Thursday, April 5, 2012

Lee Bains carries Dexateens' rock 'n' soul legacy

When Lee Bains III suggested the idea of an East Coast tour with his pals in the Alabama Shakes, he wasn't thinking they'd be doing mid-sized venues – let alone selling out a Toronto show at Lee's Palace on April 17. That's a major change from the last time Bains was in town to tear up the Comfort Zone with the Dexateens as part of the Perlich Post's Canadian Music Week showcase. Since then, Bains recorded an amazing album There Is A Bomb In Gilead (out May 15) with his new band Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires and Alabama Shakes have suddenly become the buzz band everyone wants to see. No doubt having their tune You Ain't Alone used in a Zales jewelry commercial and a load of media hype helped getting the word out about the Alabama Shakes.

Alabama Shakes
"We just like each other's bands from having played together in Tuscaloosa," explains Bains about the relationship between the two groups. "The funny thing is that, several months ago, before things started going really crazy for the Shakes, I asked them if they'd want to do a co-headline tour in April, since both of our albums were supposed to come out around that time. When I asked back then, they had said that a couple members couldn't get off work for that long, so they'd have to pass. Now, here it is, six or seven or eight months later, and we're opening for them on a tour of much bigger venues than we could've ever expected."

As Bains elaborated, "We have both definitely come out of the Alabama rock'n'roll scene. Heath and Zac [from Alabama Shakes] were both frequenting Egan's in Tuscaloosa before the Shakes played there, and I'd seen Zac at our Dexateens shows. There's definitely a tradition of dirty Alabama rock'n'roll that takes pride in being from Alabama. I guess I'd point to the Quadrajets, Immortal Lee County Killers, Drive-By Truckers, Model Citizen and Dexateens as being a few of those bands. In those bands and others, I see a definite sense of Southern heritage, mostly in their influences (Muscle Shoals and Memphis soul, '70s Southern rock, Big Star and Memphis garage stuff, gospel music, classic country and blues), but also a conscious effort to question and subvert what it means to be Southern. With really loud damn guitars."

The title of Lee Bains III and the Glory Fires’ debut album comes from Bains mishearing an old hymn as a child. In the soft accents of his elders around Birmingham, Alabama, There is a balm in Gilead sounded a lot like “There is a bomb.” It fits, really. The Glory Fires learned to construct music in the churches of their childhoods, and learned to destroy it in the punk clubs of their youths.

As much Bobby Womack as Fugazi, as much Iggy & the Stooges as the Allman Brothers, Birmingham, Alabama’s Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires have brought radical rock’n'roll to bear on their own experience and their own place. On There Is A Bomb in Gilead, they deconstruct the music of the Deep South, strip it down and reassemble it, to make a righteous ruckus that sits at the vanguard of the vernacular.

In 2008, shortly after returning to Birmingham from college in New York, Lee Bains fell in with the Dexateens, a Tuscaloosa institution whose raggedy union of cock-eyed rebel pride and forward-thinking fury proved to be the perfect apprenticeship for a confused Southern boy, raised on Skynyrd and schooled in Faulkner. After Bains had played with the band for a couple or three years, a couple or three hundred shows, the Dexateens came to a reluctant end. Their final album was going to be called Glory Fire.

Bains found himself off the road, back in Birmingham, without a band. He also found himself with a passel of powerful songs sitting somewhere between buzzsaw garage, classic power-pop and sweating country-soul. Casting his nets in central Alabama’s rock’n'roll clubs, Bains assembled the Glory Fires: drummer Blake Williamson (Black Willis, Taylor Hollingsworth, Dan Sartain), bass player Justin Colburn (Model Citizen, Arkadelphia), and guitar player Matt Wurtele. Chugging along with a fierce Muscle Shoals vibe, the Glory Fires brought a sense of urgency to Bains’ drawling, howling voice.

After tracking some demos under the powerful guidance of Texas punk pioneer Tim Kerr (Big Boys, Poison 13, Now Time Delegation) and a few months of shows, the Glory Fires traveled to Water Valley, Mississippi to record the tracks for their debut LP There Is a Bomb in Gilead at Dial Back Sound with engineer Lynn Bridges (Quadrajets, Jack Oblivian, Thomas Function). The songs were mixed in Detroit, at Ghetto Recorders by Jim Diamond (The Dirtbombs, The New Bomb Turks, Catl). It is there — in that Mississippi grease and Detroit grit — that There Is a Bomb in Gilead sits, fuse lit, ready to go.

There Is A Bomb In Gilead hits stores May 15th and will be available on CD and good old black vinyl with with lyric sheet and download card. In addition, there will also be a very limited pressing of 500 purple vinyl albums with lyric sheet and download card exclusive to mailorders through Bomp!

Everything That You Took @ The Georgia Theatre April 5, 2012

Righteous, Ragged Songs
Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires - Righteous, Ragged Songs from There Is A Bomb In Gilead

Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires - Choctaw from There Is A Bomb In Gilead

Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires - Centreville from There Is A Bomb In Gilead

Everything That You Took
LEE BAINS III & The Glory Fires - Everything That You Took

April 5 - Athens, GA - Georgia Theatre w/ Alabama Shakes
April 6 - Carrboro, NC - Cat's Cradle w/ Alabama Shakes
April 7 - Baltimore, MD - Ram's Head w/ Alabama Shakes
April 9 - Philadelphia, PA - World Cafe Live w/ Alabama Shakes
April 10 - Hoboken, NJ - Maxwell's w/ The Baseball Project
April 11 - New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom w/ Alabama Shakes
April 12 - Brooklyn, NY - Music Hall of Williamsburg w/ Alabama Shakes
April 13 - Amherst, MA - Flywheel w/ P.G. Six, Trummors and Citay
April 14 - Burlington, VT - Higher Ground w/ Alabama Shakes
April 15 - Boston, MA - Paradise Rock Club w/ Alabama Shakes
April 17 - Toronto, ONT - Lee's Palace w/ Alabama Shakes
April 18 - Detroit, MI - PJ's Lagerhouse
April 19 - Cincinnati, OH - The Comet w/ Buffalo Killers
April 20 - Knoxville, TN - The Well
April 21 - Waverly, AL - Old 280 Boogie w/ Centro-matic, Pine Hill Haints
May 5 - Summerville, GA - Finster Fest w/ Patterson Hood, Nikki Lane, Bohannons
May 6 - Memphis, TN - The Hi-Tone
May 11 - Birmingham, AL - Secret Stages
May 12 - Nashville, TN - The Basement
May 18 - Little Rock, AR - White Water Tavern
May 19 - Batesville, AR - Lucero Family Picnic w/ Lucero, Shooter Jennings
June 24 - Daytrotter Session - Rock Island, IL
June 29 - Bayport, MN Deep Blues Fest


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