Latest addition to DevilDuck Records and first ever artist signed at their office in Austin, TX, is newest Rock’n’Roll wonder: PR Newman.
How singular that PR Newman doesn’t stand for the name of the artist, nor for “Public Relations”, but for “Punkrock Randy Newman”. The nickname, earned a couple of years ago during his 4 years co-fronting for the band the Berkshire Hounds, is a testimony of Spencer Garland’s influences. If the punk has grown quieter, the rock however definitely still is of the party.
After multiple experiences with previous bands —such as the aforementioned Berkshire Hounds— or under different monikers, “Turn Out” is Garland’s first album as PR Newman. And, while he admits his music is inherently American, PR Newman doesn’t do cliché or some “throwback tribute” to American music. It’s modern, innovative; he calls it “Modern Rock’n’Roll”. Still keeping a very unique take on it, his sound breathes of that typical Austin vibe, which reminds of big names of that scene —and his friends— Sweet Spirit, Nathaniel Rateliff or Matthew Logan Vasquez.
Lyric-wise, this debut album is a reflection of the change in Garland’s state of mind in recent years, and of the experiences that brought it upon. It ranges from stories of struggling with addictions (‘Here Comes The Ranger’) and emotions (‘Keep On, Hard Days’), shallow obsessions of the younger generations (‘Let’s Go Meet in a Small Town’) to love songs (‘Everything’), funny anecdotes (Room 3H) and growing wiser (‘Go To Hell’). However, regardless of the topic, each song keeps a quirky and humorous twist to it, signature of Garland’s writing. The third track ‘Way and Me’, for example, tackles the loss of his dog Hemingway (whose nickname was “Way”) in a breakup but purposefully leaves the doubt whether he misses his dog or his ex.
The musical influences of those tracks are, too, just as varied. Through subtle hints, “Turn Out” also acts as an accolade to some of Garland’s favourite artists, such as The Strokes (‘Go To Hell’), Funkadelic (‘Here Comes The Rangers’ and ‘Right Here’), Bowie (‘Way and Me’) or D’Angelo and Prince (‘Let’s Go Meet in a Small Town’).
The artwork of the album is a picture taken by his partner. For them, however, it is a trip to the past, a glimpse of childhood in Dallas, of going to the State Fair with Big Tex towering over it. All in all, it’s a one final wink to American “modern Rock’n’Roll”.