Times like these call for the Foo Fighters

Rock ‘n’ roll radio has gotten a dose of good heavy rock in the past few months, and you have Dave Grohl to thank for it. The “”the”” bands bring plenty of energy and attitude, but a resurgence of Zeppelin-esque, metal-infused pop rock has surfaced, thankfully free of backwards red caps and Aaron Lewis. Grohl’s three back-to-back No. 1 rock singles with Nirvana, Queens of the Stone Age and the Foo Fighters show that there will always be a place for music that is both unabashedly loud and musically informed. Expect to see plenty of others in their late teens and early twenties singing along to old favorites and discovering new classics when the Foo Fighters play RIMAC Arena on April 15.

Courtesy of www.nastylittleman.com

Arguably one of rock’s best drummers, Grohl’s technically flawless drumming massacre is not something to be treated lightly. Whether he is beating the shit out of his drums or infusing songs with subtle energy (he guests on Cat Power’s excellent new record, You Are Free), Grohl knows what got him to where he is. With the Foo Fighters, he finally gets to sing his own songs, something which he undoubtedly has earned the right to do.

Foo Fighters had a slew of hits across three albums throughout the mid to late ’90s. Songs like “”Big Me,”” “”Learn to Fly”” and the beloved “”Everlong”” won over fans and critics with loud guitars, sweet melodies and accompanying hilarious music videos. A stirring acoustic rendition of “”Everlong”” even popped up on the radio to tide over fans, much to the delight of swooning women everywhere. But as the new millennium dawned and rock ‘n’ roll veered off into all kinds of unfortunate directions, little was heard of Grohl and company.

To be fair, the Foos had their share of hardships, namely constant lineup changes, the impossible shadow of Nirvana, drummer Taylor Hawkins’s drug problems and opposition from the likes of Courtney Love. Grohl pushed back the release of their latest album to work on Queens of the Stone Age’s Songs for the Deaf, which he called the best album he’d ever worked on. At times, it looked as if the Foo Fighters might be finished, destined to be a footnote in ’90s rock history.

Thankfully, Grohl and his fellow Foos, drummer Hawkins, co-founding member and bassist Nate Mendel and new guitarist Chris Shiflett, poured themselves into the recording of their latest release, One By One. Essentially re-recorded after Grohl’s stint with the Queens, One By One is the Foo’s heaviest recording to date, both musically and emotionally. Songs like “”All My Life”” and “”Low”” burn with blistering loudness, and Grohl’s now familiar alternating hushed and screamed vocals. They still churn out their share of poppy soon-to-be-hits like “”Have it All”” and “”Times Like These,”” the latter currently scaling the modern rock charts. However, these songs are no fickle “”Everlong”” rewrites (which they realistically could have done and still sold records). “”Times Like These”” could be the Foos best single to date, with its ’80s derived guitar work and inspirational lyrics ringing with honesty and feeling.

One By One also veers into more adventurous territory for the Foos. Folksy guitars bring a sensitive undercurrent to otherwise heavy “”Halo.”” Guest guitarist Brian May of Queen (not to be confused with Queens of the Stone Age) offers amazing guitar harmonies to the bittersweet “”Tired of You.”” The vocal harmonies are just as sweet, taking what could have been an uninteresting Foo Fighters rewrite to exciting melodic heights in “”Lonely as You.”” The lavish instrumentation of the album’s closer, “”Come Back,”” ends on a positive note, clocking in at almost eight minutes as one of the Foo’s longest but most fulfilling songs.

The album has its flaws, such as that it is slightly overproduced, and there is not as much variance in guitar sound as there was in their earlier records. Occasionally, they borrow a little too much from the Queens of the Stone Age, the pounding piano on “”Overdrive”” and highly distorted guitars on “”Low”” recalling moments of Songs for the Deaf. It’s a good thing that the Foos are able to outweigh their lack of musical innovation with a healthy dose of pop-rock hooks.

Rolling Stone calls it their best album, and while it is quite excellent, this writer will always have a soft spot for their sophomore album, The Colour and the Shape (the one with “”Everlong””).

Opening for the Foo Fighters are new modern-rock sensations the Transplants. On their self-titled debut, drummer Travis Barker (blink-182), multi-instrumentalist Tim Armstrong (Rancid) and rapper/lyricist Rob Aston craft energetic rap-rock ditties in the vein of the Beastie Boys. Rather than sounding like another Linkin Park-wannabe (a decidedly redundant term), the Transplants sound a little like the Clash at their poppiest. Their single, the fast-paced, new-wavey “”Diamonds and Guns,”” has been inescapable for the past few months. A new single, “”DJ DJ,”” is also beginning to gain attention. The band is reminiscent of the Gorillaz from a couple years back in that both bands take the rap-rock genre and infuse it with something it is usually missing: fun. Before you rock out to the Foo Fighters, make sure to catch the Transplants, and don’t hesitate to dance; it’s supposed to be fun.