Seattle, WA, September 12 – Down North lead vocalist Anthony Briscoe leans into a song like his life depended on it, a veritable force of nature who channels the spirit of legendary showmen like James Brown, Michael Jackson and Sam Cooke (not to mention arena-rock strutters like David Lee Roth and Steven Tyler). His crack bandmates in the Seattle-based band — guitarist Nick Quiller’s fiery psychedelic blues-rock riffs, drummer Conrad Real’s muscular, balls-to-the-wall pounding and bassist Brandon Storms’ rock-solid slap bottom – create a thoroughly modern hybrid of arena-rock bombast crossed with soul revue danceability. The hefty Briscoe is light on his feet – thanks to years of training in ballet and modern dance.
Down North has just made five songs from its new release, No Retreat, Vol. 1, available for streaming at all major sites. The band also debuts their “Stupid Man” music video which is at once an impassioned response to our current self-motivated political climate and a plea for all to take advantage of their right to vote, as it calls out everyone from rapper Kanye West to former New York City Mayor (and Trump attorney) Rudy Giuliani’s infamous line, “Truth isn’t always truth,” in referring to one of the President’s pronouncements.
“Stupid Man” and its accompanying video is singer/songwriter Anthony Briscoe’s attempt to make sense of our current political climate, and his sense of wonderment at the mass ignorance that allowed the election of Donald Trump, complete with a montage of images over the past two years. Those news clips range from the torch-bearing Charlottesville march to the appearance of their good friend (and fellow music artist) Joy Villa in her pro-Trump “Make America Great Again” Grammy dress, from the Klan’s David Dukes extolling Trump’s virtues to an unnamed voter who calls the President a “loudmouth,” then says he’ll pull the lever for him anyway.
“This is a very personal song for me,” says Briscoe, whose stated goal is for people to make their voices heard by exercising their democratic duty. “It’s about people voting on narrow selfish interests based on a single issue. Has our society gotten so bad that no one cares about how those choices will affect the rest of us? Like the lyrics say, ‘It’s up to you and me.'”
Other highlights include “Heartbreaker,” whose music video was popularized through Afropunk and features local guitarist Jabrille (Jimmy James) Williams from the True Loves. There’s a ska-reggae feel to “Stupid Man,” while in “Hollywood,” Briscoe takes full aim at the town’s casting couch tradition in the wake of the #MeToo movement. No Retreat, Vol. 1 is just the first of a series of subsequent Down North release in the months to come, its title is a tribute to the band’s take-no-prisoners attitude. “For this band, there is no turning back, no plan B”
The band has toured nationally with acts like Gym Class Heroes and have been featured on KEXP Live. The band looks forward to starting 2019 on the Legends of Rock Cruise, with other notable acts like The Who’s Roger Daltrey and Buddy Holly.
“We didn’t want to release anything without a great team and the right people to hook it up,” explains Briscoe. “We want to reach the widest possible audience with our message.”
And they won’t give up until they get there. No Retreat… no surrender. Down North are coming to conquer.