If there’s one thing that 2013 has ruled at so far, it’s been the release of albums that no one ever thought would see the light of day. First, there was the whole MBV thing, and now 10 years after the release of the amazingly fucked up No Silver/No Gold, everyone’s favorite lo-fi folk band Baptist Generals have finally returned!
The Generals’ last album was a slice of guttural Americana that sounded like a schizophrenic Neil Young alternately backed by the Shadow Ring and The Dead C. That record started off with a beautiful ballad that ended in frontman Chris Flemmons screaming obscenities and storming out of the studio because someone’s cellphone went off during the take. You’d think a record could only get more upbeat from there, but instead No Silver/No Gold just stayed intense and apocalyptic throughout.
However, it was clear that while this ramshackle atmosphere was completely authentic, it was also meticulously crafted. The inclusion of a “demo” version of “Going Back Song” at the album’s end indicated that the General’s worked really hard to make their music sound like it might fall apart at any moment. It also made one curious as to what might happen if the band went the opposite direction with their production and decided to frame Flemmons’ gloriously unhinged ranting within a set of studied arrangements.
Well, “Dog That Bit You,” the first single from the Generals’ forthcoming album Jackleg Devotional To The Heart is the band’s attempt at applying a more “produced” aesthetic to their sound, and this new sonic sheen suits the Generals well. “Dog That Bit You” proves that Flemmons’ songwriting is so sharp and cutting that his tunes sound just as amazing dressed up with jangling guitars, strings, and horns as they do covered in sonic muck.
Jackleg Devotional To The Heart is out May 21 via Sub Pop. You can stream or download “Dog That Bit You” below: