Erik Findling and High Street’s story is one that deserves to be told. Starting to play guitar from an extremely young age, back in the 2000s, Findling, who was then just a middle schooler, gathered a group of friends to play together in the attic of his house. This was the first iteration of High Street with Erik Findling serving as the main creative force. Soon, they focused themselves on being a hard rock cover band that toured local parties around the neighborhood before being noticed by music producers in the area, such as Sean O’Keefe, famous for his work with Fall Out Boy and Plain White T’s. High Street were given the opportunity to record three EPs and play at venues which included Hard Rock Chicago, Double Door. However, just as they were gaining steam, the band slowly disbanded after their each of its members went on their separate ways.
That did not stop Findling from writing and performing music. He started a solo career, finding success while playing classical guitar, blues and jazz standards. Findling was inspired to revive High Street when he moved to Los Angeles: a new renewed, higher scale. High Street’s new lineup include Pheobe Collins on the vocals, Cole Supple on the rhythm guitar and backing vocals, Nicholas Alec Metaxas on bass, Jonathan “JJ” Garwich on drums and Erik Findling on the guitar. The new High Street is focused on continuing on where the old interation stopped, retaking its hard rock and blues inspired sound and taking it to new, unexplored directions.
Shut Me Out is High Street’s debut EPs after being reborn. Originally written by Findling when he was only 13 years old, the tracks were rerecorded with High Street’s new lineup to celebrate their upcoming “Revival Tour”. The EP features a blend of hard rock, blues and jazz, with a tiny bit of pop, approached with modern music production methods. It is completely clear that High Street’s aim is to bring back classic rock to the mainstream.
Shut Me Out‘s tracks are highly energetic, hard hitting and expressive. High Street decides to go all out: there is no exiting the ride until the music has stopped and it is safe to leave the vehicle. It is a diverse collection of songs with roots in hard rock and take it to different directions. “Shut Me Out” takes inspiration from the nonstop guitar from classic rock. Anthem-like in its lyrics, it is a blast of energy to open the album. “Friend in the Devil” has a more modern, indie alt-rock vibe, full of echoes and reverbs, while retaining the sounds that give classic rock its unique taste.
A standout element of the EP is Findling’s guitar. From the blues licks of “Concede The Night” to the loud guitar solos of “Disrepair“, it takes center stage as he shows his music talent in solos and heavy riffs reminiscent giants of Slash from Guns N’ Roses. It is always singing, never stopping. It has always something to say, even when it decides to take the backdrop. “No One Ever Knows” takes a cleaner calmer, approach to its sounds. An almost gospel-like track with an awesome solo in its last moments. Collins’ vocals are also a commendable. They are powerfulI, full of emotion, yet discrete in their own right. In each of the tracks she introduces little, almost invisible variations in her style that give the track its unique touch.
Struggle is part of the music business. However, it is important that no matter how dire seems the situation, one must not give up. High Street’s revival is evidence that it can (and will) work out at the end: one that will continue the legacy of the original and taking its sounds to a new direction. A revival of hard rock that you must not miss out!