Local Band Scores With First National Release

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The Muckrakers national debut album, Front of the Parade, drops September 13.

Rob Carpenter wrote his first song at 11: a rousing three-cord ode to his dog. Maybe not an immediate smash-hit, but judging from subsequent responses to his work, the golden retriever was probably quite pleased.

Since forming Louisville rock band The Muckrakers in 1997, Rob and his four bandmates have been drawing mobs of sweating, dancing, request-shouting fans from Kentucky to Colorado. Their new album, FRONT OF THE PARADE, offers a collection of immediately memorable songs whose propulsive drive reflects the energy of the band's live shows. On first listen, you'll notice their unabasahedly melodic vocals, tight, soulful harmonines and clean ensemble playing - their general sound seems to fit somewhere on an iPod mix between say, Crowded House and Matchbox 20. On a second listen, the play of oblique biographical detail and savvy literary reference reveal themselves in haunting images and subversive wordplay. "Saw the ghost of Barrymore drinking H2S04," begins one line in Hold On, unlocking itself next with "Baby don't you know I hate Hamlet." Cigarettes and Magazines wraps a critique of superficial, Bible-brandishing hypocrites in a sweet, swaying lilt. And the giddily euphoric Through My Door (also the first video) celebrates the pleasures of crushes for crush's sake - toasting the self-justifying thrill of infatuation itself. Plus, these are songs you can dance to!

Rob Carpenter met singer/guitarist John Ruby at Western Kentucky University where they were both history majors. They began their rock 'n' roll career as a college coffeehouse duo, but enlisted bassist Brian Meurer in time to record their first independent album, FORGET TO BREATHE, in 1998. Drummer Dave Sparks came on board the following year and had the brainstorm to put their already popular music on MP3.com. Within weeks The Muckrakers became one of the most popular bands on the site, averaging thousands of downloads a day and selling CDs all over the world. Thanks to sales, the band financed their second release, 2001's LOSING SLEEP. In their two years on MP3.com, they had more than 500,000 downloads and two of their songs landed in the site's top 40.

In 2004, The Muckrakers began recording with venerable producer Todd Smith (Days of the New, Smash Mouth) on FRONT OF THE PARADE and were signed to Toucan Cove Entertainment/Label X. They added electric guitarist Micah Gerdis and recorded in Louisville and Nashville, bringing in members of the Louisville Symphony Orchestra as well as hip-hop group Code Red. All the while, they were playing to sold-out crowds throughout the Louisville area (being named "Band You'd Most Want to Hook Up With" by Louisville's weekly paper didn't hurt) and building a reputation as one of the city's best live acts. They also had the pleasure of opening for Vertical Horizon, the Violent Femmes and even Jessica Simpson. Though they enjoyed their time in the studio recording FRONT OF THE PARADE, The Muckrakers favorite place to be is on stage. And now, new album in hand, they're poised to Muckrake across the country.

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