Smug Brothers’ All Blur & Spark, out on CD on Gas Daddy Go Records on Monday, July 8
From the band: Fifteen years since forming as a home recording outfit, Smug Brothers continue to find new ways to shake things up creatively. That’s certainly true of the new full-length, All Blur and Spark. Work on the Ohio band’s latest offering on Gas Daddy Go Records began before the February 2019 release of the crowd-funded vinyl album, Attic Harvest, and was curated by some of the group’s supporters.
“The songs were the result of the Attic Harvest fundraiser,” leader Kyle Melton said. “We offered contributors the option to have a custom song recorded as part of their contribution and 11 people participated. Each person was offered to choose an acoustic or full-band track and was then given a list of five titles from which to choose.
“We then recorded the songs quickly in late 2018 in time to send a CD copy of each song out with each person’s vinyl copy of Attic Harvest. When we had completed that project, we realized the 11 tracks would make a cool fan-curated album worth sharing with more people. We got each person’s permission to use their track and put it all together. And here we are at All Blur And Spark.”
Before these two 2019 albums, there were the studio projects with Darryl Robbins at BHA in Dayton (Woodpecker Paradise, 2015) and Micah Carli at Popside Recording in Troy, Ohio (Disco Maroon, 2017). Following these experiments in higher fidelity and the departure of lead guitarist Brian Baker and bassist Larry Evans, Melton and drummer Don Thrasher returned to the home-recording approach they’ve favored since joining forces in 2008.
“We really enjoyed recording studio albums with Darryl and Micah,” Thrasher said. “We’re proud of how those full-lengths turned out but working like that takes a lot of time in pre-production and post-production, not to mention tracking and overdubs. That’s how most bands make records but it’s not a very Smug way to work. Kyle and I prefer to get in the basement, take a few runs through a song and then lay it to the four-track cassette recorder while the material is still fresh.”
Melton and Thrasher perfected that approach on early releases like the digital LP Fortune Rumors (2011) and the cassette EP Strictly Triggers (2014), recording overdubs and vocals with Robbins (Overthought Musik, Motel Beds) as engineer/co-producer. That changed with Attic Harvest and All Blur And Spark, a one-two-punch that shows there’s still a lot of life left in this scrappy band of rockers.
It also marks a period of firsts. These are the first projects recorded with Melton at the helm in his basement studio and the first with the band’s new guitarist/keyboardist Scott Tribble, who is opening up new sonic dimensions in the music.
Being fully self-contained has also allowed Smug Brothers to increase its pace in Melton’s basement, with the group deep into sessions for several forthcoming releases. With the looming 20th anniversary of the band’s debut CD LP Buzzmounter (2005), it’s evident this scrappy outfit from Ohio will continue to grow.
Listen to All Blur And Spark at: https://gasdaddygo.bandcamp.com/album/gdg-024-all-blur-and-spark-cd