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Neat Neat Neat Recordings
James and the Drifters have been traveling musical roads together for 8 years, dusting up the tour van and turning jam sessions and emotional narratives into self-produced records. The Drifters' sound is a joyous mix of rock and roll riffs, spirited acoustic jangle, and loose-lipped harmonies that rise into the air like smoke from a distant fire. The band, which consists of Kyle Jackson(vocals, guitar), Andy Scheer(guitar, vocals), Anthony Giraldi(Bass, Vocals, Sampling), and Dan Willig(drums), build immense sounds that are as raucous as a barroom tangle and as intimate as a whispered conversation under a blanketed night sky. Their beginnings as a brotherhood(and eventually brotherhood turned band) reach back to the small town of Huntington, Indiana in 2010. Back then they were figuring out who they were as musicians and who they were as people. It was clear there was something special brewing between these Midwestern musicians, and thru several self-produced albums(and some personnel changes along the way) James and the Drifters have become one of the best Midwestern rock bands working today. Tight and precise musicianship, earnestly heartfelt songs, and the arena-ready heft of a band ready to take over the world. For James and the Drifters' second full-length release, titled The Glow, the band recorded at Off The Cuff Sound in Fort Wayne, Indiana with Jason Davis and will be releasing the album with Neat Neat Neat Records. The album will be released February 1st, 2019, and it sees the band at their absolute best. Over the course of several months of writing and spending weekends camped at Off The Cuff and working with Neat Neat Neat Records co-label head Morrison Agen, the Drifters built their most complex sonic world yet. Album opener "Dying Season" swirls and sways in soaring four-part harmonies and a sonically rich musical landscape that gives the song both modern sheen and dusty classicist leanings. A nod to the past and the future. "Stars" is yet another stellar mixture of pop majesty and Americana grit. Through all of the studio perfection there's still an air of small town nights and friends playing their hearts out in an old, dilapidated barn on the outskirts of Huntington County, Indiana. Lead single "Tides" is a perfect coming together of modern rock complexities with masterful pop leanings. A rhythm you fall right into, subtle keys, and the universal theme of love that needs a place to go, and grow. The Glow is a masterful mix of longing, jangly earnestness, and heavy hitting musicianship that will make believers of every set of ears it hits. James and the Drifters have released their most full, complex, and intricate record yet with The Glow. James and the Drifters' The Glow will be released on February 1st, 2019. You can order the album here.
Youth can afford a level of optimism that sometimes age and experience sadly don’t allow. There’s an abandon and sheer will that accompanies us when we’re younger. It pushes us to succeed. Succeed at what? Sports, academics and the arts come to mind. Within those realms, being young and open-hearted to new possibilities allows a level of “try” that is hard to come by once you’ve got a mortgage and bank payment book. When you’re young and talented, with the right support group, possibilities are endless. Addison Agen is still in high school, yet she’s already released her debut album on Neat Neat Neat Records. It’s called New Places, and it would be a fantastic debut for musicians in their 20s who’ve spent a few years carving out a name for themselves. For a young woman still balancing history papers, awkward high school hallway politics and the eco-system known as the high school cafeteria, it’s an astounding achievement. Agen possesses both an incredible knack for pop hook songwriting and a voice that seems to carry years of life she has yet to live. Album opener “Start Over” is a bouncy, upbeat track that has a heavy vibe lyrically, like someone who’s gone through the rough stuff asking for a chance to do it again. Heavy sentiment for such a young soul. “All They Really Need” glides along a Hammond organ and Agen’s dark, soulful vocals. “But all they really need is a little help from God,” Agen sings with beautifully built harmonies and a heavy-hearted vibe. “Look” is an emotional fireball of a track. It’s a song that you could easily hear on the radio or as the credits roll at the end of some film at the Carmike. What gets me about this song is the subtlety and sparse instrumentation. You’re left to concentrate on the emotion conveyed in the vocals. A secret weapon here is Jason Davis of Off The Cuff Sound. His production and studio add a depth and age to Agen’s songs that might otherwise had been lost in another studio scenario. Instead of adding some kind of shiny radio-ready sheen, he allows these songs to live and breathe. They grow organically from the heart and soul Agen brings to the tunes. From “Both Of Us,” “On Your Own” and “Play It By Ear” to “Show Me A New Way” and album closer “Sugarcoat,” Agen brings a depth and soulful confidence to her songs. There’s a maturity here that, at least in my experience, seems remarkably uncommon coming from someone barely old enough to drive. If this is what she’s doing now, I can’t imagine what she’ll be writing once she’s got a couple years past 18 under her belt. - John Hubner