Get Gone, the potent debut album by the Shreveport, Louisiana natives in Seratones, makes a strong case that this little-known corner of the state is fertile ground, musically speaking. A.J. Haynes (vocals), Connor Davis (guitar), Adam Davis (bass) and Jesse Gabriel (drums) serve up a combination of Southern musicality, garage rock ferocity, and general badassery.
Haynes’s powerful singing voice, first honed at Brownsville Baptist Church in Columbia, Louisiana at age 6, rings across every track. Davis’s bass and Gabriel’s playing propel every song with the grit, energy, and rawness of punk, the feeling of soul, and occasionally, a little jazz swing. The other Davis offers a clinic in guitar riffs, from swaggering blues to searing interstellar leads.
Recorded at Dial Back Sound studios in Mississippi, Get Gone is all live takes, a portrait of the Seratones in their element. Add the soul and swagger of a juke joint with the electricity coursing through a basement DIY show, and you’d begin to approach the experience of seeing this foursome live. The well-paced, multi-faceted set showcases a band dedicated to sonic exploration. “Don’t Need It,” which opens with a muscular swing and tight guitar lines, builds into a monster finish with a nasty corkscrew of a guitar line. “Sun,” a brawny thrasher, courses with huge, raw voltage riffs. “Chandelier,” a mid-tempo burner and vocal workout by Haynes, goes from croon to a crescendo that would shake any crystals hanging from the rafters.
Shared history in the city’s music scene brought the Seratones together a few years ago. All four had played together with one or another in various local punk bands, bonding through all-ages basement shows, gigs at skate parks and BBQ joints, and late nights listening to jazz and blues records. In a city of multiple genres, no fixed musical identity and a flood of cover bands, these adventurous musicians carved out their own path, personifying the do-it-yourself ethos. The group was quickly recognized after forming, winning the Louisiana Music Prize in 2013.
“Shreveport is always shifting its identity,” says Haynes. “You can do a lot of different things when it seems like every band is its own genre.”
Seratones’s music, created with collaborative songwriting and spontaneous creativity, is certainly their own, due perhaps in part to Shreveport’s unique sonic geography. The city sits at a nexus roughly equidistant from Memphis soul, Mississippi Delta Blues, and New Orleans jazz, with Texas swing located just over the nearby state border. The band’s sound draws from those touch points and more, ranging from Black Sabbath’s Paranoid to Kind of Blue. They’ll happily connect the dots between Ornette Coleman and Jello Biafra.
Seratones have different names for the amalgamation of styles found on their debut: Their own “expression of freedom,” music that’s “all about waking people up,” a safe space to feel what you want. However you choose to describe it, Get Gone is unexpected and unbowed, a head-snapping showcase of the twin pillars of Southern music, restlessness and resourcefulness.
by Patrick Sisson
A few years ago, Johnny Solomon was a fixture in the tight knit Twin Cities music scene, forming the angular indie pop band Friends Like These and touring extensively, receiving critical praise from far-flung sources that looked like the beginning of a promising career. The rising success masked his struggle with addiction and mental health problems and quickly eclipsed his career, landing him in jail and treatment facilities across the country. By the end of that whirlwind, he retreated to a small town across the border in Wisconsin where he assumed his music days were over.
However, when he moved out of the city, his demons followed him and he spent his nights writing and recording what he thought would be his eulogy: songs about lost love and lost chances, He recruited some friends to come out and put it all to tape. Calling his new band Communist Daughter, they released their debut album Soundtrack to the End in 2010. As they gained national attention, Johnny once again had to put it all on hold and checked himself in to rehab.
In 2012, Communist Daughter returned with a clear-eyed John, his now-wife Molly Solomon, bassist Adam Switlick, Steven Yasgar on drums, Al Weirs on guitar and Dillon Marchus on keys. They released an EP, Lions & Lambs, and began touring the country again and gaining national attention.
By 2014, they had entered the studio to spend the next two years crafting their sophomore release. Working with producer Kevin Bowe (Replacements, Meat Puppets), they recorded in and out of studios trying to capture the deeply personal songs in a much more deliberate style. Going from studio to bedroom to studio again, they created an album with 11 songs running the gambit from high peaks to dark lows. They took the finished tracks to Nashville where Andrija Tokic (Alabama Shakes, Benjamin Booker) put the final mix together, and had Heba Kadry (Future Islands, And You Will Know Us…) master the final product in NYC.
"Soothing on a surface level, like latter-day Yo La Tengo covering a gentle folk song … 'Balboa Bridge' will be therapeutic for someone else out there struggling." --Stereogum
Ever So Android
Ever So Android fuse rock and roll with a contrasting electronic presence. Formed in 2012 by guitarist/programmer Drew Murray and vocalist Hope Simpson, the duo quickly gained notoriety as one of Seattle's most explosive live acts. With the addition of drummer Ben Hilzinger in 2015, Ever So Android’s sound took on a more melodic tenor. This current line up has found a band both rich in power and pop sensibility.