“I don’t wanna live anymore / Somebody else’s dream,” JEFF The Brotherhood sings on “Prairie Song,” the capstone to their eighth album, Wasted On The Dream. It’s a moment of unintended clarity for the Nashville duo, who were set to release the album this past spring on Warner Brothers only for the label giant to pull the plug at the last minute. But that wasted dream came with a silver lining: JEFF The Brotherhood were free to put out the record on their own label, Infinity Cat.
Funny enough, Wasted On The Dream is the kind of big-tent rock album that majors still salivate over. Co-producer Joe Chiccarelli (U2, the White Stripes, the Killers, My Morning Jacket) shines up the band’s Weezer-meets-Black Sabbath riffs, and the hooks already sound arena-ready. Their newfound indie roots dovetail nicely with Waterloo Records’ 33 1/3 anniversary. JEFF The Brotherhood headlines the show tonight at Empire Control Room. Download “Prairie Song” below, and RSVP here for discounted tickets.
Jana Horn doesn’t need to scream to be heard. She has the kind of voice that quietly sneaks up on you, calling to mind fellow room-stoppers Sharon Van Etten or Romy Madley Croft from the xx. Horn started the Austin-based Reservations in 2012 with Paul Price, frontman for Song of the Day alums Good Field. The pair released a quiet, home-recorded EP that submerged country and folk influences in a dreamy atmosphere. The EP is best served early in the morning or in the evening, a perfect soundtrack to the magic hour.
Reservations reemerges this week with another band member and a solid debut album. Drummer Jason Baczynski anchors the new, more electric songs on Taking Time, and the trio comes fully-formed. What’s most appealing is Reservations’ simplicity: on a song like “To Be Honest,” a plodding beat leaves room for sweeping slide guitar and Horn’s dark melody to work its way inside. Download the song below and catch Reservations’ record release show at Empire Control Room on Saturday, August 8. Doors at 8 p.m.
Photo by Elena Ricci
New Orleans has long been a place where American music can go and let its hair down a little bit. There aren’t a lot of genre constraints in the Crescent City; everything gets gumboed by the city’s mix of jazz, R&B, blues, zydeco, and funk. Though country music in Louisiana has long stayed in the western bayous, recent artists like Hurray For The Riff Raff and the Deslondes are bridging the cajun with the creole.
The latter band features four singers and five songwriters, making for an all-encompassing listen on their self-titled debut. Honky-tonk signifiers like pedal steel and fiddle dance with boogie-woogie piano rolls. Rock-and-roll lurks at the edge of this mix, but the Deslondes’ collective drawl keeps the vibe easygoing. “The Real Deal” particularly feels like a trip to New Orleans: boozy, a little lost, but fun as hell. Download the song below.
On their first few releases, Seattle’s Seapony sounded detached and mechanistic even when crafting sugary pop tunes. They nodded towards the Smiths but added drum machines and noisy guitars to cut the sweetness. On their third album, A Vision, Seapony opt for a softer sound, building little melancholy gems around Jen Weidl’s dreamy voice. The added acoustic guitars give the record a real “gather-round-the-campfire” vibe–almost as if the Smiths abandoned rainy Manchester for a trek in the woods. “Saw The Light” has this hazy, late-summer feeling, perfect for a lazy day. Download the song below.
“Calm punk” seems like an oxymoron, but the genre has long been a therapeutic one. There’s something primal and oddly soothing about screaming your voice hoarse, and Brooklyn’s Dead Stars tap right into this feeling. They zero in on a very specific sound: ’90s alternative rock, just after Nirvana successfully matched sugary pop hooks to buzzsaw guitars. Dead Stars’ handful of DIY releases are punchy and fun, but they hit even harder on their new single “Calm Punk.” “Some things never change,” sings guitarist Jeff Moore, just before unleashing a chorus as classic as Dead Stars’ influences. Download the song below.