Can you feel the excitement in the air? With the countdown ticking until the first bands take the stage at SXSW (20 days!), more blogs are featuring SXSW articles (including rants), more bands are updating their myspace profile, and more non-Texans are getting ready for a hefty diet of BBQ and Mexican food.
With that being said, the next installment on PTM’s SXSW preview is Delta Spirit. The band first made a small splash with their self-released EP I Think I’ve Found It, but because of the difficulty of procuring self-released records (see: Bon Iver) I, like most people, were first introduced to the band through their stellar Daytrotter session from 2007. The band came back in 2008 with Ode to Sunshine, an excellent “proper” release by famed label conglomerate Rounder Records. With a fresh new set of Daytrotter tracks under my belt, I revisited their debut album with the same amount of giddy as a schoolboy in a candy shop.
A modern take on classic Americana, Delta Spirit is definitely rooted in rock & roll and folk music of the past. There’s horns, there’s tambourine, and yes there’s a harmonica here and there, but where most folk rock group nowadays use these instruments as uninspiring highlights (misguidedly thinking unusual instrumentation automatically deserves up front and center attention), Delta Spirit puts them to good use only as accents to their incredibly strong guitar and vocals arrangements.
Although lead singer Matt Vasquez’s voice is often (and rightfully) compared to that of Nathan Willett of the Cold War Kids, there are some tracks where he varies his delivery. For example, the end of “Bleeding Bells” reminds me of a tamer, less raspy Deer Tick and there is a hint of The Tallest Man on Earth on the slower pieces. Hell, I’ll even thrown in a quivering Thom Yorke comparison into the mix as well. And just because he might sound like a particular singer doesn’t mean the band he’s in creates anywhere near the same music – just ask Matt Berninger from The National about his seemingly endless comparisons to Silver Jew’s front man David Berman when they first broke into the scene…
Delta Spirit is gracing Austonians with a pre-SXSW date at Emo’s Lounge on February 28 before heading back for the real deal in March. The dates and locations they are listed as playing are:
March 18 // Radio Room // 1:00am
March 19 // Cedar Street Courtyard // 10:30pm
And here are a couple of tracks to get you excited: