More reasons why 2016 is a great year for music. There were two surprise song previews Tuesday – Shovels & Rope premiered “I Know” from their October 7 release Little Seeds on the Wall Street Journal’s Speakeasy blog, and the Drive-By Truckers shared “Surrender Under Protest” from their September 30 release American Band on SoundCloud and Spotify.
The new Shovels & Rope is a playful rocker, and a bit of a throwdown between rivals, musical and otherwise. “I know exactly where you got that sound,” sing Cary Ann Hearts and Michael Trent in their trademark rough and tumble harmonies, “See I was at the same shows you used to hang around.” After that, they make an amusing parallel to a kind of high-school locker skirmish, singing, “I know exactly how you feel right now/You’re hiding in the locker ‘cause somebody took your towel.” There was a time they’d try to help you out. Apparently, that time has passed.
Shovels & Rope – “I Know”
American Band looks like it’s going to be a tough, political album. The Truckers have already raised their flag – literally on the cover – declaring the album to be “protest music fit for the stadiums, designed to raise issues and ire as the nation careens towards its most momentous election in a generation,” and that they are eschewing subtext and symbolism for a straight-ahead approach to their “anger, discontent, and frustration with societal disintegration and the urban/rural divide that has partitioned the country for close to a half-century.” In this new song, Mike Cooley calls for an end to six generations of slavishly following a hurtful tradition for its own sake, asking those who might cling to flying the Confederate battle flag to “surrender under protest if you must.”
Drive-By Truckers – “Surrender Under Protest”