There's a new breed of dark, raw, mind-blowing psych-rock crawling from the South, and its name is Dead Confederate. The Georgia group conjured the haunting sound of their debut full-length album WRECKING BALL the old-fashioned way: by making it in the tiny concrete box of a studio in Austin, Texas, where the sound effects for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre were recorded. "We're kind of like a Jackson Pollock painting," explains singer/guitarist Hardy Morris, 28. "Brutally honest. There isn't some big twist or turn, it just lays it all out there. Immediate, no frills, primal, emotional." WRECKING BALL is out September 16 through TAO Records.
Dead Confederate - singer/guitarist Hardy Morris, bassist Brantley Senn, guitarist Walker Howle, keyboardist John Watkins, and drummer Jason Scarboro - first bonded over Pink Floyd and Black Sabbath ("stoner shit," as Morris puts it) when they attended high school together in Augusta, Georgia. After keeping a band loosely together throughout college, the five-piece got serious when they were faced with the prospect of finding careers outside of music. After the small-town crew moved to Atlanta, "We were all kind of huddled together in this little house in the big city," Morris recalls, "Things took a turn and Brantley and I started writing serious personal stuff. We weren't just playing anymore, we were really writing and searching." Dead Confederate was born.
WRECKING BALL boasts 10 tracks of tightly coiled, spacey rock that leaps from slow, aching verses into gut-blasting choruses into propulsive, Southern-rock tinged jams led by wailing guitars. (Several tracks, like the 12-minute odyssey "Flesh Colored Canvas," were even nailed in a single take.)
First single "The Rat" - a song that grabbed attention when it appeared on the band's EP - is one of the band's most misunderstood tracks ("A lot of people think it's about a relationship," explains Senn. "It's kind of a protest song about the religious right."). Led by pounding drums and a spooky guitar riff, as Morris' vocal gets increasingly desperate and pained, distorted guitars build until the track reaches its catchy peak.
That kind of seething, black-bellied emotion and honesty informs everything from the band's name to their already legendary live shows. "I wanted something that was dark, because we're kinda dark, and I wanted something that would hit you," Morris explains of selecting the term "Confederate." "It's not stereotypical Southern rock at all, but that flavor's in there for sure."