Photo by Marc Mauldin
Athens, Georgia’s Dead Confederate channels the good bits of grunge, and combines it with heavy doses of psych and southern rock. THey got their start about 200 miles west of Atlanta in Augusta, Ga. It was there, in the late 90s, that a few high school buddies bonded, as high school buddies tend to do, came together over a mutual love of bands like Pink Floyd and Black Sabbath. In college, Hardy Morris, Brantley Senn, Walker Howle, John Watkins, and Jason Scarboro formed a southern-tinged jam group called The Redbelly Band. The band moved camp to Athens, tightened up their songs, and in 2006 renamed themselves Dead Confederate. The band impressed former Capitol Records honcho Gary Gersh, and, in 2007, he signed Dead Confederate his label The Artists Organization. Dead Confederate released their debut, full-length Wrecking Ball in September 2008, and their sophomore, Sugar, followed in 2010.
It’s been almost three years since Dead Confederate released a full-length. They’ve toured, and the members found time to work on their own projects. Drummer Jason Scarboro parted ways with the group (J.J. Bower and now Nick Sterchi have taken over the drummer’s seat). Frontman Morris collaborated with Deer Tick’s John McCauley and the Black Lips’ Ian Saint Pé for the group Diamond Rugs, and found time to do some solo recording. Guitarist Howle worked on his visual art and recorded his own solo, folk project titled Tia Madre. Bassist Senn put his efforts into building the band’s label Spiderbomb Records, and keyboardist Watkins did some session work.
Next week, Dead Confederate’s back with a new full-length called In the Marrow. The second track on the record is a tune called “Vacations.” The guitars are deep and crunchy, and the wah-peddled solo lines give it a nice 60s stoner rock vibe, as does the satisfyingly squalling feedback. Despite all that grungy heaviness, there’s sweetness in the melody, and Morris delivers his vocals with wounded tenderness. It’s like a little dose of sugar in a belt of strong, inky-black coffee.