Coming April 28, 2023 - Chinese Underground by Friends To The End
Marching Chinese marimbas, pining erhu players, and guzheng samples are the orchestral flairs
that Austin, TX-based Thom Kurtz mixes with his lyrical witticisms in
Friends To The End’s new single, Chinese Underground. The upbeat and playful
ballad takes sardonic stabs at authoritarian attitudes, with killer lines like:
“I thought Mao Zedong was dead and buried / the kind of man who never married.”
“Now that he’s back up on his throne / you better watch out or he’ll break your bones.
At first, the song seems to be mocking Mao, but the focal point is that some ideas never wither, wilt, or waver. Even though they ebb, they will resurface later.
ROBOT ODDiTY was the summer 2022 psychedelic Modern soft rock hit from Friends To The End, riding sonic waves of piano, synth and brassy percussion shuffles. The accompanying edgy music video with a psychedelic twist paints a tale of indoctrination and moral discovery by Thom Kurtz, the creator behind his Friends To The End band project, with a near-death experience in a raging fire at a power plant, while living as “wires inside an iron can.”
Previously our summer 2021 Modern soft rock new wave Youtube music video hit was Where’d You Put The Baby?, now with over 140K views. The appropriately frantic, guitar-heavy music and accusatory vocals were obviously inspired by David Byrne's subversive lyrics and the early days of Talking Heads.
Kurtz’s trademark creative artistry, propelled by his arsenal of experimental theatre pop songwriting, is flavored by such wide ranging influences as Bowie to Steely Dan, Keith Jarrett to Duke Ellington, and Todd Rundgren to David Grisman. What Thom Kurtz calls Modern soft rock — always including top-of-the-line ensemble instrumentation fused with song-specific, custom-built vocals – is a kind of singer-songwriter storyteller fusing various shades of chamber pop, and art and prog rock.
The lovely Susanna Lee sings the breezy Pacific coast vocals for the hopeful anthem, A World Of Troubles featuring peppy “Penny Lane”-meets-Haydn trumpet fanfares and a lyrical study of everlasting parts of life and the earth, such as air in the sky, salts in the sea, and the wind on the ocean.
Friends To The End first launched to DSPs like Spotify and Apple Music in August 2020, with the debut of Love On The Rocks (Shipwrecked) featuring top-notch vocals by young Julia Courtney, against a dark and dreary sky shipwrecked on the rocks of another broken romance. Viewership for the Friends To The End music channel tops 2,300 subscribers with more than 1 Million total views.
Kurtz mixes the inner voice of his lyrics with imaginative visions of emotional illustrations, unleashing the deep power of ‘humanhood’ wisdoms, punctuated by whimsy, joy and sometimes sorrow, where the sound and vision collide. What’s specially poignant is how each song is a destination on life’s journey, as well as a journey through the Friends To The End song catalog. Thom Kurtz produced roughly two dozen song masters over two and a half years using his background in literature, art and film as a guide to the musical arrangements and collaboration with over three dozen session musicians.
Says Kurtz, “Friends To The End sounds like a group of people, but it’s really a group of songs – and each song is one giant stepping stone.” Now establishing Friends To The End as a performing band is Kurtz’s next challenge, in support of the exciting spring 2023 release of Chinese Underground, the next enchanting introduction of these friends of his to the public.