Reaching far beyond their Americana roots, Sons of Bill brew up a lush, literate sound with this year's Oh God Ma'am, a wide-ranging album that mixes honesty, hooks and headiness in equal measure.
With electric guitars that chime and reverb-drenched harmonies that swoon, Oh God Ma'am nods to the atmospheric (and often academic) sound of Eighties college radio. It's the John Hughes soundtrack that never was – the sort of record Judd Nelson and Ally Sheedy's characters in The Breakfast Club might've played in their college dorm rooms after graduating from Shermer High School, thrilled to hear their own introversion reflected back at them through this band of southern siblings.
On "Easier," frontman James Wilson teams up with indie-folk frontwoman Molly Parden, both of them singing about the emotional armor we all wear just to wage the everyday battle of living. It's a gorgeous ballad – half resigned and half optimistic, with a rainy-day aesthetic that the bandmates partially credit to one of their album's two engineers, rock vet Phil Ek. Recorded in both Nashville and Seattle, the self-produced song marks a new peak for the band, rooted in melodies that make the Wilson brothers' existential musings go down smooth.
"It's a love song – sort of an ode to love and survival in a time when it feels like a triumph to simply survive," says James Wilson. "I'm so glad Molly Parden agreed to make it a duet with me. Her voice adds a haunting depth to all the music she touches."
"We're all born into our contemporary moment with a thick post-modern crust that’s hard to get through," he adds, "but I think it's important to try and sing about love and hope in some genuine way now more than ever. We have to remind each other in some way that it's going to get easier, even if there is a deep part of us that knows that may not be true."
The follow-up to 2014's Love and Logic, Oh God Ma'am will be released on June 29th, with the band kicking off an international tour one month later.
August 2 – Richmond, Virginia @The Broadberry
August 3 – Washington DC @ Union Stage
August 4 – Charlottesville, Virginia @ The Jefferson Theater
August 13 – Brighton, UK @ The Hope & Ruin
August 14 – London, UK @ OMEARA
August 15 – Bristol, UK @ The Tunnels Bristol
August 16 – Leeds, UK @ Brudenell Social Club
August 17– Glasgow, UK @ Broadcast
August 18– Manchester, UK @ Soup Kitchen
August 19 – Nottingham, UK @ Rescue Rooms
August 21 – Cologne, Germany @ Blue Shell
August 22 – Munich, Germany @ Milla Club
August 23 – Berlin, Germany @ Musik & Frieden
August 24 – Hamburg, Germany @ Stage Club Hamburg
August 25 – Amsterdam, Netherlands @ Once In A Blue Moon Festival