appears remotely in Young Antiques’ video for “Going Home,” which turned out to be eerily prophetic. Shot well before “shelter in place” and “social distancing” became part of the lexicon, the video features Hogan and the band performing the song, each isolated in their own TV screen. “I was talking to director Jeff Shipman when I had the idea,” Rainey says. “We’re all broadcasting in from different places. And now the whole thing suddenly feels very of-the-moment, like we tapped into this new reality in advance.


“And in the wake of the pandemic, who knows what’s going to happen?” Rainey continues. “It makes getting back together with the Young Antiques even more special. If we hadn’t done it when we did, who knows if it ever would have happened again?”


In its early days, rock & roll was made primarily by teenagers and twentysomethings. There was a built-in expiration date—you burned out or you faded away. But as subsequent generations have grown up with the music, the genre stubbornly persisting as it alternately recycles and reinvents itself, that convention has been smashed. Artists from Nick Cave to Dinosaur Jr, Rainey reminds us, are making some of the best rock & roll of their careers


“Two decades in, the irony of the whole thing—what Young Antiques do from this point forward is definitely going to be better than the music we made when we were younger,” Rainey says. “We’re still feeling inspired. I think as long as you keep your head in the game, as long you’re honest with yourself and honest in your writing, there’s no reason to give it up if you don’t want to. But you still have to have the desire. You have to be hungry for it. A lot of people run out of ideas or just give up. But if you’re still feeling it, if the ideas are still flowing, do it. Do it like you’re 25.”

lyrics

Armies In The Alley (Ft. Tom Cheshire)
(Words and Music by Blake Rainey and Young Antiques)

(From the first time I saw you
I knew you had a different view
You'd never been brainwashed
And that's why they still want you)

Upon a midnight evening
A lovely liberal in a dress
A new dance creating
Unholy thoughts possessed

Armies in the alley and an alley in the armies’ head
No chance for justice just for dread

I took you to the boulevard
That was a chance there that I took
So new to the neighborhood
Without that fascist look

Armies in the alley and an alley in the armies’ head
No chance for justice you’ll be living on the streets instead
Armies in the alley and an alley in the armies’ head
No chance for justice just for dread

(There were places we could hide
And there were places where they'd shoot us on sight)

Smoking in the Cinema
That foggy hour always put
Us together an escapism for the down on luck
Like a dream or read from a book
Is she pretending on the screen
A shadowed noir look?

Armies in the alley and an alley in the armies’ head
No chance for justice you’ll be living on the streets instead
Armies in the alley and an alley in the armies’ head
No chance for justice just for dread

(Don’t wait for me just runaway and get lost...)

credits

from Another Risk Of The Heart, released June 5, 2020
Blake Rainey - Vocals, Guitar
Blake Parris - Bass, Vocals
John Speaks - Drums, Percussion
Tom Cheshire (West End Motel w/ Brent Hinds) - backing vocals, spoken word

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Young Antiques Atlanta, Georgia

Recommended If You Like: Replacements, Beach Slang, Costello, The Jam.

Young Antiques is a garage rock n' roll power trio from Atlanta, GA. Spin Magazine calls them "A triumph of ramshackle hooks." Blake Rainey's literate-punk songwriting carries through on each and every album, and the band has reunited with the newest upcoming slab slated for release June 2020. ... more

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