The Record Company
Sounds Like: The minimalist blues-rock of the Black Keys and the White Stripes, bolstered by a singer unafraid of his falsetto and — finally! — a bass player.
For Fans of: Led Zeppelin, Al Green, Morphine
Why You Should Pay Attention: The Record Company have opened for artists as diverse as Mavis Staples and Social Distortion, made their national TV debut on Conan in March and, following a European tour, will play Bonnaroo in June. After spending his formative years working on his family's Wisconsin dairy farm, the Record Company singer-guitarist Chris Vos (he favors lap steel) hightailed it to Los Angeles, where he bonded with bass player Alex Stiff and drummer Marc Cazorla over a shared love of the blues. But it'd be unfair to label the lean, deliberate three-piece as a simple blues-rock band. The songs on their stomping debut album Give It Back to You (recorded and mixed in Stiff's Los Feliz living room) would be right at home on alt-rock and Americana radio. "We are rock & roll," says Vos. "We're a band for whom the roll matters as much as the rock. The roll is the soul, the gospel, the swing and where it all lives.
They Say: "Soul voices are everything to me. [My falsetto] came from Al Green … and from listening to Prince. Hearing a guy sing like that when I was a young kid, I thought, 'I wonder if I can sing that way too?'" says Vos.
"We try to play our guts out every time we play. You have to take the stage like it's one less time in your life, not one more. Meaning you only get so many times in your life. It may sound kind of morbid, but you have to leave it all up there onstage."
Hear for Yourself: Give It Back to You's lead single "Off the Ground" opens with a snaking bass line before building to a woozy slide-guitar climax with Vos singing "Let the truth be told" in his highest register. Joseph Hudak