Image from 12 stones.com
12 Stones are:
Paul McCoy – Vocals
Eric Weaver – Guitar
Aaron Gainer – Drums
Justin Rimer - Guitar
DJ Stange - Bass
Lisa, at Wind-up Records, sent me the CD, Anthem For the Underdog, recorded by Louisiana band, 12 Stones. Immediately, they had two strikes against them: a) I do not like their name. Is it a weight reference? Does it mean something, anything? (Yes, yes. Apparently it is a Christian religious nod to the Old Testament) and b) the first CD sent was damaged, skipping half way through the first song (sadly, it took me a couple of minutes to even recognize that the song was skipping in my car’s CD player which did not bode well for this review.)
Lisa sent a replacement CD and I gave it a couple of listens. Annoyingly, I loved the songs - to the point of verging on ‘raving’ about the band to friends. The songs Anthem for the Underdog and Arms of a Stranger are brilliant. It Was You is the first song off the CD the band is actively publicizing - but not my first choice, or even fifth...
Assuming that I had gone ‘soft’ upon listening to too many wet-behind-the-ears, keen promotional band CDs, I passed it on to Ian, my second set of ears. Looking embarrassed, he came into my office and reluctantly confessed that the CD was really, really good. How good? I enquired. Uhm, Billy Talent good. Ian and I are used to picking apart everything wrong with a CD, so this discovery was out of our comfort realm.
Ian and I continued to discuss this oddity with interest and surprise. This is the third release from a band who have done quite well, given that they have largely marketed themselves - another coup for myspace.com. Anthem for the Underdog is an outstanding effort. 12 Stones’ songwriting has a Nickelback sensibility - not too simplistic (nor insulting our intelligence) and it has hooks galore. One listen through and these songs stick with you like overcooked spaghetti. Sure it is formulaic, but it works! And how!
Combine: Hinder, Story of the Year, Nickelback, Three Days Grace, Billy Talent, Finger 11, and Pearl Jam; combine in a large pot and stir. Voilá - 12 Stones.
I apologize for repeating this statement in almost every CD review, but I stand by the observation that if a CD can hold at least three great songs, then it is money well spent. 12 Stones has recorded six great songs out of the eleven they chose to release.
That is beyond impressive and well worth you opening your wallet to invest in a CD (and not the itunes, please). Come on - invest in some cover art and liner notes. Support your up and coming bands.
12 Stones’ Songs Christine recommends:
Anthem for the Underdog
It was You
This Dark Day
Arms of a Stranger
Okay. Now, what are we going to do about their name...?