Fit for Rivals is an alternative rock band from Jacksonville, Florida, formed in 2008 by Renee Phoenix (vocals) and Thomas Amason (guitar) after Phoenix disbanded her punk rock band The Explicits (2006-08). The current line-up is completed by Eli Clark (bass), Rufino Lomboy (lead guitar) and Dorman Pantfoeder (drums). They are signed to Big3 Records. Fit For Rivals is highly recommended for fans of Flyleaf, Lacy Sturm, Paramore, The Pretty Reckless, Foo Fighters, Against Me!, etc.
Select discography (Fit For Rivals):
Steady Damage (2009). 10 tracks. Choice cuts: “Crash”, “Damage”, “Hallelujah”, “Get With Me”, “Better Off (Alone)”. Other good cuts: “Burn”, “Reason”, “Girl In a Coma”, “Can’t Live Without You”, “Cut Off Your Hands”.
Freak Machine (2016). Big3 records. 10 tracks. Choice cuts: “Novocaine”, “Hit Me”. Other Good cuts: “Light That Shines”, “Special Kind of Crazy”, “I Am”, “The Devil (Inside)”, “Agent Orange”, “Gave It Away”, “Gimme the Pain”, “Freak Machine”.
Selected videos (Fit for Rivals):
Selected discography (The Explicits):
The Explicits (2008). 11 tracks. Choice cuts: “Suffocate”, “Indestructible”, “Over It”. Other good cuts: “Hallelujah”, “Static”, “Desolate”, “No Remorse”, “Sexxxplicit”, “Lies”, “Idiopath”, “Hollywood”.
Note: “Hallelujah” was re-recorded by Fit For Rivals on Steady Damage.
My thoughts… First, I love Renee Phoenix’s gravelly, Brody Dalle-esque voice! She’s a small girl with big, strong pipes! Listen to her sing “Hit Me” in an acoustic session at Big3 Records Studios (here). Awesome! But, is it really an “acoustic” session if an electric guitar is being used? Second, I love Renee Phoenix’s evolving music style. The Explicits‘ punk was gritty and energetic and, with Phoenix’s rasp, it sounded a little bit like The Distillers circa 2003. Phoenix even looked a little bit like Brody Dalle. With Fit For Rivals, Phoenix and Thomas Amason switched gears and kicked out addictive alternative rock with a bit of emo on Steady Damage without losing Phoenix’s punk edge. Tracks like “Crash”, “Damage”, Hallelujah”, “Get With Me” and “Better Off (Alone)” should have broken Fit For Rivals out big but, alas, they did not. On Freak Machine, Phoenix and Amason mixed in pop and electronic elements to deliver an even bigger mainstream rock sound with Phoenix sounding like the love child of Brody Dalle and Taylor Momsen (The Pretty Reckless). In a perfect world, “Novocaine” would be tearing up alternative rock radio. Their time will come, I’m sure. Finally, I love Renee Phoenix! She is sooooooo adorable – in a tattooed and pierced punk rock kind of way! Just like Shakespeare once said: “Yummy Yummy punk rock girls / I wish they all were punk rock girls.” Maybe it wasn’t Shakespeare who said that. Yeah, probably not.