On a given night in midtown Memphis one can find any number of bands. Amidst the dim lights, heat and discordant blend of conversation emerging from venues like the Hi Tone, the Buccaneer Lounge and Bar DKDC there has been a particular group distinguishing itself over the course of the last year or so as one of the best up and coming rock acts in the city. Brash yet thoughtful, with sweet guitars and pummeling, yet danceable, Memphis-Style rhythm. There isn't quite anything like them in Memphis or elsewhere. If you happen to be one of those who haven’t yet heard James and the Ultrasounds, or seen them live.. strap in.
The four piece rock and roll band is the brainchild of James Godwin, a familiar face in the Memphis music scene, having been raised in the Bluff City, playing bass in a number of bands since his teens. His time in experimental rock outfit The New Mary Jane offered him an opportunity to develop what now seems like a telepathic understanding with current UltraSounds drummer John Argroves as well as to collaborate with influential Grifters duo David Shouse and Scott Taylor.
In the ensuing years Godwin again teamed with Argroves to form a powerful rhythm section for Goner Records legend Jack Oblivian as well as Memphis by way of Knoxville roots rock singer/guitarist John Paul Keith, whose 2013 Roland Janes-produced release Memphis, Circa 3 A.M. has been lauded as an instant classic.
More recently, the band released a brand new 7" on a new Memphis label, Misspent Records. The 7" includes a brand new James and the UltraSounds track, the hook heavy space-punk jam “Robot Love” on the A side, with the B side featuring a crunching version of The Cramps’ “TV Set,” from their Phillips Recording cut and Alex Chilton-produced "Songs the Lord Taught Us." Look for new releases on both Madjack and Misspent in the coming months, including a special, short-run European press of two early James and The Ultrasounds cuts, "Apocalyptic Love," and "I Get The Shakes."
With these offerings in store for the coming months, James and the UltraSounds are well poised to be one of the big breakout bands of 2016 and beyond. One way or another, be sure to keep an eye on this band
See James and the Ultrasounds - Monday 14 March @ The Shacklewell Arms
The Dirty Water Club started in October 1996 in the Tufnell Park neighbourhood of north London, at a venue called The Boston. The club's name is derived from The Standells' 1966 hit 'Dirty Water' which glorifies the US city of Boston, Massachusetts.
Past performers have included The White Stripes (voted by Q Magazine as one of the top 10 gigs of all time, Mojo one of the top 30 and Kerrang one of the top 100!), The Gories, NOBUNNY, Kid Congo Powers (from the Cramps), The Fleshtones, Billy Childish, Radio Birdman, The Dirtbombs, Thee Michelle Gun Elephant, The 18.104.22.168's, The Horrors and The Brian Jonestown Massacre to name just a few. The club has also seen some original '60s performers, such as The Monks, ? and the Mysterians, Kim Fowley, Sky Saxon, GONN, Michael Davis of the MC5 and more grace its stage.
Their in-house record label, Dirty Water Records, is one of the leading garage/beat/(real) R&B labels in the world.