by Melissa Caruso
[O]f course they release their album on 4/20. Turbo Fruits deliver their fourth installment, No Control, with the backing of Thirty Tigers and Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney. Known for their insatiable appetite for women, booze and hazy herb, Turbo Fruits travelled down a slightly more enlightened highway in comparison to their previous efforts, giving Nashville reason to brag once again.
After catching waves in the Costa Rican sun, frontman Jonas Stein returned to Nashville with a relaxed frame of mind, ready to record No Control the very next day. The only setback was he hadn’t practiced his voice during the encompassing trip. As he points out, “the voice is like an instrument” and needs meticulous care in order to function effectively. Yet it seems the hiatus had no deleterious affect on the singer.
On the bookends of No Control, “Show Me Something Real” and “Big Brother,” Stein gets most personal. The first, lyrically invested on that the lady Stein was supposed to end up with, sets the rest of the album up for reflection and heartache. On the latter, Stein finally sheds light on the death of his brother. Why did it take four albums to get this intimate? “I sobered up,” admitted Stein, who drank nothing but coffee and water through the whole recording process. Between these two tracks, the band further explores the skuzz and shine of Nashville garage rock, most notably on “The Way I Want You.” Produced by Patrick Carney, the track wonderfully masks a spoiled love with resonant harmonies and slick guitar riffs. And then there’s Stein’s velvety vibrato. Damn. Like many others on the album, the track reveals a level of maturity and a level of discipline.
Turbo Fruits have been loading in and loading out, playing gigs across the country for seven years now. By this time they imagined they would be done slinging beers and wiping tables at their part-time jobs. “We all work day jobs to afford playing as a band,” said Stein, “I wish I could write and play full-time. In my opinion, the more time you get to spend with the music is better.” But perhaps it was these menial jobs that added the conducive element to the album. Stein–who DJs at the Stone Fox’s Sparkle City (a night of disco and nothing else)–was able to isolate his ideas for what would become No Control. “I would only listen to disco,” said Stein. “I got so burnt out on rock ‘n’ roll in general.” As a result, No Control stands in its own hemisphere, not allowing any of the many bands that litter Nashville’s music scene to bleed in. It’s an album that undeniably belongs to Turbo Fruits. That’s certainly bound to happen when you’ve been at it for so many years. “Growing up,” Stein remises, “I couldn’t help but dream about playing music. I played in my first band when I was 11. I remember that very first time we finished a song in its entirety. We didn’t really know the fucking instruments we were playing; I’m not really sure we were even counting back then!”
Though much has changed since then, that same vitality and love of music is still evident in this frontman and his band. Any New Yorker who missed the band’s record release show at Baby’s All Right last month have reason to smile come May 11; catch these cats rip Music Hall of Williamsburg a new one as they headline the night.