As listeners, we typically assume that a debut album is an artist’s mission statement. Simply put, an artist’s first album is supposed to establish what that person or band sounds like. It’s supposed to lay the foundations for the rest of their career and give listeners some idea of what to expect later on down the road. But what happens when a debut album proves to be an anomaly? When the first record establishes a sonic identity that the artist doesn’t want to chase on future releases?
For more than a decade now, Cary Brothers has been asking precisely that question.
Brothers burst onto the scene in 2004, with a December release called All the Rage. It wasn’t until the next year, though, that he got his big break, thanks in large part to the Garden State soundtrack. Brothers’ beloved contribution, the song “Blue Eyes,” had already been a Hotel Café favorite when Zach Braff scooped it up for his quirky coming-of-age dramedy. Garden State took the song and immortalized it for listeners and movie fans who were of a certain age at the time. While the song gave Brothers the kind of boost that just about any songwriter would kill for, though, it also meant that he got the musical version of typecast. “Blue Eyes” was a singer-songwriter song, and Brothers’ full-length debut, 2007’s Who You Are, was a singer-songwriter album. You could hardly blame early Cary Brothers fans for making the assumption that he was an acoustic singer-songwriter, period.
Austin, TX, math rock band Honey and Salt will be releasing their sophomore album, Honey and Salt, next week via Spartan Records. I got the chance to sit down with vocalist/guitarist Wade Allen and bassist Austin Sears about the writing of the record, fighting nihilism, and the best band that ever was, Fugazi.
I wrote about Animal Flag at the beginning of the year for our most anticipated albums of 2018 and predicted their new album being “a stunner.” Now they’ve announced that album – it’s called Void Ripper and it comes out on April 13 via Flower Girl and Triple Crown Records – and I can assure you it’s a stunner indeed. I recently had the pleasure of speaking to frontman Matt Politoski about the writing of the record and the break away from Christianity that inspired it.
Spanish Love Songs will release their new album Schmaltz on March 30th. It’s one of the freshest and most honest punk rock records in recent memory. I recently had the pleasure of speaking with vocalist Dylan Slocum and he told me about the delicate art of opening a record and embracing dad punk.
In January, Awakebutstillinbed released their debut album, What People Call Low Self-Esteem Is Really Just Seeing Yourself the Way That Other People See You – an early contender for album of the year – and signed to Tiny Engines Records. I was lucky enough to speak to vocalist Shannon Taylor about the record, the history of the band, and what makes an emo band.
Next week, Pianos Become the Teeth will release their fourth full-length, Wait for Love. It takes the band even further down the path their 2014 effort, Keep You, blazed and expands upon it, taking the band’s sound in totally new directions. I recently spoke with vocalist Kyle Durfey about the process of writing the album and following up such a radical change in sound.