Sunday, December 6, 2009

Going Under with The Drownout

Sorry I haven't updated in a couple of days, guys. It's been a really hectic weekend. The season finale of Monk was incredible. But don't fret, I've been searching this weekend for some new groups, and I believe it is truth to say that the search paid off in a big way. My latest discovery are these guys, The Drownout, another super-incredible group from right here in Atlanta, GA. Combining slick pop-punk rhythms with polished synth chords, The Drownout create a sound that fits just as well on the dancefloor as on your speaker system.
Comprising members Jason Jones (vocals and guitar), Matt Baum (keyboards), Justin Marchan (bass), and Rusty Bonham (drums) (go figure), The Drownout privide a slick new sound for a new decade. Releasing their debut album, In Flagrante Delicto, in 2005, The Drownout's follow-up effort, Paper Trails and Blinds, released in early 2008, is a testament to how fast these guys grew between their two efforts (which is not to say that the first is a bad recording, because it's great).
I'm instantly hooked on this band from the first few seconds of "High Waters," the first track I listen to from Paper Trails and Blinds. Starting with punkish guitar feedback, I'm instantly transported to the future as Baum's synths take over, and Bonham just builds in with a catchy drum beat that has my head banging already. Marchan's bass is then on the board, and tightly locked with Bonham's bass drum to keep my pulse pounding at every hit. And just as he begins in on the vocals, Jones's guitar chords are heard right alongside Baum's synths. This song is definitely the lead-off single, and I have no doubt it'll crack the Top Forty no more than one week after a major label picks it up. There's really nothing more to say about this track other than it's catchy as hell, and will have you listening to it over and over. A brilliant track with sci-fi polish, "High Waters" is most certainly one of the albums five-star tracks.
Then I'm on to "Paper Trails," a seemingly slower track that starts on Baum's eery keys and Jones's guitar notes. Soon, though, Bonham is heard on his deep toms, and Marchan's bass blasts us off as Jones goes to town with his vocals, providing a bombasting chorus laced with lucid, sing-along words ampred by Baum's key strokes. This song definitely uses Jones's palm-mutes to its advantage, almost dabbling a bit in the Pixies loud-quiet-loud dynamic. But soon, I'm shifted from an alternative-rock sound to a more catchy, pop-punk, elctro-rock tapestry of notes and chords. I particularly like the slow interlude, where Jones is heard, stripped down, and backed up by Baum's melodic keys. Then Bonham drum rolls us back into anopther blastoff, and Marchan's bass hasn't let my pulse stop rascing for four minutes already. A tight song with a solid start and finish, "Paper Trails" is clealry one of the staple tracks during The Drownout's live shows.
The last track I listen to from the Paper Trails and Blinds set-list is "Gifthorse." Whereas the other tracks started a little slower on Baum's keys,"Gifthorse" crashes right in from the start on Bonham's cymbals, but soon slows down a little bit as Jones lends his melodic vocals on top of Baum's keys and Marchan's rhythmic bass lines. A slowly building song that takes off at the chorus, "Gifthorse" is a brilliant mix of brooding vocals and catchy, pop-punk melodies sewn together with a tight drum beat and well-synched bass line. Truly one of The Drownout's best moments, the track only gets better with Baum's synth notes towards the middle, and Jones's heart-felt vocal performance. A must-hear among the new slew of songs put out by The Drownout, "Gofthorse" will be all over the radio in a few months the way "Hero/Heroine" was for Boys Like Girls a couple years ago. Brilliant.

Sounds Like: Boys Like Girls, Fall Out Boy, The Cars, The Police

Key Tracks from Paper Trails and Blinds: "High Waters," "Paper Trails," "Gifthorse"

Check out The Drownout more at: and

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