The 2011 release Rise Ye Sunken Ships by Brooklyn based rock group Augustines was by most regards one of the finest albums of that year – one that represented a time of tragedy and dark subject matter, but at the end lifted the listener to new heights. With introspective songs like “Book of James” and “Chapel Song,” the group skyrocketed with much praise and admiration during this span.
Now the group is back on the playing field with a new album simply titled Augustines, and are scheduled to perform at The High Watt in Nashville, Tenn. on Feb. 23.
The band, composed of members Billy McCarthy, Eric Sanderson and Rob Allen , were originally called Augustines and released Rise Ye Sunken Ships under the moniker We Are Augustines due to trademark reasons. But after being a good sport for the last few years, the group responsible for the name shift had a change of heart and let them return to their original namesake.
“We were originally called Augustines and just prior to the release of Rise Ye Sunken Ships we had some legal issues where we had to change our name. We added the ‘We are.’ Fortunately, we kept a good relationship with the parties involved, and to our delight, we were able to secure the right to use our original name. It’s a massive victory for us,” Rob Allen said.
With Augustines, the band did take a different approach to the recording process as they locked themselves away in upstate New York for five weeks to write the record in an old church building.
“We were just below Canada so you can imagine the weather. The good thing about being snowed in was that we could fully focus on what we wanted to achieve,” Allen said.
“We composed around 20 songs to take into the studio with us. What was great about this record was that we were able to experiment and try new ideas. It was a lot of fun to make. Artistically and creatively, I think we’ve taken a leap forward from Rise, but it’s still very much an Augustines record,” Allen added.
After the writing process, the band landed in Bridgeport, Conn. to record with co-producer Peter Katis. Known for his work with The National, Frightened Rabbit and Interpol, the sessions took place at his residential Tarquin Studios.
One of the key songs on Augustines is “Cruel City,” the second song on the track list, which features a very rhythmic pattern and has a bit of kick to it that is reminiscent of an African music soundscape, that is fitting seeing that Sanderson studied music in Ghana. Other tracks of note include “Kid You’re on Your Own” and “Now You Are Free”
While the group sees all tracks as equally important, they are eager and ready to perform their new work to audiences across the states.
“To be honest, I am so proud of this record that they are equally special in their own way. I can’t get wait to get out on tour and play these new songs live. If I had to choose one though, I would have to say “Nothing To Lose But Your Head,” Allen said in response to any favorites that he enjoyed recording or performing live.
Outside of their Nashville date, their tour takes Augustines through a few Southern states including Georgia, North Carolina and Louisiana.
When asked about what it’s like to play in the region, Allen says it’s a fun, vibrant part of the country that is culturally interesting and they always have a blast in the South.
Tickets are $15 and the show begins at 8 p.m. For more information, visit weareaugustines.com.