Radio 1190 presents Generationals with Young Empires at the Hi-Dive, 18+.
Since releasing their debut full-length Con Law in 2009, Generationals have consistently delivered pop hooks shone through a melancholic prism. 2013’s Heza brings the band to Polyvinyl and along with the label change, comes a subtle but significant sonic shift.
Recorded in phases at Jim Eno’s Public Hifi in Austin, producer Daniel Black’s Bent Black studio in D.C., and the band’s hometown of New Orleans, Heza finds Generationals more satisfied in writing songs that breathe and grow over time. These songs show restraint, with hooks developing in the spaces between sounds. The attention to rhythms and textures reveals a more patient band — one willing to dig for deeper gems than in their previous work. Tracks like “You Got Me” and “Put a Light On” use minimalist electronic frameworks to match the intensity of more straightforward guitarwork on “Spinoza” and “I Never Know,” all of them paying more attention to layers and textures than to forcing the hook. On Heza, Generationals aren’t so much shedding their old skin as growing more comfortable in the one they’ve always inhabited.
Ted Joyner and Grant Widmer struck up a friendship as high school freshmen in New Orleans, LA. While attending Louisiana State in Baton Rouge, the two formed The Eames Era with three classmates in 2003. The dissolution of that group in 2007 led to a return to New Orleans where Joyner and Widmer started writing songs as Generationals. Baton Rouge-native and Eames Era producer Daniel Black (The Oranges Band) invited them to record their debut LP, Con Law, at his Washington, D.C. studio, Bent Black in 2008, where incessant coverage of the presidential campaign between Barack Obama and John McCain, and the issues dividing the candidates’ viewpoints, gave rise to the band’s name.
New Orleans-based label Park The Van (Dr. Dog, The Spinto Band) released Con Law in 2009. Its retro vibe clearly bore the influence of Phil Spector’s mid-century pop, but Generationals’ influences always ran the gamut, with pieces of Brit-pop, dance and electronic poking through the trumpet stabs and Abbey Road compression on their analog 24-track recordings.
The band maintained their obsession with tape recording on 2010’s Trust EP, produced in Austin, TX by freak- folk mastermind Bill Baird (Sunset, Sound Team). Trust saw the band drift away from the Brill Building origins of Con Law in favor of a new wave sound that owed more to The Sugarcubes and The Stone Roses than the Ronettes. 2011’s sophomore LP Actor-Caster revealed a band zeroing in on their strong suit: dynamic pop songwriting. All ten of its taut, bright songs found their way into the band’s setlists as they hit their stride with a live confidence earned by relentless touring.