New Madrid, Widespread Panic, and Pylon on ‘A Brief History of Athens, Georgia’ for Talkhouse

Article Contributed by gratefulweb | Published on Sunday, April 25, 2021

Athens, Georgia four-piece New Madrid is set to return with their fourth full-length on April 30, 2021 via Lemonade Records. Produced by Drew Vandenberg (Bambara, Faye Webster), the eponymous 10-song set finds New Madrid revisiting the southern indie rock sounds of their 2012 Yardboat debut while exploring new elements of psychedelic folk, jangly pop, and energetic post-punk. “It feels like a cool re-set,” says bassist Ben Hackett. “This is the closest to what the band has always sounded like in our heads.”

Ahead of the release, New Madrid’s Phil McGill sat down with two legendary musicians, Dave Schools of Widespread Panic and Vanessa Briscoe Hay of Pylon, to discuss the evolution of the town where all three bands got their start: Athens, Georgia. Journeying through nearly four decades in the revered southern music town, the trio touch on topics that resonate throughout the country in 2021: widespread gentrification, the exploitation of our capitalistic society, and the struggles that new musicians face when entering a constantly changing music industry. Their discussion is featured over at Talkhouse alongside a premiere of New Madrid’s newest single, “Q & A.”

LISTEN: New Madrid’s “Q & A” via Spotify || Apple Music || Bandcamp

New Madrid recently shared album standout, “Are You The Wind,” via Under The Radar, who praise, “It’s already quite apparent New Madrid’s newest work ratchets up both the songwriting and musicianship on display, reintroducing the band with an inventive new flair after their long hiatus.” Paste Magazine named the track one of the Best New Songs of the Week, adding, “‘Are You the Wind’ comprises distinctly Southern jangle-pop, a propulsive motorik chug, and Phil McGill vocals that evoke Paul Banks and Jeff Mangum alike. But the song’s most surprising and striking element is its ambient synth-pop breakdown, an atmospheric stretch that eventually grows to encompass both of the song’s two minds. New Madrid swing for the fences on this one, expanding their sound with skill and confidence.”

New Madrid initially announced the forthcoming new album with lead single “It’s Ok (2 Cry),” which Stereogum describes as “a bit more in line with the lineage of Athens indie rock,” noting, “There’s a bit of R.E.M. in there, some Drive-By Truckers, maybe a bit of B-52s-adjacent New Wave?” The track landed on Under The Radar’s "10 Best Songs of the Week," with Immersive Atlanta praising, “Powered by jangly guitars and buoyant grooves, the song merges the quartet’s love of warm psychedelia with a sophisticated pop melodicism.”

The second single, “Queen For A Day,” premiered at Flood Magazine who called it “a quick dose of intricately finger-picked indie folk-rock that interrogates this overwhelming world we live in,” adding, “[Lead singer Phil] McGill gets at the hunger technology has stirred in us for more information and the underlying fallacy that more knowledge might make us feel better. ‘Yes, be informed, but still feel scorned, manipulated,’ he sings during the opening verse.”