Preview: French Kicks

Tomorrow night should be a no-brainer. French Kicks, a band I’ve wanted to see come to Iowa City for some time now, is finally going to be rolling through town as a part of their current tour. So if you’re a usual Physical Challenge regular, then you need to be ponying up the 10 bucks (8 if you go get your ticket today) so that you can be rocking out with the New York quartet upstairs all night, because you know this is going to be a good one. The band’s recent EP, Covers, features four unreleased tracks by classic artists, allowing the band to put their own spin on a sound that’s heavily influenced their own work. There is no cover of “Shout at the Devil,” to be sure.

French Kicks came to rise in the early 2000s at the same time as the Walkmen, both gaining acclaim of their music that set out not to replicate the Strokesian garage rock of the day. The rise of the Walkmen and French Kicks has often showed a parallel ever since they first toured together early in their career and as they both initially recorded for small New York label Startime. In recent years, the Walkmen have received slightly more critical praise and renown, a lot of which (and this is no diss to the Walkmen) is still residual from the massive success of “The Rat,” a single that’s now 5 years old. French Kicks never had that single song to catapult them out of the indie rock fog of the 2000s, but they’ve established a solid and consistent career. Their signing with Vagrant for 2006’s Two Thousand coincided with the era when Vagrant branched out from the post-hardcore demographic and brought in a small stable of solid indie artists with crossover appeal: the Hold Steady, the Futureheads, the French Kicks, and Eels, among others. They last released a full-length, the underrated Swimming, in 2008. New local band Sarah Mannix and the Wandering Bears, who I have not seen yet, open the show.

Download: French Kicks - Said So What

Check out the sweet new video for Swimming track “Abandon” here on Stereogum.

Who: French Kicks with Sarah Mannix and the Wandering Bears
When: Thursday April 23, 9pm
Where: Picador
How Much: $8adv/$10day of

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