"Time changes everything." That was the best reason Greg Cartwright could offer for getting his '90s-era band the Oblivians back together for a new record and tour in 2013. It was really the only answer he or his bandmates Eric Friedl or Jack Yarber could provide when confronted with the question "why now?" Still, it seemed unlikely that there would ever be a new record, let alone one as deeply satisfying as Desperation, with its classic Oblivians' mix of originals and perfectly chosen covers that are raw in spirit but as stylistically diverse and mature as the garage punk genre will allow.
Now even more time has passed, and the evermore prolific and peripatetic Cartwright has inked a new deal with Merge Records and is on tour and gearing up to release a new collection of songs with his other band the Reigning Sound, the ever-evolving all-purpose rock-and-roots band he formed in Memphis at the turn of the century, before moving to Asheville, North Carolina, with his wife and family.
Shattered, due to be released July 15th, is the Reigning Sound's sixth studio LP, and its first since 2009's fantastic In the Red release, Love and Curses.
The Reigning Sound's recorded output has ranged from the introspective Byrds- and Everly Brothers-inspired folk rock of Break Up Break Down to the noisy electric shock of Too Much Guitar, with a romantic core and a 1960s rock-and-pop sensibility that reached an apogee with Love and Curses. Shattered picks up where Love and Curses left off with a slight return to the folksier sounds of Break Up Break Down. The arrangements are more lush, though, and the clean production puts Cartwright's expressive voice front and center.
Fans who want to hear Cartwright play material from Shattered can do so Saturday, when he visits Goner, the record store/label founded by his Oblivians bandmate Eric Friedl.