The Famous | Light, Sweet Crude

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Rock: Roots Rock Country: Alt-Country Moods: Featuring Guitar
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Light, Sweet Crude

by The Famous

Girded by the raw sounds of 50s-era country, but imbued with the post-punk ferocity of The Pixies, The Famous forge powerful tunes combining the intense desperation of X, the sincere melancholy of Hank Williams Sr. and the psychobilly of Rev. Horton Heat
Genre: Rock: Roots Rock
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Son Of The Snake
3:33 $0.99
2. It's Done
3:03 $0.99
3. Tear
3:19 $0.99
4. True Believer
4:23 $0.99
5. Midway
3:35 $0.99
6. Lost
3:51 $0.99
7. Better Things
3:53 $0.99
8. Overtime
2:49 $0.99
9. Nothing
2:14 $0.99
10. Get You Back
3:43 $0.99
11. Deconstruction Worker
3:09 $0.99
12. Frumpy
2:35 $0.99
13. I Wonder
3:54 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Formed in San Francisco late 2003, The Famous are an indie-rock/americana act whose moods range from squalling and raucous to heartfelt and sparse - all bound by a common thread of emotional intensity and arresting showmanship.

Girded by the raw sounds of '50s-era country, but imbued with the spirit of The Pixies and other post-punk pioneers, The Famous forge powerful tunes that combine the intense desperation of X, the sincere melancholy of Hank Williams Sr. and the interstellar psychobilly of the Reverend Horton Heat.

Part carnival barker, part honky-tonk crooner, vocalist Laurence Scott demands your attention with an unmistakable smoky growl straight from the heart of his native Texas. With notebooks full of abstract expressionism and wordplay, given life through an inspired and unbridled stage presence, Laurence thinks in lyrics and lives for performance.

While Van Halen and Led Zeppelin boiled in his teenage blood, guitarist Victor Barclay spit and swore an eternal hatred for country music - that is until a good buddy turned him onto Johnny Cash's Live at Folsom Prison. Soon after, Vic spent years in the woodshed soaking up the roots of country and rockabilly giants such as Scotty Moore, Jimmy Bryant and Roy Buchanan. On stage, Vic's deadpan one-liners provide the perfect foil for Laurence's manic No Depression.

Backed by longtime collaborator Chris Fruhauf on the drums and native Texan G.D. Hensley (ex- Diesel Boy) on the bass, the Famous are spreading the gospel with their incendiary live show to music lovers across the Bay Area and beyond. Their debut album Light, Sweet Crude, is an unapologetically diverse collection of 13 songs recorded at their own studio and mixed by Aaron Prellwitz (Death Cab For Cutie, Red House Painters) at Tiny Telephone.


"The Famous plays no-frills country music of the Bakersfield Sound variety (that is, the old-fashioned Buck Owens style, a genre now known as "classic country") mixed up with some good old indie rock... practically everyone who's listened to the band's cheese-free, slightly punkified hillbilly jangle thinks it's the greatest."
-- SF Weekly, December 13, 2004

***** pure love for "The Famous"...
...whom I just heard for the first time last week. AMAZING that just knocked my socks off.

Their lead singer, Laurence Scott, is unbelievable. Funny as hell, super-energized, and with a deep smoky drawl that weakened my knees as it stopped me in my tracks. That voice made me completely rethink my fear of all things Texas (if not of Texan politicans, who still scare me to death). It made me rethink my ethical issues with cloning, because if I could, I would steal his DNA in a hertbeat to create a cyborg alarm clock just so his voice could be the first thing that I hear, every morning, for the remainder of my days.

Their lead guitarist makes me think that maybe God ain't such a bad guy if he had the good sense to create Victor Barclay. I mean, the man co-founded legendary surf-punks The Aquamen AND studied under Jim Campilongo. His playing can either light a bonfire under your boots or slip the dress strap off your shoulder without trying. His mellower deadpan is well-partnered with Scott's revivalist energy, and the salty-sweet duo makes even a hardcore monogamist like myself think twice.

Their songs are inspired not just by the usual love, betrayal, & revenge, but also the existentialist reveries of white collar automatons and the childhood memories of second-rate carnivals. They ended their set with a blues-cum-psychobilly version of "Purple Rain" that made me, for a split second, see that there is no difference between a growly bass note hitting your root chakra, the menace behind the twinkle in the laughing buddha's eye, and the slow-burn of that first sip of bourbon as it slides its way down your long-awaiting gullet.



to write a review

The Owl Mag

This audacious album is both out of control and expertly crafted.
The Famous' debut release Light, Sweet, Crude masterfully showcases the roots of rock 'n' roll. Distilled from the grains of traditional country but infused with power chords and scorching lead guitar, this audacious album is both out of control and expertly crafted.

Equal parts haunting, overdriven, and succinctly heartfelt, the album's tales are steeped in literate Americana from top to bottom. It slyly navigates a twisted path with ghostly riffs, unshakeable melancholy, and pondered revenge...before ultimately ending up on an open desert highway with a full tank of high octane. And a score to settle.

It's around this time that Light, Sweet, Crude finishes off the Jack Daniels, smashes the bottle, and lights up a cigarette. So throw on a pair of jeans, grab your own bottle and call shotgun. Be warned though, it may already be taken.
--Joel Doss


frigin fantastic
The album light sweet crude by the Famous is definetly a must have in your collection. I got the cd last weekened, and it has not left my cd player since. The songs are extreemly creative and the raw talent is very noticable. Even my girlfriends 4 year old sings along with the music.

Carl Strong

Original, non-standard, musically great, enjoyable
Light, Sweet Crude starts out with a quirky, evocative name for the album and just gets better from there. The songs are the kind that you discover on an obscure radio station and then wonder where it has been all your life. The instrumental portion is excellent and ambitious and the vocal expresses the lyrics wonderfully. Light, Sweet Crude screams ORIGINAL, AMERICAN, FRESH, and, above all, ENJOYABLE. When does the next CD come out?

Shotgun Reviews

Reveals more about American life than any of Bruce Springsteen's last few albums
If history is going to repeat itself, then it may as well do it all the way.
Back in the ‘80s when new wave music was one of three well-circulated rock & roll styles alongside AOR and heavy metal, there was a flashback roots-oriented movement with bands such as Jason & the Scorchers and Green On Red courageously showing off their love for country. Now that new wave has returned with Franz Ferdinand, the Killers, and the Bravery and the Darkness are fitting themselves in tight spandex and doing histrionic AC/DC imitations, it’s perfect timing for roots-rock to be resuscitated. Now called “Americana,” it’s actually a genre that’s been bubbling underground since the early ‘90s and welcomed again by college-radio stations.

The Famous are perhaps the most creative of this league of not-so-extraordinary Southern gentlemen; it helps that they aren’t from the South as the group isn’t afraid to give traditional country a good-natured spanking. In fact, the opening cut “Son of the Snake” doesn’t even sound like Americana. Judging from that, I thought the cover art and pictures were possibly a joke to reel in unsuspecting customers not expecting a Big Black CD. But it’s not a gag; these guys have country in their blood, and they are damn good at bending its clichés.

Vocalist-guitarist Laurence Scott can write some hilariously twisted lyrics like on “Midway” and “Get You Back”; humor is best served black, after all. Those songs epitomize the Famous’ unrestrained expression of artistic freedom. They’re not trying to be adored by the masses, just being themselves, and “Midway” reveals more about American life than any of Bruce Springsteen’s last few albums. Light, Sweet Crude has its share of twang and Southern accents; more importantly, it is filled with heart. And even when it’s broken, the Famous continue to beat with relentless enthusiasm and endless joy. I reckon these boys will be Famous one day.

Dennis from Scotland

the Famous, they bloody well should be
What a brilliant cd, grade A, 5 stars, about all i can say is when,s the next one coming out the Famous they bloody well should be.

West Coast Performer

...shatters the pastoral tedium of alt-country
Like an Old West duel between ‘50s country and ‘90s indie rock, Light, Sweet Crude shatters the pastoral tedium of alt-country. The Famous arrange a standoff between the Pixies in a cowboy hat and Hank Williams on speed, six-shooters loaded with punk and rockabilly, and whaddya know - that bastard alt-country genre gets shot square in the forehead, with a stray bullet no less.

Band members Laurence Scott and Victor Barclay draw a fine line in the sand with Light, Sweet Crude - a line to cross for all those who can’t stand Wilco and wish X were still around to save West Coast punk. On the back cover of the album, Scott and Barclay pose like a pair of young Johnny Cashes, while the inside sleeve is lined with photos of old cars, a vintage clothing store, and an oil derrick. It’s a meeting of the Wild West and the modern West if ever there was one.

Scott’s vocals are quirky, uninhibited, and coarse, yet when he wants to he can croon like a whiskey-chuggin’ angel. But Barley’s instrumental contributions make this album what it is - he knows how to play and he knows what to play, both on electric guitar and stand-up bass. He keeps the music intriguing by abandoning the comfortable conventions of genre - except for the hackneyed ballads “Tear” and “Overtime.”

For a local indie debut, this album’s got one heck of a roster of collaborators and contributors behind it. Light, Sweet Crude was recorded at John Vanderslice’s Tiny Telephone studio and mixed by Aaron Prellwitz (Neil Young, Death Cab for Cutie, Red House Painters). Before joining the Famous, lead vocalist Scott sang with Frank Black. Lead guitarist Barclay produced and recorded early incarnations of local groups Vue and Oranger and was a founding member of the Aquamen. But big names don’t mean a thing here, and they should soon become a footnote to the Famous story. After all, Scott and Barclay were the only ones to walk away from the duel without a bullet in the arse.
—Nate Seltenrich

Debbie Trompeter

Although I don\'t usually listen to this kind of music, I was VERY IMPRESSED with the energy, and passion behind it!! I think the FAMOUS is a band that is enjoyed LIVE in concert!! And if they ever get down to the South Bay area, you KNOW I\'ll be there!! P.S. Laurence is HOT!!


crack for the ears
i feel like frickin' lewis and clark: discovering a kick ass thing before the rest of everyone else clues in. at the very least - give these guys a listen - especially tracks 1, 2, 5, 9, 10 - they rock - no pretensions - just good original music

Impact Press

The Famous combines the trueness of country music with the attitude of southern
Laurence Scott and Victor Barclay are The Famous, a band that combines the trueness of country music with the attitude of southern rock. Elements of blues and Americana are present during this album of solid, up-tempo songs that pick apart a man's past, his relationships, and the paybacks along the way. Backup musicians do their part to add the majority of drums and bass guitar, to help create an album with highlights such as the pulsating "True Believer" and "Lost." (J.C. Carnahan)

All Music Guide

They may not be Americana, but the Famous are an American original.
The Americana tag really doesn't mesh with the Famous, at least on their debut album, Light, Sweet Crude. Although their twang roots are obvious on a handful of tracks ("Tear," "Overtime"), the Famous blow up expectations with the metallic crunch of the first cut, "Son of the Snake." While there's certainly a little bit of country in the Famous' rock & roll, this Bay Area band simply uses its roots influences as a launching pad. Laurence Scott (vocals, guitar) recalls Michael Stipe in Lifes Rich Pageant-period R.E.M. until he explodes into his ferocious psycho hillbilly howl, revealing the inspiration of the Pixies' Frank Black. Many of the songs are catapulted by Scott's wildman persona and guitarist Victor Barclay's Southern-flavored punk licks, especially the boisterous "True Believer" and "Get You Back," a pulp novel of either revenge or imminent reconciliation. Scott's words are much darker and twisted than one would expect from anything labeled as Americana. In "Lost," Scott sings, "I set myself on fire/I cut off all of my skin." Again, the Pixies, who were never hesitant in writing about self-mutilation and suicide in painfully graphic ways, are the obvious lyrical role model. The difference is that the Famous are channeling the ghosts of cowboys past, making their grim confessions more shocking in this context. "You never tried so hard/To tear my heart out," Scott croons on "Tear," and one can easily imagine him slumped on a barstool, smoking a cigarette with the clichéd lipstick smear. "Tear" is real country music, wounded singing and cry-in-my-beer sentiments presented without the group's cutting edges. Whether being traditional or iconoclastic, the Famous are successful with both approaches. And they have a sense of humor, too, best exemplified on the stirring surf rock of "Midway." "I'm gonna die unless I get to see the world's smallest horse," warns Scott on "Midway," looking back at his childhood with a demented wink in his eye at a time when there was nothing more important than obtaining a ZZ Top key chain. They may not be Americana, but the Famous are an American original.
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