Greta Van Fleet

4 albums, 19 tracks

Hard Rock


"Greta Van Fleet"

Jun 07, 2019

Greta Van Fleet And Their Peaceful Army: Rock Messiahs Or False Pariahs?

Written by @MattKanner from Portsmouth NH  / 6 mins read

My general thoughts on Greta Van Fleet can be summed up in one simple, bland sentence: I don’t love them, but I like them just fine. What I find fascinating is the success this retro rock band has enjoyed and the shockingly intense backlash their success has generated. The Michigan-born band of (mostly) brothers has performed on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” and “Saturday Night Live.” At the 61st Annual Grammy Awards late last year, they were nominated for four awards, winning Best Rock Album for their 2017 EP From the Fires. And yet the band has garnered mostly withering reviews, as critics have fixated on their undeniable stylistic similarities to Led Zeppelin. Meanwhile, legions of emerging fans have defended Van Fleet against these academic attacks. The conflict came to a head last fall when Pitchfork published an unrelentingly harsh dismantling of the band’s first full-length album, Anthem of the Peaceful Army. Writier Jeremy D. Larson seemed downright offended and furious about the derivative nature of the group’s sound. The reaction from fans against Larson was equally fierce. As snooty as Pitchfork’s reviewers invariably are (more on that later), the debate over Greta Van Fleet — and, more broadly, about the inherent paradox of modern classic rock — is an interesting one. And yet, maybe I’m overthinking it. I mean, can’t rock ’n’ roll just be fun anymore?

From The Land Of Ice And Snow

There aren’t many top-40-type acts that I’m deeply into these days, but I respect that a pure rock band like Greta Van Fleet has achieved mainstream success without the aid of extreme pitch correction. To me, that’s refreshing. That they sound like Zeppelin only endears them to me further. I went through my Pink Floyd and Zeppelin phase, and it’s a time I remember fondly. But it’s not just nostalgia that makes me appreciate Van Fleet’s sound (though that’s part of the appeal). I genuinely think they’re a solid rock band by any standard. And their audience is not just aging gray-hairs seeking to relive the glory days, but a whole new generation of rock fans who are hungry for this type of music. Those who have accused the band of plagiarism clearly don’t know what that word means. Emulating a style is not plagiarism. All artists draw from the source material of those who came before them. So, just how much does Greta Van Fleet sound like Led Zeppelin? Listening to Anthem of the Peaceful Army, one can’t help but be struck by the resemblance, and not only because of singer Josh Kiszka’s uncanny vocal channeling of Robert Plant. Early in the opening track, “Age of Man,” we hear the lyric, “To wonderlands of ice and snow,” evoking an instant connection to the opening line of Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song”: “We come from the land of ice and snow.” “Lover, Leaver” has a very similar vibe to Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” (which itself borrows from Muddy Waters). And Jake Kiszak’s guitar solo on the final track sent my mind directly to Jimmy Page’s solo in “Travelling Riverside Blues,” from the BBC Sessions (Zeppelin’s greatest in-studio recordings, if you ask me). Still, I see these moments not as rip-offs but as playful homages, whether deliberate or subconscious. By and large, Greta Van Fleet’s songwriting is adequately distinct from Zeppelin’s. Redolent though it is of the late ’60s, their brand of rock has its own unique stamp.

Can I Just Rant For A Minute?

On the exact date that Pitchfork’s scathing review came out, Rolling Stone published its own article about Greta Van Fleet. In it, writer Ryan Reed pointed out that Rolling Stone had panned Zeppelin’s self-titled debut when it first came out, only to name it the 29th-greatest album of all time decades later. Pitchfork could learn from such humility. It’s fine to be critical; that’s their job, after all. But the level of mean-spirited abuse and ridicule that Larson piles on Van Fleet is excessive. He slams everything from their lyrics and instrumental abilities to their wardrobe and promo photos. He even spews scorn upon the group’s fans, inferring some kind of auditory laziness. The sheer snobbery is insufferable. But then, that’s Pitchfork’s whole shtick. Why else get so worked up about a straightforward rock album? Like them or not, there’s no way the band deserves so much mockery and vitriol just because they rock in a Zeppelin-y way and (gasp) people like it. And yet, this bafflingly toxic animosity seems to be shared by a sizeable clan of Greta haters out there. See Sekrett Scilensce’s tongue-in-cheek song “Fuck Greta Van Fleet (Challenge Accepted! How About You?).” (A more lighthearted and fun example comes from Blaketheman1000’s mockup “Greta Van Fleet.”) Hopefully, the boys from Michigan are unfazed. As their trophy room fills up and their world tours sell out, Greta Van Fleet might adopt the New England Patriots’ motto: “They hate us cuz they ain’t us.”

Everything Old Is New Again

Why a straight-ahead power-rock band like Greta Van Fleet should be so polarizing is beyond me. It runs contrary to the love I’ve witnessed for the band around town. I was in a craft beer store recently and was amused to see an employee gleefully playing air guitar to Anthem of the Peaceful Army. I was first introduced to the band by my cousin, a musician who started out playing in death metal bands when he was 15. In his 20s, he got into Hendrix and the other classic rock gods, just like I did. When Greta Van Fleet came along he embraced them wholeheartedly. I embraced them too, though with somewhat less enthusiasm. Sure, some of their lyrics are cringe-worthy, but who cares? It’s only rock ’n’ roll. If Greta Van Fleet were still just a small-town rock band playing these songs in dingy biker bars, no one would have a problem with it. It’s their unexpected rise to stardom that’s so infuriating to the band's detractors. Me, I'm glad that people still feel passionate about this type of music, that there’s room for an old-fashioned hard-rock band alongside all the Taylor Swifts and Jonas Brothers of the mainstream music world. I may not love Greta Van Fleet, but I find it comforting to know they're out there.

Apr 26, 2019

When The Anthem of the Peaceful Army Becomes Wild

Written by @JorgeDiaz from Electro Arpegio  / 6 mins read

Walked relatively fast because I had to get to a place where I didn’t want, the cold wind blew and my discomfort increased as time passed, still walking and doesn’t arrive anywhere. I had to do it and I don't know why, it's like those times when you behave like a robot: you eat what everyone eats, you see what everyone sees, you listen to what everyone hears. But you know that's wrong, you have memories of a bygone time that was better: the food was delicious, the scenery was more beautiful and, music; Oh, the music! It was simply an inexhaustible source of strength and life. My walking grew slower, I was very tired of the same thing, the same thing all the time, every day. Suddenly, I felt a tremor under my legs, it was not spontaneous, rather responded to a cycle marked by an exact sequence of deaf blows, bum... boom... boom... boom... At first I bothered, but to stop me, perfectly distinguished that those sounds had rhythm, were powerful, moved the earth and everything around me began to change, the landscape was changed and in front of me opened a steep mountain, began to mark cracks in the earth and sound was even stronger, now there were new things in what I was listening, were very sharp, very fast and complemented the bum... boom... boom... boom... It made sense, but I still couldn't know exactly. At the top of the mountain that was getting closer to me, since I kept walking, a crater opened... It was a volcano! And despite the fear that gave me I was attracted, it is like those insects that when they see a light fly towards it and contact the fascinating brilliance, they die. I didn't care, I was seeing that a lot of things out of that crater, I definitely knew I could die in the attempt, but something inside me said I had to follow, that I could not pass anything bad, after all I was surrounded by an army that seemed peaceful, gave me security and sang a sweet hymn, but as time passed, the melody turned into something violent. Soon after, the curtain would have fallen before my eyes and knew the whole truth.

When The Cold Win Burned

Then, I saw what allies shot and wrapped in fire from that volcano: they were Les Paul, Fender, Ibanez, fireballs wrapping Ludwig drums, Gretsch, Pearl, also came out smoky lights and all kind of images, some seemed to draw the silhouettes of Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, there were green and purple shades in the sky, it was amazing. But What surprised me the most was to see you there, behind everything, calm, seeing me fixed. Your clothes were long and white tunics, almost transparent, your hair was adorned with flowers, I don't know what color your skin was, but I was sure it was you. And you called me. And could not resist the invitation. It was very close to reach you when that cold wind that annoyed me at first began to burn, was getting hotter until they formed tongues of fire that burned everything, the trees, the stones, the sky. A confusing vision of something that looked like the sun emerged from that volcano, I was no longer sure what was happening to me, I just knew I wanted to get to you. I managed to hold on to a rock, doubled my right leg to support me and take strength and, in the last attempt pulled with all my strength jumped and I reached you, you were there, and you were fine. Suddenly, your robes began to fall, letting see your body completely, we were ready, and we wanted this to happen. The wind became even hotter and sweating, but it was fine. When I got hold of your hand, everything was paused, except the voices of the Pacific Army that still sang its hymn. Now he was sweeter, softer, it was as if he gave us the space we needed in the middle of nowhere, to be as we had always wanted, alone.

Reaching The Peak

We didn't put thinking, we didn't even want to take much time to start, we went straight to the point and there were our bodies banging in that place firm and humid, in the only place you can think of when you are there. To offer you more pleasure I took you violently and I put you on your back, put you on your knees almost forcibly and started to hit harder, you only made those noises that tell me everything is fine and continue. It was so much the power that I felt about you at that moment, that I took your hair and I started to pull your head to me, and you were well, it confirmed your humidity. The sounds turned into cries and the intensity increased to the degree of that your back began to transform before my eyes. Small bumps came out of your shoulder blades, as they grew bigger I began to see that they were covered with feathers, they were white. I dropped your hair because your head also suffered changes, you were Pegasus and suddenly we were flying. It Didn't take long when we reached the top of where we could see everything. You came back to me and you let me go, your eyes told me that there was nothing else to do and I understood it, I also believe that this was the end. You let me fall and I only felt the speed and strength with which my body would impact the earth, reality. Already on the ground, I knew that hollow was my grave, but I enjoyed it. Go Pegasus, keep flying, I've had enough.

Don't Worry, I'm OK

The blow was hard, everything was gone and not that I was in a dream, rather was within my thoughts while listening to the album Anthem of the Peaceful Army, from Greta Van Fleet. A reunion with the glorious past of Heavy Metal and a formidable journey into the future of this musical genre. Proud of their roots, they do not hide their fascination with Led Zeppelin, but at the same time, they enrich and renew with their creativity and experience a genre that awakes all kind of strong and powerful feelings. An injection of vitality for all lovers of good Rock. Fortunately, not all will be the same now.

Can Greta Van Fleet Break The Curse Of Rock’N’Roll?

Even from a cursory glance, it’s pretty clear that good ol’ fashioned Rock’N’Roll has been dead for nearly two decades now; Bands like Wolfmother had a pretty good run for about a year back in the mid-noughties, but for the most part Heavy Metal, Glam Rock & classic Rock’N’Roll had disappeared entirely from the radio, replaced by Hard Rock, Emo, Metal & UK Dance Rock before those too were usurped by the more Pop-centric sounds of OneRepublic & Imagine Dragons. While those who really gave a damn could still find some stellar Doom Metal, Sludge & Glam hiding in the shadows, it really felt as if a curse surrounded anyone who dared to do things in the olden ways, every new Rock’N’Roll group quickly being written off as a gimmick with no place in today’s industry – But then Greta Van Fleet hit the scene, causing the industry to say “whoa, whoa, whoa, what the hell is this noise? It’s spectacular!”

Written by camjameson from Extraneous Routes / Feb 11, 2019

Greta Van Fleet’s Fame Started With A Bang On Their EP From The Fires

These days, it seems like you can’t open up a Rock magazine or even venture to a Rock-leaning website without seeing mention of Classic Blues Rock revolutionaries Greta Van Fleet in one form or another, be it kind words of praise for bringing mainstream attention to the more anachronistic side of Rock’N’Roll music or seething hatred at the notion a band so young could achieve such ridiculous fame from the very first moment they played their music, splitting audiences straight down the middle in every regard. In a little under a year, these guys went from niche bar-band group with a flare for retro musicianship to literally the biggest name in Rock music today, though somehow the more famous they get the more hatred they receive, as if they were pulling Maroon 5 or Fall Out Boy levels of sellout-ery, some even going so far as to claim they ‘stole’ their sound from legendary rockers Led Zeppelin & are thus riding on the coattails of their esteem into the hearts of less-knowledgeable young listeners today; While these claims may certainly hold an air of truth, as the similarities between the two bands are close enough you’d think Van Fleet had simply become dislodged in time & ended up here, it doesn’t negate the fact that they’ve singlehandedly restored the passion & drive that was so sorely missing from today’s Rock scene & for that alone they deserve at least a little bit of recognition – Whatever your opinion of them may be, we can all agree they had to start somewhere & that somewhere was their debut EP Black Smoke Rising in 2017…or was it From The Fires that they released a mere 5 months later? Honestly, this uncertainty is perhaps the most perplexing attribute of the group’s sudden fast-track to widespread fame, as the circumstances of their initial ‘discovery’ go so many which-ways that it’s hard to lock down just what they had to do & who they happened to have connections with to score such a sweet deal in the end.

Written by camjameson from Extraneous Routes / Mar 06, 2019

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Greta Van Fleet is an American rock band from Frankenmuth, Michigan, formed in 2012. It consists of vocalist Josh Kiszka, guitarist Jake Kiszka, bassist Sam Kiszka, and drummer Danny Wagner. They were signed to Lava Records in March 2017 and a month later the band released their debut studio EP, Black Smoke Rising. Their debut single, "Highway Tune", topped the Billboard US Mainstream Rock and Active Rock charts in September 2017 for four weeks in a row. Their second EP, From the Fires, containing the four songs from Black Smoke Rising and four new songs, was released on November 10, 2017, alongside a second single, "Safari Song".
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