The Paper Sons

  • Noisy Planet
  • Noisy Planet
  • Noisy Planet
The Paper Sons deliver spacey and soulful hard rock on their first full-length album, In the Throes....

Due out February 2010 via minusHEAD Records, In the Throes... conjures a new kind of progressive. Cuts like "Blackout" and "Set in Motion" seesaw from hypnotic hooks and swirling melodies to gnashing riffs and pulsating rhythms. Meanwhile, "The Tides" creates a pensive, poignant sonic trip. Fran Dickinson's bass rumbles with a guttural groove, while Dennis Rodriguez pounds out heavy blues beats and Phil Pristia's riffs crash from chaos into clarity. Over this backdrop, singer Tom McCullough bleeds poetic lyrics through an undeniable delivery.

The Paper Sons officially came together in 2007. Tom joined up with Phil, Dennis and Fran who had been playing together since 2003. After only five months of jamming together, they released their Fine Line EP and began to carve out a devoted fan base in Northern California. They followed up Fine Line with the digital release, Underground, in 2008. However, all of this paved the way for In the Throes.

Their new offering seamlessly blends heavy rock grit with classic soul gusto. Tom explains, "I'm a huge soul, R&B and hip hop fan. I've always loved to sing, and soul is a huge part of our sound. It just happens naturally. Every single song is a story as I'm very literal with the lyrics. I always feel like the music comes in at a spiritual level. Specific notes mean certain feelings, and everyone understands those. People can identify these songs with moments in their lives or past experiences. We want our music to help heal."

Songs like "Blackout" definitely have that power. It's a swirling heavy rock track that could stand proudly alongside classic heavy alternative from Deftones or Queens of the Stone Age. "Blackout" will be released on a 7-inch vinyl along with "Catch and Release" in January 2010, and it's the perfect intro to the band's sound. About their style, Phil continues, "I want people to feel the emotions in the music and get close to the songs. We really tried to capture that emotional element first."

The band's live show has garnered the attention of the San Francisco scene, and their presence continues to gain them new fans at every gig. It's because the music and the show are equally honest. "We don't want to sound contrived, and we don't want the music to feel over-thought," says Phil. "Many artists feel like there's a certain creative formula to follow. However, for us, if we're sure it feels right, we bring it to the crowd. I want people to take away a serious side and a fun side—the whole spectrum."

There's also a deep history tied to the band's moniker. Tom goes on, "Fran's a teacher, and he told us about the story of The Paper Sons. After the San Francisco fire of 1906, all of the immigration paperwork got burned, but these Chinese immigrants found a way to get around the system. They used forged paperwork to say they were American sons. This way, folks in San Francisco could find a way for other people to come from China. It's a plain and humble name, and we were all attracted to that. It can mean everything or nothing."

The name is just as universal as The Paper Sons' sound. The album title also perfectly sums up the band's mentality. "In the Throes... means persevering through a state of chaos," says Tom. "At the same time, we never want to take the element of fun out of it. If you want to hear solid some rock n' roll, our music is good for you."

It's impossible not to feel good In the Throes... with The Paper Sons.— Rick Florino
 

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