Okie musicians meet to reveal new album from multiple inspirations 

Four metro acts will perform Thursday at an all-locals Conservatory show booked to celebrate the full-length debut of Norman punk rockers Over Stars and Gutters.  

The band recorded the 10-song album, "Consider This Your Curse," with Stephen Egerton (of The Descendents and All) at his Tulsa studio, Armstrong Recording Co.  

Singer/guitarist and principal songwriter Matt McHughes said the album was born from mid-20s discontent and the "dark side" of making difficult, lifelong decisions.  

"When I graduated college, everyone around me was growing up, moving on, getting jobs and getting married," he said from The Fat Sandwich Company in Norman, where he works. "I just realized I'd rather just find a random job and focus on playing music."

McHughes, who also fronts Norman punk/ska outfit Third Grade Scuffle, currently on hiatus, eagerly enrolled in the University of Oklahoma to study political science, inspired early by the fiery vitriol espoused by punk and hardcore bands like Rage Against the Machine. In college, however, he said his student rage was quickly quenched with the relentless indoctrination of the machine itself.

"Growing up, music was just so dangerous," he said. "Politics became a passion, and I went to college wanting to see a lot of change, but it just wasn't a place for radical ideas. I lost a lot of that excitement and zeal."

McHughes graduated, but said he felt lost and couldn't reconcile with a future he worried would become the "same thing every day." After a few lineup changes which solidified six months ago, he started recording "Curse" with guitarist Taylor Hale, bassist Derek Lehman and drummer Jerry Jump, a leopard-print-pant-wearing "spike punk" McHughes said he met on the local music scene years ago.

"I kept running into him and thought there was no way that was his real name. Jerry Jump," McHughes said, telling himself, "'That's got to be the dumbest punk-rock name I've ever heard.'"

McHughes said the band is excited to debut the album at Thursday's concert, a show the group booked with as much local diversity as possible. Oklahoma City's The Pretty Black Chains, Edmond rockers Legs Dead and Well, and local folk favorite Ali Harter will round out the set.

Harter will perform at the CD release show and a handful of metro gigs before she and her band head overseas for a series of French club dates and a stint alongside Dave Matthews Band, Steely Dan, Herbie Hancock, B.B. King and others at July's Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland.

Over Stars and Gutters with Ali Harter, The Pretty Black Chains and Legs Dead and Well perform at 8 p.m. Thursday  at The Conservatory, 8911 N. Western. "Joe Wertz

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Joe Wertz

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