By: Erin Callahan – Chief A&E Writer
Thirty-five demos, nine hand-selected songs, six weeks, one new album.
Smug Brothers, a Dayton-based indie/alternative rock band will host a release party for its new album, “Woodpecker Paradise,” at Blind Bob’s in the Oregon District Saturday. The band will perform alongside Forage and Human Cannonball. The album will be released Feb. 24.
“Woodpecker Paradise,” the band’s fourth full-length album, has been years in the making. Guitarist and vocalist Kyle Melton said the original 35 demos considered for the album were part of a collection he’s added to for the past 12 years.
Melton was discussing the possibility of a new album with former Smug Brother and current Motel Beds guitarist Darryl Robbins and sent him the demos in July. Within a few days, Robbins had picked his favorites and “Woodpecker Paradise” was born.
“Darryl has his own criteria for selecting the songs he wants to work on, but he’s a very good person to evaluate your strengths and he selects material to accentuate those [strengths,]” Melton said. “He picked nine songs I never would’ve, but sometimes when you’re that close up to it you don’t see things that others do.”
Smug Brothers is known for its shorter songs, tight and restrained, but that doesn’t mean the content doesn’t deliver. The new album shows off the many eclectic flavors of the band, including its indie-rock style, ’60s pop sound and more. Inspiration comes from whatever style band members are feeling at the moment, Melton said.
“Woodpecker Paradise” follows their last full-length album, “On the Way to the Punchline,” which was released nearly a year ago. This is the first album to feature the Smug Brothers’ newest lineup with bassist Larry Evans joining longtime members Melton, drummer Don Thrasher and guitarist Brian Baker.
Though the album’s playlist was chosen last summer, production was put on hold while the band toured. However, once they got to work in late November, the final product didn’t take long – two live recording sessions and about 20 hours over six weeks for recording and mixing – not an unusual turnover for the Smug Brothers, Melton said.
In fact, they have two other albums currently in the making. “Lions at Last” dropped last summer, while “Disco Maroon,” set to release later this year, directly followed “Woodpecker Paradise.” Thanks to Melton’s song-writing speed – most recently 14 in one day – the band is in a continuous state of growth.
“I’ll write these songs, sometimes in a batch and sometimes they trickle into the pile,” he said. “You just see what strikes you. Bryan, Larry, Don and I all have our own way of doing things, so our music turns into whatever Smug Brothers is at that point in time.”
After 10 years and multiple lineups, Melton said they’ve found a band that gels. Smug Brothers will travel to Louisville, Kentucky, and Chicago in the coming months to promote “Woodpecker Paradise.”
Smug Brothers will perform at Blind Bob’s Saturday at 9 p.m. Cover charge will be $5 for patrons 21 and up. For more information or to listen to the album, please visit gasdaddygo.bandcamp.com.