This article was printed in the May/June 2015 issue of The Encounter.
On March 3, 2015, Omaha rock band Twinsmith performed a blistering set to an attentive audience of five in Columbus, Ohio. A week prior, the band tore through their crowd-pleasing numbers to 1,500 music fanatics while supporting indie legends Cursive in California.
“Rock and roll, “Brian Johnson once famously sang, “Is just rock and roll.”
Cruel, humorous, ironic, triumphant, exciting, grueling: rock and roll is this and more much for those who ride its roller coaster.
For the hometown Saddle Creek Records recent signees, Twinsmith, rock and roll is a fickle livelihood. Trekking across America in support of their Saddle Creek debut LP, Alligator Years, Jordan Smith, Matt Regner, Bill Sharp, and Oliver Morgan are involved in everything from a week supporting Cursive, to headlining shows, to the madness of SXSW.
“When you are in a band, the year goes by so fast,” says lead singer and lyricist Smith. “There is only so much you can do between writing, recording, and touring.”
For Smith and his bandmates, that year began in earnest upon entering the studio in September of last year. With 10 tracks in hand—all composed in the year after their debut release—Twinsmith was ready for whatever direction the music and their producer, Luke Pettipoole (The Envy Corps), wanted to take.
“Luke definitely took on a band member role with us. He really developed the songs and gave his ideas out,” says Smith. “The goal was to have everyone into the songs. If somebody had an idea, we would try it first and then decide together if we wanted to keep it. It was great to write these songs as a band.”
The results are 10 songs ably balancing pop rock blast (“Seventeen”) and introspective balladry (“Carry On”). With its varied styles and expert production, Alligator Years is a satisfying listen solidly rooted in the modern indie domain.
While many indie bands often tackle an overall theme or concept to their albums, Twinsmith took great joy in presenting a set of music that’s only concern was being good music.
“We wanted to make a really dynamic album. The goal in mind was if we liked the songs, we were going to put them on the record,” Smith says. “We tried to make it different, a couple synth songs, a couple retro pop songs. It is feel-good music and songs that we love to play live.”
Immediately following the groups album release show, (May 15 at Slowdown), Smith and company plan on taking a much-deserved few weeks off before hitting the road full-on later this summer. Regardless what the future holds for their major independent label debut, Twinsmith has found great trust in each other and their music.
“We have been progressing in our music together, we know the direction but we don’t have to talk about it or explain it,” says Smith. “We trust each other in knowing we aren’t going to try to write bad music.”