JD and the RetroRyders Release New Music
Joe DeMeo embarked on his journey as a professional musician via the clubs and bars of Long Island and its environs. The clarion call of Los Angeles and musical glory in the California sun beckoned, however, and soon DeMeo migrated west in search of his future. He’s long since found it with JD and the RetroRyders, headquartering in the Huntington Beach enclave, and hitting release #5 with their new EP HOTNSIXY. It follows the CD singles (2 songs included on each) 100% Cool in 2019, 2020’s twoferu, 2021’s twotimer, and twosome in 2022. HOTNSIXY marks their first EP and likely opens the door to even longer efforts in the future.
The unusual seven member lineup gives them an unique sound. “All Summer Long”, the EP opener, makes it clear that their songwriting is grounded in rock fundamentals with very little gloss. Choruses are paramount and the RetroRyders certainly deliver the goods with the first song’s refrain. It’s a perfect selection for the EP’s start. “Destiny” is the ideal second track for several reasons. One of the biggest, however, is how the shift in tempo and guitar texture tempers its fire and gives it a comparatively mature direction. Making a delightful rock and roll racket isn’t the only priority here.
“I Gotta Know” changes things up yet again. We are once again careening through rockier territory, attitude lighting this one up like a long burning Roman candle, and the churn you hear in the arrangement sharpens the song’s bite. DeMeo communicates absolute joy with his vocal; he’s a guy who clearly revels singing with this top notch unit. “Luv You” features some of the album’s best lead guitar, particularly near the song’s end, and the supporting vocals make strong contributions as well. DeMeo and his bandmates’ capacity for crafting one strong chorus after the next sets them apart from the pack.
“Rock N Roll Now” is more four to the floor three chord guitar rock. Al Lepson’s every bit as proficient laying down fiery leads as he is the thrashing chords bashing away in the heart of the song. It’s one of his better riffs pushing this song down the tracks and the band seems to gather momentum as the song goes on. It’s straight and unfussy, though, without a doubt. The closer “She’s the One” is the sort of clean, unfettered expression of rock and roll’s potential that makes you wonder why anyone could turn their backs on it. It’s a love song, to whom remains open-ended, and DeMeo’s words are full of plain-spoken gratitude that doesn’t get mushy or sentimental. Instead, he’s grateful.
The supporting music for the EP’s final track is a breezy guitar rock arrangement notable, once again, for Mike Wilson’s drums. He’s the underrated foundation for everything the RetroRyders do and his command over a variety of grooves is essential to the EP’s success. JD & the RetroRyders have been building to this moment for some time and, now that it has arrived, they aren’t letting it pass them by.