Calling all classic rock fans! I bring you Montreal’s very own Dust Bowl Era! They have made their debut album, The Problem with Steel on Brothers and Sisters Records.
Discovering new bands is a religion of mine, especially bands in the rock and roll and heavy metal world. It is hard to be disappointed in this genre, as most bands within this particular musical world pull on intense personal experiences for their music as well as that of the world. Dust Bowl Era is no exception. It holds its roots in the classic Americana feel, handing you songs that tell stories.
A band that formed at the end of August in 2012, Dust Bowl Era brings you Brandon Webb on vocals, Tom Jarvis on guitar and Justin Devries on drums. Sounds simple? Hardly; along with Webb‘s vocals, he also incorporates the guitar, harmonica and keys to his talents. Jarvis does the same, adding organ, bass and backup vocals to his list of talents. Their drummer Justin Devries has returned to Vancouver however, and so they now perform with Byron on the drums.
The apocalyptic album has drowned itself in fascinating guitar loops, gorgeous melodies and along with Brandon Webb’s raspy vocals, you are handed an album straight from the rock and roll time capsule. While the problems they talk about track through track are applicable to the modern day in every way, the sound brings you back to the golden age of rock. Although the struggles they speak about can get you down, the melodies are seriously enriching and full of life.
Going track through track would do little justice to the entirety of the album. Their first song, and my personal favorite, “I’m at War” immediately set the tone for the album, lyrically and musically. While some may argue that the songs can sound slightly too similar, every song is worth a listen to. The album sounds like a soundtrack for a war movie; the tales of disheartened people clear in the lyrics, they still manage to make it impossible to fall in love with the tone of each song. I found myself lightly nodding my head to every track on the album. Which, for any rock fan, once you start banging your head; it is a sure sign of a good song.
Another personal favorite of mine is “The Swamp” which transported me into a post apocalyptic world; whether that was their intention or not, the song demands your attention to a world full of war. It speaks of the ignorance of some and the paranoia of others. It is such a powerful song lyrically and of the track list I see it as a song that could become a hit.
The track “The Problem with Steel” ties in with the album title itself, in which Webb states that “The name is a concept: the ghosts of the people who lived through that are in the spirit of our songs. But now they’re standing outside closed factories or working in warehouses without benefits. If they’re lucky they got student debt.” The track itself speaks of just that; although the world is progressing in the industrial sense, humans are not exactly following. Not everyone can pay their bills and people are not as educated as they need to be. All eight tracks of the album are chapters in a striking story that I simply could not get enough of. While each track was lengthy, just as I enjoy, I wish there had been more songs for how much I loved the album.
Classic rock fans are stuck in an age where it’s all about the fastest electric guitars possible, with unimaginable riffs and heavy drum fills. I’m happy to say that the heart of rock and roll was brought back to life within this band. The entire album had me on my floor, staring into the abyss, listening and imagining the world that the band had created for me. A grin was plastered to my face the entire time; the lyrics got me thinking about life and the human condition. When it ended, I did not know what to do with myself. I was in shock at the world I had entered and once placed back in my reality, I found myself just wanting to replay the album over and over again.
I’m holding the torch up high for these men, hoping they make it as far as they want. The world needs the music that Dust Bowl Era has graced us with. If you aren’t already following this band, you should definitely start.
Dust Bowl Era will be playing at L’Escrogriffe on the 23rd of October.
The album available to download here.