"KISS TOMORROW GOODBYE"
OUT MAY 10, 2019
MEL TRECHA // Publicist
“There’s a duality present in a lot of these songs,” says Indianola’s Owen Beverly. “There’s a push and a pull that’s constantly going on. The music is modern and retro and optimistic and bleak and carefree and apocalyptic all at once.”
Those juxtapositions lie at the heart of ‘Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye,’ Beverly’s thrilling debut LP under the Indianola moniker. Recorded at Shovels & Rope’s studio in Charleston, South Carolina, the collection stitches together a broad range of genres and eras, gleefully toying with decades of music history in order to create a sonic collage from an alternate timeline, one in which snarling garage rock guitars flare up alongside 60’s girl group melodies and greasers and punks party with velvet-voiced crooners. Beverly mines the past like a found footage artist, seizing on unexpected moments from long-forgotten productions in order to splice them together in a wholly new context. The result is utterly engrossing and infectious, a pop culture Frankenstein that sounds like Roy Orbison fronting The Sonics or Buddy Holly soundtracking a B horror flick.
“I wanted to create my own universe with this album,” Beverly explains. “I wanted the songs to sound like they came from a world where all these different influences from all these different times and places could exist simultaneously.”
Growing up in Mississippi, Beverly’s earliest influences came from the gritty Delta bluesmen of the early and mid-20th century. As it did for so many before him, the blues led the young guitarist into the raucous world of early rock and roll, which soon blossomed into a love for the psychedelia of the 60’s and the glam of the 70’s. Beverly would go on to spend time living in Charleston and New York City, but he was rarely home due to a relentless touring schedule both with his own projects and as a hired gun for the Danish indie pop band Oh Land. In 2016, Beverly relocated to Nashville, where he quickly found himself pushing back against the sometimes-overwhelming sense of musical homogeny that seemed to saturate the city.
“There was all this folk and country and roots music going on, which I’m of course a big fan of, but I wanted to do something different,” Beverly explains. “I liked the idea of something more rooted in rock and roll, something that had a throwback vibe but also felt ultramodern, like an old science fiction movie’s vision of the future.”
With Shovels & Rope’s Michael Trent at the helm, Beverly began chasing down a swampy sound that mixed Elvis Presley swagger with eerie bayou blues, recording under the name Indianola as a nod to his Deep South roots. The resulting EP, ‘Zero,’ was a critical hit, with Paste hailing the music as “wise beyond its years” and the Charleston City Paper praising its “rock ‘n’ roll fervor.” Beverly was named a 2016 Southwest Airlines Artist On The Rise, and the collection earned him festival performances from Luck Reunion to Wildwood Revival alongside dates with Josh Ritter, Butch Walker, Langhorne Slim, Matthew Logan Vasquez, Nicole Atkins, and more. The following year, Indianola appeared as a special guest on Shovels & Rope’s ‘Busted Jukebox Volume 2,’ collaborating on a reimagining of The Hollies’ “The Air That I Breathe” that prompted the husband-and-wife duo to describe Beverly as “one of the finest singers and writers out there today” in an interview with Entertainment Weekly.
When it came time to record ‘Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye,’ Beverly could feel Indianola’s spirit evolving beyond the Delta noir of that initial EP into a more expansive sound, one that still embraced the architecture of the early blues and the first wave of rock and roll that emerged from but pushed its sonic limits deeper into even more unpredictable territory. At times irreverent, at times hair-raising, the songs are distinctly American in their simultaneous obsession with and disregard for the future.
“The album title is as much an ominous forecast as it is a plea to just forget about tomorrow and enjoy the present,” Beverly reflects. “It’s a bit of a paradox because you can hear this very lively, bouncy music that wants you to drop everything and live in the moment, but at the same time, there’s an element underneath it all that gives you the distinct feeling that things are not going to be okay.”
Beverly sets the stage early in the album with self-assured strut of “1960’s,” a leather jacket-clad rocker that finds him declaring his affinity for an era that ended long before he was born. “I’ve got a thing for the 1960’s / You look like a Marilyn Monroe with your striptease,” he sings almost menacingly. As the album unfolds, it becomes clear that Beverly’s interest in the past isn’t born of simple nostalgia or romanticism, but rather in an off-kilter optimism. These are songs deeply rooted in our thoroughly disappointing present—a modern society defined by political corruption, cultural clashes, and endless war—but they dare to believe in the power of art to transport us to a world in which the promise of post-war America hasn’t failed and rock and roll is still dangerous. “Mid Century Modern” thrusts the 12 bar blues firmly into the 21st century, while “Too Good To Be True” marries Phil Specter and Perry Como, and “Fame Is A Mistress” is a distortion and feedback-laden freakout of epic proportions.
“I wanted to infuse a certain amount of fear into the music,” says Beverly, who produced the record himself. “When you’re a little kid, there’s this mix of terror and excitement you feel about the world, and it was important for me to find ways to capture that in both the chord progressions and the sound design.”
As much as the album is devoted to creating its own universe, Beverly doesn’t shy away from weaving his own personal experiences into the music. The poignant “Awkward Phase” is a sentimental ode to the lostness that comes with letting go of a loved one, and “Want Me Back” wears a brave face even as the pain of heartbreak reveals itself through cracks in the façade. Perhaps the record’s most arresting moment arrives with its closing track, “Write It In Blood,” which finds Beverly musing on the intensely personal nature of life as a songwriter.
“When you look back on the things that have torn you down and crippled you that you’ve somehow managed to survive, your blood is the ink that you bring to the page,” he explains. “As a writer, the things that you experience, the hardship that you go through, that’s what you hang your hat on at the end of the day.”
Ultimately, that sort of reflection is what ‘Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye’ is all about. Forget the future; for Indianola, the past is what you make of it.