This Presidents’ Day, Reader, we celebrate the protectors of liberty + freedom with Philly band, Free Energy.
Long-time friends and Red Wing, Minnesota natives Scott Wells (top left) + Paul Sprangers (bottom left) first played together in lo-fi indie band, Hockey Night, one of the last bands to put out an album on the now-defunct, venerable label, Lookout! Records. After that band folded, Wells + Sprangers signed to NYC’s DFA Records off of homemade demos they recorded for their new, much more mellow project, Free Energy.
Though most would rightfully describe Free Energy as a bit of a throwback to some solid 70’s era—I’ll say it—Freedom Rock, I’d be hard-pressed to call the band a knock-off or joke act in good faith. Sit down and listen to their music and it’s hard not to be pulled in by their accessible pop hooks and singer, Paul Sprangers’ smooth, easy vocals. Once you get used to the mad riffage and nod to the days of bellbottoms + sideburns, you may even hear a resemblance to pop masters, Phoenix.
After signing to DFA, Wells + Sprangers made a move from the Midwest to Philly and filled out the band but, as Sprangers says, the band’s sound still pulls significantly from the slower pace of non-city life. “Being from the Midwest definitely informed our aesthetic. Growing up in a small town with radio and MTV—then later discovering indie rock and punk rock—really shaped the kind of music we make now. So, I had the same kind of unabashed love for Phil Collins as I did for Pavement—I don’t think I ever grew out of that. It probably shows.”
Give their superb song “Dance All Night” a listen below and then check out their get-rich-quick/lose-your-way/get-poor-quick/rob-a-convenience-store/find-your-way-burn-your-clothes-and-go-swimmin’ video for “Girls Want Rock”. Both tracks are from Love Sign, the band’s sophomore album, just released on their own imprint, Free Energy Records. You can listen to + purchase the album or individual tracks via the band’s bandcamp page or, if you want the CD or vinyl, through their store at Impact Merch.
And frontman, Sprangers, hopes you like it:
“When I think of great songs by Peter Gabriel, or Tom Petty, I hear the them almost like hymns. They speak to something greater than ourselves. Even the simplest rock music—songs about partying and girls—can be transcendental,” says Sprangers. “I hope people can relate to what we do on some level. I hope kids like it. I hope moms like it. I don’t care about being cool, I just want to connect. I want people to know that no matter what, life is good, and every experience is meaningful. Maybe that’s weird. But we definitely feel like weirdos and we always have…maybe we always will, which is totally fine.“
Hey man, is that Free Energy? Well turn it up, man!