It seems fitting that the roar from the Hounds Below should be a stone's throw from Ferndale's Alcoholics for Christ meetings. The band is, you'll note, Von Bondies' frontman Jason Stollsteimer's new band, and they rehearse in the attic of the bungalow he just moved into a couple of months ago. Still, it's far enough away from any immediate neighbors "that we can be as loud as we want whenever we want," Stollsteimer says. Not that Christ's boozy disciples would mind at all, but ...
With its angled roof and warm'60s wood paneling, the attic is sonically and period-perfect for the Hounds' take on early rock 'n' roll and soul. And Stollsteimer needs his powerful vocals just to keep up with the band's sonic assault.
Ben Collins of Lightning Love shares lead guitar with Stollsteimer, the Readies' Ben Luckett mans drums, and Molly Jean of the Decks handles the bass. Those who know Ben Collins from the stripped-down pop shine of Lightning Love might lift an eyebrow hearing him play straight ahead rock 'n' roll, sorta like Heartbreaker Mike Campbell. The rhythm section is as, um, cute as it is tight. Molly Jean brings a Beatle-friendly, melodic bass to the mix while Luckett is the group's secret weapon, with his loose, Mitch Mitchell-y inspired swing and thump behind the kit. Though they've an album's worth of original songs, the Hounds focus these days is touring (they do have a 45 out).
The result is an inspired throwback to the early masters of rock and soul — Roy Orbison, Sam Cooke and Otis Redding. "The Hounds Below reflects the music I listened to growing up as a kid," Stollsteimer says. "I don't think you ever got that listening to the Von Bondies — you just got, yeah, I listened to Minor Threat."
The Hounds Below appear Saturday, Feb. 6, at PJ's Lager House, 1254 Michigan Ave., Detroit; 313-961-4668. For more info, go to myspace.com/thehoundsbelow.