By Kelly Dearmore
By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
Known for their hybrid mix of alt-country and post-grunge, Athens' Dead Confederate created quite a critical buzz with the release of Wrecking Ball, the band's 2008 debut full-length. That album's bipolar cacophony had many folks comparing the band to both Nirvana and My Morning Jacket.
Although that's a lot to live up to, Hardy Morris and the rest of this spirited quintet seem up for the challenge—so much so that Dead Confederate's new effort, Sugar, shies away from the beautifully jammy histrionics of the debut and actually concentrates more on the actual songs. Being holed up in a New Jersey studio during a blizzard and having recently toured with acts such as Dinosaur Jr. and The Meat Puppets may have also had an effect on Dead Confederate's compositional process.
Either way, the results are impressive. "Giving It All Away," one of the best tracks off Sugar, is basically a Southern rock song twisted in all the right alt-country and punk directions. Where once noise and dread were enough to carry the tune, nowadays Dead Confederate want to make the listener think as well as shake. Sounding like Lynyrd Skynyrd trying to play Sonic Youth covers, Dead Confederate find themselves at the precipice of something really special, a sub-genre all its own.
Another Athens act, Futurebirds, share opening duties with Austin's Ume.