By Terrah Baker
After meeting with three members of Fayetteville-based band Lot 44, I took their CD out of the finely-printed case and popped it in to my car’s CD player. The music began with unmistakable rock riffs and a male voice that emanates rock musicians of the past — a slight vibrato and a slant toward distressed emotional expression.
It was like listening to an unrefined and simpler version of Breaking Benjamin mixed with Foo Fighters, and since the current four members have only been together and writing music since June, it’s to be expected. It wasn’t until later that I realized the true draw of Lot 44, and what has taken them to number five of the Fayetteville rock charts on Reverbnation — which are decided using a formula made up of online social media attention — and allowed them to sell more than 175 copies of their album “Do What I want” before the official release date. The lyrics of their song “Drowning” kept playing through my head, along with its musical chorus line that sounded like many songs from the early 2000s and 1990s played on mainstream rock stations.
“I try to tell myself that it’s not over … That everything I loved about you can’t be wrong. The price I pay to feel this way, is it worth it? Deny myself the truth that you’re already gone.” Around and around, until I had to play the CD again just to hear something else.
In many ways catchy choruses with simple rock riffs and relatable lyrics makes one think this is just another band to fall between the cracks. But the accessibility of the music and the comfort of its sound to a rock fan born in the era of Pearl Jam and Soundgarden are what make me think this band has a chance in the mainstream.
It’s not because they are what is currently being released, but because the radio scene has been missing a fresh name in rock n’ roll in the last few years, and these guys seem to have what it takes — approachability, style and a structured approach to the music industry. The band said they’re hoping by setting their standard above what’s currently played on the radio — with its take over by poppy-Disney stars and meaningless lyrics — that listeners, and a record label, will notice their marketability as a band that can bring back the basics of rock n’ roll to a generation that has lost touch with what it means.
And in some ways, they’re right. Songs from Gotye, that are obviously indie-emo, and singer/songwriters like Rob Thomas have taken over the Top 100 Rock & Roll Billboard charts. Once again having a good-ol’ rock band to fill in the missing pieces can’t be a bad thing. What’s most impressive about this band, though, is that their sense of the music industry is so strong with barely five months under their shared belt. Hell, three of the current members won the Fayetteville Battle of the Bands after having only been jamming together a short time, and with only three songs written. “Luckily, they only let you play three songs,” said guitarist and lead vocalist Preston Keith.
The album, from what the band has said, and the people I have played it for — recorded in August in a small studio in Cabot after an online pre-order fundraiser — is being received especially well by the 20 and under age group. Their prediction is this is exactly what the industry could use right now, especially from a local group that recognizes the nostalgia of rock and what it can mean to the masses.
“Something that I’ve noticed is that anyone who hears our albums can find a song they love. We wanted to create songs that have a timeless aspect about them — grooves and beats that you can tap your toe to, and choruses that catch your ear and you find yourself singing them the next day and getting them stuck in your head,” Keith said.
Well … congratulations Lot 44, you’ve accomplished that, and we look forward to see what you accomplish next. The band will hold an album release party on Oct. 18 at The Sound Warehouse in Fayetteville. To learn more about their music or to order merchandise, visit their website at lot44music.com.