Indiana Music: catching up with Brandon P. Perry of The Dead Hearts

I got a tip recently from my music friend Henry French, who told me about a new Americana band called The Dead Hearts. I mentioned them on, and I recently tracked down the band’s lead singer, Brandon Perry, to find out more.

Rob Nichols: How did you guys get together?
Brandon Perry: All of us had been playing a lot of music for a long time, but in very informal situations. It’s tough to believe, but Brian [the band’s keyboardist] has never been in a band. I think Joe [bass] is the only one of us that’s played in a serious band in the past few years; he played in a rock band called Blue Sky Goodbye. Marc [drums] has played around town in a few informal projects, and was actually a tech for the Flying Toasters for a few years.

RN: What about yourself?
Perry: I hadn’t played much in a few years, but I finally started playing guitar and keyboards with a band called Things Behind the Sun in December 2009. That is where I met Joe. The songs were really great, and we were having a good time, but there were just complications that stopped it from ever going anywhere. We couldn’t agree on a drummer, [and the] first attempt at recording did not go well.

Joe and I were standing in line at Record Store Day in April this year, and he mentioned to me that he had played some of my home demos for his cousin Marc, and that Marc really liked them and might like to get together to play some time. I thought it was cool that he liked my songs, but thought, “Yeah…that’ll never happen.” Joe pushed a little, and I brought my friend Brian to the first rehearsal — and it just sounded good, and we all had a blast.

RN: It’s a definite alt-country rock sound. Who are the influences?
Perry: Ryan Adams and the Cardinals, The Jayhawks, Wilco, The Elms, Justin Townes Earle, Gram Parsons,Tom Petty, Old 97’s.

RN: And you guys are all Hoosiers?
Perry: We’re all from Indiana. I just moved to Chicago a month ago, but Indianapolis is home to the band.

RN: I love the warm sound you got on the EP. Talk about that.
Perry: We recorded at this really vibe-y, little place in Noblesville called scientia studios. It’s small, but has everything we could have needed and more. It’s owned and operated by a guy named Alex Kercheval. He’s very smart, has a good ear, and helped us to get what we wanted out of the session. The whole thing happened in about a day and a half. We went in on a Saturday morning and stayed for around 15 hours. We came back one night the following week to finish vocals and percussion. The process was a whirlwind. We’re happy with the result.

RN: Any shows yet besides Birdy’s?
Perry: There should be a few more shows announced soon, but at Birdy’s on September 10, we’re playing with Henry French and the Shameless, Ernie Halter (from LA), and The Bright White (from Chicago).

RN: Things have started to fall in place; good EP, guys that get along. What’s next?
Perry: We want to have a lot of fun. We’ve got some new songs that we’d like to record and maybe put together a full-length release, but we really just want to get out, meet people and play. I also really want to nail down the sound of the band. The EP fits together well, but some of the newer stuff sounds very different.

RN: What are you learning?
Perry: As fun and liberating as it is playing with this band, it’s very tough. I’m definitely not comparing us to them, but bands like Henry French and the Shameless, Stereo Deluxe and The Elms have this talent for making it look easy, and I’m positive that it’s not. I’m not complaining at all, it’s just crazy how much we’re learning, and so quickly.

RN: Any bumps in the road and roll road?
Perry: We had to cancel a show in Chicago, because the promoter finally disclosed that they were going to be very particular in what drums setup Marc was allowed to play. We rehearse at my old house in Indy most of the time and we’ve had the police show up once and two neighbors stop by telling us to “please turn that thing down.”

Hear Live music from Sasquatch Festival this weekend – webcast with Wilco, Foo Fighters, The Decemberists, and more

I love that technology gives us the the ability to hear live concerts via the web. While it used to be the domain of radio to broadcast shows as they happened, it now either Sirius/XM or music websites that carry most of these events. And they do a better job than radio has done in the past 25 years.

And our friends at NPR shift lots of shows to their website, including this weekend’s Sasquatch! Music Festival at The Gorge Amphitheater in George,WA.

You can hear bands that just stopped by Indy (Old 97’s), a preview of those that will be here soon (The Decemberists, Iron and Wine) and many Americana/rock bands that won’t (Wilco, Foo Fighters). The festival runs from Saturday (May 28) through Monday night (late night for Indiana, since it is on the West coast)

So drop by, tune in and rock out. Tell them NUVO sent you.


Saturday, May 28
•9:20 pm: Rebecca Gates
•9:45 pm: Iron & Wine
•10:50 pm: Aloe Blacc
•11:15 pm: Bright Eyes
•12:20 am: Wye Oak
•12:45 am: Death Cab For Cutie

Sunday, May 29
•3 pm: The Antlers
•4 pm: Washed Out
•4:25 pm: Sharon Van Etten
•5:10 pm: Fitz and the Tantrums
•6 pm: Dan Mangan
•6:15 pm: Tokyo Police Club
•7:05 pm: The Thermals
•8:10 pm: Basia Bulat
•8:25 pm: Cold War Kids
•9:15 pm: Typhoon
•10:05 pm: K-OS
•10:35 pm: Mad Rad
•11 pm: Flaming Lips
•12:35 am: J. Mascis
•1 am: Modest Mouse

Monday, May 30
•2:20 pm: Wavves
•3:20 pm: Ratatat
•4:25 pm: City and Colour
•4:40 pm: Old 97′s
•5:30 pm: Archers of Loaf
•6 pm: S. Carey
•6:25 pm: Gayngs
•6:50 pm: Guided By Voices
•7:55 pm: Noah and the Whale
•8:10 pm: Sharon Jones
•9:15 pm: Flying Lotus
•10:20 pm: Gold Panda
•11:25 pm: Das Racist
•12 am: Black Mountain
•12:30 am: Wilco

Wilco working on new album

As Wilco have just formed their own label (dBpm Records), they have also gone into their own studio/clubhouse to begin work on their next album.

“We really like doing things ourselves, so having our own label feels pretty natural to me,” he said on their website. “And, to be working with Anti- — a label that was started by a punk rock guy to sell his own records — seems like a perfect fit for us.”

An update on the band’s Facebook page reads: “Okay just a reminder: Wilco are recording a record. It will be out later this year and will be followed by many, many concert dates. To quote Derek Smalls, they shall tour the ‘World and Elsewhere’ beginning in Late 2011.”

Also, the album  Tweedy released in 2010 with soul legend Mavis Staples, “You Are Not Alone”, won best Americana album last Sunday night at the Grammy’s.

Indiana Album: Mike Reeb – “Breaking”

For a good album to elevate to great, especially for local or undiscovered talent, finding a unique sound while embracing familiar influences becomes important. Some (Lenny Kravitz, Oasis) took that idea to a near-breaking point, while others don’t go far enough, and we are left with music that doesn’t find it’s way into our heart and guts.

Lafayette’s Mike Reeb does a fine job of blending his influences and own sound on his new album Breaking. A record filled with images of melancholy and heartbreak, Reeb casts his bright pop and rock music into the mix to keep it engaging. Continue reading “Indiana Album: Mike Reeb – “Breaking””

VIDEO: Bottle Rockets Live in the studio

Outstanding up-close video of Brian Henneman and the great Bottle Rockets at the KEXP radio studios out in Seattle. Perveyors of sturdy, soul-grabbing American rock and roll, the B-Rockets’ new record (“Lean Forward”) is a return to the country-rockish sounds of albums like their excellent 1997 release “24 Hours a Day”.


see two more videos from Seattle – from the KEXP youtube channel.  Lots of other great live rock and roll on here – worth checking out.  They’ve done a nice job of blending a live performance space with outstanding audio and intimate camera work.