KINGS RANSOME, “Rattle My Cage”
If the previous songs released by Greenville rockers Kings Ransome were the first part of their story, think of their new single, “Rattle My Cage,” as Kings Ransome Version 2.0. While their previous releases were chock full of classic hard-rock riffs and propulsive rhythms, “Rattle My Cage” has a more streamlined, polished sound, adding weight to the drums and a modern rock sheen to the guitars.
“If you check out our old stuff, we’re very inspired by classic rock, and that’s not necessarily by choice,” says singer Trey Duncan. “But I think we’re finally evolving past our inspiration and trying to find a more modern sound.”
But maturity isn’t the only reason that “Rattle My Cage” sounds so much sleeker than the band’s previous releases. “I think part of it is better production value,” Duncan says. “And I really like the new studio we’re working with. It’s in Dawsonville, Georgia, it’s called Ledbelly Sound Studio, and the engineer was Matt Washburn.”
Rather than rushing through the process as they had done in the past, Duncan says the band took their time with the new single. “We went in this time and spent eight hours on the song,” he says. “This is going to be a springboard to our next project, so let’s make sure we really get it right.”
BROOKS DIXON, “After All”
In addition to being an infectiously catchy slice of folk-tinged rock, Brooks Dixon’s new single, “After All,” is a song about, well, writing songs. Dixon wrote “After All” after a bout of writers’ block, and its resigned opening line, “After all, aren’t we all singing the same songs?” is a sort of good-natured poke at his own vocation.
“There’s only so much originality that can be out there,” Dixon says, “and I think I was grappling with creating something unique.”
Ultimately, Dixon found solace in the idea that it’s the storyteller, not the story, that makes the difference. “When you really get down to it,” he says, “I’m telling similar stories as people have in the past, but I’ve never told them. So I think that’s worth celebrating.”
Dixon also might have gotten a burst of inspiration from his different musical surroundings, too. He worked with Beach Tiger’s Taylor McCleskey for the first time and added some virtual harmony vocals from Mipso’s Libby Rodenbough.
“In this Zoom world that we live in, I was like ‘Hey, Libby, do you want to do some remote harmonies?’” Dixon says with a laugh. “And she said, ‘Yeah let’s do it.’ It’s a cool collaboration.”
KYLIE ODETTA, “Deep Blue”
The further that Upstate singer/songwriter Kylie Odetta gets into her career, the more layered and atmospheric her music gets.
Her new single, “Deep Blue” is a perfect example of her evolution. She started writing it three years ago as an upbeat, pop-flavored tune, and then slowly altered it into a meditative, dark-hued mix of keyboards, smoky saxophone lines and subtle percussion.
“I wrote it and produced this super-fun version in New York for a music production school I was going to,” Odetta says. “And I just loved the song, but it just didn’t feel like the right version of it to release. I wanted to take this to my band when I got back to Greenville and see what we could come up with.”
After a little more from her longtime producer Matt LaPlant, the more contemplative backing turned out to be the perfect setting for Odetta’s lyrics, which move from anxious to hopeful as the song progresses.
“If you listen to the opening lines, I literally say, ‘Lately, I’ve been feeling crazy, like I’m about to lose my mind,’” she says, “but I began to think, ‘I can see that there’s hope on the horizon.’ And so I’m going to close my eyes and believe in a brighter future for myself and hold on to that.”