Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Josh Niles in Nashville, Tennessee, Illustration based on a photograph taken by Laura Meek
The four sessions that are being featured today were all recorded on the same day two weeks ago in Nashville, Tennessee, as All Get Out, Junior Astronomers and Death On Two Wheels arrived in Harrison Hudson's hometown for the first night of the three-week Favorite Gentlemen Records tour that snuck up to the Midwest for a few shows, over to the east coast and then down through the south to its final end at the end of the week in Macon, Georgia. They popped into the studio in East Nashville at hour and a half intervals before they headed over to The End for the opening night show.
First up, at 10 am were the locals - Harrison Hudson - a duo that consists of Hudson on vocals and guitar and Shaun Rawlings on drums. It's a fine way to ease into the brunch-time hour, with milkshake pop songs in the vein of Owsley and a skuzzier, more indie-minded OK Go. These are songs that are built around those simple wants and lusts that clutter our male minds every second of every day. They revolve around sweet sentiments, with intentions that are meant to convey the sense of quickened pulses, sweaty palms and desires for glances and tender kisses. They are notions of wholesome, if elusive love that have been around forever. The girls are called queens, honeys and babies. They're trated with the utmost amount of flattery and Hudson sounds perfectly natural delivering these gooey lines, just hoping to get some sort of return on the investment. He sings, "I'm a lost one underground/He told me give up the money/Don't chase the honeys/Flies will always circle the pot/Bloom where you plant it/Don't take for granted and cherish the one you got," on "Cherish The One You Got," giving the whole enterprise of love the air of something that should be appreciated for its goodness and its fickleness. He begs for someone to take his heart, for someone to stay and always promising that he'll someone enough. It seems like a good bet to take, ladies.
Death On Two Wheels, from Atlanta, Georgia, stopped in right around the noon hour and the tone got grittier and less touchy-feely. It started feeding off the rotten parts of romance a little more as frontman Trae Vedder clearly has had some different sorts of interactions with women lately. It's either that or he's checking into hotels in the same Southern locales that Patterson Hood has been cultivating his storylines from for years. There are murder ballads - songs where dudes are getting cut in the night by vengeful lovers - and other instances where there's just nothing good that's going to come out of any of it. They throw us right into the guts of messes, left and right and we get an earful of red nights and blue and dreary mornings. There are bodies thrown into dumpsters, and for others, there are numbered days and those crawling around on the ground, on the floor, skinning their knees, but getting used to it. The characters in these songs are written as scavengers, nervous smokers, nervous livers of life, skeptics and burning fires. Vedder sings, "Ain't it plain to see we're just another piece of meat wolves want," and the mood is set.
All Get Out, this afternoon, made their fourth appearance, moving into rare company of four-timers. Lead singer Nathan Hussey showed up as a duo this day, playing songs with similar sentiments to what we would expect out of him. They are songs filled with tortured realism. They are fights that aren't all that violent. They are inner struggles that never wash fully away. They are aspects of ourselves that we weren't born with, but they've become birthmarks. They've become symbols of our skin and our blood. These are the weakened, however, calloused versions of ourselves. These are the people that we've become and they're the people that we'll have to continue living with - filled with shrapnel and filled with the words that ring sickeningly from past days and past loves. Hussey portrays people on the make. Whether they're avoiding or advancing, who's to say, but him. They are getting somewhere, though. They're fighting with the land. They're building a frame. They've embraced the coldest water and the warmest sun and they've decided to just go with it - to go with a distrust of the nights and to believe solely in what the sunlight uncovers and where the river's waters might take them.
North Carolinians Junior Astronomers keep us in the middle of the messes of humanity. It's a phrase that they've thrown out there themselves, but it's not difficult to arrive at - either in concept or in actuality. It's here where we are suffering nosebleeds. We're getting the stuffing kicked out of us and we're not even sure who's doing the kicking. Hell, we might even be on the other end of it as there don't seem to be any winners or losers here. There's anger and disappointment. There's pain and there are problems, but Terrence Richard, Philip Wheeler, Jeffrey Saer, Colin Watts and Elias Pittman present these moments like therapeutic lifelines. These are moments when souls get defined, when they dig in a little deeper, root themselves into the soil and just shout out their fibers, flex their muscles. This is when they allow themselves to be vulnerable and tough as shit, all at the same time.
Harrison Hudson Official Site
Death On Two Wheels Official Site
All Get Out Official Site
Junior Astronomers Official Site
Favorite Gentlemen Recordings