Nothing speaks louder or with more impact for a band or artist than critical praise from fellow musicians. Last week when Halestorm, Adelitas Way and Since October rolled through town, I spent a few moments with members of each band, and one question kept recurring from the those I spoke with–have you heard/checked out New Medicine yet?
I’d heard the name before, but not the music. Listening to Ben Graham (Since October), Keith Wallen (Adelitas Way) and all of Halestorm laud New Medicine, I had high expectations. When they took the stage I was immediately impressed with their intensity and the tightness of their performance. However, it was the music that shook my soul.
New Medicine‘s sound is hard to define. You can find elements of Green Day, Kid Rock, the Beasties, Rage Against the Machine and The Used, but such comparisons are oversimplifications of who they are. What comes through when you listen to and experience this band are the emotions; angst, passion, rage, and perhaps a twisted but hopeful optimism. Aspiration and perspiration, drive and determination. All apt descriptors of this Minneapolis, Minnesota based quartet.
The band morphed from another project, A Verse Unsung, into what is now New Medicine. Frontman Jake Scherer, teamed up with guitarist Dan Garland, bassist Matthew Brady and drummer Ryan Guanzon. New Medicine has more grit, than its previous incarnation.
The heart of New Medicine is the songwriting. Jake is a rabid composer, gifted, and striving to be better with each new song. He spent time in Nashville honing his craft before the band was signed by Photo Finish/Atlantic records. The band have more songs in their hip pocket than many bands write in a career. When the band entered the studio to collaborated with producers Sam Hollander and Dave Katz, better known as S*A*M & Sluggo (Coheed & Cambria, Gym Class Heroes, Katy Perry), Steve Hodge (Michael Jackson, Sting, Psychedelic Furs) and the production team of Bill Stevenson (Rise Against) and Jason Livermore (Puddle of Mudd) they had over 100 songs in hand. The band ultimately chose 14 songs they felt best represented the scope of their debut album, Race You To The Bottom.
The result is one of the year’s best debut albums; heavy, gritty, filled with grooves, attitude, and soaked in melodic sweat. Mixed up in it all is a bit of dark wit and wisdom. There is simply not a bad track on the record, from the tongue-in-cheek romp and circumstance of “Rich Kids,” to the bleeding heart-on-the-sleeve memoir, “Little Sister,” to the feel good punky-pop, rap ‘n roller vibe of “American Wasted.” All the elements you love about a great rock record are here for the listening.
Prior to the release of Race You To The Bottom, the band had already rocked the radio with the iTunes released single “The Takeover.” The album does not come out until September 14th, but the CD’s first single, “Laid” is available now, the video for which can be seen below. You can also get your hands and ears on the album before it’s released from the band at their shows.
I spoke briefly with Jake and Ryan the night of their performance in Boise, Idaho, then caught up with Jake by phone a few days later as the band made a roadside pit-stop in Portland on their way to Seattle. His enthusiasm is contagious, much like the music he and the band bring to the fans each night. We talked about the debut album, songwriting, and working with Meat Loaf.
Listen to our interview in 2 parts below: