Augustines Augustines on LP + Download
With its open-armed energy and elegiac grace, Augustines marks a colossal leap forward for the Votiv/Oxcart recording group of the same name – no mean feat considering the extraordinary power of their breakthrough 2011 debut, Rise Ye Sunken Ships. Songs like “Now You Are Free” and the plaintive “Walkabout” are both immediate and engaging, joining joyously unrestrained arrangements with singer/guitarist Billy McCarthy’s signature affective lyricism. Augustines marks a milestone on an amazing journey, the work of a gifted band ascending to new heights while simultaneously grappling with their place in the universe.
Augustines was born upon the ashes of the Brooklyn indie rock band, Pela. That combo called an end to its collective trip in 2009, but founders McCarthy and Sanderson reunited to record a series of deeply personal songs chronicling despair, depression, and the untimely death of a close family member. They dubbed their intimate new endeavor, Augustines, which trademark issues required be appended to We Are Augustines.
“The name ‘Augustines’ resonates for us in many regards,” Sanderson says. “The minute we gave the project a name is really when it birthed itself. To have that name taken away from us, or even modified in a minor way, was always difficult. Now we’ve come full circle.”
Rise Ye Sunken Ships - recorded and mixed by Dave Newfeld (Broken Social Scene, Super Furry Animals) – instantly set Augustines among modern music’s most compelling new bands. Songs like “Juarez” and “Book of James” touched a collective nerve, their dark subject matter refracted and then elevated by Augustines’ affirmative approach. Hailed by iTunes as 2011’s “Best Alternative Album,” Rise Ye Sunken Ships was a critical and popular sensation, earning abundant praise and a fervent fan following. McCarthy and Sanderson enlisted the talents of British-born, conservatory-trained drummer Rob Allen and with that, Augustines became a fully-fledged band. The trio traveled the planet, performing innumerable headline shows, support sets, and show-stealing festival dates.
By the end, Augustines felt akin to Archibald MacNeal Willard’s “The Spirit of ’76,” bloodied but unbowed as they marched home from their long campaign. They paused to heal their dents and dings, with McCarthy embarking on an extended expedition that saw him visit such far-flung locales as Kenya, Turkey, Mexico, and Alaska. He eventually drifted back to the Applegate, California elementary school where he first learned an instrument. There he worked, observed by students and faculty as he put fingers on strings and pen to paper.
Meanwhile, Sanderson and Allen worked on demos of their own, each still abuzz with ideas and experiences garnered on the infinite tour. In late November 2012, Augustines reconvened for a month of woodshedding at Temperamental Recordings, a converted 19th century country church in Geneseo, New York. Fully armed, Augustines next headed to Bridgeport, Connecticut to record with co-producer Peter Katis at his residential Tarquin Studios. Katis (The National, Frightened Rabbit, Interpol, and – most importantly to Augustines – Jónsi) proved the ideal collaborator, helping focus the band’s driven pace and ample vision.
From the start, the sessions evinced a decidedly more optimistic point of view that the one which fired their heartrending debut, with songs like “Nothing To Lose But Your Head” and the buoyant “Kid, You’re On Your Own” lit by positive vibrations and striking confidence.
Where their first record was created in relative isolation, Augustines was made “with the awareness that we weren’t going to be alone anymore,” says McCarthy. “This is us handing it over to those people that sang our songs back to us all over the world. The first record was obviously very personal. It was really for us in many ways. There was almost an exchange – we turned from the interior and started considering some of the breathtaking moments that happened to us on the road, in different countries.”
Indeed, tracks like the thundering “Cruel City” and the album-closing “Hold Onto Anything” demonstrate a distinctly outward shift in sonic scope, interpolating the holistic experience of West African music into Augustines’ sweeping, multi-faceted sound. If Rise Ye Sunken Ships provided much needed catharsis, Augustines now takes this very special band to an altogether new plane, transcendent and triumphant.
Augustines Augustines Track Listing:
1. Intro (I Touch Imaginary Hands)
2. Cruel City
3. Nothing To Lose But Your Head
4. Weary Eyes
5. Don't You Look Back
7. Kid You're On Your Own
8. This Ain't Me
9. Now You Are Free
10. The Avenue
11. Highway 1 Interlude
12. Hold Onto Anything