published Friday, April 22nd, 2011

The Winter Sounds celebrate rejuvenation at JJ’s Bohemia


What: The Winter Sounds and Hearts in Light.

When: 10 p.m. Tuesday.

Where: JJ’s Bohemia, 231 M.L. King Blvd.

Admission: $5.

Phone: 266-1400.

Venue website:


Q&A with Patrick Keenan of The Winter Sounds


2007: “Porcelain Empire”

2009: “Church of the Haunted South”

2010: “COTHS Remixxx, Pinebox EP, Christmas Songs, B-Sides”


This summer, The Winter Sounds will re-release their 2009 album, “Church of the Haunted South” on vinyl, accompanied by a new three-song EP. In July, they return to the studio to record a full-length album produced by Scott Solter (Spoon, Okkervil River).


After the original lineup of The Winter Sounds wasted away, leaving lead singer Patrick Keenan as frontman of a solo group, he wasn’t sure at first that he wanted to re-form the band.

When he relocated to Nashville from Greenville, S.C., last August, two things convinced him The Winter Sounds was worth preserving: years of hard work and artistic compulsion.

“I’ve just written so much, and I personally can’t stop doing that,” he said. “I played in another band right before Winter Sounds, but I wasn’t the main writer. It was really hard having this outpouring of ideas constantly and never having an outlet for it.”

Starting over from scratch, Keenan began combing through social networks and Craigslist ads looking for new talent. His main criterion? The band had to be priority No 1, which meant no side projects, Keenan said.

“I wanted to make sure that, when I did meet the right people, everyone would be devoted to working on The Winter Sounds,” he said. “I just wanted to make sure I was direct enough ... so there wouldn’t any issues down the road if we decided to tour for a month straight or something.”

Finding the right people didn’t take long. By the start of this year, he and his new crew were on the road again.

The new lineup features a number of multi-instrumentalists, who Keenan said have offered him freedom to take the music in new directions. The new sound is heavier on electro-pop elements like synthesizers and dance rhythms, but it’s more of an evolution than a revolution from the original band’s driving, layered sound reminiscent of bands such as The Killers, The Cure and The Smiths.

Tuesday, The Winter Sounds will take the stage at JJ’s Bohemia. Even with only a few months on the road, Keenan said, he’s ecstatic by how well things are gelling.

“I feel like it’s right back to where it was and better,” he said. “All this stuff from the recordings that we can actually do live. I feel like a lot of people who have listened to the albums a lot and seen us play are really excited by the full new sound of the band.”

about Casey Phillips...

Casey Phillips has worked as a features reporter in the Life department since May 2007. He writes about entertainment, consumer technology, animals and news of the weird. Casey hails from Knoxville and earned a bachelor of science degree in journalism and a bachelor of arts in German from Middle Tennessee State University, where he worked as the features editor for the student newspaper, Sidelines. Casey's writing has earned numerous accolades, including first and second place ...

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