|Southern Culture switch into The Pinecones for their latest album, The Electric Pinecones – stream below.|
Rick here, and I want to let you all know the band has a new record called The Electric Pinecones! Strange name, I know, but it has to do with an old side project we had called “The Pinecones”. The Pinecones was our “country pysch garage band”, or our excuse to induldge our musical crush on everything from the Seeds and the Byrds to Buck Owens and Ricky Nelson.
The Pinecones never went anywhere but practices and maybe a few parties with friends – though I do recall The Pinecones opening a couple local SCOTS shows (yes – we were our own support band at times). But, when it came time to start recording a new SCOTS album I found myself thinking about our old alter ego and how much fun we had playing those tunes and The Pinecones became ground zero for this new record. I hope you all enjoy listening to it as much as we did making it.
Here's the official press release for The Electric Pinecones...
“The Pinecones was our folk-a-billy garage band alter ego,” singer-guitarist Rick Miller explains. “In the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, we would occasionally open up for ourselves as The Pinecones. What we played was not your typical SCOTS fare; more ‘60s west coast psych, folk and country. Those old set lists became the starting point for this record, The Electric Pinecones.”
The first single off the album, “Grey Skies,” is a minor key mood piece with that folk-a-hill-a-billy psychedelic sound. Listen to how the acoustic 12-string riff slides into the band’s hypnotic rhythms that propel Mary Huff’s vocal into the mind’s eye of times past and love lost.
The lead off track, “Freak Flag,” is more upbeat, but no less tweaked, with modulating guitars riding on pounding drums after the first verse. The song’s message is a good one – it is okay to be different and always respect yourself. The band debuted the song to an auditorium full of rowdy students at Carrboro Elementary School. “I was nervous,” Miller says “if the kids don’t like something they let you know, but when they started singing along with the second chorus and waving their imaginary freak flags in the air, I knew it was a hit!”
“Dirt Road” is Mary’s three-minute ode to séances, thunderstorms and good lovin’ long gone. The song is a backwoods southern gothic ghost story that opens with a big tom fill then twists and turns around a folky strum and a fuzz guitar. Mary’s spooky-good vocal takes it down that dirt road way back into the piney woods.
The album also has some country rock songs that highlight the melodic side of SCOTS, with “Baby I Like You,” “I Ain’t Gonna Hang Around” and “Given To Me” featuring some of the best harmonies Rick and Mary have ever recorded.
“Waiting On You” is the longest song on the album, coming in at 4:22; it’s a folk-garage-rocker with a sing-a-long chorus that segues into a surf raga breakdown before heading back to the big riff and out.
The album has traditional Southern Culture flavor too. Check out the remake of “Swamp Fox – The Original”. This take goes back to the beginnings of the song and is much closer to capturing the essence of the many all-nighters the band pulled in NOLA with friends and colleagues. The country funk of “Rice and Beans,” is a good humored tale of a cash strapped southern courtship, and “Midnight Caller” is Mary’s slinky R’n’B flavored woman-to-woman warning about bad men looking for good times.
From their 1985 debut Voodoo Beach Party, to their 1988 international smash, Dirt Track Date, and now to the SCOTS-ified tunes of The Electric Pinecones, 30+ years, 200+ songs and 1,000,000+ road miles in, Southern Culture On The Skids just gets better with time. Stream SCOTS new album right here. Check out the video for the first single Grey Skies below.