The last group I listened to out of Germany was Scorpions, so when I discovered that they and this group shared the same homeland, I was ready for another taste of German hard-rock and alternative-metal.
Out of Siegen, Germany I present to you and your soon-to-be-happy ears Room Next Door, a timeless mix of alternative, rock, grunge, and indie. In the fantastic tradition of the Ramones, these guys (and girl) adopt stage surnames, and frankly I love the way they sound. Made up of Steve Next Door (lead vocals and guitar), Tobi Next Door (lead guitar and vocals), Laura Next Door (bass), and Jan Next Door (drums), these guys know how to make a sound so versatile it goes from The Strokes to Nirvana in no time.
The first song I listen to from their promo CD is "Get Out on It," a song that boasts the dirty, distortion of Mudhoney's "Touch Me I'm Sick" and the hardcore vocals of Black Flag laid next to smooth, Strokes-like vocals. Jan's simple drum beat reminds me of Meg White's minimalist drumming, which I love by the way, and Tobi's guitar riffs are reminiscent of '60s garage rock. The interplay on this song between Steve's rhythm guitar and Laura's bass is also something that strikes me, as it reminds me of the interplay heard in groups like Pixies and Sonic Youth.
The next track, "Just One Step Away from Here," is a departure from the muddled, dirty guitar, in favor of a more indie sound. Tobi, however, delivers some notes on this with the perfect distortion for me to compare them to seminal acid-rock bands like Quicksilver Messenger Service and 13th Floor Elevators. Steve's vocals on this one show he can be hardcore if he likes, but also slow himself down for a more easy-going song.
The chilled-out aspect doesn't last long though, as I'm soon launched into "Losing the Magic," a song that's got Green River's guitar riffs and U2's vocal style. There's no other way to describe this group with any other words than "different" and "versatile." I love the guitar solo on this song. It just creeps up on you and stabs you in the throat with a sick riff that would make the Scorpions foam at the mouth.
The last track I'll touch on here is "Lost in This Town." While "Potato Man" is also an interesting track, "Lost in This Town" just screams classic punk to me, living up to the legacy of the Ramones and the Sex Pistols. In fact, not only does Steve's voice and guitar sound like Joey and Johnny Ramone, respectively, but the bass and drums also remind me of those classic punk groups. The only thing that seems to move away from the Ramones ideal is Tobi's great guitar solo. But I'm not complaining; it's sick. Check these guys out. Germany gave us the Scorpions, and now they've given us Room Next Door.
Sounds Like: Scorpions, Ramones, Sex Pistols, The Strokes, The Vines, Mudhoney
Key Tracks from their 2009 Promo CD: "Get Out on It," "Losing the Magic," "Lost in This Town," "Just One Step Away from Here"