Two songs into the latest record from Farmington Hill and you’ll catch onto a lyrical theme of defiance, stubbornness and acceptance of your own flaws with a reluctance to change. It’s the perfect attitude for the characters in the songs on this rock record, and the perfect attitude for songs from this band, a band that boldly boasts a punk-rock sneer and sound while exploring outlaw-country narratives. It’s a brash, catchy and aggressive record: slick yet raw, musically- and lyrically-intelligent as it bleeds the energy of punk along with the rowdiness of alternative country. Farmington Hill will celebrate the release of “More Rock than Eagle Block” on Saturday night with a performance at El Rancho.
The songs come from frontmen Paul Iudice and Erik Nordstrom, veterans of the Durango rock scene whose other and past bands have created classic hardcore punk, garage rock and country via an exploration of weird and wonderful, dark and depressing tales of life.
“I think there’s a lot of tongue and cheek with both our songs; we’re about the same age, we grew up with the ’80s punk scene, and have a lot of similar influences,” Nordstrom said. “I know I sometimes take a point of view that’s not necessarily my own, but we can maybe, on some level, relate to that defiant attitude that things are going to work out however they work out.” Nordstrom was quick to add in a dry, sarcastic manner that those themes could also be the result of being middle-aged in a rock band, with perhaps a personal air of slight anger at the world.
There have been a handful of changes to Farmington Hill since Nordstrom and Iudice first came together playing songs that didn’t fit into their other bands. A record was recorded and released, this record was recorded, and the original rhythm section left. Mary Hess joined on bass, Logan Miller took over on drums, local musician and producer Dan Szabo put the finishing touches on this project and Farmington Hill rocks on. It’s all a partnership and in-band relationship that lap-steel player Kelly Rogers proudly calls “extraordinary.” It shows when you’re watching the band; work went into this record, a lot of it. Yet the music, their brand of cow-punk and country rock (heavier on the rock), comes together naturally. It’s reflected in the audible and visual fun witnessed when listening to or watching the band.
“Bubba and I started this thing a long time ago not really wanting it to necessarily be a band. Then Kelly got involved; now we have a different rhythm section, and its been unique because we didn’t start off as part of anything,” Nordstrom said. “It’s been neat to see the camaraderie, the brotherhood, the sisterhood, and I do feel like it’s an evolving project, which is very inspiring to be part of. It’s been an organic process; for me it’s been great to be part of a project that has a natural energy.”
Bryant Liggett is a freelance writer and KDUR station manager. [email protected]