Proper Smoker, the debut LP from indie-supergroup Blunt Bangs, is proof that power pop remains perennial. Boasting a lineup that includes Reggie Youngblood (Black Kids) on guitar and vocals, Christian “Smokey” DeRoeck (Woods, Deep State, Meneguar, Little Gold) on guitar and vocals, and Cash Carter (Tracy Shedd, The Cadets) on drums, Blunt Bangs’ debut melds the canon of 90s indie rock with a spark of optimism for these uncertain times.
Following a move to Athens, GA from Jacksonville, FL, Youngblood and Carter settled into the storied scene and recruited veteran song slinger DeRoeck (who had previously moved to Athens following his tenure in Woods) to round out the band’s central songwriting unit. If the result is a tightly-spun collection of hooks that sounds like longtime friends making music for themselves with the hope that others would also enjoy it, that’s by design -- that was precisely Blunt Bangs’ plan all along.
While members of the band have earned their stripes in critically-lauded projects, the record also owes some of its polish to seasoned producer/engineer Drew Vandenberg, whose prior credits include works with Of Montreal, Drive-By Truckers, Toro Y Moi and more.
After nearly a decade of international touring with Black Kids (which included appearances at massive festivals like Coachella and Glastonbury) and sharing bills with acts like Cut Copy, Kaiser Chiefs, and Kate Nash, Youngblood refocused his attention on making the Blunt Bangs LP his top priority.
After a tumultuous year for… well, everyone, Proper Smoker offers a pleasant escape into a sonic landscape where guitar-driven rock is still alive and well. “This is supposed to be power-pop,” says Carter of the record’s ebullient sound. “We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel."
1. She's Gone
3. Silence Is Golden
4. Sick Moves
5. Eau Caroline
6. Speed Reader
8. Tom Ford
9. Moshi Moshi
10. Hot Potato