Within the first few seconds of the driving, jet-propulsed opener “Rocket,” listeners are taken far off their reservations by Rozwell Kid’s maiden, self-titled LP. The name is more than just a moniker taken by West Virginia-native Jordan Hudkins, known otherwise as the drummer for celebrated rock outfit The Demon Beat. It’s a stance -- a refusal to not take oneself too seriously yet never letting you mistake playfulness for a lack of sincerity. According to Hudkins, the idea behind the act is “to create the kind of music I love listening to, release it into the wild, and hope it finds an audience who can relate to my passion for thick, noisy power-pop.”
And his efforts have not gone unnoticed. Rozwell Kid’s fuzz-filled hooks and unique brand of introspection have garnered attention from publications like The Boston Phoenix, which named Hudkins as one of the “50 Best New Bands in America” in 2010. It is in this collection of tracks -- an effort years in the making -- that Hudkins reflects on experiences that range from a two-year touring stint with his other rock act, childhood memories and the film “Coneheads.” Recorded by Brian Spragg, mixed and mastered by David Klug, and featuring guest-spots from a host of West Virginia acts including The Demon Beat bandmate Adam Meisterhans, the 10-track record engages with what the Phoenix labels as “heartbroken odes to inner schlubbiness.”
Though more than enough to stand on its own, the album recalls the earlier, glory days of acts like Weezer and the more amplified side of Ben Kweller and Spoon. After recovering from the galvanizing effects of “Rocket,” listeners are taken through the harmony-driven warning “Dylan, Don’t Do It” and a manic, catching trip into “New Mexico.” Subsequent tracks round out a cast of sharp yet hardly-controlled rock tunes that provide surprises like the introduction of a scratching turntablist but still reinforce the undeniable power of hooks and handclaps. Rozwell Kid has arrived, and in his own words, hopes you won't leave because of it.
- Andy Smith