Artist: Thunder Driver
Though the music industry is not a pure meritocracy, I was still surprised not to have heard of Thunder Driver. And I would have remembered it if I had. The band name itself is like manna from heaven. That is, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better name for a band of this caliber channeling late-70's/early-80's American rock.
With fuel to burn, and song titles like "Down N' Dirty," "License to Rock" and "I Want it Wrong," Bart Goforth's vocals are not far off from AC/DC's, but he tempers it with Motorhead so as not to cloy like Brian Johnson. Lyrics in the Kiss tradition are a great fit here: "If you got it right, then I want it wrong"; "What I hunger for / is rotten to the core"; and "Descending on the Legion Hall / a black leather swarm / no one could believe what they saw."
If every song is a structure, then Thunder Driver is building stadiums to fill, with riffs as rebar. Don't believe me? Call up Spotify, fire up the first half-minutes of "The Bronski" and "Invader's Blues," and check out those riffs and fill-laced chord progressions. Or just listen to the intros of "I Want It Wrong" and "Night of the Gypsy," then tell me you wouldn't rather listen to Thunder Driver than haul out your dusty record collection.
So yes, you'll stream Thunder Driver online; but it's not until you make it to that Legion Hall, with the black leather swarm, that you'll truly learn what it means to be a "Thunderhead."
*** The author of this review, Tony Jordan, plays the shime-jishi daiko for the following band: http://youtu.be/tMS73-1kCr8