THE BOTTLE KIDS
"Man oh man does THIS one hit the center of our target...!" — Baby Sue, June 2013
It's quintessential old school power pop ala The Nerves, Paul Collins or The Plimsouls. Wielding an inherently California blend of pop harmonies, swooning melodies, crunchy driving guitars and pleasantly lingering hooks arranged with an auteur's precision, The Bottle Kids offer a soundtrack equally appropriate for an afternoon daydream, a poolside party with your crush or a long drive down the rocky, windy coast. Conceived as the musical vision of frontman/songwriter/producer/engineer Berkeley native, Eric Blakely, The Bottle Kids embody the best of both "then" and "now," combining Blakely's deep roots in early 80's power pop with a keen sense of songwriting and production for a refreshing, innovative and stubbornly irresistible sound.
The Bottle Kids' debut release, Such a Thrill, came out in the summer of 2013 to widespread critical praise. Musoscribe's, Bill Knop, a key voice in contemporary power pop, conveyed a simple yet common theme, "Harmonies meet guitar crunch and the result is as good as the genre gets." Baby Sue listed the album as a highly recommended Top Pick for 2013, with the insightful assessment, "We've been on the lookout for some great music perfect for driving around to yard sales this Spring…and this is IT," while Something Else reviewed it, "high on the scale as one of the greatest debut albums to sail down the street in many moons," noting that, "spirited pop rock, dripping with vintage vestiges in the vein of the Nerves, Paul Collins and Doug Derek and the Hoax are the order of the day here."
For Berkeley-born & raised Blakely, The Bottle Kids represent both a departure and a return to his roots. Blakely cut his musical teeth in the heart of the emerging Bay Area power pop/new wave scene of late 70's/early 80's, recording his first album (1983/Eric Blakely and The Blame) with the late Dave Carpenter of The Greg Kihn Band as producer. He quickly gained an enviable musical pedigree in the genre, performing domestically and abroad with artists such as The Plimsouls, The Rubinoos, Dwight Twilley, Pearl Harbor and the Explosions, Greg Kihn, SVT, Chuck Prophet, Paul Collins' Beat, Wire Train, Bobby Keys, Powell St. John and Stu Cook of Creedence Clearwater revival.
Wanderlust and touring spirited Blakely to LA then Paris and finally Austin, TX in 1989, where he made an equally impressive name for himself as a country/Americana singer/songwriter. The Houston Post was not alone in its praise for his debut CD Uncle John's Farm, calling Blakely "one of the most promising young Austin songwriters." In Austin, Blakely spent two decades honing his craft as a songwriter and performer, recording/producing five albums to critical acclaim, starting his own recording studio (Folk Reel Productions) and touring throughout the United States and Europe with what England's Bucket Full of Brains called his "bright, witty and erudite country-pop songs."
In 2010, Blakely joined with Paul Collins to play lead guitar on his "King Of Power Pop" album, sewing the seed of what he calls "a menacing power pop itch." It was this itch that returned Blakely back to his roots in Berkeley, where after recording The Bottle Kids debut in Austin, he relocated himself and his studio to debut the live incarnation, like a power pop prodigal son. Right here, "back where it all began," the arrangements are clean, with melodies, harmonies and hooks elegantly placed, demonstrating Blakely's evolving expertise as a producer and enduring talent as a gifted songwriter.
While the album was recorded entirely by Blakely, both performing and producing the tracks, the release of the album in 2013 also gave rise to a live incarnation of the project. Joining Blakely in the fully realized Kids, are an impressive cast of Bay Area musicians, including Larry Tracy on guitar, David Wenger on bass and Jose Zavaleta on drums.