Arctic Monkeys

Arctic Monkeys

The Soft Pack

Wed, April 11, 2012

7:00 pm

The Glass House

Pomona, CA

$35.00

Arctic Monkeys
Arctic Monkeys
"By distilling the sounds of Franz Ferdinand, the Clash, the Strokes, and the Libertines into a hybrid of swaggering indie rock and danceable neo-punk, Arctic Monkeys became one of the U.K.'s biggest bands of the new millennium. Their meteoric rise began in 2005, when the teenagers fielded offers from major labels and drew a sold-out crowd to the London Astoria, using little more than a self-released EP as bait. Several months later, Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not became the fastest-selling debut album in British history, entrenching Arctic Monkeys in the same circle as multi-platinum acts like Oasis and Blur.
Frontman Alex Turner and guitarist Jamie Cook began their music careers in 2001, when the friends both received guitars for Christmas. Two years later, they began performing shows around their native Sheffield with drummer Matt Helders and bassist Andy Nicholson, two fellow students at Stocksbridge High School. A series of demo recordings followed, and Arctic Monkeys' audience swelled as fans circulated those recordings via the Internet. The musicians soon found themselves at the center of a growing media circus, with such outlets as BBC Radio examining the band's music and mounting hype.
By distributing their homemade material on the Internet, Arctic Monkeys were able to build a sizable fan base without the help of a record label, effectively circumventing the usual road to superstardom. They continued to buck tradition by signing with Domino Records in 2005, eschewing a major label's budget for Domino's D.I.Y. cred and hip roster (which also included Franz Ferdinand, a touchstone for the band's sound). The smart moves paid off as Arctic Monkeys' first two singles -- "I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor" and "When the Sun Goes Down" -- both topped the U.K. charts. Critical reception was similarly favorable, but few could have predicted the whirlwind success of the band's debut album, which ousted Oasis' Definitely Maybe as the fastest-selling debut in British history (a record that was broken one year later by Leona Lewis' Spirit). Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not sold 363,735 copies during its first week alone, transforming Arctic Monkeys from underground stars into mainstream figures.
Arctic Monkeys' debut sold approximately 300,000 total copies in America -- enough to warrant more media coverage, but notably less than the album's British sales during its first week alone. Nevertheless, their success continued as they released a spring EP, Who the F**k Are Arctic Monkeys, and prepared for a stateside tour. Temporary bassist Nick O'Malley was brought aboard for the band's American shows, while a fatigued Nicholson stayed at home. Nicholson then announced his official departure when the band returned home in June 2006, and O'Malley remained with Arctic Monkeys as a permanent member. That fall, the guys received the 2006 Mercury Prize and donated the accompanying money to an undisclosed charity. Additional accolades included Best British Breakthrough Act at the Brit Awards and Best New Band at the NME Awards. NME also made a bold assertion by deeming the band's debut one of the Top Five British albums ever released.
Released in April 2007, Favourite Worst Nightmare updated Arctic Monkeys' sound with louder instruments and faster tempos. The bandmates had recorded the sophomore album quickly, wishing to return to the road as soon as possible, and the speedy turnaround between records helped maintain the band's popularity at home. Favourite Worst Nightmare sold 85,000 copies during its first day of release, and all 12 tracks entered the Top 200 of the U.K. singles charts. As Alex Turner briefly turned his attention to a side project, the Last Shadow Puppets, Arctic Monkeys received another Mercury Prize nomination and took home two titles at the 2008 Brit Awards. Recording sessions for a third album commenced in early 2008 and lasted throughout the year, with producers James Ford (who previously worked with Turner on the Last Shadow Puppets' album) and Josh Homme (frontman of Queens of the Stone Age) adding some newfound heft to the band's sound. Meanwhile, Arctic Monkeys released a concert album entitled At the Apollo -- with accompanying video footage captured on 35mm film -- before unveiling Humbug in August 2009.
Humbug went platinum in the U.K. but failed to produce a Top Ten hit, with "Crying Lightning" peaking at number 12 and "Cornerstone" topping out at 94. The band hit the road that February, kicking off a multi-leg tour that ran through the rest of the year. After playing another handful of shows in early 2010, the guys took a short hiatus before reconvening with James Ford for their fourth album. Sessions began that fall, and the resulting Suck It and See arrived in spring 2011. Meanwhile, Turner also wrote music for a Richard Ayoade film, Submarine, whose soundtrack doubled as the frontman's first solo release." - Andrew Leahey, AllMusicGuide
The Soft Pack
The Soft Pack
"The Soft Pack? Like, cigarettes?"

Well, no...not quite. The Soft Pack are a group of Southern Californian gentlemen looking to make a racket that lies somewhere in-between post-punk and post-Warren Zevon. How would you describe their music? Ask the guys themselves, and they might have simply said "rock 'n roll" at the time. Labels are boring though; onto the good stuff:

Starting in 2007, with Matt Lamkin (guitar/lead vox) and Matty McLoughlin (lead guitar) taking the helm, the band started a buzz early on while playing house parties, dive bars, and anywhere else possible in San Diego. By the following year, David Lantzman (Bass), and Brian Hill (Drums) had joined, rounding out the line-up and keeping things tidy. The guys spent a lot of time hanging out in the van that year, listening to way too much Steely Dan when nobody else at the party would hang out with them. In search of day jobs and a change of scenery, they moved to Los Angeles. Then things started picking up more and more. Plans were hatched, records were pressed, many tours were played, band names were switched, and their lives got quite busy for quite a while.

2010 was the group's last major statement, with the release of The Soft Pack (Kemado, produced by Eli Janney) full-length. Singles like "Answer to Yourself" and "C'mon" helped them gain wider attention. They spent much of that year on tour, playing with Kurt Vile & the Violaters, Male Bonding, Nodzzz, just to name a few. They appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman--followed by many enthusiastic phone calls to parents. A handful of trips overseas to Europe and Australia happened. Then they came home...life had become a blur. It was time to slow down a bit. They started working out, going to bed earlier, eating their vegetables, and now here they stand...a little older, with a few more wrinkles on the brain.

Since that time, they have been locked away without much sunlight, toiling and writing, and doing their damnedest to focus on writing the best follow-up they can. Choosing to travel down the self-produced road this time around, they are determined more than ever to create exactly the sort of record that they would buy themselves. This is indeed good news. While tinges of the fuzzy, garage-y element remains, the overall sound has expanded to "practice the weird", as Lamkin once said. Their collection of guitar pedals has grown. They like to switch instruments. They like to buy drum machines and listen to disco. They really like Funkadelic and Sly Stone. Only some of them still like to work out though.

The new album, Strapped, is due in September, 2012 on Mexican Summer. Things have been quiet for the time being, but for The Soft Pack, this feels like a new beginning. They can hardly wait to make a racket; get quite busy again.

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Venue Information:
The Glass House
200 W. Second St
Pomona, CA, 91766
http://www.theglasshouse.us/