You Blew It!
When You Blew It! frontman Tanner Jones describes the influence of the band's Orlando, Florida hometown, he notes that everything feels like osmosis, a process that sees a solvent moving through a semipermeable membrane from a lower concentration into a higher concentration.
Orlando is a thriving cultural mecca with a vibrant international scene, which allows the city's sights and sounds to seemingly shift entirely from one night to the next. This atmosphere slipped through the You Blew It!'s somewhat semipermeable writing process for Abendrot, the band's first effort for Triple Crown Records. The osmosis of varied cultural influences surrounding the band in Orlando allowed them to focus on the intricacies of their songwriting and step into unfamiliar territory, bringing out a darker side both lyrically and sonically.
Abendrot was written in roughly four days after the band's five members – Jones, guitarists Andy Anaya and Trevor O'Hare, bassist Andy Vila, and drummer Matthew Nissley – spent months apart, each having moved away from Orlando for various reasons. Despite the quick turnaround on the majority of the writing process, the band spent the majority of nearly six months tinkering with song structures before they felt they had the material was ready for the studio, which allowed the record's twelve songs cover a lot of ground thematically, with an unintentional shift inward. While some of the songs deal with frontman Tanner Jones' mental health after the long-winded production of the record straining his perfectionist personality and ultimately driving him into therapy, each song deals with something different, sometimes rooted in fiction.
With Into It. Over It's Evan Weiss at the production helm, Abendrot was recorded over a month at Atlas Studios in Chicago, the longest the band has ever spent recording. This allowed them to experiment more with different recording techniques that included switching up the mic placement for each song, as well as playing with echoes and tape delay. Additionally, they placed an emphasis on making sure the production's use of digital manipulation was used as sparingly as possible.
As You Blew It! continues to build their career with Abendrot, their only goal is to manage the constant internal and external pressures of the music industry and retain their integrity.
All Get Out
Four years without new music can be a death sentence for any artist, and when an absence like that follows the release of a debut album, circumstances can get dire. But few acts are able to amass a cult following as rapidly as South Carolina-based indie rock outfit All Get Out did with 2011's The Season, a full-length record that has proven to have near-infinite replayability.
"I needed a break," songwriter and vocalist Nathan Hussey says. "I needed to regroup and really think about where I was, what I was doing, and how I was doing it."
Finally, the band is back in action in 2015, and is ready to share a brand-new EP, Movement, on April 14 via Favorite Gentlemen Recordings and Bad Timing Records.
"The EP goes in a direction that feels natural for All Get Out," Hussey explains. "It's heavier, and it's kind of a sister to our last release in its rawness. The Season is neatly put together, and Movement is a little sloppy, a little less intentional. The main concept here, of course, is movement. It's how you know things are still alive.
"I started writing the title track in 2013. The first two verses are about how changes happen in a way that people don't understand. And I'm kind of saying, you don't have to get it, you don't have to understand. And as the song was being written over those two years, it called me into the idea of movement."
Movement isn't a reintroduction or regeneration — it's a reaffirmation. It's a torrent of spirit at its most raw moments, an unabashed exorcism of the things that keep us awake at night in the pursuit of a life with deserved purpose. Continuing to gravitate toward the unoccupied spaces between indie and rock, All Get Out's return to the spotlight presents an opportunity for listeners to fall in love all over again with one of the most dynamic groups in this genre.
Two years before Free Throw formed in Nashville, the Memphis Grizzlies made national headlines for their "grit and grind." Some not familiar with basketball may assume this was another phrase describing the team's tireless work ethic, After all, it seems to be what brought them two consecutive playoff appearances. Journalists and analysts actually claimed this "grit and grind" was actually their disruptive defense. A free throw is usually given to a player usually disrupted by defense -- so when unintentionally borrowing "grit and grind" from their home state's NBA franchise, Free Throw went on the offensive.
Consider the band's signature play: a three-guitar attack which stacks raw immediacy with large-scale aspirations. Sometimes this arrangement is abrasive. The chorus on "Two Beers In," a track detailing the internal conversations of a partygoer, seethes with rage. Other times it's more nuanced; "How I Got My Shrunken Head" finds elastic guitar lines tripping over one another before fading out with a delicate ring. What connects these two different threads is Cory Castro's frayed vocals, gaining their power from a violent shout and their confessions from a measured whimper. Combine that range with a set of lyrical themes that play out like an uneasy three-way phone call and what remains -- their 2014 LP Those Days Are Gone -- fills speakers with a darkness offset by instrumentals which sway and bend with warm nostalgia.
But what fills most of Free Throw's golden playbook is a commitment to winning their own way. After strings of DIY touring circuits and an intense love affair with their van, it's clear to see their blooming, road-tested legacy answers to no one but their enthusiastic audiences. With their live sets packing rooms across the country, not without alcohol and crowd sing-alongs in tow, it seems this grind has paid off so far, with the grit packing their songs with not just unrelenting talent, but the forward-thinking energy to match.