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WEB EXCLUSIVE The Connells’ eighth studio album, Steadman’s Wake, is the band’s first in more than 20 years.
Raleighites may remember The Connells from their hits “’74-’75” or “Stone Cold Yesterday.” Now, the Raleigh-based alternative band is back with a new album—their first in over 20 years—called Steadman’s Wake, which drops on Sept. 24.
Steadman’s Wake is the first Connells’ album to feature their two newest members, guitarist Mike Ayers and drummer Rob Ladd (who have been in the group since 2002 and 2012, respectively). Frontman Doug MacMillan says the new album features slightly different lyrical content, with the record made up of songs contributed solely by vocalist Mike Connell.
“Mike has a sardonic, dark humor,” MacMillian says. “The songs aren’t quite as perky,” with references to war, the opioid crisis and the white-supremacist rioting in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017.
However, MacMillian says a lot of people don’t think it’s that much of a departure from the band’s other albums. They’ve previously shared the songs “Really Great” and the album’s title track, “Steadman’s Wake,” on Stereogum, who wrote: “the track will surely appeal to fans of The Connells’ fellow Southern jangle-rockers R.E.M., and you might hear some Drive By Truckers in the sauce when they launch into the chorus…”
So why wait 20 years to release a new album? Well, MacMillian says the album was actually finished right before COVID hit, and so they waited to release it. They recorded most of the album in Durham, and “made an effort to take our time and record it the way that we wanted to,” adds MacMillian.
During the pandemic, The Connells did a couple of live-streamed shows out of Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro, where the band will also be playing a live, in-person show on Friday, Oct. 15.
And, now, you might be wondering if this is The Connells last album. “It seems like every record we make is our last,” jokes MacMillian. So, only time will tell, but we surely hope there’s more to come. Preorder Steadman’s Wake here.
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