Lee Bains III and the Glory Fires
Sounds Like: Flannery O'Connor gave up fiction for a Coors and a Gibson SG
For Fans Of: Drive-By Truckers, Bruce Springsteen's storytelling, Alabama Shakes
Why You Should Pay Attention: Lee Bains III & the Glory Fires are the best argument against paying for a Brooklyn rehearsal space. Bains was an NYU literature student who decided to return home to Birmingham, Alabama, to play music (first in the Dexateens, then with an old friend and a pair of brothers in the Glory Fires). Toiling away in a relatively buzz-poor town, the band was discovered when their producer emailed friend and Sub-Pop co-founder Jonathan Poneman a zip file of their second album, Dereconstructed. The label finally signed Lee Bains after they got to witness the band's fire and Keystone spirit in person, and will release the album in May. Lately they've been touring with like-minded neighbors the Alabama Shakes.
They Say: "I went up to New York like a lot of artsy Southern kids would hope to do, to learn about the art scene, the music scene, to be exposed to different people and ideas and all that," says Bains. "I was exposed to those things, which was amazing. But ironically, in doing that, in seeing people making art from all over the world with their own voices, what kept popping up in my mind was, 'What is my voice? What is my cultural context?' I see a band or an artist that is struggling with their cultural identity in one form or another, and playing off that in their art, it made me reflect on what my cultural identity was."
Hear for Yourself: Dereconstructed opener "Company Man" covers religious prophets, politicians, poets and union busters in three minutes and 21 seconds of sweaty soul-tinged garage. By Jessica Suarez