Preview: Tong Po’s debut full-length fights dirty
A taste of Quad Cities hardcore fury just for you.
In the 1989 Jean-Claude Van Damme classic, Kickboxer, Tong Po is the antagonist, a Thai fighter who does brutal combat without regard for rules, mercy, or hollow symbols of victory. His namesake is a band that similarly drives headlong into battle with crusty intensity, battering you from all sides while landing some killer hooks. The good news is, Tong Po the band probably won’t murder your brother to get you motivated. Probably.
In my experience, Metro, who plays bass and sings, Jason, who plays guitar and also sings, and Shawn, who drums, are all a lot nicer than that. I don’t think I’ve met Seth, who more recently joined on second guitar, but I’m betting he would give JCVD a warm handshake rather than kicking him into a crowd.
Now, Tong Po hail from the Quad Cities. For those of you who have limited familiarity with the Midwest, that’s a region of Northwest Illinois and Southeastern Iowa that includes Moline and Rock Island on the one side, Davenport and Bettendorf on the other. It’s a pleasant place to visit, with a history of coming back from economic adversity. For some context, here’s a picture of my own band at a Juneteenth festival petting zoo in Davenport immediately after trying out some local beers:
That said, Bettendorf is not necessarily the easiest place to get noticed when you’re bringing the metallic hardcore fury on the regular. So now it’s time to expose Tong Po to a wider audience. Their debut full-length, set to be released on April 20th (which takes care of setting your celebratory plans), was recorded at Flat Black Studios in Iowa City with Luke Tweedy, best known for his work with William Elliot Whitmore. It sounds appropriately badass, full of crushing drums, headbanging riffs, and infectious dual vocal interplay.
Below, you can check out two songs: “Warring Factions” and “Power Games.” Give them a listen, and, if you dig what these guys are doing, put in a pre-order on Tong Po’s Bandcamp page.