If there’s one thing No Justice prides itself on, it’s taking things to new heights. With their latest studio release, Second Avenue, the country/alt-rock quintet may have finally reached that breakthrough step every band dreams of, and few seldom find.
In every way, this record’s an upgrade. The sound’s more refined, due the engineering mastery of Dexter Green, and a new lead guitarist with unspeakable talent. The lyrics are weightier, and the performances hit a bit harder. Heck, the album cover’s even gotten a makeover.
And unlike previous records, Second Avenue is officially No Justice’s first national release, distributed by Sony.
“I think this is the best representation of what No Justice actually is and intended to be in the first place,” said Steve Rice, the group’s front man.
Well, if the swelling crowds and publicity are an indication, their new “representation” is catching on like a summer grassfire. The title song, “Second Avenue”, is scheduled to be released to mainstream rock stations in September 2010. Even better, the “Love Song” single maintained its spot on the Texas Music Charts for seven weeks straight, and shows no signs of going away.
The band has also expanded its fan base via the gaming world. “Love Song” is included on the track list for the console game Rock Band 3. So, if you hear an alternative rock piece, laden with country hooks, piping forth from your X-Box, it’s probably No Justice.
Despite all the mainstream rock influences and mega-marketing tools, No Justice still hasn’t lost its sense of self. But they have definitely grown as a band, and Second Avenue reflects that.
“We didn’t really water it down with a bunch of extra things,” said Rice. “We just all got better. I think it’s just exploring our sound and who we really wanted to be.”
One move that clearly worked in the band’s favor was hiring on lead guitarist, Cody Patton, back in March 2010. It wasn’t just an improvement; it redefined the group’s sound altogether.
Considering how the Cody’s riffs echo a younger Don Felder from the Eagles, that’s to be expected. No wonder Steve touts him as the group’s “musical glue”.
Landing the deal with Carved Records was another crucial step in the band’s success. CEO Tim Porter strategically formed the Dallas-based company as a purely independent outfit—but with all the connections of a mainstream label. From that point, he compiled a who’s who list in the indie rock genre. Naturally, No Justice was one of the first two acts that Carved signed.
So next time you see a No Justice show, the crowd may be larger, the venue more glamorous, and a celebrity TV host or two just might be present. Not to worry. They’re still the same Red Dirt boys from Stillwater, albeit with a brand new bag.
“It’s almost like Second Avenue’s a representation of a second opportunity,” commented Rice. “It doesn’t mean we’re selling out—we’re just going to be able to reach more people with it.”