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The Bangkok Five

Posted in MusicWorld on April 18, 2006

When was the last time some indie phenom didn’t leave you feeling cheated? When a band’s sense of urgency paled in comparison to the impact and vibe of their infectious songs? When the swagger and delivery of a frontman was actually a by-product of inspiration and charisma instead of a substitute for it?

On their upcoming Execution Style/Universal release, Who’s Gonna Take Us Alive?, the Bangkok Five prove that they are more than mere contenders along for the ride. Hailing from Hollywood, the Bangkok Five learned early on to ditch the white belt ethos of their Silver Lake siblings; the whole “Look at me, I’m not trying, I’m so ironic” thing.  

Armed with this deep reverence for their D.I.Y. predecessors and willingness to embrace current technologies, tB5 released their 10 the Hard Way EP in the spring of 2005.  “The best thing about doing it yourself is you don’t have to apologize for it. People either vibe it or they don’t,” says lead guitarist Holcolm Ks. 

The Bangkok Five backed up their self release with a solid five month tour of America, which they booked themselves on MySpace. “This band is all we have, we gave up apartments, cars and every other responsibility that got in the way of us doing this full time. There was no tour support. Every night was a fight to eat, pay for gas and find a place to crash… Intrinsically, the people who came to our gigs felt this. Nightly we would hear how touched they felt by our performances and our death or glory commitment,” says vocalist Frost.

Holcomb Ks.’s riffs are the sonic equivalent of candy flipping. Don’t ask, just say, “Thank you, sir; may I have another?” And did we mention vocalist Frost? Witnessing him, is seeing James Brown and Tina Turner’s bastard love child hopped up on Spanish Fly. Frost’s soaring vocals paired with the mighty tB5 rhythm section’s throbbing floor tom beats and distorted baselines is sure to cement Who’s Gonna Take Us Alive? as a permanent staple in strip clubs nationwide.

Singer Frost’s DJ background is evident on songs like “Karmakazi” and “Spread Eagle.”  “I found that more and more of the kids I was spinning for wanted hip shaking rock jams instead of the tried and true electronic stuff I grew up with,” says Frost.  “I had had a lot of experience with early punk and garage rock through my older brother and sister so serving it up wasn’t a problem. Besides, bands like Interpol and Yeah Yeah Yeahs were clearing the way for a new type of dance music…this revitalized the dance floor, my DJ performances and brought me to fully comprehend this band’s relevance,” says Frost. 

In the last year the Bangkok Five has shared stages with Peaches, Hot Hot Heat, Mooney Suzuki, (International) Noise Conspiracy, River City Rebels, Zeke, The Bronx, Danko Jones, Young Heart Attack, and had the honor of playing the U.K.’s Download Festival with the Stooges, Linkin Park and Metallica. When asked why they are doing this, the band will tell you they want to address the new electronic generation. “From personal blogs to online diaries, our worlds expand and converge every second of every day.”

They quote the title song of Who’s Gonna take Us Alive?: “We got MySpace chicks in all their favorite positions; each one’s a star in her own indiscretions; we got Suicide Girls from all 50 states; who know the teaches of Peaches and the bangs of Betty Page…”

“We wanna be the soundtrack of the ‘Rainbow Field Party’ generation.”

What’s that you ask? The answer’s at the fingertips of anyone who wants to know. And speaking of the field parties, tB5’s “Rainbow Field Party 2005-2006” national tour in support of their self-released 10 the Hard Way EP and their upcoming Who’s Gonna Take Us Alive? full-length CD will continue throughout 2006.