Dead Confederates alt.country/grunge hybrid doesnt just feel like a compelling debut, it feels like a compelling new genre. THE ONION
A hairy American Radiohead. THE DAILY TELEGRAPH
Artist to watch... When they hit full howl, Dead Confederate are the living end. ROLLING STONE
Friends since high school, Dead Confederate officially formed in 2006, taking their musical cues from the primary colours of alternative rock and grunge also dipping their toes into country and psychedelia, with a dash of swampy blues. So much so, that the quintets Hardy Morris (vocals / guitar), Brantley Senn (bass), Walker Howle (guitar), John Watkins (keyboards) and Jason Scarboro (drums) rugged and red-blooded music, could be filed next to the likes of Drive-By Truckers, Kings Of Leon, Soul Asylum, My Morning Jacket and Nirvana. The latter especially, as Hardys tense raspy drawl and cavalcade delivery, recalls that unforgettable seared voice of the late great Kurt Cobain, adding further fuel to tunes that are already engulfed in flames.
Their press release elaborates: It was while being picked up at an airport that former A&R man / Capitol Records boss Gary Gersh who in signing Sonic Youth and Nirvana to Geffen in the early 90s, effectively made underground alternative rock a mainstream concern for the first time heard Dead Confederate demos playing on his friends car stereo. A few meetings later and the band were signed to his label The Artist Organization, their self-titled EP following soon after in 2008. Dead Confederate were up and running and havent paused for breath since.
In September of that same year, the groups dynamo debut album, Wrecking Ball, then received a cache of auspicious praise upon its release in the USA, and was once again rubber-stamped with approval by critics in the UK when it was put out over here in late 2009. One of the LPs standout cuts, which was both a Top 40 US Hit and has since gone onto become a staple of alt.music radio, The Rat (a protest song against the religious right), even saw the efflorescing collective performing this immense track live on the popular TV show, Late Night with Conan OBrien.
Their press release continues: The bands shows carry the torch for all the great hirsute underground freaks of The 80s and early 90s... yet Dead Confederate are a band that could only have been shaped by The 21st Century. Their wall of sound could be taken as a giant metaphor for modern America itself: simultaneously expansive, emotive, affable, troubled, paranoid, confused, confident, complex and resolutely dark of heart. As their moniker suggests, however, the only flag this band is waving is for themselves and their kind: the freaks, the forgotten, the hard-bitten anti-heroes and the volume junkies.
So for any readers who have been craving a modern spin on alternative rock, grunge, country, psychedelia and swampy blues, then its time to stand to attention and salute the Dead Confederate, as they admirably wave the flag for Southern-fried rock n roll. Which with brains + brawn and wanting to step up their game on their sophomore record, looks like it could well take them to the uttermost strata of the food chain! Because with musical artillery that veers between masculine + sensitive, the renegades redemptive, darkly brilliant and world-weary songs, offer both jabbing rushes of noise and sedate spiritual equanimity, that will leave you wanting more.
Now back home after being on the road for some time (having supported
everyone from A Place To Bury Strangers, to Dinosaur Jr, to the Meat
Puppets), I sent lead singer Hardy a Questionnaire to find out more
about his inspirations, musical wanderlust and one of my favourite findings
from last year
1.Firstly, Happy New Year to you! To begin with, growing up, was
there a song that changed your life or that stirred something deep inside
4.On a similar note, Bruce Springsteen once said: The artists
people are interested in have something eating at them. Elvis. What
was eating at that guy? Why did he have to sing like that and move like
that? Jerry Lee Lewis, what was eating at him? What was eating at Hank
Williams? Johnny Lydon? Something was. So the idea is: how do you manage
that thing thats eating at you, without letting it eat you? Cause
thats what it wants to do. The thing thats eating at you,
wants to eat you. And so your life is... how do you keep that from happening?
What are your feelings on this statement?
5.If you could ask a musical hero anything, who would it be and
what would you ask them + are there any musicians who you wished were
still alive and creating?
7.Youve now toured the UK and Europe what do you most
enjoy about other countries, and what do you most miss about the USA?
8.When it comes to music on Dead Confederates Tour Bus, which
artist / group do you all agree on, and if you were asked to compile
a Back To The Bus CD, which acts and songs would you include?
10.How do you spend your time away from the band?
11.Would you agree that the Internet has helped to broaden peoples
musical tastes, and who have been some of your favourite discoveries
that you may otherwise never have heard of?
12.What was the most valuable lesson that you learnt from writing
and recording your debut album?
15.Lastly, chips or cream buns?
A very special thanks to Hardy and to Kate @ Division Promotions, for all of their time and help.