SXSW Preview: Dead Black Hearts

This act of SXSW previewing has given us the opportunity to relevantly address several local acts who haven’t put out any releases in the year that OVRLD has been in existence. That’s right – we’ve been time travelling back to 2010! From the Black and White Years to yesterday’s interrogative post on Crooks, we’ve been able to relive that crazy year. Fortunately, today is no exception. Dead Black Hearts are a band that I stumbled across solely because of their inclusion in SXSW 2012, and they have not put out a record since the seven-song The Southern Front two years ago. But damn, that record rocks.

Dead Black Hearts - 'Spit Shine'

Dead Black Hearts’ sound is weirdly hard for me to describe. Weird because it isn’t a heart-stoppingly original sound, so it seems like there should be some straightforward analogue out there. And yet… The record begins with “Ambush!” and a bass/drum part that reminds me of Santigold’s “I’m a Lady,” but that is a horrible overall referent for what might be the darkest, hardest-rocking song on the album. There’s a little bit of Fleet Foxes here, a dash of country-rock there, some angular post-punk-ish guitars, but all of it backed by these deep, rich drums. “Spit Shine” is my favorite track on the album, with its reverb-laden vocals, driving piano, Wolf Parade-inspired beat, and bouncy hook. All in all, it’s a solid set of songs, though I’m still a bit mixed on album closer “5 to 9” (despite its great name), which gets a bit too adult contemporary-ish for me with its major chords and saccharine lyrics. But then it ends on a nice dissonant chord, which I think is a really cool way to end the album.

Dead Black Hearts is showcasing on Wednesday, March 14th at 11 PM at Frank. It promises to be a great show, and we’ll hopefully be able to keep you informed of any new material coming your way from these guys.

– Carter