I took a cemetery tour on a warm spring evening in New Orleans many years ago. It was the type of thing meant to scare the hell out of straight-laced couples in matching, monogrammed LL Bean button downs. Lot of rumor and local lore, lots of hand gesturing and way too many “ooohs” and “ahhhs” from the crowd. When it wrapped up we were at a watering hole somewhere off the beaten path in or around the outskirts of the French Quarter. The crowd was rough, the bikes were chromed out and the looks were less than inviting. Brooklyn’s The End Men embody the spirit of that spooky and dangerous yet oddly familiar New Orleans bar.
The End Men take the blues and twist it into a deleted scene from a Tarantino film. Imagine Selma Hayek’s curves atop the bar with a gorgeous yellow snake wrapped around her neck. Cue The End Men. They’re a carnival of churning riffs and thudding rhythms. It’s the soundtrack to your very own cemetery tour, except you’re ending up in a Brooklyn dive bar or a nondescript loft where the lights are low, the beer is room temperature and the cigarette smoke hangs hazy in the air.
The band is made up of Matthew Hendershot and Livia Ranalli. Yes, the power duo has been done before and most music writers claim that sonic load was shot by the time The White Stripes packed their gear and split. But that’s not the case. The End Men leave the cute and playful singalongs at the door and stomp ahead with a hearty whiskey howl positioned to remind music lovers that the foundation for all modern rock and roll is the blues.
Their debut EP, Build It Up, is available at iTunes right now. Brooklyn is most definitely in the building.