Dutch newcomers Rockford offer up a slice of raw, intoxicating grunge rock that sounds like it could have feasibly stepped right out of the genre’s 1990s heyday.
The trio, from Klundert in southern Netherlands, started out when members were in different bands that split up. Frontman Niels Schmitz got together with Patrick in late 2019 and worked on a three-song demo, which they passed around at some gigs and things have developed from there.
Since then, the band has honed a sound that borrows heavily from the grunge scene’s Seattle founders, fusing crushing riffs and heavy basslines with engaging singalong vocals.
As Niels tells us: “We are a three piece so the challenge and my thought was to make as much sound possible with three guys. That’s what you can expect. A three-piece with a lot of sound. Influences are Stoner, Rock and Grunge but the melodies are very melodic. You can bang your head but also sing along.“
The trio have announced themselves in some style, releasing their superb debut single Shade on Thursday (29 July) through emerging record label Grunge Pop Records. Shade opens up with a funky riff that continues alongside crashing cymbals then drops into a verse that starts lightly over a chunky bassline. The quiet sections are answered by heavier vocals and guitars before stabbing guitars feed into a huge singalong chorus with repeats of “You pull me out of the shade.”
More heavy guitars and bass drop into a second verse of contrasting light and heavy sections. A second chorus gives way to a cool instrumental section of stabbing guitars and a big rock out that ends on higher-pitched stabbing guitars and drops into a big final chorus.
On the track, Niels explains: “Shade is indeed the debut track of the album Broken Records we recorded in Studio 195 Wernhout, Netherlands with Patrick Delabie. Very excited what the reaction will be for the song/video. It’s a song about how one person can make a huge difference in your life.”
Give Shade a listen in the stream here:
In the lead up to the debut single, Rockford have released several live streams that give us more of a taster of their engaging grungy sound. They’re all available on YouTube, including Connected, which you can check out below:
The Rockford sound is, unsurprisingly, largely inspired by grunge legends like Soundgarden, Nirvana, Pearl Jam. But other key influences include Belgian bands like Deus and Triggerfinger, as well as the likes of Barkmarket and Glen Hansard.
And on what inspires them to write music, Niels says: “I have always played in bands. It started with singing and later on playing guitar. In that progress it became a second nature. If I don’t play for a week I need to get a hold of a guitar. Just to ease my mind. And then sometimes there’s this riff or song that sticks and turns in a full developed song.”
Rockford are hopeful they are able to get some live gigs booked in for the end of the year, in which time they will be releasing debut album Broken Records. And if their debut single is anything to go by, then this is certainly an album to get excited about!