New Music: Augustana

Augustana is a band that evolves with every album, and their new self-titled album, out now, is no exception. We’ve talked about Augustana before here and here, and as previously noted, the band started out as straight-up pop-rock balladeers, but with their last album switched gears a bit into a bluegrass-influenced folk/americana sound. This new album continues in that path, while bringing along some of the pop hooks that brought the band fame to begin with. To my ear, this album sounds a bit like Sam’s Town, the Killers album from a few years back that I really liked, but there are also legitimate comparisons to Dylan, Springsteen and even early U2. Dan Layus is a gifted singer and songwriter, and his college-buddy bandmates have gelled into a mature band that just gets better with every album.

Augustana and The Fray happen to be label-mates at Epic and share the distinction of being on tour with The Damnwells when the Epic infamously dropped that band mid-tour (as documented in the movie Golden Days). The label gave the two remaining bands the option of ditching The Damnwells, and to their credit, they said no and continued to tour with, give solid support to, and remain fans of, the band that their label shafted. Karma being what it is, Augustana has prospered from that moment on, and the Fray is touring with U2 this summer (and I will be seeing that show next month).

If you have previously been a fan of Augustana, this new album will not disappoint you. If you have never heard them before, this album is a fine introduction, and if you’ve been on the fence, this offering should push you solidly into their camp. Take a listen and let me know what you think.

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