JD & the RetroRyders drop EP
You don’t have to be the world’s biggest rock fan to know that solid riffs are the catalyst for incredible success in the genre. Keeping that in mind, JD & the RetroRyders come in guns blazing in their new record 100% Cool, dishing out supercharged guitar thunder in “If It’s Out There It’s Mine,” “Destiny,” “Rock n Roll Now” and the exciting “So Far So Good.” It’s pretty obvious from the start of this tracklist that JD & the RetroRyders could care less about scene politics and the parameters of a modern alternative rock format – in this EP, they just want to rock hard. Even the ballad “When She Cries” is a war-machine of a riffage when it counts the most, making this an all-around winner for anyone who digs heavy rock intensity.
100% Cool isn’t without depth; the lyricism in “Destiny” and “When She Cries” is definitely spot-on poetry, while other songs like “Real to Me” and “So Far So Good” demonstrate a classical pop sensibility that could really benefit the band on the FM dial. There’s a lot of collective interest in streamlined songwriting in the rock genre right now, particularly among vinyl-obsessed millennials discovering vintage rock machismo for the first time, and from this perspective, JD & the RetroRyders are hitting the spotlight at the right time. They can flex muscle in a verse just as easily as they can with their guitar prowess, which in itself gives them a slight edge over many of their peers this summer.
The tandem attack from the guitar and bass in “Rock n Roll Now” and “If It’s Out There It’s Mine” has an awesome punch to it that reminds me more of Bay Area thrashing than it does anything in the alternative rock world, which is ironic given the other pop-friendly components in both of these songs. This makes it possible to emphasize the physicality of the music without giving the entirety of a composition over the excess in the vein of a straight metal song, and for a band that’s more rock-oriented in nature, that’s a pretty compelling use of tonality. JD & the RetroRyders have some serious skills, and that’s evident even in a casual listening session with this extended play.
I didn’t know about these guys before getting a copy of 100% Cool just recently, but I’m going to be looking out for more of their material in the future. This is some excellent frills-free rock n’ roll, and if it’s providing us with any sort of a preview as to what we can expect out of its creators in the years to come, I think they’re going to find an audience all their own sooner than later. Rock could use more efficient acts like this one, and though there are a lot of intriguing bands putting together hybrid sounds and experimental concepts in 2020, I myself can’t help but fall in love with a group as committed to keeping the spirit of old school rock alive as JD & the RetroRyders are.