April 3, 2014

Augustines - Augustines (2014)

In the Spring of 2008, I wrote about Pela, a Brooklyn-based five piece, playing an amazing live show characterized by addicting, vigorous, punk-rooted hooks and heartfelt vocals at Bottom of the Hill in San Francisco. It was a show to remember, because, while the show itself was fantastic, after it I shared drinks with the band and helped shut the bar down. Six years later, Billy McCarthy (vocals, guitar) and Eric Sanderson (bass, keyboards, vocals) moved on together from Pela to form Augustines with the addition of Rob Allen (drums).

With one very good album already to their name, Rise Ye Sunken Ships (2011), this year's self-titled album kicks it up a few significant notches. Passionate, sing-along choruses are strung together with tight hooks, and although no song shares the same stride, the album is truly a unitary whole. It soars at points and plucks heart strings at others - uplifting, then thoughtfully emotional, then back to uplifting - occasionally goose-bump and, perhaps, tear worthy. I have listened to this album more than I care to admit, but much of that is fueled by seeing Augustines live recently at The Independent (again in San Francisco), which was a live show, theatrical performance, and group therapy session all rolled into one. McCarthy leaves it all on the stage - blood. sweat, and tears - and I think this album channels that impassioned enthusiasm. Check the album out or watch some Live on KEXP below.