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Jan 10, 05 at 7:50pmIrish Gamer

Kings of Leon

We've written about some things on this record that we're ashamed of, said things that we wouldn't normally say. We've got some songs about fighting and some songs about loving and some songs about *bleep*ing," says Caleb Followill about the songs on Kings of Leon's new album, Aha Shake Heartbreak. "We're definitely not the same people we were 18 months ago. We've all just grown so, so much and seen so many things," the lead singer says, adding that the band's new songs chronicle "different nights, different stories and different emotions. "

Drummer brother Nathan adds, "On our first album, I'd say about 30 percent of what we were writing about was autobiographical and 70 percent was wishful thinking. We were writing about things we hadn't seen yet. On this album, 90 percent of what we're writing about are things we've experienced, nights we've had. There's still that other ten percent though..."

Kings of Leon's second record, Aha Shake Heartbreak, finds the band—brothers Caleb, Nathan and Jared Followill, and first cousin Matthew Followill—delving deeper than ever into their rich musical rapport and shared personal history to deliver a dozen doses of raw, personally-charged rock. The new band-penned songs reflect the life-changing -- often traumatic --experiences that irrevocably altered the four band members' perspectives during the 18 months that preceded the album's creation. During that time, the band swiftly rose from rural obscurity to bona fide rock stardom overseas—particularly in the U.K., where their 2003 debut Youth & Young Manhood has almost sold double platinum.

While Youth & Young Manhood shook up the musical landscape, introducing a bracing blend of runaway-train energy, pointedly thoughtful lyrical attitude and a remarkably fresh take on traditional guitar-rock dynamics, the new collection marks a wildly impressive leap forward, taking the first album's primal rock into deeper—and unmistakably darker—musical and emotional territory. The upheaval that accompanied the band's rapid rise to heavily-scrutinized international rock stardom is reflected in Aha Shake Heartbreak's original compositions. These haunting, twisted tales compellingly confront the darker side of success, surveying the personal toll of debauchery, overindulgence and fast living. The NME recently observed, "If Youth and Young Manhood was the party, Aha Shake Heartbreak is the hangover."

The material encompasses a broad range of stylistic elements and lyrical moods, from the anthemic, soul-searching "My Generation" rush of "The Bucket" to the pensive, nervous groove of "Slow Nights, So Long" to the swaggering throb of "Taper Jean Girl" to the jittery minimalism of "King of the Rodeo" and the dreamy desolation of "Milk." Throughout the album, the band's unique instrumental chemistry is matched by the emotional gravity of Caleb's distinctively slurred vocals.

The British press has already taken notice of Aha Shake Heartbreak's creative quantum leap. Mojo said the record is "an ultimately outstanding crack at Brokering an accord between spiky noo wave and fuzzy '70s stoner rock", while The Guardian gave it "CD of the week" status and went on to say that the band has "sophistication that outstrips their contemporaries...a vast improvement on Youth & Young Manhood."

Like its predecessor, Aha Shake Heartbreak was recorded with producer Ethan Johns (Ryan Adams, Ben Kweller) at his 3 Crows studio in Los Angeles using the Beatles' old Abbey Road mixing desk. Once again, the band's longtime mentor, noted songwriter/producer Angelo, made additional co-production contributions. The tracks were cut completely live with no overdubs, and the stripped-down approach resulted in punchy, organic performances as well as some affecting moments of intimacy and sensitivity.

"There were things on this record that I wouldn't have been brave enough to do before because I was afraid everybody else would think I was soft," said Caleb. "Anything from yodeling to singing pretty when I wanted to sing pretty...I still bring it when I got to bring it." The singer also kicked a two-pack-a-day cigarette habit in order to expand his vocal range in the studio.

Three of the four Followills were still in their teens when Kings of Leon debuted with the five-song EP Holy Roller Novocaine in February 2003. Youth & Young Manhood followed six months later, winning such early accolades as a four-star review in Rolling Stone, before achieving wholesale international stardom. Admiring critics have often focused on the undiluted purity of Kings of Leon's rural roots. But that purity has, ironically, led some observers to overlook the originality and complexity of the band's music, which draws freely from a multitude of musical traditions while sounding like no one else.

Caleb makes it clear that, despite the outside pressures and expectations that have accompanied the band's rise to prominence, Kings of Leon remain fiercely focused on continuing to create riveting music that's wholly their own. The whirlwind of the band's recent history has tested the Followills' mettle and strengthened their resolve, carrying the four musicians from their sheltered, humble upbringing to the sort of high-profile mythology that's usually reserved for veteran combos.

"We were plucked out of nowhere, and we had a lot of fun and did a lot of crazy shit," the singer notes. "But we've also become more serious about this music and more confident in what we're doing. We're growing, but we're trying not to grow up."

Youth and Young Manhood:
1. Red Morning Light
2. Happy Alone
3. Wasted Time
4. Joe's Head
5. Trani
6. California Waiting
7. Spiral Staircase
8. Molly's Chambers
9. Genius
10. Dusty
11. Holy Roller Novocaine

Aha Shake Heartbreak:
1. Slow Night, So Long
2. King of the Rodeo
3. Taper Jean Girl
4. Pistol of Fire
5. Milk
6. The Bucket
7. Soft
8. Razz
9. Day Old Blues
10. Four Kicks
11. Velvet Snow
12. Rememo

Because of the Times
1. Knocked Up
2. Charmer
3. On Call
4. McFearless
5. Black Thumbnail
6. My Party
7. True Love Way
8. Ragoo
9. Fans
10. The Runner
11. Trunk
12. Camaro
13. Arizona

One of my favourite bands at the minute after I picked up Aha Shake Heartbreak. Favourite tracks are: California Waiting, Genius, Red Morning Light, The Bucket and Milk. I personally think their new album is better then Youth and Young Manhood, but I've heard varied opinions. Anyway, discuss

Thread Recap (last 10 posts from newest to oldest)

Oct 26, 16 at 7:59am
Jabba Overkill

New song out!

Aug 8, 14 at 12:24am

I love their song use somebody i miss this band.

Aug 6, 13 at 12:13pm

go and see them before they've become shit, bloated and stadium rock, pay £35 quid max, then go and see newer bands who are more into it and releasing better music

supersoaker was as bland as i expected. watched talihina sky last night with a friend and just felt a bit upset, they've completely lost it. that gorgeous version of talihina sky at the end will never get old though, incredible

Aug 6, 13 at 8:04am

quote DaveyPoshboy
£100 for a ticket to their Shephard's Bush show this month. One hundred *bleep*ing pound.

Astounded that they would put themselves in the same price bracket as someone like Neil Young, who my dad went to see for maybe £20 or so more at the o2.
I see £71.50 here, including fees. Still ridiculous though. The price of tickets in general have been so inflated just in the past decade really, it's absurd. I'm only going to 2 shows this year, and they've cost about £120 between them. Fair enough, they're quite big shows, but it's part of the reason I've stopped going to gigs as much as I used to.

Aug 3, 13 at 8:37pm

£100 for a ticket to their Shephard's Bush show this month. One hundred *bleep*ing pound.

Astounded that they would put themselves in the same price bracket as someone like Neil Young, who my dad went to see for maybe £20 or so more at the o2.

Jun 24, 13 at 9:31pm

The day they stop playing Sex on Fire and Use Somebody will be the happiest day of my life

They might have to go back to playing smaller venues but *bleep* me it'll be worth it to get rid of the knobs who do *bleep* all for an hour of the show

surely it wasn't just me who notifced how unmoved Caleb looked during those 2 lol

Jun 21, 13 at 9:06am

Aye, Charmer is another one I wish they played! And California Waiting, Revelry...

Jun 21, 13 at 5:39am

Yeah I was pretty bummed they didn't play Charmer but happily took Holly Roller as compensation

I was sat on the side about halfway back and 4 rows from the front of the top tier barrier so had a pretty decent view. Everyone was standing in my bit as well so it was pretty good atmosphere. The end of Pyro was immense with the crowd singing along etc, proper goosebumps moment!

& I'm the same with their new song, quite excited for their new album cos it sounds raw. Supersoaker doesn't sound as rocky but it still sounds more like their earlier stuff than the stuff off OBTN which if fine by me. I don't even hate that album so much as I just don't care for it lol. Cold Desert though >

Jun 20, 13 at 7:22pm

Out September i think Wakaman.

quote DaveyPoshboy
Saw these guys live at the o2 last night

Was immense as always, vocally perfection and they looked like they were up for it a lot. New song was dirty southern rock.. First album style.

Sound glitch during Milk was an epic fail though. Dunno what happened but I have it on video and will upload it soon... 10/10 as always
I too went to that gig. Loved it! Fair play, they are spot on. Brilliant vocals. Bit disappointed they didn't play a few of my faves though. Especially Red Morning Light & King of the Rodeo which are classics in my opinion. Few others as well. But can't really complain, great setlist. I even really liked the songs off their last album, which i wasn't fussed on before hand. Actually, Pyro was one of my faves at the gig.

Where were you? I was sat quite straight on, about 3 rows from the VERY top. Man, that is high indeed. Was sat on the side in the first couple of rows of top tier for Biffy, 2 Guns n Roses gigs and Chili Peppers, i can't believe the difference. It was SO much further away. Still awesome though seeing the whole arena from that view.

The sound glitch was pretty funny, he thought the crowd were cheering because they were being awesome, haha!

Don't know about you but I loved the sound of their new song 'Always The Same/Don't Matter.' Haven't been able to get it out of my head since the gig. Sounds so much like old school Kings of Leon, looking forward to hearing the rest of the album if it's going to be the same.

Here it is for those who haven't heard. This isn't my video, and it's from the night before, but the sound is decent.

Jun 14, 13 at 6:56pm

Still in love with Cold Desert. Any news on when they're gonna release the album?

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