Trainwreck Riders latest album The Perch out on CD & LP
Listen to Safety Of A Back
check for tour dates here
CD The Perch
LP w/ bonus CD Ltd. ed.
CD Lonely Road Revival
The members of Trainwreck Riders have been spreading their punk-tinged country rock like barbecue fire through the back yards, train stations, parks and warehouses of San Francisco since they became a band in the early aughts. In The Perch, the follow-up to their 2006 debut, Lonely Road Revival, these city boys may avoid the straightforward twang and honky-tonk of traditional country, but that doesn’t make them shy about raiding its barn.
On their new album The Perch, San Francisco’s Trainwreck Riders, who have been labeled "cowpunk", meld a wide variety of genres and sounds. A track like "Three To The Clouds" seems like it could easily serve as a backtrack to Jay Farrar’s vocals, which is understandable considering the band is often compared to Uncle Tupelo. There is certainly a familiarity about Trainwreck Riders’ sound, who have cited the Meat Puppets and Dinosaur Jr. as influences, but it’s a good familiarity comparable to the smell of your childhood home or the feel of your favorite t-shirt. Rather than being blatantly derivative, the band draws from the past to create their own brand of country-tinged indie-rock. The guitars and airy vocals on "Don’t You Know" are reminiscent of Band Of Horses. "Chug Along" could easily be a Modest Mouse b-side. While the band may navigate familiar soundscapes, they infuse their own sense of originality on The Perch. This is an impressive sophomore release from an evolving young band. – Capt. Obvious
While Uncle Tupelo created the template for much of what would follow in the alt country sweepstakes, too many bands latched onto the wistful high-lonesome sound of March 16-20, 1992 and Anodyne while overlooking the coffee-and-beer-fueled overdrive that dominated No Depression and Still Feel Gone. San Francisco’s Trainwreck Riders don’t appear to have been spending much time listening to the Uncle Tupelo back catalog, but they’ve unwittingly learned a lesson best gleaned from examining their full body of work — the twangy and resonant stuff works best when it’s faced off against something that rocks with a solid head of energy. Trainwreck Riders’ third album, The Perch, sways back and forth between introverted midtempo numbers and more abandoned and energetic rockers that suggest a three-way jam session between Neil Young, Dinosaur Jr., and the Meat Puppets. Vocalist Pete Frauenfelder’s reedy but expressive voice communicates a powerful sincerity on the more measured stuff, but he makes himself heard with unexpected force when the band cranks it up, and he and Andrew Kerwin’s guitars weave together well. Drummer Steve Kerwin knows how to make this band cruise at any speed, and Forrest Lawrence’s bass work is subtle and in the pocket. These tales of city boys with the 21st century country blues don’t tell us much that’s likely to seem new to anyone, but the tone is always sincere and effective, like journal entries from a life whose ups and downs are clearly recognizable, and the rough, sweet tone of the music rhymes with their messages. If anything, The Perch is so straightforward it wouldn’t have hurt if the Trainwreck Riders had gussied up their music a bit more in the studio, but there’s a lot to be said for a band that errs on the side of modesty in an era of ProTools overload, and their virtues are on clear display on this album. – Mark Deming / All Music Guide
Emanating from the homeless capital of America, also known as San Francisco, the four-piece – comprising one set of brothers and one set of others – finally get around to giving us their follow-up to 2006 début Lonely Road Revival.
Safety Of A Back asserts itself as a prime example of Trainwreck Riders aural explosives, displaying this groups ability to craft intense rock music that conforms to inventive melodic textures and welcome accents of mild dissonance. – Stereo Subversion
Like its two predecessors, Perch is nothing less than a rousing, carousing brouhaha of an album, an apt reflection of the Trainwreck Rider’s confluence of pop, punk and alt country influences. Being from San Francisco, the band’s freewheeling spirit would seem a given, but their upstart insurgence puts them in the same realms as Green on Red, Uncle Tupelo, the Mekons and Rank and File, bands that fostered a down home delivery upended by rowdy, reckless abandon. In this case however, the band seems better able to channel that unfettered energy into something more tuneful, showing they’ve made concessions to more melodic constraints.
The ever-evolving Trainwreck Riders are perfect for that alternative e-music-fed crowd – the kind of boundless listener who is okay with the idea of a country/punk album. The kind of fan who can embrace twangy lap-steel riffs and rockabilly fiddles layered over a heavy-handed barrage of drums has just struck gold. TWR has that unique ability to make their songs sound simultaneously slow and fast, which is no easy feat. The single “Safety of a Back” really sums up where they are at musically – relaxed, reflective, and romantic.
San Fran’s Trainwreck Riders put on several different hats on their sophomore record The Perch. The record is full of a hybrid folk, country, bluesy rock and cow-punk that is much like the styles of the Meat Puppets, Uncle Tupelo, or the Mekons. It is this careful but yet ever changing delivery that makes The Perch seem fresh around every corner and the Trainwreck Riders supply enough memorable melodies to make each spin rewarding! – The Fire Note
San Francisco based four-piece The Trainwreck Riders do the punk-country thing as good as any band going and better than most. The band’s high-energy sound borrows equally from both genres, but instead of coming off as punk kids trying too hard in cowboy hats, these boys resemble pissed off farmers brandishing pitchforks. – Jesse D. Stanek / Omaha Weekly Reader
If you’ve ever seen the Riders’ incendiary live shows, which tilt toward the punk side of the band’s country-punk-rock, this drowsy song from the band’s new album The Perch is initially something of a shocker. Like the band’s louder efforts, though, Pete Fraudenfelder’s voice carries a sincerity that makes lines like "I’ve been working my fingers down to the bone" feel real and bleak. – KQED Arts
San Francisco’s Trainwreck Riders new album The Perch was released back in May, but I waited until now to find out about it so this makes it an instant classic. Well, maybe not yet but their excellent hybrid country-rock-with-a-hint-of-punk sound sure sounds like it could be headed in that direction. The four-piece band exhibits complete musical diversity from frantic to sublime and Pete Frauenfelder’s voice handles the spectrum quite well. – Local Vertical
It looks like the boys from San Francisco went and got themselves a little bit of a polish and shine. It may seem out of character for a band that has been labeled as “cowpunk,” but it’s not like Trainwreck Riders have gone all American Idol on us.
San Francisco band the Trainwreck Riders reveal their roots in both classic country music and ’80s punk and alt-rock on their second album, THE PERCH. While they never indulge in overt country leanings, there’s an undeniable twang to their sound, and the the guitars play off each other in a manner not dissimilar to that of bluegrass pickers. In the end, THE PERCH winds up suggesting a marriage of Crazy Horse and mid-’80s rockers like the Long Ryders, which is a nice perch to occupy. – Finders records
They’ve already proved they can deliver hit tender ballads and country rocking barn burners, so slow movers like the fiddle laced Everything and Livin’ Daylight – complete with eerie backing textures – or rockers like I Saw Your Eyes and Upon The Losing End should be no surprise to any fan, but at times on this release they fit more into a straight up alternative vibe. They’ve cast aside a lot of the more traditional sounds and in their place is a crisper, more (excuse the horrible word choice here) urban feel.
‘The Perch’ is a nice collection of rollicking tunes, splashed with some accordians and the country tinge they do enjoy. I found the single ‘Safety of a Back’ to be one helluva tune, all over the place yet somehow coming together in a nice cohesive package. It’s in right contrast to ‘Chug Along’ which, well, chugs along at a languorous pace.
Trainwreck Riders’ latest new song is ideal for the next time temperatures rise and you don’t feel like moving too quickly. Coming soon after the first mp3 from their upcoming album The Perch, this one’s another winner with a vibe that’s wistful and melancholic. – The Bay Bridged
This San Francisco trio travels the same circles as lo-fi minimalists Two Gallants, but the Riders country leanings take them closer to 1980s bands like Blood on the Saddle, Rank and File, the Meat Puppets, and Replacements. The album opens with thrashing rhythm guitar and drums, but by track two the throbbing bass is accompanied by melodically picked hooks. By track three the vocals take on a country twang, and on track four there’s lap steel. The band-written songs are filled with heartbreaks that won’t let go, frustrated misunderstandings, and late-night drunks, and the music is rendered as strung-out ballads, cowpunk waltzes and amped-up two-steps. Most of the songs stare into unfading memories of past emotional train wrecks, and even when there’s an inkling of change, such as the wished-for dissolution of “Livin’ Daylight,” it’s viewed with trepidation. The band retains their guitar, bass and drums punk-rock urgency even as guests add dobro, fiddle and accordion, and the high edginess of Pete Frauenfelder’s vocals makes the lamentation all the more powerful. – Hyperbolium
For the most part, this album is a modern cowpunk record that brings to mind obvious influences from this genre including the Meat Puppets and the Mekons. Part rock, but never over the top, the Trainwreck Riders are a pretty safe, middle-of-the-road bet that never gets too out of control on the volume and tempo end of things. Not a face-melter at all mind you, The Perch, though chocked full of momentary lapses with Dobro, lap steel, and fiddle, can best be described as an alternative country rock album with a sound that is highly similar to that of Built to Spill and Modest Mouse. – Andrew Bryant / DiscExchange
Based on this free download: Safety Of A Back it seems the guys are experimenting with a new sound. The traditional elements are still there, ie. fiddle and lap steel, but we’re hearing a more straightforward alternative approach. – The Owl Mag
While the Trainwreck Riders have rightfully earned comparisons to bands like Modest Mouse, Built to Spill, and friends and tour mates, Two Gallants, "Chug Along," finds the band operating in the decidedly more folksy realm of the worn down and beat down rambler. In the context of "Chug Along," and its restless and aching guitar lines and steady, but weary drumming, chugging could refer to reaching the bottom of the bottle, reaching the end of the road, or finding yourself at the end of the line with an empty bottle. None of those options may sound particularly appealing for someone who’s seen better days, but, like all ramblers, this one retains that small glimmer of hope in his mantra, "We could still chug along." It’s a hope that keeps him moving to the next stop, and the next bottle, and the next day, and that’s what rambling is all about. – I Rock Cleveland
"Chug Along," one of those pleasurably meandering trips through a familiar countryside. – anyone’s guess
It’s no secret that I like a little bit of twang in my music, so knowing that it should not be a surprise to hear that I am a huge fan of Trainwreck Riders. The San Francisco alt-country rockers, who list influences as diverse as Meat Puppets and Creedence Clearwater Revival, are all set to release their third record, The Perch, on may 12th on Alive Records. In anticipation of that release, they recently leaked the second track from the album, "Chug Along" just last week. The song is pretty much what you have come to expect from Trainwreck Riders, offering up a heavy dose of traditional country songwriting and musicianship backed by a classic punk beat. Overall the band is probably more country that alt-country, but given the predominance of the punk influence they become a difficult act to categorize, though it is easy to pick out the elements that are present which include country, folk, punk, blues and rockabilly. Regardless of what you want to call them though, the important thing to know is that they are making some great music that you should probably be listening to. – Citizen Dick
This splendidly named band is fittingly a mess, a trainwreck in the best since of the word. Like a locomotive bound for destruction around the next bend, when these guys work up a good head of steam they charge ahead, doors flapping, sparks flying till the wheels fall off and they plunge through the "bridge is out" sign and into the abyss. Other times they can kick back and play nice country/folk/punk ballads like it was Saturday night on the porch passing around the intoxicators and showing off for the crickets. This is great and oughta put a smile on the sourest of pusses not to mention a lilt in their step. – The Big Takeover
The young men in Trainwreck Riders are equally adept with the weepy balladry of "Christmas Time Blues" and "To the Grave", ragged around the edges excursions consisting of cracked vocals, acoustic guitar, and violin, as they are with rockers like "Old Timey Feeling" (Credence Clearwater Revival beaten to within an inch of its life) and "Your Sisters and Your Sisters’ Friends" (think Long Ryders and early Uncle Tupelo). If Lonely Road Revival doesn’t charm you by simple virtue of its energy and passion alone, you may be too far down the road of cynicism to be saved. But if you can still remember how great an imperfect country/rock record made by a band dripping with potential and energy can be, then Lonely Road Revival is a refreshing slap in the face. – Peter Funk / PopMatters
It would be a shame if people let the "Americana" tag scare them away from this low-key charmer. In fact, the package art, a bit of fiddle-even one of the song titles-suggests a label even further removed from the indie rock crowd (or mainstream country fans, for that matter): "old timey." For too many that phrase is restricted to white-bearded geezers with banjo in one hand and skillet in the other. But there’s a spirit of music made for sheer joy in Lonely Road Revival that could’ve come straight out of The Bristol Sessions. – John Hagelston / Rhino
It doesn’t seem appropriate that Tranwreck Riders will likely get lumped into the alt-country taxonomy. Sure, the telecaster pluck and scrappy punk spirit calls to mind the genre’s forbearers – certainly the distorted smear on "Find Your Way Home" suggests vintage Uncle Tupelo. But considering the color-by-numbers landscape of alt-country, the Riders deserve better. The band’s invigorated vantage on the punk-country crossroads distinguishes it; after opening "In the Wake of it All" with standard-issue riffs and Highway 61 ethos ("It’s late at night behind the wheel … ") guitarist Andrew Kerwin suddenly evokes the snarl of Richard Hell’s Robert Quine. The looping motifs and wobbly vocals of "Through Unto The End" borrows from ’90s post-rock. Simpler tunes like "Christmas Time Blues" are equally refreshing, and when on the chorus singer Pete Frauenfelde begs, "Take that noose and set me loose," he may as well be speaking about musical tags as much as anything else. – Nate Cavalieri / SF Weekly
In the airless underground of the Lower East Side’s Cake Shop, Trainwreck Riders and Illinois shared the stage Monday evening, picking up where their stint at SXSW left off. Trainwreck Riders brought an element of San Francisco jam to their alt-country stylings, and within one song were able to channel a dozen moods and hopscotch through just as many genres. Fans hit the low ceiling along with the beat as "Through Till the End" and "Your Sister and Your Sister’s Friend" both got the crowd skanking and shaking to the punk hoedown. The cinder block that braced the mic for the bass drum refused to stay upright and by the end of the set, frontman Pete Frauenfelder decided it was better suited as a jumping post. – Spin live review
Trainwreck Riders play twisted Americana, with a hint of madness and lots of goodtime energy, that ensures the songs rock along with vigour and purpose. Highlights include the wonderful "Your Sisters And Your Sisters Friends" filled with great guitar, the Johnny Cash stomp of "Wine Stains" or the violin soaked ballad "To The Grave". Fans of The Band Or Buffalo Springfield should check this album out. – Simon Lewis / Terrascope Rumbles
Trainwreck Riders rule for anyone who loves country rock but can’t bear Two Gallants’ literary lyrics and extended tomes. The two bands are close friends and frequent tourmates (hell, they got Tasered and arrested together by Houston police), but the likenesses end there. The Riders are all spit and whiskey, playing music cleverly — and tellingly — dubbed cowpunk. Lonely Road Revival could soundtrack a moshpit or a hoedown; both Southern soul and showy solos have their place, but neither emerges victorious. – East Bay Express
Open a paper, dial up a pundit, and you’d believe this country was so polarized that even the Berlin Wall was more easily crossed than the cultural chasm that now divides this nation. So wide is the divide it’s swallowed whole regions and even engulfed music, with genres now color-coded red or blue. Punk, of course, is the latter, country the former. Trainwreck Riders make a nonsense of these notions, being as they are a rocking in their chair, guitar-pickin’ on the porch, non-political punk band from San Francisco. Stick that in your Pew poll and smoke it. Their debut album Lonely Road Revival harkens back to a golden age of Americana, when folk, country and blues musically intertwined (even if the musicians themselves rarely did). The band draw inspiration from all three, particularly Andrew Kerwin, whose finger-lickin’ good guitar-pickin’ is the soul of Trainwreck Riders’ sound. With twangy country, blues, rockabilly, and pop-inflected passages that bring to mind the Byrds or even the Beatles, Kerwin effortlessly picks his way through them all, spinning out melodies and riffs, never missing a beat or putting a finger wrong. Singer/rhythm guitarist Pete Frauenfelder is an equally adept frontman, whose folksy vocals gives all the songs a unique flavor, even the driving, punk-studded numbers like "Find Your Way Home," which work as an equal showcase for the band’s fabulous rhythm section. Lyrically lovelorn, nerves raw, and emotions muddled, Trainwreck Riders songs ramble down the briar-filled paths of confused interpersonal relationships. The lyrics may be downbeat, but the music is not, careening headlong into country hardcore (!), brawling rockabilly, and punchy punk blues. But for every exhilarating, slam-bang number, there’s a corresponding one with a much more laid-back rhythm, easygoing atmosphere and at times, even dreamy aura. This is Americana for a new America, and as train wrecks go, this one is a beauty. – Jo-Ann Greene / AMG
From the old-time country goodness of Wine Stains, the big bass lines of In & Out of Love, to the harmonized balladry of To the Grave you feel at home listening to the record. Thoughts of leaving home for the open road and heartache run deep, as is expected, but let’s be honest. That’s why you listen to this type of music. It’s the subtle risks and underlying energy the band delivers that is so refreshing and, for lack of a better way to describe it, kick-ass. Not a note on this record seems too polished or too rehearsed and what could be perceived as a lack of focus, is actually why it’s so good. They keep you guessing, like tossing in a huge face-melting solo in the middle of In the Wake of it All or unleashing beautiful strings on the sincere ballad, To the Grave, but never leave you unsatisfied. – Herohill
At the forefront of the band is lead singer and rhythm guitarist Pete Fraudenfelder and lead guitarist Andrew Kerwin. Kerwin effortlessly picks and plucks his way throughout the album, never missing a beat throughout the numerous tempo changes. Fraudenfelder’s delivery and down-on-your luck lyrics work perfectly with the frantic energy brought forth by the music, and his harmoninizing with Kerwin will have you reminiscing of Tweedy and Farrar. Highlights include "Your Sisters And Your Sisters Friends," "Christmas Time Blues" and "In and Out Of Love". – Hearya
"In and Out of Love" combines the shuffling rhythm of an old time country song with rock and roll guitar pushed out front in the mix. Add in a little steel guitar, and the right amount of twang, and you’ve got one helluva rocker. "Christmas Time Blues" is a bar room tear jerker in the traditional sense. "Wine Stains" is a good ole country rocker that makes me want to get all liquored up and stomp my feet as my drink sloshes over its glass. Finally, consider "Find Your Way Home" and "Alemony Wildlife Refuge, " two fine slabs of cowboy punk with the down home fiddle track, "Rocks At Your Window" sandwiched in the middle. It takes some skills to pull that sequence off flawlessly. Sh*t, it takes serious musical skills to pull of this album, and those Trainwreck Rider boys sure damn have it. – I Rock Cleveland
I am a Britpop kid. One of my favorite bands is Radiohead, and I read the NME religiously. No doubt I like the melodic guitars and the soft vocal wailing and the piano and all that jazz – sometimes literally, sometimes figuratively. Yet, every so often there is a band that comes my way that challenges me to think outside my box and surprises me by hooking my ears into infectious tunes. Trainwreck Riders is one of the those bands. They are both obnoxious and rhythmic, abrasive and slow, but never letting an ounce of skill and talent spill out unnecessarily. On their full length LP Lonely Road Revival, the guys in Trainwreck crank up the dual guitars for a country twang inspired folk anthem and succeed at making you tap your toes as well. "Wine Stains" offers a simple but powerful guitar hook, an anthem well suited for Saturday afternoons and chilling with a beer in one hand, while "Find Your Way Home" is a raucous song needed to be fully experienced at high volume levels for maximum appreciation. Trainwreck can also compose the background music for a stroll through your local park, such as "Christmas Time Blues," which pulls some harmonica and acoustic guitar action. My favorite track, "In & Out Of Love," delivers a softer sound to the listener, with singers Peter Frauenfelder and Andrew Kerwin harmonizing together about the concept and pitfalls of relationships and girls. – Jenn Hernandez / The Tripwire