It’s no great secret that personal tragedy, strife and pain can often inspire the most important and vital art. Throughout history, music in particular has been a highly effective and cathartic way of expressing and dealing with pain and loss.
We Are Augustines, the Brooklyn-based band formed by ex-Pela members Billy McCarthy and Eric Sanderson (with Rob Allen on drums) know this more than most. Much of the material on their debut album Rise Ye Sunken Ships (to be released March 5th 2012 on Oxcart Records) documents the most traumatic period of lead vocalist/guitarist McCarthy’s life in which he lost both his schizophrenic mother and his brother, James, to suicide. “Headlong Into The Abyss” recounts James’ flight from the police while “Book of James,” one of several songs recorded with producer Dave Newfeld (Broken Social Scene), is a gripping eulogy for this once-resilient spirit who succumbed to the pressures bearing down on him from both within and without. “The Instrumental,” a transcendent, richly textured piece written by bassist/keyboardist Sanderson, closes out Rise Ye Sunken Ships on a note of hope, suggesting that struggle can ultimately point the way to peace.
“Book Of James”, released as an MP3 single and 7”vinyl on November 7th, is Billy McCarthy’s attempt to humanize the homeless and mentally ill. “Everybody deserves a proper eulogy; this is mine for my brother James,” explains Billy. “As far as I’m concerned our society at large would rather not think about the topic of homelessness and mental illness. Unfortunately, people who have lived through it are forced to find a place to store it internally. This song is written from that place.”
Despite the heavy subject matter, We Are Augustines are a positive and uplifting musical experience – and the news is spreading fast. The band are on a blistering US headline tour including shows at the famous Austin City Limits Festival and ending with a headline show at CMJ at the Bowery Ballroom. Now set to hit the UK again as support to Glasvegas, one thing is certain, 2012 is going to be a very exciting year for We Are Augustines. Don’t miss out.
October tour dates supporting Glasvegas:
- Monday 24th October – London Koko
- Wednesday 26th October – Brighton , The Old Market
- Thursday 27th October – Manchester, Club Academy
- Saturday 29th October – Sheffield, Leadmill
- Sunday 30th October – York, Duchess
- Monday 31st October – Glasgow, ABC