Ghost Town Parade

With echoes of early rock-n-roll, yet still standing firmly rooted in alt-county, The Famous reignite their fiery brand of post-punk Americana with Ghost Town Parade, the band’s third album on Leading Brand Records.

The San Francisco band organized over a decade ago around the belief in honoring the Bakersfield classic country sound while delivering energetic live shows geared to rock and punk venues.

What has emerged in their latest release is a 13-song road map through American music with a sharp lyrical edge and a vast array of instrumentation. The band’s founders Victor Barclay (lead guitar) and Laurence Scott (lead vocals/rhythm guitar) along with Chris Fruhauf (drums) and G.D. Hensley (bass) open Ghost Town Parade with “Machines,” an unpredictable ‘50-era rock influenced single evoking the sounds of both Buddy Holly and Merle Haggard.

Dixieland jazz morphing into a rockabilly rave-up follows with “Another Time,” featuring guest musicians Charlie Wilson and Dan Gordon trading parts on trombone amongst the sounds other contributors. Barclay co-produced the album with Wilson who helped record various tracks at Sonic Zen Records studio in Berkeley.

The Psychobilly-driven “California Night,” beckoning fans of The Misfits and Tiger Army, leads way to a take on true classic country in “I Tried My Best (But My Best Wouldn’t Do),” with master of the pedal steel Joe Goldmark joining the band for yet another album.

Ghost Town Parade was mixed by Grammy-award winning engineer Oz Fritz, whose recordings with Tom Waits at Prairie Sun Recording Studios reverberate across its 13 tracks. Eclecticism abounds throughout, which has truly become of staple of the recordings from The Famous.

From an apocalyptic blues stomp channeling Brechtian theatre and featuring guest drummer Scott Amendola in “When I Call,” to a front porch string band jam with “I’ll Be True,” the complete voyage is also a literal one in the trucker anthem “50 Miles to Firebaugh” which takes a trip on California’s Interstate 5 from Los Angeles heading north while taking detours through the Central Valley. Dave Dudley and Red Simpson get a nod in this uniquely West Coast country tune.

The record crescendos with the band’s first cover to be included on an album, a hard driving version on Depeche Mode’s “Enjoy the Silence,” before closing with the hushed and plaintive “Calling”, a staple of their early shows playing as an acoustic duo in the cafes of San Francisco.

The Famous have always delivered on the ‘alternative’ side of alt-country and Ghost Town Parade is no doubt the band’s most extensive blast through the alternatives yet.

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Come Home To Me

Described as “The Pixies in a cowboy hat” by West Coast Performer magazine, The Famous forge a sound that “combines the transcendent roar of punk with the brutal honesty and black wit of traditional country,” as heard on their debut album “Light, Sweet Crude.” Their follow-up album “Come Home to Me” is an audacious 11-song blast of indie rock fused with hard-edged Americana that continues in the direction established on their debut, while venturing into fuzzed-out garage-blues, New Orleans swamp jazz, and Tex-Mex flavored surf. With an energetic and always entertaining live show, The Famous are sure to appeal to fans of The Old 97s, Frank Black or Uncle Tupelo.

The album chronicles four years of change, both political and personal. Singer Laurence Scott’s two-year sojourn in the southwest desert of Tucson and his eventual return provided much of the inspiration for this latest material. With tales of lost and found love, renewal of belief, and modern parables of social upheaval, “Come Home To Me” evokes the themes and stark imagery found in Cormac McCarthy’s Border Trilogy or Luis Alberto Urrea’s “The Devil’s Highway.”

“Come Home to Me,” features guest appearances by Bay Area pedal steel legend Joe Goldmark, and jazz trombonist Charlie Wilson (Brasshopper) whose contributions bring new textures to The Famous’ sonic landscape. The album was recorded at San Francisco’s Tiny Telephone among other studios and mixed in Dallas, Texas by Stuart Sikes (Modest Mouse, Cat Power, White Stripes.)

Light, Sweet Crude

Recorded over the course of six months at their San Francisco studio, Light, Sweet Crude is the ambitious full-length debut from The Famous. It’s a heartfelt statement that shuns irony for a return to honesty and simplicity.

By instilling lyrical insurgency to a blend of roots and country-infused indie-rock, The Famous go beyond merely aping their influences – the pitfall of so many bands with retro inclinations – and bring a new and unique voice to the landscape.

The album opens with the schizophrenic post-rock onslaught of “Son of the Snake” and transitions into “It’s Done,” which juxtaposes quiet moments of ominous tension before the explosion of a gritty honky-tonk refrain.

The melancholy twang of “Tear” is an earnest tale of lost love while “True Believer” (inspired by a Miró painting) transcends the psychobilly from outer space of the Reverend Horton Heat by incorporating the stream-of-consciousness lyrical approach of The Pixies.

“Midway” sets wistful tales of childhood desires to a minimalist indie-rock soundtrack reminiscent of Liz Phair’s Exile in Guyville while “Lost” builds from the simple relentless drive of its opening riff to a layered climax of ghostly vocals and careening backwards guitar.

A favorite of their inspired live shows, “Deconstruction Worker” may well be the only straight-up country song ever written to cite Derrida, Kierkegaard and other giants of post-modern thought.

Joining Vic and Laurence on the album are drummer Ches Smith (Mr. Bungle, Theory of Ruin), bassist Rob Douglas (Chuck Prophet, John Vanderslice), and longtime collaborators Chris Fruhauf and Jack Dunham, on drums and bass respectively.

This 13-song effort was mixed at John Vanderslice’s Tiny Telephone studio by Aaron Prellwitz (Neil Young, Death Cab For Cutie, Red House Painters) and is available now from and

Where to Buy

Bandcamp – Digital Downloads

CD Baby – Buy CDs