Monophonics - Drive-By Truckers
|Photo by Geoff Whitman|
Bay Area-based Monophonics have released “Love You Better,” the second single from their upcoming full-length Sage Motel (out May 13th via Colemine Records). The world's premier psychedelic soul band, Monophonics cordially invites you to attend the grand re-opening of the once thriving, once vibrant establishment, the legendary Sage Motel. A place where folks experience the highs and lows of human existence. A place where big dreams and broken hearts live, where people arrive without ever knowing how they got there. It's where individuals find themselves at a crossroads in life.
“The song ‘Love You Better’ is rooted in the spirit of soul music and hip hop,” Monophonics explain. “It’s a braggadocio tune with a clear message to the one you loved that no one will ever be as good to them. It is that feeling of knowing you gave your all to your partner and really tried to love them the right way, only to be hurt and taken for granted. It’s empowering and important to have that self worth and remind somebody that they really missed out on a really good thing.” The Sage Motel album announcement came last month with a video for the first single “Warpaint.”
What started as a quaint motor lodge and a common pitstop for travelers and truckers in the 1940s, Sage Motel morphed into a bohemian’s hang by the 1960s and 1970s. Artists, musicians, and vagabonds of all types would stop there as seedy ownership pumped obnoxious amounts of money into high end renovations, eventually attracting some of the most prominent acts of the era. But when the money ran out, The Sage Motel devolved into a place where you rent by the hour.
Sage Motel, Monophonics' fifth studio album since 2012, tells its story. Once again produced by brilliant bandleader Kelly Finnigan, the album captures a timeless sound that blends heavy soul with psych-rock. With their previous album, It’s Only Us, selling over 10,000 physical units and garnering over 20 million streams, Monophonics have built a reputation over the past decade as one of the most impactful bands in the country. It’s Only Us was praised by Billboard, FLOOD, Cool Hunting, and American Songwriter, who said “Take some Norman Whitfield-era Temptations, add Sly and the Family Stone circa There’s a Riot Goin’ On’s greasy funk, inject early 70s Curtis Mayfield Superfly, Marvin Gaye vocal dynamics and Isaac Hayes’ Hot Buttered Soul dust, sprinkle in a pinch of Isley Brothers’ silky ballads and you’ve got a reasonable aural idea of the ballpark Monophonics are playing in.”
|Photo - Brantley Guitierrez|
Drive-By Truckers will release their 14th studio album 'Welcome 2 Club XIII' on 3rd June via ATO Records. Pre-orders are available now. 'Welcome 2 Club XIII' is heralded by today’s premiere of its swinging title track, available for streaming and download. The track, which pays homage to the Muscle Shoals honky-tonk where founding members Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley got their start, is joined by an official music video streaming now via YouTube.
“There were no cool bars in town and Club XIII was the best we had,” says Hood, referring to the two vocalist/guitarists’ former band, Adam’s House Cat, “but it wasn’t all that good, and our band wasn’t particularly liked there. From time to time the owner would throw us a Wednesday night or let us open for a hair-metal band we were a terrible fit for, and everyone would hang out outside until we were done playing. It wasn’t very funny at the time, but it’s funny to us now.”
Arriving as Drive-By Truckers enters its 26th year, 'Welcome 2 Club XIII' marks a sharp departure from the trenchant commentary of 'The Unraveling' and 'The New OK' (both released in 2020). Produced by longtime Drive-By Truckers collaborator David Barbe and mainly recorded at his studio in Athens, GA, 'Welcome 2 Club XIII' took shape over the course of three frenetic days in summer 2021 – a doubly extraordinary feat considering that the band had no prior intentions of making a new album.
Featuring background vocals from the likes of Margo Price, R.E.M.’s Mike Mills, and Mississippi-bred singer/songwriter Schaefer Llana, 'Welcome 2 Club XIII' was recorded live with most songs cut in one or two takes, fully harnessing Drive-By Truckers’ freewheeling energy. Songs like epic, darkly thrilling 'The Driver' and the spirited, horn-blasted 'Every Single Storied Flameout' see the band – whose lineup also includes keyboardist/guitarist Jay Gonzalez, bassist Matt Patton, and drummer Brad Morgan – looking back on their formative years with both deadpan pragmatism and profound tenderness, instilling each song with the kind of lived-in detail that invites bittersweet reminiscence of your own misspent youth.
“Cooley and I have been playing together for 37 years now,” Hood says. “That first band might have failed miserably on a commercial level, but I’m really proud of what we did back then. It had a lot to do with who we ended up becoming.”