Friday, July 29, 2011
Get to Know: We Are Augustines
One of my favorite bands a few years ago was Brooklyn-based Pela. I thought their LP, Anytown Graffiti was excellent and earned them the right to stardom. Regardless of the validity of my opinion, the public was not completely on message. As the group worked to record a follow up, a variety of tensions, including contractual and financial issues, pulled the group apart. The album wasn't finished, but the group was. The entire story is longer and more complicated, and is available on their Website linked below.
Billy McCarthy and Eric Sanderson of Pela stayed together, becoming over time, Augustines, and now We Are Augustines. The album they created is Rise Ye Sunken Ships, which was released last month as a digital only release on iTunes. "Book of James", which I've provided below, was written by McCarthy after his brother James, a diagnosed schizophrenic, committed suicide. In my view, it is the centerpiece of the album.
"Book of James":
The wonderful "Augustine", which gave rise to the band's name:
Most of the album was written while Pela still existed. The songs reflect the turmoils of the band, and the various components of McCarthy and Sanderson's lives. Both come from family backgrounds of substance abuse, and McCarthy's mother, as well as his brother, was schizophrenic. With that emotional weight, the album could have been a weepy morass. Instead, it is a triumph born of excellent songwriting and heartfelt performances. The songs are confessional, and speak to the potential for redemption. The sound has a blue collar, anthemic indie rock feel pleasantly reminiscent of Springsteen.
McCarthy and Sanderson have added drummer Rob Allen to the group. Oxcart Records is listed as their label.
We'll close with "Chapel Song", which has a more mid-tempo pop feel to it: