T. Hardy Morris’ Audition Tapes packs a taste much more twang and tumbleweed than Dead Confederate usually rolls. It makes sense Delta Spirit’s Matt Vasquez and Black Lips’ Ian Saint Pe lent talents to the effort. It’s also unsurprising to learn good folks at the Nashville-based Playground Sound Studio recorded the whole deal.
It’s like Morris abandoned the shrooms in favor of a nice Americana-nodding spliff—probably rolled while barefoot or at least on a back porch. That’s not to say the psychedelic spike lacing DC’s work is completely absent because it ain’t. It’s just a lot more subtle, existing in hints, hiding in the guitar warbles in “Disaster Proof” and gently-shook ‘tude throughout.
It’s always nice when a record’s title track proves one of its strongest. “Audition Tapes” is a simple slice of alt-country pie, skint scoop of emo melting across the molasses-drenched crust.
But the album’s moment of undeniable allure—when it truly blooms—comes later. “Beauty Rest” sighs like a smitten, plum exhausted cowboy. Matt “Pistol” Stossel conjures aural tears from the steel guitar, forming spirals like smoke from the last cigarette of a much-needed pack. “When we were young / When we first met / We went to sleep / But never to bed.” It will break your heart in a very sincere, wildly passionate way.
This is an incredibly easy, listenable release. It packs the charm of high school era alt-country bands with feelings tight with strings that make your marrow sing along. A solid 10-track resort, be it an all-ages potluck housed in your parents’ backyard or a spontaneous existential slack-jawed gaze at nothing on the train. And really, crossover like that is worth a toast.