Before 2006, Georgia quintet Dead Confederate was an occasional good-time aggregation that assembled when college schedules could be coordinated. That all changed two years ago when the band convened to enter the annual Open Mic Madness competition at Smith’s Olde Bar in Atlanta, winning studio time with their first place finish. The resulting five-song EP attracted the interest of A&R icon Gary Gersh, who made Dead Confederate the first signing to his new indie label, The Artist Organization.
Dead Confederate’s recently released full-length debut, Wrecking Ball, is a searing amalgamation of various Rock branches — Southern, Stoner, Space, Psychedelic — with howling splashes of Grunge thrown onto the canvas for good measure. Frontman Hardy Morris has been appropriately compared to Kurt Cobain as a vocalist, but his passionately raspy presentation draws just as effectively from Neil Young’s confessional well, and the rest of the band (guitarist Walker Howle, bassist Brantley Senn, keyboardist John Watkins, drummer Jason Scarboro) constructs a shimmering wall of sound that distills the buzzsaw shred of Nirvana, the acid-tweaked introspection of Pink Floyd and the relentless squall of Crazy Horse into a raucously twisted Mobius strip of Southern Rock at its most unexpected.
With equal parts needle-pegging bluster and hushed subtlety, Dead Confederate invests Wrecking Ball — produced with appropriate restraint by former Cincinnatian and Spoon/Trail of Dead boardsman Mike McCarthy — with the mesmerizing melodicism of My Morning Jacket, the rafter-clearing aftershock of Kings of Leon and the knocking-on-heaven’s-amp bravado of Drive-By Truckers. The word on Dead Confederate’s live show is “incendiary,” and reports from their opening slots for DBT, The Black Keys and Dinosaur Jr. have all been ecstatic.
The buzz keeps getting stronger. This could be the don’t-miss show of the season.
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