Rocks Off remains a dedicated fan of the 71s. Their music is a good old-fashioned double shot of rock in the chops, and sometimes we need to be yanked out of the corner we're off looking sad in to better appreciate life.
If there is one things we know that the 71s do well, it's make videos. When singer Keeton Coffman and director Justin Kling invaded Wal-Mart to shoot an impromptu video for "Start Again," it was one of the highlights of our year. Incidentally, our journalistic integrity demands we inform you that "Start Again" was recently featured on an episode of MTV's The Real World. Do we congratulate or console them for this one?
This time the band is back with a video no less irreverent but infinitely more creepy for their upcoming single "Get Up and Dance." Once again Kling helms the camera, and according to Coffman it's him we can blame for this creepy-ass bear with the dead eyes.
So why the hell are the 71s hiding in an alley waiting to perform for some offshoot of the Pedobear family?
"I took the song to Justin, and asked him what we could do with this," Coffman says. "He closed his eyes, leaned his head back, and said it was going to be us versus a bear."
All kidding aside, there is a little reason to the rhyme here. The 71s have spent the last several months touring Texas in a very hardcore way, all part of a scheme by new management to build their following in the state. While audiences have been more than receptive, more than once they stood on stage to a general apathy.
"We're not a spectator band," says Coffman. "We want people to participate, not just watch. There's nothing wrong with just watching, but that's not what we're after. I guess when we did the video we just wanted to illustrate performing for someone who could literally not give any less of a crap."
That may seem like a bitter pill from such a famously good-time group, but we can assure you that the song itself is an easy swallow. The song may be the lightest thing we've ever heard from the 71s, pure dance music tinged with a non-stop rock vibe and an extra-sweet guitar solo from Ryan Cecil.
The upbeat popiness of "Get Up and Dance" is no real indication of what we can expect from the 71s' next album, due out in July. The release marks part two of the Rock and Roll Reaction trilogy, which has been delayed while the band tours. The best way to sum up what we can expect on the album lies in on the band's Web site.
The banner that usually displays the 71s in typical cool-guy poses transitions into a similar set of portraits, save that the band has obviously had the living shit kicked out of them. Rock and Roll Reaction II promises to reflect the roughness seen on the Web site, channeling an AC/DC vibe and dealing with demons and devils in songs based on C.S. Lewis' The Screwtape Letters.
For now, we don't have to venture too far out of the garden. "Get Up and Dance" is here to prove that Houston talent is still very capable of putting out high-quality music videos, as well as bands who are fully deserving of the steady rise that has been marked in so many of our local heroes lately. The 71s remain one our greatest treasures.