The Black List

It’s 106 miles to Detroit. You’ve got a full tank of gas, a half a pack of cigarettes and a Black List CD.

Hit it.

Detroit’s The Black List has been at times described as punk, indie rock and straightforward, good time rock and roll. Sure, they’re all of those things, but the best way to describe their sound is that if you had to do some very aggressive, very fast driving to do, this is the soundtrack you’d want to do it to.

The driving rhythms and relentless guitars range from punch-you-in-the-face aggressive to lullaby melodic, but are always overwhelmingly powerful. It all makes for a sound that knocks you on your ass and pulls you closer at the same time.

Although much of their music is pretty frills-free, it’s nowhere near simple.

Formed in 2006, Jim (vocals, guitar), Mike (bass, backing vocals), Dave (guitar) and Tim (drums) and baptized in the fire of Detroit’s rock scene, the gentlemen of the Black List draw on influences like Descendents, Sonic Youth, Fugazi, Nirvana and Black Flag.

It’s not all about the blue collar work ethic and no-frills sound, though. If you dig a little deeper you’ll find complexities not found in most rock and punk outfits.

“I’ve got multiple personalities when it comes to music,” Jim said. “I’m influenced as much by Paul McCartney as I am Iggy Pop.”

It all makes for a sound in their recording and energy in their live shows that is infectious. Although it will have you pumping your fist, it’s about more than angst.

“It’s not all about aggression anymore,” Jim said. “It’s still there, it’s just not the focus.”

With a new record due out in the spring and a more mature sound, the guys have learned to pick their spots, getting up in your face where it will have the most impact and pulling back when necessary.

“[The new stuff is] going to sound the way it should,” Jim said. “The songwriting is a little more developed. I feel like this is what I always wanted it to sound like.”

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