2014 is shaping up to be a big year for Austin TX blues punks The Sideshow Tragedy: the band is currently finishing up songs for their fifth LP, which will be recorded later this spring at Old Soul Studios in New York and produced by Kenny Siegal(Chris Whitley,Langhorne Slim, Beirut, Joseph Arthur, New Pornographers). They will be touring the South and Northeast during this time as well, and are gearing up for their second European tour in the Fall.
The band's most recent record, Persona, was recorded at Austin's Big Orange Studios, with Tim Crane, Sammy P and C Furr of Austin funk-blues barons T Bird and the Breaks helping out with production. They fleshed out the songs in some exciting ways, adding unusual percussion and interesting guitar textures, but never sacrificing their trademark rawness and immediacy. Almost all of the songs, including overdubs, are first take, single takes. Much care was taken to avoid recording anything sounding remotely "clean" and you can hear the layers of dirt in the grooves. A collection of raw energy and focused poetry, Persona's songs are hitched together like old rail cars hurtling non-stop from the Deep South to the East Village.
According to Singleton, "This record isn't for everyone. I feel like we have artistic impulses that are, career-wise, a little weird. We arent self-saboteurs and we're not scared of success. We would really like to be successful and popular and make cash doing this. However, we get really absorbed in writing songs and making records and when it comes time to market and promote it, sometimes we're like, 'oh God, what have we done?' We try not to worry too much about it because we are in love with rock and roll, and we just try to make music that moves us. It's a dedication to making it sound the way we want it sound, to make records we would want to listen to. We just happen to think early Chess records, Exile On Main Street, and Raw Power are the best records ever. It's hard for us think about it in a pop music sort of way, until it's too late. Getting rich and famous is a long shot anyway, so you might as well make records that sound good to you."
Persona is a dark, murky, glorious slab of garage, blues, and rock and roll--The Sideshow Tragedy's most accomplished record to date. It's the summation of everything they've been working to accomplish since they started the band, and the beginning of everything that's still to come.