Anti-Americana & Romantic Protest: the Beginning of AmeriglowFeb 28th, 2013 | By Rae Alton | Category: Feature
Greensboro’s music scene evolves fairly quickly, but there’s one evolution that a lot of us have been eager for. It’s getting quite a lot of press already, considering this entity have not even played their first live show yet. We’re talking about Ameriglow.
You might remember its frontman, Jacob Darden, from the renowned, past-tense indie rock band Israel Darling. Darden is from a small town in Burke Country, North Carolina – Drexel – just under an hour away from Greensboro. He enjoys the diversity and the eccentric people here in Greensboro. “It attracts strange people and I really like strange people.”
If you lived in Greensboro in ’09-’11 and like indie music, you knew about Israel Darling and could probably recall their super-catchy song “Samson the Mason”. They received indie press coverage, went on tour in the northeast, and eventually the band parted ways. One year later, Greensboro music fans are thrilled and anxious to hear what Darden has for us now, but don’t expect it to be Israel Darling 2.0.
“I like how Doug (Pike, the drummer for Ameriglow) put it. He said Israel Darling is like watching the train go by, it’s a sociological observation. Now it’s more about getting on the train and experiencing the ride for what it is, from a sociological perspective. Ameriglow is more experimental,” says Darden. “There’s more sound manipulation, it’s more about creating something that people have never heard before.”
He goes on to paint Israel Darling in an introspectful, solipsistic light, then adds that the first track on the Ameriglow EP, “Welcome to the USO” is apocalyptic. The O stands for ‘offended’, in case you were wondering.
The concept and voice of Ameriglow is, as Darden puts it, “far less personal in some ways, and more personal in others.” He explains that even though one song talks about being part of a protest downtown with your lover, it’s not meant to be taken at face value as a love song about activists; instead, the point is the protest, the point is that we’re living in a time when you can go to a protest downtown with a lover. He emphasizes that the music is Anti-Americana.
“Do you think it might confuse some people that your name is Ameriglow, but you describe yourselves as “Anti-Americana”?” I ask.
“I would hope so! Think about stars dying out, static radiation – where America is starting to get to.” Darden answers.
The band is made up of Greensboro powerhouse musicians: Jacob Darden at the helm on guitar, Harrison Barrow on keys, Jack Carter on guitar, Randy Seals on bass, and Doug Pike on drums. Collectively, the members of Ameriglow play in 7 different bands. Somehow they manage to sound unique, even if it looks like front-man musical chairs.
Highlighted tracks on the EP are “Garage Sale Kids” and “Bella Moore”. “Garage Sale Kids” is Darden’s favorite on the album because it’s anthemic, summarizing the direction he hopes to take the band in. “It has a fresh sound that I’m not used to. It’s more controlled. More mature.”
It’s also interesting to note Darden’s recording experience with “Bella Moore”, featuring the lovely vocal talents of Rebecca Henderson (of Village Tricycle fame), Liz Grubbs, and Ben Melnyk. Darden wanted more female vocals in parts of the song, so to add to the female voices, he and Melnyk deployed a clever trick – standing in the back of the studio and singing a higher pitch to emulate feminine vocals – something he learned from a Ray Charles documentary.
Within the next couple of months, Ameriglow will begin recording a 10-12 track album. Don’t skip the EP and wait for the album, though. Darden has been busy crafting the artwork by hand (for all 50 EP discs) on recyclable disc sleeves with acrylic paint.
“I’ve been working all day on ‘em” he says before he describes the “trippy sunset” look he hopes to convey. His idea was inspired by a friend who once encouraged Darden to see the southwest and described the color of the landscape at sunset. Additional artwork includes “a little jacket” or maybe a business suit, or a lumberjack shirt. “This ties in with the thematic approach of the EP, right?” I ask. I’m supposed to let you figure it out, at least how that applies to you, for yourself.
Don’t miss the first live performance and EP release of Ameriglow! The show starts at 10pm on March 1 at The Flatiron and costs only $7. Also playing are Black Santa, Eric “Daily Planet” Murphy, and DUMPSTER.