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The Legal Immigrants

One of the first things that come to mind when you listen to music is its inherent permanence. Genres change and adapt, and bands rise and quietly disappear--but the music stays and allows us to re-live any number of particular memories like they just happened. And for Grand Rapids, Michigan-based rock group, The Legal Immigrants, this idea of music as constant moving force is what drives and inspires their own densely packed classic rock aesthetic and its subsequent twisting rhythmic branches.

The band consists of frontman Joe Bockheim, lead guitarist Ben Taber, bassist Kevin Kitsch, and drummer Marcus James. Joe started the band in 2009 with some friends and through a series of amicable lineup changes the band took its current form. Craigslist is to thank for the fellas coming together.

Drawing inspiration from bands both then and now, The Legal Immigrants found their own distinctive sound, and through this classic rock/garage amalgam, they fashioned a bridge between a particular late ‘70s rock production and more modern and serrated indie rock rhythms. The band boasts three song writers, three singers, and one drummer that smiles the entire show.

Attracted to the sound that analog recording could provide, the band recorded, mixed and mastered their new record on tape, which forced them to be very tight (or loose) and exact (or inexact) in their performances. Recorded at Goon Lagoon Studios in Grand Rapids with producer Dick Chiclet, TLI promises to never make the same record twice.

Their songs are virulent and ragged but possess a certain pop foundation which gives them an aptitude for clinging to your brain for days. Sinewy guitar riffs and vocals that carry the rise and fall among the tracks, giving their records an ageless appearance, but one that also doesn’t feel mired in the past.

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"("Hang On") should be on everyone’s soundtrack, as it is a call for unshakable perseverance." [11/7/18]

Meredith Schneider, Imperfect Fifth

"The Legal Immigrants stay true to the region’s hard-rocking tradition with this set of gritty, muscular garage-blues rock. The influence of Led Zep and Sabbath is inescapable — and welcome." [6/30/15]

The Big Takeover

“'Bily Goat' which showcases their knack for distorted powerhouse riffs, sprinkled with sentimental “puppy love” lyrics" [6/26/2015]

Mike Olinger- The Vinyl District

“the charismatic, garage-fired energy of The Legal Immigrants have quickly established themselves as one of the region’s premier rock bands.”

John Sinkevics - Local Spins

"Drugs to Roses is a great album, and a must listen by rock ‘n roll enthusiasts. It recalls the decade that has defined the genre and replicating some of the great artists of the time while adding a modern touch." [7/6/15]

Ben Yung- The Revue
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