On a given night in midtown Memphis one can find any number of bands. Amidst the dim lights, heat and discordant blend of conversation emerging from venues like the Hi Tone, the Buccaneer Lounge and Bar DKDC there has been a particular group distinguishing itself over the course of the last year or so as one of the best up and coming rock acts in the city. Brash yet thoughtful, with sweet guitars and pummeling, yet danceable, Memphis-Style rhythm. There isn’t quite anything like them in Memphis or elsewhere. If you happen to be one of those who haven’t yet heard James and the Ultrasounds, or seen them live.. strap in.
The four piece rock and roll band is the brainchild of James Godwin, a familiar face in the Memphis music scene, having been raised in the Bluff City, playing bass in a number of bands since his teens. His time in experimental rock outfit The New Mary Jane offered him an opportunity to develop what now seems like a telepathic understanding with current UltraSounds drummer John Argroves as well as to collaborate with influential Grifters duo David Shouseand Scott Taylor.
In the ensuing years Godwin again teamed with Argroves to form a powerful rhythm section for Goner Records legend Jack Oblivian as well as Memphis by way of Knoxville roots rock singer/guitarist John Paul Keith, whose 2013 Roland Janes-produced release Memphis, Circa 3 A.M. has been lauded as an instant classic.
More recently, the band released a brand new 7″ on a new Memphis label, Misspent Records. The 7″ includes a brand new James and the UltraSounds track, the hook heavy space-punk jam “Robot Love” on the A side, with the B side featuring a crunching version of The Cramps’ “TV Set,” from their Phillips Recording cut and Alex Chilton-produced “Songs the Lord Taught Us.” Look for new releases on both Madjack and Misspent in the coming months, including a special, short-run European press of two early James and The Ultrasounds cuts, “Apocalyptic Love,” and “I Get The Shakes.”
With these offerings in store for the coming months, James and the UltraSounds are well poised to be one of the big breakout bands of 2016 and beyond. One way or another, be sure to keep an eye on this band
See James and the Ultrasounds – Monday 14 March @ The Shacklewell Arms