BASS DRUM OF DEATH
The point of an odyssey is to return home changed—still the same person, but deepened somehow, wiser and better, wearing your traveling scars proudly. Bass Drum of Death’s new album Say I Won’t is the end result of a journey that took singer and bandleader John Barrett from a small town in Mississippi and sent him across the world and back home again. The music still rips, with blown-out guitars and drums that sound like bombs going off, and the melodies are catchier than ever, hollered in Barrett’s trademark yelp. But the music hits differently now, more at peace with itself, propelled by a new swagger. Say I Won’t is the record of a veteran band finding its stride and leaning into it, stripping back the excess and finding the raw core of their sound.
Say I Won’t, the band’s fifth record, comes at a time of massive change for Barrett, having relocated from New York to his hometown of Oxford, Mississippi during the pandemic. The record is also a homecoming of a different sort, with the band rejoining the ranks of Fat Possum, also in Oxford, the label that released their first record GB City in 2011.
“Moving back to Oxford was a much-needed reset,” says Barrett. “When I started, I just wanted to play in a punk band and drink beers and travel around. I didn’t really think much past that. And I got really burned out. When I moved back home, I started writing songs again, just for fun. I realized I wanted this record to have more of a hometown feel. The switch back to Fat Possum was easy. It’s much better working with people I know and love and love everything they do.”DEAD TOOTH
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After an early stint drumming and singing in Haybaby (Tiny Engines), Zach James began writing and self-producing folk records in his bedroom, donning the name The Silver Spaceman.
The project evolved into a post-punk band featuring Andrew Bailey (DIIV) on lead guitar. It snarled and simmered around darker texåtures, miles away from its early folk routes. James looked to his darkened smile and rechristened the project Dead Tooth. They gained momentum opening for bands like Hand Habbits, The Space Lady and Current Joys.
After recording their second EP entitled Pig Pile, the pandemic disembodied the band as it did so many others. Sad, yet ambitious to keep the momentum going and release the EP, James rebuilt the project from the ground up. He added an EWI/Sax player and relinquished his own live guitar duties for a frontman stage persona. The new crew was quickly picked up by Rough Trade Publishing and Trash Casual Records. Shortly after, they went on to win OWL Winter Madness (a 16 band, 5 week long "battle of the bands" at Brooklyn's legendary rooftop venue Our Wicked Lady). They then found themselves playing SPIN Magazine’s SXSW showcase alongside The Lemonheads, Bass Drum of Death and Pom Pom Squad. SPIN wrote of SXSW, "If there was someone who really broke out...it was Brooklyn’s Dead Tooth.” The band also became a large point of focus at Savannah Stopover where the local paper printed 33 photos of the festival, 18 of which were Dead Tooth.