Dry The River w/ Houndmouth
“I think people are surprised when they see us live,” says Peter Liddle, frontman of Dry the River. “They expect us to be really calm and quiet, but in some ways, we're just the opposite.”
Whatever the expectations, Dry the River is blowing right past them. Even before the release of their debut album, Shallow Bed, the band has been selling out shows, stealing the spotlight at festivals, and earning raves from the critics.
Listing the band as one of the "100 Best Things in the World Right Now," British GQ called the forthcoming album “a masterpiece in the making, packed with catchy riffs and overlaid with lyrical intelligence." The BBC recently highlighted Dry the River as one of the "Sounds of 2012," while Q magazine called the band's music "breathtaking stuff."
They might look like another 21st century folk group, with their beards and acoustic instrumentation (even a violin), but Liddle decribes Dry the River's music as "folky gospel music played by a post-punk band." Between their diverse list of influences— Leonard Cohen, Fugazi, Neil Young, Arlo Guthrie, Neutral Milk Hotel, Bruce Springsteen, Devendra Banhart—and their backgrounds in hardcore and emo bands, they stake out territory that is truly their own. (As Q put it, Dry the River is "the folk band that thinks it's a rock band.")
Norwegian-born Liddle formed Dry the River as a solo project while he was at university studying medicine and anthropology. He had already met the other band members—guitarist Matthew Taylor and violinist Will Harvey, plus Scott Miller (bass) and Jon Warren (drums)—on the DIY scene around Reading, and, while on summer break, he called on those old friends to record some of the songs he had written.
When the group began playing live, the response was immediate; a publishing deal and widespread touring followed. Soon, they all left their jobs and studies and moved into a shared house in London, where they continue to live.
In March 2011, the band traveled to Bridgeport, Connecticut to record with producer Peter Katis, known for his work with The National and Interpol. “We tried to preserve the fragility and honesty of the more stripped-down tracks, but still get the intensity of the live show across," says Liddle.
The first result of those sessions was the EP, Weights & Meaures, which went to Number One on the NME chart. The London Times described Dry the River as having “a musical maturity that Weights & Measures showcases to sensational effect.”
While in the US recording, Dry The River, staying true their punk roots, continuously played New York clubs, packing houses at venues like Pianos and The Knitting Factory. Following a memorable series of shows at the South By Southwest festival (where they performed without a drummer, due to visa troubles), Reading and Leeds, Glastonbury, Bestival and CMJ, the band have recently supported Bombay Bicycle Club, Foster The People, and the Antlers on their European tours.
With the release of Shallow Bed, it's Dry the River's moment to step out on their own. Set aside your assumptions, labels, expectations. Brace yourself. Now—listen.
Houndmouth is a collaborative folk/rock band from the lowland plains and farmlands of Indiana and Kentucky. Their poetry emphasizes foolhardiness, and their soulful harmonies carry far. Once a folk duo, Katie Toupin and Matt Myers (The Saint James Hotel) joined up with Shane Cody (Riffraff Revival) and Zak Appleby to create a colossal electric sound with bouncy half-time beats, punchy guitar riffs, and a bit of facial hair.