A lot of local bands could learn a lesson or two from songwriter Brantley Cowan and his new band, Modern Rock Diaries. There hasn’t been an album bigger and more ambitious than “Great Western Civilization” in a long while. It’s the sound of an act aiming for regional and national success, not just hoping for it.
In keeping with indie fashion, MRD employs a lot of full-band singing (both to harmonize and for choruses) to bolster their vocals, as well as a female violin player, Angela Allen, and some catchy synth melodies, à la Cut Copy.
But I think that Cowan’s rigid voice and lyrics (think not-so-dirty Caleb Followill of Kings of Leon) land the band in more of a modern alt-rock category. For example, see the lyrics of “19th Century New Indie Romance”: “Gonna live forever / We ain’t never gonna stop.”
Either way, it’s good stuff. Norman’s Blackwatch Studios producer Jarod Evans lends his abilities to the group, three-fourths of which hold music degrees from in-state schools. How’s that for local?
MRD next will play a Sept. 29 set at Kamp’s Deli & Market, 1310 N.W. 25th. In the meantime, snag “Great Western Civilization” for $5 at modernrockdiaries.bandcamp.com. —Matt Carney