Comprised of Brad Truax, who’s a touring bassist for renowned indie rock act, Interpol; Kid Millions, who’s best known for his work with Man Forever and Oneida; Barry London, who’s Kid Millions’ bandmate in Oneida; and Matt Sweeney, who’s been in a member of several acclaimed acts including Chavez, Zwan and the backing band for Bonnie “Prince” Billy; Jesper Eklow, who’s a member of Endless Boogie; Mike Bones; and Papa Crazee, who’s a bandmate of Kid Millions and Barry London in Oneida, Soldiers of Fortune may arguably be one of the more accomplished locally-based All-Star bands in recent memory. Ironically enough, the band started off conceptually as an anti-band with the goal of getting together to play an occasional show with the idea of jamming and relying on instinct, intuition and the chemistry and simpatico of the musicians on stage.
However, after meeting with Mexican Summer Records‘ label head Keith Abrahamsson signed a record deal and recorded a 12 inch titled Ball Strenth. A couple of years later, Abrahamsson convinced the members of the band into the studio for a second studio session. As the story goes, they were offered “undisclosed” amounts of studio time and carte blanche to do whatever it was they wanted on wax. After a period of procrastinating, they took a six month hiatus and returned to the studio to write and record about a dozen rough song sketches and then called up a bunch of vocalist friends, including Clark Bronson, Stephen Malkmus, Cass McCombs, Dan Melchior, Ethan Miller and Matt McCauley to sing over their sketches. And the end result is their soon-to-be released full-length effort, Early Risers, slated for a November 6 release.
The album’s latest single “Campus Swagger” is a bluesy and ragged song consisting of shuffling guitar chords played at a breakneck speed, propulsive drumming, tons of feedback and special efforts, and Malkmus’ swaggering howls and crooning. What I love about the song is that it feels and sounds absolutely improvised — and as though the song could have been released in 1974.
You can catch Soldiers of Fortune at their album release show at Max Fish on November 4. The band will be playing two sets — at 8:30 and 10:00 with both of them being free.