ATLANTA INDIE ROCKERS THE HEAD RECORDING FULL-LENGTH FOLLOW UP TO ACCLAIMED EP MILLIPEDES
The Head [L-R]: Jack Shaw, Mike Shaw, Jacob Morrell Photo by Valheria Rocha.
Group named #1 unsigned band of 2015 by PureVolume
RIYL: Speedy Ortiz, Weezer, The Smiths, The Troggs, Colleen Green,
Teenage Fanclub, R.E.M., Mikal Cronin, M83, Twin Peaks, Yuck, Superheaven
*Downloads & review copies of Millipedes are available upon request.
Stream tracks from Millipedes
Indie rockers The Head are currently recording the follow up to their critically acclaimed 2015 EP Millipedes at Madison Studios in Atlanta, GA. Working with producers Tanner Hendon and Wyatt Oates (Chelsea Shag, The Future Babes), the band has spent the past few weeks tracking songs that drummer Jack Shaw says “don’t just pick up where we left off [with Millipedes]. Listening to these tracks, it’s a bit heavier, more rockin’, more dancey. We’re always trying to stay true to ourselves but keep pushing further.”
Following the completion of their new record, The Head plan to embark on an 80+ date tour starting in March and continuing through Summer to promote the new LP.
The Head’s recent EP Millipedes is the unified vision of a band that knows its history, and a thing or two about reinventing it in the now. Just ask the legendary artists who have taken The Head under their wing—Big Star’s Jody Stephens, producer Mitch Easter (R.E.M., Pavement), John Vanderslice and Guided By Voices’ Doug Gillard to name a few. The band has also held their own on stages with the likes of Primal Scream, Dream Syndicate’s Steve Wynn and garage rockers Those Darlins, and have been spotlighted by outlets such as SPIN, Magnet and PopMatters.
The band’s deep well of pop-music knowledge always comes through—and this from a trio of guys still in their early 20s. It wasn’t long ago that the members of The Head—guitarist Jacob Morrell, singer/bassist Mike Shaw and his drummer brother Jack—came together as teenagers in their hometown of Atlanta. “We formed in high school during our freshman year,” Mike says. “Jack and I were looking for someone to play some songs with—we met Jacob and he ended up becoming one of our best friends.” The story of The Head is the dream of so many aspiring kids jamming out in their garages across the nation, and with Millipedes, the band takes a big step forward.
The EP marks a noticeable shift toward more distorted, ‘80s & ‘90s-channeling post-punk-tinged rock & roll, all anchored by frontman Mike Shaw’s self-assured croon. These days, artists as eclectic as Echo and the Bunnymen, Scott Walker, Frank Sinatra, Alvvays, Viet Cong, The Ronettes and Joy Division soundtrack The Head’s latenight hauls in the van, as they whirl from town to town on tour after tour.
The band’s new music is compelling evidence that they’re not just enthusiastic players but adept students of their craft. Blurt magazine once declared The Head “Atlanta’s youngest rock ‘n’ roll veterans,” but Mike says, ”I feel like we’re still learning, now more than ever. And we’re enjoying every bit of what we’re learning.” With years of experience as a teenage rock & roll band under their belt, The Head is more eager than ever to branch out and experiment with new sounds. “We look forward to consistently re-imagining ourselves,” Jack says. “We don’t have a one-dimensional idea of who we are.”
The band’s recent progression in songwriting is also matched by the more mature lyrical content of Millipedes. Of particular note is “It Ain’t Easy,” which takes on the 2012 Newtown school shooting. Inspired by a New Yorker profile of the gunman’s father, “It Ain’t Easy” takes what in lesser hands could be a clumsy protest song and frames the tragedy through the disarming lens of empathy and personal relationships. “Without the history behind the shooting,” Mike says, “it can still be a song about a father and a son, or about society as a whole.” Like The Head’s music, the lyrics to “It Ain’t Easy” are honest and unpretentious, along the way making a simple yet resounding point.
The ability to tackle a topic as heavy as Newtown in a simple rock & roll song has a lot to do with the mood the band cultivated in the studio when the EP was recorded. “This time around, we were a lot more open” Mike says. “We let the instrumentation breathe, and we weren’t as uptight about forcing things into a particular shape. It’s the result of us exploring a newer and more varied set of interests.”
Millipedes is notably the first set of songs the band has produced themselves. “Until recently, we’d always recorded in professional studios with a producer,” Jack told PopMatters earlier this year, “but this time out, we felt we owed it to ourselves to make a record without any outside influence. It was definitely the most natural and relaxed we’ve ever felt about the process. We got creative and allowed mistakes to happen, which gives the songs this raw energy.”
Asked what’s is in store for The Head, they have just two words—“heavy touring.” since the start of summer, the band has been spending at least two weeks on the road each month. It’s given them a chance to bring additional life to the new EP’s vibrant cuts, and to treat crowds to fresh new songs that are still taking shape. “We’re always trying out new material live,” Mike says, “From here on out, the road is pretty much going to be our home.”
“The Head exemplify the DIY work ethic.” – The Blue Indian
“Thought-provoking. … What they lack in years they more than make up for in their energetic brand of ‘90s-inspired rock music.” – PopMatters
“Taps into the lineage of gracefully weird Southern college rock, arriving at a sound that’s at once offhanded and elegant, warmly melodic yet just a touch askew.” – Under the Radar
“Their heavy dose of vintage college rock, lo-fi garage and shoegaze is a welcome throwback, yet retains a sonic quality that feels at home in 2015.” – PureVolume
“The new EP from The Head is a rollicking, five-song crash course in fusing pop perfection with gritty, fuzzed-out rock & roll … the unified vision of a band that knows its history, and a thing or two about reinventing it in the now.” – Performer
“The Head have mastered the beloved science of catchy, toe-tapping melodies plus rich vocal harmonies.” – SPIN
“A gritty rock & roll narrative sure to sit well with fans of The Lemonheads, Teenage Fanclub and R.E.M.” – Under the Gun Review
“Freshly melodic … this young group shows a rare ability to channel older traditions but plays them with a full slate of personal inspiration.” – Glide Magazine
“Atlanta’s youngest rock & roll veterans.” – Blurt