Smith Westerns: Artist You Should Know

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swpress01small From DJ Dan Wilcox

All the young dudes in the band Smith Westerns have a pretty good lock on a decade that some within the band didn’t even come within a decade of being born in: the 1970’s.

With members in their late teens/early twenties, this group out of The Windy City is about to drop their sophomore release “Dye It Blonde” on Fat Possum Records… a record stacked high with big rock references to the Me Decade, including swooning 70’s glam guitars and giant, starry-eyed, sing-along choruses.

Stream “Weekend”

These kids have clearly been trolling through their parents (or would it be grandparents?) T. Rex, Ziggy-era Bowie and Mott the Hoople vinyl and have a certain kinship with contemporary glam disciples like Destroyer and David Vandervelde.

smith westerns cover_The intro to “End of the Night” sounds like it could have been played by Ziggy Stardust’s Mick Ronson himself, a song that later muses “everybody wants to be a star on Saturday night,” which might turn prophetic for this much buzzed-about band.

And they won’t even have to wear bell bottoms, platform heels or eye makeup to make it happen.

Much of the press on Smith Westerns focuses on their youthful energy (which they have in spades), but you can’t ignore their varied and sophisticated songcraft that seems beyond their years.

But make no mistake: “Dye It Blonde” contains more hooks than an Amish wardrobe, which is why it is one of the most enjoyable records I’ve heard in quite a while.

Listen for yourself when the album drops January 18 or streaming now at NPR Music.  You can also catch them live at The Echo on February 11.

Dan Wilcox