Until this week I didn’t know that one of the best music stories of the past year was happening just over the mountains. The music documentary A Band Called Death chronicled the brief career of an amazingly talented rock band that just couldn’t catch a break in the 1970s. Death was a Detroit band playing proto-punk and metal in the early 70s. They had chops and writing ability, but the music industry didn’t know what to do with black guys playing challenging, forward-looking hard rock in an increasingly subdivided radio scene.
Cut to Burlington, Vermont. The brothers from Death had moved to New England decades ago and Bobby Hackney’s sons are taking up the family mantle. Rough Francis started out covering Death’s material, but quickly started to write their own sons. It’s a great blend of American hardcore and grunge with that insistent, Stooges-like rock from Motor City. I think Rough Francis is going places, and I’ll be seeing them in Montpelier in a few weeks. You can hear their EP on Bandcamp.