Blue October

In this age of quotidian nihilism, of pervasive and boundless
jadedness, you might be forgiven for being taken aback when
someone says to you: “I hope you’re happy.” It’d be easy to load
that phrase with acerbic meaning, to interpret it foremost as
coming from a place of spite and sarcasm. And nine times out of
10, you’d probably be right. But in the case of seminal musicians
Blue October, the statement is disarmingly sincere.
It’s a surprise, to be sure. But “I Hope You’re Happy,” the title
track representative of the Texas outfit’s forthcoming body of
work in both word and sound, is the first burst in a salvo of
overwhelming positivity—a sonically abundant, rich, lusciously
atmospheric, lovingly produced record.
Early fans of the band’s work, those who haven’t kept track of
the band’s journey in its latter years, might be hard-pressed to
recognize the foursome—comprised of Ryan Delahoussaye, the
band’s multi-instrumentalist; Matt Noveskey on bass; and
brothers Jeremy and Justin Furstenfeld, the band’s drummer and
front man, respectively. The group, once known for its stormy
dynamic and self-destructive tendencies, couldn’t be more
distinct, today, from the band it once was. And the members of
Blue October want everyone they encounter to know the great
place they’re in, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. “We’ve
had the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, and we’ve come
out the other side,” says Noveskey, who describes the record as
Such is the subject matter of a soon-to-be-released documentary
detailing the band’s transformation from sordid to solid, from
ravaged by the tempest of addiction to blessed by the joys of
family life. Just like any other relationship, the band’s dynamic is
multifaceted, and what we’re privy to on camera is but a
snapshot into the group’s complex world.
While the documentary documents the band in its stormier days,
today, it looks like smooth sailing for the boys of Blue October.
With their last record, the band’s 2016 effort Home, behind them,
the band was ready to start writing their follow-up album. “We
were in a great spot, coming off of a great record. We were all in
a great place,” says Delahoussaye. But one thing was going to
be different with this record: The band’s frontman and guitarist,
Justin Furstenfeld, would be at the helm—his first time producing
an album.
“Justin had a specific vision; we trusted he knew what it needed
to sound like,” offers Noveskey.
And even though I Hope You’re Happy was the first record Justin
Furstenfeld produced, he still managed to push the envelope,
leading his band to new heights in terms of sound and
production. “I really had to take the training wheels off this time,”
he says. “In today’s day and age, as a producer, you learn so
much from people; like, I’ve worked with Tim Palmer and Steve
Lillywhite.” Furstenfeld’s production style was the result of years
of studying the craft and taking notes from storied producers—
then stepping out of his comfort zone to experiment in a way that
would yield a truly lush soundscape. “If it works, it works,” says
Furstenfeld. “I don’t care if you practiced it or it’s perfect, if it’s
hooky, I’ll make it work and use it. It’s art for me.”
The rest of the band was fully on board with Justin’s vision,
placing their faith in him to produce a record above and beyond
what Blue October had done before. “Justin’s got this gift where
he can envision, like a movie, what the entire song is going to
sound like before he even plays a note,” says Jeremy
Furstenfeld. “Like, the song is already written completely, part by
part. It’s a gift, how he can hear everything. Like the song’s
there, it’s done.”
A major component of the new record can be found in the
massive string arrangements composed by Delahoussaye. “If
you’ve got a string player that plays all these instruments, you
get in the studio and see what he’s got,” says Justin Furstenfeld.
“It’s beautiful and when you hear it, you’ll be touched.”
“One of the things that I love about this record is that Ryan can
provide an entire orchestra by himself. He can bring in this whole
cinematic aspect to a song; it makes it feel like it’s a film. He can
really shine on this record,” says Noveskey.
The record itself seemingly can’t be categorized, according to
Blue October. “I don’t even consider us a rock band in the first
place. This record has no genre,” says Justin Furstenfeld. Per
Furstenfeld, the post-production process for the new record
entailed “having an urban mixer mix an alternative band
produced like art rock.” Perhaps that’s why Blue October’s canon
is so eminently accessible, because the band defies genre—and
what’s more, because their message is so relentlessly positive
as to doubtless brighten the effect of fans and listeners, new and
old alike.
I Hope You’re Happy is out on August 17th on Up/Down
Records, in partnership with Brando Records, a record label
founded by Justin Furstenfeld, who remains the label’s president.
But the record is already available for preorder on iTunes,
Amazon, and directly through the band. The album’s title track
has already cracked the top 20 on the Billboard Alternative chart,
the 11th single over Blue October’s nine studio albums to reach
Top 40 on the US airplay charts.
With a brand new record on the horizon, the boys from Blue
October are putting their full weight behind this release. Justin
has now been sober (and loving it!) for six years; the band is
happy and enjoying life both on the road and at home with their
families; and they want the best for everyone in their lives. Says
Justin: “I Hope You’re Happy is about wishing your enemies
well… anyone who’s touched my life, or I’ve touched your life—
life’s so short, and I hope you’re happy.”

Knox Hamilton

Brothers Boots and Cobo Copeland have been making music together their entire lives. From an early age, they self-taught themselves drums, guitar, and bass, filling their pastor father’s church with songs bathed in light and life. It’s the bond between Boots and Cobo that gives Knox Hamilton’s music a degree of familial intuition; a genetic thread of energy running between the two. Knox Hamilton (comprised of Boots and Cobo and their longtime buddy and talented guitarist Drew Buffington) doesn’t make songs by mistake. Rather, they work hard at their craft, stacking gorgeous vocals on top of relatable lyrics and restless melodies. Every note, every chord, every lyric is intentionally created to wrap your mind in a warm embrace while still setting your soul free to wander the cosmos. One listen to the first single “Washed Up Together” from their debut album The Heights and you’ll agree the result is hard to argue with. Before The Heights, the band released a 4-song EP called How's Your Mind that featured the runaway single "Work It Out." The addictive tune raced to the top of SiriusXM's Alt18 charts and reached "near-Adele levels on alt-rock radio" (Huffington Post), garnering KH the hard-earned respect of the indie rock community and over 7.9 million streams on Spotify. And that was just the beginning. Knox Hamilton is poised to break into the zeitgeist with innovative new songs filled with blistering electricity that still remind you of something real and familiar. Creating music that nods to their small-town church roots while dedicating themselves to their far-reaching artistry, Knox Hamilton is a band built to last. And Boots, Cobo, and Drew are prepared to make that happen.

$28.00 - $30.00



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