The Riot Before are from Richmond, VA and ply their trade in the odd amalgamation of DIY punk rock and roots music that is becoming more and more prevalent in this day and age. The whole thing is a slippery slope for me. Uncle Tupelo tread that same path over a decade before and I will unequivocally say that those records are untouchable. The same can be said for Rank and File and The True Believers and even Lucero. The new school of stuff like Against Me!, Fake Problems and Gaslight Anthem are a considerably more dodgy proposition.
AM! never caught on for me. I thought their whole 'let's assert how punk we are on the DVD, then sign to the same A&R we mocked the whole time immediately afterward' stunt showed their true colors, but they are purported to be solid enough people. Fake Problems I never really cared for one way or the other. It's Gaslight Anthem that kind of stick in my craw. Granted, a bit of my antipathy lies in some previous editorial ridiculousness, but most of my antipathy lies in the ridiculous forced earnestness of the whole thing. I don't want to hear a 24 year old kid singing Sam Cooke in between songs and I certainly don't want to hear a third-rate Lucero record called The 59 Sound recorded in ProTools. If they could just settle in to being a band that made music, rather than recording a million YouTube videos and trying to be Springsteen, they might be tolerable, but at this point, I wish they would just go Taking Back Sunday and rise to the Hot Topic/Warped circuit so I don't have to see them cluttering up my shows.
The Riot Before have considerably less pretense to them and come out that much stronger for it. It's pretty obvious that they like themselves some Lucero, but I don't trust people that don't, so that's an obvious step in the right direction. Brett is a little too much like him vocally. but I can see the band getting a little bit more of their own voice as they get more road time under their belt. From the opening title track, though, it's pretty obvious that The Riot Before are a band that is that much closer to carving out their own identity. They put in a hell of a lot of road time, and every release seems to have stronger and stronger songs on it. You Can't Dance Sexy To Punk Rock may very well be their best song yet. That's definitely the song that's going to cross them over. And well it should. Check out the track on their social networking interface here or just cut to the damn chase and buy Fists Buried In Pockets here. I assume you can buy from their label, Say-10 Records, but I'm not sure. Contact Say-10 here and keep up with The Riot Before's web presence here.