Prepare your shelters, prime your defenses, and most importantly, mark your calendars for Tuesday, the date of the release of Shakey Graves’ second album “And The War Came.”
Alejandro Rose-Garcia, or Shakey Graves, is “a gentleman from Texas,” according to his Facebook page. That description, however, falls substantially short. There’s no mention of his graveled, striking voice nor his biting, raunchy guitar chops.
This Austinite hipster hasn’t been on the music scene all that long. His first album, “Rolling the Bones,” was released Jan. 1, 2011. Although it made a splash on Bandcamp.com and earned Shakey critical praise from The New York Times and NPR Music, its limited release – sans iTunes or Spotify – also limited its audience.
In a staunch about-face, “And The War Came,” seems to be receiving a promotional offensive from the indie label Dualtones (the people who brought us the Lumineers). Additionally, at this year’s SXSW music, film and interactive convention, Shakey recorded an exclusive Spotify session consisting of three songs: “Unlucky Skin,” “Dearly Departed,” and “Big Time Nashville Star.”
“Unlucky Skin” is from his first album and opens with a frolicking guitar riff in a destabilizing 7/4 meter with a fresh arrangement.
“Dearly Departed” unveils Esme Patterson, who co-wrote and is featured on three songs on the album. This house-crashing breakup anthem opens with a subtle guitar groove that is compounded by a marching band drum beat. The song crescendos through two verses, two choruses and a bridge, then breaks into a final a cappella chorus with Esme and Shakey virtually screaming at each other through its climax.
“Big Time Nashville Star” closes the session with a quick, country groove and some very nasty, slide guitar riffs that give Derek Trucks a run for his money.
All three of these songs allude to Shakey’s musical evolution. Whereas his EP and first album are bare-bones, acoustic, garage recordings, expect “And The War Came” to be fully produced with booming beats, intricate harmonies and snarling guitars.
He’s made a splash in smaller realms as a one-man band, even rigging up his guitar case as a kickdrum, but on his new album it looks like Shakey Graves is branching out.